Loop De Loo
Leaving the ambush site and continuing West, the party following the tracks left by the other carriage until they come to a group of trees covered in blood. Looking up, they see walkways and lookouts built in to the trees, all of which are completely destroyed – shattered wood litters the ground and rope bridges dangle down.
Around them, are drag marks, accompanied by small, light footprints, the kind that Gnomes would make, heading towards the bushes and disappearing behind a wall of brambles and thick, thorn filled shrubbery.
Kitty Lock climbed up a nearby tree, to scout the area, and examine the treetop constructions. Looking down, she realises that the area is more than just similar to the ambush site; it is identical!
She climbs back down to the others and tells them.
The party realise that they are in the exact spot that they left shortly before, but the bodies of the Gnomes have disappeared.
Confused, they try and ascertain how, whilst following a straight, clear track, they have seemingly gone in a complete circle.
Whilst talking, Kitty Lock gazes down the Western path and notices that everything looks slightly hazy; some of the trees are fuzzy, and the path looks out of focus. As she concentrates, the fuzzy trees vanish, as though a mist clearing, and the path appears to alter ever so slightly – rocks appear where no rocks were before, a slight bend in the road is no longer there.
“It’s an illusion!” Kitty Lock cries, as she points down the path.
The others look and immediately Eleana agrees. Persephone, however stands there perturbed, as nothing looks different to her.
Eventually, after both Kitty Lock and Eleana explain what they see to her, she too can see through the illusion.
With that, they carry on their journey, Persephone driving the carrriage.
A Powerful Evil
After riding for a short while, they come to a long, straight section of the path. In the distance, they can see a small cart, much like there’s; blood red, with a large hand emblazoned on the back. The head of the driver can be seen above the roof, wearing a dark red- wide brimmed hat. This must be the Inquisitor that they were following.
Instinctively, Persephone casts Detect Evil on the driver. Suddenly a sharp shooting pain strikes across her head and she collapses, unconscious.
Eleana quickly grabbed the reigns, but the horses buckled and she lost grip. Before the horses could go too wild, Kitty Lock jumped down from the roof, where she was clinging on, and held the reigns tight, bringing the horses back to a steady trot, before stopping them.
I few seconds later, Persephone came to, looking shocked. She explained to the others that the driver of the other carriage was definitely evil, and so powerful that he was overwhelmed by it’s aura.
They all decided to continue following the carriage, but at a safe distance, so as to not be noticed by the Inquisitor.
The Road to Cúan Rùn
Even though the carriage in front was pulled by a single horse, they had difficulty keeping pace, with their two horse drawn carriage.
As they were driving in pursuit, every so often, branches snapping as if something was running through the undergrowth could be heard, but no other sounds of wildlife. A little further down the road, the snapping sounds where accompanied by child-like giggling.
Looking around, they could see dark shapes, in the distance, darting between the bushes and shrubbery – to small to be a person, but too dark to make out.
This continued for several hours whilst they followed the carriage, until suddenly, Kitty Lock heard the carriage stop. She brought their own carriage to a halt, as they turned a bend.
A short distance in front of them stood the carriage; the driver no longer visible, and the side-door left wide open. In front of the carriage, the trees opened up to what looks like a large clearing.
Carefully, Persephone climbed down from the carriage and snuck in to the woods, creeping towards the Inquisitior’s carriage.
Peering into the carriage, it is empty, except for a few sets of manacles bolted to the floor. The driver has clearly gone, and any captives removed.
Persephone gingerly stepped out of the trees and looked down into the clearing. In front of her was a large, sandy beach, sloping steadily down towards the ocean.
To the South was a large line of trees curving around the beach and far out into the sea, creating a tail shaped cape, called Cape Eàrr, which also shields the beach from the view of any passing ships. Greatwood Forest surrounds the each to the North. Far in the distance, near to the point of the cape, sits a large ship.
Heading down the beach, towards a small row boat, is a large figure dressed in the familiar garb of an Inquisitor, riding a large black horse. A small, pink haired gnome limps next to them, shackled at the wrists and ankles, and a metal cage around his face.
Quickly Persephone runs back to Kitty Lock and Eleana, to tell them what she saw.
Thinking hard, the party decide that engaging the Inquisitor directly would be a bad decision, seeing how easily they seemed to dispatch the Gnomish ambush. Moving quickly, they unbuckle the horses from their carriage and gallop into the trees and up, along the cape, to get a better view. However, in their haste they forgot any essence of stealth, and the Inquisitor notices them.
The crimson figure looks up, their face covered by a black mask, as they draw their sword and point it towards the party. The blade is jet black, like a shard of obsidian, with a strange glow covering its surface.
The party stops, stock still, unsure what to do, as the Inquisitor stares at them for a moment, then sheathes the sword and turns away. The pink haired Gnome is hastily pushed in to the row boat, along with the large horse, and the Inquisitor sets off towards the ship, seemingly ignoring the party.
Kitty Lock pulls out her crossbow and takes aim at the boat. However, she realises that it is too far away and decides against it.
The part decide to continue on horse-back as far as they can, then carry on by foot, towards the point of Cape Eàrr, to get a better view of the ship in the distance.
Once there, they can see that the ship is no ordinary vessel; along the length of its hull are arrays of cannon hatches covering several floors, three large masts adorn the deck – with the sails furled, it’s anchor weighed, and room enough for a legion of men. It looks built for war.
Focusing on the ship, Persephone reels back in shock. She recognises name on the bow of the ship, which reads, in thick golden letters, “Royal Virtue”. This is the main warship of the Church of Virtue, which they use as an advance fleet in their crusades; sometimes it is the only ship they send, as it is large enough to contain an entire army, and is very well armed.
Persephone explains to Kitty Lock and Eleana that the Church of Virtue rules the Island of Origin, which is a covered by a great walled city. They often send crusaders out to other lands to destroy what they class as heretics or blasphemers.
She went on to explain how the Inquisitors are the Church of Virtue’s highly trained special arm of the military, whom usually travel in groups of three, called a Triad, specifically to combat a typical witches coven (Mother, maiden, and crone). Much like a witches coven, a Triad have their roles of Hunter (To find the heretics), priest (To convert/torture them), and executioner (To finish them off). As there were three carriages, it is a safe assumption that each was ridden by a member of the same Triad.
As all Inquisitors wear full face masks, it is impossible to know what they look like, but each one wears a unique mask. Unfortunately, the party were too far away to ascertain any detail on the mask, except that it looked black.
Realising that there is no way of catching up with the Inquisitor now, the party decide to return to their carriage.
Once there, Persephone looks quizzically at the bonsai tree, “Are you an Inquisitor?” she puzzles. Casting Detect Evil on the bonsai shows nothing, and it appears to be friendly.. as far as a tree can be.
Feeling thirsty, Persephone pulls out her flask and takes a swig, also pouring some on the bonsai tree.
- The party headed West, following the Inquisitor in the cart
- Following the path, they found themselves back at an ambush site. Turned out to be the same one they left – an illusion. Once broken they can continue
- Persephone used Detect Evil on the Inquisitor driving the carriage and immediately collapsed (Stunned)
- Playful / mischievous gigging could be heard amongst the trees, and small shapes could be seen scurrying in the distance
- The Inquisitor left his carriage and took his captive down the beach, on to a row boat, and to a large ship off shore
- Persephone Recognised the ship as the Royal Virtue, the main war ship of the Church of Virtue – Very heavily armed, full of military personal
- Before the Inquisitor boarded the row boat, he noticed the party (Who were out of reach), he bore his sword, but did not engage
- The party headed back to their carriage
- Persephone Used “Detect Evil” on the bonsai tree – returned not evil. She then attempted a sense motive on the Bonsai tree, which seemed like the tree was “friendy”. She the watered the bonsai tree, from her drinking flask