They all held a vote as to what to do with the Revitalizer; various options were considered but eventually they decided to return it to Ehvera. They headed off through Mulen towards the docks; Leema refused to leave Galadiir and came along as well. Heading down an alleyway, suddenly three grey-clad figures stepped out of the shadows ahead. Looking behind, they saw three more. The centre one rolled a small ball towards the PC’s; it burst with a ‘pop’ and smell of cinnamon. Dracogen’s voice came from out of the air.
“I am very disappointed in you; you were advised of the consequences of double-crossing me.”
“We were just on our way to you” bluffed Galadiir, to no avail. “Silence!” roared Dracogen. “Hand over the device to my agents and leave the town; never return here.”
They started to speak; suddenly there came an intense burst of light; when their eyesight cleared one of the grey agents was down; bitten cleanly in two.
“So it is to be treachery? Agents, take them”.
Galadiir used his Push esotery to send a net flying into the group of two agents; the other agents attacked from the rear and Galadiir was wounded. To his horror he realised that the blade was poisoned. Judson attacked the two agents caught in the net and hurt one with a stunning punch. Galadiir was struck again and again, and despite blasting the agent with an Ice Onslaught, took enough damage to Impair him. Sonny moved over to help but was hit and poisoned with a knock-out venom. Harrylock dodged an attack and the agent’s blade stuck into a wooded piling; Harrylock got a free riposte and punched the agent; following it up with a haymaker that nearly took his head off. Judson put down one of the agents, who by now had disentangled themselves from the net; the other beat a retreat. The remaining agents turned to flee; Harrylock put the Drill Spear artefact (that he had found on the phasing island) straight through another one.
They moved on; Harrylock was carrying Sonny. They handed over the Revitalizer to Ehvera, who was very grateful for its return.
“Word is out on the streets that you took out some of Dracogen’s boys. You’d better get of town fast. He’s not the forgiving type.”
She glanced at Leema, frowned and started to say something, but then changed her mind. “Here, I can let you have an aneen. I don’t want to know where you’re going.”
They hurriedly loaded up the aneen and headed through the North gate of the city. Looking back, Judson saw a brief glimpse of a grey agent watching them.
“So where are we going?”
“Remember some time back, we heard a rumour about woodcutters going into the forest and coming back younger? Let’s check that out. It think it’s in Navarene.
Judson looked up. “Navarene? That’s my home.”
Fourteen days later, somewhere in Draolis, they passed a waysign pointing to [Thaeling Lake]. A short time later they breasted a low hill to see a circular valley dotted with a few trees. A circular lake was in the centre. Overhanging the lake at a 500 angle was a tower; from the position of the many lighted windows it had obviously been built in that way. Around the base of the tower was an aldeia; faintly on the wind came the smell of frying fish and the musical sounds of chinklepins and woodblocks.
The villagers were friendly and invited the travellers to food and drink in the communal hall. There is plenty; the lake is abundant with fish.
“How much do you charge?”
“Welcome to Thaeling Lake. There is no charge. Take and eat what you will. It is customary however, to leave a token of some kind; shins, food, an oddity or a cypher perhaps.”
Harrylock saw some men in light-blue robes amongst the villagers. He learnt that they were monks and that the tower was a monastery. The monastery watched over the spirit of the lake; who protects the village.*
“Protects against what?” “Something here eats your brain. The spirit in the lake protects us against that.”
Inside the communal hall there was a long central fire with all manner of fish cooking on griddles above the coals. There were barrels of ale and tuns of wine stacked along one wall. At one end of the hall was a communal sleeping area. Galadiir and Judson were still suspicious but finally selected a large piece of fish each. Galadiir handed over the diary of the Aeon Priest he had found on the island, Judson handed over the map to the floating island that he had got off Orrando the Merchant and Sonny donated some arrows. Harrylock was still talking with the monk and arranged a tour of the monastery the following day.
After they had eaten, Leema retired to the sleeping area; lay back and very quickly gave birth to a baby.** She quickly wrapped a shawl around it; nursed it and hissed angrily at anyone who approached; including Galadiir.
Judson wanted to sleep outside by the lake; several of the villagers tried to dissuade him, finally one of the monks allowed it but warned him not to set foot in the lake as it is bottomless. He lay outside, looking up at the sky.
Inside the hall, Harrylock finally settled down to sleep. As he began to drift off; he became aware of the firelight steadily growing dimmer …
* This produced a hilarious recounting to Joe of a scene that happened in Beasts & Barbarians. Basically, they had to help a water elemental who was dying. Someone from a village had taken an bucket of water containing part of her and she was slowly being drunk. She gave them her eyes, which would fill any container with water when placed in it. The idea was that they would trade these in the village for her body; she would be blind but alive and the village would have everlasting water.
However, they forgot all about it.
About a year later, they found two dried up stones in Matt’s pack.
“What were these? Oh!”
** It would be wonderful if giving birth really was this easy. However, as you may have worked out by now, Leema is not exactly human.