Gateway to the Unknown 4

  • The perfect crime...

    Part Seven.

    From the Writing of Pamorata, Mage of Pnyx, Murder Investigator to the LandKing.
    We arrived at the Farm, as per Pelops’ request. The farmer introduced us to his Son, a shy child of about eight, named Aster. Aster (through his father) told us about something of Importance he had seen while playing in the Forest, North of the Farm. His story, pieced together and sequenced correctly, went as Follows:

    Aster was climbing the tallest tree he could find. He’d always loved heights, and this one had lots of interesting hollow bits and birds nests, enough to keep a small boy occupied for hours. Maybe he could secretly build a treehouse up here.
    He stuck his head out through the foliage to see how high he was. Blinking in the sudden change of light, Aster thought he could see people near the old deserted farmhouse to the west. Checking again, he made out seven or eight walking around, seemingly aimlessly. They all stopped, looking as though they were discussing something.
    Four broke off and stood in a square, maybe two metres on each side. The other four stood back and waited.
    Suddenly a glowing circle appeared in between the four in the square, and got larger as Aster watched. The glow wasn’t any colour in particular, but it was there all the same.
    When the circle was about a metre and a half in diameter, one of the other four walked towards it. As he entered the glow, he vanished.
    The last three were watching the circle intently.
    Aster was also watching the circle, and nearly fell out of the tree when the figure appeared again. Shaking (his? They were too far away to tell properly) head, he approached the others. Their body language showed they were angry. The four in the square started waving their arms, and the circle shrank quickly, soon disappearing altogether. All eight walked off south-east, along an almost invisible path. Aster waited for a few minutes to check if anything else would happen, then scooted down the tree to tell his father.

    “Hmm. Interesting. That was good work, Aster.” said Pamorata.
    The boy blushed, and hid his head behind Pelops’ back.
    “But I have to ask you a few questions. Is that ok?”
    Aster emerged just long enough to nod, then dove back behind his father.
    “One: What time was this?”
    Aster whispered to his father, who replied, “Around noon.”
    “Two. Can you describe the figures?”
    Whisper whisper. “Brown, except the ones in the square.” Whisper. “They wore green.” Whisper whisper whisper whisper. “Some had funny helmets, too.”
    The mage gave a start. “What did the helmets look like?” she asked eagerly.
    Again the whispering. “All smooth and shiny, with no... crests?... sort of silvery metal, and no designs.”
    “Thank you, that’s all I needed.”
    After the required farewells, the party made its way back to Pnyx to attempt to unravel this new conundrum.

    Part Eight.

    From the Writing of Pamorata, Mage of Pnyx, Murder Investigator to the LandKing.
    The Helmets could mean only one thing: Ruffians. The ones in green must have been mages, the glowing circle, a portal.
    I decided to Spy on the Ruffian Encampment to learn more about the the mysterious portal. This decision resulted, indirectly, to the solving of our main mission.
    Knowing Lindus would never allow me to send any of the mages on a simple Scouting Mission, and lacking the funds to pay a Mercenary to do the job, I secretly prepared for I and my Companions to go ourselves.

    Our heroes were debating the best way to reach the encampment unseen.
    “Come up from the south.” Melchior suggested. “Plenty of tree cover. They’ll be hard pressed to see us.”
    Baldor disagreed. “North. They won’t be expecting anyone from the north, as it’s fairly open ground.”
    “No, no, no! Over the mountains! Good cover, and they won’t expect us.”
    It was up to Pamorata to choose. After considering it for a while, to the background of a ferocious argument, she decided to come from the south.
    “Because, although they won’t be expecting us from the north, we might be seen, and this is a scouting mission. And over the mountain will double our journey time.”
    So it was settled, and our adventurers headed out on the pretext of getting alchemical ingredients from the land south of Pnyx.

    After several days and battles, we find our heroes here, in the forest south of the Ruffian Encampment. Only it wasn’t an encampment anymore. Gone was the high wooden fence, replaced by an ever higher stone wall. Archers were posted at intervals along the wall, and two guard posts surmounted the main gate, to the east. The whole thing was as impenetrable as a hedgehog, and much more dangerous.
    Melchior gave a low whistle. “I’ve seen some heavily guarded places in my time, but this one takes the cake!”
    “Any ideas?” asked Pamorata.

  • Another fine installment, I wonder how the mages started working with the ruffians...

  • Maybe a sequel?

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