9th World -- At Placid Mirror Temple (9 posts)

thread created on 12/17/14 at 07:03

At Placid Mirror Temple - Re: At Placid Mirror Temple - Re: At Placid Mirror Temple - Placid Lake - Gustav - Re: Gustav - Re: At Placid Mirror Temple - Kek's destination - Re: Kek's destination

9thdm, 12/17/14 07:03
At Placid Mirror Temple

After resting for the evening, the party goes about investigating the Temple and its grounds more thoroughly, as well as conversing with the tree oracle.

The corpses of almost a dozen guards are discovered, some torn to pieces, others apparently having been knocked off their high perches to tumble to their deaths on the rocks below. The consensus is that Smith's giant falcon is in fact responsible, the creature being found perched on the temple's roof the next day with several arrows sticking out of it.

The tree's name is apparently Oaksong Copperwood. Talking to it proves difficult, as whatever mind it possesses seems badly damaged, and it often repeats itself or rambles off into incomprehensible tangents. Sir Gustav proves incredibly patient with the creature, and between his and Smith's efforts, they manage to coax the following tale from it.

Clay and his retinue came to the Winter Wood and asked to see some ancient tablets that Clay and his old comrades had given to the druids there, after having retrieved them from some sort of crypt to the south of Southwatch. When they were refused, they attacked, proceeding to kill everyone there. Oaksong continued to resist Clay and his minions, and in frustration Clay proceeded to sever all of the tree's limbs so as to pacify it. Oaksong was then taken back to the Temple, as well as the tablets.

Clay and the Infernal cleric then proceeded to interrogate Oaksong, only to discover Clay's folly: apparently the tree's oracular abilities were the result of it having absorbed the knowledge and memories of Terra herself through it's roots and branches, where said knowledge was actually physically stored. Deprived of all it's limbs, Oaksong no longer possesses those thoughts/memories, and can only remember (with difficulty) it's own life experiences.

It's own experiences, however, apparently include having been present at the final battle of the Second War upon the Isle of Martyrs. Clay and the cleric endlessly questioned the tree about the disposition of forces and course of this battle, especially the actions and fate of a specific Devil commander by the name of "Lud."

Oaksong doesn't know what became of it's missing limbs, or of the tablets.

Someone at some point has the sense of mind to ask Kek to use his gloves on the unopened lockbox and jewelry box, revealing the lockbox to be full of coins, and the jewelry box to be lined with lead.

Several more potions are discovered in the living quarters: two more of the "copperskin" potions, three potions of identify, and three potions which provide a +10 enhancement bonus on the imbiber's next Knowledge skill check if made within 1 minute. It is surmised by Smith, Kek, and Chocobo that these potions were created using some or all of Oaksong's missing limbs.

The notes and tabletop arrangements from the top floor are all related to the Battle of Martyrs, and while it might prove fascinating to historians, seems to be of no real use.

A complete exploration of the secret lower level reveals a second, much less comfortable, set of prison cells converted to living quarters. Sir Gustav believes that there is still a force of infernalists unaccounted for, though he admits they may have been sent back to the Hegemony, possibly with the tablets they seemed so keen on retrieving.

Sir Gustav also suggests that given the lack of any further documentation being discovered on the temple premises, the jewelry box's location inside the most opulent chamber, the party's inability to penetrate the jewelry box with divinations, and the infernalists' penchant for magical traps, perhaps the box ought to be brought to an expert for opening; he knows of such a person it could be taken to in Redbush.

Cook has time that afternoon to investigate the lake itself. The shore is made of a coarse, glossy black rock powder, so that when looking down at the surface the reflection is quite clear. Kneeling next to the water, Cook studies the duplicated sky for a short time before catching his own eye and thinking back to...

The next thing he knows the sun is setting over the basin's rim, having spent the second half of the day lost in reverie; the time was not wasted, however, as he realizes he has gained a great insight on himself and his pursuits (Cook gains a bonus feat, useable on any feat for which he meets the requirements.)


The next day Kek, Smith, and Chocobo study their reflection in the Mirror for the first half of the day with similar results - they receive a free bonus feat, which may be any feat for which they meet the requirements (Smith-specific post regarding insights to come.) Smith's attempts to get information from Copperwood prove futile - the creature has seemingly lost whatever mystic insight it had, as well as its ability to think clearly; even when fully cognizant, the events Smith describes are unknown to it, and its knowledge of the druids is no greater than Smith's own (will post a summary of druidic lore in Religion section.)

Meanwhile Cook, Gustav, and Braxicor effect a thorough search of the Temple grounds and surrounds, which leads Braxicor to suspect that a group of approximately a dozen men left on foot via the switchback trail about a week ago, but their tracks are soon lost in the hills.

In confidence, Gustav tells Cook what he knows of the Temple's recent nefarious history, explaining that while the full extent of events is known only to a few, he has faith in Cook's integrity, courage, and honor as a true man of the monarchies. A sorcerer of some sort secretly conquered the Temple and made duplicates of several citizens of Southwatch, including several of the Temple's monks, over the course of four or five years; he would kidnap visitors to the Temple, imprisoning them in the cells beneath while his duplicates replaced them - apparently the duplicates could live only so long as the originals survived. Many of the duplicates held positions of state that would have allowed them access to otherwise secret information regarding Southwatch and its affairs. This sorcerer had orchestrated the Goblin King attacks, though his motives and goals were never discovered.

The duplicates were created using a magic mirror, and the complicated series of mirrors and lenses in the chamber beneath the lake were used by the sorcerer to trap the images of visitors and reflect them into the magic mirror, thus allowing a duplicate to be created. The magic mirror used was destroyed by Clay, Elysium and company during their confrontation with the sorcerer last year, and upon its destruction all the duplicates were also destroyed, shattering into shards of mirrored glass. The full story is known only to the King, Count Baer, Count Staevin, and a few trusted high-ranking men such as himself.

The location of the tablets that Clay's party retrieved (and Gustav believes have been taken by the Infernalists) was deduced through maps which this sorcerer had, though Gustav doesn't know what significance these may have held for the sorcerer, the druids of the Winter Grove, or the Infernalists.

On the matter of the oracle, Gustav seems content to follow whatever course Smith proscribes - it is obvious that he and Braxicor believe Smith to be a proper Druid.

On the matter of the lockbox full of coins, he asks that he and Braxicor be given a fifth of the cash treasure; the lockbox holds 10,000 gold in various coinage, so he is suggesting that each of you get 2,000 gold while he and Braxicor each get 1,000. He lays no claim on any of the equipment found/looted except the jewelry box (see below.)

On the matter of Clay's bounty, he wishes none of the reward money, but credit for a role in his death, as previously agreed. He informs the party that he'd like to do the same for the cleric of Asmodeus; apparently the man's head and holy symbol is enough evidence to bring to the authorities. Basically he's offering to confirm Clay's death and foregoing any claim on the non-coin treasure in exchange for the party going along with his version of events, in which he will obviously be making himself the orchestrator of the operation.

On the matter of the locked, lead-lined jewelry box, he strongly feels it should be taken to Redbush to be looked at by a proper lock/trapsmith, which he is willing to foot the bill for. He is hoping that something inside may provide a clue as to the purpose/plans of the Infernalists, and the whereabouts or destination of the party Braxicor found signs of.

DAY 3+

The party heads back to Rosewall to get their wagon, and from there will presumably split into two parties: one to continue on to Redbush with the jewelry box, the other to return to the temple with the wagon in order to retrieve Copperwood.

On the way back to Rosewall the party stops at the Winter Grove for rest, where they encounter a stranger. He is well dressed and well kempt in a fine suit of leather armor decorated with the heraldry of Southwatch. He bows to the party when they arrive and begins speaking in a strange language none understand, save Smith.

(In Druidic)
"Greetings, seeker of the unbroken; I am Martin, Druid of Kings. My thanks for your intercession at the Placid Mirror. I know not where your journey takes you next, but should your path and my duties continue upon parallel courses, it would be most helpful if you could secure transport for Oracle Copperwood to the care of Count Baer. Are you willing and able to accomplish this task?"

Smith inclines his head in slight deference (Diplomacy check) and answers in the affirmative.

"Excellent," Martin continues in Druidic. "Just over a week ago I tracked what I believed to be a contingent of Infernalists a dozen strong, but in reality proved to be but a trio using magical deception. I was forced to slay all three, but it seems likely that several men escaped from the temple prior to your arrival. I have put the word amongst my flocks that I seek news of any strangers upon the road in Southwatch, and when I receive any more information as to their whereabouts, I shall pass it along to you should you still be within my domain."

Smith again lowers his head, and curtly thanks the Druid.

"Good journey, then; may you find what you seek as Terra needs."

With that the man bows again and walks off into the wilderness, and the party continues on to Redwall with a new destination for the Oracle. At Redwall the wagon is retrieved without incident, and extra beasts of burden acquired to speed travel in the Copperwood endeavor.

At this point the party splits; Smith would like to go on to Redbush, mainly to conclude business with Exeter. Any three others can effectively transport the Oracle, ie 2 party members plus either Gustav or Braxicor. So who would like to go get the Oracle, and would they like to take Gustav or Braxicor with them? I'm willing to assume that Chocobo will go on the wagon, if either Cook or Kek would like to go with Smith to the capital.

Edited by: 9thdm on 1/20/15

cook, 12/17/14 11:10
Re: At Placid Mirror Temple

Clay does not strike me as the sentimental, academic, nor historically curious type. For instance, he owns no books.

Cook would like to go through his notes in some more detail, to see what he learned from his interrogation and what details he seemed to think are important. I am thinking that maybe he is trying to find Lud's place of imprisonment and free him; or prepare for a new invasion by avoiding the critical mistakes of the last one; or something.

Additionally, Cook thinks this represents the basis for a kickass publication in the Royal Society's Journal of Historical Archaeology.

(I suppose that if no opportunity presents itself, I don't want to hold us up over that -- I can read through he notes when we're on the wagon ride back to town, or something.)

I'll also mention to the other fellows that I found spending some time studying the Placid Mirror to be rather spiritually rewarding.

Can Smith or perhaps Braxicore look around to see if they can find a sign of where the other Infernalist party went? There are only one or two trails to check, right? And we sort of came in from an odd direction, so I think that (at least within a couple of miles of the temple) we would not have obscured their tracks with our own.

Is Sir Gustav interested in tracking down the druids' tablets?

Edited by: cook on 12/18/14

Dorgrim Kek, 12/18/14 14:33
Re: At Placid Mirror Temple

I'll also mention to the other fellows that I found spending some time studying the Placid Mirror to be rather spiritually rewarded.

On cooks advice, kek would like to examine the lakes reflection before we head out.

John Smith, 12/28/14 10:13
Placid Lake

His interest piqued by Cook's revelation at Placid Lake. Smith will look into the waters with his mask off. Also, he would like to speak to The Oracle about Druids, Terra, the War, and his dreams since leaving the Grave.

John Smith, 1/3/15 09:16

Having Gustav take the credit seems a wise move to me. It will divert any inquiries and repercussions from us to him. I believe a fifth share of the coinage is fair compensation for their involvement.

I suggest we rest, collect our rewards, and I will visit with the Wizard Exeter. From there it seems there are multiple paths we could choose. I am interested in the tablets the Infernalists took, finding Elysium (and the item he has), and also pursuing the Grave Mummers. I know Kek seeks to explore Stonefane.

Cook, Chokobo, what say you? Have you any suggestions as to our next move?

cook, 1/3/15 11:33
Re: Gustav

I seem to remember hearing this story about the duplicates of the high-ranking officials before. Was it from a gather info check in town? Cook might sheepishly indicate to Gustav that he had picked up much of this story already; he may have a leak somewhere. [You heard about the duplicates, but nothing about how their maker was behind the goblin king attack. Kind of hard to cover up a half dozen notable people exploding into glass in the middle of their daily routine.]

Was there any sign of the (previous inhabitant) sorcerer's maps or documents around anywhere?[No.]

Anyway, accepting Gustav's deal sounds good to me.

I think we should do something with Copperwood (return him to his grove, for whatever good it would do -- which would probably take a few days, right?). [It would take an additional two days using the wagon, though the grove is on the way back to Redbush.]

Then I agree we should go to collect from Exeter and the bounty. (Hopefully we can liquidate most of these platemails and statuary and shit that Cook is dragging around, while we're there.)
I guess we are going back to Redbush? It will be a trip, but both Exeter and Gustav's preferred locksmith are there, right? [Correct.]

I also think we should go with Sir Gustav to his locksmith, to see about the contents of the locked jewelry box. (Maybe we could send him ahead while Cook drags the tree thing around? He seems a trustworthy fellow.)

It seems to me that the plot with the tablets might be important, and we should chase off after them if we find some information about their destination.

If that doesn't pan out, then maybe we will get a lead on something from whatever information Exeter has for us? I don't think we currently have a direction for Elysium.

At some point (maybe in the wagon on the way to Redbush or somesuch) Cook wants to go through Clay's notes in more detail, and then see what he information or legends can find in town (e.g. in a library) about the last battle of the second war, or "Lud" (looking in particular for something that ties them to tablets or to this geographic region). He will also look through the Jovic maps to see if there is a particular "crypt to the south of Southwatch" that stands out, focusing the search primarily in the areas near the winter grove.

Cook wants to attend the Eslandan silk festival, but I think it's a few months off. If we don't get a lead on the tablets/infernalists, then he is up for whatever until the festival. He's interested in exploring the Stonefane if we want to do that.

Edit: You know, it occurs to me that the Mummers may well be (slowly, if they stop for a few days in each population center or whatever) headed to the capital of Eslanda for the silk festival. I think it would be a lucrative stop for them, and they seemed to be generally headed in that direction, didn't they? Does this seem plausible to Cook, given what we know of their trajectory and their rate of travel? [That seems physically and economically feasible.]

Edited by: 9thdm on 1/5/15

cook, 1/20/15 16:25
Re: At Placid Mirror Temple

So who would like to go get the Oracle, and would they like to take Gustav or Braxicor with them?
Unless anyone has a better idea, Cook will go to retrieve the oracle. I figure that he is the best able to load/unload it, and if there are issues getting the cart through tight spots in the woods he can clear a path with Clay's glaive. I think it would be best if Braxicore comes with us so that we are less likely to get lost in the woods (Cook has a little wilderness lore, but not much).

Edited by: cook on 1/20/15

9thdm, 1/21/15 14:22
Kek's destination

Is Kek going to Redbush with Smith & Gustav, or to retrieve the Oracle with Cook & Braxicor?

John Smith, 1/21/15 20:00
Re: Kek's destination

Is Kek going to Redbush with Smith & Gustav, or to retrieve the Oracle with Cook & Braxicor?

If Kek comes with me I would like to pick his brain on the subject of The Emperor. (Might be a knowledge Arcana check?) If that seems reasonable.

Edited by: John Smith on 1/21/15

At Placid Mirror Temple - Re: At Placid Mirror Temple - Re: At Placid Mirror Temple - Placid Lake - Gustav - Re: Gustav - Re: At Placid Mirror Temple - Kek's destination - Re: Kek's destination