Chapter 3c: Swimming Around

There is no resistance to his spell, and the pillar doesn't answer to his insults in any way.

(OOC: Have you had time to review the previous posts for further clues?)

(I re-read the whole thing but still have nothing. I have some guesses about what it is but no idea what we could do with it. Anyone else? )

On an evening shortly after his arrival, Konrad sits and listens to Prochorus describe the covenant's efforts to learn more about the pillars. "The trick," Konrad says after hearing a summary of what's come before, "Is to review the facts. No fact is too small, as it may ultimately prove important. Let's consider what we know."

"First, both pillars erupt from the sea floor in a rather abrupt manner. From this I assume we've all concluded that they aren't natural, but are likely magical in origin."

Second, the red pillar is made of reddish rock on the surface, but is much more black inside the water, while the white pillar is a chalky white, but is greyish in the water. Can we attribute these changes in coloration entirely to the water, or is there something else at work?"

"Third, we know that sometimes the locals try and climb the pillars and that at least one person from the north villages succeeded recently, You said that you intended to make some effort to find out who that was. Did anything ever come of that? I can certainly take up that task with my Gentle Gift."

"Fourth, there is a smaller needle of white rock rising out of the sea close to the main white pillar. It doesn't appear that the needle has any significance. But we shouldn't discount the possibility."

"Fifth, the red pillar is made of reddish stone, striated with paler and darker hues in a slight diagonal. The lower section is much darker and greenish with algae. Do the striations mean anything? Probably not. But again, it's a fact that we shouldn't forget."

"Sixth, both pillars have a second magnitude magic aura at the top with no Faerie regio was present on either. That tends to confirm your supposition that each might have a vis source on top."

"Seventh, there are hand and foot holds on the white pillar that lead up to a small ledge near the top that look like they were made decades or centuries ago. There are a set of solid brass chains affixed to the rock wall at the ledge. The chains have manacles to hold the wrists and ankles of a very large individual, as the topmost chains were positioned above Prochorus' head when he was up there. The chains didn't look new and they are enchanted in some way."

"Now, it seems to me as if the manacles might be for something non-human; they are positioned for something pretty large. Now, they certainly could be for a large person, and given the stories we've heard, they may have been used for such. But I don't think we want to rule out the possibility that they were originally made for something non-human. Were the manacles ever investigated to see what the magic in them was related to? That seems like a good step to take. Brass suggests ignem magic to me, though that's only conjecture. Could they have originally been meant to imprison a creature of the sea?"

"You said there was a story about wrongdoers being chained to the pillar to die. That seems a likely source of vis, though not one that we really want to pursue. But could the original intended use of the manacles give us a more savory alternative? Perhaps using a manufactured proxy for the victim would be sufficient. Again, I'd say we want to hunt down all the stories we can about historic use of those manacles."

"Eighth, there is some magic effect associated with the red pillar. When Prochorus landed at the top of the red pillar, he felt something brush up against his Parma. Hermann determined that this magical effect appeared loosely linked to the Arts of Corpus and Vim. Perhaps that means a person has to perform some ritual to concentrate vis into a usable form. I'm not sure."

"Ninth, there is a story about heroes who climbed the pillars to warn the islanders of pirates. That kind of action could well have magical resonance. Repeating what they did might have strong magical significance. I think you were right that climbing has something to do with it. After all, Hermann felt the power of the magic grow as he climbed the pillar, culminating at the top. But there's clearly something else to the ritual that we're missing."

"Perhaps it's necessary to have at least two people climb up the two pillars at the same time - recreating what happened in the story. Perhaps it's something else. In any case, it seems like we know too little about what happened in that story. I should say we need to learn more about what happened when the heroes climbed the pillar to find out what we're missing."

"Tenth, there are a fair number of loose stones forming a small slope around the red pillar, which seem to be mostly from rocks that broke off from the pillars. The white pillar has seaweed growing among the rocks at its base and mussels clinging to the pillar near the tide line. Has anyone checked these out to see if they have any potential magic in them? Mussels growing on a magical pillar might accumulate vis over time, as might seaweed growing near it. That may be a long shot. But it's worth at least investigating."

Konrad pauses and leans back in his chair. "So, what can we conclude from what we've learned thus far?" He takes a deep breath. "I think we can conclude that we need to learn more about the two tales associated with the two pillars. There are rituals that likely need to be performed, and until we have the details of what happened before, we won't know what we have to do. I'll be perfectly happy to take the lead on these investigations."

OOC1: This is a summary of what we've learned in the previous seven pages. I think I have everything. :smiley:

OOC2: Since Konrad isn't in any current threads, I thought I might insert myself in this one.

Prochorus listens to Konrad with his eyes shut. He grins boyishly at the conclusions.

Well, that was a boringly pedantic soliloquy if I ever heard one. We need more of that around here. I had to swallow a dose of ol' mentem just to avoid falling asleep halfway through.

Good catch about the size. Who knows what they chained up there, and when? We haven't investigated the chains further; we would need to detach them and bring them back here, and would probably end up breaking the vis source.

Start asking around. Take a look and see what the locals tell you. You are a healer, right? Might be a good way to win their trust. It's a fickle thing when you are not from around here, and I doubt your Gift will erase all trouble. If nothing comes up, we will investigate the chains in the lab.

"I'm afraid pedantic soliloquies are a hazard of being in House Bonisagus," he replies. "Besides, I like to make sure I have all of the facts before I rush to a conclusion."

"I don't expect to win the locals over right away," he adds. "But I have a better chance of doing it over time with a Gentle Gift. I'll give it a try."

OOC: I also thought it might be helpful to have all the facts in one place so people didn't have to search 8 pages for them.

(Heh, I know, I just thought it would be something Prochorus would say to that :slight_smile:)

A few weeks later, Dietlinde comes to see Prochorus after a visit to the market. "Well, seems we are in luck. Remember a little while ago, you asked me to try and find out more about the guy who is said to have climbed one of those stone pillars up north? Well, I heard about that guy from one of the stall owner. Seems he heard from a fisherman delivering some fresh fish, that he heard from his cousin who lives on the north coast, who himself heard... Well, anyway, seems the guy now lives in one of the northern villages. Small place near the mouth of the river to a place called Uceste, he said. Might be worth making a visit, Your Worhtlessness. Who knows, the guy might know something, or give you a clue about that pillar."


Proohorus informs Konrad.

We should go find him. You ask him the old-fashioned way first, and if that doesn't work, I'll dig into his mind.

"I agree," Konrad replies. "As you say, best to try talking first and resort to ... more esoteric measures only if that doesn't work."

(OOC: I'm waiting for some a concrete action from the magi, based on the new information they have just received, before going on.)

OOC: My apologies, I'll be more clear.

Some days after he's settled in, Konrad packs some bread, cheese, and water into a small pack and heads off to the north side of the island to try and find Uceste and the man who climbed the pillar.

OOC: Konrad will tell his sodales of his plans so that they can comment before he goes. And he will travel primarily to introduce himself to some of the locals as a new healer on the island, chatting about this and that. It's only when he gets near Uceste that he starts to talk about the pillars, hoping that someone will mention the man who climbed them. He'll prove to be very interested in local legends, having just arrived on the island and having heard none of them before. He's not making a beeline to Uceste to start to interrogate people on the pillars. He'll try and make it a more organic process.

(First, some information: There are not much in the way of roads crossing the island. Most travel is done using fishing boats and such. Pretty much all of the villages are built on the coastline or along rivers. The covenant used to have such a boat, but this is not the case anymore.)
(Second, some questions: Is Konrad going alone? Bringing his grog and/or servant? Another magus? How long does he plan on being gone, for example with regards to food and supplies, as well as money, he brings along?)

(My first thought is that the island isn't that large. It's only two or three miles to get to the next nearest settlement. There must be some kind of trail between Meden and Oster Church. It's less than 3 miles by land between the two and nearly 20 miles by boat. I can't see everyone being willing to take a 20 mile boat trip instead of a 3 mile walk to get to the nearest town.)

(My second thought is that I need to get Gerhard working on making us a boat. He has Craft: Carpentry (boats) 2, that being his father's trade, and what he learned up until he left it to be a soldier. Surely we can get the wood for a small boat somewhere. Also, we must have carpentry tools available if we're making houses.)

(My third thought is that I'd originally intended it to be a day trip. It's only seven miles to Uceste. But if travel across the island is rough, maybe I ought to make it an overnight trip. Besides, I want to stop and talk to people along the way. Plan for overnight or maybe two nights. No more than that. With luck I can find someone in Uceste who needs to go to Meden that I can hitch a ride with. As for money. A few silver coins and some copper pennies should be more than enough. He might need to pay someone to sleep in a barn, or buy himself some food. But really I can't imagine much in the way of expenses. As for food, as much as he can comfortably carry. I expect that he can buy food along the way. But I should plan for a few meals from his pack.)

(My final thought is that he probably doesn't need anyone with him. This isn't supposed to be a dangerous island, is it? It's not like it has wild animals or can support a bandit gang. I expect to meet regular folk. They might be shy or insular. But I doubt they'd be downright hostile. And besides, if he's alone, Konrad can use Seven League Stride to get home if he needs to (being careful to take an arcane connection from an out-of-the-way place in the covenant).)

(There may well be small paths, so yes he can make his way there by foot. It will simply take a bit more time.)

(With a score of 3 in Carpentry, including his specialty in boats, Gerhard is able to keep a boat in reasonably good condition, but building one from scratch would be a long task for him. The resulting boat will be a low quality, probably with leaks and/or hard to maneuver. He mentions this to you when you ask about that.)

(Being professionally competent in a given ability/craft means a score of 5.)


(Okay, just wanted to give a chance to one of the others to join in if they wanted to. :smiley: )

(Now, that was the plan. Actions now! :smiley: )

Konrad will nod as Gerhard explains his limitations. "Understood. We can't go using a boat that leaks. Tell you what. Why don't you ask around among the people in town and outside of town, fishermen and the like, to see where they get their boats. There must be someone on the island who makes them. You know how to talk boats far better than I. They should listen to you. And maybe you'll get a better answer that I would. We're looking for something that'll be good in coastal waters up to a few miles out.[sup]1[/sup] And while money is tight, I'm sure we'll be able to find enough to pay for a boat. It doesn't have to be new either. In fact, if you can find an older boat that you feel competent repairing, that would be ideal. Just try and get us the best deal you can. But find us a boat."

[sup]1 - The pillars are something like fourish miles off the coast, at least according to the map. We definitely want a boat that can get us to the pillars.[/sup]

(Ah, well, if someone wants to bring a grog along, Konrad could probably be convinced to take them along. :slight_smile: )

Early one morning, not long after his arrival at the covenant, Konrad stands ready in his traveling clothes, a pack on his back, preparing to leave for his inland trip.

"Now you be good and listen to the other magi," he says to Tom. "Don't cause trouble, and I'll be back soon." Then he looks over at Prochorus. "I should be back in a day or two. With luck, I'll have some more information about the pillars when I do."

After Prochorus makes whatever reply he desires, Konrad gives Tom a hug and sets off on the path down from the cliff to the town below. From there, he heads inland, following the path he was told should lead eventually to Oster Church.

The pack will have food and whatever medical herbs and supplies Konrad has on hand.

Prochorus waves him off.

Good luck. Seems to be in short supply on this damned rock, though.

(Was there anything else to be decided before Konrad heads out?)

(I don't think so. )