Chapter 4: Westerwald

In the afternoon the path teters out between the trees. Forest, nothing but forest in all directions, wind moving in the trees, warning cries of birds alarmed by the gift, wolf tracks.

Following the instructions had been easy enough. After taking a boat down the Mosel river and up the Lahn, the travellers found the standing stone mentioned a few miles downriver from the little market village of Ems an hour after sunrise.
The path north was overgrown, and looked unused. Twice the grogs mistook an animal trail for the path and lead the party along for a few hundred paces before realizing that they had left the path. If the underbrush had been thicker, it would have been impossible to make out the path miles ago.

The primordial forest feels alive - unspoiled by the dominion. They've been travelling through a weak magic (or fairie?) aura for hours now - unsurprising in these surroundings.

Hildegard looks at the grogs who declare that they can't find a path continuing from here.
"Are you sure?", she asks, but they just shrug helplessly.
She looks around. The forest looks untouched. No clearing, no fireplace, no crumbling walls: If there has ever been a covenant in this location - it looks like it has left no traces at all.

"So this is it?" she asks, bewildered and somewhat disappointed. The grogs look at each other and shrug again.

ooc: feel free to finish the welcoming dialogue at the end of chapter 3. I assume we allow the new magus to tag along.

"Ah, what a refreshing change to the turmoil of Trier. So what is it we´re searching for exactly? The covenant of Oakdell ceased to be a long time ago, no? During the shism war. I doubt we find any wooden huts from back then or more then a rubble of stone.
If I knew what to search for I could try to cast a spell. But I am somewhat lost here."

"Hmmm, maybe we could contact a local faerie of the wood or something like that. They should have a knowledge of times long past, or at least they could, from most theories there are about them. But how to contact one? Any ideas, my sodales?"

"Shouldn't there be ruins, rubble, anything? I didn't expect much, but nothing at all?"

"I like the fairie idea, and I am sure that if there are fairies around, they must have noticed us. But how can we contact them?"

"Anybody have some sweet wine and bread?" Carolinus chuckles, then takes out his recorder and begins to play a bright melody.

Music Ability: Roll 4 + Music 3 + Com 2 = 9 (Is Com the right trait to use here?)

The grogs hesitantly spread out a woollen blanket and put, bread, cheese and some wine on it.

Nothing happens for a long time.

Then a rabbit hops onto the blanket, sniffs in the air and begins nibbling at the cheese. Then it discovers the wine and laps up a little.

After a while it says: "Thank you, for food, drink and entertainment. You are mighty courteous for two-leggers. But pray, why do you break your fast at the middle of this forest?"

Perhaps someone who is more versed in Intelligo and Vim could look around. Alas, it would not be my strong point.

"We are seeking a former den of our fellow wizards that were in this area. Our trail has led us here and we are now considering where to look next. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated. "

ooc: Rabanus would be most suited for this, regarding his high Intellego score and Life-linked spontaneous magic. Alas, looking at the spell guidelines, finding magic being done a long time ago is rather hard.

When the speaking rabbit hears your pleas for help, he finishes the cheese and says:

"Your search for a covenant is not at an end yet. I don't have time to show you the way" he says turning into a falcon and flying onto a nearby branch. "But your retainers can lead you if you let them."
With these words, he flies up into the sky.

Suddenly, Albrirch and Diederik seem to shrink and their ears start growing and become hairy. Their equipment falls to the ground as they hopple out of it. Gunther and Tristram are likewise is transformed into large grey wolves. It takes the wolves a bit longer to disintangle themself from their equipment, which is good for the two rabbits: They get a head start and start running off in one direction.

When Hildegard sees what is happening, she realizes she can neither carry the grogs' equipment nor run fast enough to keep up with them. Her legs are way too short. She looks to see how the others react.

edited: to include Tristram

Is there a stone near and large enough for Honorus to stand on?

I'm thinking of this:

If not...Honorus tosses his pack to the ground as he leaps up after the rabbits.

"Track me if you can." he yells to the group.

This is the Westerwald - famous for its slate roofs. You easily find a perfect, skateboard-shaped stone. Enjoy your ride!

Just wondering: What is the cloud for? It seems rather dangerous to skate around in a cloud that lowers visibility!
Or do you want that spell without the cloud. You get one chance now to change it, but you'll have to stick with it no matter which way you decide.

"I hope our custodes do not eat each other." Carolinus watches the grogs and Honorus disappear between the trees, and smiles ruefully at Hildegard. Limping to the discarded equipment, his smile broadens. "And they're probably going to be chilly when the spell wears off!" He studies the packs for a moment. "If Honorus is unable to leave a coherent trail, we at least have some options for arcane connections, but we will still need to bring the equipment with us." He starts to consider a spell to easily move the equipment.

[size=85]OOC: I am thinking about a variant of Unseen Arm to move a larger stone on which we can pile the equipment. Does adding one magnitude to that seem reasonable? I think a slate slab would still fall into the category of an individual having one cubic pace, but being able to support the weight of the other stuff increases the complexity of the spell. Unfortunately, I think Carolinus casting score would be roll + 6 Re + 0 Te + 1 Stm + 1 similar spell + 3 ceremonial casting + 1 loud voice + 1 exaggerated gestures + ? aura= roll + 12 + aura. Am I thinking about this correctly?[/size]

"I might be able to carry the equipment, but the spell will take a while to cast. How much of a head start do we want them to have? Anyone have a better idea?"

"I guess Honorus will take care of them. We don´t have to be hasty. As long as we find them, all will be well."

occ: Rabanus will wait for Carolinus to finish his spell, then try to locate the grogs from some of their equipment.
InCo Base 2 (deviated from your guideline to get the exact direction to Horst´s wand, 1 level higher cause the guideline to locate a plant is base 2 and that to locate a body is base 3), +4 for Range arcane connection, +1 for duration concentration = 15
roll 8 + In 10 + Co 0 + Sta 1 + loud voice 1 + exxagerated gestures 1 + aura ? + 2 fatigue levels from life-linked magic = 31+?

"Thats the direction we gotta walk. Lets get going and see where the path to wonderland will lead us."

Carolinus spends a few moments gathering his thoughts, finds an appropriately large slate to carry most if not all of the equipment, and begins casting. The entire spell takes 30 minutes to cast. He exerts himself, hoping the spell takes effect.

Levitating the Stone ReTe10
R: touch, D: sun, T: ind
The slab will levitate a few feet off the ground, and can be pushed or pulled easily.
Base 3 +1 touch +2 sun
Casting Total: (roll 5 + Re 6 + Te 0 + Stm 1 + loud voice 1 + exaggerated gestures 1 + ceremonial casting 3 + aura ? ) / 2= (17 + ?)/2 (Hopefully, the aura is at least 3. :wink: )

After casting, Carolinus will take a moment to catch his breath, then, if the slab is levitating, he will begin loading the slab.

Carolinus' spell works (more or less), but every 10 or so minutes the stone sinks to the floor and needs an extra push to go on. It doesn't look very competent, but it works.
Hildegard is glad that Rabanus can follow them and waits with Carolinus

ooc: the aura is only 1.

How does Rabanus keep track of the others?

We can remove it. It is meant to hide the stone flying through the air. I'll add it later when I make a spell to see through clouds.

When Carolinus is finished with his spell and the stone slowly starts to hover, the wild hunt is already long gone and the clearing is filled with an eerie silence.

"What a strange company we must be for an observer. But how fitting for this faerie forest."

ooc: Working his spell, Rabanus will be able to know the direction they have to take for how long he can concentrate on the spell (45 minutes since his concentration including specialisation is 3). Just walking shouldnt distract him.
Once the spell wears off, they can walk another while in the last direction, then they have to pause and catch some breath. Afterwards Rabanus will cast the spell again as needed.

As the slab loaded with equipment starts to sink the first time, Carolinus laughs out loud. My slab floats like a leaky boat! he thinks to himself. Just because Honorus can create a floating rock, doesn't mean I had to as well. A floating plank of wood would have been so much easier!

Carolinus follows Rabanus, being careful to manouver the slab between the trees.

Hildegard sits on the transporting slab, but it starts swaying. With an accusing look, she gets up again and walks beside it.