Rhodri follows Aequi's lead. Hmmm... That's strange. "Let's see if the same entry to the next level exists here. That will help answer some questions."
I will be closing this thread down Saturday, whether or not the regio is fully explored, so that the saga can move forward.
Aequi combs over the whole area for about two hours. He comes back and tells the others he's found three boundaries: one leading back out to the real world, and two others leading into two different levels. The entrance leading to an area you haven't seen before has moved, but after a little searching he finds it. He says this level is strange-- one can only cross it if they seek something dearer to them than their own life, and meditate upon that near the boundary.
He shows everyone else where the boundary is, kneels there, and says, "So from here, all you have to do is think about the thing you seek that you love more than yourself. So if I were to think about--" a smile creeps into his expression and he vanishes.
((Anyone who chooses to follow Aequi, you can either post what your character meditates upon, or tell me via PM.))
Sinmore is somewhat proud that she managed to figure out some of the mystic ways of this strange land, but when presented with the method to get into the next level she frowns as she thinks on what it could possibly be. For long moments she contemplates on visions of a fiery being masked in darkness and shadow at the threshold of the world. Truly she longs for perhaps a greater communion and understanding of what this means...but not a love greater than her life. Perhaps that's the source of her discontment; that she can't love something so strongly. She heaves a sigh and wipes her eye before shaking out her crimson locks.
"I'll guard the entrance and wait for when we leave."
Attravere glances at the others and goes over to where Aequi sat, looks over at Sanno and takes a deep breath.
"See you on the other side."
He envisions one of the slopes of his native Italia covered in people dressed in dozens of shades of brown and red. Many wearing caps. Near the edge of the great multitude are several members of the family he knows. Smiles are on their faces as he recognizes them, even those he never got along with and they greet him with kisses on the cheek and hugs. Everyone is there - both the living and those who have passed.
Attravere is smiling, eyes closed with a little moisture gathering near the edges when he vanishes.
Iapetus, with all his bravado and drama, shall decline to pass deeper into the regio. Possibly because he cannot honestly think of something he loves greater than himself.
Aequi and Attravere find themselves dunked in a lake-- this time, however, the water is pleasantly warm. The sun is high in the sky, birds are singing, and the sky is clear and blue as you could possibly imagine. Sanno apparently did not make it through, but the two magi have no problem making it to shore, as the water is warm and the currents highly favourable.
The lake here is devoid of any signs of civilisation-- not even the tower is on this level; in its usual place is a shrine built above the water's surface, with a bridge leading from there to shore.
Leading into the woods from the shrine is a wide, well-travelled path. It is there that you find the body of Maribus. A longsword is embedded into a stone; around Maribus' ankle is a manacle attached to a wisp-thin cord, the other end of which is tied tightly around the blade. There are no markings on Maribus' body nor any other obvious indicators of a cause of death.
Nearby is an enormous pile of fruits, vegetables, and nuts, all fresh and whole. Maribus' staff is leaning against the rock, and his talisman is still on his finger.
What is there to love more than Rhodri? I don't think Rhodri can go any further right now.
- If he had any glimpse of what was to come, he'd drop the texts he was carrying as soon as he started to disappear.
- If not Attravere is trying to throw the two texts that Llanre handed him toward land if it is in range. If there isn't land then he seeks to rego his corpus to the nearest land post-haste!
What sort of Shrine is it?
Attravere breaks down upon sighting Maribus's corpse. (How "fresh" is the body?)
It'll take him some time to compose himself (giving Aequi and any others that show up plenty of time to do whatever they wish).
((I figured as much :p))
Aequi warned everyone to expect to get wet. Actually, reading back, I realize he didn't, but I had typed it, and must have accidentally deleted it. Oops. But yes, Attravere will have had a bit of warning, and could drop Llanre's books before going through.
The shrine is Christian: a small statue of the Virgin Mother holding the Christ child in her arms. There's a rack of candles, and a cushion for penitents to kneel.
The body looks quite fresh; when you feel for a pulse ("just in case") his flesh still feels warm to the touch.
I don't think anyone else besides Attravere and Aequi can make it through. Sanno did not make it across (and the others are listening to him swear profusely about that).
Not being of that faith, Attravere will remain respectful, but offer no prayers.
After composing himself he'll try to free Maribus from the chains. He'll start trying to free his pater by:
- Seeking to shatter or cut through the gossamer-like link. (Trying to tear it with his hands at first, using a stone next, then with a nearby sharp implement - hey a sword!)
- Trying to Rego Corpus his pater out of the chains.
- If the manacle has a keyhole by searching nearby, just out of the length of the chain, for a key. (It seems a particularly cruel way to kill someone by leaving them chained up, so leaving a key just out of their grasp might be something his killer might do)
- Removing the manacles via a Rego Terram.
- Turning to Aequi for assistance.
As soon as the twain are close enough to realize it's truly Maribus Aequi pauses and goes through his own brief moment of extreme sadness at the loss of who had become a very fun uncle to him, before running over to Attravere to grab/hug him and comfort him before he does something stupid in his grief.
"It's not okay, I know," Aequi comforts, hugging Attravere's shoulders. "Others can say life goes on, and it gets better, and condolences, but it doesn't change what is. He might not be here anymore to answer the random question, but I am. We are, and we will. We'll remember him, and keep him in this world, and teach the others about Maribus. And..." he keeps talking, but the rest is just platitudes and mumblings of comfort, as a tear blurs his vision a bit.
"This doesn't make sense. The link was severed a while ago. It... it almost looks like. Hmm... that would make a little more sense, although not really. It was the sheath that prevented any damage, not the sword."
Is Maribus's body lying in repose? Like he just sat and lay down, or tumbled/passed out and never got up? Is the pile of fruits and vegetables lying on Maribus's cloak, or arranged close enough that he could easily reach it and his staff? I know it's incredibly hard to tell this without any hunting, but basically does it look like Maribus himself arranged the entire tableau, and everything is pointing inwards to him, or are some things set askew to stone and sword which would indicate a third party. I'm guessing he's not stretched out to the end of his cord.
"Divine and Magical... but that cord does NOT look divine. Hmm... I guess technically it'd be hard to see the Lady of the Lake be anything but faerie but still..." Aequi casts his non-fatiguing spont spells to check the aura strength and type again.
The body is curled in a half-fetal position, as though he were merely sleeping. He is not stretched to the end of the cord-- he has about a 20' radius.
The pile of food is definitely well within his reach. There is also an oblong pile of springy moss within the range of his confinement, which would likely have made a very comfortable sleeping pallet.
When Aequi tries to check the aura, he fails. (His InVi CT is 19 with Big Booming Gestures, before modifiers, correct?) Would Aequi fatigue himself to discern the nature of the aura? I ask because if so, he first determines that the aura is Divine, and when he casts a second spell to determine the strength of the aura, he botches once with some interesting results, and then you get to roll for Twilight. (YAY! WONDER CRIAMON POWERS, ACTIVATE!)
Nothing breaks not cuts through the gossamer thread, not even the sword. Which looks impressive, not that you'd know what to be impressed by, but when you look at the blade you can't help but feel a bit in awe of it.
The manacle has no keyhole, nor is there any key.
Rego Corpus-- that is pending figuring out whether Aura bonuses/penalties apply before or after halving. (Sorry.)
For Rego Terram-- your CT is 32 with Big Booming Gestures, yes? And I assume you would be fatiguing yourself? You cast a spell but do not succeed in accomplishing anything with it.
((looking at the formulas on p. 81, the "Casting Score" includes Aura Modifier. And, since the Spontaneous Magic Casting Total is Casting Score/2 or Casting Score/5, I'm inclined to say that the Aura is before halving. returns to his place behind the curtains, awaiting his cue))
For Rego Corpus, to transport a person instantly up to 5 paces, base level 10-- at Touch range, that would be level 15. Attravere's Casting Score with Big Booming Gestures is 54 (focus applies), so he will have to fatigue himself. Unfortunately, he botches, but as it is only a single botch, so he does not have to check for Twilight. The spell succeeds and Maribus' body is teleported out of the manacle, but Attravere is overwhelmed by his magic. He succeeds his Stamina roll, so he merely shakes himself off and recovers his senses.
Maribus' body is recovered, and the intrepid band of adventurers returns to the covenant with no issue.
When Liliana is informed that Sinmore destroyed her brother's journal, the wound the fae-maga healed for the giantess opens anew (which she may not realize, unless pointed out for her...) A council meeting is called, wherein the Merinita furiously demands Sinmore's expulsion from the covenant. Only a miraculous Deux ex Machina keeps Sinmore in the covenant, likely due to Aequi's argument that Aislinn once severely damaged one of the covenant's books, and while she was penalized she was not expelled. ("Certainly," argued Liliana, "But Aislinn was an archmaga, and a founding member of this covenant-- furthermore the summa was not irreparably lost, nor did the damage happen to willful ignorance.") Liliana and Sanno exchange a long look, and afterwards Liliana relents and agrees not to terminate Sinmore's provisional membership. Sophronia, present at this meeting and savvy in interpersonal interactions, gets the distinct impression that Sinmore should watch her back; Lily only relented on the issue because she has something worse for Sinmore planned, and Sanno has been treating the giantess with a distinct forced cheerfulness which generally indicates sociopathic intent.
Maribus' spirit is questioned for clues on what happened (we can handle this retroactively later on). His body is laid to rest in what was intended to be a small and private ceremony, but so many people show up that it is a grand affair. Magi, Redcaps, nymphs, shipwrights, merchants-- people from all over Europe show up and have a marvellous wake. While the world will never be the same without him, everyone gets a chance to share their memories of a kindly, sweet man, who gave all he could to others for nigh on eighty years. Attravere spends a few days mourning alongside Maribus' vulgar children: magus Merceris Viator, of Coeris, and the Redcaps Mabon and Cerys; the four of them bond over their grief, and all gain some measure of comfort from the experience.
As a result of his Twilight experience, Aequi finds himself with a permanent mystical connection to the Divine and Magical regio. He is aware of its inhabitants and of its feelings. (Will explain in PM.)
[b]Everyone who participated in this adventure receives 8 exp, which must be spent on arts/abilities explicitly used during this adventure; this is bonus experience, and does not interfere with anyone's ability to study this season.[/b]
I almost forgot.
On the way out of the regio, the magi meet and are aided by a woman named Morwyn, who asks to accompany you all back to the covenant. (Gremlin44 may elaborate in the Chapter 4 Epilogue thread, should he wish.)