The new group of Slayers seems as stable as ever, and performed (for the most part) very well during their second mission.
On the morning on August 3rd, I brought the group into my office. In the past, there had been some disturbances in the (relatively) successful Slabí settlement of Pond’s Water. A scout, Shayden Greeves, had been investigating in the area when he had been attacked by seemingly rabid villagers. He had described them as foaming at the mouth, with eyes rolled up in their skulls. There had supposedly been massive numbers of them, chasing him with an insane fury.
When this report had been delivered, it was decided that the best option would be to send a group of Slayers to continue the investigation.
Ceredine Aedonnel, Halien, Alexander Nazarov, and Magnus Gladius were chosen, and were joined by Friedrich Ateista, a young man from a previous class of slayers, whose group had died in an accident; the details of which have never been reported to me. The rest of the group did not seem particularly partial to Friedrich, however, hopefully they will come to be fonder of him in time.
After I reported the details of the mission to the Slayers, they supposedly met a man in the crafter circle who wanted an herb (which he called a shab-herb) that they would find on their way to Pond’s Water. Supposedly, this herb had great magical power, and could be found somewhere in the middle of the forest. With this new information, The Slayers took the riskier forest route in search of the herbs.
While they were gone, I became worried. With the knowledge that the mission would require some espionage, and that they were only Slayers, I sent Parolles Zeno after them, to accompany them.
Meanwhile, The Slayers found the area where the shab-herbs were on their journey through the forest, it was apparently a clearing with a gigantic tree, filled with the glowing herbs which grew along its root. They were attacked here by a creature they described as a woman made out of wood, which we can easily classify as a Dryad. Thankfully, it was defeated fairly easily, and the group claimed the shab-herbs as their own. After the fight, Parolles finally showed up and joined them, explaining that The Citadel had sent him to help.
Moving on, they faced fairly dangerous weather, but camped under a makeshift shelter of trees and managed to wait it out. Not so long after they continued on from here, however, they reached a place where the trees grew thicker, and knowing that they were close to Pond’s Water and it was late, camped out for the night. In the morning, they moved on, and the forest grew deeper. It came to the point where they could only follow a few specific routes. Here, they realized that the Slabí had laid out traps. Due to Halian’s expertise, and a little bit more knocking over of trees, the area was successfully passed through.
However, that did not prevent them from having problems when they reached the gates of the village. Apparently, the last thing the citizens of Pond’s Water wanted was for anyone from The Citadel to come in. Negotiations were carried out, and from a series of threats from Halian and forceful diplomacy from Friedrich, the townspeople were finally prepared to allow everyone in, even the elves. However, just as they were about to make it within the walls of the village, Ceredine lost her temper, and apparently a small bolt of demonic power hit the chieftain.
The result was, unfortunately, how you would expect. Thankfully, a few other members of the group managed to leave the village and close the gate, saving Ceredine’s life in the process, but placing a buffer between themselves and the mission’s completion. At this point, Nazarov got the idea to offer a gold piece to the guards who were still in the gate. At the time, this was the only way to get into the village, however, the long-term implications of it trouble me. Nazarov managed to negotiate the entry of himself, and Friedrich. They made friends with two guards, and were given clothes that would make them look like Slabi. From here, they spoke to the guards and learned the story of a girl who had been driven mad and drowned herself after a scout from The Citadel came and tortured her, believing that he was exorcising her of a mind demon. They then learned of the identity of a powerful Spirit Shamaness of the village, and went to meet her.
Speaking to the Spirit Shamaness, Friedrich and Nazarov learned of the girl’s death, and how it had created a ghost known as an Allip. The Allip, apparently, was a ghost of a person who had been driven mad by someone, and was possessed by only an unholy rage. The Spirit Shamaness, knowing that they were of The Citadel, informed them that there were only two ways to get rid of the creature: one by having a person of divine power allow it to possess him, and apologizing to it sincerely (a risky option, and one that Nazarov refused) and the other by having the person who wronged the creature suffer by its hand. Friedrich and Nazarov were both disappointed by this, knowing that the person that had tortured the Allip was in The Citadel. However, the Spirit Shamaness informed them that this was not the case. The Scout had only paid someone else to exorcise the girl: a former student of hers. The people of the village, with their need to blame The Citadel, had ignored her attempts to tell this to them.
Before they saw her student, they went to the gate and reported to the others what was happening. There will be more on what they were doing later.
Friedrich and Nazarov now went to the house of the person in question, and with the help of mind-effecting magic, he was very warm and inviting to them. However, this did not stop him from lying, which Nazarov clearly noticed. Despite this, however, the two decided that they would deal with him later, after they had investigated the pond. They left to do so.
Meanwhile, the other four members of the group were trapped outside of the gate. By the time they had meet with Friedrich and Nazarov, they had created a very basic giant wooden horse with two gold pieces in its nose. (I am not making this up) However, when the Slabí did not let them in, they decided to abandon their creation and walk around the wall to see where it ended. After a fairly long walk, they reached the river flowing out from the pond. Unable to continue the wall through the deep river, the villagers had stopped here. The group took turns going around the wall, and headed to the pond.
They reached the pond sooner than Friedrich or Nazarov, and when they did, a few villagers were drinking from it. They were paid a silver piece to leave (more money being pumped in the Slabí economy, troublesome) and did so. As they investigated the pond, Ceredine decided to go swimming in it. This was a bad idea for many reasons, but one of the key ones was the fact that the pond was, in a sense, haunted. Her body was taken from her, and controlled by the Allip, which spoke to the group, and demanded that they leave. For some reason, it did not attack, however, and it let go of Ceredine, telling the group to leave. Friedrich and Nazarov reached the pond at this point, and Friedrich demanded to speak to the creature. He was dissuaded, however, by his companions, who told him that it no longer desired to talk, and they must leave it.
After sharing information, they learned that the pupil of the Spirit Shamaness was responsible, and that there was only one thing they could do.
They broke into the man’s house, carried him out toward the pond, and forced him beneath the water’s surface. He begged and pleaded the whole time, but to no avail. Once he was there, the creature took him, and erased his soul from existence with its tremendous rage. From there, the spirit was finally free to go, and it passed on to the next life.
The Slabí, however, did not see it this way. They saw a man being dragged into a pond by Slayers, and then those same Slayers walking back without him. The villagers were horrified by these events, and showed immense rage at their actual saviors. They were given a keg of oil to help them, but were not fully appeased by it. Saying, apparently, “Leave, because we are not strong enough to stop you.”
All in all, the mission had many rough edges, but went a lot better than it could have. Is it wrong to feel sick saying that? In the end, however, Zverák is a harsh land. What makes me particularly saddened, however, of the whole series of events, is the fact that I told some of the more good-natured Slayers that the scout who paid the man to torture the girl would be found and punished. I did not have the heart to tell them that this would not happen. The Citadel would view The Scout’s behavior as perhaps a little bit reckless, and, if identified, he will be given a slap on the wrist.
That is the way that we operate.
-High Priest, Nový Poradie