Illin Brontwork was in the local food hall having breakfast when a messenger arrived with an invitation for him. It was from Funtt Dufononur, the War Council Representative for the Earth Temple, which was quite the surprise. Illin had never been invited to meet someone of such high rank before and immediately set out to find his friend Pallex to ask what the etiquette for meeting such a prestigious individual was. Unfortunately Pallex wasn’t home and Illin didn’t know where he would be. So being resourceful, he started to ask random people on the street. As always, everyone was friendly to Illin and in short order he knew that he should be well presented and polite when he met Funtt. So he headed home to put on all his clothes and give himself an extra clean.
That same morning Trinsk Kord was on his way to the local temple library, or the knowledge repository as he liked to call it, when a messenger found him and also gave him an invitation asking him to meet with Funtt early that afternoon. Trinsk continued on to the library and had a chat with Gardelion Avaulrim one of the researchers there, checking that this was normal and that there was nothing he should be worried about. They assured him that although it was unusual there was nothing to worry about. Gardelion suspected that Funtt might even know about Trinsk’s Spirit Sight and that could be the reason.
Rhorn Kodex also received an invitation from Funtt. To Rhorn though, this was nothing out of the ordinary, so he finished his daily equipment maintenance (which he was doing even though he wasn’t on duty) and headed off to the Earth Temple.
As Illin, Trinsk and Rhorn all arrived atop the Sacred Mountain on their way to the Earth Temple they bumped into each other. Already knowing each other they stopped to chat and were surprised to find that all three of them were on their way to meet Funtt. So they continued together and shortly they arrived in the Earth Temple Entrance Chamber. One of Rhorn’s aides, Jian Silvak, was waiting there to meet them. After confirming who they were, he showed them down a side passage to a room that was Funtt’s office.
Knocking on the door to announce their presence, Jian showed them into the office before stepping out and shutting the door behind. Funtt remained seated behind his desk. Funtt welcomed them and thanked them for coming. He then explained why he had invited them to meet.
On each of the last five days one of the farmers from one of the far west fields has gone missing. Each day, no-one has seen what has happened and they were in fact unaware that anyone was even missing. It was only the head count as they returned via the lift that made us aware of the problem. Whilst we know that farmers do go missing, these were all from the same field. Add that to the discreteness of the absences and it makes it seem suspicious. We sent a squad out yesterday and they found nothing, then someone else went missing, so we had a meeting of the War Council last night. Glaydius suggested that we should ask you, Trinsk, as you are known for your ability to see what others cannot. Illin, you are here as you are one of most talented rangers and are known for being comfortable beyond the wall. And friendly. Please aide Trinsk. Rhorn, I am asking you to keep these two alive. Please let me know what you can find out.
Rhorn immediately jumped into action, asking Funtt for some Guardians to aide them so that they could stop anyone else disappearing. Funtt agreed to have a squad available for them and waiting at the Western Lift first thing tomorrow morning. But that wasn’t good enough for Rhorn, he wanted to head out today, someone else was going to disappear and that wasn’t acceptable. Funtt refused to change the duty roosters, though they were welcome to head out themselves today. Rhorn went to go storming out of the office, but Funtt paused them and offered them some healing charms, just in case. All three took some and left the office.
Out To The Fields
Upon leaving the office Jian was waiting for them to see what they needed. He offered them supplies for the next day, but Rhorn was having none of it and told Jian that they were heading into the fields today. Jian was totally thrown by the immediacy of all this but did say that he would organise permission for the lifts before dashing off. Rhorn kept moving, heading for the Western Lift, whilst Illin and Trinsk dashed back home to collect their essential equipment.
Arriving at the wall Rhorn headed to the barracks to see if there were any Guardians who would volunteer to help them. Leveraging his reputation, he quickly found five warriors who were happy to head out. As Illin and Trinsk arrived they climbed the wall and headed out. Down the lift and into the fields, Rhorn set a quick march straight West.
Arriving at the western-most field Rhorn whistled loudly and yelled at the farmers to gather up. The farmers tentatively wandered over and Rhorn yelled at them again to do a head count. One farmer cautiously asked why and when Rhorn stated that they needed to see if anyone was missing, he softly told them that it was a field further north where the farmers had gone missing. Rhorn instantly rounded everyone up and the they headed north.
Arriving at the correct field, the farmers in this field were just standing around in a group together, appearing to be not doing much. Straight away, Rhorn marches up to them and demands to know what’s going on. One of the farmers turns and says that they’re packing up. Rhorn starts shooting questions out, but Trinsk interrupts, asking Rhorn and Illin to just step aside with him for a moment.
The three of them step just out of ear shot and Trinsk informs them that he can see a strange yellowish ethereal glow around the heads of the farmers. Not really sure what this means they wander back and Trinsk undertakes a Scan on one of the farmers. He finds that the yellowish glow is some sort of supernatural energy and it is extending tendrils into the farmers brains. He tells the others and Rhorn goes back to questioning. The spokesman farmer tells Rhorn that they don’t know about any missing farmers or anything strange, but Rhorn knows that he’s lying and yells at him to tell the truth. The farmer goes to walk away so Rhorn grabs his arm and drags him back. The farmer starts yelling incoherently but this doesn’t phase Rhorn at all. The other farmers just keep standing there staring.
Feeling that the questioning isn’t making any progress, Illin offers to scout the perimeter. Taking the Air Guardian with him, he wanders over to the edge of the field and starts looking around. It doesn’t take his sharp eyes long to notice a strange multicoloured “Blob” sitting not far away. He has no idea what it is and has never seen anything like it before. He calls out the information to the others and Trinsk wanders over to Illin and Scans the Blob. The scan tells him that the Blob contains the same type of supernatural energy that is surrounding the farmers heads. After a quick discussion Illin decides to shoot the Blob with an arrow.
The arrows thuds into the Blob with a squelching sound and instantly the other farmers start screaming and yelling. Rhorn starts marching over towards the Blob, dragging his farmer along, while Trinsk moves closer to the Blob to see what has happened. Trinsk decides to see if the Blob has an intellect and throws a mental blast into it. He senses resistances and then a moment later is hit by a retaliatory mental blast, hurting his mind. The farmers launch into action, attacking the Guardians looking after them, whilst the farmer which Rhorn is dragging discretely tries to pull out a knife. Luckily Rhorn notices in time. He fails to stop the farmer getting the knife out, but when the farmer threatens to attack him with a quick sweep of his warhammer, Rhorn bashes the legs out from under the farmer, leaving him writhing on the ground.
Illin dashes up to the blob and cuts it open with his sword, leaving weirdly coloured ooze falling onto the ground. While Trinsk continues to barrage the blob, Rhorn moves up to support, and throws a mighty Stonehammer bash into the blob dazing it. But the blob releases another mental burst, damaging and dazing both Illin and Rhorn. This doesn’t stop Illin though as with a mighty sweep of his blade he cuts the blob almost into two. Suddenly the screaming farmers stop and the combat is over.
The Guardians are largely uninjured, although one is limping slightly, and they round up the farmers who are looking quite battered. Illin wanders over and starts questioning them. The farmers are quite confused and it doesn’t take long to ascertain that they have no memory of the last few days and that although they came out to this field at different times, once they came out they lost all further awareness. Trinsk undertakes another Scan of the farmers and finds that although the supernatural energy is still enveloping their heads, the energy has changed and is more dormant. Rhorn asks the Guardians to take the farmers back to the city for care and further inspection.
Illin starts searching around the perimeter of the field to see if there are any other blobs. He doesn’t find any but does find some strange lines very faintly marking the ground. Rhorn inspects the lines very closely but can’t really ascertain what they are from. He does note that they are all parallel and heading directly from the field into the forest. After checking that there was sufficient daylight left, the group decides to investigate briefly and see if the lines head anywhere.
Following them into the forest proves relatively fruitless, although they find a number more of the lines, continuing onward towards the Snowy Peaks. They do find one of the lines marking the side of the tree although are not sure what this means. Heading back as the day is finishing, Illin collects up the blob and places it into his sack to take back to the city.
Arriving back at the lift they are the last people to get lifted up into the city before the night sets in. Trinsk gives Illin directions to one of the Water Temple libraries where he can hand in the blob and Illin sets off. Trinsk and Rhorn head to the infirmary to check on the Guardians and farmers. They informed that everyone has been physically healed and will be ok, however the farmers are getting sent to the Sacred Mountain for others to inspect the strange mental auras.
Trinsk and Rhorn then head off to the Earth Temple to tell Funtt what has happened. Illin catches up to them along the way, however when they arrive everyone is off eating. Rhorn takes them through to the eating hall where they find Jian, who places them at a guest table to one side and goes off to find Funtt. After about an hour Jian returns and takes them to see Funtt.
Funtt is pleased by their progress and thanks them for their work, however Rhorn points out that it is not finished and they need a squad tomorrow to head into the forest and follow the odd straight lines. Funtt points out that squads in the forest always just attract attention, which ends badly, and they would be better off heading out on their own. He does say that he will try and find some support for them though. At that they are dismissed and all three head back to their homes to rest for the evening.