Catching my breath for a moment….
A lot has happened since the last night passed.
The night faded to day as one might expect, we awoke amongst the farm houses we’ve been investigating. We scoured the area Hrafn believe the ethereal wind changed directions in his ritual induced vision last night but found nothing. It was decided that we should report back in on what we’ve learned to the abbess and see if she had any insights before blindly heading north in search of anything that could connect to what we’ve learned so far. Along the way we spoke with what farmers we could to see if we could gage the progress of the “cloaked group of interest”. We encountered some sightings on the other side of the river and some of the others pieced together an idea as to when they might reach the city. I don’t recall the time frame, and they’re a little distracted at the moment…maybe three weeks????
So why are they busy…? Well the Abbess didn’t have any particular insights, but appreciated the information none-the-less. So we elected to rest and recover with a good night’s rest and head out for the north on the morrow. We haven’t gotten there yet.
Hrafn, Drelf, and I attended the late night prayer, which culminated around midnight. They retired to bed from there while I sought out my usual solace polishing some of the icons after the chapel emptied out. I saw the far side of 1:00 before deciding I should also get some rest, as we were facing a long trek at the end of the night.
On the way back to my dorm bed I encountered Hali coming the other direction. She made no sign of noticing my presence. I haled her, but she took no notice. I attempted to touch her shoulder only to have my hand pass through. Was I dreaming…? Was this a sign, a vision…? Had something happened to Hali? I followed at an observant distance…a short time later she was joined by Hrafn, and then by the rest in the chapel. I continued to fallow as they walked up the main aisle, then through the gate in the rail separating the main alter from the congregation. I slipped through the gate right as they passed into the alter and disappeared.
Clearly, this was an omen of some sort. I dropped to my knees and began praying as hard as I could, with all my heart, willing myself to understand what the Lady was saying. Try as I might I couldn’t get more than a desire, a pull towards the alter….so I stayed rooted there, praying where I was supposed to be. That is, until Deitrich Essenbach pulled me from my contemplations to inquire as to what I’d seen. It turns out from the sounds of it the rest of my compatriots who’d turned in had the same dream. A dream that had ultimately led them to this alter some how. I will need to find out more about what they saw, when there is time.
Eventually all of them arrived at the alter, in various states of dress and preparedness. We were the only people present at this point. Hrafn and Drelf began to lead us in a prayer, that we might better understand the message the Lady was sending us. As the prayer was joined I felt the pull towards the alter increase in strength until finally I found myself walk blindly into it and stumble. Soon after the others each followed, though more gracefully from what I understand. A door appeared in my mind’s eye beyond the alter. The pull was almost palpable. I quickly made my way around, over, through…? to it and passed through.
We found ourselves on a disc of sorts surrounded by black nothingness. A divine being appeared before us and informed us that the Lady was please by what she’d seen from her chosen so far and looked forward to what was to come from us on our future path. However, She believes we might not be experienced enough for what lies ahead of us. As a result She has decided to test us, that she might better understand what we are capable of and we might learn from the experiences.
The divine being has informed us that the trials will test our fighting mettle , our skills, and our ability reason…and that they will not end. We are to push ourselves as far as we might, but to stop before the trials take our lives. The trials will consist of an endless number of rounds, after each round the door we entered through will re-appear and allow us to depart this realm. If we don’t leave then, it will not appear again until the next challenge is overcome. He then faded back into the blackness.
I drew my blades and prepared. Nothing happened immediately. Some of my compatriots prodded the blackness with various objects and even one reached their hand into it and hit something solid. I cracked a sunrod, but its light didn’t pierce the veil. Eventually, the darkness receded and halls appeared before us, with walls of thick fog. Four pillars appeared, one in each corner of the complex that had appeared…and a larger one appeared in our midst. Drelf informed us that the faces depicted moral lessons in simple pictures. We needed to figure out how to complete the lesson they each showed. A small host of grasping zombies also materialized as the darkness receded. Those would also need dispatching. And with that, the first round began.
We solved most of the pillars (all but 3?) before killing the last zombie. When the last zombie fell, so too did the remaining pillars. Moments later the darkness began to refill the halls, herding us each back to the center disc we started on. It is here that I now sit.
Catching my breath for a moment….