Our return to Shrike City was brisk. Teleportation is both powerful and extremely useful.
Our first port of call (after checking in at the castle) was to see our resident Nereid. With both her shawl and the mighty sword, Briar, in our possession, she was very glad to see us. Re-united with her magical shawl, she seemed to regain a measure of her knowledge of the sword as well.
The evil (and now, at least partially insane) nymph fell in love with the wrong being and was cursed by those ruled the First Realm (the realm of the fairies) to never be able to love again, and cut away that part of her soul and crafted a mystical sword from it…Briar. This explains why she is looking for it. She’s looking to get back her soul. Whether she can do anything with it remains to be seen…
The sword has a myriad of powers, but apparently, these are mostly dormant, and will be activated again by killing fae. I sincerely hope that the sword doesn’t become any more powerful than it already is. Killing fae seems almost sacrilegious for some reason.
With no other immediate leads and no other pressing business, we turned to the scouting reports we had waiting in the war room.
Plenty of land had been explored and claimed on behalf of our now large fiefdom. We are now approaching the size of any of the other kingdoms in the area.
Some armies had been seen, some wyverns and a talking mammoth.
The wyverns had destroyed a small town, decimating it, leaving no survivors. Once their source of relatively easy food disappeared, they flew off, dispersing as they did so.
Two other armies were of more concern however. A large giant cavalry, riding captured mammoths and a gigantic army of barbarians loomed at the edges of our kingdom. Imajica had the bright idea to send the two armies off to fight against each other (since they appeared to hate the other anyway). However, he decided for some reason to send them off to fight each other, but not to the same place.
An unusual tactic and one that I fervently hope doesn’t cost us in the long term.
Once they had been dealt with, an ancient, talking mammoth was next on the list to investigate. It seemed that the mammoth burial grounds were sacred and all the other mammoths had been kept away out of fear of some form of gigantic flying snake. Imajica assured me that it was called (to be filled in when I can remember what the creature is).
We knew where it resided as the mammoth was able to tell us that much. With little other information to go on, we simply prepared as best we could with blessings from Iomedae, nature and arcane as well.
A gigantic snake, wingless, rose from the end of a box canyon, spewing magma as it rose. For all it’s obvious size and physical intimidation, this beast proved to be little more than that, a beast. As such, our powerful combination of preparation, magical abilities and items along with years of fighting as a group meant this creature was never in with a chance. Its death spelled the end of its reign of terror and the mammoths were able to return to their sacred place.
Throughout all this, Briar has felt right on my hip. It grows more comfortable each day, and the investment in a couple of magical items to help utilize it more efficiently have paid dividends.
The obvious threats Elklund now taken care of, I turned my attention back to our newly acquired city, Pitax. Returning there, I intended to set up some manner of way we could maintain control while leaving it essentially to run itself.
One name stuck out to me, but there was ample risk as well. Ashularae. Somehow, Imajica had found her and convinced her to return to Pitax, allowing me to offer her a role under our pay.
The role itself didn’t seem to interest her, but digging deeper, it seems that the village the wyverns destroyed was her home, and her family had still resided there. With a promise made under the eye of Iomedae to find and resurrect her family, she suddenly became significantly more appreciative of the offer and I feel that she can now be left to run things from behind the scenes.
Hopefully this means a time of peace for Elklund…