Tourmaline - 04 - From Crossroads to Autumncrest

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La! So nice to see you!

[ Tourmaline, your "simple divination" test results come back.]

[After a brief delay, the following is received:]

Your path shall take you forward, as always; over the bridge and back.

Gracious! I've never seen such a long duration for a spell!

Old Lady: "What's that, now!? Spelling what?"

Jerin: "Milady?"

Jerin seems concerned.

Is there a bridge ahead? Does anyone know?

Jerin: "The road seems clear, milady... although the path ahead does lead over a drainage ditch... perhaps?"

And the other road? Does a bridge lay ahead on that road?

"Since when did this right junction appear?", he muses.

(Have we passed over a bridge before, Russ?)

(Nope. Not yet.)

(Or maybe many times in her travels.)

(I know it's a metaphor. I'm being Tourmaline)

"I think Autumncrest is either left or forward."

(Distinctly, not recently, and nothing is clearly visible.)

"The knight did say something about the north being the kingdom he was from. Maybe they found this road in the past year or two."

Perhaps!

The path left/south is wooded. The path forward/west is more towards farmland/open fields. The path right/north is towards Mirage.

Jerin, you are far wiser and more sagely than I.
What say you, kind sir? Do take the right path, or shall we stray left, upon this new road?
(Mirage?)

"I don't know how you can say so, milady. I haven't traveled these roads in some years. And I remember this being a fork, not a crossroads."

(The Knight Tourmaline met is from Mirage.)

Then let us jaunt upon these beautiful open fields you speak of!
It's a lovely day -- perhaps wildflowers are in bloom?

(Starfire pulls to the left when you attempt to pass the crossroad forward.)

(She seems repelled by the idea of forward, or the direction.)

Who journeys with me to the fields of gold ahead?
What? What is this, Starfire?
But I have forgotten your say in all of this!
Please, noble friend! Lead me onwards!

Jerin seems slightly shaken, but encourages Magnus forward.

Oft have I found you well-trusted with the bearing of my safety!

The cart begins to slowly move forwards.

Magnus veers to the right sharply upon the crossroad threshold, also not interested in the same direction.

Jerin: "Whoa! Hyaa! What is this, boy?"

Magnus, you naughty steed!

A bank of fog/mist seems to appear from the forward path.

It appears quickly, and travels down towards the crossroad.

As it travels down, a small raised wooden bridge appears, not a distance of feet down the road.

Goodness! What strange tidings today!

Old Lady nearly shrieks and starts to babble, pointing wildly, trying to get attention.

What is it you see?

"It's... it's! You... you know it's!"

"It's an autumnborax!"

"You should know!" She points a finger at you accusingly.

And what is this?
(which path?)

(You can tell she's mispronouncing something familiar.)

(The path forward has developed a bridge, and a fog.)

There is the bridge I seek!

The Old Lady continues to babble slightly. "Quickly! We must all blow at it at the same time!"

She starts huffing and puffing, then says, "come on, join me! We must repel it!"

Jerin! Starfire wants to move left, Magnus right. The clearest compromise would be to move straight forward!
M'lady! Why should I fear this fog?

She's excited, and keeps huffing and puffing! "You should know! It will eat you or something! Quick, we must blow it away."

I cannot imagine why I would know! What type of danger could it be?

jerin says "Well, we must do something... the fog does seem ...disenchanting to the steeds."

Well, I choose the forward path, but no need to be imprudent. Let us take a look.
    •  ::: casts peace :::
    •  ::: casts detect illusion :::

(Sec.)

(Sec)ing...

The illusion of the mist/fog bank shimmers slightly. The bridge seems existent, though.

The fog bank, shimmering, advances upon the crossroads.

"Umm, milady!?" Jerin starts huffing and puffing with the old lady.

The old lady says "We have to blow at it at the same time, or it won't go away! Quickly!"

    •  ::: seems entranced :::

"It's no use, it's got her! Quickly, we must insult its pride!"

"You! Yes, you! You're a big meany! You haven't got any parents! Your dog didn't win the prize last year! Nor did your flower bed!"

Jerin stares at her, astonished and shocked.

    •  ::: watching the fog carefully :::

The fog pauses at the edge of the crossing, near the peace barrier.

"Your hat is awful! The neighbors think you should have painted your house green!"

What have you come for? Why do you tarry so?

The fog expands briefly and swells in size.

It seems to grow vertically, and seems to crest.

It begins to fall upon the crossroads.

The old lady screams: "Kyaaa!!! AAAhhh!" And starts huffing and puffing like crazy.

Jerin cringes, covers himself, ducking into his own lap.

The horses jitter, but seem uncertain what's going on.

    •  ::: still watching :::

The fog falls, covering the area.

It seems foggy. You don't notice anything remarkable.

The old lady is screaming "Help! It's eating us!"

And then starts... being confused why nothing is happening to her.

Jerin looks over to you.

"We're alive... it seems... and the horses... don't seem to notice?"

It cannot hurt us, Jerin. I have seen to that.

"It... well, what you say appears true, you have never lied as to anything we know."

"Your heart is as true as the falling snow."

"But what of this arcane fog?"

The fog bank seems to be caught on a breeze you can't feel, and begins to float southwards.

We must learn its nature soon. My protection only lasts so -- ah! There it goes! And no harm done!

"Do we go south? Or west? What did the cairn spirit say?"

"You said something about a bridge. Well, it looks like there is one, now."

The spirit said to go straight down this middle path.

"How odd... how arcane."

Let us see where this bridge takes us!

"I've never seen anything quite like this."

Once we move forward, my magic will no longer protect us. Take care, and be sure to let me know if you see anything.

Starfire still banks and turns around, but this time, only a few feet from the bridge.

Magnus simply halts this time.

"It seems this bridge is... hmm..."

"An ill omen!" the old lady shouts, sounding like she's laid out on the floor of the wagon.

My magic seems to say otherwise.
But let's make sure.
    •  ::: approaches bridge :::

"It scares the horses."

    •  ::: casts detect evil :::
Many strange things scare horses.

The bridge seems to glint with rainbow shimmering briefly, as does the air above it.

"This seems far extraordinary."

  • (is that typically a bad sign?)

"A bridge from nowhere? I... never recalled this. Perhaps Autumncrest is back south, then."

(Yes. Any reaction to detect evil indicates something evil. Although this isn't as straightforward a glow.)

  • What is the bridge over?

"Autumnborax! It's going to eat the town! Oh no!" the old lady says.

The bridge covers a small stream which does seem to run from the north to south.

What do you mean by that?
What is this Autumnborax?

"It's going to eat the town or something! It's in the legends. If the town is named Autumn, then that must be what it eats!"

She seems a little more composed now.

"No wonder we're still alive."

She starts dusting herself off.

"So, what of this bridge here? Should we just leave it alone? It isn't hurting anybody," asks Jerin.

"Except that it's making autumnboraxes," says the old lady.

Let us pass this way, but not by way of the bridge.
I sense something ill of it.
    •  ::: moves to the side of the bridge, where it is clearest :::

"As do the horses... what shall we do?" Jerin seems to believe your advice is more worth taking.

"I don't believe we can take the cart here, then."

Why, we shall take my bridge instead!
    •  ::: casts bridge of faith over the stream :::
Come, Starfire!
    •  ::: crosses :::

You cross safely.

Jerin's cart comes along safely, as well.

"This is most unusual, milady!"

"We are traveling upon the air!"

The first sun sets, as you travel west. The second sun is a matter of hours before setting.

"We ought make haste, if we are to arrive before secondset."

Alas, I must rest soon to replenish my magic.
This has been a busy day for me.

"I should say. Or you should, and do."

"Can Starfire travel alongside, while you recover in the cart, or shall we make camp?"

Sir Jerin, do you know if we approach the town?

"This all seems unfamiliar, milady."

"It has been so long, the roads have changed... I cannot tell."

"The town is impossible to find. Nobody ever finds towns any more."

"Except me! I can find any town!" the old lady boasts. "Even lost ones!"

Then please! Lead us!
We must rest soon!

"Hah!" she cackles. "That's what they always say!"

"Sage Kitsune, can you help us?"

"Of course, I always say!"

"Now, which way do you think this town of yours lies?" she says, as she ushers Jerin to halt, and hops down from the cart before it even stops.

She steps to a spot in the path in front of everyone.

She takes a crooked stick out from her cloak and traces a triangle in the ground.

She looks at the three points very carefully, and says "The town is in one of these three directions."

The triangle points forward, and the other two points point back towards the left and right from the crossroads.

I think it lies ahead...

"Hah! See! I have found your town for you!"

    •  ::: laughs :::
You have indeed!
Let us push forward, then!

She hops back in the cart, jollily (if that's a word). Jovially.

You press forward for an hour without any remarkable events.

Woods appear in the distance down the road.

The light is growing long.

The outer woods seem to have been woodcut.

And I am powerfully weary.
Yes, indeed.
Perhaps we are close,then.

"It is situated in a wood, yes, I recall -- it is where they do their hunting. But I thought this all were farmland. The fields seem awfully barren for harvestime."

"And the farm houses... I don't see them. But these fields, are familiar."

You cross the woodcut area.

That I hope! My magic has wearied me enormously.

You enter the woods.

The evening light adds a mystique to the woods, the colors of twilight and leaves of all colors green to red, early autumn hues.

You feel rejuvenated just seeing the beauty.

The land here is alive and yet calm, with few crickets, but many fireflies, butterflies, and dragonflies about.

Occasionally, bird calls are heard, song birds singing their evening love songs to their mates.

Ah! What a beautiful place! Where could it be that butterflies and fireflies join together in such dance?
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