A Light in Darkness
F3 For Music
Rima’s current encampment is a cave about five miles north of Kellee. Only a couple people know its location and it is nearly impossible to find without guidance or detailed direction. The paths leading here are narrow and winding. Switch backs, blind canyons and dense brush make the five mile journey take half a day but it can be found with help.
The location itself is close to many dangerous things, not the least of which is a band of goblins living to the north. They fear Rima, however, so she is relatively safe. That doesn’t mean it is safe to approach her. Rima has been hiding in the woods of Tepest for nearly fifteen years. Leobe found her here alone and battered. She accepted minimal help and recovered on her own, she has never revealed why she isn’t with her people.
|After several hours of wet miserable travel through clutching branches that seem to crowd resentfully around the tiny fragile trail you begin to see openings in the trees ahead as the forest thins and eventually gives way to a rocky ridge. Through the smothering gray of the endless rain, you can see a steep incline that ends at the mouth of a cave. Inside you can just make out the reddish flicker of a small camp fire.|
|It takes only a few minutes of careful travel over the slick loose scree to reach the cave mouth. The path is treacherous but with care you arrive without incident. The first thing you notice in this cave is the small cook fire that dances at its center. It’s light leaves much of the cave in shadow, its dimensions hard to discern. Coils of gray smoke roll through the air, rising through a narrow hole in the cave’s roof. The scent of some sharp pungent incense fills the air and large glowing embers the size of leaves swirl about, tossed by unseen breezes. You see no furniture save for a worn sleeping mat and a small table just a foot or so off the floor.|
|Sitting cross-legged near the campfire is a veiled woman. Her clothes are as old and worn as she is, their once bright colors faded and muted. With trembling hands she lays out a pattern of cards on the stone floor before her. With each card she mutters a few words in a strange language, sometimes chuckling to herself.|
|A man dressed in an embroidered shirt, leather breeches and mud-spattered riding boots sits at the fire across from her. His eyes focus on the tattered cards and his grim face is sternly set.|
Neither Rima nor Aroun will acknowledge the characters for several minutes. She responds to interruptions with a curt gesture for silence and continues the reading. Aroun will not acknowledge the heroes under any circumstance, he is not even truly aware of them.
During this time the characters can look around a bit more, there are several things to notice.
Perception DC 14: The swirling embers seem to neither rise nor fall and they don’t dim or fade
Perception DC 16: You see that the embers are not born of the fire at all. They are, in fact, tiny creatures no larger than your hand. Each is a perfect tiny slender being that looks a bit like a human child with fine features, large round eyes and gossamer wings that emit a flickering glow. They occasionally twirl together or flit close to Rima’s ear but never perch.
Perception DC 20: You see, very dimly, the light of the fire shining through the figure of the man by the fire as if he is only partially in this world.
Perception DC 22: Though the action at the center of the room captures you attention you have the presence of mind to look around a bit more. You notice that the edges of the flickering fire light show not the walls of a cave but a massive and dense wall of cocoon like webbing that covers the walls and ceiling of this place.
Perception DC 25: The patterns in the webbing resemble nothing you have seen before in nature. You swear in one place you see a terrible screaming face rendered in perfect silken detail glittering in the shadowy light of the fire.
After the a few minutes Rima will beckon them closer, at which point they have a better chance of noticing the things above. Leobe waves to her, almost shyly, she smiles in return.
The conversation can move in many ways at this point. Rima will tell them that she knew they were coming because she used the Tarokka to speak with the spirit of Bryonna’s mother who told them strangers were coming to help her daughter. She will not, however, tell them very much until they first help Aroun. If they ask about the fairies she says:
My little friend are the forests original inhabitants, the wee folk if you will. To this day there are more of their kind in Tepest than of ours, you know. Call them fairies, pixies, sprites or what have you, but there is no need to fear them. These are not the fey that frighten Wyan so much. Dark creatures reside in these woods but he doesn’t begin to understand them as well as he thinks he does.
Soon after she learned of the accusations against Bryonna Rima began searching for someone who could help uncover the truth behind the events. The Tarokka led her to Aroun and she called him to her. Unfortunately Aroun is dead; his spirit hasn’t the strength to recall, never mind communicate, what it knows this far from it’s body. If Aroun can be reunited with his body he will be able to tell his story, which is somehow related.
|Rima gestures to the man across from her. “This is Aroun. Like the fairies he also came to ask for my help.”
|At this, the man lifts his gaze from Rima’s cards for the first time. Without a smile or the faintest hint of emotion, he looks at each of you. Though he clearly mouths the word, “hello” his voice is so faint that it is lost against the snapping of the fire and the faint buzzing of the fairy wings. There is something very odd about this man; his eyes are as vacant as his words. In addition, something about the way the firelight plays upon his features simply isn’t right.
|Aroun here has run into some trouble. Unfortunately it got the better of him, he’s dead. Don’t be alarmed, he’s no danger. I’ve come to understand that he knows something, something about what is happening in Viktal. In his current condition, however, his mind is very weak. He cannot recall, never mind communicate, what we need to know. His memory will return if he can be reunited with his body and he will be able to communicate, though only briefly.|
|The cards have told me that his body lies on Castle Island, a barren place surrounded by the stormy waters of Lake Kronov. Even the Tarokka have been unable to tell me anything of his killer. Perhaps you’ll find this information with his mortal remains.|
|Take him there, learn what he knows. While you are gone I will consult the cards. By the time you return I will no more. This, combined with Aroun’s memories and anything my allies can tell me should provide you with enough information to prove Bryonna’s innocence. Be swift though, I sense time is of the essence.|