[Considerable time was spent in bookkeeping, catching up past actions, etc.]
We are en route to the bog in search of a place that Bri thinks may be Houndling’s Bluff or Star Bluff. We allow a group of 4 Temple Guards on horse to pass us by before we get onto the road, remaining in concealment until they pass. Bri disguises Brenna to mask her tattoo and attempts to do the same for Max.
Gathering Moon 18
We turn off the road towards the forest/woods, near the edge of the bog. As it is near nightfall, Cynthia cautions that it is a bad time of day to be entering the bog. We set camp and watches:
1st – Bri and Alison
2nd David and Max
3rd Marya and Cynthia
Cynthia cautions Ali to be very careful and to do exactly what she does, when she does it in the bog – there are alligators (albino ones, according to Marya, which live in the sewers – and I had no idea that there were sewers in the bog!)
Gathering Moon 19
We cross into the bog, stash the wagon; with Cynthia pausing frequently to make Ali do the Watusi. When Marya asks why, Ali points out that Cynthia has lived here and should know better than the others about what is necessary.
Bri and Brenna
Ali, Max and David leading
3 horses carrying gear
Max begins to lag behind as his horse is being unruly. Brenna keeps getting distracted by various plants, and Cynthia comments she will be turned into a sand sculpture by evening if she isn’t careful. About mid-morning, Marya lets out a scream as she is swarmed by huge mosquitoes. After a bit, Cynthia manages to find an anti-itch concoction from plants and cooking grease.
We break for lunch. Continuing on, Cynthia points out the danger of quicksand by making us all watch as a log sinks. We make camp about 6, with Cynthia delineating the camp area.
Gathering Moon 20
On the move again around 7. Sometime during the day Max notices a bog snake attempting to crawl up his leg and he swings at it. He makes the party known about the snake, Cynthia captures it to collect the venom and releases it. Max collapses on he ground holding his head. He recovers and we continue on. Brenna asks about changing into trousers at one point. The men go off a ways to allow some privacy, but Ali and Marya both notice her back is scarred and that she has some kind of mark near her left pectoral, sort of resembling a yin-yang symbol without the outer circle. Marya asks what caused it, and she replies that she was punished at times for not learning fast enough, which further confirms Ali’s opinion about the school and Kytheria. Around 2, Ali gets scratched by a thorn that Cynthia tells her that she will likely be sick, nauseous and incontinent and for a while but that there is nothing that can be done about it, it has to work its way out of the system.
We make camp about 8. Ali begins to think this is the most wonderful place she’s ever been, and that Brenna is her mother, and that Max is ?attractive? ?gorgeous? She begins to recover around 9.
Gathering Moon 21
About an hour before dawn, the cats perk up, Marya and Cynthia are on watch. They hear several bog cats in the distance but that we are not in any immediate danger. Cynthia makes a comment to Ali about her trip, which confuses Ali greatly, as she doesn’t recall falling. Brenna explains what happened and spends more time than usual with her.
Gathering Moon 22
About 4 AM we hear the same noise, but behind us further away. About 9, Marya disturbs more bugs and gets dosed. About 10, we come to a clearing that looks familiar to Cynthia – off to one side is a statue, it is the shrine to Mamnon. It is a few hundred yards from the base of a cliff, the temple is standard, but slightly smaller than the one at Riva’s Walk. Bri examines the statue, and notices that the hands are positioned differently from the other – the hand are held lower and it appears that there may be a gap within them. Using water to cleanse the area, a slot is revealed that a coin will fit into; they place a coin and it disappears and can be heard rolling in the torso.
Bri recites a piece of lore and asks if there are springs nearby in the bluff. Continuing to search the statue, he discerns that the arms may be hinged. He attempts to lower and raise them to no avail. Ali asks if the coin Marya dropped was modern or ancient; they place one of the ancient coins in the slot, and a compartment at the base opens, containing a small square stone box. Inside the box is a pearl and a parchment.
Mid-afternoon, we make camp near the base of the cliff, after Ali has a breakdown due to the stress of the past few weeks, the complete disruption of life as she knows it – . Brenna and Bri assist her in calming down, Brenna makes her a tea that will help her sleep.
Cynthia wishes to check the caches that Durn told her about – there are four of them, in various places in the bog.
Around 9 pm, we hear a something that sounds like laughter coming from the direction of the statue. Something light colored runs through the brush around the edge of the camp. Cynthia and Marya go after it, Bri and Max go in an opposite direction.
We hear the sound again, and near the fire is something that resembles a skinny otter or fat weasel, looking at Brenna. Cynthia begins to move towards it, Bri attempts to mimic its sound. It moves around the other side of Brenna, and looks at her again. It then moves towards Bri and laughs at him again. Bri attempts to trap it in his cloak and fails. It jumps around, twines itself around his legs, and heads back towards where Cynthia and Marya are, runs under Damn Cat and then runs off towards Marya. As it does so, Cynthia tries to bolo it, failing horribly, losing her balance and dropping her on her ass. Bri attempts to mimic it again to draw it back. Marya attempts to grab it, falling; it comes up to her and pats her on the face and scampers off again. It moves over to Ali and looks at her; she has passed out from the tea (based on a double 18) and is unaware of it.
Cynthia holds out some fruit and fish, it comes and takes the fruit and scampers off again. It eats the fruit, and comes back to drop a nut of some kind at her feet. Eventually it climbs up onto Marya’s shoulder, and gives her a die (an actual carved die, not a knucklebone). The party continues to play with it a while. It gives Bri a small crystal flower. (He gives it to Ali after she wakes.)
Gathering Moon 23
The creature is still there in the morning, we break fast, and go to examine the cliff area. We decide to explore about a mile in either direction along the cliff, in search of a passage, which we do not find.
We decide to head for the nearest cache and check it out. Marya has named the creature “Phred” and Cynthia calls it “Archie”.
Gathering Moon 24
Cynthia manages to fall into a sinkhole and get soaked.
The night passes uneventfully.
Gathering Moon 25
We reach the place that Durn told Cynthia to start from for the cache. About an hour later, we arrive there. It is a box containing a packet of papers and a rather ornate blue robe; it is embroidered with gold and silver in a design. The papers include a list, written in Chaldrean, of each of the reaches along with the name of a person; among them is Cecil Red Dawn (an ancestor of Marya and Cynthia). Another is a lists of names, which appear to be family names of Free Coasters, including one name that is recognized as still living, and references to locations that are in the Free Coast. There is a page which gives a list of names in Cos’n, including David’s father, a fact he does not share. Max also reacts to that name. Cynthia asks why he was upset at the name of “that Cos’n barbarian”, and he draws a Cos’n war axe (the staff he has been carrying on his back).
Max says something to David in fluent Cos’n, which David mutters something back in a foreign language (also Cos’n, but we do not know that).
David explains that “that Cos’n barbarian” was his father, who was slain by barbarians. Things eventually calm down with no blood shed; the papers and robe are packed safely away. We return back to the “starting point” for camp and a fresh start in the morning.
3 points awarded.