(No entry for the second session, as I was unable to make it. :( This starts at the beginning of the third session for the Earthers.)
I don’t know what time it is. After the village was attacked, we decided to go after the army that had attacked it. There were others… I don’t know where they went. I’m travelling with Edin, Kuu, and Vin now, and two others: Flora (a tree…person?) and Shi’Eera (a giant talking bird). I’m glad to be with the people I had started with. I’m unsure of these two new people.
We’re heading south: that’s where the army was going. There’s a loud screeching noise coming from the direction we’re going. Shi’Eera wants to go in the opposite direction, but we don’t have a choice. Maybe we won’t intercept it…
While some of us get going, a few others stay behind and look for horses or mounts of some sort. They have little luck, and quickly catch up with us. Edin seems to know where she’s going, somehow. Even if she doesn’t, I feel a bit more reassured that someone has taken the lead. It’s dark now, and we can barely see anything. Edin is carrying a flashlight but it is still very dark. I’ve never seen darkness like this, even out in the country.
Somehow, fireflies begin to appear around us, giving off a beautiful unobtrusive light to guide us. I look closer and they’re not real fireflies. They’re more like ghosts of fireflies. Amazing!
It’s gotten very late and we’re all exhausted. We decide to make camp some ways off the road. The others begin foraging for food, but Edin tosses me a granola bar. I thank her and split it in half, sharing with Kuu. Vin seems to have some rations as well and shares a bit. :) Shi’Eera tries to give us bus… A termite? Uh… I’ve never eaten a termite, and I don’t think I’m quite desperate enough to start now! But she is complaining that it is offensive in this world not to take what food has been offered, no matter how strange it would be to eat it. I don’t want to offend anyone but… Bugs. I can’t eat bugs.
Thankfully, saving me from having to respond right away, Kuu and Vin have made soup from foraged mushrooms. It isn’t super flavorful but it is hot, and it isn’t bugs.
Edin and I decide to keep first watch. Though it is still strange to think I have magic, I feel like I can finally accept it. It’s actually an amazing thought, to have real magic, to be able to influence something and make something happen. It’s a very uplifting feeling. I close my eyes, breathe in deeply, and open myself up to the sounds of the forest around me. I let my magic flow out of me, mixing and swirling in harmony with the ambient noise. I can almost see each noise as it happens. The birds in the distance, the thumping of a small rabbit as it warns of a nearby predator, the soft but steady heartbeat of a resting doe. I get caught up in the scene when I hear a quick thunk! I’m startled out of my reverie and look about, my mouth open to warn of danger.
Edin is tossing her knife on the ground, apparently deep in thought. I let out a sigh of relief and go back to sensing the sounds around us. This time I try not to let myself get carried away with it.
The first watch is uneventful and as Flora and Kuu come to relieve us, I turn to Edin. In a low voice, I ask a question that has been burning in me since we first came here: “Do you also find all of this strange?” Surely I can’t be alone in this, but what if I am? What if this is something the others have known all along? Thankfully, she agrees that this is all a bit weird. Phew.
Finally, I’ll be able to get some sleep, right? But I guess others are awake: I hear mischief in our camp. Edin barks at them to quiet down. I hope they listen. It’s already hard enough to sleep when I’m in an unfamiliar place. Fitful dreams… I clutch my violin case close…
Dreams… Of rolling clouds, dark with rain. The smell of ozone. A mournful song. A crash of lightning! Burnt bodies… The air is thick with smoke and burnt flesh…
A giant bird is doing weird things with mushrooms. No, wait, that’s actually happening. Ugh, why is Shi’Eera throwing mushrooms at me? Is this some strange bird-person ritual of waking people up? So tired… What time is it? Too early… We’re going now. Where are we going? I’m being moved along. I try wiping the sleep from my eyes but it isn’t working. My thoughts, as well as my steps, are sluggish. Oops. Almost walked into a tree. Thankfully Kuu helped me sidestep that painful embarrassment.
Howling? What? Bad time for howling. Something about trees? I shake the grogginess as best as I can from my mind, enough to realize that we might be in danger. There’s talk of climbing the trees to get out of sight.
I’ve never climbed a tree in my life. I don’t see this going well.
I’m just going to stay on the ground, with Kuu, Vin, and Edin. Flora and Shi’Eera manage to get into the tree without difficulty. I draw by bow.
It’s those horrid beasts again, with the skeletal faces and hollow eyes. There are ten of them, and they’ve formed a semi-circle around us. They’re drawing close. They’re a terrifying sight to behold, but I draw a deep breath and remember my archery training. The bow is new, but my muscles remember what to do: I loose an arrow and nail one; it goes deep. Kuu and Vin look ready to charge, daring them to come closer.
A brilliant flash of light explodes from Edin. The creatures seem to be greatly affected by it, driving all but one of the wolves away. This one retaliates, launching itself at Edin, it’s tail slashing her. Oh, no! That looked like it hurt. I hope she’s okay…
Kuu goes in for the attack, her sword striking deep. Vin follows close behind and finishes it off with a flourish!
Oh. Oh gross. The skull actually cracked open. How grotesque…
I busy myself helping Edin dress her wound. I won’t be able to do anything until we get to safer territory, but she looks like she’ll be okay. I smile. She seems tough.
Deciding we’re safe for the moment, we set up camp once more and get some much needed rest. Good, because I’m completely exhausted.
Nightmares… Of hollow eyes and ear-splitting screeches…
We head off to the south in the late morning. The scenery is actually quite picturesque. The trees look like a mix between China’s bamboo, and the spruce and firs we have in Seattle… I miss Seattle… At least, a little. Can’t ever go back there.
An unwelcome shiver courses through me.
I should help look for the army. They are far ahead. We hasten.
Ugh, this mountain is steep. I’m not particularly athletic but somehow I’m managing to keep up with Flora and Shi’Eera. Where are the others? I look around, and spot them lagging behind us! That’s not good. We have to move as quickly as possible to catch up with the army, but I don’t want to leave them behind. Maybe my magic can help. I’m able to cast a weaker form of Breeze Adagio that lightens their steps. Good, they seem less fatigued now and have caught up.
On the horizon, the army is nowhere to be seen, but we’ve followed the tracks this far and know we’re heading in the right direction. Hopefully we can catch up to them before it’s too late! Up ahead we can see ravens circling, almost as if they’re watching us.
Flora seems to think she can ask an animal spirit about the army. She conjures a beautiful ethereal golden eagle that lands gracefully on her arm. Amazing! I almost can’t believe it, even though I’m standing this close and witnessing it first hand. She asks about the nomads, if they’ve passed this way recently or if it knows where we could find them. It doesn’t respond vocally, and I’m a bit disappointed. Why would I think it could talk? This world is beginning to mess with my head!
Next, she asks about the army; if it had passed this way recently. This time, it does speak! Wow! But the answer is not one Flora wants, so she shoos it away. :( I guess getting anything from animal spirits is more difficult than I thought.
A trail is leading off, diverging from the one created by the army. It looks different, as if it was created by a heavier, longer-legged creature. Possibly a horse? Maybe a scout on horseback. Overhead the birds seem to be following us. That’s a bit ominous.
We continue on, and eventually come to canyons! I haven’t seen canyons before. I was supposed to go to the Grand Canyon with… Well, it didn’t happen. I try not to think about it. The shadows bouncing off the plateau is enough to distract me. They almost seem… Alive. The rocks that are all around us, they’re moving. They’re… Behaving (?) strangely. Can rocks behave?
Flora tries to cast a spell on those birds. They’re making all of us nervous, and they’re definitely following us. But, the spell doesn’t really… Do anything. They birds seem to be soulless. Empty. They must be associated with the enemy. We talk about trying to get their attention but they’re up too high to notice any errant noise or movement we make.
There’s only one thing I can think of to do: I can play my violin quite loudly if I so chose, and I know a good song to play. I begin Scherzo-tarantelle, and as they song continues my notes become louder and more aggressive. (Entire song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPNpkufm6Tg || Where she starts playing: https://youtu.be/cPNpkufm6Tg?t=30s ) It works! But now that I’ve gotten their attention, they begin to attack us. I try using Lightning Bolero but it barely clips one of their wings. Ugh!
We begin attacking, one after the other, with both magic and physical weapons, but they’re really sturdy. And there are six of them. Thankfully, Edin gives off another powerful blast of light, scaring away some of the birds. The rest of them come after us once more, but only one lands a hit: it’s metal talons ripping into Kuu’s shoulder! No! It looks terrible… We’re able to get a few more hits in, but they just don’t go down. Edin lets out another burst of light and scares two more off. Only one left. I strike with Lightning Bolero once more; it’s alive, but barely. As it tries to fly away, Shi’Eera manages to skewer it with an arrow. The birds are gone.
Thunder rumbles in the distance.
The sun is beginning to set once more, casting more shadows in the plateau beyond us. The rocks begin floating and a haunting but stunning light flows over the canyon. Nothing here makes any sense, but this sight is really something. I’m in complete awe, and as we venture into the canyon, I’m not paying any attention to where I’m going. This is so incredible!
Ouch. That was a rock. I need to pay more attention.
We begin to make camp, but the wind that had been playing an almost cheerful melody through the cavern suddenly turns eerie and off-key when the sun disappears from view. As if by magic, a temple fades into existence where a rock-face had been. It glimmers like a mirage. Could it possibly be real? And if it is, do we dare approach?
The temple is simpler than the grand one we had seen before, but impressive all the same. We warily approach the pagoda with the wooden door. Vin and Edin open it together.
The entryway has a sense of calmness to it, of a beautiful serenity. However, nothing about it makes any sense. It shouldn’t be able to be this big. It’s much bigger on the inside than the outside. Edin says, “Like a TARDIS.” Hahahaha, yeah that’s exactly it! I say, “Wouldn’t it be nice if we were brought here by the Doctor all along?”
Everyone looks at us as if we’ve grown two heads. Though maybe that’s a common ailment in this strange world. I don’t know. Regardless, what we’re saying is apparently strange to them, even Kuu and Vin. Maybe Doctor Who isn’t popular where they’re from? I try to explain it, but I’m only confusing them more. Oh dear. Edin tells them it’s basically a work of fiction where we’re from and we leave it at that.
Before they can ask any more questions, a robed figure approaches us from out of nowhere. The robes are reminiscent of ancient Mongolian fashions. Huh. Vin introduces us as the Knights of Dragoneia; such a proclamation has him bidding us forward before the entryway closes. As we enter the main chamber, another incredible room, we’re brought before a small elegant woman with very long violet hair, standing with possibly the most attractive man I have ever seen in my life. Oh. My. God. I think I forgot out how to breathe…
We try to tell them about everything that has happened, though some of it they already know. They offer us tea and rice, which we hungrily partake in, and upon further explanation of our journey, we are told that the birds are creatures of shadow. They are symptoms of the invasion of the Sin Dragonei, who we are sworn to protect this world from.
Apparently, a very long time ago, humans from our world came to this world, bringing with them the darkness of their hearts. This world is shaped by strong desires, but one’s will, and the Sin Dragonei were born from the corruption within the humans’ hearts. This is terrible! I stand up, determined, swearing that I will do all in my power to vanquish the evil that has befallen this world. I cannot idly sit by while countless others are suffering, even if they’re from a world not my own.
Kuu follows suit, though she is worried that she does not know her purpose: she is number thirteen of twelve Knights of Dragnoeia. Arden, the really attractive guy, doesn’t seem to believe us. That’s actually kind of annoying. Does this sort of thing happen everyday? Strangely-dressed people coming from another world spouting off that they’re Knights of Dragoneia? Clearly it annoys Edin as well, as both of our magic manifests at that point.
Oracia then is delighted and believes we are who we say we are. She tells us which Dragonei each of us is a Knight of (mine is Fendelar? Hm, that resonates with me…) except that Kuu is a mystery. She senses an emptiness to her and can’t tell her who her Dragonei is, or why she has been summoned. This obviously upsets Kuu, so I try to reassure her, as do Edin and Vin! She is our friend, and that is all that matters.
We are told of armor related particularly to our Dragonei. It resides in the temples of each of our Dragonei and only the worthy can possess it. That goes for weapons too. In order to be worthy, we need to believe in ourselves as the Knights of Dragoneia.
At this point, I don’t have much doubt. How else would I explain this, except by a fantastical dream?
Oracia invites us to rest her for the time being, assuring us that we’re quite safe for now.
We’re shown to rooms we can change in, and then to the communal baths. Wow… It’s like right out of an anime. There are hot springs in this temple! I’m delighted. I’ve never been to a hot springs before.
I soak in the hot water with the others, my muscles relaxing from being overworked. Shi’Eera is nowhere to be seen, but I have a difficult time worrying about it. This place is supposedly safe and she seems the mischievous sort. Probably off getting into trouble. When she finally joins us, she brings a bottle of sake with her.
Soon, Oracia comes to join us. Vin begins questioning Arden’s devotion to Oracia, claiming his attention is because he is in love with her. Well that’s annoying. Kuu seems to be finding it annoying too. Yeah, I don’t like that idea. But it’s probably true. I mean, she’s stupidly pretty.
I’m being petty. I should stop that.
After some light banter, we all get serious and tell Oracia of the Dragonei that had told us of our destiny. She warns that it will be difficult to convince the people of who we are, but we must do it. We must save Dragoneia.
We decide then and there that we will continue our mission to find the nomads, and warn them of the threat they face.
That night, I dream of a dragon… Of lightning… Of a body swaying in shadow, held by a length of rope. I wake gasping.