Now that Sven is resting, his characteristic protests about his health finally having died down, I am able to jot down my idle musings on the past week. Thanks be to whatever god is responsible for river-crossings in vehicles most unsuited for such things and the god of health.
After being catapulted across the firmament and splashing down in the middle of the icy Maruto, Nonnus and Deathiel set about transforming our transport into something more suitable for crossing a miles-wide river in the middle of winter. As the days wore on, and the rowing continued unabated, hunger set in, which was only partially alleviated by the resourcefulness of Nonnus, Deathiel, and Szayana, the black-haired twin. Their practical works were often interrupted by the singing and dancing of Demetria. While a performance by a beautiful woman is something that should be enjoyed at leisure, the purpose and setting found the intended joy turned to fear and resentment. Why would she go seeking the attention of a god whose dominion we just recently disrupted? Thankfully, her performances came to naught, at least to all obvious senses. One particular thing of interest was Szayana locating a Chakram made of Jade within the bed. She began carrying it around as if it was of no matter, which aroused my old suspicions of the pair. Two confirmed Solars, apparently with little prior knowledge of one another, and twins, one of whom seems to have a magic tongue and the other who carries around artifacts.
With all considerations, the sailing went quite well. The waters were fairly smooth and no problems, besides alternating between nearly-freezing and nearly-starving to death, were encountered. There was a minor mishap towards the end, which had absolutely nothing to do with my impeccable seamanship, but the situation was quickly righted when I managed, through an updraft of wind and, I must confess, considerable skill, to ground the vessel upon the back of one of a demonic river turtle. Of course, without Nonnus and his barbaric wiles, I doubt the creature would have permitted such an action.
Upon landing, and quickly separating from the mating rituals of the gargantuan turtles, Nonnus went out in search of a proper camp. He returned with news of three potential sites, an ice cave, a clearing in the woods, and an inhabited camp. While an ice cave sounded terribly appealing given our situation, we opted, after much discussion, to settle in the clearing for the night, though I insisted that Nonnus guide me to the neighboring camp immediately. In my mind, it simply wouldn’t do to camp so close to someone else, they might think that we did so with some nefarious purpose in mind. Unfortunately, as Nonnus and I approached the camp, it became readily apparent that we were not dealing with pleasant traveling companions.
The Blood Stone Clan is a rather notorious group of, what I’ve now come to learn, Adorjan cultists. While I can’t confirm that the entire Clan is a Yozi cult, I wouldn’t be surprised if they were given their background. Still, the man who greeted me, whom I took as the leader of the band, seemed genial enough, even as he informed me that I was to be used as sacrifice unless I could procure a suitable replacement. Seeing an opportunity, I called out to Nonnus, informing him of the situation. Testing how others react to certain situations is of infinite use when figuring out how to use them at a later date. I more than half-expected that the barbarian would fly into a rage and tear down the camp in a bloodlust. Surprisingly, he showed a great deal of composure in how he reacted to the situation, which pleased me to no end. He left to discuss things with the others while I chatted with the cordial cannibal for some time.
Unfortunately, a time comes in every captivity where the risks outweigh the rewards. In this particular scenario, it came about when a higher up in the Blood Stone Clan came by to check on things. Much of what transpired between the Clan members was communicated in some tongue unknown to me, but the gist of the situation seemed quite unfriendly. What’s more, the commander came carrying a golden artifact covered in ice that seemed to resonate with me, much to my chagrin. As a man approached with manacles, I made good my escape. A short time afterwards, I came upon many of the group coming towards the camp, no doubt on a mission to rescue me, dears that they are.
While my companions and I made our way back to camp, I related some of the more important facts to them. Unfortunately, it seems that the Yozi cultists somehow beat us back to camp, leaving Nonnus’ prisoner dead, Luscious frightened half to death, and poor Sven wandering about camp holding in a wound the likes of which I feared would finally be the end of him. Thankfully, my slapdash training in the art of field surgery was enough to ensure that the man didn’t bleed out in the middle of the forest. While I did what I could for him, Szayana and Nonnus took off towards the Blood Stone camp. Szayana returned with Nonnus, some horses, and a small Wyld-touched barbarian boy, though they were both close-lipped regarding what transpired in their absence.
An interesting fight began between Demetria and Nonnus concerning the recently deceased prisoner. Something about Demetria burning the man seemed to displease Nonnus, but as his face turned red with anger, Demetria asked him why he was angry with her when his body had been afire when we returned. While I appraised the situation silently, everyone, including Nonnus, nodded in agreement about how the events transpired. My thoughts on the situation were quickly cut short as Szayana came close to me, the aforementioned accursed artifact in her hand, glowing ever brighter the nearer she came to me.
While my mind raced trying to come up with a credible excuse, the twins made the announcement that they too were Solars, even as the Wyld mutant began pacing about babbling in his barbaric tongue. Soon the clearing was alight with the caste marks of not only the Solars in the group, but a mark was upon the strange boy as well. A rush of conversation soon began, which was quickly interrupted by the idea that it might be best to relocate. To the ice caves we went!
Of course, nothing can ever be simple. The ice caves turned out to simply be the entrance of a large complex, apparently designed by a previous incarnation of mine, who was married, a woman, was some kind of mad engineer, and knew the other four Solars in the group. I must say that I’m still reeling from all of this information as we settle into our roles. It seems that we’re safe from the Blood Stone Clan, seeing as the very walls of the cavern closed behind us as we entered. However, I think the next few days will be a bit hectic as we explore this old home of ours.