War of the Book

A Day Like Any Other
How a book can ruin your life

A windy, dull day it is, in the early springtime.

Aislan has woken up this day, deep in the woods outside Durry, with another vision, this one quite powerful. When the vision passes, she tells Eoghan about it and asks him to go with her to market in Durry.

Eoghan agrees.

Nola awakes in Durry Abbey today. She is very sad today. Her lover, Roarc, is missing for the third straight day. Meanwhile, Shlavain the old farmer wants to see her again.

Maeve awakes and is immediately bothered by Dermit the scamp of Durry Abbey. He has heard of some mischief done by Matt the wizard.

Thorros awakes and heads over the to Script House for another day of writing under the stern watch of Brother Ninnian. He’s happy because he just got a very large, very real piece of gold.

Book Thieves

On a troubling morning, the forest-people Eoghan and Aislan made their way from the woods into the town of Durry. When they arrived, they heard the bell of the nearby Abbey ringing the alarm. Brother Ninnian had sounded the alarm when he went into the Script House in the morning and found that the Book of Wisdom was missing. The Book is perhaps the most valuable item in all Erin. It transpired that Abbot Burnim had had the book spirited away from the richer monastery in the south, its normal home, so he could make a quick copy. Ninnian gave the task to the scribe Thorros, who was so distracted by the riches on the cover that he took his time with it, napping and doodling as much as writing. And this morning, the book was gone.

When Ninnian rang the bell, it alerted Nola and Maeve, acolytes in different ways, who were making their way across the grounds. They had just bumped into Thorros – who did not have the book – on the advice of Dermit the Unloved, scamp of the Abbey. A frantic search began. Abbot Burnim was beside himself.

The townspeople came out of their homes and headed to the Abbey to see what was happening. Eoghan and Aislan followed. They noticed, however, one villager behaving strangely. It was Tomaltach, a logger, running against the stream with something bundled under his tunic. Eoghan grabbed one of the villagers – Ronan the farmer – and pointed him out. Ronan told them to watch the man, and went to tell the Abbot.

The forest people watched Tom as he made his way to his lodge, near the trees. Ronan alerted the folks in the Abbey, who broke off their search and scrambled down into the village. There they found Tomaltach trying to climb to the roof of his house and hios wife, Mornye, clutching him desperately, trying to keep him from leaving. At this point, Thorros and the forest-folk noticed two Druids in the forest, the elder, Maevan, atop a large oak and the younger, Nyavin, in the underbrush. Both were casting spells.

Mornye tried to stop Tomaltach from reaching the roof, pulling at his leg and begging him to stay. He dislodged a stone from the house and struck her with it. She crumpled, head broken, he right in front of her three terrified children. At this, Nola, Maeve, and Ronan leapt onto the house walls, trying to get to the top.

Just as Maeve climbed up, however, the Druid’s spells went off. Tomaltach rose in the air and was carried off on a gust of wind. As he sailed away, he held up the book in triumph, revealing among other things a doodle on the end piece, a leaf with a water drop labeled “Children of Gozreh.”

Eoghan drew his bow, which brought gasps from the villagers, and fired an arrow at Tomaltach as he sailed away. The arrow struck home and the man fell, yet the book did not fall. Instead, the wounded man and the book floated off, over the trees, and out of sight.

Maevan turned into a hawk and flew away. Eoghan and Maeve cornered the hapless acolyte Nyavin in the forest eaves and quickly brought her to surrender. Burnim and Ninnian arrived and, in full panic at the loss of the book, offered rewards of the entire monastic order to anyone who could return the book. This attracted the attention of Thorros, who immediately volunteered to find it. Eoghan and Aislan were similarly interested, immediately, in searching for it, for unknown reasons. Maeve had a look of righteous dedication in her eyes and followed. Nola did as well.

While the villagers consoled the abandoned children of Tomaltach and took custody of the the vile acolyte Nyavin – embers likely to be her fate – these five companions leapt into the woods at Eoghan’s lead and sprinted off in the direction the book had last flown.

But before they left, the rich old farmer Shlavin came to Nola and warned her that she should give up all hope for her lover Roarc. “He is gone for good,” he said, winking at Thorros. Shlavin then told her to marry him, if she knew what was good for her. After stern looks from Maeve, the nasty old fellow shambled back to his lodge. Nola is left wondering – where is Roarc?

On the Hunt
The party pursues the book.

Five young people race through the woods in pursuit of the lost Book of Wisdom. Each has their own motive! They run in the book’s last known direction, northeast. They have run off in a hurry and may not have all the gear they need.

A Difficult Trail
The Book of Wisdom is almost lost

The party – by what name will they be known? – pushed deeper and deeper into the wood, heading northwest in pursuit of the Book of Wisdom. Following signs of the wild, Eoghan pointed them along a path that eventually opened upon Brogan’s Farm, where they found Brogan berating his wife for having becoming trapped under a large stone in the middle of a field. The stone removed and the wife’s foot healed, we learned that Maevan the Druid and his accomplice Tomaltach had appeared there. The Druid had cast a few nasty spells (one dropping the rock on the poor wife who had come out to investigate) then headed off to the East. Under the stone was found one piece of parchment from the book itself, a sheet with magical writing, later deciphered as “I go to the Mare’s Bath.”

While muddling over all this, the group was attacked by a scarecrow brought to life by Maevan’s magic. Fighting the thing off yielded them the gratitude of the Brogans, who gave them provisions for their further journeys. Before leaving, though, the group had to deal with one last bit of Maevan’s work: Brogan’s brother Kyalarn’s spirit had been swapped with that of the farm dog Happy. Kyalarn yapped “Hey! Hey! Hey!” while the (un)Happy dog looked on mournfully. This sideshow was gleefully orchestrated by Dermit the scamp, who had followed along hoping to find the treasure first. The group impressed on Dermit the importance of his taking the man and the dog back to town forthwith, for a cure.

With that, the party headed East in pursuit of Maevan. They attempted to track him for almost 36 hours but the crafty old man had covered his tracks magically. It was hopeless, and dangerous; during the nights, the group was attacked by wolves and bandits. Fortunately, Aislan’s skill with a longsword came into play and these foes were dispatched. Nonetheless, on the third morning the group realized that the only clue was the page left by the book – “I go to the Mare’s Bath.” Was the book speaking to them? What is the Mare’s Bath? In Nola’s recollection, it had something to do with a mad Druidic ritual; only Druids or perhaps the Fey would know.

The party made contact with some of Eoghan and Aislan’s people deep in the wood, but they knew nothing. They did however recommend checking with Nyalin, the captured Druid acolyte back in Durry, or old Sconief, wife of Durry’s reeve Fergus, known to be ‘the wisest woman within 100 miles.’ There was also a Leprechaun known to inhabit Long Rock.

With a heavy heart, the group chose to head back to Durry. It had been two full days of tramping in the woods, for nothing. It was a quiet march back. Nola took the occasion to pressure Thorros about his dealings with Roarc her beloved and Shlavin, the disgusting old farmer, but learned nothing – “Talk to Shlavin” she was told.

Upon returning to Durry, the party spoke first to the Druid, who cursed them and all their kind, for spawning people all over the land and destroying nature. But she was proud to tell them all she knew of the Mare’s Bath. This is the sacred ritual of coronation performed by the man chosen to be High King of all Erin. The man was to mate with a white mare. Then the mare was slaughtered, and the man ate the raw flesh while bathing in a broth of the mare’s blood. The group gave Nyalin over to her handlers and left without reporting what was said to Burnim the Abbot.

The tale of Mare’s Bath was confirmed by Sconief. She suggested that the book was indeed telling them to head to Tara, site of the ritual. Though there had been no news of a King’s death, perhaps it had happened and a new King was about to be chosen. The local tribe, the Fannians, would probably be told to send representatives.

The party prepared for a journey of a week or more to Tara. Before leaving, though, the heart-broken Nola insisted that they stop and have a word with Shlavin. The old fellow accosted her and demanded to set a date for marriage, but a slight beating by Maeve the monk opened his heart: He had had Thorros cast a spell that entombed Roarc in a small garnet. The garnet was donated to the Abbey. And Thorros had seen that same garnet mounted on the rich leather cover of the Book of Wisdom, had in fact gotten the sense the Roarc was calling to him from that stone as it flew away! This of course only heightened Nola’s desire to find the book and bring her lover back. As they exit Shlavin’s lodge, the party hears a man shouting Hey Hey Hey – apparently Dermit has returned but not faithfully executed his charge.

Thus the party set themselves on a journey to the East, deep into the heart of Erin, to Tara, seat of the High Kings. A long journey for those who had not traveled much beyond the little town of Durry. The group feels more than capable, and yet, their powers were also quite surprising. None of them really knew that they were capable of defeating the dangers they had seen quite so easily. Well, perhaps one of them felt it. What they may not have been conscious of, but was surely true, was that word about them had begun to spread. How many can strike a bird in flight with an arrow fired from 100 feet away? How many can cause a foot to become healed in an instant? How many can cause burning fire to erupt from their hands? These things have all been seen by ordinary folk, and rumors have begun to spread.

Experience: 2000
Treasure: From the bandits: Sheets of Pergamon, Copper, Lead, Vinegar.

To Tara
The party leaves Durry for the seat of Erin's High Kings

Different sources point to Tara as the book’s destination, so the Five have decided to go there. A road leads from the village into the heartland of the island. It is green springtime.

Crossing the Isle
A harrowing first journey away from Durry

The party left Durry for the east as swiftly as possible. They pushed themselves and made good time at first. Thorros bargained with the merchant Timon, who traded them a Wand of Erase, a potion of Cure Moderate Wounds, and a scroll of Mage Armor for some sheets of pergamon and two prepared inks. Maeve asked him to keep an eye out for items of protection and spread the word among the merchants about them; they would be known to the merchants as “Thorros and his companions.”

The next two nights were spent camping in the open, by the road. On the second night, the Companions of Thorros were attacked by goblins and what seemed to be a powerful mage. The mage dropped them into a pit and the goblins surrounded them. The goblins were easily driven off and they got themselves out of the pit well enough, but the mage was nowhere to be found. Nola decided to check for magic around them and discovered a powerful aura completely surrounded them. The goblins turned out to be illusions. Sensing their weakness and recalling tales of powerful mysterious beings in the woods, Eoghan called out and asked what they should do. A voice commanded, “Write the sign on the scroll.” Aislan had been given a vision of Celtic weaving, which she duly wrote on a magic scroll that had been provided. At that a company of powerful Elves materialized from the wood. Their leader, Dunachan the Brown, said that he had heard of a strange group of extremely powerful men, guided by visions. The illusion and the sign was a test to see if this was indeed that company. Knowing now their powers, Dunachan warned the party to take care not to incur the wrath of the Elves, but at the same time to call for help, near any wood. That call may or may not be answered, depending on their choices and the situation. The party learned that the Elves are Erin’s oldest inhabitants, far more powerful than any men, but content to remain hidden in the forests unless and until something causes them to get involved. The encounter with Dunachan encouraged the party to give themselves a title somewhat more exalted than “Companions of Thorros” – they had become the Seekers of the Book.

Seekers of the Book? Indeed. For as they traveled onwards, the five came to realize that many people were interested in the Book of Wisdom and its whereabouts. Just the next day they ran into Comolan, a monk of the order of Columba, who is a student of Finnian of Moville. The connection? Moville is the main monastery of the Good Monks. The Book of Wisdom belongs there. Finnian is the Abbot of that place. Columba is one among many who have sent out assistants and students to search, and Comolan is one of them. He offered to receive the book from the party, should they find it, and told them he would give it to the right person. Then he departed for Tullamore, a monastery in the dead center of Erin that was founded by his master Columba.

The party continued on the road to Tara and that evening was delighted to come upon a farm with a large longhouse, complete with good smells and wisps of white smoke rising from the chimney. Knocking, they were received by a rough fellow, whom Maeve immediately distrusted. The Seekers decided to move on but Eoghan heard the sound of trapped folks coming from a root cellar in the yard. The cellar door was covered in debris, oddly. Going to investigate, Eoghan triggered an all-out attack by the bandits who had taken over the inn. Too bad for the bandits, really. Their one good moment, and the most dangerous one for the party so far, came when they surrounded the wizard Thorros. As we know, when a wizard is surrounded by bandits, it usually goes poorly for the wizard. This time, however, Aislan stepped up to Thorros’ flank with her longsword of doom. That gave Thorros enough space to scorch three of the fellows with his fire-hands, and Aislan proceeded to eviscerate what was left. Meanwhile Eoghan, Nola, and Maeve clopped off the other bandits. They rescued Mochta and Moin, red-headed innkeepers, who gave them the bandit’s treasure as a reward.

The next morning, Niall and five Fannians arrived. They had been sent by the Fannian King, Owney, who had heard via rumor that someone had talked to the Druid Nyalin in Durry and then sped off to the east. Niall had chased them for four days and was prepared to arrest the group and take them back to Owney for questioning as to their motives, but they satisfied him by telling the truth – they seek the powerful Book. Niall said that his master would be very interested in having such a book and he also declared that he did not trust the wood folk, Aislan and Eoghan, in the least. Yet he let the party proceed.

The next day the Seekers came to a ravine and were attacked by Twigjacks. Nasty thorny things. But they too were defeated. Day by day, hour by hour, the feeling grows that this group has more power than it should. What is the source of this power? Why does it grow? Why did Aislan seem so comfortable with a vision of a Celtic knot? What about Maeve’s sensation of some cold, undead thing? How does Nola cure so effortlessly? Thorros knows spells, but is amazed himself at how powerful they are. Eoghan has suddenyl become a better tracker – how can that be?

All of these questions take on more relevant as the party approaches Tara.

Gained 1,000 XP per person.

On Tara's Verge
The Seekers of the Book approach the Seat of Kings.

Having hazarded most of the isle, the group is near Tara, and every traveler seems to be going there for the ceremony to install the new king.

Great Games
How the Seekers became the Champions of Tara

Arriving at Tara, the Seekers found it alive with activity. They soon learned that winners of games would be invited to sleep in the King’s Guest Hall, where treasures would be kept for being shared out on the next day, the day of the coronation ceremony. Eoghan won an arhcery contest by splitting a bull’s-eyed arrow. Maeve lost a woodburst contest to Buto, a lout. Aislan beat several contenders about the head and neck, winning the moot combat trial. Thorros guessed that there were exactly 374 beans in the sack. And Nola miraculously cured three people of their demonic “possessions” – deafness, migraines, and constipation, respectively. To top it off, the party beat the Kilkenny Raiders in a hurling match. Word went around the grounds about the Five of Durry, their amazing powers, the stupendous performances, their quite possibly evil, or magic, or both, abilities.

Nonetheless the Seekers were allowed to sleep in the King’s Guest Hall with the treasure, along with Buto the lout, Gemman a bard, and Donald, a handsome fellow. Piled under a tapestry in the back was the Book of Wisdom. Guards were invited to drink and be merry and as a result several of them fell asleep in the night. Not the Seekers, who kept careful watch. Early on in the night, Eoghan noticed as Donald was called away on a social errand. Later, many of the guards slept and so Nola woke the group. Eoghan snuck to the book and took it back to his cot, sleeping uneasily with it the rest of the night.

Morning came and as the Seekers discussed what to do, a great ruckus arose. Aedh, protected of Ruadh, had been killed during a violent game of hurling. Demanding justice of the new King, the monk Ruadh and a crowd of his followers (including Columba and his assistant, Comolan) stormed up the hill to the King’s Hall. In the tumult, the Seekers made it know to Comolan that they had the book in their possession. A meeting was arranged, down the hill and far away from the crowd. As they left the King’s fort, the Seekers heard the upshot of the proceedings up above: The Monks had cursed Tara and were departing.

Moments later, however, the Seekers met with Comolan and Columba, and handed over the book. But before doing that, Aislan and Eoghan had a certain page erased, and Nola had a certain gem removed. This gem they gave over to Columba, asking the great man to perhaps do something about the fellow trapped inside.

Rourke Returns!
One Seeker of the Book Finds Her Lost Love

After returning the precious Book of Wisdom to Columba, the monk takes care of poor Rourke, trapped in a garnet gem.

Grigs in Tullamore
The party helps the chief scribe

Briefly noted this time –
Roarc is freed, pledges fealty to Columba, begs Nola to do the same in anticipation of their wedding someday. Columba sends him on travels.

The party agrees to go to Tullamore. At Tullamore, they confront Columba about the nature of his actions with the book. In the end they are satisfied, despite misgivings.

The party buys some things from Bravan, the quartermaster monk at Tullamore.

Waiting for their next assignment (accompany the book to Moville), they help Dypta the chief scribe deal with the theft of inks.

Watching in the night, they see grigs stealing inks. The follow the grigs to their lair and attempt to recover stolen inks. The grigs harass them and giggle. Then a giant wasp attacks and almost carries Nola away. But she is saved at the last minute by shots from Eoghan and Aislan. The grateful grigs give them some stuff including a nice painting.


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