Where Do We Go Now?
Session 6: Sep 15, 2019
In Mabel Village, the mercenary party prepared their horses and readied themselves for the trek to the Spring of Wellness. Zedeki took the map Gongu and Namika created and took it to Dax at the jail house. The Downrigger was surprised to see him again, remembering that they intended on taking Killiack to wherever his sister was. Zedeki gave him a copy of the map. Dax was surprised to see that it appeared to be up in the mountains near Mabel Village. He promised Zedeki he would investigate if he could, but most of his manpower was spent hunting for the masked people in the sewer access below the village. He once again promised Zedeki and his group that he would reward them if they could assist him should they return to the village.
The party departed from Mabel Village and began traveling on the dirt road towards the east. The days were steadily growing colder, and today was no exception. The only person they passed on the road was an eldery guard from Mabel who Killiack recognized as Old Man Copper. He politely waved to the party and, though his strange ramblings, warned them of the road up ahead. Ophinia noticed his shield was heavily damaged, but Copper didn’t seem to notice or care.
Night was approaching and the party ventured off the road for a place to camp. Zedeki stood watch while Namika helped Killiack find some firewood and Gongu and Ophinia took care of the horses. As the group began to warm themselves, Zedeki and Namika noticed the ground beneath them tremble slightly. The moment the sun went down beyond the horizon, three large skeletons burst from the ground beneath their feet. They drew magical longswords from the earth and attacked.
Zedeki assessed the situation quickly. Seeing one of the horses receive a grievous wound, he magically banished a Stalfos so that Ophinia could help the horse and stand to defend it. Gongu and Whisper drew one of the Stalfos towards them and quickly put it down. Namika deftly avoided the attacks of the last Stalfos long enough for Zedeki to get behind it and slice it apart. Killiack was frustrated that his skill with the bow was not yet good enough to help them. Zedeki offered to train him along the road as they continued to travel the next day.
That night, Namika stood watch over the party while they slept. The sky was beautifully clear and a sea of stars met her eyes. For a brief moment, she felt relaxed in Calatia. While she looked to the sky, she saw movement from the corner of her eye. A dark shape quickly passed across the moon, moving silently south. Once it was past the moon, it was gone.
In the morning, the party awoke to a thick fog that had settled on the lowlands. They quietly ate their food and prepared the horses for travel again.
Around midday, Ophinia noticed tracks in the dirt. She indicated to Zedeki and he flew off towards the south to follow them. After a few moments, he returned to the party with the broken shaft of Ophinia’s javelin that she had given to Ior a few days ago. Zedeki told them that there appeared to have been a fight on the road, but the tracks of a Bokoblin and a small child had continued back to the road at a faster pace towards the Featherwood Forest. Ophinia held onto the javelin, worried about Ior and Leera.
But her worries were unfounded. The party came to the Featherwood Forest and followed the smaller path through the trees to the Spring of Wellness. Leera (now with purple skin, purple clothing, and purple hair) joyously reunited with Killiack. Huk was very happy to see the party again, and Ior waved happily from the spring, dying his skin a deeper purple color. The party profusely apologized for what had happened to Ior, but Huk simply said that there was nothing to worry about. “There are good people and bad people in this world. But almost all people hate Bokoblins.” He explained that the Downrigger was usually a very rash person and would most likely killed Ior, but something stayed his hand from killing. “The Downrigger is mean, but is also a good person. We are not angry.”
Huk offered to let them stay at the spring and the campground for free as long as they would want. He and Ior went down to the campground to talk with another patron, a heavily tattooed goron named Tangu, leaving the mercenaries to rest in the spring. Zedeki decided to bathe because it would dye his feathers purple and make him appear to be someone else, potentially masking his identity. Ophinia and Namika entered as well, eager to rest from their injuries with the Stalfos. Gongu opted to stay out, feeling that his bare skin turning purple would likely attract the wrong kind of attention to their group.
The party discussed their next course of action. Many roads were ahead of them now. The masked people were meeting in a place in the mountains just north of Mabel Village. They also knew that some masked people were in Mabel Village itself, using the sewers below the town to hide. They also remembered that Tarin from the Southern Lighthouse mentioned that the supply cart from Oldtown was late. Ultimately, the group settled on returning to Mabel Village to assist the Downrigger. They had to return their rented horses anyway, and the Downrigger was offering them rupees if they would assist in his investigation of the sewers. Once the party looked into the sewers, they could go to the mountains and find the meeting place afterwards.
That night, everyone sat around the campfire while Huk’s brother, Mook, served a rather disgusting soup with some unknown meat product. Gongu spent some time chatting with Tangu, apparently another Hyrulean goron who had immigrated to Calatia over a year ago. Killiack and Leera were both hired by Huk to work at the Spring of Wellness, working as a pool cleaner and animal caretaker respectively.
Huk gave to each of the mercenaries a special magical item to thank them for what they had done for his son. To Zedeki, Huk gave a Stamina Ring that would keep him from exhausting himself. Ior told his father that Zedeki rescued him from the jail in Mabel, but that Zedeki was very tired. To Namika, Huk had a Sheikah relic that he had found in the far north years ago. It was a broken Lens of Truth, but it still had some magical power in it that could be useful to her. To Gongu, Huk produced a small black totem shaped like a wolf. The Ice Gorons of the far north use them on their wolf companions and give them magical powers, but Huk explained that this totem was cursed and won’t work until its curse is broken. To Ophinia, Huk gave two golden Bokoblin Teeth. When crushed, these would polymorph the user into a Bokoblin for a time, and this could be useful if they run into trouble down the road.
As the party went off to sleep, Namika stayed up and talked with Huk. Huk was very happy to see them all again, and again thanked them for taking care of his son. He told Nami that many Sheikah shrines and things could be found in the far north, but that she should take care if she travels that way. Huk went to sleep and left Namika alone in the campground. As they went to sleep, she looked up at the clear sky again. Once again, she caught the movement of a shape across the image of the moon. This time, she focused on it and could make out that it was humanoid in shape and was moving north, albeit more slowly than the previous night.
In the morning, the party woke to Huk reheating the soup from the previous night and packing it for them to eat on the road. Huk mentioned that he got a letter from Tarin via carrier pigeon. Tarin wrote that Il had abandoned him (but that he was okay with this), and that the supply cart from Oldtown still hadn’t arrived. The party seemed worried about this, but Huk assured him that he would send Puni or Mook to investigate.
The party said their goodbyes to Huk and his family, and to Leera and Killiack. Ophinia gave Leera a hug. She said she knew that Leera was a lot older than her, but she felt protective of her. Ophinia gave to Leera a small silver ring that she recovered off her mother’s body before burying her a few days ago. Leera teared up when she saw it. She had given this ring to her adoptive mother because her memory was sometimes a little off. The ring, Leera explained, helped people remember things. But she gave the ring back to Ophinia to keep. “You can have it,” said Leera. “I’m over 4,000 years old. I’ve seen a lot of things. I don’t want to remember this.” Ophinia asked her if she could do anything more for her, and Leera sadly asked if Ophinia would keep an eye out for her fairy. Leera’s fairy was lost so long ago that Leera didn’t even remember her name anymore.
As the party left the forest, Ior ran up to Ophinia and shyly gave her a new javelin that he and Huk enchanted for her. It looked very rustic, but Ophinia could certainly use it. She thanked Ior and they departed for the lowlands and returned to the road to Mabel Village. They pushed the horses harder this time, eager to return to the village before nightfall.
As the sun began to set, the guards waved them into town. Ophinia and Gongu headed towards the merchant district and the end of the road to return the horses and their rented cart. Gongu and Bato, the drunken stablemaster, spoke back and forth while Ophinia inspected the horses and returned My Lady and The Gentleman back to their stable, thanking them for their help. In his drunken stupor, Bato overpaid their deposit return. Gongu and Ophinia took pity on the poor goron, and helped him into his barn to sleep.
Zedeki and Namika decided to find a new inn for the night, seeking a smaller place where they could draw less attention. Unfortunately, the only place they could find was The Rusty Anchor, an inn full of nothing but Zora. The Zora were ecstatic to see non-Zora enter their establishment, and quickly tried to make them feel welcome with chatter, games, and fish stew. Namika left to meet up with Ophinia and Gongu at the Downrigger’s jail house, while Zedeki secured the room for the night.
Dax was very pleased to see the party of mercenaries return so quickly. He told them everything he had learned in the past few days. First, the sewer access leads down to another structure below the town. Mabel Village, he explained, used to be Mabel City and was the capital of Calatia before people moved north. A Sheikah-built cistern was created deep underground - below the water level of the ocean itself - for collecting fresh water for the many inhabitants. But Dax and his guards could not venture down further because a Sheikah door stands in the way that he could not get past.
Second, Dax inquired about the map of the meeting place. A librarian in town identified the area of the mountains where the ancient Temple of Paraba should be. The temple was only a myth, though. No one had ever seen it and there were few records that it even existed. The Church of the Caretaker made no mention of Paraba, but Dax had learned that it used to be a god or spirit from ancient times.
Ophinia picked up something else when the Downrigger was speaking to them. He seemed extremely worried, and explained that there was unrest in Mabel Village. As he mentioned previously, the Elder of the village, Ulrira, was particularly unpopular in town with some of the wealthier people. Dax himself was not pleased with how Ulrira was running the town, but he was bound to protect and serve him. He felt that Ulrira’s time as Elder of the village may soon be over, and that the transition of power may not be peaceful.
As they left, Ophinia felt that she needed to pray to Hylia. She left Gongu and Namika and found herself in the dirty alley with the small shrine to Hylia again. As she prayed, a strange prickly feeling overcame her and she heard a voice.
_“Who….. are you..?”
Ophinia identified herself as a paladin and servant of Hylia.
_“Hylia…. I …. have not heard… that name…. in so long…. I am the Caretaker.”
Surprised to hear the voice of a new god, Ophinia said that she sought guidance from Hylia to help her with her path forward. The Caretaker offered to speak to Hylia on her behalf and would find her for answers. The strange prickly feeling that Ophinia got left her feeling disturbed. The feeling of the Caretaker was not the same warmth that she felt when she communed with Hylia. Brushing off the shrine, she stood up and followed the path to The Rusty Anchor.
The party reconvened in their room and explained the situation to Zedeki. They were settled on helping Dax with investigating the cistern, and Namika, being Sheikah, should be able to get them past the door at its entrance. The group settled down and slept for the night, while Ophinia stayed up to keep watch.
Something was troubling her. From what she knew about the Caretaker, he was supposed to be a guiding light that would keep the darkness away. People always said “May the Caretaker guide you”, but Ophinia felt no guidance from him at all. While she pondered this, the prickly feeling overcame her again, filling her head with confusion. Then she saw a ghastly shape phase through the wall into the room. A tall figure shrouded in white, wisping robes held a lantern of blackness in one gnarled black hand. The other hand reached out to attack, draining her energy. She woke her comrades and they sprang to defend her. As the ghost began to crumble to ash from their attacks, Ophinia heard the voice again, telling her to beware.
“That was not the Caretaker,” she said quietly.