The Flower in the Sepulcher

Words with the Spider

The spider knows that these ones are untrustworthy. No sooner had they pledged their aid to the smuggler than they began discussing reneging on their agreement. These ones are Lars Blackenwood, bogged down in the fake scale, Bosou Koblamin, the warrior, hears his desires, Mina Brewer, who traffics in the dark magicks, and who Sogbo, loa of lightning, watches gleefully, and Owain Greenwood, who carries some issue with the armed ones and the favor of Ogoun. These ones accompanied me and the RiverWalker to recover the goods of the Mosquito Empire, who trafficked in the Dark Magicks, and fell for their hubris.

The people of Treff have many problems. The spider foresaw them in the cards, as I sat with them in the dirt and the dust of the city streets. Rats in the cellar, caravans that will never arrive, boats full of loved ones which will sink into the bog and rot away, like all that enters the swamp rots away.

Waste not, want not is the way of the people, and yet the preparations to find this artifact were for naught, so good was the direction of the RiverWalker that though Legba waited to seek out the artifact and lead me there his direction was unnecessary. More useful would have been Kalfu’s afflictions to bring night to the aberration which waylaid the caravan.

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Mina's Notebook, pp 51-53

North Dockside:

Appears to be a primarily dwarven district in Treff. Foundries, small squat homes, shipping, the biggest crane I’ve ever seen in my life.

Flux:

The central district, and I’d guess the priciest – although maybe Port Willow compares? Lots of extravagance in the inns, a truly ancient amphitheater/apiary(/lizardfolk temple?), listing of the laws of the city of Treff. Also, Lemuel’s Blossom: revered by the lizardfolk here, who I heard chanting in Draconic (probably a prayer?). As amazingly scented as I’d heard, taller than most buildings in Stone Table, and it keeps the mosquitoes away.

Another thought about lizardfolk religion: I met a boatman named Saresh who says he “reads the ripples of the river” – as far as I understand, he’s some sort of contemplative, seeking knowledge (and apparently rather practical knowledge) through the act of traveling the waters of the swamp. Lizardfolk are matriarchal in general, and their priesthood is really more of a priestesshood, so my best guess is that this is the corresponding masculine role in their spiritual life. Like a nun in the Cudgel church, just with more boats.

South Fen:

I like it here! Working-class district, smells like brewing in places. Points of interest: adventuring gear shop with a very friendly older gnome from Stone Table (Big), the Knight of Nails statue (and adjoining inn), a bakery next to the inn (see Clyde, I told you I’d write that down), the Full Quiver inn/adventurer’s guild. Good beer, friendly proprietor (Xante) who you do not want to mess with. That bow on the wall in the bar is dragonbone. There aren’t many master archers who can pull a dragonbone bow, much less aim one. I’d put five silver on those quivers being full of magic arrows too.

Merchant’s Guild:

Something is a bit fishy about these guys, or at least the one we were dealing with. First, smuggling – seems to be poor form if you want to maintain an air of respectability like he was putting on. Second, not really sure what the story is with that box. I’m going to have to learn how to take off arcane locks one of these days.

Traveling in the Swamp:

This isn’t your usual tromp through the forest. It’s wet – thoroughly waterproofed everything I own, except Mom’s vest which didn’t seem to need it. Bugs EVERYWHERE – the mosquito netting Miz Charmaine gave me as a parting present may now be my second-most-prized possession. I’ll also have to ask Maman Bayou about how this verminbane works, I might be able to make some. Mobility is extremely limited in places – I can’t count on getting out of range and blasting. Might have to poke at the magic until I figure out a solution – anything that I can use without having to deal with being attacked while casting. I am glad that I figured out how to enhance my swimming abilities with magic, though.

New Companions:

I happened to be on a boat with three other adventurers answering the same job that was put out.

Maman Bayou is a lizardfolk from the swamp. She’s got a touch with divine magic, a conviction that she needs to help without getting paid (although “gifts” are always acceptable), and she isn’t bothered by the bugs or water, unlike humans like me and …

Lars is quite skilled with a sword, a bit slow on his feet due to the heavy armor though. He’s a horseman so really we’ve got less in common than I do with…

Owain is a half-elf from the Stag Kingdom. Extremely proficient woodsman, great shot with a bow, apparently has amazing fingernails, according to…

Ahuizotl:

Someone told me about these when I mentioned heading for the swamp, and if I didn’t know for a fact that there are such things as owlbears, I’d have called them on their bullshit right there. Well, at least until I saw a deformed giant otter with a prehensile hand-tail with my own eyes. And heard it express its weird fingernail fetish… maybe it needs additional keratin in its diet to maintain those enormous tail-hand-nails? I can confirm that it speaks Common (not sure about other languages) and can mimic voices perfectly. It’s clearly intelligent enough to play mind games and set up ambushes, using said mimic abilities to cry for “help”. They can hide in shallow water – I’d guess just enough to come over their heads, if the water’s murky enough – and will lash out with their tail-hand if enticing prey passes near.

They’re extremely strong, with nasty teeth and a tail-hand that’s specialized for grasping (and drowning!) prey. Fortunately, all of their abilities seem to be physical. They can mimic voices and bite and grapple, but I’d guess if you keep a good 15 feet from the water, they’ll have to come on land to get to you. Thirty feet, and you can pepper them with arrows and spells to your heart’s content. Spells work especially well, in fact – no apparent arcane resistance, and they’re big and not too swift so hitting them with an orb is about as easy as hitting the narrow side of a barn. No problem shocking it either.

Speaking of Shocking Things:

Still not really sure why I have such an aptitude for that. Lots of times today when it would have been nice to have fire on tap, but I just can’t get a hang of burning hands. Maybe I’ll just give up on that and try to do… something with electricity? Yeah, there has to be something that’ll work. I’ll get back to you on that.

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