Chapter 02: Shaking the Tree

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Session Number: 73
Date: Sunday 14 November 2010
Venue: Fergus'
PCs & Players:

Arrian Rog1/Clr8 (Fergus) (kills: none)
Emily Ftr3/Rog6 (Yeran) (kills: none)
Feren Rog9 (Yeran) (kills: none)
Rowaine Pal9 (Craig) (kills: none)
Troll Wiz9 (Densial) (kills: none)

XP Awarded: TBC

As the party travels, Rowaine has a conversation with Troll.

"If we do manage to find the queen's tower and activate it, is that all the queen wants? I'm just worried that the queen is going to want the keys to it. Or you, Troll…"

"Once it's activated, I think I'm quite safe," Troll replies. "She can't get me - I could just transport away. I suppose she wants it activated because there might be matre in the area."

The party push through the forest until it starts getting dark. A watch is arranged. Rowaine calls Harley as additional protection and the night passes.

At midday on the fourth such day, Caprian halts.

"OK," he says. "I'm not really into going too much further."

"I understand," Rowaine says.

Caprian nods ahead. "The area you seek is about half an hour in that direction."

"Is it obvious?"

"I don't know," Caprian replies. "Nobody has been there."

"Thank you very much for your assistance in getting us this far, Caprian," Arrian says.

"I am going to stay in the area for a few days to hunt. If you need me, I will find you." The elf turns and disappears into the forest.

"OK Feren," says Rowaine. "You're up. Lead on."

It has been a long time since Feren and the queen's children made this journey, and Feren was not leading then. He struggles to recognise the surroundings, but sets out confidently. Six hours later the forest still looks much the same.

"Rowaine," says Arrian, "how about an aerial scout?"

Rowaine finds a clear spot in the canopy above. "Troll, two minutes after we leave, can you Fiery Burst straight up through that hole?" She then calls Harley and together with Arrian they take to the air.

The canopy lies relatively flat in all directions. Harley flies a lazy circle as Rowaine and Arrian look for anything that might resemble a tower, large tree or clearing. They see nothing of the sort. Troll's Fiery Burst leads them back to the others.

"Nothing," Rowaine reports. "Feren, are you sure we are in the right area?"

"Well, the area around the tree was dark and forboding, and it was hard to get to. That's not here."

"Dark as in the sunlight was blocked, or dark because the vegetation was changing colour?"

"The trees were thicker."

"I don't think I'll be able to see that from the air," Rowaine says. She double-checks Feren's path versus Caprian's directions, but cannot determine where Feren went wrong - or even if he did. "I wish we had Jakardros here," she laments.

"Excuse me," Shalélu says quietly. "I haven't spoken up, but perhaps I should have. Since leaving Caprian, we have travelled in a large circle. If we kept going that way for about ten minutes, we would return to the place where we left him."

"Oh," says Rowaine. "Can you get us back on track, Shalélu?"

"Follow me."

Shalélu leads on. Fifteen minutes later, she stops. Ahead, a large, thick gorse bush extends left and right. It disappears into the canopy at least thirty feet above.

"Odd," Shalélu says. "Gorse doesn't normally grow so high. Or wide. Or thick."

"Feren, does this look familiar?" asks Rowaine.

"Sort of," Feren replies. "It looked more forboding the first time."

"How did you get through?" asks Arrian.

"I think you can just go through it."

"I wonder if it's an illusion," Arrian says, reaching towards the brambles. The blood on his thumb seems to suggest it is not.

"Alright," says Rowaine, releasing her waraxe. "Stand back!" She chops at the thorny barrier. The axe head snaps a few brambles and becomes entangled. A tug does not dislodge the axe so Rowaine heaves and rips it free. Strands tear away - less than Rowaine expects. She gets the impression that it is one single intertwined strand, rather than many.

"I'll have a look from the air," Rowaine says, but there is no easy way for Harley to clear the canopy.

"I have a better idea," Troll says, punching through the canopy with Fiery Bursts then conjuring a Floating Disc. Troll and Shalélu board and levitate through the smoking hole. They return a minute later.

"It looks like the brambles continue on for quite some distance - about half a mile," he says.

"Feren," says Rowaine, "you don't have a memory of chopping through a quarter mile of gorse?"

"No. It was scary, but all we did was… push through."

"Maybe we should try that," Rowaine says. "Perhaps it's not as bad as it looks." She stows her axe, approaches the gorse wall and tries to part the brambles. It is strenuous, painful work. Arrian walks into the barrier but cannot push through.

Rowaine remembers elvish magic. "Did the prince speak any funny words?"

"No," Feren replies. "We all just squeezed our way through."

"Try again now," she suggests.

Feren walks towards the gorse, arms outstretched. They slip between the thorny strands. He parts the brambles and disappears into the mass. He feels the branches slip past his arms, legs and sides, but it is not painful and they do not slow him down. It is as if walking through suspended leaves. Feren turns back and steps out of the brambles. They close up behind him.

Arrian imitates Feren's movements but again the brambles prevent entry, catching on the edges of his armour and scratching his skin.

"It seems you are somehow special, Feren," Rowaine says, looking at the elf with an appraising eye.

"Troll, how about you try?" suggests Feren.

Troll shrugs and pushes through the brambles. He too quickly sinks into the foliage and returns unscathed.

"How about you, Shalélu?" Arrian says. She meets resistance. When she turns to face the others, they can see scratches on her arms.

"What is it that makes you two special?" Rowaine wonders, looking at Feren and Troll. "It's not simply your race… Perhaps it is to do with your family?" Feren looks at Troll and smiles, almost wearing a Fiery Burst for his impertinence.

"Feren cannot control the towers," Troll rebuts.

"Feren," asks Arrian, "are you related to the Roielle family?"

"I don't think so, no. Although mother still works in the palace."

"So, quite possibly," Arrian says, not too diplomatically.

The King died before Feren was born.

Rowaine continues to eliminate. "It cannot be alignment, race, deity, imithrium, lack of imithrium… Well, whatever it is, it probably doesn't matter right now. We know that two of us can push through. Can they make a big enough gap for others to follow? Feren, can you push through again while I try to follow in your wake?"

Rowaine keeps her hand on Feren's shoulder as he slips into the thorns. Rowaine can keep pace, this time the brambles do not impede her. Quite the opposite, it is as if the thorns have turned away. She feels like she is moving through water.

"Stop," Rowaine says. "Back up. Let's try a third." Feren, Rowaine and Arrian form a short conga line. All three slip into the once-impassable barrier. They retrace their steps.

"Hang on," Rowaine says, climbing atop Harley. "Back in a sec." Harley dives underground. The earth beneath the gorse grove is riddled with intertwined roots that bear thorns, impassable to the stone flyer. Harley cannot sense any clearing above.

Aftr they return, Feren tries sinking into the brambles while keeping in physical contact with Harley. This time, the brambles prevent passage.

"Harley might be able to push through unhurt," Arrian suggests, thinking of the stone flyer's tough skin.

"She might…" Rowaine says. She and Troll mount up and approach the gorse thicket again. Rowaine monitors Harley's emotional state. Harley battles through, snapping and pawing at the thorny vines, but Rowaine senses her frustration and pain.

"Stop, Harley," Rowaine says. "Enough." She dismounts.

"What about burning through this with Troll's fire?" suggests Feren.

"I feel unconfortable about that," Rowaine says. "We may find we need it intact. It seems we have one option, and that's walking in a line. Let's have Feren in front and Troll at the rear with the others in between. That way, if the line breaks, everyone is still connected to someone who can move. Shalélu, you go second and help Feren find his way."

It is now dark. Rowaine activates a sunrod and approaches Harley.

"It looks like you're not invited, love," she says in the strange terran language, stroking her mount's massive shoulders. "I will call for you if there is a way in. Look for Troll's fire. Otherwise, I will dismiss you and see you on the morn."

The six arrange themselves in a line and push through the gorse. Around two hundred yards in, the gorse abruptly stops and they enter a wooded grove. Many fruit trees and berry bushes are scattered around the area. Sunlight streams through breaks in the canopy. There is much birdsong. A deer spots them, then nonchalantly wanders away.

"Don't touch anything!" warns Rowaine. Arrian takes in the surreal sights, trying to determine if it is real or illusory.

"This grove could be up to five hundred yards wide," Rowaine calculates. "I wonder what's at its centre." She looks up at the canopy, forty or fifty feet above. Just inside it is a thick but punctured layer of the thorny gorse. "Troll, can you take me up there?"

Troll's Disc carries them upwards. The holes through the gorse are numerous but small, averaging about fifteen inches across. Not big enough for a human to squeeze through, let alone a stone flyer. They are strangely uniform, as if the gorse was once solid and subsequently drilled through. The layer is about five or ten feet thick, above which is a leafy canopy.

"I'm not prepared to take the risk," Rowaine says. She pushes her thoughts and feelings towards Harley and dismisses her. She can feel her mount's whimpered response. "Go, Harley. Be at peace. I will call you in the morning."

Troll's Disc descends and Shalélu leads the others towards the grove's centre. They soon enter a clearing, in the centre of which stands a broad but not overly tall gnarly tree. Its branches meld with the gorse overhead and extend horizontally in every direction.

The tree's bark somehow parts and a humanoid arm pushes out, followed by a shoulder and a body. Once fully out, the form stretches and takes note of the surroundings, gently swaying as if in an unfelt breeze. The form is female, with elven features.

"Welcome brothers", she says.

Troll introduces himself. "Who are you?"

"I am Trina. Welcome. How can I help you?"

"May we gain entrance?"

"You are here. What do you want?"

"Are we in Trina now? Is this entire area Trina?"

"I suppose so."

""How long has it been since you have been contacted?"

"Mmmmm… Many centuries. It is good to be out."

"Trina?" Arrian says. Trina does not respond.

"These are my companions, Trina," Troll says, introducing the other five. "Please answer their questions."

Arrian begins again. "Are you in contact with Elondel?"

"Who is Elondel? I have heard that name…"

"Elondel is a tower. Can you try and contact him?"

"Towers… I have heard of them."

"What do you know of the towers?" Feren asks.

"They were made."

"What are you?"

"I am Trina."

"What is Trina?"

"Trina is me."

"Were you made?" asks Rowaine.

"I was grown. The towers were made."

"Is this the site of the tower?"

"There are no towers here."

"Were there?" asks Rowaine.

"No. The towers were after me."

"Is there a tower near here?" asks Arrian. "Or was there?"

"I would expect not. I don't think they're popular amongst your people."

"So you are not of our people?" asks Feren.

"I am Trina. I was grown."

"Who grew you?"

"The first ones."

"Who are the first ones?"

"Many centuries ago, I was planted by two great families. And I grew. And I helped. And prosperity reigned. And then there was a falling-out. And then I was told to go to sleep."

"Who were the two families?" asks Arrian.

"The Roulae and the Roielle."

"Who told you to go to sleep?" Feren asks.

"The last Roulae and Roielle to be here."

"Was that Troll's father?" asks Rowaine.

"No, it happened well before that."

"I have been here before," Feren says, "but I have not seen you."

"Until a Roulae and a Roielle returned, I was to sleep."

"What do you know of the Roielles?" Feren asks.

"They are a great family. Many have pleaded with me to awaken."

"So Feren," Rowaine says, "is this the tower that the queen speaks of?"

"I don't know," he replies. "I just remember coming here when I was a kid and I assumed she was talking about this place."

Arrian speaks. "What would you do for the Roulae and Roielle families, Trina? How would you help them?"

"Anything they wanted. Anything that nature provides, I could give them."

"Do you know of imithrium?" asks Rowaine.

"I have never… wait, I have heard of that. Towers work with imithrium."

"You don't?"

"I can't. I work with natural things."

"So you draw your power from nature itself?"

"From life."

Rowaine thinks. "If I were to ask for a banquet?"


"Do you heal?" asks Arrian.


"Of life," muses Feren. "Do you also draw your power from death?"


"Are you only able to operate within the bounds of this grove?" asks Arrian.

"Or any of my seeds."

Rowaine's eyebrows rise. "You have seeds?"

"Yes. Many seeds."

"Elondel and Abbey have extensions of themselves," Rowaine prompts. "Are they like your seeds?"

"I have seeds. If you plant a seed, a tree will grow, and the tree is part of me."

"Can you transport people?" asks Arrian. Between yourself and seeds?"

"Yes. We are joined. It is part of me."

"Do you have a connection to the towers?" Rowaine asks.

"No… Towers aren't natural."

Arrian continues the train of thought. "Can you transport us elsewhere from here?"


"To what range?"

"To my seeds."

"Only to your seeds," Arrian repeats. "How many seeds do you have?"

"I used to have hundreds."

"How many are alive now, around this world?"

"I have five seeds left. But only three are usable."

"Why are two unusable?" asks Feren.

"One, 'Hesh', is in a great desert. It was once home to a nomadic tribe of elves. It was buried in the sand, so you cannot go there.

"'Havens Star', in the sky, was once surrounded by a floating palace. It has since fallen away and now there is nothing there except my seed. I give it life and it continues to grow."

"Where are the other functioning three?" asks Arrian.

"'Faere' is in the floating mountains, originally home of the winged elves. Some of Faere still stands but many of the mountains have fallen to the earth. It is now inhabited by sky pirates who prey on the unsuspecting villages that the mountains float past.

"'Aquilla', the Ships of Song, was the original home of the aquatic elves. It is now used as a trading post and a floating home by many races. Originally ships, it is on the sea. Many of the ships have floated away, but some remain, still fastened together."

"Have these seeds been inactive, as you have been, for this time?" Arrian asks.


"And the third?"

"'Wai', the Caverns of Tears, is underneath the ground. It was originally home to our dark bretheren. They have gone a different way."

"You can't transport us anywhere else except for those seeds?"

"No. I once had seeds in nearly all the major homes of the elves. Why would you want to go anywhere else?"

"What do you know of the arachtria and the matre?" asks Troll.

"I have heard of these. I do not understand them. They are not natural."

"Have they tried to enter this grove? Have you had conflict with them?"

"Not that I know of. Nothing can get through my boundary."

"Have you been aware of your boundary while you were asleep?" asks Arrian.

"Somewhat… A bit like a dream."

"You may not necessarily know if arachtria have been around."

"That's true."

"Are any around now?" asks Feren.

"I don't understand them. They are not natural. I understand all things natural."

Arrian tries a different tack. "Apart from transporting between your seeds, what sort of things would you be commonly doing for the Roulae and the Roielle families?"

"Banquets and meetings were held here, or at my seeds. Gatherings of important people, where it is safe and secure."

"Do you know why the Roielle and the Roulae families fell out?" Feren asks.

"No. There were a lot of harsh words spoken, words I was not party to. The Roulaes left, the Roielles stayed. Since then, many have come and tried to waken me, but none were able to."

"Are there any more Roulae?" Feren asks, eyeing Troll.

"Nowhere near me, or my seeds."

Troll briefly returns the glance. "Are there any more like you, Trina? Are you the only entity like yourself?"

"Yes, obviously. Why would you need more?"

"Now that you are awake," asks Feren, "will you only respond to a Roielle and a Roulae in tandem, or will you respond to either?"

"I am awake now. I was to sleep until a Roielle and a Roulae appeared, then I was to wake. That I have done."

Troll attempts to get a clearer answer. "Who do you take orders from?"

"The two great families."

"Any from those two great families?"


"What would it take to limit that?" Troll asks, thinking.

"That would be like the hand only listening to part of the brain."

"We could use a wing to restrict access to Trina," suggests Arrian, "but I don't know if that's the right thing to do."

"Me neither," Rowaine says. "Well, the queen wanted it activated. I believe it is. This is elf business now. Let's move on and try to find K'at."

Troll ignores Rowaine. "What would it take to make you go to sleep again?"

"The heads of the two great families."

"Are you able to determine whether I am the last Roulae?"

"You are the head of the Roulae family, that much I know." Trina turns to Feren. "I'm sorry, you are not the head of the Roielle family. But you are of Roielle blood. I shall do anything you bid."

"Do you have any seeds that we could plant?" asks Troll.

"I have hundreds.

"Could we have a couple?"

"They must be nurtured and grown."

"A wing could add to Trina's defences and connect the two travel networks," Arrian ponders.

Rowaine's brow creases. "Do we want to forge those sorts of connections too permanently, based on the relationship between the two families as it stands now?"

Arrian turns to Troll. "I think it could be advantageous for you to have a wing here."

"I agree," says Troll. "Trina, would you be willing to have a Roulae wing within your grove?"

"Of course. It is a Roulae wing. What is a Roulae wing?"

"An extension of a Roulae tower."

"Ah, like a tower? That //would/ be interesting. If you want it, make it so."

Troll moves away from Trina's tree and asks Shalélu for the backpack. He deploys Abbey's wing, which hums loudly. Trina comes over and watches with great interest. "I don't understand. I can't tell how it works. I see it is old magic."

"Have you seen this magic before?" asks Rowaine.

"I was grown from this magic. I understand living things, natural things. I know how they work, I can see inside them. but your armour, I don't understand it. I can't see inside it. I can't make it do anything. I don't understand." Trina points at Rowaine. "You, I understand. But your outer garments, I don't understand."

"Troll and Feren," Arrian says, "ask Trina to look after the wing. Likewise, ask the wing to look after Trina when it is able."

"Trina," says Troll, "if it's within your power to protect this device and what it creates, are you able to do that?"

"I will. Easy."

Arrian addresses Trina. "If a Roielle appears and asks you to destroy the wing, what will you do?"

"Since the head of the Roulae has asked me to protect it, the head of the Roielle must ask me to destroy it."

"It will probably be a courtesy to tell the queen that we have done what she asked of us," Rowaine says. "And that there is a Roulae wing there now. She might not like that part."

"Are you able to summon woodland beings and that sort of thing?" asks Troll.

"Yes. Ancient beings."

"I have to ask," Arrian says. "Trina, can you improve elves or humans in any way?"

"Well, of course I can."

"Were you involved in granting the Roulae family immunity to imithrium?" asks Rowaine.

Trina nearly answers. "I can make anything natural do anything."

"So you can make someone stronger or weaker? Taller or shorter?"


"Are these effects permanent?" Arrian asks.

"Of course. I change things."

"Older or younger?" asks Rowaine.

"Well I can make people look older or younger. They wouldn't be older or younger."

"Can you make Rowaine stronger?" asks Troll.

"It would take a while. I have to make the muscles grow. How much pain can you endure? Because if you don't mind, I can make it happen quite quickly - just in a couple of months - but it will hurt a lot. There are some things I can't change. I can't change your mind. I would not suggest you do a lot of this. It can have different effects on the mind. I am changing you. I can make your skin harder…"

"What adverse effects might that have?" asks Arrian.

"You would not look as pretty. I can make bones grow on the outside. Make you very hard. Very, very hard."

"How long does that take?"

"How much pain can you take?"

"Would that involve the subject's bones breaking the skin?" Rowaine asks.

"Of course."

"That sounds painful."

OK, not interested. Not that kind of paladin.

"Trina," asks Arrian, "do you understand what good and evil are?"

"No… I am Trina. I am just… here. To do what is asked."

"Were you at some time known as the dark tower, Trina?" asks Troll. "Has anyone referred to you by that name? In your native tongue, or any other?"

Trina looks confused. "Well, it is quite dark here… But I am a tree, so I am Trina, so… I think I don't understand what a tower is. I am before the towers. I was first. They were second. So maybe I am like a tower…"

"How many centuries has it been since you were told to sleep?" asks Troll.

"A little over seventy."

i.e. before the first towers were made.

"When were you made?" asks Feren.

"About thirty centuries before that."

"Perhaps the trees were an earlier design," Arrian says aloud. "Possibly a lot more benign…"

"Then," Troll adds, "when the spiders came along… we needed something with a bit more 'ooomph.'" Trina looks on, bemused.

"It was a falling-out that prompted you to be put to sleep, Trina?" Rowaine asks.

"Yes. The Roielles and the Roulaes had an argument and the Roulaes left. Before the last one left, he and the head Roielle said to me, 'Sleep, until we are together again.'"

"Interesting," Arrian says. "Why would the Roielles agree to that? Why would they allow something to be disabled that could help them, when they were under siege by large metallic spiders designed to kill elves?"

"I have never seen a large metallic spider," Trina says.

"She was put to sleep well before the towers were made," Rowaine says. "So maybe this falling-out… Trina, was the falling-out about an exile?"

"I don't know. I do know that the Roulaes left."

The party plan to wait for the wing to complete deployment, contact Abbey, then stay the night in the grove before venturing forth to find K'at and the queen.

"Trina," says Rowaine, "how long before a seed is usable as part of your network?"

"A year? It depends on the soil. Good soil, good roots."

How about a seed planted in a Heward's Haversack filled with soil from Trina's grove? A potplant wing!

"You will warn us if we ask to transport to a place that is inhospitable, won't you Trina?" Rowaine says.

"There are only five left, and two of those are unable to be used. The other three are safe."

"Are you able to protect people at your seeds?" asks Arrian.

"I could call my beasts, but that does not make sense. Why would I do that?"

"In case the head of the Roulae was threatened?" Feren says.

"I have awoken to dark times… In my time, this did not happen."

Arrian suggests that Troll or Feren get Trina to summon her beasts to protect her charges should they require it. And anything else she can think of…

"How about barriers?" Rowaine suggests.

"Barriers… Yes, I could erect another barrier," says Trina. It would talk no more than a month. Good barriers."

"A month??" Arrian splutters. "How long to summon beasts?"

"It depends on how close they are."

"When you summon them, can you control them?"

"I can ask them to do things… I can control them, but it's not nice. I never have. No one has ever asked me to control a beast."

Arrian thinks laterally. "Well, could you ask some creatures already in the area that are big and tough, to come to the aid of the Roulae and the Roielle family and their friends?"

"I do not understand. If I ask them, they wouldn't know what to do. A bear doesn't have a very long memory… except for where to find honey. This seems very complex for an animal to understand. How will it know who is a Roielle and a Roulae and who is not? Much less a friend…"

Feren is starting to see why the Roulaes decided to make towers.

"Well, if not animals, what about plants?" Rowaine says, thinking of the gorse ring they are now surrounded by. "Can you influence the barrier around the grove? Can you part it and let things through?"

"Yes, the gorse is special. It was made with magic."

"How does the gorse work? What does it permit or prevent?"

"Any Roielle or Roulae may pass, and any they allow. Would you like me to remove the gorse?"


"Could you part the gorse for a stone flyer to get through?" asks Feren.

"Yes. What is a stone flyer?"

Arrian starts thinking of more pressing matters. "Trina, can you provide lodgings?"

"You may sleep anywhere. The grass is comfortable."

Arrian looks around. "Will it rain?"

"If you like…"

"You can control weather?" asks Rowaine.

"Of course. It is natural."

"Can you control weather beyond your grove?" asks Arrian.

"I suppose so…"

"Can you create lightning?" Rowaine asks.

"I suppose so…" Arrian looks at Rowaine and smiles.

"How long would that take?" the paladin asks.

"I would need a storm. That would take… a couple of hours?"

"…and can you be reasonably specific about where the lightning strikes?"

"I suppose so…"

"You control life, or have some influence over it," Rowaine says. "Are you able to stop life?"

"I suppose so…"

"I saw a deer before. Would you be able to stop its heart?"


"How long would that take?" Arrian asks.


"What sort of things like the things we have been talking about have you been asked to do in the past?"

"None! I was created to join people together, not to break them apart." Trina seems rather taken aback. The party halt their current questioning for fear of alienating the naïve being.

"Trina," says Arrian, "can you please ensure that the weather stays warm and dry overnight, please?"

Before she can answer, Rowaine asks a question of her own. "Actually Trina, can you tell us what the weather will do naturally?"

Trina closes her eyes briefly. "It will be fine for many days."

The seven wait by the wing until it the deployment process completes. Trina backs away just before Abbey appears.


"Any news, Abbey?" Troll asks.

"It's not as cold as it was."

"Are you influencing that?"

"No, it's just naturally getting warmer. You shouldn't play with things like that unless you really need to. No spiders, though."

"I'm glad to hear it," Troll says. "You must tell me if you ever do encounter spiders."

Abbey looks around, trying to spot things in the dark. "This place is a bit weird, innit?"

"What do you make of it, Abbey?" Troll asks. "Do you know it at all? She calls herself 'Trina.'"

"Trina? We're in Trina? Interesting. Didn't think that would happen."


"We're quite different from her. So. Originally, from what I understand, the masters made Trina, and Trina was all good, and natural, and tree-hugging and all crap like that, until the spiders came along. Trina doesn't get spiders. She doesn't understand them. So they made us, the towers, because we understand spiders. We get metal, know what it's all about. That's why we have to have metal as food. She has… other stuff as food. I don't know what. She doesn't eat metal and she doesn't shit metal. She doesn't get metal. Now Elondel and I, we get metal. Especially me. Metal and stone, that's me. Elondel can heal people… I can too, but it's a bit more expensive for me. But you want some armour, top notch stuff."

"Better than Elondel's?" Rowaine asks.

"Welllllll, not better… But it'll look better. And I can make it easier and faster."

We are wearing Elondel's shit??

Troll instructs Abbey to begin building the wing's defences against possible coercion from the Roielle family.

"What would you like me to look like here? On the outside."

"Could it look like a tree?" asks Rowaine.

"Yeah… Well, a tree with a door in it."

"…or a big block of stone?"

"With a door in, yeah. Gotta be a door, lovey. But I'm not like Elondel. His outsides and insides have to match, but mine don't.

Troll aims to spend some of his trance time mentally designing Abbey's wing. He has already decided on the outside: a large tree with a cave-like hollow in the base of its trunk.

Trina approaches, cautiously. "Abbey," Troll says, "where possible, look after Trina. Protect her. I have asked her to do the same for you, for your wing.

"Now, this place being what it is, the Roielle family may come here. They may speak to you, or ask to speak to me. Please relay to me any such messages."

"Certainly, sir, certainly." Abbey turns to Trina. "Coo, over there! Come, we need to have a little chat." Abbey's projection moves away, and Trina comes closer, but still maintains some distance. They speak.

Out of habit, the party set a watch and bed down amongst the grass and leaves. It is surprisingly comfortable. Rowaine is on first watch. She notices the nocturnal sounds waning.

"Trina?" she whispers.


"Is it normally this quiet at night?"


Rowaine's guard goes up.

"Don't worry," Trina says. "It's quiet because I asked the creatures out there to be quiet. I thought you might like that."


Abbey and Trina are still chatting when the party wake up the next morning.

"I don't get her," Trina says.

"I don't get her," Abbey replies. "She doesn't make sense."

"You don't make sense."

"Stop copying me!"

Trina and Abbey get on as well as two similarly-ranked servants of a powerful prince - because they are told to.

The party plan to find Caprian and ask him to lead them to the elven capital.

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