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SOE: The Things That Lurk

There are things moving out in the world, underground, through the trees and forests, and throughout the cities. Plots and machinations. All nefarious seeming things. The Society of Explorers will be getting together to discuss those things and to best determine where they can most help.

OOC: This is a meeting to determine whether or not we wish to focus on The Thornweave Threat (+crisis 1577) or the Lycean Finances (+crisis 1576) crisis. Each has merit in their own way that would provide adventure for the Society of Explorers to get involved. For those that can attend, the log will be available for review. This is a public meeting, so others might attend as well in case they want to collaborate efforts.


July 23, 2022, 3 p.m.

Hosted By



Ian Ryhalt Griffin Caspian Kiera Vitalis Raven Rosalind Watcher Edris



Arx - Ward of the Compact - Society of Explorers - Charter Hall

Largesse Level


Comments and Log

Lou is already set up at a table, papers piled high upon it; likely all the rumors and such that Lou has heard since all the new information that's started pouring out. She seems to be patiently waiting for everyone else to arrive, her expression grim. She nods a greeting to everyone who comes through the door, even curious folk she'd never seen before because she'd left the meeting public.

Ian arrived early, and thus, the beginning of the meeting finds him already slouched in the back with a drink and the general air of someone who isn't intending on any active participation today. Not that he isn't listening -- he definitely seems alert, aside from the terrible posture.

Ryhalt arrives with the ginger stride of someone suffering from the stiffness of some injury and settles into a seat, back rigid, to listen to the news Lou has for them.

Ian has joined the Table 3.

Griffin wanders in, nodding his head on greeting. He's not an Explorers, but he has curiousity. He sits by Ian.

Griffin has joined the Table 2.

Alphonse, a long-suffering assistant, Maggie, an energetic Mistward Labrador arrive, following Adalyn.

Renard, Adalyn arrive, following Vitalis.

Griffin has left the Table 2.

Griffin has joined the Table 2.

Vitalis has joined the marin'alfar wooden bench.

Caspian slips in, offering a warm smile and a wave to the many familiar faces. he looks around a moment before moving to find a seat

Kiera enters the room managing a small smile and nod to those she passes while finding a seat

Vitalis is speaking with Adalyn as other explorers filter in, before leaning in to murmur something before he takes a seat near the Pathfinder so he can take notes.

Raven ducks in from the cold, bundled up with only her green eyes showing. She pauses to knock ice and mud from her boots before shuffling in. Her winter hat is doffed and mittens tugged off. Lacking her usual energy she makes for a nearby table and flops gracelessly down.

Raven has joined the Table 2.

"Thank you all for coming. By now many have you may have heard about some mysterious goings on all over the Compact. We're here to discuss those today and decide on a direction the Society of Explorers might want to lean toward." Lou begins addressing folk when it seems like most who are coming have arrived. "On the one hand, you have the death of the Herald of Greed, Malrico, who was servant to Gild's Reflection, and the vacuum that left behind. There's bound to be a bunch of hoards of treasure that one can find and look into, if you're into that sort of thing." Lou glances around the room, as though trying to pinpoint those who are explorers for the value of treasure alone. "On the other hand, you have the forces of the Traitor who seems to be operating along the most northern border of the Crownlands, just between the Oathlands and the Northlands territories. Numerous amounts of reports suggest quite a bit of shenanigans he's getting up to these days." There's another pause, before, "What I'd like to start off with is to hear any reports of what additional information people might be aware of that would inform how we might get involved. I'll then share the additional information I have."

Nox, a kitten black as pitch with star-dappled fur arrives, following Oriana.

Vitalis scans those gathering noting faces familiar, fond, and greasy alike. He looks up from notes he's keeping and clears his throat, straightening so that his bright and dark tenor carries, "The Baroness Saik has also sung a new True Somg, though discussion of it in a broad forum like this is not recommended. Any who wish to know more are welcome to inquire later." He pauses, "It has many implications and things to consider regarding the choices we make in the coming months."

Ryhalt scratches at his sidewhisker as he listens to Lou's summary. "I haven't heard anything from the Lyceum. I haven't heard much about what is going on in the North, either, just scraps here and there that have no connections."

Ian stirs a little bit and looks towards Vitalis. When he speaks, it's in a voice pitched to carry to the other man, not the room in general (although depending on where Vitalis is sitting, the effect might be the same). "I'd like to hear your interpretation on that, sometime."

Caspian has joined the Table 1.

Griffin nods his head in a yes. He'd like to as well.

Raven's wearied, sunken gaze flits about the room, leaning back in her chair with her arms crossed across her chest. She waits for others to speak before she purses her lips when it looks as if maybe no one will. She tilts her head to one side then the other releasing tension from her shoulders with a sinewy pop. Softly, "A brief overview of trouble's I'm aware of: The northern isles which ain't what people assume it to be on the surface-but not the explorer's purview. Then there's villages coming up inexplicably abandoned in the crownlands-I think it's mostly amoungst the gray forest. There's Helena's attacks on the Rivenshari, There's the Maw's attacks and the murder of the children of the sun, The Bloodbeast in the saffron, The moon of course and I don't know if anyone's paying enough attention to that, and of course whatever else is going on in the oathlands which is definitely SOMETHING but I can't get anyone who seems to know anything about it-and of course Lycene's dealing with it's own shit and likely wouldn't welcome inteference anyway." She lifts her hands and scrubs her face wearily murmuring, "I don't think that I'm forgetting anything that people have approached me about."

Kiera sighs "I wish I had something that concrete to offer. I was actually hoping that someone might posit something that sounds like a solution as regards the trtor's present press. i do have information regarding a strange happenings near blancbier if folks haven't heard of it. it sounds as if the crownlands is ahead of the oathlands in marshaling response. Valardin fealty meeting is in the offing has not yet occurred. i would not be at all surprised if banners were called in near future.

Caspian moves and sit down at the table, "To add to that second part, as i likely know less than most about the events surrounding Malrico, there are several groups involved with the oathlands. Helena thornweave has been active, as has the Maw of the blizzard. The dragon has been roaming further south, and based on the recent attacks by Helena against house Stahlben seem to imply she and the maw are working together. As we understand helena to be serving the traitor, as raven says its likely to imply that Maw is also working with the Traitor." he grins, "The rest well.. raven sumamrized it nicely.

Ian lifts a hand. "What's the purpose of calling banners in this instance, does anyone know?" Now he's addressing the room in general, although he hasn't really straightened very much out of his slouch. "What are they expecting to fight?"

Lou glances over at Vitalis, nodding her head a moment. "I had intended to mention that when I reported on my own knowledge. Usually, I go first. I wanted to change things up a bit to see if I could just fill in blanks this time," she remarks. She glances over at Ryhalt. "I've hard rumorsonly, from the Lyceum." Lou's kinda glancing in Vitalis's direction a moment when she says that. Was it a prompt? Maybe. Just a little bit. She doesn't outright ask him though. She glances to Ryhalt, noting his curiosity over the North. Her attention is quickly pulled to Raven. "Indeed. There's quite a lot going on. I think most people are focusing largely on the Crownlands reports and the Lyceum at the moment as those may be the more immediate concerns." The ones they can do something about at the moment. "I can speak to the happenings in the Crownlands north because most people are hearing about it from the Gray Forest reports House Grayson received." Lou looks to Kiera. "I haven't heard about Blackbier as yet. Could you please let us know what you know?" She glances to Ian, giving him a grim look. "Once Kiera gives her report, I'll speak on that. It's all tied up on the Crownlands north stuff."

Connal, a Northern Wolfhound, Honeymare, 1 Ravenseye Warrior, 3 Sanna House Guards, 2 Northern Rangers, a Whitehawk rusted hawk arrive, following Rosalind.

Ryhalt he nodded, listening to the various report, but waits for Kiera's report.

Rosalind bursts in, her copper hair covered with flakes of snow. She's LATE she knows. "Sorry. Sorry! I know,"she gasps. "I lost track of time,"and scrambles over to have a seat. Anywhere really, quietly. Sorta.

Rosalind has joined the Table 1.

Rosalind has left the Table 1.

Rosalind has joined the Table 2.

Kiera smirks giving a head a sideways tilt "Ironically i think raven just gave me a piece of information on the blancbier situation that I didn't have, so I'll want to confirm that as I speak on it. Also, I hope that we can find a safe instance to discuss the song as its quite pertinent to what we're discussing, but as to what I have others may not is a rather gruesome sight in Blacbier come upon by a sherpherdess, a ring of unusual glowing ruby red trees that on closer inspection were determined to be bodies five hanging from a branch. on even closer inspection, drained of blood and bearing elven features One of my outstanding questions were which elves but I just

Kiera says "mention murded rex which may well be a missing wringle

Raven's eyebrows knit about blackbeir (or whatever), lips pressing and then her wearied gaze slowly widens by degrees as she listens and her lips curve into a deep, troubled frown.

Vitalis looks up from writing as folk talk and he records, to find Lou looking at him. "I don't know much of what the Herald Malrico's end... heralds. Save what has already been said."

Sitting back, Griffin sighs. So far, nothing new, and so far nothing good.

Ian mutters something dark and vaguely irritated about people getting hung from trees, but otherwise doesn't betray a whole lot of reaction to Kiera's words.

Watcher slips in as quiet as one can when one is late to a meeting (and not directly invited to said meeting). She makes her way to a seat near immediately and drops into it without remark.

Watcher has joined the Table 2.

Watcher has left the Table 2.

Watcher has joined the Table 3.

Ian looks up when Watcher comes in, and starts to nod towards his table, then realizes she's going that way anyway. For the first time, he straightens up a little bit.

"I think the problem with discussing Lucita's original True Song is that a particular group of people kept getting together over and over again to meet about it and they got noticed and likely followed to the last meeting location, which is how we got a Sutavi Mage and her companions attacking the Whisper House at their last meeting and in their attempt to assassinate folk like Lucita." Lou remarks as she stands from her table. She looks to Kiera and nods her head, then picks up a piece of paper and skims it over. She frowns. "I stand corrected. I was told a bit about the Blancbier situation after all." She hefts a soft sigh and settles that paper down. There's copies of that sheet, it seems, ready to be distributed once she is done.

"House Grayson, some two weeks ago, received a report from our scouts. We'd stopped hearing from our Vassals in extreme Northern Crownlands. Stopped receiving taxes. Stopped everything from them. Then further reports came in. A group of shav'arvani who had a large territorial holding in that area, disappeared. That group was called the Arbres. There's no trace of them. Anywhere. At all." That earlier grim expression on Lou's face returns, looking even grimmer. "And we've ascertained that all of the people that used to be in our holdings in the north area also gone." As she says this, she walks over to the map of Arvum that's laid out in the middle of the room, where none of the tables had been placed. She walks alone from Whitepeak in the north, down to the lowest mountain range, then back to Whitepeak. "That's the area that where everyone disappeared." She walks another line, much smaller. It's by the lowest part of the mountain range, just east of Stonedeep, over the river the river and back, "That is the place where the Arbres used to occupy." (This is what the map looks like:

Watcher side-glances toward Ian at the straightening, but her gaze almost immediately slides back front, first to Lou, then to Lou's map. Her eyes narrow faintly, lips thinning.

Ian's gaze moves towards the map, but he says something in a low voice at the table, his head angled a little bit towards Watcher.

Oriana has joined the Table 1.

Ryhalt grimaces and shakes his head at people gathering so obviously to speak of secret things that they caught attention. He frowns as he looks at the map Lou provided for them. "That is troubling. Just disappeared? No signs of blood sacrifices or strange vines or trees?"

Rosalind has left the Table 2.

Connal, a Northern Wolfhound have been dismissed.

Honeymare have been dismissed.

1 Ravenseye Warrior have been dismissed.

3 Sanna House Guards have been dismissed.

2 Northern Rangers have been dismissed.

a Whitehawk rusted hawk have been dismissed.

Alphonse, a long-suffering assistant have been dismissed.

Maggie, an energetic Mistward Labrador have been dismissed.

Raven listens, gaze intent on the conversation but she remains uncharacteristically quiet.

Caspian looks to lou, and then the map, his brow furrowing. As ryhalt asks his question he nods his head, "That! was there no signs of what happened? signs of camps being moved? or battles? or did they simply.. vanish"

Ian pats down his coat for a moment and finds a folded piece of paper in an inner pocket, which he hands over to Watcher, while still paying attention to the conversation in the room as a whole.

Watcher accepts the paper, though she at least has the good manners (hah), to open and read it under the table. After a few moments, she grimaces, and mutters, "cheery."

Kiera swallows hard "What was known about these peoples? The banners were called with no evidence of attack"she looks to raven and caspian, frowning

"There's never any signs of it happening when the Traitor has his cultists swooping through, clearing out the lands," comes Lou's response in a very matter of fact, I have first hand knowledge about this, kind of way. "I've seen it for myself, when out scouting for the King just before the Lodge of Petrichor crisis happened." That's a haunted look on Lou's face as she says that, and as she adds. "It's very hard to describe that somehow a group of people might have been in a place one moment, and gone the next, right before you arrive. Fires were still burning, dishes were in the midst of being washed, clothes were in the middle of being hung, food was just in the process of being cooked." She gives a bit of a shudder. "Those I spoke to then, they said there's no warning when it happened. They don't have time to prepare. Those times, they left behind signs, stuck in the middle of the villages they'd cleared. "Slaves," some read. "Sacrifice," others read. "Fodder," still others." Lou pauses a moment, then adds, "The shav'arvani I spoke to then said they were looking for people with the blood. Primum. Magic in their blood. He likes to sacrifice those people to fuel his own projects. The rest.... well, I'm sure you've seen the horrors of what he does with the rest." Lou certainly has and cannot hide the dark undertones in her voice to help emphasize her meaning.

Edris has joined the Table 1.

Edris has left the Table 1.

Edris has joined the Table 2.

Griffin stays silent, but grits his teeth.

Watcher speaks up, voice measured, while still half looking down at the paper she was passed, "the last time I'm aware of it happening was right before he attacked the Lodge of Petrichor outside the city with gargantuans. One of the people I spoke to in the villages he'd taken captive noted that there *was* no gathered army. They were making...*those*."

Raven mmms, "Pathfinger, there is a ranger that I know that I think you should meet. He might..ah. Be of some use. Or not. Might help rule out some things. Also, perhaps this is a matter which we might wish to enlist the aid of the Spirit Walkers if the rangers find themselves at a dead end." she offers in a soft murmur.

Raven says, "Wait-this same thing happened before, then? well. Then. Nevermind.""

Ian exhales a sharp breath through his nose at Watcher's words and echoes: "Cheery."

Raven rubs at her face again with her palm.

Watcher says, "Similar signs. That doesn't make it the same."

Apparently Edris can move quietly when he cares to, for the Elwood knight slips in unceremoniously and joins the nearest table, settling in and listening.

Ryhalt glances between Lou and Watcher as they speak. "So, there will be another massive attack such as on Bastion." He grimaces with distaste and no little. "I can well see why Grayson called banners. Is there any idea where he will strike next?"

Watcher repeats, "Similar signs. That doesn't make it the same." Pause. "...Though I think another major attack is a given, regardless of whatever's happening here."

Kiera hms "People that are hunted become practiced at moving, hiding I am hoping against hope they had fled before his chains find them

Edris nods once to Watcher's assessment, as if agreeing with it quite firmly, though the Elwood knight remains silent.

Griffin has left the Table 2.

3 Redreef Wardens have been dismissed.

Griffin has joined the Table 2.

Lou inclines her head in Watcher's direction. "Indeed. It doesn't. We believe it still might be the Traitor. We do know he had occupied Whitepeak. He was stealing the magic away from it." Lou points down to the top most mountain range circled on the map, which is where Whitepeak is located. "No one has been back there since.... well... since three groups came back with their memories wiped of the experience." She glances to Raven, about to respond to her, but Ryhalt catches her attention first. "We don't know. Based on the reports from Princess Alis, I would assume he's maybe going for House Valardin's next. He hates them as much as he hates Grayson. There are trees that have uprooted from the lands and moved from the larger holdings to the smaller holdings. Alis believes that some of those trees are beneficial. Others though," Lou looks to Kiera then. "They're not so much. The matter at Blancbier was that a scouting party had found one of those trees, and were hung and had their blood drained for their efforts. We're presuming they might contain more Thornweave... or... " Another haunted look from Lou. "They might just be more amalgamations meant to kill. There were several sorts of tree amalgamations he created. Some mixed with people. Some mixed with rats and other animals. One of them could control people's minds. All of them are horrible."

Raven says, "Rivenshari seems convinced they are next but that doesn't make it so-or that they're the only potential targets. Anyone have any means to sift through what we know and distil down to two or three at risk places based on what what is known and best guesses?" Her eyes close, "Oh, that. Again." she sighs and her shoulders sink a bit. There's no cussing, or ranting just an acknowledgement of 'oh this is bad' and a quiet, wearied acceptance. She offers, "Whatever you or Grayson needs, Pathfinder.""

Ian mutters something irritated-sounding about 'more evil trees'.

Ryhalt nods to Lou. "It is possible, considering the Maw possibly being in alliance with the Traitor. I suspect there is a grudge there dating from the Cardian cival war." He grimaces once more and sighs to himself.

Kiera hms "I think we have multiple problems appearing as one. one enemy trumpeting herself loudly. others just as deadly, far more quiet

Vitalis is listening along, taking notes and otherwise is silent, save the scratching of quill on parchment. When Lou mentions the parties that returned from Whitepeak with memories wiped, he stills, sweat popping out on his head. He takes a deep breath and sways a bit before pushing to his feet. "Excuse me a moment."

Caspian nods his head to Raven, "The rivenshari are convinced as such, and with some reason as well. If helena is leading the traitor's efforts in that front she may well target their first. but that is speculation. i think it wise if people learn from Lady Eirene how to milk the thornweave plants. the substances she made to fight such creatures could be crucial. i am told its not an easy process"

"By the description, they would appear to be very similar to the ones that have appeared elsewhere that are not aggressive without purpose," Edris finally speaks up. "If that is the case, then they are not the amalgamations. But it is still a good idea to be wary and to keep an open mind--even if they aren't like the things we saw at Bastion. It is also possible that while all these attacks are related in some sense, those doing them are not necessarily acting in strict accordance with each other even if they are allied. I do believe that Riva is likely to be one of the next targets, but I also believe there will be more."

Lou glances around at all of the folk talking about Riva. So she asks the question that hasn't been asked. "Why Riva?"

Watcher seems to be having a very quiet exchange at the table with Ian, but she speaks up again, more measured. "I think," she says, a little slowly, "that it's important to remember that anyone or anything controlled by Legion may as well be the Horned God. Distance and coordination is no true concern to him."

Raven says, "I didn't's not.." she bows her head, "Just so." she gestures towards Caspian, "You understand it better than I do."

Ian also looks up to say: "There's probably more than one next target. If he can hit multiple places at once, and he can, it'd be pretty poor strategy not to."

Raven says, "Aye-but would you have any guesses on which targets might be in the running, my lord?"

Watcher says, unhelpfully, "Everyone."

"'Tis true," Edris agrees with Watcher. "But what we do not know is whether or not Helena Thornweave is /controlled/ by the Horned God. Though perhaps there is updated information that I am unaware of. I am not certain we should assume, however." He falls silent for a moment, as if considering his words. "House Rivenshari has been attacked multiple times by Helena Thornweave recently, and there are old ties there as well. If they say that they believe strongly they shall be under imminent attack, then I do not doubt them."

Lou nods in Watcher's direction in seeming agreement. "I also think that if it were the Traitor he need not turn them into amalgamations. He needs people to fight his battles too and he can just as easily control them. The Abandoned have no sworn oaths that might protect them against making them into one of his mindless packs that do only what he tells them to do." She looks back to Ryhalt again. "Liara called the banners because we know that the Crownlands are going to be under constant threat from his forces. There's even a line in the new True Song that suggests as such. We're beefing up our military to account for what other attacks might come."

Ian shrugs one shoulder and nods his head towards Watcher. "I'm not up on what's happening on the mainland."

Watcher's nose wrinkles sharply at something said, the briefest flash of irritability that's quickly smothered.

Caspian looks to Edris and nods, "just that. Rivenshari are tied in their past to the Slaver and Destiny. They as a people are target to any seeking to return Destiny, and their history with The hour Thornweave is very intertwined. To strike at them would be to serve multiple ends for the traitor." he looked to lou and nodded, "There are many uses for people, beyond just Gargantuans or other such creations. i would expect there to be agents of chaos being slipped into the city and the lands to help stoke the unease that is growing."

Rosalind has joined the Table 1.

Rosalind has left the Table 1.

Rosalind has joined the Table 2.

Kiera sighs "there's more than one bloodline thhe bastards after. The rivenshari have a connection to Skald, making them of particular interest to the slaver in addition to his own spawn. And those hung scouts were Rex'alfar? Or am I misconstruing that part

Lou holds out her hands, fingers spread apart. "That's all the information I really have, at this time. Some of the Fealty leaders met," Lou looks in Ian's direction given his earlier comment, "Thrax too," she looks back to the others, "in an informal meeting. It was right after we got our report. We'd discussed all this and had decided on some joint scouting. I'd love for the Explorers to be involved in that scouting as well, however what I'd rather have is to know what folk are most interested in doing. This organization isn't an extenions of House Grayson. So, I'd like your vote, so to speak, in this matter."

Raven listens quietly, gaze flitting from speaker to speaker.

Ryhalt nods to Lou as she clarifies why Grayson called banners now. "So, it sounds from the bulk of our intelligence and conversation that it'd be better for us to do something concerning the Traitor's forces in Oathlands and Crownlands." As Lou mentions scouting he nods. "I'm willing to help with that scouting through Explorers, if I'm not involved with it otherwise."

Edris remains quiet, once Explorers business is mentioned, and respectfully so.

Given the passing comments that Ian has made indicating his focus being on the Mourning Isles right now, it's probably not surprising that he offers no opinion on a Crownlands scouting mission.

Rosalind is murmuring something to Raven, though she appears a bit unsure. Maybe thoughtful.

Raven listens and frowns. There's a moment of indecision followed by a shrug and a soft murmur back.

Griffin sit back quietly, and thinks about what been said.

Lou gives a nod of thanks in Ryhalt's direction. "Well, that's one opinion at least. Any others?" She looks to the rest of the explorers, save Ian. She's aware of where his priorities lie.

Caspian looks around before speaking up, "i speak only for myself and not some house, but from where i sit, it seems that scouting in the oathlands, of the two options discussed in the beginning.. is simply far more pressing than treasure hunting. i always enjoy a good treasure hunt, but this is not the time for such distractions i think. to add to that, should my skills ever be needed by a house here to stop the traitor's actions.. whatever i can do i shall."

Watcher looks, for a moment, as though she's fighting back a laugh, though it's clearly something at the table, and not at any of the actual subject matter. Or, at least, one presumes she doesn't find any of that funny.

Ian's eyebrows draw together and he makes an open-palmed gesture with one hand, a feeble sort of protest that suggests him as the source of the hilarity. And maybe suggests he doesn't REALLY think being laughed at is undeserved.

Raven adds, "I am obligated to assist in the Oathlands and the crownlands both. I don't...I wouldn't.." She frowns darkly at herself, "I ain't qualified to vote. You all figure it out and just tell me what you need once you have." perhaps Raven couldn't make it at her bizarro world counterpart came in attendance.

"Voting doesn't mean you are committing to anything. Just that you are expressing your interests should you be available to do anything at all." Lou says after a few more moments. She's distracted momentarily by Watcher's laughter. For a second time a brow is raised in that direction, her eyes falling to Ian a moment as well. "I'll send out missives to everyone else. In the end, just let me know what you'd prefer to do." Which means Lou isn't likely to make any final decisions from this meeting alone.

Caspian gives raven a look that clearly shows he disagrees with her assertion.

Griffin speaks up, quietky, "I would like to help in anyway I can. I am NOT a voting member, though."

Rosalind just murmurs, hand lifted,"I'll help in any safe way I'm able."

Kiera hms "of course I am concerned for my home. At the same time i hesitate advocating for a sistance without a clear plan of action

Kiera rises to leave

Raven drawns in a deep breath and there's a flicker of frustration and exasperation for some reason, "Oathlands."

Ian snaps his fingers once, like some memory has been suddenly jogged. Most of his attention is on his quiet conversation, at this point.

Lou nods to everyone else who finally speaks up. "Thank you," she tells them. "That's all I have for this meeting." She settles back down at her table, arranging her papers as neatly as possible lest Willen give her a lecture later.

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