After The Valley
(leading to Lana's adventures in Thyatis)
Thanking the Antonics for their warm hospitality in Verge, the party returned to Threshold to count their riches. Karnus now possessed the Staff of Hutaaka, which he knew would be a formidable weapon, but to his frustration he had no knowledge of how to unlock its powers. He did however have a haul of ancient tomes and scrolls, taken from Hutaaka, which after careful study (and the application of the Read Languages spell from Golthar's spellbook) hinted at how he might set about unlocking the staff's potential.
Threy, understandably, remained weak after being resurrected and craved time to recuperate. The surly cleric said little during the weeks that followed, as he accepted the reality that his Immortal patrons had deserted him, and that he was now much more alone than before.
Drewen wanted little more than to install his newly acquired throne in his cottage, and count his gold! Vasily and Lana had pressing engagements; both announced that they would return to Specularum. The Church of Traladara required Vasily's attendance at the upcoming Beast's Day festival, a key event in the Traladaran religious calendar. Lana meanwhile was keen to keep an appointment she had made several weeks before, to meet with the mage Hadrian (himself a fellow pupil of Valtanivark) the next day in Specularum.
Bidding farewell to their comrades in Threshold, cleric and mage booked passage on Cardia the elfmaiden's Flying Carpet and reached Specularum by nightfall.
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The adventures of Lana
This tale chronicles the mage's seven week journey through the Empire of Thyatis - time spent apart from her fellow party members which was not without its challenges.
The party's later adventures
Detailing the other party members' individual exploits during Lana's absence and once all five members regrouped.
Lana in Thyatis
The door of the Flying Ferret swung open the next evening and in walked Hadrian, having just teleported from Thyatis. Lana flung her arms around the blue-and-red-robed wizard and bid him welcome. The two friends exchanged news and tales of their experiences over the last few months. Hadrian was astounded that the party had uncovered a forgotten civilisation deep within the Grand Duchy's northern mountains. Hadrian in turn told Lana of news from Thyatis, and how he himself had just put the finishing touches to his wizard's tower in the Duchy of Kantridae. It was to his tower, the next day, that the two mages were going to teleport.
Lana spent two weeks in the company of her fellow mage trying to improve her dagger training. Throughout this period the two mages let their attention wane, and indulged in perhaps a little too much sight-seeing. Several trips were made - to the city of Kerendas where fine horses were being bred and trained, to the city of Retebius which served as a base for the Thyatian air force. Here Lana gazed in awe upon rocs, pegasi and gold dragons among a host of other airborne creatures. All in all, it became apparent Hadrian's expertise with a dagger was inadequate to help Lana' skills progress. Thus the two journeyed across the wilds of Thyatis to the home of a man who had taught Hadrian all he knew of physical combat. This man was Korataku Nuar, a native of the Pearl Islands who owned a small farm deep within the mainland Empire.
Korataku put Lana through many gruelling tests and challenges, and little by little her expertise increased, to the point where she could hold her own against Hadrian. Korataku's skill far surpassed her own, however - the charming rake's adventuring career exceeded Lana's by at least thirty years. During training Lana and Korataku attended a feast in the home of a corrupt senator who attempted to frame a local trader for the attempted murder of a colleague, for reasons of political self-interest. Lana saw fit to question the proceedings and found herself being drawn into the web of treachery - now it was she who was being framed for the murder. Korataku provided Lana with a timely escape from the guardhouse where she was being held prisoner. Mage and thief crept back into the senator's home and through use of a gruesome phantasm (that of a slave girl murdered by her master, the deceitful senator) Lana compelled the senator to confess his wrong-doings. Thus the man was apprehended, both Lana and the framed trader's names were cleared of murder charges and justice was upheld.
As a final test of Lana's training, Korataku suggested an assault course within the forest to the north where a number of his friends dwelled, whom he described as forest-dwelling magic-users. One in particular, an elf named Lauranthas Treeshield, owned an array of wooden practice weapons which would be useful in confirming Korataku's belief that Lana's training was complete. Lana was introduced to Lauranthas, an ally of both Korataku and Hadrian, and the four enjoyed the delights of the forest for a short time. However, the guild of Foresters of which Lauranthus was a member, was being plagued by a series of sinister events. Murders, it was discovered, were being orchestrated by a madman - a man whose skills had once been deemed sufficient to become a Forester, but whose entry to the Guild was refused due to lack of moral fibre. The exiled ranger had returned to the town of Foreston with an agenda of revenge against those who had cast him out. One by one, young and inexperienced Foresters were being slaughtered in the depths of the forest. The Dame of the Guild, Lady Larandia, decreed that such actions could not be tolerated, therefore search parties were to hunt down the murderer. Lana teamed up with Gallas, a young and ambitious Forester whose prize possession was a pair of magical boots which enabled their wearer to run effortlessly up any vertical surface, such as the side of a tree.
Fate being as it was, it was Lana and Gallas who happened upon the murderer, whereupon he fled into the forest. Giving chase through the undergrowth, the companions were forced to part company at a T-junction. Continuing alone for a short distance, the ground at Lana's feet gave way and she landed awkwardly at the bottom of a pit.
Not long after, Lana heard voices at the top of the pit - that of the murderer, but also a second more shrill and maniacal-sounding speaker with whom the murderer was conversing... or rather arguing. Lana demanded that whoever had captured her show themselves. A man's face appeared at the top of the pit, bidding Lana (in a strangely pained tone) to climb out of the pit and join him. Lana was dubious of this proposal as soon as she set eyes on the long, jagged sword in his hand - it was from this blade that the second voice was emanating. Kill her now, it was shrieking, and the bearer of the sword was hardly able to muster the will to refuse. The situation became tense... Lana needed to buy time, to cast Fly upon herself and rise out the pit to safety. She began murmuring the words of her spell, but the murderer sensed danger and hurled a rope net on top of her. The weight of the net interfered with her spellcasting, and the spell was ruined. Irate, Lana grabbed her daggers, hurling one as a missile at her assailant, and using the other to cut herself free of the net. Suddenly though, out of nowhere, the shrieking blade slammed against her head and Lana blacked out...
Lana woke with a stinging feeling inside her head, to the sound of two voices. With her back against a tree, her hands and feet were bound with rope and expertly knotted. Her daggers had also been taken. While the evil sword raged at its wielder, trying to convince him to slaughter Lana, the mage tried to argue her own cause, appealing to the ex-Forester's morals and trying to help him overcome the sword's influence. Surely it was the blade's controlling nature which had compelled him to commit so many murders in cold blood. He himself could not be held responsible...
Try as she might, despite every plea and every shred of logic, the sword retained a hold on its pawn. Lana's plight seemed hopeless - tied to a tree with no way to defend herself. Then she remembered one advantage she had at her disposal - her ring of telekinesis, still on the finger of her right hand. Summoning all her concentration, the mage took mental hold of the foul blade and hurled it out of the clearing into the undergrowth beyond.
Amidst the distraction this caused, Lana thought she heard rustling in the bushes behind the madman... could Gallas have come to her rescue?
The ex-Forester was utterly confused. For a moment he seemed to break free of the sword's influence and seemed ready to release Lana. But a shred of evil still clouded his mind and told him Lana should die. He drew a longbow from his shoulder and loosed an arrow, aimed straight at Lana's throat. The arrow flew true but dropped at the last instant to land at the woman's feet. From the cover of the tree above Lana's head, Gallas had cast a spell to protect his companion from missile fire.
The Forester dropped from the tree and released Lana from her bonds, as the madman plunged into the undergrowth in search of his sword. Lana cast a spell of her own and the murderer's limbs froze solid. He would pose no further threat to Lana, Gallas, the Foresters or anyone else for that matter. Still shaken by the experience, Lana thanked Gallas for his timely rescue and the two dragged their captive to Foreston to face the judgment of the Foresters.
For this service, Lana was to receive an award.
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