The Coming of the Zioth
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Game Turns

Turn Index

Book 1

Chapter 1plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigChapter 1: A Chance Meeting in Dunweig (Rewrite of turn 1)
Chapter 2plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigChapter 2: An Anxious Employer (Rewrite of turns 1, 2 and 3)
Chapter 3plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigChapter 3: Knowing All the Facts (Rewrite of turns 3, 4 and 5)
Chapter 4plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigChapter 4: Trouble in Grenzig (Rewrite of turns 5, 6, 7 and 8)
Chapter 5plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigChapter 5: Taking the Town by Force (Rewrite of turns 6, 7 and 8)
Chapter 6plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigChapter 6: Balban's Reward (Rewrite of turns 8, 9 and 10)

Book 2

Turn 11plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 11: In the Forest
Turn 12plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 12: Brininig
Turn 13plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 13: An Attempt to Continue
Turn 14plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 14: A Fight with Wolves
Turn 15plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigTurn 15: Ziedon's Adventure: Through the Fire
Turn 16plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 16: Ziedon's Adventure: Animal Moss
Turn 17plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigTurn 17: Ziedon's Adventure: The Maze of Foors
Turn 18plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigTurn 18: Ziedon's Adventure: A New Master
Turn 19plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigTurn 19: Ziedon's Adventure: Talking Cats
Turn 20plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 20: A Storm Will Lead the Way
Turn 21plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 21: Maelbourg
Turn 22plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 22: Nothing Gained
Turn 23plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 23: The Minstrel's Song
Turn 24plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 24: The Lost Scroll
Turn 25plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 25: Ziedon, the Necromancer
Turn 26plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 26: Kreemon the Ranger
Turn 27plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 27: Korisca the Thief
Turn 28plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 28: Townsman Ulan
Turn 29plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 29: The Message
Turn 30plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 30: Questionable Gains
Turn 31plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 31: The Last Night in Maelbourg
Turn 32plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 32: Departure
Turn 33plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 33: Another Approach
Turn 34plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 34: The Townsman's Dilemma
Turn 35plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 35: A Partial Resolution
Turn 36plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 36: New Arrivals
Turn 37plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 37: Ziedon's Day

Book 3

Turn 38plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 38: Dunweig
Turn 39plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 39: Ranes's
Turn 40plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 40: The Healer
Turn 41plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 41: A Week in Dunweig
Turn 42plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 42: The Butcher Moren
Turn 43plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 43: Master Johannes Eltermann
Turn 44plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 44: The Investigation Begins
Turn 45plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 45: The Temple of the Orithory
Turn 46plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 46: A Scene of Death
Turn 47plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 47: Johannes' Breakdown
Turn 48plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 48: The Healer and the Temple
Turn 49plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 49: A Dark Man, a Shadow
Turn 50plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 50: A Night to be Forgotten
Turn 51plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 51: An Eventful Departure
Turn 52plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 52: Korisca's Story
Turn 53plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigTurn 53: Johannes's Vision (Johannes only)
Turn 54plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 54: Osander River Village
Turn 55plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigTurn 55: The magic of Osander River Village
Turn 56plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigTurn 56: Discovery by Night (Johannes only)
Turn 57plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 57: Rielicca's Accusations
Turn 58plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 58: The Journey to Huerten
Turn 59plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigTurn 59: Kreemon and the Second Clerk (Kreemon only)
Turn 60plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigTurn 60: Tracking Kreemon (Ardith, Kay, Sahlman and Johannes only)
Turn 61plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 61: Inside the Walls
Turn 62plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 62: Below the Castle
Turn 63plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 63: The Swim to Shore
Turn 64plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigTurn 64: Sahlman's Adventure: Ulan's Soldiers
Turn 65plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigTurn 65: Sahlman's Adventure: The Brininig
Turn 66plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigTurn 66: Sahlman's Adventure: A Farmer's Trap
Turn 67plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigTurn 67: Sahlman's Adventure: The state of Maelbourg
Turn 68plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigTurn 68: Sahlman's Adventure: A Clumsy Stalker
Turn 69plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigTurn 69: Sahlman's Adventure: The Murderer of Dunweig
Turn 70plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 70: Sahlman's Adventure: Kgeih
Turn 71plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigTurn 71: Sahlman's Adventure: Searching for Ardith
Turn 72plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 72: The Return of Sahlman
Turn 73plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 73: The Zahiran (Kreemon only)
Turn 74plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 74: Kreemon and Sahlman
Turn 75plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigTurn 75: Johannes's Adventure: The Destruction of a Mob
Turn 76plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigTurn 76: Johannes's Adventure: Attacked in the Forest
Turn 77plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigTurn 77: Johannes's Adventure: A Burning Cat
Turn 78plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigTurn 78: Johannes's Adventure: Escaping to Brundash
Turn 79plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigTurn 79: Johannes's Adventure: Return Home
Turn 80plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigTurn 80: Johannes's Adventure: A New Vision
Turn 81plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 81: Johannes's Adventure: Uyithlyaw
Turn 82plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigTurn 82: Johannes's Adventure: The Knights of Huerten
Turn 83plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 83: Johannes and Sahlman
Turn 84plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 84: Waiting for the Trial
Turn 85plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 85: The Zioth Expert
Turn 86plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 86: Preparing for the Winter Fair

Book 4

Turn 87plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 87: The Winter Fair and Festival
Turn 88plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 88: Uyithlyaw's Prophecy
Turn 89plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 89: Dealing with Disaster
Turn 90plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 90: The Rift
Turn 91plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 91: The Creatures of the Rift
Turn 92plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 92: Meeting the Baron
Turn 93plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 93: The Zioth Institute
Turn 94plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 94: The Battle of the Rift
Turn 95plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 95: New Blood
Turn 96plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 96: The Captain of the Guard
Turn 97plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 97: Into the Depths
Turn 98plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 98: The People of the Rift
Turn 99plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 99: The High Baraderres
Turn 100plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigTurn 100: A Disappointing Conclusion (The game fell apart at this point, so this story line has come to an end. Read on for Ziedon's adventure!)

Book 5

Turn 101plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 101: A Mission from Rakbaven
Turn 102plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 102: Settling in Dunweig
Turn 103plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 103: The Butcher Moren
Turn 104plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 104: Sheep
Turn 105plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 105: Moren's Book
Turn 106plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 106: Rosteral
Turn 107plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 107: Creating Rumors
Turn 108plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 108: The Seven Question Dream
Turn 109plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 109: The Other Galpen
Turn 110plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 110: Preparing an Assassination
Turn 111plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 111: Caught
Turn 112plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 112: Hebabelt Forester
Turn 113plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 113: Dragged into Maelbourg
Turn 114plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 114: Townsman Galgewe
Turn 115plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 115: Working for a Townsman
Turn 116plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 116: The State of Maelbourg
Turn 117plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 117: Jerrakken
Turn 118plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigTurn 118: Ulan's Allies and Balban's Enemies
Turn 119plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 119: Townsman Silnquost
Turn 120plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 120: Velirra Dufowl, a Bad Omen
Turn 121plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 121: A Rap on the Shutters
Turn 122plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 122: Hewlard and Duddan
Turn 123plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 123: G is Catching On
Turn 124plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 124: The Public Guildhouse
Turn 125plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 125: Commanding the Guards
Turn 126plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 126: A Demostration of Power
Turn 127plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 127: Recconoisance

Book 6

Turn 128plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 128: A Friend
Turn 129plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 129: Korisca's Help
Turn 130plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 130: A Changing Year
Turn 131plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 131: The Shortest Path
Turn 132plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 132: Springing Ziedon

Book 7

Turn 133plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 133: The Disappearing Trick
Turn 134plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigTurn 134: Korisca's Claim to Townsmanship
Turn 135plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 135: The Northern Gate
Turn 136plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 136: Desecrating the House
Turn 137plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 137: Digging up Galgewe
Turn 138plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 138: The Hidden Army
Turn 139plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 139: The Transformation
Turn 140plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 140: Interrogating a Spy
Turn 141plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigTurn 141: The Merchant from the Eastern Kingdoms
Turn 142plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 142: The Battle of the Magics
Turn 143plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 143: The Song of Destruction
Turn 144plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 144: Gathering Support
Turn 145plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 145: Kreemon's Mob
Turn 146plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 146: Confronting the Sign
Turn 147plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 147: The Golden Priest
Turn 148plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 148: The Dream World
Turn 149plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 149: Spreading Rumors
Turn 150plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 150: Ziedon's Plan
Turn 151plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 151: The Earthquake, Again
Turn 152plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 152: Another Use for Galgewe
Turn 153plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 153: Vanquishing Evil

Book 8

Turn 154plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 154: The Sailor from Marais
Turn 155plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 155: An Unexpected Detour
Turn 156plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 156: The Army and Balban
Turn 157plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 157: The Preceptor's Day
Turn 158plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 158: The Andrithan Townsman
Turn 159plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 159: How to get away
Turn 160plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 160: Lelen Meretal
Turn 161plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 161: The Barrier
Turn 162plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 162: Balban's Camp
Turn 163plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 163: A Difference in Viewpoint
Turn 164plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 164: A New Friend
Turn 165plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 165: Rousing the Dead
Turn 166plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 166: Just a Lot of Books
Turn 167plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 167: The Door Behind the Ribbon
Turn 168plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 168: The Old Library

Book 9

Turn 169plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 169: The Foreign Tutor
Turn 170plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 170: A Job From F
Turn 171plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 171: Playing Politics
Turn 172plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 172: The Mercenary's Refuge
Turn 173plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 173: Two More Pieces of the Puzzle
Turn 174plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 174: The Oddest Storm
Turn 175plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 175: Meeting the Preceptor
Turn 176plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 176: The Sky is Falling!
Turn 177plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 177: Tala's Prophesy
Turn 178plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 178: The House Guard
Turn 179plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 179: A Footprint in the Wall
Turn 180plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 180: The Rotted Oak
Turn 181plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 181: A Dark Passage
Turn 182plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 182: The Glass Room
Turn 183plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 183: Averting the Signs
Turn 184plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigTurn 184: A Secret is a Secret is a Secret
Turn 185plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 185: Hidden Treasure
Turn 186plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 186: The Song of Eternity

Book 10

Turn 187plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 187: A Changed Maelbourg
Turn 188plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 188: Finding Old Friends
Turn 189plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 189: Following the Paths
Turn 190plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 190: Disguised as Priest
Turn 191plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 191: Followers of the Sorcerer

Book 11

Turn 192plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 192: The End of Eternity
Turn 193plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 193: Changes
Turn 194plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 194: The Mage and his Balowan
Turn 195plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 195: Taking a Stand
Turn 196plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 196: A Long Time Ago
Turn 197plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 197: The Initiate
Turn 198plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 198: Magic for Magic
Turn 199plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 199: The Andrithan Healer
Turn 200plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 200: Where to Find a Secret
Turn 201plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 201: Yunim
Turn 202plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 202: A Splash of Water
Turn 203plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 203: Risen Kanal
Turn 204plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 204: A Hasty Exit
Turn 205plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 205: The Death of the Spies
Turn 206plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 206: Never Touching the Ground
Turn 207plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 207: Eluding Enforcers
Turn 208plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 208: The Enclave of the Mad
Turn 209plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 209: The Blood Master of Gallia
Turn 210plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 210: A Question After All
Turn 211plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 211: The Legend of Zilgard
Turn 212plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 212: Waiting in a Clearing
Turn 213plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 213: The Meeting
Turn 214plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 214: Brundash
Turn 215plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 215: My Wandering Colleague
Turn 216plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 216: The Mad Mage's Curse
Turn 217plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 217: You must ally with one
Turn 218plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 218: Memories
Turn 219plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 219: The First Piece
Turn 220plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 220: Gaping
Turn 221plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 221: The Ancestor's Journey
Turn 222plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 222: Raven Children
Turn 223plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 223: The Dream of Faulkan
Turn 224plugin-autotooltip__defaultTurn 224: Strangers

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zioth:turn:223 [2018-09-06 16:10] (current)
eli created
Line 1: Line 1:
 +<​roleplay mode="​turn_data">​
 +turn: 223
 +title: The Dream of Faulkan
 +start: 577/06/10 07:00
 +end: 577/06/10 21:00
 +played_date:​ 2018-07-24
 +posted_date:​ 2018-09-06
 +weather: warm
 +location: Gaping
 +xp_aldet: 42800
 +</​roleplay>​
 +
 +<​roleplay mode="​turn_start"/>​
 +
 +The next day, Aldet knew something had changed in Gaping. It was subtle, but she'd been there long enough to have caught on to the patterns of everyday life. Had someone died? Had the peddler come into town off schedule? Had there been a fire? No, the first would probably have some ritual to go along with it, and there was none of the frantic activity one would expect from the later two. Well she was bound to find out eventually. Word spread quickly.
 +
 +In the early afternoon, Aldet found Nahlarun working in his garden. A Storyteller didn't have to work, of course -- the community would support him -- but it was not unheard of. He peeled back one of the long leaves of the lettuce that would only grow in well-cultivated soil, and inspected it for infestation. He carefully restored the leaf to its place between two others so it would grow properly, then moved on to the dry, green-brown stalks of a variety of radish Aldet had only seen in Gaping.
 +
 +The lettuce looked good, although anything that wasn't an over-boiled root vegetable seemed appetizing at this point. She watched as he peered at the radish stalks. It didn't seem like he had noticed her approach from his gardener'​s crouch. "​Storyteller?"​ Her voice felt kind of loud in the afternoon lull.
 +
 +If Aldet'​s voice felt loud, Nahlarun'​s was booming. "Ah. You have returned after six days of seeking."​ He patted down the soil around the raddish, and, with only a little difficulty, stood up. "Have you found my story?"​
 +
 +Aldet shifted a little. Even after thinking on it for most of the morning, she wasn't entirely sure what the story was. She stepped a bit closer, "Yes, although it doesn'​t seem to have an end. Unfortunately,​ they don't use words, or at least none that I understand, so I'm afraid it will be tough to convey. I sought out their burrows and tracks, and I found nothing, even where they reveled for a night. They travel to and from angles that make no sense..."​ She gestured from one end of the garden to the other, then vaguely at her scratched face and newly patched jacket, "​Though I assure you they are really here, at least sometimes.
 +
 +"Tell me, Storyteller,​ have you ever heard of creatures that do these things before?"​ Aldet noticed the incredulous note in her voice, and it was true; she was still trying to wrap her head around what had happened the previous night.
 +
 +"Only the vagaries of the peddler'​s half-remembered tales, and stories from the occasional stranger who doesn'​t know what a story is. Tell me everything you saw and heard."​
 +
 +Aldet told the story as objectively as she could, without a lot of flourish. She had some difficulty describing her mental conversation with the injured nitsie. Nahlarun had a lot of clarifying questions, which she tried to answer with as much detail as possible, but her combination of distaste and confusion about their magic showed through.
 +
 +When Aldet was finished, Nahlarun closed his eyes and recited, "She peered through the looking glass and spoke to the raven child'​s soul... This will be an excellent story. You have certainly fulfilled your end of our bargain. I will tell the Dream of Faulkan tonight. I realize that I have never asked your name."
 +
 +She told him.
 +
 +"No, that won't do. Too many consonants for a story like this. You will be Ahled. Ahled'​s Dance with the Nitsies. No. Dances in the Looking Glass? The Soul of Ilsupeich? No matter. I will come up with an appropriate title. I have a lot of work to do. You may sit at the outer circle tonight."​ Nahlarun immediately turned and entered his home. The outer circle. Of course a foreigner wouldn'​t be allowed in the inner circle during a story, and even the outer circle was pushing the boundary of what was acceptable. Most people, especially outsiders, would sit on straw mats outside of both circles. Aldet sitting in the middle of the room would surely create a stir.
 +
 +Aldet felt her dwindling hopes for a useful story sink as the Storyteller changed her name and tried out titles for her evening before returning to his cottage. Hm... her new name still had the same number of consonants. Maybe they just don't spell properly here. She thought back on the illustrated signposts that dotted the village. She stood in the empty garden for a moment and considered the unattended, pleasantly green lettuce leaves. No, she couldn'​t afford to lose any progress with these people over some lettuce. Especially Nahlarun'​s lettuce. She smoothed her jacket and grazed her pocket, feeling the nitsie talon inside. More comfortable there than in her shoulder, certainly. It hadn't felt right to toss it into the scrub at her campsite.
 +
 +Maybe the story wouldn'​t be that useful, but hopefully it would at least give some context to Behnai'​s tale. She wandered through the center of Gaping, if it could be called a center, and headed towards the weaver'​s hovel to pick up her pricey gloves. With a short visit, she should still have time to return to the middle of town, find a comfortable rock, and catch the attention of the first person who didn't look away quickly enough to politely avoid conversation. She'd rather not, but she doubted she would be brought into the loop even if she did have an invitation to sit beyond the straw mats tonight. She should be more pleased at the sign of... gratitude? But sitting closer among the villagers'​ rituals didn't seem appealing; what is the joy in listening to a song you wouldn'​t sing?
 +
 +As usual, the people of Gaping didn't have much to say to her. They were used to her presence, so they weren'​t outright rude, but they were still quick to get on with their business. So Aldet settled for watching and listening, and soon learned why things didn't seem quite right. There were strangers in town, and not like her either. These were more foreign, tall, with dark hair. One was a monster of a man, huge and illustrated,​ and another was the fattest man any of them had seen who wasn't bedridden. There were five in all, and they were uncomfortably chatty, asking questions of everyone they met. Aldet caught a glimpse of the group as they were leaving town, heading for the Polies.
 +
 +That evening, Aldet settled into her chair near the center of the room. It was warm so close to the bubbling cauldrons of stew, and strange to be sitting in a chair when most of the room was on the floor. She noticed that there was a subtly larger space around her chair than around the others, and she caught sidelong glances that ranged from curious to hostile.
 +
 +She finished her portion of the bland but filling stew before the first story was complete. The second story was dull, some second-hand tale from the peddler'​s time in the city that Aldet knew had very little resemblance to reality. Finally, Nahlarun got to the promised Dream of Faulkan. The crowd was surprised, but pleased. It was clearly a local favorite.
 +
 +"Since Gaping Mouth was first settled,"​ Nahlarun began, using the full name of their village, "every youth has spent a night in the cave. The Mouth is what turns a boy into a man, a girl into a woman. The Mouth is ours to protect, and ours to respect. It is our namesake, our culture, our Story. Runes are runes etched above the entrance, '​Surah,​ rahsu, piterana,'​ 'Take nothing out, leave nothing behind, disturb nothing.'"​ Adults in the room nodded with understanding. Youths watched wide-eyed and eager for the tale that they had heard numerous times before. Nahlarun went on to describe the ritual of entering the Mouth. Void the bladder and bowels, bathe thoroughly with brushes and sand. Then dress, covering the nose and mouth and most of the skin, and wrap smooth-bottomed shoes in cloth. Nothing could be taken or left, not even dust, or moisture from sweat or breath. Youths would step out of their shoes' wrappings and into the cave. There they would wait for dawn, when they would brush all dust from their clothing and shoes, and step out of the cave.
 +
 +"No one ventures deeper, and no one sleeps, but Faulkan did. Tired from the day's labor, he sat against the wall, and fell asleep. When he emerged, he would say nothing of his dreams, but he was changed. He lived his life in Gaping and grew old, but would not speak of what he saw in the Mouth. This was the Dream of Faulkan."​
 +
 +The room was silent. An older woman cleared her throat. Then a young man jabbed a child in the side, and the boy, looking embarrassed,​ asked too loudly, "Did Faulkan never tell his Story? What did he see?" So it was all part of the show.
 +
 +"Oh yes," Nahlarun said, "but not until he was very old. Lying in his deathbed, surrounded by his children and grandchildren,​ the youngest among them asked the very question you just asked: what did he see? Old Faulkan sent his family away and called in the Storyteller,​ for he knew this was important, and that a Storyteller had to hear it first.
 +
 +"'​The guardians appeared before me,' Faulkan said, remembering that long ago night. 'They clove me in two, again and again, for daring to take it out, even though I did not.' The Storyteller asked him what it was that they thought he took, and he answered, 'The cave, and anything in it, even the dust on the ground or the moisture on the wall. They chased me through the night, and I saw the others that were not there, and the man.' What others, the Storyteller asked, what man? 'The others who waited with me, who were in the cave, but not in the dream, who had been wise enough to stay awake. And the man was your father, Storyteller,​ who had wisely advised us on how to respect the Mouth. The Voice controlled my will, bending my thoughts until I was not sure what was right and what was wrong.'​ Whose voice, the Storyteller asked. 'The voice of my own fear. And I saw the beginning, and they were all with me, and I saw the end, and they all followed the voice of my fear.' And the remembrance was so fearful that Faulkan died with the last words on his lips.
 +
 +"So beware, those who will soon enter the Mouth. Respect it, perform the proper rituals, and remember the Dream of Faulkan."​
 +
 +Some of the young people looked frightened, or at least awed. Most had forced stern looks on their faces, to show how seriously they took this particular Story. There was one more story which Aldet had to sit through, since there was no polite way to leave from her spot in the outer circle, and finally, the night was over.
 +
 +Aldet lingered as the warm, stuffy room cleared. At least her hopes hadn't been too high. The story repeated much of Behnai'​s,​ and the dream itself... well... There was maybe some similarity with what happened with the nitsies, but it was likely a boy's vivid nightmare filtered through generations of Storytellers and given an appropriately dramatic ending. She made her way among the mats and out into the evening air, pretending not to see more of the villagers'​ glances. Turns out it was poor timing to move to the outer circle; she might otherwise have had a chance to go unnoticed compared to the newcomers. Aldet didn't see them at the Hall tonight, but maybe they just hadn't yet figured out which of the nondescript buildings it was. 
 +
 +She made her way back toward her comfortable stone, idly watching people chat before dispersing. There weren'​t a lot of reasons for a foreign stranger to visit Gaping; no special trades or resources, nor the food, architecture,​ or hospitality. It was either the Stories, the nitsies, or the Mouth. Her stomach dropped at a fourth option, but it was too far for the House to bother coming here. They had probably never looked outside the city, and definitely not towards the Polies. Aldet straightened in her seat and soothed her worries. The group had been too far off to see what they were, but if they were really as chatty as people said she would just have to be around to talk tomorrow.
 +
 +When she felt the night air chill a bit further, she mutely gathered herself and hiked back out to her camp among the rocks. She kept her fire low to heat her water -- the pile of sticks was almost gone anyway -- and made the effort to wash up and quietly sing her thanks for the day. Hopefully all this was better than nothing, but she resigned herself to another restless night. Yes, maybe it would be good to get some news of the world outside Gaping from an overly nice scholar and his lackeys.
 +
 +<​roleplay mode="​turn_notes"/>​
 +
 +<​roleplay mode="​turn_end"/>​