Greenery pt 1

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There's a meeting. You're all invited.

"From what we understand, the source of the plants have been small stones covered in a certain moss. They animate and corrpt local flora into pale, dangerous imitations of Am'sherian plants."

The bearded guild official has a man in coveralls stained with green near him.

Kisa might recognize the gardener. He has the look of wondering why he's here on his face even as he keeps an eye on Kisa.

"We believe this originates from the 'Cult of the Teacher' in Am'shere. How many of you are familiar with that?" continues the guild official.

"So, you're saying that this Cult of the Teacher is the root of the problem?" Kisaiya asks as she shakes her head from side-to-side, "Did this cult just sprout up or...? I've never heard of it before." She lowers an eyebrow, clearly not getting it.

Bors shakes his head about cult of the teacher. He offers a blank look and listens quietly.

There is a long sigh from the gardener and the bearded guildsman.

Selia percehs on a chair, idly swinging her legs. "I got 'stones', 'moss', 'corrupt', 'dangerous', 'plants', and 'cult'. Da rest yer gonna haff ta explain."

Kisaiya looks at the two who sigh, "I'm just trying to understand! I mean... why would he branch out to this side of the portal?"

The sith'makar that is Tiasa is in her true form. Easier to attend meetings like this that way. "It sounds familiar but nothing comes to mind" she says in her usual accent.

Garak admits, "I don't know much about Am'shere," he hesitates. "A mostly uncivilized land, if I understand correctly."

"Ah, yes, excuse me," Zant pipes out, painfully cheerfully despite everything, with one cloth-wrapped hand lifting up high, waving it. "What is the Cult of the Teacher, exactly?"

"A savage juntle, to be sure, but not uncivilized. The Sith-Makar people there have a long history and their own empire lead by an Empress. It's different and savage, but I wouldn't say not a form of civlization," he's musing it over now, scratching his chin.

Kisa feels something brush by her legs. It's an orange cat.

"The cult of the teacher follows, well... some guy they all call 'Teacher'. We don't know a whole lot about him ecept that he's some kind of powerful druid. They believe that the jungle ought to spread and consume everything in its path. Over the years, they've tried a few different plans to contaminate this side of the Am'sherian portal with wildlife and flora from Am'shere. It's one of the reasons for all the security." The guildsman wipes his hands anxiously on the front of his suit.

The man in the coveralls just /eyes/ Kisa.

"Or maybe their bad attitudes jsst steam from plant puns," he says.

"Humor is one of the hallmarks of civilization," Garak remarks gravely. "Bad humor or not." He shakes his head. "Does anyone know where the Cult of Teacher is located? Am'shere or do they have any presence here?"

Selia nods. "Crazy druid cult, trying ta spread jungle plants where dey don't belong. Reckon dey may give up come snowfall?"

Bors remains quiet and listens further.

Kisaiya tries to kick the orange cat. CATS! Why'd it have to be cats?! She keeps smiling though toward the two. "Does he want us to leaf Am'shere or something or -- well -- to be frank, my name is Kisaiya not Frank by the way, what's he got against us to make all the plant attacks? Just to spread the seeds of discontent?"

"Beyond 'the jungle', I'm afraid we don't have a whole lot of good answers. If it was that easy to track down and dest roy, I suspect the Empress and her army of Sith-makar would probably have done it by now. Still," he continues, "We don't know. We've got no idea what he actually wants beyond what the minions people have fought say he wants, which is for the jungle to 'consume the world' and that 'all would be tested for their fitness to survive'."

The other man makes a face at Kisa, adding, "Who knows? I'm only here because I was witness to a couple of the plant attacks. Makes me pine for my home."

"What we're intending you to do is to traverse the portal and confer with a representative of the Empress. We're hoping we'll be able to glean some information."

Tiasa nods her head. "I would be honored to visit land of my birth and discover what we can." She gives a big toothy smile.

Selia sighs. "Though da portal? Don't like dat place. Sumthin always tries ta eat me..." To be fair, she is pretty bite-sized.

The cat runs up Kisa's leg and leaps on to her sdhoulder and then MEOWS in her ear before running down the other side.

Garak nods in understanding. "Of course - consider it done." He glances about at the other adventurers. "Ah...that is, we'll do our best." He looks at Tiasa. "We may look to you for knowledge about the area and the locals when we arrive..."

Kisa lets out a yell as it meows in her ear and flails at the cat quite mightily! Which means she almost falls over before she looks back to those giving the information, "Okay. Anything else we should look fir while we're on the otherside of the portal?"

"So we go in, meet with the Empress all official-like," Zant goes on saying, with his earlier-raised hand coming back down to wrap up with it's accompanying one behind the small of his back. "Ask her real-nice-like for information about the Cult, probably negotiate terms for information exchange... the usual stuff. Yes?"

Selia mutters. "...try ta na git eaten..."

Tiasa shrugs, "Helpss much can. Been while ssince home I wass." she stretches a little. A wolf-sized lizard does pick itself up and comes over to rub against Tiasa's leg. She looks back, "Probably not Empresss, but ssomeone that workss and knowss."

Whirlpool has partially disconnected.

"Not the empress," says the greybearded guildsman who tries to ignore the cat, while the gardener starts to laugh. "But, yes, a bit like that. We have an information sharing agreement in place. If they have a lead, you follow it."

Selia mutters again. "...try ta na git eaten..." It's sorta a sore point for her.

Garak nods in understanding. He glances at the others. "We'd best prepare ourselves for a few nights sleeping outdoors in the jungle. I can provide water, but we'll also have to consider food and shelter..."

...through a complicated delousing process at the fort that csurrounds the great Am'shere portal, you are sent. You are scrubbed with magic. Your gear is scrubbed with magic. You feel like you've lost a lair of skin as you stand in front of a great, shimmering tear in space.

That's the portal. You're to walk through it now.

All arround you are merchants and other travelers intending to do the same thing.

Garak rides a sturdy warhorse, although he dismounts and walks ahead of it as they go through the scrubbing process. Garak peers at the portal, then glances back at his steed. He murmurs something to the horse and then both walk through side by side.

Tiasa doesn't mind the scrubbing she has been through a few times and she knows the reasons for it. When prompted she doesn't hesitate to move forward through the portal. Her wolf sized lizard didn't like being scrubbed but it was scrubbed too and then follows Tiasa through.

Selia grumbles. She never liked going though customs. Has to empty out her pockets. And the pockets inside the pockets. And the hidden compartment inside of those. Takes forever to get everything settled right again. And they ask questions. Dumb questions. Why -wouldn't- she have a bag full of bent hairpins, or a vail of cat piss?

  • vial

Kisaiya is on a pony it's far from a pretty thing but it was economical. The rest of it? Eh... she's had to endure worse. Like that damn cat that keeps vomiting on her shoes.

Bors follows along goes through all the process. He cooperates as best he can, though it turns out he doesn't have too much stuff.

Mounts will need to be stabled. Taking them to the jungle, unless they're Swiftclaws, seems to be a bad idea.

All the same, though, you're urged to go on through.

"Go through," says a guardsman.


Kisaiya doesn't mind, it was a rental pony anyway! She used Hertz, the Orc Pony lender. She of course would go through the portal, with a bit of zeal and a lot of grinning. Some place new! Ooo! Maybe she would meet Svar on the other side too! AND DURR! She hadn't seen Durr in quite some time.

Stabled? Garak turns to his horse, stone-faced. He murmurs something and the horse turns and begins walking back in the direction of Alexandria. Is it your imagination or is that a look of relief in it's eye. Garak turns back to the portal and then frowns severely at it. The mission hasn't even started and his mood is already soured.

Tiasa looks at the others as she passes through, "If really need I can help people get ride." she shakes her head and waits after passing through.

Through the portal, then.

There is the sensation of being weightless for a moment, utterly weightless, before you are suddenly on solid ground again, stumbling a bit on a stone paltform as several Sith-Makar move to steady you.

"WElcome to Am'shere," says one.

Whereas you left during the day, it is now the middle of the night. And much, much hotter.

Selia is fine on her own feet. A touch of a stumble, then moving away from helping hands. The thought is appericiated, the action, not so much. Grabby hands by things with fangs twice your size is not a happy thought. Even if they do mean well.

Tiasa mmms as she feels the heat and then nods. Lightning does crackle across the surface of her storm cloud looking breastplate. She dips her head, "My thanksss." she says when she is steadied, "Peace favor your nessstss." she says and then moves down and out of the way so the others can come through, her lizard is following right with her.

Garak inclines his head to the Sith-Makar who speaks. "Thank you. Yes...'peace favor your nests'." He glances around to make sure the others have made it and seem more or less in good condition. Then he turns back to the welcoming party. "I trust you've been told why we've come...?"

"Oh Gods... Oh Gods... Oh Gods." Kisaiya runs off to the side where she finds a post. "I /hate/ magic portals!!" Kisa manages to say just before there's a sound. An awful sound. Princess Kisa throws up, then heaves, heaves... Throws up again before looking back toward the people near the portal.

"Ugh," She says to them all, then to the Sith-makar she holds up a hand and mutters, "Peas to your ne-Hoooagh!" Three times.

You are in another fort.


And once you're done recovering, you are being put through another, redundant process of scrubbing.

To make sure nothing comes through that could contaminate one side or the other, y'see.

It's slow. And frustrating. But eventually, /eventually/, you're done and you're greeted by a brightly colored orange Sith-Makar.

"I am Ravan! I am your friend., I was told to wait for you."

Tiasa gives a bit of a flourish. She has been through the whole process before so she knew what to expect. She smiles as she rises from her bow, "Peace favor your nesst Ravan, I am Tiasa." she offers and then glances to the others.

Bors , when scrubbed, actually doesn't smell of fish. There's a first time for everything.

When Zant lands onto solid ground from... the fantasy equivalent of hyperspace, or whatever, with a graceful lowering down onto a knee and a "Hup!" as if interdimensional travel isn't no big deal for him at all. But then, he *is* a monk.

"Ahhh, well this is more like it!" He declares then, when he hops up. "Alexandria was so *cold*!" ... And yet he doesn't seem to be in any hurry to remove the dual scarves flopping about from his neck, either. Crazy man.

Instead, he promptly turns to bow towards the collection of Sith-makar with an offering of "Peace upon your nest," and flashing a wide, all-too-bright grin at Ravan when he springs back upright. "Yes! Are you in charge here, or are you our escort?"

"...look, I dan't ask 'bout yer lunch, don't ask 'bout mine!" Selia grumbles some more, yet again tucking her various supplies back into place. Including the half bottle of rotgutt. Do these people not understand how hard it is to keep all this stuff handy while maintaining a sleek yet feminine outline? *sigh* "Hi-yas Ravan. I's Selia. Dis is Issa." The little halfer lass does not elaborate.

Garak says, "Well here we are...are we to go somewhere now?" He watches Ravan carefully. "If all you've been told is to wait for us...well, my questions can wait if necessary."

By the time the whole process of portal decontamination is done, Kisa is quite happy to see two things. One, there's no damn cat. Two, she's not feeling sick anymore. The poking, prodding, and cleansing really are of no matter to her. Then there's the new Sith-makar greeting them and instead of trying (and mangling) the greeting, she instead holds up a hand in a wave.

"Hello! I'm Princess Kisaiya of Vandalheim." Oh why not, I mean, she did just hear it, "Peace to your niece." Wait...

"...nest. It's 'nest'," corrects Ravan.

"Come with me, we will have.. supper? I believe that is what you softskins call it!"

He does ineed lead you away from the others t owards a mess hall, gesturing for you all to take a seat.

Thre are human Alexadrians and Sith-Makar hear, eating strips of meat and chatting amiably in a mix of human and draconic.

"You are here because of strange stones, yes? Mossy things making plants grow?"

Tiasa nods her head. She would prefer to be eat around a fire, but a mess hall works. She does have her lizard lay down outside with a promise to bring her something later. She nods her head to Ravan, "Yess, stones like that, back on our sside." she says.

"SUpper! Yes!" Zant coos out eagerly enough, with a bright smile flashed for the benefit of Ravan.

"Oh-- no, no, where are my manners," he quickly chides himself then, with a hand tapping at his cheek before he turns to another bow. "Truthsayer Zant. At your service." And just like that, he's turning up again, with a bounce. "Yes... They look almost like coins, if I don't recall wrong? We brought one of the deactivated ones with us as an example, right? ... Right?"

"Coins?" queries Ravan, eyeing Zant. "Tell me more? The stones are polished, moss encrusted river rocks." This is VERY interesting to the Sith.

Selia keeps quiet, and joins the dining. Or supping. Whichever this is. Whatever the case, a fair bit of meat in Selia's proximity disappears. As do two knives, a spoon, and a small platter. If you're keeping track, of course.

Garak sits down carefully and then turns his head back and forth to follow Ravan and the others' conversation.

Tiasa nods and for the moment lets others talk, she doesn't really know that much about the stuff. So she just listens.

"Oh yeah!" Kisa says, speaking up between small bites, "There were those coins that we found in the greenhouse that were old. I don't remember..." She frowns, waffling the fork up and down in her hand as she thinks back on it.

"I thought it had something to do with some guy or... yeah, I forget." She gives a shake of her head and a shrug. "I don't know about the stones though. That's new."

Bors is, himself, just here for the hitting things. He pulls out his kukris and examines the blades before resheathing them.

"They were, like... uhhhh..." Zant murmurs out, with some sudden uncertainty-- his hands even go flailing about on his side,s ignoring the food for now. "They were bronze, I think? I can't remember that well, actually, I was, um..."


Zant gets hauled up onto someone's shoulder and carried off while the remnants of monster plants are being burned in the background. His arms are bleeding and mangled, and he is very unsconscious.


"...Preoccupied. Um..." Helplessly, he looks towards Kisaiya, as if hoping she can provide some additional insight.

"Please do! Share what you know. We are here to help each other! If you know anything. Otherwise, I will sahre what I know!"

Ravan gives the impression that her's beaming but he's a lizard, so...

Selia says, "I's don't na nutin. I 'eard 'bout da plants, but ain't seen one meself."

Bors says, "We're here for the pruning."

Kisa gives another shrug back to Zant, she doesn't remember either. Just that it was old. "Err, yeah, I mean - I think we're sorta ashed to see what we can do and information on this Teacher?"

"Yes, the Teacher. A long time problem," agrees Ravan, nodding.

"He has been a nuisance in the side of the Empire for years now, always drawing off the Sith and even some Troglodytes who try to find sense in the ways of the jungle rather than our nationb or our nests. They put the jungle above all, proclaiming it the source of strength and life. Many followers of the Maw, you call him CAracoroth, are in his employ. They hunt us, they turn our children upon each other. And yet we have never found this 'Teacher'."

Garak leans back a bit without quite abandoining his ramrod-straight posture. "Never found him? Do you think that's because he's skilled at stealth? Or you're looking in the wrong place?"

Kisa nods her head a few times to agree with Ravan, but she's not sure exactly what else to say at this point. "I guess that makes sense why he's turning plants in greenhouses?"

"Caracoroth...?" Zant repeats after Ravan with a slow, sideward tilt of his head, blinkign his eyes slowly in curiousity while his fingers fiddle with some food. "Where... do they usually operate? Maybe that could provide some clues, too. I don't know."

"They could be testing something, some new way to spread chaos on the other side, but why these coins? They are old, they do not belong on this side of the portal. You see, we had not thought of them as anything until you mentioned them, but I recall coins being found at the sight of the mionions attacks as well. Old, very, tarnisherd. Not of the jungle."

He hisses.

"Do you have any with you?" You won't, of course, but he's still asking.

Selia considers. "Got coins, but nay old ones. Meybe coins is wot this Teacher 'ad in 'is pockets, been 'round 'im a while, picked up 'is magic or wotever."

Garak glances over. "Not of the jungle? Then perhaps there is some other force behind the Teacher." He glances around as if to get his bearings, before realizing he's in a different land. "An old force."

"Behind him? I do not think so, and if they were, they would not be leaving such calling cards. No, this seems like something from your side of the portal, perhaps assisting him. But why the old coins? It does not make any sense. I shall take you to the sight of a recent attack. Perhaps there will be a coin there and we can confirm this?" HE rises up.

Selia nods, and rises also. Well, drops, actually. Tall chairs.

Tiasa nods her head sounds like a good idea to her. She stands as well and stretches a bit. She smiles, "That sound good."

Kisaiya stands up as well, ready to be off and see this newest area where the attack took place! Maybe there would be spiders that she could try and smuggle out for Alba.

"...You know, in theory," Zant suddenly says. "If you were to recognize the coins in some capacity, maybe we can use those to track... wherever they came from. Maybe they're signs of something. Somehow."

Zant may or may not be grasping at straws here.

"But yes! Let's!"

...and off into the jungle you go.

You're actually given mounts to ride in this part of the junglle. SWiftclaws, of course. big, two legged grumpy lizards who don't seem to like you very much but can be ridden. For those that've never been on swiftclaw back, well... you're in for a treat! Mostly, the treat of avoiding its teeth.

They're very sharp.

The jngle is... very jungly. As you depart the fort built around the portal, you can see the great canopy of this place and hear the calls of creatures great and small. It starts to rain almost immediately. The rain soon graduates into 'torrential downpour'.

Selia is not happy. The rain doesn't bother her that much, and the heat can be handeled. But riding on the back of a carnivore significanly larger than herself is not the makings of a good time. The tiny dancer rides well enough, but she's not happy about it.

Garak rings out his sleeves and then the tip of his tabbard. They're almost immediately soaked again, of course. "Does it rain like this often?" He calls to Tiasa over the sound of the weather. "Could this be something caused by our quarry?"

"It's the season," yells Ravan back to Garak.

Kisa pulls out her makeshift umbrella, aka her parasol, and tries to juggle that and the reins of the swiftclaw. She of course follows it up by trying to imitate some of the bird noises too. This was, after all, quite the adventure. "I like these things better than camels. Can I bring one back to Alexandria?"

Tiasa chuckles, "Normal thiss isss." she shakes her head a bit. She did choose to ride one of the swift claws, and her lizard follows along with them, keeping up.

Bors isn't a good rider. He's actually a poor rider, though he's agile enough to manage. He's also in plate armor. This winds up being a draw. Though the rain sucks.

After a bummpy, several hour ride through a frigging downpour that leaves you all soaked to the bone and miserable, the Sith-Makar (who is naturally unaffected by said downpour and didn't r3eally consider how it might harm you or make you uncomfortable) hops off the swift and leads it away.

Here, the trees seem... taller in general than before. And they were tall before. There are viney remnants all around and a bulky, moldy pile of mushy vegetation right ahead of you.

"That was the creature," he says, pointing at it. "It is dead now," he adds.

Garak is all to eager to climb down off of the Swiftclaw he was riding. He creeps towards the pile, then kneels down at the edge of it to examine it. He seems reluctant to touch it yet.

Selia keeps a wary eye out. She's used to large things that want to eat her, but around here they're far too common, and sometimes include the plants... arriving at the site, the little halfer climbs down easy enough, and disappears into the follage. She works best unsupervised.

GAME: Kisaiya rolls Survival: (15)+9: 24

Bors will just have to keep an eye out for mushy vegetation. In a rainforest, in the rain.

Tiasa isn't really bothered by the rain either but then she wouldn't be. She hops off and Naca, her lizard follows after her. She approaches and cocks her head to the side. "This was plan creature, work of Teacher?" she asks and watches for a moment. Lightning does crackle along that stormy looking breastplate now and again. She looks around taking a look at things, smelling and looking close.

"Yes, this was a creature. A great mass of moving moss. It killed two swiftclaws! Broke their necks."

He sniffs at it.

It stinks.

It stinks even to human noises. It just smells really bad.

"We believe it is the Teacher, yes." He pokes at the mass with a stick to make sure it's still dead. It seems to be.

Kisaiya wanders over toward it and starts moving slowly outward from it in ever increasing circles. She's looking for tracks, "If we can find where it came from, that's where we might find a coin. That's how it worked on the two that we found anyway - they were at its origin." But try as she might, she simply can't manage to pick up the trail. She sighs, heavily.

"I dunno though, not sure where it came from but, uh, kinda odd - Nothing is /eating/ it. Like, bugs are leaving it alone."

GAME: Garak rolls perception: (14)+17: 31

GAME: Kisaiya rolls Perception: (8)+3: 11

GAME: Tiasa rolls perception: (3)+13: 16

GAME: Bors rolls perception: (16)+16: 32

GAME: Zant rolls perception: (10)+13: 23

GAME: Selia rolls perception: (16)+9: 25

Searching through the area, you don't really find too much of initial interest. All that leaves is the pile of vegetation in the middle. Someone is going to have to go through that /mess/ with a st ick or something.

Ravan does nod towards Kisa, though, agreeing, "That /is/ odd. Everything in the jungle is food for something else."

Garak peers at the back of a tree. "This doesn't look normal," he gestures. There's an odd overgrowth there. Slowly Garak slides a long curved sword from it's case on his back. Holding the long hilt with both hands he scratches at the moss with the tip of the blade, arms extended so he can keep as far from it as possible.

Bors is poking at things with his kukri knives, cause he doesn't want to touch anything, either. Making a face, he flicks a dead dragonfly toward Kisaiya's feet. Though it seems odd, there's no other dead bugs.




Up above you, There are bugs.

So many bugs. Great and small. They seem to've been made into a sort of congealed mass...connected by moss bits, like some sort of network between them.


They begin to scurry off the jungle tree tops towards you.