Sax

Fifth Session

An overnight stop in Low Vale, waiting to meet Sgt Storey. He arrived during the group’s breakfast break and some basic introductions and conversations followed. The discussion didn’t really go anywhere, and Sgt Storey suggested that the group drop in on him later in the day once they had agreed what they wanted to discuss. The group decided that they would head off and explore rather than speak to Sgt Storey again.

After a short walk up the side of the vale, the group come upon a woodsman who was friendly and shared some food and drink. Cleb discussed some of the things he has seen over the years living in the vale.

The rest of the day was made up of exploration, over the hill side and down in the misty valley beyond. Plenty of discussion about what should be done – between pressing on down in to the valley and try to cross, or explore more and take some time to recover from the travels etc.

Camping on the top of the ridge, the group are disturbed in their sleep by a number of smaller barking creatures. Various shouting, running round in the dark ensue.

Marcus exerts his authority over Evander’s enthusiasm for pressing on, and the group agree to explore a little and then to head up the valley to High Vale. High Vale is suffering from pestilence or plague, and the group decide to ignore the threat of plague and head in to the town. Staying at the inn (Miner’s Arms I think), the group spend a week – talking to the locals and refreshing themselves after a few weeks on the road.

The decision is made to head back down the vale to Low Vale, and speak to Sgt Storey. Walking down the vale in the late afternoon, the group arrive at Low Vale at the end of the day. They meet Sgt Storey, who asks where they have been – he was expecting to speak to them a week earlier.

After some honesty about objectives and allegiances, the group discuss their desire to cross in to the otherworld. Storey is not keen on helping, although is persuaded that the group have true intentions to help the Emperor, and he agrees to provide help. The best option is considered to be the boggy lake in the misty valley beyond the ridge. Some preparation is made, with oiled skins and waterskins full of oats etc. Some stuff is left with Sgt Storey, to be collected when & if the group make it back from the otherworld.

The following morning, the group set off and head up the hill side towards the misty valley. After dropping down in to the valley, the small stream is followed to find the lake. Thick reeds and grasses surround the small lake, on the surface of the water lie large lily like leaves. After some searching around the lake, large purple soft fruit can be found hanging under the leaves. A number of these fruit are collected, and a couple of people in the group decide to eat the tart tasting fruit.

Everyone’s kit is prepared with ropes and making the best use of the waterskins and sacks. An order is agreed, and (TBC) Marcus wades in to the water, when he gets close to the middle of the lake, he takes a deep breath and ducks under the water. He pulls himself down the thick roots of the lily like plant, and kicks hard to head to the bottom of the lake. The water is dark and muddy, he pushes on and then suddenly hears the toll of a loud large bell. A very disorienting twist, and suddenly the water is falling and there is fresh air to breath. Frantically grabbing at the roots, he starts to fall battered by his heavy pack. He slips through some thick leaves, and then suddenly falling 15 feet on to a soft wet muddy grass. The winds slips from him, and he lies looking up at what looks like the underside of a large tree with huge lily like leaves wrapped in mist. A deep breath, and he rolls out of the way, looking around the moonlight hilltop on which he has landed.

One after another the group repeat the action, each taking slightly different routes through the lake, and different routes down through the leaves on to the muddy hilltop. Once the whole group were through, kit is recovered and a quick reccie of the area is done.

After moving a short distance from the hilltop, an impromptu camp is made for the few hours until dawn. A sunny morning, encourages the group to dry their wet clothes and kit and the group stay put all day and in to the night. The camp is a in a hollow, at the edge of what appears to be a very overgrown meadow.

During the night, a large creature is heard moving through the high grass. The creature stays near the camp for a hour or more, although doesn’t come close enough to worry the group. Dawn of the 2nd day, and the group head off uphill towards a rocky outcrop. A few hours walking through heavily overgrown countryside, finds the group climbing up a rocky hillside. At the top of the hillside, climbing up a rocky outcrop allows a good view of the surrounding country.

In the distance, to the north east is a range of huge cloud topped mountains. To the north west, a ‘field’ of broken rocky barrows stretch out from the hillside on which group stand. To the East, across the valley a thin line of smoke can be seen rising.

Comparing the lay of the land to the map, the group are drawn by movement on a road to the East – seen through hawkeyes. They set off, back towards the camp and then further across the wider valley. After dusk, the group close in on a the source of the smoke, and Marcus sneaks ahead to explore. He passes a formal garden, and approaches a still smoking building. He climbs the rough stone wall at the end of the house and looks & listens…

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