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BotRE Sea1/Ep2 'Waking the Sleeping Dead'


Nina
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Korroth inspected the beds, and chose the one closest to the door, setting his things down, and looked to the others.  "We should all get cleaned up. "  He was careful not to allow his gear to touch the bed itself, and remained standing, he knew his gear was soaked with the sweat of the day, and he would see about cleaning it as well later, if things went well.  He had a change of simple clothing, and he'd wear that down to dinner.  

When Firanis asked her question, he shook his head.  "I think they meant "Meal."  I have heard it called that before, back when I was young and we had soldiers come to the camp, they said it that way."

he looked to the others.  "Aazaea, Temple, why don't you join her.  Their shower can accommodate many at once, once you all finish, the rest of us will go in."  Though a barbarian, he still had some sense of honor, and thought it only right that men and women bathed separately.

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After everyone has cleaned up Gange returns and leads them back down to a large hall with many long tables with benches built on. There they find the Camdant and several other adults, both men and women.

 

After being introduced to everyone seats are taken and food is served. Those doing the serving are all young children, again both boys and girls.

 

As the adventurers eat the camdant starts to talk.

 

"I am sure you have  many questions. This place is a place of learning and discipline. it has been here since before the cataclysm. We teach the youth of the surrounding villages how to be the best they can be and serve their people.. We welcome and knowledge you wish to trade and in turn will open our liebree for your use while you stay."

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Not unaccustomed to scarcity and lack of sustenance, the lanky, young woman shoved food in her mouth and drink down her throat with hasty lack of concern or much consideration of what she was actually consuming, just the bare minimum to determine it seemed safe to partake of. Surreptitiously, Fi slipped bits of food into her pockets for later or in case they had to depart unexpectedly.

"Goodsh," she mumbled with her mouth full, which was to say, the food and drink tasted much better than bad or bland. When Camdant mentioned opening the 'liebree' for them, she perked up in interest and quickly washed down her last mouth full with the drink. "Liebree? Don't know this world, me? What is it? What is inside?"

The Camdant turned his attention on the exotically coloured, unusually tall, young woman. If he was put off by her lack of manners, he gave no sign of it, giving her a genial grin. "The liebree is a chamber, a place where knowledge is stored, and where it can be shared. Such knowledge is recorded on paper and leather, parchment and vellum, bound together with thread or glue, into volumes called 'books.' Sometimes, they are rolled up into tubes that can be unfurled called 'scrolls'.""

 

"Ah! Books. These I am knowing, me." Fi nodded sagely. "And have seen before! At least, ten. Thirteen, perhaps. Aye! A book we found in a sorcerer's hoard, us, full of many fantastic drawings and those indecipherable scratchings. Does this liebree have more than thirteen, fourteen books, even?"

The Camdant hid a smile behind his hand. "It does. Many, many more, and even more besides." He leaned back contemplatively in his chair. "In the ancient days, before the moon fell and the Earth was broken, books and their like store in the sky on the clouds and anyone anywhere could look inside them." He sighed. "But we who are left can't access those books any longer."

Firanis' lips twisted in thought as she peered out a window at the sky. She nodded in agreement. "The clouds, they are very high. Very hard to reach. Perhaps, climbing a mountain. Or constructing a big enough boltcaster. But, needing a net or some like to catch one of these liebree clouds... Do the liebree clouds be looking different?" The would be something wondrous and rare, finding books in the clouds. Her sleek shoulders slumped in wistfulness. "Drawings and Shamantics are interesting, but wishing I knew the magic of understanding the scrawlings, me."

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"Yes it is wonderous," the Camdant sighed, "so much has been lost. We have books telling us how the books are stored but alas, we do not understand really what they tell us and we do not have the mechanism's used nor the means to make them."

 

"You say you have a book taken from a , ahem, sorcerer? I would like to see this, if I may?" Said another of the adults, a woman about the same age as the Camdant, with a pinched face and graying hair combed back severely. 

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"Yehkay" Firanis agreed, head tilted in curiosity, wondering if the old woman knew magic of the scrawlings.

She had left her boltcaster behind in the room they had been shown to, to be polite. Still, she had her blackened steel kah-bar at her hip, and had kept her pack of valuables with her, tucked under her chair, with a foot twined through one of the shoulder-straps. Just in case. She bent over and fished out the book, careful not to let anything else spill out, like the other treasure they had claimed from the sorcerer.

 

Fi let the book slap down on the table with satisfying thump. She presumed big books were better than small books and the book seemed pretty big to her. Fi flashed a grin at the grey-haired woman that revealed a hint of her slightly elongated canine teeth and squared up the book, the binders turned to her left. Then with her forefingers, Fi nudged the book across the table towards the woman.

"Book. Sorcerer's Book. Does it hold his spells?"

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Korroth was silent, he had little to offer of worldly knowledge,  his friends and allies were better for that, and so he said very little, beyond his compliments for the food.  He ate quietly, and savored truly well cooked foods, the kind those who traveled often didn't get eat.  "This food is very good.  Your cooks are quite skilled.  It is very refreshing, as we've largely subsisted on what we could hunt on our travels."

 

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Aazea fidgeted at the table, eating with double handfuls, then feeding Slug under the table, and all the while glancing furtively around to make sure no one was creeping up behind them as they were distracted. She stiffened slightly as Firanis just tossed her book over so easily, without even demanding terms first! What world did she think she lived in?!

 

Even so...there had been something in the Camdant's words, something Aazea had picked up on. A certain longing when describing the Old Machines, and an interest in sorcery.

 

"Camdant," Aazea calls. "I have been to many places that belonged to the Old Ways...I have breathed in their magic and made it my own. If your books here have knowledge, I can make their machines. Perhaps together we can accomplish much!"

 

Slug chirps at that, and swoops down to capture a chicken leg, which Aazea dove for and grabbed, turning her end of the table into a squeaky tug of war for a few seconds.

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  • 1 month later...

Everyone had a good laugh over Aazea and Slug's antics and the meal was finished with full bellies and dozy eye-lids. Some Brandy and everyone was ready for bed.

 

Morning came and the adventurers woke refreshed and invigorated. After a decent Breakfast they were shown the campus in the daylight. 

 

"The students are from the surrounding villages, they come some times for a year or so, others four four or five. We teach them whatever they wish to learn as well as what their villages require they live here during the teaching periods and return to their villages in the storm season and for harvesting. Some children come to us as orphans, they live her year round sometime for their whole lives. But they are free to leave with what they have learned whenever they wish.," said the Camdant as they visited the many buildings and parade grounds.

 

They ended up at the Liebree and all of them stood in awe at the towering shelves full of books.

 

It was while the Liebreean, and thin elderly man with googles covering his eyes, showed them the books and where to find what interested them, that a student came and spoke to the Camdant in with urgency and frenetic gestures.

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  • 4 weeks later...

After the exchange the Camdant came to Korroth and bade warrior to meet with him in the hall outside the Lybree.

Korroth followed the older man outside.

 

“Korroth, we have a situation. A village a few miles from here was attacked last night. A score of undead breached their fence and drove all of the occupants, prodding them with spears, into a clearing. Once their a half dozen red one-eyed monsters rounded up the young and the women and killed a few of the men, then left with their prisoners, a dozen children and another half dozen women of marriable age.

 

This morning the villages found one of the undead caught in a ditch it had fallen in in the dark. They bound it and dragged it here.

 

Will you and your friends come look at it?”

 

The Camdant led them toward the wall of the campus where a group of teachers and students were gathered as well as four or five local villagers two held poles with leather straps which held a mummified corpse.

 

At first the dead thing looked… dead then it moved violently trying to wrest the poles from the men holding it, gnashing its teeth all the while.

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Korroth watched intently, and nodded.  "Necromancy"  He spat the word with a venomous tone.   While it was true, Aazea could use magic, she didn't make abominations like the thing that stood before them.   He turned his gaze to her.   "Can it be killed by normal means, or is this one of those special undead that require more than steel or flame to put to rest?"   It was an important question.   If they were to resolve this, they needed to know how best to fight their foes.

There seemed no question that Korroth would go to get the villagers back, while no genius, he was intelligent enough to try to understand what he'd be fighting against before setting out to do so.
 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Firanis scrunched up her nose in disgust, displaying slightly elongated eye teeth in a grimace. She was more familiar with automatons and other constructed life like Pat. It was truly foul when meat didn't have the decently to stay definitely dead after being killed. Plus, it smelled, if not as putridly sweet as rancid meat.

 

The tall, lanky young woman gave the brawny barbarian a shrug, unlimbering her boltcaster. "Not knowing much about the notdead, me," she acknowledged. She unhurriedly aimed her boltcaster at the writhing thing entrapped by the poles. "Let's see, us."

Without any fanfare, Fi pulled the trigger. There was a whirr, then a sharp thwack! as the cable of her boltcaster slapped against the crossbar, the wooden bolt plunging into the notdead's chest.

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The zombie stopped writhing and looked down at the bolt sticking out of its chest. The suddenly with a convulsion it begave vomiting, no spewing, a stream of bright green, almost glowing, viscous fluid.

 

Everyone leapt away to avoid the sickening gunk, even the villagers holding the poles dropped them and fled backwards.

 

The zombie didn't fall but just swayed in place as the vomit stream continued and seemed to grow even more voluminous. It was weird and horrifying, as the liquids left the zombie it seemed to desiccate right before their eyes! In moments the vomit started to falter and turned to a dribble and the zombie, which now appeared to be mummified fell stifly to the floor, unmoving.

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Korroth watched silently, and then nodded.  "Could the substance have been what animated them?"  He didn't go near it, but watched in case anything wriggled or moved within the green bile.   "I've never heard of that reaction to an undead being killed."

He looked to the others.  "Any of you ever seen anything like that?"

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"Blech! Vythy stink!"

Fi edged back as the pool of bilious bile spread towards the toes of her boots. "Never seeing this before, me," Fi admitted, nodding down at Korroth. "But bolts and blades, it can end them, looks like. Just be quick, so they are not gurgling all over you. Not good, no, thinking, me."

Firanis skirted around the pool of caustic vomit and approached the fallen zoombie. She spun the windlass with a practiced motion, winching back the cable of her boltcaster, another bolt sliding into the slot. Aiming at the zoombie's head, she gave the thing a cautious nudge with her boot, in case it trying to be tricksy.

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