What a day.
Honestly, we’d planned on making it through the rest of the college in one long go, no matter if it meant going through the night and into the next day. When we realized that we had enough food and a safe spot to rest in the Library, it was a huge load off of our shoulders. Except for Ozthenwald, who stayed up all night reading. I’m not sure that was the best idea, but it seemed to be what he wanted. He said it was, anyhow. He was a bit scary the next morning, so I’d rather not wonder about keeping him up two nights in a row.
We got up, cleaned up, and were able to make it to the Teacher’s lounge. Since we got the Servant’s ring, it has been easy to get everywhere. I guess it wouldn’t be so easy if actual people were still around, but we don’t have to worry about that. This place has been a bit depressing, but since we’ve explored so much of it, I think we’re all more relaxed about the decay and the emptiness. Oh, right, the Teacher’s lounge was also full of decay and moldering furniture, but a couple things were still intact. We found a number of game sets that were still good, which we might sell or keep to pass the time. Maybe we’ll sell the nice ones and get some basic ones for when we’re waiting out the winter storms. We also found a bunch of crystal goblets, and Lee found enough wood, stuffing, and a box to make a carrying case for them. It’s pretty heavy, so I made him carry it, but hopefully they are worth a lot. I was a bit disappointed in what we’d found, but there was more to come.
The next door led to the teacher’s residences. This door seemed a little… off, and just opened right up without asking odd questions or anything. He sounded like someone who’d been hit in the head really hard, but we didn’t want to question our luck too much. The residences had quite a bit of jewelry, some more of the cards with the pretty ladies on them, and a book that Oz grabbed. What was really neat was that we found a big portal room! It looks like this school used to connect to all the cities before they Fell, but most of them don’t work now. It would be nice if we could repair them, and would make getting around the city much easier, but Oz says it would take weeks of work. If we could find the other ends of the portals, though, it would probably make the job a lot easier. We copied down a map of the locations, and will keep our eyes peeled for them as we travel through the other quarters.
The last portal was the most interesting. It led to a records room. Massive cabinets filled the space, and piles of papers made for quite a hazard getting around. This wasn’t as interesting as the Library, as I didn’t really care about 400 year old book reports, but it did have records of Warforged created at the college, as well as a big glowing orb that worked as a system for controlling the doors of the college. Oz said that the doors aren’t actually smart, they are just like puppets controlled from the orb. The orb isn’t smart, either, it just uses very simple logic and step-by-step instructions to decide what to do. That explains why it was easy to fool the doors in some ways, but not in others. When we asked them things they weren’t ready for, they got confused, since the instructions hadn’t been written to handle a ghost, or 300 years of idleness. The one door that seemed dumb didn’t have many of the Orb’s energy spent on it, so it was super simple.I suggested trying to get into the power source for the college, but the control Orb said some strange things. I think the thing that powers the college is very far away, and might be moving around high above the world. Seems strange, but I guess that was the way to keep it safe. We gave up on that, but with a little work, we got the control Orb to turn the Servant’s ring into a Faculty ring, so we shouldn’t have any trouble getting around the place from now on. I suppose that finished our trip to the college. We grabbed Forty-One from the entrance and headed outside.
After we made it back to the Bridge quarter, things got a bit rough. A couple Kenku were fighting a big flying snake that shot out sparks, trying to keep it away from their hoard, but they just pissed it off. It killed all but one of them, and then set into us. It was… tough. Sharp fins lashed out at us, the head spat big gobs of lightning everywhere, and just when you thought you’d had enough, BAM! Tail to the face. I managed to distract it long enough to get some good hits in, and to help Lee get a couple good blows, but it smashed me so hard that I could taste blood in my mouth. Even with the help of Dast trying to keep my spirits up, it shocked me so hard that my jaw still aches. I had to hide in a broken tower while they finished it off.
Things felt very strange, while I was hiding. I could feel the Wyld boiling up inside me, telling me to let it out and it would heal me. Even when Nessit was bandaging me up, afterwards I could feel how pointless it was. I talked to the others about it, but I don’t think they understood. Ana might, but she sounds sad, too. I think the Elves are not very nice to her people, and that doesn’t seem right. Ana is risking her life for people she doesn’t even know. She did say that she’d heard of other people like me, which made me feel a bit better. I’d like to meet one of them.
The Kenku hoard was full of pots and pans, but there was also a giant tray made of silver in the pile, and some gold jewelry! It was more money than I’d seen in my entire life, which felt a bit weird. When we return home, things will be very different. Oz doesn’t care, and never wants to go back to the village, but I want to talk to my parents and Lee wants to rescue his sister. We figure we have about ten months before they put her in a box and send her into the city to die. Oz may not care about the villages, but he’s willing to learn more about why they kill those touched by the encroachment. I guess they would call it ‘leave to die’, but when you send a youth, barely an adult, down a river into a city full of monsters and goblins, it might as well be murder. We got lucky, and I want to make sure that we don’t forget that. Maybe, when we know more, we can make a change. Oz is right about one thing, though, I don’t think the villages will ever be home, again.
Sorry this has been so mopey. Things did get better after that. We headed back to Coop’s tower, dropped off Forty-One, and had some nice chats with the other War-Forged. Annie wants to have more space to plant, so I’m going to chisel out some spots for support beams, and she can build some small garden platforms. The others unwound in their own way.
We’re not totally set on it, but I think that, tomorrow, we will head back to Nag’slaugh, trade away the stuff we found at the college, and then think about our plans from there. Oz wants to map the city, Lee wants to explore, I want to find the other ends of the portal system, and we’re all trying to get out of the city to make it to the Bough. I’m not sure what Dast wants, but I think he’s starting to think about it.