6th Rebirth, 56 FE
GuUshal, Vashti, and Leila venture on towards Bluecastle, eager to not camp outside in the heavy rain. Suddenly, walls of stone and dirt shoot up around them, except for a small opening, where a man is standing. GuUshal is caught unaware, and walks face first into the wall.
The man asks them who they are, and if they aren’t Vela’s new puppets. A small debate about stupidity and politeness ensues, but in the end Ool’Kmir and the PCs introduce themselves to each other. Ool’Kmir says that they can just call him “the Pest”, and comments that Leila is glowing, and hardly even tainted. GuUshal knocks discreetly on the wall and concludes that it’s solid. GuUshal calls Shivv’Sha to him. A little chit-chat back and forth for a while, and then Ool’Kmir tells them that they are free to leave.
GuUshal leaves the enclosure, and finds himself a long passage, with other passages branching off to the sides, and goes back into the enclosure. They now notice that Ool’Kmir is gone, and GuUshal hits the wall, which then groans and acquires a bump.
Leila ponders about using some of her magic, but comments that it will require a lot of her power, to which Vashti warns her: “Strong magic corrupts! Don’t overuse it!”
Leila then casts a spell that allows her to detect the types of magic present. She detects Mind, but the spell is too advanced for her to make out. She does sense, though, that this magic transcends the Conclaves. She tries to explain her findings to GuUshal and Vashti, who do not understand.
Vashti attempts to make a mental map, utilizing her inborn ability to find direction, but gets confused, as paths that ought to intersect, don’t. GuUshal lifts Vashti up, so she can jump up onto the walls, but no matter how high she jumps, the top of the wall remains 5 feet above her head.
Leila suggest they return to the enclosure and wait for Ool’Kmir to return, which GuUshal blankly refuses. Vashti tries to explain to Leila what she had found out about the paths not intersecting, but Leila gets distracted by some little green fluffy thing. When she points it out to Vashti, Vashti squeals “Kitty cat!” and runs over to what she believes is a tiger-striped kitten (not green). Then things happen fast; all of a sudden, a full grown tiger is standing on top of Vashti. To GuUshal, it is not a tiger, but a stone elemental, and Leila sees a green yeti child (tiger-sized). GuUshal acts fast, and crushes the elemental with his hammer. Leila and Vashti see the creature getting its skull crushed (and subsequent bleeding).
GuUshal pushes the rubble aside with his hammer, after which the rubble turns into live globs of goo. Leila tries touching one, but it skitters away. Vashti plunges her dagger into one, causing it to splatter on Leila’s boot. Leila tries to touch it to find out what kind of magic it is, but discovers that there is no goo on her boot. Leila exclaims “It’s mind magic! It’s not my brain”, and blabbers on about it. GuUshal tells her to “do that thing where you stop talking.” The walls are laughing and blowing raspberries at them. Vashti draws a smiling face on the wall.
They walk on for a few minutes, and GuUshal notices a pretty stone on the ground, and bends down to pick it up, but fails. He keeps trying, but the stone is never where it seems to be. Vashti helps him, and the two of them tries for several minutes to pick up the stone, being a source of much amusement to Leila and walls alike. Leila sees the stone being completely stationary, while the two others utterly fail at picking it up. “Stop trying to pick it up. You’re failing!” she yells at them, to no avail. She considers using magic to pick it up, but decides that spontaneous magic is too dangerous while they are within the maze.
They walk on for several more minutes, and get back to the stone, as if they had walked in a circle. They notice a wall at the end of the passage, and approach it. GuUshal knocks on the wall, and the wall knocks back, after which he turns and leaves. Vashti sees the wall retreating at the same speed in the opposite direction. GuUshal notices the stone on the path again, and hits it. It breaks, suddenly being a chicken egg, making him get egg white on his hand. GuUshal breathes very heavily, and turns down a passage. Leila tries to call him back, but he remarks that if they just sit around, they will never get out. Low squealing voices around him comment “Ooh, the orc is smart”, to which he roars at the wall “STOP TALKING TO ME!”
Leila, hearing this, and seeing him facing her while yelling, believes that he’s yelling at her, and decides to leave him alone. Vashti walks on down the passage they were on. Even though GuUshal continues walking down his passage, the PCs are never more than a few yards apart.
Leila says quietly “Ool’Kmir…”, and then the laughing from the walls seems to converge to one point a few yards away, just around the corner. Vashti remembers something about an old word from the wild elves living in the area, meaning pest. Nowadays, it’s “kamr”, but the elderly usually say “kamir”, and she figures it’s the same word as “kmir”.
They all go towards the source of the laughter. When GuUshal turns the corner, he yells “OOL’KMIR!” who is just standing there waiting for them. He replies “that took you some time. I just came to give you this.” He holds out an item towards them. They each see something different; Vashti: a peace treaty from her rival, GuUshal: a necklace with pretty stones, Leila: A rare old book of poetry. Some suspicion from the PCs causes them to not want to take it, but somehow, they cannot resist. As they reach for the things, the things change. GuUshal sees that the stones are actually skulls of young swordtails. He crushes the necklace, and realizes that it is a twig. Vashti sees a death warrant carrying the seal of her rival, Eltazar, and the republic, which she puts into her bag. Leila hesitates the longest, and before she actually reaches the book, it starts to crumble before her eyes, bleeding ink onto the ground.
Leila despairs, collapsing on the ground crying. Ool’Kmir asks if the gifts did not please them, and comments that “your minds are wavering. You’re uncertain”, to which GuUshal replies “you have poor taste in gifts.” Ool’Kmir turns to Leila, and says “You should strengthen your mind, beautiful one.”
Ool’Kmir directs them to a way out, which Vashti and GuUshal follow, GuUshal carrying Leila in his arms, although he calls Ool’Kmir “stealer of trust” for messing with their minds. Ool’Kmir insists that he was just trying to have fun.
When they get out, the walls disappear. They notice circular marks on the ground, where the walls around the enclosure had been, but no other marks. It is as if they never left the enclosure. As they walk on, Ool’Kmir falls into pace beside them, and says
“Saldar is sick. Between us: He’s not a… what is the word in this language… person… no… a soul being that is not an animal.”
GuUshal breaks off a branch and gives it to Ool’Kmir, remarking that it is a twig. Ool’Kmir tries to explain the difference between a twig and a branch. He turns to Leila
“You’ve got quite a glow. You’re one of the few I would like to not take too much distaste in me. You’re building walls in your mind like Vela is doing to herself, and teaching others to do. Set the magic free instead. If you ever want to discuss this, just give a shout. I’ll be around.”
They walk on in silence, and when they reach Bluecastle, they notice that Ool’Kmir is not with them anymore. They knock on the gates.