Trusting that Veronica was able to sense other bound hosts, we allowed her to lead us to a tunnel of one of the high towers of Sharn. As we entered, we found several maimed corpses of DIA staff littering the way. Hmm. They had been ripped apart. We heard screaming coming from further down the tunnel, and nervously followed the shrieks.
At the end of the tunnel was a major demon – perhaps a lesser Goristro, though evidently with more intellect than any of that species. Cautiously, we began to talk with the fiend. It was torturing what seemed to be the last survivor of the DIA strike force. And with it was the bound host Veronica had sensed – gnome with a pale, glowing aura. The fiend was a minion of the Sibilant Beast, and seemed to have the welfare of the gnome well in hand. We could not have fought him, in any case.
We retreated to consider our options. Leaving Sharn quickly seems a priority – we are wanted people in this city. Decided on an airship, if possible. Sand went (disguised) to inquire. DIA skimmers dashing about everywhere. Sand agreed terms, and we lay low until boarding. Set off for Greenheart, capital of the Eldeen Reaches. We have decided that we need some magical support with our vestige problem, and that we don’t trust many folk in Breland any more, since the arrival of the DIA. The Reaches seem to be ruled by Druids; surely they would a)oppose undead on principle and b)not be keen on the appearance of he who must not be named. As the airship floated lazily northwards, I read a newspaper; it would seem there is some Brelish disquiet at recent events. The government seems to have acquired a heavily rightwing list, whereas formerly it aimed for consensus. King Boranel has put much of his oen personal standing and political will behind the formation of the DIA. There was considerable discontent within the newspaper about this. What has happened to Boranel? Why would he do this? Someone must have something on him.
Two days north of Sharn, Sand received a _sending _from Captain Mainwaring. It said that the DIA were after him, and to keep our heads down. Sand replied with a message wishing him well, and we continued on our way.
We arrived at Greenheart. I was somewhat dismayed to find that it is only the size of a village! I had expected a city, with the comforts thereof. Bozlor explained that the people here are druidic, and prefer to live in a wild setting to an urban one. He found some of his tribe, and much alcohol ensued, though all they had was a rather rough beer. I limited myself to one drink, and smiled politely when it seemed the done thing.
Bozlor’s tribe took us to their village, which was a day away from Greenheart or so. We met the tribal elders in the yurt. Bozlor looks happier than I’ve yet seen him. Much male bonding. He’ll be charging into a sweat lodge before we know it. Hasn’t he read Iron John? (Actually, can he read? I don’t recall seeing him read anything…) Soap does not seem to feature in this culture. The tribe offered to set up a meeting for the next day with the druids.
The following day, they led us deeper into the forest, and eventually to a clearing with a massive pine tree. And then the tree turned round and spoke to us. Oh my. It was bigger than a grown Goristro, and named Oalian. The tribe treated it as though it were an avatar of their deity, so I made certain to seem respectful. Bozlor recounted what we had experienced. Oalian informed us that only 10 bound hosts remain. When the last one dies, He who must not be named will be able to enter the world. An anti-Binder group in the Mournland named the Knights of the Seal came up with the binding ritual, and spread information about it, to try and obstruct his entry. Oalian feels we should head for Making, on the Glass Plateau of what was once Cyre, and try to seek out our friends Elias and Victor for some support there.
We set off on the Lightning Rail, going towards Cyre by the northern route, to avoid Thrane; I’m thinking that fundamentalists will lack the subtlety of mind to be able to cope with Veronica’s condition. Some distance out from Greenheart, we were alarmed by a loud disturbance from further towards the front of the carriages. Investigating, we found some kind of hiveminded zombie creature. Hacked it to bits. A worrying development. needs more investigation, but it looks to me as if some living people had been subsumed into the creature to become zobies? This is new, and more worrying than ever. Reaching the front controls, we were terrified to see the shape of another Lightninr Rail approaching, straight ahead. Realising Bozlor might be able to control the carriage through his Dragonmark, we urged him to try. He grapsed the controls and wrestled it, if not to a total halt, to a slower trotting pace. The collision, when it came, was not fatal to anyone, but both carriages were derailed. We hobbled onto safe ground somewhere in Aundair, on our way to Karrnath.