The group are only a day from Bukrish, the start of their true mission. Concerned about having revealed their identities, they reflect that the only ones who know are in the custody of soldiers and are unlikely to blab to anyone who matters.
The road should see them arrive in Bukrish by the late afternoon, and they are steered by the craft of Utana, and the chorus of “It’s that way” by soldiers, villagers, signs and the tail of the comet in the sky.
Utana shows other skills by shooting a deer down injured. he despatches it, and gets it ready to carry, but the smell of blood spooks the mules and horses and there is some chasing and shenanigans before bolting mules are calmed.
Bukrish started off as a place where bog iron was retrieved from a nearby bog, then iron mines were discovered, but the iron mines are played out and the return of the bog iron trade is not as lucrative as it once was. It still has some value so, although some houses are empty
, the furnace is still smelting the iron and a smithy makes tools from it.
The villagers mostly seem to bring food to the Common House where the food is cooked and the villagers talk and exchange gossip. Newcomers, bearing most of a deer carcass are welcome, fresh food and fresh gossip are even more welcome.
Isolated as they are, the villagers do not seem to know much of the Green Death, or of the stones, even though they are closer. They do tell of their healer, the one who might know more of a dread disease or the stones, a witch who lives an hour away, on a small hill on the lonely heath.
The heath is rough land, with areas of bog, not as extensive as the bog lands that the Bukrishi search for iron, but there are green patches that are water under floating vegetation and other traps of nature.
The path they follow is raised, and they find the home of the witch, a wicker and wood surround around a tent. In there the witch greets them, and tells each a fortune.
Arpaesis is told “Beware! There is a sword blade with your name graven on it.”
José was told to claim them.“Love is knocking upon your door. You need merely answer.”
Utana is told “Swords all around you, but with courage you can win your way free.”
Farshad is told something in secret.
She knows of the stones, and directs them, and gives them herbs that are of use should they be stricken by the Green Death.
The group carry on, until, at some point, Arpaesis is aware of an unearthly child following by them. They seem to have a face that defies focussing on, they walk as evenly on the treacherous ground as the solid, they are clothed in a shapeless long tunic or smock.
The child did not seem to respond to any questions or statements, so they continued on. Later they encountered a mortal, human looking, in a dark robe of nomad pattern, woven through with metallic threads in strange patters. The robe is ragged and stained at the bottom, the wearer is, however, more intriguing. They do not speak, but caw like a crow, they hop and cock their head to look, they try to peck the ground and the group, they do not respond to talking, but after being given food they hop up ion the horse Farshad is leading.
For some reason, the child seems more responsive, it jumps up behind Arpaesis, standing behind him, cold hands on his shoulder, not ice cold, but cold.
The path they follow, given them by the witch, longer, but quicker as it avoids the pitfalls of the heath, gets them within sight of the stones, five menhirs surrounded by a sickly green mist. Looking at the menhirs from a distance, there are markings, some crystal that reflects the light in symbols not recognisable as any script that the group are familiar with.
The mist is contained in a dish like hollow around the rise upon which the menhirs stand. The mist causes the group some concern, but they can circle the depression, and come to the other side.
On the other side, they see a new sight, from the circle of stones a long, artificial ro
ad slopes down into a round valley, in the centre of the valley is a huge mound, facing the group is a door, shining as if encrusted with more of the same crystals as the menhirs.
A thing the GM did not make clear, is that
1) The mound is indeed, 6 miles away, but is huge
2) the mound, in a valley as it is, should have been visible before the group rounded the depression, and yet it wasn’t
Anyway, there we left it