[personal profile] quechian
Thymelixsen suggested that Jack go ahead to look for the center of corruption, now that the verdant growth pattern is clearly what we can follow. I was concerned about him going alone, given how he was injured during the recognizance mission, and suggested we all go together, since it was likely the source anyway. Especially since I could sense the Protector in that director, though it was a strange sensing, not the usual strong and steady. We discussed it, and in the end, since Jack is the only one who can currently fly using Thymelixsen's magic, he was going to scout ahead to confirm that the place he found is indeed the center of the corruption. Once he did, he would fly in our direction about a mile, to find a good place to camp, so we could make our assault (whatever it will be) tomorrow in daylight. The rest of us would get there as quickly as possible with May's enhancements.

After an hour, Thymelixsen said that Jack had stopped, so we switched from using May's blessing to walk quickly to using her magic to fly, which had to be redone fairly frequently. And I slowed us down, still not being good at flying. (So strange, this place, having so many new forms.)

When we caught up to Jack, he said that the place on the hill is the biggest, and there's one other large piece of corruption nearby. I thought it would make sense to get the smaller piece of corruption, and get a better idea of what we were dealing with. Which we ended up doing, with Jack taking us into shadow to go some of the way. Once we were back in the regular forest, Cor spotted a raven, watching us, up in a tree. Once he pointed it out to the rest of us, he said we shouldn't attack it, since that would trigger its need for defense. So we let May talk to it, putting out her hand for it to land on. It took a while for it to consider, then land. May asked it to show us where there was more growth like that. It hopped ahead, and we followed, the foliage appearing more and more green. And there were more ravens in the trees, many more ravens. They seemed agitated when May wasn't close, like they might attack. Oddly, we could see through to the other side of the clearing, and couldn't see anything obvious as the source of the corruption. Cor suggested using May's light to calm the ravens, and when she glowed, they fluttered a bit, then settled.

May suggested that Thymelixsen sense where the magic corruption was. He said it was just ahead of May, and was large, with three kinds of magic in it: toughness, some kind of regeneration, and a cone-shaped attack that would take out classical magic. He circled the area it was in, and there were lots of the tree roots coming in. It was an oval, about 15 feet by 11 feet. When I got closer, I could sense that it seemed to be metal and armor. May went closer with her light, and it seemed like there was something crystal in there, a large shield, facing up (so the cone attack would be directly up). May's light went, and I could sense that some of the ravens were flying away to the northwest, to the hill that is the center of the corruption. May pushed on her blessing so the light would last longer, and then we mixed our energies again for a combined ritual, pulling the energy that had leaked out of the shield into the grove back into the shield. It started glowing silver. The ravens got excited, and some flew off. Interestingly, the power in the birds didn't change; just the plants were affected.

Cor started clearing the shield off, and Thymelixsen and I helped; there wasn't much time before the ravens might return. There was a mark on the surface of the shield, and May said it was like an odd Arcoon, saying something about light unto darkness.

Cor tried to heft the shield without touching it, and it was fairly light for its size, but he still needed help to get it out of the grove; it's huge, and it's hard to work around the trees with such a large thing. All the birds flew up into the air, looking interested in us in ways I didn't like when May's light was down. Thymelixsen said that the birds had a blessing on them. And they would attack any enemy. Cor pointed out that they still couldn't see well at night, so wouldn't attack then. Thymelixsen pointed out that it still meant we were being watched, and information was going back to whatever blessed them, which is presumably the source of the corruption.

We weren't sure what to do, and in the end, May and I worked together to have Father and Mother energies flowing together, like the birds have, and then May visualized us as a flock, taking the shield up to the crescent on the hill. She asked for a safe path for us to do that. And they all took off, the whole flock, which was hundreds more than I'd realized were there, swarming, the going northwest.

We didn't get too far out of the grove before setting up camp for the night, using the shield as a lean-to next to a cliff wall. It was a quiet night, not much to do before setting off in the morning. Cor and I took the first watch, May and Jack were on for the second half of the night, and Thymelixsen would sleep through until he needed to cast.

Which would have worked fine, except that after a couple of hours, a raven landed, coming into the light of our fire. Cor went to get May. It fluttered, trying to get her to go after it. Everyone was awake by now, and Jack said we should go, in case something was coming. So we walked a little way, and Jack pulled us into shadow to hide. We waited. We waited. Just before we were going to return, there was a noise in the camp, something that made the fire pulse with a metallic quality before it went back to normal. And then there were six Inyus coming out of the forest into our camp, one of them with a device had a curly spiral on the end, that presumably was what made things pulse. They were dressed in shiny metallic stuff.

Cor had Jack take us into shadow, and even in shadow, he could see purple waves flowing around from the sensing device. The one with the swirly device was in the middle, and the others, all soldiers, faced out from the camp, to defend against our return. We decided to go to the top of the rock we'd camped next to, so we'd not only have the advantage of surprise, but also height; necessary with that many soldiers. (And I have no idea how they ended up here; this is so improbable as to make me wonder how they followed us.)
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