Surely, a Nice Town

The residents of the inn were in a pallid slumber from which they would not be roused. Frightened, and disheartened, the group retreated from the inn to the edge of the village square.

There, Caerdwyn used the Eye to search for the cause of this trouble and beheld a great sea-green maelstrom, drawing, ineluctably, motes of light from the village, from its inhabitants – from his very companions, slowly, achingly. In terror and despair, he closed the eye and assailed his companions with despair: this was surely a sign of their unknown enemy, and as the ocean’s storms, an irresistable enemy.

Saar claimed to have seen the origin of the maelstrom, below the town and toward the sea. Caerdwyn continued to urge them west, away from this unsurmountable challenge in a line of insurmountable difficulties. Saar refused to leave, saying he would find what troubled these people before they perished, that the only answer to this trouble was, “NO” and at that he belched flame on one of the small huts, and it caught fire and began to burn, sodden as it was in the rain.

Saar declared his intent to explore the cause of these people’s plight. Fodan was torn, and Guaer seemed strangely willing to help the good people of Goodwick. At last, even Bayeo saw that the people of Goodwick would falter like the crops and the farmer beside the pumpkin cart. Caerdwyn gave way to them.

As they passed through the village, they came upon a man with a sword, his tunic marked with bloody letters in the ancient script. He lifted a bone whistle from about his neck and blew it. Quickly, 3 spearsmen appeared, each with different letters bloodied into their clothes. A melee ensued, and they fought with an absence of a man’s mind, but with a strength not their own. They were strong enough to lift Bayeo from his feet with a close, sideways blow, and strong enough to stagger Saar with a punch.

Quickly, Caerdwyn understood the enchantment that lay upon their clothing, and at his cry, the company sought to remove or sever their tunics. Suffering several moderate injuries – mostly bashes and crushings – they managed to subdue and, unfortunately, kill or gravely injure the enchanted fighters.

Leaving them in the mud and rain, and passing the comforting warmth of the hut that Saar set alight with his breath, they reached the sea-cliff at the edge of town, leading down to a sandy beach currently partly-obscured by a sheet of rain falling from the cliffs. There was a Builder zig-zag road leading down from clifftop to sand. Its footing was sure and its flat surface untroubled by slipping from rain or darkening by mud. They took it down.

In the cliff-face was an exposed expanse of blue-white Builder stone.

Confidently, Caerdwyn caused it to open a door to them.

Unlike any Builder site they knew before, this one was dark within, no light emanating from its recesses. Bearing torches kindled from the burning hut above, they passed within. The first great chamber, its sconces unadorned, held the hanged body of a terribly pale spider creature, much as the one they fought outside Dun Mynn. It was hung by a few of its legs, its severed head nowhere to be found.

There was a forbidding in blood in the middle of the room, and something written over and over in the blood below the body, but unreadable. There was a great power there, but it did not trouble itself for them.

In the second chamber, like a great egg it was (and why did that seem so familiar?), there was a single man on a dais, sitting in a great chair. A labyrinth of blood lay on the blue-white floor, and the room was lit by pale white fire above his head.

Later, as they stumbled out in choking smoke and aching flesh, Caerdwyn would tell them it was Belan, the High Wizard of Cahál, and that he had admonished Caerdwyn as a “False Builder” and stood against him. Caerdwyn never told the tale of the lightning and fire that he and his Sciandearg resisted there in the darkness, nor how he caused the stones of the Builder structure to begin to gleam once again with their unquenchable blue-white glow.

On the outside, Caerdwyn’s skin was the blue-white of the stone, as were his eyes, and he announced, quietly to his friend as Bayeo regathered his senses, “Old friend, I am blind, you will need to help me.”

In the fullness of time, if not then under the silver wall of the rain falling from the cliff, they had just begun to teach each other to see.