Book Three: Slouching Towards Eudaemonia
CHAPTER FOUR: Baba Yaga's Hut

Moradina Mentedakarday - Mentesularday

Thalazzar & Arek

Thalazzar and Arek are slashing through the jungle. It’s been raining for several hours and all sign of Tiberio’s trail was washed away a while ago. Arek has been using a search pattern devised by the Claimers involving a cone of expanding quadrants. It yielded some success early on, but it has been hard going.

At one point, Arek slipped in the mud and let out a string of Dwarven curses. A few moments later, Thalazzar began to chuckle under his breath. A little irked, Arek demanded what was so bloody funny.

Meeting the dwarf’s steely little eyes, a sopping wet Thalazzar smiles, “We left the Gnome in charge.”

Arek stares at him harshly for a long moment before he erupts in mirth himself. Peels of hearty Dwarvish laughter echo through the empty jungle. Were there birds enough in the treetops they might fly away.

Thalazzar cannot help but crack a smile himself. Arek sighs and wipes his eyes, the wizard looks away into the woods. “This is work for Janarl,” he states.

“Aye,” responds Arek with a smile. “Aye,” again, with a scowl. The two set out again.

Several hours later, they come upon a small pool of clear water fed by a burbling streamlet. Big fronds of the ubiquitous purple ferns and ground cover plants, with leaves as big as elephant ears, that you have not yet seen dominate the area. The rain relaxed to a gentle mist about an hour ago. You are both down to dregs in your personal water supplies.

While they rest near the pool and consult some of their papers and charts, the roots and plants begin to twist and writh under the fefects of an Entangle spell.

A woman calls out, first in Yithic and then in Common: “Choose Yithic or Mazarean. No other words or you’re dead.”

Thalazzar chooses Yithic. Then, he hears: “In the name of Elysium and the Divine Guardians, what business do a dwarf and a Thala-mourne of the One, have snooping around the jungles of Divinity? Speak quickly and make no sudden movements. We have you surrounded.”

Her name is Aminah; her animal companion is a hare named Xylo. She is a Ranger, and she shares the following information:

• She is a Theonian human, the apprentice of an Elven Ranger, Berkerris, one of many hired by Elysium to steward the eastern borders of Divinity. Berkerris died. So much for good ideas out of Elysium. Capt. Suleiman of the RAD killed him
• The Qutuz us navigable. There are raftsman who ply its foul surface to draw resources from its strange and foul currents.
• She’s been tracking the party for days and would have revealed herself sooner, but she was nervous about Thalazzar. When the party helpfully split up, she made her move.
• Al-Gleasahl: avoid it if you value your coin and your freedom. If Ataraxia and Jafar don’t rob you and kill you, Captain Suleiman of the RAD will kill you
• She advises Frankie to dress as a man or cover herself up, for her own safety.
• There have been strange occurrences in the woods this past week:
  o What animals there have been have fled the region, including the faiycado, the humans remade into beasts. (the Companions called this "the dark place")
o Day and night seem to have been shorter and variable lengths and unnatural (She’s right, last night and yesterday did seem especially short and odd)
o "I tracked riders in the wood… we don’t see many horses out here, hell, I’ve never seen one… Berkerris told me all about them"

Next!
Baba Yaga Speaks

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