Book One: Ordered by Gods
CHAPTER FIVE:

Where Lizards Weep
Cuthberta Clairemoarday

Frankie's childhood memories

As I sit in a copse of fine oak trees, winding up Calibre's gears for re-activation, a childhood flashback returns to me...

"Frankie!! The militia patrol is coming into town with a group of adventurers! You wanna go see em?"

"Naw, I want to do some research on mechanology. My mom hinted that it is going to be on the next midterm my dad is getting ready for me"

"Ah jigger it! You are always spending time studying. You Kantankerans are so BORING"

"You take that back! I don't see YOUR Dad on the Engineering Council!"

"Hah! I bet your gonna be an adventurer one day! Jinx jinx!"

Her eyes flare and face turns red. She remembers turning around and storming home...

Calibre's voice interrupts her thoughts, "Thank you for repairing me Mistress" A smile appears on my face, and I reply, "No problemo Calibre"

The rest of the group has been healing themselves in the meantime. I was still counting us lucky that we had made it out of yet another mess alive.

Inigo had left our company to pursue that creature (?) that was killing in the swamp. I personally think he was nuts... but what can ya do? At least one thing he said made sense: He pointed out that he was far safer on his own than with us. Can't dispute that logic!

Before we set out the group began to talk about magic again. Booorrrinnng. Good thing I have lots to study in this Clockwork manual.

So finally we broke camp and set out. This time our trip seemed more promising since we were actually making progress. We came across a landmark on Domaldi's map, and set out from there. By this time a few of the group noticed some lizardfolk were tailing us.

We kept moving along, then Tiberio began to play some kind of weird song. At least he is getting better, compared to that performance back at Plake's. Even his weird music is enticing.

Nimbus asked Calibre to speak with the hidden lizardfolk, and I knew that it wasn't a smart option. I soon asked Calibre to stop speaking; I am no diplomat and neither is Calibre. Takes one to know one.

I soon deducted why he played the tune he did. A Lizardfolk chieftain was waiting for us up ahead, and asked to see Tiberio. He thanked Tiberio for the weird song, and warned us about "killer plants". This is just great. Small wonder the Confederation left this swamp to the lizardfolk.

Of course, this warning did slow my group down. We soon came across one of the "killer" plants, and found out why the lizardfolk feared them. This plant fills the brain pan of lizardfolk and other intelligent peeps with plant matter and gets them to go killing other sentients. Unfortunately for the plant, I stayed back on Pelu and shot it up with the x-bow. Nimbus actually did some weird unarmed combat on it. He was actually ... angry?! He sure is a weird one, but his strikes were effective. I managed to shoot a vital spot, and as the plant died the other controlled bodies slumped down. Once the principle controller was removed form the equation the subroutines go off-line.

The group patched up those who needed it, and eventually our travels took us to a peaceful oak grove. The peace soon became fraught with peril when a blackened boar-like plant confronted Nimbus. Other wooden men appeared out of trees, and assaulted us. It was a long fight, and a lady from the grove came out of hiding to help us out. Soon we were retreating to the grove, but not before the mean boar thing knocked Calibre down. Not wanting Calibre to become non-functional, I dashed out and stabilized his mechanical process, working as fast as I could. Nimbus tapped the boar thing on the shoulder and began to do his martial dance with it while Arek and Domaldi dragged Calibre to safety.

Once we retreated inside the grove, the dryad held up a stone and banished Garasoth with it.

The group fixed themselves up, and we soon talked to the lady. I noticed that she wasn't wearing much... then again, she IS living alone in a bunch of trees. Seemed to be a tad air-headed too.

She introduced herself as Folha, and gave us the background of the area. Apparently a druid order set this grove up to keep the evil cave nearby in check, but when the ley lines went down the protections went ka-boom. Nonfunctional! The boar thing was some druid's pet, and the evil of the place obviously got to it. Guess this is a good reason why Clockworks are soo much more appealing to have as companions. Wish I had some of my Aunt's hair conditioner. Her prototype made her hair fall out, wonder what it would do to the plant boar?

Then Folha began handing out some items from previous visitors. Magic staff, magic sword, arcane flux detector... ARCANE FLUX DETECTOR?! Who would leave something like this behind??!

The device was mostly intact, but needed to be repaired. I asked Thalazaar if he would spend some time in helpin me fix it; he readily agreed before I had to think of a way to convince him. Hmmm, he's one tricky conniver! I bet he's going to use that as collateral!

I set aside thoughts of repair for the moment to see if the device had the engineering signature of it's maker, tuning out what my other companions were doing...

Next!
DM's Closing Words

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