Monday, August 25, 2014

Of Mice And No Men (part 5)

On their way to Salt Lick City, they witness the same type, Micean, of soldiers in villages talking with people in their homes or on the streets in official but peaceful ways. Tiki finds a butler and asks what they are asking about, to which the butler explains the soldiers are inquiring into "any possible resistance from the nobles and populace if they take over." The butler remarks he doesn't think there will be much in the area. Closer to Salt Lick, and a few weeks later, they are stopped by a different group of soldiers from the Foo Empire, scouts it seems. They simply ask if the party has encountered any soldiers in the area, the players refer to the Miceans a back in the villages some time ago, the dozen Foo scouts go on their way and disappear with the party goes to turn around.

They reach Salt Lick City and find it a large structure with a city ringed some distance around it, with a large hole or cave to the north some distance. As they get closer they notice only a few city guards around, and decide to split up, Tiki going to the north tot he cave, and Gabrielle going to find a group of scientists thought to be working on cold experiments with magic. They rent a room and split up. (Next two paragraphs are simultaneous events over six days.)

Tiki finds a job as a miner, mining salt after he approaches the mine and sees two different lines exiting the entrance of the cave. One carrying normal salt, mined for the use in cooking and cheese, in carts, piled up and uncovered. The other is in smaller metal (tin) containers carefully being moved. He finds that the other substance is called "ionic salt" that is thought to form when lighting strikes a salt deposit. It is an expensive substance with few, but secret uses, other than in arcane cheeses. He is able to get a better job, paying 125 bits a day instead of 100, as a guard, and he witnesses other aspects of the ionic salt's properties, it explodes, well it shoots lightning in all directions and makes a loud noise. Tiki and most other mice have no concept of what an explosion is. He also notices that is arcs a small charge between exposed crystals that are in close proximity, and that the tin containers are slightly corroded. He is able to pocket small samples of scrap ionic salt and corrosion before the end of his first day as a guard. He shows it to Gabrielle, who doesn't appear all that interested until Tiki mixes it with water, it does noting at first until he set it down (random roll) and its explodes, starting a fire on the table that it was once on top of, they put it out and buy a new table for the land lord. Tiki decides that the samples should probably be kept apart and not saturated, and uses a clay pot with partitions to store his remaining samples. Over the next few days he gathers a fist full of the salt and goes out of town to experiment, accidentally causing a super saturated solution left in the sun for two days to crystalize out and form a solid (unknown to him it is a high yield explosive), he writes down what he can remember about the experiment for later.

Gabrielle finds a job as a healer at the complex a group of mages are working on the cold experiment are located, the head researcher describes their problem is that the energy required is enough to exhaust the mages casting spells on their device. Gabrielle takes the job at 150 bits a day. The device is a large glass tube with magical runes on the inside to better spread the magical energies being casted on it, and make it more efficient. Gabrielle writes down the swirling runes (many looking much like squiggles or ~ marks). He asks them what the runes mean, and is only told that the mages don't know but were taught them because their teachers used them and its been like that for a long time. They explain to Gabrielle that their goal is to develop a way to keep palaces cooler for clients in the Dusty Fur territory's deserts. Gabrielle writes everything down and tries harder to find someone who knows what the runes mean, but becomes frustrated when the ancient marks' meaning have lost translation, just that a mage is told how to use them instead. He ends up speaking to someone who believes ice could be used since water magic can make the melted water circulate in the tube. He brings this to the researchers who freeze water in the now sealed tube, and melt the block with fire magic while Gabrielle is in his work room, he hears a pop, he grasped the concept of explosions when Tiki had the salt a few days earlier, and came out to see the tube had exploded and injured or killed everyone in the room, the top researchers among the dead, shutting down the experiment. He did his best to heal the mice, he is not a mage, just a medicine man, and collected 2 pounds of  shattered refined glass. He went to stick it in his satchel and stabbed himself on the razor sharp materiel as it cut through the bag and into his leg, causing a wound. He stops the blood loss and made a cane and hobbled back to the room.

They left bazaar still wondering what the central structure was before heading towards bazaar, then towards Hwang's Tower. The summer coming to a close. The trip to Bazaar took a month, but they found nothing really useable except trail rations and they made the month long trip to Hwang's Tower. Towards the end of their trip, a day away from the edge of the large body of water surrounding Hwang's Tower (it was on an island), they encounter three mice in white cloaks with three white birds tired to trees with saddled on them, they step out to greet the group who turn and speak politely back, introducing themselves as knights of the Church of Rodentius. The players notice that they wear tabards over well made steel chainmail and have steel longswords at their belts. They speak at some length and their leader, didn't give his name, about their Church and Hwang's Tower. He marks a vague area on their map and invites them to visit their Cathedral and gives them a ride to the edge of the lake on the claws of their birds, speeding their trip down to hours instead of a day.

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