13 - 120424

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Met Szelek and Argel , ate shrooms, travelled, had a trippy vision, found shrine and fought shadow guardians

Score 645

04/12/24
Begin: 8/20/640 End: 8/22/640

The battle with the canine fire spirits had left the air tinged with the scent of singed fur and victory—bitter yet sweet, like victory often is. Not long after the last ember of the last spirit flickered out, she appeared, stepping into the world from behind the veil, or was it just a tree? It looked like she'd stepped straight out of a dream or a particularly potent hallucination.

Szelek, the shaman of the savannah, with eyes like the twin moons of some far-off, fantastical planet, grinned wide, with a smile that could outshine the sun. Her lips parting to let loose a stream of wisdom coated in the dust of dreams. "Ah, my starlit children," she intoned, her voice a melody played on the strings of the universe, "you've danced the flame's fierce tango and emerged brighter for the burn. The spirits sing your names, weaving them into the tapestry of the great beyond. But remember, where shadows fall, light must follow, and behind you, another steps where shadows still linger."

She wasn't alone; coincidentally, trailing the party, a figure as out of place in the wild as a cat in a swimming race—Argel, a detective from the sprawling chaos of Szélvészvár, looking about as comfortable as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. Sent by the tribe's leader, Kálmán, he was here to help, or so he said.

“Before we tread further into the shadows, let us touch the stars,” she murmured, offering around a handful of mushrooms, not the kind you'd toss in a stew, their caps glistening like the midnight sky. "Let's taste the cosmos," she declared, and without much ado, they all partook. The world didn't just change; it exploded in colors and sounds, the trees whispering secrets from a thousand years, the stars singing just for them, and for a moment—just a moment—everything made perfect sense.

The next day they felt very invigorated, the universe still echoing in their ears, the land beneath their feet a living part of the cosmic dance. The shrooms' whispers carried them through the day until night fell like a curtain, and a new round of shrooms resulted in unpleasant visions. Not the gentle dreams of a restful mind, but the vivid, gripping visions that claw at the insides of your skull, showing you the world not as it is, but as it could be—twisted, beautiful, terrifying.

As the shrooms took hold and the world around them swirled into a vibrant tapestry, the adventurers felt their senses sharpen, as if the very fabric of reality had thinned, revealing the gears and guts of the universe. The night wasn't just a curtain drawn against the sun; it became a living, breathing entity, whispering of ancient times and forgotten secrets.

The visions started as mere flickers—shadows at the edges of their sight, shapes forming in the mists of their mind’s eye. But as the night deepened, so did the visions. A great shadow began to rise, not like a beast or a bird, but like an all-consuming wave of darkness. It surged from the ground, an oily, smothering tide that aimed to blot out the light of the crescent moon hanging precariously in the star-lit sky.

The moon, a thin sliver of hope in the encroaching darkness, seemed to wane under the shadow's oppressive might. It was a scene straight out of a doomsday prophecy, the kind bards would sing of, their voices heavy with the weight of impending doom.

But then, there was Szelek. She stood firm, a lone figure against the dark tide, her robes billowing around her as if caught in a gale meant only for her. With hands raised and eyes alight with a fierce, otherworldly power, she began her ritual. Words ancient and powerful spilled from her lips, not shouted but sung, a melody that seemed to harmonize with the very vibrations of the earth.

The air around her shimmered with energy, sparks of light swirling as if drawn by the force of her will. They spiraled upwards, forming a barrier of radiant energy between the moon and the rising shadow. The shadow writhed and roared, a soundless fury as it clashed against Szelek’s barrier, each touch a burst of light against the dark.

Slowly, painstakingly, the shadow receded, beaten back by the sheer force of Szelek's will and the ancient magics at her command. The crescent moon, once nearly devoured, now shone with a renewed vigor, its light crisp and clear against the retreating darkness.

As the vision faded, and the last of the night's whispers ebbed away, the adventurers found themselves back in the more familiar, less threatening night of their world. The echo of the battle they had witnessed lingered in their minds, a stark reminder of the power that lay both within and beyond them. Szelek, looking as serene as if she'd done nothing more strenuous than a stroll through the woods, merely smiled her enigmatic smile.

"Even in the deepest dark, my children," she murmured, her voice a soothing balm, "the light is never far. Remember, what rises must also set, what consumes must also fade. Such is the balance of all things."

The next day, sober now, if you could ever call them that, Szelek said she couldnt join them the final trek to the shrine. When pressed for why she said, "Ah, my starlit wanderers, the shrine that whispers of corruption calls not for me but for you. See, my spirit walks the wind's path, bound to the dance of the free and untamed elements. To step within the shadows of that hallowed place, oh, it is a melody my soul must not play. For as the oak cannot thrive in the shadow of the pine, my essence, bright and wild, would wither under the weight of such a darkened tune. The land needs my light elsewhere, to balance the dark he weaves, to hold the line where earth meets sky. Yours is the journey to the heart of shadow, to cleanse, to heal. My path is to guard, to guide from afar, to be the beacon when you return from the deep. Fear not, for though I stand not by your side, my spirit embraces yours, through every step, every breath, under the watchful moon."

With these parting words, she receded like the tide, her form blending into the surrounding landscape, leaving them to face the road ahead alone.

The final trek to the shrine was under a sky oppressive with the weight of unshed storms. As they approached, the air grew thick, the very atmosphere tainted with a palpable sense of dread. The shrine itself was shrouded in a writhing, shadowy cloud, pulsing with malice.

Out of the gloom emerged the shadow guardians, their forms both of this realm and not, flickering between solidity and smoke. The fight was brutal and unforgiving. Each guardian was a wraith of corrupted spirit, lashing out with tendrils of pure darkness, seeking not just to wound but to envelop.

With steel and spell, the party fought back, their blows scattering the shadows like mist before the morning sun. Each fallen guardian was a victory, a push back against the encroaching dark, a step towards reclaiming the sanctity of Lánglélek's shrine. The battle was hard-won, with each member pushing themselves to their limits, driven by the knowledge of Szelek’s unseen gaze upon them, her energy a silent support against the overwhelming darkness.

As the last wraith dissolved into a scream that echoed off the desolate walls, the shadowy cloud began to dissipate, revealing the ancient stonework of the shrine, scarred but still standing, defiant against the dark.

 

 

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