This year’s journey to honor the memory of Brialla of the Seven Tears began as it has in previous years by meeting up outside of the abbey in Yew, with everyone encouraged to don monk robes and tread barefoot in honor of the journey made by Brialla between Yew and Minoc. “Today is a bit unusual,” Lady Louisa Clark, host of the festivities, informed the crowd. “The monks are expecting one of their own, Brother Vintonio, back from Minoc today. He will be effectively walking the journey in reverse.” Clark went on to inform the gathering that he was carrying a golden hourglass, a relic of days past with a dark history and perhaps a curse. With those announcements out of the way, the journey itself began.
Heading from the abbey, the group made its way through downtown Yew, and then circled out toward the Yew Cemetary. Nearby, the spirit of Brialla stood waiting, watching the entourage as it trekked by, a faint scent of lilac filling the air, a gentle smile upon her face, and a kindly wave as everyone passed by her peaceful visage. From there, the travellers headed down the road, and began the long walk to Minoc.
Upon reaching the first guard outpost along the trip, the group encountered Jerry the Guard, who asked about the group’s journey along Brialla’s path, revelling in the idea of living during her day, wondering if he would have had the strength to return to Yew with the information of his travels like Brialla chose to do. Travelling on, the group met up with Paule Steele, the watcher of the second outpost along the way, and here, grim news awaited the travellers. The presumed corpse of Brother Vintonio had been found, a ruined map in its hands. Lady Louisa Clark took the opportunity to share more about the hourglass. “The golden hourglass was reputed to contain a map to a great treasure. It was said to have a hidden compartment.” As if to answer the unspoken question of monks’ interest in the hourglass, she added, “Empath Abbey can always use more funds for their good works.”
Deciding that the map had been destroyed beyond use, and dismayed that the hourglass had not been found with Brother Vintonio’s corpse, Lady Clark decided it was best to move on. The entourage moved forth, getting nearer to the Yew/Britain/Minoc crossroads, but stopping first at the crossroads before the river. There, a young guard named Trev waited to greet the group, and had an interesting tale to tell. Originally from Cove, and a former member of the Bastion of Light, Trev hoped to one day travel Brialla’s journey. He spoke of his decision to leave the Bastion of Light, mentioning a creepy mage, but noted he was not against Lucienne; he told too a tale of losing his mother and brother to orcs. Trev seemed very conflicted in his thoughts, and ultimately decided to return home to Cove where he felt things might make more sense.
The assembly proceeded forward, finally reaching the crossroads on the way to Minoc, passing right through the hub of the Fishing Council of Britannia. Within the massive guard tower stretching over the road, the company met up with one Robert McFarland, who spoke of having met with Brother Vintonio who was on a journey to Yew. As the conversation progressed it became obvious that McFarland was rather inebriated, and he began to speak of at least still being on duty, mentioning that other guards had abandoned their posts and run off to join the Bastion of Light.
Approaching the next guard post outside of Cove, the group came to the quick realization that it was abandoned. “There should be at least one guard manning this outpost,” Lady Clark noted, adding, “It seems… dusty.” Moving on from the abandoned outpost, the group quickly met up with a strange orc just off the road who told of humans, elves, and gargoyles trying to kill him while he was hunting for squirrels and rats for food. The assembled group figured from his description that the Bastion of Light was responsible for this too, and after Lady Clark provided the hungry orc with some travel bread, the crowd began the final leg into Minoc.
Finally under the protection of Minoc’s guards, the group made their way to the north end of town where Mayor Dave met them outside of The Barnacle. “Happy Brialla Day!” Dave cried out. “Good to have visitors in Minoc. Won’t you all come and share a drink at the tavern?” Everyone made their way inside, whereupon Lady Clark revealed the golden hourglass had been handed to her during the journey. “So, anyone want to guess who handed that to me?” Martyna Z’muir guessed, “The ex-Bastion member?” Nodding, Clark stated, “Trev handed that to me when I have him the travel bread.” Placing a note on the table, Clark added, “He also handed me this note.”
The note, titled “Monk, Map, Hourglass,” and penned by an unknown author, read: Monks of Empath Abbey, Here is your hour glass. I am very sorry to say that the monk carrying it is dead. Please, please, please don’t wear orc armor anymore. It is not safe for humans to wear such things in the woods now! Guards are abandoning their posts and joining our, my former cause. Be careful! My friends, my former friends, killed your monk before I could stop them. When they hit him, a map popped out of the hourglass he was holding. After they all went to sleep, I put his body out to see [sic], along with the map. Whatever treasure it led to could not fall into their hands! I have brought your hourglass back. I recognized it from when my parents brought me to Empath Abbey as a child. I wish my return today had been different. I am truly sorry and will try to make amends.
With discussions about the journey settled down, Lady Clark invited others to speak and share any tales they had. Ra’Dian Fl’Gith was the first to speak to the assembly to share a tale, telling of a trip from the days of Minax’s assault on Trinsic, speaking of the lich Juo’nar and a boat journey he and another named Edguardo had shared, suggesting that perhaps the non-violent trip with the lich had perhaps in someway altered the outcome of the greater battle. After his tale finished, a blind traveller, L’loura, spoke briefly about how she used to live in Minoc, and now spends her days among the wonders of nature, she and her animal companions helping each other to get by.
The evening drew to a close in celebration of Brialla’s travels, but also on the grim note that Lady Clark would have to return to the abbey in Yew to inform them of Brother Vintonio’s murder. What more might arise from the affairs of the day are difficult to guess, but certainly one must wonder what treasures the hourglass kept hidden, and whether the ruined map is beyond use.