There is much to report on our last few days. After my investigation of the mysterious mist, we made our way north along the river. The mist still extended as far as we could see into our home country. We shortly came upon another group of refugees; some were injured, others despondent.
We were now in sight of the lightning rail tracks, and being early evening we decided to camp here with the others to regain our strength for the next day. Our rest was soon interrupted by the tell-tale sounds of the lightning rail approaching. We sprang into action, Sledge and myself attempted to conjure flame, fireworks, lights, signs…anything we could to warn the driver of the rail. Aukan and the halfling ran towards the train, hoping to board or somehow slow it before it plunged into the deadly mist. I am sure the driver suspected ambush and thievery, and had the halfling been the only one on the scene, I’m sure that’s what the result would have been. Luckily, I was able to conjure enough warning flares and signs to bring about the train’s halting, but I fear I went too far with trying to conjure a magical whisper and speak to the engineer himself. He seemed rather flustered at the attempt, and even more so at the sight of a huge soldier leaping onto his train. Luckily, the halfling finally proved some worth by using his mellifluous words to convince the driver of the danger and compel him to reverse the direction of travel.
We loaded our charges and the other refugees into an available cargo hold and settled down for the trip to Gatherhold. During the trip, the dwarf finally awoke and was formally introduced as Olohorn Kundarak. He seemed an overly jolly fellow, yet I do not trust his indifference to the atrocities described to him. He may know more than he lets on.
When we arrived in Gatherhold the next evening (21 Olarune), Aukan went to visit the only high-ranking Cyran we could locate, and the rest of us accompanied Olohorn to the Lazy Clawfoot Inn. The halfling presumably followed the changeling Post, but more likely had his own nefarious agenda. He returned only with a passing reference to another noble from Olohorn’s city, something which even our dwarven cleric could have easily ascertained.
Before the evening ended I had a chance to speak with Post about her unusual powers, but she was hesitant to reveal more than the fact that she does possess some psionic abilities. As this is a branch of skill I am unfamiliar with, I shall have to do some research.
On the morning of 22 Olarune, I accompanied our captain to the office of the Cyran Minister Mircin Tandis, whom Aukan had met with the previous day. He had done some research (and contacted various associates) and learned that no messages or lightning rails were coming in or out of the entire nation of Cyre. He tasked us with discovering the cause, and more importantly, ascertaining the current whereabouts and status of our Queen. A grim task indeed, because it means travelling through the mist that I swore never to enter again.
A possible mode of safe transport was found, however. One that should protect us from the deadly mist. An air elemental was bound to the train, giving those within respite from its effects (or so we hoped). A brave crew was hired, and we made preparations to leave the next morning. The minister gave us enough gold to hire on additional soldiers, but Aukan instead chose the halfling. He must be under the spell of this tiny thief; else our captain is taking too literally the adage of “keeping your enemies close”. Either way, I feel that this decision may cost us dearly, and not just in the gold that this halfling craves so much.
We invited Olohorn and Post, but they declined, so we said our farewells.
Yesterday (23 Oloarune), we left before dawn and soon entered the nation of Cyre. While the effects of the mist were much subdued from my earlier investigation of it, a deep sadness still settled on us all. One of the crew tried to exit the train, but Aukan restrained him. Eventually, we were through the thickest “wall” of mist, and were witness to a scene of total desolation on the rest of the land. A blanket of ash covered all we could survey, and some trick of time seemed to affect the dead that we could see. As we approached the capitol, the train was derailed by a section of missing track, and we were hurled to the ground, coming to rest on our side. We would not be leaving by means of lightning rail, I fear.
We admonished the crew to remain, then left the train. As we headed to the capitol, we noticed that some of the buildings were not in their correct locations. Also, I was able to investigate the trick of time I mentioned earlier…the bodies we found looked unnaturally preserved, as if they had only just died moments ago, even though they had been dead for 4 days.
We continued towards the palace, but were eventually attacked by a small band of undead soldiers from a different nation. A clue to this mystery, perhaps? It was a lengthy battle, but we overcame them with no losses of our own. At this point, it was nearing the evening, and we found our way at last in the palace. To our dismay, we found no trace of the Queen.
We will make our camp here for the evening, and I will keep watch until morning as I ponder the implications of all that I have learned today.