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Tetzcotal

Legends of the adventures

Tetzcotal: Mysterious Weeds (Candle Archipelagos)

<ith a satisfied sigh, you put away your research equipment, ready to rest after a long day of work. In the months since the magi first came to the Candle Archipelago, many new discoveries have been made, but there is still a lot more to find. You've come here only a few weeks ago and already you've filled two notebooks. As you step outside the small hut, several children shout and wave at you. You smile and wave back; you've never before met a people as friendly and hospitable as the people of the Candle Archipelago. The inhabitants of this small village immediately took you in as if you were one of their own when you asked if you could stay for a while.
     
      A loud holler alerts you to a group of canoes approaching the beach. Curious, you step closer and to your surprise, you recognize the group. They left the village a short while ago, apparently to trade with people on the nearby mainland. From what you understand, they should have been gone several weeks. That they are returning now after only four days means something must have happened. You see several villagers closing in on where the group lands their boats, among them the village chief, Ondale. Despite all the smiles and cheering as they greet their fellows, it is obvious the villagers are also wondering at the untimely return.
     
      As you come closer you can hear one of the traders explain things to Ondale.
     
      "We reached the river in good time and followed it upstream as usual. But in the afternoon, we came across a blockage."
     
      "What kind of blockage?" Ondale asks, and the villager continues.
     
      "A huge growth of plants we've never seen before. Its vines spanned the river and also covered everything to the right and left. Almost like a wall. We tried to push it out of the way with out paddles but it was so tight, there was no way to get through. When we tried to cut it with our knives, the ends sprouted new vines quicker than we could enlargen the hole."
     
      Your curiosity is immediately piqued.
     
      "I would like to see that plant," you say. "It sounds intriguing, and maybe I can figure out a way to pass. Would you take me there?"
     
      The villagers quickly agree to paddle you to the site in the morning. You pack the things you'll need for the expedition, then settle down for the night. Excitement keeps you awake and it is late when you finally nod off.
      In the morning, many of the villagers gather to bid you farewell, presenting you with gifts to take, despite your reassurances that you will soon be back. It takes almost an hour until your finally in the boat with your guides and setting off.
     
      *
     
      A day later, the canoe swiftly moves up the river. You reached the mainland in the evening, camping at the beach. Now you are continuing inland along a wide river teeming with life. The craft is surprisingly sturdy, designed to be maneuvered by only two people but big enough to fit seven or eight people if necessary. The three villagers who accompany you are obviously very experienced with the boat and so the journey has been smooth. The vegetation around the river reminds you of the Jungles of Raza, although you could swear that it is even hotter and more humid here.
     
      It is shortly after noon when the canoe slows and stops. You can see vines crossing the river, colored a bright, venomous-looking green. The same growth covers the trees and other plants at the sides of the river. You turn to your companions, who look troubled.
     
      "Is that it?" you ask.
     
      One of them nods. "Yes, but this has grown a lot since we were here. The place we encountered it first is still a few hours upstream."
     
      "Let us land so I can take a look," you say, and quickly, they bring you to the shore and pull the boat up the river bank. You walk closer to the growth and reach out to touch one of the leaves, then pull back your hand with a yelp as you feel a sting similar to an electric spark, like a Raiju hatchling might use.
     
      Pulling out a woollen glove to protect your hand, you cut one of the vines with your knife. It's hard going and you find yourself more hacking than cutting in the end. Finally, you manage to separate a piece of vine from the rest and hold it up to watch. Very slowly but still noticeably, the vine end in your hand starts to grow from the cut side. You gingerly probe the piece in your hand with a naked finger and feel another sting.
     
      You look at your guides. "This has grown?"
     
      "Yes, we encountered it several miles further inland last time," one of them says. "Only a mile or so from the first village we intended to visit."
     
      You look at the wall of greenery and worry starts to seep into you.
     
      "If it grows this far in just a few days, who knows how far it will spread in a month or two," you muse. "I doubt anyone could live inside there, and from what you say, it probably already covered that village. I will have to go back to the Keep immediately. This could mean trouble and we need to investigate further."

Tetzcotal: Lifting the Ban (The Keep)

You walk into the laboratory where the strange plant you found is studied. Several members of the herbalist guild are standing around several pots that are carefully contained to keep the plant from escaping and spreading over the Keep. One of them, Anje, nods to you.
     
      "Any news from the afflicted area?" she asks.
     
      "Yes," you reply, having just returned from there. In the week since your discovery, the plant has spread several miles in all directions.
     
      "As you suggested, we had some luck slowing the growth using companions with electric powers," you explain. "Storm hydras seem to be especially effective, but it only slows the grows and doesn't stop it. Have you found anything that will help us?"
     
      Anje shakes her head. "No, this thing is remarkably resilient. If you cut it, it will regrow; even if you cut a piece off, that will just turn into a new sprout. It doesn't burn either, it is too moist for that. And any insects that would feed on it get killed by those electric jolts. We are running out of ideas, I'm afraid."
     
      You start to reply but a yawn interrupts you; it was a long day and a rough week, and the worry about this is not helping.
     
      "I guess I'll get some sleep," you tell the researcher. "I'll come back tomorrow and see if you've got anything new."
     
      *
     
      You enter the lab again early the next day, still tired and sore from the long flight back yesterday. But nonetheless, you immediately notice that something is different. The way the herbalists are acting seems far more lively and energetic than the day before.
     
      As Anje sees you, she waves you over to her lab table, grinning.
     
      "You look like you've got good news," you say.
     
      "Maybe," she replies. She pulls a cloth off something standing on her table and a tiny trumpeting sound greets you.
     
      "Touch it," she says.
     
      "That is.. an elephant snail," you say, looking at the glass bowl with its small inhabitant. "Not even a grown one. I've seen them before?"
     
      Anje is still grinning. "Come on, touch it just once."
     
      Warily, you reach into the bowl and the snail wraps its tiny trunk around your finger. At the same time, you feel another electric jolt.
     
      "Ow," you shout, pulling your hand back. "I didn't know elephant snails could do that."
     
      "They can't," Anje replies. "Unless, of course, you let them feed on that plant. For some reason, they don't get hurt by the electric currents and are even able to store them. And considering their voracious appetite, we might just have a weapon, even though it is a rather unexpected one."
     
      "That is great news," you exclaim. "What are we waiting for?"
     
      "I was just about to bring my findings to Master Thane," she explains. "It's up to him to decide how we proceed."
     
      *
     
      A few hours later, magi gather in the grand hall of the Keep, waiting for Thane to address them. He steps up to the podium, accompanied by several other officials of the Keep and raises his hand. The crowd turns quiet, expectantly watching the archmage.
     
      "As many of you know," he starts, "we have discovered a plant that grows incredibly fast and covers everything in its path. Over the last few weeks, we tried to stop its advance but had only limited success. But now, the herbalist guild might have found a solution. Anje, would you please share your discovery?"
     
      Anje steps up to the podium and explains what she found out about the elephant snails, even giving a small demonstration of one of the snails happily devouring a small piece of the plant. After she finishes, Thane steps back up.
     
      "The growth already covers a large area, and thus we will need a lot of elephant snail hatchlings; enough to eat this plant faster than it can grow. Luckily, they are quick to hatch, and so I lift the ban on breeding these creatures for anyone who would like to help. Please bring your hatchlings to us; Anje and her colleagues will be in charge of collecting them and we will have couriers bringing the hatchlings to the site. Thank you to all of you and let us hope this works."
A section of the stables has been selected for Anje and her team to have enough room to collect and organize the snails. People are bustling about as you enter, and you have to duck to avoid a swipe from a wing as a pegasus nearby prances nervously. You find Anje in one of the stalls, where she has set up a table that is covered with papers filled with lists and notes. She looks at you as you enter.
     
      "Ah, are you here to help?" she asks.
     
      "Yes," you reply.
     
      "Good. We will need as many Elephant Snail hatchlings as possible so once you have any be sure to bring them here," she replies with a smile and gets back to organizing the papers on the table.
A section of the stables has been selected for Anje and her team to have enough room to collect and organize the snails. People are bustling about as you enter, and you have to duck to avoid a swipe from a wing as a pegasus nearby prances nervously. You find Anje in one of the stalls, where she has set up a table that is covered with papers filled with lists and notes. She looks at you as you enter.
     
      "Ah, are you here to help?" she asks.
     
      "Yes," you reply, handing over the container with the hatchlings you brought.
     
      Anje does a quick count, then scribbles something on one of the papers on her desk. "Good, that brings our total to XXX hatchlings. We're making progress here. Feel free to come back if you can hatch more."
     

Tetzcotal: Lightning in a Seed (Tetzcotal)

You fly over the area where the plant has grown, which now looks like a brown scar in the otherwise lush jungle, the river winding through it like a blue-green ribbon. Anje has dubbed the plant lightning weed, referencing both its electrical powers and the speed of its growth. The elephant snails have been true to their reputation and eaten it down to its roots, leaving nothing behind.
     
      You land near a cluster of small huts; the village your hosts from the Candle Archipelago had intended to visit. Thane himself is here, alongside several other magi, and they are talking to a group of people that you take for the villagers. As Thane sees you, he smiles and waves you over.
     
      "Let me introduce the magi who discovered the lightning weed and got us to help," he says, and the villagers turn to you expressing their thanks. "You were just about to tell us how this plant appeared so suddenly?" Thane then asks.
     
      "There are ruins nearby from older times," one of the villagers starts. "They are cursed and therefore forbidden. One of our youth defied the rules on a dare and visited the ruins. When he came back, he brought some seeds. Not knowing where they came from, his family planted them and this was the result. I am sure our people have learned their lesson now."
     
      He takes a look around at his fellow villagers and several of the younger ones look down instead of meeting his eyes. Thane quickly speaks again.
     
      "According to our researchers, it is likely magic was involved in creating these plants. It is quite possible these ruins stem back from the mage wars. We will investigate the place and remove any other items that might be dangerous. In the meantime, the herbalist guild has promised to send members that will help this place recover from the devastation."
     
      "The snail handlers have also found a number of eggs in the devastated area that had to be left by their parents as they fled the lightning weed. We would like to take these with us and raise them at the Keep. I plan to distribute them among those who helped with the weeding. I hope that is okay with you?"
     
      The villagers readily agree, and Thane nods to a group of magi standing nearby. "Gather the eggs and bring them to the Keep. I am sure everyone will be glad to get something for their troubles."
You help gathering the mysterious new eggs for transportation and one of the senior magi hands you a small bag of the eggs to keep.