I am writing from The Nomad. The Captain, Ef Utan and I were picked up from Reginald’s roof by the ship. We were almost apprehended, but as the local authorities were climbing up to arrest us, Ef Utan flicked a grease spell at them, which caused them all to go sliding and crashing to the ground. We fly up and away to work on our next move, not sure which way to go since we lost everything.
Fyn, Ef Utan and Lenata spend some time trying to decipher the tiny machine. Someone suggests using it like one of the tuning forks on the planar sails. Lenata shudders and then tells us she felt like something completely evil had been staring through her.
I’m on watch with Melchior when I catch sight of a disturbance in the sky that seems to be heading right towards us. I have Aspodel move the ship out of the way and call to the others. We hear a sound like hooves – and figures – cloud figures of men on horses and men in wagons and a herd of cattle – a huge herd – go by us, heading west. Melchior mutters “Ghost Riders in the Sky.” But can’t elaborate.
After some studying, it’s decided that the tiny machine won’t be usable on the sails, but Lenata proposes obtaining more of the metal it’s made of – Horacalpum. We know from our own world that the asteroid Ceres is a rich source of this metal, so we decide it’s worth trying to see if this world’s Ceres is the same. We figure it’s going to be about 6 days to fly there. When I am not on watch or meditating, I read the books I took from Reginald’s house. I recognize some of the language as Latin from my time with the Centurions. I read about Djoser, the 2nd pharoah of the 3rd dynasty and his priest, Imhotep. Apparently, while trying to save Djoser spirit in the afterworld, Imhotep’s spell failed and something “got in” from the other side. They called it the red death and it changed magic for this world. Magic here became tainted and using magic gained the attention of the creature. Melchior spends his downtime reading too and tells us that the Ghost Riders in the Sky are an omen from the Book of Merlin. They’re one of those fun, vague omens though and could be for good or ill.
The days pass quickly and quietly enough. On the fourth day, Lenata experiences that feeling of being watched again. We spot something approaching, gaining from behind us. On the 5th day we realize that the thing has gained rapidly. Fyn notes a configuration in the stars that matches the the symbol for The House of 7 Stars, but is missing Ozzy’s star. On the 6th day we are all afflicted…Kenari loses her voice, Melchior’s skin breaks out into some kind of hideous rash, Ef Utan’s hands hurt and his nails grow into claws, Lenata grows fangs and my eyes sting – it’s only later that someone says I have cat’s eyes that are green on black.
The changes are disturbing and add to the feeling of dread and being watched. I can see a bit more clearly though. The object that is following us is a chunk of rock and the outer shell is an ectoplasmic blob of screaming corpses with red eyes.
Anya, there are some truly wonderful parts to an adventurer’s life. This is not one of them.
We speed up, but the blob keeps pace with us. I propose using my ghost powder on it – Fyn thinks this would work, but Melchior suggests shooting the blob with special rounds made of ghost powder which seems like a really good idea, so I give Melchior my ghost powder and he gets to work. It’s decided, simply because we can travel there, that Kenari, Lenata and I are going to teleport over to the blob to shoot it. [Still not one of those moments. Truly, I’d rather not – but I go anyway. I have got to get these guys some teleporting boots or something.] But we teleport over and realize that the object is a statue, with a cartouche for Pharoah Djoser. We get attacked by ghosts. Kenari and I shoot the object twice – then Lenata casts consecrate on the statue and the ghostly forms howl and dissipate. It’s a hunk of red sandstone. We agree that the best course of action is to bury this monstrosity on the nearest deserted asteroid (after we study it of course). Kenari notes the Celestian logo is engraved on it – Fyn uses his psychometry and has a vision of some man in a white headdress.
As I am writing this, we are about 16 hours from Ceres and at least one more casting of consecrate by Lenata to keep this thing quiet.
I hope you are well and studying hard. Will write again soon.