AR 1216-08-16 Franziska visits her Mother and Brother

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At suppertime the day Wolf and Krunch left, Franziska announced her intentions to Rissa and Sardi. “Glinda and I are leaving for a few days. I need to speak with my Mother about the details surrounding my Father’s death. I can’t believe he is actually the Executioner no matter what he tries to tell us, but Mom might have some clues. Glinda says we can use a teleportation circle for most of the distance but will have to go overland the rest of the way. We should be safe enough as we will travel light and not stop on the Phantom Steeds except to conjure the next one. We will also be invisible. We should be able to make the normally two day journey in just a little more than 5 hours. Please do not mention this trip to anyone else. We should be back before the newlyweds return.”

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They left very early the next morning, which was a weekend day which they thought had the best chance for her Mother to be home. The teleportation portion of the trip took no time and was uneventful. Franziska felt good to have mastered this new and difficult spell. Surprising the dwarfs at the Golden Eagle Clan was fun. They quickly got the teacher Katarina who vouched for them. They asked her to keep it a secret and she escorted them out of the keep though a side passage where she stood guard while they cast the rituals to summon their Phantom Steeds and then cast invisibility on them and the steeds.

Franziska sent Clarice ahead to scout the road ahead. Clarice stayed just under a mile ahead so she could stay in communication. As they neared Bridget’s home Clarice became extra vigilant for anything out of the ordinary. But all seemed quiet. They only stopped after the hour was up for the steeds and invisibility, and then they recast both and proceeded toward Walden. They did this for 5 sets of Steeds, and in the end they were just 20 minutes outside the village. They cast invisibility on themselves one last time, and walked to Franziska mother’s home.

It was just about lunch when the two Wizards approached the home with caution. Franziska had trouble restraining herself as she wanted nothing more than to charge full speed ahead to where she would find her Mother and Brother. But she was learning caution.

Walking into the yard she found her Brother bringing up a bucket of water from the well in front of the house. “Zelig” she cried, unable to contain herself as she ran toward him releasing her invisibility spell so she would not frighten him. She caught her surprised brother in a fierce hug. “I’m so glad to see you well,” she told him. Zelig returned her hug with one of his own, then held her at arm’s length and exclaimed “Mom said you sent her a note weeks ago saying you were coming for a visit but we didn’t know when you’d be here. It’s great to see you. Come, let’s go in and surprise Mom.”

Franziska did a quick introduction of Glinda, who also dropped her invisibility, as the trio headed into the house.

Bridget was working in the kitchen when they entered the house. “Well, finally you’ve come home” she chided Franziska as she swept her daughter into her arms. “Are you Ok? Your note said something about needing to know the circumstances around Kormak’s death. What is going on?”

“I’m fine Mom” Franziska told her. “But some strange things have been going on, and I need some information. Oh, this is my friend Glinda. Glinda, this is my Mom Bridget.”

“I was just about to put lunch on the table and there is plenty for all” Bridget told them. “Give me a hand getting it on the table and we can talk after that.”

It had been a long time since Franziska had tasted her Mother’s cooking. She had done something amazing with chicken this time, with good fresh vegetables to go with it. Yeah, it was great coming home.

After the last of the delicious meal had been eaten and dishes had been cleared, they retired to the living room.

“First, I hope I’m not calling any attention to you by coming here Mom” the little red head told her Mother. “Things have gotten pretty strange lately. But I have reason to need to know what happened when Dad died.”

“Not much to tell” replied her Mother. “All of them, your Father, Brother and Sister were sick with the plague. I somehow managed to stay healthy and was trying to care for all of them. With three sick ones to tend I wasn’t able to get any rest and finally I collapsed in exhaustion. While I was out your Father died. They couldn’t wake me and they needed to get the body buried to help contain the sickness. By the time I woke up he was gone. I never saw him after he died. Tell me, what is going on. Why is this important now?”

“There is an evil creature claiming to be Dad” Franziska told her Mother. “I don’t know if it’s lying or if something took Dad’s body after he died. I know it can’t really be Dad but I needed to know all you knew. Zelig, do you remember anything from that time?”

Zelig looked thoughtful for a moment, then clutched his head as if it hurt to remember. “I don’t know…but I kind of remember…Ahhh”. He grabbed his head again like it was on fire.

Both his Mother and Franziska rushed too him to sooth him. Telling him it was ok.

Glinda stood and paced back and forth thinking “I do believe he may be under some type of mental block from remembering that time period, with pain as a punishment for trying. We can try some old fashion hypnotism to see if we can get around the block if you want.”

Bridget looked at her, “If you think it is safe, I do not want to lose my son over a memory.”

“No, it must be important if someone wanted it blocked, it is worth the risk Mother.” Zelig put on a brave face but they could still tell he was afraid. He looked at Glinda “Do it please!”

Glinda had him lay down in his bed and Bridget found a shiny new coin of Hidden Valley. Twirling the coin around and around, she had Zelig concentrate on it. He slowly drifted off, and she proceeded to ask him questions.

“Remember back to when you were very sick. You’re back there now, laying in sweaty clothes, with a cold wet cloth on your head. You can hear your Mother sleeping with her head next to you. What do you see?”

Softly Zelig answered, “I hear someone coming into the room. I can barely open my eyes. It’s a person I have never seen before.”

“What does he look like?” Glinda prompted him

“He has a strange reddish tint to his skin and I think horns. His eyes glow a slight red.” Zelig shivered

“Look around, is there anyone else in the room besides your family?

He turned his head slightly as if he was really there, “I see our maid Sheri standing next to him. But she looks funny, like she is there but not there.

Glinda turned to Franziska and Bridget, “Hmm, maybe she was in a trance of some sort.” She turned back to Zelig, “What is the strange red man doing?”

“He is touching Dad and saying ‘Good he still lives, it is not too late’.”

Zelig reached out his arms in front of him, ”No, don’t take him.”

“What is wrong Zelig?”

“He sees me as I weakly reached out to try to stop him from carrying dad away. His eyes meet mine and he spoke to me.”

The words Zelig then speaks is in a deep and gravelly voice that is not his own. “Pain boy, remembering me is painful.” And Zelig screams and grabs his head twisting and turning in the bed.

Glinda snaps her fingers several times in front of the thrashing Zelig and yells above his screams, “Wake up, Zelig, Wake up, you are safe and back in your own house!”

Zelig stops, and looks around. “Man do I have a headache! Did I remember anything useful?”

Glinda smiled at him, “Yes you surely did, but I suspect we cannot share it with you or else it will harm you. But that headache you now have I believe was well worth it.”

Franziska reached out with the special rod her sister Annabelle gave her and healed her brother’s headache.

“Thanks sis, I feel tons better, is that the new toy from Annabelle that she wrote she was going to give you?”

“Yes, I am sure she would have wanted me to use it on you” as she smiled down on her brother who had just told her that the Executioner could really be her Father. Might there still be something of him in there that was worth saving. Only time would tell.

“Mother did Sheri live through the plague?”

Bridget shook her head responding, “She never got sick, and last I knew was living in Melinir still. She decided to stay with her elder parents who could not have survived the trip to Hidden Valley.”

Franziska looked back at Glinda, “Zelig describe something like a devil right? Anyway to know which one from the description?”

“No, but it must be a powerful one that is for sure. Didn’t I hear that the dwarf your group face in Kleine had on an amulate with the symbol of Asmodeus?” Franziska nodded her head yes, “Well then it could have been him but it also could have been some other high powered devil. It is possible Sheri might know more if you can find her.”

“Thanks for your help,” Franziska told her family. “Everything we can learn about the enemy gives us a better chance to defeat him. But what about you two? Are you Ok here. I’m worried that those that are searching for me and my friends know where you are and might try to hurt you to get at us. Have there been any strangers in the area. Have you seen anybody or anything that makes you nervous? You know, we are building a new town in what we believe is a secure location. I know just pulling up roots again is hard to do, but you might consider moving to our new town.”

Not even pausing for an answer from her mother, “Glinda,” she asked, turning to the other Wizard. “We don’t need to go back the way we came do we. We could cast a Teleportation Circle here in the morning and go straight back, right? That way we could take my family with us to a safer place.

Glinda shook her head, “If they want to, I can teleport us tomorrow to the new town. I have my spell book that has been there recently and is still attuned to the place. If you take something from this place, I can also teleport us back if you wish straight to here so we don’t have to use the Dwarven teleportation circle. There is no circle yet where we came from, and it will take a year of daily casting the teleport spell to make one, but that might be dangerous to do. But remember if they do not have any protection from scrying on them, and they go with us, it may leave our location open to being found easily by this Executioner. He has not deemed to come after them yet so he may not be interested in them since they have no magically abilities like you do.”

Bridget considered all of that information and then looked at her daughter “We are not going to run away. We have duties here, and people to protect. I love you dearly Franziska, but I do not want to leave Hidden Valley.”

Franziska kept her mother and brother up much too late with reminiscing about the good times and questions about the present. In the morning, bleary eyed and yawning, after a hearty breakfast and much hugging and promises to keep better in touch, she followed a much more awake Glinda into the yard where they each did the ritual for their Phantom Steeds followed by the invisibility.

The trip home was uneventful though Franziska realized she had forgotten to mention about the Yari’s wedding, which considering his parents were not there, it was probably for the best. He should tell them himself. Through it all Franziska and Glinda could feel their new friendship deepening, something Franziska missed out on when Hazel died.

AR 1216-08-16 Franziska visits her Mother and Brother

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