Fable of the violet haired Princess

Ulm Party - Episode 11 - Fangs and fluffy ears
Encounters in the Fae

Back through the portal, into the monastery grounds, princess Lilian and her entourage discover the purpose of the magical map and quill she retrieved from Claret’s package at the beginning of our adventure. The scroll is indeed a map of the Fae world, and the quill is enchanted to make updates of the ever-changing landscape of this magically rich world.

The heroes make preparations for the next journey in their quest: they plan to use the secret magical ways of the Fae to reach castle Windswept in short time. Pika uses a secret and painful monk technique to heal Jura‘s wrist wound, while Sheeba, on the wings of the blessed crane, scouts the monastery grounds to assess the destruction caused by the Djinn’s struggle: There is plenty structural damage, but the monks will rebuild. Brother Humm-Chu, the great Pika, wishes them safe travels as they step once again through the portal and into the Fae.

Such a land of marvel and misery, of wonder and woe! Lilian carefully studies the map updates implemented by the magical quill, and by putting together the deciphering skills of Jura and the geographic knowledge of Claret they are able to assess their location as well as four potential exits to the real world that would lead them close to Windswept, all FOUR of them accessible by portals 1-2 marching days afar:

—> the Foggy Marches: An area of fertile swamplands repurposed in extensive rice plantations. The Lotus Order has a secret base of operations there.
—> the Miller’s Crossroad: A natural hub of the road network within the Blossom Kingdom. The Hedra company headquarters are located there.
—> the Rialto Harbor: a small seaside city famous for his manufacture and public festivities. Allouette’s rich family lives there.
—> the Berona Range: a reach of highland plains, known for its vast pastures and tasty cheese. Also houses the hut of the White Witch, a woman of legendary wisdom; old acquaintance of Sheeba and the druids.

While deciding about their destination, Lilian and her team scout the ruins of Pszczna, abandoned fae town, and find recent signs of life. Claret spots a mechanical trap for small game, probably human made: Sheeba picks up the scent of the human trapmaker, but as she track the scent, she picks a wrong turn and leads the party into a heavily corrupted area.

This round square, historically built around a huge crystalline formation, is now half drenched in the dark goo oozing out of the tainted shards of the crystal itself. The black jelly boils and gurgles, awaken by the presence of unaware creatures, until a dark, gooey, Fell creature, lumbers out of the black pool. This ominous semisolid mass, shaped like a black “Michelin man”, with fangs and a spoon-shaped antenna-like appendage upon its head, surprises the adventurers and unleashes a mental attack upon them.

Only Sheeba seems to be able to shake off the phantasm, so she attempts to shapeshift to aggress the monster. Only, something different happens this time. As she gathers the (unstable) natural magical energies from the environment, a new, exciting, vivid source of magic permeates her essence. She lets this new magic source into her and as she changes shape, she realizes that she polymorphed into a fae animal creature: a Blink Dog. She blinks behind the Fell creatures and tears one of its feet away with her fangs, but the gooey mound is simply annoyed by her. It transforms into a huge mouth and envelops Sheeba inside its body.

In the meanwhile Jura is at a party full of noble guests, when he sees his old tutor Giovanni, a wide gash open on his face, boiling pustules opening on his skin. “How could you let me die?” he asks Jura, getting a hold on him while the poison slowly rots his flesh. But Jura is not distressed by this sight. He splashes his wine chalice in Giovanni’s face and twists away from his grab. At the same time, he snaps out of the phantasm and witnesses the creature’s attack on Sheeba, while Lilian and Claret are still stunned under the mental assault of the fell beast. He decides to help Lilian by having her smell a strong perfume borrowed from Alouette. In turns, Lilian, helps Claret by having her smell a pot of smelling salts.

Having regained their resolve, the adventurers ready their counterattack. Sheeba blinks out of the creature, on top of its head to tear the nasty antenna away. The creature thrashes violently, but he is slow and clumsy, and the group repositions itself on the offensive. Lilian distracts the creature, allowing Claret to have a clear strike at its heart… or better, its core, a hard nucleus inside the creature’s chest which Claret pierces true with her spear, and Lilian with a crossbow bolt. The fell creature is wounded and weakened, it changes shape into a black centipede, but once again, the adventurers are prepared. While Jura stuffs a bucket upon the head of the worm, the girls, blades unsheathed, chop it in several sections, until it stops moving and it melts onto the cobblestones.

Claret’s mind is shaken from the encounter, but the group decides to press on, and find the few surviving inhabitants of this city in ruins. Sheeba leads them to a house which looks indeed inhabited. Voices come from the inside, until a human, with long mustache, wearing a poncho and a bandanna wrapped around his head, walks out of the front door and is promptly blocked by Jura. In that moment, Claret recognizes hi: he is Albrek, a courier from the Hedra company gone missing months ago. She asks Jura to release him, while a second creature, a small humanoid, rushes out of the building attracted by the commotion. This tiny fellow, with a green face with rabbit teeth, bearing large ears and nose, and wearing a garden suit and yellow rubber boots, is unmistakingly a gnome. He introduces himself as Miroslav, and sounds grumpy until princess Lilian proposes to treat everyone to a fair meal. This seems to cheer-up both NPCs and they sit down for a plentiful dinner.

There, they learn that Albrek has been stuck in the Fae world for weeks, after delivering a package to this very address. They spot, onto an end-table within Miroslav’s house, a small purple crystal which is untouched by the corruption, pulsating of life, beautiful. Moreover, as soon as they start eating, a cute fluffy creature bounces out from its hiding.

This furry mascot, with big rabbit ears covered in curly fur, watches the characters with huge violet shy and playful eyes. It bounces around with its round-shaped body sustained by three short limbs. He wags a heart-shaped long tail and bears proudly two huge hooked horns at the sides of its head. “Pluszaczek” he chirps happily when the princess pets him… yea, that’s his name.

Claret is evidently disturbed by such amount of condensed cuteness, but nevertheless she joins the other people at the table, and they enjoy a nice dinner together. Lots of stories are to be told…

Ulm Party - Episode 10 - Purple New World
A step into the Fae

The magical energy surge chills down in the great monastery vault, as the powerful Djinn goes back into slumber. Brothers Stout and Eldrip of the senior council are summoned to guard the shackling brazier while the great Pika recovers from the fatigue of battle. In agreement with the monk elders, the adventurers decide to put Iasuo the Challenger under arrest, and lock him inside a cell in the dungeon block of the monastery.

It is only a few hours later that the dimensional door opens again, from the other side, and Lilian steps back into the vault. She reveals of being witness of a world of marvel and wonders, astonishing like nothing she has ever seen before. Could this be the Fae world the legends have spoken of? At the mere idea of it Sheeba is excited, and she is eager to explore this magical dimension. Lilian agrees that it could be a safe way to travel without attracting unwanted attention.

And avoiding unwanted attention could be indeed a wise choice: the Pika, grateful for the unwavering assistance the adventurers gave him in the clash against the Djinn, decides to reveal mystical vision that the goddess granted to him. He saw “a dark cloud, full of hunger and lies, to move towards castle Windswept, and suck it in its black fog”. “The cloud already reached its destination” he continues, and he believes that the princess should make haste for her hometown as soon as possible. The kingdom itself could be facing a great danger. Jura immediately takes notice that this information matches with the notion of that ‘visitor from the empire’ which was sent to the capital recently, but reveals only partial information to the party. Finally, Pika makes an alliance with the princess, and promise her to spread the news among yellow monks to support Lilian in her quest.

After Alouette introduces herself to the Princess, the adventurers decide to scout the fairy realm. Despite Claret’s complaints, she and Jura are tasked to say back in the vault, wait for the scouting party to come back, and perform a little time-flow shift experiment with candles. Sheeba, Alouette, and Lilian step into the portal, and an incredible purple new world appears in front of her eyes. A world with:

- Rubber mountains
- Rectangular lakes
- Trees with semitransparent purple glassy leaves and with scales on their trunk instead of bark. The wind makes a chiming noise while blowing through their branches.
- A greenish-tint sky crossed by a triangular-shaped rainbow, while two large moons soar the evening.
- Tiny fae insects buzzing around the air. One specie floats through a helicopter propeller above their heads. Another uses light-reaction propulsion systems (basically bumble bees farting their way around while puffing balls of light).
- Houses shaped like giant onions, probably they are build OUT of giant onions.
- Dust which looks like confetti.
- Brillant purple crystal formations, pulsating with magical energies.

They emerge on a collapsed building, a few kilometres away from a town. It does not take long to them to notice that, despite the marvel of this place, something is not right. Not right at all:

- Signs of destructions scar the land: Crumbled buildings, open crevices, blackened earth are visible everywhere.
- Pszczna, the city, is in ruins, and completely abandoned.
- Most of the crystal formations are tainted by a darkening corruption, from which an obscure slime oozes into jelly pools.

The Princess feels an intense pain within her head as soon as she approaches a completely corrupt crystals. She is forced to keep her distance if she wants to keep her mind lucid. The girl soon discover that their magic powers manifest slightly differently in here, but Sheeba manages nevertheless to shapeshift into a wolf and prowls the ruins, where she gets a faint scent of something alive still living in this place. She goes back to the portal and reports the finding to the Princess, so that they can regroup with the other companions and start exploring this realm together.

An unusual journey is ahead of our heroes… where will it lead them?

Ulm Party - Episode 9 - Vault Danger
Djinn's Challenge

Bal’ahllaj, the captive Djinn, digresses in a long boasting speech before summoning an arabic-looking pattern on the floor about to explode in a wave of kinetic force. Sheeba and Claret are in the aura of the blast but they manage to quickly reposition themselves out of the harm’s way, the first by taking the form of an eagle, the latter by climbing out the bridge and hanging from its bottom, where no glyphs are appearing.

Having distracted the heroines, the Djinn focuses his attention on Princess Lilian, his only true target. An attempts to trap her in a spiral of swirling ice shards. Lilian tries to absorb the flying icicles within her treasure hair box, but while head banging she trips and loses momentum. Claret quickly comes to her aid, by picking up Sheeba’s toga and using it as a fan while running in rapid circles around the icy whirlwind. She is so fast that the whirlwind destabilises, ultimately freeing the princess from the icicle cage.

Sheeba lands back on the ground, and the three girl adventurers attempt to distract the Djinn inquiring on his immortal nature and the source of his power. They seem to succeed as Bal’ahllaj wastes time in a long, exhaustive explanation about elemental magic, but after a while, the creature manages to recover his focus and prepares to unleash a wide-area attack.

In the meanwhile, brother Humm-Chu the Great Pika, and monk Iasuo the challenger are fighting a deadly contest of martial arts, in the Vault’s pit. Their philosophies are incompatible, and Iasuo provokes Pika into exposing himself, thus gaining the upper hand and ultimately knocking him unconscious.

Jura joins the fray lurking from the shadows, but Iasuo is aware of his surroundings and spots him. The elven spy fails at outpositioning the monk, and finds himself with his back against the wall. He attempts a surprise assault by rebounding off the wall, but even this time Iasuo is ready for his attack, dodges the elf and pins him down on the ground.

The situation seems dire for our heroes, but that’s the moment where the table turns around.

A huge wind front, enriched of raw magical energies, is about to sweep over the ladies. Sheeba knows that it will scramble the magical powers of those it hits, so she thinks ahead and attempts to do something he never did before: magic melding! By intertwining the natural magic which is her expertise with the elemental magic arising from the djinn, she could combine them to bend the effect of the Djinn’s magic. Her intention is to turn the jamming gust of wind into a swarm of flowers.

Alas, she has no training in such a practice, and even with the best of her efforts the magic meld goes wild. On the bright side, she manages to conjure a huge sprouting plant which screens Lilian and herself from the djinn, on the down side, this plant turns to be carnivorous and snatches both of them, including one of Claret’s arms as she tries to take cover behind it. Luckily, Claret and Lilian force open the jaws of the man-catching dionea.

Bal’ahllaj is surprised, puzzled, and as much as he tries to cleanse the magical mist raised by the meld, he is countered by Sheeba, who intertwines a bit of Lilian’s power as well within the conjuration. In the meanwhile, Claret is trying her best in attracting the djinn’s attention away from the princess, but unfortunately with small success.

At the same time, Iasuo lets go of his hold on jura, who is playing dead on the ground, and he is stuck in a buttcheeck by a crossbow bolt shot by Lilian. Jura takes this opportunity, and after coming back to his feet, he chokes the limping monk to unconsciousness. With the aid of Claret, the elf brings the old Pika back in his senses, and they make a strategy to give enough time for the wise monk to put the djinn back in its captive slumber. The safest course of action is to create an escape route for Lilian, while Humm-Chu hides in the concealing plant and performs his long ritual. “You have to trick the djinn” tells them the monk, “he has no insight about mortals’ intentions. His foolishness is its only weakness”, and this time, the heroes know exactly what to do…

Jura, Claret and Sheeba start questioning the djinn, challenging him with riddles, arguments and provocations, which he seems even too eager to face. While he is distracted, the violet princess goes for a sneaky escape, and notices that familiar tingling sensation in her hair. She understands one of the magic-key portals is near, and tries to plug the key in the vault door. The key turns, and she quickly steps beyond the dimension portal hence summoned. In her last second the djinn spots her escaping, but Jura guarantees him that she will be back soon. Fooled by this lie, a concept so stranger to outsiders, he resolves to wait until the princess is back, but a few minutes later Pika completes the ritual and the djinn is put back to sleep. The danger was pushed back and the monastery is safe (for now): Our heroes faced dire odds and emerged victorious!

Ulm Party - Episode 8 - Chasing Monks
Fights and Troubles at the Yellow monastery

Claret, Sheeba and Alouette rush in the monastery inner yard, where they spot a trio of monks from Iasuo’s party running for it. At that very moment another unexpected surge of magical energies coalesces into a lightning bolt, hits one of the inner walls, and a rockfall of stones, bricks and concrete is falling on top some (good) monks.

The ladies must choose whether to save the good guys or chase the bad guys, and they decide to split the party. While Claret rescues the endangered ones, Sheeba and Alouette follow Iasuo’s goons into the alchemical lab, where they find their allies still fighting with Jura. Sheeba is resolved to fight, but she is upset when Jura vanishes out of the window. It is only a trick though, because Jura is waiting outside the window frame, and as soon as one of Iasuo’s mooks looks out to find the elf, he is pulled out and sent flying. Sheeba and Alouette engage the hostiles, while Jura flings a second henchman out of the window. He remains tangled with him though, and they both fall downstairs. The elf manages to land quite gracefully, however, and is only lightly wounded from the fall.

The flunkies are losing ground. The last one standing of them runs away and Sheeba tries to shapeshift into a Lynx to give chase. Her magical power is still scrambled though. But suddenly, a memory of her druidic training comes to her mind.

Sheeba wakes up with a strong desire for strawberries. Mmm, they smell so good… but wait a second, she does not really like strawberries. It’s a mental disorder caused by being polymorphed into a hedgehog for too long. She remembers now, she was tasked with a challenge by the circle of druids. To maintain focus as much as she could while remaining shapeshifted. She is doing quite well, indeed.

Too bad that she is interrupted by a snake, trying to eat an egg of an endangered bird species. She could not stay there doing nothing, so she resolves to fight the viper and send it away. The fight is dire and dangerous. But Sheeba manages to find wildlife allies (a Heron and a Squirrel), and thanks to her poison resistance, she gets the upper hand against the viper and saves the egg and the day. She has found communion, unity with the environment, and she feels happy.

An elder circle druid appears then. And he reveals that finding herself was the true task of the challenge. Now she finds her centre, and can use it to rearrange magical energies within her.

“The ecosystem is one and I belong to it”. As these words strike Sheeba’s mind, she reorders her own magical power and pounces into mid-air in Lynx form. With her scent, she tracks the escaping grunt up to the brewery, where he joins with an ally. The heroes assemble after Sheeba, having followed her signals, but the last two baddies do not want to fight. They claim that their only purpose was stalling the heroes while Iasuo was escorting Lilian within the new Vault, task which he now accomplished. This does not prevent Claret from slapping them hard all the same.

The adventurers run down the dark corridor and dash into the vault a few step after the great Pika. He is shouting madly at Iasuo, who is bringing Lilian forward, towards the Brazier at the center of the huge, circular dome. In that very moment, a great danger arises from the ashes of the brazier, engulfed in blue flames. The true responsible of the magical turmoil at the monastery grounds is revealed: a huge, mighty powerful Djinn.

The gargantuan elemental creature spots the princess, claims her as his prize, and prepares for battle. A dire situation for our heroes. Will they manage to save the day?

Ulm Party - Episode 7 - Captives at the Monastery
But not so easy to restrain...

The elven spy, Jura, decides to gather information concerning the inscriptions on the magical map, in the monastery library. He reckons the library is huge, and decides to ask for help to brother Eldrip the wrinkly, expert in old languages. Eldrip is quite annoyed to be addressed in the sacred silence of the library, and under the suggestion of brother Luka, Jura decides to ask him for help later.

In the meanwhile Sheeba walks towards the inner yard, attracted by an evident commotion building up there. Princess Lilian is outraged that the crow trainers will not allow her to send a message to castle Windswept, while the monks defend themselves with empty excuses. But suddenly, Sheeba smells the rush of incoming magical power: a magical elemental wind turbulence emerges from the monastery corridors and rushes towards the princess. Sheeba has just the time to push Lilian out of the magic torrent’s way, but she gets caught in it instead. She feels heavily dizzy after that, and then she realises her own magic power is disordered, drained, messed up (at least temporarily).
After the magical rush fades, a serious monk with bushy eyebrows loses his temper, and accuses Lilian to be the cause of all this trouble, clearly stating that it would be much better if she left the monastery at once, with her entourage.

Somewhere else, Claret wakes up in a large, ancient vault, its walls littered with burnt runes, a huge empty brazier standing in the middle of it. She understands at once: she was captured while under the effect of the painkiller drug, and brought and locked inside here. A hole in the vault ceiling is the only source of light in the room. Of course no normal human would be able to climb up to such opening. But Claret is no ordinary human. This predicament actually reminds her of an episode of her teenage life, various years ago.

Some years ago….

Claret knew her previous gang fellows, and especially their leader, the Cap’N, would not like what she did, but it was the right thing to do and she did it nevertheless. She had realised that the gang was going to ambush one of the Hedra customers she was delivering merchandise to, and she tipped him off. Oooh, the Cap’N did’t like that. And decided to give her an exemplary punishment.
Now she found herself in the bottom of a well, to ‘season’ a bit before the gang sold her to slaver ships from the empire. Thankfully, the Cap’N himself was too busy to guard the girl himself, so he entrusted three younger thugs (Rat-Tail, the Slim, and One-eye) to see that she behaves until the trade is dealt with. Claret knows she has to try and escape now, or never.
The opportunity presents when the three thugs start having an argument, Claret manages to climb the inner well up to its edge, but at the last moment, as she tries to run for it, she missteps miserably and hits the dusty ground hard. The gang members approach her grinning, but they waste their time spouting empty threats, while she makes up a plan. Quickly, she blinds One-eye’s only eye with a handful of dust. Then she goes for the weak knee of Rat-tail (which he broke years before falling from a roof). She misses the shot, though, and the thug answers trying to shoulderbutt Claret down the well. Claret dodges successfully, and exploits the momentum gained by Rat-Tail to shove him down the well.
The Slim draws his throwing knife, barring claret from running with all his fat. She pick the bucket of the well and pushes it hard onto the head of the thug, where it gets stuck, blinding him as well. Clare then makes the best of the confusion to escape, and not be ever again in the radar of the gang.

This does not look so different from back then, except the vault walls are too smooth for anyone else to grab onto… anyone else but Claret. After some attempts, she manages to escape the vault from the ceiling hole. She is not far from the monastery: she has to warn her companions of the monks trickery.

In the meanwhile, Sheeba tracks the source of magical energy manifestation, and pinpoints a secret passage in one of the beer-brewing chambers. After distracting some young monks and seducing old brother Stout, she is able to enter unobserved the secret passage.The path goes down into the core of the stone pillar which the monastery is built upon. She has to halt when a small group of wise monks passes by her, going upwards. She manages to recollect some of her scrambled magical energies to transform into a badger and remain (almost) unobserved. Among the group of monks, there are the great Pika, and bushy-brows.

As Sheeba rushes outside to tell her discoveries to the princess, she meets Claret instead, just came back to the monastery. They are approached by bushy-brows, who introduces himself as brother Iasuo, and some lackeys. He tells the girls that Lilian is sick in bed, in her chambers, and she demands the presence of her entourage. The girls decide to follow, but Lilian is not in her room, and as soon as they enter, Iasuo locks them inside, leaving a monk to guard them. Claret is starting to be sick to be captured over and over in one day.

Iasuo comes back to the bedroom a few minutes later, and after having the guard-monk open the door he tries to knock him out. He succeeds only in dazing him, but then claret kicks the door open sending the lackey monk and Iasuo down on the floor. She is about to beat the crap out of the bushy-browed monk, but then he suddenly transforms into a blonde girl. She introduces herself as Alouette and proves her good intentions by explaining that she intended to free Sheeba and Claret, as she actually did. They will have to believe her for now, because matters are pressing, and they need to rejoin with Jura and find Lilian.

Jura in the meanwhile is trying to process the red leaves collected in the Mere of the Dead men into a powerful drug. In that moment he is approached by his contact of the Lotus order, a young female monk.
She feeds him important information: an important figure from the empire is visiting castle Windswept at the moment. Despite the identity is not known, she/he is very influential, and Jura figures out the king sent the Princess away from palace to protect her.
She tells him that they are all in danger here at the monastery, and they should leave at once. Jura does not need her to repeat herself. But as he is about to leave the hebalist lab, he is surrounded by a trio of monks asking him to follow them. They look willing to fight, would he not cooperate.

Ulm Party - Episode 6 - Curtains of Shadows
Memories and dreams wrapped in darkness

A sudden gust of wind slams a couple of windows in the refectory room open. General commotion builds rapidly, while the tomato soup splashes in the face of Princess Lilian. Some monks hurry to shut the windows, but they don’t seem scared of what just happened. Sheeba the druids tries to follow the elemental presence in the inner yard. She is able to follow its magical shape until it pulls into some pipe-shaped stones emerging from the rocky ground. As if the mysteries were not enough, Lilian feels a strange tingling sensation as she walks past one of the doors in the monastery corridors.

As the night passes by in the monastic grounds, Jura the spy tries to find the secret contact of the Lotus Order hidden among the monks. His minds travels back in the past, to the days when he was still a purposeless elf scoundrel in a human city…

50 years ago….

It is a cold, dark night when the old smuggler Giovanni asks Jura, a young elven homeless boy, to follow him in his house. He needs a trusted person to stay in the shadows of his hut, and witness whatever will happen next. Jura is scared, but he trust Giovanni, who helped him in several occasions.
A group of shady armed thugs make their appearance, to conduct some business with Giovanni. They are expecting some untraceable poison from him, “to make sure the angels fly no longer” they say. One of the thugs almost spots Jura, but the boy is clever and manages to divert attention from himself.
The thug leader, in the meanwhile, suspects of Giovanni, and in order to prove the poison’s effects, he forces Giovanni to drink half the bottle (which also has the convenient effect to silence him forever). Giovanni dies a painless, but nevertheless murderous, death. Jura is almost paralysed by fear.
After the assassins left, Jura recollects himself: he searches the house for more samples of the poison to use as a proof with the authorities, but instead he finds some old, well hidden documents, all marked with a lotus sigil. Jura already saw this symbol, in a Hedra company warehouse near the docks. Using a secret code found in the letters, he is able to enter the secret lair, but then he is restrained by several hands sprouting from the shadows. He quickly tells the spies about Giovanni’s murder, and about the assassination plot planned by the thugs against the local noble house. After checking on his reports, the spies acknowledge him as a potential ally, and so the enrolment of Jura in the ranks of the Lotus order begins.

So many memories… but Jura wastes no time and uses the secret code of the spies to alert his local contact at the Monastery, which turns out to be one of the few female monks. The night is not calm for Lilian, who has troubled dreams. The morning is not helpful either, since a brief audience with the Great Pika, monk leader, provides little information to the group.

The true Great Pika then reveals itself to Alouette, who was actually posing as him in front of Lilian. He decides to share some advice with the girl, having understood that she stands as third party in the upcoming troubled times between nations.

Claret asks the help of the healer monks to have her wounds treated, but the process is really painful. And after she agrees to assume a herbal painkiller to feel better, she intimately passes out, and is nowhere to be seen anymore.

The violet haired Princess again feels the strange tingling when passing past the door to the beer seasoning cellar. Puzzled by the occurrence, she conjures the metallic key she got from Claret, and uses it to open the door once again. Magically, the door now opens on an underground cave filled with unusual minerals, flora, and especially fauna. Lilian indeed finds some creatures in the underground ponds that she recognises from her studies to be larvae-stage water fairies. What a discovery…

Ulm Party - Episodes 3-5 - A Mere Crossing

The giant spiders speak a wicked, nasty tongue to Sheeba. The heroes quickly dispatch them with deeds of might and cunning. Jura shows his smarts by wrapping a spider within its own web. None of the fellows gets seriously wounded but Claret’s ankle is still bleeding.

The adventurers and the Princess then decide to head towards the Yellow Monastery, to hide from the bandits search raids, find some respite and eventually gather knowledge. They have to cross the Mere of the Dead Men, though, a flooded plains infested with undeath. As they become surrounded by dread zombies, they stay strong and push through the menace by hacking and slashing limbs and bodies.

Beyond the Mere, a new landscape appears: huge rocky formations sprout from the ground, one of them hosting the whole monastery on its topside. Sheeba flies upwards to ask the monks for a safe way to climb the rock together with the party, but she is welcomed with surprise and suspicion. As she polymorphs from a crane into a naked woman in front of the monks, they start doubting whether she is a witch, a demon, or a messenger from their goddess Lujiall of Air. She is not getting any help from the monks, so after climbing down the rock, she joins the party to walk along the path to enlightenment.

The princess and her companions complete the tasks of the path, and are accepted into the monastery as guests. Brother Luka is showing them the monastic grounds, until it is time for dinner.

Ulm Party - Episode 2 - A party is born
The princess is not alone

There is only short time for introductions between princess Lilian, the Hedra courier Claret, and the elf hunter Jura. More bandits are rapidly approaching the busted caravan.

The delivery girl thinks the best strategy is to split and distract the bandits, so she dashes back in the thick of the forest. Together with the brave child Elisa, the princess sets up a trap with the bandits’ net. Jura notices that the only other passenger strong enough to be effective in a fight is the horse thief, so he breaks him out of his cage and gives him a shortsword. Lilian promises the thief amnisty if he defends the caravan against the bandits.

The elf bandit has spotted Claret running through the bushes, and he aims his crossbow to shoot her down. The runner tries a quick turn manuever to disorient the sniper, but she trips on a rock and a bolt pierces her right calf. The shooter aims again to striker her down, but an arrow shot by Jura disarms him.

Three bandits reached the wagon, and two of those are caught in the net. The horse thief triest to charge the third bandit, but he appears so be such a clumsy fighter that he loses his weapon and gets caught by the bandit, who puts a knife at his throat and uses him as a hostage. The princess gently asks the bandit to release the hostage and take her instead, but she is actually distracting the bandit, who shows his back to Jura, open for a backstab. Jura fumbles though, and he falls upon the bandit, who falls upon the thief, who falls upon the dagger and starts bleeding visibly.

In the meanwhile Claret is crawling away from the two brigands chasing her, and she recognizes one of her previously placed traps around, what a luck! She carefully positions herself, and the elf bandit is struck down by the spikes of her sling trap. The second bandit is angrily approaching her, she would be done for, if it wasn’t for a black panther leaping out of the trees and knocking down the brigand. Claret and the feline make short work of him.

Somewhere else, Jura is chocking the bandit he fell upon, driving him unconscious. The two other bandits, trying to escape the net, decide to retreat, but only one manages to escape. The battle is won.

The group manages somehow to stop the horse thief bleeding and patch up Claret’s leg (the goose girl and the horse thief will fall in love eventually, but this is another story). The panther reveals herself to be a druid, Sheeba is her name. Claret delivers the package to the princess, sadly discovering that she is stuck babysitting Llian for a while. In the package Lilian finds:
- An old, large brass key, with runes all over it.
- A map, of an unknown land, with no letters but the same runes as the key.
- A magic quill, made out of an iridescent feather, with slowly moving colored pattern.
She looks puzzled while she reads the letter. Then she decides to split from the caravan, as she understands that by staying there she only puts the other passengers in danger. Jura, Claret, and Sheeba decide to follow her, and they are on the move.

The group stops in a meadow, to take a short rest and decide where to go next. A few ideas come out:
- pushing to Fort Gossamer could reveal more about the King’s plans, but more bandits are probably camped in the area.
- trailing to the Yellow Monastery in the south is a good option to stay hidden while dabbling in ancient knowledge, but the undead-infested Mere of the Dead Men is in between.
- moving to the Bloomsdale Market could provide lots of useful information, although they should cross the Ashencliff Creek, home of a frightening beast monster (apparently a giant alligator).

They are still thinking where to go, when they hear a scream from the trees: it is the princess, stuck in mid-air. A second glance reveals that the got herself trapped in a spider web, and it is bound to attract giant spiders in a few moments. Be careful, Lilian!

Ulm Party - Episode 1 - An ambush ambushed
The guards are actually bandits... ?!?

The story begins on a passengers caravan slowly trailing along the Eastern King’s Road through the Ashencliff Forest. Lilian, violet haired princess and heir to the Blossom throne, is disguised as a commoner and stuffed among the other passengers.

Strange people are on the coach this day: among them, an old limping guy, a brave girl with her mother, a young female farmer with her goose, a spices merchant, a yellow monk, a meek slim boy, and a horse thief in a cage. The princess hates being stuck with these peasants.

Suddenly the caravan stops, one of the few guards dropping down dead, stuck by a crossbow bolt. Bandits jump out of the woods, threatening the remaining guards, forcing them to drop their weapons. Once the guards are tied, the bandits start unloading the passengers, they are surely searching for something… or somebody.

Lilian of the violet hair knows better: she knows they are looking for them. She quickly assesses the situation and comes up with a burning idea…

Because not everybody knows that in her hair she had a couple of flasks of alchemical fire. She managed to snatch those from the castle armory at the age of 12. She had to cry heavily in front of her father, and win an argument against her governess, to funally put her hands on those flasks. But it was totally worth it.

She throws the burning oil bottle against one of the bandits, setting him on fire and frightening the horses, who dash carelessly onward on the road. This reveals to be a risky move though, since the coach is dangerously going to crash against a large tree trunk!

But here is where the princess displays her bravery: she jumps gracefully on the horses (even forfeiting his shoes), and softly tames them into a halt before anybody gets hurt, although a wheel of the carriage breaks in the process.

Four bandits have been chasing the coach, and are quickly gaining ground. So the princess commands the passengers into tending quick repairs to the cart, she will distract the bandits in the meanwhile.

But it is in that moment that a counter-ambush takes place. A knife dropping from a tree branch stabs a brigand on his back. In the meanwhile a girl with a spear rushes out of the bushes, distracting the bandits and creating an opening for Lilian, who knocks out one of the enemies with her crossbow. The third bandit is struck by an arrow, and the fourth decides to flee to his fellows.

Seems that the princess just found two allies. But who are they, she wonders?

Once upon a time...
Prologue of the fable

Once upon a time, there was a young princess with long, beautiful hair, of a brillant violet color. They were more violet than purple, almost indigo. With little of red, and more of blue. Violet, all in all. Those were special hair indeed, and not just for their color. Rather, because they were imbued with powerful magic: their ability was to hold and secretly hide any objects, for as long as the princess wanted.

She lived in Windswept, capital of the Blossom Kingdom, toghether with her father Simon, her sister Rosemary, and their servitude. Thanks to many years of good trade and profitable diplomatic relationships with the Empire of Cendre, the Kingdom had met a long time of prosperity and peace. Thus, by liiving a peaceful life full of entertainment, education, and her unique magical gift, princess Lilian had everything a girl her age could want (except maybe a husband, but that’s a story for another time).

Her life, however, was inevitably destined to change dramatically, at the age of 19. Suddenly, Lilian and her improvised allies, got caught in a spiral of events which will influence the future of the Kingdom and its citizens altogether.

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