—Picking up where we left off, Ang has just gone blind.
A voice from the dark says, “Don’t move. Bowmen are trained on you.” Ang uses old Guardians code for specific Defensive Positions, and the team instinctively moves to comply. Everyone can hear the person speaking, but what’s happening back where they stand isn’t clear to anyone. Some lights come on, and Langston can tell something is wrong. He and Natalie realize at about the same time that Ang is blind, and Langston begins to move forward to flank Ang.
The adversaries LOOK like the Cult of Memory and Thought, but we’ve never encountered them in a way that wasn’t violent before. Ang comments dryly, “You have got to be the blondest, blue-eyed motherf—er ever to be with these guys.” The speaker/leader chuckled and agreed — although he points out that nowadays you don’t HAVE to be blond. They can fix that for you. He sets about attempting to recruit Ang (after using the word coinkydink, which totally threw the Guardians). Ang engages them in conversation and it comes about that they are recruiting because they need to grow their numbers, and Ang rather cattily baits, “Oh, you haven’t had any babies? Because we’re having kids.” It brings the leader’s attention more fully on the group, because he does answer that although they’ve been trying real hard, it hasn’t happened for them yet. Ang proposes an alliance.
The leader steps away to “consult” and that’s when some of the party notices that the vines that have been coating the walls are also wrapped around the cultists… and they look like the vines are jacked into the base of their brains. The leader comes back and says that the All-Father is interested in meeting with us. apparently the vine offers instant communication with Odin. A messenger will come to Refuge Point in two days. Ang also negotiates with them about the stash we’ve come to retrieve — we’ll take all that we can carry and the cultists can have the rest. They agree.
To try to keep her blindness a secret, Ang takes Langston’s hand and turns to walk back to the crevice saying, “Okay, honey, let’s go.” Langston goes “Huh??” But the cultists don’t seem to tweak onto the situation. As they make their way through the crevice, Natalie is able to coach Ang’s steps into the large cave and down the narrow path to the stash of supplies…. but Langston loses his balance and falls. Melody tries to catch him and misses. Both land at the bottom of the path, some 20 feet, and break bones.
Natalie plans on splinting them both, but the cultists offer help and explains that his link to the All-Father, the vines, should allow him to visualize the injury and heal it. Langston acts as a guinea pig, and the vine around the leader’s arm wraps itself around Langston’s arm. It takes about 10 minutes, but the slow warmth climbs through his arm and by the time it’s over, he’s healed. He feels a strangeness in his body, similar to when he first made the change to giant ape, something deep inside.
While this is going on, Ang (directing), Natalie, and Maddy are packing as much of the gear as they can manage. Natalie keeps an eye on this healing, and she is reasonably sure it’s the vine itself doing the healing; the man is just a conduit. But it’s nebulous. When it appears to be safe and works, Melody also agrees to be healed. She’s fascinated by the vines. By the time the healing is done, Melody is perfectly capable of helping finish the packing. Ultimately the group takes home about 40% of the cache — a lot of medicines and food.
Traveling home, the group stays below ground for a long while, but they choose to use steam tunnels and sewer tunnels a bit farther on so as not to lead the cultists (potentially) to the basement of Refuge Point. It’s a much longer trip back, and they take watches so that everyone gets a little sleep. Melody plays Whack-A-Vole during her watch and we’ll have some skewered vole for dinner at some point. The next day, the last part of the journey is made above-ground. In the daylight, Ang’s eyes are able to recharge (albeit a bit slowly because it’s cloudy) and she can finally see again.
They arrive home and Langston immediately requests the council’s attention. Natalie drops off her supplies to Dr. No to let her inventory them. A couple hours later, the council convenes to hear about what happened. Much speculation occurs and someone remembers that Toby mentioned to us a half-man, half-plant person up in the Botanical Gardens. So now we think we have a clue who Odin might be.
Everyone (maybe not Langston?) finally heads off to get some serious sleep. Melody spends the next day studying the samples she took from the tunnels — learns that the seed pods appear to have been engineered to do exactly what they’re doing, and they’re kind of an evolutionary dead end. Natalie sleeps for a long time and then she and Jared go late that afternoon to return with a very scruffy, smelly Wolf in tow.
The messengers are due the following day (Dec 13). Calder, the same man from the tunnels, leads them. Natalie asks at one point why the cultists had this change of heart about how to deal with us, and they said Odin had finally hung from the tree and gained wisdom — so we’re thinking SOMETHING has shifted up there. But we shall see….