First of all, some stuff happened that Snowwy related: http://snowwolf75.livejournal.com/140824.html
So, Kit woke up after his mysterious illness in a village of dryads, where he and his friends were waiting for the long lost Tess and Bob's old drakivolki body to emerge from the ancient library the dryads guarded, since they only let one group in at a time.
Kit noticed that all the dryads were very young -- no older than 50 or 70 or so. The stumps of the old trees were scattered around, but the dryads didn't know what had killed them -- they'd all already been dead when the oldest currently living dryad sprouted. It looked kind of like they'd been torn apart, although after fifty (seventy?) years it was hard to tell.
Kit also noticed fox footprints all over the village. This was actually normal for a village like this that had suffered a great tragedy, but he didn't want to face his less-disgraced colleagues, so he hid inside until it was their turn to go in.
Tess, coming out, said that they still weren't *sure* that the nearby temple of corruption was where the spring her creator had used was located, but they were going to go check it out immediately anyway. She invited the party to come along, but they decided to look at the library themselves and catch up later.
Since they weren't planning on using the library to look for springs -- Kit wanted to research anti-magic spells, Mira wanted to research Leen, Cho wanted to research something he kept quiet about, and Bob of course researched reincarnation. Most of the books were encrypted, but the simple magic books had the spells to unencrypt the more complicated magic books, so this turned out to be a puzzle they could get past. Unfortunately, none of them were good enough to cast the spells to unencrypt the really neat stuff, like how to bind one of Leen's people as a summon (although it did have the spell to summon them).
But magical research was slow, and they wanted to get to the temple before Tess got all the magic water for herself. So Kit copied down one last spell into his book -- a druidic quasi-teleportation ritual that led from one dense wood to another. Then they flew and ran towards the temple, leaving Leen behind to be teleported to Mira when they arrived.
On the way, they passed some strange creatures that looked like naked humans covered in soot, which were heading back towards the dryad village. They stopped and debated turning back to warn the dryads, but decided that they should be able to fly the rest of the way to the temple, memorize the woods there, and teleport back in time. Unfortunately, they were wrong, and Leen was the only one present when the soot-men burst into the dryad village from all directions, and started smashing and murdering indiscriminately.
They were fearsomely strong -- the broke right through walls, tore dryads in half with their bare hands, and otherwise seemed really really dangerous, but Leen managed to drive them off (at least for a while) with a snowstorm, so most of the dryads were still alive when the rest of the party finally got back to see the devastation. But how could they protect the village?
Leen thought the village needed a guardian, of her sort, and Bahamut wouldn't do because he'd be weak at first, and the dryads needed a guardian right away. so she tried to summon back Ixion, but instead got a cosmic horror that didn't speak their language.
Mira and Cho looked it up in the library while Kit tried to communicate with it. Apparently, it was an extremely evil and vile creature, anathema to all life, that would drive men insane merely by gazing upon it... according to the books.
Meanwhile, Kit bungled his attempts to talk badly enough that the monster cast a spell on him, and when he retaliated with a Suggestion spell (that the monster easily resisted, despite it being quite powerful -- eep!) the monster started stealing piececs of reality -- BOOP, there goes a hut. BOOP, another. BLIP, now the monster's gone... BOOP, another hut.
Antimagic was enough to bring a hut back temporarily, and Bob was volunteered to stand in the hut while they let the monster's spell reassert itself, to find out where they were going. As it turned out, the monster had resisted Kit's spell, but taken it as a form of communication, and was protecting the huts after all -- they were still right where they'd always been, from inside, but you couldn't get to them from outside. So they made sure to tell the monster to get the dryads' trees, too, and then they druid-gated back to the Temple of Corruption.
Mira was volunteered to sneak into the temple and peek around, while the rest of them approached openly -- after all, the pilgrims they'd passed on the road had been friendly, so maybe the temple wasn't evil. Or maybe it was, thus Mira staying hidden as a trump card.
The temple didn't really seem to be very evil -- most of the people inside were mutated and diseased, but voluntarily and (often) temporarily. There were booths where you could buy diluted potions of corruption which would temporarily give you a crab shell, or perfect pitch, or something along those lines. If you were ready to commit, the undiluted Water of Corruption was below, in the basement, and the priests would gladly take you to see it if you were willing. After all, it would be morally wrong to *force* someone to drink.
So Kit and Bob headed down -- Bob actually wanted to drink, and Kit wanted to keep an eye on him. Bob went first, and Kit struck up a conversation with Tess's drakivolki companion, who was recovering from a transformation gone wrong -- his flesh was transparent. The drakivolki said that Mira and Tess and several other people had gone in and not come out! So Kit animated a little paper creature to spy on Bob's ceremony, which saw them let Bob choose a chord to drink (the different chords were supposed to change the effect) then change the chord just as Bob was gulping down the water... and Bob crumbled into a pile of pebbles. Oops!
Luckily, the priests had an antidote -- a tree in a hidden alcove, mutated beyond recognition, whose fruit reversed the transformation and turned Bob's feriphal body back into itself... but Bob wasn't in it anymore.
Kit read the little creature's report, and was in the middle of trying to convince the Church of Starlight spy that he was on his side, and that he should let Kit cast spells on him, when the priests came to tell Kit that it was his turn.
Kit: "Sorry, I changed my mind, I don't want to drink --"
Priest: "You DO want to drink from the fountain."
Kit: "I DO want to drink from the fountain."
So Kit drank from the fountain... and nothing happened. Kit could tell that something had tried to happen and failed, but the priests didn't seem to notice -- they announced proudly that Kit was a 'special person' and should be treated well and imprisoned in the very *finest* cell until they figured out what exactly had happened to him.
So Cho finally came downstairs to find Kit being escorted out by an adoring, but insisted crowd, Bob's body without Bob telling him that the priests had forced Kit to drink against his will, and... wow, what a commotion downstairs!
Mira, see, had been captured and forced to drink (or something) and had transformed into a vicious creature that thirsted for blood! When Leen had started to get worried and teleported to her, they'd gotten into a fight inside the cell... but frigid cold reversed Mira's transformation. They broke out, froze everything, and started releasing the other imprisoned drinkers -- the ones who'd been turned into monsters by a botched ceremony.
So Cho and the priests joined that fray, as Kit tried to escape from the adoring crowd, above. Mostly by charming them.
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