So after Teatime revealed the 'truth' about the evil ghost to Cane, and he told it to the rest of his friends, they had no idea what they could possibly do about it, other than to make sure that no one was ever alone. Or in a pair -- in a pair, one person could be possessed and murder the other. So everyone would have to go around in groups of at least three.
The invisible knife would supposedly hurt her if you could stab her with it, but when would you ever get the chance to do that? No one could see her unless she was hiding in a body.
So Cane went off with the cooks and spent the day gathering alchemical herbs and food -- he found some Whip Berries (which made a potion that made food tastier) and some generic components, and enough food for them to start a garden, since they were likely to be marooned for months and months before anyone saw their distress beacon.
That night, Takara tried to use her dreaming skill from Morpheus to manipulate her dreams, and managed to astrally project. She found Teatime's sleeping form, encased in a sphere of maze-like protective spells... and the evil ghost hovering near him, carefully guiding threads through the protections, which she obviously knew like the back of her hand. The ghost saw her and chased her all over the place, but she managed to hide until morning.
The party (and the hangers on sharing their room, since everyone wanted to sleep in as large of a group as possible, Sgt. First and Brandon) decided to split up -- three would go to tell Teatime that the ghost was doing something to him in his sleep, the other three to gather up all the Burmecians with a dreaming skill to form a Posse.
Teatime was not amused -- the maze was indeed his protective spells, and the ghost's actions meant that she was casting spells on him in his sleep through his protections, without setting off alarms. He asked them what they were going to do about it, and mostly the party's response was 'damned if I know'. They did tell him about the posse they were forming.
Teatime: "So instead of hapless victims, you're going to use them as cannon fodder."
He offered to help Cane 'astrally project' to help fight her.
Cane: "I guess I've got nothing better to do than learn a new skill."
Teatime: "Oh, it would take years to teach you the skill. I have a method that can send you to the astral plane instantly, though."
Cane: "You mean kill me."
Teatime: "If you figured out how to get back in your body afterwards, you wouldn't stay dead."
Cane decided to opt out of that plan.
Teatime thought that if they couldn't do anything directly to oppose the ghost, they should work on healing Xerxes -- the mage who'd been struck by lightning. He was an enchanter and could help them make more ghost-slaying blades, for when they somehow found a way to see the ghost to stab her. He was still alive, and possibly conscious, but he had no motor control of senses because all his nerves had been destroyed.
Cane suggested using an animate object spell to animate his body, then give control of the spell to him to approximate life. Teatime thought that might work, so they all spent the day working on the spell. Magic research was much faster than alchemical research, but by the end of the day they still hadn't succeeded. And three more people were found murdered -- apparently, a trio wasn't a big enough group to keep her from somehow arranging all their deaths.
Kyngeah's divine power wasn't compatible with arcane research, so she spent the day learning to astrally project using her own religious magic, and succeeded -- and she saw the ghost *eating* the souls of the people she'd killed. The process did leave her relatively unaware. 'Stoned'. But Kyngeah didn't want to risk attacking her.
Kyngeah: "Abraxis says that all souls should eventually become one, but I'm pretty sure that's not the method he has in mind."
That night, the posse went after the ghost, and managed to corner her on the astral plane. As planned, the cannon fodder leapt on her and held her down while First and Takara attempted to stab her -- they succeeded, but they hadn't been able to bring a ghost-slaying blade into the dream, so it only hurt her a little, and then she ran off.
But the next day they did succeed in bringing Xerxes back -- and he wasn't even insane! He couldn't cast magical spells, but he was able to guide them in enchanting magical ghost-slaying weapons. It looked to take about a day per weapon, though, and another person was found murdered -- he'd wandered off on his own to use the restroom.
Cane: "I'd like everyone to have a ghost-slaying blade, but we don't have time to enchant 25 weapons!"
Takara: "How about 15? That seems like about where it'll converge."
They'd enchanted one, though, and explained how it worked -- the weapon no longer did as much damage to living things, but a ghost possessing the person stabbed would take approximately 5 times as much damage as the person. Even a small knife would should, on average, be fatal to the ghost. They'd enchanted a sword.
Since all they had to do was stab the person possessed, Cane had an idea. They told everyone to gather in the dining hall for safety, and passed out spiked rum -- spiked with 22 of the sleeping potions they'd gotten from Mare Imbirum. Once everyone was poisoned to sleep, Cane, Kyngeah, and Teatime, who'd stayed awake, stabbed *everyone* with the ghost-slaying blade (in the arm, careful to avoid major arteries), including themselves. Since the ghost had just murdered, the hope was that she'd be too groggy to see the blade coming, until it was too late.
That didn't happen. Takara was drugged asleep, but astrally projected to watch what was going on, and saw the ghost leave the body she'd been possessing -- and attack Takara! Takara was unable to resist as her body was possessed, and 'awoke' to attack Cane.
Cane fought back with the ghost-slaying blade against Takara's claws, but the ghost was able to use Takara's combat skills, and she'd always been a better fighter than him. Plus, he'd started out very hurt -- the wound in his leg from the bug-borg had never healed, and he'd just stabbed himself. Even with Kyngeah feeding him a steady trickle of healing, he couldn't get a hit in, and eventually went down, bleeding.
Teatime, meanwhile, tried to fight her with magic, but the ghost was a much better magician than him, and easily deflected his attacks.
Then the ghost dispelled Kyngeah's sanctuary spell, and attacked her. Kyngeah grabbed the ghost slaying blade to defend herself, and managed to get a lucky hit in -- the ghost was stabbed! For a ridiculous amount of damage! Takara woke up and came to her senses -- the ghost was gone!
Teatime was also unconscious, so after Kyngeah healed Cane back to consciousness, Cane stabbed him again, just in case.
Unfortunately, Takara was able to tell them that the ghost hadn't been destroyed -- they'd wounded her badly, but she'd run off into the forest. Maybe if they could keep her from being able to possess anyone for long enough, without fear of being stabbed again and killed, she would die? Teatime had said that she couldn't stay outside a body for long.
They hadn't had a very good record keeping her from murdering people, though. Kyngeah healed all the stab wounds and cured the 'poison' to wake the crew back up, and they were Not Amused by Cane's plan, or the reason for not telling them about it, or by its failure.
So Kyngeah did a reading about the ghost problem.
External Forces Relating to this Matter: 10 of Beasts, the Dragon. An inescapable or unstoppable force.
The Questioner in the Present: 5 of Beasts, the Wisp. A mystery beckons, with nothing behind it but wasted time and borrowed danger.
What Forces will Aid or Oppose: 10 of Thoughts, the Obelisk. Lost secrets and knowledge that is inaccessible.
What Should We Do Next? 7 of Life, the Healer. Trusting in the power of the Gods when technology and magic fail you.
What will the End Result Be? 7 of Thoughts, The Diplomat. Bringing peace between opposing forces.
Nico: "At least the cards have stopped saying we're going to lapse into obscurity. The inescapable force is still there, though."
Cane: "I think it's saying that we need to rely on Kyngeah to stop her -- you should astrally project, Kyngeah, and convert her to your religion."
First: "That, or we need to make contact with the gods of this moon, and help them negotiate a settlement."
So they broke out the big book of gods to try to figure out what moon they were on. They knew it wasn't Morpheus (or there would have been a more formal Dreamtime) and it wasn't Ree or... the moon of corruption, their enemy. Considering the primitive state of the bear-cats, the most likely answer seemed to be that this was the moon of Nature, whose gods were animated plants.
Which explained why they hadn't seen any animals in the forest. At all. Other than the bearcats.
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