[ Vincze’s Interlude Activities:]
Our heroes’ encounter with the Stag Lord’s erstwhile father ( Episode 28 – The Druid’s Warning) worried Vincze greatly. Diviners love information; they always seek it; they thrive on it. However, she had returned home to Nettle’s Rest knowing precious little about the Druid, or his benefactress, or their next move. She hadn’t even obtained a lock of hair, or possession, from the old man, to use in scrying for him (which was her original intent for seeking him out)
She consulted her Harrow deck; her runestones; and her spirit board. She even choked down a bitter tincture brewed by Janekfan from herbs that were rumored to cause visions. But, no visions came; the future remained shrouded in mist.
After a few days of this, Vincze decided to set her worries aside, and busy herself with her role as Grand Vizier. In the little house she shared with the other Greenbelt Defenders), she turned part of their parlor into an office. There she sat, and compiled a list of the school-age children of Lomindor. She next created a list of potential schoolteachers. Within a week, she was teaching 40 bright-eyed children in an outdoor classroom of rough-hewn benches on the shores of lovely, nearby Tuskwater Lake. She taught them reading, writing, and dance. Another woman joined Vincze, and began teaching them math. Between lessons, the youngsters played with Vincze’s celestial rabbit familiar, Trixie; all the children adored her. At the end of the first week, the Grand Vizier led them smiling into a nearby meadow, where they released a cage-full of beautiful, multi-colored butterflies. Although she wisely refrained from assigning any religious meaning to it in front of the children, Vincze intended this as a simple offering to the goddess Desna, for smiling so brightly upon her new school.
[Chris:] Throughout this time, Vincze found some difficulty sleeping. She would wake in the night from dreams of surreal woodlands where colors were both more vibrant and more muted at the same time. The vistas she wandered through were charicatures of the world she knew, some beautiful and some terrifying and twisted. She encountered no creatures, although she caught movement and shadows out of the corners of her eyes.
These dreams, while not nightmares, made her sleep disturbed. While, thankfully, it was not as disturbing as the dreams of Nettle during her time of the Curse, they still left her feeling unrested during the day. As the days wore on, she began to feel a growing unease, as she began to notice the same flickering movement and shadows out of the corners of her eyes when she was awake as well as asleep. Once, she caught fleeting movement in a looking glass as she passed by, as if something had darted away as she approached, but the hall remained empty apart from her.
One rainy morning, she awoke to a voice in her bed-chamber. She sat up in bed, glancing around and noticed a girl standing in her looking glass. Not before her looking glass, in her looking glass. The girl had hair of long flowing grass, and skin that glimmered like butterfly wings. Her eyes were dead black. And the woman spoke. “Awake, Vincze, for I bear a message for you. You need to listen well, young thing,” the looking glass faerie looked to be all of 5 years old. “Your words have attracted the attention of someone you do not want to have the attention of. You shall be more careful of the names you utter, or the next visitors you get will not be as…diplomatic. Heed my words, mortal, for we bear power beyond your comprehension. And not all of us are as nice as I.”
With that, the girl’s beautiful mein dissolved as the horrific, twisted creature beneath her flesh burst forth, shattering the mirror and sending razor sharp shards throughout the room. Vincze threw up her hands to protect her face, and when she lowered them, the mirror frame held but a few shards of silvered glass. The rest were scattered all over the floor and all bore the fanged face of the thing that had exploded the mirror. As they faded, a myriad of voices whispered, “Speak her name again and you will not come out of it with just some cuts from a broken mirror.”