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Introduction

Cari Town is a canon roleplay within the Ascension Academy universe set in the titular Cari Town, previously known as Camp Cari. The RP focuses on the residents of the town, shining a spotlight on the Army of Darkness actors behind much of the series' missions. Cari Town's launch date was Saturday, April 17th, and it will be occurring once a week on Saturday during the Year Break between Year Two and Three.

Cari Town is streamed at 10:30 PM CST every Saturday and runs for four hours, ending at 2:30 AM CST.

Welcome to Cari Town

Cari Town, previously 'Camp Cari' or 'Fort Cari', is a town nestled in the forests of Noria, a large island south of Esperia and west of Ascension Academy. The town initially started as a small forward camp used in the Camp Cari Crypt Mission near the end of the first year. As a property of the Academy however, and in response to rising tensions between the Academy and the Cross-Allied Forces, Headmaster Akiyama decided it would be wise to foster the location into a settlement wholly beholden to the Academy, and not the CAF. This was the first step of many he undertook to make the Academy more self-sufficient in case of a falling out with the CAF.

The Region

Cari Town is nestled within the forests of Noria, but only a short walk north of the ocean which allows for fairly easy travel to and from the Academy. The region is covered in a thick canopy a hundred feet in the air suspended by enormous trees with vast and thick roots. This gives the region an almost overcast look even during the day, with brilliant patches of sunlight shining through the gaps to illuminate some areas. The Dryad's influence on the region is clearly felt in this regard, giving the forest a calming and almost dream like appearance.

The town itself is comfortably sheltered in these woods in the clearing where the Academy's Forward Camp once sat. Tall stone walls integrated into the rocky erratics and rolling hills surround the town and protect it from the beasts without. Past the tree line north the forest breaks into open clearings dotted in farmland and pastures.

To the east, where the forest is thicker and shrouded in fog, the Crypt pokes out of the hillside. A stone archway with a heavy door leading down into a long hall with several side passages. Deeper still, though sealed up now, the crypt is intersected by caves and deeper older passages exist once filled with undead but now empty thanks to the efforts of the Cadets in Year 1.

Further east and south lay a waterfall and an old abandoned church. These sites rarely see much activity, but even further south past them is the Dryad's Grove. The grove is secluded by tall hills and taller trees, leaving only one entrance, through a crevice at the front masked by brush and thick grass. Inside the Grove is a small pond, and above the pond on a chunk of earth floating in the air is the Dryad's Tree. The Dryad can reform infinitely from this tree, so long as it still stands. To the left is a gentle slope up to the Dryad's home, provided by the people of Cari. To the right, another sloped hill that winds around to the back of the Grove were old ruins and an alter stand.

The Businesses

The Cadets sold many properties to people looking to move into the region during their earlier visit to the Fort. Most of those were residential, but many were businesses located along the town square. These include an alchemist, a blacksmith, and a tavern. A tanner and mason also moved into the region some time before this, aiding with establishing the town alongside the Dryad who made sure the roots of the enormous trees did not grow under the foundations and ruin the work.

  • Apothecary - Owned by Robin. Sells potions and other alchemical goods.
  • Hospital - Operated by Joyce and Samuel Fir. Treats the sick and injured of the town.
  • Forstruth Mining Company - Owned by Lnik. Employs Narali, Briggs Earthcarver and Allan Grey. Has claim to the copper, tin, and coal mines in the region.
  • Tannery - Owned by Leon Strauss. Collects hide and treats it into leather and leather goods.
  • Cat Cafe - Owned by Prim Roza. Employs Kitty and Lynn. Serves sandwiches, drinks, and other treats, as well as housing a large number of cats.
  • Tavern - Owned by Erik Erickson. Employs Claude Jean Von, Lance Forgram.
  • Bookstore - Owned by Thula Pendrake. Employs Jeremiah Wordsworth. Sells and lends out books.
  • Adventure Guild - Owned by Oliver Holtby. Employs Emi Lodema. Contracts various Adventurers. The local branch of the Adventure Guild, handles local contracts and quests within the Noria region.
  • Smithy - Owned by Belinda Deorwyn. Forges various things from metal such as tools, weapons, and armor.
  • Walshe Lumber - Owned by the Walshe Family. The family has lumber rights to much of the forest edge nearer to the farms.

Cari Town Characters

Council Members

Townies

Adventurers

Guards

Cadets / CAF

History

Year One

Camp Cari Tents.

Camp Cari was the location of the first combat mission undertaken by the students of Ascension Academy. The camp sits in a forest near Noria, on an island south west of the Academy, above a large crypt guarded by the spirit Imera Lux, and there is a dryad grove nearby. The students were deployed to the Camp initially to recover four Keystone fragments to prevent them from falling into dangerous hands. This mission was only partially successful as one of the Keystones was exchanged for Chipz' life, another for Ryder's, and a third was drained to resurrect a Dryad. The camp was renamed to Camp Cari in honor of Cari Cuddlefish, the only casualty during the mission.

Year Two

The students assembled to pay respects to Cari Cuddlefish in the Grove.

The students later revisited the camp, which had been redubbed 'Fort Cari' in their second year at the Academy. Since their first mission the site has been built up greatly, with stone walls, gatehouses and towers, many houses, a farm, medical building, and a tavern. The Dryad now resides within the town sporadically while he works to cleanse his Grove. In the center of the town there is a fountain and a stone statue of Cari in a mermaid form, with water pouring from her hands. A touching, if bittersweet, tribute to the fallen cadet.

While there the students were tasked with selling the plots of land in the city, as well as some simple combat missions- clearing out a bear and troll cave, patrolling, etc, all the while being harrassed by Blights. However Ignis Squad came across a destroyed caravan later in the night, and after returning for a chest they saw a Darkness Soldier. Victor and Chipz left the others in the Fort and scouted the area, following its tracks to the Grove, so the professors went to face the Soldiers, going to where the one had come from- the Crypt. Inside they were outnumbered, facing down six of the monsters, but they managed to slowly defeat them. Once the threat had been dealt with the students were escorted to the Dryad's Grove to pay respects to their fallen companion.

The students once again were called to Fort Cari a few weeks later after reports came in that supply caravans were being ambushed on the roads, and the town was in dire need of aid. The students escorted a cart of supplies into the town and were immediately assigned to take posts on the walls and move out on excursions to secure the surrounding area. While patrolling Vanguard encountered a strange green orb of energy that worked like a portal, allowing more Blight to spill into the area. They managed to close the portal and aided the Skeletal Adventurer Steve in his fight against a couple undead. Crystal Thorn suffered moderate injury on their mission as well, at the same time the South Wall was assaulted by waves of Undead from the Crypt with crossbows, forcing Ignis to hold until Gallant Squad could be gathered to clear the Crypt- Gallant's first mission since being formed.

The Darkness Soldier bearing down on Ignis and Crystal Thorn as they retreated.

This Crypt Run proved to be catastrophic in the long run- while Gallant was able to clear the Undead in a very organized manor, only suffering mild injuries besides Rex, they discovered the remaining two Keystone Shards from the Year 1 Camp Cari Mission that had been converted and attuned to some Dark Energy. Albrecht was forced to shatter both, but not before Joseph touched one and was knocked unconscious by the massive mana flow into his body. The destruction of both crystals brought Albrecht to his knees and after a brief struggle, the professor fell unconscious. Both Joseph and Albrecht were tainted by dark mana, the extent for both is unknown however.

On the second day, matters escalated to a breaking point rapidly. Crystal Thorn and Ignis were sent out on a joint mission to escort followers of the Faith of Ymra to a plot of land they had purchased. While out the encountered undead Ghouls, as well as a Necromental. On returning to the Fort, the injured were deposited and the able bodied of the two squads were again sent to do a lap of the Fort and make sure it was secure. While out they were ambushed by a Darkness Soldier. The Squads were immediately thrown into disarray as the injuries quickly stacked up- none of the students were capable of even inflicting minor damage to the Soldiers. Chipz rallied everyone uphill towards the Dryad's Grove and escorted the injured inside- leaving Shizu to hide behind the altar. Rin and Esmae however got lost at the entrance somehow. The rest of the squad was directed to lead the Soldier back to the Fort by Chipz so they could get help- and perfectly on time too given the other squads and Teachers had just mobilized to find them. While the Teachers engaged the Soldiers, Chipz lead the other students to the Grove where they mounted a defense against the undead, keeping the wounded safe until they could be escorted back to the Fort safely. Ardent Veil was able to give the Dryad a potion that cleared his mind, allowing him to finally reattune himself with the forest and cleanse it of the Dark Influence. The final day at the Fort was a recovery period with no combat, thanks to the Dryad.

The students returned one final time in Year 2, seeking the Root of the Problem with their delusional cadets and the rampant Blight in the area. It was discovered through a handful of seemingly charmed Cadets that the Blight was being spread by the Church of Ymra, but why was yet to be seen. After arriving in the town, they learned that many of the Townsfolk were influenced by Ymra similarly to their own Cadets. Several of the Townsfolk were wary of the situation and aware something was amiss and had been keeping a distant eye on their afflicted. The Cadets then scouted the region and evicted the Church from their lands near by. Following this, Fort Cari was laid siege to by an army of Blight, including colossal Blights called Sap Golems. These Golems battered down the gates, causing series structural damage and injuring many cadets in the battle. Thankfully however they were defeated and the fort stood strong. The Cadets left that night to deal with the Gulthias Tree which they correctly surmised was within the Church's 'Holy Lands'. After a brutal battle against the Ymra Tree and it's forces, as well as two more Darkness Soldiers, the Cadets returned to Fort Cari to treat their casualties and recuperate.

Following the collapse of the Ymra Cult, due to the loss of Ymra's control over all of his followers, the nearby city of Noria- capital of the region- collapsed into disarray as the entire population of the city had been under Ymra's control. As the government and society collapsed, many fled to the near by village of Cari which accelerated it's growth exponentially and set the rapidly growing town up to become the new capital of the region- certainly beneficial for the Academy's goal but at what cost?

Renovations

The region was in chaos following the collapse of Noria and the sudden massive influx in refugees from the desolate city. People displaced from around the world began pouring into the fledgling Cari Town desperate for sanctuary. Sanctuary that the town was incapable of providing as it currently was. A city council was hastily formed and they set to work resolving the issue. Firstly, the refugees were promptly employed as a temporary batch of lumberjacks and carpenters under the Walshe family, where they were tasked with deforesting a small area around a nearby lake to begin construction of temporary wooden housing. Secondly the Dryad, alongside dwarven architects from Noria and Belevor, were hired to rapidly renovate the dwellings inside the city walls.

The streets were narrowed, the square expanded, and the city was divided into baileys that serves as districts. Stone houses were erected in days, with foundations reinforced with Mold Earth magic cast by the Dryad. The Dwarves were contracted to create a sewage system under the city, utilizing dwarven purification crystals to cleanse the waste, ensuring the city was sanitary and supplied with running water. The CAF appointed Administrator was reassigned in the middle of the process with the new Mayor, Aima Yinnow, taking her place.

Episode One: Ribbons and Rats

Finally, in April 17th of 2121- nearly a month after the end of the Second Year of Ascension Academy, the City reopened properly to residents. The first day was eventful to say the least. The logistics of registering so many new residents, assigning them housing, ensuring their work places were prepared so the money could flow- it was monumental. With careful planning however, it was accomplished. Things began to devolve later in the afternoon despite this though. A large creature was heard smashing things and skittering around, so a small ground of Adventurers were sent in to see what it was. They emerged soon after, dragging the carcass of a massive spider. A group of bandits entered the city, causing mild mischief mostly before reports came in that they had attacked some adventurers on the roads outside the city, after which they were lured into a cage with nachos and arrested.

Matters escalated dramatically soon after, as a Robed Man entered the city through the south gate and made his way into the sewers. Once down there, be broke open the locked gate and approached the Waste Purification Machine. He placed a hand on the crystal and cast a spell that corrupted the crystal, turning it a sickly red. The rodents nearby, which had been a mild nuisance earlier in the day for the townsfolk, were quickly corrupted by the influence. Red glowing veins of corrupted mana surged through their body as they rushed the surface with hostile intent. Those they scratched or bit fell ill soon after, and any that were killed emitted a thick black miasma that inflicted the same sickness on any who breathed it in.

At the same time all the toilets in the city backed up at once, which indicated to the townsfolk that the issues might be related. William, on orders from the Mayor, hastily gathered a group including one of the dwarven residents, Belinda, who happened to also be a blacksmith. They ventured down into the sewers, discovering the tampering that had occurred. They were unable to fix it alone however as it was not purely a mechanical issue. Eventually they found Lnik, who gathered his fellow Cadets that were in the city, and they cast a Purification spell on the crystal as Belinda reset the mechanism. This solved the issue, and the rats slowly calmed down and fled back into the sewers. The day was over, night had fallen, and everyone returned to their homes exhausted.

Episode Two: Fire and Blood

The next day, things were calmer overall. Most of the affairs in the morning were follow-ups to the events of the previous evening. William was sent to check on the sick in the hospital and touch bases with the guardsmen before gathering the Town Council for a meeting in the Keep. While there, they discussed the rat incident, the tampering that occurred with the Dwarven Water Purification Systems, and how they should respond to future incidents. It was decided on Mayor Aima Yinnow's suggestion that during times of crisis the Townsfolk should be gathered in the Keep where they can be defended, which was agreed to. William also reported that the sickness was progressing and that they should commission the Apothecary Robin to look into a possible cure. And finally, the appearance of the strange plant bush creatures, which Aima calls 'Republicans', was reported and William suggested they send a small group to investigate later.

During the assembly, the emergency plans were announced and the Townsfolk were made aware that it is now illegal to enter the Sewers without permission from a Council Member. Councilwoman Elisabeth Walshe was also introduced as she had finally made it to the Town. And finally, Prim Roza announced that the Cat Cafe was open now that the interior decorating was finished.

During Market Hours many Guild Quests were received and taken care of, including recovering a damaged cart. The Miners working for Lnik's company were sent out later to work, with a guard escorting them. The Guard fought off several bats while the miners worked but it was otherwise uneventful. When they left the mines however, they encountered a group of Adventurers who were sent after them- before they could speak the stall across the road from the mines went up in flames and they rushed to put the fires out. One of the miners who had been injured by a bat, Allan Grey, was forced to stay back with the carts while the others fought the fire. While leaning against a tree to stay upright he heard something in the wind, like whispers. He reported this to his coworkers and later to the Mayor and Guildmaster.

As the day winded down, Uivellon, Priam Lucidum, and Vol'lis Adala were sent out on a small mission to fish for the Guild Chef. While out, they were attacked by the Bandits from yesterday and had to flee back to the gate. The alarm was sounded and a bush creature who was outside the gate snuck in during the chaos and was killed by Sorenna. The other Adventurers and the Guardsmen chased off the bandits without incident thankfully.

Episode Three: Hatchets and Bones

The next morning began peacefully. A group gathered outside the Hospital while Samuel checked up on the infected, with Tanya and Steve having a mimic contest which Tanya eventually won, tiring them both out. William noted to the Council Members that a supply caravan that was supposed to arrive several days ago had still not, and that there may be some small shortages if it did not arrive. Mayor Aima saw this as an opportunity to go fishing, to help build up their supply of salted fish, and he took a guardsmen out with him. Back in town, William gave a quick address at the assembly mentioning that they were looking into the issue of the bandits, as well as informing everyone that the bush creatures that were encountered the last few days are friendly. A survivor from the missing supply caravan also arrived, claiming the caravan had been attacked by various wild animals working together- such as a bear and some deer- and that he had seen a Robed Man in the woods as he fled the scene.

Out in the wilderness, Mayor Aima and the Guardsman were captured by the bandits and forced at knife point to drink Koos, becoming incredibly high. The town was informed of this by Adala, and they quickly assembled a rescue party. Before they could leave however, the mayor managed to stumble back into town and into the Tavern. Inside, they treated him as best they could, giving him water and hydration potions to help him detox. Farmer Rol, who had also run into the bandits after being attacked by a rock crab, was taken to the medical bay to treat his injured leg.

Following all of this chaos, and with the mayor indisposed, William organized a group of Adventurers and Guardsmen to go to the Dryad's Grove to speak with him. On the way while circling the city however, they found a flipped wagon with an injured man and his dead wife. They were then attacked by Goblins that had used their previous victims as bait. Thankfully they were able to recover the injured man and return to the gates, but Malgwyn took a throwing axe to the left arm and he along with the injured man were left in the medical bay with Uivellon, the healer, while the rest of the group continued onwards.

The group arrived without incident to the Grove, where they spoke with the Dryad. The Dryad informed them that the woods have felt uneasy, and the wildlife in the region has been behaving very strangely, but he brushes these off as minor issue that he needs to settle himself. He also spoke a little of the bush creatures, telling the guardsmen where the body of the one killed the previous day could be given to it's family. The trip back was uneventful, but on arriving they found the town in chaos.

Boggles were portaling around the city, smacking people in the crotch with frying pans they had stolen. While the group was out of the city, Elisabeth Walshe had a tent burnt down without safety precautions which enraged the Mayor and many of the townsfolk became convinced she was a part of the arson the prior night because of it. After speaking with the Lady Walshe, William informed her there was likely to be a fine for the reckless fire and they began investigating the guard who helped with the burning. One of the Boggles sprayed Narali with grease and then another portalled into her room to throw a bucket of feathers on her, thankfully with Lnik's help to calm her down they were able to clean the mess up without much further incident.

As the evening winded down, things calmed down as they usually do. Many of the guardsmen gathered in the Tavern to drink, becoming aware of a running topic amongst some of the other townsfolk about milk baths and purchasing used bath milk. The topic, unfortunately, continued on as they drank and moved outside to the square where the Mayor was playing his harmonica. With the stars out and the day truly passed, they all settled down in their own little groups listening to the mayor's music, drinking, and socializing until they eventually drifted off to bed.

Episode Four: Bandit Trouble

The next morning things started off with a bang. The Bandits and their leader Zane approached the East Gate to negotiate their punishment for their crimes. Eventually they agreed to that the three bandits who had assaulted an Adventurer the first day would serve one month of community service. However the other Council Members disagreed with the Mayor making this call without consulting them, leading to the Bandits being locked up while the Council met. The Council was gathered for their morning meeting, the fine for the fire Lady Walshe started, and the news from the Dryad about the wildlife. They decided that the Bandits would serve community service, but that it would be hard labor such as cleaning the stables and sweeping the streets. They also voted to allow the Museum Curator to open his museum and begin excavations of the Crypts, and to send a group out to investigate the area around the fishing hut where an arson had occurred two nights earlier.

Right as the Town Assembly was about to begin, a bandit from outside broke in and held the Mayor hostage at bow-point. Thankfully reinforcements arrived and the bandit was eventually forced to release the Mayor and join the others in a cell. The bandits outside the walls were informed that if another attempt like this was made, one of the captives would be executed. Unfortunately they attempted with more men sneaking inside, and one of the bandits was killed on the Mayor's order.

A group of adventurers was sent out after Market time to investigate the burned down fisherman's hut. While by the lake, they discovered the body of the fisherman and encountered a Drowner. They also stumbled across the cave that leads up to Walker's Bandit Hideout. Shortly after, several of Lnik's miners ventured out with Narali to do their jobs in the mine nearby. The mines were found to be infested with Dustmites, which tried eating the ores the group mined, but the group was able to haul back enough ore to the town.

At the end of the night the bandits outside the walls assaulted the city, firing arrows over the walls from several sides. Thankfully they all fell short and nobody was injured, but everyone had to be rounded up inside the Keep until the danger had passed. Because of the chaos of the day, Yuki and Prim's date never happened, and little progress was made towards actually locating the Bandit Camp.

Episode Five: Thick Smoke

Rats once more roamed the streets on the morning of the fifth day. With the Cat Café closed and the population of stray cats diminished from the events of the previous day, the rodents were too numerous for the few cats to clear away. The Council laid the groundwork for establishing a proper court system in the town, with public trials for more sever crimes. The need for Proteca was also brought up, given it is rare and not native to the region- and is a vital ingredient in the potions the Infected took to stop their symptoms.

The afternoon was mostly uneventful after the Assembly. The townsfolk were told of drills happening later in the evening, and that the waterfall lake has Drowners in it. During Market Hours Lnik and Narali began their own studies, with Narali renting two books on plant life and Lnik renting one called 'Mold Men'. They spoke to the book seller Jeremiah for a bit before heading back to their room where Lnik poured over the books. He determined that the Black Spots were probably not this mold infection the book spoke of, but became fixated instead on Proteca for it's anti-curse properties.

After their studies and some investigations in the sewers by Lnik they gathered their miners and a couple of adventurers, including the newest Adventurer named Lynn, and set out to the mines. On the way, they spotted a bear up the road. Before they could really react however a deer and a wolf leapt out of the brush at the bear and began attacking it, the wolf tearing chunks out of it's hide while the deer skewered it on it's antlers. When the bear fell, the two animals began eating it's body. Narali was disturbed by how unnatural the entire scene was, but Lnik tried to calm her down as they approached the mine. Inside the mine, they had to clear half a dozen giant slug creatures that were eating the moss inside, but the trip was overall a success.

Back in town, the guards were gathered for their fire drills, being instructed on how to create a bucket line to make getting water to the fire quicker. They used the Apothecary as the example building, quickly soaking the side and front of the establishment but thankfully no water got inside. After completing the drills, the guards and townsfolk dispersed back to their usual activities. The still very drunk Elisabeth Walshe, who had flirted earlier with Lnik as well, finally called it a day and stumbled back to her estate with her sister.

Some time later, a group of guards lounging near the East Gate noticed the smell of smoke drifting over the wall, and looked out to see two dark plumes of smoke billowing out of the Slums. The town is hastily assembled, with everyone willing and able grabbing buckets and rushing to the Slums to help put out the fires. William stayed behind in the Keep to ensure the prisoners were not released if the fire was a diversion by the Bandits for that purpose, while the Mayor returned to hold the East Gate for the same reason. After nearly an hour of work with Narali using her earth magic and everyone using buckets of water from the nearby lake, and everyone pulling people from the burning buildings, the fires were finally doused and the injured safe. Uivellon performed some light healing on the injured, who mostly suffered smoke inhalation, and then they were carried back to the town. Overall at least two Slummers were killed in the fire.

The injured were taken to the Hospital while the dead were taken to the Morgue beneath it. The rest of the night was wild with rumors and speculation about the fire, with many suspecting either the Bandits or Lady Walshe. Some came to the conclusion the Bandits would have taken advantage of the distraction to free their leader if they had started the fire, and after some investigating it appeared that Elisabeth Walshe was still passed out drunk in her estate. The rest of the night was spent drinking, for a long day gone and the lives that were lost.

Episode Six: Siege

The next day began with chaos. William went up onto the North Wall to check who was ringing to bell at the Gate. A guard arrived soon after, letting Adala inside. Their conversation was interrupted quickly however as William slid down the ladder hard, groaning and taking sharp breaths. His face was covered in blood and an arrow protruded from the left side of his abdomen. He was rushed to the Hospital where his wound was treated, but he fell unconscious while Samuel worked on him. The Mayor meanwhile was informed by the Bandit Leader Zane than if he was not released, his men would surround the city in thirty minutes. He told Aima that his men would also want Elisabeth Walshe, so they could punish her for the torture of their man.

The mayor acted quickly, sending the townsfolk up towards the Keep and assembling the guards and adventurers. Meanwhile Lnik informed Narali of his investigations into the sewers and asked her if she could look into the tunnel that the rats were using to enter the Sewers. She enlisted one of Priam's rats, and sent it off into the sewers to follow the others. It was around this time that the Infected in the town began speaking and realized that they had all shared a very similar nightmare in the night, about a misty landscape and an intense feeling of being watched. There was little time to act on this information however, as the bandits arrived at the East Gate.

The town released Zane to his men but they were not satisfied and wanted the Lady Walshe as well. The Mayor said he would consider while he looked for her, and brought her back in cuffs some time latter. He walked out of the gate to speak with Zane, beginning to state that he wanted to put both the bandits and Lady Walshe on trials as she had other accusations leveled against her. Before he could finish however, the bandits hastily assumed he was going back on his word and drew their bows. So the Mayor returned inside, and the alarm was sounded.

Lady Walshe was supposed to be moved to the Keep and kept in a cell for protection, but was allowed free. The Townsfolk moved into the Tavern, realizing the bandits weren't as likely to search there as they were the Keep. And the Bandits stormed the Walls, raising their ladders and pushing the guardsmen off the gates. From there the guards pulled back to the Barracks Walls that separated the Market District from Old Town and prepared to hold the chokepoint. Some of the Bandits engaged, but others went around the right through Old Town and were met by Sorenna who offered them a way into town. This exchange was overheard by a guard who then fled, now aware of her treason. The Bandits continued to the right, opening the North Gate and storming the Keep from that path. They forced the town to release Elisabeth to them, and fled over the rocks with their captive. The rest of the guards and Adventurers quickly pushed back through the town and secured the walls once more. One of the guardsmen, Verricks, was killed while defending the gates.

Following the attack, the Townsfolk began to fill the streets once more and the mayor tried to organize everyone. At this time the Cadets as well as a few Adventurers gathered in secret to sneak out of the town and rescue Elisabeth Walshe themselves. Lnik, Narali, Mason, Priam, Evonne and Lynn were let out of the city by Yuki, and they headed off past the Slums and towards the Bandit Camp. About two thirds of the way there, they switched to off road so they could flank around the back of the camp. Once they crested the hill, they hid and sent Narali ahead to scout for them in her smaller bunny form. She climbed the root of one of the giant trees along the wall and scurried into the camp. She could see the bandits gathered near the gate, but there was no sign of Lady Walshe. Even worse, she smelled the distinct scent of blood and burnt flesh. She returned to the others, and they snuck in with her a second time.

On Lnik's signal the party attacked the bandits, the Cadets making quick work of them. Within two minutes every bandits was down or had surrendered, with Zane being impaled with a sword. As he fell though, he jerked back and cut Elisabeth's neck- not a fatal cut as long as magic was applied, but a very grave injury. Narali snapped Zane's neck and then helped disarm the remaining bandits, before grabbing Elisabeth and rushing back to town with her alongside Lynn. Priam was sent to town as well, to grab guards and a cart to bring back the wounded prisoners. This left Lnik, Mason, and Evonne to tend to the wounded and make sure they did not escape. There were difficulties with finding a cart in town however, leading to an extreme delay in Priam's return. In this time, the bandits managed to grab Evonne and put a knife to her neck, and most of them who could still walk escaped. Many would not make it far with their injuries however, and Lnik knew it and was furious.

When the cart finally did arrive, two of the bandits as well as the double agent guard Javier, who claims to have defected to the bandits in order to stay with Lady Walshe, and the rest of the party returned to the town, exhausted but having completed their mission. Back in town, Narali and Mason read through the journal of one of the bandits and discovered that they had been freed slaves fighting for their right to remain free. Despite their illegal and somewhat immoral actions, these men hadn't been evil, and having the men that they had just killed humanized in such a way hurt them deeply, making them rethink and doubt their own actions.

The Mayor spoke with Lnik long into the night about the day's affairs, while some of the Infected were given a second dose of the cure that Robin had finally been able to brew after obtaining some of the very rare Proteca. The rest drank, and celebrated, and mourned the fallen on both sides, late into the night...

Episode Seven: Recovery and Intervention

One week passed between Episode Six and Episode Seven, being mostly calm and uneventful. People rested and recovered from some of their injuries, while letters and people traveled. One of those people was CAF Officer Finn, who arrived in the morning with his two C.R.O.S.S guards escorting a supply wagon of food for the Town to help their stores recover. Narali met with her rat spy who had finally returned after a week, bringing word that it had followed the locked tunnels in the sewers and found a large circular room with water and lots of large rats.

The Officer immediately began intervening in the Town's affairs, gathering the Council for their morning meeting so he could question them about the town's operations and the events of the last two weeks. He found many faults with how things were being run by the Mayor that the CAF had appointed, claiming that many of his issues were due to a lack of delegation to the rest of the Council, which Lady Walshe agreed with. He told him to lean on his fellow Council Members more readily, and told them to appoint more members to their Council to lessen the burden. Samuel, the town's Surgeon, was brought in and spoke to about joining the Council to represent the Hospital and he agreed. Officer Finn then handled the issues of Javier and Sigurd, deeming their actions insubordinate at best and traitorous at worst. Javier was removed from the Guard, while Sigurd was questioned further. Later, all of the Guard was gathered for an inspection, to see if there was anyone receptive enough to become a Captain to lead them until a Commander could be found. Despite his past actions, the Officer decided that Sigurd seemed to be the best fit for the role and had him appointed, but this decission proved to be rather unpopular among the guards, many of whom still considered him a traitor.

Throughout the day the townsfolk had their own problems, albeit thankfully much less dire. A large falcon had been terrorizing people, stealing baskets of fruit and the guards' weapons and hiding them on top of the Clock Tower. Steve and Gilliam began investigating the matter, with the duo slowly stacking ladders alongside a house and up the side of the tower to try and reach the top. This predictably was not a safe effort, as Steve fell from the tower half a dozen times in the process. This was no ordinary bird however, as Narali soon learned. It was Professor Barnes. In an attempt to 'test' how self-sufficient the town was, he was prodding at their defenses in a non-combative manor and he did not want the Cadets to interfere. As he put it, "Don't you say a fuckin' word!"

Following Market Hour and Inspections, Yuki finally managed to get some time for his date with Prim. They packed a basket with food and drinks and went to have their picnic by the waterfall. Unbeknownst to Prim however, and outside of Yuki's control, Lynn had snuck out of the city and shadowed them to protect them. She hid in a bush nearby during the entire date and used her air writing magic to wingman Yuki, writing "Kiss Her!" and "Go Yuki!" messages and holding them outside the bush where only Yuki could see. After the date as they were going back to the town, they learned that the guard Barry had also shadowed them. Outside the gates, there was a brief fight with some wild boars that were defeated and taken inside for a feast later in the night.

The rest of the evening was fairly uneventful, with the Council, Mayor, and CAF Officer having lengthy conversations about various town affairs and finalizing some plans. The Guardsmen all gathered inside the Tavern to drink and celebrate, quickly getting sloshed and the conversation devolved into a big Boy's Night with banter and booze and various shenanigans.

Episode Eight: Dark Discovery

The next morning, Lnik approached the other Cadets as well as the Mayor about a provision he discovered within the Cari Town Charter while doing research for the judicial system he was working on for the town. The provision created an 'Academy Representative' seat on the Council and allowed the Headmaster, or in his absence the Professors, or in their absence the Cadets, to appoint someone to that seat. Mason and Narali agreed to appoint Lnik, making him an official member of the Council for the time being. With this sorted, the Town was assembled for a brief announcement that the Adventurers would be going into the Sewers later in the day. With that, the Council moved to the Keep for their meeting where the new members were brought into the loop about a couple things. William mentioned that he was in contact with the possible Commander candidate and that they would be traveling from Noria to meet the Council soon. They also began to organize a party to go into the Sewers later in the evening.

At the same time, Market Hour began and a couple Adventurers were sent on smaller missions. One was a delivery to Ymradale again, and another was escorting the orphan boy from yesterday to the orphanage. Back in town however things were not so quiet. Scratching was heard under the manholes in the town, prompting a sudden investigation. Officer Finn, Mason, Uivellon and many other Adventurers gathered and entered the Sewers expecting a fight. However they found the tunnels empty bar some normal rats. Despite this they pressed on to the locked grate, where hundreds of rats streamed in and out. After battling past them and unlocking the Arcane Lock, they proceeded.

As they rounded the corner they were attacking by a human-sized humanoid rat monster, stitched together and growling. It grappled with Steve briefly before being cut down. As they passed under another grate into a tunnel, the ground shook and the mechanism holding it up failed. The grate slammed shut behind them, blocking their way back. They entered the tunnel and came out in a large Cistern full of water. Above them inactive drainage pipes jutted out of the walls. Rickety wooden bridges connected the two ends of the cistern, with floating debris scattered around to the left and right forming makeshift paths to a stone platform with another bit of Dwarven tech, looking like a pump with two levers.

On these platforms and bridges stood half a dozen more of the rat monsters and in the center of the chamber stood the largest, being nearly ten feet tall. As the group entered, they attacked. The beasts swarmed the exit tunnel and began assaulting their defenses, but they fell back away from Evonne's light spell allowing the group to break out of the chokepoint. The group battled the large rat monsters, whittling them down slowly while the largest beast leapt across the cistern to hammer against various groups. The ranged adventurers took shelter up on one of the raised sections to fire down on the rats, but more spilled out from the drainage pipes above and attacked them from behind sending them scattering. Finally though the last few fell and the largest, now surrounded, was cut down and slain.

The officer and a couple of the others investigated the Dwarven tech, while Rick and Sorenna cut open the boss. They discovered it's insides were just as mismatched as the outside, stitched together improperly and corrupted like the smaller tats had been. Before they could continue however, the Officer activated the pumps and opened the drainage pipes. The two pipes to the sides began pouring water into the cistern, rapidly flooding it. The group swam, clinging to debris as the water level raised higher and higher, before they were able to reach an open outflow pipe and swim to safety down it.

When they exited the outflow pipe they found a small pond surrounded by drinking animals. They tried to scare the animals away, but several were killed in the effort. As they investigated the region they found a ring of red runes on the trees encircling the watering hole. The runes appeared to be similar to summoning runes, eerily reminiscent to the ones used on the roof of the Academy at the end of Year 2 which Mason noticed, but they were not used for summoning exactly either. He rushed to report this to Officer Finn, who agreed, alluding to the fact that he believed this to be related to the Darkness or Dark Order somehow as well.

With this knowledge, they gathered the others and formed small trigrams to work on dispelling the Runes by casting the spell in reverse and unweaving it. It was an exhausting and mana intensive process, with Finn working on the Water half and the others, primarily Mason, working on the Dark half. As each rune broke, the forest became more restless with animals assaulting the group trying to stop them. The runes hummed and emitted faint excess dark mana as they collapsed, with the effect growing worse the more runes they dispelled. By the second, unidentifiable sounds that were similar to scuttling was heard around the casters. By the fifth they began hearing faint whispers around them.

The final three runes required a huge amount of mana from Mason, as the other rookies in his group had drained their smaller mana pools. Mason expended a third of his mana, and the first of the final runes cracked violently. At the next he once again dumped the majority of his mana, his body and mana pool pulled to their limits. But the rune cracked. At the final rune he knelt, wheezing and barely able to hold himself up, but he was determined. He placed his hand on the rune. The others, even those who had no magic experience, began trying to aid him, offering up their mana as little as it was that they held. One by one they fell, drained. The rune reacted, groaning, struggling against them! But Mason persisted! "Do it for her." he repeated as he worked, straining to push on. He reached his limit- they were just short on mana. But he pushed on, dipping into his lifeforce! Finally the rune shattered and Mason fell unconscious, severely Mana Burned.

They were all called together by Officer Finn, and were ordered to remain quiet about what the had found around the lake. The runes had to be kept secret for now. So they gathered their injured, carrying Mason, and slowly made their way back to the town through the quiet woods. Back in the Town however things were escalating. The animals were not only targeting the Adventure group, they were assaulting the walls. A troll and several boars and other animals attacked the Gate, beating against the wooden door and trapping Narali outside with them. She was thankfully able to retreat inside and the animals were dealt with.

The other party returned and were rushed to the Hospital so they could be cleaned and treated. Mason was fine physically, but internal damage from the Mana Burn was sever. 20% of his mana pool was fried, leaving his weakened until it eventually recovers. Other injuries were tended to and the Officer went to speak with the other Cadets. He informed them that they should not investigate further for the time being and that he had sent notice to the CAF about what he had found. he alluded to them that the issue was related to the Darkness once more, saying "given your school likes to meddle in things it shouldn't ", remaining vague to avoid being overheard. He was then pulled aside to speak with the Guild Master, and later in the night agreed to take Lnik and Narali to see the pond. The rest of the night was spent recovering, and for some celebrating to lighten the mood. Even got a date with Lady Mercedes Walshe, and the other guards went to great lengths to wingman for him very disruptively. They drank, and feasted, and eventually went to bed, putting the day and it's dark findings behind them for now...

Other Information

Trivia

  • The townsfolk of Cari held a poorly organized parody play of the events that have taken place in their town, performed for the students during Spirit Week. Tanya, the little girl, played the Darkness Soldier that flattened Joseph- using a paper mache replica of one of the hammers.
  • Steve the Skeleton is a well known sight in the town, for the inhabitants who have lived there the longest at least. Steve has made it his mission to defend the forests of the region and protect the fledgling city, and stops by from time to time to check in inside the walls.
  • The Town has running water, despite there being no bathrooms in the map in game. The sewage is cleansed with Dwarven Purification tech located in the sewers.
  • Camp Cari was named after the Ascension Academy Cadet Cari, after she died in the Crypt Mission. Her name has remained as the small forward camp evolved into a fort, and then a full fledged town.

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