A River Without Water: Separation

Also see the cast of characters in Separation.

A River Without Water: Separation is the followup adventure to A River Without Water Saga. Featuring the children of Aldaen Zolmir, Bors Riverstone, Sigurt Kraemer and Anton Halfhand. Set in the late fall of 1357 NS.

I Bare Home Upon My Shoulders

The ship Triton's Fork headed down Brotherhood River on its way to give Anton Halfhand his last port. Anton had sailed the coasts of Nora for the past four years with the company of his son, Leonid Antonov, and the children of his ka-tet, Merrium Kraemer, Ranita Riverchild and Sangar Zolmir II.

Sangar and Rani were restless as the city of Lawbunnen came into view. Leonid, the eldest, tried to reign in the excitable youths as per Anton's wishes. Rani, seemingly inexhaustible, was sent on a goose chase to find a lost sack of potatoes.

Triton's Fork docked on the city's river port and as soon as the boarding plank was set down, Sangar ran down in in spite of Anton's warnings. The young Zolmir ran headfirst into a young girl who, likewise, headed up the plank headless of obstacles. Their collision knocking them both unprepared, and the lass refusing to step aside, was picked up by her hips as Sangar set her behind him and received a slap across the cheek for his troubles.

Merrium, likewise, joined the lass and Sangar on the plank to chastise the girl for her poor manners, but the boys' ears were pulled upwards by a stern Anton, who dragged them back onto the deck. The lass's father, dressed in finery, came aboard the ship and was apologized to by Anton. The father, known as the infamous Duke of Sachrunin, Burchard the Wolf, waved away the offense and his daughters joined him on deck. The indignant lass, Pasha, sneered and walked off. Her younger (and kinder) sister, Vanya, approached and apologized for her sister to Sangar. Anton said his goodbyes to Captain Blair, the master of Triton's Fork and, with his, began his way south on the road toward Ackerburg.

Once having arrived at Ackerburg, the children reunited with their parents, some of whom they barely remember. Rani, at first afraid of her giant father, was won over by the gift of a stuffed winged rabbit. Bors Riverstone had only one arm with which to hold his miniature daughter. Sangar's grandfather had grown blind, while his father had died only a year ago. However, the mood was bright at the return of the prodigal children.

The children were introduced to Lara Huber, daughter of Elfrida Huber (nee Wreyth), and an instant bond was made. Lara took them upstairs in the Antonov ranch home where she had earlier found an illuminated book with the story of the Firebird, patron of the Red Eagle Clan of Ackerburg.. While non of the children could read the words, they all marveled at the images of the glorious Firebird.

Lara tells the children that she lives in the nearby town of Elby and she is here with her mom to pick up medicine made by Sigurt Kraemer for her ill father. However, overhearing some adult talk, they discover that Sigurt went out to a cave near the lake to fetch the necessary herbs and has not returned. With an urge from Sangar to investigate, the children and Lara went down through the night to the cave.

Sangar found a stick, fashioned a torch and lit it, causing a swarm of bats to fly out of the cave. After seeing this, Lara urged the children not to continue, but they did not heed her advice. Leaving Lara behind, they walked into the dark cave and after a time, approached a treacherous passageway that gave out and crumbled beneath their feet depositing them in a lower chamber.

A voice rang out to them and they found Sigurt trapped under a pile of stones. They dug him out, but his leg would not allow him to continue to venture the cave. The children spread out to find the last bits of herbs Sigurt needed for the medicine.

Rani found the herb hanging from the roof of the cave and with Leo's help was able to harvest it. Merrium, meanwhile, came across strange writings on a wall near a dead end in the cave. However, being able not to read it, Merrium left it with it in his mind and the children all helped Sigurt up the cavern and back into the night. There, they met Lara, who had brought Anton with her at the cave mouth. Anton, while proud of their intentions, scolded them for their recklessness.

The next day, the medicine was ready for Elfrida to head back to Elby. Anton, however, was not about to allow a lone lady and her daughter to take the journey alone and insisted to escort them. The children pleaded with their fathers to allow them to join Anton and were allowed.

The trip to Elby was uneventful and the inn where the Huber family lived was near the town walls. Anton told the children to explore the town while he spoke with the Hubers. Lara lead them out into the town where they bought sweets and looked at the krins hauling merchant wagons. In one of the town's greens, they saw a group of boys picking on a girl who was crying at their relentless teasing. Leo and Sangar acted quickly and pounced on the boys, walloping them.

The boys ran away, vowing payback. Rani went to the girl, who was named Katya. Katya explained that the boys were the bravest boys in the town, as they were the only ones to spend the night at Begierig Towers, the ruins just north of town.

After going back to the inn and seeing that Anton was planning on staying the night in town, the children decided to wait until night and travel to the towers. Their travel was swift and soon the towers were in sight.

Your First Queen's Ghost

The children went through the iron wrought gates of the tower grounds. The towers sat on a small hill, under which was a simple unadorned tunnel. They traveled through the front graveyard to the tunnel and went inside.

Using a torch to light their way, the children made their way through the tunnel, seeing barred cells on either side of them. Rani told her companions she was scared and wanted to leave, but the others comforted her and urged her onward.

Sangar found a staircase leading up to the ceiling, and after some investigation, a secret door leading upward was found. They walked up into the new room and saw many old rotten treasure chests, empty. The only exit out of the room was a portcullis looking out into an old kitchen.

The children pick Rani, as the smallest, to be the one to squeeze through the bars. Though she was reluctant, the others convince her and she was able to fit through. She looked around the kitchen and found a door with ascending stairs beyond, though she did not want to continue. She tried to squeeze back through the bars but was unable to do so, even with the help of the others. Rani, faced with no other option, began to cry.

Sangar quickly headed back down and out of the tunnel to open the front doors, but they did not move. However, Sangar heard someone whistling from somewhere. He sneaked around to the back of the towers and spied an out-of-place groundskeeper raking leaves.

Sangar ignored the groundskeeper and went back to the front doors and found Merrium inspecting them. Sangar, seeing an opportunity for mischief, hid in some bushes next to the door and inched closer to Merrium. The game was interrupted, however, by Leo who has decided they had to get Rani out by going inside the tower.

Mysteriously, the groundskeeper seen by Sangar earlier, was suddenly behind them and told them that the main doors never open. He bid them to follow him and walked toward the back of the towers. Nervously, they followed and the groundskeeper showed them a tall ladder leading up to the top of one of the twin towers. They thanked him for his guidance and made their way up and into the door at the top; which quickly slammed shut with the wind as they entered.

The dark hallway before them was lit by the moonlight filtering through the windows. Ahead, six coffins lined the walls, covered in dust and cobwebs. The children lifted the lids off of the nearest coffins to peer inside, but found nothing. To their right was a door, but as they walked toward it, a groaning sound was heard. The children looked on as the lids of the previously empty coffins were pushed aside and horrid animate skeletons began to climb out towards them.

Leo readied his dagger and stood in front of Merrium and Sangar. The skeletons closed in on them, outstretching their bony claws and hissing their grim sound. The room suddenly went dark and when the light came back, the skeletons were gone. And so was Merrium!

Inside the towers, Rani began sniffing around the kitchen. The kitchen was adorned with fresh food of all kinds, and though it smelled temptingly good, Rani resisted eating any. However, as she was looking about, she suddenly spied a stranger in the room with the look of a groundskeeper.

He apologized for sneaking up on her and told her that her friends are in the tower and they are in trouble. He said that somewhere in the towers there was a library and hidden there was a lantern that burns with a blue flame. He told her to be brave and go find the lantern to save her friends. She nodded determinedly and went off to find it.

She reached the top of her first set of stairs and saw a door with light shining from underneath. The sound of muffled music and merrymaking was also hear from behind. Ranita approached the door and very slowly opened it and saw a tap room full off happy folk drinking and being lively. She smiled and opened the door wider to step into the room, but as she did so, the room suddenly went dim, the music stopped and all the people blew away like smoke. This left her staring at an unlit taproom filled with dust and cobwebs, unused for many years. Ranita shyly backed away and closed the door behind her.

Only one other door was left, and when Ranita opened this one, she was exposed to a gruesome sight. The music in this rballoom was uptempo as well, but with the soud of a sinister organ and several ghostly figures in a dans macabre. Ranita spied another door across this great hall and made her way quickly as the figures stared at her with lament, some reaching hopelessly out toward her. She exited the room and slammed the door behind her, her heart pounding.

In the eastern tower, Leo and Sangar yelled for Merrium, but he was not present. The floor further into the hallway had given out years ago, leaving a gaping hole. Sangar, however noted a door nearby which lead outside. Once out on the tower's rampart, Sangar and Leo saw four stone graves. Inside one of the graves, they heard screaming. Leo opened the grave and found Merrium inside not knowing how he got there.

Leo and Sangar helped Merrium out of the grave. Sangar saw something twinkle in the moonlight down below the tower in the graveyard, but couldn't make out what it was. After making sure Merrium was unharmed, they ventured into the next door, back into the tower. After climbing down a set of stairs, they saw a large coat of arms on the wall bearing the ancient Seal of Vatharond.

Near the arms were large doors with gold inlay. They walked into the doors and beheld a large opulent bedroom, though covered in dust and neglect. They explored around until Leo saw a ghostly figure sitting on a cushioned couch, crying. The boys slowly walked to the figure and she looked at them with sad eyes. On her head was a queen's crown.

She said "Please help us… We lived in these towers, the first built in the land. Our family was so happy together. The music… it haunts us. The throne room… Please help us rest in peace."

She faded away with her last words and the boys dedicated themselves to her plea. They went down another stairway and saw the hallway ahead of them was partly collapsed. They headed forward, but Sangar lost his footing and fell, not onto the lower floor, but into the blackness below.

Sangar lost, Leo and Merrium go on to the next floor. The next floor seemed unnaturally dark, but when Sangar lit a torch, they saw the ghostly images of maimed guards lining the walls. The ghost guarded the doors of what appeared to be the throne room. Leo and Sangar quickly braved through to the next door as the guards followed them with their stares. The next door they found lead onto a catwalk over a great ballroom filled with haunting music and ghostly dancers.

In the lower floors, Ranita came into a new room and was relieved to see she had made it to the library. However, as she went between the shelves, she gasped when she saw a floating ghost reading a book. This ghost had a large crown on his head. The ghost saw her ducking behind a shelf and he smiled at her. He asked if she was one of the servant's daughters. If so, she could play a game on the librarian. He told her she could hide the lantern she took behind the tapestry on the far wall. He smiled again and faded away, dropping the book.

Rani looked behind the tapestry and found the lantern. She turned it on and it shown a curious blue light. When the light hit the book the ghostly king was holding, it shook. Surprised, Rani shined the light on it again and this time it shook until it opened and Sangar crawled out of it! Rani asked him what happened, but Sangar wasn't able to explain it.

Sangar and Rani left the library and soon ran into Leo and Merrium. They were all relieved to see each other. They went back upstairs to the dark floor and when Ranita lit the blue light lantern, the ghosts were turned away from its light.

They entered the throneroom and saw a terrible spirit. He said his name was Malagar the Grim and he loves to feast on children! Behind him, Ranita saw a portrait of a family with the ghostly king she saw before and she saw the prince in the portrait was the groundskeeper from before. The figures in the portrait look concerned and frightened.

Malagar dove under the bright red rug and chased them through the room, but when Rani held up the blue light lantern, he was repulsed. Ranita forced him back with the light and when he came too close to the portrait, the figures inside pull him in and Malagar screamed, but in he went, never to be seen again. The portrait now showed only faces with happiness and peace.

As the four of them left, they saw the sun coming up and the groundskeeper with the face of the prince waved kindly to them as he faded away with the sun. The sunlight sparkled off of one of the gravestones and Ranita found a golden feather.

Rani also heard a strange chirp. It came from inside the tunnel under the towers, which in the sunlight wasn't quite so scary. Inside one of the cells, a small dragon was found, chirping at them. Rani threw some meat to it, which it snatched up hungrily and chirped happily at her. As they wondered what kind of dragon it was, it began to repeat the words they said. And so, Rani named it Echo.

As the dawn rose further, they walked back to Elby, Echo taking the form of a shaggy dog. At the inn, they walked in and found Anton curious about why they were out of their beds, but the children quickly found excuses to placate him. As Anton began preparations to leave, Katya visited the inn and was astonished to discover the children stayed the night in the towers. Rani gave her the blue-light lantern as proof of their deed and Katya exclaimed she would never be bullied again. She hugged Rani and ran off.

Anton took the kids back to Ackerburg (eyeing their newfound canine friend) where the children spent time with their families.

- They next day. The kids play. Leo has to get krin harnesses down from rafters.
- Sangar and Rani hear about a traveler in town.
- They speak to him and show him the feather.
- He tells them a story about Woland.
- Woman has her dry laundry in the tub.
- Sigurt's elven tapestry is upside down.
- Rani find the others and investigates the goings ons.
- Leo suggests they go to the taproom.
- There Rani sees a Sprite dancing on the bar.
- It is happy they can see him. His name is Mil.
- Mil needs humans as fairy-land is in trouble.
- The kids pack for travel and each grabs a bit of iron.
- Sangar barters for swords with Michelle and wins.
- They drop the iron when they see that Mil cannot stand it.
- Mil conjures a portal and they step in to see a desolate land of autumn that cannot move into Winter.

Fairy Favours

- Mil takes them to the fairy tree to see the queen.
- The queen asks if they will retrieve the Herald of Winter from Ban, the gnome thief.
- Ban is in a northernly cairn, but the entrance is blocked by rowan trees.
- The inside is a labyrinth and a map is needed from Ban's brother.
- Mil takes them to ban's brother and he urges them to convince Ban that he is happier.
- Mil is bored.
- Sangar takes the map and they head to the cairn.
- Inside they journey. Mill stays behind.
- They find a temple-like area with Ban crying.
- Rani asks why he is crying, and he denies it.
- He claims to be the scourge of fairy-kind.
- They tell him his brother is happier.
- Ban decides to hand over the flute.
- The flute is snatched by a wind and it turns into a witch.
- The witch is trying to take over fairy-land.
- She turns into a medusa, but is quickly turned to stone from Rani's mirror.
- Rani's arm turns to stone.
- They return to the fairy tree and the queen removes the curse on Rani's arm.
- They hand over the Herald and the queen plays and brings winter to fairyland
- Celebratory snow ball fight!
- Merrium is unimpressed.
- Come home and its winter.
- Rani returns the mirror.

Know My Name Is Lost

Sangar is awakened




Town invaded

Anton dies



Supreme Ordeal

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