With the beanstalk village being the way it was, one wouldn't have a whole lot of trouble finding it, which was exactly the case for Solmar. After all, he had been here quite recently when he had to shoo away a dark mage and his demonic follower who were trying to burn the entire place down for shits and giggles. At the time, the people had considered him a hero for saving their precious beanstalk, as well as the surrounding tents they lived in. Even in spite of all that, Solmar had decided against staying the night there because of how weird some of the people got when discussing their overgrown plant. Feeling like some of them actually considered it to be some kind of gift from the gods to the point where they actually revered it, he had taken his leave before things got any weirder. Part of him was not altogether surprised when word reached his ear of something happening in the beanstalk village, however the fact that he had been there quite recently made it feel slightly odd.
In his opinion, he had left the place behind in a relatively unharmed state with the villagers being happy, even though some had to rebuild their tents due to the dark mage and his antics. Upon arrival, there was one thing that could be seen rather quickly, which was the fact that the stalk had seen better days. Looking like a plant that had been in the sun for too long and had a bug infestation, he figured that the former could not be true for this thing. Due to the sheer size of it, it seemed impossible that the sun had done this, because if it could have done such a thing, chances were that it would have done so a whole lot sooner. No, there had to be some other reason for it, like an infestation or something cutting off the flow of water to the places where the plant had its roots. Because his knowledge of plants and trees was limited entirely to the things he had learned from the old herbalist woman in Hosenka and from the plants growing around his lair in Sakuramori, those were really the only things he could come up with on his own.
"Ah, you are the one sent by the ealdorman. Good, we needed someone like you back here for sure if we are to put an end to all of this madness."
Looking over at one of the other people who were out on the road, Solmar figured that this might have been one of the people responsible for getting word out. After all, if he was aware of the ealdorman, it seemed to make sense that this was exactly the guy he was looking forward to meeting. Judging by his words, part of him was actually becoming a bit more invested in the whole job he was sent here to do, because from where he was standing, he could not exactly pick up on any madness. The only thing he saw was that the stalk had seen better days.
"Yes, I'm Solmar. I was sent here to investigate the place because the ealdorman had heard about "trouble brewing" around here. To be entirely honest, I don't think I recognize you."
"Oh but I recognize you. You kept the fires from reaching the tent where my wife and I had left our sleeping children while we went to see what all of the commotion was about. I shudder at the thought of what might have happened if you hadn't been there at the time…"
"I see.. well, mind telling me more about why I was called back here? Is there a monster problem or some kind of dark mage active in the area?"
Asking the obvious questions first after he had been given a quick rundown as to who this person he was meeting with was, the young mage was not exactly interested in having a friendly conversation over a pint of ale and a roasted chicken when there was a job to be done. Normally though, that was exactly what he'd end up doing. He'd just plant his behind firmly in a barstool, ordered a pint of ale and just ate a whole bunch of cooked livestock while he just kept his ears on high alert, picking up anything that might help him learn more about what was going on and to get a lead as to where he should be starting. This time however, it seemed that just talking to the person that had called him here would do just fine.
"No… I mean, I don't think so. But the people, they believe that the holy tree is sick, and that it is the wrath of the gods. The village priest has called people together, sharing tales of the wrath of the gods and how the end of the tree would mean the end of all of us. And the people.. they are scared, what with the recent attack on our village.. They are willing to do just about anything he says, and I'm afraid for me and my family."
Due to his own upbringing, or rather the lack thereof, Solmar had never really been all that understanding towards things such as religion. To him, believing in some kind of being, or several beings who had the power to make and take away life seemed foolish. As things were, he himself had faced beings that were perhaps as frightening as that, creatures like Cernunnos who deemed themselves to be the god of something or another, only to find their death at the tip of Solmar's blade. But being able to kill it did not mean that it wasn't a god, nor did having the power to actually kill it mean that Solmar was himself a god. It just meant that there were some things out there, things who possessed immense power that deluded themselves into thinking more of themselves than they actually were. Figuring the same thing might be happening here, he believed that revering something as holy or divine was dangerous as it gave people feelings of being right in doing unspeakable things.
"I see. And this priest, what is he making the people do? What is he telling them?"
"He hasn't given out any actual orders, though he has the people chanting some odd song at the base of the stalk. So far, he spoke of various sacrifices… blood sacrifices. They have already sacrificed a bunch of cows and pigs to it, though nothing has changed, which only makes the people more afraid. I'm afraid that when push comes to shove… they might actually start sacrificing people to appease the gods."
"….That would be bad.. That would be very bad.. Alright, tell me everything you know about the tree and do not skip out on any of the details. If you want me to find something that might cure the beanstalk and this whole situation, I need to know everything about this plant and more."
With that, the two started a conversation regarding the plant, as well as any places surrounding the beanstalk that might be of importance. In so doing, it was brought up that the tree was drawing most of the water it needed as nourishment from large lakes, one of the largest being up north in the area people had come to know as the Monsterlands. Claiming that there were also some natural caverns here and there from where people could visit the roots of the giant tree and leave offerings, it was also where local herbalists kept track of the state of the plant and any potential offshoots it had. Taking out his map, the local marked various locations on it where Solmar might go if he was to have any hope of figuring out anything towards putting an end to this quickly escalating situation. While it pained him to admit it, it seemed that the ealdorman had been quite right in his assumptions. Trouble was indeed brewing here..
(1537 // Solmar Total: 1537 // Thread Total: 1537)