WORK IN PROGRESS…
From a thicket of green shrubs resting at the edge of the Cairn Hills, the party of adventurers (plus a tagalong stranger cloaked in leather armor and a threadbare green cloak) emerged. Looking down the hill, they could see the main road, and farther down, the iron gates of Greyhawk. The late morning trip from Favilla’s enchanted briar felt as if it took only a moment, but as they exited they noticed evening was well on its way, its violet clouds streaking across the clear, dimming sky. They pulled their horses through and made haste towards the city gates. Vetnik charged ahead with the Eye of Null still in his possession as to keep distance between it and the magic users of the party (more specifically Lyssa.) Grum lead the others behind; the stranger awkwardly held tight around Moira’s waist as they rode together towards Greyhawk.
As he passed through the old iron gates, the stranger was mum. Slowing her pace, Moira looked back and saw her new companion taking in the sights of the city with a hindered expression, almost as if keeping at bay a mix of awe and fear. He observed that, even as the sun fell, Greyhawk thrived. Lantern lighters filled the streets and tended to the rows of lamps that weaved through the city as the windows of taverns, inns, and after-hours shops lit up and erupted with all manner of human life.
“Weapons have to be registered by the city guard,” Moira began to inform her companion, “at the Grand Citadel.”
The stranger looked down at his crudely-made club. He was silent, but Moira could tell he was becoming uneasy. “Do not worry. If there are any fees for registering them, I am more than happy to take those on,” she said with a reassuring smile. The stranger looked up and tightened his mouth as if to keep from smiling.
Vetnik waited for the others near Woodley Fountain. He watched them trot in through the Highway Gate and watched as Moira and the stranger broke off from the others to head into the Grand Citadel. As they closed in on Vetnik, Lyssa suddenly hopped down from her horse and handed the reigns over to Trisoll.
“I… I have to return home!”
“If there’s any one who should be present for the delivery of the Eye, it should be you,” Trisoll urged, confused while taking the horse up beside him.
“Of course, but I—“
“We can also wait. I mean, I could use a shower!”
“Yes, then I’ll meet you at Pimpleton Manor!”
“What’s so important?” Thom asked.
“My mother’s… she’s waiting for me!” Lyssa revealed as she began inching away.
“By all means then,” Trisoll replied, “let us not hold you any longer.”
The party watched her racewalk back towards her apartment. Trisoll took careful notice of her peculiar disposition, but wasn’t opposed to getting in some rest and relaxation before having to face the higher ups at the University of Magic.
With an hour to spare before delivery of the anti-magic orb, the party decided to break away from each other to get in some more personal pursuits. Grum rode off and headed to the the Great Hall of the Thieves’ Guild, while his brother Thom broke away and rode to the Guild Halls. While the twins took their leaves, Moira and the stranger emerged from the Grand Citadel and quickly met with Vetnik and Trisoll at the fountain.
Meanwhile, Vetnik has the eye and takes it back to Pimpleton Manor. “Come with me?” to Trisoll.
“I’m actually gonna go talk to Lyssa.”
“Good luck, my friend! haha.”
“No, it’s not like that.”
“I am duty bound to tell the Cortox of Morrigan’s demise. I should have been able to show her the truth.”
Stranger tells Vetnik. “You have a manor?”
“It’s where we stay. I’ll tell you a story.” He says to the apprehensive stranger.
“Vetnik is the finest of men, he’ll take care of you” Moira says calming the stranger. “You’re truly with friends.”
“It’s not my manor, but owned by our parents.”
“We’re meeting one of the original adventurers, Zemilay Lyks. Trial’s father.”
“Oh. Ok. Is he like Trisoll?”
“No, quite the opposite. Any who, he’ll be able to accommodate with him. You know, my father has a similar background as you. He was taken from our home and brought here, it’s how he met Zemilay. He helped him adjust, helped him in the city to become a hero. It’s what I;m here to do, become a great man.”
Stranger is quiet while digesting the information. “People are ready to stab each other.”
“We do what we can to protect each other.”
“I’ll need to learn to protect myself.”
The Great Hall of the Thieves’ Guild was a cloaked in secrecy as it usually was. The small, square windows that peppered its drab exterior remained tinted, while a single steel door served as the only visible entrance into the guild. Grum tethered his horse to a nearby post and knocked in the usual, secret pattern upon the rusty door. After a moment, a small grate at eye level swung open and a disembodied voice called out from the darkness behind it.
“What d’ya want?!”
Grum leaned his face towards the metal grille and shot the bodiless voice a smug look. The grate slammed shut and Grum relaxed as he heard the sound of heavy-duty locks tick and clunk from behind. The door slowly opened and the familiar, gruff doorman stood crossed armed at the side. Grum sauntered and made his way towards the basement steps.
“Thurman in?” Grum asked before heading downstairs. The doorman silently nodded, his cantankerous expression unyielding. “Thanks.”
Grum descended the smooth concrete staircase without making a sound and slipped into Thurman’s chamber with ghostly grace. In the center of the room he saw his elvish mentor kneeled over another young ward. Thurman kneeled in close to his student and watched as the young thief made attempts at picking open a locked chest. Despite the stealthiness of Grum’s boots, Thurman was never one to keep his back unwatched for too long. Thurman glanced back and saw Grum standing in the doorway. He motioned to Grum to wait and returned to guiding his young student through the finer points of lock picking. Thurman gently guided the boy’s hands and directed his thin fingers over the student’s own. He spoke his instructions softly, explaining the intricacies of the such a device.
“One must rush only if his life depends on it. Find your rhythm, the rest will fall into place.”
The student nervously jerked his lock pick and a small ping echoed through the room. The student hung his head and sighed in frustration. The practice chest had taken another casualty: the young student’s thin, metal pick. The student pocketed his one and half picks and lifted the chest. Thurman guided him towards the door while Grum watched, his arms folded in mild amusement.
“Come back again next week, we’ll try some again,” Thuman said as he took the chest from the boy and guided him out of his chamber.
“Have you come for a lesson?”
“Not exactly,” Grum replied, unfolding his arms as he neared his tutor. “I have come with personal information.”
“Hm. Perhaps a change of venue is in order.”
Thurman draped himself in his hooded cloak and together they left the Great Hall in a calm, easy manner. Grum followed Thurman across Newhope District and into a small dive called The Wretched Eye. They settled at a small table in the middle of a crowded area of the bar where they sat across from each other posing as friendly patrons. After their drinks arrived, Grum took a single sip before retrieving a small piece of charcoal from his pocket. On a napkin, he began to scribble — his eyes still observing the crowd around him between words.
“There’s a plot against you,” read the note upon the napkin.
Thurman was taken aback but made good effort not to show his discomfort. “We should…” he whispered as he nonchalantly crumbled the napkin onto his lap.
“Go somewhere else?” Grim joked.
“When we part, we go separate ways. Meet me soon at the Nymph & Satyr.” Thurman said, tucking the folded napkin into his belt before throwing down a piece of silver for his barely-touched drink. Grum waited after his departure. He finished his own drink, picked up the silver left behind by Thurman, and made his way towards the bar to pay their tab before heading out. He folded his arms across the bar and waited for the barkeep to accept his money. The couple standing next to him slid their coin across the bar and shuffled away. Waiting, another figure entered his periphery.
Ta-tap, ta-tap, ta-tap went the sound of nails impatiently rapping against the wood of the bar. Grum gave a side glance and could see the delicate hands of a woman. As he focused on her incessant rapping, he took special notice of her finger tips. Hunter green polish on the pointer, blood red on the middle, and the same green lacquer of the rest. He silently sighed to himself as he turned to greet her: Asteria Silverkin.
“So. I see you two met. Get anything out of him?”
“No information from him. I was out of town. Patience will prevail, m’lady.”
“I know you were,” she nodded with a smirk.
Grum smiled back and pushed a silver piece towards her for a drink. “On me.”
Asteria pursed her lips and straightened up her stance. “We’ll be watching.”
“Remind me not to try and buy you a drink again!” Grum huffed before sauntering out. Asteria reclined back against the bar and watched him disappear onto the streets. A moment later, the barkeep returned and looked around baffled. “Oi!” Asteria, it seemed, had vanished, and with her the coin left behind by Grum and the patrons.
Grum headed north towards the Nymph & Satyr Tavern. Along the way, his half-elven ears perked at the sound of footsteps mimicking his own. His thieves intuition was buzzing — he was surely being followed! Spotting a small alcove built into the side of a nearby building, Grum slipped out of the stream of pedestrians and into the shadows. Leaning out just enough to survey the alleyway, he watched for any suspicious characters. Suddenly, his eyes met the eyes of another. A young woman, a stranger clad in dark leather armor with long, crow-black hair. He quickly looked her body up and down and as he did so, he caught a glance of her fingertips, each one of them painted in a very familiar sanguine hue.
“Cunts,” Grum groaned to himself.
Realizing his cover had been blown, he stared the mystery women down from across the alcove. He smirked and in response she smiled and wiggled her red-painted fingertips against her thigh. Her body tensed up as if ready to move. With a wink of his eye, Grum quickly bolted from the alcove and rushed down the alley towards the Inn. His stalker pushed through the wandering passerbys and stayed focused on him. Grum briefly glanced back and watched as the stalker disappeared from his line of sight. Grum paused for a moment and glanced down the alley. Seeing no sight of his stalker, he sprinted off back towards The Nymph & Satyr Tavern.
Grum slowed his pace as he neared the infamous pub. Before reaching the front steps, he caught the movement of a silhouette out of the corner of his eye. He spun around and saw her standing there plain as day: his shadowy, red-nailed stalker. Grum quickly turned back towards the front of the Inn and as fast as he could, yanked a small glass vial of milky white liquid from his belt. In one seemingly fluid motion, Grum popped the cork to the vial, guzzled down the liquid contents, and chucked the empty vial at the mystery woman’s feet. As the vial smashed and shattered against the ground, Grum’s body exploded into a cloud of thick, white smoke. The woman buried her face into the bend of her arm, fearing the worst from the strange white smoke. The cloud quickly dissipated and began to thin as it floated into the air. The woman lowered her arm to find Grum gone, seemingly vanished. Little did the stalker realize, the vial Grum had ingested was a Potion of Gaseous Form and that the cloud of vapors swirling in the air above her was actually him!
Grum hovered in the air and slowly billowed behind the woman, who quickly rushed from the street to an alley between the tavern and the brewery next door. Grum watched in his new, insubstantial form as the dark-haired woman met up with another woman. Adorned with copper-colored hair and clad in similarly dark leather armor with fingers decorated in similar red nails, Grum watched as the two of women briefly discuss BEFORE RED HEAD CASTS TELEPORT
Grim filters into the pub via a cracked window and floats looking for Thurmin. As he floats, he surveys the bar and finds him in a backroom, back against the wall. He blends in with the pipe smoke. He filters into the cubby and destabilizes right in front him.
“Are you a spell caster?”
“No, just fortunate enough to be in posession of a few good potions.”
“Secrets upon secrets.”
“Maybe a few.”
“Did you ditch your tail?”
“Yes, at least the one I know about.”
“Me as well. I had one on my tail as well, but she disappeared.”
Grim reveals half of the gold coin that Averia paid as a deposit on his
“I would’ve thought my life worth more haha. Thank you, it’s obvious the Red Nails are on to me.”
“This is serious.”
“Of course. I’ll have to rally more sympathetic members to our cause. Fair warning, this may come with bloodshed.”
“High stakes for everyone it seems. The better of assistance I can be.”
They return to the Guild in a show of solidarity.
George answers the door at Pimpleton Manor and finds Vetnik with a vagabond in tow.
“Ah, another nom de plume.” George wisecracks.
George guides them in and serves the both of them a couple mugs of ale. “one for you… stranger? Dwarfsod? Tea?”
“Just get him some ale.”
“Two mugs of ale then.”
Vetnik takes the stranger to the study. Burbis and Lyks are inside, while Xanti is away at market. Lyks is being “entertained” by a plodding story about a porcupine who lost his spines. Burris buzzes around both of them as he lets them in. He pokes and prods at the stranger, tugging at his cloak.
Vetnik sets the fur-wrapped Eye onto the table and takes a seat from across Lyks.
“Leave him be, Burbis. Sit!”
Burris scuttles back to Lyks’ side and smokes a bit of his pipe. The stranger declines and continues to stand.
“This is the Eye.”
“Where is everyone?”
Vetnik fills in as much as he knows. “We’ll be meeting back here to take the orb back to the Uni.”
Vetnik looks at Lyks.
“You have something else to say so say it.”
Vetnik folds his hands and sighs. “There was an incident. Both Lyssa… and your son died.”
Vetnik explains what happened. “But they’re alive now. We got help in Blackmoor from a Gnomish church.”
“How are they? How is he?”
“Well. I don’t know how well Lyssa is taking it but I can never really tell how well she’s taking anything. Trisoll seems to be fine but we won’t really know until you speak with him.”
Zemilay beckons to stranger. “Who is this?”
“We met him oddly enough the same way you met my father.”
“Oh. Picking strangers off the street.”
“Well, Moira.” Vetnik fills him in. “If there is room for him to stay.”
“Well, if you’re vouching for him.”
“He seems like a good man who just needs a bit of help.”
“And Moira can second that?”
George delivers the drinks and the stranger reveals the scant details. His home was lost to him and he was in the woods outside Blackmoor. He snuck into Blackmoor, stealing food to eat. “Moira was the one who stuck up for me, I don’t know why.”
“She has a way of seeing good in others.” Ve
“Are you both sure? I don’t have much nor do I need much.”
“Well, then you shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Enjoy your beer.” Ze
Stranger sits and reluctantly begins to relax.
George shows the stranger to a room and he stays in for the night.
Vetnik leaves after Stranger leaves, politely excusing himself. “I’m sorry I had to be the bearer of bad news. I feel I’d let you down, trying to protect your son.”
“THere’s a lot of love in there behind that icy exterior.”
Vetnik chuckles and excuses himself, taking the orb with him. He heads out to The Nymph & Satyr Tavern to see if Sera is there.
Vetnik finds Sera enjoying the company of another man at the Nymph & Satyr. When she swings around she spots him and pauses. Vetnik smiles and walks to the bar. As he passes, she breaks from her date.
“Where’ve you been, sir knight? I’ve had some cold nights.”
“Somehow I doubt that.”
“Well, after a time…”
“Listen, your heart may be cold but mine is hot, and fast. I can’t wait around.”
“I understand. Go be able. Let your smile continue to light up the world.”
“I will. You’re a good man, Vetnik T.” she says, kissing him on the cheek. She rushes back to the other side of the bar.
In the bar, a lonely woman sits at a nearby table. “Tough luck, soldier.”
“Why do you say that?”
“I saw what happened.”
“You don’t know the whole story.”
“I know enough of it. Come, have a seat.”
She extends her hand to shake his. “Aris’ the name” She is clearly a warrior with masculine swagger. “Sit down, warrior. Let’s talk troubles of the heart.”
“Not really a trouble.”
“Nonesense! Barkeep, shots! I hope you like the hard stuff.”
“Of course. I love the hard stuff.”
Ari chuckled before downing her shot.
Vetnik playfully carries her on his shoulder out of the bar.
Thom heads to the Sages Guild. Because it’s so late in the evening, only adepts are available and are beyond their comprehension. “They have grave consequences if read by the wrong person. Come back in the morning, the masters should be awake.”
On his way out he runs into Chan, the drummer of his class. “Thom! Hello, I have not seen you for lessons for not some time.”
“I’ve been on a quest, just returned tonight.”
“Do you have some time right now, to discuss technique? Would you care for a drink?”
Together they head to the Inn of the Welcome Wench. It’s a busy evening full of merriment. They take a table and Chan gushes over Thom’s unique technique.
Thom sees himself looking back over him and meets eyes with Chan. “What just happened?” Together they head out and do their best to track the doppelgänger. Chan beats a rhythm that bolsters their speed and they shorten the distance. 18ft away, they hear “HALT! That’s him! That’s the man who stole my jewels!”
A run of guards rush the pair of drummers.
“Sorry, Chan!” Thom says as he cloaks himself in an invisibility spell.
“Where did he go?!” Panic ensues as they subdue Chan, who pleads innocence. The old royal woman continues to bark at the police. Thom continues to tail his doppelgänger. The doppelgänger seems to run at an alarmingly quick speed and bounces up the walls of nearby buildings and disappears from sight. Thom returns to the scene and finds Chan quiet even with threat of imprisonment. “He took my jewels, I saw him with my own two eyes!”
Thom casts charm from the veil of invisibility. He comes around the corner and returns to visibility, hands up. The woman is still barking “There he is!”
“Oh dear lady, I’d never steal from a beautiful noblewoman such as yourself.”
“Oh. Oh dear, perhaps he didn’t do it!”
“Tell me more about this person who did it?”
The guard captain steps forth. He escorts Thom to Vortis’.
“Thom, Garyn, what’s going on?”
“Terribly sorry for the inconvenience, sir. Can you confirm the identity of this man.”
“Yes, of course. Thom Drum. Why do you need to know?”
“Someone stole some riches from Miss Waller.”
“Gary, no. He has no need.. you have the wrong man.”
“Does he have a twin?”
“Yes, only with black haired, but neither of these boys would do anything like this. If I am wrong, come drag me off to prison! Now let me go back to sleep.”
“I’m sorry sir, it’s still quite early—“
“I’m an old man and I need my rest.” Virtues slams the door shut.
Lyssa hurries back to her apartment. She finds nothing has been changed, pantry is still locked. She unlocks the pantry and swings it open. It reveals nothing, empty but she sees on the inside the claw marks and dried blood of her mother’s fingers. Drawing her dagger, she surveys the apartment. She sees a layer of dust but nothing else. She consults the Eye of Modius and as she brushes it, green mists start to swirl inside. She concentrates and finds there’s some resistance in accessing it. Strange. She focuses and soon they begin to part and she sees Violetta in the pantry, growing more and more frantic over time. She scratches at the door and bangs, screaming for Lyssa and Cortox to save her. Her body grows weak, dehydration and hunger pains make her hits against the door weaker and weaker. Lyssa watches as Violetta’s last muttered breath is used to curse Modius. She watches her begin to die and feels her body’s energy fade just as her mother’s did, and as she draws final shallow breaths, she calls out to Modius. “I beseech you,” she calls out through dehydrated lips. In a flash of light, she’s taken away. The Eye “closes” and she sits staring blankly into the orb, her hands trembling as she feels her energy slowly return. A mix of emotions stir within her. Needing to know more, she touches the Eye again and accesses it more immediately. Though the vision is more hazy this time, she finds out her mother still walking the Prime Material in Greyhawk at the Church of Cortox! She releases the Eye and rushes out the door to head to the Church of Cortox.
“Have you seen a woman here, an old woman. She looks something like me.”
“Yes, perhaps Sister Ygradnere? May I announce you?”
Lyssa pushes past the greeter acolyte and as he protests her entering, she charms him. “I insist, milady! Please, stop—“
“Take me to Sister Ygradnere,” Lyssa commands while charming the young acolyte.
“Yes, of course. She resides inside in the monestary.”
She is lead to a series of chambers beyond the altar room. “Stay out here.” Lyssa commands the acolyte. She enters and sees a woman dressed in opalescent violet ceremonial robes staring out into the evening sky. Long, thick silvery hair cascades down her back. She turns as Lyssa enters and its revealed to be Violetta. No longer the crone she left her as, she is a vital older woman now. The lines in her face remain, but the madness in her eyes has been replaced with a softness.
“Daughter!” She rushes, newly calm eyes welling up. She embraces Lyssa. “I’m so sorry. My mind… it wasn’t me. I’m sorry, I love you.”
“In my moments of terror and as I lay dying… I’m sorry, but my mind was broken. Your father… I cursed him, but I found it in my heart to forgive! He gave me Cortox’s blessing and he healed my mind. He brought me here. I will do whatever it takes to make it right. I’m so sorry.”
Lyssa backs out of her mother’s embrace. “What do you mean ‘his blessing’? After all these years—“
“Yes, your father. He… he knows he was wrong. His ascendence has given him perspective. He regrets using us as tools. That is why he healed my mind, so that we may heal what happened between us.”
“Because he can’t do that himself.”
“No. He is no longer of this plane.”
“Just like the son of a bitch,” Lyssa whispers to herself. “Good that you’re… alright. I’m going… to go.”
“I understand. We’ll never speak of our last meeting again. It’s a new day for us.”
“You have my love. And the love of Cortox.”
Lyssa shakes her head. She knows of Cortox’s power, but resents her father only stepping in at death’s door. Her breath starts to quicken. “I guess I can find you here then.”
“Yes. Find me here, but in your own time. It took me time to accept my own station, but my heart is now open to loving again. The jumbled madness of my mind is settled for the first time—“
“What did he do to you? Not now, but… then. What am I?”
“He came to Bayerton seeking the heirs to Ygranere. He found me and seduced me, charmed me into loving him. He took me and for a moment I almost thought there was a chance for happiness. But, by the time I birthed you, he had already found a new way to his goal. If he hadn’t found that path though…”
“You were made to serve as a vessel for him. A vessel made of both his blood and from the bloodline of Ygranere.
Lyssa stood silent, stunned and seemingly heart-broken.
“Your great-grandfather Zagyg built the great castle in Greyhawk, the one now in ruins. He was a man of omnipotent power, and your father knew that. He lusted for power!”
“If he hadn’t found those other plans, I would not have been me?!”
“Yes. He sees the error of his ways, and did this to try and atone.”
“Hindsight is always clearest. I have to go!”
“I understand. Go with my love.”
Lyssa rushes out of the Church and ducks into an alley between the Church and Friendly Strangers. She succumbs to a panic attack. She takes a few minutes to gather herself before rushing off back towards her apartment. Before getting there, she is intercepted by Trisoll.
“Lyssa!” he calls out. “Are you ok? You look white—”
“What time is it?” she asks in a flustered panic.
“I’m not sure.”
“How long has it been? Is it time to return to the Manor?”
“Almost, but Lyssa. Are you alright?”
“Ok, well… I’ll see you at the manor.”
“What? What do you want?!”
“No, you seem… it can wait for a better time.“
“What do you want?! There won’t ever be a ‘good enough’ time.”
“About what happened at Castle Mosshold. I’m not angry. Trithereon gave the choice to be there, and gave me the choice to stand by your side. I know the risk, the dangers. I don’t blame you. You’re still my friend. That’s it. I don’t hate you for what happened.”
“I’m sorry about what happened back there,” Lyssa responds, disarmed by his kindness.
“Like I said, Trithereon gave me a choice, and that choice was to be there for you. No hard feelings. I’ll see you back at the Manor.” Trisoll smiles at Lyssa and walks back towards home.
Back at the manor, the party gathers together one by one. The twins and Trisoll are first to arrive, where Thom tells Grum about his thieving clone.
“I ran into Lyssa. Not a shock, but she’s really upset but not in an angry way. Maybe, don’t be a dick to her.”
“What, she forgot to leave water out for her mother?” Thom jokes.
Moira comes. “I informed them of the heathen paladin. The church may have something for me. I don’t want to drag you into this, but I might have to take a small sabbatical for the church. A holy mission.”
“Watch out for heathen priests!” Th
“I’ve also taken on a student. The young man who brought Starstrike back home to me, Norrin.”
“What do you mean you’re leaving?” Lyssa enters and interrupts.
“I’m tutoring a young knight, who brought back my father’s sword—“
“No, holy mission?”
“More heathen priests are out there, and they may require a holy mission of me that will take me away for some time.”
“You can’t do that!”
“I have duty to the church.”
“What about us?”
“This is my calling. If you choose not to accompany me, I’ll take a band of knights with me.”
“Who are we fighting?” Th
“Oh no. I’m just seeking out heathen priests.”
“This is rdiculous. You don’t think there are other paladins who can do this instead of you?! You’re not a missionary.”
“I am in some ways, and if they can’t be reasoned with then there is always the sword.”
“Why are you being so cold about this?”
“It’s hard. I don’t want to leave your sides, I don’t! But the church—“
“Fuck the church!”
“Lyssa, that is blasphemy.”
“What are you going to do, stick me with your blade?”
Vetnik enters. “Who wants to take this eye back to the Uni?”
“Good idea, Vetnik. Let’s get this fucking orb out of our hair. Thom, walk with me. Bring the Tomes.”
“Vetnik, do you mind if I walk with you?” Mo
“Yeah. I can’t explain it. I really can’t. I’m not a godless man, in fact my goddess is rather alluring. But the idea of conversion. It’s like trying to change the spots on a frog. There’s no logic.”
Lyssa continues to mutter about Moira, but let’s him know he’ll ask Ebeviria about the Tomes.
“You trust her?”
“I don’t know.”
“Heh. I trust you not to give them to her.”
“I promise I won’t.”
Trisoll walks with Grum, who keeps his own dealing private between himself and his brother. “You and your brothers with your secrets. I hope they don’t get you killed someday.”
“Just have my back is all I ask.”
“Trisoll always has your back!” he remarks, slapping the thief’s back.
Moira walks, sullen and quiet, hurt by Lyssa’s blasphemy. “Seeing anybody?”
“I spent an evening with an entertaining young woman, but business got in the way. We all have things that keep us preoccupied.”
Moira sighs. She feels like her religion is a burden for the first time. She remains silent the rest of the way.
Lyssa is let in without issue. Lyssa confirms that the party following her are legit.
“Are you here for anyone in particular?”
“I need to speak with Ebeviria.”
He trembles at the sound of her name. “Do you want to come with?”
“I don’t like calling on her by myself.”
“I’ll just go myself.”
“Oh, bless you!”
Vetnik arrives after. “I am here to see Glarius Gladstone.”
A few moments later Vetnik and the others are hurriedly ushered into main hall to meet Glarius. He looks upon him.
“You’re missing someone. Where is our student?”
“She is seeing Ebeviria. She also doesn’t wish to be around the orb.”
“None of us do. How does she conclude that that is more important?” He opens a portal and calls out to Ebeviria. “Tell your student that she is to come to my chamber at once!” She bristles at being barked at. “Of course,” she says before dispelling the portal.
Lyssa knocks on Ebeviria’s door and she is allowed entrance. She steps in and tells Thom to wait outside. Ebeviria steps up, while Carthis yawns and remains beside her throne. “I see you’ve returned, Lyssa!”
“Yes. I just wanted to let you know I was back.”
“I assume this means you acquired the eye?”
“In so many words.”
Ebeviria perks up. “Glarius demands your attention. If you please, go visit him first!” Lyssa cocks her head at the sound of her mistress’ politeness. “Tend to Glarius, we’ll speak afterwards.”
Thom and Lyssa hustle to the great hall. “How good of you to join us. Now, I can feel my powers at an ebb, so I assume you have good news for me?” He says with a smile.
Vetnik begins to reveal the orb. Lyssa reaches out to hand the orb over herself, brimming with a strange confidence. Vetnik steers it away and approaches, but before getting too close, Glarius summons attendants.
“Take this to the Black Zone in the courtyard.” They abide and cart the orb off to the dead magic area. “My thanks to all of you! I’m glad I didn’t have to expend any of the college’s resources. Consider the boon paid.”
“What do you plan on doing with the orb?” Lyssa asks.
“Your pardon? Our plans for the orb… are too sensitive to share. Rest assured, it will be dealt with appropriately.”
“We risked out lives. Some of us lost our lives. We—“
“Your sacrifice is noted, dear girl. However, I will not be questioned again on this. We have been planning to deal with this for quite some time. Good day to you… all of you.”
Lyssa storms out to see Ebeviria. Thom follows with Tomes in hand.
“Did we get a bonus?”
“Because it was a boon. The boon’s been paid, we did their dirty work.”
“They tell you what they’re going to do?”
“They’re keeping it in the Black Zone.”
“Are they trying to get rid of it or harness its power?”
“I don’t know but we should keep an eye on it.”
The pair enter Ebeviria’s chamber. Thom is startled by her beauty. “You look quite beautiful when you’re angry” he says making a pass. Carthis grumbles as Ebeviria rolls her eyes. Thom feels like it could’ve gone either way.
“Lyssa. What is this favor that the guild can do for you?”
Lyssa waves Thom over and he opens his pockets. Lyssa takes a tome out and presents it to Ebeviria. Both watch as Ebeviria almost salivates at the sight of them. Her eyes light up.
“Where did you come by these?!”
Thom whispers to Lyssa. As he does, Carthis roars loudly.
“What does she know about the Eye’s intent?” he asks her
Lyssa is too spooked by Carthis and waves Thom off. “We found them in Castle Mosshold. Same place we found the Eye.”
“What you have here are tomes of incredible magical power. Each one is very specialized, and can only be read by someone who’s pursuit matches the book itself. For instance, this Manual of Stealthy Pilfering is meant for the eyes of a thief only. They impart incredible knowledge of a given craft. It can make thieves more skilled, warriors more deadly—“
“A mage more powerful?”
Ebeviria waves her comment off.
“Thom, can you excuse us?” Lyssa asks, giving Thom back the thieves’ tome. Thom excuses himself but listens at the door for their conversation.
“Some things happened back there that I can’t explain. I… died back there.”
“I see. And your companions found it within their reason to restore you to life. Consider yourself lucky.”
“Something else happened. I can’t explain it but I tried casting a spell and it surged, but all of a sudden it didn’t. I was… I was back before it all happened.”
Ebeviria is intrigued. She leans in wanting to know more. “Hmm. Next time we meet, tell me more about that episode. Perhaps we can tap into it, and perhaps even gain control over it. Those tomes, by the way… that is literally a king’s ransom.”
“Of gold or magic?”
“What use would one have who doesn’t follow the intended pursuit?”
“They would cause great harm.”
“Thank you for meeting with me.”
“Thank you for the favor that you and your companions have returned the Eye to the guild.”
“What does Glarius have planned for the Eye?”
“To harness or destroy it? I hope it’s the latter.”
“If it’s the former?”
“Well. We’ll see.”
Lyssa takes her leave and meets back with Thom. “How’d that go?”
“There’s a lot of power here in these books. You said you’d be able to get some info in the morning?”
“Yeah, at the Sages Guild”
“Why pay some old man to read these when we can read these ourselves! You’re skilled, you can magically identify them. If anything, I have an incredible magical library at my disposal. I can help research where I can.”
“Hm. There’s a thought.” Thom says with a smile.
The pair rendezvous with the rest of the group outside of the Uni.
“Any luck?” Tri
“No bonus.” Thom.
“When we left. They were super nice to us! We’ve probably curried favor with them.”
“Well, turns out our books are quite the find. Seems that each book can unlock powers within a specific area of pursuit.”
“Thom, let’s take them back to my place.”
“Alright, let’s go!” Trisoll
“I don’t think she’s inviting all of us.” Vet
“Oh. Well, um… have fun!” Trisoll
“Trisoll, come on. Let’s head back to the manor.”
“Yeah! I’ve craving some sweets, mayhaps some fried pastries…”
“I’ll come back with you all if you don’t mind.” Moira.
“What about you, Grum?” Vet
“Yeah, I’ll come with you.”
Grum finds that the Manor is being kept under watch by a small elven woman in a cloak. In response, he heads to the Night Bazaar to find Bayzox. The goblin merchant offers him a trio of traps: sleep, paralyze, and deathly poison. “Bayzox thanks you for business!” He returns and lets the others know he’s adding some security to the manor. Zemilay responds in turn by agreeing to cast some wards of his own in the morning.
Thom and Lyssa leave and spend the evening together, eating the last wheel of cheese and drinking ale (Thom only) while identifying the tomes.
“If Moira is in fact going to leave, I…”
“Well, we have a couple options. Talk her out of it or perhaps set up a little show so she gets it done and out of the way.”
“You mean fake a heathen conversion?”
“Yeah! What are you thinking?”
“I just… don’t want to die again. I cannot always rely on her, or rely on my magic which I still cannot control the way I want to. Maybe… maybe you can teach me a weapon? Perhaps the longbow?”
“Your mother and father, you’ve told me they’re well traveled. Do they know of anyone whose ever been resurrected?”
“Yes. My father, and one of his companions.”
“How did they take it?”
“Well, my father seemed to take it all in stride. The price of being a hero and all that.”
“And the other?”
“He didn’t like talking about her much. From what I remember, things didn’t end well.” Thom hands Lyssa the Librum of Gainful Conjuration and she begins reading it while he stays up identifying. “I don’t trust the Guild by the way. Keep your eyes and ears open.”
“I don’t blame you.”
“Well, if worse comes to worse, you think you and your brother might be up for a heist?”
“Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.”