@winterhawk99 Lauriella sits back in her chair and thinks about the gnomes last week and the wild adventure they sent her and near a dozen associates on.
It all started when Jonni, Kenton and I along with others were discussing current issues in the commons. Suppi the gnomish sorcerer and another Gnome by the name of Vanoogle joined us. Jonni got the gnomes going with ideas and they began to build something where the sundial use to be.
They build a (how do I describe it) a giant machine of mish-mashed parts calling it a rocket. Realizing there were many explosives surrounding the machine some of us convinced the Gnomes that the commons were not the best place to make a contraption with explosives. They dismantled the machine and moved it to the west looking for some rocky ground because the soft ground of the sundial as suggested was not a good place to make their experiment.
They then walked to the dias of the west gate. Seeing what they were doing I stood in the middle and protested that this is the place I sing to the moon. They could not build it here. They then looked around and found a large flat boulder to set up their machine. They then urged everyone to go. They wanted to find an earth-mote or flying city if you will.
Jonni and others convinced me it was safe so I joined them. Among our group was Suppi, Vanoogle, Lady Varya, Isolde, Rary, Jonni, Verika, Kenton Seth, Reyhenna, and the curious woman I mentioned before that would not say her name.
We all got on and the rocket took off with a roar. It rattled, shook and did many strange things while we flew higher and higher. It looked like the device was going to get out of hand and we where going to shoot all the way up to the stars when Isolde and the two gnomes finally got it under control. When they did we saw one of these earth motes and landed upon it.
Denizens immediately challenged us. Rary and I spoke with them calming them down. They offered us welcome only if we defeated some raiding Orcs that flew to their floating island on Halruaan ship.
I have never heard of a Halruaan and thought it would have a helm like a spelljammer. It does not. Upon further research I found the references about them. They are skyships that cannot go to the stars like spelljammers. They use giant turtle shells to levitate and ride the winds. They have steering sails too. They use a simple control rod made of silver and capped with gold to control their movements.
We sought out these orcs and found them quickly enough. After the first half mile we ran into mages. I was in the back protecting the newcomer with no name. However too close to the battle by a few steps. A fire brand spell hit me full force. I wound up on the fugue plane and I wasn't alone. Reyhenna was with me. We spoke and I found out that she had been there five times already and had been brought back by friends. It gave me hope for this was the first and hopefully my last venture to this plane of spirits.
I woke up back in my body penniless and checked my belly. Thankfully the baby was still alive. I counted my blessings and gave Lady Moonbow my respects. As we recovered the orcs had moved a cannon toward us. I shrank back against the cliff while others took on the orcs trying to fire the cannon. They were also firing from the top of the cliff too, arrows and stones.
We managed to capture the cannon and roll it forward. Our archers including myself harassing the coming orcs. As we moved we saw a large contingent in front of us surrounding their ship. We decided to use the cannon. I moved far back from the front to keep safe along with the strange girl who I used invisibility on.
When we moved forward most of the orcs were dead. Rarylador and others were going hand to hand with the orc chieftain. The giant of a creature seemed amused, Our warriors were tired and wounded. Some were cut up badly but they wore him down. He suddenly brought a potion up and was trying to uncork it. I knew it was my chance but I was low on spells. I did have a small cantrip called unseen hand that can pick up small objects or trip traps. I used it as the cork popped open for him. Just before he drank my invisible hand knocked the potion right out of his hand.
He looked directly into my eyes and said, "That just wont stand!" I ran as he grabbed a rope and swung over my way. He was not fast enough. Others caught up to him before he caught up to me. They fought hard bringing him to his knees. He plead for mercy but they cut off his head for unopposed entrance to the island. I am not so well with this action but knew that is what the denizens wanted. We then destroyed the rest of his ship that didn't get damaged by the cannon fire. Rarylador took the head back to the earth mote people meanwhile a Lammasu show up.
We spoke with it and found out it lived here to help hapless sailors and ships lost in the sea of falling stars. I told him that when I pilot I will put some mithral shavings into my pilot lantern on deck so that he will know he has a friend at sea.
The rocket itself was done its energy spent. We teleported back to the commons in good health. An amazing adventure finished and a place we are all welcomed up in the sky.
Lauriella labors in her thoughts as she sits in the library with papers and reports surrounding her. From broken swords to a giant rocket ship made by Suppi and another gnome by the name of vanoogle to a halfling's freedom purchased with a dragon egg she has much to think about.
She winces on what to write about first. The one of most import she feels are her observations on the Black hand. A group of seemingly invincible cultist who have banded together to cause chaos and evil across the lands of Peltarch.
She begins to write.
Letter to the leader of the Ceruleans, Lycka.
Personal and confidential.
In the last several weeks I have been involved with instances with the Black hand a group of seemingly indestructible Cultist that use undead, traps and abominations to terrorized the lands and its people.
I have personally met the one called the inventor. A vampire that uses clones to protect himself. His first appearance that I know of occurred when attacking me along the west gate as I worshipped. I ran for help and a number of adventurers helped to disarm and remove the trap he left in his wake. After which we killed several of his clones until he retired from us his voice whispering along the winds.
Later Lady Varya and Verika got mixed up with this black handed cult. A paladin by the name of Henry was slain. The black hand sent his sword to Lady Varya though the courier service known as Fast Travel.
Later as I sat in the commons with Kenton Seth we noticed that guard quietly setting preparations for a siege. All went to the west gate. The group included Myself, Raryldor, Ivory a cleric of Talona, Verika, Nathelin, Kenton Seth, and Elyl. We had some problem with the guard but came to an arrangement as Zombie Orcs were attacking the west gate.
We and the guard broke through their ranks and quickly put an end to their attack. The guard continued North and we went west to the farm houses. There we met with weak resistance from both Orcs and cultist. We continued to the cliff wall where we found more cultist defending the cavern system. We quickly put them down too.
Going into the caverns we found many cultist and undead. We worked our way deep into the depths where a foul poisonous mist was spreading. Many choked on the fumes. In one room we found a cunning trap made by the inventor. Disarming it we moved on. The mists in the caves weakened but did not stop. We knew there were more of these hideous death traps deeper in the caves.
Meanwhile a disembodied whistling started to be heard among our numbers. We tracked the sound to find another diabolical machine of destruction. Again we disarmed it. Now the mists within the cavern system began to dissipate. We moved on.
At the very end of the cavern system We were looking around for the inventor when suddenly we were surrounded by vampire adepts. The battle was fierce with Verika falling in battle. I survived a scratch from the vampires. A woman mage showed up and began to cast. I threw firebrand upon her and hid. The others took her down. I found out her name was Claire and some knew her in life. The threat gone we made our way back to Peltarch.
I picked up the staff of this Claire in the division of gains. It is a powerful staff of animate dead. Upon suggestion I believe it may be scryed to help in ending this group that calls itself the black hand. I will keep it until that time and then possibly sell it for a number of spells in Oscura being that Hermod has already told me he will not sell necromancies. Or have it destroyed so no one may use it (please advise)
A night later Verika was in camp with me when a strange human man teleported into the commons. He was wearing read formal clothing that made me suspicious. I found out his name is Jenkin Crow and he had a mission for Verika.
He told us that there is a Hin being held in Oscura on capital offense that knew how to find the lairs of the Black hand leaders, and knew how to defeat each of them. He told us that he could have the Hin released but he needed something to trade and he knew exactly what he wanted.
He told Verika of a dragon egg the kobolds held in their cavern system. For the egg he would have the halfling released into her custody for questioning. Then he teleported himself out.
She invited me to join her. Along the way we picked up several other adventurers. Autumn, A human Kronan woman who will not say her name, and a fighter type that swings a double bladed axe. We fought our way through kobolds, Lizardmen trying to get to the eggs and abominations. finding a kobold egg keeper that wanted to give up the fight. He gave us the dragon egg for his freedom and we set course for Oscura.
there we met Jenkin and sealed the deal escorting the halfling via teleportation to the commons. There he told us the full story. Both Verika and I asking many questions of him.
There are three leaders of the black hand. the leader of these is Lacaine who holds up in the mountains above a ruined city within. He gains his power from an unknown source within these ruins. He surrounds himself with a gauntlet of undead and created abominations within the mountain's depths. He is untenable until the other two are dealt with. The power his uses is the power of regeneration. By going into the ruins and breaking the link to his power source He can be put down.
The next leader is the inventor. the inventors real body is hold up in an old fortress. He surrounds himself with both traps and undead. Along with clones he constantly creates. The halfling Trick said he knows of a group of Vampire hunters that are willing to help out getting rid of the inventor. However he will not reveal the name or location of this group even as I pressed him. He did say that when we are ready He will call upon them to help with ending this menace. We must destroy all his clones and find the real body. Then we may do away with him once and for all.
The third calls himself the Lord of the Manor. He has a Manor house somewhere in Damara. The halfling told us his trick of survival. Every time his body is cut down a slave he owns takes his place as a sacrifice to the demons he involves himself with instead of his own soul. Thus he is resurrected. He told us that we must keep him occupied and run magical interference to this connection with this process and we may defeat him for good.
Trick said that though these three walk in apparent invincibility their biggest weakness is that they fear dying permanently. Once either the Inventor or Lord of the Manor are defeated the others will go onto the defensive. It will be much harder to defeat them in their lairs as their paranoia sets in. They will work separately thereafter and alone. We take care of the other lesser and Lacaine will be left alone on his mountain. Then we may take him out with a powerful enough group.
The Hin is hiding near a temple in the realms controlled by Peltard, however I can only reveal his whereabouts to Lycka personally for fear of scrying by these powerful cultist. I believe this is prudent at this time.
Lauriella puts it into a scroll tube and places her seal upon it and waddles down to the CQ on duty delivering it to him.
Lauriella takes up the scroll case from the CQ on duty at the defenders headquarters. She pulls out the two notes and reads them. She stares at the ceiling for some time before answering out loud, "Lycka wants me to be more perceptive and use my arcane skills more. I think I can do that."
She rethinks every encounter she has run an report on backtracking it in her mind for points to work on. Her investigative skills need some improvement. Once satisfied she can make proper adjustments she opens her journal.
Lycka wants me to use my lore and spellcraft more along with sharpening my perceptions of each incident. I see in the city. I need to start to remember every other person around me and what exactly they do. Lets make this learning curve sharper than others I've been working on. So many things preoccupy my mind from the baby to my own research in the arcane. I need to focus more on my duties to the city state itself or I may well be asked to leave after a year.
On a different note I would like to refer to two individuals. The first is the court wizard I often see at the state meetings I've been at. Usually I stop at the threshold at the council chambers and listen quietly and respectfully when I happen upon a meeting. A few times I have curiously walked in without being thrown out. often standing behind someone I know in case I was asked to leave.
The last time I happened upon a meeting many of the other Ceruleans were there. I timidly walked in and stood by Jonni, hoping to listen to what is going on. The court wizard there who I have seen but do not know smiled at me with a certain familiarity I would not expect. It struck me as odd. I was eventually guided to a seat beside Jonni and listened to the meeting on the Cerulean that attacked the royal family. This was way beyond my experience and so I listened quietly without interrupting. Still the court wizard's reaction to my presence struck me as odd. Is he divining me or had he heard rumors, or is it just that I am pregnant (that may be a good assumption) I do not know what to think as of yet but will be watchful of further attentions.
The other person I want to mention in the journal is Thorin. Thorin has been confusing me to some extend. When first I met him I found him jovial and amendable as we sat by a campfire and celebrated late in the night.
The second time it was when the sailors toke the celestial sword away from the city for safe keeping. So the Baatezu would stop attacking the city. Thorin was there. His reaction to me was much more reserved and undecided. It may have been about the incident with the spellweavers. That was probably it.
Recently he meet me in the commons and had yet another reaction. He did give me some good counsel about the welfare of the citizens of Peltarch and my responsibilities. Seemingly much calmer than last I was in his presence.
Lauriella winces while closing the journal, "Please stop kicking me. You're hurting your momma. Go to trance little one. We still have a long way to go." She goes on asking in her head, 'Do all babies kick like this or is it the human side of him? He feels like he wants to kick his way out of my womb."
She unrolls another scroll paper and begins to write.
Dear Hemt Netjer Fezim of Kurth.
Greetings from Peltarch in Narfell from Lauriella Sithmore.
I have come to the conclusion that no ship will likely take me from port in Damara to Mulhorand as far along as I am even with some experience in piloting. I will have to have my baby here and trust in the women I know here to have the birth. I have done all that you and the high clerics have prescribed in reference to the baby so that they have a chance at a normal life. May Lady Moonbow protect me and the child.
I have been invited and accepted into an military organization of mage protectors in the city state of Peltarch. My first loyalties must stand with those that call themselves the Order of the Cerulean Stars. I know this has no bearing on my guild membership in the House of life, however I want to make the division of my alliances quite clear. I believe by my being a member and taking care of the people here a good duty and may bring a steadying influence to their barbaric ways.
After the baby is born I will again travel to Mulhorand on a regular basis to help in whatever way I may, and complete my necromantic studies. The only thing I fear now is the protection and non-detection of my child. I will spend every gold I have to either make or have made an amulet for him or her.
In that way though I may not completely protect him from Lord Rokiri I may make it hard for him to find the child. Thank you for all advise and counsel. I will return within the year I believe.
Thank you and may your gods bless you and the house of life.
Hemt Lauriella Sithmore.
Lauriella rolls up the scroll and places her seal upon it. Places it into a tube and again stamps her seal to the end. She waddles out to await the caravan to Damara. While she waits she soaks up as much sun as possible though the light is starting to burn her eyes and the heat from the direct sunlight makes her uncomfortable. She sighs when the caravan finally comes. Giving the scroll case to the man she trusts she waddles back to the city hall library to continue honing her lore and understanding.
Several days later Lauriella has all she needs to make the letters she needs to make. She draws up a table to a comfortable chair in the city hall library. She takes up her quill and begins to write on a form letter stating her status as a Cerulean.
The first thing she sees is Name:. She hesitates thinking 'Would anyone know who the family is? Would they shun me as soon as they saw the name. I've never had a problem on journey with the ships but then again I know my name has an advantage for merchant ships to carry me to another port."
She chews her lip making the decision.
Name: Lauriella Sithmore.
Position: Knights of the Cerulean Stars (1 year probationary)
Rate of pay
Again she hesitates. She didn't even know there was pay associated with the Ceruleans. She writes
Rate of pay: Unknown
When done she puts it in a scroll case. unrolling another scroll to be written. She again takes up her quill and writes.
Report Lauriella Sithmore of the Cerulean stars
With lightning crashing where the missing Sundial stands a Mad Mage appears late at night wanting those that stand around to play his games. I have seen him twice. His games and tricks so far have done no permanent harm or laid use of offensive magic but the defenders should know about his antics.
He appears to be a human mage of medium build wearing a help to hide his face. The first time he appeared with a lightning stroke I watched his every move most carefully.
He set four different colored crystal balls on the ground and put an ordinary looking broom in the middle of the commons circle. He then asked each there including myself to touch one. Rarylador was the first. He touched one of the balls and disappeared. When he came back he was covered in mud and wastes. He smelled like the sewers.
The second person touched a globe. I forget who or what happened because I was concentrating on the mage trying to figure out his end game.
Then I touched a globe. I grew to the height of a hill giant effected by an enlarge spell the device unleashed. Rarylador then touched another globe. He was influenced by a shrink spell. I almost mushed him thinking he had turned into t a mouse. Then I thought it over again and knew I could not claim plausible deniability. I held my position and watched as Unen touched the broom. A shower of gold coins rained from the heaven upon him. Once the shower stopped the mysterious mage I now call the Trickster disappeared.
Several days later coming back from praying to Lady Moonbow just after midnight I found the Trickster again playing another game. There were three portals in the area the sundial usually stands. He told I, Rarylador and another to enter one of the portals. Rarylador jumped into one of the portals immediately. Then I jumped in another.
I found myself in a shallow cave. There were cages full of animals and a guardian for all the beasts caged within. He said he was a beast master. Going out of the cave I found myself in an arena. There was blood on the ground and a few bones. They looked human but I did not stick around to find out. I saw a rope on the other side. I managed to climb up after quite a struggle and found myself in Norwick behind the temple of Chauntea. I questioned the likes of a fighting arena in the city for a moment but started back to Peltarch.
As I waddled toward the city I became very tired and tried my newest spell. Phantom Steed. The spell misfired a second time. It seems that I am not pronouncing the wording just right for the spell to enact. I will have to work on that. Disheartened I stopped for an hour and rested. Waddling the rest of the way to town. There was no one in the commons so I waited to make sure any that may have gone through the portals made it back ok. Then rested.
I do not know if this mage/Trickster will come back to play his games but will watch and comment upon them if he does. Advise? What should I do If things get out of hand or the mage becomes adversarial?
Lauriella rolls up the letter and places it into the same scroll case. and goes on to the next letter.
Report: Lauriella Sithmore of the Cerulean Stars
Recently one night a portal opened up in the commons and a Thavian wizard walked out from it. Both Verika and Droim was with me to witness the incident.
The wizard was looking for Eurek. I know there is something going on between Eurek and the Red Wizards. Something about him being framed by the same illusionist I was or am investigating for Baroness Tiller. I myself said that I was a magical defender of the city and disliked portals popping up in the center of town. He told me he could destroy me before I even started to counterspell his magic.
I knew it was true and most likely made a mistake but Thavians are dangerous were-ever they tread. I felt I had to put myself out since no one else would. I distrust Verika's motivations and think that if things go south she is more likely to turn tail and run rather than stand for the city and the defenseless.
From this point I stopped my banter with the mage and listen to him. He was disappointed in not finding his quarry and blatantly said that he was also testing the cities ability to defend against he and his collogues. The statement raised the hairs on the back of my head. I centered myself as taught, staring him straight in the eyes without saying a word. After making his proclamation along with some other threats to the city if Eurek isn't found he left through the portal.
She puts the letter in the same tube and takes out yet another scroll. She sights as she begins to write this one.
Personal to the other members of the Ceruleans:
When an elven woman gives birth to a half-elven there are usually complications. Sometimes those complications are grave. My pregnancy is further complicated but I cannot say how. Baroness Tiller knows the details and if at all possible I would like to have her as midwife though that may not be possible with her duties.
I am writing this letter in case I should pass while giving birth. If this should happen I would like my fellow Ceruleans to burn my body until even the bones are ash. I will wish not to come back. I know I have a home in Lady Moonbows arms once I have transcended.
Have my ashes sent to Evermeet. My parents have a small farm just north of Drelagara (Ask for the Sithmore farm). they have already lost their son, my brother. I am the last they will birth. They will be sad but let them know I did what I could for all peoples that I have met. I had an interesting life to say the least and meet whatever fate with the same curiosity I did in life.
I should have enough coin to do all this. Take all my research and use it well in the coming centuries. As for my things Keep them for the next Cerulean that may need them to do their work.
Thank you for listening to my wishes
She puts the last scroll with the others and goes down to the defenders headquarters. There she hands it to the Sgt. CQ on duty. and walks back up the stairs to read and study.
@winterhawk99 After a blistering month of action Lauriella sits down in the library of the city hall and recluses herself for several months.
The first thing she does is write in her journal: I finally had it out with Rarylador at the commons by the Sundial. His controlling personality and outright condemnation of me brought me to the boiling point. I told him off in no uncertain words what I thought of him. My Father always told me to beware of wolves bearing gifts. I thought that He being a cleric would be different...….No He was far from it! He has ever tried to turn me from my true purpose and now I have another support system. The Ceruleans. I may only be a probate member but I have people I can turn to that understand the trials I have been through.
After a grueling month of going outside and just before I recluse myself here the elven offered me a spell crystal. I would not take it freely. Instead, I traded him for a gem of higher value. It didn't mean much to me but he walked away with a smirk on his face. It angered me even more. So much has happened in between including my induction into the Ceruleans. I will speak of this and other things in this journal.
The first thing I want to mention is the Red Dragon returned. This time with a half-dragon. They appeared in the woods east of the rift. close to gnoll territory. I found out the Halfer's name is Hed'ral and the dragon's name is Kauleth. They were thrown out of their home by their mother, Inferno (Rass as a nickname). They found a lair in the mountains. Which mountains they did not say.
We were trying to negotiate a deal with the pair when the same gnome paladin along with a gnome sorcerer named Suppi got hot under the collar and attacked the dragon. The dragon of course retaliated and killed Suppi. I am not sure he killed the paladin. Someone put the body or bodies in a bag and took them to temple.
Meanwhile Jasmine showed up and started to negotiate. Most by this time left the area. I stayed behind leaning up against a tree to back her up in case things got ugly. Jasmine paid some kind of tribute to the dragon. I believe it was a sword but am not sure. they made an arrangement which I could not hear all the words of. Then the halfer and dragon left the area.
I know that most of my spells would bounce of the dragon to no effect but I had to be there to support Jasmine just in case. Perhaps it was not wise but no one else would. Perhaps one day things will be different.
There are many other events that happened while I soaked up the sun for my baby to be birthed as a normal half-elf. I have taken great care to follow the prescripts of my guild on handling such a birth. I do worry that I will not survive it so will make a last will and testimony before I am due.
For now I tire easily and must rest.
@winterhawk99 After two months of research away from everyone I came back out of the library to find a dizzying array of action. The first thing to happen was late at night. The halfling Droim and I were discussing various subjects when a portal appeared where the sundial usually is (It got destroyed by a black pudding). A human dressed in nobleman's clothing stepped out and convinced us to step into the portal He called himself Vox. He wanted us to do a job but he wouldn't say what it was. He said there would be treasure. Needing funds for my research I jumped at the opportunity. So did Droim.
We found ourselves in a dungeon with another nobleman. The nobleman told us that Vox ran slaves and that we were his most recent victims. The other then told us that there was another man 'Ted that had died recently and told him there was a secret escape that opened by a switch or chain. He brought us to a table where poor Ted's body was covered up with a bloody sheet. We discussed what to do next and decided to pull a few of the hanging chains.
The first chain we pulled released several gems. to which Droim collected for us. The next we pulled let loose a rabid Penquin that made straight for me. I shot it with an arrow and Droim finished it off. We pulled several more releasing coins, giant spiders, One chain turned Ted into a zombie that attacked us. We handled it all well and found the chain to release a trapped door. Droim easily made it through the trap door first. I had some problems squeezing through the tunnel due to my condition. I'm now getting quite plump, but the nobleman unused to tight places and used to an easy life had the hardest time. We almost had to pull him out of the other side.
Once on the other side Four guards attacked us immediately. I took charge throwing phantasmal killers and negative energy rays to kill three of them. The other ran away and up a ladder. The nobleman unfortunately did not survive the initial attack. Droim and I chased the guard to a room with two ladders. We discussed it and went up the other to find ourselves in a large grand hall in front of a woman in a mask and wizard robes.
The guards wanted to kill us. She wanted to do worse things to us. We explained that a man named Vox had accosted us with lies of treasures to put us in her dungeon to be sold as slaves. The woman got very angry and called out 'VOX!' The nobleman showed up. She admonished and threatened him. Telling Vox she didn't want her dungeon used for his illicit hobbies. He became like a begging puppy dog. I smiled inside while maintaining a serious face. Droim meanwhile talked the woman down quite nicely.
She turned to us and was thinking of killing us again to save face. Droim told her she should let us go and we would not breath a word of the incident. She paid us off for our silence with our promises.
Back in the commons we dumped out the items she gave us. There was a wand, some potions and a couple of scrolls. One of the scrolls was Animate Dead. I told Droim he could have everything but that one scroll. I said I would like to keep it. Droim agreed and I picked up the scroll.
Two things happened about this incident later. The first is I heard that Droim had gotten quite drunk at a tavern, Danced on the tables talking about how he bested a mage and saved a pregnant woman. I shook my head and smiled. That's not exactly what happened but I think Droim should have his day. If anyone ever mentions it to me I will tell them that what Droim said was true. The other incident involved the scroll. I at first took it to Hemrod to see if I could trade it for another. He would not take it, but said I could probably trade it in Oscura. I went down and met a mage there. I traded the scroll for a scroll I had been looking for a long time. I traded it for Phantom Steed. Now that I have that spell I will search for ways to pick up the arcane version of speak with dead, false life and more to enhance my white necromancy.
The next thing to happen to me is as I was sitting in the commons I noticed a lot of mages and bards I know gathering around me. Jonni was there along with Skye, Shesarai, and others. They invited me to Jonni's home. There they formally asked me to join the Ceruleans. I accepted. We had a meeting. It was very secretive. So much so that I will not even write about it in my journal. I will say it was quite the education on the political structure of Peltarch and the Ceruleans themselves along with their history. I am now what is called a one star in the order. I am to observe and am to be guided by the others over the first year of a probationary membership. I look forward to it. I have also been asked to add Mystra to my prayers as well as Lady Moonbow. So now after singing to Lady Moonbow, I add a few prayers to Mystra to keep the weave stable. And yes I can now sing to my goddess again. I still cannot dance until I made up for what I have done in the recent past.
The very last thing to happen to me was while going to the farmlands with Shesaria we came across some strange tracks. Not so much me but she noticed them. She said that they always seem to appear behind her. I could see nothing having no sense of tracking what-so-ever. The tracks disappeared after we searched much of the area. I called up simsee to see if her true dragon sight could pierce the veil of this unknown track leaver. Meanwhile more adventurers gathered around us wondering what was going on.
We gave up and started back to the commons when a farmer ran past screaming about a dragon. We all went to the ridge south of the farms and found a huge dragon sleeping across the road. The carcass of a cow beside it. Autumn took charge and offered it treasure to leave. Then sang to it. Her song was starting to work when a dwarven paladin or knight walked up to it sword in hand trying to intimidate it. The dragon almost killed him...…...TWICE! I was thinking its going to attack and we would all be dead. It was irritated to say the least. Autumn managed to talk it down and it did eventually leave. Thank the heavens. We all went back to the commons. Both I and Autumn tried to counsel the knight but he made such excuses and deflections that I finally knew it would be of no use to speak with him on the subject again. I finally sat back down to rest my aching back and got a good rest. I wonder what grand events will happen upon the morn.
After walking along the west wall to get as much sun as she can, Lauriella goes back to the library opening her old books. Before she starts her research she digs a fist full of silver coins from her pack holding them in the palm of her hand as long as she possibly may. The baby kicks in seeming protest.
She looks down to her slight belly, "It's ok. I'm not trying to hurt you. I am only doing my best to make sure you are born without curse or disease. I hope you understand in the end. Not that you will remember anything from now."
When she can no longer hold on she drops the coins, takes a rag and scoops them back into their pouch. Putting salve on the irritations she goes back to her work.
She doesn't know if her letters will be answered and there may be a good chance these incidents are singular, but It does strike her oddly that there have been 3 demons reported that come from an alien plane not known to most here on Toril.
Her training and practice while she was an apprentice have prepared her somewhat but what did she really know about the mysterious Fade plane and it's inhabitants.
She knows that the plane does exists though only referenced and described by her mentor Archmage Fawn Vail. If she could go back to the Archmage's library on her island she could learn more about it. Lauriella again goes back to her notes to quantify and be able to give others a general understanding of this place.
The Fade is a plane or demi-plane inhabited by both the spirits of mortals that are molded into their greatest attributes and by demons that constantly monitor the prime to seek out mages dabbling in things they should not so they may corrupt and eventually possess said mage.
The plane itself is described as something like the ethereal but different. It is a plane of constant change and mirage. Many objects and creatures of the plane look like one thing but are quite another. Sight is hindered in the realm. There is a bubble like quality to it as if looking through a glass bowl. There is also the prevailing fog like quality to the air making vision both distorted and close.
Spirits of those finding themselves here after death become distorted or if you will purified. When the plane is done with them they exemplify the foremost quality they had in life. You will find spirits named Compassion, mayhap a cleric of a good healing god or goddess that healed the sick and homeless. There are many others as there are emotions and qualities. Spirits of Valor, Honor, Mercy, Justice and Joy.
These spirits like the demons of the plane may possess an individual. When this happens a more symbiotic relationship occurs. The person the spirit is inhabiting becomes closer to the spirits prime emotion. A spirit of Valor will try to influence its host to great accomplishments on the field of battle. A spirit of Honor will try to influence its host to be honorable in all that he or she does.
A spirit's aim is to live with the host not to completely control him. They do not try to burn the mortal body out only to seek another host later like a demon, and also a spirit will leave a host if there is a conflict between host and itself. It also has to be invited into the others body by the host itself.
A demon of the fade on the other hand will at first tempt its host with power, dreams and other measures to gain entrance. Using blood magic is sure to draw demons to oneself. If a demon does not get invited to the host it will wait for the host to do blood-magic. After which the mage will be in a weakened physical state and the Demon can try to force its way into the body.
When this happens the Demon will contain the other soul or outright destroy it when it finds the hosts weaknesses in their will. The demon will use the body to do various goals the demon has while the host will physically age, become diseased and eventually expire within a short time period. The demon will leave seeking out another host.
Fade demons particularly like mages and the stronger the better. With powerful mages the demon will force its way in and wait unnoticed reading the hosts memories until it finds all the hosts weakness. It will then try to influence the host to do things unbecoming but that the host finds enjoyable. Drink, women, men, all the sins of the spirit. When the host becomes weak enough in soul the Demon will make a hostile takeover similar to the demons we have seen on Toril since the age of the elves.
These fade demons also come in various forms of negative emotions and/or prime bad influences in ones life. They share names like, Hunger, sloth, desire, Pride, and other negative activities.
there is a ceremony where one can send a mage to the realm of fade. If there is some form of extra-planer breach that lets the fade influence the prime of Toril then this ceremony should work. The problem is without access to the information for this ritual I have no idea how to make it work, unless I can find the information on my former mistress's island in the astral. The second problem is it will be another year before I may interact with spirits.
Hopefully these incursions are singular instances and there is no need to fear an invasion of fade demons on Toril. but we all must be watchful of such. If there is let us hope that we will find a means to send a mage into the Fade and take counsel from the spirits of the realm to undo the damage created.
Lauriella rolls up the scroll and marks it in case someone asks her about the situation. She is now prepared to speak to others that she sent scrolls to previously.
When not at the sundial, Lauriella now spends much of her days in the library of the government building of Peltarch. Studying anything in history she may have missed while she stayed centuries on the astral plane at the Vail island.
On this particular day she reads a letter that came to her via caravan route from Mulhorand from Hemt Netjer Fezim.
Dearest Hemt Sithmore.
It has come to our attentions that at least three instants of demonic possession to which our clerics have no idea how to vanquish. These demons are far an above different than anything we have experience. When divined these demons have general names but we have yet to deduce the exact names of them. Two we have learned are called hunger demons. One through rigorous divination where a holy angel was called, we know now is something called a Desire demon.
We know nothing about these creatures and by what plane of the abyss they come from. Being that we can no longer contact Hemt Netjer Tarset; We send this letter to you hoping that you may clarify what is happening.
Being that we know you are with child and that you may not contact the spirit world or interact with the undead we will seek to contain this problem on your advise.
Do not under any circumstances try to seek to take care of this on your own! It is too dangerous for the special child you bare within you.
May Horus-re protect you and your goddess of the moon comfort you.
Hemt Netjer Fezim
Lauriella gets up and paces about the library thinking on what she has just read. Not only is she concerned about what she read. Her back is starting to hurt so she must spend an amount of time standing, sitting and laying down. She is now 1/2 way through her pregnancy. She is starting to show. It will be another year before she births the child. She looks up at the ceiling exclaiming, "Humans have it so easy, Lady Moonbow."
She takes up quill and ink to pen a letter.
Dear Hemt Netjer Fezim.
It is not the third incursion of the fade into Toril. It is the fourth that I know about. If there are incursions coming it is because somewhere on Toril an unusual planer spell was used on this world to rip Realmspace therefore letting a plane not known to Toril to mingle with our magics.
As you have implored I cannot commune with spirits until my child is born, and therefore am of little use. My best advise as a demonologist is to wait and listen for other mages from other countries to report instances where similar things occur.
The demons of the fade are attracted to untrained mages. They possess said mages and take them completely over. They may seem beneficial at first but eventually they take complete control and run amok until they can either find a more advanced mage to attack or a commoner to possess until said time they can find another mage. Beware for the House is in danger. Begin training your prospects and apprentices heavily on both mind abjurations and the dangers of making any deal with the demons of the fade.
Hopefully in the next year, with very good luck: I will be able to find a mage that also knows about the plane of Fade and when I have birthed my child will be able to go directly there to find out what goes on from the good spirits that inhabit this unknown place. For I know something of this place of mirages. I will quietly research and gather information about other regions until such time as I may participate. Sending updates where affordable.
May Lady Moonbow shine her light upon you.
Hemt Lauriella Sithmore.
Lauriella rolls up the parchment, stamps it with her seal, places it into a tube and again places her seal over the cap. A seal that has her wizard mark in the center within a double circle. inside the double circle are the words in Mulhorandi. Official document of the House of Life of Mulhorand."
Again she gets out a parchment and starts to write.
Dear Baroness Anna Tiller,
It has come to my attention that something or someone on Toril has broken the protective weave of Realmspace to let demons on Toril that by all Lore should not be able to breach the prime here.
Being a demonologist and steeped in the lore of several outside influences, I know of these things most mages would not.
If you come upon certain possessions, particularly of mages! please let me know. I have hope that I will be able to bare my child before things become critical for by law I may not engage with spirits until said prodigy is one unto themselves.
You will know these possessions in that you will be confounded by what types of demons they are. They go by the general names of Hunger, Desire and Pride demons. I am hoping that I may have my child and then be able to go to a plane little known by torilians seeking out wisdom from the good spirits that dwell there to stop the demonic incursion into Realmspace and sew up whatever breach brought them here.
Lauriella Sithmore. Hemt of the house of life.
When done, She rolls and stamps the scroll putting it into a tube. After which she writes the same letter to the Ceruleans, heading it, To who it may concern or Nadia whichever is best to read this."
Once done she leaves the scroll in its tube at the door of the Ceruleans in city hall. Then she makes the short trek to the south wall and beyond to Baroness Anna and Lady Varya's home putting another scroll tube against the door.
Dear Hemt Netjer Fezim,
This is Hemt Sithmore. My situation has changed. I have been charged as a deputy to investigate the hostile magics of an illusionist spreading chaos in the city state of Peltarch. I cannot at this time come back to Mulhorand to continue my studies in the necromantic arts.
As soon as the investigation is over I will take the very next caravan to Damara and set sail for your fair country. Many have said I should have my baby in Narfell however they have not the understanding nor the facilities to hide said baby from the father of the child. Furthermore I have been abandoned by those who do not understand the necromantic traditions of both Evermeet and Mulhorand in the art of white necromancy and the rules of using the art for the betterment of Toril instead of the subjection or destruction of the land. They are a narrow minded people.
On this regard I also do not think that having a trade or treaty alliance with the nations of Narfell is possible in the long term. Narfell is broken up into singular city-states that bicker both within and with one another. Most but not all here I find selfish and barbaric.
Even the one light I saw turned dim. A high cleric of an elven god became so controlling that I had to take sound action to stop his attentions to my work. However there is still hope here and I will do my very best to help my newest home to acquire some culture and sophistication. There are many individuals that merit high regard.
Giving an example of the chaos I am dealing with here, The capital city has either lost or soon will loose their king who owed a large dept to a neighboring city-state called Norwick. Instead of paying the required gold he payed them in grains much needed in his own state for the winter because he wanted to keep his wealth. He let the people go hungry so he would not loose a copper to the neighboring state to which there is no war and little strife.
Now the others in the nobility bicker over who is to aquire his title. There is much infighting within the nobility itself. I cannot with good conscience recommend that we trade Mulhorand's grains, fruits and spices for the hardwood and ores which I know you need desperately. The situation here is total chaos. The cultures too different. They will not trust you and you will come to not trust them.
Moreover there is a city-state in Narfell called High-hold. They cozy up to the Thavian wizards as a whore to a customer. They do not know what they do. The Thavians will corrupt them to the point were I fathom a slave trade very soon within their borders.
There is also another situation brewing. It seems the peasantry is about to or already has started to revolt over the grain shipments to Norwick. A warehouse was attacked and burnt almost the the ground just before when I came back from my last trip. Also there were pamphlets attached to blood soaked rags that read, "Peltarchian Souls,
For ten years, we have suffered the rule of a tyrant and his so-called royal family. A family thanks to whom our homes are invaded by fiends, while our military fights against itself instead of for us. Thanks to whom our crops have been sent to greedy foreigners by royal order, while our children and elders starve. Thanks to whom we have had to kneel to a throne, beg for the dole, and suffer their luxury.
On this, the eve of his demise, know the truth: his time is at an end, and ours is to come. Wait for the call.
Now you know the full extent of the problems I am dealing with. I highly recommend not going forward with any trade or alliance talks with any city-state in Narfell.
Despite all these recommendations I do wish to continue my longer journey in Narfell. There is much I can do to help these barbaric people. There are many souls that are of good disposition and or long for a stable society. I will do what I can here as the centuries turn. I still call this my home.
May you bask in the day by Ra's light and feel cooled in the night by Lady Moonbow's beams.
Hemt Lauriella Sithmore.
Lauriella carefully roles up the scroll and stamps it with her official seal. Then she puts it in a scroll case again stamping the cap with her seal, addressed to the house of life in Mulhorand. going to where the caravans take on cargo she waits until the right one that she knows comes. Once he is there she greets him. giving him the scroll saying, "This is a letter to the house of life make sure it is carried to the maid of the inner sea's captain. He will take it from there.
The man gives her a slight bow and takes the tube.
It's late as I put quill to ink today. The stars shine and Selune is a quarter waxing soon to be in her glory. I was wrong I think about Lady Varya. There was something much deeper in her dreams than just manipulation of an outside force, The illusionist or as Verika calls him now, The Headache. Before I go into that there is something else that came before.
I met Garen at the sundial. We were doing what most adventurers do there. I to my books and bottles he to his armor mending and sword sharpening. I noticed his skeletal arm. He said he replaced it. At first I thought perhaps he is a palemaster, however his dress in armor and carrying the weapons and mending supplies of the warrior class made me think twice.
An old man showed up and showed Garen some antique he had purchased. They talked about it while I watched. When they were finished the old man invited the two of us to his apartment at the bottleneck to tell tales of our travels. He and I discussed it and figured what the hells. Sounds like a good time. When we got there we found a guard standing but her throat was slit. Erurk showed up while we were examining her. After we were done we went to the apartment. It was trapped.
Erurk worked set off the trap while Garen and I hid way off to the side of the hall. He opened the door as we came from both sides. Garen looked in then I looked peeking my head between the two rather large men. The old man was sitting in the front room in front of the table. There was some kind of device with buttons on it underneath his chair. It was a trap.
I said I was not going in there until I was sure it was safe to walk. Erurk turned himself into a fairy...…..Ok that doesn't sound right because Erurk is this hulking half-orc twice as tall as me and at least three times a wide, but that's what happened. He flew about the room making sure there were no more traps. After which I carefully stepped in and examined the device. I could make no heads or tails over the symbols on the buttons. As we were discussing how to disarm it Garen pulled out a scroll of find and remove traps and disarmed it. We lowered our eyebrows and looked at him.
Next we examined the old man. His throat was slit and he was dead. We opened another door to find a form that looked like they were sleeping in a bed. there was a device in the corner. it was both humming and had a whirling sound. Erurk approached it as he did the device hummed louder and the fan within whirled faster. I told him to back up. Stepping just within the threshold of the room I bent down and examined it. It was something I had seen before. a proximity trap. There was a bottle of green liquid attached to the top of it. Acid or poison. I did not know which. we backed away and tried the door on the other side of the front room.
It opened to an office. There was a tripwire plain to see around the counter. Erurk jumped over it behind the counter. That's when I saw just a flash of another man in the room. I backed up into the corner to prevent any harm to my unborn. That's when the man leaped from the shadows and attacked Erurk. Three things happened at once. I threw phantasmal killer, Garen threw a spell from scroll, and Erurk jumped on him. The assassin a belt of alchemist fire grenades at his waist died as the grenades exploded, Erurk stopping the blast by jumping on top of him.
I thought him dead but amazingly he got back up, burnt and bruised but not dead. He must have one hell of a suit of armor. Meanwhile I had sent Simsee to get the guard writing that I, and my compatriots had found a murder. The first to show up was Lady Varya just after the assassin had died. Quickly on her footsteps came the guard. One of them rushing into the bedroom and setting off the trap. I had put something about traps in my note but the guard must not have read that part. Guards big on bulk not much on brains. Luckily Lady Varya had a heal potion and gave it to her. As we were being questioned I started wrapping the woman for proper burial. The guard stopped me saying they were taking over. I backed up and gave them a nod.
Lady Varya walked back to the commons with us as Garen explained the old man showed him an antique sword hilt he had just purchased from Hemrod. Lady Varya's eyes lighted up and said that they had just sold one to him. Her and I think she mentioned Isolde but I forget the other name it could have been someone else.
We talked at the sundial for quite awhile and Lady Varya seemed to have some form of breakdown. She was questioning her service to the defenders because one of its leaders is evil. As we talked about it I told her, "There is always a way to do good in the world, no matter who you are. You must find your path to doing that while maintaining your dignity."
She looked at me very strangely. Saying, "Your right." She walked off and out of my vision for sometime.
When she came back she had resigned from her post and came back wearing the colors of Chauntea. I smiled to myself and thanked the goddess for giving my words meaning for her. Lady Varya after that seemed much more composed. I also promised her that I would stay in Narfell until this Illusionist was captured. Not the gnome the Illusionist that is using project images to harm the surrounding populace. In the days afterward I concentrated on maintaining my health, praying and helping adventurers going afield with my abjurations.
A few people said that my baby should be born in Narfell. I should not sail to Mulhorand to have him or her. Unfortunately Narfell being mostly dislocated city states does not have places where I can hid him from his father. They also do hot have the facilities to deal with the child itself. I plan to have my baby in Mulhorand where the house of life will be ready to deal with my particular situation. I really hope the Headache is caught before I come to term in 15 months.
Lauriella sits down at a table on the patio of the in. She opens her journal and begins to write down all that has happened to her these last few weeks.
I kept my condition secret for over four months. When the morning sickness came I could no longer hide it. Lady Varya was the first to notice it as we defended Norwick from a goblin raid. Later Raryldor wanted to take me to the dwarven crypts. He must have seen I was hesitant. I was hesitant that I should not be around undead at this time. I tried very weakly to deter him but he wanted to show me. I went. I stayed as far away as I could from them. I didn’t get but a few scratches and I was not that far along yet.
Four months is little compared to the two years of the experience. Near the bottom we encountered mummies. I tried to stop them with my will and ended up like in Mulhorand turning to a corner and shaking in fear. I know that I am still not ready.
Raryldor killed them. Afterward I cut the sacred herbs out of their chests and smelled them. They were not rotten or corrupted in any way. Come to think of it, I should have taken a wire and pulled the parcel of herbs out of their brain cavity. That may have told me more of what I needed.
Within days Raryldor found out. He was angry. The funny thing is he never raises his voice or seems angry but I know him enough now to tell when he has lost all ability to think normally. He rejected me.
Just after that another wizard challenged me on my lore. I know the lore of the west like the back of my hand. He bullied me hard until I left. I should have held my ground but what difference would that make. I ran to the dais on the west wall and prayed hard.
The next day I packed up all of my bags and was going to leave on the next caravan. As I got there I looked back. I even said my good-byes to Thau’lira. The caravan driver was motioning to me to come but my eyes stared at the walls of Peltarch. I said to myself, “No, not this time. I will not let those that would cast me out have their way. I will stay and find a way to help as best I can the people of the lands here in Narfell. Picking up my bags I walked back through the gates determined to make a difference.
The next night I prayed again. Raryldor came and sat watching me. He had some hard words to say to me and I to him. We exchanged a low keyed but heated conversation. If you were an elf you would have run to the hills by what we had said to one another.
That’s when I knew. I knew that all that Raryldor wanted was a battle mage so he could have someone beside him when he ventured. He made every effort to effect exactly what I studied. I extended my spell limits for him instead of investing whole heartily in my will as I am supposed to do.
I realized that things would never be the same between us. He had abandoned me. As I got out of range of his sight I brushed my hands together and said to myself. That is that. If that’s the way it must be than I will accept it.
As I walked back to the gates I saw Lady Varya at the campfire. I hope she did not hear what I told him. I felt extremely embarrassed because I said things to Raryldor she never should have heard.
I stayed close to the city for the next week finding solitude wherever I could to figure things out.
When I was ready I reappeared and helped adventurers going to different parts of Narfell by using my spells to help them. I also filled some spell crystals and gave them to Gnarl for the help he gave me in electrum and silver dust for my protective circles.
While I stayed by the sundial Raryldor would often come and sit beside me. We didn’t talk. I’ve had enough of his views on how I should spell cast and I am sure he has had enough of me in some other way, but my heart eventually softened and I did speak with him a little just before the crazy gnome sorcerer came to the commons.
The gnome ran around casting haste upon himself along with several other spells. Eurek had had enough along with the rest of the humans. They started to chide and berate him. The situation for me was getting dangerous. I threw up a few shields including ghostly visage, and lesser mind blank.
Eventually things got out of hand and the gnome threw a color spray at Eurek. The spray also caught another. The gnome cast invisibility on himself and escaped.
Several nights later he showed up again. Lady Varya hit him and I put a hold spell on him to keep him there until the authorities could sort things out. When Jasmine came she did sort things out. I was given a stern warning for using magic against another myself. Varya almost went to jail for the night.
When Jasmine was finished Varya became extremely upset, leaving the sundial area. Firguring that she would go home I went there finding her praying in the field back of the house.
I sat away from her at first just to let her know that someone cared for her. When she started to speak I got up and gently placed my hand upon her shoulder listening to her own inner struggles.
In the end She told me she had been with someone after a very long time. Afterward she received a vision of pain, pestilence and death. I nodded to her thinking about it. At first I could not figure out what she was saying. She went home to get some rest. I hopped that I had comforted her somewhat.
As I came back through the gates the skies darkened with dusk settling in. I went to my place to pray.
As I was praying Lady Moonbow must have taken my prayers in good council for I myself had a vision of the mark on her hand. The mark the orc painted on her hand under the instruction of the project image we saw in the caves when we investigated the illusions that haunt the city.
When next I see her I will ask about it. So this is it. I will stay here unless called back to Mulhorand to speak with them on the Narfell situation. A situation I find hard pressed to advocate at this time due to the nobility infighting.
Lauriella brings her bags off Tymora's Luck and heads to the station where she can pick up a caravan going to Narfell and the capital city of Peltarch. As she looks back at the ship she see's that they are taking down the grey flag that tells other ships there is a Sithmore on board. A family member of a powerful thieves guild of the western provinces, who worship the god mask with such abandonment that it brought the god back from total disillusion.
She sighs thinking about the many dualities of her existence. In Evermeet she is but another common elf. She grew up that way, only to learn as she aged of her ancestry and connection to Lapis Port in Anchorome. She is a death mage steeped in the trainings of necromancy, enchantment and conjuration. Yet she does her best to remain of good disposition for the betterment of all the nations that she has lived and traveled in. She surrounds herself with good and noble people yet when it was time to decide by trial her first baby will be a hybrid undead and mortal creature. The spawn of a vampire lord.
She is learning to hold her own against the wills of others yet deep within she is still a woman of misgivings and questions. The only thing that anchors her is her unwavering faith in the moon goddess. With that she decides she can continue to support all of the populace of Narfell which she loves. Along with the dwarves of Norwick to which she admires.
She takes the first caravan to Peltarch negociating hard to pay no expense. With her expertise in herbal medicine she gains a free ride and they are off.
It is but one night when the caravan hears a wolf baying in the moonlight. It continues for hours. On the second day another joins the song while they have traveled many leagues.
On the third night the caravan driver comes into her wagon asking if she had an enemy. For by now most mages of the 5th circle have acquired many.
Lauriella replies, "There is but one that I know that would seek me out, good sir. If the wolves persist in tracking the caravan let your guard be known that I will take action to avoid harm to your charges."
The caravan driver gives her a short nod and or bow. She doesn't know which and in the morn they continue their journey.
On the last night before reaching Peltarch the wolve's howls get louder. There are rustles around the wagons. Lauriella waits until the moon passes two hours past it's Zenith then steps out of her perch. Walking into the woods she calls up her now considerable abjurations. stopping in a small clear area she waits for them.
The wolves come in pairs, surrounding her. When the whole of the pack comes into her infravision she uses an unseen hand and makes a circle of protection against lycanthropes. Again she waits.
A large wolf steps out of the brush and approaches her. It stops shy of her circle of protection. Hives now cover most of her arms and up into her shoulders as she needed silver powder to protect herself. Still she stands tall and looks the wolf straight in its eyes, "You may have found me, Vellin but I no longer fear your wrath. Remember what I can do. Remember who taught me. I respect both your magic and abilities but I will show no fear no matter how this ends. Begone now knowing that I will do whatever it takes to protect what we have made from your machinations. And one day I will find a way to free your captive. whether I can enter your abode or not."
The wolf grows and lets out a viscous wail. It circles her several times to find a flaw in her ritual magic. Finding none it backs away. The pack dissolving along with it into the depths of the forest."
Within her circle Lauriella sobs placing her head in her cupped hands. When finished she wipes the tears away and steps out of her circle making her way back to the caravan knowing the wolves will plague her no longer.
The next afternoon they arrive at the western gates. She disembarks and wanders into the commons of Peltarch renting the inn room. There she puts salve on her rashes. She looks into the mirror provided wondering what she will say when Rarylador finds out what she has done.
Her thoughts then turn to a piece of cloth with parchment on it. There is a blood spot within an older one with a message upon the paper. She reads it.
Understanding the significance of the information based on what she has heard in rumor and innuendo she sighs, "This will complicate my mission for the nation of Mulhorand. She finds a chair and goes into reverie to await what fortune and future has for her in the next weeks.
Lauriella walks along the docks carrying her travel bags and books. She has a box of Mulhorandi spices with her and her medical bags are full once more. She has a full bottle of Silphium even though it is too late for her to use it. She finds the only ship leaving for Damara today. The Captain and first mate stand to the side of the dock going over ledgers of cargo, crew and passengers, While the hold is being loaded up. She comes up and stands in front of the two, "Need a night pilot, captain?"
"Good morn to you too, Hemt. You can pilot? How many runs you make on the Damara/Mulhorand run?"
"One. I assisted Jao on the Lady's Fortune."
"I know Jao. Good pilot. Too good at bones. I'll pay...…."
"All I need is fare, captain."
He looks surprised lowers his eyebrows giving her a respectful take. Opening his crew ledger he takes up his quill, "Full name, Hemt?"
"Hemt Lauriella Sithmore."
The captain sighs putting his quill down, "I'll not have a Sithmore on the Queen Mermaid. You'll run us to rock and then your family will join you in plunder. I'll not be marked by your kind and be having my cargo looted. Be off with you."
Dejected Lauriella leads them to the local inn. They purchase a private room after she looks at the docking schedule. The next Ship to Damara leaves in three days.
After settling in Lauriella tells Itet that she's taking a bath. Grabbing a towel she heads to the baths section at the end of the hall. After the water is poured she takes her hand and with a cantrip warms the water. Slipping in to get rid of the grime of the desert. After she arches her back and lays in the bathtub enjoying the small respite. Itet comes in for her bath after about an hour. Before the Bastite can start to flirt Lauriella gets out of the tub.
"Where are you going, Lauri?"
"Water is getting cold, and I have to make some notes."
"I could share."
"She smiles. Nice try, Itet."
The young human shrugs. Lauriella goes back to the room and dresses, Narfellion fashion with her leather coat and high boots. She sits down taking up her quill and personal journal.
Samwell put me to the test back in Peltarch. I mentioned the Spellweavers and what I had done in frustration. He suggestions that we go down in try to resolve the issue. I thought that it might be a good idea. Verika decided to join us. I took care to watcher her from time to time.
I have never traveled with the woman and am now very suspicious of her intent towards others. She always stands outside the rails of the sun dial circle. She adds little to conversation but sharply listens to others. Still she walked beside us and caused no trouble. I'm actually a little impressed. The three of us journeyed to Norwich with little holding us back but a few gnolls, which we quickly dispatched, saving a merchant in the process. When we went inside Omar was his usual cheerful self if you get the joke. He asked me if I were going to trash the library again.I told him no. I told him with honesty that I felt sorry about what I did and offered one of my books on protection and summoning circles. He took it. Glanced at the pages and gave it back saying that he didn't need it. I knww then a peace offering would not be accepted. Samwell had some questions. I waited while he engaged the librarian. When the two were finished I asked about my 5 petitions and what will be done about the incident. He said I am not welcomed back.
Understanding I said, "A fair judgement." Inclined my head slightly and walked out. And to say truth it was a fair judgement. I won't be going back there and because of their callousness in not helping me help Peltarch I will not return. I payed a high price to bring Peltarch help. I do not blame the spellweavers for that. I do blame them for their uncaring attitude towards their allies and the common people of the lands. And so it ends each party has agreed to judgement. I do not fear any more retribution from the spellweavers nor Norwick. Samwell stayed inside while Verika followed me out. She said it was probably to protect my honor. I figured it was probably true. Thank you Samwell, but it wasn't necessary.
During these weeks in Narfell it happened we had a strange encounter at the Sundial. Snakes and bears came to us hidden in illusion as ravens. For some reason I was suspicious and stayed away from the birds. When they transformed we took care of them, Samwell and myself as well as Lady Varya. We found a symbol of a fist within a triangle. The symbol of Leira, However the symbol was wrong. What was a fist doing within the triangle. The Baroness Anna deputized us to find out what was going on. We followed a trail of clues out of the west gate. There we found some farm hands bailing hay. They looked somehow wrong too.
While we were interrogating them they turned into orcs and attacked us. After taking care of them we found a farmer bound and hidden in the hay bales. He head had a nasty lump on it. He said he was hit on the head by one of the an elite special guard of Peltarch. Lady Varya asked a lot of questions and we headed for the orc caves. In the back of the first area we met with a project illusion. It had a male voice. It offered a boon to us. Neither I nor Samwell would take it. Lady Varya amazingly did. It drew the same symbol the illusionist put on the animals and orcs to enchant and cover them with his mirages. The image vanished leaving us wondering on both it and Lady Varya's decision. Walking back she explained that she did it on purpose to get closer to the quarry.
I hope that she faired ok while I was away to Mulhorand. I had to leave before there could be further investigation. I did notice that while all these Illusions were going on at the sundial that Verika was there playing with a ring on her finger. I asked Lady Varya if she saw it whispering to her. She nodded and tried to interrogate her. Verika looked somewhat miffed that she would be accused.
The other thing that happened to me is that while I was praying one night by the west gate one of the women. I am so tired I cannot remember her name. It was not Sheesarai. I think it was Nadia. She thanked me in my efforts to help Peltarch and gave me two spells as gifts from the Celureans. She told me that more than a few of their membership have petition their leadership for my induction. Perhaps as a member of such an organization I might be able to help the common people of the land.
If I am asked formally to join I believe I will. Baring any interference from my new duties to the house of life.
I also met Maeve the triefling once more. We spoke alone at the railing by the sundial. I am still not sure about her. We did air some differences and the I think each of us left more respectful of one another. Do I trust her? No. But now I respect her enough to watch her actions and see if they speak as to her words. Then perhaps a trust may form. Evil in Peltarch is not obvious. Like underhanded calishamian merchants it lies in wait for opportunity. And sometimes good people are misread. It is chaos at times when thinking of all the adversaries proclaiming righteousness while keeping a blade in their boots.
I will endeavor to stay out of the politics of groups and nations of the humans and dwarves as much as I may, however promoting Mulhorand and their open hand of friendship towards Narfell may become a problem. I will look to weave the tapestry of this situation most carefully and ask Rarylador of his recommendations.
Lauriella closes her journal and puts it away as Itet comes in and leisurely throws her towel upon a chair. She sits down and smiles at her, "You ready to feel the comfort of a woman yet?"
Lauriella laughs, "Itet, you are too much. get some sleep. or I'll enchant you to it."
"You can't do that, my hemt. They told me of your affinity for enchantment. I made sure to protect myself."
"Whatever you have, Itet, You certainly don't have it on now."
"I think I'll read right here just as I am."
"Do what you will then, I have to study."
"And I found out that you really don't"
"Have hair. Fancy that."
Lauriella blushes and goes back to her studies, shaking her head. Itet smiles and starts to hum.
Lauriella hears a commotion outside the tent. She stops tending to the young man with pellagra. She stops what she is doing and goes outside. There she sees her assistant Itet, A member of the house in the 2nd circle and worshiper of Bast, in a hard discussion with a couple that appear to be between 30 and 40 in human years. She walks up them, "What is going on here, Itet?"
"They want to speak to their daughter, Hemt Sithmore. I told them that you will not at this time speak with the dead."
The Husband has an incredulous look about him. He shouts at her, "You are a death mage of the house of Life, Hemt. I demand satisfaction. We have waited near a year to speak with our daughter who was raped and killed. We wish to say our goodbye's."
She spreads her feet shoulder length apart, looks down and closes her eyes. When she is ready. She lifts her head and stares him directly in his own eyes, "My apologies, Sir. I am with child and can have no contact with spirits or the dead until I bare my son or daughter according to the laws of the House. I am sorry for your loss. Will the two of you dine with me this night. We will remember her in respect."
The husband still angry slumps his shoulder, "Then why hemt, did they send you a death mage to tend to the villages if you cannot do your chosen work? Tell me why this is so!"
Still holding his eyes, Lauriella replies, "The land is sundered. Many a village have lost their representatives of the house. I am needed to help with the backlogs of villages that need people tended too, and to give advise to the Nebs of the villages.
I know loss. I know the horrors of rape and control. I would gladly call your daughter back to speak with you however I cannot endanger my unborn around the spirit world. I do hope you understand. I will help by paying my respects with you at my table. It is the best I may afford."
The peasant places his hands together and does a short bow, "I apologize, Hemt Sithmore. I am at a loss of my patience. We have waited so long."
In her concern for the couple she nods to them then walks up to the woman who is weeping. She hugs her, "We will celebrate your daughters passing to the spirit world. I have no doubt you set her with things to make her light when she reaches the scales of truth. Be calm mother for your daughter must have a happy afterlife.
When my baby is born I will return. If you still have not had satisfaction I will tend to your needs personally."
The woman breaks away from her and kneels upon the ground, "We accept, Hemt. You have done more without spell than you will know."
"Then make yourselves ready and return at the hours of evening feast. We will be ready."
The husband helps the woman up. They leave the woman crying. The husband less angry in his tenor. Itet comments, "You give the peasants too much leniency, Hemt."
Lauriella looks over to her, "Are you my assistant or are you my chaperon?"
Itet smiles, "A little of both it seems for I have my assignment to keep you safe as well as assisting your duties."
"Figures. Make our table ready, Hemt. We have guests."
After dinner Itet is eating an apple and watching Lauriella as she reads and writes at a makeshift table. One leg is held high from the knee while the other is down. She comments, "You are very pretty you know?"
Lauriella looks up, "I'm rather plain for a sun elf. My hair has grey strands from my test for apprentice, and I have more than a few scars from my life in Narfell."
How old are you? Still young?"
She looks up calculating, "I am 215 cycles. I was most likely born when your great, great grandfather was alive. In human years? Perhaps 22 or 23."
"I've never known an elf are you all as pretty?"
Lauriella looks to her, "Is there a point to all of this Itet?
"I would welcome you under my blankets if you so would wish, Lauriella. It is after all not an affront to our gods for two unmarried women to mingle in the night."
Lauriella raises both her eyebrows. Looking at Itet's holy symbol she replies, "I think that's more of a Bast tradition than any of the other gods and goddesses of Mulhorand."
Itet laughs and bites into her apple again. She chews and swallows. After which she asks, "I heard that elves have no hair. Is that true?"
Lauriella blushes hard, "That is none of your business, Hemt Imoson."
The human mage laughs, "And what of your moon goddess. Do you not have celebrations with your sisters at high moon where you dance and find one another?"
"Your lore is not completely correct. Yes we dance and celebrate to the moon. We do not mingle unless there is a man that we like that is available."
Itet points to her, "I see your eyes, Hemt Sithmore. You are either in love at best or infatuated at least. Tell me tis true?"
Again Lauriella blushes, "There is an older elven that I do like. However the life of an exorcist is extreme. I would not put him through the nights where I wake from trance fighting and hurting him before I can regain some form of sanity after I have expelled a creature from the mind of another. I will not put someone through the trials that my mentor Fawn puts her husband Randyl through."
"A death mage must have a sad life. The ones that are not corrupted."
"My goddess is strict on necromancy. She fortifies me. Keeps me from becoming what we all fight against Itet."
Itet uncovers her blanket and shows that she has nothing on except what the gods gave her. Lauriella blushes and turns her head away."
The younger mage laughs, "So you know both the pleasures and the hurt of the flesh, Lauriella. I only make fun."
When Itet covers up again Lauriella turns her head back to the girl on the cot, "Yes I know both. Now get some sleep. I have a lot of research to do and notes to take before we leave for the next village."
"You don't know what your missing. Everyone needs a bit of pleasure on the road."
"Spoke as a true Bastite, Itet. Let it go. We have much to do in the next week."
Lauriella walks into the large library room. There are quite a few Clerics in the room along with Hemt Netjer Chathe Fezim. They are seated in an open circle of chairs. Chathe stands and walks up to her. They greet grabbing one another's forearms.
Chathe speaks first, "I received your letters on your problem Hemt. Because you are the only one properly trained by Tarset, I have gathered a number of priests of the temple to discuss this with you."
"Thank you Hemt Netjer."
The archmage takes Lauriella's hand and guides her to the open chair. Lauriella waits for Chathe to sit then sits herself, "Priests of the temples this is Hemt Lauriella Sithmore. The one I told you about. Lauriella, to my right is Herhot. He is the high priest of Horus-Re. To my left is Sotar. He is High priest of Throth. To your right is Hor-Uta, high priestess of Hathor. And on your left is Makara, High priestess of Isis. Please explain to them what your letters said to me."
Lauriella takes a deep breath and then meets each one separately with her eyes, "It began with a trip to Vaasa to help the people of my new home...…………."
When she is done she bows her head and waits in respect and for the priests and priestesses to digest the information she imparted to them.
Sotar is the first to comment, "This may be a rare thing in the lands you come from, Hemt Sithmore. It is not so rare here. In fact it is becoming common among the northern provinces. You were lucky to escape."
Herhot chimes in, "Sotar, Makara, Why is it that the vampires of Thay particularly wish to have mortal children? Other undead of the Thay hierarchy pay little mind to their living subjects."
Makara answers the question, "Unlike most undead vampires have virility. My summation is that because they are thinking beings with awareness of their sexuality they seek out some normalcy by taking mortal concubines and seeding them. A vampire as we know always seeks to hide themselves among the living. They have the same greed and afflictions of the soul that mortals do. They would want their prodigy to flourish if by some means they die permanently."
Lauriella asks, "What should I expect?"
Sotar rubs his bearded chin, "About 10% are abominations Hemt Sithmore. Most of these are peasants and working class. These pregnancies are hard. You will become allergic to silver. Sunlight with begin to hurt your eyes for a time then you will become extremely uncomfortable with it. The sunlight will not hurt you nor the baby but it will make you feel like your skin is burning. This will all subside after the birth of the baby. If it is viable.
Vampires particularly like mages for they know how the weave works. The magic they wield seems to protect the child. However, like you most mages are of frail constitution. The vampires also like this for it stands for a better chance that the baby will be born normally and the mother will die in childbirth. A warning to you Lauriella. When you have the child and if you live. He will come for you and the child. Perhaps not for years. I am not as perceptive on how long an elven lives being there are few both here and in Thay. He will eventually come."
"Our life expectancy is somewhere around 9 centuries, Hem Netjer Sotar."
Hor-uta looks up, "I would think based on the Vampires of Thay it would be anytime from the time of birth until the child becomes an adolescent. Most likely a 60 or 70 year span of time?"
Lauriella swallows, "He is a powerful sorcerer."
Makara comforts her, "That may give you time to prepare then."
Lauriella looks around, "Is this hall protected?"
Sotar frowns, "Yes, Hemt Sithmore. The temple of Throth is always protected. The libraries of the temple hold all the secrets of Mulhorand. It is at all times as most temples including the House of Life."
Lauriella bobs her head, "Thank you, Hem Netjer. What of the child if it is not an abomination?"
Hor-Uta answers her, "The child should by our experiences grow up normally until they hit puberty. Then depending of their raising and certain precautions they may stay that way. If they live in darkness and have bad parents they're soul with twine. They will appear normal but will be able to transform into a form of vampiric double like a twin. They will still be mortal but will have the abilities of a vampire in this form."
"What may I do to stave off the effects to give my child a chance at normalcy?"
Chathe answers her, "This is the house of life question. I will give you further reading materials but basically it is this. Give him or her large quantities of everything that vampires shy from. Give them silver jewelry to wear. Make sure they get lots of sunlight. Some of our women who have babies like this have their children swim in the local streams and rivers where the water travels. Give them lots of garlic in their meals, and have for them mirrors so that they learn to use them."
Herhot concludes, "Lauriella child, Horus-Re is a forgiving god. He knows innocence when his chariot looks out upon the lands. You follow these ways for the child and remain faithful to your goddess moon and he will have mercy. Perhaps your own goddess will. Do not doubt the power of the gods to show their mercy to innocence by healing blight within them."
Makara rests her hand upon Lauriella's, "Hemt Netjer Fezim tells me you are extremely faithful to this elven goddess of the moon. Take our advise and stay faithful. Child you have no idea how much this will help you with your baby."
Lauriella nods and grasps Makaras hand, "Thank you Hemt Netjer."
Chathe looks to her, "Hemt Sithmore; The house of life has not been able to contact Hemt Netjer Tarset for several months. Would you know what has happened that we have lost contact?"
"Tarset sent me a vision. She has taken a long journey that will take decades to complete. She is gone from this world. She will probably not be back within a human lifetime."
Chathe frowns, "Then you are invaluable to us, Hemt Sithmore. You are the only one who was taught the full of Tarset's magic. You must be protected in some way. I also worry about your frailty."
"I have a ring that helps me. I am also willing to do what is necessary to survive so my child will have a chance at a normal life."
Sotar smiles, "Good, You are ready then Hemt. As per the rules of the house of Life you will not engage with any undead until the child is born nor do any exorcism."
Chathe continues, "You can study and teach in the library or you could go to field and tend to the villages with no hemt to help with ailments. As for the child. He may live in one of the temples when you are not with us. That is when he or she can eat solid food. Until that time all agree the mother should be with her baby to bond with. What must be decided is which temple you would wish them to grow with. With this however; you must align yourself with greater Mulhorand. We know you feel Narfell is your home and you already align with them. We will be a secondary allegiance for you. Perhaps one day you will help establish relations between the two countries. This is our hope.
"I don't understand? you wish for me to be some form of ambassador?"
Herhot answers her, "Not as such, Hemt. We wish for you to promote Mulhorand to your people that we may one day have good relations and possible trade with them. After the slave revolt and immigrations to our lands. we are missing many things to help the freed slaves, but also grow rare things that the people of Narfell would appreciate. If you were to speak positive words about our nation then perhaps a friendship could be formed. Thay would think twice about damaging us as they have no regard for us now."
Lauriella closes her eyes in thought. She doesn't open them when she answers, "Narfell and Mulhorand are such different cultures. Narfell is barbaric and wild full of adventurers and those seeking to gain their human throne. They are suspicious of our necromancy and I hear it being a that I am a death mage in the house of life.
Mulhorand is a land of laws and edict. Where society has its structured tiers. Life for the commoner though not easy is not fraught with where they will get good food and water a home to live in. Both the priests of temples and the priest of the house work together to keep peace in the land.
It would be hard to seek common ground. I will do what I can."
Hemt Netjer Fezim smiles, "That is all we ask of you, Hemt. What are your choices?"
Lauriella thinks a long time, "If this birth goes like you say I will need my exercise. I will go to the field and help with the villages. As to the child. I would like them to stay at the temple of Throth if it is a boy, The temple of Hathor if it is a girl.
Realize Hems and hemts Netjer the child will be on my breast at least 5 years. I do have time to change my mind."
Herhot nods, "Of course, Lauriella. If all comes to fruition you will have not only our respect but also Pharoh's. We will do what we can to hide the child from its father, and protect you when you are here."
Chathe asks, "How long before you think you will be ready after the baby is born, Lauri?"
"I'm fifth circle now and can use the proper spells. I strengthen my will daily. If all goes as you say I should be able to start when the baby is born some 21 months from now."
Sotar nods to them all, "Then we have a contract. I am glad we can come to a conclusion." He gets up. Everyone stands. The clerics leave.
Chathe hugs her, "I am sorry this happened to you. By your story you were brave and intelligent enough to get away."
"I couldn't save the angel."
"It's ok, There will come a day when you will be able to. Think as that and it will firm your resolution."
Lauriella begins to weep.
Lauriella goes about her work in her cabin. She opens up one book where she drew a symbol of an axe and sword with a spider on top. Raryldor had asked her about it. She remembered that her group in Mulhorand had come upon an amulet that had the very symbol on it. One of the minor Hems said that he new what it was. He said it is the symbol of The Sons of Lolth, but seemed to be afraid of saying anything more.
She muses on the symbol and writes down. Does this have a connection to Vhaeraun? I must find out. As she continues to muse there is a knock on the door. With a wave of her hand an unseen servant in the room opens it, surprising the large captain of the ship whose frame is as big as the door itself. He looks around as if there were a ghost in the room then asks, "Miss Sithmore? I have heard you are a mage of the House?"
"Well met, captain. And yes, I am." She replies questioningly.
He stammers still looking for someone in the tight quarters, "Our pilot is sick with fever."
She immediately drops her quill and takes up her herbal bag. They walk down to another cabin in the upper deck meant for officers and guests. There she finds the half-orc that calls himself Jao, hot with fever and delirious. The captain stands beside her. His countenance grave, "Should we bleed him?"
Lauriella raises and eyebrow, "Bleeding is a superstition of the sword coast. captain. No, we will not bleed him. We have to keep him warm to burn the fever out. He must eat and drink as much as he can. and I will make a herbal tea for him like this." She gets her mortar and pestle out and grinds together yarrow, elderberry flowers, and peppermint. Adding a cup of water she pours the concoction into a metal bowl. With a simple cantrip she heats the solution to steaming. Then she makes the pilot drink it.
"I will tend to him. He will need to drink this twice a day until the fever breaks. It will take a few days but he will recover." She says as she examines the broad chested sailor that has most likely spent most of his entire life at sea.
The captain grunts, "Good, but we will need to have someone to guide us during the night hours."
"All mages know the stars and can calculate. I offer my services for the time it takes."
"I will pay you the going rate of a first mate."
"It's not necessary, captain. How about a return of my fare? That should be pay enough."
He nods, "You're not much like the rest of your family are you, lass?"
"At this point I'm not really sure, but it is my duty to help."
"If you can track the stars and know your numbers you'll make due. It's a deal then. Thank you."
Lauriella smiles, "Well met and welcome."
She stands on the deck beside the wheel, a sextet in hand, charts in front of her. The first mate a half-elf mans the wheel. The night air has a chill as a north wind cuts across the sea. It chills everyone on deck. Most keep their hands in their coats. All except for the new woman pilot that seams completely immune to the chill of night.
She takes her measurements and tells the young man, "I need you to turn the wheel 12 degrees, 40 minutes, and 22 sec...…………"
He interrupts, "We are not that precise, Ma'am"
She looks up to see him looking back an eyebrow raised, "Ok then 13 degrees."
Again his right eyebrow raises, "You've never done this before have you? That's Starboard!"
She blinks, "No, I know where we are. I know where the harbor is on the map. We seem to be always drifting off the course I set?"
"Waukeen have mercy! The tides, currents and winds drift the ship often to the side. You must adjust your numbers for the shifting."
"Ok! A moment then." She looks at the numbers again back three hours. She looks up to the stars with the sextet. The first mate sighs heavily.
"15 degrees. that should compensate." There's a long pause as the first mate slumps at the wheel. She gets it commanding, "Starboard."
"I'm doing my best."
A few hours later she takes a reading and brings the sextet down, "that's strange"
The first mate tenses. What's strange?"
"We're slightly off course again."
There's silence. the first mate turns back to her anger in his eyes.
He stares at her. She swallows, "The other starboard?"
He lowers his voice, "It's not called the other starboard...……..It's PORT! YOU STUPID WENCH!
"Ok! OK! I got it. She points Starboard. She moves her arm. Port. "
"And what is behind us?"
She looks back, "The Ass?"
"UMBERLEE'S STORM! YOUR ALMOST RIGHT. ITS AFT!"
"Oh I though sailors called it the ass they yell so loud."
The first mate turns to the wheel and holds it in a death grip.
After four nights the pilot comes up on deck. He walks over to the pair the first mate is muttering to himself, "I am most thankful to you hempt. I would have been weeks in bed without you."
"You are most welcome Jao. I think I should get back. I may have to check on Frank in the morning. He seems to be under some stress."
"Keep that witch away from me!" The first mate replies.
Jao narrows his eyes. He never liked the first mate unbeknownst to Lauriella. He gently takes the sextet off of her and check the stars and charts himself, replying, "We are on coarse. You did well, Hemt Sithmore."
The first mate cuts in, "It's not because of this slut that we're on coarse, Jao."
"Did you take any readings?"
"Lauriella. I want to make you a deal. You saved my life. I wish to teach you the fine arts of piloting if you will. You see you have to know the waters you sail in to anticipate all the things that can make the ship take a drift. If you stay here with me I will teach you this sea, and how it moves. Then you never need to book passage. You can hire on as a pilot."
Lauriella considers it, "I think I would like that."
"Good then its a fair payment. The deal is done. Here have the sextet back and I will assist."
The first mate visibly shakes, muttering to himself as he stays at the wheel.
Lauriella sits in the inn near the sundial with books and notes spread all over the table. She is copying book after book of protective circles. while doing so she remembers Her lessons to the group earlier. There were many not casters there but only one true caster that she knows of, Chae. The rest in the city either did not hear or chose not to come. Still she did her best and gave Lady Varya the first book she copied to share with other spellcasters of the city.
Shortly after they finished an erinyes walked up to the group. Varya chased her away then the barbed and cornugons showed up summoning lemures. the fight was again huge. Even the marilith showed up again. At least one of the adventurers went down and had to be healed. Lauriella herself used spell to some effect. Ball lightning and lightning bolts from her wand. She also dispelled the protections of the cornugons and loose arrows on the lower minions. Some chased her but she was far enough back that she could run out of the way so was hurt much less this time.
Lauriella looks up and waves to the waitress. when she comes she asks, "A bottle of whiskey and a glass of ice please."
The waitress comes back, "A couple silver will do it Lady Lauriella."
She pays the waitress and pours whiskey in the glass. As she does her hand starts to itch. she inspects it. There is a swelling in the palm of her hand. hives spread and form a ring around where she palmed the coin. She places her hands beneath the table and scratches the area to relieve the itch. Looking down she whispers, "Its too late to kill you with silphium, perhaps with whiskey."
She thinks about it some more and whispers to herself again, "No that would not be right, for you may become a good soul and there must be a reason for all of this in the end. I will bare you in Mulhorand. My sisters at the House of life will take care of you hidden from his sight. Then perhaps you will become more noble and good than I. Not that I'm anything to admire."
She continues her writing still musing. She remembers that after the battle she stayed near the dais praying for forgiveness and asking the Lady to help protect the city. She made many vows that night. In the morning she came back to the sun dial to find a new mage there. Most knew him as Jonni. He mentioned where she might find his tower and wanted one of the books. The dwarves mounted a mining expedition for the minerals to make protective circles. She said she would stay here and write five more copies one for Jonni and four for the Ceruleans.
Which is what she is doing now.
Protective circles of the higher planes by Lauriella
(She pauses deciding since she has never said her last name to anyone in Narfell she need not pace it to ink now)
Protective Circles of the higher planes by Lauriella of the House of Life guild in Mulhorand.
First I will cover the five circles of the higher planes and what they must compose of. If you are a mage that affiliates with the seven heavens those that see that society is mightier than the individual and that good must always overcome evil this is the circle that you must make.
She draws out a thaumaturgic triangle within a circle. marking brazier placements.
All higher planes protective circles start in this configuration. Up to this point each wizard aligned with each plane must make it out of the planes reinforcing metal. They are"
Seven heavens,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, Gold
Twin paradises,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, Electrum
Happy Hunting grounds,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Copper
Once this is finished the mage must painstakingly and exactingly write specific runes of protection affiliated with the plane that they most adhere too. in the center of spaces between the triangle and circle. if not done properly the protection magic will not work. It will take the training and patience of a magic of third circle or better to do this. Otherwise the circle will have no effect.
Next along each of the sides of the triangle you must make exacting runes of the plane you are protecting against. Each side of the triangle must have a complete list of runes of protections. The higher planes runs draw the energy from the weave. the lower plane runs prevent energy from the lower plane from entering the field you are protecting.
Each of these must be made out of a powered metal that is poisonous in a way to the lower plane that is associated with it. These are
The Hells ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Silver
After which you must place a slow burning oil that you can find in any mage shop into the braziers with specific essential oils mixed 50/50 with each other and 1 to 10 with the slow burning oil. The two oils for each higher plane are.
Seven heavens,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, Myrrh/Ylang-ylang
Twin Paradises,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, Jasmine/Lavender
Elysium,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, Coriander/Palo Santo
Happy Hunting grounds,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, Orange blossom/Red Cedar
Once the braziers are lit all preparation is finished. Magic from the plane will collect and swell within the circle keeping it powered. The mage must stand in the center with minimal concentration can uphold the protection. They may cast outside the circle. however if the circle is marred the magic will dissipate and the mage will be left defenseless. It will take something with a will from the plane it defends against to have a much greater will than the mage to break the plane of the circle. A mage may control and maintain a circle up to four meters per spell strength before there is weakness in the design. Thus a caster of the 5th ring may control an area 20 meters in radius. A caster of the 9th ring up to 36 meters of protected area with these designs.
In the rest of the book Lauriella makes all the protective runes of the higher planes within the various circles and all the hindering runes of the lower planes the mages must make along the sides of the triangle. On the last five pages she draws out full circles for the mages to study and learn. Exhausted she catches her breath for a moment then goes to pray. Rarylador shows up along with some others.
They speak about current events. When night comes Lauriella goes to the west wall to pray. Rarylador and some others follow him. Again they speak. When morning comes An odd bard shows up. He sings a poem about a caged bird. Lauriella gets upset not only remembering the Ghaele trapped in Vellin Rokiri's dungeon but her own close call to becoming his pet. She leaves the sundial to find some comfort alone.
She opens a new spell book. Upon it is listed one spell as promised by Vellin. It is Magic Jar yet she must do much to understand its every nuisance for if she miscasts it her soul will be forever lost from her body. She cannot truly cast it without the utmost of understanding and taking very careful precautions.
Vellin guides Lauriella to the basement where there is a long empty room with a high ceiling. The only thing she can see other than conjuring supplies is Something large and covered with cloth. It looks like a giant bird cage. There are some permanent summoning circles also near the back engraved in the floor. In the front half there is only the emptiness of walls, ceiling and floor.
Vellin speaks, "We have little time, Lauriella. I will go through with you all of the planes and how to make circles of protection against them. First your current adversaries the Baatezu. Then the rest of the lower planes. Then the neutral and finally on the last of the three weeks the good. For even though you affiliate with them you will have to know how to protect yourself. Even the high planes hate to be hampered by a mage or sorcerer and will not abide by your will unless you are protected and they are held. There is no hinderance for a good mage to cast protection from good when you deal with celestials."
"I know this."
"Good, Now that you have been here a week and a half and I have come to you each night I want to test something. Draw your circle against undead."
Lauriella does what he says. She begins to draw out the circle, making a perfect circle and her triangle. When she starts to place the symbols of protection within the triangle and along its borders she starts to feel sick. She continues even after loosing most of her dinner. When the final runes are to be put in place she stops. She tries to force her muscles to place the last runes on the ground with silver dust but something is forcing her hand to stay.
She starts to weep, "They will be undead!"
"No, my dear far from it. They will be alive and mortal. they will have an alter ego that may transform into a vampire like creature. And in a hundred and fifty, two hundred years they will die having produced many children as Anjaiyi produced Randyl and Seryne. You will raise them until the boy or girl is a teen. Then, my dear, then I will take over for they need a good mother to teach them ethics so they may learn to control and repress their darker side. That is if you do not bare an abomination. Your necromancy it will help to protect both you're life and the child from doing that. Your magic will feed it into a good development. Now! Stop your quibbling. We have much to do to prepare you to stop these infernal incursions in your lands. What is the weakness of infernals? What do you make a circle with?"
Lauriella wipes her eyes, "Silver like undead."
"For Tanar'ri you use iron filings"
"Electrum as it preservers me it is dangerous to them."
"Good! She has taught you well, Lauriella. And remember the weakness or strength of one is not necessarily the strength or weakness of the opposite. That is why you use hot ash to trap celestials and gold is their strength."
She nods keeping eye contact with him.
For two an a half weeks more He Refines her leaning of protective and summoning circles. Every night he comes to her even though she knows his seed is already taken. He takes great pleasure in her regret and sorrow. As if planning something she does not know about. She is suspicious of his intentions.
On the last day circles are drawn out across all the floors all the way to the back of the large area. Vellin smiles, "It is the last day Lauriella. It is sad that you must leave. I have taken great pleasure in pleasuring you and almost fear you leaving. I sometimes forget how lonely this old mansion becomes at times. Non the less, Today we will test you. Open your book of circles.
She opens a now thick book of summoning and protective circles. He takes his cane and points to the first circle in the corner of the left side.
She repeats, "Pandemonium- protective"
He points to another.
He walks her back as she defines each circle. She looks checks her notes and repeats the circle along with taking some extra notes. Vellin smiles while she gets more and more involved in making sure she is right every time.
Vellin's man comes down, "Master. A guest."
Lauriella looks up from her book to see that Vellin is suddenly miffed at something. Still he bows to her, "Stay here Lauriella I shall return momentarily."
He turns around and walks down the room and up the stairs. Lauriella is left alone. She waits only a short moment when she hears static near the back of the room. Curious she walks to the back where the huge cover is. Fining the end of the cover she peals it back. There is a basalt circle covering the ground Upon it sits a giant bird like cage made of steel. There is a gaunt looking elven woman on her knees naked in the center of the cage. Her back is lashed and there are bite marks all over her body. The woman turns to her. Her opalescent eyes show defeat from years of torture. She Screams, "Fawn, I'm so sorry! So very sorry! Please! Please release me! He made me do it to save his grandson. I wanted none of this!"
Lauriella's immediate reaction to the Ghaele's eyes is a profound anger. She looks everywhere for a way in. There is nothing. She strikes the edge of the circle with her fist trying to free the creature. She's blown back with an electric charge three feet back. She calls up a spell hitting the circle with a negative energy ray trying to mar it. It rebounds hitting and draining her. The Ghaele moves toward her, "Your not Fawn!"
Lauriella calls out, "No, I was her apprentice."
"Then you have not the power to break this circle! leave! leave while you still can. He will...…"
Lauriella turns around to see Vellin walking toward her. She screams, "That is a Ghaele! A holy knight of the Avandorian courts! Release her!"
Vellin stops for a moment, "This creature is a criminal. This is the creature that forced your mentor into her Valin. Fawn killed the male and it was this creature that set the male upon her. Do you really think I should let the vile creature that tortured my granddaughter in law loose to wreck havoc upon the prime once more, Lauriella?"
"He lies! It was He that summoned me and forced me to the task!"
Vellin takes a few more steps. Lauriella backs up slowly. For she sees he has components in his hands. She is protected from evil so he must have something not of enchantment in mind. Looking back she suddenly sees she is right in front of a circle and unlike the others it is open behind her. She looks at him narrowing her eyes. She looks straight in his eyes and says, "Bytopia-Cage!"
"Did you really think that I would let you leave, Lauriella while you carried my prodigy inside you. Do you think that I would let you wander in the dangerous wastes of adventure possibly killing your self and my child in some cavernous abyss. No Lauriella, I will keep you safe until you have borne fruit. Then I will let you go your way."
"You lie! When I bear your child you will find some excuse to keep me right here. The child needs its mother you will say. Only a few years. And when a few years goes by: The child is but an infant still you will need to stay until decades past and you have no more use for me."
Vellin feels the build up a magic yet Lauriella does not move her hands or start to speak incantations. As he starts to cast to push her the rest of the way into the circle, She exclaims, "Good-bye Lord Vellin Rokiri, WULD!"
The magic is released in the Thu'um. Lauriella shoots to the stairs as she releases the last of her silver dust into the air catching Vellin by surprise. His eyes and skin burns backing him up as she makes for the stairs. She runs up the stairs and threw the main entrance. She crosses to the gates as fast as she can and pushes them. The gates are locked. She turns around and walks to the middle of the garden bracing herself for what is to come.
Vellin walks out with his mask uncovered. He still looks young but his fangs show plainly in the night. He sees her standing midway to the gate. Walking up, He laughs, "So! Little elven doll. She has taught you the Thu'um. She is not the only planes walker in this family. And now you are trapped! Surrender. I will not hurt my unborn!"
Lauriella her eyes narrowed not in fear but in anger replies, "The Thu'um is not the only thing she taught me. She starts to cast magic circle of protection against evil. Vellin laughs and starts to counter-spell then stops, for he sees she is using no components. The grass underneath her feet blackens and withers. The corruption spreads to the surrounding garden. The beautiful garden that took him centuries to grow and trim. The only thing he truly loves in his undead life starts to die wholesale as the Athasian magic takes hold. The ground turns black and barren for twenty meters around the Sun elven Mage. The circle goes up as it does Vellin in distress drops to his knees.
"How many spells to I have left Vellin? How much of a wasteland shall I make of this land?" You tell me? Release me or you will never grow another plant in this area for a thousand years!"
Vellin looking up at her slowly nods in despair, "Go. I will come for my child when they start to show signs of their affliction. Never come back Hemt Sithmore! I will forever deny you entrance."
He swings his hand at the gates. They open. She backs out beyond them, turns around and runs for her life.
The journey is taxing but she makes it to Peltarch. There she posts upon the local heralds board. Lady Varya Tiller has asked me One Lauriella the mage to help with the defense of the city by teaching my way of protective circles to the other mages that defend the city. I have returned from Vaasa much refined in this endeavor and am willing to teach these things to others. I will be in the park by the west gate for three days starting at new moon. (OOC Saturday 10-11 Texas time.) Thank you.
Lauriella gets out of the bed and goes to her medicinal herb bag. She roots around it looking for something, frowns and roots around it picking up jars once again and putting them back into place. A voice behind her speaks, "You are such an amusing creature, Lauriella. Every Priest or Priestess of the house of life must attend to the ailments of the populace in Mulhorand. That is by law is it not?"
She refuses to turn around. She closes the bag and looks at the mirror in front her with a curtain over its glass. If she could make one quick move. She doesn't She is bound by her promise, "It is law, yes, Lord Rokiri."
"That would include tending to young women who make mistakes is it not?"
Lauriella sighs, "Yes."
"I had the vial pinched from your bag. You have made a bargain. The knowledge to protect your city from the lower creatures in trade for a child. I admire your spunk. What would you say to me when I asked why nothing has happened a year from now. That you had a stillbirth. My seed did not take?"
"It still may not."
We will test that, You and I tonight at dusk. Tell me how long for a sun elf mother. A human only needs 9 months. What of your kind?"
"You enjoy taunting me don't you?"
"Nothing of the kind, my dear. I am just looking out for my own interests. I have not hurt you in any way."
"2 years. In eight months the women will know. In twelve the men will too. Why me? I am sure you could have had any woman in the village to do this for you or several others from Thay. Is it because of Archmage Fawn? Or is it just that you love to corrupt the innocent."
Vellin chucks, "You are no innocent. You are a practitioner of the three dark arts. conjuration the art of calling forth creatures and subjecting them to your will. Enchantment: altering the very minds of your enemies to do your bidding. And Necromancy. You practice the white form of necromancy that does no harm to the natural laws and yet it is still Necromancy. Your favorite drink is whiskey. And you by no means came to me a virgin. No Lauriella, innocent is a far cry from where you stand.
However your heart is a good heart and though not completely individualistic you have a fair sense and duty to society without being a hypocrite like the shiny knights that kill for their honorable gods and use evil as justification for their deeds.Lady Fawn does have a fair hand in this yes. I have bent her only apprentice to my will by pact. It will infuriate her to no end. My grandson is a lucky man to have her by his side. It should have been my side she stood by instead of his, but she was already in love with him though she would never admit to it." I will not harm or interfere with you further Lauriella. You will preform your task as I will have preformed mine for you. You see, I like you just the way you are and my son or daughter will end up a good person when you raise them."
She turns around, mystified, "I don't understand. You are...……."
"Yes, I am all of that and you see through my actions quiet clearly. I will tell you my story. Perhaps you will change your mind about me."
"I highly doubt that."
Vellin gets an amused smile then lays down on his back, "I was once a young wealthy lord in a region of Vaasa. The village I led was small but profitable. All in the village were never want for food or clean water, a heath to warm themselves with and all enjoyed their livelihoods as I ruled the area with a kind hand. Then one day she came. She showed up a lady of finery and I was enchanted. She turned me within a month. The two of us went on a rampage for many years. First my own village then others. After centuries of slaughter and sating ourselves I finally found the power I needed to attain my revenge. I killed her. Now free from her slavery I could walk as I wanted. I became pennant of my actions and help the nation of Vaasa defeat the Lich King in my own way.
The new ruler thankful for my actions and advice gave me this village to rule. I turn no one these days satisfied upon a few volunteers that give some of their blood so that I do not starve. Yet although I will never rid myself of the curse and I will never get back my innocence I will follow my other ambitions until someone more powerful than I can end me. My soul going to the hells where it belongs."
Lauriella raises her chin, "I don't believe you."
"My dear, I would not expect you too. I will leave you to your own devices. Be at the gate tomorrow. You have the spell to quiet my guards now. We will begin my side of this bargain."
Vellin turns into a mist which floats out the door. Lauriella sighs and puts the silver dust back across the threshold.