(written in Xeph)
As the high priest requested, we have traveled to the tower of the wizard Zolven, and an intriguing trip it has been.
But again, I get ahead of myself. I spent an entirely pleasant night with Aziz and Kamar, Calamshite brothers who provide protection for caravans. They are far from home, and I was pleased to warm their night for them. And visa versa. We were engaged in a little morning warm-up when suddenly Sa’d appeared at my bedside, sword drawn, enquiring as to if I was in some distress.
Well… that certainly spoiled the mood!
He had, it seems, reconstituted from the dust I’d collected from his disintegration and stored in my pack. I encouraged him out the door to find the others, only to be interrupted again when he came back in to ask where they were. I told him there were probably in the inn, elsewhere, and the brothers and I moved the wardrobe in front of the door to forestall further interruptions.
When at last we came down to breakfast, we found all awaiting, with the exception of Kaliki, who had performed until late in the night. Young Mr. Brambletongue and I went out and about to see what else we could discover about the mage, while the others went about their business.
According to local legend, Zolven is very powerful – he can make his presence felt in Goliad (the city we awoke in) without ever leaving his tower. The Witch King tried to attack the tower during war and lost all of his troops in the effort.
Just before Highsun we began our journey. I must say, the horse Meg acquired for me makes up in spirit what she lacks in appearance, and I think we shall get on well enough. We stopped after three hours to rest ourselves and the horses in a small, nameless village. Kaliki gathered the children as a flower gathers bees, charming them completely. One of the children had a beautiful bloodstone, river smoothed – Kaliki advised him to keep it in a safe place. Dorban offered his services as a healer, but there was little he could do.
A few hours later we arrived at the Tower. It had but one wall on the first floor, but was complete above it. We climbed to the third floor, where there was a door, and knocked, and after a brief interval were admitted by a lovely child of some 14 or so years. Later conversation revealed that she was the mage’s familiar – one of many! – polymorphed into human form that she might better communicate with us.
I was greatly relieved to find that the great mage – imprisoned by his own protection spell working too well – is not completely cut off from the rest of the physical world, as he can experience it through his familiars. I cannot imagine anything more terrible than to be imprisoned alone for centuries, unable to eat, drink or make love! I am sure it would drive me mad in short order.
Upon hearing our request and reading the letter we brought, he brought out a large bowl, carved from crystal, and poured a silver metal in it. It shaped itself into a replica of the village of Hillcrest, complete with tiny silver people. After a time it became clear that there were no children to be seen at all! Declaring that the matter would require more research, the mage thrust his hand into the sliver liquid, which climbed up his arm and covered him, even entering into his nose and mouth.
Telling us it would take a few days to determine an answer, Zolvan has set us the task of dealing with a “small” goblin incursion to the north. Is that not always the way with sages? Always a quest that you must complete in order to proceed with your original quest. No matter – I am pleased if I may be of help.
We spent the night in utter luxury (surely a benefit of dealing with powerful workers of magic) and now we shall set off to deal with the goblins.