Saturday, November 04, 2006

Dorben, entry 24 ---18th Flamerule thru 21st Flamerule--- In which we experience departures, reunions and truly beautiful music

Adventure Journal of Dorben Wainfoster
18th Flamerule, Evening addendum

---It is the middle of the night and I find myself driven to amend my journal before I return to my bed and my lovely companion. At some point it occurred to me that I had made a mistake or two in my entries from today. No doubt, in the completeness of history, my journal may be proven to hold a great number of inaccuracies but for the moment I am only concerned with these most immediate accidents of omission. In the interest of a more or less complete record, if only for a buffer against my possibly failing memory as a result of advanced age at some future date, I shall make entry of those omissions before I carry on with my continuing record.

First and foremost, earlier this day as we left Master Kelso’s tower, Sa’d and Illandria became surrounded by the rainbow aura which we first saw when the Keep called away Euphestas and Kaliki several days ago. Again, there was no sense of panic as they faded slowly from sight. Their disappearance was almost immediately followed by the process in reverse as Euphestas and Kaliki reappeared. We welcomed them back and spent the remainder of our travel time back to our rooms at The Wall informing them of the outcome of our encounters within the Tower. We also wondered in passing if Nia had possibly been called away by the Keep at the same time as Illandria and Sa’d. We jokingly hoped that whomever she was with at the moment was not easily panicked. As it turns out, Nia has been whisked away by the Keep and her companions of the moment were only slightly miffed at her apparent abandonment. At least Nia’s weapons and equipment seem to have departed with her. Although I must admit that Nia is possibly the only one of us who would not be terribly inconvenienced if by some chance she did have to pursue adventure in the nude.

Nia’s possible nudity aside, I shall continue on to my other omission for this 18th of Flamerule. It involved the short time we were able to consult with Master Kelso in his library after receiving our reward from Barlo. Good Master Kelso was kind enough to point out the books the lizardkin invaders’ commanders had been perusing during their “stay” at the Tower. Several of the books were simply references on the monkish arts and philosophy and the like. However, those that stood out were several references, unfortunately oblique and ambiguous at best, to something called the Vornax Prophecies.

I gained permission to use the Amanuensis spell to make copies of the relevant pages and I have since gone over them again. I shall have to remember to ask Kaliki to take a look at them as well. Throughout the body of the writings only a bit of information is easily forthcoming. Unfortunately, nowhere was there a direct transliteration of the prophecy itself. The most relevant passages seem to be vague references to mass populace migrations through the Underdark and the world “turning up side down”. It was unclear, but it seemed to me that the prophecy wasn’t simply referring to a great deal of Underdark denizens relocating to the surface. It seemed as if this prophecy might actually be intimating that the surface world and the Underdark were fated to change places. I can only say that I truly hope and pray that this does not come to pass. I shall endeavor to consult with heads more wise and knowledgeable than my own about this in the future.

I believe that is the entirety of my accidental omissions to this point. I did of course complete my evening devotions before seeing to my journal and now I feel I may return to my bed in good conscience. By my Lady’s grace, I shall write again soon.

*****

Adventure Journal of Dorben Wainfoster
19th Flamerule, the Year of the Haunting



Today was filled with interesting happenings, two of which I can regrettably only relate for the most part through second hand reference from my friends.

My efforts today were mostly taken up with procuring a portable holy water font that I may use for scrying. I inquired at my Lady’s temple and was soon directed to a pleasant little shop called George’s Crafts. Good merchant George proved a congenial enough fellow and was more than happy to assist me in my purchases. I must say that goodman George seems quite devoted to the Silver Lady and every item in his shop seemed to bear imagery of the faith.

The holy water font to which goodman George directed my attention was quite lovely. Elegant in its simplicity, it is a fine example of the silversmith’s craft and art. The entirety of the shallow bowl is of thick silver, set with the symbols of the four aspects dressed with moonstones at the four cardinal points around the rim. The bowl rests within a ring shaped stand and the entire thing can be packed away in a padded shaped leather case. The case is unadorned, built more for ease of transport and protection of its contents. I also purchased a case built to hold a quartet of holy water flasks safely and securely. I must admit, although some of the items could verge on what some might consider gaudy, I believe I may find myself perusing those shelves again some day.

---While I was acquainting myself with the wares of good merchant George, Aedron and Euphestas set out in search of a craftsman. As I related earlier, we have recently found ourselves in possession of a great deal of powdered mithral. The more martial amongst us thought it might be useful to have several mithral bucklers. They are so light as to hardly interfere with one’s hand movements at all and they are really quite handy for stopping enemy weapons from invading one’s body at inopportune moments. For now, I believe I shall have to remain strapped to my enchanted shield. I would truly be happy to be liberated from its weight but its protection I don’t think I can do without.

As they related it to me, Aedron and Euphestas were soon provided simple and succinct directions to the craftsman they sought. They were told to go to tower number Five of the Vaasan Gate fortress, gain entrance through the public portal there and proceed down until they could descend no further. They were advised the person they wanted to talk to went by the name of Gilbert. Following those directions they soon enough found themselves descending quite some distance below the ground. They thought perhaps even deeper than the tower was tall. Eventually, they came to a large iron door which was warm to the touch and released an almost solid wave of heated air when opened. Beyond they found yet more stairs, long and shallow and continuing further down.

The stairs eventually brought them to a large open room; a foundry from their descriptions of multiple great furnaces and work areas. They found only one forge in use however, a rather bald dwarf working in the heat; Gilbert of course. He was described as a dwarf of goodly size, wearing no more than a loincloth and sandals and bald as an egg other than his beard. Introductions were quickly taken care of while Gilbert carried on with his work and they soon got down to the business at hand. As I understand it, there was a bit of haggling before a price was agreed upon. Being able to provide the raw mithral afforded us quite a deep discount; as did bringing along several hand kegs of strong ale and whiskey.

I believe I would like to draw this dwarven smith, Gilbert. From Euphestas and Aedron’s description, his face sounds like it is just full of character. I think even my meager skills might capture a likeness of that character. Or even better, perhaps smith Gilbert would allow me to draw him at his work? I shall have to look into making an appointment. But that is for some later date.

---Meanwhile, Kaliki made here way to the bardic conservatory she had located upon our first arrival in West Wall. I believe she said that her original intent had been the pursuit of protective magics but had been unable to locate them. She elected to remain amongst her fellow bards for the day. She was not entirely forthcoming as to how exactly they went about their day but I suppose bards must keep some secrets.

Kaliki described the conservatory as being more or less divided into several different rooms for different endeavors. Some might be tuning their instruments in one room while other bards helped each other with lyrics and the like in the next. Kaliki was in the room that seemed to be reserved for the presentation of finalized or nearly finalized pieces, listening to the piece being presented by the latest performer. As the young man played, one of his lute strings broke. And then another, and another, and so on. Several bards were looking about, most likely with the aid of spells, when the third and successive strings broke. A few master bards ascended the stage to assist the young performer. By the time they reached his side, the neck of his lute had snapped off and then the body of the instrument collapsed in on itself. The poor fellow appeared quite shaken and the master bards seemed to perhaps be attempting to comfort him.

The unfortunate musician was escorted from the stage by a master bard. After a bit more casting about, another master bard began to call for all in attendance to clear the room and ushered them out. About this time, Kaliki observed a man who certainly appeared to be the conservatories Grand Master, emerge through an apparently solid wall covered with a mural of musical notes. He consulted with the master bard who had ushered the observers from the performance room and then entered the performance room himself, closing the door behind him as he began to play a delightful melody upon his flute.

Although it had seemed before that the conservatory had been built to keep the sounds of performances somewhat isolated to their respective individual rooms, Kaliki found she could easily hear the Grand Master’s music. It was as if there was no intervening door or walls. Within a minute the sounds of a celestial choir joined with the Grand Master’s composition. At that point the music seemed to begin to swell and grow beyond those rooms.

It was at this point that I, and seemingly every being resident within the town of West Wall, began to become aware of the incredible music playing within our midst. It swelled outward from its origin and touched all. This auditory flood of beauty sounded to me as if I were standing within the very room where it was being played and the acoustics of said room were well nigh perfect. Aedron and Euphestas said they had heard the music even deep below the Tower Five. I can say that in my opinion, this was simply the Most Beautiful Composition of Music Ever Played within my hearing; possibly anywhere. Suffice it to say that the beauty of this piece was virtually indescribable other than its bare mechanics, in as much as it seemed to feature flute and harp music; the music of angels.

Kaliki said that while the music was playing a radiant light began to show around the edge of the closed door. Eventually, the door itself appeared to be glowing. When the music ended, the glow faded from the door and thereafter the radiance ended. Kaliki said that the Grand Master then opened the door and stepped out but he was a changed man. His hair was pure shock white, his eyes were glowing and even though he looked to be simply walking it did not appear that his feet were actually touching the floor. The Grand Master spoke to one of his master bards in passing as he made his way toward the wall through which he had first emerged; his voice achingly beautiful according to Kaliki. He told his master bard that it would take him a while to recover from what had just happened and then passed through the mural wall.

Kaliki said there was one more thing of interest pertaining to this occurrence that she had observed. She had edged near the door to the performance room and took a look within before the master bards began ushering everyone out of the conservatory. She saw that the air was simply full of floating silvery motes. She observed just a momentary fading image of a seated woman with a harp and then it faded away with the silvery motes and then nothingness. From that fleeting glimpse, Kaliki had a thought that the woman’s name is Laria and that she is or was Ramathari. Kaliki wasn’t completely sure from where she recollected this bit of information but she did feel that it was correct. Perhaps we might find some reference to this Laria within Master Kelso’s library? If we do go out to the Tower again, I hope Master Kelso will not see it as too much of an imposition.

And this brings me almost to the conclusion of our day’s encounters. Even the experience of such lovely music could not bring the everyday doings of a goodly sized town such as this to a halt. We went about our business the remainder of the day; mainly further replenishing of supplies and the procurement of some personal items.

Euphestas found a most interesting item which he has asked me to more closely examine on the morrow. The item appears to be nothing more than a very nicely made quill ink pen but detects as magical. My comment to that effect gained a retort from Euphestas that it had certainly better be, considering how much he had just paid for it. It is enchanted so that it will scribe a scroll on its own after being given impetus from a spell caster who knows the way of such things. Most likely he will use it to scribe a scroll while he sleeps, rather than have to take that time away from his day. If it performs as it is supposed to then the quill will prove quite useful to my gnomish friend. Euphestas informed me that it had taken him a fair bit of inquiry to track down this elusive quarry and some comments by the seller had roused questions within him. I believe the term he said the seller used was “as is” and that is why he asked if Meg or I would cast Identify upon it. Considering that through my Lady’s gracious favor I am able to cast that spell without the expenditure of the expensive material components, I have volunteered.

But that is the morrow. This evening is only begun and I have a date with sweet young Sophie, my lovely companion with the impish smile from last evening. She spotted my drawing of her in my sketch book and insisted on signing her name herself so that I “won’t forget her after we’ve had our fun together” as she said. Dinner with my lovely new lady friend will make for a wonderful evening I think. By my Lady’s grace, I shall write again soon.

*****

Adventure Journal of Dorben Wainfoster
20th Flamerule, the Year of the Haunting


---I believe this will be a fairly short journal entry this evening. A good deal of our time this day has been spent in our further reprovisioning and I have little interest in recounting how many pounds of oats we purchased or the price to repair a saddle girth strap. I easily get more than my fill of that while filling out our expenditures ledger.

The magical analysis of Euphestas’ enchanted quill may have brought to light something worthy of possible further inquiry. My spell revealed that the quill will perform the task for which Euphestas purchased it but there seemed to an indication of something more which I could not identify. It is possible that the magic has mutated somehow from its original enchantment but it is unclear exactly how.

As we have all come to know, things like this have apparently been happening for the past several years. Better minds than mine are still delving into this question and even our greatest sages have yet to discover the whys and wherefores of its cause. The fact that the magic infused into some enchanted items on occasion will change in some way has come to be an accepted fact of our lives. We have the choice to worry about it or live with it. I for one have come to terms with not knowing and learned to accept that which I cannot know.

Euphestas has said that he will set the quill to scribing a scroll so that we may test for any changes. We shall reconvene on the morrow. By my Lady’s grace, I shall write again soon.

*****

Adventure Journal of Dorben Wainfoster
21st Flamerule, the Year of the Haunting


---I believe we shall have to set forth a few basic rules about the testing of magics from here on in. In my own defense, I honestly did not think the rock I handed Meg was all that large. And Euphestas assured us he will hold no grudge against either of us. On the bright side, the immediate application of healing magics does relieve him of the possibility of scarring. It WAS an accident, more or less, but I do still feel bad about the incident as I believe I carry a bit more of the burden of blame than either of the other parties involved. But here I am again, getting far ahead of myself.

This morning, our group traveled a short distance outside the demesnes of West Wall to test the scroll Euphestas had set his quill to scribe last evening. He settled on Mage Armor as a relatively harmless test subject. The rest of us stood a short distance away as he read the spell into completion. It was only then that it occurred to us that perhaps a spell with an obvious visual manifestation might have been a better choice. Aedron thought to have his little gliding furry friend glide over and simply drop a berry upon Euphestas to see if the spell would stop it. But the Mage Armor enchantment is used more against direct assault and the berry just did not seem a useful test.

It was at this point that I looked about and found a small rock; little more than a hen’s egg in size. Seeing as how my skill at throwing has been described as “just this side of awful” I thought it best to call upon Meg’s ballistic ability if we wanted a true test of the efficacy of Euphestas’ spell. I had handed the rock to Meg and asked her to assist in the test, when it occurred to me that Mage Armor is said to create a tangible field of effect. And that of course could be detected through the simple expedient of attempting to touch Euphestas; which is what I then set out to do. I had apparently neglected to voice my realization and intentions to my companions and was therefore taken quite by surprise when Meg’s throw caught poor Euphestas a resounding clout to his head, just forward of his left ear. Meg and I both apologized for the misunderstanding and I applied healing magic as soon as I examined the wound, which proved quite serious actually. I am sure it would have easily struck down a person less hardy than Euphestas.

None of our testing was able to reveal any obvious altering of the spell from the formula which Euphestas scribed. We may seek the use of more detailed inquiry spells to analyze the quill at some future time. But for now it is a simple curiosity for a later time. By my Lady’s grace, I shall write again soon.

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