Research Around Town
Notes from the Mage Guild library: “Acaesia” is draconic for lieutenant. Argandris, unlike the other gods, does not have an avatar.
We prepare to leave with Sorroway to find the missing caravans. Eleazar thinks Jaren’s acting strange, though none of the rest of us notice anything. Sorroway tells us that Dresden made his money over the past decade, taking large risks and suffering no setbacks. He also knows the Crown Prince well, through Stargrave.
We get back to our room on the ship to discover that Something is our new roommate. That night, I can’t get to sleep. I get up, stare out the porthole and suddenly it seems to be morning—but our room is trashed, with charcoal drawings all over the walls. I’m holding the Book, but all the pages have been torn out except the last six and the pages we’ve written on. Written on one page in gold ink, almost etched into the page, in my hand writing is Prophecy 4. I try to clean up, and find a few scraps of the Book’s purple paper—they look like the edges of drawings. The others wake up and are so happy with me…especially since most of our money is gone and the letter of credit is suspiciously wrinkled. That ink really looks golden, huh?
At the Temple of Argandris, the priest tells us that when Argandris cast the Requiem, a great spell separating the planes, it reflected back upon himself. His color is blue, the color of magic (as we see it). None of the temples know anything about my goldenness; all the gods except Argandris (and the Chosen One & Green Man, who aren’t really into that) have lieutenants, which is another term for avatars. At Dresden’s, lots of posturing (Eleazer & Teryx) and not much progress.
We meet Sorroway and his guards, and set off north.
To Stargrave, or Beyond?
The first night on the road, Sorroway changes into a black & white cloak and heads off to a mysterious Keepers’ meeting (Skull & Bones?). At our camp, a stranger appears—there’s something about him, he looks too perfect, somehow—and tells us a story, reading from a purple book:
Four adventurers sought a way to change the world for the better. The weaves provided and the four grew together, forming a coalition called Vision, but the price asked was too great. Each tried to alter fate, to change the book; they failed.
The first father believed he was sent by Rapture, that his son would be a great priest—but his son forsook the church and went to the wilds to follow the Green Man.
The second father believed he was sent by Argandris, that his son would be a great wizard, but his son forsook his studies.
The third father, sickened by the violence he had seen, went to find peace in the countryside as a farmer so his son would not know warfare.
The fourth adventurer had no children, but his child was the key, Acaesia, abducted from Aaridon. After leaving the child with an acquaintance he was killed; his purpose was finished.
The book was stolen by a fifth man, who asked it the most important thing he needed to do—so he brought the book to the farmhouse.
There is a reason
— that Willian was born the day the ships left for Aaridon, and that the name of Underwood is so well-known
— that Teryx has a connection to Argandris
— that Eleazar’s father forsook his name
— that I was taken as a child; Hecate-Acaesia not human
The Weaver weaves the tapestry but the weave is not set; the Shaddar-Kai are to the Weaver as the Keepers are to Paragon.
As the stranger paused, a large, shimmering silver Drake Borne appeared on the path ahead.
DB: You’re not wanted here
P: It’s not your decision where my place is.
DB: (spreads wings—wait, the other ones didn’t have wings!)
P: You have no sway here. Leave us. (DB leaves.) Our time here is out own, and no one else’s.
We turn at a noise as Sorroway returns, and the stranger (Paragon?) is gone. Sorroway tells us there’s a choice up ahead, “different than the others.”
Later that night Teryx hears something in the brush beside the path; investigating, he finds a note & pouch of gold. Under the pouch is a slightly glowing, translucent white chess knight. The note reads “He likes to play chess.”
…is a trading post town with a HIGH level of tension. Everyone’s especially wary of me—apparently concerned that I might be a member of The Phoenix (?)…invincible robbers…they’re everywhere!!! Hysteria aside, caravans that leave the town don’t return, and neither has anyone who’s tried to stamp out the bandits.
Directed to Yorel, the local druid/recluse with an acid-scarred face and no love for civilization, we learn that The Phoenix are few but strong, employing “despicable magics” and plundering to destroy & burn, not sell. Also, YOREL HAS BEEN TO AARIDON, where he got his scars in “a bad storm.” (Right.) He calls it a cursed place, where the touch of the Green is weak.
Meanwhile, the local thieves’ guild makes contact via an anonymous note slipped to Teryx; painful negotiation nets us a matching carved dreambox & wand from a dwarf with a web tattoo. While identifying the box Teryx encounters a TRAP—use magic device fail!—all kinds of bad. He’s comatose & getting worse, not to mention that clerical healing harms him now. The temple druid Loruen Nightwatch tells us Teryx might be saved by a potion made from magic mushrooms (sigh) found in a dangerous grove (SIGH) at the edge of the Wyldwood, a day’s travel away. This does not do wonders for our tight schedule (we need to be back at the fleet in a very few days). Nevertheless, we set off to retrieve 3 glowing brown mushrooms from the north of the grove. The “denizens” have reportedly been “dealt with”—something about Yorel’s crimes? Good thing people around here tell us the whole story! Yorel says something about the close connection between the Wyldwood & the Green Man, how it allows the wood’s plants to be changed by druids…sometimes “mistakes are made.” A cave in the grove is a nexus of power, with constantly changing contents; it’s powerful but difficult to use, as it was designed for a different purpose (?).
The Wolves of our Discontent
As we leave Yorel, Muffin is reluctant to follow. (via Eleazar:) He likes the forest! Yorel is “different” and warned him against the ocean.