His trial drawing closer, Journ’ee decides that he wants to make a bomb, as a means to improve his odds in the arena. He learns information abou the battle royale style arena combat. The challenges are quite loose, and in seeking out this information he also comes across some old friends in the city who owe him a favour. He explains that he is due to fight in two days and calls in the favours he is owed from his friends, allowing him to obtain an Anduwin crystal, which he begins to build into his design for a bomb before he returns to Hotel Vanquiz. Once back at the party’s temporary base the fiery dwarf approaches Granuaile to explain his absence. The half-orc asks Journ’ee to keep an eye on 428 whilst she goes into the Quince market to collect the warhammer she has ordered.

Brant Goldust tells Renly to make his way back to the hotel, whilst the bard begins to make enquires about routes from Quince to Mountainsfoot. He recalls that although Quince is particular about logging who has come into the city on their arrival, they are less concerned when people leave, and so there is no need for passports or any other travel documents. He speaks to a few captains of ships, and obtains prices for three travellers to leave the city before also making his way back to the hotel. On his arrival at the suite, the halfling sees Journ’ee and Benton’s daughter playing cards. Renly is still asleep, and so the spy sits down and joins the game of cards. Whilst they play, Journ’ee offers up silver and copper coins as part of the gambling the dwarf wants to teach the young girl. Brant does not want to see Journ’ee take money from the otherwise already poor girl, so chooses to deliberately loose at the game, allowing the girl to take the winnings. Journ’ee also loses, but less deliberately. The girl says she has never seen so much money at once before, being poor as the family are. Brant tells her that if she wants more she should put a coin under her pillow, and think kind happy thoughts when she sleeps. She immediately goes to her bed, and stows the coin. Journ’ee continues to play cards with Brant and 428 whilst they wait for Renly to wake. The girl continues to play in the suite with her father watching on. Brant tells Benton he has started to investigate passage out of the city, knowing that the family lost their home in the fire. Renly Anford wakes and with that, Brant asks if Mr Anford has any experience in alchemy that he could share with the spy, to help improve his own skills. Later that night the girl puts a coin under her pillow and Brant, waiting until she is asleep, takes the copper coin away, and replaces it with two golden coins, inventing the rumour and legend of the coin fairy that visits well behaved children.

46 Days Remain

 

Do Not Trust A Wizard To Use Magik Sensibly!

 

Magnus asked me to help him. If he ever asks you to help him cast a spell, then take his components and run. That dwarf may have been father’s friend but he is a mad man.

 

Last night he sent a magikal message to the to someone dangerous. He did this and shortly after our vessel was under siege. It cannot be coincidence. Of the 40 sailors as well as Magnus and myself only we and nine crew survived a suddenly starting lightning storm. I am relieved to say that we survived, but I have not had to employ my healing in such a way since the War. Healing in a storm, in a lifeboat, with such a range of injuries. I’d be lying to not say I enjoyed the challenge but at the cost of twenty nine lives. I pray Magnus feels his spell was worth the price those men paid.

 

– Orryon Ma’talli

Granuaile returns with her hammer improved and repaired and she begins a discussion with Journ’ee and 428 about the arena, expressing that she plans to compete as well. 428 is keen to test his mettle in this combat until Journ’ee tells them both that the duels are primarily magikal. Not wanting to be excluded, 428 reveals that he too has some minor magikal gifts, though he does look to be unsure of their origin, and he has never cast spells in front of the party before. The half-orc suddenly goes quiet, and then turns her face to the window. When she looks back, she reveals that she has just received a magikal message from Magnus and been told that their boat was attacked but that both Magnus and Orryon are alive, and nearer to the Lighthouse than Quince, so plan to continue to head there to recover. On hearing of their allies being in danger, 428 and Brant leave Vanquiz Imperial and make their way to the University, to see Professor Megenof, as he was the last person who may have an idea why the pair went to the Lighthouse. As they leave, Manuel tells Brant that a package has arrived at the hotel for Magnus, and this will be sent up to the suite. Granuaile feels that it may be quicker to get aid for Magnus and Orryon by using her new title, and so chooses to pay a diplomatic visit to Prime Minster Hugótaire Strathholme. Journ’ee continues working on the bomb he has been tinkering with, hoping to improve its detonation and explosive capabilities. When Manuel brings the package to the suite, he leaves this in the care of Journ’ee. The fiery dwarf also asks Manuel to arrange transport for Renly, Benton and his daughter to the docks, as Brant has secured and paid for passage for the three to leave Naramiá, and sail to Mountainsfoot, and her capital, Vespard. The concierge complies and escorts the three out of the party’s suite, with some quiet resignation from Renly, and bountiful thanks from Benton’s family. With the suite empty, Journ’ee also embarks on his own daily adventure, and catches up with Lady Granuaile.

The small skiff moves at a snail’s pace towards the island. The sailors weakened form their injuries, Magnus and Orryon from theirs, and the whole group from their waking night working to keep each other alive. As Magnus pulls himself back into his seat, his fingers drip saltwater as the last paper he has was turned into a boat, to send a message to Granuaile. Orryon is low in healing supplies, but still has some rations and so distributes these to the sailors, to help them heal and retain what little strength they have left. Were it not for the glow from the Lighthouse, all nine would have died sometime in the night. Towards the island the sight of Sisero returning to the skiff brings a feeling of warmth, and with it speaks of bright radiance. An old man appears with the bird conjures the people to the island, leaving their lifeboat behind. As they arrive, Magnus and Orryon appear together and the sailors are no longer with them. The structure before them is gargantuan in scale. Reaching towards the top of the sky itself, the Lighthouse casts its glow over the island more strongly than it was felt on the Desolate Ocean. To one side of the island, more boats are docked and a small village appears to have been set up. Looking back to the Lighthouse, the old man stands before Magnus and Orryon. He appears elven in nature, but is very old. He introduces himself as the Keeper of the Lighthouse, naming himself Octavius. He has kept the glow safe for more than six thousand years, but does share that he cannot possible know his actual age as time appears to run differently on the island, and is even more in its own stream the closer to the glow a person gets.

428 does not really know what he expects to find at the university, but being followed by Brant, they go to the college looking for important people, who may be able to get messages to Orryon and Magnus, or better still, bring them home. Many students are moving about the campus in different coloured robes denoting the different colleges of magikal study, but Brant and 428 both notice that those wearing beige are viewed as misfits. Entering the main administrative building 428 waits in a random queue, hoping to speak with a clerk who can point him in the direction of Professor Megenof. At the same time, Brant tells himself how good he looks, and how he should look as his vocal magik allows him to cast an illusionary disguise over himself. He appears a moment later to be an identical version of himself, but having noticed that mortar board hats appear to denote authority, this illusionary disguise has Brant wearing elegant robes and five mortar board hats stacked on top of each other, creating an appearance that Brant is a foot or so taller. This appearance certainly attracts a lot of attention from the students moving through the building. 428 overhears that he is in the wrong queue, and so chooses to move out of the line he is in, and to a new one, standing close to the people in front of him, to hopefully learn if this is the correct line or not. This closeness makes people feel more uncomfortable. Brant finds Ilvermony Proffesington and Durmstring Cornelius and then stops an administrative elf under the guise of ‘Professor Bottomly’ and eventually is provided with a magikal map of the campus, before he approaches 428 in the queue and takes the giantkin away from the lines of students towards where Professor Megenof’s office is apparently situated. 428 asks Brant about the people wearing beige robes and why they are being treated differently than the other magicians on campus. Brant tries to explain morality to the giantkin. He tells that some magik is in the light, and other types of spells in the dark, and that sometimes it is harder to tell. There are some in the world who believe that only the light magik should be learnt, as the darker spells are powerful and can be evil. 428 clenches his fists at the talk of so much dark magik. Brant continues his explanation, conjuring into his left hand a ball of light, and a ball of shadow into his right, wrapping his magik into his words as he tells the story. He brings the two balls together and forms a swirling object of grey. Brant explains that those in the beige robes study grey magik, and that this sits between and outside of light and dark allowing practitioners to know both sides of a coin. 428 understands this in part, but still feels that all magik is bad. However, he does share that he thinks that the magik that made him was probably grey, rather than just dark. By the time Brant has finished explaining this, they have arrived at Megenof’s office door. There the professor dismisses Brant, still disguised as Professor Bottomly, seeing through his illusionary disguise after taking a closer look at the unusual number of hats he is wearing. Brant flounces away, leaving 428 to explain to Megenof what has happened to Magnus and Orryon. The professor recognises 428 from the party a few nights ago, after the Prime Minister’s seminar. He asks Gregor to contact Magnus and Orryon.

A short while away from the university campus sits the parliamentary quarter, where Granuaile and Journ’ee follow the red road the central building. Large banners adorn the building for Hugótaire. They head to the finely dressed people going inside and follow the group to a balcony overlooking the main hall. People are milling in small groups and drinks are ordered as each tries to determine who the others are, and so who will be seen by the Prime Minister first.

Magnus walks to the villiage where he finds the survivors in Wendy’s Boarding House. There he makes notes on the ship’s fate as well as speaking to a group of purple robed wizards. They speak of planar magiks with Dr Alan Berktrum who then tells Magnus he has been trying to study the strange effects of the Lighthouse on the island on time, and on reality itself. He has been unable to get into the Lighthouse to research firsthand, and when he learns that Magnus intends to enter the structure, Dr Berktrum gives the dwarf a tuning fork which is set up to read the levels of background Anduwomancy. Instead of joining Magnus at the village, Orryon follows Octavius to his home. On the way three elves approach the healer and discuss the Lighthouse. He asks more information about his rescuer, learning that Octavius is unnaturally long lived and that these three are his heirs apparent. They have each been on the island for the last three hundred years and warn of the dangers on the island. It has areas of magikal fluctuations, but none of the heirs are sure if these fluctuations are caused by the island itself, or the magik of the Lighthouse. Octavius checks the time, telling Orryon that he and Magnus will enter the Lighthouse when the hour is right. Whilst they wait, Orryon feels his will over reality increasing, and that his magik is stsronger here. He pulls the arcane tether deep within his soul and when he does, he teleports. A spell he has cast many times before, but this time the fluctuations of magik cause his own power to transport him nearly four times as far as he has ever done before. A loud chime sounds and the Lighthouse opens allowing Octavius enter. Magnus has made his way back from the village by the second chime, carrying a small stone giving off a slight magikal sheen, and also enters, joining Octavius and Orryon as they discuss the visitors to the Lighthouse and its effects on time. Octavius advises that often people make pilgrimage to the Lighthouse in mourning. The most recent visitor came several years ago, grieving for his daughter. Magnus surmises that this visitor was most likely Anton Quinn, referring to the loss of his daughter, Amelie.

Brant, having been dismissed by Professor Megenof leaves, investigating the various colleges. He is still keen to improve his own skills in alchemy but all he learns is that the only school that really specialised in alchemy is that of druidic and shamantistc arts. However, the druids separated from the university many years ago returning to they place in nature. Because of this, Brant goes on, to look for a particular type of magik. He has seen the message the party received in Al’Zieharia by magikal hologram. He wonders if he could be taught a single lesson in mental magik, rather than enrol in a full course. His enquiries are more successful in this. He finds a tutor and explains that he wants to create a recording of his memorys, but without the person seeing his memory, or taking the memory out of Brant’s mind all together. The tutor he finds explains that he could teach Brant for a thousand gold per hour with no clear guidance on just how many hours it may take or the mage would charge forty thousand gold pieces to perform the spell himself on Brant. Hearing the prices and still worrying that the mage would see and learn Brant’s memories he declines the magikal service, and leaves the campus.

Granuaile and Journ’ee are taken before the Prime Minister, where the half-orc recounts the events of the boat attack, as told to her by Magnus. Hugótaire touches Granuaile’s head and they are taken to the island in a brilliant flash of lightning. There, the Prime Minsiter obtains more details of the attack, including Magnus having provocked it and the belief that the Emperor is growing scared. Magnus appeals to the Prime Minister to join the war, given Maurdórne’s recent attacks but the decision must be made by parliament. However, due to the recent attack so close to Naramiá, a fresh case will be put forward to join the war. Hugótaire tells the dwarf he can take him back to Quince, but Magnus declines, telling him that he was given some ashes to spread from a bishop of Kaine. Hearing this decline, the Prime Minister gives Magnus a stone to help him return to the mainland, before both he and Granuaile return to the city, where he also agrees to pay for the hotel welcoming Lady Granuaile of Mountainsfoot as an honoured dignitary and guest. When asked about what the party should do whilst waiting for Magnus and Orryon to return, he suggests to Granuaile that they join the games at the arena. Granuaile thanks the Prime Minister and offers services, suggesting that the party could investigate the recent fire that roared through the city. On the way back to hotel Granuaile buys parchment and Quill.

428 enquires more about the beige college from Gregor as he believes he belongs with them feeling his is both light and dark. 428 tells Gregor a small amount about his own past and so and requests Gregor to fix him. The professor tries to console 428 that he does not need to join the beige college, and goes back to casting his spell of communication. However, for some unknown reason the message can’t get through. When the message fails, 428 asks if the professor could send the giantkin to the island to join his allies, but Gregor can not. The giantkin’s nightmare, seeing his friends and allies dead flashes before his eyes and his mood drops. 428 leaves.

Inside the Lighthouse the structure is just as tall as expected. A huger pillar of light cuts its way through the centre of the circular room. It is unclear if this light is coming down, or doing up, but it is the same light that is creating the radiance that effects the island. Octavius turns to his guests and believes in the destiny of Magnus and Orryon. Magnus suspects Octavius of hiding something and so questions his time on the island. A vast number of steps line the wall of the Lighthouse, climbing upwards along the inside wall. Each of these steps has been hand crafted from Anduwin stone. To the left of the main entrance doors, is a metal grate, and beyond the grate itself, more stair, stretching down into the island and the earth, mirroring those going up.

Below lies truth, above duty

– Octavius.

Sharing a look, and knowing that Magnus will always choose duty, Orryon heads to the grate, descending in the near darkness for an age. A hundred feet. Two hundred. Three. The stairs seem to keep going as deep now as he has already walked. After half an hour and what feels like a fathom he reaches the base, and finds a room with a strange font within. He hears a clacking noise and a familiar sensation creeps over the elven man, as though his wings are being summoned to him, but looking over his shoulders, they are not there, and nor is the brightness they usually bring. The feeling spreads and his vision blurs. The elf sees a scene not of his memory but something else. Six figures stood around a seventh. The one in the centre is taller. Female. She is wounded. Something dark and smoky escapes the wound and the vision fades, returning Orryon to his senses and the eerie surroundings of beneath the Lighthouse. Strange black smoke emanates from a hatch, becoming more solid, moving towards the elf. Orryon asks it to stop, drawing a chalk crescent around him, with his back against a stone altar that is holding the font. The smoke becomes a shadowy creature, cackles at the elf at his futile attempts to prevent the creature advancing. The shadow lurches forward with solid claws of dark matter extended.

Orryon’s form glimmers for a moment, as invisible armour appears around his form, whilst the elf keeps trying to communicate with this shadow begging it to keep back. The shadow moves through Orryon. As it does an uncountable number of icy blades slices through the armour and the elf in equal measure. Orryon exerts his will and conjures termites, bacteria, parasites and all manner of deadly things that could cause an infestation. None of the creatures last very long in the icy shadow’s balde. None of them seem to be able to bite deep enough to injure the entity, if it even can be injured. The elf moves, fleeing the shadow. Two claws swing down, becoming solid once more, but the cloak given by the Sultan seems to pull Orryon faster out of the way of the talons. As he tumbles forward, he leans into the sensation of his wings, causing them to appear. The proximity to the pillar of light that has reached all this way down creates a divine connection, causing his wings to be much larger than previously experienced. They beat, and the elf takes to the sky. The shade follows flying itself now, and moving once again over and around Orryon. Icy blades once again cut out, and the elf flies higher. Orryon tries to focus on escape, but the shadow appears more driven to slay, as it spews a dark acidic attack at Orryon. Deciding that escape is not working currently, the elf attacks with a small bolt of fire, setting the creature ablaze. Orryon hides behind a pillar, but this stone crumbles when the shadow attacks. In its dark claw, it generates a dagger, that it throws across the aerial battlefield. It strikes true, puncturing the elf’s thigh. He may have stumbled himself if he were stood or walking, but his enormous wings beat faster to keep him in the air. The creature then seems to absorb the fire from the blaze and blasts this out of itself towards the elf. He closes his wings around him as a well timed defence, and the feather’s own radiance deflect the attack. As he unfurls his wings, Orryon continues to fly upwards, reaching for the grate in the far distance above. He whispers Paz’s name and imbues divine magik into his thigh to close the wound. The shade gives chase, and wraps its claw around the elf’s ankle to pull him down, but the wings beat again, and are strong enough to draw creature up with him, allowing Orryon to fly in such a way to swing the shadow creature into the pillar of light. It shrieks in pain, hissing through dark ethereal teeth. Their battle continues with Orryon having to heal himself multiple times with his weakest magik, as he puts his effort and stamina into flying higher. The grate is in sight, but looks to be locked shut and the shade is gaining. A push forward with his speed, his wings vanishing after a minute of flight, her stumbles onto the Anduwin stone stairs, and runs as fast as he can towards the grate. When he thinks he is near enough, he teleports again, hoping against all hope that the Lighthouse could boost his magik. He vanishes from one side of the grate, and reappears on the otherside, thirty feet into the room. The shadow looses its dense solid form, and phases through the grate unhindered rushing the elf. It’s dark crimson eyes hungry for the kill. Orryon blasts fire out again, bolting embers directly at the shade. Its form loosing its constituation as it falls apart, destroyed in part by the fire, but mainly by the radiance light all around it. As it disappears, the conjured dagger clatters to the ground, leaving Orryon slumped against the Lighthouse wall. He causiously magiks the dagger into his satchel, pressing his hand the largest wound he has. Gritting his teeth, and trying to steady his breath, Orryon methodically begins to apply bandages to himself whilst he waits Magnu’s return; his magik almost completely spent.

Brant returns to the hotel and explains how much the boat trip has cost for Renly, Benton and his daughter. Granuaile offers to pay for the trip, using her funds as a Lady of Mountainsfoot. When 428 returns to the suite Granuaile gives him an enchanted axe that may match is lightning and stormy asthetic in battle. The four party members present discuss a plan to investigate the fire, and 428 reveals his own involvement, adding that this is how he came to know Benton and daughter. The giantkin explains about the Leaky Bible and the work there extorting protection money from civilians. Granuaile suggests the group pay a visit to Maggy and Scraggy Joe. Journ’ee recalls the names given, and explains he is familiar with the Bellépónts and he has worked with them in the past. With Journ’ee’s background information about the family organisation – The Bellépónts; it is agreed that the party will work to scare the family out of the city, as this will likely be in everyone’s best intrest. Brant spends some time doing reading about the arena for when the Bellépónts have been dealt with. In his research he finds that the arena is run by a gnomish gnelteman known as Marty Shaw Jr. To the wider public he presents himself as a gnome, but Brant has heard bardic rumours and whispers that Shaw is actually an imp.

Magnus follows Octavius up the stairs, at a reasonable distance. Whilst walking, he takes out the tuning fork Dr Berktrum provided. It does not have a display or a way to read the data the item is collecting, but the dwarf can feel the amount of magik in the air. He makes a mental note to himself that usually he can sense magik at a three out of ten, but here, insdie the Lighthouse, the tuning fork is helping him sense more, nearer to a nine on that mental scale. As he climbs higher, the numbers rises more, breaking through the barrier of ten, until they hit the forties. As he climbs, he calls out to Octavius ahead of him asking what Orryon will find below, but Octavius tells Magnus that he chose to come up, and will only know what he finds until he sees his friend again. After more walking the dwarf asks Octavius if he wants to remain as the keeper and guardian of the Lighthouse and Octavius says he chooses to stay as it is his duty to keep balance. The top is higher than it is deep, but eventually Octavius brings the ward to a messanine level. To one side of the half floor, a window opens in the structure wall to look over the waves below. The otherside the magik is powerfully strong, centred about an altar. The structure is home to a dark glass orb, looking familiar to Magnus. There are several stag figurines as well as iconograthy around this level.  Magnus brings out his shards of his own glass orb and asks if Octavius is able to repair it, but the elf cannot.  The origin of these glass spheres is unknown and Octavius warns that it is impossibile to know how many there are and who else may be using these devises to listen in. Octavius tells Magnus again that duty lies ahead, and gestures the dwarf towards the wooden stairs that leave this level near the altar towards what is likely to be the top of the Lighthouse. The dwarf takes off his grey hat, and rests it on the antlers of one of the stag figures, wanting to show respect to Kaine as he climbs higher. Magnus ascends the final part of this journey alone and is advised to choose wisely as he could die if he does not. As he reaches the top, he is finds the weather to be incredibly windy, but notices a large lit fire. This seems to be the source of the light of the Lighthouse. He first takes out the ashes of the bishop’s loved one, placing them into the fire, before he folds up a sheet of parchment and folds this into a standard boat shape. He allows the boat to be caught on the wind as he casts a spell to send a mental message to the bishop to inform him that the task is done. Magnus then creates a sculpture of Rhogar, freezing it into solid ice, magiked from his own waterskin. He says a few words to his departed friend, not knowing what fate befell him, be wishing him a safe journey and asking Kaine to watch over Rhogar wherever he may be. After his speech, he experiences a sensation is similar to his brief time in Máurdorne with Anton and Amelie. The water sculpture begins to melt slowly by the fire. However, rather than trickle down, the water begins to rise upwards. The liquid lifting in the strange altered gravity, as a radiant sphere appears, taking the form of a stag. The tuning fork is now readying a magikal number nearer to the high hundreds. With thisi much magikal energy present, the fork begins to smoke. Magnus is cautious at first but takes a step towards the stag, scratching it behind its ear. He suddenly starts to float upwards, the water staying still. He moves away and gains speed, rising higher faster and faster until he sees planets and moons and a few large vehicles moving around, looking of similar build to the greyborn dreadnaughts. He sees the world is a planet itself, and is round, surrounded by many others in a much wider and busier universe. As he notices this, he finds himself back on the Lighthouse with a roll of parchment in hand. He reviews it and his cartographer’s experience helps him identify this easily as a map of the stars.

Magnus begins to descend the wooden steps back to Octavius, who begins to speak up, surprised that Magnus has returned. The dwarf asks again about Orryon, and Octavius comments he will be surprised if they see the elf again, as he has sent one of his pets to deal with the healer. Octavius draws a wand, holding it offensively towards Magnus, demanding that the dwarf hand over the golden emerald owl seal. The Lighthouse keeper declares he is master of the shadow beasts, and plans to present the seal to his master. Magnus asks for the beast to be called off, as he takes out the seal and pushes thunderous energy before him, blasting Octavius. The wizard knocks the keeper backwards a short distance with this force, and in that, he leaps into the radiant pillar of light, descending through the Lighthouse, falling. Octavius jumps after Magnus, and as he falls, his true age is revealed, showing all six thousand years or more on his skin.  Magnus calls out to Orryon as he falls. The elf pushes himself further, towards the light, jumping into the air where takes a leather loop from his pouch, holding on to nothing, as he enchants himself with the gift of levitation. The Sultan’s cloak seems to help Orryon for the second time today, as the elf manages to grab hold of his friend’s wounded leg. When the pair meet, Magnus takes out the arcane stone given to him by Hugótaire. Without incantation, the stone activates and transports both Magnus and Orryon back to Quince, on a side street nearby the river. Sisero is sent to the hotel to alert the party.

As the party discuss their thoughts and plans on the Bellépónts, Sisero is spotted pecking at the window. The rest of the party follow it into the streets to Magnus and Orryon. They bring the pair back to the hotel and Granuaile calls on Manuel and asks for physicians to be called to the suite.

The Island of the Lighthouse has some effect on time. I’m exhausted. There was something ancient under the Lighthouse and it attacked me.

 

I was alone. I did everything I could, and it was barely enough.

Oryiana, I pray you’re never in that position. But I know you always had more fight than me. I hope you’re with someone. Someone who you can help, and can help you.

 

There are things in this world that seem to hunt creatures… beings like us.

 

At this point I am convinced this thing I can do is not a spell or magik. It is within me. Maybe within us?

 

Write to me. Forgot this was a diary.

 

When I see you next, we need to talk!

– Orryon Ma’talli