Part 41: A Gathering of GourmetsAruit 8-11
Having learned the spell to explore the Tower of the Cold Forge, the Five-Handed Tree gathers back together after classes and heads back to the main chamber where you encountered the ghost. Upon seeing you arrive, the ghost waves you forward and leads you to a large chamber with many doors. Most of the doors are open and lead into darkened rooms, but a small handful are still closed and are surrounded by a red glow. At the opposite end of the room sits a tremendous door, the size of three others put together, also closed and glowing.
The things of this world are not always what they seem. I have altered the appearance of the doorways in this room so you can comprehend them. Those with the red glow are affected by the Time Slip spell, and those which are dark have already been explored and plundered. The creatures beyond the doors will not give up their secrets lightly, nor will they accept your intrusion willingly.
So whats behind the big door at the end there?
That is the staircase leading up. No one has yet mastered the spell needed to bring down that field. Perhaps someone will someday learn the spell to reach the second floor. But for now, you are limited to what is here instead. If you wish to explore what is left, I will lead you through the proper order. If not, lets stop wasting each others time.
So were in for some fights, is that it? Cool, bring it on.
Wait, are we really going to jump into this? It sounds dangerous. We should probably prepare first.
I dont think we need to prepare. Weve all got our wands, dont we? Lets at least see what the first challenge is.
You approach the first door the ghost indicates, which has the image of a cat set in the frame over the center of the portal. Rallying your courage, you draw out the two phemes of the Time Push spell and chain them together. The red glow remains, but the ghosts nod indicates that you succeeded just the same. You open the door and push through the ruddy haze.
Youve hardly had a moment to orient yourself when you hear the growl of a large beast to your left. Readying your wand, you turn and catch sight of a puma, black save for streaks of white and gray along its sides and back.
This poor beast wandered in here several days before the Time Slip spell was cast. It was only looking for a place out of the cold to rest its head. The fellow upstairs was already in residence, so no one noticed even as it crept about. I have befriended it since and set it to guard a valuable item so it would at least feel some sense of purpose. Defeat it and you will break the Time Slip spell for it and it alone, freeing it from its prison. Fail and I will see you are sent to the infirmary. Good luck.
Tacito looks like hes about to ask another question, but the giant cat is already moving in!
This adventure is setup a bit differently from most. Adventures usually present you with a set of investigations and exits, the investigations either unlocking alternate exits or else improving the odds on one or more existing exits. What you see here instead is an investigation which leads to the only possible exit, effectively making it a multi-stage adventure within a single stage. Mind you, this is also a multi-stage adventure in the more traditional sense, too.
All the time you spent training the Tree to act as a single unit pays off as everyone dodges to the side before they even register what you shouted. You yourself hop back out of the pumas range as the animal takes an exploratory swipe.
Too bad it didnt commit. Its your turn now.
The puma gathers itself into a tight ball as it prepares to pounce, but your hand is a blur as you trace out the phemes to a sleeping spell. The cat issues a single great yawn, then relaxes into slumber. Its legs start twitching as it dreams of a chase, and perhaps of running freely through the mountain slopes.
Having defeated the tired puma, you quietly step over the sleeping figure and collect your prize. The ghost explains exactly what you have picked up:
The Sword of Kush is not the sword it once was, unfortunately. It was brought here by an adventurer powerful enough to penetrate the Time Slip but not powerful enough to make his way out. After his untimely passing, I placed his weapon here. Let us return to the main chamber.
You walk back out into the main chamber with the phantom, noting with some interest that the red glow surrounding the doorway has now faded.
There are three more chambers to explore. I suggest you visit that one next.
The ghost points to a second doorway, this one with a tree set over it.
You should probably go home to rest and recuperate before you try that one.
Bring it on, we didnt even get hurt by that mountain lion!
Very well. I wont bore you with the details of how I found and planted the seed for this Static Tree. It guards nothing of any real importance, but sometimes the things you learn in strange places have a way of coming back to help you.
As you move to the second door, you cant help but think the ghost has grown just a bit more solid, although his monotone hasnt changed a bit.
You cast the Time Push spell again and enter the second room. The first thing you notice is a thick strand of what you take to be wire cracking up through the stone floor before rising almost to the ceiling where it splits off into oddly fractal branches. The limbs are gently swaying despite the lack of a wind, and every movement causes a spark to jump between twigs. As the spirit moves to the center of the room, the tree grows violent and an electrical storm erupts, spraying most of the room with lightning. The ghost, entirely ignoring the deadly bolts, shouts over the thunder:
As with last time, defeat this tree and the Time Slip spell will be broken and I will be able to transplant it. Fail and I will transport you to the infirmary instead. Good luck.
How exactly does one ambush a tree? I guess well find out, since Negation Methods is merely an investigation. Seems like we should be prepared, though.
Most of the clique isnt all that good with Negation spells, but the danger is fairly obvious. At least itll be better than nothing.
And now back to Ambushing.
A simple Incantation coughs fire at the tree, but though the bark crackles and darkens, it doesnt catch fire. The tree seems to have noticed the assault, at least, and a lightning bolt is fired straight at you! Fortunately, the bolt is harmlessly deflected into the ground by your shielding spell. Guess you did something right after all.
Secretly the Ambush check was an investigation too, and this adventure stage isnt over yet. Tactics seems the most final, so how about doing those other two first?
Rui, get up some illusions! Vrenelle, distract it!
Rui da Casga runs around the edge of the room, leaving a disorienting mash of spells behind him. Some blur the light and others mask sound, while strange and disturbing odors explode at random intervals. Coughing and laughing noises come from all corners, leaving you with the impression of a carnival gone sick in the head. At least Rui hasnt been zapped yet, although youre starting to hope he will.
In the meantime, Vrenelle is using more traditional methods of dodging incoming zaps. She weaves back and forth through the furniture not yet crushed by the growing tree, sometimes somersaulting under a chair or occasionally ducking under an overturned table.
Ah, green. Much better.
With your distractions well underway, you feel (barely) confident enough to rush in upon the tree itself. Your wand sketches out the phemes even as you keep your eyes on the branches; if youre going to get out of this without getting fried, this is your only best option.
Of course, you do trip on a root on your way over and skin your knees, but the spell holds long enough for you to cast it, and the tree itself? The stone form will wear off eventually, but until then you wont have to worry about your hair exploding into flames. The ghost approaches you.
On behalf of the Static Tree, you have our thanks. Ill get it moved in the future. I hope it didnt hurt you too badly.
You head back out into the main chamber with the ghost, noting with satisfaction that the red glow has once again faded from the door. The ghost then leads you to the third normal-sized door, this one with a fist set above the frame.
This is the next one. I suggest you wait and train a few months before trying it.
No way, that tree wasnt so bad! Cmon, guys!
You cast the Time Push spell once again and move to open the door, but the ghost interrupts you first.
Very well. I believe the creator of this one called her an argenblat. Its not a name that ever caught on. They were created to hunt werewolves. Shes rather human-like in shape, apart from the goats head. Very fast. Oh, and watch out for the fire.
You dont know what possessed you to dive the second you stepped into the room, but a flaming fist colliding with the doorframe just over your head tells you it was a good idea. You roll into a fighting stance a few steps away, and the next attack from this ugly, horned thing is already coming.
Boots of Mud! Boots of Mud!
You shout, both to make sure youre concentrating on the spell and not the beasts fists and to let everyone else know what they ought to be casting, too. Fortunately, someones spell must have gone off, as the argenblats legs begin to sink into the now-boggy stones. You now have something resembling breathing room.
Rui lets out a great scream, and the argenblat pauses in its tracks. It may just be confused, but youll take what you can get.
That was Intimidation, just for the heck of it. Now for Glamour again.
Youre almost surprised at how calmly youre dealing with all this. You even smile as you wave your wand through the intricate symbols. Pheme, pheme, pheme: nap. One argenblat face down in the mud.
Another creature who sought shelter from a storm, although a bit more metaphorically in her case. I would have taught her the Time Push spell so she could make her way out, but those affected by the Time Slip spell when it is cast cannot learn the Time pheme. It would be a bother to explain how. You should move on. Just one more door remains, and one more challenge. The last one is the hardest, you should probably wait a year or so before you try it.
I dont need to wait a year! Did you see how easy it was to take down
Ana? Weve had enough.
Startled, you turn to the rest of your friends and see that Emilia is right. Everyone is tired, muddy, and a bit scorched in areas. Taking stock of yourself, you realize that adrenaline is pretty much the only thing keeping you going yourself.
Fine. Lets go home. But were coming back sooner than a year, alright?
The rest nod in acceptance, probably just to get home that much faster.
Fate, however, has something else in store. While walking past the menagerie, you hear a series of loud crashes, seemingly from the opposite side of the bestiary. Rushing to investigate, you discover a band of thieves stealing animals from the pens! The staff has been knocked unconscious, theres smoke everywhere, and the animals are panicking.
Meanwhile, several students and professors are approaching in a group to confront the brazen crooks.
Composure may be certain, but wheres the fun in that?
You try to peer through the smoke to see how many robbers there are and what animals they are stealing. You also want to determine who is fighting them and what they are doing. From what you can see, the thieves appear to be stealing horses, mules, falcons, and wolves, the type of animals you could bring on a long journey through the woods.
These thieves are probably not professional bandits and escape, rather than greed, is likely their motivation.
War! Thats more like it.
Tired, dirty, and just a bit hungry, you nevertheless rally your Clique and wade into the growing melee. The noise and chaos is almost overwhelming as you fight your way over to the group of students and professors.
You are blinded by bright flashes and deafened by loud bangs as the students and professors cast whatever they can to stop the thieves from getting away. Some have even stooped to throwing rocks and sticks, whatever they can get their hands on.
Eventually, the smoke and noise attracts a group of guards, and the battle doesnt last long after that. One by one, the bandits are overwhelmed, and eventually the last group simply surrenders and lays down their wands. The guards round up the thieves and drag them off while the professors organize the students into groups to recapture the animals.
That was amazing!
Theres no way he can run that fast.
You overhear a group of students watching someone. Taking a look, you see the person theyre talking about, Lambert Cobo, whiz by in a sprinting run around the Academagia grounds.
Dont think anyone can catch him.
You think maybe he isnt going quite that fast, but something strange strikes you about the situation.
It would seem to be a runaway spell. Literally. Lets see if we can get more info.
All the students start talking at once when you ask whats going on, but you manage to convince them to speak one at a time.
Hes running because the poor guy accidentally put a Quick spell on himself. Now he cant stop running. Hes been going for two hours straight!
You wonder how Lambert managed that, but theres no time to worry about that now. You now know what you can do.
What, go find a professor? Lame. Negation isnt Ilianas best magic school, but its worth a shot.
Youll need to have perfect spell control to stop a running student. You pull out your wand and, as Lambert gets closer on his next pass around the grounds, you cast the quickest Negation spell you know.
Too bad it wasnt quick enough. The spell goes wide and Lambert just runs right past you. You do notice some professors starting to take interest, though; looks like you wont need to try again.
You and Vrenelle agree to do your planning in the Aranaz common room. It may be a public place, but Aranaz students are better than most at staying out of each others business. Just to be on the safe side, Vrenelle brings over some books and opens a couple to disguise your brainstorming session as studying.
Vrenelle starts things off by listing her various problems with the kitchen.
Its like they just dont care! Like that meatloaf yesterday, blech!
Vrenelle, thats the fifth time now youve said that. We wont get anything done just by complaining about it.
Im sorry, youre right. So the way I figure it is we need to get some new blood pumping in their recipe box, something they havent seen before. If we can do that, maybe we can start them experimenting, doing more stuff on their own. Of course, it cant just be anything; its got to be healthy! We wont accomplish anything if we all end up fat and lazy!
Yeah, but sausages and pastries taste really good. Boiled carrots and spinach just cant compete with that.
They can if you make it right! I mean, the cooks at my familys estate make healthy food all the time, and its really, really good! I just wish I knew how they did it. But thats what were here to do! I dont care how hard the recipes are, but they need to be healthy and tasty. What do you think?
You argue for a while about how many new dishes you should introduce to the cooking staff. Too few and the chefs wont be convinced to change their ways, while too many might keep them from trying their own ideas. You finally decide on a happy medium.
Well start with three new recipes. If they need more after that, well figure something out. But three should be enough.
So how do we get them?
Lets not worry about how, lets worry about where. We need to find the best places to get the best recipes.
You spend a little more time brainstorming and come up with two possibilities.
Let Vrenelle pick is an option youll be seeing pop up a lot for this adventure. In all cases, its a Persuasion check that adds a significant Chance of Success boost, regardless of which option she recommends. I wont really need to use it, however.
Well, you just said your family cooks make tasty, healthy food. Why not ask them for a recipe?
Well all right, but Ill need your help writing the letter. The chefs and I werent on perfect terms, if you catch my drift. I was kinda hard on them, and I think they were pretty glad to see me go. I cant just write a letter demanding their best entrée, you know?
You move into Vrenelles room to make your attempt. By the time youre finished writing the perfect letter, your fingers are stained with ink, your neck and wrist are aching, and you have to wade through a sea of crumpled rejects to reach the door, but at least its done. Vrenelle folds the letter carefully and seals it with her personal stamp before sending it off. You head to the washroom to clean up and then go to bed.
By breakfast the next day, you have your reply. Vrenelle slides over to you with a letter in her hand, still sealed.
They got back to me already! I thought we should open this together.
Vrenelle carefully sets the letter on the table and slides a knife through the wax seal. Opening it with exaggerated precision, she reads aloud:
Dearest Vrenelle, oh, thats a good sign! Dearest Vrenelle, we were pleasantly surprised to hear from you, especially considering how difficult a time you had with us when you were living at home.
Im guessing they didnt always serve healthy, tasty food?
Healthy, yes. But sometimes they needed poking to get to the tasty part. We are pleased, however, to learn you have come to miss our cooking so much that you have written home asking for recipes. After great discussions amongst ourselves, why would they to talk it over so much?
And how great could it be if it only took them one night?
We decided to send you one of our favorite recipes; this is the first meal we ever made that caused you to actually come back and thank us for making it. Oh, I remember this one! It holds a special place in our recipe box, and now we send it to you with hopes that it will hold a special place in yours as well. And the rest is the instructions for the dish! Oh, I remember that day. It was the first time I never mind. Old news. So what next?
After spending more time thinking up possibilities, you hit upon two that seem sure things.
The previous adventure includes the phrase the next day and the current adventure has a one-paragraph setup, so I blended them together. Chemistry and cooking have a surprising amount of overlap, but it still seems a bit exotic to use it in this case. Plus wait till you see how Vrenelle obtains an off-campus recipe.
Why not go to one of the restaurants in town? Im sure one of them has what were looking for.
Exactly! Just because the school chefs have lost their touch doesnt mean they all have. We should only get one recipe this way, though. Any more and someone might get suspicious. Which restaurant should we visit?
You and Vrenelle quickly acquire a stack of recent newspapers and start hunting through them for food reviews. Eventually you narrow your choices down to one: The Spicy Wand.
All the places in Mineta get good reviews for food and service since this is such a big city, but the Spicy Wand is the only one where the critic said the service was terrible but hed still go back for another taste of Dragon Tooth stew. Its gotta be good food to make up for that.
Alright. So how shall we get past the gate guards today?
Oh, just leave it to me.
Youre not quite sure how she accomplishes it, but by lunch Vrenelle comes to you with a permission slip for her and one guest to leave campus for the night.
Climbing over the wall is fun and all, and its good exercise, but I figure we should look neat and clean this time.
You were planning on skipping out on classes to visit the Contu school and then staying out late, but you quickly rearrange things with Vrenelle: you decide to spend a nice lunch out, then head off to the Contu school. Vrenelle leads you past the guards, waving the permission slip boldly in her hand. The guards must have been expecting her; they dont even bother asking her to stop.
You arrive at The Spicy Wand in the middle of the lunch rush, and the greeter is nowhere to be seen, so you wind up nicking a pair of menus and seating yourself at a decent-looking table. Glancing through the rather poorly designed menu, you note how the ink smudges every time you touch it. By the look of things, your menu has been touched an awful lot.
So ugh whats the plan?
We eat. Ill have the Dragon Tooth stew and see if its what the reviewer said it was. You get something else that looks good, and we can use that as backup.
You have to whistle past your fingers to get the waiter to stop chatting with her friend by the window, but you eventually mange to get your food ordered, and by great fortune it gets to your table before cooling. Your meal turns out to be delicious in its own right, and the two of you have trouble deciding which one is better. Just to play it safe, Vrenelle decides to go with the stew.
Its the one the reviewer recommends, plus the spices are really, really good.
Alright. So how are we getting the recipe?
Pulling a jar from under her robes, Vrenelle dumps in the last bit of stew and seals it tightly before hiding it away.
This is easier than asking; well just figure things out on our own. See you after classes!
By the time you get back from Incantation lectures, you find that Vrenelle has commandeered an empty potions lab and set out an entire kitchens worth of cookery and spices. The stew itself is resting in a bowl in the center, looking rather picked over.
Where did you get all these spices from?
I wanted to prepare for all possibilities. Ive identified the main ingredients, but Im no good at figuring out the broth. Im leaving that up to you.
Feeling grateful that the Sphinx taught you the basics of cooking, you spend an hour smelling and tasting the liberated broth and jotting down your impressions, making several revisions in the process. Finally, you feel satisfied by your list and add it to Vrenelles.
You and Vrenelle reconstruct the broth using your list, then follow some generic stew instructions to chop up ingredients and add them to the pot. At last, there is nothing more you can do, so you set it to simmer overnight.
Vrenelle shakes you awake the next morning. Through the blurry early-morning haze, you see that she is sporting a wide, lopsided grin.
I had to try the stew first thing when I woke up. The spices were perfect, it was just like how I remember! Lets go eat it for breakfast!
While tempting, youd really rather get a few more hours of sleep right now. Still, you know Vrenelle will come back if you dont drag yourself out of bed.
At least the stew really was worth it.
Much later, you and Vrenelle are conspiring again in the Aranaz common room.
Were two for three now, lets not break the streak! Yknow, we should get the third recipe from the school kitchen itself. Just to show were not after the cooks themselves, right? Ill bet they arent all incompetent. There must be some good recipes they just arent using. In fact, a source of mine tells me theres a new, talented chef whos only just started. We can get her to give us her best idea, or else just steal something from the head chefs office.
Nice to see the two primary exits are both green, but Persuasion is certainly more in Ilianas mode. But why not Sleuth things out a little first?
You know, Ive got some sources of my own. Id like to get some more info on this new chef before we talk to her.
Knock yourself out.
It doesnt take long for you to find the cook whose life you saved a few months back, and she is entirely willing to gossip about her coworker. It would seem the new hire is more interested in students than the kitchen; the Academagia student body hosts the most finicky eaters since the emperors died off. If she can make something they love, imagine how much people would pay to eat at her restaurant five years down the line!
Now its just a matter of figuring out which form of Persuasion is best. Vrenelle will happily provide the funds for a bribe, but why not manage this one without any money at all?
Vrenelle nods when she hears your decision.
Sure thing. I may not know much about cooking, but one thing I do know is that theres always someone at the bottom who wants to be at the top.
That person being, of course, the new chef. It takes some doing, but you manage to get her a note to meet the two of you. Something about it must have intrigued the cook, because she comes fairly quickly to the meeting spot just outside the back of the kitchen.
Lets talk in private.
Vrenelle guides the chef to a quiet location.
The other staff members tell me youve been asking around. Im not sure its healthy for my job to be seen with you.
Oh, fine. Iliana can do all the talking. Ill just go for a walk.
Vrenelle gives you a pleading look as she exits the room. Not that she really needed to; you know exactly what youre doing.
So what is it you wanted?
You give the chef a reassuring smile and start in with a little small talk to calm things down. After a few minutes of friendly conversation, you mention Vrenelle, and her wealthy family. The chef gives a nervous glance around.
This is just what the others warned me about. Students always want access to the kitchen, theyll ask for extra food, special diets for the Rimbal teams, pastries for morning, noon, and night
Oh, this isnt about that. We dont need you to get into the kitchen. What were here for is you yourself.
Like I said, Vrenelle has a very influential family. Im sure starting a restaurant isnt as easy as finding the perfect spot and dropping a down payment, is it? You could certainly use some help. Some high-placed help. All Vrenelle wants is a single recipe so her folks know they arent wasting their time.
By the time youre finished, the chef is practically begging you to take a recipe. She dashes back into the kitchen and emerges within the minute, clutching a folded piece of paper.
And please apologize to Vrenelle for me, okay?
Dont worry. Ill let her know just how helpful youve been.
You accept the recipe and head off to find Vrenelle. While you wouldnt have minded lying to get the chefs help, you figure actually helping her out will be easy enough for the Bonvins to manage, so they should know what theyre expected to do.
Youre browsing the library on a particularly slow day; the only student present besides the librarians is Piccolet Gleyre. You wanted to double check some information, so you grab a book and start flipping through the pages. However, all the words are jumbled up for some reason; the whole book is gibberish. Weird. You grab the book next to the first, but it makes no sense either. Ten books later, everything is still unreadable!
Looks like someone or something has scrambled all the words in all the books in the entire library.
What an odd situation. Lets check for a second opinion first.
You see Piccolet sitting down and studying at a nearby table. You walk over to talk to him, but when you ask if hes noticed if anythings wrong, a perplexed look crosses his face. When he replies, Piccolets answer is nothing but a garbled mess. Someone must be messing with everybody in the library, too! Youre getting very nervous. You cant live like this!
Sadly, that was the failure text, and it added one Stress point. At least Concentration is a sure thing.
You run up to a librarian and begin to excitedly explain the problem. The librarian shushes you, so you very quietly and excitedly explain your problem. When she still doesnt quite get it, you point at your mouth and head and make wondering expressions.
Saye, saye, mlac wond. I inthk oyu yam avhe omes okob sudt no oyu.
Realizing you arent calming down, the librarian reaches over and brushes something off your shoulders.
I said I think you may have some book dust on you. Some of the books here produce a magical dust that prevents people from understanding language. Youll be fine now.
Oh, thank goodness! That was pretty scary.
Luckily, that exit reduced Stess by 1, making this random event a net waste of time instead of a loss.
So hows the conspiracy to fix lunch been going?
Great! We just got the third recipe, so its time to move things into stage two.
What does stage two involve?
Blah blah blah blah blah.
Blah blah blah!
Blah blah. Blah blah blah blah
Youre ready to go this time. You climb up through the window and plop down into the rodents sanctuary. You take a moment to collect yourself and get your bearings when there it is! Your victim is frozen right in front of you. You have to catch the furry little mouse before it gets away again!
And this is what Strategy was for: chasing a mouse.
You pounce before the mouse can regain its senses, but it quickly turns and flees before you land. As it moves to scamper off, you run around and cut it off. It turns for a different route, but you leap over and block it again. After a while of dancing around, you manage to back the rodent into a corner without its knowing. Its as good as caught!
Before the vermin can run away, you box it in with your paws. Theres no way for it to escape now. In fact, you could totally come back later and finish it off! Yes!
For the record, I did not alter in any way the last two sentences of the adventure.
Gains of the Week
First Principles increased by 1.
--Knowledge pheme learned.
--Courage increased by 1 step.
--Danger Sense increased by 1 step.
----Insight pheme learned (fourth time and counting).
--Gained the Sword of Kush.
--Learned about the above.
--Danger Sense increased by 1 (not one step, one level).
--Tactics increased by 1.
----Covert pheme learned.
--Pure Luck increased by 1.
----Fortunes Choice spell learned.
--Heck of an adventure, isnt it?
--Lightning pheme learned.
--Concentration cannot be increased.
--Courage increased by 1.
----Bravery pheme learned.
--Glamour Spells cannot be increased.
--Confidence cannot be increased.
--Courage increased by 1 step.
--Increased merit by 5; Aranaz merit now at 304.
--Cpt. Felixs Strategy increased by 4 separate steps.
--Semantics increased by 1 step.
----Grammar increased by 1.
--Stress increased by 1.
Ink Compounds increased by 1 step.
Studied at Esteban Contus.
--Incantation Methods increased by 1 step.
----Wind pheme learned.
--Incantation Phemes increased by 1 step.
----Earth pheme learned.
--Incantation Spells increased by 1 step.
----Private Chariot spell learned.
--Theory of Incantation increased by 1 step.
----Incantation increased by 1.
------Paint a Fog action learned.
--Net 0 Stress gained.
--Recipes increased by 2 steps.
----Seduce pheme learned.
Revision Spells increased by 1.
--Persuasion cannot be increased.
--Bond of Silver increased by 1 step.
--Cpt. Felixs Manipulation increased by 1 step.
--Cpt. Felixs Strategy increased by 1 step.
--Net 0 Stress gained.
--Social Skills cannot be increased.
Aveline used Compete; Aranaz merit now at 307.
Fortunes Choice (Spell): Luck/Astrology v9; -1 Luck to target and +1 Luck and +3% Chance of Success to self for 1 day.
Private Chariot (Spell): Luck/Incantation Spells v5; +6 Explore for 3 days.
Paint a Fog: Luck/Incantation v9; -5 to targets Perception and Observation and 5% Chance of Failure, but +1 Listen for 1 day.
The Sword of Kush grants +1 Strength and deals 3 damage if used in a duel. The Strength boost isn't quite enough to outweigh either of Iliana's wands, but I'll keep the weapon around in case she needs to boost a Strength skill at some point.