Part 25: A child cured, a woman battered, and Asim gets apprentices!
Chapter 17 - A child cured, a woman battered, and Asim gets apprentices!
Well, as we were heading off to the Government District, I remembered about the Planar Sphere, so I went back to it to see what the heck I could actually do with the thing.
The Solamnic Knights wanted help returning to their plane, which was just fine.
I will see what can be done, but I do not think the sphere is capable of it.
That is all we can ask. We have little choice.
And the Cowled Wizards wanted things, too, which was not so fine with me.
I beg your pardon? Have we met?
I am here as a contact and a master, and I will thank you for keeping your tone civil. I am Teos, and I have been assigned to offer you... a special deal. You just recently took this sphere, and by all rights we should have it, but my superiors said to offer an alternative. It would seem we have need of you.
I have just killed some of your number. Why would a Cowled Wizard offer me anything?
I readily agree that there is little reason to trust, but I have been ordered to speak with you regardless. It would seem that events as of late are to be reevaluated. I am told that member Tolgerias is no longer to be spoken of. Either he was working for himself, or something of greater importance requires it to be so. In any case, as distasteful to me as it is, I am to inform you of the details of the partnership to which you are now a member.
You assume a great deal. I was not aware I was joined with you.
You have no real choice in the matter. It's a simple bit of business, one that is not without benefit. Listen to what I say and you will see what I mean. You are in possession of a notable artifact, this sphere. That you neutralized it was of great service, and apparently enough for my superiors to overlook the past. That said, they would like to offer an exchange. You may operate in this awkwardly placed sphere if you agree to certain duties for the Cowled Wizards.
It is simple; you may have this place and act freely as a mage. In exchange, you do the odd task for us, acting when we can't because of political or other reasons. There may be more conditions on the offer, but I don't know them. Take my word for whatever you think it's worth, and realize that this is best for all involved.
I shall accept this deal for now, though if the benefits are not as you say I will reconsider.
This is all to be discreet, you understand, so much that I am forbidden from telling my fellow Cowled Wizards. They will treat you as they always have. If you display magic in the streets unlicensed you will be censured accordingly. The lives of a few brethren are apparently an acceptable price for your assistance. I cannot say that I agree with this, but it is not my place to say.
Prove your intent. Help me return the Solamnic Knights to their proper plane of existence.
They are no doubt some unfortunate travelers that got caught in this sphere? No one here will miss them. I say kill them and save the headache. But if you must help them, I suggest speaking with Ribald at the Adventurer's Mart. He seems to have all sorts of things for unique situations such as this. Beyond that, the Most Noble Order of the Radiant Heart deals with knights, I do not. Just one of the problems you are sure to encounter in this place.
I need to speak with Lady Jysstev, actually.
Hmph. Well, you may talk with the Lady if you wish, but if she decides to throw you out on your ear I will certainly call the guards.
I only wish to ask you a question, Lady Jysstev.
What is it? Make it quick, I've a tea to arrange.
I need to find someone called the Hidden.
The Hidden?? But you are not one of the Enlightened Ones!
Yes, yes, it's all very shocking, but I must find him. There is a girl who is very ill and I've been told that he can help her.
But it is forbidden to speak of him.
Look, m'lady, I'm sure your world is crashing down around you, but I already know of him. What harm could it be to tell me where to find him?
There is a girl who is ill? I should not say anything.
A girl called Jaella. You can help her be healed by telling me where the Hidden can be found.
I do not know where he is. Perhaps I can arrange a meeting. Oh he shall be so angry! Listen, then. Below the cursed hole of avarice called the Copper Coronet, there lies a maze of sewer shafts. Find the place if you can. The entrance lies within the tavern somewhere. I shall ask the Hidden to meet you there but I do not know where he will be or if he will show up at all. This is all that I can do. Go now before you are seen here!
After that, we went to speak with Ribald, to see if he could help the Solamnic Knights.
I need to send a group of Solamnic Knights back to their plane. Can you help?
Well, now that is something I am not asked everyday. Another plane, you say? Strangeness indeed.
Please, if you can help I would appreciate it.
Hmm... I may have something that fits yer bill perfectly. Yes, yes I believe I do. I know a mage, a fine mage. She has been known to do a favor on occasion. Yes, the more I think of it the more I am sure she can do exactly as you have asked.
That is excellent! What are we standing around here for then?
Yes, she can do exactly as you have asked... for a fee. I recall her banishing a planar creature before... that was quite costly. That was a single creature, and you say you have multiple ones? I think the enterprise will cost you oh... 9,000 gold.
9,000 gold! That is outrageous!
That depends on who you ask. These knights of yours might think it quite reasonable. Take it or leave it.
Fine, I'll take it.
A pleasure doing business for you. You are in that wondrously odd sphere, are you not? I'll have my friend come by there tomorrow.
How did you know where I needed your mage to go?
I have ears all about town. Besides, where would planar creatures tend to be? The weirdest place in town, I'll wager. Go on, she'll be there tomorrow.
After we successfully hired the help we needed, we paid a visit to the sewers.
Sure enough, the Hidden was there.
I ask a boon of you.
You are here to have me cure this girl, Jaella.
Yes, I am.
It was not a question, fool. I do this because you have an aura of usefulness about you. Do a task for me I shall heal the damage done to the girl's mind.
Good. I am being stalked by two creatures of evil intent. You will destroy these two for me and you will do it well. Is that clear?
It is clear.
This chase has gone on too long and I grow bored. The two have a contact in the proprietor of a dingy flop-house in the Docks District called the Sea's Bounty. He will not believe that you have found me without the code words. Tell him that you are a seeker. He will tell you where the two lie, waiting for word of my whereabouts. Betray me to them and I assure you, both the girl and yourself will die before I do. Go now, and return when they are dead.
I am a Seeker.
So you've found something, mate? These blokes'd be interested in it. Go to the Five Flagons tavern in the Bridge district, in a room on the second floor. The blokes that want to hear what ye can tell them are in there.
So, we found them. Turns out they were Githyanki.
[A voice rings out within your mind.] Hold, brother! I sense treachery!
You dare to betray the Githyanki, manling? Taste righteous death and know that your master will be next!
Being that my magical skills are supreme, they were easily dispatched and we went back to the Hidden.
Wait! Who are you that you should have githyanki on your trail?
Fool! Do you not yet understand?
There is your answer. Puzzle through it at your leisure. If others should come looking for me, you know nothing. Tell them otherwise and I will kill you. I shall go.
Ahhh, things grow clearer, my raven. An illithid, hiding from its ancient enemies, the Gith, amongst the primes in this city. Jan's uncle was wise to send us its way, although how he knew of it I can only speculate.
And so, we returned to Jan's house.
Yes thank you! Jan, I have to go downstairs now. Perhaps you should wait up here.
Lissa, what's going on? Why should I wait up here?
You wouldn't understand, Jan. Vaelag is here to get Jaella and me.
Vaelag! Why? What is happening?
Leave him alone, Vaelag. He was only trying to help me.
You listen, girl, this is between me and him. He's been trying to steal you from me ever since we first me.
Why don't you listen, Vaelag. I'll keep it simple so that it won't leave you furrowing your brow in a vain attempt to understand. Get out of this house and I won't gut you like the pig that you are. Was that clear enough?
You've been away too long, boy. You don't know whom you're talking to. Guards! Take him outside.
Both of you stop it! You're frightening the children. Vaelag, please wait outside. I'll thank these people for showing me hospitality while you were busy.
Very well. Be quick, I can't stand the stench of these slums for much longer.
Why? Did you not leave him because of his cruelty?
He has apologized. He won't be cruel to us again.
He is a beast! He is a criminal and a murderer! Why can't you see that?
You will stop this immediately! I am grateful for what you have done but you must not overstep your bounds. He is my husband and I love him.
What if he hurts Jaella again?
He won't, Jan! He's different now. You're not being fair to him.
I've only asked about the things that you told me.
That was before and we have spoken about those things. He promised to change. I am leaving now, Jan.
Go if you must. I'm sorry that I couldn't offer more help to you.
What brought this on?
[Saerileth's cheeks are flaming as she responds.] 'Tis--'tis Lord Edorem, beloved. He loves me. I did not love him! [Saerileth is obviously anxious to reassure you.] But 'tis clear that he hath loved me all this while. And I feared that thou hadst also perhaps so loved. Please, tell me truly. Is't so?
Ahahaha, wooooow. That gets so, SO much of a different meaning with what I invented. Anyway, back on track...
I doubt I shall ever have the same set of feelings he had. Has? Gods but I hope it's the past tense. It probably isn't, though. Anyway, there have been others I've cared about, but I've only *loved* you.
Others thou hast cared for? [Saerileth's eyes cloud over like a summer sky.] What doth this mean?
I've had friends, women who were dear to me, but I've never been "in love" before.
[Saerileth nods solemnly.] Indeed, the holy fathers were close to my heart, and Lord Edorem didst have a place no less dear to me than that of mine own brothers. But the love of a maid for a man had never entered my heart 'til I beheld thy face.
[Ahem!] If I could just get a word in...
It did seem like he was ready to kill you for insulting him. He's a violent sort who is used to power and seems to enjoy wielding it.
I'll be honest with you. This issue is of great importance to me. I have contacts in the city and if I find out that he's hurt her again, I'll hurt him. I should like your support when the time comes.
If I am able to support you when that time comes, I will.
My thanks, in advance. Let us take to the road, Asim. My sword arm needs a bit of exercise.
I've found this one really because personally, it really depresses me whenever someone goes back to the abusive partner. I know why they do, I've done it - you just want to believe them when they say that they'll change that you do, even if deep down you know they never will. Man, now I'm all depressed.
After we rested in the Copper Coronet, we returned to the Planar Sphere to check on the Solamnic Knights. There was a bit of a diversion, though.
What? What is the matter?
Oh no. They're here! They've caught me!
Ahh, I know of this one. Asim, I believe. You are spared our wrath because of choices yet to come. Leave this place, and leave this creature to us. You are allied to neither of us yet.
I will not allow this killing. That I am uninvolved does not make it right.
We are in no mood to be patient! If you must cower with cattle you must die with the cattle!
Fun fact - vampires die in just as satisfactory a manner as anything else.
Good to see that you are willing to risk your neck for a fellow ally of the Shadow Thief Guild. Looks like you were well worth the risk. Again, I thank you.
After that, we made it to the sphere.
Let us ask the Knights themselves if they are ready to go.
We are ready, of course. Our home beckons from beyond the walls of dimensions.
Yes, well, be that as it may, this might sting a bit. Farewell, then. And farewell to you, Asim. A pleasure doing business with you.
Wait! One last second. Asim, we know this was not an inexpensive gift that you give to us. That is why we have something for you in return. Take this. It is a small token of our gratitude. Well met and safe travels.
And with that, we are gone.
They gave me a Golden Girdle.
As we were leaving...
As well as can be expected. What is it that you want?
Enough chatter. You are to forgo your own concerns and do the task I set, though I do not understand why you have been chosen. It hardly seems worth the trouble. I bring three young mages. They have shown potential, and have been removed from their homes that they might be cultivated into productive Cowled Wizards. These apprentices shall serve and observe while you direct their schooling. This will not require much, and they may even supply you with things you need.
Introduce them then. I will see what I can do.
The first is Morul, and he speaks for the others. He is the son of a wealthy merchant, and his father would be most upset if something happened to his gifted child.
H-hello, Asim. It will be an honor to study in your shadow.
I'm sure. Next is Larz. He found some old magic texts and studied without his parents' knowledge. They feared the stigma he would bring and cast him out.
Cowards. I have found others that appreciate me now.
Speak when spoken to, child. Next is Nara, from the area of Trademeet. She was given to a temple as a foundling, and has since developed a taste for magic.
I will serve as best I can, Asim.
Nothing less is expected. Asim, they will receive their instruction from the Cowled Wizards directly, but you will determine the basics of their study.
Shaping these young wizards will hardly be a chore. I thank you for the opportunity.
I am not responsible for granting it. This stinks of make-work, but it is not for me to decide. I will return in future tendays with additional duties.
Well, with that taken care of, it was time to instruct some young ones in the fine art of .
You, Morul. The one that the wizard said was the leader.
There's no need for such formality. What exactly have you been studying?
Little useless trinket enchantment.
Oh hush! At least we are getting instruction.
Yeah, instruction on how to waste your talents.
Stop it! We have to start somewhere. Asim, if you would direct us in what our next assignment should be then we can begin. We have some choice in this, or rather, you do. You will be the owner of whatever we make. In minor enchantments we have a couple of useful things.
There's a little something I like to call "The Wand of the Apprenti!" When used it randomly shoots fire, ice, or lightning. Very nasty .Materials will cost 1,000 gold.
No, no, I suggest we make a dagger for our new teacher. We'll call it the "Dagger of Asim". How about that? It would only cost about 250 gold for supplies.
Very good, though I would prefer something a little more practical still. A ring of Protection is a standard test in this discipline. It is... a little risky though. What say you, Asim? It would cost 2,000 gold.
Well, I am a very arrogant man. I like being flattered. As such...
The Dagger of Asim sounds really nice.
M-mine? Well, I am flattered... that you would want to be flattered. Ill try to have it as soon as possible.
It will take a while to do it properly. I think a few days will do it. Yes, that will suffice. In that time you will have your item, Asim. Wish us well.
Well, I'd give you all a choice, but being that you're goons, I'm pretty sure your choices would lead to one or more Asim's apprentices dying, which leads to Asim not getting any experience for the whole thing. They all must live! Also, this is going to be the last update until a new page. This one's pretty damn image heavy now.
Edit - whoops, forgot a title.