Part 26: If I was going to make a movie out of this shit, I'd have Samuel L. Jackson play Tyr. Who I have now made a recurring character.
Chapter 18 - If I was going to make a movie out of this shit, I'd have Samuel L. Jackson play Tyr. Who I have now made a recurring character.
Well, I felt like exploring the Gates District, so...
Boo says fight hard so I fight hard.
Ah, Boo says that, does he?
Space hamsters are never wrong!
You'll pay you will, or yous get a face full of fist. That's pretty clear, isn't it?
Bully all you want, but I don't have time for it. Leave... leave me be.
I ain't letting you go anywhere. You pay up or I starts to smashing.
You'll do nothing of the sort! Leave that merchant be, or I'll call Mickey the Nose and alert him to your crude impersonation of his style!
He's a very unforgiving man. Looks damn fine in that hat, though.
That he does.
Huh? Who are you? Get lost, this don't matter to you none. Or whoever this Mickey the Nose character is.
I say that it does. Leave that merchant alone or I shall be forced to harm you in the Nose's place.
Huh? You don't need to go threatening me. I wasn't gonna hurt him. I was just threatening.
The guards won't care. They'll still lock you up. These people here might even kill you for it.
What? No, I didn't mean... I'm leaving. I don't want no trouble.
Get lost, you gullywart.
Here, maybe I can offer you something cheaper than my normal wares. I don't do this for just anyone, mind you.
What are you yelling about, sir? Who are Aulava and Tiiro?
You are not from here if you are not excited by my words. Disregard them if they mean nothing to you. I will tell those that do care.
So fill me in. I am interested in many things. Perhaps you need my help?
Don't you go meddling! We don't need any strangers going near those two! The best thing for their families is if they stop seeing each other.
The families are conspiring to keep them apart? Why?
You don't know anything about it, and I suggest you keep it that way. We don't want to draw attention to this. It would be a shame to involve the guards in this. They're good kids, just misguided. You stay out of it.
What? What ish you staring at? Never seen a man... uh... before?
You look like a man of the world; what's going on around here?
Goin' on? Nothin' at all. This here is the outskirts of Athkatla, so nothin' real important goes on. Well, not unless you count Tiiro and Aulava. Fighting lots lately. Local celebrities, really. Yes sir, ain't a soul in this place that ain't watching them. Best you leave them alone though. Let nature do its work on 'em. Yep, used to be nice kids. Don't know what went [BURP] wrong. 'Scuse me.
Seeking more information on who Tiiro and Aulava were, we spoke with the barkeep.
Not the fanciest lodging, but I'll lay a blanket in the stables for you if you need. It's more comfortable than it sounds.
Can you tell me anything about Aulava and Tiiro?
That isn't your affair. Suffice to say that they aren't welcome in here while they are together. Leave it be, they don't concern you.
Well, he certainly was unhelpful! Luckily, we found the stars of this conflict themselves! Maybe luckily, anyway. I really don't know.
Tiiro... I... I guess so. Nobody wants us together. Guess we shouldn't be.
That's what... my family says too. I didn't think we did that bad. A few scraps here and there...
It was fun... while it lasted. I guess I have to settle down though.
Yeah. Father said he can't keep it quiet any longer. Don't know what the fuss is about though.
It's not like it's their lives. Guess they're embarassed.
Yeah... I guess. Hey, looks like we have an audience. Hey you! Get a portrait painted, it lasts longer!
I'm Asim. I heard about your families trying to split you two up.
Word certainly gets around. Here that, Aulava? We're famous.
Your father couldn't keep it totally quiet. I like that. I feel important.
It is kind of interesting. What did you hear, stranger? What are they saying?
It sounded like they were embarassed that you two were together.
That's one word for it. Embarassed, horrified, outright angry.
They don't like the way we act when we're together. They say we'll just end up in trouble and they won't be able to help.
Not like they've been help so far. They've just had guards following us, making sure we don't do anything wrong.
Can't watch over us all the time though, hmm? We slipped away for a bit. Old man Maunu's barn was never the same.
Hmm? And what, praytell, occurred to make said barn different?
Oh hush up you. We're not supposed to talk about that. Father kept it quiet.
Maybe I don't want to be quiet. How about you, stranger? Should I be quiet?
It sounds like your families think you're not the best influence on each other. Perhaps they're right, but since when the hell has parents being right made a difference in a child's mind?
Asim, a child should always honor their parents' wishes.
You are very, very much not a good example of the average child.
She's like me in that respect.
Oh? Should I perhaps read from a certain diary that Jan and I make sure that you never find that we may continue to taunt you with?
Oh can we please not do that right now?
Yes, Boo says it is very tedious and he does not wish to hear Anomen whine about being misunderstood.
Well that's true enough, but what do they know? It's not their lives.
I know, I know, but are we ready to go it alone? I mean, your father has kept what we do quiet.
I know. I'm not sure.
You seem to know what you want. You don't need to hear it from me.
Yeah. Yeah! The complete and total stranger is right!
You know, I think so too. What do we care what others think? This life is too short to worry about it.
Wonderfully short, and getting shorter. Damn them all. Damn them all, let's go for it!
You are so right, Aulava! Let's make our time short and sweet! Like we planned! Larger-than-life!
Thanks Asim! We owe this all to you!
That's right. Everything we do we'll dedicate to you.
Absolutely. Damn the parents; we'll let people know what a stranger has done for us!
Absolutely right! Well, thanks to you, my little droogies, but we've got to go. I hope things go real horrorshow for you.
Note - what actually happened to old man Maunu's barn was that they burned it down. I just didn't go that way in the dialogue with the old guy.
After we solved this problem, I returned to oversee my apprentices' progress.
We did it! Hurrah!
What Nara is trying to say is that we successfully made the dagger you requested. It was certainly a challenge, and we are all pleased of the results.
The name! Tell him about the name!
Yes, yes, he already knows it's got his name on it, you teacher's pet.
I'm just happy. Leave me alone.
And they gave me the Dagger of Asim. Fanceh. Except not. Anyway!
Regardless, we must now move on to another lesson and task. If you would be so good, Asim, as to approve the next project?
Already? Are you sure we shouldn't take some time...?
If we fall behind we'll never catch up. You know that. No, we've got to keep the pressure up. Asim, here is what we must work on next. We'll be inscribing new spells this tenday. This is the most basic function of working with magic. The only question really is how difficult of a task should we try? There is a Mislead scroll which will cost 250 gold in supplies, Abi Dalzam's Horrid Wilting at 1,000 gold, and Meteor Swarm at 2,500 gold. That is also the order of difficulty.
This is a good middle ground for difficulty. Horrid Wilting is the scroll to make.
Horrid Wilting it is, then.
Alright, but we need to take our time.
We'll be okay. We've got to learn this stuff sooner or later. A few days from now and we'll be laughing about how hard we thought it was.
Unfortunately, the little bastards failed! This later proved not to matter that much, but damn if I didn't want a scroll of Abi Dalzam's at that time.
We... did not do as well as I had hoped, though it was a difficult task to ask for.
And there was danger as well. I could have lost a finger, or gotten some sort of rash.
Quit making excuses. What it boils down to is that we stink.
Yes, well, that said, it is time to move on to the final leg of the tasks set out in the tomes. There are no more preparatory lessons. Now comes the real test.
We... uh... couldn't take a break for a bit? We're moving pretty... pretty quick here.
The pace must be kept up if the lessons are to properly teach the rigors of magic. Asim, here are the details of the next lesson. Now comes serious enchantment. These items are powerful, and also potentially deadly if not constructed properly. They show the true benefits of magical infusion. I don't know if they are appropriate for apprentices to make, but it is time to find out. The first is the Robe of the Apprenti, and uses many principles of magic. It will cost 250 gold to make. The second is the Ring of Wizardry. Such rings are legendary in their usefulness. Usually only masters make them, but I would like to try. It will cost 3,000 gold to make. The third is... is from the advanced class. I borrowed a tome from a friend of mine who said no one has attempted it in years. It is armor for a mage. It is a Staff of Power, and will cost... 10,000 gold.
Whoa! That's crazy-talk! You are out of your mind! I like a challenge but I also like living! Do you know the power involved in that?
Are... are you sure about this, Morul? That's pretty... extreme. It's part of the discipline, I know, but if the advanced classes won't even try it...
There is risk in all of these, particularly the last one. I think they are doable, but the making will be difficult, almost assuredly deadly. Which will it be, Asim? Which should it be?
This is all too risky. The best lesson to learn is when to back away. Stop this.
Are you sure of this? I imagine this will not be viewed as a failure, but it is certainly an anticlimactic way to end an apprenticeship.
I am resolute in this. I'll not have you risk it.
Then the apprenticeship is over. I... I thank you for the opportunity to study under you.
Yeah, I guess it was a fun time. I... aw shucks, I don't do goodbyes well.
Farewell Asim. I thank you for this. All of it.
Why yes, yes I did just keep hitting Z until it was time for the assignments to be over. I might have gone for another Ring of Wizardry, but it turns out we were flat broke here. Whoops...
I found it very rewarding. I feel I have contributed to the future of magery. I am just that awesome.
Yes, well, I am sure no one really cares one way or another. To be honest, I think they were merely dumped on you to keep you busy. But, seeing as how they all survived, you are cordially invited to their graduation, which we will be holding right here. They are a small class, and renting a hall would be excessive. I hope you are dressed for it, you are the only guest. It starts in... oh, about 5 minutes. Oooh, I'm all nervous.
...About 5 minutes later...
That all of the students lived is an even more remarkable thing. Why, in my very own class there were several fatalities, and I must reiterate that no one was really to blame. At least, that is what the wisdom of the courts decided. Anyway, it is with great honor that I welcome our graduates to the... er... stage. Morul, Larz, Nara, you are mages today.
I just want to thank Asim for helping guide us. Without him we would not have had this opportunity.
Duh. We'd be dead.
Oh shush. Asim, we certainly appreciate this.
Yes, I can see how you would. Well, now you take a step into the real world, a world where you are actually restricted from using the skills you have studied. But under the benevolent yoke of the Cowled Wizards you will be somewhat protected from arrest. Go forth into that brave new world, quietly and carefully. The Graduating class of 1369DR, we salute you.
Thank you again, Asim. We wouldn't have had a chance without you.
Yeah, thanks, I guess. I owe you one.
Can I... use you for a reference? Sorry, sorry, just thinking ahead. Thanks, Asim.
Hehe, oh those wacky kids. Celebrations all around!
Very well. I await your next assignment.
You do that. I will return.
After that, we loafed around in the Planar Sphere for a while.
Good point, let's go.
Return to your Planar Sphere at once. Teos awaits you there with urgent news. Make haste, or all is lost.
...I... just... left it? Oh god they're spawn camping me Saerileth, take the bullet! [runs inside]
Dammit what's the good of an utterly devoted girl if she won't even take a bullet for me.
Well what? You're the one that called me here.
I did not call you he-
Can do! You motherfuckers are damned!
Oh I most certainly did not see that coming.
Yeah, what's up with that Mr. Avatar of Tyr?
What? Turns out a bunch of my followers are creepy obsessive bastards over that one. It's just that I kick some ass every now and then for you.
Yeah I guess.
Cool, see ya.
I won't see you!
Ahaha, Tyr, you crazy. You crazy.
Oh all right! So I'm a coward! So what! There are more important things to think of right now so stop looking at me like that.
Just speak. What was this all about?
You are not the only one with enemies. The Cowled Wizards have many. Some are incredibly fanatical as well. We have relegated magic to something that only our guards are allowed to do in public. That is not enough for some people. One man in particular is a danger. Lord Ketlaar Argrim. He is an anti-magic fanatic, and wants us all confined or killed. Obviously he views this Planar Sphere as a big magical slap in the face, and he would probably prefer you removed from the city... in a box.
Hence the attack. What can I do?
We have thought about it for some time, and we have devised a plan. I suppose it is time to unleash it and see what happens. He will not listen to reason, and if we kill him he will be a martyr for his cause. No, we must simply... make him disappear. I do not mean kill him, I mean disappear. Forever. With a specially attuned Rune of Imprisonment. If a mage could use it on him... well, he would be gone. Obviously the Cowled Wizards cannot be implicated. That is where you come in.
I'll gladly try it. I'll not let him continue this little crusade of his.
Good and good. Here is the rune. Be careful; it will only work on Lord Argrim and it has a frightfully long casting time.
Ahaha, I doubt that. I love you, Robe of Vecna. You are amazing.
Oh but I am envious. Anyway, you'll have to keep him occupied while you use it. Go to the city gates and find a place called the Crooked Crane. Upstairs you will find our enemy. Good luck.
I will do what I can for the benefit of mages everywhere.
That's the spirit.
Behold, the Rune of Imprisonment. Fanceh shmanceh.
Gorion was the only father I acknowledge. I wish others would see it that way. I mean seriously, I'm not going to acknowledge a "father" who wanted me to exist for the sole reason of some weird scheme to come back to life after being killed.
'Tis difficult for thee. [Saerileth sighs softly.] Wilt thou speak more of thy father to me?
Gorion was good to me. He loved me.
And he was a father to thee. How did he bring thee up?
He devoted himself to my education. Got a little upset with me when I started this whole wild magic thing though, he thought things would go wrong. Which, admittedly, they do. It is hard to believe he would do that for a Bhaalspawn.
He loved thee. Is't so hard for thee to believe? And I, too, love thee. For love there is no sacrifice too great.
And now, it was off to attack a magic-hating nutjob type guy!
What do you want from me? Why do you hate mages?
Your vile tongue can spew what it likes, I am deaf to those such as you. Vile Abominations! Fall!
Hey, time for imprisonment. Booyah.
I imprisoned him! Here is the rune!
That is good. His disappearance will appear more an act of cowardice than anything. Perhaps we will take the steam out of the extremists' plans now. Regardless, I have some news of your friend Imoen. I said I would tell you what I could, and since you have performed well, I think I owe you that much. She and the others involved in the disturbance were taken into custody, that much you know. They proved too unruly for simple incarceration. They are no longer in the city. I could get nothing further from my superiors, and I expect that asking for more would yield a harsh response. I can tell you no more, and likely will not deal with you again. I have but one word for you, and do not ask me its meaning. "Spellhold". I know you have other means for finding your friend, and I suggest you exploit them. The Cowled Wizards are no longer in control of the situation.
As I was leaving...
I'll try and keep out of your hair and to pay my way I intend to create potions and oils for you to use. Will you accept me as your apprentice?
Yes Morul, I'd be pleased to have you as an apprentice.
Thank you, sir, I won't disappoint you. Return every week and I'll give you the potions that I've made.
After that, it was time to handle that Unseeing Eye nonsense.
Behold, the last of the Saerileth HEY GUYS WE'RE IN A TEMPLE HERE'S WHAT I THINK ISN'T THAT LOVELY? interjections.
I pray his vigil will prove fruitful and that our dealings with his servants honorable.
The task I ask will be treacherous but you seem capable. Serve well and you will be rewarded. Display any treachery and it will be seen. Now to the task. You heard that fool in the street? If what he says is true, it threatens to upset a delicate balance. A new power would only disrupt the way of things. If he is lying, then whatever cult he is proposing can only serve to hurt those it bilks into following him.
What signs point to this? I would not wish to upset a legitimate faith.
Nothing points to the emergence of a new deity. It would be impossible to hide such an event from the Great Guard that is Helm.
'Tis true, Asim. Such an event would surely never pass by Helm's vigilance. We must investigate this rise of a false god!
What does remain unseen is the fate of those that have chosen to follow. We have lost some of our younger faithful, and they must be accounted for.
Then I will help as I can. Can you detail what is required?
He of the Unsleeping Eyes must know of this cult. The blindness that they promote is abhorrent to Helm. We ask you to investigate and identify what is happening. The Vigilant One informs that the cult is underground and close, but we cannot see past the sewers. You must infiltrate, as friend or conqueror. The sewer entrances are marked on your map. You must suffer the filth of the sewers to find the filth of the cult. They are not hiding amidst the pipes, so there must be a passage leading further away.
It is as good as done. I will return with the answers you seek.
May the Great Guard give light to all wrongs against you. You may seek healing and tools to aid you here as you need. Ask an acolyte and you will receive. Our resources are thin at the moment, but an ally of Helm and servant of Torm is awaiting you in the sewers now. Seek Keldorn to serve with you. Faith guide you both.
I know of Sir Keldorn. I do not doubt that he looks into this cult on his own. He is a veteran paladin of the Order, a fine warrior... if somewhat arrogant and over-pious.
So... what you're saying is that he's not too different from yourself, eh, Ano?
You are too far beneath my notice to even acknowledge such a comment. Repeat it, however, and I shall react much differently.
For whatever reason, there was a Rakshasa in the sewers with lots of kobolds.
Funny thing about that Rakshasa. An air elemental ruined it just as well as anything could have.
And some crazy ass wild magic took care of the kobolds.
The Rakshasa had the Cloak of the Sewer it is pretty neat.
The AC bonus for this does not interfere with other enchanted items.
Nearby was a scroll to summon Earth Elementals to do my bidding as well.
And then we found Keldorn. (I killed the zombie he was fighting yaaaaay mmmmeeeeeeee)
We have been sent by the church to search these depths for missing followers.
Aye, then we are well met. I am a humble servant of the Most Noble Order of the Radiant Heart, and I believe I am to meet you here. Our quests are linked. The evil of which I spoke, its presence is quite strong and, unsurprisingly, it emanates from somewhere deep below us. Come, let us seal our fates together and seek it out. I was instructed to await the group that I would aid in this matter. It is my duty to serve the greater good.
I think it is best we maintain separate paths. May the gods bless and keep you.
They always have, for some reason. They always have... Why,
Asim? Art thou certain of this course? Lord Keldorn wouldst be a most worthy ally.
I thank you for the kind words, child, but I am sure your leader knows his companions' skills well enough to know if I am needed. After your work in this place is done, seek me out at the Order of the Radiant Heart. This city is the heart of much corruption and the work of an old paladin is never done.
Oh, and this group of goblins decided they could take on an Air Elemental. Yeah, good plan.
Down in the next area, I decided to summon some Earth Elementals to see what they could do.
Quite a lot, as it turns out.
And there was a nice scroll of Pierce Magic floating around down there, too.
And an otyugh, being ugly.
Then being killed by an efreeti.
The area on the floor highlighted in blue here causes two Vampiric Mists to show up and be annoying. They are no match for elementals, however.
And so, we found Gaal. Finally. He was a big fat stupid eyeless jerk who had no clue about anything.
Who is this 'Unseeing Eye' of yours?
The Unseeing Eye has brought us enlightenment. Only by removing our eyes can we remove the veil of lies and deceit clouding our lives. He is the most ancient and wise of the race you might know as 'beholders'. We servants have flocked to him gladly, and his mighty power protects us. You would be wise to serve him as we do.
You serve a beholder with no eye? Can a beholder have power with no eye? I mean seriously how does that even work.
Without his eyes, the One God is stronger, not weaker. He has made mountains tremble and easily destroyed those fools who have come seeking his destruction. Only those who serve Him are safe always.
Alright... so how does one become a servant?
The One God has demanded that his disciples achieve a higher state of wisdom... you must remove that which is limiting and offensive.
Jan, put your pants back on.
How would you know, you aren't even looking!
It was way too obvious a joke for you to not do it.
Fine, fine. ...I'm so predictable...
The unholy eyes are removed from your head during the sacred initiation. If you survive and are proven faithful, the Unseeing Eye accepts you into service.
What if I'm not interested in having my eyes removed?
Hmmmn. It is a sign of weakness to refuse the enlightenment. Would you walk about willingly without arms, without feet? I do not think so.
Walking without feet would be most difficult, oh yes!
Perhaps that was a bad example... Still, the Unseeing Eye could use the skills of one such as yourself. An exception... could, perhaps, be made in your case. There is... something that you could do that the great one cannot, despite His vast power. Assist in that and I will admit you into our ranks and into the Unseeing One's presence, yes?
Tell me what it is and I'll consider it.
These holy grounds are part of a larger, ancient structure... dangerous if one ventures into the lower levels. The Unseeing Eye knows of a valuable item in this area. If you were to venture below you could prove your worth by retrieving this artifact for Him. Do this and I will allow you into our ranks and the One's divine presence.
What is this item you speak of... and where would I locate it?
The item is a rod... or part of a rod, rather, that you will find atop a holy altar. I cannot tell you more than that. You must let your faith guide you.
And how would I get to these lower levels?
I have a key I can give you... this will allow you entrance to the inner chambers through a door a short distance back the way you came, at the sewer passages.
Very well, I shall do as you suggest.
You are worthy in my eyes, faithful one. Here is the key. Once you have the rod, bring it to me and we shall present it to the Unseeing Eye.
Yeah, like hell we were going to do THAT. Crazy beholder-worshipping morons. Further along, there were more stupid blind people, but these ones were less stupid.
Do not excite yourselves. I am here to retrieve this rod for your god.
No! You must not do this! You cannot give the rod to the beholder, my Lord! It is an artifact of immense power!
Why not? What do you know about this rod?
When I was the high priest for the Unseeing Eye, I discovered that its purpose for coming here was to gain the powerful artifact below. It is an item of such destructive power that the gods themselves determined it should not be used again. It was split in two and this half was secreted here. It is protected against intrusion by powerful magic and beasts that live in the caverns. Many of the beholder's followers have perished trying to retrieve it. I know, my Lord, that the beholder has the other half of the rod! If he were to acquire this half, he would be capable of wreaking terrible destruction!
If this is true, then the cult must be destroyed. I shall not retrieve the rod.
No, my Lord, the exact opposite is true! If you are able to retrieve this rod, you must do so!
Retrieve it, don't retrieve it, which is it man?!
We tried to get the second half of the rod ourselves, to use its destructive power to defeat the beholder. That is the only way to destroy the creature. The beholder has failed to acquire the rod because the gods have cursed the item. This lets you determine the rod's true worth... or threat. Would you... would you be willing to go below and retrieve the artifact, my Lord?
Can this half work without the other half?
No, that is true. The beholder's half must be stolen for the power to be used. I know of a way to do this. Retrieve the first half and I shall tell you of it.
Very well, I shall return as soon as I am able.