Part 11: Reports and the Tower of the MagiUpdate 10 Reports and the Tower of Magi
"I hope that was it. The death of that alien creature seemed to have slain a great many of its progeny."
"It's stupid! Who creates something like that, then leaves such an easy way to take them all out?"
"One that just anyone with sufficient force could apply?"
"I agree. Something with a little bit more effort would have been better."
"How long before people move back in?"
"Weeks? Months? Who knows."
"First, word has to spread that the Slimes are destroyed. And then that word has to be believed."
"It depends on if Mayor Arbunkle sends couriers or can use magic to send messages."
"I shall. Though it seems that not all Slimes are destroyed."
Slimes can still be overworld encounters, just not as often now.
* * *
"Before we talk to the mayor, I want to stop in with Cindy, and see what she has to say about the Slime's demise."
The Slimes that she was keeping contained are gone. Nice touch!
"Hello Cindy, nice to see all the Slimes dead, isn't it?"
She looks up at you, annoyed by the persistent questioning. "They might return. They might not return. We must prepare for now. Find ways to fight them, or at least keep them out." She resumes her thinking.
"Well, she does have a point. We know that other people can re-create the slime pits, so it's possible someone has the information out there."
"Uh, so not joyful!"
"I take it from the look on your faces that you have good news?"
"Boy-o-boy! It was amazing! You mentioned a reward?"
You tell Arbuckle of the slaying of the Alien Slime. "Excellent!" He claps his hands, and a huge stack of gold is brought to you. "I know not your opinion of the Empire, but know this - by slaying the beast, you have saved many innocent lives. Also, I will let news of your brave deeds spread. If I have my way, you will be greeted with open arms everywhere in Valorim."
He won't. There's still a few more hoops we have to jump through to get into every town peacefully. We also get 1500 gold for our efforts.
"What do you plan to do now, I must ask?"
"We need to report back to our superiors. We uncovered some evidence pointing at a potential source of the problem." She gestures for Delilah to reproduce the sigil found in the Alien Cave. "Do you recognize this?"
He looks it over. "No. No, I do not. May I have this, to check with our records? If the source of this problem is a rogue mage here in Valorim, and not from... your place, then we can respond faster."
"You can say Exile, you know."
"Not so long as I wish to keep my position, thank you. But you should go. With this out of the way, I can focus on returning people to their farms and homes, as well as rebuilding what was damaged. Colchis... I don't know if it will ever recover."
"Then we shall take our leave then."
* * *
"I wonder what Anaximander will say to all this?"
"Awesome job! You all deserve pay raises!"
"Oh, wouldn't that be the day."
"You sound like you've never had one on your life."
"You could say I worked commission for most of my life."
"Does this mean we get a raise?"
"Ha! I wish. Price Karmas' efforts to rebuild infrastructure after the war is still costing a lot. Which means that you're more self-supportive than regular units."
"Well, we got 1500 units of joy from the Mayor of Krizsan, so that's not a problem."
"We shall head for Berra then, and get his input."
* * *
"Hello, Berra. We have found some evidence on the surface regarding the source of these monsters."
You describe to Berra the rune you found in the Alien Slime's lair. He looks highly disturbed. "I know that. That's the rune of Erika the Archmage. Perhaps you should go speak to Anaximander ... this is dire news."
"Back to the Boss Man!"
* * *
"Art, I know you know her as something she could possibly call a friend. Can I trust you to be diplomatic?"
"Yeah. You can."
"You know Erika the Mad? Personally?"
"I heard she's kept to herself. Why did she move up here, to Upper Exile?"
"I suspect we will ask her directly."
"Yeah, once I figure out how to break the news. Or break her if she has finally gone off the deep end."
* * *
I take this moment to spend money on training, and inventory upkeep. I started with Art, as she hasn't been trained at all. The following are Before/After pictures:
These two didn't get any training, because I ran out of money.
It's been mentioned in the thread a few times, but some generic items have in their weight or description some indication that they aren't 'typical' for their kind. Like this rock, which Sass has been carrying around:
See the description? That's your clue. And here is what it is, after I ID it:
Now to find some place to offload all this stuff, because I forgot to back in Krizsan.
* * *
Hey, this cavern looks suspicious?
Really? Why should we investigate? We're headed for the Tower of the Magi!
Because as members of Unspecified Services, we are to investigate unusual or odd activities.
He's right. Besides, I don't think it'll be that long of a side trip.
See! Hidden passage! I was totally right!
There's nothing here!
Only lots of rats.
How did the Rats get so big here?!?!
And there's more.
Next time Sass wants to explore a side passage, I say we skip it!
* * *
Hello again. It's been a while.
We were told we had permission to go to the Tower for training.
She checks her journal. "It says here you're authorized to go down below and receive magical instruction. Go ahead and use the portal when you want, but please, don't overuse your privilege."
And with that, we now have free access to the Tower of Magi!
To think, it was less than two weeks ago that we passed through these halls.
To think, you used to need permission to come back into this chamber.
What happens if you step off the line?
Such an amazing edifice! I heard that you used to be able to take this portal anywhere in Exile, as long as you knew the right codes.
Kav Ait Bon. Eas Ter Egg. Yeah, I know.
Hello there sir!
There is a businesslike official standing at the entrance to the portal, notepad in hand. As people filter by walking to and from the portal, he checks them off.
I'm sorry, I don't remember you last time we came through. What's your name?
"I'm Vidrian. I'm very busy. I've received information on you."
I hope that information about is is the good kind!
"You've been sent here for training. I can tell you where the instructors are."
The spells you are to receive will be taught to you by 'X' or Solberg, of the Triad. I'm not aware of their locations, but poke around. I'm sure they'll turn up. Also, Art?"
Archmage Peregrine IV has requested your presence forthwith. He is in his quarters to the south.
Now, everyone stay together. The mages here in the Tower don't like random people just wandering around.
But I wanna learn to cast Fireball!
You meet a small woman with dark skin and long black hair. She wears the robes of a member of the Triad, and has many tiny runes tattoed on her forearms and the backs of her hands. She radiates confidence and power. She bows slightly at the waist. "I am Mahdavi, of the Triad.
Hello again. These are the people I'm supposed to be leading on missions. Why don't you talk to them like they're new?
For all you have done? It shall be my pleasure.
This is the third time I've been to the Tower and transcribed the same basic information for this series of LPs. I'll be glad when it's done.
"I am a member of the Triad of the Tower of Magi," she says modestly. "It is a post of no small responsibility."
What's the Triad?
"The Triad is traditionally compose of the three most skilled mages in Exile. We reside in the Tower and coordinate the magical efforts here. The Triad now consists of me, Solberg, and another. This usually works well. Sometimes, however, there are irregularities."
It's a very nice tower! Biggest I've ever seen!
Thank you! This is the Tower of learning, the center of magical studies and knowledge in Exile. Unfortunately, because of the portal, we have also become something of a waystation."
I was wondering about the portal being here...
"The portal here was built several years ago. It was only two years ago that we were able to boost its power to send someone near the surface. Our long desired route to the Surface was attained. Unfortunately, it has meant that everybody sent up has to pass here." She shrugs. "Tedious, but necessary."
And Peregrine's Thesis on Portal stability has noted that attempting to move one end of a portal like this requires disproportionate amounts of power.
Ah yes, Peregrine. He is something else entirely, and if he can lose some of his ego, he would make a fine candidate for the Triad some day.
You mentioned Solberg as your equal. What is he like?
"A good friend, and one who has suffered much for Exile. He usually studies in his quarters to the south."
And there was another?
"He calls himself 'X'. I don't understand him. Nobody does. He's skulking around somewhere."
I know the type. But you mentioned some irregularities? We at Unspecified Services deal with those all the time!
She looks uncomfortable. "Linda the Archmage was in the Triad once. She performed a rather unfortunate experiment with demonkind, and we had to banish her from the Tower. Only lately have we allowed her to return, as we need her considerable skill. She seems to have learned her lesson."
She is in containment! And I assure you, no one was happy with her return! But we had to, in order to monitor her properly.
Where is she? I haven't punched her in years!
In Containment! Talk with Peregrine if you must, but she is secured!
A sign more meant for people coming in than leaving.
Solberg and Peregrine are to the south. Let's find them!
You like this Peregrine fellow, don't you?
He's a genius!
He's an insufferable genius. There's a difference.
I'm at the end of the hall! The door is unlocked.
Thank you for coming. The rest of you, Solberg is two doors down you passed by it first on the right had side. Go there, and talk to him to get your rewards for your service.
But I wanted to talk to you about your thesis!
It's alright. I'll catch up with you guys.
Sorry, I don't have a seat for you, Peregrine apologized to his guest. I presume from the flush in your cheeks that you've heard about... that problem.
Linda. Art said the name with enough hatred to melt stone.
Indeed, Peregrine checked his desk and found a sheet of paper that he handed over to his old comrade. Art took it and started to read it over, though the Magus also spoke of its contents. The old hag still had supporters in the wings, people who weren't here when she summoned Adze-Haakai, and when we killed him. She jumped through the right loops to get reinstated as a researcher here though she holds no actual authority. And everything she does needs to be approved of by one of the Triad.
Still hate her.
As do I, though it is hard to feel hatred for one so... petty in their work. Peregrine shook his head. Don't worry. I'm also keeping an eye on things, just in case.
Good. With you here, I can trust things. Art put down the paper and leaned against the wall. So, Solberg finally got out of his tower?
The mage nodded. Yes. Took another year to convince him that he wouldn't be assassinated. In the end, it took Karmas with Demonslayer to lead the escort. I think you know some of the other people who helped? Some irrelevant man by the name of... Chester? Yes! Chester! Who names their male child after a piece of anatomy? That's stupid!
I couldn't tell you, Art admitted. I lost track of him and Marianna after the war.
You were quite quick to retire to Olgai Vahnatai lands, that's for sure.
Eh, acting as a cultural assistant had its advantages.
I heard you became a very good fisherwoman, Peregrine grinned.
That I was. Art sighed, wishing this wasn't going to happen. There's a problem.
It's Erika. When we killed the Alien Slime that was acting as a 'queen' to the Slimes in Krizsan Province on the surface, we found her sigil in an adjacent room.
Erika? I know she placed an annex for her tower in Upper Exile... But that doesn't seem like her style. Slimes?
Self-propagating, magic casting, acid spewing slimes.
No, I don't think so. Peregrine was quick to defend the distant archmage. You haven't talked to her yet, have you?
Art shook her head. I was planning on going back up to Upper Exile, go north through the Vahnatai outpost there, then to her tower.
A sound plan, Peregrine approved. Listen, Karmas is planning on a tour of Upper Exile soon. He has some political announcement he wants to make, and figures that would be the best place to start it. I don't know the details, but when he comes through here, you want me to tell him you want to talk?
Art nodded. That would probably be a good idea. Thanks for your time, she smiled. I'll see you around. And if Linda tries anything, consider giving me a chance to get my kicks in before you put her down for good.
Peregrine laughed. I shall. In the meanwhile, you should catch up with your people. Lots of spell casters this time, I see.
Shrugging, Art stepped to the door. Don't worry about them. They'll make it through, somehow.
Hey, how's things?
Art, my dear! These nice people said that they were with you.
They are. I was just talking to Peregrine. They weren't a problem, where they?
This is so awesome! So many famous people to meet!
No, not really. Now, where were we?
You meet an aging mage in flowing, violet robes. Although he is only middle age, he looks worn well beyond his years. He gives you a weary bow. "I am Solberg, of the Triad."
You are! That makes two of you I've met today! This is amazing!
I wish I had your energy. He gives a weary, sad smile. "I serve Exile in my capacity as member of the Triad. Alas, I have endured many ordeals in this position."
You finally got out of that tower of yours. I would think that's cause enough for celebration.
You are correct there.
So you're on the Triad! Does that mean you're, like the most powerful mage here?
Sadly, no. It's more of an administrative position. The Triad of Magi oversees all magical activity in Exile, makes sure dangerous knowledge doesn't become widespread, and watches for any potentially deadly experimentation. Such a position is not without risks. In addition, I am supposed to give magical rewards to those who merit them."
I suppose we should get those rewards out of the way before we continue this conversation.
Solberg nods. "Your struggle against the Alien Slime show you'll nee more powerful magic to complete your surface tasks." He teaches you the spells Ice Bolt and Venom Arrows.
Both are 4th Circle Spells, which Matthias and Niarl can't cast yet. I just need money to train them both to that point, and they're golden!
But what sort of risks could there be here? This is like, the safest place in Exile!
"We need to keep a close eye on experiments, to make sure nothing deadly gets loose. In particular, I watch my old adversary, Linda."
Yes, we know. For the rest of you who don't, she has a dangerous predilection for summoning nether creatures. This tendency was what first drove me into hiding for many years. Now that she is back in the Tower, I am very nervous indeed."
On notes of less impending doom, what sort of dangerous spells do you keep under wraps?
"We try to control who can cast Kill spells, and the like. If unscrupulous persons obtained certain spells, we could all be in great danger."
I tell you only because of the company you keep. Spells like Dispel Barrier, Shockwave and Quickfire are all considered of strategic importance to the Tower.
Hey! Blame Kai-Lyss for that, not me!
Did I say anything?
You did, Art. You said a whole lot there.
Well, that's it for me. Have a good day to you all, but I have paperwork to do.
Does this mean I can talk to Peregrine now?
NOOO!! but I want to discuss 5 dimensional hypertransit arrays!
And the use of ore-modified leylines to anchor teleporter pylons!
These monuments are in the upper-left corner of the Tower. I don't remember any Silverio from Exile 2.
At least they're together now.
For some reason this one gets to me. If only because Patrick was pretty much the only non-crazy, non-asshole mage in the previous two games.
I don't think so.
I agree. There's too much to do up above for us to go back to Exile.
I just hope we don't come to regret those words.
At least this time the whole NPC Won't Talk To You deal is justified, what with the apprentices at the Tower being silenced for a year.
The odd thing is, I don't think any of us came here for our magical education. I was trained on the Surface, then Exiled. Niarl is Nephil, and thus didn't come here, and Sass is Sass.
You meet a tidy young mage in tidy robes. Her haid is neatly combed and a small wand hangs at her belt.
Oh, hello there. Pardon the intrusion. I see by your robes you're not an apprentice. My name is Matthias.
"Kyanan. I am a teacher at the magic school."
A teacher! How nice.
"Some days. I instruct the students in the school in the art of casting projectile spells."
Projectile... Don't tell me..."
Yes. You don't know fear until you've been near someone casting his first Fireball."
I can't wait!
The rest of us can.
Hah! They finally got around to giving this place a name. Not that it needed one.
Come on then, time to swing by the shops. See who's in this year.
The man sitting behind the counter is busily chopping pungent and peculiar herbs into small pieces. Shelves behind him sag beneath a variety of multicolored solutions with no doubt esoteric purposes.
Hey there. I'm Bronwyn.
"I am Vincent. Welcome to my shop."
Hate to be a bother, but your sign only says 'supplies'. Can you be a bit more specific?
"I make a variety of powerful potions, which are available for purchase. The Tower is an excellent place for this sort of business."
Potions? Nice. What's available?
Smokey Crystals and Medium Energy Potions? Once I have money, I know where I'm going to be spending it! Too bad the prices are 'expensive'.
Part of me wants to find some place else that sells these things, but at a different price, and see if I can figure out the markup for the various price levels.
"I have sold potions to the finest mages in Exile. Solberg, 'X', Patrick, and, well, others." He seems to be debating whether to tell you something.
What's so odd about selling to other people? I mean, we're others!
You're with the Services, right? He looks around to make sure nobody else is nearby. "I can't tell anybody here, but listen. Linda has been buying a lot of weird herbs. They're used for other things, true, but the herbs she's been buying are mainly used for summoning. It's suspicious. I stay out of tower business, but you guys have enough of a name that I thought you should know."
Talk to Solberg, he's keeping an eye on her.
And lets move on before Art goes homicidal.
There is a large woman with very short hair behind the counter. She was grinding something with a mortar and pestle when you came in, and her fingers have the permanent brownish stains that are the mark of a true alchemist. She wipes a hand clean and extends it to you. "I'm generally called Piglet. I am an experimenter in the alchemical arts."
Delilah! Wait... Piglet?
So, you do alchemy? But what about that guy next door?
"I don't make potions anymore. That's Vincent's business. What I do is try to come up with new recipes. For example, I can teach you to make Weak Poison with holly leaves, or a lovely speed potion with Confrey Root and wormgrass. Might you be interested in purchasing these fine recipes?"
Hello, ancient one.
The crone behind the counter is so aged and brittle you're surprised nothing is actually foalling off of her.
I am Ni'aurrl, with Unspecified Services.
Menlo," she says, in a creaky voice.
So, uh, what do you do here?
"Child, I've forgotten more than you'll even learn. My knowledge extends from the bottom of the sea and to the highest star. And I'll share it with you, if you ask nicely."
Of course. Show me what troubles you.
She identifies things. That's all.
What sort of monster would steal from the box?
This woman is of utterly nondescript appearance; average height, average looks, dull hair. However, her robes are an immaculate white, and her face radiates peace and strength. "Welcome children. I am Mother Clarisse."
Matthias, Unspecified Services.
"And I am high priestess of the Church of the Seeking Soul. I spend my time learning and teaching. And when it cannot be avoided, wandering."
Well, if you have to spend your time learning things, I suppose the Tower is the best place for that.
"I agree. My main responsibility in the Church of the Seeking Soul is to never stop learning, and never stop exploring. It is a great burden. Sometimes, I wish to stop and say enough is enough. Fortunately, the joy of teaching keeps me going."
I suppose that makes sense. Why learn if you won't teach?
"Others hoard their magical skills. We delight in sharing them. Alas, we must request a fee to support our archival efforts. Are you interested in spells?"
Art can cast some of these, but I can't afford any of them right now.
You mentioned that you wandered. Is that usual for your cult?
"Yes. Before I came here, I did service in the Empire War, healing and even fighting. It provided an education, but one I would have been happier without."
Alas, that war brought many things to us that we could have been better off not having.
Odd, this used to be a storage room.
So, the magic barrier prevents me from interacting with the chest, but I can still pick up the ring that's hidden back here. I ID it later.
Shame they have to let this dissipate.
Eh, better than the alternatives.
Yeah. No. Not today. But the entrance to X's usual haunt should be along this wall somewhere. Just check for the hidden passages.
You encounter a wizard wearing long, rich violet robes. A heavy cowl covers the mage's head. You can't make out any details of his (or her) face in the shadows inside. It's pretty creepy. A reedy, whispering voice emerges from the folds of the cowl. "I am called 'X'."
How do you pronounce the quotation marks? That's neat!
Hey! Be polite!
"I am of the Triad. It comes with the job description."
And what do you do on the Triad?
Again, the whisper emerges from the cowl. "We are the guardians of knowledge and the protectors of Exile."
"We restrict the flow of magical knowledge, so that the weak and untrained do not grasp hold of what they cannot control."
We are not Untrained.
"If one gains magic he or she cannot control, only blood will be produced." X emits a dry chuckle at this.
I suppose we don't qualify yet?
No. Not yet. Your deeds do not yet necessitate my knowledge.
Just as Solberg rewards us for killing the Alien Slime, we will need to deal with some other problems before X gets his turn handing us spells.
* * *
X must be really distracted. He didn't mention anvils once.
What do those have to do with anything?
Be glad if you never find out.
* * *
To think, it was only a week and a half ago that we spend the night here before moving on to the Portal.
So much has happened since then.
AH! GIANT SPIDER!
Hey there! You're cute! The spider stares at you with big beady eyes. At first you aren't sure what it's going to do. Then it says, in a friendly, high-pitched voice, "Hi there!" It starts to bounce up and down happily.
The chirpy, happy voice continues. "My name is Spider! Pleased to meet you!"
Please to meet you too! Why are you here?
I'm here because the neato wizards here wanted to study me!" He looks at you closely. "You're cute!"
You're cute too!
"Yeah!" it chirps. "Wanna' go eat bugs?"
"Bugs are yummy, and the wizards keep a bunch around for me. Wanna go eat some?" You politely decline. It looks sad for a moment.
And how about those awesome wizards?
"The wizards are really powerful! They can kill a thousand flies with a single wave of their hand! Cool, huh?" It gives a single, emphatic hop of approval.
I think we need to step away. Art looks ready to incinerate everything through sheer determination.
Didn't Denise say she left her amulet here? Better get it for her then.
I'll keep that safe for her upon our return.
I spent quite a few nights here during the Empire War, back when I had to abuse the teleporter to get around. Those weren't fun times, but they were what they were.
Sorry about the mess!
Hey there. Lots of stuff. Storage room being sorted?
This mage looks more like a salesman than anything else. He holds a large sack at his side, which bulges with all manner of odd-shaped things. As you approach, he displays a rather predatory smile. Not really. I am Brantford the mage. And Collector."
Bronwyn. What is all this?
"I collect valuable items of all sorts."
So you say.
"Yes! Many interesting souls come through the Tower of Magi, and I collect goods from them for resale. Perhaps you would like to purchase some of my goods? Or sell me some trinkets you no longer have need of?"
Brantford is our first 'random shop'. His inventory changes every few days, and he'll buy anything off you. I sell everything that I don't have equipped, then check that ring that Bronwyn stole.
This would be good, except I can't get it to work on Matthias! I'll keep poking at it for now. Let's see what he has to sell...
That's a lot of good stuff! The Magic Armor and the two shields are amazing! Too bad the prices are ridiculous, and even after selling everything off, I barely scrape up 800 gold which is more needed for training than anything else at the moment.
* * *
Let's not poke at such things right now. If we need to, we can come back later.
After we get Dispel Barrier.
* * *
Pardon me for a moment, I'm going to return this amulet.
You got it?
Yes, here you go.
You give it to her. "Great!", she says, and gives you a scroll in return. That's a good scroll, but my amulet is worth infinitely more. Now, I go on to my post!" She puts it on, and her face resumes its former dour expression.
Right, go east, then north to Erika. No way I can avoid this one.