Part 11: The Almanac
Update 10: The Almanac
It was dawn when I arrived at the Sect Camp. The novices were just awakening and starting yet another day of smoking swampweed.
Cor Kalom was already busy in his lab. I don't think he ever slept.
He heard me enter. "What do you want?" he said.
"I found eggs belonging to a crawler queen."
"I knew it. My vision was a sign. The queen's eggs must contain the strong secretion. Excellent. With it I can create a potion to contact the sleeper!"
"What about my reward?" I asked. I had destroyed a whole damned mine of the things. I deserved something good.
"Oh, right... Thank you."
"I mean a TANGIBLE reward."
"Okay, okay. What do you want?" Cor Kalom presented me with five choices. A healing potion, a mace, a rune of light, magical ore, or a potion that would increase my magical power. I chose the latter.
"May this potion strength the magic within you!" Cor Kalom said to me as he handed over the potion.
I drank it down eagerly.
"Can we start invoking the Sleeper now?"
"No! I haven't found a method to charge the focus yet. We are missing the ancient knowledge about these artefacts."
I groaned. I knew something like this would happen. "Do you mean to say I collected the eggs for nothing?'
"No, listen to me. There's an almanac which contains what we need to know. We bought the book off the fire mage Corristo from the Old Camp. However, it was stolen when they tried to bring it here from the Old Camp. I had charged Talas, a novice, with collecting the book for me, but he was robbed."
"He let me down, but I've given him another chance. He must get the stolen almanac back."
"Where can I find Talas?"
"He's in the forecourt at the temple hill, trying to get people to help him."
"Who stole the almanac?"
"Talas told me he was mugged by black goblins. It sounds strange, but not impossible."
"What will I get for it?"
Cor Kalom looked annoyed. "Have I not already proven my generosity to you? You will receive a just reward." That was all he had to say. I ventured over to the temple's court.
I found this Talas smoking weed alone by the entrance.
I tapped him on the shoulder to get his attention. "You're Talas, the one who was mugged."
"Leave me alone, I don't want to talk about it!"
"I can help you to bring the almanac back."
"Really? I was mugged by goblins! And now I'm supposed to go there and get the book back! I have a suggestion to make: I'll show you the way to the almanac, so you can get it back."
"Give me 50 ore and I'm in."
"What? That's robbery! Alright, then, tell me when you're ready."
"I'm ready. We can leave now."
Talas led me to the patch of sand along the river that is about halfway between the Old and Sect camps. A lizard attacked us. I valiantly killed it while Talas ran away in terror.
Talas showed me to the bridge. "Those damn little beasts live in a cave behind this bridge! Be careful."
"You're not coming with me?" I asked, completely unsurprised.
"I'll wait here and... ahem... cover our retreat."
I made my way across the rickety old bridge. Several black goblins taunted me from the other side. I drew them toward me, using the choke point to my advantage and whittled them down one by one.
The path from the bridge led to a small cave. As I approached it, several more goblins charged out toward me with their clubs in the air. I defeated them by falling back to the bridge and utilizing a similar tactic to the last group.
The cave inside was quite small, if a bit winding. A few more goblins resided inside but as their numbers were greatly diminished they posed little trouble. In a far corner of the cave I found a small cache containing a spell scroll, some ore, potions and two chests.
Inside the first chest I found some ore, lock picks, and bottles of beer. The second chest contained the almanac, which was still in a pristine condition. I took it and left the cave as quickly as I could.
Talas looked overjoyed when I returned alive and with the almanac in tow. "You have the almanac! Well done. Let's go back to the Camp."
Talas stopped when we reached the Camp's gate. "We're back. You'd better take the almanac to Cor Kalom right away." Talas seemed satisfied to have simply regained his honor and did not wish to deliver it to Cor Kalom himself.
"Just watch out that you don't stress yourself out."
"Don't worry, I sure won't! There's no need to worry about me."
I met with Cor Kalom, who was delighted to see the Almanac. "I've found the book."
"Good work. You have all we need. I'll complete the preparations now."
"Where will the invocation take place?'
"Wait till nighttime, then come to the temple courtyard. We will gather there to invoke the almighty Sleeper." I went to Harlok's hut, which I had taken as my own, and rested until sunset.
I went to the temple and saw the assembled crowd. Y'Berion, Cor Angar, and Cor Kalom stood on the balcony above them. The invocation wasn't scheduled for a few more hours yet. I decided I should go back to the New Camp to report what has happened. Something big was happening in the Sect Camp and it was bigger than we'd thought.