Varis sighed, relieved of DHarem's recovery. His mind, finally, was returning to some level of clarity, and his physical state was nothing that a rest wouldn't fix, when they had the time. Well...besides some bruises from the fights today.
"Barbant is dead, but from what we've seen, it would be safest to assume that this Revolution has no shortage of resources. It's been proved that they are willing and able to hire Smythians, Assassins and Mercenaries, and beyond that the portion of guardsmen and soldiers in this city who would never accept a substantial bribe is, unfortunately, a minority. On the other hand..."
Varis did not move from his kneeling position, but swiveled his head to look at the councillor.
"Councillor, is there a safe place for you and the remaining councillors? We have several leads to follow, to those who may know of this revolution, and how to stop it before it grows further in strength."
It was true. As DHarem had mentioned beforehand, the attacking mage...'Khan', had called them to meet him. Then there was this 'Equilibriate' besides.
"I'll send word to the others, don't worry. Good luck, and goodspeed," the councillor replied, before setting off at a run.
DHarem groaned, "So where is Khan's tower? He didn't say exactly wh-"
"West side of town, though it's quite hard to spot, as it's a bloody huge tower," Bon interjected.
"Are you learning sarcasm now?" DHarem grinned, as he pulled himself to his feet, first with difficulty and then with the same ease and grace as normal.
"So?" he asked.
"Considering that the more we wait the stronger the revolution potentially gets, I'd normally recommend we split up to do more in a shorter time. But frankly, with recent occurrences I have no interest in seperating further and making more targets, since we must have made enemies. Without Thomas in particular."
Varis blinked, turning aside as he did his best to wipe some of the blood off the armor he refused to take off for once, imbuing his hand with a touch of magic to help the blood fall without clinging to anything.
Karrain shrugs at Varis' statement.
"We're here to help the living, let the Lords look to your friend's soul, knowing that he had a good, honest life and a good, honest death we can only send him our prayers...or make the living pray that they join him and find peace thanks to our attentions," The Sacrelarch once again shrugs, turning to stare out the window. "For now, all that matters is finding Khan, preferably before anything worse happens, which requires us to act promptly and efficiently and, unfortunatley, with a minimum of grieving."
"Shall we be off then?" asked DHarem as he and Bon lifted Thomas' lifeless form onto the central table. The Seeker whispered in the fallen warrior's ear, before grabbing his bag and putting some of his things into pouches on his belt, before leaving the bag with Thomas.
"Mind keeping that for me? We'll be back."
Bon stared blankly at the horizon.
"To the west," he said simply.
DHarem strode over to Barbant's corpse, picking up the small hammer out of which had come the blade of light. The Blade of Ranef.
"We should take this back to the temple. Eventually, at least."
Posted on 2011-10-15 at 12:09:35.
Edited on 2011-10-15 at 12:13:01 by Darren
Is this a hammer I see before me...no, just another Star Trek reference
"Good, we can't waste any more time." Karrain mutters, striding after the others. Tithuania...Anchor, had changed so much since his imprisonment, and not for the better. The old Kings wouldn't have let this happen, a brief, concerntrated search by their mage-spies then send in the Royal Guard, the system had been so efficient that Tithuania hadn't had any gallows built whilst Karrain had been there...yet all things must eventually come and go...except perhaps for me...and even then it's not as if I didn't pay the price for my 'termity'.
Star Trek reference? Where? Oh, and a shunt along.
"Yeah, we'd better go," replied DHarem.
Brisk walk through the streets of Tithuana. People staring at the bloodied appearances of the four mercenaries. Busier streets, blending into the crowd. Emptier streets, people avoiding them.
Arriving at the tower surrounded by houses, clearly a wizard's tower, they stopped and took in the contrast. The bells hit Fivestrike almost at that exact moment, fatigue and hunger beginning to hit them.
Regular houses all around, and the lower part of the tower didn't stand out much. Take a glance up to see crystal-encrusted walls and a spire reaching up, a similar height to that of the belltower.
On pushing open the smallish double-doors at the bottom, they found themselves in a living area, with two door to their right, and a spiral staircase directly ahead. Kitchen, chairs, table, carpets, paintings, quite a well-off interior. A few old and broken alchemical instruments lay on the table: some cracked vials, a miniature alembic, and some strange and unidentifiable device. Beside them sat two metal-lined glass jugs - one of muddy-brown liquid, clearly Burntree fruit juice, and the other of pale, clear brown liquid - along with two stacks of about a dozen cups in total. The whole building seemed to smell of generic alchemy, of bubbling chemicals past and present, and a hint of burning oil. Indeed, on one of the kitchen sideboards stood a vial holder, a vial full of transparent green-tinged liquid, bubbling away over a low heat from the oil lamp underneath, and beside it a large pot of what smelled like Fluff and Timoa stew, simmering away on a similar oil lamp.
A yell came from above, upstairs, "Pour yourselves a drink, I'll be down in a moment. If you wouldn't mind doing me a Botree mead while you're at it, I'd very much appreciate!"
Posted on 2011-10-19 at 20:22:29.
Edited on 2011-10-19 at 20:28:03 by Darren
Varis shook his head, still deep in the thoughts of the deaths he had failed to prevent, raising his chin to look at the others.
"Well, I guess that's my cue..." Varis shrugged, walking over to pick up a cup from the pile, giving if a quick sniff to ensure it was clean, before examining the clear brown liquid. Botree mead wasn't the most common drink to have by any measure, and the look of the drink wasn't entirely familiar, so Varis wanted to see if it reminded him of the examples of Botree mead he had seen or even tasted at the taverns that had them.
Bon also took a sniff, shaking his head. No poisons of any form he could recognise.
DHarem was taking a look at the stew, "Normal stew."
In fact, as mage towers go, the tower and its contents were exceedingly normal. Khan began to move slowly down the spiral stairs, now wearing a dark-blue robe. He limped towards the table, clearly still in a bad shape.
"Glad to see you brought companions. DHarem, wasn't it?" he asked the Seeker.
"Yes..." came the slightly off-guard reply.
The mage poured a goblet of mead, then held out the jug, "You're probably all wondering why I asked you here..."
Varis accepted the silent offer, putting his cup forward to be filled. Despite his tavern-ridden history, he didn't drink much lest he dull his tongue and voice, but he accepted almost anything that was offered or bought for him. Even so, he rarely had many forms of mead.
This place was too normal for Varis' view of an actual mage as opposed to the minor cantrips he can cast, but on the other hand, the crystal-encrusted walls outside must count for something.
"Yes...Khan was it? Pleased to meet you; I am Varis Caese, Mercenary and ex-Bard. I feel I should tell you that the councillor you tried to kill beforehand was slain by Smythian Knights." Varis spoke softly, deciding it best not to anger a mage, even with Karrain so close. Varis knew he should be furious at this mage whom was his enemy before, whom almost killed An'Inglefar as well as Varis, DHarem and Thom in the process, and might be in league with the Revolution, the Smythians and the now ex-living Barbant.
But something in Khan's manner was just too...simple, quiet, unassuming...innocent even. From the tower to his choice of drinks and his invitation, it all just seemed contradictory to what he seemed to have done.
Khan poured the mead, offering it up to Karrain.
"Ex-Bard? Strange way of describing yourself, Varis... you don't mind if I use your first name?"
He continued, "An'Inglefar is dead? By Smythian knights... pray tell, no bystanders were killed in that attack? I'm glad to hear that bastard got his comeuppance, but did any bystander get hurt?"
"We did our best to reduce casualties to a minimum, although using Magemead is almost certain to guaruntee collateral damage, although it seems to have become reliable enough during my absence that such collateral damage occurs to the targets more often than yourselves."
The Sacrelarch takes a sip of mead, his eyes darting around the room before settling on Khan.
"Although you seem to be rather glad of a particular casualty of said skirmish...what did you have against the Councillor of Magic?"
"Straight to the point I see. Karrain, if I recall... they mentioned you during the Knowledge Duel, massacring your name," Khan replied, "As for the councillor for Magic... This is why I have asked you here."
Noticing Varis eyeing the jugs and saucepan warily, he added, "As for the drinks and stew, I mean no harm. You've had a long day, and you'll need a quick something to get yourselves back into shape for what will doubtlessly follow."
He gestured to the seats around the table, sitting at the head.
"I'd always hated An'Inglefar. Strutting around the place, being all so superior, and pretending to be a nice person. Which he was undoubtedly, as he helped the city and its populace in many ways. However everyone has a skeleton in their closet, as you're probably aware, and I set out with the goal of finding said skeleton.
"I broke into his apartments and searched everywhere, but found nothing. No leads, no clues. Until I reached a small chest, warded with some of the most powerful magics I had ever seen. It took me about a month to open it, sneaking in every night, and finally extract and copy the letters within, resealing the charms behind myself."
He glanced at Karrain, smiling, "Which is why you later discovered me on the rooftop. Such exertion of mana without rest left me exhausted and clumsy, and I should have gotten someone else to do the deed."
Khan took a sharp intake of breath.
"What I found was proof of treason and systematic murder. Suffice to say that An'Inglefar had to be stopped, for the sake of Tithuana."
DHarem opened his mouth to speak, but shut it shortly afterwards, to let Khan go on.
"The Red Revolutionary Revolution approached me with an offer. They asked me to kill An'Inglefar, unaware of the discovery I had made before. I accepted, and planned on using the Knowledge Duel to attempt to pin blame on the Foreigner, to make life easier. I hadn't counted on a powerful mage being in the audience. I had nothing against the Foreigner, but he was a convenient device in the plan. Anyway, I had planned to use the money from the RRR to create a temporary mercenary militia in case An'Inglefar's plans fell through."
The mage made a few gestures, and a small chest rose into the area to deposit itself in front of him, on the table.
"With my plans set back, that money didn't arrive. But Tithuana is still in the greatest of dangers. There are too many forces at work: the traitors, the RRR, and a shadowy organisation of which I have heard only rumour. And now the élément déclencheur: the Bard, the Sacrelarch, the Seeker and the Hunter."
He opened the chest with five words, muttered under his breath, and withdrew four scrolls.
"I'm sure you all can read. The first letter is from An'Inglefar to An'Jonesy, councillor for Commerce. The second and third from An'Inglefar to An'Corent and An'Tarask, councillors for City and Defence. The fourth is a letter to Clawsbane.
"As for why a famous adventurer like Clawsbane would receive and reply to a letter to the Councillor for Magic, that's suspicious enough. All I can say is that it doesn't make for light reading."
Posted on 2011-10-24 at 13:54:00.
Edited on 2011-11-08 at 22:45:21 by Darren
Khan handed out the letters, actually four in total, and the group read them in silence.
They were simple letters, short and handwritten, yet Karrain, Bon and Varis noticed a small, almost undetectable, magical mark on the bottom corner of each, the same mark identifying the sender.
To An'Jonesy, councillor for Commerce.
All seems to be going well. We have contacts
among the guards, and now that An'Irinar is
out of the way and An'Jantar to follow, we
can take control of Tithuana. An'Tarask
reports that his mercenary force is nearly
ready for the coup, and that they will be
loyal: Clawsbane kindly decided to donate
some money to our cause. Move your pieces
into position, you will know when the time
The second and third letters were identical, save the names at the top (An'Tarask and An'Corent, councillors for Defence and City respectively), and an extra section:
Except that our dear An'Jonesy is to be no
part of our great Empire of Tithuana.
Please reply as to state of the City Guard's
allegiance and as to the fixing of the next
elections, so that we remain in power.
And the fourth letter seemed a little more weathered, as if a messenger had run through rain with it. It had probably travelled much further. The response was scrawled underneath in confident handwriting.
A simple letter to thank you for your
donation to our cause, and to wish you
well in your current plans. If the idea
never falls through, you're welcome to
join us here in Tithuana.
How could I refuse to help you out? You
have been a great help to me in preparing
my Ethrona project, and I could never even
dream of refusing to give you some of my
gains. Which are thanks to you, I must
add. In any case, I wish you good luck
with your project, and I shall
pass through some time to see how it's
Posted on 2011-11-08 at 22:47:03.
Edited on 2011-11-08 at 22:48:17 by Darren