Rise of the Thrall Lord
Knights of the Couch - Part VI - Party Crashers - Part 3
A little later, after they had eaten, Glorfindle, Aksel, Lloyd and Seth went up to the wizard’s room at the inn. Glo took out the journal and laid it out in front of him. He skimmed through the beginning, looking for entries of relevance. Finally, he found an entry from about ten days prior. He began to read from there on out loud to the others:
Iunius the 8th, 1047
It was only through luck that I heard about Telvar’s find. Obviously bad luck for him since he now lies dead in my cold cellar. So intent on my preparation to face the council exam, that I had scarcely credited the story, only bothering to send the usual crew of bumbling adventurers to recover the scroll, and expecting only a pile of charred ash for my small trouble. But lo, what I now hold in my shaken hands is not what Telvar thought, a mere lost Magi spell, but a legendary incantation of supreme power and incalculable danger. It seems likely from what the crew of adventurers I hired say, that somehow Telvar came across a stash of the Golem Master, Larketh. The Golems that Telvar employed are of a type created from manuals that Larketh mass produced from the true Tome of Rarknothar during the Thrall War. They are mostly lesser creations compared to Larketh’s main works, but still far beyond Telvar’s meager power. It is possible that the scroll was from a time before Larketh turned to undeath, perhaps a spoil from the ill-fated Invasion of Shaddonon, although the chronicles are unclear.
Iunius the 9th, 1047
I transcribed the spell and made a few brief test cants before I realized the dark power contained therein.
Now I fear my shield not strong enough to hide what I in hasty folly have trifled with. Indeed for, if as I suspect, the source of this spell’s power is one which shakes the very foundation of the world and gains notice from the hosts of both Infernal and Abysmal Darkness. If all is, as I fear it may be… perhaps, cold, dead Telvar is the lucky one after all.
Iunius the 10th, 1047
Blast Grellus with his inane interruptions! I care not for his concerns of plots and Baronial succession. As if anyone would care if this mud-hole slipped into the sea. I only chose Restenford as a quiet place to study, because it is inconsequential. I cannot spare time for nonsense. I begin to feel watching eyes upon me, and I fear leaving my sanctuary at night. As always I trust my instincts. It is time to move my research… If I could just master this one spell, I could easily destroy my foes and secure my position on the Council with the Color of my choice. But I must wait for the Cruex Crystal to focus my casting and help shield me from the dark powers that will be released.
Iunius the 11th, 1047
How the temptress got into my chambers I do not know. Were I not so prepared, and inured against her carnal charms, she would have had me. She appeared, of course, in the guise of an angel, with bright feathered wings and pure features. She spoke Celestial, and I pretended to believe her while I readied my Spiritwrack. My temporary ruse bore some useful information, and perhaps I was a little hasty with my painful expulsion of her. She was bent (quite alluringly) over my notes and cheerfully pointing out mistakes in some of my translations. The spell is indeed (as I suspected) a derivative of the ancient Tiltowait and comparable to the lost Armageddon spell. In the runes of Kara-Tur it is 竜破斬 which translates roughly to “Dragon-Rend-Kill”, but she pointed out that it is certainly the same spell mentioned in the Draconic chronicles of the Great War as ドラゴン・スレイヤー or Doragun Sureibu.
I almost felt sorry for her; she looked actually shocked and surprised as the Spiritwrack enclosed on her. Quite a little actress! And powerful too, she maintained her beautiful golden winged form even under the Spiritwrack. How she managed her escape spell while choking on so much blood, I can’t fathom.
Not that I gave it much thought, as I spent the rest of the night finding the holes in my wards. At least she helped me a little with the translation and a lot with my security.
Iunius the 12th, 1047
The ancient runes are difficult to decipher. It is down to ten possible readings, but to pick the wrong one would surely destroy this town and quite likely rend my soul beyond repair. But I may need the power of this spell against that which I fear comes to claim it. I have hidden the original scroll within Alaba and will work from my notes and the transcriptions below.
Tasogare yori mo kuraki mono
Chi no nagare yori akaki mono
Toki no nagare ni utsumoreshi
Idainaru nanji no na ni oite
Ware koko ni yami ni chikawan
Warera ga mae ni tachi fusagarishi
Subete no orokanaru mono ni
Ware to nanji ga chikara mote
Hitoshiku horobi wo ataen koto wo
I am running out of time. To pick the wrong translation, especially without the Crystal focus would be annihilation.
“It ends there,” Glorfindle said.
“Well…there’s another whole side to Peltar we didn’t know about,” Aksel commented.
“Yeah,” Seth added, “A dark side.”
“So the real question is, what do we do with this information?” Glorfindle asked.
“Hmmm,” Aksel thought, “I would say nothing for now. Let’s sit on it. I don’t think the Baron needs to know what his old friend was up to. Not with the party and everything going on.”
“Unless of course he returns,” Glo added. “Then we have to warn them.”
“Based on what he wrote,” Seth said, “He knew someone was coming after him. He just ran and left everyone in the house to fend for themselves. I really don’t think he’s coming back.”
“You’re probably right,” Aksel said. “Anyway, there’s nothing else we can do about it tonight. It’s been a long day, and I need to rest so I can heal up Lloyd in the morning. In fact we all do. Tomorrow looks like it might be just as interesting a day as today.”
The next morning everyone was up early. Aksel healed Lloyd, who was very grateful. The first thing the big warblade did was take out his swords and get in a good workout.
Then everyone convened in the common room to have breakfast and talk. The entire KOTC was there including Martin and Shalla.
“So sounds like you guys were up to a lot in the last couple of days,” Elvisda commented.
“I could say the same about you,” Glo retorted with a smile.
Elvisda threw back his head and laughed heartily. Shalla blushed a bit, but then laughed as well.
“Anyway,” Aksel said, steering the conversation back on track, “what we really need is a plan for the party. There’s a very good chance that the Serpent Cult will try something. They were very brazen in their attack on Peltar’s house and I’m not sure they’ll stop there.”
“Okay,” Elvisda said, leaning in close, “Let’s talk strategy.”
They sat for about an hour discussing how best to protect the Baron and his family, while still covering the most ground. When they were done, they had come up with a good defensive strategy which would still not hamper their ability to launch offensives either.
The entertainment was scheduled first so Elvisda would be on stage. Glorfindle would stay with the Baron’s family. Lloyd would be next to the stage drumming for Elvisda. There was an old tower in the keep that had been Peltar’s first abode. Martin would climb to the top and watch from there. Seth would roam around the castle rooftops in general. Glorfindle’s Raven would also be flying a perimeter around the castle. Finally, the Boulder would be parked out front outside the gate, and Aksel would stay near the gate ready to call the golem at the first sign of trouble.
Once dinner started, Glorfindle would sit with the Baron and company. Lloyd and Elvisda would stay nearby. Seth said he would stay on the rooftops. He was not crazy about the thought of sitting with these nobles and their lackeys. Martin would also keep his position on the tower. And Aksel would stay near the gate, just in case the Boulder was needed.
All in all, it was a pretty sound plan they thought. They would go up to the castle in the early afternoon to get themselves in position. That left the morning free for any last minute preparations.
Elvisda headed down to the Clothier’s to pick up his outfit. He had decided to have a sequined gold dragon stitched to the back of his outfit. He was just coming out of the shop when he spied another elf coming down the street on horseback.
“Hail friend,” he said in high elven.
“And good day to you,” the other elf replied in high elven. He dismounted his horse and walked over to Elvisda.
“I am Elladan Narmolanya,” Elvisda told him bowing deeply, “but please call me by my stage name, Elvisda.”
“Well met Elvisda. I am Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi”, the other elf said bowing in turn, “but you can call me Donatello.”
“Well met Donatello,” Elvisda replied. “What brings you to this end of Thac brother?”
“Oh, I am an elf with many interests. Sometimes I am an artist, other times an acrobat, occasionally a mover of rare objects, but always foremost an adventurer. I have traveled to many places on the continent, but I am always drawn to what may be over the horizon. And thus, here I am, in this little town of…what was its name again?”
“Restenford,” Elvisda answered.
“Ah yes, this little town of Restenford,” Donatello finished.
Elvisda noticed the rapier hanging at the elf’s side. “Tell me, are you proficient with that weapon you carry?” the bard asked.
“I have some modest skill with it,” Donatello replied.
“Well then,” Elvisda said putting his arm around the other’s shoulder, “walk with me. I have some folks I would like you to meet.”
“As long as there is adventure involved,” Donatello stated flamboyantly.
“Oh, trust me,” Elvisda replied, “You are going to love this group.”