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-C-

Mag Restoria: The Quest Begins

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Born of chaos, an application, the quest begins.

 

Continuing here, a party(?) has assembled to undertake the task of restoring the Lizard's mags, voiding his grumpy wrath. Thus, the task is upon us, the quest begins.

 

(Please see OOC thread for further details - and please check it before posting!)

Edited by -C-

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As the Traveller grabbed his belongings and went outside, ready to announce his search for valiant people to go on a righteous Quest - even though he frowned at himself at what exactly was righteous about Wyvern's magazines - Tanny and Stephen exchanged wary whispers.

 

"Stephen, I do think we should better find something that keeps us very busy for the next few weeks...?"

 

"My thoughts precisely, Wolf-Lady... time to take care of that strange track I located while wandering around with Anileh and Amareyha maybe... Would you like to join me?"

 

Tanny's expression showed some conflict, but her allergy to lizardy quests proved to be stronger than her wariness at the mention of the name "Anileh", and she smiled wryly. "Why not..."

 

 

They followed the Traveller at some distance, hearing clearly when he, entering the Conservatory, announced his Quest.

 

Tanny looked curiously through the door to the Conservatory, and winced when she recognized a tall, lean figure that had been sitting in a corner of the room and who, upon hearing the Traveller's words, straightened suddenly and looked at him. Huh-oh... I wonder if I should warn him... "Him" being either the minstrel or the Traveller, Tanny wasn't sure which - for Thomas was prone to be as awkward as a bull in a china shop, but on the other hand had always wished to accompany a true Quest...

 

 

"A Quest!" Thomas the Minstrel leapt up, almost falling as his legs stumbled against the stool where he had been sitting. "Noble Knight, I am honored to offer my services to you in this most admirable mission! I'm Thomas of Taigel, Minstrel, and will be glad to go with your company to record your efforts and good deeds, and make them into a song no one will ever forget!"

 

Thomas bowed low, managing to not bump into the Traveller by a mere inch.

Edited by Tanuchan

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"Er, right. That's... very kind of you, goodman Thomas... but ah..." Somewhat taken aback by almost being smacked in the nose by Thomas' bow, C cleared his throat, "Where doth thou spy a sword? Lay one upon my hip? Perhaps across my shoulder; I ask thee, what manner of knight, be he fair and noble, or dark and terrible, carry not a sword? Verily, I say unto thee that neither dirk, nor bastard sit upon mine person. Pray, where is mine gallant steed, warhorse most loyal, charger, lance and mine armour? Perhaps thou hast mistaken me for another, good bard?"

 

Taking a few steps back, (deliberately as opposed to retreating!), the Traveller suggested, "Perhaps when thou hast found me a blade worthy of mine noble countenance - that thee believeth of me, then might I be such a knight of bearing. Until sucheth time, pray hold that I am a simple traveller, not worthy of such grandeur or grandiose attention, savvy?"

 

 

Inwardly, C sighed, resigning himself to this horrific fate. Where was his backup from Tanny and the others?!

Edited by -C-

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Thomas blinked, and his countenance lit up in a beatific grin. A nobleman! It can only be a nobleman - such beautiful language, the use of the tenses, the words! Just by being with him I'm sure I will absorb such knowledge and skill with words that no one will ever be able to accuse me again of being no more than a singer of tales already told!

 

He grabbed the Traveller's hand and almost knelt to him - actually, what stopped him was a most annoying hem of a robe that entangled itself between his feet. Surprised at the intruding fabric, Thomas tripped and fell on the Traveller who was still moving back a step. As a consequence, both suddenly found themselves on the floor, Thomas flushing furiously as he tried to stand up to only get more entangled and fall again on top of the Traveller.

 

"I'm... I'm terribly sorry, noble sir... I'm but nervous at being in the presence of such eminent figure... but truly, I see now I was mistaken and you could never be a simple Knight. Oh noble Sir, please I protest my highest esteem and again offer you my service to chronicle your noble endeavour!"

 

Tanny cringed, and with Stephen quickly went to them to help Thomas up before he ended up mauling the Traveller by continuously falling on him and knocking him down.

 

"Erm... Traveller... huh... this is Thomas, one of our resident Minstrels... he's... a good person, really." She sighed inwardly, remembering the uncountable times he had mangled her poems while trying to put them to a tune. "Hum... I'm sure he means only the best by offering his services..."

 

"We are very sorry, Traveller," added Stephen quietly, tugging at Tanny's elbow, "But unfortunately my friend the Wolf-Lady and I are need elsewhere for a while. I'm sure that there will be others joining your Quest, we will indeed... spread the word while we go on with our errand." Bowing, the Ranger stepped back almost hastily. "We wish you the best of luck, Traveller. It's even possible our paths cross in our separate journeys!"

 

With a similar bow, Tanny also retreated. Once out of earshot, she murmured to Stephen, "Be wary of what you wish for, Ranger... what if our paths do cross?"

 

Stephen shuddered, and then shrugged. "I'm pretty sure the track I mentioned leads to the opposite way. To tell the truth, I'm absolutely sure we are going in the opposite direction in relation to the Quest."

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For the love of... "Off! Off me, foul cur! Off! Fly, foul fiend! Thy manners appal, thy - wait, what?" Too surprised to actually pick himself up, or push the other off, C dropped the put on accent (which he managed surprisingly well), and stared, "Sir? You... really don't get sarcasm, do you?" Shoving at Thomas, (though more gently than he might deserve), C somehow rose to his feet, "Now listen to me; the point I was making is I am not a knight. You see a horse, a sword, or armour? I'm not even a swashbuckler; look, you have the wrong impression. So unless you know of any magical swords, katana-forged-by-master-swordsmiths that are foolish enough to give one to me, I suggest we start anew. I am C, the Traveller, Mistral Thomas of Taigel. I quest, yes, but I am not a knight, nor even a pilgrim. See this?" Gesturing to his satchel, and his robes, the Traveller spoke as if addressing a young child, or slow-witted student, "I am a scribe, a traveller."

 

Somewhat wild eyed, he stepped back further, "If you wish to join us... you uh... must ask them to. This is... uh... a republic! Yes! A republic quest! One must be a citizen to join, and only citizens get to vote who's in and who's out. Uh... in order to qualify as a citizen, one must be accepted by the other citizens after performing a feat of... great... uh... value to the group, yes! You must uh... be of us to us. Otherwise, if we allow you to tag along, you're a henchman, you see. A henchman isn't a citizen, so he or she has no voting power; they uh... serve the group. Like... a stableboy cares for a horse, while the stablemaster owns the stable, yes? So... uh... have you anything of value, beyond your song and cheer?"

 

Then his mind processed what Tanny was saying; somehow, it hadn't registered until now... "Wait... guys? Loyal companions? Compatriots? Hey, wait! Where are you going!"

 

Chasing after them at a flat-out run (abandoning poor Thomas where he was), C dashed through the forest, as fast as his feet would carry him. Then reaching to grab Tanny's arm, in a wheezing rasp, he hissed in her ear, "This isn't a frivolous endeavour! What about all the other poor initiates? I didn't mean the bit about citizens and henchmen - unless you want me to! Besides! Almost-Dragon isn't getting these ashes back for free! He'll have to pay with his horde!" Realising what he'd done, C released Tanny's arm, "I mean, uh, my apologies. If that truly is your desire, it is to my regret that we part ways, but I shall honour your decision..." More wild-eyed than before, he begged, "Don't leave me out here..."

Edited by -C-

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Tanny managed a sweet smile, disengaging herself gently from the Traveller's grasp. "I am very sorry, but I really have to go."

 

She wove quickly something that Stephen barely followed with his earth-sense, then pulled the Ranger with her. "Come," she hissed. Both disappeared from sight, into the forest, while the Traveller found himself inexplicably trapped by the vines - until then hidden by the undergrowth.

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Before the Traveller realized what was happening, he was distracted by a squeaky voice behind him. When he managed to turn enough to see the owner, he saw a figure of about 8 inches tall, covered in a cloak, trying not to get entangled in the vines.

 

"Awwwwww, man! What's this then? I'm sure it's a trick of one of those cooks again! Bet they're still angry just because I liberated their carrots. Misers, murderers! Lemme GO!"

 

The figure's attempts achieved nothing other than entangling it further. Eventually it calmed down a little and appeared to notice the traveller.

 

"Hey, you're that quest guy! I'll be glad to help out, if you'll have me."

 

When he saw the Traveller's doubtful look, he added, "I can be quite useful, you know..."

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"And... what exactly are you? Wait, what did you call me? 'That quest guy'? You make me sound infamous." The Traveller regarded the... eight inch... ...thing... sceptically, but not too sceptically. After all, he had seen many, many, many stranger things than this. And small did not necessarily mean weak. He had learned the hard way not to underestimate - or overestimate - anything, or anyone he had met. Or so he reminded himself. It was hard though, when confronted with an eight inch... thing. He made a note to remember to ask the eight inch thingy's name. Eight Inch Thingy was not a good title for it...

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"Sir! Noble Sir!"

 

The Traveller winced, the crashing sounds coming towards him making him visualize too easily a rather awkward minstrel - he recognized Thomas' voice - coming towards him at what seemed to be a breakneck speed.

 

Breakneck... huh... his, I hope... He tried to stand up, glaring for a moment at the vines still trapping his feet, and then shouted. "Halt!"

 

Thomas grinned when he heard the Traveller's voice, resulting in an unfortunate breaking of the concentration with which he had been running. As a consequence, it didn't take him three steps to stumble on a stone that nonchalantly seemed to be asleep right in the middle of his path, and with a startled yelp Thomas appeared in the Traveller's - and the Eight Inch Thingy™'s - view, windmilling madly.

 

"Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeehhhhhhh...."

 

Thomas splatted on the ground, missing the Eight Inch Thingy™ by maybe a finger's width.

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"Eep! What're you doing, you daft fool? Trying to squish me?? You're not still angry about me beating you in that beauty pageant, are you?"

 

Thomas started to splutter a reply, but Tom was talking so fast it was impossible to get a word in.

 

"And what's with all the vines, anyway? If I didn't know better I'd say they were trying to entangle us all!"

 

Without missing a beat, the small figure turned to the Traveller and continued talking.

 

"I, sir, as this bard can confirm, am Tom Atoe, leader of the Vegetable Liberation Front, proud member of the Cauliflower Clan, and bound to be a valuable ally on any quest you might wish to undertake!"

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"I... see." C looks around, and shakes his head, then somehow, pushed himself to his full height, pushing at the vines and shoving in irritation. Grandly, C proclaims, "I, C, see that you are indeed a proud... ...being, and if indeed, you wish to serve at my side, I shall not deny thee! But, uh, Tom Atoe, you see, I C, foresee grave and perilous dangers. Art thou sure thou wishes to join mine quest? If so, thou shalt be mine scout! For every party requires one. If thou wish to ride up on mine shoulder, or go ahead, or simply walk by mine side, wouldest thou be willing to fulfil such a role?" Eight Inch Thingy had a name now. Hmm...

 

"And thee, bardic minstrel... if thou is sure, then, will thou serve as mine squire? To cheer with song, and glee, earning us rest at inn tables, and caring for menial tasks?"

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A squire! Of a noble Knight! Thomas' eyes widened in utter disbelief, and then a slow grin brightened his face.

 

"Oh noble sir! I will gladly accept the position! You have my word that I will serve you with all my honor and skill, and praise your deeds to the four winds of the world and sing songs of heroic acts! Thank you, thank you with all my soul, Sir C!"

 

So dazed with his good luck he was, that Thomas did not pay further attention to Tom Atoe and almost squished him once again when he knelt in front of the Traveller, ducking his head in expectation - he should feel a sword touching his shoulder, shouldn't he?

 

Or was that when people were knighted?

 

Oh I will be famous! My talent will finally be recognized! Everybody will talk about Thomas of Taigel, the brave minstrel and follower of Sir C, the Unforeseeable Knight, who braved monsters and dragons in his quest!

 

Wait... dragons?

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"Too bad I'm not actually a knight. Oh well..." Shaking his head, C looked at Thomas, "I still lack a blade, fair squire. Find me a blade - a sword worthy of one such as I, and I shall make thou my squire, despite not being a knight."

 

C pauses, "However, we are a tad entangled here. Entwined with foulest roots. I wonder... Squire Thomas! I charge thee: release us of these fiendish plants without cutting us to shreds in the process! Lo! It be our first challenge; the test of our new fellowship. The band of C!"

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Thomas nodded, standing up in a fluid movement that almost made him stumble backwards. Flushing slightly, he straightened his clothes, and then looked down at the vines. His keen eyes followed them until he found the roots and, smiling to himself, he knelt again.

 

C and Tom Atoe eyed Thomas warily, the first hoping that the minstrel did not have a blade upon himself, lest he'd indeed shred the legs of everybody around, and the valiant Cauliflower clanmember making sure he would not end up as a mat.

 

Surprising both of them, Thomas teased the vines loose with dexterous fingers, untangling them quickly and neatly and piling them over their own roots in a well-ordered way. Shifting his position, he proceeded to do the same to another patch of vines and, after a while, the whole area around them was clean and free of traps.

 

Bowing low, Thomas said with a grin, "There, sire - as you wished, your path is now clean."

 

He had to make an effort to not fall on his face with the depth of his bow, but managing to keep balance, he straightened in triumph.

 

Only to turn around and trip on Tom Atoe, this time suceeding in falling and trapping the eight inch creature under himself.

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As Thomas fell over, C mused and considered, "You know, this reminds me of a time I was in the body of another - I do that, you see; live other lives, it's hard to explain. It's one way I collect stories: by living them out. Sort of like being a character in a book; when one story ends, another begins. Anyway, there was this time I was in the form of another, and both of us - I was with another, you see - were traipsing through a forest. Now, this lady and I - for she was a lady, though not one you might consider... from her appearance, well, I was an elf, and she was in the guise of an elf. The forest was dark, grim, foreboding in every way, and many dangers lurked, some more considerable than others."

 

As C spoke, his words took on an oddly nostalgic tone, as if he were in fact, reciting memories, "We couldn't leave this forest; there was some strange magic within it, I seem to recall; I'm not sure. Anyway, we required to get through it; probably visit someone or something along the way. It was important, somehow, but I don't recall quite how. So, she and I were traipsing through this forest, when all of a sudden we were beset by a forest troll. Now, my companion, as you may guess, was more than she appeared. In her robes, she could have easily been mistaken for a mage or priestess, for her robes were white and spotless - quite a feat, in a forest, as I'm sure you'll agree - and anyway, this troll was part ogre. Don't ask me how; I don't even want to think on it. It had five giant spiders that we could see with it; large, chittering, furry beasts, with black eyes that sparkled with cruel intelligence."

 

His words dropped with the telling, "There were four more behind us; we were cut off," His tone rose, "Aen, my companion, turned to the troll, with a look as dangerous as they come and told it to back off if it valued its filthy hide. It laughed; what could a pair of hapless elves do, even if one did carry a bow, sword and knife, and the other a staff? Surely, she was bluffing. I, of course, said nothing, but calmly watched the spiders. Oh, those things would send shivers down your spine, I tell you. I was brasher and more confident in those days; I wasn't scared, not even a little. So the spiders advanced, and Aen, Aen dear Aen turned to the troll and smiled. Yes, she smiled."

 

C paused for several heartbeats, waiting for the anticipation to grow, "Then she revealed her true form. A glorious dragon, with crimson and burgundy scales; a crest proud and fine. She was a regal lady. As you can imagine, it stopped the troll dead in its tracks. Its fat and gnarled fingers still clutched its axe - a severed piece of iron taken from the breastplate of a knight, I think, and its butt spiked with the knives and swords of fallen foes. Serrated and chipped, and covered in old, dried blood, it was a terrible weapon. Yet, not even that could stand before the might of a dragon.

"The spiders drew back, yet still, some advanced; and then..." His eyes widened, "she breathed flame. Around us in an arc, she spread her fire, scorching and incinerating the three closest spiders, and smouldering even the instant ash she had made from the forest floor.

"Then she turned her head over her shoulder and completed the ring around us. Flames seven, eight, nine feet high! She herself was no taller than twelve; fifteen at her full height, for she was a young dragon, barely out of adolescence, and then she turned and smiled at the troll. Her teeth, a devilish row of fangs, glistened as her eyes sparkled with hunger. The troll stood for a moment, then raised his axe; it was the last thing he did, for with a whoosh! Aen breathed her dreadful flame again, a spout, no a jet, of continuous fire, first yellow, then white it was so hot. When she finished, it looked as if someone had taken a giant hatchet and cut a path through the trees. For twelve feet past me, the forest was gone; not even grey, not even writhing. A straight line of black ash so fine, it made glassblower's sand look coarse."

 

C laughed, "Ah, had she but been with me when I first set foot here, or I in the body I once possessed. And when Wyvern Almost-Dragon first spoke to me? I tell you, minstrel, she would have stood over me, smiling as pretty as you please, the loveliest elven maiden you ever did see, and then, she would have been eighteen feet tell, fangs bared in that dangerous, beautiful smile, and I would have said, 'Now she is a dragon'."

 

He paused, pondering reflectively, "She had grown since that time in the forest. She was a fine companion. I miss her. Someday, I shall have to visit her again." Then he smiled, "Still, you have done a fine job of freeing us from our bonds, and while not so dramatic as facing a troll and giant spiders, you are to be commended nonetheless. Now then, it is time we were on our way."

 

---

Edited for typos!

Edited by -C-

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Solorassil walked almost silently through the remnants of the tangling vines, and knew he was approaching the group; his stolen memories gave him some degree of woods-craft, and the vines were recently torn. Then, he heard voices ahead, and moved forward more quickly.

 

"... and many dangers lurked, some more considerable than others."

 

Hearing these clear words, Solorassil realized that a story was being told up ahead.

 

Perfect, the end of this will be an excellent time to join the group. If I make a few comments on walking in, there shouldn't be too much suspicion, and after that I should be able to convince them to let me aid in their quest, and when the quest is done I may build more trust among the community.

 

He waited, and listened more.

 

From the sound of things, this one is either a skilled liar or an adventurer with many experiences beyond the norm. His memories would certainly be valuable, but undoubtedly he would be a dangerous victim. I will not make a judgment now, but I suspect that I would be best served by leaving him unharmed. As for the others... I can tell nothing now. In any case, none of this will matter until the quest is done; there are too many people in the group for any opportunities to arise.

 

As the story approached its end, Solorassil approached the group, and as C suggested that they should be moving, Solorassil came into view and spoke.

 

"An impressive tale, though I would hope that we meet no such truly powerful creatures in any travels around here. I hear you are in search of some kind of book; knowledge is certainly worth searching for, and I would gladly join you if you have need of an extra pair of hands. If you think me too untrustworthy, however, I will understand; the mist which swirls around me is certainly offputting."

 

Not the most elegant of greetings; I could have handled that better. Still, I think it may be enough to serve my long-term goals.

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Once freed from Thomas' weight, Tom had listened with fascination to the story of C. He was about to say something when, for once, someone else spoke faster. When he heard the voice of the newcomer, Tom spun around and was, once again, dumbstruck at the appearance of the newcomer. Then he spent a few moments being dumbstruck at being silenced two times in a row before he finally managed to say something.

 

"Oh wow, man, that looks cool! Can you teach me how to do that? You'll have my yes-vote if you will!"

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Before Thomas could chime in, or trip over himself (and Tom Atoe ...again), C cleared his throat. His eyes flickered towards Tom Atoe. Perhaps this whole Republic Party thing might work after all. Thus forth, Tom Atoe of Clan Cauliflower, would be known as 'Citizen Tom'. Better than Eight Inch Thingy. Henchman Swordbearer Thomas. Hmm... this needed some work.

 

Making a show of examining the sky, C asked conversationally, "Not a vampire, are you?" He regarded Solorassil, "Usually, I'm aware of when there are others around, so that must be quite the soft step you tread with. I'm impressed. Still, I had not realised word of our quest was widespread. But..." He glanced at his companions, "there are many strange and exotic companions I've journeyed with before; you would be by no means out of place. Our quest is one that may be filled with peril; tell me, what are you capable of? I would not lead a hapless wandered into danger..." He tried not to look in Thomas' direction and failed. "If you could speak of your abilities, it would help. Perhaps a rousing tale of feats you have performed in the past, as you have heard a tale of mine?"

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Solorassil thought quickly, preparing to reply;

 

A vampire? A guess closer to my nature than he could know. In any case, I should ask for names before replying; if they realize I already know, I could have more trouble convincing them I'm on their side. Oh, and if I can draw out my answer to C's question long enough, Tom may forget about asking for knowledge of my mists. Explaining that will be hard, since calling it a curse might draw attempted cures. He seems too eager, though...

 

"Perhaps I should start from the beginning. I am Solorassil, and I trust you will provide your names if you accept my presence. To answer your questions, I am certainly not a vampire. A wood such as this could hardly be a place for such evil undead, with the sun a constant threat and few potential victims. As for my capabilities... well, I dabble in many fields. As you noticed, I possess some skill at woods-craft, and along with that I can make reasonably effective use of a dagger."

 

Solorassil pulled a dagger from the mists surrounding him, and then resheathed it with a flourish. He then pointed at C;

 

"Ah, you must be the infamous C, since you seem to be leading this group, and you carry the tools of a scribe. I expect you make use of magic, what with not carrying much in the way of weaponry. Magic is available to me, but only as a weapon of last resort; as I said, I dabble in many fields. Alternatively, do you wield martial arts? I understand that unarmed combatants can be highly effective, and rely heavily on willpower."

 

"In any case, you asked for a story of my background. While I have not such grand adventures to my name as you, if you give me a minute to think, I should be able to come up with something without hopeless digressions and ramblings."

 

Well, that sounded reasonable, now I just need to see how they react. The toe-sized Tom may still need to be placated regarding my mists, and at present Thomas is an unknown quantity, though his reputation is not terribly formidable. Hidden depths, maybe. I should begin concocting a story, maybe hint at a death curse causing the shadows, for only the most powerful mages would attempt to fight one of those and "cure" me. Ah, yes, perhaps an embellished version of my encounter with that necromancer, Kardel Ialkan, who could barely animate a skeleton when I took his memories. Then I'll have to avoid his spells for the time being, as necromancy would be suspicious. Oh, and I should be careful directly saying that the mist was his death curse, since I'm not certain of his death.

 

My current assessment of this group is that none of them are suitable victims just yet. Thomas may have hidden depths, or otherwise may not have many useful memories, while Tom might be too small to be a valid target for my power, and C still seems like he may be too powerful and dangerous to attack, unless I can find a weakness.

Edited by Hjolnai

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A dragon! Thomas stared slack-jawed at the Traveller, eyes widening as his vivid imagination pictured the glorious lady-dragon. In a leap, his mind was already over a few verses, and he started humming a tune under his breath in step with the battle scene he saw the dragon flames arching high and bright.

 

Spiders... no no no, not simple spiders. Even giant ones. No... something ... oh, more epic... giant, twelve-limbed hybrids of spiders and scorpions maybe... no, they'll say it was impossible... but if we add sorcery... oh yes, a troll sorcerer controlling them! A mighty one, but who was nothing for beautiful, glorious fire-dragon Aen...

 

Thomas was so caught up in his own visions that he never saw Solorassil coming in, mist or not mist. Even the voice of the mysterious stranger was only dimly registered while Thomas turned and dismissed for the moment the momentarily absorbed stranger.

 

Picking up his lute, that he had carefully unslung and propped against a tree trunk while untangling the vines, Thomas' voice interrupted the conversation around his as he started to to sing a ballad.

 

Wandering in the dark, shadowed place,

a traveler and his companion against darkness fought;

the magic of the forest in their bones sang,

lurking dangers their minds recognized.

But nothing would stop resolution and valor;

their elven eyes shining with light,

bows in their back, sword in their hands

they strode without fear to face the demon-god.

A roar shook the earth, stamping feet announced death

and the leaves parted to the fearful face.

"Who art thou, foolish creatures,

who dare the land of mighty Bagrooth?

For your brains I will eat and your wisdom will be mine;

mighty Bagrooth is the lord of the forest!"

 

The elven lord did not smile, not even to himself;

mighty, Bagrooth might have been,

but the forest lords do not bow to demon trolls.

Chittering from behind, around, and above

giant creatures gazed at them;

the shape of spiders, the sting of a scorpion

and malicious eyes that sparkled with evil

as their sorcerous master rumbled with glee.

The elven lady, cold and beautiful,

deigned the creatures with her unsullied smile

and the elven lord bowed in reverence

as space shifted, and the forest silenced.

 

And in her true form she showed herself

cold, beautiful, and glorious:

a crimson lady, a fire dragon

Lady Aen, princess of her kind.

Bright flame arched around them,

a perfect circle of cleansing fire;

scorpion-spiders were no more,

and mighty Bagrooth faced its bane.

 

Soot finer than glassblower's sand

filled the earth where darkness reigned.

The elven lord smiled to the lady

- Lady Aen, Lady of Fire! -

and onward they went,

a quest to fulfill.

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C found his train of thought shaken as the song resounded in his ears, and he half turned to face Thomas, "Damnit Minstrel, just when I begin to think there's no more use for you then a henchman... you're hired. Not that you weren't already." He smiled, his eyes genuinely pleased, "My thanks. You've done well; a stirring ballad. That's the best rendition I've heard in many a year. Aen would be... well, she would smile. You've outdone yourself. But as you sang, onwards they went, so too should we be getting on. Onwards!"

 

Neatly avoiding Solorassil's question, or perhaps not so neatly, he took the lead, his eyes watchful as he walked. ...The trouble was, he wasn't entirely sure where he was going, but that was beside the point: it looked as if he did. Namely, he went back the way they came before entering the forest.

 

"So, Solorassil," he began, "Or you, Tom Atoe, have you any tales of valour and courage most bold?"

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Solorassil thought swiftly, hoping that his hesitation would be seen as a search for a story to tell.

 

Well, he got the better of me there. I should not press C overly, as excessive curiosity could be suspicious. If we end up in combat, that should give me an overview of his preferred techniques; I should try to steer the group into dangerous areas to increase our chances of facing enemies. In fact, combat should help me understand the entire group, and possibly reveal any hidden depths to anyone here. Since C seems to be leading and to know where he's leading us, I should question him about our goals and reasons for going this way. Perhaps I can cause enough doubt to make him turn back into the forest, which has more danger.

 

"Before we become engrossed in another tale, perhaps I should ask where we're going. I know we're looking for a book of some kind, but I don't know what sort of book or where it might be. So, where are we planning to look for this book? I've heard of some ancient ruins somewhere in the forest, rumored to be part of a long-forgotten library..."

 

A difficult lie to detect, as rumours are unreliable at the best of times, and for all I know it might even be true.

 

It might have been a mistake not to comment on the song, however...

Edited by Hjolnai

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C paused, then met Solorassil's eyes without fear. "Back to the beginning," he answered cryptically, "Perhaps you could tell me where you heard of our quest? It is not the book we are looking for." He held up a pouch and opened it enough for all to see the ashes and remains of the mags (though he took care to shelter it from the wind). "We are trying to restore these. It is not a library we need, nor ancient ruins - well, we may, but not yet. We need... a wizard."

 

Pausing again, C carefully resealed the pouch, tying it tightly, "So unless any of you have any ideas for where we can find magic capable of restoring this, I propose we return to see what else can be found on the subject. That means - raiding the recruiter's office.

 

"In the meantime, I would like to hear more of you."

Edited by -C-

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Solorassil mentally recoiled, though he did not visibly flinch at C's fearless gaze. He meets my eyes? Surely such courage in one so travelled is a sign of dangerous power. It seems I would be best served to test Thomas for hidden depths, for almost certainly I cannot safely attack C; unfortunate, considering the value of his experiences, likely to be varied and interesting. I'm running out of time to speak...

 

"You ask how I heard of your quest? Why, the commotion in the Recruiter's Office was very attention-grabbing, so I exercised my curiosity and asked around for rumours. Plainly I should not rely on such rumours to cover details as to the difference between restoring and finding a book. And since Wyvern was involved, I assumed that it would be something to do with money, such as finding a valuable book rather than buying a copy, or maybe hunting one down to sell."

 

There, I have breathing space again. I don't have much time to think, though. How can I link the book to the "library" in the forest? Ah, I know...

 

"You say we're going back to the Recruiter's Office? Surely if there were anything relevant, Wyvern might have mentioned it? He has an active mind, despite being focused on his own short-term benefit to the exlusion of almost all else... On the other hand, I can see that the Pen keep might have spells to restore anything papery, what with the collection of minstrels, bards and other writers who make their homes here. Still, an ancient library seems a better bet to me, if it exists, for a library would have even more need of such magic. Regardless, you are in the lead, and I have only just joined the adventure, so I will follow."

 

Oh, I see he's still going to keep pressing me about my past. It seems questioning his leadership won't throw him off the trail, but it is better that I held off until now. Being too willing to share my "past" would be dangerous, as a tower of lies should be as short as possible; the taller it is, the sooner and harder it comes crashing down. I'm also concentrating too much on him. Surely I should not ignore anyone in this unusual group, lest they come to see me as more an intruder than I already am.

 

"Anyway, I feel I have spoken enough for now, surely it is time for another to have his turn."

 

Yes, a little hostility to make him realize I am not a mere pawn... for I may need to be pushy in order to accomplish later goals. Still, when next he has the opportunity to ask, I should answer. To ignore his curiosity for too long would be very dangerous.

 

"So, Thomas, how long have you been practicing as a bard? You clearly have great skill to compose so quickly after first hearing the story, and it was well sung."

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"Maps," C answered cryptically, cutting in before anyone else had a chance to reply. His tone was low, and his eyes were fixed; not on Solorassil, but on some distant point lost in the horizon, in space and time.

 

"Up-to-date maps. Would an ancient library have those, I wonder?"

 

The comment was not so much a snub, but C musing, then he smiled, wryly, darkly, "Wyvern is interested in geld, his ego, and self preservation - and other... appetites. He would charge us anything he could if it meant earning a single piece of geld on the side. Unless, of course, I am very much mistaken in my observations of his character and the comments of others. No," his words firmed with a finality that spoke volumes, as if the decision had not just been already made, but the outcome had already occurred...

 

"I intend to raid his office for supplies. If you've any objections, this is your chance to bail. Otherwise, that's our immediate goal. Once we have procured the maps, then perhaps we can check for any 'ancient ruins', libraries or others. A map aged enough would show such locations, rather than us stomping around the forest wasting time."

 

Pausing, C verbally prodded Thomas, "Know of any such maps, fair minstrel?"

 

Then he added almost apologetically, "I did not mean to cut your answer off; please, continue your conversation. I beg pardon for my lack of manners.

 

"And Thomas?" he muttered almost as an afterthought, "...still in need of a sword here."

 

 

Inwardly he added, And the first objective is the seal pressed in wax. Duplicated, that is the first step to removing power from the tyrant. The original will not be missed... for it shall never leave. With the capacity to wield such power, to hold hostage the injustice... the quest for the Restoration of the Mags shall truly have begun.

 

ACCEPTED, I shall brand it onto a sword; her name shall be Justice, nay: her name shall be PEN and the spirit of all those who have gone before shall reside within her. She shall bring order from chaos, and her wrath shall be mighty. Wyvernsbane shall she also be known as - and to Thomas, she shall go: Swordbearer shall be his name, and I? I shall be but a memory, a passing spectre in the night, lost and forgotten save all but a few.

 

Tremble Wyvern, for your reign is coming to an end. Mags Restoria has begun; the battle for the Pen shall follow.

 

 

(edited for block text being paragraphed!)

Edited by -C-

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