Jump to content
The Pen is Mightier than the Sword
-C-

Mag Restoria: The Quest Begins

Recommended Posts

Tom had been somewhat quiet, still impressed with Thomas' ballad. However, something in the conversation caught his attention and he started hopping around excitedly.

 

"A raid? A real raid? Really for real? Coooool! Man, I know all about those! We could get grapple hooks and lots of rope and rappel down from the roof to swing in through the window and then just sweep the place clean! I mean, metaphorically of course ... the only thing that could clean out that office would be a flamethrower."

 

The thought made him lapse into silence again as he was already envisioning himself equipped with a flamethrower, swinging into Wyvern's office through the window and begin cleaning it before his feet had even hit the ground ...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thomas blinked, for a moment seeming confused at the two questions posed to him. Library? Maps? A sword? Then, as he was opening his mouth to answer, Tom talked about flamethrowers. The minstrel frowned, something in all those words tugging at him. Absent-mindedly, his fingers started playing the lute very quietly, almost as if the instrument was thinking with its owner and master; trying to recall something he had heard once, Thomas did not truly notice that he was reciting the tale aloud.

 

It is said that in ancient times, mortal men delved in the secrets of the gods.

That some of the secrets lay in ancient scrolls, so old that none but the wisest of mages knew of them.

And to protect mortal lands, for not secret from the gods should ever be in mortal hands,

the Circle of the Wise built a stronghold, a fortress made to withstand the ravages of time,

a bastion of knowledge that was forever forbidden for the non-initiated.

An ancient library, lost in the heart of the darkest of forests, locked from inside and defended from outside,

treasuring inside all the tomes of knowledge, all the wisdom of gods and all the power of mages.

An ancient library, hidden in the mists, protected by curses, invisible but for the initiated.

 

Thomas played a chord that resonated among them, still distracted with his own thoughts, still entranced in his own memories. His tale became a song, quiet and ominous, full of mystery but also of promises.

 

The road to knowledge is full of danger

veiled by mists and waning moolight

winding through darkness and dangers unseen

mocking the courage of creatures and men.

 

Paladins will come

mages will aid -

songs of power

and weapons of might.

What is to open

the gates of mystery?

 

Danger stalks the roads of mystery,

draining the will of unwary travelers;

mists swirl around those who search,

memories of old are lost in the fog.

 

Who leads the quest for knowledge?

Who reads the maps of old?

Who comes to free the spirits?

Who slays the cursed guardian?

 

The gates will open and sunlight will enter,

revealing the knowledge of gods and men;

tomes of old and maps of power

will banish the mists that kill the memory

bringing again the Age of the Sun

the warmth of love

and the peace of the gods.

 

With a soft sight, Thomas paused, and ended in a whisper at the same time wistful and hopeful.

 

And so the tale goes, that the Library of Knowledge can be found in the forest;

deep in its heart, protected by curses, opened by memory and faith and courage.

Many will search, few will find, even less will gaze upon the ancient tomes...

for those who try, a warning to remember: knowledge is hope, but also a sentence.

Will you hold the memories by trust or treachery?

Flames will consume those unworthy the knowledge.

 

 

Suddenly, Thomas brightened and turned to Tom. "You mentioned flamethrowers... do you think it could consume the unworthy?" Grinning widely, the minstrel completed, "That might be just perfect as the theme for the middle part of the Ballad - the flaming tongues opening the way, cleansing the path for the Knight to pass, dispelling the darkness around and allowing the pure of heart to find their way!"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Solorassil listened intently to Thomas' every word, hoping to find clues as to what defenses he might have to deal with and what quality of memories he might be able to steal.

 

Seeing that Thomas had turned to speak specifically to Tom, he turned himself and spoke calmly to C.

 

"It would seem that you are a better judge of character than I, for I had not considered how Wyvern's avarice might keep information from us despite any benefit he might naturally derive from our quest. Furthermore, a search for a map seems more reasonable than looking through the whole forest, though perhaps after that ballad we should consider Thomas a guide."

 

He then raised his voice so that the whole group could hear, despite interrupting the conversation between Thomas and Tom;

 

"So, Thomas, was that all composed on the spot, or did you already have more knowledge of ruins than the vague rumours I had heard?"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thomas actually stumbled when Solorassil's quiet voice registered in his mind, and he turned so fast that he almost stepped on Tom.

 

"Huh... ah... knowledge?" He stammered for a few seconds, trying to get his mind back to the figure shrouded in mist that kept eluding a straight gaze. Then, drawing a calming breath, Thomas shook his head and answered with a chagrined smile. "I have knowledge only of the ballads, Master Solorassil. I have traveled through many lands, and I have witnessed much that was different from my homeland. I have composed songs and short ballads but... nothing that comes close to the great tales sung by minstrels at the courts of the kings."

 

The minstrel looked up to the Traveler, and beamed suddenly. "Nothing of the kind until now. Being in a Knightly Quest will change that, and the ballads and sagas I can compose after witnessing the deeds of Sir C will become famous and spread his name through the kingdoms!" He managed a small bow that did not unbalance him, and sighed. "And I hope to have the honor of having my songs chosen to be taught and learned, as I have with my masters long ago. No, Master Solorassil, our guide is, and has to be, Sir C! I am but a minstrel, and my knowledge is just from the songs I've heard."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Momentarily distracted by Thomas' song, C listened intently, nodding absently, and then held up his hand to Solorassil, "A moment, if you please. And I ask your patience as well, fair Minstrel."

 

C turned to Citizen Tom, "Backtracking to your query: yes, a real raid. And flamethrowers weren't exactly what I had in mind." C paused, then lowered his voice conspiratorially and leaned in slightly, "I was thinking of walking through the front door: Wyvern's not expecting it. We can take what we need, plundering as we please, but preferably the faster the better, then get out again." Musing, C considered, "However... a clean get-away would be required and... razing of our passing would be ideal. So! This is what I propose: Solorassil and I form one team; we enter the building, you, Thomas, have the important - perhaps the most important - role of sentinel: I'm counting on you to stand watch and alert us if anyone comes in. You," C's smile was anything but pleasant, "Tom, shall be waiting with rope and flamethrower at the ready, and after we leave, you burst in through a separate window and torch the place - leave nothing standing. Should anyone see us, they'll simply see Solorassil and I entering the Recruiter's Office and leaving - they won't think we set the fire."

 

The unpleasant smile remained, "And you, Thomas, have sung yet another excellent song. With the maps we will acquire, I believe this library in the forest sounds like an excellent plan. As soon as we can find its location, with your woodsman's craft, you can guide us there, Solorassil. With Thomas' songs, perhaps we can glean together the truth of the matter, and with your skill, the location. Together, we shall make an excellent team. So! Any questions? Comments? Queries? Suggestions? Doubts? Concerns? If not, let's get ready; I want these maps by tonight. The Band of C shall have its first strike.

 

"One final note," he continued, "this is likely to place as at odds with the 'law'; nay, it will label us outlaws. We have done nothing wrong - yet. All that will change. Consider this your last chance to bail out: if this isn't for you, then feel free to leave before we are committed. Once we do this, we are bound to one another - it is a test of loyalty as much as courage. Together, we stand, together we fall: together or not at all. I warn each of you now," he held up a forefinger, his pitch still low but serious, "From this there is no turning back. I do not tolerate traitors lightly: from here on out, we are sworn to one another and the cause. You have heard the plan, so if you wish to leave and inform Wyvern, I cannot stop you - but I warn you, should we cross paths again and treachery hast been done this day..."

 

No smile this time, "So I offer you this chance. I have faith in all of you: we will not fail. Now, I charge you, prove yourself worthy of my faith, and your worth: to both me, the cause, and yourself. Let us stand now, here in this place and triumph. Glory and justice shall we ours! I promise you this, if nothing else: we shall leave our mark upon the Pen and sagas shall be sung: either of our infamy or our success. We shall not fade into the annuals of oblivion - not for a thousand days!"

 

C paused, and added, "Truly Thomas, you are skilled with song. The honour is mine; your fine words do me too much praise. Fear not, noble minstrel: we are not mere brigands, nor dastardly thieves but are on a quest to free the Pen from tyranny. Hold that in your heart!"

 

With that, he waited for the questions that were sure to follow...

Edited by -C-

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Solorassil was immediately aware of the depth of his miscalculation.

 

Now I am trapped. To leave now would show disloyalty, though not treachery, which works against any image of trustworthiness I might hope to cultivate. To remain, however, will lead swiftly to severe infamy unless I can apply some degree of control over the situation. As for actually betraying the group... that seems quite dangerous, but it might give me an opportunity to take memories from the group once subdued by whatever passes for guards here. I... I am uncertain. One course of action seems most reasonable as a primary plan, but I have no contingencies from it without suffering a dramatic setback. Still, a chance is better than nothing, and even the attempt may garner some benefit.

 

"Infamy would not sit well with me, and torching the Recruiter's Office seems a bit extreme; the fire could spread to claim much more of the Pen keep. Would it not be more reasonable to apply subtlety to the problem? A night-time approach with a few silencing spells, and perhaps... an approach from a different angle. Certainly with the door and window damaged, we would have an excuse for entering, and the night can be explained by not wishing to disturb Wyvern at his work, as silence spells are to avoid awakening the entire keep; though these excuses are not foolproof, they would likely not be needed. If the office absolutely must be destroyed to bury evidence, perhaps we could make its destruction seem more a chaotic event than deliberate destruction, through termites in the wall supports or a lamp unattended. Such subtlety could surely fulfil our needs, without battering our reputations as readily as a direct assault. Is there some reason that we must be as direct and unsubtle as an ogre?"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

C smiled more than a little darkly, "Of course there's a reason: it will create a distraction. Everyone will be so busy containing the fire they will not be thinking about us - leaving our hands free to do as we will. I do not lean towards the extreme unless it serves me - and keeping Wyvern's hands - paws - claws? - full serves our purpose mightily. The silent approach might work, but it might lead back to us." A pause, "Besides, Tom here is looking forward to torching the Recruiter's Office. Do you really want to disappoint him? As to spreading to the rest of the Pen - well, that's a risk we'll have to take. Hopefully the fire will be contained."

 

Realising he had not really addressed the idea of an 'accident', C mulled it over for a few moments, "We will make the damage look like an accident, then. Tom, perhaps you could ensure to knock over a lamp as you 'clean up'?" There, that should do it. C looked at each of them in turn, "Any other questions?"

Edited by -C-

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thomas looked at the Traveller dubiously, and tried to get from Tom any hint about what he thought on the matter. When Tom didn't answer, looking rather bewildered, Thomas cleaned his throat.

 

"Sir C, excuse me, Sir... but... I do not think I can agree with such planned destruction of the Keep... Most who live here do not have nor want anything to do with Mr. Wyvern's businesses... Wouldn't chivalry ask you to protect them from danger?" He blushed self-consciously, but surprisingly did not stammer or even stumble as he bowed low. "I am honored by your trust in me to act as a lookout, and will do what you ask of me - but I cannot agree with wantom destruction. Can't we just focus on Mr. Wyvern's office? Just his papers maybe? A lamp carelessly thrown on the floor?"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Hm? Oh, I hadn't intended torching the entire keep, just the office." C paused, then looked at Thomas squarely, "Do you really think I'd needlessly endanger innocents when the quest is about Justice, Truth and Virtue? We should try to limit the damage if there are others involved, certainly!"

 

C paused, then pondered his next move. This was taking longer than he had anticipated and he wanted to move things along. The question was... how.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Solorassil stood silently for some time, apparenty digesting the plan as a whole once again.

 

Finally, he spoke clearly, loudly enough that the hiss of his voice did not detract from the words.

 

"So, let me reiterate the plan, with my interpretation of our alterations. Thomas will find a room or alcove near the Recruiter's Office, where he can observe the goings-on without being too obviously a sentinel. Should Wyvern or another come and appear to be headed for the office, Thomas, you should delay them by telling them you have a new song you want an audience for, and launch into song immediately. That will give us an early warning to abort the plan.

 

After Thomas has taken his place, C and I will enter the office and raid it. We should put things back into a semblance of usual order without overspending time, so that the ruins are not suspiciously different from the expected disorder. I'll be certain to brush past a lamp and leave it swinging, but not falling, as we leave. Then, Tom will enter without being seen and make the lamp fall, so that the crash of the lamp comes when none of us is known to be present. We'll have to remember to put it somewhere within climbing reach.

 

Finally, as we leave, we must split up and wait for the cries of fire; at least one of us should be visibly fighting it, but not all of us. Either C or I should certainly go, to ensure the most suspicious piles are fully burnt. We split up again and meet here an hour after the fire is completely quenched. Now, let us be done with questions quickly, for daylight is running out."

 

My detailed plan may finally get us moving. While I am in no hurry, the appearance of impatience serves my cause, and I see no benefit to taking much longer before beginning. I merely hope the perceived arrogance of my conclusion is not received too badly, for power struggles merely add to the delay.

Edited by Hjolnai

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

C inclined his head, cast a sidelong look at Solorassil, then strode off towards the Keep.

 

He assumed the others followed.

 

Bursting into the office (surprisingly enough, the door was unlocked, even ajar, which made C more than a tad suspicious), he looked around his one-time recruitment into the Pen, paused and frowned. Something was wrong... but what?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×
×
  • Create New...