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Winson_Paine
Oct 27, 2000

Wait, something is wrong.


Roland

Roland liked this room. He wanted a room like this in his house one day. He was taking it all in, putting the trophies he would one day mount on the walls, the weapons collected from fallen foes in crystal cases on the floor level. He peels off another layer of apple. "Aye, there's the question many flinch to ask. We'll never hit the mark without knowing where to aim, and an arrow must fly as it is loosed." He was quoting his own book, he knew. But he had said it, and he knew it to be true. "So what's our mark?"

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MMAgCh
Aug 15, 2001
I am the poet,
The prophet of the pit
Like a hollow-point bullet
Straight to the head
I never missed...you

"I am glad the amenities are to your liking," Carthaune says with a vaguely amused smile as the cake finds some admirers. "It is the least we could do, since you all have embarked on this journey without knowing anything about its ultimate purpose. And indeed," he adds cooly, "the hobgoblins are not the reason you are here – though I should not have to remind you that their ilk never is to be underestimated. No, what I would ask of you is somewhat more, well – intricate in nature."
The High Mage stares off into space for a few moments, thinking, his clasped hands resting on the table. When he focuses again, his eyes meets Landra's.
"The Feywild is barred to you and to your people," he says flatly. "When was the last time you have visited your native realm? And I do mean visited – the limited, brief jaunts there, less than a heartbeat in length, that remain available to you somehow are of no consequence. You have not been to the Feywild since the Eclipse, have you?" A rhetorical question, of course, but Carthaune apparently means to drive the point home. "It is, for all intents and purposes, a lost domain, and a loss which does not singularly concern the eladrin, either." His glance flicks momentarily to Annetta before drifting away again, looking at each of you in turn. "None has been able to actually venture beyond the curtain. The eladrin can, for some reason, still step through the veil between the worlds and into the Feywild for fractions of a second, true, but it is much too short a stay, if it indeed is one at all, for it to register in the mind; as such, all we can currently guess at is that it must still exist in some state, and even that is something we cannot definitely prove." He pauses. "While it is an assumption based on nothing but our observations of the Eclipse and the events that followed in its wake, and as such not an objectively sound conjecture by our standards here at the Academy, it would appear that this...separation of the Feywild is but a piece of the larger puzzle as it concerns the loss of arcane and divinely inspired powers all over Noremien, as well as the sudden silence of the gods. In other words, I believe all of these to be symptoms of a single greater phenomenon."
Carthaune falls silent for a few moments but looks prepared to continue, apparently waiting to see if there are any questions at this point.


Annetta: Besides their purely artistic appeal, one might come to all sorts of conclusions about the wearer of such tattoos based on this – that he feels some sort of kinship with dragons based on their awesome power and splendour, perhaps, or even that he believes himself to have some draconic blood in his veins; there are indeed those who fancy themselves descendants of dragons, as preposterous as that notion is to anyone with an inkling of common sense. A third possible connection, more unsettling than the rest, is that with Tiamat, the evil goddess of greed and vengeance, who often takes the form of a gargantuan dragon with five heads, one for each of the chromatic colours. Some of her followers are as vain as they are covetous, which would explain the prominent tattoos, although the question remains why Carthaune would have knowingly invited one of them; it seems rather unlikely.

The Transhumanist
Jan 2, 2008
I should put something funny here.

Annetta

Nodding a bit, thinking the implications of this over. "So then, Noremien is cut off from the greater planes? Or is it merely the Astral and Feywild? Have any attempted to reach other places? The Chaos? The Shadowfell?" Mulling this over, she shrugged a bit, "My powers for instance, I have come to realize they are not inherent to my Patron. I have had no contact with him since the Eclipse, and yet I still have access to my powers, to even expand and refine them. But, still through it all, I can feel the... the severance of my connection with my Patron."

Pausing then, she finished off her cake before continuing her train of thought. "What I am trying to get at though, is... is it just those places? Is it a targeted, specific action, or is it more wide spread? As well, is it that they have been cut off from us, or have we been cut off from them? Are we the target, or merely a bystander to some greater action?" Questions fired off as quick as they came to her, a maddening desire in her to know. She hungered for knowledge in a way that simple sustenance could never even hope to compare.

Thoughts of the strange tattooed elf lingered on, but in light of the questions she put forth, it was once more relegated to some part of her mind that would gnaw away at the problem, incessantly like a river would gnaw at it's banks.

Clanpot Shake
Aug 10, 2006
shake shake!

Taldrel

Taldrel waited patiently, letting the others ask their questions. He had little concern for the why of magic drying up, or why the gods couldn't be reached - truth be told he didn't have much regard for either. Magic was too fickle and ethereal, and the praying to gods seemed to him like talking to a wall - pointless and moronic. Not that he had anything against either - let the wizards have their fun in their towers, and the priests and paladins have their rituals - Taldrel just didn't want any part of it. There wasn't much in the world that didn't answer to cold steel. Petra seemed to understand this, despite all of his god talk.

So Taldrel listens to the others, waiting for Carthuane to continue.

MMAgCh
Aug 15, 2001
I am the poet,
The prophet of the pit
Like a hollow-point bullet
Straight to the head
I never missed...you

"As far as we have been able to tell, that indeed is correct," Carthaune responds with a nod. "The Feywild is quite obviously beyond our reach now, and it appears that this applies to the other planes as well. No one in recent memory has attempted to open a portal to the Elemental Chaos, but it used to be possible, using rituals of great complexity and cost, to open limited 'doors' to the Astral Sea and the Shadowfell, but they function no longer." He sighs, then looks at Tarldrel. "You may remember the Astral Eye, in the great temple of Pelor in Niemund? It was more akin to a window to the Astral Sea rather than a portal, admittedly, but it allowed you to view the Meres of Radiance all the same. A magnificent sight, to be sure. Before the Eclipse, the last time it'd gone out was during the Radiant Purge, when the Shining One grew wrathful at the injustice that was being done in his name; now it has vanished for good, to the great dismay of both the clergy and the worshippers of Pelor – but you've seen all this for yourself, doubtlessly."
The High Mage turns back to Annetta: "I'm afraid I have no real answers to the rest of your questions. That is..." His voice trails off. "I'm sure you have heard the rumours of, well, things appearing at random in Noremien, wreaking havoc for an hour or two and then disappearing into thin air again. We have attempted to investigate these reports to the best of our ability – even though ever since the Eclipse, we've had increasingly fewer able men and women to spare – but very little useful information could be gathered; there rarely were any survivors of these attacks, and those who did live only spoke of the intruders in very vague terms – flowing shapes of pure force, huge beasts that could tear down walls with a single swipe of their claws, and so on. Nothing truly useful. These could be things from, say, the Feywild, or perhaps even native creatures merely distorted and made more terrible by fear in the eyes of the hunted, but they could also be something altogether unknown to us." He brings his hands together again. "It would appear that yes, Noremien is cut off from all other planes. The reverse may or may not be true; we cannot currently tell. Why, how, possibly by whose hand – I can't say. Yet."

Winson_Paine
Oct 27, 2000

Wait, something is wrong.


Roland

The prospect was interesting to Roland, epic in scope even if it did seem a bit lacking in glory. He listens intently, wondering what his role would be in this. It explained all the elves, at any rate.

Nimlach
Jul 22, 2008


Alagand

"What would you have us do?"

Winson_Paine
Oct 27, 2000

Wait, something is wrong.


Roland

Roland decided he liked that one. Simple, to the point. None of this jibber jabber. Good man.

Aschlafly
Jan 5, 2004

I identify as smart.
(But that doesn't make it so...)


Petra M'orderial

Petra tends to the others' drinks. "In your estimation, how bad will things get if left untreated? And why the seven of us? Surely there are a number of other powerful people who ought to be assisting in some way."

MMAgCh
Aug 15, 2001
I am the poet,
The prophet of the pit
Like a hollow-point bullet
Straight to the head
I never missed...you

In response to Alagand's question, the High Mage smiles. "Straight to the point, as expected. Do humour me for one more minute, though; M'orderial's questions deserve answers." He sips from his cup of wine. "As to how far the situation may deteriorate, predictions are dire. Every day, more mages find themselves bereft of power, and more holy men lose their divinely imbued abilities. At our Academy, perhaps one third of all members and students who were in possession of their powers when the Eclipse struck still retain them today, and their numbers are decreasing steadily –"

As if on cue, the double doors open and a young tiefling enters the White Room, stopping just beyond the threshold. He seems somewhat out of breath as he bows low in apology.
"My apologies for disturbing you, High Mage, but we – we've lost another. I've hurried here to inform you, as you requested."
Carthaune seems to visibly slump down in his chair at the news. "Of course. Thank you," he finally replies, suddenly sounding weary. "How is he doing?"
"Not well. He doesn't move or speak, only stare at his hands while repeating the gestures for one of the minor summoning cantrips, from what I've seen."
"Have you told Sister Yanna yet?"
"No. I came to you first, as per your instructions."
Carthaune nods. "Go, then. Proceed as – as usual. I will be along as soon as my business here is concluded."
"As you command," the tiefling responds, bows again and leaves.

Carthaune continues looking in the direction of the doors for a moment before addressing you again. "It happens during the day now, too," he says darkly, staring at the table, almost speaking to himself more than to you. "For some time after the Eclipse, it used to be that powers were fairly literally lost in one's sleep, but now..." A tired shrug and a sigh. "Perhaps this answers your first question, partially at least. There is no way of making any accurate predictions, but I would estimate that within half a year or so, no one on Noremien will be in possession of any arcane or divine powers, if nothing is done about this."
Carthaune looks up, eyeing Petra, Coreladdabar, Alagand, Annetta – those of you who still have control over the streams of magic. It's almost an accusing look he gives you. "Pray," the High Mage says ominously. "Pray to whichever deity you believe may still hold some sway over your fate that you will not find yourselves powerless, too, one day, without that invisible force that has permeated your life for years." Carthaune's eyes grow darker and his speech more forceful. "That loss destroys those so afflicted. It is not a mere inconvenience, not just something that forces you to lead a mundane life; it means ruin for those involved, and many never recover from it. A violation of the soul, the cruelest deprivation imaginable. I have had to witness it myself all too often; proud mages reduced to pitiful shells of their former selves, or screaming lunatics even, in a few cases. More than a few end up taking their own lives. It is like a taste of death unto the soul while the body is forced to linger on. The deeper one's immersion, the more horrendous the loss. –"
Abruptly, he falls silent, a look of vague annoyance growing on his face as the High Mage realises he has said more than he intended to. "I'm sorry," he says after a pause, relaxing a little again, "that kind of outburst was unwarranted. Perhaps it will help you understand, however, why we must find a way to put an end to this. It is not only that the absence of magic has numerous, purely practical consequences; it is also that it ruins lives. Many lives. Take that into account if you should ever have any doubts as to whether to continue on your path.
"As for why I have chosen you – it is because I feel the nature of the task at hand demands a degree of diversity, for one; and while, like you yourself said, there may be those who are more powerful, it does not necessarily mean they are willing to follow my call and leave their worldly responsibilities untended to. With power comes responsibility, and in some cases, the tendency to make unreasonable demands in return for as much as hearing me out. Power does not automatically bestow goodness of heart as well, after all, as you probably know yourselves.
"I hope this answers your questions...?"

MMAgCh fucked around with this message at Sep 13, 2008 around 18:02

Stormtrooper
Oct 18, 2003

Imperial Servant

Coreladdabar IV of Lockhaven

Coreladdabar sighs to himself. No, that monologue didn't answer his questions ... what in the name of Corellon were they here to do? Given the ominous nature of Carthaune's speech, Coreladdabar began to feel a bit like a test subject. It was a sobering thought to consider that this mission, he might not return from - like a voyage across a distant sea to lands unknown.

Dallan Invictus
Oct 11, 2007

The thing about words is that meanings can twist just like a snake, and if you want to find snakes, look for them behind words that have changed their meaning.

Landra

She only watched for the moment: expression intent and clearly curious enough to listen to the explanations, but not enough to ask any more probing questions when those whose field this was were doing such an admirable job already. The only question she wanted to ask had already been asked, if not yet answered, and so she sat back in the comfortable chair and let the monologues roll in.

She risked a brief glance towards Petra, and then Annetta. Hopefully their curiosities were satisfied for the moment.

Clanpot Shake
Aug 10, 2006
shake shake!

Taldrel Darlhunt

Taldrel leans forward in his chair, rubbing his hands together under his nose in thought. As if deciding on something, he speaks, "All but one," Taldrel responds, "I for one haven't the faintest idea how or why these events are taking place, and I would wager that if any one of us did have an idea for how to fix this," nodding toward Petra, "he would have gathered a force such as this and lead the way toward setting things right. But none of us have done that - you have. Therefore, you must have some idea." Taldrel leans back. "So what would you have us do?"

Aschlafly
Jan 5, 2004

I identify as smart.
(But that doesn't make it so...)


Petra M'orderial

Petra nods in acceptance of Carthaune's answer. He holds his tongue rather than elaborating too much, sensing that his companions are growing impatient--of course, he, too, is aching to actually do something.

"I will continue praying that the effects of the Eclipse may be lifted. I know too well the damage it has already wrought both on the magically talented and on those who depend on them," he mourns. "But yes, while those of us who are gifted remain so, let us hear what we can do."

The Transhumanist
Jan 2, 2008
I should put something funny here.

Annetta

As if Annetta's curiosities could be satisfied! No, it merely could be bought off for a moment, left to work itself at some other problem while she remained, at least, quiet. Watching the others for now, she bit back further questions. For now, she could hold herself, keep quiet. But the hunger for knowledge was quite evident on her rapt attention as she watched and listened to Ravic.

Winson_Paine
Oct 27, 2000

Wait, something is wrong.


Roland

Roland leans back in his chair. "The Captain has a point, most of my skills lie in putting arrows into targets. It is no small talent, but I can not shoot the cowl from the sun. Not yet, anyway. How would you have us do this thing?"

Nimlach
Jul 22, 2008


Alagand

Alagand is a little skeptical about the notion that the loss of his magic would destroy him. While it would certainly render him far less powerful, in a way it would be a relief - that much less connection with Tiamat surely wouldn't feel like a "violation."

Nevertheless, Alagand sees the seriousness of the situation. He is glad that Carthaune took a moment to convey a real sense of what was at stake. Hopefully, whatever task he had in mind for them would fix the problem before any of the Eclipse Task Force (as Alagand now calls the group to himself) lost their powers.

MMAgCh
Aug 15, 2001
I am the poet,
The prophet of the pit
Like a hollow-point bullet
Straight to the head
I never missed...you

"Good," the High Mage remarks laconically and to no one in particular. He is difficult to read: the way he tends to elaborate, if not ramble almost strikes you as borderline senile at times, yet on the other hand he seems quite keen of spirit, all things considered. Perhaps these tangents are simply a result of so much being on the man's mind these days; it is hard to tell.
"Now, for what I would ask of you..." He pauses. "The name Tolarius may be familiar to some of you. He used to reside here at the Academy, one of our specialists in the field of transplanar arcana and a veritable mage in his own right, though he did not pursue wizardly studies; he had a, well –, a different approach to magic." Annetta finds herself the subject of a thoughtful gaze. "He withdrew from here about thirteen years ago and took up residence in the Everleaf, claiming for his own an ancient tower situated somewhere near the southern shores of the Green Mere. I will speak frankly: Tolarius did not have a great many friends here. He had always been a somewhat...peculiar man, and only grew stranger as the years passed, becoming increasingly reclusive, even choosing to cease teaching eventually. He also went on prolonged journeys for research purposes, allegedly – on Academy funding, mind – except that he did not see fit to actually share any of his findings, or even state where and why exactly he was going in the first place. Hardly proper conduct for an Academy member, you will agree. Tolarius claimed that the 'secrets' were his to keep, that the 'truth' was his and only his, whatever he meant by this – as I said, a peculiar man."

He leans back in his chair. "When someone who came to visit him accidentally triggered a ward of summoning he had secretly set in his quarters, and as a result was almost dismembered by a flesh golem, I had to step in. Up till that point, I had largely turned a blind eye to his ideosyncracies – too long, in hindsight, harmless though they had otherwise been – but this I could not allow to go on. I gave Tolarius a simple choice: resign and withdraw from the Academy voluntarily, or be removed forcibly. I was not looking forward to confronting him, and I was on the verge of taking a number of mage-guards with me in case he...lost himself, but to my surprise he took it quite well. Almost seemed pleased, in fact. On the condition that I talk to no one else about it, which I agreed to, he told me that there was an obscure tower in the Everleaf, whose last known resident had been an eladrin wizard during the Great War, which he had 'decided on'. It was almost as though he'd only been waiting for me to send him away. Nonsensical, I know, but as such to be expected from him, I suppose.
"That was thirteen years ago. I didn't hear from him at all until late last month, when I received a Sending from him." The High Mage closes his eyes, attempting to recall the words. Finally, he speaks, his voice a strange monotone. "'I stepped beyond the curtain. The Eclipse's nature unfolds: the live-giving cord is being severed. The mirror reflects no more. Expect me within one week.'" Carthaune remains silent for several more seconds before he opens his eyes again. "This was his message. I was, and still am, unable to make sense of much of it. Only two things struck me as clear: that he found out something related to the how or why of the Eclipse, and that he intended to come see me about it." The old half-elf sighs. "He never arrived here."

"I know what you must be thinking," Carthaune says, raising a forestalling hand. "Who's to say that Tolarius didn't simply lose his mind altogether? I thought about it, too, believe me. For days I barely slept, wondering what he might be talking about, and whether it was wise to waste any time pondering it at all. At the time, I still believed his impending visit would provide answers – but it never came." A brief pause. "I believe that what he said was the truth; that he had stepped beyond the curtain, that he had seen or experienced what he claimed he had. His voice rang rational in my mind, more rational than it'd sounded during all these years I spoke to him in the flesh. Why he approached me, I do not know, but he must have had his reasons, and good reasons too, to share his knowledge with someone else.
"Since this Sending, I've been unable to establish contact with him. Prior to that, I had attempted it only once, and I might have known it would not work – like many structures in use during the Great War, the tower he'd chosen as his new domain doubtlessly had strong magical shields, and it was such a forbidding ward that deflected my spell. My more recent attempts, though, simply found no recipient. There are, to the best of my knowledge, only two explanations for this: Tolarius is either dead, or he is not on this plane any longer. I do not know which it is."

Ravic Carthaune leans forward, his hands clasped on the table. "I apologise if I've been straining your patience," he says rather knowingly, "but I feel you ought to know as much of the picture as possible. This, then, is what I would ask of you: find out what happened to Tolarius. Bring him back, if he's – if it's at all possible. If he's not outright the key to undoing the Eclipse, he's a drat good lead, and I am not letting this opportunity go untaken." He leans back expectantly.


Coreladdabar: Though Tolarius' tenure at the Academy predated yours, you've still heard your share of stories and anecdotes about him. When your instructors used his name, it usually was with the added epithet "the Mad", although they made him merely sound like an eccentric, if harmless fellow – the golem incident, at any rate, apparently never became public knowledge.

Annetta: Tolarius had made a pact with some Fey entity, no doubt. What little you've heard about him suggests that he rarely, if ever left his tower – its remoteness may have been convenient, but being somewhat familiar with the desires of the Fey, you can guess there likely was more to his abode of choice than merely location.

Landra: You are reasonably confident you could locate this tower Carthaune spoke of without too much trouble. You have never laid eyes on it yourself, neither before the Great War nor afterwards, but there are only a few locations in-between the former Deepwreathe site and the Green Mere that are eligible, based on what you've heard of it and what you remember about the general area.

Nimlach
Jul 22, 2008


Alagand

Alagand stands.

"I think I can speak for all of us when I say that we will the best we can. Is there anything else you can tell us about the dangers we'll be facing? And do you have a map or something - the Everleaf's kind of a big place."

Clanpot Shake
Aug 10, 2006
shake shake!

Taldrel Darlhunt

Taldrel is taken somewhat by surprise by Alagand's outburst. He was wondering the same things that Alagand voiced, but maybe it was something in his delivery that surprised him. Regardless, Taldrel had to wonder, out loud, "We can't be the first people you've sent after this Tolarius character. The Eclipse was months ago and the message you received was well after that - you would have snatched at any clue as to the cause of the Eclipse..."

"Regardless," Taldrel says, "I would be happy to investigate your errant mage. It would be a welcome change of pace."

The Transhumanist
Jan 2, 2008
I should put something funny here.

Annetta

Listening, well aware of the meaningful look and all it entailed Annetta mulled over the implications this all laid before them, considering her words before speaking. "So, he was a practitioner such as myself? Same sort of Patron perhaps? Given his choice of abode, perhaps seclusion was his aim, but just as possible might it not be that the tower was the site of a thinner then usual locale between our plane and the Feywild? Such places I have found are like candles to moths for practitioners such as I, especially those of us who deal with the Fey as that world comes closer still then most." She paused, trying to be polite and not just tear off with more and more questions for the Mage, she had no idea how his patience would hold to her, and was savvy enough not to test the limits. One last question though that refused to be let go. "Is it not possible that he simply arranged his madness as a cover, that he might get himself out of his obligations to the Academy without fanfare?"

Aschlafly
Jan 5, 2004

I identify as smart.
(But that doesn't make it so...)


Petra M'orderial

Petra listens calmly to Carthaune's exposition, taking in as much detail as possible. He casts an eye periodically over his soon-to-be comrades, gauging their reactions and looking for any signs of recognition. The name sounds vaguely familiar, but I'm surprised I haven't heard much about this magician fellow or the towers he's inhabited. But it's not too much of a surprise. The Everleaf is a big place.

Petra is slightly annoyed by Annetta's questions, but refrains from casting a disapproving eye at her. She can't help being curious.

"I agree with the strangely tattooed elf and the guard captain. If this is the strongest lead a powerful mage such as yourself has been able to gather, then I can think of no better use of our resources than to see if your magic-using friend was on to something. And let us pray he was."

Winson_Paine
Oct 27, 2000

Wait, something is wrong.


Roland

Roland brightens. "See, there's a thing," he says cheerfully. "Tracking a man through the wilds? There is a task I can identify with. I've brought worse than him in. No fear, we'll have your man, no problem." Heck, bounty hunting. Roland was quite looking forward to this.

Dallan Invictus
Oct 11, 2007

The thing about words is that meanings can twist just like a snake, and if you want to find snakes, look for them behind words that have changed their meaning.

Landra

She shrugs, almost nonchalantly, at Alagund's comment. "A big place, surely, but one with remarkably few places suitable for this wizard's tower. I could count them on one hand. Of course," and here she gets more pensive, "finding it would be the easy part. But whether he's mad or sane, a scholar of the planes with another perspective is surely worth finding."

MMAgCh
Aug 15, 2001
I am the poet,
The prophet of the pit
Like a hollow-point bullet
Straight to the head
I never missed...you

"To the best of my knowledge, no one has ever attempted to create a detailed map of the Everleaf as a whole, owing largely to the fact that most of it is uninhabited and untamed, very difficult to explore, let alone map out with any degree of accuracy. Furthermore, the elves never cared a great deal for cartography to begin with, and the eladrin concerned themselves largely with the immediate environs of Deepwreathe only, leaving much of the remaining territory uncharted. Do keep in mind that the Everleaf is nothing short of vast – you'd be looking at about a week's journey if you were to travel the entire length of the Dividing Road from north to south. Regardless, I anticipated a question along these lines, so you might find this helpful." Carthaune produces a piece of parchment from his pocket and slides it across the table. "One side depicts the lands to the immediate west of here, while on the other there is an admittedly crude approximation of what one could, with some goodwill, consider a map of sorts of the Everleaf." The faint twinkle of humour in his eyes is gone as quickly as it appeared.



"There are, I deem, enough woodsmen among you that the forest itself should not prove too much of an obstacle. Its inhabitants, on the other hand, well – as you know well enough, the Everleaf has always been a popular hideout and hunting ground for various less than desirable elements of society, bluntly put; the loss of Deepwreathe has only made matters worse in this regard. Bandits have always plagued its outer reaches, but what else you may encounter in the depths of the forest, I cannot say. Hobgoblins, orcs and even gnolls, I would not rule out entirely; few travellers have come or gone that way in recent times, but what word has gotten out is anything but encouraging. The elves, I gather, still attempt to keep as much of a watch over the Everleaf as possible, but I would not count on them being in the right place at the right time – no offence intended. Still, if anyone is capable of handling any threats on the way, you are."

"Actually," Carthaune then replies to Taldrel, "I have not set this task to anyone but yourselves thus far. The only other effort I have made in this regard has been posting observers around Utinmar, in the extremely unlikely case that Tolarius does appear somewhere – which to date, he hasn't. Anything beyond that, I thought best left to the professionals, if I may put it that way." The High Mage frowns. "Precisely because this is a very serious matter is why I do not want to go on about it half-heartedly; it is why I have chosen you."

"He was a practitioner, as you put it, Miss Voss, yes. Tolarius never spoke of it openly, and none of us pried, but it was clear as day all the same: the arcane patterns of his kind differ so greatly from that of a, well, 'ordinary' wizard that it is an extremely obvious conclusion to make. He always showed a keen interest in any lore regarding the Fey and their ways, as well; you may take that as you will." Carthaune pauses, thoughtfully stroking his beard. "Regarding his choice of domicile, you might well have a point. Eladrin wizards have historically valued it as a place of residence, or so the very few recordings concerning it tell us; it is possible that he saw something in it the more classically-minded eladrin didn't. I have no way of confirming this, but it does not sound unlikely, either." In response to the warlock's last question, he frowns. "Truth be told, he never struck me as the type to engage in such subterfuge. If anything, Tolarius tended rather to be on the naοve side sometimes. He always seemed fairly genuine to me; if he did indeed feign the worries of his mind, he went far beyond what would have been required. Someone almost died because of his actions, and I simply cannot imagine he would be prepared to accept that in cold blood."

MMAgCh fucked around with this message at Nov 13, 2011 around 05:39

Nimlach
Jul 22, 2008


Alagand

Alagand leans forward onto the table to look at the map, frowning. He looks up at Landra and then at Annetta. "So you're pretty sure you can find this place? Anything you think we need to do, or bring, to be ready for what's there?"

Winson_Paine
Oct 27, 2000

Wait, something is wrong.


Roland

For the professional adventurer, this sounded like just the thing. Good chances for fortune and glory on this one, and seven who save the world had a nice ring to it for his next book.

Yes indeed.

Clanpot Shake
Aug 10, 2006
shake shake!

Taldrel Darlhunt

A good old fashioned man hunt. Taldrel hadn't done that in a good number of years, and never through the forest. This should be interesting. Granted, he had no idea how to go about tracking someone through the woods, but with an eldarin, a ranger, and a fey warlock he didn't think the forest would give them much trouble.

He did want to know about the man they were tracking though; his personality, daily habits, peculiarities (fey magic aside), personal relations, anything that might lead them to him. He put these questions to Carthuane after thanking him for the honor of being recruited to the team. He wasn't aware he was known outside of Niemund.

Taldrel also wanted to know about provisions and equipment. He had brought only his weapons and armor (things no guard should leave home without) and not much more food than required to make it to the academy. Carthuane's letter hadn't mentioned travel. After gathering supplies, Taldrel would be ready to set out.

Awesome work on the maps by the way.

Winson_Paine
Oct 27, 2000

Wait, something is wrong.


Roland

Roland thinks a bit on what they might encounter in said forest, and what they will need.

Nature +16

Aschlafly
Jan 5, 2004

I identify as smart.
(But that doesn't make it so...)


Petra M'orderial

Petra looks at the map, struggling somewhat to decipher it. It's a part of the Everleaf he's never seen before.

"We should make haste," he says, turning to Landra and Annetta and bowing slightly. "I have great trust that the two of you are capable of leading us to this place, but we should not tarry long." He furrows his brow as he tries to recall anything he might have picked up about the region.

Nature +12.

Winson_Paine
Oct 27, 2000

Wait, something is wrong.


Roland

Roland blinks a little at that last, not because of the slight to his own talents but because the warlock and the armsmaster didn't look like they had spend much time out of doors. That Petra seemed a sturdy sort, but maybe not so bright.

The Transhumanist
Jan 2, 2008
I should put something funny here.

Annetta

Annetta looked on, amusement obvious in her face, watching the Paladin. "I know little of the woods. I am much more an urban sort. I have a affinity for the Fey, but not so much interest in the places they lurk other then on a more theoretical level. I would be quite good at identifying such places as they might lurk, perhaps, but as to winding my way through the woods, I would suggest Roland perhaps." Left unsaid was her belief that she hoped the Elf's apparent arrogance had an actual source, rather then just simply one of those sorts who claim a good many skills or contacts or whatever, but when pushed to it would turn out worthless.

MMAgCh
Aug 15, 2001
I am the poet,
The prophet of the pit
Like a hollow-point bullet
Straight to the head
I never missed...you

Carthaune's description of Tolarius paints a picture of a quiet and not altogether unpleasant man, though he apparently was rather quick to anger, particularly where inquiries into his magical studies were concerned. He would spend one hour in meditation at sunrise and sunset each day – always outdoors, regardless of the weather – and had a pronounced weakness for tea, stopping at nothing to acquire even the most exotic blends from all over Noremien. Tolarius also, as a rule, marked all of his possessions with a specific sign, which was perfectly visible to the naked eye, but appeared to stand out a little more brightly to those trained in the arcane arts. The High Mage briefly conjures up an oversized version of it; none of you has seen it before, and neither can you think of any particular significance it might hold; it simply appears to be a unique design Tolarius came up with.



As the wizard continues to elaborate, it becomes apparent that Tolarius' friends and even acquaintances here measured very few in number, and neither did he, to anyone's knowledge, have any family or relatives. Not one of those one could consider his acquaintances is still present at the Academy today; the last one, a dragonborn with a choice of arcane orientation vaguely similar to Tolarius' and the closest thing to a protιgι he ever had, left for Genvegr some years ago, to study a particular constellation that is visible in the nightsky from its capital city, according to her.
"How helpful any of this will be," Carthaune sighs, "I do not know. Tolarius has always been something of a mystery even to me, and he now seems to be in a place beyond the ken of our magical powers as well; if any can find him now, it is you. – Oh, speaking of which..." The High Mage gives you a description of what Tolarius looks like – or looked like, at any rate, thirteen years ago. An inch or two shorter than even Annetta, rather slim, if not skinny, with a penchant for robes in bright colours depending on the current season of year. Between a sizable bald spot in the back and a high forehead in front, what remained of his hair was dark blond; with the addition of a face whose features were narrow, cheeks ruddy, eyes large and nose short and angular, the mental image of a man is created whom you could, if nothing else, spot rather easily in a crowd. As long as he stood in the front row, at any rate.

"It is a journey of more than a week, on horseback, from here to the edge of the Everleaf," the High Mage continues. "We have some riding horses to spare, in case any of you arrived by other means. If you need any additional supplies, we may be able to accommodate your wishes, depending on your needs; certainly provisions and the like will not be an issue. Just let me know what you need and you'll be able to pick it up at the southern watchtower tomorrow morning." He glances up to the ceiling of the White Room; the colour of the sky beyond its windows has gradually turned into a deep blue during the course of the conversation. "If there are any remaining questions, please ask them now. Many of you have had to travel quite far to come here, and as I believe you have already been shown your rooms – well, I do not wish to stand between you and a good night's sleep any longer than necessary." This obviously depends on one's definition of necessity, of course.


Everyone: Keeping yourselves fed in the Everleaf should not prove to be terribly difficult, wild and untamed as large parts of it are – the opportunities for foraging and hunting will be plentiful, considering you have a number of skilled woodsmen with you. As long as you stick to the few established roads through the forest, you will also be able to make good time, particularly on horseback. On the other hand, said roads are where raiders and bandits love to set up ambushes, and even before the Eclipse it had not been advisable to travel through the Everleaf entirely unprotected. Gnolls in particular have been a constant threat for the past few years, showing an almost uncanny degree of woodcraft; despite the elves' best attempts, their lair in the depths of the Everleaf remains undiscovered. Ettins, too, are said to reside within the more secluded regions of the forest, though ordinary travellers rarely encounter them. Apart from the occasional bear, however, there isn't much in the way of non-intelligent hostile fauna.

Roland: There is an alternative route of travel that covers a good part of the Everleaf, a vast network of rough trails away from the main roads, known to few but the elves, who use these trails for stalking enemies, patrolling and generally moving around the Everleaf in a relatively safe fashion. They will allow you to travel while remaining fairly safe from any threats on or near the roads; there even are safehouses scattered along these trails, although they tend to be fairly well hidden. The downside is that horses will be of little, if any use, due to the rough terrain involved; if you choose to take this route, you will likely be spending most of your travel time on foot.
Generally speaking, the terrain itself is not very difficult to traverse, being, at worst, somewhat hilly; the forest itself is more of an obstacle in comparison, as it is fairly dense in places. Still, though it won't be a leisurely walk exactly, you're not going to be struggling through thick undergrowth all the time, either.

MMAgCh fucked around with this message at Jun 12, 2011 around 19:44

The Transhumanist
Jan 2, 2008
I should put something funny here.

Annetta

Annetta nods, committing the image of the man to her memory, as well as the mark, making doubly sure of it by drawing it into a small piece of parchment she kept tucked away in the back of her ritual book for almost just this purpose. "Sounds fine by me, I know little of the woods, but I expect these fine fellows will at least know how to survive them well enough. I can't think of any questions pertinent to the situation, surprising as that might seem. Well, wait, if I were to borrow a horse, what sort of expectations on returning it are there? Not that I intend to steal off with it, I have enough wealth that would be just stupid, but more along the lines of if I have to dismount, or get dismounted?" A thin smile, a laugh almost but not quite leaving her lips. "Anyone else have anything in mind?

Dallan Invictus
Oct 11, 2007

The thing about words is that meanings can twist just like a snake, and if you want to find snakes, look for them behind words that have changed their meaning.

Landra

"Not yet," remarks Landra confidently. "The part of this that isn't straightforward will come up when we're too far away to rely on anyone but ourselves, so I think we'd be best off getting a night's sleep. As for setting out," and here she glances to Petra, and then to Roland, "I can show you where we might be going on our map, and help fend off anything that comes after us, but there are surely better woodsmen here."

MMAgCh
Aug 15, 2001
I am the poet,
The prophet of the pit
Like a hollow-point bullet
Straight to the head
I never missed...you

"You are under no obligation to return it," Carthaune responds to Annetta's question. "All we ask is that you treat it well, as if it were your own – which it shall be, for all intents and purposes. I leave the rest to your judgment."

Winson_Paine
Oct 27, 2000

Wait, something is wrong.


Roland

Roland looks at the map, and then uses his small knife as an impromptu pointer. "There is another way through the Everleaf, a series of rough trails away from the main roads. The elves there use it to get around, maintaining the network, keeping it safe, and avoiding the main roads. There are safehouses along the way as well, a sort of communal shelter. We would need to walk through most of it, but it's safe passage for the most part and perhaps more importantly any eyes with interest in our mission would be avoided." He shrugs. "I have taken both in my time, I must say I prefer the wood trails. The roads are given to banditry and worse, I can't imagine recent events have made them any safer."

Nimlach
Jul 22, 2008


Alagand

"The smaller trails seem better to me too. Maybe we can ride to Farling and go from there by foot."

Clanpot Shake
Aug 10, 2006
shake shake!

Taldrel Darlhunt

"I'll defer judgment of the route to our woodsman, but I suggest we leave as soon as possible," Taldrel says to the group. "Personally I could leave tomorrow morning, so if anyone has anything they must do before we leave I suggest you take care of it before you retire."

Unless there are any more questions, Taldrel stands to leave after thanking Carthuane for the horses.

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Aschlafly
Jan 5, 2004

I identify as smart.
(But that doesn't make it so...)


Petra M'orderial

Petra grins sheepishly, an expression which practically screams "hey, I'm not known for my brainpower," and gives a nod of deference to Roland.

He addresses his question generally, but looks alternately between Carthaune and Roland: "Are we likely to encounter civilized resistance on the way? It has been some time since I've been in the Everleaf."

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