I spent six days among the Internalist branch of the Tri-Arcanum guild. Between my initial introduction and this extended stay it was a memorable experience. I will write about the guild and my experiences here in this journal. I have some thoughts I need to sort out. I hope this does not violate any guild rules.
About half of the Internalists I encountered were tolerant of non-humans such as myself. They were friendly, jerks, or just indifferent but they were not racist. The other half was hard to determine. About half of them said upsetting things. “Dirty dog!” “Slovenly thing.” “Baby Eater.” “Now they’re trying to read! Fuckin dogs.” Those are all things that were said to me or about me. The other half of that half would at least talk with me. But it was obvious that either my race or my affiliation with CrIsis bothered them greatly.
There are other non-humans amongst the Internalists. But there are only about one non-human for every ten people. Most of the non-humans are Elves and Dwarves.
I discovered that Alchemists assist members in sharing psionics with each other. There are fees for this service. There are additional fees if this service is desired to go faster. It is strange to me to rely on another person to provide you knowledge in this manner. But that seems to be the way of this guild.
This guild seems to be focused on merging psionics with magic. Or perhaps I misunderstand and it is merely replicating magic with psionics. Either way this is the path the guild follows. It is per Mistress Karath’s direction. Members are encouraged to take existing magic and find ways to mimic it with the abilities of our minds.
It seems amazing things have been accomplished this way! Mistress Karath is responsible for many wards in the guild which are a combination of psionics and magic. One such ward prevents anyone whose mind might be dangerous to connect with from entering past the main lobby. Another such ward prevents books from leaving the library. That ward also restricts which psionic abilities can be used in the library. Though it is fascinating it also confuses me.
Luckily I ran into Cherkanan. She is a very attractive Human psychic Healer. She was happy to talk with me and answer my questions about the Guild. I found her very attractive and charming. She reciprocated my own feelings. The longer we sat there talking the stronger our feelings for each other became. I almost realized too late what was happening. My empathic powers were artificially heightening our desires for each other!
I immediately stopped using my power. That brought us mostly back to our senses. She apologized to me. I apologized in return to her. We laughed. She was still very attractive and charming to me. She still reciprocated my own feelings. I have never met a Human like Cherkanan before now. We resumed talking more politely and reservedly. She knew a lot about psychic abilities. “My teacher once told me I have a voracious appetite for learning.” That is what she said her teacher once said to her.
Cher told me about Mistress Karath’s wards throughout the Guild. There was reverence in her voice when Cher spoke of the Internalist Guild leader. Cherkanan is also well-read. Because of this she could tell me why my powers affected Ursus that day the way they did. It was because I connected us to a mind or minds that were disturbed or unstable in some way. Such connections could hurt the minds of any and all involved. She sounded surprised that I had not checked the minds of the rest of CrIsis. I should remember to find time to do so.
There were more things about magic and psionics she knew as well. It seems that those who are well-experienced in magic or psionics can eventually learn to affect the other discipline with their powers. Some demons also seem to have this ability. The recent Anti-Magic Cloud that dispelled my telekinetic force field must have been cast by such a being. Either a demon or a powerful, almost Demigod-level, mage. Such is the life of CrIsis that these are the casual enemies we face. Cherkanan then realized I was a member of CrIsis and was both shocked and intrigued.
I tried to talk with her about the Internalists and their drive to study magic. Cherkanan brought me to the library so we could talk in privacy. There she told me about the ancient mage Lictalon. That legend said he could control magic and psionics. I know of him as an Elf that became a God. I know he used to be the ruler of Hades once. This was something I did not know about him. There was something else I did not know about Lictalon which she wanted to tell me. Cherkanan asked me to make sure it did not make it into the Books of CrIsis. I do not intend for any of this to be published so I will only write it in this journal.
Cherkanan knew of a book in the library which had a reference to Mistress Karath. Or if it was not her then it was someone who was a dead ringer. This book described a person who could be Mistress Karath as the lover of Lictalon! Cherkanan had been keeping this secret for some time and was pleased to be able to tell someone. This book referenced times before the Time of a Thousand Magics. A time called the Age of Chaos. In this book the lover of Lictalon was a woman named “Char.” She was described in a way that matches Mistress Karath perfectly.
I did not understand the significance of this at that time. But now I believe Cherkanan shared this with me to help illustrate why Mistress Karath focuses the guild on magic and psionics. Perhaps she is pursuing a path similar to that pursued by Lictalon, whom she loved? I do not know. I do know that night we two were high on each others emotions. We took our attraction to each other to its inevitable conclusion. I am a Kankoran. I had never been with a Human before. It was a good night.
The next morning Cherkanan and I returned to the library after breakfast. The library was empty. She showed me the book. It was written by a person called The Chronicler. We spent all day going through the book. It was fascinating. Being with Cherkanan was fascinating. The book was a history of the period of time called The Chaos Wars. Besides the description of Mistress Karath within it also described her as a very skilled fighter and psionicist. There was discussion of many battles fought and the triumphant win. It was detailed and even contained mentions of forgotten races. I have made sure to remember what I read there. I do not know if it is all true but it was interesting. Moli could not get me excited to be studying and reading from books but Cherkanan made it easy and fun.
On the following day I had an interesting encounter with a Dwarf in an eyepatch. He had a cavalier and confident way about him. He called himself Patch and said he was a professional observer. We talked initially of bards. Patch had an obvious respect for them and their ability to spin a yarn. He recommended I should one day listen to a Bard named Jase. As an observer he overheard my conversation with Cherkanan two days prior. He suggested he could answer some of my questions.
“Why magic?” That was my biggest question still. Patch told me I was not the first to ask that question. He told me the Second to Mistress Karath also questioned her direction. Then that person left under mysterious circumstances. Since then there have been others who agreed with the Second. That the guild should be strength in and of itself and not a copycat. I was not the first to observe this.
During our conversation he smoked his pipe heavily. I joined him with my own smokeless tobacco snuff. I do not usually use it because it reminds my home in the Northern Wilderness. A home I am unwelcome to return to. It felt oddly appropriate to use it here with the Dwarf. His pipe smoking created a thick cloud of smoke around us and suffused the entire room. It seemed the others in the room were ignoring us despite that. Patch continued to tell me Mistress Karath had been like this for a long time. By her direction the guild discouraged studying a different path. But that there was an Alchemist and some other older members who were ignored as they pursued such knowledge. They were allowed to continue because they were discreet. “And I’m one of those older members.” Patch confided that to me.
We talked of more things. Psychics can learn to extend their lives. Many psychics were much older and more experienced than they looked. Like Cher. Or Patch. I guessed his age at 200 and he laughed heartily. I believe I guessed a very low number. He bought me some drinks as we talked and the bartender reacted very slow. As if in a trance. I did not notice that as odd at the time. Patch asked me questions about CrIsis. He remarked that Xerx’ses had changed. I talked instead about Apis’ recent intervention and my worries. We talked about telepathy and experiences with such powers. Much about our conversation is a hazy memory. I remember his parting words. “Each and every thing has a benefit, and a cost. Remember my words. Feel them all.”
The next day I spent in contemplation. When morning came I felt like I came upon something that didn’t make sense. I didn’t understand why I trusted the weird Dwarf named Patch. I still am not sure why. Was he trying to sell me a bill of goods? Did his pipe smoke have some weird effect on me? I eventually came to the conclusion that Patch may have been full of shit. At least I had not been robbed. But I felt as if my mind had been messed with.
The remaining days were less confusing. I did more research in the guild library. I found a book written by a person named Millenkosh. It was written in Eastern. I could not read it but I could use my psychic literacy to understand the intent or gist of the pages. He wrote about different directions for psionics. His belief was that there was more to increasing psionics as they stood. There were ways of expanding the knowledge of current psionics that had not been explored. That was all the gist of the book my powers could give me. I sought out Cherkanan for help.
She was in the Healing ward. She was pleased to see me. I was pleased to see her. She gladly took time off to help me. She was excited to delve into this. I discussed my encounter with Patch. She told me he was a founding member of the guild. Since the Defilers left Palladium 1,000 years ago the guild was at least that old. It might be older but she didn’t know. She did know that Millenkosh used to be Mistress Karath’s second. In the library she was able to help me read that book and learn more of what Millenkosh talked about. When we finished she found another book by him as well.
This second book was a complicated treatise about the psionic power of Sensory Link. In it Millenkosh described how to expand the power. That with enough concentration and knowledge one could become another person entirely. With the combination of a psychic disguise one could pass as someone else in mind, body, and action. Cherkanan and I were both excited by this discovery. It felt like we were on the verge of unraveling the mysteries of the universe. That night the wonder of our discovery only added to our passion together.
My last day at the guild Cherkanan continued to help me translate the books we found so far. Millenkosh hinted at a process to expand psychic abilities and we were beginning to uncover it. Cherkanan stumbled upon a third book by him as well. This book described the crossing of magic and psionics. Specifically as it applied to the negation of active abilities. He wrote concerning the ability of those who reach epic power levels. That they can make a choice to affect magic and psionics equally. The book maintains that no-one is lessened in magic or psionics by making this choice.
Learning these things with Cherkanan was fascinating. We spent the last night together. In the morning before I left to re-join my friend in CrIsis she gave me her address in Llorn. “If your travels ever bring you to Llorn, visit me there.” That was what she said to me. I have given it a lot of thought as I wrote this. I think we connected at first because of my powers. But that does not explain our connection the rest of the time there. I think it is good that we met. I will look forward to seeing her again.
I have a lot of questions about this person called Millenkosh. Who was he? Can he offer more insight? I wonder if any of my friends in CrIsis know someone I can talk with or write to who could help me learn more? I shall have to remember to ask them when the Shield of Light’s repairs are complete. I have checked every night so far and they seem to be going well.
Note: This is an excerpt from Silent Dream’s journal. It was written in Elven on the 13th day of Majestic from the city of New Crests, in the seventy-second year of the Great Wolfen Empire.
The Tower courtesy of Francesco Lorenzetti
Cherkanan courtesy of AZ_RUNE
Books courtesy of Corrado Bonora