Fates be praised, the Lady Luck smiled upon me today. Asher journeyed across the ‘In-Tents’ City yesterday, and came across the one Master Alchemist that saw my Aerial Ward-Work displays, which I have aptly named ‘Aww’s. My ingenuity simply astounds me. Anyroad, this Master Alchemist came to our tent, designated “Turnip n’ Thyme” and offered to purchase some selection of scrolls of Ashers. As luck had it, he not only knew who set off my Awws, but that both Asher and I were in the same group and tent! Granted, we’ve lived in this ‘in-tents-city’ for a month, but I was staying in the Ras.
CrIsis doesn’t appear in a town without everyone knowing within the hour, though, especially when there are wild stories running about the rumor mill of them spending a night in jail after foiling the master of the policing mercenaries himself, ‘Sir-ly Through-with-Good.’ That one was a bit much, so I apologize, but I am not taking it out!
After working out a price for the scrolls, as well as a cure for his curse, Asher allowed for ‘Masteralchemist Gabe’ to speak with me. He wasn’t impressed with the complexity of the Awws, but he was impressed with the originality of the things.
Originality is what we as mortals treasure over all. If you have two children, and one comes to you with a dirty joke, you laugh internally as you swat his rump. If your second comes to you with the same joke – though still funny – you don’t laugh as you swat him. A master alchemist that invents an impossibly complex and innovative fabrication is lauded as genius, and rewarded immensely! What innovation! What creativity! But, if a second alchemist comes out with the same fabrication a week or month later, even though he worked isolated from the first, already he is not so much a genius, even though he is as innovative and creative as the first!
So, since he knew the process of creation, he did not need me at all to create them. However, he had a counter offer that would make us both rich! And, it would spread the goodness of CrIsis abroad. No longer are we simply the vigilantes that spit in Kings’ and Dukes’ eyes. We’re truly of the Light, and you can’t be of the Light and not revel in the joy of others! He asked if he could put my ugly elven mug on the ‘packaging’ when he sells them. I told him that as long as the effects weren’t too damaging, and would all wear off, I would be fine with him selling a whole line of “prank” wards and paraphernalia; this all I sold to him for a year’s retainer of 80,000 gold. Granted, he stands to make more than that in Lopania and in Caer Itom, where his shop stands, but I thought that this served both our ends well enough.
Then, after talking with us, he had an epiphany. A joke ward based off of an ancient magic labeled simply “Ludicrous” that would turn the target into a court’s jester for a random period of time! It would even make them speak in rhyme! Oh no, did that alchemist cast it on me? If he did, from the effects I wish I could flee! Oh, no. He didn’t. That was just hysteria settling in. Either way, for the increased diversity of the items, and also for the possible damage to CrIsis’ name, being lumped into an insult upon an entire people called Law-ieres, I asked that he teach this exceptionally rare bit of magic when I have become a Master Alchemist.
My, what a wonderful day! I feel decades younger! This talk of pranks and party goods reminds me of the times that I was still worshiping the Long-Dead and Forever Gone God of Gaiety. The one for whom a day of revelry and pranks was created! I remembered that though the God was destroyed, revelry shouldn’t be.
We were awakened early today by a decent sized crowd. Several dozen onlookers came to cheer for the underdog, Xerx’ses… though how anyone might think him an underdog, I am not sure! I love that the son of Osiris is getting the loving adoration of fans! Do not get me wrong!
However, there is a reason that the Lopanic Games is restricted to Male Humans. It is the same reason that no magical equipment or enchantments are allowed in anything other than the Freestyle events. It’s not racism, or sexism, or majisim. It’s because they are there to have a competition, where every contestant has a chance. If you were to have a female in an event of strength with a male, the female would be at a disadvantage. It’s simple anatomy, as Master Asher would put it. The female Might win. This is true. But more likely than not, she would be vastly outclassed simply because the male contestants happened to be born with the musculature for the sport, and didn’t have to work against nature to succeed. The same with a Minotaur against a human! It baffles me how the supernaturally strong Minotaur even has to try to beat the mundane strength of mere humans – and it is beyond my comprehension how he was allowed to compete.
However, I bask in his joy. It is like a youth courting a lady for the first time, the demure embarrassment, and sheer exhilaration of the experience and the hurricane of emotions broiling underneath…
The crowd followed him to the stadium, and raised the chants till the stands themselves shook with the sonorous explosions of “Xerx’ses.”
How any of them managed to throw a discus during the tumult, I have no idea. I am thankful that during the Freestyle events there’s a magical sound barrier.
Tyvernos – I am thankful the little guy was allowed to come with – and I went to the Cryptomancy preview in the meantime. My ears have been ringing since the second day when an Aww went off too close to my head, and I haven’t been able to concentrate very well. Luckily I had Asher there to interpret Gabe’s offer yesterday!
The Gnome started a riot by revealing a magical step stool that cast an enlarging spell, in order to see the box more clearly.
The Cryptomancy Preview:
Hundreds of feet away, floating over the bay, was the Box. It took the shape of a silver serving tray, though from this distance, it must have been at least 12 feet long, and 4 feet wide. It rotated in place, and I noticed during that minute that the sides and ends were engraved with various mortal beings dancing, and horns and food between them all. On the bottom was a storm cloud, and on the top – thanks to Tyvernos I know, since I didn’t see it from my low point of view – was what we later found out was the World Tree.
Since Tyvernos was the one to have discovered the stool, as per standing rule, he was allowed an extended viewing, allowing us a sneak preview of some ‘hints’ as it were. A wooden crate was brought before him, Mala, and another mage, made of a strange material. It was apparently Ash, a wood revered by the Woodland Folk as a tree of life and protection. Inside was a smorgasbord of food, all of which I am sure gave off a magical aura.
On our way back to home base, I caught a glimpse of the scarring of Xerx’ses’ flesh, and he noticed me see it, out of the corner of his eye. Almost as a passing thought, he shifted his robes to cover it. I can’t help but think that washing in the waters of Isis in a Temple of Osiris would wash the outward, physical scar away, and I immediately went through my mind, for any chance that CrIsis could have stopped by a Pyramid of Osiris. My, but the Crisis of my day is much more sinful than the original group, even though the original two founders of CrIsis were from a godless land known as “Rifted Earths,” or somesuch. I am glad that we are going to a Pyramid to drop off a piece of the Great One, and will get a chance to cleanse ourselves not only physically but spiritually.
Huh. I need to donate more to the church, methinks… even though every gold piece I spend on the quest is a donation and allocation of a donation in one… though I am sure that a certain Priest of Isis would disagree. But if I donate to CrIsis, it’ll be used for the War on Taut, and if I were to donate to the Church of Light and Dark, I might be funding our enemy! I shudder to think what the millions of gold donated in the past by members of CrIsis has come to.
Our resident Druidess, Caminata, seems to have reached an echelon of enlightenment and privilege among her fellows. She had a gathering, the likes of which I can only imagine, as only those of her Druidic order were invited. While there, she enlisted the help of the one High Druid of all of Palladium, though his name detracts from that prestige – Devacious.
Scoffing aside, we were faced with a truly troubling situation. Druids are known for their avoidance of ‘sides.’ They are truly neutral when it comes to most politics and worldly discussions, unless it directly affects their own realms that they jealously guard and worship. I have my own views and opinions, most of which are diametrically opposite of the world’s praises of them, but I do not wish them ill either. One thing that you can definitely say about them, though, is that when it comes to their domain, there are none better than they.
Devacious helped us piece together the clues into a coherent jumble: The key to the box seems to be the arrangement of the Clouds in relation to the Tree. The whole thing revolves around the Millennium Tree, Ash, Fairies, and Food…
Last night I dreamt about the Games, not surprisingly. I remembered days long gone, when Sezar had travelled here to turn a coin. It was rare, as the trip is very expensive, and his coin generally went right back into the inns we entertained at. It seems that every throw, every event, and every contestant breaks more records than the last. The level of sportsmanship and the competition is so much higher this year than any that I had seen before, and I blame the Gods.
This year, the games are not only the pinnacle of exhibition for the athletes, magi and guilds, but it is also a focus for most if not all of the efforts of CrIsis and ReSet. By extension the Gods themselves are focused as well, as they aren’t allowed to meddle personally in the affairs of men. This has brought all of CrIsis, and all of Bes’ athletes to the games. Not only are we in the top echelon of contenders, but we have been living war and conquest for months and years. Our combined experience is such that any individual contestant is vastly outclassed. It reminds me of the stories of the Defilers, and how different those games were from any that came before or since.
That being as it is, I believe the accidental impaling of one of the contestants by a Knight of Light was blown way out of proportion! Any Gaming Commission worth its salt would employ mages of both wizardry and psionics to verify the truth of any event. If a contestant did not intentionally harm another, then there is no crime. If there is no crime, there is no blemish on reputation.
It was too much, with the prayers and gasps of, “Oh, no! Gods, bless him! Don’t allow the knight to be arrested! If not, all life is in vain!” I started to laugh at its absurdity, and Asher was offended. I’ll have to make it up to the tyke.
After the Javelin competition, though, came the real distress. Mikala, head of the Groff family, and president of the Gold Coast Trading Company went missing. Caminata searched for him, as he was her ride in to the games – something that I feel is very dishonest, getting a ride into an arena you did not pay for under a guise intentionally used to accomplish such. He was nowhere to be found, despite how long she looked for him!
The strangest thing about it is this: That morning, the security measures had been heightened at the Games. No one would gain access that isn’t in true form, nor would they allow entrance to those with active enchantments. This is a leap, but from where I am standing it’s not a large one, but what if Mikala isn’t Mikala? From what I read about CrIsis in New Crests, there was some body switching going on. The Mikala that was eventually “saved” was never truly verified by CrIsis, as they left before he was rescued, and didn’t return to Mikala’s presence when they passed back through. They unmasked one imposter, but who’s to say that there wasn’t a second imposter? Mikala originally was very helpful and understanding of CrIsis’ usage of both Karowyn’s and Gold Coast. It truly shouldn’t have changed to the extent that it did here in Lopan. He seemed to be only ‘accommodating’ to CrIsis here at the games, from what I could tell, for appearance’s sake.
I fear Mikala has been in the Clutches of the Agent for quite some time, and his face can’t take any more abuse! It’s already hard enough to look at as it is.
Anyroad, we shall find out, and I hope to send someone off to find him… Looks like I will have to go through CrIsis’ contact book.
>>An excerpt from his journal from Thoth 4th through the 7th in the 23rd Year of Emperor Voelkian Itomas II, by Azariel, Apprentice Alchemist. Acolyte of Osiris and the Lady Luck.<<
First Picture by Breaking News .ie
Second Picture by Warner Bros
Third Picture: National Geographic.