25 Arodus 4718 (Starday) cont
My friends and I all stood in silence for a few moments before I asked the specter if he meant Aroden, pronouncing the name correctly. The specter insisted that it was pronounced Aro-dean and he was the god of humanity. While he was dressed in the Azlanti style, his eyes were not violet, nor did he have the beard most depictions of Aroden had, sporting a mustache instead.
As we were taking all of this in, the specter demanded five gold as a tribute. I could tell Verity was quickly getting exasperated, and said if he was a god he should offer us a display of his power. Both Oliver and I began to protest, but the specter cast a spell, showering us in golden glitter momentarily blinding me and Oliver, who nearly stumbled down the stairs behind us before Verity caught him. None of us were impressed with the Glitter Dust spell. Felyx continued to try and garner some useful information from the specter, but he kept demanding gold as tribute. When Cornelius began to cast detect magic, he demanded he stop spellcasting, but didn’t take any actions to stop us.
Cornelius told us the specter was actually the effect of a silent image spell. Verity and I made our way forward to the broken statue, and I looked over the edge of the platform only to find a small man crouched there. He had gray skin, and when I called out to him, he looked up and grinned at me, showing pointed teeth. After all the other encounters we’d had so far, I expected him to attack us as he climbed up into the temple, but he just seemed put out that his trick had been discovered.
While I wasn’t sure what, exactly, this man was, I felt fairly certain that he was some type of fae. He continued to demand gold from us, telling us he needed it to live. We settled on an arrangement of one gold piece per question answered. He told us the circle writer was someone named Dagio the Great, and was “King” of the underworld. Our new friend did not know how to get through the door to what he called the Senate of Circles. In the end, I paid him five gold to tell us everything he knew about Dagio.
He told us this Dagio is a small creature covered in fur. He calls himself the king of this part of the archives, and proclaimed our new friend the “High Priest of Aro-Dean” and allowed him to stay in the temple. Towards the end of our conversation, the High Priest told us his name is Vicar, though much like the way he mispronounces Aroden, he said “Vie-car.” Vicar told us that the High Archivist, Twelve, may know a way through the door. The archive is on the opposite side of the long hallway from the temple. While Vicar doesn’t know what type of creature Twelve is, he told us Twelve is a floating ball of some sort. We thanked Vicar for his help, and returned to the others who were waiting for us in the hallway.
When we told them what had happened, Lady Gael wasn’t so sure that Vicar was a fae. She mentioned seeing a great many fae on her travels on the River Sellen. I wished that I had more time to talk to her about this as we made our way down the hallway. Traveling the Sellen and encountering a “great many fae” is not something you would expect from a noble lady of Taldor, and I’m sure she has interesting stories. Not to mention that I’m quite pleased to see the younger generation begin to step away from the strict rolls of Taldane nobility. I hope she continues to pursue her interests.
The first room of the archives was a small study room with rows and rows of dusty bookshelves and a desk. One section of the book cases were fairly clean, and Cornelius took note of the fact that this section of books all concerned geometry and planar studies.
On the desk were some old mathematical textbooks and a burned and work journal. Felyx didn’t recognize the house crest on the journal, but as she began to read through it she discovered it belonged to Senator Eros Glendower. The entries were dated in 4528 and spoke about the senator purchasing Dagio. While the journal didn’t explain what Dagio is, it did make mention of his old age and failing health. The Senator talked about experiments he was using to restore Dagio, and of their success, proclaiming Dagio healed and even reversing in age as they progressed. Glendower also mentioned an organization called the Circle, and how he wanted to become a member. Unfortunately it seemed the Circle’s leader wasn’t too keen on the senator, and he suspected that they have trapped him somehow and are using him just to get to his experiments. The last entry speaks of Glendower perfecting a ritual to achieve immortality and become the master of the Circle. He stated that he burned all of his research and notes, and the secret of immortality is his alone. But that was the last entry Felyx found. After that the pages were filled with nothing but circles.
While Felyx was reading the journal aloud to us, I glanced over the room to see if there was anything magical. The Circle seemed to be some sort of wizarding cabal, and I thought perhaps Glendower may have left something magical behind. I found a scroll tube, and detected the presence of magic inside. When I opened it, a scroll animated and pulled itself free of the tube. Its edges were razor sharp and sliced open my fingers. I barely had any time to react before it launched itself at my face, coiling around my head like a snake and began to suffocate me.
I let out a stream of profanities as panic set in. I clawed at the creature, trying to pull it free of my face, my fingers slick with blood as the cuts continued to bleed. I could hear the muffled shouts of my companions, including Cornelius telling me to stop swearing and conserve my air. Very helpful.
Suddenly, I felt a sharp cut to the bridge of my nose, and I let out a yell, which was returned with a worried shout from Oliver. This was followed up by a burning sensation, before I was able to pull the damned scroll free of my face. My fingers were still bleeding profusely as I stumbled away from it. A few seconds later Felyx was at my side with her healing magic. The creature, which Oliver called a Guardian Scroll, continued to press the attack against me, though we were able to destroy it before it wrapped itself around my head again.
Verity scolded the boys for hurting me while the guardian scroll held tight around my head, but I waved their apologies away. While I wasn’t exactly thrilled about it, we had to get the creature off of my head, or I would have suffocated. Felyx expended the last of her magic, but I was still fairly bruised. She helped me straighten up my hair as Zubari made his way into the room and used his magic to heal me further.
I was going to be very angry if there was nothing of real use in the tube, but fortunately, we found four magical scrolls inside, so I suppose the worst paper cut of my life was worth it.
With nothing left to search in this room we continued on to the next room. It led into a very large chamber, filled with floor to ceiling bookshelves along the right and left side of the room. Down the center of the room a desk ran the length of the room, and we noticed one door on the far side of the chamber.
We began to make our way down the center of the room, walking fairly slowly as Cornelius looked for anything magical. After my experience with the Guardian Scroll it was someone else’s turn. As we made our way past the bookshelves I found myself glancing at the titles in the light of our spells. Many of them were on Taldane history. Again, I was a little sad that we didn’t have the time to really look over what was in here. Much like the rooms before this, I was sure there was a wealth of lost knowledge and forgotten history . I did make a mental note that when people did descend to fully catalog everything they would definitely need soldiers to guard them while doing so. I don’t think Vau – or anyone else – would be expecting undead, fae, or other lethal creatures to be housed underneath the Senate Building.
After walking about halfway down the length of the room, I had just resisted the urge to stop and pull a book about the Shining Crusade from the shelf when I heard a noise. I stopped, and asked the others if they heard anything. They had not. Verity again began to scold Oliver about hitting me in the head with an ax while Felyx gave me a concerned look. I heard the noise again. It sounded like the skittering of an insect. I turned around, trying to locate it, when I saw a book moving on its own with spidery legs extending from its back cover. It opened, and a ribbon like tongue emerged from it, beginning to extend towards Cornelius.
I called my friend’s name, beginning to point behind him, as he asked me what was wrong. Concern for me, not himself, on his face.