Chapter 14:

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Session Number: 144
Date: Sunday 26 August 2012
Venue: Densial's
PCs & Players:

Arrian Rog1/Clr10 (Fergus) (kills: none)
Calico Drd11 (Yeran) (kills: none)
Lionel Rgr6/Wiz1/ArcA4 (Ash) (kills: none)
Rowaine Pal11 (Craig) (kills: none)
Troll Wiz11 (Densial) (kills: none)

XP Awarded: enough for 12th level

It is late afternoon, back at the arcanite village. Rowaine stays with Troll while he focuses on the ground. Two hours pass. Nothing happens.

Meanwhile, Arrian keeps his eyes open for any magical activity to study. The only thing he sees is Calico successfully turning into various animals at the teachers' behest. He seeks out Kanosel and asks the young arcanite if he would fly for him.

"OK," Kanosel says, "but let's just walk out of town a bit. I don't want to use magic here."

The pair leave, Arrian following Kanosel into forest. After a few minutes, Kanosel turns around and faces Arrian. "Now?" Arrian casts Detect Magic. "Now."

Kanosel levitates. Immediately, Arrian notes the glow of magic on the arcanite, the ground and the trees. These glows soon separate into discernable auras: four on the surrounding landscape and six on Kanosel. The auras then assume colours: largely alteration, conjuration and evocation.

Arrian directs Kanosel to stop flying and land, looking carefully at the magical traces. Both Kanosel and the trees lose a magical aura. "Thank you, Kanosel," he says.

"What was all that that you did there, if you don't mind me asking?"

"It's called a spell, and if you want to know more, probably the best people to talk to are the teachers."


Troll moves for the first time in nearly two hours, stretching out a hand. Rowaine watches intently. Out of the corner of her eye, she spots a handful of earth disappear.

"Huh," Troll grunts. Rowaine sees his fingers flex just a little, then a handful of pebbles appear in his hand.

"Is it working?" Rowaine asks.

"Hmmm? No, on both counts. I reckon the arcanite's magic is innate. And what you just saw was my own magic refusing to behave."

Rowaine thinks back to when she saw Calico changing form. "Perhaps only arcane magic goes awry. I could always try a spell…"

"Hang on." Troll tries once more. "Nope, nothing."

"Not quite nothing," Rowaine says, holding out a handful of pebbles. "Did you want these?"

"I need to get a feeling for what's going on." He tries again. The target pebble stays put, but off to the right a tree disappears.

"Whoa," Troll says. "That was… scary."

"I want to try something," Rowaine says. She bends down, traces sigils in the air and touches a pebble on the ground. It shines like daylight - briefly, the light quickly fading.

"Better than you, but it is still not right," Rowaine says. "Maybe something is sucking away the magic's power. Troll, didn't one of your books say that the arcanites were fuelled by arcane magic?"

"Yes. Did I tell you that? Must be more careful about what I say…"

Rowaine ignores him. "I chose that spell because it wasn't going to be cast on me. Maybe it's only the spells that aren't cast on yourself that go wrong?" She pulls out a dagger, prompting a raised eyebrow from Troll. "Don't worry, I'm just going to test whether I can Lay on Hands." She gives herself a small cut with the imithrium blade, then Lays Hands on herself. The cut instantly heals.

"No more," Troll warns. "It's too dangerous to keep going on. Next time, it might not be a tree that disappears."

The pair return to the village where dinner preparations are underway. The teachers have brought enough provisions for their week-long visit. Over dinner, Rowaine asks the teachers how the day has gone.

"Well," Khordarum replies. "The arcanites are getting itchy feet about getting out into the world at some point. We are thinking about taking Shari out to the floating island tomorrow."

"I am fine with that," Rowaine responds. "For future reference, you don't need to confer with me, just do whatever you feel you need to do and I will back you."

"Well, as the discoverers of these creatures, we thought you at least deserved the courtesy of knowing. We plan to make the excursion at the end of tomorrow. We would appreciate if you would stay until then."

"Of course."

The next day, lessons continue. The teachers call the party together at mid afternoon, informing them that they are now ready to lead Shari out. Shari is gathering several arcanites that will accompany her to the cabin.

Before the trek, Arrian has a private word with Shari. He explains to the arcanite that his group don't know with any certainty whether she will even be able to survive on the other side. Shari says that she has already been forewarned but nevertheless wishes to continue; this is important to her and her people.

Troll joins Arrian and Shari. He bluntly asks the arcanite leader why she wants to leave. Shari talks about her people's imprisonment, their knowledge of a world beyond theirs, and their desire to return to it to explore and live in harmony, sacrificing their magical talent if needs be. Troll expresses distaste that the arcanites seem not to be content with what they have - by his account, a pretty nice life. He is concerned that the arcanites might never be satisfied with what they find. Shari says that she has nothing else to compare it to. Troll talks about his responsibilities in the other world as being a prison also. When asked, Arrian does not describe his duties as a prison.

"Who is to say that we don't have a purpose out there also?" Shari says.

"Nothing you have said convinces me that there is anything else in your desire to leave other than curiosity," Troll says. "I'm not forcing you to stay, but I don't think it's worth it."

"I see it that we have our own choice to make. We choose to explore the world."

Troll and Arrian return to the others. "What was that all about?" Rowaine asks.

Troll talks about his misgivings, likening this impending experiment to opening a floodgate - as soon as one arcanite is allowed to leave, the rest are going to be falling over themselves to follow.

"Do you trust the teachers?" Rowaine asks. "This is their call, not ours or the arcanites'."

"Of course I do. The problem is if it goes wrong, we get to clean up the mess - and possibly die trying. And I have so much more to do."

Arrian argues whether there is any length of time after which they would feel confident letting an arcanite out.

"We have only seen the arcanites on their best behaviour, Troll says, "because we have only known them for a few days. On the first, second, third date, things are fine. It's not until you've had a good fight that you really find out what somebody's like. I don't think we or the teachers have done that."

Arrian thinks it would be interesting to see how the arcanites react to the visitors changing their minds about Shari leaving. Troll suggests that Rowaine lead Shari out, knowing that she would not be able to operate the door between worlds. Arrian reaffirms his desire for the party's dealings with the arcanites to be upright.

Troll, Arrian and Rowaine ask for a private word with the teachers. Arrian outlines their concerns. The teachers had considered the speed at which they had come to this decision, and figured that they knew their subjects well enough that there was little to gain in waiting. They deemed that staying near the cabin on the other side was a small risk, and the goodwill gained by the gesture a worthy reward.

"I don't mean to question your ability," Rowaine says, "but it does seem awfully fast. I am a little worried that the arcanites may be getting a false sense of how quick this process might be."

"We have told them that this process is going to be anything but quick," one of the elven teachers says. "But perhaps their grasp of time is still insufficient." His face shows a note of exasperation. "You place us in an awkward situation. We did take this proposition to you last night. That would have been the time to voice your doubts."

"Begging your pardon, but we've really only just thought about this," Rowaine says. "And if you are now feeling the same concerns that we are, then we cannot just ignore that."

The teachers exchange glances. "We will hold off for a while and see how the week goes," Khordarum says.

"Thank you." Rowaine turns to Arrian. "You and I are pretty good judges of character. Shall we go and break the news?"

"I think it would be better if we did it," Khordarum says.

"May we be present?"

"Of course."

Khordarum, Rowaine and Arrian approach Shari, asking for a private moment. Khordarum gently breaks the news, speaking words about risk, pace and respect. Shari appears crestfallen. "Why?" she asks, addressing her question to Arrian and Rowaine.

Arrian elaborates. "I'm sorry that you got your hopes up," he continues, "but partly we are waiting to see how you will react to having your hopes dashed, and whether you can cope with that. While we didn't change our minds simply so we could see that, it is an opportunity for us to see how you and your people cope with disappointment."

Shari's face registers a brief moment of shock. "I would like to stress that again," Rowaine says. "We did not change our mind with the intent of seeing how you would react. It is regrettable, and the teachers were more than happy to go ahead with what they knew of you. They considered it an acceptable risk until we took them aside and spoke to them. So if there are any hard feelings, don't lay them at the feet of the teachers. Have it up with us. But it is not our intent to dash your hopes. It is our intent to treat this situation with the seriousness it deserves."

Shari nods, still sad but seeming to accept Rowaine's explanation. "I'm going to have to tell everybody now." She breaks off, heading to the others of her kind.

"Arrian," Berathoin says in a quiet voice, "while that was important to communicate, the way you communicated it was a little harsh. Did you do it that way deliberately, to see how they would react?"

"Of course not!" Arrian rebuts, a little of his youthful ire rising to the surface. "I simply want them to know the whole truth."

"Well, if this was to be an observation of their reaction, I believe you have just spoiled the results. Next time, let the girl speak, mmm?"

The group catch up to Shari, who finishes addressing the assembled arcanites. Berathoin leads the party back to Shari as she breaks the news to the arcanites. They appear deeply sad, every one, stopping just short of a collective sigh. They disperse.

The teachers ask the party to stay for the next hour to keep an eye on the arcanites; a very reasonable request so shortly after delivering bad news. Once it seems likely the creatures aren't going to turn septic, the party are free to go, returning in five days to bring the teachers home.

The party talk together about how and where they might spend those five days. There is concern that Troll is the only person able to get the teachers home - might there be another? Perhaps Ethalyn or Feren?

The teachers arrange some social games for the arcanites, and ask the party to join in. The arcanites don't appear to have held onto their sorrow for long. The teachers are happy to take it from here. The party inform them that they will be leaving to perform an experiment, and will return soon.

Lionel leads the group back to the cabin, the branch, and Trina. There, Ethalyn apprises them all of some news:

  • She has some information concerning the possible location of Saju, one of the lost Roulae towers;
  • She has located a number of people living in Ashhope that may be Arrian's kin.

Many pots on the boil!

Troll asks Ethalyn to try the portal. He stays behind while the others accompany his wife back to the cabin on the floating islands. There, they discover that Ethalyn can activate the portal. That proven, Ethalyn is escorted back to Trina.

The entire party return to the arcanites' village and inform the teachers that they plan to periodically check in on them. The teachers confirm that they wish to be brought back home in five days, when they will work on their assessment and deliberate upon their next move.

The adventurers say their farewells to the arcanites and the teachers, then return to Trina to further discuss their priorities. Both Arrian and Rowaine judge freeing Krag as their top priority, followed by the ongoing arachtria menace. Third is following up on the tower known as Saju, simply because it might be able to help with the first two tasks. for Arrian, pursuing leads regarding his family is of little concern.

The others? Lionel is all for saving those that need saving. Troll could use a holiday, but in lieu of that he rates the arachtria problem higher than Krag's imprisonment. He mentions the extensive reading he wants to progress. Rowaine suggests he offload some of that to the SpiderKillers - at least those parts concerning the arachtria.

The books on this old, odd style of magic regularly refer to 'the source', which in turn seems to be closely associated with the arachtria. This magic and the magic associated with Trina are completely unrelated.

Rowaine asks Ethalyn about the ruelock lead. A little over a week ago, Ethalyn received report of someone knowing information about something that closely resembled the ruelock. The person lived in a town less than a day south of Ashhope. Ethalyn dispatched a trusted SpiderKiller to investigate, using the wing in Ashhope to get him there quickly. He should have reported back before now, but has not.

The group discuss whether following up the lead will conflict with their pledge to collect the teachers. They decide to play it safe and wait until the teachers have returned.

Troll spends time reading the books concerning this old style of magic. He doesn't yet read the family journals.

Five days pass. The party return to the arcanites in exile and consult with the teachers. Their tenure has gone well. After a leaving ceremony tinged with sadness and trepidation, the teachers are escorted to Kharag Monastery where they will begin their deliberations. The teachers will in due course return to their homelands to further their research. They will then reconvene at the monastery. The entire process is expected to take a week, possibly longer. The party agree to return to the monastery in a week to check on their progress.

Sir Veketh has welcome news: Rowaine's equipment was delivered to him just this morning. Rowaine collects the dwarven-wrought armour and axe. They are gorgeous: crafted with precision and finely detailed. Sir Veketh helps her don the armour. The undergarments will of course need breaking in, but otherwise it is an excellent fit.

Sir Veketh tugs on a greave here, pulls a buckle tighter there, then grunts in satisfaction. "Do you have any plans for your old armour?" he asks.

"I hadn't really thought about it," Rowaine says.

"Mmmph. I wonder whether they might find a home with your band of rangers in the south. A battlescarred breastplate and shield, borne by their matron, the great Lady Rowaine of the Silver Hand? I dare say such weighty items would find pride of place!" The venerable dwarf's tone suggests mocking; the look in his eyes says that he is not.

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