Secret and talking books
Played on October 20th, 2013
Swordsday, 21st of Palesun, Year of the Tunneler
Together Si'trova and I forged a document that gave us access to the restricted areas of the library. In the meanwhile, Enzo did some more research on the pendant, intrigued as he was by its ability to let people randomly speak a different language.
During breakfast, a nondescript guy walked up to our table and not-so-subtly asked us when we would report to the Nolans. I wondered how far their reach was, and how many puppets they controlled.
It was decided that Rhiannon, Si'trova, Vharguk and me would go to the library. Bazkar and Ghorza, being a teensy bit less appropriate to that environment, would go elsewhere and look for somebody to divine the magic on Bazkar's new axe.
The irritating old guy was on duty in the library. Confidently, we showed him the "letter from the archmage" but he looked at it and just laughed. Apparently, our forging skills were not up to the deed here in Horizon. While Si'trova went on to harass him (out of spite, she has a mean streak in her if she allows it to surface) I was approached by a human. He was rather nondescript in his dark garb and identified himself as Davion. He offered us access to the library's restricted stuff, and I acquiesced.
After informing Si'trova and a few minutes later, Enzo and I met him in a alley next to the library. Without many comments he lead us through a back-entrance and storage space. Behind some barrels he uncovered a portal, warning us that it would close in one hour. After thanking him and making a sign of the Prince, we stepped through, right into the room where we had stashed away the book we were looking for!
I tried to conceal my amazement by elaborately looking for and starting up my hourglass. After that, I pointed out where Si'trova had stashed the book and urged Enzo to get on with his reading.
Information from Enzo's book
The sigil that adorns the chest is the family crest of a Golden Legion commander. The pendant we found is one of the five Stalrik Stones. The Stalrik Empire collapsed relatively soon after the Cascade. One of the rumored causes was a war with dwarves. At its height, the Stalrik Empire was about one third of the size of the current Dragon Empire. Forge was not the capital of the Dwarven lands at the time.
I browsed through some books while keeping an eye on my hourglass. After a while, I heard a voice. Enzo didn't react to it, so it was either softer than I thought, or it was inside my head. It directed me to a certain book on one of the lower shelves. Apparently, the book talked to me. I picked up the book. Its fancy cover proclaimed The Emperor's Third Daughter and it seemed to be a sort of fable. Again, trying to play it cool, I bargained with it. It told me it could help us with our quest to find out more about the chest and the Cascade. In return, it wanted me to take it to its owner, one Lilliane, residing in Axis.
I knew a Lilliane. She was the eleventh daughter of the Emperor, out of at least 17 daughters, and therefore, my sister. She was officially recognised, unlike me, and fifth in the line of succession. Lilliane was well regarded, not an airhead like some of our other sisters. She had always been nice to me. She didn't look look down on me because of my status as some of my other half-sisters, and most of the world. She'd been nice to Si'trova as well. I guess, studying as a mage made her more honest and practical, taking people at their value instead of their lineage.
What did this book do here? Why did it desire to go to Lilliane? What could it know to help us? Could I trust it? And, well, why is a book talking to me?
After some time Enzo and me departed the room through the portal, and sneaked out along the back entrance. We rendez-voused first with Si'trova and Vharguk, and then met with the halfling and dwarf in the inn. There we had a long discussion on what to do. Ghorza and Bazkar wanted to open the chest, but were outvoted. So we kept the chest, but what to do next? I urged to skip town: we didn't want the Nolans to have it and while we were in their hometown it would be at risk. I mostly wanted to stall, too. We needed more information on the chest, the Cascade, the Stalrik Empire and their Stalrik Stones. Also, I happened to be in the possession of a talking book that claimed to have clues for us but needed to get to Axis.
During the discussion I had to divulge that, which was somewhat unfortunate. The others asked a lot of good questions about the book, which made me realise that I had just believed it at its word without any suspicion. Hmmm, that was weird. Did it glamour me? Or did I just want to see Lilliane that badly?
In the end I persuaded the others to leave town and go towards Axis, in that order. Our focus was to get out of our employers' grasp. However, that was not as easy as I'd hoped. At the southern gate we were "advised" by the guards that it wasn't smart to leave town without finishing our obligations with the Nolans. Trying to seem determined and self-assured, I quickly urged my horse on and made a show of waiting impatiently some distance further. The rest followed, but I sensed that the group was shaken by the apparent reach of the Nolans. Frankly, I was a bit too, but I put on my brave face and traveled on.
We traveled along the road. Some of us were arguing, some of us were silent. Some minutes later, there was a small hut next to the road, with a bunch of soldiers next to it. We were not out of it yet.