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Session 13 (Kheldar)

Played on 2004/11/28

As written by the hand of Kheldar

3rd Day of Taisham, 1000 NE (continued)

Lunch was once more a wonderful and tasteful experience. During coffee afterwards, Tryane took a firm hand in things and got us started on the investigation. First, we went to the palace and met with the Queen's secretary. From him we obtained a brief writ, granting us investigative authority in the matter of House Karistovan. With that, we departed for the manor itself and were swiftly admitted.

There was little light there, and as the evening was not too far of, a source of light might become useful in a short while. With this in mind I vandalised the property and broke off an elegant oil lamp attached to the wall. The group split up in order to expediate the search. It was not exactly clear what was to be found, but I had a feeling that Raab's study might provide some insight.

Of course, the bloody study was nowhere to be found - at least not in the main building. Upon arriving in the great hall (which happened to link the two parts of the estate together), I noticed an open door. As it turned out, beyond it was the same hallway through which Raab had taken the dark figure that had payed a visit to him during his party.

At the end of that hallway lay his study, a spacious recess with an exit into a private garden. Beh'larah had already searched the desk, and the other furniture in the secluded study offered little that furthered our research. Beh'larah and I started taking out the drawers of the desk, hoping to find a clue to Raab's doings.

Meanwhile, Tryane had evidently seen something out of place, something of interest with the floor behind the desk. When I next staggered backwards, burdened by the weight of a half-filled drawer, I suddenly found myself a mere two steps away from a gaping hole in the floor. After having put down the drawer (and having recovered my wits from the suddenness of finding a veritable gorge at my feet) I venture towards the opening and find stairs leading downwards.

Tryane has used her link to the One Power to create a strong light with which she hopes to pierce the veil of darkness that shrouds the descent. The descent is slowgoing, mainly because of my extreme apprehension of any sorts of booby traps - after all, this is surely the place to put them. Fortunately, none are found, although perhaps a single find would have helped to restrain Eleya's temerity.

This time, I am glad to find that the stairs do not suddenly end. They lead to a horrific scene: a black altar. As this is more in the province of the Aes Sedai, I take a step back from the bleak darkness it seems to emanate. Beh'larah is up the stairs as quickly as she went down them. However, this area devoted to the Dark One is exactly the sort of lead we hoped to find in House Kirklin (although the use of the verb "hope" seems strangely out of place in such a situation).

When our eyes are better accustomed to the light, the rest of the sanctuary manifests itself. There is some more furniture: a small table, a desk and a bookcase. As Tryane is examining the three books found in the bookcase, it is evident that two of them are written in the Old Tongue. The third deals with the Trolloc Wars, and as neither Tryane nor me feels that our current surrounds provide a befitting locale for further studies, the books are taken.

Eleya has in the mean time investigated the desk, and since she has found a small statue and strange knifes and I happen to carry my own set of knifes, she asks my expert opinion on them. Although I am, thruthfully, not the expert in the area of knifedesign she takes me for, from the graceful curvatures, the fact that it was a rather decorous knife and the ever-looming presence of the dark altar it was easily deduced that the knifes were in fact used for the dark rituals that had taken place here. The statue is not so easily placed, at least not by me.

As I feel that our examination of this unholy place cannot be called complete without a thorough search, I start removing the drawers from the shabby desk. My efforts are rewarded: at the bottom of the cabinet holding the drawers a single autumn-leaf lays. I call Tryane's attention to it and carefully take it out of its holding. The silky, rigid substance of which it is constructed is definately not a natural occuring leaf.

The surroundings in which this leaf lay seem to indicate that it had been the focus of some sort of dark ritual. The first thing that comes to my mind upon seeing an autumn leaf would be the halting of the seasons that has plagued the world, although it seems somewhat unlikely that such an object could so easily be found.

Tryane and I are the last to depart the cellar. As my head rises above the floor, a small object goes sailing right past my nose. It turns out that Tadra is doing some investigations of her own, with the small statue Eleya found. Beh'larah has retreated into the overgrown garden, most likely getting a bit of fresh air after the sight of the dark altar.

She returns to tell us that she has found yet another item of interest: a closed gate, a short way into the garden. We follow her to find a gate locked by a chain with a padlock. Finally, a chance to put some of my more obscure talents to a decent use! And also, a small but mayhaps vital way to be of some assistance for once!

Tryane examines the lock more closely and delivers her verdict upon it: she is of course able to cut the lock too... She must have registered the elation that clearly marked my face. "Or perhaps someone else could open it for us," she concludes.

Luckily my ego concerning the tasks that the One Power can perform better than I can has a thick skin - a necessary development if one travels with Accepted and hopes to sometimes provide assistance. Well, at least I will end up with a nice padlock to practice on. My attempts to open the lock are somewhat unsuccessful, mainly due to the accumulation of rust in the inner mechanism of the lock. But what a beauty this lock proves to be! I can hardly wait for a return to the Blessing to explore it more fully.

I mention to Tryane that although I will be able to open the door, her way will undoubtedly prove to be quicker. Of course I caution her to cut the chains and leave the lock intact, if at all possible. She assures me she will. Next thing I know, Tryane is standing with a dagger of fire in her hand and an apologetic look on her face over a padlock which has been cleanly cut through the middle.

Luckily, my wits overcome my tongue before I find myself hurling insults at a powerful Aes-Sedai-in-training, who happens to be wielding a burning blade. Even though I find myself stricken with unbelief, I do manage to let out a moan of dissappointment.

Tadra has in the mean time learned that what we are facing is not a gate as much as it is a fence surrounding an area of the garden. Inside this area we find a strange constructs between a pair of trees. It consists of an intricate and overlapping pattern of twigs, branches and leaves. In all likelyhood, this is an actual Waygate!

My thoughts return to the autumn leaf we found - it is a perfect match for the leaves on the Waygate. I dimly recall that Waygates had some sort of key; it could be that the leaf is the key, or is in some way connected to the key.

The statue Eleya found is emanating a soft glow. A little trial-and-error by her establishes that the intensity of the glow is equivalent to the distance from the Gateway. During these investigations, Tadra is listening intently. It appears she hears some noise coming from behind the gate, but as she walks round to investigate she discovers that the sound (a faint hiss, like a slow wind blowing through an abandoned grotto) is coming from the portal itself.

Our investigations have definately payed off, but what to do with the results? I propose contacting the Amyrlin Seat, but this meets with little applause. It seems the Accepted are of a mind to handle more and more by themselves, and report less and less to The Flame Of Tar Valon.

Tryane is anxious to get started with translating the books we found, so it is decided to continue this discussion at The Blessing. To prevent anything from coming through the Waygate, Tryane seals it off using the One Power to create a wall of air.

4th Day of Taisham, 1000 NE

So far, Tryane has discovered that the one book is a book describing how to contact the Dark One. She has put that away and focused her efforts upon the other book. Although I tried to be of assistance last night, there is little I have to offer. So this morning I went out to purchase myself something capable of inflicting more damage than a mere dagger can in my hands.

It was nice to browse around shops with a definate purpose instead of accompanying the girls for once. It took some time to find a blade which seemed to sit right with me, but in the end I managed to pick a fine rapier. I can't for the Light in me remember the times I was offered 'a true Heron-marked sword, surely befitting one of my skill' - sometimes at such prices that one might wonder whether the previous owner departed knowingly with the blade. It makes one truly wonder if these merchants do not know that the Heron is earned, not bought.

Upon my return, I learn that Tryane has made some headway with the second book. It deals with Waygates, unfortunately Tryane is under the impression that the book is more a collection based on rumours and secondhand stories than a true investigation in the matter. Little new can be learned from it, but it does help to confirm our concepts of the Waygate system.

As we have now come to understand it, the Waygates were constructed by the Builders (although it confuses Tadra when I use this term, I still think it is somewhat more appropriate than the term Ogier - which is also an unknown term to her). Beh'larah mentioned something of the Waygates linking to another dimension. Perhaps; the way I understood it the Waygates lead into some sort of underground cavesystem and provide a travelling highway connecting places. The only other Waygate I have ever heard rumours about was supposedly located at Tar Valon, although I have not set eyes on it.

One new thing that is learned from the book, is that there is some sort of entity in the Ways. Anyone who encounters this entity is stricken mad. The approach of this entity is announced by a rustling, blowing sound - which might be what we heard at the Waygate. An unnerving discovery, to say the least.

As Tryane continues her work on the book, I pick up the salvaged book on the Trolloc Wars and wonder why Raab found a need for such a book. Since I can see no direct method of being useful to Tryane, I start reading the book. Perhaps by judging its contents I can infer what use Raab had for this knowledge.

The book details the Allied Forces during the Trolloc Wars. Their strategies are quite easily extractable from the accounts written in the book. Perhaps Raab, or some Darkfriend higher in rank (the Nae'blis?) was - is - planning an invasion? Food for thought, but this is only circumstantial evidence at best (and flimsy at that).

The Amyrlin Seat is contacted to report our findings. Hopefully she will provide the Accepted with some insight into what The Tower - well, actually that part of the Sisterhood that split off - wishes to be done with the Waygate.

5th Day of Taisham, 1000 NE

The following morning Tryane reports that the Amyrlin Seat has replied to our findings to relay the following: The key to opening the Waygate is the Leaf; we must warn the Queen about the presence of a Waygate since it can be used to invade the city - Trollocs are using the Ways to travel; be careful of the Black Wind (the entity living in the Ways); it would be interesting to see how far the Ways go.

This last vague remark is open to interpretation. I take it that the Amyrlin Seat meant this in a generic sense. Beh'larah and Eleya however are adamant that it gives us a mandate to investigate the Ways. Our conflicting view are not mergeable and therefore the fruitless discussion is aborted in favour of directing our efforts in more useful vains. I have a feeling that Beh'larah and Eleya are going to go to some lengths to coerce the rest of the group into opening a Waygate - though what good they expect to find, I cannot fathom.

So Tryane and I continued our studies of the books, while the rest departed to visit with the Queen. Tryane managed to translate enough of the book that dealt with contacting the Dark One to learn that it mainly described the hierarchy of the Dark One's underlings. The Nae'blis (in correct spelling this time, as translated by Tryane) turned out to be "he, who is in favour". The Nae'blis is one of the dark ones - according to the information recovered, these dark ones (which are not the Dark One) can be summoned, perform the bidding of the Dark One but have a mind of their own and thus are more dangerous, but also more prone to error.

As this book describes several dark rituals, it would seem unwise to just leave it lying around unprotected. Tryane agrees with me on this and promises to leave the book encased in a weave of hardened air whenever she leaves it behind.

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