Liberty

How do we get out of here alive?
part to of the plan

Will surveyed the scene around them. Zach was wrapping the Pranny in a long dark cloak that would turn her into a bat, Meagar was safe in his pocket looking somewhat warn, Gemma seemed good to go. eager even. he really couldn’t tell how Emerys was doing, still looked like a rock.
He didn’t feel good about the plan to leave Rand behind. There was something missing, “they key”
“what?” Meagar popped his head out.
“you guys didn’t find any sign of doors or hatched or secret switches right? then there has to be a key somewhere.”
“there wasn’t even a lock to pick, it’s probably a magic item.”
William looked around again. Up the stairs , around the room, and down the hall. His gaze fell of the bodies of the two woman he had killed. probably not the maid but maybe the guard…..
“I’ll be just a second wait for us.” he told Gemma and raced down the hall.
“Meagar help me search.”
they went through her pockets and pouches grabbing anything that looked like a possibility.
“anything?”
Meagar shook his head at the small collection of items. “it doesn’t look promising.”
just as they were about the head back to there companions , William saw the heavy crossbow poking out from under the edge of her cloak. it never hurt to have a back up weapon. He swipe the crossbow and her bolts as well. this was going to be a nasty fight.
they hurried back, still not feeling good about leaving Rand but determined to leave as few people as possible for him to fight his was past.

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6th Diary Entry of Gemma the Time Travelling Gunslinger

6th Diary Entry of Gemma the Time Travelling Gunslinger

Ok, long naps are fine, but that was ridiculous.

I feel like I’ve participated in several fairy tales in the last few days but not quite the way I expected. Magical sleeps, and then encountering an old woman who needs an apple from a tree, who then shows us a creepy foggy path that leads us right to Eridun?

Hey I came out of it alive and with all my limbs intact right?

Between talking to myself and daydreaming sometimes, I admit to fantasizing once or twice about being in a magical sleep and being woken up by the kiss of a handsome prince, and/or my one true love. I mean, who hasn’t fantasized about that right? Oh, just me?

I didn’t expect to fall asleep on top of a magical spear which I just used to awesomely impale an evil raccoon. I mean, a raccoon, really?!! Thank goodness Meagre was there and came back for me. I couldn’t let all those Clava die. I thought that all my friends were still in there, I couldn’t leave them. But let’s face it, willpower is not my strong suit, but I have accepted that, I think. Where there is a will, there is a way, oh wait, scratch that, that is not a good slogan for me.

Not much I could do to get myself out of it when I was already asleep, but I’m sure I would have been kicking some major ass in whatever crazy dreams I would be having. I don’t know if the Hibernium is a blessing or a curse really. Doesn’t it just delay the inevitable? Well, it gives us some time to come back with a force to fight the bad guys, but doesn’t it give the other side that same time as well?

Ok, what do I think about the Pathfinder Society? Back visiting the place with Bronwyn, it seemed kind of like one of those “societies” that it was hard to get a membership and it was all secret and everything but when you finally got it, you really just spent every evenings socializing and playing cards or something. But after meeting a lot of other different people that seem to be a part of it, it seems to have a lot of different members and a lot of different sub groups within the society. It seems like they get to do a lot of cool things, different missions, lots of exciting stuff and everything. I might need to research this further in order to make up my own mind on this.

Time to go kill some vampires and save a Prannie. Ok, how many Prannie’s have been replaced by shape changing Vampires? I feel like one is too much but I wouldn’t be surprised if there are others. How many men have magical means of changing their gender to go around doing their business, whether good or evil, here in Eridun?

And I finally got to shoot my guns in battle and it was awesome!! Not sure what I hit exactly, not sure why he or she wasn’t bleeding, but I’ll take it. I am really sick and tired of people harming these Dentonis and Prannies.

And the Plague is a person not a stupid medical plague, really!? Really!? I need to warn Jamieson so we can help all the people in the Dwarven District. And I need to talk to him about my sister and figure all that stuff out.

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Winds of Change

“All things must exist in balance.” Obrasyn began the lesson the same way. Always. It was a comfortable ritual that Emrys had enjoyed immediately. The words centered the mind. There was always a brief breathing exercise before continuing. It was a familiar and pleasant ritual.

Obrasyn was standing in the centre of a large grove, his eyes open but unfocused. His gaze stretched across the natural classroom. The trunk of an elder tree that had fallen long ago stretched across the northern side of the grove. Its impressive bulk was most as tall on its side as Emrys. The tree itself would have been beyond massive once upon a time. Perhaps even larger than the gargantuan trees that stood all around the outer edge of the grove now. The tree’s decomposing wood yielded a plethora of carrion plant life. The mosses and mushrooms that ran across the entire length were all shapes, colours, and sizes. Slowly working their way across were two bears. A mated pair that had wandered into the grove to take advantage of the vast food source. Neither the bears nor the druids took much notice of the other. They were a common pair to see in the area.

Emrys sat on a large root that protruded from the ground. Although Obrasyn could pick out the specific tree to which this particular root belonged, Emrys had no idea. There were far too many roots to know without knowing each tree’s individual identity. It almost seemed like the trees were stretching towards Obrasyn. As if greeting him. Roots from all the trees on the outer edge stretched as far as they could into the grove, not quite making it to the centre, where Obrasyn stood and continued his lesson.

“Without balance, nature will endeavor, unceasingly, to restore its lost equilibrium. In this way, even when the world is not in balance, it works to become so. There are two fundamental forces that nature balances, order and chaos. Most often, an imbalance is caused by the actions of mortals, whether through good intentions or ill. The scope of these actions is usually mirrored by the power of the mortals who are creating the disturbance, but this is not always the case.” Obrasyn paused. It was his way of prompting for a statement of understanding or affirmation.

Emrys responded immediately, as though reciting an answer from an old lesson, “It doesn’t always take a wizard throwing fireballs to destroy a countryside. A careless farmer who creates an errant dam can do just as much, or more, damage.”

Obrasyn smiled at the diligence of his student and continued, “Whatever the cause of the disturbance, there are two fundamental forces which must always be in balance. Order and chaos. These forces, as we know, exist in all things. In our last discussion we reviewed how this even applies to extra-planar creatures.” Obrasyn paused.

“Even in devils there is chaos, as in demons there is order. In their conflict with each other, they achieve a balance.” Emrys responded promptly again but wondered where his lesson was going. It was unlike Obrasyn to engage in so much review. Although Emrys would have gladly accepted a review of their last lesson. Emrys was willing to trust his master on the theory of order and chaos, but the idea of the lower planes being in some demented balance was difficult for him to wrap his mind around.

Obrasyn maintained his pause. His eyes were focused on something in the grove. Emrys followed his master’s line of sight to Arthin and Urawen, the mated pair of bears. Obrasyn had named them the first time they had wandered into the grove, almost a year ago. The two were currently feasting on a particularly large set of brown mushrooms that covered the fallen tree. Emrys knew that they would instinctually know which msuhrooms were safe. That had been a very early lesson. When in doubt trust the instincts of animals. They were born druids.

Emrys turned back around and found that Obrasyn was now watching him. The expression on Obrasyn’s face was unsettling. It was a new expression for his master. Although, in itself, it was almost like the absence of an expression. It was like gazing upon a hazy morning sky. It could be no more than the night’s clouds burning away in the new day’s sun to reveal a clear day perfect for exploring the countryside; or it could be the preamble to an incoming storm front that would tear across that same countryside and make it a perilous trip for even the most experienced woodsman. Emrys hung in the moment.

Gradually the gaze intensified. The clouds in Obrasyn’s eyes gathered. Obrasyn’s face grew dark and his expression hardened. Emrys was going to be caught in a storm, but had no clue as to its origin.

Emrys shifted in his seat against the weight of his master’s stare. The kind, patient master that Emrys had come to know had reverted to the imposing and terse man he had met on the eve of his first battle in this new world. The man who had sized Emrys up, given brief directions to a spot outside the safety of the army’s camp, and then had ordered him to report there first thing in the morning – if he could survive the journey. This was the man that the enemy saw.

Obrasyn’s large muscular frame suddenly became very apparent. The furs he wore around his muscular shoulders suddenly seemed to add to the man’s bulk. Emrys had seen what this man could do in battle, either in this form or in the many others he had taken. Obrasyn’s powerful arms had torn more than a few enemies’ limbs from their torsos. The thought became very unsettling now.

Emrys began to worry. Had he said something wrong? Had he missed a cue? Was there danger outside the grove? Perhaps his master had become possessed? Was that possible? Perhaps a demonic curse, or an aberrant disease? Emrys tried in vain to fight back against his racing heart beat as a sickening feeling welled up inside him. If his master attacked him, Emrys would be nothing against his fury. Emrys knew he had to get up, get away, but he was paralyzed with fear. He was a helpless fawn in the predatory glare of a hungry grizzly.

There was no escape.

Just as quickly as the storm had overtaken the massive druid – it passed. Slowly, the haze that had clouded the deep brown eyes of the druid passed. The muscles of the great man before Emrys loosened, and his bulk seemed to shrink. The kindly master returned to the grove.

Obrasyn’s words shocked Emrys back to reality, sluggishly guiding the surreal moment away, “Emrys, now that I have taught you the philosophies of balance and how they apply to nature, know that they are archaic. They are incorrect. You must learn to transcend them, as I have done. Failure to do so will mean the end of the druidic order, and lead to an unnatural corruption beyond healing.”

Emrys reeled at his master’s words, unable to comprehend the sudden change in direction and temperament. Emrys managed to mumble his confusion, “I – I don’t understand…”

“I know. But you are ready to understand. You must be. I will need your help. There is change coming, Emrys.” Obrasyn’s eyes were still that of the kindly master, but they were hard and severe, “Change that cannot be weathered by nature’s balance as we know it. I do not know how this change will manifest, but I feel this; stronger than anything I have ever felt before. I will need your help. But first, I must convene with other masters. Come Emrys, today’s lesson is finished. Tomorrow trials have begun. Say nothing of any of this – to anyone!”

Emrys stood and nodded, dumbfounded. Without his master, without the order, how could he hope to continue in such a strange and deadly world. As always, he would do his best.

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Druidic Word Play

19th of Patchwall, 9:15am Brooks Farm, Crasmere

High Dentoni Galienne Auphrey rode from the train station in Crasmere heading towards Brooks Farm. It was an odd location for Talia to request a meeting, but if the girl had uncovered something perhaps she was taking extra precautions. As she rode down the dirt path towards the farm she passed through an easy glade coming into Brooks back field. The farm was typically a sleepy little farm, mostly designed for vegetable growth with a little livestock to supplement the farmer’s lives. Brook was known to the Dentoni as a loyal citizen she would have no problems hosting herself, nor Talia if asked.

The morning air was crisp, there had been a frost last night and it wasn’t yet clear if it would melt or if the chill would hold, that was when she heard the noise. It was not sharp our loud, more like a group of individuals speaking. Galienne looked out across the field and saw nine people standing in a circle speaking with one another. It was odd, the harvest had already been brought in and the farm looked winterised, a crew this large would not be needed. A quick look to the farm house showed no smoke from the chimney nor any signs of movement. Some warning bell rang in the Dentoni’s mind, this was not right, she turned her mount and rode toward the group to investigate further.

The group wore brown and green cloaks, many adorned with furs or feathers, most carried gnarled staves or large wooden cudgels. A few had curved blades of scythes and sickles about their persons. Galienne appraised them, she knew many of the locals, trouble maker and not, of Crasmeer, none of these men looked familiar, and the group did consist entirely of men. She loosened her sword in its sheath as a precaution and kept her mount back from the ensemble.

“I am High Dentoni Galienne Auphery, Acting Ruler of Eiradun, Identify yourselves and your business here at once” her voice was strong and pure. She had seen battle before and was no coward. One of the men farthest from her stepped forward pulling back the fur lined hood of his grey cloak. His salt and pepper hair was closely cropped, the man was half elven and appeared to be older in years his hair being more white then black. He had a thin mustache and a strong jaw.

“A pleasure to meet you High Dentoni, I am Archdruid Fraxious of the Suzuki Order, these men are my loyal initiates and accolades…” he began a sweeping bow but was quickly interrupted

“Acolytes” Galienne said with a note of irritation

“Excues me?” the Archdruid asked. Galienne sighed outwardly while smiling inwardly

“They are you loyal initiates and acolytes. An accolade is an a form of praise or award, perhaps even an honour, an acolyte is an attendant, follower or in this particular case a henchmen” she said allowing the pretense of civility to fall from her voice “You are a long way from your grove Archdruid, and well within the limits of Eiradun, again, state your business and be quick about it” The druid was visibly flustered looking to one of his acolytes who merely shrugged and nodded before looking back to her.

“Are you quite certain it is not accolades? I have been saying that for a very long time and no one had ever corrected me before”

“The benefits of a classical education I suppose, yes I am quite certain” at hearing this the druid sighed in frustration before composing himself once more and continuing

“Anyway as I was saying my, these are my initiates and ACCOLYTES. We have come here today because on an infraction against one of our sacred laws. You see according to the great pack between Eiradun and the Suzuki’s we have agreed…”

“Pact, it’s a pact not a pack”

“Would you please stop correcting me, it is really annoying!” the druid said, his temper showing

“If you would speak correctly than I would not need to correct you” The High Dentoni fired back

“I am an Archdruid, a master of the 7th circle of magic and a leader of men, There are some things more important than language…” she clipped him off again

“On this we agree Archdruid, as an example why the Suzuki’s would have a sizable armed force on Eiradun Lands without permission from the Quim!” Galeinne was quickly losing her patience, she had noticed the Druids men inching around her trying to flank and she was having none of it. Fraxious let out a long slow breath

“According to the PACT, your state is associating with a none registered druid, submit the druid to me, and we have no further issue”

“Hodgepodge, There are no Druids in the employ of the Quim or Eiradun, registered or otherwise”
“I have it on good account that there are”

“I would be careful Archdruid, as it sounds an awful lot like you are about to admit to espionage, and poor espionage at that. I would also sumize that if this was truly your purpose it would have been brought to the Quim’s office in Eiradon not a backwater farm in an outlying village. Last chance Fraxious, state your purpose or I will drag you into Crasmeer and jail you for boarder jumping” a pleasantries were gone now, the druid glared up at the Dentoni

“You are very bold for one who is outnumbered”

“I need no aid in subduing vagabonds like yourselves, and you have used up your allotted time now. ALL OF YOU, THROW DOWN YOUR WEAPONS, TAKE A STEP BACK FROM THEM AND KNEEL, ELSE I WILL HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO PHYSICALLY RESTRAIN YOU” the druids looked to from her to Fraxious

“It was inevitable anyway, I suppose this just accelerates things…

“I SAID…”

“KILL HER” Fraxious yelled interrupting her. Several druids charged forth as she ripped her sword from her scabbard, shrugged down her shield and put spurs to her mount causing it to kick at her opponents buy precious seconds.

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5th Diary Entry of Gemma the Time Travelling Gunslinger

Okay I really miss my firearms. Is that weird? I actually feel kind of lost without them, like I’m not whole or I can’t fully contribute without them. But I didn’t have them in the Weylan embassy in Eridun and I did okay right? I really do like that spear. I think I’ll call it Mr. Pointy. I guess there might be other reasons why I miss them. Why I am feeling so lost without them. I mean I could be without them at any time. Like right now. Or they could break or jam or misfire. They could be stolen or lost. But I realize something. My father made those firearms. They were among the first ones he ever made and he made them for me. Now he is dead and I never got to say goodbye to him. Those guns feel like the last thing that truly connects me to him, the only thing I really have left that he made with his two hands. I feel close to him when they are with me. Is that weird? Ugh, I really need to get things sorted out with my sister. Ok, I need to think about how to prove I’m not a doppelganger/shapechanger or something weird like that. I really do not want to be assassinated so whoever is behind it is going down, hard core.

Ok, I need to get my sh&* together. Moping around the Weylan embassy here in Arborportum isn’t going to be very productive. So I wasn’t able to go back to Eridun right away, I guess it gives me some protection from whoever wants me killed, at least for a time. I should talk to the Clava. I know how to make firearms right? The Clava are in a war right? They are enemies of Lord Shepard and his crew and any enemies of that douchebag are alright in my book. Lord Shepard is definitely going down. I want to help Meagre any way I can. Maybe they could use some firearms. I couldn’t bring regular firearms here but if I manufactured some using materials already here, that would be okay. I know they don’t have hands like I do but I’m sure there must be a way to adapt firearms to the Clava body structure. Well, I did ask Meagre if I could find some appropriate materials in the Weylan embassy to make firearms, would I be able to use them. He said I needed to okay it with him first. Well, I should try to at least make a prototype and show it to Meagre first. Then ask his opinion as the acting Weylan ambassador, whether I could approach the Clava about a possible partnership. Maybe Flintlock Firearms could expand? There are three groups right? The Sunwing, Moon wing and Silverwing? Lord Shepard Maybe one of them would be interested. Well, okay, enough thinking, time for some doing. Time to look for some materials.

Hmm you know I wonder who will find the Axe of the Dwarven Lords after Empress Yolanda? I wonder what would happen if a Dactyl found it? Would it even be possible for a Dactyl to King or Queen of the Dwarvish people? Considering if a Dactyl becomes Chief of Clan Morgin, they probably won’t be able to be High Thane, so probably pretty unlikely. It sure would be cool though.

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Thar Be Dragons Aboot

18th of Patchwall, 9:00am, Eiradun, Warf District

Liam Ironarm stretched as he walked off the plank of the Ship and entered the Warf of Eidadun. He slowly walked through the city taking in the sights and smells. Of all the cities on Argyle, Eiradun reminded him most of Corus. He found that funny considering the Quims relationship with Corus, but it made him nostalgic none the less. He had not particular destination, the weather was cool but not cold and he was content to see what may come. As he wandered east he left the Warf and found himself nearing the temple district. Liam was not known to be a religious man, but the architecture was beautiful here and many of the grounds held wonderful gardens, it was a fine place to let ones feet and mind wander. His eyes drifted from a garden filled with late blooming lilies to the nearby doors of the Temple of Hithalium. There, just outside the archway, stood a perky little dactyl. She had vibrant red hair and focused blue eyes. She seemed deep in concentration as she mouthed words to some speech she seemed to be preparing. Just as she reached for the door she seemed to think better of it, and began to circle the building. Judging by her speed and focus this was not her first loop of the building today, likely she was continuing to practice her speech. On a whim Liam followed intrigued by this girl, he considered himself a student of life and always took time for a lesson and when one presented itself. Maintaining a respectful distance he turned the corner watching the dactyl work her way down the street deep in thought. Liam’s eyes drifted about the street, something was off. There was no one else there. Why? The main way had been rather full, this was no dark ally, why the empty street? His eyes drifted to the rooves and windows, there it was, just behind him now, a long steel barrel poking out of the window. Liam did not think of what to do next, years of experience spurred his movements. With three large steps and a gentle leap he gracefully flung himself up to the 2nd story window, pushing the barrel aside and rolling into the room.

In a second he took in the room. Dead women and child in a pool of blood on the bedroom floor. No signs of struggle, cut wound at the neck cleanly done. The assailant wore a mask, had a long barreled rifle in hand, and a bandoleer of knives across her chest hair was back in a tight bun. Liam sighed saddened how a day could hold such beauty of flowers and cool breezes could be followed so quickly by dead children and murderers. He gave the assassin a long hard stare

“To be fair to you…” he started “… You should know that I am Liam Ironarm, the Shang Dragon” the assassin snorted at his comment.

“As if, and I am the mighty Quim Alana… You’ve cost me much already meddler, now shut up and die quickly” Liam shrugged at her stoically as she tossed her riffle on the bed and drew two small daggers. He quickly appraised her version of the Poisoned Fang Viper Knife Technique and found it lacking. He raised his hands tucking his elbows in and squatting somewhat countering her with the Raging Mongoose Technique. In moments her two knives had been tossed on the bed, she had scrambled back spitting as she spoke in anger

“I represent Brian Finch! The House of the Rogue! Pain and misfortune will rain down upon your house meddler!” Her stature changed as she swiped at his face with a Hungry Tiger Claw Style. Liam quickly took on Crane Protecting Egg Technique to keep her at bay while he appraised her skill. She clearly had been given some level of training, but seemed to lack discipline as all her training relied on strength and speed, he saw many wide openings from her sloppy technique and again tried to end this amicably.

“Ms. You are very clearly outmatched, I am not here to enforce laws, merely to stop another murder. End the conflict and speak with me or I will be forced to escalate.” As he spoke she quickly changed styles pulling another knife and attempting a swift Sting Like a Bee Style. Liam grabbed the offending arm, easily deflecting the attempt and brought a Hammer Palm of Unbequeathed Light down quickly on her elbow.

“ARRRRGGGHHHHH!” she screamed in pain as her elbow shattered. He was impressed at her dedication as she threw herself over to the bed and pulled the rifle pointing it at him. She held the gun with her left hand, and was a little shaky from her broken elbow on the right side, but still, at this range it would be hard for her to miss.

“Please don’t do this,” he implored “if you pull the trigger my defence may well kill you” she looked at him hard before responding

“No monk can dodge a bullet at this range, who do you think you are?” her question was rhetorical but he answered it all the same

“I am the Shang Dragon, please… you don’t need to die to…”

BANG

Liam looked over the dead assassin with sorrow, he knew it had been her choice, but still he had wished that this end had not come to fruition. He listened carefully confirming that she was indeed dead and then let out a long breath knowing what would be next. He stood walking across the room and unlocking the door to the hallway, there were a few people who had heard the noise and were looking on with suspicion, he found a younger lad standing not far down the hall

“If you please boy, fetch the Dentoni, there have been a number of deaths”

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Almost Bedtime

17th of Patchwall 2:30am, Arbour-Portum, Damp Caves District

Icarus crawled through the tiny series of caves until he entered the musty workshop. The smell of steel, wood, and various chemicals assailed him as he entered. The room was cramped, and filled with materials and unnamed unknown inventions. In the corner, hanging over a cluttered workspace was a tiny old Clava. The little old Clava sniffed twice and spoke without looking

“Look who has decided to return… you’re in trouble I presume… I doubt you would make the trip for any other reason” the old Clava picked up a tool and began to fiddle with a small block of wood. Icarus took a breath to respond but let it out slowly, feeling guilty that the Old Clava was right. “Well, come over here, let’s have a look at you and see what troubles you have brought upon me today” Icarus waddled over to the desk and looked up at the Clava

“Hello Daedalus,” he said in a respectful tone. Deadalus snorted

“Don’t go ‘Hello Daedalusing me’ Mr… you leave for two full seasons and think Hello is the way to start?”

“I’m sorry…” Icarus interrupted “It’s just after Theseus fell… I guess, I didn’t know how to come back, I needed to follow through on his quest, I needed to finish things” The old Clava shook his head looking away from Icarus

“HIS quest Icarus, HIS… not yours, HE was a first born, HE was given a quest, you cannot complete that which does not belong to you; and with his death, his quest was lost”

“I can’t believe that, I was there, I heard the words from the Oracle, I found the Bellator Libra. I even found a real live Waylen… I can do this! I can save us all, I just need to be given some more time”

“Icarus, your hubris will be your undoing; You cannot…”

“I can… I have earned the Decoration of the Last Shade, the Orden of Santiago, the Medallion of Aerea and…”

“Achievements awarded by Clava Icarus, Clava…. many rightfully so, but a Clava’s achievements mean nothing to the fates… and you are not a chosen of the fates Icarus. Your brother was our last best hope. Now he is gone, the sooner you come to terms, the less heartache you will feel. The fates can be cruel when they turn.” The two shared a long look, neither speaking, at long last the old Clava turned back to his tinkering and spoke “Clearly the universe has not finished teaching you this lesson, so what is it that you have come here today for?”

“The King has granted Arbor-Portum Hibernium this season.”

“Yes, I had heard, what of it”

“I cannot stay, I have the Bellator Libra and the Waylen here in the city, I must get them out prior to Hibernium”

“Yes, that makes sense, The King should authorize a skirmish to let you through”

“He will not, I am not cleared to go, and my house will not support me without the Kings direct word”

“and why is it that the King will not offer his word?”

“I am not privy to this information, but I have been told that he has considered it, and has stated that an exodus is not to be so”

“Icarus, has it been your experience that the King makes decisions lightly? Or without reasons?” Icarus looked up at his feet for a few moments before shaking his head no “… then can we not trust that the King has made a decision for the collective good, and that we perhaps need to abide by it?” Icarus continued his long stare at his feet, his wings fidgeted in agitation

“No, the Bellotar Libra and the Waylen need to make their own decisions, the King has not even greeted them, has not offered an audience. If they choose to stay so be it, but I will not allow it to be inflicted on them through ignorance”

“It is my experience Icarus, that a Waylen is rarely ignorant, especially when it comes to magics as powerful as Hibernium”

“Never the less Daedalus, I need to get them out of the city, and past the line. On top of that I have to get them out quietly… will you help me or not?” The old Clava placed the block he had been working with down and shook his head sadly

“Icarus, I am an educated professor, why will you not learn from me? Why will you not take advantage of the resources I offer you?”

“I am trying to learn from you, I need to know how to get out…”

“No Icarus, you come to me looking for answers, not for rational discourse… to think critically is what will aid you in the long run, giving you the answers only makes you more reliant on me”

“EEERRRGGGG! I do not have time for this, please… no… wait… what are you doing?” he asked as he saw the old Clava move across the room and begin to wheel out a large chalk board “please don’t start with the chalk board”

“There is always time for rational thought Icarus; I am trying to help you, please take a moment and clear your mind” the younger Clava glared at his older counterpart for a long moment before sighing an accepting that this was the only way to achieve his mission. He closed his eyes in exasperation

“Ok, mind cleared, now what” Daedalus paused knowing he was being humored but holding to the patience of a teacher. He began making a crude diagram of the black board

“This is Arbor-Portum, what are the obstacles preventing you from leaving. Remember the rational mind acknowledges to most obvious first and works its way towards obscure” Icarus took a deep breath focusing and working the problem

“We would be seen by random Clava if we approached the perimeters, if we made it that far, the magic’s that protect the city would detect us moving through the Thorn Trees. After that there is an army of Avians out there”

“Good, good… so we cannot leave through conventional methods of flight or foot, correct?” Icarus nodded “What of the way you entered? Can you leave the same way?” Icarus furrowed his brows in thought for a long moment

“I don’t think so, it was very dangerous, and the little reading done so far implies we were very lucky” Daedalus nodded at this

“Good, good, we are making progress, and what is the old Clava adage about magic?”

“A Clava is always grateful for Waylen aid and magic, but a wise Clava never relies on it” the older Clava nodded

“So young Icarus, you cannot blast through the lines, you cannot magic yourself away, and you do not possess the magics to sneak past our sentinels… so what does that leave?”

There was a long silence as Icarus stared at the board thinking, again Daedalus held to his patience wrought of years of teaching young Clava

“You’re not thinking of the lower caves are you?” Icarus inquired

“Well… let’s take a look at that option…”

“Well… after the cave inn’s no one can fly though there, no one’s really sure if you can even get out…”

“So it would be lightly guarded at best” the old teacher stated

“That’s not much of an option Daedalus…”

“Defying the King rarely leaves one much in the way of options, besides, I am not advising you do this…” he stated as he began to wipe clean the board “… I am merely participating in a thought experiment. Obey your King Icarus, enjoy some much needed rest, see what the spring brings, that is the advice I offer that you so freely spurn” Icarus nodded and moved towards the door

“Thank you Daedalus” the Clava said as he left. The old Clava shook his head and muttered softly to himself

“You are welcome nephew, good luck”

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Setting Direction - Part 1

Emrys shuffled his feet again. Restlessness was starting to set in, suggesting a break was in order. Emrys stood up, stretched out his limbs, no longer surprised to see the muscled arms covered in orange hair. It had been an adjustment, but after everything he had been through it seemed almost like a minor occurrence.

Emrys walked over to his pack, picked up his waterskin and took a long drink. Water dribbled down his strong jaw and onto his clothes, droplets hanging on his thick orange coat. Emrys capped off the waterskin and lightly tossed it on top of his pack. The slosh and thunk of the water in the skin made Emrys think of the last time he had been truly thirsty. It wasn’t now. Reading books wasn’t exactly thirsty work. Emrys put it out of his mind. This respite was nice. It reminded him of the days when he’d sneak away from his duties to find Grey Root.

“Come to listen again, little seedling?” Came the great deliberate booming voice of Gwraiddygaeafsynbwytagraig, known as Grey Root to those earned his favour.

Emrys stopped mid-step over a large rotting log and looked about for the titanic creature. As usual, he couldn’t tell where the voice had come from, or how the heck something so large could hide so well. Emrys finished his step over the log and took a moment to respectfully compose himself.

“Yes, great spirit of the trees, whose roots grow deep through earth and stone. I humbly seek your wisdom.” Emrys replied to the thick forest all around him. Although the words were those of reverence, the tone in Emrys voice was warm and familiar. It was the response of a cheeky grandson.

“You are bold, little seedling, to speak those words in such a tone.”

“Great one, I am truly sorry for my tone. I merely thought your old ears may not hear me if I spoke too softly. Do you not believe my reverence?”

“Hhmp! …old ears… you insolent little… I hear the heartbeat of every fox, the lightstep of every mouse, the falling of each acorn. Nothing escapes me within my realm.” The heavy long words hung in the air a while before the ancient being spoke again, “But no, I do not doubt you, little seedling. Come, find me and I will tell you of how the wolf and the moon became friends, and why this angered the sun.”

Emrys went back to the small desk where he’d been reading. He couldn’t bring himself to sit down again. The book was interesting, but his restlessness was building. This was very different than his lessons with Grey Root, and not all like his lessons with Obrasyn. Emrys was getting lost in the details. Especially with dates and other minutia which seemed to make very little sense.

It had been a long time since Emrys had spent time buried in books. When he was younger, it had been expected of him. Learning heraldry, family history, business ledgers, etc. These were the duties of the eldest son in a merchant family. It wasn’t his favourite task, but he could buckle down when needed. It might have even been something he could have learned to enjoy over time. His first encounter with Grey Root had made sure that he’d never get the chance.

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Clava Speak

16th of Patchwall 10pm. Arbor-Portum, Kings Court

Icarus let out a long sigh as the proceedings began to wrap up. He held no voice here but had hoped that hi house would have made a better case. Clava began to shuffle and float from the room, Icarus tarried waiting for the Captain to walk him out, he did not have to wait long.

“Well from the mouth of the King himself you heard it…” the Captain started. Icaurs shook his head in disappointment

“damned Silverwings, have they never put an ounce of thought into anything?”

“That’s not fair Icarus, I know you have had a hard summer, but things were not easy for them either, the Silverwings held Arbor-Portum, and fought well, they deserve the rest” Icarus glared at the Captain in anger

“We are so close; I have the Prophesied one… I have a real live Waylen, we can stop now!”

“The frosts have been late this year Icarus, you are lucky to have had this long, now unless your friends are planning on staying for Hibernium, I suggest they find a way to get out of the city quietly”

“We will survive a line run, I am not so concerned about that…”

“What do you mean we? You aren’t authorised to go… and I know the King will not be authorising another skirmish right before the ceremony… as I said I recommend they go quietly, so that it isn’t noticed before the ceremony “

“How am I supposed to do that?” Icarus asked. The old captain shrugged, I am not sure if you should, maybe a rest would be good for you, and them as well… but I cannot advise you on this, if your companions want out before spring, they best come up with something before the Thorns are closed, and IF I know that you left, I will be forced to discipline you in the fall, no amount of medals will save you from breaking the Kings order… you know this… right?” Icarus nodded

“I know… thanks”

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No Refunds

13th of Pathwall – Eiradun Omar’s Emporium – War District – Eiradon

Please Listen While Reading

Chander “Omar” Deepti, registered to Omar Cart 1061A-3R4 stepped closer to the Crystal Ball. He stood in the basement of the Eiradon Omar Emporium in the Warf District. On the other end of the Crystal Ball transmission was: Mandhu “Omar” Lochan, Manager of South Eastern Operations, Rajiv “Omar” Pankaj, South Eastern Human Resources, and finally the current Reigning OMAR, CEO of Omar Inc., Omar Ltd., Omar Trade & Co., and Dean of Omar’s College of Business Advancement. He swallowed, nervous, his throat was dry and he was sure this meeting would not end well for him. slowly he shifted he weight from one foot to the other trying to ignore the kitchy music playing from the shop upstairs

“Mr. Omar 1061A-3R4… This is what I would like to know…please explain to me why it is that the peoples of the hamlet of Norat believed that they should receive a refund at all?” Omar Lochan’s voice held no humor. Chander wiped the sweat from his brow

“You see most honoured Omar’s… The people of the hamlet had recently purchased black powder from my cart for their canon. They use the canon to defend their hamlet, when they fired the canon, the black powder they used caused a problem and….

“AP AP AP AP AP…” Omar himself cut in “… What I think you were saying is, that the people BELIEVED that the black powder MAY have caused a problem with their OLD cannon” Chander nodded earnestly at the Omar’s gathered. Omar Lochan spoke next

“Did you admit guilt?” Chander was very quick in his respond

“No Honoured Omar’s, of course not, as the 291st Rule of Acquisition dictates ‘never accept liability unless legally demanded to in the highest court of the land.’ You see, the people believed that the powder broke their canon, they believed that I should reimburse them for the canon”

“And did you?” Omar Lochan asked pointedly

“No great Omar’s, I quoted rule #16 ‘a deal is a deal’”

“Very good, Very good… so what happened next?” Omar Lochan asked

“Honoured Omars, the people were getting frustrated, I was preparing to leave but my escort, a Minotaur named Thagus, had been weakened from his flu. I decided to give him one more night to rest before we took to the road again. That is when I was accosted. You see this Half Orc, named William Brutus… claimed to be a Hero of the wretched god Moredakka…” Chandler paused while he and all three Omar’s spat on the ground in disgust, several slurs about the hated god were verbalised before he was able to continue his story “… the Half Orc demanded that I pay the towns people back, not only for the black powder, but that I should buy the town a new canon. I told the creature that this was preposterous, that I am an innocent merchant. Perhaps the town’s people had incorrectly maintained their canon, I recall pondering aloud to the creature. Or perhaps the cannon had suffered from natural wear and tear. The half orc would not hear my pleas, he said that without the canon the town was at great risk, and that this was my fault… I can’t begin imagine how this creatures brain works; that suddenly though an innocent transaction I am to blame for the lack of planning and safety of an entire town? I told him to be out of my way or Thagus would soon deal with him. As Thagus approached, the Half Orc pulled out a crossbow and shot poor Thagus in the arm. The beast is known to have a temper and here a scuffle broke out. As it did I quickly went to the duties of gathering my things and getting away, but poor weakened Thagus did not last long and was quickly put down. As the Half Orc approached I recall calling to the towns folk that this creature had just murdered Thagus… can you believe that they were actually siding with the Half Orc? The Half Orc then grabbed me and roughly pulled me to my Cart with the other members of town in tow. Here he began to appraise my wares, very poorly I might add, claiming some items at less than 1/3rd their allotted value. He took my gold, all the items from the cart, and then the cart and oxen themselves, saying that I was still short, but he would be ‘generous’ and ‘call it even’. From here I was run out of the wretched town as the residents dived up my goods. I was left to wander the wilderness unaccompanied and unprotected. As quickly as possible I made my way here, to the nearest Omar’s Emporium, in order to contact you and report… I place myself in you wise hands great Omar’s”

There was a long silence after the story was told. Chander could see their lips moving, so he knew that they had somehow blocked down from the crystal ball. He waited anxiously as the three Omar’s decided his fate. It was Omar Lochan who spoke first

“Not in fifty three years has anyone so blatantly dared to rob an Omar branded establishment, this cannot be allowed to stand; else it puts all of our humble employees at risk. We will launch three inquisitors to prove your story and words, until their report has come back you will operate as stock clerk where you are now, should you be vindicated and found not liable, you will be rewarded and your franchise reinstated… should we find otherwise however…” the silence spoke volumes “.. as for this William Brutus, We will send a few experts to bring him before us, theft from an Omar, under any circumstances, cannot be tolerated” the two other Omar’s nodded their heads as Chander accepted his fate.

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