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Porthca Landing II: Lost & Found

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"and sometimes the small things are crushed like insects, and shoved in cages." She looked down at the broken plate, shame in her eyes.
"I'm sorry about your plate," she rises from the table and walks from the room. Not sure where her feet are taking her, she follows them until the cold night air hits her face.

Somehow she has found her way to the middle of the garden. Surrounded by fruit trees, she sat staring at the stars... Thinking of home.


Eliza was finally back in familiar territory cooped up in a library studying a borrowed arcane item. Surrounded by dirty coffee mugs and and dozens of notes, the wizard weakly blasted the manacles with magic missiles and frost rays to get the murky ruins to light up enough for her to copy down.

She found herself momentarily snoozing off but Faust had strict instructions to keep her awake. Eliza found the threat of tiny, cold slaps by mousy hands to be quite the effective way to stay on task hours into the night.


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Making polite excuses, Tyrius cut out of the dining room and headed straight for the library. Browsing the stacks in a haze, Tyrius rummaged through old tomes and a few newer bound leather tomes. Taking each down, flipping open to the title page, glancing over the chapter list then putting them back if they didn't look relevant. The entire time Tyrius was cursing himself. 'How could I be so ignorant not to notice how Mags was after we took out those slavers?' thought Tyrius as he grabbed a small stack of books and found a table to read them on, noticing that Eliza had commandeered a table for some research of her own. Ordinarily, Tyrius wouldn't have ignored her presence but he was aware how he was feeling right now and it was probably better for both of them if he worked on his own.

His diary by his side, Tyrius worked through the night reading and making notes on what he read. There was one moment he had to stop and take a few calm breaths for a while - when reading an old thin book that looked as if it had been someone's diary mentioning that the slave trade in The Sinking Plains had had a strong presence within Porthca until it had started to expand into a town rather than just a smuggling den.

The next morning, Tyrius gathered the stack of books up making two separate piles. Reshelving one pile, Tyrius picked up the much smaller stack and set them to one side. Heading for the dining room, Tyrius was hoping to find his mother to ask her permission to borrow a few of the books from the library to take with him on his travels. The lack of sleep was clear on his face, but Tyrius figured it was something he'd just have to put up with.
Afternoon of the Twenty-first Day | Wyford:


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Afternoon of the Twenty-first Day | Wyford:

Spending most of the morning out shopping, the group seemed to enjoy their new wealth, purchasing things they had desired or needed, while also selling off spare items they had collected in their traveling. Eliza and Tyrius had spent the prior night in the library with their research, Niradnam spending most of his time left of the day picking out likely books to check later, returning in the morning surprised to see the pair still at work. To his surprise, Virra seemed to offer her help, however it didn't come without its price -- books he had stacked to the side slowly slid further down the table -- pages turning when he glanced away, leaving him rereading the same pages while the gnome happily worked on a set of shoes, trying to look innocent.

Eventually Tyrius split away, speaking with his mother for a few moments then returned, gathering most of the group except for Rowanne and Banrigg, leading them down towards the kitchens.

The redhaired mage seems to know where he's going and approaches what looks to be a portrait frame handing empty on the wall of the bustling area, the cooks not pleased to have such a crowd in their workspace. Niradnam looks confused at the sight, glancing towards Tyrius, arms crossed, "... what are we looking at?"

Tyrius grinned to the group, his cheeks as red as his hair, "You're gonna love this Niradnam," said Tyrius, "You remember our dinner last night? Turns out we had a very special chef for part of it." Knocking gently on the wall inside the frame, Tyrius stepped back a little so the others could get in.

”No...way...” Eliza followed exhaustion momentarily forgotten. ”I missed dinner yesterday though.”

Having just returned from her shopping expedition, Valerie had returned to her room and opted to try on her new outfit, a pale blue lace dress that came just above her knees. She had just collected her flute from where it sat on her dresser when a knock came at the door, informing her of Tyrius's summons. She followed the servant curiously, and arched an eyebrow at the sorcerer. "Erm... yes, I would like to second Niradnam's question." Tyrius's response did little to satisfy her curiosity. "I did too... was it someone famous?"

"Yes...way," grinned Tyrius, equally as exhausted as the aspirant but kept as exuberant as ever from his sheer enthusiasm. "It might not work, apparently this is very tempramental, but well, probably best you see for yourself." Tyrius said to Niradnam, Magnolia and Valerie.

Eliza quickened her pace, only slightly lagging behind now as she followed Tyrius to the kitchens feeling like a great weight had lifted off her shoulders for the moment. ”I am so glad we didn’t accidentally sentence her to a lifetime alone.”

Valerie folded her arms with a slight frown, hopelessly lost. "Is it a secret, or something of the sort? Who is she? Is it Ms. Rowanne? Is she to be wed to someone?" The young warlock could not imagine who else they would be talking about that was not present, although she also was unsure why their presence would be related to her lack of a partner.

Tyrius winced as Rowanne was brought up, "Erm, I did almost include her in this but, given recent events probably best she doesn't know." said the sorcerer, continuing to play the pronoun game, "It is sort of a secret though, yes."

Virra sensed where the conversation was going as quickly as Eliza, and wore a wide smile as she squeezed into the kitchens alongside the others. It quickly deteriorated into a frown when Rowanne was brought up, especially when coupled with the word "wed". When Valerie wouldn't drop it, she butted in loudly. "Gosh, Val, are you being dense on purpose? You know who we're here to see." She reached out to Ty and tugged on his sleeve. "So, is it working? When's it gonna open? C'moooon," she whined, bouncing on her toes with excitement.

While the group chatted, a small line slowly traced along the inside of the frame, eventually opening into a small doorway that pushed open, a deep green elven face on the other side peering through with a smile. Those who had seen her before recognized the features of Pyria, though the view was limited from the opening. "Oh! Even more people, pleasure and plentiful to see. Some I do not recognize readily either?" She glanced towards Tyrius for a moment.

Niradnam froze for a moment as it seemed to register what he was looking at, bowing his head for a moment and asked softly, "... are ... are you an Eladrin...?"

The female elf nodded happily, "Indeed and truly, yes -- though I prefer to be called Pyria!"

Tyrius chuckled, "Pyria, these are Valerie, Magnolia and Niradnam," said Tyrius, motioning to each in turn.

Valerie's eyes widened as she saw a familiar elvish face appear. "We... we have already met before... I was the Knight at the time, however.,," She recalled that day weeks back when they had run into the strange woman, and the betrayal she had felt at realizing that she had been charming her... thinking back, she felt badly about how she had reacted. The young warlock approached the door and gave the elf a smile and a curtsy. "Apologies for not properly introducing myself on our previous meeting. I am Valerie Rhitegast, it is a pleasure to truly meet you. I was the unhappy older gentleman during our previous encounter."

Virra barely suppressed a squeal. "Pyria! It feels like it's been so long! How've you been? How've the Silverbanes been treating you?" she gushed, almost drowning Valerie out.

Tyrius looked around for something to sit on, "We've got so much to share with you," said Tyrius. "Oh, for instance!" he said before dashing out of the room. Coming back a few minutes later with Bookwyrm in his hands, "We found some wyvern eggs." said Tyrius, unsure whether Pyria had ever seen one before. "This one's named Bookwyrm." said Tyrius as he sat down again, gently stroking the egg's shell.

Pyria shrugged easily, "As long as we truly meet now, it's fine! I know most rarely meet me as they wish to be one way or another," her smile faltered for a moment. She looked around at the others, "It's very nice to meet you all."

Looking to stand taller so she could look down at Virra she chuckled, "I've been good -- I'm glad I get to cook and people get to enjoy! I have learned a few new recipes as well! New things to practice is always appreciated." The Eldarin waited patiently while Tyrius went to get his egg, continuing, "They have been very kind -- very kind indeed to me, even though they do not have to be."

With Tyrius returned and wyvern egg in tow, Pyria clasped her hands together, "Oh! How wonderful! I've never dealt with Wyverns, but in the feywild, pseudodragons are plentiful. I wonder if they might be the same?"

"Well, I dunno what pseudodragons are, but wyverns are huge." Virra spread her arms wide. "They screech a lot, and they have these huge evil stingers — but we can train them to do good, we think." She nudged Niradnam with her elbow. "She's great, isn't she? When I said I'd met an elf before, I was talking about her. Her door just opened right by the road and she was in there, making great food and being super nice."

She inched a little higher on her tiptoes to see Pyria better. "So, how long's it been since Ty's people figured out how to get your door to open? Sorry it took us so long to get it to them," she added, scuffing her toe on the floor. "We thought the doorknob could just attach to anything and it'd be fine, but... magic's finicky."

Performing a small movement, Pyria created an image of a small dragon, "They are tiny little dragons that never grow much larger than a cat at most. Very playful and eager for attention, it seems they don't appear much on this plane then ..." The Eladrin listened fascinated to Virra's description of the wyverns, "Oh my! They sound fearsome and fierce ... hopefully you can manage to tame such wild beasts."

At Virra's question of time she thought for a moment, "Hmm ... time is troubling to track within my plane ... but I think it had at least been two weeks before I heard something around my door and opened it to find strangers looking in!"

The journey here was an arduous one. She was around people again, yet still felt so largely alone. This new land was fascinating; as was her current company, however it wasn't home... Shit magsie that elf just popped out of a painting. She stated in stunned silence trying to see what was behind her... "Holy cow! Is that your house?" The fascinated cleric then attempted to climb passed her into what lay beyond.

With Magnolia trying to climb in, Pyria looked panicked, "Oh, uhm -- er, maybe you shouldn't ...?" As the halfling landed in the demiplane, a sensation seemed to flow over her while the Eladrin studied her expression. "Uhm, I live here yes -- I have for many years," tapping her fingers together, "I ... was exiled because I am too unstable ..."

Magnolias mouth drops in shock, as blood rushes to her face in anger. "Who said your were unstable? I'll fight them right here and now. They're crazy, I think your perfect!" Reaching out Mags tries to hold her hands, "do you like checkers?"

Pyria smiled at Mangolia, "I think your friends know what I mean ... my emotions are a little too much." At the mention of checkers she tilted her head, gesturing towards a shelf further in that was covered in various boardgames with their tokens, "I enjoy all games! I'm unsure which type you mean?"

A squeal of excitement and Magnolia is exploring the board game shelf. "Can we play this? Or this? Can we have a sleep over?"

”Oh, no,”
Eliza nervously chewed her lower lip and tried poking Mags with her mage hand to get her attention, ”Ms Pyria is awesome but her demiplane is kind of bewitching.” She waved at the elf, ”How do you do? I am very glad to see you again. How did they manage this anyway?” She asked as she took a closer look at the door and its knob, ”You said it was unstable?”

Niradnam stepped closer to the frame, very obvious interest written on his face, "I ... didn't think anything could pass through -- I thought it was just a window."

Inside, Pyria laughed happily at Magnolia's excitement, "We can play all -- but I warn the doorway doesn't always stay open ... I'd hate for you to get trapped here too and lose days in your plane." Watching the halfling dig through her collection -- many of them strange and archaic looking, some even appearing to require magic to work -- the Eladrin turned to Eliza with a smile, "I don't know -- I was ... I feared my door would be gone forever until a section of it opened up again. Something about roots and a frame? Perhaps since it was uprooted, the magic is ... unsure what to do?"

She shrugged, "Magic and its properties were never my strongsuit. Cooking and hosting are!"

With Magnolia hauling herself into the demiplane, Tyrius remembered something and turned to Virra, "Hey Virra, do you have the special little guy with you? Maybe we should check how he's doing and introduce them to Pyria too."

Virra squinted. "The special little... oh, obviously! He's still around." Rummaging in her bag for a moment, she pulled out the elemental's designated waterskin and uncapped it. "Hey, Clingy. Are you doing okay?" she asked, feeling faintly guilty for not having checked on it sooner.

A small tendril of water stretched out from the waterskin, Virra receiving a mental reply, "Ammm boooooored ... slosh sooo muuuuuuch."

Virra managed an awkward smile. "Right. Sorry about the sloshing." Resigning herself to getting her clothes all wet once again, she lowered her pinky finger down for the tendril to start winding its way up. "Climb aboard. There's someone here who wants to see you."

At Virra's invitation, the small water elemental began to emerge from the waterskin, flowing across her arms and gathering around her neck and shoulders, soaking her clothing. Niradnam raised an eyebrow at the elemental, noting, "Do you have a plan on what to ultimately do with the little elemental?"

Virra grimaced a little, but once the elemental was totally free of the waterskin she let her arms drop. "Sort of. I figure the Thief stole it from the sea, so... why not return it to the sea?" She gave the watery mass a poke. "The actual sea, though. Not the murderous, undead-slave-making Sea. Unless that really is the thing Clingy was taken from, in which case..." She sighs. "I guess if he still wants to go back, that's fine."

Tyrius grinned to the mass of water, "Heh, any idea where you were when the thief took you little guy? Anything about the area you can remember like a big building or an unusual mountain?"

Leaning towards and around the frame, Niradnam studied the demiplane, "I suppose that's as valid as anything else. Not entirely sure where the break is between the 'sea' and the Sea. Most elementals I think come from their own elemental plane ..." The elemental wobbled from Virra's poke, reaching up a wobbly watery tendril to poke back.

One of the servants hesitantly approached the group, bowing low, "Lords, Ladies ... we'll need to prepare for dinner this evening, and ..." they paused trying to decide how to word it politely, "... we will need to space for preparations."

Virra's face fell. "Another plane? That's gonna be hard to figure out..." Feeling a thin tendril of water poke her in retaliation, she giggled. "But maybe having him around for a little longer won't be so bad." Had it been another one of the servants shooing them out, she might have been annoyed. Since it was one of the kitchen staff, though, she couldn't possibly stay mad. "Okay, sure, no problem, we'll get out of your hair. You're doing a great job, by the way," she said, then gave Pyria an apologetic wave. "Sounds like we have to clear out. We'll come and talk some more when they're not preparing meals, okay? Have some time for a proper game or ten." Glancing off to the others, she added, "I'm gonna take Clingy for a walk and do a little shopping before dinner. Anyone wanna come with?" She looked straight up at Niradnam with a big smile on her face.

Pyria nodded through the frame, attempting to steer Magnolia away from her collection of games and instead out of the demiplane. "Perhaps then I can prepare a meal of my own to go along with a proper game!" The Eladrin offered cheerfully.

Pulling back from the frame, Niradnam glanced down at Virra, "Shopping? This late ...?" He scratched his face idly, "Er ... what all do you need to get?"

Virra's grin at the offer of Pyria-cooked food and board games began to look a little strained. "I mean... what don't I need to get?" she laughed. "There's trail snacks from the bakery, and, er, replacement shoe parts from the leather worker's, and some new clothes from the tailor because I've been wearing this same tunic for like two weeks now and anyway Val just got herself a fancy new outfit even though she already looks good in anything so I think it's only fair if I get something nice to wear too." She chewed her lip. "I... was also planning to check out the Royal Chimera," she tried. "The bookshop. I hear it's not bad."

At the sheer list of items Virra mentioned, the scholar's eyes opened wider, "That's a lot of things ... maybe some of that should be done in the morning? Some of them might close by the time you get there ..." Seeming to register what Virra was trying to get at he added, "I ... wouldn't mind checking in at the bookshop -- I didn't get a chance to earlier, from trying to focus on research ..."

Virra didn't bother to disguise her relief. "Great! We'd better get going then, gotta catch the Chimera people before they shut." She grabbed Niradnam's wrist and made for the door, trying not to splash the water elemental on him as she went.

"But I don't want to go! You are my friend and we have to play all these amazing games! Oohh what's that one called? I can't read the name." Magnolia dragged her feet as a toddler would, and with the extra ushering she goes completely limp... It's probably a good thing she doesn't weigh much or removing her may have been a problem.

Tyrius smiled, "Bookshop sounds like a good idea, I'm borrowing a few books from the library but wouldn't hurt to see what's in the bookshop too." he said as he patted Bookwyrm, "and maybe get some sort of special bag so I can carry this one as well." Looking to Pyria, Tyrius added, "Hopefully we get some answers soon and you can get out of that demiplane, but its good to see you're alright, Pyria."

Eliza helps in dragging their limp halfling away while waving goodbye to Pyria. The half-orc eyes widen at the mention of books and says, ”I would love to come too! Get up, Magnolia. That should cheer you up too!” she waves their cleric’s hand excitedly.

Pyria waved as the group left, turning to listen to the servant from earlier explain the intended menu for the night, her colors shifting to a deep orange, her hair looking like fallen leaves from a tree -- the first form the group originally met her as. Happily nodding she disappeared from the frame with one last wave towards the party, the sounds of the kitchen slowly coming to life instead of working on slower things in the various ovens.

Stepping through the castle, dragged by Virra, Niradnam glanced back, catching sight a few times of others in the group, commenting, "Oh ... looks like we'll be having company while we head to the Chimera?"

Virra blinked, then clocked the footsteps echoing behind them. She managed to smile at the same time as gritting her teeth. "Seems that way, huh." Now they'd be lucky to even get past the first stop on their trip, and she'd definitely have a headache from all the telepathic chatter once they were finished. She sped up, more to make herself feel better than in any hope of leaving the interlopers behind.

Looking down at the deep gnome, the scholar looked back, then towards Virra as she heard in her mind, "I think I can slow them down at least, if you wanted to maybe give 'Clingy' it's walk first ...?" Turning to look over his shoulder, Niradnam focused for a moment further down the hall as a faintly transparent wall blocked the hallway, almost looking like glass. Those that tried to follow down that route would have found something blocking their path that felt solid and seemed to resist efforts to push past. After a few moments, Niradnam and Virra now out of sight, it fell away and allowed passage once more.

The moment Niradnam turned his head, Virra did the same, ready for a show of power. The wall that sprung up down the corridor easily beat her expectations. "Is -- is that a forcefield?" she squeaked, quickly taking advantage of the time the elf had bought to rush off down the corridor and put some distance between them and the others.

Eliza tried to initially give the mystics the benefit of the doubt but after some knocking and vigorous waving failed to catch their attention, she turned around and looked at Mags and Tyrius with an angry snort as realization finally crept in, ”Well, that was certainly subtle of them...” She said rolling her eyes.

Tyrius shrugged, "Maybe they want some alone time? We can still go book shopping." cheered the sorcerer, "and let's not forget satchel shopping for bags big enough to hold the Eggs on their own. After we can use them as dedicated pet bags for their food and stuff."

”Yeah, well they could have said something.” Eliza sighed but the idea of book shopping cheered her up, as did the full money pouch in her bag. ”Let’s grab Val and have some ice cream after. These two can have all the time they need for all I care.”

Stepping out into the evening light of Wyford, Niradnam chuckled, "They truly do like to stick together, don't they?"

Outside, she let out a loud cheer. "That was the best! You're the best." She practically danced on the spot, suddenly full of energy again. "I've heard of wizards doing stuff like that, but... wow. Before tomorrow you gotta show me all your other tricks, okay? Promise? We can trade!"

Running a finger along his braid the scholar smiled, "I can't maintain it for too long, but it has it's uses." He glanced around, "Ah ... sure, but some of my abilities don't really have a way to see if they've done anything. Like what I've done in the fights we've had, where I can give people almost a ... buffer of energy to shrug off attacks. It's not really visible unless it's the right circumstances."

Happy just to have heard him agree, Virra nodded excitedly. "Sure, sure, that stuff sounds cool too. A little like the kinds of teleporting I can do -- they look pretty similar, but there's subtlety to it. Oh, and if you make energy buffers and stuff, maybe we can throw little rocks at each other to test them. I think we trust each other enough for that, right?" She was a constant stream of chatter as they walked, only ever slowing down or lowering her voice if she saw a member of the public passing close by.

Niradnam thought for a moment as they walked, "I suppose that would be a way ... I can also move things around at range, people too if I can manage to overpower them ... unfortunately it's still somewhat weak, so it's limited. There's also my ... manipulation to myself, or healing without divination." Going through the usual motions for a "spell" he created a small burst of lightning between his hands, "Honestly ... this is probably the flashiest I can do, it's very quick ... and I tend to miss..." he glanced away, frustration on his face.


"Ooooh." Virra bent close to watch the lightning flicker. "That's really, really neat. So you can make more than just fire, huh? Wish I had something like that back when we were fighting the coin monster." Seeing him look away, she glanced up again. "Hey, don't be too hard on yourself," she said, grinning. "At least people know when you're fighting. If I wanna make a statement I have to use that glimmery piece of junk, and she probably hits things less than you do."

She slowed her pace a little, struck by a thought. "Actually, about that. I know you got your crystal ball, but are you sure you don't wanna take a couple more of the things we grabbed? Even if you're not gonna use them, I'm sure you could sell them for a fortune. Like that ring," she suggested, "the one that heals your injuries and grows back your limbs super fast. I bet some nobles'd pay thousands of gold for it, and then you could use that money to help with your search, right?"
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One Thousand Club
Evening of the Twenty-first Day | Wyford:

With a smile, Niradnam kept his hands together, "Much more than just fire." A small crack of thunder sounded from between his palms, followed by a burst of cold, then a splash of acid that dissipated before it could hit the ground. "Different elements tend to be useful at different times, but I usually stick to fire as it's ... recognizable as a 'spell'." He chuckled at her complaints about the bow, "Yes ... I have a rapier, but the sun ... bothers me too much, even with that I rarely hit as well. At least it can be a threat potentially."

The scholar shrugged at her offer, "The ring ... I don't know, usually their biggest concern is poisoning and I don't think it works against that. Besides, since you all were very keen on splitting everything evenly, I've got quite a bit of wealth to my name as it is," he patted his coin pouch on his hip. "Most of my search to start with is going to be digging through books ..." he brought a hand to his chin as he thought, mumbling, "I'll need to look through maps ... atlases of the other continents and islands ..."

Shaking his head he looked back at the gnome, "Your group seems to find themselves in more typical danger than a stack of tomes falling over, perhaps you'll find a use for it, or as you said, you can sell it to fund your own adventures." Clasping his hands behind his back as they went he added, "If I didn't manage to sell the ring before Azarad, it'd be likely collected by the University, and there's mostly villages along the way -- I doubt anyone could pay its true value. As it is I'll need to keep the orb private. Don't forget, I was originally sent on a trail to find magical objects -- hopefully they'll be pleased with the notes I took."


Virra made a face. "The University sounds worse and worse every time I hear about it," she muttered, then shrugged. "I mean... the offer still stands, if you change your mind. It just doesn't seem fair letting you go away with just the crystal ball and the money, y'know? Especially since you're gonna have the hardest job, finding your people on your own. Going to other continents, too..."

She laughed a little, unconsciously mimicking Niradnam's stance by tucking her hands behind her back. "I've always wanted to do that. Cross the sea, I mean, I dunno where the first stop would be. Eventually I might get to see everything, if I go quickly enough. But I've never actually been out of Okesh -- before I heard about the murders in Porthca, I just spent a few years roaming around near Chilldrift trying to check off all the villages. Never even went south of the Angbrarbekkr Mountains until I heard those stories about nobles dying."

A pebble found its way under her shoe, and she kicked it along in front of her. "Thinking about it now, I don't know if I was being... inefficient, I guess, spending so much time up there. Or if I should have stayed longer in each of those villages to try and savour the stuff I was doing at the time." She shrugged again, then looked back to Niradnam. "I'm really jealous of you elves sometimes, y'know? You've got time for so much more than the rest of us. Like three, four times the life I'm gonna get to have." Another kick of the pebble. "Twice what my mom's gonna get." She sighed. "...I'm babbling again, right?"
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Evening of the Twenty-first Day | Wyford:

Chuckling Niradnam replied, "I suppose it depends on what you hear about it. It truly is a fascinating place -- the magic is so strong there, even just an errant thought from a magic user can create reactions, and even those who try to do magic on purpose sometimes find it suddenly has a will of its own. The buildings on the campus open up into demiplanes -- since the city grew out around the University, they couldn't expand, so Azarad himself devised a whole theory of magic about how to compress space within structures to allow the school to expand without issue." Niradnam spread his arms out, "Then there's a wall around the campus as well -- to help keep non-students and staff out -- but the wall is alive! It knows everyone that passes through its gate, and it's fascinating to talk to ... Azarad Foxe's last Construct before he disappeared ..." he smiled thinking about the place before noticing Virra's tone.

Scratching his head, "Nothing says I can't come ask you all for help, right? When I think I've got a solid lead? If anything I'm getting the 'boring' part out of the way first." He listened as she continued, chuckling when she worried about babbling, "I think it's fairly obvious I'm the last person who should complain if someone rambles." Coughing lightly he sent to her mind, "Though perhaps be a little more subtle on the ... elven part."

Thinking for a moment he finally continued the conversation, "I suppose the question is, what are you hoping to do ultimately? Do you want to say 'I've been everywhere', but not have any memories of each place beyond passing through, or say 'I've left my mark', interacting in those places, leaving a legacy in people's memories, or something that will carry on long after you were there?" Niradnam frowned, "You could have ten years or ten thousand, it doesn't matter if someone cuts you down the next day." He looked down at the gnome with a sad smile, "There are no promises, sadly."

Messing with his hair again, he glanced away, realizing he'd brought the mood down. "Personally, I prefer to leave some sort of mark, hopefully positive. The traveling I have managed, I try to ... poke things, here and there. Maybe I'll get a chance to see how it affects things, maybe not. For instance, giving a promising young blacksmith a book of techniques that they might never have received otherwise, merely asking they pass it down to the next promising blacksmith they meet, or helping establish a trade route between two towns that individually struggle, but together can survive." He shrugged, "I may never see what becomes of my actions, but I hope the influence will be a positive one and carry through the generations. Mountains do not begin as mountains, it takes time." Smiling he looked down at Virra again, "See? Now I'm rambling. ... may I ask what you mean about your mother?"


The way he described the University did serve to make it a lot more interesting in Virra's mind, but she wasn't about to admit that. At his warning about the "elf" subject, she clapped a hand over her mouth. "Oh, heck, was I talking really loud? Sorry. I didn't... sorry."

Tbe sombre talk quickly brought down her mood, but she still made an attempt to defend herself. "It's not like I just walked into each of those villages, got a room at the inn and left the next day," she protested. "I got work, I talked to people, I found out what the local customs and specialties were. I explored it all. And then when I'd had my fun, I moved on to get more. Making memories is the whole point; those actually last." A wry smile rose to her face. "All the stuff with Lestone and the Sea is the first time I've tried to "make my mark" since I struck out from home. Maybe the longest I've ever held down a single job, too." She went to kick the pebble again, but clipped its side and sent it skittering off into a gutter. "We'll see if that lasts as well, I guess."

At the question about her mother, Virra hesitated for an unusual length of time. "She's a forest gnome," she said eventually. "My dad, he's a deep gnome. My sister and I got a little more of his side." She raised a hand to her cheek and pinched the deep greyish-brown skin. "I dunno how much you know about the way we age, but forest gnomes can live to be about five hundred years old if they're healthy. Deep gnomes? We get half of that." Her smile widened, though there wasn't much joy to it. "I dunno, it's weird, right? How eventually I'm just gonna be one of her memories? Long after everyone else is gone, too. Except maybe you."

She stopped and rapped the side of her head with her knuckles. "See, that's the kind of thing I think about when I'm not doing stuff. Why don't you tell me a little more about these atlases you're after?" she tried, now wearing something close to an actual smile. "Were you thinking of heading to Negrastir first? Or Vopral? Or do you need to finish your research before you decide?"
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One Thousand Club
Evening of the Twenty-first Day | Wyford:

With a laugh, Niradnam raised his arms at Virra's defensiveness, "Apologies, I didn't understand. If it makes you feel better, being at Azarad is the longest I've been somewhere that wasn't home."

Listening as she explained the lifespans he nodded, "Yes ... that sort of thing is why I try to leave a mark where I can. People can be fleeting, and their memories, but history and the people down the line will enjoy what I've done, even if they have no idea who I was." Scratching his cheek he added, "... if you're worried about being just a memory to her at some point, should you not be trying to ... make more memories? With the time you had?"

Virra's question of the books made him smile again, "I'll need to report to my keepers first -- the ones that funded my trip out here. While they pour over my notes, I can spend time in the library -- the interesting part about books in the University is some of them have been there long enough, they've been affected by the magic." Spreading his hands before him like he was holding a large book, "The maps and atlases, not all of them mind, but the oldest ... you can open them and see the world, it will rise above the pages, like the most realistic illusion you've ever seen. If you bring a magnifying glass, you can even spot small villages tucked away on the images." Miming like he was closing the book, the scholar thought, "I don't know ... it will depend where I actually need to go. I definitely won't be headed somewhere in Okesh, the orb showed me ... a thick forest, but instead of the dim of the Forest, it was almost like night, save for the faint flecks of light that managed to get through the trees. There was a woman who seemed to stare at me, in the vision. Her dress and clothing was so different from what I'd seen before, but I have no doubt she had been waiting for that scry."

Running a finger along the edge of his arcane focus he continued, "... it seems like at some point ... the people were split. Some remain in the Forest here, and others landed elsewhere. I hope to ask some Elders perhaps if they recall what happened or why, but I don't know if they will actually give answers or brush me off." Looking frustrated for a moment he sighed, "Regardless, it will definitely be an adventure, and I'd be honored if I can call on you and your friends for help when the time comes. I expect if they've been hidden for so long, the path is not easy."


Virra utterly misunderstood Niradnam's point. "I mean, yeah, I said I've been making memories this whole time, right? I'm not gonna stop or anything." His explanation of the vision he'd seen, and the woman in the lightless forest, was far more interesting, and she jumped at the idea of somehow helping him find her. "No, please. I insist," she said quickly, then snorted at her unusually formal tone. "I mean, assuming the group even lasts another month, I'm sure we'd all be willing to help you. And even if they aren't, I will be. So feel free to check up on me with that crystal ball of yours whenever you want." She paused. "Within reason."

As they neared the Royal Chimera, she rubbed the back of her head. "That reminds me, actually. I still haven't told Eliza about her parents." She looked back over her shoulder like she might see the half-orc coming down the street behind them. "I'm not sure what she saw when she scried for them, but... well, they're definitely alive at least, and she doesn't look like she's in a panic, so I guess they're healthy too." She shook her head. "I don't understand that girl at all."


One Thousand Club
Evening of the Twenty-first Day | Wyford:

"I'll try to use my power responsibly,"
the fellow mystic chuckled, "If I peer in I'll try to keep it towards the evenings or something." Holding his hands in front of him like they held something Niradnam added, "Besides, one way or the other, assuming the wyverns hatch, we'll have to see how they grow up. I still need to come up with a name ..."

Scratching his head as well, "Eliza ... is a very complex person. She had me under her thumb for awhile, and glared at me quite a bit, but she still did not ... sell me out, so to speak. That's something I greatly appreciate, as I expect you might understand." Glancing towards the bookshop, the evening colors reflecting on the storefront, "I sat with her when she scried on them -- walking her through the process. She said they looked to be stuck in tunnels with others under the mountain." Niradnam shrugged, "She asked if I knew anything, but honestly this is the furthest north I've gone, beyond Azarad."

Crossing his arms he looked around the area as well, "She may not be in a panic ... but I think she has other ways of showing her concern. She and Tyrius really have a bad habit of not sleeping -- at some point that's really going to come back to bite them."


Virra giggled. "Eliza's scary sometimes. I never really spoke to her while we were growing up, but I think she used to be much more shy. Maybe the University changed her — or maybe it comes from being on the road. Either way, I have a feeling she's gonna go far." She considered telling Niradnam more about that feeling and how she'd had it since even before arriving in Porthca, but decided against it. It wasn't even a vision or any kind of divination, just an inexplicable thought she'd had. For all the mental powers Virra possessed, she wasn't sure she could be called precognitive as well.

She sighed. "Yeah, under a mountain makes sense. I know they're near the mountains just behind Chilldrift. Why the heck would a couple of rummage shop owners go there...?" She didn't know the Carabellis well enough to guess, but she did remember hearing something about them being former adventurers... well, it wasn't worth theorising out loud. "If Eliza loses any more sleep, I'll chain her up in her bedroll," Virra vowed. "And she better not come up with any more excuses. As soon as we're finished in Porthca, I'll make sure she heads straight for home."

"But you're right, I really do need to think of a name for the little guy, or girl,"
she went on. "Ty was onto something good with Bookwyrm, since that'll be cute no matter how the wyvern turns out. Oh, but it'll be bad if it really hates books... no, actually that might work in sort of an ironic sense. It'll be way worse if it doesn't care about books one way or another..." She continued to ramble as she pushed open the door to the Chimera and dutifully held it for her mystic companion.


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Meandering along after they'd been stopped by a sudden force, Tyrius was mostly concerned with just getting supplies to help take care of Bookwyrm and their siblings. He'd already decided that he needed a bag to act as a sling for the egg and as somewhere safe to keep Bookwyrm while they were a hatchling and keep supplies for taking care of a young wyvern.

"Eliza," said Tyrius suddenly as he continued to keep pace with Eliza, feeling fairly drained after his late night research driven mostly at trying to do something useful, "Anything we'd need to get to Chilldrift once we're finished up in Porthca? What's the climate like in Chilldrift?"


One Thousand Club
Evening of the Twenty-first Day | Wyford | Royal Chimera Writings:

Niradnam raised an eyebrow at Virra as he stepped inside, "What ultimately will you consider being 'finished' in Porthca?" Entering the bookstore it was cramped as usual, the shelves full of various books and tomes, a small section along one wall holding scrolls. A shelf of small bottles displays inks in various colors with quills and examples of each ink color on display. Stacks of parchment and blank journals sit to the side, while a halfling woman sits behind the counter -- scrolls that give a hint of magic stored behind her in a locked cabinet.

Flipping a page in her book, she glances up at the customers who enter, tucking her curly black hair behind an ear as it had gotten loose again. "Welcome to the Royal Chimera Writings -- think I've seen you two around town a few times already. If you need anything let me know."

Bowing his head towards the woman, the scholar replied, "Of course." Running a hand gently along the books he smiled, mentioning to Virra, "I always enjoy being surrounded by books ... it's very calming to me." Returning to the topic of pet names he thought for a moment, "With Egnaro, the name sort of came with him ... just the first thing that came to mind. Perhaps with the ..." he paused remembering the owner was present, "when the egg hatches, I'll get inspiration then. Some cultures used to name their children after the first thing they saw after birth. Perhaps that will be my method." He chuckled, "Though if it ends up just being 'student falling over' that might need some adjustment."


”Chilldrift is, well, chilly.” Eliza replied with an amused smile that turned worried, “Are you sure you want to come that far though. I know we have been through a lot together these past few weeks but I don’t expect the group to leave everything and travel hundreds of miles North.“

She trudged along exhausted trying to keep up with their pace, “Especially Ander, his immediate responsibility lies here and I think he needs as many people for what is coming next.“

“Mine is to figure out a way to talk to my parents long distance. Maybe then I can learn why they have been stuck in those tunnels for so long.”
She muttered as her mental checklist kept expanding and rearranging. ”I don’t know what additional help I could offer them since they are better wizards than I am. I still owe them to try but the fact that they haven’t been able to escape whatever it was worries me.”


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Tyrius nodded as Eliza shared her worries. "I'm sure," said Tyrius, "We've no issue with funds at the moment to get a wagon and horses to go North. Only issue is The Sea, Lestone and now this slaver problem." Tyrius said, shaking his head a little as he thought of those cursed manacles. "Wonder if any more of Ander's people were dragged into slavery?" asked Tyrius idly as they followed along, the distance between the pair of them and Virra and Niradnam increasing with each step they took, "And we'll help your parents. Even if it's just the two of us, you have my word." said Tyrius.

"Those two seem, pretty cosy huh?" said Tyrius, motioning with his quarterstaff towards Virra and Niradnam.


“Very.” Eliza said in a huff still feeling miffed. She looked back worried, “Poor Sybeth. What was done to her was horrifyingly savage,” Her grip on her cane tightened as fell out of step with Tyrius for a moment, “Those...beasts probably have more of the Lathander folk in chains. I promised Ander I would help but...” The half-orc just sighed eyeing her boots.
"It's not just Anders people that have been taken... There are hundreds of slaves in the Empire..." Mags who had been walking with them quietly, piped up.
Her hand travelled up to the hand carved holy symbol around her neck.

take it easy Mags and breath this time, you know the drill and keep your shit together. You and Val could both use some ice cream. Do what you do, take care of people.

Hey Val, how are you holding up? You've been worse then me lately.

Thankfully they managed to pry her from flute practice to come shopping with them.
Val was just a kid, she needs something between a mom and a best friend right now... And icecream.


One Thousand Club
Valerie had been trudging along behind the party, idly watching the streets of Wyford as she went. She had a lot on her mind, which was not a sensation that she was particularly fond of. The past few days, she had been doing a lot of thinking of all the advice that she had been given by her friends. The warlock was unsure of what to make of it all, and it was consuming much of her free time. As she heard a sudden voice in her head, however, Valerie jumped slightly before looking over to the halfling, recalling that she could speak with her mind. "Oh, hello there Magnolia. I am doing alright, just thinking about... things." There was a brief pause before she continued. "How are you? I know that you have been facing some difficulty recently as well."
"Just keeping on, keeping on. You can't change the past only shape the future. I was thinking about icecream, do they have icecream here? We need icecream or a confectionery."

Val was a good kid and mags had taken a shine to her. It was weird to be in this older sister role and attempt to be responsible but Mags was going to give it a shot... It had been a while since she had been a big sister.


One Thousand Club
Valerie's eyes lit up at the mention of the treat and she nodded. "Even better. When I had decided to reveal to the others my true identity, I wanted to get them something to serve as an apology. I went to a bakery called the 'Tasty Coin', and in addition to their fantastic cookies, they sold a treat that I had thought was only native to Emberhallow. It is called 'frozen yogurt', and it is truly fantastic. Far healthier than ice cream as well, or so they say." She seemed to be easing up as the conversation turned to more pleasant topics.


Virra blinked. "Well, 'being done' is finding out for sure why the Sea has been having nobles killed and putting a stop to it, letting Lestone to go away or break free from her control, and getting Clingy back wherever he wants to go." She gave the water elemental a pat, then quickly stepped away from a bookshelf before it could ripple out a little and ruin everything on it. "After that... well, I don't know what. The main reason why the group gathered will be done with. I'll have done what my mom said she does and solved a mystery. And then I'll see if I enjoyed it more than just wandering, taking things at my own pace."

She might have gone on, but the halfling woman was speaking. And... had seen the two of them around, apparently. Nah, that can't be right. Virra could have sworn they'd barely seen any of each other. The store owner probably just said that to everyone coming in.

Seeing Niradnam lovingly stroke the book he held, she couldn't help but smirk. "Yeah, I can tell. Those first few days in Castle Silverbane I thought you just slept in the library."

Even though she couldn't enthuse about books, she could at least chat about names. "Hey, you're not *that* clumsy," she teased. "But if that's your method, I'll try it. Hopefully it'll come up with something better than 'broken eggshell'."


One Thousand Club
Evening of the Twenty-first Day | Wyford | Royal Chimera Writings:

"Why stop at just one mystery?"
Niradnam looked back down at Virra as they meandered through the small aisles. Pulling out a few here and there to look at their covers, "I guess it seems strange to me, after seeing your group together for these past few days, that everyone would just ... scatter once things are done." At her comment about sleeping in the library he chuckled, "I won't deny that's where I tend to spend most of my time."

Thinking for a moment, "Broken eggshell could sound interesting if you don't say it in common perhaps." Pausing he turned towards the gnome, "So, what did you need to get here?"

Evening of the Twenty-first Day | Wyford | Toasty Coin Bakery:

The party heading off towards the Bakery, the Dwarven shop owner glanced up at the group entering so late, looking a little confused. Climbing up behind her counter the woman gave a smile, "What can I offer you all? Unfortunately I've already let my ovens cool for the night, so any breads and treats like that are only from earlier in the day."


Senior Member
As they entered the shop and a little bell over the door rang to announce their presence, Tyrius walked up to the counter and nodded respectfully to the baker, "Well, have you got any ice cream or tarts?" said Tyrius with a smile, "Some donuts perhaps?" Glancing over his shoulder to his friends, Tyrius said, "Anything else you all fancy? I'll be buying."
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