Alseera’s Journal, 21st Entry
We took a brief trip to Domas on the Carpet. It took but minutes, instead of hours of walking. I estimated that it goes ten times as fast as we can walk. While there, we searched the landslide and found three of the rubies, plus finding all the little caves and such were now gone, along with the two magical entries, and the old mansion beneath was now crushed to nothing.
We had quite a discussion over going to hunt for Wanda. Whurel was absolutely adamant that we had to go at once, no preparations of any kind. He would not listen to any countering opinions or arguments.
I thought of two possible reasons why Whurel is so adamant. One, the evil in the pools and gold affected him strongly, and he is falling under the control of the DLF
and thus trying to lead us to our doom at the DLF’s hands; that thankfully turned out to be false. Two, he and Wanda were becoming friends, even exchanging gifts, and I have to wonder if he has fallen in love with her. He denied this, but it did come out that the necklace she gave him was a magical one, so maybe she was the love-struck one.
I finally remembered some things about those old earth-magic pillars. They were made by the Venar, or “The First Ones.” They are sometimes referred to either as “early Elven” or “early Human” civilizations (depends on who is doing the referring).
We returned to Skirgaard in time for their post-battle Healing Ceremony. Herger gathered us up and explained that after a battle, all the warriors gather in the long house to drink to the dead and heal the living. He added that we all fought well, and the Jarl invited us.
He brought us into the long hall. As before, the warriors sat either on rugs or on the dirt floor itself, all along the long thin fire pit down the center of the hall. The Jarl sat on his bench conversing with several of his knights. Conversations revolved around “burials” for the dead, rebuilding the village that was attacked, and how such a large group of orcs and ogres managed to make it so far into Shorkyne unnoticed. Evidently, Theo’s main force of knights encountered a much larger horde than we had to deal with.
The feast was mostly similar to the one the day before, but with some differences. The dead warriors were much more obvious this time, laid out on tables to one end of the hall. Warriors moved around the bodies, drinking, singing, and telling each other stories about the dead. Tiresias, the Seer, moved around the room. The food and drink was similar to last night, mead, venison, roasted fowl, but more flavorful and more filling this time. As Tiresias went about, he touched warriors on the shoulder or back, sometimes blowing on their food. They accepted this as normal. He came and touched us, too, briefly. I wanted to ask him questions, but there was no time.
In the later hours of the evening, when most plates were cleaned, drums started from the edges of the hall, a rhythmic sort of drone. The warriors began a sort of chant that flowed with the rhythm. Tiresias was again moving about the room, up and down the line of the fire. He had his own chant, something about war, battle, death and then healing and sleep. Occasionally, he tossed some small bit of powder into the fire, making bursts of light and smoke.
My eyelids then started to hang heavy, my full tummy making sleep the most wonderful idea in the world. The pounding of the drums speeded up; the chant grew stronger. Tiresias turned and wended his way around much faster, and he seemed to take on the form of an eagle. The drums came to a thunderous climax and stopped with one final enormous beat. In that same instant, Eagle-Tiresias threw back his head and exhaled a billowing cloud of fire, sparks, and smoke that enveloped the entire hall.
I should have been fascinated and excited by all this, but the exact opposite happened. Almost as if I were watching myself, I saw my head nod forward, my eyes close, and myself drift off into dreams. Tiresias is not just a seer; he must be some kind of shaman, priest, or mage, either self-empowered or gifted by an entity I do not know.
And what a revelation! I’ve had dreams before, but the vividness and detail of this scene made it more real than I’ve ever experienced before, including the dreams I have of new magics. No ordinary dream, it was a true vision! I found myself to be invisible, standing in a place I’d never been, and these scenes played out before me.
At first I am in a forest glen, green with summer growth. Ahead of me is a beautifully constructed temple of white stones, its arches and pillars adorned with reliefs of forest animals, satyrs and Sylvan script. A person emerges from the temple: male, a human perhaps, or an elf? He walks surefootedly past me, and my invisible self turns to keep him in sight.
Who or what is this person? He is dressed in a loose white linen shirt and beige pants going to the calf. He walks barefoot. He has a human’s height, a dwarf’s thick beard and thick muscles and the pointed ears of an elf — a mix of features I’ve never encountered. Yet, his face is so familiar! This is a person I should know, if only I could remember who!
The figure walks a short distance to a carved post which stands in the clearing. It stands straight and tall, about nine feet high and two feet thick at the top, with odd glyphs and runes covering the whole shaft.
The curious-looking person holds out his hand and magical light begins to crackle from it, arcing to the pole. He opens his shirt, revealing glyphs on his chest similar to those on the pole. With one hand he touches these symbols on his chest. With the other hand, he reaches out and touches the glyphs on the pole. Crackling orange magical sparks arc to and expand around the figure, obscuring him. A quick flash of orange light fills my vision entirely. Then, the strange orange light is gone.
The man still stands touching the pole, but otherwise the scene is changed. Now I see now an open hillside, a vineyard with grapes ripening in the sun. The strange man steps away from the post, adjusting his shirt. He spends a few moments inspecting the grapes, and then heads down the hill.
I turn to see where he goes, but do not go with him. From my vantage point, he is heading down the hill towards a magnificent city built of gleaming white stones. The likes of it I have never seen, even in all of Trierzon. Then the vision faded and I spent the rest of the night in dreamless sleep.
As soon as I woke I took out the copy I made of the runes on the pillar on the plateau above Domas Mostellaria, comparing them to the ones in my mind’s eye from the vision. They are, except for the wear and tear of time, the same. Those poles then must be some kind of incredible teleportation device, and I am seeing a vision of the far past.
I have racked my brain about who the man/dwarf/elf may be. Is he a Venar, one of those who are thought to have built these pillars? His looks may mean the Venar are a mix of dwarven, elven, and human ancestry, or the progenitors of all three. And that city in the distance is perhaps the ancient seat of learning comparable to what Seville is now.
That still leaves the mystery of why he seems to be someone I should remember. I just don’t know; perhaps that will come to me with time.
Could he be one of those in the poem? The healer? The user of “green’s power”? He certainly used the ancient earth magic.
Why now do I have this particular vision, when I have been so concerned with other things? It is so very different from my recent past (the white dragon and my near brush with death, meeting the Shorkyne folk, a new culture, Tiresias the seer, the god-like eagle, the angst over the rescue of Wanda from the DLF
) as to be almost jarring.
We finally solved the mystery of the green and red coins. The stain it leaves on you is fiendish in nature, a kind of poisonous disease. Bernard found this out by looking at the coins thorugh the Gem of True Seeing, which evidently made its fiendish nature very evident. His laying on of hands, and Kethra’s spells were able to rid me and her of any taint. Bernard and Whurel seem to be immune. In any case, we now have a way to get rid of the effects, and must quickly sequester all the affected gold. It took a bit of effort to get all the gold coins I’d spent at the silversmith’s back, but it’s done and only a couple of problems remain: 1. Kethra will decontaminate the last bank employee (she’s already done 2). 2. We need to get the gold that Dane had and exchange that out, too. It also turned out that Quizmet was badly affected by experimenting with the fluids from the pool, but he has now been decontaminated as well, by Bernard, and is recovering.
We sold most of the gems we had, from the ogre, the frost giant, and 2 of the Domas rubies.. Each of us gets approximately 360 gold, plus which we have the one gem left (one of the rubies, which were going for 450 each) which I’d left with Bernard to help pay for holy water, but he used his money to buy some instead. We’ll sell that last gem later and distribute the proceeds after paying Bernard back for the holy water. As I write this, Bernard and Whurel are off to a sunset ceremony at Seker to talk to the Brothers there about getting the contaminated gold cleansed.
Bernard and Kethra had dreams after the Healing Feast; for some reason, Whurel did not. Anyway, Bernard’s dream involved essentially eavesdropping on a conversation between an old person (he saw an aged hand with many age-spots on it) and Bella. What he overheard was essentially that Lord Tymek (spelling?) had returned, and that the old person no longer needed Bella’s red and green magic, which was weak by comparison. Also, it seemed Bernard knew that Bella’s escape was an “inside job” and that the perpetrator was still “inside.” Needs investigation. And the Dark Lord of Fear may well be Lord Tymek. The old person also mentioned that this Lord Tymek was the original “red hand.” That’s all very strange, because the name Tymek is the same as the 2nd Azeryan emperor, a nasty person historically. Did that emperor become so evil as to become a powerful undead?
Kethra’s dream was of being a dire wolf, and following a voice that turned out to be that of a young satyr. She ended up in a glade where both moons very very bright, and Selene (her moon) quite large. The satyr advised Kethra that she needed to find “Her” because then everything would be good again. She was to use all her senses, sight, hearing and smell, to do so.
Wesley is gone, moved back home. Dane has moved out, and sent a couple of letters. One said he was living above the Filthy Unicorn (a tavern), but Whurel says there is no living space up there, only a crawl space. Very oddly, the two letters were in different handwriting, and the signature was different on each. This needs investigation.
Tuallerton tried to do a scrying about Wanda, but it failed. While that was going on, Whurel reported that Tuallerton discovered that the necklace Wanda gave to Whurel was a “lover’s necklace” and could find her…but it couldn’t! So she is somehow sequestered somewhere, or on another plane, or magically shielded. This is disturbing, as it makes it harder to find out exactly where to go.
Curiously, though, Whurel seemed to know that the “heart of blackness” was associated with the Azeryan empire and that it was in a mountain pass somewhere on the border between Trierzon and the Empire. How he knows this he didn’t (to me, anyway) say, but I suspect he also had a vision, but for some reason didn’t want to admit such.
I told Argent and Aurumay all about the issues above, including the Bella “insider,” the problems with Quizmet (now, thankfully, solved), the dragon battle and subsequent matters: meeting the descendants of the Knights Guardian, still extant as the Guardian Knights of Shorkyne, the meeting of the crown prince of Shorkyne, the rituals, the feasts, the predictions of Tiresias, the visions, everything.
Visions…this time of new magics, came on late in the day. I seem to have a more powerful way of affecting minds now, so that I can stop violence without having to kill. And my recent encounters with fiendish things seems to have combined with my new knowledge of the planes…I can knock fiends back to their hellholes of origin. Whatever well of power I am tapping into seems to be growing.