We're off to see the Wizard...
Week 2, Meeting Deering
When last we left people, they were in an inn at the town outside the Black Mage's castle which is on the Lapidian/Chyoxan border. About a half-day has elapsed since we last saw the Black Mage years ago. We go to our room, and consult the map of here after a discussion over how much magical stuff we should be doing. We find a pin representing where we came in, a similar one in town (perhaps our friend in the bar?), and a whole bunch of things around the castle. Alag blows the area up on the map, and there are a bunch of castle-shaped pins all near each other.
Chris remembers that he knows some spells form the last time we were here, so he tries to detect magic. We show up above the background radiation, but not too bad. We decide to take a look, and open up the omniport (which also shows up as very magical once opened). We send a window to that spot. We notice our friend from downstairs, holding a blaster-like pistol, stepping out of a door. He checks the surroundings, holsters his pistol, opens his robes revealing a skin-tight black garment and some sort of controls. He dismisses the door, folds back a cowl over his head with silver piping and wings on the forehead.
We find that the omniport records (we didn't ask 'til after we viewed), and we study the recording (we were lucky enough to have its recording on). He seems to have been dressed in some sort of black and silver. The area the fellow stepped out of is some sort of shiny room -- a lab, control room, and so on.
We debate this, and decide upon the direct approach. The fellow is not in the bar, and we send a message up to his room. Alag follows the kid who goes up with second sight, finds the kid knock on the door, deliver the message.
The fellow goes into his room, gives a check, opens up a book thing, and pulls an image of Chris, zeros in on the backpack that has some magic stuff in it, checking him over. Then he tidies himself up and Chris, Cantrel, Alag and Ashleigh head upstairs, meeting the fellow in the hall. We agree to talk in his room.
Chris talks to him, being direct but still dancing around, and then Cantrel just comes out with asking him if we can work together or apart.
He fusses about credentials and not knowing who we are, and we tell him that we've been traveling under the name Crosstime. This fellow tells us he's heard of that. We silently hope that that's good.
He explains that he's here to investigate the goings on, and we decide to level with him. We tell him that we're on vacation, a social visit to the Black Mage, whom we've been allies with before.
He seems impressed that we're here on vacation, and we assure him that we are. He thought we were also on business to investigate. He mentions that he had trouble getting here before the events that happened. We tell him that we were here just a few hours ago, and recently returned. He asks, "How few hours?" explaining that there was the big disturbance a few hours ago.
Chris responds, "I don't remember, it's been a while. We missed that, though."
Chris and Cantrel talk, and Chris gives a quick overview of our last adventure in Hreme.
We find out that he is Group Commander Anthony Deering of Paratime. His masters [sic] are wanting to talk to the Black Mage with some sort of a business deal. Ashleigh (who's been keeping an eagle-eye on Deering) is of the opinion that this is the truth. We introduce ourselves to him. Ashleigh notices a hint of something for Jonathan Lawless (Cantrel) and himself. Ashleigh asks if they've met, Deering says, simply that the name is familiar, and descends into social lies. Ashleigh smiles weakly.
We agree to head off to the castle together. We regroup. Ashleigh opines that he's likely what he seems -- a high level officer, who's not necessarily opposed to us. Chris notes that if they've a true business deal for him, we may not be able to compete, as we're not especially long on things to offer for a magical pantope. Cantrel agrees, and gives it an oh-well.
We meet, and Deering is somewhat interested in riding, but is willing to walk. Cantrel asks the djinn (Alag) if he can whip up a flying carpet. Chris thinks this is a good idea, and Alag shrugs and fobs up a flying carpet.
We board, strap ourselves on. Deering considers and decides to come along. Once we're out of town, Deering pulls out some sunglasses, pulls up his cowl. We scoot up to the castle, and tour around the place, seeing the gargoyles (that spoke to us before), standing stones, and so on. We notice a small person, scuttling among the standing stones. We go past the stone giants, and get up to where the castle ought to be.
We decide to investigate the bridge heading into nowhere, and get discouraged when some stone harpies animate. We decide to go way up, and down. We end up outside the gate. Oh, well.
Deering takes off his burnoose and gets comfy. Glorian tosses a pebble at the field, and nothing in particular happens. Chris takes an analysis of the gargoyles, finding that they're most obviously guarded, and are some sort of magicked creatures.
We talk about this and that, and talk to one of the doors, that tells us the Mage is not in. We finally decide to wait.
After a couple hours (during which Deering has been taking tricorder readings all over the place, as has Cantrel) it starts to rain. We pitch our good tent, go in, and Deering is impressed. Our people who've not seen it are impressed, too, and we explore the sumptuousness of the tent as we wait out the storm.
At the appropriate time, all the appropriate special effects happen -- wind, portents, and the like, and the castle appears.
We go up and have a futile discussion with a supercilious door. Finally, Ashleigh sighs loudly goes and talks to the door, treating it the way you'd expect a Victorian to treat a recalcitrant servant to someone whom you're supposed to meet who doesn't recognize you. In his annoyed debate, he realizes that Cantrel went by the name he didn't give to Deering, and gives Chris's name to the door. A black warrior comes down, recognizes us, and we're allowed in.
We pack up the tent, and talk with some more black servants and head in.
It's very dusty, and there are footprints, which we follow around, which went around. Alag and Chris retrocog, and notice that a young woman wandered about. We check with the stone guards, and we manage to pry from the guards that this woman is most likely the Dimali Findlay Alatar who sent us her regards through Henderson. Lovely.
We're told that we need to check the chamber servants for information about the chamber. Likely we need to find the Mage. Lets hope we don't have to rescue him. The guards seem helpful, but as annoying as the serving system. Do these people all send their servants to the same school?
Copyright © 1998, Jim Burrows. All Rights Reserved.