Book One: Ordered by Gods
CHAPTER TWO:

Vengeance for the Keeper
Cuthberta Eosularday & Menteselunday

An account by Thalazzar

The Göesse beach was quite still as the evening grew late. Soft waves rushed up the sands and retreated from Thalazzar's bare toes as he walked along, his slippers tucked in his cord belt. There was a slight bend in his back as he peered downwards at the sand, searching for the right piece of driftwood. His thoughts drifted to the events of that day - no stranger than any day of the last week - where his sea voyage aboard the Lusty Wench, yet again, almost left him marooned with only a bit of salvage to survive on. Perhaps, thought the mage, sea travel was not for him.

Through their investigations, it was determined that the sahaugin had targeted the Lusty Wench on purpose, seeking to sink it in order to prevent its cargo from falling into the hands of the Monotheocratic Order. Similarly, agents of the Order had been waiting in town to collect the clockwork and had instead fled upon the companion's arrival. Thalazzar was curious as to the identity of the buyer - known only as T.X. - but he had apparently fled, if indeed this T.X. had been in Göesse at all. Although the two events appeared to have been connected, the business with the clockwork smuggling was little more than an interesting twist and had little to do with their group's quest to rescue the Orindish heir. Thalazzar was averse to slavery but being stuck with a war clockwork in these parts might not be such a bad thing. It was notable, however, that the reach of the agents of the Monotheocratic Order went as far as this backwards little fishing village.

Thalazzar scooped down and grasped a twig with a particularly pleasing shape. As he did so the pooled lake drizzle spilled from his deep red, wide-brimmed hat to the beach below. From thick end to pointy tip, the twig had a slight spiral to it that reminded him of the root toes of Stooped Birch, his one-time Entish mentor and protector. The familiarity of the twig gave Thalazzar some comfort in what he was about to do.

His thoughts drifted to dinner as he continued down the beach, specifically of the new face who apparently would be accompanying them north. Thalazzar didn't quite trust his motives and he seemed to be hiding something about his connections with the clockwork incident. Nonetheless, it appeared that the swordsman might accompany them north tomorrow towards the Saltwater Barrows and, like the clockwork, an extra fighter wouldn't hurt in troll infested lands.

A shell on the beach stirred another memory in the wizard. Traveling the River Baronies on his way to Riot's Gate, Thalazzar had witnessed a bizarre execution of a sorcerer in some woods in the tiny holdings of Baron Yurgith. The sorcerer had run afoul of the goblin wizards of the Blue Conch Mercenary Company. Apparently, he had been paid to smuggle a crate of wands created by the Blue Conch to men loyal to Baron Yurgith, had skimmed some wands to sell for himself, and had replaced the stolen wands with sticks enchanted only with Nystul's Magic Aura. Thalazzar had counted 43 very real magic missiles blasting the unfortunately entrepreneurial sorcerer. The twig in his hand would make a fine wand Thalazzar concluded.

A green-speckled Dakar turtle crossed the wizard's path, and Thalazzar decided this was the place. Using his twig, he traced a circular sigil around himself in the sand and sat himself in the centre of it. Placing the twig in his hat beside the hippogriff feather, Thalazzar muttered some arcane words and the circle glowed a bright sky blue. Thalazzar imagined that the light could probably be seen from the village but this would only take a moment. The waves of Lake Dakar rolled up the beach, breaching Thalazzar's circle and wetting the hem of his robe. The blue glow of the circle shining through the surf cast a strange shadow across Thalazzar's bearded face but only the turtle was there to notice….and seeing that his magic was functioning, not for much longer.

The turtle crept back out to sea, helped slightly with each receding wave, but with little thought that speed was of the essence. Just below the waves, a dark portal was opening causing the water to froth and churn. The turtle paid no heed. Suddenly, the tide was filled with a small horde of dark gremlins, pulled from another plane to Thalazzar's call. Sitting quite still, the wizard muttered more arcane words under his breath with only a slight drip of Dakar lake water on his moustache to threaten his concentration. The dark gremlins surged through the surf seeking something - anything - to vent their hatred upon. Seeing only the turtle, the tiny gremlins swarmed over the reptile like a dark cloud of death. Having devoured it in an instant, they sought another victim. Like a flock of birds or perhaps locusts, the swarm turned and shifted towards Thalazzar. His arcane muttering stopped and the wizard raised one eyebrow in curiousity. Under his summons yet not under his command was the answer to tonight's question. The swarm and the surf rushed against Thalazzar's circle but only one could penetrate it and as the wave receded once more, the tiny demons raked, bit, and clawed to no avail. The wizard's circle of protection held firm. For a few seconds, the dark swarm fought against the abjuration but then, as quickly as they appeared, their magic was spent and they returned to their home plane in a poof of grey smoke.

Thalazzar stood and straightened his robe. This twig would indeed, he thought, make a fine wand one day, worthy of the Blue Conch wizards. It was unfortunate that he could not yet create one himself. As he strode back towards Goesse, Thalazzar had the distinct impression that tomorrow - well, perhaps longer than just tomorrow - there would be use for such wands, particularly with magic so unstable. A powerful Keeper had died to the trolls of these swamps and one of Thalazzar's bravest companions would certainly face an adversary close to his heart tomorrow. A wand would certainly come in handy in seeking vengeance for the Keeper.

Next!
Meanwhile... an Account of Arek's Adventures

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