Week of Sunday, Reapingday 20 – Starday, Reapingday 25, CY 593
“Somebody said you should meet him at the Drunken Morkoth in one hour.”, the little girl said.
“Kenric says ‘Drunken Morkoth in one hour’.” I tip the kid one silver piece.
He caught Tyro winking at Fellion. Tyro waited for silence and then spoke, “Well, I have been watching you. You seem to be agreeable people.”
Kenric asked, “Are you the one who gave the gifts to us?” Tyro smiled and replied that he was the one who had given money to both Braedon and Gerran in the past two weeks. We exchanged wary glances as this wasn’t the gifts Kenric was referring to. It seemed our mysterious benefactor would remain mysterious.
Tyro continued, “The dweller on the horizon is pleased with you.”
“Who is that?” Braeden asked.
“Before I answer that," he said, “I would need to know more of you and your plans.”
We then told the dwarven merchant very little of ourselves or our plans, and then Gerran asked, “What are your plans?”
He simply closed his eyes. The room brightened around us except for the area we were in. “The wanderer has heard of our need for secrecy and has responded! Not an easy feat for that One. You see he draws his power from the places most traveled and its hard to be discreet in such places, wouldn’t you agree?"
“Come,” he said, “While this Inn caters exclusively to those who have offered themselves up to the Long Journey and thus a powerful way-point for Him, we have need for even more secrecy . . . for dark powers are at work here and they seem to have an uncomfortable interest in your doings. Their eyes are often upon you, you should be aware of that.”
Tyro began to walk out of the inn. “Let’s keep walking,” he said and we followed. “Besides, I have a meeting with somebody important that you should meet.”
Outside it is very bright. People are blurry and leave light contrails. People don’t notice anything unusual. But the crowds seems to part without being aware of us. I notice he is no longer shorter than me, and his features are changing. His clothes and cane changed.
“One thing you should know our master, Fharlanghn is a great visionary. He sees the horizon with clarity. We are his Pathfinders. We are his eyes and ears upon Oerth and I can think of no greater honor, can you?"
“People are the reason why we do this, " he continued. "People have the annoying habit of changing things…all the time. Their actions have the annoying habit of changing future events. If only they would just stick to the trails….like they are supposed to do. Oh well, eternal water under the proverbial bridge, so to speak.“
I noticed we have entered The Forum and the light is pleasant. The sky is white as snow, but everything around us is gray and in a blur. “Ah, here we are. Can’t you feel the power?"
He is now half-elven; wearing robes and wielding a staff. The true elves, Fario and Fellian, did not change. He points to the four roads that connect at this spot.
“This is more than a way-point…it’s a true nexus. A convergence of four long roads. So few of these are left in the world. People have so little need these days for the tried and true…the old roads…the beaten paths of generations.”
“My name is not Tyro. You can call me Meerthan Eliothlorn. Keep the name to yourselves. We have come to do our master’s bidding. He has foreseen these events long ago . . .but the details have become blurred to him as events changed the course of time. It was maddening to him. And now he is blind. He sees nothing here. No where on Oerth is there this much uncertainty. And so we have come. It is our eyes and ears that have become his and Fate has been more than abandoned. No, my children, where we stand, in this place and in this very time, Fate has been slain by the blade of Humanity. For some strange reason, not a second is determined in this place and Fharlanghn demands to know why.”
“What did he see initially?” Gerran asked
“He saw that fate was determined, and now it is blank and empty, like it has been erased.”
“How can that be?” asked Gerran.
“Humans can cause this to happen, so.”
Meerthan looked up suddenly, beyond the Forum square.
“Ah! Here she is," he said. "Our special guest has arrived.”
We see a female figure move towards us. She has golden hair, golden eyes. The crowd moves for her but does not see her. Her feminine figure is graceful beyond measure – thin and curvaceous at the same time. Her hair streamed out behind her as if by an invisible wind and sharp bolts of electricity burst sporadically from her form.
As she breaks the bubble we are in, her figure became more mundane.
“Celeste good to see you,” Meerthan says.
“Meerthan, you old goat! Who needs teleportation when you have feet like those?”
Meerthan laughed. “Well, I still find that spell useful at times. By the way, how do you find our accommodations?”
The woman looked around her and then said, "The seal is strong. Nothing short of direct divine intervention of the greater sort would pierce it.
"Ah, good," said Meerthan, "then we can proceed. My friends, I would like you to meet our own daughter of Boccob Celeste Eastwind. Celeste, before we name names, perhaps you would be so kind…" Meerthan gestures at the party. Celeste doesn’t say anything. First she stands over me and wiggles her fingers. She is casting some weird divination spell over me.
"Earth and stone! This one has made a connection. It is Inner….and it is Elemental. Ah, I see. Not to worry. She has powerful allies but doubtful none are connected to this current struggle. A minor Earthen Lord. Impressive nonetheless. My compliments – not an easy task for one so young."
Then she walks over to Braeden. "Desperation. Someone dying . . . Ethereal, perhaps? Oh my! No, I see. He is connected, too. But to the Shining One. He has grown weak here. Stay strong, my friend, and the sun will rise in the morning. Falter, however, and the days will surely be gloomier."
Listens to Wind is next. "A Suel, how strange among so many Oerdians. He is clear."
She pauses at Gerran; "Well now, here’s some trouble. There’s residue here. But this is so strange, Meerthan. There has been an eye upon him, and more than one. But he is also shielded somehow. Powerfully. But, from another. She cannot see him. If I were you, I would keep it that way. But the eye that has seen him…strange. There is a hint of the Astral; there is some Abyssal here too. It might be safer for you to seek some sort of shielding, but this eye is strong…very strong."
Meerthan and Celeste regarded each other, nodding – silently communicating. Meerthan then said, "Well, not much to do about any of that now. The path is there. It’s his choice to follow it to Road’s End…or not."
Next, she walks to Kenric; "Ah! This is good! My employer would approve. In fact, he will be amused by this. The Seekers of the Arcane, huh? I always thought they were a bit silly, myself. But Mordekainen was ever so smitten by them. I think he still fancies them. He’s clear too."
Then Meerthan smiled and turned to us all and gave us a really really really long speech.
"There is something happening way out here in the jungle, and I am determined to find out what that is. Our darling Celeste is here because her employer is just as concerned as I am and she’s been sent to lend a hand. At the moment, we don’t know a thing except that Fharlannghn is blind to the future of this place. That alone is enough cause for much worry. But in addition to that, the great Mordenkainen himself has detected an odd pulse in this area…a pulse he can only describe as greatly disturbing and evil.
"Now, we know that evil in itself can originate from two sources. One is the evil generated by sentient beings. Unfortunately, my scouts and I have been here for many months now and have uncovered very little. This Lord Orbius character is interesting, but unlikely as a source of evil of this magnitude. Plus we haven’t been able to find a trace of him since his big show down in the Malachite Hold .
"The only other source of evil is evil generated from the various alternate planes of existence. There are a lot of these alternate planes that could cause something like we are experiencing here, but whenever our existence intersects with that of alternate place, a clear marker is left that can be clearly seen or detected by those who know how to find them. I can promise you, we’ve searched high and low and found no trace of any portals, gates, vortices or demi-planes infringing upon our own in this area.
"It is possible that one of the evil Old Ones is stirring and influencing eriole here, but none of us detect anything out of the ordinary. I can sense the presence of The Many here, or Erythnul if you prefer. But that is not unusual in and of itself. There are powerful gnoll tribes in the jungles nearby that worship him exclusively and offer sacrifice to him on a daily basis.
"I also sense Nerull The Reaper…yes, disturbing. I know. But nothing to be alarmed at. I feel him no stronger here than any other city of this size that I have visited – and I have been to a lot of cities in my time.
"Old-One-Eye, Gruumsh, is here quite strongly, perhaps the most powerful presence in the area…but with so many orcs in the jungle and the large number of half-breeds in the city, I am certainly not surprised by this, in the least.
"I can sense slight traces of both Vecna, the Maimed Lord, as well as the Herald of Hell, Hextor. But once again, not unusual since we have a very large arcane institution right over yonder, as well as an overabundance of mercenaries and traveling adventurers here – so their presence can be explained away, too.
"No, there is something else brewing here. We’ve been watching your group for quite some time – The Moonhowlers – and we like what we see in you. You’ve rescued those poor kidnapped orphans, brought down a slaver ring, faced a beholder and survived, corralled a gang of graffiti- goblins, rooted out a nest of nasty wererats and brought a bloodsucking vampire to justice.
"You seem to respect the gods of goodness and light and you seem to respect the laws of your city. You respect the lords and ladies of the land, too, and yet you have enough backbone so as not to needlessly prostrate yourselves when the high and mighty cross the line of common decency. Now, my question to you is, would you be willing to work with us? To shed light on this blindness that has settled around us? Would you be willing to join our little conspiracy?"
We all agree to help the Pathfinders.
Gerran asked, "Do you know who sent me this vial?" Celeste took it from him and looked at it.
Kenric and Meerthan went to do wizard talk.
Celeste indicated the vial was Shadow haze dust. "Throw it at your enemies. It will make your their eyes sting."
"Do you know where it came from? Who else is trying to receive our support?" asked Gerran.
"Lord Orbius is keeping an eye on you Gerran." She points at the amulet around his neck. "It has to do with that. Don’t part with it, ever. If you have children, pass it on. Make sure it goes to the male."
Meerthan found Kenric lacking in spells. "Celeste and I will start you on a primer of our own." Kenric gave him the Color Spray spell he was given to see if he could figure out who gave it to him.
"Where can we meet?" Kenric asks. "At the Drunken Morkoth Inn. You will see me as Tyro. We will talk more tonight over dinner."
Afterwards, Listens found out his sword was back and one side of the weapon was enchanted. Gerran continued to work that night and told us that his mother would hire the work crew for his planned brothel.
Listens and Braedon continued their lessons.
During one of his outings, Gerran saw someone he knew. "Bastard said I was too old," Jero Stogley, a private in Justin’s patrol, was let go as a town guard. Gerran said, "I have a job for you. How would you like to make five times your pay? I need people to look over things. I am starting a business across from the bathhouse and I need security. The position starts immediately. You will be providing security for a brothel AND the bathhouse."
Kenric finished his scroll. Each night Meerthan eets for dinner with Kenric. One night Celeste joined them. She handed Kenric a hastily put together spell book. Kenric continued to work at the Coy Nixy. He found out the only way to get another invite to the Ball was through the lady Aslaxin.
During this time we learned that Todd Vanderboren was an orphan who was adopted by Lord and Lady Vanderboren. They were considered new-rich. Todd told people he was a wizard but he is not known to have any arcane power and he is not a member of the academy.
Kenric went out to buy a nice set of clothes at the end of the week. He ordered them from Montgomery Sasserine through their mail order catalog.
The dwarf, Otmund, came to me and told me he was done moving the shrine. The statue was now 12 feet tall. It was amazing to look at. Moradin stands with his arms out, embracing the forge of the Malachite Hold.
I went to Splintershield Hall to tell Davked that the Shrine had been moved. His house servant told me the Clan Master didn’t want to speak to me. I told the servant to tell him the Shrine had been moved.
Listens talked to The Glump about security for the Flood Festival. "Are you hiring?" he asked. "Where are you hiring them from?" The Glump indicated he didn’t know about any hirings but mentioned that Private Krewis is now Sergeant Krewis. They made a new Prison Patrol and he is their leader.
Listens then asked about the Adder he has to fight in the Flood Festival Games. The Glump indicated it was just a show for the kiddies and the Adder is expected to win.
Braedon asked the etiquette teacher if he could bring someone to the Ball. "Yes," the Professor told him, "people can bring a date, except the clergy."
Listens asked Celeste to the Ball, but she said she was already going with someone else. So Listens invited Justin to the Ball. Celeste met Justin and they became friends. Celeste and Meerthan think that Justin shouldn’t be brought in about the group.