D&D 5E On the Planes

ThirdWizard

First Post
Mehen had been intrigued by the arcane ever since he began his travels through the Planes, finding his path intersecting that with a wizard who led him to Sigil, Quaslin, a seasoned adventurer and graybeard. Mehen had never been incredibly adept at manipulating those arcane forces, but magic had led him to his current home in the temple of Ioun: The Tower of Thought in the Clerk’s Ward. Ever since he started down this path, he had learned much, gained power, and sought to find his place in the Multiverse. The wizard who had introduced him to Sigil, the Tower of Thought, and his current life had befriended the dragonborn through all of this and was like a mentor to Mehen, even if he had never taken up an apprenticeship with him like others. Their relationship was unique, not a master and apprentice but a learned advisor and novice scholar.

Through his dedication, Mehen could finally cast spells, calling upon the power of belief mixed with discipline. While it was divinely inspired instead of wizardly, a fact that Quaslin was always quick to point out, the old wizard still seemed somehow proud that Mehen had such potential within himself even without him being one of his apprentices. It must have been that reason that Mehen was given, like all of Quaslin’s apprentices, a membership to the Society of Luminiferous Aether. This is where Mehen spent many hours amongst the great libraries and labs, learning about just about any eldritch knowledge that he wanted.

The Society was exclusive. Incredibly exclusive. A lifetime membership, for which Mehen now had, cost on the upward side of tens of thousands of gold pieces. And the interior of the Society showed. Libraries led to more libraries, each stacked several stories with books. Labs were available for use which contained mysterious liquids and were packed with items that Mehen couldn't recognize. All sorts of people from all over the Planes sat and discussed everything from the esoteric to politics to things they had seen on their travels while servants came and went serving food and drinks.

Usually the people of the Society ignored Mehen. He wasn’t a political player or high up at a temple or powerful wizard. He mostly sat in a comfortable area where it was quiet and read a book or sometimes listened to others’ conversations. Today, after the conversation in the Mimir, he had decided to spend the evening relaxing in his favorite spot of the Society grounds. It was the Pearl Library, one of the first libraries near the entrance. Here there were books on all things upper planar, and he had found a book on travel through the plane of Arcadia. He enjoyed this particular writer’s narrative autobiographical style describing his travels from one layer to the next. Quite unlike normal, however, while he was reading a man came up to him. The man was youngish, maybe in his early twenties, and was somewhat thin and wiry but not weak. He wore a simple sleeveless tunic and breeches, not the ostentatious garb that most here wore. His brown hair was cut short, a beard neatly trimmed. His right foot was propped up on the coffee table in front of Mehen, and finally getting Mehen’s attention, he smiled.

“Hey there! I see we’ve happened to run into each other!”

“Do I know you?” Mehen raised an eyebrow and didn’t move.

“Well, you sort of do, though you don’t know the full dark of it. I’m Jerol. Jerol Fine. Apprentice to Quaslin at your service. Well, I was an apprentice. I’ve been banging around the Cage on my own now for a few months.” He shrugged.

Mehen perked up a bit. “So! You’re just striking out on your own now.”

“More or less, yeah. He got me a membership here, and I spend a lot of time at this place. I’m just trying to find my feet. See what’s out there on the Planes. Well, you know. Trying to figure out where to start. There’s so much to do. So much to learn.”

Mehen nodded. “I know what you mean.”

“I keep some tabs on his other apprentices. And you as well. You’re like an honorary apprentice. More one of us than not.”

“How many apprentices has he had?”

“A dozen or so I think, over the years. He talks about them sometimes. Keeps in touch!” He plopped down heavily in a chair across from Mehen. It squeaked and slid back a couple of inches. “But, I have a special purpose in meeting you here today.” He winked conspiratorially.

Mehen sat back, but didn’t relax. “Here it comes, right?” Happend to run into each other, huh? Looks like this guy had sought him out.

Jerol shrugged. “Don’t be peery now. We’re like brothers, you and me. I tumbled to the chant that you got the dark on some arcane research. Top top graybeard stuff, ya know?”

Mehen didn’t say anything. He just stared at the man.

Jerol looked back for a moment, then blinked a bit and continued. “Well, I’ve got an idea floating around in the ol’ brain-box, ya know?” Jerol tapped himself on the head. “We get that research for ourselves. Take a look at it. Figure out what it’s all about. Chant is that it’s something big you’re onto here, and I could figure out what it is. I’m a well-lanned cutter. I’ve got fingers in pies that haven’t even been put in the oven yet. You and me together, we could do alright.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Sure ya don’t. That’s fine. That’s fine. You just think about what I said.” Jerol go up and patted Mehen on the shoulder. “We’ll run into each other again, I bet. I’m here all the time. You want to find me, you just come around like always.” With that he walked away.

Mehen wondered how the man had heard of their plans and how much he knew.
 

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ThirdWizard

First Post
The Godsman guard contingent outside the house was loaded for bear. They numbered five crossbowmen, two wizards, and six heavily armored individuals, plus four more who constantly patrolled around the building. It was obvious that they didn’t want anyone getting out of this house, and they were serious about stopping anyone who tried. It was also worrying. If they needed this much force, how dangerous a situation was the group stepping into? As Mozzy approached the front gate, a winding criss-crossing of black iron snaking it’s way around the building haphazardly, she looked up at the house. It was a dark brick, vines and moss not having been trimmed back or cleaned off for some time, although otherwise it looked well maintained. The first story of the house had lots of windows, although they were blackened from the inside. The second floor had a wide balcony overhanging the front door, the same iron fence around it that snaked around the house. The third story was smaller than the other two and had a lighter brick. It was probably a more recent addition, although that could still mean it was a hundred or more years old.

Grimacing, Mozzy met the gazes of the posted guard. They were serious bashers. They had been stationed here for well over two weeks with nary a peep out of the house, and yet they still carried themselves like something serious was about to go down. She wondered if this was because of her, because she was going in, and now they were starting to get apprehensive. Maybe yesterday had been a good day until they heard they were getting a visit. She licked her lips and took a deep breath. Time to sound professional. Time to sound confident. Looking up at the large building she felt anything but confident. But, she had promised her Faction she was going to go in, so at this point, they didn’t really have much of a choice.

The captain let the group into the courtyard, an ear piercing shriek of metal on metal as the gate swung open then closed as the last of their group passed inside. The small yard of the house was fairly sparse except for what looked like an old attempt at a vegetable garden that had been left to rot the last couple of weeks. All eyes were on them as they crossed toward the front door of the house.

“About time they sent somebody,” said the captain. He was tall and wore a shirt of chainmail, a morningstar at his side. His voice was raspy, and he walked with a slight limp.

“I didn’t even know about this place until yesterday. Nobody seems to want to talk about it,” replied Mozzy. “You know anything?”

The man shook his head. “It’s been quiet. Nobody’s tried to get out, although we hear noises or see movement through the upper windows every once in a while.” He hooked his chin over toward some of the guards stationed by the building. “They’re getting jumpy. Every day we think ‘today’s the day they make a break for it’ but it never happens.” The man scratched the back of his neck and looked up toward one of the third story windows. “I see somebody looking down at me every day at the same time, just before nightfall. Put’s ya on edge. You know?”

“I know the feeling,” said Mehen. “You know he can’t be thinking anything good. You’re his jailer. And, he wants out.”

The captain nodded. “You do whatever it is you came to do. If you end up killing every sod in there, so much the better.”

Mozzy secretly hoped that they could avoid everyone in there. There weren’t many living there who were caught inside when the Godsmen put the place on lockdown, maybe only three people in total. But, supposedly they were all quite mad, and all some kinds of mages. She hoped she wouldn't go mad today.

After they crossed the threshold, the captain shut the door quickly behind them as the last of them, Aurian, stepped inside. Standing in this large mansion looking around and wondered which way to head first. They didn’t sense any strange magical auras or mind numbing enchantments, but then they had only been inside for a few minutes. That might come later. The hallway in which they stood was finely decorated with several lavish red carpets laid out end to end over a marble floor and tapestries lining the walls. Thram and company must have been very well off to afford such a place in the Clerk’s Ward. Several oak doors led to other rooms off the entranceway, all lined up on the one side, windows which would overlook the fine courtyard outside on the other, had they not been covered in some kind of tar or black paint.

Mehen took the lead, and Jer the rear, as they made their way to the closest door on the left to start their investigations. They were supposed to find Thram’s research, although they weren’t really sure what it would look like. They figured they’d need to find an office or other personal space of his, go through a bunch of papers, and hope everything was clearly labeled. It wasn’t a very good plan, but they doubted they would be getting a tour with one of the mad inhabitants.

A quick look for traps on the door showed nothing. You could never be too careful. The others retreated a good distance for Mehen to open the door. The dragonborn gave them a scowl when they did so, but said nothing as he turned the knob and slowly peeked inside.

The dimly lit room smelled like excrement and wet dog, which made sense because the room was filled with large caged two headed dogs. Aoskar hounds, the one remnant of the old god left in Sigil. These were dying or dead. It looked like they had been breeding them here, probably to sell. Mehen closed the door. Nothing in there for them. He turned to the others and shook his head. They turned the other way, ignoring the stairs down to the basement. It was unlikely that the research would be that way. Instead, they would try to find a way up, so they repeated their precautionary steps and opened the closest door on the right side of the entranceway.

This way led to a dining room. A long oak table sat in the middle of the room, paintings and other decorations abounding on the walls. A chest of drawers, some decorative armor, and potted flowers now dead were all in the room. To the side, a door opened into what looked like the room that the far right doorway of the hall went into. Mehen waved the others to come follow him into the room.

He stepped inside, as quietly as possible, which truthfully wasn’t incredibly easy with the metal armor he was wearing. Still, it was important to at least try he told himself. There were crazy mages somewhere in this building, after all, and despite the fact that he wore a suit of chainmail, he wasn’t about to just start stomping about without at least trying a modicum of stealth. He jingled loudly.

The others followed suit, Mozzy first, with Aurian behind, and Jer taking the rear watching the rest of the hallway to be sure no one was following them. As soon as they went in, Mehen heard the familiar metallic sounds of metal sliding against metal. He looked around. The statues were moving! One stepped off of its short platform, the other unhooked itself from the wall.

“Back into the-” Mehen was cut off by muffled cries.

Looking back, they could see Jer on the floor, wrapped in one of the luxurious brightly colored carpets that had been adorning the floor moments before. It constricted, and they heard a muted shout emanate from the carpet, cut short as the air was pushed from their ally’s lungs. On their other side in the room, the armor headed toward them.

“Do something about him. I’ll take the armor.” Mehen stepped forward, this time a bit more cautiously than the previous battle. Today he wore a shield in one arm and wielded a flail in the other. He took position blocking the way so that the armor couldn’t reach his companions. With a few swings, he dented the armor on his right, and blocking with his shield he managed to keep their attacks from connecting while he left the others to deal with the carpet behind in the hallway.

“Do you know how to get it off of him?” asked Mozzy? “This seems more like your thing.”

“This is not my thing,” Aurian responded. “Why would you even think that?”

“It’s… well, you know. A moving carpet. Seems like a wizard thing is all.”

“Have you ever known me to do anything like this? I don’t even own a carpet.”

“Fine fine. Well, it seems like if we hit the carpet, it will just hurt Jer.”

“That does seem like a reasonable supposition.”

“MrhhhhrhrhhhrrrMMMMRRRHHHHHH,” came from the carpet.

“Okay okay, we need to try something.” said Aurian.

Mozzy frowned, forming bubbling green liquid floating between her fingertips. Flipping her hand, the magic flew from her to the carpet, dousing it in acid and burning a hole into the carpet. They could see fizzling skin underneath. Another cry of pain came from the carpet’s general direction.

“I think it’s safe to say that our hypothesis was correct,” said Aurian.

“Hey, Mehen! You can heal, right?” Mozzy called back over her shoulder.

Mehen was busy holding back the two animated sets of armor. A bit of blood trickled from his mouth and he was favoring his left leg from a blow he had taken. “Um… yes, but… I might need-”

“That’s all, thanks!” With that, Mozzy formed a large ball of fire in her hand and let it loose at the carpet. Auran followed with a spell of his own, and the carpet caught aflame and started to burn away.

Soon, the carpet was rolling around on the ground back and forth instead of constricting. “Stop! Stop!” came the voice from the carpet. “It’s dead! It’s dead!”

“I don’t really think it was ever actually ali-” started Aurian.

“Shut up. Just. Don’t talk. Ever again,” said Jer.

Sighing, Mehen, having just finished off the armors, started preparing his healing spells.

A short minute later, Mehen stepped through the door from the dining area into an array of bookshelves lining walls up to the second floor. The library must have housed thousands of books, several ladders moving up into stacks, and two going up to a second floor with more bookshelves. This was a treasure trove. Aurian, coming in behind him, couldn’t help but just stare in amazement for a few moments, taking it all in. What he wouldn’t give to call such a collection his own. The last two entered, setting their gaze at the books.

“It’s outstanding,” said Aurian.

“It’s okay,” replied Mehen.

Aurian shot him a look. “We can’t all be members of exclusive orders that cost thousands of gold to join. Some of us have to slum it like this.”

Mehen shrugged. He wasn’t going to point out that it cost tens of thousands of gold.

As they stepped out from one of the stacks, a voice called down from above. It was a woman’s voice, and it trembled a bit as if it were unsure of itself. “What… what are you doing here in this place? Our place, not yours. My place.”

They looked up to see a woman in fine robes. She was leaning against one of the banisters, her head tilted to the side, looking down at them from above. One thin arm wrapped around the banister, the other held a staff. Her dark hair was long and unbrushed, with dark circles under her eyes like she hadn’t slept in days.

Mehen slowly stepped forward between her and the others as best he could. He made quick note of the fastest way up to the second level, a ladder just to his right. “We’re just here to find something of Thram Kip’s. You remember Thram, right?”

The woman curled her lips downward. “No. No no no no. You can’t have anything. I can tell! My books! You want MY BOOKS!! Destroyers, Interlopers!” Her voice became high pitched.

“It’s okay, I’m a Godsman just like he is. We just need something for him,” added Mozzy.

But, she wasn’t listening, and in a flash she crouched downward, pushing the tip of her staff between one of the gaps of the railing. A bright red flash of light appeared on the tip of the staff and three fiery beams of light stuck Mehen in the chest. He grunted under the fiery force, but he was able to partially shrug off the heat due to his dragon ancestry, and he stepped back gasping at the wound. That was all he needed, and he made his way to the ladder to climb up to the second floor as fast as he could. If he could close with her quickly, maybe this wouldn’t go badly.

As Mehen approached the second level, he could see flashes of spells flying through the air, and pulling himself up onto the platform he looked down to see Jer crouching behind a bookshelf, his shoulder burned with acid, and Mozzy and Aurian likewise injured. The woman on the top level had obviously taken a few blows from their spells. Her right arm had a large hole in the sleeve with a nasty burn underneath, and bruises were already beginning to form on her neck, but she was giving better than she was getting.

With a grunt, the dragonborn lifted his flail above his head, ready to swing down on the mad wizard’s frame. He hoped he could end it quickly. However, just as he was reaching her, she turned and looked at him. Her eyes wide not with fear or malice, but with nothing. As he took his final step to confront her, she mumbled a short incantation and those eyes seemed to pierce straight through him. Suddenly, Mehen could not move an inch. He pulled and struggled against the binding magic, however for now he was paralyzed in place, unable to bring his maul down upon the her. His muscled flexed to no avail, but he kept trying, hoping that he could break through her magic before it was too late.

Smiling, she laughed an empty, joyless, laugh and let loose another spell below, and Mehen heard a cry of pain from Mozzy, movement, and and a thump followed by a stream of acid and then ice flying up to strike the woman. She was burned by the first and then threw up a magical barrier against the second. Still struggling, Mehen found himself yet unable to act as he heard Aurian loudly speaking some kind of spell from below, different than the ones he had been using. His eyes transfixed on the woman, Mehen pulled on his flail with all his might.

Suddenly the mannerisms of the wizard changed.

“What…? What are you doing here? I didn’t notice… I didn’t realize… What have I done?”

Did he hear… lucidity in her words?

Aurian’s voice came up from below. He could tell the wizard was out of breath, but he sounded confident. “Please stop! Look at what you’re doing.”

“I don’t… I don’t know what is happening. Something is wrong with me. I can feel it. I can feel my mind bending in ways that it shouldn’t. It’s like everything is wrong. The world is wrong. I’m wrong.”

“You’re okay now. It’s all going to be okay,” Aurian’s voice was smoothing out. Mehen could hear shuffling below, Mozzy or Jer were moving around.

“No. It isn’t okay. I know something is wrong with me, but I won’t remember for long. Soon I’ll forget like I always do. I’ll think you’re here to take me away. To take my books from me. To lock me up and throw away the key. That’s all that I’ve been able to think about. I’m finally in my own body again, but soon I’ll want you dead with all my heart. I can feel it clawing at my eyes and ears. Wanting to see red. Wanting to hear blackness.”

“We can help you.”

The woman shook her head. She was crying now. “You can’t help me. What’s done is done. Leave before I go mad again. Leave me in peace amongst my books. They… they mean more to me than you can know. They’re all I care about now.” She raised her head and looked around. A glimmer ran across her eyes as she did so.

Mehen could finally move again. He shivered now that he could. The flail slowly lowered, and he took a look around. There was a door behind the woman. He knew they had to move on before she lost what little sanity she had left, but he needed to know where to go, where to find the research. Here, or…? This might be their only chance.

“We’re here to get Thram’s research. Where can we find it?” asked Mehen.

She turned to him like she had only now just noticed he was there. For a moment, her eyelids half-closed like she were falling asleep, but she jumped with a start and took a sharp breath. “Third floor. That’s where he worked. You should go. You shouldn’t be in this place. There’s another stairway down. Don’t come back here.”

“We have a job to finish.” Mehen waved the others to come up.

She nodded. “Remember, use the spiral staircase in the back. If we meet again, I’ll try and kill you.” It wasn’t a threat. Her words didn’t have an edge to them that normally comes with that phrase. Instead she was afraid. “If you kill me, I won’t hold it against you.”

Mehen nodded as the last of them made it up to the top of the ladder. They made their way by her, carefully, not knowing how long she would go before reverting to her previous state.

“What’s your name?” Mozzy asked before going into the large room through the door.

“Helena.”

“We’ll be careful.”

Mozzy closed the door, leaving Helena to her fate.
 

ThirdWizard

First Post
The group made their way carefully through the second floor. It wasn’t as large as the first floor, and they crept as quietly as they could, listening for any sign that someone lurked ahead. Mehen’s muscles tensed every time they passed a statue or a suit of armor, but the objects remained inanimate. Thram and company must have been some kinds of collectors. Fancy armors and weapons of all kinds were on display beside paintings and busts. The group quickly found the staircase that Helena had mentioned. It wound in a spiral, going up to the third floor and down to the first. Climbing the staircase, Mozzy took the lead, examining the door at the top and area around it for any traps or magical wards that might be in place.

“Here’s something. Right there,” Mozzy pointed to a rune etched on the doorknob. It was small enough to be easily overlooked, but it wasn’t particularly hidden.

“I see it,” said Mehen. “It doesn’t look like a trap. The rune is one of protection.”

“I don’t see a keyhole,” said Jer.

Aurian nodded. “It’s possibly some kind of magical lock.”

Mozzy was already busy pulling out her tools. She had a couple of small vials for just such an occasion. “We could probably figure out how to manipulate it to get it open, but we don’t have that kind of time.” She took out a sharp hook and one of the vials - this one a viscous blue liquid.”

Mehen frowned. “If you destroy the lock, there’s no guarantee it will open.”

“Nope. But, if that happens, you can always break it down. We might as well try.” She dipped the fine tipped hook into the vial carefully. The hook was specially made for the task. It was iron with a small hollowed out reservoir on the point. Taking the hook out, she scraped the edge across the rune on the doorknob, leaving an ever so slight scratch in the rune filled in with the liquid. There was a barely visible spark, like static electricity, and a click. The door swung free when she pushed on it. “See? No problem.” She put the implements away, and stepped to the side of the staircase to let Mehen by.

“Lucky,” said Mehen.

“Skill,” corrected Mozzy, smiling.

“I’m just glad it didn’t explode this time,” said Jer.

No one argued with that.

As quietly as they could, they went up to the third floor. Unsure as to if anyone were up here, they tried to maintain at least some amount of stealth. They found themselves in a finely furnished hallway, a lavish carpet running along the straight walls up against six doors all closed. Mehen stayed near the stairs as lookout while the others went toward the closest door quietly. Trying the first, they found it unlocked and Jer took the lead this time peeking inside. It looked like a bedroom. He wished Mehen had asked for more specifics from Helena while she was lucid. He was hoping for a study, an office, a lab, or personal library for the research.

Moving on to the next door this one opened as well, and Jer peeked through the tiny crack he had made. In here, he saw what looked like a study. Books along the walls, a desk on the far end, and framed maps on the walls. It was a large room and he couldn’t see the entire thing, but it was promising. This could be it. He slinked back to the others and quietly motioned for them to follow.

Entering the room, they saw it was occupied; a middle aged man stood beside a bookshelf on far side of the room where Jer couldn’t have seen from his former vantage point. He was holding an open book that he had probably been reading moments before, and a large smile had erupted on his face as soon as he saw them come in.

“Aha! When I heard the commotion downstairs I thought there may be… erm… well guests I would say except that Helena or Kara probably tried to kill you. But, have a seat! Please, please join me. I’ve been a prisoner in this house for so long.” He moved swiftly to sit behind the desk. His demeanor did not seem insane like Helena had been, but insanity took many forms, and the group tensed, ready for anything. They filed in, however, keeping their eyes on this man.

“Who are you?” asked Mehen.

“How rude of me. I’m Sendal. I live here. By choice until recently, when those Godsmen came and kept everyone from leaving. House arrest they called it. Like they’re the law in Sigil.” He gave a quick hrumph, but shrugged his shoulders at the same time.

“Are you insane?” Jer’s question was straight to the point.

“Of course, not. Do I look insane. Whatever malady has befallen this place, and I do not know what it might be, it has spared me at least. For that, I’m thankful. Poor Thram wasn’t so lucky, but at least he got to leave. Still. A mage’s mind is his most prized possession. Wouldn’t you agree?”

They looked at each other. This was not quite what they had expected. They weren’t sure if he was to be taken at face value or if something else was going on.

“We aren’t here for smalltalk,” said Mozzy. “We’re looking for Thram’s notes on-” she paused before completing the sentence.

Sendal nodded, as if he understood completely. “Of course, of course. The sounding stones, most likely. That’s the research he was working on recently, and the majority of the details still haven’t been released. But, they aren’t notes.” He said the last word with a slight tinge of contempt. “Thram was very prolific, very detailed, brilliant even. What you mean is his research, and I can assure you that they were in no way mere ‘notes’ as you call them.”

“What are we talking about here?”

“Volumes.” Sendal spread his arms.

“As in… multiple books. So, how many?”

“Ten volumes just on his latest research of the sounding stones. Beyond that he wrote treatises on everything from cities to medicine. He was very prolific before his breakdown.”

“What happened here?” asked Aurian.

“I couldn’t say for certain… First Thram started going mad. He was always a workaholic, and we thought he had just finally snapped, spent too much time with formulas and numbers and arcane components. It wasn’t the first time he’d had a mental break, you know. He spent a week in the Gatehouse several years ago.”

“But it didn’t end there,” said Mehen.

“Sadly, no.” Sendal’s expression didn’t change. “We watched over Thram for about a week. He was wildly saying things about his research. Don’t ask me what he was talking about either! I mostly ignored him! But, then, Kara started spending far too much time in the lab. And Helena became obsessed with the library, paranoid, protecting it. Eventually, the Godsmen came to find out how Thram was getting on in his research and saw the insanity building. Kara decided that they had impinged on her research and killed a few of them. They grabbed Thram to take him... well, somewhere, and they locked us in here. I haven’t been able to leave ever since.”

“You can’t get out at all?” asked Mehen.

“I could try to fight my way out, but I’d rather not risk the fight. Did you see the guard? Besides, fighting in the Clerk’s Ward doesn’t form a good impression. Never know if the Lady will show up displeased with all the commotion you’re causing. I still have food, water, and books to occupy me. I can stay here for quite a while. So, that’s the whole story. Or all I know anyway.”

“And the research?” asked Mozzy.

“There’s a condition attached,” replied Sendal. His smile dissipated, and he looked into Mozzy’s eyes. She could see where this was going. “I want out. I want you to release me.”

Mozzy and Mehen exchanged looks. He sounded sane. He hadn’t tried to kill them at the very least so maybe he wasn’t dangerous even if he did have some kind of insanity overtaking him. But, could they trust that he was peacful, and that they wouldn’t be releasing some charismatic sociopath onto the streets of Sigil if they did let him loose?

“I’ve hidden one of the volumes. I promise you won’t find it.”

“A threat?” asked Mozzy narrowing her eyes.

“Please. You’re four against one. I’m sure I can’t threaten you. You could probably torture the information out of me if that’s something you have the stomach for. But, I doubt you’re up for it.” He was right. But, that didn’t make his answer seem any more unsettling. There was something overly calm about a man in his position. If anything, he seemed too sane. In the end though, they didn’t have much of a choice.

“It’s a deal,” said Mozzy. “I’ll vouch for you outside.” The others shifted uncomfortably, but didn’t say anything. It was a consensus at this point, regardless of the dangers.

“Wonderful!” he clapped standing up, and smiled broadly. “Follow me. Thram’s study is two doors down on the left. You’ll find volumes one through nine there.” He stood and they left, Sendal closing the door delicately behind them.

Mozzy gave him a look of distrust, but they followed, pausing briefly to let him go into Thram’s study first, but the feeling of uneasiness didn’t go away. Inside they found a room much like Sendal’s. One entire wall of bookshelves were heavily bound tomes authored by Thram Kip. Searching, they found the volumes one through nine on the sounding stone. Sendal walked to the far side of the room. They whispered quickly to themselves as he searched for a secret compartment under the desk.

“How did Thram write so much on these sounding stones? How complicated can it be to find them?” asked Jer.

“Obviously very complicated,” replied Aurian. “Maybe someday I’ll have a collection of my own books as well.”

“Wouldn’t that be something,” said Mehen, in awe of the sheer amount of knowledge that Thram must have had before his neurosis. The books’ subjects were incredibly varied, just like Sendal had said. He picked up one of the books, feeling its weight. Opening it, the pages were finely bound and of great quality. He leafed through a few pages, marveling at the script. “Thram obviously wasn’t hurting for money. No one here seemed to be.”

“Not with a house like this, with that library, and all those tapestries, rugs, and paintings. Maybe they had a patron, or maybe the Godsmen kept him employed,” said Aurian.

“If he was as smart as he seems to have been, then I can see why.”

“He isn’t dead you know,” said Mozzy.

Aurian frowned. “No. Just insane.”

They collected the tomes silently, each taking a few volumes of his sounding stone work. Aurian put a few other select books into his pack to look at later.

Finally, Sendal stood up with the tenth volume in hand. He handed it over to Mozzy. “Now you keep your end of the bargain.”

“We will,” said Mozzy.

They made their way out of the building, Sendal leading the way.
 

Voidrunner's Codex

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