"Out of the Frying Pan"- Book III: Fanning the Embers

Ratchis

First Post
mmu1 said:
I gues some way to put it is that they're suicidally brave when it comes to the big stuff almost guaranteed to get you killed (Where we go, there's a Demon King and a Devil Queen, and we're almost certain to die!), but really conservative when it comes to everything else. (No, don't climb that. No, we're not going to fight them. Logan, I can't believe you just dared them to drop Gunthar in the river. No, we don't need you to go scouting, we have Arcane Eye. Just because this Paladin of Thoth tried to kill us, it doesn't mean you shouldn't be polite to him.) :)

That's a funny way to put it but really accurate.

Basically, we feel like we are the keepers of a great responsibility and we really have to see it through to the end since it doesn't look like we will have more than one chance at this (tho readers will see later in the Story Hour that there might be an unexpected ally in our quest).

I would like to think Ratchis has not acted rashly or needlessly put his and the party's life in danger except when it would serve the greater good as he sees it. He does have a weakness for slavers (wanting to kill them all), the downtrodden (see his defense of Kamir) or his intolerance for some time of Richard the Red (and his mind-controlling magics).

I do not know how good a job I have done of playing him as a friar and as chaotic but I still get my spells so I couldn't have been too off. ;) Basically I try to bring his ethos and alignment together with the nearly 60 page background I wrote to make his reactions as real and consistent as possible.

As for the previous post describing Kazrack's personality, I think it is completely spot on and I am curious yet afraid to have a similar light shone on Ratchis.

He is definitely the deepest character I have ever played.
 

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Graywolf-ELM

Explorer
Ratchis said:
... Basically I try to bring his ethos and alignment together with the nearly 60 page background I wrote to make his reactions as real and consistent as possible.
...

Are you gonna post any of that here? I'd enjoy seeing it.

GW
 


Martin Olarin

First Post
Tony Vargas said:
They're Clerics. ;) One thing I've noticed is that both of them make frequent, reasonably good use of thier spells, especially healing, and are quick to stop and regain spells when they run out - even, as in the above, going so far as to rest, expend all their spells healing, then 'rest' some more. Given the relatively low-magic world, and the inclusion of devestating critical hits and fumbles, it's a necessary strategy. This is not the first time they've been burdened with debilitating injuries, for instance.

Kazrack /is/ 'risk-adverse' when it comes to the party as a whole, though - he generally tries for negotiation before combat (even though it almost never works), and caution in exploration (likewise). Conversely, when it comes to his own safety he all but has a martyr complex - he's not heedless of risk, but he'd always rather put himself at risk than someone else - even when he's not the one best able to face the risk. That - even more than his stubborness or his no-armor-oath religious crisis - is probably his 'tragic flaw.'

Can't say there is anything I disagree with here (though who is best able to deal with something is often hard to determin).

A general unwillingness to explore is directly tied to the group's overall quest - he is not willing to risk that quest's success over something not directly tied to the quest. Of course, what is directly tied to the quest can be argued.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
For those who might be confused:

The poster known as Martin Olarin plays Kazrack Delver,

and Ciaran plays Martin the Green.

Can you guess who the person that posts as Ratchis plays?
 


el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Session #62 (part 2)

Isilem, the 2nd of Sek – 569 H.E.

“Marty! Marty! Wake up!” called a young woman’s voice. It was familiar to Martin, and yet he was confused as to why he should be hearing it. He turned over in bed and put his pillow over his head. He had noticed the sunlight streaming into the room, right on his face.

“It is always the same, when you wear that gaudy ring you shuffle around all night and keep me up, and when you don’t you sleep too much, and complain that being one of the legendary Fearless Manticore Killers you’ve earned the right to sleep in some,” the voice continued. Martin could hear feet climbing towards him and then someone leapt into the feather bed.

“Come on!” She whined. “You know today is the party and plus tomorrow we begin our journey. We don’t have time to tarry! Unless… A mischievous tone entered her voice. “Unless you want to get an early start on the children!”

She yanked the pillow from his head, and he spun around surprised. She was awfully familiar, and then instinctively it came to him. It was Marion, youngest of the princesses of Gothanius, but something was wrong. When Martin the Green had last seen her, she had been a girl of about 12 – now she was a very pretty young woman of about 17 or 18. She put a lock of her red-tinted brown hair behind an ear, and smiled widely.

“Uh… children?” Martin gulped. Marion’s smile turned around.

“Oh, Marty! You always say the same thing! You aren’t in the mood, or we should wait unti lwe get to Thricia so I won’t be with child during the long journey. As if you could not just use your magic to swoosh us there safely in an instant, but oh, no… You could never abuse your power that way…”

She was climbing down off the bed loft by this point, apparently satisfied to have wakened Martin with her complaining, but annoyed at having her advances shunned.

Martin shook his head to clear it. His mind raced, as he tried to collect all the data of his environment to figure out what was going on. He was in comfy bed loft in small cottage in the style similar to those he had seen in the various villages of Gothanius. He was apparently married to the youngest of the Gothanian princesses and sometime had passed since the last thing he clearly remembered, as she appeared some five years older. And the last thing he remembered? The great fight in the temple chamber beneath the Pit of Bones, but there was another set of faint memories since that time. He struggled to recall them and became dizzy.

“Marty!” Marion’s voice called the main area of the house, below. “Don’t make me call you again!”

Martin snapped up and edged his way off the loft. He looked down at the rest of the finely appointed house, trying hard to gather clues and use his reason to figure out what was going on, and to squash the fear growing in the pit of his stomach.

The house was cozy. There was a small kitchen in an adjoining room, and what appeared to be a sitting room, with a corner with a desk piled with scrolls and books. There was nothing too fancy about it, but there were details that belied its wealth. There were silver candelabras and a finely woven rug of a style common to halflings textiles of Thricia. The curtains were fine lace,a nd the furniture was of a hardy and polished wood of the finest craftsmen.

Marion was busy in the kitchen, though she did not seem to be cooking anything, but was straightening it up and opening the curtains and opening a window. She wore a simply gray dress, not all that different from those common to the wives of Gothanius, but again Martin’s discerning eyes noticed that the cloth it was made from was of fine quality, and the stitching not found among a common house seamstress that would make her own clothes.

He climbed down and made his way over to a wardrobe, and as he guessed, inside he found a few sets of his emerald watch-mage’s robes, along with travel clothes all stitched in green. He got dressed behind a screen, and then suddenly remembered!

“Thomas! Where are you?” He reached out with his thoughts to his familiar.

“I’m over here, silly!” Thomas chittered in reply. “Why so excited?”

The squirrel came scurrying across the rafters and leapt onto Martin’s shoulders. The watch-mage could see the beams were scored with holes, creating a home for his familiar.

“Thomas? What is going on? Where am I?”

“Huh? Stop being silly! We’re in Summit, but tomorrow we’re going home!” The squirrel replied. “Now if you don’t mind me, I’m going to get some nuts.”

“No, stay close to me,” Martin insisted. He could feel his familiar’s disappointment empathically.

“Um, when will they get here?” Martin asked his wife, trying to fake like he knew what was going on.

“Oh, any time now this morning. You know, you told the alderman last night at dinner,” Marion replied. “I do hope old Beatrice gets here soon with the things I asked her to prepare, and that awful Julissa.”

“Don’t call her ‘old Beatrice’,” Martin heard himself admonishing. Marion clucked her tongue at him.

“I, uh… need to look through some papers and, uh…prepare, uh… things for the, uh… trip,” Martin tried to cover for his sudden idea to check his own journals for clues as to what was going on and account for the apparent missing time.

“Oh!” Marion whined. “You promised you’d be done with all that days ago, but all you ever do is fuss over those things. When we go to Thricia, you had better not keep up stuffed inside libraries and visiting sages. I want to experience some of the culture, and go to balls and visit the wonders you used to tell me about every night before we went to sleep…that first year we were married.”

Her voice grew sad, and Martin twitched uncomfortably.

“Uh, why not go check on the widow Beatrice?” Martin suggested.

Marion put her hands on her hips and stormed out, stopping only to grab a shawl.

Martin began to frantically look through his papers and found several volumes of what made up a journal, including a scorched and worn version of the one he last remembered having. He poured over the pages, looking to piece together what had happened.

What he found was perplexing. Here was the detailed record of nearly his every day since finding the Book of Black Circles, including the party’s journey into Hurgun’s Maze. He found many references to shifting rooms, planar gates, creatures of flame and of ice and of stone, and of shadow, and had to tear himself away from an account of the destruction of Mozek Steamwind (1) to find what references he could to the Book of Black Circles. One thing he did find was that as the entries became more recent, there was all but the merest allusion to explaining events, and more and more spell theory and exploration of spell ideas.

Finally, he found what he was looking for, a reference to “taming the Book” and deciding it was best not destroyed, but its power tempered by wisdom and humility. Martin looked around the house once more. Surely, this was a humble existence. He wondered where the book was, and suddenly he knew it was in a hollow behind the bedtable up in the Loft.

He flipped through his journal some more, hoping to absorb as much of his past as possible. He saw several references to casting spells beyond his ability using the book, and of a great number of magical items of great power to be found in Hurgun’s Maze.

“Marty! Are you still going through your papers?” Marion’s voice startled the Watch-Mage and he tossed the volume he was perusing onto the desk. “Come help me put out the things the widow Beatrice made; someone was coming up the road.”

Martin the Green found himself in the kitchen helping Marion set out various dishes of sausage and deviled eggs, and breads and jams. There was two huge skins of mead, and a pot of oatmeal drowned in honey. Marion talked on and on about how excited she was to see her sisters and her parents, and how glad she was that they would be staying at the castle for a few days before leaving.

“We will?” Martin asked.

“Stop playing stupid, Marty!” Marion bumped him with her hip, as her hands were full. “I have a lot of other things I want to pack, and you know you have to confer with father and greet your replacement from the Academy, that is if he shows up in time.”

“Oh, yes that’s right,” Martin replied, weakly. There was the sound of horses and loud voices from out the front window. Marion stopped what she was doing and threw open the door. Martin joined her.

There were four horses, one of which pulled a sledge on which was freshly hunted boar. The other three horses held warriors in very fine gear. The two men were dressed in fine mail, and travel stained cloaks of purple in color. They both wore two swords, and had long golden hair that shone in the morning sunlight.

Martin could not believe what he was seeing.

“Martin! It is so great to see you!” Jeremy cried, hurrying over and greeting his friend with a tight embrace.

“Juh… Jeremy, how…how could this be?” Martin sputtered.

“What? I was invited…,” Jeremy scratched at his beard with one hand, while he waved to Marion with the other. “Oh, and Tracel sends her regrets and told me to tell you she looks forward to see you at the castle.”

Martin could see that Jeremy wore the replica scabbard for the Right Blade of Arofel, but the longsword he wore had a scabbard of similar make.

“We hunted you a fat whore of a boar,” came Gunthar’s gruff voice. He leapt off his horse. “Hey Marty!”

He hurried over and scooped up Marion by the waist and spun her around. She squealed like a child.

“Get your hands off my sister or I’ll skewer you like I did that boar, husband,” The third rider was a tall and lean woman, also dressed in mail and armed. She had crossbow tied to her saddle. She had long braids of auburn hair, and a handsome face that did not seem to have a feminine softness to it. It was Princess Selma, the second oldest of king’s daughters.

Gunthar dropped Marion and ran at his wife playfully. She pushed him aside, grabbing his arm and twisting it behind his back. He was broke free painfully and swung around grabbing her in a bearhug. Selma began to punch down on his head.

Martin was appalled was about to look to Jeremy to intervene when he noticed that the couple were now kissing. Selma bit Gunthar’s lip hard enough to draw blood.

“Oh, you little b*tch you are gonna pay for that,” Gunthar said between sucking on his lip.

“What are you going to do? Skewer me like that boar?” Mischievousness crept into her voice.

“Only, if you’re bad,” Gunthar replied.

Martin shuddered and went inside, following Marion and Jeremy back into the house.

“Are they always like that?” Martin asked Jeremy.

“They’ve been caught in almost every room of the castle,” Jeremy laughed. “Gunthar’s pretty rough, but I’m glad to have him around. Things get pretty boring over in 12 Trolls. Oh… speaking of which, Gunthar and I want to accompany you from 12 Trolls to Cutter Jack’s, along with Tracel and Selma. We’re going to catch a ship to Neergaard and visit our folks. They’ve spent a long enough time thinking I’ve dead, when I was really dead twice.”

There was an awkward silence as they came into the sitting room, and Jeremy began to take off his chain shirt.

“Thanks again, “ martin” Jeremy said with a hint of sadness in his voice. “I owe you my life… twice over.”

“Twice over?” Martin was baffled. “I, uh… only did my part with the Urn of Osiris…”

”Oh, don’t be so humble, Martin,” Jeremy chided. “I don’t know how you did it, but those were some pretty power magics you harnessed in the Maze. We wouldn’t have been able to do it without you.”


“Uh, we’re going to go into the woods and look for a spot to spar,” Gunthar said, coming in to wink and nudge Martin with his elbow. Selma rolled her eyes at the door, waiting for her husband.

“Looks like someone else is coming up the street, by the way,” Gunthar added as he took his wife about the waist and showed her out. “Oh, and get some people to start doing something with that filthin’ boar. It is going to take dog’s age to cook.”

“I’ll go see if Gib can give us a hand with that,” Jeremy offered, referring to the innkeeper over at the Sun’s Summit Inn. “Let’s go outside and greet whoever is coming, and then I’ll bring the boar over.”

Outside, a white robed bald figure bearing a staff, and having shining silvery sword at his side came up the street. He was flanked on either side and walking slight behind him, but six monks in black robes and sandals. They also had their head shaved bald.

It was Beorth.

“Martin!” The paladin called. “It lightens my heart to see you well, and to know you are getting a well-deserved trip to your homeland.”

The companions clasped hands, and Jeremy waved as he led the horse drawing the boar towards the inn.

“Beorth, I am so glad you are here,” Martin the Green said. “I am not quite feeling myself and I fear something strange is going on.”

“What is it?”

“I fear something has happened to my memory,” Martin explained. “Or that this may all be a dream.”

“I do not feel like a figure in a dream,” Beorth replied with a rare smile. “Though I assume that none ever do.”

“Tell me of the Book of Black Circles,” Martin insisted.

“What of it?” Beorth’s face grew even paler than usual.

“Marty! Marty! Bring your friends in!” Marion called from within the house.

“Why did I not destroy it as Osiris asked of me? How did I avoid death, which was the alternative?”

“You were able to bend the book to your will,” Beorth explained. “You cast the spell from the book that helped close Hurgun’s Maze forever, and by breaking the evil spirit that guided it, you essentially destroyed it. But you know this. We debated it a great deal in the Maze, and in the end you were right. I mean, where would I be if you had not returned to me my memory in the Chamber of the Living Runes?”

Beorth placed a hand on Martin’s shoulder. “It is a great weight, such power and responsibility, but do not doubt your strength of will. We all witnessed it first hand in the Maze and would never doubt it ourselves.”

Beorth and Martin walked back into the house, where the watch-mage climbed up into the bedloft, which the paladin greeted Princess Marion.


In the hollow beneath the small table they kept there, Martin found a locked iron box, which he was able to open with a touch of his finger.

Inside he found five large spell books, one of which he recognized as having been his very first. It was well worn, and scorched in one spot. He removed the books, flipping through them one by one and was amazed at some of the spells within that he knew he knew as he spotted them.

Beneath them all, in another false bottom was the book he sought. He recognized the worn cover of blackened human hide, and interlocking metal plates. He hefted it on to his lap, and felt the raised circles on its covers.

He considered the Book of Black Circles for a long moment and then thought if the means to destroy it might exist within the book, as the book likely had the means to destroy many things. The cover flipped open of its own accord and the pages began to rapidly flip.

Martin was startled as at that same moment he heard Marion’s voice call from below, “Are you looking at your spell books again? You are being a rude host, and more of your friends have just arrived!”

Martin the Green’s head drooped and he held it in his hands trying to keep his breathing calm. He glimpsed at the writing in the book and immediately saw it was a spell of disintegration, and that he did not also know this spell, but for some reason had it prepared.

Pulling a lodestone and a pinch of dust from his satchel, Martin spoke a guttural arcane word as he pointed two fingers down at the book with severity. The magic discharged, but the book was still there.

“It would have been too easy,” Martin sighed.

“Marty!!!!”

Martin looked down off the loft and saw that three guests had arrived.

----------------------------------------|
Notes

(1) Mozek Steamwind was the Interim Chief of the Garvan gnomes. An apparent half-fiend, he killed their companion Chance.
 
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Manzanita

First Post
OK. That was weird. You're not cheating us out of the rest of the story are your Nemmerle? No. I think Martin will figure this out.

If so, perhaps you had to have a solo session with his player?
 


Manzanita

First Post
Did Jeremy's player make a special trip down for this one? In any case, I'm very curious about the next installment. I suppose I shouldn't try to rush it though. Knowing how you DM, the solution to this current imbrolio could be some time in coming...
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Manzanita said:
Did Jeremy's player make a special trip down for this one? In any case, I'm very curious about the next installment. I suppose I shouldn't try to rush it though. Knowing how you DM, the solution to this current imbrolio could be some time in coming...

The emphasis is mine. . . Don't lay that on me! It is not my DMing, but rather their playing. . . :\ ;)

And yes, Ken came down for that session, and we had Sean (aka Rastfar on the boards) playing Princess Marion.
 



weiknarf

Explorer
The trick in which they informed all the players but one what was going on and drop the clueless player into the situation with no clue what's going on and the other players playing along with the DM. *whew*

Just wondering if you were up to something similar or something else entirely.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
weiknarf said:
The trick in which they informed all the players but one what was going on and drop the clueless player into the situation with no clue what's going on and the other players playing along with the DM. *whew*

Just wondering if you were up to something similar or something else entirely.

You hit the nail on the head. :cool:
 

Manzanita

First Post
You're not waiting on us are you? I'm starting to miss the thread. It always starts to creep up on me a week or so after your last installment.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Manzanita said:
You're not waiting on us are you? I'm starting to miss the thread. It always starts to creep up on me a week or so after your last installment.

I wrote about 3 pages of the next installment last night. . . So, hopefully it will be up in the next day or three. . .
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Session #62 (part 3 (of 4)

Martin came down off the loft after tucking the book back away to find three more visitors had indeed arrived.

Two elven women just within the door. One wore a blue cape and nearly transparent lavender clothing of gossamer and tall flared boots. She wore a short sword at her side, and had shining blonde hair. It took Martin a moment to place her, and then he realized… It was Tirhas Tesfey. Beside her was Anarie, dressed much as she did when he last clearly remembered seeing her. In clean travel clothing of spun wool, and a green cloak. Her eyes shone in the morning light.

“Anarie! Uh… Tirhas! What a surprise!” Martin said, coming forward to awkwardly shake their hands. Tirhas seemed unused to the gesture.

“It would have been rude to ignore your invitation, though it seems like but a moment since we saw you last,” Anarie replied with a smile. “Tirhas and I, as do our people owe you a great deal, and it is the least we could do to see you off on your journey.”

Elen sila lumen olmentilmo,”(1) Tirhas said in her melodic voice. “Anarie and I will be returning to Tempestas (2), so plan to accompany you to the coast where rumor has it an elven ship will be arriving soon.”

“Oh, uh…that is lovely,” Martin replied.

“However, if have need of me I still want to fulfill my debt to you, for without you my body would still be the plaything of that ancient witch and my spirit would dwell in a stony prison,” the elf added.

Martin was taken aback and stammered. It was then that he noticed a large figure hovering in the doorway. Dressed in travel stained clothing of brown, dull green and gray was the towering half-orc Ratchis, still seeming uncomfortable within the confines of a house.

Soon the house was alive with chatter as Jeremy returned, and soon after so did Gunthar and Selma. The little house was crowded, and the many voices talking of things that Martin tried to digest dizzied him.

“Hey pig-f*cker! Don’t hoard all the turkey legs,” Gunthar shouted across the table. “Ow!”
Selma had elbowed him had elbowed him hard.

Ratchis sneered, and then challenged the Neergaardian to an arm-wrestling match for the last drumstick. “Uh-uh, I see you got your giant’s strength belt-thing on,” Gunthar protested. “I ain’t stupid.”

“I’ll eat it,” Jeremy said, grabbing it.

There was some kind of commotion outside, and everyone got up to go look, but Martin held Beorth back.

“Beorth, do you think you could do me a favor?” the watch-mage asked.

“Anything, so long as it does not violate the tenets of my faith,” the paladin replied.

“Could you use the sight granted to you by Anubis to check for any evil aura I might have,” Martin asked.

Beorth furrowed his brow. “If you would like me to, but perhaps after dinner?”

“Of course,” Martin said. He followed everyone outside and saw a line of three great lizards, with a crowd of townsfolk following carefully from behind. The brown and green lizards were each being ridden by a pair of dwarves sitting back to back on elaborate saddles.

The dwarf at the head of the first lizard, yanked the reins to stop his creature and hopped off. He was covered in dust, and his red beard looked brown as he combed it out with a gloved hand.

It was Kazrack.

“Hail Martin! Watch-Mage of Summit!” He called happily, walking past all the others to grasp Martin’s wrist in a firm dwarven shake. “It fills my heart with gladness to be able to see you off on your trip, and that I am reunited with all my old companions.”

“Uh, yes… Uh, it has been so long,” Martin stammered.

“Martin? Does something ail you? You seem paler than usual<” the dwarf queried.

“Yes, but still not paler than Beorth,” Jeremy quipped.

“No, I, uh… I’m just overwhelmed is all,” Martin tried to bluff through his confusion.

“Come! Let’s go inside while my crew attends to the mounts and have a glass of wine, or maybe a hearty ale,” Kazrack slapped Martin on the back hard. “It will put color on your cheeks. You haven’t been overusing that ring of yours have you? How many times have I warned you not to trust those foul magics? Nothing can truly replace a good meal and a good sleep.”

Back inside the companions continued to eat and talk of their journeys and plans. Martin barely spoke, trying to figure out what to do next. He scanned memory and his satchel and was amazed at the spells he currently prepared. Spells of fifth and sixth house, that he would never have been able to prepare, let alone cast, before.

“Martin, you seem distracted,” Kazrack raised an eyebrow suspiciously. ”You aren’t… You know, you aren’t thinking this is all some kind of dream again are you?”

The dwarf smiled and then laughed, pointing at Martin. “You are being foolish.”

“I have said this all felt like a dream before?” Martin asked.

“Sure, every now and again,” Kazrack said.

“Yes,” Beorth confirmed. “You… you were under a lot of mental strain in the Maze, and I think your memory was affected.”

“Yeah, but don’t get too soft in head on us now, we still need you,” Jeremy winked.

“Yes, speaking of needing you, Beorth and I wanted to ask your aid in an endeavor we will be beginning to undertake,” Kazrack said. “The clearing of the undead land of Dralmohir.”

Beorth nodded. “It will take many years, as we will be seeking to map it and raise money and permission to build monasteries of Anubis upon its border in the Principality of Rhondria, and handle this as one would any war.”

“We are hoping that you will return from Thricia in a few years when we are more ready and use your powers and that of your book to aid us,” Kazrack said.

“Marty! You aren’t going to run around risking your life even more are you!” Marion squealed.

“Yeah, shouldn’t you be starting a family soon?” Jeremy winked.

“I can’t deal with this anymore!” Martin stood violently.

“Martin! Whatever is the matter?” Marion stood, to put an arm around her husband, but he shirked away.

“Why won’t you detect evil on me?” Martin asked, turning to Beorth.

“It is okay, Martin. If you want me to do it, I will do it now. There is no need to get upset.”

“Calm down Martin,” Ratchis said.

“Anubis, grant me sight beyond sight so that I might see any aura of malefaction upon any in the room,” Beorth stood and covered his eyes, reaching out with the other hand. “Nothing.”

“There is something not right here!” Martin insisted.

“Do you feel disoriented? Do you need to lay down?” Beorth asked with concern in his voice.

“A glass of wine?” suggested Anarie.

“Has someone been here to speak with you? Could you be under a spell?” Ratchis offered.

“He’s thinking this is all not real again,” Kazrack said. “This is real, Martin.”

“Oh man, another friggin’ meal disrupted by orc-rubbin’ by portents and prophecies,” Gunthar rolled his eyes.

“Shut up, Gunthar!” Jeremy punched his brother in the arm.

“You little sh*t!” Gunthar began to smack at each other, until a dirty look from Ratchis stopped them both.

“Come on! You can’t take us both!” Gunthar taunted. “Not without your precious belt that is!”

“I insist that you tell me everything that happened in Hurgun’s Maze,’ Martin asked.

“Come on Selma, let’s go spare some more. This is gonna take longer that a horse’s funeral in Wallbrook,” Gunthar took his wife outside.

“A lot happened in the Maze, Martin,” Jeremy said, trying to sound soothing. “One of the kind’s bards wrote a song about it based on your re-telling. It was a horrible song.”

“It had a certain dirge-like quality I liked about it,” Beorth commented.

“Have you lost your memory Martin?” Ratchis asked.

Marion looked aghast, and took him by the shoulders and sat the watch-mage down again, putting a flap of his thinning hair to one side with a kiss.

“It seems that since I woke up this morning I can remember nothing of the things you speak of,” Martin confessed.

“You didn’t kill a pixie did you?” Kazrack asked.

Martin again stood up in frustration.

“I need to check my books and journals and figure this out,” Martin said. “The Book of Black Circles must be the key to this whole thing. I must look through it and find the spell to destroy it.”

“Yes, destroy it if you must,” Kazrack said, winking and elbowing Ratchis. The half-orc scowled.

“Is that so wise?” Ratchis asked. “At the time you said you were able to control the book and thus keep death from falling upon you even at Osiris’ will.”

“And since then you have done such good with it, like close Hurgun’s Maze, brought Jeremy back from limbo touched with planar goodness,” Beorth added.

“Not to mention bargaining with dragon to have her leave this area alone,” Jeremy said. Martin noticed a subtle shine that seemed to emanate from the Neergaardian’s eyes and hair.

“Enough! I cannot concentrate on what I need to do with all of you talking to me at once!” Martin ran for the bed loft.

“Martin! Don’t be rash!” Beorth cried as he and the others stood.

“Let me check for a dweomer of charming on you,” Ratchis called, leaping over the table to catch the watch-mage. “You are not yourself.”

“Or he is too much himself,” Kazrack swore.

Instinctively, Martin willed the Book of Black Circles to his arms. He spun around at the base of the loft in time to see Ratchis charging at him.

“You are making a mistake!” the half-orc said, but it was too late Martin invoked one of the spells he had been surprised to determine he had prepared, and he disappeared.

----------------------

Martin reappeared in an instant at a place he had remembered camping at the foot of the ridge the town of Summit was built upon. (3)

Afraid he might still be spotted, he pulled a miniature portal carved of ivory from his satchel, along with a silver spoon and a round piece of marble. In a moment, there was shimmering portal before him eight feet high and four feet wide before him and stepped through it into an opulent mansion.

A translucent figure in green livery, took led him to a chamber with a great desk and a table covered in food.

“Leave me!” he said, throwing himself into a padded chair, and slammed the Book of Black Circles on the desk before him.

“Give me the spell I need,” Martin growled, uncharacteristically.

The book’s cover flew open and the pages began to rifle by of their own accord. When they stopped Martin just sat dumb-founded for a long moment, covering his open mouth, and afraid to look at on what it might have stopped.

Martin the Green took a deep breath and looked at the open page, and then gasped again.

On the page in runes and letters in several different hands was a spell of the Ninth House. (4) It was a spell that could bend the fabric reality itself, but for a price. However, as he continued to read, he saw in black script directions would allow the caster to substitute other things for that price; souls.

“No!” Martin said in frustration. He tried to imagine a spell in the book that might would physically destroy the book. The pages began to flip again, and when they stopped Martin began to read a list of ingredients and the beginning of the detailing of complicated procedure by which a powerful priest or wizard could give himself near-immortality. The price was even more costly.

Martin closed the book and sat for a while trying to think of various ways he might dispose of this thing permanently. The book opened and flipped back and forth with his thoughts, but he did not pay it any mind, assuming that each choice it gave him would endanger his soul.

Finally, he thought of a spell he had heard of before that would allow the caster to shift himself into another plane of reality.

The pages of the Book of Black Circles flipped like mad and then stopped. Martin looked and there was the spell.

He evoked the runes of the spell concentrating on the Positive Material Plane (5), clutching the book to his chest.

All went white.

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Notes:

(1) "Elen Sila Lumenn Olmentilmo" trainslates as 'A star shines brightly on the hour of our meeting'.

(2) Tempestas is the island homeland of the elves, a place of deep ancient forests surrounded by stormy seas.

(3) Several different times, the Fearless Manticore Killers camped on the outer edge of Greenreed Valley, at the foot of the trails that led down from Summit, including right before traveling to the Necropolis of Doom.

(4) The Book of Black Circles was actually the product of the work of seven powerful necromancers, each taking it from the last and adding to its lore and power. The last was the infamous Marchosias the Corruptor.

(5) This is the plane of pure good from which the power of the gods of good derives.
 
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el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
As a note of interest: This is the first time I have had to break up a session into more then three installments since some time in Book Two.
 

Jon Potter

First Post
nemmerle said:
Elen sila lumen olmentilmo,”(1) Tirhas said in her melodic voice. “Anarie and I will be returning to Tempestas (2), so plan to accompany you to the coast where rumor has it an elven ship will be arriving soon.”

Great update, as usual! What a strange situation to put Martin the Green in. Truly inspired.

But I think you missed a couple of footnotes.
 
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