"As you wish, Miss Silhouette,"
Silhouette grins. "You're sassy for a librarian," she replies. "Silhouette will do just fine."
Ulraunt replies with a bow.
"Ah, a true seeker of knowledge,"
"As for what I wish, it's access to some of Candlekeep's books, and maps. As much as it must pain you to hear, my companions and I are only planning a stopover here. Alas, we must press on, but we'll need some bit of the knowledge of this place to do so. Specifically, maps of the Anauroch and surrounding areas, as well as any relevant books."
he replies. "Of course you may gain access to one of the reading-rooms after you've gone through the mental and physical tests required by the order. You will have to answer questions truthfully about you, your life, your struggles, and about what it is you hope to learn while here. Anauroch is a vast place and out collection on it is so as well. It might help for you to think about narrowing down what it is you want to learn about the great desert. Ancient history? Flora and fauna? The history of the shades? The various tribes of the Bedine and D'tarig? Magical mysteries and hidden treasures, perhaps? There is a great deal to learn but you only have a tenday to study what we have in the archives."
He pauses. "You do understand that you cannot take anything with you when you leave unless you pay to have one of our illuminators make a copy. And it cannot be a magical tome. An illuminator could probably copy a nonmagical book on Anauroch within a tenday, as long as it isn't exhaustive. You can get only certain sections of a book copied but anything less than a page has a minimum cost of 100 gold. You should have a clear idea of what you want after the 24 hour meditation period is completed."
Ulraunt walks with her and the Magister until they reach the temple of Oghma. "When you are ready to sit down with one of our monks to make you case for entry past the Emerald Door, head over to the necessariums,"
he points to a series of buildings. "You will be taken into an audience-chamber to begin answering questions. While the questioning won't last the entire time, it will be extensive. 'Truth is the key to the door'."
He pauses for effect. "The bulk of the time must be spent in quiet reflection, but you cannot sleep. You may eat and study any written missives you already possess. Once you've completed the time in meditation, you will be allowed to enter through the Emerald Door and be granted access to the reading-rooms within the keep, within limits, of course. While reading through your selections, one of the order will stay with you to answer any questions you may have and find other tome or scrolls that might interest you. Time will go quickly, so have a plan before you enter. You can chat with members of the order in the necessariums before you begin the ritual, but do not tarry. You only have a tenday before you must leave Candlekeep."
He stops in front of the temple's doors and smiles at Silhouette. "I hope you find your answers, Seeker Silhouette."
He bows again and steps through the doors into the temple.
"If you want a good general reference on Anauroch, I recommend a book called 'A Stranger in the Great Desert' by a dwarven scholar named Arastrukara Darkbranch,"
the Magister suggests. "It gives good overview of the desert and its dangers without detailing every rock and crevasse. Matron Darkbranch penned it ten years ago but the information is still reliable. If you get it illuminated by the monks, it should cost you roughly 200 gold, and they'll be able to finish it before you have to leave. If you want something more exhaustive, I suggest you take a look through the massive tome called 'Eras of Anauroch'. There is no way for you to get even one chapter of it illuminated within a tenday and it would cost you and companions a large fortune. But reading even parts of it could save your lives."
"As you wish,"
Emiko greets the innkeeper in kind. "Thank you, Mr. Winthrop, I'll take it into consideration. We should get set up in the rooms first, though."
Winthrop replies cheerfully. He points towards the stairs. "Just head up stairs and pick one of the rooms with a copper plate tacked to the door."
Once inside the room, Emiko scopes it out. She mentally maps out entry points and exit routes. Taking several more minutes, she examines the integrity of the room's construction, checking for any gaps that anyone outside could take advantage of peeking or listening in.
The room is cozy and well insulated. There aren't any huge gaps in the walls, although they aren't very thick. She can clearly hear another guest snoring 'loudly' through the walls of one of the rooms. She doesn't pick that one.
"Darn, that's too bad,"
"Neither are likely, the Fraal want to remain uninvolved as much as possible," Yin Hun tells Bentley.
Bentley says. "They sound they could be quite powerful allies."
Turning to Belgeon, he says, "Good. It won't be easy, but I will get you ready to fight. But Loranys is right. Get some food and rest, and we'll start fresh tomorrow morning. And bring anyone else who is willing to fight."
Belgeon nods. He heads towards the Hearth to get a meal. The smell of foods draws the young soldier quickly inside.
Yin Hun contacts Emiko over his comm unit. After confirming where their temporary lodgings is located, Yin Hun enters the inn and heads into the room.
"Go ahead and get refreshed, and get a meal in," he tells her. "I'll secure my things, then do the same after you. I'll meet up with you there. And afterwards we'll meet up with the others at that 'Binder' place with the old man."
Emiko nods and heads out. The room will do. It's primitive but clean and safe. Emiko managed to get a room with two beds and a large wooden cabinet with an option for an iron lock. There is also an old chest that has seen better days. The blankets on the bed are warm and woolen. It will be a restful night's sleep at least.
Yin Hun passes the inn's owner on his way out. The man seems friendly, as well as wise beyond the rustic surroundings he's likely lived in his whole life. Yin Hun also notes that Thrak is schmoozing up the locals for information. The big goliath seems to have a way with people when liquor is flowing. That could prove useful in the conflict to come.
Entering the Hearth, Yin Hun feels like he's steps into a holo-novel about the days of yore. Well, as much yore as there ever was in the Empire. It feels surreal, but he knows just how real these peoples lives are going to get over the next few decades. There is hope and joy in their eyes, which might dim or might turn into fierce resistance. If he does his job right, it will be the latter.
He finds Emiko sitting and eating at a table with Soumral and the two plainclothes Flaming Fists. The matron of the eatery greets him with a smile and a plate of food. Yin Hun can tell its good by the enticing smell and by how much Emiko is putting away. Hunger quickly takes over, and he's three plates in before he realizes he'd been famished. He truly enjoys himself for the first time since coming to Toril. There is laughter, music, and local jokes he doesn't quite get.
Time passes and eventually the goliath joins them. The hostess and Winthorp's wife, Elisabet, eyes bug out when she sees him enter. She shakes her head and laughs at herself before heading back into the kitchen to tell her cooks to put some more meat on the fire and dig deeper into the pantry.
Thrak enters with several other people in tow. Yin Hun and Emiko saw them in the inn. There is a big man with a tattoo on his face, a young woman who looks like a local spellslinger, a savage looking half-elf, and a tough-looking ronin who looks like he could be of Yin Hun's bloodline. With those come another man that hadn't been in the inn. He is tall. So much so that he has to duck his head like Thrak had done when entering. There is something arcane about him, but he also has a sword strapped to his back.
Thrak points to you and the others while taking a look around the eatery. He shrugs and then finds the sturdiest chair in the place and moves it to your table. He sits downs and Elisabet brings him a platter with a bit of everything on it. The newcomers come over to the table and Thrak (semi-)introduces you all to them before digging into his meal. He stops to gulp down a huge mouthful of food before speaking again. "These adventurers are seeking help in getting to Waterdeep,"
he says to Yin Hun and Soumrel. "An opportunity has come up and they need more bodies to help protect a caravan. The lord who owns the caravan is named Gruen Bleth. They aren't leaving right away, so I thought we might travel with them."
"Have you explained what happened in Baldur's Gate," Belgeon asks.
"No, I decided that should come from Yin Hun or Rodan,"
Thrak replies. "They can descibe it better than I could hope to do."
"We do know that something big is happening,"
the human woman says. "The monks never let so many strangers in Candlekeep without the required books. Ever."
the tall man says. "Lets wait and hear what they have to say."
"Aw, c'mon Landor, there is danger in the air — like... like it was then — m-maybe worse,"
the woman named Imoen muses. The tall man gives her a firm look, and she crosses her arms sullenly.
"Swords, not words!"
The tattooed man exclaims.
"Not now, Minsc,"
the half-elven woman insists calmly. "Sit down over there and make sure Boo is okay."
The tattooed man's eyes go wide and he nods fiercely. He rushes over to a corner and opens up a pocket on his belt. A... rodent scampers into his hand and he cradles it like a delicate egg.
Is, is he alright?" Loranys asks.
"Yes, he'll be fine,"
Landor says. "Minsc's a great warrior, but he's not much for conversaton. And he can come off as odd."
"That is an understatement," the ronin says. "I am pleased to meet you all. I am Yoshimo Nishimaru." He bows gracefully. "I hope we can come to an agreement on traveling together. I have this sense that the roads will extremely dangerous without great numbers."
"I am Landor Sombragard,"
the tall man says. "Imoen and I grew up together here in Candlekeep, although I don't live here anymore. I spend more time in the North."
"And who's fault is that?"
"Winthrop is a nice man, but his not my father, Immy."
Imoen sticks her tongue out at him, and he smirks, barely.
"I guess we're doing introductions,"
the half-elf says. "I am Jaheira Virsatraen."
She says nothing else.
"Way to be friendly, Jaheira,"
Imoen says while rolling her eyes.
"The merchant lord should be along shortly,"
Thrak says as the hostess refills his platter. "He seems eager to hire as many bodies as he can. It could be beneficial to all of us. There's another option as well, but I don't know the details."
"Is Silhouette going to be here soon?" Belgeon asks. "Oh, I'm Belgeon," he adds to the newcomers. Imoen shakes the Flaming Fist's hand and grins.
"She'll get here when she gets here,"
Thrak replies. "What she's doing is important but hopefully she's not ruffling the monks' feathers... too much"
Loranys stands and bows to the newcomers. "I am Loranys of Baldur's Gate. We come to Candlekeep to seek knowledge that will help stop an invasion from the stars."
"An invasion from the stars?"
Landor looks at his allies and then notices Yin Hun and Emiko's clothes. "So my visions aren't just dreams."
He takes up a chair and sits down next to the offworlders. "Tell me of these invaders and I will tell you what I have seen of the possible future to come."
Before Yin Hun can start. Bentley and Rodan walk in. Rodan notes the look on others faces. The raptoran sighs. "What happened now?"