The Twin Kingdoms

As I mentioned in my previous entry, our trip upriver awaits agreement from the North Kingdom, so we have had a couple of weeks to spend in the capital.

Vall has been exploring the town, no doubt doing something legitimate and businessmanlike.

Faye has spent her time talking to the elders here, learning their wisdom. I am surprised by how much she has matured in such a short time; she has learned the value of quiet contemplation and the pleasures of the mind.

(Joking. No, she headed straight for the taverns and got into a drinking contest with the sailors there. I think she won, if the hangover was anything to go by.)

Chrysta has spent much time in the temple, trying to fathom Zakaroth’s remarks about her being “not a proper dwarf”. She hasn’t spoken of what she learned, but she seems quite distracted and concerned. Maybe she’ll talk about it later.

Zakaroth has been… recruiting for Asmodeus? Apparently that’s legal.

As for me, I’ve been reading Grandmother’s books.

Her grimoire contained a wide assortment of interesting and useful spells – most pleasing! – but none of them are above the level of power that I already command. It is disheartening to think that this could be as far as I ever go.

From her journals, it’s clear that she felt the same way about it. At the start she was very enthusiastic about adventuring, after almost getting married instead, and happy to be out and about with her brother and friends. But later on, when she hit the same block that I now face, she became grumpy, frustrated, and at last outright hateful of the gods responsible. No wonder she chose to move far away from reminders of the adventuring life.

Great-uncle Andine let us know that there was a banquet coming up to celebrate the autumn equinox, and most of us took the opportunity to invest in some new clothes. I have acquired an exceedingly pretty silk dress, and I am exceedingly glad to have learned both cleaning and mending spells.

After a few days I needed a break from reading, and we headed down to investigate the local Adventurers’ Guild. We had heard (correctly) that people there were shaking down visitors for money before they could touch the orb, which we took amiss. Apparently by law the place belongs to adventurers (i.e. us), although held in trust by the Crown.

We shook down the shake-downers and did our best to return the money they’d taken from other visitors. Faye made some sort of speech which made me nostalgic for my recent spell of seasickness, and she and Zakaroth started showboating for the spectators.

Then an interesting turn of events: some people who had previously touched the orb without any joy did so again, and found that it now glowed. Possibly proximity to us has awoken a spark in them?

And a very curious thing: the orb does not respond to Zakaroth’s touch. Hmmm.

(One wonders: is he, in fact, from the distant past as he says? Or could he be from somewhere else, subject to different rules, perhaps brought here without knowing that he’s no longer in the world he came from?)

By the end of the day we had identified nine newly-fledged adventurers. Mar (young man, fighter); Timbry (male, wizard – perhaps at some stage I can teach him something?); Ann (human, monk); Debil (halfling, some sort of sorcerer?); and Syldic (half-elf, legitimate… businesswoman). I didn’t catch the names of the other four: a paladin of Abadar, a cleric of Cayden Cailean, a dwarvish bard, and a lady half-orc barbarian.

It would have been interesting to bring them along with us on our expedition; I’m sure they would have learned much, but it might have been a fatal lesson given that they haven’t yet had training. For the same reason, we are not taking my charges Gerard and Alessandra. The Crown will arrange for training for all these.

The equinox festival was quite impressive. The dinner was exceedingly fancy: sweet melons carved into the shape of swans! Swans carved into the shape of melons! Or something like that. We were seated apart from our companions, in order to meet other people.

Many of them are adventurers from the previous wave, now greying; a few of the non-humans come from earlier times. Some have old spellbooks that they can no longer use.

Note to self: if our excursion DOES find a way to lift the spellcasting block, I daresay many of these people will be EXTREMELY interested in that. We may need to be careful how we handle that.

During the evening, Val said something that caused Chrysta great offence. I don’t know what it was about, but it may have had something to do with the business that’s been bothering her?

Happy to say, His Northern Majesty agreed to a joint expedition upriver. (Does the North have adventurers too? Will they be coming with us?)

We organised supplies, including cold-weather clothes and so forth. Gerard, Alessandra, and Ann tried to stow away under our tarpaulin; I had to tell them off, of course, but I was proud that they’d made the effort. Soon enough, children…

Shiny points: 14 carried over, +1 for summary, +1 for bad jokes = 16.

“Maybe he’s born with it… maybe it’s Valvoline.”



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