Thanks to our ministrations, things were looking rather better in the Celestial City. Caiden Callean was no longer dying, and by my understanding that means the spark of heroism will no longer ebb. Combined with the reactivation of the portal stones, I suspect this bodes for…interesting times.
The City itself is changing; two of the temples are gradually moving further apart, as if to make room for a new one. I suspect this is Savana, goddess of illusion, and I wonder if that is the explanation for the mysterious fifth guard? When we returned to Iomedae’s temple, I found her presence remote. Perhaps the gods are catching up on hundreds of years of backlogged prayers and the like?
(Apparently Vall’s blade is named “Apology”. Jokes about “a heartfelt Apology” ensued.)
(Some geography, which I should have mentioned before: the capitals of the South and North Kingdoms are Kelan and Egara, respectively. The Divine City is within the city of Mastere, the old capital of the great kingdom Thela’an.)
Zakaroth has suggested forming a proper adventurers’ company; he was once part of the Company of the Brazen Fist. (Not to be confused with the Brazen Fisters, which is a house of moderate repute in Kelan.) Obviously, everybody immediately started suggesting inappropriate names.
(Note to self: check legalities of forming an adventurers’ company. Consider liability ramifications in particular.)
We decided to hasten back home, to let the King know as much as we were permitted of these new developments. On our way we returned to the “chasm”, which was now just a tiny divot, just as Chrysta had seen it before. Very interesting.
When we returned to the boat, we noticed some money changing hands among the guards who’d stayed behind. Apparently somebody had placed bets against us returning – oh well, their money. I asked about taking up a collection for the families of the four guards we lost, but apparently they will be taken care of by the Crowns for whom they worked.
On the way downriver we stopped to activate the portal stones as we passed, and I picked up some materials…I have worked out some tricks for binding magic into items, beginning with a headband that should assist my mental focus.
At the river mouth, we parted company with the Egaran soldiers. They will let their king know that the Celestial City is now open, and that there may well be need for meeting soon between the two kingdoms.
The trip back to Kelan went quickly and without incident. It was chilly, with winter starting to fall, but we were warmly clothed.
On our arrival in Kelan we made straight for the palace. We agreed not to activate the portal stone until we had first given some warning to the King, since we thought he might not appreciate us opening the city up to sudden unwelcome arrivals.
With Captain Bastian and Great-Uncle Andine present, we told the King as much as the gods had permitted, and discussed the plans for reuniting the kingdom. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this contingency had been anticipated. The older brother (that is, the king in the North) will inherit the rulership of the reunited kingdom, and His Southern Majesty will become a duke of the southern regions. He seemed comfortable with this arrangement, which was another pleasant surprise. Is it too much to hope that perhaps the reunification can be achieved without drama?
(Almost certainly yes, but a girl can hope.)
Apparently there are some complications with the idea of His Majesty-For-Now visiting Mastere; it seems that it does not lie within either the northern or southern kingdoms. One hopes that the two kings can arrange some mutually agreeable compromise.
(Incidentally, it seems a bit peculiar that the capital lay at the very edge of the old kingdom…but I suppose that would be less of an issue with working portal stones.)
I was pleased to see Alessandra and Gerard again, both looking well. Gerard has grown up noticeably in a few short weeks. I daresay they will both be out in the world getting into scrapes before we know it.
We found that many of the junior heroes are now wearing a hexagonal pin with an orb on it, and calling themselves “The New Generation”. I assume somebody is making good money out of this. We experimented surreptitiously with the portal stone and confirmed that they can’t activate it, only us. I expect that will change once they visit the Celestial City?
Re. portal stones: according to the records I’ve seen, there were about 500-600 in existence. About half of them are named; the others are blank or question marks. Hopefully once some of the young ‘uns have been to the City, they will be able to assist in reactivating the network.
I spent most of the next four weeks crafting. The materials are expensive, but luckily I found a rich sponsor. Lady Leandra, the King’s niece, wanted to improve her social skills; I already have a spell that provides confidence and magnetism on a short-term basis, but with a great deal of work I was able to bind it into a headband; the trick is similar to one that I’ve made for myself, but with a different focus. With what she paid, I was able to fund a great deal more work on my own account, and I’ve also been working on a few toys for my companions; more on that in a separate entry.
There is a big celebration scheduled for Midwinter, and I made sure to secure myself some fancy clothes for the occasion. Magical cleaning spells FTW!*
I also talked to the junior wizards. I’ve shared my spells with them (excepting the walking-skeletons one that Chrysta doesn’t need to know about) since research is expensive. If I help them, I hope they’ll be minded to share their own discoveries with me, and hopefully they’ll be a little less likely to blow themselves up re-inventing the Third Circle of Abjuration.
After Midwinter, the plan is to take Lord Andine and some of the old wizards (now Earls and Countesses) to the Celestial City. It must have been tremendously frustrating to reach their plateau so early and then be unable to move further, but I hope we can do something for them, as well as for our younger friends.
*For The Wizard.
Shiny points: 14 carried over, +1 for summary, +1 for the “heartfelt apologies” joke = 16.