Tertius: The Rise of Magic

Last Feast of Nonce (date unknown)

Oh, what a tangled web we are enmeshed in!

The evening started out pleasantly enough. Orobeo provided us with a very fine dinner of braised polar eel and Starshine Chardonnay. Compliments to his kitchen! And then he started telling us all manner of odd things. I pass on his statements without judgement as to their truth content:

• The Wizard Kings used to be the protectors of Tertius against the outsiders (apparently the giant frogs we met are outsiders known as ‘slaadi’);
• The Wizard Kings gained their arcane powers from dragons, who made a sort of magical fuel (kind of like magic dragon poop). In turn, however, the dragons fed off of the energy produced by the wizards. The dragons stockpiled the fuel they needed, then when they had a sufficient surplus they cut the wizards off from the magical fuel they needed. This robbed the wizard kings of their ability to fend off the outsiders.
• The first outsiders to take advantage of this were the Psions. The psions hunted the dragons, so they were compelled to let the wizards have a taste again. This resulted in the wizards (and dragons?) being able to throw off the psions’ shackles.
• The dragons are not nearly as powerful or numerous as they once were. Orobeo knows of only three: Nonce, the Drifting Death, and the bronze dragon (that I know as Sculptor Kane).

There is now a secret war going on with four factions all seeking to recreate or replace the Wizard Kings in their former hegemonic state:

• The dragons (led by DD) want to let the magic flow free, giving everyone access to it. The dragons also want to get their talons on the dragon orbs, of which there are four: an onyx, a silver, a bronze, and an amethyst. The amethyst orb was destroyed, but apparently it can be reconstructed from its shards so the dragons want those as well. Personal interjection: Nichelle at the arcane museum in Haven showed me several tapestries depicting these four orbs.
• The East Wind is a group of guilds serving as a front for the construct in the Shadowpeak. This construct is actually a magical prison for the last psion, named Kopf Matzherath. This one wants to drain the world of magic and bring back the psions and has promised to turn his allies into psions. Orobeo thinks that the energy streak we saw may have been the Kopf being released from his prison. He thinks the streak may have been headed towards Drakkar, possibly to the Last Lonely House.
• The nobles, led by Narfort. Apparently the Scrivener is a being that can bestow magical energy on people. According to Orobeo, Narfort is not the Scrivener, but he and his allies are controlling it. They wish to control magic to hand out to the people THEY choose. Apparently they can tap into the Scrivener instead of tapping into dragons.
• Last faction: Orobeo. He wants to return the world to the era of the Wizard Kings. He found a group of outsiders, called Baatazu, to use as an alternate magical fuel source. During the ritual to tap the magical energy, the Baatazu spirits were released from their bodies and went off to find a convenient corpse to inhabit. One of these is now lodged in Seamus, which means that, prior to Baatazu possession, Seamus was a Halfling corpse.
All of these possessed corpses are now warlocks. Orobeo is searching for them, because he needs their cooperation to complete the ritual. So far he has found 3 that have agreed to his plan, and another that is not going along with it. This last one has hidden himself somewhere in the Isles and is apparently powering his magic with a shard from the amethyst orb.

If the Baatazu spirit were to leave Seamus, he would once again become a corpse. Bit of a predicament. However, given that these Baatazus seem to be drawn to possess the nearest available corpse, and if Seamus were dead that would be Seamus, does that make Seamus immortal? As long as the Baatazu wants to be lodged in a body, anyway. Intriguing.

Apparently, Quentin was working for Orobeo. He was supposed to raise an army, not run off half assed and try to take the Narrows Fort himself. Orobeo is a bit irate over that.

In addition, my good colleague Jorn also appears to work for Orobeo. Jorn knows of the locations of several warlocks and Orobeo wants us to talk to him and track these warlocks down. (Well, Jorn did tell me that he had other clients. He is also involved with Ridderick Yates, which makes him indirectly involved with the East Wind, whether he knows it or not.)

At about this point in the dinner Nonce burst through a stained glass window and all hell broke loose. Nonce implored us to join him in defeating Orobeo, telling us that he was lying (no doubt true), and of course Orobeo made counter pleas. It was a difficult predicament, being put in a position to choose a side before being able to verify anybody’s claims, but Nonce told me that Sir William had allied with the dragons and was undergoing a transformation. He is apparently in the Driftfuge while he adjusts to his new state, and this is how Nonce got Sir William’s blade. Nonce also promised to come clean and be candid after the battle. I could tell that he was speaking the truth, so I decided to throw in with Nonce against Orobeo.
Unfortunately, I was the only one who did. Seamus immediately allied with Orobeo (probably seduced by visions of wizard kings dancing in his dead little Halfling head), as did Marita. I thought that Gherr was with me, but then he started attacking Nonce as well. To be fair, I’m not sure that Gherr was entirely in his right mind. He was acting oddly, in a way that reminded me of poor Corby. I think Farbax would have helped me, but he appeared to be passed out at the feast table.

With two against four, Nonce and I were defeated. Seamus turned Nonce’s head into jelly, so there was no hope of treating him. Fortunately, Orobeo accepted all of us as mercenaries who could be bought off, except for Seamus who is acting uncomfortably like a True Believer, and we came to an accord.

Following this battle, we learned a little bit more. Apparently those of us who met DD in the swamp were put under some kind of a magical compulsion, which would result IN OUR DEATHS if we did not return the black dragon orb to him. That was a sobering revelation. Orobeo said he would look into how to dispel the compulsion, and I consider that to be an excellent reason to go along with him for the present. He also wants us to destroy the s dragon orb, but I am opposed to that. It seems so…. Irreversible.

So for the moment we find ourselves in Prast, waiting for Muriel to catch up with us. I am concerned that Seamus and Farbax will be at each other’s throats. We now know the information that Narfort sent us out here to get, and we need to decide how to spin that to our advantage. Orobeo wants us to return to Haven and speak with Jorn about the warlocks, and Seamus is entirely too enthusiastic about destroying this dragon orb. We need some more impartial, more verifiable sources of information so we can sift through all the lies we’ve been told and decide what is really best for US.

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