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The Shards of the Antiquarian (POST S39)

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The Shards of the Antiquarian (POST S39)
« on: July 12, 2018, 09:58:18 PM »
Jonias couldn't help but to grin from ear to ear. What had started as a wild goose chase following odd leads and clues from Xenemarcses' tome ended with the discovery of a shattered mythal. Holding on to a few pieces in his hand, he found he could focus his spells through the mythal shards, which he tested by casting a few minor illusions of signs pointing the way out of the cave.

"Doctor Wicker?" Jonias politely called to the half-elven woman. He had seen how jumpy she could be, and hoped to not startle her again.

"I wanted to ask about how you came to your conclusion on how to close the portal? I'll admit to not being the most studious of mages, but none of my knowledge of the arcane seemed to help." The elf looked at the woman's eyes then around her face and head, as though he were looking for something fluttering around her.

"Beryl..." Jonias said in soft, yet sternly disapproving tone. A moment later the tiny dragonling reappeared on the taller elf's shoulder. The tiny dragon looked at Doctor Wicker curiously before mumbling something in a high pitched draconic chatter to the elf.

"She thinks your magic is strange and wants to examine some of your devices. I'll make sure she stays out of your equipment however, don't worry," the elf said reassuringly.

*

Doctor Catriona Wicker

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Re: The Shards of the Antiquarian (POST S39)
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2018, 12:15:37 PM »
The darkened setting of this subterrane, made even far darker by the vanishing of the portal, held an almost spooky ambience once the portal was gone.  Other than their own voices, the only ambiance was the ebb and flow of water, ever-present in the background.   The disheveled doctor found herself pulling the crystal fragment she used as a focus from her other hand, the object having seared its way halfway into the palm of her fingerless, enchanted gloves.

In her mind, they had better collect all the pieces they could find of this and return to town, given how much of their resources they had expended in this daunting excursion.

The sun elfs addressing of her caused her to start a little;  she was certainly not the smoothest or most confident operator in the group. “Yes?”  she replied with a mild adjustment of her smudged spectacles on her nose.

“Oh .. um.. I work.. uh.. worked with elementals quite a bit in my experiments.  And energy… it was more a guess until you attempted to breach it with the fragment of mythal.  That caused me to realize that the aperture was not properly powered on this side of the equation.  And that is why the elementals were despondent.  Energy is fickle that way, usually one just has to find the proper amount to net results.” The pearl-blonde professor looked briefly self conscious as he looked in her direction in that strange fashion, then she turned to pick up the last few pieces of the mythal if no one else took that initiative.

“I am not a mage… I mean, I dabble in some spellcasting arcana but only as a recent development out of necessity.” she establishes in a point of correction.  Looking to the creature he is indicating, she squints a little. “I am more thankful she isn’t covered in fur.  That would be a nightmare for me… umm.. But.. um.. I do encourage curiosity.  When we arrive in Sunderwood, I can probably offer something harmless to toy with.”  her shoulders rise and fall in a shrug, attempting to be somewhat polite.

Re: The Shards of the Antiquarian (POST S39)
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2018, 01:51:54 PM »
At the mere suggestion of permission to explore the doctor's belongings, Beryllium leapt off of Jonias' shoulder and onto Catriona's pack. The dragonling gave off a pleased sound before diving into the half-elf's pack, snaking its way around the various items within. Though careful, sounds of vials clattering or little claws grasping at things are quickly followed by signs of the bag bulging and shifting.

"Ah..." Jonias' broad grin turned sheepish, "Sorry. Beryllium can be quick to act, and if you give her an inch she'll take advantage. Don't worry though, she's careful, mostly wants to study things."

The elf held up a shard piece in his hand, again using it as a wand to create more little illusions. "These shards are incredible. Have you collected other samples from prior journeys?" the elf continues to question Catriona.

Jonias turns to look briefly towards Westra and the others, "Would anyone mind if I sent a few samples of these Mythal shards to library at Evereska?"

*

Westra Goldbrook

Re: The Shards of the Antiquarian (POST S39)
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2018, 10:26:12 PM »
Westra was frowning, only halfway listening to the conversation between the elves while she crouched and studied one of the smaller pieces of mythal shard. She couldn't help but feel a little disappointed at having found it in this state; if it was defunct she thought it unlikely that it had been actively drawing creatures here. But then, perhaps the crazed scientist responsible for the wolf abominations had come to this area searching for it based on myth, much like the Watch had done. She tried to remember what state the last crystal had been left in, after the strange sorceress had drained it at the dwarven forge. Had it been shattered, like this?

Before she pieced together the recollection, she was distracted from her thoughts by the sense of Jonias' attention shifting to her. She looked up, still frowning thoughtfully, and shook her head as she pushed to her feet.

"This is the Doctor's realm far more than it is mine. If she is not opposed to these pieces leaving her care, then I am not opposed." Her gaze shifted to the Doctor in question. "Is there danger in them in this state?"

*

Wolfe

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Re: The Shards of the Antiquarian (POST S39)
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2018, 10:43:18 PM »
The Blademaster had not been worse for wear at the conclusion of their voyage. After his catnap he looked as good (or at least, as rugged) as ever and would have brought a deadly focus in a fight against the Elementals if it came to it. However with things winding down he had stowed his gear and was looking forward to heading back to town. "Yeah." Wolfe replied in near monotone at Jonias's query of whether they'd encountered Mythal shards before. "Once before, and kind of a second time. Both were involved with some crazy woman who said she was from another time. The last time we ran into her she shattered the Mythal that was used for a powerful Dwarven Forge used to make magic objects. She absorbed the magic, I think. At least -- that's what it looked like."

He gave a sidelong glance toward Westra and Cat. "What do you figure that's what happened here, too?"

*

Doctor Catriona Wicker

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Re: The Shards of the Antiquarian (POST S39)
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2018, 10:51:22 PM »
Anyone who has spent any significant time in the presence of Catriona Wicker is likely aware of how jumpy she can be.  To be blindsided by some rambunctious little creature worming its way into her inventory.

“AH!” she exclaims suddenly at the sudden intrusion, the bosomy scientist shaking and shimmying the satchel off and looking quite ridiculous when doing so.  She sets it on the ground and kind of leaves it a bit, not sure what to do.  “There is acid in there!” she warns. She did not “spelunk” with much on her person beyond a grooming kit, Tinkerer’s Tools, some goodberries and whatever specimen jars she collected that day.  And yes, steel vials with vitriolic liquids that while stopped, could be dangerous. Beyond that, findings would not be all that fascinating.

The few fantastical devices she actually used regularly were stowed in her utility belt.  And anything more important than that was in the Bag of Holding that the bladesman carried.

She did not make further movements to interfere with the critter, but her countenance and mien exhibited disquiet.  The mention of previous fragments being kept distracted her enough to shake her head in response. “The last mythal we came across before was destroyed in a far more cataclysmic fashion than this, and we were ignorant of what we were experiencing at the time.”

While she assumed the mythal could be studied in town, perhaps with Baldarich and such, that would not require all the pieces.  If it was used like the first one, what made them properly special was gone.

Still, she deferred to the Captain with a look, as if to communicate that such a question was for the in charge paladin, not herself.

When her opinion was then sought, she looked thoughtful a moment, hoping to provide an accurate answer.  "I don't see why not.  I believe that this is basically an inert husk at this point.  I can't be certain on anything until we return to Sunderwood and I run some tests, however."

« Last Edit: July 13, 2018, 10:55:35 PM by Doctor Catriona Wicker »

Re: The Shards of the Antiquarian (POST S39)
« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2018, 06:11:39 PM »
After Catriona uncermoniously dropped her bag, Beryl let out a high pitch sound before going silent. Moments later the bag continued to bulge and move. Jonias simply smiled apologetically to the doctor.

The elf listened intently as Wolfe and Dr. Wicker explained their last shard encounter with a bit more detail. The thought of a powerful woman wandering Faerun and able to destroy Mythal shards seemingly at will left the elf wondering if these adventurers knew what level of power they were interacting with. Still, they seem to be able to handle themselves well enough for now.

Jonias patiently awaited confirmation from Westra and Catriona on whether he could send shard pieces to the Great Library at Evereska or not. The elf had no intention of revealing the several pieces he had already gathered and intended to send anyways, but asking was the proper thing to do. The elf had no doubt the Doctor could come up with some useful information, but nothing a team of wizards in Evereska could do.

"Thank you for allowing me, Dr. Wicker. I'm sure the mages in Evereska would love to examine these."

Beryl peaked her head out of Catriona's bag, goodberry juice dripped from her mouth. Upon spotting the doctor the dragon hopped out of the bag and brought several small items to the half-elven woman. The first of which was a half empty ink bottle, which Beryllium left alone. In another cluster an empty metal vial, a small metal nut, and broken glass ring, the remains of long since broken top to a vial. The tiny dragon flew up to Jonias before diving into the elf's own pack. After a moment of familiar happy grunts and squeaks, Beryl returned with a full ink bottle, a feather, and 2 copper pieces. The dragonling pointed to doctor's near empty ink bottle then to what had been Jonias' ink bottle, then waved her tiny claws over the rest of the goods.

The tiny dragon wanted to trade.

Jonias had never seen this behavior from Beryl, neither objecting to selling of his ink bottle or interfering with the dragon's offer of a barter. The elf shrugged and smiled at the doctor, unsure of what to say.

*

Doctor Catriona Wicker

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Re: The Shards of the Antiquarian (POST S39)
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2018, 01:38:35 PM »
Doctor Wicker did not enjoy animals.  Well, non-mechanical ones, anyway.  As non-threatening and benign as she came across on the outside, the scientist was much a loner and grew uncomfortable when made the center of attention.  One could see some mild frustration in her cherubic countenance as dealing with such a bizarre interaction with this creature was not something that came naturally to her.

“I .. um.. Evereska sounds as good a place as any… I know very little of the place.” she replied, eyeing the matter with her bag.

Exiting the cave was a priority to most of the other individuals and it certainly seemed like they looked to be starting that departure.  The doctor wanted out of here as well; a few minutes ago she had a rusty harpoon impaling her calf.  To hope she would have some uncharacteristic patience with strangers and their stranger pets was to give her too much credit.  Particularly when the others like Westra and Euron and Wolfe were able to start their egress unmolested.

The moment the dragonling vacated her violated satchel, she instinctively picked it back up and held it secure to her.  Whatever the weird behavior from the creature delaying her was met with only a visible befuddlement.  The items it wanted were utterly mundane to her, things she could put together with little effort.  “Um.. you are welcome to those things..uh..free of charge.” She didn’t even know if the thing spoke common. “But we have to return to safety now.”

Catriona inched away before moving to catch up and exit the cave.  “No one has said anything, but it seems like nothing we just encountered speaks to the Mad Scientist or the lycanthropes.”  said the pearl-blonde aloud to no one in particular.

Re: The Shards of the Antiquarian (POST S39)
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2018, 03:24:28 PM »
Jonias feigned being shocked and hurt at Doctor Wicker not knowing much about Evereska.

"As someone who studies magic and elementals you may want to take the journey there sometime. Few cities have amassed as much knowledge on magic as Evereska," The elf said with pride of his home, though he failed to mention that he had not been back in years himself.

The elf remained behind with the Doctor while Beryl completed her trade. When told that the the items were free, Jonias shared the news with Beryl in its natural draconic tongue after she looked back at him.

"She says you can have them for free, Beryllium," said the elf in the strange tongue of dragons.

"For free? But why?" inquired the dragon, in a high pitched voice.

"I think because you make her nervous. Maybe because she is simply kind, or maybe she doesn't see the value in the items you've chosen," Jonias spoke calmly to the active little dragon.

"Or maybe because she knows the best way to win a dragon over is to offer it gifts!" The little dragon said triumphantly, offering a tiny roar as she completed putting away the goods.

While walking out of the cave, Beryl turned invisible while on Jonias' shoulder before flying over to Catriona and gently hiding the full ink bottle in her pack.

***

Dismissing the last of his illusory signs, Jonias' ears perked at Catriona's mention of the Mad Scientist the group claimed to be hunting earlier that was related to the recent werewolf threat.

"Well we don't know if this scientist of yours got to use the mythal shard before it shattered, but there didn't seem to be any sign of lycanthropic activity in there. In fact a distinct lack of them. Perhaps the shard has something to do with it?" The high elf mussed aloud with the doctor.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2018, 09:20:49 AM by Jonias Siannodel »

*

Westra Goldbrook

Re: The Shards of the Antiquarian (POST S39)
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2018, 03:28:01 PM »
While the elf contingent gathered the shards of the shattered mythal, Westra took a torch and assured the others she'd be right back. She made her way through the tunnels once more and returned to the pool of water through which Jonias had indicate some kind of elven ruins. Sadly, even with the portal closed, the water there hadn't receded at all. Westra made her way back to the others, and caught up to them just as they were heading towards the exit. The doctor and the archer each commented on the lack of werewolves, and the paladin frowned, considering it.

"Indeed. And they have not shown themselves to be particularly subtle. It makes me think if they had been anywhere near here, we would have encountered evidence of them. And yet we know the townspeople have encountered them. They were near enough that the girl was taken." She shook her head, frustrated at the lack of answers.

"I am loathe to admit it, but I cannot see a clear direction left for us to take," she said, with a glance towards Wolfe in particular.

Re: The Shards of the Antiquarian (POST S39)
« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2018, 11:02:23 AM »
He high elf glanced between Westra and Wolfe as the two leaders of this band tried to figure out their next move. Jonias himself just wanted to continue exploring, and if making the forest safer would allow him to explore more then so be it.

Meanwhile, Beryllium curled up around the elf's neck as if she was ready to take a nap before whispering something to the tome bearer. The elf seemed to nod in affirmation before speaking up, "The Tome of Xenemarcses is what led me here to begin with. Although Xenemarcses hasn't been alive in over a thousand years, Beryllium and I will try to unlock more and see if there are any more clues or places of interest to explore in the region."

Re: The Shards of the Antiquarian (POST S39)
« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2018, 11:00:12 AM »
Euron was both spiritually and mentally depleted by the time the Watch left the cave. In just the past few weeks, Euron had seen things that challenged his worldview. It was clear that the priest wasn't handling all of it very well.

"This Mad Scientist has been a step ahead of us at every turn. How do we find someone that's been a ghost thus far?" he asked.

*

Doctor Catriona Wicker

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Re: The Shards of the Antiquarian (POST S39)
« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2018, 11:33:53 PM »
Catriona scrunched her nose a little bit as the change in atmospherics from a musty cave to the verdant outdoors irked her delicate senses.  “I don’t suppose this tome mentions mythals in the area…” she asks, almost rhetorically.

As smart as she supposedly was, she could not in this moment connect the dots between the mythals and the lycanthropes and the mad scientist.  The sentiment voiced by Westra adequately encompassed her own mystification on the steps forward in this affair. 

Her shoulders rise and fall in a minor shrug at Euron. “That is assuming they know we are ..um.. after them.  We don’t even really know what twisted endgame they seek.”

“At least we ..um.. kind of saved a village from that xenomorphic mindbending entity and the malfunctioning portal.  They didn’t even know this place existed.”  Even if they were not successful in their goals, some positives did come of this outing.  Normally, she wasn't someone to cheer about the bright side of something, but given the nature of the being they encountered, the whole ordeal was quite singular.

Re: The Shards of the Antiquarian (POST S39)
« Reply #13 on: July 25, 2018, 03:16:10 PM »
Jonias lightly shrugged his shoulders, so as not to disturb Beryl, in response to Dr. Wicker, "To be honest I've only barely cracked through some of the protective magics Xenemarcses put on his tome. Took me weeks just to open the tome, only to find that I had unbound Beryllium from the book. The only legible page I could read mentioned the cave in this region, though I don't know why. May have to do with the sunken temple found within the cave."

The high elf reached into his pack for the large, leather bound tome, disturbing the dragonling trying to rest on his shoulders. Although walking and reading weren't usually recommended while traveling, the sure footed elf seemed to have no trouble.

After overhearing the priest and Dr.Wicker ruminate about their common foe, Jonais chimed in, "Sadly if they don't know of a threat they're unlikely to pay a reward." The elf frowned slightly at the thought but did not press the issue further.

"The mythal's you have encountered may be unrelated to the werewolf and mad scientist threat. It sounds like you came upon the other mythal before you started hunting werewolves in the region. Have you all been able to encounter werewolves able to speak coherently? So far we only have the words of the crazed little girl werewolf to go on." The elf looked up from his book to glance around at the others.