Ramon was ready to help the woman but chose to do as the elder priest had ordered and went on his way. If he could keep his composure, he would spend his day gathering events and then meditate on which one the gods wished him to undertake.
Post by scottenkainen on Sept 30, 2015 13:14:30 GMT -6
Day 13, turn 5 for Joaquim:
It was getting to be late afternoon. If they wasted all of Joaquim's training time walking all over the place, there was no way this was going to be done in four days! Unless walking was somehow part of the training...?
They walked as far south as the Velverdyva River, where it flowed right through the city. Here, the Bridgewalk Tavern sat right on the edge of the river, right next to the bridge across it. The two-story building seemed unusually large for a tavern, with terraces and balconies precariously hanging over the side of the river as if threatening to pull the whole structure over into the drink.
"Let's stop here," Ekaitz said casually, as if this wasn't a planned stop.
The tavern was brightly lit inside by large windows overlooking the river. Barges and cogs, loaded with people, could be seen out on the river from the comfortable chairs of the tavern's many separate sitting rooms, none with more than 1-2 people sitting and sipping wine in each room. Servants, all wearing identical red livery, idly moved about, delivering bottles and cups.
Ekaitz tugged on a passing servant's sleeve and said, "I need to see Robert."
The servant nodded and told them to follow him into a private room with a window view of the river. Ekaitz and Joaquim only had to wait there four minutes before they were joined by a man with a huge, waxed mustache, a round, bald chin, and wearing a bright red vest and sash over more mundane, upper-class clothes. The man looked to be about 60 and, for all his flamboyance, still had an air of charisma about him.
"Ekaitz!" this man, evidently Robert, said, giving Ekaitz a hug. "I wasn't expecting you until this evening. Who's your friend? I only jest -- I know who this is, your young charge, Joaquim of Greyhawk. Coming to Verbobonc to get training on the cheap, you cheeky devil, you?"
"He needs the test," Ekaitz prompted.
"Tut, tut -- small talk first."
"Fine. How's business?"
"Hmm, not so good lately. End of small talk with you, Ekaitz. Go ask Martita for some Keoish White and wait for us. Then have Martita bring us two Fire Ambers. Now, Joaquim, tell me a bit about yourself..."
Joaquim didn't believe for a second that Robert was really interested in small talk. It was yet another test. Could Joaquim be witty and charming enough to have what it took to be an enchanter? Truly, he didn't care. He was fed up with all these wizards and their pretentious challenges. Sick of trying to prove himself to strangers whose value to him seemed dubious, at best.
Still, it would be nice to pass at least one of the tests. Even if he was indifferent to the reward, constantly failing was starting to sting. So it was as a matter of pride that Joaquim launched into a series of anecdotes, some dealing with youth indiscretions in the Free City, others referencing recent events.
"...and then just as fast as the combat started, Marcel and the other fellow put down their swords and trudge off to some tavern, suddenly the best of friends. When I returned to our inn that night, there was his new buddy, stretched out over a table, face down in a pool of his own vomit. Which, I suppose, means that Marcel bested him in the end."
Axen tapped Guarin and indicated the girl. "Although I know you would enjoy some time enjoying the pleasures of Verbobonc, the fates may have just set a great opportunity before you to establish a positive reputation for yourself. Come along if you'd like and help this girl and you will receive much credit and glory if things go well... in either case, I am going to help her and return later." Regardless of whether Guarin follows him, Axen stepped forward and asked the girl, "What is the problem? Take me to your father and I will see what I can do."
Post by scottenkainen on Oct 2, 2015 10:55:37 GMT -6
Day 13, turn 5 for Joaquim:
The chat went quite amiably for over an hour, with Ekaitz coming back and observing the last 10 minutes of it. The chat ended on a laugh, followed by a sigh, from Robert*, who then looked over at Ekaitz and said, with all seriousness. "I'm sorry, but he's not ready. His heart just isn't in it."
How did he know that?
"Of course. Thank you for your time, Robert," Ekaitz said. The two men left, heading back to the Silver Consortium.
"There is nothing wrong with not being suited for specialization," Ekaitz said as they walked. "In fact, many magic-users find specialization a distraction that has forced them to retire from other pursuits, like adventuring. Is that your direction, Joaquim?"
While Joaquim thought about how to answer that, they reached the Consortium and re-entered the building. This time, Ekaitz took him to another room on the second floor where Joaquim had not been before -- a library, about one-fifth the size of the Library of Delleb. On a table, underneath a hanging lamp that glowed with a magical radiance, were over a dozen unbound books, held together with string.
"These are pages from the personal journals of magic-users who have belonged to our Consortium. The pages before you bear no personal secrets, but were donated for this purpose: that those who come here for training might read them and gain insight into what direction they wish to take with their studies, with their magical careers. You can spend as much time in here as you need tonight -- reading just the materials on this table," Ekaitz said, and he moved to leave the room.
Post by scottenkainen on Oct 2, 2015 11:03:26 GMT -6
Day 13, turn 5 for Axen, (Guarin):
Guarin listened to Axen and shrugged. "Sure, I guess I have time to kill."
So the two of them followed the girl from the tavern. The girl led them to a one-story house on a residential street just two blocks away from the tavern. The door was unlocked and she let them in.
The small living room of the house smelled of a delightful, sweetish, yet pungent scent and there were wisps of smoke still rising from a small brazier on the floor. Sitting on the floor, leaning against the wall, next to the brazier, was a bearded, fat man who looked like he was in a dull stupor.
"Father is acting like he's asleep!" the girl said, still sounding frantic. "I need your help to take him to the House of Healing, in the Dawn Quarter, to see if they can wake him."
"...What's in it for us?" Guarin said, looking about the shabby room.
Axen glanced at Guarin and realized that the idea of a favor and simply helping others has been anathema to his life over the last twenty or thirty years. "Just trust me on this one, Guarin." Turning to the girl, he said, "I can get him there; I'm stronger than I look." Axen started to hoist the man off the floor, showing off his surprising strength, and hoped Guarin would help... but wasn't sure that he would. "Guarin, do you recognize the smell of that smoke?" he asked as he started to walk the man out of the house.
Post by Ronny Serio on Oct 5, 2015 11:01:06 GMT -6
Joaquim let Ekaitz go. The books on the table had his full attention. A minor library of magical advice. He dived in the texts with abandon, intent on pouring over them until the mages kicked him out or he just couldn't stay awake any longer.
Post by scottenkainen on Oct 6, 2015 10:13:11 GMT -6
Day 13, turn 6-Day 14, turn 1 for Joaquim:
Joaquim poured over the writings. His first impression was that sorcerers and wizards had an awful lot of free time for writing diaries and journals.
Next, Joaquim read about specialists. Other than the illusionists, who seemed to stay fairly active as adventurers, the diviners, enchanters, transmuters and the like all seemed to settle down soon and retire, either because the rewards were more lucrative, or because their new studies demanded more intense study.
Joaquim read about amazing magical power. Wizards who could throw fireballs and lightning bolts and teleport. But he also found uniformly tragic stories. Not deaths (even wizards, Joaquim assumed, could not pen memoirs post-death), but powerful, vital men feeling compelled to isolate themselves, shut themselves off in lonely towers, and create magic items they themselves often did not understand the purpose of.
Is this what Joaquim's ultimate purpose would become? Was there any way to escape this fate? Or was it a purpose Joaquim would come to understand later on (since it was only puzzling from these scattered pages)?
Joaquim must have fallen asleep in the library, many hours later. Joaquim woke up in a small room he did not recognize with flagstone walls and a straw mat covering the floor. A shelf in the room had a stub of a lit candle on it, with some unlit candles lying next to it. The walls were covered in chalk writing which appeared to duplicate many passages from the pages Joaquim had just read last night. There was no sign of chalk in the room. There was a small piece of parchment on the simple bed Joaquim had slept on. And there was a door, which appeared to be locked from the other side.
If Joaquim had learned anything last night, it was that these specialist wizards were a crazy lot. He was glad he'd passed none of their silly tests. Sequestering himself off in a tower, giving his life into his magic, these things held no interest for him. His magic was a tool. Perhaps it was for the best that he had such a limited understanding of magical theory.
He couldn't remember retiring to this room, but clearly the Consotrium had some sort of dormitory on the premises. He'd gotten used to being locked in at the Bronze Unicorn, so finding that it was the same way here did not bother him overly much.
Joaquim knocked on the door and called out a greeting to anyone who might be able to hear him. Then he drifted back over to the bed and picked up the piece of parchment lying there.
Post by Ronny Serio on Oct 12, 2015 13:11:21 GMT -6
Riddles... why'd it have to be riddles? With little alternative available to him, Joaquim sat on the bed and pondered what he had read last night. Many stories of eccentric, at best, wizards. Insane tales with bizarre endings. Many paths down which Joaquim did not wish to take. But there was something missing, something that Joaquim had noted to himself as he read.
"Death," he said aloud and stood, ready to leave his temporary prison.
Post by scottenkainen on Oct 12, 2015 15:55:05 GMT -6
Day 14, turn 1b for Joaquim:
"Death," he said aloud -- and then was plunged into darkness.
At first he thought it was some magical effect linked to the word, but then he smelled the aroma of a burnt-out candle and realized he should have paid some attention to the stub of a candle on the shelf sooner.
Joaquim moved to the door and tried it, but it was still held fast. Worse, without light, he could not re-read the clues on the walls for something he might have missed.
Post by Ronny Serio on Oct 14, 2015 18:22:39 GMT -6
Joaquim sunk down onto the bed, awash in disappointment. He was so certain in his answer...
"What did I not read," he asked aloud to the darkness. "Nothing about mages devoting their life to adventure, aside from those Illusionists. Not much from mages who were not specialists. All tragedy, no happiness."
Post by scottenkainen on Oct 15, 2015 12:00:45 GMT -6
Day 12, turn 1 for Eder:
Frar had given Eder only teasing hints of what today's Challenge of Skill would be, but Eder knew for sure he would need to be back at the Hall of the Harvesters' Heroes for it.
"Good morning, Eder!" Frar said, giving Eder a hearty chest-bump. "Your challenge awaits you. There are no rules or restrictions, or even guidance. It is entirely up to you how to do this. You see the roof of our building from here? The flag mounted on the steeple, 20' off the ground? You bring me that flag, and you pass the challenge."
Post by scottenkainen on Oct 15, 2015 12:19:27 GMT -6
Day 14, turn 2 for Joaquim:
After an hour of sitting in the dark, sulking, Joaquim realized that perhaps he had not been taking the riddle literally enough. What had I not read last night that I could read now? And that was when Joaquim remembered that one of the names written on the wall here had been misspelled. He had overlooked it at the time as unimportant, but...oh, if only he could see the writing again!
Determined to solve this without help, Joaquim spent another two hours trying to visualize each word in his mind as he had seen them in chalk. He remembered other added letters now and assembled them one-by-one. Then it was just a question of re-arranging them until it resembled a word he knew and then...
Aha! FAILURE! The word was "failure".
The door opened as soon as Joaquim had said it outloud. Beyond it was a corridor that ran left and right. It was mostly pitch black -- except for moments when the light from open flame would be visible to the right and illuminate the corridor.
Eder looks around for stairs that go upstairs inside the building. If there is not any he looks to see if there are buildings nearby with the same height as the head quarters and he then will take out some rope.
Post by Ronny Serio on Oct 16, 2015 14:27:54 GMT -6
Joaquim stumbled his way out into the corridor, his legs aching from the hours of disuse. He leaned up against the wall outside the bed chamber, peering down the hall in both directions. "Hello," he called out tentatively.
Post by scottenkainen on Oct 16, 2015 14:58:10 GMT -6
Day 14, turn 2a for Joaquim:
Joaquim moved out slowly, pausing to look during the seconds when the firelight flared up. The fire was coming from a doorway at the end of the hallway to the right. The doorway opened into a room that looked empty -- but every few seconds these vertical "bars" of flame would leap up from the base of the doorway and last for a few seconds before disappearing.
To the left was more hallway before it rounded a corner to the right, but between Joaquim and the corner was a pit as wide as the corridor, and nearly 10' deep.
Just outside this door was a small shelf with a folded piece of parchment on it. Picking it up, and waiting for the next time the fire came back so he could read it, Joaquim saw a short note:
No one who pierces the veil and discovers the wonders of the arcane world is a failure. Nor are you, if you solved the riddle puzzle. Riddles and puzzles are a common feature of dungeons, so adventuring magic-users had best be ready to deal with them.
You are currently in a small dungeon under our building. Your training will end when you find your way out. The features of the dungeon you can access should be nonlethal, but beware because they can hurt!
Post by Ronny Serio on Oct 19, 2015 7:35:35 GMT -6
A dungeon? Joaquim had to admit that he preferred this challenge to being continually rejected by the so-called "specialists". He returned to the room he'd woken up in. From the shelf with the candles he took one full candle, as well as what remained of the burned out stub that had been lit when he woke up.
Back in the hallway, he first approached the pit. He tossed the stub into it. Perhaps if the pit was a trick, he'd just see the stub "floating" in mid-air. Then he went to the curtain of fire blocking off the room at the other end of the hallway. He held out the remaining candle, the wick close to the flames, to see if it would catch or if the fire was all an illusion.
Post by scottenkainen on Oct 19, 2015 10:07:22 GMT -6
Day 14, turn 3 for Joaquim:
The thrown candle stub fell into the bottom of the pit -- or at least seemed to. Joaquim, who now had a good sense that the fire erupted at set intervals of 10 seconds every 90 seconds, waited and lit his second candle when it was time. Or had he? He was reasonably sure he would still be able to see in 9...8...7...
When the 10 seconds were up and the fire went out, Joaquim could still see by his candlelight. He was reasonably sure that an illusion could not have lit this candle, though he had to confess to himself that he did not know half of everything there was to know about illusion magic.
Joaquim had seen some of the room through the fire bars, while they were burning, but saw it more clearly now by candlelight. It contained a pallet, small table, and a stool arranged around a fireplace and mantel. A rusty sword and axe hung over the mantel. A scroll sat on the table.
Post by scottenkainen on Oct 20, 2015 10:54:39 GMT -6
Day 12, turn 2 for Eder:
Eder had not been invited into the Hall. "That's off-limits to you, unless you are accepted into their organization," Frar explained. Besides, there was no window in the steeple for Eder to use to exit onto the roof and reach the flag.
The roof was 50' distant from the outer wall of the city and 50' distant from the nearest building of comparable height (a private residence), and the nearest building that was taller was 70' away (a baker's shop with a private level over it). Eder took out his rope and...
Post by Ronny Serio on Oct 21, 2015 12:57:07 GMT -6
When the fire vanished again, Joaquim hopped quickly into the room and began a more thorough exploration. This time he read the scrolls first, then would look more carefully at the fireplace, the weapons hanging above it and the pallet.
Post by dtspurrier on Oct 21, 2015 13:51:17 GMT -6
Eder takes off his armor and gear and asks Frar to watch it. He then get his rope and grapple and see if he can throw it up and hopefully it will catch. If this does not work he then looks around for a cart so he can stand on it to lower the height distance.
Post by scottenkainen on Oct 27, 2015 8:24:25 GMT -6
Day 12, turn 3 for Eder:
"Interesting technique," Frar commented as Eder stripped down to his quilted gambeson in public. Frar agreed to watch Eder's armor, and any other equipment he left behind.
Eder went to pull his rope and grappling hook out of his pack, but then remembered that he owned no grappling hook, only rope. Undeterred, he formed a lasso and began trying to throw it up to catch the steeple.
...On the 22nd try, from the back of a momentarily borrowed cart (which rode away afterwards), Eder succeeded!* Then he rested his arms for awhile. Climbing the side of the building, with the aid of his rope, began with success -- which turned into embarrassing failure when Eder hit the halfway point. Slipping just as he was trying to clamber over the edge onto the roof, Eder plummeted to the ground and landed hard.
"Care to try again?" Frar asked.
((*I'm not posting all 22 to hit rolls; to climb: 4%, 43% - 2 dmg))
Post by dtspurrier on Oct 27, 2015 21:05:16 GMT -6
Eder has an idea and goes back to his equipment and gets a couple of iron spikes and mallet. He then rubs his hand in some dirt if it is dry ( unless he has chalk) for a better grip and retries climbing the rope. Every few feet of climbing he uses the spike and mallet to hammer a section into the wall , thereby making this spikes like pitons.
Last Edit: Oct 27, 2015 21:08:29 GMT -6 by dtspurrier