About Aylaeth Brely'an
Currently playing in: The Legacy of Mariansu, OOC:The Legacy of Mariansu OOC
Alchemical Fire Bolt: 1d4+1, +1d6 fire and 1d6/round for 1d6 rounds
(Ranks + class skill + ability + Miscellaneous = total) CS=Class Skill
(2+6 Int Mod)* (11 lvl) + 4 (Fav Class bonus)+9 (DM bonus ) *ACP -2
Acrobatics* (Dex) 2+0+4-2=4
MAGUS SPECIAL ABILITIES:
Spell Recall (Su):
Quarterstaff Defense (Ex):
Staff Weapon (Su):
Improved Spell Recall (Su):
Cabalist Bloodline Power-Djinni:
SYLPH: Darkvision 60'; Feather Fall 1/day (Caster lvl=Char lvl);]Electricity Resistance 5.
Cantrips-6, 1st-6, 2nd-5, 3rd-4, 4th-3
Cantrips DC17: Acid Splash, Detect Magic, Read Magic, Message, Prestidigitation, Ray of Frost (unlimited)
(Plus Scrolls, Wands, Potions etc-See Gear!)
Gear on Person: +1 Quarterstaff, +1 Holy Light Crossbow (10 bolts), MW Dagger, Cloak of Resistance +1, Handy Haversack, Wand CLW(30), Lesser Rod of Enlarge, Wand of Silent Image (50), Wand of Lightning Bolt CL6 (45), Ring of Acid Resistance 20, Amulet of Natural Armor +2, Potion CMW(1), Traveler's Outfit, Potion of Invisibility (2)(Rest of Gear in Haversack)
ITEMS Prices & Abilities:
Studded Leather Barding 700
Exotic Military Saddle 60
Handy Haversack 2000
+1 Quarterstaff 2300
Mithral +1 Chainmail 5150
Travelers Outfit 5
The sylph informs you all that these power orbs are actually not all that uncommon among the followers of Nethys; they contain fragments of pure arcane energy -- wild magic -- and are used to strengthen spells or power webs of magic. They are things of chaos, though, and do not react well to being in the presence of Law. Being in the city of Izmir, a place built on Goodness and Law, is like poison to an object such as this.
Aylaeth recalls that the orb is only readily usable by arcanists, not divine spellcasters, and even then requires a token -- an amulet or ring or something similar -- in order to use it. To get more, she tells you all, she would need to spend a couple days in the libraries.
Total Spent: 23,404
Load: 36lbs=Light Load (up to 43lbs)
Current Wealth: 710gp -sp -cp
TORA'AN- Mount, Companion and Lifelong Friend:
King Stallion Pegasus
CG Large magical beast/Celestial/Outsider
Gear: MW Studded Leather Barding, MW Military saddle, Saddle bags, +1 Amulet of Natural Armor
Acrobatics* (Dex) 1+0+0=1
Languages: Celestial, Draconic, Infernal; Truespeech
Lesser Protective Aura:
On a night of robbery, betrayal, murder and mayhem the Lesothoian Palace guard stormed into the home of the suspected thieves of a very precious item, stolen from the palace vault. What they found was a scene of bloody murder, bodies strewn about the room, blood splashed on every surface. The only living witness a very young child. Wide eyed with terror, the toddler clung for dear life onto the very item the guard sought, the item which the would be thieves had turned on each other over, the egg of a celestial king stallion pegasus.
The all female guard took pity on the child and brought her with them back to the palace. There it quickly became clear that neither the child, nor the unborn pegasus, could bear being separated from each other; for the child would scream inconsolably and even the egg itself would shake violently. From then on, the babe and the soon born colt were never far apart.
The orphan was declared a child of the state. Because of her unique racial heritage and connection with the celestial pegasus, it was decided the young girl would be brought up in the palace itself. Named Aylaeth Brely'an, roughly translated to 'Child of the wind' in Celestial, she immediately took to her new environment, excelling in all her studies and training. The young pegasus, born soon after they were both found, became the staunch and at times fierce guardian to his young ward, rarely letting her stray far from his sight. Given the name Tora'an, or 'King of the Wind' in the Celestial tongue, he and Aylaeth have spent their entire lives together and each would give their lives, without thought, to save the other's.
Aylaeth has dedicated herself completely to the cause of Lesotho and the great Na-Selene and works tirelessly in said service. The ancient silver has in many ways been as an adopted mother to the Sylph Magus and Aylaeth has devoted most of her life to ensuring that the she does her mother proud. Although she has been accredited full professor status by the University of Lesotho, and is oft called upon for her significant knowledge and expertise in certain areas, she spends most of her time as a liaison between her home and other city states. Now with the war, her work has become more important than ever.
Although while with her delicate features and intricate, swirling designs upon her skin she is not unattractive, something about the serious miened magus does not lend one towards romantic thoughts of any kind. While her unique racial features do make her somewhat striking, the eye easily passes her by in a crowd. Perhaps a part of this is that, growing up in a city almost wholly comprised of women, the idea of making herself more attractive to another has simply never occurred to her, and she would find it foolish in the extreme should anyone ever suggest it. Her pale skin matches her silver/white hair, which seems to move gently in a breeze, regardless of what the air around her is like. When angry or passionate, her eyes blaze electrically and her hair becomes a swirling tempest. Aylaeth moves with an almost inhuman grace and any who see her from up close can easily tell a fierce intelligence shines behind her deep blue eyes.
Shy and reclusive by nature, when not working Aylaeth tends to keep to herself, completely content with the company of her two companions. Yet at the same time she is intensely curious about other people, especially those from far off lands or who are unique in some way. This curiosity, along with her passionate thirst for knowledge, are what bring her out of her shell and those who get to know her find her to be a warm and caring individual. Aylaeth is also fiercely loyal and absolutely dedicated to duty. The emotional scarring of her early childhood have led her to cling to a set of rigid principles which help maintain order in her life. The few times she has met others of her race she has found them to be shifty and frivolous and therefore she has set herself above and apart from her kind. She has never had a lover or paramour and the one true love of her life is Tora'an. It is highly unlikely anyone shall ever replace him in her affections.
Aylaeth is a staunch adherent of Abadar and a devoted servant of her mistress, the great Na-Selene. She is a strong believer that adhering to a strict code of beliefs is the best and only way to maintain a healthy and ordered civilization. While her beliefs are a personal matter to her, she is not above discussing them with any who may be interested.
The Explored Land Info:
The Ocean and the Northwestern Shores - Though the dwarves of Van-Monnen lay claim to this area that butts up against the White Dragonhold, in truth it is mostly a wasteland of arctic tundra, broken up in the south by only the hardiest of conifers and grasses. Moss clings to the occasional outcropping of bare rock. This is a most inhospitable land, filled with dangers, lacking in resources, and largely unexplored.
The White Dragonhold - just as its name would imply, this area of The Land is inhabited, patrolled, and governed -- such as it is -- by white dragons. Also largely unexplored. Stretches all the way across the top of the world.
Van-Monnen and Van-Duriss (aka The Forgelands) - Home to the greatest kingdom of dwarves in the Explored Land, the Forgelands have the twin distinctions of being simultaneously one of its most resource-rich regions, and one of its most dangerous regions. Dragons from the white dragonhold regularly make incursions south for fresh meat and treasure, raiding merchant caravans, and the White Cliffs that line the shore are said to hold unspeakable secrets.
[Unclaimed Lands] - In the space between, surrounded by The Forgelands on the west, Iridian to the south, the Frost Kingdom to the east and the White Dragonhold to the north, are many old structures from civilizations past; giant walls, crumbled castles, ruined roads, shrines to gods long forgotten and some to gods still worshipped today. This area has insufficient resources for anyone to attempt to claim it and keep it, and is mentioned in conujunction with enough rumours of undead and fey monsters to keep most of the curious away.
Allemagh - A matriarchal barbarian kingdom composed of smaller fiefdoms, said by dwarves to contain tremendous pockets of unmined natural resources, left untouched due to the sheer inhospitableness of both the land and its people.
Warbane - (Protected by Van-Seletharius, Great Wyrm Silver Dragon) - The city of Warbane is home to the greatest fighters known anywhere. Living, as they do, in range of the dangerous Forgelands and the perilous White Cliffs therein, the Warbanians have developed an economy that relies heavily on mercenary trade, in that soldiers from Warbane, in the employ of various kings, cities, merchants, etc. will regularly send money back to their homeland to assist in its upkeep and the training of children in the ways of war. Most warbanians are very large and muscular; near the maximum size for a human, often towering over half-orcs.
Stormfare - (Protected by Van-Galazzan, Great Wyrm Brass Dragon) - As mighty as Warbane is, so Stormfare is intellectual. Built on steep hills and constantly under rain or threat of rain, the denizens of Stormfare are used to being indoors a great deal, and developed the greatest University in The Land essentially just to have something to do. Generally a cozy, avuncular, and pleasant place to be. Not surprisingly, the baristas of Stormfare are said to brew the best Coffee and Klah anywhere in the land, a fact the halflings of H'arun, in the Desert of Lop, dispute.
The Frost Kingdom - Another of the less pleasant places in The Land, this area is peopled by Giants, Golems, and dire beasts of all sorts. Interestingly, certain of the tribes of giants and ogres greatly value textiles and gems from the south, giving those merchants brave enough, or rich enough to hire powerful guards able to make mountains of money by trading silk and southern gems for rare and exotic jewels and furs from the north.
The Great Trackless Woods - Very little is known of this giant, ancient forest. There are a few rugged outposts of miners and frontiersmen scattered here and there, mostly in the south, but the primeval forces that are the true denizens of the woods keep any real civilization at bay.
The Western Coast - Generally a sunny, arid, peaceful place, the coastline is home to excellent farm country, great healing magic, and many quiet towns.
Iridian - A cursed land, often referred to as a "cancer" or "blight" on The Land. The last king of Iridian went insane and was killed in an uprising by his own army. Since then, Iridian has remained leaderless and empty. Iridian began its life as "Shelyn's Jewel," according to some sagas and histories, but little remains in the way of actual, physical evidence to lend any credence to this tale.
Plains of Bennalad - The greatest farmland in The Land, its breadbasket. Peopled entirely by farmers or similar, and protected mostly by monks.
Protectorate of The Lake - Home to Izmir, the city of light and knowledge, beloved of and consecrated to The Inheritor, Iomedae, and home to a mighty force of her Paladins. Izmir has a great library and university, centers of medicine, and is an orderly, clean, lawful place. Just less than a day's journey north is Varna, which is as debauched and rowdy as Izmir is calm and orderly. Varna is home to many people, mostly halflings and dwarves, and is the last known residence of the great brewmaster Erasj (pronounced like "mirage" without the "m"), who is half-mad, but is the last man alive who knows the secrets of brewing Ki Ale, which enhances the powers of monks and other Ki-using physical prodigies.
The Despair of Vestrille - Swampy land north of Rass-La, said to be on top of a great nexus of ley lines, which would certainly explain the immense power radiating from the swamps and trees and the very earth itself. Home to all sorts of undead. It is said just walking in the swamps of the Despair will cause one to enter a terrible melancholy, with some adventurers supposedly becoming so depressed they simply walk into the marshes and vanish.
The Old Woods of Grozcne - Said by some to be an outcropping of the Great Trackless Woods, but by others to be the last of the original forests of the world, and actually older than the Great Trackless Woods, the Old Woods are filled with wild fey, strangely animated plants, and many powerful woodland creatures.
Hallas - A lush and green woodland/farmland. Little industry or trade, mostly subsistence farmers. Generally peopled by gruff, hardy folk. Not heavily populated.
Rass-La - Once the southern half of a grand woodlands kingdom, the desert of Rass-La is now a sun-baked wasteland. It was created some 2,500 years ago in what has come to be called The Sundering; when the goddess Sarenrae, at the behest of an Enhathladi battle-queen named Luaera, took her flaming scimitar and carved a scar into the world for reasons no one knows.
Enhathlad - Enhathlad is a wind-blasted prairie/steppes region, sparsely populated by taciturn, nomadic, and curiously nonmagical elves. These elves are both revered and reviled for making the most brutally effective weapons in The Land, including things like armor-piercing and explosive arrows, and blades of black steel that are bound to a swordmaster's life force and lend the weapon strange powers.
Goreme - Home to farmers and monks, and an area in which some of the finest horses and other domesticated animals are bred.
Desert of Lop - A dangerous and large desert whose name in the local tongue means "You go in, but you do not come out again." The city of H'arun is the pride of Lop, a waystation for merchants taking the trade route from Katapesh north to the Frost Kingdom, or returning from same.
Tuatha - Lush and glorious woodlands, peopled by strongly magical elves, an ancient and proud kingdom.
Katapesh - This area is comprised of desert and jungle, and is home to a healthy trade center; the capital city that shares its name. Everything from legitimate goods to slaves to illicit substances pass through the ports and trade routes of this land.
The Old Land - Filled with strange plants and creatures from out of time and dotted with ruins of ancient cultures long-dead, The Old Land is a constant destination for adventurers and explorers. Its most curious feature, from which it takes its nickname, is the large quantity of criss-crossing roads, all in terrible disrepair and most ending abruptly, for no apparent reason, in the middle of a field, or at a lake, or a mountain.
The Empire of Mists - Despite a healthy and active trade relationship with the rest of The Land, little is known about the Empire of Mists.
Tiria - By far the most successful, wealthy, and populated area of The Land, Tiria is home to the walled city of Lesotho, beloved of Abadar and home to his greatest Paladins, which is also a Draconic Protectorate looked over by the great and ancient silver dragon Na-Selene, famed for her tactical mind as well as her thirst for knowledge. Like Stormfare and Izmir, Lesotho also houses a great university.
Tiria is also home to the oldest, largest city and port in the land; Mamban. Divided into five distinct districts, or "delves," Mamban is the funnel through which most trade is poured, and home to countless mysteries and magics, not least of which are the Center City, the Shadowborn, the Lost Fountain, and Old Ness' Bar on the wharf.
From the marshy roads leading to the main city gates in the northeast and southeast, to the wharf district down at the ocean's edge, Stormfare is wet. Moist, sloshy, damp, soggy. Wet. Due to its location on the southern half of a large atoll, the currents and clouds of the ocean tend to get sort of "stuck" over Stormfare, and, lacking any better enterprise with which to busy themselves while in this interminable holding position, they rain.
A typical day in Stormfare begins with a clear, bright sunrise. The extreme angles of light allow the first rays of morning to sneak under the cloud cover, baffling the city's residents with their blinding glow. The confusion doesn't last, however, as the sun soon climbs above the cloudline, leaving the city bathed in its usual wash of grey.
The clouds begin misting early on, and this fine mist gives way to actual rain around morning tea-time. Sometime after lunch a real downpour usually begins, settling quickly into a cold, drenching rain that goes until dinner time. There is sometimes a second brief appearance of the sun as it sets behind the hills in the east.
Because of the constant presence of precipitation, the entire city of Stormfare has been built up in such a way that it resembles a man in a coat and rain cloak, with his hood pulled up over his head and his shoulders hunched up against the spray of cold water issuing forth from the sky. Buildings are mostly stout and round, with good, thick roof tiles and generous gutters and downspouts leading to gutters on the ground that are so wide and well-fortified they may as well be called trenches. Most are made of high-qaulity dwarven stonework. Windows tend to be small and round and thick, and every building has a wide and warm mud room inside the front door with plenty of places to hang dripping coats.
The interiors of most buildings are painted subdued but cheery colors, and have many paintings, artifacts, books, boardgames and pets scattered about the place, anything to help keep people's minds focused, calm, and active.
The hot beverages of Stormfare deserve special and particular mention. Stews, soups, tea, coffee and klah are all made and brewed for maximum impact, and are delicious beyond compare; they warm the body and soul alike, and in the case of the caffeinated beverages are quite bracing, elevating and enervating the mind. Klah brewed in Stormfare has been known to have actual medicinal properties, it's so good.
Geographically, the city starts down by the oceanside at the wharf, through ramshackle and weatherbeaten warehouses and inns, itinerant taverns and docks, all seemingly carved from the same giant husk of greyish driftwood. The back alleys are dirt or cobbled, whatever is most convenient for those who use them most. The alleys expand into streets heading up University Hill to the North, leading to the massive and sprawling University of Stormfare itself, its buildings indistinguishable from the civilian structures around it, homes and bookstores and theatres and coffeeshops. SO MANY coffeeshops. Going from the wharf straight east leads one up Swallow Hill to the tree-lined streets of the more residential neighborhoods. South, Traitor's Hill leads to the market district, a riot of colliding shops and storefronts, each doing its gaudy best to get attention from the inevitably ducking and rushing passersby all eager to get in from the rain, or get on to where they're going.
Notes on Helpful Spells and/or Wands wanted:
Prot. from Chaos / Evil / Good / Law
[ooc ][b ]Round 4, Init 6.5, Altitude 40'[/b]
Concentration Magic Missile DC17:[dice]1d20+15[/dice]
Spell Penetration vs SR19:[dice]1d20+7[/dice]
1. There is a Warbanian researcher in the far east, in the Empire of Mists, named Bethany Erodal. She delivered a poorly-received paper entitled "Marianasu's Dark Legacy; Trump Card in the Alpha Confluence?" at the University of the Scales, in your native Lesotho, about two years back. Some of your colleagues are listed as having been on the review board.
After some digging, you are able to cross-reference some information about the so-called "Alpha Confluence": a Great Confluence of magic in which all magic types will reach a kind of apotheosis, a chance at finding a single representative, a single avatar, to both exemplify and utilize it to its maximum. It is also possible, during this confluence, for strange or giant events to occur, for dimensional gates to open, for things to happen that normally never could. It is, you learn, thus expected that many gods, old and new, along with the power hungry, the good, the evil, and the mad, will try to exploit the massive amounts of arcane power that will be available during this event. In a wonderful stroke of luck, you are able to find the exact time this confluence is expected to occur. Unfortunately, the time given does not make much sense to you; "the confluence will begin at the noon toll of the seven-handed clock" it says. You can find no further reference to a "seven-handed clock" in any of the resources currently available to you.
2. Pike DePhaz, who is one of the Liberators of Manaus, is the son of Martin DePhaz, who is Professor of Alchemical Studies at Stormfare University. If you return to the now-liberated Manaus, you could perhaps get Pike to use his connection with his father to get you into the Great Tower at the Hec at S.U. and view the Omnibus.
3. Bolstering the tale told by Maiathreen and Livain, there are other reports of a strange dark ink being used by the Black Dragonflight to torture, control, and even change the physical forms of creatures and people. There are reports of a Q'adin monk named Brother Hurin living here in Izmir, who supposedly suffered this fate and could give more indication about the possibility of the inkwell being one of the Abominations.
4. In a series of dusty, ancient volumes you find repeated references in various council minutes to "the responsibility of the book", or "that damned dark book of the archmage". These wars of words often come down between the archmage Starspurn, who lives in the south in a tower on the edge of the largest Dweomersink in the Land, and the archmage Kreb, who lives in the Great City Under The Mountain, in the northern range of the Mana Mountains, in the west of Hallas.
5. There is now no doubt at all in your mind that the Black Dragonflight have the Abomination known as The Inkwell of Vicious Intent. It is capable of forcing anyone or anything to obey the will of the wielder.
6. Vrakshnah is -- was -- an assassin, for I saw him destroyed by Princess Minathiel Ellethwen, of Tuatha, and her companions. The Three. I though his infamy had spread this far, but perhaps I overestimated his reach. It is no matter, he is dead. I saw the sun druid Nurianna, a Justice of Sarenrae, tear the flesh from the man's back and turn it into a map. Chrikh' Gon Kraikuul is a general of the Black Dragonflight army. His name means "He Who Refused Forgiveness." He rules with an iron and bloody fist, and is feared by all, his own troops included.
7. Notes that Pike De'Phazz left behind in Stormfare, Guardman has them:
8. Journal from Desk On Fire, 'Volcano Room':
9. Massive Magical Machine, 'Volcano Room':
Dwarven Buildings and Escape Routes through 'Everywhen':
"So I'm going to tell you something that might save your life; in my three hundred years of living, I built most every kind of structure there is to be built in most every part of the Land there is to build, and if you're ever in a building that looks like it was made by dwarfs, look for the Wellrock and Sons inscription on one of the stones -- should be one in every room, near the floor, hard to see. If you see that, then you can rest assured that no matter how bad things might get in that place, there's an escape route through the everywhen. Just find the inscription, and there'll be a door that'll lead you out."
FROM PIKE DePHAZ'S NOTES:
The Abominations of Marianasu, as listed in Fen's Omnibus, are as follows:
Of the twelve, the first six listed here have all been captured and neutralized;
Of the ones remaining, pooling your knowledge of the situation at hand with what notes Pike left behind, you can make the following annotations:
The Hairbrush of Lethal Beauty - Location unknown, ownership unknown, precise effect unknown, though it is obviously related to beauty in some way. The best lead you have is a snippet from an ancient history text mentioning that 600 years ago a Pathfinder Chronicler came across a hitherto unknown tiny merchant kingdom in the borderlands between Goreme and Hallas that was run by a clan of Medusas. For the thousand years their rule had lasted, it is said they kept power through their sheer beauty, which was so great that all who laid eyes upon them were immediately cast into thrall. It is not stated whether their kingdom ever ended or is still there, but it IS noted that the Pathfinder in question got out, she feels, because she was blind.
The Inkwell of Vicious Intent - Somewhere in the Great Trackless Woods, bordering on the Frost Kingdom. Allows the wielder to carve their will into another creature's flesh, forcing them to do whatever the wielder wishes, or become whatever the wielder wishes them to become. Can transform any one creature into any other creature, whether the desired end result is anything that has ever existed or not. Said to be how Veriala's army grew so large; she is transforming woodland creatures into fighting orcs and trolls and other things.
The Magnifying Glass of Total Reversal - Location unknown. Ownership unknown. This small artifact has the ability to reverse the time flow of anything, from a single being to an entire world. It is not known if there is an upper limit to its power. The result of someone being destroyed by this is that not only do they cease to exist, they cease to exist entirely, in a way that they cannot possibly ever be resurrected or their spirit even communed with; it is as if they simply never were.
The Goblet of Liquification - Ownership unknown, effect unknown. This abomination is said to be in the possession of Felltouch, greatest and most evil of the Three Great Red Dragons, who currently resides atop the huge treasure heap known as The Gembasket a few days north of Katapesh.
The Diary of The Mage Himself - Ownership unknown, effect unknown, location unknown.
For general notes, Pike has written that it seems the effect of a given Abomination is "instantaneous and unavoidable" by the intended victim(s) and that each Abomination seems to be able to instantly bond to and subjugate the will of whomever touches it with their bare flesh, and/or with intent to use it. He notes that "further experimentation is required to be sure, but that seemed to be the case with the two I have encountered, so tremendous care must be taken in the handling of these things."
He also notes that once so bonded, it seems that the Abomination in question then cannot be wielded or indeed even so much as picked up by any other sentient creature. He has a note here that states "test with constructs?"
Lastly, he states that prolonged separation from a bonded Abomination causes the "victim" tremendous physical discomfort and mental distress, all the way up to and including unconsciousness and madness.
At the bottom of his papers he started to write something, but it looks like he was cut off; "NOTE TO SELF - INVESTIGATE STORAGE UNIT 1163(?) IN LANZHU, TALK TO LIU? LOU? LU? HEARD FROM BETHANY THAT CAVERN WAS"...and then it ends.
AYLAETH'S FURTHER RESEARCH
There are records of a transfer student -- a paleo-arcanist, one who studies early magics -- named Bethany Erodal who spent time in Stormfare after studying briefly in smaller colleges. She had been working with a Professor Sundine in the History department as her advisor. According to her transcripts she got good grades, but has published no papers.
Bethany was too minor a figure for anything to be recorded about her travels, though there is a record of an approved transfer for her to the college in Lanzhu, to study with one San Pen, by permission of a Professor Yeo, head of the History department at the college in Lanzhu.
(FROM PROFESSOR SUNDINE IN STORMFARE)
"As for Bethany Erodal, yes, there were records of a transfer student -- a paleo-arcanist, one who studies early magics -- named Bethany Erodal who spent time in Stormfare after studying briefly in smaller colleges. She had been working with a Professor Sundine in the History department as her advisor. According to her transcripts she got good grades, but has published no papers. I was able to speak with Professor Sundine while we were in Stormfare and, according to him, 'Bethdany's mad as a rabid goblin, but crazy like a fox. Erratically brilliant' He also said that she is convinced the Abominations were part of a larger plot, and that she also believed Marianasu had apprentices. He says that there is no proof for any of it, but that Bethany still swore there were 'answers in the mists, and in the Old Land.' He never knew what exactly she meant by that but it seems clear to me that she meant to find her answers here. Which would explain why she requested a transfer to Lanzhu."
Thinking for a moment, she recalls something else and continues "Oh yes, and, I am not sure of what value this will be or not, but according to the professor, Bethany spent her time in Stormfare mostly studying the history of botany; specifically Arcanobotany -- the use of plants in magic down into the distant past. She kept looking into the Abominations, I think, but it was peripheral. She was apparently convinced that some of the effects of the Abominations could be neutralized or duplicated through herb-magicks. She and the professor spent their time looking for very special and rare plants, and she became obsessed with a certain kind of tea plant called the Snow Bud, that only grows in the mountains on the border of Enhathlad and The Empire of Mists. That discovery apparently led to her eventual transfer request to come study here at the University in Lanzhu."
The Snow Bud is a fine and rare and much-sought-after tea; the plant only blooms once every 71 years, and then for a very short time. Getting to them is extraordinarily difficult as they grow only in the highest peaks of the tallest mountains in one of the most dangerous places in the Land; the border between Enhathlad and the Empire of Mists. The taste, however, is said to be so sublime as to be completely worth whatever price one pays, whether it be the dangerous climb or the ridiculous cost to buy it from a merchant.
It is said that in Lanzhu there are magics one can perform that only work with the Snow Bud, but if this is true it is not documented anywhere west of the Old Land, as no one has been able to re-create these effects, or find evidence or documentation from anyone who has. Therefore, the general consensus is that this claim is a myth, albeit one that is steeped in the actual taste of one of the greatest teas in existence.
Lastly, routing for a moment in her haversack, the Lestothan scholar pulls out a tightly rolled scroll, explaining " Professor Sundine gave me this, a quick note of introduction to the Dean at the University of Lanzhu. He reminded me that the Empire is a place that prides itself tremendously on manners and protocol. His said that his word alone wouldn't get us any kind of free access to the stacks or anything like that, but it should at least convince them to let us talk to people without feeling the need to shadow our every move. From what I understand, Bethany came to study here with one San Pen, by permission of a Professor Yeo, head of the History department at the college in Lanzhu. So I suggest we begin our inquires about her there."
I ssssspoke with Kyrassss recently. He...had much on hisssss mind. He isssss ssssseeking hisss sisssster, Bethany, who hassss been misssing for sssssome time. I am afraid I do nnnnnot know where they wennnnt. However...I could..." she pauses and looks thoughtful. "If it issss the wissssh of Izmir...I could locate him through mmmmmmagic. If...if you wissssh it."
"I will answer your easiest questions first, my colleague." she says. "I am afraid I know little more about the Abominations of Marianasu than you yourself do, except to say that the Goblet of Liquifaction is a necromancer's greatest dream come true; it liquefies not solid material, but souls and astral selves -- it pulls the spirit essence out from a living thing and drains it into the goblet. Whoever drinks the essences gains eternal control over the now-undead physical forms of whoever's souls were consumed. It is not known to have a limit on its effects, only its range. The last I had heard -- and this is very old information -- it was seen in possession of a Horned Devil who sought to overthrow Asmodeus, and had become a Deathleech, and was going to march to hell with an army of undead, and take Hell in Urgathoa's name and rule there as her proxy. The Pallid Princess could have no more devoted a champion than him. This devil was last spotted deep in the heart of the Dead City, that ruined expanse between Stormfare and Warbane."
"I know of no seven-handed clock, nor Land-spanning magical engine (though I of course am most certainly aware of the theoretical possibility of such a thing), nor alternate copies of Fen's Omnibus. As for the archmages, I certainly know they exist, and have met and conversed with them from time to time; is there anything specific you wish to know? Are they in some sort of trouble?"
"As for the storage unit, well, like most cities, Lanzhu has many cartage companies and storage buildings for rent. Perhaps one of them is 'number 1163'? And the name 'Liu' -- in any of its dozen spellings -- is rather common in this part of the Land. Do you know the spelling, and any context in which he or she might exist? That would help tremendously. Otherwise I won't be able to help much, I don't think. For example, there are three students in my 8:30 lecture alone with the name 'Lu', or some variant thereof."
"And, lastly, as to the 'Alpha Confluence', there is no such thing. Don't tell me you've been hoodwinked into believing that nonsense? It is a tale wizards tell to give each other hope, and to sing each other to sleep; a tale of Wild Magic returning and granting them power that is otherwise unavailable to them."
"As to what I meant, friends, when I said "it has begun", well, I'm referring to the changes in Kyras' life now he has learned certain things about himself. Whether he chooses to share those things with you are his choice, I'm afraid, and not mine." She takes another sip of tea. "The "dark book" could also refer to the Abomination known as the Book of the Archmage Himself, yes? And as for Bethany, I'm assuming you mean Bethany Erodal, a visiting scholar who disappeared some time ago. She was very interested in the Reliquary Caverns and Peaks of Cenotaph in the mountains to the north -- same ones this tea comes from, as it turns out. It is likely Bethany had a storage unit of some sort in which to keep her belongings whilst she went journeying. Perhaps you could investigate there? A man named Xun Rui Bao runs the biggest cartage company in the city, and his shop is not far from the palace. Perhaps you could start by asking him?"
"It is, indeed, entirely possible that either Starspurn or Kreb may have more information on the Book, or may even have it. I would recommend you begin your questioning with Starspurn, who lives these days in his tower on the north edge of the great Dweomersink, itself north of Katapesh. Kreb is quite mad, you see, and will be much more difficult to get straight answers from."
She lowers her mug magically to the tea tray and lifts a biscuit to her mouth, pulling into her massive jaw with one sinuous movement of her forked tongue. "Our dear friend San-Pen has vanished from the city, I am afraid. No one knows where he is or why he left, but he is greatly missed."