From cloaks to croaks?

And here ends the year of 452.

What a sloppy last page, thought the wizard. Instead of writing an articulated text, she had listed information to develop later:

- Zaedrem accepts trading books with me. He still has the Infernal Tome. Must go back there with Amere or one of the boys. Maybe bring Book of Fairy Tales?
- He said something about studying sylph’s silence spell. Must ask Nial for details, as I was distracted by a very interesting tome on the higher shelf.
- Apparently, the new Commander of M. wears yellow and dines at the Merc. Cave. Investigate.
- Nial tossed me a PCR. Should I consider it a peace offering? He seems more paranoid by the day.


In the beginning of 453, however, the wizard didn’t have the time to develop turned pages. The Creed was staging attacks all over the continent with liches and wraiths, as the one Friss alerted her to only a few days before. The turning of the moon reminded her, as well, to go check the tree near the rocks, for eventual correspondence from Lord Rugier de Neiv. And that was the information chosen to open her journal for the New Year.

On the 77th day of the Waking Moon, Amere and I had the same idea. It was time to check our messages from Rugier de Neiv, if any. As it happens, we ran into the chivalrous flautist in person. He was kind as ever and, given his wincing at the name of Rengal, I did not dare to ask him at any point of the conversation whether he belonged, as we suspect, to the Knights of Silver.
I feel we can trust this man, but I am certain he doesn’t know if he can trust us, so all conversations must be conducted with care.
His request, this time, was a strange one, but maybe worth our time. He claims that the Creed is staging the attacks with the undead as a display to make us thing they are stronger than they actually are right now. So, Rugier says, this would be the ideal time to attack. However, the Creed people are masters of hiding in the shadows, so we would have to beat them at their own game. In order to do that, Rugier suggests that Mirith may still be in possession of the Twins’ magic cloak, the one they used back in the day when we thought that everyone could be the Rasha or Varsha in disguise.


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I asked who he was planning to send, and which disguise to take, but Rugier did not know yet. I jokingly suggested a spider, thinking of that vile Vorund, but the Kinghts don’t seem used to irony. I fear he may have taken it seriously. In any case, the feasibility of the plan didn’t convince our Amere, and he’s right for having all his doubts. Unless… the person sent with the cloak will only be collecting information, or opening a door from the inside. Otherwise, it can be too dangerous and just a pointless sacrifice of a scout.

But the cloak poses a few logistic problems for us. Above all, we need to locate it. With Z.R. Naut gone, the treasure is even more vulnerable to sacking. But the biggest danger of all is if the King himself took it with him, as heirloom from his mother. It is known that he enjoys roleplaying with his friends, especially that witch Falvo. Perhaps he’s been entertaining at New Mirith and welcoming his guests disguised as multiple personalities of Oberin’s social life? Quite a plausible scenario…


To gain some time, I reminded Rugier that the MV commander was a rogue, so that could give us some insight on how to catch one. Alas, where on earth is Nasrith? Did he join the Creed? I should probably scratch this one, before people take me seriously… In any case, it would be handy to start restructuring the chain of command in Mirith. All we have in the city is Emmalisse, who, to be honest, we don’t really know well and was sent by a King we’ve met but a couple of times. And then there’s the bridge business… I wonder how Lerilin didn’t revolt yet.

Anyway, I must stop writing and get to work. Here are my priorities for the upcoming days of the Waking Moon, 453:

- Look for N'eroth in New Mirith.
- Eventually, look for Istra and her crew. Ginger? Was that the name?
- Ask Friss for his recollection of the finding of the camp. We need as many details as we can get.
- Ask Amere for his impressions on this meeting. He spoke little - I’m sure he has a lot to say.
- Try to reach Nasrith. About bloody time.
- Drop by Brigobaen to leave a donation for the pilgrims. Maybe try to find some information on the Knights or the Shrine.
- Tell nanasisan that, according to Rugier, the Shrine is not blocked - but it should be double-checked.


And thus, resting the plume next to the parchment, the wizard left the ink to dry, as she got ready to go outside.

Comments

  • Cass,
    I still feel uneasy after our meeting with Rugier. It is hard for me to be able to trust a man who I have only met twice, especially considering both meetings were rather short. Even upon our first meeting, he didn't show up until after we handled all of the wraiths in the enclosure. I find it strange that a man can kill a beast like that with nothing but a flute, if I had known this was possible I would've taken my music lessons more seriously as a child.

    I feel we need to be cautious with what information we give this man, we still don't know much about him. Aren't the members of The Creed masters of disguise? Him telling us now is the time to strike could simply be a trap to get the Cloak into The Creed's possession.

    I will have Mother Emmalise look for it, but I don't think we should relay whether or not we have it until we know this man better. Perhaps he can take us to the Temple of Silver to ease my suspicions.

    Amere
  • Mother Emmalise,

    I hope you are enjoying the new year and your time serving the King. I have a favor to ask of you as I continue to patrol the woods around our great city. I would like for you to look for a cloak within our vaults. This cloak contains terrifying power: It allows the wearer to take on another person's appearance. It is a remnant of when the Twins were still a threat to our monarchy, and it should still be somewhere in our vaults. Thank you in advance.

    I look forward to hearing back from you,
    Royal Guard Amere
  • My shiniest Amere,

    You are right. We should be very cautious. I would be very cautious about Emmalise too, however. I guess the absence of Rengal, Beleth, or anyone with proven value made me suspicious of anything that moves. I should work on that. Then again, at some point in time we’ve been suspicious of each of those people as well. Must be inevitable, in the big city.

    I hadn’t considered that the Creed may want the cloak for themselves. That’s a very good point.
    Meanwhile, I went to New Mirith to try to meet our King. Nothing. I’ll be staying in Lerilin for a few days, and make the journey a few more times (oh, if only there was a bridge! Or not…)

    Speaking of that, do you have any answer from Marali regarding compensations?

    Hoping to see you soon,
    C.
  • edited September 2020
    To the Royal Guard Amere:

    Thank you for your letter, and greetings once again. The new year has brought no new solutions to our many problems, but by the Goddess, we will weather these trying times!

    I took it upon myself to delve deep into the city’s vaults, spending quite a few days within its eerie, cavernous halls. Try as I might, I could not find this cloak of which you speak. I did, however, find something else that might help, buried deep inside the dusty old repository of sealed documents. The place still reeks of explosive dust, and documents pertaining to Year 438 and prior are almost entirely missing – undoubtedly the doing of Tirana and the Twins. But Providence is on our side, today: it would appear that Father Nafets had conducted a surprisingly thorough inventory shortly after the city’s liberation, in the early days of Year 439. I copy below the relevant entry.

    Cloak of Illusions
    Withdrawn: Year 439, Waking Moon, Day 32, by one “Jeromias”, by warrant under the King’s sign manual.
    Witnessed: one “Healer Isobel”.
    Returned:


    And there it ends. Given the great care and attention to detail generally used by Father Nafets in the rest of the inventory and elsewhere, I find this particular entry to be most unusual. Those two individuals – Jeromias and Isobel – are not mentioned anywhere else in the documents, and Father Nafets makes no attempt to establish their significance, their credibility, or their business in withdrawing such an arcane item. Perhaps you will be able to make better sense of it? Do let me know, if so. This cloak is, as you put it, truly terrifying. In the meantime, I will continue to turn the repository upside down in the hopes of uncovering anything else that might assist you in your quest.

    Faithfully,
    Mother Emmalisse
  • Three travelers (Cassandra, Modlin, and Amere) stumbled upon footprints leading to Gohoran. Upon further investigation the party ran into a tribe of undead, commanded by a silent mercenary clad in black armor. They were heard plotting an attack on the pilgrims that had set up camp near the Sect of the Crystal guild hall. Amere made a mental note to check on the pilgrims more frequently.
  • A missive arrives at the hall of the Marali Vanguard.

    Lieutenant Nial,

    I have just received some concerning news from Sir Sulovir Lichslayer the Second, who has been staying as a guest in our city intermittently, ever since his daring rescue of Peytra Gray from the clutches of The Creed this last Harvest Moon.

    Today, on Day 186, the rogue generously volunteered to share some information that he had overheard whilst conducting some business at Chopper’s Place. From a hidden vantage point in the shadows, he overheard two strangers talking, in accents reminiscent of pirates, about a man called the Witch Doctor or “Doc”, and how this “Doc” was forming some unclear plan about how to “get to” the King of Mirith. Our intelligence can confirm that King N’eroth has not been spotted in his New Mirith at all since this year began, but we know little else.

    The threat to Mirith seems credible, and thus I will share what few details we have with them as soon as I am done here, as a gesture of goodwill while we continue to negotiate their preposterous and foolish demands. Of far greater concern than the threat to Mirith is the threat to our security - exactly how did these two pirates manage to slip inside the city in the first place? I will be speaking to Chief Petty Officer Thenson on the matter immediately. This is no time for such a grave security lapse.

    If nothing else, I take today’s exchange as a further demonstration of the merits of our plan to recruit rogues into the Marali Scouts. The only problem will be the thorough vetting that we would necessarily need to enact - I fear most potential candidates, even the good ones, might be disqualified right from the start.

    Let us discuss more as soon as possible.

    Marali Prevails,
    Commander Rydelia Fayn

    —————

    A separate letter, hastily scrawled, makes its way to the south.

    Royal Guard Amere, Royal Cleric Emmalisse, and the Mirith Vanguard:

    Please be advised: our intelligence has just now uncovered an urgent yet unclear threat to His Majesty the King N’eroth. Be on the lookout for any and all pirates, but especially those who sail under the flag of the “Witch Doctor” or “Doc”, the reprehensible man who kidnapped the Andris Senator Fieltler in years long past. The Witch Doctor appears to be formulating some new and devious plan against His Majesty the King, the details of which remain, regrettably, a mystery.

    Furthermore, please rest assured that Marali has not forgotten the debt accrued during the Fiadoryx Raid, and we remain committed to seeking out a solution with as much haste as is possible amid the current climate of daily threats and crises from foes like The Creed and The Division of Diabolical Devices.

    Marali Prevails,
    Commander Rydelia Fayn
  • Commander Fayn-

    I hope the new year and the beginnings of spring find you enduring yet. Ybarra knows it has been a horrid winter for Marali, but perhaps this year will mark a rare upward swing for our officers and soldiers.

    It is downright awful to hear that the Witch Doctor has infiltrated our city. I will certainly be on high alert, and I will warn the guardsmen at our Vanguard Guild Hall to do the same. Perhaps the Witch Doctor used Black Magic to somehow move within the walls? I do not know the specifics of how that works, of course, but I once witnessed a certain sea-witch mutter a few sinister syllables and slip away before my eyes. If it is not inappropriate, I would suggest we consider asking our Clerics to establish some sort of wards or detection system for Black Magic within Marali, presuming it is possible.

    I continue to share your concerns about rogues. The one I know the most of is not only a rather violent and shifty figure, but she is rather inept at staying alive, as well. I would certainly urge you to attest to both the character and the skill of potential recruits before even initiating a training mission. Of course, it is up to your discretion, Commander. Once again, I do not wish to overstep my bounds.

    I have still been thinking about the man we sighted at the bottom of the wilder Mercenary Cave and his nasty tome. Given his unpredictable nature and the power of even a single page of the book, I still have some concerns. Perhaps it would be best to discuss this as well as perspective Marali Scouts in person, someday soon.

    Marali Prevails.

    -Lieutenant Nial, Ranger
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