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(RP) The Lycaeum

Jepeth

Journeyman
Governor
It was night and a mist hung across Verity Island. The magical torches surrounding the perimeter of the Lycaeum cast light off the red and yellow stonework of the ancient building giving the fog in the air a dense, warm glow. At the tilework teleporter from central Moonglow two robed figures waited.

“Is this wise?” asked a junior mage in a simple green robe.

“Of course it isn’t,” snapped Jaanin, his superior in a deep blue robe. “I’d just assume never see this man again but the King has asked all parties to come together. We will do as His Highness asks.”

“Is that wise?” repeated the junior mage, again.

Jaanin shot him a withering look.

“Continuing to ask me stupid questions certainly isn’t wise,” she answered.

“I grew up with magic-haters in my family,” said the junior mage looking away from her gaze. “They never change.”

“I don’t expect or require him to change,” she said. “I need him to explain who or what our former associate has involved himself with.”

She looked up into the southwestern sky. Even through the haze of yellow mist she saw a brilliant ball of light.

“Then he must leave.”

***

Jepeth, his aid Tejnik, and cousin Threepwood entered through the outer gate of Moonglow just east of the bank. Even at night the city was bustling with activity as people went to and from. Jepeth tried not to gawk but he couldn’t ignore the frankly outlandish looking mages in every direction. Garish colored robes and clothing, ethereal mounts in the form of a steed or an llama, even people practicing polymorph spells magically turning themselves into beasts and monsters. All of this out in the open! Jepeth felt more uncomfortable with every step deeper into the city.

His party, led by Tejnik, came upon a fenced area of hedge.

“Not much further,” he said happily to Jepeth and Threepwood. “Just a step onto the teleporter ahead and we’ll be there.”

“Or we could just walk,” said Jepeth.

“Ah, true, but I think you coming to see them using their preferred methods will go a ways in helping to ease tensions, Governor,” answered Tejnik.

“Were the mages of Moonglow afraid of a few tiny Mongbats between here and there?” asked Threepwood.

“Who do you think made them so tiny in the first place?” replied Tejnik with a grin. He gestured to a stone-tile platform.

“Let’s get this over with,” said Jepeth as he stepped upon the platform.

In an instant the air rushed around him as if he had jumped from a great height. He had used moongates before, of course, as well as the paladin ‘sacred journey’ ritual but had never used a recall or teleport spell. Instead of moving on his own volition he had the distinct impression of being pulled away from the world.

In a fraction of a second the wooshing feeling ceased and he found himself within the great yellow stonework fortress of knowledge known as the Lycaeum.

Like the Empath Abby and Serpent’s Hold, the two fortresses devoted to Love and Courage respectively, the Lycaeum was devoted to the study of Truth. Jepeth had visited the Abby and the Hold many times, but had never before seen this last fortress devoted to the three principles that embody the Virtues. Despite his feelings about the mages of Moonglow he did feel a pilgrim’s humility in this sacred place.

Tejnik and Threepwood quickly appeared behind Jepeth. The three of them found themselves face to face with Jaanin the council mage and an assistant.

“Welcome to the Lycaeum,” she said.

Jepeth nodded.

Jaanin surveyed the party.

“I didn’t realize you were bringing your scoundrel cousin,” she said, narrowing her gaze when it reached Threepwood.

Threepwood grinned broadly and doffed his tri-corner hat.

“Your servant, mum!” said Threepwood.

“He is vital to the story,” replied Jepeth. “And promises to behave.”

He is not the one we are worried about,” replied the junior mage frowning at the three of them.

“Friends!” said Tejnik, clearly trying to change the topic, “We should sit and discuss our problems without delay.”

Jaanin nodded.

“This way please,” she said, gesturing them into one of the buildings within the complex.

Jaanin led the way followed by Jepeth and Threepwood. As they walked the junior mage and Tejnik fell behind.

“Ye seem to have your hands full with this mage-hater and his problems, Tejnik,” said the junior mage.

Tejnik shook his head.

“Nay, the situation is dire but we will see it through,” replied Tejnik with a smile. “And he truly doesn’t hate mages. He’s just colored by his experiences with them.”

The junior mage snorted. “Do the Braens blame every bit of bad weather or ill-fortune on us? Or just him? Are we the ones making that island a dismal, fish-soaked spit of land?”

Tejnik turned his head towards the junior mage and frowned at him.

The party arrived in one of the many meeting halls of the Lycaeum. Those from Skara Brae sat along one side of a great table with Jaanin and the junior mage across the other. The room was warm and well-lit, with bookshelves full of tomes lining the walls. Jepeth, however, felt uneasy. He couldn’t shake the feeling that there was about to be yet another fight. Verbal or otherwise.

“His Highness has commanded that we have this meeting,” began Jaanin. “To fill in the gaps in the story and perhaps see if there’s a way that we may mutually benefit one another.

Jepeth nodded.

“Everyone here now knows that this Abomination is, in part, Willibrord, formerly of the Council,” she said. “He, or it, however, has become bonded with some other necromatic force and is raising an army of the undead in our land.”

“Willibrord’s other half is an undead horror from the past,” said Jepeth. “Martin Bloodeye the Pirate.”

“He was killed, or rather ‘killed again,’ near twenty years ago,” added Threepwood. “I helped put him in the ground me-self.”

“That obviously didn’t stick,” replied the junior mage blandly.

“Maybe I’ll put ye into the ground, Deary, and we can see if it sticks,” said Threepwood, narrowing his eyes at the junior mage across the table.

“Please,” said Jaanin shaking her head, “start from the beginning. How did this undead pirate come to be buried in Skara Brae?”

Over the next half hour Threepwood walked through the story with the assembled party. He spoke of the finding of the Bloodeye Cutlass, how it attracted and commanded the loyalty of the undead, how Bloodeye brought it to bear on the Felucca Skara Brae community 20 years ago, and his defeat on the Fields of Corwyn.

He finished his tale and the room was silent for a moment.

“And now,” said Jepeth, “is your part in the story.” He looked across the table at Jaanin.

“Mine?” she asked.

“How did this mage find his way to getting bonded to an undead pirate,” replied Jepeth. “How and why did he seek out the Bloodeye and how did he accomplish such a feat?”

Jaanin pursed her lips slightly.

“Truthfully,” she said. “We can only offer conjecture.”

“Then offer it,” said Jepeth.

“I’ve asked my junior associate here tonight because he worked with Willibrord at the Telescope of Moonglow,” she said, gesturing to the mage to her right.

“It was never his assignment,” said the junior mage. “But Willibrord was always fascinated by the study of comets.”

“We think he knew of this ‘Bloodeye’ because his death twenty years ago coincided with another comet appearing across our skies,” said Jaanin.

“After you attacked him,” said the junior mage pointing at Jepeth. “He was unable to restore his hand in any traditional method.”

“He got desperate,” said Jaanin. “And perhaps in his grief-stricken mind he made the connection between comets, this undead ‘Bloodeye,’ and went looking for an unthinkable solution.

Jepeth folded his arms.

“And now Willibrord is rampaging across our lands,” he said. “Killing indiscriminately and raising the dead for his army.”

“I don’t think so,” replied Jaanin.

“Ye don’t?” asked Threepwood incredulously.

“I think this ‘Bloodeye’ is in control,” she said. “Not Willibrord.”

“From what the Governor told me about his experience in Moonglow, it seemed the Abomination is of two literal minds,” added Tejnik.

“Is,” said the junior mage hesitating slightly, “is there a way to save Willibrord?”

The room was quiet.

“Nae,” said Threepwood flatly.

“I was not asking your opinion, pirate!” shouted the junior mage.

“This is a waste of time, Cousin,” said Threepwood turning to Jepeth. “They’re just trying to save their own man and damn the rest of us.”

“What is it ye want us to do?” asked Jepeth. He leaned forwards towards the older council mage. “The King wants us to work together. The people in the realm want the terror to end. I want my island safe. But what do you and ye Council want?”

Jaanin looked at him across the table for a moment.

“I want you to end this,” she said. “Firmly and finally.”

“But Ma’am!” protested the junior mage.

“Quiet,” she replied calmly. “This must stop. Willibrord is lost to us.”

Jepeth nodded solemnly. “Then we shall,” he said.

“Send the word with Tejnik,” she said. “and the Council of Mage will assist.”

The junior mage folded his arms and leaned back in his seat.

“When the time comes,” Jepeth said. “I will.”

“On our part we shall send a detachment of mages to every city and graveyard,” said Jaanin.

Jepeth frowned. “I would hope ye’d ask permission of the other Governor’s before deploying your forces across the realm like that,” he said.

“We will,” replied Jaanin. “But I would hope they will understand the need without much convincing. Perhaps you’d like to be our emissary in this matter?” She smiled at him.

“Ha,” chuckled Threepwood.

“I will do what I can,” sighed Jepeth.

Tejnik looked around the table. “My friends, there is still more to this story,” he said frowning at Jepeth.

“Oh?” asked Jaanin.

Jepeth turned his head sharply towards Tejnik. “Nae, there is not,” he said.

“I’m sorry Governor,” said Tejnik. “But we must be completely honest with everyone at this stage. The Wisp’s prophecy must be laid before everyone!”

“What prophecy?” Jaanin asked, confused.

“Aye, Cousin. What of this prophecy you neglected to tell me of?” asked Threepwood.

Jepeth gave an exasperated look towards Tejnik.

“It doesn’t matter,” Jepeth said. “The Wisp was entirely unhelpful and spoke mostly gibberish to us.”

Jaanin raised an eyebrow. “That doesn’t sound like any Wisp I’ve ever met,” she said skeptically.

“Councilor!” yelled a voice of a young man who rushed into the room.

The five people at the table all turned towards the source of the interruption.

“We have, uh” the young man stopped speaking when he realized how much of a disturbance he had just made.

“Yes?” asked Jaanin icily.

“We have a visitor,” said the young man. “It’s, ah” he cleared his throat. “It’s a Gazer.”

Jaanin blinked in surprise.

“What does it want?” asked Threepwood after a moment of silence.

“It’s asked for him,” the young man said, pointing.

The other four people around the table all turned to Jepeth.

***

Jepeth walked into the courtyard of the Lycaeum. In the last hour the mist hanging over Verity Island had cleared and every star in the night sky shown brilliantly. None of them, however, outshown the comet in the southwestern sky.

Floating serenely by itself, taking no interest in any of the mages who left the Lycaeum buildings to gawk at it, was the Gazer. It’s great eye was closed shut, almost as if it was taking a short nap.

Jepeth approached it. He stopped a few feet away from it with his arms folded. Some distance away Jaanin, Threepwood, Tejnik, and the other mages waited.

The Gazer remained motionless. Jepeth made a show of clearing his throat to get its attention. After a moment it finally opened its gigantic single eye and stared at Jepeth.

“Hail, Gazer,” said Jepeth, frowning. “You wished to speak to me?”

“I did,” it replied. “I have been observing you for some time.” It had no mouth but still made sound almost as if it radiated the words from within.

“How invasive,” Jepeth replied.

“It is here,” said the Gazer.

“If you mean the comet,” said Jepeth. “We’ve known that for awhile. I admit I didn’t take ye first warning seriously at the beginning but there is no dispute about it now.” Jepeth pointed up into the sky at the ball of light.

“No,” it said. “It is here. As close as it will ever be.”

“What does that mean?” asked Jepeth.

“The ether collects above your island,” it replied. “The fates of many are knotted and tonight the thread is pulled.”

“Tonight?” gasped Jepeth.

“Tonight,” the Gazer replied calmly.

“What is this comet?” asked Jepeth. “What power does it have over the undead Abomination?”

The Gazer was silent.

“What am I to do?” asked Jepeth. “Answer me!”

“I have no foresight knowledge to give,” it said with a slight hesitation in its voice. “Your stars are strange.”

“Either way,” the Gazer said, finally. “I shall be watching.”

Its tendrils emmenated a white energy and in a sudden flash it was gone.

Jepeth was left alone.

He turned around as Tejnik approached him, looking grim.

“Tonight?” Tejnik asked.

“I need ye to send me home,” Jepeth said, urgently. “Now.
 

Jepeth

Journeyman
Governor
OOC: Only one more chapter left! Hopefully I can get it done as soon as possible as planned! Look for the final entry "The Bell of Skara Brae" in the next couple of days!
 
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