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A Journey of Three Thousand Miles

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Wynnsaren

Post  Wynnsaren on Tue Nov 18, 2014 11:47 am

"As it happens," the aasimar replied in liquid tones, "I have already begun documenting my research on the orb."

Returning the precious artifact to its place about her neck, tensed muscles eased and she breathed an audible sigh of relief.

"While I had intended the journal for private review -- as it seemed that inquiry into this particular mystery might span years, I am more than willing to take you up on your offer and continue with my records for posterity's sake. The only thing I cannot in good conscience do, is to reveal the rightful owner of the orb as this might put my friend in an inauspicious position. Otherwise, all else discovered on the matter will be thoroughly documented and presented to you personally for review.

"If you are agreeable to this one stipulation, than it seems we have a deal."

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Sharrowsmith

Post  The Sub-Creator on Fri Nov 21, 2014 11:27 pm

"Exquisite," Nieford proclaimed with a smile of satisfaction. "Now that we've completed our business portion of this visit, let us proceed directly on to pleasure, yes?

"It should come as no shock to you that Jatembe is something of a legendary figure in these parts. The number of legends that exist about the Old Mage in Nantambu itself are more numerous than all the trees in the Expanse, without doubt. You have even brought a few with you from the north," he motioned toward Wynn, bringing back to memory a few of the stories relayed on to her by Onora. "I believe that orb contains the potential to unlock the truth behind some of those legends."

The Pathfinder paused a moment, steepling his fingers before his face and tapping his lips with index fingers, as if searching for the ideal way to divulge the knowledge they sought. "Little more than half-a-century ago," he began, "the former head of historical and archaeological research here at Magaambya, Aka'o ako Zenji, uncovered portions of a stone tablet from a previously undiscovered vault beneath the university. Magical examination of this tablet revealed it to be thousands of years old, and, despite its broken condition, the surface script remained pristine. An amazing find certainly, but it wasn't until the script could be translated that the miraculousness of this discovery truly came to light.

"You see, the Old Mage had long been known as a creator of powerful artifacts. Many legends identified him as such, and the Ring of Nine Facets--directly connected to Jatembe and his Ten Magic Warriors--helped confirm what those legends spoke to as accurate. At first, Master Aka'o believed these tablets revealed a comprehensive list of these artifacts and to whom the Old Mage had gifted them. Inaccuracies uncovered in his initial translations, however, prompted him to delve deeper into the research, and his final ciphers proved far more accurate, and revealed a secret far more important than a simple list of artifacts. Indeed, these tablets unveiled the creation of ten crystalline orbs given his Ten Magic Warriors to protect. Sight Orbs they were named, and through each of them was granted the ability to view one-tenth of their creator's knowledge . . .

"One-tenth," the Pathfinder emphasized a second time with an eager gleam in his eyes. "Many legends speak to Old Mage Jatembe being the one to re-find magic during the Age of Anguish. He possessed arcane might and knowledge that some historians and scholars theorize even the Azlanti and Thassalonians weren't privy to. He was a master craftsman of artifacts, and that's known through various corroborative sources! And, if what Onora and I believe to be true is," he stared directly at Wynnsaren, "you carry close to your heart at this very moment an artifact fashioned by the Old Mage himself to insure that knowledge would never be lost."

Nieford smiled broadly, showing teeth only slightly stained yellow, but otherwise in excellent condition. "Is that exciting enough news for you?"

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Zaistrun Garess

Post  Eddick the Steady (XIV) on Sun Nov 23, 2014 9:26 pm

Zaistrun really didn't get why this "Old Mage" was something important. Knowing something that the Thassalonians didn't know about magic? That seemed rather unlikely, but it was possible. There were all sorts of different kinds of magic that they didn't take advantage of, such as his own. But it didn't mean that it would be particularly useful to them or to their goals.

The magister looked at the man, blank-faced in contrast to the pathfinder's naked excitement. "One not need get excited about hunting until they actually bag the quarry. Being excited makes one sloppy and impulsive. We as of yet have nothing much more than that with which we came in so please excuse my lack of spontaneous emotional response."

He counted on his fingers to illustrate his points. "We still do not know what is necessary to unlock the information for one. Secondly, we do not know whether the information is still there, although your tablet seems to infer that preservation is something Jatembe can do well. Thirdly, we don't know if the information will be useful to us or our mutual friend or even what it contains. All complete bodies of knowledge have elementary and advanced techniques. There could be little to no information here that we do not have already. And lastly, it seems, that we cannot unlock the information here as you have already mentioned an expedition."

"Now, I grant you that the piece itself warrants exploration and the opportunity seems promising. It will be thoroughly and carefully investigated. This tablet you speak of, have you a full transcription or should we take a look at it ourselves?"
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Sharrowsmith

Post  The Sub-Creator on Sun Nov 23, 2014 9:38 pm

"I find your assessment fallacious and without merit, Lord Killjoy," Nieford chuckled at the sorcerer. "The excitement is in the journey; the quarry the payoff! The sloppy and impulsive need not concern you, as they died years ago."

The Pathfinder lowered his latticed hands to his stomach, where his thumbs beat a silent rhythm there as he peered inquisitively at the visitors. "Mayhaps I have been remiss, indeed. Under the tenants of our agreement, I'll not wish to know the identity of your mutual friend, though I'm curious as to what your friend might have sent you here knowing already. If you knew nothing about the significance of this orb coming to me, exactly what specific information might this unknown benefactor be seeking? I only ask because if he knew more than what you conveyed unto me upon your arrival, it's quite possible that he has further information of use to your search.

"Oh, and because such knowledge would give me a clearer picture, perhaps, of exactly what area of knowledge this Sight Orb uncovers. Sometimes, clues abound where we least believe them to be waiting."

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Wynnsaren

Post  Wynnsaren on Sun Nov 23, 2014 10:26 pm

Wynnsaren stifled a giggle at the Pathfinder's light-hearted jab but Kazimir, seated at her right, cared nothing for discretion in this instance and emitted a loud snort of amusement. It might be known to precious few, but the young sorcerer could handle a bit of amiable teasing. Sure he could be a stick sometimes. . . Okay, more often than sometimes, but the aasimar enjoyed prodding him whenever possible. Thankfully, Nieford didn't take offense at her friend's phlegmatic and often blunt manner!

The previously sparked enthusiasm shining in her eyes dulled slightly as she pondered the man's questions. What he was asking to know were confidences. Secrets of the merchant prince's past and current life that she'd shared with no other, including the two men flanking her. The topic of Rasven Winter was highly personal, and as such, she guarded it jealously, tending never to broach the subject without first being pressed. After all, so few things in her life were hers alone. . .

But Nieford was more right than he knew. To progress in this endeavor, she had to share, for they'd come too far to turn back now!

"You are an astute man, Mister Sharrowsmith," Wynn ventured with a wisp of a smile on her lips. "Indeed our friend has more information that could be useful, but I fear that he has not told me. This is only because he cannot tell me."

Leaning forward in her seat with a sigh, she traced a single, long finger down the back of the beautiful ivory hippopotamus that rested on the desk.

"For two hundred years, this friend has been burdened by an unconscionable oath to a particular family. Not an oath of word alone, you understand, but of magic and blood. I know little about it, save that he must always pursue the best interest of this family to the exclusion of all others, he must pursue ways of extending his life in order to be of eternal service, and he must never speak or even allude to this Oath. Any infraction of these rules will cause him to suffer unimaginable pain that sends him into a catatonic state for hours if not days at a time. I know this because I have seen it happen. . . His skin opens up in great yawning maws, the surface undulates in sickening waves as if something is trying to break free. He is wracked with violent spasms." She couldn't help but shudder at the terrifying memory.

"Unfortunately I do not know how the Oath came about nor whom it was that administered such a heinous bond. Against all instinct, I have not further pursued such questioning, for I refuse to see him put through such agony again.

Passion laced with fury, hardened the aasimar's countenance. In an attempt at ease, she reclined back in her chair, shifted her legs and smoothing out the skirts of her dress.

"Now, there are two specific clues that I have been wrestling with. Two specific comments. The first is that this orb," she brushed her hand against the pouch, "was a gift to him from the Expanse many years ago. A gift he said. The second, is that it gives him hope. Hope for what precisely, he did not say.

"You ask what information this friend might be seeking. My first impulse would be to say, a path toward freedom. Freedom from his cruel Oath that has already spanned generations. That is only conjecture of course, but his whole life revolves upon keeping these increasingly difficult strictures and yet he says that he suffers such attacks more frequently than before.

"It is likely that he could not pursue such a quest himself, for to do so would be to violate that very Oath. Thus, he has temporarily entrusted the orb into my keeping, knowing it would be impossible for me not to pursue such a mystery as it represents."

Thoughtfully, Wynnsaren tapped her fingernail on the armrest of her chair as her mind traversed these well worn paths of consideration.

"Let us assume for a moment that this is indeed what he is seeking. A way to break this Oath. As it happens, this friend is surrounded by very dark rumors, many of which were probably true a century ago, but many have been embellished by the man himself in order to better serve the family to which he is bonded. One of these rumors is that he has had dealings with devils."

She let that sink in a moment, while ignoring the grinding teeth of the grizzled old ranger beside her.

"I had once scoffed at the idea, but thinking of it now, who better to concoct such an Oath? Do not devils traffic in such contracts? Again, this is naught but conjecture, but when Onora spoke to me of the legends surrounding Old Mage Jatembe, one of those she relayed was that he spoke to both angels and demons in his pursuit of magical knowledge, and it brought the old thoughts back to the fore. Could it be that this orb contains the knowledge of how to break such a contract?"

Wynn refocused her clouded gaze directly upon Nieford. She grinned sheepishly.

"Please understand, my dear, that I have been mentally chewing on these questions for two years and as such, my musings have taken me down some strange paths.

"Hmm. . . but perhaps there is one other thing I should share," she began again after a moment's hesitation. "It is a span of his life that he has little memory of. He was only a boy when it happened, but a great tragedy befell the land, and measures were taken to ensure that he and others of this particular family were protected. He describes going to a place of immense cold and darkness, where the walls burned with frost and his breath fell from the air in shards of ice. He recalls corrupting whisperes that incited terrible fear. He told me that he does not know where he was precisely, but when he emerged from this place, he found that he had been serving there for twelve years. Serving was how he termed it. Whether his Oath was made before or during this time I do not know, but it was in place by the time he returned to his home."

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Sharrowsmith

Post  The Sub-Creator on Sun Nov 23, 2014 10:31 pm

Nieford listened intently to Wynn's expositions and conjectures, resting his head between thumb and forefinger about midway through the weighty discourse. Upon her completion, a moment of contemplative silence ensued where the man glared hard at her, then both Lord Garess and Kazimir in turn. "I'll say this for an absolute certainty," he spoke up finally, lifting his head out of its relatively comfortable position. "You appear to have a substantive knack for finding and involving yourself with rather peculiar men."

He wanted to smirk, but held it in masterfully.

"But also," he added, almost whimsically, "you've put some serious thought into this problem that shows a great deal of empathy and insight to the matter. I'm hearing connections here that could easily point to the significance of the knowledge this orb may unlock," he flashed a knowing grin at the sorcerer, "and that I find quite exciting.

"Whether your theory about making oaths with devils has substance or not, the inference you make about his seeking a way out of this binding oath certainly has credence. An oath that powerful would require mighty powerful magic to eliminate the tendrils latching him to it. That's impressive investigative ponderings, my Lady," the Pathfinder offered with a sincere smile.

"From a slightly different perspective that fits into the same story, would it be possible that this benefactor of yours might be seeking eternal life? Legends dictate that Old Mage Jatembe discovered the keys to immortality, as well . . . And not restrictive immortality such as through the magics that we currently understand, such as dimensional spaces outside of time or undeath, but true immortality without restriction. According to what you said about the punishments of this oath growing more and more common, perhaps solving his mortality enigma could stop the constantly pervasive suffering?"

The Pathfinder arched his eyebrows and gestured with his hands to indicate that he, too, was merely winging it--grasping at straws, as they say. Even as a child, Nieford had greatly enjoyed puzzles and riddles! That love had never left him, and he believed it to be the primary reason for his current occupational position. Pathfinders dealt with such mysteries constantly, and that part of his job never grew old or disparaging!

"Either way," Nieford proposed, "the knowledge to which this particular Sight Orb points promises to be mind-boggling in its importance!" He released his readily apparent elation through a long sigh. "I have no doubt the tablets located in the secret vaults below Magaambya would have had something to help with this." The man directed his gaze toward Lord Garess. "Unfortunately, the tablets themselves are no longer available at the university for study. That's not to say there might not be some information lost or shuffled about in their archives, however."

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Wynnsaren

Post  Wynnsaren on Sun Nov 23, 2014 10:36 pm

The aasimar nodded in understanding and propped her head gently in one hand as her thoughts lost themselves in a thick bramble of supposition and possibility. The promise of questions answered seemed so tantalizingly close! With every new insight -- every piece of the puzzle that fell into place, that promise became more tangible. More alluring.

While Wynn had always been drawn to mystery and unraveling secrets to find truth at the heart of such perplexing matters, never had she felt so powerful a need. She coveted the truth held within this orb! Not for herself alone, nor even for the Pathfinders. For Rasven. She wanted to be the one to go to him with the answers and to give him that 'one thing' he said he never possessed. Truth.

"You are quite insightful, sir," she responded, grinning at the Pathfinder's mutual enthusiasm. "Even in your assessment of my preferred company, for indeed I have found that 'rather peculiar men' are the only type of the gender with whom I have much at all in common. Perhaps this is why I find myself so comfortable in your own presence."

She playfully arched a dark brow at him before moving on to more serious subjects.

"I agree that attaining eternal life might indeed be a possibility." She smiled, pleased and impressed that Nieford had so quickly come to some of the same considerations. "It would certainly solve for him an immediate problem. I have considered this, and while I cannot discount the idea, it seemed to me at the time of entrustment that this was something he could not do for himself. His Oath would have prevented him. . .excruciatingly, from seeking a way to break this bond, while it is part of the understanding that he must find a way to lengthen his life and would therefore be able to undertake his own search.

"However. . . As he is otherwise engaged in political affairs for the foreseeable future, than it is possible his condition is becoming so crippling that he cannot afford to wait much longer to act."

Wynnsaren furrowed her brows, chewing lightly on her bottom lip as she considered the ramifications of that terrifying possibility.

"You say that Old Mage Jatembe is rumored to have found the secret to immortality. Does that mean it is possible that the man himself is yet alive?" Her silver, pupiless eyes widened at the thought. "Onora told me that using the orb to grant me that view of the sunset, had drained the remaining power from this. . .Sight Orb, and that the power would need to be renewed at the source. Could that source be the creator? The Old Mage himself? Or perhaps the source would be the place where the ten orbs were created. . .

"Possibly that is something we could find in the archives, and that is certainly where we should begin our search, but if there is nothing to be found there, do you know where the tablets are kept now?"

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Sharrowsmith

Post  The Sub-Creator on Sun Nov 23, 2014 10:38 pm

"Presumably with Aka'o ako Zenji, himself," the Pathfinder replied with something of an exaggerated shrug, "though none can know for certain. Magaambya has always been an open place of learning for all, but the centuries have shown us that isn't necessarily the most advantageous for keeping documents safely stored. More information has been lost throughout that time than anyone can accurately guess at. However, it's how the university was founded, and those that oversee it refuse to change that purpose. Old habits do die hard in this part of the world.

"The tablets were discovered missing months after Master Aka'o resigned from his position three decades ago. Best guess is that he took them. None have been able to locate him or the tablets in the thirty years since."

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Zaistrun Garess

Post  Eddick the Steady (XIV) on Wed Dec 03, 2014 10:30 am

Hearing about how their academy was founded and it's current problems sparked interest in the magister. He couldn't focus on it now though, so it was back to business. He pulled out some paper and made a quick note before he continued.

"In your esteemed opinion, are we going to have to track down the tablets in order to unlock the information in this orb? Or is there another way that you might have or know of that would enable such an event. You mentioned a journey earlier in our conversation, I assume we'll have to go after some lead you already have." His last statement while not technically a question did leave a bit of uncertainty in the air in hopes that the pathfinder would actually find the path they needed to take, or at least mention it.
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Sharrowsmith

Post  The Sub-Creator on Sat Dec 06, 2014 3:19 pm

"I mentioned the journey, actually, which presumably you're already on, having come all this way from northern Avistan . . . and isn't it exciting?" the Pathfinder placed emphasis on the final word for the sorcerer's benefit.

After a short-lived chuckle, he continued, "To answer your original question, however, the best I can avail you is 'it probably wouldn't hurt.' The tablets are without question the best resource we have pertaining to this mystery, though even their information was far from complete, so I've been told. Finding them would be a trick, make no mistake. Many have attempted to find them using magic, and all have failed. They have well and truly disappeared, just as Master Aka'o has.

"The good news is that Magaambya remains, and certainly somewhere within its confines resides a clue about the tablets, the orbs, or both. There are also faculty that knew the man, and speaking to these individuals might prove far more enlightening. I, myself, never met Master Aka'o, after all, having arrived here in Nantambu only recently, by comparison. You may wish to start with Master Nas'barro Erm, who heads Artifacts and Antiquities. He's been on staff at Magaambya for nigh on six decades now. He's not altogether a pleasant man, but many stop being so when they reach such age of maturity. His mind is sharp as a stiletto point though. He could certainly tell you far more than I can about it all, albeit not near as willingly." Nieford winked.

"There's also doing it the old-fashioned way: by digging. So much information exists within the university uncatalogued that it could take you months or years to uncover anything of noteworthiness, but if it's that important to you . . . " he trailed off with a punctuating shrug.

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Wynnsaren

Post  Wynnsaren on Sun Dec 07, 2014 2:45 pm

"Fortunately or unfortunately as the case may be," Wynnsaren smirked, "I have had some experience dealing with men of the unpleasant variety as well. Master Erm sounds like an excellent place to continue our hunt."

Leaning back in her chair, she stretched her right hand out on the arm rest and began tapping gently, momentarily lost in thought.

"I must say. . . The longer this search stretches on, the more engrossed I become. The difficulty of the pursuit entices." Her silver eyes flicked up to meet Nieford's golden ones. "You should have seen what I found at the end of my last such challenging investigation," she teased, and it was not golden orbs that she was gazing into within her mind's eye at that instance, but those which mimicked an even richer ore.

After the mental indulgence, the aasimar dragged her mind back to the present and reclaimed a more business-like posture. "Your assistance in this matter has been invaluable, Nieford, and our deal regarding the research into this orb and its properties stands as stated. But before we let you get back to your exporting, is there anything more we should know about Magaambya? Any customs we need to be aware of, or pitfalls to avoid?"

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Sharrowsmith

Post  The Sub-Creator on Mon Dec 08, 2014 11:26 pm

"Magaambya is quite an understanding place," Nieford assured her. "You'll find it far more accommodating than universities in the north. However, this reputation for accommodation can bring knowledge seekers that treat its masters as laughing stocks, mere custodians of the knowledge as opposed to exquisitely knowledgeable themselves. Don't fall into that trap. Be bold, be strong, but don't treat them as fools--accidentally or purposefully!

"Mind that bit of advise, remember that Magaambya is the oldest and finest university on Golarion, and that these men are masters of it, and you should be just fine."

The Pathfinder smiled sincerely. "I wish you all the best by whatever gods lead your hands. I also look forward to reading your journal, when it reaches my desk! I believe you are on a mission of unprecedented magnificence here, and the world will benefit from the retrieval of its knowledge one day."

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Wynnsaren

Post  Wynnsaren on Tue Dec 09, 2014 6:38 am

"I pray that it will be so," Wynnsaren beamed in reply. Rising from her seat, she extended her hand, clasping that of the Pathfinder. "It has truly been a pleasure, Mister Sharrowsmith."

After expressing their farewells and proposing an evening of tale-swapping at some nebulous date in the future, the foursome left Sharrowsmith's Exports and turned their attentions toward the very heart of Nantambu. The ring of ten towers housing the ancient university, Magaambya.

Once past the bustling bazaar, the crush and noise of the crowd diminished. The delicate tinkling of the colorful glass chimes hanging from the houses, mingled with the laughter of a gaggle of children as they ran past, kicking a well-worn leather ball between them. So engrossed were they in their game, that they did not spare a glance at the outsiders.

The aasimar sighed in simple contentment. Here in the deep, dark jungles of the Mwangi Expanse, they'd found an unexpected sanctuary of peace and learning. It seemed that this was not to be their destination, however. The mystery surrounding Winter's orb, would tug them inexorably onward. The most immediate question. . . Where?

A rough hand closed firmly about her arm above the elbow, shattering her silent musings.

"You and I need to have a talk. Soon." The familiar gravelly voice rumbled past her ear as her friend drew close. Wynn grimaced. Not that this was anything new of course but Kaz was angry with her, and there was little doubt in her mind as to precisely which bee had gotten into his bonnet this time.

"Fine," she turned just enough to catch his eye, as she gave her sharp assent. "Over dinner then. We will see about locating a more private venue for my upbraiding."

The ranger's swallowed retort came out as more of a growl and he begrudgingly released her. Kazimir could be a bear, but Wynn understood the man well enough to know that he would never embarrass her with a public confrontation. For now she was safe from his ire.

Increasing her gait just enough to draw level with the much taller and younger sorcerer, she addressed him informally.

"Zaistrun, I am surprised that you did not inquire as to Astarton's whereabouts. Onara mentioned that the. . .lodge here is the only one of its kind in the Mwangi, so it is likely Sharrowsmith would know of him."

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Zaistrun Garess

Post  Eddick the Steady (XIV) on Fri Dec 12, 2014 2:45 pm

Zaistrun cocked an eyebrow. "We are going back to see the man and we have business here in town. My errands here are secondary to why we came down. I've waited for three years to hear back from the man, a few more days won't hurt. Isn't one supposed to put the needs of others before themselves?" He paused for a moment. "I suppose that's what you are doing, isn't it? Ah, don't worry. I'm more concerned that it slipped my mind that we needed an interpreter. I don't know if we should be purchasing food if we don't know what it is."

He covered his eyes with his hand to check the position of the sun. "It is rather early in the day to be making dinner plans anyhow. I'm sure we can find an old displeasing schoolmaster or three to speak to before dinner. I don't believe we'll get more than one audience with any particular man, so I'll have to fit in my questions about running an academy in if I can."
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Wynnsaren

Post  Wynnsaren on Fri Dec 12, 2014 8:39 pm

"As open an academy as this is, I am sure we will be able to locate someone more than happy to help in that regard," Wynn nodded. "Maybe give us a history of the place as well. Something tells me that Master Erm may not be so accommodating, but I suppose we shall discover that soon enough."

The palpable frustration and tension behind her, proved distracting enough to civil conversation that an attempt at bridging the divide needed to be made. She reached back, looping her hand through Kazimir's arm, watching as his eyes softened ever so slightly. A small smile stole across her lips. He could glower at her all he wanted but she preferred it to be at her side rather than at her back.

"Do not worry about an interpreter, my friend. The magic I used earlier to Comprehend is still in effect and I will have the ability to further use it throughout the day as necessary. I will gladly function as our interpreter for this journey. As it stands, the fewer souls who know why we are here and what we are about, the better.

"Now about the food, I can personally vouch for the locusts," she giggled. "Delicious! Much smaller here than I am used to though. In the Cinderlands, they are monstrous things as long as my hand, and they descend in great swarms that blot out the light of the sun. Sounds a bit like a plague I know, but in that region they are a seasonal blessing. A nutritious windfall.

"Eating the local food is part of experiencing new cultures. I am sure you will find something to your liking."

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Zaistrun Garess

Post  Eddick the Steady (XIV) on Fri Dec 12, 2014 9:27 pm

Zaistrun looked at Kaz with contempt. A dog like him could bark at a princess of heaven, but it didn't mean he could instruct her. How presumptuous. The fact that she kept him around must be because she was training him to behave. But men took longer to train than beasts from across the black, especially old men. He hoped she knew what she was doing.

When he addressed Wynn again, he resumed his normal impassive tone and rattled off words with ease. "I suppose I could just order something someone else is having. I'm actually quite the novice when it comes to traveling, so I'll take your lead on the food. I've never even heard that insects were something to eat before." For a moment he got a strange feeling in his stomach, like when he was first learning magic. Well, he must master this just like everything else he had put his hand to, which meant he had to learn from those who knew. It was a good idea to make his first long distance journey with Wynn. She would prove invaluable.

"I also have interest in how they run their school here. I'm running it like an Abadaran school, but there isn't much president for how to teach magic. Mostly they teach civics and history and religion at schools of Ababdar, so it will be interesting to see how an actual college works."
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Eddick the Steady (XIV)

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Wynnsaren

Post  Wynnsaren on Fri Dec 12, 2014 11:16 pm

"That it will," Wynnsaren replied with an accompanying nod of excitement. "I must say it would be wonderful to have the same type of open university and center of learning that Mr. Sharrowford describes, back in Akiros. I have seen the way you are able to apply yourself to a duty, Lord Garess." She smiled. "Due to this witness, I have little doubt that this dream will come to fruition! Such a place would be a great boon both to Novastasia and to all of the River Kingdoms."

It was moments like this that the aasimar felt most infuriated by the abusive upbringing that Zaistrun had suffered. He was a visionary and such a remarkably capable young man! Such capability had little to do with his magical prowess and more to do with sheer tenacity and determination. How narrow-minded his mother must be not to recognize this in her own child! As far as she knew, the magister's brother hadn't made a reappearance since before the troubles in Flameforge. Wynn prayed that it would remain so. . . At least for now.

The three of friends -- well, two of the three, went on chatting about erudite pursuits as they made their way to the center of the city. They paid a bit of coin to a ferryman to take them through the canals in a type of dugout canoe that the locals called a mtumbwi. The journey made Wynn terribly nervous, until she realized that this was not salty water as she had feared -- for water of this type could kill Glas within moments if immersed, but it was fresh water that flowed out from regions deep in the heart of the jungle. With that, she relaxed and enjoyed the sights along the edges of the canals as they slipped past.

Delivered safely to the center of Nantambu, they continued on and upon seeing the towers of Magaambya rising before them, Kaz temporarily forgot his ire and fell into his usual habit of describing the wonders that Wynn was missing due to her limited sight.

Ten towers surrounded the complex of buildings that made up the ancient academy. Each of these towers was decorated with the mosaic of men wearing golden masks shaped into the form of exotic jungle creatures: a monkey, eagle, leopard, python, crocodile, and hippopotamus. Ten towers, Ten men. The Ten Magic Warriors of Jatembe!

Clearly outsiders, the group continued to be ogled at by the locals but less so once they entered Magaambya's complex. Many buildings stood within the towers' perimeter, not all as ancient as the next. Some were 'newer' construction either replacing the old or built as the school expanded. It may well be the oldest academy in Golarion, but it was still thriving!

With Zaistrun's glasses and Wynnsaren's magic, they were able to follow the signs to a centrally located hall covered in creeping yellow and green vines. Boots and claws clacked across the white marble floors, as the men gazed about taking it all in. Wynn frowned and cursed her eyes. Hopefully she would get the chance this evening to fly about and see everything for herself!

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Wynnsaren

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Zaistrun Garess

Post  Eddick the Steady (XIV) on Sat Dec 13, 2014 1:58 pm

Zaistrun ogled the impressive structure. There was so much history here, he would love to pick someone's brain about how the place was run, but for some reason he felt a need to stay with Wynn.

But then again, why did he feel the need to do so? Was he really going to help here? How much did he help in the meeting with the Pathfinder? How much would he help with less helpful wizards? He was starting to feel slightly unnecessary. He looked over at his friend. She single-handedly talked her way through Winter's entire organization, stole his heart and one of his most interesting treasures. Zaistrun never liked diplomacy. He'd rather just be straight forward with people. Once his underlings understood this, they became fiercely loyal.

But here, he'd be forced to forge a path through scraping and bowing. Old mages were likely to be quite proud, and Z realized that only one who could approach them from a position of strength. What in their eyes did he have? Bringing up Thassalon wouldn't help here, they wouldn't appreciate it. They likely wouldn't be interested in his stones except to study him. Lastly, it's possible that there were men here with far more knowledge and experience. He would have nothing to trade with them other than flattery, and he wouldn't lower himself.

Wynn had a few things on them though. She instantly lit up a room, she could be charming if she wished, and she was rather fetching. Just being a pretty lady could unnerve them enough so she could take advantage of them.

"I've been thinking. Perhaps it would be better for you to pursue this avenue on your own. I'm starting to realize that I'd only get in your way. Anyone with your diplomatic exploits could be hampered by a poorly spoken word. I imagine the conversation with the pathfinder would have gone much differently had I not been there. In any case, I do have some other business I should attend to. I'll find us an inn and message you when I've taken care of that. If my business takes me elsewhere, I'll send word. But regardless I'll be ready to take you home whenever you are ready or our time is up."
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Eddick the Steady (XIV)

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Wynnsaren

Post  Wynnsaren on Sat Dec 13, 2014 2:36 pm

"If I felt that you would be in my way, Lord Garess, than I would not have taken you up on your offer, and additionally I felt that our initial meeting here in the city went quite well! You must know that your company means a good deal more to me than a means of transportation." Wynnsaren arched a concerned brow at the Magister. "However, if you wish to take care of some alternate business and explore this magnificent university on your own, I will certainly not stand in your way. I quite understand.

"Let us meet meet then over dinner an hour before sunset at the inn you choose. I will keep you abreast of the investigation. As I only have a basic understanding of arcane magic, it will be especially invaluable for me to talk things over with you as we uncover new information. I hope you are yet agreeable to this arrangement?"

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Zaistrun Garess

Post  Eddick the Steady (XIV) on Sat Dec 13, 2014 10:56 pm

The sorcerer gave a thin smile. "I will remain at your disposal, but it's because I know arcane magic and grumpy spellcasters that I believe that you will find more success without me. An arcanist will often become stingy with his knowledge if he feels like he is in the presence of a rival or a threat. These are roles I play without effort. However, to an attractive young-looking person who expresses interest in their life's work, they are more likely to be a veritable fount of information. If my assumption is incorrect, I will accompany you to any meeting here, but I rather think that it's more likely to much easier without me in this fashion. We might be on the other side of the inner sea, but men are yet still men."

He gave a polite bow. "I'll see you for dinner with the most interesting local fare I can procure in the intervening time."
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Wynnsaren

Post  Wynnsaren on Sun Dec 14, 2014 4:03 pm

Wynnsaren grimaced as the sorcerer turned to go. Men are men whether they be in Avistan, Garund or Tian Xia. That much was true, but the aasimar rather thought she had more to offer -- more substance than mere physical charm. It was a tool when necessary but much preferred as a last resort. She sighed and hoped that Master Erm had more depth of vision than Zaistrun suspected.

Kaz, Wynn and Glas continued on down the great open air walkway, framed by ancient marble arches that encircled the entire structure. Six sets of doors led inside to what she guessed to be lecture halls the way students seemed to be buzzing about. Out of one class and into another, with armloads of paper and writing implements but curiously few books.

They then happened upon an elderly man standing in the center of the walkway, with his face turned to the sun. He wore a rich yellow robe with a blood red sash running shoulder to hip. His skin was dark as mahogany, as the strong black tea so favored in their region of Avistan, and it was heavily lined with deep creases around his mouth and forehead. A cloud of course white hair framed his face, shot through with black, which Wynn guessed must have been the original color.

In all, he seemed a man that might know his way about and perhaps, if fortune smiled upon them, spoke more than a mere smattering of their language.

"Excuse me, Sir," Wynn began as they approached. The man turned his face from the sun and blinked his eyes open at the foreigners. Those eyes were even darker than his skin and shone with deep intelligence. No lines about them, caused her to guess that this was not a man given to much smiling. Best to be to the point.

The aasimar nodded in simple greeting. "We are seeking audience with Master Erm. Might you know how we would go about making an appointment?"

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Erm

Post  The Sub-Creator on Sun Dec 14, 2014 10:51 pm

After a brief moment of staring at the woman while she enlightened him about her business and desire, the old man looked down at his sides--one, then the other, and patted at them slowly, methodically, with the palms of his hands. "Tis de tradeetion of duh Nort' dat a man o' war carry 'is croft at 'is side," he proclaimed pragmatically. "We gots no knets 'ere, see? Chiv'ry ain't det, no, but neider is it coodified. Peoples jus' give from duh heart whin de mooment coome."

The man's lips puffed up as they pursed into something that looked like an exaggerated frown, yet might have been a smile. "Ain't no suhs in Nantambu," he corrected her, tapping her cheeks with the tips of his fingers. "We loove life 'ere too mwuch, uh?"

He croaked out a cough immediately after . . . or that may have been a chuckle. "Why ya seek Masduh Erm fo'? Wha help ya need dat 'e kin pruhvide?"

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Wynnsaren

Post  Wynnsaren on Mon Dec 15, 2014 4:36 pm

The aasimar smiled and gave a brief bow of the head, accepting the elder's correction graciously. Knowing nothing about this culture put her in an all-too-familiar and awkward position. Not only awkward but potentially dangerous! For example, what might seem a harmless conversation in Novastasia, could buy you a one way audience with Bucker Jack looming in the center square of Woodsedge in Galt. That had been too close a call. . . While it seemed the people of Nantambu were more laid back than most, any guidance given was sure to be well received!

A bead of sweat rolled down Wynn's neck and disappeared beneath the loose linen dress. Oppressive as it had been upon their arrival in the Mwangi, it was growing infinitely more so under the beating rays of the sun which screamed in her ears. She idly wondered how long it would take for a body to grow used to such climes.

"We have been told that Master Erm is long established as member of the Magaambya faculty. Our inquiry deals with events that transpired around three decades ago, so we believe that he will have first hand knowledge and most valuable insights about these matters.

"Since it is painfully clear that we are from out-of-town," Wynnsaren offered a self-deprecating smirk, "perhaps you might be so good as to point us in the Master's direction?"

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Erm

Post  The Sub-Creator on Tue Dec 23, 2014 11:10 am

"Oh ho, me cud poont ya in 'is way," the elderly one commented with the lifting of his grey-haired eyebrows, "if 'is way wuhr ooder dan unda duh sun. As tis, doh, de sun's loovely dis day, an' wut bedda place ta be den 'ere?"

He lifted his face to the bright orb overhead briefly, as if soaking in its warmth to prove the point. "T'ree duhcade 'go, ya say? R'cuhl ta me duh hap'nin's o' dat time, yah? All dem days blen' t'guhder in duh mine o' ole men."

The old one brought his eyes back down to hers and arched an eyebrow in curiosity. Oddly, his left cheek bulged outward a bit as his tongue pressed up against it from the inside.

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Wynnsaren

Post  Wynnsaren on Tue Dec 23, 2014 11:42 am

Had they stumbled upon Master Erm himself then? It was possible. Perhaps she misunderstood or perhaps he was playing a game with them. Disentangling the thick accent was not without difficulty. . . She considered requesting that he continue in polyglot, so her Comprehend spell would translate completely, but then chalked that up to laziness and set the thought aside. She focused instead on her inquiries and avoiding heatstroke.

"Our questions revolve around a former staff member. Once the head of historical and archaeological research, Master Aka'o ako Zenji." Wynn squinted up at him, assuming the name would spark signs of recognition. "We would like to study the tablets that he discovered so long ago, but as they have disappeared we believe it would be best to go to the second best source of information. The man himself."

She danced delicately around the topic of how the tablets may have gone missing, for there was no telling how people felt about the erstwhile Master. To accuse him of theft could slam a lot of doors in their faces depending on where old loyalties lay.

"However, having discovered that Master Aka'o resigned thirty years ago, we are hopeful that Master Erm would know enough about him to help us locate his whereabouts."

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