|6-5:09: Should I just give up or should I keep chasing pavements even if it leads nowhere?
||[Jul. 5th, 2009|03:15 pm]
The Chronicle of Aldencia: Saving the Kingdom
In the morning, over breakfast, the group discussed their plans for their time in the city. It was decided that everyone would split into pairs to gather what information they could. Keleroth and Bendigar went into the city square to pick up whatever information they could. Coming upon a commotion, the two found themselves witnesses to a public execution. The word among the people and the posted declarations both spoke of treason as the reason for the beheadings, but surprisingly, Keleroth and Bendigar saw the captain of the guards who had been at the cathedral the night prior as the chief indicted traitor. Between the crowd and a later gathering at a tavern, Keleroth and Bendigar learned that such contradictory orders were becoming more and more commonplace – individuals praised by the king were condemned within hours. The people were confused, though afraid to voice any true suspicions.
Meanwhile, Matthias and Nahla made their way to the Kass household to meet with Alfred. In spite of their working together, Matthias and Alfred had spoken face to face prior to this. It readily became apparent that some messages had not been making it from Alfred to the group at Romdas, in that the rumors of Edward’s location had been sent much earlier than they were received. Alfred explained that these rumors seemed to have much of a ring of truth to them. The individual in question appeared to be spending some time in quiet inns, then disappearing for a few nights, and resurfacing later. But the piece that spoke most of its veracity was that the prince had a very little-known condition, an apparent allergy to wheat, and this stranger never ate wheat or took any beverage that had been wheat-brewed. Either it was the true Edward, or a clever, clever imposter. The only other message Alfred had to share was one from Mother Wood – a letter and an enclosed ring that were addressed to Elara. The letter itself appeared genuine, and had been sent something approaching several weeks prior. If there was a message in the letter, it was meant only to be understood by Elara, as the wording meant little to Matthias. Taking the chance to visit with Wilfred Kass, Matthias was pleased to learn that the young nobleman, due to his “illness,” had taken up a new habit – birding. Wilfred had been keeping a large number of pigeons on the roof of the family estate, and training them for messages. Though they were not quite at the level he desired yet, he assured the monk that by the time they were needed as a method of communication, they would be ready for his use. Matthias arranged to pick up one pigeon before leaving the city so that it would know the way to Romdas, and left.
Dora and Theodor, taking the route of “shopping,” got into conversation with several merchants. These individuals were little involving themselves in the political matters, not concerned if orders from the palace made great or no sense, as long as they could continue to do business unmolested. Disappointed with their little information, Dora and Theodor were about to end their trip when they noticed someone, dressed as a guardsman, who seemed to be following them. Dora attempted to read him with her ring, but it responded only with blank, the dormant color. Unable to lose him in the streets, Theodor and Dora took refuge in an inn, buying a room for themselves and hiding out for the afternoon. When they departed much later, there was no sign of the young man and they safely retreated to the city house.
After each group had reported their findings to the others, Matthias decided to take Keleroth back to the cathedral to see what they could learn from Mother Wood, and what else they could discover about the odd attack the previous night. Posing as wandering monks from another village, Keleroth allowed Matthias to take lead, actively asking after Mother Wood, while he contemplated the situation in the garden and kept an eye on the ex-general. Through Matthias’s skilled use of his own disability and confusion and the ability to make allies in the unsuspecting, he learned that another raid of the clergy had taken place some weeks prior, placing it just a night after the letter and ring had been dispatched by Mother Wood to Alfred. Both attacks had two things in common – they had targeted ranking members of the clergy who were removed from the cathedral and not seen again, and the only members of the priesthood who were taken were strong users of magic. Higher ranking priests and priestesses were left untroubled while powerful healers, defensive magic-users, and those of particular skills were taken. And the news was not surprising that Mother Wood had been among the first to disappear in the raids. More troubled than ever, Matthias and Keleroth returned to the house and decided that the following day would be spent trying to locate the seer Madame Rhea, in the hopes that she might shed some light on all that was transpiring.
In the morning, the party of six set out for the old part of Adzoral, hoping they would find their way to the more unusual quarters. After wandering in circles for a while, the streets around them seemed to change, and then the group was before Madame Rhea’s door once more, not even sure how they had found it. The inside was a bit changed from their prior visit. Still stuffed of items and odd smells, the whole space seemed thinner, as though some of its substance was fading. The seeress appeared, and though she looked the same, her bearing and behavior showed much greater power than before – she accepted their presence and their questions without either payment or the traditional taking of herbs. She spoke of many things in that mysterious way of those touched by prophecy, knowing already that those present had been touched by one of her “sisters,” and hearing the questions in their minds before they had even been voiced. Throughout the course of the conversation, the place around them slipped closer and farther from the group, items and smells becoming more and less defined, as though the very space was not quite present always. The pieces of information Rhea gave in her own time and way included:
1.) The ring from Mother Wood was a weapon, a dangerous one, meant to be used against someone the seeress referred to as “the eternal one.” She advised that Matthias keep it close and not don it himself, and that he would know what to do with it when the time came.
2.) Upon questions of the eternal one, Rhea told that the eternal one had existed always, working in particular ways for aims that were always sinister and unseen until it was too late. The only force that could begin to match the eternal one was the secret one, who would also act in ways whose motivations were unclear until the end. She also hinted that some in the room had already encountered both the eternal one and the hidden one.
3.) The rumored Edward in Adzoral was not the one the party was seeking, but rather an agent of forces at play.
4.) The Ojaluche and the Madame Rhea had a silent conversation themselves which neither shared with the others present, but Rhea appeared pleased that the Ojaluche was present.
5.) In answer to some questions by Matthias, Rhea confirmed some of his fears that the times ahead would be difficult, and he may be called upon to sacrifice much for the right. Matthias was not surprised to hear that he might be himself in danger, as he had long suspected he would not survive this endeavor, but Rhea warned that his death was not inevitable, though much more likely if he lost sight of his aims.
6.) Upon Bendigar wondering if his wife could be pregnant, Rhea simply replied, “someday.”
7.) Looking at Dora, with the same question in her mind, the seeress smiled warmly, confirming all Dora needed to know.
8.) Dora and Nahla, both for their own reasons, were thinking of Elara, and how she should be present for these events. Madame Rhea responded to these unspoken thoughts with a chilling warning that, though it gave little of substance, made it clear that Elara’s part in events was not over, but that she might well not be present at the end of them, and that it might already be too late to save her.
These words and warnings in their minds, Madame Rhea dismissed the group, who, upon finding themselves once more on the street, were struck to quiet with all they had heard as they returned to the house.