Politics and Compromise

You will find today’s letter long and tedious as I attempt to also share every detail with our august scribe to twist and conceal in the form of the CrIsis stories as well as talk to you. The events of the past days making it obvious that the details that we share with our trusted few must have a vast amount of editing of location and characters in order to protect our mission before being displayed to the world, I have new respect for the extent of the work and creativity that our Writer must undertake.

At our last correspondence we were granted the miracle of a some amount of closure to my brother Xerxses’ pain by the swift deaths of the minotaur betrayers at our hands. I am extremely grateful for the fate that allowed us the chance pursuit of this terrible wrong. Had they not fallen into our lap it would have been impossible to accomplish any justice as we cannot turn aside from our quest no matter how deep the hurt or rightful the task. I thank the gods for the mercy shown, carrying the full weight of this unreconciled pain was torture on my brother, one which I selfishly found intolerable. We continue to support our brother as best we can but the trauma is surely causing him the deepest pain. We gathered the weapons of the fallen handing them to Xerxes until such time as we might return them to his father and the tribe. In one of our few times of complete agreement it was the only right thing to do, although when turned out to be a greater cause for debate.

After the deaths of the traitors we returned to our room at the innkeeper’s insistence to discover a trap across the door in the form of a tripwire. Xerxes applied each of us with magical armour before Asher psionically cut the wire causing an explosion from the doorway and the running steps of the guards downstairs to investigate. Xerses was hidden from sight by magic which might be wrong but we must be practical. Time to change the worlds view on the matter another day. The guards themselves did nothing to assuage my impression of their peoples jaded view by immediately entering and systematically accusing my brother Burlap then Asher of the damage. Their accusation only turned aside by Azariel taking lead and ownership in their sight. At least Oathbringer was able to assure Indaris that they were not demonic in nature, he was also allowed to heal us as they pompously sauntered into the room despite our warnings and the half uncharitable thought crossed my mind that setting of another trap might serve them some sense. After finding nought we were held under house arrest downstairs whilst the guards confirmed our identity and story. Five hours of waiting only broken by the accepted appeal for water and then food soon wore thin. At one point they took Indaris away for a private chat for which Xerxes followed in mouse form to ensure his safety, he may have thought harder about his disguise if he knew how sharply I had to reign Nosse in from unconsciously pouncing on the moving aperitif. It wasn’t until around breakfast time the commander arrived to apologize for our wait and release us to our choice of the inns rooms assuring us of the innkeepers release and arrival within an hour. My curiosity to investigate our old rooms was overturned perhaps wisely and debate raged on as to the timing of our weapon drop the final outcome being after our visit with the Mountain and the Festival of Set to avoid any delays.
Later in the day a royal guard turned up to take us to our meeting, we left Nosse, Xerxes, Asher and Burlap at the inn not wanting to risk trouble with the local perceptions. The carriage provided was the same one as our previous royal trip the driver familiar as well.

Our home is beautiful and I would never like to admit to comparing it to anything but I cannot help but share my awe at the castle proper here in our capital. How such immense beauty and craftsmanship was envisioned and built is mind numbing. We were greeted by name before being ushered through its halls, always our mission is foremost in our mind but I’m sure we all struggled with distraction as we journeyed through this spectacle before entering a device that raised us up eight stories high above the level of the main hall, showing off its stunning beauty even more. What kind of man were we about to meet that held his own room above this wonder? A short thirty minute wait later we were greeted by Boderick. He first remarked on our unexpected politeness which I allowed myself to acknowledge might not be the usual expectation from our group. He may have felt the surroundings might soften us to his next request or maybe he had just grown immune himself to the dazzle but we spent some time working out a deal in which any part of our letters that might make it to the Crisis stories should at least at surface value mention only an attack by demons rather than minotaur’s. Apparently allowing such peoples to sneak in and attack in the middle of their city was an embarrassment that they could not contemplate becoming public. We were asked to leave all magical items at this point for which I fumed at myself as we had forgotten the previous warning that this would be the case, we could not allow ourselves these kinds of mistakes but now it was too late. As our gods parts were an exception I also requested to take in a ring for which there was no aggressive power, Boderick examined and acceded. He also allowed us time to discuss the dilemma, Brother indaris in particular not wanting to leave certain items. Azariel attempted to arrange time for us to return to the others but with 60secs or no meeting we felt compelled to continue.

Entering the room was a blatant contrast to the outside, completely bare the figure presumably of the Slayer of Mountains floated before us his appearance much like some of our more independent and elevated mystics. He first insisted prove of our identities, I was mildly surprised he couldn’t tell for himself but stepped forward and presented the ring of the wanderer activating its image. His responding fits of laughter and insistent calls to turn it off I couldn’t help but meet with momentary delay before allowing the image to be snuffed out. He turned to Azariel and said “so leader let’s talk”. Being previously let in on Azariels plan to gain his accompaniment to the isle I unashamedly took the opportunity to turn on every charm I could muster and ask for his company. The man was certainly worthy his knowledge and intelligence were legendary amongst other things, but his response changed my mind completely in one sentence, not something which often happens. His description of the countries plight in balance and the need for him here next to the king, which we should desire I had not considered. A foolish attempt on my part maybe but not regretted. Azariel held far more sway with his silver tongue and could have persuaded him to journey with us despite this but we hopefully wisely didn’t push further. He had already arranged for a western ship to takes us there as crew if we so desired, it would dock and stay for up to a week in the isle port before returning.

Suddenly within a blink of an eye we were teleported away to a special chamber of the mountains own devising perfectly secure apparently even from the eyes of the gods although this last bit I had no desire for and felt less comfortable rather than more. The rest of the family were also present as well as all our items returned and not a hair out of place although Enshalla felt like a dead twig in my hands. Refreshments of the alcoholic variety were provided and inevitably some high level philosophy followed, Azarial asked about the veracity of the possibility of Thoth having been an old one. The Mountain’s response in firm agreement quite stunning, he even admitted to having conversed with U’Selekma about the god’s erratic nature possibly hiding a personality disorder which jumped him between the natures of the other gods in his pantheon. The mountain at this point chose to return to his natural form and though we should have guessed I felt a fresh blush of embarrassment at trying to woo the great horned dragon. I hadn’t noticed how badly Xerxes was handling his drink until I saw the sad stunned look sliding over his face, ”I’m following an Old One?!”. It was too much I couldn’t help my response “a minotaur following an old one who would think”, my thoughts were only affectionate but I could see it may have caused him some concern to think how hard he tried to impress a better image of his race to the world. This knowledge for some reason didn’t bother me I’m not sure why but if an old one could be redeemed it’s power reborn to become Thoth then it just opened the world up to more amazing possibilities and hope than I had previously envisioned. I hope when my time comes the wheel sees fit that my reincarnation be so apt.

At some point as I raised glass to lips my vision cleared and the image of the dragon feasting down on live humanoids shocked me out of my reverie. Had I seen someone being murdered on the street I would not have debated the whys or how’s but taken action, the thoughts skittered through my head so quickly I could not save these people and I could not let my family die here but this was wrong, was I really willing to sit still and compromise my soul for our mission, is this how the slide to the dark started. At this instant some stray thought popped into my head of the letter you sent me about my Father. You said his words were “I will prevent her from completing my mission”, was he once as holy and righteous as I believe my journey is now, is this how his demise started little compromises to the greater good? When the dragon explained afterwards that these were evil followers of the dark from other worlds my anger erupted “you could have told us before your feast”. He believed he was above explaining himself to us. His level of intelligence plummeted in my eyes I could see our new ally was not without his own weakness for which he was blind. Should I ever become so self important to put myself as an individual above other living entities to be unable to put myself in their shoes and act accordingly, my vision so narrow that I blinker myself to world in such a manner I hope you might find me and slap me awake. Breaking through this shock was Xerxes continual drunken babble “bad dragon” etc and after the mountain’s third call to muzzle him Asher had the good sense to use his shirt to stop any further inciting of the dragon. The unfortunate and probably predictable loss of the shirt seemed to unduly upset Asher but gave me some tension release at the situation we were in. The Mountain settled down and tried to explain to us why he wanted us to succeed, “have you ever been somewhere were everything was right, everything was how it should be?”.” Your favourite bar always serving your favourite drink people you wanted to see always there at the right moment. You understood the why’s and purpose”. Of course I couldn’t relate exactly to what he was saying, I’d never felt this but I could understand the need for balance restored, I felt it as a druid as a child of this world that he needed to be restored it would not be a world of all light but it would be right, we would bring back the world of balance things would just feel right.

The Mountain opened up the conversation to any questions and I immediately sought any further information on pieces he might have. Having just swallowed the remainders of the shirt Xerx butted in with something about knowing what a muzzle was and that Tyv had explained there should be a ball included, some of the others erupted in laughter but I honestly didn’t think the minotaur’s drunk ramblings were that funny, that didn’t stop all of us bipeds almost ending as splatters across the far wall if not for a little luck. The dragons advice for us was as follows, to pay our scholars when they ask, to seek access to the basement of Bletherad and to revisit the places we may have already thought complete. Following that he insisted on us all having more of his alcohol for which our sensible brother Indaris held out until the mountain’s utmost insistence. The poisonous mix seemed to be having as much effect on the dragon as Xerxes which Azariel took clever opportunity of to discover the possibility of the dragon simply slipping in and asking for the piece we next sought in disguise without any hassle. Out of the corner of my eye I could see the dragon’s butler Earthshaker signalling Indaris an entreaty to help the dragon. As we pondered the idea Asher used his gifts to seek out the future ramifications, the vision he beheld of a pyramid in flames and my most esteemed Brother Lamriel dead combined with the idea of using the Mountain when he was compromised convinced most that we would have to continue the hard way. A had a sneaky suspicion of a deeper game on the dragon’s part when Azarial went to clear the poison from his body and it appeared to already be done. I asked a third time if there was any new unrelated information he might have regarding the pieces, surely he if anyone would. He told us we should read the wanderers words and seek out the man like himself. Xerxes face lit up even in his stupor he blathered something about a mage in the Old Kingdom’s mountains . Some more discussion as to our disguise for the Isle was had with the eventual outcome of Azariel taking ownership of most of us and seeking a trade. The indication from the mountain that the Cyclops leader might indeed trade with what he felt as lesser beings gave me some hope to a less bloody outcome.

Eventually we were appeared back at the Inn, the innkeeper lets us know it would be our last night and prepared a lavish dinner before bed. We spent our final day and night aboard Rogtilda, leaving instructions for the girls to continue their search for Overkill’s old crew and relayed our time frame for return. One week in port plus travel time either way and be ready to sail at a moment’s notice. That day the family chipped in to buy Burlap some fancy cigars from our friend Gabriel the alchemist and a few of us paid a brief visit to the church of Osiris before we were asked to leave before the festival of Set began. The chants of death to Crisis amongst other things convincing us of the seriousness of the priests words. We arrived back at the ship to find a multitude of guards who insisted on proof of our identities before boarding. I sit now making these notes for our author, tomorrow will bring the start of our new sea voyage on a strange ship with unfamiliar crew, my hopes are this trip may end in a trade satisfying to both parties but should things go wrong I fear we will be in as much danger as we have yet faced. I hope fate yet walks with us and you will hear from me again soon but will always feel comfort knowing somewhere out there the circle sits in prayer for us. Again be well mother I will write again soon.


Picture by The Telegraph UK
Picture from Golden Hall Stockholm City Hall
Picture from Bruce Linn


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