Remember, Remember, the 30th of Algor, the Labyrinth Conspiracy and Plot

The Light Works In Mysterious Ways

Malkin, in his study, at his home no more than an hour from the great library he sat down once more. This time he felt a different vision and pulled out parchment in front of him with his trusty quill set and ink jars. His eyes become transfixed to those that might see him as his gaze drifts across the cosmos.


It was the evening before Horus’ Day on the 24th of Od. Annenwen Muffsteel, aka Annie to her friends, had just finished with Torrun all the food prep for the celebration tomorrow, giving the remaining cooks the time off they richly deserved.

“Damn, Torrun, you wield Mary’s cleaver better than she did,” she said wiping her brow.

“Why is there always so much damn dust at sea?! I swear,” exclaimed Torrun as he wiped a tear away, “Though she was a mother protecting her child this cleaver’s former owner was the bravest person I had ever seen. Izulkral is lucky to have such a wonderful mother. Just hope he appreciates her better than I did mine. Off with thee lass I know those carrot cupcakes aren’t for the “Oathkeeper” and just let him know it will all work out.”

Annie looked at Torrun as though he had overheard something she thought about trying to find a way to use telepathy on Torrun and remembered Dream’s stories about scanning Xerx’ses. She finished wrapping the cakes and meat pies and headed off to see Kom’var. Once she was out of sight Torrun picked up some oil and her present he had gotten with help from King Minishmee and Queen Christine. A new set of Dwarven cutlery sized exactly for her hands and proper wet stones! It had one enchantment laid upon them – after 72 hours of use by a single person they would ALWAYS match their hands even if the were transformed, made bigger or smaller by magic! King Mini thought Torrun was lying when he explained his reasonings but he paid one of the two alchemists to make the enchantment immediately. A royal gift from her old and new friends! Prince Torrun chuckled to himself that Xerx’ses would be proud seeing a future minotaur cared for by Dwarves as his original tribe was before the big thunder.

Passing Attel she gave him one of the cakes as he headed down into the hold of the Shield of Light. A section of the cargo area had been converted for Xerx’ses and Kom’var when the once admiral had been among the crew. Annie slid the door open finding Kom’var reading a recent Book of CrIsis. She asked him what chapter he was working on and the gray skinned, pink mottled scared flesh face looked back from the pages at her.

Komvar--Spellborn“I wish I knew? The only things I feel I must do, is protect the ship, and you above all else. Did my brother just fake a path until he found one? Theses are the things I try to glean because even with memories I am forced to decide how I feel about each of these moments that are not truly mine. I don’t know how to feel about them. I had strong feelings of caring and protection for you. It worries me that might wake up one day and it not be there. I was of Xerx’ses and yet now bereft of him. I…,”

She gave him the cakes only slightly concerned he might like apple over carrots, but shortly thereafter his stomach had allayed those fears. They talked long into the morning about where they saw their relationship going when this finished and he mentioned that he would be happy to spend his remaining days together with her. However, his one caveat to that is never going to a Minotaur location because he was worried. He understood that sailors and pirates had no bonds and therefore no mates or partners that lasted longer than was necessary. He wanted a mate but didn’t want to ruin it with urges that may lie dormant in him because he really didn’t know anymore than Xerx’ses and he was a loner among his own tribe.

Upon the morning of Horus’ Day they set out to attend morning sermon before breakfast service that her assistants were getting ready to provide in the galley. When she entered the galley kitchen before they set up the line for service she found the nice note, signed by Torrun and bearing the Royal Seal of the reign of King Minishmee and Queen Christine. Underneath the note she found the heavy fire hardened wood block and new knives bearing the makers mark of a Redbeard Dwarf from Sinza and the Sigil of the Alchemist, Myer Bardomus, hired by the King! She read the note again about their singular magic power and shrieked so loud Kom’var was knocking on the door that lead to the galley asking, “Are you alright?”

She told her lover that she had gotten a Horus Day gift from Torrun and it would help everyone she ever served food to. Kom’var looked embarrassed because even with all the money he had accumulated getting time to go shopping without Annie as his guide was problematic. Then Annie kissed his snout and mentioned that Torrun’s gift solved a problem she had been trying to reconcile a path to completion. She was so happy she said they should join the morning sermon to give thanks. Every day since joining up alongside CrIsis she had prayed to Ra and Bennu, however, today two gods were added to her favorites among the pantheon: Xerx’ses and Khonsu! Torrun stood up to give a sermon or brief prayer when Captain Jershon had found out how good he was at public speaking by the seat of his pants.

Blessings and Greetings Unto the Lords of Light and Lords of Darkness.
For without the two of you fighting back the Old Ones this world would not exist.
In Horus’ name and his rebirth we honor you.
On this day, we honor all that created and made this light possible.
Whether it be a good day or a bad day.
Whether we have good fortune or ill.
For without your day we would have nothing.
I wish to beseech unto Horus, whose day in name we care for,
That we are given gifts we are due,
That we are grateful for them,
That we share them with those whom do not get gifts,
For whatever reason they are bereft, so that they do not feel bereft today.
For today we are all brothers and sisters, there is no race.
No Dwarf, or Elf, or Human, or Wolfen, there are simply mortals and people who share in your light.
For it cascades down us all with the might of Ra!

Amon Ra

Nearly everyone that was not required to keep the ship moving was there and a wave of “AMON RA!” could easily be heard. Today became the foundations of a plan to use Xerx’ses’ Scroll of Permanent Metamorphosis. First, was the gift from Torrun, Mini, and Christine. Second, was a meditation circle by Silent Dream in which she gained the power of Telepathy! Now for at least for a few days she could truly understand Kom’var when he had a rough time expressing his thoughts and emotional concerns. Concentrating for a second she could see he was worried about loosing her and then everything he had known as a clone. He was afraid he would forget magic now that he had no anchor on his soul. Then she saw it, the image that unlike his brother that had great burdens upon him he did not have a direction and the freedom overwhelmed him, for fear of wasting such a gift as a soul. Third, was the overlapping and continuing gift of Sky Captain Willy and his smoking herb that granted an extra day to the psychic power learned from Silent Dream!

After the vision passed almost a complete turn of the day & night had passed, and she ran until she found Kom’var on the top deck by Attel and Jershon at what appears to be a shift change. “They won’t take it back! They won’t take it back,” she hollered out to her minotaur lover. Nearly bouncing off his form as she slams into him and hugging his waist. Attel and Jershon have slightly raised eyebrows as Kom’var looks down at them, “Can I bring you the list of books I need later?” The two men nod and the Minotaur picks Annie up and walks away to his or “their” room. Several hours later she re-emerges and Kom’var for the first time free from the spell of his creation a smile creeps over his face and his demeanor.

Torrun now began keeping odd hours so Annie could revisit Captain Willy’s herbal cloud. Annie kept trying to say thank you and Torrun would wave her away complaining about dust in his eye and make sure to keep the wet stones in good care. Annie found out Torrun had everything worked out with her crew to be ready three days out. Everything they had worked on and Jershon had been made aware that if Ursus enters the galley outside of meal time he will be attacked with intent to kill. The kitchen has three sets of actual silverware in a box labeled “Portion Control,” and they have been given a plan of how to deal with Ursus in “hangry” mode.

The next several days go by as Annie plots her plan to help give Kom’var a special anchor. It was interesting on the 14th of Algor to see the Isle of the Cyclops’ coast, thought Annie. A fog settled on the ship either the 14th or 15th for about 20 minutes, when it faded Kom’var had asked the Captain to perform an inventory because someone could have gotten on the ship and stolen something. Annie just had her assistants verify nothing had been taken or contaminated among the food larders. Everyone checked extra for bear claw markings, Annie seemed almost depressed when none were found. “Next time tubby,” murmured Annie, twirling a fork.

It was the 18th she finally felt the power fade for the last time and she knew the Gnome had nearly run out of the herb that granted prolonging of Dream’s mental powers she was borrowing. She chuckled on the 27th of Algor after hearing about the last sea serpent getting repelled and chunks of it being pulled in for food augmentation. It was one of the few times she felt like a member of CrIsis realizing hearing about Sea Serpents felt like hearing that shore had been sighted. Upon the 29th shortly after dawn Sekti-Abtu was sighted and about an hour to reach the dock. She saw Torrun on the prow of the deck putting on his crown just repeating how wonderful everything looked.

When they docked there were bands of musicians, entertainers, clergy, and fans! Only Ursus, Grignak, and Silent Dream had been to the holy city at some point before. Merkl, Willy, and Torrun looked stunned to differing degrees with the Dwarf Prince placed his crown upon his brow remarking that this looked as those Ma’ip was on Palladium itself! Our guides around the Land of the Damned, Clan Windwater of Bizantium, said their farewells after some books were signed for the crew of their ships. As we disembarked Grignak’s wife, Cardinal Katheryne, High Priestess of Bast ran up and embraced him for some time before allowing her very public display of affection to wane and we proceeded to a crowd that only grew bigger as we approached the park that, Keegan Rearden, Cardinal of the faith of Khonsu, mentioned in his letter.

Annie asked Jershon what was the difference between a Bishop and a Cardinal. He told her that physical regions of the world were the province of Bishops. As they would interface with the secular rulers and nations of Palladium. A Bishop was not required to be tied to the worship of any one God of the pantheon. Cardinals on the other hand represent the highest authority for a specific god or goddess of the pantheon. For instance the cardinal of the faith of Khonsu was Cardinal Keegan Rearden. Jershon mentioned hearing that a youth program had been started by the cardinal to teach nature to young children through hiking and exploring nearby surroundings. The cardinal of the faith of Horus was Cardinal Rothas. Whom was also one of the chief military strategists of the Chruch. The cardinal of the faith of Bast was Cardinal Katheryne Lestways, gesturing over to Grignak’s wife. The cardinal of the faith of Osiris was Cardinal Nulendar, whom is also the Grand Arbiter of the Church. Jershon went on to briefly explain the arbiters settle legal disputes regarding the laws of the church whether they be internal or external.

Annie then asked, “Whom is Xerx’ses cardinal since he’s been made a full member of the pantheon?”

Jershon mentioned he had only read about the selection as occasionally Xerx’ses will send dreams to him as his first follower, “If those dreams are what I believe to be correct then it is Cardinal Rincewind. Oh, it is pronounced ‘Rins’ vinde’ if you want to get on his good side.”

It wasn’t much longer until Pontiff U’Selekma came out with Bishops and from both sides of the Church to declare if CrIsis wins at Çynopolis then the Cult of Taut will agree the war is over and lay down arms. A cheer was raised by all because this would mean a cessation of all major hostilities on Palladium! A festival and cease fire was held that night by the Church for 24 hours as soon as the speech ended. Annie asked Kom’var if he would help distract the crowds so Jershon and her could get something done for the ship. He nodded and Annie yelled out, “Come meet the younger brother of a god, Kom’var Spellborn, brother of Xerx’ses the Oathkeeper! Wizard and warrior at the Battle of Bletherad Bay! Balrog Bane!” As a small crowd began to swell she and Jershon melted away to go find the temple to Xerx’ses Goldenhorn, the Oathkeeper.

They found the Xerxian Labyrinth and saw the temple at its center looked like a smaller version of the ancient one at Shandala. There were two church guards standing out front while a group of what looked like 4 acolytes awaited. When the two of them approached an Elf acolyte that was female approached and she did not look like the average elf. Six foot two inches in height but she was built like one of the ancient Baalgor Dragoon Lancers of the lost New Kingdom, with golden brown hair in a thick braid. A sleeveless, dark blue, robe with a brass plaque belt adorned by a brass scale skirt, brass shin guards, and a brass scale mantle with one shoulder guard with the Oathkeeper’s sigil embossed upon it. It did not take Annie and Jershon much to realize how close this look came to what Xerx’ses had worn when he had joined CrIsis.

“Have you come to visit the first temple of the Oathkeeper,” queried the militant looking Elf woman?

Both nodded and watched as the demeanor of the woman got very excited and happy! Apparently the temple opened on the 1st of Algor and aside from the opening ceremony there had not been many visitors. She offered to guide them through the Xerxian Labyrinth to the temple, but because our given word can be as tricky as the maze of a life we live. It takes honest people less time to make it through. Annie and Jershon looked at each other and shrugged, but was reassured, “Chosen guides can lead you through very quickly, so I would be happy to help you along…”

…As the three approached the maze the bushes made a furious racket and when they stopped there was a straight line to the temple, “umm, I think you’re expected?”

Annie smiled, “It seems the Oathkeeper does watch over us Jershon!” The captain beamed with joy knowing how much Xerx’ses cared for them. The Elven guide, the three other acolytes, and the two guards said the only other time this happened was when Cardinal Rincewind came and went. Hearing Jershon’s name snapped them out of their awestruck gaze. They asked if he was the one called the First Prophet in the Books of CrIsis? When he nodded everyone bowed and the guide gestured, kneeling, with an arm extending to the path, “The cardinal is in the temple and I am sure he knows of your arrival.” Onward they went toward the prime temple of Xerx’ses the Oathkeeper.

Compared to the other structures of Sekti-Abtu the Temple of Xerx’ses was small, it only had four floors above ground (though each floor was 30 feet tall) and Jershon suspected it was the levels below ground that might explain more. At the top of the steps leading up to the ground was Cardinal Rincewind, the former mage now turned Priest of Light was very giddy to see people that had met Xerx’ses directly and were considered among his friends!

Reader’s Note: To try and relay all the thoughts running through the Cardinal’s mind would be a chapter unto itself. So for sake of my wrist I shall sum up. The Cardinal indeed had been made aware of the item to which his lord god had made (ie: the Scroll of Permanent Metamorphosis) was indeed coming closer. When the details of the Labyrinth Conspiracy and Plot were discussed he said it would happen that evening. He would steal away Cardinal Keegan and his only requirement was that CrIsis not know because of their task was absorbing much of their time with a “peaceful” meeting between them and ReSet that evening.

Night descended upon the 30th of Algor and Kom’var was working his way back through the city to the docks. Crow had begun to hang with him so someone was watching his back. What Crow didn’t let on to is that one of the 20 newly ordained Priests of Khonsu tipped him off that Cardinal Keegan, Cardinal Rincewind, Captain Jershon, and Annie needed Kom’var at the Xerxian Labyrinth just after sundown. Constantly people thought he was an avatar of the Oathkeeper! Soon a group of guards were sent to keep a berth of room in front and behind him. Crow asked him if he would come with him so he could pay his respects at his brother’s temple. Kom’var reluctantly agreed only if Crow would help him by letting Annie know where he was when he saw her. Agreement made they headed for the Xerxian Labyrinth, and if you thought they were excited before. Everyone was ecstatic to see the living brother of their chosen god!

Kom’var thought he had been given a birthday party early because he was spell-born on the 27th of Gryphon. He was aksed to walk the maze as the brother of the God whose temple his lady was waiting at. Crow said he would go first and Kom’var watch him and a human priest of light disappear in the 15 foot high hedge walls of the maze. As he entered the bushes shook he realized the Xerxian Labyrinth was alive and changing. Once in the maze of passageways he came across a small Minotaur boy, he had been bound and gagged! Kom’var ran to his aid as one of the green walls extended its vines to try and claim the boy. Saving him with a swipe from Callandor, he asked him his name and the boy said, “I’m Xerx’ses!” confused and perplexed he saw that the boy was scared as he was. “Not funny little one, Xerx’ses, is my older brother if you steal his name he will find you.” The boy laughed and darted away around the nearest corner, Kom’var gave chase but found a dead end and no child. Then Kom’var smell smoke and turning around he found a path leading to a fire and many people screaming! Running out of instinct to save those in peril he found himself standing in a clearing watching a house burning! From it was a woman covered in ash and soot with two children, all of them burned horribly. They ran into another parting of a hedge and Kom’var followed trying to get to Annie and help her.

Again, he turned the corner to be met by another dead end and when he turned back the path was new and the clearing gone! Standing there was instead Xerx’ses and his wings were out but he had been damaged and hurt. “Kom’var I am glad you made it!”

“Xerx’ses what is going on why can’t I just make it to the temple?”

Blood began to dribble down him at spots and the Spellborn minotaur was starting to think this may be a vision, “Kom’var, ever since I claimed a dimensional realm for myself, my days have been a whirlwind! Finding a Cardinal, reclaiming my first priest from his mission for Thoth and Osiris, and together we found Indaris the Seeker. I am worn out and the work only gets harder! I thought the Gods were helping maybe a few versions of this world in the megaverse! I was wrong I have counted no fewer than a THOUSAND WORLDS! Evil abides all over the cosmos and I know now I made the right decision in creating you. You are supposed to be what happened to me if I never joined CrIsis. You impressed them facing a Baal-rog to defend people whom would be terrified of you. Countless times you have come to the aid of people you did not have to! You had free will and you earned that soul now making your heart beat! I have never been more proud of you little brother! Zeelik said as much when we spoke, you are loved and cherished by him and our father. Your path is yours to walk now as this may be one of the final times I am able to take form on this world.”

Kom’var looked shocked,”Why?”

Xerx’ses began to slowly start glowing and healing as the dribbling blood dried and flaked off his armor, “My pyramid in Ma’ip is on a ley line nexus, but even with that power base you try supporting the 12 priests I have. I almost can’t leave or I get stripped of power in just over a day! Ten in this world and two in the Labyrinth I am straining to make habitable. Khonsu and I have become decent friends knowing how hard it is build or rebuild a following so it can support you and your followers wherever they may be.”

Kom’var nodded as they were walking and talking, “Why the visions and reliving painful memories?”

“They will always be a part of you but they do not define your new life or your future. I let you have them to see my mistakes and avoid them if possible so you could be happier than I was. I will always be your biggest fan, little brother, always. My time here is up but walk this way and you will be at the temple.”

Kom’var looked at the path beyond a break in the labyrinth wall and saw the steps leading to the temple. When he turned around to say goodbye Xerx’ses was already gone. Feeling much better about a lot of questions he had been having he began to ascend the steps to find both Cardinals, Captain Jershon, Crow, and the crew that had gotten to know him on the Shield of Light. Then they mentioned the reason for the labyrinthine walk was to give them time to finish the spell so his bride could come out and meet him. Now rather stunned, he watched as they parted and Annie came out in a whole new shape and form!

He ran to her 9 ft tall frame and hugged her so tight she squeaked! Both Cardinals joined Kom’var Spellborn and Anne Spellborn together under Khonsu’s night sky and vows taken upon the Oathkeeper’s name in his new temple. Both vowed to be direct followers of the Pantheon of Light for all the events that led them to this juncture allowing them both a rebirth into a new life as husband and wife! Kom’var most definitely kissed his bride to the cheering of all present as carrot juice was passed around.


Art by AZ_Rune.


 

7 Responses to “Remember, Remember, the 30th of Algor, the Labyrinth Conspiracy and Plot

  • Wow, annie the minotaur.

    Merkl needs to look into fermenting carrot juice apparently.

  • This is an amazing, juicy, log, full of knowledge of cardinals, bishops, true love, and devotion!

    • Love all the historical references of past CrIsis, Kom’Var, and Annie- well done

  • OH NO!…LOOK OUT URSUS IS IN AN ESPECIALLY “HANGRY” MODE!…GET THE SILVER OR WE WILL NEVER SURVIVE!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *