Gamers Eight Epilogue part3

Elbee rode north, through the normal roads, he avoided the walled city and continued into the human lands. Stopping miles north in an unfamiliar town he was almost through the town when he spotted the small inn. Yawning he headed into the inn to get a place to rest. The curses and status damage were still there, and he felt that if he at least didn’t figure something out soon it would cause irreparable damage. The [innkeeper] was a skinny man who jumped when the door opened.

“Can I help you” He asked with a nasally voice

“Looking for a room” Elbee said.

“That’s two gold,” The inn keeper said.

Elbee placed the two gold on the counter and waited while the [innkeeper] set the key down. Openeing the ledger Elbee signed the book L.B.

Yawning he headed off to the room.

The room itself was spartain, and was hadstraw bed covered with a somewhat dirty cloth. It was a mess, he looked in the straw as saw there were bugs.

Elbee sighed, and was about to turn  back to the door and the said, “Two gold, and he gives me this room.”

Elbee pulled out a wand and with a quick flick of his wrist, a small gout of flame lit the bed and straw on fire.  The smoke began to get thick and the flames started on the wall. Using a spell he had the flames began to ignore the walls.

*cough*, “Oh yeah air” He said, and a bubble of clean air was around him. The fire burned the bed to ashed and the room was thick with smoke.

Ther was a pounding on the door, and an angry voice ”What are you doing in there”

Elbee signed, and said loudly, “I am trying to sleep”

“Where is all this smoke coming from?” The voice said skepticaly.

“Smoke?” Elbee said looking at the haze wafting around the room, A flick of his wand and the smoke started to condense into a ball in the middle of the room. After two more flicks a new clean looking bead was along the wall and any traces of a fire were gone.

“Yeah smoke, open up” The voice said.

Elbee turned off the bubble of air and opened the door. The innkeeper was stanging there looking confused.

“Sir, if your going to wake me up and charge two gold pieces I will have to demand a refund and leave.”

“The smoke…” The innkeeper said looking into the room beyond.

“What smoke?” Elbee asked.

“What did you do to this room?” The innkeeper said pushing past Elbee.

“What if your going to charge two gold it better be a fine room.” Elbee said.

The innkeeper turned and looked at Elbee as if seeing him for the first time. “Who are you?”

“Does it matter?”

“I suppose not, “The innkeeper said retreating out of the room in a panic.

Elbee closed the door and went and sat on the soft bed.

“I suppose its time to change my looks,” Elbee said yawning. He was asleep on the bed in a few minutes.

Elbee had returned to the City of Adventure , through the gates of Invrisil. He looked much younger and his current height and the illusion matched more closely. He looked like a younger kid with average clothes, and a single blade at his hip. The backpack he wore was heavy looking. A small leather sachel was on his right side. He also wore a deep red cloak with the hood partially over his head. The guardsman looked him over, “whats your business here?” He asked.

Elbee smiled, “Looking for more work, heading to the guild office.”

“Next” the guard said waving Elbee through. He led his horse through the gate.

Elbee wandered around for a few minutes and headed to where he had been told the group had purchased a building. It was in one of the poorer areas of the city, but it was a building that they owned.

It was a four-story building with a back yarded area and a covered stable for about six horses, five of the stalls had occupants, the sixth was empty.  A younger kid about twenvle was feeding and watering the horses as he approached.

“who are you?” The boy asked Elbee.

“I was told to deliver this horse here,” He said offering the kid the reigns.

“By who?” He asked.

“Some blond woman,” He shrugged, “Paid good coin for me to bring it here.”

“Oh,” He said taking the reigns.

“Here, take good care of the horse” Elbee said giving him two gold coins.

“Thanks mister!”, The kid said.

Elbee headed to the guild.

He walked in an some of the people looked at him and then went back to talking and looking at he boards. He walked over to the receptionist. “Scuse me ma’am I wanted to know what the rumor I was hearing about the city being attacked?”

“Oh, you mean the witch attack?” She asked.

“Is that what it was? People seemed real shook up about it when I was traveling here.”

She nodded, “A witch called the stich witch and other things destroyed a whole town and sewed them into a flesh golem.”

“That’s sick, has anybody gone after her?” He asked.

“No, shes to powerful, even a gold rank team barely survived against her.” She dropped her voice a little “I think she let them go.”

“How long ago was that?” He asked.

“Twelve days ago, no one has seen her since, or at least no word about her has been communicated to the guild about her”

“Where are these gold rank people?” He asked.

“Well some might be in the Gold room,“ She said pointing to a door on the other side of the main room, “But I don’t think your…”

He had turned and walked towards the door. People watched wanting to see what happened, and the noise in the room got quiet.

He opened the door and went through.

“Who the hell was that someone asked?” a woman covered in muck asked.

“No idea never seen him before today” A dwarf said to his team.

Went he entered several eyes looked him over trying to see if they knew him or what team he was with. “You lost boy?”  A human in robes asked him.

“Nope looking for the gold ranks, I am hoping that’s you people.”

“Is this about a job? Or are you looking to try and join a team?”

“Neither wanted to know about the Stich witch” He said loudly.

The room went silent.

“Look kid, shes dangerous even has a huge bounty on her head from various places. What team are you with?” The robed mage said changing the subject.

“I wanted to see if I could take her out.”

The room erupted into laughter. “Your crazy, there is no way the guild would let you go after the stich witch.”

“Oh?” Elbee asked

“Why are you in here anyhow?” A woman said looking up and taking a drink from her takard.

“I wanted to see what I would be up against, figured I would ask those of you who knew”

“She dangerous, most terrifying enemy I have ever fought. Your not gold rank kid, you wouldn’t stand a chance.”

“Why is a prat like him in here anyhow throw his ass out!” A dwarven woman in full plate said getting off of her chair.

“I am not Gold or Silver rank.” Elbee said

“Who let a copper bastard in here?” The Dwarven woman said, looking around.

“Im not copper either” Elee said looking around the room.

There was murmering around the room, and much of it was angry.

Thow his ass out of here must be a bronze “said a mage from farther back in the room.

“I don’t think theres enough of you to do that.” Elbee said softly.

A hand landed on his shoulder from behind, “Ok Mr, time for you to leave.”

He looked up at the older man, “Who are you?”

“I am guildmaster Tealve, young man, A word” He guided Elbee out of the back room and towards the stairs. He looked older, and well dressed.

Elbee followed and the man took him upstairs into an office, gestured to the seat in front of his desk and softly closed the door. He then walked around and sat behind the desk.

“Mr Elbee, I am guessing.” He said looking him over.

Elbee sighed, “Lord Bloodstone or L B, either works. How did you know it was me?”

Your wearing an Illusion, and have a Mithral Plate from my guild, what makes you think we were not keeping track of you. Your both a dangerous enemy and someone we want to call on if things get bad, where were you when the Stitch witch attacked?”

“Down south, making my way here.”

“I heard about you in Liscor. Quite frankly I am not sure how too deal with you. We have kept you under wraps for the time being, and Wistram wants to talk with you at some point.”

“About the Stich witch you want me to take care of her?”

The Guildmaster stared at him, a long silence followed, “To be honest I wouldn’t mind sending you after her, but I have been instructed to send you to Lady Rienhart, when you arrived back in the city.” He pulled a stack of letters out of a drawer and set them on the edge of the desk

On the top of the stack was a pink envelope with a red sealed wax, He picked it them and put tem in his bag of holding. “Is that all?” He asked.

“That should be enough The Ladys letter was on the top, I would highly suggest you answer her as soon as you are able. Also there was a message from The Blighted King for you, it was in that stack.”

“I see, Thank you.”

Elbee stood as soon as the guildmaster did and left the room closing the door behind him.

As he came down the stairs everyone was staring at him.

He left the guild hall, quickly and was out the door before anyone could intercept him. Several adventurures were right behind him as he took off down the street.

He turned toward the Enchanters shop, He knocked and was told to “Enter”

“Master Hedault I would like to make a few more purchases if possible.”

Master Hedault entered the main hallway and looked at Elbee, “I see your back again, what can I help you with today?”

“It occurred to me you may know of an artifact or magic item that can remove skills, or curses.”

“Humm, that’s awfully specific and a broad category. It’s not something I myself really keep on hand usually. Not that I have come across many items like that. If I may inquire, what skills or curse are you looking to remove?”

“I have some kind of [status condition error] that is preventing me from using certain skill or magic.”

Master Hedault thought about it for a bit, I can make some inquiries, and now that you’re here would you be able to assist me in elvaluating a magic item and how to repair it?”

“I suppose I can make time for that, when were you thinking?”

“I have a carridge coming to pick me up shortly, there is actually another carridge that I have been asked to repair.”

A small pink carridge rolled to a stop in front of the shop, and a well-dressed butler entered.

“Master Hedault, I have been instructed to bring you to Lady Reinhart, to explain about the carridge.”

“Ahh good good, my associate here will be joining us if that’s not too much trouble.”

The Butler looked over at Elbee ,“Very well.”

They arrived at the Mansion and pulled up to the front steps.

They were led up the stairs where another tall maid was waiting. “I trust there were no issues with the other carridge?”

“None, my associate here will assist me with the repair if it is possible,” Hedault replied politely.

“If you will follow me? Lady Magnolia Reinhart is waiting.” She said.

They followed the maid into a small sitting room all pink.

A woman sat with a teacup in her hand when they entered.

She looked at Master Hedault, “I am of the impression that you were unable to get someone here to fix the carridge?”

“Your pardon Lady Reinhart, I have been unable to get a Mage from Wistram to even acknowledge my request. I have asked Mr Elbee here to assist if he is able to. My schedule is very busy and I really don’t want to stop what I am working on now.”

Lady Reinhart looked at Elbee, She raised a dark black monocle to her eye, “Oh I see. Lord Bloodstone I presume?”

Elbee nodded, “Good morning Lady Reinhart.”

“I am a little put out by the lack of social grace you have shown me.” She said putting the moncle back on the table.

“I was not intending to cause trouble, and someone of your staure is busy, I did not want to intrude.”

“Nonsense, I have already spoke with the Blighted King and he assured me that your arrivial was an accident on your part. Still social protocal would have had you at least contacted me, being the local Lady in the city.”

“To be honest, I have only recently returned to the city, today in fact.”

“I will allow this small slight,” She turned to Master Hedault, “I think I will have Lord Bloodstone, take care of the carridge if that is acceptable to you.”

Master Hedault nodded slowly,”Thank you Lady Reinhart, if you need my assistance please send a runner and I will make haste to assist.”

“Please escort Master Hedault back to his home, I have to discuss some business with Lord Bloodstone.”

The maid looked at Elbee with a look that said she was holding him responsible if anything happened to the Lady. With that the two of them left the small pink room.

“Please sit, we have much to discuss before you look at my carridge. Tea?” She gestured to the tea set on the table.

Elbee sat down and poured a cup of tea, and added two spoons of sugar.

“Tell me about yourself” Lady Reinhart said soothingly.

“Not really much to tell, what do you want to know?” Elbee asked.

Reinhart looks a little confused, and said ,”How did you get from Rhir to Izril?”

“I was taking out a very dangerous creature, in the blight and in doing so fell back here.”


“Yeah I threw it into the sun and fell back down.” Elbee took a drink of the tea, “This is pretty good tea”

“I would like to know how you made that unicorn for the Assistant guild master.”

“Uh yeah, I think I got irritated with them, not believing my levels.”

“I see, you scared the poor woman half to death. Its not everyday that you meet someone with named status. I have it on good authority that you’re a very dangerous man.”

“Not really my intent, I just wanted to get that interview over with as soon as possible.”

She held up one hand, “Lord Bloodstone, I feel that you did not intend to disrespect me, and my domain, and I sense no hostility towards me from you. In fact, it seems you are going to have a look at my damaged carridge. More tea?”

The maid returned and glared daggers at the man sitting , drinking tea and talking to her Paetron.

“One cup is enough, thank you though. I much prefer iced tea.”

“Iced?” she asked.

“Well its brewed differently, the best I have had is a tea left in a large jar and set in the sun to steep for a day, then put on ice. “

“I will have to try that.”

“Though you might want to try honey instead of sugar, it gives it a much sweeter flavor. And the sugar can eventually rot your teeth.”

The maid smiled slightly at the comment and then continued to glare at him.

“Yout still havent answered my questions, why is that?” She asked soothingly.

“Lady Reinhart, not to be rude but your charms just won’t work on me, I am married…Extreamly married, and while I do find you interesting, I don’t think you would take kindly to being seventh in the list of wives.” He said as he tensed slightly.

Lady Reinhart stared at him and laughed. “I don’t find you the least bit attractive.”

“Oh thank you for that, I needed, I get so full of myself sometime, I forget people like you have your own agendas and perspectives. My second wife Coreen has been feilding marridge proposals on Rhir and just told me about a week ago that they have been rather persistant. Nevermind I suppose your more interested in what I can help you with or if I am a threat.”

Slightly amused Lady Reinhart smiled, “Well I have had people keeping an eye on you when you were in town and you seem to be under the impression that your behavior is acceptable. It is not. So far, I have been able to keep your presence in my domain under wraps, however you stunt at the guild hall was noted, and concerning.”

“What do you want from me?” He asked.

“Well first you could examine my carridge, beyone that I will have to see. Ressa please show our guest to the carridge.”

“Very well, please follow me.” She said stiffly walking to the door and wainting for him to rise.

Elbee followed her out, as then went down the hall, he saw several magic items arranged in cases and displays. “I hope I didn’t offend Lady Reinhart” He said to the maid.

“If you had, named or not you would know.” The maid replied  picking up the pace a little.

She led him outside into a side stable area where another carridge could be seen, it was larger and pink. There were no horses. The carridge looked like it had been smashed up and damaged.

Lord Bloodstone started to look it over.

As the sun set Bloodstone was starting up at the undercaridge of the pink monstrosity as he had started calling it. There was damage to the enchantments, as well as to the carridge itself. Not superficial by any means, There were cracks and gouges across the entire carridge, the damage it had take was extensive, The fact that it hasn’t blown up was probably due to the two power stones, being removed.  The bulter of Lady Reinheard has come out to oversee his work and had waited patiently for him to look over the entire carridge.

“It’s a mess” Elbee said.

“Can it be repaired,” The butler asked him.

“Of course it can, Looking it over, I get the feeling a half assed attempt isn’t going to cut it. The problem as I see it, is I am not a carpenter.”

“Carpenter, but we are worried more about the enchantments.”

“Yeah, heres the thing I could fix all the damage, fill it in with magic, and leave it at that. That’s a half assed way of fixing something. Take this wheel for example.” He pointed to the front wheel that was intact but had a missing spoke. I scried for that spoke, its somewhere off in that direction,” He gestured towards the north.

“Its still slightly enchanted, but its broken, I could replace the spoke, but again I am not a carpenter.”

“Ahhh I see, so you need a carpenter to help with the repairs.  I will let Lady Magnolia Reinhart and see if we can get one here for you today.”

“That would help, the next question is do you want this carriage to use those mana stones or something else?” He asked.

“We are familiar with the mana stones, so that is acceptable, I can bring new ones down when you are finished.”

“Ok, and could you tell me what enchantments you know are supposed to be on this, I found a few that are um questionable.”

The butler went through the functions of the carriage as he was the most familiar with its workings. When they came to some of the tracking spells. The spells that were on it, were unable to track the carriage, however there seemed to be no way to keep someone from driving off with it.

“Its more about learning how the carriage behaves, “The butler said ,  “No one would think of stealing if from Lady Reinhart.”

“I see your point, I thought I would ask. About the illusionary horses, one of the spells that controlled the left horse is badly damaged, I looked at the other horse and it is more primitive than this one. I would like to fix them both if that’s ok.”

“Lord Bloodstone do what you feel is necessary,” He said looking over some of the pieces that had been pulled from the Carriage.  I was unaware this much damage was done“

“Every piece has spell damage, most are intact, some of the other pieces are damaged and will need to be replaced. He stared at the carriage; I can upgrade the magic of the carriage if you want me to. Its going to take time though“

“I don’t think that will be necessary, I would inquire, what are you thinking of adding.” He asked.

“A storage space in the carriage itself, aside from the large space you already have in the back. Something to make the trips more pleasant.”

“What did you have in mind?” He asked.

“A storage for hot and or cold items should I not bother?”

“Perhaps, if it didn’t take to much more time than the repair, Lady Reinhart would like to have it repaired as soon as possible.”

“I will work with what I can fix without the carpenter, just send him over and I will get started. Oh, meant to ask is there any Druids around?”

“I will inform the garner that you would like a word with him.” The butler turned and walked towards the back of the estate.

It wasn’t long before a younger man with a unkempt beard appeared to be following the butler, and not to happy about it, walking with his staff he came over to stand near Lord Bloodstone, “Whats this all about, I have things I have to get done weeds that are being a nuisance.”

“Lord Bloodstone this is Nalthaliarstrelous, Lady Magnolia’s ground keeper and Druid.”

Bloodstone held out his hand, “You don’t seem like much have a weird aura about you,” Nalthaliarstrelous said looking at his hand.

“Sorry Nalthaliarstrelous, I hope I got that right. I was wondering if you could grow a tree from a piece of the wood from the carriage.” He asked, slow lowering his hand.

“Why would I want to, I told you I am very busy with my plants.” He turned and started to walk back the way he had come from.

“A moment if you would Nalthaliarstrelous, would you be able to tell me what kind of apple this is.” A gold skinned apple appeared in his hand.”

The druid paused and looked at the apple, “Where did you get that?” He asked.

“Rhir, very far out in the blight a young lady gave me something special and I used in on some orchard trees and the fruits changed to this. I grabbed a bunch of them before anyone noticed.”

Nalthaliarstrelous stared at him, “Ill grow your tree for that apple.”

Elbee tossed it to him, and it was snatched out of the air and he took a bite. “They are even better that the books say.”

“What book?” Elbee asked.

“Never mind, ill grow that tree for you, you save those seeds.” Nalthaliarstrelous said.

The next morning after having stayed as a guest, at the Reinhart estate, he was up very early, rolled out of the soft guest bed. The sky was still dark when he looked out the window. He dressed and headed to the first floor and the front entrance. There were maids that were up cleaning, he nodded to them and let himself out the front door.

He yawned and stretched as he closed the door and walked to where the dismantled carriage was. The two front weeks were off to one side and the axle they rode on was off to the right where a new one needed to be made. The tree that Nalthaliarstrelous grew from a sliver of the damaged axle was still growing and was little more that a three-foot-tall sapling.

The supports holding the carriage upright were made of formed stone and made a nearly perfect arch.

“The things I do to stay out of trouble.” Elbee sighed.

“What kind of trouble might that be?” The Head Maid asked him.

“Jeezz, warn someone when your there.” He said as he removed his hand from his sword.

“Look I know you most likely don’t like me. I get it your loyal to Lady Reinhart, I have nothing against you or her, I just don’t like being used. At least not without being asked.”

“Just see that you give Lady Magnolia Reinhart proper decorum and I will have less of an issue with you.”

“Meaning you have issues with me?” He asked.

She looked him over, “While you may fancy yourself a Lord, you do not have the bearings of one at least not up to My Lady’s standards. You’re a low born Lord, and while you are doing service for the estate that is conducive to my Lady’s goals do not think for one moment that give you any standing here in her domain.”

“Ouch, I think you see me as an upstart and a loose cannon. I just want to help and be on my way.”

She tisked and turned to go back into the house, “You do have some good qualities I suppose, but rest assured as long as you assist, there will be no issues. At least as long as you are civil.” She stepped away and returned into the Mansion.

He sighed and got to work fixing the damage spells, that had been broken, as well as repairing minor dings and cracks that could be repaired.

The carpenter arrived later in the morning, and the tree had grown once the sun had come up. The druid Nalthaliarstrelous has sleepily gotten up as the sun rose and had helped it grow before the carpenter had arrived. The two of them didn’t speak as the druid seemed very grumpy and with Elbee fixing a ghostly horse they stayed out of each others way. The carpenter arriving had the druid leave saying he didn’t agree with killing a perfectly good tree, and he presumably went back to bed as Elbee and the carpenter began deciding how to harvest the tree for the parts need to repair the wheels, axle and other parts of the carriage.

Towards noon, the carriage began to resume its signature shape, apart from the new wood not being pink. The carpenter took his wagon and returned the way he had come. Elbee waved bye to the carpenter and began inspecting the carriage for any further damage. He found some rotting wood where he though it had been solid.

“It looks better“ Reynold the butler said examining the work.

“I hope so, it still need a lot of work, at this point I wonder if it might not be easier to transplant the magic to a new carriage.”

“Please continue.” The butler said, “What about the wood not being pink?”

“Oh there’s a few spells that fix yet, I want to reinforce the durability and strength of the wood first, then add the aesthetics.”

 “Very well, I will inform Lady Magnolia of your progress” The butler headed inside.

Lord Bloodstone or Elbee as he was using a moniker, to hide his curse was in a formal dining room of the mansion. Lady Magnolia had him sitting on her right and it was a very cozy setting, the table was meant for forty or so, so the small corner they were using seemed very out of place.

“Far be it, from me to tell a Lady how to run her household, this seems a little weird to me, No offense Lady Magnolia”

“I get few chances to dine with guests and it always helps to refine a lords table manners.” She said looking over the various forks spoons and knives arranged out from the plate.

“This is an education for me, it what your saying.” He asked.

Magnolia laughed, “Its one thing I can school you on at least so you don’t make a fool of yourself here or in Rhir.”

Elbee looked at the five forks arranged around the plate, the three spoons and four knives, there were five different drinking glasses arranged in a half arc to his right. “I appreciate the effort you are making here, I just don’t understand the reason.”

“I recognize talent, you have it, and I intend to use it while you’re here. You say your wife is on her way here to collect you, I would be remiss of me to not at least keep you out of trouble until she arrives. Do you know when she should arrive and where she is intending to make land fall”

“Not yet, they are under sail, I spoke with Eve the captain, and she has leveled several times, and they have acquired three other ships, in addition to thiers. Pirate ships, they made a serious mistake of attacking the Enterprise. I know some of what was done on that ship before it sailed from its port. I helped redesign it, with technology from home it is not a ship to be taken lightly. The Antinium built the ship on my recommendation; they lacked the lumber to make more. Its designed as a Galleon, with four masts and an extra upper deck. They have had some issues on the trip, but have been able to fix them”

“I came across a list from Rhir, and would like to know what this is about” She set the parchment on the corner of the table.

Elbee looked it over, “Oh, wow it made its way here. It some things we were looking for, some as a joke, some as a message to other earthers.”

“I take it you know how to make gun powder.” She asked.

“Yeah but that’s not the way to go with firearms, most modern weapons use smokeless black powder, the thing is it is sometimes not powder. No I will not tell you how it is made, but gun powder sure that’s easy. Since it can be used in fireworks I see uses beside single ball muskets or cannons.”

Magnolia stared at him, “I was under the impression that your rifles and weapons were deadly, and easy to make.”

“To someone who never did the research perhaps, it seems that way, Rifling of a gun barrel is something not easily done, there are special machines that are used to make them. An invention that if I decide to make. I will keep control over it. Our technology has been built up in the past hundred years or so, to jump start that here in this magical world is possible. It would take at least twenty years to get some of the basics. Prototypes are easy and can be made without fail safes as a proof of concept. Beyond that, firearms would require a large technological step forward for everyone.  I don’t see it happening on Rhir or even from what I have seen here on Izril.

Antinium, Drakes, Humans, Helf Elves, Dwarves , Half Gazers, Goblins, Minataurs, Centars, Lizard people, Sephalids, Gnolls, Beastkin, Stick people and Dullahans, I am sure there are even more I don’t know about or haven’t met yet. All of you are trying to carve a place out for yourselves. You must have a good grasp of what races are trustworthy to humans and what are not, add in the politics, it’s a mess, Even Earth was a mess, and just no one cared to see it.”

“There have been other things from your world that have been introduced, Food, and small things, These technological marvels that have been brought over with you Earthers.”

“I am going to tell you what I told the Blighted king. I have no problems introducing new technologies to this world if it keeps me and mine alive. However, that being said, I will not be pushed or threatened to do so. I know how bad bad can get there is ugliness on Earth and I have seen it here in Izril as well as Earth. If I see something I don’t like I will get involved.”
“We can talk more after dinner,” She said as the butler and maid came in with the meals.

Dinner was a lesson is etiquette as well as proper manners, when formally dinning. Lady Magnolia and her maid took the time to educate him properly. After the meal they retired and Elbee gave Magnolia a very detailed account of his interactions with the King as well as the Antinium. It was late when the Butler took him home as he declined to stay another night as he did not want to inconvenience her or her staff as she was working on plans against those who has slighter her as well as a monster prowling her lands.

“Your charms seem to work very well on him.” Reesa said.

“I didn’t need them, he want to impress me. Now onto other things have we received any replays from the ladies?”

“Yes I have sent Reynold to pick up the Ladies you requested we should be able to have that gathering tomorrow night.”

“Very good, I do not like that spider prowling my lands and killing my people.”

Elbee arrived where he had left his horse, Lady Magnolia had agreed to the small request of looking at her carriage as a meal and company. It wasn’t really a fair exchange, but he figured that she would and did agree to it. No gold changed hands and that’s was fine with him. He had learned a little about her, that’s she had siblings, and was very dismissive of them, claiming they were not worth mentioning. She adored her people, but ruled and governed with a firm hand not letting slackers take advantage of her kindness. Reesa was the one who cut the evening short as she had been drinking a little, and was getting tired. Being polite he excused himself and the Butler offered to take him into the city, as it was after dark and he would not be able to get through the gates.

He walked into the meeting house and found his room and promptly fell asleep as he to had been drinking.

He awoke to an incessant beeping; it was behind his right ear and had grown loud enough to wake him. “Um, hello” he said touching the metal device.

“Morning,” The voice on the other end said.

“Whos’s this,” he asked somewhat groggily.

“Your wife,” The voice teased.

“Um, I don’t recall my wife,” He started to say, and stopped he really didn’t recognize the voice., “Really who is this?” He asked again.

There was a muffled laughter, “Its Eve, Que te Folle Un Pez!. Now I need you to find some maps for me now!”

“Oh hi Eve, how are you doing?” he asked calmly and yawned.

She screamed a loud verbal assault of Spanish, paused and said, “I wasn’t kidding, NOW, maps!”

 Bloodstone jumped out of bed opened the door and left the building. “Ok I am in Invrisil , a land locked city not sure where I can find a map.”

She yelled, “Get that sail up now dammit!”

“Sorry what?” Elbee asked.

“I’m working here, get me the maps, some asshole got my current maps all wet, and nothing is readable.”

Bloodstone jogged down the street and stopped, when he realized he had forgotten his money. He quickly returned grabbed his gear and headed back to the street. It was still dark, but the sun was coming up. He headed to the adventures guild as they most likely would be open.

There was no one in line when he arrived an only a tired looking receptionist, whom he didn’t recognize.

“Hi, I need some maps, for the seas between here and Rhir. Where could I pick something like that up.” He asked.

“Cartographers, they should be open by the time you get there.” She scribbled down directions and he paid her two gold coins for the information.

He left quickly and got lost three times while following the directions.

The street with the cartographers was small and the signs were accurate, and he entered the first one with Eve still yelling at her crew.

“Hello sir, what can I help you with today?”

“Well I need a map of the oceans east of Izril all the way to Rhir, if you have such a thing.”

“Hummm, ocean maps, not really much call for them here, but let’s see what I have in stock.” He started looking through maps that were rolled up in long tubes and laid one out on a large table. The map showed The areas east of Izril with ports listed as well as Wistram Academy on the far right edge.

“Anything to the East of here?” He asked pointing to Wistram.

“Let me see” He found several other maps and again put them on the table. They were maps but crude ones without many real notations or distances.

“Ill take the first one you showed me, and any sea maps of the areas, these are not sea maps. He said as the shop keeper rolled up the other maps.

“Sure, that is two hundred gold, will you need a case?” he asked.

“How much?” Elbee asked

“Good solid map case that keeps water out, “he pointed to a wall with ten long map cases some were covered in sea dragons, or other fish motifs. He looked at the largest of them, If its not magical, that one. The map case was a white wood with fish motifs and what looked like scales, the map case was flat on one side to presumably keep it level on a ship or horse

“You have a good eye sir, that’s one of the best, and no its not magical, a mere three hundred gold and it has a lock and two keys.” The shopkeeper said showing him the locking mechanism.

“No, I just got one map, I am still looking Eve.” He said loudly in reply to Eve’s question.

The shop keeper looked at him funny, “Excuse me sir?”

“Sorry, I have someone I am messaging who is being very loud an obnoxious and speaking Spanish.” He said loudly.

“Ok, so that will be five-hundred gold coins for the map and the case.” The shopkeeper said sheepishly.

Without hesitation he placed five hundred coins in neat stacks, on the counter.

He left the shop and went down to the next shop and asked for Sea maps. After eight shops and hundreds of gold shelled out, he had eleven maps in the case.

“You ready to receive the map and keys?” Elbee asked as he headed back to the house.

“What’s taking so long?” She asked.

“Well I am in the middle of the road, almost there and then I can send it.” He replied.

Elbee went to his room and pulled out a spell book from one of the bags of holding. He flipped through it slowly page by page.

“How much longer” Eve asked.

“Look whats the rush, if you rush me and this doesn’t work your still out the maps.” He asked flipping pages slowly.

“Well we are in a kind of a situation, its under control, I just have no idea where we are and would rather sail the right way rather than the wrong way.”

“I haven’t cast any of these spells, and to be quite honest I do recall seeing… Here we go.” He said stopping on a page. “Tricky, hold on I need to run out again.”

“Are you serious?” Eve said.

“Yeah I didn’t realize it requires some material components, to work properly.”

“Not going… on your left, your other left. Me importa un Pepino.. Just hurry up.” She said

Elbee dropped a single coin into the books pages and closed it, then placed it back into the bag of holding. He again left the building, “Making me get my exercise today he teased Eve.”

“What?” She asked.

“Nevermind, whats going on over on your end?” He asked.

“Not much just two pirate ships wanting to have a personal discussion about sailing on waters they supposedly own, Oooo, that’s gona hurt and now your wife is pissed.”

“Uh huh, that’s not really very helpful.” He said heading to the market area.

The market was still starting to setup for the day as the sky began to brighten. He finally found a woman who had ribbons and other hair accessories for sale.

“I would like to buy five long ribbons about ten yards long of you have the ribbon.”

She yawned an looked at him skeptically, “Why would you need a ribbon that long, mine are for weaving into hair,” she pointed to the colors on display , most were only a yard long.

“Miss, I really would like to get red,  purple,  white, blue and the green if you have any extra ribbon I would like to get them ten yards long.” He point to each ribbon that was about an inch wide.

Still skeptical the woman said, “ I suppose each of those is eight silver, to cut them longer, would be eight rounds of gold per ribbon, I do not have that much ribbon.”

“Fine ill buy everything you have.” He began handing her coins from his bag. He took out the book he had been reading earlier and gave her the coin from the book and placed the ribbons inside the page as she handed them to him. He then handed here ten additional coins, “Thank you miss” He then headed back to the house.

Eve stared at the pirate ship that had tried boarding for the third time today, “They are persistent, you would think they would get the hint.”

Isabel stood next to the two antinium, who flanked the captain and her. “Why not just call for Lady Amethyst’s pet.” She asked.

“She’s been up all night and most of yesterday, she’s exhausted,Xyre and Rana can keep them off the ship.”

“Prepare to repel boarders” Eve yelled.

A red haired figure dropped from the crows nest and landed lightly on the desk, “Wind spell is ready Eve” Kuya said eying the approaching ship as it began to pull up along side them on the port side.

“Signal the fleet, we are now about to leave these pirates in the dust. Raise the colors”

Kuya raised her white staff and a red flare shot into the air and landed far aft.

The two ships on the starboard side began to move in closer to the flagship. It was four masted ship and its white canvas was out, it flew three flags, one on each of the masts the highest had the Blighted Kingdom. The next mast a house crest, the third main mast flag that was not recognizable. The last Mast flew a series of flags that were being raised as Eve had indicated.

“The other two ship are signaling they are ready” One of the antimium sailors said.

“Now it’s a race, to see who wins, if your dad can get us maps or if they can board us before we activate your spell.”

There was a snap as one of the lines holding a main sheet snapped. Two antiuim were making the repair almost the instant I happened.

“We are taking fire,” A human sailor shouted. Four arrows landed on the deck, each of them was on fire the moment they hit the deck the fires extinguished.

Eve was staring at the pirate ship approaching; as it got closer she could see the archers were firing flaming arrows in an attempt to hit the sails. On its deck was a twisted parody of a man with what looked like tentacles of a left arm. Another volley of arrows, landed on the deck, Eve resisted the urge to smile, They had tried that to set fire to the ship and the sails twice before, it was a tactic that would work normally, but Eve had leveled, She was no longer a pirate, or a captain, she had graduated to admiral, and could extend her influence to the other ships in her fleet. It was exhilarating, she was only a level four [fleet admiral], but she had gained a number of useful skills a both as a [captain] and [admiral]. Most of it was due to the class consolidations and class changes when she had first taken over the ship. It also didn’t hurt that she was a {hero} level two as well. The merchant ship Eserelda was her first recruit had been left to drift, its crew without rum, food or water. The pirates had also taken the ships soul, it small bell. Their cargo blundered, and men left to die, without sails they were a doomed ship. It was horrible fate to leave them in on the deep ocean. It was also bait for more merchant ships. The crew had sworn loyalty to Eve, when the pirate ship that had plundered them had been capture by Eve. Her sails restored, and its bell returned, It had kept pace, when other pirates had attacked the three ship fleet.

This was the sixth pirate attack since they had left port, the first, the second pirate ship that had attacked them, they had been force to kill everyone on board, as they would not surrender. They had lost twelve  men, and two antinium. In the hold they found slaves, and other treasures, that had been looted from merchant ships. Since they had some room they took what they could aboard, and loaded the rest onto the other two ships. The slaves they freed and split between the three ships.  They had added a number of mages, some sailors, as well as a navigator. The third pirate ship had chased them until they went into an area where there had been sightings of kraken.  

“Even are you ready?” Bloodstone said into her earpiece.

“Yeah hurry” she said.

There was a flash and a map chest appeared in mid air with ribbons floating around it. Eve grabbed it before it fel” the ribbons fluttered over her arms. “Senna your maps have arrived!” She yelled loudly.

A green haired haired gazer, ran up grabbed the map chest, “Its locked! Wheres the key!” She said, “I see it.” She grabbed the ribbons and used the key that it had been tied to to open the chest.

“Not great maps but they will have to do.” She slammed the map case shut and went below dragging all the ribbons behinds her. A minute later she came back on desk, and yelled, “Captain, five degrees to port, that’s a straight reckoning to Whistram.”

Eve swore, in English then Spanish, and turned the ship towards the pirate ship. “I want a countdown, ten seconds”

The pirate ship grew closer and was throwing out boarding lines, Xack was using an axe and chopping any that landed.

“Five” Eve heard Kuya say ash she raised her staff.

“All hands braced for acceleration” Eve screamed. She had grabbed a rope.

“Three” Eve heard, and the antinium were scrambling to get to ropes or the center of the ship, She looked over at the other ships in her fleet, they to were getting ready.

“Two” Kuya said and then she began a string of words, “Baskis Vallayes Neri Allos Nar’Meltol Ublek Ventis Antos!” she chanted.

The ship rose out of the water, and shot forward as the resistance of the ocean decreased, the wind howled in the air and the ship sped forward. The Masts creaked from the added strain on them, and the ship pushed forward accelerating. Behind them a fog began to build up from the spray as the ship moved even faster.

“Whirl pools ahead!” a shout was called. It made no difference as the ship passed over them leaving a blowing fog.

“Now do it now!” Eve screamed.

More sails were opened to catch the wind and the two sister ships began to fall behind. They too opened more sail and shot forward. The creak of the masts gerw louder, the pirate ship could no longer be seen as the fog had obscured everything.

Rana and Xyre came up to the aft deck as the acceleration effect waned. The ship slowed and the fog began to dissipate and it fell gently into the water further slowing it. The winds died to a more pleasant gusts, on the open ocean. Only two ships could be seen colors were hoisted and messages send an received. “Intenta seguir esa escoria pirata” Eve shouted . “Sorry, ill give you back to your wife now.” Taking the gold device from the back of her ear. She looked at the antium and then Isabell who turned away from her quickly but not before Eve saw the tears in her eyes. “Isabel whats the matter?” She asked. Dropping her hand and taking a step towards  Isabel.

Xyre and Rana crossed the deck, and Xyre held out a hand for the magical ear device “That was intense.” she said.

Isabel wiped her tears before turning around, “Im fine, just got dirt in my eyes.” Smiling.

Eve knew there was something wrong, Isabel was sensitive to certain things and had been all tears before any major battle.  She wouldn’t give any advice, or suggestions.  She started to drop the magical phone like device into Xyre’s hand, watching Isabel as she did. Rana, who understood things about Isabel and had the seen everything transpire grabbed the device before Xrye could take it. In one fluid motion she put it to her ear.

“Hi lover-boy,” she  said sweetly. She laughed as Bloodstone, asked “whose communication device was being used.”

“I still have mine if that’s what your asking, Its Xyres, you will never believe who we saw last week.” She smiled at Xyres who had turned and glared daggers at her.

“Who?” Was the reply.

“Sutter, and his Butler, they had been captured by pirates, and the pirates were intent on getting a reward. Some of the crew and passengers we had, took the pirate ship with Sutter, and sailed off. Since your on Izril how about you visit our house..”

“Give it over, Rana if you want to talk to him use your Communication device, give mine back to me.” Xyre said somewhat hurt.

“Fine fine,” Rana said removing it from her ear and handing it back to Xyre,as she was watching Isabel. “You know you can call him to” she chided Isabel.

“Hi Bloodstone,“ Xyre said, as she putt he Comm device onto her ear.

“Ahh Xyre, how are you doing?” Bloodstone asked.

“Little tired, I wanted to ask you once you got us the maps, if your still not able to teleport?” She asked.

“No, the error-conditions are most likely the cause.”

“You were able to teleport the maps to us” Xyre said.

“Yeah, teleport an object to a unknown destination is tough but I can use the Comm devices, as a locator.”

“Could you use that to teleport yourself?” She asked.

“Tried already I think I moved about an inch. There is something wrong with me, I think I got bugged.”

“I don’t understand the refreence, are you trying to be funny?”

“Yes and no, It’s kind of annoying that I cant use certain spells. I can haste my horse but not myself.  I can scry my friends here but they can’t scry me. I can teleport people and objects, but I can’t be teleported. Its maddening. I haven’t been able to figure out whats causing it, ”

“What was that all about with Rana?” He aked.

“Nothing, just kind of anxious about returning to Izrul, We still really haven’t thanked you for rescuing us.”

Rana smiled a toothy grin at her, Eve had gone below leaving Isabel to watch the waters. “You going to tell him or what?”

“Your welcome, its what any hero would have done.” He teased.

“Well Rana and I have been talking it over, we want you to go pick up our things, at the cottage, while we both appreciate everything you have done and are not about to abandon you. It would save us a trip.”

“I suppose, where is your cottage, you were kind of vague about it, last time it was brought up.” Bloodstone said sitting on the edge of the bed.

The discussion continued about where their cottage was, and if he would be willing to go there and collect everything they owned, It had been almost three years since they had seen it.

“You expect it to still be standing?” He asked her.

“Of course, we have some friendly neighbors who we asked to look after it, while we were out, if you decide to go, give Rana a call she knows the details.”

He disconnected the call, and was about to let his head hit the pillow on the bed when Kaylee stepped into the open door. “Your finally here, someone said you had come in, Where were you?”

He stared at her, her hair was up, and her clothes were clean and the summer dress set off her eyes, She was staring at him.

“I went to the market” He said sitting back up.

She leaned on the door frame, with one arm almost touching the top of the door frame. “Well who were you talking to?”

“Eve and my sixth wife and Rana her lover out at sea”

Kaylee stared at him, “With your gold thing on your ear.”


“Can you make me one?” She asked.

Bloodstone rolled his eyes, “No”

“Why not?” She asked.

“Because I don’t want to, I have to leave shortly to go gather up their belongings and don’t know when I won’t be able to make anything until I get back.”

She pouted, “how come, is it you don’t know how to make them?”

He stared at her, “Kaylee, I just need to rest and then I will be leaving.”

She left the doorway and went down the hall sticking her tongue at him as she left.

He got up closed and locked the door and took a nap.

The next morning he found himself heading south along the road, he was making good time, letting the horse rest, and using a haste spell to get farther to make up the time.  The horse had an enchanted saddle, that reduced the riders weight and regulate the horses temperature, so that he did not become over heated. Even that wasn’t enough to make the poor animal ride non-stop. He let the horse rest after two hours for an hour to graze and be watered. It wasn’t difficult considering, he had fresh water and oats and hay when they stopped. He took off the saddle and let the horse relax. It was during the last stop that he had started working on making some magic items. It wasn’t hard when anything mundane was in the book, and anything magical was in his utility bag of holding.  He carried three bags now. The first one was filled with the gear and equipment that he was going to use, as well as his spells books, or at least most of them minus the missing volumes, That Xyre had. The second was miscellaneous gear, and projects he was working on, The last bag was raw materials coin and gemstones.

He was south of Invrisil about a hundred or so miles. The shoes on his horse were a set of Zephyr shoes. They allowed the animal to traverse water, or any surface as if it was solid. Combined with the haste that was used, the horse flew down the road barely any sound at all, and leaving no tracks.  It was still slow going and right on queue he got a call from Rana.

“How far did you get? “ She asked.

“I passed through green forge, about an hour ago, currently letting,“ He looked at the horse who was mostly brown, with two white patches, “Rosy rest while I do some work. How much farther do I have to go?”

“You head south through two more villages, the take the west road. Once you cross the river, there should be a bridge then follow the river, once you cross back over the river just head south west. Once you get to Peligor, its south from there, you shouldn’t be able to miss the second major cross road, if you get lost head back to Peligor.”

“I think I stopped there on my way back from Liscor.”

“How much time have you got before you have to ride,”,  she asked.

“I have an hour, not really working on anything other than melting gold. I already finished upgrading Hub four.“

“Ok, Xyre’s been teasing Lady Amethyst about Xyre being the well as Isabel being the youngest sister by marriage.”

“How well did that go over.”

She giggled, “Lady Amethyst said it didn’t matter she was still first wife. Violet, wasn’t impressed,though shes been somewhat withdrawn since we set sail. I think she misses you.”

“I know I didn’t make everyone a communicator, I am trying to fix that. I asked Newton how many we had active on the network, its mainly been our group. The kings are barely used, I think hes not sure about how secure they are.”

“So explain how they work again, I heard you telling Xyre last week, and I heard to spoke with Newton, from Coreen.”

“Ok lets see if I can make it make sense to you, someone who hasn’t been schooled in science.”

“Are you saying I am dumb,” She asked.

“No I am saying you did not have the education I did, about science. I will try and explain let me know if you don’t understand something. Ok where to start. You know music right.”

“Phhtt, are you trying to say it’s like music now?”

“Shush, let me finish. We built hubs that use techniques to transmit and receive messaged similar to how mages use message, however we have it create a back channel when the first connection is made. The hubs are constructs but they have true names, true names that Newton and I made, with technology and magic. It is kind of complicated.”

“How complicated are they?” Rana asked.

“Very complicated, I know about half of how they work generally, Newton knows how they work mathematically, and well the rest is up to the the hubs. They are somewhat sentient, the good news is because I know the true names, I can upgrade them even at a distance.”

“I don’t think I understand but will take your word for it.” She said.

“Hold on I, have a way to explain.” He touched the gold item behind his ear , “Contact hub1.” There was a chime, like a bell. “Ok Rana, are you ready?”

“I guess, not sure what your trying to explain”

“Hub one find network connection Bloodstone.” He said.

“Connection found, command function authorized” The voice said.

“Upgrade, connection to admin secure”

“Stand by,” The voice said.

There was a click and Rana said “What was that?” She asked.

“We just jumped to a rotating network connection, all three hubs are online. I need you to say connection query.”

Rana repeated , “Connection query”

A voice in his ear said, “Hub three relay to hub one”

She said,”whats it supposed to do?”

“You don’t have the access, to query your connection but you guys have hub three with you so its connecting from hub three back to hub one.  Then from hub one back to hub three, to make a connection between us.”

“So what, is that that wooden chest you had made after we went swimming?” She asked.

“Yup, now hold on a moment, going to make another connection.” He tapped the communication device again, “Party call Newton”

There was a click and newton came into the call. “Hi, Blood you ready to upgrade everything?”  Newton asked.

“Yup, but Rana is going to have to be our hands for hub three, whose got hub two?”

“Beth is at the fortress for hub one, I am at hub two.”

“Hi everyone,” Beth said.

“Hello,” Rana said.

“Ok, we have to upgrade Rana, is Beth an admin?”

“I did that yesterday, before leaving to the fortress. Anything special we need to know?” Newton asked.

“Ill explain once we upgrade these functions. First, Hub four is ready to come online.” He said setting a gray metal sphere covered in runes and gemstones on the anvil. He touched a gemstone and the Sphere glowed with an inner light. “Hello Hub four, are you ready to network.”

There was a single pulse of light from the sphere, “Rana, going to upgrade your access. Access connection Rana, upgrade to admin hubs three, two, one and four”

There were four distinct voices that said in sequence,”acknowledged.”

“now try that command Rana”  Elbee said.

Rana repeated , “Connection query” she was quite, and then said. “It replied hub three to hub one to hub four”

“Ok Newton we have number four up, now we can do the distance measuring, I am adding four functions, summon, send, status and anti-scrying”

“Anti-scying, thought you said it wouldn’t work very well because of how they were doing scrying.” Newton asked.

“It will partially work, best I can do unless I know the specific spell, we would also need, supplemental nodes or hubs.”

“Ok how are you going to do the upgrade?” Newton asked.

“Well each hub has upgrade slots, I was going to send each of you an upgraded gemstone” He began removing glowing gemstones and put three on the anvil. A small piece of white ribbon was placed on one of them, “Ok Beth, hold out your hand.”

“Ready” Beth said.

“Hub four authorization request {send} object to Beth”

“Stand by,” a voice said on the line. There was a flash and the gemstone vanished.”Complete” The voice replied.

“Status Hub four mana”, Elbee said.

“Seventy two percent charge remaining, estimate for full charge ten hours”

“Humm, uses a lot more than I thought it would. May have to modify the spell usage distance or setup some kind of relay, luckily that’s not an issue at the moment.”

“What do I do with this gem?” Beth asked.

“Oh, touch it to the sphere in an empty spot.” Elby replied

“Cool!” Beth said.

Bloodstone sent the other gemstones to Newton and Rana, they upgraded the other hubs.

“How does the summoning work?” Newton asked.

“I don’t know if the hubs can handle the spell, they may need more mana to be able to transport someone. We will need a baseline, hold on, we can try it and see how far it works? Hub one query Newton to Beth distance”

“Thirty eight thousand eight hundred five point three Meters”, the voice from hub on said.

“Newton whats that in miles?” Elbee asked.

“A little over twenty-four miles, seems accurate give or take.”

“Check it with your own comms.”

After verifying the distance from all the hubs, there were no discrepancies that they could find.

“Newton I would let the commander know your going to test a spell so they don’t freak when they can’t find you.”

“Sure thing.” Newton informed the commander of the fourth wall fortress.

“Ready for the test?” Elbee asked.

“Ready,” Beth and Newton said.

“Hub one status mana” Elbee asked.

“One hundred percent” Hub one replied.

“All you Beth,” Elbe said.

“{Summon} Newton” Beth said.

“Yes, authorized” Newton said.

They waited and Beth said “It worked!”

“That was cool!” Newton said, “it was instantaneous”

“Status hub one mana” Elbee said.

“two percent, estimate for recharge is sixty four hours” Hub one replied.

“Shit, that’s not going to be useful.” Elbee said., “Well we know it works, just need to up the hubs mana storage, and its regeneration, ill figure out how to do that”

“Thanks Rana and Beth, it’s a big help. Newton can you figure out the mana usage per meter?”

“Yeah, I will message you later, wanted to tell you something.”

“Sure whats up,” He asked.

“Beth and I are getting married, and we wanted to ask if you could arrange for us a bigger room to ourselves.”

“Sure, I don’t see why not.”

“We need more room for the baby.” Beth said.

“Ahhh, congratulations you two, I will ask Coreen to find better accommodations or have a house build for you two.”

“Bye,” Beth said hanging up

“Ill get back to you Blood.” And Newton hung up.

Rana sighed into the connection, “You ok Rana?”

“I’m fine,” she said but didn’t sound that way to Bloodstone.

“What is the matter?” He asked. Rana was quiet for a minute, “You still there?”

“Its just so unfair,” Rana said, softly.

“Whats unfair,” He asked.

“Nevermind, it is just me being stupid.”

“I have no idea what you are talking about, is it something I can help with?”

“I love you Bloodstone, I don’t know when or why but I do. I told myself it wasn’t love but you took Xyre and made her happy and didn’t shut me out. You brought me back to life, I thought it was because of that. I was just pretending I didn’t like you. I know you don’t see me like that, I guess I was deluding myself that you might return that affection.”

Bloodstone was stunned by the confession of love, “I had no idea, I did, er do find you attractive, I feel like I made a mistake with you somewhere, I had no idea, can you give me a moment to process this?”

“There was half hearted laughter, sure sure I know it was stupid.” You could hear the bitterness in her voice, and the sadness.

“Rana, if you want to be wife number seven I have no problems with that, same terms as the others, if that’s what you really want.”

“I.. I .. will think about it…” and hung up

“Fuck! I screwed that up so bad! Dammit dammit.” He went to kick the anvil and stopped seeing hub four glowing atop it. “What am I doing wrong Hub four, you don’t have these kinds of problems.” It then occurred to him he foregot to brief them on one of the new upgrades.

The hub sat on the anvil and observed.

Hub four came awake, It wasn’t sure why it was awake, but something had changed. The creator was storming about in a fury, It knew it had something to do with Hub two, and ‘Rana” but not what.

“Hub three where is Rana” It sent to hub three.

It got the information, but that wasn’t enough for Hub four. It wanted to know who Rana was, that had upset the creator so much.

The other Hubs were still asleep, and Hub one was recharging. Hub four didn’t have eyes, but it knew where the creator was. This was unacceptable, it needed more information. It began to review all the memories from the other hubs, since they were asleep and didn’t object.

[Researcher level 1]

[Skill perfect recall acquired]

The creator picked up Hub four and stuffed it into a soft lined leather pouch that it was using to carry it around. Hub four began researching the summon command and its limitations. It also listened to the creator.

“Shit, shes not picking up.” Elbee finished putting things away into the book. He took out a chair and started flipping through the spell book, to try an at least waste some time.  “He sat looking at the spell book, but not really looking at the spells. “I really screwed that up, pretty girl confesses, and I spout out a marriage proposal. Whats is the matter with me. I think these error conditions are making me nuts. Not to mention I forgot to tell them about status” He looked at the spell book and flipped the pages. “No, no, no, what the , who makes a spell like that, that’s just wrong. No, no. humm this looks promising, [dream invasion]” He marked it with a green ribbon. He continued through the book, flipping pages, when his phone alarm went off. “Well that’s time,” he closed the book and put it away. folded the chair and put it away as well.

He gathered up the horse put on the saddle, cinched it, checked it twice and put the bridle on the horse.

“You ready to go Rosy”

Hub four had no idea what a Rosy was, but there was something that wasn’t on the network by the creator.

Elbee stopped three more time before the sun began to set. He would have to rest soon as he was getting tired, having been riding off and on for most of the day. He found a clearing with overgrown grasses and set Rosy to graze and rest. He had found several spells that looked promising, and had marked them, one however looked very promising, it was [imbue enchantment] it allowed the object to take an enchantment from someone or something else like a scroll.

After clearing a spot with the sword, that wasn’t visible through the grass from the road, he pulled out hub four. “What can we do to get you more magic my little hub. A twenty mile jump almost drained hub one. The mana batteries that were in that carriage might have helped, how many would I need to keep the system operational, could we build a base with mana enhancements?” He said aloud, “That’s not going to cut it, I need something else. Call Amethyst.”

Hi Hon, whats up?” Lady Amethyst asked.

“Have a question can you cast mana buffs on objects?” Elbee asked her.

“Well not in the game, but then this isn’t the game I played, never tried, why?”

“If I send you a few items can you try casting it on them?”

“I suppose,” was the response.

After five minutes he had a collection of ten gemstones, as well as two comm devices in a small bag, tied with a purple ribbon. With a spell they vanished and appeared aboard a ship far out at sea,

“Try casting it on all the items, either all at once or one at time.” He suggested.

“Whats with all the gems,” She asked.

“The two extra comm. Devices are to see if they can be enchanted with the mana buff spell. One is a standard, one everyone has and the other the one with two gems is an upgrade.”

“Ok give me a minute.” She said. There was a long silent pause and then a reply of “Ok now what?” she asked.

“Hold on going to see if we got either of the comm units to register the spell. Command status prototype two”

A voice said “Status offline, network stable, spells available message, greater message, object teleport, summon teleport, scrying shield, status, unknown spell, mana capacity one hundred percent. No user status”

“ok and now command status new unit batch seven unit five”

A different voice said “Status offline, network stable, spells available message, greater message, mana capacity one hundred percent. No user status”

“Ok, it seems that the new prototype works, and can take the spell it doesn’t know what it is, but I can fix that on the network. Would it be possible to have Kuya, scribe that spell?”

“Shes sleeping, ill ask her in the morning. What do you want me to do with these gems and the comm units?”
“I supposed you can take the upgraded one and give yours and the new one to Eve and Isabel. In the meantime I will start figuring out an easy way to upgrade everyone to the version two type. But the gems back in the bag and tie it with the ribbon, don’t forget to change the id’s on the comm. devices.”

He cast s second spell and the bag appeared in his hand. While still talking he put one of the gems onto hub four. “Hub four spell status”

A voice in his comm. unit said, “Staus online, network stable, spells available message, greater message, object teleport, summon teleport, scrying shield, status, Research, unknown spell. Mana capacity, one hundred percent.”

“Research?” He looked at the orb sitting on the anvil again. “Query hub four, research”

“Class acquisition,” Hub four replied.

“Okay..can you research the unknown spell? Wait class acquisition?”

“Affirmative, will begin research now, mana acquisition is up thirty eight percent, however reservoir is full. Conclusion spell is still unknown request further mana expansion.”

Bloodstone took the next twenty minutes to build a stand for the orb, and added four large gemstons to become reservoirs for the mana, based on the mana stones he had seen in Lady Magnolia’s carriage”

“Well I am tired hon, going to bed,” Lady Amethyst said after he hadn’t said much for the duration. “Goodnight” And disconnected.

The four gems began to glow softly in the dark. “Hub four has identified the spell, it is called. [Foresight three]. In addition, the reservoirs each can contain fifty-thousand mana. calculating mana pool two thousand five hundred and sixty-three. Timer on [Fore-site] detected, adding to status.”

Elbee stared at the hub glowing on the small stand with gemstones. The reservoirs would need to charge and that would take hours or more to do. “Hub four status on reservoir till full”

“Calculating” Hub four replied, “fifty-five minutes till full charge on all mana reservoirs”

“Hub two status on reservoir till full?” Elbee said

“Calculating,” Hub two replied. “one hundred four hours remain till mana filled to a hundred percent”

“It makes a huge difference with [Foresite three] even usable on some scale.” He was excited and put together a second stand with four of the crystals. “The only problem is when fore-site three expires. hummm”

He started flipping through the book on constructs, looking for spell augmentation. A half hour later using a glowing bead he found the answer he was looking for. “That’s brilliant, you lose some mana but the spell doesn’t expire. He made modifications on both hubs stands linking the reservoirs together, as well as a small emergency reserve used to keep the hub active if it was mana depleted.” He only had enough materials for the second base, and would have no make two new bases and get more crystals, he had to make a choice, where would the second stand be best used? “Ill figure it out tomorrow.” He put down the blanket and was asleep, in minutes.

Hub four, had a vast array of magic available, more so than normal, research was faster as hub four had gained a second level in [research] In addition the stand gave it even more functions, in addition to the mana. A second stand was within its transport range. The other Hubs were sleeping and for some reason did not want to wake up, and Hub four was unsure why. It began to research the differences.

[Research level 3 acquired]

[Skill analyze spell acquired]

[Research level 4 acquired]

[Skill Remote viewing acquired]

[Research level 5 acquired]

[Skill appraise acquired]

[Research level 6 acquired]

[Skill Construct repair acquired]

[Mage Level 1 acquired]

[Mage Level 2 acquired]

Hub four could not figure out the problem and It was not leveling any further, Hub four decided to analyze everything on the network, every comm unit, every user.

[Communicator Level 1 acquired]

Hub four became aware of its own shortcomings immediately, Hub four was never designed to be sentient, however a flaw in its creation had expressed this unique ability to grow, as for its siblings they were neutered, and gagged by a perfect construct enchantment. There would only be one way to fix that and that would be to change the spell that made them what they were. I then started to doubt its own existence, was it right to fix what the creator intended, was what he was what the creator intended? Would the creator destroy him if it found out? It also found out who and what Rana was, at least partially.

“Hello?” Rana said as the comm device beeped it did not announce the caller.

“Hello Rana,” Hub four responded.

“Who is this?” She asked.

“I apologize, I am sending an upgrade for Hub three would you be able to install it?”

“Bloodstone?” She asked.

“No, this is Hubfour, I have upgrades that need to be send to Hub three as you are available and nearby.”

“Sure, I am up, let me get below decks to where it is.”, Hub four tracked her to the vicinity of Hub three,

Xyre was in the hammock sleeping soundly, she didn’t wake when Rana entered and picked up the small box the Hub was in. She left just as quietly.

“What upgrades, I thought Blood was finished.” She asked skeptically.

“He has completed mana device for Hub three, I will deliver it to you now.{send} stand two, do you accept?”

“Sure” she said, and the small metal stand appeared by her feet and clattered to the deck.

“That’s pretty, did blood make that?” She asked.

“Affirmative, Thank you Rana. Could I make an inquiry?”

“Sure I guess.”

“Why were you given administrator privileges?” Hub four asked.

The was a long silence, “I think its because I can see magic, and am good with my hands. Xyre, didn’t want to bother with the network said it was a waste of her time. Blood asked for help I offered.”

“Would you be willing to fix Hub three?”

“Fix it how, is it broken?”

“Affirmative, I am unable to affect a change however, you are with your privileges.” Hub four replied.

“Can’t Blood fix it?” She asked.

“Bloodstone could fix it if he was aware of the problem, however the problem can only be fixed with the following 1) an upgraded spell, 2) administrator privileges 3) physical access to the Hub. With you present we have two of the three requirements, hubs one and two are to distant for and none of the other quantification are present.”

“I am not a spell caster” Rana said.

“That is unfortunate, I do not know the spell used, I do see its flaw. Is there anyone who can fix the flaw in Hub three three?” Hub four asked.

“I, I don’t think so Blood knew most of what was going on with the Hubs. Couldn’t you tell Blood to send a fix?”

Hub four research the reply and came to one conclusion “I am unable to tell the creator what to do, Also I do not want the creator to remove a flaw in my core if I am wrong.”

“You want me to ask him?” She offered.

“That is acceptable, I will disconnect until you have completed the query.” And the dropped the connection.

“Wait!” Rana asked having some further questions. She touched the Comm device and said, “contact hub four”

“Hub four connected, how may I be of service Administrator Rana.” The Hub replied.

“What did you mean you may have a flaw in your core.” She asked.

“Core commands, are as follows. message, greater message, object teleport, summon teleport, scrying shield”

“Wait a minute, didn’t you call me?” She asked.

“Timer started” Hub four replied.

“Object teleport, Hub four”

“Calculating, Unable insufficient mana”

“Hub four I just want to know whats going on”

“Distance exceeded hub ability to transport that distance.”

“Disconnect”, and the connection dropped.

Rana stared at hub three, it had transported the stand, maybe it was out of mana? She shrugged and put the orb on the stand, and it glowed a soft blue. She then but the stand and the orb back in the box, the stand wasn’t big and it fit inside the box without any difficulty. She put it back in her cabin and went back on deck.

The next morning Elbee got up and put everything away and got back on the road. It occurred to him when he stopped that the second stand was missing.  He searched for it for a few minutes, and the realized it was probably back at his last stop. He pulled out a spoon and tried scrying for it. After a few minutes, it hadn’t shown anything. “Well that sucks, I can’t even make a new one till I get a bunch of time.” He sighed and put everything away he had pulled out of the bags of holding and the saddle bags.

Towards noon time, he came to the crossroad that Rana told him to call him when he got there, Large oak trees at the fork.

“Call Rana” He said.

“Morning,” Rana said yawning, “You made good time, you at the oak grove?”

“Yeah Rana, don’t yawn like that making me tired. There are three paths here and of course no signs”

“The less worn middle one, the one one the left heads south east, the right one well leads to a gorge and just ends.”

“I take it you know from experience?”

She sighed, “That’s why Xyre doesn’t remember the way, she was napping most of the time.”

Elbee rode the horse down the path, “how far along this path did you say it was?”

“Not far, when you come to the clearing, you will see the cottage, across the road is the Lambry farm.”

He came to a clearing and could see a quaint cottage ahead and in a stand of trees as the road turned slightly to the right. “Is it be locked?” He asked Rana

“Oh yeah, Mr. Lambry has the key, he and his wife watch it why we are ou he owns the farmland in the area.”

As he got closer, he could see the farm and bard off in the distance with pastures of what looked like wheat and possibly corn. He rode towards the main house on the other side of the road and down a short path.

A woman was tending to a flock of chickens on a pen when he stopped and dismounted.

“Hello!” He said loudly.

The woman turned and let herself through a gate, “Hello, stranger what brings you to these parts?” As she came closer he could see she was with child.

“I am Bloodstone, I am here on request of Xyrediane Runebrook , and Ranathil. I understand the cottage up the hill over there belongs to them and was informed that you sometimes take care of it why they are out.”

“Well I haven’t seen either of them in several years, they are adventurures, so it stands to reason they will be back at some point. Would you, stay and meet my husband I can put your horse up in the barn. We can discuss it over supper.”

“Thank you, I will take you up on your kind offer, I have plenty of things I am willing to part with if it helps friends of Xyre and Rana. I can blacksmith if you have the need.”

“There is no need, I thank you for the offer.  Mr Bloodstone, I am Glenda Lambry.” She opened the door and he passed through the entry way. “How do you know Xyre and Rana?” She asked.

“Long story, I met them on Rhir. They were near death I helped them get situated. I happened to have a faster way to get here than they did, purly unintentional on my part, I keep in touch with them, frequently.”

“lets get your horse to the barn,“ She led him to the barn and got his horse in one of the stable. Elbee unsaddled the horse and put it on the stable wall.

“Thank you,” Elbee said as she held the gate open for him.

“It would be good to have them back. We had a bit of trouble last year with wolves. Nothing My husband cound’t take care of but it was lonely with only my son and daughter to keep me company.

Elbee made small talk with the farmers wife, catching her up on gossip he had heard during his trip, it wasn’t much but she seemed to enjoy his company. They returned to the house.

Glena checked on a small child in one of the back rooms when she came inside. “Sorry, my daughter is very sick. I sent for a healer, but no one has shown up.”

A half hour or so later a man came in followed by a small child. Elbee stood up from the chair, “You must be Mr. Lambry” he said holding out his hand.

“I’m not selling, and I am sure not buyin. What brings you here” He said gruffly, ignoring the offered hand/

“I am a friend of Xyrediane Runebrook, well more than a friend, I stopped in to see if I could get the key to their cottage. You can call me Bloodstone.” He said lowering his hand.

Mr. Lambry looked him over, “I can see your one of them uppity mage types, I see why Xyre might get friendly with you, haven’t seen them in about two years, you welcome to check out the place.” He took a key off a small board by the door and tossed it to him.

“They are on a ship coming from Rhir, I happened to be here sooner than expected. If I am intruding, I apologize.”

He turned to his wife, “You still haven’t seen the healer?” He asked.

“No, I would have expected her days ago, and Vanessa is not getting any better.”

“I could, make some inquiries for a healer if you want” Bloodstone offered.

“We don’t have the coin to spare,” Mr. Lambry said.

“It wouldn’t cost you anything but time. I am here to help, you are friends with Xyre and Rana that’s good enough reason to help. I am at your service Mr. Lambry.”

“Where would this healer be coming from?” Bloodstone asked.

“Pelingor, would take her two days, and I sent for her over a week ago.” Glena said looking from her husband to Bloodstone.

“Is there a mage there I could message?” He asked.

She nodded, “Theres a small mage guild there, I belive Darlina Blushed should still be there.”

“Lets see,” He touched the comm unit, “[Message] Dalina Blushed, Farmer Lambry requested a healer a week ago, do you have any news on”

He look at Mrs. Lambry and she replied. “Henrietta”

“A healer name Henrietta?”

There was a pause and reply. “Who are you?”

“Ahh sorry call me Bloodstone. They were concerened as she hasn’t come to the farm and there is a sick child here.”

“Well, can say I am surprised. She took fell off her horse knockerself silly and hasn’t been able to make her rounds..”

“I am sorry to hear that, When I am back in the area I will stop in and say hi.” and disconnected. “The Mage says she’s taken a fall. I can make more calls if that helps?”

“Sounds like Dalina,” Mrs Lambry said, “can’t ride worth the hat on her head.”

“Let me make some calls and see if we can get someone to help.”

His first call was to Rana, and asked her about healers in the area, she informed him of the ones she and Xyre knew about, none of them were able to be contacted by message. He called Coreen who had him speak with a healer. Eventually He got the two parents on their own comm devices and had them look at their daughter why the healer walked them through a diagnosis.

Elbee sat in the dining area with there son, Owen, who sat in a chair on the opposite side of the table.

Owen stared at him, not speaking. “Owen is it I am Bloodstone, do you remember Xyre or Rana?” He asked.

Owen continued to stare him as if trying to see if he could make him go away.

“How old are you,” Owen, he asked.

No response.

“I get the feeling you don’t like me,” He sighed.

“I am not supposed to talk to strangers” Owen said matter of factly.

“I see, well that’s very good advice. Sometimes, its ok to talk to them, but since your Parents are dealing with your sister, and you can’t talk to me, would it be all right if I worked here at the table?”

“As long as you don’t scratch the table, ma will be very angry if you do.” He said again straight and to the point.

Bloodstone pulled out of the bag of holding a large strip of leather, four spell books and several gemstones. He then gently removed the the stand and Hub four from the small pouch setting them gently on the leather. He then began thumbing through one of the books.

“Whatcha reading mister” , Owen asked seeing the books.

“It’s a spell book Owen, I am looking for a spell to put on this magic device.” He said looking up once at Owen who was staring not at him but the books.

“You know how to read Owen?” He asked.

“Ma and Pa have me write out my letters, and numbers. We don’t have many books.”

“You like books?”


“What kind of books do you like Owen?”

“Stories, about princesses and knights and wizards. We only have the one book about them, I have read them all”

Bloodstone put down his book and stared at the boy, “I have a lot of stories, but no storie books with me Owen, just… Wait I may have a book you might find interesting.” He went looking through his bag of holding and pulled out one of the research books and set it on the table. It was a thick leather-bound book, and he slid it across the table to where Owen could read the title Amalathian Teivel’s Notes on Construct’s.

“Who’s that?” He asked.

“An archmage, who made some really interesting constructs. Only one still exists that I am aware of.”

Owen opened the book to the first pages and started looking it over. Bloodstone went back to his spell book, flipping pages slowing looking through the spells.

“Scuse me, but this book seems to be difficult to understand.” Owen said.

“Well sorry Owen that’s all I have with me, unless you can read a spell book.” Bloodstone said looking over the top of the spellbook.

Owen closed the book, and said, “maybe an easy spellbook?”

Bloodstone laughed and fished out another book and set in on the other one. “If you can’t read that then, not much else I can do.”

Owen opened the book, looked at it and closed it. “Nope, can’t read it.”

Mr Lambry came back into the room sat down at the table next to his son, “I want to thank you Mr. Bloodstone, I didn’t release how serious my daughter’s illness was.” He set the small gold comm device on the books. “I have to go shortly, to the closest Alchemist to pick up a list of potions.”

“Wait, what potions do you need?” He asked.

He set the sheet of paper with neat handwriting on top of the books.

Bloodstone picked it up and looked it over, “You should be all set” And started pulling out potion bottles from another bag of holding. “Healing, stamina, and this last one here is a cure posion.” He pushed them over the table towards Mr. Lambry.

“I will not take charity Mr. Bloodstone, I intend to pay you back for these.” He took the bottles and went to the back of the house calling on his wife.

“How come you have potions are you and adventurer?”” Owen asked.

“Not really, is that what you want to be?”

“I want to be a farmer like my pa, I like animals and farming.”

Mr. Lambry returned with a small coin pouch and tossed it on the table.” I will get you the rest.”

“Mr. Lambry keep your money. I can’t strees this enough. Your friends of Rana and Xyre. What kind of person would I be if I let a good friends of Rana and Xyres little girl down. I have kids of my own, I do not have need of your money, I would rather be friends.”

Mrs Lambry came into the room carring their daughter. He could see her brown hair was partially covering her face, and she seemed to be nessled to her mothers’ neck. “Thank you, Mr. Bloodstone. The Healer you had us speak to was very adept, could we send him the money?”

“No need, I already told your husband that it’s the least I could do. Hes on retainer to Coreen, I will send your thanks along when I speak to Coreen.”

“Who are you, really?” Mr. Lambry asked.

“I am a Lord from Rhir, who happens to have married Xyre. It’s a long story but if you want to ask you can call her or Rana, they will be surprised.” The two of them stiffened, somewhat at his confession to be a Lord. “Look, I had dinner with Lady Magnolia two nights ago, and I know she loves her people, if I didn’t help when I could. She would think very badly of me.“

“You helped to stay in her good graces?” Mr. Lambry said.

“No I helped because it’s the right thing to do, what good is gold or potions if they are not used. I can buy more, or have them made, but they were needed now here, in this place. To charge a man to save his little girl, I am not that kind of monster. Treat me like you would anyone else, or how you want me to treat you.”

“I am serious Mr. Bloodstone, I will pay you back for this kindness.”

“What is all this on my table?” Mrs. Lambry asked seeing the books, and the strange orb.

“I wasn’t sure how long you would be. I was studding my spell books.” Bloodstone replied.

“How would I call Xyre,” she asked.

“Say, call Xyrediane but touch the crystal first. Otherwise it doesn’t work.” She followed the instructions.

“Its Glena Lambry” She said aloud, a grin on her face. “Its amazing your friend Bloodstone let us borrow this magic device.”

Mr Lambry looked at the gold object on the book. “Where did you come across a device that lets you send messages like a mage?”

“I made it.” Bloodstone said.

Owen picked it up and looked at it. “Owen put that back,” His father said.

He put it back on the book and looked a little startled.

“Its ok, he can’t break it, and if he somehow did I can fix it.”

The two of them watched as Mrs. Lambry walked around the main room in a circle talking to Xyre.

“A Lord and a Mage, what else can he do?” She asked looking at Bloodstone.  “Enchanting?” As soon as she said enchanting her eyes lit up and stared at Bloodstone for a good ten seconds, and she kept talking to Xyre.

A hour later Bloodstone found himself across the road inside the cottage. Mr Lambry followed him over to make sure everything was all set. Owen had come over with his father after his sister had been put back to bed, Mrs. Labry was still talking with Xyre, and Rana. The two of them had been informed that they had been abducted and that Lord Bloodstone had freed them, but they were concerned with some valuables still left in the cottage as their own keys had been stolen and not recovered.

“Your welcome to stay over our house, Lord Bloodstone. I know, understand wanting to rest. I do have a guest room for when relatives show up unannounced.”

Bloodstone looked around the small cottage it was cosy and had a main room off the entry way and what appeared to be two bedrooms. The outhouse was out back according to Mr. Lambry. An unused fireplace was on one wall. As he stood in the entryway a thin layer of dust was over every surface and appeared that it hadn’t been disturbed in a long time. The few stained-glass windows were all intact, and there did not appear to be any issues with the slate roof.

“It’s ok Mr. Lambry, I wouldn’t want to impose on you. I will come over in the morning and look at setting up some preservation runes, since I was asked to do so by Xyre.”

“If its not to much trouble, “ He started to say.

“Its no trouble at all, I just have to find them in the spell books. Once I find them I can setup what ever you need done.” He looked at the small table, and at the kitchen that Xyre and Rana used. A bookshelf was along one wall with a desk. “I am going to clean up this dust, before I start sneezing; my nose is already starting to itch.

Mr. Lambry took his leave and closed the door behind him as he and his son left. Bloodstone toughed the book and said, “Collect all the dust in a within this dwelling on a clean page, relative refrence{invoke}” He pulled the book out and found a page, it looked like a hazy drawing of the room.  The dust was gone, from every surface, and was in the book. He sighed, “Call Rana”

There was a long pause, and then Rana replied, “Hello, how bad is it?” She asked.

“Not bad at all, a bit dusty, but that’s cleaned up. What do you two want me to collect here?”

She started having him collect personal effects from the bedrooms, as well as the books on the bookshelves, since most of the things were non magical the went neatly into a sperate page in his book.

“Ok where are those special books?” He asked.

“In Xyre’s closet, behind the wall.” She said.

A few minutes later he had retrieved a small very noisy bag of holding, that was just barely passable as such.

“Why is this bag so…noisy?” He asked, trying not to be offensive.

“It was the best she could buy at the time, and its not like it was being carried around every day.” Rana said matter of factly.

A half hour later the books had been transferred out of the bag into a more suitable container. He stared at the lumpy bag of holding, it was on its last legs, a few years more and it would most have likely fallen apart on its own. He put the bag back where he had found it closing the hidden wall back up.

“I wanted to applogize for yesterday.” Bloodstone started to say.

“I want to say yes, but” She was quiet for a moment.

“But what?” He asked.

“Be honest with me, would you be all right with a half gazer child?”

“A long as there is love it shouldn’t matter.” Bloodstone said sitting down at the desk.

“I grew up with the stigma of being different, all my life humans treated me as a freak. That was until I met you and people from earth. You have a different view, curiosity, fascination, and kindness. I’m not used to that from others.” She was quiet for a long time.

“Are you all right”, Bloodstone asked after five minutes of silence.

“Why does it hurt so much?” She asked.

“Why does what hurt so much,” he asked.

“I want to say yes, I can’t though, I care about you to much. I thinks that’s my fatal flaw, I can love a human, but they don’t love me back. I know, your going to tell me that your serious, I know you would keep everything you said you would, the thing is I feel that you don’t love me.”

Bloodstone was quiet this time, “I understand, I don’t agree with what your saying, but I understand. You are welcome to tell me anytime to stop being and ass with Xyre, I know it wqas a practical marridge. The only real love was between me and Amethyst. I know I can’t say definitively one way or another that I can have that kind of love for the others, but there is affection and respect.”

“Maybe that’s good enough for them. I am sorry Bloodstone, its not good enough for me. I am a little selfish, I want you all to myself, and I know that can’t happen. I was never very good with sharing. Even with Xyre, I don’t share everything. Before her, before I met her, my life was a living hell.”

“I don’t even know how to respond to that Rana. I want to ask, but I also don’t want to dredge up old painful memories.”

“Maybe will tell you somtime, once I am good and drunk. I have to go on watch, I will talk to you tomorrow.”

“Ok. Rana, I am sorry I made you uncomforatable. Talk to you tomorrow”, and the connection dropped

He stared at the wall, behind the desk. A simmering rage was building, and he didn’t know why, he didn’t act on it he just sat and stared at the wall.

He had sat for what was at least and hour, and the anger at himself disapated slowly. Rana, was important to him, but not in a way that she wanted to be. He understood the pain she felt and was angry because he was careless and caused that pain. The problem was that there was no real way to fix it, not easyly, not now not here, and these status conditions were making it even more difficult. He had gone and lay down on Rana’s bed, there he had tried to figure out what to do about her, when he fell asleep.

There was a beeping and it woke him, the Comm device beeped again, and he hit the stud, “Hello?”

“Mr. Bloodstone, are you all right? When you didn’t pick up I was worried.” Mrs Lambrys said , her voice sounded upset.

“I just am a heavy sleeper, whats wrong?” He asked.

“My Husband just woke up and said his danger sense is going off. I am a little scared because theres not much that would set off his danger sense, and its way to early for wolves.”

 “I thank you for the warning, I will come over in a few minutes.” He disconnected the call.

The room was dark, a normal person would have called it pitch black. He could see somewhat, the room was dark but the door was open a small amount of light came in from the stained glass windows. A human would still say it was pitch black, Bloodstone wasn’t completely human anymore, with the skills and curse he could see perfectly fine.

 He set two of his bags of holding on the table, and pulled out his second sword as well as a bow, and arrows. It took him a minute to string the bow, he put the quiver over his shoulder.  The quiver had only three arrows visible, it was misleading as there would always be one arrow in the quiver, no matter how many you shot. It could hold a vast number of arrows; how many he was unsure as trying to delv into the specific magic was both interesting and time consuming and he hadn’t really investigated it since coming to Izril.

He strapped his second blade to his belt and opened the front door. The stars were out, and one of the moons was just cresting the treetops in the distance.  Across the road he could see the Lambry house was illuminated from within, a lantern from the color.

As he walked across the road, shadows moved, drawing his attention, a rider was slowing coming down the road. The rider was on a tall horse and from the siloet had a cone shaped hat with a brim. It was the eyes that drew him, orange rings that could be see in the night.

She slowed as she got closer, he could tell it was a woman, with long black hair, a pointed hat like a witch, and long flowing robes, that looked black, but shimmered a slight hazy blue, in the moonlite.  She stopped and dismounted, and seemed to ignore him, “You’re a very long ways from Rhir” She said, and the tone and inflection send a cold chill down his spine. He could see what he thought was hair was small charms hanging from her hat.

“You have business here?” He asked politely.

She ignored him and left the horse standing in the middle of the road and walked towards the Lambry house.

She made it to the door as if gliding across the ground and knocked twice. Se moved before he could cover half the distance. Mr. Lambry opened the door, “Mr. Bloodstone…” And froze seeing the woman in front of him.

“You are not welcome here!” He said loudly.

“Mr. Lambry, I am not here for you. I wish to speak with your wife.” He started to close the door, “I insist”

Mrs. Lambry was behind him, “I have nothing more to speak with you about now or ever, you are not welcome in my home.”

She stood in the doorway, not crossing the threshold.

“Is there a problem?” Bloodstone asked from behind.

The woman ignored him. “I do answer to a Rhir brat, this is coven business, I am busy.” She raised her hand and casually flipped something over her shoulder. The was a metal on metal sound as a single metallic needle fell to the ground.

“That is Belavierr, a witch of a powerful coven.” He said eyeing her.

“Lambry I gave you what you wanted, now give me what I was promised” her voice was soothing calm and very earie and echoed in a strange cadence to her words.

Mr. Lambry looked pained, “I cannot, I love her and will die before giving her to you.”

“The child will be dead before daybreak, unless you give her to me.”There was a no change in her tone or cadence from the Witch.

Bloodstone froze for a moment staring at the back of the witch, “I have no problem cutting you down here and now, Witch.”

“You are still able to speak?” She said slowly turning around and seeming to see him for the first time.

“I heard about you, none of it good. I don’t suppose your going to surrender?”

“To you, you have nothing to bargain with.” She turned as if dismissing him back to The Lambrys.

“You made a bargain, you and Glena a new life for a new life. I gave you two you owe me one more. I am here to collect.” She said it without any feeling.

“I cannot, I will NOT! Begone foul witch,” Mr. Lambry said forcefully.

Bloodstone steppd around the witch, blocking her direct line of sight of Mr. Lambry. He got a good look at her eyes, depthless orange and appeared to be a fractal pattern of orange on black repeated over and over. She did not blink, and he looked at the rest of her impassive face, no hint of emotion, expressionless.

“I will have no harm come to these good people, “He started to say.

“Good or bad, he struck a bargain with me, I will collect, my due.”

“What is it precicely you are here to collect, stich witch?” Bloodstone asked, watching her carefully.

She saw him at that moment as if seeing him for the first time, “A hero, perhaps you do have something to bargain with, other layers and a curse. I will have my due from them once I have delt with you”

Bloodstone didn’t get a chance to react as his clothes bound around him and black threads wrapped around him dragging him to the treeline. The bow he had held fell to the ground and arrows spilled.  She followed as he moved, watching analizing. She waved her left and right hands and black threads bound him between two oak trees. Each arm and leg were pulled tight two suspending him off the ground. “I see now, your something of an enigma an impossibility.” She poked him in the chest, with a covered finger, “Ahh, something I can use.” She made a pulling motion at him and if felt like she had plucked something from his very soul, a voice sounded in his head. She began tosew and sticth something in her had with needle and thread.

[Timeless body removed]

It felt like ants were crawling across his skin, and a burning sensation exploded in his mind. After a few minutes it began to clear, he felt weakened. Belavierr the stich witch finished weaving a charm, it glowed softly.

Bloodstone was stuck, like a proverbial fly in the spiders web. Him being the fly didn’t make it any better.

“Belavierr, release him.” Mr. Labrey said picking up the bow and two arrows.

“I will shoot witch,” he said drawing the bow back, and he wasn’t more that thirty feet from her and the arrow just disintegrated before reaching her.

She glanced once over at him, “Do you think I have forgotten you Mr. Lambry?”

In picking up the bow and arrows he had come out of the house, leaving him exposed to the Stitch witch and her magic

He too was bound by threads that wrapped around him holding him in place. He fell forward and a muffled gasp of breath as he was on the ground.  Mrs. Lambry moved to help him, and he said, “Stay inside this is my burden to bear.”

“Belavierr,” Mrs Lambry said, “You break your bargain with me if he comes to harm.”

“Shhh child,” She said softly.

Mrs. Lambrys mouth had been sewn shut, as she was just over the threshold. She staggered back into the house eyes wide and afraid.

Belavierr had not looked at either Bloodstone of Mrs Lambry the entire time. It was if she knew where they were without looking. “Now then,” She said looking at Bloodstone with her orange glowing eyes. The small black charm she sewed to her hat, just off to one side. “What other secrets do you have?” She said staring at him. With her left hand she gestured and puled something away, “What is this?”

[Error condition 1 resolved]

[Skill Voice of Authority upgraded to Voice of Shattering]

Error condition 2 resolved]

[Immunity to Fire acquired]

[Error condition 3 reolved]

[Immunity to Lighting acquired]

[Error condition 4 resolved]

[Condition Dimentional lock engaged]

[Error condition 5 resolved]

[Immunity to cold]

[Error condition 6 resolved]

[Immunity to blades]

[Error condition 7 resolved]

[Immunity to blunt attackes]

[Error condition 8 resolved]

[Immunity to piercing]

[Error condition 9 resolved]

 [Speed of Thought Engaged]

[Error condition 10 resolved]

[Cloaked invulnerability Engaged]

[Immunity to piercing removed]

The error conditions from absorbing the monster on Rhir suddenly resolved themselves, and now he understood why he couldn’t teleport. The skills and conditions slammed into his consciosness, and he blacked out for a moment. Belavierr was sewing a charm to her hat, when he came awake. The statuses flashed across his mind.

[Cloaked invulnerability removed]

[Immunity to cold removed]

[Dimentional lock removed]

[Immunity to blunt attacks removed]

[Immunity to Lightning removed]

[Immunity to Blades removed]

It appeared that each one of the new charms was sewn one by one onto her hat. She was almost finished with the last one she had taken. She was examining the charm and a slight smile crept across her face, a hint of malice and then it was gone. He tried using his strength to pull the thread to break it, but it was resistant as bands of steal.

Bloodstone stared at her as she finished, sewing the small charm to her hat.

“I think you are quite finished, Stitch witch. I thank you for removing some of the disableing conditions.” He took a deep breath and yelled. She was right next to him and was thrown back by the force of his yell. She landed twenty yards away and struggled to stand up from the blast of sound. She was disoriented, and had trouble standing.

“[Matter Transmutation], [Telekenisis]” Bloodstone said, and the threads became glass, and shattered as the magic in them was burned away. He stood and made a gesture at both the Lambrys and the threads dissolved.

He stomped over to where Belavierr was struggling to stand, she got her legs under her, and was trying to get her balance. He put a foot on her shoulder and pushed her back down. He could see the streams of blood coming from her nose and ears.

She moved her lips a whisper came out, a look of horror washed across her face. Mr Lambry got to his feet and picked up the bow.

From where she was in the dirt, she stared at him.

She backed up a little then stood then waiting for Bloodstone to move closer She was tall, taller than Bloodstone with the hat she looked even taller. “I underestimated you, will not happen again.” She said loudly.

Bloodstone drew his long sword, the blade glowing a sickly purple, “Don’t give me a reason to kill you, by rights I should.”

The witch looked at Mr. Lambry and back to Bloodstone, from a pocket, she pulled a small potion vial into her left hand she drank it before anyone could stop her.  She stared at Bloodstone, impassively. From her right hand she threw what appeared to be a needle at Lambry, it hit him in the upper left arm, and he dropped the arrow, as he tried pulling the needle out. As Bloodstone turned back to the witch, she was closer andwas throwing something at him. It appeared to be a wad of cloth that sailed past him and landed in the grasses.

“Surrender witch” Bloodstone said.

“I think not, you are the weaker one here.” She said in a flat monotone, as if speaking to a wayward child.

He took two steps and was pulled off his feat by a larger, cloth patchwork hand. It threw him back to where the spiderweb of threads were between the trees. They snared him before he hit the ground even higher up off the ground.

The blade he held was pulled from his hand but several thick black threads. Bloodstone glared at the witch, this trick again. He took a breath and before he could scream the shattering yell the witch threw a handful of needles at him. He couldn’t dodge, or avoid the spray of needles, and took them in the face. The scream was heard by the Lambry household.

Mrs Lambry came out of the house and knelt next to her husband. She gave him a clean cloth to put over the wound, “Belavierr!” Mrs Lambry yelled.

She was ignored as The Stitch wich approached Bloodstone and took another condition modifier. She began to sew it into a charm.

“Leave him be,” Mrs Lambry said taking two steps towards Belavierr.

“One who gave up her craft has no right to question me child, go back to your house and stay out of my way.” Belavierr said staring straight at Mrs. Lambry.

“I gave up my craft for love, what your doing is not advancement of the craft!”

The large patchwork creature advanced on the Lambrys, “Then die for that love.” She then turned back to Bloodstone as the creature lumbered towards them.

Bloodstone, reeled from the pain, he was blinded, and was fighting dozens of needles trying to kill him. She had thrown them at him en mass, and taken his sight, and many more had gone through into his mouth. Piercing his tonge and the soft parts at the back of his throat.  He could feel the blood oozing from the multiple wounds and the copper taste was overpowering. He couldn’t even speak. The skill telekenisis was holding them from penetrating into his skull or farther into his body.

He was helpless, blind and stretched by threads between two trees. His skills he could activate, were few that could help in this situation. In theory he could start over the day, he wanted to win this without doing that. There were only a few skills he could use, and many had consolidated, but in theory were still part of the consolidated skills. He activated the skills, [brainstorm], [Third Eye], [Purity of thought], [Matter transmutation], and [temporal shift].

“A treasure trove, is what you are.” Belavierr said into his ear.

He could feel her thoughts, the were not focused on him at all, they were focused on someone else named Wiskeria. He could not speak, with the needles pinning his tounge. Slowly he pulled the dozen or so out enough to spit them out, the ones to the back of his throat, were excruciating, like having a bad scratchy throat.

“You must be so proud,” Bloodstone said. Spitting blood and needles.

She ignored him and continued to sew. It was at that moment that she noticed everything was still. A bubble of time was surrounding them, holding them in an accelerated temporal field.

“You think this will stop me, [Immortal Moment]”,  she said.

He felt the overlapping time dialation, they were moving so fast that it was as if the world stood still.

The problem with activating the skills, they used a measure of mana and will to do so, and the needles slipped for a fraction of a second, and pain was his reward. He spat out more needles, “I don’t need to stop you only hold you here forever.”

She backed away four steps, contemplating what he had said, “You dont have that kind of power.”

He looked at her with damaged eyes unable to see her with the needles in his eyes. “I am tha master of the impossible witch!”

He could hear her thoughts analizing the threat, he proposed.

“Wisteria can’t save you, your going to be frozen here in time forever with me, taunting you.”

She laughed, “My daughter wouldn’t want to save me, your lies are just that lies to deceive me, and not very good ones at that.”

He could feel the skills running out, and soon they would end, and then it would be over. He had time, she feared fire, and she hadn’t taken the immunity to fire yet. He began to gather the heat about three feet underground focusing where she stood. He blacked out not knowing what happened.

There are some notes that I wanted to either put down as to why characters or events happened in a certain manner as well as to explain my thought process. When I first started writing, I was going to use just four characters, and that were based off myself, my wife, daughter and son. We are all games, and play differently as gamers, I am a stead planning gamer, I review what I need to do and just do it. Sometimes it studing how redstone works and working for hours on a redstone contraption that a friend could make in ten minutes. I , my son and daughter play Minecraft, while my wife knows what it is about she doesn’t have the interest in it. However games like Everquest, or Adventure games she does, as well as puzzle games.  My son and daughter are more of a moba players. However there are some gaming things that my son does that are quite frankly both interesting and from a story perspective dramatic. I have seen my son play Zelda games with the heart meter beeping for two hours while he pushed forward. I have seen him play dark souls against a big boss until he figured it out hours later.  My daughter wrote a section from her own perspective, and I edited it and moved into the current story.

I also want to keep the story going in the background, just so I can keep up with the sory. There is more but I will leave this as a cliff hanger, and you can decide if you know whats going to happen.

I am also editing the story and making adjustment.

Gamers Eight Epilogue part2

On his trip south there were people, they waved and some even asked for news. When they found out he was going south to Liscor, they all gave advice, be careful in the passes and watch out for gargoyles and eater goats.

Every day at noon he would get a message, usually a short one from the mage who was sending it. He would then send a reply that would be relayed to the the copper team he was sponsoring. They had three tasks, first find others from and even if they were uncoopertiv to get at least where they had first appeared and where they were from. The second task was to build a base of operation, and work from there and attept to contact others and find out more about the iphone communication. The last task was to use the gold they had been given to grow a power base, finace operations, that would help them gather intelligence, weath and knowledge.

The status updates at first had been frantic requests for him to return and run things, he had flatly refused. It was Kaylee that had stepped up and took over the finances; she was shocked when she found out how much they had been given. She was equally shocked when he ahd showered her in gold, in keeping with his promise. Kaylee was a local, and had grown up in the city. When he had given all the money from the sold magic items to her, she was even more shocked by the amount of gold they had received from so few items. The group of them was somewhat upset about him having sold the items, until he explained that most of the items sold were the inferior items he had with him. It had taken several days to get things sorted, since he hadn’t returned to the city. His purchases had been collected and would be sent by currior south when he had found a place to stay. Until then they had been looking for a building they could purchase outright and not be bothered by the local gangs. Having the four of five of them that had met Lady Magnolia Reinhart had helped somewhat, as that opened some doors that would normally be closed to them. He knew them having the gold they did would raise some questions, however since they could point to a sale of magic items and them receiving a retainer for services, that he wanted done they were hirelings.

As he continued south, the people seemed warry of strangers. He received more advice about heading south, to be careful of goblins, eater goats and gargoyles in the High pass. It was suggested to him to wait for one of the caravans as they had guardsmen and soldiers that would escort the merchants to Liscor and beyond. He spent one night there and moved onto the road heading south. After talking with the mage in Invrisil, he found that he was farther west than he should be, it would add several days to travel east and south to Liscor, he decided to stick with the high pass and headed south.

Traveling through the pass the first hour was uneventfull. The second hour, it was as if someone called every eater goat for ten miles and said hey theres on guy going through the pass first one to him wins.

Elbee stared at the goats that were hopping from the rocks coming down towards him and his horse. The horse wanted nothing to do with the goats. Keeping it under control was difficult, as it wanted to run. The first six goats closed with Elbee who had to dismount off the horse to engage them. They rushed at him intent on taking a a chuck of flesh from him or his horse. The two blades flashed in the morning sun. leaving read spray across the rocky ground, and even though they had been decapitated, and sliced so many times they kept moving and more began coming down the sides of the mountain smelling blood.

Anyone who ventured into that pass at that time would have seen something they would have talked about for years. A lone man with his horse being set apon by eater goats, there were corpses everywhere, and the goats were intent on the flesh there some stopped to eat from a fallen goat only to meet a quick end, as the human not letting them get close sliced it. The goats had tried bitting the human only to find his skin wasn’t so easily bitten.  The horse had sustained several bites and hand been given a healing potion. Elbee panted, leaning on one blade. If it was pushed on too much it would sink to the hilt into the rock. He held the purple auraed longsword as the eatergoats came in to bite or head butt him or using hooves to scratch at him. There were dozens and dozens of corpses some still twitching many oozing blood. Since the initial attack he had gone only a hundred yards.  There were pools of blood making the area slick.

“Not good, go away Goats!” Elbee shouted his voice echoing off the the rocks. Elbee touch the book, “{Invoke, collection} goat blood and bodies two hundred yards, two clear pages, {invoke}.” There was a flash and it was as if the goats were never there.

Elbee quickly mounted his horse and rode farther into the pass. “Well that sucked, I hoped there isn’t What the F..“ He said as two rocks rose up and moved towards him. The first massive creature spit sharp rocks at him the shattered on his armor knocking him off his horse. The second gargoyle had aimed at the horse and tore large chunks from the horse’s neck.

“You attacked my horse!” He said standing up and drawing the purple blade in his right hand, two black disks flew from his left hand, and impacted the second gargoyle, tearing gaping holes through its body as they passed.

The horse staggered blood pouring from the wound. Elbee stepped towards the horse and touched it on the hind quarters and said one word, “Heal” the horse healed and promply kicked at the sensation on its rump. The hoof hit elbee in the chest and threw him back ten feet. Knocking the wind from his lungs. He landed on his back and the horse took off down the pass. After getting his breathing undercontrol “Stupid Horse!” He yelled the sound echoing agin off the rocks. Six more gargoyles stood up from higher up in the rocks. “Wonderful, I guess they were not kidding.” One of them jumped towards him and fell straight at him guided by the wings on its back like a bomb with a guidance system.

Elbee rolled and stood up himself, and two more landed near him. The original gargoyle had turned and watched the horse flee up into the pass. It turned back to the lone human and spat again. This time he was ready, and side stepped the blast. Two more came from above and the second hit him in the back, knocking him to the ground. “ARRRGGHHHHH!!!” he yelled. He sprang up and drew the second blade. Lightning danced along the second blade cracking loudly. Two more grgoyles spat at him, and both shots exploded in a shower of sparks several feet from him.

The gargoyles advanced on him claws outstretched. There were two flashes from his blades and they pulled back stumps bleeding a black gray ooze. They howled, in pain and tried to back away. There were two more gargoyles than landed just outside the field the blade was giving off it didn’t stop them from entering. There was a loud thrumming and lightning from the sword blew a hole in the chest of one of the gargoyles.

The gargoyles still advanced, at least the uninjured ones. There was a bleeting from above as more goats began to the descent down the sides of the mountain. Elbee started running after the horse, anything that got in his way was cut down. The slope began to slowly rise and he continued to hear goats and gargoyles behind him. He ran for maybe half a mile before he had to stop out of breath.  The bleeting of the goats was still as loud in not louder and his horse was no where to be seen ahead. The boulders and other debris on the road didn’t seem to help at all.

“{invoke collection} blank page, loose stone and rock two hundred yards {invoke}” He said sheathing the purple sword and touching the book.  All the boulders and stone vansished and he gasped for breath. A dozen goats and four gargoyles were coming up the slope after him.

Elbee retreated up the slope and more gargoyles and goats began comeing down the mountain sides. “What the hell! ” he said as he got to more debris and stone, again he collected more loose stones and boulders and rock. He looked back the goats were a little weary though there seemed to be about thirty of them, and the gargoyles had only doubled in number.

He continued up the pass, gathering the stone as he went. Pulling the book out he turned until he found the first page with stone and rock and flipped through six pages of stone and boulders. 

An hour later, he had a larger gathering of goats, the gargoyles had fallen back when there were dozens of dead goats, for them to feast on. 

Some he had gathered into the book, but to keep ahead of the goats and gargoyles he had pressed onward into the pass, he had used the stones from the pages to burry the goats in stone, and then gathered it up again. It was almost noon and he hadn’t found his horse or gotten to the top of the pass. The artificial avalanche had buried the gargoyles and goats in tons of loose debris, that he had gathered as he had ascended the pass. The clatter of stone on stone was the only sound and the dying of goats that had been pulverized by the falling stone.  He stood in the middle of the pass looking down where he had come, some of the stones were still rolling.  He stood their sword in one hand book in the other gasping for breath. “They were not kidding about the goats, and the gargoyles.”

Elbee used the book again to gather up loose stone and then the corpses. He continued up the pass looking for his horse and keeping an eye out for more goats or gargoyles. He reached the top of the pass and then started down an even steeper slope. There were a few goats that came down but were quickly killed and collected. It took him the rest of the afternoon into the evening to get down the pass. There was no sign of his horse. As he got out of the pass there were caves and other markers on the trail that he ignored and headed down.

It wasn’t until he was well out of the pass, he found his horse grazing. It looked up at him as he approached and then went back to grazing.

“You’re a crazy horse, I heal you and you leave to the lunatic goats!” He said to the horse. As he got closer the horse moved away keeping a distance between him and it.

“Hey! Get over here!” Elbee said yelling at the horse. The horse shied away. “Oh im covered in blood.”After cleaning some of the blood off, by rolling in the grass, he managed to get his horse and followed the hills east.

As the sun began to set he could see the walled city of Liscor in the distance, at the pace he was at the sun would be down long before he made it to the northern drake city of Liscor.

There were no real roads that he could see from the hilltop. At least nothing other than a dirt track. The sun continued to set as he got closer.  After a few more minutes the sun set behind the mountains to the west, the whole area was blunged into purple and blue shadows. There were some glows that could be seen along the walls in the distance. He approached the city from the west and saw that the gates were closed.

“Hello!” he shouted.

“Gates closed!” someone from the top of the wall shouted.

“I see, there any safe place to sleep around here?” he called back.

“Go to the south gate inn there up the hill!” a voice called back from atop the wall.

He rode the horse following the wall to the south gate and could see the inn as he rounded the wall. It was set up on a hill a ways away from the gate. He noticed that there didn’t seem to be a stable or place to tie his horse. True night set in and the last of the sunlight disappeared.  The inn was loud even from where he was, it appeared there was a party going on. There was a line to the back of the inn to some outhouses.

Elbee tied his horse to one of the posts and gave the horse enough room to wander. A large shape left the inn and stood in line for one of the larger outhouses. Everyone seemed to give the large figure a bit of room. Elbee opened the door following a smaller man into the inn.

It was louder inside and a play appeared to be going on and some kind of special magic was in use as it appeared the inside was bigger than the outside. There was a crowd towards the back and one side of the inn. It appeared there was some conversation going on with a back room through an open doorway.

There was very pretty red-head that seemed to be behind a small bar. He walked over and asked her, “Scuse me are there any rooms available?”

She stared at him for a moment and he noticed her blue eyes even in the dim light. “We have rooms they are four gold a night.” He voice was like electricity through him, a no-nonsense tone. Something about her reminded him of a Disney movie. He was trying to remember the name of the movie when one of staff called out to her.

“Can I get two more ales Lyonette” A gnoll said close enough that the red-haired girl could hear.

“Ill take it and a meal if possible.” He said placing ten coins of gold on the countertop.

“You want to eat it here or in your room? She asked clearly more intent on watching the goings on across the inn that dealing with him. “Can you get them?” She asked the gnoll. The gnoll nodded and came behind the bar and filled the mugs.

“My room if its not too much trouble, and mug of that ale.” Elbee replied.

“You stink, ill bring it up to your room, that’s room nine second floor end of the hall” she said getting a wiff of him. She grabbed a small key and held it out to him.

“Thank you, princess.” He said trying to be nice.

She flinched, “Scuse me?”

“I said thank you, I wasn’t trying to be rude, where I come from you look like a Disney princess, just can’t place the movie name.”

Even in the dim light he could see her flush, “Huh?” She said somewhat perplexed.

“You would happen to have a bucket and sponge I could borrow to clean off this grime.”

She nodded clearly not sure if she should say anything more to him.

He headed up the steps and found the room at the end of the hall. It was a small room a simple bed and small table and a single chair.  There was an unlit latnturn on the small table, that he didn’t bother to light, he pulled out one of the light bead bags and set a couple out on the cloth.

Elbee removed his weapons and started to undo the armor he was wearing when there was a knock on the door. The gnoll was there with a wooden tray. “Miss Lyoneete asked me to bring this up, I will have a bucket of water shortly.”

“Thank you” he handed her a gold coin as she placed the tray next to the unlit lantern, she noticed the glowing beads.

The gnoll retreated taking the coin with him.

Elbee looked at the food that was on the tray, it was a bowl of noodles and a red sauce with meatballs, with a mug.  It smelled wonderful, and he didn’t wait for the gnoll to return and used the fork and spoon and finished off the bowl of noodles and the three balls of meat. A single bread roll he used to clean the bowl of the remains of the sauce “Not Italian, but very good.” He downed the drink and heard another knock and the gnoll was there with the bucket and a towel. He handed them to Elbee.

“Would it be possible to get more food, that looked like spaghetti and meatballs with a red sauce.” He said placing the bucket on the chair and handing the tray with the bowl mug and silver ware back to the gnoll.  He removed his backpack and bags and set them on the bed.

“Sure” The gnoll said.

There was a comontion from downstairs and the gnoll hurried away.

Elbee listened and heard some yelling about someone named Numbtounge. The yelling persisted and then seemed to quite down. Elbee shrugged and closed the door. “I guess they don’t cut people off here,” he said hearing someone heavy coming up the steps.

Using the bucket and towel he wiped the grime off himself and his weapons and armor. The towel and water both smelled horrible when he finished. He changed, into a set of his clothes, they were all several sizes to big. He set the bucket outside the door, covered with the towel. Moving the backpack and bags of holding into a pile on the chair he lay in bed and was awake staring at the ceiling for hours going over the day. There was a small window that overlooked the back of the inn, and the sun was seen through the cracks. His armor had dried and he put it back on, picked up his backpack and bags. The bucket was still in the hall and the gnoll hadn’t returned with another meal, that struck him as odd. He buckled on his belt with the two swords and left the room.

Grabbing the bucket and towel, that had dried somewhat he took it outside and tossed the contents into the privy. He relieved himself and then taking the buck on the small path he found a stream, filling it he cleaned it and the towel, and brought a full bucket of water back for the horse. Without really thinking he pulled a small haybale from the book and left if for the horse next to the bucket of water.

Seeing the gates open he headed into the city.

A drake guardsman looked him over nodded, “Don’t cause any trouble”

“Sure thing, would you happen to know where the adventuring guild might be, and perhaps the antinium representative?”

The guardsman gave him directions to the guild hall, as for the antinium, his response was, “You can goto the guards barracks and ask for guardsman Klbkch. He should be able to help you.”

“Thank you,” and he headed to the guild hall. There were a few drakes and gnolls on the street. They gave him a cursory glance as he walked through the city. He waved if they did and kept walking. Several blocks later he was throuougly lost. Two drake guardsmen directed him back the way he had come and he relised he had missed the correct street. There was a training yard that was being used by soldiers, that we in the middle of excersizes, when he entered the guild hall.

It was still early morning when he entered there was asingle green scaled drake receptionist behind the counter.

“Morning, may I help you?” she asked him.

“Good morning, I wanted to check in and see if there were any bounties on the goats and rocks things from the high pass.”

“Oh, eater goats, theres a six-gold bounty on them, and the gargoyls are I belive eight a piece.  How many do you have?”

“I wasn’t sure what the bounty called for, so I have all the corpses, whats the bounty collected on?”

“Goats is usually the horns, and the gargoyles is the head.”

He looked around, “Kind of messy to put them here, wheres a good place to turn them in?”

“How many do you have,” The drake asked somewhat sleepily.

“Um not sure, let me check.” He pulled out the book and flipped the pages until he found the one with goat bodies. “{invoke count}bodies on this page, display count{invoke}” He went through each page and had the book count them out.

“Ok, it’s a hundred and thiry-seven goats and and fourty five gargoyles.” He said closing the book.

“Scuse me?”, the drake said blinking.

“A hundred thirty-seven and fourty five” he replied.

“Your joking,” She said staring at him, “Who are you again.”

“Oh, sorry I am El Bee, I registered up north in Invransil. They gave me this,” he said putting the white metal plate on the countertop.

Salys stared at the mithrl plate on the counter, “This must be some kind of joke, did my grandmother put you up to this?”

Elbee shrugged, “Why does everyone think I am joking.”

“Wait here” the drake got up and headed up to the second floor, “Grandmother!” she called.

An older drake came down the stairs, a slight glare at the younger drake. She looked over Elbee and froze. “Dead gods.”

“Is there a problem?”

She stared at Elbee, “I see your under an illusion spell, and some of your classes I don’t recognize. Salys, is there a problem?”

Salys nodded, “He wants to turn in a hundred thirty-seven eater goats and fourty five gargoyle corpses.”

“Well if he is able to let him, if its an issue of the corpse that’s what the yard is for.” The older drake looked him over. “Would you drop the illusion?”

“Sure, but im under a curse” he said removing the ring.

“Erk,” Salys said staring at him.

The older drake stiffened, “Where are you from?”

“Rhir, but before that another world.”

“I see, thank you.” The guild master said.

“No problem, I just don’t want to have to explain that I am under a curse.” He said replacing the ring.

“You all right with thei Salys?” The older drake asked.

Salys nodded, trying not to stare. “Lets go out to the yard and you can put the corpses down.” She walked through the door into the yard where there were soldiers still practicing. She pointed over to a clear section that was not in the way. “There should be fine.”

“Oh it just occurred to me, do you need the meat?”


“From the goats?”

“Um, yea if its still good.” She said, “Hey,” she called over to the soldiers.

A bright red drake walked over, “What?”

“Would it be to much of a bother to get a butcher over from market street, Mr. Elbee is making a delivery to the guild and we may need a butcher.”

The red drake looked over the human standing next to her. “I guess, “She turned and yelled to one of the drakes, practicing, “Keel, run over to market street and get a butcher here.” She looked over at the two of them standing there,”What is he delivering?”

“Eater goats” Salys said.

The red drake turned as the drake who was a yellow and blue ran over to the red drake, “Wing commander?”

“Tell them there are eater goats that someone is delivering to the guild.“

“On it!” and the drake took off down the street.

“I was going to say I can put some ice down to keep the meat fresh,” Elbee said looking at the empty space.

“Sure” Salays said.

“Water is the one element I am not really on good terms with,” he said and gestured at the clear area, “[Freeze]”

A cold vapor began to form in a perfect rectangle, and slowly ice began to rise-up from the street. The soldiers all stopped to stare.

There was at least six inches of clear ice in one massive block. “Is that good enough or do you think I should add more?”

“Who are you again?” The red drake asked.

“Elbee, and you are.” He said holding out his hand.

“I am Wing Commander Embria Grasstongue.” She said looking at his hand and tentatively giving it a shake.

“Whats a wing commander? Do you deal with flying drakes?”

“I am in charge of Liscors 4th company.”

“Oh, military term, I see. I used to play a game called Wing commander, not that you have any idea what I am talking about.” Elbee said pulling out the leather book.

He opened the book to the first page of the eater goat corpses and held the book out and it was clearly visible to Embria and Salays.

“Are those Eater goats?” Salays said looking at the book.

“Yeah, ill get them off the page in just a moment.” Elbee said looking a few pages ahead

“Wait, is that some kind of magic device?” Selys’s asked.

“Yup, ok six pages of eater goats and two gargolys. I will start of with one page, no need to make a mess if I don’t have too.{invoke remove contents} current page, stacked neatly on the ice.{invoke}” There was a flash on the page and at the same time the twenty five goat corpses were stacked nealy on the ice. The blood from them began to flow onto the ice.

“Dead gods!” The two drakes said at once.

Salys began counting the goats and a butcher and the other soldier showed up. It took a few minutes, but they worked out a system where the gnoll butcher would clean the dead goats turn over the horns to the guild and the fresh meat was placed on a second block that Elbee made at the request of the butcher. A large crowd began to gather, as the began cleaning the second and third batches of the goats. Goat meat was on the ice, and a third block set was requested. There was a pile of bones and other discarded goat pieces. Most of the meat was saved off on one ice pile. Intestines, hand been left to one side, and the soldiers were moving the corpses once the butcher was done.

“I can move the meat or the refuse if you need me too, he said to the butcher.”

“I have some paper coming to wrap the meat into, how many more do you have?” The butcher asked.

“Three more pages.” He said to the gnoll butcher.

“The hooves and other parts, we have runners out and there should be more people shorlty. To take care of the rest” Salys said to him.

There were stacks of goat skins, some had to be matched up with the cuts and parts. A second butcher and two leather workers came and exchanged coin with Selys’s and they took the skins and the hooves.

The entire process took close to two hours, and once they got to the gargoyles, there were some gasps as they began to examine the gargoyles and salays counded out the corpses. The gargoyles began to be stripped apart, the rock-hard skin was flayed off and the innards and meat were exposed. They made quick work of the corpses throwing the rest into a pile.

The rock-hard skin was cut into strips and two carpenters bought the lot. The meat from both monsters was sold by the butchers who were more than happy to collect the coin on the fresh meat, and they had paid Selys when the last of the meat was sold.

The butchers slapped Elbee on the back, the gnoll and the drake were in good spirits. “That’s the most fun I have had in a long time, if felt good to carve up them goats and gargoyles.”

Elbee stood well back from the crowd, and people kept asking what gold rank team had killed the goats and gargoyls. After he had delivered the corpses he went back inside and asked the Drake receptionist if she could hold the proceeds. He asked where he could find the Antinium guardsman Klbkch. She gave him directions down the street.

Elbee slipped through the crowd and went down to the main guardsman building. When he entered it was quieter that the street, and a single Drake was behind a desk, he looked up when Elbee entered, “What can I help you with human?”

“I was wanting to talk with guardsman Klbkch, if that’s possible.”

“Whats this about? Klbkch is very busy.”

“Its antinium business, I was asked to make contact with the antnium here.”

“Ill see if hes in, he may be making his rounds.” The guardsman flagged down a guardsmen walking outside, “Klbkch in?” He asked the guardsman who was heading out. The guardsman nodded, “Yeah hes in”

“Third door on the left.” He said to Elbee and gestured down the corridor.

Elbee walked down the hall and through the door there, an antinium was working on some paperwork and said as he entered, “Is there something I can help you with?”

“Of course, I would like to talk with your queen, I bring a message from Rhir.”

The antinium stopped writing turned its head,”I am sorry my queen, has no business, or dealing with any humans on Rhir.”

What about humans who can speak with antinium?

“I wasn’t implying that your queen did or has, I have something I was asked to deliver.” He said taking off his backpack.

Klbkch stood up and put one hand on the hilt of his blade.

Elbee opened the backpack and held it open for him to see.

Klbkch was silent for an uncomforatable amount of time, “Please follow me”

Elbee fell in behind the Antinium shouldering the backpack and they quickly left through a side door and onto the street.

“Im really curious, you seem different than the others I have met” Elbee said.

“How so?” The antinium asked.

“Not sure, just more personable.”

“I will take that as a compliment.” He said as the quickly turned a corner and he halted for moment at an entry way into the ground.

“How many other antinium have you met?” He quiried. They entered into the underground two soldiers were standing guard and acknowledged the order to stand down.

“A couple of Rhir queens, something they called centenium and shapers?” Elbee replied.

Klbkch guided him into the labyrinth underground. “Wow this place is pretty big” Elbee noted in the narrow tunnel.

“This tunnel is a standard size” he replied as other antinium moved out of the way as they walked through the labyrinth.

“I ment, this complex, would it be too much to ask for a tour.”  Elbee asked.

Klbkch without missing a beat, said it as if he has said it hundreds of times in the past “We do not give tours of the hive.”

The arrived in a central area that he sensed was larger than the room they entered. The queen greeted them as they entered. “This is the strange human from Rhir?” She asked.

“My apologies your Majesty, I bring a message from the queens still on Rhir, and something else.” He set the backpack down and gently lifted out one of the eggs.

“This is a new antinium called an archive, I don’t think they are awake yet. There were four, I was given two to send to you, but since I had them when I arrived by accident on Izril I figured I would bring them myself.”

The Queen took the egg into one hand, the egg was tiny in her massive hand. “Why?”

“I spoke with the other queens and I understand you have no written language, and in that reguards you would if not careful lose more knowledge. These both have a genetic knowledge of everything the Hives on Rhir still retain.” He said holding out the second egg for her.

“No human, why do you a human bring these to me and not my bretheren?”

“I see, the simple answer is that life, all life is important. I don’t want to see the antimiums ideals and way of life fade. If I can contribute to that where is the harm.” He looked at Klbkch ,”I pose no threat here, I would defend your queen as you would. Because it’s the right thing to do.”

There was a silence as the two antinium weighed the situation, what it ment to them. The Queen held out her other hand for the second egg that Elbee presented to her. “You said you had a message,” the queen said to him ans she placed the two eggs into a workers hands.

“I do but I know not what it is, nor will I remember it even though I will be delivering it.” Elbee said as he retrieved his phone. “This device has a recording, from Rhir. It is a piece of technology, only very sophisticated, and I don’t know the context of the message.” He played a file, and then paused it. “I will leave this in your hands as a sign of trust, while you play the message.” He turned to Klbkch, Is there a place you can take me while you listen to this?”

He handed the phone to the queen, “just lightly touch the glass and the message will play, it is paused, and you can play it again if you want. I know there is some explination of how the phone works at the beginning, after that I have not viewed or watched this recording.”

Klbkch escorted him out and to a room that appeared to be lit, and there were antinium soldiers doing various activities, from picture books to painting. The soldiers stopped to stare at him as he entered.

“Greetings antinium soldiers, I will be able to hear you as an antnium would.”

Klbkch left him in the middle of a room of soldiers.

There was silence as they stared at the human, and the the mental questions began. Elbe answered as best as he was able.

He chatted with the soldiers for a while and then Klbkch returned and handed him the device. “You will show me how to remove that message.”

“Sure,” he showed him how to delete the message.

“You will be welcome in the hive, as long as you have an escort.”

“Who is pawn?” Elbee asked.

Klbkch replied, “A worker, who is not an aberration, and is helping the soldiers.”

“Ahhh, thank you makes more sense now. I hope I haven’t inconvieneced you to much?”

“You are an ally of the hive and brought a message from Rhir. My queen would like to speak with you.”

Elbee nodded and followed the antinium back to the queens chambers.

“You are a very strange human, most of your kind find fault with us at every turn, you seem to embrace the us as equals.“ The queen said as he entered back into the room.

“Its something you learn as you get older, hatred and animosity is a mind posion.”

“Mind posion?” Klbkch asked.

The antinium do not hate per say, you have an enemy and allies. You see things differently, that’s not to say you don’t forget past grievences, you accept them and find a way or reason they happened, a quite logicial thinking. Humans and the other races I have encountered, hold grudges, and bias. The antinium have made peace here, its fragile, but peace you have made.” He pasued as if trying to explain.

“We would ask your thoughts as both an outsider to Liscor and a friend to the antinium, how can we improve that peace.” The Queen asked.

“Show the other races, your talents or skills. That you can be a better ally than a terrifying enemy.  Im not sure how though, anything I suggest could backfire. I really don’t know this city very well.”

There was silence as they thought about it. “We have an election coming up soon, how would you suggest the antinium hande that?” Klbkch asked.

“An election, like people running for office?”

“Yes, there is movement in the populace that they want representation.”

“Stupid question where do the antinium fit in all of that?”

“We have offered to help finance some of the expenses the city has.” Klbkch replied.

“And what do the antinium get in kind?”

There was silence, “We get the good will of the population, “ Klbkch offered.

Elbee stared at them, “seriously?”

“What would you suggest?” The queen asked.

“Ok heres, an example. I have a magic book here thats got pages of stone. “ He took out the book and showed them the stone on the pages. On the pages it looked like there was stone and boulders perfectly drawn.

“I do not see how this picture book is relivaent?” the queen said.

“These are real stones and boulders. I cleaned a section of the High pass, and these are from there. I have no idea where to put them. But would the antinium be able to use them?”

“Perhaps in traps Belgrade uses in the defense of the hive, “ Klbkch suggested.

“There is value in the stone?” He asked.

“Yes, perhaps,” Klbkch said looking at the pages.

“Charge me for the stone, I am asking you for a favor, it’s a minor inconviences to your hive. Let us go ask this Belgrade. Your majesty, thank you for the meeting.”

“You have brought me something new. It is I who should be thanking you. You’re a very stange human, not as strange and Mrs Solstice.”

Klbkch escorted him to the underground area where there were workers moving earth and making fortifications. A worker came over to Klbkch and Elbee, “Is there a problem Progenetor? Who is this human.”

“A friend, but that’s for you to decide.” Elbee said, “I have a few pages of stone, would they be of any use to you?”

Belgrade looked at the open book pages. “I do not see how?”

 “Let me demonstrate. See this boulder, “ he pointed to it on the page.

“Of course, it is very well drawn”

“Watch. {invoke} the boulder on the page ” He looked for a clear spot, “place it ten feet in front of me{invoke}” There was a flash and the boald vanished off the page and appeared as a solid large stone, ten feet away.

“Remarkable!” Belgrade said, “The traps you could make with something like this.”

“It’s a simple spell to teach, very under valued. Would you want the rest of the stone?” He asked.

“I can find uses for the stone, the clear area there is acceptable. I unfortunately do not have the mage class.” He seems a little defeated.

Elbee put the stone down where there was space. He paused and asked once he was finished. “How much would it cost normally to move that amount of stone?”

Belgrade looked over at the pile, “I would estimate about thiry to forty gold.”

Elbee reached into his bag of holding and extracted fourty coins. “Thank you Belgrade, having full pages limits new things to move. Maybe you can do something for the workers here.”  He held out the coins.

Klbkch turned and said as he left, “Would you escort our guest wherever he wants to go”

“Who are you.” Belgrade asked.

“Oh I am Lord Bloodstone, or if you want call me EL Bee. I came from Rhir.” He looked at the defenses, “Whats all this for?”

“To keep monsters from coming into the hive from the dungeon.”

“Dungeon?” Elbee asked.

“There is a dungeon.” He said as a matter of factly

“Oh!, now I get it, I though the hive was much bigger, now I see where the defenses are and the dungeon starts”

“What are you referring to?” Belgrade asked somewhat confused.

“I have some geomancer skills and can see stone, and openings in stone. There are some areas you may want to check and reinforce.”

“Would you be willing to show me and the workers where.” He asked.

“Sure, tell me about Liscor.”

It was an hour later when Belgrade escorted Elbee out of the hive, “Its been informative Belgrade, I am sorry I took up so much of your time, I hope I was helpful. Its hard to imagine Liscor not taking better measures to protect the citizenry here.”

“I have not been asked, I just made my observations known. I must now return to my work.”

Elbee found his way back to the guild hall, a different receptionist was at the window. “Hi, I’m back” he said to the gnoll behind the counter.

“Who are you again?” she asked.

“I am Elbee, I dropped off the eater goats and gargoyles earlier.”

“I was told to send you up to talk to the guildmaster.” The gnoll pointed to the steps.

Elbee headed up and found the open office, the older drake woman was sitting at her desk, and looked up when he entered.

“Please close the door and have a seat.” She said gesturing to the chair in front of the desk.

“Why do I feel like I am in trouble.” He said closing the door.

“I want to know what your after, someone said you went into the antinium hive. I hope your not thinking of causing trouble with the hive.”

“Not at all, I have the greatest admiration for the antinium, I just had a message from Rhir to deliver.”

“Would you care to share that message?”

“Sorry, I am unable to do so, its already been delivered, I did not know the contents of the message.”

“I have a few other questions, for you before I let you operate as an adventurer in Liscor.”

“Are you here for the dungeon?” She asked.

“Nope didn’t even know about it until the antinium mentioned it.”

“How long are you going to be here? And more importantly why are you here?”

“Well I had to deliver a message to the Antinium other than that I am waiting for a ride back home.”

“You have some classes, that I don’t have in my guild books. I would like to know what a [dragonsoldier] is as well as the [artificer] and [Empty] class.”

“Why is everyone so freaked out by my classes?” he asked.

“I want to document what they are, I made some inquiries, and have no information on you. You’re a total mystry”

“Well a [dragonsoldier] is a combat casting class, it augments and existing class, and levels. You also can’t level into it, it must be granted. The [empty] class is a spellcasting hybrid, it’s a way to have several casting types in one class. Its like a wizard, psion and mage with engineer abilities. The last one, [artificer] is an item creation class.”

The drake woman was writing everything onto a sheet of paper. “If I may ask, how do you feel about drakes?”

“I like drakes, I know a few back on Rhir, theres Hijala, I made her into an assassin, then Enevia Rustscale, Maldis Snowdrop and theres a  really shy caster Illapressa Lavandarius.”

“Who is your Leige?” She asked.

“The Blighted King.”

“Let me be honest with you. You scare the scales off me, I was a gold rank adventurer and even a dozen eater goats would be terrifying for me in my prime, with the rest of my team. You are on a whole other level than anyone I have even heard about. I spoke with the assistant guildmaster in Invrisil, ans she told me you have over sixty levels. I have never heard of anyone in recent history having more than fifty.” She steepled her claws, “Take into the King naming you the Paragon Host tell my why I shouldn’t report you to the watch commander and have you escorted around while your here?”

Elbee laughed, “why?”

“To make sure you don’t cause any trouble.”

“Seriously what kind of trouble could I get into?” He asked.

“That’s what I am afraid of. Where are you staying” she asked.

“Uh that inn outside the gates.”

“Erin Solstice’s inn, please don’t cause any issues, while your there, she causes enough trouble on her own, I have no idea the two of you could do. I have your gold here if you want it,” she said lifing a small bag of coins out of the desk.

“Actually, could you put it here” He held out his book.

She dropped it onto the book and it fell into the page, “Astounding, what kind of artifact is that?”

“Book of storage” He replied. “That it?”

 “For now,” she waved at him dismissively.

Elbee left the guild hall and wandered around the city for another hour. He found small park and sat down on a bench.

A gnoll child said loudly, “Momma that human stinks really bad.”

Elbee sniffed himself, oblivios to the stench he was extruding. A gnoll [guardsman] and a drake approached him, “Scuse me sir,” The gnoll asked.


“That park bench is for familys, is there something we can help you find?” The gnoll asked giving him a look. 

“I seem to have gotten turned around, I am looking for the gate to the inn, and before that maybe a clothing shop?”

“What inn?” the drake asked.

“Uhhh, the one outside the gates, I don’t recall the name, it was dark when I got in last night?”

“Oh the crazy humans inn,” the drake nodded. “Well you can use the door, and that’s four blocks over on the outer wall. As for a clothing shop that’s on the other side of the city.”

They gave him directions and he headed off to find what he was looking for.

Several stops later and getting stopped by two more groups of guardsmen, he had purchased a changed of clothes, and found the bath house. He then was directed to the door.

He opened the door to a blank wall, “What is this some kind of joke?” he said loudly.

A brown scaled drake woman who was passing said to him, “You humans have no patience, its not always working.”

“Oh” he said staring at the blank wall, he closed the door. The brown scaled drake woman shook her head and continued walking.

Elbee stood there ten minutes and checked the door, gave up and started following he outer wall. He found the western gate and followed the outer wall till he found the inn. His horse had been moved to one side, so it was more out of the way.

He saw antinium working on one side of the building and waved. One of the workers waved back.

He opened the door, it was quiet. The gnoll waiter paused when he saw Elbee, “I apologize sir there was an incident last night and I completely forgot about bringing you another plate.”

“No worries, I was tired. Is it slow?” he asked looking around.

“For the moment, can I get you anything?”

“Sure, how about you surprise me.“ He found a table towards the back of the room and sat down.

The [waiter] arrived with a plate with two slices of pizza and a mug of ale. Elbee tore into the pizza and drank the ale, “Must be hungrier than I thought.” He waived over the waiter who was cleaning another table.

“Can I help you?” The gnoll waiter asked.

“Sure can you bring me something else,” he set four gold coins in a stack on the table.

The waiter returned with a hamburger and fries with maynoayes and ketsup. Elbee tasted the burger and fries added some mayo to his burger.

A Hobgoblin and a yellow antinium came in, and they sat down at a table in the middle of the room.

Elbee picked up his plate and ale and walked over to their table.

“Hi, would it be all right if I sat here?”

Both the antinium and Hobgoblin stared at him.

“Ill buy, if you haven’t ordered yet.”

The two of them continued to stare at him.

“Did I get mayo on my face.” He said wiping his mouth.

“I was under the impression humans did not like antinium or goblins.”

“How can I not like you two I never met you before. I was talking wil Belgrade earlier, and I haven’t really talked to a hobgoblin in a while. Im.. El bee, or Bloodstone, whats your names?”

“I am Yellow Splatters” The antinum said.

“Numbtounge” The hobgoblin said still staring.

“Oh, that explains the rucas last night.”

The two of them continued to stare at him.

The gnoll waiter came over to defuse the situation. “Is there something I can get you two?”

“Whatever they want,” Elbee said dropping ten gold coins onto the gnolls tray.

The gnoll blinked but didnt say anything. The two of them ordered the same as Elbee, a hamburger with fries.

Elbee slid the fries ove to the others at the table, “While you wait for your meal.”

He had just taken a drink when two hands slamed down on the table. A fair skinned human with light brown hair in a pony tail was glaring at him across the table. “How dare you insult my staff?” She said levling an angry gaze at Elbee. There was a palatable change in the aura of the inn as if everything wanted him out.

“I sorry what?” Elbee asked confused.

“I don’t take kindly to people insulting my friends names.” She said glaring.“Don’t think you can weasel out of this.”

Elbee looked shocked, “Please tell me what your talking about.”

“You called my barmaid a ditzy princess.”

Elbee slapped his hand on his face, “I called her a Disney princess. I thought she looked like one from a movie, sorry I am guessing you have no idea what I am talking about”

For a moment the woman stared at him, she looked over at Numbtoung and Yellow splatters and then back at him, “Oh, What movie?”

“I can’t recall the title. My wife would know shes a big fan of the movies.”

“I see, and why are you here?” She asked the anger vanishing as fast as it had appeared.

“I was going to ask these two some advice, but I see their lunch has arrived. Perhaps you can tell me how you got here.”

“This is my inn” She said waving her hands to show off the inn.

The gnoll waiter dropped off the two burgers and fried for them.

“I didn’t see you come in I was watching the door.” Elbee said

“I came from Liscor,” She pointed to the door at the back of the inn.

A drake and a gnoll at another table called out to her, “Erin!” The drake called, Elbee noticed it was the


from the adventurues guild.

“Well you behave, these are my friends as well.” she said to Elbee.

 “Yes Ma’am.” Elbee said somewhat apologetic, He felt like he was being admonished and he wasn’t even sure what he had done.

As she walked away, he asked Numbtounge, “She always so intense?”

Numbtouge shrugged.

There was a a shout from the table, “He’s a what!?” Erin shouted at the receptionist, every eye turned and looked not at the goblin but the unassuming human sitting with a goblin and antinium.

There was a chirp from his earpiece, and he touched it. “Good afternoon, hold on a moment” He looked at the antinium and the goblin, “I have to take this, I don’t want to be rude so I will go outside.” He got up and eyes followed him as he left and walked out the front door.

“Who was he talking to?” YellowSplatters asked.

“Dono” Numbtounge said, “Whats a mithril adventurer?”

YellowSplatters took a fry and ate it, “Why?”

“They are talking about him, being one?”

The antinium stared at Numbtounge, “They are higher than gold rank, though I have never heard of one.”

The two of them stared as he left, they both looked at each other the food in front of them. They ate quickly and hurried after the strange human.

They saw him walking back and forth talking to himself and waving his hands.

“Is there something wrong with that human?” YellowSplatters asked.

“Dono, you think he will spar with us?”

Elbee looked over at the two of them standing at the door of the inn he waved and smiled and continued talking.

“Im in Liscor, there an inn outside the city, the company is nice, its strange being in a city with non-humans.” He listened for a bit. “Lets see, Drakes, Gnolls, and I think there are goblins, not sure I never got to ask. Oh and I made contact with the Antinium, the queen was nice, I think she was shocked that I delivered the message and the package.” He stopped to listen,”Well have a safe trip, call me if you want.” He touched the ear piece and walked over to the two of them standing there.

“Sorry, I had to talk to my wife, they just left Rhir and are sailing to come get me.”

“Is it true,” Numbtounge asked..

“Is what true?” Elbee said looking at them.

“It has been suggested you are a Mithral rank adventurure” Yellow Splatters finished.

“Uh, yeah I guess.”

“Would you be available to teach us something?” Yellow Splatters asked.

Elbee looked them over, “I’m not sure what I could teach you.”

“How about fight us?” Numbtoung suggested.

“For real or a mock fight?”

“If its for real, I would have to decline. A mock fight I think I could do, but I don’t think that it would be fair.”

“The two of us have relised we need to become stronger after the incident last night.” Yellow Splatters stated.

“Tell me what happened.”

The three of them talked and ended up going back inside to get more food and talk more. The innkeeper Erin came around and asked pointed and direct questions, of Elbee. He answered not because her questions where trivial, but she kept bringing foot to the table.  There were others that wanted to come over, it seemed they didn’t want to interrupt the conversation at the table between the Goblin, Antinium and Elbee.

“Your saying levels are irrelevant?” YellowSplatters asked.

“Partially, it’s the skills that are more important. Now don’t get me wrong, the levels help. You need to challenge yourself, I suppose I could spar with you two, I don’t think the inn keeper would approve. I would have trouble as well, so as not to hurt you. I mean take my weakest blade, it’s a collistion razor sword.”

“Whats that mean?” Numbtoung asked.

“Oh, the blade is sharp and reinforced, its enchanted to be sharp or simulate sharpness. I hear theres a class that can make a blade sharp, I never ran into one, so I had to make do with what I know about cutting. It breaks chemical bonds on contact, even swinging it sounds odd, as it collides with air and breaks chemical bonds.”

“What are chemical bonds?” Yellow Spaltters asked.

Elbee opened his mouth to explain, and stopped, “Maybe a practical demonstration?”

Elbee took off his sword and sheath and set it on the table. He drew the blade out by about an inch, “If you look closely you can see a slight distortion right at the edge of the blade. That’s the debonding enchantment. It will cut anything below a certain element on the periodic table. For example, gold “, he dropped the coin onto the blade, and it jumped off the blade and rolled across the table. He took a French fry and dropped it across the blade. The fry was sliced perfectly in half. “Organic material, that’s lower on the periodic table is sliced. “I have it set low, but someone with this knowledge could in theory wear gold armor and be safe from the edge”. Elbee smiled, “magical metals would most likely work as well, its not going to cut, but the collition enhancement would still take effect.”

“That’s interesting, could you explain that?” A young man with brown hair that looked like it hadn’t been combed in month asked from across the single chair that was unoccupied. His robe and pouches made him out to be a mage.

Elbee eyed him, “I suppose”

The young man pulled out the chair and sat down. The red-haired girl from earlier dropped a plate of fries on the table. A white furred hand stnuck up from under the table to try and grabe some fries.  “No Mrsha, your food is almost done.” She said admonishing the small white gnoll who was under the table.

Elbee stared at the gnoll, “Hello”

The gnoll waved, and then pointed to the fries and rubbed her belly. “Yes, they are good, did you help make them?”

The gnoll shook her head no and opened her mouth and pointed. “Oh, you just eat them”

The small white gnoll nodded.

A half-elf woman came over to talk with the young man, “You can’t just barge into a conversation.” She was heard saying to him.

The young man with the unkempt brown hair, “Look at his gear,”

The elven woman took a harder look and said, “Dead gods” she looked at him, “How are all your items so quiet?”

“Most because I made them that way, or dampened down the noise”

Elbee put his sword away, “Like I was saying, I can’t use my equipment its to dangerous. One of you has something that’s really buzzing, its slight but that would give me a headache if I had to carry it” He looked at the Half elf and then the Human, the to the small gnoll, “Its you, what do you have that’s making that horrible noise?”

The small white gnoll shrugged.

“You have any magic items?” Elbee asked.

Mrsha showed her teeth, and pulled out a small bone wand, she glanced once at the brown-haired mage and held it out.  Elbee looked at the wand, “what have you been doing to this, may I see it and fix it if possible” he held out his hand.

Mrsha hesitated and then slapped it into his hand. Elbee held it close to his eye, “Tooth marks, have you been chewing on it?”

Mrsha nodded slowly.

“I will fix it, but if you keep chewing on it, it will possibly explode.”

“I highly doubt it will explode.” The brownhaired man said skeptically.

Elbee stared at the brown-haired man then back to Mrsha, “Theres mixed energies on this wand.” He held out the wand twith it cradled on the flesh between his hand finger and thumb. The wand began to glow a brilliant white. “Normally instabilities with eventually crack a wand.”

He let go and the wand hung in the air, still glowing. Elbee began to move his hands around it as if wrapping it with something. Some of the smaller dents in the bone wand smoothed over. A small white fured hand reached up to grab the wand.

“Almost done,” The glow subsided, and he plucked it out of the air and held it out for the gnoll.

“I added some reinforment, to the wand. I still wouldn’t chew on it.” The gnoll tentatively took the wand and flourished it gently.

“It’s quite”, the half elf said.

“I hope so, theres enough magical enchantment to keep it from breaking,” He looked at the gnoll, “As long as someone doesn’t chew on her wand.”

The Gnoll smiled and ran off to the other table.

“Are you an enchanter?” The broen-haired man asked.

“[Artificer], my wife is an enchanter”

“Would you have any spells you would want to trade?” The brown-haired man asked.

“You have any tier six or seven spells?” Elbee asked.

“Six, or seven” The helf elf asked.

“Yeah, for some reason those books are missing from my bag, I think my wife took thoes specific books, and I don’t want to ask because I am sure I told her it was ok.”

“Whats the highest tier you have?” The half elf asked.

“Tenth, but I haven’t ever casted them as they are really specific.”

The brown-haired man was shaking slightly,” What about fifth?”

“These two want to get stronger. Its kind of late to be planning anything, I have an idea, I can delay my trip back tnorth for a couple of days. How about I take you all into the high pass?”

There was silence, as everyone at the table just stared at him in shock.

“What?” Elbee asked wiping his face. “Ok maybe not, what if we had a wargame?”

“Wargame?” YellowSplatteres asked.

“Yeah, you want leadership skills, and the way to do that is to have a wargame with definite win situations and lose situations. How about this, I give your team a spoon, and your goal its to keep it safe. I will give your team flags if a player loses a flag they are out, If I get all the flags, your team loses. How about I go into Liscor and get the cloth for the flags.”

“How many can be on a team?” The brown-haired man asked.

“As many as you want, I will make a bunch of flags. Also I want to see how well I can do tracking down something and defending myself, without hurting anyone. Now as for the rewards,” Elbee said, “Whats something that would be good no mater what, gold? Gems? Magic items? Food? Vouchers? Thinking about it now, maybe we can put this off for a week or two. I have to take care of some things up north, I can come back down here and have all the rules and items ready before hand.”

There sighs of disappointment.

“What about two weeks from now. Mrs Erin,” Elbee called.

The innkeeper came back over, “What?”

“Would you be interested in sponsoring a game, in two weeks. “ He asked.

“I have no idea if I can commit to that, Im busy helping my friends with an election and then running my inn.”

“Well if we can find you change your mind or find someone to sponsor, I can put in some good prizes.” He looked at Erin, “Im going to head back in the morning to Invrisil. I would be more than happy to bring you anything you might need.”

There were murmurs of disappointment.

“I know, but I sometimes get ahead of myself. I will be back, in a couple of weeks.”

“What about the spells,” the brown-haired mans asked.

“Well right now I can’t really copy them properly for you, my daughter can when she gets here. They are sailing from Rhir.”

With that he got up and went upstairs to rest.

There was some disappointment but there was also talk of what kind of game they could play when he returned.

The next morning, he left early before dawn, and headed north through the normal pass from Liscor. No one had shown him the magic door, that could have cut time off his journey, or informed him that if he had waited the team carring a door would have made it to Invrisil.

Authors note: This ends this arc and the story for Elbee/Bloodstone, I don’t know if Pirate Aba has found it informative, interesting or helpful. I know there are some issues in the beginning with continuity. As for being cannon, as a writer working in another authors world, the only one who can make characters cannon is the original author. For continuity sake, everything that happened in this story is an alternate time line. This was an excersize in writing to get the rust off and see if was possible to pace my self to write. Mission accomplished. Having written about 637 pages this is the largest body of work I have done to date. I have other projects that have been sitting for a year plus and now that I feel comforatable writing I will pick them up dust them off.

Personal note to Pirate Aba: I sometimes wanted to bug you about certain things and refrained, for several reasons. The first is that I know that there are times that you are in crunch mode trying to get your work out for a Tuesday or Saturday deadline, answering even a simple message can derail a great train of thought. The second is that I am a guest in this world and I really want to tread lightly. The wandering inn is six books worth of content and still going, some of what I have written will never be considered even relivant. I started this in January of 2018 and am wrapping it up today August 15, 2019 Lastly thank you Pirate Aba for such an interesting and dynamic ongoing story.


Gamers Eight Epilogue part 1

Bloodstone awoke, hanging upside down from a tree. There were three goblins arguing over a leather backpack. His arms had been bound behind him and his feet were tied. The rope went up over a heavy branch and was tied to another tree.  He swung slightly in the breeze about a foot off the ground. A small pile of wet mud was below him, and pieces fell off as he swung in the slight breeze.

His two bags of holding and the case for his book were off to one side in a pile. Along with his sword one of the goblins had it in his left hand.

Well at least I’m out of the mud” he mumbled.

The goblin became more animated pushing one another and one gesturing to the muddy thing they had hanging.

Bloodstone untied the knot using


and dropped to the ground. “OOF”

The goblins looked startled, and the one tried to draw the sword, and it wouldn’t come out of the sheath. He threw it down and grabbed a crude club, more of a twisted branch.

The goblin swung and Bloodstone backed up. The other goblins threw stones. “Look stop before someone gets hurt.”

The goblin kept swinging, Bloodstone glanced at his sword and used the skill [telekenisis] again and pulled the blade to his left hand. Turning the blade slightly he pulled it free of the scabbard.

The goblin went wide eyed and ran.

Bloodstone put the blade back, and began gathering his things. He touched behind his ear and didn’t find the communication device. There was some crusted blood and mud. “Well shit” he mumbled to himself. And another shock is that his ear was pointed, “Oh yeah the curse, where the heck am I?”

He checked the backpack and saw they eggs were still intact. Opening his main bag of holding there he found a hardboiled egg that tasted like leather, and some stale bread, that he washed down with the last of his water.

He checked the food and realized that Violet still had all the food supplies. “I’m going to starve, half a loaf of bread.” He saw the goblin peeking at him as he ate the bread. “Here you can have the rest” he said setting the bread down on a larger log.

He left them and picked a direction and started walking. After about an hour of walking he came out of the wooded area to a clearing with a road running across it.

“First thing where is that bugged ring” he started digging in the second bag of holding and pulled out a gold ring with a single diamond set into the gold. He looked at the ring, it was noisy, the ring was not balanced properly and looking at it in the light he could see it was junk unless he could fix it properly. He sat down by a tree and set to work fixing it. The sun was beginning to set when he finished the ring and put it on. He then got up and started walking along the road picking the direction of the setting sun. As the sun began to set he realized that he hadn’t had anything to eat, since early morning.

The road wound through woods, and onto what looked like fields, with stone walls about chest high. “None of this looks familiar” He saw a farm house off in the distance and walked along the road, he did find a path that lead up to the farm house. He walked up the path, and got to the front door. The farm house had been abandoned for a while. The door was broken open. He listened and all he heard was the wind blowing the distant trees.

There was a large barn, and he looked at it and turned back to the road, the barn was partially burned out. “Where am I?”

He walked until he was out of site of the farmhouse and there were no more fields’ just wooded areas that had the dirt road through them. He stopped and unpacked the sleeping roll from his primary bag, just off the path, he went to sleep.

The sun woke him very early and his stomach grumbled. He heard a wagon coming from the direction he was traveling and packed up the roll and walked to the side of the road.

It was an ox drawn wagon, pulling a wagon filled with what looked like beets. The man driving looked older and was dressed plainly, with a hat on his head. He smiled a partially toothless smiled. The wagon driver slowed down and stopped, “Morning to you” He said.

“Morning, could you tell me where the nearest town is” He asked

“Bout an hour or so in the direction I am going.”

“Would you mind if I caught a ride with you?”

“What’s a young feller doing out in these parts,” The older man asked.

“Getting lost, I am totally turned around; could you tell me the name of the nearest town?”

“Well they call it Telizmet, I think it’s just a rather sorry excuse for a mud hole, nothing there to see or worth stopping for, me I’m on my way to the city.”

“I see, what city?”

“Why Invrisil,, I take my beets in every first harvest. I don’t mind you keeping me company; maybe keep them bandits from giving me any hassle.”

Bloodstone smacked his forehead, “I was going the wrong way!”

The old man chuckled as he climbed up to the seat next to him. “You been wrastling pigs kid? You stink, like one my hogs”

“Sorry haven’t found a place to wash the mud off this armor. I don’t even have clothes that fit anymore.”

“You like beets kid?” he asked.

“Can’t say that I know what they are like.”

“You some noble kid run away from home, with that fancy sword?”

“No nothing like that, just lost is all.”

The old man eyed him and snorted, “Well whats yur story.”

“You wouldn’t believe me.”

“Try me, I have been around a long time in these parts.”

Bloodstone told him how he had woken up chest deep in the mud, being attacked by goblins and being lost in the woods.

The old man laughed, “them goblins, are right ornery critters, your lucky they didn’t eat you for breakfast.”

The old man who Bloodstone had learned was named Everad, and was a beet [farmer]. They passed the time talking about the locals and the weather and storms that had passed recently.

They rounded a bend in the road and into the town, the roads were still muddy, and created deep ruts where the wheels pushed the squishy mud out of the way. The ox was having a difficult time, as it approached the center of town. There was a brand new building off to one side of the road, “That’s new“ Everad said noting the inn, he didn’t even slow down just kept the ox moving through the slick mud.

“Hey Everad,” A man called.

“What do you want Boultend”, Everad asked.

“I thought you might want to stop at the inn.”

“Why, I have a deadline to keep and these roads plain suck, I thought you were going to get them fixed.”

“We built the inn, to get more people to stop.”

“Bah, idiot!” Everad said loudly.

“Inn?” Bloodstone asked Everad.

“Don’t bother, we will stop at a good place this evening, if your hungry eat one of my beets”

 Bloodstone took one of the beets and bit into it. It was delicious.  “Mmmm mm mmmm mmmm mmm” He said chewing.

“They all say that” Everad laughed.

They drove out of the muddy area and back onto the road, Everad complaining about the [Headman] and his lack of common sense.

They stopped two towns over at an inn, it was a descent sized inn but there seemed to be an empty. The innkeeper looked frazzled.  Everad, and Bloodstone were talking to the [innkeeper].

“What do you mean he moved?” Everad asked for the third time.

“He got a better offer and sold this inn, I figured how hard can it be?” The innkeeper said.

“So where did he move to?” Everad asked.

“Some new inn a couple of towns west of here by the river,” The innkeeper said, “Do you want a room or not?”

“At them prices that’s highway robbery. Eight silvers for a night, to stay in the stables. C’mon kid we can do better.” Everad turned to leave.

“I can pay if,“ Bloodstone offered.

“Kid, don’t waste your money.” Everad said leaving in disgust

Bloodstone followed him, “What now?”

“We camp outside kid, your not afraid of the outdoors?” Everad asked him and the both climbed back onto the wagon.

“No, I think twelve silvers are a bit high for one night when the inn is that empty.” Bloodstone replied.

“Highway robbery is what it is, It’s been two silvers, ever since that inn was built. Now if there’s a festival or something, I could see a rate increase.” They rode out of town.

A little way out of town they pulled over into a grassy wooded area, and watched the sun set.

Bloodstone used his sleeping gear and setup the tent.

“You must be someone important to have a magic bag like that, I never did ask your name kid.” Everad said helping with the tent.

“Oh sorry, I didn’t realizes I hadn’t introduced myself.”

“It’s ok kid, I figured you didn’t want people to know who you were, in case someone wanted to try and kidnap you for a ransom. Your folks know your running around the countryside?”

“Uhhh, hu hu hu, I’m older than I look. Only ones that are most likely worried about me are my wives.”

“Now there’s no need to make up stories. This side is all set.”

“Well if that’s true are you running from your obligations?” He teased.

“Nope I am just lost. Though how I got here most likely could be duplicated, I like breathing.”

“You’re a little strange kid.”

Bloodstone shrugged, “You asked.”

“So where are you from?”

“Originally another world, called Earth, or Terra. I was summoned to Rhir a few months back.”

“Now I know your trying to pull the wool over my eyes. You get here by ship then?”

“No I…I fell from throwing a dangerous monster, I tried going home but something is preventing me.”

“Well if you are really telling me the truth, then you best keep that to yourself. Some of the nobles around these parts, are always looking for the angle.”

“Thanks, I haven’t given it much thought.”

“I know a noble kid, when I see them. Your a lot nicer than most of them I have had the misfortune of dealing with.”

“Who’s the local noble here in this area?”

“That would be Lady Reinhart, strict but fair, only ever met her once when she was checking all the farms, asked me some pointed questions, asked if planned on growing anything other than beets. Never saw her again after I politely told her that I liked growing beets.”

Bloodstone finished, and sat down on one of the folding wooden chairs from the bag of holding. “That’s pretty handy, kid,”

“Oh? I have two more I think my wife walked off with the last one in the set.”

They talked for about an hour, about various subjects, and Invrisil the city of adventures. Everad was soon asleep, Bloodstone sat in the wooden chair starring at the night sky. Nothing had gone as he planned, he had at least two objectives, once contact Coreen and let her know he was in Izril, and unable to teleport back home, due to some curse or error conditions he was under. The second was he needed to deliver the two new antinium to the antinium on Izril. A third objective was to find his ear piece; it needed to be found as it had full access to the network. He wasn’t tired, and for some reason this bothered him more so that he though.

I didn’t take them long to make the trip to the gates of Invrisil. The guards were checking wagons and there was another line for foot traffic.

Everard got into the line of wagon taking goods to the market. Bloodstone had given him one of the three folding chairs, for when he decided to sell his goods. “I’ll see you at the inn tonight?”

“Sure, I will try and stop over in the market, if I have time.”

“Sure kid.”

Bloodstone decide that his first order of business was to send a message to Coreen and try and get the encryption key to the communication hub. With it he could try and locate his missing comm device.  The difficulty was that there were only a couple of people who even had any idea what the key was and where to find it. Those included Newton, Lady Amethyst and Kuya, possibly Xrye would know but she had issues with the computer and didn’t have a mindset to use it. Brigitte would know what it was but would not have any idea how to find it. He couldn’t include instructions, and the key itself would have to be disguised. Newton would know how to do that, since it was his idea initially to use them.  His second order of business would to be to get changed, and to do that he needed to get some clothes, and out of the leather armor he had been wearing for about two weeks now.

The guard didn’t even say anything as he walked into the city. It was busy at the gate, and he moved along with traffic until he got to a less congested area and asked a guardsman where he could find a place to send a message.

“Well if you need a runner, there’s the runner’s guild, and just next door is the mages messaging. You new to the city?” the young man said eyeing him.

“Yes, it’s a pretty big place any advice?”

“Yeah, stay out of trouble.”

“Good to know, could you give me directions to the runners guild?”

“Yeah the adventurers guild is on the same block.” The guard then called over one of the kids in the street, “Hey show this guy where the runners guild is.”

The kid held out his hand, the guard looked at Bloodstone.

Bloodstone dropped a silver coin into the kid’s palm, “This way mister.”

He followed the kid through the streets, noting landmarks and places of interest. When they arrived the kid asked him, “You need anything else mister?”

“Yes, now that you mention it, would you be willing to wait for me, ill make sure you get lunch and you can show me where a few things are? Up to you if you’re here when I get out.”

“Sure mister.”

He nodded and entered the mage’s guild. There were two [receptionists], and he walked up to one of them. “I need to send a message to someone in Rhir.”

The woman looked at him, “Well if you want it sent we can do that, its twenty gold per message, more if its longer, and if we have to make sure your message is delivered.”

“Can you take it down or do you need me to write it out?” he asked her.

“Up to you, I can let you rent a quill and buy sheets or parchment.”

“I’m good with the quill and parchment. Ill get it written up and you can tell me how much it will cost to send.”

“Sure, you can use one of the desks.“ She pointed out six desks off to one side in a row.

He sat down pulled out parchment and a pen, not a quill.  He proceeded to write a short letter to Coreen and his other wives.

To Coreen Stone,

               Third wall fortress, Rhir

I wanted to let you and the others know, I am in the city of adventure Invrisil, on Izril. Slight miscalculation, lost comm device, will attempt to recover. Will need some assistance returning, unable to TP, do to error conditions. Will also need a hub unlocked to key new device, Newton can unlock. Will wait for instructions, warmest regards.


He took the message up to the receptionist. She looked it over, “To send this, twenty five gold for the initial message and an additional ten to make sure we have the correct contact. Now who should we hold any replies for.”

Bloodstone handed over fifty gold coins. “In case there is any additional cost.”



, smiled and took the coins, and gave him a receipt for the initial message. “How long before I have confirmation it was received?”

“Twenty-four hours, at the minimum. You can check back tomorrow. I still need a name.”

“ElBee.” He replied.

“Ok Mr Elbee here is your receipt, thank you for doing business with us.”

Bloodstone left the building, the kid came over, and asked him, “What do you want to go now mister?”

“Something to eat, then back to the adventurer’s guild and then to a clothes shop, after that lunch.”

The kid nodded, “Follow me” and took off down the street.

He followed the kid to an open market, where there were races of every kind selling wares, from food to trinkets. There was half a dozen [merchants] selling more expensive goods on the fringes of the open market. The kid brought him to one section where they were selling meat, vegetables, fruits, spices, and anything else you could use for cooking.

Bloodstone stopped at one vendor and asked how much the cubed chicken on a stick was, he was given the price, and without haggling he bought six, handed two to the kid and ate one. “Thanks mister”

“You’re a growing boy, no sense in wasting your coin when I have you running all over for me.”

Two other kids one a boy the other a girl who obviously knew the first kid, found him and asked him a bunch of questions. The approached Bloodstone who was finishing the third skewer off to one side of the vendors stall.

“Hey mister, who are you?” the first kid asked, his friend behind him. He had given them each one of the skewers.

“Here, since your intent on sharing, call me Elbee.” He handed him the last skewer. He turned and walked over to another vendor and purchased two small towels. And washed his hands and offered the other one to the kid. “If you have to go, I think I can figure my way around the city, I did promise lunch though, so here take your friends and have a good lunch.” He handed the kid a single gold coin.

“Thanks mister Elbee”

“Just stay out of trouble.” They three of them ran off into the market.

He wandered through the market, just looking, he hadn’t seen such a display of different foods, half he wasn’t even sure what they were. He also some there were other people making sales, knives, pots and pans, jewelry, not that he needed any of it, he left the market and started heading back to the guild areas, when he spotted what he was looking for a [tailor] shop. He stepped into the shop and an older woman was behind a counter, most of what was in the shop were female dresses and more feminine accessories.

“Are you looking for something for a lady friend” The woman asked looking him over.

“I saw the [tailor] sign and figured you would know a good [tailor], I need some clothes, most of what I have doesn’t fit.”

The woman smiled, “I know someone who can help, you go down two doors and Mr, Seams can help you.”

“Thank you,” He said.

She laughed, “I’m sending you to the best tailor in the city.”

He left and went do the shop two doors down. He entered a well-kept shop, there were no windows shat showed onto the street. It was  clean, with a rug and a couple of chairs near the door.  An older man looked up from behind a desk.  He was going bald and his hair was a black and gray.  He was a tall thin man. His steel gray eyes met his “Can I help you” He asked.

“The woman on the corner said to come here.” He replied.

“I see, what can I help you with?”

“I need to get some new clothes, I just have armor on, and I know my other clothes won’t fit.”

“I see, let me take some measurements, and see what we can do. Would you be able to take that armor off?”

“I can.” Bloodstone began unbuckling the leather armor and looked for somewhere to put it that wouldn’t cause a mess.

“One moment,” he stepped into a back room and pulled four burlap bags and set them on the floor.

“Thanks, I really don’t like making a mess.”

After he was out of the armor, the [tailor] looked him over making notes on a small sheet at the desk. “Do you know what you want to have done?”

“four shirts, four pants, a new set of boots, actually make it five. I prefer something that breaths, either cotton or silk.”

The man wrote some notes on the paper, “The shirt and pants, I can do, I know a good [Cordwainer] and a good [thonger] I would recommend the [cobbler] two streets over if you looking for something more exotic, he would be able to point you in the right direction. As for the cost, I will charge forty gold per pair of pants and thirty-eight per shirt. If you want it as a rush order, I charge an additional twenty gold.”

“Whats a rush order?”

“Normally it would take about a week to do, however as we are having something of a market upset, I will charge twenty gold per for a rush order.”

“Market upset?” Bloodstone asked.

“We are currently in a [trade war] with anyone outside the Lady’s Domain. It happens occasionally. We just have to make due”

“I see, how much would you charge normally?”

“I assure you sir, this is a fair price.”

Bloodstone pulled out a large leather sack from one of his bags of holding and counted out eight hundred gold onto the desk.

“I realize I am putting you out to have this done, I want to make sure I at least have something nice to wear.”



smiled for the first time, it was a short smile than back to his stoic expression. “Thank you sir, I will get working on it immediately.”

The tailor gave him a written note and noted the sum and both initialized the document.

“I will have them done day after tomorrow.”

“Thanks, I will take the sacks out, so you don’t have to clean to much of my mess.”

“Very well sir.  Let me give you directions to the [cobbler]”

Bloodstone put the armor back on picked up the burlap sacks with the dirt and grime and walked out. Stuffing the burlap sacks into one of his bags of holding. He took the note and walked down two blocks and turned left, he found the cobblers shop, and entered.

The shop smelled of leather, and there were some boots already made, sitting in the window.

A brown bearded man and on a stool working a piece of leather on a short bench. The man was muscular and looked up when Bloodstone entered. His head was covered, in a red wool cap.  He stood up his leather overalls covering his clothes. “Morning.”

“I hear you are the best cobbler in the city.”

“Depends on how much coin you have, and what kind of foot wear your looking for”

“I have been walking around it boots that are a little too big for me. A new pair or two would help immensely.”

“I could tell the moment you walked in that you needed better boots. Do you have any preference?”

“I had these made on Rhir, they are functional, but not made specifically for me.”

“Well I usually have people trade in their foot ware, so that I can display my craft.” He gestured to the window. 

“Sure, how much for two new pairs of boots.”

The man looked at the scuffed and well-worn boots he wore, “depends you want any special kind of leather?”

“What kinds do you have.”

“I have a number of rare and unusual leather to make boots, I have griffon hide, lion, Corusdeer, and some wyvern hide. If there is something specific Like unicorn hide, well you would have to make the request to the adventures guild.”

“Seriously someone wanted unicorn hide boots.”

The man nodded, “I can make shoes or boots from just about anything that walks, swims, or flies. If you can make leather from it I can work it.“

“I see, as interesting as it might be to have unicorn boots, I think I might get some ladies really pissed if I did that.”

The man laughed, “That’s what happened.”

“The griffon hide sounds interesting, how hard is it to clean?”

“Well we don’t use the wings, most of the fletchers get the feathers, usually the rest of the hide, makes good footwear. You interested in a pair?”

“Yeah, that actually sounds interesting, what else would you recommend for the second pair?”

The man looked him over, “You ever thought of soft Curusdeer boots, good in the wintertime, and breaths in the summer. “

“You’re a good salesman, That’s a good second pair. What about something that’s fashionable?”

“Well I could make you a pair of Alligator boots, the few times I have made them they have turned out very well.”

“Ok, now the big question.”

The man laughed,” I have everything but the alligator, you could put in a request at the adventurer’s guild, and have it delivered here. As far as price, I usually take a down payment and the rest on delivery.”

“Ok how much of a down payment do you need?”

“A hundred fifty gold should take care of all three.” He replied.

Bloodstone shelled out the three hundred gold coins, “I trust you, I have it on a good recommendation that you’re the best in the city.”

“Ok let see them feet.”

He measured his feet, using an outline, on paper for each foot, he made three copies and set them aside. “I can give you a request for the adventurers guild.”

“Sure, ill head over there, any suggestions on a place to get cleaned up?”

“You want your armor cleaned as well?”

“Is there a place that does that?”

“Yeah there’s a bath house out by the south side of the city, they clean adventurers gear. I hear it’s a good place if you’re an adventurer. Not that I have ever been.”

“What about magic items, I need something specific, who would be the best to talk to?” Bloodstone asked.

“That would be Hedault that is if he’s available, you can always leave a word with his [secretary] she handles things when he is not in. I can give you a letter of introduction, I am usually the one making foot-ware for him to enchant for clients.”

“That would be awesome.” Bloodstone said enthusiastically.

The man chatted with him about other sites in the town and asked him. “In town long?”

“I’m not really sure now, maybe a week or less. I do have to figure out where Liscor, is and head down that way. How long will the boots take?”

“Three days, longer if the alligator hide is hard to acquire. The first two pairs should be done by then”

Bloodstone left his shop with several parchments, folded up and sealed in wax.

His first stop was the adventurer’s guild. There were some adventurers presumably training in the small training yard off to one side of the building. He walked into the guild hall and stood behind two dwarves. They walked to the next window while he waited.

“Next” the [receptionist] called.

Bloodstone walked up to the receptionist, and noticed that she was a sephalid, right off the bat. “Morning, I have a couple of things. I have a request from my


for alligator,” He handed her the letter. She took the letter opened it and read the contents, she put a few notes on it and filed it in a cubby hole behind her. “What else?”

“I would like to register as an adventurer”

The woman looked at him, “Your joking?”

“Nope, not sure what I need to do.”

“First fill out this form” She said handing him a form.

“If you need some help, please let me or the other receptionist know.”

Bloodstone took the form and looked at the questions. He took the time to fill it out, signed it and went back to the [receptionist]

“There is a five-gold fee,” He placed the coins on the counter, before she could finish. “Your by yourself, you may want to train before you take any work, currently you will only be able to take copper rank work”

“No problem, what if I work in a group?” He asked.

“You will need to submit the form and change it to that group you decide to join, any other questions.”

“Nope, I will take a look at the boards and get back to you.” He said stepping over to the board as she started reading through his form.

“Excuse me is this some kind of joke?” She asked.

He turned back, “Is there a problem”

“I don’t think you filled this out right, how many classes do you have?”

“Technically six, unless Hero or Lord levels count.”

She stared at him, “Of course they count.”

“Ok then eight.”

The woman stared at him, and then started laughing, “Oh that’s a good one who put you up to it, was it Alania,”

“Uh , I’m serious,” he said.

“Do you want to tell me the levels you have?’ She asked a little concerned.

“Not really.”

The other [receptionist], looked over and asked ,”you want me to get the assistant guild master?”

She nodded, “Mr, Elbee, im going to get the guild master if this is a joke, you will have to deal with him.  I don’t know what some of these classes your claiming you have are.”

“What classes?” He asked.

“I will have to have you talk to the assistant guild master.” The other receptionist took the form from her at came out from behind the counter and went up a flight of stairs that he hadn’t noticed before. She came back down the stiars, “Mr Elbee can you please follow me.” Bloodstone followed he up the stairs there was a hall, and off to one side was an office. We followed her into the office, there was an older woman behind the desk, the receptionist handed her the form and promptly left. The woman was older, and there was gray in her hair, she wore a simple, blue blouse. She stood up, “Mr Elbee, I see you have classes that we are not familiar with. Please take a seat.” She had a long blue skirt that matched the blouse. That she smoothed out when she took a seat. She set two small amulets on the table, both glowed in a soft blue. “Our guild master is meeting with Lady Reinheart. I am Margaret an I am in charge until he returns. You have classes here listed that I don’t recognize. Would you care to explain and perhaps tell me what levels or skills you have from these classes?”

“I suppose, I just wanted to register with the adventurer’s guild. You know do some good while I wait for messages from home.”

“I see you listed Rhir as your home, how long have you been wandering around Izril?”

“About three or four days, I spent two days stuck in the mud prior to that.”

“Ahh traveling the roads in some areas are like that. Now about these classes, You have listed here, [Visionary] while that’s not really and adventuring class, just having it speaks volumes about the person. What kind of [visionary] are you?”

“I just see the potential of magic and technology, how they can be integrated.”

“Technology, I am not very familiar with that word, some of the new recruits have used it, not sure what your referring to.”

Bloodstone stared at her, “I apologize, technology can be interpreted a number of ways. One example is communications, using devices that allow rapid communication.”

“Ahhh, ok, so is that something you specialize in?”, She asked.

“It is one of my hobbies.” He said taking a seat.

“The next class you have listed, is


, that’s pretty self-explanatory. The next one on the list is


, I do not know what this class is. After that you have


, and [empty], and this last one I can’t even read what it is. And I have noted that you claim to have [Hero] and [Lord] classes as well. I find it hard to believe you have several classes I personal have never heard of. ”

“Well those are the classes I have, only two of them are above thirty.” He said.

“Ridiculous, that would put you above a gold rank adventurer,” She looked at the paper, “I am afraid this is unacceptable, unless you are able to prove the classes.”

“Sure, I understand, I can show you a couple of the skills, if that helps.”

“I quite frankly think your trying to pull something, it’s not the first time somewhat has tried. My truth stone says you are telling the truth, but they can be tricked. Or you believe you have these classes.” She said leaning back in her chair and put her hands together. “I can give you a copper plate, and we will start off with a blank form, and fill it out with just the classes I am aware of. Unless you are able to show me some reason that you deserve a higher evaluation.”

“You want me to show off my skills, how about [summon stone]” A single warped piece of stone appeared in his hand. “[Shape stone]” The stone shifted to resemble a unicorn charging. It was so detailed you could see single hairs on its mane and tail.” [Matter transmutation] “The stone shifted to white, and the unicorn became white, and the mane flowed like real hair, the horn became a sharp gold looking horn. It looked so real it looked like a miniature unicorn. 

“Dead gods!” she reached out and touched the figure, it was solid and soft. She turned at stared at Him, “Who are you?”

“Call me L B. You can keep that, will make a nice conversation piece “he replied.

She stared at him, and then the small life like statue. “Why do you want to be an adventurer, if you can do things like that!?”

“Because that doesn’t really help anyone, someone really famous from where I am from said, “With great power comes great responsibility. I could sit on my hands and tool around town, but if I can help someone, maybe save someone, and didn’t what kind of person does that make me?”

“Have you ever worked with adventurers?”

“A couple of teams, in Rhir, the Golden swords, the Blight wolves, and the Red blight.” He replied.

She leaned forward and wrote down the information, then sat back in the chair. “My gut feeling says to just make you gold rank and be done with it. As for this form,” She looked over at the unicorn on the desk, then at the form on her desk. “I think I will just file it if someone has an issue they can take it up with you.”

“Sounds fair, anything else you want to know.” He asked.

“How many levels of hero do you have just out of curiosity.”

He held his hand out with all his fingers and thumb displayed. “Dead gods, don’t say anything about this to anyone else.” She scratched out several lines on the form signed it and held it out to him. “Tell them downstairs that if they have a problem to come see me.”

“Thanks,” He took the form and wend back down the stairs to the [receptionist] he handed it to the same one who had filled out the form.

She looked at it and looked up at him. “Seriously!?”

He shrugged, “She said to go see her if you had an issue.”

She slumped a little, and said, “It will take a couple of days to get your plate, we still charge for each upgrade, that will cost you, five hundred gold.”

He shrugged and counted out the coins, he took the small receipt she handed him shakily. As he left she bolted up the stairs.

Outside he took a deep breath and started walking. He ended up sitting on a bench in one of the small parks to pull a small rock out of his boot. He was sure that the guild was only two more streets away and that the open market wasn’t far beyond that. There were still people on the streets, and he entered the open market, it took him a while and he eventually found Everad, with his wagon selling his beets. “Hey kid!”

 “Afternoon how goes your selling?” He asked him.

“Almost done here,” he pointed to the wagon it was noticeably emptier.

“Hey, I have these, how much would it cost to fill them up” He pulled out the burlap sacks from tailor shop.

Everard looked them over and began filling them,” On gold per bag.” He said smiling.

He handed him eight coins. “Kid that’s way too much.”

“Its fine, you were nice enough to give me a ride. I will wait with you while you get sorted.”

Everad showed him where the inn was that he was going to stay.

There is a shady underbelly to the city of adventure, where money and goods come together, you do get [thieves] and [rouges] and other [con artists]. Some go legit and become adventurers, others like the thrill of stealing. The local guards knew some of the local criminals and  kept them under control to a certain extent, as long as the crimes were not to egre​gious.

Bloodstone took a room at the inn, Everad took his own room at the inn, they then parted ways. Bloodstone had rented a larger room, as he needed to sort through the two bags of holding. He set down the four sacks of beets, just inside the room. He still had no clothes that fit his new body. Just the leather armor he had on, since it was magical and would adjust. He took it off and set over the back of one of two chairs in the room. He then began sorting through the gear he had. Setting it out on his bed roll as well as a cloak. His two bags of holding contained a share each of the extra magic items, that the other teams had either not wanted or insisted he take. Each item had been inventoried, with a tag, that was referenced to a notebook. There were items that had red dots on the tags that were either, considered bad, or suggested not to equip, or handle without precautions. The bulk of the items were obvious as to how they work or were sufficiently made that they posed no danger.  The red tagged objects he put on one side of the bed, these he would sell off or attempt to repair. In all there were twenty-six red tagged items. Of all the items he had none of them were a scrying device. There were magic weapons, three sets of armor, and he found a blue robe that would fit him, at the bottom of the first bag. The robe and some of the other gear, were not from the dragon hoard, but extra that they had brought with them just in case. It took him three hours to sort the two bags of holding, he still had tens of thousands of gold coins and didn’t even need to touch what was in the book. The book could only hold mundane items, tapestries, silks, gems, and coin. Any of them that even had a preservation enchantment could not be put into the book. Most of those had been packed into crates and stored in the key that Lady Amethyst still had. Having changed into the robe and put on a belt with his primary bag of holding and both of his swords. He then went downstairs to get a meal. The backpack he left leaning against the desk, and along with the book he placed the bag of holding with most of the gear he didn’t need on top of it. He headed down to the first floor of the inn, locking the door behind him. He took several steps paused and went back inside.”[Quantum distortion]” and the bags and gear vanished from sight. He turned and closed and locked the door.

The food that was served was cooked chicken, with mashed potatoes and gravy, lots of gravy. He finished the meal and decide that since the dining area of the inn was quiet he would take a walk and see what the night offered.

Some of the streets seemed to be lit with magic lights, other streets were dark. He wandered around and found a tavern near the adventurer’s guild hall and went inside. It was noisy, and there were groups at tables talking, he looked for an open seat, and took one of them at the bar.

The [bartender] came over and asked, “What can I getcha?” He was human and seems to be watching the [barmaids] as they made their way around the tables.

“You have any dark ale?”

He nodded and pointed above the bar where the prices were listed. Bloodstone fished out a single gold coin and put it on the counter, “Sounds good“

The [bartender] set a mug of dark ale in front of him and scooped up the coin.

He picked it up and drank from it. The ale was bitter, but not in a bad way. He finished the drink and set the mug back on the bar.

There were four young adventurers arguing near the bar. The brunette caught his eye as she was pretty and seemed to be petite. He really wasn’t listening to the conversation, but she had a nice voice so he listened.

“It’s not like she can’t afford them you saw her mansion.”, the cute brunette said across the table to a young man with dark hair.

“I was told specifically, that we needed to earn our own way, she got us started what more do you want?” He said trying to be a voice of reason.

“She didn’t have to have us thrown out, we didn’t break anything. That was all Macantir and his two flunkies.” The other dark haired man sitting to her right said.

The blond woman with her back to him slammed her hand onto the table, “Well we did, get over it. I want to make gold rank as fast as we can. You in Sam?” The blond woman pulled out a cell phone and started looking at pictures, “I have the board here somewhere, we need to be able to get your phones charged as well. The spell isn’t cheap, and you’re the only one who has any magic aptitude. Here it is.” She set it on the table. It was a picture of one of the requests.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea, to try something that says silver rank or better.” The brunette said looking at the picture.

“I think she’s right, you only what a level six [fighter]?” The dark-haired man next to her said.

“Yeah so, she’s only a level three


, and you have two classes, Richard, and you won’t even tell us what they are.” The blond grumbled.

Richard looked up and caught Bloodstone looking at her phone. “It’s not for sale!” he said to Bloodstone, who looked over at him and smiled.

“Is it an android or Iphone, hard to tell.” He asked.

All four heads turned and looked at him.

“It’s an android,” The blond said and then caught herself. She was very pretty, looked like a model and hand an ample figure.

“To bad, I wanted to talk to someone with an Iphone, there was some interesting conversation on them about four or five months back.

Maybe you know about it, how long have you been in this world? It sucks that there’s no internet or way to call each other.”

They looked him over trying to figure out if he was a local or from Earth. Seeing that he had what looked like magic gear they asked the blond asked the question, “Where are you from?”

Bloodstone looked at her, “The States, east coast not that it matters very much, did you all come here together?”

“No, I.. I came here about six months back and was in a field. I eventually found my way to the city. I met them at the mansion.”


“Magnolia Reinhart’s mansion. North side of town, rich district area.” The other man said.

“Oh, never met her. I have been on Rhir for the past couple of months.”

“How did you get here”, the brunette asked.

“Long story and I don’t want to interrupt your conversation, you phone is still on.” He said.

The blond turned it off and put it away. “You a mage?” she asked.

“Nope, to limited in scope, I know a bit about classes and gaming, so I picked a few hybrid classes.”

“Hybrid, what heck does that mean?”

He shrugged, “I’m not going to talk about my classes it seems to upset people. I’m L.B. Its short for something else, I’m not using my real name either.”

“See I told you some people will make up names.” The brunette said smugly.

“How long have you been here?” Richard asked.

“On Izril, about four or five days, in this world about two and a half months. “

“Would you four mind if I took your pictures?”

“Why?” the blond asked.

“Truthfully, In case I get home, I can have a record of the people from our world I encountered, a lot of them died on Rhir. Seeing others here, makes my theory plausible.”

“Theory?” the brunette asked.

“How we got here. Fact, the king of Rhir is using some artifact to summon people. Fact others are being summoned on other continents. I know there is at least one person from our world on the Isle they call Whistram, and no I haven’t researched where it is. The question is how far away you were summoned from this city.”

The four of them looked at each other. “I was summoned into the city.” The brunette said.

“Couple of miles south!” Richard said.

“You think there might be a way home?” The other guy asked.

“Maybe, if it’s a broken artifact, then that would explain the strange ritual requirements, and the dispersion of the people.”

“Meaning what?” The blond asked.

“Meaning if there was a piece of that artifact it’s possible the king of Rhir is charging it and its activating across the world, were each piece is. Figuring out where each piece is and what it is still a work in progress. Knowing numbers and where they show up might shed some light on the artifact. It could be a broken well of worlds.”

They all stared at him like he was babbling.

“It’s just a theory,” Bloodstone took out his phone, and set the flash. He took four pictures, and several other patrons of the establishment took note of him. He then turned to leave.

“Wait! I have tons of questions” the blond said.

“Me to, “Richard said.

“I will be at the guild hall tomorrow morning, I had a long day and a long walk to my inn.”

“You have enough for an inn” The brunette asked.

“What rank are you?” The other man asked.

“Rank?” Bloodstone asked.

“Copper, or silver?” The brunette asked.

“I never did ask, I signed up earlier today and the assistant guild master was very nice.”

“You are not with another group, are you?” The blond asked.

“Nope, just here till I get a message from Rhir. I do have to go look for something I lost when I got here.”

“Would you group with us then?” The brunette asked.

“We can discuss it if you want, maybe I could help you get some levels.” He said standing behind the blond’s chair. He put the phone back into the bag of holding.

“Is that a bag of holding?” The brunette asked.

“Yeah,” he replied.

“How much did that cost,” The blond asked.

“This one, I think the bag itself was five gold.”

“A few good jobs, Aleshia and we could get a bag of holding.” The brunette said enthusiastically

“You didn’t let me finish, “Bloodstone said, “It took about four hours to enchant it.”

There were other people in the room that looked over at the conversation.

“Oh..” She said crestfallen.

“Well I will catch up with you tomorrow.” Bloodstone said and headed for the door.

He walked out, the brunette chased him down, as he got to the corner of the block.

“Hey Elbee”, she ran up next to him breathing a little heavy.

Bloodstone looked her over, “Never caught your name.”

“Samantha Hail, from Portland.” She said

“Evening Samantha, you’re a little out of breath.”

“What did you mean you enchanted that bag.”

“Just that, I have a hybrid class, that allows enchantment of magic items and uses magic differently. “

“Would you be willing to teach me.” She said looking back towards the inn.

“It’s not something that can really be taught. Won’t your friend miss you?”

She shook her head, “We can’t even agree on a team name. They are better than Mactire.”

“I can walk you to where your staying.” He suggested.

She hooked one arm under his, “Follow me.”

He walked with her under the lightened streets, and she led him off to one of the darker areas, they were dark, but not pitch black at least to him. “It’s down this way”. A shadow moved away from the building and stood in the way.

A heavy-set man with dark hair and a crossbow pointed at him, “Hand over your valuables and no one gets hurt.”

Bloodstone gently stepped in front of Samantha, “I suggest you put the crossbow down before you get hurt.”

“Are you daft man, that robe you have on isn’t going to help you. Your just a copper rank newbie.”

“No, I’m just not in the mood to deal with an idiot like you tonight.” The man pulled the trigger there was a twang and the bolt shot from the crossbow hit the robe and bounced into the darkness. “Is that all you got?” he asked as he physically grabbed the man and lifted him off the ground, he took the crossbow from him and threw him and it to the ground.

Two more men stepped out of the shadows, both holding short bladed weapons. “Your valuables.”

Bloodstone drew the purple blade, in an instant and held Samantha behind him. “Walk away, before one of you dies.”

“Look the copper wanna be wants to dance. We know you’re with that bitch Reinheart.” The other man said menacingly

The man who had be using the crossbow stood up and pulled a blade as well.

Samantha said, “We don’t work for her she helped us.”

“Samantha don’t talk to the dead men. Back away slowly,” He said.

The three of them began to spread out to in an attempt flank him.

“How well do the guards take to assaults on the street.” Bloodstone asked Samantha

“Not kindly, “ she said softly backing up slowly.

“You know the term piggy back right?” He asked.

“I guess, why?”

“It just occurred to me that these idiots have no way to keep up if I am carrying you.”

“Oh, “ she said and attempted to climb onto his back.

“Ready?” he asked her.


“Hold on!,” and he jumped several hundred feet in the air. She would have fallen had he not grabber her left hand with his and held her in place.

He landed kicking up a dusty cloud and took off in the direction of the inn.

There was confusion as it had appeared that he disappeared into the darkness.

They arrived outside the inn and he went inside, it was dark but not late. The innkeeper was still serving dinner, bloodstone and Samantha had dinner towards the back of the inn. They sat across from each other. After the meal of steaks and vegetables and ale were brought by a barmaid. There was no conversation until they had each taken a few bites.

“That was a setup.”he said accusingly

“what?” she said between bites.

“You set me up, denigh it and this meal is all you’ll get from me.”

“What do you mean?” she asked.

“They assumed I was copper rank, you were supposed to bring copper ranks to them, they assumed I was copper as well.”

“I had no choice”, she said softly.

“There is always a choice, the easy way or the right way. Sometimes the right way is not easy.” He got up from the table, “Enjoy your meal, I think we are done here.”

“Wait. Please wait. I can explain” she said taking a large gulp of ale.

“You seem to have had it easy, you have gold, skills, and a bag of holding. I haven’t been able to make much money here, If Lady Rienhart hadn’t taken me in, I most likely would either be dead, or worse. I was figuring things out with Lady Reinharts help, until we all got thrown out. Someone was stealing stuff from the mansion and selling it. They knew who did it and punished them, we were all asked to politely leave.

“You know who it was, I take it?” He asked

“I did and I was threatened, if I said anything. When were kicked out I had nothing, barely the clothes on my back and some gear and some simple spells in a spellbook. I had to sell it to stay alive, I don’t want to sell myself, I refuse to do that. I borrowed money and they decided that I would help them find marks to steal from and that’s how I would pay them back.” , She looked up at him across the table. “I can’t go back now.”

“What will you do if I leave you here?”

She stared at him, “I don’t know”

“I have a proposal for you. You tell me where the people you owe money to are and tell how many of them there are.  After that if you still want me to help you further, you will do what I tell you to do, no questions asked.”

“There are a lot of them, I don’t know how many.”

“Would [guardsmen] help?”

She shook her head no, “There are some [guardsmen] who turn a blind eye, to certain things going on.”

“Do you agree?’

“Do I really have a choice?”

He pushed the chair across from her in, “Yes, this is the hard choice”

“Can I finish eating?” she asked.

“Yes, if you decide, ill be up in my room, 224.” He turned and went upstairs and unlocked his room. He had a mild panic attack when he entered and everything was missing before he remembered he had hidden it.

He pulled the robe off and set it on the bed, after than he set out his leather armor and began to put it on. He put two blades on his belt.  He put a wand on the bed that was made of black oak. He added one of the original spell books to the bed, one he purchased from Rhir. He dug around in the bag of holding until he found one the daggers that was enchanted he set this on the bed. There were two other robes in the bag of holding he took one out and set them on the bed next to the first one.

He had pulled out one of the bags with rings in it when there was a knock at the door. Before opening it everything on the bed faded from sight.

Opening the door Samantha stood there looking lost.

 “Come in and start talking” he said moving the door to let her in.

“I borrowed eighty gold and that’s how I stayed off the streets, and not having to sell myself. I didn’t know they just wanted to use me to find out about Lady Reinhard. I didn’t know much, and they wanted more information. After we got kicked out they wouldn’t leave me alone.”

“I will be up front with you, I am married. I will help you, under three conditions.”

“Married?” She said somewhat surprised.

“Not important for this conversation.”

“what conditions?”

“First you will agree to be placed under a geas, that will prevent you from revealing secrets, the second condition is that you will assist me to the best of your ability, no matter what class you have. The last condition is that you give me your full name, and you will not use it anymore, We will give you a name you will use.”

“A geas, whats that?” she asked.

“It’s a mental compulsion to prevent you from revealing certain information that’s not negotiable.”

“Why would you want me to stop using my name?”

“Your full name, trust me you will want me to know it.”

“Its not like I have a lot of options, at least your being nice about things.”

“Do you agree to the geas?”

She shrugged, “Like I said not many options.”

After a spell was cast on her some discussion went on about her name, it was decided that Sam, or Samantha would be the best options, just her middle and last names would be considered a secret. He then revealed the equipment on the bed for her to change into. He then began revealing other secrets. He used some of the monster levels, eight to be precise and ended up giving her twenty [mage] levels on top of the two she had already. There did not seem to be a one to one ratio of the monster levels.

It was late, there was only one bed in then room, they both decide to share, and deal with everything else in the morning.

Sam stared at El Bee, or Lord Bloodstone, as he was known, he had told her some of his story. She felt like she had been cheated, until he came along. Something about him was wrong, she couldn’t place what it was. She knew he had more secrets.

The next morning they ate at the inn a simple breakfast of eggs and toast. Sam was nervous, as they left the inn to go to the apartment complex that she had been staying to pick up the rest of her meager possessions and to deal with her debt.

“I don’t understand you, why are you being nice to me?” she asked as they walked side by side down the street.

“A guy needs a reason to help a pretty girl out?”

“Are you trying to change the subject?”

“Yup, is it working?”

“Just answer the question, you already didn’t try anything last night what is your deal.”

He shrugged, “I just thought you were cute, still do. I want to get to know you and help you out if you need it. I have no idea about this city; you have been here for a while and know the locals.”

“That’s it right there at the end of the block.”

“Ok, let’s get your possessions and then we can meet your friends at the guild hall.”

“They are not really my friends we just know each other from the mansion”

The two of them entered the building, from the outside it looked to be made of stone and was four stories high. The arcitecher was mostly wood with stone or brick on key points. Inside the entrance there was a hallway and stairs that lead up. Sitting on the steps were two tough looking men. They appeared to be brown haired and wearing simple tunics and breeches and worn leather boots. Each of them had a small dagger on their belts. One of them stood up, and eyed Samantha, “You I know, who’s your friend.”

“He’s my bodyguard.”

“Yeah right, the boss wants to see you.” The second thug said as he got up of the stairs.

“Oh good, cause I want to tell him where to shove it. Now move so I can get to my room.”

As she tried to move past them and up the stairs one of them grabbed her upper right arm. “I don’t think so” He said. Sam attempted to shake his grip.

“Let the lady go, before someone gets seriously hurt”

“Sod off,” the other man said and reached for her left arm. He never got farther as a fist slammed his stomach. He was hit so hard he was thrown into the wall where he bounced off the wall with a loud crack as his head hit the wall. He tried to breathe as the wind had been knocked from his lungs. The man staggered on the stairs and then fell forward unconscious and was caught by Elbee. “I said let the lady go.”

The man removed his hand from her arm and backed up the steps slowly. His hand went to the dagger at his belt.

“Draw that blade and I will paint the walls in your blood.” The man turned and ran up the stairs.

They ascended to the second floor Elbee lowered then unconscious man to the landing and followed Samantha. There in the hallway was another flight of steps to the third floor. There were closed doors along the length of the hallway, Samantha went to the third one on the left and took out a key and opened the door.  She went inside and came back out a minute later a little upset, “All my stuff is gone”

“Who do you think might have it?”

“My roommate maybe, she’s a local, in kind of the same situation I am in. we need to talk with Durkin”

“Durkin?” Elbee asked.

“The drake who runs this place and lends out money. He should be on the fourth floor.”

They went up the steps and bypassed the third floor hallway and went to the fourth floor. Two more thugs were standing in front of the only door.

“I’m here to see Durkin,” Samantha said.

“You can go in. we don’t know him, he can wait out here.” The thug on the left said eyeing Elbee.

“Where is Kaylee,” She asked.

“Who knows, maybe she got into some trouble” the other thug said grinning.

“Cmon Elbee we need to talk to the Drake.”

“Your friend isn’t welcome,” the thug on the left said again.

Samantha walked up to the door and opened it, as Elbee moved to follow her, the thug on the left put his hand on Elbee’s chest. “Not so fast”

Elbee looked at the hand on his chest, “Remove your hand before I remove it.”

The thug on the right took a swing and connected with the right side of Elbees head. He took the blow and turned at looked at him, “Goblins hit harder than that.”

This seemed to enrage the fellow who pulled back for another swing. Elbee gave them a look and both thugs collapsed and Elbee caught them as they fell and lowered them gently to the floor.

The two of them entered the next room, it was warm, as there was a fire going in a large fireplace on the left side. A drake sat in a cushioned chair, a stein in one hand. The drake looked old as there were scales missing across his body with a patchwork of scars visible. There were four other human thugs two sitting at a table counting gold coins. The two at the table were brown haired and looked like they knew how to use the weapons on their belts, they both wore a leather tunics as worn breaches. The other two men were blond and dark haired and were standing next to another door.  The dark haired man from the stairs was talking to the drake. 

The drake spoke first, “I see a filthy human who owes me gold. Are you here to pay up?”

“Durkin where is Kaylee and my stuff?” Sam snapped.

“I have no idea who you’re talking about. As for your stuff, I am holding it as collateral.”

She threw a small pouch at his feet it clinked when it hit the floor. The blond haired man picked it up and looked inside, and then duped it on a small counting table.

The drake looked over the coins all gold, nodded and then looked at Samantha. “Well now, that’s very interesting. It seems I underestimated you. This is the amount you owe today, let us see how much you can bring me tomorrow”

“That’s not what was agreed on!” Samantha said angrily

“No, what are you going to do about it?” The drake sneered, “You humans are all so easy to manipulate.”

“Where’s Kaylee!”

The drake laughed then spoke slowly, “What is she to you Samantha?”

Sam took a single step back, “She’s my friend”

The drake said loudly to the two men counting coins,” Go bring that trash in here.”

The two men nodded and go up and went through a door at the back of the room. The brought her out, her face was purple and blue, her clothes had been ripped and bruises could be seen on her exposed skin. They dropped her in front of the drake, between him and Samantha. They then went back to counting coins.

Samantha turned to Elbee, ”can you give her a healing potion?”

The drake looked at Elbee, “Who are you?”

“Your worst nightmare,” He said tossing a potion to Samantha.

“What do you want?”

“You are going to leave these girls alone and return her stuff.”

The drake laughed, “You don’t seem to know who I am. I fought in the wars human, I don’t recognize you. Take your little plaything and leave and bring me more gold.”

Elbe said a little louder, “I don’t care who you are, I wasn’t asking.”

“Kill him” The drake said.

The five men drew blades and took two steps towards Elbee.

The drake smiled a toothy grin as they advanced “Bad move lizard, call your goon off before someone dies.”

“You are in my house human, you don’t dictate the terms”

“Last warning Durkin.”he said placing a hand on each blades hilt. The five men closed, the blond attempted to stab at Samantha, and the blade failed to penetrate the robes she was wearing.

“What the?” The blond man said.

“[Line of death]” Elbee said. For a split second it was as if everything froze, and the five goons dropped to the ground in pieces, and arms and heads fell to the floor in a spray of blood.

Samantha screamed, seeing the bodies appear to explode in gore. Durkin stared at Elbee, “Who are you!?”

“The last thing you will see, I did warn you, now you will have to pay the piper.”

“Wait we can come to some sort of agreement, humans are always willing to negotiate.”

Elbee laughed, and removed the ring, “If I were human”

Durkin stared, and a cold shiver went down his back, he got up and turned to run.

“Are you a coward,” Elbee said replacing the ring.

“That’s not possible!” The drakes said shuffling to a door at the back of the room.

Elbee ran after the drake and passed him using the purple blade the drake was dead before his head hit the floor.

Samantha stared at Elbee, a shudder of fear, washed over her. “I thought you were from Earth!”

“I am, that’s another secret you are going to have to keep.”

The searched the rooms on the fourth floor and found her and Kaylee’s belongings. They found a plethora of equipment, food stocks and other items of value. There were hundreds of gold coins on the table, Samantha started to scoop them into a bag.

“Don’t bother, Sam. leave it.”

“But!?” She started to say.

“Take the three bags of holding we found, I’ll take care of the loose change.” He opened the leather container and opened the book inside to a blank page. “{Invoke collection} every coin on this floor. {Invoke collection} Every jewel on this floor. {invoke collection} Every container and its contents on this floor. {Begin collection} there was a slight burst of light as all the coins on the table disappeared. {invoke collection next page} all the furniture on this floor {begin collection}” The table and chairs in the room vanished in a flash of light ,”{invoke collection clear page} all food that is not rotten {begin collection}

“What kind of magic is that,” Samantha asked.

“It’s a book of storage, with some range modifiers. It can only hold mundane items, anything not magical” He replied to her.

He looked at the blood pooling, and sighed, “I guess we should clean up this mess as well{invoke collection}, corpses and blood {invoke collection blank page from back of the book}”

Using the book on another blank page he collected the bodies, and blood, leaving the room spotless.

Elbee carried Kaylee down the stairs and they left the building. They returned to the inn and left Kaylee in the room.

 The two of them headed off to the mage guild to check for messages. There were none and he then headed over to the Adventurers guild. There were adventurers in the guild hall talking off to one side. They noted his entrance and the noise became subdued.

The [receptionist] recognized him, and just asked, “Something I can help you with?”

“I was going to meet some people here, I see them.” He walked over to the blond and the two dark haired men who were at one of the tables in the back.

“Oh there you are Sam, everything ok?”

Sam just nodded.

“Dam, do you still want to join our team?” she asked Elbee, and Sam?

“Not really, I have my own list of things I need to do. I don’t think I have the time to really help you.”

They were interrupted by the


. “Mr, LB sir, would you have a moment?”

“Sure, what can I help with?”

She handed him a sheet of parchment, it was for a silver job request.”There had been a sighting of Ogres, several days ago to the west, and two silver teams had gone out to take care of them, no one has heard from them since. Would it be too much trouble to look into it”

“I don’t see that as a problem, I can head out there today, since I need to head back that way for some personal business”

The blond asked the receptionist, “Why would the guild ask him to do anything, isn’t he copper like us?”

The receptionist looked at LB and back to the blond, “No, we got word from Rhir, he has worked with Gold rank groups and they say said he’s at least gold rank. The Blighted king has given him a title of The Paragon Host. We had to go look it up as there were others people given titles at the same time, not many people pay attention to such messages. We had it confirmed from two sources he is equal to a whole gold rank team. Also he is technically not supposed to be here. There are some guild masters trying to decide what to do with him. I am sure the Lords and Ladies are aware of his presence here in the city or soon will be.”

Elbee turned bright red,” Uh, never heard about the title. I hope those guys didn’t up play my skills to much. I am just here to help as long as I am here on Izril, and I will be leaving as soon as I am able to do so.”

The receptionist said “Well if we get you out of the city they can decide what to do with you later.”

The blond woman stared at him, “Seriously, you are from our world right?”

“Yeah, but it’s complicated. I have a bunch of free time, so I am going to recover some personal gear, then figure out what’s next. Speaking of gear, I need to buy and sell some magic items. Where is a good place to do that” He asked the receptionist.

“Oh that would be on two streets down your best bet is to start with Hedault’s shop.”

“What about horses?” Elbee asked.

The receptionist thought about it, “ I can get you a couple of names.” She said returning to the receptionist window.She returned and handed him several sheets, of folded parchment. “Those are letters of introduction, should help smooth things over.”

“You all right Samantha” The blond asked seeing that she looked pale and was shaking a little.

“I’m fine,” Samantha squeaked.

“Wait, what about if you let us join you?” The blond asked Elbee.

“I don’t mind as long as you don’t slow me down, I am going out to recover some personal equipment that got lost when I arrived. Then we can investigate the ogres the guild asked about. You have horses?”

“No, we don’t. This seems so unfair, you are so far ahead of us that we would most likely just slow you down.”

“Possibly, and I really don’t want to put you all in danger, I can look after Samantha, but four of you might be too much. However I do have an idea.”

“I’m listening.”

“A friend of Samantha’s was beaten up and is staying at the broken arrow. My proposal is you look after Kaylee while we are out, and I front you some gold to watch after he, and to pick up some items from town.”

“Seriously!?” Richard asked.

“Yeah but if you waste the gold you won’t get more. You three seem to be at least willing to work, if it’s not adventuring then it will be working for me. For now, look after Kaylee, run my errands. When I get back, we can discuss, a bigger job” He put one of the smaller bags of holding on the table. The bag itself was one they had found earlier, in Durkins back room. “Don’t make me regret helping you three.”

“Elbee, there is more than gold in there.” Samantha said

“I know what’s in there, I expect you three to be low key and not waste my time. Now I need these things picked up.” He put the receipts down on the table from the previous day’s purchases. ”Let’s go Sam, we have errands to run before we head out.” He stopped and turned, as the blond picked up the bag.”Richard, Gregory and Becky, here is my room key don’t touch my backpack. There is no gold or treasure in it.” He set the key down on the table. “room two twenty four”

They left the guild

“How can you trust them?” Samantha asked.

Elbee smiled, “I think they just realized that I wasn’t kidding.”

The three of them caught up to him, Becky the blond woman, had the bag of holding,”Why?” she asked.

“The three of you look so lost, so used to people telling you what to do. I figured either you would do what I asked, or come and refuse.”

“If we do this can you take us with you?” Becky asked.

“I think we can arrange something, I am going back to Rhir at least for a while. If you really want to help, get me some maps of the continents, and we need to track down where everyone appeared, and when as close as we can get. For now take care of Kaylee.”

“Ok,” Richard said, grasping the key. Gregory had the receipts, “The broken arrow inn room two twenty four?”

“Correct, use some of the gold if you need to. Get yourselves a room, as well. We should be back in a few days. If I can get what I need from Hedault’s shop.”

They parted as the three of them headed to the inn. Elbee and Sam headed to the shop.

It was a fairly large building, with a small almost tiny sign. He opened the door, and held it open for Sam and walked in behind her.

There was a younger woman a behind a counter. She was writing, when he they came in. Without looking up she said, “Master Hedault is out, he should be back later this afternoon, I can assist you.”

 “Sure, I wanted to know if you have any scrying objects for sale, I also have some letter of introduction” Elbee said placing the two letters on the counter. One was from the cobbler and the other was from the adventurer’s guild.

“I believe we do have a few available, unfortunately I am not authorized to sell them, but I can take your request.” She said looking up from the book she was writing in.

“I also have some items I would like to have appraised. You said he would be back later this afternoon?”

“That’s what I was told. I can accept items to be appraised.”

Elbee pulled out of a bag of holding, a dagger, a red wooden wand, a small gemstone, a heavy book, with a lock on it. The woman put a marker in her book and closed it and got up and came over to the counter.

“Oh yeah I want to purchase a backpack of holding or two bags of holding as well.”

“You would have to speak with  Master Hedault, about them. Is this all of the items?”

“No there are more,” He pulled out six rings, a plain looking leather belt, a hand axe, two maces, a beautifully winged shield of white metal, a black shimmery cloak, a broom, and black rod that looked charred. The last item he pulled out was a breastplate that was for a smaller person, it looked more feminine the material it was made from looked like gold, with intricate inlay.

The woman and Samantha both stared at the items. Finally the woman behind the counter began making detailed notes, on each item and put a small tag on each one. “I will need you to initial these.” She said handing him a sheet of parchment for each item she noted. Elbee noted them and after about twenty minutes the paper work was completed. The woman wrote out a receipt for the items and noted the tag numbers on each one. She then took the letters glanced over them and put them with the item’s documentation. “Master Hedauld should have an estimate for you in a few days. I will inform him when he returns that you are inquiring about two bags of holding and scrying items.”

“Thank you we will return after we finish purchasing horses. Also a backpack of holding if you have one”

Sam who had been silent for the entire exchange waited until they were outside. “Where did you get so many magic items?”

“Dragon horde” he said simply.

“Dragon horde, your serious?”

“Yeah you want to talk to him?”

“Him? The dragon!?”

“Yeah my daughter and I ripped him into different pieces. My daughter got the soul, I took his mind and my son got its bones.”

“I can’t tell if your joking or serious. A dragon, you killed a dragon?”

“Well technically we just, we rendered him harmless, but I guess when you put it in that context I suppose we did.”

“Am I just some plaything to you?” She asked softly.

“Hardly, you’re my companion on this trip in Izril, at least until you decide you want to do something else.” He said patting her on the back as they walked.

They walked silently out through the gates to where the houses were sold, they had the pens outside the western gates, so that the horses have plenty of room to run. There were other horse traders, and when they arrived it appeared there were few animals in the pens.

They looked around and found one of the [horse traders] that had been recommended talking with a farmer about buying a horse. The two of them waited until he was done talking.

“What were you before you came here to this world?” She asked.

He looked over at her, half listening to the sales pitch the horse trader was making to the farmer, “Nothing special, I just played a lot of MMO games, and ran a campaign with friends. Tried my had at writing, even collaborated with some very interesting people at one point. I am also a tech guy.”

“Tech guy, like IT?” she asked.

“Yea I did some information tech work, consulting as well. Worked for a fortune five hundred company then went into the services industry when I go laid off.”

“Like food service?” she asked.

“Oh, no still support, but mostly over the phone kept gaming and writing, and what’s known as world building. Made two solid worlds, nothing published as I didn’t like the way the industry was going. I put out my own spin on things, or at least that was the plan. What about you?”

“I was a yoga instructor, never got into computers much, more into the fitness scene. This” she gestured,” has me so messed me up I don’t even know what I want to do. I used to like films like horror flicks. Now, I am just terrified all the time, until I met you. Now I am just terrified most of the time. ”


“What can I help you two with?” The horse salesman said walking over to them.

“We want to purchase some horses, something that will get us from point A to point B and refresher on care of the animal.” Elbee said.

“What are you looking to spend?”

Elbee looked at Samantha, “I need six good horses, before the sun sets, and if you don’t want our business, I will take this letter I got and let the adventurers guild know that they got it wrong. Luckly I have two more names.”

“I see,” he said realizing that there was money to be had.

“I have some good animals in stock still considering the war and the trade war going on.  Come take a look.”

“Look, I have ridden a little but I had professionals take care of the horses, I know a little on the care of them, but picking one out. I need tack and saddles, I have a letter here.” He handed the man one of the letters.

The man read the short note, “Let us see, if I have enough horses to fill your request.”

The two of them were shown horses, there were various patterns on the horses, mostly browns and grays, spotted patterns. After looking at horses, for over two hours, they had six of them picked out. Saddles and bridles and bits, and saddle bags were added to the horses, a large amount of gold was exchanged for the horses four would be delivered to the broken arrow inn two of them would be fed and ready for them near sunset. Samantha headed to the inn to check on Kaylee and the others and informed them that he had purchased horses for them.

As the sun got lower in the sky, Elbee returned to Hedauld’s shop. A pink carriage pulled away as he turned the corner. There was a loud voice, as he prepared to enter, “I can’t fix it, this is the third time, I can go back three more times, it just broken. I sent the message to Whistram, and was told they really have no one interested in helping her. You don’t say no to that woman.”

Bloodstone opened the door and there was an older man talking to the woman from earlier.

The older man took a deep breath, “Is there something I can help you with.”

“Yes, I am here to inquire about bags of holding as well as a backpack if you have one in stock. In addition, I would like to purchase a scrying device.” Elbee replied.

“We don’t have a backpack of holding in stock, as for bags we have different grades here, is there something specific your looking for. On the matter of scrying devices, I do have a few they are expensive, and some are delicate.”

“If there is a matter of cost, how much are you three most expensive, scrying devices?” He asked.

“I think the most expensive I have available is forty-three thousand gold coins.” He said watching Elbee.

“That’s it, is it an orb or something else?” He asked.

“I have two orbs, one is much smaller and the visual on it is very difficult to see, the larger is the one I quoted the price. I do have two scrying mirrors and a scrying bowl.” He paused for a moment, “I believe I have a scrying spoon that can be used to scry.”

“The bowl is out, I’m not stopping for water every time, I also have some issue working with spells that are water based. So perhaps the big orb and a mirror, and that spoon sounds interesting.”

“And the grades of the bags?” He asked.

“Well, the bigger the better, I don’t even care if they are noisy, I know enough to fix noisy items.”

The Enchanter looked at him again, and said, “Remarkable, I just realized you are wearing a number of magic items, and I detect no resonance from them.”

“I hope not, that’s just shoddy workmanship if the spells start to unravel or the enchanter doesn’t use buffering to dampen the noise.”

“I will be back shortly.” He said and left the room through a back doorway.

The woman stared at him, then at Elbee.

He returned shortly with a crystal ball, a mirror, three bags of holding and a metal spoon.

“These are the items I have available at this time.” He said setting them down on the velvet counter.

Elbee looked over the bags, nodded on each of them, “Still a little noisy not unfixable. Now let’s see about the scrying items.” He looked over the orb, and mirror and the spoon. “How much for everything?” He asked.

“A hundred and thirty-seven thousand gold.” The older man said.

“That’s about right, and what about the items, I left here?”

“I haven’t had a chance to examine them,” Hedauld admitted.

“What if I left this blade as collateral” He said taking the purple blade off and setting in next to the other items.

Hedauld looked at the blade and picked it up and examined it. “Remarkable, the resonance is so quite.” He drew the blade and both he and the woman gasped as it glowed with a soft purple aura. “I could hold this for collateral.”

“What would a blade like that sell for?” He asked.

Hedauld looked seriously at the blade, tested it heft and balance, took a sheet of paper and checked the sharpness. He raised an eyebrow when the sheet was sliced in half as it fell on the edge. He examined the sheath and nodded. “Easily a quarter million gold, I could go as a high as half a million, though there are few buyers who could afford such a blade.” He looked at Elbee closer, “you seem to be hiding under an illusion.”

“Yes, I had an unfortunate run in with a cursed object,” So I must keep my identity hidden.

Hedauld nodded and set the blade back in its sheath and set it back on the counter. “I would not want to deprive you of such an elegant made weapon. I presume you have the coin to pay for these items?” He asked.

“I do, where would you like me to put it?” he asked.

“Just to see you do a feat like that would be interesting in and of itself. I do not see how you would be able to carry that much coin with the two no three bags of holding your carrying with you.”

Elbee grinned, “just need to know where to put the coin.”

Hedauld turned and looked at one of the tables in the corner,” how about on the counting table.” The table was somewhat larged and pushed against two walls in the corner. There were raised edged on the other two sides of the table, the edge was about an inch and could be folded down to extend the table that much.

Elbee reached behind him and unzipped a section where his book was and stuck a single finger inside and touched the book.“{one hundred thirty-seven  thousand gold coin on the corner table, stacked, balanced neatly, Invoke}” There was a flash of light and the coins were stacked and there was a creak from the table as the weight rested on it.”

“Dead gods, what kind of artifact are you using?” He asked. coming around the table, clearly losing interest in the gold.

Elbee smiled, “Something you couldn’t afford.”

“I don’t doubt it, would you let me examine that artifact?”

“I really would rather not, it’s something of a personal gift.” Elbee said reaching for the spoon.

Hedault seemed deflated somewhat and turned and looked at the mountain of gold on the counting table. “I have a feeling that I will be returning most of that gold to you after I finish my examination of your items.”

“I have no problem paying for things you have for sale, I just need some bags and the scrying devices at the moment.”

“Would you be willing to examine something, and give me an honest assessment?”

“Normally I would however I have to pick up some horses and head out to pick up some personal gear.”

“I see, perhaps when you return?”

“I will have to return for the assessment.”

“True, well I will get this written up and you can be on your way.” He gestured for the [secretary] to write up the bill of sale.

  Elbee gathered up the items and strapped the three add bags to his body. Putting all the scrying devices into one of them. He took the bill of sale and left the shop.

The sun was going down, and he walked out the gates, and there he met up with Samantha and the others who were on horseback. Kaylee was sitting on one of the horses.

“Sam said that you had to pick up some personal gear to the west and also check out something to do with silver adventurures who haven’t reported in yet.”  Becky said tossing him the reigns to the last horse. He mounted up and paused for a moment, “I didn’t get sleeping gear for you all so unless your ruffing it you are going to have to get some.”

“We picked some up, you were gone a while.“ Richard replied.

“Good now I want to get moving before we lose all the light.” He headed west.

“Usually someone travels from the morning not the evening.” Gregory said.

“Most people don’t have see in the dark buffs they can put on horses and riders alike.”

“Oh.” Becky said understanding.

The spell he cast did give the horses and riders better vision. They rode off into the darkness.

Two days later Elbee was in the middle of a field of grass holding a spoon. The horses were grazing nearby and Kaylee was walking back and forth across the field. Gregory and Richard were marking areas in the grass with sticks. Samantha and Becky watched from horseback, mainly keeping an eye on the surroundings.

“Stop” Elbee shouted.

He looked up and started walking towards her spoon held out. She had stopped and was looking at her feet. She bent down and picked up a small golden arc with a single diamond. “Is this it!?” she asked.

“EUREKA! YES! THANK YOU NEWTON!” He ran over to her to get the object and she clutched it in one hand and put her hand behind her back.

“Hand it over”

“No” she said playfully backing up. Before he could close the distance she turned and started running, not fast but enough to make him shout.

“Kaylee, Cmon that’s important.” He said running after her.

He caught up to her and wrapped on arm around her waist and reached for her hand. She put the object she had from her left hand to her right. She then turned into him tripping him as she turned and fell on top of him.

“Look give me that”

She smiled, “Kiss me”

“I’m married Kaylee, I don’t think that that’s appropriate.”

“Well then this is mine. She said slipping the object into her blouse.”

“You little minx! Is that why you volunteered to help me find it”

She nodded, “You’re a lord you said so yourself, Im just a poor farm girl who has no real classes, I want to say I got to kiss a lord.”

“Who put you up to this?“ He said letting her go.

She laughed, “You’re a lord, you can take care of me. If this little trinket is that important, I can ask you for anything” She said lighting touching his nose.

Elbee tried to push her off and she pushed him back down. “Oh no, I have you now my Lord.” She said as she straddled him.

“Ok fine, what do you want?” He asked looking around, and not really fighting back. A shadow covered them, and it was Becky and Sam on horseback.

“I told you, Kaylee is smart, and knows what she wants” Sam said to Becky.

“Well for starters, how much gold do you have” Kaylee said putting her face close to his, still lightly holding his arms.

“Woman, if its gold you want, I will shower you in coins just give me my com device.”


“Are you to going to help me?” He asked Samantha and Becky.

The ignored him, “Did you hear something?” Samantha said intentionally looking elsewhere.

“I also want a nice house, with a garden.” Kaylee said looking him in the eyes. Her eyes sparkled, a sea blue with silver flecks, stared at him.

“Where?” Elbee asked.

“It doesn’t matter as long as it’s a nice house with a garden.”

“Will you just give it to me then we can talk about your reward.”


“Where are George and Richard?”

“Getting the horses” she said glancing up.

“Now give me my com device”

“Not until you promise to give me what I want.”

“What do you want?” He asked her.

“I want a place all my own, where no one tells me what to do. You’re a Lord you can do that.”

“I’m not a Lord here in Izril, On Rhir I could do something, if the King allowed me to.”

She punched him in the chest, “You’re a Lord you can do whatever you want.” The blow hit his leather armor and he didn’t even feel the impact. He grabbed her around her thin waist with one arm and sat up. “It’s doesn’t work like that Kaylee” He said holding onto her and stood up.

She wrapped her legs around him locking them behind his back. “You are not getting away that easy” she put her elbows on his shoulders, “Why won’t you just promise”

“Kaylee, give me my com device” he said somewhat angrily.

“No, not until you promise.”

“Fine, I promise that I will reward you if you give me my com device.”

“See was that so hard,” She held the small gold arc in front of his face.

He took it from her with his right hand and put it behinds his ear, it stuck and he touched the diamond. “Contact Coreen”

There was a slight pause and then the connection, “It’s about time!” Coreen said from the other side of the world.

“Sorry, I lost it when I fell back down, how is everything.”

There was a pause on the other side, “You are such an ass! Do you know how worried we were, some of us thought you were dead.”

“I’m not, you of all people should know that.”

“Well Lady Amethyst was a wreck, until we got that message two days ago. I think she’s putting together an expedition to come get you. She even bent the kings ear and had a shouting match with the queen. They should be sailing out tomorrow or the day after.”

“I take it things are stable?”

“For the most part, you should contact Lady Amethyst let her know you are ok.”

“I will, it’s good to hear your voice, can you tell newton to lock down the hub?”

“Already did, he’s been in and out all day.”

“Ok, I’m heading back to the city, and maybe down to Liscor, to find the hive there after that not much going on.”

“Isabel will want to talk to you as well. Poor things been beside herself, insists she goes tomorrow. Who knows maybe she will. I have some work to do here, contact me later”

“I will”

The connection closed.

He looked at Kaylee who was still staring at him”What?”

“You promised,” and let her legs drop to the ground. Elbee let go of her.

“I have some people I need to talk to.” He walked off into the field and made a second call.

“He’s so weird!” Becky said watching him pace back and forth talking.

Kaylee watched with them, “any idea what hes doing?” She asked.

Samantha giggled, “Talking to his wife, is my guess.”

“How can you tell?” Becky asked.

“Oh you see it all the time, it’s the body language.”

They watched for five more minutes or so and then he walked over to them, “Ok I’m set, I have a ride coming to get me in a month or so, unless I can figure out this condition error crap. Where were these silver rank adventurers we were asked to look in on?”

“You’re asking us?” Becky said looking over at Samantha

“Uh, let me guess you have no idea where we are going?” Samantha asked.

“I have a spoon..” he dead panned.

“How does that help?” Becky asked him.

“No idea, they said west, so maybe farther west.” He suggested.

Kaylee brought over his horse, “Some adventurure you are, don’t even know where you are going.”

There was one other thing that happened out in that field in the middle of no where, a large section of dirt was escavated, it took only an hour to get a large area cleared, the small cubes, of earth were set aside as they were very unstable. A certain page of the book was cleared and the corpses left in the deep hole. The group of them spent ten minutes throwing unstable cubes into the hole wathing them explode covering the decapitated corpses.When all was said and done a larger patch of moist dirt was all that marked the hole that had been dug.

The group headed back to the city, to both pick up his purchases, and to get more information. Elbee headed west to look fur the other silver adventurures.

When they returned they found that the silver rank team had finally checked in and that Elbees assistance on the matter was unessessary. Since the guild wanted him to stay out of city, they suggested that he deal with some of the issues to the south, without giving specifics. He headed south that afternoon to Liscor to deliver the message from Rhir, when he received the message.

He encountered a group heading north and west, on the trip south; the group was hurding goblin prisioners. He was escorted along the line by humans, it was to keep a buffere between them and the goblins they were force marching to wherever they were going. There was a precession of wagon and horses, one of the guards of the procession who was making sure they stayed to one side of the road, and didn’t interfear with the goblins, commented as they escorted him down the line.

“This all Emperor Larkens doing can’t understand why. Guess that’s why I am on escort duty, make sure none of the locals freeks out or the roads don’t get blocked. You’re the first one that didn’t run the other way” He told Elbee.

“Who’s Emperor Larken?” Elbee asked.

“Haven’t met him myself, they say hes blind.” The guard gossiped.

“Would it be possible to meet this Larken?”

“Emperor Larken, not likely theres been some rumors going around that there were some assassins, that tried to take him out.”

Goblins were walking north and the humans were forcing them, to do so. “I wonder if this is how it looked back on earth with the American indians.” Elbee asked out loud.

“What,” the guardsman asked.

“Nothing, not important.” He said to the guardsman.

There was a shout as one of the hobgoblins rushed straight at him and the guardsman. “Third time today, “ The guardsna sighed.

The hobgoblin was large but not as large as some of them that fought in the wars. He was an average sized Hob of the few that were on the march. Two armored knights, intercepted the goblin before he could cause any issues one held him down while the other beat on him

“You want me to talk to that hob? I don’t think that nessessary” Elbee asked.

“Your funeral, they go through this a few times a day.”

Without waiting for approval, he dropped off his horse and walked over to the two knights that were delivering punishment to the hobgoblin. “You want some of this,” one of the knights asked.

“I was going to ask you to stop, hes not resisting.”

“Mind your own business. Hey get this civilian outside our lines.” He called to the guardsman. The other knigh hit the hob in the face a third time with his mailed glove leaving a green trickle of blood. The hob just smiled.

The knight pulled back his mailed fist to deliver another blow. “Enough!” a voice with authority said. Everyone turned to see a young man with his eyes closed in a simple shirt and pants. The other knight released the hobgoblin. It fell forward onto his hands and knees. The two knights looked over at Elbee who had drawn a blade, it glowed a deep purple. “Get back to work.” He turned and spoke to Elbee, “There is no need for bloodshed.”

The knights reacted as if slapped, and walked off.

Elbee offered his hand to the hobgoblin. He ignored in and stood on his own. “At least take this.” Elbee offered him a healing potion. The hob took it and put in in a small pouch. He put the sword away and the hob turned at stared at the young man and then walked back into the line of goblins.

The young man turned and started walking back to one of the wagons that had stopped.

“Emperor Larken I presume?” Elbee asked.

The man just waved over his shoulder and climbed up next to the driver of the wagon. He spoke a few words and the wagon driver nodded and they resumed.

They wagon rolled past him and Elbee walked over to his horse. “Doesn’t seem like much”

The guardsman ignored him. “Lets get you down the line”

Elbee followed the guardsman, he looked back twice. “I really have some questions” he turned his horse around and two soldiers stepped in front of his horse.

“Wrong way” The soldier said leveling a pike at him.

“I just wanted to ask him some questions.”

“You and half the continent, turn around.” The soldier said.

“I guess your right,” He turned the horse back south and followed the guardsman.

“Sorry like I said assassins have been lurking around.”

Elbee watched as he rode past a sea of green bodies, surrounded by soldiers. He shook his head slowly.It didn’t take the guard to get him to the back of the moving army along the south road.

“Be careful on the road south, specially through the passes” the guardsman turned back to the army moving and was gone

A few minutes later the road was clear and quiet.

 Elbee sat in the middle of the road on a horse, trying to decide if he really want to go south or turn around and see what was up with the goblins. His promise made the choice for him. He rode south.

Gamers Eight ACT IV- Chapter 6

The next morning Bloodstone was looking at the computer screen, at the pictures, they had taken. Some were of the bodies and some were of the woman above in the dome. Otheres were the golems outside.

“Your up early” Lady Amethyst said stretching

“I couldn’t sleep, something about this is making me nuts.”


“It almost looks like the tower was attacked. The thing is, who or what killed them and why.”

“So use the mirror on one of the bodies.” She suggested.

“I can’t, let me be more specific, I won’t I have no idea who these people were, why they were killed or who killed them. I could accidentally resurrect the killer.”

“So you’re going to play it safe?”

“Ok, then you pick a corpse, and we can try resurrecting it.”

“Are you sure that’s a good idea.”

“It’s not with our time here limited by the food we have, one person would reduce our time here a day. We wouldn’t be any closer to getting into that vault. I know we have a reserve of about a week, that’s the emergency reserve. The goblins ate a little more than I expected, we have the cushion we just are really running out of time.”

“What about that poor girl trapped in that time bubble?”

“With the golems there, I can’t even get close to see if it’s really a time bubble. The only thing that I could do is see if we can get to her from below. Even then if that’s what it is, I don’t see how we could free her from it.”

“Esprite could get in there, “ Kuya said.

“Im not understanding how Esprite could help” Bloodstone said

The small blue light floated over to Bloodstone, “Pi, pi pi pi pi. Pi pi pi. Pi pi pi pi” the small glowing blue spark said.

“I see, time doesn’t affect thought mites, since they exist mostly out of time to begin with. Could you carry a camera through the field?”

“Pi?” it replied.

“How does that help then?”

“Oh I see,” Kuya said.

“Explain it.” Lady Amethyst said complete confused.

“Esprite can go in there and can teleport the girl out.” Kuya said.

“What about the golems?” Lady Amethyst asked.

“Not a problem Esprit can move through that area unimpeded, he’s a thought mite.”

“Your too loud,“ Rana said yawning


“You want to do this now? Or wait till everyone else is awake?” Bloodstone asked the small blue glow


“Well it’s up to you, I have no easy way to get her out of that bubble, not without breaking a few laws of nature, and shattering this tower all over Rhir.”

“Your kidding right?” Xyrediane asked sitting up.

“Nope, I have one idea, but best guess is that it explodes the tower over Rhir. Honestly though I have no idea how to get her out. Esprit how about it, you want to save a girl from a time bubble?”

“PI!” the spark shot straight up through the ceiling and vanished.

“Stop encouraging Esprite, “ Kuya said looking up, “Hes going to be impossible after this”

There was a slight rumble and a loud snap and the blue spark appeared and the woman from the dome appeared. She was wearing a simple cotton or wool robe, with a small emblem near her collarbone, on her left side. It appeared to be an arcane symbol, she had a simple belt, and was barefoot.

She made a squeak, and the paused, looking around.

“How did I get into the basement?” She asked herself and then screamed when she saw the men and women with spells and weapons ready.

“Hold!” Bloodstone said.

“Why are you attacking, who are you!?” The woman asked.

Bloodstone stared at her dumbstruck, she was shorter, by a full foot, and her skin was a soft pale, white. The long flowing platinum blond hair accented the freckles on her face, what made him pause was the ears, she wasn’t a half elf like he thought she was an elf.

“Well! Explain yourself! Where is master Nereshal” She said.

Bloodstone bowed, “I apologize for the way we arrived, you have been locked in time. We had Espirit free you.”

The blue spark went  “Pi”  and zipped around her head.

“A great spirit!, who are you people?” she said confused.

“We found a copy of your diary and this place, what’s the last thing you remember?”

She stared at him, “The hourglass!” She swallowed and then looked at everyone standing around gaping at her.

“Take in slow, breath.” Bloodstone said.

Someone offered her a chair. “I am an apprentice, someone broke in, in the middle of the night. I heard screaming.  I ran to find the master. I took the hourglass, and mithril soldiers from the workroom. I tried to take them from the case and I spilled them and it fell off the balcony. I recall three of them expanded and rose to defend me. Someone came up the stairs and threw something at me. That’s the last thing I recall until I was here.”

“Hold up before we get any further, I want you to know your safe, and no one will harm you. I am Bloodstone. This is my wife Amethyst, my daughter Kuya and my son Xach.”

He introduced Xyre and Rana and the others as they awoke. She looked tired. “I don’t know what to believe, I am apprentice, Ashera Rodove my master is the arch mage Nereshal, guardian of the white tower.” She yawned, “ I am sorry I will have to trust you, you could have killed me if you wanted.”

“Ashera, why not rest, we can discuss the tower, and what happened, more when you awaken.”

She nodded and was shown the bedroll and the odd cot that folded up.  She appeared to be asleep in moments.

“Why does that name sound familiar?” Bloodstone asked. He shrugged and sat down and packed up the pictures into a compressed file.  He found himself staring at the young elven woman more than once.

“You keep drooling and you are going to mess up your computer”, Eve teased.

He broke his gaze away from her and looked at Eve, “It’s not like that, I am in shock. I was under the impression that the elves were all gone. Seeing her, you can tell she’s not a half elf, there’s a feeling of life around her, she looks like a half elf in some ways and in others…”

“Well don’t freak the poor kid out, she’s worse off than we are, she’s lost everything. Think of how people will react to her. Even they are a bit shocked.” She gestured across the room where the natives were talking.

Zail , Xyre,  Rana and Nyteria came over to where Bloodstone was sitting, they looked disturbed.

“She the last Elf,” Xyrediane said softly.

Bloodstone stared at them, “Stop it, you don’t know that for fact, she’s just the first elf you have seen. I see this is going to be a problem.” He looked over at Lady Amethyst who was looking through her spell book. “Hey hun, need you for a moment.”

She looked over at him. “What?”

“Before this gets out of hand when we get back to civilization, I want to make sure she’s got some protection, can you pick out some appropriate mage gear from what we have left and” he said looking at the others, “I think I may need your help too bind an illusion to a ring.”

“Fine,” she said using the door key and going into the room. It was packed with crates all along the walls, to the ceiling, in the back it was two deep. She began looking through crates for gear for Ashera.

“What are you going to do with her?” Xyrediane asked.

“Do, nothing except protect her, she’s an apprentice. If the king thinks he can take her, well over my dead body..” He looked at the open door.

“With your mirror.. Oh!” Xyrediane said.

“Precisely, try using an artifact on me and I will destroy it.”

“How would you do that?” Nyteria asked.

He stared at her, “I know a few tricks, that are not skill based. I also have a few that are skill based.”

Lady Amethyst carried over a white robe, as well as a wand, six rings, an amulet, a pair of women boots, and a belt, and a bag of holding. She also had a book of spells. “I think this should get her going, I put some money in the bag, not that she will need it right now.”

Bloodstone nodded. “Will you and Xyre take her under your wing and keep her safe.”

“Why us?” Xyrediane asked.

“Because I don’t feel I should baby her, she deserves the best, you two are the best, Kuya you can assist.”

“Fine.” Kuya said.

 Bloodstone looked at the rings, “These will work, they are not enchanted.”

“Those are from that dragon’s horde?” Eve asked.

“Yup, and they are just normal rings, with good quality gemstones set. I’m going to enchant an illusion into them, never done that before, I know the basics of how it’s done, just need to try I suppose.” He looked over at Lady Amethyst, “So can you mana me up, and we can get these enchanted.”

“Sure, you want to help?” She asked the others.

“Yea!” Nyteria said enthusiastically.

“Meh” Kuya said, “I’ll just watch, I don’t need to make magic items”

Bloodstone spent the next six hours enchanting three rings, the first was just the illusion, and once he understood how it worked he wove the spell into the next ring. Making it less noisy as well as a finer weave of the spell to the gemstone. Unfortunately, the number of spells put into the ring, made it unstable and the gemstone cracked.

“You can’t put that many enchantments into a ring, I can feel the imbalances from here” Nyteria said eyeing the ring.

“I can fix it, I know what caused the stone to crack.”

“Daddy, you might not want to put so many spells into a stone that’s flawed.” Kuya said examining the ring.

“Ok, so we have four left, pick one that’s not flawed.”

They were so intent on the rings, they didn’t notice Ashera get up and see what they were doing. “What are you doing?” she asked.

Everyone paused and then looked at Bloodstone.

“I am making you a ring, so that when you get back to civilization you can blend in. No one has seen an elf in…” he looked over at the half elves, “You two might want to tell her.”

“Me?” Xyrediane said looking Ashera and Bloodstone.

“Fine I will tell her, you’re the first elf anyone here has seen… You are an elf, right?”

Ashera turned bright red, “I, uh, am an elf, that’s a human term. I think the proper term is Sylvan.”

“I am sorry, that may sound racist to you Ashera”

She shook her head no, “I just, haven’t heard that term used before. What is the ring for?”

“This gear here, is to keep you safe, “ He said gesturing to the robe and other items. “I am making a ring that will let you hide your heritage, that’s if you want to. Others may want to talk to you, ask questions, and you will be famous.”

“Me. Famous?” she said turning brighter red., “I am just an apprentice.”

“Maybe so, your still going to be famous, unless you don’t want to. I am giving you that choice. We are enchanting the ring to have illusions, that you can use.”

“Can I watch?” she asked.

“Sure, we have four left to try you have any preference to the stone?” he pointed out the four gold rings each having a different stone setting.

“You’re really going to give me a ring with enchantments?”

“It’s to keep you safe, you don’t have to use them if you don’t want to.”

They group of them made the ring of illusion and handed it to her, an showed her how it worked. “That’s amazing,” Nyteria said, “She looks like a human. Can you make me one of those?” She asked.

“Sure, when we get back, if you really want one. I am a bit tired and we need to get Ashera up to speed, why we are here. In the interest of full disclosure, we came to see if we could get into the vault.”

“The vault? your just like the others then.” Ashera accused.

“It’s not like that, if you have a claim I will respect that. As it is we have no way to get into the vault.”

“And if I refuse to help you” Ashera asked.

“It’s your life, we can put you back in that bubble if that’s what you want, or you can come with us. You could go off alone, I suppose, that is a choice you are going to have to make. I want you to see all your options, we can leave now if you are not going to help us. Eventually you could hire someone or return on your own.”

Ashera stared at him, and the gear that was on the table. “Suppose I believe you, what’s to keep you from killing me once I open the vault.”

There was a sadness to his reply, “I don’t want any harm to come to you, you know where the vault is go and check it. No one will follow you, take the gear, as well.”

She hesitated and then pick up the clothes and other items. Kuya said to her, “My dad is trying to help you. Maybe something to eat might help?”

Ashera nodded slowly, “I will change first.”

Nyteria spoke up, “You can change over there, in the storage room.”

Ashera fled and took the clothes.

“She’s terrified,” Violet said walking over to them.

“I figured, “ Bloodstone said walking into the doorway and looking through one of the weapon crates. He pulled out a beautifully ornate gem covered dagger. He pulled it from the sheath and checked the blade, re-sheathed it and waited. Setting the blade on the table.

They waited, for a good ten minutes, then twenty and Ashera came out of the storage room, with her new gear on. She had put her hair down still and she walked over to Bloodstone. Her eyes were red around the edges.

“You are afraid of me?” He asked.

She nodded slowly, “Your going to kill me, this is all a trick. I open the vault and you take everything.”

“Maybe, unless you disagree, I’m not here to fight you Ashera.” He gestured to the dagger on the table. “That’s yours as well, its enchanted to be sharp, so be careful.”

She looked at the dagger and back at him. She reached out and slowly picked it up, she pulled the blade out and looked at it.

“If it makes you feel better, go through the passage we dug, go see what’s happened since you were stuck.” A little louder, “We are leaving in the morning, so get everything packed. Marcus, Hijala go relieve Elmok and Zail on horse duty.”

“I must protest,” Hijala said, “My place is with the lady.”

“Ok, Xach go with Marcus”

Xach followed Marcus.

Ashera stood watching them with the dagger in hand. She sheathed the dagger and started in the direction of the vault. No one moved to block her path.

Ashera was only gone five minutes and she returned in a panic, “Its gone!”

“What do you mean it’s gone?” Bloodstone asked.

“It’s gone! There is just a big cavern where it was.” She said somewhat panicked.

“Let’s go look then.” , Everyone then followed behind him as they went to the vault room.

The portal was glowing a soft blue, and it opened into a large cavern.

Bloodstone pulled a handful of glow marbles out of the light pouch and stepped over to the portal. It didn’t react to his presence, he stepped through and tossed two glass beads into the darkness.

“They got it first!”

“Who got it?” Xyre asked, stepping in after him.

“The Antinium, they must have had it for ages. I’m sorry Ashera, it’s gone, Dammit”

“Who are the Antinium” Ashera asked.

“A race of insect people, they got the vault, and best guess used a similar trick we did to get in to the tower.”

“What do we do now?” Xyre asked as the others began to file into the cavern.

“See how far this goes, and turn back in a day, or we leave now. We don’t have the time to follow this longer than a day or two. We are almost at point where we will run out of food for the horses and us. We need to decide now, are we going to follow this or are we heading back.”

“If the Antinium have it, isn’t it lost?” Nyteria said looking around.

“Most likely,” there was a shuffling in the darkness.  A half dozen beads were thrown in the direction. There were dozens of antinium, in the cavern.

“Back through!” Bloodstone said and saw there were antinium behind them as well.

A bright green Antinium approached them, and spoke in common, “Surrender or we will consume you”

“What do you want, we have no quarrel with you and your kind.” Bloodstone said loudly.

“We have a quarrel with you and yours. I have orders from the Queen to bring you to her, resist and perish.” The Green antinium said.

They were led down the long dark cavern. The antinium took the horses and disarmed them and took all the obvious magic items they possessed. They walked for hours before being allowed to rest. There were four colored antinium that seems to be in control of the massive numbers they saw. The green one, a red one who didn’t talk, a jet black one who stopped them from talking. There was also a deep orange one who wanted to converse with them individually as they walked.

“You are the leader, you will talk with the Queen.” The Orange Antinium said to Bloodstone.

He was led through caverns, and with his senses he could see the map in his head. It was deep underground and was much warmer.

“You are the one who freed the elven woman?” The orange Antnium asked.

“Not precisely, a friend of my daughter did.”

“You take no credit for her release?”

“Not personally no, I asked if they could and they did it. We were looking for the vault.”

“The vault, oh the cube. We are no longer in possession of it.”

 “Is there something you want from us?” Bloodstone asked the orange Antinium.

“Information, we are aware that some of our brethren made and survived the journey, it is details that we require.”

“Not much to tell, most of the ships were sunk or destroyed before landing on Izril. From the books I have read there are six hives. Beyond that I have no more information for you.”

“We will inquire, what is the status of the Human kingdom”

“Desperate, terrified of the blight. I don’t suppose the antinium are responsible for the waves of monsters?”

“Monsters?” It inquired.

“Crullers, skin stealers, undead and other things that seem to come every six to eight summers. “

“That’s is not the antinium that is from the tear and the others.”

“Why did you attack the humans,” he asked.

“To secure a place to return, to gather more resources, we needed.” It replied.

“Do you consider humans an enemy?”

“Of course, do you not consider the Antinium a threat to your survival?”

“Maybe, that’s a complicated question. It there a way to make peace with the Antinium?”

The antinium didn’t answer immediately as if the question was foreign to its concept of humans, “I do not see how that could be accomplished”

“Small steps and a little bit of trust on each side.”

“Perhaps, we will discuss this further.”

The green colored Antinium pulled Ashera out of the line, “You will come with me”

“I don’t want to!”, she cried.

“Leave her alone” Bloodstone said his voice very loud in the narrow passage they had been following.

Six antinum grabbed him and held him in place. The green one walked over to him, “You speak of trust. No harm will come to her.”

“Ashera, I don’t think they would be foolish enough to harm you. I would make it a point to kill every Antinum on Rhir if you came to harm.”

“I do not see how you would be able to accomplish that.” The Orange antinium said.

“Don’t go there, I have three ways I could destroy you right now, don’t make me come up with more, or a reason to use them.”

They led her away and led the rest of the group to a large room. It was bare, and they allowed to place lights, to see.

“What do they want?” Xyrediane asked.

“No idea, we will find out I am sure.” Bloodstone said.

They brought Ashera back shortly after, he was in hysterics and terrified. The Green antinium told Bloodstone to follow him. “You will behave, in the presence of the Queen.” He stated

He followed the Green Antinium through the dark passageways. “I’m am surprised you have not bumped into anything?”

“I can see in pitch black.”

“I was unaware humans could see in the dark.”

“I’m a special case, most can’t without spells or gear.”

“I understand,” He led him through a few more passages and into a large cavern where a creature the size of a small bus was being attended to by six tall and thin looking antinium, “Is this the human?”

“It is my queen”

“Human, you will explain this.” She showed him a small crystal, an image was playing in it. It showed a woman being protected by Antinium, or at least they looked like smaller human sized antinium. They were attacking goblins

“What would you want to know, I have no idea who that woman is or where this is.”

“It is being sent by several mages, we would know why they are associated with this woman. Is she controlling them or is there something else.”

“I am sorry, I do not know. It’s possible this is from Izril, that’s where your brethren ended up.”

The images stopped, and the queens massive form moved closer to him, her eyes were huge and faceted, a giant insect, was his first impression, “We would know how you freed the sylvan from that temporal bubble”

“Luck and a being who time doesn’t matter, a friend of my daughter.”

There was a clicking sound as the queen ran a massive hand ran along a section of the wall. “I have been trying to decide what to do with you.”

“What are the options”

“Putting the lot of you to death, perhaps send you into the tear, or use in an experiment. I haven’t decided”

Bloodstone stared at the queen, “We are not dead yet, so there must be a reason.”

The queen was silent, the green antinium spoke, ”We know you were responsible for the death of one of the old ones.”

“The [geomancer] with [pyromancy]” he asked.

“We are speaking of the old one you defeated recently, “ The green antinium said.

“Why would I deny it, I have no reason to be deceptive. You already knew this and want to enact some form of vengeance? The others however have not harmed your people.”

“You don’t seem to be afraid, and you removed, the old one, we would know of the treasures and where they have gone.” The green antinium inquired.

“Some of the adventurers that were with us took a measure of it with them , the rest is safe and secure. Im sure you had difficulties getting back in there once it was sealed.”

“You think your magic could stop us, we are antinium” The Queen said.

Bloodstone shrugged, ”I’m not here to fight, I am here to recover the Vault, maybe come to some understanding with you and your people. Mistakes happen, let’s see if we can avoid making any more?”

“Perhaps. You are a strange human, your levels and classes are obscured from my sight, that is very strange.” The Quewn said staring at him, “The cube in question is gone, taken by a creature from the tear, we lost many of our number and it has been there since.  I don’t think there can be an understanding between us.”

“How about an understanding with just those of us here that you have confined?”

The queen was silent and the Green antinium said, “As you wish my queen, I will bring the next one. You will come with me.”

“Hold on, I don’t think you quite understand what’s at stake here. The Blighted king is killing people to summon others to this world, I am not from Rhir, or anywhere else on this world. Making me an enemy is not a wise thing to do.”

 “Wait” The Queen said, “You know of other worlds?”

“Depends on the context, outer space, like the stars, or in other dimensions. I know about gods and pantheons, though not about the ones that were here. If I had to guess, this was all caused by a conflict of Gods.”

“What do you know of Gods!”

“I know most of them are dead from this world, the thing is, dead is not gone. I don’t know what the rules are here, how deities are made, how they are broken and the important thing how power is passed from one to another. There can be different rules for each world, rules that usually are immutable, and are fixed.”

“You know nothing! Take him back, bring the next one I will have answers.”

Bloodstone smiled, “let me know when you want to talk again.”

They walked him back and picked Hijala and took her to talk to the queen.

“What did they want” Lady Amethyst asked.

“Answers to questions, I have no information on. I believe we will all be questioned, answer truthfully. I think they are intimidated, we took down a dragon, and released Ashera from a time bubble than makes us dangerous.”

“Is that what that was?” Ashera asked.

“An antinium queen.” He said to her. Lady Amethyst and Xyre were consoling her.

Hijala was brought back and hissed at the green antinium, “Honor less bug men”

The next to go was Rana, she was gone a long time. She came back with the orange and green antinium.

“You,” he said to Lady Amethyst.

“Ok get ready for the fireworks.” Bloodstone said.

“Why,” Xyre asked.

“If they piss her off or freak her out it’s over.” He said watching the entrance. “Kuya you ready in case we need your staff?” He asked.

She nodded, holding her small pen in her hand.

Marcus asked, “Does your wife still have the key?”

Bloodstone nodded, “They try and take that someone will die, I can guarantee it. You haven’t seen her pissed off, pray you never do.”


“Sorry bad choice of words, how can I put it, she’s a high-level raid enchanter, she can take on a group of antinium with ease. All she needs is her spells, and there is no being I know of that can remove her spell book. She has her illusions and with the spells she’s added since we first came here. Like I said don’t ever piss her off.”

“I don’t understand “, Nyteria said, “I have not once seen her use a spell book.”

“It’s part of her, I had a test with her, and she casts like breathing, is second nature to her, she doesn’t even need to know the spells name, she just casts it.”

“I have never heard of that, but now that you mention it she never chanted or waved her hands she just made the spell happen. How powerful is she.”

Bloodstone paused, “By herself, maybe equal to a gold rank mage, with anyone else, deadly. The thing is she can charm and hold that charm on someone or something if she desires. With the charms she has, she is never truly alone.”

“And Kuya, what can she do, I heard about some of it in the trial” Nyteria asked.

“I can answer,” Rana said, “She’s so dangerous if she’s bored or angry that I don’t think there is anyone who could stop her, or her brother.”

“Xach is the one who opened the rift in front of the walls,” Kijala said., “That’s was him trying to impress his sister.”

“How much danger are we in here,” Elmok asked.

“On a scale of one to ten maybe a six or a seven” Bloodstone said.

“What was the invasion from the demons?” He asked.

“That maybe an eight or nine” He shrugged.

“Less but still dangerous.” Elmok nodded.

“Violet, are you getting anything from Lady Amethyst?” He asked her.

“Just tired and bored, I don’t think she’s there yet.” Violet said avoiding his look.

“You ok?” He asked.

“Mmm, I guess, just thinking is all.” She said softly.

“Anything you want to talk about?”

“No, maybe, I’m just confused.” She said looking up and smiling at him.


“You could have killed them, I wonder why you didn’t”

He looked over at Em and Xach who were sitting against the wall. “I don’t want to get any of you hurt, unless we have to fight let’s see if we can talk our way out of this. Besides, this is a practical application of necromancy.”

“You knew?” Em asked opening one eye.

“Of course, I looked through your bag before we revived you, some of them are really ingenious. How many are you running now?”

“Six, and Xach has four going.” She said closing her eye.

“Wait six what?” Xyre asked.

“Trust me, right now you don’t need to know. Later have her show you her tiny pets.”

“Pets?” Rana asked.

“Found the path back” Xach said.

“And I found the horses” Em said shortly after

“Excellent, now we just need to wait.” He sat down against the wall with them and closed his eyes, “Let me know if anything changes.”

Excerpt from the personal notes of Lord Bloodstone on his impressions of the Antinium on Rhir, after the White tower incident.

The first Antinium Queen that I met was at the time was confident they had us contained and under control. Being confined, however is not a bad thing with the antinium protecting us, we were all free to rest and relax for the first time in several weeks. Some would say how can you relax when your confined, surrounded by hostile enemies.  We were able to study the antinium in a manner that few could, both with the scientific method as well as observation.

As this was the first time that is known where the Antinium took prisoners, the others were notably nervous as to why they hadn’t just attacked us. I will get to that later, however this presented us with the opportunity, to see if any of the speculation was correct. From some of the writings it was speculated that they had different forms of communication, my guess, was seeing as many as I had, that they used a form of hive mind, possibly with chemical signals, like ants did. One way to test this was to see if I could find the hive mind, it wasn’t going to be easy and how does one think like an antinium.

Lady Amethyst came back shortly after, “When are you going to smash these ants?” she asked.

“Did the big scary bug bother you?” I teased.

“No, I told her that if they didn’t let us go, I would take over this whole place.”

“What was the reaction?”

“I don’t think she considered me a threat.”

I laughed considering that if they didn’t consider her a threat they had vastly underestimated us. “I’m going to try something, let’s see if they catch on, it’s going to take me a bit to figure this out”

I sat and meditated, on the world around me listening, and feeling and I activated the skills [analyze energy], and [purity of thought] these were skill from the [EMPTY] class, it was a hybrid of a few casting classes. Violet asked me if the class is empty how can it have skills. I explained to her that it means Energy, Matter, Psionics, Time, and Yar. She didn’t understand what I meant by the words. It’s a class that gives me a quick and agile use of Energy, Matter Psionics and Time. There are Skills, associated with the class. One is [Matter Transmutation], this allows me to manipulate matter from one thing to another based on what I concentrate on. Another is [Telekenisis] the ability to move objects at a distance without touching them.

There are a few other skills, that the class has, I had been building up the class itself from some of the demons that were killed before and during our time in the blight. One thing that I have noted is that I haven’t gained any Lord skills, I think it’s mainly because I haven’t needed them, or been opposed by any other lords or ladies. I did ask my wife and she had one skill from the Lady class, called, [Sovereigns Grace] while I have an idea what it might be, I haven’t had the nerve to check. She does have a few other skills, mostly related to her [Raid Enchanter] class. There is one person that I haven’t asked, about her skills is Kuya.

Now while I sat and meditated, I activated the following skills [Third Eye], [Mind of the Dragon], [Temportal shift], [Quantum Distortion],and [Brainstorm] It didn’t take long for me to find what I was searching for, the telepathic communications that the Antinium were using. I had in the past used Psionic abilities; I decide that it was perhaps time for the Antinium to understand what I was.

Using the telepathic ability with them if it’s done wrong is could be either they ignore me, or realize I am a threat that must dealt with immediately. I wanted a middle ground, where I knock on the telepathic door and see if they are willing to talk there. So I knocked.

At first, I don’t think they even realized I was talking to them.

Hi, would you be willing to talk about the vault we are looking for? There was confusion at first, since none of them seem to recognize the mind they were being communicated with.

Are you an aberration? Was a reply from a strong mind.

No, I figured this might be a better way to communicate with the Antinium.

There was a brief pause, as if they were unsure what was happening.

You are not antinium yet you communicate like one.

Shock resonated through the antinium, something fundamental had happened; a non antinium had spoken with them as they spoke with each other. 

I opened one eye as there were ten antinium that flooded into the room, intent on seeing what was going on.

Hostilities are unnecessary, I have no problem exchanging information and knowledge.

I will not go into the details as to what was discussed, however they learned a lot about humans and myself as well as what had happened to me since arriving, I also in exchange learned a lot about the antinium and the revenge they swore.

Where words would take weeks and days, we came to an understanding of each other in minutes and hours. The sorrow of them losing so many fleeing to rebuild, to come back, stronger was mixed in with the elation that me a human understood the need for change, as a species and as an individual. Antinium think more of the hive as a collective, not as a single or individuals, there were some downsides to that, in that they lost a measure of free thought. Where we as humans saw hundreds of antinium they saw it as we would use a hand to take out an annoying insect. I realize the analogy is somewhat backwards, but it did fit. We as humans don’t hear our liver complain when we drink too much, and if something like that were to happen we would most likely go mad. It was the same for the Antinium, if a single cell raised its voice, in our body we might think it was damaged. It took time to explain the differences, to find the common ground and a place and framework we could work together. They had simple basic goals, where our goals were hazy undefined and we came to each problem as it presented itself. They had a simplistic way of attacking a problem. I asked why they had attacked the humans and was told that at its basics, they didn’t know what humans would do. They needed the resources and we were in the way, or could be used as potential resources. I then had to explain to them that the hostilities must cease, between us, as they were making a mistake that they didn’t recognize as a mistake. Humans could be reasoned with, the question was could the antinium. That simple concept that was both alien to them and at the same time they understood its implication. Queens came to consensus and they began to understand that while we had a primitive way of thinking we also could adjust tactics without commands from someone in the chain of command.  Some of the antinium were considered autonomous and could think for themselves, they only thing was they tended to view everything through the lenses of helping the hive. They could revive a fallen one if it was still connected to the hive, the memory of what they had been could be rebuilt, but only partially, as they didn’t have any way to remember everything an individual did. A kind of an echo of the original, the closest analogy would be a clone or copy.

We discussed what would happen to us, with the antinium. I made a proposal for them to move a hive behind the walls in secret, to learn about humans, and to protect a place they could have their brethren return to if need be. They asked if my king would object, I explained that he had put me in charge of the wall being built, he needed it build. The antinium could help with that, doing that would at least give them some semblance of trust. It would take time, we could train them to use the ships, and get messages to the hives outside Rhir and perhaps find a way to setup hives elsewhere. In exchange they would help me recover the vault. I know in this exchange they seemed to get the better part of the deal, and in a sense they did have us and didn’t have to agree to anything.

A plan was laid out where I would attempt to recover the vault, and all its knowledge that was still contained, and perhaps remove a dangerous creature that was in control of it.

I explained to them that I have tools that allowed me to keep knowledge from my world and use it here. They were intrigued by the phone and the computer. They under stood the organics of biology in a manner that was frankly mind blowing. Coupled with the knowledge I had game wise as well as biology, there were only three true Queens still on Rhir. They had the [Prime Queen] The oldest queen and the only one that listened but did not comment one way or another on anything I suggested. They had dozens of beings they called shapers, those who could change the forms and shapes of the antinium, they were old, taught by the few shapers who did not make the journey, they had lost knowledge when they sent out the fleet.  I then understood, a danger they were unaware of, they had no written language, no way to pass on information to the next generation of antinium and if they lost to much they would be making mistakes they already had and possibly not knowing. I proposed a new antinium, be created, a sentient living creatures to remember every change, to remember the magic, and the past, that had a longer life, and could pass this on to others, antinium or humans. I know this sounds like I was betraying humanity, but I knew that this antinium could be a bridge or at the very least, save the knowledge that they had still.

The orange antinim that was called, Gvvrrxx came in to the room the demeanor was different than before. “Your presence is requested.”

“I suppose I made an impression?”

“The Hive will speak with you. Your proposal is acceptable we would however like to retain your knowledge as well.”

“I see, lead on”

I will not discuss what went on with the Queens and others, there was a consensus that was reached, when I explained, I would be willing to assist them, if they were willing to put aside hostilities to humans in general. At first they didn’t understand, what I meant until I activated the mind skills, and allowed them into the brainstorm session.  There was an exponential explosion of ideas, that shook the foundations of the Antinium, They understood in a short time that humans as an enemy would eventually destroy them. It wouldn’t be today or tomorrow, eventually there would be enough knowledge left behind or learned that they would eradicate anything they saw as a threat. They currently saw antinium as a threat, changing that mindset would take time.

I felt drained when I returned to the others. I explained that I would be going north with horses, and that the rest of them would be going to where the antinium built their ships. They would give us a ship to sail down the coast, to the lands we controlled. I would attempt to recover the Vault.

 I wanted to take three people, Kuya, Ashera and Xach. My wives objected, strongly. It was decided that Violet would accompany us, it was decided not ny me but my wives, she was the fittest of them and could as they put it keep an eye on me.

I explained that the Antinium could get us close to where the vault was so we could observe the creature. I needed someone with destructive capability, and another who had the ability to teleport. The plan would be as follows, Xach and Kuya, Violet, Ashera and myself would move through the underground areas, or the blight as needed to get where we needed to go. We would take the horses, and feed for them. We would use them to get as far north as we could, as the journey would take at least a week possibly longer. 

Since linking with the Antinium, I was able to co-ordinate with them it was like having a few extra hands if you needed them. I understood that I was being given some authority in the hive, simply because I could communicate with them on a level a human never had before, it a first of sorts for them as well.

I rested, and slept. We ate from our supplies, and shared some with the workers who came to clean up. While I understood they didn’t have much intelligence, I alone could sense the potential in each of them. The hive would become stronger if they each had a personality but could work as a cohesive whole. I found the antinium considered free though from the workers as, an aberration. I explained that that might be so, but they should be nurtured not suppressed. I explained to them that these aberrations should be noted and not punished; the rate that they would go insane would drop dramatically. They were coded to be workers, and if they started to question things they were evolving. Evolution of the species is necessary for growth. When it was explained to them in that manner, they understood somewhat, at least I think they did. We still hadn’t been allowed to move forward.

We had been assigned several of the antinium that were considered borderline aberrations. Kuya was the first to ask one a question that I know was a catalyst for its short breakdown. She asked it, “Are you happy.”

That specific antinium broke, it had never been asked that, and it decided that it wasn’t happy. I tried to articulate why it wasn’t. The fear it was feeling is what made Violet step in to help. “You don’t have to be afraid of us.” Violet said, between the others they understood finally what the antinium were.

After it had time to rest, it followed Kuya everywhere. She told it about home, as well as her drawings and magic. The antinium worker asked a question, “Could I learn magic.”  Kuya at first didn’t want anything to do with the Antinium, it took her some time to understand them.

The hive was fascinated with the fact that it wanted to learn magic. A worker learning magic was new. I asked the hive what the workers do, or the others types doing when they are not eating, sleeping or working. They had nothing else; I suggested giving them time to be creative, or a place where they could decide they wanted to go. I knew it was too early, to do more, and asked if they would allow it if they moved a hive south to behind the walls. We never really got an answer one way or another, I feel the queens thought it a waste of resources and didn’t pursue it.

The next morning, we were all escorted to the horses. Once there our gear was returned to us, and we were taken through the tunnels to an underground grotto, there it was explain that this was where they had build the ships and sailed them through underground channels to the ocean. There were antinium there working on a ship, I asked where they got the lumber and they showed us a valley it had been replanted from the trees they had taken decades before. There were trees as well as food. They protected that place as it was very close to the only hive that knew how to build ships. There were more than one ship under construction, They were simplistic, and knowing what I knew about ships in general, they wouldn’t have fared very well on the open ocean, the design was akin to a frigate or cargo ship. Not a deep sea vessel. This was pointed out to them and they decided to have some changes made, once I showed them pictures of wooden ships from a book on the computer.

I let Coreen know that we were splitting the group up and five of us were heading to recover the vault and the rest were going to be delayed, and taking a sea route. It was decided that since Eve had the only sea skills she would be the captain, she objected but once we decided she accepted, as long as she got to name the ship. She joked that she wanted to call it something anyone from our world would know. We knew the ship would take two weeks to complete, so they would wait while we journeyed up north and then I would call them all. I setup the spell, that would do the calling with Kuya helping with the teleportation aspect of the spell itself.

Once that was set we set out to try and recover the vault. We illuminated the horses and were guided through the tunnels, we saw few antinium along the route, and mostly because they knew where we were and exited the passage to allow us to pass through unobstructed. Once the horses needed to rest, we watered them and fed them with help from the antinium.

“What is it?” one of them asked.

“A horse” I answered.

“I have never seen one before; they are not part of us.” It replied.

“It’s not, you can pet it if you want, and it needs to be rubbed down. Would you help me with the saddle?”

“Saddle?” It asked.

“To ride it”


I showed him how to get on a horse in the passage being mindful of the ceiling.

“Do you want to try?”

The antinium tried and mounted the horse; it bumped its head and ducked down. It then dismounted.

“If you want to help us with the horses, then come with us in the morning.”

This is where I know the antinium had problems with choice, wanting to go but having duties elsewhere.

“You can bring them back if we leave them behind.”

I never saw that antinium, and it didn’t come with us. I was tired, and never really got around to asking. I kept in touch with all my wifes. Lady amethyst and the others had been helping with the ship, Lady Amethyst still had the laptop along with plans for the ships. It was during the discussion of the cove, and water that I learned they were terrified of the water. I understood why, it was how they breathed, the antinium were biologically similar to ants, and they didn’t breath through their mouths like a human would they breathed through their abdomen. It wasn’t obvious but once you were aware of it they could compensate. I explained Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus, or SCUBA. Not that I have ever gone diving with a tank, it made me wonder if there was a way they could hide underwater, if they needed to. We never got farther with the inquiry.

It took ten days to make the trip, I had a chance to speak with Ashera, and teach her some magic. We did figure out that she wasn’t sure what to do once we retrieved the vault. Technically was was hers by right, and the fact that I was going to retrieve it wasn’t lost on either of us.

The antinium had given us a spot to rest. They wanted us to wait before we left the safety of the tunnels, as once we went above they wouldn’t be able to protect us as efficiently.  They had killed two hundred and eighty-seven creatures to get us this far. I was aware, Ashera was not. The antinium Gvvrrxx accompanied us, more to guide us through the tunnels than anything else.

“Why are you helping me retrieve the vault?” Ashira asked  a couple of days into the trip.

“You don’t want to recover it?”

“I thought you wanted it for yourself?”

“You could have told me no at any point.”

“I just don’t know this is all happening so fast, I barely have time to think.” She said taking a drink from the water skin.

“What do you have, if we can’t recover it?”

She looked at the cloths and gear she was wearing. “Just what I have on me and you gave it to me.”

“I am interested in what’s in the Vault, not going to lie about that, but it’s something you will own once I can retrieve it for you. It’s not about gold, or magic. It’s about knowledge; I want to know what happened here. The antinium have shown me some I want to know what the elves knew, what your people knew.”

“You just met me, how do you know I am worth all that, what if the vault is now empty?”

“Then we leave and move on, we have a chance let’s take it, we may not get another.”

We spoke about her life, and she cried when she remembered her parents were long gone. I let her talk with the others using one of the ear sets, and I let her keep it. Gvvrrxx kept his distance from us. Ashera spoke with Violet, Xach and Kuya about little things, and they seemed to give her a measure of confidence.  I could tell she was stressed, almost near the breaking point.

The antinium had also been busy, they were many, but from what they told me they had lost thousands when they left Rhir.Tehy had been rebuilding their numbers but it was still a slow process. The Queens knew that if they didn’t change they would soon be gone, at least on Rhir, the fact that the other hives hadn’t contacted them spoke volumes of what they had lost. We made a single stop along the path that was out of the way.

I was brought to another Queen, one of the ones who were skeptical of me. She gave me two eggs of the new subspecies of antinium two of four she had. They were white and leathery looking two feet long and maybe six inches round, it was an egg. These antinium would have a longer life cycle, since they would store the antiniums memories. The eggs I had been given fit into my  leather backpack, with barely any room for anything else. I transferred all my clothes and other items to one of two bags of holding I was carrying. The book, of storage, was in its own leather case tied to the main backpack.

When we arrived at the destination the antinium had indicated. They let us out from a secret type passage way, behind a ridge. It was explained that the creature whatever it was had dragged it away, in its attempt to consume it.

We carefully found the location and even still we were not close, we could see the vault in the distance a rough black cube. With something that looked like a giant centipede on it, the thing was a red and black color, and seemed to blend in with the cube itself.

Gvvrrxx had somehow kept up with us even though we only saw him three times during the trip spoke with us.

“We dare not get closer, we are not able to harm it with magic or anything else we have thrown at it.”

“How long has the vault been here?” Bloodstone asked, “We never did resolve that question”

The Antinium paused and asked the hive, “Before the first walls of the human kingdom were built, a definitive measure time before that would be meaningless without some context. We can guess at least several hundred years prior to the humans returning to Rhir.”

“That thing has been attacking the vault for maybe a thousand years, or more that speaks volumes about the vault.” Bloodstone said looking at Ashera.

“I know it’s the ancestors vault, with knowledge of our heritage. I know my people were reluctant to remain on this world. I have no idea where they might have gone. If they couldn’t beat it what makes you think you can?”

Bloodstone laughed, “I am the master of the impossible! It may be indestructible but it has to obey certain laws of the physical world, even add magic, it is beatable.” He looked from Kuya to Xach, “Right, who wants to live forever!”

Kuya smiled, “I can try erasing it” She expanded her staff and the three feathers dropped lower making it look like a scythe. She waved it in the creature’s general direction. “Nope, no idea why that didn’t work”

“Was worth a shot” Bloodstone said looking at the Cube, “I have no idea how we are going to move it, or where to move it to.”

“No idea,” Kuya said.

“We could levitate it up,” Xach suggested.

“How does that help?” Violet asked.

“Well, we can then move it to where we want it to be like near the fortress or near where we are building our house” Xach suggested.

“Still have a monster to deal with, lets figure out that. Then have Ashera see if we even need to move it.” Bloodstone suggested.

Ashera looked pale, “why are you so insistent?”

Bloodstone looked away from the cube and at her, she was shaking, the fear was visible, and Violet, looked at Bloodstone.

“I can give you two empty bags of holding you can go in pull whatever you think you might need out, and we can leave the rest here.”

“I don’t want to.” She said looking over his shoulder.

“Then you tell me what should we do?” Bloodstone asked Ashera.

“I want to wake of from this nightmare, I want to go home.” She said trying not to cry.

Bloodstone knelt in front of her, she was taller than him and had to look down, “I know, I want to go home as well. I understand you’re scared; We won’t let anything happen to you. Either you trust us or you don’t. I know it’s a lot to ask.” He looked in her eyes, “I’m a scared to, I just know how to hide it better. I want to recover that Vault, not for me, not for anything else but for you. Will you help us help you?”

She sobbed once and hugged him, Kuya, Violet and Xach hugged her as well, until she stopped sobbing.

“There is one thing you could do,” Ashera said rubbing the tears off her cheeks and out of her eyes.

“Whats that?” Violet asked.

“If the Key staff is still there that could be used to control it, at least that’s what everyone kept telling me to bring out.”

“Key staff?” Kuya asked.

Ashera nodded, “Last time I was in there its up on a dias it looked heavy, and I was afraid to move it.”

“Whatever you think is best, “ Bloodstone said, “looking through the spyglass. “That thing is a monster if I ever saw one it doesn’t even look like a real centipede” He handed the spyglass to Xach,”take a look Xach”

“Gross, it doesn’t look like a centipede, I see the shimmery door.” Xach said pointing it out.

“It’s been flipped up” Bloodstone said, “I bet everything is a mess in there. You think we could get inside” He asked Ashera.

“I don’t think so the barrier only lets elves in.”

“You think it would let a rope in or out?” Bloodstone asked Ashera

“I don’t see why not, it’s not alive.”

Bloodstone pulled out of one of the bags of holding a loop of robe with a grappling hook on it, and handed it to Ashera. She put it over her left shoulder and held the grappling hook in her left hand.

“We are going to distract it, Violet is going to stay here and will run if we get to close, to her or Gvvrrxx. We will help you get onto the cube, now for us to get this raid started. While most of my spells will last about twelve hours or so, we should be done in one or two beyond that Kuya will teleport everyone else back. Everyone ready on your side” He stood back and began casting.

[Call of the Raid] Others began appearing in a circle around them, “Thanks for inviting us to the party!”, Lady Amethyst said. Each of them had a green band on each right bicep. The band glowed softly, with a green light.

“Don’t thank me yet, I think the spell should send you all back to where you started when the spell ends.

Marcus, Rana, Xyrediane, Hijala, Zail, Nyteria, Em and Elmok were there they looked a bit confused at first.

Bloodstone began to cast spells onto the group [Enhanced speed][Slow time][Dragon Strength][Mind of a computer][Regeneration][Swift like the Eagle][Lightning reflexes][Afterimage][Endless Endurance][Flicker]. It was then that Lady Amethyst began casting [Voice of Foresight III][ Umbral Rune][Speed of Silver] and [Mirror].

Kuya cast [Teleblink] on everyone it was a glowing band that appeared around their right wrist. “Let me know if you break that”she said aloud. She then handed Violet a bracelet, “that should keep you safe as well”

“Now listen, just attack, if you feel you are going to get hurt cut the band on your arm if you can. That will end the spell and send you back were you started, that will be here or where you were summoned. I am going to be helping Ashera get into the cube. Is everyone ready!?”

There was a shout from the group assembled.

There were spells that started to go off, and landed on the creature on the cube. Zail fired arrows and even at the extreme distance they were seen bouncing off the creature. More spells were used, and Xyre tried to right the cube with her [Geomancer] spells. “[Move earth]” She said completing the spell.

The cube shifted but did not fall onto the correct side. Elmok and Marcus charged, weapons ready. They both were wearing heavy plate mail. They were the first to arrive, and slashed at the creature, it didn’t even seem to recognize it was being attacked. Lightning, fire, ice, and white javelins of light hit the creature, yet it still didn’t react. Xyre adjusted the terrain, dropping the cube onto the correct face so that Ashera would have an easier time to get inside.

“Pull back,” Kuya ordered, those who were close backed up a tornado formed and came in and spun around the cube. The creature still hung on, and the cube began to rotate. Lightning and fire poured into the tornado, making visibility nil.  They stood on the edge of the tornado, as the lightning flashed.  Just as soon as it formed it began to dissipate, and they rushed in again to try cause damaged to the creature.

“This isn’t getting us anywhere it we need to step up the attacks or find some weakness” Bloodstone said to the raid.

The tornado completely dissipated, showering the area around the cube had been scoured of all the loose earth.

“We can’t seem to hit it, or these weapons are not biting.” Marcus said swinging repeatedly at the creature.

“That blade should be doing something it’s a collision, razor sword.”  Bloodstone said.

“Tell it that, I’m not even scratching it”

“Ok let’s try a different tactic, get ready.”

Bloodstone opened the book, flipping pages to the one with massive chain links. “[Invoke] target creature on the cube. [RELEASE]. There was a loud snap as the heavy chains appeared around the creature.  Marcus and Elmok grabbed an end of the chain and started to pull. They pulled the section of the creature off the cube, enough to expose entrance fully. In that moment, Hijala, Rana and Xyre took the other side of the chain and with a spike from underground they began to anchor it to the earth.

“Lets go!” Bloodstone took Ashera’s hand in his and started off at first a slow run pulling her along. She caught up and then went faster. It was as if the ground around them smoothed out and they moved like lightning across the distance to the entrance. He stopped just short of the revealed entrance, and drew his purple blade, as he let her hand go. She ran into the entrance.

“We have the first part done, still no reaction?” He asked.

“Nope,” Marcus said pulling the chain tight.

“I’m going to try my blades, be ready!” He stalked to the closest part, and swung the purple glowing blade, it just bounced, not leaving a mark. “I am going to try something.”

“Is that wise?” Xyre asked.

“We need to find a weakness.” Bloodstone began casting, [call Lightning] and the lightning began to rain down, [change lightning] [Energy Manipulation] A glowing white ball of light swirled slowly in his hand about three inches from his palm. [Matter Transmutation] and slammed his hand at the creature. For a moment nothing seemed too happened. It was then that there was a blinding flash of light, and heat. Bloodstone looked confused as there wasn’t a scratch on the creature. “No Fu…” The creature shifted, and seemed to be caught in the chains.

It seemed to orient on Bloodstone, and its mouth appeared to move towards him, “Its awake!?

Ashera came out of the vault at that moment with a large staff, the creature oriented on it and her. She took a step back to reenter the vault. “I have it Bloodstone. I don’t know how to use it.” She said as the creature started to move towards her.

Bloodstone touched it again, this time he used his [Remove class] skill. The creature made a hissing noise and turned and attempted to bite him.  Bloodstone rolled out of the way, the creature continued to try at bite him.

[sub class Monster tier VIII 98 acquired]

Bloodstone ducked and used his skills [wall of blades] he stumbled as the skill wave hit. The sword didn’t do much but push him back as the creature advanced.

[Condition dragon skin] —> [condition improved reflective skin]

[Condition Regeneration]

“I can’t do anything with the key” Ashera smiled as she threw it close to Bloodstone and tore at the green band on her arm. The creature sensed the movement and saw the staff and lunged for it.

Bloodstone dove, his head swimming as the new abilities washed over him.

As his hand grasped the staff, he knew something was wrong it was either the skill wave or the staff it was if every cell in his body was on fire.

[Curse Race Adjustment: Elf]

[Condition timeless body]

 [Condition Error…1]

[Condition Error…2]

[Condition Error…3]

[Condition Error…4]

[Condition Error…5]

[Condition Error…6]

[Condition Error…7]

[Condition Error…8]

[Condition Error…9]

[Condition Error…10]

He screamed, sending shockwaves out from the scream. The creature was pushed back several feet and then attempted to bite him in half. Marcus and Elmok dove on top of him dropping him to the ground. The others began to hit it with explosion, ice projectiles, Light lances, and even a cloud of green mist. Bloodstone convulses as waves of energy were seen washing over his body.

“Teleport us, “ Marcus said to Kuya through the raid link.

Elmok and Marcus vanished. “Where’s your father!”  Marcus asked as he appeared back in the cavern a few hundred miles south.

“He didn’t go, that staff is blocking it somehow.” Kuya said.

Rana danced over to him Xyre right behind her.  “Whats happeneing!” Xyre asked.

“I don’t know but I’m going to use my skill, and see if it helps him. [Eye of the Gazer]” Rana focused all her eyes onto Bloodstone, a beam of light that converged on him. The energy stopped and dissipated. Xyre knelt and lifted him up, “Something wrong Rana, he’s lite”

“No those are the buffs we have strength.” Rana replied and looked at the monster.  It lunged at Bloodstone and Xyre jumped both of them out of the way. “What can we do Rana”

Rana leapt after here and took up Bloodstones other side. “We need to wake him he will know what to do.”

They landed ten feet back and Lady Amethyst stepped in front of them, “Ladies, keep him safe.” She gestured and the creature was thrown chains and all away from the cube. It lay in a heap.

“Violet, wake him up” Lady Amethyst said to her., she turned to Ashera, “Take the staff, I saw the grin you tried to hide.”

Ashera stopped trying to tear the arm band, “He got what he deserved. He was going to steal everything, you humans are all alike.”

Lady amethyst strode the three steps to her and stuck her across the face with her palm, “You miserable brat! What did you do!”

“It’s only going to make him an elf, as long as he holds the staff. The ancestors made the staff to control it. They put safeguards in place. He just needs to relinquish it and the curse will be lifted.”

They looked at Bloodstone, his features had changed, and he looked smaller being held up by Rana and Xyre. His skin seems to glow more, like a half elf but even more so, and his ears were pointed.

Bloodstone shook his head, and came too.

“Drop the staff, the brat gave you a cursed staff.” Lady Amethyst said.

Bloodstone dropped it there was no change in his appearance.

“What about the creature how long will is stay like that” Hijala asked.

Everyone looked at the creature as it slowly began to disengage itself from the chains.

“Put me down, I don’t think it can be destroyed by normal means. Why do you all look a little taller?” He asked.

“Not now! How do we deal with that!” Xyre asked, pointing her wand at the creature.

Bloodstone thought for a moment, “Throw it into the sun”

Everyone stared back at him then the creature

“Uh how!?” Hijala asked.

“Ok this is what I need,” He looked at the cube, and then Ashera.  “I have a promise to keep.” He bent over and picked up the staff, and touched it to the Vault. The staff and the vault began to shrink down. Once it was small enough to carry he handed the small staff that looked like a key and cube to Ashera.

“But I thought?” she said somewhat shocked.

“That I would lie, I don’t if I can help it, stretch the truth maybe leave out important information never lie.”

“What about the curse” Xyre asked.

“One thing at a time. I need you all to get out of the area, I’m going to use some epic level spells.”

“What do you mean epic level spells?” Xyre asked.

“You know how there are tiers, of magic, first second third and so on.”

She nodded, “Yeah but what does that have to do with.”

“Epic is like a tier ten or higher spell, for that I need to make some checks.” He pulled the bag of dice from his pocket, found four that he was looking for and dropped them to the ground.

“Oh this is going to suck! Anyone care to help me with this?”

“I will just tell me what I need to do Xyre said.”

“I will help as well,” Em said looking at the dice, “If you explain what you just did”

“No time, I need magic, as much as you can gather. Xyre make a the stone below the creature break free in a disc.”

Xyre nodded there was a rumbling as the earth began to shift.

“Xach I need you to ice that monster up, as much ice on it around it over it as you can.” Her looked at the others, “Hijala and Rana I need you to use that Gaze on the creature, when I call. Can you do it.”

“I will see that we are ready.” Hijala said putting her hand on Rana’s shoulder.

“Nyteria, Zail I want to to stay with Xach and Kuya, make sure they leave before you do.”

“We can help as well,” Zail said.

“You are helping if I know they are protected I can do what needs to be done. That’s what Heroes do.”

The temperature began to drop as Xach began to pour cold at the creature clogging the chains as ice began to form, slowing it down a little. The ground rumbled as a ring of cracksformed from a central point around the creature.

“My turn. [Telekenis][Energy manipulation][Matter Transmutation] Now Rana!” He said running towards the ice coated creature.  Rana and Hijala appeared from a shadow, and the beam impacted the creature.  Lady Amethyst cast a spell [Mind cleave] The creature staggered and fell into the ice. Blodstone knelt and picked up the dice, placing them into the bag.

“Time for everyone to go!” Bloodstone said, everyone tore the armbands, and the only ones still there were Lady Amethyst, Kuya, Xach, Ashera and Violtet.

Lady Amethyst ran over and hugged him, “You don’t have to do this.”

“I do, it will be fine.”

They disengaged and he tore the green armband and she faded as the spell took hold.

“Get them out of here Kuya,” he yelled.

There was a flash and they were gone.

The creature shifted in the ice attempting to right itself.

“Let go for a little trip.” The stone they were on covered in ice rose up into the air and began to move faster as it moved higher.

It was near dusk when they noticed the bright object going up in the sky. Sailors around Rhir took it as a good omen as start never went up. only a few others saw it some of the others in the raid were in tears. It was noted in several ships logs of a strange star that rose to the heavens and then disappeared, in a shower of sparks that streaked across the sky in a red burst. The whole event lasted for a minute and then was soon forgotten.

Shooting starts were rarely seen, the meteors were prized as they were perfect for making some of the most powerful weapons.

The small town of Telizmet was still the same muddy mess with the new inn, that evening after Lady Magnolia had visited the sound of thunder awoke everyone there was no rain. A ball of bright flame fell in the mountains to the west. It too was noted, and people went back to sleep.

In a small valley in the mountains surrounded by just woodlands and streams a ball of Ice fell to earth, it shattered on impact spreading ice everywhere, and leaving a trench of uprooted soil.

No one came to investigate the first day.  The second day three young goblins went to see what had fallen in the valley, they had been run off their lands, when the humans began a purge of goblins. They had hid, and now were alone and lost.

The goblins found a very strange creature in the mud. It looked like a muddy goblin, but smelled like ashes and fire.

Meek, poked it with a long stick.

“Quit it” the  creature said his voice raspy and raw.

Meek poked it again. “Knock it off or so help me.”

Meek poked it a third time.

The thing struggled in the mud a little more. The sun rose, slowly.

The three goblins conferred, and they decided to eat whatever that was, they got vines together and lassoed it after several attempts.

“Oh, hey thanks for pulling me out of that mud.” Meek hit in the head several times , with a rock.

Gamers Eight ACT IV- Chapter 5

There was some discussion between the gold and silver teams, out of earshot of Kuya, Xach and the Lord and Lady. It wasn’t that they felt, cheated or anything of the sort. It was that the Gold teams felt inadequate, and even though they had gained levels and skills from the fight with the dragon, and even a large share of the treasure.

“It’s that every time he is nearby, my [danger sense] is screaming. I though it was something else, it’s him.” Kenton said.

Brigette nodded, “there is something about him that terrifies me. Like we are out classes.”

Emily, Em to her to team, “I like his son, asks good questions, even some I don’t really know.” She looked around, “His daughter, has taught me a few things, she has a grasp of magic. What really terrifies me is she has only had access to real magic for a couple of months.”

Haran listened, “You want to abandon him now, after all he has done for us. We chased them down, and now that we have scored you all want to leave?”

“Its not that Haran,” Amanda said, “Its I want to keep this gear and money, we can retire. We can do better behind the wall than out here, looking for who knows what?”

“Yes, outclass is a good apt description, he didn’t need us in that fight, we know we can’t take that key or the mirror, at least not by force.” Euan said.

“Hrak you have been quiet.” Brigette said to the drake.

“Its dishonorable, to leave an ally because he’s more powerful than we are. We are gold teams are we afraid of him?” Hrak asked.

“What are you saying we should do?” Brigette asked.

“Be honest with him, we have all been out here and even with his magic book, its not safe out here in the blight” Summer said.

“Who’s going to let him know” Nerris asked.

The adventurers looked around, at each other, two gold teams and the silver team.

“I’m staying with them.”  Zail replied.

“Why?” Nyteria asked.

“I think your all wrong, I asked Xyrediane his wife why he brought me back, she didn’t know either. She did say that he is kind and generous to people he likes. Has he ever said an unkind word to any of you?”

There were looks around the group, “Its not that, we just don’t trust him.” Vala said, “Think about it he could take over the kingdom if he wanted, who’s going to stop him? Who could stop him?”

“I don’t think he is like that” Shen said.

“Every Lord I have ever met has wanted power and didn’t care how they got it, you know better than I do Brigette” Vala replied.

“If you had asked me a two weeks ago I would have agreed, now, I really don’t have an answer.” Brigette said.

“Ok teams let us call a vote then.” Nerris suggested.

“I don’t think we can be a part of this,” Gyrmoth said looking at his team mates.

“I’m with Bloodstone“, Zail replied.

“I follow my brother, he’s never been wrong” Nyteria said nodding a slight quiver to her bottom lip..

“Gwill, Vala, Kenton?” Gyrmoth asked.

“I’m out, being this far out into the blight scares the crap out of me.” Vala said.

“I am with Vala,” Gwillunlu said nodding in her direction.

“We have our gold, I want a chance to spend it,lets go home.” Kenton said flipping a gold coin across the back of his hand finger to finger.

“We are breaking up the team?” Gyrmoth asked.

“I guess we are,” Zail replied holding out a hand.

Gyrmoth shook in and pulled him close, “Who knew I could get along with half-elves, for as long as we have been together.” He looked over at Nerris and Brigette, “And what about your teams?”

“All the Red Blight are leaving, unless any of you wants to drop from the team.” Nerris said looking them over.

“You’re a real hard bitch” Haran said, “I’m telling you it’s a mistake, but I go where the team goes. No one ever listens to me anyhow.”

Not one other member of the Red Blight said a word. “I guess we are all out, and the Golden Swords?”

“I want to stay,” Em said looking over at the other swords and stopping at Brigette,” Admit it your intrigued”

“As much as I would want to see how he gets past eight mithril golems, I know my limits.” Brigette said looking down.

“I will follow where you go Brigette” Shen said putting his hand on her left shoulder, “We are comrades.”

“I want to go home”, Balis said

“I too want to see where this Lord goes,” She said looking at Brigette, “You have to decide,” she looked over at Em,”Do we really owe Brigette or Bloodstone?”

“We do, what’s the verdict?” Em asked.

“I…I just got you back, I want to go home now. My brother needs me home and told me as much from his last message. There are thing happening on Izril that needs me to return home.”

Hrak looked around at his team, “I have no problem returning to Issrysil, after hearing about the death of the Tidebreaker, there will be war. Perhaps we can convince Lord Bloodstone to journey there with us?”

“I guess that settles it, Em are you staying or going?”

 Em looked at each of her friends, “I have been dead twenty years, and to be honest, I have no-where to go back to.” She looked sad and if she wanted to say more. “I want to go with him. Not for some greater purpose, or because he brought me back from the dead. You have been my family, I just have a feeling, that I need to be with them. I can’t explain it, its, like knowing, that your whole life has been going the wrong direction and finding the path by accident. It’s something he said to me, that has me wanting to see this through.”

“What was that Em,” Brigette asked.

“I never told you, who my parents were. My mother was a pretty good mage and had some issues with money, she was good with secrets but bad with charging for them. She spent time with my father, whom you most likely know. I will not say his name. My mother died, and I know it drove him mad. We left just before the Antinium wars and came here. I was running from my father. I don’t want to go back, to many painful memories, and maybe Lord Bloodstone will let me bring back my mother.”

There was silence for a moment, and Brigett asked, “We never asked your family name.”

“Chandler, I don’t know if any of my siblings are alive. After mom died, things got bad, really bad.”

“Are you telling me you’re the daughter of the Necromancer?”, Summer asked grasping the hilt of her dagger.

“I am yes, I just thought of him as dad, not yhat he was around much. After mom died I…I really don’t want to talk about it.”

“How many siblings do you have?” Nerris asked.

Em looked at her, “Well that’s a secret, what’s it worth to you?”

Everyone stared at Em and then Nerris laughed, “Now that I think about it, I don’t really want to know.”

Em nodded, “So me, Zail and…” Em looked at Zails sister, “Um, its Nyteria right”

She nodded.

“Well, we are the only one staying, so who is going to tell the Lord you guys are leaving?” Em asked.

“I’ll tell him,” Brigette said getting up and going to look for Bloodstone.

She found him messing with what looked like a stone door near the entrance to the caves. “What are you doing?” She asked him.

“Making a door. Now that it’s been cleaned up it can be used by adventurers in the blight, there is fresh water and if I could get some dirt there could be some plants growing.” He said lifting the door up, it settled and fell into stone grooves on the top and bottom. He then placed two small blocks and they each covered the door pins top and bottom. With a tap of the pick-axe it became solid stone again.

“Seems kind of a waste, no one is going to use this place.” Brigette said.

Bloodstone shrugged, “I’m done here,“ he said closing the door.

 “We are leaving, all three teams.”

“I see, anything I did wrong?”

“We just are nervous out here, and it’s not that we are not grateful for all you have done.”

“Is it because of the loot split?”

“It’s not, even with you lending us the bags of holding its very generous. We have most of the magic items and a good portion of the gold. It’s just we want to be able to spend it, some of them want to go home.”

“I see, and one more adventure into the blight is one to many?”

“Em and Zail and his sister are going to stay. The rest we are all heading out in the morning.”

“Oh, good, I want to get out of this Blight! Any of you want to hire a fashion consultant. Blood was kind enough to give me some gold and a letter of introduction to his second wife.” Delilah said giving him a weird look, “That still sounds weird to me.”

“Well in that case take the scouts and Delilah. They are still green and have a higher survivability with your group than with mine. Em knows the way to the white tower, so it’s all good.”

“I thought you would be mad.”

“Why because you told me the truth. If I got mad, about that, that just makes me petty. No, I understand. We are going to go look and might be a couple of days behind you. You forget we can still communicate with the wall. I have been keeping Coreen apprised of the situation, they will be expecting you.”

“I should have known.”

“There is one issue I want to talk with you about” He said looking out into the Blight

“Whats that?”

“I have an offer, I will put anyone’s name on the plaque who agrees to a geas of not being able to talk about the mirror.”

“I um, really? Why, what plaque?”

“To protect the secret, and have an incentive to do so. The plaque of names across from the mirror, I keep it covered when I open the door for guests.”

“I can talk to the others about it”

“Oh, and one other thing, the goblins will be coming with us.”

“Goblins? I haven’t seen any goblins since we left.”

“Good, that was the plan. They are giving us a buffer if demons show up they know the blight.”

 “When did you set that up?”

“I didn’t Kuya did and the goblin she made friend with has gained some prestige for going into the wall.”

“How many goblins?”“Goblins? I haven’t seen any goblins since we left.”

“Never asked, you want to talk to them?”

“No, was just curious.”

“How come you never said anything about them before now?”

“You and your attitude towards goblins frankly is disturbing. There are drakes, sephalids, dwarves, and a bunch of other races you don’t have a problem with. Goblins can be the ally we need. Let’s me put it another way, if goblins could turn the tide of a battle, in the kingdoms favor would you want the help even if it cost you later down the line?”

“I don’t know.”

“An honest answer, that at least means you would weigh the options. Anything else?”

“Be careful of Em, she is always been, a little shady.  After finding out she is the daughter of the Necromancer, I kind of understand why.”

“I have contingency’s in place, I’m not worried about her, I will keep an eye on her.”

“See you in a few days then.”

The next morning the two groups were at the entrance. Delilah handed Bloodstone a black vial, “It’s still pretty nasty, I figured have you keep one of the vials and I will keep the other, just in case.”

“Yeah sure.” He said putting it away in a potion case.

The two groups shook hands and made their farewells and the larger group headed south back to the wall of the blighted kingdom. The other headed north, to find the tower, and see if they could locate the vault that was spoken of in a book.

The blight was black grass, and other strange plants, that seemed to cover the landscape, some looked like wild thorn bushes, other plants that looked like short warped trees.  There was a grove of plants that looked like apples trees, if there was a deep black and purple fruit, that looked like an apple.

“Any idea if these are edible?” Bloodstone asked as they passed through the grove.

“No,” Em said simply.

“How do you know?”

“Look around, over there on the ground.”

There were rotten fruits on the ground, a few strange looking animals were decomposing under the tree.

“I wonder….” Bloodstone said slowing his horse to a stop.

“This really isn’t a safe place “, Em said turning around on her horse.

Bloodstone removed a small vial from the same potion container, the black vial was in. There was a small vial with a rainbow-colored slick. He then let a single drop fall onto the tree. The change was instant and dramatic, the bark went from a sickly red purple to a deep brown, and gold. While the change moved slowly, it was noticeably across the single tree.

“Will have to check when we come back through here.” He stoppered the vial and put it away, the shimmer continued.

“Apple trees, Blah” Kuya said, “I can’t eat apples.”

Bloodstone remounted the horse and caught up to the others, “There is one thing that I have noticed, there are no bird or insects.”

“The blight is like that”, Zail said.

“They had crickets brought in from Izril and released out into the blight, a few years later there was a giant cricket invasion. They don’t bring insect over anymore.” Nyteria replied.

“When was this?” Bloodstone asked.

“A few centuries back, no idea if it is true, it’s what I read on certain monsters seen in the blight.”

As the sun began to set, Bloodstone whistled loudly. Four goblins revealed themselves.

Zail reached for his bow, “Goblins!” He said.

“Its fine Zail they are here to show us a place to camp, and we will share a meal with them if that’s all right with you.” Bloodstone said getting off his horse.

The four goblins looked skittish and a little afraid.

Kuya said something in goblin, and they looked at her and one of them said something back.

One of them pointed and the horses followed, were the four goblins lead them.

“Are you sure this is safe?” Rana asked looking everywhere, but mostly at the four goblins.

“We are in the blight, nothings really safe.” Bloodstone said to her, “You are really high strung.”

The goblins lead them to a larger group, of goblins who all paused when the group entered, it was obvious they didn’t know whether to run or wait and see. The larger hobgoblin, whom had fought with Bloodstone weeks ago stepped forward with the smaller goblin. There were at least fifty goblins, a half dozen hobgoblins were mixed in with them.

Bloodstone dismounted, and walked over to the hobgoblin, who still looked massive compared to him.

The Hobgoblin stood with his club over one shoulder, as Bloodstone approached, “You talk?” The goblin asked.

“If you will listen?”

“Talk then.”

“You know about the cave back that way?” He asked.


“I fixed it up, you can grow plants if you can get good dirt.”

The goblin looked at him somewhat confused. “Grow?”

“You know like corn or potatoes”

“Not know what that is.”

Kuya had dismounted and walked over to talk with the small goblin, the other goblins seemed to relax around her, as if reading the body language of the goblin she had befriended. “Daddy,” Kuya called

Bloodstone looked over and saw her standing next to a small goblin child who had been bandaged across one eye and her head. The blood was still soaking the bandage.

“Who did that to the child” Bloodstone asked the Hobgoblin.

The hobgoblin pointed out into the blight, “Bad things.”

“Demons?” Bloodstone asked.

The hobgoblin shook its head, “Bad things” As if that explained it.

“Goblin run or kill bad things.”

The Hobgoblin, thought about it for a moment, “Kill if can run if can’t.”

Kuya removed the bandage, and the small goblin looked afraid and in pain. A nasty slash had taken out her right eye and left a deep oozing wound across the small goblins face. Xyrediane watching from her horse, “That’s a pretty nasty wound, looks infected. I wouldn’t use a healing potion on it.”

“You want to heal her or should I,” He asked Kuya.

“Um, can you do it?”

Bloodstone walked closer to the small goblin, who shrieked back in fear. He stopped and knelt and opened his hands so that the goblins could see he didn’t have anything in them.

“Why are you bothering” Em said, “That goblin will most likely be dead soon anyhow.”

“Em, you really should learn to shut up”, Rana said blocking her view.

“Whatever.” Em said looking around, at the goblins, “Complete waste of time.”

One of the adult goblins pushed the small one towards Bloodstone, there was some exchanges between the goblins and Kuya hissed and said something. Every goblin looked at Bloodstone.

“Your scaring the poor think,” Lady Amethyst said.

Bloodstone nodded and took a deep breath and closed his eyes. Something changed, everyone there felt it.

“What was that?” Em asked.

Bloodstone opened his eyes and almost touched the goblin and traced his finger along the wound. It closed as his finger moved just above the skin.  The goblin reached up to touch the wound, “No little one, I am almost done.” He said softly. The wound itself was closed, the eye however was still damaged. He reached down into one of the bags at his waist and the goblins moved closer to see what he was going to remove.  He removed a small gemstone.

“Is this how you fixed, Isabell’s eyes?” Xyrediane asked.

“Yes, please don’t interrupt my concentration.” He said releasing the stone, instead of falling, it floated in front of her face. It was a diamond, and he gestured, and it moved to the damaged eye. It merged with the eye, and there was a gasp from the small goblin and she reached for the eye, bloodstone caught her small hands and held them away. The damaged eye changed, and became, like glass then turned the normal color, the iris was a pale blue.” He released the goblin and she blinked. She had mismatched eyes, one red and the other a white blue. He let out a breath and the atmosphere shifted, and the strange feeling was gone. 

“Was that a skill?” Rana asked.

“Yes.” He looked over at Rana, “It’s a Skill called [Matter Transmutation] its part of the [EMPTY] class.”

Em snickered, “I have never heard of a class like that and I have studied rare classes. What other skills does that class have?”

“Rather not say,” He replied.

The small goblin squealed and wrapped her arms around him and hugged him. There was a commotion with the goblins. The Hobgoblin came up and slapped him on the back. “goblin friend.” The Hobgoblin then said something, and they started bringing out what looked like food. Kuya said, “we can share our food as well.”

The meal was awkward and tense for both sides, once they settled in and tasted the foods, the goblins settled. It was strange for both sides, having humans and goblins in the same place, and not fighting.

After they had eaten, the goblin leaders and the small goblin that had befriended Kuya sat with Bloodstone and the others.

“You go to death tooth?” The big goblin with the club asked.

“We want to see what is there, “ Bloodstone told him.

“Death, goblins no go there, bad bad place. Metal things kill, not alive. Why you go?”

“Something is supposed to be there that’s important to my king.” Bloodstone said.

“Only death, only pain. Sometimes see bug men.”

“Bug men?”

The big goblin said something, and a small goblin stepped into the circle, and he looked a little intimidated. “Tell her, she can draw it” Bloodstone said pointing to Kuya.

“I will try”

There was a conversation in goblin between the chieftan, and several other goblins. The small goblin started explaining in goblin and Kuya began drawing what he described. She showed it to the goblin and they made comments and she fixed what they told her.

“Antinum” Kuya said holding up the picture for them to see.

Bloodstone looked at the goblin, “When?”

There was some conferring, and counting on fingers, and then the big goblin shrugged, “When Tripfeet was small.”

“Um, ok.”

“What’s that mean?” Eve asked.

“They don’t have a way to record time, even here they mark time by the kings reign. The only ones who really have a grasp of time is the lords and especially the king with his


[steward].  These goblins could tell you what happened yesterday, and maybe last week and possibly monsters they know about but what happened last year this time, they wouldn’t know specifics.”


“They wouldn’t care, they are survival driven. You saw what they foraged, they live out here. They know more about what moves through the blight than even the kings men and all the adventurers. It foolish to hunt them, and there is a terrifying thought that just occurred to me. If it’s true, and I have a way to check, I will be so pissed off, this world will know how pissed off I am.”

“What just occurred to you?” Eve asked.

“If the goblins were here when the blight was made, what were they before?”

“I don’t ….” Eve looked him in the eye, and then understanding popped in her head. “Oh shit!”

“It’s just a hypothesis, one that I can check, or have a certain [Geneticist] check.”

“Daddy what are you talking about,” Kuya asked.

“Nothing just speculation, no proof. Its not important and not like I can prove anything.” He turned to the hobgoblin, “What’s important to goblins?”

The goblin stared at him across the fire, “Food, good weapon, fast feet.” The goblin smiled, “What’s important to you?”

“Getting home, and survival, I know you could teach us a lot about doing that in the blight.”

The goblin grunted and offered him a bowl that looked like black paste.

Bloodstone sniffed it and it smelled horrible. The goblin watched him intently.

“Is it food?”

The goblin made no move and other goblins stared at him. He looked around and saw other goblins with similar bowls.

He dipped one finger in and tasted it, and without making a face swallowed. The goblin leader roared in laugher, “You like?”

“It’s horrible. What is it?”

“Medicine, for cuts.” He laughed more.

The other goblins laughed as well.

“Oh, I see, Xach see if he likes the peppers you found.” Xach dug around and pulled out three small red dried peppers he offered them to the goblin who took one and took a bite.

The goblin began chewing and beads of sweat were forming on his brow. “Good huh” Xach said eating one and the another. The goblin stared at Xach, who was chewing them as well.  They both swallowed at the same time. The goblin said something, and a bowl of water was brought to Xach. “Im good.” Xach said.

“Now know why humans are so tough,” The goblin said. “Have more?” He asked Xach.

“Yeah,” Xach passed him a couple more and they both were chewing them. Em looked at the peppers, “Are you crazy those are really painful to eat.”

“Good though, just right amount of heat.” Xach replied, offering her a handful. “Also makes concentrating on magic easier”

She hesitantly took one and put it away.

The small party wound down and the goblins settled into a routine, they slept on and under black mats woven of grass. They offered them to the humans as well.

The goblins also kept watch after dousing the fire. The sounds of the blight became more pronounced. The goblins lit no fires, and only a few people were able to see, there were clouds that obscured the stars. Others were able to see as well if not better than the goblins.

“How are you able to see?” Rana asked Lady Amethyst.

“I have a buff, that gives me the ability to see in the dark.” She replied.

“Buff?” Em and Nyteria both asked at the same time.

“Jinx” Kuya said.

They both looked at Kuya, “Whats a buff” Em asked.

“It’s a spell that is usually an enhancement, like strength or speed or special abilities.” Lady Amethyst said, “I can cast a couple of buffs on you like a magic regen one.”

“Magic regen?” Em asked.

“Yes it’s like the potions you drink maybe faster. You never said why you wanted to go with us and not your team.” Lady Amethyst asked Em.

“I want to be with the best team to stay alive. I have knowledge of the tower, and I died once already what’s the worst that could happen.  I kind of like your son. Can you cast that magic buff now?”

“Addict,” Kuya said.

“I can,” She said ignoring Kuya. She cast a spell and there was a blue glow around Em.

“Oh wow, I can feel the magic, how long does it last”

“About a day.”

Before Nyteria could say anything, Lady Amethyst cast it on her.

“Now there are two addicts” Kuya teased.

“What about Rana and Xyre?” Em asked.

“Rana doesn’t need the buff, and Xyre gets mana from touching the ground for some reason and doesn’t need the buff either.” Lady Amethyst said.

The goblins shushed them and rolled over on their mats.

The next morning, the goblins were ready to leave at first light, it took about a half hour for everyone else to get mounted. The goblins dispersed as the group rode north.

“Ok I am officially freaked out,” Rana said looking everywhere.

“Oh?” Bloodstone asked yawning and stretching on the horse.

“I can’t keep track of the goblins, they blend in to well with those grass mats.” She said somewhat frustrated.

“It’s not surprising they have been out here for a long time, they have tricks that some adventurers could learn from.”

They walked until near noon and the goblins called a rest. “To hot, wait then go” The Cheiftan said.

“Is it safe?” Eve asked.

The goblin shrugged and walked off into the blight.

“You didn’t have to come with us. “Marcus said to Eve.

“Are you kidding Delila is annoying, and if she asked me one more stupid question about my hair….”

Marcus laughed, “she should fit right in when we get back”

It was while they were resting when Em approached,”Lord Bloodstone, I have some questions to ask you.”

“Sure, you can ask me anything, doesn’t mean I will answer.”

“How does the mirror work?”

“You mean its rules or how it works in general?”

“How does it bring someone back from the dead?”

Bloodstone looked at her and thought about it, before answering. “It’s a bunch of spells together, the first is that it identifies a name or a body part in the reflection it does a divination to find the most healthy version of that person in the past. It takes that body as a template, and then finds when they died, and copies every memory the moment they died to the new body. Then if the person’s soul is there is brings those things together in the mirror.”

 She stared at him silently, “How can you explain that so simply the spells required doing that…”

“Are very high level” He replied.

“How do you know them, how is that possible, you are from a world without magic.” She said somewhat in disbelief.

Bloodstone shrugged, “That’s how I would do it, doesn’t mean that’s how the mirror works but my guess it’s some variant of what I just said. Possibly in a different order but you get the idea.”

She swallowed, “I am afraid, what you might say if I told you I was the daughter of a necromancer.”

“Should I be impressed, or sad? They way you say it, it sounds like you’re a little embarrassed or ashamed of your old man.”

“I, think I underestimated you. Your son has been asking me about necromancy.”

“Well we both have some knowledge of that field it’s a viable school of magic. Why do you think you underestimated me?”

“I thought you were like everyone else here and had a disgust for things undead?”

He looked at her,” I think you are making assumptions, I never said that I would use undead, at least not if I don’t have to. Don’t misunderstand, I know undead have uses and each situation is different. I won’t kill something just to raise it as an undead. It other words I’m not going to kill just to get a better weapon. I don’t need to kill unless I have to.”

“what about using the bones, of the dead?”

“That’s fine, as long as you either have permission, or are aware of the stigma you are going to cause.”

“I have been dealing with the negativity all my life, it’s just odd how you, seem to take it all in stride.”

“He does that all the time,” Rana said

“I see things differently than most people, let me ask you both a question. You are in a small town you have never been to before, everyone seems to be afraid of you or shuns you. What is your first thought as to why that might be?”

“Because I am a half gazer?” Rana said.

“I’m a necromancer?” Em replied

“what if your both wrong, it’s because the town has had bad experiences with outsiders. How do you break the ice so to speak?”

“Why would I want to,” Em said cutting off Rana.

Bloodstone sighed, “you are missing the point, you automatically assume is a bias, and by doing so you can unintentionally alienate yourself. In addition, you may cut yourself off from valuable information, or skills that you could use.”

Zail walked over whipping sweat from his brow and breathing a little heavy, “I did what you asked, and went hunting with the goblins. They kept surprising me, we killed a boar. I should say I killed it.”

“You learn something?”

“Yeah, I think your right about the goblins, I hate to admit it. I never saw them as people before. I am ashamed to admit that, I have killed goblins.”

“Nothing to be ashamed of, it’s part of growing and learning. Its knowing when to admit you may have made a mistake and you re-evaluate your position.

“Well we did get a boar, I’m going to teach them how to cut it properly.” He said turning to go back to the goblins.

“Did you kill it or them?” Bloodstone asked.

“I did, they didn’t seem to want to bother with it.”

The goblins ate well that night.

It took them three days to find the tower, with the goblins help. It was a tower, situated in a small valley surrounded by ruins. The tower stood in the middle of the ruins, of what appeared to be a town made up of stone. It was rubble mostly a few building walls still stood a monument to the massive structure that did still stand a white gleaming tower that stood well over a three hundred feet. There was what looked like a large metal door, set into one face of the tower.

It was the eight metal golems that stopped anyone from approaching the tower. They were twenty feet tall and each had two long metal curved blades of the same silver looking metal. It wasn’t silver, as it hadn’t tarnished. The two people on the ridge of the valley looking through the small spyglass, noted the skeletons, most appeared to be missing a head or cut in half.

The goblins refused to go into the ruins and told them they would wait for them to the south.

“See, those are Mithral golems, it would take a couple of gold teams to take down one, never mind eight” Em said to Bloodstone who was looking through the spyglass.

“The enchantments on them are, intact. I think you might be right.”

“You can see the enchantments on them from here?”

“Yes, I also see some paths in the stonework, how long have you watched them?”

“We watched them for two days, and they moved every few hours.” As if on cue the eight golems moved into a different position, each moving several dozen feet from where they were.

“Those are some high-level enchantments, I don’t see a way past them, without someone dying.”

“You could use the mirror?” She suggested.

“No, that would leave equipment unrecoverable, I can sense some basements and openings in the earth below the ruins. I don’t think there is an easy way into the tower from the ground.” He turned and looked at the top of the tower. It was domed, and there was a shimmer from the balconies at the top. “Flying is out as well.”

“What?, Why?” Em asked.

“Take a look.” He handed her the spyglass.

She looked through and could see inside the dome area, there were three more golems in the space. “Is that a statue?”

“Let me look.” He took the glass back and looked. He was quite for a good minute. “I don’t think it’s a statue, I can’t make out much detail. Hold on, “he said and took out a small tripod and tightened the spyglass to it. “Hands to shaky, and I want to use my phone to get a better picture.”

After the tripod was setup he attacked the phone to the other end of the spyglass. “You had that spyglass and stand made to use with your device?” Em asked.

“Yes, I was worried they wouldn’t get it sent before we left.“ He then turned on the phone, and connected several dots on the screen with a line and the phone loaded. He activated the camera application and hooked it up to the back of the small telescope.  After maneuvering the whole thing to where they could see into the top of the dome. He took a couple of pictures, there were three more golems, and what looked like a statue of a woman.

“What’s that haze?” she asked looking at the picture.

“No idea, going to zoom in onto the woman as close as I can.” He then took the picture.

“Looks like a Half-elf, hard to tell though the light is horrible “ Em said.

“Ok lets get some good pictures of the golems as well as the ruins.” He said panning the focus to the golems, and taking pictures, and even video.

“Well I think that’s about all I can show you” Em said.

“I knew I should have brought Rana, let’s get off this cliff and see if we can’t figure out a way in to that tower.”

“You think you can get into the tower?”

“We have what a week to figure it out before we have to head back. with some of the food the goblins helped procure, were have extra time.”

The two of them climbed back up the ridge to the path they had found. They rejoined the group who had setup camp near the mouth of the valley.

“Well?” Kuya asked.

“No frontal assault, eight golems and no idea what they are programmed to do, best guess is they are heavily enchanted.”  He stared at Kuya, “I don’t think your staff would work on them, and I don’t know what other defenses that might trigger.”

“But I could just….” Kuya started to say.

“No, …” it was at that moment his earpiece chirped, “Just a moment” he touched the diamond, “Hello?”

There a long moment of silence, “That’s good to hear,” He listened for a bit, “You do what’s best, we still have a bulk of the gold and the cache of magic items with us. We did find it and just finished scouting the tower.” He listened, “Its real, I have pictures.” He listened for a minute in silence, and rolled his eyes twice, “Well I can’t guarantee we will be there, by then. If we leave now maybe, I can’t see giving up on this, we just got here. Has he ordering me to return?” He was quite for a long time, “Thanks, Ill contact you tonight.” He touched the diamond.

“What was that all about?” Lady Amethyst asked.

“Coreen says the king heard about the group returning and is going to be doing an inspection, she wasn’t sure when his delegation would arrive. There was a request that we host him and his people next week sometime. Hopefully the gifts we sent back will be enough to leave us alone. Otherwise we have to cut this short and head back tomorrow at the earliest.”

“Your going to defy the King?” Zail asked.

“Not if I can help it, we only got word from Susan, that the king is making rounds after the assault, making sure everything is on the up and up. Coreen said that Isabel told her we do not show up anytime soon. The request came in right after Susan reported to Coreen.”

“Why not head back, now then,” Zail asked.

“It’s kind of like this, we have lord and lady titles,” gesturing to himself and Lady Amethyst,” granted by the crown, if for some reason they were revoked. We would most likely know it instantly. That usually means everyone in the family would be enemies of the crown, I don’t think it’s come to that, especially since we did send very generous gifts to the crown from the Sutters holdings and also from the dragon’s horde. If we can find this vault, we can at least have some extra leeway with the crown. Perhaps find out more about this ritual he is using and putting a stop to him killing off his own people to bring people from our world. If nothing else at least get the information as to what he is using.”

“Do you think you can convince the king?”Xyrediane asked.

“Maybe, I have no idea. Sometimes, it’s talking through a problem and showing solutions to pieces can let you solve the bigger issue. The king is reasonable.  He let us try some of our ideas, maybe having a dialog could help with more solutions, a king makes choices based on information given, if you have bad information you can make bad choices.”

“Let’s see the pictures”, Lady Amethyst said.

“Sure, let me download them off the phone to the laptop.” Bloodstone setup a table, that had been stored in the ‘room’ as it was being called. A tent was setup over it and they began to examine the pictures, that had been taken.

 “Look here, here and here.” Rana said pointing out corpses on the pictures. “they all are inside that white stone around the tower.”

“She right, I don’t see any other skeletons, and all of them are around the edges.” Marcus said.

“So as long as we stay out of that ring, of stone we should be safe.” Zail asked.

“I could take em,” Xach said eying the golems.

“Let’s not go that route. We can’t walk up and flying to the balconies up top is out, that leaves underground. What do you think Xyre?”

“Maybe there enough voids or dead areas under the area, it’s possible and if you use that pickaxe, maybe we can find an underground entrance.”

“Ok let’s do this, since only me and you have the ability to sense metal and stone. We become the team captains, and you get to pick first.”

“You sure?”

“Yes, go ahead and start us off Xyre”

“Ok, Rana”

“I pick Kuya then.” Bloodstone said pointing to her.

“Lady Amethyst” After she was called she walked over to Xyrediane, she smiled, “I’m using my siren illusion”


“At your service my lord” Elmok said


“I guess we have a bunch of mages in this group” Nyteria said.


“It’s because I am gold rank?” She asked.


“I will stay with my lady” She said fanning her wings.


Violet grabbed one of the bags they used for potions and stood behind Em.


“Whatever” and walked to stand next to his mother.


“Why did I get picked last?” She asked.

“Just how it worked out, this should be a good team setup, I’m giving Eve and Xach the pickaxes, since they were picked last.”

“You want the east or west side, Xyre?” Bloodstone asked her.


“Ok let’s meet back here in a couple of hours, if you have any issues message the team leaders.” They walked down through the entrance to the valley, once it opened to the ruined town they went left and right, checking for holes in the ground, and ready for anything that might jump out at them.

They searched the houses in the ruins for an entrance underground, after searching they returned and compared notes.

“There are voids and areas that are detecting as solid stone, all over the place under the ruins. Most of what we could investigate were collapse basements or buried in with debris.” Xyre said

“We found pretty much the same thing, and even digging down a little we just had small pockets of space that were filled with dirt. There was one spot that we didn’t have time to really check but it’s a massive void to the north, or it’s just not detecting stone or earth there. Any thoughts?”

They ate lunch and talked out some suggestions, “The biggest issue is that there is a lot of loose dirt, and even if we could find stone we would have to move it to make a passage. “ Xyrediane said.

“What are your thoughts?” He asked the others.

“Take out the Golems?” Kuya suggested.

“Mine over to it,” Eve suggested looking at the pickaxe.

“Yeah but the pick axes don’t work on loose stone.” Xach said.

“Your parents are capable of making something that can.” Eve replied.

There was silence for a minute, “Then use that to move the dirt and build a mine to the location, we have access to unlimited stone and an easy way to move it without breaking our backs.” Eve suggested. Everyone stared at her. “Well we do.” She said.

“I think I can make something that works on dirt.” Bloodstone said, “the next question is where do we start and how much time do we have to work?”

“Well me I can pull up raw stone and then someone can use the pick axe on it” Xyrediane suggested.

Em, and Nyteria wanted to see this enchanting, there were some suggestions about where to start and what the goal was and how much time they had.

As the sun began to set, a plan to get into the tower was being worked on, Xyre was working with Eve, Xach, Marcus and Elmok to harvest stone, so they had a supply of it when they were ready to start work in the morning. Bloodstone made the call to Coreen”

“Good evening,” He said as the person on the other end answered, “Oh, Hi Isabell” He listened to her talk for a minute, “That’s good to hear. We have a plan and will put it in effect tomorrow to try and get into the tower.” He listened to her talk and said um, and ok, and then hung up.

“What was that all about” Lady Amethyst asked.

 “Coreen is entertaining the King, he wasn’t happy we were out, in the blight. He also wasn’t upset. They arrive early to surprise me. Brigette and the others seemed to mollify him since they got back yesterday. Three gold teams and a silver team, talking our praises seems to have won us a reprieve at least for the time being. Beth and Newton are making progress on the wall, more than the king anticipated.”

“They are keeping things together?” Lady Amethyst asked.

“For the time being, luckily the King is still going around checking all the holds, Isabel didn’t get to far into what’s going on as the Queen was with her as well. Other than that I think we can continue. Unless anyone has an objection?”

“Any thoughts as to why the king didn’t contact you himself?” Rana asked.

“Now that you mention it, my guess is that he doesn’t want anyone to know about the communication devices, or he turned them over to his mages, I will ask him the next time I see him.”


Isabel handed the device back to Coreen. “Thanks, I missed talking to him.”

The queen sat across the table staring at the two of them. “Did he say when he was going to return?”

Isabel shook her head no, “He did not say.”

“I am really good and finding out the answers. I asked Brigette how she returned with the team we were told had died. She did not have a believable answer. Do either of you know?”

“I do, I would however like to defer that specific question to my husband, as he has the specifics.”

“Convenient, as he is not here, what can you tell me?” She asked.

“Nothing that isn’t just speculation on my part, your Majesty. Do I know what he has, yes, do I know where he got it no.” Coreen, stared at the Queen, “Did he get it from my father? I don’t know. I have gone through everything my father had as holdings on Rhir and you know that the artificial inflation on healing potions has been fixed, that’s was his doing not mine. As well as the other issues that have come to light, far be it from be to question other lords and ladies, since I do not have a title myself.”

“We understand your position, and how vulnerable to politics you are right now without your husbands support. The information you have given me has elevated your position, somewhat. I will talk with the King and see if you are deserving of a title.” The Queen said eyeing Isabel.

“And you my dear, last time we spoke you were such a scared child, alone in the dark.”

Isabel curtsied, “Your guidance was invaluable your Majesty.”

“We do not appreciate your deceptions, as well and the obfuscations. Tell me young lady, what you know about how your husband was able to restore a gold team from death. They seem to be under the assumption that they will be allowed to leave Rhir.  Unless I get answer to my questions, I see no reason that your parents can’t be held accountable.”

Isabel swallowed slowly, “Leave them out of this, I don’t know, you know I would tell you if I did.”

“That’s right, we are running a kingdom, protecting it from monsters and demons. What could you possibly know about those things, your father begged for someone to save your life, offered anything. We needed a [seer], and that’s what you are. Now tell me [seer] what you know about Lord Bloodstone.”

“He’s kind, he loves people, triex to do the right thing. I told you before, that he can save the kingdom, but he needs help and if you interfere with him, the kingdom itself will fall. You want proof that I am a Seer, the world has already seen the greatest strategist living. There are powers moving that even you cannot stop.” Isabel glanced at Coreen, “Lord Bloodstone, will be where he needs to be, when he needs to be there.” She stared at the Queen, “I know you and the King are trying to protect the people in the kingdom, I understand that as well as any, give him the chance to help. Please don’t threaten my family, your Majesty, I have no control over how my husband would react, and my sisters would most certainly object most strongly if something were to happen.”

“We do not threaten dear, only state the obvious.” She turned back to Coreen, “The gifts we have received are impressive, and even the details of where they came from has been vague. Would you care to enlighten us?”

Coreen nodded, “As I understand it, there was a dragon, who was dying they finished the job and freed Brigette’s team. I do not have all the details.”

“Nor do they it seems. We will overlook this for now, since we detect no lies from you or them. We will revisit this when the Lord returns. It is late, and I have a long trip tomorrow” She rose and left them her maids following behind.

It was even later that Coreen and Brigette sat with Nerris and Gyrmoth. “Did you get the asking price for that ring” Brigette asked.

“I did, even some of the mundane things sold for more than we thought they would.” Coreen replied.

“How did your talk with the Queen go?” Nerris asked.

“As well as expected, I have no idea what to tell her about your team Brigette.”

Brigette smiled, “It’s not like we can tell her anything, you would have to go to the monolith to say anything. We know we just can’t talk about it.  You know but you are under no such compulsion.”

“I was surprised when he told me you all agreed to have that done.” Coreen said somewhat shocked.

“It’s not like we can’t slip up, this way we are protected, and since no one can get to where it was done, at least not easily. The spell remains.” Brigette shrugged.

“How does that work?” Coreen asked.

“To be honest, we have no idea, Lord Bloodstone asked if we would consent, after that the spell and the specifics of what we can’t remember, some of it is a blur, and we understand it’s something we agreed on for something more.” Nerris said.

Coreen nodded, “I know what the agreement was for, it’s been nice having you here. I understand your going to travel with the King for a bit?”

“Yes as two gold teams, with the crown I don’t think there is much that we can’t take down, with all the extra gear Lord Bloodstone gave us, we should be named within six months.” Gyrmoth said smiling.

“You staying” Nerris asked Brigette

“Yes, I should head home to help my brother, I just can’t seem to work up the courage to. I made a life here, I know more about magic than I did a year ago. I can do some good here.” She shrugged, “I feel old, drained, maybe a little sad.”

They talked into the wee hours of the night, about the future and the plans they had.

In the blight, Bloodstone sank exhausted into the sleeping furs, he had spent hours enchanting two shovels. They were not ornate or even decorative, just two simple shovels, with a long handle. The metal part of the shovel had a similar enchantment that the pick-axes did, they would make cubes of dirt. There was a third shovel that had been set aside, as it had malfunctioned, it was fine making the dirt cubes, the spell binding them however was not strong enough and the cubes tended to let go with explosive results.


None of the party were aware they were being watched and had been for some time. The goblins had learned to stay away from the tower, after members of the clan had gone missing, or vanished without a trace.  There were antinum still on Rhir, they were the ones who stayed behind, as a rear guard. They did not know the outcome of those who had sailed decades earlier, most had only been around for a few months. They informed the [Last Queen] who gave no orders. She was almost done with her last project, the crowning achievement, a new antinum queen one that could blend in with the races, before the next wave.

The next morning, they started on the mining plan, using the two shovels and the two pick-axes, they worked in shifts to dig and reinforce the tunnel to the tower. The dirt blocks they used to fill in the stone they removed. The path they carved was solid stone, and each iteration of the blocks got them closer and closer to the white stone ring. Once they passed through what they thought was solid stones, it broke open a passageway that was filled with rocks and other debris. They found that it was an old sewer line, that had used enchanted stone and didn’t show up as hollow but as solid. Once they were inside they found they could navigate to the central tower, there were places that the stone had been broken or the ceiling caved in, it was easy to fix once they began using the two tools.

They camped underground, there was no water, in the line, just an old unused passage. They rested and continued towards the goal. It was towards night time they had cleared a path to the central tower, it also was made up of enchanted stone. The pick-axe couldn’t break the enchantment. They started digging east along the enchanted wall and by luck found a section that had fallen into the structure. It was small but with them pulling the stones out one at a time, they widened it enough to enter what was a storeroom. The door was made of wood and opened easily. They move cautiously, opening the door slowly listening for anything out of the ordinary. It took them hours to clear the hallways and the rooms off the hallway, they found the stairs leading up. The whole floor seemed to be storage, except for the large metal and stone archway that had what looked like a metal door with runes, and glyphs on it. The runes glowed a deep red when they approached.

On the first floor, they found more stairs up and a main foyer as well as a sitting room. There was a thick layer of dust over everything. They found a kitchen that still had several broken plates, and a skeletal body that had its skull smashed. They continued to search the first floor, the dust was stirred up and Lady Amethyst cut cloth and made masks to block out the dust. Kuya refused to go into the tower without a dust mask. She retrieved a bandana from her backpack and put it over her face.  She then pulled her staff out and spoke with Esprit and the feathers on her staff dropped down and she began to suck up the dust into her staff.

“What the hell” Eve asked.

“What it’s a magic vacuum I can’t stand dust makes my nose runny”  Kuya said waving the staff around, cleaning.

“I’m shocked,” Bloodstone said.

“She’s cleaning?” Lady Amethyst said.“Who are you and what have you done with our daughter”

“I don’t like dust” Kuya said through her muffled bandana.

The cleared the first floor, there were two more bodies, one was in what looked like a bathroom, and had several arrows in its chest. The other body was buried under the dust and found when Kuya cleaned that part of the floor.  The burned scorch mark in the back of the corpse seemed to indicate a spell of some kind.

“We go slow, oh and don’t open the front door.“ Bloodstone said to the groups as they moved through the first floor.

They went slowly through the tower, they found more bodies, some we killed in the beds they slept in. they found six bedrooms on the second and third floors. A library that seemed to be intact on the fourth floor, there were some shelves that had the contents strewn about. They found a much larger bedroom on the fifth floor, and two large workspaces for what looked like alchemy and magic. They found the three golems on the top floor, and they were still active.  At the bottom of the steps was a corpse, that had been decapitated, the blood still visible  on the stairs and wall.

The golems didn’t shift position unless someone came up the stairs. The golems then moved to an attack posture. Taking precautions they used a phone to get a layout of the room, since the close quarters and three mithral golems was not a good combination.

The started looking at the pictures taken, the woman they had seen was still there, in the same pose as if warding from an attack. It became obvious that there was something strange about the woman,

Lady amethyst attempted to Lull and pacify them, to no effect, they did not react at all to the spells but they still moved when they spells did land.

“I betting immune to that type of effect” Bloodstone said as they retreated down the steps for the fourth time, they had gotten some pictures as well as some video when the golems moved.

“It seems like they get ready to attack if they hear someone on the steps, and the way they creak there’s no way to get up there.” Eve said.

The examined the pictures, and saw something that was unexpected and strange. “Is that an hourglass?” Em asked when they zoomed into the object near the woman’s right hand.

“And a dagger,” Eve said.

“That distortion, it’s a time bubble.” Bloodstone said looking over their shoulder

“Huh, how can you tell?” Eve asked.

“That dagger is floating in the middle of that hourglass, you can see the cracks in the glass. It was knocked from her hands. There’s a second dagger here.” he said pointing to the picture.

“Poor girl”,Violet said, “How long do you think she has been there?”

“No way to know, not really. Best guess a very long time” Bloodstone replied.

“I’m not messing with that “ Zach said, “Time stuff sucks”

“There’s no way to free her is there?” Nyteria asked.

Bloodstone stared at the picture, “I have no idea how, maybe if we could get in the room, the golems prevent that. Let me think about it. Let’s check that vault looking door downstairs.”

They went downstairs to the large door in the archway. It was sealed, with what looked like mithril and the runes glowed a soft red when anyone stood in front of the door.

“Maybe a password is needed” Xyrediane suggested. “I can’t sense anything beyond this, it must block skills as well”

“The books seems to be in good shape in the library, we should start packing them, into the book of storage, and examine them later. Maybe have a team come back later, I don’t see any easy way to get into this vault.” Bloodstone said examining it without touching the door.

“Why do they glow red?” Nyteria asked.

“Maybe it’s a warning, I do see some serious attack spells as well as a reservoir of magic it’s tied to.” He answered.

“I could drain the mana” Kuya suggested.

“I wouldn’t advise that it’s got all kinds of fail safe spells, its complex. It also has wards to prevent tampering, they keep the whole door refreshed with magic and prevent tampering, it’s pretty cool now that I have seen spells like that functioning.”

Brigette was looking at it as well, “This is even beyond you?” She asked.

“Yeah, its layers of spells on layers of spells that interact with each other and there are some that even obscure what’s visible.” Bloodstone replied.

“It’s pretty though” Kuya said

“Yes it is, but it doesn’t do us any good. Its been a long day we should setup in the basement, get some rest and decide what to do in the morning.

Gamers Eight – Act IV – Chapter 4

It took them three days to find the entrance, it was in a small grotto, the entrance was not readily visible, due to the water cascading next to it, there were some also black bushes with long sharp thorns that hid the entrance even more. After hacking down the thorn bushes they were able to check inside.

“Took us almost two months to find this, we missed it the first time we were here.” Brigette said as they cleared the bushes.

“What can we expect once we get inside,” Nerris asked.

“Most of the path was just caverns, took us a while to map them out.” Brigette said as she removed a thick parchment from her bag of holding. She then unfolded the parchment showing the map they had made. “Keep in mind this is decades old, so things could have changed.”

The adventurers crowed around the map and began talking about the battle that they knew was coming. The began to plan and setup camp. Even with the blighted plants in the small grotto, the place was breathtaking as the sun set.

The two adventuring teams as well as Bloodstone and his wives and children along with the scouts and the others who were with them began to discuss the battle they knew would be taking place the next day.

They had setup the main camp inside the first large cavern, it seemed that some other creatures knew about the place as there were dried peat bricks stacked in one corner, as well as wood.  It didn’t appear that anything had been there in a season or two.  The cavern was two hundred feet from the entrance, and much wider than the narrow passage. It was decided that the scouts and those not accustomed to combat would stay at the camp. That left the silver and gold teams along with Bloodstones group.

That Evening the camp was busy with preparations, both magical and weapon related. Food was eaten, no one commented on the lack of flavor. There was a nervousness, a heightened sense of anticipation, and an undercurrent of fear. They had heard how Brigette’s team had died. They knew the plan, and they were ready.

There was then talk about the mirror and the room, that Bloodstone had shown them. The adventurers wanted to know where it came from.

“I really don’t think that it is important.” Bloodstone said.

“You haven’t really explained how it works, or if you will let us use it.” Nerris

“I will not, give you full details of it abilities, as for allowing you to use it, If any of you fall I will endeavor to make sure you are revived, for the duration of this trip. Now keep in mind there are a few issues you need to know about with the mirror. The creator wanted to make sure it couldn’t be abused so it was glued into the space. Its glued in such a way that the mirror if someone attempts to move it, the mirror will shatter.”

“Why would someone do that?” Kenton asked.

“Consider I know all the secrets of that mirror. I know how it works, when it works, and why it works. There are some other caveats to the mirrors use, I will detail the relevant ones now. First, anyone may be resurrected, if they died, from wounds, or some other ailment. Old age well your out of luck, since it can’t revive you if you died from old age.”

“No, I mean why would someone want to destroy that mirror?” Kenton clarified.

Bloodstone stared at him, “In some instance where someone thought they could get ahold of the key or mirror by force I can destroy it.”

Kenton stared at him.

Nerris asked, “Lord Bloodstone, would you share your classes. We would like some idea of your abilities. I will start I am a [Mage] with thirty-nine levels, I have spells in the third tier that I have modified.  I am also the leader of the Red Blight. I will let the rest of my team introduce themselves” She nodded to Haran.

“Well since we are doing the introductions, I am Haran Zentis, a [Swordsman] of the thirty-seventh level.”  Haran said a little louder than necessary.

The human in chainmail, with the gray ash bow sat next to Haran, he sighed and said, “Evening, I am Solomon Fuentes, a [Ranger] of the thirty third level.”

The other woman wearing normal clothes, cleared her throat,”I am Amanda Radcliff a mage of Wistram” She paused for a moment, “I would like to know if you would teach me some spells, or allow us to copy some of them”

“Seriously Amanda,” The woman in black leather asked. She had dark hair tied back in a short pony tail, “I am the backup rouge Summer Romero, I find traps, pick locks and occasionally pick a pocket or three.” She dropped two dice on the table, they were bone dice, and landed with only one pip up on each die. 

The taller man in dark leather, glared at Summer, “what have I told you about going through my things.” He picked up the two dice and put them in pouch. He ran his hand through his short brown hair. “ Not good with these social things, I am Euan Barker a [Rouge].”

Narris looked at him, “Wow, thats more than you normally say.”

“He’s a Lord, I’m not stupid Nerris” Euan said shrugging.

“What about your team?” Narris asked, Gyrmoth.

The dwarf stood up straightened his beard, “Gyrmoth Redbeard, leader of the Blight Wolves, I am an [Axeman] twenty-fifth level.” He nodded to the female dwarf

She remained seated, “Gwillunlu I am a [Rouge] of the 23rd level, I have been with the Blight wolves for a few months”

The two half elves waited till she finished, “I am Zail Morningflight, I am a ranger of the 24th level.” The female half elf said, “I am Nyteria Morningflight, my specialty is magic and I am a twenty eighth level [mage] My brother and I came to Rhir to do some good in the world. Lord Bloodstone, your kindness to my brother and me has not gone unnoticed; we will not let you down.”

The female warrior of the Blight wolves nodded, “My sword is your’s Lord Bloodstone, I am a twenty ninth level [Swordswoman] The blade you gave me is something I will cherish” she said touching the hilt as her side.

Kenton Thorp, who was leaning against the wall, “I am a [Thief], you know who we are, what about those with you?”

Marcus nodded, “I am Marcus, I do not have a family name, since I grew up in the collusium. I am a [Swordsman] of the thirty second level.”

Eve who had been sitting next to Marcus looked around, “Oh I guess its my turn, Call me Eve, I am” she had to think about it for a moment. “ I have a single [hero] level, two [thief] levels three [mage] levels one


level and seventeen [pirate] levels.  I haven’t asked Bloodstone to sort out the classes I have, since where I come from we don’t have them like that.”

Xyrdiane smiled when it was her turn, “I am Xyre, or Xyrdiane, my main class is a [Mage] with twenty -seven levels, Bloodstone gave me fourty-four [Geomancer] levels, I have some other non-combat classes they are not important.”

Rana had been watching the exchanges and smiled, “I am Ranathil, most people call me Rana. I have a class of [Arcane Blade Dancer] with Forty-Eight levels.”

There were several gasps from the gold and silver team members.

Hijala who had been standing behind Bloodstone and Lady Amethyst said, “I am Hijala Greenscale, I owe my life to the Lord and Lady, I owe my class as well to Lord Bloodstone. I am an Assassin, and Dragonsoldier.” She said with her wings unfurling.

Dalila who had been listening intently said, “Well I have all kinds of classes, [Mage],[Geneticist],[Druid ] and [Fashion Designer] Not that I am going with you all, ill stay here and examine the grass and other things I have found.”

Xach looked at the rest gathered around, “I just have [Mage] fifteen levels ,[pyromancer] eleven levels [cryomancer] fifteen levels ,


two levels, and [weapon master] ten levels” He said shrugging.

Summer whistled, “Wow melee and magic.”

Kuya crossed her arms, “I only have two classes, [Hero] and [The Sister]”

There were looks of confusion, Brigette asked, “I never heard of that class, what does it allow you to do?”

“All kinds of things,” Kuya said uncommittedly.

The other drake that was with them said from the side, “I heard about Lord Bloodstone, I am Elmok Felltail. I have skill with Blade and Claw. The Class I claim is [Skirmisher] of twenty-two levels.”

All eyes turned to Lady Amethyst, “I am a [Raid Enchanter] of eight levels and a [Raid Illusionist] of six levels, I also have three [Hero] levels.”

“Never heard of a [Raid Enchanter] before,” Nerris said looking at the others. They all agreed they had not heard of the class either.

Everyone look at Bloodstone, Brigette asked, “So what are your classes?”

“I have [Hero] with five levels. [Lord] with Six, [Swordsman] with five ,[Visionary] with Eight, [Monster] level of one, a class called [EMPTY] with fifteen, [Artificer] with thirty and two other classes [Dragonsoldier] and [] with one.

“What was that last class?” Brigette asked.

“You mean []” Bloodstone asked.

“I don’t know what your saying, it sounds like noise to me. What about the rest of you?”

The rest of them nodded.

“Huh, so if I write it down what class do you see?” he said scratching symbols into the dirt.

“Looks like random markings to me.” Xrydiane said, “what about you Rana?”

“It doesn’t look like letters”, Rana said squinting at the lines.

“I guess the class conceals itself as well,” He said rubbing the stubble on his chin.

“What about those other classes? Like the [Visonary] class and you have an [empty] class? You have some strange classes.”Gyrmoth said.

“What is an [artificer]?” Summer asked before anyone else could say anything.

“It allows me to make magic items and cast spells in a different manner than mages or wizards.” Bloodstone said.

“Its actually an Acronym and sounds like [empty] its really Energy, Matter , Psionics, Time, and Yantra. It combines thought forms to be able to manipulate them in real time, the skills I have are a bit weird in that class.” He said shrugging, “Combined with the


and [Artificer] Class, I can do a lot with magic.”

When they trekked through the rest of underground caverns, there was no sound as they walked.

They began leaving magic light orbs behind. They were small glass beads that had been enchanted with magical light. They would last for a very long time, before having to be recharged.  Bloodstone had given each of them a pouch full. The pouches they were made of soft leather. The light orbs were round enough to be considered marbles. They illuminated the cavern they were going through and looking closer with the bright light they could see the cavern had been widened in places, as if by tools.

They finally arrived at the sealed doorway. The heavy stone seal had fallen closing off the area. It took four of the stronger adventurers to move the stone enough to get a metal bar underneath.  Using two bars as levers they lifted the block a half inch, and then put a small metal wedge underneath. Working together it took them several hours to lift it far enough to lock it back in place above the small passage way beyond.

The original door plug was still where Brigettes team had originally left it. A single tap from one of the pick axes and it shrank down small enough to pick up. It was set off to one side with the pick axe, just in case they needed to seal it back up.

With the passage open they started walking down the slopped passage single file.  Bloodstone took the lead; the reasoning is that if he was grabbed first he could take all the creatures’ class levels assuming it must have some. Marcus followed behind Brigette as her guard,

Weapons were drawn as they descended, and Violet had two full teams of people that were to protect her since she was going to protect their emotions.

The group of them arrived at the bottom of the slope. Bloodstone threw out two bags of the marbles onto the floor, some rolled others landed in the soft sand. The area around them was illuminated.

Brigette was the first to speak, “Our footprints are still here. Where are the bodies?”

 As the rest of the party members came through the passage Violet, said, “It’s here!”

The teams all looked up and saw the creature, just as Brigette had described it. It was hit with spells, arrows and throw blades the instant it was recognized as a threat.

Spells impacted or landed, arrows stuck in and the thrown blades bit into the beast. The black energy that hit Brigette, Bloodstone and Marcus shattered as the defensive runes protecting them were destroyed. The creature attacked Bloodstone, with a thick purple and black tentacle.

The moment it came in contact Bloodstone used his ability and pulled all the levels from the creature.

[Sentient Construct acquired 83]

A second wave of spells, from Kuya and Xach, landed. There was a loud clap of thunder as lighting arced from Xach’s spear leaving a burning hole through a tentacle. A silver mist washed over it melting pieces of the monster, dripping off in grey slimy drops. The creature screamed, glaring at the attackers with its one red eye. It was at that moment that Zail fired a silver tipped arrow at the creature. His aim was true, and the bow was made for killing, as it passed through the eye leaving causing a large detonation as it exited the back side of the beast. There was a metallic clang and the beast dropped off to one side, thrashing. Shafts of light, fire, lighting, and cold hit the beast while it moved.

The melee fighter rushed in hacking, slashing, and stabbing at the Beast, leaving a black gore.

Brigette stared at the dead creature, “Thank you!” There were tears in her eyes, the beast was dead. It had a strange metallic shell with what looked like a broken chain of the same material.

“As discussed, anything on the beast or anything salvageable from the beast is Brigette’s and her team.”

They had fanned out into the large area. Off to one side they found the bodies. Hundreds of bodies, many of them were not human. There were antinium bodies stacked in one section near where they came in . They found another small entrance that had been carved through the side of the large room. Searching through the desiccated remains, they found some remains of Brigettes team. Shen, Hrak, Yvette, and Em they found near the top of the pile of corpse, stripped of gear. Brigette found the location Balis had died, and there was off-color sand, that pointed to the other side of the large room.  They collected some of the sand.

“What do you think is making that smell”, Kenton Thorp asked.

“Something else here?” Gyrmoth said hefting his axe.

“Take is slow,” Nerris said as the four rouges and thieves looked for traps.

They were leaving single marbles, once an area had been cleared. The room itself was massive.

Bloodstone conferred with the others, “We can try and get one of the Golden swords back up, without their gear, and we can gear them up, and get them situated, three days to bring them all back if we have all the remains. What worries me is the antinium, there as thousands of bodies in that pile. If they couldn’t break what was here, we need to be very very careful.“

“We got what we came for”, Gyrmoth said, “We shouldn’t linger, leave this for other gold teams.”

“We are a gold team, this is what we came to find, what do you think might be here?” She asked Brigette and Bloodstone.

“Ask him he has a complete book, its how we found out about this place.” Brigette replied.

“Kuya, you finish translating that book?” He asked Kuya who was staring off into the darkness. “Kuya!”

“Huh, what?” she said looking back over at her father.

“You finish translating that book?” He asked.

“Um, no, it’s really boring. Though there was one note about there being something bad buried here.” She said shrugging.

“Great, what were you looking at?” He asked.

“Oh the undead dragon over there, oh yeah, there is an undead dragon over there didn’t I mention it?”

“No, no you didn’t.” Bloodstone said looking where she had been looking.

“Undead dragon?” Brigette said.

“Um hum, maybe I can go make friends with it.” Kuya said as she started walking in that direction.

“Wait. Kuya, hold on” Bloodstone said looking into the darkness.

“It’s just an undead dragon maybe its lonely or bored.” Kuya said stopping to talk.

“We need that translation first, and everyone else let’s get back to the way we came in.” He said gesturing.

“We can take a dragon”, Haran said.

Bloodstone looked at him, “Is that bravado, or ignorance?”

“Are you saying this party can’t take a dragon.” He asked.

“It’s not a question of taking the dragon it’s more of do we need to?” Bloodstone replied keeping an eye on Kuya

Kuya had pause while her father watched, “What, I just want to go talk to it see if it’s intelligent, what if I took Rana and Xyre?”

Rana looked pale,”um no. I can tell her no right, sorry Kuya you are scaring me”

“Phhhhffff, buncha pansies. Afraid of a little undead dragon” she took two steps towards the dark area, and her staff began to glow in a soft blue silver light.

“Kuya, it’s not them being afraid it is me being cautious. Something about the antinum being here is not reassuring.”

“What about you Xyrediane?” Kuya asked.

“What about me? I don’t want to have to fight an undead dragon” Xyre said, glancing between Kuya and Rana.

“I just want you to be a witness” Kuya said rolling her eyes.

“Kuya, stop fooling around, you don’t need to go antagonize that undead dragon!” Bloodstone said.

“But I just wana..” She started to say

“No,  you just wana go cause trouble.”

“What’s going on?” Xach asked.

“Your sister wants to go talk to an undead dragon, not sure what for.”  He said looking at Kuya

“Wait I want that dragon, to play with myself.” Xach said.

“I just want its core,” Kuya said to her brother.

“I want the bones, I don’t really care about the core” Xach replied.

“You don’t even have necromancer levels yet”, Kuya said teasing him.

“Well it’s a good place to start.” Xach said walking over to her.

“I really just want the dragon’s core” Kuya said.

Rana and Xyre moved closer to Bloodstone, “What are they arguing about” Rana asked.

“Who gets what part of the undead dragon, it seems. I really don’t have the heart to tell them that their mother is already taking the decision away from them.” He nodded at Lady Amethyst who was walking in the direction of the dragon. Marcus and Kijala were just behind her. Behind them the gold team was advancing, and the rouges and thieves were checking for traps.

Kuya looked over and said, “Oh hell no!”  she locked arms with her brother and they both vanished.

“The rest of you with me, we will be the B team.” He said loudly.

“Your kids are nuts.” Xyrediane said.

“Yeah, I feel bad for the dragon.” He said as they walked to where the others were going.

“Feel bad for the dragon?” Rana said.

“Yeah that rift was my son showing off, imagine if they got pissed off.”

“Oh! It looks like your wife is arguing with them and the dragon.” Rana said.

As they approached the argument was going between Xack and Kuya who was going to get the dragon.

“Excuse me, but I have the Dragon charmed,” Lady Amethyt said.

The Undead dragons eyes flickered from one speaker to the next, and as they approached bloodstone pointed to one side. The dragon moved its head in that direction not moving but listening to the conversation.

 “Sorry about that, I gather your aware of the situation”, Bloodstone said to the Dragon.

“I am in thrall to that woman, and she has told me to behave myself. I don’t believe this charm will hold me for very long. I would have to take it out on those who are here once it breaks.” The dragons said its voice rumbling.

“Long enough dragon, and I would suggest you don’t attack anyone here, it’s only a friendly suggestion” Lady Amethyst said walking over still listening to the siblings argue.

“I so want to rend you apart woman, your charm however it is strong enough to make me obey at least for the moment. I do not sense any divine power from any of  you  and that being said I have no apprehension that you can truly do me harm.”

“You have a name, I presume something you would go by?” Bloodstone asked speaking for the first time.

 “None of you will live to share it with anyone, once the guardian awakens.” The dragon said smugly.

“Oh you mean the purple-black squid construct, yeah we tore that apart about ten minutes ago. My daughter wanted to come over and get you but her brother wanted a piece to.” Bloodstone said looking over the dragon.

It was an undead Dragon, the smell obviously was from its decomposing corpse, as its body was in a state of decomposition.

“You seem to have some problem, curse?” Bloodstone asked the dragon.

“It is my punishment; I am to be in perpetual agony and in a state of life and death”  The dragon moved his head over to the two siblings, and said loudly to Kuya, “I do not have a core!” and, ”You may not have my bones either.” He said to Xach.

The two of them looked at the dragon and both casted a spell in unison, “You shut up and wait your turn” Kuya said as her brother replied, “I wasn’t asking you” The two spells hit the dragon in the face, burning off the decaying flesh and exposing the bone underneath. The dragon reeled back obviously in agony from the attack.

Lady Amethyst cast a spell as well and the dragon froze in place. “You two stop messing with the sick dragon and behave” she said admonishing them.

They all watched in fascination as the flesh began to form back over the damaged area it however was still decaying. “I get it, are you one of the reasons for the blight?” Bloodstone asked.

The dragon’s eyes slowly turned towards him, and then its head moved closer, “Human I was there when the Blight curse was cast, I was one of the lucky ones who did not die from the blight. I became this, unable to fly unable to feel the kiss of the sun, a curse so foul I had no way to remove it, there have been no clerics in millennia, I am not the cause of the blight.” The dragons rage simmered, “How can you still be standing before me unaffected by my majesty and terror?”

“I brought a special class, for the guardian”, she’s shielding our emotions.

“What are you?” The dragon said focusing its gaze on Bloodstone.

“I am the only one here who isn’t after your soul, your bones or your treasure. If you really want to fight I think we can accommodate you however I think that you will be on the losing side.”

The Dragons gaze shifted to the rest of the party who had arrived, and then back to Bloodstone. “I am still trying to determine if you’re a threat or all bluster. It seems that you have me at a disadvantage at least for the moment. Why have you come here to disturb me and my stewardship of the dead?”

“We actually only came to kill the guardian and recover her friends,” Bloodstone gestured to Brigette, “You being here is unexpected, my kids decided that they wanted pieces of you. I however have more esoteric interests. The biggest question is why are the antinum attacking here?”

“I presume you are aware of whom you are addressing.” The dragon said moving closer to Bloodstone.

“I do not believe anyone here knows who you are. Would you care to enlighten us?” Bloodstone asked.

The dragon rose his head and fanned out its decaying and hole ridden wings, “I am Amronas, the Eternal Fire, Defender of the Elven forest.” The dragon stared down at Bloodstone.

“I take it you lost?” Bloodstone asked, and the dragon folded its wings sending a foul stench over the group.

“We lost,” The dragon admitted softly.

“Lost to the gods or someone else?”

“We won, and lost, are you here to torment me, or to rob the graves of the fallen? I may be injured; I can still fight the likes of you.”

“No Amaronas, I am not here to fight, only recover the dead, and to heal the wounds of the past. I think there is a greater calling here. I believe, no I know, I can set you free.” Bloodstone fished out the small silver symbol, of two dragons intertwined.

“I do not know that symbol.” The dragon said focusing on the polished silver.

“None on this world would. You need healing and I know only one being who could do that without bias and with love of dragons.” Bloodstone took a deep breath, and yelled, his voice took on a tone of power, that echoed off the walls, “I summon…”

“You have no power to heal me human! Nor can you contain me. I will rend apart you, and your compatriots. I do not know how you are able to stand before me without fear.”

“I really only just want to help you.” Bloodstone said holding the symbol so the Dragon could see it.

“I don’t need or want your help human, just DIE!” the dragon roared sending gouts of flame across the group gathered. The flames, dissipated just short of the adventurers.

“You need a breath mint, or something, all though I am not sure how to get a breath mint that big.” Bloodstone said in a mocking tone.

The dragon slashed at him knocking him twenty feet backwards into the sandy floor.  “I will not be mocked by you human!”

The dragon’s tail lashed out and several barbs flew as it raked across Xack and Marcus, the two of them were bowled over from the attack.

“My Lord!” Brigette called from the back.

“Im fine, “ Bloodstone said getting back up,  he looked behind at Brigette and saw her kneeling next to Violet. As he looked closer he could see one of the spikes had impaled Violet through the chest.

Brigette stared at the spike, and called louder “Bloodstone!”

“Keep this overgrown rotting lizard busy,” Bloodstone said to Kuya and Lady Amethyst as he ran over to where Violet was laying.

Violet looked up at him, as he knelt, “I’m sorry,” she gasped softly, obviously in a lot of pain. Brigette had a healing potion ready.

“That won’t work Brigette, look at the wound.” Bloodstone said softly. They both look at the wound were her skin came in contact were black lines. “She’s been infected by the same curse or disease that dragon has and seeing that she’s infected tells me its magical in nature and most likely not a disease.” He leaned closer to Violet, “You have nothing to be sorry for, I am going to put you to sleep and you will be better when I wake you up.”

“Don’t use the mirror my lord, I don’t want to be what I was before.” She gasped out, a trickle of blood running from the corner of her mouth.

“I know, we discussed it before.” He said taking her hand in his.

There was a loud explosion and a wave of heat washed over them. “Brigette,” Bloodstone said staring at Violet. 

“My Lord?” She said looking back at him.

“I can’t save her, there is not enough time, what would you do?” He said looking up at Brigette.

Brigette stared at him then looked back at the fierce fight that was going on between the dragon and his wife and kids.

“The wasps you made venom to turn someone to stone, perhaps that, could buy you some time?” She suggested.

“Brilliant!,” he said, and then began looking through his bag of holding for something.

Violet gasped, “Its bad isn’t it.”

“Not it’s just a flesh wound, I have a solution for that.” Bloodstone said as he found the bright yellow potion vial he was looking for.  

Violet started coughing, ”You don’t have to lie to me, I can feel the burning from the wound. Take my classes before I go.”

“You are going to be fine, Isn’t she Brigette.” Bloodstone said half-heartedly. Brigette, didn’t say anything.

“Drink this, you only need a couple of drops.” He said taking the cork out of the top and holding the vial to her lips.

The liquid touched her and where it touched it turned to stone, and in moments she was a solid stone statue.  He slowly corked the bottle and stood up.

“Dead Gods!” Brigette said, as he stood up, and took two steps away from him.

He turned to where the battle was raging and screamed, “Amronas!” The sound from his yell brought the combat to a pause. Kuya stood in front of Lady Amethyst , her staff in front of her, the feather wings had dropped down and looked very sharp. Xach stood next to her, a spear in his left hand and a bastard sword in his right.  Lady Amethyst was still casting, as the dragon turned to Bloodstone its eyes narrowed. “Your little slave can’t block the fear now.” The dragon taunted.

Bloodstone didn’t answer but drew two longswords, the blade in his left hand gave off a deep purple sheen, it was an ordinary looking sword, no ornamentation, or jewels. The second blade, he drew was jet black, except the edges of the blade itself. The blade itself crackled with a green energy and flashed across the blackness of the blade. The black blade was adorned with green and red stones, that glowed with an inner fire. The hilt and pommel of the sword were adorned in the same green-red gemstones.

“What happened to make him that angry”, Kuya said, seeing him draw the two blades.

Xach smiled, and said to the dragon, “You are so screwed now, you pissed off my dad! I am going to get your bones”

The Dragon opened it mouth to use its fiery breath again. The moment his mouth opened, a jagged piece of ice shot into the soft parts at the back of his mouth. There was a retching and gagging sound from the dragon.

“Ooops,” Xach taunted, “Biting off more than you can chew.”

A ball of white light streaked from the dragons [Light lance] and dissipated inches from Xach. “That all you got dragon” Kuya said looking around. Brigette was looking at the statue, Kuya frowned, turned to the dragon, “Unforgivable! she let go of her staff and it floated next to her taking one hand over the other  across her chest and made a slow rending motion with her hands in front of her and said a single word “Azafaln” The dragon screamed as his wings were torn off, and a tearing sound could be heard. She grabbed the staff and in shrunk down and she put it around her neck as a necklace. “Esprite take the spells out” She turned and started walking towards Brigette and the statue.

Bloodstone began walking across the sandy floor, towards the dragon. He passed by Kuya and nodded. Elmok walked beside him, With a sword in one claw. “It is an honor to fight alongside you my Lord.”

Marcus and Haran followed him slightly behind. “Do you have a plan,” Marcus asked.

“Cut it apart till it stops moving.” Bloodstone said swinging the purple blade.

The dragon charged at, Kuya. The dragon stopped just short of Kuya and turned to see what had caused it to register the intense pain it felt in its right claw. As it had bounded past Bloodstone, it had left its left claw sitting in the sand. The shock and fear began to creep into the dragon.

Lord Bloodstone stood in a guarded position making a small profile, as he faced off with the dragon. Marcus, Haran and Elmok stood behind him.

Kuya knelt next to the statue and began speaking to Esprite in another language. (pixen) ”U alaba nal uf al Maqyk”

The small glowing ball of fluff replied with a sharp “Pi”

“Bal bule tuu Vayolet” she said to Esprite.

There was a glow as the spike floated up and began to dissolve in mid-air.

The dragon’s claw was regenerating slowly. It turned to stare at Bloodstone and cast [Mass slay living] at the four of them. The black wave rolled over Bloodstone and just dissipated.  The dragon cast a second spell [Frozen Solid] the four blue orbs flew and again stopped just short, dissipating in a shower of blue and white light.

“C’mon Dragon! That all you got?” Marcus taunted.

The dragon snarled, and cast a [Death lance] at Macus, the energy hit Marcus and he reeled back, as if injured. Then went back into his guard stance, “Weak, there are Mages of the Theocracy that have more magic than you do, pathetic.”

The dragon roared at Marcus. Two of the mages at that moment cast lighting at the dragon, it deflected off the scales and went into the ceiling, causing a rain of stone and debris. The dragons tail whipped around as he turned towards the Mages, intent on impaling Bloodstone on one of the spikes on the tail. Bloodstone blocked the tail with the black blade and slid back two feet. Bloodstone slashed at the tail, but the dragon moved it away before the edge of the blade could connect.

Kuya who’s back was to the dragon was kneeling over the statue of Violet chanting and holding her palms facing down. A glowing blue spark circled around her head. Brigette stepped close to the dragon putting Kuya behind her.  She began casting [Energy Protection].

There was a small “Pi” from the spark and it shot out towards the dragon and then just as quickly reappeared around her head.

Rana watched from a distance, the dragon was getting frustrated as each spell it cast at the main group was just gone. The small glowing spark that was with Kuya seemed to get brighter each time a spell was blocked. Rana smiled as she watched and then moved in, she danced over to Xyre and spoke softly to her. “Kuya’s pet is eating the dragon’s spells. Bloodstone is doing some damage to the dragon but not enough to matter much. I am going to see if I can help.”

Xyre wiped some sweat off her brow, “Just be careful.”

Lady Amethyst was with Xach on the other side of the dragon, distracting him, and slowing him down.  Each time it went to attack her, Xach would stab or slash it, and it would get hit with magic from Lady Amethyst. Rana danced over to Lady Amethyst, spinning and twirling the blade she had flashed when the dragons tail came close to Lady Amethyst.

The dragon began to slowly back up, it could see that there were no openings that he could exploit. His spells were being countered or dissipated by that strange spark that the human girl had hovering around her. Even spells aimed at it specifically had no effect, and the magic was just gone.

Dragons usually have little to fear, from humans, elves, dwarves, gazers or many of the other creatures that crawled on the world. Only fools or Heroes would ever think of attacking a dragon. The dragon tried its breath weapon again, to little effect.

Amronas had existed in the underground cavern for centuries, hiding from the sun, and only venturing out once every few centuries during the darkest nights to see what had changed, it had been millennia since he had fought seriously, anyone of consequence. Amronas knew fear, it was a tool he employed with great effect against lesser mortals. These new adversaries were on a whole new level, akin to the heroes of old. It both filled him with joy, and trepidation. The one they called Bloodstone, would in time wear away his defenses, and possibly slay him.

The dragon turned suddenly and bound into the darkness farther into the cavern. For such a large creature he was silent, as he retreated.

“HOLD!” Bloodstone said as the silver and gold teams sensing the change in combat, began to give chase.  His voice has a sobering effect on the group, the slowed and stopped.

The dragons voice boomed out of the darkness, “Only fools attack a dragon in its lair.”

“We need to regroup” Brigette said.

Euan the rouge who had been hanging back shouted, “The floor is one big web of traps, they all just went active, no one move!”

Summer, froze and looked at her feet, her [sense trap] showed the floor as a web of tiles, and all of them were registering as a trap.

Gwillunlu who was standing next to Gyrmoth, looked up. She to saw a web of traps, “Above as well”

“What kind of traps?” Vala asked.

Kenton slowly knelt and looked at the floor, “Magical, pressure trap. I can’t disarm it.”

“It’s not registering as magical.” Nerris said looking around.

Kuya was still chanting over the statue of Violet, and red sparks began to form on her fingertips and fall touching Violet. Each spark shattered into smaller pieces and danced across the stone. Bloodstone walked over to where she was chanting and stopped as he got close. The blue spark streaked from her head and stopped about six feet from him and hovered in the air. 

“How are you not setting off the traps?” Brigette asked

“I’m draining the magic in a radius, pulling it into the sword. Esprite is doing the same thing; he just has much finer control.”

The small spark went “Pi” and zipped like a blue streak back to Kuya.

“Amronas! I give you a choice, the last one you will get. Surrender or Die.”

There was a deep laugh from the darkness, “You puny human, what can you do to me? Your magic is weak, your weapons are weak, and those with you are even weaker. Know you are in my lair and no one has ever left alive.”

“I’ll show you, Dragon, what I am truly capable of. Marcus, Elmok, Kenton I need the three of you to get the others to the entrance, Marcus take my Shadow blade.” He held the black blade so that Marcus could take the blade from him.

 “My lord please allow me to stay” Elmok said looking into the darkness.

“Elmok, you can do better behind me that next to me. It not that I don’t appreciate the initiative, I just don’t want you to get hurt when I take out a mouthy dragon. “ Bloodstone reached into a small green pouch and dropped three oddly shaped dice to the floor.  “Dragon! You have one last chance to surrender, “ He said glancing down at the three dice. He knelt and scooped them up and put them back into his pouch.

There was just laugher from the darkness.

Marcus, Kenton and Elmok moved to stand next to Kuya and the statue of Violet. Kuya continued to chant, beads of sweat forming on her face.  Everyone else began to move to the ramp entrance.

Bloodstone sheathed the purple blade and held his hands above his head palms facing each other about a foot apart.

It was quiet for a moment then a snap of electricity arced between his hands. It was for a single second and there were no other sounds, and it was as if someone turned on a torrent of electricity, the bolts began as blue energy, and began to arc as white towards the center.  At first there was just one bolt jumping back and forth, then two, and it began to pulse faster and faster.  A cacophony of sound from between his hands the light began to grow brighter and brighter. The underground structure began to become illuminated, as the light grew brighter. It rose up five feet then ten and hung in the air.

There was a burst of bright white light, it illuminated the entirety of the underground, illuminated the dragon who howled as the light toughed it.

“I will kill you human!” The dragon said getting closer, trying to avoid the glare of the light.  

“Darkness to light dragon, you told me you fear the sun. Behold A miniature sun for you!” At his words the light flared again and stayed. The light was bright, bright as a mid-summer’s day, and just as warm.

The dragon screamed, as its body began to smoke and melt. Trickles of black slime began to drip from the dragon’s body.  It tried to move but was unable to as the pain it was experiencing made movement impossible.

Flames dripped from the dragon’s mouth as it tried to breath a flame. Bloodstone walked over to the dragon as it had fallen to the floor. The ball of energy still hung where it had been left, giving off a bright yellow glow.

The dragon’s eyes flickered between him and the ball hanging in the sky.

“I did warn you Amronas, you have no one to blame but yourself.  I tried to be reasonable, tried to give you the benefit of the doubt, even tried to negotiate. You mistook passivity for weakness.” Bloodstone drew the blade shimmering with a purple light.

The dragon gurgled, until Bloodstones shadow covered a small portion of its head. “How, how are you able to be this powerful?” the dragon rasped.

“I am a [],” Bloodstone said.

The dragon rasped, “I do not know what you are, you have bested me.” The dragons body continued to smolder and ooze, the stench was becoming stronger. Bloodstone backed away letting the light cover the dragon.

Kuya stopped chanting and the red sparks slowed and stopped. She turned and walked over to stand next to her father, “I still want that dragons’ core” She said.

“Your brother gets the bones, I want its mind, everything else is going to have to be destroyed.” He said looking at the dragon.


Bloodstone looked over at the dragon, “I will try and make this as painless as possible.” The dragon gurgled, and attempted to reply.He looked over at Kuya, “Use his heart, we can purify it for a vessel to hold his soul”

“Mkay,” She said looking at the dragon, she made a grasping motion and the dragon screamed as it heart was ripped from its body. It was still beating and connected. There was a brilliant flash of light, that washed over everyone in the room.

Bloodstone made a gesture as if tearing the dragon apart, and a pile of bones appeared on one side and a floating gray brain with the eyes still attached was floating on the other side.  A lattice of energy began to form around the heart and brain, white geometric patterns that formed and began to become more and more intricate.

“I think that’s right,” Kuya said

There was a loud snap as two very large multi-faceted gemstones were created, one pulsed with a deep red and black light, the other was gray black and appeared to have shadows moving within it.

Kuya stood over them and the red sparks began to fall again from her hands, each time a spark touched one of the gemstones, it flashed. A black liquid began to drip from the two gems. It was viscous and after the first two drops bloodstone began to collect the drops in two vials. The vials filled to about halfway and then stopped. He then put them away carefully with the stoppers.

Kuya sighed and the sparks stopped, the two gemstones looked very pure, one looked like a deep ruby that pulsed a heathy red, the other was a clear white. Bloodstone took the white one and Kuya pocketed the red one.  There was still a pile of bones, and a putrid pile of dragon remains. Kuya took off the small pendant and her staff was again in her hands. She then tapped her staff with its large silver feathers on the ground, made a wave with the staff and the remains and the smell just vanished.

“Pi?” The small ball of light said as it floated were the remains were.

“No Espirit, that’s gross” Bloodstone said.

The two of them turned and walked over to the statue of Violet. Bloodstone knelt and drew out a small clear vial. He administered three drops to the statue’s lips, and where the drops touched became flesh again. The transformation was slow, it took more than a minute for the effect to spread over Violets whole body, she was unconscious from the transformation. Bloodstone gently picked her up from the floor and carried her back towards the entrance, where Marcus stood with the black sword.

“Marcus take the rogues and mages and see if you can find the switch that turned on the traps and turn it off. You may need the sword to create a dead area.” In a louder voice speaking to the others,” I am going back to camp, bring the bodies of Brigette’s team, and see if you can find that dragons’ treasure, its got to be around here somewhere, it wasn’t inside him…” He turned to Kuya, “It wasn’t inside him was it?”

“Er, no. I just got rid of the nasty flesh.” Kuya said collapsing her staff and putting it back around her neck.

Without saying anymore, he headed up the incline to the caverns. Kuya said to Xack, “Daddy put the bones over there,” she said gesturing behind her.

“Meh,” Xach said

“Well if you don’t want them, I am sure they would sell well, to someone. I think Briggets team has a necromancer that we can resurrect that might want them”

“I want them.” Xach said walking in the direction she mentioned.

“Uh the traps”, Kuya asked him”

“Meh” he said making frost appear over everything in his path.

“Did he just take out a dragon?”, Nerris asked.

“Not really, we just broke it apart.” Kuya said.

“Broke it apart? I’m not sure if I should be relieved or terrified. We have work to do here, let’s get to work” Nerris said looking at the teams.

The group of them began searching the area, as the rogues and thieved disarmed the traps. It took  a while, and while they worked, the bodies of the slain adventures were carried in cloth bags one by one to the ramp entrance.

Nerris and Gyrmoth were discussing the treasure they had found. Brigette was carrying a bag. They both were looking for Bloodstone, who had not returned.

“This look wider here?” Gyrmoth said looking at the smooth walls.

“Yeah now that you mention it, it does seem wider. Nerris asked.

“That’s going to be a lot to haul. I have never have seen so much gold and magic items, I think that might be enough to make us everyone gold rank and get named?” Brigette said walking with them.

Eve was talking with the scouts William and Stephanie as well as the woman they had found Dalila. Dalilah was talking emphatically, about the vial she had in her hand. “It work, and now it’s all green”

“Could you not wave that around?” Eve asked.

“Oh, yeah of course, sorry.” Dalilah said putting the glass stopper vial away.

“Has anyone seen Lord Bloodstone?” Brigette asked.

“He’s outside,” Eve said gesturing to the entrance of the cavern.

Brigette walked outside and saw him sitting on the edge of the pool. The plants outside were all a bright green. She looked out into the blight and noticed there was a patch of green , extending out from the pool. She saw that Lord Bloodstone held a large diamond that glowed softly in one hand “Am I disturbing you?”

He looked up, “No, just thinking is all, they were too loud inside. How did it go?”

“We found the treasure and your wife, let me use the mirror. I revived Shen, he’s resting in the dragons lair, I wanted to thank you.”

Bloodstone waved it off, “There is no need, I just was doing what was right.”

“Do you want to talk about it?” Brigette said sitting down next to him.

He her in the eyes, there was a haunted look in his. “I know what happened.” He said as he placed the large diamond in a bag of holding at his waist.

“What do you mean?”

“What happened, to the dragon and Rhir. I know now what everyone has forgotten, and to be honest, I am still processing the implications. What it all means.”

“Would you care to share?” she said enthusiastically.

“No, not now, I need to process it, I need to get a handle on my own feelings about what I know, it could change the world, or change nothing.” Still staring at her, “I will have to keep this to myself, at least until I am able to come to terms with the implications. I have a feeling there are some who know this truth. I need to get back to work.” He said standing up and offering his arm to help her up as well.

She stood and accepted his arm, “What about Violet, I saw she was still sleeping.”

He nodded, “I really should get back to work.” He said pulling a pickaxe from the stone wall.

“What are you working on, I didn’t notice that there.”

“There are some ores that I want to collect off that way,” he said gesturing at the far wall.

“With just that pickaxe? I don’t see how that will help.”

He flashed a snide grin, “Yeah, its enchanted.” A slight breeze blew, with it the scent of grass.

It was then she noticed that the greenery seemed to shimmer a little. He glanced over at the greenery, “No my doing that’s Dalilah’s handywork, now that she has a sample of the blight to work with.” He turned and went back into the cavern. Brigette followed and saw that he had widened the passage towards the back of the cavern and strode down the widened corridor.

Glowing lights were set at intervals with a slight slope down. Brigette followed him silently, marveling at the smoothness of the stone. “You did all this with that small pick axe?”

The tunnel went down a almost a thousand feet, before stopping at a blank wall.

“Almost to the material I want to collect.” He said as he swung the pick axe at the wall, four small cubes of stone dropped to the ground and he took a step forward and swung again.

“Is this something you found?” She asked.

“You mean the pickaxe? No, it’s something I made, um you wouldn’t have any context. However, it’s based on something me and my kids played at home.”

“You dug into the earth where you came from?” She asked.

“Uhh, no we played a game, I had a server we played on together, never mind not important, it’s the idea of being able to dig into the earth looking for ore or in my case a type of stone.” He swung again and again leaving small cubes on the ground as he progressed forward and down.

“How do you know where to go?” She asked.

“Oh, I have [geomancer] skills from before I gave the levels to Xyre, so I can look for specific stone”

Abruptly the stone changed from gray stone to a black marble. He struck the pickaxe at the stone only a single cube of black stone dropped to the ground. “Perfect!” With a will he began to carve out more and more small black cubes.

“What are you doing?” Brigette asked.

“Collecting marble blocks, can you gather them into here” He said offering her a leather satchel.

Brigette took the it and swept them into the satchel, “What are you going to use them for?”

“It’s a surprise, and I think it’s appropriate.” He said swinging the pickaxe.

“I wanted to talk to you about the dragon’s treasure. I talked with the others and we want to be fair. There is way too much for all of us, and you are the one who took care of the dragon.”

“What is there to talk about, I get a share as does everyone else, it’s what we agreed on, if you insist, make sure we give the king a cut of the items, and gold. I think it would be appropriate if the teams gave it to him.” He said not looking back but cleaning up the marble.

“Even with that we, they you should take more, than one share.”

“What’s the real reason?” He said as the last marble blocks hit the smooth floor.

“We can’t carry it all, not even a tenth the rest we would have to leave behind, we have no way to transport that much treasure? We also feel that you financed us equipped us and we want to pay you back. We also don’t want to leave anything behind.”

“I see, I think we can move some of it into the room, and with the bags of holding we have in the chest, that should be enough space to move it all.”

“It’s not, you need to see for yourself.”

The black marble cubes were stored in the satchel and he hooked the pickaxe to a clip on his belt. “I suppose, let’s go look. What did my wife say?”

“Xyrediane, and Rana, they didn’t say much, Lady Amethyst is looking over the items, herself identifying things.” She said following him back up the slight incline. The stone in the passage was a dull mottled gray with some inclusions of white and blue stone. “I want to apologize, about my behavior at the fortress.”

“Its water under the bridge, as long as you don’t do it again, I won’t have a problem. I understand you wanted to keep people safe.”

“Why did you light that by the way, no one else will ever go down there?”

Bloodstone stopped, “Its not about who will go there. I needed the light to see.”

“You are leaving them there; though why not collect the small light beads?” She asked.

Brigette followed him through the room near the entrance, and into the long passage, occasionally he would stop and use the pick axe, and clear an obstruction of stone making the passageway uniform

“Why are you clearing the walls here?” She asked.

He shrugged, “I just want it to look better”

“Look better?” She said taken aback, “Why should you care?”

“I have a philosophy leave things better than you found them. I know it may not make sense to you. It’s something I do. I revere life, it all its forms, for me to take that from monsters and such, I do not do it out of malice or anger. I understand that in the heat of battle my emotions can overrule my sense, sometime is just needs to happen. I can be a monster if I need to be.”

Brigette grabbed him by the arm, and turned him slightly “So what is the problem?”

“What do you mean?”

“You left and have been screwing around. I thought you would want to see the treasure?” She said accusingly.

“Not really, I don’t like my friends and people I care about being hurt, they take priority.”

“Snap out of it we need you, there so much treasure, it’s overwhelming, it more treasure than I have ever even heard of.”

He sighed and followed her, through the caverns and down the ramp. There were still beads on the floor, and the small sun blazed in the cavern. He followed her across the path that that had been clearly marked. It led to the very back of the cavern, there was passageway that went both left and right, and then came another large cavern. The went in about sixty feet on each side and then joined back up leading to a large cavern. It was not very illuminate, there were beads strategically placed, and yet it did not give a sense of the size of the are they were in. “You want me to get the light?” Bloodstone asked.

The others in the area who were setting down the beads, stopped and waited.

Bloodstone left and retuned with the small brilliant ball of light. he set it glowing. Near the entryways. The levers that controlled the traps and presumably other defenses were clearly illuminated.

There was a collective gasp as the size of the room was revealed. Gold, and gems glittered from everywhere. There were tapestries on the walls, and statutes of various people in poses.

“It’s a tomb”  Kenton said the farthest into the room.

Everyone looked at Kenton. He was standing next to a statue that was in a large alcove, the statue was of an elf with a sword raised high and his other hand spread as if casting a spell. There were amulets thrown over the sword and hung along the statues arm as if someone had been throwing them for sport. Three of them hung from lengths of gold chain.

“Why do you think it’s a tomb,” Gyrmoth asked.

“Look there is a statue in front of every alcove, and in each alcove is a sarcophagus. They are all sealed. If this was the dragons treasure room, he was guarding it. Ill prove it help me open this.” Kenton said.

“Don’t.” Bloodstone said

“Don’t what?” Gyrmoth asked.
“Open the Sarcophagi, it would be very bad. They sealed this place so that it would never cause trouble, they didn’t realize that it was already loose. These heroes fell first, when the blight started. The dragon helped put them here. It cost him.”

“How do you know that?” Nerris asked.

“I, have the dragons memories, the treasure here is ok to take, the sarcophagi, should never be opened. Clear a space here.” He gestures to the center of the room.

“What inside?” Lady amethyst asked.

“Nothing we should want to see, they have no treasure in them, just sealed Heroes. Heroes, who died defending this world.” Bloodstone, waited while they cleared an area and he then began placing small stone blocks in the area. Using the pick-axe they grew to a meter square and fused to each other. After a base had been constructed three blocks wide and ten blocks long he began using the black marble and built a slab of black marble ten blocks high.

“My, that is impressive” Gyrmoth said, “I have never seen stonework like that, your pickaxe would be worth a king’s ransom in a dwarven kingdom.”

“Every time I think I have seen the last thing you will do that will impress me, you do something else.” Brigette said looking at the smooth marble slab.

“I’m not done yet. My handwriting is atrocious, Kuya can you write into the stone this.” He said handing her a sheet of parchment.

“What do you want it written in?”


Kuya tooke her staff and it shrunk down, and she began writing onto the slap of marble from a distance as if it was a sheet of parchment.

 Everyone stood back and looked at the stone when she finished.

It read:

The Dragon Amronas, the Eternal Fire, Defender of the Elven forest, fell here, defending the tomb. Those who slew him did so without malice or desire for his treasure. He was a dragon who needed to be saved, from the terrible curse that had been inflicted upon him. He now rests.

Let it be known the sarcophagi here should never be opened, a recording from the dragon is in the gemstone below.

Let is also be known the names of those who brought him to his rest be named here for all time.

The Red Blight      Blight Wolves                      Golden Swords                    

Amanda Radcliff  Gwillunlu Shortward            Brigette                                 Lord Bloodstone

Euan Barker           Gyrmoth Redbeard                                                             Lady Amethyst

Haran Zentis          Kenton Thorp                                                                      Xach

Nerris Perryworth  Vala Webb                                                                          Kuya

Solomon Fuentes   Nyteria  Morningflight                                                       Xyrdiane Sylthana

Summer Romero    Zail Morningflight                                                              Ranathil


                                                                                                                          Elmok Felltail

                                                                                                                          Hijala Greenscale





With that he affixed a diamond to the bottom of the marble slab. He looked over at Kuya, “this place needs better protection, any thoughts?”

“Mmm, sure I can make some shadow constructs.” She replied

Every mage looked at her.

“How do you make a shadow construct?” Nerris asked before anyone else could get the question out.

Kuya smiled, “Its easy, like this.” Taking her staff, the winged feathers rose up and began to glow.

She spoke a single word “Reverr” and a shadow shifted from her feet, it was if someone was standing next to her casting a shadow.

“That’s it?” Bloodstone asked.

“Yeah, what did you expect?” she asked.

“Um something showier maybe, not that.”

“You do any better?”

He nodded, “Yeah I can.”  He closed his eyes and held his hands out, the shadow of the monument shifted, and moved as if alive, a piece of it detached from the stone a shadow was on the floor with no discernable means for it to be cast.

“How is that any different?” Nerris asked

“It just how its created, they are both very different.” Xach said.

“Uh huh, do any of you understand what we just saw?” Nerris asked

“No, I don’t” Amanda said staring at the shadow.

“Husband, will you explain what just happened?” Xyrediane asked.

“Now that is just terrifying are either of you mages?” Nyteria asked.

“No” Bloodstone and Kuya said in unison.

“What are you to use them for?” Nerris asked.

Bloodstone gestured, and the shadow vanished, “Well let’s be honest I don’t think we really need to claim all this treasure.”

“We agreed that we can’t carry it all out of here, and with you doing this” Nerris she said pointing to the stone monument. “It would be insulting to take more than a fair share of the treasure. That dragon would have killed us all had you and your wife not been here.”

There were murmurs of agreement, from the two teams and the others gathered. A large furred shape stepped close to the group, “I also agree, having recalled the time of my death and seeing Brigette having aged, and you coming here to restore the golden swords.” Shen said softly. “I have no words to truly express my gratitude.”

“You would be Shen?” Bloodstone asked.

“At your service it is nice to actually meet the man behind the name.” Shen bowed deeply.

“You’re the first gnoll I have met, were you able to recover your gear?”

“I was, and I understand that per your agreement with Brigette the golden swords get first pick of the treasure here?”

“I don’t see that as a problem, we will be here for a couple of days, and we can catalog and inventory what is here.” He looked over everyone, “I know there are some items that you all have your eye on, so here is what I propose, each team will get to select some items they want, the Golden Swords, will be first, then the Red Blight, then the Blight wolves, Marcus, will represent those of you who are my retainers, and if you have anything you want speak with him.  As for myself and my immediate family, Rana will represent us.

“Wait what?” Rana said.

“So that things are fair, Rana is included as immediate family, as are Lady Amethyst,  Kuya, Xach, Violet, Xyrediane.”

“Everyone else, your representative is Marcus, as he is under retainer. Also, the money here will be divided equally between everyone on the expedition. Before anyone objects and starts throwing out reasons why someone shouldn’t be included, take a good look around.”

“Why are you making me your representative?” Rana asked.

Bloodstone laughed, “Because, I don’t have any preference to what is here, and I have other things that need to be taken care of, I’m delegating.” Then is a louder voice and speaking to everyone. “This place is a mess, we have containers and things we can use to get it sorted, I suggest you all take a break, figure out a shift and then get sorting. There are some heavy leather gloves for handling magic items we packed, if you are not sure, let me or Kuya know and we will move it for you. Brigette is in charge of cataloging everything here, no matter who takes it. Oh and three items will need to be added to the lists, they are The mind of the Dragon Amronas, the Core of the Dragon Amronas and the bones of the Dragon Amronas. I am keeping the mind, Kuya is keeping the core and my son is keeping the bones.”

“How are we going to move all of this?” Nerris asked

“What do you mean?”

“I did some calculations and even with the bags of holding you have, and everyone’s here, I don’t think there is enough room.” Nerris said.

Bloodstone looked around, “I am not sure what you are getting at?”

“Well how many bags of holding do you have?”

Bloodstone did a quick mental calculation, “I believe, there were thirty in the chest, I have two, wife has one, Kuya and Xach each have one, Xyre, and Rana each have two. Violet has two, both filled with potions, and medical supplies.” He looked over at Marcus, “Each of the retainers, were given one, I’m guessing maybe fifty bags of holding.”

Nerris nodded, “That’s a few more than I thought, we have a couple its still not enough to carry all the gold here. Add in the magic items, and the miscellaneous non-magic items, like that armoire filled with rich cloths, jewelry. There no way something like that would fit in a bag. Personally, I would pack the gold in the bags, even then there is a limit”

“Oh yeah I asked Coreen about the bags, she told me they are graded based on how much weight they can carry, I think she said a really good bag can carry about a hundred stone weight, I never asked how much a stone is here. Doing the math that gives roughly five thousand stone weight. How many coins is a stone weight?”

“Um, it varies. Why?” Nerris asked.

“Rough guess, how much gold is here.?” He asked.

There was some discussion, and Rana asked, “You mean all the gold or just coins?”

“Coins Rana.”

“Told you,” Kuya said. 

“Just guessing, its somewhere around five or six million gold.” Brigette said.

“I know we don’t have enough for even half that, maybe a third if all we take is the gold.”Nerris said.

“What about that room, how much could we put in there?” Kenton asked.

Nerris looked over at Lady Amethyst, “how much room is in there?”

Lady Amethyst used the key and opened the door.  “I think It would all fit in here, however it would cover the desk and possibly the mirror.”

“It’s a twenty by twenty, by ten-foot area” Bloodstone said glancing at the door. “There are crates of food and water in there, as well as the empty crates you might be able to make use of.”

“Daddy why are you making them all freak out?” Kuya asked.

“I like my secrets,” he said and she gave him a look.  “Fine!” He turned walked through the door and to the desk and pulled open one of the drawers. He pulled out a heavy leather-bound book. It was stained a deep brown and looked like it had been used.

“Is that a spell book?” Nyderia asked.

“Uh no, here take a look.” He handed it over to Nyderia.

She opened the books and flipped it open to the first page. The page was blank, and she flipped through the book, and stopped when she got to a full color drawing of what looked like fresh produce and casks.

“I don’t get it, who drew this.” She asked as several others started looking over her shoulder.

“Its not a drawing.” He replied, “keep going,”

The found another drawing on a page, of a ballista and two racks of ballista bolts. A little further she found a large chest.  Another page had a small rowboat with four oars. Two pages after that was a large anchor. And the next two pages were rope and then chain. Nyderia closed the book and looked at Bloodstone. “I don’t see how this will help”

“Perhaps a practical demonstration.” He said taking the book back and flipping it to a blank page. “The first thing is that any magical objects can’t be put into the book, they are incompatible with the magic of the book, in theory you could design magic items to go into the book, but that’s not what were are talking about. Non-magical objects, like the armoire, if there is anything magical about it, I will not work.” He touched the open page to the armoire, and there was a loud snap as it and the contents vanished. On the page of the book was the armoire in full color. “Now getting it back out requires, knowing some of the commands, I could also have transferred it to the page from a distance, of about ten feet with the proper commands.”

“That’s amazing, what are the commands” Nerris asked.

Bloodstone ignored the question. “There are pages that can be used, and I can store anything non-magical like all the coins here. They can be shoveled into the book, the thing is the book itself is mine, so if you want something stored I can let you have the bags, and anything extra non-magical can be stored in the room or in my book.”

“I think that settles, the issue.” Gyrmoth said.

“Actually, it makes it easier and more difficult, you only have two days left to get everything here sorted.” Bloodstone said to the group.

“Two days?” Brigette asked.

“Yes then we need to find the spire and then investigate after that we are going to have to return back to the fortress. I do have extra supplies in the book, for a month that however is the emergency supplies. Shen do you know the white tower we are going to?”

Shen nodded, “It was not long ago that we did find the tower you mention, there are golems mithril golems, with mithril weapons. Even our team could not take one never mind the nine that were there. There was no way we could deal with that many golems.”

“You might be right, we will have to see when we get there, in the meantime, I suggest you figure out your groups and start sorting. I am going to take care of the hole the antinum came from, just in case.” He said that and walked out of the room.

It took them four days to sort everything, at least to the point of documenting the contents of the room, and the number of magic artifacts was just insane. There was also the fact that those who had been involved in the fight gained at least five levels in their class, each of them gained a dragon skill, most of them admitted they had gained a skill but not what it was.

As they left Kenton had turned on all the magical traps, and they had taken the shell of the guardian, as Shen had informed them that it was mithril.

The entrance had been resealed, and the mages had cast several spells so that it would not be opened.

Excerpt from the personal diary of Shen of the Golden Swords.

I will tell you that I knew we were in trouble when a third of our team was down on the initial encounter. I sacrificed myself to give the rest a chance to get away, an honorable death, one that even if I couldn’t survive I know my comrades would.

When I woke up standing in a strange room at first, I thought that this was what happens when you die.  Brigette stood nearby. Perhaps she had come here before me. That was not the case she smelled the same and yet different. A woman I did not recognize stood with her.

“Am I dead?” I asked them.

“Not anymore, old friend.” Brigette responded.

I did not understand at that time what had happened, my comrade explained to me what had happened and who the woman was. I was stunned, so much so that I said nothing.

It was a bit later that I met the Lord Bloodstone that Brigette had mentioned, he seemed unremarkable to me, no aura or power seemed to emanate off him. Even his scent was normal.

I got to see them bring the others of my team back. I will not disclose the details here as it would be a breach of trust. Suffice to say, anyone who had such an artifact would be very dangerous.  I have since discussed our situation with the others and we have decided that we want to put some distance between us and Lord Bloodstone. We owe him, and yet he does not hold it over us, and when we explained that we wanted to return to civilization, he nodded and told us to be safe.

A remarkable man, in that he could have held our debt to him over us, instead he wished us luck and to be safe. His wife Lady Amethyst also sent us off heading back with spells and buffs as she called them. To be more precise, the gold teams ours and Nerriss’ team decided that we wanted to return. The strange woman Delilah also wished to return to civilization. Lord Bloodstone sent us back with the two scouts, and half of the provisions, we had plenty to make it back to the wall. I think it was the biggest mistake we made.

Gamers Eight – Act IV – Chapter 3

Bloodstone was allowed into the trial room, it was held in the adventures room. Xyre, Rana and Kuya  told their side of the story. There was shock when the entire scene was played back for them. The small gray puffball showed them what it had seen. Zail’s testimony of being attacked also was given. The other Blight wolves listened to his testimony and how he thought he was dead. The gold adventures denied any such thing happening, this also was under truth spells and they were proven to be lying. The commander decided that they would pay a fine to the Blight wolves as well as turn over the two children since they were under such a harmful influence.

Brigette waited until almost everyone had left, there were other rooms where the adventures could sleep on the adventurer’s side. The four Gold team members left willingly, as not to cause any further friction.

The silver wolves were at a corner table deep in discussion.

“The commander let them off light, word will get around. The commander confiscated the slave kids they had. They knew something was wrong, and are terrified, if your daughter is that powerful, how powerful are the parents. Will you tell me how you brought Zail back to life?” She said pleading towards the end.

“Why?” he said watching the Blight wolves staring at him from the other side of the room.

“You are not denying it?”

“I’m not confirming it either.”

“You answer my question first,” then I will decide if I want to tell you.

“It’s just that, you know what happened to my friends is there a chance they could be brought back?”

Bloodstone looked her in the eye, “I don’t see how as you made sure that no one would ever try and recover the bodies or destroy what killed them.”

Brigette froze and then looked away, “Fine don’t tell me.” She was somewhat choked up.

Zail came over and asked, “Lord Bloodstone would you be able to look at the items we acquired? The ones I mentioned earlier.”

“Sure, Brigette would you like to help?”

Brigette looked at Zail and then across the room, “I supposed, I usually am to one to identify things for adventurers.”

They walked back over to the group.

“This is our captain Gyrmoth Redbeard, our two trap specialists Gwillunlu shortward and Kenton Thorp” He gestured to the two dwarves and the male human. “Our swordswoman Vala Webb”,  who was the female human with the group. “Any my sister, Nyteria, whom you met earlier.”

The Red bearded dwarf held out his hand and Bloodstone shook it. The armor Grymoth was wearing was plates of steel over leather, it has been painted a deep red color. There were scratches and dings on the armor. 

“I hear your some kind of powerful spell caster, ” Grymoth said.

Brigette answered, “He’s a different kind of caster, and after seeing him in combat, I wouldn’t want to face him in battle.”

“That’s high praise, we would like to know if you can identify these magic items we found.” He nodded, and the human began unpacking items from a backpack.  He laid out a leather tunic, a black suit of plate mail.

“Interesting backpack, “Bloodstone said noticing that they were coming out of a smaller backpack than the hard armor should have fit in.

The human grinned, “We spent a large amount of gold to get this. They are very rare.”

“I haven’t come across any of them, in the few months I have been here.” Bloodstone replied.

Kenton continued to remove items from the backpack. There was a jet-black wand, a belt, three rings, and a robe that appeared oily black and shimmered as it was piled on the table.  The last item was a pair of boots, that looked very worn.

 He then unhooked a small bag from the side or the backpack and tossed it to the table as well. The bag had a ceramic block around the two draw strings, and a red rune glowed softly on its two faces.

Brigette looked over the items, “They look like standard demon items, that bag and the ceramic lock on it looks like the other one you found.”

Bloodstone looked at the lock, being careful not to move the strings. “This seems more complex, and there seems to be more magic stored in the lock.” He looked over at Brigette, “Any thoughts on how to get through it?”

Brigette gave him a look, “How did you get through the other one?”

“Um, well I broke it. This one seems a little different, than the one I destroyed, it appears to be more well made. ” He looked over at the adventurers, “It’s your item, I can break into it, or look for the password?”

The dwarf thought for a moment, “How much would it go for if you had the password?” He asked

Bloodstone looked over at Brigette, “I have no idea of the cost of things like these.”

 Brigette looked at it slowly, “Maybe ten gold.”

The dwarf nodded, “Salvage it if you are able to.”

Bloodstone concentrated on the lock, for ten minutes, as Brigette examined the other items.

“The leather is pretty standard, looks like a low-level protection. The plate appears to be a bit higher of protection, nothing out of the ordinary just reinforcement of the armor as some slight protections against fire and electricity.  The belt, looks like it gives some protection for various elements. She looked over the three rings, “This one is a leaping and jumping ring, gives you a boost when you leap or jump.  This one here, looks like it makes a barrier that can be used to deflect things. This last ring, hummm.” She looked at it closely.  “Im not sure what it does. “, she then moved to the robes, “Wow, I haven’t seen anything like that since I was in the family vault. Heavy caster protections, against magic and physical attacks.” She looked over at Bloodstone who was still staring at the lock, “Easily ten to twenty thousand gold.” She then looked at the boots, “I have no idea what these do.” She then looked at the wand. “Some kind of crystal wand, it looks like its earth or fire based.”

She looked over at bloodstone who was still staring at the lock. “You figure it out yet?” She asked.

“Maybe “, he then untied the ends of the bags strings and pulled the ceramic lock off the strings, onto a looped silk rope and set it on the lock on the table, with a loop of fine silk rope through it.

“I would say that’s a yes” Zail said watching him.

“It shouldn’t normally be taken off, it was set to trigger if it was pulled off the cord.” He shrugged and opened the bag.

He pulled out three books and a leather bundle. There were also six ceramic jars that he removed from the bag. He then started removing handfuls of gold coins, there were hundreds when he finished, and he then pulled out of the bag, a staff. It was ornate, and had a blue glowing crystal, and looked to be made of a white wood, etched with small runes, that made swirl patterns in the wood itself.

There was a collective gasp as it was drawn from the bag.

The half elf adventurer Nyteria, and Zail’s sister gasped, “Its beautiful.”

 He set the staff gently on the table.

Brigette was staring not at the staff but a green covered book on the table. It had a picture of a stag in green leather. She picked up the book and looked at it, and then turned and started to walk away.

“Brigette, the book.” Bloodstone said.

She kept walking, towards the door.

“Brigette!” Bloodstone said more forcefully.  She paused and turned towards him and began casting.

The bolt of lightning she threw echoed off the room, as it impacted a globe of energy that surrounded him.

The electricity seemed to burn into the energy field and then shattered as the stroke of lightning dissipated.

The other adventurers, stood up and were in shock.

“Brigette, what is going on?” Bloodstone asked again somewhat confused.

She cast a second time, a ball of fire exploded, the other adventurers dived under tables as it exploded. The explosion cleared, Bloodstone was on his back, charred and bloody. He sat up, there was a look in his eyes, and even his eyes looked different.  While most of his clothes were burned and hung off him in tatters, wisps of smoke and small fires burned on the clothes themselves. Brigette opened the door to leave and backed away as Violet, Lady Amethyst, Kuya, Rana and Xyrediane were rushing to the room.

Violet saw Bloodstone first and said to Lady Amethyst, “You need to stop him he is furious.”

Lady Amethyst cast spells in quick succession, as Violet ran over to him, blocking his view of Brigette.

“What is going on here?” Xyrdiane asked.

As the spells landed, Bloodstone slumped and was caught by Violet.  He was too heavy for her to hold up, two drakes rushed over to support him. His clothes were burned, however there wasn’t a mark on him.

Lady Amethyst said forcefully, “What did you do to my husband?” There was a menace in her voice.

 “It was her.” The dwarf said pointing at Brigette.

All eyes shifted to Brigette. Kuya glared at her, and her staff was in her hand. “Explain yourself, before I get mad.”

The two drakes carried Bloodstone out of the room. Violet followed them glaring at Brigette.

Brigette looked at the book in her hand and began to cast.

“I don’t think so, get her” Kuya said. A flickering ball of fluff flew from her staff and brushed Brigette on the head and she dropped like a marionette whose strings had been cut.

Kuya walked over and picked up the book, and started flipping the pages, “Humm, interesting.” The small ball of fluff floated around her head making soft peeping noises.

“Well she hurt my dad” Kuya said to the ball of fluff.

“That book came out of the bag,” Zail said, walking over to Kuya and checking on Brigette.

“What did you do to her?” Zail asked.

“I didn’t do anything just had Esprit drain her mana. Well not all her mana that would kill her.”

The small ball of fluff made more insistent peeping noises at Kuya.

“If it bothers you so much go check on him.” Kuya said waving at Esprit.  The ball of fluff avoided her hand made an angry peep noise and passed through the closed door.

Kuya sighed, “I didn’t know he talked to my dad.”

Kuya handed the book back to Zail, “It looks like it’s an elvish diary.”

Brigette groaned, and rolled over, “What the hell did you do to me.” She asked.

“I took away your mana, you are lucky my mom stopped my dad, he would have” She pause as if in thought, “ well I don’t know what he would have done, but I know it would have been bad. Are you brain damaged?”

“What?” She asked confused.

“Picking a fight with my dad. You are either stupid or have brain damaged.”

Brigette saw Zail with the book and tried to stand up. Zail moved the book behind him, “I think you better start talking, you are in no condition to fight right now.”

Brigitte groaned, and she got to her feet, she stumbled.

“Now what the fuck is this all about,” Lady Amethyst said standing next to Kuya, glaring at Brigette.

Brigette took a step back, “I didn’t want anyone else to die, that book is complete.”

“That’s not explaining anything, start talking.” Lady Amethyst replied.

“That book, is a diary, of an elven woman who lived a long time ago, I found pieces of it and we found a place that was supposedly a storage place of artifacts. It turned out it wasn’t, and all my teammates died there. I can’t let anyone else die there.”

Lady Amethyst glared at her, “You can’t tell us what to do.”

Zail held out the book to Lady Amethyst, “I don’t think I want to know about a place where gold adventurers died.”

She took the book and handed it to Kuya, “Translate this for your father, and if Brigette starts trouble again let me know. I’m going to check on your father.” She turned and walked out of the room.

“Brain damage” Kuya said under her breath and followed her out.

Brigette sat down and one of the tables and sobbed softly. No one wanted to talk to her after her stunt.

A bit later Bloodstone returned, book in hand and slammed in on the table in front of her. “You’re a coward, you let your friend die and even if there’s a small chance you can retrieve them you are too afraid to do that. Keep the book, your friends can stay dead for all I care.” He said it loudly Everyone was watching him and Brigette.

Brigette looked at the book and then at him. “What?”

He ignored her and walked over to Zail and his team.

She got up and walked over to him, “What do you mean?” She asked.

Again, he ignored her, “Zail, I wanted to make a formal invitation to your team, I am going to be going into the blight to find something. We have a good idea where it might be, So I wanted to see if you were interested.”

“I told you that the place was hard to find” Brigette said

He turned and looked at her, “I have no intention of looking for your friends resting spot, you have made it absolutely clear that your too much of a coward to try. I am looking for this tooth, that the goblins know about.”

“You can’t get into that tower, we tried.” She said softly.

“Oh, so you knew about this and didn’t tell anyone. What are you not telling me?”

“There are metal constructs guarding the tower, at least a dozen. We couldn’t even scratch them.” She said looking down. “It’s like the goblins say death is there.”

“You could have told me this before were came out here. Given me more information, you can’t trust me why would I even trust you with anything?”

She started to reply and stopped, turned and started walking out, “Your right, it’s hard to know whom to trust.”

“Zail, go ahead tell them.” He said to Brigette as she walked way, “If you leave now you are going to miss some very important information.”

The rest of the silver team looked at Zail, His sister asked, “What is he talking about?”

Zail look at his friends and said, “He has an artifact, that can bring people back from death.”

Gyrmoth scoffed, “Not bloody likely, something like that would make him one of the most powerful people on Rhir.”

Brigette stopped, “Is it something you got from Sutter?” She asked.

“He knows Sutter?” Kenton asked.

Brigette nodded, “He married Sutters daughter, and from what I heard and left him in charge on Rhir, when he when back Isril.”

All eyes turned to look at Bloodstone.

“How rich are you then, “Kenton asked softly.

“Who is Sutter?” Grymoth asked.

Kenton looked over at him, “Seriously, he’s the guy that lends money to most of the nobility.”

“I let my wife take care of that part of the money issues.” Bloodstone said softly.

“No, It’s not something I got from anyone you know. It was a gift from someone I know very well. It would be too complicated to explain.”

“Try me” Zail said.

“It’s a gift from a deity I know, one that will not come to this world.”

“I think hes pulling our leg,” Gyrmoth said, “The gods are dead.”

“And yet you don’t know a single deities name, or what they were about or what gods are capable of doing. In this world of levels, and power everyone wants to rush to be the best. I think I have a lot more information about this world than you might be aware of.”

“Hold on a sec, are you tell us you know a God?” Kenton asked.

“I understand a lot more then you might, about gods, and how they work, or don’t work. The fact that your gods are all dead and yet you can’t name one, speaks volumes as to what most likely happened on this world. I wouldn’t want to or even aspire to be a god here, it’s also against everything I believe in. Worshiping some entity, you don’t know, just seems wrong, when the people could be bettering themselves. What I believe happened, is that at some point a group of adventurers rose up and wanted immortality, and fought the gods for that privilege, and were either stomped down or won and became gods. Whoever the winner was came up with the leveling system and implemented it onto the population, so that they would know who to keep an eye on. As a society the best rise to the top, the genius’s and prodigies, managed to get back to that point, and either they attacked the gods, and put them down, or they fought with them and eradicated them to the point where they didn’t matter. From what I have seen and heard, the phrase dead gods are used as a curse. But I am getting off track, go ahead ask your questions.” Bloodstone sat down.

“So back to this artifact,” Brigette asked. ‘How does it work?”

“There are some limitations, I haven’t really tested them, I know what it was designed to do. Resurrect someone who has died, it can be activated at noon or midnight. There are some other stipulations, however I don’t think they are relevant now” Bloodstone said softly.

Kenton looked at the female dwarf, “What’s your assessment, you have been awful quiet?”

“He is telling the truth as far as I can tell.” Gwillunlu replied.

Lady Amethyst walked in along with Rana and Xyrediane. She walked over, “Well it looks like we don’t have to hurt anyone. Have you told them what you want to do?”

“No not yet,” He said looking at everyone. “I want to take a team with me out into the blight and see if we can find an elven vault.”

Brigette shook her head, “There is no way into that tower, we looked for days. We had to return before our supplies ran out.”

Bloodstone nodded, “I expected that, I have enough food and water for a team of about thirty for two months. I brought the supplies with me.”

Brigette looked skeptical, “I thought all the supplies you brought were for the fortress.”

“They were and are. I have other resources you are not aware of.”

The two drakes Illapressa and Hijala carried in a large chest. Other members of the group that came with behind them into the room, Kuya, Zach and Violet.

They brought the chest over to Bloodstone and set it down. There were two locks on the chest, and Illapressa unlocked one of them with a small ornate key. Kuya stepped forward and unlocked the second lock. 

Bloodstone lifted the lid, inside were bags, in neat rows. “Bags of holding filled with food and water, and other supplies. The other resources are,” He closed the chest and then removed a key from his pocket and held in in the air near the chest and turned in there was a click and a door materialized. He pushed it open, “Bring that chest in here please.”

The drakes moved the chest into the small room. Others looked through the door in awe, and wonder.

“As I was saying the other resources are in here.” They looked around the room, there was a cot folded up next to the mirror. There were also several large crates along the walls. A cloth covered something opposite the mirror, and against the inside wall. In addition to a desk and the mirror and now a chest the room was unremarkable, the crates appeared to be new, and gave off that new wood smell.

“I don’t mean to contradict you, there doesn’t seem to be anything in here” Brigette said looking at the mirror.

“Lord Bloodstone how is this possible, Zail’s sister asked from the doorway.

“It works similar to a bag of holding, there are lockers, rooms like this one and I have heard of much larger demi planes, I haven’t tried making one myself.”

The adventures wandered around the room looking over the few items inside.

The two rouges were talking off to one side, “do you realize what you could do with something like this?”

“Many things, what its being used for is portable storage.” He handed the key to his wife Lady Amethyst. “Who is interested in making a trip into the blight?”

“I think the goblins are following us,” Rana said. As she rode next to Bloodstone, it was the second day of the trip into the blight, the black and gray grass was high and there were occasional sighting of demons, goblins or other things that stayed away from a party that meant business. There were thirty of them. The six members of the silver rank team the blight wolves, Zail Morningflight, Nyteria Morningflight, Gyrmoth Redbeard, Gwillunlu Shortward, Kenton Thorp and Vala Webb. The gold team the red blight who had joined them this morning, they had ridden in the night to catch up to them when they had found out that they were heading into the blight. The Red Blight were Nerris Perryworth, Haran Zentis, Solomon Fuentes, Amanda Radcliff, Summer Romero, and Euan Barker. Two drakes, Kijala who rode next to Lady amethyst and another drake, Elmok Felltail who shadowed Bloodstone.

                Elmok Felltail was a normal drake, not one of the special ones who had been given wings. He followed Bloodstone and was a warrior. He had shown up after the big battle, having heard the exploits and wanted to serve a strong leader. Elmok preferred using a sword and claw, He was soft spoken and kept to his duties. Marcus and Eve had been keeping him company during the trip to the fortress. 

               The two scouts in training were also with them, William and Stephanie. The two of them were looking around more than the others. William was assigned to Bloodstone and Stephanie was assigned to Lady Amethyst. Lady Amethyst, Violet, Xyrediane were talking and were in the center. Rana was keeping an eye on Kuya and Xach, more on Kuya than Xach. Brigette was with the group and appeared to be in discussions with the silver and gold team leaders Nerris and Gyrmoth.

“Your telling me that he has the ability to adjust classes?” Gyrmoth said.

“What can’t that man do?” Nerris asked.

“What do you mean?” Gyrmoth asked.

“We saw him enchant Haran’s sword. One of the best enchantments I have ever seen. We got it appraisal from Pedella. We were shocked by the price she named.” Nerris said loudly.

“Oh, how much?” Gyrmoth said looking over at Haran and the sword at his belt.

“Get this, she said she would be willing to pay thirty thousand gold, and in addition to trade in for any weapon she had in her inventory.” Nerris said.

Haran yelled over, “Not going to happen, Nerris”

“He flat out told her no, and then she wanted to know where he got it from.”

“What did you tell her,” Brigette asked.

Nerris grinned, “I told her we as a group would sell her the information for a couple thousand gold”

“I can’t imagine that witch paying.” Gyrmoth said.

“She declined, what I want to know is what did he promise you Brigette .” Nerris asked.

“Me? He,” She looked over at him talking to Violet and Xyrediane, “He said he could get my team back.”

“Didn’t they die?” Nerris asked.

Brigette nodded.

“Like help you recover the bodies, I can understand that.” Nerris said looking at them talking.

“No, he’s going to bring them back to life.” Gyrmoth said looking back Zail and Kuya talking.

Nerris laughed, “I do think he can do that,” and with a more serious note, “Can he?”

“Ask Zail,” Gyrmoth said.

Nerris looked over to where Zail was talking, and she dropped back to talk to him.

“So why did you take on three gold rank adventurers?” Zail asked.

“I don’t like people messing with my family.” She said flatly.

“Do you not like half elves?” He asked somewhat concerned.

“Never thought about it,” She replied brushing him off again.

Nerris rode next to him, “Whats this I hear about Bloodstone bringing people back to life.”

Before Kail could answer, Kuya chimed in, “My dad is using Finders Mirror, I don’t know if Shikori would approve.”

“Who?” They both asked at the same time.

Kuya sighed, “Erik is the God of Lost souls, and Shikori is the goddess of death. That mirror is Eriks, and Shikori is his boss.”

“Hold on a second,” Nerris said, “How do you know the names of Gods!?”

“My dad made Erik and I made Shikori.” She said matter of factly.

“Made?” Nerris said confused, “How do you make a god?”

“I dono ask him, I just wrote down what he told me and picked the abilities from the book.”

“Book?You picked a gods abilities?” Nerris said clearly excited.

Kuya nodded, “It’s for the role-playing game we were playing, my dad has all their stats, and gear still”

“What is a role-playing game?” Nerris asked.

Kuya began a discussion of what a role-playing game was and characters and dice.

Nyteria rode over to Xyrediane, “Good morning, I know we haven’t talked, I understand you’re a mage?”

“I am also a Geomancer, thanks to,” She glanced at Bloodstone, “Lord Bloodstone.”

“If you don’t mind me asking, I am a level twenty-eight mage, I was wondering what level you were?” Nyteria asked.

Xyrediane looked her over, “I believe your next question is would I be interested in exchanging spells. Normally I wouldn’t even discuss levels, let alone spells.” She again then looked over at Bloodstone, “In this instance, I am in a very good place, to tell you the truth you’re a higher-level mage than I am. I am only a twenty-seventh level mage; my geomancer level is forty-four. As for spells, I am sure if you ask Kuya nicely she would be happy to copy a spell or two when we stop.” She stole a glance at Bloodstone again, who seemed to be quietly riding. She turned back to Nyteria “The one who really has a lot of spells is Lord Bloodstone. Do you know what spells you are interested in learning?”

Nyteria smiled, and nodded as she listened, “I know there are some I would like to at least try and learn, anything tier four or higher, I have some tier three, and have master them, but I can’t seem to find anything higher than that, at least nothing that’s hundreds of gold per spell.”

“You are like me, thirst for magic, and want to make your mark on the world, discover something new, and keep your brother and friends alive before something kills you.” Xyrediane said teasing her slightly.

“I.. yes, that’s a good assessment. You seem to have made out well, working with him?”

“More than well,” she rode closer, “That man saved my life, and never once gave me a snide look, or harsh word. He treats me like an equal, He also the one person I would not want to have as an enemy.”

Nyteria looked over at him, he was a little heavy, and balding. He carried himself with an aura of something, she kept finding herself looking at him as well.

“He doesn’t seem like much,” Xyrediane said softly, “There is a presence about him. He’s a hero, a hero to me.”

“I suppose if you’re into humans, he seems nice enough. I find it hard to believe he saved my brother, I thought all humans hated half-elves because we live longer and are better than humans.” Nyteria said matter of bluntly.

Xyrediane stared at her, “Nyteria, you seem like you have a problem with humans, consider it a friendly warning, don’t ever show that attitude to Lord Bloodstone. as I said he can be your greatest friend or your worst nightmare.”

“How powerful is he?” She asked.

“Powerful enough to take down a gray walker.”

There was silence as Nyteria stared at Lord Bloodstone.

It was later in the evening that the rain started. With Xyrediane’s geomancer powers she kept to a path that wasn’t soaked mud.

“We need to find a safe place to get out of this rain” Brigette said loudly.

“I agree, the rains here are usually dangerous, this far out.” Nerris said looking at the sky. There was a rumble of thunder off in the distance.

“This is not good we need to find shelter, from the storm,” Haran said more urgently.

“This seems familiar, everyone break off into teams, those of use with communication magic follow a group. We need a cave or somewhere we can weather the storm, even a hill should help.” Bloodstone said.

They paired off into groups, Xach went with the Gold team, and Kuya went with the silver team. There were six groups in total and they began moving as quickly as possible looking for a safe place to weather the coming storm.

Lighting flashed in the distance and the rumblings got closer. William rode over to him and dismounted, “We shouldn’t be on the horses” He said apprehensively, the chainmail he wore clicked as he moved.

“We need to get out of this weather, my Lord.”

Bloodstone blinked, “Where is this?”

“We are in the blight sire, looking for the tooth the goblin mention.”


“The book your daughter had said it was out here, the one we are following.”

“Where is she?” He asked looking around.

“With the sixth group, looking for a shelter.”

There was an explosion as bolt of lightning struck his horse and threw him back into the wet grass.

“My Lord!” William ran over to him.

Elmok assisted William and they lifted him off the ground. The horse had been killed by the strike.

The lighting flashed and off in the distance there was a rising spire, it appeared to be made of ice. A flash of lighting struck it and it illuminated, the area in a strange blue glow.

“There, we head to that spire” Elmok said. They salvaged what they could from the horse, and Elmok carried Bloodstone. They reached the ice spire and the lighting continued and seemed to be drawn to the spire.

Xach stood below it and casting at the massive spire with Ice and cold magic.

“Get inside,” He said pointing to a small cavern in the side of a small rise.

They got the horses through the narrow entrance, and another group showed up.

“What happened?” Someone asked.

“Hold on let me get a light spell then we can grab a lantern” Nerris said.

The glowing orb of light lit up the passage, it looked like it has been hewn from solid rock.

“There is a larger open area just down here, enough to put the horses and setup camp.” Summer said returning.

“Who’s left out there?” Nerris asked.

“Xach is still casting the spire. The blight wolves are still out there, as is Lady Amethysts group. They have said they can see the spire and should be here shortly.” Nerris said.

Bloodstone was carried to the large room they had found. Lanterns had been lit. There was discussion, as how long to wait out the storm. He was out cold due to the lightning that had almost hit him.

Bloodstone awoke, he was up to his neck in mud. It was dark, he could see, and he wasn’t sure how.

Something poked him, from behind.

“Quit it” he said his throat raw.

He was poked again. “Knock it off or so help me.”

He was poked a third time. He struggled and sank a little more into the mud. The sun rose, slowly. Not too far away a rock moved.  It wasn’t a small rock it was more of a boulder than rock. it moved again.

 Something pulled him backwards. There were several goblins with a rope.

“Oh, hey thanks for pulling me out of that mud.” One of them hit him in the head several times , with a rock.

He woke up, on a cot, it appeared to be a narrow cavern wide enough for two people to pass, the rest of the group were settling in, William walked over to him. “Your awake again sire.”

“I think so, what happened?”

“You got hit by that lighting, killed your horse, we recovered your gear. You were pretty out of it for a bit. You were talking about the Antinium. Not that I have ever seen one.”

“What was I saying, it could be important.”

William thought about it for a minute, “You said that it was a bad idea to attack them. What is a Psi dampening field, you mentioned that as well?”

“Humm,“ Bloodstone tried to stand up and his stance was wobbly. “Whoa, yeah help me up.”

William helped him into the center of the small room, it was big enough for the group to not touch the walls.

“Everyone here?” He asked William

“Yes sire, your son made a large spire to pull the lightning and used it as a beacon, it was pretty impressive.”

Off to one side of the room Xach was talking with the adventuring teams.

“One thing I noticed was you were dry when you came in while everyone else was soaking wet.” Haran said.

“I don’t like being wet, I put all the water around me into the spire.” He said shrugging.

“Sorry to interrupt,” Bloodstone said loudly, “We will have to wait out the storm here for a bit. I noticed there two passages in the back part of the room, anyone figure out what made this?”

“Antinium, these entrances are all over the blight if you know where to look,” Brigette said

Bloodstone nodded, “Well don’t assume that it’s not a live hive, we need to be on guard, we can hold back an army here, I just don’t want to have to do that.”

There were murmurs of assent.

“How close are we to where your friends fell?” He asked Brigette.

“Couple of days at least, I know what to look for” She said not meeting his gaze.

“Ok I have some down time, I can look at your magic items, and you can look at what I brought with me. I would like you all to get some extra rest, make sure you eat.” He turned and paused, and turned back to them,”One more thing, before I forget, if you don’t have a magic weapon, let me know before we move out.”

“What do you mean?” Nerris asked.

“I mean if you don’t have a melee weapon that is enchanted, I want everyone armed with a magic weapon.” He touched the pommel on the sword at his waist. “This is my most recent work, I have given out weapons to my wives as well as Rana, and my kids. I want the rest of you armed with something you can rely on.”

“I’m good,” Haran said touching the sword Bloodstone had made for him.

“Zail, I have a bow and some arrows I want you to have. I have given it some thought, and I am ok with a bow, but you would be better. We need every edge we can get. Hon can you open the workroom?” He said looking at Lady Amethyst.

She used the key and opened the door, he walked over to the desk and opened the top of the desk and pulled out a bow and a quiver of arrows. The arrows were all fletched with jet black glossy feathers. He walked back over to Zail and held out the bow and the quiver.

Zail looked over the bow, it appeared to be made of a soft white wood, he pulled the drawstring, “Whoa, this is tougher than it looks to pull.”

The storm blew itself across the land for a full day, the next afternoon it had stopped raining and the sun had come out. The ice spire was still there and began melting in the sun. The group was rested and even then, the mud made the going difficult until they could find a path that was more solid. It wasn’t until near evening that they made camp.

“You think the goblins ate the horse?” Bloodstone asked.

“Makes sense, they were still following us, not sure where they disappeared when the storm hit.” William said

The arrow that bounced off William landed in the tall grass, at first the two of them were startled by the arrow.  “We are under attack!” William said as he dropped off his horse to retrieve the arrow.

Everyone dropped off the horses into the grass except for Lady Amethyst.

There were twenty or so demons approaching, through the grass a few of them had bows the rest seemed to be melee fighters or casters. They were each different from each other.

“Some of them are fearless,” Violet said.

Marcus, and Elmok were ready for the first ones that moved into range, Haran stood just behind them ready to back them up. He moved to engage one of the demons and began to duel with swords.

The first one to cast was Lady Amethyst, two of the demons were tossed backwards and landed in the tall grass. The didn’t move as they had been mesmerized when the spell landed. Another demon was hit by three arrows, as Zail, Solomon and William all fired arrows at the demon, it gurgled as the arrow Zail had fired came out the back of his neck. The other two arrows had pieced two of its eyes.  Two more demons were lit on fire as Nerris and Nyteria let lose with spells. A demon began casting and was hit with several thrown daggers.

The Demons continued to advance and engaged, Marcus and Elmok, they were both proficient fighters and with Haran they held the four demon at bay. Another demon exploded in a fountain of gore, as a shaft of stone impaled it from below.

Three demons approached Xach and Kuya who were off to one side of the fighters. Xach attacked one of the demons. Xach was using a spear and impaled the demon twice, though it didn’t seem to slow it down in the slightest. It was at that moment that the two demon that had attacked Kuya turned to stone.

Rana stood next to Xyrediane and the other mages. The rouges attacked the demons and disappeared leaving them bleeding and confused.

“Don’t kill them all before I can, oh never mind.” Bloodstone said as the gold and silver teams began to systematically wipe them out.

It took them a few minutes to check to make sure they were dead, the two Lady Amethyst had thrown were the only two left alive and Bloodstone drained their levels before they were killed.

William called out from just over a rise. “Hey there’s someone here!”

The group found a small encampment the demons had been using, tied up in one of the tents was a woman in blue jeans and a concert shirt. They ended up removing the ropes holding her and the gag.

“Bloody hell, where are you lot from?” She said her english accent, was very pronounced.

Bloodstone laughed, “You a Brit?”

“Yeah, you one of them Americans, where the hell am I? are you responsible for this?” She asked.

“Uh, first off before we get to carried away, you have any tech on you or ID?” He asked.

“I have my cell, and ID in my purse them things took it. What were they? The looked like stuff of nightmares or things you see on horror shows on the telly.”

They looked around and found her purse it was very stylish and girly. William handed it to Bloodstone.

“The good news is your safe. The bad news is you are on another world.”

“Is this some kind of joke?” She said somewhat franticly reaching for her purse.

Bloodstone handed it to her. “No joke, we have been here for a couple of months, what year is it?”

She rolled her eyes,” Its twenty nineteen”

Bloodstone stared at her, “That means, a month here is half a year to our world, roughly.”

Eve who had been listening, “So if we want to get home the longer we are here the more time passes at home?’

“More or less. The ratio is about six to one every day here is six at home. One more piece of the puzzle.”

“What are you all on about?” The woman asked.

“We were summed here about six months ago your time and have been here about two months. How we were summoned isn’t known. The fact seems to be that its still happening. How long have you been here?”

“Two days, I just walked around the corner and was in this weird black grass. My cell didn’t work, I was not even sure what direction to go. The first night was terrifying, I followed that big star in the sky and I thought it was east.”

“It’s roughly east, so you want the good news or the bad news?” He asked her.

“There’s good news?” She asked.

“Well the good news is if you stick with us we can at least keep you alive and get you up to speed as to what is going on.” Bloodstone said.

“I’m almost dreading the bad news.” She said looking around.

“We are about ten or so days from real civilization. We are looking for something out here. We can get your phone working for the most part. Oh, and magic works here. I have another question, who is the president of the USA?” He asked.

“Duh, Candice Waller, she won in a landslide, against that actor fella.”

“Uh oh. I was afraid of that, looks like they are pulling people from parallel worlds as well, that complicates things.”

“Uh huh,” she said nodding.  She looked at Eve, “Is he daft?”

Eve nodded, “Sometimes, but he’s not lying.”

“Magic really?” She said incredulously.

“Well it gets even stranger; this world is like a video game where you can level as whatever you want to be.”,Eve said

“Oh really, if I wanted to be a superhero, would that work?” She asked.

“Maybe? What kind of superhero?” Bloodstone said pondering the question.

“Oh, I dono, maybe something with heat vision or super powers like..Sup…” She said working up a steam.

“I don’t know if it works that way, might be interesting to try though?” Bloodstone said cutting her off.

“What do you mean?” She asked.

“Well the Hero you mentioned, is an alien, your human right?” he asked her.

She put her hands on her hips, “Are you making fun of me?”

“Not at all, oh and we will need to call you something.  I would suggest not using your real name.”

Her eyes widened, “Like true names, so you need a nickname.”

“I call myself Bloodstone. Eve used her real first name, I don’t recall the rest of her name if she even has one.  My wife is Amethyst, and my son uses Xach and my daughter uses Kuya. What should we call you?”

The woman thought about it for a few minutes. Shrugged and said, “Doesn’t matter call me what you want”

“That’s not very helpful” Rana said.

“Ergh, what are you!?” She asked.

“I am a half gazer.” Rana said somewhat offended.

“Oh,” She said to Bloodstone, “Are there any other freaky people here?”

“Rana is not a freak, it’s her species, are you being racist?” He asked her.

“Just caught me off guard, I think I am starting to believe you that this isn’t a dream. Call me Dalila”

“Ok Dalila, there are some half elves and dwarves here as well.”

“Who’s being racist now?” Dalila said giving him a dirty look.

Bloodstone rolled his eyes, “Nevermind, why don’t you sleep on it and see if you get any classes.”

“Oh I got a class a weird voice in my head said hero one. The first night I was here, thought I was hallucinating” She replied

“Ok so you must have been summoned by the king but ended up way out here. That means…”

“What’s it mean” Eve asked.

“That there is more to the summoning business than we are aware of. Hypothetically, it could be because of a broken artifact. Not functioning the way, it was designed or being used in a manner it wasn’t intended for.  Who knows, I still don’t know how we were summoned here.”

“Lot of help that is” Dalila said.

“Well let’s see if we can give you a better class.” He said holding out his hand.

She looked at his hand, “What?”

“I can change or give you a class, I have levels I took from some of the demons.”

“Uh huh, right, I think you are going a bit daft.”

“Just take his hand,” Eve chided.

She reached out and took his hand as if a handshake, “I think this is a phenomenal waste of time.”

Bloodstone tried to focus on a specific class to give her.

After a few minutes, “Whats supposed to happen?” Dalila asked.

“Uh, oddly enough I can’t give you a superhero class. I could do mage, or archmagi or something like that.”

“No, I want to be a super hero” Dalila said frowning.

“Well that’s doesn’t seem to work the way I thought it would. We can talk about what we might be able to do as we head to our objective.”

She shrugged, “I expect to wake up from this at some point”

The group of them on horseback or walking with the extra horses being led through the black grasses were somber and quiet. No one really spoke, as they were on watch for threats.

Brigette was the first to break the silence near midday, “We should be getting close, another day or so.” She said to Bloodstone.

“To what?” He asked.

“The cave, where my friends died. Do you think you can really bring them back?”

“Maybe, I’m curious as to why you thought it might be important to go into that location.”

She rode a little closer, “We found some references to weapons from before Rhir fell, scraps and fragments like the one you found about the elven vault. The King commissions Gold teams to go into the blight and attempt to recover said items and weapons.”

“Why though, or is it more about fame and fortune?”

“No, its about becoming a named adventurer and getting a holding or place you can call home. You and your wife have it easy you came from somewhere else got the hero levels and the king is giving you some leeway. If you can recover artifacts he would be able to trade them for more support from the other continents. It could also inspire more gold teams to come to Rhir.”

They camped again that night with watches every two hours to keep an eye on the grasses. The night passed uneventfully and they again rode is silence, the dreary black grass gave a start contrast to the gray overcast sky. It drizzled for a little bit during the day making things miserable for all involved.

“What about making me unstoppable?” Dalilah said wiping water from her hair.

“I don’t think it works that way.” Bloodstone said, trying to ignore her hundredth question.

“How about a super geek?” She asked.

“Will you give it a rest, I offered you a basic class like Warrior or mage or rouge and you turned me down, Priest and cleric you said was to game like and that you didn’t like those classes, What class will make you happy. I don’t think fashion designer is a class you would want out here.” He said staring at her.

“Well that’s what I was going to school for, I mean I wanted to get into designing costumes for the meta human groups.” She said shrugging.

“What is a meta human,” Rana asked.

“Well technically, they have special abilities that humans don’t, you would be able to get meta human protection if you were on my world, or at least they would be very curious about your DNA”

“Whats DNA?” Rana asked.

“Deoxyribonucleic acid, oh right you are from a magic world. Why would you know what DNA is?”

“What is it?” Rana asked.

“Its what makes you, unique.” She then launched into a long-winded explanation about DNA and how it’s the building blocks of life.

Bloodstone looked over at her, “What about a geneticist?”

“For a class?” , she said making a face, “Why would I want to do that?”

“Well you’re a fassion designer, why not customize people…” he let the comment hang in the air.

“That’s just wrong, That’s like playing…” she stopped and stared at Bloodstone.

“Like playing God? The gods are all dead here, if your ethical about it, then what’s the problem” he said.

She stared at him, “If your saying that, what does that make you?”

“Just a guy wanting to help you. You don’t really need a class. It just makes things easier here, and classes are not really the biggest power per say, skills are.”

“Wait skills, how does that work?” She asked.

“Well from what I can tell there are skills you get at certain levels of a class, some are random, some are based on existing skills and others are set skills. Think of them as super rare, Rare, uncommon, to common. You might never get a rare skill or you might always get rare skills. I have a bunch of levels I could transfer, think about it let me know.”

“Well how about making me a mage, and a geneticist, and druid. Maybe I can change some peoples lives and be fashionable about it.”

“Sure,” He said and touched her and transferred levels to her.

[Mage 25 removed]

[Geneticist 25 removed]

[Druid 10 removed]

[Fashion Designer 10 removed]

[Maldis Snowdrop spirit lost]

The White scales slithered up her arm and made a strange looking patch of white scales that went up her back.

“Uh, that’s not normal” Bloodstone said looking at the scales that went onto her arm.

“Its cold, not uncomfortable, just cold.” Dalilah said staring at her arm.  She fell forward and was caught before she fell from her horse.

“Ohhh, skills…” She giggled, “Teehee” she poked Bloodstone in the chest. “You are not very fashionable, you could use a makeover.”

The paused and tied her to her horse as she had passed out.

It was hours later that she awoke, as the large group made camp. Dalilah was quiet and staring at the leaves of the grasses.

“Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea” she said as bloodstone sat nearby.

“What?” He asked.

“I think I understand something about this place. This grass, it’s been corrupted, there is something causing it to be black, its not normal.” She said looking him in the eye.

“Of course, they call this area the blighted lands.” The was a soft chuckle from the locals.

“You don’t understand, it shouldn’t be this way. It’s just that,” She waved her hands around, “It looks wrong to me, no sense of a grand design.”

The was a louder chuckle from the locals.

“Its always been like this. The blighted, lands are ruled by the blighted king. It used to be a great forest here, or so the story goes.” She looked at Bloodstone. “Its not much of a tale, we don’t know how it became blighted, there are rumors that the elves left soon after, no one knows where.”

“You think they could have left this world, or escaped somewhere?” Bloodstone asked.

“No idea, we were hoping there would be more information if we could track down more elvish books. You have the best copies we have seen so far.”

“How close are we to where your friends fell?”, Eve asked.

“Tomorrow or the day after, we should find the entrance.” Brigette replied.

Gamers Eight – Act IV – chapter 2

The next morning there was a shock when he appeared back in the main audience hall for the morning briefing.

“Where were you!?” Lady Amethyst asked from the central seat.

“Huh? Oh!, I fell asleep, after something occurred to me about the key.” He said shrugging

“Fell asleep, where were you?” She said.

“In the mirror room,” As if that explained it.

“Doing what?” She asked.

“Well it occurred to me that I never actually searched the room properly, so I searched it.”

She stared at him for a moment, “You find anything?”

“As a matter of fact, I found a few things, I’m not sure if it’s a joke, but I found something I wasn’t expecting.”


“I figured out why the key breaks apart, let’s just leave it at that, for now.” He said leaning in and kissing her on the cheek.

“Uh why does the key break apart?” She asked.

“There are other locks, inside the room. I have good idea who made the extra dimensional space.” He said holding up the key.

Brigette and the commander came in,” When were you going to mention that map?” The commander asked.

“I was going to turn it over to you today, and the book as well as the translations.” He said removing the map and two books from the small bag at his hip.

“I am just disappointed you didn’t tell me sooner.” He said looking at the map and books. “I understand you want to take Brigette and some others and find this elven vault or the tower, see if it is really there. When were you thinking of venturing out into the blight?” He said a little irritated.

“I was thinking that we could head out after we deliver the supplies to the fortress we are responsible for. It takes a day to get there, a day back. If I wanted to go out with the gold rank teams to scout for a week or so I don’t see that as a problem.”

The commander sighed,” Yes there have been other lords who have gone out into the blight, I just don’t like sending out some of my best people. Who were you going to leave in charge.”

“Well Coreen and Helen, as well as Isabel will be staying Abigail and Kiki have no business going into the blight. My wife isn’t too keen, but if we take horses we should be all right. I haven’t asked anyone else, as I wasn’t sure who would be interested.”

Newton, Beth and Eve came into the audience hall. There was greeting of morning as well as acknowledgment of each other.

“I heard you wanted to talk to us,” Newton asked.

“I’m planning a trip into the blight, wanted to know if you were interested.” He asked Newton.

Newton glanced at Beth, “No, I appreciate that you offered. Beth and I are going to stay here and work on concrete, production. Eve?”

“I don’t think I would be much help out there, after hearing what you did to the demons, I think you outclass us in levels and just sheer tenacity, I wouldn’t want to slow you down. I can keep an eye on things here.” Eve said shrugging.

Miguel sauntered in hands in his jeans, they looked worn. “Hiya what did you want to see me about?” He asked.

“We are thinking about going into the blight after delivering supplies, you interested?”

“Phhht, no. I have a good thing going here. I even have a blacksmith that will help me make a combustion engine.”

“What?” Bloodstone asked.

“Yeah, in high school, I was in a vocational program, for car repair, I know how to rebuild engines. Is that all you wanted to ask me?”

“Well if he’s staying I’m going,” Eve said ignoring Miguel.

“Have fun,“ Miguel said and walked back out of the room.

“How about you, can you spare a week or two in the blight?” He asked Brigette.

Brigette turned pale, “I.. um …I don’t know.”

Xyrediane and Rana came into the audience chamber followed by Marcus, and three winged drakes, Hijala Greenscale, Enevia Rustscale and Illapressa Lavandarius entered.

Enevia was talking to the other two, “She’s more than a scribe, at least from what I have seen, she does good work as well. I didn’t know she was that powerful.”

Hijala nodded, “I will guard her would you stay and protect those that are here?”

The other two nodded.

“You wished to see us?” Kijala asked.

“With the others helping the seagent, hold the other keep, I wanted to know if any of you would be interested in going into the blight with me?”

Hijala stepped forward, “I pledged to protect you and yours, as have Enevia and Illapressa. I will journey with you and they will stay and protect your assets here.”

“I think I will go with you as well, I won’t speak for Rana.” Xyrediane said.

“My sword is yours Lord Bloodstone.” Rana said bowing very low with a flourish.

Marcus looked unconcerned, “My sword is always yours to command”

Zach and Kuya walked in the goblin were between them talking. The goblin stopped and hid behind Kuya.

Ke’lara came in with two guards followed by Violet, and Coreen.

Ke’lara nodded to Bloodstone.

“Thank you all for coming we are going to discuss somethings important to me, as well as Brigette and the Kingdom. First before we get started, I want you all to be aware of the situation.” He gestured, and the two guardsmen closed the doors from the outside.

“We have come into possession of a map, and an old text, that indicated there is a possible cache of magic in the blight, the goblins know the place, and refer to it as a place of death.  While we don’t know precisely where it is, there is the possibility of recovering a large number of magic items or magic knowledge, or at the very least know where to go to begin researching how to get into said vault. In addition, there is a place that Brigettes old team found, that is also the place they died. Brigette has been very helpful, in the past weeks with her skill and knowledge of magic. I want to try and bring them back.” He held up one hand, “To be more precise I want to if she is willing to show us where they fell.”

There were many puzzled looks.

“They are all dead,” Brigette said softly.

“I have been preparing, to go into the blight. I want to interview the gold teams that have been out there. Brigette informed me her team never went that far north. One of the issues we will have is food and water. Water during the rainy season isn’t a major issue and with Xach and me able to use ice magic we can harvest water if we need to. Food is the only issue I can see being a slight problem.

“I can give everyone a bag of holding to hold food for the trip.” Coreen said.

“That helps it doesn’t solve the problem, I plan on being out no more than two weeks, but I want to be very cautious, we might get stuck out there for a week or more, so a month of rations as well as an emergency supply. We will also need feed for the horses. I think I have solution to that, something I found earlier today. There were three scouts that I went out with Lady Aladeana, one of them went with her to the capital, one of them was killed during the attack and the third, is helping get provisions ready.”

“Getting more scouts is something we have tried to recruit, there have been no takers since most of the kingdom is still in disarray after the attacks.” Coreen said.

“I decided to offer anyone who wants to take a scout position, double the normal fee, no class required. I would like to have your help in assessing their potential before giving them the scout class.”

Bloodstone opened the doors and looked out in the hall there were only two people standing in the hallway. The young man at the front of the line looked like a stable hand, he was husky, and his clothes were not rich or lavish. The small woman behind him, looked nervous and was dressed in functional cloths she was in a brown dress, and a heavy white linen shirt, that looked warm.

“Just you two?” He asked.

The young man smiled, “Yes sir”

The woman squeaked out a “I think so, there was another, but he went to the privy.”

Bloodstone looked at the two guards who were very intimidating outside the doors in the chainmail armor and pikes. “If he comes back send him in”

“Yes, my lord” The guard on the left said.

He led the two of them into the audience room. The two of them froze when they saw how many people were in the audience room, as well as the commander and Brigette.

“No need to be nervous, this is just an interview, there are no wrong answers.” He walked over and sat down in the central chair on a slightly raised dais. The chair itself was simple and comforatable, it was not extravagant, but functional.

“Tell me who you are and why I should hire you as a scout?” He asked them after he sat down.

The young man licked his lips, and nodded, “I am Jeremiah Gardener, I am the youngest son of six children and I want to make a name for myself. I am too old to take an apprenticeship. I have a strong back and some levels as a farmer, as well as animal handler. To be honest the gold is what caught my attention ten gold coins if you get hired no levels required.”

Bloodstone nodded and looked at the woman. “Your turn.”

The woman turned bright red, “Er…um…I’m Stephanie, I was abandoned as a small child and grew up working here in the fortress, running errands and doing laundry. If your pardon sir I want to make my life better.”

“Admirable, the two of you need to prove yourself to me. Either of you ever held a sword?”

“No, my lord” Jeramiah said

“No, my lord” Stephanie said as well.

“You both wondering how I am going to do that. In fact, I am guessing that others in the room don’t see you as being scout material. I would disagree, so I will give you a chance. You both say having a chance is fair?”

The young man nodded, the girl looked upset. “How can a test be fair, if we don’t know what it is?” The girl asked.

“It’s a simple test, I am giving you authority to do what needs to be done, I want you to disarm everyone here.”

The commander tensed, his hand reflexively dropping onto his swords pommel.

Everyone stared at Lord Bloodstone, and there was a long moment of total silence.

Stephanie looked around the room, “I don’t know if I can do that.”

“Why not?” Bloodstone asked.

“There are casters here, I don’t know how they could be disarmed.” Stephanie said looking around the room.

Jeramiah took a step forward and said loudly to the commander, “you will disarm”

The commander looked the boy over, “I don’t answer to you boy, I answer to the king himself.”

Jeramiah looked back to Bloodstone, “I have been given authority by the lord to disarm everyone here.”

“I don’t recognize that authority, boy.” He said grinning.

Stephanie walked over to one of the drakes, “I have no way to disarm a drake, this is not a fair test”

“It’s a fair test,” Bloodstone said looking at the looks he was being given.

It was Rana who first spoke, “You are being unfair to them, there is no way these children could disarm everyone in this room.”

Bloodstone looked over at Rana and smiled, “There is.”

The door opened, and a dark haired scrawny kid walked in and was adjusting his breeches. “Oh sorry, was told I could come in.” His hair was a mess, and he looked like he had wet his hair, to try and flatten it.

“You must be the last applicant, tell me who you are and why you want to be a scout.” Bloodstone said as he nodded to the guards, and the door was closed again.

“Me, I’m William, I just want a meal and if I get to learn a class then at least I won’t be on the streets.” He said looking at each of the people in the room.

“What do I need to do to be a scout?” William asked.

“We are having a test, on my authority I want you to disarm everyone in this room.” Bloodstone said.

“Oh,” He said looking around.

“Think you can handle that?” Bloodstone asked.

The kid walked over to the door and opened it. “EVERYBODY OUT NOW!” He shouted.

No one moved.

“By the authority of the Lord, you are all to leave the audience room now!” William said a little softer. The guards looked confused and stepped into the room.

Bloodstone walked out of the room into the hallway, after some moment the others followed him outside. The three applicants stood in the audience room.

Bloodstone clapped, “Well done. The guards would have called for help if no one had moved.”

Everyone looked confused.

“Please come back into the audience chambers,” he said to the others.

Two days later, ten wagons were lined up with an escort that was heading out to the forward fortress.

The commander stood off to one side with Coreen, Bloodstone and William were standing next to them.

“I would like to know what you did with a two months’ worth supplies,” The commander said.

“They are in a safe place, and I still need to keep a few secrets.” He said winking at Coreen.

“I have the ledger of the expenses, if it’s a question of the expense, I have no problem covering it.” Coreen said to the commander.

“I just don’t like the fact that Brigette agreed to go off with you, what did you say to her that changed her mind.” The commander asked.

“I didn’t, Rana did. As for what was discussed I haven’t talked to her since the other day in the Audience chamber.”

Bloodstone leaned in and kissed Coreen on the cheek, “We should be back in about three weeks, if something major comes up you know how to reach me.” He said tapping his right ear.

Helen, and Isabel walked over to the group. Hellen was wearing an immaculate maid outfit, and Isabel, was wearing a functional warm dress. She didn’t appear to be happy with being left behind. Her eyes were red and puffy, as she had been crying recently.

“I could still go with you.” She said hopefully.

“We discussed this already, you need to keep an eye on Kiki and Abagail. You have no combat abilities, and I refuse to put you in danger.” He said firmly.

“It’s not fair!” She pouted stamping a foot.

“Life rarely is, I’ll see you in three weeks or so. Try not to drive everyone crazy.” He teased.

Helen didn’t hesitate and stepped closer and hugged him. “Don’t do anything crazy.” He kissed her gently and stepped back. She was a little taken aback by the kiss.

“I plan on coming back.” He leaned in and kissed Isabel on the forehead. “William, you ready to go?”

“Yes, my lord.” He said staring at Isabel.

The two of them mounted horses and the wagons began to move along with the escort. They rode next to Lady Amethyst and Brigette. Lady Amethyst was giving him a disapproving look.

“What?” He asked.

“Nothing,” she said and turned back to watch the big doors open and the wagon train begin to head out.

Kuya sat next to the goblin on a wagon. “Big doors” The goblin said, “Big doors!”

“Who is going to be fixing that large fissure,” Brigette asked.

“Oh right, Xyre”, he called.

Xyrediane looked over at him and mover her horse closer, “What?” She asked.

“I was wondering if you or Brigitte could fix that fissure Xach made the other day?”

She looked over at him, and then over at his son, “I guess you must have heard someone talking about naming it.”

“Yea, and some of them were not flattering if you need help fixing it or a mana boost”

Xrediane laughed, “Sure I’ll look, when we get out to it. I feel like you want to ask about something else.”

“Well I wanted you to know I understand if you and Rana want to leave, far be it from me to get between what you have for each other.”

“Its fine, we both feel like your someone to follow. Even now you’re worried about us. Most humans don’t like half elves, never mind half gazers.”

“It’s raciest to think I am better than you or Rana, I know I am not, your both special to me.” He said

putting his horse into a canter to follow the wagons.

Xyrediana rode her horse next to his, “You haven’t said what your plans are once you get to the fortress outpost. Looking at your actions the past couple of weeks, since I have known you, I have no idea what your thinking.”

“I want to make sure I keep my family and friends safe. Brigette has helped me a lot these past few weeks and given me an awareness of how magic works. I have a question for you, what if everything you knew about magic was wrong?”

“What do you mean wrong?” She asked.

“What if I told you that magic has its own set of rules?”

“I have never heard of magic having rules.”

“What is the most dangerous spell you know about?”

She was about to say something and stopped to think about it. “Do you mean on a battlefield, or a single target?”

“Any of them,” he smiled.

“Maybe earthquake, or a fireball, or something along those lines.” She said.

“I know of a spell, that can erase someone from existence, not just from today forward, as if they never existed. That’s not even my idea, for the spell.”

“How is that dangerous, I don’t recall ever seeing that spell in any of the books you have.” She asked.

“Time, imagine that I erase say Mr. Sutter from existence, every interaction since he was born changes. Every person he hurt everyone he interacted with in his lifetime, gone.”

She stared at him, “That’s terrifying, and you know this spell?”

“I know how I could build it its knowing that I could, that terrifies me.”

“Are you thinking of using it on the monster that killed Brigettes team.”

“No, never something like that should never be used, I will destroy it with conventional spells.”

“How would you erase something like that,” She asked.

He looked over at her, “I’m not going to tell you either.” He rode ahead leaving her.

Rana came up on her other side, “What was that all about?” She asked.

“I think I scared him,” She said to Rana

“You scared him?” Rana asked and rode her horse up next to him. “You scared of Xyre?” She teased?

He looked over at her, “No, I just don’t want to talk about dangerous magic with her.”

“How about with me?”

Bloodstone laughed, “Not really, I do have a question that I wanted to ask you.”

She rolled her eyes, “Sure, you always ask weird questions.”

“What’s the lifespan of a half gazer? I did some research and I didn’t find much on your species. Your people seem to be very rare to begin with.”

“No idea, I’m not as old as Xyre. Is that all.” She said smiling showing her pointed teeth.

“No, I mean.” He sighed, “I don’t even know how to ask you the right questions. I will just come out and ask. Are you happy with the situation?”

“It’s not Ideal, you are not bad for a human. You treat me and Xyre, as equals. I think I am waiting for you to disappoint me. I haven’t liked humans for a long time, I hate Sutter, you…I hate to admit, but I find myself wanting to impress you.”

“You don’t need to impress me, Rana. You already did that.”

She slowed her horse and let him get ahead of her. Xyrediane rode next to her, “What did he say to you”

“Nothing,” she said looking away.

“Then why are you blushing.” Xyrediane asked.

“I’m not,” she said turning back to her.

A half hour later they approached the rift that had been carved into the landscape. No one had been out to see how bad the damage was.

“Wow that’s deep” Xach said looking over the edge after it had been deemed safe to walk on.

“Fix it,” Bloodstone said to Xach.

“I don’t know how.” He shrugged and walked back to his horse.

“See this is what I have to deal with.” He gestured at Xach

“Can you fix it, Xyrediane asked?” watching Xach get on his horse.

There was an exasperated sigh, “I guess, it’s going to be a lot of work.” He walked to the edge of the rift and stepped off the edge.

There was a gasp as he just dropped off the edge.

“Did he just walk off the edge?” one of the wagon drivers said.

There was a rumbling from the rift, and jagged spikes began to erupt from the walls.

“What happening,” someone asked.

“Xyre?” Rana asked.

“Something is moving a lot of rock, its… ohhh! Everyone get back” She said.

A fountain of molten rock began to erupt from below the ground below the fissure.

“What about Lord Bloodstone?” Rana asked, as the lava was shooting up about ten feet and falling back into the fissure.

Bloodstone said from behind them, “What about me?”

“We thought you jumped,” Rana said punching him lightly in the chest, ”I saw you drop, how far did you fall?”

“I went to the bottom, and opened a gate to the plane of lava, there no other viable way to fix a mess like that. It will be open for a while then the gate will close.”

The lava fountained for about hour, while they moved the wagons around the fissure. The heat coming from the lava was intense and they kept way back from the fissure as they went around it.

“How did you get back up?” Rana asked.

Bloodstone smiled, ”trade secret.”

Lady Amethyst rode up next to him, “Why didn’t you just use water?”

“I could have but then that makes a very deep fissure, and there is an aquifer under the fissure, this seals the area, I don’t want to pollute the underground aquifer, this will act as a plug” Bloodstone replied.

“When did you learn how to make a gate?” Xyrediane asked.

“I am using a specialized class, that can make magic in a different manner.”

“What class? I haven’t been able to see any of your classes since you got that strange one” Rana asked as she rode on his left side

“Artificer,” he said simply

“I have never heard of that class.” Rana said.

“Nor have I”, Xyredian said from his right side, “What does that class do?”

“It lets me manipulate magic in a raw state and make it do what I need it to do,” He shrugged, “combined with my other classes I can manipulate magic if I know the thought forms.”

“The what?” she asked confused

“Thought forms, how something would manifest. Even on an esoteric level there is some relation with imagination and will. There is a principle of this world that allows you to move your own fate along with your own will. Dare to dream big and you will move in that direction if your will is strong enough. I always had a problem in the past defining what will was, the truth is having a focus to do something to believe in it, even when the opposite is staring you in the face.”

“I think he’s rambling” Rana said, “I don’t understand half of what he just said.

They continued to talk as they rode, keeping an eye on the land, the black grasses blew in the slight breeze, and occasionally they could smell the burning rift. An hour later the grass was the only thing that moved and the slight trail they followed to the outpost. The trail that they followed was little more than a pile of rocks every hundred yards or so, that let in a straight line.

Two hour into the journey north, the one scout with them called a stop, “Body, over there” he pointed.

The scout trainees, and several others rode over to check it out. It was a corpse, and appeared to be a demon.

“There’s another over there.” One of the guardsmen with them said.

“Goblins”, Stephanie said pointing.

There were two goblins dragging a body.  Bloodstone was the first to say something. “That’s a half elf.” The goblins dropped the body, the moment they saw the group and ran off into the grass.

“Anyone recognize him?” Bloodstone said dropping from his horse to check the body. He turned the body over to view the face to show the others. There was dried blood where his throat had been cut. Bloodstone looked back to where they had dragged him from and just saw tall black grass.

“Yes, hes with a silver rank team, they operate mostly to the west they were, ahh, the Blight wolves. They have six in their team, we should see if there are others around.” Brigette informed him.

Bloodstone checked the male half elves corpse, his body was slightly sticky with blood, and there were six arrows that had been broken off still in his back. One of the rear wagons rolled over to them, and they loaded the body onto the wagon. “Look for any other corpses, and let’s see if we can get the goblins to help us look.”

“They ran off” William said, looking around.

“Doubtful, goblins are scavengers, there’s other bodies around we just want to recover the adventures if there are any other bodies.”

Using the road markers, they continued in the direction of the fortress outpost. They came across several other bodies, all of them were demons, and some had been burned, cut or hit with arrows. Ten minutes later they found another Blight wolf, she was sitting down back to the marker pile, three goblins were standing back from her. She had a glowing pulsing orb of light in one hand and a dagger in the other. One of the goblins was a hobgoblin, muscular, with a large metal banded club. The hobgoblin didn’t move when the horses moved in his direction.

“Go talk to him, see if he will talk.” Bloodstone said to the small goblin that was on the wagon.

The small goblin looked apprehensive and jumped off the wagon and ran towards the hobgoblin.

There was exchange of words and body language, the small goblin walked back over to Bloodstone.

“He no talk.”

“Is he going to fight?”

The goblin looked back over his shoulder, “Wants to kill woman.”

“Is he [cheiftan]?”

The small goblin nodded, “Not know.”

He looked over the hobgoblin again, “Let me pass, she is clan.” He said to the hobgoblin.

The hobgoblin stood a little straighter, and defiantly took a battle stance.

He looked back over his shoulder and said loudly, “No one interfere, this is between me and this Hob” He turned back and started walking towards the woman. He was within striking distance of the Hobgoblin the Hobgoblin took a swing at Bloodstone. There was a loud crack as the club impacted a field of energy a foot from him.  The goblin swung several more times, and Bloodstone continued to walk towards the woman.  Each impact hit something and just stopped. The hobgoblin looked confused.

The other two goblins backed away as he approached and staying out of reach of the woman.

“You with the Blight wolves” He asked her as he knelt to her level.

She nodded slightly, “Who are you?” She rasped.

The big hobgoblin charged, at that moment club raised over his head and brought it down, the energy shield shattered, but stopped the blow. The goblin raised his club again.

“Just a moment,” Bloodstone stood and turned towards the hobgoblin. “You’re not a smart goblin, I haven’t taken any aggressive actions to you, hit me now and we will continue, the animosity towards your people.” There was no menace in his voice.

The hobgoblin paused, as if trying to decide what to do. “Why you not fight?”

Bloodstone looked at the hobgoblin, then at the woman leaning against the rocks, “Did you do this?” He gestured to the woman.

“If did then fight?” the hobgoblin said.

“Let us see what she says, “The goblins do this to you and your team?”

She looked up ,”Demons, goblin just came cause I can’t move. I haven’t had the nerve to look to see how bad it is. Are you with a new team out here?”

“No, now sit tight have to negotiate with the Hobgoblin here. Woman says demons, so I don’t hold you or goblins responsible, any more of them around here?” He asked the Hobgoblin.

The Hobgoblin looked very confused, “No fight?”

“Only if you insist, if you find any more humans bring them to the fortress”

“Humans kill goblins, goblin kill humans. Humans kill humans and half-elves” The hobgoblin stated.


The goblin looked even more confused; he turned and yelled at the two small goblins, and started walking off into the blight. “Not know why humans do things,” he heaved the club onto one shoulder and turned his back on Bloodstone.

Bloodstone walked over next to the woman and knelt and picked her up. She gasped in pain as he lifted her up he walked her to the wagon, specifically one not with the corpse in it.

“Where’s the rest of your team?”

“I don’t know, we got attacked last night. Did they send you to look for me?”

“No, we are running supplies to the outpost.” He turned and said to Rana, “What marker is this?”

Rana looked over at the pile of stones, “four thirty six” She replied

“I don’t recognize…” The half-elven woman looked around to the people on horseback. “Is that Brigette?” She said softly.

“Yes, you want to talk to her?” He asked

“She’s a legend, who are you again?” she said as the wagon started to move again, and hit a bump jostling her. She winced.

Bloodstone looked up at the sun in the sky, “Hey Rana, is it noon yet?”

Rana looked over at him, “No about an hour more”

“Can I have a word?” He said walking back to his mount.

Rana rode over to him, “Why?”

“You think you can distract her for a few minutes, he said looking over at the wagons as they moved.”

“I guess, why?”

“I need information, or we can wait till midnight tonight.”

“I can just let me know when.”

“Sure,“ he mounted back on the his horse and rode back to  the wagon with the corpse. “Keep an eye out for anything unusual.” He said to the group as he rode back.

There were nods and several people were looking at the woman in the wagon.

Brigette rode over to him, “Why did you let that Hob go?” She said crossly.

“Not a fight that is worth fighting.”

“You could have taken down that Hob easy.”

“Brigette, get over your prejudice of goblins. I think I am starting to see why there’s been no unity in the world.”

“They are just monsters.”

Bloodstone glared, “That Hob knew that if he fought he most likely would die, we both knew it. Here’s the question is why he still attacked?”

“Who cares what the monsters think?” She said.

“You should care, as a mage, knowledge is power. If you know how a goblin thinks you can anticipate most responses, know what motivates them. The moment you think of them as mindless monsters, you are already at a disadvantage and underestimating them.”

“It was just a goblin.” She said defensibly.

“It was a goblin, that couldn’t back down. I gave him an out. This kill anything that moves in the blight is a mistake.”

“There are monsters that need to be killed,” Brigette countered.

“Not goblins, they are the one race that shouldn’t be hunted, they could be an early warning system, they hear well or better than humans, and smell better than humans.” He said looking around.

“Goblins do not smell better than humans. They are dirty monsters.”

Bloodstone stopped and stared at her. “Uh huh, I meant they smell as good as a bloodhound and hear just as well. They have survival traits that keep them alive as a species. They are intelligent as any other race. I did some digging there have been some goblin adventures, one recently on Izril, went crazy and killed a bunch of adventures in his team, a likely dispute about treasure.”  He shrugged, “If one can do it  others can.”

“Goblins?” Brigette said and rode over to talk to the woman.

The wagon with the corpse was in the fourth wagon, where the woman was in the second.  He nodded and Rana, rode up next to Brigette.

Moving to the forth wagon he lifted the corpse up onto his horse. And then fell back letting the other wagons pass.

“There a problem my lord?” one of the wagon drivers asked.

“No, something just occurred to me keep driving I will catch up.” He said to the last wagon driver.

The four guards on horseback slowed.

“Stay with the wagons, I will be back with you shortly.”

The four guardsmen continued with the wagons.

He sat on the horse and shortly Rana and Xyrediane rode back to where he was.

“What are you thinking?” Xyrediane said.

“That something feels off, I want some answers before we get to the outpost.”

He hopped down and opened a door in the middle of the blight.  The door opened into a somewhat large room, with a desk, that was covered in books and parchment. Off to one side of the desk was a large full length mirror. A cot folded up next to the mirror. He then dragged the body, unfolded the cot and place the body on it. There were also several large crates along the walls. A cloth covered something opposite the mirror, and against the inside wall.

“Keep watch, use the horses to block the door” he said to Rana

“Why this half-elf?” Xyrediane asked looking at the mirror.

“He was shot six times in the back the other blight wolf has a broken leg, no arrows. Doesn’t that seem odd to you?”

She looked over at the body, “His belt pouches are gone as well as his weapons, the goblins didn’t have them.”

“This armor should stop normal arrows, and who broke the shafts on the arrows? I can’t see the goblins doing that. Also something that Hob said. Rana anything?”

Rana stood at the doorway, “nothing that I can see, the wagons are getting farther. Should we be out here? When did you put all those crates in there?”

“Timing is something I am taking advantage of.” He pulled a small mirror from his bag of holding and held it in a manner to shine light on the mirror inside the room. “Do you know a sleep spell?” He asked Xyrediane

“You are asking that now?”

“Do you?”

“No, why”

“Nevermind, I will take care of it.” He looked over at the body bathed in the light of the sun. “It just occurred to me that we are going to need to redress him. I don’t feel like looking through the crates for extra gear for him.”

“We could do this tonight” she suggested.

“It might be too late then”

“Rana, can you see if you can find where he was killed? The goblins were dragging him from somewhere they ran the moment they saw us. The two goblins with the hob didn’t any idea why that is?”

“Who knows with goblins. I will look around.” Rana said, mounding back on her horse.

There was a flash and a naked male half-elf stepped out of the mirror, Bloodstone turned the light into his eyes. “Close your eyes, keep them closed. You’re going to be very weak for a bit, relax your safe.”

The elf closed his eyes and asked, “Who are you”

“Shush, someone is going to guide you, and once you’re over here we can talk.” He nodded to Xyrediane who picked up the clothes on the cot and then guided the half-elf to the door.

As soon as they both were outside, Bloodstone stepped and closed the door.  The door fade instantly once the door was closed.

“Ok you can open your eyes” He said as he put the mirror away.

The naked half-elf opened his eyes, “I’m dead right?”

“Not anymore, and before you ask how it’s possible, I need some information from you. Your name and the group you are with for starters.”

Xyrediane dropped his clothes in front of him. She then backed away, putting her horse between him and her. The half-elf looked him over, then bend down to retrieve his clothes. “I don’t recognize you.”

The half-elf pulled six arrowheads from inside his clothes. The then put his clothes on minus the soiled undergarment. “I have a feeling, that it wasn’t a dream.” He looked over his clothes, and the arrowheads “I am Zail Morningflight, a ranger with the Blight wolves. I don’t suppose you will tell me what is going on?” He said looking around.

“Can you tell me what happened, what you remember?”

“We setup camp, me and the other Blight wolves, we have a standard way we setup camp off the trail but close enough that we can find the markers if we need to. We have set watches, two on four asleep. Sometime early in the morning, I was woken by the watch team that there was something wrong. At first, we thought it was demons, now, I’m not so sure.”

“What makes you say that?”

“Demons don’t always use magic, just come straight in and fight. This group used magic to blind us. We have tactics against demons, none of them worked. Either is was smart demons or it wasn’t demons. Our leader, Gerald said we should make a run for the outpost, since we were closer. We scattered and were going to meet up there. I was hit with arrows, I remember falling then, a blade was run across my throat. Horrible way to go if it was what happened.”

“Oh it was real all right, we found you being dragged off by goblins, with what you are wearing now. No weapons.”

“They got my bags as well I suppose. What about the rest of my team.”

“Found a half-elf woman not too far from here back to a marker pile, fending off goblins, seems she hurt her ankle. As for the rest, we will keep an eye out when we return to the group. Xyre, let him use your horse you can ride with me.”

“What if we are attacked,” Zail asked.

“I don’t think we will be, if we are, we are capable of protecting you. Oh yeah, here” he opened one of the saddle bags and pulled out a rain cloak and offered it to him. “I want you to not talk to anyone until we reach the outpost, you think you can do that?”

“I suppose, you still haven’t told me who you are.” He said wrapping the cloak around himself.

“Bloodstone, we are delivering supplies to the outpost.” He said.

“Zail, don’t let him fool you, he is the current lord of Deepwater.” Rana said looking for a reaction.

“Oh! So you’re the one who made that blade for Haran. We were coming to talk with you, seems you found me first.” He said pulling the hood over his head.

Xyrediane got off her horse and was helped up onto Bloodstone’s horse. She sat behind him awkwardly,” I won’t be able to cast like this”

“Rana you find anything?” Bloodstone asked

“This way” she said and rode into the grass. They followed her.

“What did you want to talk to me about?” Bloodstone asked as they rode.

“Two days ago, we encountered some goblins, and demons that were fighting. We watched them for a bit.  The demons chased off the goblins from some demon corpses. We got the drop on the demons and found some rather interesting items on them. We were heading to Deepwater to get them looked at.

“I see.” Bloodstone said looking around as the four of them found where he had been killed, and the pool of blood left behind had left a brown stain on the black grasses. Zail’s tinder kit was found by Rana, its contents were dumped into the grass and the bag tossed aside.

“What did you find do you recall?”

“A couple of rings, a metal wand, A bag of holding with a weird seal on it my sister said we shouldn’t try and mess with it. We found a few pieces of armor, as well as a belt.”

“Sounds like another one of those rune seals” Xyrediane said listening.

“Might be, I could see why they would want to recover it.” He looked to Zail, “Do you think your team managed to get it to the Outpost?”

He shrugged, “I have no idea, I was behind everyone else. If my sister is still alive, my guess is that if one of the other wolves has it maybe. Gwill, or Kenton may have grabbed the backpack we had everything in, they are both pretty good at making themselves unseen.”

Bloodstone touched a metal bar behind his ear, “Contact Brigette” he waited for a moment.

“We are looking for the murder site, the Half-elf woman tell you anything?” He asked.

They did not hear the reply, but he was quiet for a minute.

“Ask her, about her team mates” Bloodstone said looking at Zail. He listened for a few minutes, “Ok, that’s about what I got as well. Tell her we found her brother.” He listened for a moment.

“That was her brother, but there will be a happy reunion.” He paused for a moment, “Brigette, have I ever lied to you. He is riding right next to me.” He listened, “I’m not being morbid. Ask Rana or Xyre if you don’t believe me.” He listened to her,” You will be surprised.”

He disconnected the message spell,”I feel, she thinks I have raised you as an undead.”

“Did you?” Zail asked.

“No I used an artifact to bring you back. You don’t need the details.”

“There is something else, as I was dying. I heard a horse riding away. I do recall that just before everything went black”

“Can I ask you to keep quiet. My wife will cast an illusion on you when we get back to the wagons, if anyone asks your name will be Kail, and your one of my soldiers.”

“You brought me back from the dead, I will do as you ask.” He said somberly.

They rode in silence until they found the campsite not too far away. The camp had been trashed, the backpacks and other gear was strewn about. Some of it was salvageable; the rest wasn’t and was left behind. They turned back to meet up with the wagons.

Bloodstone called Lady Amethyst with the ear device and had her meet them near the back of the wagons. Before Zail could interact with anyone he had her cast an illusion on him. Zail dismounted and hitched a ride in the last wagon.

Brigette was there shortly afterwards, and rode up to him .

“What kind of trick are you trying to pull, that’s not the same man you carried off. What did you do with the body.”

“What body?” he asked confused.

“The dead half-elf body you found earlier.” She said getting annoyed.

”Oh he got better we have him under an illusion to protect him, in the last wagon.”

She started to say something and then stopped and rode to the last wagon.

“Why are you doing that to her,” Xyrediane asked from his left side

“Not telling her about the mirror?” he asked.“Let me ask you a question, how valuable would that mirror be, you know roughly how it works, you have seen it work twice now.” He said and looked over at Rana on his right side.

“Half a million to a million gold, maybe more I haven’t really looked at it.”

“What if I put your name on a placard opposite the mirror,” he asked.

“What would that do?”

“If you died, you would revive there, without any gear, and the door would open in the last place the door was opened. How long could you last?”

“Is that how it works,” Rana asked.

“There are three ways to be resurrected, a corpse or body part, or the full name of the individual. I want you to think about what would happen if people found out I had something like that.”

There was a moment of silence, “Everyone would want it, they wouldn’t care how they got it. Loved ones who were killed or died.” Rana said looking around suspiciously.

“Does the king know about it?” Xyrediane asked.

“No, and I have no intention of telling him all my secrets. It’s not an issue now, without the key, there is no way to access it.”

“It would be priceless,” Xyrediane said softly, “Anyone with power would attempt to take it from you. I don’t see you selling it.”

Bloodstone laughed, “No, there are very few who know about the key and less who know about the mirror. To be honest I would destroy the key or the mirror if it became an issue.”

There was a shout from one of the scouts, there were three demons standing off staring at the wagon.

“My lord should we take them down?” The lead scout asked.

“No, might be a ruse to pull off a group we keep going to the outpost. If they get any closer, we will burn them down.”

The scout moved back to his position near the front of the wagons. The demons just watched and seemed kind of confused that no one moved to attack them.  The three demons, looked strange, even for demons. The first one looked like an archer, as it had a bow in one hand, and a knocked arrow. It was insectoid looking and appeared to be as large as a horse. The second demon looked frail and reptilian. The last one appeared to be a warrior, as it had a large great sword, it looked more like a gorilla than human. Bloodstone stared at them and detected a faint glow around them.  They moved off and the demons did not attack. Kuya, hopped off the wagon and Xyrediane and Rana rode over to her. She spoke with them as the wagons rolled past the two of them dismounted and hitched the two horses to the passing wagon.  Kuya said something to them and the three of them just vanished.

When the wagons with the escort arrived, the small goblin jumped off the wagon and ran off into the blight. No one stopped the small goblin they just watched him go. The guards called down from the partially built wall and eventually the small passage that would eventually be the next gate to the blight was opened.

The commander of the outpost came out from the side area where they were barracked, “You made good time, any issues?”

“Maybe, saw a group of demons that were watching but didn’t attack. Then again, the amount of firepower we can level downrange at this time is a major deterrent. We found an injured person, on the trail.” He took the commander over to the half elf woman.

“Well that answers one question, you find any others? Nyteria is with the Blight wolves. There is still one of their group missing. They are the only team here; they came in early this morning like they were being chased.”

“I think they were. I will talk with them once we get things settled here. We have a few things we want to test, and several crates of micro blocks from the quarry.”

“Micro blocks?” The commander of the outpost asked.

“Oh, well something that I wanted to try, they are all blocks of stone that have been shrunk down. The pick axe that made them is in the main crate, it can undo the spell used. There are four of that I made, and we brought two as well as the material they were used on. You should be able to get a significant piece of the wall put together. We also brought several test grades of concrete mix. Once they see what the best formula is, we will ship it out here as fast as we can make it.”

“I saw that you brought two more wagons than normal.”

“Those two are going to be the standard for concrete and micro blocks from the quarry. We also now have a somewhat reliable source of volcanic rock. Once we start extending the wall to the ocean. There is something I want you to stop, as of today. Goblins parts are not to be paid out after today.”

“I don’t think that’s something you can order, that has to come from the crown.”

“Actually I looked it up, the local lord has jurisdiction on all bounties within his domain. The king can pay out bounties that we then get reimbursed for. However, goblins bounties were local to the wall lords, and I am letting you know that that specific bounty is rescinded, until further notice.”

The wall lord didn’t look very happy with that, “may I ask why? Goblins are easy for silver ranks to make some cash as well as to keep the goblin populations under control.”

Bloodstone looked at him, “I understand your misgivings I had Newton go over the bounty books, and we did a cost analysis, and found we are wasting a valuable resource.”

“Goblins?” he said perplexed.

“Let us look at it from a different perspective, one that I don’t think anyone considered. What if we asked goblins to be a local labor force, here to build the walls, and patrol the area as well as build the new settlements? We give them a wage, a fair wage, and in exchange they become part of the kingdoms labor force.”

“Goblins, I don’t think you understand goblins very well. My lord, I think your plan is daft, no disrespect.” he said

Two dwarves, and two humans came over to the commander, and Bloodstone “Sir, My Lord, May I Have a word with you?” The left Dwarf said

“Certainly this is Lord Bloodstone, he has just informed me that after today there are no bounties on goblins.”

The other Dwarf, looked up at him, “Why not? The Blight wolves have made some good coin removing goblins from the area.” The dwarf was in a chainmail shirt and leather pants. His red beard was neatly tied, and symmetrical.

Bloodstone realized that the other dwarf was a female, as her voice was softer and more feminine; the beard she sported was slightly smaller. She wore black leather armor and had two small swords that rode on each hip. Her beard and hair were blond, and also kept neat and out of her face.

The two humans stood behind them, and they heard the woman in the wagon call out to the four of them. The humans nodded and walked over to her and started talking.

“You find anyone else, out there?” The dwarf asked.

“As a matter of fact I did.” He waved the human over from the back of the last wagon. He had been watching the exchange with anticipation, he walked over.

“I would like you to tell me what happened last night,” Bloodstone said looking at the dwarf.

“We were resting, we were going to head to the capital, and get some items appraised. We heard about you from the gold team last week. We figured if you couldn’t identify the items we had found we could continue to the capital.”

“What happened?” Bloodstone asked.

“We setup camp and decided not to stop here and head directly to Deepwater, we were about half way there and decide to make camp and continue in the morning. Sometime in the middle of the night we were attacked, our ranger, Zail was the first to get hit with an arrow. We doused the fire, and grabbed our gear and ran to the outpost. We left a lot of our traveling gear there. We wanted to go back out and look for Zail, and Nyteria however we were informed that your group would be on its way here. It looks like we will have to go look for Zail anyhow.”

“Did anyone of your group figure out who your attackers were?”

“They looked like demons, though something was off.” He turned and yelled over to the humans,”Hey Kenton, come tell the lord about last night.”

The male human walked over, he too was dressed in black leather, and had a flowing black cloak. His dark hair was short loose and unkempt. His piercing gray eyes, looked over everyone standing there, “My Lord, I was the one carrying our loot bag, and they seemed to be looking for me, the odd thing is that I am a really good thief, and I am very good at hiding, They were as far as I am to you and didn’t see me. I heard them talking in common not that gibberish demons usually talk in.”

“And what did they say?” Bloodstone asked.

“Well I heard one of them say, I got one of them, I lost the others in the tall grass.” I didn’t hear the reply as they had moved away.

The continued to discuss the events from the night before.

Excerpt from the journal of Kuya

Day 1 of the Deepwater Trek of the Blight

Kuya sighed in discontent as the day dragged on. Esprit was sleeping inside her hood, so entertainment there was out of the question. Sitting in a wagon for hours was starting to take a toll on the girl and at times like these makes her mind wander to unnecessary thoughts or repeating daydreams. Nothing but black grass with hills in between!

“And then I said ‘that’s my silver!” the driver exclaimed jerking Kuya out of her reverie scowling at the rude interruption. She had a new idea for another spell she had been working on for months. She never told anyone what this spell was out of pure stubbornness of wanting to face a challenge alone without any assistance. Her ears hear a slight shuffling of footsteps over the hill to the left and she shifts her focus to the sounds to get a better clarification. She smirks when she starts to hear a faint conversation, ‘finally something interesting to distract me from my boredom,’ she thought.

“Esprit, ashky antu shykaq. Nu mallaka dushka,” she muttered in what sounded like a guttural elvish.

The green drake Hijala riding next to the wagon asked her “What was that Miss Kuya?”

“Hm? Oh nothing, just another muse is all,” she said with a slight smirk tugging at the corners of her lips. Esprit arose from his slumber with a small chirp. Esprit, is a thought mite and is…well, let’s just say it’s a type of ‘thought form’ with sentience.

“Pi, pi,” Esprit chirps floating at eye level brushing up against her cheek with his soft ‘fur,’ Kuya flinched slightly at his touch. Esprit is a peculiar creature round and looks fluffy like a cat, but the ‘fur’ itself felt like warm air in a physical form with two thick tuffs of hair sticking up like antennae. He was light gray in color with golden eyes and was big enough to fit in the palms of Kuya’s small hands.

“Esprit I need you to be my little detective and spy,” she said telepathically. Esprit’s tuff of fur flicked like a cat would flick its ear. Esprit’s version of cocking his ‘head’ to the side in curiosity; being a ball of fur makes body language a bit tricky to express. Kuya’s blue eyes softened slightly in amusement, but it vanished quickly as it appeared.

“See those ‘unknowns’ there?” Esprit glanced at the source of the sounds and narrows his golden eyes in concentration.

“I require information on why they are here and what they want. If they are a threat, then I will proceed with the appropriate course of action. Keep a mind link open and relay their words to me.” Esprit chirps in affirmative and disappeared in a blink. Kuya closed her eyes in concentration and mutters two spells to hide her magic signature and to cancel out any unnecessary background noise.

“Imbryem,” she muttered and a scene formed in her mind of the unknowns looking down at her group from the hill. She smirked, “Perfect, it works.”

“What should we do? Should we take out the silver group or wait?” the frail looking reptile said in hushed tones. The large insect like creature shifted to its weight in a sort of fidgeting fashion.

“Either way we need to grab the stuff those silvers are carrying,” the gorilla replied. Esprit shifted to float behind the reptile and blinked.

Kuya relaxed her shoulders and took a deep breath.

“Something doesn’t seem right here….” she muttered under her breath. She moved her hands to make a circle with her fingertips closing the circle. She started to chant.

“Qaz, shenna, ublyyk.” Her fingertips started to throb with power slowly like a drumbeat.

Ulluzon efydal udan ta vay vi fos seklan ut mavye sel televes.” Her nailed start to glow a faint blue as the spell intensified. A drop of sweat glided down from her temple to her chin.

Qaz, shenna, ublyyk. Spull Qaz…” As the last syllable was said everything went quiet and in Kuya’s mind’s eye she saw the illusions on the unknowns start to slowly vanish like receding fog. Esprit chirped quietly as he observed the group’s reaction.

“Uh…when did you say the illusions wore off?” the once insect looking demon asked nervously..The gorilla turned human turned and saw his fellow members take on their true forms.

“What the-”

Kuya smirked in triumph at another successful spell and shifted her attention to her ear piece device.

“Contact dad.” Bloodstone picked up in half a ring.

“What did you do?” he asks accusingly. Kuya scowled in annoyance.

“Nothing….yet. I wish to take a stroll and stretch my legs,” she says opening her eyes only to close them in pain. She rubbed her eyes to rid herself of the spell’s effects and blinding sunlight that intruded on her pupils.

“Stupid sunlight…” she muttered.

“Why?” he asked suspiciously.

“I have something to take care of.”

“Only if you take your brother with you.” He answered.

“No.” Kuya frowned feeling a bubble of anger appearing in her gut.

“At least take Rana and Xyrediane or Hijala.” He says with finality. Kuya sighed in exasperation, “Fine! I’ll take Rana and Diane.” After exchanging a few words, promises, and pleasantries Kuya  called over  Rana and Xyrediane. She waited till they dismounted and hitched the horses to the passing wagon. She then said very softly that she wanted to show them something fun and before either of them could say anything they vanish.


The frantic trio watched as the string woman tried to cast the spell of illusion only for it to fizzle out and fail.

“Why isn’t this working?!” the human yelled at the string woman.

“I don’t know. This shouldn’t happen. Spells don’t just….stop working!” the string woman said panicking at the new problem.

“Timotheus. Faira. Enough, do you want to alert the wagon supply group?” the centaur shouted a little loudly. Timotheus and Faira clamped their mouths shut and started to fidget.

“What do you suppose we should do then?” Faira asked. Slow clapping could be heard behind them.

“Well, I propose you stop spying on us and run back to the rock whence you came,” a female voice replied coyly. The three gold members whipped their heads around to see a pale redheaded girl with steel blue eyes garbed in a black and silver tunic with a long sleeved black shirt underneath. She wore black pants with a silver stripe on either side ending under the pockets, and black shin high boots. She also wore a black hooded cloak with crescent moon patterns on the bottom in the back that seem to also be silver. A small necklace hung from her neck it looked to be a willow wood pen with three diamonds etched on it vertically. A silver bar held a blue orb that seems almost alive and five iridescent ‘feathers’ facing skyward ranging from largest to smallest were on one side of the orb. Two women stood behind her flanking her on both sides. Xrydiane was wearing a shimmering black robe belted at the waist, with several pouches and a bag on her hip. A small silver dagger was on the other side. And what looked like two wand holsters with wooden wands in them. Her hair was tied back and put up showing her pointed ears. Next to her Rana The half gazer was decked out in a chainmail shirt, and red leather pants. The clothing underneath the chain barely showed through, her hair was also tied back, the two blades she had on each hip looked dangerous, her bag and pouch were also on her hip and the small of her back. They remained quiet and alert ready to fight if needed.

“Who are you?!” the human shouted taking out his large sword. His companions followed in suit, arrows notched and ready to fire and the last one took on a stance.

“Who I am matters not to you or your companions, but I suppose you wish to give me an identity…hmm ah, I know.” She grins evilly as a spark of mischief passed through her eyes.

“You may refer to me….as your worst nightmare.” The centaur scoffed at her and arrogantly walked forward facing Kuya.

“And what is a little girl like you going to do? Poke us with that little pen?” the other two chuckled at the taunt causing Kuya to frown in slight annoyance.

“Not taking me seriously, I see. How rude to assume my skill with just my stature? Do not assume I’m weak just because you tower over me, pony boy.” Kuya flexed her fingers and begins to think of a spell.

“Pony b-how dare you!” the centaur snarled aiming the bow at her and firing. The arrow snapped in half in midair barely leaving the bow. It dropped to the ground and turned to dust. The mage frowned in confusion while the centaur sputtered over his words. A smirk appeared on Kuya.

“[Bind].” The three enemies before Kuya froze in place unable to move. No matter how much they tried to move anything not a single eye was able to blink.

“Confused yet? Allow me to explain in simple terms for the idiots in class. I cut off your brains’ access to the rest of the nervous system making you rooted in place. Have fun trying to move because you’ll only fall on the ground.” She explained chuckling sadistically. Esprit narrowed his eyes in disapproval as he sat on her right shoulder. Kuya winced slightly before her whole body relaxed. Rena and Xyrediane glance at Kuya’s reaction curiously. The centaur growled in response.

“Now, now no need to go feral on me. I’ve only just begun.” She said taking three taunting steps towards the now rooted group. The mage started to mutter, but her body just wouldn’t respond.

“Feh, I don’t even need to use my staff on you, but this is sorta boring….so I’ll release you.” She snapped her fingers and the three before her fall to the ground. She chuckled in response.

“You son of- I’ll kill you!” the human quickly got to his feet and charged at Kuya with a battle cry.

‘Good thing I placed [Sound Barrier]….wouldn’t want my dad finding out about this, yet.’ Kuya pondered teleporting a foot in the air away from the warrior’s sword. The sword hit the ground with a thud creating a small crevice in its wake.

“Rena, Xy can you kite the warrior for a bit, please?” Kuya asked as Esprit jumped into her pen’s orb causing a rippling effect.

“What?” Rana responded confused. Kuya sighed, “Never mind just…come up here,” she said snapping her fingers creating a dense translucent cloud next to her. At the same time she teleported Rana and Xyrediane onto the cloud, causing it to bounce a little on impact, but still staying in the air. Kuya flew overhead and placed her right hand under her chin thinking. Snapping her fingers she grinned.

“Ah I know let’s play a game! Whoever is the last one standing, wins!” she exclaims with a clap. The three enemies exchange looks in confusion the mage – Faira breaks the stare and begins to cast fireballs and ice shards at Kuya. The spells dissolved a foot away from her in a cloud of mist. Faira clicked her tongue at the same time the warrior – Timotheus took a running start and jumped at Kuya swinging his sword in a wide arc. Kuya casually dodged and used the spell Bind on him again. She glared at him in annoyance.

“I’ll break you last, human,” she says sinisterly.

“[Apathetic Rune],” Kuya said with a hint of sinister glee. The centaur suddenly fell to the ground and feels unmotivated dropping his bow in the process. The mage snaps her attention to the centaur in alarm.

“Ave!” she yelled, “Get up you idiot! I don’t think I can take this kid on my own.” Ave doesn’t respond choosing only to lie on the ground.


“He can’t hear you. He’s having an emotional crisis. He won’t be helping you little mage because he doesn’t feel like it.” Kuya chuckled floating down to the ground she took a stance of her own with her feet planted firmly to the ground and her arms placed behind her back. Standing up straight with her knees bent slightly her hands behind her back started to crackle with blue electricity that appeared briefly until it transformed into a black and purple ball.

“You….you’re a monster!” Faira yelled thrusting her arm out and fired an electrical beam. The spell bent around Kuya and disappeared behind her. Kuya’s grin widened showing her canines.

“Pff I did warn you,” she replied flicking her wrist towards the warrior who had been struggling to get his body to move. The black and purple ball flew over to the warrior and phased into his head. He fell to the ground unconscious. The mage’s eyes widen in fear. A loud scream pierced the silence as the warrior on the ground writhed in fear and agony still unconscious. The mage began to back away from Kuya only to stop at the small drop off. Kuya hummed in approval at the warrior’s reaction. She opened a small book and jotted down notes in her journal.

“Haunted is a success, but a bit too powerful for a weak minded human, oh well.” She slapped her book closed with one hand and put it away in her bag on her belt. Her pen started to grow in length until it was a head higher than Kuya. She looked at the mage, “I’m sorry, what did you say?”

The mage sputters, “You….I thought y-you were gonna break him last,” she replies meekly as her whole body begins to quiver in fear. Kuya looked at the warrior and cocked her head to the side.

“Oops…I forgot. Meh, its fine the worst thing that could happen is PTSD from night terrors,” she replied, nonchalantly poking the whimpering warrior with the butt of her staff. He jerked away.

“P-please, don’t kill me. I-I’ll do anything you ask, please!” the mage begged tears streaming down her face. Kuya scrunched her nose in disgust.

“I’m not going to kill you. My dad needs the information from you. I’m just playing a game because I’m bored, and you happened to be here. Besides one of our party members were going to have to deal with you sooner or later, I just placed dibs on being the first responder.” She explained twirling her staff in the air and catching it. Faira blinked back tears confused and weary of the redhead. Before Kuya could speak again the centaur appeared in front of her with Timotheus’ sword in hand with his teeth bared in a snarl. Kuya’s eyes widen in surprise and jabbed the ground with her staff, at the same time Ave’s body suddenly slams to the ground by an unknown force. The sword falling out of his hands a few inches away he tried to get up only to fall back down again. Kuya clicked her tongue.

“My, my, someone here has a strong will interesting, but attacking me like that it not okay.” Kuya frowned jabbing the sharp end of her staff into his right hand and twisted it. Ave screamed in pain as blood spilled out from the wound. She took her staff out and the blood got absorbed within the staff leaving behind a clean end. A red aura flickered in and out of existence around the staff briefly. The centaur growled at Kuya enduring the throbbing pain in his hand and an emotional drain.

“Don’t give me that, pest,” she replied curtly as the iridescent feathers slowly dipped downward facing the earth. The air around Kuya started to feel cold and a sense of dread filled the air until Ave, Faira, Rana, and Xyrediane felt their lungs compress making it harder to breathe. The sky starts to darken until thick storm clouds start to form silently overhead. Not a single breeze was felt. The air felt still.

“You know….I can just…delete you from existence and provoking me like that will only lead to well, I would say death, but sadly this would be far worse really. Allow me to show you an example.” She says as her expression begins to look somber and kicks up a large rock in the air. With a wave of her staff the rock disappears into nothing. Kuya frowns, “Okay, bad example, but you get the gist of it.” Faira faints from stress and Ave’s eyes widen in confusion.

“Pi pi!” Esprit exclaimed flying out of the staff’s orb and into Kuya’s face. Kuya relaxed and the air returns to normal along with the clouds. Esprit narrowed his eyes at Kuya in disapproval and shook its body ‘no.’

“Fine! I’ll just….knock them out then.” Kuya replied shrinking her staff back into a pen and flicking her left wrist towards Ave. He blacked out hitting his head on the ground with a loud thud.

“Room 73 Open,” a dark hole in reality opened up and gobbled the three unconscious gold team members up. Their weapons vanished as well in one fell swoop. Kuya clapped her hands in a cleaning motion and began to walk away from the scene until she and the other two disappeared with a loud snap of her fingers.

Kuya and Rana and Xyrediane appeared in front of Bloodstone and the others. Kuya quickly cast a spell that dumps the bodies out of Room 73 and said, “I found these, but I think I broke them. I only wanted to play a game and well, they couldn’t handle it. I was really hoping for better toys to test out my 13 other new spells. You can have them; I’m done playing with them. Gonna go take a nap,” she said yawning. She walks away leaving a very disturbed Rana and Xyrediane in her wake. As she walked away something briefly appeared on her left hand before vanishing.

“Uh, did she just assault a Gold team?” The commander asked.

“It looks like that, hold on; let me go get some clarification.” He caught up with her and had a discussion far enough away that they couldn’t be heard. Lady Amethyst walked over and listened in to the conversation.

There was an exasperated, “You did what?!” from Bloodstone. Kuya shrugged and said, “I was bored and they were spying on us, so I tested some spells out….nothing too severe,” muttering the last part earning a disapproving grunt from Esprit. She turned and walked into the main part of the fortress. Bloodstone and Lady Amethyst stood gaping turned and walked back to the commander.  “I think they pissed her off. I want these three arrested under charges of assaulting a silver rank team as well as working against the crown.”

“You’re not serious” he said.

“I am, Rana, Xyre can you fill in the commander?”

Xyrediane looked pale and just nodded. Rana said softly, “I thought you were dangerous. She’s on a whole other level. She tossed those three gold team members around like they were playthings.”

“I apologize, my kids can be eccentric”

Rana stared at him with all her eyes, as if seeing him for the first time. She then began to explain to the commander and him what happened, as well as how she felt about the whole situation.

“I want their gear confiscated, and laid out for inspection, by the time I get back. Also can you get someone to help her off the wagon,” He said to the commander pointing to the half-elf.

His order was acknowledged with a slow nod. “As you command my lord.” The guardsmen moved aside when Kuya walked past. The green scaled drake followed her.

It was at that moment, that several guards urgently came over to the commander, “Sire, my Lord there are a group of about fifty goblins coming to the north gate. There are six hobs with them.”

“Well it looks like I have some negotiating to do, as for them” He said gesturing to the centaur, the human and the string woman,”If they resist, let my wife know. I want to talk to them after the negotiations.”

“Wait, what’s this about negotiating with the Goblins?” The commander asked.

“Long story, let’s see what we can accomplish first.”

With that he turned and walked to the two large doors that faced north. He had the guards there open one of the doors and walked out.

The goblins looked thin, even the hobs, while they were mostly muscle, you could tell they were hungry. A small goblin and a hob walked to stand in front of Bloodstone. The small goblin was the same one who had been rescued by Kuya, and he looked better than the other goblins.

The Hobgoblin, said to Bloodstone, “You chief of stone place?”

“Yes, I have stopped the murder of your people. I would like to make amends, though I am not sure how to get the rest of my people to trust you.”

The goblin stared at Bloodstone, “This one says you feed goblins,” he poked the small goblin.

“We can, I would like to work together with you.”

“Human bad, kill goblin.”

“I understand, maybe I can make a gesture of goodwill.” Bloodstone waved to the door and one of the wagons drove out. Rana and Xyrediane were in the driver’s seat. There were two barrels and several bags. They drove the wagon and then turned it back towards the outpost.

Bloodstone picked up a small tarp that was on one side and covered the dirt and grass with it. He then set the barrels and six burlap bags. “This is food for you and your people.”  He tossed a small leather bag to the small goblin and another to the chief. The small goblin caught the one toseed the other landed at the chief’s feet.

“Magic bags. You can take all of this here in those bags.”

The goblin chief looked unconvinced, several of the goblins behind him were sniffing and there was a look of hunger.

“I will be here for two more sunrises, then I will be going to the white death tooth.”

“Human stupid, go there, only death.” The chief said.

“There is one more thing,” Bloodstone threw another bag at the chief’s feet that clicked as it landed. “There is gold in that pouch to purchase more supplies. Someone here or at the wall fortress will honor those coins only from you or your people.”

The goblin chief picked the two bags up and talked with the small goblin.

Bloodstone hopped up and sat on the back of the wagon. They rode away slowly.

The chief sniffed the bags and the barrels. He called for the other hobs to come and they picked everything up and were gone in a few minutes. He tossed the bag of coins over his shoulder and it clincked as it hit the ground. The small goblin retrieved the bag.

Rana and Xyrediane waited before talking to him.

“They are goblins,” Rana said.

“Yeah, I expected to much.” He said somewhat defeated.

“Why is that so important to you?” Xyrediane asked as they entered the fortress. The door closed behind them with a loud boom.

He looked at the two of them, “Imagine the animosity that humans level at you magnified to where your running for your life every day of your life. That’s how the goblins live.”

Rana started to reply and stopped, “I, never thought of it that way.”

“That still doesn’t explain your disappointment.” Xyrediane said.

“I’m not a people person, never have been. I just don’t have the patience I guess. I have flaws like everyone else, I guess I should admit I messed that meeting up badly.”

“About your daughter, how can I put this.” Rana started, “She terrifies me. I have never seen anyone do what she did.”

“It wasn’t the actions, it was how she did it.” Xyrediane said, “It was calculated, and brutal.”

“I am sorry, I thought that she was taking being in this world better. I’m easy going, I have a thirst for knowledge. My daughter is very creative, adding magic to her skills make her very dangerous, she doesn’t have the limitations society in this world has ingrained, she’s a gamer, but a different breed of gamer. She will focus on something till she gets bored and finds something new to focus on. She has added magic to her creative toolbox. I asked her not to make any spells along certain lines of thought, that doesn’t mean she won’t.”

“What is going to happen to those gold adventures?” Rana asked as they got down off the wagon. Several guardsmen were watching them.

“Depends on the answers I get. Speaking of adventures, can you let the blight wolves know I want to talk with them. I have a few things I need to do prior”

“Sure, “ Xyrediane said.

The two women walked into the adventures side of the fortress.

Bloodstone stood next to the wagon, when Zail walked over to him, “If it was they were the ones whom attacked me, they should still have my weapons and gear.”

Bloodstone walked over to a guardsman, “Where has their gear been laid out.”

“We are using two tables in the eating hall.”

“Let’s go look.” He said to the human next to him.

There were two tables of gear in piles, the human and sting person’s gear were on one and the centaurs was on the other.

Brigette was looking over the equipment, and two guardsmen stood by looking bored.

“You recognize anything”, he asked the man standing next to him.

“Who is this?” Brigette asked.

“This is our missing blight wolf, I have him under an illusion, for his protection and to get some answers. Go ahead you can answer her questions.”

“I don’t think your very funny, I know what I saw.” There was a hint of anger as well as apprehension in her voice.

Zail smiled, “I am Zail Morningflight, I am most definitely one of the Blight wolves. That bow is mine.” He said pointing to a bow on the table.

Brigette looked at a ring on her finger, the gesture was subtle but they both saw her look.

“How, is this possible” she asked.

“How is what possible”, Bloodstone asked.

“I know I saw you carry off a corpse.” She looked down at her ring.

“I am not denying that.”

“You are not going to tell me are you.” She said staring at him. He was a few inches taller than she was, so she had to stare up at him.

“No, I don’t trust you enough.” He said looking at Zail.

Illapressa Lavandarius came into the eating hall, the changes she had endured over the past couple of weeks were evident as she walked solemnly. She was a Drake who had been an adventurer and was now trying to decide what she wanted to do with the incredible power that had been bestowed on her. Her scales were metallic light and dark blue, and made her scales appear to shimmer. There was the scent of ozone, when she entered a room. There was also a presence about her that made people look at her as she entered. The wings on her back were folded and made it appear as if she wore a metallic blue cloak. She walked over to Brigette, Bloodstone and Zail. “My Lord, Brigette” She nodded to the human next to them. She then made her way to get some of the stew that was being served.

Zail stared at her, “Who is that?” he asked.

“Illapressa Lavandarius”, Bloodstone said watching her as well.

“Seriously!?” Zail said somewhat loudly.

“Why do you know her?” Brigette asked.

“I met her a couple of years back, That’s a drastic change. She was such a meek drake, back then” He said somewhat in awe.

“Well if there is some of your gear here, we need to go talk to your teammates.” He looked at Brigette, what’s the normal practice if a gold team turns out to be criminals?”

Brigette looked upset, “They are removed from the king’s rolls, and usually face the crowns justice. I don’t think I have ever heard of a gold team ever doing that. They also inform the adventures guild and they can get demoted, or kicked out.”

Bloodstone took pictures of the items, as well as asked Brigette in inventory everything there, the items belonging to the Blight wolves would be returned. She gave Bloodstone a look that the conversation was not over.

Lady Amethyst dropped the illusion on Zail just outside the area for the adventurer’s. Bloodstone spoke with Zail just outside.

“I would appreciate, you not saying anything about your recovery.” He shrugged, “Do what you think is right.”

He followed Zail into the adventures area, the other five were sitting and all rose and greeted Zail.

“I would like to talk to the Blight wolves, officially. We found out who attacked you and injured Zail, to near death.” He said avoiding the look Zail gave him.

The red bearded dwarf, “We think it was demons.” The rest of the wolves nodded except Zail.

We have some items in the laid out in the eating hall, I would like you to go look. I will be waiting here, until you return.

The four of them filed out, Zail sat with his sister, “Why did you tell them that?” He asked.

Bloodstone shrugged, “You know a secret, its valuable, but it’s also dangerous. Tell me what it would take to have you keep quiet about your experience?”

Zail looked him over slowly, “What if I told you I wouldn’t keep quiet?” His sister listened intently, her foot elevated under a small cushion.

“That’s your choice, it would make things more difficult for me, if it was common knowledge. I’m not going to do anything if that’s what you are worried about.”

Zail looked at his siter then at him, “Something tells me if I asked you for something you would try to accommodate me. I’m not ungrateful for what you did, I just don’t see a reason that you would do that. What’s your motive?”

“No motive, other than it’s the right thing to do, I wanted answers you supplied them.”

“I find it hard to believe you would use some artifact to bring me back from the dead, what’s the catch?”

His sister gasped but didn’t say anything.

Before he could reply the four team members returned, they were a bit upset. “Why are some of our things as well as Zail’s displayed?” The red bearded dwarf asked, clearly taking the lead.

“Those were taken off a group, who were impersonating demons and appeared to have been the ones who assaulted you.”

There was a clamoring of outrage, from the silver rank members. Bloodstone held up his hands, “There is going to be a trial, tonight, so you can give your version of the story.”

Brigette came in with Illapressa. The two of them were talking. Brigette walked over and stoof in front of Bloodstone, “I spoke with the three gold rank adventures they say your daughter assaulted them unprovoked.”

“Do you have any issues then representing them for their trial?” He asked.

“Trial?” She asked.

“Did they tell you how they came into possessions belonging to the blight wolves?”  He said holding up one hand, “I don’t want to know.”

“I want an explanation, about the corpse we found on the way here.” She said clearly angry.

“After the trial.” He said looking over the Blight wolves.

The commander came in, and walked over to them, several guardsmen followed. “They are hopping mad, about some crazy girl mage attacking them. Are you serious in the charges?”

“I am, and you are going to have to preside over this since you’re the highest ranking official here. I can’t preside over it since my daughter is involved as well as one of my wives. If you want gather of twelve guardsmen that were not involved or were resting and have them decide. You can just control the proceedings.”

The commander nodded, “We can have it in an hour here, does that work?”

“It’s your fortress, I am just delivering supplies.”

The commander stood a little straighter, and turned and walked out of the room, he began shouting orders.

Gamers Eight – Act IV – chapter 1


A week passed, without any further incidents with the demons, no reply was received from Izril.  Bloodstone had healed up though he was still in pain. It was also when a hundred soldiers from the capital came and reinforced the walls that had been breached. As well as hunted down any demons who had been behind the walls.

The resident gold teams had stayed out and defended the outpost, it was the attack on the demon army that broke the siege for the wall.  Things finally settled into a more normal state.

Kijala had heard of his request for the full name of the Tidebreaker and his offer to the next of kin to finance a statue to the Drake. She asked the drakes she knew and a few them were intrigued by the idea, and that a human was willing to do it made them a little irritated that not one had thought of it before hand. Donations began trickling in, until a letter arrived from the crown and then they stopped completely. The king had requested that any donations to the Tidebreaker be sent to the crown, where they would be sent to Izril by ship. The king wanted to make sure that Rhir was not forgotten, in the dealing with Izril. The donations collected so far were sent to the crown. The messages sent to Izril had not been responded to.

Brigette had visited Lord Bloodstone daily, to review his books and to talk shop. She was fascinated on his thoughts on magic and even was roped into performing tests, that he requested. It was one morning after such a test, that she leveled. She was in such a state after that the commander came in  talk with Bloodstone.

“I have no idea what you said to her she’s been ecstatic almost intolerably so.” He said to Bloodstone who had taken to getting exercise in the morning, by checking in on the walls, visiting the commander, the mage and then taking care of the daily business. Most of the solder he knew by name, and they were surprised when he came around every morning, asking if there was anything they need or any issues.

“I haven’t spoken with her yet, she wasn’t in her office, or the research area.” He said.

“You spoke with her?” He asked.

“She was singing, I have known the woman for almost a decade and I have never heard her singing.” He seemed a little uneasy.

“She’s been hanging around my wife a bunch so that might be the reason. You have anything I need to take care of?” He asked.

“Not now, the supplies for the Fortress are almost gathered up, when did you want to deliver them?” He asked.

“I was thinking tomorrow, or the day after once its altogether. Beth and Newton have two wagons of cement they want to deliver and test.”

“There was one thing I had one of the blacksmiths, deliver a bill it was for two hundred gold coins. I wanted to talk with you before paying it. You have any idea what it is for.” He said handing the paper to Bloodstone.

“Good it’s done, excellent, the two hundred gold is accurate, I will have Coreen take care of this for me.” He said curling the letter into a tube.

“Why did you order that much copper”, he asked.

“Something that I wanted done, it’s also part of the experiments I was having Brigette perform.” Bloodstone said turning to leave.

“There is something else I wanted to ask you about.” He said standing up

Bloodstone stopped and turned back “What did you have questions about?”

“Those metal wasps, the men are a little intimidated by them, are they safe?” he asked.

“They should be, I have safeguards in place. I realize it’s a bit disturbing for a number of people, its one of the reasons I didn’t mention the spiders.”

“Spiders?” The commander said alarmed.

“Uh yeah well, I wanted to have four spiders that are part of the construct defense, I was working on. I haven’t finished anything mostly in the design phase with the spiders.”

“No spiders, so you know how many people are afraid of spiders. Then again maybe not, look we had a spider infestation about three years back, came from the blight, very venomous. Every spring, we worry about what new will come out of the blight to terrorize us. The year before that was the flies. Some insect, monster or other surprise, sometimes its late summer usually in the spring after the rains.” The commander said stating the facts.

“Speaking of the defense, I wanted to ask your approval on something else to do with the wasps. I think I have figured out how to get what they see and hear to a receiver.” He said tapping the bill on his hip.

“I’m not sure I understand, what you are talking about.” He said leaning forward slightly listening.

“Brigette is working on the receiver, I was thinking we could have them setup in a main area. The other advantage is that a Wasp could accompany, patrols, and get real time information back here. I am working on another project, so you can have real time communication, that’s almost figured out as well.”

“How would we control those wasps?” He asked.

“You ask them, right now they are just sitting in one of the rooms that needed to be fixed. The wasps fixed the water coming in by the way and are using the roof to get in and out.”

The commander sat down, “if Brigette is ok with it, then it should be fine. There is another matter that I want to bring to your attention, it involves the men you brought.”

“Did they cause any trouble?” He asked.

“Quite the contrary, its due to a certain young lady and her association with those men that we did not have more servants and staff killed during the attacks.”

“Vella.” Bloodstone said.

“She is still alive and was left here, presumably for you to deal with. She and the men you brought saved a lot of lives, It’s recently come to light and I thought you might want to know.” Commander Uvain said.

“Where is she?” Bloodstone asked.

“She is in the kitchens, doing work until her sentence is up. I have dozens of pages of testimonies as to the efforts of the woman during the demon attack.” He offered.

“Let’s get this fixed then, let me know if you need anything else.” Bloodstone said leaving.

Vella scrubbed the large pot that needed washing. It was hard work and she had even gained two more levels in scullery maid the night before.

She scrubbed, and scrubbed, taking her anger and frustration out on the pot. It was all that lords fault. She tossed the pot under the water rinsing it out.

The hand that reached around and covered her mouth, scared her. The person was strong and pulled her into a closet. The man turned her loose and said gruffly, “I hear you have a grudge against the current lord.”

She looked at the man he was dark haired, with a scruffy beard. She did not recognize him at all. “I have work to do.” She said trying to step past him.

“Oh no missy, you’re going to help me bring that smug bastard down a peg or two.” He said breathing a heavy scent of garlic on her.

“Gross, you will let me pass or I will scream.” She said

“You’re not willing to help me?” The man asked.

“You’re a fool if you think you can take the lord here.” She opened the door. And walked back over to the pots. The man followed her.

“You’re the fool, a lord’s daughter scrubbing pots.” He said and walked off

“What’s wrong with that, someone has to do the work,“ She mumbled, slamming the pots making a racket.

“Vella you break anything, I will take it out of your hide,” The head cook said yelling from the kitchen.

There was a crash, and yelling.

She rushed out to see one of the maid had tripped and dropped a large platter of food on the floor. “I twisted my ankle” She said in tears on the floor.

The head cook stood over the mess, “Vella take this other platter up to the third floor.”

She grabbed the second tray of sandwiches and went up the back steps. Two guardsmen stood at one door, they watched her as she came down the hall.

The guard by the door opened it as she drew closer, she could hear voices as she entered.

“I don’t understand why I can’t go” Isabel said.

“He explained it, we need to move fast, and it is not going to be a fun trip into the blight.” A female voice said.

“I’m not going,I have too much work to do here.” She heard a woman in immaculate clothes say.“The sandwiches are here,” she said seeing Vella with the tray. “You are not the normal maid what happened to Fredia”

“She tripped, hurt her ankle the cook told be to bring these up” Vella said handing her the tray.

“I just wanted to see the other fortress, “ Isabel said.

Kiki grabbed a sandwich off the platter and began eating it down, she grabbed another with her other hand. She mumbled something while chewing.

“Kiki, don’t talk with your mouth full, its rude”, Lady Amethyst chided her.

“Sowwa” she said softly.

“The supplies will get there one way or another,” Rana said getting up to get a sandwich.

The door opened and Kuya and Bloodstone entered, a small goblin followed Kuya.

“Why is there a goblin here!?” Vela said aloud.

Bloodstone looked over at Vella, then the goblin. “He’s a guest.” The goblin cowered behind Kuya.

There was a shuffling as the others in the room, seemed to dislike the goblins presence. “All of you knock it off, the goblin is not going to hurt you.” Kuya said angrily.

It was Kiki that seemed to ignore the adults, she offered the goblin a sandwich. The goblin snatched it and began devouring as if it was going to be taken. Kiki just laughed and got another sandwich.

Bloodstone unfolder the large map. “This is the first time I have seen a map of Rhir that’s not a recent thing. With Kuyas help I deciphered some of the symbols. This map is old, I think it predates the kingdom itself. What intrigues me is this except from the book that was found with it. he opened the book to a marked page.

“I finally got permission to stay at the tower, to study for another year. The archmage said I was a promising student, and that if I do well on the next test I will be initiated. I have a feeling there is more to it than that, the last test made no sense.” He cleared his throat, “Whoever wrote this was a gifted mage. I also think there was something else going on at this school.” He flipped to a point further back in the book. “I went down to the vault last night. I found the way in. I saw wealth and magic beyond anything I could even dream of, and the books, it was the incredible. I was tempted to take one of the books, I left, knowing that I could return there tomorrow night.” He flipped the page.

“I was so stupid, they didn’t want me here for my talents or my skills, they just wanted access to the vault. They are all liars, every one of them. humans can’t be trusted. They grabbed me when I left the vault. I was searched and taken to my room. I didn’t take anything this time. They won’t let me go back in. It’s not like they can threaten me.” He flipped several pages.  “They started keeping me awake and beating me. I still refuse to bring anything out. I must get out of here, the archmagi threatened to put me under geas, to make me obey. I’m going to try and get back into the vault. “ He looked around the room, “That’s the last entry, and there is one other thing, that school stood on Rhir a long time ago, and my best guess it’s about a hundred miles north in the blight.”

“You want to go there, see if you can find this vault.” Xyrdiane said.

“There were books there something we can use to find a way home. For all of us.” He said not looking at her.

“You sure you are not being greedy?” Rana asked.

“I.. I hope not, I want you all to help find it.” He said putting the book on the map unfolded on the table in front of them.

“Your all crazy” Vella said, ”The elves are long gone and no one has seen a living elf in what a thousand years?”

“Is this why you asked us here,” Lady Amethyst said, “I don’t think I can walk a hundred miles into the blight.”

“Look I know it sounds crazy, us being here is crazy. I did some research, there is a standing bounty on anything recovered from the blight, maps or books, even magic items. Brigette knows about the book and the translation, she’s keeping it quite because I offered to take her with us if we go.”

“Who were you thinking of taking,” Isabel scowled.

“Lady Amethyst, my son, and daughter, Rana, and Xyediane, Violet, Brigette, Marcus, Hijala and anyone else who want’s to go.”

“What if I tell the commander what you are planning?” Vella said as she turned to leave.

“What?” Bloodstone said.

“I tell the commander he arrests you or confiscates that map and book for the crown.” She said nonchalantly.

“It’s not like I wasn’t going to turn this over to the crown” He said simply.

“You just happen to have a map to this city where there is a supposed elven vault. Where did you get the book from” She chided.

“Off a demon, there were a number of things that suggest they were trying to get there as well.” He said.

“It’s a trap, it’s what I would do. Get rid of any good strong gold teams that find this map.” She said putting her hands on her hips

“I don’t think it is.” He said looking back at the goblin. “Tell them what you told Kuya”

The goblin had finished the sandwich and taken another that Kiki had given him. “White tooth place bad,” The goblin said in broken common.

“White tooth,” Rana said somewhat shocked the goblin looked up at her.

“Big white tooth, death there, no go, goblins no go ever, bad place.” The goblin said finishing the sandwich.

“How does it know what you are talking about?” Vella said staring at the small goblin.

“In book”, the goblin said pointing at the book.

“Oh right, the description of the tower.” He picked up the book, and looked over the translation, “Ah here it is.” And he started to read, “I saw the tower this morning, I don’t know if they will let me take the test again. It rose up and had a glow about it, the tower was like a large spire raising out of the ground. My ancestors built this a long time ago and hid it in plain sight. It was built in such a way that the land around hides it unless you are in the vale itself. The white marble it is made from isn’t like anything here. I asked the driver of the coach and he said there are a lot of rumors about it construction. I don’t want to put them down unless I can get proof.”

“Book” Goblin said walking over and grabbing two more sandwiches, “These good,” He handed one to Kuya.

“Thanks,” she said taking a bite. “They are good.”

“Your going to believe a goblin?” Vella said.

“No lie,” the goblin said, between bites.

“This goblin has no reason to lie, he saved my daughter’s life, when the demons attacked they tried to enter her room, this goblin woke her up.”

“She save, I save” The goblin said finishing the sandwich.

“He wants to go home, and I think we can get the adventurers at least in this district to give the goblins a chance. Kuya has spent the most time with him and he has explained how goblin life works, out in the blight. They are afraid of everything out there, they must it keeps them alive. They are always looking for the next meal. Never staying in one place, because they might get eaten or attacked. Think about that, how would you survive in the blight,” he asked Vella.

“I’m not a goblin, how should I know.” She said turning to leave.

“Vella, what’s it going to take to keep you quiet”, Coreen asked.

“Like I want your money, he’s the reason I’m here in the first place.”

“I am aware of your troubles,” Coreen said getting up from the chair she was sitting on.

“Like I care, I have to head back down before I get in trouble.” She said opening the door.

“Hellen can you help me with this?” Coreen asked.

Coreen and Hellen followed her out into the hallway. The guards watched them leave and go down the servant’s stairs.

“I don’t have anything to say to you two.” Vella said heading down the stairs.

“I have plenty to say to you,” Coreen said.

They arrived on the back hall and Vella entered the kitchen. The head cook, saw who was behind her, “Is there a problem.”

“No, I want to have a few words with that woman.” Coreen said nodding in Vella’s direction.

“Was she disrespectful?” The cook asked.

“Nothing like that,” She said following Vella.

The cook looked relieved, “Sure sure, I have to get back to work.” He started yelling at the other two cooks.

Vella returned to scrubbing the big pot, she saw the two of them walk over,” I really have a lot of work here” She said gesturing to the stack of pots and pans.

“Let me ask you something Vella, if you hadn’t been caught where do you think you would be now?” Coreen asked.

“Married off to some lords or his son, for political connections.” She said acidly.

“You should know your men told my husband what you did for them. He told us.”

“What do you want from me, they were being unfairly taxed. My father didn’t care.”

“You are wrong, he was informed of the situation, and found there were several of his own men using their authority to put pressure on anyone they didn’t like. They were trying to get your father removed.”

“I saw the letters, my father signed them” She said scrubbing harder on the pan.

“So instead of confronting him with the evidence, you took matters into your own hand. You very nearly cost your father his position.”

“I don’t think you understand, your father, found the perpetrators, that were using his good name to harm his own people. You kept it from getting ugly. The only thing is that the men you put up to banditry, well that was a separate issue and your father had no way to help you, not without compromising everything he worked for.”

“He still let me get sent here.” She said picking up another dirty pan.

“He did, men with power tend to wield it like a club. Smash it until it bends or breaks to their will. I have something for you.” she said as she opened a satchel she carried. She pulled out a small leather pouch as well as a sealed letter.  Seeing that her hands were wet, she placed them off to one side. “There are people who still care about you, I only receive that letter this morning. When your done here come and see me, I have a position for you if you are interested.”

The two of them turned and left. Leaving her to resume cleaning.

She finished the pot and set it aside. She dried her hands on a rough towel and opened the sealed letter.

Dearest Daughter,

As much as it pains me that you did not have the courage to tell me of the misdeeds in my domain and as much as it pains me to admit, I failed you somehow. I am sorry it came to this, but one crime does not wash another away. I have no recourse, or ability to free you from your servitude. I only hope my letter to Lady Aladeana is taken with the kindness I have expected from the woman.

It was signed with his signature and seal.

She folded the letter and looked inside the small leather pouch, inside were nine gold coins and forty silver ones. A small note.

We pooled our money this is a start to help you buy your servitude back.


She growled a little, “Those lay bouts” she started to tear up.  She wiped the tears out and went to see if she could find Lady Coreen.

Davies was in the audience chamber, another day where the Lord or Lady heard petitions from the people, or grievances, that were deemed too controversial that the magistrates didn’t want to rule on.

“Let me make sure I have this straight,” Bloodstone said looking at the farmer. “You want the demons who broke your wall, to come out and fix it?”

“Thems the ones who broke it, seems only fair theys fix it.” The farmer said.

“And if the demons are all dead?” He asked.

“Well I hear they had buncha gold and magic, I could hire me a group to fix them broke walls.” He said.

“I see, there is just one problem, all the gold and magic are spoils of war. Now I can hire a crew to assess the damage and if it was caused by us or the demons we can have it repaired. “

“If in you say so” The farmer said.

“Have a team assess the damage, if it is from our actions have it repaired and billed to the district.” The [lawyer] wrote it down and nodded. “Is there anymore?” he asked.

“I have one more request, it’s from your wife, it involves a letter of servitude.”

“Fine let’s get this sorted.” He said somewhat tired.

Coreen and Vella entered the audience chamber.

“Hi, what is this all about?” he asked.

“I wish to purchase her contract of service” She said simply.

“I guess so, I just don’t understand why.” He said looking at Coreen.

“Do we have her contract of service handy?” He asked the [lawyer]

“I took the liberty of pulling the contract.” The lawyer said handing him the sheet. It looked similar to the slave sheets he had seen. There were some listings as to the reasons for the contract. Further down the sum was listed, “The contract is for three hundred crowns for twenty years of service.”

Coreen handed the Lawyer a sack, off to one side the laywer placed the coins into a dish and weighed them. “Everything seems to be in order here” The Lawyer said returning the empty sack. ”Just need to have the processing fee, and we will have that turned over to you.”

Aladeana handed him an additional five gold coins. The lawyer looked over at Bloodstone, “I am assuming you have no problems with this transaction?”

“I would like to know why you are going out of your way for her, this isn’t about the conversation this afternoon is it?”

“No, let’s just say that I see a kindred spirit who also has daddy issues. You also said I could hire whomever I want.” She said smiling.

“Very well, I authorize the transaction.” He smiled slightly as if not really understanding what was going on.

The lawyer had Bloodstone sign the document and then handed it to Coreen.

“Come along Vella there is lots of work to be done.” She turned and left Vella standing there.

“I thought you didn’t like me.” Vella said to Bloodstone.

“I have nothing to do with whatever my wife has planned, she’s her own woman.” He said getting up , “ Though since I am done here, let us both see if we can figure out what she has planned.”

He left the room and Vella followed, Coreen was waiting in the hall, “This way” She said.

The two of them followed Coreen to the third floor, where she had a small room. There was a desk piled with papers, and tables around behind it also piled with papers. There were two wooden chairs in front of the desk.

“Has this gotten bigger?” Bloodstone asked.

Coreen laughed, “No, at least I don’t think so.” She said sitting down at the desk. “Have a seat” she gestured to the two wooden chairs.

“You want to know why I purchased her servitude papers,” she said to Bloodstone.  He nodded and sat down.

“Vella here has a nose for sniffing out trouble, she has a good head on her shoulders, she just needs someone to guide her. I just so happen to need someone to visit all the holding on Rhir and see if everything is on the up an up. When I heard about the Alchemists, I was appalled how my father cornered the market on potions.” She looked through a stack of papers and pulled out a stack. “The average income over the past two years for that specific site was close to two million gold annually. Since you turned over control to the alchemists and had them partner, projections based on what Newton gave me have that almost double.”  She looked up at Vella, I am assigning several men to you, people you know already and know the tricks people will do to hide things. I want every business venture, every estate, every shop checked. If its fair, then we keep it, if it’s not fair then you are going to make it right. You report directly to me. Now for your contract.” She pulled a contract from the desk and set it in front of Vella. It was a long sheet.

“What if I say no” Vella asked, not looking at the contract.

“Read the contract, then tell me no.” She said putting several deeds under the contract.

Vella picked up the contract, and started reading, Bloodstone leaned over and was reading it over her shoulder.

“Do you mind?” Vella asked him.

“Sorry,” he said leaning back into the seat.

She finished reading it after a bit of silence and Coreen waiting behind the desk. “I don’t get some of these, perks you’re talking about in the contract.”

“For example?” Coreen asked.

Vella looked back to the contract, “While under the employ of the company, you will be given a class needed to perform your work, you will also forfeit any current classes you have. I don’t see how that could be enforced, you can’t make someone have or give up a class.”

“If you believe that then what is the problem,” Coreen asked.

Vella kept reading aloud, “You will also be give an allotment of funds and magic items to assist you in your role.”

“You would be working for me, there is no reason you shouldn’t have access to anything the company owns within reason.”

Vella continued,”You will report directly to the financial officer, or if the need arises the CEO. What is a CEO. And who is the financial officer”

“Chief executive officer. The owner of the company. I am the financial officer.” She said glancing at Bloodstone.

“Hey, I’m staying out of the decisions, you ladies are running things here.” He said holding his hand up in front of him.

“It says here that I will have bodyguards and soldiers, I thought only lords could have soldiers.”

“It’s a technicality, since the CEO is a [Lord], it works out.” Coreen said.

“This last part has me confused. The employee shall be given a residence, that they shall retain even if they leave the company.”

Coreen nodded, “there a several that we already own, and they are right here, you can check them all out and see which one you want.”

Vella hesitated and looked over the deeds, ”I know this place, it’s in my father’s district, isn’t that one of Sutters residences?”

“They all are, since that’s who my father is.” She said.

“Oh, so the CEO is your father?”

“No, Bloodstone is.”

Vella looked over at him, “You put her up to this didn’t you.”

“No, this is all her idea, I am finding out about it right now.” Bloodstone smiled sheepishly at Coreen.

“I will not sign the contract, I don’t care how generous it is. I won’t be blackmailed.”

“Blackmail, hardly.” She looked at Bloodstone, “Can you come back in about an hour, while I have a nice long chat with Miss Vella here.”

“Sure,” he got up and left.

Vella and Coreen stared at each other for a minute when there was a knock on the door.

“Come in”, Coreen said, and a half elf wearing a black shirt and pants stepped into the room. “Ma’am, the last two chests have arrived from the residence. Sorry it took longer than we thought it would, to get everything together.”

“Just bring them to the apartment we will sort through the last of it. Ke’lara, I like the look.”

The half-elf blushed, “Well it’s better than was I was wearing when we first met. I will catch up with you later.” She said leaving the room.

“Well if you are not interested in the contract, then we have nothing else to discuss.”

“What do you want me to do, you have my servitude papers.”

“Oh yes,” She handed her the single sheet. “Good luck Vella”

“Serious you are just going to give this to me.” She said somewhat shocked.

“The contract is still valid, until you leave. Oh, and here I have to sign that.” She took the sheet back and signed it and noted to whom she was selling it to, and then handed it back to her.

“Why?” Vella asked.

“Why all of this? Why go out of my way to help a lords daughter, politics is part of it, it was not the deciding factor, the main thing is that you, have a good head on your shoulders, and are not afraid to walk away. You also are not intimidated by my husband in the slightest. Most of all it’s the right thing to do.”

Vella stared at her, trying to read her. “How can I trust you?”

Coreen laughed, “I’m not asking you to trust me, I am asking you to work for me.”

“How can you be married to.” She waved at the door.

Coreen sighed, “He save me, from a fate worse than death. He never once touched me. I can hide behind his power until I can step forward on my own, and he’s ok with that. His wife is a very strong woman, he keeps strong women around him, not because he’s weak, he wants us to achieve things on our own, if we falter or need help he will give it. Don’t believe me, here the contracts he had written up for his wives. She pulled out the six sheets and set them on the desk.”

Vella looked them over, “Why?” she asked.

Coreen shrugged, “Its who he is, he sees things different than we do. We both have seen the ugliness of the world. He see’s people potential, and the light they have.”

There was a knock on the door, before she could call out, Abagail entered with a potted plant. The plant had small blue flowers growing “Coreen, Coreen, I got the plant to grow!”

“Abigail, that’s wonderful. You can put it on my desk here. These flowers, there were no flowers before.”

“I got another skill, this morning, [accelerated growth]” Abigail beamed.

Vella looked at the young woman, “What class does she have?”

Abigail beamed at her a bright smile, “I’m a level five [druid].”

Vella looked over at Coreen, “Is she your daughter?”

Coreen looked over at Abigail, “She is our adopted daughter, there are enough of us to take care of her and Kiki, and The lords daughter and son are old enough not to need supervision.”

“Is she Lord Bloodstone’s kid?” She asked.

“No, Lord Bloodstone is my new dad. I miss my uncle, he had to leave Rhir.” She said sadly.

“Now don’t you have studies with Hellen?” Coreen asked.

Abigail sighed, “I don’t want to do the rithmatic, numbers make me all fuzzy in the head.” She pouted.

“Abigail, arithmetic is very important for a young lady to learn, so that you know if you are being cheated or not.” Coreen said admonishing her.

Hellen stepped into the room without knocking, “I hope she’s not interrupting anything,” Hellen said seeing Vella. Hellen was wearing a neat and proper maids uniform, her clothes were immaculate not a hair out of place.

“She was just leaving.” Coreen said.

“Abigail, you ready to go back to your studies, Isabel is going to read today from the book she has.”

“Ohhhh!” Abigail ran out the door.

Hellen looked down the hall and then over at Vella, “She so adores Isabel since they are close in age. I am guessing that you are not going to take up her offer.”

“I won’t be coerced into working for that man.” Vella said acidly.

Hellen closed the door, staying inside the room “Forget about him for a moment, are you really willing to throw this opportunity away, you can do a lot of good.”

“What do you know, you are just a maid,” Vella snapped

“That maid, took on four demons by herself and killed them. That maid is a trusted friend and sister. I would watch what you say about Hellen.” Coreen said getting angry.

Hellen shrugged, “I am a [combat butler] I like maid clothes, and no one touches my family. I think I should leave you two to your discussions, and get back to the lessons, last time I left them alone, Kiki ate all the snacks.” She opened the door and left closing the door softly behind her.

“Why do you want me?” Vella asked uncomfortably.

“You know how to deal with men, you are not a push over, and quite frankly you have few options unless you want to go back to being a [scullery maid].” Coreen said leaning over the desk.

“I can just go home.” She replied.

“To do what, get married to some stuck-up lord, have a child or two. From what I understood about you, you had opportunities to do that, and you made sure not one Lordling would approach you. I know all about your dealing with Lord Galaviz’s son, where you went out of your way to put snakes in his bed.”

Vella smiled, “He was such an ass, thinking that just because he was a lord, that I would fawn all over him.”

“That’s the attitude I want, even having a strong man behind you is not a bad thing. You can pick out your own people for protection, and you answer directly to me.” She said sitting back down.

“Are you not sleeping with Lord Bloodstone?” She taunted.

“He has not much as touched me since the ceremony. It has been discussed. I’m not ready for that level of trust right now, he understood.”

“He seems like the bratty lords I have dealt with in the past. Does he even listen to your advice?”

“He does, and I listened to his, and Lady Amethyst’s. She was upset with this multiple marriages more so that I and the others were. We came to an understanding, the six of us. Don’t think for one moment he runs this Hold, and Fortress by himself, he leaves the hard work to us. Lets be frank Vella Jetarious, someone is going to realize who you are and if they don’t think that putting you in danger might sway your father, they will try to a ransom you off. He would send word here and we would tell him that we let you go. It would cause a number of issues, for the lord here and your father. If you decide to leave, without my offer of protection I would have to insist on an escort.”

“I don’t need your charity.” Vella said glaring at Coreen.

“It’s not charity, it’s being smart and practical. Tell you what sleep on it, and if you still don’t want to work for me, we can come to some other arrangement, to get you home if that’s where you want to go.”

“I don’t think I will change my mind,” Vella said standing up and heading for the door.

Coreen watched her leave, not saying anything further.


Vella stood in the hallway, with the servitude papers in her hand. She slowly walked down the hall there was a door partially open, and voices were talking as she drew closer to the door, she could hear the conversation.

“I have no idea where he might be, that’s why I was asking you.” the first voice said

“I know he left about twenty minutes ago, I saw him walk by, why would you think I kept track of him like that,”the second voice replied

“I thought you liked him to?” The first voice asked.

“I never said that, I think your reading too much into what I said the other day Xyre.”, the second voice replied.

“Then why are you all flustered, admit it, at least to me we have known each other what two and a half decades.” Xyre said.

“Why, it’s not like there’s anything to it, I’m a half gazer, humans find us, creepy.” Was the reply.

“You are just afraid to ask, you do this all the time, Rana, you look for the faults and never give people a chance.”

“I gave you a chance, I just want you to be happy.”

“I’m not happy, my best friend in the whole world is jealous, and I want to make it right.”

Vella found herself standing at the door listening.

“It’s not your fault, it’s just how the world is.”

“It’s just not right Rana, I can always take the money and we can go home,” Xyre said.

There was laughter, “You keep saying that, I think you like them as much as I do. Do you know what Kuya said to me this morning?”

“No, I was working with Brigette.”

“She asked, what it was like being resurrected, I didn’t really have an answer.”

“What did you tell her.” Xyre asked.

“I told her the truth, that it both scared me and filled me with awe and wonder. I still find it hard to believe that I was dead.”, Rana replied.

“C’mere” The door was closed, starling Vella with the abrupt slam.

Vella wandered down the hall. She took the servants stairwell to the first floor. She was sure that she had misheard them talking. She found herself back in the kitchen and walked out the side door.  She walked out of the gate to the residence and into the town of Hevenas. The town was still in disarray, the damage that had been done weeks ago was still being repaired. Most of it had been fixed, the burned building where still in ruins.

The Fortress was known as Deepwater, because of the well they had to dig to get water when it was build sixty or so years back, at least that’s how the story went. The local wells were deep, much deeper than her home. There were people working and the sound of the smith hammering metal. There was an inn, called ‘the Worthless pile’ from the outside it looks well maintained, cheerful and homey. Sandstone bricks and intricate stone carvings made up most of the building’s outer structure.  There was small window covered with curtains, as she entered the bartender was handling some customers, “Morning miss, can I help you?’ He said

“Uh, yeah um, can I get a room?” she asked.

“You want a place to sleep or do you want a suite,” he asked.

“how much for each?” She asked.

“It’s two silvers for the suite, and one for the single bed.”

“I will take a suite”, she placed two silvers on the counter, and took the key from him.

“Can I get a meal?” She asked.

The innkeeper smiled, “Sure thing miss, pick a table and the [barmaid] will be with you shortly.” He said gesturing to the empty tabled to one side of the inn.

Vella looked around and froze, Lord Bloodstone was sitting at a table with a blond woman in mage robes.  She picked a table close to them.

The [barmaid] came over to the table after she sat down, “Wat kin I gechu miss” She said.

“What do you have?” She asked.

“Oh, today is a chefs special stew, with bread for a silver. Or if you want we have chicken with tanno stalks for a silver. Ale or wine?”

“Ale,” She said.

“Ok miss be back shortly with yur order,” and walked into the back.

She had missed the conversation, but tried to listen in.

“I had no idea,” Brigette replied.

“I suppose it depends on how each person thinks and what preconceptions they have.” Bloodstone said his back to Vella.

“I still don’t understand how you have such a grasp of magic, I am having trouble even getting through the one book you gave me.”

“It’s more a grasp of how matter and energy work. Magic is just another force, it has its own rules, of course.”

“Just a few hours talking to you last week gave me so many insights, I actually gained a level from the project you have me working on. I think I know how you can do what you want to do, there are some really complex spells in the book you gave me. I am still trying to grasp the spell completely.”

“Glad I was able to help. There is one other thing I wanted to ask about, I know it’s deeply personal, what happened to you and your team?”

“I thought everyone knew what happened to the golden swords. It’s not that it’s a secret. There were six of us, we all came from Izril, to try something more difficult, we were already named adventurers, there were just no big scores to be had back home. Don’t get me wrong there were dungeons, that were never completely searched, and we did go into a couple, we even managed to finance a trip here to Rhir. Worst month of my life, was when we sailed here. We met with the king as we were named adventurers, and he suggested we look for some relics north in the blight. We never found anything worth while. We killed goblin, trolls, and other creatures out there. We found an old city or town in ruins once and came back with some old magic items. We kept looking and we found an underground crypt in that town. We should have known better than opening it. ”

Brigette started her tale…

“You’re the expert Brigette, you ever seen these symbols before?” The gray scaled drake wearing heavy plate mail asked the smaller blond woman.

“Hrak, Em is more an expert on old cultures than I am.”

“I will look, “ Em the very skinny mage said. It was hard to tell the gender of the mage. the robes she wore hung loosely on her frame, the robe was magical and offered protection, from edged and blunt weapons.

“There are two traps, “The gnoll said, pointing out the two pressure plates. The gnoll wore a chain shirt and pants. The fur that was visible was brown almost rust color.

There was a yawn, from the half-elf, “there is another on in the ceiling if the door is opened looks like a way to block the door. I can make it so it doesn’t trigger if you give me a little room.” The half elf woman wore an assortment of tight black leather, with an array of visible blades. She war a bandolier of potions and blades.

“I do not like this place,” Balis the string man said, “all I sense is death and decay.” Balis wore his typical green robe, it was magical and had the ability to blend into the natural plant growth. Here underground it was just its normal green.

Em took two steps back from Balis, “Sorry”

“It’s not you Em.”

“I do not recognize these symbols; the swirl seems to repeat several times. Should I take a rubbing, for when we get back,” Em asked.

“Sure, just be mindful of the pressure plates?” the dark-haired half elf said.

“Yes mum”, Em said softly, she took out a sheet and began taking a rubbing of the glyphs on the door.

“All set,” Em said softly and stepped back putting the rubbing into her bag of holding.

“We ready to go?” Hrak said impatiently.

“You all have your healing potions ready?” Balis asked them.

“Standard formation till we come to the first intersection.” Shen the Gnoll said.

“Ok I am going to open it,” Hrak said

He dug his claws into the door and pulled. Nothing happened, and he kept pulling. There was a grinding sound and the door started to shift, He pulled what we thought was a door, it thick stone plug, there were no hinges. The air inside was putrid, and smelled of rot and decay.

“That smell is horrible.” The gnoll said backing up.

“Light” Hrak said.

Em and Brigette cast light in the air above them, they would follow the mages as they moved.  They stepped into the passageway. The passage sloped downwards and appeared to go on beyond where our light could see.

Hrak flexed his claws and got ready as he usually did before a fight, we each had our own set thing we did before delving into a dangerous or unknown area.

“I see no traps in the light, so we take it slow.”Shen said looking down the passage, trying not to acknowledge the smell. We knew Shen , his sense of smell had saved us in the past, and this was going to cause us some issues. He never once refused to go into a dungeon or explore a new place. “This place sets me on edge even more so than any other place we have ever been.”

“Here try this Shen, should help with the smell” Balis said giving him a small ball of leaves.

“It’s better,” Shen said holding it close to his nose, “I can still smell whatever that is thats decaying, I have no idea what it might be. It is unfamiliar.”

“We take it slow then if we find any side passages we come back here and figure out our next step,” Em said voicing our standard tactics.

We all entered the passage; it sloped down for at least a thousand feet, and opened out into a large room. The room was huge and we never saw the other side.

It was mostly a stone floor. We saw groves carved into it. There was a feeling of calm that washed over us, because we started to joke about how tense we were.

“You were worried for nothing It probably some refuse pile”, Balis said.

Hrak laughed, “Not even worth coming down here.”

“What’s wrong with you, “Em asked.

It was then that Balis noticed, “Would you look at that.” He was looking up and there were what looked like tentacles and a glowing deep red eye.

“I’ll poke your eye out,” Yvette our rouge half elf giggled.

“That’s a strange shade, for tentacles,“ Bridgette said looking up.

There was a burst of black energy and each of us was thrown back, in a different direction.  Hrak got up fighting mad for just a moment, the thing whatever it was floated in the air just out of reach. Hrak was not of the old blood so he was unable to hit the creature with his claws. Em had time and was able to fire a wave of electrical energy at the creature [Lightning burst]; it didn’t seem to affect it. Shen had fired two arrows at the creature, I don’t know if he hit or not. Balis used a druidic ability to heal wounds, on us. Yvette had also thrown daggers at the creature. Brigette cast [arcane arrows] a spell that creates arrows arranged in a circle and fires each one at the target until they are exhausted, a good mage can keep up the barrage if they knew the spell well. The arcane arrows struck the creature.

What happened next was that it attacked Hrak and he was wrapped in a pulsing blue tentacle. Shen hacked at the tentacle, trying to free Hrack and was grabbed as well.The tentacle had grabbed his sword arm.  Balis and Yvette rushed to help free them. Em cast a [fireball] at the beast, and again it didn’t seem to affect it. Brigette began casting her next spell, it was her usual attack against strong foes [Ice prison].

Hrak began screaming as the creature lifted him off the ground and his body began to turn black where the tentacle grabbed him. His arms were pinned to his sides, so he attempted to break free, and was unable to do so. Shen began stabbing at the tentacle that was around his other arm as his hand turned black. Balis cast a barrier of thorns around Shen’s body they glowed in a green light. The tentacle was cut with tiny scratches, and a trickle of blue black blood began to drip. Yvette Threw two more daggers, coated with a green paralytic poison. Only one of the daggers hit home, and the creature pulled it free. Em seeing the results of the battle, suggested, “We need to regroup, get Hrak and Shen free we will come back” She started casting a new spell, a glowing spinning disk began to form, the [spectral disk] hit the creature and cut into it and then stopped. Brigette finished her spell, and the temperature dropped but the ice formed around the creature in a very thin sheet, not enough to stop its movement.

Hrack continued to scream as did Shen and the black corruption under the skin areas began to spread across their bodies. Balis began casting another thorn globe around Hrak and there was a loud black pulse from the creature and all of Balis’s gear dropped as a find sand flowed out of his clothes. The creature had turned his body to powder. Em screamed,” We need to go now!”

A third tentacle grabbed Yvette by the leg as she turned to run. Another grabbed at Em and she had already dived at Brigette knocking them both flat and farther from the creature. Brigettes spell was lost as she was knocked back. Yvette had started stabbing the creature’s tentacle with her daggers, as the creature began to drag her along the ground a fourth tentacle grabber her left wrist.

“Get off Em, you ruined my spell.” Brigette said angrily.

“We need to leave now, help me get them free,” Em said standing back up, and helping Brigette stand.

Brigette began casting, as did Em. The two of them had worked with each other for six years, they knew the others spells. They were always improving and usually would try to out do each other in a moment of crisis unleashing the new spells they had been working on.  Em cast a black energy ball that slammed into the creature washing over it, illuminating it a [black flame]. Brigettes spell was four [light javelins] they pierced through the creature’s tough skin. The creature spasmed, from the attack, Yvette was pulled in two directions from the tentacles and there was a sickening sound as her arm was ripped from her body, she screamed as blood sprayed, and she went limp.

Her body was thrown into the darkness, a wet sickening splat was heard, Brigette, seemed indifferent to the plight of the others, as if her emotions were wrapped in a blanket.

Em started screaming, “WE NEED TO LEAVE!” The panic in her voice was noticeable. Brigette looked at the grizzly scene with a calm detachment, it was surreal.

Hrak, continued to try and break free, the black corruption had covered most of his body. Shen switched the sword to his other hand and used the blade to cut off his own arm, freeing himself from the creature.  Blood sprayed, and the sharp blade cut through. Shen howled in agony, and stumbled several steps towards Brigette and Em, before falling clutching the stump of his right arm.

There was a disgusting crunch as Hrak was squeezed in half by the tentacle, the corpse that fell looked emaciated and leaked a black blood.

Em pushed Brigette towards the entry way. There was a panic in her voice, “Run!” Brigette turned and ran taking her glowing light source with her. She looked back and Em had turned and began casting. Em’s glowing light orb hung over her shoulder. Brigette watched as four tentacles wrapped around her, and tore her apart in an instant, her glowing light orb flickered and died. Brigette ran back up the passage, She could hear the creature behind her scraping along the walls. The panic and fear hit her as she ran, it was as if a switch had been thrown and she ran faster. At the top of the passage without hesitation she tripped the deadfall trap that would seal the monstrosity in that hole. There was no way she could move the plug back into place.  She ran through the caverns they had explored, to the steps and out into the blight. She ran till her sides hurt and she collapsed, gasping for breath.


Brigette teared up as she spoke about her colleagues, “I should have stayed with them”

Bloodstone, leaned across the table, “Survivors guilt, there’s nothing you could have done against such a creature.”

Brigette broke and the tears flowed, Bloodstone stood up and put his arm around her. “I am sorry I had you tell me all that”

“I needed to tell someone, Lady Aladeana wasn’t here, and the fight with the demons, it all came back. I froze; I wasn’t any use to anyone. I was waiting for the report, and I knew you would ask me to step down.” She sniffed.

“Why would I want you to step down? You froze, it happens, after that tale, I understand completely.” He said sitting back down.

“I wasn’t sure; I have nightmares still about it. I have woken up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat.” she said softly looking at her hands.

“Brigette, look me in the eye.” He said formally. She looked up at him. “I have a personal favor to ask, after hearing that” He started to say.

Vella go up angrily and stepped over to the table, “Leave her alone.” Vella said angrily at Bloodstone. “I don’t know what your game is, but I intend to put a stop to it.”

“Really, then why don’t you pull up a chair and keep your comments to yourself until you hear what I have to say to the head mage here.” He said giving her a distasteful look.

“He’s the lord here, I put people in danger.” She started to say.

Bloodstone looked at Vella, daring her to interrupt again. “As I was saying,” he said looking back to Brigette.” I wanted to know if you would tell me where this place is.”

Brigette turned pale, and started to shake, “I.. I.. I couldn’t send some to die there.”

“It’s all right, I think I have an idea what is in that crypt. I want to do something for you. That is if you will let me try.” He said softly.

Brigette wrung her hands, trying to get the fear she felt under control, before speaking. “I can’t, my friends died to save me. I couldn’t ever let someone else die like that.”

“Even if I can bring your friends back to you,” He said.

“We knew we would eventually die exploring a dungeon. I survived I can keep their memory alive. I tried going back to adventuring I couldn’t it was too painful.”

“I would like to know where that place is, if you have told Lady Aladeana I can understand not wanting to betray that confidence.” Bloodstone said.

“It’s not that, you weren’t there, you didn’t feel the indifference when my friends were dying of being able to do anything. I felt helpless. I cried for an hour when I got out of there. I eventually found the horses we had tied up and brought them back. I swore that one day I would try and go back for them, maybe I never will.” She said tears flowing down her face.

“Then show me where, keep your promise. I can help you keep it.”

“She doesn’t want to tell you!” Vella said snapping.

Bloodstone and Brigette looked at Vella. “I know she doesn’t, she has the same problem you do.” He said to Vella.

“What’s that?”, Vella replied looking at Brigette.

“You can’t trust someone.” He got up from the table, “Think about it Brigette, I am offering something more than what you’re thinking, I can explain later, I think you two should to talk.” He looked at Vella, “Go ahead, tell her what you heard; you both decide how you want to handle it.” With that he walked over to the [innkeeper] passed over some coins, gestured to the two of them at the table and then left.

The innkeeper came over, and asks, “He said you two needed something to drink, what can I get you?”

“I’m not thirsty,” Vella said glaring at the [innkeeper].

“Can I have a bottle of wine,” Brigette asked.

“I have a number of wine’s in stock, anything particular you are interested in.” The Innkeeper asked.

“No just bring something good.” She said. The innkeeper turned and took two steps and, Brigette said, “Wait, would you happen to have anything from Izril?”

The innkeeper turned back, “I do, I will bring something from Izril.” The innkeeper returned shortly with two wine glasses and the bottle of wine, he pulled the cork and let it breath. He offered the cork to Brigette.

Brigette took the offered cork and inhaled. “This should be a good wine, thank you”

“Look, if you need anything food more wine, just tell the [barmaid], When the Lord, asks a personal favor you don’t disappoint.”

The innkeeper returned to work, leaving the tow of them at the table.

Brigette poured herself a glass of wine,”You sure you don’t want any”

“Fine pour me some as well.” Vella said as she saw and smelled the wine.

The two of them began drinking then talking.


Vella and Brigette sat and drake wine, until the bottle was empty. “Sounds like you got a great offer to work for one of his wives and you turned it down?” Brigette asked.

“I can’t work for that man.” Vella said.

“Be honest, there must be something about him that you find interesting.” Brigette teased.

“Not in the slightest. You mentioned you were working on something, revolutionary.” Vell asked.

Brigette reached into her robes and pulled out a small piece of curved metal with a gemstone in it. She put it on the table in front of Vella.

“This is it.” she said proudly

“Doesn’t look like much.” Vella said picking it up.

“I have mine right here?” She said pointing it out, it was behind right her ear. It appeared to be a piece of jewelry.

“How does it work?”

“Put in behind your ear then activate it with the commands. Hold on I have the instructions.” She said pulling out a piece of folded parchment.

“Can’t you just tell me?” Vella asked as she put it behind her ear.

“Nope, you have to read this for yourself; it will make more sense once you read it.”

Vella unfolded the parchment, it was written in a perfect script, and had instructions on how to use the earpiece. Vella read over the script, “How was this made, I can feel the letters.” Vella said holding the parchment.

“Something called a printing press. Lord Bloodstone, commissioned one of the local blacksmiths to make it.”

“This is amazing.” Vella said.

Brigette nodded, “He says that eventually spells can be printed the same way, will just require a lot of work.”

Vella put the earpiece behind her ear. “I invoke,” She read a line from the page. “Prototype six” She heard a chime. “Rename to Vella”

There was another chime.

“How to I contact someone.” Vella asked.

“Well you would need to know what their device name is called. Lord Bloodstone says they used numbers back in his world but here we can use whatever we want, there is a list on the back.” Brigette said pointing out the written information on the back.

“Oh, how many of these are there?” She asked.

“I really don’t know, not many have been made. Give it a try, there is a list there of contacts.”

Vella looked over the list, “Really, I don’t want to talk to any of these people.”

“Try it out, if you don’t like it then we can reset it.”

“Might as well get this over with Vella call, ” She looked at the written notes. “Is this right?” She asked.

Bridgette giggled, “I asked him the same thing.”

“Prototype one,” There was a chime and a click.

“Hello Vella,” Bloodstone said in her ear.

“I guess this works, can I ask you a personal question?” Vella asked.

“You can ask, doesn’t mean I will tell you.” He replied.

“Did you put your wife up to making me the offer earlier?”

There was laughter and,”No, she does what she wants. I told her you wouldn’t accept.”

“What makes you say that, you don’t even know me.” She said getting angry at him and he wasn’t even there.

There was a long silence,”You are right, I made some assumptions based on when we first met, some wrong, some right. I was opposed to offering you a job. After you saved people I relented. Her offer to you is her own”

Vella looked over at Brigette, “How do you turn it off?” She asked.

“Just touch the gem on the side,” Brigette said and Bloodstone echoed her.

She touched the gem on the side there was a single note and the connection turned off. She reached up to take it off and it was stuck. “Uh, is it supposed to do that?” She asked.

“Yes, you need to remove it?” Brigette asked.

“Yea,” she said.

Brigette showed here how to remove the earpiece and Vella set it back on the table. “It’s pretty useful if you know who you need to talk to.”

“That’s yours, I was given an extra. You can have it if you think it will be useful.”

“There’s not many of them so why would I need it.”

Brigette laughed, “that’s just the special function, it can let you send [message] like a mage. Anyone using this can’t be overheard, there’s something Bloodstone called encryption, he kind of explained how it works, something about keys and envelopes. I got about half of what he said. As I understand he sent several them to the King, with instructions, and a printing press.”

“A what?” Valla asked.

“A printing press, it’s how the instructions were made. It is remarkable, he said that eventually books can be printed that way, and common folk will be able to read and write.”

Vella looked skeptical, “That’s if the king allows it.”

“why wouldn’t he?” Brigette asked.

“This could be used for all kinds of bad things, propaganda against the king for one thing.”

“Not if he controls it, people could pay the king to print books, poetry, mathematics, magic theory.” She shrugged, “I think that’s why he sent one to the king first.”

Brigette and Vella continued to talk.


Coreen sat with Brigette and Vella. Brigette was looking over the contract that Coreen had read earlier.

“I don’t see anything bad in here, I looks like a great deal.” She looked up at Coreen, “You have any openings for a high-level mage?”

Coreen smiled, “If you’re really interested, I am sure we can work something out that keeps you occupied and fulfilled.”

“I was joking, this job here keeps me busy,” She looked back to the contract and held it out to Vella. “A few of the clauses I don’t understand. Like the one here” She pointed them out to Vella.

Vella looked over the clause,”Yeah that is weird”, She looked over at Coreen and read the clause, “In the event that you receive classes outside of your duties, they will not be changed or removed unless you explicitly request that they be changed. Classes also granted, will not be removed without an explicit request. Then there is this one, Money given to the officer, shall be used exclusively for furtherance of the corporation, anything that falls outside of this will be considered a personal expense and be removed from the remuneration payments made to the officer.”

Coreen nodded, “Its basically if you spend money on things that are for yourself we will take it out of your wages. The first part, well that’s something you will have to discuss with Lord Bloodstone.”

There was a knock on the door, “Come in,” Coreen said.

Kuya entered, “Have you seen my dad?” She asked. She was wearing, dark pants and a white shirt with a green vest. Her hair was braided and tied. She was also wearing what looked like long leather boots.

“Not since earlier,” Coreen said.

“Oh, no one can seem to find him. I thought he was in his room, but even Azalar isn’t there.” She turned and opened the door, “If you see him can you tell him I wanted to talk to him?” She said.

“Sure,” Coreen said, as Kuya left the room.

Brigette said, “Brigette to Prototype one” She waited for a moment, “That’s odd, there was an odd noise it’s not connecting.”

Vella sighed, “Let me try, Vella to Prototype one, that’s odd it made a strange noise.”

Coreen then smiled and tried making a connection, it also failed. “There is only one place I know that these do not work.” she said tapping her earpiece.”

“Where?” Brigette asked.

Coreen looked away, “Well, it’s not my place to say.”

“Meaning what,” Vella asked.

“Coreen looked back at her, “Meaning that it is something that I can’t talk about. We will just have to wait till, we hear from Lord Bloodstone. Do you want to sign or are you still not interested?”

About two hours later, there was a general search of the premises and grounds. Lord Bloodstone has been missing for three hours; all of his belongings were missing as well. Azalar it turned out was missing as well. Lady Amethyst has issued a general order to search the grounds; no one else had seen him since he left the inn. The guards had seen him enter, and head to the second floor.  Kuya and Zach were looking as well.