06. The Grand Master's Ultimatum
Players: John, Tim
Notes: Tim left early, so had to improvise a new story line focusing on Roenick.
Characters: Arladon, Roenick
Other Personas: Tuntau (sylvan elf), Sage Fides (Grand master of the Synod of Magikas), Maryana (White Wizard)
After investigating the second sacrificial site and finding another diary (and leaving it with Asa who will try to read it), the group enters the Forest of a Thousand Wishes, in search of Tuntau and the sylvan elves. There, they hope to find some answers and allies. For his part, Bard is also looking at strengthening his bond with the goddess of nature, Nephythys.
Apogee 3, Year 810
- Tuntau leads the group deeper into the Forest of a Thousand Wishes. Although mostly unseen, Bard, Arladon and Roenick know there are other sylvan elves moving with and around them.
- The group reaches a camp and are surprised by how well it blends with the trees. At first, it looks deserted, but one by one, sylvan elves of all ages start to appear. Tuntau brings the group to a shelter and tells them to make themselves comfortable. Food will be brought to them and he'll come check on them later.
- Discussing their situation, Bard, Arladon and Roenick decides to unlock the medallion, then returns to Asa to ask him what he found about the diary, as well as what he knows of the southern region of the Lake of Stars. Then, they'll head back to Telstar and come back south using a boat (while keeping in touch with Asa via the ring given to Bard).
- Tuntau returns, but does not buy into either the medallion or the sacrificial sites. To the elves, he explains, both issues are of no importance. He says that it is up to Bard to unlock the medallion and proves to Mother Nature his dedication, while the sacrificial sites are too far east to be of any significance.
- Bard is discouraged by Tuntau's reaction and walks off. Arladon eats the food brought to them and goes to sleep. Roenick studies his spell book. Bard comes back, takes a few bites, and goes to sleep. Roenick follows suit.
Night of Apogee 3 to 4, Year 810
- A splitting noise resounds through the night, waking up the camp. After a moment, Roenick realizes that it is the same noise made by the portal created by Sage Fides at the inn, in Telstar. Bard grabs his axe and Arladon his bow. Then, Tuntau appears, pointing towards Roenick.
- Roenick freezes where he stands, as the form of Sage Fides appears behind Tuntau. He hopes the Grand Master is here to talk about their quest, but a part of him knows that is not the case. Sage points to Roenick. "Come with me," he says. Bard intercedes and asks to follow. "Only him," says Sage. He will return.
- Roenick follows Sage through the portal.
- As he steps out of the portal and onto a large platform, Roenick realizes he is high in the air. Ahead, Sage stands, holding his staff, and looking away. Roenick approaches and see two towers, below, one black and one white. "Welcome to Dar Al'Kalif," says the Grand Master.
- Sage explains to Roenick that in order to continue together, Roenick has to make a decision as to whether or not to join the Synod. The other members of the Synod are pressuring him, and in many ways, he agrees. The reputation of the guild is precarious, and upholding standards key to maintaining it. Working with a rogue wizard is not acceptable. To this end, Sage tasks Maryana, a White Wizard, with introducing Roenick to Dar Al'Kalif, and the Synod. Then, in a few hours, Roenick will have to choose between abandoning the Arcanes and his magic, or joining the Synod.
- Maryana leads Roenick out of the central tower, and shows him the sights of Dar Al'Kalif, including the white, gray and black towers (one for each of the orders part of the Synod), the Gem Tower (accessible to all orders), the training grounds, the four elemental altars, and finally, the Spikes.
- Roenick can't help being intrigued by the Spikes, a dormant airship that was brought to the compound almost 700 years ago, while remaining shrouded in mysteries. Maryana has made it one of her main areas of research, and explains that while the ship was initially found in the deserts of Oru, that is not where it originated from. Still, not much is known, and as of yet, the Synod is not even close to getting it back in the air.
- Next, Roenick asks Maryana about the tests he will have to undergo if he chooses to join the guild. Maryana explains there are three tests. The first is about knowledge, and will require studying the books and the history of the Synod and magic of the world. A test will then be administered. The second is a open display of abilities, performed in a closed and controlled environment in front of three or more judges. Finally, the third test is about control, and although Maryana says the second test was the most stressful, the third is by far the most difficult and dangerous.
- Roenick asks what else Maryana can tell his about the third test. Instead of more explanations, she brings him to the training grounds and asks him to call forth a spell he is familiar with, but without his iris. Roenick tries, and fails.
- Maryana offers to support him, if he wants to try again. Roenick agrees. He kneels and she put a hand on his shoulder. As he starts opening himself a second time, he starts to feel different flows of energy. Yet, he still can't call it to himself. He realizes that a subconscious fear is blocking him. This is the first time he ever tried to master the energy without his iris. Then, he feels Maryana's presence, and has a breakthrough. Magic starts to flow in... but as it does, a powerful torrent of fire energy answers. Roenick knows it's coming the fire altar, and he also knows he won't be able to stop it. In this moment, Maryana pulls him out of the casting.
- "This is what you need to master," Maryana explains, "for the third test." She offers to help Roenick, if he wants to practice more. But this will have to wait, as it is now time to return to the Grand Master.
- Roenick meets Sage in the master's office, on the top floor of the main crystal tower of Dar Al'Kalif. "So," says Sage, "have you come to a decision?". "I have," replies Roenick. He says that walking around the city and learning about the organization has shown him the importance of restricting and exploring the magic in an organized matter. Because of this, he has decided to join the Synod.
- Sage goes further and asks Roenick if he knows which of the three orders he will choose, if he passes the initial tests successfully. Roenick says that he does. "The White Order," he states. Sage, who was from that order, seems pleased. He explains that due to the nature of what they are discovering happening around Telstar, he needs to know who he can trust. Knowing Roenick's intention will help in this matter.
- Sage tells Roenick that he now has to go back, but that the tests will be performed shortly. Once, and if, the tests are completed, he offers to bring Roenick face to face with the Yasmina, who should be able to remove the curse from his finger. Before leading him back, though, there is something he wants to show Roenick. He leads him in a different room, at the center of which is a round table with a map of the world. "I have found similar instances, other sacrificial sites, located throughout the world," Sage says. "Recently, Yasmina told me that she found a similar site north of her city, Tiras Lyn." Sage goes on to explain that from what was found so far, it looks like the sites are spaced around Telstar, in a way as to form a net. The same pattern has been used around Tiras Lyn. He can only surmise that both cities have been targeted, although the purpose of the attack is yet unknown. He urges Roenick to tell Yamira to concentrate all her energy on purging one of the site, thus breaking a link in the chain surrounding Telstar.
- Roenick thanks Sage, and together, they return to the roof of the tower. There, Sage creates another portal. As he is about to step through, Roenick thinks about the portal, about how it is created. He knows this is not done using the Arcanes. The energy used to create it is extremely raw, and fearsome in its power. As he passes through the portal, Roenick is left with a strong feeling of unease.
The Ultimatum ( COMPLETED): Choose between joining the Synod or abandoning the magic.
The Mentor's Secret (Roenick): Investigate Saldoras' life, including his sojourn to Shalème and the reasons why he would not join the Synod of Magikas. Complete tidying house (38% done). Investigate secret lab in the Dragon's Forest.
Symbol in the Dirt (Roenick): Research the strange symbol drawn by Hana in the dirt in front of her house. Roenick is now acquainted with the people at the library. 2nd option is to visit the library in Var Galdin.
The White Finger (Roenick): Figure out what is the nature of the infection that is eating up at his finger. Sage Fidès mentioned it is similar in properties to the black mark of Xemus.
The Ranger (Bard): Find out what happened to the ranger who had a camp east of Hana's house.
The Family Signet Ring (Bard): Find out the history behind Cilia's family ring, as well as its powers.
Nephythys' medallion (Bard): Meet with Tuntau, a sylvan elf living in the Forest of Wishes, to empower medallion.
The Addiction (Bard): Bard's must find a way to overcome his dependency of drinking.
The Land Owner (Arladon): Find out what Arladon's father did to the farmers to make them hate him so. Discovered that his father is scared of someone.
- Roenick: +50 XP for completing "The Grand Master's Ultimatum"
- Roenick: +2 Mana for breakthrough while trying to control magical energies.
- Roenick: +1 Will due to actions (rolls).