(Authors note: I know late of date, but for those of you who haven't cleared msq, will contain spoilers)
Memory sphere 2
Not much of note has passed in the week following my last entry. Keeping up with guard and gathering duties has preoccupied much of my attention. This and re-familiarizing myself with Scholastic based spells. I had my pixie return home to do two things: first to leave another note for my wife and kids saying I was alright and not to panic too much. Second is to recover a basic arcanist tome I had used for practice when I first found the memory stone.
Power calculations are relatively simple. After all, I deal with them on a constant basis with my thaumaturgic and black mage spells, albeit on a faster than instinct basis. Comparing early notes and gauging how much more power I could pump into them I was able to expand on certain elementally basic spells. More specific the healing and shielding categories. Even my pixie was helping me out with modulation of diagrams; seems he's learning about the same pace as I am, possibly faster. I note that he's made a few changes to his colors too. Must be adapting well with it.
Some time in the night, about day 18 or 19, I felt another aetheric implosion and it jarred me from sleep. The general direction was from the east. The next morning there were reports that the Rak'Tika greatwood now had illumination from the night sky, just like lakeland and Il Mheg for the first time. The local inhabitants, a religious sect, was celebrating with a grand feast. Quite personally I began to worry about the person who was absorbing all the aether. According to what I've been able to come across, there are super monsters among the sin eaters called 'Lightwardens'. I may or may not have mentioned this in a previous entry. Anyroad, these Lightwardens usually consume whoever defeats them and the process of the overhead sky continues.
However, what is being observed is that there's no aetheric residue remaining from defeated wardens. One such result of this is the sky's clearance. But energy like that--a fundamental, force of nature, and massive--can't simply be destroyed. It has to go somewhere. By all accounts whoever is drawing the aether of each of the defeated wardens has to be someone extremely powerful to keep in check the transformative effects. And given that there's only (in theory) two more out there, I began to wonder how much more he or she could handle safely.
I was asked to do a quick prospect of the greatwood with a few other adventurers for usable supplies and materials. The populace, while not overly welcoming at least tolerated my presence. I spent a few hours cataloging what I could find and reported back to the Facet. They were a bit thrilled as to what was available and swiftly started to draw up a trade agreement.
Day 20 held an unusual and most unwelcome surprise. An attack wave of sin eaters made for lakeland. The town defenses went up and the citizens were cautioned not to go outside until the signal was given that they were beaten back. It took a few bells, but it happened. A message was floated in, quite literally, from an eulmoran airship of condemning the attack of sin eaters and any who should wish to join them will be accepted with welcome arms.
An odd rumor started to circulate around the city with the soldiers who came back from fighting. Some were saying it was too coincidental, too much of a random chance that so many would descend in strength and fight as organized as they were. Many dismissed this as post battle stress. But there seemed some merit behind the activity, so I looked into it further. And indeed. Sin eaters tended to hunt in ones and twos though doing so they would bicker over who would consume the aether. Yet this seemed...militarized. If someone could exert that amount of control over sin eaters and indeed was serious over a war, it could be very bad indeed.
About day 21 I saw a posting for a new mining expedition in Amh Araeng. Apparently the locals at the mining camp called Twine have discovered a new ore vein for making of exceptionally durable but lightweight metal so I figured I'd go out and lend a hand. A few gatherers, myself included, were dispatched to verify the purity of the metal. While there, another aetheric implosion occurred and the sky cleared up, revealing a bright blue.
But also I felt something off in the distance. The convergence of so much dense aether sent out a wave of light nausea to my senses. I leaned against a rock wall to get my bearings straight.
Something was wrong, and it was coming from the south by southwest. But then the moment passed and the world rightened itself again. I was still disoriented from it so I asked to go to town for a moment to clear my head. Taking my loaned amaro mount, I flew to Mord Suuq for a drink. I met Serraq again with Taynor in tow. He was about ready to write a letter to me but glad I came in advance of it. Taynor declared he was strong enough to try summoning one of the rifts that he worked on before the experiment went awry those hundred or more years ago.
We went out to an isolated dune bank and he cast the portal. It was smaller than what was had been observed earlier and it wasn't in place for very long. Then I felt a prickling sensation along my spine. I turn around and there's the Cardinal, standing right behind us a few yalms back. Without warning he casts his own portal. I and Taynor were far enough back, but Serriq was being pulled in. In a surprising effort, Taynor overrides that portal with one of his own. Magic, like physical objects it seems, also can't occupy the same space too. Serriq is saved, for the moment. Phronesis looks at Taynor and I swear that a look of recognition flits in his visible, if bloodred eye. Looking at us for a moment, it suddenly retreats.
Earning a momentary respite, Taynor suddenly announces he wants to get stronger. Seeing as combat is sometimes the best option, we agreed on two things: fighting here would not do us any favors because it might bring Phronesis back and Lakeland has a few denizens that could be used for target practice. We made our way there via air ferry and staked out a spot of terrain. Serriq invited me to participate in combat by means of demonstrating how it's done. Shrugging, I oblige and take down a particularly fierce wolverine.
Taynor asks for advice on how I conduct battle. Pragmatically, I answered to him that casting spells in sequence would bring about the clarity needed, though I was highly tempted to tell him that throwing everything at the enemy was also an idea. Then he faced his own wolverine. Suffice it to say, it was a losing battle at first until Serriq jumped in. Taynor, after catching his breath, wanted to go again. I gave him some morale-boosting words and he tackled another wolverine; this time to his success.
They promised that they'd continue to train here for awhile to build up confidence and practice of spellcasting for Taynors sake. I left them there and returned to my quarters after a long day.