Thursday June 4th, 799 GE
You thought you’d never get out of there. Between the incessantly thorough Arbiters of the Raven and the scrambling news reporters you barely had time to sleep. At least the hotel patrons’ testimony cleared you of any suspicion in the matter. Even though the Tidewater was badly burned, they remain in your debt. You’ve received trinkets of remembrance from several people, including a leather bracelet from Maggie, the granddaughter of the old Farnsworth couple you met on the ferry. Several men have sworn they will only cheer for Gruudash’s clan in the Big Fight from now on.
But the fact remains: you have missed your ferry. Gruudash and Skollur, you are now stuck in Southport.
Old Man, you have nowhere to be at the moment. Your next move is your own.
Alyss, you are expected to report back to Ilye Parnome to report on your mission. Your tutor, Koehetio Cyredtylar’quis, has promised to teach you your next summon. Having companions would make your journey safer on the road, and you have already witnessed the prowess of these people in battle. Everyone except for Skollur (who decides to seek his fortune on his own) agrees to accompany Alyss and they find an airship to carry them to Rilma.
The city rises from the plain, a jewel adorning the glittering Naltie River. One has an amazing view of the carpet of farmlands from the vast bridge connecting the Helyanwe airship port to the city proper. Upon arrival the party decided to visit the marketplace, but soon the afternoon storms roll in chasing them to the University. There is no shortage of impressive sights on the way there however: details invade Elven architecture down to the cobblestones. Plants heaping with blossoms spill from window-gardens, enticing smells waft from open windows, and chocobo-drawn wagons bring all sorts of products to market. At points it’s almost impossible to see the sky for all the spires crowding so close, but light is never a problem here. Water trickles gently around every street, throwing shifting patterns of light onto the crystal buildings. As they near the center the buildings begin to spread out and rise into the sky. The University itself is the tallest spire in Rilma, capped with The Lightning Temple. There summoners practice harnessing the magic flowing through the earth. The entrance arch itself is 50 feet tall. Alyss’ contact waits in his office on the first floor, next to the Imperial Archives.
Koehetio Cyredtylar’quis’ office is well-furnished, but crowded with books and tomes of all kinds. There is barely space for the four of you to stand. The plaque on the oak door declares him “Professor of Summoning, Conservator of the Imperial Archives of Magic”. He seems critical of his new pupil, but gives him access to the Archives for purposes of studying. He also invites the party to a function being held in the University ballroom on Friday: the empire’s yearly Trade Convention Gala. ….if they can meet the dress code. The vermin problem in the sewers provides the perfect opportunity to earn some quick money.
As Alyss heads excitedly into the archives, the rest of the party leaves for the sewers. On the way out they see the Conservator’s page, Cay Emett. The mousy teenager is overloaded with books, but staunchly refuses the party’s aid. When Gruudash tries to help Emett in his stubbornness drops them all. A bottle on top filled with golden powder shatters on the ground, enveloping the party. Emett seems inconsolable, knowing this will land him in trouble for sure. Maladietz takes the opportunity to steal a few old tomes while Gruudash tries to apologize. (Magical Oddities in the Jungles of Dongou and Targ Midwinter’s Travel Journals vol. 3: Turtle Cave)
The party ventures into the surprisingly clean sewers to fight the hoard of rats which until now had been kept in check. However the usual exterminators (a batch of teenagers, if the foreman’s mumbling is to be believed) have not shown up for their weekly duties. The party also finds that rumors of giant rats were true! Assailed by the squeaking swarms Gruudash and Maladietz watch in amazement as the Old Man exhibits a power the likes of which they have never seen! For a mere moment he seems to be in the prime of his life, glowing with immense magical energy and wisdom! They barely dodge a giant fireball that instantly kills the huge rat. But when they look back, the Old Man is back to his normal senile self.
Having made their money the party turns in for the night. Alyss is given quarters in the University dorms while the rest shack up at the Cheerful Chocobo, the local traveler’s inn just outside Rilma’s walls.
Friday June 5th, 799 GE
Maladietz decides to do a little gambling at the local gaming hall and ends up winning so much the management gives her a VIP room!
Gruudash and the Old Man spend their earnings buying fancy clothes for the gala.
After 6 hours of studying Alyss ascends to the top of Ilye Parnome to practice summoning Rahmuh. As the afternoon thunderstorms roll in lightning strikes the tower violently, releasing energy through the tower’s supports making the walls and floor glitter with power. The Conservator watches and waits to see if this new pupil will measure up to his other students. Alyss diligently meditates, connecting himself to the storm and to the laylines below. His first attempt, promising at first, backfires spectacularly, and Cyredtylar’quis shakes his head and leaves. But the young summoner doesn’t give up. Gathering himself he tries again! This time something seems to click and soon the booming cry of Rahmuh echoes the thunder all around him. He revels in the majesty of the creature for a while, then prepares himself to do it all over again as his tutor will inevitably ask him to repeat the feat in his presence. But turning back he sees Cyredtylar’quis standing in the stairway, smiling at him.
Later that evening the party dons their formal attire and takes in the glowing gala ballroom. Decorations are lavish and exotic, this being a trade convention, and the music perfectly arranged. The buffet table is strewn with all manner of delicacies including ripe tropical fruits from Sun Islands, mounds of berries from Dongou the color of jewels, meats cooked in garlic and fennel, Quail roasted with citrus stuffing, plump buttered shrimp from the Twin Cities, Honeymead from Deepmead (which Gruudash discovered was very weak), and of course melt-in-your-mouth pastries and subtle sparkling wines from Rilma.
In attendance were many of the empire’s leaders including the Prefects of both continents and the head of the International Trader’s Guild. Guests flocked to the party with questions, entranced by their sheer oddity. Alyss convinces Maladietz to steal a book from the Archives for him about the summon of Metal. She slips away just before the strangest sound of the night: dissonance. The music stops and heads turn to see the musicians slumped over on their stands! Murmurs fill the room – perhaps it’s some kind of statement or performance piece? Or did they simply fall asleep? There is no time for speculation however, as soon those on the dance floor have fallen as well! Party-goers begin to gasp and look for any sign of cause, but the wave spreads rapidly. Soon everyone from the highest dignitary to the lowliest servant is spread out on the floor: sound asleep. Except for Gruudash and the Old Man. (In the chaos the Old man is the only one who sees a young man fleeing on the rafters. It’s Cay Emett, the Conservator’s page!)
It doesn’t take long for the clank of mythril armor to sound in the hall. Finding their comrades asleep, they quickly survey the room.
What have you done?
Gruudash and the Old Man run, tripping up the guards with magical thorns and non-magical fists. Eventually the orc is surrounded in the street and is subdued, but not without giving the Star Knights an excellent challenge! The Old Man ends up being so obvious that no one sees him, and makes his way back to the Cheerful Chocobo without incident.