A Scholar's Intermission (Cato)   Posted by The Raconteur.Group: 0
The Raconteur
 GM, 2119 posts
 Teller of Tales
 Writer of Wrongs
Mon 8 Jun 2015
at 18:43
A Scholar's Intermission (Cato)

“Astounding, my boy!”  Brodert Quink poured Cato yet another glass of wine as the younger man finished his story of the expedition to Thistletop.  “Absolutely astounding!”  The old scholar walked back around his desk and sat heavily in his chair.  “To be honest, if it wasn’t you telling me I would hardly credit it with being true.”

“It’s exciting, don’t you think?”  Despite his age, the joy in Brodert’s voice and his happiness at discovering new information almost made him seem like a boy.  “From what you said, I think that Thistletop is—like those Catacombs you found—of Thassilonian design.”  He clapped his hands together.  “There are so many questions.  We could learn so much by conducting an expedition there?  And you say that this goblin king might actually be civilized?  I wonder if we could get permission to conduct a dig—it sounds like Nualia and her crew already had one well underway.  Imagine what we could find!”

He sighed.  “But that’s a project for the future.  I had one of the guardsmen help me visit the Catacombs and my goodness, Cato, they are a treasure trove.  A treasure trove!  We are going to write up our findings and submit them to the Founder’s Archive in Magnimar!”  He grinned at Cato.  “I used to be Chief Cataloger there, you know.”  As if he would let his protégé forget.  “But this could be the biggest advance in our understanding of ancient Thassilon in centuries!” He gleefully rubbed his hands together.  “We’ll be the most-prominent scholars in Varisia.”

He saw Cato’s hesitance.  “No, I insist, my boy.  Full co-authorship credit for you.  This is your ticket, son.”  He looked at the younger man with a paternal pride.  “The world, as they say, is your oyster.”

Cato Crispin
 Human Wizard, 1035 posts
 Quarterstaff Expert
Tue 9 Jun 2015
at 19:15
Re: A Scholar's Intermission (Cato)
Cato took a sip of his wine, savoring the taste in his mouth as Brodert started to expound on everything Cato, Kellan, Pisca and Liseth had discovered.  Cato smiled at Brodert's enthusiasm.  Sometimes, Cato had trouble believing the aged scholar wasn't a young man, the way he become so involved in exciting new developments like the discovery of the ancient Thassilonian ruins.  But then, Brodert's mind went to what it usually did, trying to publicize word about what Sandpoint held to all of the Inner Sea.  And, not surprisingly, word about Cato himself.  Cato tried to hide his feelings, but Brodert knew him too well for that.  Maybe another tactic would work, here...  Cato took another sip of wine, a considered the best angle.  There's always the truth, I suppose, but let me try one thing first.

"Brodert, I've been thinking about this very issue.  Certainly, we have to fully explore and write up everything we've learned.  And it will be a treasure trove for historians and academics.  But I'm worried about some of what still remains.  I think that, along with everything else, there's something evil deep inside Thistletop.  It's what draws goblins to it, and probably what drew Nualia in as well.  I found some references to Malfeshnekor, and while I wouldn't have believed that a barghest from Thassilonian times was still alive, or trapped, inside that structure, something is there.  Certainly the goblins believe it, and certainly Nualia was doing something in Thistletop.  If we publicize even what we've found in Sandpoint right now, the whole place is going to be swarming with Pathfinders and historians and academics..."

Cato trailed off with a tired smile.

"And as much as you and love our profession, we both know that not everyone involved in it has motives as pure as you and I."

Cato chuckled.

"Some just want to get rich, or find some mystical artifact from Thassilon that will bring them power today.  If they came to Sandpoint for the catacombs, they'd certainly hear about what had happened in Thistletop, and we'd have to constantly be on the watch for some less than scrupulous individual who might be able to bribe or bully their way past Ripnugget into the ruins, and finish whatever Nualia was trying to do.  For that matter, the catacombs aren't fully explored.  We found some stairways full of rubble.  If someone cleared that out, they might find more freaks, or the creation pools, or even..."

Cato visibly shuddered and put down his wine glass, taking a few deep breaths.

"Well, if just one of the horrid vargouilles survived down there, and made its way to the surface..."

Cato shook his head.

"And that's the threats we know about!  We've already found the quasit.  But what if there's more things like that?  We all knew the quasit was down there, and if it hadn't been for Kerr getting in some lucky shots, we'd probably all be dead."

Cato shook his head sadly.

"No, as much as I'd like to be the toast of Varisian scholarship, I have to think about more than just me.  I can't risk betraying Sandpoint's safety for that."

The young scholar took a deep breath, surprised by the length of his argument.  I suppose that, in its own way, is the truth.  Just not the whole truth.

This message was last edited by the player at 13:06, Wed 10 June 2015.

Brodert Quink
 NPC, 13 posts
 Sage of Sandpoint
Tue 9 Jun 2015
at 22:32
Re: A Scholar's Intermission (Cato)

Brodert faltered slightly as he watched Cato’s response to his proposal.  His protégé had always been a bit shy when it came to publicizing their work, but the older scholar had always chalked it up to a slight embarrassment with being associated with such a disreputable mentor as himself, Brodert Quink, a figure of no small fun among more-respectable academics.

But that was no longer a concern!  Their recent discoveries—many of which supported Brodert’s purportedly-outlandish theories—would make them the toast of Magnimar.  Of Varisia!  No, of all Golarion!  Brodert had never even heard about the discovery of such a treasure trove of Thassilonian artifacts all in one place.  This was the find of a century!  Nay, of a millennium!

But still Cato counseled caution.  It went against every bone in Brodert’s body, but he tried to listen to the younger man with an open mind, putting aside the academic glory and adulation that would surely follow publication of what they had found.

As Cato explained his position, Brodert discovered that his fellow scholar’s reluctance sprung mostly from a desire to protect Sandpoint.  Brodert could respect that—he was hardly a long-time resident but he had grown to think of the seaside town as his home, and he certainly wouldn’t want it to fall prey to the more unscrupulous of Varisia’s adventurers.  But still, the validation he would receive, after all those years of enduring nothing but ridicule from his colleagues . . . .

It was a difficult decision.

“Well, my boy,” he said doubtfully once Cato had finished, “you make a good point.  And I wouldn’t want to bring any danger to Sandpoint or its townsfolk.  But at some point the news about this discovery is going to get out, and probably sooner rather than later.  We’re not the only people who know about the Catacombs, and chances are word is going to trickle to Magnimar.  Those sorts of rumors can only serve to bring in exactly the sort of people you’re talking about—scurrilous delvers in search of nothing but a quick gold piece.”

“So we can hold off for a while.  It will certainly take us some time to fully explore the ruins below Sandpoint, and even more to analyze and write up what we’ve discovered.”  He nodded.  “But when we’ve finished we should publish our findings and allow further scholarly exploration.”  He held up a hand.  “Under tight security, if necessary.  But if scholars have already gone over the site I think it is much less likely that adventurers will try to break in and muck about, simply because they’ll believe everything of value has been removed.”

He took a sip of his own wine, carefully gauging Cato’s reaction over the rim of the glass.  “What say you to that?”

This message was last edited by the player at 22:33, Tue 09 June 2015.

Cato Crispin
 Human Wizard, 1039 posts
 Quarterstaff Expert
Wed 10 Jun 2015
at 13:18
Re: A Scholar's Intermission (Cato)
Cato smiled.  It seemed his tactic had worked to at least delay news getting out.

"Thank you, Brodert.  I know this means the world to you.  And I'm as excited as you to see all the theories about Thassilon come out in the open, now that we have solid evidence to support them.  In the meantime, we can methodically examine what we have access to in the Catacombs, and make sure that there's nothing down there to attract any future ne'er-do-wells."

Cato's smile brightened.  "And of course, we can have the support of the town guard in keeping out the riff-raff.  Under the name of security and safety certainly."

Cato's frown returned.

"That probably means keeping Alergast and Mayor Deverin involved in our explorations and even letting them see copies of our monograph before we send it out.  They might have a better eye than us for what kind of details might attract the wrong crowd to Sandpoint."

Cato leaned back, swirling his wine glass around, in thought.

"I hope such things won't delay the publication more than necessary, but we need to be careful.  Those ruins have been there for millenia, after all.  They're not going anywhere now.  And we need to be careful at all.  These finds have the chance to make us the talk of Varisia...well, in certain circles at least."

Cato laughed, then his more serious expression returned.

"But we need to make absolutely certain that everything we say is right.  You know those staid scholars would jump on any flaws in our heterodox views if they can find them.  We need to make absolutely sure that everything we say is as accurate as we can possibly make it.  If anything, downplay the full import of what we've found, limiting it to just what we can support with 100% certainty.  That will be enough to get us noticed, after all."

Finally, Cato held up his glass to Brodert.

"But enough of that for now.  We can toast to these miraculous finds, and the fame that surely awaits us!"

Cato held up his glass to Brodert, feeling a little more comfortable now.
The Raconteur
 GM, 2130 posts
 Teller of Tales
 Writer of Wrongs
Thu 11 Jun 2015
at 17:25
Re: A Scholar's Intermission (Cato)

"Yes, yes, yes.  Of course, you are right, my boy." Brodert nodded and sipped his drink. "Caution and thorough research are called for here. I just get excited about the possibilities. I admit to being impatient for the chance to be the center of the scholarly world instead of shunted off like some sort of charlatan and ignored."

Brodert's eyes glazed over a bit as he indulged in a quick daydream of fame and intellectual glory. Then he sighed. "It seems you always have to wait longer for accolades than you do for ridicule, doesn't it?"  He perked up as he had a thought. "But we don't have to wait to get started, do we? We should get down to the catacombs now."

He got up and started pacing. "We can start transcribing and cataloging what we find. No time like the present. If word will get out sooner rather than later anyway, we should get a jump on any others that are going to be coming this way." He stopped and raised his hand, finger pointed towards the ceiling. "There's no time to waste! Cato, my young friend, let's pack what we need and go now. Strike while the iron is hot! What is that saying . . . the early bird catches the worm?"

Cato Crispin
 Human Wizard, 1046 posts
 Quarterstaff Expert
Fri 12 Jun 2015
at 19:54
Re: A Scholar's Intermission (Cato)
Cato smiled at Brodert.  Despite his caution, the young scholar found himself getting caught up in his mentor's enthusiasm.  Strange how this has worked out, Cato thought.  Isn't it supposed to be Brodert who's reining me in from going off too early and pushing for too much?  The wizard suppressed a grimace, hating himself again for misleading the older man.  For misleading all of Sandpoint.  But what am I supposed to do?  I don't to put anyone here in the position of actively doing anything to hide me from the Hellknights, or whomever else might be searching for me.

Cato hid these thoughts and instead chuckled at Brodert and held up his hands in a gesture of surrender.  "All right, all right.  We'll get right to it.  But..."  Cato yawned.  "I've just had a very busy day, with exploring Thistletop and saving Nualia.  Would it be possible to delay the start of our cataloging by another day?  I know that we cleared out everything we've found down there, but I'd feel a little better about exploring if I was fully rested and could cast spells.  Plus, there's some I've been working on that I think are just about ready, but I haven't had the chance to prepare them yet."

Cato stood up, stretching his arms up as hid did so.  "What do you say to that, Brodert?  Tomorrow morning, right after breakfast, we head down and start this process."

And for now, Cato thought, Maybe I want to go talk to Kellan and Pisca.  I don't have to tell them anyone, but I really want to know who was asking for me when the Mayor was giving her speech.
Hand of Fate
 GM, 2 posts
Mon 15 Jun 2015
at 19:39
Re: A Scholar's Intermission (Cato)
Cato left Brodert excited and making plans. The older man had quickly agreed that tomorrow was the best idea. After that he had pulled out some parchment and a quill and had started making notes. Apparently the list of things they were going to need to properly investigate and catalog everything was extensive. Regardless, Brodert seems to be having a grand time with the planning.

It was easy for Cato to slip unobtrusively away and start down the street towards The Rusty Dragon. He wasn't sure if that was the best place to find Pisca and Kellen but it was the logical place to start. The day itself was certainly lovely and the walk was pleasant. Almost enough to drive any thoughts of Hellknights and whatnot out of his head. Sandpoint was a good place. You couldn't say that about every place.

While enjoying the walk, providence smiled upon him and Cato saw Kellen standing on the porch of the General Store.  He was talking to the shopkeeper's daughter. How fortuitous...
The Raconteur
 GM, 2171 posts
 Teller of Tales
 Writer of Wrongs
Fri 24 Jul 2015
at 20:22
Re: A Scholar's Intermission (Cato)

Cato left Orik’s room with the others, bidding them goodbye as he headed across the north part of town towards the Garrison—he figured that someone there might know where Alergast was.  Stepping inside, he found the indefatigable Caul Thatcher manning the desk.  The guardsman did indeed know where the Lieutenant was; he pointed the scholar down the hall towards Alergast’s office.

Cato followed Caul’s directions, knocking on the designated door.  “Come in,” Alergast’s unmistakable baritone invited the wizard into his private sanctum.  Opening the door and stepping inside, Cato found the Guard’s second-in-command hunched over a sheet of parchment, quill in hand, inkwell close by.

The larger man set down his writing instrument, greeting his visitor with a smile.  “Welcome, Cato!  It’s good to see you.”  He gestured ruefully at his desk.  “I’m working on watch schedules, so any interruption is a blessing.  What can I do for one of Sandpoint’s most-famous scholars?”

Cato Crispin
 Human Wizard, 1086 posts
 Quarterstaff Expert
Fri 24 Jul 2015
at 20:34
Re: A Scholar's Intermission (Cato)
Cato laughed.  "It's funny you should mention that, actually.  I can't rightly be called a scholar unless I have some students."  Cato paused, giving himself a moment to gather himself before he proposed tutoring Aeren.  Some folks, the wizard had learned in his flight across Varisia, had a rather dim view of wizards, whether or not they were being pursued by Hellknights.  Old superstitions sometimes reared their ugly head, and the recent swelling in the ranks of diabolist summoners from Cheliax certainly hadn't helped on that front.  Still, Sandpoint seemed like a fairly progressive community, all things considered, and Alergast and Cato were on friendly enough terms.

"I didn't have much time to evaluate things at the time, but I think your son might be a good candidate for a wizard, and I'd like to take him on as an apprentice.  In my...brief confrontation in his room, I think I sensed some magical potential in him, and I'd like to explore that further."

Cato paused, holding up his hands.  "It's completely up to you, Amele, and of course Aeren.  If he accepts, it'll be a lot of hard work, and the rewards (at first) aren't very striking - it'll probably take years of dedication and hard work before he can do more than cast the simplest cantrips.  But there's more to being a wizard than just magic.  There's lots of ancillary knowledge you need to be successful, and a lot of it can be applied to other things than arcane studies."  Cato smiled again.  "Granted, some of what you learn, like Thassilonian history, can seem pretty esoteric, though I've been surprised at how things like my knowledge of engineering or ancient history can come in handy, even if it's just putting Ilsoari and Veznut in their place!"
Alergast Barett
 NPC, 30 posts
 Sandpoint Guard
Sun 26 Jul 2015
at 02:46
Re: A Scholar's Intermission (Cato)

“A . . . wizard?”  Alergast sat back in his chair, looking dumbfounded.  He scratched his head.  “This is . . . well, unexpected.  And obviously,” he gestured to the office, strewn with maps and books about tactics, leadership, discipline, and strategy, “I don’t know anything about wizardry.  Doesn’t that require a lot of, you know, innate ability?”  The lieutenant seemed to be having difficulty getting his mind around Cato’s request.  “You said you sensed some potential?  Do you think Aeren has enough to be a wizard?  I mean, do you think he’d be good at it?  Would you have to, I don’t know, test him or something?”

The big guard officer put his hands on the table, staring at watch schedules as if they held some sort of answer for him.  Finally, after a minute of contemplation, he looked up.  “The Gods know Aeren is smarter than Amele and me put together.”  He gave Cato the ghost of a grin.  “The funny thing is we’d actually talked about maybe trying to apprentice him under you and Quink as a scholar, or if that wouldn’t work seeing if we could scrape together enough to send him to Magnimar for schooling.  Although,” he sighed, “I know that would break Amele’s heart.  So if you’re willing to tutor him here, in Sandpoint, that would certainly be a load of care off her mind.”

“But a wizard.”  Alergast shook his head.  “I’ll definitely have to talk to Amele about it.  The good thing is she likes you a lot, especially after that goblin incident, so I think she’ll be open to the idea.  She trusts you, and so do I.  But we’ll need to know more about what this will be like.  Is it dangerous?  What sort of things would he be doing?  I know Amele will like the study of engineering and history, but what about the actual,” he paused, “um, magic?  Would that be something we need to be concerned about?  Not saying this is what you do,” he raised a hand as if to ward off any offense, “but I wouldn’t want Aeren working with,” he waved his hand in the air, searching for the right words, “spiritual beings not of this world, you know, like you hear about in the stories.”

“Aeren thinks you’re a great hero, so I’m sure he’d be very excited about it.  But I don’t want to get his hopes up before we’re sure this will work out.  You said you wanted to ‘explore his potential.’  What does that mean, exactly?”

This message was lightly edited by the player at 03:12, Sun 26 July 2015.

Cato Crispin
 Human Wizard, 1087 posts
 Quarterstaff Expert
Tue 28 Jul 2015
at 19:22
Re: A Scholar's Intermission (Cato)
Cato laughed at Alergast's first questions.  "Sorry, but I think the mystery surrounding arcane magic is something we all work to enhance, because the truth is, there isn't anything that special about it.  I mean, there is, in the sense that it requires much studying and a lot of hard work and will power to get to it, but I think most of the sages are confident that the average person, if they devoted a sufficient amount of time to the study, would be able to master the basics of magic.  Sorcerers, on the other hand, are a different case.  Their magic, although similar to mine, comes about in an entirely different way, through an innate connection fostered by their ancestry or some circumstance regarding their birth or life."  The wizard shrugged.  "Or at least that's the best theory, in any case.  I don't know of any case where it's been extensively tested.  But long story short is that there's nothing special about me, other than the amount of work I put into it, that allows me access to magic.  Granted, it took years when I could have been performing a useful trade."

Cato took a breath.  "That being said, there are some to whom such things come easier.  Who are a step closer to 'seeing' the magic already in the world.  I don't know if I could actually explain what I felt in Aeren, some sort of...recognition, maybe, to the protective spell I cast on him back in the room.  I suppose it might be the same if you were watching some civilians during the goblin attack.  You could watch their reactions and gauge how easy it would be integrate them into the guards, right?  Some would freeze, some would flee, and some would maintain their wits and help others, or stand up to the goblins.  You might not be able to describe it, but you'd know what to look for.  It's kind of like that.  Some people just have the right reaction to magic.  Anyone could learn it, but some will have an easier time of it.  And I think Aeren falls into the latter group.  All I have right now is that feeling, but that plus Aeren's intelligence means that he should be able to be at least moderately successful."

Cato nodded about the Baretts' misgivings.  "I understand that, and I wouldn't want to have Aeren involved in anything that you or Amele would mistrust.  My own use of magic has been colored by those kinds of things.  There are spells I don't want to personally use because I know how they've been misused in the past.  Ultimately, magic is a tool, and it doesn't care who wields it.  Whether or not the ends magic achieves are good or evil depends on the person using it.  All the same, teaching a young mage how to do certain things is begging for trouble.  I understand that, and I certainly won't have Aeren summoning demons in Sandpoint."  Cato shuddered.  "But, if I teach him magic, he'd be able to learn such things himself, given time.  You're a better judge of his character than I, but I don't sense the raw drive for power that drives some to diabolism in Aeren."

Cato was quiet for a little longer as he considered Alergast's last point.  "As for exploring his potential, well, mostly I'd just like to talk to Aeren more, make sure he's really interested.  I can examine him a little more, and make sure what I felt before wasn't just a fluke.  But more important than that raw potential to unlock the world of the arcane is his own intelligence and ambition, which I'd like to learn about, mostly just by sitting down and talking with him.  Again, once you've talked this over with Amele and assuming you are both okay with this."
Alergast Barett
 NPC, 31 posts
 Sandpoint Guard
Wed 5 Aug 2015
at 14:01
Re: A Scholar's Intermission (Cato)
Alergast took a long moment and considered Cato's words. He didn't seem upset or trepidatious about the whole wizard thing as much as simply a concerned parent. Finally he met Cato's eyes and smiled.

"I think I can agree to that." Alergast smiled. "Wizard might not be the apprenticeship the wife and I had considered but that doesn't mean it isn't something we should dismiss.  I'll talk to Amele but let's assume for the moment that we can work out some time for you to evaluate the boy.  Is there anything we need to do to prepare? Also, if you do decide you'd like him as an apprentice, we'll have to work out what that means. I know what apprenticing to the smith or the brewer means for the boy and for us but wizarding is a bit out of my experience."
Cato Crispin
 Human Wizard, 1090 posts
 Quarterstaff Expert
Sat 15 Aug 2015
at 18:11
Re: A Scholar's Intermission (Cato)
Cato nodded.  "I think that's wise.  We certainly wouldn't want to do anything without Amele's say so."  The wizard grinned.  "I think I might have an idea about how bad that would be!"

Cato tapped his chin.  "As to preparations...well, there's really not much we need to do to prepare.  I need to have a few spells ready, but for the actual examination of Aeren, all I really need is a relatively quiet room and some time...maybe an hour or so?"

Cato chuckled.  "Now, as for the actual apprenticeship.  I suppose in some respects, it's not that different from being apprenticed to a smith or brewer would be, except for the nature of the work.  Instead of learning to be a smith, or helping a brewer prepare the wort, he'll be learning about being a wizard, and helping me with some of the rote work I need to do.  He can learn the basics of scribing scrolls, enchanting simple items, and of course, lots and lots of reading.  The foundation of the arcane lots involves a lot of reading.  He'll need to be conversant with magical theory in order to do anything more than the absolutely simplest cantrips.  Which is why arcane academies look for people with intelligence and drive.  Prospective wizards need something to get them through that long, often boring process.  From a time perspective, I think Aeren's time will be spent helping me for, on average, a few hours a day, then reading for a few hours and working through some questions.  That will vary on individual days - some days, I'm sure they'll be more reading, and others will be more about hands-on work.  Honestly, I need to think about this whole process  myself.  I've never had an apprentice before, and could benefit from a little studying about the best way to approach this so as to benefit Aeren the most."

Cato smiled.  "Well, there's no time limit for this.  I'm not going anywhere, anyway.  Talk it over with Amele and Aeren, and then let me know what you decide. For now, I think we were all meeting at the Rusty Dragon."

This message was last edited by the player at 15:33, Tue 18 Aug 2015.