Volume 1: Crossing the Plains of Rhovanion.   Posted by Azurak the Blue.Group: 0
Azurak the Blue
 GM, 469 posts
 Storyteller
 StarMaster
Wed 23 Aug 2017
at 15:20
Into the Drift
As everyone enters the library and looks over the books, you realize that not all of them have titles written on the spine, and even the ones that are seem to be written in many different languages. Not all the books are standing upright, either. Some are laying flat on the shelves. It also appears that not all books are bound volumes either. At least one 'book' appears to be a bundle of tied-together scrolls, while another one appears to be a series of wooden slats tied together with rope and then rolled up into a bundle.

From the few titles that are visible and readable, however, it does appear that the books are grouped in sections by common themes. The first section to the left of the door seems to deal with 'natural magic', while the next one is about botany and wilderness. The first section to the right of the door deals with shamanism, while the one next to it covers crafts.

The book stand is sturdily built, the top slanted forward, and would seem to be able to hold a large volume. The ledge at the bottom to keep the book from siding off is a bit thicker than is necessary, but probably to accommodate the lettering carved into it.

The letters spell out the words 'Book of Souls'.
Tilaleria
 Fellowship, 274 posts
 Messenger Girl
Wed 23 Aug 2017
at 15:42
Into the Drift
In spite of thinking this 'path' is a waste of their time and a serious deviation from their very important albeit self-appointed quest, she finds this vast library is piquing her interest... not that she is going to grab a book and start readying, but still...

As a messenger, she has mastered many languages, for how else could she say what had to be said when she delivered a message? There are languages here that she doesn't even recognize, however.

On the other hand... if this had been a library completely dedicated to the topic of cosmetics, which it clearly is not, then that large mirror would conceivably make sense. Why else would anyone in a library need to see her reflection in a mirror? Well, it was possible that the mirror could show magical auras on a person, particularly a hex or curse. For that matter, it might even remove them! Books could be so trapped.

If the mirror wasn't there for casting your reflection, though, two other possibilities came to mind--scrying or communication, such as with a palantir, or... a magical gateway. The latter somewhat made sense if the library was proof against teleport.

She walked over to the mirror and began examining it.
Anira
 Fellowship, 84 posts
 Half-Elf
 Witch-Rogue
Wed 23 Aug 2017
at 17:11
Into the Drift
The books on natural magic certainly piqued Anira's curiosity but firstly she too was interested in the mirror and moved with Tilaleria to inspect it from all angles.



12:09, Today: Anira rolled 37 using 1d20+19 with rolls of 18.  Spellcraft.
Azurak the Blue
 GM, 470 posts
 Storyteller
 StarMaster
Wed 23 Aug 2017
at 18:50
Into the Drift
The large oval mirror is free-standing, in a gilded oak frame, mounted on a sturdy stand. Now that you are closer, you can see that the glass appears to be black... or perhaps it's the backing. It still casts a reflection, though.

What, at first, appeared to be just decorative scroll work on the frame, now can be seen as arcane symbols cleverly hidden amid the scroll work carvings.

It doesn't take much effort to pick out a half-dozen symbols that would be connected to teleporting. Several of the others are probably control symbols. Some of the others look like they might be restrictions... such as one is a protection from undead, while another is protection against Dwarves.
Borun Redbeard
 Fellowship, 188 posts
 Dwarf
 Monk/Empyreal sorcerer
Thu 24 Aug 2017
at 09:43
Into the Drift
Borun followed the group into the library, staring around at the rows of books. Upon seeing the section on "natural magic", Borun picked up a random book, wondering if it described sorcery. Such books would be a boon to any magical institution, including his own alma mater, Diamond Heart Academy.

Given the peculiar restrictions on entry and teleportation, Borun looked for the proper entrance to the library, presumably a regular door into the tower, doubtless similarly warded against undesirables such as undead.
Tilaleria
 Fellowship, 275 posts
 Messenger Girl
Thu 24 Aug 2017
at 09:59
Into the Drift
"I'm sorry, but I cannot stay and watch you betray your oaths" Tilaleria said at last

"I am feeling for the tortured souls of the Entwifes. We know that they are being turned into living spells through unspeakable acts of torture and yet we waste time here"

"We know that this place has not been in touch with the outside world for thousands of years. No one has come up with a single credible reason we should be here now instead of in a few weeks time when we have saved the Entwives. We already know that the hand of Morgoth has been here, so any information we do actually get has every chance of being a trap"

"And yet we dally and indulge our curiosity while the Entwives are tortured to death and worse. I suppose there is a faint chance something good will happen of this. Perhaps even though we have literally no clue leading us here and reason for being here, it is 'fated' that this is the only way we will find the Entwives. If anyone has a case for that, I am interested. If not I do not comprehend your reasoning, or the reasoning of those that are with you ignoring the plight of those we are sworn to help, and heartlessly ignoring their screams and cries for assistance"

"You are on the edge of becoming oathbreakers, and I am disappointed in you all. I was proud to be a member of this group when we set off, and now I am ashamed"


She looked thoroughly disgusted as she headed back out. Perhaps she had no chance on her own but at least she would not be an oathbreaker in her own eyes
Radagast the Brown
 Istari, 79 posts
 Druid
 Wizard
Thu 24 Aug 2017
at 18:13
Into the Drift
Radagast tries one last time to get Tilaleria to see the wisdom of their course of action.

"I have not said that there is only one path to reach the Entwives. In fact, the other half of our group has pursued such an alternate path."

"I cannot fathom why you think that this path must be nothing but a straight line. If this path is rife with pitfalls and traps, is it really wise to stumble upon everyone of them, to waste valuable time and energy recovering from them? Would it not be quicker, and therefore wiser, to go around such traps?"

"We have clues. They were carved into stairs leading up to this area known as The Drift. We would have had to pass by this city on our way anyhow, just as we shall have to pass Forstan, another city of which we know nothing. Can you honestly say that should a cohort of demonic spirits exit the city and attack us that we could prevail against them? Even if we did, how many of us would be left to deal with the next threat? And the one after that? And the one after that?"

"And even if only one of us survives to reach the Entwives, could that one alone bring the Entwives back?"

"None of us have broken an oath, not the Oath to free the Entwives nor any other oath. We merely exercise prudence so that we may achieve our goal rather than stumble blindly through the unknown and thereby accomplish nothing."

"Furthermore, unless you have more knowledge about such matters that you have failed to share with us, nothing has been said about the Entwives being turned into living spells. Nor was anything said about the Entwives being tortured. That may very well be the case, but we have no knowledge of it nor any way to determine that until we find them."

"I would also like to point out that this mirror appears to be a portal. It would be extraordinary if it led directly to the Entwives, but I would say, at the very least, it could take us to Forstan... with little effort, little energy, little magic, and most importantly to you, it seems, little time."

"My dear Tilaleria, the world is not so cut-and-dried, so straight-forward as you seem to think it is. Even at sea, wind and wave and creatures of the deep can divert your ship on a mere whim. You still aim your ship for where you want to go, and make corrections to your course as necessary."

"That is all we are doing... making course corrections. For all we know, this amulet is the true trap. All that it confirmed is that one Entwife was still living when it was made."


He did not expect her to be swayed by his words, but he had to try. She was as stubborn as they came. She wished to rush forward like a bull in a pottery shop. It was probably the messenger in her--the direct approach, get to where you had to go so you could deliver the message. While he had no doubt that she might try, he was pretty sure she would not risk traveling through Mordor to deliver a message on the other side. She would go around. The shortest way? No, but the wisest.
Saxon the Dead Smith
 Fellowship, 152 posts
Thu 24 Aug 2017
at 23:57
Into the Drift
Saxon moved and sat on the ledge of the stairs leading down. His eyes burned like flames in the lowered light as a mark of something branded on him. "More than that, some of us understand very well what it means to be in the hands of the blackness. To be effected by them day in and day out until the end of your will breaks into little bits and all you have left is a sorrow that you are not able to repay in kind the little things done."

"Men, elves, and dwarves are all entirely different processes based on lifespan and mental fortitude. I myself had to be raised from birth and they still couldn't turn me to their dark ways. From birth, all I knew was that it is right to inflict suffering on others, that people are born to service my will, and that the dark lord himself would reward me to work my old magic to ensure the forges can make wonders of all kinds. Our dear friend the Brown mage and his ally Tom taught me another way."

"Yet here I am, making a path with a pack of friends because someone who showed me mercy asked me nicely. You drank from my cup, drink from it again and take in an understanding."

"Armies have clashed the dark force alone and in a straight path. Brilliant mages taught by the colored ones as well. All have taken a straight path to conflict and they are all dead. The witch who tended me called it 'Sacrifices to give us more strength.'"

"Go forward, and find out the bridge is out to backtrack and then go around. Stop to read the map and it can save you years on the trip. For the most powerful tool of the enemy I was raised with, is ignorance. Know even half your foes power and he will be made weak."

This message was last edited by the player at 23:59, Thu 24 Aug 2017.

Grimfast
 Fellowship, 24 posts
 Beorning
 Feral Hunter/Skald
Sat 2 Sep 2017
at 15:02
Into the Drift
Books were intimidating. Oh, he could read all right, but books could be a trap. Once you started reading them, you couldn't stop! There was always another book to read. That's the way he saw it, anyway.

Reading was hard to do on adventures, and some books were just too big to drag around. That looked to be the case for the Book of Souls. The stand was clearly meant for a large tome. But, where was it now? What was its significance?

If the city hadn't become a city of the undead, he probably wouldn't have given it a second thought. Here in Naethrul, however, it did not bode well. Or, perhaps it did. Were the souls of the city trapped in the book? If it was returned, would that bring them back to life? He wondered if people so trapped for so long could 'get on with their lives' finally? Could you forget all that? More importantly, maybe--did you remember that life?

He walked around the bookshelves, just glancing at the books in case some title caught his eye, working he way to the mirror.

"So. Do we want to use the mirror to go to Forstan?" he asked. "It could wind up being a trap. Maybe not intentionally, but we could find ourselves trapped in some room there with no way out."

"We have the key to entering Forstan, but we assumed it meant from the outside, like we did here. However, since the first key led us here, might this not be the way we are supposed to go, rather than traipse across the countryside?"

"Tilaleria, would this not send us on our way even faster than we would have been able to travel on foot? When you've delivered messages, have you ever used such a portal to do so?"


He understood her concerns, but didn't really agree with them. Their quest was not the same thing as running into a burning building to save someone, even is she seemed to think it was. There was a puzzle here--the Entwives were merely the center of it. At least some of the puzzle needed to be solved for them to succeed at their quest.

After all, there was a reason on one had ever returned from the East in hundreds of years... a reason that they did not yet know.
Tilaleria
 Fellowship, 277 posts
 Messenger Girl
Sat 2 Sep 2017
at 19:42
Into the Drift
"The clues are in the path for all that walk up them" Tilaleria stopping on the way out. She clearly found it difficult to talk to oath breakers. She'd in her heart cut them from her caring, and resigned herself to a slow death because the alternative was to become an oathbreaker like they were. Something she couldn't do

"In the last several thousand years since they were there, many people have walked up the stairs. The clues were as likely for them as for us. They are the clues for how to get into a lost city that no one has visited for thousands of years, they are not the clues to the Ent Wives, or if they are I struggle to see how words left thousands of years ago can describe the current location of them in any way."

"We have a way to get to the Entwives. We can do it quickly: far more quickly than we have been. We have teleportation magics and a guide. We just have to use them."

"This is a diversion to usage your communal lust for knowledge, and in following it you have abandoned your oaths to save the Ent Wives. When we entered I expressed my severe disgust with you all, and now you have new toys to play with. Toys that do not help our sworn duty"

"So yes I call you Oath Breaker, Radagast the Brown. I do not know why you have left the path of wisdom, but you have. Words like 'it's not cut and dried' or 'it's not as simple as that' are the words of those that try and justify their deeds."

"Perhaps the portal is as effective as a teleport spell. I don't know. We have teleport spells, we have a way to know where the Ent wives are. I can see no reason why you don't man up to your obligations, to your sworn vows, and actually act to stop the torment and slow murder of the Ent wives rather than mess around wondering if magical mirrors left here by the great deceiver could be a trap or not"
she shrugged and turned back down the steps

"I do not know why I try one last time to turn your hearts back to the mission you swore to accomplish and have abandoned. But I will try. You are foresworn, but you can make amends. Give up this lust for secrets, and return to the mission you swore"
Anira
 Fellowship, 85 posts
 Half-Elf
 Witch-Rogue
Sat 2 Sep 2017
at 21:05
Into the Drift
"You are the most arrogant, narrow minded ... person I have ever met," Anira snapped, finally so tired of the walking pile of fecal matter disguised as a humanoid that she couldn't contain her anger anymore.

"Our oaths are not broken as we are still on the path to the Entwives but because you have no patience or trust, you insult us.  Go!  Be gone from us and know it is you who is an oathbreaker by breaking the bond of fellowship."
Saxon the Dead Smith
 Fellowship, 153 posts
Sat 2 Sep 2017
at 23:07
Into the Drift
Saxon quirked an eyebrow, one would think the words of someone who had lived with the enemy held weight. "So, to clarify with everyone still honoring the quest. The East is the land from where none return. Considering the blue mages haven't been heard from either, information is in dire need."

"Moreso as the closer we get the less accurate our guide. Sooooo, I'mma go down and poke my nose into places it doesn't belong. If I know the high sages well enough the blue robes had left some kind of small journal. The wives left flowers in the old wood, it would be nice to have a guide if they left others as it is within their history to do so."

"And ten gold says we are going into the exact opposite of elf paradise in the west."

Tilaleria
 Fellowship, 278 posts
 Messenger Girl
Sun 3 Sep 2017
at 17:47
Into the Drift
"The entwives are that way" Tilaleria pointed backwards "You are going on a side mission to explore new libraries and exciting magic items. And I'm narrow minded when I call you oath breaker. I see."

"Well few people like the truth being exposed about themselves. I don't like being called narrow minded, but I suppose it's true. I have in fact a single focus: to free the Ent Wives. You probably don't like being called Oath Breakers, but you could do something about it. You could actually not break them. And try and save the Entwives. Or maybe try using reason to persuade me I am wrong, rather than ignoring my issues. Which you did. Ignore them I mean. I gave a load of reasons why it is pointless coming here, and no one addressed a single one of them. Even though I am narrow minded, I respond to reason"
she shrugged

She did listen to Saxon's words "Perhaps we should randomly search in every library we come across. In our several thousand miles of journey I'm sure we will come across... well several human lifetimes worth of reading material. We have skipped several libraries already in the traveling castles. Perhaps we should go back and read those, as the secret is even more likely to be found in those than here. It will only take several lifetimes to read all the books, because who knows in which random piece of literature the secret will be found in. It's certainly unlikely to take a short time to do that."
Saxon the Dead Smith
 Fellowship, 154 posts
Sun 3 Sep 2017
at 18:11
Into the Drift
Saxon called up as he was slowly making his floating way down the stairs just to be sure there wasn't a shade or something sneaking up at them. "That is not what I said, your straw man argument is not going to be addressed."

"Do not count yourself so wise as to discount the opportunity to learn the path of the most powerful sages to travel east."

"Pride is, for certain, the cause of many downfalls."

This message was last edited by the player at 18:13, Sun 03 Sept 2017.

Radagast the Brown
 Istari, 80 posts
 Druid
 Wizard
Mon 4 Sep 2017
at 02:48
Into the Drift
"We have not deviated from our course, Tilaleria," Radagast tries one last time to convince the messenger of the error of her thinking.

"The Entwives, at least as far as the amulet indicates, are somewhere to the east. That is the direction we have been heading ever since we left Mirkwood."

"We have no idea how long this amulet will continue to function, nor do we even know if it is accurate. We would have passed this city on our travels anyway, so it is no detour."

"As to studying these tomes, while it is something that is desirable, that was never our intent here. We are merely surveying the books in case something catches our attention. What if there is a book titled 'The Tale of the Entwives'? Would that not be of significance?"

"According to what we now know, Forstan will be the next city we pass on our travels. Again, no detour, it is just on our way. We know nothing about it. Is it hostile? Should we go around it?"

"How can you not see that gathering information as we go will help us on our quest? We are not delaying, we are not detouring. We have considered various courses of action, but have not succumbed to those temptations."

"As you can now see, this mirror appears to be a portal that will takes us to Forstan. That will significantly shorten our travel time. And that, my dear Tilaleria, is why we take the path less traveled."

"Someone in Forstan may know that the Entwives are now residing in the Valley of the Kings. Would not that information help us on our quest? Speed us to the Entwives?"

"Despite your harsh words, we do not consider ourselves as having broken our oath. Even if we had, there are consequences to doing that, and none of them have occurred... unless... it is this disagreement among us. But is that our oath broken, or yours... for following us when you believe it is wrong?"


He could not tell if his words were reaching her or not. Perhaps it was time to tell her about the prophecy... perhaps tell them all.
Borun Redbeard
 Fellowship, 190 posts
 Dwarf
 Monk/Empyreal sorcerer
Sat 9 Sep 2017
at 10:00
Into the Drift
Borun frowned at Tilaleria's tirade. He was especially rankled by the accusation of "Oath Breaker" at Master Radagast. In the weeks that Borun had travelled with the group, it was clear that the Istari was unimpeachable.

Borun would have retorted, but Radagast himself calmly responded - and in a far more respectful tone than Tilaleria deserved.

In any case, she was free to go and pursue her agenda, while the rest of us continue on the path.
Tilaleria
 Fellowship, 279 posts
 Messenger Girl
Sun 10 Sep 2017
at 05:51
Into the Drift
"Each point you raise Radagast I have addressed already" Tilaleria pointed out "The book you name could be found in any of the libraries we have passed, and if we found it there at least it would not be thousand of years out of date. Similar points are there for every thing else you say"

"Well as you have all convinced yourself that this is the path for you, I will go and try and save the Entwives"
she shook her head and left never to be seen again
Lady Isile
 Fellowship, 187 posts
 Moriquende
 Sorceress/Oracle
Sun 10 Sep 2017
at 12:20
Into the Drift
Lady Isile never said a word during this whole foolish debate, she has lived far to long and witness very similar debated in her own home land. Those have lasted much longer than this one but still the results was fair.

To be called an Oath Breaker without calling the human girl anything was insulting but still living so long one learns to ignore and move on with more important things.  Liking looking for a book that might help in determine where or information on the Entwives.

Watching as the Messenger Girl left.
Anira
 Fellowship, 87 posts
 Half-Elf
 Witch-Rogue
Sat 16 Sep 2017
at 12:48
Into the Drift
Anira ignored Tilaleria now, her piece said and only wanting real peace for the group that was left.  She still seethed at the insult to Radagast but it was time to focus on their mission.  "So do we wish to go through the portal?" she asked as others completed their search of the books.
Borun Redbeard
 Fellowship, 191 posts
 Dwarf
 Monk/Empyreal sorcerer
Sun 17 Sep 2017
at 10:58
Into the Drift
Borun flexed his fingers. "I am ready. Onwards to Forstan."

He stepped forwards, preparing to lead if so instructed.
Lady Isile
 Fellowship, 189 posts
Sun 17 Sep 2017
at 11:54
Into the Drift

This message was deleted by the player at 11:55, Sun 17 Sept 2017.

Lady Isile
 Fellowship, 190 posts
 Moriquende
 Sorceress/Oracle
Sun 17 Sep 2017
at 11:54
Into the Drift
Still taking her time to peruse the shelves of books.

"Are we done here looking for any help?  We just got here and all that transpired was being called an Oath Breaker.

Radagast the Brown
 Istari, 81 posts
 Druid
 Wizard
Sat 23 Sep 2017
at 12:12
Into the Drift
Never say 'never'... he thought at Tilaleria's departure. Was that an echo of her thoughts, or a perception of her intent? He could not say at this time, and perhaps never would. He was sad at her departure, but he still wished her well. He had  become quite fond of her; even this... odd attitude of hers did not change that.

"She is quite stubborn and obdurate, is she not?" he addressed the others.

"I fear there may be something... amiss here. I cannot fathom why she would not... perhaps could not consider our words. She claimed to have addressed all of our points, yet she did not. Did she truly believe that she had?"

"And we did listen to her, though she would not listen to us. Upon discovering the nature of this city, Saxon wished to free them, but we listened to her council and realized that it was not practical for us to do so at this time, for that might truly have been an oath-breaker... though, perhaps not. Oath-breaking has to me in your heart, and intentional. If we took the time to help these people but still intended to find the Entwives, that would not have constituted breaking our oath."

"She was laboring under the assumption that, after all these years, the Entwives were now in mortal danger. While that is quite possible, that is not what I found; I do not know where she got that sense. Since she could not or would not explain why she thought so, it seemed more like an obsession."

"I wonder... Do you think she might be under some external influence?"


He paused for a moment to consider his own statement.

"If she is, I cannot detect it. It is too subtle for me."

"Anyway, despite the delay in our attempting to persuade her, that, too, has not broken our oath, but it is time to move on."

"Did any of you spot any books that might be of help to us? 'Tales of the Entwives' maybe? Or, 'Mysteries of the East'?"

Anira
 Fellowship, 89 posts
 Half-Elf
 Witch-Rogue
Sat 23 Sep 2017
at 20:39
Into the Drift
Anira had said more than she probably should have before so remained quiet about Tilaleria.  Instead, she took a few moments to search through the titles of books and tomes to see if there was anything more that might be of use to them.



15:37, Today: Anira rolled 35 using 1d20+27 with rolls of 8.  Searching Books/Tomes for anything useful.
Azurak the Blue
 GM, 475 posts
 Storyteller
 StarMaster
Sun 24 Sep 2017
at 13:04
Into the Drift
As everyone looks over the books, once again it becomes mostly obvious that the books are grouped into sections by topic. You can garner this by the titles that you can read. The topics are, from just to the left of the door all the way around to just right of the door:

Natural Magic
Botany (3 shelves) and Wilderness Skills (3 shelves) and Knowledge (2 shelves)
Mysticism
Technomancy
Elemental Magic
...Air (top 2 shelves)
...Earth (middle upper 2 shelves)
...Fire (middle lower 2 shelves)
...Water (bottom 2 shelves)
Languages
Invocation
Scholarly Skills
Necromancy
Physical (4 shelves) and Roguish Skills (4 shelves)
Wizardry
Performance Skills
Crystalomancy
Cultures (5 shelves) and Trade Skills (3 shelves)
Witchcraft
Alchemy
Cartomancy
Combat Skills (1 shelf), Knowledge (5 shelves), and History (2 shelves)
Cryptomancy
Thaumaturgy (top half) and Talismancy (bottom half)
Shadomancy
Craft Skills
Shamanism

It also become evident rather quickly that there are a few areas that are noticeable missing, such as geography, the planes, dungeoneering, and religion, though it's possible they might be covered minimally in the Knowledge section. Based on the titles you can read, the focus seems to be on magic and how magic works with the various topics, such as The Map-Making Amanuensis in the Cartomancy section.

Saxon has no problem spotting the largest book in the Alchemy section: Ye Compleat Catalogue of Alchemaria. The 5"-thick book is 18" high and just barely fits on the shelf. It is metal-bound, and the title is engraved onto the metal spine.

Anira does spot a section of books that might be relevant:

Mysteries of the East: Belegost
Mysteries of the East: Durandor
Mysteries of the East: Shining Spires of Sharandor
Mysteries of the East: Beyond the Veil
Mysteries of the East: Mechanar of Steamport
Mysteries of the East: The Rovotic Nightmare
Mysteries of the East: Vaharadar
Mysteries of the East: The Great Wood

They were all written by Azurak. None of them are all that thick (about 1"), however, but appear to be bound in 'blue dragonhide'.