1.5 The Education of Tremor Enkau Valevine.   Posted by The GM.Group: 0
The GM
 GM, 511 posts
 Fair Winds and
 Following Seas
Tue 18 Jun 2019
at 07:29
1.5 The Education of Tremor Enkau Valevine

It was called the 'Bear's Cave,' though never to his face. Exactly as Tremor had seen it before: the elegant waxless candles, the bricks and polished wood. The embroidery on the carpets was such that one wondered if it were purely decorative. The bisected Eberron dragonshard standing against the wall must have been worth a small fortune; the hammer-marks along one edge show that its owner placed a different sort of value upon the crystals. A small table held daily mail, and cards marked along an obscure interpretation of the Sovereign Host. The door was solid Ironwood, intricately carved (which also must have cost someone some effort, unless it was grown in that form).

The Tree, enlarged to an oversized four feet, thrived at the side of a cabinet of potions and scrolls. Above this hung numerous dried things, that Tremor was unable to identify. Another cabinet along the side of the wall bore a myriad of small drawers, and large glass beakers stood in a row above them.

The top of the desk was covered with such items of study that Doctor of Causatum Oraculatus Alston Scheppen Maelogilden Lazarumbear deemed fit to feed his hungry mind on in the course of his current research. It bore three tomes: The Mysteries of the Age of Worms, the play Throne of Angels by Karklos ir’Ilsirs, and The Works of Saggan Necrooman. A plate held ready compounds for ready use in spells, or judging from the contents, an aperitif. The partially powdered dragonshard might have made the occupant seem mad to some. The sides of the desk were solid drawers, so many that Tremor wondered that the exact location of anything could possibly be recalled. In fact it seemed to his eye that there were, in fact, too many drawers than there ought to be, and he always mad a point to observe carefully when Lazarumbear would open a corner drawer.

There was an uncomfortable looking ironwood chair and two padded footstools; these were never used. There were only the three stools around the desk, that were ever used by the instructor and the students he had in conference. One stool was occupied with a disdainful looking statue of a toad-demon, one stool was occupied by Tremor. Everything was where it always was, save for the disturbing absence of the Bear.

Tremor had come here during office hours before. Door locked, and the gnome answering to a knock at the precise moment one was expected to arrive. One took care not to rap on the head of a departing supplicant; it frequently looked as though they had already suffered much. The door was always locked, until the appointed time. One had to be sure, to gain as much of the Professor's valuable advice as one could. The assignments were brutal, grueling. The number of books that needed to be consulted, cross-references, and then evaluated for inaccuracies seemed to double with each new paper. Tremor had a knack with this kind of investigation, and taking small cues from his scholarly peers, soon began to outstrip them academically.

But whenever there is a perceived inequality, there is discontent. The appointment, today, was no doubt due to the altercation

Tremor was not one to lower his guard around the others. All the students were being groomed for positions which required a keen mind, and, sometimes a keen blade. The study of anatomy was less of what things did, than what happened when they suddenly failed to do whatever they were supposed to. Bones were studied as negative space, where the paths between them were observed most keenly.

The make-up of the mind was also studied. Not just the effects of various compounds and poisons, but also the sober effects of emotions, stress, faiths, and loyalty. They all learned the alarming effects of sleep-deprivation while they attempted to complete assignments in what seemed a truly unreasonable amount of time. And it was not just Lazarumbear. Doctor Phineas Partlegomp Catchease Nod was the most feared for his assignments. Doctor Nod's student's learned early that if they did not keep up with the baffling number of books and papers they would soon be facing a deadline with a half-dozen unfinished papers and no time to even read the reference material.

Cassia Adele Del Bossinghope had asked him for some help with Doctor Nod's theories on betrayal. Nod was an imposing presence on the staff; Tremor could certainly imagine needing assistance (or fearing an upbraiding during the next class). He'd already made headway up the required reading, and the young lady had approached him courteously, and tentatively, with no trace of airs. Tremor had seen that studying in groups was more effective; Cassia's regular study group had abandoned her in her time of need to watch a Regicide match that had been widely touted. Tremor himself had considered going, but the prices for tickets  would have done too much damage to his budget.

She'd not shown much interest in Tremor's opinions before, but suspicions seemed less germain than the opportunity to make an effort to offer an olive branch; she needed help, and there was a chance to establish a regular study partner--at the very least someone to bounce ideas off of. The curriculum was engaging, but there was a continuous lack of comradeship. The other students seemed resentful of Tremor's presence; despite the fact that his thoughts on the topics were generally on point, and awarded high marks. His presence in their study group would be beneficial to all.

Cassia Adele guided Tremor to a secluded study area of the library; a lone table walled off from observation by the tall stacks of shelves with tomes of all types and descriptions. However, upon unfurling his notes so that he could explain to Cassia just what Doctor Nod's core conceits were probably founded upon, there came several footfalls from the stacks.

Tremor had to admire the craft, there was no sense of surprise; he'd considered the possibility of deception. Her guise had been complete; even now she seemed genuinely concerned with her studies. The practice of betrayal, he realised, was what she'd focused upon, and the 'homework' she was worried over was this very act.

And now it was five to one with Lucius, Hibern, Pollack, Thern, and Elymar ; six to one if Tremor counted Cassia. Tremor mused that even this was an opportunity to learn. This was a lesson, as much as any of Nod's impossible assignments or Lazarumbear's maddening questions. But when Lucius brandished a blade, Tremor realized the gnome had no intention of allowing Tremor to learn from it.

Tremor did his utmost, but even his optimism was beginning to quaver when Lazarumbear showed up and stopped everything. He instucted all of the students to report to his office, giving them explicit, five-minute windows. Wordlessly he escorted Tremor to the infirmary where he was examined. Tremor was forced to spend the night there.

And then it was Tremor's turn at the office. Thern exited the door hastily, and avoided all eye contact. The door clicked shut--locked. Tremor guaged the time with his breaths, knocked, and the door swung open at his touch. There was no greeting, no salutation, nor command. The office was open to him, and there was no sign of Lazarumbear. Curious, he stepped inside, looking to see if the old professor had gone to a wardrobe or was observing him from a dark corner. The door clicked shut, and Tremor was left alone in a roomful of treasures.

OOC: What did you do before The Bear showed up? Was there blood shed?
And what do you do now? Tell me what you want to examine, or if you want to leave everything alone. I'll use your current stats.

This message was last edited by the GM at 11:43, Tue 18 June 2019.

Tremor Enkau Valevine
 player, 148 posts
 Mop Hand, Molou's Distill
 Halfling, Zilargo accent
Tue 18 Jun 2019
at 11:37
1.5 The Education of Tremor Enkau Valevine
It was an exercise in diminishing returns.

The ploy of sympathetic compliment, the ploy of divisive hierarchy, each worked however briefly. Then it was all movement and defensive stance. Tremor found a book and used it to block.

When Lucius went with a high arcing slash,m the book went up, that was the fake, the blade was already moving inside the guard and cutting a line inside the arm.

The feeling of being a mouse, toyed with by a car, overcame the Halfling. Lucius continued his dismantling of Tremor's defense, each counter move cutting some new red line on a leg or arm. Tremor had thought these all could be just examples of skill to the collected conspirators, but when seventh cut was to the lower ribs, accompanied by Lucius' third person comment to himself about how breathing was affected by the blood seeping into lungs, Tremor knew he was looking at the end of his life. It was difficult to accept.

Inhaling became a burden, a wet sucking sound and the exhale sounded like a pillow with a great weight set down on it.

Bring hemmed in and wondering if a leap up to the candle-irons was possible, however the Bear made that last desperate calculation unnecessary.

After the infirmary, Tremor had wondered what story would have been concocted to conceal the murder.

Those thoughts vanished now that, inexplicably, or perhaps by design, the office was occupied by only himself.

Invisibility. Image. Polymorph. Reduce Person. Clairvoyance. Scry. Concealment.

Tremor was drawn to things he knew nothing about. The chest.  The globe.
The backup plan was to flip through the history of Worms,

Tremor went to the chest and examined it and looked for precautions or deterrents or locks, then tried to open it.

The globe was also investigated for any crafty puzzles, making sure to note what may have been of interest the last time it was used.

04:40, Today: Tremor Enkau Valevine rolled 16,13 using d20+7,d20+6 with rolls of 9,7.
Investigation, 16
Lockpicks, 13

This message was last edited by the player at 20:41, Thu 27 June 2019.

The GM
 GM, 515 posts
 Fair Winds and
 Following Seas
Mon 24 Jun 2019
at 05:50
1.5 The Education of Tremor Enkau Valevine
OOC: Why did you say Reduce Person?
The key was in the lock. The chest was wrapped in some kind of exotic leather, and finely tooled. Tremor noticed along the edges in tiny script was written "With great thanks from  the d'Kundarak family." Tremor turned the key and lifted the lid. The chest was full; the topmost item was a cloak of gnomish size; dark black velvet. Along the edges and across the breadth of it were delicate and precise stitchings in a silver thread. It reminded Tremor of the embroidery on the carpet. Underneath the cloak was a hat. Three iridescent feathers emerged from the cockade, shining a kind of blue that would be prized by any painter. The hat was a soft tam'o'shanter in the same black as the cloak, with silver stitching.  There was a sword, in its scabbard. The scabbard was decorated with pieces of obsidian that were cut in the fashion of gemstones. They glittered without light. The sword was bound into the scabbard with a bit of silver twine. Tremor felt uneasy looking at the weapon, and it reminded him of his all too near brush.

There was a moment when the interns at the infirmary had noted that his wounds crossed older scars. Tremor had not though on those scars for a long while. There was another voice that he heard: "They're not dangerous on their own, clawfeet, but they're not your pets. Sometimes they can be more than a brother, but never a pet. and when they are in a pack..." A pack. That's what Lucius and the others had been, and they'd struck just as the clawfoot had. Was he three? Five. He could not recall. And the voice, who was it? Woolgathering. He looked at what was before him. Though the infirmary staff had been very thorough, and their healing was top rate, he still felt a twinge from underneath the bandages when he moved the weapon out of the way. He felt better when he set it aside.

Beneath the sword was a suit of leather armor, studded with bosses. The brass or bronze bosses were about two inches in diameter and each was inscribed in Zil: "Wisdom is my Armour -- Knowledge is my Blade." Below the armor were a pair of black suede boots, as with the cloak and the hat the boots were stitched with silver. Placing the boots aside, Tremor looked at what lay under.

The parchment maps were laid out flat, not scrolled. Hand drawn--and if Tremor was not wrong, in Alston Scheppen Maelogilden Lazarumbear's own hand. They showed strange, half completed interiors, mostly. Rooms and corridors, and there were notations that might be secret doors, or traps, judging from the annotations. Some were bloodstained. All were old. They had titles, or demarcations: Tamoachan, Rahasia, Hommlet, Keraptis, Tsojconth. Tremor recognised none of the names. They could be locations, or proper names, or something else. That was the last in the chest.

The globe was of the world. Eberron laid bare. The map had notations upon it. Lines and dates, and sometimes names. Some of the existing lines of demarcation had been altered, and some new details of coastlines had been added. There were circles, and arrows, and in one case nearly a paragraph of explanation. There was also a long pin stuck into the globe on one side. It was stuck into the middle of the continent of Xen'drik. There was no explanation of that.
The globe was suspended over a simple wooden disk that was illustrated with what might be thirteen figures from cosmology. They might have been the Sovereign Host, but there were too many. Tremor decided they might represent the moons.

Sigils adorned the ring that circumscribed the globe. They looked to be magical, and so in the spirit of investigation he pressed one. At first he thought there was nothing, but then his eyes caught a glimmer. Tiny, faint, almost imperceptible. But, indeed, when he pressed his finger with deliberation upon one glyph, there were tiny specks of light that appeared on the globe. Pressing others yielded the same result, but the specks were hardly there. By accident his hand slipped a fraction of an inch along the rim and he saw the faint specks move. Some had vanished, others had moved, sliding along the surface of the globe in a manner that seemed to reflect the movement along the ring.

This message was last edited by the GM at 17:52, Thu 27 June 2019.

Tremor Enkau Valevine
 player, 149 posts
 Mop Hand, Molou's Distill
 Halfling, Zilargo accent
Thu 27 Jun 2019
at 21:20
1.5 The Education of Tremor Enkau Valevine
The Gnomes had a practice, taken to an art by those who trained in use of Speaking Stones, of recall and memorization, oft called by outsiders as Remembrancy. The Bear had taught Tremor some of that practice and the student now put those lessons to work on the names written on the maps.

The maps were laid back, straightened and flattened, the armor and other garments were replaced back carefully to hide any disturbance. Tremor examined the lid for any compartments that might be concealed, then closed the lid if none were found.

The globe of Eberron was a fascinating thing. Illusion magic as informative factoring of events, such as moon positioning.

Tremor played more and tried to see what, if anything, aligned with the pin in the Dark Continent. The young mind in Tremor spun a web of meaning from all he knew. The Moons were related to Dragonmarks, could these faint specks of light represent locations or movements of Dragonmarked individuals?

Tremor's hands began to move along the ring and the Sigils looking for groupings of the specks, and numbers, if marks, were they just Siberys Marks, or were they too numerous, perhaps there might be some differences between them, could movements be due to the Mark of Passage? Teleportation? Or given House Sivis, use of Send Stones?

True, the Bear may be returning soon, however, as this was out in the open, it would be natural for the curious to examine it. The Bear would expect no less. Tremor also began to expect questions and he had to prepare his mastery over the pantomimes of deceit in order to not give away any information of all his activities.

The interrogation of the globe continued as did the searching by ear for any signs of the Bear's return.
The GM
 GM, 519 posts
 Fair Winds and
 Following Seas
Wed 3 Jul 2019
at 02:05
1.5 The Education of Tremor Enkau Valevine
There was a refinement to any search; Tremor may not have had the entirety of it committed to practice. One could have a precise, though random appearing placement of items, and any searcher would therefore reveal their search by the most minute variation in repositioning. This way lay madness, but of course Tremor made every effort to replace everything as he'd found it. He would not forget the names or the maps, who could? Yet there was much behind those careful notations; as substantial past that lay hidden.

A catch in the lid dropped a hidden shelf from the lid. A rack of wands, eight in total. "Wandslinger" murmured a part of his brain. The wands were each of a different shape, material, length. The black one with tiny diamonds embedded along one side was almost as compelling as the one formed entirely of a single long sliver of ruby.

The Globe Theme
Looking more closely at the globe, Tremor discounted the notion that the points of light were indicative of individual persons, dragonmarked or otherwise. Some of the spots of light were at times the size of a whole city. Cities... He played once more upon the ring, sliding one and then two fingers, and watching the seemingly random play of lights across the globe. The surface of the globe, he noted was not its original. Paper maps had been carefully decoupaged upon a stone globe. Parts of the original were visible as an opalescent sea in between the continents. The lights moved almost randomly, but if he slid a finger back, they retraced their motions.

The pin was an eccentric mystery. The map portion covering the continent of Xend'rik were agonizingly incomplete; perhaps there was something to the rumored 'Curse of the Traveler." Or more likely, there was no obvious reward for generating an effectual map to the interior of that dark continent. Of course on this globe it was far lighter than the others, shining with that strange shifting hue. Tremor wondered if it might be formed of a dragonshard. It was not the usual color, but the shifting sheen was a hallmark of such stones.

At one point he noticed that a point of light was not moving,even though he slid his finger.  Cradled in the crook of a dagger-shaped river, the spot held position. The sigil his finger rested on was like a 'T' bisecting a circle with two smaller bars crossing the 'T' below the circle.

Somewhat later, with his fingers pressed on as many sigils as he could, he noticed a multitude of lights arcing across the globe. They intersected at the location marked with the pin. The brightness grew there until he could not look at the globe. Try as he might, Tremor could not evoke any further response from the globe after that. The lights were extinguished.

A sound came from the upper story. There was an instrument held in poor repute by the upper class, and favored by youngsters who pretended to a rebellious nature. Originally crafted by the gnome Adolphe Antoine Joseph Sax, the 'Adolphesaxophone' had a distinctive sound that Tremor recognized.

Adolphesaxophone Solo
Alston Scheppen Maelogilden Lazarumbear
When the music had died away, Tremor heard the sounds of the instrument being carefully set away. "It won't show the lights again for a fortnight. But you've seen more than some. Can you tell me what you've seen? What have you learned?" He stepped slowly down the circular staircase until he regarded Tremor face to face. "Why are you here?"

GM EDIT: added Globe Theme music, fixup on Alson's solo, and the sigil, which I originally hand-waved but then looked up for reals.

This message was last edited by the GM at 01:09, Thu 04 July 2019.

Tremor Enkau Valevine
 player, 151 posts
 Mop Hand, Molou's Distill
 Halfling, Zilargo accent
Wed 10 Jul 2019
at 06:07
1.5 The Education of Tremor Enkau Valevine
Alston Scheppen Maelogilden Lazarumbear:
"It won't show the lights again for a fortnight. But you've seen more than some.

Can you tell me what you've seen? What have you learned

"This reductio exemplum of Eberron, made of a Dragonshard or.. Byeshk, has a manual operated display of manifest zones. Some move and appear and disappear with a sliding motion, which means that if this be a history, as we understand it, the span of history is on the order of Ages.

Either this was made for more than two hands, or for extremities with more than ten.. fingers.

If I recall my Planar introduction class, manifest zones come and go, some appear to be stable, and the frequency of appearance seems linked to the nature of the imposing Plane, with Kythri, the Churning Chaos, being the most active.

I had my fingers on as many sigils as I could reach and they all intersect at the pin, the pin located on Xen'Drik.

Xen'Drik, ancient home of the Giants and there subjugated races

Tremor thought as his Professor descended, turning to address the Gnome, "Does this mean that the Giants were masters of Planar magics, that there is some connection between Giants and Manifest Zones? Did the Giants break some Planar Law and allow for a scattering of Manifest Zones?


Does this mean there will be some event in our future

Flashes of the lessons, the contents of the chest, the purpose that is behid all the training...

"Yet, you have had this some time. It would have to be investigated, who have you tasked on this?"

The last part came out a little to enthusiastically.

Wait, this is not.. it reminds of orrery.

"Dragons, dragons made this."

This message was last edited by the player at 06:33, Wed 10 July 2019.

The GM
 GM, 529 posts
 Fair Winds and
 Following Seas
Wed 10 Jul 2019
at 07:50
Re: 1.5 The Education of Tremor Enkau Valevine
Alston Scheppen Maelogilden Lazarumbear
"Ah, yes, 'dragonshard.' Our very largest unknown. Can you imagine taking such a precious thing and crushing it into dust. They did that; the giants, all so long ago. But I do not think this is giant work, nor the dragons (but clever of you to think that; I thought I was clever those many years ago when I thought the same) But this comes from Xend'rik, not Argonnessen." He walked about the globe, extending his fingers but not touching the surface. "So many years... Can you imagine? Not knowing for so many years... We worked on it, together. It is either the most precious thing in the world, or the worst waste of time in my life." He looked Tremor in the eye and winked "And I teach, so that's saying a lot."

He stepped back. and scrutinized the globe as if from a new angle. "Aye. Manifest zones. As if by naming them thus we gain understanding. Are they what makes our reality? Does our reality make them? Bah, the magic users do not care they only wish to leverage these ... tremendous unknowns to further... " He waved his hands as though erasing a dusty chalkboard. "You say the time, yes? and so you see the purpose. The potential purpose of the device." He chuckled ruefully.

"And so perhaps you understand, you can grasp why... You can't tell!" At first, Tremor though the Professor was giving him an injunction against speaking of the device, but the old gnome went on. "You can't tell when any of this happens! The dates are all complex; the controls too gross! And there are no landmarks--time-marks, I should say. We looked! For years we looked. We papered over the sphere with maps once we realized what it was. We codified it; finger positions, rate of slide. We scoured the reports for m-zone appearances. Cross indexed." He finally allowed himself to tap the top of the globe lightly. "It is...." he smiled a painful smile under his beard "... a complete waste of time. Maybe we'll know, if the towers of Sharn ever fall, I keep a worried ear out for another Crystalfall... like some morbid prophet." He shook himself.

"We ascertained that it was the drow, of all people. Where it was obtained, the contents of the dig. The magically-infused dark-elven servants of the magical titans. They learned it all from the masters of the world, and then when the masters fell, they had it all to themselves. Perhaps. Or maybe it was just their nature. Or maybe it was revenge." He rotated the globe, and Tremor saw that gaze in his mind echoed over years; decades, even, "'Reductio exemplum of Eberron,' very nice, very nice phrasing. I shall use that, if you have no objection, in my next book. And, yes, to answer your question. There will be 'an event in our future.' Not that that statement holds very much meaning. I mean... surely if there are no events in the future then we should all be dead. As perhaps we will be. That pin marks the location of something ..." Alston worked his lips against one another as the words fought with his mouth. "Unimaginable." they finally agreed. "Whatever the planes are, they were never meant to be here, with us. There have been five Ages. I think it would mean a sixth." He rocked his head.

"As for who is tasked to this now? Why as in the matter of all things portentous: no one. No one at all, and no one will be studying this globe. It is not why you are here. Did a manifest zone bring you here? No."

The old gnome gently examined the bandages. "They will usually tell you that you can remove the bandages a little early if you want to leave a scar. Some people think that's special. I always thought that a scar should be a reminder of something you did wrong. You have some scars, I see. Pain. Pain can be instructive. If it is not too destructive." He restored the bandages with approval. "You will live, I think. Maybe longer than I." He smirked and then strode the room.

"We have rules, at the school." He was in full lecture mode now: arms clasped behind his back and strutting on the floor as though there were thirty students in front of him. Tremor felt better when there were others there. "Rules, and stringent consequences. One of those rules is that students are not to fight one another."

The old Bear rocked onto his toes, and stared into Tremors eyes. "What... do you think .... of that rule?"

Tremor Enkau Valevine
 player, 154 posts
 Mop Hand, Molou's Distill
 Halfling, Zilargo accent
Thu 11 Jul 2019
at 06:00
Re: 1.5 The Education of Tremor Enkau Valevine
"Professor I have no objection and am honored you think the turn of phrase worthy."

That acknowledgement delayed the response to the question put to him. What the Professor revealed, spoke to a larger picture.

- "Rules, and stringent consequences. One of those rules is that students are not to fight one another."

 - The old Bear rocked onto his toes, and stared into Tremors eyes. "What... do you think .... of that rule?"

The question went to Law. The wording may be a signal. He calls it a rule, also, what I think of it. There were lectures that came to mind, however, the Bear asks a question like this, there is the honest answer that, prepared or not, comes born out of what has been learned and what has been experienced.

No doubt that Tremor had, in his studies, answered this or a similar question, perhaps the Bear was looking to see if the compass now swung a little of course.

"It is a rule that is redundant with Zilargo Law. It serves a purpose and may also have a consequence. I may have been overly secure in the safety of my person because of this.

I think back to the pantomimes of deceit, of calculated manipulation. I am unsure that Lucius, though he wielded the blade, I think maybe Cassia Adele Del Bossinghope drove the aggression, though I am unsure.

The rule must be kept, it serves safety of the students and if the attack upon me, its consequences, bring clarity, then order is strengthened
The GM
 GM, 533 posts
 Fair Winds and
 Following Seas
Thu 11 Jul 2019
at 19:27
Re: 1.5 The Education of Tremor Enkau Valevine
Alston Scheppen Maelogilden Lazarumbear
"Ah, yes. 'Order strengthened.' For we must have order, yes? Yes. But do note, young Tremor Enkau Valevine, that the rules themselves, 'redundant' as they are, did not prevent this 'aggression.' I suspect you are correct in your presumption about both Lucius and Cassia's roles in this assault. Ser Lucius ir'Wanglethroat is here due to prominence in society, and a large endowment to the school. Said endowment is conditional, of course on his remaining a student here. You begin to see the foundation of the problem that currently assails me, oh, and you as well." He made a clicking sound under his beard. "I have a multiplicity of data to gift you with. They do not take order within my mind, and so I present them disorganized thus:"

As he spoke he held up first one and then another finger, so as to keep track.

"This facility is intended to bring forth the best and brightest minds in service to the people of Zilargo. They must be clever, inventive, and willing to explore such possibilities as present themselves. Many of these minds will chafe at being told not to do a thing, and will do it simply because it is forbidden."

"We, the faculty, understanding that such things may occur, unplanned and as I said: 'against the rules,' have therefore created several 'shadow settings.' As with that secluded table in the library, all but hidden in the stacks. Very few spots on the campus are as closely monitored as that table."

"I hope you will forgive me, but there was never... much danger to your person. And you have had an insightful demonstration of Dr. Nod's excellent theories."

"The reasons behind these student's actions is easily understood, but not in accordance with the goals of the school. If a student shows promise, as you do, then it makes no difference to us if another student is mediocre, or of a different race."

"And now they have begun to exercise those abilities we have cultivated within them. I have to say, it is not encouraging to hear their prevarications. You are apparently a very vicious and threatening person. Had I not already known how you manage to complete the assignments of Dr. Nod, their accusations would be most alarming."

"In fact I shall follow up with the good Doctor. I would be unsurprised if the clever girl was imputing to you acts which in fact, she has perpetrated. Despite her concerns over her ability compared with yours, she's quite promising. I think you and I can agree, though, that she cannot continue without some respect for the rules. Once thwarted, she might become ... more creative. I am unwilling to wager the best student I've had against ... criminal ingenuity, shall we say? Zilargo has sufficient enemies within and without, and we need not endure student's squabbles along with that."

He sighed. "I cannot say the same of Ser Lucius. His scores are hopeless. He refuses to study and his attempts at deception border on mere intimidation. And yet, he continues here, gliding along on a road of copper pieces."

"The others are neither here nor there. Average."
The way he said it made it sound like a vulgar curse.

"And so if falls to me to apply some solution to the problem. I do not wish to lose a fine student. Either fine student, as it happens. You are here on scholarship, and have shown nothing but good return on our investment. Cassia... has promise, if she can place the good of the organization above her own petty fears and desires. Lucius is wasting time and space, but I cannot dismiss him."

"Now, you might be saying to yourself, 'surely this is not the first time in your glorious tenure that this particular problem has arisen.' And you would be correct. The first time, was a real challange. Thereafter, the solution presented itself."

He slowly walked around the table and then regarded the ugly toad-demon statuette. "The last time was about six years ago. Dablin Gordangle Swallingduck. He could not be seen to be punished, but he could not be allowed to continue." His eyebrows curled down in a frown, and his eyes flashed with unrevealed anger. "I had his mind placed here, in this statuette. Dablin exchanged place with the previous occupant. That one, Bartle-something-or-other, had occupied it for eight years. They know to behave, after so long. They know it is their chance at redemption. They will follow the rules. And so Bartle walked out of the school in Dablin's body. He's a much better person for it. The parents thought so. 'Changed and so much for the better.' they wrote."

He tapped the statuette. "And now Dablin gets his chance at freedom. Lucius will not be as he was. From my recollection of Dablin, Lucius' scores will improve slightly. Perhaps more, since he's been present at nearly six year's of office consultations. And he'll have no need of this." The gnome pulled open a drawer and extracted from within the long thin dagger that Lucius had wielded against Tremor. "You should take this and hide it well. Weapons found on a student's person is also 'against the rules.'"

"One conversation with Lucius should convince Cassia to refocus her efforts on the curriculum, and I anticipate she will give you an honest run for your money hereafter. Rules are good, but we must also think to enforcement, and to consequences. 'A gnome does not cut off his ears to fit his hat.' Nor should you.

On to other things... Have you read The Works?

I'm sorry, did you have a question?"

This message was last edited by the GM at 19:35, Thu 11 July 2019.

Tremor Enkau Valevine
 player, 155 posts
 Mop Hand, Molou's Distill
 Halfling, Zilargo accent
Mon 15 Jul 2019
at 08:33
Re: 1.5 The Education of Tremor Enkau Valevine
The Halfling takes the dagger, looks at it, checks the handle, the counter-weight and the sheath, still listening, also thinking about what the implications for having been given the blade, all of those were dark clouds on his horizon.

"Yes, I have read through The Works. It is the work of a mind I do not understand, the drive and disregard for rules, I recognize."

Looking at the Toad, "No.  No questions, now, later."
The GM
 GM, 543 posts
 Fair Winds and
 Following Seas
Wed 17 Jul 2019
at 00:32
Re: 1.5 The Education of Tremor Enkau Valevine
Alston Scheppen Maelogilden Lazarumbear
"No questions? Ser Valevine, I have just told you about heinous acts committed outside the rule of law in support of a governmental institution. And you have no questions." He cocked his head to one side. "We were just now discussing respect for the rules. That they serve a purpose. Everything I tell each of my students serves a purpose." He steepled his fingers for a moment, and regarded Tremor under his large eyebrows. "Consider what I have just told you. About Dablin, and Bartle, and Lucius. Now what if I had told that to Cassia? Hmmm? That poor Lucius was stuck here until the next student got out of line. And what if I had told that to Lucius, and said that Cassia was in this statuette. Do you not suppose their behavior would be... somewhat altered?" He brushed his hands together as though  cleansing them for a new topic.

"It matters not, to some, how a thing is done. But there are those..." and he gestured with a long finger at the ceiling, or perhaps the sky, "...who watch. And they may judge. It was the dragons of Argonessen who laid the titans low, you recall. The giants never invited their consul."

He lifted the book. "You've read it? Not many have. And fewer would admit it. Don't you go around telling people so, Valevine. In less ... civilized settings that admission might get more than your books burned.

The Works. An arrogant title, by an arrogant man, Saggan Necrooman. Oh, but he did get on my nerves. As, I am sure, I got on his. And you are quite correct. No regard for rules. We made quite the pair, all those years ago. This book is unique. It has his voice enchanted into it. You can recognize something and never understand it. Hear him."

Dr. Alson handed the book to Tremor open to a page: The Works Theme
Saggan Necrooman:
“Shadows of Shadows passing... It is now 8 and 31... and as always, I am absorbed with a delicate thought. It is how poetry has indefinite sensations to which end, music is an essential, since the comprehension of sweet sound is our most indefinite conception. Music, when combined with a pleasurable idea, is poetry. Music without the idea is simply music. Without music or an intriguing idea, color becomes pallour, man becomes carcass, home becomes catacomb, and the dead are but for a moment motionless.”

"Entrancing, brilliant, and frightening. Necrooman's genius knew no limits, and would allow none. Do you know he once called Queen Aurala an ignorant child with a golden wand stuck up her... It doesn't matter. Ultimately nothing mattered. He built what he wanted, and as long as it suited whomever was his patron he could say what he wanted; do what he wanted. And then he'd choose another project, and lose the patron and be damned, damned the consequences. But he had an ear for music, and an eye for beauty, a mind for wit. It is a shame he never came to appreciate ... simpler people, simpler pleasures.

We schooled together. And traveled, oh so far together. Some of the writing on that globe is his; not the names of places, no he was not concerned with that. But he wanted something else, no matter how ... effective we were together, there was something. Maybe I wanted too little. He pounced off to Karrnath, and then who knows where, playing hob with the dead and the living. I saw some of the machines he'd made. Experiments. Torture machines. Blasphemies. Brilliant. He did not set out to make them thus, but his inventions are the mechanisms of terror. "

Tremor Enkau Valevine
 player, 159 posts
 Mop Hand, Molou's Distill
 Halfling, Zilargo accent
Thu 8 Aug 2019
at 07:24
Re: 1.5 The Education of Tremor Enkau Valevine
"Professor, heinous acts, I will return to this reference later, receive heinous punishments.

Dreadhold keeps as ts most durable punishment Flesh to Stone. The Kundarak keep safe i that place all manner of criminals. Here at the school you educate a variety of skills that if used for instability, many would call them criminals, and they would be right to do so.

I imagine that Cassia would use the knowledge as leverage against you and possibly the school or go to persons that could use such knowledge and become an asset or partner in some way. Either path, it is for her own personal gain.

In Lucius' case, I don't really know what his reaction would be, beyond violent retribution, except that Cassia likely employed a Lover's bond with him.

Some.. provincial minds would call what punishment you have in the demon toad heinous, however I see it as offering a chance at redemption and continued education.

There are stories of punishment by Polymorph, some I am sure are true, those likely are meant only to be punishing.

The questions I would have sought answers to, in the coming days of my study here, can this artifact do as you say? Are there other facts about its operation you omitted, like the possibility of Insanity? Who else knows of this punishment and oversees it and you?

I say this to you because I come to see your judgement is sound. Until today.

In so many words, you just spoke a parable on not seeing a person for the dark and cloaked monster he actually is. That respect and admiration blinded you to one of Eberron's children being more a spawn of Daelkyr than Human

The Halfling stands, facing his Professor.

"This is you gauging my music." It was said matter of fact, absent accusation, absent malice, only recognition.

It was at that moment Tremor decided to go to the Regents and expose the use of the toad Jar.
The GM
 GM, 570 posts
 Fair Winds and
 Following Seas
Thu 8 Aug 2019
at 21:47
Re: 1.5 The Education of Tremor Enkau Valevine
Alston Scheppen Maelogilden Lazarumbear
"Your music?! Your ... music. Hmm. Flesh to Stone, well known. A moderation of the medusa's bimorphic transpose. But what is in the mind of a stone, eh? You know that answer. I am a teacher. I do not bear the title Professor for nothing. This is true." And Tremor knew this was so. Though Lazarumbear might be an accomplished liar, there were clues when a person spoke of a deeply held faith that were incontrovertible. "You say 'provincial.' Interesting. I am curious about these... 'provincials.'  We shall return to this. You also mentioned 'heinous acts'. We shall return to this as well. But as I am an instructor, and honor-bound to instruct, I shall begin with a discussion of this toad effigy. It is well-wrought, of stone quarried in deepest Xen'drik. And I can assure you that it cannot produce insanity, because it is nothing more than a stone statue. There is no Magic Jar enchantment on this toad. Well, I suppose one might become insane upon looking on these features, if one were artistically sensitive beyond the point of reason; but that is the observer's vulnerability and not that of the statue." He patted the toat's head, and then turned. Tremor saw him cast his mind into the past. "There was a professor.... Harald Higenotto Morsbelly. Hmm. Some seventy-five years ago. There are records, but one must search, and search circumspectly. He had a functioning Magic jar, and he used it as I have described. I do not know the details, beyond those records, and the discussions I had with fellow students of the time. I do not know the extent of the 'overseeing' except that it was known, and not condemned. Perhaps the Kundarak exemplar was sufficient." He paced, disturbed, for a minute and a half.

"There are monsters who walk among us, and they do not hail from Droaam. I found the conduct of Professor Morsbelly to be heinous. There must be something that .... There are obligations.... " He muttered, and did not immediately elaborate.

"'Gauging your music?' And do you play the Adolphesaxophone? Or even an ocarina? Hmm. 'Sound.' Curious that the phrase both means something that can be relied upon also means something that one can hear. I do hope you have keen hearing. There are criminals, who break the rules, and do harm upon the community; these are those that even the provincial minds would condemn. But if one were have the opportunity to conduct offenses that did not breach these rules, or to do so circumspectly, and still did harm, then what could be said? What could be done?"

The Doctor of Causatum Oraculatus looked distressed.  "I am not what I appear. Just as you shall not be what you appear, if we are to do any good." He waved his hand about "I know, I know: 'I'm a bit unclear on this whole good/bad thing.' Let us assume that 'good' and 'bad' are as defined by these provincial minds. That a farmer out in Hatheril, or a nomad on the Talenta plains, and a smith working at his forge could agree: freedom from constraint, and constraints on their freedoms." He spread his hands wide in a familiar gesture. "I don't know. But I know it when I see it. I knew evil was in the works of Morsbelly. And I came to know that the same could be said of Saggan Necrooman. And I see it, here. I have told the story of the toad statue before. It is well-known among the faculty. Some of the more learned think that I stole the notion from Morsbelly, as indeed I have. None suspect that I am a fraud. And thus, I am accepted. Respected. Because... that is the measure of 'good' that is used, here. Not very provincial. Sophisticated enough to stab another student to death."

He wiped his face, and then took a long look at Tremor. "The mind of a gnome is not like the mind of a halfling. In Zilargo we have chosen to put our love of knowledge and secrecy at the forefront. It's a good plan. I cannot fault exalting reason and study and as you so aptly put it 'diplomacy, the knowledge of people,' at the forefront. But... too many secrets, and too many people who are so smart that they think they know better than any others. The shadows are long and deep in this place. But I get ahead of myself; you shall see, and judge for yourself. In the meanwhile, Cassia shall believe that Lucius has been possessed by Dablin; and she will act towards him... unusually. Lucius likewise will think that Cassia is now inhabited by Dablin, and that will undoubtedly change his behavior with her. I especially doubt that they will continue with a  'Lovers' bond, knowing what I know of them both. Minor magics are in place on both of them, which concern only the story and the name Dablin Gordangle Swallingduck. Thus I preserve freedoms, with constraints. And of this, I assure you, there is no oversight. If any of the staff got wind of this particular ... deception... it would be the last you ever saw of the poor old bear.

My peers expect a certain... behavior."
He winked at Tremor, letting him in on the great secret, offering his trust. To be sure, the wily old gnome could well have some safeguards in place should Tremor betray him. It would be a coup, and would secure a position of great esteem even among those such as Lucius and Cassia. And perhaps the Doctor would have considered this, and, Tremor considered, perhaps not. "Under the veil of misapprehension, we must all navigate by that which is within us. I cannot tell you, you must decide for yourself. Meanwhile, let us examine what is here, in this conspicuously unlocked trunk."

He lifted the lid of the chest and drew out the hat and cloak. "Now it may be that my perception of myself was that of a lean, nimble young gnome; but perhaps I was deluding myself. Or, perhaps you, Tremor, are more abstemious than others of your race. Nevertheless, I believe these will fit you adequately. Will you do me the honor of trying them on? And do you like sausages?"