Shattered Star Campaign

Who is Beren?
The Thoughts of Beren

I knew she was trouble from the moment she walked in the room with Antony. It’s not that the muster room was off-limits to non-worshippers, no room in the Calistrian Temple really was. Even the carnally occupied ones. There were no doors, just sheets that covered the portals from one room to the next. No, I knew she was trouble because of those eyes. I could feel their violet glance from a mile away. She was doing well to avoid staring, actually, she was barely looking at me. But I knew. I had a curse upon me. A curse of violet-eyed women.

I could tell Antony was trying to offer up one of the other men to her. She must have given a hefty donation to the temple just to even visit this room. Antony doesn’t much like to offer the guard to outside hire. Especially not with losing a whole crew a few weeks back. Lucky for me though, they lost some veterans and were desperate for some strong arms with the right disposition.

She didn’t look like any of the women who infrequently visit the temple for a hired guard. When a woman comes here to hire a man who can use a sword its usually a way to get a new man in her bed without raising suspicion from a well-to-do husband. All of those lofty ladies have guards, one more doesn’t raise any eyebrows.

But she didn’t look like one of those pampered women. There was something about her that warned against getting close to her. Besides those eyes, there was nothing outstanding about her appearance. She had the dark, thick, and long hair common to Varisian women. Her skin was also dark, perhaps tanned, perhaps not. It was ale-colored, a rich color, also common in this part of the world. Her face looked neither over or underfed, and its features were all in the right places in the right proportions. If she were to commit a crime, she would be very difficult to describe. Even her garments were non-descript. She wore a white shirt with billowing sleeves, cut to show her shoulders and the curves of the tops of her breasts. They were not overly substantial. Perhaps a handful, one for each hand. Yes.

When Antony walked over to me I was surprised. But not really. Like I said, I had a curse of violet-eyed women in my life. I was surprised that she chose me though. There were at least fifteen men in this room that bore god-like physiques and more practiced sword arms. Usually, the men and women who serve at this temple are discouraged from outside fornication. This is so we are better able to serve those who come to worship here.

Calistrians are known to be primal and voracious lovers, and that reputation was not something that was going to change on Antony’s watch. However, when Antony accepted me on at the Temple he told me that I should seek out partners to couple with. I could tell he did not approve of my round midsection, or the slight layer of fat that covered the rest of me. Another might be ashamed, but I like my ale, and well-cooked food, and I’m not going to apologize for it. He was accepting me here as a guard anyway, not one of his male succubi.

Apparently this non-descript woman did not want one of those men chiseled in marble. Maybe she really was just looking for a guard. But by the way she was evaluating me, I had the feeling that it wasn’t for that purpose. Suddenly I was glad that I had a towel around my waist, but those thoughts of grabbing handfuls of her full breasts just moments ago was cutting down the towel’s effectiveness. Argh! Why did I just think of it again?!

Then he said something about “trying me out.” Now I know how it feels to be sold. I felt maybe slightly indignant for a second. Maybe a second. But this plainly mysterious violet-eyed woman just stood in a room of oily Adonises and picked me, apparently, to fuck. It was hard to be offended. I hadn’t been having much luck finding women anyway. I try not to buy them. Bad memories, of another violet-eyed woman. And I try not to fuck where I work. Also, bad memories of a different violet-eyed woman.

Antony walked us to a room full of pillows that I’d never been in before. My eyes strayed to the table of liquor, put there purposely to lubricate the interaction of strangers. Now that I was in the room with her, I couldn’t look at her. I was her prize, she wasn’t mine. I wanted her, for certain, but it was odd being on the receiving end of this exchange.

When Antony left the room – did he even say anything? I didn’t hear anything if he did – she stood there, with a little grin on her face. She was reading my discomfort, my embarrassment, and she was grinning to herself. This was not a normal woman. Her grin emboldened me to take back the power in the room. SHE wasn’t embarrassed. She was clearly amused! I walked straight up to her and lifted her chin so I could peer at those eyes that were no doubt going to give me quite a lot of trouble, if history repeated itself. There was something unnatural about her eyes. The violet was too sharp, a shade too piercing, coupled with the rest of her more or less ordinary features, they looked even more disturbing. I was in trouble. Big trouble. I spoke to her, “A Varisian woman with violet eyes? I haven’t seen such color since I was last home, and even then it was rare.”

She just grinned at me again; it felt like a threat. She walked over to the table of alcohol and poured me a tall glass of ale. She clearly had me well-evaluated, and that felt even more dangerous. But I wanted that drink. Either the pitcher or the glasses had been enchanted so as to keep the beverage cold, and I was very pleased. She didn’t drink anything, but offered me another after I downed my first. She’s known me for less than a minute, and already had a weakness pegged in me. I was in so much trouble.

We spoke for a few minutes while I finished my second ale. I laughed a lot, out of nervousness. I’ve never really had a woman disarm me like this one has. Usually it’s more clear who has the upper hand in a room with a 6’4” man and a tiny woman. After the second ale I was feeling more comfortable, and as if she predicted the feeling, she poured me a third and then sat down on a large pillow; apparently relaxing. I suddenly realized that she really was actually expecting me to fuck her. This wasn’t a joke set up by Antony to shame me, this wasn’t a trap by the Goddess. I was actually, and truly, bought and paid for by this clearly dangerous woman and she was actually, and truly, wanting ME.

I put the third ale down on the table untouched and knelt before her. I didn’t even catch her name. I wasn’t new to women, I knew what she wanted. Emboldened, I kissed her lips, and her neck and apparently that was the right thing to do.

A few hours later I was still confused about who she was. I did know her name now, and I knew much else about her besides that. I was still convinced that she was dangerous to me. The danger was alluring. She told me of the mission that she meant to set out on. A magical artifact that made women insatiably sexual? Sounds like bullshit. But why would she lie like this to me – seems like she’s gone a little far already if it’s just a trick. Why would she chose me to take that out on? Maybe this was to be my gift of the violet-eyed woman; to counter all the evil that’s befallen me because of the other violet beauties. The others had seemed as gifts in the beginning too. I’m in big trouble.

The Temple of Calistria
Zynn's Thoughts

As I walked into the Temple of Calistria I instantly regretted not bringing Vale with me. I’ve learned a lot about Desna from Vale. The only other God I know much about is Nethys. No God or Goddess is worshipped in Thronestep other than the Living God. But I was angry at Vale. Virion and I weren’t the closest of friends; if we were friends at all. But we were walking the same path, and to kill him in his moment of weakness was…disturbing at best. Maybe Virion was more trouble than he was worth. I could see that argument and its merit. Personally, there was too much left of Virion’s mystery to explore to want to see him dead. He was A Challenge. But what was truly reprehensible, absolutely unforgivable, was Vale’s refusal to help his own kin. Blood is all that is real. Family is all that matters. Everything I do will, in the end, better my family’s situation, directly or indirectly.

It is disgusting that he would refuse any creature’s help after reading the letter from his sister. Her writing was desperate, pleading. And yet she didn’t address the letter to him? They are so estranged that when she’s begging perfect strangers for help, she doesn’t even include him among those she asks? What sort of family is that? Elves spend hundreds of years alive, apparently estranged from each other? Maybe his sister wouldn’t be in such dire straits if she had an army of her own family behind her. My family would rally to my side for the slightest word of distress. Everything I do is for them. I joined the Pathfinders for them. I accepted this mission in Magnimar for them. Because I am the matriarch now, I found anyway I could to learn the magic faster. I will collect these artifacts for them. If Vale wants to take them to the Worldwound to help defeat demons there, I will make sure they are also taken to Thronestep to defeat the imposter God. There is no better way that I could serve my family. I will walk this road for them.

If a devil offered me a gift of a contract providing my family with safety in return for a ride in my mind, it would have it. The loss of my soul is worth it for my family’s well-being. Not only was he unwilling to give his sister that blessing, he was also unable to find the courage within himself to save her from the threat of the same devil. She seems to have enough trouble to deal with, he let the devil loose by killing Virion, he should have taken responsibility for it. I hope his sister is mightier than the brother that has been given to me as a companion. If he can’t be trusted to have the back of his own blood, how could I possibly trust him?

But. He does know quite a bit about the various Gods and Goddesses. I walked into the Temple of Calistria not really knowing what to expect. I was envisioning a well-run brothel, from the very brief descriptions that Vale offered before I left the manor. What I was not expecting was all the wasps. Wasps everywhere. In tiles, in statues, in wall décor. Some of them anthropomorphic, a beautiful woman with wasp wings. I’m not afraid to admit that I was I little surprised. I may have been standing near the doorway like an idiot for a few minutes while I took it all in.

I’m no stranger to sex. I was only thirteen when I had my first man, and he wasn’t my last man either. I can’t say I ever paid for one though. Usually it was a friend of one of my brother’s, or someone who caught my fancy at an inn. Or maybe someone who just bought me enough drinks at the inn. I’m not ashamed of my past. Maybe that comes from being in a female-dominated family; we’re afforded all the same luxuries and opportunities as the men in my family. So if I wanted to fuck someone, and they were game, I did it. And they usually were.

But this was a little different. I never thought I’d be in a temple looking to buy a man’s services. But here I was. Someone approached me, and asked me what I was there for. I tend to speak my mind, and not bandy words. I’m almost certain he didn’t catch the true meaning of my request the first time through. But when he took me to the back to discuss real terms I think the depth of my need was understood. Good thing that Virion had deep pockets – and no need for the wealth any longer.

The man, Antony was his name, took me on a walk around the Temple after terms had been agreed upon. I felt it important that the person I chose had a sense of adventure and would not be too disturbed by the fast pace and lack of comfort that this journey was promising. If it was possible, some knowledge of the sword (the blade) was desirable as well. Antony did his best to guide my selection to what I said I wanted.

There was no lack of choice at this temple. There were some men who were clearly only worshippers of Calistria’s lustful side. They wore soft silk pants and vests, and were bare-chested. Many of them were just as hairless and perfumed as the women who stood by their sides. While many of them were attractive enough and I’m sure they were well-versed in giving women pleasure, they lacked a strength that I find more alluring.
I passed by a handful of the more scholarly sort. There was a raven-haired and dark eyed elf who was looking through a leather bound book of pornographic images. The book seemed to be somehow instructional in nature. He looked dark and somewhat mysterious, and a little more than exotic. Antony told me that he only favored men. When I looked at the book he was perusing for a second time I noticed that all the figures were men.

There were plenty others to choose from. There were other men who served Calistria in a more martial fashion, but Antony assured me that they would all gladly serve her lustful side as well. I had to laugh a little bit at that. He walked me through a room where these more martial sorts were busy changing shifts and getting dressed. They walked around unabashedly naked. Men and women changed in this room cheerfully mixing. An auburn haired man sat with his legs splayed while a woman knelt before him, pleasuring him. Not more than a few steps away, another couple was intimately entwined and vocal about their pleasure. Antony told me that the worshippers of Calistria have many different methods for spending their time of morning worship, and many chose to spend it In this fashion.
More than a small part of me was wondering if I should convert to Calistria’s worship.

There was every sort of man in this room. Tall and short, elven, half-elven, a few of mixed race. My eyes settled on a sandy-haired man. He was easily one of the tallest men in the room. He had pale skin to match his pale hair; which to me, who has never been outside this dark-toned region of the world , was exotic in itself. There was a story behind why this man was in this city. He had broad shoulders and arms, which were clearly strong. I could imagine him as a farmhand in some farway place that wasn’t smothered in sand. His muscular frame also carried a layer of soft skin, ending in a small round belly at his midsection which I also found attractive.

Antony saw me evaluating this man, and he grinned at me while he spoke. “Oh that one? He’s new here. From Andoran, I think. Only been here a few weeks. His physique wasn’t appropriate to offer, well… he’s a wonderful guard. Are you sure that you aren’t more interested in Xion, perhaps?” He gestured to another man who was perfectly chiseled and tanned. “Xion would be worth your…considerable donation to Calistria. He is very popular, and has been worshipping here for many years. I would hate to lose him in the guard, even for ten days, but I am sure he would please you.”

Antony wasn’t wrong, Xion was an admirable specimen, and his nudity made the rest of him easy to evaluate as well. He was impressive. But there was something about the sandy-haired foreigner that made me grin. There was a bit of a naïve innocence in his demeanor.

His broad shoulders, barrel chest, and ale belly gave me a sense of safety and good-natured security. I told Antony as much who continued to be surprised at my choice. He spoke again, earnestly, “You must try him then. I am sure he is no virgin, but he has not been given to lustful worship here at this temple. Here, I will speak to him, I will not tell him of the journey until you approve of his skill.” With that, he walked away towards the man immediately. I have to admit that I was a little embarrassed. A little. And more than a little turned on.

I could see Antony speak to the man. Antony was a normal-sized Varisian, and was dwarfed by the size of this Andoran. I could see that the man was clearly deferring to Antony’s seniority; a characteristic that would be helpful in this delicate mission. When Antony got around to mentioning me, he gestured toward me, and I tried to stand tall with a cool arrogance – the way I had seen many men buy their night women. I’m not sure I pulled it off, but I tried. They both walked toward me, the man had a clear shade of blush in his cheeks, and was casually attempting to hide arousal.

The sandy-haired many was quickly introduced to me as Beren Fairlane, and Antony ushered us out of the muster room of the Calistrian temple. There were a few looks of jealousy on the faces of the others who were going to worship Calistria in less pleasurable ways.

I didn’t say anything to Beren as Antony walked us to a small, but cosy room. It was dimly lit, and many pillows of various sizes were scattered about the room, covering it almost entirely. There was a pleasant fragrance in the air, a flower that I didn’t know the name of. A small table held a handful of different types of alcohol. Antony smiled at both of us, and then spoke to me as if Beren were not there, “Take as long as you need. Please do let me know if you would like to use Beren for your venture, or perhaps if you would like to choose another.” Antony still seemed incredulous about my decision, but he backed out of the room and left us alone.

I looked up at Beren. Without the lubrication of alcohol and merriment I was feeling a bit awkward. Beren looked down at me with a very pleasant half-smile. His voice was deep and seemed prone to jocularity, “A Varisian woman with violet eyes? I haven’t seen such color since I was last home, and even then it was rare.” He touched my chin, nudging me face upward so he could see my eyes better. I was mystified. This was a man who had clearance to fuck me at any time, and he’s still bothering to comment on my eyes. Perhaps it is part of the Calistrian training.

It was several hours later when I emerged from the room with Beren. I hadn’t felt that calm and fulfilled in a long time. I had shared the details of the mission with him during a period of recovery. I spoke to him plainly, only sharing the necessary details, while I laid my head on his chest and my arm on his soft midsection. My initial evaluation of Beren wasn’t wrong. He had been a shepherd of cattle before leaving Andoran. He was older than he looked – just over thirty. He spoke easily and always with a smile; he loved food and ale. He was blessed in many ways that I’m sure Calistria would be proud of.

When we walked out of the Temple, I didn’t bother stopping to tell Antony my decision. We walked out together, his arm around my shoulder and mine around his waist. I certain that my choice didn’t need to be spoken.

A Dream of Home in the Princely City

This sprawling city. How I imagined I might walk in to immediately find what I sought. A boyish dream. The city of Magnimar holds many wonders, many people traveling by foot, by sea, and by magic, surely. Magnimar is not so magnanimous, however. Anything but, it seems. I have not yet located what I came to find, but I feel I am getting closer. Desna bless the steps I take so that I may make strides everyday to a path of adventure, wisdom, and love.

I miss my family. If they ever considered me truly their kin, I do not know. But the feeling remains all the same. I have not returned to Iadara for some time, likely to my grandfather’s joy, but I yearn to see my sisters and brothers once more. Felwynathasa will surely be married soon, if she is not already. A noble and a man with military standing, no doubt. She was born to do just that. Imagining having hundreds of years already set for you, knowing that each step will not stray from the road at all, lest the road collapse under your feet. What desire paths are you missing, desires that will remained unfulfilled on paths left untraceable

My brother, dear Yarasil, what esoteric knowledge have you unearthed? What wonders are buried in the Arcanamirium? You were never the skilled warrior grandfather wished you to be, even bringing in those priests to lift your battle prowess when you were still young. It did not work. Your strength came from your mind, a much more obscured strength than a sword. I hope that one day I may visit you. We could journey home together, perhaps. At least to Greengold, on the border of the Forests of Kyonin. We could recall what we learned, what we saw, perhaps write a book together. I long for that day.

My sister, Silacaladthiel, I did not have much time with you, but you are my kin nonetheless. You were the son grandfather always wanted, in the body of a beautiful female elf. I do not know where you are now, other than you journeyed to the Mendev to dedicate yourself to the Crusades. Perhaps our paths will cross, someday, when the Crusades end and you return home. I pray to Desna that she give you safe and easy travels. The gods of all the pantheons of the multiverse cannot deny that you can use the prayers in the blasted ruins of the south.

My family, give me the strength to overcome this pride emanating from the Shard. It hungers, wishes for me to be more like Grandfather, Dregaaren, but I cannot succumb to its will. Or should I? House Myrthannia is built on pride, on seeing itself above and beyond all, even within some of the Elven Houses. It still stands after millenia, House Myrthannia. The words of the House even ooze with pride, like a black pudding in a damp cave: Valor, Victory, Vigilance. “Always approach with strength and courage in every endeavor, and after you emerge victorious, do not let your guard down. For that is when other enemies will try to defy you, and in those moments you must remain vigilant.” I heard Dregaaren say these words to his grandchildren many times, a prayer almost, like the ones I sing to the Song of the Spheres. Great Dreamer, send me wisdom in tenderer dreams.

I have a new family in the Pathfinder Society, though this one is not exactly made up of elven kin. Grandfather would certainly disapprove of such company, as he did when Father would go off on another journey. Dorn is strong and prideful, perhaps a more natural bearer of the Shard of Pride, though it could kill him. His pride is born in an unlikely place: the wild. Though even the beasts have hierarchies within their packs and collectives. So perhaps it is less queer than I might suspect.

Zynn is a likable and capable young woman, a more typical version of the sorts I expected to find in the hodgepodge genealogy of the Pathfinder Society. She has skill in stealth and spell, a combination many illusionists need to master in their early studies. Yarasil liked Illusion magics, if I remember correctly. I do not know if his tastes shifted since I saw him last. He might like Zynn. She would make for a great companion, though the elves would never allow such a high-born noble with his family pedigree to intimate with an outsider. I like Zynn, and I would approve. A woman of mystery, and yet simple, but not to a fault.

Virion is the most erratic of the bunch, his derivation marred by human blood it seems. He is a haunted man, one who comes from the Worldwound and other darker places on the continent. I hope my sister does not befall the same fate as Virion. He is tragic, really, now consorting with devils to eradicate demons, becoming a kind of demon himself to slay his enemies. Such a boon is a bane gifted by something with a honeyed-tongue. He is a sword with no hilt, an axe without a handle, a spear without a shaft. All can be used to kill your enemies, though you are likely to hurt yourself and others in your unskilled use of such weaponry.

Desna, bless us all in our continued pursuits to join this artifact, the Sihedron, together once more. Another sword without a hilt, though this one of a greater variety. Should we try to create a hilt for a weapon of such power? And after we create the hilt, could we even hold it, or sheathe the blade when we have no need of it? Questions only your could possibly answer, Great Dreamer. If we should cause more destruction than protection, wake us from our nightmares. Only you can at that point.

Excerpt from the Sab'Ha Paq-bat'lh - The Restored Book of Honor - 1
Entry 1-1

On this tattered piece of parchment is a faded ruddy stain of blood. There is distinct wear and grime. The fresh ink is lettered in a strangely beautiful way.

I, Dorn, born to the Quah of Mo’j, have decided to restore the text of Khal. The deeds of the honorable warrior Khal once existed to bring glory and honor to all of those in the quah of Mo’j. That glory and honor must be reforged and I believe that it can be done through the stories of Khal. The excerpts I have are from fragments of text and memories. They are a foundation for me to build upon.

The tyrant Krune was so strong that no one could stand against him. Khal would rather die than live under Krune’s tyranny…

Khal went into the Cinderlands, all the way to the Shaktal Volcano. He cut off a lock of his hair and thrust it into the river of molten rock, which poured from the summit. The hair began to burn, but then he plunged it into the Storval Deep and twisted it into a sword.

…and the blood was ankle deep. And the Kazaron River ran crimson red. On the day above all days. When Khal slew evil Krune dead…

…and after he used it to kill the tyrant Krune gave it a name: Leth, “the sword of honor”.

An Answer to a Letter
Zynn's Thoughts

I walked silently through the darkness of the streets of Magnimar. It’s easy to get lost in this city, the grandness is dizzying. You can’t ever lose the bridge though and that’s where I was headed. Well, under it anyway.

It was a hot day. Almost all of them are hot in Varisia, but the breeze was blowing off the ocean tonight and it skimmed the heat off the land. I walked confidently toward the Underbridge. No one looks more suspicious than the unconfident. If you don’t ask permission then it can’t be denied to you. Well, at least until you get caught. I never got caught in Thronestep, but then again, I had friends there. And family, a lot of family. None of which were here.

In any case, no one is really preventing anyone from entering Underbridge, so this shouldn’t be too tough.

I thought about the letter that I had received from Master Neb and what it meant. For as long as I remember my family had hidden their gifts and their worship of Nethys. I’m not sure why they did it. It was dangerous in Thronestep. No god was to be worshiped in Thronestep other than the living god Razmir. Perhaps it’s just in my family’s nature to thumb their nose at authority. Perhaps when they emigrated to Thronestep from Varisia they were willing to give up everything except that book, their worship of Nethys, and the powers it granted them, no matter what the cost. I know the book is old, certainly older than the city of Thronestep’s meger 35 years, so it must have been brought.

Master Neb said that he had two tasks for me. The first was easy. Gather 4 items to use in the creation of my arcane focus. Despite not being classically trained, I know what that is. My grandmother and mother both had rings that they used to help them focus their energies. I would have the same. I actually still had my grandmother’s ring, and I know that she would want nothing more than for me to use it to create my own.

The other three items were pretty easy to pick as well. No one ever said I wasn’t decisive. To represent my past, that awful statue of Razmir that I carried around everywhere. As if the tattoo wasn’t enough. It was always better to have more evidence of your innocence than less – especially if you’re guilty. I carried that damn stone trinket for years of my life. It had evidence of years of oils of my skin from holding it, rubbing the stone until it was smooth. It was a very convincing trinket, and I hated it. If that hate could power my magic, I’d be a very powerful magic user indeed.

The third item, to represent my present, also was easy enough to pick. I’d use my Pathfinder badge for that. I had joined the Pathfinders perhaps for…not the most savory of reasons, but the years invested here have been interesting. Certainly the most recent weeks have been even more … something. Exciting isn’t quite the right word.

My companions Dorne, Virian, and Vale are certainly different than I’m used to. Well, Virian is perhaps the most familiar of the bunch. He’s a fucking liar. A committed liar, for sure. He says he doesn’t use magic, doesn’t know any, despite having cast spells in front of us in more than one occasion. I’m not even sure that places him on the same level as a liar anymore. He’s a fucking lunatic. I know better than most about having two identities, but his are blurring, and blurring badly. One moment he’s the face of every shy weasel ever born, and the next he’s fucking ruthless, evil, coersive. I prefer the latter. That I can understand.

And he might be breaking down that barrier for me. He came up to me and offered me a deal, some measure of arcane power (yeah, you fucking don’t know any, alright…) in turn for my eye color. I forget the exact words of the deal, and in the future I’m not going to make that fucking mistake again. But really, it hasn’t been that bad of a deal. He stole my eye color for a while. Now they’re fucking purple. Violet. At least dark enough that most people won’t notice. At least I wasn’t that attached to what it was before. Shit brown. Maybe I can learn how to fix it at the school, or at least hide the purple. Purple isn’t really a bad deal, might make it easier for seducing…whoever. Purple is a bit shocking and unique, and a surprised target is an easier target.

The last item for the focus is a bit more tricky. Something to represent what I want my future to be? I certainly don’t have a pile of gold and a crown to weave into my arcane focus. I’d settle for having my family be safe enough to have more than one active worshiper of Nethys. If I were reaching, I wouldn’t mind tearing down that would-be god down from his throne. Easy enough then, plenty of bricks laying around in Underbridge. A brick for the fourth focus. Because I wouldn’t mind if that was all was left of his fucking city. And I wouldn’t mind if that was all I had to start with for the rebuilding.

Passing that freeky tower now. Haunted they say. Well, I certainly won’t test the theory.

The second task. Picking a sector of magic that I want to focus on. I guess the first lesson of wizard school was in the letter. My mother and grandmother never bothered putting their spells into categories. I’m not even sure which ones go where. I guess the names will be fine enough to go by.

Necromancy is straight out. That stuff is creepy. Sometimes things need to be dead, and that’s just how it’s got to be. But I don’t want to go around playing with the dead things after they’re dead. So easy, one out. Seven to go.

Divination. Sounds boring. Sounds like I’ll be sitting around in room staring into a bowl of water a whole lot. Not for me.

Illusion. Potential there. Very easy to trick people into doing stupid things if they are misled by something false. Maybe.

Enchantment. Do I need to use magic to seduce people into doing what I want? Do I want to seduce that many people? Sure there are some that are pleasant to seduce. But others…I’m not sure I’m friendly enough to make dazzling people my focus.

Conjuration. Making stuff out of thin air, pretty fantastic. Might impress some folks at a bar. I don’t know of anyone who can create gold out of thin air or make a king disappear. Or is that illusion? Conjuration, probably not it.

I had to stop thinking about magic for a moment because I had arrived at my destination – the dirty burnt out hole that had once been Natalya Vancasterkin’s abode. I looked down at the filthy water and choked back some bile.

Yep, I was actually going to willingly go back into that. I took off my clothes, all of them. No point in ruining perfectly good clothing. And certainly someone who was soaking wet with sewage water would attract more attention than one who just smelled like sewage. I had to push away some burnt down pieces of lumber, but luckily we didn’t throw the armor that far into the muck when we got rid of it. I walked into the lake of sewage and felt around.

I didn’t think it was likely that anyone had found the armor in here. The place was ablaze when we left, and the sewage would deter most any thief from exploring. It had hurt me deeply when we threw it into the muck, but there wasn’t any way that we were going to be able to transport a woman in golden armor across the city to give to the local Sczarni gang. So, in it went.

I felt the cold, diseased water encircle my ankles and thighs as I walked deeper into the pit. I felt around for the armor with my feet, loathing having to go in deeper than my knees, but I knew even if I found it I was going to have to submerge most of myself to pick it up. I found an endless amount of bricks and lumber in the water, and was certain that my toes were going to be bruised forever before I felt the smooth heaviness of the armor. I tried at first to pick it up with my feet, but it was far too heavy. So I reluctantly bent down, submerging my arms and most of my thighs, slowly gathering the pieces of this almost priceless suit of gold.

Finding a fence for it wasn’t going to be easy, I knew that if I couldn’t find a blacksmith to melt it down here in Underbridge that I was probably going to have to settle for a much less profitable trade. It was worth it. For some armor I could actually wear, or a wand, or…if I could get it melted down…sending a large portion of it home… that would be worth this incredibly sickening situation.

I managed to get out of the water without injuring myself. I shivered and knew I stank. I removed a towel from the backpack I brought, and wiped myself off, and then wrapped the armor in the same towel. In only a few moments I re-clothed myself, put the armor in the backpack, and was on my way.

Back to magical schools. Abjuration? I’m not even sure that means. Yeah… I don’t know.
Evocation? I’ve heard of this one before. It creates fire, and commands power. It hurls missiles, but also protects. That’s it. That’s what I’ll pick.

Alright. Now to fence this armor.

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