Suddenly, I fell of balance and had to anchor myself on Gracon. The ground had suddenly shaken as though a small earthquake had rumbled through the structure. Regaining my footing, I glanced sheepishly up at Gracon who offered me a confident smile. Trying to match, I replanted my feet. "I wonder what that was." My voice shaking only slightly.
"The agent has arrived, we'll leave our things here and they will be attended to. Lets make our way to the Chamber."
Nodding warily at him, I unstrapped my bags and set them down beside the door. I kept my weapons and gear on me, however, as I was trained to always have them near. Rewarded with an approving nod from The Ordinator, we made our way back to the central staircase. As we started down it, I attempted to ponder what the next events would be. While Gracon seemed to be acting natural, he also had a strange tenseness about him. Perhaps it had something to do with the agent we were to meet?
As we ventured further and further down the spiral staircase; the walls changing to be a solid obsidian surface. There was a strange luminescence coming through the black stone. As I walked, I moved close to the wall and peered in to it, trying to see the details of the glowing. It appeared as though there were many patches of some sort that were pulsating a yellowish light. The longer I looked, the more these patches suddenly began to come in to detail. Suddenly, as I peered through the black glass, I saw that for hundreds of steps in ever direction, there were creatures... monsters. Trapped and writhing! They had started to move, and struggle against what now appeared to be chains of black smoke. My heart felt like it had stopped, the scream in my throat passing in to a whisper.
My eye were torn away as my mentor grabbed my shoulders and patted it assuringly. "I apologize, I should have warned you." Giving me a sincere nod and another pat, he continued down in to the void. Now even more wary than before, I attempted to steel myself and caught up to Gracon's footsteps. So much was happening so quickly, I hoped that I was truly prepared. This was my first test.
After what seemed an eternity, we reached the bottom of the staircase. In front of us there was a outstretched hall, with a crimson glow coming from the room at the end. Peering upwards, I saw only darkness, the roof seemingly non-existent. The Ordinator had stopped for a moment and turned to me, his face now serious. The look in his eyes finally gave me an inkling of understanding of what it meant to be a Hero. It's not about saving the day, or defeating the enemy; it's about doing what you need to do to complete your quest. After all, a Hero has no goals of his own, only those that his existence decides for him.
As we approached the room, a new wave of unease washed over me. The glow got larger and larger until it filled my eyes and then, we stepped in to the room. It was as though the walls had melted away and gave way to a blood red abyss. Then, as I gazed forward, the shape that we had come to meet came in to focus.
Words... cannot describe the terror I felt at that moment. Slowly raising my head to peer at the height of the beast, it slowly came in to more focus. I reached its head and its eyes locked on to mine. It felt as though my entire being suddenly had a grip wrapped around it; the probing of my mind and essence almost too much to bare. It appeared to be about ten feet tall, and five feet across. Dome-like in shape, its head appeared to rest on no neck, instead just an extension of its torso. It's eyes were slanted and glowing a golden yellow, its mouth wide and black lipped. The creature's arms reached all the way down to the ground and were thick like tree trunks, ending with enourmous three-fingered hands resting flat on the floor. I thanked the gods that its body was covered by black cloth and armour, strange sigils and markings covering the surfaces. I wouldn't want to imagine the horrors that lay beneath it. If it had them, its legs were not visible. The image burned itself in to my mind and as terror filled my veins, it spoke.
"You know we had a deal, Hero." The last word hung mockingly in the air, as though to test the boundaries. However, the only place it echoed was in my mind. It spoke no human words, communicating beyond the point where they had became superfluous. The creature need only to desire that you know something and it will manifest as understanding. With it, however, came force. I felt my knees buckle as the demon's energy slowly subsided, falling down to all fours.
Gracon responded calmly, his posture stoic and unyielding. "He is my apprentice."
"And that should matter to me why?"
"Why do you always ask questions you know the answer to, Szar?"
Suddenly I could feel the demon's pulsing laugher shake through my body. Desperately I snatched at what knowledge of magic I had learned at the academy, especially regarding shielding. Closing my eyes, I worked to focus my energy in to a layer around me. It was elementary but it seemed to do the trick, as the pressure slightly released. Raising back to my feet, I gazed up at the demon again, trying to fathom that moment. Even through the shield I could feel its snide laughter.
"The child learns quick. Now, ask your questions."
"We are going to the grotto. The Queen has lost an heirloom."
It's snicker would have been like a slap to the face. "So what else is new. The one you're looking for is a low rank, but he has a lot of protection. What he lacks in force, he makes up for with planning. He resides in the Eastern Cavern of the grotto. You'll want to use it."
Gracon's expression doesn't change through the course of the answer. With the last words, he nods at the demon, expressing his understanding. Through the course of this short exchange I felt like I had been glued in place, paying attentively to what the creature had been saying. Finally snapping out of it, I glanced at The Ordinator; I could see sweat glistening on his face. Without a command, he turned and started back down the hallway. Quickly, I followed behind, giving only one last glance back at the monstrous demon. The luminescence of the room swallowed the breast as we exited, a whisper of laughter still ringing in my ears. While I was greatly shaken and still off-balance from the influence, I did all I could to keep hold of every moment that had just passed. There were no words as master and apprentice returned to their room.
Here I am, still alive to tell the tale. Gracon is out on the balcony, I can tell he wishes to be alone. It is perhaps time for me to attempt sleep, though it will likely be plagued by the nightmare I've just experienced. I do hope that this first day's horrors are never matched by any other day.
~ Martholemew Sabastian Gran'Hewitstchmitt III
The beginning of the trip was considerably uneventful, consisting of little more than slaying a few beasts that wandered on to our path and, for hunger or hunt, attacked aggressively. Gracon's skill with a long sword truly seems to be second to none, although at the time I wondered why he left Granistraken unsheathed. However, it's likely that its just a tad bit of overkill for such simple beasts, so there was no sense in pondering the idea any further. I, myself, had some, but minimal difficulty during the engagement, my own skills with a blade being somewhat less honed than my studious skills. Without challenge, and only minor scratches on my part, we defeated the fiends and continued on our way through the Syara woods.
These stretch for a good two to three leagues on the north and north-western sides of the Holy City, said to be filled with all sorts of creatures and possibly demons or other sorts of malicious spirits. Of course, I don't expect to encounter any such thing so early in my ventures. These old trees hold a comforting air about them, I can feel their energies mothering the soil in symbiosis, casting protection upon the
The opposite sides of the city embrace open fields before meeting with the Telrok mountain range some ten leagues away on the south and south-western moor. The Western path cuts in to that range as it lowers in to the Syara forest. Now Gracon informs me that we are about halfway through the forest, due north-west, and our first destination lies mingled with the edge of the wood. We should be there by nightfall, so, now that our rest is done I shall continue this day's entry later on.
We arrived at Jewel shortly after dark, the looming gates of the town opening to give way to an incredible sight. It seemed the town had been named with care, as the intricate architecture of the dwellings orchestrated its mysteries. Swirls and curves formed the foundation, seeming to swim upwards much as smoke would. Indeed, it did seem as though the town was made of the misty substance itself. All the curvaceous stone designs were accented with some form of crystalline substance, obsidian in appearance but upon inspection more akin to glass. As we ranged closer, it appeared that the buildings were in fact dome-like in shape, and the bizarre architecture was merely decor; that is, if it serves no other function. This place holds an air of ancient arcana, which is to be expected from a city of
Catching my breath I quickly caught up with Gracon, whose lack of awe made it apparent that he had been here before. We made our way through the buildings, weaving inbetween bizarre smoke tendrils and alleyways filled with moving shadows and the wayward wretches. Eventually, we came to a dark entrance with a sign, on it carved in strange letters read "Szar Stop".
Entering the fascinating building, I discovered that the interior decorating was quite parallel to the outer; even the furniture displaying such strange designs. However, there was a bizarre paradoxical, the entire inside was almost pure white, looking to be some type of ashen marble. If you peered at it for too long it began to gain the appearance of a pearly contorting liquid. I’m unsure if this is an effect of some sort or I imagined it in my current stupor. I could probably be accurate in assuming that there is some form of arcane attribute to these structures, no doubt there is a lot of power that could be found here. I wonder what exactly we are here for….
Snapping out of thought, I saw Gracon motion for me to follow him. It seemed he had already done all the negotiations while I had been dazing off. Offering a soft shrug to myself I followed my mentor up to the second story of the building, the stairs interestingly set in the center of the building; styled as a minaret. There were four halls at the top of the stairs, dissecting the floor in to four equal parts. The decorations all displaying calm smoke-like and intricate patterns in the same white tone. Everything appeared to be moving, but would stay still if you focused on a single point. You could see three doors down each hall, each with a small black numeral on it. My eyes strained a tad seeing that they had something so opaque on such an achromatic interior, but I will inquire about it at a later time. Making our way down the hall to the left of us, we reached room number
Today I awoke bright and early, bubbling with energy and excitement for the coming events of the day. I addressed my prayers to the Infinite one and was on my way. As soon as I rendezvoused with my Ordinator, I would learn the details of the quest and after the briefing and a short preparation we would be on our way. Gracon arrived on schedule and already prepared for the day's departure; a humble display of his professionalism as an Ordinator. If his personal caliber was mighty it was little compared to the glamour of the mighty two-handed sword, Granistraken, he wields; believed to be a demon cursed blade and wieldable by only one man at a time. I could hardly believe my eyes when I first saw the sheathed blade strapped to his back, the size and decor of its hilt hinting at enourmous power. It was obvious that only a man of Gracon's worthiness could wield such a weapon... although a small part of my mind naively grew thought of one day brandishing it; thus was not the task at hand!
Tossing the thoughts from my mind, I had engaged in Gracon's briefing. The item we seek is a an heirloom of the royal family which had supposedly gone 'suspiciously' missing. Not much more than a jeweled broach I'd wager, the true value lying in sentiment, but regardless the Queen seems to be intent on finding it. It seems like nothing more than common robbery to me. The suspected location of the thieves is a grotto base in the Cy're Swamp, a four day trek north with regular rests. It seems as though I have my work cut out for me, starting with such an ambiguous quest... hardly. I did graduate at the top of the Academy and I had hoped I'd be doing more than mundane treasure fetching. Perhaps there's a reason for this though, so I will persist! Afterall, field experience is even more important than thorough study.
We left the Holy City of Syara at , wanting to get a quick start but allowing ourselves ample energy to travel in to the night. It always does well to keep our activities to ourselves. Our first destination is a small town just north-east of the city, beyond the forest rims, a artisan's village fittingly named Jewel. We were to meet with an agent of Gracon's for more information regarding the lost heirloom and assumedly be given some more direction regarding its whereabouts. Strangely, he danced around any questions regarding the agent we were to meet, keeping his references vague. I found this a little disconcerting, but regardless, I trust the grand Ordinator and hopefully in time I will be able to match him in precision of mind and decision. He also informed me that we would be staying at a countryside inn in the future and warned me to be precarious of any overly friendly women, although I'm unsure as to why. Something about them taking advantage of naivity, but I certainly do not think I am so naive. City women and country women can't be too different, can they?
Blessings in the name of the One.
~ Martholemew Sabastian Gran'Hewitstchmitt III
My name is Martholemew Sabastian Gran'Hewitschmitt III, or "Marty" as my new Ordinator mentor has dubbed me. After the recent graduation ceremony at the Academy every rookie was assigned as a traveling companion to a seasoned Ordinator; highly skilled 'paladins' or knights whom carry out various quests for the regency of the kingdom. They are those who have distinguished themselves, the name indicating their authority as influential, regulating individuals. This is the title I strive to one day obtain, since my completion of the Academy studies provides only a narrow degree of practical experience. As such, I have decided to keep a compendium journal of my ventures from this point onwards, as the studies turn to adventure!
The name of my Ordinator is Gracon De'Vey and he is quite an awe inspiring man, standing at approximately nearly 20 hands high and wearing medium coverage, dark grey, plated armour. A lengthy cloak is usually slung around his shoulders with his hood thrown back, pinned with a family brooch. His skin looked tough, like boiled leather, and appeared to bare as many sword kisses as such would see over years of combat. In a tight braid was mid-length and roughly hewn hair, with short enough bangs, that was complimented by bushy eyebrows and a thick moustache. He was very welcoming and has accepted me brotherly in to his company, something that will make my adaption to this new stage of life that much easier. I'm very excited to be able to train under such a noble man as I hope to gain new wisdom through his example and one day become an Ordinator myself!
Alas, it is now getting late in to the night, having just finished the graduation celebrations, so it would be best for me to get some rest. Tomorrow at dawn we set out on our first mission for the King and Queen, traveling north through the thick Syara Woods to our destination. I have only heard the overview of the objective, it seems we will be trekking to the northern part of our country, Cyllindril, to collect some magical talisman or other. While the quest itself doesn't interest me much, I look forward to the experiences I will endure! I hope whomever reads this may also learn from the lessons of my Ordinator, Gracon.
Blessings to all in the name of the One.
~ Martholemew Sabastian Gran'Hewitstchmitt III