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Rathaniel's Journey

Remembering his promise to Malissin to look up his old friends along the road, Rathaniel Layrannas trudged on down the road to Landry, which was now in plain view. His cloak covered his whole body; all that could be seen of him was his right arm which held a beat up iron-shod quaterstaff that at the moment served as a walking stick. He kept his hood pulled over his face to hide himself from the view of any onlookers. But not many tried to get a peak at the man, for it was obvious that he was a spellcaster.
Not an entirely rare site, but one that unnerved passerbys anyhow. It might cause alarm, definitely more stares and hushed whispers, if they could view his pointed ears and slanted eyes.
When Rathaniel did find the need to speak to others he managed to keep his ears from view, yet he could not hide his eyes. Even without the hawkishly intense stare of his large bright green eyes, one couldn't helped but notice how differently they were shaped from a normal human's. While most would agree he appeared attractive, "ther' was somethin odd 'bout that fellah," was the way those who had spoken to him would describe him later.
He did not appear all that imposing. He was only around five and a half feet tall and had a slight frame. He did not look to be very strong and he did not carry steel. Just a cloaked figure with hood drawn walking down the road with his head slightly bent towards the ground. Yet people took great care in not being in his way when he passed by. This was to the point that even a group of the king's road guards steered their horses around him, the beasts seeming to be quite happy to comply. He just was just one of those people that makes your hair stand up on the back of your neck.
A young man carrying a bag of what one would assume to be his belongings was walking rather briskly the opposite direction of Rathaniel. Like others, he moved to the opposite side, even though there was room for almost two carriages to pass each other this close to the city. The young man had a rather bad day, finding it necessary to "relocate" and the last thing he needed was some weird guy who looked capable of doing whatever wizards who used black magic could do.
Has he drew nearer, Rathaniel had stopped in the middle of the road and the young man had a growing feeling of dread that the cloaked figure was looking at him. He picked up the pace a bit.
"You," Rathaniel said.
This simple word had a rather remarkable effect on the young man. He stopped dead in his tracks and was so startled he dropped his bag. His stomach felt has though it were trying to crawl up his throat and out his mouth to find a better place to hide. The man gathered up his spilled belongings with a slight apology.
"Y-yes sir?" the young man said, trying to show respect. "What can I-I do for you?"
"I am looking for a group of individuals who may have passed through here. They probably stood out quite well. Not a member of guard, but men carrying swords openly, perhaps a man of faith or one such as myself with them?"
Bright green eyes stared questioningly from under the dark hood, has though they had already stole the answer from the young man's mind before they could reach his lips.
"I'm sorry sir, but I've not seen anyone like that here in Landry. We're a peacable town, and peoples like them yous described woulda stood out. Sorry sir"

"Well then," Rathaniel said in a very annoyed tone. "Would it hurt your brain too much to think of somebody who DOES know anything?"
The blank stare and the slight noise of clockwork straining told Rath that he would get no help here and continued into town. He decided to ask around the town to see if anyone had come from Dragonmeyr and knew where these guys were at.
You head into Landry, and are unable to find anyone who has seen the group you are looking for. Although there are rumors of such a group, they have not been here.
After asking around for a little while, Rathaniel decides to find an inn for the night. He looks around until he finds one that isn't a dive and gets himself a room for the night. He eats his dinner there and decides to stay a few days before heading back.
Has he beds down for the night, he decides to try to see if there is a library of some sort in town. Or at least a local wizard or nobel with a good collection of books who would be willing to trade for a book on astrology Rath had already read three times.
You are unable to gain access to the mayors home. Seems he is not in town at the moment, although expected back anyday. You do find a book store however in lieu of a library after a good night sleep, and head there with your propsition. "Well yes we accept trades sometimes" the dark haired non descript man behind the counter says in response to your inquiry. "What were you looking for?"
"Hmm," began Rathaniel, quite pleased to have found this store, "I suppose it may be too much to ask, but anything on flame-based spells would be nice. I find them helpful to my profession. Failing that, something on herbalism or any historical texts would be nice. If you perfer coin, I can give you that."
"Well" than man ponders aloud thoughtfully, "I cant says as we have any spell type books, other than references that might be made in historical texts concerning spells cast in this war or that, but herbalism books we have, and we also have many many historical refernces. Any particular title or author you are searching for?" he asks and awaits Rath's response with eagerness and attentiveness.
"Hmm...let me see," said Rathaniel. He looked around for a little while until he found a little herb book that had some things in it he hadn't come across before. He bought that book and left the store. He went to a few others, going around and buying extra spell components where ever he found any. He returned to the inn while it was still daytime and read the book he bought and did more studying from his spellbook.
You find several spell components and a nifty little herbalism book you had never read before. It focused on herbs in the desert and cold regions. Something he had never thought about before, but recognized might well come in handy soon. Anything else before bedtime? Rath can either have his meal brought to him, or eat downstairs.
If he finds someone who can identify his amulet (he doesn't want to have to take it off, since it messes up his powers, I think I know what it is) he will take his dinner downstairs. He quietly eats his food with water has he reads his book before going to bed.
Unable to find anyone who can idenity his amulet, Rath returns to his room after dinner to find it has been cleaned and apparently reaaranged. Nothing seems to be missing but the feeling that someone has been there is very strong. The room is well furnished with solid furniture that has been bolted to the wooden floor. A large bed dominates the room with it's massive headboard and ornately carved posts. It's thick blankets have been turned back to reveal green silken sheets, Beside the bed, a small table holds an unlit taper in a small bronze candleholder.
At the foot of the bed sits a massive trunk of teakwood bound in iron, with an iron lock worked in the likeness of a screaming face. A wardrobe of dark, almost black wood stands against the north wall.
Beside the door and against the west wall, a ceramic washbowl filled with cool water sits on a small table. Against the south wall, a large desk with with many cabinets and drawers awaits exploration. Over the desk hangs a painting of a man with a thick black beard and piercing green eyes. He stands at the bow of a ship in the midst of a storm, brandishing a strange wavy bladed dagger. Lurking in the foam of the storm stossed sea, a gigantic creature rises up, it's tentacles curled to strike.
In the southeast corner of the room, a large copper tub filled with steaming water invites a relaxing bath. An assortment of fragrant soaps and oils is displayed on a low table beside the tub. A shaving mirror hangs on the south wall, and beside it a straight razor with an ivory handle dangles by it's cord from a nail.
Rathaniel places the book he was reading on the desk and places his spellbooks in the trunk leaving it unlocked. He impulsivly checks all the drawers and looks over the room in a simmilar manner. He then removes his robe and heads for the tub.
when you search the drawers, you discover some towels, washcloths, and soap. You also trigger a secret mechanism accidently, and happen across an incomplete deck of iplaying cards and a small compass.
Rathaniel nearly jumps out of his skin when he realizes he's tripped something. But then he clams down when he sees what it unleashed. "Great," he says outloud. "Why would anyone take time to hide this stuff?"
The playing cards although normal suits and sequences, have beautiful artwork and scenery. THe compass is brass, and heavy (6-7 pounds approx weight), worth at least a few gold in your opinion.
He pauses before taking his tunic off and glances over at the painting. Not enjoying an audience, real or imagined, he takes the painting down and turns it around leaning it up against the wall on the floor.
Intending on putting the cards and compass back on the desk, he turns the painting and Suddenly the light in the room is extinguished, and as your eyes adjust to the dim light, you realize you're standing before a large pool in the middle of a large, low ceiling chamber. The waters are dark and murky; it appears something is alive in there by the swirls that occasionally appear on the waters surface. That something--whatever it is--must be very dangerous. Dangling above the pool from a chain, an iron cage holds a humanoid skeleton whose flesh has recently been stripped to the bone. Ragged bits of skin and hair still cling to the remains of the unfortunate victim. Your eyes follow the chain until it is lost in shadows above, but you spot it again as it descends to a large crank attatched to the east wall.
This wall, like the others-you now notice-is painted with fantastic murals of frolicking nymphs dancing with flute in hand around ugly leering centuars. The depictions are brazenly lifelike and painstakingly detailed.
On the far side of the pool, low steps lead down into the water. Once bathers might have relaxed here, but now you wonder to what doom those steps lead.
"Oh, wonderful!" he says quietly. He figured that painting was just a little too creepy. He takes a moment to look about the room taking in the sights and sighing every now and then. Rath sees the monster in the pool and thinks back....
"Alright, Rath," said Demper, "I'll let you copy one of my spells if you let me copy your invisibility spell."
"Done! Which one will you let me have?"
"Well, you can have either Flamming Sphere, or this new one I found called Boil."
"Flamming Sphere it is!"

Rathaniel takes the open palm of his right hand and smacks himself in the forehead really hard.
Out of hope, he goes over to one of the murials of the nymphs frolicking and tries to see if they transport him someplace else (preferably with the nymphs and hoping the centaurs got bored and went home). If that doesn't work, he looks about the room trying to find anyway to go but down those steps.
The paintings dont yield the answers you'd hoped, but you get a better view of the darkness beyond the pool.
The far wall of the pool chamber is lined with eleven ornate wooden doors, but the beauty of the wood has been marred by the inept installation of heavy iron locks that look sturdy enough to withstand any blow. As you approach this area, you hear the faint sound of chanting.
Rath looks over the locks and comptemplates if any of the megear pracitise he had at picking these during his short-lived theif career over fifty years ago would help him with these. He doesn't dwell too long on this, though. His skill was pick pocketing anyway. The chanting bothers him to no end and trys to pinpoint it's source. On a lark, he takes out the compass. He figures if he is plunged into a maze that knowing where north is would help him know where he is in relation to this room.
Deciding to take his chances with with door #1 instead of pit with only the gods know what's in it, he takes a better look at the locks and trys to get them off. If that doesn't work, he figures that at least he could play solitare until he succumbed to either hunger or thirst.
the chanting is coming from the door in the middle. Door #1 opens into a prison cell. Chains and manacles are bolted into the walls and the floor. The cell is empty. The other 4 doors before you get to the chant sound from the middle door yield the exact same thing. A cell, all empty, except for the occasional momento from a previous occupant,like a tin place with a gnawed bone on it, or a scrap of clothing.
Rathaniel will check out the other doors before looking in the one with the chanting. Before he does, he goes over what spells he can cast and maybe tries to find something to use has a weapon.
He cautiously opens the door with the chanting.
The other 5 doors open up to more cells. You open the middle door and find a short hallway to another door. You open the second door, and the droning litany becomes very loud. In front of you, a long, wide hallway narrows toward the far end. 2 tall hideous statues of alien looking humanoids stand along each side wall, staring with dull, fishlike eyes.
The hall is dimly lit by a bank of black candles atop a low altar positioned 5' in front of the north wall. Behind the altar, a black robed figure chants his evil prayer while eight worshipers, similarly cloaked in ebony robes and lost in the ecstacy of their worship, kneel and pound their foreheads against the floor. The priest, if priest he is, holds a strange wavy-bladed dagger before him, presenting it to his groveling congregation.
Rathaniel decides it might be better to keep quiet for now. He does his best to remain hidden and get a better idea of what he's dealing with. Also, there is the off chance that some of the worshipers could knock themselves out cowtowing and saving Rath some trouble if they notice him.
>From the direction wence you came, you hear a noise. Turning slightly so as not to be caught off guard, you realize someone is lowering the cage into the pool. Then, as the cage rises again, you see a glow in the dark greenish flame shaped object floating near the area where you remember the crank to be.
In the darkened area surrounding the pool, you hear a melodious feminine voice speak emphatically "QUIOM" The word echos loudly through the underground chamber. Hearing a strange rustling noise from the room with the chanting, you turn back and realize that not only has the chanting stopped, but also that every single priest has risen from his kneeling position, and is staring in your direction as they all reach into their robes and pull forth ebony bladed daggers and point them in your direction.
From the reaction of the weird priests, Rath gathers that they were not expecting company. It's possible that this newcomer or whatever from behind might be a better option than valiantly charging the priests (and probably valiantly being stabbed to death). He decides to turn around and run back into the other room he was in.
Not so much to turn tail and run, so to speak. More of getting one's barrings on the situation, he tells himself. And if a nice dark corner that might concel him while he thinks of something nasty to cast, well one never looks a gift horse in the mouth.

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