Post date: Apr 21, 2010 7:44:27 PM

Undecitina 15, 259 First Cycle of Man

Our heroes have had some time off and Egalem must be getting back to his studies.  This prompts a visit to Gresham the Golden, as he is Egalem's teacher.

The journey through Tanglewood is noisy, but uneventful as the Tanglewood kobolds create a perimeter around the group as they travel towards Gresham's Library.

When the group arrives at the tower, Sparta and Wintersky see that a colossal spider stands guard literally over the tower.  It is surprisingly well disguised, so the others do not see it until it actually moves, though only to shift its weight.

When Luanes collapses after being overwhelmed by the evil radiating from the spider, magical wards begin tripping as Wintersky attempts to protect Visaria and herself, paralyzing them.

Shortly, Gresham the Golden makes an appearance.  He calmly rounds his tower and begins speaking with the group.  However, after Visaria is teleported away by Luanes' efforts to remove her paralysis, Luanes loses control and charges the archmage.  As Luanes is thwarted by the wards, Wintersky is struck by a bolt of lightning while rounding the tower looking for the door.  She is thrown from StormClouds, but survives and heals herself just as Celesta teleports in to investigate the wards radiating from the tower.

In desperation, Wintersky attempts to dispel all magic in the area of the tower and succeeds, bringing down all of Gresham's wards and causing his projected image to disappear.

With the dispelling of his protections, Gresham allows the group access to his tower where he await them with a feast in their honor.  He is most impressed with the poise of the heroes and agrees to no longer take kobolds for his experimentation, with the implication that Nyza was sent by Kurtulmak to save the kobolds.

Our heroes have some downtime and become a bit unruly with daily drinking contests during which Oliveryn nearly poisons himself.

Wintersky: I think Visaria is well enough to travel now. Shall we go visit the "good" mage Gresham?

Egalem Random: Yes, I really need to be getting back to my mage studies.

Legeand: So! We know Oli is not the best when it comes to drinking, eh, Sparta?

Sparta: Heh, silly bard can't hold his liquor.

Nyza: Vile stuff. How do you manage the taste?

Wintersky: Got enough bruises, do you?

Dale kicks Sparta.

Legeand: Drink it a lot...and often, Nyza.

Nyza: Pass!

Egalem Random: Just enough to learn from, Miss Wintersky.

Luanes: I agree with you, Nyza.

Legeand chuckles "Suit yourself. So, off to see the wizard then? How long of a travel is it do you think?"

Sparta: Good mage Gresham? Miss 'Sky? That's not quite how I remember him.

Nyza nods to Luanes, "See, and we're the smart ones here. We know what we're talking about."

Wintersky: Nyza do you have something Vis could start working on?

Egalem Random: From here, it is about a day through Tanglewood unless we teleport back.

Wintersky: 'Good" in the evilest sort of way.

Luanes: He is good at evil.

Legeand: A day? Not to far then; a good walk if nothing happens.

Nyza: Maybe scrolls would be good to study? Nyza do not keep a book like Mask.

Egalem Random: Gresham is a wizard with a lot of ambition.

Nyza: Teleporting around the tower was not safe before. We should walk, methinks.

Wintersky: I do not keep a book either. Egalem, what did you start on learning magic?

Egalem Random: Maybe Visaria can study from mine. I have practically memorized every word of it.

Wintersky: Nothing like teaching to make sure you have learned something.

Legeand: Good memory that.

Luanes: more teleporting, please.

Visaria Ijoynvaeh: That is very kind, Master Random.

Wintersky: I really prefer to ride.

Sparta: I day in the woods is always a good day.

Egalem Random: We will have to be on our guard as we travel. Tanglewood is very dangerous this direction from Walton.

Wintersky: Woods. Plains, I just really like outside!

Legeand: Nothing we cannot handle.

Sparta: The wood is a dark mistress, but if you treat her right, she'll take care of you.

Visaria Ijoynvaeh: I have not been out of this village my whole life. I look forward to a journey, wherever it goes.

Nyza: The kobolds will not bother us, but there might be more demons lurking about or more vampires.

Egalem Random: Giants. That is what we really need to look out for.

Legeand: Or natural denziens of the woods.

Luanes: Not to mention, the

Nyza: Giants? Are they new residents? Always in the Tanglewood?

Egalem Random: There are always giants in Tanglewood.

Oliveryn ponders the idea of giants in Tanglewood.

Visaria Ijoynvaeh: I am sure these adventurers will be able handle a few giants.

Legeand: If it bleeds, it dies.

Nyza: Right! Exactly. Being confident is the first step to being a good sorceress.

Oliveryn: Or being a total fool.

Oliveryn looks a little bit worried.

Legeand: Glares at Oli, "We have felled dragons, I do not think a giant is much harder and halflings, if I remember, are skilled against giants."

Wintersky: You have shown us enough foolery to last a life-time these past couple days, Oli. Maybe now is the time to show some insight.

Egalem Random: We will hear them coming. They cannot be quite, even if they try.

Sparta: Almost as good as dwarves.

Our heroes pack up their things that night and after a very large breakfast the next morning, set out towards Gresham's Library.

Oliveryn realizes as he finishes eating that the breakfast was more for Sparta than anyone else.

Nyza eats quite a lot, as well! Yay meat.

Oliveryn gets his gear together along with Eregard.

Legeand preps a few rations and food for the trail as he swaps his armor on.

The forest is rather dark this day as the suns seems to be a great distance to the south.

Nyza enjoys that small favor.

Oliveryn wonders to himself if Nyza could move the sun closer.

Wintersky rides StormClouds with SnowShadow near by.

Legeand rides quietly with the group, enjoying the ride.

The air is crisp and the nocturnal creatures of the forest are extremely active after a long stretch of bright sun.

Wintersky stretches in the saddle enjoying being on horseback again.

Nyza: Well, no giants so far.

Though the forest is far noisier than any recall, the biggest creature that is seen along the way is a huge, 16-point buck.

Nyza flies about five feet off the ground, level with the others heads.

Luanes: Thank the gods.

SnowShadow ranges out to the sides and up the trees moving aerially when possible.

Oliveryn kind of finds it odd having Nyza at eye level.

Wintersky (quietly): Nyza one of your friends is following us, I think.

Nyza (without turning): Oh, really? Awfully, brave of him.

Nyza withdraws the kobold-map and looks to see if any green dots are nearby.

Wintersky: Perhaps he want to become a renowned sorcerer.

Nyza notices quite a few kobolds in the vicinity, forming a vague circle around the group at a safe distance.

Nyza: They probably want to make sure we are successful?

Legeand: They?

Legeand: So, there is more then one then.

Nyza: Yep, the map says there are more than a few. Surrounding us, not that that is foreboding or anything.

Wintersky: Sorry, I am not yet good at telling them apart.

Wintersky: I only get glimpses.

Luanes glances around.

Nyza: Nyza is fine if they follow...but we should let them know that we know that they're following.

Nyza: Just in case they still have any loyalties to the demons, yes?

Wintersky: As long as they do not attack and are not controlled.

Legeand: Well, light them up. A good ball of light would do.

Nyza: That okay with everyone?

Wintersky: As long as it is light, not fire.

Nyza casts Message and speaks about in the direction of the kobold Wintersky saw.

Nyza: "We know you're all following us. Keep your distance or the mage's spiders will eat you."

Toccito whispering back, "We know. We make sure you not get bothered with."

Nyza: 'Kay, they know. It's Toccito and the others from before, so they are watching out for us.

As our heroes come to the end of their day's journey, they spot a tower through the trees.

Oliveryn looks up at the tower, seeing how well constructed it looks.

Luanes looks up at the tower, shuddering.

Wintersky: Easy, Luanes. At least it is a round building.

Legeand: And if it was an obtuse building?

Wintersky: There would be too many corners.

Wintersky: Corners leave too many places for nefarious sorts to hide.

Luanes smiles, shaking her head.

Legeand: So to circles, non-square rooms and all.

Wintersky: Circles evenly light. No dark corners.

Sparta: Wow, that's a big spider.

Nyza: Spider?

Sparta: Up there in the trees, above the tower.

Luanes: Where?

Legeand: True, Wintersky, but light and shadows are not all that hide things.

Sparta: Can't you see it?

Wintersky: Spider flambe?

Oliveryn shivers at the talk of spiders.

Legeand watches Oli shiver, "What is with you lately? You look like you got a yellow streak ten miles long."

Wintersky: Wow, that is one big spider.

Sparta: We'll need to walk under it to get into the tower.

Wintersky: Do we kill it first?

Dale: I wonder if the plants can hold it in place?

Oliveryn: I think this whole time travel causing some mental problems...maybe...

Oliveryn shrugs.

Wintersky: It could be waiting for us to walk under it.

Nyza: How's that Oli?

Dale: Nyza, do you know any spells that could hold it off?

Nyza: Fireball.

Dale: I'd rather not kill it if we don't have to.

Luanes: I agree.

Wintersky: Dale, what is spider behavior?

Legeand: Why not call out to it?

Nyza: Would invisibility be enough, Dale? Or can spiders sense movement well enough without eyes?

Dale: It's not the spider's fault that Gresham called it here.

Dale: Spiders tend to be pretty mindless.

Dale: They eat when their hungry

Dale: and just about anything that's smaller than them is fair prey.

Legeand: Why not call out to the tower then, not like were intruding in stealth.

Wintersky: So, if prey get in its trap, it eats them.

Nyza: We are here to talk after all.

Wintersky: How about just frightening it away.

Dale: Prince Egalem, do you know how to enter the tower safely?

The spider shifts one massive leg and everyone can now see it.

Egalem Random: I have never seen that before.

Dale: Hopefully, the spider didn't eat his master.

Luanes: No, I doubt that.

Nyza: Can anyone just speak to it? In spider-language?

Legeand: There is no way that thing does not have a brain. Look at it!

Wintersky: Perhaps we could just banish it by dispelling magic.

Egalem Random: I've always just walked in.

Wintersky: Then it could move away.

Wintersky: Was there an enormous spider there when you walked in?

Egalem Random: Like I said. I have no recollection of that spider.

Dale: I've got an idea.

Dale: I have Wind Walk in my staff.

Dale: I can turn us into a breeze and we can blow right past it.

Dale: But, I can only take four companions.

Nyza: Can you cast it more than once?

Legeand: Well, I am not worried about us humans, but Nyza, who like her kin, have been attacked, might.

Dale: Maybe if we get inside and talk to Gresham, he will let the rest of you past the spider?

Luanes collapses.

Legeand: And there is a problem...

Wintersky: Luanes! Wintersky leaps down from StormClouds to determine the problem.

Nyza keeps watching the spider.

Luanes stays on the ground, her eyes widened.

Sparta: Nyza, you and I talked to Gresham when we were here before.

Nyza: Yes, before in the future. We even have the "key" to the wards.

Luanes raises a hand to her temple.

Nyza: Well, the future wards.

Sparta: Maybe we and Egalem and Oli should go with Dale?

Egalem Random: You have a paper key? Like this?

Luanes: That...that creature...vile...evil...

Egalem Random holds up a ward symbol.

Nyza: Ooh, you have one too! Yes, like that.

Nyza: We might try just entering with that. The spider probably wouldn't attack.

Dale: Probably? what if you're wrong?

Wintersky: The spider? They are not intelligent enough for true evil.

Egalem Random: I usually do not need it, but I always have one just in case.

Luanes: Believe me...that spider is abhorrent evil...It is...overwhelming...sickening.

Wintersky casts Magic Circle Against Evil on Visaria.

Dale: If it's that evil, I don't think it will let us pass, even with a key.

Wintersky: If it is not a natural creature, I have no qualms against killing it.

Nyza: Gresham probably won't appreciate that and he is stronger than we are.

Nyza: Well, maybe not if he is still human. Me would not want to fight a high-powered wizard though.

Wintersky: Perhaps.

Dale: True.

Oliveryn ponders about the spider even as it causes him shivers.

Oliveryn: I hate spiders...

Legeand: Whatever we do, we cannot stand around here all day chattering like a pack of hens.

Dale: On both accounts.

Wintersky casts Stone Skin shared with SnowShadow.

Oliveryn: I think it is a fiendish least that is what it looks like from what I have been told.

Luanes stands up.

Wintersky and Visaria stiffen in place.

A voice whispers on the breeze, "Please, be civil."

Egalem Random: That would be Master Gresham.

Legeand: See, talk, no need to take on the spider.

Luanes: So, he knows we are here.

Egalem Random: Probably while we were still a mile a way.

Sparta: Prince Egalem, could you introduce us?

Luanes speaks into the air.

Egalem Random steps forward.

Luanes: Fine. We are civil. Please release our friends.

Egalem Random: Master Gresham, may we all approach and have a conversation, please?

A wizard in black silk robes embroidered with arcane symbols in gold thread rounds the tower at its base.

Gresham the Golden: That will be possible after a bit of testing, my young lord.

Egalem Random bows.

Luanes glares at the wizard.

Luanes: Please release our friends.

Gresham the Golden smiles at Luanes, "In due time."

Nyza curtsies, but her expression is more cautious than polite.

Luanes grinds her teeth to refrain from an angry retort.

Gresham the Golden: Lady Teton, you can still communicate. Just think...out loud...and tell us your feelings.

Wintersky: I cast no offensive magics, only defensive. Those are appropriate under the circumstances.

Gresham the Golden: I quite agree, Lady Shaman. That would make you also quite dangerous, would it not?

Luanes scoffs, unable to stop herself.

Sparta: We are each dangerous in our own way, but we came here to talk, not to fight.

Wintersky: Perhaps, however I was merely preparing to walk up and knock on your tower. I did not try to hurt your pet, just protect myself from its charms.

Gresham the Golden nods to Wintersky and turns his attention to Luanes.

Wintersky: Please release me.

Luanes looks back at him.

Legeand: Remaining quiet, Legeand watches the wizard carefully.

Nyza readies to counter-spell in case Gresham casts anything else harmful.

Gresham the Golden: You read strangely for an elf. If I am correct, you are a paladin, though losing control.

Luanes: I am a paladin, correct.

Nyza remains quiet as well, keeping a strict gaze on the wizard's hands.

Gresham the Golden: Do not build up too much power there, kobold. You will set off the wards as the Teton did.

Nyza: It kind of flares up on its own.

Luanes: Please release our friends.

Gresham the Golden smirks, "I am sure it does, kobold. The shaman shows promise. She frees herself...good."

Wintersky releases herself from the effect.

Oliveryn eyes Gresham with little interest, trying to keep the spider in his sight.

Luanes: Release the other, please.

Nyza withdraws the paper-key from the future from her bag.

Gresham the Golden: The little one will have to wait. I must measure each of you first.

Gresham the Golden raises an eyebrow, "Where did you happen upon that."

Nyza: The little master, naturally. He had one of his own to copy.

Gresham the Golden looks sternly at Egalem.

Nyza tosses it to Luanes.

Nyza: Maybe you can free her with it?

Luanes catches it.

Gresham the Golden: I see you have made some clever additions.

Legeand chuckles at Nyza's coyness, "We are very good at what we do."

Gresham the Golden observes our heroes.

Luanes looks at Visaria worriedly, the paper-key in hand.

Wintersky remounts StormClouds holding Blessed Black as she does so.

Egalem Random looks worriedly at Luanes.

Luanes takes the paper-key and, biting her bottom lip, she touches Visaria with it, praying as she does.

Visaria vanishes in a puff of pink smoke.

Gresham the Golden suppresses a grin, "That ought to do it."

Wintersky: Touch me! Send me with her!

Luanes: ...

Luanes glances at the parchment and sees that it is now blank.

Wintersky: Seeing the blank parchment, Wintersky kicks her heels into her horse and runs him around the tower looking for a door.

Luanes suddenly erupts into a long, drawn out scream. She draws her sword and charges Gresham.

Luanes starts out at a dead run to everyone else's perception and slows as she gets nearer to Gresham.

As Luanes runs toward him he seems to get further away from her.

Luanes: Nooooooooooooooo!

Oliveryn looks taken back at what just happened in less then ten minutes.

Nyza: Luanes, hold on!

Luanes continues to run forward, sword drawn.

Legeand remains still, watching the wizard, "Testing, huh?"

Wintersky: BearTickler, is Visaria inside?

Nyza: We can find where she is later. That was not a disintegration or there would be ash on the ground.

BearTickler: No, she went back towards Zelmbring...I am pretty sure.

Legeand: And it was pink smoke.

Gresham the Golden: I thought it appropriate; such a pretty thing.

Luanes appears to be held in a dead run, though is no longer moving.

Wintersky: Zelmbring, a teleport of some kind?

Nyza: Yep, definitely.

Legeand eyes Luanes and thinks back a bit at the other reactions, "Spell wards reacting to hostile movement or signals, yes? Not a mage, but it would seem you are well prepared, but how many are in this vicinity, and how many would it take to swarm over say a legion of kobolds?"

Luanes suddenly resumes movement at normal speed. Gresham suddenly appears between her and the rest of the group.

Gresham the Golden: That was fun.

Luanes seeing no wizard in her sights, she comes to a screeching halt.

Gresham the Golden turns toward Legeand, "The kobolds? Useful, but not particularly brave. I will call that bluff."

Nyza: No, please do not. That is why we are here, in fact.

Luanes turns around, looking for Gresham.

Legeand shrugs, "A bluff for the moment, but would they listen to another, in a group of adventurers willing to follow in the minute after they tried?"

Gresham the Golden: You are here on behalf of the kobolds?

Gresham the Golden chuckles.

Legeand smiling idly, looks to Nyza, "Yes, we are not, but he wants a show. We are here to talk with you about the kobolds, rather Nyza here is here on their behalf."

Luanes: Where is she?!

Gresham the Golden: Demogorgon has not eaten them all yet?

Legeand: No where near. There are many left. At one point a demon had control of them.

Gresham the Golden turns sideways to regard Luanes without losing sight of the others, "Where she is is safe."

Luanes: Where?

Gresham the Golden ponders for a moment, "A judge's house."

Wintersky rounds the tower and finds the door.

Oliveryn listens to Gresham, not giving any indication of actual interest in the present conversation.

Gresham the Golden smirks after a glance at Wintersky.

Legeand: Luanes, you need to calm yourself. He has done no harm and has only stopped people.

Wintersky: BearTickler can you see or feel the wards?

Gresham the Golden: Listen to your glistening warrior. He seems quite wise.

Eregard is basically in full shock to the point that he is unable to speak or move, his heart leaping from his chest at the disappearance of Visaria.

Luanes: ...Calm?

Legeand: Yes, calm. You know, calm. Be calm. Be more like a negotiator, less like your paladin.

Luanes still seething, she sheathes her sword, making a mental oath to destroy the wizard in the future.

Gresham the Golden turns towards Oliveryn, "You. You seem too quiet to be trusted. What are you up to?"

Luanes (mutters): It was a mistake to come here.

Oliveryn: I am up to nothing, except trying to keep my eyes on your spider friend...wherever it might be.

Oliveryn looks around.

Sparta: Hey, where'd it go?

Sparta: Something that big doesn't just disappear.

Gresham the Golden smirks, "I cannot keep that around all the time. It is taxing."

Oliveryn: Oh, so, you are not all powerful?

Oliveryn: I was beginning to wonder.

Gresham the Golden laughs, "Certainly not."

Oliveryn: Well, that is a relief to know.

Wintersky rounds the tower and as she crosses directly in front of the door a massive lightning bolt shoots from the door.

Wintersky is knocked off of StormClouds and lands in some bushes.

Luanes: Wintersky!

Legeand shakes his head as the normally cool headed pair are not and hot-collared for a change, "Well, if our companions can stop setting off traps for a moment, we could discuss why we came? Either here or in your tower."

Gresham the Golden cringes.

Luanes runs to aid her.

Wintersky: Stop! It is trapped!

Wintersky: Damn wizard!

Sparta: That's not a bad idea, Legeand.

Luanes stops.

Legeand: That was your fault, Sky. You decided to wander.

Luanes turns to glare at Legeand.

Sparta: Gresham, you may find your tests amusing, but we really didn't come here to just to take tea.

Gresham the Golden: You might try to stay away from the door.

Legeand glares back at Luanes coldly.

Gresham the Golden: Ah, now the real testing begins.

Wintersky casts Heal upon herself.

Gresham the Golden: Are we taking sides?

Wintersky: Damn, that hurt. Who traps the front door for just riding in front of it.

Nyza: Sorry, Miss 'Sky. Nyza should warn you about it.

Legeand: Someone who lives alone in the woods surrounded by deadly creatures.

Sparta: Someone who doesn't like to be disturbed.

Gresham the Golden: Very true...Legeand.

Gresham the Golden: And you, Master Halfling.

Wintersky: The smell of scorched flesh would be very annoying.

Sparta: Only if you leave the windows open.

Gresham the Golden: My lab has much worse smells than scorched flesh.

Luanes: Of that, I have no doubt.

Legeand crosses his arms in front of himself, glowering at his party members acting on their own, "You know if Ozi was here, he would be in the same spot as you, 'Sky and Luanes. You are not doing very good for giving us a positive image."

Sparta feels guilty that he hasn't thought of Ozimius recently.

Gresham the Golden turns to Luanes, "As a paladin, you are showing extraordinary restraint, but..."


Celesta appears next to Wintersky.

Wintersky: Hello, Celesta.

Celesta: Are you alright, Wintersky?

Gresham the Golden: Hmmm.

Wintersky: Yeah. The remains of scorched skin itches though.

Celesta: Tell me about it.

Nyza: What about you, Celesta? You come to help or does Gresham drag you into this?

Wintersky: Do not need to, I am sure. Do not walk in front of the door.

Celesta: Gresham? Gresham the Golden?

Luanes: But what, wizard...

Legeand: Lots of wards around, Celesta.

Gresham the Golden: I have an admirer over there?

Gresham the Golden begins walking around the tower.

Legeand follows Gresham, tracing his exact path at a leisurely pace.

Egalem Random follows Gresham.

Sparta: Dale? Shall we join them?

Dale: Lead the way.

Sparta and Dale and their pets follow the trail of the others.

Nyza floats after the others, rather than be left alone.

With the completion of Wintersky's dispel, the sound of shattering glass can be heard throughout the area and Gresham suddenly disappears.

Oliveryn: I wonder where he went to?

Sparta: Trouble in the laboratory?

The door to the tower swings open.

Nyza: He probably was never here to begin with. A projected image or some-such.

Wintersky: That seems to have worked.

Wintersky: Apparently we are invited in now.

Egalem Random: Wow. Who would have thought.

Sparta: Let's not keep him waiting, then.

Wintersky: Who would have thought what?

Egalem Random: That you were powerful enough to bring down his wards...all at once.

Wintersky: Glad to see you think so little of me.

Legeand: Mass dispel or a divine wish?

Wintersky walks to the door.

Egalem Random: No offense. I think a lot of my master.

Sparta: Best to be underestimated.

Wintersky: I only work in miracles.

Sparta: Well, let's see if you can work another miracle, Miss 'Sky, and have a civil conversation with the mage.

Wintersky: She walks in, waiting politely in the entry way.

Our heroes cautiously file into the tower. They enter a round room where purple insubstantial servants await.

Sparta , Dale and the pets join Wintersky.

Legeand follows, "Well, since the door is now open."

Sparta looks around to see how closely the room matches his memory.

Nyza doesn't like how the wards suddenly dropped, but she follows as well.

One of the servants leads the way into a hall with a large dining table set with a feast. Gresham stands at the far end of the table, waiting with a sad smile.

Wintersky: Sorry about your protections.

Gresham the Golden: It is going to take me a while to put those back up, but it was worth it.

Wintersky: They were a tad too dangerous for visitors.

Gresham the Golden: Thus, I rarely have visitors.

Legeand grins and takes a seat randomly at the table, "A good test of her skills though, I am sure."

Wintersky: How was it worth it?

Gresham the Golden: But when I do, they are worthy of a feast.

Oliveryn: I bet Sparta would like this feast.

Oliveryn takes a seat nearer to Gresham.

Sparta: I always enjoy a feast, but we're here on business.

Gresham the Golden: I have made the acquaintence of important folk that I can only hope to consider friends someday.

Wintersky: A feast would mean we are now guests?

Sparta begins to salivate as he eyes the table setting.

Gresham the Golden: Honored guests.

Celesta: This is a chance of a lifetime.

Wintersky looks quizically at Celesta.

Nyza: You do not treat everyone who knocks at your door this way. What makes us so honored?

Sparta thinks to himself, she isn't satisfied with one lich friend?

Celesta (whispering): Only one of the most renown wizards of Almebezbik. Just think.

Legeand: I have a question for you, Gresham. Why is a demon after you and a powerful one no less?

Gresham the Golden: Why would a demon not be after me. I am a worthy soul to be taken back to the Abyss.

Legeand: True, when we first came upon the kobolds, they were enthralled to a demon.

Wintersky sits at the table.

Gresham the Golden: This soul taking, of course, will not happen anytime soon, mind you.

Luanes reluctantly sits at the table, touching nothing.

Sparta begins to fill his plate.

Wintersky: Visaria truely is safe?

Luanes is listening now.

Nyza: You have the crystal ball handy, Ms. Sky?

Gresham the Golden: Could only be safer if she were here, but that little plan went awry.

Luanes: Hmph...

Wintersky: It would ease my mind greatly if I could check in on her.

Gresham the Golden: Please, my wards are down, so you may scry her if you wish.

Wintersky pulls out the crystal ball, "Luanes, come look." She concentrates on Visaria.

Luanes gets up and looks.

Legeand: Well, Nyza, seeing as we are here and Wintersky has the ball, why don't you start your talk?

Nyza nods to Gresham, "The kobolds say you capture them - and do things to them. Obviously, me want that to stop."

An image of Visaria appears in the crystal ball. She sleeps, lying on a simple straw bed in a cottage. A kindly old man in tattered robes covers her with a blanket.

Wintersky: She seems well enough.

Gresham the Golden: Ah, well. That. Yes, of course. Especially after their tribulations with Demogorgon.

Gresham the Golden: I do not need that anomosity to continue.

Nyza: Because animals must be just as good for necrom...Oh...Okay then!

Nyza: Everything outside the tower just now is a power play, me recognize that.

Luanes frowns.

Dale is appalled at Nyza's comment, but doesn't want to interrupt.

Nyza: So, maybe it is just strength you recognize. Hopefully not. The kobolds won't stand for it anymore, if you try to continue the capturing later.

Gresham the Golden: Yes, but there is no making an omelet without breaking a few eggs.

Oliveryn: That is if you care to have omelets.

Sparta: Omelets?

Luanes (whispers-to-Wintersky): This makes no sense.

Nyza: If you will leave them alone, there is not much more for me to say.

Wintersky (whispers to Luanes): Explain.

Legeand: Do you know anything about an elven vampire?

Gresham the Golden: An elven vampire? I am aware of one, but that is only myth.

Legeand: We have had one appear.

Luanes (whispers-to-Wintersky): Visaria was with us, frozen by a spell, suddenly teleported to a judges house, then goes to this house and goes to sleep?

Gresham the Golden: Really?

Celesta: Really?

Legeand: Yes, nearby, in fact. Right after that horrible storm.

Sparta bites his tongue.

Manitowoc: Ahem.

Gresham the Golden raises both eyebrows.

Wintersky (whispers to Luanes shrugging): First to brother, then hedge wizard?

Sparta: Hush, Grandpa.

Manitowoc: I don't think so. This archmage needs to be aware of Emitae.

Gresham the Golden: Grandpa? Who is that?

Luanes (whispers-to-Wintersky): Yes, but then she falls asleep? After all of that?

Legeand: If he has experimented with necromancy, then he can help us, yes?

Sparta speaks up, "He's my Grandfather, several generations removed."

Gresham the Golden: Emitae is the mythical elven vampire I was referring to.

Nyza: Well, necromancy is a guess on my part. What else does he capture living creatures for?

Sparta: He's not mythical.

Sparta: We think he had a hand in turning Lord Vistij.

Manitowoc: No, he is quite real and not far away.

Sparta: Grandpa, are you sure this is a good idea?

Gresham the Golden: This is quite interesting.

Gresham the Golden turns quickly to Nyza, "Yes, necromancy."

Wintersky (to Visaria through the ball quietly inserting a question into Visaria's sleeping mind): Visaria are you safe now?

Visaria dreamily nods.

Gresham the Golden: So there are now supposedly two elven vampires in Tanglewood?

Sparta: Yes.

Celesta widens her eyes.

Wintersky (whispers to Luanes): She feels she is safe.

Sparta: Emitae is quite dangerous and like you, he doesn't want to be disturbed.

Gresham the Golden turns to Wintersky and Luanes, "Really, she is safe and will not remember any of it."

Luanes (whispers-to-Wintersky): Very well.

Luanes looks at the wizard.

Wintersky squeezes Luanes forearm and puts the crystal ball away.

Luanes seems to be more in control of herself, now.

Gresham the Golden: Please, eat. My only hand in making this food was in the conjuring of the cook. It is safe and it is good.

Gresham the Golden takes a drink from his goblet.

Wintersky: Vistij is most certainly a vampire.

Gresham the Golden: Has he killed a tree yet, this Vistij?

Wintersky: Yes.

Dale: It was terrible.

Luanes still will not touch the food or drink.

Gresham the Golden: Then he will be beside himself with grief for years. Worry about him not.

Sparta: Years are a short time for an elf.

Sparta: But, I am more worried about Emitae.

Wintersky: He would worry more over a tree than his daughter.

Gresham the Golden: Please, Lady Elf. Let go of that last bit of axiom. Become what you were born to be.

Sparta: Gresham, can you keep a secret?

Luanes: What are you talking about?

Gresham the Golden: Your aura. It is metamorphising. The Teton can probably see it.

Wintersky accepts her position as guest and eats sparingly from the feast.

Gresham the Golden: Secrets, dozens. Certainly.

Legeand eyes Sparta wondering if he is going to say 'that.'

Sparta: We know a bit of the future history of Walton. It isn't pretty.

Nyza refrains from eating.

Oliveryn decideds to eat a little, eyeing everyone in turn.

Sparta: Emitae will have a hand in its destruction.

Sparta: If you seek him out, it will only hasten the fall.

Wintersky gives Luanes a reassuring smile.

Gresham the Golden narrows his eyes at Sparta.

Gresham the Golden: That is quite a secret to be keeping.

Sparta: I am trusting you, that you want to protect your home.

Legeand: We have many ourselves, if you cannot tell.

Wintersky: Do not worry, Luanes. Your aura fits you perfectly.

Gresham the Golden: Walton is not my home.

Luanes gives a short, but sincere smile to Wintersky.

Celesta: Foortmaar is, is it not?

Gresham the Golden nods grimly to Celesta.

Wintersky slips SnowShadow a bit of meat.

Nyza: Haven't heard of it.

Gresham the Golden: Foortmaar is the capital of Genessee. My country.

Sparta: That is far away, what brings you here?

Gresham the Golden: I prefer not to discuss it.

Legeand: Exile?

Celesta frowns.

Gresham the Golden glares at Legeand.

Legeand: Do not think you are the only one to know that pain; I would assume it is for the necromancy too.

Luanes suppresses a grin.

Wintersky: Legeand, it is impolite to imply that one is a criminal in ones own country.

Legeand: I did not say that, but what he is here for was because of that, but it matters little. I was just curious.

Gresham the Golden: Necromancy is not the problem where Genessee is concerned.

Gresham the Golden: So...I understand you have met Zodyu the Grotesque.

Sparta: We have.

Legeand: Hrmm... Yes, he might still be with our other member, Ozi.

Luanes frowns.

Wintersky: And Poccito, Toccito and Skippito.

Gresham the Golden: This Zodyu is the one you should all be very careful around.

Legeand: Oh, we fully know about him.

Celesta cuffs Legeand.

Legeand: I didn't say anything more than that, We know all we need to about him.

Wintersky: Celesta have you taken lessons from the kobolds? Stop it.

Celesta: What?

Nyza chuckles.

Nyza: She does not see them before, yes? Just a human expression, too.

Wintersky: Infantile diplomacy.

Sparta: Gresham, I have one last question for you.

Gresham the Golden: Yes.

Sparta: You knew the kobolds were summoning a demon, but you weren't concerned about it?

Gresham the Golden: They were trying to summon help from Kurtulmak, I believe. Demogorgon was interfering, but I think Kurtulmak succeeded.

Gresham the Golden looks over at Nyza.

Gresham the Golden