Post date: Dec 17, 2009 7:19:18 PM

Decitina 24, 259 First Cycle of Man

Our heroes, through intellect, resourcefulness and faith, discover they over a millennium in the past and that they have been drawn into one of Aifos' missions as a Traveler.  Through Luanes' summoning of Taevon, they become aware that they are to influence those that will ascend into divinity at the turn of the cycle.

Discussion turns to decrypting the cryptic message the celestial has imparted when one of those who is to ascend happens upon their gathering: Zodyu the Grotesque.

The fact that they are from the future and that Zodyu will become the God of the Dead is revealed, but in the process Luanes objects to Ozimius' actions and words.  The conversation dissolves into an argument about the philosophical idea of good and evil.

Luanes, knowing she should confront Ozimius, also knows the danger of provoking a battle that would tear the group apart and destroy any hope of saving Ozimius and causing the senseless death of any of her companions or herself.  She successfully summons Gaelitae and depart for Walton and the Temple of Armee therein.

Admonishments and defense of Luanes' action follow until Ozimius retreats into the canopy of the forest to allow further discourse with Zodyu.  Zodyu explains his situation and his motivations before it is decided to enter Walton.

Our heroes make the short journey to the Zuodeyja Gate of Walton where Oliveryn secures their entry with his diplomacy and guile.  They are referred to the Old Walton Inn, which they find high in the mountain city.  Aifos, Oliveryn, Eregard and Sparta enter the inn as the others decide to look around and climb to the summit in search of various places: Magus Universitatus for Celesta and Nyza, a livery for Wintersky and general curiosity for the others.

Oliveryn's flamboyant entry of the inn is met with delighted interest by its patrons.

The others crest the summit, shaded by the largest oak they have ever seen.  Governmental buildings ring the summit, which is topped by a most rustic and sturdy tavern: The Battleman's Bar.  There is evidence of a fire that has recently destroyed the buildings that lined The King's Road from the tavern to the circular road around the summit.  Clearing of the debris and reconstruction has already begun.  North of the circle is a vast colosseum around which seems to be some kind of bazaar and just southwest of this is an ancient castle.  To the south of the castle is a collection of buildings with a tall, domed observatory in its midst.

Wintersky watches BearTickler glide away up the mountain toward the city.

Oliveryn: As far as the past and Walton is concerned, Walton existed for about 4,000 years. Judging from the lights up there, I would say it is at least as big as the Troll's Bridge we are from.

Oliveryn: That leaves us about a millennium window if we are in the past.

Legeand: That is a long time window.

Sparta: Should we look for Gresham's home? It should be just a little bit to the south.

Nyza: It seems unlikely that Walton could be rebuilt after our own time, but that is possible too.

Aifos Auravici Octavius: It is a goal of the current Mage of Miserable, so if he succeeds and we are in the future, it might be the rebuilt one.

Dale: But there was no mountain there in our own time. It crashed into the crater when Walton fell.

Dale: Why does the Mage want to rebuild Walton?

Aifos Auravici Octavius: It was not the first time that mountain fell.

Dale: Were there other cities there? Before Walton?

Aifos Auravici Octavius: The Mage has the ability of reversing one Wizards' Cataclysm. Since, Walton was his home city, he wanted to restore it.

Aifos Auravici Octavius: A great ancient elven city was the original city built on the Mount of Walls. I do not recall its name.

Nyza: Do you know Gresham well, General? It does seem smarter to only speak with one person if we do not want to change things.

Aifos Auravici Octavius: It really depends to whom you talk, but he would be a good choice as he may understand our dilemma.

Celesta: I would be cautious, though. Some wizards take offense to interruptions.

Aifos Auravici Octavius: Quite true, Lady Artural.

Sparta: If this is the past and that is Walton, would he still be a lich?

Luanes frowns.

Wintersky: Is he a wizard or a lich?

Nyza: He is a lich in our time at least.

Legeand: We seem to have a few liches around in our time.

Nyza: Well, there are few good ways for a caster to extend their life by arcane means.

Oliveryn: The Wizard-King of Genesee became a lich in the previous Cycle while serving as Zodyu the Grotesque's vizier.

Luanes: I would not call it...good...exactly...nor would I call what is achieved a life.

Dale whispers to Nyza, "You aren't thinking of becoming a lich, are you?"

Legeand: Feh. Why would someone want to live forever or close too it? It would eventually get tiring.

Wintersky: Personally, I would prefer to avoid liches.

Luanes: Wise words, Legeand

Nyza whispers back, "Not really..."

Oliveryn: Lichdom is a choice, which unfortunately, many wizards have made. As king of Genesee, he had already been a lich for decades, but he would have done it anyway to emulate the Deity Kings of our time.

Dale smiles wanly.

Luanes: I will not associate with the undead.

Celesta: My master was trying to remain around for his Arcaners.

Wintersky smiles at Luanes.

Legeand: It is a nice thing to say, not wanting to join hand in hand with evil, but even they have their uses.

Celesta: Lichdom is poisonous, though. Even the best intentions are fraught with disappointment.

Sparta: I think its best that most of us avoid Gresham. We don't want to wear out our welcome.

Sparta: But as Aifos said, he might be the most knowledgeable about our predicament.

Luanes: Uses or no, the only association I will have with a lich is through the power of Visaria.

Ozimius: Maybe we should see if this tower of his even exists.

Nyza: You can fly. Want to find out for us?

Sparta starts searching in the direction he remembered visiting it last.

Ozimius: Thought you would never ask.

Wintersky: People are fairly anonymous in a city. It is not like being in a village where strangers are noted, questioned and puzzled over,

Ozimius grows wings and lifts off into the canopy with a grin.

Legeand: True, but look at us? We are armed and battle ready. We attract notice just going to places.

Wintersky: I think we should go to the city and if anyone asks, all we have to say is that we are traveling.

Eregard: I would caution you all that we recently...well, whatever...battled dragons.

Nyza: Why does that worry you?

Legeand: Nyza, did you not have an undead spirit dragon around your home?

Luanes: Do you think it is one of those enemies that is responsible for this?

Wintersky: The wilderness is dangerous. I believe that if we keep to ourselves we should be safe enough.

Eregard: Upset wizard...already tired....

Wintersky: Just do not throw a party, Sparta!

Sparta: What? Party? Where?

Nyza: Yes, the great Destibier. His spirit only recently arrived to Tangleton in our time though, so he is probably not here now.

Nyza: He might still be alive in fact...

Legeand: Where was his haunt back a few thousand years or was he even hatched yet?

Aifos Auravici Octavius: Destibier may be alive if we are far enough back.

Nyza: From the Hinterlands, perhaps? Nyza is not sure.

Aifos Auravici Octavius: You are correct, Nyza.

Nyza: You want to find him, Leggy?

Legeand: Hmm...I would rather not.

Aifos Auravici Octavius: A rest before wandering off too far may be a good idea, as Eregard suggests.

Wintersky: Aifos, are we close to our mission, in your experience, or is a long journey likely to be necessary.

Dale: True, we spent many of our spells this morning.

Wintersky: Perhaps we could go to town and buy a horse?

Ozimius flies over head, "The forest is a lot denser than I remember."

Nyza: An inn to rest at would be nice.

Aifos Auravici Octavius: It may be close, it may be months of travel across a continent.

Legeand: I can sleep out here, but if you all want to trudge though a forest for a bed, be my guest.

Wintersky: Your gods are very fickle.

BearTickler drifts into Wintersky's vision.

Nyza (winking): Trudge? Since when does Nyza walk long distances anymore.

Wintersky: Hmmm..BearTickler do you have news?

Legeand: You are light enough to carry in a bag Nyza.

Celesta: I think teleporting might be really dangerous. There is a mountain here that we are not used to...what else could be different.

BearTickler: That city up on the mountain is a vile, polluted place. Worse than Troll's Bridge is its smell.

Nyza frowns at Celesta's words, but she nods in agreement.

Dale: That's pretty bad, probably not the Elvish city Aifos mentioned then.

Luanes: Yes, look teleporting brought us already...

Celesta smirks.

Wintersky: Did you see undead about?

Aifos Auravici Octavius: Definitely not the elvish city.

BearTickler: A pocket of undead in their burial ground outside the city southeast of us.

Wintersky: Was the date mentioned in any place of business or a mayor or the emperor.

BearTickler: I heard mention of a Mayor Dekker.

Wintersky: There are undead in the burial ground southeast of us.

Wintersky: Does Mayor Dekker mean anything to you, Oli?

Sparta: Papa, who was mayor when you lived in Walton?

Oliveryn shakes his head.

Celesta: I recall that name.

Wintersky looks at Celesta.

Celesta: He was the last mayor before end of the last cycle.

Wintersky: Well we have it narrowed down to a lifetime.

BearTickler: The talk of the mayor was his impressive succession a week ago.

Wintersky: He became Mayor a week ago.

Celesta: He was mayor for twenty-one years, I believe.

Nyza: You...have a keen memory.

Oliveryn: That would make it the year 25 of the Age of Demons.

Wintersky: I haven't studied emperial history.

Sparta: Do you remember that Papa? Were you and Grandma there, at the Mayor's Ball?

Celesta: Pre-imperial.

Legeand: History...Math...Not my good subjects...

Manitowoc: I arrive in twelve years.

Sparta is disappointed.

Manitowoc: Zenda was born as the Fifth Wizards' Cataclysm subsided.

Aifos Auravici Octavius: Well, we landed square in the middle of the last age of the last cycle.

Wintersky: Well, we are here, now what?

Legeand (sarcastically): How lucky we are...Anyone remember any races we can bet gold on?

Oliveryn: That is before Zodyu came to power.

Nyza: How are we supposed to guess what the gods want us to do?

Nyza: Suppose we could wander around until something jumps out at us.

Nyza: Ooh, or we can start the fifth cataclysm? Sounds fun.

Wintersky: Luanes, do you still have your spells?

Luanes looks at Nyza, slightly amused.

Luanes: Some...

Wintersky: Sparta?

Sparta: Yes, Ms 'Sky?

Legeand: Hmm... You think we could be written in history as tha if it happened already.

Wintersky: Do you get your spells from Lukinvor?

Sparta: Well, Lukinvor gave me my first spell in a dream.

Sparta: I haven't heard from her since then.

Wintersky: Many of the gods in our time have not ascended yet.

Legeand: So the spell-flingers are on the fritz?

Sparta: Mostly, I just rest and meditate and draw from the natural power that surrounds us all.

Luanes: ...

Aifos Auravici Octavius: That is correct. Zodyu, Visaria, Valencia and Lukinvor have not ascended yet.

Luanes: Then, I do not have my spells.

Luanes attempts to cast a spell to test it.

Wintersky: My spells come from the spirits and at least one of my Spirit helpers is available...TalksMuch is not around at the moment.

Luanes: It worked...somehow.

Dale: Thinks to herself, TalksMuch? I didn't think spirts talked much, if at all?

T'Krosh: My magic is working alright...Hah, Kurtulmak sees fit to bless me his powers in any era!

Luanes seems a bit unnerved.

Ozimius flies in as Sparta notices a twinkle of light deep in the woods.

Wintersky: Let us rest and see if we all can recover our spells...

Ozimius: I think I found that tower.

Luanes frowns.

Nyza: Good work.

Sparta: There is a light off in the woods. That might by Gresham's tower.

Aifos Auravici Octavius: At this point, Gresham is flesh and blood and may be only marginally more powerful than Lady Artural or Nyza.

Ozimius looks, "Yes, right through there."

Luanes: Not undead?

Nyza: That isn't still a problem, Luanes, is it, knowing that he will become a lich someday?

Legeand: Well, some help is better than none.

Oliveryn: That does not happen for years yet.

Luanes: You are correct, Nyza. It does not change what he will become.

Wintersky: He is still probably evil and not likely to help us out of the goodness in his heart.

Sparta: Papa, didn't you have a hand in his un-death? The legends say you were at the Battle of Toed.

Aifos Auravici Octavius: We will have to be very careful speaking with Gresham. He has a powerful and influencial effect on the future.

Wintersky: What would we ask him?

Manitowoc: In the Battle of Toed, Gresham and Dryjajidu were both slain.

Luanes: This is a mistake. We should not speak to anyone from the past.

Nyza: We were originally going to ask when we are. Since we already know...

Luanes: I would trust nothing he offers, anyway.

Dale: You're right, Nyza. Maybe we should avoid Gresham now we know when we are.

Wintersky: Certainly not the very powerful and influencial.

Aifos Auravici Octavius smiles.

Dale: I, for one, could use some rest. Do you think our cave is safe enough?

Wintersky: Let us move far enough to find a good resting spot and rest.

Nyza: There is no way to know. It is unoccupied when my scouts find it, but it may not always be like that.

Luanes: Agreed.

Legeand: Well, it is better than nowhere. Plus, we have some firepower still at our disposal for guard shifts.

Manitowoc: Tanglewood is quite dangerous during this time. Cover would be advisable.

Sparta: Let's get in the cave then. I doubt we'll find any better cover between here and Walton.

Nyza: Okay then, the cave it is.

Wintersky: BearTickler can you find out if the cave is occupied please.

Sparta searches the opening of the cave for signs of recent habitation.

BearTickler nods and enters the cave.

Sparta finds signs of small animals, but nothing he would consider dangerous.

Sparta: It looks safe enough to me.

Sparta: Nothing bigger than a badger in here now.

BearTickler returns a few minutes later and gestures for Wintersky and her companions to enter.

Wintersky: BearTickler thinks it is safe too.

Dale: Are you hungry?

The cave has lower ceilings and narrower passages than in the future. About fifty feet in, a large cave is found.

Dale: Sparta, maybe you could round up some dinner for us?

Legeand: Well, shall we camp for the night then?

Celesta: Sounds like a plan.

Luanes nods and begins to settle down.

Sparta: Once everybody is in the cave, Sparta looks to see if he can catch some game near the mouth of the cave.

Nyza: We should set a watch.

Legeand: Well, obviously I can.

Luanes: Me too.

Nyza: Of course, I am the type to want a watch even when sleeping at an inn, heh.

Sparta: I can take a turn too.

Legeand: The three of us should be fine for a shift watch then.

Sparta: Let the spellcasters get their beauty rest.

Our heroes settle down to the feast prepared by Sparta after a quick, successful hunt.

Sparta: Well, Aifos , I said it would be rustic , but this isn't quite what I had in mind.

Aifos Auravici Octavius smiles, "I have experienced far worse."

Legeand: Well, could have been worse: desert or tundra and left without shelter would not be very nice.

Sparta: Me too, remember when we got trapped by the Princess with barely enough rations?

Luanes eats a very small amount and says nothing.

Sparta: I nearly starved.

Nyza rips into her portion of fowl.

Aifos Auravici Octavius (muttering): Or a prehistoric swamp.

Legeand: Tar pit... Volcano...

Nyza: An ocean...

Legeand: Top of a mountain.

Wintersky: No, Ringo nearly starved, you were just hungry.

Ozimius: You were not also recovering from being kidnapped.

Sparta: At least he had roast beetle to feast on. They were pretty nasty, but he didn't seem to mind.

Legeand: Should have had a goat as a pet.

Nyza (to Celesta): Do you think there is some way to make time go faster, if we were to get stuck here? As a backup plan.

Wintersky: As I recall, he had smoked buffalo shoulder.

Legeand: Had a few of them back in Isilville, they would eat your shoes and boots!

Sparta: Goats will eat most anything. We have one in Rebelton.

Celesta (to Nyza): Not with my abilities. We will have to rely on General Octavius to get us back...or stay.

Sparta: Or will... Someday anyway.

Legeand: Shy of cold hard steel.

Oliveryn: Rebelton is a growing human town at this point, I think.

Wintersky: Tomorrow, I want to get a horse.

Wintersky: Everything is easier to face with a horse beneath you.

Aifos Auravici Octavius: Speaking of tomorrow, we will need to visit the city, I imagine.

Sparta: Well, I've got Ringo here.

Luanes sighs quietly.

Wintersky: Have you money, General?

Sparta: And Ferocious? When did you get here?

Celesta: Something wrong, Luanes?

T'Krosh: Maybe we can wrangle up a few dire weasels too.

Legeand: I have dealt with just walking everywhere, though a horse would be nice.

Dale: He's been here all along, silly.

Luanes: Gaelitae will not yet have been born.

Wintersky: Neither were you but you are here.

Luanes: I travelled here...Gaelitae did not.

Dale: And, Ferocious showed up.

Wintersky: How do you know?

Dale: Maybe you should try summoning her in the morning.

Luanes: That is a good suggestion.

Wintersky: General, about money, another Teton might give me a horse based on my good looks and need. But people in cities are not usually so accommodating.

Legeand: Would they accept the cash on hand we have?

Wintersky: My money is at Messer's Tradehall.

Nyza: In the worst case, we can barter one of the magic items.

Celesta: I can summon a herd of horses...practically...until we find or earn some.

Nyza: Horses are not very expensive, by comparison.

Eregard: Right, imperial currency of an empire that doesn't exist yet.

Sparta: I could rustle up some more game and sell it in the market for a few silver.

Legeand grumbles, "If we have to...I have my locket..."

Sparta: But, it will take a while to earn enough for horses for all of you.

Wintersky: It takes time to train horses.

Sparta: Maybe we hire out our services.

Aifos Auravici Octavius: Do not worry about money just now. I have enough ancient coins to get us what we need.

Legeand: Good, because I was saving this...Rather not give it up.

Our heroes pull out sleeping gear they have not used for a while and get some rest.

Dale cuddles up to Ferocious.

Nyza: Before getting some shuteye, Nyza takes an hour to cast a scrying spell.

Sparta looks jealous, then curls up with Ringo.

Legeand takes first watch.

Sparta: Luannes, you taking second watch?

Celesta wakes up suddenly at some point, "He is just a youngster at this point."

Wintersky curls up with SnowShadow.

Legeand: Who?

Celesta: Isildul.

Legeand: Oh?

Legeand: Concerned for his future are you?

Sparta: Wake me when you get tired, ok?

Sparta rolls over and trys to ignore the conversation.

Legeand: Sure thing, Sparta. Bucket of water or kick to the shin?

Celesta: Well, I think we meet.

Legeand nods to Celesta "It could happen; anything could really."

Celesta: Maybe it was just my imagination.

Legeand: Sometimes your body knows before you know, premonition. anything strange.

Celesta: Your are right, Legeand. If it happens, it happens.

Legeand: Let the gods play with the strings of fate, for men are those who follow fate.

Luanes: Yes, I will take second watch.

Legeand: I'll wake whichever is most sound asleep, Have a good sleep.

Luanes takes a watchful position near the entrance, her sword drawn.

Legeand waits until it is quieted down and pulls out the locket, having been such a long time since he last opened it up.

Having been sifting through the knowledge tucked away in this brain, Oliveryn gets a concerned look on his face.

Oliveryn: The draconic among us are not going to be welcome in Walton. They will need disguises.

Legeand: Do they not have their magic hats?

T'Krosh glances at Nyza as she casts her spell.

T'Krosh: I do, at least.

Oliveryn: You will need them. Walton is very...xenophobic.

Aifos Auravici Octavius opens his eyes.

Legeand chuckles "Well, I hope they know how to deal with spell-flingers who can conjure fireballs."

Aifos Auravici Octavius: True, I will need to disguise myself as well...probably.

T'Krosh: And the halflings?

Legeand (chuckling): If it looks human, talks human and smells human, it must be human.

Oliveryn: Halflings, elves, dwarves...even gnomes are acceptible.

T'Krosh: It will not be much of a change then.

T'Krosh: Kobolds are always treated as dogs in the human lands.

Oliveryn: Adopting the halfling personas should be safe.

Legeand spins his locket on its chain, "Just hope we cross no mages with truesight."

Celesta: Speech will be quite different sounding as well. It might be difficult to understand each other.

Legeand: I'll leave the talking to the talkers, just leave the fighting to the fighter.

Ozimius: I will second that.

Watches progress through the rest period without incident.

Wintersky: Gee...the light is funny. It should be getting dark by now.

Aifos Auravici Octavius: Oh, I almost forgot about that. This is "The Plane" not "The Mirrror" at this time.

Legeand: So the light cycle is off?

Aifos Auravici Octavius: The sun does not rise and set as you are accustomed to.

Nyza: Interesting. What caused the change to The Mirror?

Legeand: Probably the cataclysm.

Legeand: Knocked it spinning?

Aifos Auravici Octavius: As a matter of fact, yes, Legeand.

Legeand: What was the catacylsm? A meteor or a spell getting set off or both?

Aifos Auravici Octavius: A spell expiring. You will hear folks speak of lightdays and darkdays.

Legeand: One hell of an expired spell.

Aifos Auravici Octavius: It could be light for weeks at a time and then dark for many days at a time as well.

Nyza (grumbling): Naturally, we come here during the light phase.

Aifos Auravici Octavius: Except on Borgose's is always dark then.

Legeand: Let us hope we are not here for too long then.

Nyza: Afraid of the dark, Leggy?

Legeand: Not really, but rather not get used to that weird day cycle.

While Luanes is praying, a vision of an armored titan enters her mind.

Luanes continues to pray, curious and slightly disturbed.

Luanes whispers her prayer, asking who this titan is.

The titan lifts the visor of his helm and smiles down at Luanes.

Armee Mann: I am Armee and I will be your benefactor while you exist in this time.

Armee Mann: You will be the only paladin of Armee the Father.

Luanes whispers back, "I am greatful, mightly Armee, yet I am unsure why my companions and I are in this time.

Armee Mann: It will become clear to you very shortly...and a pleasant affair it will not be.

Luanes prays, whispering unintelligible words.

Luanes whispers, "Your will be done, Father Armee."

Armee Mann: By your hand and those of your companions will new powers come to be. Be mindful and aware of the laws of Lehnbor and Armee.

The vision dissolves within Luanes' mind.

Luanes (whispering in Elvish): Thy will be done.

Luanes stands up, looking overwhelmed.

Celesta: Luanes, have you seen a ghost?

Luanes: benefactor of this time....

Celesta: Benefactor?

Wintersky: Armee or Corellon?

Luanes: Armee...and Lehnbor...

Wintersky: Together?

Luanes: No, I only saw Armee...the Father.

Nyza: Curious, Nyza listens in on the divine casters.

Celesta: The Creator and the King?

Luanes: I....I believe so...

Luanes: But he declared that we should be mindful and aware of his laws and of Lehnbor's laws...

Luanes sighs shakily.

Wintersky: Did he explain further?

Celesta: Yes, how so?

Luanes: He said the reason for our presence in this time...will become clear to us very shortly.

Luanes: And it will not be a pleasant affair.

Aifos Auravici Octavius: They almost never are.

Wintersky: Can we visit the Tetons.

Luanes: He said that new powers will come to be as a result of...I think...something we do.

Aifos Auravici Octavius: New powers. Oh, my.

Wintersky: Luanes God-maker.

Wintersky winks.

Luanes smiles.

Aifos Auravici Octavius: The Ascended Deities are influenced by us, this implies.

Luanes: ...

Nyza: What laws should we be aware of? Armee is the war-god, yes?

Luanes stares at Aifos, shocked.

Legeand: So, we raise Zodyu?

Aifos Auravici Octavius raises an eyebrow to Legeand.

Wintersky: Armee has two aspects right now: Armee the Father and Armee the Avenger. War is one aspect of the Avenger.

Aifos Auravici Octavius: This could be a very long quest if we are to see that through to its conclusion.

Luanes: He said I would be a paladin of Armee the Father.

Luanes: The only paladin.

Legeand shrugs "We are influencing them right and we know of the gods, so we are not just influencing the good ones, but the bad ones too."

Legeand fiddles with his sword after thinking for a bit looking at Luanes, "Well, at least we have some idea of what we are doing."

Luanes: This is one of the dangers of traveling through time...just by existing in this time.

T'Krosh: Do you often have visions during your morning prayer?

T'Krosh: Consider another possibility; an ally of Zodyu, perhaps Borgose, could grant such a vision counter to our actual purpose here.

Luanes: No, it is not a regular occurance

Aifos Auravici Octavius: That would be cruel, but not out of the question for Borgose.

Aifos Auravici Octavius: However, she is bound by Lehnbor's laws even if she is demonic.

Wintersky: Armee might object to Borgose "impersonating" to his paladin.

Aifos Auravici Octavius: It would be very dangerous to interfere so. True, Wintersky.

Aifos Auravici Octavius: Another thing to remember about the gods during this time is that they live on our plane.

Luanes: I wonder if...Taevon exists in this time...

Luanes: If he does, he may know a little more than we do about the practices of deities.

Aifos Auravici Octavius: Is he a celestial, Lady Ilrya?

Luanes nods.

Aifos Auravici Octavius: Hmmm...

Aifos Auravici Octavius: Outsiders such as he are eternal throughout time. If he was to be summoned, he may provide us a great deal of assistance.

Nyza: My scrying spell should work if you want to contact him. Summoning a specific being is beyond my power, though.

Wintersky: I might be able to have a spirit get him.

Luanes: We could try. This sword used to belong to him, if that helps. Growing up, I would simply call to him and he would appear.

Wintersky: Try calling now then.

When Nyza scryed Destibier, she got a fleeting glimpse of an astoundingly colossal dragon sleeping on a vast treasure in a great cavern.

Nyza: You stressed before that we should not talk to important people.

Nyza: Is it okay, you think?

Legeand: An immortal outsider? Yea, probably okay.

Luanes was about to call, but stops when Nyza speaks.

Wintersky: Apparently the gods want us to influence some very important people.

Aifos Auravici Octavius: As I mentioned when we arrived, we may have to just live in the moment and not dwell too much on our actions.

Wintersky: If we do not, our world may not exist, for maybe we already did in our time.

Legeand: Let us just sneak up invisible behind them and whisper in there ears 'You want to be a want to be a gooood...'

Eregard snickers.

Nyza: Well, no complaining if we get back to the future and you cease to exist!

Luanes (mutters): I despise time makes my head rumble.

Wintersky: Yeah, telling Zodyu that he wants to be good is really going to work well.

Aifos Auravici Octavius: Traveling never gets easier, so I hope this is your only time.

Luanes (spoken-in-Celestial): Father! Father! Please come to me!

Wintersky: I kind of like it. My responsibilities feel lighter here.

Legeand: I have the overwhelimg urge for destruction and merrymaking...but that is usual.

Wintersky chuckles.

Luanes stifles a snicker at Legeand's comment.

Bright light streams into the cave from the tunnel.

Legeand: Ale, a whore and my sword, that is what I adore! ARRR!

The kobolds shield their eyes.

Wintersky: Why pay for it if you can get it for free?

Wintersky: Oh, right, you cannot get it for free.

Luanes winces at the topic of conversation as the lawful good celestial arrives.

A heavenly voice sings beyond the tunnel in the forest.

Luanes looks towards the light and begins walking in that direction.

Wintersky follows Luanes.

As Luanes exits the cave, she finds an angel standing before her.

Luanes looks up at the angel.

Taevon Ilrya: Greetings, my dear Luanes.

Luanes: Father!

Taevon Ilrya: For a short stretch of time, yes, dear.

Wintersky suppresses impertinent thoughts.

Luanes: Thank the heavens you have come.

Taevon Ilrya: You are in distress? How may I serve you, Luanes Alaphasus?

Luanes: companions and I have been brought to a time which is not our own.

Luanes gestures to her companions behind her in the cave.

Taevon Ilrya: I am aware of this. You have been ensnared in the unintentional web of a Traveler.

Luanes: A Traveler?

Taevon Ilrya: Yes, the ancient one of gold dragon blood.

Wintersky come out trying to imagine the angel as a Teton. She fails quite spectacularly, as Tetons are quite ordinary folk.

Wintersky sighs.

Luanes: This is my friend, Wintersky.

Taevon Ilrya nods.

Wintersky smiles, "You are not at all what I expected."

Taevon Ilrya smiles and, to Wintersky's eyes, transforms into a Teton chieftain.

Wintersky: Oh!.... that is much better.

Luanes: During my prayers this morning, I received a vision...from Armee the Father. And T'Krosh (points to T'Krosh) pointed out that it could have been a deception from Borgose. You taught me to consider all possibilities...

T'Krosh looks wary of the angel, but he nods in acknowledgement.

Taevon Ilrya: There was no deception, my dear. You currently serve the aspect of Armee that Visaria inherits when she ascends.

Luanes sighs with relief.

Taevon Ilrya: Be not too relieved. The road before you is long and perilous.

Aifos Auravici Octavius exits the cave.

Luanes nods, "I understand."

Taevon Ilrya: Ah, the Traveler.

Luanes: This is Aifos Octavius. Is this...oh, I guess it is.

Aifos Auravici Octavius bows to the angel.

Aifos Auravici Octavius: Your guidance would be most welcome, but I am aware that it is necessarily limited.

Taevon Ilrya: It is.

Wintersky: Do you know what we need to accomplish here in the past as it is to us.

Luanes: I simply wanted to be certain that it is Armee's will that we follow.

Taevon Ilrya: Truly, it is Lehnbor's, but Armee and Lehnbor are of one mind in this.

Wintersky: Luanes, if you do good in Borgose's name, it is not Borgose you serve no matter what you call it.

Luanes smiles at Wintersky, seeming more at ease with Taevon present.

Taevon Ilrya: You have been set before a twisted row of pillars that must fall against each other until all have fallen.

Wintersky: You would make a very handsome Teton.

Taevon Ilrya nods to Wintersky.

Luanes (Celestial): Be not concerned for me, father. My friends watch over me as I watch over them.

Wintersky: The question is are the pillars primed to fall or are some out of place?

Wintersky: Or do we just have to find the right one and give it a shove.

Taevon Ilrya raises his eyebrows, "Some are out of place and need to be directed against the proper next."

Wintersky: Lovely.

Taevon Ilrya: All of you, with your various strengths, will need to aid this.

A troubling, but exhilerating wave of feelings sweep through the area.

Taevon Ilrya: The first pillar stands before you.

Taevon Ilrya fades to nothingness.

Nyza: The first pillar? Like... that we have to topple?

Celesta: Figuratively, yes, Nyza.

Luanes: The first pillar to move into place, perhaps.

Nyza: We should be wary then. It could mean a battle.

Aifos Auravici Octavius: I must say that this is as cryptic as ever.

Luanes smirks, "Which is normal for him."

Wintersky: Wow and I thought your dad was just another elf.

Aifos Auravici Octavius: Our quest has been set, though cryptic it is.

Celesta: Knocking over pillars seems an unusual allusion. Is that because of your involvement, General?

Aifos Auravici Octavius: Possibly, though I try to keep the pillars I am familiar with standing.

Aifos Auravici Octavius smiles.

Ozimius looks at Aifos closely, pondering his words.

Nyza: It would feel better if we knew how to begin though.

Nyza: But, perhaps these "pillars" will reveal themselves.

Luanes: Father said the first pillar is before us. I wonder what he means?

Wintersky looks around.

Dale: All I see before us is trees?

Sparta: Yes, and Walton on the hill or Gresham's library in the vale.

The fallen leaves and branches are disturbed down the valley towards Gresham's Library.

Sparta: Gresham's tower was shaped kind of like a pillar or is that being too obvious?

Wintersky: I do not want to go near that magi!

Nyza: He is not a lich yet, right?

Aifos Auravici Octavius snorts and grins, "I might be and might not be, Sparta."

Luanes: The wizard's tower is the last place I want to go right now.

Ozimius looks at Aifos once again, thinking.

Wintersky takes a few paces toward Walton.

An armored horseman carelessly tromps between the trees through which is the way to Gresham's Library. The horse seems ill-cared for with patches of mange on head, withers, shoulders and flanks. The gear the horse bears and that of the rider, however, are as fine as any our heroes have ever seen. The slim rider wears a shining, bronze-tinged harness with a matching horned helm. A sheathed, ruby-pommeled hand-and-a-half sword of magnificent workmanship is attached to the saddle and an impressively layered composite bow is slung across his back. A heavy shield covers the pack carried behind the rider. The rider's skin that can be seen on the exposed parts of his neck, arms and legs is a glistening, jet black.

Oliveryn whispers under his breath, "Can we say flamboyant?"

Wintersky calls indignantly, "Sir, why have you not cared for your horse!"

As they approach heedless of our heroes presence, it becomes apparent after the illusion of the pair among the colossal trees is dispelled that horse and rider are of no ordinary dimensions. The mange on the horse can now be seen to be bony plates and the horse is easily over twenty hands high.

Wintersky: That is one big horse.

Nyza nods.

Nyza: General, would you help us in a fight if it comes to that?

Wintersky: Oli do you know tales of a large horseman with such a sword?

Ozimius steps out in sight of the rider.

Ozimius: Zodyu!

Oliveryn lazily strums his lute, eyes on the approaching man.

The rider's helm suddenly shifts and he reins his mount to a stop, gazing down at the astonished heroes.

Ozimius: Hold, Zodyu!

Sparta gulps.

The armored giant gracefully dismounts, removing his helm and hanging it from the pommel of his mount's saddle and adjusts the battleaxe and short sword hanging at his belt. This reveals his bald ebony pate, pointed ears and penetrating white-pupilled violet eyes that give the impression of a drow that stands twice as tall as is typical for that race. His voice is an impossibly low basso profundo as he greets our heroes with a bright, toothy smile.

Celesta gasps.

Ozimius smiles warmly to Zodyu.

Ozimius: Greetings.

Ozimius strides forward.

Zodyu the Grotesque: Greetings to you. You have me at a disadvantage.

Ozimius (bowing deeply): I am Ozimius. And your reputation precedes you.

Zodyu the Grotesque: I have a reputation in these parts?

Nyza waves meekly.

Ozimius grins.

Wintersky: I am Wintersky.

Ozimius: Yes...

Aifos Auravici Octavius (whispering to Ozi): He does not know his future.

Wintersky: You will be well known. Revered by some; reviled by others.

Ozimius: I am very pleased to make your acquaintence. May I ask, what is the air in the tower?

Oliveryn makes light sweet music lounging on the ground, eying the newcomer.

Zodyu the Grotesque: And I yours, Ozimius.

Wintersky: May I examine your beast? I have not seen a horse quite so large.

Ozimius looks back at Aifos and winks, then returns his gaze to Zodyu.

Zodyu the Grotesque scans the heroes, taking in everything amongst them.

Oliveryn sings...

Oliveryn: There was once a man who live dark and grey, who will one day arise and lead the damned and dead...

Ozimius: You travel today, my friend. I am from a distant land. Would you tell me, what is the current situation here? Things go well?

Zodyu the Grotesque: The Tetons south of here were also quite interested in Colossus, certainly.

Wintersky: Thank you.

Wintersky moves closer to his horse.

Dale stands beside Sparta, unsure of how to react to a mortal Zodyu.

Aifos Auravici Octavius watches bemusedly as Ozimius talks to Zodyu.

Zodyu the Grotesque: I have been traveling many years since leaving my step-family searching for my true self.

Wintersky casts Speak With Animals.

Ozimius nods sagely.

Oliveryn sings...

Oliveryn: He will find his true self in his powers as he arises among the men around him, walking the paths of the dead and the living...

Ozimius: I am interested in visiting the tower. Do you forsee I will have any trouble?

Zodyu the Grotesque: You seem to be unusually familiar with me, Ozimius. The tower is the home of an archmage. It may be a great deal of trouble if you go alone.

Zodyu the Grotesque looks over at Oliveryn.

Wintersky: You are quite the most beautiful of horses. So handsome and proud.

T'Krosh: Not in the best of health, though.

Ozimius: The archmage has no interest in those who seek knowledge? No visitors are welcomed I take it?

Colossus: As I should be, Teton.

Oliveryn smiles at Zodyu, singing a song once written long past.

Zodyu the Grotesque: Certain visitors are welcome. Ones that may offer knowledge mainly.

Wintersky: Of course, as you should be. You are well treated?

Zodyu the Grotesque: That is a magnificent ring...why hide it?

Ozimius: I understand, but I think I shall try.

Ozimius: You like it?

Ozimius hands him the ring.

Wintersky: May I touch you?

Colossus: Most magnificently. You may.

Zodyu the Grotesque takes the ring and examines it.

Ozimius: Keep it and remember me. Ozimius Khan. Perhaps we shall meet again someday. And perhaps you shall remember a simple Sajenese man.

Zodyu the Grotesque: You are Sajenese? Intriguing.

Ozimius: Yes, I am Sajenese.

Ozimius (quietly): or I was.

Ozimius: But I keep you from your journey. Any advice you can give me to make my visit to the tower more pleasant?

Ozimius grins.

Wintersky runs firm hands over the horse. Examining and massaging at the same time.

Zodyu the Grotesque: Actually, you seem a diverse group such as I have not encountered before.

Ozimius: That we are.

Wintersky: What is your name?

Nyza: Well, it is hard to find good sorceresses amongst humans! So Nyza is needed.

Oliveryn yawns, seems to grow tired of the exchange of words, but continues to play pleasant music.

Zodyu the Grotesque: I am surprised to see kobolds among humans, halflings and elves.

Wintersky: Nyza is a good friend as is T'krosh.

Zodyu the Grotesque: I am not familiar with the golden-scaled one, however.

T'Krosh: Indeed.

Aifos Auravici Octavius: I am a half gold dragon, Grotesque.

Zodyu the Grotesque: You are aware of my title, half-dragon?

Celesta: We are.

Zodyu the Grotesque turns to Celesta.

Zodyu the Grotesque: All of you?

Wintersky looks at the deep chest, wide whithers and strong hindquarters. You look immensely strong. Can you run with the wind?

Ozimius (grinning): We are all aware.

Wintersky: We are aware of you, Grotesque.

Colossus: As a full gale.

Wintersky: I tread the Spirit World.

Zodyu the Grotesque smiles wryly.

Sparta (whispers): Aye, we are.

Zodyu the Grotesque: Explain my title to us, wizardess.

Ozimius (glancing at the others pointedly): Some of us also know, Zodyu, that at times, people are not always what they seem. Motives run deep and are not easily read by others.

Oliveryn looks back at Ozimius wondering what he is talking about, but lazly plucks cords in a rythmic pattern.

Ozimius: The world needs people, even those like you. And like me. At times, we are what is needed.

Ozimius looks Zodyu in the eye.

Celesta steps forward.

Wintersky: Did you find any mares to your liking among the Tetons?

Oliveryn looks at Wintersky, wondering what the world she is talking about, now just picking up her conversation.

Celesta: Grotesque is the title granted to you by the Ogre-King as there was already a shaman in your tribe. It is because you heal with your divine magic.

Colossus: I did.

Wintersky: And did they find you pleasing as well?

Zodyu the Grotesque raises his eyebrows, "How could you know that!"

Ozimius steps away from Zodyu, moving once again into the shadows.

Colossus: Not really. I am quite big.

Aifos Auravici Octavius steps forward.

Aifos Auravici Octavius: Because we are not from the present.

Nyza: Heh, me wait for somebody to say it.

Wintersky: True, I had hoped you added your strength to the Teon lines, but the physical limitations would make thing difficult.

Zodyu the Grotesque looks thoughtful, "Future?"

Oliveryn: I have no clue what they are talking about...we are in the present now. I think past and future have no hold on us.

Colossus: I still managed.

Wintersky: Without damaging them I hope.

Aifos Auravici Octavius smirks at Oliveryn.

Aifos Auravici Octavius: I am from the past. They are from the future.

Oliveryn continues to play a nice melody, calming emotions.

Nyza: Right, from the future, Zodyu.

Nyza: Aifos is from whenever...

Oliveryn: He is from the present do not let his dragon flesh confuse you.

Oliveryn winks at Aifos.

Zodyu the Grotesque (to himself): You must be the ones.

Wintersky: The ones to what?

Ozimius grins.

Legeand: Disturbingly, probably.

Sparta perks up.

Wintersky scratches Colossus.

Zodyu the Grotesque: The ones to help me to destroy my god.

Oliveryn: "The ones that bring death and destruction off the back of their wings, as they make a swath through the portals of time changing all who inhabit the world of the living..."

Ozimius widens his grin.

Oliveryn looks around.

Ozimius: Yes, Zodyu, we are.

Wintersky: You are truely quite wonderful.

Oliveryn: Possibly not that prophecy.

Ozimius: We are here to topple the pillars.

Aifos Auravici Octavius grins, "Figuratively."

Nyza: Destroy a god? Which one?

Ozimius grins from the shadows.

Wintersky: May I ride you...just a little bit? Please?

Zodyu the Grotesque: The Destroyer.

Colossus: I would check with my rider.

Luanes: Vaprak?!

Wintersky: May I ride Colossus, please?

Zodyu the Grotesque nods to Wintersky distractedly.

Oliveryn: Is it just me or does Wintersky sound like a child looking to ride her first pony?

Wintersky vaults onto the horse with a wild whoop!

Dale looks amusedly at Wintersky atop the giant horse

Dale: She looks like a halfling up there.

Celesta: Really, Wintersky.

Wintersky: She nudges with her heel and says, "Like a gale!"

Ozimius steps out of the shadows once again letting his wings unfurl from within his armor.

Colossus bolts off through the trees.

Ozimius: We will help you destory Vaprak, Zodyu.

Oliveryn: Well, lets hope the horse is trained to come back to its master or we will never see Wintersky again, until we find a momument of her in our past-quasi-future.

Zodyu the Grotesque folds his arms with an amused expression on his face.

Nyza: Hey, Ozi, is that not a bit beyond us?

Ozimius: No, it is not. We can do it.

Ozimius: Or at least, we can do our part, Nyza.

Zodyu the Grotesque: Yes, your part.

Sparta: Ozi, how do we know that Vaprak is part of our quest?

Oliveryn: So why do we need to destroy anything, I mean, we might as well make ourselves rich since we are in the past, so if we go back we might as well make our future better.

Ozimius: Think about it, Sparta. We have two paths. Topple the pillars. Which means we can either help those who will become the gods to achieve their goals or we can kill them and retain the old gods.

Celesta (whispers to Sparta): Zodyu serves Vaprak as an ogre at this time. He needs to break that bond.

Zodyu the Grotesque narrows his gaze at the heroes.

Ozimius grins at Zodyu.

Wintersky, realizing her seat is a little precarious, slips to the front of the saddle more on the neck of the great beast. She brings out Blessed Black and fires three arrow in quick succession then heads in a wide circuit back to the clearing, launching herself from her seat as Colossus stops.

Sparta: My gaffer won't be happy about this.

Wintersky: Fabulous! Thank you.

Zodyu the Grotesque: So, you are here to usher in new gods. Very interesting.

Oliveryn: My moral compass is a little confused about us taking part in a time paradox.

Zodyu the Grotesque turns to Celesta again, "You seem to have a great deal of knowledge of me."

Nyza: If it makes you feel better, we already did it in the past, otherwise the gods we know would not exist.

Sparta: Just because it happened doesn't mean that we did it.

Ozimius: Well, Oli we also have a third choice. Kill them all and elevate those we chose to the position of gods.

Celesta smiles at Nyza and turns to Zodyu, "One of these new gods is you."

Wintersky grins looking like a small child with the best present ever.

Sparta: Besides, halflings weren't meant to mess in the ways of the divine.

Oliveryn: I do not know, Nyza. If we decided not to do this, then it will never happen, so in fact, we still have a choice not to "make" it happen.

Zodyu the Grotesque: I sense that I am far more of a match than you can handle, though the half-dragon seems quite powerful.

Aifos Auravici Octavius: Though not willing to interfere with the future.

Nyza: It does seem a problem though. We have no real reason to help you. provide us with one?

Nyza: How much is the ogre's life worth to you, for instance.

Oliveryn: Or, do not provide us with any and we find out way back to our time.

Zodyu the Grotesque: I would see all ogres destroyed.

Ozimius: We are stronger then we look, Zodyu, but we address you with respect as an equal. This is a moral choice each must make. For myself, I think our future is with you, but you interfering will not help, my friend.

Wintersky: Why would you promote genocide?

Zodyu the Grotesque: The only way I keep my divine powers at the moment is to hunt down ogres as Vaprak has demanded of me.

Ozimius: Sometimes sacrifices must be made. Evil must exist, but the extend and severity of that evil is something we can try to alter. Who is better? Zodyu or Vaprak? We already know Zodyu keeps to himself for the most part.

Wintersky: You would think that Shamans and the God of the Dead would get along.

Luanes: Your blasphemy is vile, Ozimius.

Ozimius: Luanes, do not be a fool. If there is no evil, there is no good! One can not exist without the other.

Zodyu the Grotesque: The God of the Dead? I become the God of the Dead?

Ozimius: You know what I say is true.

Wintersky: Without evil we would have paradise.

Dale: Ozi is right

Ozimius: No! There would be no paradise.

Ozimius: There would be nothing.

Dale: There must be a balance.

Luanes storms into the cave knowing it is too dangerous to make this confrontation now.

Ozimius: You cannot have night without day, you cannot have day without night. Think!

Ozimius: I do not try to provoke you, Luanes. Just to get you to think.

Wintersky: Ozi, without evil there would be no moral dilemma.

Nyza: You have some help to do it, but yes, Zodyu.

Ozimius: Without evil there would be NO MORALS!

Nyza: mutters, "Morality is such a hassle."

Oliveryn: If it burns, that is all the morals Nyza needs.

Oliveryn chuckles.

Aifos Auravici Octavius russles his wings looking disturbed at the turn of the conversation.

Ozimius: There is nothing. There must be balance. You of all should understand that, Wintersky. Without winter snow you have no water for summer. Without spring you have no fall.

Wintersky: You become God of the Dead and God of the Tortured Spirits of the Undead.

Nyza smiles at Oliveryn.

Nyza: Exactly right!

Zodyu the Grotesque suppresses a grin.

Sparta: Don't let it go to your head. Gods are worshipped by some and reviled by others.

Zodyu the Grotesque: It seems I have caused a rift in your company. My apologies.

Wintersky: Ozi, good and evil are not seasons. Good and evil are choices.

Oliveryn: I thinking the main moral problem is trying to interfere with this time paradox. I for one will not take part for either side.

Oliveryn continues to play a soft peaceful song.

Ozimius: Exaclty, Wintersky! Choice! That is the key. ALL must be free to choose.

Ozimius: If you erase evil what choice is there?

Wintersky: Ozi, there are those that choose to hurt others for their own personal gain, because it is quicker, easier or simply because they like to hurt others, but they could choose differently and paradise would result.

Luanes exits the cave and says a short pray as Gaelitae appears before her. She mounts the pegasus with a glare at Ozimius and takes off towards Walton. "Find me at the Temple of Armee!"

Oliveryn sings...

Oliveryn: "The spring water of the sun flows down the mountain like tears of lava. No one wishes to fight over the peace of the world nor the bitter death of battle. Come to the peace of the tone of music and listen closely the harp of love..."

Ozimius shakes his head sadly.

Ozimius: A pity you truly can not understand.

Wintersky: A pity you can not.

Ozimius spreads his wings and takes to the sky.

Oliveryn (whispering): A pity you both do not understand.

Ozimius flies up to a place he can watch the others in case he is needed to help them, attempting to defuse the heated discussion.

Oliveryn fiddles with one of his cords, seeming to be out of tune.

Oliveryn: Hmmmm....hmmmm...hmmmm

Nyza scratches her head.

Aifos Auravici Octavius: From the Age of Chaos to the Age of Demons, we do have our work cut out for us.

Oliveryn: What work is that, Aifos?

Wintersky: Tell me of Vaprak.

Celesta: We should go after Luanes. What if we return suddenly?

Oliveryn: Do...Re...Mi...Fa....Sol...La...Ti...Do...

Zodyu the Grotesque: Vaprak is the god of ogres and trolls, though he now finds ogres abhorrent.

Nyza: Nyza thought paladins are supposed to have thicker skin. Serves her right for leaving us.

Wintersky: Why?

Zodyu the Grotesque: I am not sure, but I believe there is a prophecy that tells of Vaprak's destruction. He believes it will be a pure ogre.

Sparta: Well, none of us are ogres.

Wintersky: Prophecy inspires him to commit genocide.

Zodyu the Grotesque: He is quite wrong, though. I have become as human as possible, but my father was still an ogre.

Oliveryn: I guess paladins are chicken when it comes to dealing with gods...I for one just hope I never meet one when its angry...

Oliveryn: Hmmm hmmmm hmmm

Aifos Auravici Octavius: History is full of prophecies that cause genocide.

Oliveryn strums his cords.

Nyza: Well, what me mean to say is, running away when you have a disagreement is bad.

Oliveryn: Perfect.

Oliveryn: Yes, typically is, but when one is lost for words to say, no words are best to give your argument more weight.

Oliveryn: For then the other side can not say anything until they find you.

Legeand: Luanes was doing what is best for all of us.

Sparta (to Dale): I though the bard was never at a loss for words.

Nyza (to Celesta): If we find her now, she would not accompany us to slay Vaprak.

Wintersky: I believe that she feared futher escalation and perhaps fighting among friends.

Legeand: Exactly.

Oliveryn: Fighting among friends...whatever, we would not be friends anymore if that happened.

Oliveryn rolls eyes.

Celesta: She will gladly destroy evil such as Vaprak, Nyza.

Wintersky: I still need a horse.

Nyza: Celesta can summon a pack, yes?

Zodyu the Grotesque points at the lights of Walton, "I have yet to see such a place as that."

Dale: Miss 'Sky, I don't think you can have Colossus.

Wintersky: A colossus is not the perfect mount for me. I require a smaller critter.

Zodyu the Grotesque: I have heard that they welcome adventurers such as us with open arms.

Wintersky: Although he is quite wonderful.

Nyza: Maybe, but we hear they only care much for humans.

Nyza: So uh, discretion is needed,

Zodyu the Grotesque: Ahh.

Wintersky: Why have you tried to become human?

Zodyu the Grotesque: Ogres are barbaric and cruel and treated me poorly most of my life. A human helped my rise above that.

Zodyu the Grotesque: It was not until I manifestest special gifts that I was accepted by ogres.

Wintersky: Ogres live by might makes right?

Zodyu the Grotesque: Absolutely.

Zodyu the Grotesque: I also wish to remain out of Vaprak's view as an ogre.

Wintersky: Evil choices, not paradise.

Zodyu the Grotesque: Ogres and paradise are a paradox.

Wintersky walks toward Walton.

Celesta: Shall I summon some horses and ponies to make the journey quicker?

Oliveryn (mumbling to himself): I wonder if ogres perceive their own society as a paradise.

Nyza: Please do, since it seems we cannot rely on teleportation.

Wintersky: I would imagine that only the strongest ones do.

Sparta: No need to summon a mount for us, Miss Celesta. Dale and I can ride on Ringo.

Zodyu the Grotesque: Not even the king can consider himself in paradise.

Celesta summons a number of horses and ponies for those who need them.

Sparta whistles up Ringo and helps Dale to mount him.

Zodyu the Grotesque mounts Colossus.

Wintersky: Probably to worried about losing his position.

Dale: Ferocious pads alongside.

Zodyu the Grotesque: That is correct, Wintersky of the Tetons.

Wintersky chooses a likely horse, "May I ride you?"

The horse is agreeable to Wintersky's request.

Aifos Auravici Octavius pulls his cloaks about him to cover his features and mounts one of the horses.

Nyza: Before the party travels too far, Nyza and T'Krosh don their Hats of Disguise and assume their Halfling forms.

Wintersky check the horse over, paying special attention to the hooves and then mounts.

Celesta and Legeand mount horses for the journey.

Oliveryn puts his lute away and gets on the horse wondering where this adventure will lead them, hoping to eventually return to Troll's Bridge at some point.

Snowshadow follows close behind, "Do not worry, the panther is a friend."

Nyza: If we want to travel faster, Nyza can take us through the shadow plane to Walton. Not quite the same as teleporting, heh.

Dale: If it is all the same to you Nyza, I like it here among the trees just fine.

Nyza (grinning): Shadow trees are not good enough?

Dale smiles back.

Dale: I prefer green trees to shadows.

Nyza: Okay, through the forest is fine too, but it is an option, just so you know.

Nyza: The travel would only take minutes, at best.

Ozimius, having flown ahead, arrives at the gates of the city long before the others.

Ozimius' wings expire as he approaches the gates and he is forced to land on the road about fifty feet from the gates.

Ozimius is not particularly quiet, but he is far enough away that it does not matter. He hides in the tree line.

Ozimius lays hidden in the brush, draws his cloak around him, and dozes waiting for the others.

Our heroes accompanied by Aifos and Zodyu ride towards Walton until they come to the winding road that leads to the city's gate.

They ascend the mountain until they reach the Zuodeyja Gate of Walton.

The dark stone edifices of the buildings beyond the walls loom overhead.

Sparta: It looks a lot different now.

Nyza: For the better I'd say.

Wintersky rides to the gate.

Manitowoc: Just like I remember it.

Wintersky: Hey, open the gate.

Ozimius rouses at Wintersky's shout and moves to the edge of the shadows.

Tower Sergeant: Hail, travelers! State your business in The City-State of Walton!

Wintersky: Food, shelter, a night's rest and shopping later.

Sparta: Especially dinner.

Tower Sergeant: How, Teton, do you come to approach this gate?

Wintersky: I came up the road. I am a shaman on a spirit quest.

Oliveryn smiles, flurishing his cloak.

Oliveryn: We are here to entertain your whole town and to obtain great weath from the problems that you face. Now quickly, good sir, show me to the best tavern in this town.

Wintersky: He has been out of civilized lands for a long time.

Oliveryn: Who me? I dare say, civillization is all relative. I believe some people might think the way in which the Tetons live is not civilized, but that is neither here nor there. Where be your best taverns, the ones that do not water down their ale and the patrons have large pockets full of gold.

Oliveryn elbows the sergeant, jokingly.

Oliveryn smiles.

Wintersky rolls her eyes

Tower Sergeant: Aye, a troupe. Thy company does seem unusual. What acts are there.

Zodyu the Grotesque: I would be the giant, strong man, no?

Wintersky: A singer, a great eater, feats of horsemanship and bow.

Celesta: Prestidigitator supreme.

Nyza: Pyrotechnician!

Legeand: Security.

Aifos Auravici Octavius: Secret attraction.

Tower Sergeant: A secret attraction?

Wintersky: Come sir, let us in.

Wintersky: Reading of fortunes.

Oliveryn: Good sir, you still have not given me the name of your best inn. Do you wish to have us sitting here all day with cold rations and even colder ground to sleep on?

Ozimius sighs and grins, still hidden, watching the others with the guard.

Oliveryn: I, for one, wish to spend my gold and play my music in this town, given the great commerce to this town.

T'Krosh: It sounds more like he wants us to stay with him for the night and perform out here.

Oliveryn smiles.

An officer approaches eying the group.

Wintersky: We are the Motley Crew.

Oliveryn looks to the new officer.

Oliveryn: Good evening, sir. Maybe you could help me.

Tower Captain: He would, but I would see you in. The Old Walton Inn is the best of the best here. Almost to the top of the King's Road on the right.

Oliveryn laughs with a cackle.

Oliveryn: Thank you, good sir. I will soon be spending my gold and drinking to the gods above if I do say.

Nyza: Oh, and did a woman on a flying horse pass through...or, uh, over...the gates?

Tower Captain: The hippogriff riders patrol the goings-on above the city. You will need to ask them, little one.

Oliveryn leads his horse, smiling.

The tower captain leads the way through the gate and stops at a map on wall nearby. He points, "You are at the Zuodeyja Gate."

Tower Captain: Follow The King's Road through the Twins District into the Old City to here.

Wintersky: And the Temple of Armee? Where would that be.

Tower Captain: The tower captain points.

Wintersky: We will find Luanes there.

The streets are wide and busy with crowds of folks going about their business at the many stands and tents along the way.

The buildings here reach into the sky, built at least four or more stories tall.

Ozimius enters the gate as a simple traveler.

Nyza: Okay, where to first? The tavern or do we rouse Luanes from her prayers?

Oliveryn pulls his horse along with him, going slow so as not to hit anyone.

Sparta: Let her pray. I say let's eat.

Sparta: Too much talking makes me hungry.

Dale nudges Sparta.

Dale: Everything makes you hungry.

The city is a cacophony of sights, sounds and smells; not all necessarily pleasant.

Ozimius follows the others at a distance, keeping them in sight.

Oliveryn: As Oliveryn walks down the street he announces that he will be playing at the Old Walton Inn and if they want to hear great stories of courage and combat to come and visit this great inn.

Wintersky rides up the road at a walk.

Nyza:, maybe N...Athena catch up with you later, Oli.

Oliveryn: Sounds like fun, my little halfling friend. I wonder where my other friend went too.

Oliveryn winks.

Wintersky: You better hope they hire you, Oli. You are not known around here.

Oliveryn laughs at Wintersky's doubt.

Oliveryn: Who would not hire me?

Wintersky: Me. I know you will work for free.

Oliveryn: I will flash my lute around, sing a couple of songs and that tavern will be up to their ears in gold.

Zodyu the Grotesque: You are quite confident, sir bard. I am sure they will have you.

Wintersky: How long until the horses disappear.

Celesta: A day, at least, Wintersky.

Oliveryn: Confidence is the key to success, my dear friend Zodyu. Can I call you friend? You see if one has confidence, other people will know he means business and not some two penny skuzzy off the side of the streets trying to find a free meal.

Oliveryn smiles.

Our heroes approach another gate where three walls converge. Beyond the left gate a towering cathedral of white stone can be seen.

Oliveryn: I think that might be what you are looking for, Wintersky, but I do believe the inn is to the right? No?

Wintersky: Up hill, I think.

Oliveryn: I do say, I do hate hills.

Oliveryn looks bleak at the rise in elevation.

The road steepens beyond the right gate and the buildings reach even higher into the sky.

Wintersky: I think I will let Luanes get her fur smoothed a bit longer.

Oliveryn climbs back onto his horse.

Oliveryn: Better let the pack animals get there work out as well.

Nyza: Well, me do not want to draw attention with a flight spell anyway.

Sparta: They like to build'em tall here.

Nyza remains on the pony as well.

Oliveryn: I think I have heard stories about the tall building of Walton, but I cannot remember how they go.

Wintersky wrinkles her nose, "Hard to breathe here."

Celesta: I cannot wait to see the Magus Universitatus. So much knowledge and one of the greatest wizard schools ever.

Oliveryn: I heard it was over rated in this time period.

Oliveryn smirks.

Nyza: Now would surely be the time to go, since it will be gone back in our time.

Wintersky: You just have to rain on her day do you not.

Celesta sticks her tongue out at Oliveryn.

Oliveryn: Do not let anyone hit you on the back or you might have it stuck like that.

Oliveryn smiles.

Oliveryn clicks his horse forward.

Wintersky: I think there is a minstrels school, too.

After a short climb, our heroes arrive at The Old Walton Inn.

Sparta: Maybe they can teach the bard a new song.

Celesta: An entire Bard's College.

Oliveryn looks at the building, seeing if it looks promising like the guard said or if it looks horrid for a bard of his caliber.

Oliveryn: Yeah, I might check it out, but I would hate to pollute the time line more then I need to by learning lost arts that could cause problems down the road.

The Old Walton Inn puts The Troll's Bridge Inn to shame.

Oliveryn smiles to himself.

Oliveryn: Now THIS is an INN!

Nyza: The best one we have seen so far!

Nyza: They do not build them like they used to, apparently.

Manitowoc: It is quite stuffy if I remember correctly.

Oliveryn claps his hands together rubbing them giddily like a child.

Nyza: Will you be staying with us, Sir Zodyu?

Ozimius moves forward from the shadows.

Ozimius: Yes, Zodyu, will you?

Wintersky: Oli, it is just a building. It is not like it is a horse or anything.

Zodyu the Grotesque: I think I will explore the city a bit. That Inn seems too ostentatious to me.

Wintersky: Besides, it has way too many corners.

Oliveryn: A horse? What the hell are you talking about? This is an inn that will make me famous before I am even famous. Just you wait, my dear lady.

Aifos Auravici Octavius: I will enjoy to finery of this inn.

Aifos Auravici Octavius enters the inn.

Oliveryn takes his packs off the horse, unslings his lute and walking inside after Aifos.

Nyza: Me want to see the magus school, too, but better for us to stick together for now.

Aifos Auravici Octavius turns back to the group, "If you are to wander, you will need money."

Nyza: If Oli's boasts are right, he can do that in a flash!

Oliveryn: I will have money for us by the end of tonight. Coins that will work in this timeline.

Oliveryn: Boasts? That sacrilege. What I do is all skill, my dear friend.

Wintersky: Wintersky dismounts and stands uncertainly in the street.

T'Krosh: Can you dismiss the beats, Celesta? I do not want to pay for stabling.

Celesta: It is all or nothing. Is everyone alright with walking from here?

Oliveryn enters the Old Walton Inn with a flourish of his cloak and extends his lute, eying his new found audience.

Nyza: Most of us can fly where we need anyway, hehe.

Wintersky: Perhaps you could lend enough for a horse, General.

Aifos Auravici Octavius hands a pouch to Wintersky, "That should cover the finest horse this city has to offer and more."

Sparta and Dale dismount Ringo.

Wintersky: Thank you. However, Colossus is not for sale, I am certain.

Zodyu the Grotesque grins.

Nyza: He will need a new master when Zodyu becomes a god, right?

Wintersky: I do not know about that.

Wintersky: If I was a god, I would still want to ride. You would want to make fires if you were a god, right?

Celesta: I am heading up to the summit to take a look around. The university is supposed to be up there somewhere.

Nyza: Ooh, that WOULD be fun.

Wintersky: I will come, too.

Legeand looks torn between heading up and back down.

Nyza: And me. Sorry, Oli; sounds like only Sparta will be your co-performer for tonight.

Wintersky tucks the pouch securely in her leathers.

Sparta: Go ahead, Dale, and I will check out the inn.

Oliveryn: Oh, it is OK, Nyza. My voice needs to be heard by new ears anyways.

Wintersky keeps her eyes open for a livery.

Wintersky: You mean the kitchen offering do you not, Sparta.

Our heroes separate into two groups, some entering the inn and the rest, including Legeand, heading up to the summit.

Sparta: I just hope the kitchen is as good as the rest of the inn appears to be.

Oliveryn enters the inn with a flourish, looking at the patrons that are there.

Map of Walton