Ascendancy

30/07/11 Part 2

Here and there and everywhere

Almost a month has passed since the strange rift occurred at the Arcanum. Since then, other rifts have started appearing randomly throughout Tanar. Reports from other cities and towns indicate that the rifts are also occurring elsewhere. Furthermore, the strange earthquakes are still happening and magical energies also seem to be fluctuating wildly. Teleportation and transportation magic has become very erratic, transformation and communication magic is nearly impossible while elemental and summoning magic seems to have been greatly boosted. The Arcanum has started intensive research into the arcane fluctuations but so far have failed to uncover the underlying cause or solution. They only suspect that the rifts and the earthquakes are connected to the magical turmoil.

After sealing the rift at the Voyager Sanctum, the Arcanum has been tasked with aiding the local city guard in sealing any rifts that occur within the city. The adventuring guild has been very busy as many adventuring companies have also been engaged to aid in the effort in Tanar and elsewhere, including the party’s company (The True Beliebers Fan Club). Ahava has been requested to drop by the Arcanum regularly so they can study the seal that was made on him that allows him to teleport safely. The enchanters at the Arcanum have also provided Ahava with enchanted Boots of Freedom and Craig with Iron Armbands of Power. Strangely enough, none of the arcanists who were there at the time can remember who the mage who made the last seal was. The only recollection the party has of the last mage was that he was an eladrin mage in blue and green robes.

The company have learnt that Darrak, who used the Consortium teleporter with Chip, has not made contact with any of their group or with the guild. As such, the company have been working with Selon, Soira and the Consortium to see if they can locate and retrieve Darrak. Selon recently suggested that they seek the Arcanum’s help as they are trying to stabilise teleportation. Not long after that, the adventuring company is summoned to the Arcanum to discuss the rifts. Ahava, Darhe’el, TC and Craig make their way to the Arcanum, while Ka’da, Chip and Jacob continue to pursue clues to Darrak’s whereabouts.

On the way to the Arcanum, several small rifts suddenly appear along the street the party is on. The other pedestrians recognise the rifts and scatter, while someone goes off to alert the guards. A peculiar creature with bright yellow eyes, long pointy ears, bluish skin and abnormally large clawed hands pokes its head out of one rift. It opens a dimensional window in the air through which it pokes its arm, which then reappears behind the party to steal a healing potion from Craig’s pouch. The party identify the strange creature as a boggle, an inquisitive and mischievous fey creature. Fortunately, it is not particularly dangerous but it can be a nuisance and may turn violent if it is provoked. More boggles appear from the rifts and start causing mischief with the abandoned stalls and wares. One boggle even manages to obtain Darhe’el’s greatspear and another manages to steal Craig’s swords. The party attempt to recover their belongings and are mostly successful, but the boggles become agitated and start attacking them. The party manages to subdue the boggles and even have the idea to capture one to bring to the Arcanum. As they are trying to figure out how to transport the boggle without it teleporting to escape, they spy a mage and a guard arriving on the scene. The mage is amused to see the captive boggle and conjures magical shackles to restrain it. The mage then accompanies the party to the Arcanum with the boggle towed behind her, leaving the city guard to sort out the mess on the street.

Finally reaching the Arcanum, the party are greeted by Seras, the Translocation Student who was with them during the rift incident at the Voyager Sanctum. The other mage chats amiably with Seras, as he calls for some other student to help her bring the captured boggle to the Magical Creatures Department. Seras explains that most of the students are being mobilised to help with the rift incidents and to aid the senior mages in investigating the magical fluctuations. Taking their leave from the mage and the stupefied boggle, Seras leads the party to the Arcanum library where they enter a room dominated by a large mahogany table. Seated around the table appear to be a few senior mages, nobles, guardsmen and some familiar faces. Selon, Gelros, Dorin, Arda, and Fara are in attendance and rise to greet the party. Selon explains that the group is a committee assembled to investigate the rifts and arcane fluctuations and deal with them. Selon is representing the Arcanum as well as the Adventurer’s Guild. Arda, Fara and Dorin represent the Iron Council and Consortium, who have agreed to lend their aid. Gelros is serving as an adviser to the Arcanum and the noble houses.

Chip had related the snippets he heard from Burn at his cabin on the peculiar island to Dorin and the Arcanum, who together with Arda and Gelros have managed to piece together a theory on the strange goings on. Arda goes on to explain to everyone that the magical phenomena are all related to an event known as The Gathering. Gelros had encountered scattered mentions of it from arcane texts written around the period of the Great Mage War with Raza. Abnormal fluctuations and strange occurrences had happened during that time, but was assumed to have been the effects of the magical war. Now, the Arcanum theorised that it was actually The Gathering that had caused those fluctuations and is now happening again. It is also suspected to be related to the high concentration of magical energies and other oddities in Coren.

The committee would like further investigation into the Gathering and proposed to engage the aid of the reclusive scholar Asimir, who was branded a heretic long ago and now roams the continent of Alter conducting his studies. Asimir has great knowledge of the arcane arts and had studied the domains of magic all his long life. He believed the domains to be the foundation of all power in the world and that they ebb and flow in time. Most recently, some adventurers had reported spotting someone fitting his description in the sky ruins of Altus. The party are thus requested to work for the committee and undertake a trip to Altus to contact Asimir. Seras, Gelros and Fara are also tapped to go on this expedition. The party agree to aid the committee, in return for substantial reward.

Although a goal is set, planning the trip to the sky islands of Altus will still take some time, especially with the difficulties faced by magical transportation. The party are thus asked to help out with another task while Fara and Gelros make preparations for the trip. A phase spider has been spotted in a forest not far from Tanar. This is unusual, as phase spiders have never been spotted outside of Coren and the domains. The Arcanum suspects there is another rift in the forest and request the party to seal it as well as capture the phase spider for study. Phase spiders are one of the few creatures which can teleport intrinsically, and the Arcanum is hopeful that the study of the boggles and phase spiders will help them perform reliable teleportation again.

Seras travels along with the party to the forest to aid in restraining the phase spider. When they reach the forest, the find a clearing that looks completely incongruous with the rest of the forest. Bluish sand appears to cover the ground, and blue-gray rocks tower around the edge of the clearing. There are also 6 small rifts around the clearing, and three strange tall, dark, tapered stones streaked with silvery blue veins in the centre. The party spy the phase spider tending to a few eggs near its web. Seras suggests also trying to obtain the eggs. Craig notices a strange shimmer at a corner of the clearing. A dimensional marauder suddenly phases into view and tries to make off with a spider egg. The phase spider taps the egg and an immature phase spider hatchling emerges. As the phase spiders and dimensional marauders square off, the party attempt to capitalise on the situation to capture the beasts. The party scramble around to keep up with the teleporting spiders and marauders, and end up in the rifts which transport them around the clearing randomly. They also notice that the three stones seem to prevent or disrupt teleportation somehow. Finally, they manage to defeat the beasts and capture the adult phase spider. They also pry out one of the stones, which Seras has dubbed an “anchorstone”, to return to the Arcanum. As soon as they remove the stone, the landscape changes back to a normal forest clearing again. Wondering at the strangeness of the clearing, Seras leads the party back to Tanar where they are then informed to prepare for an airship trip to Altus.

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