Akkarid, Soleria-Prime. May 16
We have made it home and for that I thank the gods who oversee travelers. All our actions since our chance meeting in Sefet have been in pursuit of this. I would like to say that I had been able to tell the instant we stepped into The Great Library of Akkarid, but it was not until later that we were able to verify this.
We now stood in the middle of The Great Library, with guards approaching from all sides. Weary and blooded, we were strapped for options of an easy escape. That is when inspiration presented me a clever plan. Quickly, I gathered up a handful of scrolls, Feng, a bottle of ink, and a boot…
Lady Lestoue, as you have no doubt noticed, the previous several pages, detailing the unusual adventure of our escape from the library—while hopefully entertaining—are entirely fictional. I thought it wise to not leave an accurate description of our conversation and my companions’ travel plans in the Library, within easy reach of the OC. Thus the prior account of our “escape,” as devoid of facts as possible. I have, however, recorded the truth for my own purposes, and could provide copies of these pages if you request them, along with the inevitable further accounts of our strange exploits. Yours, HHHHH.
Upon the entrance of myself and my fellow escapees from Al-Mhuqtebel, we were greeted by a group of guards. We were able to convince them that we were not an immediate threat but, understandably, they were not quick to let us leave. Eventually we were joined by one Captain Hunzuu, who would hear our story. He led us to a side room, seeking to avoid any patrons or librarians noticing us. We thought that he may have simply been seeking to avoid mass panic at such a large group of armed warriors but, from what we would later learn, he may have had greater concerns in mind.
Though skeptical of our story, he could not deny the evidence before his eyes, particularly when a guard, Emad, who had once served the Shula family, identified Fazia, who in this world had died several years ago.
With this knowledge—and our explanation of how we entered the library—he seemed convinced and brought us through back passages up many, many flights of stairs. He spoke little but, when questioned, he provided the date (two months since Sefet) and confirmed that there had indeed been a conflict there akin to the one we saw.
She heard our story and seemed particularly interested in our experiences with the Ordo Clavis. She then relayed her own experiences with them and their role in her rise and fall in Rastahl. She clearly bore them no love and seemed distressed at our tale, which confirmed many of her worst fears of their cruel nature, but there was little she could do. The Ordo Clavis, through extensive funding of the Library, has obtained great political power in Akkarid.
I recall hearing of the troubles in Rastahl from my tutors as a youth, but the conflict seemed far away and so had little to do with me. Is it irony that elements of that strife now affect me so personally, or simply proof that I should have listened to my teachers’ words? Perhaps, some day, it will be my lack of attention to al-Kitab al-Jabr will result in a mathematical doom, not death by foe’s blade or a dragon’s fangs.
Lady Lestoue then showed to us a piece of an Onyx Artifact that was, in form, exactly like the Glass Artifact. It was a piece of the device we saw broken in the conflict in Sefet. She suspects that its purpose was solely to keep the other device in check and, when it broke, the Glass Artifact began operating on a pre-determined course, taking us with it.
This was a stark reminder. I had been blaming the Ordo Clavis for our journey for the past several hours, but it was only chance that saw it land in my hands. Chance or the design of the gods. I might as well attempt to revenge myself on a winter storm.
But as I look at my companions, now enjoying the hospitality of our host, I do not think I can let these dogs lie. They had been so willing to dispose of the others. The apparent destruction caused by our exit of the other worlds was due to their designs. And let us not forget what they had done to poor Lyr, who is still struggling to regain her bearings and fractured memories of her past.
Quite simply, I do not like them. Every instinct of judgment, every lesson of ethics and responsibility I have been taught by my father, my tutors, my mentor screams at me that the Ordo Clavis is not to be abided. The search for knowledge is no more excuse for atrocities than the lust for wealth, power, any of the factors that drives a corrupt mind to harm others.
My master often told me of “The Call,” the thing which all blademaster dream of. More than a cause to fight for, it is a guiding mission. A thing that gives one’s life meaning beyond and enhancing the joy of adventure. I believe that I may have found my Call.
In the morning, I breakfasted with our companions one last time and reflected upon the previous evening.
After our discussion with the Provost last night, Fazia Shula left to return to her family. I can understand her desire not to accept our help, but I fear she is in for a troublesome time. Perhaps I should ask one of my cousins to keep an open ear for rumors of her activities.
We were treated well by servants chosen by our host. A healer tended to Sehera and I, then, a luxurious bath, a new shirt not covered in my own blood, and a fine meal later, I began to feel alive again. Nessisus performed a song for us, a strange piece describing visions he has had. (I am still somewhat concerned for his health. If he suffers another fit, I am bringing him to a master healer whether he likes it or not.) Finally, I was able to record in my journal the events of our two experiences in Tamba Khoya and in Al Mhuqtebel. I felt a great sense of relief in finally being able to preserve those events. I must also have Nessisus transcribe his song when we have the opportunity.
And now, our large party is dividing.
Lydra Geb and Ramal will return to Sefet to attempt to assess the Agents of the Cobalt Crown, servants of Azu-Makeen, the great blue dragon. These former allies of the Ordo Clavis may be allies no longer, a fact we may be able to use to our advantage.
Maqsood Musaru and Lazar Al Rakim will return to Al-Mhuqtebel along with Qessab, the Ettercap whom we all have finally learned the name and species of. They plan on ambushing the “cleaners” we heard spoken of and, hopefully claim the structure for our own purposes.
Chaim seems content to remain at the Library. He has been reading all night, with no signs of slowing. I hope when next we meet, we can hold a conversation. I am interested to learn if he knows anything of the strange place we found him.
The rest of my traveling companions, Feng, Indira, Sehera, and Nessisus plan on accompanying the operation to retake Al-Mhuqtebel then, later, hopefully reunite with Lydra and Ramal in Sefet. I shall be accompanying them. Lyr has also expressed interest, but her condition, after hours if not days of neglect, is still quite tenuous. She will do as she must, but she is a spirited companion and would be a welcome addition to our band.
But first, we shall take advantage of being in Akkarid and acquire some new equipment. Then I would like to call upon my uncle. His help will be valuable in our enterprise; I would like any who need contact us to be able to do so through him and his knowledge could be a great help as well.
I would also like to warn him about the Ordo Clavis. Ideally, he could use his influence at the court and amongst the community of noble alchemists to undermine their growing power in Raqaejah. At the least, I can warn them about the subtle danger they may pose to him personally as a notable scholar. He is an honest, loyal man, but the lens of curiosity through which he surveys the world could be a weakness the Ordo Clavis could exploit. I will not have these bastards suborn my family.
Tonight, we may finally stop reacting, and begin to act.