When the time came after dinner, Magus Lothiel approached Elemix. She was exquisitely beautiful but in a alien, almost unsettling way. Elemix had met few elves and she was the closest so far to the stories – a woodland being walking the line between the Otherworld and this one. She asked, “Magus Elemix I have heard all the stories and believe I know what to do; however, do you have anything to add or can you in addition smooth the path for my meeting the Baron of Uzec himself?”
“Unfortunately I cannot offer anything beyond what I have said. The encounters and events I described are all I know of the goblinoid and tyaanite issues. If you wish to meet with the Baron I would be happy to write an introduction for you. However, I am curious, what do you believe needs to be done?”
“I do not wish to prescribe a solution. We need to know more. That I will seek. The followers of what you call Tyaa are many. They have sects both benign and malignant. She is an old, ancient god with aspects found even in the spiritual beliefs of the elves. Some positive, some negative. In my opinion, and this is just opinion, the oppressiveness of empires like the Hattani or the Eterian have driven the followers of Tyaa to evil. She (and they) was not always so.” she said. “I would not group them all together. But, what you have said is useful. I will go and learn. Then I can answer your question. The letter will be useful.”
“Thank you. I shall write it up and give it to you before this conclave adjourns.
Now that discussions on those topics are complete, would you be willing to chat a little longer? I don’t know many of the wizards in the room, beyond their names and schools. Yourself included, and I was hoping to take this opportunity to get to know you better. You know of my plans to investigate the Aquila, but I am curious what interests you, and what you are working on? I don’t mean to pry by any means so please forgive me if you would prefer not to say. It is merely a curiosity and an attempt to get to know you better.”
“It is quite all right. My interest are varied. Ask your questions,” she replied. Her tone was friendly but somewhat distant, alien, yet somehow enchanting at the same time. It was unnerving and pleasant at the same time.
“Thank you,” replied Elemix. “Let’s see. Where are you from, and what has brought you to this part of the world?”
“I am from Tyr-na-lin, which is in this part of the world, though not of it. I am here to study the Sidonian way of magic and have done so for many years.” she replied.
Elemix will think on the term Tyr-na-lin.
He has heard of it before. It is a rumored elven city, village, or refugee in the southwestern spur of the White Mountains (for context Uzec is about a hundred miles north-east of its fabled location). No human is known to have gone there, or if they have the have never returned. The name itself is Danaean, not Elven, and for the aboriginal pre-Eterian humans of the Periphery, it was a place of both dreams and nightmares. What the elves call it is unknown.
Danaean’s are the aboriginal people of what is now called the Periphery. Peren Dungaroon is of Danaean blood, but long since Thalassan in culture.
Elemix also recalls that the Elven peoples and the Danaean tribes fought twelve wars against each other in the past. The Eterians and the elves didn’t like one another either, but the Eterians had their hands full with the three Danaean revolts, the Great Dwarven War, and later civil wars, so only four or so minor conflicts with the elves and Eterians are recorded.
Elemix was intrigued. “I have heard rumors of such a place but they have always been just that – fables and lore. I am truly honored to meet you. As a student of knowledge, I would very much like to travel there one day. If I am lucky enough to be invited. I wonder is our way of learning magic very different from that of your people’s?
She nodded, “it is related from a certain point of view. The elven soul is closer the the pattern of the world then humans, dwarves, and many others. As such, the wild magic that flows through the world is at the disposal of those of my people who seek it. However we have no concept of a guild or order of magic. It is seen as a calling and a gift to be shared to uplift all of the elves. As far as Tyr-na-lin, I would hope someday you could see it in all its wonder. It is sublime in its beauty. Alas, I know of only two outsiders who have ever gone there, and those were before my lifetime.”
“Perhaps you could put in a good word for me sometime,” Elemix said half jokingly. “I hope Master Sidonious’ dream of a society founded on the basis of preserving and sharing knowledge including magic is considered a worthwhile and Noble goal to those in your homeland.
When this conclave ends assuming the guild agrees to establish a tower here, will you be moving to this area for a time? Perhaps we could work together in the future. I am sure there is much I could learn from you and perhaps you could learn something from me.”
Elemix was transfixed by her and he didn’t know why. He was earnest though in his desire to learn more about her and her people.
The elven wizard smiled, “it is always possible to learn from others, but dear Magus, I am over a quarter millennia old. My father had met Sidonius and my grandmother was born nearly a thousand years ago. Sadly humans flicker and fade before we ever truly know them. But you seem gracious enough, perhaps someday you will have something to teach us.”
She continued, “in truth the Sidonian dream is not our dream. It is not our society. But so far it is one of the more tolerable human constructs; but I fear its hegemony will try to conquer or encompass us, like the Eterians, the Danaeans, the Hattani, and the many others who came before. Yet all of them all gone, we remain. We are, if anything, patient. We are willing to give Sidonius’ children a chance.”
Elemix had heard tales about how long lived true elves were. “I hope our society will evolve beyond the need for conquering. Perhaps in the distant future.
Thank you for the conversation I hope we will have many more in the future if you are so inclined.”
Lothiel nodded and departed the room.
The second day of the Conclave began in earnest in the following morning. Magus Alix, now Tribune-elect, continued with the agenda, “the next item on the agenda is the rumored hags. All the evidence is that if these creatures do exist, the do so in the hills and ridges north of Morgat. This is out of our territory and as we are trying to separate from Breven, it may behove us to pass what we know of them to the Breven Tribunal and let them address the matter. Should the hags extend their influence further north, then it will be our challenge. Is there a second on this matter?”
Magus Max immediately seconds. Magus Alix continues, “is there any opposition?”
Elemix returned. “The hags do exist. Apprentice Witch Emiline Di Cerisy asked me to ensure I mention that she had an encounter with one in Morgat. At the time she appeared as an old woman who was very insistent Emiline come to the hills and meet her sisters. She sensed magic in Emiline and we think they were trying to recruit her essentially. The woman fled when I approached Emiline and I never had a chance to see her. Some time later though on our trip across the sea from Thalassa only a few weeks ago our ship was attacked by sea hags who were obviously looking for Emmiline. They killed all the sailors on board under cover of darkness and with the help of some undead. I don’t believe we have seen the last of these hags.
I agree we should notify Breven but we should also be cautious as they are actively seeking out Emmiline.”
Magus Max replied, “Sea hags, land hags, why do they want de Cerisey? I mean if they are here to get her, then simply move her – which I believe you are doing – and problem solved. The hags will go where she does and then you, Magus Elemix can deal with it. If however, they stay around, then the Breven wizards will deal with it. I do not see anything we can do at this time other than getting the apprentice to safety and then proactively warning Breven, who no doubt know about the sea hags already and the others, perhaps they could hire adventurers to seek them out?”
Elemix replied, “I am in agreement as I see there is nothing more to do about it at this point. I merely wished all of you to know what we knew, as did apprentice de Cericy.”
After some additional opinions that agreed with Elemix and Max, the Conclave breaks for and early lunch. After this, Magus Alix calls for discussions on the follower of Tyaa. She begins…
“Sisters and brothers of knowledge and truth, followers of Sidonius, and believers in the ways a magic, a threat has come about we should all be aware of and we should discuss. It is related to Magus Elemix’s mission concerning a part of an aquila, though not necessarily directly – we shall discuss that mission in specific tomorrow. Today we focus on the Cult of Tyaa. For a little background, Magus Lothiél, will enlighten us with her knowledge.”
Lothiél began, “my colleagues, what I am about to disclose to you must be taken as only one point of view, but one that is held dearly by my people and related elven tribes throughout the West and possibly further afield. The being known by the Eterian name of ‘Tyaa’ we believe one of the host of shepherds sent by the Powers to care for the world. We call them the Vaina which can be best explained in the common tongue as gods, but the concept is not quite correct. To her we are told was a measure of the responsibility of rebirth and constant change. In the First Sundering, which scattered much of the essence of the Vaina, she chose the side of good over the side of evil, but came to regret her decision as what was though to be good became more and more rigid. By the time of the Second Sundering, which broke the world, she took the side of chaos, battling her old allies and siding with many she once called enemies. Her mission began as one of rebirth, but over time and with the pleas of her worshipers, she has become seen as a goddess of chaos, pain, suffering, and entropy. As an old god, she was, and is, worshipped by the runepriests of the Norvick, the druids of the Danaeans, the tainii of the ancient Traskine and many others. She has many faces, but her enemy is civilization, and her ally nature. Even the elves have felt her wrath. It is the desire of certain cults of Tyaa to actively bring about the end of civilizations that become too powerful, too encompassing, and too influential. It is my personal belief that it is one or more of those cults we are dealing with.”
Magus Max spoke up, “it may be true. In Adera a year ago a priestess of Tyaa gained a rather large following. A pair of adventurers broke the cult up, but the priestess, a woman named Atia, escaped in the form of a raven.”
Magus Skøna added, “raven priestesses appear in at least one version of the Fall of Khord Baradun which happened over 650 years ago. The Realm of Azenkuul had lasted over 3000 years at that point, and then was destroyed in less than ten years. It is said a raven priest gave Bhalkor a magic charm to summon a dragon, Skarvatrex Duratus, which broke the great gate of the north.”
Magus Calvet then said, “we of the College of Divination have sensed several rising threats against Sidonius’ dream, yet Sidonius has not appeared. We should avoid an over-reaction such as what occurred after Brianna Dhal’s expedition. The supposed revival of the Order of High Sorcery turned out to be less a threat than an unfortunate distraction that left us unprepared to take on Haalkhan’s invasion.”
Magus Alix began again, “Noted Magus. Oddly it seems here in the North their goals of late have been to secretly collect magical artifacts, not political maneuvering or cult-building.” She turned to Elemix, ” Magus Elemix, you have recounted much of what occurred with the various Tyaanite encounters you have had. How many do you believe were true believers and how many were simply hirelings. Based on what you have heard, do you have a theory?”
Elemix thought a moment and then responded. “In all I think only one or two of them to have been actual true believers. The reincarnated girl, and likely whoever it was that reincarnated her.
I believe their ultimate goal may be nothing less than the destruction of Sidonious’ society. Our society is by all definitions the opposite of chaos is it not?
However I don’t think they are moving fast or have much influence. Indeed it is quite possible we are merely dealing with a small group of powerful fanatical individuals.
As we have said, to date it would seem they are interested in gathering magic that will help their cause. I think they have been relatively lucky in finding what we know they found – the powerful scrolls and the Aquila.
I don’t however think they know what they had in the Aquila for example. After all they didn’t have it long enough to study it as we came across them as they were removing it from the cavern it was buried in.
Further, I think they believe it is powerful simply because we have done so well in protecting it – having defeated them in every encounter to date. Why would we be so unwilling to turn it over if it were not powerful they must ask themselves?
I think we should continue to be watchful for this group, and continue to deal with them as we have done to date. That is unless something changes and they show more of a hand than they have shown to date.”
Magus Vorn spoke up, “you may be right my boy, but truth be told I was on the Brentalian coast recently, Nevez to be specific, where there are rumors of refugees fleeing the civil war in Malith. Some 20 years ago a smaller civil war in that area led to some destabilization. This situation seems far worse with thousands of people on the move, and for the most part moving to the safety of the Rift and Adera beyond that. It may be nothing, but it is rumored that the Szlacha or Warlord of one of the city-states in revolt had a Carian female priestess as his advisor. She is supposedly getting converts, but I do not know any other details. Again, it may be nothing.”
“Interesting news,” returned Elemix. “We should share anything new we discover on this subject in case there is something more behind this group. Or perhaps more than meets the eye.
Undoubtedly I think, as I am traveling with the Aquila that we know they use to scry my location and track me, I shall encounter them again.”