OOC: How advanced is Phaema in the way of artifice?
September 12, 794 Talismanian Reckoning
Stiles was still dazed when he woke. He but the will or the reason to awaken now, so he attempted to clear his mind and meditate. He summed up all of the mana he could muster and attempted to use it to vitalize himself. In such a dazed state, Stiles knew he couldn't "summon" enough mana to do anything much. Still, he knew every little bit of green mana would help him somewhat.
Half an hour later, Stiles head still pounded. His efforts to meditate had not drowned the constant "Edith... Edith... Edith..." Instead, it had drawn attention to it, making it louder and more irritating.
Stiles not entirely consciously got dressed, and headed for the kitchen/dining room. He saw Clockmaker sitting at the table, eating. Clockmaker looked over at Stiles.
"Hi. I figured we’d be leaving today. I notified Kronin yesterday. He’s agreed to go, at a pretty large cost- twenty pounds of gold. He wants to distribute it between his closest friends and relatives. Told him to be ready, and I said I’d ask you."
"I’ll pay anything to help Edith."
"Thought so, Stiles. He wants to go after lunch. I’d prefer to go now, but he says he wants to be at the before noon-time ceremony/meeting and if we’re staying for that, why not eat lunch?"
"I agree with you and him. An hour more of walking won’t do us much good, and I’d prefer to have two more hours to meditate. On the other hand, if I didn’t need to regain my strength so much, I’d convince him to go earlier."
While Stiles ate an elongated breakfast, Clockmaker went through the city buying supplies and dilapidated artifacts. Twice, he was almost mugged, but managed to save everything. Kronin met up with Clockmaker as he was returning home with a cart of supplies and food.
Kronin came running up to Clockmaker, wearing simple traveling clothes. There were several pockets in his pants, as well as some in his jacket. Most of them seemed empty, but some weren’t. Clockmaker could tell there was a wooden animal in one, and fruits in others. Though curious, he didn’t inquire about them. "Stiles is still at your home, I presume?"
"Not necessarily, he’s probably done with breakfast and is searching for me."
Kronin nodded, and then exclaimed, "There he is! See him, he’s walking through that crowd!" Sure enough, it was Stiles. Stiles noticed them a moment later, and came jogging up.
There was still half an hour until the meeting of the town. Kronin, Stiles, and Clockmaker discussed the matter as they made their way to Stile’s and Clockmaker’s home. Kronin wanted to see Stiles because of a problem he noticed. Kronin displayed several Elven maps, all of which had at least part of the trail to their final destination- Deep Shadow Forest.
"Winter was nearing, meaning that the road would be tough in many places. Frostbite and cold would plague Clockmaker’s horse, rivers from the mountains near Loebar (OOC: What are those mountains called?) will freeze over, and not that much help will be given when all of the species will be burrowed in their dens. Really, I think we should find a way to stop these complications." Kronin explained.
"There is no snow near Deep Shadow. The rivers there will be trickles of water from frozen ones nearer Loebar. The elves there are accustomed to such cold and life goes on as usual, right?" Stiles asked.
"Aren’t we traveling through the human’s side anyway?" Clockmaker questioned, "After all, we wouldn’t be very accepted in the Elven part of the forest, anyway. I don’t think spurring an all out war is a great way to look nice in Xanthos’s eyes."
"Well, there are several problems with that." Kronin started, "First of all, there are much less trees in Western Deep Shadow. This makes us much more susceptible to rock-slides and weather. The only people that know the danger of logging like this are half-elves like me, and hermits of the sort. Oh, and yes, elves are accustomed to life in the colder times, but it’s still very uncomfortable."
Stiles nodded. "Why not go on the Elves side when the tribes won’t be too angry with us and on the human side where they are? That minimizes our danger once we’re there."
Clockmaker shook his head. "The green bastion is on the elves side of the woods. If the rumored fortress that separates the elves from the humans is true, we can’t cross very often. I think the best thing to do is find some cause which all of the elves will like, so they will let us cross… Not like saving a couple thousand people."
Kronin looked at the others seated at Stile’s and Clockmaker’s table. It was almost time for the mass town assembly. "I think a viable cause would be to additionally promise to ask the Green Bastion to replenish the forests of the human side. Then we could go to the human side and say the trees were a gift from the elves for peace."
"That would work, but what if they don’t accept our offer?" Stiles inquired.
"I just give them my ‘Elf’s Promise.’ It’s a promise that makes me go to hell and die if I broke it consciously, either by inaction or action, if one or the other could finish the promise."
"Well, it’s time for the assembly now. We should finish this discussion over lunch." Clockmaker concluded.
By now, Stiles and Clockmaker were celebrities. Not only in their current town, but in nearby ones as well. The rain had spread, enriching the whole area. The two nearest towns, Delft and Thrall, were enriched almost as much as (OOC: I forgot the town name, so this town shall be called "This Town") "This Town."
At the assembly, Avrin Halakoth, Evea Scev, Kronin, Stiles, Clockmaker, and a handful of others were to speak. Avrin spoke first.
"Madame et Monsieur, écouter s’il vous plait." He spoke his first few words in an ancient language, lost today, of which only fragments survived. This meant that the topic was extremely serious. "Ladies and gentlemen, please listen." He translated, "I bring before you today, a top secret project that only I have known about. Part of it, and only part, is my secret police. They have dropped crime significantly within the past few weeks. They also have helped infiltrate and find evidence of the corruption of the church." The crowd gasped. "I bring before you Evea Scev!"
Stiles yawned, and looked at Clockmaker, then at Kronin. Both gave him a bored look. He glanced at Evea, whose face was a mixture of surprise, regret, and anger. She stepped up to the podium, and began. "As far as I’m concerned, there is no solid evidence-"
A priest was caught by two of Avrin’s secret police, and shouted, "Ug! Get off of me! Evea Scev sent me to clean up the damn storage room and hide the damn gold! Ow! Stop that! Ow! The crurch is corrupt! Get off of me! OW!" he collapsed to the ground as soon as both police let go of him, content with what they got.
Half an hour later, Kronin, Clockmaker, and Stiles were off on their way to the green bastion. With several hours until the next town, they relaxed, letting Clockmaker’s two horses, (one was bought during their stay at "This Town," the other Clockmaker already had) Sugar and Sweet, pulled the cart. With only occasional stops to feed the horses, they made the nearest town by nightfall and got a room in a middle-class hotel. Clockmaker and Kronin stayed in the bar for some time after Stiles went to their room and started unpacking.
They all slept soundly that night, in the town of Gerona.