By EM Drosselmeyer
Balandar exhaled heavily as he drew the chair from his desk and collapsed into it in exhaustion. He definitely wasn’t as young as he’d once been, he thought with a rueful smile as he stretched to work the kinks out of his back. He’d still pit himself favorably against any mage around, unless Nystul suddenly showed back up…but all this fighting and army gathering business should be handled by the Guard. Still, he’d not have trusted any of them to have the know how to deactivate the safeguards put in place by Captain Tokinson and the Olmecians, and so he’d ended up going along. He also had to make sure that his spell actually worked…he breathed a sigh of relief that though many were harmed, none were drowned due to his spell wearing off early or being ineffective.
Opening the heavily ensorcelled and locked chest beneath his desk, he drew the artifact crystal out and held it in one hand. It glowed and glittered fiercely, casting off sparks and shimmers almost like it was a fledgling moongate, waiting to be filled with power and activated. As it pulsed in his hand he closed his eyes and let his mana take him into the void and feel the call of the artifacts power. He pondered it’s ability to control the seas, and how it was used by Captain Tokinson. He was certain that the artifact could be coupled, could be attached to other objects like the drive crystals of the HMS Poseidon’s Fury, but he wasn’t sure how far it could be pushed. He wished that he could keep it and study it himself, but with the state of things as they were he doubted he’d be able to retain possession of it for long before it was requested to be sealed away within the Royal Guard Vault. As his mind floated in the void thoughts of possible applications and uses of the power of an artifact of this kind flowed and melded into fully fle…Balandar snapped alert with a start as he noticed something.
The artifact in his hand had been pulsing with power, immensely strongly, even in a passive state, but he had just felt something different; a similar pulse of power…but one that was different in it’s essence, a different type of mana. And once he’d felt that one, he realized there were two others, even weaker, just barely background noise. It couldn’t be…Could it? He quickly removed a reference book and flipped through it, and then went back through his copied version of Tokinson’s logbook, reading through the various travels and missions he’d been sent on, thumbing through tome after tome until he came upon an entry. His hand clenched around the glowing crystal, feeling it dig into his palm and the power bleed out between his fingers. Even as he did so, one of the answering pulses seemed to change once again, while the other two remained as they were, barely above a level of background disturbance. Balandar sealed the crystal again in it’s box, tripled the enchantments over it, and set out for Serpent’s Hold. He needed to talk to Commander Foxx, and he needed to do so immediately.
The night air was balmy and sticky in Trinsic this time of year, being so close to the jungle. With the watch doubled after the incident yesterday, most infiltrators would be completely deterred and steer entirely clear of the city, but this particular infiltrator saw it as a clear opportunity. Slipping into the water with a deep breath, they pierced through the water crisply with swift strokes and broke the surface past the walls quietly, taking their time to slink out of the water, letting it drip slowly and quietly into the grass, and waiting at the spot under the bridge for the patrol to pass. As they did, the figure slipped silently past, heading west from the river and sticking to what shadows the clouds passing over the moons provided. Sticking close to the wall, the figure seemed to almost meld into the crevices as another patrol passed, oblivious to the hidden form mere feet from their patrol path. Once more, they started forward…finally entering the central building next to the park.
Reaching a hand into a pocket, the figure quietly unfolds a set of lockpicks and kneels next to the door of the Royal Surveyor’s office, picking the lock with a few discreet clicking noises before slipping into the room and locking it behind. Inside the Surveyor’s office, the figure immediately sets to work drawing out a dozen or so volumes and maps. The original information leading to the HMS Fury; An ancient census taken from scores of years ago; A topographical map dating back to before Lord British’s reign; Information about Orc Raids against Cove when it was first being established; The recent survey of the collapsed portion of the rediscovered Paws; a concise history of the Royal Brittanian Guard; A book of notes from Nystul; and a tome detailing the patterns and behaviors of wild spawning moongates. This strange and peculiarly eclectic collection all undergo equal scrutiny from the figure, before they are gathered up and carried to the door.
Unlocking and opening it and relocking it behind themselves, they quietly move towards the park through the south archway, wary of any onlookers. Removing a small folded piece of canvas, the tomes and scrolls are wrapped inside the canvas and tied, before the figure removes a dagger and stabs small holes throughout it, and eyes the water nearby. A slight grin plays along their face as they throw the heavy bag into the water, and quickly dashing through the park and out the opposite side as they make their way out of the city. The bag sinks, leaving trails of air bubbles as the ink inside the books and scrolls runs, coloring the sunken canvas momentarily before dissipating in the water and disappearing as it sinks to a deeper part of the small pond. A single nearby guard moves to the park and looks into the water, but only shrugs and returns to his patrol. Those blasted giant Tokunese fish they imported with that trade deal with the Empress sure were noisy things…