Good news, everyone

We’re in business.  Things are in motion, and one way or another, either we pull this off pretty soon, or we’re going home to some big problems.

After we did the ol’ switcheroo with Faranell – I guess I should start getting into the habit of calling him Edwin, but it just feels weird – I tried to keep an eye out for Tirion’s kid, but no luck there.  Since Mokvar wasn’t going to be coming to the meeting with Isilien and Doan, I put him on lookout, with some help from Utvoch…that is, lookout help that still keeps him out of a position where he could really fuck something up, because seriously, enough is enough with that shit.

Faranell stepped out for a little while this afternoon to go see Kel’Thuzad – KT on his own this time, without Helcular in tow.  He came back with some less-than-great news: KT has been noticing the Silver Hand people hanging around town, and is starting to wonder what they’re up to.  Considering KT’s interest in necromancy, you can see how a bunch of paladins might perk him up some, especially with rumors flying around about the undead.  If only he knew, right?  Well, that’s sort of the point – I mean, things going on that KT doesn’t know.  He basically was trying to find out if Edwin knows anything, especially considering his brother’s been spending some time up close and personal with the paladins.  Edwin downplayed knowing anything, but Kel’Thuzad pressed him to keep an eye out and see if he could find anything out from his brother.

Besides the fact that this gives us one more wrinkle to worry about – which we’re going to have to keep worrying about until the Silver Hands get out of town so KT won’t have them putting ideas in his head – it’s also bringing us back to the problem Faranell’s brought up already: the fact that he doesn’t remember this business with Kel’Thuzad at all.  I was already kind of worried about the whole time-distortion thing with Mokvar’s plan to hex Faranell v1.0 – I mean, how is our Faranell supposed to remember what originally happened here, when we take his past self out of commission so he won’t have lived those events to remember them, right?  And plus, wouldn’t he at least remember, you know, being turned into a damn frog?  But Liadrin insisted that it should work what with the way revised time works, with ripples from the changes not reaching out to us until the events play themselves out, or some kind of shit like that, and she seems to know what she’s talking about with this time crap, which she actually seems really interested for who knows what reason, so whatever, I figured I’d trust her on that much.  But now we seem to be getting more and more little pieces not meshing with the way Edwin remembers things, and that’s got me majorly worried.

Witness the latest little piece that seems to be playing out differently: turns out, when they were talking at some point, Isilien invited Patrick to come to our little meeting of the minds as well.  On the one hand because he figured he could use all the brain power on this project he could find, and plus, apparently dude likes lighting a fire under Doan by bringing in second opinions from other magic users.  Because, you know, if there’s one thing that’s a formula for success with these future Scarlet Crusade people, it’s encouraging their insecurity and paranoia.  Yeah.

Anyway, though, Patrick came with us to see Isilien.  We just got back a short time ago – well, most of us did – and luckily, Edwin and his on-again off-again super-memory was able to help Liadrin get the record assembled fairly quickly:

 

Isilien greets Garrosh, Liadrin, Edwin, and Patrick through a half-opened door and ushers them into the room quickly.

ISILIEN:  Hurry in.  I don’t want anyone to notice us.

GARROSH:  Check.

LIADRIN:  Have you seen anything to make you think someone knows we’re doing something?

ISILIEN:  I just don’t want to take any chances.

DOAN:  Bad enough as it is that this many people are aware of our plans…

EDWIN:  Nice to meet you, too.

LIADRIN:  Gentlemen, this is Edwin Faranell; I believe you already know his brother Patrick…

ISILIEN:  <nods>  Edwin.

DOAN:  Do any of you have any cousins you’d like to bring along while we’re at it?

ISILIEN:  Doan, that’s enough.

GARROSH:  Hey, you know, if you’d rather not have our help…

DOAN:  As a matter of fact—

ISILIENDoan.  Lia is a sister of the Light, and we will show her friends the same courtesy we would any ally.  Or do you think a paladin of our own order would be turned against us in favor of the undead?

DOAN:  Fine.  Let’s just get this done.

LIADRIN:  Have you had any progress in your study of the crystal?

ISILIEN:  Yes and no.  I’m still certain it could be harnessed to repel undead attackers, but it’s a matter of how.

DOAN:  Especially without the crystal being available to us directly for long.

ISILIEN:  <nods>  Alexandros is right to want the crystal forged into a weapon – that singular object would be a devastating force on the front lines when the undead inevitably come.  But it also limits our options here.

LIADRIN:  Isilien, would it be possible for me to examine it more closely myself?

ISILIEN:  <nods>  Briefly.

Isilien sets Mograine’s chest out on the table and opens it.  The light crystal floats up from the chest and hovers over it, rotating slowly.  Liadrin steps up close, with Edwin and Patrick following close behind her.

PATRICK:  Heavens…

ISILIEN:  The crystal’s energy is…curious.

EDWIN:  How so?

DOAN:  For one, it doesn’t resemble any kind of enchantment I’ve ever seen.  I haven’t an idea of how the crystal could have been imbued with this much power in the first place.

GARROSH:  Didn’t you imbue it yourself?  Pouring all your holy spells into it?

ISILIEN:  That triggered its transformation from its dark form, but no, it’s not as simple as us filling it with our magic.  The power contained in the crystal is far beyond what we cast on it.

EDWIN:  You mean the shadow and light forms of the crystal are just different manifestations of the same energy, that it already had?

LIADRIN:  More that the crystal absorbed and generated holy energy…whatever was cast on it was taken in and magnified.

ISILIEN:  Exactly…it’s as if it were a generator of sorts for that energy.

Liadrin steps closer as they continue to talk, and holds her palm toward the crystal.  The crystal glows a bit more brightly, floats toward her, and rests against her hand; she gingerly holds it as the light pulses softly.

PATRICK:  So it’s a power amplifier, in a sense?  Potentially unlimited?  Is that the curious part?

ISILIEN:  Partly.

DOAN:  But it also…it still seems to be carrying traces of shadow magic in it.

EDWIN:  <leaning in closer>  Remnants of its dark state?

DOAN:  Possibly.  Or not even traces, per se, so much as…well…responsiveness to shadow magic.  As if it recognizes its presence and is drawn to it.

LIADRIN:  Just as it was drawn to the light when it was in its darkened state.

DOAN:  If it were a living thing and not a crystal, I would be tempted to say the shadow traces were more traces of memory.

ISILIEN:  Crystal or not, it seems to…like you, Lia…

The crystal continues pulsing and emitting a soft hum.

LIADRIN:  It does seem to…

The crystal glows more brightly, flashing more rapidly, then emits a sudden bright flash.  Liadrin, startled, recoils and drops the crystal, which falls against the edge of the table.  A small fragment of the crystal breaks off and bounces against Edwin’s arm; he lets out a pained shout and collapses to the ground, unconscious.

PATRICK:  Edwin!

Patrick kneels quickly to check on his brother while Liadrin rubs her head and steadies herself again.  The crystal returns to its normal glow and resumes hovering over the table again.

GARROSH:  Is he okay?

PATRICK:  He’s unconscious, but breathing.

GARROSH:  What happened, anyway?

DOAN:  I haven’t a clue.  The crystal hasn’t reacted to anything like that before.

LIADRIN:  <still rubbing forehead>  I think that was me.

GARROSH:  Patrick, help me get him onto the bed till he comes to.

ISILIEN:  What did you do, Lia?

Garrosh and Patrick pick Edwin up and stretch him out on the bed nearby.  Garrosh returns to the others while Patrick sits on the bed.

LIADRIN:  I thought I could use some holy magic to get a better read on it…sort of a poor man’s Mind Vision, I suppose.  I must have…startled it, for lack of a better word.

ISILIEN:  That would account for the light surge.  I’m not sure why that fragment would have harmed your friend, though.

Doan carefully picks the fragment up from the floor.  It gives off a dull glow in his hand.

DOAN:  Either way, it may have given us a possible way around our limited access to the crystal…

ISILIEN:  Assuming this one has the same properties.

LIADRIN:  Only one way to find out.

Liadrin casts Flash of Light on the crystal, which pulses a bit more brightly.  Isilien casts on it as well, causing another increase in its brightness.  Doan stares curiously at the fragment shimmering in his hand.

ISILIEN:  So far, so good.

DOAN:  It’s…very soothing.  How did it feel when you were holding the crystal, Lia?

LIADRIN:  <hesitates> Much the same.

PATRICK:  Good news, everyone.  I think Edwin is coming to.

GARROSH:  What happened to him?

DOAN:  I don’t know why a surge of holy magic would have been harmful.

EDWIN:  I think I… How long was I out?

PATRICK:  Just a few minutes.

EDWIN:  <sighs and rubs his head>  Just a second…

GARROSH:  Maybe, I don’t know, just a random blast from when it cracked…

DOAN:  It only hurt him when the fragment actually touched him, though.

EDWIN:  Okay, so…

PATRICK:  Don’t strain yourself if you’re still groggy.

EDWIN:  No, I’m fine.  So…I think that surge might have gotten me because I’d been spending a lot of time around Kel’Thuzad the last few days…

ISILIEN:  What would Kel’Thuzad have to do with it?

EDWIN:  <rubbing his eyes>  He’s been experimenting with necromancy.

DOAN:  I’d heard humors about that.  Very troubling…

EDWIN:  He was showing me and Helcular some of the magics he’s been working with.  I think it might have left some residual necrotic magic around me that the light there may have homed in on…

GARROSH:  Seems like that would make sense.

EDWIN:  Yeah, so… <tries to sit up, then groans>

PATRICK:  Don’t, you’re still shaky.  Just lay back and rest while we work.

ISILIEN:  If that’s the case with the fragment, though, that could be our way to use it.

EDWIN:  <aside to Patrick>  I’m fine, I’ll stay and rest.  You go help them.

LIADRIN:  What do you have in mind?

ISILIEN:  Considering what we saw happen with the dark and light forms of the crystal, it makes sense to suppose this object thrives on a sort of dark/light duality.  When dark, it seeks and absorbs holy magic in order to assume its light form.  And while light, it’s drawn to shadow magic, in this case to more harmful effect.

GARROSH:  You know, I think I know where you’re going with this.

Patrick returns to the others.

ISILIEN:  Released in the presence of a more potent – almost living, even – source of shadow magic, I think we could set it up to respond with much greater force.  Destroying, or possibly purging the magic it finds.

LIADRIN:  In other words…expose undead to this and the light will target them, then either destroy them outright or dispel the undeath that’s reanimated them?

ISILIEN:  I think so, yes.

DOAN:  It should be workable.  We just need to charge it with more holy energy and come up with a way to keep it contained until we would need to deployed to repel the undead.

PATRICK:  I think I can be of some help with that.

Patrick starts rifling through a box of assorted junk and magic items he’d brought with him.

GARROSH:  I was wondering what all that crap was.

PATRICK:  Oh, just some odds and ends I thought might be— Wait, what’s this?  <looking over what looks like a crystalline turtle>  Probably not important.  It’ll come to me later.  <tosses it aside>  Where was I?  Oh, that’s right.  Some assorted things I though might come in handy.  <pulls out an ornate rod>  Huh…enchanting rod…funny I’d have that seeing as I’m not an enchanter.

GARROSH:  So how much stuff do you have in there that you don’t actually know what it is?

PATRICK:  Oh, who keeps track of these things.  <brandishes the rod>  Also good for channeling, I suppose.  Which I also won’t be doing…

EDWIN:  I think Helcular could use one of those.

PATRICK:  <shrugs and tosses it onto the floor>  Here, give it to him, we don’t need it for anything.  Ah ha!

GARROSH:  What ah ha?

DOAN:  Isilien, I’m starting to think this friend of yours might be a little crazy.

PATRICK:  Ah!  Good news, everyone, I found it!  Just what the doctor ordered!

Patrick pulls a polished bronze canister from the box – less than a foot on each side, runes engraved in a horizontal band, and a rounded lid on top.

ISILIEN:  What is it?

PATRICK:  Let’s see how crazy I am now, Doan.  The correct answer is very.

DOAN:  Fine, fine, but what is it?

PATRICK:  <hands the canister to Doan>  Oh, just an ordinary canister.

DOAN:  I don’t really see how that’s usef—

PATRICKThat’s no ordinary canister!

ISILIEN:  Didn’t you just…

EDWIN:  Just let him.  It goes faster.

PATRICK:  This isn’t just your standard polished inscribed jewel-encrusted bronze box, oh no…

GARROSH:  Actually, I don’t see any jewels…

PATRICK:  Hey, those student loans aren’t going to pay themselves.

EDWIN:  That’s fine.  Don’t listen to the incapacitated guy.

PATRICK:  What we have here is a mirrored reliquary.  Its interior is enchanted to reflect magic back on itself and keep it contained within the canister indefinitely – basically takes a magical source and forces it to charge itself up even further.  Sounds about right, doesn’t it?

DOAN:  Damn near perfect.

ISILIEN:  Indeed.  I assume the fragment would have to stay sealed inside the reliquary at all times?

PATRICK:  Until we need its energies unleashed, yes.

ISILIEN:  In that case, the only thing left is to come up with a way to set it to release the energy in the presence of undead.

PATRICK:  Well, it’s not even so much the undead themselves, as the presence of shadow magic?  Or…whatever it’s called, necrotic something-or-other, the energy that reanimates them?

DOAN:  Assuming we can put this together, by the way, where would you suggest using it, Isilien?

ISILIEN:  For all intents and purposes, we’re creating a bomb that doesn’t detonate until its target is right on top of it.  I’d suggest we plant it in one of our cities, such that, should the undead begin to invade, it will serve the ward off the first wave.

DOAN:  Where would you suggest?  Andorhal?  Stratholme?  Lordaeron proper?

ISILIEN:  There’s no telling where the undead might move first.  But Southshore is where we made our discovery.  I think it’s as good a place as any to receive our first attempt at safeguarding.

DOAN:  Here in Southshore it is, then.

PATRICK:  As for releasing the energy… I’m fairly sure I could work up some sort of gadgetry that would react to exposure to necrotic energy, and unseal the reliquary.

DOAN:  You know how to do that?

PATRICK:  I’ll have you know I’ve had a fair bit of training in engineering.

EDWIN:  Granted, when he builds something, a lot of the time he gets a little too creative for his own good.

PATRICK:  Oh, people just like to complain.

EDWIN:  He’s all about the coulda, not the shoulda.

PATRICK:  Fine, fine.  Everyone’s always in favor of cloning dinosaurs, but harness one to a shark equipped with a ray gun and rocket boosters and oooh, suddenly you’ve gone too far.

DOAN:  Wait, you mean you…?

EDWIN:  <sitting up on the bed and stretching> Don’t give him a chance to dig out the blueprints, really.

PATRICK:  <chuckles>  Anyway, though… The point is, I’m pretty sure that we can assemble some sort of trigger mechanism that will react to nearby shadow energies.  Then, out comes the powerful, cleansing light.

Garrosh helps Edwin to his feet, then looks to Liadrin, who returns his nod.

GARROSH:  I seems like you guys have this under control, so I think we’re going to help Edwin here back to his room and let you all get to work.

LIADRIN:  As fascinating as this last part of the project is, I’m sure those of us not mechanically inclined would only be in the way.

ISILIEN:  Understandable.  Your friend could stand to get some rest, in a place that isn’t full of people chattering on.

EDWIN:  You have no idea, my friend.

ISILIEN:  Thank you all for your help with this.

GARROSH:  No problem, Isilien.

LIADRIN:  Our pleasure, Isilien.  Also, if I might offer a word of advice for after you’re finished here?

ISILIEN:  Yes?

LIADRIN:  Everything that’s happened in this room…it should stay in this room.  Don’t spread word of what you’ve done – or what happened with Mograine’s crystal – to anyone.

ISILIEN:  I know how to be discreet, so no concerns there.

GARROSH:  Yeah, but at the same time, you also seem to like to bring people in for help.  You want to be careful even about your allies.

DOAN:  See, I keep telling you you’re too trusting.

GARROSH:  I’m just saying, you need to keep your guard up about this stuff.  I mean, even if someone looks trustworthy, you can’t just take them at face value.  I’ve had my own…dealings…with the undead.  They’re not all slobbering zombies stumbling around groaning about brains.  You never know who you’re really dealing with, no matter how things look on the surface.

ISILIEN:  <eyes growing wide>  You…you’re right.  The undead could be anyone – we can’t trust anyone outside our own circle…

GARROSH:  Anyway!  Let’s get Edwin back to his room.  Night, guys.

PATRICK:  I’ll come check on you later, Edwin.

LIADRIN:  Goodbye, all.

EDWIN:  Thanks, Patrick.  Night.

Garrosh, Edwin, and Liadrin leave the room, close the door behind them, and walk down the hall toward their rooms.

GARROSH:  So what’s the verdict about the crystal?

LIADRIN:  When I was holding it, it felt exactly the same as when I felt M’uru restoring the Sunwell.  That confirms what I already suspected – I think Mograine’s crystal is the spark of a dying naaru.

GARROSH:  So you mean the Ashbringer is actually made out of…naaru essence?  Crap, no wonder the thing’s so powerful.

EDWIN:  Why did it seem to gravitate toward you?

LIADRIN:  I’m probably the only person it’s encountered who’s been touched by another of the naaru.  M’uru, A’dal… It changes you.  I imagine the spark could sense it, maybe even perceived it as kinship.

GARROSH:  Well aren’t you special.

LIADRIN:  I rather am, actually.

EDWIN:  And so, given all of its naaru-driven holy energy, I imagine that fragment knocked me on my ass because I’m… <glancing around to either side as they near their own doors>  Well, you know…  <holds his arms in an exaggerated marching-zombie pose>

LIADRIN:  You are and you aren’t.

EDWIN:  How do you mean?

LIADRIN:  I mean that yes, the energy rendered you unconscious because of your…normal state.  But that’s more of a…it’s hard to explain.  Hold on.

Liadrin opens the door to one of the rooms, leads them in, and closes the door behind them.

Look at it this way.  When we came through the time portal, we all took on human appearances.  But it wasn’t as simple as a glamour or illusion spell.  If one of us were injured and went to a doctor, the doctor would be able to examine us, work on us the same as anyone else.  They wouldn’t be reaching through some surface illusion and finding an elvish or orich or Forsaken body underneath.  Likewise if one of us died, we wouldn’t just revert back to our normal appearances.  As long as we’re here in this time, we literally are human.

GARROSH:  You’re TRYING to make me sick, aren’t you?

EDWIN:  Huh.  Interesting.  But if that’s the case, I don’t see why the crystal would affect me at all.

LIADRIN:  That’s the tricky part.  We’re all still carrying vestiges of our old selves, sort of a shadow or overlay of who we normally are.  In a sense both our forms still exist, overlapping in the same space, with our current state toggled onto this one on a quantum level, and…

GARROSH:  Okay, okay, let’s just say we’re human with a little drop of whatever else before you make my brain go on strike.

LIADRIN:  You’re just lucky it was merely the smaller fragment.  If you’d touched the main crystal itself it could very well have still killed you, even in this form.

EDWIN:  Ouch.

GARROSH:  That could have been awkward.

EDWIN:  Yes, I would hate to have an awkward death.

GARROSH:  I just mean explaining it.  Like to your brother.

LIADRIN:  I did the best I could just to cover for what did happen.

EDWIN:  Okay, well, let’s just drop it.  I’ve already had enough real deaths to dwell on, without obsessing on the near deaths too.

 

So while we’ve been back here in our rooms, Patrick has been staying with Isilien and Doan trying to get their gadget assembled.  The good news is that once it’s done, we don’t have to worry too much about tracking it down – we pretty much know that they’re going to plant it somewhere under the inn, which means the cellar, so once Isilien has had time to set it up, we can just get down there, take our readings, and high-tail it out of here.

Which, by the way, we can DO now, because while we were in our meeting, Mokvar managed to catch Tirion’s kid up in the lounge, got him playing with the frog formerly known as Faranell, and got the kid to agree to a trade for the shard.  Want to hear the funny part, by the way?  I got a kick out of this.  I guess when Mokvar first offered to trade with him for the frog, he started out by asking Taelan for the toy warhammer he’s always carrying around, and then let the kid talk him down to the shard.  I guess Mokvar figured if he came right out of the gate asking for the shard, the little snot-nose would be less likely to give it up.

Ideally I would have rather had the shard while we were in Isilien’s room, of course, but at this point it’s not worth running back in there and getting everybody’s guard up.  My guess is that they’re going to have the reliquary ready by the end of the night, tomorrow morning at the latest, and at that point we should be good to go.

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2 Responses to “Good news, everyone”

  1. A Concerned Citizen Says:

    Patrick sounds like my kind of guy. It’s a damn shame we never met when he was in SMC.

  2. dammit, isn’t it enough that you made me not want to kill Garrosh anymore? Did you really have to turn Prof. Putricide into an actual person too?

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