Banestorm - Through the Fire

Visitors in the Night!
...Or How to Lose Your Pinky By Withholding Information From Paid Goons

That night, after the funeral, I was visited by two assassins. One cut off my finger. After that, I decided to murder them both. The one with the knife to my neck, easily fell under my Daze spell. The other, I commanded to sleep. Both, I slit their necks open, spilling blood all over my floor.

Two more bodies for the Guildmaster, though! I come through with extra cash, two sets of magical armor, some really sharp knives, and a missing pinky on my left hand.

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Baron LeSard's Tower
Or... "How to Get Fireballed While Taking a Nap"

Overconfidence is definitely a disadvantage when it comes to making the proper choices in a wizard’s tower. Needless to say, I’m very glad healing spells restore singed hair.

I found myself in this tower as an errand for the Guildmaster of the Mages Guild. You know, the man with the pointy wizard’s hat. His friend, Baron LeSard seemed to have passed and because of magical protections (see zombies) a confirmation of the Baron’s death could not be procured.

The tower was filled with zombies easily turned, but I grew rather weary from my full day and my spellcasting. Overconfidently, I laid down in the Baron’s bed and was horribly awakened to a fireball which nearly killed me. I lost consciousness only briefly and because of my magically enhanced intellect, I was able to gain my wits and heal myself.

It was then, the spirit of the Baron appeared to me. I conversed with him about my employer, the Guildmaster, satisfying him I was not one of the many thieves who had been sent to ransack his home. He then “passed” into the afterlife and left his magical fireball shillelagh. Along with his passing he said I should go to Umagazur and “The staff belongs to Al-Wazif to the Caliph not to them. The password is….” and then some unintelligible sounds or words. I felt as though this was burned in my brain only to be activated once I found this “Umagazur.”

The place now seemed quiet and safe, the zombies all put to rest with the dissipation of LeSard’s magic. I then went from room to room looking for items I could use. I did find the Baron’s body in which a knife shaped like a tooth of a large snake was imbedded in his back.

1st floor
Saffron & Spices
Two snake fang knives

Library
Books on History
Books on Magic
Books on Necromancy

Chance that I can learn the base philosophy to any school…

Laboratory
Tons of components
Dragon’s Eye
Phoenix Feather
Unicorn’s Tail

Writing material – inks & papers
Five blank books of high quality and a ring of unknown magical significance.
I enlisted the aid of Castini and we filled up a cart with these valuables. I then went to the Guildmaster and turned over the shillelagh, an act which surprised him. I’m not a thief. I did mention the other items and he thought their confiscation would not be inappropriate. I must remember to declare them for taxation purposes.

He had apparently no knowledge of this Umagazur place.

I was then invited to the funeral where I met his children and grandchildren. They apparently knew I was the one who found the body and were grateful for my assistance.

Good deeds done!

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Corpse Monger be Me!

Corpses, corpses, corpses. Everyone wants corpses.

I must be brief, as I have much work to do and many orders to fulfill. I’m not sure whether I’m working at cross purposes, but I don’t really care as there is money to be made in both instances.

First things first, our esteemed Alfaisarian is a golemphile and the one trophy he has not in his collection is one of flesh. I am unaware of the consequences of such magics here in Tredroy, but again, I care not. I’m guaranteed the teaching I need to learn the secrets of soul transfer, so my motivation is strong. Aside from the century of bodies, he also has a dearly deceased friend whose body must be recovered, and he trusts me to obtain said corpse. This dear friend was named Baron LeSard and his corpse is being guarded in his tower in North Tredroy. Here the journey shall begin.

Next, it seems “The Weasel” is brokering for bodies as well. His client wants them delivered to a ship, where upon delivery, I’ll get paid a cool seven hundred and fifty coins.

Finally, where do I procure so many bodies? Seems as though I’ll need to start a war in town of some sort. Perhaps I can enlist the Hospitallers as those right wing nuts are always quick to violence.

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A Summons

What does one do when summoned to meet the overseer of the Mages Guild? My secrets are rich like a fat grain merchant and likely to put my head on a spike, either here in Tredroy or worse, in the fetid Imperial City. Being a consummate paranoid and planner, several steps must be taken to ensure my ass doesn’t end up in a sling.

Why would a man of great power, wisdom and resources summon a lowly gravedigger and smuggler such as me? Has my “transition” to this body been discovered? Perhaps he needs goods secreted around the river. Clearly my first task is to obtain any information about him and his plans.

The Master has little need for the prattle of rumor flitting through this ivory tower like moths to candles. I would not waste his time. Castini, though, she may know what plans this Arch Mage may have for me. My sometimes lover and co-conspirator in my “transition” spends most of her time in the “G-String”; hers framed delicately and wonderfully between two firm cheeks, of course, but in this context it is a tavern. A terrible place in the Christian quarter populated mainly with Northmen. It is here where I find her, sitting next to a tattooed glass licker who looks more like a magical stew of ape and ox than a man.

Never the one to show overt surprise or emotion, she bids me welcome and I sit as far from her man-thing as possible but can still feel the heat emanating off his body. His smell is a mixture of patchouli and sweat, sickly sweet. I almost vomit. I do long for the days of a potpourri held next to my nose when venturing among chattel like this. Their odious condition is not their fault, but a product of this economic system, I remind myself.

In Sahudese, I ask for a private audience. With merely a thought, the eyes of her ape-ox glaze over lost in some trance which is very likely just a few steps away from his actual intelligence. I explain to her my summons and ask if she knows the reason. She briefs me on what she knows about this Dean of Magic; merchant at heart, obsessed with golems and power stones, his idiotic pointy hat. Other than that, she knows not the reason for the mage’s request. I thank her and bid her farewell, I have one final errand before my meeting.

Addicts are a wonderful resource, found in any borough of Tredroy wandering from drug to drug. From drunks to the kindred of the poppy, all are fertile ground to plant the seeds of my addiction… addiction to wisdom. I find two rubes, who fall for simple wordplay and who, in succession, join me. On each I cast Sleep and then Steal Wisdom. With this level of privacy, I then cast my various conceal magic’s on myself and leave, ready to meet with this Alfaisarian, Master of the Mages Guild.

((my notes also mention some guy with some connection to the Thieve’s Guild, where I’m supposed to go at 10pm, but they aren’t clear and I don’t remember this. Might have been the drink))

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Perhpas an Elven Body?

Tredroy is a city full of wonders. In only this city of Yrth will you find Christian Goblins bartering over the price of silks imported from the Buddhist Half-Orcs of Sahud.

In this new form of Abdul-Malik, I’ve dug many a grave for many a species. It took me a week to dig a grave for a wealthy giant who died peacefully in his sleep. Kobolds are considered animals here, so they get thrown into a mass grave which rots outside the city.

One species though, escapes death’s embrace. The Elves. They are few and far between in Tredroy, but I’ve seen them here and there over the years. At the university, I’ve met several students of the elven race. Beautiful all, both the men and women.

I may end up in an elven vessel some day if I can master these Com-Emp spells. Such a very different college than necromancy.

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The rebirth of Abdul Malik, ditch digger.

This small mirror I purchased in the market is occupying an inordinate amount of my time. The master will be displeased if my enchanting quotas are not met.

As an ur-baron in Megalos, I only saw my reflection during official banquets or important meetings with the city officials. The upkeep of my appearance was delegated solely to my valet, who fawned over every hair on my mustache as if I was a painting to be gifted to an archbishop of the Curia. I suspect my Megalan enemies have thrown the poor boy into one of the very dungeons of that well fed and bejeweled cabal. My grandfather’s expression “blood from a turnip,” comes to mind when I think of my poor valet’s fate.

My daydreams are now supplanted by the fascination I have with the black hair on my arms and the darkness of my skin. Sadly, the rumors about an arab cock seem not to be true in the case of my new body.

The events that led up to my transformation seemed, if I was not skeptical, purely driven by providence. The powerful magics of the mages guild seem more likely. Philosophical discussions of the origins of those powers are a waste of precious time. More specifically I can point to the work of Castini, Tredroy’s master of mind control and my own master as the hands who saved me from oblivion.

I say oblivion because I was not spared death, nor the pain that came with it. Oblivion nor proof of my atheistic beliefs did not wait for me on the other side of Charon’s river. I, Kuranes, and I continue to remind myself I am Kuranes. I am now an eighteen year old arab ditch digger named Abdul Malik who barely escaped a madness brought on by the magical process of rebirth. Within a slight sliver of the finite divide which lays between human consciousnesses, the Master became the undead monster the Abrahamic religions have used to scare their children. My weapons to fight these priests of ignorant fear were only my experience and reason. As my being became accustomed to its new raven haired home, I smote these ignorant fears conjured by the foolish nannies of my childhood.

Foolish, of course, might be one way to describe my hubris in feeling safe from the dogs of the fiendish imperial court. Stupid is how I describe my failure to learn a counter to any scrying magics. Lessons are learned I suppose.

I would rather have seen Argon Nimblefingers or the Emperor’s whore the day I decided to officially become a citizen of Tredroy. Instead, Jordan Seigebreaker reared his ugly Christian head. In the ensuing diplomatic mess, I volunteered my former life to spare the city and the mage’s guild from war with the Emperor’s legions.

And now I have brown skin, eyes and hair as black as the souls of necromancers who haunt the dreams and dark nights of the Abrahamic fools.

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The Trial of the Applicants

I wake to a splitting headache and the bizarre man or woman, I’m not sure, whom I foolishly checked for magic retains his motionless stature. For a moment, I am laying on the tatami mat, back in Sahud. Only now the faces of two children, a dark man in a turban, and a lizard man eating live vermin from a bag float above me like perplexed clouds of dizzying colors.

Sanjay, the Arab, helps me up and the flower named girl wipes the blood away from my nose. I must leave this place or I will surely go mad.

I don’t know how long I’ve been here, since I left my room at the Valley Inn this morning. I met a water mage named Andy who helped me get to the Mage’s Guild. Walking through the exotic Al-Wazifi section of Tredroy, he points out various landmarks including the dreaded Imperial Embassy of Megalos. I imagine Jordan Seigebreaker inside, planning my murder in the service of the demon Emperor.

I dust myself off and head out the doorway, which instantly changes into the busy reception hall, populated with robed students with varying stripes of different colors circled along their arms. Mages of all colleges hawk various magical wares to customers who seem to come from around the world.

“Congratulations apprentice,” a long bearded Arab approaches me, his hand extended, “I am El-Adeen, Arch Magus of Weather.”

“Weather?” I ask myself, half believing he can read my mind.

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Tredroy, the City of Three Laws

Tredroy, I choose, Tredroy, the City of Three Laws. The captain of our fine vessel gave me one of the few choices I’ve had in the past four years and the most cosmopolitan city in all of known Yrth is where I go.

The city has changed hands many times throughout its history and now is sliced between three nations; Cardiel, Al-Wazif, and Al-Haz. I’m looking forward to putting my Arabic to good use.

As we come into port, I can see strange temples with spires topped with golden onions. Strange prayers waft across the concave shores of these two vast rivers which split this city like a pie for a hungry triumvirate. The salty smell in my nose is replaced with rich incense and unknown spices.

I spend the bulk of my time scribing the air spells which were taught to me. Another mage replaces me and kindly uncovers what I later discover is magus imposter trying to swindle me of either my money or my knowledge.

I am paid, quite handsomely, for my two years of service on the sea. I find an inn with the finest bed I’ve laid in in four long years.

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June 6th, 1943

Awareness of the calendar has come back to me, thanks to the captain of this ship!

I find myself in a prison of a different sort. My days are spent on a merchant vessel, filling sails with a magical wind. When the winds give me a reprieve I learn the art of sea-fairing from the crew and the captain.

Shamus, my vassal and knight, enjoys his time on this ship. It was only through the crew calling his name that I remembered his awkward moniker. He finds solace and rehabilitation in his daily tasks here, cleaning the deck, hoisting the sails, and carousing with the crew. I’m beginning to see him come back into focus, the haze of our imprisonment fading like the morning fog cleared by the afternoon sun. He will be released from my service. I would very much like to put everything behind me.

My time not working is spent learning the strange language of the crew and alternatively pitting my quarterstaff against the small compliment of armed mercenaries the captain employs for the occasional pirate attack. I am now able to parry most of their attacks. Of course, they aren’t the wretched Knights Templar who forced us to flee into the fringes of oblivion.

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Winter, 1942

It is now a year and a day since Stampford and Nimblefingers’ souls were imprisoned and their bodies sucked dry of life and left as walking corpses. I know this because the cold has returned and so has Wen-Jien promising my release.

A year and a day since I was invited to be a “guest” of the Heaven King. A year and a day of meditation, folding paper into tiny beasts and painting black symbols on yellowed parchment. A year and a day of learning to navigate the rocky shores they call a culture.

I cannot say this feels real to me, as nothing that has happened to me in the past two years seems real to me. It is just as it is. I suppose I can point to the meditation for this distinctly alien outlook.

Out of the mist of these last days in Sahud, comes a hazy vision of a lizard pulling pieces of Nimblefingers from my memory. I can only assume its going to pilfer the vile ankle-biter’s fortunes. So be it. May that line end and forever be as used and barren as an aged whore.

Spells to navigate and aid a sea fairing ship are taught to me, and I teach spells in return. For two years I am to be a sailor and use my magic to blow a ship around the vast sea. To keep me from jumping ship, I will not be paid my salary until the end of the voyage. The captain is not a fool, which is reassuring.

With great gladness I look forward to leaving behind my circus of paper animals and my inked black characters. While my meditations have kept me quite sane, I am not the same person who ran from Quartadec with that band of idiots. How different, I cannot quite say.

My vassal is here at the port with me and yet he served me for several years, his name has been removed from my head like the fading memory of far off lullaby. He is off and there is something missing from his look. I suspect the same is true for me. Something missing yet I don’t know or don’t remember what it was.

We board our new home and I remember that feeling joy is like a swim on a sweltering summer’s day. I will find these winter months on the sea infinitely more enjoyable than a year and a day of Sahud.

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