25 Gozran, 44 NC
The party debates for a time about their options. After much discussion, several facts and theorems emerge:
- It is clear that the Ringwielders have some ability to sense the tome’s general location.
- Ralben previously stated that Mengst and Muerdetta would likely be headed for the Waygate. He didn’t clarify his reasoning for this assumption.
- Sanorin appears, by all accounts, to nullify the power of the Ringwielders. A message has been dispatched to Thane Ironfist to aid in testing some of these assumptions.
- The Waygate excavation site is protected by a company of soldiers and a fort. The Waygate is likely only weeks away from being unearthed.
- General Vane will likely have the support of a meaningful percentage of the armies of the South, even once his plans to betray Flambeau are revealed.
- The clear path forward to lay a trap for Flambeau would be to lure her to an ambush at the tome’s location.
While Vane is speaking with the party, he is also in conversation with Volkov via the messenger book. At one point in the conversation, Vane reveals that he believes that the Lady of Fire has invaded Westergarde, as Volkov scrawled a message stating a disturbance at the gates followed by a “She’s here.”. Shortly thereafter, the book itself immolates and Sanorin is doubled over with a sense that many, many people died suddenly. The party assumes the worst, that Westergarde, the jewel of the North, has been destroyed.
When asked about how Flambeau could have that power and not used it before now, Vane reveals that the Ringwielders are operating on a sort of “reserve” of Kishara’s raw power, and that the Ringwielder of Fire likely used up a majority of hers in such an act.
At one point during the conversation, a rain squall blows in across the mountains. Vane appears to be having a discussion with the Ringwielder of Water – who is dismayed at his subterfuge but seems to lend a tacit support for the plan.
When Snot checks in with his contacts, he receives a message from a sect of goblins operating in the South, stating that people matching Mengst and Muerdetta’s description had been seen days ago in the city of Teribain. There is some debate over how the pair had traveled so far so fast, until Jacob discovers that an artifact that he had in his possession was 1) no longer in his possession and 2) perfectly capable of transporting the bearer to the ruins of the College Arcanum in Teribain.
I would have preferred that chat.
We were trying to come up with some plan on what to do next. Mostly, we came back to finding Jacob Mengst and the book. The theory was that the two were headed for the Waygate; that was what Ralben had assumed, at least. Since none of us could come up with a better theory, that was the one we were stuck with.
While we were talking, Vane was also writing with Volkov. Then he broke in, showing us the book he was writing in. The messages from Volkov told Vane that it seemed Flambeau had invaded Westergarde. The final line was: “She’s here.”
As we watched, the book started to burn, and Sanorin pretty much collapsed. A lot of people had just died, and he seemed to sense that somehow. After what I had seen him do, I did not doubt that he was right. It seemed likely that Westergarde had just been destroyed, Volkov with it. And the big question was whether Flambeau now was on her way here to deal with Vane or if she hadn’t actually found out about that part.
She must have left for Westergarde before we got here and met up with Vane, though, so she must have had planned to hit Westergarde for a while. Unless, of course, she had been there alone, and had arrived there by magical means. Which was a distinct possibility. And then there was the book. The one Volkov and Vane had used to communicate. Hopefully, she seen it; if she had simply burned the keep down, or the entire city down, she wouldn’t have. Which meant that she still might not know about Vane.
Something Volkov had written might have indicated that she might have been after the book that Mengst and Muerdetta had stolen, and somehow traced it back to Westergarde. Perhaps, when they stole the book, they had broken some sort of protection on it that prevented it from being traced. Or maybe she had always known where it was, but it was only now that the reactivation of the Waygate was just around the corner that she really needed it.
Volkov explained that the power Flambeau had access to would have been mostly spent in her attack on Westergarde. It seemed most of her power came from Kishara, and she needed the Waygate reopened to regain what she had spent. Meaning this was the right time for us to strike. If we could find a way to do it, of course. But to do that, we also needed more information on how Sanorin’s powers worked.
While we were talking, Vane got up and left. Sometime during our conversation, we noticed that Vane was outside, and that it was pouring. In the “don’t go far from the house, or you might not find your way back” way. The “I know there’s a building just over there, but I can’t see it, but bring a club, because a trout just swam by” kind.
It was clearly not a natural downpour, so I found this an excellent time to test something. I was fairly certain I knew the results when I asked Sanorin to come outside and get drenched. As expected, within seconds he was soaked, and obviously, indirect or secondary effects would still be able to harm him. In other words, should Flambeau toss a ball of fire at him from a distance, he’d probably burn just like the rest of us.
We also knew that he had to be close to actually have an effect; most likely, it meant that he could prevent Flambeau, or any of the other Ringwielders from using new magic while he was in close proximity, read three feet away, but apart from that, he would be as vulnerable as us.
And then we got another piece of information: Goblins had spotted Mengst and Muerdetta several days ago, in the South. In Teribain. There were several moments of confusion before our Glorious Leader now that the dwarf was gone realised that the powerful artifact he had been walking around with in his pocket, capable of transporting people to the College Arcanum in Teriban, was missing, and clearly had been missing since before Mengst and Muerdetta ran off.
I could only hope that our flying ship hadn’t been in Westergarde as it was destroyed, and that they would turn around and come back to us. If we were to have any chance at all of getting somewhere useful in time, we would need something faster than horses.