Meridia (or Tæstia in the traditional tongue) was a world dimensionally split through a near cataclysmic event, cause of which had never been determined. But what is known that the three races had allied together to intentionally cause this split, forming a complex series of seals throughout the worlds on both planes of existence, preventing the worlds from remerging. And from the three races now six were formed: the Zh’lazs, Zh’ærsh, Dr’zaar, Dr’shaal, Ts’ozph, and Ts’ersh, who slowly withered and died under the weight of their impressive control over time and the universe.
Crystiame remembered that world well. One of the races was a reptilian like creature with dark brown to black with brown along the ridges of the scales. Some had spiraling horns or crowns peaking from the top of their heads.
It seemed he had become cemented to the chair they had sat him on when they had unleashed this insipid box upon him. The box chimed and ticked, remaining clenched in his hands. And while unnecessary, the guards had bound his hands and feet.
His mind flashed back to the last moments of the world of Meridia. He respected their scholars for their knowledge, but how they used it was potentially dangerous. It strained the fabrics of reality. And when the time came, the existence of that world was snipped away from the fabric of life. It was not his choice, but many thought that it was. Fates be damned! Where the hell was Ruark!?
"JAVARI!" he shouted, startling his once-apprentice and giving him a few seconds to speak.
"No, Javari, you should not blame yourself for what happened to Crystiame and Kroven. You did as your master said and respected the elders as you were meant to. That they have been taken by madness in accusing Crystiame of killing his highly accomplished former apprentice is certainly not your fault."
The boy calmed for now, Toph's mind went back to actually process what Javari had told him.
So... As he had feared, Kroven was dead. Toph closed his eyes for a moment, recalling the first time he had met him, newly apprenticed to Crystiame and eager to DO things. His laugh had been the best part about him. Hard to draw out, once it emerged from within his sturdy frame it seemed to echo through the entire room like some sort of happy thunder, lifting up and washing away all the doubts and misgivings in the room.
But no longer. Toph shook his head and knelt to pick up the pieces of table.
"Feeling a little better?" he asked, placing the pieces of wood next to the hole the goldenrod had made. "Don't worry about the table, I'll get that fixed later. This shadow-thing. Did it look anything like the blackness that overtook the elder monolith? Or was it a different sort of blackness?"
Toph's eyes flicked back to the blurry illustration. With the book as damaged as it was, it was hard to say whether it was a black wind or a black stream that was flowing into the droben's mouth. Whichever it was, something odd was going on, and by the strangest of coincidences, it had to do with this book.
"Also, Javari. Do you know where they are holding your master? Its been a while since I performed a daring rescue, but... I feel it might be necessary."
Topheh sighed heavily, and said “I will not lie to you, the Goldenrod is a burden. But Crystiame entrusted it upon you for a reason. And, if you were not meant to wield it, it is unlikely that it would let you. And from this night’s demonstration, it seems that it has already integrated into your psyche, and now has a connection to your sacred id.”
Javari responded, “But I do not want this.”
“It is no longer a choice.”
Javari sighed heavily. As he relaxed his grip over the Goldenrod, it unraveled and wrapped around his arm like a leather strap bracer. He could see out of the corner of his eye the concerned look in Master Topheh’s eyes, and curiosity. He did not like being the center of curiosity. It made him feel like a sprawling bug stuck to a pin on a wax board.
A thought came to Javari, “We may not know where Master Volodimire is, but would it be possible to establish a mental link with him? I have seen him do this with others. I know it had to be with someone he had a personal connection with. Would you be able to do this?"
Javari, Reluctant Keeper of the Goldenrod
Toph moved over to a chair and sat down, calming his mind and allowing his body to relax. The trick to doing a connection like this properly was to allow one's spirit to partially detach from one's self and go searching for another's spirit.
He cast out with his mind, searching and seeking for Crystiame.
"Crystiame, can you hear me?"
So, he decided to try something risky. He would send a series of mental images to Topheh in the hopes that Topheh would be able to decipher them. In order for it to work, however, he would have to extract true memories, and would lose those memories forever. Furthermore, the extraction of memories could cause serious mental trauma. Without any other option, it was a risk he was willing to take.
Scene One: An image of the Elder Monolith holding a broken scale in his left hand with the Stoneburrow Heartstone behind him on the right. Behind the Elder Monolith on the left side is a shadowed figure whispering in the elders’ ear. The shadowed figure had dark scales and the robes of a shaman or cleric, embroidered in elaborate gold patterns of clocks.
Scene Two: This is a four panel image. The first is a droben figure speaking in front of the Heartstone appearing to be listening to what the droben was saying. The Heartstone was glowing slightly. In the right hand of the spreaker was the flag of Ruark. In the second panel was the same image but the droben was not there. In the drobens place was the image of Crystiame tied to a chair with a box in his arms and the elder what appears to be swinging a gavel with a broken scale in his left hand. In the fourth panel was the Ruark flag on a pole, but no Ruark. In the fourth was a reptilian scaled creature holding a box that appeared to have clock gears all over it.
Scene Three: Was an image of four guards lifting the chair and Crystiame up into the air and lowering him into a vat of molten bronze. The box is clearly visible clasped in Crystiames arms. His arms and legs are tied to the chair, with his eyes wide open.
Scene Four: An image of the Ruark flag, a scale, and the Heartstone.
Crystiames mind slumped into darkness. His body screamed out in pain, but yet he still could not move. He could only hope that Topheh could interpret his message.
He watched as minutes passed by. The collectively calm face of Topheh ever so slowly started to grimace in concentration. His eyebrows furrowed and his jaw tightened. Javari watched as Topheh’s clenched and released his hands repeatedly, and couldn’t help but wonder what was going through his mind. The movement of his hands was curious. It was almost as if he was…
He shot up and scrambled to find a blank sheet of paper and a writing utensil. As soon as he placed the ink well, paper, and quill in Topheh’s hand, it steadied. Quickly he drew, sketching out a picture or a scene, and then pushed the paper aside for another, then another, then another, and then one more. In completing the final image, Topheh slumped backwards, his hands stained and clothes smeared with ink.
Javari pulled Topheh up and placed him in one of the more comfortable sofa-chairs, then drew a blanket over him.
Javari, Reluctant Keeper of the Goldenrod
"Gwuh?" he said, working his mouth to try and wake up his tongue. "What... happened?"
Before, the connections had always been simple affairs, he and his target speaking mind-to-mind with no troubles. He had felt the connection begin, then... something had tried to force itself into his mind, and the last thing Toph remembered was forcing it out of his skull, and then blackness.
And now he was here. Still somewhat groggy, he pushed himself to his feet, setting the blanket aside. It was then that he noticed his hands. Ink, all over them. And there, over by Javari, a series of images, drawn by what he assumed was his hand.
Four scenes. Toph glanced out of the corner of his eye at Javari, who was busy studying them as well.
Some reptilian advisor whispering in the Elder Monolith's ear... Toph could only assume that the advice was bad, given the broken scale of justice in the Monolith's hand. And the clock motif... that indicated age.
A memory sprang into Toph's mind. Years and years ago, he had been part of an expedition that had discovered an ancient temple buried underground. There had been eight segments, but they had only explored two of the corridors off of the main entryway when they had been beset by scaled temple guardians, remnants of an old race that none of them had ever heard of before. The reptile in the sketch did not look much like those, but perhaps he had only encountered one caste of the race, and this was another... it was a shame that the lower portion of the body was not drawn.
Okay. This one seemed to be more pertinent to the current situation. It appeared to display the 'trial' of Crystiame, as well as his punishment. Once more, a reptillian figure was prominent, as well as a box... Toph checked to make sure that the box was the same in both panels. It was, both boxes decorated by clock gears. Ancient technology, clearly, brought to the surface by the ancient race of lizardmen who were trying to influence the Elders... but why? And what did the box do?
This one was worrisome. Toph could almost see the bronze bubbling as Crystiame was brought towards it. Toph's first thought was that this was how the 'court' had determined that Crystiame should be executed, but that made no sense... bronze was too valuable for such a task. Oil or lead would be more appropriate. Perhaps there was another meaning. Bronze... statues were made of bronze. But did that mean that they meant to make him a statue in his honor, or make him a statue in reality... hold him immobile. And once more, the box. Odd.
A simple image. Ruark's flag, a reptillian scale, and the Heartstone.
"I think we need to find Ruark, and I think I need to find my notes on a certain reptillian race. Do you have any idea where Ruark might be, Javari?"
Topheh took the book for a moment, studied the words, and then said “it is one of the six races from Meridia. The people and this race no longer exist.” Javari continued “Then why send an image of one? Could one have survived?” Topheh seemed taken aback by the questions “I do not see how that would be possible.”, but left it at that. Javari pressed on “What were these creatures? What did they do?”
“In this first one, the elder is passing judgment. But judgment is not fair or balanced. The clocks could symbolize something with agelessness or is immortal. He is an unknown force affecting judgement?”
“In the second one seems to be the trail of sorts. How would Crystiame stand before the Heartstone? Is that what that is? Is that the banner of Master Ruark? I am not familiar with it.”
“In the third, I am at a loss. Bronze is used to enhance the properties of healing crystals, and are thought to induce calm and deep thought. Could this be literal?”
“And to the fourth, no, if I am not mistaken, he resides within his own stronghold.”
“Could Master Volodimire have called to have Master Ruark on his behalf, but something happened to Master Ruark... so the council of elders had the trial anyways. And the casting of the bronze is the sentence? If this is true, then Master Ruark could be in serious trouble. In any event, the elders of Sonesburrow are not to be trusted, and are being influenced by someone.” Javari groaned. He head hurt from all the thinking. Plots within plots, twists within twists, he could feel it all unraveling.
Javari, Reluctant Keeper of the Goldenrod
He turned to the sound of rock knocking on rock. Opening his door, he discovered one of the apprentices waiting for him. Ruark appraised the young Ingin, he seemed anxious in the Megaliths pressence, and eager to deliver his message and leave. For a moment a dark thought passed through his head, and he considered making the apprentice wait. He smiled and, indicated he was ready to hear when the apprentice had to say.
"I was bid to advise that a shake messenger has arrived"
"and..?" Ruark replied.
"and your requested to attend".
"To a shake messenger? Important news doesnt travel by shake. Tell them I'm busy, I'll get down to read it later".
"But Megalith Ruark, I was told it was of utmost importance. I'm to.. I'm to insist".
"Insist?" Ruark chuckled at the look of terror on the youngsters face. "Be off with you, tell them I'll be down shortly". He closed the door and wondered why he needed to see a messenger. Anything important couldn't wait, and was passed on between clans by orb.
The shake had gone by the time Ruark made his way to the great hall. Born, on of his Obelisk's was there waiting for him. Ruark nodded at the other Opulent, and wondered over to join his friend.
"You've been summoned to Stoneburrow" he said, hading the missive to Ruark. Accepting it, he scanned through the message from the council of the Stoneburrow clan. He had to read the message twice, by the second time he was becoming angry.
"Crystiame has killed an apprentice, and wants me to defend him?" he almost shouted. "He should know my opinion of greatest sin. Killing a Droben" he shook his head "I wont do it" he announced to his friend.
"You dont have a choice Ruark. You know that, custom dictates.."
".. but he's not even a Droben."
Ruark sighed and contemplated the fact that he didn't have a choice. Volodimire had lived with the droben for many years. Many of the stoneburrow clan had gone on to become powerful under his tutilige. He had even spent a short time, away from the Northern Mountains, learning from him when he was an apprentice.
"No wonder they sent it slowly. Very well, I'll leave in the morning." he looked at the amused smile on Born's face. "I don't know what you're smirking about. You're coming with me." Without waiting for the expression on the Obelisk's face, Ruark turned, and headed back to his study.
“I am sure.” He replied. From one of Volodimire’s pocket he plucked out a key. What secrets this man held, he thought to himself. If only he could unhinge his skull and see them for himself. If only it were that easy. The key was to some place in Stoneburrow, no doubt. He could hear the grinding of stone on stone as the elder monolith shifted. He looked up at him with one eye, and then drew his full attention to the miserable droben.
He hated this world. Hated the way it smelled, the language of the people, their traditions, their food and customs. There wasn’t a single thing he enjoyed about it, till now. “There is nothing to fear, droben.” he said coldly. The secrets Chrystiame Volodimire held as he watched their world come undone. Why hadn’t he taken any action? By his reckoning, Volodimire deserved a fate worse than death. And standing back to take another look at his handy work, this most assuredly fit the bill.
“We weren’t even sure if we would be able to contact you. But you came with the highest of recommendations.”
“Rather fortunate for both of us that you had. But then, my services are not cheap.”
“Indeed, and we are grateful for your quick response. This contraption…”
“The least you know about it the better.”
“But where did it come from?”
“As I said, the least you know about it the better. It has been my pleasure, and I am glad you contacted me on this matter.”
The box chimed, clicked, and ticked away the moments. The Meridian could feel the strands of time being pulled away from Chrystiame Volodimire. The Meridian Shaman was the last of his race, possibly even the last from his native world, escaping a portal into the next world as his home world collapsed.
“We are all aware of his abilities, and it was not something to take lightly. Without your contraption we would not have been able to contain him.” The lizard man grinned broadly. And while this talk was good, coin was better. “I expect full payment by the end of the next night.”
“Now pay close attention, Crystiame Volodimire is an extremely powerful mage. And though this contraption worked his energies will try to find a way around it.” The elder nodded, saying “Yes, yes. Encase him and the box in bronze…”
“…and his own energies will be redirected into the box, sustaining the box indefinitely.”
“It is not tradition.” He could see the look of concern over the elder monoliths stony face. Creatures bound by tradition, it all made little sense to him.
“There is no other way. Traditional measures cannot unhinge this man’s spirit from his body. If you stab him, he will only heal. Even if you turn him to ash, his body will reconstitute.”
Crystiame was a withered husk, but if the box were to be removed it was certain this being would sprout back to life. No, death was too good for this man. This was much better, much more satisfying, this fit the bill indeed.
Præl`Maj, Meridian Shaman
With his eyes frozen open, he had long since gone blind. If only he could get away from this cursed box. He heard a door open and shuffling across the hard stone floor. This was not a droben. If it had been a droben it would sound more like stone scrapping on stone. The only thing he wanted was to be free from this would to be in front of a nice cozy fire eating a fine dinner of roasted duck with garlic, mashed potatoes with gravy, and green beans. For some reason, that appealed to him at the moment.
He could feel the breath of this being on him, but could do nothing. It spoke, “My name is Præl`Maj, I am a Shaman from Meridia.” The voice was smooth and cold. “In a few days, they will have your trial and you will be as good as dead. They will entomb you in bronze, and then throw you into the ocean, and you will be stuck with this box for all eternity.”
He could feel the shaman shifting through his pockets, pulling out small little possessions. How could he of let this happen? His mind scrambled for a solution. What if he were to try and synch his energies with the box, would he then be able to shield himself from it? The Shaman continued “Everything you worked so hard for is now mine. And I must say you have a very beautiful library, one of the best that I had ever seen.”
“Just so you know, you’re screwed. The evidence against you is rather substantial. And as much as I would like to sit and chat and to have gotten to know you, I just don’t foresee that in your future. They had collected the dust from Kraven and have set it in a large urn in the court room. The Goldenrod is mysteriously missing, there are a few that wouldn’t mind getting their hand on that piece of hardware, let me tell you. The burnt clothes with the residue of your magic from when you supposedly blasted this shadowed creature are a nice touch, one that really stacks up the evidence against you rather nicely.”
The Shaman Præl`Maj was starting to get on his nerves. The arrogant bastard, with him gloating in front of him, was making him extremely annoyed. He was doing it on purpose, to distract him, to keep him mind away, to break his spirits. “They also couldn’t find that shadow creature. I thought about tracking it down, I have a device that flickers an image to the past, like a strobe light. Very hand. It could even save you from this predicament. But what would be the point in that?”
And with that the Meridian Shaman left, the door bolted behind him.
In areas saturated with magic, distinguishing one signature from another becomes more problematic. So, in an area where repeated magic was cast, details of individual signatures become much more distorted. But the Meridian was not one to leave things to chance. He had already stripped Crystiame Volodimires study of anything valuable, but he didn’t want leaving anything to chance. The elder paid him to capture and contain Volodimre, and that is what he intended to do.
A knock came at the door, and the Merdian smiled. It wasn’t easy finding that one well placed evidence that would surely convict Volodimire. He morphed into the image of Volodimire. The guise wouldn’t last long, but then it won’t have to. He walked up to the door and open it.
“I heard you have been away on that business Volo… I had sent you on and have returned just this day. I hope you came here straight away?” the Merdian said. He almost messed up, but this miserable whelp didn’t seem to notice.
“Yes, Master Volodimire, of course! The expedition went…”
Now, there is a third way to disguise magic, and it took some time for Præl`Maj to master it. Basically, if you know “when” in time someone cast a certain spell, it is possible to align your magic to be cast within that moment, and for all intended purposes for any scrying on the signature will come up with that other signature as the culprit. He had since made a gadget that could capture those signatures. From within his pocket he turned the dial of a small spherical orb.
Just as the droben pulled out the device, the Meridian vaporized the droben to dust. The object the droben was holding clanked to the floor.
And with a little extra push of magic, he carefully scattered the dust around so that it matched the movements of Vomidimire moving around the study. Silently he disappeared into the shadows. Soon, the guards would be notified of this place and of this new evidence.
Præl`Maj, Meridian Shaman
Soon, with Javari laden with half a dozen heavy books, the two set off for Ruark's holding. Arriving, Toph rapped on the door and said to the droben that answered.
"We are here to see Ruark. Could you tell him we are here?"
“We are here to see Ruark. Could you tell him we are here?”
The droben servant stared blankly back for a moment, as if trying to register what was being said. The droben shook his head from side to side and responded, “No, I cannot.”
“This is urgen…”
“You don’t understand, it is extrem…”
“I cannot because he is not here. “
“Do you know where he had gone to?”
“I am not certain, though there was a messenger from Stoneburrow and shortly thereafter Megalith Ruark had left with Born. He was not in a pleasant mood.”
And with that the servant closed the door. “Master Topheh, if Megalith Ruark goes to the trail then it is not likely that he will hear all the evidence.”
Javari, Reluctant Keeper of the Goldenrod
"Thats true. For that matter, do you think you should go to the trial? You did see the entire thing... but if the council is as compromised as it would appear, you are likely to be arrested on the spot as an accomplice. Irregardless, if Ruark has left for the city, we should try and get there before him."
Toph snapped his fingers and with a rushing whoomph of air and sound he and Javari reappeared in his study, pages flying everywhere.
"Put those down and we'll get back to them later" Toph said, waving at Javari's bag. His once-apprentice dropped the bags, and the two hurried towards the place where the trial was to be held. As they neared the building, Toph saw Ruark speaking with the guards at the door.
"RUARK!" Toph shouted, but the droben did not hear him, and walked through the doors, which shut behind him. Toph looked over at Javari.
"Well then. What do we do now?"
As they crested the mountain, Ruark noticed the small shiny rapier hanging at Born's side. Constantly amused by his friends choice of weapon, he chuckled.
"Why do you persist in wearing that silly thing? You planning on killing your enemies a small chip at a time."
Born just gave him a dirty look. Ruark knew why he wore the rapier. It was nothing to do with it's functionality as a weapon. The huge opulent could crush a skull in one hand. But it was a gift, from a human Born had become close to, long ago.
By late afternoon they could see the smaller settlement. Shortly after, they were walking in through the front gate. A huge stone archway carved out of a single slab of limestone.
Ruark noticed his flag being raised to signify the Megalith was in town. He appreciated the quick response of the guards on duty, but to be honest, it was a droben tradtition that he didn't really care for. During war time, telling your enemy where you were, didn't seem very strategically sound. But then, his clans had withdrawn from the wars for a while.
Now to find out what the hell was going on.
And yet the box chimed and ticked away the moments, fluxing the fabric around in bitter defeat.
The chamber door creaked and groaned open. Things seemed to be slowing down. How long has it been? It seemed like ages. Gods, if only they could just…
And then a familiar voice, so close he could almost feel the moisture from his breath.
“Who designed this… contraption.” He heard Ruark say with approval and disgust all in the same breath. The elder monolith replied, “A Meridian Shaman by the name Præl`Maj. His services were requested upon hearing of the crimes of Crystiame Volodimire.”
“He is not of this world…”
“Yes, Megolith Ruark.” The elder stuttered. He couldn’t help but wonder why he would be so concerned by such a forward question, until the elder concluded. “Upon hearing of the alleged crimes, we were concerned for the safety of the city. My own studies had recalled the race and their abilities with time. Response was needed quickly… so I send a black wind as a messenger…”
He could hear Ruark stop cold. “Do you realize you will be stripped of your title for this?”
The elder hung his head low. There was a long pause before the elder spoke again. “None of the others were aware of this fact.”
“I would like to review this evidence before the trial, along with this Shaman. If the evidence does not support conviction, elder monolith, rest assured that the remainder of your years will be mired in shame.”
Crystiame was confused. Why did Ruark not have him awoken to tell him what happened? This was all a misunderstanding. Ruark will see through all this, and all will be fine. Won’t he?
“Crystiame Volodimire claims that his new apprentice was receiving his first lesson by Kraven off in the woods. As Javari was focused on performing the task, a shadowy type creature consumed Kraven and turned him to dust. From there, Volodimire stated he had told Javari to run while he took care of this creature, blasting it with a burst of light.” stated the elder.
“Can this be confirmed?” Ruark asked. The Shaman could tell this was a man of reason.
“The testimony of an apprentice is not sufficient, in this regard, and it is possible for the apprentice to be compromised. Scouts recovered the remains of Kraven, but the Goldenrod was not to be found.” The elder then presented the remains in a large urn. Ruark touched the vase and nodded his head. The Shaman could see that he was more than a little upset. “Guards along the southern wall also reported see a brilliant flash of light. The energy signature there was consistent with Volodimires. No trace of a creature was found.”
The Shaman watched as a droben shake came up to the elder. “Sir, there is…”
“Not now, can’t you see that we have a distinguished guest?”
“But…” the droben started to say, but then was cut off. The Shaman could see that the shake seemed concerned. The Shaman smiled to himself as his plan slid into place.
“This better be good.”
“We have uncovered another body at the Volodimire estate, that of Bolana. From our records, he was on an expedition for Volodimire, and upon his return was vaporized to dust.”
The elder was speechless and there was a very uncomfortable long pause. “This is very unpleasant news” the elder stated.
From there, Ruark had pulled the elder to the side. It was a heated argument, one that lasted for quite a while. But the Shaman waited patiently until their conversation was concluded. The elder then introduced the Shaman to Ruark, to which he nodded. “Containment of the accused would not have been possible without your help. On behalf of Stoneburrow, I thank you for your services.” And with that he extended his massive hand. But Ruark was swift, his hand firm as he grabbed a hold of the Shamans forearm and pulled him close. Ruarks eyes glared at him with such intensity that they felt like they were piercing through him. The Shaman fidgeted with his other hand over his orb. He really didn’t want to use this, but if his treachery was discovered he would not hesitate.
Ruark released his grip on the Shaman. The elder paid him his fee with a small chest of coins and gems. The wooden chest was simply crafted and nearly dropped to the floor as the elder handed it to him. Droben were if anything extremely strong.
“It has been a pleasure. If you ever need my services again, you know how to reach me.” He said, and in a blink teleported back to his private estate. Dropping the chest onto a table, he couldn’t help but thing about that shadowy creature. What was it? Where did it come from? And most importantly, how could he exploit it?
Præl`Maj, Meridian Shaman
"Okay Javari, I have an idea. We need to get inside, but we can't actually be physically inside as that would be hazardous to our health and continued freedom. There is a spell that I learned a long, long time ago from an old goblin wizard. Oh, don't look at me like that, Javari."
"I know what they teach you, that the goblins have no control whatsoever over their magical abilities, and for the most part that is true. For every mage born among the goblins a hundred times that many are born in the other races of the land. But that isn't to say that some do not possess that special knack for magic that lifts them up to be a match for any other mage of any other race."
Save perhaps for the Sidhe, blessed to have their very blood sing forth with the magic of creation...
"I digress. I learned from him a particularly useful spell that, in my opinion, only one as devious as a goblin would have come up with. A means to duplicate one's form in a remote location, appearing as a... well, you could call it a spirit, I suppose. You are there, you can see and speak to others, and they can see and speak to you, yet they cannot touch you. The spell has its drawbacks, of course. It has a short range, requires great concentration and, while the spell is active, you cannot sense anything at your current position. That was how Graa'tzzz died..."
Toph trailed off as Javari's face paled slightly.
"Not that you will die! I will be watching out for you. If this sounds like a good idea, I will transport you into the central meeting area whenever you are ready..."
Toph sat down and began to concentrate, pulling up the Art from his blood and settling his mind to weave the strands of magic lightly over Javari. The boy didn't need to know about the other drawback to the spell... that of its leaving the caster susceptible to mental attacks from either end of the spell. He would be the one who would have to deal with that complication, though... it was his mind effecting the link.
"Ready when you are."
Through the completion of the spell he watched as his body collapsed to the floor, his head hitting the cobblestone road with a loud thud. “Oh, I forgot to mention that you may want to be sitting down for this.” Topheh moved the body to a more comfortable position. Javari looked down through the ghostly silhouette at Topheh and his body. He felt so detached from everything. On the side of his head he codl see a small lump where his head had hit. If he wasn’t made of stone himself, it is undoubtedly that such a fall would hurt far worse that it would.
Javari floated through the stone walls to the Heartstone Chamber. Crystiame Volodimire had already been moved into the room and the trial was underway. He could see Megalith Ruark sitting there with a grimly solemn face. Two urns were wheeled in, along with the tattered garments and equipment of Draven. He could see several sentry guards and veteran scouts sitting on the witness selection bench, along with several other mages. As they wheeled in the urns, he could see the face of Ruark darken. This was not a good sign. A passing thought occurred to him, and he couldn’t help but wonder why there were two urns…
As he moved forward, his ghostly image passed through several droben, who upon realizing he was there quickly stumbled out of his way. “Kraven has come back from the dead to take vengeance on us all!” someone yelled out. The courtroom was in a bustle as droben clawed out of the way, tripping over each other, falling on benches and smashing them to pieces. Guards had drawn their long polearms, and several others made not so subtle prayers to their deity. It would have been comical if it wasn’t so serious.
“You don’t understand…” he spoke, a gasp filled the room. Someone from one side of the room threw a piece of a broken bench at him, passing through him and hitting someone else on the other side. “Hey!” the droben that was hit shouted.
The elder arose from his chair. “This is Javari, the apprentice to Crystiame Volodimire. This is a spell effect, if I am not mistaken, and if memory serves me correctly, a relatively unknown spell of goblin origin.”
“But I need to say this isn’t right. Crystiame is…”
“Obviously guilty! What type of self respecting mage would consort with goblins!?”
“No, that’s not it at all! He didn’t…”
“We have two bodies, an imprint of his magical energies at each of the scenes, the testimony of renowned scouts verifying there were no tracks, of the guards seeing the flash of brilliant light that vaporized the body of Kraven, and several well established mages verifying the magical traces. And now we have testimony of Crystiame Volodimire performing dark rituals!”
“This is not a dark spell! Crystiame is innocent! There was a shadowy figure! He defeated it with light!”
He could see off to the side the Meridian Shaman, him then raising his hand, then smoky black darts jutting from his fingertips towards him.
“Oh, this can’t be good…” he thought just before they struck his body.
Javari, Reluctant Keeper of the Goldenrod
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