Samuel decided his first objective would be to go to the inn to see if he couldn't get a room and a decent meal. He walked into the building and over to the innkeeper, pulling the bag of silver coins out from under his hat.
"Excuse me, how much for a meal? I've been out for quite some time and I could use a dish of whatever it is you happen to have to serve."
Gomik yelled when the doctor took the blood, but just from the suddeness of it. He rubbed his wrist as the Doctor said something about a spinal tap."What exactley would that include? And why do you need it?" The doctor just went on and talked about the cave. It sounded lie he was trying to suggest the cave was a creature."Wait, is the cave a living thing?"
"Maybe. I haven't seen it myself, but there aren't too many inns in this town are there?" she smiled wryly. She took the sandwich, catching a whiff that made her throat clench. "Thank you. I suppose you're not doing this just because you're a nice person?"
Yuri nodded and took a coin, handing Samuel five bronze coins marked '1 Crown', then turned around and headed into the kitchen ,returning with a bowl of stew and a glass of water. The stew appeared to be mostly beans with some diced carrots and onions and a little bit of pork, heavily flavored with garlic. "Enjoy."
"Well, a spinal tap I would take a needle and insert it into your spine to extract fluid. It's extremely painful, and I'm afraid I'm out of anesthetics." Parietus turned. "The cave? You think it might be a living creature? Well, that would explain some of it's peculiarities. Unfortunately, I haven't seen inside. But you have! Tell me all about it!"
Gomik cringed at the thought of having a needle in his spine, but said "If it would get my memory back maybe... But let's talk about the cave I guess. We started in a room with a shrine looking thing holding an octopus looking statue, sort of like this." Gomik said as he quickly pointed to his belt, the sigil being revealed. "Also, before we left, there was a cavern with a large red pulsing stone. You could feel it if you held your hand to it. I broke my screwdriver on it, but I got a small peice of it, if that means anything." Gomik said, laying everything he saw on the table.
"Fascinating!" Parietus began looking over the heartstone chip, running his fingers over it. "It's still pulsing...I wonder...could the cave be a primal creature that has simply been asleep these past many thousands of years? I must remember to investigate further. And this..." He touched the sigil, then immediately snatched his hand back. "How very peculiar. It's icy to the touch, yet does not draw any heat from the area around it. Most fascinating."
Behind Parietus, the fluid was bubbling high enough that it nearly escaped the vat, glowing a vibrant green now. Parietus turned and began throwing ingredients almost at random into the vat, but it appeared to work as the fluid stopped bubbling and became a pale blue color.
"IGOR! THE ESSENTIAL ETHERIC FLUID, NOW! Oh, wait, it's right here." He pulled a vial out of his shirt pocket and poured it in, the fluid turning a pleasant reddish brown color. "At long last, my work is finished!"
He turned back to Gomik. "So anyway, as I was saying. These are some very intriguing artifacts. You may have the makings of a truly great scientist! Please, return when you have more information, perhaps I can provide a more valuable insight.
Parietus walked to the other side of the room and began fiddling with a device that looked like a gigantic cannon of some kind ,suspended from the roof by copper cables. "This is a mess..."
"Well, my concern is genuine, I can assure you of that. But I shall be honest with you. I'm not sure my funds will be enough to cover the cost of a room for the night. I was thinking perhaps you and I could pool our finances together and share a room." He had hoped that she would be willing to help him.
Akivasha studied Jacques for a moment. Caladon. She had Caladonian money. Perhaps..
"We--I say we, for it was several of us who made it out of the cave outside the town--remember little of ourselves. Most just a name. But.." She paused a moment, voice scratchy. "But I think I am from Caladon.. I wonder-- do these marks mean anything to you?" She reached up to pull off one of her gloves, pushing up her sleeve as she held her hand out to the librarian, showing the eight eye-like marks.
She looked like she was considering it. "From what I remember... few of us are actually in possession of some money. Why don't you see if any of the others want to chip in for a room?" With that she left, standing outside. Library, tavern, inn... doctor? More out of curiosity than anything else she looked inside, spotting Gomik and a rather eccentric looking man. It smelled like chemicals. Nevertheless she went inside. "Good evening gentlemen..."
Gomik slipped the chip back into it's resting place, and got ready to leave. He saw one of the ladies from earlier walk into the room he was in, and felt it best to atleast warn her."Watch this one if you need to talk to him, I think he has atleast one of his bolts missing." Gomik said truthfully, as the doctor seemed only partially insane. He walked past her and out into the street, shutting the door behind him. He took a stroll to the hotel, and took a look inside. There were a few of the others, but he walked to the owner and asked for a room.
"Cave with skeleton walls? Don't know what you're talking about. Never heard of a Bhelest Prison, either. Sorry." Yuri shook his head. "Anything else?" Yuri quickly turned and dealt with Gomik, taking $5 and handing him a key. "First room at the top of the stairs."
Parietus turned to Iris as she entered. "Good evening, ma'am!" He breathed sharply. "As I live and breath, science personified!" He started walking around her, prodding at her ears. "A genuine Half-Elf! Dwarves are not so uncommon, but I've only ever met a few Elves and never a Half-Elf outside of a textbook. Fascinating!"
Rob sighed "Well, so much for that. I suppose I can ask someone else should the need arise. Of course, I might just be worrying too much about it. Still, before settling on a room, I think a trip to the library might be able to get me a couple answers." He had seen that the stitching on his coat had been done a while ago. He put it back on and walked over to the library.
"Well, hopefully this place will have what I'm looking for. ........Now what exactly am I looking for?"
She smacked his hand away when he touched her ears. "They hear and feel just fine, I'd appreciate if you didn't poke them." Maybe I can find out something, even if it's not directly related to my identity... "Why are half-elves rare? What do these... textbooks say about half-elves?" For once she wished she had some sort of weapon. A dagger maybe. Mental note: inquire at the blacksmith for simple blades...
"My apologies." He suddenly jabbed the tip of her ear with a needle, drawing a drop of blood. "Sorry! Sorry! Just had to get a sample." He threw the syringe to the side haphazardly. "Care for some tea?" He pulled out some teacups and put one into the vat of fluid in the middle of the room, then took a drink from it.
"Hm. Interesting." He set the cup aside for a moment. "Half-Elves according to the textbooks are rare due to both the difficulties in Elven-Human procreation - even more difficult than Human-Orcish, as I understand it. Elves are radically different from Humanity and most pregnancies last less than two weeks before miscarriage. Besides that there is the cultural issues." He clicked his tongue. "Very problematic."
Jacques raised an eyebrow. "No, the marks don't, I'm afraid. But amnesia...you say you awoke in the cave..." He rubbed his chin. "I am a mage. Not a very good one, but a mage nonetheless. I believe the cave is a potent nexus of magical energies, although gathering information on it is difficult. The townsfolk fear it. If I had to guess, I would say that someone attempted to magically transport you and your friends, but the cave disrupted it, and possibly scrambled your memories."
"As for the markings, while I don't recognize the specific marks, I have seen somewhat similar marks as identifiers for various organizations. Thieves, assassins, pirates."
A high-pitched squeak echoed in the room and she made a shoo-ing motion with her hand. "Seriously? Do you jab everyone who walks through that door with a needle?!? You better make the most of that drop and find out why I have amnesia too." Deciding the worst it could do was make her crazy, she accepted the "tea". Honestly it didn't turn her stomach the same way the sandwich did, and she was glad to get something for her sore ear. "This tea tastes strange... it won't have any... side effects will it?"
"I'm sorry, I have a problem. I was getting help for it, but there aren't any licensed psychologists in Mordavia. Or unlicensed. Or even a decent bartender. But I'll, uh...I'll do my best. The tea...probably...maybe has no side-effects."
"Ah. Well that's too bad." Kane said. He took another long, hard sip from his pint before putting it down. He then remembered something. "Hey Yuri, do you know anything about this?" he said, pulling out the golden cog medallion with the snapped cord and holding out in front of him.
She coughed and sputtered. "Maybe? No, you know what, nevermind. Does your textbook mention how human-elf relations occur? Where they're most common? If the elf blood usually originates from the mother's or father's side?" She glared at the tea, but drank more anyway. "What does one do to get money around here besides steal it?"
"I'm afraid not. Looks like it might be a religious symbol, though. Talk to Jacques in the Library."
Parietus nodded. "Money? Hm. Never touch the stuff myself. As for Human-Elf relations, well, do you understand how sexual intercourse works? It's a lot like that. Usually the father is Elven and the mother Human, but the distribution as I understand it is very close, about sixty-forty. If you're looking for money, you could make yourselves useful. Science knows there are enough problems in this sleepy town." Parietus dug around in his notes for a moment. "Ah, wait. I have some money for you if you can do me a favor. Somewhere in the woods there's a garden of surpassing verdant lushness. I need some of it's fruit for experiments, it has remarkable properties. I have no idea where the garden is, unfortunately. Although from what I understand, it's believed to be the only other safe place in the forest after dark besides safely inside town. Look near the graveyard. The Graveyard is a straight shot to the east."
He hummed for a moment. "Oh, yes. Thirty crowns in it for you. Fair bit of cash. There's also the castle. This valley used to be administrated by a family called the Borgovs, but they vanished from this valley about fifty years ago. Around the time the swamp was forming though, new settlers moved into the old castle. I'm curious about them. The castle's a few miles to the west. Ten crowns in it for you."
Rob started walking around the library looking for a newspaper or anything that could bring him up to date. I could also use an atlas. We need a map so that I can know where to go next. Otherwise I'll just be wandering around with no set destination.
It didn't take long for Rob to locate some of what he was looking for - a map, a newspaper that looked to be from several years ago, and a 'Traveler's Guide to Mordavia', from a few years before the newspaper.
He located the map first - it showed the valley of Mordavia, completely surrounded by mountains with only a pass to the south. A huge swamp dominated the southern edge of the valley, radiating out from a central point that was marked only with a skull. The swamp filled the entire pass, making leaving the valley near impossible.
Away from there, there was a large lake to the northwest, and just north of the lake was the outer gates of Castle Borgov, which according to the Guide were the former rulers of Mordavia, Boyars under the rule of the King of Carenstovok. The town itself was pressed against the northern edge of the valley, and according to the Guide, it's primary trade was from it's mines, which apparently produced twelve percent of the silver for the entire nation of Carenstovok.
To the east of the town was it's graveyard, which was apparently considered a 'Tourist destination' by the guide. It was unusually large and heavily populated, one of the most notable of the interred being Jeremiah Pendleton, a Caledonian general and statesman who had been buried there nearly fifty years ago.
There were no other notable places on the map, but the guidebook noted that Mordavia had a very strong magical aura that attracted many to the valley. The guidebook mentioned that among those were a group known as the Cult of Avuzahl, as well as the famed sorceress Erana, who was said to have created a garden within the valley, and according to some had died in Mordavia fighting the Cult. Rob noted that the death of Jeremiah Pendleton's death and the date that the Cult was expelled from Mordavia were the same year, although specific days were not given.
"A garden and new royalty hm... sounds interesting. I'll keep that in mind." She thanked him for the tea and left. It's really late... maybe I should get that room. It was a little colder than she was comfortable with, and she hurried to the inn. "Excuse me, I need a room." Her thin fingers slipped into her pockets and pulled out a 5 note.
Yuri nodded and slid her a key. "Have a good night."
Rob started jotting down footnotes in his notebook. "Well, this place is going to be annoying to leave... still, some interesting bits of history. Now then..." he started browsing through the library, wondering if there might be something else he could use, brushing the tip of his cane along the wooden shelves and occasionally along the spines of the books. "I don't know what I'm trying to find out, but maybe something will stick out..." He was unaware of the others in the library.
She grabbed the key, staring at it as she walked up to her room. A key... what does the key open? she felt the key in her pocket, much different in appearance than the room key she held now. After unlocking the room she went back downstairs.
"If you see the tall human gentleman, with the cane? Trying to get a room or perhaps asking for me? Please give him this key."
The room itself smelled musty, and Iris forced the window open to air it out. I'm getting the bed. All the extraneous sheets and comforters went to the floor, and she only kept a single sheet for herself as a blanket. Time to turn in... maybe I'll have some dreams about who I am.
Kane nodded at the innkeeper. "Thank you. Can I also get a room for the night?" He may have been thirsting for answers, but this whole thing was giving him a headache. It would be best for him to rest up and start unraveling this amnesia mystery once his body and mind were refreshed.
Most of the books didn't draw his eye and Rob walked the shelves for several minutes before suddenly finding his eye drawn to a single book kept separate from the others. It looked like the glass case it was in was supposed to be locked, but as he checked it he found it slid open. The book was a plain book bound in black leather, titled 'Book of Avuzahl.'
It called to him, but did he dare open it?
Yuri nodded and slid Kane a key, then nodded. "I will do that, miss."
Rob looked around and made sure nobody was looking. He got a book that was roughly the same size and color, despite it being different material and having a different title. He swapped the two and stuffed the book in his bag. I don't know why... but I get the feeling this will be helpful... or at the very least, it could be useful later. Ran out of the library as fast as he could. I don't know what got into me... maybe I should call it a night...
Samuel by this point had finished his soup and water and and had put his coins back in the bag under his hat. After finishing his meal he decided he may as well try and find this doctor. Heading back out he went back to the office and entered. He knew he had enough on him now that he knew how much food cost that he could buy a room for the night at least, so that wasn't a main concern of his. Finding the building easily he walked in and found the doctor with a few others.
"I'm sorry, I didn't show up with the others. What do you know at the moment?" He asked.
"HA HA HA HA HA! AT LAAAAST!" The doctor was elbows deep in some kind of cannon. The cannon hummed and then fired a massive blast of lightning at the vat, causing the tea-like fluid within to explode in a blinding flash of light. He pulled himself out of the lightning cannon and ran over to the tea vat, reaching down inside and withdrew a single leaf.
"HA HA HA, I'VE DONE IT!"
He turned and looked over his shoulder. "Oh, excuse me. I didn't hear you come in."
Gomik picked up his key and headed to his room, finally sighing and getting excited to be able to sit down and relax. He got to his room and opened the door using the key, and then locked it behind him. He quickly turned to his bed and dumped the contents of his new bag out on it, three assorted books, the sword , and the two daggers. He began inspecting the blade, Which belonged to Erana, it said on the case. He wondered who Erana was, and he decided to take a look at the older looking book, the Diary of Piotyr, some sort of paladin. Intrigued, He began to read to see if there was any helpful information.
Kane grabbed his key and headed up the stairs. He opened a door and entered his room before shutting it behind him. He took off his armour and cloak, then spotted a mirror lying on a table. Kane picked it up and saw his reflection for the first time.
"Hell, I'm not exactly the prettiest face around." he said to himself. Although oddly despite his dirty skin, injuries and unkempt appearance he had a lot of muscle on him. Kane climbed up onto his bed and let out a heavy sigh before closing his eyes.
"Of course, my apologies. I'm apart of a group that may have come in earlier. We all happen to have amnesia and I was hoping you may be able to help us as to the cause of it." Samuel said, hoping that the doctor may be able to help them at least recover some information about themselves from the clues they still had. It would be a long and difficult road to recovery, so best to try and start now.
The diary began with a date about seventy years ago, speaking about Piotyr's daily life as a Paladin. He writes of his training under a man named Rakesh and of traveling the world battling evil, until he finally returned home to his sleepy village of Mordavia. In that time it seems that Mordavia was peaceful and prosperous under the rule of the Borgovs.
However, soon after his return to Mordavia, the cult formed and constructed their nightmarish monastery. Piotyr's writings become increasingly fearful and urgent until about fifty years ago when his writings become much more calm.
"Today a traveler came to town, a half-elven woman named Erana. I have heard of her, she is a sorceress of great renown. Rakesh and I saw several places she had touched. She has already begun work in the wilderness on the creation of a magnificent garden that will be a place of safety to all comers. We spoke and she expressed concern about the Cult's activity. I fear the worst on that front. My friend Janus slipped into their cathedral a night ago and observed their meeting. Sergei Borgov himself was present, listening to a sermon by their leader, the one they call 'The Mad Monk.'
Sometimes I loathe the restrictions of my vows to crown and honor. This Cult is evil, but without proof of their wrongdoing I can do nothing."
The writings continue in this vein for several more pages, then...
"Janus is dead. He entered their shrine and stole their sacred book, 'The Book of Avuzahl', and with his last breath brought it to me. Within it's pages it speaks of Avuzahl's true nature, that he is a being from beyond this world. The Cult seeks to bring it to this world and usher in a new age of darkness. Why they would do such madness is beyond me. The Cult has fled to the great cave near the pass. Erana had foreseen this and called for her friend Jeremiah Pendleton. He will bring his soldiers and hopefully with the aid of King Nicholai's army we can defeat the Borgovs and the Cult before all is lost."
It continues with a final entry.
"Victory is a bitter drop to swallow. We routed the Cult, and I personally cast Sergei Borgov into the chasm. The summoning was stopped, but at a cost. Erana entered the portal between realms and did battle with Avuzahl on his own ground, sacrificing her life to save the world. Many of the Caladonian and Carenstovokian men are dead, including General Pendleton. I seem to be the only one left."
"One last responsibility remains to me - to ensure that the Dark One is defeated forever. In my interrogations of some of the surviving cultists, I have discovered that summoning Avuzahl requires seven rituals from the Book of Avuzahl. Looking at the book now, I find that these rituals were cut out. Without them, the rest of the book is nearly worthless. These rituals were in Sergei Borgov's possession at the Cave, but against all odds some of them slipped through my fingers. The Ritual of Essence fell into the chasm and I possess the Mouth Ritual, but the Rituals of Bone, Blood, Breath, Sense, and Heart's locations are uncertain. However, I believe I have an idea where the Heart ritual may be - a surviving sorcerer of the Cult, a man named Gregor. I have tracked him to one of the crypts within the graveyard. Now I go to do battle. I fear I will not return this time."
- Piotyr Ivanov, Paladin of Mordavia.