It has been seven years since Stiltson in the high northern docks, the last significant city-state, signed the Unity Agreement: making the Sunlantian Union a truly intimidating force. So far the Opaleyes of Lawforge have not demanded anything more than cooperation with a few safety laws to reduce monster attacks and support in defending other Sunlantis Union members. To ensure that the laws are being followed and help negotiate trading terms for more supplies, the Lawforgians regularly send a caravan to their allies containing a diplomat, a monster expert, and a trading expert in addition to the required guards to even arrive by hoof. It is now the time when they would visit Spiritos, the City of Souls, true home to every mage and old ally to Lawforge: of the first the sign the Unity Agreement even.. however..
The Council of Magi has summoned three experts of their own in concern of this pending arrival, sending them each and urgent summons to the city. Its gates open and its common ponies wandering around normally, but the Council guards certainly seemed anxious when they greeted you and escorted you inside the meeting hall, seats for all ten representatives on one side of their grand table decorated with a shimmering cloth, empty plates and seats for four visitors on the opposite. You might expect them all to be filled but, of course, only one of the Magi was there to meet you. Typical Wizards, only being where they want to. The old crystal pony doesn't smile, but simply nods under his beard. "I see you are as timely as your reputations let on. I am Blaze, the Magi of Elements, I trust that the the Magi of Illusion's message was at least basically informative about the situation?"
You know that they are having a problem with some 'over zealous' wizards doing 'dangerous and unstable' spells which 'may need the attention of a monster slayer'
"I have the gist, yes."
I'm chewing on a piece of carrot.
"Right, so you know about the unstable portals drawing creatures
into the city? We're not entirely which one
of the wizards working the Violet Spiral is responsible, but we locked up the whole tower for the time being.. including many of the ponies that didn't leave before we locked it.. Unfortunately the portals are not closing on their, but rather reappearing in areas around the tower. Naturally this is a problem but.. Look, the Lawforgians are arriving in a week's time, they can't know about this, that it ever happened, we'd rather keep our citizens alive, but if those forge ponies do find out it will not only mean potential death for all the wizards that were working at the spiral, but also Lawforge will send at least a temporary investigation to Spiritos; something we can not afford." He looks at you both with a stern air of concern.
"I trust you can handle this additional circumstance? You'll be well paid of course.."
"How do you know for sure the wizard is in the tower?
Maybe the wizard got out and is making new portals outside!"
"Yes, we'll take care of it. Hopefully with as little casualties as we can."
"Oh. Its possible. I suppose you could talk to a few of the apprentices that escaped, they may know if the portals can be used that way, thou the notes they handed over suggest its a one way connection.. Let's see we have Yuna the gryphon, Gretel the diamond dog, and Sapphire the unicorn staying at The Quiet Cloud, an Inn nearby the Spiral.">>650514
"I appreciate that, and here.." He slides over a hoof ring with an intricate symbol. "This will let you carry our authority, hopefully its some help." >>650512
You get the same ring and there is a third on the table which the wizard looks at with a frown. "Hmm there was supposed to be one more.. I suppose you'll hold onto this for him then?"
Pick it up and inspect it.
"Shiny. I'll use it if I have to, but who wouldn't trust an old stallion?"
Chuckle and put the ring safely away.
Take another bite of my carrot and talk with open mouth.
"Why have they not been quarantined? For all we know they might be making all these portals.
Believe me, I dealt with lots of mages and they're tricky!
…no disrespect of course!"
"Gate guards kept me."
The old donkey walks in with a slow, heavy pace.
Cat eyes glance back. And a toothy smile follows.
"Drau of the Klimm clan. Pleasure to meet you."
"Rose Lock. Of the Kickbutt clan."
"True Mark of the Old Geezers Club. Nice to meet you."
The crystal pony nods at you.>>650517
"I'm not against arresting them under these circumstances, though since we have no proof it was their Master that did this.. The Magi of Nature, Divination, Conjuration and Necromancy would hear nothing of it, too many of their schools arrested on false pretenses in recent years, and both Alteration and Illusion refused to put a vote in." >>650518
"Ah, I thought I told them.. Well, I do apologize for them, they are understandably a little worried about letting in someone with your.. particular skills." he pushes the third signet over to you. "Here, you three might need these, or at least We pretends you might need our authority."
So are both of you old guys?
"Can we use lethal force if necessary?"
"I'd prefer not to, only against the monsters."
Pick up the band and study it in my hoof with a smile before wearing it.
Shake my head slightly.
"That's gonna be fun.">>650522
"Never too old to die in battle, am I right?"
Smile at him too.>>650524
"If they don't want anyone arrested, killing them is hardly gonna be in their interests.
And they are our clients."
"I have the fatal flaw of never knowing when my moment of glory comes, and it would feel awkward to die after I missed it!"
He pauses at your question and keeps his tone flat.
"If you do have to kill someone, make sure no one will ever hear about it, if lawforgians discover this, then they would likely die and take a dozen others with them. I don't want them to even suspect."
"So what should we do if we find the pony responsible for these portals?"
"Subduing it is."
"I'm not sure why you called for monster hunters to do an investigator's job."
His eyes narrow at you three. "If you find him, you should kill him. He put everyone in the city in danger with his experiments. He is most likely at the top of the Spiral. If you're ready to head inside there I can let you in, but I can't let you out until the portals completely stop spawning outside."
"As for why we called you, instead of ordinary investigators, well.. the portals are not bringing over kittens. Its taking a significant portion of our Council's guards to keep things
from escaping into the city, or anypony from looking into the area. Luckily the Spiral is not located near anything important but the one Inn and its so far just out the range of these portals."
"Evil wizard atop monster-filled tower? I can roll with that."
"I see. I suppose we should tell the innocent ones to hide and sit it out somewhere safe."
"And make tell them not to spread rumors about this.. incident
"I was led to believe so Drau."
"Unless you have more questions or wish to directly enter the Spiral.. then you should get started, after all there is only a week to go."
"I'm sure they will understand."
"I'm sure we can improvise if we get stuck."
"What's this Spiral of yours like?
Entrances, exits, secret passages…"
"Hmm, The Violet Spiral is a large spiraling tower, built nearly a hundred years ago, the stone stairs set the middle and various rooms surrounding them, some of these also have stairs going up or down. There are windows and the two gates, but the whole structure is locked in by a magic barrier, preventing anything from leaving or entering, when you are ready I'll have the barrier opened for you to go inside and then put back up, meaning you won't be able to get out. I don't know of secret passages, but with something that old its always possible."
"I would like to talk to those apprentices first."
"Should we check that out, or head straight for the target?"
"I will be needing some alone time in your archives. Might help me find something about the tower."
"Just head to the Inn, The Quiet Cloud, those three: Yuna the Gryphon, Gretel the Diamond Dog, and Sapphire the unicorn will all be there. And if you will excuse me..">>650543
"I will guide you there." The crystal pony stands up and circles around the table to stand next to the old donkey.
Nod, as if to instruct him to go on.
"The inn… the perfect place to exchange stories!"
Off I go there!
Time to go!
The old geezers can check out their books!
You leave the mage and the monster hunter pony alone in the old castle, heading out past the guards who seem a little more at ease to see you leaving, the air outside smells fresh and is slightly humid as if you were next to a river bank. Sunlight shines off the pavement and the hooves of ponies trotting is loud in your ears. Things get quieter near the Inn, its location just a short trot off from a more popular district, and its simple appearance, plain walls with painted clouds, is cute but surely less of a draw than an Inn in the entertainment district, and the massive tower behind it almost totally overshadows it, drawing attention away, thou even from this distance you can see a few guards posted, the ones mentioned to keep ponies from wandering close to the thing. As you approach you can see in the window a diamond dog is staring out looking terribly bored. >>650545
You share a moment of silent staring, he doesn't totally trust you and you don't totally trust anyone. The crystal stallion slowly trots down the hall, down some stairs, and to a large locked door. "I trust you will only look for information about the Spiral.." He comments suspiciously, and he draws forth a sizable key.
"He looks like he needs a good chat!"
"I have little care for your secrets, mage."
What a nice place! I should have booked my room here!
Tap the window.
"Hey, you Gretel?"
The old wizard scoffs back at you and throws open the door, the scent the only a room of dusty scrolls and books can produce hits your snout like a wave of smog, the hanging crystals light up with a soft aura, much safer than the oil lanterns that clearly used to be here ages ago, the framing is still there they simply placed these crystal where the flame would usually go. As you expected, there are rows and rows of shelves all neatly stuffed with parchments, a single book serving as an index on a stone stand near the entrance, and the shelves labeled with paper slips indicating letters and numbers, which have a varying degree of yellowing on them. >>650549
You go directly inside, the pony keeping the inn greeting you with a "Good day Sir!" As you do, the diamond dog sitting alone by the window does appear to have a staff beside them, has barely touched his soup and is looking out the window when your partner approaches from that side. >>650551
The dog jumps in surprise, nearly knocking over the staff next to him and prys the window open. "Yes.. I am Gretel, do I know you?"
"No, but I know you.
May I come in?"
To the Innkeep!
"A fine day to you. Would I be mistaken to assume you are Sapphire?"
"Well then. I will come out once I'm done."
'1d20+9' and then I leave the time roll up to you, no idea how this topic and library classify.Roll #1 19 + 9 = 28
"…I suppose It couldn't hurt anything.." He scoots over a little awkwardly so you can jump in the window, glancing over at the bar where the inn keeper and the old pegasus pony are chatting.>>650554
The earth pony mare smiles softly. "Who me? I'm nowhere near that pretty, that unicorn has a room here, staying for work reasons I believe. Are you.. a relative perhaps? You sort of have that fatherly look about you. Or are you an admirer?">>650555
"I'll be waiting upstairs." He replies and leaves too look around.
You flip through the catalog and determine the building records would be in row 14, and they are organized by alphabetical rather than age which makes it a bit difficult, particularly since it was under 'Tower' and not 'Violet' or 'Spiral' but you eventually find some old architecture notes, a faded blueprint and a work order for the construction.
I jump in through the window.
"Great. Now, I'm here to ask you about what happened in the Spiral."
Almost too good to be true. Flip through the notes.
Let out a chuckle.
"Now now, first of all, no mare should demean herself by saying such things and comparing herself to others… second of all, assuming things can lead to very awkward thoughts that nopony wants!"
Shake my head with a smile.
"I'd like to have a few words with her, if you don't mind showing me her room."
You do have a gift for these things, or at least having researched enough in your life.
You have to be careful, these documents feel thin and old, but they do show a plan for a series of secret hallways between the floors, the note explaining how to open them is so faded you can hardly tell what that that's what its even meant to do with ordinary senses. >>650557
"Oh. Nothing is happening at the Spiral. Its under construction. Uh. Why do you want to know about that place?" He slides just a bit further from you, suddenly interested in his almost cold soup that he hadn't touched before you got here. >>650559
"Oh, do you really have to hurry off to her? I think she's studying something, you know how it is with her type, ambitious, pretty and studied under several talented wizards.." She sighs at you.
"It's okay, the Magi sent me!
I'm going to help solve the whole problem!"
"I promise that I'll stick around for a few days after I'm done here to keep you company with all my stories, but I am afraid this is indeed urgent. If I interrupt her studies I'll just get her some flowers later too."
Well then, let's go call the mage outside. I'm sure he's got a spell for this.
"Well. In that case. I didn't have anything to do with it! I was fetching tea at the time."
He seems a bit more confident now, his paws not constantly stirring his soup. >>650562
"Flowers? Sooo you are
an admirer after all." She giggles softly. "Okay, You can follow, and I'll ask, but if she says she won't see you then you have to go, I can't have my customers being bothered at all hours." The mare moves around the counter and calls back "HEY APPLES TAKE THE COUNTER FOR A WHILE!"
"GOT IT!" You hear a stallion voice call back and see his shadow move toward where the mare just was.>>650563
He is sitting at the hall where you first met, eating a small sandwich, of which there is a tray full of similar small sandwiches in front of him and drinking something sweet smelling from a glass, he barely looks up at you. "Back so soon?"
"Then how did you end up here?"
"I need a spell. To read something that's almost faded away."
"Thank you. Don't worry, I'm sure she'll listen to me when she realizes why I'm here."
"I.. am waiting here until its solved so I can go back to apprenticing.. If you're here that means it should be soon now." Gretel is scratching his head a little as he talks, his eyes darting around your face as if trying to gauge your reactions. >>650566
"Find something about the Spiral then?" He turns his full attention to you now, stroking a few crumbs out of his beard. >>650567
You follow the earth pony upstairs, her legs showing the signs of wear of going up and down these steps far too many times in her life, the quaint doors painted with clouds surrounding the numbers. She stops as room 5 and motions for you to stand back, knocking after you do. "Miss Sapphire, are you in? You have a visitor."
"A visitor! Oh, is it Speckled Light? Yuna perhaps? If its Gretel tell him to go away, I'm still mad at him."
"Its not that dog dear, its a pony!"
"Alright.. I'll come see."
The door opens revealing a unicorn bluish in color and with a deep blue mane, her eyes shine like gems, or crystals, but otherwise she seems like a normal unicorn, she is wearing a well tailored robe, with a pink rose pattern on it.
"Yes. Wouldn't want to waste time otherwise."
Do a little bow, then pick up one of her forehooves and gently kiss it.
If for nothing else, I can play the part of an admirer for the sake of amusing the innkeeper.
"Lady Sapphire, pleased to make your acquaintance. May I have a few words with you?"
Stomp my hoof.
"You're lying! Tell me right now, exactly what happened between you getting tea, and you being here. How did you know about these portals?"
"Alright. Show me." Blaze stands next you expectantly. >>650570
It does amuse the earth pony greatly, she covers her mouth with a hoof and watches the two of you interact.
"Um, Its nice to meet you too.. Sir.. I was a little bored actually.." the unicorn pony smiles kindly, her shining eyes almost looking through your soul with intensity for a moment as she pulls her hoof away. "you can come in, just be careful what you touch.."
Would you like to roll an intimidate check with that
Calmly lead him back to the old documents, pointing quietly with a hoof at the almost unreadable printing.
SURE '1d20+14'Roll #1 1 + 14 = 15
Roll #1 10, 11, 14 = 35
"Oh, do not worry about that, I can keep my hooves to myself."
Nod at the earth pony.
Then follow the unicorn into her room!
The diamond dog's eyes go wide and he shutters.
"Okay, okay. So I didn't actually leave, he, Master Red, told me to leave for tea, but I didn't.. I saw through the door he was doing.. a summoning, but it wasn't just him.. another wizard was there, I couldn't see too well, but I heard one of the words used.. and then there were there creatures made of ice and when I saw they sealed the tower I just.. I sort of panicked and altered what I overheard a little, tried a spell on one of the small portals and I wound up outside.. They told me to stay here."
"T-that's all really." >>650577
Inside of the room is just what you'd expect from an Inn of this quality, decent soft looking bed, a small sofa, a small table: covered with books, a bathroom that reeks of perfumes, and a small chest to store valuables in. >>650574
His hoof gently picks up the page, he first lets his natural light shine onto it, humming to himself and them uses a small gem to pass over the page, words glowing briefly and the page itself becoming whiter. Its still a bit light, but you can read it now.
The way to open these secret passages is to use a specific artifact referred to as the 'orb of definition' as a key, in the slots indicated by symbols on the walls. "Well, I believe this is actually still in the Spiral. Around here." He indicates a place in the second floor. "As part of a statue."
Sit down at the small table, standing for too long is not healthy for me.
"I hope you don't mind me just barging in, but I have to distract your studies. I want to ask about the Spiral."
"Quite hoofy."thanks for running!