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Friday, January 14, 2011

INTERLUDE: A funny thing happened while standing in the extra-dimensional library of a powerful wizard...

An angry, disheveled Thaelioth appears to the group in her library at the DDA.  Cut and bleeding from numerous small wounds and a few electrical burns but nothing major.  In fact, she doesn’t bother to tend them as the wounds seem of no consequence to her.  She speaks:

“When I gave you the power to open my vault I didn’t know that you would take my artifact and use it to go shopping!   Have you no clue what you hold in your hands?  Every time the orb is used it creates ripples throughout time and space, like a pebble cast in a pond.  Your little shopping trip set the ripples in motion.”  she points at Mandlebrot as she speaks.  “Many eyes are upon this place now, and most of them aren’t what you would call, allies!”

Thaelioth rummages through some books on the shelves, she plucks one out, lays it on the table and starts to flip through the pages hurriedly.  She looks up and sighs.

“I apologize, gnome.  And to all of you.  It’s too early for this.  Things are happening too early… shouldn’t be like this… they moved before I was ready.  Before YOU were ready.”  She heaves a great sigh and looks at each of them in turn with a sorrowful expression of genuine concern as a mother would for her children.

“…it wasn’t supposed to happen now.  What did I miss?”  Thaelioth continues to flip through the pages of a book titled History of the Underdark Vol. 23.  She snaps a look around at you all as she realizes that you’re looking at her.  She closes the book abruptly and tosses the huge tome in a pouch much too small for it fit inside, and yet it does, easily.  Thaelioth then turns to look at each of you, as if to make sure you all are paying attention.  “Don’t concern yourselves with this.  You must all concentrate on keeping that orb safe at all costs.  I had thought I’d seen the way these events would play out but something has changed, and that can only mean one of two things.  Either the cult has found a way to travel, or more likely, they have gained access to my orb.”  She pauses and looks passed you all seeming to be lost in thought, then whispers under her breath to no one in particular, “must be at some point in the future…”

Thaelioth shakes her head and calls out “Traveler!”  Instantly the orb appears in the palm of her out stretched hand.  She brings the orb close to her mouth and speaks too softly for you to hear into the orb.  It begins to glow softly at first then starts to brighten until an audible pop is heard and the glow diminishes.

She tosses the orb back toward Mandlebrot and, as if reading all of your thoughts, says “No time for questions now.  In fact the less you know about this particular set of events the better.  Knowing how I’ve seen things might lead you to make the same mistakes I have, and thus invite doom upon us all.”

Thaelioth walks around the room and runs her fingers across the bindings of some of the books then snatches one off the shelf, looks it over, and stuffs it into the small pouch on her belt, all the while imparting the information she believes you will need.  “I have put a masking spell, of sorts, on the orb that should hide you for a time, but it will not last.  Use Traveler to aid you, but know that others are watching.  The path you all must follow will make itself known, it always does.  The key is to make sure you’re paying attention.  From now on, you can’t trust anyone… not even me.”  she spins around to face you once more as she finishes.

The wounds now seem to become more of  a burden than Thaelioth first let on.  She winces as she reaches for her staff that is leaning against one of the shelves.  Again, sensing the forthcoming questions, Thaelioth holds out the palm of her hand to stop any movement or words directed toward her.  “This is where it begins.  Take heart my children, the balance must be preserved.”  Thaelioth says softly.  And, as soon as she finishes, her form shimmers for an instant, then disappears with an audible pop.  In the wake of her spell a few grains of sand fall to scatter across the ground.

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