The Chronicles of the Guardian:
Accumulated RolePlay and FanFiction by Joe D. Machado.
All attempts, be it persuasion, stealth, offense, defense, crafting, or singing are done by a base D20. I know where the story may go, but I do not know the true ending until it is written.
Guardian: Amicus Horizonborn, Age: 55
In the dead of night, Amicus arrives at the Free Mann. The tavern is mostly empty save for a few drunkards, traveling merchants, and wandering adventurers. He sits down at a table and is immediately handed a pint of ale of all things by a giant of a Brudvir.
“The price of ale here is outrageous!” The Mann says, wearing a mix of leather and fur armoring. He sits across from Amicus with his own pint and sighs. “You’d think a fancy tavern like this would serve its own ale, but no. It’s all wine! Wine wine wine!”
“I see that hasn’t stopped you from hustling the mercenaries ,” Amicus says, looking over the Brudvir’s massive bicep to see a legion of passed out soldiers by the bar. He looks back with frown. “You know using your talent to cheat a drinking game isn’t right.”
“And who are you to tell me that?” The Mann stares down at Amicus, who simply narrows his glare back at him.
Then they both laugh heartily and grasp each other by the forearm.
“It’s good to see you again, Baradmiir,” Amicus laughs.
“You as well, my friend!”
After various jokes and a few more pints of ale, Amicus pulls out an old scroll and places it neatly on the table.
“What’s this then?” Baradmiir asks, putting down his drink.
“A schematic for a new blade,” The Guardian replies, resting his hands back on his lap. “I’ve recently lost my weaponry and I thought of you immediately.”
“Hmm, that so?” Baradmiir pulls the scroll to him and opens it.
Amicus gulps and looks off to the side. “Well, a master smith like yourself should find it enjoyable. It is quite a unique design. Based of one of Headmaster Agravaine’s own designs.”
“Mhmm... it’s an old schematic, that’s for sure.” Baradmiir looks over the design for the blade over the rim of his pint. “Hmm. Trifold blade... steel.... silver, naturally.... star metal- STAR METAL!”
Amicus coughs and rubs his throat. “It’s not that much.”
“It’s meant for a whole blade!”
“Well, it’s tri-blade, not a duo-blade.”
“Its an illegal material.”
“I’ve already confiscated some for you to use.”
“It explodes if used incorrectly.”
“That’s why I need a master smith.”
“You forge it, one chest of gold is yours.”
Baradmiir slams his fist onto the table, shaking the whole tavern. “It’s dangerous beyond telling! You know this!”
“They killed Belladonna,” Amicus says, looking Baradmiir straight in the eye. “The only thing that can withstand the force of a blood blade is star metal... in theory... the academy is a target. Unless I have this blade, I’m defenseless, which means the school is defenseless.”
Baradmiir growls and leans back into his chair, returning the pint to his lips.
After what seems like a life age, Baradmiir puts down the pint and sighs. “I’ll forge the blade, but you have to promise to kill the bastard that killed Belle. Deal?”
“Deal,” Amicus responds, shaking the Brudvir’s fist. “So, that’s a ‘no’ on the chest of gold?”
“How about we drink on it?”
“Heh, I think I’ll pass.”
After a few more rounds, the Brudvir and Neran pay their tab and head out of the Free Mann.
A Great Deal of Time Later,
Amicus walks over to and shoves a crowbar into a gap of a wooden crate. “We’ll stop moving soon, I promise,” Amicus says, to Alchemist Mugen. “We just need to settle-“ Amicus presses down on the crowbar, but it doesn’t budge. “Somewhere, we are not constantly- ugh.” The crate strains on the pressure. “Pursued by feckin... UrgH... witch... hunters... RRGH... I can’t get this.”
It’s the start of the summer heat, which rolls over the academy walls and dips into the courtyard. While the plants in the side gardens undoubtedly appreciated the sun light and warmth, the three students and three professors working on the many crates wished it was winter again. Zareth zips back and forth from the interior and a crate full of small packages, taking each to its appropriate location.
Moroes, the school steward, tends to Melrose by the central fountain. Amicus and the steward both cast worrying looks at Melrose as he sips wearily from a wooden cup.
(New RPer) Towards the late of autumn, a handful of wagons from the Fabled Reach can be seen bustling through the royal county, towards Agravaine Academy. The wagons boast vibrant shades of purple, green, and floral designs. The hues of colors and artisan work upon the wagons indicate they are anything but ordinary, but carrying specialty goods from the Reach. Behind the wagons, gears forward a carriage with a colorful display of vines and doves. However, unlike the other wagons, the carriage boasted both purple hues, and golden ones.
Within that carriage, sat Orianna, her lap covered with grape-stained documents, diplomatic letters, and poetic literature. There was a crease in her eyebrow as she stressed that she had all the needed supplies for the night of lights at the academy. 'A hundred caskets of wine, twenty crates of candles, a hundred and twenty nine fireworks,' she muttered to herself, lost in thought. Orianna's mind wandered, and her gaze drifted past the carriage windows. A smile spread across her face as she saw the headmaster colorfully expressing his frustration at idle crates near the academy.
Amicus gives up on the crate and looks over at the approaching caravan, adjusting his black and silver robes to be more presentable. He walks over to the driver of the first carriage and raises his brow. “Take ten, everyone!” The Headmaster orders, much to the students’ relief. “Good afternoon. To what do I owe the pleasure of such a... radiant image such as this?”
The carriage door opened, as quickly did a countess emerge with dozens of papers gliding through the air. She chuckled softly, "Good afternoon, Amicus." As she stepped down, she noticed the dented crates, "Now, should the Lord Guardian truly concern himself with a handful crates? Headmaster, yes. Laborer? I think not." The smell of ripe grapes and lilacs wafted through the air, dancing around the wagons.
Orianna pursed her lips, bringing her wine-stained hands together, "Then again...It's an unprecedented time of peace for Tyria. I suppose we do have the time to dedicate ourselves to things we love and care about. I remember when times were quite different, not too long ago it seems. But enough of that, I've brought decorations and wine for the Night of Lights. Even students deserve a chance to enjoy the holiday, even if you keep them locked away in this academy."
“The school isn’t a prison. My students are free to come and go as they wish.... the witch hunters hiding in the bushes might not give them the same choice... I would offer you a glass of wine, but all of mine is in the crate,” Amicus says, looking around at the crate filled courtyard and then over the exhausted three students chilling by the fountain. “They could use a break...”
The Headmaster looks back at the Countess and nods. “Good Afternoon, Orianna. Night of Lights? That’s a few months away. Getting a head start on preparations?”
"Amicus, it takes months of preparation for these events. Wine, decorations, candles...the list goes on. Yet they must all be delivered across the kingdom and ready for a holiday that will last but a handful of days. Getting a head start is but a requisite of my duty to my county, and to my kingdom."
Orianna gestures her hand towards the decorations and caskets of wine, signaling for the merchants to carry the goods into the academy."I trust you'll find a secure place to stash these decorations for your academy."
The countess approaches the headmaster. "I don't typically come with my decorative committees and merchants, but I wanted to say hello, Amicus. I hope things in the academy have been well. Any new projects you have in mind for the school?"
An iron groan echoes across the courtyard as the oaken doors of the school open, seemingly on their own. Amicus folds his hands in his own and sighs. “The school will show your people to a corner in one of the cellars. Everything will be safe there. The Academy isn’t your typical stop along the coast. Many a people stop by at least once to gawk at the old stonework. As for the projects...” Amicus shrugs. “We’re just unpacking after the move.”
Amicus turns sharply just in time to see a red headed boy turn white as a sheet.
“Sorry,” he says woefully, keeping his head down.
Amicus looks over at the fallen crate and rolls his eyes. “No need to apologize to me, Godric. It’s Professor Mugen’s equipment.”
Just as Amicus is about to return to the conversation, a messenger runs up and hands him a letter. The Headmaster sighs, reading over the note. He then smiles and looks back Countess Orianna. “Countess, will you be spending the night? Raven Grove has an inn if the school is too... eccentric for you. Many guests find themselves feeling as such.”
“Professor,” Sharpley says a Dras girl, pulling Amicus to face her. “The other students are too skittish to say this, but.... None of us think you’re teaching us anything practical or practically good at your job.”
“Bitch,” Amicus growls. Soft thunder echoes over head. He looks over at his over other students, who bow their heads in cowardice. The Headmaster clicks his tongue and tosses hands up. “Alright. Fine. I haven’t been here for the great majority of your lives... But that changes now. Meet me in the training chamber, and someone pull Helga from the greenhouse. Well, go on! Get!”
“If you excuse me, Countess,” Amicus says, pulling a wand from his sleeve, “I have to teach my students a lesson. I can’t wait to try this out.” The Headmaster heads into the academy, grinning from ear to ear.
Orianna chuckled as she watched Amicus chase himself back into the academy. Her merchants arrive back from the cellars of the academy. "Is everything secured below?" probed the countess. "Yes, Lady Orianna." chimed one of them, covered in spilled wine. She smiled, turning back towards the now-empty caravans. As she stepped back into her carriage, one of her guards asked, "Where to next, Countess?"
"Home, of course. We musn't forget to prepare our own realm for the holidays," Orianna teased her own guardsmen. The caravan set off quickly after arriving, back to the Fabled Reach.
After an intense sparing lesson, the four students make it to the dining hall by whatever strength they had left. Amicus sits at the end of the table next to Moroes and his old mentor, Melrose.
The three grey haired men watch as the students are served their plates at the opposite end of the table, next to professors sit in the middle, then plates of seared chicken and roasted veg are placed before them.
Amicus fills his glass and looks over at Melrose as he struggles to open his wine bottle. “Here, Mentor,” Amicus says, taking the cork with his own calloused, wrinkled hands and pulling it off.
“Thank you, boy,” The old man says, taking a relaxed sip.
Amicus watches as Melrose eats and reminisces about the old days.
Amicus reaches up and scratches his short stubble and yawns.
“Wine glass. Water glass. The first bowl to be served is the wash bowl, not the soup, and remember that you basically move closer to the plate when using silverware for each course.” Melrose’s grey eyes scan over the assortment of dinner ware and looks down to the opposite end of the table. He furrows his brow at the black haired young man and sighs. “Amicus, it’s important for you to know this.”
“Surely the Queen will care more for my fighting skills. Gustavus eats like a wild boar, why can’t I?” The Apprentice replies.
“It is not uncommon for a royal to ask for the Guardian’s assistance or advice. Thus, you should learn the proper mannerisms to have when in the company of one.”
Two servants step forward and set down bowls of pea soup, making both Amicus and Melrose grimace.
“Pea soup again, Mentor?”
Melrose groans and rubs his temples. “Remind me to buy Professor D’Tarian a cookbook.”
Something makes Amicus’ chin itch, making him scratch his black, grey goatee. He sighs and returns to his dinner.
The Headmaster fills a wine glass and rubs his temple as he watches from the office balcony. Zareth caws out as he glides over and lands on the rail. “The knight march should be starting now. Lovely night for it.” Amicus takes a sip and walks back into his office. He snaps his fingers and the fireplace roars with a bright golden glow. “When is that damn sword getting forged?” He asks himself, while looking over his desk. A map of Aranor sits on it with several lines stretched across it. Several of which intersect at three points. A few celestial outlines are placed over the map and connect with several lines originating from different stars. Lastly, a bright blue string of yarn originates from the head star of the constellation Selene and travels downward, bouncing from intersection and intersection until finally ending at a specific spot on the midsection of Aranor’s southern most mountain. The Throat of the World. The host of the never ending blizzard. The source of the prior plague. The end to all exploration. Amicus crashes into his chair and rubs his eyes and Zareth glides over to his gilded perch. “I’m getting too old for this Zareth.”
The door suddenly bursts open and Moroes rushes inside. “Amicus, it’s Melrose.”
Amicus nods and follows Melrose out the office and down the hall.
Rain torrents down over a huddled mass of black cloaked mourners. A body burns in a funeral pyre at the center of the courtyard, turning to ash in an unnatural fire. Perhaps Amicus could have told the storm to stop, but he didn’t seem have the strength. He looked for the strength off to the side, he looked for it behind the crowd, and eventually also didn’t find it on the battlement overlook. He watches the funeral from under his black hood, staring down at the flames.
“He was a good man,” Moroes says, appearing at his side.
“He was better,” Amicus replies. Something catches his senses and he looks over at the gate. A mann covered in travel leathers steps out of the cover and waves from below. Amicus nods and moves down the wall and into the academy.
Amicus and Moroes meet the mann in travel leathers in the main hall. The traveler lifts his hood and reveals himself to be Baradmiir.
“Horrible day,” Baradmiir says, moving to one of the tables. “First Belladonna, now Melrose. Horrible times!”
“Melrose would have wanted you here, Baradmiir.” Amicus glares at the blade that Baradmiir sets down on the table. He watches as he unwraps the leather and paper, revealing a silver, sapphire hilt topping a silver and cerulean blue sheath.
“‘Ere it is,” Baradmiir sniffles. “Anodyne.”
The Guardian steps forward and grasps the leather wrapped handle of the hilt. He grabs the sheathe and pulls out a triforged blade of silver, steel, and star. It unsheathes with a song and glimmers in the torch light, casting off the faintest shine of master-crafted perfection. Amicus sheathes the blade and ties it to his belt. “You are indeed a master smith, Baradmiir. Now for a staff.”
“Staff?” Moroes inquires, looking confused. “The last staff of power was broke at Donovan’s estate. You said so yourself.”
Amicus walks over to a bookcase and starts picking out books on astral projection. “Well, when the original Agravaine Academy was destroyed by the dread king way back when, it was, of course, raided until empty. Anyone want to take a guess who might be interested in a sudden large supply of powerful magical artifacts?”
“The Unseen University,” Baradmiir says plainly. “But the university is unseen for a reason. No one anywhere ‘as seen it.”
“I got a working theory,” Amicus says, waving a book at them. “I just need to do some scouting.”
“Don’t bother!” A womann’s voice shouts from behind them.
Fair hands push back the hood of her emerald green cloak. Two sea foam green eyes pierce through rivers of sun golden hair. She steps lightly between Moroes and Baradmiir, focusing her gaze on the Guardian. “The University is protected from such prying eyes. I have come to offer you a way in.”
“Who might you be, young lady?” Moroes inquires.
“Anara Starsong,” She answers. “The grand seer of the University.”
“Author of the One Hundred Accurate Prophecies,” Amicus adds, sizing up the young woman from head to toe. “And you’re offering to just allow me entry?”
“I have seen the future... I have also seen the past...” Anara sighs and looks around the main hall, looking at its paintings and bookcases. “You, Mister Guardian, can be quite destructive when going about your business. You are also very stubborn when it comes to achieving a goal. I have seen you enter the University, leaving chaos in your wake. I am here to try and prevent that outcome. I hope that providing you with a back entrance and an easy path to your staff will stop this prediction.”
“And how do we know we can trust you?” Baradmiir grunts, finding the one bottle of ale in the wine rack.
“Seers are bound to the truth. No one will believe their prophecies if their word means nothing.” Moroes says, stepping closer to Amicus. He leans over and whispers, “This does sound too good to be true, however.”
“Well, what she says is... accurate, for the most part.” Amicus puts the books down on to the table and lifts his hand to Anara. “We get in and out of the Unseen University. Do I have your word?”
Anara looks at the hand and nods, shaking it. “My word. We head to Black Bramble Wood in the morning.”
Amicus: Age 55
To avoid detection, Amicus and Anara Starsong leave their horses in a nearby town and walk across a wheat field in the dead of night. Nothing but the full moon ahead illuminates them. The occasional shadow of Zareth gliding overhead darts by. The walk is silent and if it weren’t for an apparent time crunch, they would be taking their time getting to Black Bramble Wood.
“You take this path often?” Amicus inquires, raising a brow at the seer.
“Only when I don’t want to be followed,” Anara replies.
Not that anyone couldn’t guess why, but for those not in the know, Black Bramble Wood is said to house a most fearsome creature. A monster that ensnares it’s foes and drains the life right out of them. For this, only the most daring of souls brave the Wood and only the lucky make it back out.
Anara says that the path to the Unseen University is protected against such a creature, but Amicus has heard of other dark creatures lurking below the boughs. The young lady laughs, dismissing such tales as superstition. The old eyes of the Guardian turn to the churning mists and thorny brush of the approaching forest in caution, for age has taught him that all tales could be true. Especially in such a twisted, haunted place as the Black Bramble Wood.
(New RPer: Erielle) The children who had grown up around this dark forest knew the tales well of the eerie happenings that their fathers and mothers whispered of after they thought them well asleep. It was for this reason that only the bravest would venture alone into its depths. Tales included faerie folk who captured lost wanderers, wisps who lured the curious into the bogs never to be seen again, animals who changed shape and spoke in humann voices. The stories were too numerous to count. All the locals that lived here had a healthy respect for the forest and what it may or may not house. There were still those that did venture into its depths and often they did not share their purpose for visiting. Perhaps it was such a case tonight.
Zareth glides down and rests on Amicus’ shoulder as they reach the Wood. The Guardian stops and faces Anara. “I trust the school isn’t just lying in the middle of this?”
“Of course not,” Anara says, scanning the trees along the rim. She walks up to a tree and moves aside a grouping of vines. A symbol of an eye with a line slashed down the middle is etched into the bark. Anara beckons Amicus to follow and down a winding path they go. “Your theory about the school’s location. It’s true.”
“I figured as much. How better for an Unseen University to remain unseen than to keep it in the Astral Plane.” Amicus smiles at one of his theories proving true. You have to allow him this at least. It’s not often that it happens. “It isn’t an easy business getting in such a realm physically.”
“Really?” Anara chuckles. “It’s easy for us.”
Amicus rolls his eyes and follows the young womann down the path. Anara leads Amicus deeper and deeper, bouncing from tree to tree. A strange low fog hangs on their ankles and the further they travel, the more silent it becomes.
“What manner of creature are we supposedly protected from?” Amicus says.
“The dangerous kind,” Anara snaps, warranting a scoff from Amicus. “The kind that doesn’t like wyverns. We doused the marker trees with wyvern urine to keep the monster at bay.”
“Oh... So, that’s what the smell is.”
“As long as we stay on the path, we’re safe.”
(New RPer: Gusty Ravenshield) Or were they... dun, dun, dun...
As they move further into the wood, Amicus can't seem to shake a feeling of being watched. He looks around, watching shadows dart from tree to tree. It isn't entirely clear if it was a trick of the fog. A chill runs up his spine, forcing him to pull his black and silver robes closer.
When The Guardian looks back to the path, a sudden breeze pushes a plume of fog over his head. Zareth hops off Amicus' shoulder and bats the fog clear with his wing beats.
"Thanks," Amicus says silently. He welcomes the crow back to his shoulder with a comforting pat on the head. Then he looks around to the left, then quickly to the right. "Anara!?"
For a moment, silence responds. Then, "Amicus."
The Guardian turns on his heel and looks up a hill. Anara stands atop it, looking down at him with a frown. "How did you get down there?"
Amicus shrugs and starts walking up to her. "Not sure."
"I told you to stay behind me," Anara says, turning to lead on without a rebuttal.
Amicus scoffs and looks around one more time. Nothing but tree shadow and fog. He turns back and follows the seer, keeping a weary hand on his blade hilt.
Anara stops and looks around for a moment. She scans the trees around her, placing her hands on her hips.
“Don’t tell me you got us lost?” Amicus says, walking up beside her.
“No... no, this is the right way, but...”
“I don’t see any more marks. Is this the spot? Do we enter here?”
Anara sighs. “No.”
Amicus raises a brow at the womann. “So, where do we go?”
“Not sure. Let’s double back and-.” Anara freezes when she looks back the way they came. “Amicus, don’t move.”
The Guardian freezes, going wide eyed. “Is it the Monster?” He whispers.
“No... Terror Shrooms. A psychedelic mushroom cluster that releases spores into the air when compressed.”
“And we just walked through them, didn’t we?” Amicus inquires. “What happens if we breathe in the spores?”
“You suffer through a waking nightmare fueled by your deepest terrors,” Anara replies.
(Amicus: Save: 15)
The Guardian quickly raises his robe to his mouth and nose. Zareth darts up into the trees, leaving Amicus behind. "Coward of a bird."
(Anara: Save: 3)
While Amicus looks around for a clear path away, Anara turns rigid. Her pupils grow wide and she freezes into place. Her bottom lip begins to quiver. "This can't be happening. I failed," she whispers.
"We're not done here yet, girl," Amicus says, but then he looks at her properly. "You breathed in, didn't you?"
"I-I failed! Everything's burning! I couldn't stop it!" Anara shouts, she clutches her golden hair in her fists and falls to her knees, smashing more mushrooms.
Amicus presses his robe closer to his mouth and nose. "Anara! Nothing you are seeing is real! Snap out of this girl!" He reaches down with his free hand to try and shake her back to reason.
"Get away from me!" Anara shouts, punching Amicus in the cheek.
Amicus falls to the ground, gasping. He watches Anara get up and run into the forest. He gets up and chases after her. "Anara! Nothing you see is real! Nothing... you see..."
The space between him and Anara suddenly extends, stretching the girl far beyond Amicus' reach. The trees blur and twist in the moonlight. It's not long before she evades his sight.
Amicus stands in a clearing, rubbing his eyes. Everything is twisting around him. Moving, laughing. The shadows form faces in the fog. Then the ground begins to tilt beneath him, forcing him low. He grips the grass, trying to hold on, but the whole planet goes sideways. The Guardian falls, hitting a tree trunk on the way down. He shouts in pain as his hip smacks up against a hard branch. Gripping on to a few twigs, Amicus holds on as the world flips upside down. A few snaps and Amicus is taken by the sky.
The wind whirls in his ears as he free falls into the clouds. The moon turns blood red as he approaches and a shadow darts from its edge. The shadow turns into Zareth and Amicus breathes a momentary sigh of relief, but then shouts in terror as the bird approaches. Zareth opens his beak and Amicus falls down the bird's throat. He bounces down the crow's fleshy insides, feeling a heat grow the deeper he falls.
Screams shout out as he dives through burning corpses. They all try to reach out and grab at him, but they turn to ash just as quickly. The heat rises and the area opens up. The Guardian falls through black clouds of cinder and then- SMASH! Amicus falls through the roof, shatters through the rafters, and lands hard on the stone floor of a burning tower.
Amicus gasps and tries to get up, but his old bones crackle and keep him low. Something creaks up above and he turns to his side to see what. One of the rafters burn loose from its restraints, it breaks and falls just feet behind him. The bricks crumble from the impact and the rafter falls through, creating a gaping hole filled with flame.
"Not burned alive! Anything but that!" Amicus turns back and begins to crawl from the widening chasm of flame. He pushes an Agravaine banner aside and pulls himself through the rubble. His fingers dig into the groves of the stone floor, cracking the nails. "This can't be happening!"
"This is happening," Donovan's voice booms overhead. It laughs as Amicus struggles to get away from the flames. "Everything you fight for. Everything you gained throughout the decades. We both know it will end in fire."
A bookcase falls beside The Guardian, sending flames outward. The fire catches the bottom of Amicus' legs. He rolls away and pats down the flames, then quickly scrambles back as the floor around the bookcase collapses.
Amicus turns back and crawls on his hands and knees. His burned legs sear with pain. He groans as he pushes a desk away, revealing a Dras womann lying on the floor. Her eyes are open, staring at Amicus. A large hole is in place of where her heart would be. "Bell!" Amicus shouts, grabbing her, but she turns to ash in his hands.
"You couldn't save your friend. How can you save yourself?"
"After all, all you can really do is make it rain. What kind of Guardian is that?"
Amicus leans up and watches the fire spread around him, then he catches a shadow appear at the end of the hall. Melrose stands silent, watching him like he did during his old exams.
"Rain... All I can do is rain.." Amicus' sapphire eyes flash as he raises his hands. The clouds above Black Bramble Wood swirl and crackle with a hint of lightning. The rain comes, turning the fire to steam, washing the nightmare away, and bringing the spores in the air down. Soon Amicus was himself and by himself, back in the woods.
"Where am I?" Amicus mutters, trying to calm his frantic heart.
"Anara!" Amicus shouts, getting up from his knees. He groans slightly, feeling the cuts and bruises he had obtained from running through the foliage. The rain drips from the boughs, strumming thick white strands of thread. The water rolls off his hair and covers the scraps and cuts on his face.
"Amicus!" Anara's voice echoes from the east. Amicus turns and starts walking, but the sound of hooves make he turn back. He searches for horses, but sees none. He scans the brush, but shrugs and turns back.
"Must have been the wind," he casually says, heading eastward. "I'm coming, Anara!"
"Amicus! Hurry up!"
"I'm coming. I'm coming. What is with this generation?" Amicus follows deep groves in the earth, avoiding long stretches of white threading as he continues. Deeper he sinks into the forest, the fog flowing like rivers down the trenches of the path. He makes it to the edge of a large sunken basin. The fog pours down the sides and fills the bottom. In the middle stands the seer. "Amicus! I'm stuck down here! Can you come down and help?"
The Guardian scratches his temple and looks around. "Maybe I can find you a long stick or something."
"Amicus!" She glares at him.
"Alright, alright! I'm coming..." Amicus sighs, starting to climb down. He finds a long root to slowly make his way on, though it's wet and slippery from the rain.
Amicus manages to make it down with not much trouble. He drops to the ground with a loud CRUNCH underfoot. He frowns and the makes his way to Anara. Crunch! Crunch! Crunch! Finally, he makes it to the seer.
"Alright, let's get you out of here." Amicus grabs Anara's hand, but she suddenly bursts into fog. "uh oh.."
A sharp roar sounds overhead and the fog dissipates, revealing a graveyard's worth in bones around him. The sound of hooves beating on the ground returns and Amicus looks behind to see a massive black spider running to the edge.
"Ah hells." Amicus reaches for his blade, but Anodyne and his satchel are gone. He must have dropped them during his waking nightmare.
The monster of Black Bramble Wood leaps from the edge at Amicus. The Guardian attempts to dodge, but gets blasted back by the impact. A wave of bones fly up with Amicus and crash back down to the ground. He scrambles back to his feet and shouts, "Zareth!"
(Roll: 1) (Damage: 11)
The pierces of the monster grab a hold of Amicus' arm and crunch down hard.
Amicus shouts out in pain as the monster's venom burns into his wound. He feels himself be lifted upward, then tossed back into the middle of the basin.
The Spider jumps at Amicus and swipes its hairy leg, whacking him through the air like a rag dog.
The Guardian hits the side of the pit, getting caught in the sticky webbing. He shouts, trying to get loose.
The Spider glares down at its prey through its many eyes. It snaps its piercers in hungry anticipation.
(Save roll: 3)
Zareth dives down at the monster, raising his talons to scratch out an eye or two. But the Monster of Black Bramble Wood is too quick for the crow. It jumps back, dodging the the bird.
"Zareth, find Anodyne!" Amicus shouts out.
The crow caws out in response and soars upward, but the spider screeches and shoots out a net of webbing. Zareth becomes ensnared and caught in a tree, writhing frantically for release.
"Oh, come on..." The Guardian looks at his hands rubs his fingers against his thumbs, forcing sparks of flame from the friction.
"I'm just going to have to do everything myself." The sparks briefly flash and singe the webbing, giving Amicus enough give to pull himself to freedom.
The spider turns back, realizing its prey is escaping. It screeches out at The Guardian who huffs and responds with a tired, old man roar.
Amicus picks up a femur from the pile and whacks the side of it with his palm. A bright, momentary flash of light creates a jagged, somewhat pointy end. He switches his weapon to his left hand, pulling his right wounded arm close. "Alright, big boy, let's go!"
The spider roars at the Guardian and charges.
Amicus dodges the charge, swiping at one of the spider's legs. Though the hit landed, the bone was nowhere near sharp enough to make any real damage.
The monster turns sharply, raises its left leg to strike.
The Guardian evades the strike quickly and counters by jabbing the femur into one of the spider's many eyes.
It screeches out in pain and whacks Amicus aside, knocking the weapon from his hand.
Amicus tries to crawl over and grab the bone, but his wounded arm keeps him from getting too far.
The spider raises one leg and brings it down sharply, pinning Amicus to the ground. It leans in, salivating over the mann.
(Save roll: 20!)
Just as the Monster of Black Bramble Wood raises its head to take a bite, a shout comes from over head. The spider looks up just in time to see a blond haired womann leap from the edge and fly over, landing a fatal blow in the midsection of the beast. The spider lurches back and away from Amicus, swinging Anara down its side. As soon as her feet touches the ground, she pulls Anodyne from the green, oozing flesh, raises it above her head, and cuts the monster in half with three downward strikes.
The monster shouts out one last, cackling, gurgling, winded retort then falls silent. The fog dissipates entirely, revealing the remains of all the victims accumulated over the many, many years. Though Black Bramble Wood is still a very dangerous place to dwell in, it is just a slight touch safer now that its dreaded monster lies slain.
Amicus gets up, grunting from the arm pain and the back pain and the chest pain and the... the pain. Pain all over. Downside of being old. He coughs and wheezes, making his way to Anara.
The seer, on the other hand, seems far better than composed. A little on edge, perhaps, but all together and ready for more. Perk of being young. She cleans off Anodyne and hands it back to the Guardian, saying, "I wish I came sooner. That bite looks nasty." She opens up Amicus' satchel and looks through it, finding a vial of antivenom. She pops the cork and hands it to him as well.
Amicus takes the blade and grips the bottle, stopping for a moment to look at the difference in their hands. Amicus' hand is aged, covered in rough patches and more than a few veiny lines. Anara's on the other hand, though bearing itself a few callouses, is young, fit, capable of opening up all the jars of pickles.
"You alright, mister guardian?" Anara says, raises a brow at him.
Amicus frowns and takes the antivenom. "Yes, I'm fine." A series of impatient caws bombards them from above. "Zareth, however, is not. Would you mind?"
"On it." Anara says quickly, striding to the edge of the bone pit.
Amicus looks down at his hands again for a moment, but shakes away such thoughts soon after. He tips the antivenom over his bottom lip and splashes a touch over his wound for good measure. Soon, he would be free of this place. Anara frees Zareth and leads the Guardian back through the woods.
Anara and Amicus make it to a clearing where the sky is clear to see all around. Not much sky right now, given the lingering storm clouds. Still, that did not dissuade them from enjoying the fresher air. In the middle of the clearing is an open archway and a set of stones leading from it to out into the forest.
Amicus points at the stone path. "Where we should have come in at?"
"Yup..." Anara sighs and walks over to the front of the archway. Amicus follows, noting the different runes carved into the stone. The seer looks up at the clouds and says, "Do you think you can get rid of those?"
Amicus raises a brow at the clouds and shrugs. "Shouldn't be too much of a bother. Do you mind moving, please?"
"Sure." Anara takes a step aside.
"What? Not you. I'm talking to them," Amicus says, pointing at the clouds.
Anara chuckles and opens her mouth to say something clever, but then the moonlight begins to fully envelope the area. She looks up and sees the clouds disperse.
The moonlight cascades downward and washes over the glyphs on the arch. A sudden warmth radiates outward and a door fades in. A black oak door with golden hinges, no less. A symbol of an eye with a line down the middle is carved and painted on the surface. Then the knobs wiggles and turns.
Amicus and Anara quickly hide behind the archway, holding their breath.
The door opens and a mann wearing a black robe steps out. He looks around the forest through his greasy, black hair before closing the door. "Hello?" he says, scanning the area with acidic green eyes. Turning to the right, he starts to look over the side of the arch- CAW!
"Ah!" The man jumps back, watching Zareth dart to a tree. The crow caws at the mann and flys away. "Gah! Damn birds! Damn forest!" The mann lifts up his hood over his head and follows the stone path out of the clearing.
Anara looks from the side and watches the mann leave, furrowing her brow. "He's not supposed to be out here."
"Someone you know?" Amicus says, stepping out and turning back to the door.
"One of the higher council members in the university. There's no reason why someone of his standing should use a back door." Anara also steps out, but continues to stare down the path. Finally, she turns to Amicus. "I think this is where we part ways, Guardian."
"You're not gonna help me get in here?"
"The Unseen University is a big place. I'm sure if you find a disguise and introduce yourself as a page, then there won't be too many questions." Anara turns back to the path. "I need to see what Councilor Farris is up to. Good luck, mister guardian."
And with that, the two take their different paths. Anara follows Councilor Farris back through the woods to discover his intentions and Amicus steps through the doorway, into the Unseen University. Both leaving Black Bramble Wood.
The secret back door to the Unseen University cracks open and Amicus, wearing tattered black and silver robes, peaks inside. He quietly steps in a dark passage, keeping his hand on his blade hilt. He takes a short sigh of relief and closes the door behind him.
Reaching the end of the hall, he comes to what is seemingly a dead end. A stone wall bars the path forward, or does it? Amicus raises his brow and drags two fingers across the "wall", moving aside a very heavy tapestry. The illusion disperses, revealing a storage room and another door on the other side. The Guardian quickly steps through and closes the tapestry, which resumes to looking like a stone wall. Looking around, Amicus sees nothing entirely noteworthy about the room and continues. He grips the door handle and pulls it open, flooding himself with light from the adjacent room. Stepping out, Amicus can hardly catch his breath.
Amicus now stands in the main hall of the Unseen University. A massive space that extends out a few good miles at least. A balcony cuts the space in half all around, separating the lower library from the upper gallery. An oculory situates itself in the middle of the space, though star gazing doesn't seem to be its intended use. For when you look up past the glass ceiling, you see a sky filled with auroras and ley lines. Many, many stars, but far too many to make sense of. There are students, professors, talents, and different kinds of spirits here. While not unexpected, clearly being in the Astral Plane and all, the sight was still enough to make Amicus pause. This place is engorged in magick and the Guardian may have stepped in a more than what he came equipped for.
"Excuse me, sir. Are you alright?" A voice says beside him.
Amicus looks to the right and sees a young mann looking at him worriedly. "I've been better. Who might you be?"
The young, brown haired Neran smiles and bows. "Oh, I'm just a page. Keran is my name though. I just started a couple weeks ago. You look like you've gone through all the hells, professor."
"Professor?" Amicus says, but then nods. He thinks that if he's going to be treated like an old person, he might as well go with it. He looks at his own robes and the page's uniform. "Actually, yes, page. I could use your help. I need something carried from this storage room."
"In here, sir?" Keran the Neran inquires, stepping into the room.
"Ah, yes." Amicus follows closely. "Just over there, by the crates."
A few minutes later, Amicus steps out and closes the storage room door, wearing a page's uniform. He smiles at the small cast iron pan and returns it to his satchel. "These things come in handy. Now where to?"
After observing the layout of the university, Amicus decides that it would be best to go around the right. Sure there are a couple of guards guarding the main entrance, but what harm should they cause a lowly, aged page. One of them had to know where the artifact vault is.
Nodding in approval of his own logic, The Guardian starts walking off to the right. He turns a corner and starts walking past the main entrance when, sure enough, a guard halts his path.
"Halt their, page!" A young blood Janoan orders. He grips his sword hilt and walks over to Amicus. "What business do you have here, old man?"
"Oh, leave the gray head be, Harro." An older Dras says, leaning up against the wall. "You don't have to assault every person that comes near the door. Whatcha need, friend?"
Amicus clears his throat and motions to Anodyne. "I was told to deliver this blade to the artifact vault."
Harro looks down at the sheathed blade and shrugs. "What's so dangerous about it?"
"Erm." Amicus blinks. He didn't think that through.
(( I asked the CoE public channel to give me ten random words to work with. I ended up with this: ))
"Well, when when you chomp it down, it uses a raster enchantment that conjures the spirit of a hundred joyful horses, which makes your flagella to make you hallucinate about a guy named Victor, who feeds you poisoned tacos while a Mydarri plays water music."
"Wha?" The two guards say in unison.
"It also summons pudgehogs. Half pug, half hedgehog monsters that eat your face."
"That sounds horrible!" The older guard says, pulling out a roll of paper and heading to a small writing desk by the door. After writing on it, he hands the document to Amicus. "You need to have this signed by one of the professors. Only with a signature will the vault guard allow you entry."
"Sounds good." Amicus takes the document. "Do you two know where I can find a professor not too busy?"
"Well, they're professors. They're always busy," Harro replies. "There's three back the way you came that I can think of. Professor Tacitus. He's manning the Oculory. Professor Benson is currently teaching a class in Classroom B. Finally, Professor Austina is preparing tonight's dinner."
"Hurry up and find them!" The old Dras says. "I don't want to see a single pudgehog, you understand?!"
"Yes, sir!" Amicus bows and strides off.
The Guardian decides to try his luck with Professor Benson, so he starts heading to Classroom B. He passes several students, all of whom were far too involved in their studies to notice an armed page, and reaches for the doorknob of the classroom when-
"You, sir!" Says a loud, well rounded, rather full of itself sounding voice.
Amicus looks to see a blond haired, blue eyed man, striding over with the stature of a rich mann not knowing which pair of shoes to wear today. "Good evening, sir."
"Yes, yes. Let's skip the pleasantries, shall we?" The mann says, swinging his arms about with every syllable heard. "I require a page to document my lecture today."
"I'm sorry, sir, but I'm supposed to see Professor Benson-"
"Professor Benson?" The mann gives Amicus a confused look, sizing him up and down, then throws out his arms. "I am Professor Benson. My, you pages get dumber with age, don't you?"
The Guardian grits his teeth and forces out a smile and a bow. "My wit goes along with my hair, I'm afraid, sir. My apologies."
Professor Benson tosses the apology aside with a flick of his hand. "Whatever. At least you are here on time.... Will you open the door for me please!?"
Amicus bows again. "Of course, sir." He opens the door and watches the professor enter, burning a hole in the back of his head.
"Good evening, class!"
"Good evening, Professor Benson," The class of twenty young menn and womenn respond.
Amicus picks up a few sheets of paper and stands at the page's writing desk. He takes out a pair of reading glasses from his satchel and dips his quill into fine black ink, ready to go.
Professor Benson picks up a piece of chalk and starting writing away on the board. "Now, the practice of arithomancy is the newest and dare I say, BEST form of magickal talent in existence! Its use of natural law and mathematical logic brings out change in our world instantaneously. While it may lack the flare and whimsy of elemental magick more wildly known here, that doesn't mean it isn't a valid subject of study."
And on and on he goes. Despite without a moment of a breath of a pause, Amicus continues writing throughout the lecture. The students didn't have such luck, often getting scolded for not paying enough attention if they ever asked for a repeat. It was over soon though and Professor Benson seemed almost adequately satisfied by Amicus' notes. "It'll do."
Amicus nods and takes out the artifact document. "Fantastic, now if you could sign-".
"Not now, page! This class still has a practical to get through."
The students are passed several sheets of paper, each containing twenty or so different mathematical problems for them to solve. Amicus follows close behind Professor Benson as he roams from desk to desk, criticizing his students' work.
(New RPer: Elckerlyck) The students ended up hating on the professor because he didn't give any useful feedback in his critics. Except that things were wrong.
"Why don't you teach us something useful?" A lanky, practically malnourished looking Dras says. He leans back in his desk chair and crosses his arms. "All of this mathematics is only good for carpenters.. We're not carpenters."
Professor Benson's jaw drops in shock, but quickly recovers. "Zaynon, perhaps you weren't listening during the lecture, but arithomancy-"
"What's arithomancy, anyway?" Zaynon continues. "It's arithmancy, which is the practice of divination through the use of numbers. Arith-O-mancy is something you just made up to make yourself feel important."
"How dare you!" Professor Benson shouts, making the students around him ear sore. "I don't care how long it will take for that Dras brain of yours to understand this, but you will be spending detention solving Hellmoon's equation of motion for each substance on the elemental board!"
"Oh, go build a chair."
A sharp giggle erupts from Amicus, causing Professor Benson to turn on his heal. The professor glares at Amicus, then looks down at the writing board and quill in the guardian's hands. "Are you writing this?"
Amicus shrugs and nods. "I am a page, sir."
"Unbelievable," Professor Benson sighs. He sticks a finger in Amicus' face and huffs, "Stay here while I go speak to Counselor Crowley. No one is to leave this classroom until I get back."
Professor Benson storms out the class, slamming the door shut on his way out. The portrait of a fabled bard shakes loose from it's holding and falls to the floor. Everyone exhales and the anxiety in the room lifted.
Amicus sighs and tosses his board and quill onto the professor's desk, earning a few questionable looks. He scratches his head, wondering how much time he has left before he and the pan itself ends up in the fire. He looks back at the portrait and points at it. "Anybody going to pick that up?"
A few moments pass. No one meets his gaze. Zaynon looks at Amicus' eyes for a moment, but then rolls them away. Finally, a young To'resk woman sighs, stands, and walks over to the portrait, lifting it and placing it back on the wall.
"Thank you, miss?..."
"Shajoshrarajos," She replies, heading back to her seat. "Most just call me 'Jo'. You had to get the professor pissed, didn't you, Zaynon?"
Zaynon looks back at her and shrugs. "Perhaps he should have actually been teaching us something useful. This is the Unseen University, not Agravaine Academy."
"Hey now," Amicus blurts out on instinct.
Zaynon and Jo both look at him with piercing suspicion. "What? You think Agravaine is better than Unseen?" Jo inquires, almost laughing out loud by the notion. "He's a page. He probably graduated from there." Zaynon says, actually laughing.
Amicus rolls his eyes, cursing himself. "I am just a page. If I didn't need this document signed, I wouldn't be in here bothering the high and mighty with my low standard education."
Jo raises her eyebrow at Amicus and shrugs. "A professor's signature? Professor Benson's perhaps?" She looks over at Zaynon, who quickly shakes his head.
"Nope. I don't just do it for anybody, Jo." Zaynon crosses his arms tightly and looks away from them.
Jo rolls her eyes and turns back to Amicus. "Zaynon has a particular talent when it comes to forgery. He can create exact copies of artwork. Paintings, music, sculptures, novels-"
"Signatures," Amicus says, looking to Zaynon. He raises his brow at the young Dras and smiles. "Can you forge a signature so well it can fool a guard here?"
Jo laughs. "He can forge a signature so well, only the Headmaster can tell that it's fake-"
"It's not fake," Zaynon retorts sharply, looking back at the two of them. He then looks up at Amicus and shrugs. "That's the talent..."
"Do you think you can sign this document?" Amicus says, pulling out the parchment.
Zaynon looks over the artifact document and gives Amicus a wicked grin. "Tell you what, page. Teach us something interesting and you got a deal."
Amicus blinks a moment and looks around, noticing everyone watching him at this point. He adjusts his glasses and moves to the head of the class, picking up a piece of chalk at the board. "Something interesting..."
Amicus wipes a bead of sweat from his temple, feeling everyones' eyes hovering over him as he works on the desk drawer.
"Now, remember to insert the tension wrench into the bottom of the key hole, not the top. If you put it there, the wrench is just going to get in the way."
Several students nod earnestly, writing down notes.
"While applying slight pressure on the lock, using the wrench, we are going to insert the pick at the top and feel for the pins."
Zaynon and Jo kneel down beside Amicus, watching the lockpick slide inward.
"Now, we could feel for each pin individually, but this is a very cheap lock. So, we are going to scrub back and forth while applying torque to the wrench. This is more commonly referred to as 'raking'. If anyone at the tavern asks if you 'rake the leaves', they are asking you if you have any extra lockpicks on hand."
The lock turns gracefully and the drawer opens to reveal a coin purse and a signing quill. Amicus stands to a decent applause from the students, ignoring a sneaky kypiq stealing the purse. Amicus takes Professor Benson's signing quill and hands it to Zaynon, who nods and walks off with it and the artifact document.
"Now my turn!" Jo says, rushing over to the drawer at the opposite end.
"Alright, steady with the pressure," Amicus says, leaning down to watch Jo work. "There you go."
The lock turns left and right a few times, but ultimately gives way to the pick. The drawer opens, revealing a bottle of bloodwine and a wine glass. Jo shouts with glee, doing a little jig to celebrate her victory over an old, cheap desk lock. While the students pass the wine around, Amicus heads over to Zaynon, who hands the document back.
"Maybe Agravaine isn't half bad," Zaynon says, giving Amicus another shrug.
"Maybe, maybe not," Amicus replies, nodding in approval of the forgery. He gives Zaynon a slight bow and then heads out of the classroom. He turns and heads back the way he came, passing the storage closet he arrived through.
"Um! Excuse me! Page!" Professor Benson's voice shouts out from behind Amicus.
The Guardian turns and watches the professor storm up to him. "Yes, Professor Benson?"
"I told you to wait in the classroom! How in Elyria do you even still have a job here?! What makes you think you can just disobey my orders?"
"Mhmm." Amicus walks into the storage closet, ignoring the professor's shouting.
Benson is almost incapable of lifting his jaw back up, so bewildered by the page's lack of obedience. He manages to bring his bottom lip back and follows Amicus into the room. "Excuse ME! I will not be disrespected like I'm some Darkhol-"
Amicus steps back out of the room and closes the door. After making sure no one was watching, he continues on his way to the artifact vault.
Amicus makes it to the administrator's wing of the university. A foyer rests at the center, decorated with lapis lazuli ceilings with twinkling gold stars, polished oak paneling along the walls, and a small fountain at the center to reflect in. The room forks into three paths, one with a guarded door to the left, one large door with banners flanking the sides down the center, and another door on the right. The Guardian sighs, not know which one to go to.
(Decision/30. Roll: 10)
Amicus decides to walk up to the guarded door on the left. The two neran guard look at Amicus up and down. "May I help you, sir?" One says.
"Yes, I'm meant to place an artifact in the vault," Amicus replies, holding out the signed artifact document.
The guard looks over the document with scowl and looks back at Amicus.
(Persuasion pass>5. Roll: 3)
"Hmm. I need to run this by with the Headmaster right quick," The guard says, walking past Amicus.
Amicus' eyes shoot up and he turns to follow the guard. "Whoa wait! There's no time! This thing makes pudgehogs!"
The guard stops and turns back, looking at Amicus, then to his comrade, then back to the Guardian.
(Persuasion pass > 15. Roll: 9)
The guard nods his head at his friend, who quickly draws his blade and presses the tip against Amicus' backbone. "I think you should come with us, page."
The Guardian sighs, raising his hands and following the guards to, presumably, the Headmaster of the Unseen University.
The guards push Amicus through the center door into a decent sized office. Books, chalk boards, and fancy tools are abound, but Amicus is lead to a hearth crackling with strange fire. He is forced to sit in the taller chair and made to look at the Headmaster, who is sitting across the coffee table. The guards removes Amicus of his blade and satchel, then retreat to the other side of the room.
The Headmaster glares at Amicus through his old, brown eyes. He strokes his short white beard with his little Kypiq fingers and sighs. "Not many people sneak their way into the Unseen University, sir. Most would not even consider the Astral Realm to be our hiding place. Then again, you're not most people, Amicus."
The Guardian sinks into his chair, try to avoid the Headmaster's gaze. He clears his throat and provides an acknowledging nod. "Yes, well, I learned from the best. Didn't I, Master Owleye?"
Headmaster Owleye scoffs and gets up from his chair. "Its been some time since you bothered to call me 'Master'. Though, I do not recall teaching you how to infiltrate high society estates." He finds a bottle of wine and pours two glasses halfway full. He walks over and hands a glass to Amicus, looking at him eye to eye. "Neither did I teach you how to pick locks or knock out people with a pan."
"You pick up things as you go, heh." Amicus gulps and takes a sip.
"No doubt from Melrose," Owleye says, heading back to his seat. He sits down and takes a long sip from his glass and stares.
Amicus shifts uncomfortably in his seat and coughs. "So, you know about my foray into the Donovan estate?"
The headmaster glares for a moment, then nods. "Yes."
"I take it you know of Donovan and his ambitions?"
Owleye sets down the glass on the coffee table, leans back up, then nods. "Yes."
"You know of the power he's obtained?"
"Then you know I'm here for Eridian's staff?"
"Yes." Owleye points across the room to a long stretch of cloth sitting atop an examination table.
Amicus looks at the cloth and looks back. "You had Anara bring me here."
"Are you going to say anything other than that?"
"You're an idiot."
"Ok." Amicus picks his glass back up, shooting imaginary daggers at the Headmaster over the edge of his wine. Owleye chuckles, seeing the daggers plainly. He shrugs and sighs. "How is Agravaine?"
Amicus finishes his wine and brings the glass down one last time. "Per-fect," he says with a bit more spite than was needed.
Owleye nods and gets up, walking over to his desk. He pulls out a document and a featherless quill, taking it over to Amicus. He sets them down on the table and leans back up, waiting for Amicus to question the meaning of it.
"And what is this?" Amicus inquires.
Owleye returns to his seat and let's the fire crackle for a minute. He looks up and sighs. "Amicus, Guardian Eridian's staff isn't like any other. Not only will it grant you greater elemental spells, but it also amplifies the talent of whoever's wields it. It is a powerful weapon in the wrong hands. I have every reason to keep it locked up here..."
"But?.." Amicus raises his inquisitive right brow.
"But, its precisely what you need to take on Donovan and his cult. He's accumulated quite the following. Using his ill gotten powers to convince Qindred followers to join his cause.
I am willing to hand you the staff on a singular condition. If you, as the Headmaster of Agravaine Academy, agree to transfer whatever talented students you have and will have to the Unseen University, I will grant you indefinite use of the staff."
Amicus somehow sinks lower into his chair. "For how long?"
"Indefinitely. Your are still free to collect what relics you find, but talents must come to Unseen for their own safety. You and I both know Agravaine isn't the safest place for them. Please do the right thing, Amicus."
Amicus' heart pounds in his chest. He looks down at the contract, hoping it would turn to ash or something. But it didn't. It sat there and waited while the clocks ticked and the fire crackled.
"Headmaster Amicus Horizonborn of Agravaine Academy." Amicus signs, dots, and encloses in a circle, sealing the deal. He drops the quill and leans back in his chair, turning his head away from the contract.
Headmaster Owleye nods and picks up the paper, eyeing it up and down.
"You can save your time," Amicus says, keeping his gaze on the fireplace. "There are no tricks to be found there."
The old kypiq rolls up the parchment and tucks it away into his robe. "Good that you could see reason. The staff is yours to take. There is also some garments a friend of yours left here for you to try on."
"Friend?" Amicus inquires, raising his brow again. "What friend?"
"I'll leave you two be."
Amicus watches Owleye walk away and head out the door, leaving Amicus, of all people, in the Headmaster's Office, of all places. Then a sudden warmth makes The Guardian stand up and look around. Through the light of the fire and with the sound distant wind chimes, the spirit of Melrose appears, floating just slightly off the ground.
"Hello, my young apprentice," Melrose says through his grey eyes. "Though, it would seem like I'm the young one now." A chuckle shambles through the air.
"Melrose?" Amicus gasps. He chuckles at the comment, but still bewildered by the fact. Clear eyes, dark black hair. Melrose looks fifty years younger. "Yes. You were quite... Well, grey.."
"Headmaster Owleye believes that the less regret a soul has, the younger the spirit appears in the Astral Plane." Melrose starts floating to the examiner's table, being followed closely by Amicus.
"Is that what you believe, Mentor?" Amicus asks, looking down at the cloth on the table.
Melrose's spirit is silent for a moment, then looks at Amicus. "I believe... That I taught you better than to accept what others tell you solely on faith."
Amicus grabs the cloth and pulls it to the floor, revealing a white staff marked with black runes. Its flat geometric top slowly turns into a rapid spiral at the end.
"The First Guardian's Staff is just as cryptic and secretive as he was. You may not see it, but Angelica's light touch is hidden deep within." Melrose then points to a set of folded grey garments. "In addition to your ensemble, I've had some pages fetch out my Mentor's robes. It's nothing special, but I figured you might appreciate something other than a page's uniform."
Amicus nods, taking the items and relocating to behind a room divider. "How did you end up working for the Unseen?"
"I work with them at the present moment," Melrose says, waiting patiently. "The University likes to bring in knowledgeable spirits to learn from. It's a mutual exchange. They get a lifetime's worth of research and the spirit gets additional time to reflect in safety."
Amicus steps out from behind the room divider, wearing a new grey robe and traveling boots. He twirls the white staff until it lands firmly in his grip, resting it down by his side. He pulls Anodyne from its sheathe. It sings happily.
Melrose's eyes widen as he takes in the sight fully. He smiles, saying, "At last. You finally look like a Guardian." The smile quickly turns into a frown and sigh. "Only took you sixty years."
Amicus rolls his eyes and takes a gander by the mirror. "This robe makes me look like a monk."
"Guardians were quite pious once."
"Perhaps I'll stop by a cathedral on my way home-"
A sudden chill fills the room. Amicus and Melrose looks around, filling the drain of energy. Willpower. Spirit. The torches around the room snuff out one by one and a screech sounds from outside the office window.
"Wraiths." Melrose says woefully. "They can not enter the university."
A shadow bashes against the window only to be tossed back by a bright light.
"You sure?" Amicus says, holding his staff and blade close.
The door slams open and Headmaster Owleye strides in, running to his desk. "Amicus, Melrose, I would seem that I need your assistance right now." He unlocks and opens a drawer, pulling out a violet colored wand with a burnt black end. Striding back, he beckons the mentor and apprentice to follow.
They do, being led out of the office and into the commotion outside. Guards rush down the hall and make a swift left. The trio follows quickly, turning the corner to see guards and professors rushing over to the entrance door. The vibrancy and warmth of the University has been replaced by chilled air and a sense of foreboding. Amicus stops at the foot of the door, watching it take the beating of the wraiths. He looks down at Owleye's wand and raises a brow. "Wands are not reliable."
"Hmm?" Owleye tears himself away from the door and looks at Amicus. "Oh, most aren't, this is true. This wand casts spirit fire. Harmless to the living, but it keeps wraiths back. It came in real handy when we first moved here." Owleye looks back at the door, feeling the vibrations from the constant pounding. "To be honest, I didn't think I'd have a need for it again. What could be stirring them so?" Melrose's warmth creeps up beside them. His spirit sighs, watching the guards press their backs up against the door. "They have been drawn here like wolves to the scent of blood. I sense unnatural influences here."
"Impossible." Owleye says plainly. "Only a handful of us know that we are here."
"Donovan." Amicus replies in certainty.
Owleye gives Amicus a baffled look. "How on Elyria would he know that you are here?"
"He's not attacking me." The Guardian looks back down at Headmaster Owleye. "He's attacking the University."
Headmaster Owleye's head snaps back to the door, his face grows red with fury. "The Audacity! I will see that man burn in the pits of Deamon's domain myself! Professor Tacitus!"
A burley Brudvir in heavy blue robes rushes over. "Yes, sir!?"
"Set the Oculory to Ravencrest and begin evacuating the university! The Guardian and I will hold back the wraiths as long as we can!"
"I must make sure my fellow spirits get out safely. Good luck, gentlemen." Melrose transforms into a wisp of light and quickly bolts away into the depths of the Unseen.
Professor Tacitus bows and rushes down the stairs to the Oculory. Amicus and Owleye ground themselves at the top of the stairs, watching the doors crack, the guards' feet slip, then hinges buckle.
(New RPer: GeoStar) Meanwhile two guards seemingly taking to each other one of them saying:
Guard #1: “And that’s when I said ‘I think you should come with us, page’ “ Guard #2: “and?” Guard #1: “What you mean ‘and’?, that’s the most action I have gotten since I got here!” Guard #2: “Yeah… it still does not change how boring of a story it is, sister” Guard #1: “why you little-“
A new guard rushes in, complete panicked:
Guard #3: “WHAT ARE YOU TWO DOING STATING THEIR, CAN’T YOU SEE WHERE IN DANGER HERE?!?” Guard #2: “calm down there Tony, Let's all take a breath an-“ Tony: “shout it Adam!, I will not calm down until everything is unde-“
Tony get slapped across the face by Guard #1:
Guard #1: “CALM.DOWN” Tony: “Sorry, Hana, It's just that I never seen action before an-“ Hana: “No matter” Looks at Adam “Whatever danger he is referring to, this is exactly what we needed” smiles. Adam: sights “you’re the only one that would consider danger as a good thing” take out sword “well… where to rookie…?”
The 3 guards move towards whatever waits them.
Professor Tacitus turns a few levers at the Oculory console. The brass rings and telescopes turn and shift, moving its attention to the opposite side of the glass ceiling. The auroras beyond shimmer in response. A light radiates from an archway beside the Oculory and the line of students and professors begin to rush through it, vanishing once stepping through.
The doors begin to buckle, the hinges begin to snap loose, then- nothing... The guards look at each other in relief. Amicus raises his brow.
The doors suddenly implode, sucking the guards out of the university and into the clutches on the wraiths. Sentient shadows with skeletal claws designed to ripe out and feed on souls.
"Defend yourselves!" Amicus shouts, raising his staff.
(GeoStar) Tony looks up dazed from being shoot out of the university, he sees Hana and Adam back to back from one another with their blades out. Tony: “WHAT ON ELYRIA IS GOING ON!” Hana: “Get up soldier, this is not nap time” Adam: “You should listen to her kid… Especially in this situation…” Tony: “What do you mea-?”
Looks at the shadowy figures in terror, his legs start to shake Tony: “when can’t fight that!” Hana: “speak for yourself!” Adam: “umm…. technically he's right… they look like more shadow than skeleton…” Hana: “ok. Genius. What do you what to do then?!”
A wraith charges Amicus and grips its icy hands on the staff, locking the Guardian in a push and pull. He horrid smell comes from the wraith's skeletal face. "Your soul was promised for our liege," the dark creature whispers. "There is no light to keep you now."
"Save for my own." Amicus swipes the wraith with his staff, sending it back with white light. He looks at his staff nodding in approval. As the wraith turns and charges again, The Guardian raises his blade to attack.
Anodyne chops down, slicing the creature in half. A light shimmers through the wraith as it screeches and evaporates in the air.
"Nice to see that blade is good for something!" Headmaster Owleye shouts, whipping his wand out at another shadow.
The wraith dodges the spirit fire bolt shot out of the wand and quickly grabs the old kypiq's arm. The bone fingers stab into the forearm, making Owleye scream in pain. A blackness begins to encompass the forearm and travel upward.
Amicus looks over in horror and quickly swipes down on Owleye, cutting him free from the wraith.
The University Headmaster faints from the limb loss and gets snatched up by Amicus before hitting the floor.
Thrusting his staff upward, a dome of light envelopes over Amicus and the guards. The wraiths bounce off the dome, screeching all the while. "Move to the Oculory!" Amicus shouts, moving down the stairs.
Amicus and the guards make it halfway when they start to hear the dome crack. The Guardian stops and looks up, watching a crack in the light splinter across the side and shatter at the impact of an incoming wraith.
Amicus ducks down and drops the kypiq, raising back up and unsheathing his blade. The wraith glides over, hissing at the blade, then dives down for an attack.
The Guardian swipes up and cuts the wraith, causing it to flinch backward. He takes initiative and charges forward, thrusting his blade out.
The wraith dodges the attack, then grabs Amicus by the throat. The force of the grapple so strong that it loosens the Guardian's grip on his weapons. Clattering on the ground, the Guardian's staff and Anodyne lay helplessly as Amicus is lifted from the floor. He grabs at the wraith's arm, but his hands phase right through.
The wraith leans its skull closer and closer, then drives two boney fingers through the Guardian's eyes. Amicus screams out as much as he can with a squeezed throat, flailing in the air helplessly. The wraith pulls the soul right out of him, like golden yolk from egg white.
Amicus' body falls to the floor and the wraith spirals up in the air, revelling in its victory. It stares gluttonously at the soul in its hands.
The sword and staff on the floor begin to bounce slightly. The rattling takes over the bookcases, shaking books right off the shelf. The wraith looks up, feeling a sudden rush of heat. Searing heat. Then, bright light pierces from behind, tackling the wraith and grabbing hold of Amicus' soul. Melrose snatches the light from the wraith's hands and quickly makes his escape, leaving the Unseen University to its fate.
An archway of light appears in a field in the dead of night and what remains of the Unseen University begins to pour out. Students, professors, guards that knew better than to stick around.
Zareth lands on a tree branch near the edge of the field, looking up at the sky. A star flickers in the distance and then disappears. Snuffed out by the surrounding darkness. The crow bows its head woefully.
Moroes suddenly tips the wine bottle a little too far and spills wine over Baradmiir's lap.
"Gah! Moroes! The one time I try wine!" Baradmiir shouts, getting up to find a cloth.
"Sorry..." Moroes says quietly, slowly sinking down into the chair Baradmiir just got out of. He stares out into space, unblinking. "Don't know what came over me..."
The torch crackles in the jail cell. A guard wearing black plated armor walks by, looking through the gate door before moving on. A murder of crows start to caw repeatedly outside, getting Anara's attention. She brushes her golden hair aside and stands, walking to the barred window until her chains tighten. She peers through the bars, looking out at the stars. "Not like this... Not like this..."
Thus ends Amicus' story.
At age 70.
The Chronicles of the Guardian:
Added: The Black Bramble Wood
Ended with: The Unseen University