Chapter 4 - A Fork in the Road

 
Chapter 4 - A Fork in the Road

Chapter 4 - A Fork in the Road



As night falls once again upon Saerb, the streets clear of merchants and customers, each careful not to take a wrong turn into one of Saerb's many shadowy alleys. In their place, whores and pickpockets, worming their way out of the woodwork to take their usual places, on street-corners and behind merchant stalls.
Though you take to the streets as well, heading for your rendezvous with Ara, the rats leave you be, perhaps recognizing that you are not one to be trifled with. Or perhaps its simply the sight of your arms and armor, well-polished and brilliantly edged. Either way, the brigands and courtesans part as you pass through, the latter still business-minded enough to flash you their wares.

Located in the very corner of Saerb, the Temple of Mystra seems almost barren, a large ugly block nestled against the encroaching treeline. Pillars of stone dominate the front of the structure, a warm glow visible through its single door. On top, a large open roof, again accessible only through a pillar-framed door.
At the side of the structure, a small cabin, much more appealing-looking than the Temple itself.



Approaching the walkway, you see Ara waiting just before the path, lined with statues representing each branch of magic. Seeing you coming, she motions for you to stop just before the walkway.

"I see you all made it here fine," she says, folding her arms across her chest. Dressed in simple peasants' garb, Ara wears her Necklace of Eclipse out over her clothes, its plain circlet easily visible even in the darkness.
"I seem to recall one of you calling the Necklace a mere trinket, eh?" Ara asks, raising her brow at Raz.
"Well, take it out from underneath your armor, and come forward, approach the Temple."


Taking out the necklace, and carefully moving forward, you make it halfway down the walkway, when the Necklace starts whipping violently about your chest. Looking down, you see it has changed appearance, its single flat disk now a hollow, seven-pointed star, banging loudly against your armor.
Only when you move back, away from the Temple, does the Necklace resume its original form, gently coming to a rest atop your chest.

"You see? It's a powerful little 'trinket'. No better advantage than knowing your enemy, eh?"


If you wish to purchase something regular, no need to detail a trip to the store for some sealing wax and caltrops
If you wanna buy something magical, rare, customized, or unusual, on the other hand....

Also, can I get a Yay/Nay on whether your c-sheets are done and ready to go?
OOC

Garak trailed along with everybody, comfortable to remain to their side and
Hide in Shadows:
Dice Roll:
1d20+17
d20 Results: 2 (Total = 19)
concealed in the shadows of the buildings. His body was but another shadow creeping along
Move Silently:
Dice Roll:
1d20+15
d20 Results: 13 (Total = 28)
without a sound. As Garak moved along, he took the opportunity to pilfer anything that looked to be of interest as the merchants were distracted by the giant frame of Raz, the sparkling plate armor of Jojo, and the sheer presence of the others...

When they approached the temple and saw Ara, he pulled out his necklace along with everybody else. A sinister smile crossed his face when Ara revealed their plan. It seemed that she was capable of tricks of her own, which pleased the assassin.


Garak wants to make the purchase of which we talked earlier. In what thread does he make that attempt?

As for his pilfering, Garak is looking for a 2 pound sack of flour...
gear

Raz shakes his head a bit, not quite sure if he was comfortable with wearing the symbol of whatever God he came close to. Mystra wasn't too bad, even when she was alive. But what if he came near a temple of Lovitar? Or even worse, that thrice accursed cripple, Tyr?

Remember your faith, Raz. Lovitar and Tyr are not here, so there is no problem. Never forget to live for today, let tomorrow worry about itself.

"Mmnnnn."
the priest replies, refusing to be impressed by the necklace, which he takes out from underneath his armor.

"Nice... So, basically, we can pass as followers and/or clerics or whatever divinity we come across..." Lorem observed the talisman a bit warily, while adjusting a bit the cloak he had bought a few hours before... Then, something came to his mind. He blinked. "Wait a minute. Are we here for what I think we are?" He said, a suspect suddenly coming to his mind. Mystra? But she wasn't exactly 'evil' as a deity... Not at all. Her seven daughters were keepers of peace among the realms.

"Not exactly, Lorem," Ara replies. "Rather, you will be able to detect when servants and followers of a god are nearby."
"For example, say you are walking down the street at night, wearing your necklace, alert for trouble. Next, say a dishevelled, scared-looking woman comes running up to you, begging for help, screaming of brigands and murderers in the next alley,"
she continues, grabbing Lorem's hand and pretending to beg for assistance.
"Now, your natural reaction might be to draw your blade and help the woman...until the necklace starts vibrating. Looking down, you see it change to the shape of a black mask, vibrating wildly."
"Clearly, things aren't as they appear, eh?"


Quote:
"Wait a minute. Are we here for what I think we are?"
"What is it you think we're here for?" Ara replies, looking at Lorem curiously.

"Well... Ehm..." Lorem blushed slightly and slowly removed his hand from the grasp of Ara's own one, to not make her think that he repulsed her or something. "We basically are at odds with those who follow gods blindly, right?" He said, crossing his arms over his chest, the necklace still slightly vibrating. "And... This is a temple of Mystra. She isn't an evil deity, but... Well, we could be here to either do some damage, investigate... Or, maybe we have some allies in here? Against 'bigger threats'?

"Correct," Ara says, "The Order does work against those who follow gods blindly, but also against those who seek to turn others to their Gods' path."
"Mystra is not an evil deity, to be sure, but she does seek to constantly enhance her own power, and her rule over much of Faerun's magic puts her on a higher pedestal than most of the other gods. She believes herself to be the embodiment of magic itself, and that belief is what makes her dangerous," Ara adds.

"But we aren't here to cause any trouble, of course, rather our goal here is information. There is a man here, by the name of Dudain, who I have been told has information pertaining to Delphine. Whether or not the information is accurate, however..."

"Hmmm... Well, I guess that if almost all of a world's magic was under my control, I would be a bit self-righteous too..." Lorem replied, rubbing his chin. Mystra was said to control the weave... He wondered what would happen if she happened to die. He instinctively shuddered. Then returned his focus to the rest of the sentence. Informations about their missing comrade. "... So, we have to verify the information? Sounds good to me..."

"I have means to verify one's honesty..." Garak's words were spoken in a way that would make any child cower and shiver. "As for the pendants, they are very useful for complimenting a good disguise." It was the closest Ara would get for a genuine thank you from the assassin despite the growing feelings he had for her.

"Well then, shall we?" Ara asks, motioning you to follow her. As she walks down the path towards the Temple's door, the Necklace starts vibrating and shaking once again, though Ara pays it no heed. After several minutes of slamming itself against the mage's chest, the necklace quiets down, returning to its original form around Ara's neck.

As she leads you in, you notice that your Necklaces behave quite similarly, getting extremely agitated when you approach the Temple, but calming down once you get to the entrance of the Temple, a large unguarded stone door, which opens as you approach, beckoning you to enter.

Just as the Temple is plain, barren, and lifeless on the outside, so it is colorful, active, and energized on the inside, the warm glow of magical energy permeating everything and everyone. All around you, men and women in priestly garb wander throughout the temple, some carrying stacks of books, some carrying stacks of scrolls and parchment, and some seemingly just wandering.
The walls of the Temple are covered in tapestries, great paintings, and various other artworks dedicated to Mystra, and to a lesser extent her allied deities, such as Azuth and Savras. As well, many of the works reference some of the Realms' most powerful mortals, from Elminster and Khelben Arunsun, to Mystra's Chosen.
In the center of the Temple, a giant statue of Mystra, beads of arcane energy raining down from it like a fountain, falling to the floor and seeping back into the statue. In one corner of the room, a small Halfling tries his best to create food and water, though he only succeeds in summoning soup, which naturally ends up all over the floor, forcing the diminutive fellow to clean it all up, a quick Prestidigation spell doing the job nicely.

Ara guides you further into the Temple, through a door and into a small sitting room. Its lone occupant, a tall lanky fellow sitting casually in a chair by the room's small table, nods in greeting to Ara as she enters, then looks each of you up and down as you come in.
"Now we can talk," Ara says, closing the door behind you, "without unnecessary interruptions."
"This is Dudain, a fellow that's been working with the Order for a long time. Him and I have been on a number of expeditions together, right?" she adds, flashing Dudain a smile.
"Remember those Sea Trolls, a couple years ago? Almost lost you there, you're just lucky I can swim!" Ara exclaims, her expression lightening by the second.

"Ah yes, the Sea Trolls," Dudain replies, "but as I remember it, it was me that saved you, dear Ara."
"But we did have some times together, eh? It's been far too long..."

"Ah, but I see you've brought guests, dear...won't you please introduce yourselves?" Dudain asks, opening his hands wide in greeting.
"I assume all of you speak the common tongue? Wouldn't do to have my Ara mingling with uneducated bumpkins, eh?"




 

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