Adventure 9: “I want my ring back!”
January 12, 2011
We sail to Vinnitsa . . .
Following the orc fight at the shipyards Mavra sets sail for Vinnitsa. “I’m not staying her once second longer. Those damn dirty orcs tried to burn down my ship. If you’re coming get on board or be left behind. Your choice.”
With the shipyard sinking away in the distance it took many hours for everyone to come down from the blood-lust of the orc fight. Istan had decided to accompany Ada to Vinnitsa and who knew how much further.
Ada was heartbroken by all that she had witnessed in previous days. Istan consoled her by teaching her an elven lament called “Lament of Stars”.
“We sail on a cosmic sea.” She sang. Mavra from her post at the wheel witnessed a single tear slowly fall and for a second she thought she heard the sea crying with her. Moxie screeched mournfully.
A somber cloud hung over the Markovian as elven voices carried across the water, harmonizing with wind and wave. The days on ship were surreal.
Meanwhile Vecna was mentally preparing to meet with Kordava. He mentioned to Ada, “I now have a better understanding of what is happening in your forest. Ammunition for when I speak with Lolfroth and perhaps Kordava. Seeing the orcs attacking the shipyard brought acute clarity to the situation. With an attack of that size, this is definitely a martial problem for the empire. I can use that, perhaps, to seek concessions from the government to stop wholesale destruction of the forest. As of now, they are not tending to the problem.”
Ada was heartened by Vecna’s assurance to help her.
“Is there anything else in the forest that needs to be protected.” Asked Vecna, “more than others?”
“Yes, there are these mushrooms, with purple dots and green ferns, yes green ferns. Georgian forest ferns.” Said Ada drawing closer to Vecna, imploring him to understand. Her voice rose, “If they are destroyed, they will be gone, lost forever. Do you understand?”
“Yes, ferns. Green ferns.”
“I see.” Said Vecna with little if any inflection in his voice, “And mushrooms?”
“Yes. The best kind of mushrooms. Lost forever, a horrible tragedy. A species wholly wiped out.”
Vecna and Ada erupted into a heated debate. Discussing world politics, what can and cannot possibly be accomplished at court. “He is hell-bent (the emperor) on building a fleet. There is nothing that I or anyone else can possible do to stop it. Once the emperor has made up his mind, that is the end of it.” Vecna tried to explain to Ada how the emperor thought, “I can’t change his mind.”
Ada would hear nothing of it and continued to argue. “We will burn down the forest first before we allow any more trees to be taken in this manner.”
“No you won’t, I don’t believe it.” Snapped Vecna
“I will.” She threatened.
Vecna was patient but was clearly getting annoyed with the young elf. At last Vecna walked away, having exhaustively discussed the same topic, retreading over the same ground a dozen times.
Below deck and away from Ada’s ranting voice Vecna and Mavra set their minds to the Ring of Set, (the mysterious ring the leprechaun Pepper pilfered from the dead high priest of set).
From a hidden compartment, concealed in a false bottom of wine keg, Mavra pulled out the emerald ring and handed it to Vecna. It was a stylish design, a coiled snake with an inset emerald.
With Mavra watching intently, Vecna inspected the ring. Vecna “did his thing” (using arcane knowledge he read the rings aura), and determined the ring was a magical focusing device for high priests. Made to be used by religious clergy. There was definitely more to the ring, but what Vecna could not ascertain.
“This thing is far too dangerous to sell in Vinnitsa.” Vecna intoned.
“No shit!” blurted Mavra her eyes rolling, “That’s why I have it hidden here.”
“We need to sell it someplace,” Vecna said thinking, “somewhere with less. . . “
“Churches of set.” Mavra finished. “Yeah I know. I was thinking of Kordava. I’ve always wanted to go there.”
“That’s an interesting thought.”
“What about the free city of Esch.” Mavra suggested, “I hear it’s a country that tolerates religious freedom, people are free to worship any god they chose.”
“Yes that’s true,” replied Vecna, “by decree of the emperor.”
“With open religion there will be more priests available to sell the ring.”
“I want a cut,” said Vecna, “if I’m going to help sell it.”
“Fine.”, replied Mavra, “my share is 20% of the sell price. The other 80% goes to Pepper. I’ll give you half of mine. I get 10%, you get 10%. I’m not interested in retiring off of one job, it’s more important to establish business relationships.”
- * * *
The trip to Vinnitsa took longer than anticipated. Mavra blamed overshooting the anchorage to the melancholy mood the elves brought to the boat. Arriving a few hours late, the sun had already set beyond the horizon, the Markovian slipped into the harbor under dark.
“Are we going out to dinner with Vadim tonight?” Asked Ada jumping lithely to the dock, moxie soaring next to her.
“No. Definitely not.” Replied Vecna giving Mavra a stern glance, “For some reason we arrived late.”
“What?” Mavra shot back daring him to continue. She and Smirnoff were finishing tying off the ropes to the dock.
“Bye!” Ada shot over her shoulder, “In that case I’m heading to a party.”
Outside of town Ada and Istan met up with Mina. Mina suggested that it was time for Ada to meet Vishkon the Elder Dragon of Nature. “I don’t know if I have time.” Replied Ada, “I have to leave for Saratov in a days time.”
“If we ride fast,” said Mina, “we should be able to make Perth and be back by tomorrow evening.”
- * * *
The next morning Vecna headed off to the Bronze Tower to visit Taras with Kalibar and Kwell in tow.
Security let them in. They were expected. Once inside they were led to a side parlor off the main entrance. The three were instructed to wait until Taras arrived. A table populated with an assortment of food trays filled with cheeses, fruits, nuts and other finger foods sat up against the wall under a grand tapestry. Two chilled bottles of wine were open next to crystal goblets. Vecna helped himself to the wine and studied an original oil painting hanging on the wall depicting tall ships sailing across land.
Kwell took a healthy sample of the food and chugged an entire bottle of wine in a single take. With a mighty burp Kwell vented, “I’ve had better.”
Kalibar sat back in a chaise longue clearly uneasy, having had a bad experience the last time he’d visited the Bronze Tower.
Finally after a brief wait, Taras swept into the room to greet Vecna, “It’s so good to see someone of your stature again,” he swooned in a sickly sweet voice, “I hope your trip to the Georgian Forest was fruitful. He spiraled around the room, acknowledging Kwell and lastly Kalibar. “Please help yourself to the refreshments.”
Kalibar noticed Tineille was nowhere to be seen.
“Why.” Said Vecna, “Whatever do you mean.”
“Were you not just visiting the forest, with a tour of the shipwrights?”
“Yes, it was attacked by orcs.” Replied Vecna flatly, “While we were there.”
Taras shrugged, unconcerned. “It’s in their nature. When they get bored and have nothing to do, they get violent. I see you managed to survive.” He picked up an olive and devoured it.
Bored of orc talk and the inevitable topic of deforestation Vecna changed the subject, “So how did your investigation go?”
“The organ?” Taras deftly took his meaning, “I’m done.”
“Let me guess the result.” Vecna pursued.
Taras winked, “Please enlighten me with your vast intuition.”
Vecna plowed ahead, “It was of no value to you.”
“No.” said Taras bluntly, “not cut apart from the host body.
“Shocking.”Ignoring Vecna Taras transformed into a politician, “I’m willing to be most generous. I’ll put the appendix back and mark this entire thing up to a gross misunderstanding.”
Kalibar perked upon hearing this news.
“You and I however.” Taras continued, pointing at Vecna, “still need to come to a resolution. You owe me.”
[INSERT more details here pertaining to the arrangement between Vecna and Taras]
“Yes I know.” Said Vecna, “I stand by my word.”
“Good. Good.” Said Taras rising, “Let’s get down to it, shall we.” He snapped his fingers at Kalibar to follow, “Vecna would you like to assist me. It’s fascinating work that, if I’m not mistaken, you’ll find mentally stimulating.”
Vecna did indeed. Somewhere else in the tower Taras entered an eerie operating room with a collection of medical instruments hanging from hooks on the ceiling. Bookshelves lined the far wall filled with leather-bound tomes. Vecna could well imagine the atrocities that victims had endured in this room. It was however remarkable clean, sterile even. If indescribable horrors had taken place here there was no evidence.
In the center of the room was a large table draped with white linen. Overhead was a large glowing orb that came to life when Taras entered the room.
“Off with your clothes and up you go.” Taras said to Kalibar, “This shant take too long.”
Kalibar looked uneasily as he did what he was asked. Taras disappeared into an adjoining room and returned a moment later in a clean white smock. Little of the former sorcerer was visible; a surgeon was in the room.
Kalibar stood naked next to the table. “Do you think you could give me a penis enlargement while you’re at it?”“No I don’t think so.”
“Yeah your right, It’s already HUGE!”
With a snap of his fingers, Taras quickly put Kalibar under.
Vecna marveled at Taras’s surgical skills. He was a master. The surgery was relatively clean, he used a mechanism to keep the wound clean of blood while he operated. When at last, with Kalibar’s abdomen splayed wide, Taras pulled Kalibar’s appendix from a jar.
But this is where traditional surgery ended. Taras finished the job with a spell. When the spell was complete the appendix was reattached, good as new. As if it had never been removed in the first place.
Taras seemed quite pleased. Next he cast another spell.
Vecna couldn’t allow such an opportunity to pass without learning more. The second spell was a diagnostic spell, to verify if Kaliban’s organ was functioning properly. Not only did it test if the organ was functioning physically but also on a meta-physical level.
“That’s a nice spell.” Vecna said.
“It’s important Kalibar’s natural ability is restored fully.” Said Taras sounding like a teacher, “It’s quite unique you know. Powerful. I believe it’s linked to his family’s past.
With the operation complete Kalibar was taken to a bedroom to recover. Much as before. He had a slight incision on his abdomen (Light Wound). Taras gave him explicit instruction to not perform any strenuous work or heavy lifting for the next few days.
“I have something more I would like to discuss with you.” Vecna said.
“Very well, what is it?” replied Taras removing his gloves and tossing them into a bucket.
“It is somewhat similar to Kalibar and his unique ability. Regarding the organ and how it’s the reservoir of power that holds and controls his ability.”
“Yes, many magical creatures and entities, those that have natural magical abilities. These abilities are usually connected to organs.”
“I have a similar ability.” Admitted Vecna. “Well, not exactly the same ability as Kalibar, I have my own unique one.”
“Really?” Taras seemed genuinely interested.
“I would be interested in examining you.”
Vecna smiled, “That would be ok with me. I can tell you what I know.”
“Please do.” Taras pulled up a chair and relaxed, “continue.”
“I could see the true form of your associate.” Said Vecna, referring to the party in which Taras’s associate Tineille came as a beautiful socialite. Vecna had been able to see through her magical disguise.
Taras nodded knowingly, “and she perceived that you saw her.” Taras gave it a thought or two before continuing, “That is very unusual and quite powerful. I don’t know what the limits are. Even if Tineille is the limit that is quite good.”
“That is not the limit of my abilities.”
“I can look into someone’s eyes and see their secrets.”
Taras looked visibly concerned about this revelation and put on glasses. “Do these people you look at, do they know you’ve seen their secrets?”
“I can’t say.”
Not looking at Vecna directly, “I would say the magical organ is your eyes. Would you be willing to donate your organs to science, I’m sure I could construct a powerful artifact out of them.”
“That wouldn’t be my first choice. No.”
“That’s too bad. In the mean time, what can I do to show my gratitude for this knowlege.” said Taras bowing graciously.
“As you know I’m just an apprentice mage. I am searching for anything that might add to my power base.”
“Magic, status, money . . .” Taras volunteered.
“All of the above.”
Vecna and Taras spoke for a great long while discussing business opportunities. In the end Taras suggested, “I am not into haggling and bartering and all the business minutia that goes with the territory. I would like you to be my broker. I am in constant, never-ending need of rare materials. You know, rare metals, gems, and the like. You can make a tidy profit. With the offer comes a title Broker of rare materials for Taras.”
Vecna and Taras come to an agreement. The Net Affect: Vecna’s Resources Increase Rby one. Essentially establish a new trade route.
The deal is struck.
With the deal behind them, Taras used a spell on Vecna. What kind Vecna didn’t know – probably a magical identification/understanding spell. Afterwards Taras said, “Don’t lose your eye!”
They leave it at that. . .
- * * *
While Kalibar was off having surgery and Ada was getting a sore ass riding fast to meet an Elder Dragon, Mavra was having a swanky lunch with her business associate Pablo at a posh restaurant overlooking the city. The proprietor with hearty hugs and handshakes met Pablo. As a frequent customer Pablo was led to a private room on the second floor with a balcony. They were blessed with good weather and discussed business over lunch outside. The sound of the sea and crashing waves was ever present.
“Spices are in heavy demand. The empire must eat! Restaurants in Saratov need spices; they are expensive and heavily taxed. The aristocracy has acquired a taste. Merchants from abroad come to me from time-to-time ready to buy and sell spices for Saratov. I want to avoid taxes in Saratov.”
“Yes of course,” Mavra nodded, “I understand.”
“Taxes on spices are steep. Crippling. There is a wealthy family, a noble, that has the spice trade rights for the city of Saratov. The spice must flow, as it must. They have exclusive rights and anyone else who imports spices must pay a heavy tax. There are government officials who enforce these taxes.”
“What kind of quantity are we talking?”
“I’m your gal.” smiled Mavra.
“Viktor will meet you in Saratov. Same-o, same-o. You know the drill. I will pay you half up front and Viktor will pay the remaining portion assuming all goes well. [4 Cash Dice total]
“My hold is near bursting with alcohol now, but I’m certain I have room for the spices.” Mavra sighed heavily. “I’m carrying around all this liquor, as if I’m Kwell’s personal delivery service. It takes money to keep a ship running. When he unloads it I’m taking my share.”
“I’d take it,” Pablo wringed his hands, “but there isn’t anything in it for me, I can’t see how to turn a profit on it here in Vinnitsa.”
“I’m guessing Kwell has plans to sell it in Saratov.” Returned Mavra.
Pablo looked grave, “You know not to smuggle contraband into Saratov under Viktor’s nose. Right?”
Mavra looked startled. “Heavens no. Of course not.”
“Ok good. I’m assuming Kwell has contacts. Probably his family if he doesn’t mind sharing the profits with them.”
“God knows what Kwell is planning.” Said Mavra and they both laughed.
They spent the rest of the meal discussing business and smuggling.
- * * *
Ada’s ass hurt. At no time in her short life had her backside hurt this bad (that she could recall anyway). Ada and the elves rode their horses quickly through a beautiful valley, up a narrow gorge continuing along a picturesque alpine dale. Eventually they were met by six humans on horseback. Mina seemed to know the leader and he in return. The leader dismounted and approached. The other riders stayed at a discreet distance. The human wore light armor and had a savage looking dwarven axe at his side. Mina made introductions, “I would like to present to you Ada the ambassador of the Georgian forest. This is Mikael from the town of Perth.”
“Well hello milady.” Said Mikael nodding, “welcome to our valley.”
Mina continued. “We thought it was high time the ambassador of the forest met the protector of the forest.”
Mikael pursed his lips, “I can certainly escort you, but it’s not my decision.”
No further words were said as the riders led Ada and the other elves deeper into the valley. After a time they passed into a wider upper valley where they came upon a contingent of dwarves. Mikael hailed the dwarf leader and passed the escort responsibility to him. “This is Vasya, he will take you the remaining distance to Perth. Farewell Ambassador Ada.”
Perth was a picturesque little village nestled along the shore of a green alpine lake, but Ada barely gave it a glace as a monumental waterfall on the far side of the valley dominated her vision. The falls fell over a massive granite fascia that rose a few thousand feet. A river (which was hidden from view) came crashing over the high stone cliffs with thunderous conviction, falling in a single drop to the alpine lake. A thick haze of mist hung over the lake and tall evergreens encircling it. A surreal feeling of green engulfed Ada.
At the entrance of town stood a wide stone plinth holding a rustic carved beryl sign containing the town’s name. A squirrel sat on the sign chewing on an acorn. “Welcome to Perth.” Said Vasya.
The dwarf extended a hand to help Ada down from her horse. “You have come here to visit Vishkon?” The dwarf was unusually casual, even blasé Ada thought.
Rubbing the soreness from her bum she replied, “I have.”
“Have you ever met him before?”
“No, have you?”
The dwarf laughed, an infectious throaty chuckle, “Yes – of course. On a daily basis. One of the greatest inspiring entities you’ll ever meet. Vishkon has already sensed your presence.” Explained the dwarf, “We will proceed to the entrance of his lair. If he is interested, possibly, but if he isn’t. I’m sorry.”
“Then let’s go then.” Said Ada, “The world turns.” Ada impatiently pushed past the dwarf.
The dwarf frowned, “Are you in a hurry, Don’t you want to stay and drink some dwarven ale. We have great nog.”
“Sorry, I’d like to but I have a ship to catch in the morning.” Honestly Ada wasn’t interested in drinking dwarven spirits, she preferred the elven wine of the Georgian Forest, sweet and pure. Ada continued ahead, “It’s this way I presume.”
The dwarf gave an uncertain glance at Mina.
“She’s young.” offered Mina, as if that explained everything.
Vasya with a retinue of stocky well-armed dwarves caught up to Ada. “This way milady.” The dwarf set a brisk pace.
At first Ada was lost in the charm of Perth and it’s beautiful surroundings, her mind wandered, wondering if places such as this were doomed by the clear-cutting.
Ada’s thoughts were suddenly invaded by dwarven song. Vasya’s baritone voice echoed through the trees with great volume his barrel chest heaving with effort. He was unabashedly bold with his words:
“When cavorting with dwarven women,
a warning most dire,
the line between pleasure and pain,
is soothing like orc fire.”
The dwarves laughed raucously, tossing insults at their leader. A lively crew if there ever was one. The insults seemed to be directed at Vasya’s wife and not particularly to him. But he didn’t seem to mind.
The dwarf lead the elves along the lakeshore and up a firm dirt road cluttered with pine needles heading in the general direction of the falls. The mist became thicker and more pronounced as they approached the far side of the lake; here dewdrops clung to the trees and forest undergrowth. Ada was cognoscente of the ever-present roar, the rush of falling water plunging into the lake. The dwarf was chatty, volunteering all sorts of facts and tidbits of information about Perth and it’s protector. Ada was easily taken in by his charm and together they whittled away the walk with idle chat like old friends.
The dirt road wound around the lake circling in and around large groups of granite boulders and clusters of trees. As they approached the falls the road became increasingly steeper, requiring switchbacks to maneuver the steep incline. After the long ride to Perth the walk felt good, the mist helped make the long climb bearable.
Ada was breathing hard from exertion, “Are we almost there?” she asked.
“Yes, just here.” The road came to a dead-end at the falls where there was a massive cavern entrance. The force of the falling water was overpowering and the mist here was thick as fog. Ada was unable to see past the mist into the cave.
“Is he in there?” asked Ada.
“Yes.” Vasya called into the fog, “This is Ambassador Ada of the Georgian Forest.” It was comical as Vasya hit upon every minute detail pertaining to Ada as if he was reading her resume.
Moments passed and finally as if to shut Vasya up a great groan was heard from behind the curtain of mist, “I heard that when so and so said it to so and so.” A great beastly sigh was made to be heard, “Bring her in.”
Ada took a step to enter the cave but was forcefully restrained by Mina, “You did bring a gift, right?”
“No.” she replied, “Should I have brought one?” she asked,
Frustrated he yanked an ornate sapphire ring from his left hand and gave it to Ada, “Here”.
The mist separated giving Ada a corridor in which to enter the cavern. Behind the veil was a monumentally huge dragon. [Missing description of dragon]. Behind him were heaps upon heaps of riches beyond counting.
The dragon drew closer, his massive head peering down upon the small elf maiden. An eye drew closer until Ada could see herself inside it, like a giant oval mirror.
“I am Vishkon.” the dragon said introducing himself, “Dragon of nature.”
The cavern was massive, full of mist, such that it was hard to ascertain exactly how big the cavern really was or it’s relative dimension. In the back, far behind the dragon, was a strikingly beautifully white tree. Ada was torn, not knowing which was more impressive the elder dragon or the tree. She couldn’t decide which.
Vishkon revealed a green silk pillow and patted it gently.
“Why thank you .” said Ada, “I am quite tired after my long journey.” She made to sit down.
“No.” boomed the dragon. “Not for you, it’s for the ring.”
“Ohh! Oh dear.” Said Ada stopping in mid crouch. Hiding her embarrassment, she put the sapphire ring Mina had given her gently on the pillow.
Vishkon took the pillow and studied the ring, turning the pillow slowly, taking in every detail, every facet. Ada took the opportunity to study the tree. Finally, after a good-long-time, Vishkon took the ring and placed in a pile with a bunch of other rings.
“So, why have you come?” Asked Vishkon.
Ada ejaculated every single detail pertaining to the clear-cutting of the Georgian Forest by the empire. She barely had time to breath as her emotions boiled over explaining the horrific atrocities being inflicted upon the forest.
“So.” Vishkon didn’t seem to care. “So what?”
“Ahhh.” Ada sputtered. And then she let loose another volley of horrific details. This time she explained how the orcs attacked the shipwrights and how she killed one with her bow.
“The forest will grow back.” He volunteered nonchalantly.
“Are you high!??” she screamed.
“Wow.” The dragon said mirthfully, “what a mouth on you.”
Ada was frustrated and didn’t seem to care that she was in the presence of a dragon, or even an elder dragon. Her emotions drove her onward. She had to make the dragon understand.
Finally the dragon had heard enough, “So what are you going to do about it?”
“Me!?” she said not quite understanding, “Well I’m here aren’t I.”
“You are the ambassador of the Georgian Forest are you not? Go to the imperial court and deal with it.”
“I can’t just . . .” she began.
Vishkon cut her off, “Yes you can.”
“I need help. Guidance. I don’t know what to do. I want . . . I need to protect the forest.”
“You are an attaché, isn’t there anyone else that can help you at court.”
“There is the high-elf.”
“Vecna. He is my protector, I was sent to him.”
“I have heard of him.”
“He works for Lolfroth.”
“That is where I’ve heard of him.”
Vishkon gave advice to Ada about the imperial court and what motivated Lord Kordava. He is a human and the empire is managed by the whims of a human. Kordava and Lolfroth are allies, “But make no mistake about it Lolfroth is more powerful than Kordava will ever be. Lolfroth is a dragon, Kordava is just a man.”
“Why don’t you just take him out?” asked Ada.
“Take him out? Why? he’s a friend.” Said Vishkon, “But as long as we’re on the subject, how is Lolfroth these days, tell me more about him.” Vishkon seemed to care more about Lolfroth then discussing the emperor or the Georgian Forest matter.
“I want my ring back.” snapped Ada suddenly holding her hand out.
“Why?” said the dragon perplexed by the audacity.
“Because you gave me bad advice.”
“Bad advice?” Vishkon rolled over onto his front appendages, and stared down upon Ada. “It’s not bad advice just because I didn’t tell you what you wanted to hear.”
Ada turned her back to Vishkon, “It’s bad advice. I want my ring back.”
The dragon reared up, “The ring isn’t payment for advice, it’s payment to see my grand visage. Is it not grand!? I think you got your money’s worth.”
“Hah!” Ada laughed and immediately headed for the exit.
Vishkon bellowed, “Stop elf girl!” his voice changing octaves.
Ada felt an uncontrollable urge and stopped.
“It’s true,” Viskon continued, his voice once again lowering, “what is happening to the forest is a shame. Do something about it. Play the hand you were dealt.”
Ada snorted and tried to leave.
“Now, now come back here.” Vishkon demanded. Yet again Ada was forced to listen and she turned back around.
“Vecna knows an orc. Makala. A powerful orc sorceress. She too is an apprentice of Lolfroth. Have Vecna go to her and get her to stop hiring the orcs to cut down the trees.” Vishkon suddenly became distant, his mind wandering, “Oh yeah, she owes me a favor.”
“Thank you!” said Ada suddenly melting, all her pent up frustrations suddenly gone. She moved closer to the dragon and whispered, “I’d like to give you a kiss on the cheek.”
Vishkon looked oddly taken back and a little awkward, he held out his claw, “you may kiss this.”
Ada groped the claw, running her hands over its scaly texture and gave it a warm kiss. Purring she said, “It’s so creamy!”
“Ok off with you.” Said Vishkon rolling over, his massive girth sending gold cascading, “I’m tried.”
It was late by the time Ada returned from the dragon’s lair. Mina was silent, still perturbed by the loss of his sapphire ring. Ada was made to pay as they rode hard back to Vinnitsa – it was the hardest thing Ada had ever endured. By the time she arrived at the Markovian her legs and bum were beyond repair.
Ada’s hard ride back to Vinnitsa is an OB-6 (She rolled awesome, but still misses)
- * * *
That night Vecna was forced to endure dinner with Earl Vadim and his family.
[Cutting to the details – game night was getting late]
Earl Vadim was still quite interested in having his son study magic under Vecna’s tutelage, “So what is the appropriate age for my son to begin studying magic?”
“What!?” remarked the earl, not understanding or not hearing correctly.
“Wait!” said Vecna holding his hand up pretending to listen to the winds of fate. “Did you hear that? 84. Distinctly 84.”
The earl grinned widely, “You joke with me, he is human. He is human. He has to start at a young age. Right?”
“Magic is difficult and subtle all at once. It is not a science that should be entered into lightly. One must be ready and not before.”
“I think puberty is the right age.” Remarked the earl, “or after he learns to read. But it matters not now, he is only 3. There is time yet.”
The earl refilled his goblet with wine, “Now more pressing matters. You are going to court, I think you could be of great service; I’ve been lobbying to have the Georgian Forest annexed into my domain. There has been problem after problem. Clear-cutting. I know you elves have issues with this. The orcs are the problem, are they not? If I had control of the forest I could fix these problems. I could put in military units to protect. I can solve this problem for you and Ada. We should preserve the forest, for future generations. If this forest was part of my earldom, I would make sure the forest is preserved and protected under the loving grace of my family.
Vecna listened to the earls argument. It sounded eerily similar to Ada’s words, her arguments. Finally he said, “I will certainly bring it to the attention of the emperor.”