And… The library. To no surprise, there was little else to do while in this place. After the conversation with the gentleman about favors, I retreated from my illusory imagination of the window and wandered off. The darkened interior of the musty books pressed in on my nostrils, reminding me of my days with Yuskera. Tome after tome, I sought without much purpose about illusions. I didn't learn anything, except for the fact that nothing I hadn't already known was in these books. Anything of difference was likely to be held in secret grimoires from the mages writing these unfortunately.
Upon returning to the Professor's home, I practiced with Veilseeker yet again. The routine was aching my muscles, but I felt that it was important for me to continue. I opened the window to the night air and created a leafy hammock to rest in. My mind quickly embracing the need to rest.
The next morning, the Professor received a letter to assist in retrieving a very powerful powerstone. It was currently in the possession of a Professor Zilken who taught Fire Magic. Previous requests were simply denied. I understood it as perhaps this man was a bit greedy, hogging the stone for himself when his fellows needed it as well. I didn't feel like I needed to go, it wouldn't be an efficient use of my time. Until, Murph. . .
She called out, "Oh, that's okay, you're just not good enough for this," nonchalant as she exited with Dratharz, Airelinna, and P. Fraus.
My face burned. Thankfully, I was facing away. I hated that feeling, the helplessness. Most of Illandia was of cultures and people larger and more disdainful than my own. How was I going to learn to be a leader out here? I hung my head, focused on the candle in my mind, and dissolved my emotions.
Well, I wasn't going to learn anything by being alone. And, with that in mind, I followed them from above, keeping a distance. The rooftops providing good cover with chimneys, banners, smoke, and other obstacles. At one point they quickened their step. I looked around, but nobody seemed to be watching them. The Professor ducked into an alley, and that's when I finally heard it. Faint in the din of the market district, but it came clearer now, "Professor! Professor Grimwald" It called continually. "Dratharz!" I caught up to the alleyway and peered in from above. Remaining hidden to the best of my knowledge. P. Fraus' eyes flashed as a man, worn from travel and out of breath, came into view.
"Professor, I found you at last!" the man cried out. As he started to step forward, a silver bolt split open his torso, blood seeping from the wound. My mind sped up, adrenaline rushing through my body. I flew down as fast as I could, landing hard on the cobble behind the stranger, casting a strong illusion of a large hill to hide us. "You need to run!" I heard from behind me. I glance for a moment, seeing them gather around. I held my illusion, but because of it's strength it was draining me quickly.
"Professor, if you can do anything, now would be the time," I say through gritted teeth.
"The bolt was poisoned," came a wearied response, "He's gone."
I look around again, trying to determine who or what killed this man, but nothing seemed out of place except for two guards who approached with their hands on their weapons.
"What's going on here?" One of them demands.
The other, younger human male, "Did you just kill this man!?"
The Professor stands up as I drop my illusion, my hand was going numb holding Veilseeker so tightly. "No. My name is Prof. Fraus. He was shot by this bolt. We don't know who killed him." My eyes dart around, trying to discover any information to the murderer at all.
The guards allowed us to take the body to a mage to remove the poison, after being convinced with a truth potion that everything being stated was correct and true. I took the opportunity to ask P. Fraus if I could rest on his shoulder while we made our way there. He sighed, but relented.
Upon arrival to the other mage's shop, and with some coin, the poison was removed. The bolt was also removed from the body and when done so, it vanished. This was beyond my understanding, the amount of power expended to kill this man. P. Fraus, hesitated, catching his breath, then rubbed some golden liquid on the stranger's lips.
A moment passed, but whatever alchemical solution he applied appeared to have not taken any effect. The mages in the room immediately tried to identify it, but their spell upon casting was rebuked and they were thrust across the room into the shopkeeper's counter, where small vials shattered and books scattered like birds. I thanked the mage who removed the poison and followed everyone to where he had pointed for the nearest temple of Saerenrae.
However, as I flew nearby, the stranger's body began to disintegrate, and his form became slack and blew away in the slight breeze. The mage and the guard, my companions, and myself, were shocked. I had no words for how flawless this murder could have been. However, we still had the clothes of the victim, and we could still use a seeker's abilities to locate the murderer.
We were directed to see Seeker Valen. Who, when I first saw him, wasn't really the kind of man I would imagine to be of much renown. He was a very old elf, fragile-looking, with gray-white streaks across his dark brown hair and plenty of wrinkles. He brought us into his workspace and began his ritual on the stranger's clothes. I faced the crystalline sphere in the center of the ritual area. The interior swirled with arcane energy and cloudy smoke. It opened up a vision of a well-dressed individual, hooded, walking in the dockyard. The figure stopped, and slowly turned to face our vision. I saw his eyes glow, an elvish curvature to the face, green tinges of power. The crystal cracked and shattered. The murderer unable to be seen by us. I blinked, the image in my mind, it seemed so familiar. Where could it have come from? The glowing eyes, seemed almost… Sylvan by nature. Could he have been a Fey Elf?
Seeker Valen's nose was bleeding, his brow sweating.
Someone started to ask, "Where is—-"
"SHUSH!" which, was so quick and forceful, everyone became silent.
As the ritual finished, he gasped, "Whoever that was, he's escaped into the Feywild." My thoughts were confirmed, there was definitely something Fey to those eyes. "And I'm going to escape town."
Outside, I asked Airelinna, "You wouldn't happen to know much about Fey Elves would you?"
She pondered for a moment, "No, sorry, I don't really know anything about them."
"I really think that he was a Fey Elf, by the glow of his eyes, I'm certain of it. And it further confirms it when Seeker Valen said he escaped to the Feywild."
"If he is a Fey Elf, we need to do more research."
The Professor piped up, "However, there isn't anything left we can do. I did everything I could to get what little we gleaned from this event."
I nodded, remaining silent for the remainder of our travel to the original destination, Professor Zilken's classroom.
But, as I suspected, my fears were confirmed. This spell cast on us was indeed dangerous. It's purpose still unknown, but narrowed. Could it have been an elaborate experiment? One wherein we were to have as little knowledge as possible about it. I felt largely unprepared for the caliber of danger I just experienced. My only hope was that the others would take this sign to heart. I planned on speaking with them about it. However, the Professor was right, there was nothing that we could do just now. We had no way of identifying the man completely. No signs, symbols, or emblems. Just my burning image of his eyes. Those cold, green-glowing eyes.
Just before noon, we arrived at the lecture hall, P. Zilken's aide answered the door. Apparently, he wasn't scheduled for any lessons today. He told us that his master was quite stubborn with all the previous attempts to reacquire the powerstone and refused vehemently. We asked for his address, which was in the nearby residential district. Loudly knocking on the door, it swung from the force. The lock was broken. A rotten scent entered my nose as the door opened. I wanted to purify the air, but Dratharz said to hold off. Things were starting to add up, and yet another murder in the same day appeared to have crossed our path. I assisted in calling for the guard with a magical "HELP!" sign in the air. Two guards approached. With a simple explanation, they entered the home weapons drawn. They returned after a few minutes.
"It's not pretty in there, but you're welcome to look around for that powerstone."
On the second floor, stabbed repeatedly, with blood pooled, spread generously, and caked into the floor and nearby wall, was P. Zilken. I put my hand to my mouth and stifle a gag. The room was already previously upturned, every drawer emptied. I floated near the door as everyone started to search the room. One guard watched as my companions did so. To my surprise, Dratharz smacked his staff into the floor and then pointed at the bed's headboard. Once removed, an illusionary wall blocked the view to the large powerstone. We returned the stone to the appropriate authorities and alerted them to Zilken's demise, with evidence of the Thieves' Guild of Iladren being involved.
With so much that happened in the day already, we set off to get some lunch. I would have nibbled on some pie from a window, but the Professor enlisted Murph in locating a good establishment. She returned gleefully and directed us to The Dancing Boars. It was pretty expensive, and the leprechaun at the front, who sat on a tall stool to greet big people, gave me a double-take for entry. My fee being waived due to how little I could actually consume. I thanked her for her kindness as I passed.
The food was delicious and Murph gobbled down so much food, it felt slightly sickening. The food was so delicious in fact, P. Fraus decided to open a business deal with the restaurant. I left because that disinterested me entirely, alerting everyone that I was going to the library to attempt some research. But, when I arrived, I was turned away at the door! I was not aware that I couldn't enter without the Professor being present. My fists clenched as I cursed the sky, "Nobody told me that!" I made a mental note to get more permanent access if possible. I sat on the stonework for a while, pouting, thinking about how else to spend the rest of the day. Shaking my head, I returned to the house. My window was closed and I was unable to ascertain how I'd get inside. I spent the next five minutes trying to wave down an automaton before being able to practice some swordplay with my illusion in the relative safety of the wards.
As I did, my thoughts turned to the events that happened so far. Two murders in a morning. The green-glowing eyes of the Fey Elf, and power he held. What was that stranger looking for us for? What did he mean to tell us? How did he know Dratharz? Dratharz had said that nobody should know him except for us. I certainly didn't! The Professor had other names no doubt, but the stranger called them out. I willed my Phantom to pause as I wiped my brow and took a drink of water.
It was all so strange, and too complete for the spell to have not had any connection. Somehow, we were all together, our memories were modified, and we were being watched.
One thing was for sure.
We needed to find out why. . .