3 Growth 509
The Crimson Cord sets out from Aeth, across Jossia, heading southeast toward the city of Aldasar, the capital of Leilior. Surm says farewell to the King and the Aethyngs, with special good-byes to his mother and his brother. Surm announces that “the Ulrichs are children of Aeth and the Crimson Cord is a ready ally should they be needed!”
4 Growth 509
Along the way, traveling across the northern plains, Rilka spots a cairn of stones with a crude, makeshift grave marker. Scrawled in Tradespeak on a piece of sandstone is:
TIRZON LIES HERE. HE WAS BRAVE. HE WAS MY FRIEND. AN ORC KILLED HIM. 507
Savaric searches for tracks and other evidence around the grave. At the grave marker, Mõrvar points out that it was marked two years ago. “That grave has been there longer than we be traveling together,” he observes, and then displays no more interest in it.
5 Growth 509
Around noon, the group passes through (or around) Josemeedt in central Jossia.
6 Growth 509
As the sun is setting and the time to camp approaches, the group finds their path crossed by a decent-sized caravan of Yulanian merchants and performers. They, too, appear to be settling in and making a camp. The atmosphere is joyful as musicians play jaunty tunes while folks work on pitching tents and tending to their livestock.
The caravan is made up of colorful box-wagons, cloth-covered wagons, and flamboyantly-dressed folks riding horses and ponies. They appear to setting up a central “square” with their wagons. There are small merchant wagons, tinkerers, and other such salesmen. There are also performers—jugglers, musicians, clowns, acrobats, and the like.
Two wagons are set off a little from the others—a small, red box-wagon with the words ZENYA ZAORAVARIAN’S TRAVELING SHOW stenciled in Tradespeak on both sides of it in big black letters, and a mid-sized, multi-colored wooden wagon with a banner hanging on it reading “ARINNA’S WAGON OF EXOTIC TREASURES!” Various signs in multiple languages hang from the wagon’s walls inviting the public to “VIEW AND PURCHASE MAGICAL WONDERS FROM AROUND THE KNOWN WORLD!” or “SEEK THE SAGE COUNSEL OF RESIDENT FORTUNE TELLERS!” and “RECEIVE TATTOOS FROM SKILLED ARTISANS!”
Several of the members of the caravan’s crew wave to the Crimson Cord in welcome as they work, clearly inviting them to come and join their encampment.
It is clear from the set-up of the encampment that the “Zenya Zaoravarian” wagon is probably that of the person “in charge”. There are probably a good 80-90 people in the encampment from what can be seen, mostly humans, though they can spot a few dwarves, halflings, elves, half-elves, and even a couple of half-orcs in the mix.
As the party makes its way closer to the encampment, they are met by a colorfully-dressed woman who has emerged from the box wagon marked as “Zenya Zaoravarian’s.” She is smiling as she approaches. She is apparently unarmed.
“Hail, fellow travelers. I am Zenya. Do you come to share our camp? We’re not offering our show tonight, but we do offer fellowship, good food, and fair trade from our merchants. Here you can find goods both mundane and exotic. I, myself, can even offer you a glance into the past or the future, for a few coins, of course.”
She gives them a winning smile and spreads her arms wide in welcome.
Savaric asks, “How few coins for the fortune telling?”
Zenya smiles at Savaric and says, “I can already see that you are one that values your coins. Only five pieces of silver.”
Savaric says, “I’ll follow you,” to Zenya.
“Then we shall go,” Zenya says and leads the way to her wagon.
Inside the narrow confines of the box wagon are many colorful scarves, pillow, and curtains with beads and other accessories hanging from the ceiling and walls. The small quarters smells of spices, wine, and incense. Hanging on the wall is a small, well-wrought, portrait of a handsome Yulanian man in his prime. Below it is a small nook where a small unlit candle sits. She lights the candle with a piece of flint and steel and directs the half-orc to sit at a small table in the center of the “room.”
Zenya goes to a cabinet and pulls out a small wooden box. She opens it carefully, almost reverently, and removes a burgundy velvet bag. From within the bag she withdraws a deck of cards. She kisses the top of the deck gently and delicately places the it on the table as she takes her own seat across from Savaric.
“Now then, my large friend, you must tell me, what is it you seek? Is it Love? Honor? Fortune? What is it you wish to explore?”
Savaric replies, “I don’t know…”
Zenya chuckles amiably. “Oh, you are shy. That is adorable. You like your money, yes? Let’s look at that…”
She pulls out one suit of the cards from the deck and shuffles them. She then spreads them out before you, face down.
“Pick a card, my dear…”
As Savaric picks a card, Savaric insists, and truthfully, “I really don’t know what I want. Money and fortune are a clear path to the THINGS I seek but those are only means to help me protect me and my mismatched family; as dysfunctional as we are. We seek Glory, we each have our own call to honor, fame, and all the what-not with Mirka. I feel as if I don’t know my ultimate goal or how to get there. I had hoped that was something you could help me with,” Savaric breaths out somewhat lackadaisically as he pulls his card.
Before he pulls his card, Zenya stops him. “Ah, a very thoughtful answer to a not-easy question. The first step in this reading is called The Choosing. We will explore your current place in the world and see if the cards have a message for you in relation to question at hand. Then we will delve deeper into the timeline of your life. Perhaps by looking mindfully at the past, present, and future, you can find for yourself the answers you seek. Wait.”
She returns the cards she withdrew from the deck and pulls out another suit. “Now draw,” she says.
Savaric draws “The Owl.”
“The Owl represents the eternal Wisdom of natural order. It is the harsh reality that causes a pack of wolves to cull the weak in the herd—it is tragic for the culled deer, but through such actions the herd grows stronger. See here, the needle The Owl holds binds life together, but can just as easily pick that life apart.
“This is you, is it not? It shows us what you ultimately seek—Wisdom. The Wisdom that comes with the balance of what others term “good” and “bad”. For you, there is only life and it is made of both. You are the binder, the one that brings disparate forces together.
“I see a role for you as a guide, bringing others to the truth of the order of things. Others are blinded by their dedication to god, to glory, or to themselves. Your influence will be a weight in a balance that will tip the scales in one direction or the other, depending upon the needs of the natural order.”
Zenya then takes the card back and places them all back in the deck and begins shuffling.
“Now, we will begin the reading in earnest.”
She takes out top nine cards of the deck and lays them out face down, in a spread—a 3 × 3 square. Then she smiles and “And so, we begin.”
She turns over the one at the upper left—“The Wanderer.”
“In the past you have gone through life as a collector, appreciating the things that others find worthless. Indeed, much of your life has centered around the acquisition of Things—wandering about the world, finding new things, selling things, buying things, trading things…”
She then turns over the card in the center row at the far left—“The Rabbit Prince.”
“Now, here is a quirky fellow. Here is where the path of your past becomes more filled with shadows and moonlight—clear in some places, hidden in others. Here we have the vagaries of battle personified—note the broken sword in the Prince’s hand. I think you have seen many battles, and have seen that anyone—no matter how skilled or prepared—can fall. Perhaps you have even fallen yourself.” She shrugs. “As I said, shadows and moonlight.”
Then she turns over the last card in the left-hand column: “The Paladin.”
“Here we see a symbol of strength against adversity. But, in your past, I think this has been seen this as something that was foolhardy, yes? Perhaps you encountered a situation in which the wisest course was to run—but that has it’s own consequences, does it not?”
Now she turns to the middle column. “But that all is in the past. Let us look at the present.” She turns over the card in top row, middle column: “The Courtesan.”
“Here we have political intrigue. Perhaps you are involved in matters of the court or other important factions. You have striven and come much higher in the world than your station would normally indicate. You wear one face for the public, but quite another amongst those that know you well. I think you often find yourself in situations now that require the niceties of society and that your actions, the way that you shape events, depends largely upon how you are treated.”
Next she turns over the card in the center of the spread. “The Demon’s Lantern.”
“Here, the present situation is unclear, but perhaps an opportunity is at hand to guide your way, if you but reach out for it. I think you find yourself presently in an impossible situation—or at least, it seems to be. You are looking for a guiding light to keep you from sinking into the mire. Be careful, though, of these will o’ the wisps, leading you astray and to your doom. Not all that shines is a light.”
She turns over the card in the middle column, bottom row: “The Publican.”
“Here I see that you have in your life a place of refuge and safety, fellowship and camaraderie. But it is tainted—something is wrong with your safe haven and it is no longer the refuge it once was. The cause is unclear—I cannot see if it is from without or from within. But your fellowship is now a place of strife and acrimony.”
She turns to the final column of the spread. “Now we look to the future.” She turns over the top card of the last column. “The Crows.”
“Now this is a dangerous bunch. They have eye to taking that which you love. Perhaps you have gained an enemy, or some new danger lurks that threatens that which you hold dear. But, I see that calamity is likely to be averted—though never without consequences.”
She turns over the middle card in the column: “The Eclipse.”
“Things are bit more hazy here. But I see you questioning yourself more and more in future. You will be filled with self-doubt and loss of purpose. I know that it is purpose that you seek now—but from what I can see here, you may not find it in the short term.”
Then she turns over the final card: “The Liar.”
“The lamia shows a future for you in which you discover love at its most treacherous. This is not the love that moves mountains—this is the love that rips the heart in two and causes lovers to leap to their deaths. It may mean obsession, unrequited passion, or doomed love. Expect the passion and the fire—but beware the burn and always sleep with your eyes open.”
Zenya sits back and sighs. “Now, my friend, we have glimpsed into your past, your present, and your future. It is possible, and even normal, to have more questions than when you came in! But, my sincere hope for you, is that you find the wisdom you seek. Many do not have the presence of mind to seek out their purpose, expecting it to be handed to them. I have found, and this only the wisdom of experience that speaks, that purpose must be made for one’s self, it must be forged, if it is to be strong. Now, go with the blessing of the gods and spirits, my friend, and think on what we have seen together.”
Savaric says, “This gives me much to ponder. You’re definitely right about it bringing up more questions than answers. Is there anything more concrete you see in these cards. Some thing more in the way of direction other than just, ‘make your own path?’”
Zenya smiles as she leads you from her wagon, "Ah, my boy, if the cards were THAT precise, I’d charge you much more than 5 silver. No, the cards give you some clarity—they illuminate the past, present, and future in the hopes that you can see some places in which to blaze a path—they do not dictate, they illuminate. They cast light into the shadows. Only you can decide the direction.
“Besides, and here is some free advice, worth exactly what you pay for it, but if you follow a path someone else lays out for you, then aren’t you living their life, not your own? Isn’t the entire point of life to make your own path?”
Savaric and Zenya emerge from the wagon. Zenya has her hand on Savaric’s shoulder in a friendly gesture of guidance.
When Savaric and Zenya emerge from her wagon, Surm simply shakes his head disapprovingly. He then moves to intercept Savaric after he walks away from Zenya.
“Put no stock into what you have heard in that wagon. She is a Charlatan speaking of vagaries and ambiguities that provide nothing useful. Her ‘wisdom and magic’ is the ability to read a person, then speak of vague situations and circumstances that encourage that person to apply whatever she is saying to their own circumstances. It is entertainment only Savaric, do not waste thought on her words and do not be disturbed or excited about anything she said. She is a performer and the cards are only painted pictures with no meaning other than what she decides in the moment depending on who is sitting across from her. If anything, be sad at the 5 silver you just lost and learn a lesson from this experience.”
Surm does not visit any wagons and encourages the others to avoid the theatrics and guard their pouches.
Mõrvar approaches the wagon marked as having tattoo artists, as does Rilka. “Am I to understand tattoo’s of a mystical nature can be purchased and applied here?” Mõrvar asks.
At the wagon, a Yulanian woman greets them warmly and says, “That’s right. We have artisans that can apply such things inside. Follow me.” She leads them inside the box wagon.
Inside—they are surprised to see that the inside is clearly bigger than the outside. There are rows of potions, wands, scrolls, and other objects from around the world. She motions for Mõrvar to follow and takes him toward the back where the tattoo artists are.
“As far as mystical tattoos, we usually offer these,” and she motions to a sign on the wall:
Animal Totem Tattoo : 12,000 gp
Hypnotic Tattoo : 900 gp
Runeward Tattoo: : 1000 gp
Serpentine Tattoo : 2000 gp
“Does anything catch your eye?”
Rilka stops at the counter and sees a waifish Yulanian woman, who greets her. “Welcome, friend. How can we help you today?”
Rilka expresses wonder at the size of the wagon and browses some of the wares. She decides that she’s not buying today and goes outside to join Savaric in sitting by the fire and listening to music. She inquires if they know any Northron sons. They do and they oblige by playing some.
Meanwhile, Mõrvar says, “Not anything I was really considering. I was curious about the caster’s tattoo. I will admit, the animal totem is intriguing, but 12,000 turns it from intriguing to un-interesting. So, you’re traveling, no long lines waiting, is that your best price?”
Arinna smiles. “I have been known to give some credit, some mind you, for a tale well-told. Do you have any tales, pale one?”
Mõrvar will grin, “Ms. Arinna, I have tales of love, hate, friendship and fear. Tales of justice being brought to those who exploit the weak, and tales of journeys that brought riches. I have tales of adventure and glory and tales of fallen friends. I have tales that will leave you smiling or crying, leaving you feeling warm and fuzzy or a bit shaken with butterflies. I can tell you tales of Warlords, radicals, Frost Giants, Drow, dwarves, elves, and even the Adonii. I can tell you tales of ancient artifacts and hoards of orcs, of skeletons, bloodbeasts, drakes, griffons, pegasus, and winter wolves. I have a tale where I beheaded the same lich three times before we found his soul and crushed it. I even have a tale of coming face to face with a red dragon, and having a conversation that, in a strange way, was pleasant. Are these the tales you would like to hear about?”
Arinna crosses her arms. “Then impress me, tale-spinner. Tell me your tale.”
Mõrvar asks her, “Tell me, with all of your travels, have you ever heard of the Cursed Isle of Salvi?” She arches and eyebrow and nods, “I’ve heard the name and a few things.”
And with that, Mõrvar begins his tale.
After he is done, Arinna gives him a slow, respectful clap. “A tale well-told. I salute you, Northron. I tell you what, I will give you the totem tattoo for 9000 gold.”
Mõrvar will smile, “That is very generous of you. Still, I am on the fence. This is a lot of money for something I wasn’t sure about to begin with.” Mõrvar contemplates for a moment, “Tell you what, if you will take 6000, and allow me to cover the other 3000 by trading you a cloak of resistance and an amulet of natural armor, and a promise that you’re a fantastic tattoo artist, then we have a deal.”
Mõrvar then smiles, “And I’ll even tell you a tale about that amulet I took off the lich I beheaded three separate times before finally destroying him in our fourth meeting.”
“I suppose I can live with that arrangement,” Arinna says. “I, actually, won’t be administering the tattoo. But my cousin, Maella, is a fantastic tattoo artist.” She smiles. “And save your tale. Don’t give them away for free. You may need that for trade sometime.”
Arinna warns him that the working of the tattoo will take about twelve hours, which will make them late in leaving the next day.
Mõrvar lets the rest of the party know of his plans. Surm will ask, “What tattoo and why? Do you even know the details of how they work? Why don’t you wait and think about it first? If you still want one, get it in Aldasar. This seems like an impulse buy that a bunch of creepy carnies sold you and you’ll regret buying later.”
In the end, Mõrvar decided against the tattoo.
7 Growth 509
That morning, the party breaks away from the encampment and heads further down the road toward Aldasar. Later that afternoon, they encounter the city of Skeene. They go around that city and move on, camping off the road later that night.
8 Growth 509
The party sets off once again, southward, in the morning.
Later that morning, they encounter the city of Kivley. They move around the city and travel onward.
9 Growth 509
On this day of traveling, as they take a break for a rest, Savaric finds, discarded in the brush, a battered and muddy wizard’s hat. Examining the hat, he finds a note inside written in Leilioran:
Upon the 8th day of the Reign of Charity, when the Black Serpent lies in blood and the Moon is crowned, the Lich Tyrant shall be slain.
Later that afternoon, they arrive at the city of Aldasar. Instead of the going into the city, they head straight to the estate of their friend, Lord Cannach.
As they approach the front gates of Lord Cannach’s lands, they recognize one of the guards—Tarben! He greets them and assures his compatriot that they are welcome here and to lets them inside. He escorts them into the estate proper.
When asked, he indicates that Lord Cannach’s guard captain has been working them into their rotation while they are staying on the lands and drilling. It’s easy work and Lord Cannach is a good boss. They’ve had one other job while they’ve been here—a cushy guarding gig at a social function. It was easy work and there was free food afterwards—-it’s been a semi-vacation, but most of the guards are ready to go back on the march.
Tarben drops them off at the manor house where they are greeted by Lord Cannach’s chamberlain, who fetches the lord of the manor. Lord Cannach greets them all warmly and welcomes them into his home.
As usual, his hospitality is impeccable and he brings them food and drink and sits them down in his parlor to hear about their exploits and future plans.
Surm tells the story of the frost giants, demon skulls, and victory. Lord Cannach enjoys the story thoroughly, wishing he had more exciting things to report of life here in Aldasar. Not much has been going on in his world, of late.
Surm also gets with Mahgnus about his progress on the orphan-retrieval front. The valet has been putting out feelers for wet-nurses that will be available for travel in month of Ardor. They are to inquire of him at the estate.
The Cord asks for, and receives, permission, of Lord Cannach to stay on his lands while they are conducting business for a couple of weeks here in the capital. Surm and Mõrvar arrange to do some retraining while Rilka arranges to have a magical item enhanced. Savaric seeks for, and finds, work to build capital for his dream of an inn.
They all settle into their work, ready to pass the next two weeks in peace.
11 Growth 509
On his way back from his retraining, Mõrvar is walking down the streets of Aldasar toward Lord Cannach’s when out of nowhere a halfling appears out of the crowd, walking beside him.
“Say, I know you. You’re Mõrvar Ulrich, aren’t you? Of the Crimson Cord?” he says.
“Why, yes, I am,” Mõrvar says, full of pride. “What’s your name?”
“I’m Daveth. Yeah, I’ve heard of you. I heard you carry that big sword around because you’ve got a little dick.”
Mõrvar is struck speechless for a second and then says something about showing the halfling his dick. The halfling says, “Oh, no, I don’t swing that way, thank you very much. Bye!” and disappears into the crowd.
When Mõrvar gets back to the estate, he shares his encounter with his friends. They all warn him that its a trap, not to fall for it and to ignore it. They also decide to travel with a “buddy” in the city in case they’re targeting the whole group. Nobody walks alone back from their retraining. Rilka will walk with Mõrvar, Savaric with Surm.
12 Growth 509
As Mõrvar and Rilka are walking back from Mõrvar’s retraining session, once again the halfling pops up out of the crowd and says to Rilka, “You don’t want to hang out with this guy! He’s all talk, no action!”
After a brief exchange of insults, the halfling disappears again into the crowd.
When they get back to the estate, Mõrvar is fuming. He wants to concoct a plan in which Savaric follows them and tracks the halfling back to whoever hired him to antagonize him. The rest of the party try to warn him off of this plan, advising him to leave it alone, that if he ignores the trap, the trap can’t spring. Mõrvar insists that he needs to do something about this or its going to happen every time he comes into this city. The rest of the party can’t seem to dissuade Mõrvar from pursuing the matter.
13 Growth 509
Sure enough, the following day, as Mõrvar and Rilka make their way back from retraining, the halfling appears again. “Oh, you’re on the wrong side of town for pliable, young boys. They’re much cheaper on the other side of the river.”
Mõrvar puts his arm around Rilka and says, “Come on, let’s get out of here. Ignore him,” and leads Rilka down the road, not looking back. He seems to be taking his friends’ advice!
Rilka hears a disturbance behind her and a gasp from some of the walking throngs. She sees the halfling dusting himself off as he waves at them. “Have good night!” he says.
14 Growth 509
This time, Mõrvar’s final day of retraining, Rilka and Mõrvar take an entirely different route home, away from the neighborhood that they they had been traveling through. They made it through their trip unaccosted by halflings.
15 Growth 509
Surm completes his retraining efforts on this day and begins looking for rumors and leads for potential work for the next month or so.
He hears about about a sorceress named Hekia who is imprisoned in the Tomb of Secrets by “chains of magical shadow.” Following up, he learns that the Tomb of Secrets is in the Uralda Mountains of eastern Yulania.
He also hears about a magical fountain reputed to grant strength to those that bathe in it. However, the fountain is located in the Gauntlet of Emirkol the Chaotic, a stronghold in the Jorani Mountains.
Surm takes these rumors to the party to judge their potential for the Crimson Cord’s next undertaking before escorting the half-orc orphans back to Yrda.
It is decided that he will seek more information from the sages at the University of Aldasar.
16 Growth 509
Surm takes his information to the University and makes arrangements with two sages to look into the two quests. He gives them until the 21st (the day Rilka’s belt will be ready) to come up with the information.
21 Growth 509
On the 21st, Surm goes to the sages to pay them and collect the information they have gathered while Rilka goes to collect her magical belt.
Hekia was a heroic sorceress from an adventuring party styling themselves as “The Sableflames.” She was captured by their archnemesis, a necromancer by the name of Kalthior, when the party attempted to slay said necromancer in his base of operations, the Tomb of Secrets. Kalthior had previously unleashed a horde of undead on a small village in Yulania and the Sableflames had been brought in to protect it. They followed him to his lair and went inside.
The sole survivor of the encounter was a halfling by the name of Torvald. He came out of the lair, determined to have his friend rescued. He spent all of his money to hire another adventuring troupe to go in and get Hekia. None returned and now Torvald is penniless and hopeless, living in the slums of Aldasar.
This expedition took place nine months ago.
The sage offers Surm a map to the Tomb of Secrets, as well as directions to the neighborhood in which Torvald now lives.
Emirkol the Chaotic was (or is, according to some tales), by all accounts, mad. This is no wonder, as he is also purported to be/have been a worshiper of Sabreel, the old Midron god of madness. The summoner created his Gauntlet as a test for adventurers to go through to test their mettle. He felt that the “adventuring class” was bloated and needed some thinning.
Survivors of the Gauntlet—of which there are very few recorded—tell of a maddening place that threatened their bodies and warped their minds. One such survivor spends his days reliving the experience in his mind while sitting in an asylum. The Gauntlet has been reputed to have existed for over a century.
The sage can, once again, provide a map to the destination of the purported whereabouts of the Gauntlet.
After Surm takes his information back to the Cord, they decide to pursue the quest for Hekia—though the thought of more strength clearly intrigued Mõrvar. They decide to look up Torvald to get more details.
They all head into the city and to a run-down part of town near the city center. According to their information, Torvald lives in a shack a block from The Three-Billed Duck Tavern.
They arrive at the shack and Rilka knocks on the door, asking for Torvald. After a few seconds, the door opens slightly and a milky blue eye gazes back out. “Yes? I am Torvald.”
Surm explains that they are there for information on the Tomb of Secrets and his last expedition there. At first, the halfling behind the door is reluctant to help the party. He doesn’t want to talk about that because it is “too sad.” But once it is clear that the Cord is going after Hekia, he lets them inside to discuss the matter.
Inside, the furnishings are sparse, spartan, but clean. And presiding over them is a the oldest halfling any of them have ever seen. He has no place on his face without wrinkles. His hair is white and wispy. He also carries a small, wooden, walking stick for support. He motions for them to sit down, ignoring their expressions of dismay at his aged frame.
He confirms that he is, indeed the Torvald that went on that failed expedition to the Tomb of Secrets. When the party went into the necromancer’s lair, there were four of them altogether.
“Thalia, the cleric, she was the first to fall. It was ghouls that did her in. Next went Landros. Even his mighty greatsword couldn’t save him from that trap. He was disembowled.” That left he and his friend, Hekia Stormwing, to persevere and complete the mission so that the others will not have died in vain.
They made their way to the inner sanctum of the necromancer. Torvald stuck to shadows, trying to get an advantage over the spellcaster and stab him from behind while he and Hekia battled. But Torvald wasn’t good enough and was spotted. The necromancer uttered a word and suddenly Torvald was an old, wizened halfling. Soon, Hekia was bound in “chains of magical shadow” and Torvald, now old and afraid, ran from that place, leaving his friend behind to her fate.
As soon as he got back, he gathered all of his resources to launch another expedition to save Hekia. The necromancer had a special hatred for the young sorceress, and the feeling was mutual. Torvald was sure that the necromancer was keeping her alive and in pain. He spent all of his money—and the expedition never returned.
The party asks the halfling what else he can tell them about the necromancer Kelthior. Torvald knows that he is “old beyond his time” and that he is also resistant to magic. He is not a lich or another sort of undead, but is a master necromancer, a wizard of the arts of death magic.
Torvald states that he can offer no recompense for the rescue of his friend. Surm assures him that none is needed. Then Surm asks if Torvald can give them a map of the lair and Torvald says that, yes, he will draw out a map based on what he can remember.
After thanking Torvald provides them a map and thanks them profusely, Surm and the others head back into the city to research and purchase the necessary spells they’ll need for the expedition. They speculate that the spell used to age Torvald is an enhancement of a known spell, Sands of Time, but obviously more powerful and probably of his own devising. It is also thought that it is probably through the use of ritual blood magic that Kelthior is keeping himself “old beyond his time.”