Deep in the library

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Jinn paces back and forth, staring at the dusty tomes on his table with disgust. Information on the dark reaches was frustratingly harsh to find, and his anger wasn't letting him focus at all. What had gotten into his house? Who had killed his friend??

Roughly pulling his chair out, he sat back down and looked over his notes from the mission in orcelions realm. The images of the torn up stone elf bodies flashed in his mind again, some of the more gruesome sights he had seen in the last few years. The elf with the burnt out eyes stick out the most to him, but why, he thought to himself.

What had gotten into his house and how did they manage it? Ruki was blaming the fae, rightly so given what had transpired the night before, but Elspeth had given him her word that her people had not done it. If it turns out that she lied Jinn would be the first one in line to shove her right into that grinder and get that damn portal up an running!

He shakes his head to clear those thoughts and goes back to the task at hand. Moving his notes around he reads over the statements given to him from the others who were with him in the realm of hedonism. The argument between the stone elves kept coming up.

"Its in you, it's in you! Oh no it's in him to!" Some kept repeating.

Jinns eyes narrowed as he went over his own memories of what happened right before that meeting with Marisa. Suddenly his eyes fly open and he slams his fist on the table! Grabbing his empty mug he flings it across the room and stands so violently his chair flys out from under him.

"No no no no.... how is that even possible.... this is all my fault!" He exclaims loudly, his voice echoing through the large empty library. Running over to the index he starts furiously writing down book titles to gather.


Calan wonders into the library as he enters he can faintly hear a very troubled voice muffled by the rows of books between himself and the person shouting. curiosity gets the better of Calan so he chooses to investigate where the sound was coming from. he walks deep into the library; just as he had almost given up on finding where the sound came from there sat a disgruntled Tari-nor pouring over a pile of books. Calan watches for a moment as Jinn looks between three different books before clearing his throat.

The sound startled Jinn and his head whipped in the direction of where it came, hand reaching instinctively for the handle of his blade.

"Oh, calan it's you.... don't sneak up on me like that!"

Jinn puts the books down on the table and rises to greet the new comer.

"What brings you down to the dusty depths of this library? I never pegged you for much of a reader, but you were blind for most of the time i knew you. Anything I can help you with?"


Calan chuckles a little at having startled the man.

" Sorry, it wasn't my intention to sneak up on you. but since you asked. I was just telling Evo that I have my suspicions about what had happened to Ruki so I was going to research that. what brings you to the library?"

Calan takes note of the various books around Jinn.
"I have my suspicions as well, and actually meant to come speak with you about the specific things that happened that night. I fear that something came back with us that night, through Barra."

Jinn motions to the books in front of him.

"These are maddeningly unhelpful so far, but I'm trying to look up anything I can on anything that can enter another being and exert its will through them. That's a level of enslavement that chills me to my core."

Jinns face darkens a bit

"Part of me is searching, hoping to find something that will prove me wrong... If this turns out to be true then I am to blame for Ruki's death... I feel like I am to blame for much of the darkness around here"

Jinn clears his throat and goes to collect his mug, filling it from the pitcher on the table. He steadies himself and turns to look at Calan.

"Sorry I got caught up in my own thoughts there, what do you think happened that night?"


Calan pauses a moment considering how to respond. While Jinn had nailed part of his suspicion, he hadn't even considered follow up implications. Would it be better he wondered about mentioning how if something had transferred to Barra that it may not stay within him? Calans thought hung on the moment where the wild stone elves were accusing one another of having it in them. 'who is it in now?' this means that it moves from body to body after one is infected.

" what do I think happened that night?" Calan echoed back as he picked up a random book from the shelf nearest him and flipped through the pages. Calan places the book back and runs his finger across the shelf pausing to look at the amount of dust on his index finger.

" I suspect strongly that what you suspect is exactly what happened." he walks over within arms reach of Jinn and slams his fist down on the desk, continuing in a louder voice. "You're right you knew exactly what we would be walking into, you Knew it was dangerous enough to constantly repeated how dangerous the mission was. You constantly gave chances to go back; you were always counting when we passed into a new area to make sure that we all made it out ok. it's your fault that we were organized, that we kept shields both in the front and the back."

he paused to take three long slow breaths before continuing.

" Admit it, you knew that creature existed, didn't you?" Calan points directly at Jinn. "You have been there before, and you had to have known every single danger we could have faced." Calans voice softens and he shakes his head at Jinn. " if it's your fault Ruki died then it's mine as well. I noticed that he was the last to come up that hill and I said nothing; I watched Barra walk into the frantic stone elves silently after you. I mean I may not know the lot of you well but I have observed enough of Barra to know that he doesn't disobey or do anything at will without doing so loudly or definitely. One of the few things I can remember about this place is Barra blowing raspberries during a murder trial. I knew he was behaving out of character to some capacity and said nothing. By Waythune's left nut, I am just as much to blame for Rukis death as you by that logic. "

Calan pauses to collect his thoughts and give Jinn a chance to respond. still unsure about mentioning his worry that whatever came back with Barra may not be in Barra anymore. A thought like that would change the Lux people could turn on one another really fast. He could see a similar situation play out in one of the false memories he carried back from the forgotten shard.
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Jinn chuckles and takes a long drink from his mug.

"Now there's the Calan I was mentoring." He pauses for a moment "I appreciate your bluntness. This is not a situation where one can mince words or worry about feelings. I do understand that I can't know everything about the reaches, nor can I have all of our bases covered. But simply put, that was my mission, and someone has died as a result. It's been almost 8 years since someone died under my care, and I promised never again. But don't think that its pity I feel, oh no. I let these moments drive me when I feel like I can no longer go on."

Jinn walks over to his char and slumps into it, refilling his mug again.

"What has happened has happened, now it is up to us to never let it happen again. First that means research. Thats why I am down in this dusty hole in the ground reading 3 books at a time. We need to learn all we can on this dream cloud, how it takes over peoples minds, if it leaves after the victim finishes its wishes, and can it move from person to person. We also need to ensure our safety when we are at rest. I have already acquired Barra some new sleeping quarters, but we also need to feel and be safe while we sleep. I will be instructing all the guests in my house to be warding or wizard locking their rooms. They will be doing it alone in the house so that no one will know if it was a ward or a wizard lock. I will even pay for others to cast a ward if it makes the guest feel safer. Third we need to be as prepared as we can be when we go back into that realm. That means awakens, enslavement antidotes, lights, and solidifies."

Jinn pauses and exhales. He runs his hands thigh his hair and looks up at Calan.

"Its only going to get heavier as we go on. I mentioned that you were lucky and seemingly got a fresh start after your trip through the mists. I know some of the things you've been lucky enough to forget. Are you sure this path is the one for you?"


Calan's brow furrows "I don't think that it is as simple as that Ruki died because of a mission you lead; no doubt that troubles you as it does any of us. I think that its a combination of this and the fact that it then happened in your house, while you sleep safely in your protected room. but you're right what is done is done. "

Calan unclips his mug from his belt. wipes it out using cloth from his pocket before walking to the desk and filling his mug. "do you mind?" but of course, he didn't wait for a response since hed began pouring it before he even asked. he takes a long deep drink emptying the mug in one go.
Calan gave out a bit of a choke and cough as he looked into the bottom of his mug.

" You could have warned a guy, I'm surprised this hasn't burnt out your insides. What is it Selunari? High orc? I mean maybe we could just toss this at the murder cloud." Calan laughed a little to himself. " In all seriousness, I worry that solidifies might not be powerful enough to work. in my experience, anything that's naturally gaseous tends to be immune. that being said it would be better to prepare them and not work than the other way around. As for lights we most certainly could use a couple more, but part of me would be hesitant to use too many at once least we attract more danger."

Calan refilled his mug, this time he takes a sip before placing the mug between them. " you can add this to the two plat that I OWE you." he said with emphasis on the word owe while making air quotations with his hands. He took a deep breath.

"as for the weight of it all, I can take it. any burden you need to shoulder, I will gladly shoulder with you. I may be better for not remembering some of those things, but all of those things still brought me here. I have been made aware of what's coming and it sounds a lot like what might have happened to the shard that I just returned from. If there is anything that I can do to help prevent that here I am compelled to do so. I came here to research that cloud we encountered so if you want a second set of eyes you have them; otherwise, I can research something else if you see fit. Either way, I'm sticking around."
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Jinn raises his hand and begins to say something as Calan brings the cup to his lips, but decides to say nothing. His sly smile returns as Calan chokes a little.

"Imported from New Acarthia that is. A special home brewed mead by a beautiful Biata I met named Jax. It does have a bit of a kick to those who are not used to it."

As Calan refills his mug Jinn laughs at the Two Plat comment and waves his hand, sliding his cup over as well.

"Go ahead and have some more, on the house. I find it helps me think, or at least allows me to dwell on these dark subjects longer than I really should. This is it what I imagined myself doing when I left Turom Falls almost two century's ago. Murder clouds and dark reaches and fae lords and what not. Life was a lot simpler back then."

Jinn reaches for his cup and holds it in his hands for a moment.

"Solidifies may not work, but the awakens will get us up before that thing or anything else can get into our minds. Unless of course it's still in our realm, dwelling within the recesses of someone's brain. I plan to ask Tengu to assist me with delving into Barra's memories to see if we are correct. But hopefully we will turn up some useful information in the coming weeks. I hope the blasted thing has returned home for the time being, we have more than enough on our plate as is."


"New Acarthia you say, what happened to Old Acarthia I wonder? I'd be lying if I said I wasn't worried about that thing moving about. While I believe you are safe or at least were safe that night I, on the other hand, slept in an unlocked room. I am a little worried about going to sleep. If we are right Barra doesn't seem aware that it is, or was within him. How would any of us know if it moved? I can understand why those Elves were so jumpy."

Calan notices Jinn clasping his hands.

" In another life, I knew a man or someone knew a man rather the semantics of it aren't important. what is important is that man found himself in positions, not unlike our own. anyways, when he found himself wrestling with the horrors they fought his mentor told him that they didn't fight to save the world so that they could live in it; they fought to save and create a world that they wouldn't be welcome in anymore, they fought so that nobody else would have to make these sorts of choices again. but... "

his thoughts seemed to trail off as he slightly cocked his head to the side listening to where he had come from. whatever noise he had thought he heard had vanished if it had been there at all.

" then again that memory belongs to a person on a shard that fell to a bunch of immortals, where its citizens forgot themselves and got hunted over and over so I aim to one-up that and do what it takes to find a better way here."

Pulls out his sketchbook and scribbles something down quickly.

"Where was I? right, if taking a drink helps you focus and dwell as it were on such things, by all means, don't stop yourself on my account, or perhaps consider why you hesitate. I am sorry if that seems out of line to say. Id like to say you're free to vent, talk, or whatever to me if needed. I'm more than happy to work through ideas or just listen. I get the impression something more is troubling you that you're hesitant to bring up. perhaps it is this that is making your research difficult."

Calan places his sketchbook on the table leaving its pages open then proceeds to pick up one of the books before Jinn and read through the page it was open to.
Jinn raises the cup to his lips and takes a deep drink

"There is a lot that weighs on my mind lately. The contracts literally spelled out the end of our world, and I am just a simple Sylvanborn who got lost a few years back and stumbled into all this. When you sit back and look at the whole picture it is mind numbing, what we are dealing with. Our realm could be over taken and turned into a wasteland if we make one misstep. I think the severity of it all came over me for a second.... it is much easier to break it down into smaller parts. Take the cloud, either it's in Barra, or it has moved, I would assume into Ruki. I'm guessing Tengu will be able to help at least tell us if Barra was the one inhabited when Ruki died. We will all be protected by various wards on each of our sleeping areas, so no one will be able to get to any of us while we sleep. As for the cloud itself we solidify it and take it out, along with that whole damned realm. That's one step to stopping the end of days."

Jinn pauses to take a breath.

"It is one step of many we will have to take. People can have whatever reasons they wish as to why they fight. I do this to ensure a better world for myself and my children. For my friends and my family. For everyone who lives in our shard. But we have to remember one thing, you and I. We must be able to live with ourselves after this is all said and done. The other races don't have that to worry about. It may sound harsh but they will all pass on at some point, where as we will not if we are lucky. We must be able to live with the things we have done to ensure this shards survival. It's a catch 22 as we are constantly told we must be willing to make sacrifices, but where do we draw the line. When do we stop and ask if there is another way? Look at what happened with the fae. People were willing to grind up the innocent without seeing if there was any other choice that could be made. We just blindly accepted that this is what the portal needs. I feel bad enough I couldn't have lead that mission myself. I put Marshal Arlyn in a tough position and that led to all of the unpleasantness of Friday night. I should of helped her pick a better team, we should have asked more questions. The things we are willing to do to save the world... I may actually just be ranting now"

Jinn scratches his goatee and take another drink, pausing for a moment to collect his thoughts.

"Its funny, I protected my bunk as I assumed I would be the one attacked in my sleep, just by someone else. Strange times indeed..."

He looks down as Calan places his sketch book on the table., glancing at the open pages.

"As for the research, it's not that difficult. I think my problem is I am trying to learn to much about too many different things at once. I may need to look into that delegation thing Evo keeps telling me about."


Calan nods. he momentarily considers pressing further but decides against it. he drums his fingers on the table while continuing to read. Calans brow tightens and his face scrunches up as though wincing in pain. without looking up from the pages Calan begins to speak again.

"well, as you said what's done is done; speaking of Evo, he had suggested to me that I ask more questions upfront so as not to leave comrades in such a vulnerable state. I find it hard to imagine any of us would not change something about that night if we could and yet at the same time there is much each of us wouldn't change. we are all bound by our beliefs as it were." Calan lowers the book and looks up and to the left as if considering something. he leaned over and scribbled down part of what he had just said underneath his drawing. the words felt familiar and yet not right, like the sketch it felt as though he'd seen and heard these things before. Calan placed the charcoal down and raised up the book he was reading from again. "I feel the worst for poor Alan, they vanished right after that ordeal. they seemed like good people, I feel like we would have grown to be friends."

"you know... perhaps now is as good a time as any to delegate away."

Calan takes a sip from his mug looking at the man across from him.
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"Alan is fine, they made it back to Turom Falls and sent word to me when they did. I assume I'll be hearing from a few people now that my whereabouts have been reported."

Jinn watches Calan with a cocked eyebrow as he scribbles something down and fidgets with his books.

"Are you ok? I know you just got your sight back but I didn't think reading would be that painful."


raising his left-hand covers his eyes while rubbing each of his temples. his hand returns to his mug, his index finger absentmindedly tapping at the side of the mug, but not so hard as to make any real sound.

"well, I am glad that they made it home okay. I had half wondered if someone had you know." Calan gestures by dragging his finger across his neck.

Calan continues to read completely ignoring Jinns first question. All the while singing a tune scarcely audible to anyone more than a few feet away; it's likely that Jinn would hear it as more than a hum.

"I can hear what your thinking
all your doubts and fears
if you look in my eyes in time you'll
find the reason I'm here
in time all things shall pass away
in time you may come back someday
to live once more or die once more

but in time your time will be no more
you know your days are numbered
count them one by one
like the notches in an outlaws sword
you can outrun the spirits if you try
but you'll never outrun the hands of time
in time there'll surely come a day
in time all things shall pass away
in time you may come back some say
to live once more
or die once more
but in time your time will be no more

I can hear what your thinking."

Calan looks up from his book speaking at a bit louder than a whisper.

"Is there a section for folklore or legends?" Calan squints while looking at the surrounding area. " I almost feel like this is the sort of thing that someone would have written about to scare children. speaking of scaring children, your free to look through my book if you like. there isn't much in it just some ideas I've been pondering the last while. I just wouldn't want to distract you from what's more important."
"I would hope no none would take any action against Alan, as that would be unwise. A group of adventurers took a fresh from the Falls Sylvanborn out on what was well know to be a bloody mission, then got mad when the sylvanborn took offense to what the group were doing. Alan is not a member of any guild or group and holds no alliances to anyone here. Any action taken against them would be dealt with swiftly by me, and it would be with extreme prejudice." Jinn pats the black bone hilt hanging at his side.

"I've know Alan since we were children, they are my people, and no harm will come to them."

Jinn goes to fill his glass again, but the wine skin comes up empty. He tosses it onto the table with a half smile.

"We can do all sorts of magic to make quivers hold an unseen amount of arrows, I can channel the elements of the planet through my weapons, we can bring people back from the brink of death and walk through trees to other realms. But we haven't figured out a better way to carry around something to drink. Well looks like we are plum out for the evening."

Jinn turns to Calan, and he watches the Sylvanborn as he thumbs through a book humming to himself. Jinn approaches the table to look over Calans sketch book.

"This library is freshly organized, but sadly I haven't had enough time here to know where much is. I have to assume you can check the index over there to find what you are looking for. It seems that half the knowledge and information in this library is lore or myth, or some tale someone heard in a bar."

Flipping through the pages Jinn stops at the sketch of the ravens skull.

"Hmmm... I think now more than ever this should become a thing. We face danger from every angle, even from our own friends if we do not believe how they believe. I think this could give us something to belong to that is greater than ourselves, something more true to our people."

Jinn absentmindedly runs his hand over his Arcane Sanctum badge.

"I am unsure how long I can keep doing things their way, working under someone who doesn't respect our beliefs. How deep will we have to go before we become just as bad as the very things we fight" Jinn lifts his cup to his mouth and drains the rest in a large gulp, slamming his cup onto the table.

"But we do have a job to do! Those stone elves aren't going to rescue themselves! Along with that, I want you to see if you can find any information on the ancient temple we visited. I feel like there is untapped knowledge there, that will help us on this fight."


Calan nodds , then pushes his mug toward Jinn.
“ you can have the rest of mine if you like; as the first mug hit me and I’m sort of weary about drinking more just yet. I will see what I can dig up on such things.”

A crooked smile creeps across Calans face.

“I thought you would approve, was it something we had discussed at Leonard before? Never mind it doesn’t really matter, best to let old things die.” For a second that hollow ache that calan felt in Jinns presence lessened, not a lot, but enough to notice.

“Let us see what we can’t dig up.”

Calan leaves the library for about an hours time and returns with a bag of various materials. He tosses Jinn a fresh wine skin.

“I made a pit stop at the tavern; I know it’s not as good as what you had but it will do I believe. Also here take this.”

Calan puts some apples and bread on the table as well as a wedge of cheese.

“You can’t live off drink alone. As for the rest of the bag well I find it’s good to take breaks from reading now and then to process what you have read. During that time you can help me make something. I find making things to be... therapeutic.”

Calan puts things down and then crosses over to the index and begins writing down a long list of books.
"It was something we discussed before you left, and after you came back. I know that Rohnan is in as well. 3 seeks to be as good a number as any to give it a go."

Calan mentions grabbing something and Jinn waves me off as he leaves the library. Jinn returns to his books, flipping through the pages and jotting down notes in his journal. At time he will jump from one book to another, seeing different things mentioned in different books. This time he hears Calen enter the library. He catches the wine skin and chuckles as he notices the box of materials..

"You are going to attempt to make a mask like I suggested aren't you. I think you're going to be surprised at how good at it you are."


Calan squints his eyes at Jinn while giving his head a slight shake. " make a mask" he mutters.

"You just worry about the murder cloud, and never mind insisting I make a mask; you keep that up and I'm gonna take my supplies elsewhere. and you know what? If I did make a mask it would be easy, it would be fantastic because I'm a confident sculptor. YOU'RE just jealous because you couldn't make a scarf to save your life let alone a mask. MAKE A MASK CALAN he says." Calan blows a raspberry " you know when I'm done using those supplies... I, I, I was gonna, ugh.... just mind your books if you don't want to help. and another thing, stop putting 'masks I made' in my room."

Calan continues to write down information in his journal. continuing to mutter to himself while he does so.
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Jinn laughs to himself and mumbles under his breath "You were totally gonna make a mask... AHEM" He clears his throat to cover his mumbling. "So if not a mask, what were you planning on making down here. I do agree that breaks are important to not numb the mind after too much of one thing"

Jinn pulls his books over and writes out some more notes, scanning down the page with his other had as he reads.

"Plus I do enjoy the company, it helps lighten the mood and gives me the breaks I need. It's nice looking at these tomes with fresh eyes every so often. I will pick up things I may have missed on the first go around" Jinn says without looking up from his work.


" You bet you better believe I'm great company." Calan remarks while placing the book he'd just been looking at the back. a look of excitement washes over his face and he briskly walks back to his sketchbook. Calan divides his paper into thirds then starts plotting out shapes along the grid lines. at first, the three shapes were clustered tightly forming a triangle facing upward-moving away from the viewer. the look of excitement fades and he drums his writing utensil against the page. frustration washes over him as he tears out and crumples up the drawing. Once more he creates a grid line of thirds and plots out the shapes. this time the foremost shape is slightly larger in the dead center. the other two shapes slightly smaller flanking from the back. the triangle is larger now, aimed at the viewer. A smug smile slides across his face.

" Now that is more like it." Calan writes down three words on each of the objects.

With a sense of satisfaction, Calan returns to the index looking for any book that might mention hand to hand combat, places you would have gone to learn these things in the past. Calan cuts himself a slice of cheese and holds it over a candle to let it soften before placing it in his mouth.
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