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A Sticky Situation

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After the battle with the strange human like arachnid, Dale and Maccabeus sat around the camp’s fire discussing the magical cloak that was found in the creature’s lair.   Dale had studied the cloak and discovered that it was a cloak of armor.   Once it was identified, both of them desired the cloak very much.    

Maccabeus was worried that the large cloak was too big for him and altering it might destroy its magic.   Dale was certain that the right person could tailor it to fit the little fellow and told him so.   However, Dale knew that he needed the cloak as much, if not more than the gnome.
Maccabeus suggested that they shoot dice for the cloak, winner take all.

Dale agreed and was greatly relieved when he cast his gaming dice for the high score.    Maccabeus was clearly disappointed but he did not complain.

Knowing that this was no mere trinket, Dale dug through his pack and pulled out an ornate wineskin.   The skin was made of a deer bladder, but what made it special were the beautiful carvings of a tree on one side and a long narrow leaf on the other.   Both carvings were etched in bronze.   They were clearly images of the bronze leaf tree from Whispers grove.

“Maccabeus, this is a wineskin that Whisper gave to me.   It contains water from the spring within her home.   I do not know its value, although I imagine that it is not as valuable as the cloak.”   Dale paused as if trying to make up his mind.  

“This skin is dear to me, yet I think that you may find it even more precious.   I would be honored if you would take it in exchange for the cloak.   It seems only fair that you should get something for your efforts today.”

Dale smiled at Maccabeus and extended the skin towards his little friend.

Maccabeus was indeed disappointed with how the game of chance turned out, but he also knew that it was no game of chance. "That is a kind gesture, Dale." Maccabeus answered his friend. "But I would be remiss to take something that Golden Whisper bestowed upon you." He hoped his refusal would not be mistaken. "Plus, we Gnarcheon pride ourselves on living within the generosity of Mahiya and Her Children - what we need, they provide."

"In rolling the dice, I like to think that we are in some part revealling Mahiya's will. She has ever been my armor (note: Maccabeus wears no armor of any kind) and I take my loss as an indication that She favors me yet." He leaned in close to Dale then, that others may not so readily hear, saying, "Additionally, from our earlier conversations I know you have great need to watch after your own hide, and this prize will help you, who have no other aid, to do just that."

"Keep that skin close to your heart Dale." He said. "The fey do not bestow such treasures lightly, and when they do, their gifts are suited to those who recieve them. That gilded skin was meant for you specifically. For the cloak: Wear it in good health, Dale." Maccabeus entreated.

"As for gaining from my efforts," he continued. "I'm on the literal threshold of seeing the Valley of Mists - Mahiya's cradle - the most Holy of destinations to we who serve Mahiya, and a place that I had long thought but a fantasy. This is a gift that few Gnarcheon get to see (I'll not sleep much this night, I can tell you!!). I've lived another day, acquainted myself with more of Mahiya's lands, and I've learned a thing or two of my enemies. This has been a profitable day indeed!"

“Well, since you’re going to be up all night, maybe you can help me answer some questions.   During my visit with Whisper, we discussed an ancient mage named Valekai.   He discovered Sorcer ‘Nyx and the power associated with it.   During his lifetime he learned to channel the power, but somehow he abused it.   He wrote a treaty about it.    It is called "The Foundation of Sorcerers The Doctrine of Valekai".

In the doctrine he writes (Dale recites this from memory) "To understand the power I have come to understand you must be willing to accept the divine order that I have come to see as the truth.

"As night is to day, as the male is to the female, as the left hand is to the righthand, so too is the physical to the philosophical. They are very different, slightly alike, but each harbors equal power in our lives. There is a divinity that encompasses both of these aspects whom the ancients call Nyx. We are reflections of this divinity in that we are both physical and philosophical. In order that we may better identify with Nyx we must pass through the defined mediums of which we are made. The apparent physical aspects that Nyx is comprised of are fire, water, earth, and air.

"The ancients referred to the divine nature of these aspects as Pyrryn'Nyx, Syrryth'Nyx, Brothac'Nyx, and Venturric'Nyx. The philosophical aspects that affect us are Good, Indifference, and Evil. The ancients referred to these divine perspectives as Volendan'Nyx, Mhalvey'Nyx, and Cusyncuth'Nyx. These Seven Divinities and aspects are inseperable and are also individual.

"The Physical becomes Philosophical, the Philosophical becomes Physical. This translation is done by the power of the fifth child of the physical-magic-Sorcer'Nyx.

"Sorcer'Nyx spans the gap between the two sides of Nyx whereby we become the channel for the manifestation of the aspects of which we are formed. All aspects are inseperately joined. They are bound to move through the mediums of all others and should never be invoked directly.

"I have lived a darkness for my blasphemy against this principle. Question upon this principle for yourself. Know the truth of it. Allow it to scatter the darkness of the path I have taken before you take the path for yourself.

"I am Valekai-faithful servant of Sorcer'Nyx."

“When I asked Whisper about Valekai, she said that she was forbidden to speak of his power.   She did say that the wasted lands to the north and east of Threshold were destroyed by the power Valekai wielded.   Can you tell me anything about Valekai or the wasted lands or his power?”

Dale took a deep breath and looked at the gnome hopefully.

"A wise man that I know - one who dwells in the Dale - is quoted as having been very happy to have been able to answer such a question with alacrity and accuracy: he said that he didn't know."

"I've never heard the name of Valekai, and I therefore can know nothing about his powers, but the power that created the Waste Land of Archea is the weapon of my enemy: that which consumes the life force, never to return it to the Great Cycle."

“I understand that much.   Our enemy is abusing the power of Sorcer ‘Nyx.   But you said it yourself, that power is of ‘Nyx, which is Mahiya.   So the power itself is not evil, just those who are using it to destroy.   The power is a tool.   Much like a sword, it can be used to kill or protect.    

Whisper mentioned that Valekai lost his way and didn’t realize it until it was too late.   Then he destroyed others who were seeking to use the power for ill gains.  

The more I ponder this mystery, the more I believe that Valekai was very much like you…”    Dale looked Maccabeus in the eye to gauge his reaction to his next statement.   “I believe that Valekai was some sort of priest of Mahiya.   Only he didn’t serve Mahiya as much as he manipulated her power.   I think that when he strayed from his path, he studied and maybe worshipped only one aspect of Mahiya, Sorcer ‘Nyx.   In this devotion he may have failed to recognize how his power was taking from the other aspects of Mahiya.

It is my belief that the power of Sorcer could be used to help right the wrongs that have been done to the land.   At the very least, it could help balance the fight against the Ash Lords and their minions.”

Dale watched the diminutive druid for his reaction.   He fervently hoped that he had not offended Maccabeus.   He wondered if he was straying too close to committing blasphemy in the eyes of the druid.   Or maybe even worse, giving away his secret.   Would Maccabeus persecute him for being a mage?


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