The Journal of Ozric Von Harbinger Entry 25
I have been working with Grisselda and the various craftsmen and engineers in our crew to build a fully equipped workshop deck on the Pride. We are nearing completion and there is just a few more tools and supplies to acquire and we will be in business.
We left Marienburg late on the day after the ball and headed down the Reik until we were well out of sight of the city and any other ships we took to the air. We made good time on the journey to Altdorf arriving after dark on the next day. We lowered Pride into the river Reik again and when we lit off our lanterns we surprised a number of ships and boats on the river. We sailed into the great harbour of Altdorf. As we pulled up to the Quayside and tied off the ship we were met by an Imperial Herald who delivered the following invite:
The Master of the Household
Has received His Imperial Majesty’s Command to invite
The crew of The Pride of the Last Stonekeel
To enjoy a garden party in honour of the
Festival of the Occult in Altdorf
The Herald also informed us that our docking fees had been paid. I was surprised that we had been anticipated, and by the Emperor Karl-Franz himself no less. This must be due to the much vaunted abilities of his celestial wizards.
I quizzed the Herald on the exact nature of the Festival of the Occult and he informed us that the festival is held after the election of the Supreme Patriarch of the colleges, I use the term election loosely apparently it is determined through magical duelling where the current incumbent faces all comers one after the other until someone is declared the victor. I was assured that there are rarely any fatalities. The current Supreme Patriarch is the head of the Gold Order Balthasar Gelt and he was also favourite to win.
We enlisted the abilities of a guide and got ourselves rooms and the Golden Cockerel Inn. We got a good nights sleep before setting out independently the next day to indulge ourselves in various activities and some shopping.
Wren, Gunthar and I visited the temple of Myrmidia the next day, as we knelt to pray the hairs on the back of my neck rose and the my hand instinctively reached for the hilt of Losgadh. My eyes snapped open and I saw two men running towards us blades in their hands. I draw Losgadh in a single motion as I rose to my feet, the blade bursting instantly into flame and stepped to meet my assailants. As they closed I cut the head from the first and impaled the second on the blade of Losgadh. I turned to Gunthar and said “I assume these are two of the Assassins in your pay?” he looked away guiltily and then approached the bodies and began to search their bodies. Two of the attending priest came running towards as with weapons in their hands, they slowed as they noticed the Knight Lord amulet of the blazing sun that I wore openly. As they reached us they inquired as to what had happened. I explained that these were lowly assassins intent on the death of a priest of myrmidia. They accepted this and arranged to have the bodies removed to the temple of Morr for burial. I placed a donation to the temple and asked to have Losgadh blessed before we left to carry out a little shopping.
We returned to the Golden Cockerel for the midday meal and caught up with Ana who had visited the temple of Ursun and run into her old friend Carp.
That afternoon Gunthar and I toured Altdorf. The city is huge and really quite impressive. It is not a large as the Weijin the capital of grand cathay where I was born but still very impressive all the same. The eeriest part of the city is where the Colleges of Magic are situated, when I tried to discuss some of the things I was seeing with Gunthar it turned out that he could not see what I was seeing, which I found strange.
We settled in to wait for the start of the festival of the occult. We did not have to wait long. The following night the centre of the city was almost instantly transformed with decorations in golds and yellows bearing the iconography of the gold order springing up all over the plazas and imperial institute buildings throughout the city. We took the hint that the Balthasar Gelt had been victorious.
We donned our best finery and made our way to the Imperial Gardens. The festival was quite a spectacle, it was a grand fair hosted by people who magic is second nature to them. Along with the expected banquets and food stalls there were people selling various magical wares, Grimoires, Magical Ingredients, Trinkets, and animals suitable for Familiars. There were also magical displays and more mundane forms of entertainments. The most interesting thing was that there were even representatives of the other races displaying their magical traditions.
I toured the stalls extensively buying myself some Grimoires. I checked out the familiars as well and nearly purchased myself a Monkey, but thought better of it. As I was about to leave I spotted a White Tiger kitten in a cage barely large enough to hold it. I approached the merchant and inquired as to its availability. He informed me that it was reserved for Altdorf Nobleman as a gift for their child. I offered to pay him more but he refused. The tigers situation continued to nag at me as I left the animal pens, and I could feel a mounting discomfort and anger over not being able to improve its conditions.
As I was heading over to speak with the ingredients sellers I was approached by a pair of soldiers who informed that the emperor had summoned me. I was escorted to the throne room to find my companions had already arrived. The emperor and a small coterie of his followers were present, however I ascertained from the small number that this was to be an informal meeting. As I was introduced I went to my knee before his Imperial Majesty. The emperor greeted me saying “ah so you are the son of Revian Von Harbinger, he was an excellent ambassador for the Empire until he went native” I have to say I found this a little on the insulting side especially as I am a consequence of my father going native! I think there are two too many emperors in my life currently. It turned out the Emperor had summoned us because the Celestial college has been having visions and predictions concerning us and our current mission and he wanted to know more about it.
So I told him about the keys and the fabled woman in a glass coffin in Praag, whom some believe to be the goddess Arianka. I told him of our quest for the thirteen keys that would unlock the coffin and release her. I am told him about our travels to the chaos realms, fighting against the various ruinous powers, he got very tetchy when I called the ruinous ones by their names. As I described our trips to the Marhcer Fortress, the Endless Stair, the innevitable city and the Drifting Castle he began to get truly agitated. But things got truly dangerous when I mentioned Kaleb Daark the Chaos Warrior who asked us to look for the keys, the emperor actually reached for a weapon.
I explained the situation and pointed out that while we may have been asked to do this by a chaos warrior it did not mean we were in league with them or had been corrupted by chaos, I pointed to my companions Sir Viloman Knight of the Grail and Magnus Brandt Witch Hunter of Sigmar, and I myself a Knight Lord of the Blazing Sun. We are standing against chaos and are not in league with them. This seemed to cool his temper slightly and he decided to summon Balthasar Gelt and ask his council. Just as he sent a page to get the Supreme Patriarch strange shadows began to coalesce high in the arched ceiling and suddenly with a crack there materialised on the floor before the emperor was a warrior in familiar black and white spiked armour, although it was far more black than white as it would appear that Kaleb had been on fire recently. The emperor said who or what is this and I told him that it was the chaos warrior we had been talking about. I asked to summon aid and my request was granted. I sent for Sophia the priestess of Shallya that travels with us. She arrived shortly and I asked her to heal Kaleb, she was not happy about the idea and took some persuading but in the end she agreed.
Balthasar Gelt arrived within a short space of time, His council was sort and he asked additional questions about our travels. They were all surprised to learn that Lucius Helden the Legendary Witch Hunter was travelling with us. The Emperor ordered us escorted to one of the guest wings, as we would be staying at his pleasure until a decision was to be made as to what to do with us. I assume the options were to assist with our quest or burn us at the stake.
An hour or so later Balthasar arrived in our suite and began to discuss things further with us. He offered us his services to evaluate a number of the magical items that we carry with us, he was particularly interested in the Invisible Hand which Thomas had given me upon his departure. He also offered to secure a number of the chaos artefacts that we had retrieved in the vault under the light college. I gave him a small pouch of Dust of the Drifting Castle as a token of our appreciation. He also offered to send a Journeyman Wizard along to assist us in our quest, all he asked was for regular reports on our progress and anything else we find out that may be of interest to him. I agreed to this readily.
We were told that we could return to the festival as long as we did not leave the grounds until the Emperor made his final decision. So I went once more out into the Bazaar areas of the fair. I spotted Kesthai talking to a group of elves. I headed over and greeted her and asked to be introduced. She introduced me and vouched for me with this group of Elven merchants. I asked to see their wares and was impressed to find they had a suit of Ithilmar mail. I asked them how much they wanted for it and they said they did not want money but something of equal value. In the end I parted with another pouch of Dust, two crystal pairs transformed by the magic of a Unicorn and the pouch of Warpstone that Thomas left behind. For that I got my suit of Ithilmar Mail and also a Wand of Dispelling.
As I was on my way back to my rooms in the palace I recalled a rumour that I had heard that power gold magisters could cure madness. I immediately went in search of Balthasar Gelt and inquired if this was true, and he confirmed that it was, but it would also help if a high priest of Shallya would also help in the process. I asked him if he would consider healing Lucius and in exchange I would perform a service for him in the future. He agreed and asked if Sophia would also assist and I said I would ask her. She also agreed and we proceeded to get Lucius and transport him to the Palace.
Balthasar and Sophia worked their magics long into the night and were successful in healing Lucius. Once they had done Lucius was cured, he was a new man to my perceptions although a more accurate description was that he was back to his old self and not a happy man.
He left almost immediately to reconnect with his order, and I have to admit that the fervour in his eyes was most disconcerting.