The Great Library of Palanthas

An Aesthetic shows you to a small reading room.

Stories of Ansalon from the view of Alexandros.

A little gully dwarf runs by and says 'Wordwrap Off 65 80.'
The gully continues 'Eyes hurt? Turn Color OFF!! (regular story dates)

Astinus says 'Enter the main library here to view only the author list.'
Astinus gently places a worn book on the table in front of you.
You note the spine bears the word 'Alexandros' scribed in faded blue ink.


Author:    Alexandros     
Date:      Mon May 26 19:36:23 2008
Subject     History of Alexandros Dimakis

Generation upon generation of the Dimakis family have lived out 
their lives on Northern Ergoth. For the most part, they lived their 
lives as minor nobility, gathering lands and building estates to pass 
on to their children, occasionally training as a cavalier or Knight in 
their younger years to preserve the honor of the Dimakis family. 
Galite Dimakis became a Knight of Solamnia just prior to the War of 
the Lance and traveled to the mainland to fight against the forces of 
Takhisis, leaving his young wife and child, Alexandros, in Northern 
Ergoth. Following the war, Galite found he did not wish to return to 
his home in Northern Ergoth. He sold his estate and move his wife 
and child into a beautiful home in Palanthas.
 
During his father's absence, the young noble Alexandros had 
traveled through much of Northern Ergoth, especially to the capital 
city of Gwynned. In Gwynned, Alexandros first witnessed true magic 
and, becoming fascinated, frequently traveled to Gwynned to 
secretly read texts of magic history and philosophy in the city's 
libraries. After several weeks of trekking back and forth between his 
home and Gwynned, the barely-teenage nobleman fled his home 
during the night with all his possessions to stay in the city as long as 
possible. He sold everything, including his horse, to purchase a basic 
spellbook and a week's stay in an inn near the library. He studied 
day and night, hoping to master the mysterious words scribbled 
across the pages.
 
Upon moving to Palanthas, Galite learned of his son's magical 
ambitions. In contrast to many of the prejudices of Northern Ergoth 
and the Knights of Solamnia, Galite had seen first-hand the benefits 
of magic during the War of the Lance. Respecting its power yet 
fearing it in the wrong hands, Galite apprenticed his son to a local 
mage of Solinari named Gillian, the brother of a mage that had 
supported the Knights during the War.
 
Alexandros was initially thrilled to finally have formal instruction in 
magic. He progressed in his spellwork quickly, too quickly in fact, 
and started to worry he would never reach his potential because of 
his instructor. Many spells in Alexandros' spellbook were deemed 
"inappropriate" for a young mage and for some Gillian suggested he 
would never be willing to teach the mage - saying the spells had no 
potential to promote good in a civilized world. Alexandros was 
frustrated at the seemingly arbitrary boundaries placed on his Art, 
but was so pleased to finally be formally instructed that he 
remained quiet. During the evenings, he still traveled secretly to the 
libraries of Palanthas to practice his spellwork in secret, including 
those spells that his instructor would not aid him with.
 
As time progressed, Alexandros began to not only question his 
instructor's teaching but also his philosophy of magic. Alexandros 
had recently begun unlocking the secrets of his darker spells 
including combat magics and curses. It was then that two of 
Alexandros' peers traveled to Wayreth to take their Test. Neither 
managed to pass the Test where failure meant death.
Alexandros was infuriated. If they had been permitted to learn 
magic of any kind without needing to justify its need, Alexandros 
knew they would still be alive. They needed to have been more 
focused on increasing their own strength, on gaining power, and 
perfecting their Art. And with the restrictions they had allowed to 
be placed on them, Alexandros believed that was simply impossible. 
It was then that Alexandros realized there were no rules, there was 
only power. And magic was power. Alexandros knew which god 
shared this philosophy - sought the secrets of magic as an end in 
and of themselves, placing magic before all other concerns. 
Alexandros knew he would dedicate himself to Nuitari, the 
Devouring Dark.
 
For some reason, Alexandros did not feel lost. He knew his direction 
as if, in the back of his mind, he had always known what his path 
would be. He calmly removed his white robes, gathering all the ink 
he could find and poured the black stain over as much cloth as he 
could, smearing the liquid with his hands to cover the entire 
garment. It was imperfect, but it would do for the time being. 
Alexandros threw the still-wet, black robe over his body and set out 
into the night. Without looking back, Alexandros left Palanthas and 
followed the black moon across the sky for many days. 
 
Eventually he reached Neraka, his new home, where he continued 
his studies for several months until he felt prepared. Then 
Alexandros set off for Wayreth Forest to find the Tower of High 
Sorcery. It was there that future lay

Author:    Alexandros     
Date:      Thu May 29 04:28:31 2008
Subject     SQ - Riddles In the Dark

Alexandros leaned wearily against the wall, sucking in deep breath 
after deep breath. He was worn out and exhausted after having traveled 
by foot across much of the continent - that and the strain of having to 
quickly drag a body into the brush outside. His breathing finally began to 
slow, his head began to ache less, and he began to focus in on his 
surroundings again.
 
There was little to see, for Alexandros was resting in the secret 
caverns used to shelter the thieves' guild near Solace. His eyes took in 
the tunnel's rough stone walls, the occasional mat-covered doorway, 
and crowded sleeping quarters filled with napping thieves. He saw no 
indication of any magical staff, which is was one of the items 
Alexandros was seeking for his teacher and Master in the Conclave. 
Alex looking sharply towards the entrance of the caves as a man's 
startled voice shouted from outside. They must have found the body 
already.
 
Alex sighed and continued to casually stroll through the tunnels, 
running his left hand along the cool tunnel wall. The shouting behind 
him became more distinct, a deep baritone voice calling the thieves to 
search the guild for intruders and to be wary - one of their own had 
been killed. All along the tunnel before him, Alexandros watched as 
matted doorways were flung open and figures began to pore out into 
the tunnels, searching. Their sheer numbers should have worried 
Alex - if not the fact that they carried wicked knives and short 
swords - but the young adventurer seems perfectly at ease. He slipped 
amongst their searching forms silently, summoning his magic to make 
his form invisible to all.
 
Though he was not visible to the naked eye, small worries began to 
intrude upon Alexandros's peaceful mind. The sounding of an alarm 
really had made his task more difficult. He could not longer risk 
inspecting each and every room searching for the staff he sought, he 
might bump into someone in the dark and give away his position. 
Hoping to regroup and replan, Alexandros quickly crept along the 
wall and into a side room, letting the mat covering the doorway fall back 
into place for privacy. The room was empty, which suited 
Alexandros perfectly, for he would have to break his silence for the 
actions he was about to perform.
 
Drifting to the corner of the small sleeping quarters, Alexandros 
closed his eyes and whispered the words of an incantation he had 
learned weeks before. He allowed the magic to overtake his senses and 
search out the many tunnels and caverns of the Thieve's hideout, 
searching for a specific item, a staff. To Alexandros' relief, the staff 
was still here. He saw images of a woman resting on a pallet in a nearby 
room, watched her hand drift casually to an oak staff leaning against the 
wall near her, took in the room around her including several other rings, 
weapons, and pieces of armor near the staff. "Alindra," Alex 
suddenly sensed. "Her name is Alindra. And she is guarding the 
treasury."

Again confident that the end of his quest was near, the young mage 
crept to the doorway, slipped through a space between the wall and the 
mat, and slid back into the hallway. In the minutes since the alarm had 
gone off, the thieves had apparently decided that the intruder had run 
off - afraid of being caught by the many thieves within. Only a single 
thief was left guarding the hallway. It was almost too easy as 
Alexandros slipped invisibly behind him, pressed his knife to the 
guard's neck, and whispered "Be silent or your death is assured." 
The young thief, probably only sixteen or seventeen years old, gasped in 
shock and fear as the invisible knife pressed against his throat. He 
managed to nod though, remaining silent. "The treasure, boy, I seek 
the treasure. Where is it?"
 
The boy's frame shook as he took in a quivering breath. He whispered 
back "We do not know where the treasure is. We are searching. All 
we know is this: 'There is a Crossroad that brings West, East, and 
South Together. There is a sign post' Torrin swears he's heard that 
there is decaying to the North, but the others haven't heard the 
same."
 
Expecting a simple answer, Alexandros was annoyed by the riddle. 
He wondered how the boy, so clearly terrified, was able to give such a 
mocking response as a riddle in his situation. It mattered little, 
Alexandros was not in the mood for games. Pressing the knife 
harder against boy's throat, Alexandros heard a pained gasp as the 
knife began to cut into the skin. "No riddles, boy. I know your treasure 
is near and that Alindra guards it. If you play with me again you die."

The boy paused in confusion and whispered, "Oh, the treasury is just 
beyond that mat there." Alexandros whispered a few words in the 
language of magic and felt the boy's head fall backwards in a magical 
sleep. He would not need to die unless he had lied. Tossing the boy 
roughly to the ground, the young mage walked up to the mat the boy 
had indicated. His vision, enhanced by magic, perceived the outline of 
Alindra in the room beyond. Smiling, Alexandros fired a lightning 
bolt through the mat, killing the woman instantly. He swept quetly into 
the room and grabbed the staff, slipping out into the tunnel and then 
out into the forest beyond.
 
Something bothered the mage. The staff in his hands was magical, yes, 
but the magic Alexandros felt tingling his fingertips was weak. He 
would need to find a more powerful staff to present his Master with. 
The entire expedition had been a waste. Alexandros sighed, 
knowing he would most likely need to travel for several more days 
before finding a staff powerful enough to present to his teacher.
 
As Alexandros mulled over his trip in his mind, he puzzeled over the 
words of the boy. His first response had made no sense. He was clearly 
not trying to protect the Thieve's treasure, he had given up its location 
easily enough. And his answer made no sense - there were no 
crossroads in the tunnels, and although their odor was less than perfect, 
there was nothing he had noticed that he would classify as 'decay.' 
Maybe the Theive's had another treasure, a larger treasure, that they 
stored away from the caves? Alexandros decided he would 
investigate when he had completed the tasks set before him by his 
master.

Author:    Alexandros     
Date:      Wed Jun 11 02:57:48 2008
Subject     Fire and Water (Pt1)

Four monotonous days spent in the library of the Tower of Wayreth had 
yielded little results. The spell component that Jendaron, Alexandros' 
Master, had sent him to restock was clearly very rare, too rare to be found 
described in the dozens of common tomes the young made has skimmed for 
information on the item. However, late into the fifth night of research, 
Alexandros found a brief mention of fire salts as a necessary component for 
fully realizing some of the most powerful arcane fire magics. Scrawled on 
the side of the page in the messy script of an unknown mage was a brief 
enchantment that claimed it could make glass impervious to heat. Below 
that, the words "Sea Caves of Zeboim" were written and underlined twice.
 
With nothing more to go off of, Alexandros had left the early the following 
morning. Under his Master's instructions, his magic had grown dramatically, 
and he was able to open an extra-dimensional portal directly from the 
Tower entrance to the City of Palanthas, a journey that had taken weeks the 
last time the apprentice mage had left to fulfill some task of his Master's. 
Alexandros lamented the fact that he could not gate directly into the caves. 
In fact, he had tried many times, but something prevented his gate from 
forming. Possibly the herself Goddess protected these caves from such easy 
invasion. Regardless, weighed down with a pack of food and drink, a small 
bedroll, spell compoenents, and an enchanted glass bottle, Alexandros left 
Palanthas heading west out of Palanthas along the Coast.
 
The trip was long, at least two days since the mage travelled on foot, but his 
strides were long and steady. Alexandros had been greatly ashamed of how 
easily he had tired, physically, on his last 'adventure' and had vowed to 
hone his body as well as mind before next he left the tower. The vow paid 
off as Alexandros had already traveled what he thought to be two thirds of 
the distance to the Caves before the sun began to dip down below the 
horizon.
 
Not yet ready to call it quits for the night, Alexandros paused upon spotting 
a clearing by the side of the road. A small stream bubbled merrily at the 
edge of the clearing before flowing back into the woods that bordered the 
clearing. Allowing his pack to slump to the ground, the apprentice mage 
pulled his canteen from the bag and walked towards the stream to refill it, 
slowly rolling his shoulders and neck to diminish the tension the heavy pack 
had caused. Dipping the canteen into the stream to fill, Alexandros 
wondered at how different this clearing was from the city of Palanthas just a 
few hours down the road - how peaceful and silent, as if it had never been 
disturbed by another before Alexandros had happened upon it.
 
Movement caught his eye. Something was moving in the water. No. A 
reflection was moving across the water. Someone was standing right behind 
him!
 
Alexandros dropped the canteen, spinning in place as his army whipped 
about him to point towards the assailant. The mage felt his veins light on 
fire as raw electrical energy flowed down his arm and focused at the tip of 
his finger. This bandit, or rougue, or noble Knight of Solamnia had happened 
upon the wrong clearing this night, and he was about to pay for it with his 
life. Just as the lightning bolt lept from his finger, Alexandros locked eyes 
with his opponent. They were oddly beautiful - a brilliant emerald green. 
Something in Alexandros' mind panicked and he realized something was 
wrong. His hand jerked and the lightning bolt arced into the surrounding 
woods, devastating a large Oak about fifteen feet into the clearing. His 
'opponent' was a young girl.

Author:    Alexandros     
Date:      Wed Jun 11 02:59:12 2008
Subject     Fire and Water (Pt2)

Alexandros' mind, which a moment before had been focused only on the 
kill, was now simply frozen. He knew there was a girl in front of him, he was 
even able to register that she was speaking to him, but he simply couldn't 
force himself to understand what was going on. The girl sighed, clearly 
annoyed that she was going to have to repeat herself, and spoke again. "Hi, 
I'm heading this way, too," she pointed offhandedly in the direction of the 
Sea Caves. "Mind if I tag along?"
 
Alexandros shook his head from side to side in the hopes that it would clear. 
He was sure he had misheard her. "Mind if I tag along?" was not a phrase 
that should follow nearly being obliterated by a lightning bolt. Or maybe she 
was in shock and she had no idea what she was saying, Alexandros 
reasoned.
 
Seeing that he was not going to answer, the girl rolled her eyes, spun on her 
heels and began to walk for road outside the clearing, whistling to herself as 
she went. The apprentice watched in silence as she walked the entire ten 
seconds before reaching the edge of the clearing. He was still acutely aware 
of the fact that nothing here made sense, but he suddenly realized that he 
did not want her to leave. There were too many unanswered questions, too 
many mysteries, and he was unwilling to let her slip away into the night and 
leave him haunted, trying to understand what had transpired here and why.
 
"Wait," he said in a near-whisper that no normal girl could have heard. But 
she had. Her whistling cut off, her feet paused at the edge of the clearing, 
and she looked back at him with one eyebrow raised, pretending she had 
not understood. The mage felt foolish for having spoken. He should have let 
her go, she was of no use to him. In fact, she might be dangerous for all he 
knew. But nothing else had made sense in this encounter, so he felt no 
reason why he should be the only rational person present. "I travel to the 
caves by the sea. You can travel with me as far as you would like in that 
direction."
 
She smiled, considered the proposal, and turned her back on Alexandros as 
if to continue walking away. Alexandros' raised his hand to protest, but 
before a word had left his mouth she had spun around walked back into the 
clearing in a motion so fluid that Alexandros worried his eyes were playing 
tricks on him. She smiled brightly and looked around the clearing. "Very well 
then, as far as I'd like in that direction. Now if you would be so kind as to 
light a fire, I have some food we can eat."
 
The mage turned and confidently walked off into the forest. He glanced 
quickly over his shoulder and chuckled at the confused expression on the 
girl's face. He was significantly happier now that he knew she could also be 
caught off guard. Stopping before the remains of the Oak, he picked up 
some large burning pieces and brought them back into the clearing. 
"There," he said, mocking pride. "I have fire."

Author:    Alexandros     
Date:      Wed Jun 11 03:00:57 2008
Subject     Fire and Water (Pt3)

The girl had held up his pack questioningly. Alexandros nodded, curious as 
to what she was planning. She had rummaged through his pack, removing 
some tin pots and cups, and filled the largest pot in the stream. Placing the 
pot next to the fire, she had allowed it to heat, meanwhile pulling a fist 
sized brown cloth bag from her bag. She poured half the contents, which 
appeared to be a mixture of herbs, rice, and dried meat, into the warm 
water and waited for the contents to boil before serving the soup in two of 
the tin cups.
 
Alexandros had unfurled his bedroll near the fire and rested upon it. She 
talked as she worked, pausing now to invite the mage to speak although she 
clearly did not expect him to. Alexandros was happy to just listen, and 
watched her as she spoke. She was young, maybe nineteen or twenty years 
of age, and rather small. Alexandros guessed that, had she been standing, 
her head would only reach five feet off the ground. Maybe another inch or 
two more. She had shoulder-length auburn hair which framed her face, 
contrasting with those same sparkling green eyes the mage had first seen. 
Her face was youthful and very pretty, with delicate, refined features. 
Alexandros thought he had seen similar faces before, but could not place 
where. More than her physical features, her face was characterized by her 
expressions - for they were so animated. As she spoke, her face would 
flicker from a bright smile to a musical laugh to a subtle smirk - so on and so 
forth until Alexandros had completely lost track. 
 
She was dressed quite simply in a red shirt that matched her hair. It was 
clearly designed for someone both taller and wider than her, so she had 
used leather cords to bind it more securely around her narrow waist. Since 
the shirt was too long, the part extending beyond the waist had been folded 
beneath the cords to appear as a matching red skirt, beneath which she 
wore tan cloth leggings. In addition to this, the girl was covered in crystal 
jewelry. Around her neck she had a gold chain linking bright red and green 
semi-precious stones. Around each of her wrists were at least three 
bracelets featuring every colored gem imaginable. She even had bright 
green crystals matching her eyes hanging from each ear.
 
While preparing the food, she had happily monologued away, talking 
excitedly about how warm the weather was for this time of year, how 
traveling these roads at night was becoming more and more dangerous, and 
telling stories of some festival that had recently taken placed in Palanthas 
during her last stay. She offered no real information about her self nor 
requested anything of Alexandros, which the mage was fine with. He had 
spent so many weeks traveling alone that he simply enjoyed listening to her 
voice, if not the words - it was light, musical, and happy - a voice one would 
never hear within the Towers of High Sorcery. Plus, Alexandros had given up 
the talking tonight. He was still rather at a loss for what was going on, 
especially why she wanted to travel with him, so he decided to remain silent 
and start fresh tomorrow. Hopefully with better luck.
 
Half an hour after they had finished eating, the girl curled up by the fire and 
fell asleep. Still suspicious, Alexandros laid awake for hours, looking for 
some sign of danger from the small figure across the fire from him. Late into 
the night, tired and bored - the girl hadn't moved in hours - his eyes shut 
and he drifted off to sleep.
 
Alexandros awoke early the next morning to the sight of the young girl 
already packing up camp, humming happily to herself as she went. She 
moved with such grace that the apprentice wondered, not for the first time, 
if she might be a professional dancer. Having packed up everything else, she 
skipped next to the mage and nudged him with her foot. "Scoot! We've 
been here so looong. Wash up and I'll pack your stuff."
 
Alexandros' laughed silently as he rolled off his bedroll, thinking about how 
familiarly this girl treated him when they had not even exchanged names. As 
she began impatiently rolling up the bedroll and closing up his pack, 
Alexandros walked to the stream, splashing the cold water over his face and 
using his wet fingers to pull his dark hair away from his face and back 
behind his ears. He turned around to see the clearing empty but for the girl 
and their two packs. He threw his over his shoulder and they walked to the 
road, turning to head towards the Sea Caves.

Author:    Alexandros     
Date:      Wed Jun 11 03:03:01 2008
Subject     Fire and Water (Pt4)

As soon as they were back en route to the Sea Caves, the girl began 
speaking again. She seemed to have a severe aversion to silence, and 
Alexandros was surprised to discover he didn't mind. She quickly introduced 
herself as Crystal. The mage's eyes shifted downward, once again taking in 
the earrings, necklaces, and bracelets of brightly colored stones. Noticing his 
gaze, she smiled and held her jeweled right wrist up closer to the 
apprentice's face. "My mother was a bit of a collector," she laughed. "When 
I was younger she made this for me," she indicated a bracelet of brilliant red 
and green crystals. "She said they were the only Crystals beautiful enough 
to remind her of her daughter." Lowering her wrist back to her side, she 
shrugged offhandedly and said "I've been collecting them ever since then. 
And you are?"
 
"Alexandros," the mage said. He smiled, pleased at how simply he had 
answered. Crystal paused, waiting for more, and then seeing nothing was to 
follow continued talking herself. For the remainder of the day she spoke in 
her musical voice. First relating stories of her travels around Palanthas, then 
her travels south near Solace, and finally her attempted excursion into the 
elven lands of Qualinesti. She gave vivid descriptions of the places she had 
seen, the people she had met, and related multiple funny stories from each 
location. During one such story of a villager who swore his goat could 
control the weather, Alexandros found he could remain silent no more. 
Laughter erupted from his deep inside him and from then on he shared his 
stories with the girl as well. He had traveled to most of the places she had 
mentioned and more, often seeing people and places that others couldn't 
with his magic. The conversation became animated and remained that way 
for hours, keeping the two entertained until they stopped late in the night 
on the second day to sleep.
 
On the second day, Alexandros didn't try to remain silent. Waking to find 
camp once again packed, he peppered Crystal with questions. Why was she 
so eager to leave each morning? She had trouble keeping still for too long, 
she said sheepishly. Why hadn't she run off in terror when he had nearly 
killed her with a lightning bolt? She didn't scare easily, she laughed. Why 
had she traveled to so many places? Traveling was a family pastime, she 
said with a subtle wink. Why didn't she mind traveling with a mage of the 
Black Robes? She chose to judge people based on how they treated her, not 
based on the what organization they claimed loyalty to.
 
Between his questions, she responded with questions of her own. Mostly 
she asked why he traveled to the Sea Caves (on a quest for his master) and 
why he simply didn't teleport to the caves. As Alexandros tried to explain 
the magical barriers that prevented him from simply gating into the caverns, 
Crystal questioned him relentlessly on extradimensional travel. How does it 
feel? Is it fun? What was the strangest place he had ever gone? The mage 
answered her questions as best he could, though sometimes his answers 
were clearly less exciting than she had hoped for.
 
Midway through answering why she wouldn't be able to gate even if 
Alexandros wrote down the spell's words for her, a gust of wind blew from 
the coast into the travelers. Crystal giggled happily as her hair and clothing 
fluttered about her. Alexandros found himself laughing along, mostly due to 
just how excited she was rather than the wind itself. Then he saw panic 
touch her eyes and her hands flew up to pull her hair down and around her 
neck. It was too late, the mage's observant eyes had seen what she had 
meant to hide beneath her hair - pointed ears.
 
"Your mother or your father?" he asked. She tried to feign ignorance, but 
there was no longer a smile on her face. "What about them?" Alexandros 
wondered if he wanted to push the subject, but he had suddenly realized 
the answer. Her mother was a bit of a collector. "Your mother was a 
Kender?" Her face crumpled. "Please, you don't have to leave. I'm only half 
kender." The mage was shocked at how afraid she was of being thought of 
as a kender. He suspected that travelers in the past had been less than open 
to continuing with her once they learned of her heritage. Wanting to 
assuage her fears, Alexandros launched into a story of his recent adventures 
in goblin lands. Crystal remained timid for a minute, but was soon smiling 
and laughing again.
 
The sun was about to drift below the trees on the third day when the road 
stopped. A half mile ahead they saw the earth rise around the sea, forming 
large cliffs that hung over the frothing waves below. One could barely make 
out small dark circles against the rock indicating entrances to the caverns 
within. Alexandros began to set up camp, planning to enter the caves after 
resting in the morning. He turned to Crystal. "Where do you plan on going 
now?" With a musical laugh and a subtle wink she said "Into the Caves. You 
said I could go as far as I want in that direction, and I want to go with you."

Author:    Alexandros     
Date:      Wed Jun 11 03:06:24 2008
Subject     Fire and Water (Pt5)

They had been traveling through the caverns for two hours. Alexandros 
thought he knew which way they had come from, but he was never entirely 
sure they weren't walking in circles. The caverns were immense, burrowing 
deep into rocky cliffs in a maze of tunnels that branched not only in the 
three-hundred-and-sixty degrees around them but also upwards and 
downwards. The highest levels of the caves were dry and not entirely dark. 
The occasional hole in the rocky ceiling splashed light through the caves, 
providing at least a minute amount of light to the upper levels. The further 
down they traveled, however, the caverns became darker until they was no 
natural light at all. The tunnels also became moist as wonder condensed on 
the cool caves walls and ceiling. Alexandros knew that further down, below 
sea level, the cavers would become partially or entirely filled with water.
 
As they traveled deeper, Crystal remained uncharacteristically quiet and 
close to his side. Alexandros was unsure whether this was because she was 
being cautious or because there was simply because they had not yet come 
across anything within the caves to comment on. As they rounded one 
corner, deep within the caves, the mage heard Crystal gasp. Unsure of what 
had caused this reaction, Alexandros pulled her against his body with one 
arm and thrust the other out in front of him. A glimmering field rose up 
around their bodies as the shield spell took affect, and the mage extended 
the range of his light spell to see what had caught the girl's attention. 
 
To his surprise, the cavern was filled with massive lizards. They looked like 
deep grey iguanas except for the fact that they were nearly three feet tall 
and probably more than a dozen feet long. The lizards, there were four of 
them in this cavern, didn't move in reaction to the light in any way. In fact, 
Alexandros saw their eyes were milky white. He doubted they could see 
anything at all. Worried that the lizards might rely on hearing instead, 
Alexandros whispered a few words and gestured towards their shoes. For 
the next few hours their steps should be silenced by his. They walked slowly 
through the room and passed the lizards, Alexandros keeping his body and 
magic between the lizards and Crystal at all times.
 
Once they had safely entered the tunnels beyond, Crystal giggled and tilted 
her head back to look at the mage. "Do you always use giant lizards as an 
excuse to handle young girls this way?" she asked as she tapped on his arm, 
still pulling her tight against him. Slightly flustered, he let her go. If he was 
judging their progress correctly, they might still have several hours to go 
before reaching the bottom of the caves and, if the giant lizards were only a 
first warning, he would need his wits about him. Silent again, even their 
footsteps, the two continued deeper into the caves.
 
---------------------------------------------------------
 
Two hours later, Alexandros was exhausted. After passing the lizards, the 
caverns had quickly filled with water. At first only high enough to wet their 
feet, the two had now been wading through thigh-deep pools of salt-water 
for nearly an hour. Alexandros would have stopped to rest, but he sensed 
they were getting close to something and his excitement prevented him 
staying still. A powerful magic permeated the air ahead - maybe powerful 
enough to belong to the elusive Fire Salts he sought. The two entered a 
large circular cavern. The ceiling was so high that the mage's magic light 
couldn't even reach it. In contrast to the tunnels they had just left, the 
edges of this cavern were solid ground for a good ten feet all around the 
room, offering them the chance to walk easily about the cavern. All along 
the walls were exits in different directions, tunnels heading north, south, 
east, west, upward, and downward into the surrounding rocks. In the center 
of the room was a massive pool of water nearly probably three hundred 
feet across. 
 
Crystal was lying on her stomach on the solid ground, her hand lazily tracing 
shapes in the edge of the giant pool. That's when she noticed the glowing 
lights coming up from deep within the pool. She called excitedly for 
Alexandros who studied the pool academically. He didn't know anything 
about Fire Salts other than that they were somewhere in these caverns, that 
they were used in powerful fire spells, and that they burned so hot that they 
would need to be stored in the magical glass container he had built 
specifically for the task. It was possible that the light far below was 
eminating from some reserve of Fire Salts deep below the water's surface. 
Furthermore, he sensed magic within the pool. Powerful, ancient magic. 
They had finally found the Fire Salts, now the only problem was getting to 
them. 
 
Then he noticed Crystal's hand swishing through the water. He knew 
something was missing something wasn't right. The water should be 
scalding hot if it contained Fire Salts, and Crystal seemed to be completely 
unbothered by the temperature of the water on her hand
 
The cavern shook, Crystal leaped up onto the balls of her feet in shock, and 
an eerie sound echoed throughout the circular cavern - something similar 
to the sound of a whale call. Alexandros took a step back from the water 
while Crystal leaned over the water in curiosity. The mage shouted for her 
to step back, but his call was drowned out by the eruption of water in the 
center of the room. As salty water sprayed through the air and into his eyes, 
Alexandros hoped his vision was flawed, because he saw the massive 
reptilian head and long flexible neck of a sea serpent rise quickly from the 
frothy waters.
 
(To Be Continued... in a day or two)

Author:    Alexandros     
Date:      Thu Jun 12 03:03:25 2008
Subject     Fire and Water (Pt6)

The massive sea dragon was annoyed. He was a solitary creature, preferring 
to explore the deep recesses of the caves and the surrounding sea, 
occasionally traveling further out to capsize a merchant ship for fun. But the 
Sea Queen, Zeboim, had threatened to expel him from these caves unless 
he fulfilled her will - protecting the powerful secrets of the Caves from 
mankind. So the Dragon wasted no time as he set about destroying the 
pathetic mortals that dared to invade the caves. They had even made it easy 
by remaining so close by - he might not even need to leave the water.
 
The Dragon's claw whipped out of the water towards the young girl. So 
startled was she seemed to be making no attempt to dodge the attack. A 
tenth of a second before his claws dismembered the girl, his claws sank into 
the flesh of some unseen creature. The invisibility spell broken, Alexandros' 
servant flickered into view - a thirty foot tall swirling vortex of magic forced 
by powerful enchantments to take physical form as a shimmering energy 
dragon. The energy dragon screeched in pain but began grappling with the 
Sea Dragon, trying to pass under its claws and bite at its now-exposed neck.
 
The Sea Dragon, though at first surprised by the this other creature's 
sudden appearance and bizarre looks, was far more powerful. With a single 
swipe of his arm, he batted the energy dragon back and toppled the 
creature to the ground with his superior weight. With a roar of pleasure, the 
Sea Dragon's head swooped down, massive teeth cut into the energy 
dragon's neck near the base of the head, and the energy dragon vanished in 
a burst of blinding light.
 
Glancing around the cavern once more, the Sea Dragon growled in 
displeasure. The young girl had finally found her legs and had started 
running for the exit, the black robed male was further from the exit, but also 
attempting to flee. Cursing Zeboim bitterly, the Dragon darted through the 
water in an attempt to block the exit. The girl was getting close to one of 
the small tunnels leading deeper into the caves, and the dragon was too 
large to follow. In a desperate attempt to finish her quickly, the dragon 
lunged forward, partially leaving the water as his head snaked towards the 
girl, maw snapping viciously. But the girl was more agile than he had 
expected. She leapt in the air as he lunged, just barely passing over his head 
and somersaulting gracefully into the protection of the tunnel beyond like a 
trained tumbler.
 
The black robe was, however, trapped.
 
---------------------------------------------
 
Alexandros had known, even as he had dashed for the exit, that he would 
never make it. So, as he ran towards the exit, he tried to desperately to 
think of a less conventional escape route. He had tried to teleport away 
from the caves along with Crystal while the Sea Dragon was dealing with his 
pet, but the magic of the caves trapped them in just as assuredly as it had 
kept them out. The only way to escape was to physically walk back through 
the tunnels, and that involved passing by the Dragon.
 
The apprentice's magic was powerful, more powerful, in fact, than he had 
ever imagined it could become. Yet Alexandros knew full well that he would 
be optimistic to believe his spells could even delay his reptilian opponent. 
Not only was the dragon unthinkably powerful physically, he had most likely 
been trained in for thousands of years - both arcane and draconic.
 
The dragon lunged for Crystal and Alexandros' heart skipped a beat. But the 
girl's kender-blood carried with it a knack for self-preservation and the 
agility attainable only by the diminutive race. In a flurry of brilliant auburn 
hair and bright red cloth, she had leapt into the safety of the tunnels.  By 
the time the dragon had recovered from his lunge, Alexandros was ready for 
him. Well, as ready as he could be.
 
--------------------------------------------
 
The Dragon turned to the mage in disgust. One of them had managed to 
escape, he would not fail twice. Lunging forward again, the dragon brought 
a massive clawed hand around to strike the mage from the side. The claw, 
again, struck something unexpected - an invisible barrier of magic 
surrounding the mage. Unable to kill the mage immediately, the dragon 
encircled the protective sphere with his claws, trapping the mage within. In 
a mixture of words and hisses, the dragon began to recite a spell that would 
sap the protective magic of their power, eventually allowing him to crush 
the wizard within. 
 
The human, realizing what was happening, closed his eyes in concentration, 
whispering his own spells over and over in an attempt to keep the shield 
powered. The Dragon smiled. The mage was not powerful enough to 
overcome him. The shield would fall.
 
Even as he thought this, the Dragon's claws began to bend the magical 
barrier, reaching inwards towards the exposed mage. Noticing this, the 
human mage gave up on his shield, but before the spell broke utterly, he 
shouted a short phrase in the words of magic and thrust his arm forward 
towards the dragon's head. A jet of caustic acid flew forth, hitting the 
dragon on the left side of his face and splashing into both eyes. Screaming in 
rage and pain, the dragon clutched his claws together as hard as he could. 
The ragged shout of pain told him his claws had pieced the shield and bitten 
into the mage. Writhing in pain and unable to see if the mage still lived, the 
dragon hurled the body across the ground. To make sure, he opened his 
mouth and spewed forth a cloud of poisonous fumes that would soon 
spread and fill the entire cavern. He then turned away and slipped into the 
water to wash away the acid and heal at the sea floor.

Author:    Alexandros     
Date:      Thu Jun 12 03:07:10 2008
Subject     Fire and Water (Pt7)

Alexandros laid shattered on the cavern floor. His right had been mangled 
by one of the beast's claws. The skin and muscle had been torn for nearly 
half the length of the arm and the bones within had been crushed. When he 
had been thrown by the beast his head and been knocked hard against the 
ground and although he was too numb to feel pain, he knew he would at 
least have a concussion. That was when he noticed the gas. The mage had 
been around enough creatures capable of expelling poisonous gas to realize 
what was about to happen. He took the largest breath he could as the 
noxious green vapors approached him and held it in. He had no idea how 
long he would have to wait before he could breathe.
 
Dizzy, disorientated, and injured, Alexandros couldn't manage to stand. So 
he half-crawled half-rolled towards an exit. That's when he saw Crystal 
running towards him, hand over he mouth and nose, to help pull him into 
one of the side tunnels. He thought back to stories of warriors who had 
been pulled from battlefields by "angels," and although the mage didn't 
believe Crystal to be one, he finally understood how another man might 
have made the mistake.
 
As Crystal helped drag his body a few hundred feet into the safety of the 
tunnels, the adrenaline coursing through Alexandros' veins faded away and 
was replaced by unspeakable pain. Every movement of his mangled arm 
caused him to give a ragged shout and his eyes smarted with tears. Finally, 
when neither of them were able to move any further, the mage collapsed 
against the cold stone floor. His powers completely depleted, the magic 
light that surrounded them dimmed and went out. Exhausted, cold, and 
losing blood, Alexandros fell unconscious to escape the pain.
 
----------------------------------------------------------------
 
Alexandros woke. Images of eight inch claws ripping him apart played 
before his eyes. He screamed and then moaned in pain as something tugged 
at his arm. A musical voice whispered in his ear "Shhh, It's all right. I'm 
bandaging your arm." Strange music echoes from off in the distance. The 
pain becomes too much, and then there is darkness
 
----------------------------------------------------------------
 
Alexandros awoke and shivered. It was cold, his clothes were damp, and he 
had lost a lot of blood. He feels small arms wrapped around him in the 
darkness in an attempt to keep him warm. Every few minutes, someone 
places a water skin to the his lips and forces the contents to trickle into his 
mouth. He lays in the dark shivering and listening to soft music that fills the 
tunnel. After what seems like hours he drifts off to sleep.
 
----------------------------------------------------------------
 
Alexandros wakes shivering again, but now he feels his skin is burning. He 
must have caught an infection. His throat is dry, his mind is dull, but he can't 
stay in the dark any longer. He wants to move. He tries to stand up, but he's 
pushed back down before he gets an inch off the ground. The musical voice 
is whispering in his ear again. "It's not time to leave yet. Stay here until 
you're better. With me." Alexandros gives up and slumps back against the 
floor, lazily listening to the eerie music that echoes through this cavern.
 
----------------------------------------------------------------
 
After what seems like weeks, Alexandros is able to remain awake and 
cogent, although he's still burning with fever. Though weak, he worried he 
will soon forget what colors look like. Whispering a few words, the tunnel is 
filled with soft light and the mage's head is filled with bright green. The 
tunnels walls are as dark and black as the darkness, so he had focused 
instead of the brightest colors in front of him - Crystal's brilliant eyes.
 
Alexandros tried to speak, but only a hoarse whisper escaped his dry throat. 
Face filled with concern, Crystal lifts a water skin from the ground pours a 
small amount of the contents into his mouth. The mage drinks them 
greedily and whisperes " more" but from the saddened expression on 
her face he knows there is no more. He chuckles. "I thought you had trouble 
staying still? How long has it been?"
 
Crystal smiles to see him speaking intelligibly, but the smile doesn't reach 
her eyes - they're still filled with concern. "You needed me. How could I 
leave?" She either hadn't understood that the mage had meant it as a joke 
or had chosen to ignore that. "As best as I can guess, it's been four days."
 
Nodding slowly, Alexandros took stock of himself. His arm is expertly 
bandaged with bright red cloth - the extra part of Crystals too-large shirt. 
His blood blends in with the fabric, so he is unable to tell if or how badly he 
is still bleeding. A large bump is on the back of his head and his arms and 
legs are covered in small cuts and bruises. His muscles ache from fever and 
dehydration. But he's alive.
 
Suddenly, Alexandros hears eerie music echoing through the tunnels. 
Though the memories of the last few days are sporadic, he recalls having 
heard this music repeatedly for days. "Crystal, where is that music coming 
from?"
 
She looks started by the question. "I don't know. I haven't checked that 
out."
 
"You've heard music playing at the bottom of these caves for days and you 
haven't bothered to determine from where?"
 
She looks reproachfully at the mage. "I never left your side. You might have 
been -dying-."
 
Smiling apologetically for slighting her care-giving with these questions, 
Alexandros struggled to his feet. "I guess we'll explore it together?"

Author:    Alexandros     
Date:      Thu Jun 12 03:11:34 2008
Subject     Fire and Ware (Pt8)

The sound of the music grew louder as they traveled through the tunnels. 
Alexandros was still unable to walk on his own, so he dragged his feet slowly 
forward one after the other, alternating supporting his weight on the cavern 
walls or Crystal's small frame.
 
As they near a large cavern, the 'music' reaches its loudest. Clearly the 
sounds are coming from the cavern room before them. In the soft magical 
light, Alexandros sees Crystal tilt her head back and smile at him. "I've heard 
music like this before," she said. "In Solace a man in the Inn occasionally 
filled bottles with different amounts of water, and when he blew over the 
tops of them, they played music." Not really understanding, Alexandros 
nodded anyway.
 
They cautiously entered the large cavern room and looked about. The room 
was empty and uninteresting at ground level, but the ceiling fascinated the 
mage. The ceiling was covered with holes of various sizes ranging from the 
size of a fist to the size of a small cart. They burrowed through the cavern 
wall all the way to the cliff face, where the sea winds constantly blew across 
the rocky wall. As a result, the winds played different 'notes' depending on 
the size of the hole and the notes had combined into chords and music that 
had echoed throughout the lower levels of the caverns.
 
Alexandros is awed by the majesty of the room, finally believing that, 
wherever the Sea Goddess was, she leaves part of her presence here 
always. 
 
Having exerted himself too much to reach this cavern, Alexandros suddenly 
stumbles on his feet and slumps back down the cavern floor. Crystal pries 
her eyes from the network of musical openings and ruches to his side, 
helping to prop him up while she checks his head and arm for signs of 
bleeding. Alexandros knows she will find none - his exterior wounds were 
beginning to heal. It was the disease ravaging his interior that would most 
likely kill him in the next few days. Crystal walked to a nearby pool of sea 
water, dipped a folded cloth in the water, and returned to his side, pressing 
the cloth against his forehead to cool the burn of the fever.
 
As Alexandros begins to black out, he wonders again at how angelic the 
young girl is. Ever her face appears to glows in the darkness. No, her face is 
glowing. No, he corrects again, the tunnel to the right is glowing and the 
light is reflecting off her face. And then the mage turned and saw it - the 
soft, pulsating, flickering glow that could only be made by a great fire.

Author:    Alexandros     
Date:      Thu Jun 12 03:14:41 2008
Subject     Fire and Water (Pt9)

Excitement and adrenaline once again course through the mage's body, 
giving him the strength to lurch up from the cavern floor and across the 
room, tumbling to the ground as he enters this new cavern beyond. The 
cavern they have entered is orders of magnitude larger than any they have 
seen before, as well as unbearably hot. Instead of dark grey rock floors 
covered in pools of cool seawater, this room is filled with pools of molten 
rock, glowing brightly in the otherwise dark cavern.
 
Wandering aimlessly through the room is a creature Alexandros once read 
about but never imagined he would see during his life. Born from the forces 
of Chaos, upon the creation of Krynn pools of magma formed together and 
were given humanoid form, life, and thought. Mortals refer to them as fire 
sentinels. The unspeakable heat of the creature fuses the salt from the 
nearby seawater with the rock of the cavern floor, forming fire salts, a 
powerful spell ingredient. As they watch, the footprints fade from a brilliant 
white to a pulsing, angry red. From his reading, Alexandros knows they 
would never cool beyond that point.
 
Alexandros, still on the verge of unconsciousness, staggers and falls back 
against the cavern wall. Delerious with joy, he pulls an enchanted glass 
bottle from his pack to fill with the rare spell component, along with an 
ornate silver chisel and small silver shovel. Too weak to rise himself and 
fighting off unconsciousness once again, Alexandros being to lose his grip on 
reality. He calls out to his pet, the magical energy dragon that had died 
combating the Sea Dragon nearly a week before and does not notice when 
nothing responds to his calls. He continues to bark orders into the empty air 
- take the glass bottle and utinsels, chip the fire salts from the cavern floor 
using the chisel, and place them in the bottle using the ornate shovel.
 
Crystal no longer understands what Alexandros wants, but decides to follow 
the instructions in place of the deceased pet. She approaches the mage's 
slumped figure and takes the three enchanted items, slowly approaching 
the closest set of glowing footprints, kneeling down to begin chipping at the 
cavern floor.
 
Alexandros hears a soft shriek as some of the fire salts spray with the chisel 
impact and land on her arm, burning her. The shrieks tear the mage from his 
fever-induced delirium and he suddenly realized that Crystal is the one 
fulfilling his order and just how much pain she must be in. The mage wants 
to call out to her to stop, to just let the salts be, be he doesn't. Crystal 
doesn't shriek again, but the occasional whimper tells the apprentice that 
she is burned at least four more times.
 
The sound of chisel on rock stops, and several seconds later Crystal appears 
before Alexandros. Small glistening tears rest in the corners of her eyes and 
her arms are pock-marked with small but severe burns. She carries the  
glowing bottle filled to the brim with fire salts which she stores quickly in 
Alexandros' pack. "Can we go now?" she whispers hopefully.
 
Alexandros nods, to tired to speak. With her help he stands, takes two 
steps, and then falls hard to the floor. Weak, starving, and dehydrated, the 
immense heat of the room has sapped him of his few sips of water and the 
burst of adrenaline that had sustained him, leaving him weaker than ever. 
His vision begins to darken, but this time he's not sure he will ever wake 
again. Somehow, Crystal sees this too. Tear forms at the corners of her large 
almond-shaped eyes, one slowly rolling down her left cheek towards her 
chin but drying halfway down, leaving a trail of salt that glitters softly in the 
light of the magma. Looking into Alexandros' eyes eithout blinking she 
whispers "I wish I could do something to help you."
 
"You've done everything you could," he replies, and Alexandros knows that 
this is true. Never has he met any kinder soul, willing to give anything 
without asking in return, even to a near-stranger. Alexandros knew she 
would carry him to the exit of the cave herself if she could 
 
And then Alexandros knew that she could. Reaching out, he softly cups the 
side of her face with his hand, gently rubbing away the blemish left behind 
from the tear. He once again marvels at how angelic her face seems here in 
the soft glow of the molten rock. He would want to remember her face this 
way, lovely, radiant, and full of care. He closed his eyes and sighed. 
Suddenly Crystal choked, then shuddered. Alexandros' kept his eyes tightly 
shut.
 
Though he couldn't see anything, he felt her small hands reaching up to try 
to pull his away from her face, but he was much stronger and her frantic 
hands made no headway. Realizing this, she clawed at his hand with her 
nails. Alexandros cringed, but he knew it was nothing next to the pain she 
was currently experiencing. Even though his eyes were closed, he could 
picture exactly what was happening in his mind - he had seen it done to 
others before. Where his hand gripped her face, a web of powerful dark 
magics would spread outwards just beneath the skin, leaving deep purple 
scars. The web would drain her body and soul of life. Her body would 
wither, her skin would dry and crack, her hair would fall out, and her eyes 
would dim - all before she died. Such was the horrors of a powerful energy 
drain spell.
 
Alexandros knew the spell was near completion when her nailed hands 
stopped clawing at his hands and feel limply to the floor. He heard a last 
rattling breath escape the young girl's lungs and then silence.
 
Eyes still closed, Alexandros removed himself from her tangled limbs. He 
was still weak, but her energy would allow him to travel for a few hours - 
enough to escape the caverns with magically enhanced speed and gate back 
to the Towers for proper healing. He threw his pack over his back and 
double checked that the bottle of fire salts were firmly secured. Satisfied, he 
prepared to leave. Almost out the door, he stopped. While averting his eyes, 
he reached down with his hand and found Crystal's arm. He carefully 
removed one of her many bracelets - the one of red and green crystals 
given to her by her kender mother - and fastened it around his own wrist. A 
second later, he was gone.

Author:    Alexandros     
Date:      Mon Jun 16 02:09:48 2008
Subject     SQ - Of the Master's Neglect

It had taken two days after leaving the Sea Caves of Zeboim for 
Alexandros's wounds to full heal, even with the use of clerical magic. But 
he had accomplished the impossible - the fire salts had been found, 
collected, and successfully returned to the Tower of High Sorcery. Walking 
up the stairway to his Master's chamber, the apprentice walked tall, 
shoulders pushed back - confident. He had completed many tasks for his 
Master before, but this was something that most full mages could not 
even claim to have read about.
 
Coming to Jendaron's study atop the flight of stairs, Alexandros knocked 
on the door. The three sharp taps echoed through the corridors. The room 
within was completely silent. A passing black robe mage - Alexandros 
couldn't recall his name - informed the apprentice that Jendaron was not 
at the Tower now, but that he had been instructed to receive the fire salts 
on Jendaron's behalf.
 
Alexandros's heart sank. Even now, after everything he had done for his 
Master, he would not be permitted the satisfaction of presenting his 
success personally. In fact, the apprentice suddenly realized he hadn't 
even seen his Master since he had first been accepted as the High 
Archmage's apprentice. The confident smile that had just graced his face 
fell into a sneer. Roughly pulling the enchanted jar of fire salts from his 
pack, he thrust it hard against the other mage's chest. Caught off guard, a 
small gasp escaped the other mage's lisps as the wind was knocked out of 
him. Spinning on his heel, Alexandros briskly left the corridor to return to 
his quarters.
 
The entire situation was ridiculous. It was almost as if Alexandros didn't 
have a Master. Consumed with his private studies and the current 
workings of the Conclave, Jendaron left his apprentice without guidance or 
supplies. As a result, Alexandros had nearly lived in the Tower library, 
training himself in whatever spells seemed useful at the time. At first, he 
had gone to other Apprentices for help when he got stuck, but this proved 
too degrading. Not only did the other petty black robe apprentices then 
feel that Alexandros needed help, they also felt that he was too weak for 
his Master to pay proper attention to him.
 
But Alexandros had dedicated himself twice as much as the other 
apprentices, and now, even without the aid of a mentor, had mastered a 
larger number of more complex spells than any of the apprentices in his 
'class.' He had come far enough that any Master should have been 
impressed, but Alexandros doubted Jendaron even knew to what extent 
his apprentice had advanced during his absence.
 
Reaching his small quarters in the Tower, Alexandros threw open the door 
in his anger. If his Master would not acknowledge his apprentice's merits 
willingly, Alexandros would have to force him - He would locate the 
treasure of Shinare. The Apprentice had stumbled upon several clues 
during his adventures, learning of the treasure through the Thieves 
outside Solace and then finding further proof in the form of a Blue Seal 
outside Neraka. Alexandros would follow the clues, obtain the treasure, 
and when he was in control of the wealth and magic that this treasure 
must possess, his Master would probably suddenly take an interest in him.
 
Having just returned to the Tower, Alexandros's pack was still full and his 
travel clothes scattered across his bed. He threw them together and left 
the Tower, not to return until the treasure of Shinare was in hand.

Author:    Alexandros     
Date:      Mon Jun 16 23:16:37 2008
Subject     SQ - Beneath the Ice

It had only taken Alexandros moments to understand that the second seal 
of Shinare's legendary treasure would be found in the Icewall. It took him 
nearly a month longer to actually find it.
 
Even being forewarned of the Icewall's extreme temperatures, Alexandros 
had arrived unprepared. The polar winds cut through even his thickest 
woolen robes and cloaks as if they were threadbare. Fortunately, the 
mage had stumbled upon a village of arctic barbarians and had rested 
there, trading skins and pelts for clothing more suitable to the icy 
environment. The barbarians, however, knew nothing of Shinare's 
treasure, so Alexandros resupplied and set off again into the blinding snow 
blowing across the ice fields.
 
Alexandros spent the next two weeks venturing across the snow and ice, 
searching human and thanoi villages for information, delving deep into 
hidden mines for possible hidden passages, and battling a group of frost 
giants and a sorcerer that had taken refuge in an icy tower. None of them 
- living or dead - had provided any clues as to the location of the next 
treasure seal.
 
The mage refused to give up, however, his desire to find the treasure 
fueled equally by his disgust at failure and his ambition to gain his 
Master's respect. Three weeks into his search, he stumbled upon a small 
hut far from any of the other villages. Sick of the snow and ice, the 
apprentice gladly threw open the door and entered the dark room beyond 
in order to warm his numbed face and appendages indoors.
 
The hut was, of course, not empty. A truly ancient man rested in a chair by 
the fire in the back of the room, calmly observing the young mage that had 
just barged unannounced into his house. He waited for the mage to close 
the door before asking "You also seek the Seal?"
 
Alexandros lowered his fur-lined hood and pulled his long black hair back 
behind his ears. He smiled widely, finally finding someone who might help 
him. He spent the evening with this man, a sage of the icewall, to learn all 
he could of the area - secrets of the barbarian and thanoi villages, the 
origins of the hidden mines that the mage had explored earlier, even 
stories of other adventurers that had stumbled upon this hut also seeking 
the Seal. Exasperated, Alexandros pressed the sage further. "I've see all 
these places, searched the mines and villages myself. There is nothing 
there. You must know of some other place - a place you try to hide from 
us adventurers that have invaded your icecap, though I know not why."
 
The old man smiled. "I hide it for your own safety. The item you seek is in 
a very dangerous place indeed - deep underground in collapsing tunnels 
of ice guarded by an ice serpent that can destroy entire villages in one 
breath." Alexandros opened his mouth to protest, but the old man raised 
his hand to silence him. "I have warned you now. If you still seek to go, I 
doubt there is little I can say to prevent you from searching these ice fields 
until you die from cold. If you are willing to accept the risks, I will direct 
you to what you seek."
 
Two days later, Alexandros was deep underground in tunnels clawed into 
the icy floor by a giant beast. From his discussions with the sage, he knew 
this was the lair of a white dragon. The tunnel opened into what must 
once have been a truly massive underground chamber, but the snow and 
ice from the ceiling above had collapsed inward, not only filling the 
majority of the chamber but also crushing the back half of the giant white 
wyrm that lay there, watching the young mage as he entered the 
chamber.
 
Alexandros was weary of the massive dragon, knowing that even pinned 
to the ground it could most likely kill him here with its breath alone, but it 
seemed not to take any interest in him. Too long had it been trapped here, 
half-buried in ice and slow, to care what happened. Everything of value to 
it was lost beneath the snow and ice. Or so it had always thought.
 
Suddenly, the dragon's head whipped upwards, staring at Alexandros. The 
mage stepped back defensively, preparing to raise defensive spells in the 
hope of escaping the dragon's breath alive. But the dragon did not attack. 
It's eyes scanned the young mage's face, his clothing, and his pack. Finally, 
it spoke in a low, powerful voice. "The Ice Orb! You carry the Ice Orb! Give 
it to me - allow me to free myself and I will give you anything you wish. All 
I want is the Orb."
 
Alexandros stared calmly at the dragon, processing this unexpected turn 
of events. It was true, he did carry the orb. He had pried it from the dead 
hands of the sorcerer inhabiting the tower with the frost giants not 
knowing that it would be anything more than an unusually trinket to study 
back at the Tower of Wayreth. Now, maybe it was his ticket to gaining the 
second seal.
 
"You have great treasure hidden beneath this Ice, dragon. You may keep 
it. I want but a single item - a green seal imbued with magic from the 
Goddess Shinare. Give me this item and I will give you your freedom."
 
Greedily the Dragon accepted, using the Ice Orb to lift the snow and ice 
from its body, then to clear the many tunnels of its underground lair. It 
stood, possibly for the first time in many years, and stretched - a feline-
like purr of pleasure rippling through its massive throat. "Go, human. Find 
your Seal. But know that if you touch anything else, you have forfeited 
your life."
 
Bowing his head in acknowledgment and respect to the great beast, 
Alexandros walked beyond the dragon and into the tunnels beyond. 
Glowing a soft green on the ground was the second seal.

Author:    Alexandros     
Date:      Tue Jun 24 02:52:11 2008
Subject     A Task of Great Importance

Alexandros had been searching for the next lead to Shinare's treasure for 
barely a day when the summons had arrived -  a small black imp had 
greeted the mage in the depths of Thorbardin, handing him a rolled scroll 
before disappearing into the darkness once more. Alexandros unfurled the 
note and looked within. He had only seen the handwriting scripted within 
a few times, but he knew it belonged to his Master Jendaron. The message 
was simple - "I await you in my quarters." Alexandros sighed as he 
realized he would have to give up on finding Shinare's treasure for now.
If the summons were for what he had been waiting for, there would no
longer be any need. He would finally have the chance to prove his worth.
 
Smiling beneath his black hood, Alexandros whispered the spidery words 
of magic. His body blinked out of existence, reappearing across Krynn 
before the Tower of Wayreth.
 
--------------------------------------------------------------------
 
The black-robed apprentice had waited confidently to enter his Master's 
chamber. He had seen some of the other mages being assigned tasks in 
the last few days, and he was about to be handed his. The fact that his 
Master was assigning his in person could only mean something good - 
Alexandros could count the number of times he had spoken directly to his 
Master on one hand, each time being reserved for only the most 
important of messages. Maybe Jendaron had noticed his progress, maybe 
he was considering allowing his apprentice to take the Test.
 
As Alexandros contemplated, the door to his Master's chamber swung 
open as a result of some invisible force. "Enter." Pulling his hood back
and sweeping his black hair away from his eyes and behind his ears,
Alexandros did just that.
 
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Their encounter had started quite well. Jendaron had actually praised his 
apprentice from some work completed in earlier quests and had offered 
to instruct Alexandros personally on the proper refinement of Fire Salts 
when he had time. As far back as he could recall, Alexandros had never 
been offered the chance to learn with his Master personally and had 
therefore stubbornly taught himself from the Conclave's vast library.
 
But Jendaron returned quickly to business, informing his apprentice that 
he had several tasks of great importance to the Conclave - tasks he would 
be entrusting to Alexandros. Alexandros kept his face composed, although 
his mind raced with excitement and anticipation. Finally, he would be 
doing something worthy of his new skills. Or at least the task this time 
must be something more inspiring than collecting common spell 
components. Jendaron leaned forwards and began. "You must begin by 
travelling to Lemish where you must collect two spell components"
 
Alexandros was barely able to keep the disappointed sigh from escaping 
his lips...

Author:    Alexandros     
Date:      Fri Jun 27 00:20:26 2008
Subject     Collecting Components

By this point in his career as a mage, Alexandros had become a bit 
skeptical when it came to questing. Regardless of how simple a task he 
was assigned, there always seemed to be some unexpected setback that 
made the quest more challenging - and usually more interesting. 
However, completing the first of Jendaron's recent tasks had been as 
simple as can be. Magically vanishing outside the Tower gates, Alexandros 
had appeared in the Lemish graveyard a moment later. He carefully 
collected various leaves, roots, and minerals that were known to grow 
there and (for some reason) only there. Although the task was less than 
exhilarating, Alexandros made sure to take his time and collect only this 
highest quality spell components. It would be embarrassing to be 
chastised on such a simple task.
 
With roots, leaves, and a sickly grey ooze from within the graves 
collected, Alexandros vanished once more - returning to the tower to 
drop off his collected items and prepare for the next task - finding, killing, 
and dissecting a blue dragon. This task would be far more interesting

Author:    Alexandros     
Date:      Fri Jun 27 01:34:16 2008
Subject     Within the Temple, Gerighelm

Erin groaned and leaned back against the marble wall behind him. Renald, 
the Captain of the Gerighelm Watch, would give him a thirty minute 
lecture on slouching if he were caught, but Erin was getting older and his 
back quickly began hurting under his heavy steel armor when he was 
forced to stand watch long. Plus, his current post didn't make him any 
more comfortable. Even though he knew the large blue dragon was safely 
secured in the pit behind him, a mysterious feeling of fear and unease 
continuously gnawed at him whenever he had to guard the Temple - or 
rather, as it was now, the blue's prison.
 
On a theoretical level, Erin understood why the beast had to be guarded. 
Some troublesome Dragon Army spy or glory-seeking adventurer might 
try to release the dragon. But realistically, Erin felt his guard post was 
ornamental. Nobody ever came down this road. The temples had been 
heavily damaged, many of them were to false gods, and then there was of 
course the knowledge that a dragon was hidden somewhere on this 
street. The combination tended to make his job easy for him - no 
passersby meant nobody to guard against.
 
Erin cursed his luck as he suddenly heard footsteps outside the Temple 
door. It must be the Captain. Nobody ever came down here. He tried to 
push quietly from the wall and return to his proper stance, but his armor 
shifted and clanked loudly with his movement. He cringed as he realized 
he was about to be lectured again. But nobody entered the Temple, no 
more footsteps were heard, and gradually Erin leaned back against the 
cool Temple wall.
 
---------------------------------------------------------------
 
Alexandros smiled as the old guardsman looked about himself in 
confusion. Using his magic to befuddle the common folk had become all-
to-easy lately. Hopefully this new task would prove different. 
 
Slipping slowly between massive, enchanted iron bars, the mage secretly 
entered the Dragon's cell and prepared for what was to take place. From 
the look of the beast, killing the Dragon would be easy. Though he was 
large, he was young. His breath weapon would be weak and his magic 
even weaker. The challenge would be in killing and dissecting the massive 
lizard without bringing the entire city guard down on his head. And for 
that, Alexandros would have to proceed carefully.
 
The Blue's nose quivered as the mage's scent hit his nostrils. Though 
unable to hear or see the mage, the beast's head turned knowingly in the 
apprentice's direction. Cursing, Alexandros reacted before the Dragon 
could make a sound. Whispering the few short syllables that would send 
its target into a magical slumber, the mage was surprised to see the 
Blue's eyes shut and his head slump slowly to the ground. Weeks of 
imprisonment within this cell must have weakened his defenses greatly.
 
Using a series of enchantments and curses, the black robed apprentice 
set about preparing the dragon for dissection. Once he had stripped the 
dragon of its strength, its senses, and its ability to move, Alexandros was 
able to finish it off without causing too much damage to the lizard's 
innards. The mage had summoned a large elemental formed from the 
very earth itself.  Placing its stony foot where the dragon's neck met the 
base of its skull, the elemental had shattered its upper spinal column and 
crushed its windpipe.
 
Dismissed, the elemental seemingly dissolved, returning to the earth it 
had been born of, leaving the mage to remove the important organs the 
Conclave needed for their coming task. Setting to work with an 
enchanted dagger capable of cutting the Dragon's thick hide, the mage 
carefully proceeded until he finished over an hour later.
 
Erin was never able to explain to the Captain how the Dragon had been 
mysteriously disemboweled during his watch, but none of the peace-
loving citizens of Gerighelm ever held it against him.

Author:    Alexandros     
Date:      Wed Jul  2 01:09:29 2008
Subject     Alexandros's Test (pt1)

The apprentice Alexandros was lying lazily on his bed, flipping through the 
pages of his spellbook without even glancing at the words. He had spent 
too much time over too many days studying these spells - he knew every 
aspect of their casting, their most potent applications, even the histories 
of how most of the spells had come into existence. The mage sighed. 
Maybe it was time to take another 'adventure' outside of the Tower since 
he had exhausted so much of what he could do within. If only he were 
allowed into the libraries and laboratories reserved for full mages
 
*Knock Knock Knock*
 
Three perfectly timed raps on the door stirred the mage from his 
daydreams. Waving his hand absently, the door swung silently open. 
Expecting to see one of the other apprentices come to ask for help on a 
'new' spell, Alexandros was surprised to instead see a pair of floating eyes 
in his doorway.
 
"Alexandros Dimakis, report to the base of the Black Tower for your 
Testing."
 
The eyes turned to leave, not waiting for any response. Alexandros could 
not have given one anyway - he was at a loss for words.
 
--------------------------------------------------------------
 
The apprentice waited at the base of the Tower. His hands lay calmly 
folded in his lap except for when he occasionally combed his dark black 
hair behind his ears. He had not been waiting long when a familiar voice 
spoke from the darkness. "Follow me, Alexandros. We will speak as we 
walk." The apprentice rose and joined his Master, heading towards the 
spiraling stairway as Jendaron's figure materialized besides him. 
"Whatever you wish, Master."
 
"It barely seems as if time has passed since we first met, three years ago 
when I accepted you as my apprentice. But you have grown much since 
then. You are no longer the naive young mage - you have grown cynical 
and self-serving, necessary qualities in a Black Robe."
 
Alexandros considered his Master's words. "I have become only what I 
must become to survive in this world - it is not a kind one for our kind, 
especially a follower of Nuitiari."
 
The apprentice couldn't see his Master's reaction beneath his ever-raised 
hood. Nearly a minute passed between the two as they walked silently up 
the stairs. Halfway up the tower's stairs, Jendaron spoke again. "Have you 
fear?"
 
The apprentice paused before answering, searching for the right words. 
"No, I have waited too long and trained too hard to have fear of this 
moment. I trust in my abilities."
 
"You have trust in the abilities our Lord, Nuitari, has chosen to grant you," 
Jendaron interrupted. Alexandros simply nodded, conceding the point.
 
"Three years ago I took you to the top of this Tower to the Shrine of 
Nuitari. Then you were given just a small glimpse of the power the 
Devouring Dark controls. Tonight I will take you again, but this time for 
your Test." And with that, the two mages reached the top of the stairway. 
As the older mage pushed open the doorway to the Shrine, Alexandros 
entered the room he had seen in three years.
 
Nothing had changed in that time. The shadow room of jet black stone 
was nearly empty. A black stone alter rose in the center of the room, 
small objects resting upon it - a black hilted dagger, a pulsing black rock, 
and a dark wooden wand with ancient runes inscribed down the side. As 
Jendaron followed his apprentice into the Shrine, he closed the door 
silently behind him. "Tonight, Alexandros, is about you and your 
decisions. We are only here to observe."
 
Alexandros looked about the chamber once more in confusion. Other 
than Jendaron and himself, there was nobody present - physically or 
otherwise. "We, Master?"
 
Jendaron said nothing, but Alexandros sensed him smile beneath his 
heavy hood. The High Archmage nodded his head towards the objects on 
the altar. "It is time for you to decide."
 
Studying each of the three items carefully, the apprentice lifed the pulsing 
black rock from the altar. Turning back to question his Master on what to 
do next, Alexandros stumbled and the room swirled with an unnatural 
darkness. Jendaron was gone, but in his place was a black-haired young 
man in simple black robes. Though nothing about the man indicated he 
was special in any way, Alexandros knew he was in the presence of his 
God, Nuitari, the Devouring Dark.

Author:    Alexandros     
Date:      Sat Jul 26 21:26:31 2008
Subject     Battle with the Lich, Lost Artifiact

In the darkened hall at the top of the decaying Tower, Alexandros
staggered slightly as he turned to face his opponent again. The mage had
entered the battle knowing the Lich might be the most formidable opponent he
had ever had the pleasure of engaging in combat but until that point he had
never truly considered the fact that he might die. Now -- physically and
mentally exhausted, defenses stripped away by the Lich's magic, and spells
nearly depleted -- Alexandros knew not how he would escape with both his
life and the precious artifiact he had been sent to retrieve for his Order
and former Master Jendaron. Reflexivly, he clutched the simple silver chain
-imbued with unknown but potent magic powers- in his hand, as if his flesh
might possibly protect it from the elements the Lich so skillfully wielded.

Fortunately, the lich seemed to be in a similar predicament. Having lived
for hundreds of years in its undead state, the undead mage feared nothing
more than the end of his hollow existance. And though it was his greatest
fear, the Lich knew there was nothing he could do to prevent it. His black
robed challenger had no idea, but the Lich was completely had cast his every
protective or combat spell. Backed into a corner atop his own secluded
Tower, the Lich studied the young black robe that had come to challenge him.
Though his memory of mortal life had long since faded and slipped away, the
Lich felt he understood exactly what drove this man to seek and protect that
wretched silver chain -- this human mage needed that to bring that chain to
another. And maybe he would give his life to do so.

The Lich began to whisper the spidery words of the arcane language yet
again. Had he been able to make out the words, Alexandros might have been
able to identify the spell, but the black robe's head was swimming and his
ears where filled with a persistent ringing. Regardless, Alexandros knew the
target of the spell was not himself -- in his hands, the chain began to
vibrate, then hum, then glow. The vibrations became more and more powerful,
and Alexandros knew if he did not act quickly the artifiact would be
destroyed in a matter of seconds. Desperate to prevent the spell from
succeeding, Alexandros hurled a series of lightning bolts into the Lich's
body. As the lances of electrical energy pierced his body, the Lich did not
even flinch. His concentration was so strong that Alexandros knew he could
not kill the creature quickly enough to prevent the inevitable.

Sighing, Alexandros glanced at the chain in his hands. It shook so violently
that it seemed to have a life of its own and it glowed so brilliantly that
its afterimage was seared into the mage's vision. The black robe knew not
what powers it held, nor why his former Master had requested he seek it out
as a final favor -- and now the mage knew he never would. Smilingly darkly,
the Alexandros raised his eyes from the silver chain to the Lich standing
barely 25 feet away. With a flick of his arm, the human mage sent the chain
hurling through the air. When it was inches from the Lich's concentrating
form, the glowing, vibrating artifact errupted in a massive explosion. The
burst of pure magical energy was awe-inspiring, blasting apart the top of
the enchanted Tower into bits of stone.

When the smoke and debris were cleared, there was no physical trace
remaining of either the Lich or Alexandros. The Lich, inches from the source
of the explosion, had been completely discintegrated. Alexandros had not
stayed behind to watch the fireworks, having spoken a single word the mage
had teleported deep into the ruins of Xak Mahyar. 

Author:    Alexandros     
Date:      Sat Jul 26 21:31:03 2008
Subject     Lost Artifact, New Enchantments

Following his battle with the Lich, Alexandros sent no word to the Tower.
Most would assume he had died in the explosion, but Alexandros had faith
that at least his former master Jendaron would know better and could locate
him if need be. Before his journey to confront the Lich, Alexandros had read
of a powerful enchanter of the White Robes who had inhabbited Xak Mahyar, .
This very mage, Alunius of the White, was credited with creating the lost
silver chain Alexandros had attempted to retrieve from its undead captor.
Most believed that this enchanter, Alunius, and his research had been lost
during the Cataclysm and the resulting destruction of Xak Mahyar, but
Alexandros had recently read a mage theorize that Alunius would have
protected his laboratory with powerful protections. According to this
author, maybe even enough to protect it from the the forces that had ruined
the rest of his city.

During the following six months Alexandros was not seen by mortal men. He
refuses to speak of his exploration of Xak Mahyar to anyone, even his former
Master. In the dead of night two hundred days after his disapearance, the
black robe silently entered the ornate gates of the Tower at Wayreth. The
mage passed several black robed colleagues on his way up the stairs towards
his former Master's chambers. Many gasped in anstonishment - at first
because all had heard the rumor of the death of Alexandros Dimakis, but also
because they could sense the mage had become far more powerful since his
disapearance. Alexandros smiled in amusement wondering at how little they
knew of him now.

Reaching the top of the stairs, Alexandros found the doorway to Jendaron's
room closed. A black robed attendant was dutifully waiting nearby to take
messages. This mage had the composure not to gawk at Alexandros as he
approached, but even he could not stop from catching his breath when
Alexandros dropped a small silver chain into hand and closed it.

"For Jendaron," Alexandros stated simply before turning and walking away.

In confusion the black robed attendant looked from the chain to Alexandros
and back again. "But, sir, Jendaron was sure this artifact had been
destroyed the day you... dissapeared."

Alexandros did not pause as he replied, "Anything that was made can be made
again." 

[OOC - My character has decided to specialize as an Enchanter following his
completion of his Test of High Sorcery. If you are interested in an RP that
requires a Master Enchanter, send me a note and we can talk about how to go
about it.] 

The Storytellers of Ansalon, The DragonLance MUD

Astinus points to the massive wall of books behind him and bids you to make a selection.


Authors: All|A|B|C|D|E|F|G|H|I|J|K|L|M|N|O|P|Q|R|S|T|U|V|W|X|Y|Z

Astinus sighs as he recants 'We saved 803 books from Ansalon from before the great Cataclysm through today.'
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