Fragments of Kaenan-Tal’s journal, detailing the party’s plans to free an angel from its imprisonment and to secure the ring it wears to help them return home.
My comrades and I enter today the fourth week of planning. Our time was not spent in idleness, but in observing and cataloguing every step taken by the three mages who hold the Seraphim in thrall.
Using the Obsidian mirror, we have analyzed every weakness these three possess, and feel reasonably certain that we have a fool-proof method for freeing the angel from his bonds of adamant (though some in our party are… ambivalent… to this idea, they fear what the Seraphim would do to them considering their prior allegiances) and retrieving the viper ring from his fingers.
The Seraphim is kept in a vast vault far beneath the streets of the City of Whispers. The vault is located directly under a set of nondescript multi-storied mud buildings located in a quiet suburb. It is guarded by a contingent of animated steel statues and a pair of amber lionesses, kin to the one in the Mansion in the Mists.
The mages, whether together or singly, gain entry to this prison by use of a Crystal Key (of which there are three copies) kept constantly on their person. They open the way to the prison via manipulation of a vast console with a large diamond set in the centre.
We believe that the… predilections… of the youngest of the mages, one Shellazzar the beautiful can be used to our advantage. In his frequent visits to the flesh-pits of the city, we see an opportunity to spirit away his copy of the key and leave a facsimile of it in his possession (generated by the Scroll of Creation).
It is a good plan, the only unpredictable element is ironically the Seraphim, whose behaviour we cannot predict. Already we have made multiple attempts to contact him telepathically via the Obsidian Mirror, but our spells have been mostly thwarted, that is until Long Tom’s attempt (via his newest acquisition and companion Justice-Bringer the Valanorn sword) today.
Though I was not personally privy to the conversation, this is the summary of the salient points of their discussion:
1: The Seraphim will give us the Viper Ring if we rescue him
2: The Seraphim promises not to harm any of us if we rescue him (Jayna in particular looked relieved at that, I understand her worry. I too would not want to get too close to a Scion of Chaos were the situation reversed)
3: The Seraphim will hunt down and kill the mages that imprisoned him (Once again, I am indirectly responsible for the death of others. Even though these men would be considered deserving for their many, many crimes, a better man than I would have found a higher way. Forgiveness, I beg.) leaving us free to escape the city.
With the Viper Ring in our possession, the final ingredient for our escape would be a Potion of Time Control. The good news was that there are no less than 5 potions of time control in the city, the bad news was that they were all under heavy guard or in the possession of frightening foes.
But as it turns out, the Potion of Time Control was something the Valanorn were able to manufacture, and all the ingredients could be found in the City of Whispers. What providence! While we carried out our plan to gain the Viper Ring, we could be purchasing the necessary Ingredients for the potion!
Long Tom was wily enough to come up with a plan to cover our tracks, namely, combining the purchase of ingredients of a Potion of Time Control with various innocuous sundries used to make other potions to throw our pursuers off the track.
On a cool evening, the sky stained a sickly blood red by the light of a thousand shattered stars, our party, disguised as merchants rolled into the City of Whispers. Kanros, my follower, was originally a citizen, and he had much to say about the city. I record his words here as he spoke them:
The City has stood since before the time of the Inexorable Kings. Before their arrival, it was a curiosity, an abandoned edifice of strange angles and alien geometries in the middle of the desert, built by a race whose time is now passed and whose name is not remembered, save by the sages.
When the jewelled kingdoms of the rich hinterlands fell one by one, the refugees fled to the only place they could, the only place miraculously still standing; The City of Whispers, so named because it is said that you could hear the whispers of its builders when the desert wind whips through the streets.
The mages who could flee the destruction of the Kings eventually rose to the top of this society of starving rabble by guile, coercion and outright assassination. They form what is now called The Council, and your three mages are part of that cursed group. Everyone else fights for the leftovers.
It can be beautiful, the City, but it has no heart. It thrives on the suffering of the many to the benefit of the few. If I hadn’t seen the Valanorn homeland, I would have regarded it as the last place still standing against the Kings, the place where hope goes to die.
We have rented rooms in the merchant’s quarter, in the morning, Jayna and Long Tom leave to carry out their task; the seduction of Belshazzar and the theft of his key. I knew what this would involve, and pleaded with them, telling them that their sacrifice would not be necessary for our mission, but they seemed resolved, even pleased, to have the opportunity. I shall pray for their souls.
Before I get started buying the ingredients in earnest, however, I have a favour to ask of Jayna…
Your Excellency, as before I apologize for the sometimes fragmentary nature of the ‘Tal journals. The portion leading up to the meeting with the Seraphim is now considered lost. In this case however, your ancestor’s account is supplemented by the journals of Rashida bin’Tariq bin’Suleimann bin’Tal, an eyewitness. Her descent from a family of scribes and scholars explains the eloquence of this entry, which she wrote when she was but 8 years of age.
I remain, Head Scribe Cantallus III, Pursuant to My Lady’s Will.
…but that will wait till next time. That leads up to revealing a trick that Kaenan-Tal and Jayna got up to while the rest of the party were otherwise occupied in the City of Whispers that led to some…awkwardness.