Kiko's Travel Log
Flashback – Training
Toifa has placed all of us in squads for guard duty. My barracks mates whisper behind my back as they think I don’t know. They are all the same, “He failed the Balnai, so they think he can be a guard.” “Wonder if he’s just dumb.” “Why does he still wear his armor?” They all know I was placed in the guard by the Balnai directly, they just don’t know why. More importantly, I know only an inkling of why. My Radiant still required me to learn with her, but she requires different things from me than before. I wonder what she wants of me.
Flashback – Training
My Radiant has me doing my studies while performing my sword play. She has taught me to focus my study through the energy built in my body while I am fighting. I have learned to make the weapon much more than what it seems. It seems lighter and better made, but when I put it down, it is still the same weapon. I wonder what the formulae is for this focus? I guess I am not going to be sleeping tonight.
Flashback – Training
Toifa has told us we are to be tested at the end of the week. I wonder why? He has been keeping us at training until evening meals; I have almost no time to do my other studies. My Radiant is not accepting my explanations of the Toifa keeping me. I hope our tests are easy.
I passed my test! A blow or two went to Toifa, but once I was focused, he couldn’t beat me. I struck much more often that he wanted me to! The Solnai and Balnai were ammused, but the Toifa was furious. They sent me back to barracks for the evening.
I was asked to retest even though I passed. Toifa was not satisfied with my performance, or so he said. I think I bruised his ego. The Balnai even smiled at me this afternoon. Toifa gave me regular armor for the fight and told me to spend the night in the watchtower. He wan’t me to be off-center for the test.
I appeared at my second test this morning to the eyes of the Solnai, Balnai, my Radiant, and all the recruits watching. My armor freshly cleaned and cared for; I couldn’t sleep last night. My mind is empty and yet still full of Nature. I stepped into the test ring; Toifa was there limbering up. We nodded to each other and then took our sparing weapons. Toifa was best with his glaive; I am good with a sword, but chose the glaive as well. He stuck quickly, but to my expectations. His blow was slow but well placed; easily parried, he was allowed to recover before I charged my formulae and directed my training in both Nature and Blade at him. He was bested quickly and with only three volleys. Toifa was in the sand spitting blood onto the ground as I turned and bowed to the audience. I turned as he tried to sweep me from my feet; I jumped and brought the blade within several inches of his face. He Stood and tried to regain composure as I stepped back and allowed him his space.
Balnai descended from the balcony and smiled again at me. He informed me I was to begin my studies under his tutelage this afternoon. I was to still attend training with the Toifa, but my Radiant was no longer my tutor. I was given the title Radiant that after noon, but as I was still in studies, I was not given a pupil of my own. This was a boon as I was being taught how to focus all my formula while I was sparring with the Balnai. Many things changed this winter.
Flashback – Training
I submitted my copy of the Zohar to the Balnai today. I give him my commentaries on the Sephirot on Oathday. So much work has been given to these two things that if they are not well, I may just become a shepherd. The day of my birth is Starday. Very few here know this; this has never been an issue, but that was the deadline for my tests from the Balnai, “Finish these tasks by your next birthday. That is your test for this year.” Little did I know how much it truly was. I wonder if the Balnai remembers my real age. The other Radiants are almost five years older than myself. Most of them have never even handled a blade, let alone had training with one. I wonder what they think of me, being I train with both Nature and Blade? Things to think of after my results.
Passage to the Absalom aboard the trader “Hawk’s Wing”
Day 12 – 28th of Kuthona, 4710
The food has been terrible, even to the crew who have eaten it for months now. Their new cook is something to be discouraged by. I only have to stomach the ‘cuisine’ for a week more. By the time I reach Absalom, I will be more than ready to eat anything that is not sewer slop. For many of the crew whisper that they think it is bilge water soup. Many would agree had they tasted the foul that is the cook’s latest creation.
Other than the food, the trip has been rather uneventful. We passed the flotsam of a wreck that had only been recently at port with the “Hawk’s Wing” a season before. The crew fished several chests form the water and found they held a small fortune in silks and basic accoutrements for a noblewoman. Many of them thought they were useless and junk, until the First Mate inspected the lot and noticed several pieces from his homeland. The First Mate was from Sedeq in the far south Inner Sea; his family are nobles and he had been around them from birth. He found the chest of true importance. None of the items inside were wet, yet the trunk had been in the water for many days. He said the trunk was magic. On my closer inspection, it had a tar layer between two layers of very hard, thin wood. The seal was made with ‘chelos’, a very fine putty made from clay my tribe uses to make water bags and cloth amphorae.
The chest was cause for much gossip from the crew for many days, but as the voyage has ground on, it has become more about work again. I just hope the food gets better, because there is much to be improved in that department.
Day 1 – 18 Abadus 4711
Several days ago, I found a note attached to my shirt as I awoke. The note told me to meet a gentleman in the market near the Starstone Cathedral at near sun’s end. I contemplated this not for the day, wondering whether to abide the note or to just ignore it and continue my rifling of the local book binders. Several times have I been run out of shops for being there too long; I begin reading and forget that most places wish me to buy the books rather than study. Though I have noticed that many book binders are willing to allow study for the trade of work translating texts into common or other languages. Several Jistka texts have been abhorently translated and are in dire need of retranslation from the originals. Many of them I have already done a translation in my studies at Sam Pech ’Ebewr.
I came to the conclusion that the Pathfinder Society may be just the answer I need to discover more hidden secrets of the world than searching the dusty libraries and book binders of Absolam. I wandered the markets that afternoon to see what I might need to bring with me on such adventures. As I began to mill about the market near the Cathedral, I was pointed out in the crowd, along with several others, by a Pathfinder Cryer. A half-elf with a bit of ‘religion’ who worships some nature god; Erastil I think is the gods name. A very moody elf who seems to dislike most everyone and most anything that doesn’t go in his own pocket; seems he may have loyalty issues, along with something more serious wrong with his social interactions. A dwarf who is quite decidedly forceful in his way, yet lost in his own past some way. What he has lost is a mystery at the present moment; yet, he is seeking something to take his mind off the idea. I remember tales of the catfolk, but as I knew, they were only tales. This day has changed my mind on that and made me quite happy with the fact. The young catfolk that was pointed out in the crowd, reminded me of a young boy of the tribe. Innocent and wishing to know many things about the world, yet capable enough to care for himself and others. Innocence may not be the right word, but he has a childlike quality to him; a naturalist feel, yet a wonder only a child can hold. A hooded cloaked figure who is as yet an unknown race to me. An entity of will accompanies him, yet seems to be an extension of himself. I must inquire as to how this process works.
The cryer, his name I cannot recall, bid us to purchase what we may need and to then accompany him back to the Pathfinder headquarters and meet with our Venture Captain so as we may begin out first set of tasks. The Venture Captain, Ambrus Valsin, was pleased we were there, but was unconvinced by the fact that we had been chosen from above his rank in the Society. He was almost indignant by the thought that ones as ‘green’ as we are were to be inducted into the Society. He gave us a list and told us to go, get out of his office and return when the tasks are complete. A carriage was waiting for us to haul us to where ever we wished to go in Absalom. I paid the driver a full gold to carry us around and to let me know if he needed more; this was to lay the ground work for a general idea of ‘all in’.
We attended to the first item on the list: The Pickled Imp. The owner asked us to retrieve a set of papers and books form a local confiscated warehouse. The items, he assured us, were his, but the owner of the warehouse had gotten into some trouble with the local guard. We retrieve the items through feats of acrobatics by the catfolk, engineering by myself, and daring by the elf. The crate was perilously perched on a foundation post and a couple unrotted floor boards. We made use of the overhead trolley system with the rope and swung the elf over to lift the crate and then pulled him back over the decent part of floor. On inspection of the items the dubious nature of the papers was revealed; though, I’m not sure my companions truly cared about the legality of our retreival. Though one book stood out to me; it seemed to hold knowledge I have yet to find in the search of the city I have conducted. I tried to persuade the owner of the book to part with it; even to allow me to peruse it while he looked on during business hours. All attempts failed; I may return if given the chance and try more thorough means to persuade him to allow me access to the book.
We then proceeded back to the central district to the Temple of the Shining Star. Great, religion. This is a touchy subject; it would seem I am the only one who does not worship some god in this group. I may be more logical than them, but it would seem they all look at me oddly for my belief. The god exist for themselves; they are neither boon nor bane to the races of the world. Their followers are though; the things they declare in their chosen god’s name are atrocious. Even the ones who claim a good path will drag you down with their dogma. Pompous ignorants who take little responsibility for their own actions and decisions. May the Laws of Man guide me to the well being of the whole of the races. The Priestess beseeches us to ascertain the morals of a certain Auntie Baltwin who runs an orphanage the Shining Star has donated to before.
Upon visiting the orphanage, Satian runs up to play with a couple children as some had decided to interview this Auntie Baltwin about her habits with the children. As the inquiry was offered tea, several of our group continue upstairs to investigate the children that are sick and their supplies. I begin rifling through a well stocked medicine cabinet and find that they are not low on supplies. The children seem to be being used as servants in local homes as help to the orphanage to continue running. My companions seem to find this odd; yet, the dwarf seems as unfazed by this as I am. My tribe may not use child servants but many in Rahadoum do; it is common in Garund that children are used this way. We give the medicine after trying to convince the matron to discontinue her drinking. We return to the Cathedral, and report our findings to the Priestess. She admits that these were in line with her own suspicions and has decided to discontinue help to the orphanage. Ah, things could have been worse.
The group then proceeds to oblige the Osiriani debutante and garner the agreement requested by the Captain. There have been worse fates; though, this one decided to place us in a vault that was sealed. As our group does possess some form of basic logic, we made it out easily. Though several of our party showed otherwise. I returned the heavily jeweled key, and the manservant graced us with a bonus in gold. The Osiriani are always trying to grace things in gold.
The Ivy District was next. I have heard of the Chelish and also have met several traders of Chelish descent; though, I must say, that I am rather ignorant oh the Chelish and their customs. As we are strolling up the walk, I extend my meager knowledge to the group and had to explain to Satian that the Chelish are like fire, due to the demons they traffic with. “Fire bad!” I became curious about the flame-less lamps they use as lighting. I have seen red flame, but these lamps are a completely new sight to me. I did deduce that they are channeled from their demon trafficking. Something I am unfamiliar with and very skeptical about; it bypasses the laws of Nature, thus it is something to be quandried.
The Paracountess was dressed as one would be in a house of pleasure; this intrigued me to no end. Her comfort in her state was something I have not been exposed to. The Amazi usually are well covered just in the fact that the sand and dust are in a constant state of movement. She asks us to retrieve a locked and warded box in her bedchamber; one catch is that there is something else in there trying to open the box. The other catch is that we must not open the box either, for our own safety. We enter the lavishly adorned room and it is in complete disarray; things strewn about that have only nefarious sexual connotations, and the adornments have been scattered as the small demon is trying unsuccessfully to open the box. As the demons begins to teleport around the room, Helmdal looses a very well placed arrow and almost kills the thing. It sulks off into a cupboard and whines; Helmdal asks for his arrow back and the demon tosses it out to him and continues whining. We take he box and leave the bedchamber. She is well pleased with out handling of the situation, and bids us to return when we get a chance. Several of us agree to do so, though I am certain that only I will be returning.
The return trip to the Grand Lodge was hampered by a parade where we had to leave the carriage, and as we took an alley, we were ambushed by a group wanting our things. Several moments of furious fighting transpired with I not being able to complete several words, yet finally ending the life of their leader with a well placed acid splash. Her neck melted through and her head came tumbling after.
We made it finally to the Grand Lodge and delivered the positive news to the Captain. He bid us return to our quarters within the lodge as we had earned some rest.
Abadius and Calistril 4711
My companions and I have had nearly two months to pursue our own desires. Many have found work as various hands helping here and there; I have begun to broaden my own horizions. I sought work as an apprentice to a smith; many smiths took one look at me and refused outright. The color of my skin showing much for their proclivities, not to mention the accent and robes. Several days were spent just watching the markets for opportunites to net a coin or two. Few are to be had here in Absalom for one as honest as I. I watched Helmdal in a market one afternoon as he made his ‘deliveries’; the actual contents of his deliveries is questionable at best. In this I can say, as long as infringement of a person was not committed, I cannot say anything for it does not affect me.
The wanderings of a young man almost a week old, I happened upon a small forge on the draw between the Petal District and the Merchant’s Quarter; a young girl was bringing water to the quench for her father. She was but a wisp of a girl, and my sensibilities overcame my better judgement. I strode up and took the water pails form her and carried them the rest of the way and emptied them into the quench. Her father stormed out from the darkness behind a spark shield; a huge wall of a man, he seemed very irate until he saw that his daughter was unharmed. I asked him if he needed a hand to keep the forge running; he responded that he had no time to teach a foreigner how to stay out of the way. He was returning behind the spark shield when I took up a nearby scrolling chisel and a spare piece of metal scrap and started shaping the name of my tribe into the piece. He heard the scraping and peered out from behind the screen to see why it had gone quiet. His daughter stared in abject awe as she had never seen my language in script; her father came back around the screen adn watched as I finished the scroll work. I handed him the finished piece and then asked again if he needed any help. He pondered over the piece and then asked if I actually knew how to swing a hammer. I told him that combat was my focus, with some added talents as well. I would learn how a hammer was to be swung, and how metal would shap to the hammer and anvil, if he was willing to teach me. He smiled and agreed.
Gerad put me up in the side room of his small home, as long as I was willing to work. I worked that first week from the time I awoke, until the time I was no longer able to stand and hold a hammer. I learned much in that first week of how hammer and heat make metal as it is. I also learned that even with learning metal, there were other things I had to pick up. As I was finishing the evening meal and preparing to read before bed; I saw Gerad’s daughter peering around the side of my door looking at the book in my hand. I beckoned her to come and sit; I had other books to let her read. Vesa took a seat at the foot of the small bet as I handed her a very small book on the Jistka Imperial State. It was written in Kelish. A language she had no idea how to even view, let alone read. I began by making sure she could read and write Common Trade. The alphabets are the same so it is easly to put new sounds together for Kelish. As the evening wore on, she was picking up the language rather quickly. For a young girl not exposed to a formal education, she was ravenous for knowledge.
The next morning I broached the subject with Gerad. He was hessitant to allow me away from my duties to teach her; without her mother around, she was doomed to be a smith’s daugher and hope for a common marriage. He did wish more for her, but he was still weary of a foreign man. I did not bother the topic for almost a week and told her until her father agreed to allow it, I would not betray his wishes. The third week I was there, he took me aside after the mid-day meal and told me I was to tutor Vesa in the afternoons and evenings, and continue my work with the forge in the mornings. As compensation, he would pay me a sum of three gold per week of tutoring. I reminded him that I may be called away for a mission by the Pathfinders at any time. Gerad remembered and asked me to teach what I can and then refer him to someone who could continue the education. I told him I would find someone who could continue the lessons I had begun with her before I left on my next mission; I also assured him that when I did return I would continue my tutoring with her.
Vesa was elated to know that she was to be eduacated; she hugged me and said this was the best day of her life. The days stretched on as I taught her of the Laws of Man, the Kelish language, and basic rhetoric and logic. The mornings were frenzied pushes to get a whole days work in before mid-day. Exhausted, both mentally and physically, I would collapse into bed each night and have a restful, dreamless sleep. The knowledge Vesa was absorbing was far surpassing me with the forge; I learned much, but it was hard fought learning. For the processes were slow to form from the metal; a mind is much more supple when fresh and untainted.
The day I was to meet my companions, something strange happened. Gerad had awakend me early that morning to begin work I suspected but no, he had awakend me to see what was the matter with Vesa. She was sitting upright in her bed, the whites of her eyes were showing, and her fingers were twitching, each of their own volition. I had never seen anything like it; until I started to focus on her hands and watched the movements. Something was controling her boday and trying to make her perform some bit of magic. I told Gerad to back up, and close the door. I apoligized to him and keeping some secrets from him. I turned back to Vesa and summoned some of my might, focusing Nature directly into my soul. I reached out for her and as we made contact the foul energy from the possesor burned my hand. I may be powerful, but this was beyond me. I focused again and much more energy began to flow into me; I reached out and tried to chill her down to repulse the possessing entity. Her body stopped twitching and her eyes returned to normal; she slumped onto the bed. A sweaty mass of young girl. The only other person whom I knew had experience with daemons was the Paracountess.
We loaded Vesa into the small cart Gerad kept to make deliveries; I then directed him to her home in the Ivy District. The trip was considerable at this time of morning; with a feverish young girl and a distraught father, it was all we had to get there as the dawn was apporaching. I exited the cart, and marched up the main gate; the lanterns flickering to life as I made my way down the walk. As I made contact on the door the first time it opened. The butler being barely awake himself, asked if I had an appointment. I told him no, but I must speak with the Paracountess as soon as she can be roused. I guess my manner, either being distraught or too forceful, made him puff up as he was going to rebuff me for being rude and with out manners. To my rescue, the pageboy, Tolun, who escorted us to the Paracountess’s chamber, came scurrying up; he inquired as to the occasion and whether he could be of help. I inisisted I speak with te Paracountess; he declined, saying something about her being out of the manor at the moment. I hung my head and was turning to return to the cart and from there who knows.
Tolun grabbed my arm and asked what had happened; I took him to the cart as I described what had happend to Vesa. He shook his head gravely as the details came spilling forward. He took one look at her and knew immediately what had happened. He told Grad to take the cart to the rear entrance and that he would meet them there. He took me along with him, so as to explain what was happening. She was ‘coming of age’; she had the scorcerer’s blood in her. Of what line, he had no idea. He asled me if I tried to teach her any magic at all; i denied having taught her anything except history, some rhetoric, and some Kelish. He asked if i had my grimoire on hand, I had heard this term before, but had not known what he ment by it. He explained, and I offered my Zohar, then realized it was not in it’s case on my belt. In my hurry, I must have left it. He dismissed that thought; he said it was more likely that she had tried to study it before knowing precautions of doing magic.
We arrived at the back entrance and escorted Gerad and Vesa to a small yet comfortable room near the back. Tolun motions to place her on the bed and calls for the maid servant. He tells her to check for her first blood as he ushers the three of us out for a couple minutes. The maidservant steps out of the room and nods her head and the returns to nurse the young girl. Gerad is overcome with grief. He began to sob there in the hall. Tolun tries to comfort the man and nudges him down the hall to the kitchen. We sit at the table as he tries to compose himself. He looks up at Tolun and asks what can be done. He is no sorcerer and has no way to teach her about any of that. Tolun smiles and pats his hand. Tolun begins to explain that the Paracountess has many friends and trusted advisors that can help her on her transition form wild talent to someone who can control her abilty and focus it in positive ways. He praises me for bringing the girl here first. I humbly say the Paracountess was the only one I know that has expereince with this; I was taught a different way, something I cannot begin to impart on a young girl with out many years of my own self study before hand.
Theday is spent with Vesa at the Paracountess’ manor while Gerad and myself return to the forge to drown ourselves in work. A messenger arrives that evening form Tolun. Vesa is doing well, but does wish to see them both the next day. Every thing has been explained to her; and she is sorry to have put her father and I though that. The next day we returned to the Paracountess’ manor and visit with Vesa. She is back to her old self, with a bit of meekness added in now as she seems shy with her new found power. Her father is glad she is ok, and asks if she is ready to return home. She states she would like to stay with Tolun and tutor to control her power. Gerad disagrees, regretfully unable to pay for such tutelage. Tolun shakes his head and says it would be at no cost. The Paracountess would be thrilled to have a female student in the manor for once. Gerad sees that his objections are overwhelmed; the look on Vesa’s face makes his determination not to allow this crumble. He agrees on one condition, thathe be allowed to see her at any time. Tolun is much happier to see that Gerad wishes to stay part of his daughters life. A conversation to have with Tolun at a later date. As this is concluded, a meal is prepared and the evening is spent as family and friends are gathered.
Gerad and I return to the forge and continue work as nothing had changed. The next two weeks are spent working the forge and visiting Vesa to continue our lessons on the Laws of Man and rhetoric. Tolun may know his magic and etiquette, but as for the rest he differs to me to maintain her even keep against the ‘hordes of idiocy in the upper class’ as Tolun calls it.