Their hankering for breakfast sated, our heroes began discussing the situation at the Skull and Gibbet. While Alaric whent to break the news of Gorstag’s demotion to the man, the others started hashing out who would actually end up running the place. Jorlim actually suggested Hedra…much as he’d hate to lose her, he knew she could do the job, and it would be good for her to have her own place. That bit of business completed, talk turned to what to do next.
Around then, a messenger ran breathlessly into the Maw, looking for Maudrin, who had hired him to bring a letter to the Headmistress of the White Lotus Academy. He had run most of the way back from the Academy with a reply…a strange, smooth stone. Clutching it, Maudrin heard a voice in his head, asking him to go to the statue of King Angrohans I at the Bazaar. Gathering up their gear, the party did as they were asked.
There, an odd-lookinh gnome waited for them, who introduced herself as Nyx Es’Daan, Headmistress of the Academy. It soon became apparent that she was not really there, but rather projecting her image from some distant place. It also became apparent that she knew Dove, a fact that broke Anu‘s heart a bit. Nyx asked the group if they could bring the stone to her so that it could be destroyed; Fiona was more than a little skeptical of the purity of her motives, but everybody else was convinced by Anu and Maudrin’s arguments, and they set out for the Academy on phantom steeds.
Dove’s tales of absolute terror at Nyx’s hands were enough to give everyone pause, and Fiona grew to positively loath the gnome wizard by the time they arrived at the Academy. She had words with Nyx almost as soon as they arrived, and at one point Anu started to cast a sleeping spell on Fiona to keep things from getting violent…a spell that the Headmistress dismissed with a gesture, reminding her that “Sleep doesn’t work on Elves.” The tensions eventually disipated, as it became apparent that everyone was on the same side, and they didn’t need to like each other to work together. She proved her intentions by dispelling the evil presence in Odo’s ruby.
Over lunch, the conversation continued. The Headmistress briefly mistook Mica for a dwarf, and she seemed to approve of Alaric‘s attitude toward cleaning up the city. Talk turned to the Famine, and Nyx first became truly angry when Fiona suggested she was doing nothing to fight it. Having proved otherwise, she hashed out a working agreement with the party, offering them her support in exchange for their undertaking occasional missions in the city. When Fiona asked for magical items, Nyx agreed to give them each a gift…if they would submit to a spell of suggestion to prove their loyalty. All agreed, though Maudrin did not want his background discussed in public. Having satisfied herself that the party were not associated with the enemies of the Sunlands (though Anu’s evasiveness troubled her), Nyx had a chest of treasures brought in, one for each of them. She explained that she had tried to select things that each could use.
Maudrin took an ancient Rod, once part of the regalia of the Tuarathan emperors, that would accentuate his magical abilities. To Anu went a fine pair of eyeglasses that would allow her to enchant the minds of whoever she chose. Fiona chose a pair of supple Fey boots that would allow her to run and spring like a hunting cat, while Dove took an Elf-crafted mahogany wand of Magic Missiles. Mica selected a grren cloak, light but strong, that would protect her from her enemies, and finally, to Alaric went an odd, jagged javelin, enchanted to become a bolt of lightning, that had once belonged to a Fjorverr war leader.
With some time to kill, Anu was granted permission to tour the Libary, where she promptly ditched her minders and soon found herself in the Restricted Stacks. Selecting a random book, she broke the chains and seals and sat on the floor to read (and take notes.) Hours later, an instructor found her and removed her to the courtyard. Nyx was not amused, but not too surprised, either.
After dinner, everybody retired, and the next morning they returned on fresh phantom steeds to the City. Nyx had given them a scroll to cure Carlo’s lycanthropy, which Alaric did, and then they all headed back toward the Kraken’s Maw. Hopefully, they’d get there just in time for lunch.