Episode 6: Cold Trails
It took the group a few days to finally reach the Frigis Isles. During their trip they were approached by a messenger who revealed that there was an attack on a hidden vault south of Zyrias. This vault contained a number of items including an old pair of greaves, which apparently possessed a hidden power. The self proclaimed agents of chaos were the perpetrators. Their priest knew the necessary rituals to enable the hidden power of the greaves. In the end the artifact was stolen and a number of guards lost their lives. The stakes were becoming higher. King Liros promised to continue their own investigation into these agents of chaos.
Meanwhile, Lord Lindrel had also sent a message to Lumos. In it he mentioned that the council considered the agents of chaos a serious threat. Despite this, the true nature of their attacks, their leadership and their final goal remained elusive. Lindrel encouraged Lumos to continue their search for artifacts.
The Frigis Isles are an interconnected archipelago. They are linked by frozen plains and glaciers. Constant cold temperatures dominate this region. Water magic is strong here and many use this to train with this element. The village that contains the Ixis world portal is named Seasprite. It is one of the few villages to continue growing despite the removal of the old trials. Sprites, as the name implies, have also made their home here. They are distantly related to wisps, so Thistle felt it necessary to try and make some new friends. To her dismay the sprites were too shy and often dissipated in a puff of mist at her presence. She would not give up of course, and continued to try all the way, going deeper and deeper into the village. While Thistle searched for a new friend to make, Laurel and Lumos had already geared up with warm clothes and practiced a few spells they would need.
Lumos – “You got the gist of it fairly quickly. Remember to keep that water mana tether within reach in your mind.”
Laurel – “I feel like the contrast between fire magic and water magic has helped me with distinguishing each of those elements. Even more so now with the Ring of Flames.”
Lumos – “That’s good, you’ll be our own great heroine in no time.”
Laurel – “Did you learn anymore of her while I was doing the trial?”
Lumos – “Well, Zethia didn’t say much. We were too focused on you. She did mention Lydia was a master of all the elements. She could draw power from the Andraconus with ease.”
Laurel – “It must have been amazing to see her in action.”
Lumos – “Another thing Zethia mentioned was that she could use a large array of different weapons. I have read that before the great release of the Sentients weapons were locked into specific elements.”
Laurel – “How did that work? Couldn’t someone just pick a weapon and use it?”
Lumos – “Well they could, but the ancient enchantment would make it cumbersome and even dangerous. Each weapon had easier access to the mana of the element that it was tied to. Only by mastering the flow of mana of the particular element could a person also master its bound weapon. Of course, that’s all in the past.”
Laurel – “Those ancient enchantments are both strange and powerful.”
Lumos – “I was at a summit of scholars where these things were discussed. Many of us said that those ancient enchantments could be tied to the old gods, or perhaps to other such deities who refuse to show themselves. Even the very worlds themselves are suspected to be held together by magic and enchantments.”
Laurel – “That is a fascinating, but complicated subject, can we move on? Let’s see if we can make it to the world portal.”
Lumos – “Yes, yes of course. Did you get that last spell I told you about? It’ll protect you from the cold temperatures.”
Laurel – “I did, but why not use fire magic?”
Lumos – “The world of water magic holds little to no fire mana. You probably won’t have enough of it to warm yourself up. Instead water magic will adapt your body and there is plentiful water mana.”
Laurel – “Ah, I see. Well, I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.”
Shortly after their conversation, and as they walked down the main road in the middle of the village, Thistle arrived with a sprite that had tagged along with her.
Thistle – “Hey! I made a friend! His name is Gelis. He can guide us to the world portal.”
Gelis – “Hello, I apologize if other sprites have been less than hospitable. Many of us don’t like the attention.”
Laurel – “It’s alright, but Thistle, the world portal is at the end of this road, we don’t really need a guide.”
Thistle – “After all the hard work of finding a friendly sprite?”
Gelis – “You did explain to them why you were doing this, right Thistle?”
Thistle – “Uuh…”
Lumos – “And why is that?”
Gelis – “Thistle’s fire alignment puts her in direct opposition to the flow of mana from the world. She would survive but will most likely not be able to cast too many spells. She said to me she doesn’t want to feel useless.”
Thistle – “Hey! I did not give you permission to say that, but it’s the truth. So yeah, I don’t just want to be a spectator.”
Laurel – “Oh Thistle, don’t worry about it.”
Gelis – “I can still provide some guidance. I have been to Ixis many times.”
Lumos – “That would be swell. Let us continue.”
The group, now with Gelis included, continued their march towards the world portal. Once there, a nearby spell master recognized that they had already learned the necessary spells required to survive. Soon after the portal lit up. A swirl of water formed and after it cleared a small path of dirt and snow could be seen on the other side.
This time Lumos intended to meet with the sole ruler of Ixis, King Hector the 4th. Part of a long line of rulers whose benevolence is well known. They once had an intense rivalry with Brensur, but that was buried in the past. Now at the other side they noticed the area was surrounded by a large ice wall. A tunnel led to a village just beyond. The guards greeted the group and mentioned that the city glacier, Ixnar, would soon be within reach.
Laurel – “Within reach? What does that mean?”
Gelis – “Transport on Ixis is mostly by boat or enchanted ice platform. The villages and cities here wander the oceans as they are all built on glaciers. We were lucky that Ixnar must be nearing this area now. We should be able to secure passage without too much trouble.”
Laurel – “How did anyone in the past even think of invading? Sounds like a nightmare.
Lumos – “When the worlds were at constant odds with each other merely infusing the general aura with the opposing mana was enough to cause instability. This is why many of the battles were fought in Entralia. The world portals were the key. In ages past some worlds had to seal themselves completely by burying their portal.”
Laurel – “I can’t imagine not having access to one of the worlds.”
Gelis – “Look over there. The dock here is filled with traveling merchants and transport boats. You should be able to hire one of them to reach Ixnar.”
Thistle – “I think I underestimated how terrible I would feel.”
Laurel – “Don’t worry Thistle, we’ll make this quick, hopefully.”
Lumos – “Thistle, you don’t need the fire mana to survive, correct?”
Thistle – “Correct Mr sage. I don’t, but it’s so comforting.”
Lumos – “Well, stay close to Laurel and you should be fine.”
Thistle – “Sounds good.”
What Thistle didn’t notice was that the Ring of Flames provided her with some fire mana. As such she would feel perfectly fine while hovering close to Laurel. In fact Laurel could access a vast amount of fire mana from the ring itself. Her focus on the water magic of the world prevented her from feeling the energy contained within the artifact.
While walking down the wharf a woman approached them and introduced herself as Captain Hanna.
Hanna – “Obviously I can take you to Ixnar, if you have the coin.”
Laurel – “Well we d…”
Gelis – “I am their guide here, and they will take them to the transport of my choosing.”
Hanna – “Oh is that so little sprite? I can make sure you get there within the hour!”
Lumos – “Interesting, how would you manage that?”
Hanna – “I have my ways. No other transport here can assure you of that.”
Lumos – “We are in a bit of a hurry, perhaps we should take her offer?”
Gelis – “Fine then, but I am warning you this is a mistake.”
Lumos gathered some coins he had in a pouch and gave them to Hanna. In return she led them to her ship. When they arrived she told them to hang on. The captain had done this for many years apparently and was notorious for being able to do exactly as she says. The cost however is a rather bad reputation. She uses magic and her knowledge of wind and water spells to move her ship along. The large sails catch the wind as she casts it and the waters can be altered to be in whatever way she needs them. Any ships near her would have to manage the waters, often to calm the waves as her ship blasts on by. As the trip began, Laurel and Thistle were ecstatic. On the other hand Lumos was hanging on for dear life. In the end Captain Hanna was right on the mark when she said she could take them to Ixnar within the hour. At the Ixnar docks their arrival called everyone’s attention for a few seconds. Hanna’s arrival was always a bit of a spectacle.
Lumos got off the ship, rather shaken from the trip. Gelis floated near him. Laurel stepped onto the dock beaming with energy. It was an exhilarating trip for her. Behind her Hanna stopped Thistle and whispered to her that she should keep an eye or two on their sprite companion. Thistle found this odd, but told Hanna she could keep it in mind.
Lumos – “Oof, that was an intense trip. I hope I don’t have to do that again.”
Laurel – “Oh please, that was nothing. If anything, we should hire Hanna again for the trip back!”
Hanna – “Glad to hear you enjoyed it. I’ll probably be here in Ixnar for a while. If we coincide again you can travel with me, free of charge.”
Laurel – “Great!”
Lumos – “Fine, but next time I might just conjure myself to sleep.”
The great city of Ixnar lay before them. Many homes are made of snow and ice blocks. A large crystal-like castle stands in the middle of the city. It is clear what their next destination is.