Episode 9: Ancient Ascent
Everything seemed so small from so high up. The flying city of Utoas, mainly accessible through a portal on the ground, overlooked much of the main continent. Cities like Balancor were clearly visible as well as many villages and other regions. Laurel, Lumos and Thistle had made it here after having visited Balancor to report to Lord Lindrel. Laurel’s father warned them that things were getting worse with increasing attacks from the agents of chaos. Villages had been able to defend themselves, but the constant threat was causing a wave of fear to wash over the people.
A whole week had passed since the events at Ixis. Today the group admired the way Utoas remained afloat in the sky and its intricate architecture.
Laurel – “Is there any reason why the city is here, floating in the sky?”
Lumos – “Well, in ancient times the city was on the ground. It made it difficult to protect it from assaults coming from different directions. In order to preserve the city as well as access to Rallion, a system of devices was developed that raised it.”
Thistle – “Are the devices those orbs we keep seeing all around the city?”
Lumos – “Indeed. If memory serves, they were built during a ceasefire and deployed when enemies of the city discovered a prototype. Of course, those enemies didn’t understand the function, so they believed the device to be hostile.”
Thistle – “Once again I am reminded that ancient times were pretty horrible here in Entralia. I am glad that many of us were not roaming the lands back then.”
Lumos – “Those wars are a part of our history now, sad as it is. We have learned much since then.”
Laurel – “It’s impressive that the devices continue to function to this day.”
Lumos – “They are a kind of artifact themselves, serving the very specific purpose of keeping the city aloft.”
The group continued to discuss the oddities of the city. Much of it was built using special materials only found in Rallion. Some of these materials are known for their magical properties, like sky stone and sky metal. As their name suggests they are forged in the skies of Rallion and used in most of their constructions. Wind magic permeates these making it easier to shape them using spells of that same element.
Utoas was a bustling city. Much like Balancor, trade was booming and travel to Rallion made it easier for commerce to prosper. It was a surprise for Laurel to sometimes see some of the people dive off an edge of the city, only to sprout eagle or raven wings and fly off into the distance. Wind magic had powerful summoning spells that helped navigate the skies with ease. Command of winds and thunder was this element’s specialty. Thunder is a powerful energy source and it is used to both power the levitators surrounding the city as well as other unique devices, like the portal to the ground. Despite its large size there were parts of the city in active development. Thistle noted how sky metal was shaped to form canals or tubes that provided support. Workers would bring sky stones and move them using wind magic.
Eventually their exploration of the city led them to find the ancient archives. Numerous guards patrolled the area and at least four were permanently posted to the entrance. Just before entering, a man approached them and introduced himself as Ravaan.
Ravaan – “State your business.”
Lumos – “I am Sage Lumos and I am here at the behest of King Hector of Ixis.”
Ravaan – “My goodness, you’ve finally arrived. We received word of your visit a few days ago.”
Lumos – “Ah, apologies, we were held back at Balancor. We need access to the archives.”
Ravaan – “Due to the current security measures established I can only allow one of you to enter.”
Lumos – “Understood, you’re aware of the threat of the agents of chaos?”
Ravaan – “We are. The council of Rallion has increased the number of soldiers at the world portal as well as here in the city.”
Laurel – “You go ahead then, we can meet at the portal once you’re done.”
Thistle – “Don’t take too long!”
Lumos – “I will try. See you later.”
With Lumos busy looking into more information on the chaotic energy, Laurel and Thistle decided to continue roaming the city.
Inside the archives Ravaan accompanied Lumos to help in the search.
Ravaan – “So far those agents of chaos have yet to make a move on Rallion.”
Lumos – “We have encountered them at least three times already. They attacked a village here in Entralia, a vault in Brensur and the castle itself on Ixis.”
Ravaan – “It’s possible their next target could be Rallion, but we have no way of knowing. They are elusive.”
Lumos – “Indeed, they seem to have no real organization, with one exception. Some of their group have mentioned a man named Gerthran. Currently not even the Entralian council knows who this person is. With how events have been going, I would not be surprised if this person showed up soon.”
Ravaan – “In that case I’ll help you search for whatever books you may need.”
Lumos – “Yes, there are two particular areas of study I need to research. One deals with chaotic energies and the other the history of collaboration between the worlds in ancient times.”
Ravaan – “I’m sure we can find something on that easily.”
The hours passed as Lumos and Ravaan searched. A mountain of books had formed of those that had to be set aside. Few had anything written on the ancient events that Lumos needed to learn of. He did find clues pointing to what he eventually found, an old dusty tome with many faded pages. What little remained readable described a crisis that involved chaotic energies, broken spells and an alliance. This was all that he needed. The worlds did work together at some point in ancient times. Although the main threat was still rather obscure, he now had something to go on. A new crisis, similar to that ancient one, was on the rise and they would need all the help they could get. The joint artifacts would most likely be the key to dealing with the problem, but there was something else. Along with the faded words were also faded illustrations that pictured some sort of deity giving something to the people. What that something was could not be determined, that too was now an unknown part of history.
As for the chaotic energies, Lumos found a book on the dimension known as Cythia. This place had been used as a prison before. It was also the site of a great battle. The origins of this dimension point to a being of the same name, but nothing else is said. The book that mentioned all this was mostly distorted or had torn pages. Other bits mentioned that this dimension was prone to chaotic outbursts and would sometimes seem as if it had a will of its own. Lumos recalled that the Entralian council knew that Cythia had its own world portal, but it was destroyed when the dimension became a prison. Any further information that Lumos tried to glean from the book ended without any new knowledge.
Lumos – “There must be more to this. Do you know of Cythia?”
Ravaan – “I have read bits and pieces about it. The most common knowledge is that it is like its own unique world. A separate dimension, small in size but with wild and swirling energies.”
Lumos – “I feel like the distortions on this book were made on purpose.”
Ravaan – “That book was lent to someone not too long ago. It is possible they tampered with it.”
Lumos – “Do you know of any other copies of it? Or maybe other books similar to this one?”
Ravaan – “There is another book relating to Cythia. It is currently in the hands of the Council of Rallion. You will have to confer with them in the city of Alto.”
Lumos – “Good then, we were planning on going there anyway. Thank you for your help Ravaan.”
Ravaan – “You’re welcome. I will send word ahead of you so that your search is easier.”
Lumos – “Excellent! I should go then, Laurel and Thistle must be bored by now.”
Ravaan led Lumos back to the entrance. He also informed one of the guards to go to Rallion and deliver the message of Lumos’ impending visit.
Just as Lumos suspected, Laurel and Thistle were sitting at one of the edges of the city where people sometimes dive off of to fly off. When Thistle saw Lumos approaching she let out a big sigh and said “Finally!”. As she said this Laurel slid off the edge into the abyss. Lumos ran as fast as he could. Despite his age he made it quickly to the edge, only to find Laurel happily flying around on newly summoned eagle wings. Thistle meanwhile couldn’t hold her laughter at what was a rather cruel prank.
Laurel – “Hey! we went ahead and learned the essentials for travel through Rallion.”
Lumos – “My dear, please don’t do that again. My heart sank to the depths of Entralia.”
Thistle – “Sorry Lumos, it was my idea in the first place.”
Laurel – “Goodness, I apologize as well!”
Lumos – “Apologies accepted, but please be more mindful next time.”
Laurel – “We will.”
Laurel landed beside Lumos and the wings dissipated into energy.
Laurel – “Did you find anything of use?”
Lumos – “I did, but the rest of the information we need is in Rallion. I have a meeting set up with the Council of Rallion.”
Thistle – “Then let’s get flying!”
Lumos, Laurel and Thistle approached the world portal. A nearby spell master made sure they were prepared for the trip and opened the portal shortly after.