Chapter 14 - Test of the Flames

Traveling swift and light, Vares 'skips' across the land, sea, and sky, stretching himself and his magic with enthusiasm. He has enough time to enjoy the view beneath the sun before he arrives at the villa, making his last 'step' just beyond its threshold.

He takes a moment to collect himself before moving to join the other Magi--and is nonplussed to see Octavian present among them, in some conference with Rodrigo.

Keeping his distance until whatever it is is settled, he speaks with Marie (and Esteban and Ameline, should they be present). "My trip to Verdi yielded unexpected fruit. No new weapons, but a Warding incense designed to Work against all Djinni and Efreeti up to the tenth magnitude in strength," he smiles almost serenely, "and a Jar of Solomon."

Octavian inspects the knives carefully before sheathing them and securing them in his belt. He nods to Rodrigo's agreement of most of his requests. "If I may be excused master Vasquez? I would require some time to prepare before receiving explanation of your plan of action."

I grant you an hour. It is already noon, and the sun sets in around six hours. That is when we depart.

He nods and will likely take a bath in private and groom himself to be more presentable in preparation for the noon meeting.

Sorry about that. Work has been busy, kids have been sick and I may have gotten a trifle wrapped up in something else.

Isaac keeps his own counsel while Octavian and Rodrigo discuss Octavian's participation. Unless it clearly threatens Carmen's rescue, it's not his place to interfere in Andorra's internal politics. He warms himself up with a few deep knee-bends and swings his sword about a little to loosen his shoulder. Any time he catches someone's eye, he smiles - he's quite looking forward to a good fight.

He's made his hauberk Impenetrable, his shield Unbreakable, hit himself up with Gift of the Bear's Fortitude and Ward against Weapons. He considered using a Ward against Wood, but really doesn't think he's likely to encounter any of the stuff in an Ifrit's palace. If any of the grogs are amenable (given his unfamiliar Gift and a likely language barrier), he'll offer to ward them, too.

EDIT: OOC: Also, it's 'Eclecticon' - as in, the Book of... Stuff.

OOC: Just a check with the SG. I thought that spell durations ceased when one entered the Realm of Magic, just as Arcane Connections became nonviable, requiring a recasting of spells and the acquisition of new Arcane Connections. That is, Arcane Connections taken in the material world function in the material world, and those taken in the magic Realm function there but neither one works in the other. I could be misreading previous explanations, and I don't have the sourcebook myself.

If that is true, we have a BIG problem.

Esteban says, "We should plan as if that were true. I can re-cast my spells as soon as we cross over, as can we all. Unless we have an important Arcane Connection I don't know about, I don't see how crossing into the Magic Realm seriously affects us."

EDIT: Sorry, responding in-character to an OOC remark is a no-no. :blush: Still, unless there is some elaborate plan I don't know about, I (the player, OOC) don't see how losing all our spells and ACs would be a big deal.

OOC: Yes, I think when you cross over (though it might depend on how you cross), everything is lost. So we need to make sure that our glacier carrier is below us and holding it beneath her so that it explodes into the lake and not on us. Still might prove a good distration depending on how far from the palace the cross over is.

OOC: Yes, the failure of Marie's glacier transformation could be a...very large issue. Though maybe if the drakes could fly the group in (their flight wouldn't be disrupted) the glacier could be dropped behind while the party flew over the suddenly-manifesting ice.

The Arcane Connection point is one that Vares would have/needs to take into account. The reason for this is that, with Antonio's permission, he would have taken a page from Carmen's journal (or another appropriate item) as an Arcane Connection to her IF the Arcane Connection remains active/reactivates when in the same plane as Carmen. Vares can use it to establish her general location and maybe, just maybe, communicate with her (depending on if her Parma is up or not). He'd also want Arcane Connections from the Grogs, as Esteban instructed. Then there's using one of the Arcane Connections that Khyrom left behind (starting to 'fix' them in the lab should have stabilised them; theoretically, there is up to a ten day limit after the Lab work was started before it has to be resumed, which allows an extension of the transient Arcane Connections to that time).

He can Flex one of his spells, "The Far-Prying Eye" to see wherever he has an Arcane Connection. This may give him a literal view of their objectives. Barring that (e.g. if the target has serious MR against it), he knows another spell, "Strings of the Arcane Connection", which he has used before to triangulate on a target. He can see the strength of the thread and its direction. Moving a measured distance, he can take another reading and use it to triangulate. Varying altitude can help with elevation, though that really doesn't work very well over long distances. Once in the Arc of Fire he should therefore be able to quickly learn the direction and distance to Carmen and perhaps Khyrom. Since the spell works on the Arcane Connection to the target and not the target, observing the connection, it doesn't have to overcome Parma or MR and should still work (it has before). This should accelerate the progress of their search.

Vares will need to make a formal request of the other Magi in the group. His magic is exceptionally suited to gathering information and keeping tabs on everyone, as well as making teleport jumps. With the permission of his fellow Magi, he will be using periodic Flexed invocations of the spell "The Far-Prying Eye" to see what's happening once the group splits up, and Flexed "Whispers on the Wind" to hear from them. He has the ability to cast CrMe spells to communicate with Grogs or CrIm if desired (CrMe has the advantage of being silent). Thus, he can help them stay in communication with one another and develop some idea of what is happening elsewhere, coordinating their actions. If he can establish a fix on Carmen he may be able to tell her than the party is coming.

An alternative, if Arcane Connections work as long as the user and target are in the same plane, is for Vares to give each divided party a 'stick' linked to another in his possession. This will act as a targetted Arcane Connection on the object. In effect, they will know that he is there, and that he can observe whatever is immediately around the object being carried. The Code's prohibition against scrying applies when the user doesn't declare him or herself; otherwise, it is legitimate communication. They'll know where his focus is; the enemy shouldn't.

Vares can teleport others, not just himself, over modest distances (1000 feet or so). This could be enough to get party members in and out of areas. In other words, he can help alert others to what is going on and move backup or arrange an evac for those who don't have the teleport magic themselves. His spell is Mastered, and since we're in the Magic Realm the Aura doesn't contribute any botch dice, making the spell about as "safe" as it can get for now.

Separately, Vares has done a Horoscope for the region of the Arc of Fire where Khyrom's fortress is located. He can provide all of the Magi with copies to boost any Penetration to targets with which they have Arcane Connections.

OOC when we cross over, all non-permanant (not fixed) connections expire. At that point. We can break a large stick or four or five into some pieces to create new arcane links to each other. This also means we can give connections as soon as we cross over if you trust Vares knowing they will expire when we leave the realm.

OOC: Ok, I wasn't sure exactly how it worked. So if Arcane Connections are left behind, they are merely "suspended" until the subject returns to the material plane, but if the Arcane Connection is taken INTO the Magic realm any non-indefinite will expire permanently, being dispelled? The same would seem to apply to spells, then...

Hmm. Which leaves the idea posited for starting the process of turning Arcane Connections into indefinite ones in the lab. Will they still expire upon crossing, or, beacuse they were in the process of being extended, instead continue to function? Vares is willing experiment with both. At worst, they should simply dissipate/expire upon crossing, and other Arcane Connections remain behind in the material world, so it wouldn't constitute the loss of a unique item. If they continue to function at all, then there is another way to (temporarily) extend Arcane Connections to allow them across the boundary between Realms.

If a pawn of vis has to be invested at the start of the process, Vares will have done so. Compared to all the other expenditures, it would be a small amount toward a potentially good cause. On an IC note, it works very well with Vares' ongoing interest in exploring new facets of the Limit of Arcane Connections to use them in unexpected ways.

I'm just thinking "out loud". Marko, if it's true about non-indefinite Arcane Connections normally expiring upon entering the Magic Realm, regardless of whether the subject is there or not (Vares has IC experience with this kind of thing), then Vares will have started the process of "fixing" the page and the imprint from Khryom in his lab. Only one can be completed, but he should have been able to initiate the procedure, investing the pawn of vis required if needed at the start. Should they succeed, it's possible that neither one will have to be completed, though if it proves warranted (e.g. Khyrom is still at large or a threat at the end of the expedition) then the rest of the season can be devoted to fixing the relevant Arcane Connection.

OOC: Nope, a trip to the magic realm kills every arcane connection to you. Ameline left her stone collection at Andorra in her quarters. It isn't suspended. It effectively expires for duration. As for starting to fix, until season's labwork is over, it is still not permanent.

ooc: Does any of our characters have a high enough magic Lore to know all this?

OOC: Probably not.

I was sitting quietly, watching and waiting for someone to spot that.

They do not expire. It is just that the connection "signal" does not pass through the boundary. So, even a "fixed" AC will not work between boundaries/realms, but a short lived one will "reconnect" once it is transfered to the same "plane" as the thing it is a connection to.

Octavian (you) and Vares have direct Magic Realm experience. However, I am trying to refrain from making comments other than the ones I have made already.

That is quite allright. I am not overy formal :smiley:

I have just moved to a new place, which is why I have not posted all week. I will be time-crunched all weekend too, but I will be back in a few days with the launch of our mission.