My visions showed that it is both wonderful and dangerous. When I stole them I really had no idea what they contained. He picks up a book. This one expands upon the understanding of the Realms and vis. With it you could use more vis in a season than magi current can. He picks up the next book. This one shows how to make single use charged items. This one incorporates Vulgar Alchemy into magic theory. He picks up one that has been obviously read more than the others. This teaches the secret of Twilight Mastery. He gestures to a thick book and the sheaf of papers. These are very dangerous. He point to the book. This solves the limit of Aging in the Hermetic Theory. And that incorporates Verditius Magic with Hermetic Theory without the limitation of using casting tools. I have read them all and understand them. Now I must decide who should have them.
Marcellus eyes the books, momentarily speechless. It is a lot to take in so suddenly and seems too good to be true...
"How confident are you that the information you just described is genuine? How could a single magus succeed in so many innovations, and in so many different areas of Hermetic magic, in a single lifetime? Forgive me, sodalis, but it just seems too good to be true. Could this be some sort of deception? Could the content be fake or worse, tainted by the infernal realm?"
Metron pounds the table. Exactly! How do you know? How can you know? The lies can be sweet and seen so innocent. You start to believe what you want to believe, and in your arrogance you think yourself the master of reality. The hubris and arrogance of Hermetic magi makes for easy prey. I don't believe they are true, and if they are they are best kept in fire and shadow.
Carles shakes his head.They are real. I too have read one of his works. Not of this collection. Alarcon was a most exceptional genius, though quite mad. And he did not work alone. Much of his work was built upon the failures of many who came before him. I had myself provided many lab texts and tractati, random experiments, whatever I could get my hands on. That is why the collection is so eclectic. Alarcon had a unique gift, an insatiable curiosity, and a passionate drive.
I have invested heavily in this. Now that I know that you are the one that stole it, I have rights to demand it of you and should challenge you to Certamen or a Wizard War.
But I agreed to this game. I reached out to Vyshkantha because of her special powers of divination. This game is her price, and I pay my dues.
Sigmundo throws his hands up.Hey! This game has rules! He is supposed to ask each of us one question. That's it. Then he decides. You guys are just giving away information. Just shut up and wait!
Marcellus keeps his attention on Ikelos, to whom he was adressing his questions, and apparently ignores the comments of the three figures around the table. At one point, when his shuffling around brings him into a position where they and their lady host cannot see his face, he winks at Ikelos.
Ikelos nods to Carles. I believe he is correct. Many of the books have references to previous wizards who brought various studies along. The Verditius mystery was given to him from someone in your House friend Marcellus. The Vulgar Alchemy is based on works by Mentor ex Miscellanea. I do think the breakthrough on the limit of Aging is his alone but I do not understand why he would do it. It goes against the teachings of our House.
Now friend Marcellus, we need to think of any questions to ask. I think the most obvious is what the person would do with this knowledge and books. Or perhaps why they would be the best guardian.
"Very well, sodalis," Marcellus nods. "Then what you need to ask yourself first is what you want to happen with this knowledge. Is it to be kept out of circulation totally? Do you want it accessible to anyone? Do you want only certain people to have access to it? If so, what people and what would be necessary for them to prove themselves 'worthy' of that knowledge?"
Marcellus raises an hand before Ikelos gets a chance to asnwer, "Do not tell me! More important, do not tell them. You should tailor you questions according to what you wish to achieve. I could venture my own opinion, but I cannot do that without letting them know, which runs the risk of them... well, shall we say tailor their answers to what you want to hear.")
Metron is about to make a maniacal outburst again, but Sigmundo growls at him and speaks with his dragon voice.
Don't say a word! You either play this game right, or I am out!
Metron backs down and shuts up. He sort of recedes into the shadows, a pair of glowing eyes.
The pllayers sit and wait.
Ikelos ponders the room for a moment.
A question for you Vyshkantha. Must these three answer truthfully for the question I ask?
I said you may ask one question of each candidate. I am not a candidate. But in the spirit of the candor displayed by the players, I will tell you this. Honesty is part of our Bargain. The "truth" is only as far as what they know and believe, and nothing prevents them from using kennings or spin. But the contestants must believe what they say, lest they risk incurring the misfortune of breaking a sworn Bargain
Ikelos nods and thinks a bit.
Metron. If you were the guardian of the Legacy of Alarcon, what would you want done with the knowledge?
Metron contemplates the matter for a moment. What would I want done with the knowledge? That is a clever question. For a moment, I thought you asked what I would do with it. Wasn't sure if I wanted to burn it, study it, or both. What would I want to be done with it? Hmmm...
I came to this game because I was curious to see if it is real. I had no ambitions or ideas. Until now. I would like to see what could be done with it. What really is in there anyway? A few trivial or minor breakthroughs, sure. But the Verditius mystery, that's the prize. I know what I would do with it, but what do I want done with it?
If I still gave a rats ass about the Order, I would want to see it safely introduced into the Corpus Hermetica and used to make the order stronger.
But I am an outlaw to the Order, and the Quaesitores want me dead or alive. They would prefer to catch me alive, so they could suffer upon me their endless interrogation. Fools.
I would want to see the Legacy of Alarcon used in such a way that preserves my comfort and safety. That can mean using them to increase my power, using them as bargaining chip in negotiations or barter, or maybe even create my own organization. The Order of Flames. The Society of Shadows. House Metron.
Ikelos nods and smiles. And to you Carles. What would you want done with the knowledge from Alarcon?
I am paying close attention to how you phrase the question. But my answer is simple. What I would want done with the knowledge of Alacon is to see that everyone that invested in his projects gets a full copy of all the knowledge that was discovered.
And to you Sigmundo. What do you wish to do with the Legacy?
I want to put it in my library.
Ikelos nods and turns to Marcellus. What do you think? One hopes to keep them to himself and make himself comfortable. Another would spread them around the order and yet another would put them in library. We have a fourth candidate He gestures to the hearth. that will let no one see them.
Marcellus ponders this for a long moment before adding, "The real question is, what do you want to be done with this knowledge? Have it used in the Order? Have it used by someone else? Keep it for the future, unused for now? That seems to be what the three contestants offer you. But no matter which one you choose, you are basically giving away the responsibility to someone else."
"Is that what you want? Give someone else the final say as to what should be done with the knowledge? You started on this path when you stole these books. Because you believed this knowledge brought danger. As you hint at, there is another choice. Or perhaps two more."
"If you truly believe this knowledge is dangerous, you can destroy it. Burn the books and scatter the ashes."
"Or you can keep it to yourself and decide with whom you will share it. That brings its own share of danger, of course. Others know it exists, so they will come after it."
Marcellus sighs, then shakes his head, "If it were me, I think I would destroy it. But the choice is yours, not mine. And thank God for that."
This time, Sigmundo decides he does want to add something freely.
Your sodale speaks true. By virtue of the choice you make, you choose what will become of the knowledge. If you keep it to yourself, it is known that you have it. Even if you destroy the physical works, there will be those desperate enough to try and peel it from your mind.
(glares at Carles with a draconic Piercing Gaze as if to say "you betternot sink that low you dirty weasle")
I dont' want to influence you on which of the seven choices you may make. I just want you to think seriously about what your role in destiny is supposed to be.
Ikelos squats down and sits on his heels. Head bowed. He stays like that for several minutes before standing.
The knowledge must pass from me. That much is clear from my vision. Were it not for the manuscript on the Limit of Age and the mysteries of the Veditius, I would gladly release them to the Order. But my first vision that started me on this path showed a great danger to the Order. In my heart I know that they two greater works of Alarcon would lead to chaos and massive change. He pauses to rub his face and bald head. But to have them pass out of knowledge is equally bad. I must then give them into the care of Sigmundo and hope that he knows the right time for the knowledge to be shared.
Marcellus nods in understanding, somehow unsurprised by the decision. Then he looks up at the particpants and their host, to see their reaction to Ikelos' announcement.