Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Flame of Inspiration


Positioned two-hundred feet away from the four wizards were an equal measure of dark containers. Square shapes that shook with its occupant’s apparent displeasure. The specialized group of wizards, known by their displacer-beast cloaks, stood opposite each container in exhibition while spectators watched from the many vantage points available in the courtyard of the Order. Cold wind buffeted the black cloth that covered the containers further agitating the monsters or whatever was imprisoned inside. Placed in equal distance from the wizards and the containers where four objects each on low pedestals: a mirror that was obviously stylized for a woman; a smoking censer marked with symbols of peace and tranquility; a warrior’s helmet bedazzled with seven glowing sparkling jewels; and a flask of some unknown substance and benefit.
 
Klarenden Eltorchul watched it all from his high window that faced the wide courtyard, a silent measure of theater as he regarded the exhibition with apprehensive curiosity. He was ancient by comparison to his colleagues; weather worn and battle scarred. Hell he was even down to one eye, only to be replaced with a magical one later, but he was the greatest at his craft and the wizards of the Order knew it; loathed him for it. Behind him three women, also paragons of their craft, were working fixedly on their shared creation. Klarenden too had a bit of theater for the people of Waterdeep, but this was cutting things just a little too close. There was only one more demonstration before theirs and that, if rumors abide, was an iron golem and gods knows no one has ever seen an iron golem before.

Arialana Ilzimmer and her half-sister Kereth gained their prestige not by the breeding and husbandry of threaded horses that was by far the province of men and their squires. Instead Arialana and Kereth catered to noble women and consorts by becoming master fashionistas designing gowns and sculpting trademark jewelry.  This work they now toiled over was unlike any task set before them, Arialana enjoyed the challenge. Once an avid adventurer, Arialana now spends her time winning recognition in the Order. Kereth on the other hand has always done things her way and lamented the responsibility of weeks of work that came with this commission.              

Klarenden watches as down in the courtyard the four wizards waited with steady confidence for their opponents to be revealed. Without ceremony the four black coverings suddenly shrank and were gone, the creatures were momentarily blinded but it was all the chance the wizards had to identify them and formulate a plan.

Even from his high vantage, Klarenden identified the creatures immediately and felt a pang of anxiety. When the black cloths covered the monsters in what was assumed to be cages or equivalent containers, but when the black cloth was removed there was no cage and each angry creature was immediately freed.

On one platform was a small primate; a Kech with wrinkled green hide and flat matted fur like wide leaves, excellent for hiding in the forest. Next was a disgusting humanoid plant; shambling mound, one of the more aggressive forms of intelligent plants and a favored pawn of the green dragons. On another platform was a white spider the size of a hellhound with several pink eyes; a goblin spider, known for their excellent ventriloquism and mimicry abilities. Finally a small fey-creature stood out from under the aegis of the black cloth; a korred with thick a black beard, long hair, and goat lower-half. The creature had a murderous, suicidal look in his eye.

Klarenden turned form the spectacle and observed the scarlet-haired keeper of the divine flame praying over their creation resting on the work table. Crysania Hiilgauntlet looked more like a warrior of Tempus than a priestess of Kossuth; fiery tempered and lusty, educated, cultured, and capable of verbal sparring anyone into submission- there was little doubt to people’s misjudgment of her. One night she told Klarenden that she had been touched by the Lord of Flames and she possessed a deep burning conviction, while statement had various meanings it gave Klarenden the inspiration into what now sits before the four of them.

Screams and cries of pain from the courtyard streamed into the workroom occupied by the four spell casters Klarenden, the Ilzimmer sisters, and the priestess; taunting them telling them ‘the end is nigh’. Arialana and Kereth placed the item on the table and set down their tools their work was now completed, and took a step back giving the other two plenty of room. As Crysania whispered Ignan words of power into the item Klarenden gathered the carefully measured components and began to cast the spells to complete the item. Outside the cheers and shouts of triumph in these closing moments seemed directed at the four in the workroom than at the four in the courtyard.

Fire suddenly burst out breaking doors and shattering the workroom’s windows. Not a magical surge but confirmation that their work had been a success. Waking from the momentary disorientation that comes with a sudden blast of energy, the four stood to find all the tables, shelves, and furnishings had been turned to ash- instantaneously incinerated. One thing remained and that was the exquisite staff, the object of their labor for nineteen days. This was no normal staff however. The staff was seven feet tall and was made from duskwood a hardwood tree that is resistant to fire.

The insight that came to Klarenden that passionate night with Crysania was this staff, a Staff of Fire. He was a paragon of his craft with staffs each one greater than the last, but this inspiration would be his legacy. While Maskar Wands put the Order’s gold and resources into magical scrolls of fire and flame Klarenden Eltorchul would, with the help of others, create a Staff of Fire to contest with the dragon Frostburn- a staff invested with the very Aspect of Fire.

No comments: