Smendric exited the mansion after the Eonian left the party. Her final announcement stated everyone would be delivered back to the city in the morning when they left the hall. But Smendric had no intentions of returning to the city. He desired a more intimate meeting and that wasn’t going to happen unless he forced her hand. The door they used to enter the hall had been removed, probably as a precaution so the guest wouldn’t slip out during the night. Recalling the view from outside the mansion Smendric found himself standing alone on the mountain side. The trail continued up another 50’ over a ridge. He could see a light from atop the mountain but he could not see the source. He paused a moment to cast a few protective spells before continuing his climb to the summit.
A large manor house enveloped by a shimmering wall of multicolored lights topped the mountains peak. While he was not familiar with this particular style of architecture the prismatic spell that protected the house was well known to him. Moving as close to the field as he dared he called out in hopes that someone would hear him. After a few tense moments the door swung open and the Eonian stepped out.
“You need to return to the party she said, I am sure you can get back the same way you managed to leave”.
“But I have come a long way to meet you Smendric said trying to be as charming as possible. I also didn’t feel like I would get your full attention at the party. Maybe we could go inside, I think we have much to discuss”.
“I am sorry this barrier keeps everyone out she said, and outsiders are not allowed”.
Smendric grinned “And if I manage to get passed the field what then”?
“Then you will have to deal with me came a second voice stepping out of the door way. And I am afraid I am not as polite as my sister”.
“Twins Smendric exclaimed! With the exception of hair length & wardrobe they were identical. The second sister certainly had a different presence then the first. Not only did she have a half dozen protective wards active. But she was armed with a staff that looked to contain considerable power. I am not here to threaten he said showing his empty hands; I only want to offer my assistance & perhaps share knowledge. Your plan for the valley is pretty complex. If today is any indication of your progress it will take another 30 years to finish. Maybe I could help shave a couple decades off that timeline?
The arcane sister motioned her sibling inside as she approached the barrier. “Ok consider this a test if you can get through we can talk”.
Smendric bowed deeply; with a complex series of gestures he cast a spell that allowed him to manipulate the flow of time. Pulling a scroll from his pouch he quickly fired off a series of spells each removing a level of the barrier until it was completely banished from existence. He then completed his challenge by producing a campfire complete with roasting mutton and a couple of high back chairs which he quickly placed the lady Eonian in. After taking his seat he allowed his spell to expire and time to continue unhindered. “I am known as The Traveler, but I would much prefer an informal meeting so you may call me Semendric.”
The Eonian was able to recognize the spell being cast by the intruder, though its speed caught her by surprise. She had never seen a spell cast in this way before, some of the necessary gestures were combined with others while some of the somatics were not even fully completed. With so many shortcuts and omissions she was astonished the spell even functioned at all. Suddenly in an instant she found herself sitting in front of a warming campfire as she held a mug containing a sweet smelling warm liquid. Taking a moment to collect herself she noticed the absence of the protective sphere, but none of her possessions had been tampered with. Her staff rest gently against the surprisingly comfortable high back chair she found herself in. “You may call me Sera she said extending a hand.”
As the hours flew by Smendric began to feel somewhat smitten. Though he had just met her she seemed familiar. “So how does this work he asked her, you and your sister disguise yourselves and influence the city as citizens?”
“No she said smiling we have never been to the city. In fact you are the first person I have ever met besides my family.”
“Does your entire family live here? Smendric asked, I swear the captain of the Lacuna was your mother.”
“No once a replacement has been trained we learn to fill a role in the city. The Captain is unique as she is raised with no future commitment, mainly due to a high fatality rate. With pirate raids and all manner of creatures that inhabit the seas one can’t expect the captain to survive to a venerable age, not that it’s never happened but it’s never a certainty.
Smendric sat by the fire trying to make sense of the statement Sera had just made. As the door opened as an elderly Sera stepped onto the stoop “Well you might as well let him in” she said shaking her head. I can see by his expression the poor boy will sit there the rest of the night working this out.”
Smendric stood running his fingers through his tangled hair. “Clones” he asked?”
“Not exactly, replied the elderly Sera as she motioned Smendric inside. We are not restricted in creating an exact duplicate as is a clone. For example Leasa here as she motioned toward yet another replica of herself is Druidic. She tends the forest and the fields below to make sure everything grows as planned. And this little one” she said rubbing the head of the youngest version Smendric had seen “will one day be the captain of the Lacuna. She already has the skills & knowledge necessary she just needs to come of age.
For the first time in his life Smendric was speechless, briefly. “Why?” He asked as the pieces of the puzzle began to fall into place.
“We are trying to save our parents” young Sera chimed in. They are imprisoned and we cannot divine there exact location. However we have been able to locate the plane they are being held on. When our circle is complete we will be able to summon forth a section of that plane and everything that inhabits it including our parents. We hope to have a more precise description of their location by the time the circle is finished.
“If you know the plane they are being held on why don’t you just go get them? Smendric asked.
“It’s a negative energy dominate plane, & our magic has proven unreliable there. On occasion we have tried to search for them but usually the scout does not return. When they do the negative energy drains them to a point near death.”
“What if I could bring your parents’ home?” Smendric cracked his famous wry smile as he looked to the elderly Sera.
“We would give anything we have” she said as her eyes began to well.
Smendric looked around at the dozen incarnations that had collected to see the first stranger to enter their home in over five centuries. “I can think of a couple things.”