Story Time

"So," he started. "You seek this Orla. Yet you haven't explained to me how this Orla was trapped in here, nor this person who owned that ghoul and his ties to this. I sense there is much to do if we are successful, I am not one to use the Art without details. You seem to be a man who has seen a great deal, any information on the spells used will help in our attempts."

Horo let out a sigh, more one of being tired than one of being annoyed as he sat his tea cup down. Putting his hands in front of himself on the table, though he'd wanted to pound down his fists he thought better of it. "I've seen more than a few things," he replied in understatement of the century. "And I'm usually one to hold my cards close to my chest, but if it's details you need I will tell you all I can if it will help."

" I know its not my business ... but if its cursed you both would be best served seeking out a member of the Black Order to deal with it. Curses and the like are what they deal with after all. Odd really, I'd just heard news of one just today in a fishing village not to far south of Warfall while I was at the Tavern today. There really isn't many left after the church officially dissolving the Order, but if its a curse you need handled they'd know more than most on the subject."

"Orla was a blessing, not a curse, my lady," Horo said. "And I've never had much use for organised religion, but I wouldn't refuse help from anyone that could legitimately offer it. The Black Order does sound a little sinister though, no offense. Wherever I go most people hold to some religion. That was my one issue with Orla in fact. She was devout to a certain goddess and brought up from the cradle to believe everything she was told in its cult of worship. She didn't have the perspective to see through their guise and lies, and when she needed them, where were they? But I'm straying from the topic a little bit. You asked how Orla was trapped in that thing. Have you ever at your college heard of a mage named Ceriden Maalkan?"

Horo picked up his teacup again and looked over the top of it at Severos. "The Malkaans were a prominent family in Dalen, and Ceriden was considered their blacksheep. He was a talented mage such as you, whose various studies took him around the continent. It was said he had an unhealthy fixation with death and became devoted to the field of necromancy, which was highly forbidden in the Two Kingdoms. It eventually made him an outlaw, a fugitive from justice. But before the authorities could close in on Ceriden the war with the Timber Crag broke out. The leader of Orla's faith had a grand scheme to end the war and rid the world of the Timber Crag. Ceriden was one of these pieces on the game board and he ultimately played his part only too well. But he resented being manipulated and was disturbed by other things he became privy to, and in the chaotic years after the war he was erratic and half-mad. Orla took pity on him; she told me he was in torment and she felt like she had to do something to help him and perhaps mend fences between Ceriden and her people. She also said she'd known Ceriden in a previous life. Whatever she meant by that I don't know, Orla attempted to explain it to me but as smart as I am it all goes over my head after a point. But she thought she could reach him and soothe the savage beast, as it were. I told her I would go along with her but those were very hectic days, and I was stupidly distracted by other matters, and before I knew it she'd gone to see him without me. When I found out I quickly tried to locate her, but she had completely disappeared and I never saw her again. Her own people also could not sense her, and they wielded mighty magic. Their leader told me Orla must be victim of a necromantic spell, a very powerful one that had captured and hid Orla's essence from all detection and that there was nothing to be done about it. And that was that. But for me Orla was not just a tool or so replaceable, she was my best friend and I was not ready to give up, and I have never given up seeking her. It took me a very long time but I eventually found Ceriden's... let’s call it a hideout,, which was too magically protected for me to penetrate, even with all my tricks, but eventually I determined a way to smoke him out, forcing him to relocate. A bunch of those things came out, a least two hundred of them. All running around with boxes of things and objects. I had years ago constructed a tracker that would home in on Orla's… let's say essence. And I homed in on the ghoul carrying that box, which is how I was able to follow it to where we met. I was tracking that ghoul you killed, for nearly two months. They don’t sleep, I have to rest. But though I have means of killing such creatures I couldn’t risk hurting her, or her prison.” Horo looked deeply saddened “She didn’t do anything to anyone. She was the only constant in my ever dangerous world.” The sorrowful look in his eyes grew even deeper as he dragged up theses memories, and his guilt. “But for this happening to her, I am to blame as far as I see it. I am surely not the one who did the deed but, I would have stopped it."

Horo blinked, not used to talking so much or being so candid. He didn’t even know these people. "As for the spells Ceriden used, I am not a mage. All I can say for sure is they were necromantic, and unique spells that had been devised by the famous Kelmoran, who Ceriden was a devotee of and often compared to, especially during the war when Ceriden raised an undead army to fight the Timber Crag. Nobody had seen anything of the like since the Kelmoran uprising and there was a moment there when people were almost more afraid of Ceriden than the werebears, which were cutting a swath of death and destruction through the kingdoms and levelling whole cities to the ground."

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