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Chapter 22: Scrying and Swimming

Chapter 22: Scrying and Swimming

Randomizer returned with the graymold about the same time Archmagus Micael returned with a bucket of water. Zeviz was studying the incantation that would activate the ingredients and cause them to form a working scrying pool. Randomizer cast spray acid on the graymold. The dissolving bits fell from his hand and landed in the bucket, where they sank to the bottom.

"So... where's Zephyr?" Archmagus Micael asked.

"I found it!" Zephyr Tempest ran from the kitchen with a can of coffee.

Randomizer read the label as Zephyr Tempest added a scoop of grounds to the bucket and stirred everything together. "Cthulhu Coffee--blacker than the pits of R'lyeh!"

"So, how strong does that make it?" Archmagus Micael asked.

"There are some things we are not meant to know. This is probably one of them. Ready to cast the spell, Zeviz?" Randomizer asked.

"Ready. Alakauhbraz!"

The moment Zeviz finished the spell, the water began to steam and emit sparks. When the steam and sparks died down, all the mages leaned in to get a better look.

"Ow!" Zephyr Tempest and Archmagus Micael banged heads.

The water was dazzlingly, hypnotically clear. The mages stared at it for a moment, but saw nothing but the bottom of the bucket.

"I'm not seeing anything," Zephyr Tempest said.

"What does the book say to do now, Zeviz?" Randomizer asked.

Zeviz picked up the book and started reading. "Scrying is not a natural skill for most people. It takes time and practice before a scryer can learn to see images in the scrying pool reliably and controllably. Most beginning scyers get the best results by focusing on a specific person or place, rather than scanning a general area."

"Can I look first?" Archmagus Micael asked.

"Go ahead," Zeviz said.

Archmagus Micael stared at the pool for a while.

"See anything?" Randomizer asked.

"I can see my reflection."

"I want to have a look now!" Zephyr Tempest pushed Archmagus Micael out of the way and stared into the water.

Drakefyre and the mods entered. Drakefyre immediately went to speak with the Lurker.

The Lurker panicked. "Please don't ban me, Drakey! I won't do anything like that again. In fact, I quit Dintiradan's Legion of Terror! Please don't ban me! Please!"

"I don't think that will be necessary. But consider this your warning. Any further trouble from you and you will receive a temporary ban." Drakefyre waved his hand and the shackles disappeared from the Lurker's wrists. "You're free to go."

Now that Emperor Tullegolar didn't have to guard the Lurker, he joined Garrison.

"What are your plans, Tullegolar?" Garrison asked.

"Nothing for now. I see that Nemesis is still with Niemand, but where's Nioca?"

"I think he went with Ephesos to the Avernum 4 Forum," Garrison said.

"What? He could get himself killed. Maybe Ephesos will get killed, though."

There was shouting from the fluffy turtle pit. Saunders kicked open the pit. Ephesos and Smoo crawled out.

"So much for that wish," Emperor Tullegolar muttered.

"Get them off of me!" Nioca yelled from the pit as he disappeared under a pile of ravenous fluffy turtles.

"When we told you to leave your sanity at the door, we meant all of your sanity. Get rid of it quick, or the turtles will tear you apart!" Saunders said.

Nioca managed to grab his last shred of sanity and hurl it away from himself. All the fluffy turtles charged after it. He got up and climbed out of the pit. Saunders slammed the door shut again.

Drakefyre pulled Smoo aside. "Prove that you're the real Smoo and not a wererat."

Smoo hung his head. "I can't, Drakefyre. Before I escaped, I told Attorosi everything about me. Any wererat would know those things as well."

"You just identified me," Drakefyre said.

"Yes, but... no, I didn't say anything about what anyone else looked like. I just gave Attorosi some names," Smoo said.

Drakefyre looked at Smoo closely. "I think you are the real Smoo. But someone will always be watching you, just to make sure. Now tell me about the rats."

"Hey! I think I'm getting a... dang it! I don't have access. The Moderator Board is blocked against scrying," Zephyr Tempest said.

"My turn to look," Randomizer said, "I'll try to locate Tyranicus and the others."

Nikki awoke. He sat up, rubbed his head, and looked around. "Arancaytar! Arancaytar! Where's my crazy kitten?"

Arancaytar gasped and tried to hide, but he was too slow.

"There you are!" Nikki jumped up. Jewels held him back.
"Let go of me! I must be reunited with my love!" Nikki flailed his arms wildly and attempted to pull free.

"I need help! He's crazy!" Jewels said.

"Um, I think I'll go see what I can do with the PPP now." Arancaytar headed for the door.

"Can you see anything?" Zeviz asked.

"Yes, I can see them. Aw, Tyranicus died again. And... where'd that lake come from!?"

"What lake?" Zeviz asked.

"Aran! Don't open the door!" Randomizer yelled.

Arancaytar halted with his hand on the door handle. "Why not?"

"Because all the melting snow made a lake just outside," Randomizer said.

"You've got to be kidding." Arancaytar stepped away from the door.

Upstairs, Dintiradan finally snapped the faded shackles holding his wrists together and pulled out a rope. "And now to escape." Dintiradan looked out the window and saw the lake below. "Or maybe not." Then he noticed the Spiderwebbers from Shadow Vale below. "Hmm. How can I best take advantage of this?"


Outside, Slartucker and the others were discussing how to get inside.

"So, any ideas?" Slartucker asked.

"Couldn't we just swim across the lake and open the door?" Lazarus asked.

"You idiot. See how high the water is? It's halfway up the door. If we open it, the water would flood in," Alec said.

The Silent Assassin pointed to the upper-story window.

"Good idea. Alorael! Alorael! Are you up there?" Lenar yelled.

Dintiradan leaned out the window. "Where's Stareye?"

"He's coming, but he hasn't caught up with us yet. Can you get us inside?" Lenar asked.

"It just so happens that I can, but what's in it for me?" Dintiradan asked.

Andraste got up from the top stair and hammered on the door with her club. "Dintiradan, who are you yelling at?"

"Just get us inside!" Slartucker yelled.

"You'll avoid a very unpleasant surprise from the Silent Assassin," Lenar said.

"I was thinking something more along the lines of not being held responsible for the summoning machine. And maybe preventing Andraste from breaking this door down," Dintiradan said.

Stareye, Terror's Martyr, and Kelandon reached the top of the small hill and joined the others.

"Stareye! You're hurt," Marlenny said.

"I'm fine," Stareye said.

"Good. You can convince Dintiradan to get us inside," Slartucker pointed to the second-story window.

"All you have to do is promise not to do anything to myself, Wanderer, or the Lurker for the summoning machine," Dintiradan yelled down.

"Dintiradan, what are you doing? Get them inside immediately," Andraste said, "Or I'm going to get one of the mods."

"What summoning machine?" Stareye asked.

"You'll have to get inside to find out, now won't you?" Dintiradan said, "Arguing probably isn't the best idea either, since our yelling could attract the attention of those inside. If someone opens the door, water will flood inside and then there will really be problems."

Stareye sighed. "Okay, fine. No punishment. Now get us inside."

Dintiradan threw one end of the rope out the window. "Well, climb up!"

Slartucker waded into the water first. Soon, it was too deep for him to touch, so he swam across to the rope. He climbed up it and through the window. FBM started climbing right behind him.

"But what will we do with the bodies?" Lenar asked.

"Leave them. We can have a mage and Zorro revive them in a moment." Thuryl said.

Ash Lael waded into the water as well.

"And Stareye?" Lenar asked.

"We'll bring out something for him, too." Thuryl waded into the water next.

"I suppose so," Lenar said.

Terror's Martyr handed Alec a folded piece of paper. "You know what to do with this."

Alec nodded. "Right."

"Kel, remember that I would have beat the ****** ****** ****** out of you if Stareye hadn't gotten in the way, you ***** **** *******." Terror's Martyr turned to go.

The Almighty Do-er of Stuff swam across the lake.

"Believe what you want, but it was I who would have beaten you if Stareye hadn't intervened," Kelandon said.

Terror's Martyr paused and pointed at Tyranicus's body. "Oh, and someone tell him that he's still the worst ******* ****** loser I have ever met even when he's dead." Then he walked away.

Alec swam across the lake and climbed the rope. As Marlenny waded into the lake, the Silent Assassin pointed at Lenar.

"I'm only a little nervous," Lenar said.

The Silent Assassin made several quick gestures.

"Yes, I know it'll be a lot easier than the time you snuck into the Senator's hotel room and made off with all his socks." Lenar watched Marlenny disappear inside. Kelandon started climbing right behind her. Lazarus waded into the lake. Lenar looked around and sighed. "We're the last ones. I suppose we should..."

The Silent Assassin was already swimming across. Lenar sighed and began swimming across as well.