A knock comes at your door at the Golden Coach. A serving boy shoves it into your hands. "This came a couple of days ago, but since your Sir paid your room up, we saved it. Here." He turns and runs off.
Opening the small note that has a bit of candlewax holding it shut, it simply says "The bird has flown the nest, along with the golden eggs. -Thom"
ATACIUS will pocket the note and head for the Captain's Quarters.
What will you do there? It is morning of the 39th.
ATACIUS will look for Thom there.
A serving man lets you know that "the gambler" doesn't usually show up until after midday, and usually closer to dusk. "Iffin ye want, ye can leave a message, little sahr." he says.
ATACIUS thanks the man and decide to pay a visit to Notebana.
Passing through the Dawnsedge neighborhood, you come to Notebana's little, well-kept house. It stands out among the other buildings in this neighborhood, with it's iron fence, clean sides and windows and even a couple of banners in celebration of Harvest End. Jeseves opens the door promptly to your knock and escorts you to the morning room, where Notebana is enjoying his second breakfast. Spicy eggs, beans and strong hintea are served to you and Notebana motions you to enjoy yourself while he eats himself. He doesn't say much until he's finished, and sits back with a contented sigh.
"Perfect! And now, for a pipe!" he proclaims and you both go to his sitting room, where pipes are filled and lit. Finally, Notebana smiles and says "So, my brother, what brings you here? How has adventuring treated you?"
ATACIUS: 'Thanks again for your hospitality Master Notebana. It's always a pleasure and honor to share food and pipe with you. Since we last time we met, more that three ten-days ago, many things have happened!'
He then tells Notebana about Sir Flinigan, Appleton, their first delve into Athenum, Apsuna, the Chaos symbols in the dungeons, he stops to detail the workshop with its tables, cupborads and benches with arcane writings, containing jars, vials, boxes, along with scrolls and books written in foul language, the black marble pedestals with glass jars filled with liquid containing an Orc and a Dwarf, about Lady Christine trapped in a globe of energy surrounded by animated shadows of twisted smoke. He also tells about the Damned in a farmstead near Appleton, and how we brought one to be healed by the Church of the Light. Then about our second delve into the Athenum dungeons looking for information about Ramathia, and how we found books of Elven Magick, and how our elven friend got turned into a demonic creature but preserved his soul and got healed by the Light. How we delved a 3rd time into Athenum, this time in the company of the Foamfollower & Seadreamers from the Conclave and fought many creatures and found many books: one with eyes, "The Features of the Six Classifications of Fauna of the Southern Isles" by a "G.S. Yerkshimer, Esquire", "A Codex of Wines & Spirits" by Bishop Bronzesmith, "Horticulture and Seasons: a Handbook" by John Baker, "The Compendium of Awful Secrets" by Archpriestess Stelbanishia, a huge collection of The Merchant's Annals, volumes covering famous cities such as Regium, Greyrock, Richinia, Irecia and Ramathia, "The City's Legacy - a history of the ancient city of Ramathia" by Calimo Larethaen, "The Founding - a Lost Story", "Two Towers of the Darkness" the Mage’s Guild history, several volumes about the Kings of the Lands of Men and more.
(I guess after all that we're now into elevenses.)
The story is told through the end of second breakfast, early lunch, late lunch and hintea time! Notebana asks many questions for details and once you've finished, he puffs on yet another pipe and thinks very hard for a long time -- making sure to enjoy some spicy meat snacks in his contemplation.
"My brother, I'd heard and read of this place - the Athenum - but had dismissed it as embellished myth. I can see I was wrong! By stars above, what an adventure! I'm quite jealous and I've a mind to hire you to take me there! Orcs and Dwarfs in jars? How fascinating! How fabulous! Books and treasure? It's just... oh my!"
Notebana calls for a bottle of wine and grabs some ink, quill and paper. He begins to jot down notes and even quizzes you for information to create a sort of map.
"Do you think there is more there to find? Did this mage companion of yours... the elf, you called him Grain, I believe? Odd name for an elf - Grain - but ... anyway, does he think that this place is worth reclaiming? Is he going to make it his home? And you said the elves disappeared for awhile and then came back?"
The requestioning and discussion takes you into the evening, where Notebana wrings about as much information from your memory as he can ... and your stomach is about as full as it can get! It is late evening before he sits back with a satisfied sigh.
"What an amazing story, my brother. You are very lucky to have survived - mages, especially those who delved into the dark powers, were not to be taken lightly at all. Very dangerous! It's said that some may have even survived the great Shriving of the Guild and that they even survived the Doom! You know, there are rumors of something awful happening around Skalfier lately, and a few folks have muttered about evil mages... "
ATACIUS: 'I guess we just scratched but the surface of Athenum. There are many places still to be explored on the first level, though Sir Flinigan warned us not to proceed deeper. Foul and dark creatures delve down there, he said.' he pauses for another puff.
'I don't think Master GRAIAN would like to make that place his home, my bet is he's all for sailing to Ramathia! As for reclaiming Athenum, well, since it's on Appleton's lands its for young Master TOBIAS, Sir Flinigan's protégée, to decide. He's into the Arcane Arts too. I think you should go back with us to Appleton and talk to him, and look at the books we found. We could even take you to Athenum if you want!' he savors another puff.
'And the elves that dissapeared and then came back, they were so disturbed and shocked, they wouldn't say a word about what they found or saw down there. Who knows what evil they faced... (sighs) Anyway, it's being a wonderful evening Master Notebana. It reminded me of home, sharing stories by the fire...' as he stares into the winding smoke of his pipe.
Notebana's eyes go wide as ATACIUS describes the actions and reactions of the Seadreamers at the Athenum.
"My word, I wonder what they found? I wonder if they would be willing to talk about it, hmm... damned elves are always so touchy about things, so it's hard to say..." Notebana draws slowly on his pipe and smiles at ATACIUS's words.
"You are always welcome, brother, especially with tales like you just told. By the stars above, I've not enjoyed a day like this since I went adventuring at an old mage's tomb last summer...." and then he stops.
"My stars, do you suppose the two are linked? The tomb and the Athenum? We found mysteries and dangerous traps there at that tomb, but we did find books and treasure, as I recall. A shame that those adventurers haven't been seen since..."
Notebana invites ATACIUS to spend the night in comfort (and fed!) if he wishes, but is also welcome to go if he wants.
ATACIUS graciuosly accepts his invitation (totally forgetting about his pending business with Thom) to stay the night. 'Maybe if you tell me more about this tomb, we may found if they are related. Even it may also help convince my friends to explore it, if you will!'
It is late evening and even Jeseve has gone to be before Notebana finishes his story. Notebana had clues and a rough map to the location of this old mage's tomb. However, on the way to it, the weather changed into something unbelievable - storms and tornados AND an earthquake!
"It was as if the elements had tossed the dice and found the strangest combination of rolls in them!" Notebana exclaims.
The tomb was found and it took several days to dig out the debris from the earthquake, fight off a band of orcs and then open the door. It was, at that point, that Notebana's demeanor changes.
"So... in all the excitement, I ... well... I fell and hit my head on the door slab and woke up to my friends hauling out books and vases full of coins and weird ingredients!" he confesses in an embarrassed voice. "They told me all about this strange room where it was dark, and you had to get on your knees and there were strange things all around. They apparently didn't want to stay, as they had some other job to do... something about the strange ingredients and a book! Funny enough, I haven't seen them since... guess they found what they were looking for!"
He shrugs and sighs. "It would be interesting to go back and see if there's a connection between the two, but I don't know if the men cleared out the place or even if it's still untouched after we closed it up!"
Notebana yawns mightily, stands up.
"What a fantastic day! ATACIUS, it's so good to have you here with me. I was serious before, if you have the hankering for adventure, and possibly some fabulous treasure, do come see me. I have the most fascinating tales and trivia of this place! And what with the bandits and pirates and an entire city waiting for the humans and elves to come back! Why, if you do go to Ramathia, I do hope you'll consider taking me! I promise not to hit my head on strange doors!" Notebana laughs.
The night is in pure comfort, with the kinds of beds, pillows, blankets, sheets that a proper littleling would expect.
If you're done with Notebana, I'll have you do the same thing I'm asking the others... think about what you'd like to do for the first third of winter. Remember that you'll need money for expenses, unless you go back to Appleton to stay with TOBIAS and TAKASHI.
The next morning ATACIUS will thank Notebana for his hospitality and reiterate the offer to visit Appleton. He'll depart with the promise to send him a message if we were to delve in Athenum again or sail to Ramathia. He plans to stay another day in Skalfier to talk to Thom and find out how much would it cost to build a watchtower in Appleton. He'll go to the Golden Coach to secure a room and then head where the rebuild of Skalfier is taking place. There he'll try to find a foreman to talk to about the watchtower or can give him directions to whom to talk to. That evening he'll go to que Captain's Quarters to find Thom. He plans to leave for Appleton the next morning.
As for his plans for the winter, he'll try to advice TOBIAS on Appelton's financial matters, possibly overseer the watchtower construction and maybe help TAKASHI train any militia volunteers on rock throwing and the use of the sling. He'll also spend time updating both Athenum and Skalfier area maps, and looking for references to the mage's tomb on the books we found.
Notebana agrees and reiterates his willingness to keep a relationship with you.
The construction foreman that will actually talk to you (most others just shoo you away as if you were a child) tells you that it would be easy enough for the villagers to make their own watch towers - a simple tripod of logs, some boards on top and a rope or rope ladder would be his suggestion. For something more permanent or resistant to attack, it would depend on the specifications - what do the villagers want? Enclosed? Stone sides? How resistant to attack? He'd have to know those things before a price can be driven to.
Surprisingly, Thom isn't around the evening you go there. After contributing 10 gold to a server's purse, she tells you that sometimes Thom will "disappear" for a few days and then return. She wonders if this might not be one of those times.
You can stay in the Golden Coach one more night, on GRAIAN's previously paid bill.
ATACIUS, upon his return to Appleton, will relay to the group his conversation with Notebana about him joining on any eventual delve into Athenum or trip to Ramathia, and also the story about the mage's tomb, as well as his talk with the construction foreman.