TOBIAS: "They wouldn't have left the Athenum unless there was something really bad going on there... would they? Is there any way we can signal to Apsuna, to let her know we're here?"
CALLIN: "We should head in that direction. She could be signalling us of something coming. If they are that close it could be a warning for Appleton."
TOBIAS takes a worried look at the muddy ground they'd have to cover once they left the main road to reach Apsuna. "Do you think it's ok to ride that way?"
CALLIN: "I have no idea if it is safe to travel that way. But I know that Apsuna has been a friend, and if they are circling, we should investigate and aide if need be."
TAKASHI: "Agreed. You don't see her flock stirred up like this unless something of interest is happening!"
ATACIUS: "Let's see what stirred up our feathery friends. I just hope it's not the Orcs marching on us!"
It is a slow slog towards the circling birds, although they also seem to be moving somewhat in your direction. After some time, you're close enough to see that the birds are circling over a group of figures, dressed in black robes, who seem to be retreating from the birds. They may be carrying something between them, you are far enough away (roughly 300 yards) that it is hard to tell. Everyone once in awhile, one of the smaller or medium sized birds will dive down towards the figures, who seem to wave weapons to drive the attacker off.
ATACIUS: How many robed figures do we see? Are they of foot or mounted?
It's hard to tell. Between ten and twenty, perhaps. A few are mounted.
TAKASHI: "If APSUNA and her flock are harassing them, we should probably lend a hand. Let's focus on the mounted ones first, as they are surely the most dangerous."
TAKASHI will ready his sword and shield, and make sure he is well seated in his harness. He pats his horse's neck, and soothes him before the charge.
TOBIAS' eyes go wide as he sees TAKASHI draw his sword. "Takashi, it looks like a big group! Maybe 10 or 20! Do you want me to cast my new spell on you first?"
TAKASHI: "If you have it ready, perhaps this would be a good time to test its effectiveness against our enemies... On the other hand, let's wait until we know they are going to fight. No sense wasting your skills when not needed."
TOBIAS nods in agreement and gets his reins ready to charge his horse.
CALLIN nods to the rest of the group. Lifting his Hammer and shield so they are ready. "Shall we introduce ourselves?"
ATACIUS digs a bullet from his pouch and readies his sling.
As you get closer, it's clear that these black-robed figures are in disarray and near panic. They are human. For some, their robes are in tatters. There are four horses and the riders have what appear to be wounded passengers clutching to them. You would guess there are 14 in total. They are shouting and yelling and trying to escape the flock. They don't appear to be overly armed, you catch glimpse of a dagger here and there, nothing unusual for travelers on the road.
A couple of them - a man and a woman, catch sight of your heavily armed party.
"Oh please, help us! They won't stop attacking us! Please help!" the woman begs in a frightened voice.
CALLIN will ride forward to the woman. "What have you done to agrivate the flock? They only attack for good reason"
She runs up to you. There are bloody scratches on her arms and she seems genuinely terrified.
"Oh please, help us! They're monsters! They attacked us! Zolos may already be dead! Please!" she begs, almost incoherent in her fear.
Some more gather around you all. Several continue to flee, and the birds continue to dive at them and attack. The fleeing scream and yell in fear, waving their arms to keep the birds away.
CALLIN will call to Apsuna "What have these people done? Have they attacked you? Are you in danger?"
While CALLIN is trying to get Apsuna's attention, TOBIAS is frowning and looking at the newcomers, trying to figure out what's going on. He'll nudge his horse closer to the woman, trying to get a closer look at her and maybe spot something that will give a clue who they might be.
ATACIUS watches the ones on horseback.
GRAIAN will wait with Atacius and watch the ones that have come around the group, waiting for some sign of who they are or what they are planning.
It could be the noise or the distance, but Apsuna doesn't seem to react. She is flying fairly high up.
The woman gasps and turns to the man. "They know these monsters! They're trying to talk to them!"
She blanches in further panic and stumbles backwards from you. "RUN!" she screams.
The man grabs her, looking in fear at you all, and he backs away as well.
TAKASHI, aside from black robes, the occasional dagger and a backpack here and there, it's hard to tell much more about these humans. They do not seem to have any symbols or heraldry or markings. The equipment appears basic, the horses seem normal nags and riding horses - nothing suggesting military or organized activity.
By now, with the realization that you are not going to protect them, the black-robed humans start to move away from you all as well.
As TOBIAS nears the woman, who is backpedaling, she looks at him and for a moment, they are staring into each others' eyes. Her fear subsides for a moment and it is almost as if she recognizes him, and he recognizes her. She gasps and starts to point, but at that same moment, a bird comes down, screeching and flapping its wings. The man grabs at the woman and they break away to run. She keeps glancing back at TOBIAS and tries to get the man to look at the young mage, but to no avail.
CALLIN will turn to the group "I can't get Apsuna's attention, What should we do? They seem like common folk, but I don't think Apsuna gets involved with humans on the regular basis. I would assume they provoked this somehow, even if unintentional."
TOBIAS isn't listening, he's staring off at the woman, lost in thought. There's something about her, she seems...
The loud screech of the bird overhead brings him back to the present, and he sees it flapping down, looking like it's going to attack... Without further thought, TOBIAS begins to cast a spell on the area around the man, woman and bird, hoping to put all three to sleep.
Is there anyone that can be identified as "leader" of this group?
Rizzoma ate my answer - ATACIUS, it's quite a disorganized rabble, but the four on horseback seem to be doing the most "leading", if yelling at people to "Get back to the road!" can be considered leading.
CALLIN will shout at TOBIAS " What are you doing? " Not quite knowing what the young man is planning on casting.
TOBIAS stops, eyes still locked on the woman but mindful of the screeching bird overhead as he yells back to CALLIN, "That woman what's running away, I need to talk to her, and that bird is coming down to kill her! I want to put them to sleep and stop this!"
CALLIN will rush on his horse toward the woman and man and dive off his horse and attempt to tackle/subdue them. ( He isn't trying to hurt them, just trying to keep them from being ripped to shreds by the birds, but kept alive for TOBIAS, while at the same time not attacking the birds and should they need to be handed over they could be )
CALLIN lands on the two, knocking them over and causing the bird to veer off. It flaps back up to the flock and you notice that they are beginning to drift back in the direction of the Athenum.
The two stand up shakily. The man open and closes his mouth a few times, unsure of how to respond. The woman is peering over CALLIN's shoulder at the sky, watching as Apsuna and her flock move off.
"They are leaving!" she says. "We are saved!"
She looks directly at TOBIAS. "And it is him who has saved us."
TAKASHI, still mounted on his horse, will slowly mosey over to see what the struggling people were carrying, with a frown on his face.
Only a few of them seems to have a pack of any sort. They seem more like travelers in their equipment than anything else that you've seen. Aside from the wounded behind the riders, the horses are not carrying anything else.
TOBIAS looks back and watches in wonder as Apsuna's flock turns and flies off. Then he turns back and urges his horse forward towards the woman, who he watches with a suspicious look on his face.
CALLIN stands and looks at the two. "Now that we have the situation settled down a bit, lets find out why Apsuna's flock was stirred up." He then looks to TOBIAS "Ok TOBIAS, you can talk to her now."
TOBIAS nods and says to the woman, "Why were you looking at me like that when we passed? And why were you pointing at me?"
In response, the woman turns to the others.
"It is He." she says and they all turn to look at TOBIAS. The wounded slowly get off the horse, as do the riders. They all stand for what is only several heartbeats, but seems like eternity, then as one, they take a knee and bow their heads.
The woman kneels as well.
"It is You. We were summoned. We apologize that it took too long, but we have come. That which was taken, will be ours again!"
They all echo that last sentence. "That which was taken, will be ours again!"
She stops talking and they all remain kneeled, facing in TOBIAS's direction.
As they kneel, TOBIAS shoots a baffled look over at CALLIN and shrugs his shoulders.
CALLIN speaks. "What is it that was taken from you? And how do you know young TOBIAS here?"
The woman does not respond, but remains kneeling, eyes down. By her appearance, it looks like she's waiting for an answer or acknowledgement from TOBIAS.
CALLIN turns back to TOBIAS. "Seems like you will be the one figuring this out TOBIAS"
GRAIAN comes over to Tobias, "Does this mean anything to you?" he asks him
ATACIUS turns his atention to Apsuna's flock and watches their movements as they talk to the robed people.
TOBIAS shakes his head and says softly to GRAIAN, "I thought I recognized that woman from somewhere before, but I don't know what they're talking about..." Then louder, he says to the kneeling men and women, "Um... you can stand up now!"
"As you wish." the woman says and stands, the rest following her.
"We've journeyed to find you. We were summoned, called by Him to find you. We are here, to be what you need us to be. The library, it is overrun by those creatures. They sought to drive us away, and we were not strong enough to prevail against them. Is it your wish that we try, or will you take us to the library?"
TOBIAS starts rubbing his forehead with the palm of his hand. "Him?" he groans to himself, "Oh, no..."
CALLIN turns to TOBIAS "Who are they speaking of? Who is this Him?"
“It’s…”, TOBIAS starts to answer CALLIN, but stops himself and looks at the robed men and women. He dismounts his horse and walks it over a bit towards them, brushes back some of the hair from his face and says to the woman, “The… library, it’s off-limits for right now. Those birds what are outside, they’re guardians of it. Leave them alone, and they’ll leave you alone. Let me talk with my friends a little and decide what to do next.”
The woman looks at you, her face impassive. At your words, she nods brusquely.
"Your servants and pets?" she asks.
TOBIAS: "Er, yes... yes, of course."
He turns and gives a pointed look at his companions, moving out of earshot of the robed men and women and obviously hoping to talk to the others privately.
(Assuming we get together to talk) TOBIAS: “It’s the man from my dreams! Remember, like I was telling you before, TAKASHI? He wants me to go back to the Athenum, and I think he sent those people to make me!”
CALLIN: "TOBIAS, no one can make you do anything. We all have free will. Choose what you want to do on your own accord. Who is this person from your dreams?"
TOBIAS' eyebrows rise and he nods towards the woman. "Does she look like she has free will? CALLIN, I think she'd roll over and bark if I asked her to!"
CALLIN: "That doesn't mean she lacks free will. She is the one choosing to follow your command. You have yet to punish her for not listening. That being said, whoever sent her might treat her quite differently"
TAKASHI (to CALLIN and TOBIAS): "If these people are sent from the man in your dreams, I do not know that we want them anywhere near Appleton nor the Athenum. How to we get rid of them?"
CALLIN (to TOBIAS and TAKASHI ) : "Perhaps we have htem take us back to 'HIM'?"
TOBIAS (to CALLIN and TAKASHI): "I don't think 'Him' - he called himself 'Mage' in my dreams - I don't think Mage is in a real place, just in dreams, maybe that's how he 'summoned' them. And I don't think they're going to leave us alone until we go to the Athenum. He wants me to do something for him in there, I just know it, and I hate it when somebody tries to tell me what to do! That's why I shot the fire in his face..."
CALLIN: "Then we won't go to Athenum, and we will tell them that they will not return either. They stated that they have come to serve you. Perhaps we can use them to help tend to Appleton?"
TAKASHI: "I trust Apsuna and her flock more than these folk. If there is a reason they drove them away from the Athenum, perhaps we should go speak with her before leading these folk back towards Appleton. It may be leading the wolf into the sheep pen."
CALLIN: "Very true. We should know these peoples true intentions"
TOBIAS nods. "If we could just trust them, maybe they could help build up and protect the village - we were looking for someone what could do that - but if they come from Mage, I don't know... and what would the folks in Appleton think?" His face grows sour, imagining their reaction.
"Maybe someone could ride to see Apsuna real quick and talk to her, while the rest of us stay here and talk to them; maybe we'll find out more..."
GRAIAN has been watching and listening to the conversation speaks up, "Tobias, this is a little disturbing and has all the signs of chaos, you need to be careful and I think we should talk more about this. However, for now we need to understand why Apsuma and her flock were attacking these people, I will go and speak to her. You need to learn all you can from these people and why they have been sent here."
TAKASHI: "I will go with GRAIAN as well. Watch these folk TOBIAS, as I do not feel that all is right here..."
ATACIUS, who was eating an apple while listening to his friends, speaks as he gives his pony the core. "Maybe TOBIAS should be the one talking to Apsuna. It would show these people he can calm the birds. Gain face, show them his in charge and all that, right? As for having this folk in Appleton, I don't know. Maybe in one of the nearest abandoned farmsteads?"
CALLIN: "ATACIUS you raise a good point, I only fear that these people will not leave TOBIAS' side, and I'd prefer not walk them back to Athenum not knowing what they would do."
TOBIAS takes a deep breath and walks back to the woman in robes. He tries to give his voice the sound of as much authority as he can: "I'm sending some of my servants to, ah... see what the situation is like at the library and report back to me. In the meantime, I need to find out some more about you. What's your name?"
"Perhaps they can let your guardians know that we belong in the Library?" the woman inquires. "We did not kill any of them, fearing that they were yours. If not, we would be happy to ... help." and with that, the woman twists her fingers in a small somatic gesture and you recognize the knot of arcane power that briefly flickers around her hand.
"I am Madjida. My companion here [she nods to the man standing behind her a bit] is Zek. I am glad we found you, TOBIAS. Since you have walked the halls, since your presence called to us, we have sought the Heir. The keep and the port were little help, but we did find the location of the Library and hoped to find your trail. It seems that you and us were drawn to each other. Are you well? Is all good with you?"
TOBIAS: "I'm... good, I guess... Madjida. I don't need any help with the guardians, but there is a problem going on what you might be able to help me with. Right now, there's a large band of orcs nearby that I think might be a threat to... my home. How, um... how good are you and your companions at dealing with problems like that?"
Madjida looks back at Zek with a puzzled look on her face. Zek shrugs, then his face lights up.
"Perhaps TOBIAS has already established a demesne and wishes us to continue his training there." he suggests.
Madjida looks at TOBIAS even more carefully, a slow up and down look.
"Is that true? Have you already grown to such power?"
"Well, I...", TOBIAS' face reddens a bit, "I do have a place, for learning magic - is that what a demesne is? - but if we're going to do magic training, with so many of you, probably one of the abandoned farms around here would be better."
ATACIUS: "Yes, Lord TOBIAS has lands and power! Do not let your eyes deceive you. But remember, his power comes not only from his abilities but from his friends and the people he cares for." the littleling intercedes stepping forward. "Lord TOBIAS is a generous one, and will provide you a suitable place for your lodging and... training, but you will have to help in its repair and work for your sustenance." he adds in a firm tone looking at the man and woman who just spoke.
TOBIAS smiles at ATACIUS as he steps in to help. When Atacius finishes speaking, Tobias looks back at Madjida and nods.
Madjida does not look or respond to ATACIUS.
"He would want us to be at the Library, to clean it up, prepare it and conduct your training there. If you would be so kind as to ask your guardians to not attack us as we enter..."
The others seem to have collected themselves and are applying some first aid to the wounded and listening to the conversation.
"I told you, it's off limits." TOBIAS brushes hair away from his eyes, looking up at her with eyes narrowed, obviously starting to get angry. "You said you came to be what I need you to be. Right now, I need you to be someone what can protect Appleton from orcs, and then someone what can show me more magic and tell me more about the library, so that maybe someday we can go back in there. If you can't do that, you can march right back where you came from and tell Him you failed." He finishes with his arm outstretched, pointing in the direction they'd been running from.
CALLIN smiles at the resolve TOBIAS is showing dealing with the newcomers. He also takes a step to stand at TOBIAS' right side informing the group of newcomers he stands with TOBIAS.
Madjida's face darkens and her eyes narrow. She turns to Zek and snaps a command in a language that nobody understands. Immediately, he snaps a command and the rest of the group springs into action. The horsemen dismount and all of the travelers step into a formation that looks like a wedge behind Madjida. Zek is immediately behind her. Almost all of them assume poses that look very much like the prelude to casting spells.
"We were sent here to find you and assist you to the next level of your ascension, heir." she says in an icy voice. "Do not mistake that intent as if we are mere servants for you to order around like an impudent child. There has been some suspicion that you might not be worth of the Heir and power. We will take back the library and prepare it. If you are worth of that power, you would best to stay your tongue and rein in your attitude. Only when you've earned HIS approval will you be able to speak to us in that manner."
The very air around her seems to dim.
CALLIN: "It seems APSUNA was correct in keeping this rabble away from the Library. Madjida, what is your purpose in going to the Library? All we have seen is darkness and vile Evil."
She does not respond to your question, CALLIN.
TAKASHI, still mounted on horseback (and slowly walking away towards the Athenum), slowly turns his mount around and lines up on the end of one of the wedges. He notes the people who have dismounted, and smiles inwardly.
"Fine," TOBIAS says, with heat still in his voice, "I don't need folks around doing everything I say like mindless zombies, anyway. But don't you ever try to tell me what to do! And if you mess with those birds, or the library, then you can just forget about me being an heir, or ascending, or whatever else you're thinking about."
Madjida laughs, a mocking laugh that ends in a disappointed sigh.
"He warned us that you might not be strong enough to be an heir. Little boy, we do not heed your words as orders, so let me tell you something - in the same manner that you have addressed me. If YOU or your servants, including the one over to my right who thinks he is sidling into a good position, interfere or attack us, you will find the full weight of Power against you. Your servants will die slow, agonizing deaths to amuse us and you will feel pain such as you have never felt."
She flexes her hands again and the arcane energy dances between them.
"If you decide to abandon your childish ways and attitudes, we will be waiting. We will be watching. Perhaps you will overcome your weakness. Perhaps not. Life favors the strong and victorious. That favor must be earned."
The rest of the group are keeping an eye on all of you and almost all have flexed their fingers in pre-somatic gestures - GRAIAN and TOBIAS can see the arcane power glowing.
TOBIAS just stands there, watching her, still seething with anger.
Madjida watches you all, waiting to see what you all will do.
ATACIUS: "Lady, are you trying to scare us with your hokey-pokey? If you're so powerful why couldn't you defend yourselfs from the birds huh?" the littleling asks wiggling his fingers. "Now, go back the way you came. Go." as he makes a shoo shoo gesture.
She doesn't respond to ATACIUS.
TAKASHI twitches in anticipation, a snarl forming on his face. He leans his body forward, and readies himself to launch his horse forward to mow down these sorcerous bastards. He looks at TOBIAS, perhaps for the last time, and then digs his heels into his horse's flank and charges one end of the the V, drawing his sword as he closes in.
CALLIN: As soon as TAKASHI moves as in practiced rythem, CALLIN draws forth his hammer and shield rushing Madjida.
Combat with the Cultists
Positioning - based on what you wrote above. I have TAKASHI and GRAIAN at one point of the wedge/triagle, TOBIAS, CALLIN and ATACIUS at a second point.
Roughly 10'/less between T/C/A and Madjida. I'll rule 150' for TAKASHI/GRAIAN as a starting point (since they were both moving towards the Athenum at the beginning. If you feel any of this is incorrect, please let me know before we're done with this first set of declarations, because that's what I'm basing things on.
ATACIUS will draw his short sword and stay beside TOBIAS ready to fend off any robed one that tries to get him.
CALLIN: Sounds right to me. CALLIN will rush forward drawing his War-Hammer and shield and attempt to smash Madjida and her darkness back to wence it came. or something like that
GRAIAN - @Chris will also gallop towards the group, he is too far away for any spells. His aim is to get within 100' of Majida
TAKASHI TAKASHI will charge his mount towards the end of the V, and attempt to trample as many as possible while swinging his snicker-snack sword at their heads. He'll try to use slashing cavalry tactics to disrupt their formation by smashing through it!
TOBIAS begins chanting softly, uttering arcane words much like you’ve heard him do before to release a spell, but this time they sound harsher, more guttural than before. Smoke begins to pour out from his outstretched fingertips as his hands wave in jerky movements. His invocations grow louder and his head seems to smoulder, and his eyeballs lose all of their normal color to be replaced with a bright orange glow. For the briefest of moments, to GRAIAN and ATACIUS eyes, TOBIAS's face seems to be replaced with that of another, someone that is familiar to them…
Madjida, her hands just about to begin a somatic twist of spell casting, stops and stares in disbelief at TOBIAS.
"No... no... oh, Master, why?" she whispers and throws her hands up in supplication. The other cultists falter in their casting of spells or movement and all look in shock at TOBIAS.
The young man’s words grow to a yell, and then a scream as his arms suddenly thrust forward and each of his hands release a stream of fire, while simultaneously every hair on his head seems to erupt in flame and instantly burn away. The streams rush past Madjida and the other cultists, getting closer and closer to each other until, just behind the wedge of 14 robed men and women, they come together. There is a deafening explosion as a ball of flame erupts from that point, instantly engulfing all of the cultists in scorching red-hot fire!
TAKASHI's horse rears back in panic, neighing in complete fear!
CALLIN and ATACIUS, just starting to leap into action next to TOBIAS, feel a sudden burst of intense heat in front of them, as if they had put their faces too close to a fireplace. ATACIUS can feel his hair on his face, hands and feet start to sizzle, and CALLIN's metal armor is suddenly very uncomfortable!
The fireball detonates with a loud "THWOOOOOM!" and consumes the shrieking cultists! Those closest to the center of the blast are consumed by flames, their figures turned into lifeless charred lumps. At the ends of the wedge closest and opposite to TAKASHI, the cultists fall shrieking and burning, their cries quickly silenced.
At the tip of the wedge closest to TOBIAS, Madjida and Zek fall over, crying in pain and anguish. Zek stops moving.
Those still standing, their ears are ringing from the fireball. TOBIAS stands, swaying for a moment. His features have returned to normal.
CALLIN and ATACIUS hear him whisper "I'm not a little boy..." and his face screws up. He sinks to his knees and presses his head into the ground, clutching at the grass with his hands as he sobs, "No... no..."
Madjida chokes and wheezes out a final "... w... hy....." and her last breath rattles as she dies.
END OF COMBAT
CALLIN ignoring the discomfort in his armor rushes to TOBIAS' side. "By the Light TOBAIS are you ok? That was the most power I have seen you summon before."
GRAIAN rushes to Tobias, a concerned look on his face, "Tobias, are you OK, when and how did you learn to do that? Spells like that are not for the inexperienced." Turning to Atacius he looks at him questioningly "Did you see his face?"
ATACIUS gasps in ashtonishment, frozen in place by the shock of what he have just witnessed. His ears still ringing by the blast of fire, GRAIAN's voice comes like a distant echo that draws the littleling's attention to him. "WHAT!? DID YOU SEE HIS FACE!?" Realizing he's yelling he pops his ears. "I don't know what I saw, but it wasn't TOBIAS."
TAKASHI, after calming his mount and regaining control, looks upon the devastation let loose by TOBIAS, then looks at the young man himself.
TAKASHI: "TOBIAS, I think we need to talk about what just happened here. Not right now, but soon."
The young man remains down for some time, sobbing, but eventually recovers enough to raise his head and speak: "I shouldn't... shouldn't have been able to... It was Him! He's my... I'm related to him, Takashi! This power, it's in my blood..." He raises his arms and stares at his hands.
CALLIN: "With great power comes great responsibility. You know now that you have the power, now you must decide how and when to use it. " CALLIN looks at the carnage "Is everyone else OK? My armor feels like a forge!"
TOBIAS stands, looking up to really see the devastation for the first time, his jaw dropping at the gruesome scene as smoke still rises up from it. He tenderly touches his now-bald head and winces.
CALLIN waits for TOBIAS to take in what has happened. "TOBIAS....... TOBIAS. Say something"
The young man stares at the carnage for a few moments longer, then shakes his head and looks down at the ground around his feet. "TOBIAS is gone, CALLIN. I can't be him anymore. He knows that name... he knows where I live, and... he'll keep coming. I have to go away from here, far away..."
TAKASHI: "How many more people are we talking about, TOBIAS? How do you know this? Either way, know that you aren't alone here. You have made a home in Appleton, and I don't think it would be good to abandon it."
CALLIN: "TAKASHI is right. Besides TOBIAS...that is your name, that is the man you are. He can't change that. It sounds like him is just another form of Darkness we must shed some LIGHT upon. Put your Faith in the Light, let it shine upon you TOBIAS, don't fear the darkness, stand against it. And know that we will be standing at your side."
The young man shows signs of what might be the beginning of a smile, the first since the incident, at TAKASHI and CALLIN's kind words, but then his face grows serious again. "I'm glad... very glad, to have you as friends. But I know what I know because he's been in my head before, like he was just now today, and even if I could keep him out, he knows the name 'Tobias'. Names have power, magical power - GRAIAN can back me up on that - and I think that's why we still don't know the true name of "Him".
"He also knows that I live around the Athenum, maybe even that I'm in Appleton. He might send more mages, or... things... You saw what I did just to stop them from hurting you... what do you think might happen if he tries to hurt the village? I made a promise... to Claudia... to not hurt anyone in Appleton. I have to get away to make sure that can never happen..."
"I need a new name, and I need to go..." His worried look turns to one of hope as he turns and looks up at GRAIAN. He says, "Graian, you were planning on going to Ramathia, right? Will you take me with you?" @Chris
CALLIN: "If you choose to leave, then who will protect Appleton? Sir Flinigan left that responsibility to you. It is not one that should be taken lightly"
"I'm not. I think going away is the best thing I can do to protect the village from Him... and from me."
GRAIAN looks at each of his friends in turn, then returns to Tobias. "Yes there is power in a name, only you can decide what you are going to do, but know we are here together. There is much troubling you and there have been times when you have acted a little strangely, I think we all out it down to your young age. You must tell us everything, power is not just in a name, power is also found in trust and companions. We have been through a lot together, while leaving Appleton may be better for the village you cannot go alone. I am planning on joining the exploration of Ramathia and you are more than welcome to join me, I will make sure my Elven brethren do not object. However, running away does not solve anything unless it is to give yourself time to to plan. Again, tell us what you know and feel, together we can defeat Him.
"D-defeat Him? I guess so... maybe someday, if we have to... but we need that time, away from here. I can tell you what I know, that the dreams started after I put that book under my mattress... you know, one of the strange ones from the Athenum? I think he gets power from them somehow, or speaks from them or something... I think if we want to ever defeat him, we're gonna have to destroy..." he frowns and trails off, not able to bring himself to say it.
TAKASHI perks up at TOBIAS' utterance of the word "destroy". He knows how to destroy.
TAKASHI: "If these books are keeping him alive, perhaps it would be best to destroy them, and any trace of him that still might reside in those pages. I can help with this task."
The young man winces at hearing it said out loud, but nods reluctantly.
GRAIAN notices the pain this is causing Tobias, "Tobias, the longer this is left the stronger the hold He will have over you and Appleton will facve greater danger. If He gets becomes stronger inside you there is no knowing what mmay happen. Takashi, I fear the destruction will take more than a few of your mighty stikes, we will need help. Callin, I think even your Light alone amay not be strong enough, we should seek help from the Temple."
"Don't use that name, Graian. What's the elfish word for 'friend'... bellon? Call me 'Bellesh' for now, it's close enough. I don't know if the Temple will have the answers about how to take care of the books or get 'Him' out of my head, but we should find out... The sooner we can take care of those books, the sooner we can get out and head for Ramathia."
ATACIUS has been strangely quiet listening to his friends. He coughs. "TOB-BELLESH, my friend, I understand your urge to leave and go as far as possible, driving away the danger from Appleton. I really do, but I don't think it will solve the problem. In fact, my guess is it'll make it worse. Once you're gone everyone will start asking 'Where's T?', 'Why did T leave?', 'When will T come back?', and how do you know that their mention of your true name won't call 'Him' to Appleton, huh? Because, do you really think Claudia will think of you as Bellesh?" he asks. You probably never saw him speak so seriously. "I'd leave for Ramathia now if GRAIAN asks me, but I know he won't, knowing we'd be leaving behind these people helpless, without guidance or protection. Because the Orcs will come, oh they will, and I rather be here than far away when it happens. And if 'He' comes, I rather be here too. With you, all of you." He eyes glitters. "That people may not be my kin, but that place is the closest thing to a home for me now. And you may not be my kin, but you're the closest thing to a family to me. And I'm ready to fight for both of them."
BELLESH looks at ATACIUS for a long moment, touched and surprised by his solemn tone. Finally, he nods sadly. "I know you are. I wish I could stay, Appleton is the only good home what I've had, too. Maybe when I've had a chance to learn more, to get Him out of my head, or beat him, like GRAIAN said... but all I know is I can't be here now. Think about it - if I'm here, he can threaten the village to make me do what he wants... to make me... be... what he wants. If I'm too far away to change things, he would have no reason to come here at all. Also, maybe when I've learned more maybe I can come back and be a better protector for the village. I've done just great so far... the village's leader is dead, some of the villagers are dead from orcs, with maybe more on the way, half the village hates me, and Claudia already thinks I'm a monster..." His voice cracks a bit at that last, and you notice his eyes are watering with unshed tears. He composes himself a bit and finishes, "Anyway, I've got to go."
TAKASHI: "Let's get going towards Skalfier, then. We can talk with those at the temple who might best be able to help all of us get rid of this book, BELLESH. A new name and a new start - let's make it a good one!"
CALLIN "Indeed we can speak with Maria about the subject. I trust if anyone would know how to remove something evil from inside you, she would be the best place to start." CALLIN pauses for a moment and then looks at TOBIAS/BELLESH "Where is this book that allowed HIM in your head? We might need it to remove whatever curse has befallin you my friend." CALLIN pays very close attention to how BELLESH responds to the request.
BELLESH: "I locked it in the room where I put all the other books from the Athenum after the dreams started, although it... came back, once. I have all the stranger books from Athenum in there seperated from the others."
ATACIUS: "To Skalfier it is then...." /*sigh*/ "What are you going to do with those books? Leave it locked in Appleton? Destroy them? Take them with you to Ramathia? I say we make a huge pyre and toss them there. They're no good and have caused enough damage."
BELLESH winces again. "I guess we have to, but I wish there was another way..."
CALLIN: "That sounds good to me as well ATACIUS, but perhaps High Currate Maria will have a better idea to ensure they are truely destroyed"