Pantheon - Mortal: In Search of Gods

Rain still bothered and humbled Greymalkin, even after all of these years.

Grey had been raised in the desert. He could still remember vague, fuzzy images of running along the hot rocky outcroppings at the edge of the desert with his family and friends, before the Naga raiders had come. He was used to the heat, to the dry. He was used to the harshness of incivility, the coarse roughness of sand and hard life.

Rain, green, roads, cities, mountains. Even after all of these years, it still left him feeling uneasy. He had gotten used to cities and the near-endless number of trees. Mountains, he felt he could never abide. But the rain? Every time it rained, he couldn't help but feel humbled by the gods, and be reminded by his goddess. The rain was not her weeping out of sadness, but of divine righteousness.

The note Grey had found, he was sure had been meant for him. He had only recently arrived in the highly urbanized, highly civilized Dosgear. That morning, to be exact. He was hidden underneath his heavy maroon cloak, his rough, handsome features hidden beneath flowing waves of black hair that clung to his face. His beard was thick, but close; he had gone without shaving for only a few days. He had meant to shave sometime today, after finding an inn of some kind to rest in. He was tired, sorely tired, but he felt his mission drive him.

Finding this note was part of his mission, he knew. In a moment of stillness, the rain stopping and the wind picking up, he saw the wet paper flap by him quickly. It struck past his face as quick as lightning, but his reflexes were superb, and he caught it in the air. He had torn it some in his quick, tight grasp, but it was still legible.

It told him to go to the Tower. The Glorious Tower. Looking up, he could see the lone spire at the center of the city, and he knew that was his destination.

There was already a small gathering of people being addressed by a man in ornate green and gold robes. There were all sorts there; a kobold, an orc, a dragonkind and minotaur. What kind of gathering is this, Grey could not help but wonder.

More showed up, and they all flowed into the Tower doors. Grey, who had been hiding in plain sight at the farthest reaching of the open court yard, darted forward, slipping past the doors only a heartbeat before they shut. The edge of his frayed cloak was stuck in the door and, with an irritated grunt, he ripped it away.

He followed the gathering down the hall as far in the back as he could, pausing only to bow deeply to the statue in honour of his goddess, Celia Veira. Thick dust shrouded her beautiful facial features, but the sword she held up still seemed to shine. He touched his forehead, his lips, then settled his hand open-palmed above his heart and chest.

Grey followed the procession further into the Tower and, stepping into a rather large common room, Grey knew he would no longer be able to completely hide his presence, if he had at all. He stepped to the side, keeping his back to the wall, and edged his way around the gathering of living beings. He eyed the dragon curiously, knowing that it had probably known he had been following them. He thought the same of the minotaur.

But he hadn't been the only one to silently sneak upon the group.

"Interesting trick," he said in a deep, melodious voice. "Looks real, and smells good."
She heard the Half Orc enter the building, as well as a human. Everyone else was already migrating to the dining area, so she deciding to continue forward and greet the new arrivals when she saw them. It was dark and all she could hear were voices... There was something comforting about the dark. No one could see her face and it gave her the advantage of stalking through the shadows so she could strike.

The pleasantness didn't last for long, though. Before she could take another step, she jumped backwards as lights were magically turned on and dust went swirling away. Magic... Certainly not for evil purposes, but it still frightened her. The Orc took some steps backward, her heart thumping terribly fast while she watched plates and food appear out of nowhere.

Mina suddenly felt like she wanted to leave. The scent of food was so inviting, though. It had been weeks since she had a hot meal... Her fears began to melt away the more she thought about that, her cheeks feeling warm due to embarrassment. If she didn't stop herself soon enough, she'd of backed into the male human leaning against the wall.

Within her cloak, her hands had clasped together while she walked back towards the table, feeling wary about anymore magic this man would pull from his sleeve. She spotted an empty chair with no one sitting at either side, deciding she'd take advantage of this. One of her feet pulled it towards her so she could seat herself, a bit of envy in her mind because the Halfling even got special treatment from the Kobold.

'I guess I'm not really a lady, anyway.' She thought to herself. Orcs were monsters... Not her, though. That's not what she believed.

While smiling meekly, she looked up from her plate and nodded to the others at the table. Her joined hands appeared from her cloak and were held at her stitched forehead, her eyes closing when her elbows met with the table. She made a brief prayer to Sahm, her thoughts instantly going at ease. Just thinking about her God helped lift weight from her shoulders while her brain projected thoughts of a paradise.

When she was finished, she smiled again and set her hands into her lap.
Arc was reluctant to leave the feet of Slassarath, not now that he had just discovered the statue larger than even himself, something to truly display the glory of these gods and goddesses. The scent of food wafting from the table was enticing, but Arc truly only pulled himself away from ritualistic and time-consuming worship so that he could ask questions of this mysterious man who had summoned them here.

Arc eyed the small chairs with a look of bemusement until the vizier, with a faint smile, motioned to a long wooden bench. Bowing his head again, Arc settled himself on the bench, luminescent eyes glowing with curiosity and a little resentment. He had not assumed that others would be summoned and while that detail in and of itself did not perturb him, it was the fact that he stood out so starkly. Each time a newcomer approached, you could see them shooting him suspicious glances. He knew, he reasoned, that they had probably never before seen one of his highly reclusive kin; it was common knowledge that the dragons were proud and disciplined, keeping mostly to themselves for higher enlightenment and training. Still, it was unsettling to say the least to be picked from this small crowd, chosen to be analyzed to gauge whether or not he was a threat.

After a moment of contemplation, Arc chose to question the vizier as he had planned, setting aside propriety perhaps, as well as the wish of privacy. "I recognize many of your statues, the faces are the familiar visages of Celia, Slassarath, Mammon... the patrons of the races, but who are the others?"
"Of course." Richter states - with a flick of his wrist, the chair under Dawn quivered, it's legs lengthening and small spoke growing out to allow her eventual exit, as well as the comfortable seating. He does the same for the one that Yipwoof eventually scrambled into. He glances an apologetic eye towards Mina, before turning to glance at Arc. "Astute," he states, turning to create illusory holy symbols as he names the deities and their roles related to them...

"Brynjar, the Warrior god... Verusvictum, the god of Conquest... Mabushii, god of Balance... Mammon, god of Wealth... Azilon, the Elven deity... Sophie, the goddess of Serenity... Tharn, the god of Death... Sahm, the god of Dreams... Marie, the goddess of Artiface... Soliel, the goddess of the Sun... Con Brio, the god of Music... Frustor, the god of Trickery... Slassarath, the dualistic deity of Fire and Wind... Celia, the goddess of Justice... Ghraun, the god of the Earth, and..." He grasps at his amulet, "...Kokoro, the goddess of Love."

He indicates the floating holy symbols, "These Sixteen gods and goddesses helped to form the very world we live in - our society." His eyes sadden, "...but they are gone to us. No call is answered to these deities, no prayer heeded... only recently did those statues appear, already covered in dust." Richter reaches forward, pouring himself a glass of wine and taking a drink of it, wincing, "Bad year."

Shrugging and putting down the wine, he continues, standing, "The Atheists are misinformed, but mostly harmless. It is the Gods on Terra we must fear... which brings us to why I called you all here." Bracing himself, he speaks out, "...I wish for you, the faithful, to commit a blasphemous act... You will travel where no mortal has tread... I need you to go to the God's Mountain... and look for the gods there."


Yipwoof, who had been eating while he was listening, suddenly stops - he seems polite enough to swallow his food before his jaw drops. "Bark bark yip grr grr yip!" He shivers a bit, before whispering, "...(whine, whine)." Biting his lower lip, he looks about the room to the gathered individuals... before nodding. He stands up, putting his foot on the table and posing, "Grr yap! Bark bark!" With a nod, and a smug smile, he crosses his arms over his chest.


The Vizier looks upon this reaction in dismay. "...I'm... sorry, what?"
Valkiar had remained standing at the tableside, a habit of old rather than a preference, the Ogre took a large sized goblet, filling it with fortified wine as the Vizier spoke, lifting it to his lips and draining it in a single motion, the Ogre made to leave
"To the Gods mountain. I go now, all who wish to follow do so" he rumbled as he fumbled with the small door handle, looking back for help when he could not manage the task
"the handle is small. too small. i cannot grasp it" he said in a tone that asked for assistance.
Sliding down the rope was an easy achievement, unfortunately it would have to stay hanging on the wall behind the statue. The door closed as the party entered and the gnome edged along the wall to listen at the door. Fox ear swiveling to the crack. He held his breath listening to the vizier's request. He almost burst out into a cackling laugh. To scale the mountain was not only forbidden, it was impossible. Granted gnomes were not the best mountaineers but it was been untouched for millennia for a reason. This Richer was playing a game, seeing if the believers would desecrate one of the few places left sacred, and more than likely die in the attempt.

Gripping his stomach and leaning against the door he is silent laughter he listened to the kobald's reply almost missing the heavy footprints approaching and had to scramble away from the door silently applauding Richer who at his heart seemed to share a spark of the trickster god.
Grey grunted at the mention of mountains. Even after all of these years, mountains still bore a challenge to him. He lived too much of his life on the dunes of the desert, moving on to the tundra and the temperate forests, but mountains awed him to a point of fear. He faced his fear every time he had to, but it was still a tight, cold and immediate feeling.

He felt also, a lot of this fear had to do with the fact he only had one arm.

He felt his right hand moving over the stump of his shoulder underneath his heavy maroon cloak. No one in the room could have guessed he was missing an arm, unless they were terribly adept at looking at human physiology hidden underneath thick folds of fabric. He had even fashioned a false shoulder pad underneath the cloak, to give the look of having a balanced torso. He knew, however, that any trained warrior would note the unbalance of his step. He'd worked years at trying to fix that.

Greymalkin shook his head inwardly, and brought his mind back to the presence. The kobold was yipping and barking to the man known as the Vizier, and Grey tilted his head and quirked an eyebrow as he attempted to translate. He had known some kobolds in his life time, and even tried to learn their language. He was far from fluent, but he felt he had a fair grasp.

"He says you're out of your damn mind," Grey said in a deep, strong voice. He strode forward, making himself fully known among the conglomeration of beings. "But, with a lot like this at his back, he doesn't mind defying the Gods to come say hello."

He looked around, studying the facial expression of everyone around him to the best of his ability. "I was brought here for some purpose, that I am certain. I know I will not blaspheme my goddess; perhaps she needs me to seek her out? Whatever the case, I shall scale this mountain not for you, or any of you," he turned, "Or any of the people of this world. I do it for Celia Veira, and the mission she has given me."
Dawn giggled as the chair beneath her twisted and formed to better accommodate her and Yipwoof. She quickly set to eating her food, she wasn't as vulgar about it and used the utensils, incorrectly of course, making the spoon and fork's opposite ends into crude chopsticks. She listened to the vizier but nearly choked as he suggested going to god's mountain.

She set down the utensils with a loud clatter and slammed her hands down. "I apologize for my harsh words but are you insane? The gods had kept themselves free from us for a reason! If you intend to go to the most holy of places and expect for them to not have old magics protecting it or if even stepping into their holy chambers wouldn't kill us upon very entrance, I wish nothing more then to find my goddess Soleil, but surely it is foolish to tempt fate...I will travel with you to the mountain but I will not enter where they once stood." She crossed her arms and frowned, looking to the others to judge their reactions.
As the others argued and talked rather than rising to save their gods, Valkiar felt his stomach begin to boil, a vicious rage beginning to take hold, blistering and burning his insides with the force of his own impatience
"We go, NOW!" the ogre bellowed, his voice rising until the very walls trembled, and those of good sight could see the two tears that ran down the ogres cheeks, for he did not like to unleash his temper, and his fear of what had happened to Tharn grew with every moment of inaction.

"Gods need us. world need us. only cowards refuse Gods and World. Follow now or let Gods die by your laziness" the Ogre rumbled, turning and fumbling with the door handle once more
"why wont handle turn!?" he growled at the door handle.
Mina was silent during most of the chatter, her hands coyly wrapping around her hood to pull it back over her head. Now that her face was hidden, she made a grim smile and finished the last of her meal. Arguing was not a pleasant activity for her... Something she learned from Sahm's wisdom was that you must always stay at peace. You must travel where your heart and your dreams guide you! Right now, her God needed her, and she felt that her heart was in the right place for this.

Her weary eyes traveled to the ogre that was attempting to open the door, wanting to do this mission with haste. Seeing him ignored was slightly upsetting, especially when she saw those tears. She rose from her chair, causing it to scoot back. With that usual skip in her step, she headed to the brute and slowed her pace as she got closer. Mina's always been fond of ogres because she could feel a connection to them... Monsters that people misjudged and seldom befriended.

She fearlessly put her bony fingers over his hand that was fighting with the doorknob and looked up to him, her hood bunching up at the center of her skull. The orc displayed an understanding smile and began to speak, "I agree with you fully, dear friend. Let us think things through before going head first into this mission, alright?"

There was evident sorrow in her eyes when she finished speaking, compassion swelling in her chest as she watched Valkiar. Hopefully he'd calm down and perhaps sit down with her... At least then, she was certain of gaining a friend amongst this crowd. She dearly worried for Sahm, but was going to stay true to the care free teachings he had given her.
Richter clears his throat, calmly addressing them, "...and is why I do not like to jump straight to the heart of the manner. If you will please return and take your seats, Sir and Madam, I will be glad to continue this conversation. There is more here than simply that." Whether or not they return to their seats, he continues, "...There is a reason I chose this location, and the secrecy, than meeting elsewhere. The Duke has not been showing of late, as I'm sure you've noticed."

"...This is because the Duke is dead. The man serving as Duke is an impostor... One of the Gods on Terra, who seems to have gained the ability to shapeshift, stealing the Duke's identity and voice." Nodding slowly, he continues, "...Only I have been able to tell the difference. The Duke and I were..." He fidgets with a ring on his left hand, "...close."

Quiet for a moment, he nods, "This God on Terra exhibits powers and magic that are... unidentifiable. No divination, no detect spell can even 'see' the magic he uses. He weaves no spells, speaks no words... simply wills his magic to be done. Truly, like a god." Richter shakes his head, sighing shakily, "There is no doubt in my mind that these are connected somehow to the disappearance of the gods. Which is why, with my riches, I have secured several items of note... to aid you along your way."

He rises from the table, turning and vanishing into a hallway. "In here, when you are ready."

Arc watched passively, but after observing the events, he bowed his head solemnly. "I will follow. I would follow the path as a pilgrimage to find the true spirit of Slassarath and better live my life as was intended. Therefore, you have my support. With fear in our hearts, we will not serve any means to the gods. Fear and respect are closely related, but fear is less pure. We must respect the immutable power of our gods without allowing ourselves to be too afraid to serve properly."

His speech finished, he devoured a hunk of meat in a flash. He stood augustly, ensuring his wings were folded behind him. "Ogre, come with me. I will open doors for you in our search, I am sure of it. I can feel it" he closed his eyes, a tempting smile on his face as he padded into the hallway after Richter.

"This impostor, will he not seek to stop us in our mission?" he challenged Richter amiably, watching him with keen interest as he neared Richter's position.
The Orcs actions visibly calmed the Ogre and he bowed his head as he followed her back to the table.
As Richter spoke, Valkiar again grew distressed, particularly at the mention of the dukes death
"Before his time. untimely taken, a crime, crime against Tharn and all who serve, a crime against friend and family and crime against death itself" he muttered as Richter rose, and the Ogre did too, though he seemed to wait for Mina, clearly enthused to have someone who at least seemed to understand the severity of what was to come.
Irelia sighed noiselessly as she closely followed the dragon into the hallway, still unseen. Utilizing the abilities the goddess Sophie had blessed her race with, she had refracted the light around her to make herself seem invisible, though if one looked extremely closely, they would see a slight warping of the air. However, thankfully, no one had noticed her yet, or at least, shouted out in alarm. She was sure that the vizier suspected her there, though, at the mention of the detect spell. He seemed to have great experience in the matters of magic, immense knowledge, and she wouldn't put it past him to have installed some sort of detection field around him even before meeting the group.

The group was an interesting one; a noble dragon, a wary she-orc, a playful kobold, a zealous ogre, a battle-hardened human, a skeptic halfling, a sneaky gnome, an a caring minotaur. This city was a melting pot and this group was no less of one, it seemed, maybe moreso, as Irelia contemplated what she had seen earlier. The city was full of almost all the races in existence, though humans seemed to dominate the majority of the populace, according to her sight. She had flown in half a day ago from her home village on the coast, a full night and day's flight away.

The village Head-Mother had tried hard to dissuade her from leaving; after all, in these hard times, the village needed to band together. However, Irelia refused to cave in, so the Head-Mother had reluctantly allowed her to leave. Though she knew Irelia's vow never to fight, the Head-Mother forced Irelia to take a dagger as she left the village at twilight, the best time for her race to travel long distances. Irelia promptly stopped at the first homestead she saw after leaving eyesight of her village and traded her dagger for a cooking knife.

The night-and-day-long journey was an uneventful one, mostly consisting of gliding on the updrafts and soaring across vast, empty stretches of land. She only encountered one other living soul after trading her dagger until she came within viewing distance of the city, and that was because she stopped at a farm on the way to barter for victuals at breakfast time. She passed the long hours by playing Hokoino, a simple child's game that she had always enjoyed which involved creating a ball of light affected by gravity and keeping it in the air as she flew.

Upon reaching Dosgear, Irelia was stunned by the immensity of it; the sheer size blew her away, much less the amount of people it carried. Large buildings belched copious amounts of people; the market was a flurry of colour and sounds, as harkers called out their wares and money flashed as it exchanged hands. Mammon's hand was evident in the market, she noted. After a minute of hovering and watching, she decided she didn't like the city much and wanted the visit to be over already; Sophie of serenity was nowhere to be seen in the city. Not even in the upper class areas of the city could true peace be found, as the rumble of voices could still be heard a mile high in the sky.

Gliding down in wide, lazy circles, Irelia slowly made her way down near what looked to be some sort of commons, as many people seemed to be just sitting there. As she alighted upon a tall brazen lamppost, she looked around at her surroundings: a muddy and dirty place, this seemed to be where the poorest of the poor congregated together, rather than the city commons. Since none of the people here took notice of her, she took flight again, looking for the commons to ask of the whereabouts of the tall tower she was supposed to meet this "Vizier" at.

She found another wider area with many people in armour walking around in tightly nit, organized boxes. She landed on the walls and watched, mesmerized by the perfectly coordinated movements of these warriors. She watched the men move about in seemingly random directions, always at perfectly perpendicular angles, before one of them yelled out at the sight of her. She called out peace to them and asked for directions to the tower, only to find swords pointed at her. The man in charge, seemingly a head-father, barked at her to come down. She did so, stating that she only wanted to find the Glorious Tower and if they told her the location, she would be on her way. The head-father told her to find a "gleaming mirrored spire" and ordered her away. She complied, not wanting to stay in his presence any longer.

Irelia found the Glorious Tower with little trouble after that. She soared lazily down again and, spotting a mixed group of people, cloaked herself and landed a little ways away from them to prevent them from hearing her wings. She walked close enough to hear a female voice speak.

Irelia turned in surprise when the one who had sent the letter revealed himself; she had not noticed him there as she landed. When the Vizier let the group in, she slunk into the tower before the dragon, as he delayed momentarily. She shook herself off just before walking in, then followed behind the minotaur so that the water her wings and clothes let run would not give her away inside. She noticed as a figure hopped inside from a window, as her race took note of things above and below eye level, unlike most of the grounded races.

Though the other two who had snuck in revealed themselves and joined the others to eat, Irelia merely moved over to a wall, now that her waterproof clothes and wings had rid themselves of all their water, and watched the proceedings, content to remain a watcher for now. When the Vizier told them his reason for calling them, she wasn't that surprised; her race, of all the races, had been affected by the evil tidings of the false gods and atheists, which meant that the situation was indeed very grim. She knew that the gods and goddesses needed to return peace to the lands, but didn't think that she would be called herself to go search for them. She thought she would just relay some sort of message back to her race.

What the Vizier said next, after peace had returned to the group again, was what shocked her. The nature of the false gods were a contradiction to all of Sophie's teachings. She could feel in her bones that this being must be stopped, but how this would happen was a mystery to all but the deities. Surely it was impossible for all but them. It seemed like the only choices that the Vizier handed them were death by the false gods or a sliver of a chance at life in search of the true gods and goddesses. Irelia decided to bet on the sliver.

Irelia sighed noiselessly as she closely followed the dragon into the hallway, still unseen.
"If he is a god, then he knows what we intend to do. Why doesn't he strike us down where we are, now? Bring the tower crashing down around us?" Grey said as he stepped up silently from behind the imposing figures of the others. He felt somewhat out of place, suddenly-- humans were traditionally the most wide spread and often-seen of the races of the land, but in this room, funny enough, he felt like the minority among all of these fantastic beings.

The hair on the back of his neck stood up as he felt something odd about the room, as if someone had stepped up behind him and brushed past. He couldn't help but feel there was, yet again, a silent, stealthy member among them. Perhaps he shouldn't have made his presence known to the others the way he had-- Celia Veira, if she was still watching, probably decided this was his just desserts for being so cheeky for someone who was to bring him his mission Her behalf.

"So, these trinkets," Grey went on, letting his statement from earlier hang in the air. Perhaps his concern would be addressed; personally, he did not care. He intended to seek out his Goddess despite. "What are they, and how shall they help us?"
Zeb'yulon, his comparatively small half-orc form seated a bit preposterously between the hulking ogre and the equally massive dragon in attendance, took a few bites of the conjured victuals that appeared before him, but otherwise sat still and silent as a rock. He watched the events unfold around him impassively and listened with a trained ear. The Vizier spoke of an impossible journey, an odyssey to the sacred mountain, of trespassing on holy ground, scaling impassable cliffs, of regicide and magicide, of impostor gods that walked the earth... It was all too sudden, too rash, too unbelievable. Sophie, in her infinite wisdom, taught her followers not to blindly follow any being, god or mortal. Rather, she emphasized the value of skepticism in the face of new information, of evaluation and erudition before action.

Zeb stood up, addressing himself to the Vizier, the first words he spoke that day. "Vizier, your excellence, my colleagues ask valuable questions. I would add a few more, if I may. You tell us that by traveling to the holy mountain, we can restore the reign of our gods, and end the dark age: yet you offer no explanation of why the gods, much more powerful than us, cannot help themselves. You imply that the Duke has been replaced by an impostor with godly powers... yet you offer no proof. These trinkets, how are we to know they are not cursed? We have known treachery, backstabbing and all manner of roguery in our time... With all due respect, your excellence, how are we to know that you are not the impostor?"

With a shudder, Zeb clutched his medical bag tightly, standing with his legs anchored to the ground. He fought with all his might to will away the fear, the quivering sensation that sought to take over his body. He must be strong, steadfast, and demand truth, he told himself.
She smiled to the Ogre as he stood up to follow Vizier, rising as well to walk beside him. Mina could already feel a companionship developing between the two of them, an evident happiness on her face as well. It seemed like all of them should have at least introduced themselves before getting so deep into the reasons why they were here. There wasn't time for this now, though, but she did murmur her name to the Ogre so he'd keep it in mind for the future.

All the questions for this magical stranger sounded over whelming, though she was interested to learn the answers. She saw no reason to interrogate. Not only was it out of the ordinary for her, she just wanted to get out of here. This place brought sadness to her heart, not to mention all the magic she was unfamiliar with made her uncomfortable.

She timidly followed others into this hallway, staying alert. The possibility of this man being an imposter made her nervous... What if he was an Elf in disguise, or if he allied with them? She was unable to sense such a dark intention because, after all, she was just an Orc.

Another Orc showed himself; a Half-Orc to be precise. A sudden calmness swept over her when she heard him speak... It had been a long time since she saw another of her own. She could often get by as a half breed herself since she was so attractive, but this fellow was a lot more flawless than she was. Mina's arms crossed under her cloak, her arrows shuffling in her quiver as she rolled her shoulders back and stared at these artifacts.
Dawn frowned at some of the others, they acted in haste, which was typically a bad idea. One doesn't chase a fish down but let it come to the hook...why these people will scare away the truth as if it were a fish in a quiet stream and them splashing around with heavy boots... She continued to frown, looking towards the Ogre and the Half-Orc, the former shedding bitter tears. She looked to the kobold, still standing with a proud gaze or at least that's how it looked to her.

As the other half-orc, the one with the bag spoke she nodded in agreement, he brought up many valid points and she couldn't help but agree. With a quick step she hopped onto the table, walking between the plates and glasses, careful not to spill anything to reach the one she agree'd with and leaned in to speak with him in private, still perched on the table between his plate and the edge. "There is something I distrust with him, and I see you feel the same...let us keep watch and take the trinkets last, should the others be tricked into something malevolent." She took a gaze to the vizier who was in the hall still. "Of course I wonder if the duke truly is the impostor, maybe it is the vizier here who is not who he says." She nodded, trying to catch Zeb's gaze before glancing at the others.

"Vizier! Surely this is a fool's gambit..." She leaned back as she jumped from the table and landing on the ground softly, glancing back at the rather large creatures assembled around her. She was intimidated by the others to say the least but none of them seemed as concerned, or if they did they hadn't voiced it yet.
The vizier looks over his shoulder at Grey, shaking his head. "I theorize... that the man pretending to be our beloved Duke does not have the power to throw lightning, or rip the ground under our feet asunder. The man, I believe, is emulating the powers of deception that the god Frustor would have... this is a horrible thing. A man in that position of power with the god's deceptive powers is a mighty force indeed..." He looks genuinely worried.

Continuing to walk, he addresses Zeb - "I don't even know if you can bring the gods back at the holy mountain - I am hoping, you of varied specialties can at least find some sort of clues to where they went. Surely you see the wisdom in not letting this become public, or send guards who could merely alert our impostor Duke?" He smiles gratefully, "You do seem to have the inquisitive skills to do so - and none of you trust me. That's good too. A cautious mind is a ready mind..."

"Though, it brings up the question - if I were the impostor, what use would I have to bring you all here? I am but a mage... there are enough of you here to easily overpower me." He gestures to a nearby door, before opening it. "I do believe, however, that these items will show my sincerity." Tossing open the doors, he gestures around the room of a variety of glass cases... all labeled.

These were not trinkets - these were artifacts. "Kokoro's Bow. The Drill of Ghraun. Frustor's Bag of Tricks... and others. While some are far too unwieldy to bring with you, I feel you are strong enough to take a few to aid you in your quest. I have acquired them from all over the world, and kept them safe..."


Yipwoof panics as he sees all of the Holy Relics together, though he quickly turns to one of fury. He dashes forward, pointing at the Drill, "Yip! Grrrrr! Bark-bark, bark bark bark! Grrrrbark!" Folding his arms over his chest, he shakes his head with a snarl, tail stiff and straight in distaste.


The Vizier sighs, "Yes... the Kobold artifact. Your people were unwilling to part with it, though after the fungus-forests of your home began to wither... they had to part with it to survive. The Tribes have evacuated their homes - originally held up by Ghraun - to safer places. They are as displaced as the Halflings." He walks over, placing a hand on Yipwoof's shoulder. "...I'm sorry."


Numbly, Yipwoof nods, before slowly turning and walking back into the corridor to think. A sniffling sound can be heard a moment later.
The door to the hall of statues reverberated with a soft knock. Though for a gnome it was an unnatural thing to announce your presence unless you were make a special effort to be polite, or at lease appear to be appearing polite. The time for lurking was over, he had come this far, and even a dragon would not attack a gnome in the company of so many other races. The door creaked open slowly and the fox-eared head peeked in along with a hand displaying the letter sent by their host. His eyes darted from one face tot he next and nervously he stepped out into full view wondering if it had been a good idea not to have simply sneaked out the window he had entered through. Tough the mention of an artifact linked to the patron god of his race, especially one whose existence was a closely guarded secret and regarded as a myth to the few who did know it was an opportunity he couldn't pass up.

"Gi... hi... Wizeer?" he struggled to pronounce the word as he edged further into the room a hand instinctively pulling his hood further down his face.