Mordecai: Mordecai's Foul Concoction (The Keep)wathed in dark robes, this alchemist gives off the distinct impression of great age and wisdom. He hunches over a foul-smelling concoction, the heat from the fire illuminating the lines of his face. He rises as you enter the dark stone room, drawing a hood over his head. The walls of this cold room are completely covered in shelves, boasting oddly labeled ingredients and jars. You stay by the door, a hand on the handle. The man in the middle of the room extends a hand to you in invitation, and hesitatingly you slide into the room.
"I," he gestures self-importantly, "am the renowned Alchemist Mordecai. Perhaps you have heard of me?" You shake your head, but he continues speaking as if you had nodded. "I am sure my reputation makes you curious as to why I have summoned you?" You nod, drawing near to the cauldron. The contents smell quite odd, and the color is a dark purple. You wonder what it's being made for. The alchemist sees you looking and smiles. "It is a difficult draft to brew, have no doubt. The ingredients needed are not... easy to obtain. This is where you enter into the equation." You look up. "What is it I can do for you?" you ask. A student would never impede in an elder's studies or refuse to offer aid. "Well," the alchemist says, stirring a ladle lazily in the potion, "this spell calls for, as I said, rare elements... specifically, four koi shells. I need you to deliver to me these components. In return, perhaps I can offer you something..." You nod in agreement, and follow him as he walks you to the door. "I thank you for your help in this matter," he says, opening the door for you. "I also advise you to speak to no one of this matter."
You return to the stony alchemist's rooms beneath The Keep, bag heavy with eggs. The old man, examining his cauldron, turns to you. "You do not have the required ingredients, I see," he says, looking into your side bag at the eggs you have gathered. "Do I need to remind you of your mission? Four koi eggs, delivered to me. Do not come back until you possess them."
You make your way back to the old magi's quarters, to find him still hovering over his potion. You advance, holding open your leather bag, in which nestle four koi eggs. Mordecai nods in satisfaction, and takes the egg from you. He cracks them one by one into the potion, which turns an even darker purple and begins to smoke slightly. You bite your lip in shock, thinking of the koi inside those eggs, unborn as of yet. Still, this is a master, and perhaps he has some reasons you do not understand. It would not do to question one so learned in magic. You watch as the potion begins to smoke even more, turning a sickly green. Mordecai curses and flips hurriedly through an old book, muttering to himself. Finally he turns to you. "Something, some error, has been made." A displeased look has come over his face, and the shadows from the room are unkind. "I now require two eggs of the Chimera and two of the Arkenian Kitsune. Will you bring these to me?" You nod in agreement, not daring to speak against a learned scholar.
Mordecai: Additional Ingredients (The Keep)Trudging down a long flight of stairs, you sigh. Entering the stuffy, odd smelling room, Mordecai rises. "Do you have them?" he inquires, and you open your bag. He scowls in displeasure and turns his back to you. "I told you I have need of four more eggs; two of the Arkenian Kitsune, and two of the Chimera. When you have them, return to me."
Finally having found the required ingredients, you return to the alchemist's chambers and present him with the eggs. He smiles at you and collects them, again cracking them one by one into the vat of potion. You look away, thinking of the animals within. The brew begins to smell, an awful smell that makes you want to hold your noise. Mordecai turns from the cauldron and goes to an ancient desk, hunting through parchments and bottles until he finds a small velvet bag. Presenting it to you, he says; "Within this bag is 600 gold. Do not return to this place, and speak to no one of our dealings." You leave hurriedly, the money lying heavy in your hand, but not as heavily as your worry.
Mordecai: A message from Thane (The Keep)You arrive at your room to find a scroll tied with the green ribbon of a High Mage. Opening it warily, you read thus: "Your presence is required immediately by Thane. Report to the Great Library at once." Trembling, you set the paper down and turn to leave your rooms once more, wondering what the Arch Mage wants with you.
Arriving at the library, bright and full of sun from the massive skylight, you see Thane standing at the fireplace, hair glinting under its glow. He turns and beckons you to him, his face somber. When you reach him, he turns to the map that hangs above the mantle, which shows all that is known of the lands magi have traveled. "Alchemist Mordecai has been brewing something," Thane begins, and you feel a lump form in the back of your throat. "This potion is dark and powerful, against our ways," Thane continues. "Mordecai has used it to poison one of my advisers and closest friends." You shake your head frantically - "I swear, I had no knowledge -" Thane cuts you short with a wave of his hand. "I know all this. I also know that in Silva Forest grows a rare herb, of great healing powers. If you decide to travel in search of this plant, it will redeem you in my eyes. Also," he says, a small smile lighting his somber face, "I will reward you for this deed, should you return victorious." He gestures to the ancient map, yellowing and full of archaic writing. "Here is the place to which you must travel," Thane says, meeting your gaze. "Will you take on this task?"
You knock on the scarred wood of the door to Thane's study, and it swings open, revealing Thane behind his desk. His face rests upon his hand, dark with worry. He rises as you enter, and with care he opens your bag. "You do not have the herb," he says, disappointed. "Come back when you have retrieved it."
You return to The Keep, weary and travel stained. Many days you have been gone, and the sight of home is a fond one. A swim in Lake Lakira, a cold drink at Remy's - but first you must complete your task. Without stopping to bathe and dress in fresh clothing, you continue straight to Thane's study. You knock on the scarred wood of the door, and it swings open, revealing Thane behind his desk. His face rests upon his hand, dark with worry. He rises as you enter, and with care you open your bag, taking out the herb. Wrapped in silk to protect it from the journey's hardships, you hand it to Thane, hoping you have arrived in time. The High Archmage lets out a deep sigh, a smile creasing his face. He looks up at you, and says, "I thank you. I feared the worst. Now," he said, turning from you, "I believe we should make our way to the hospital wing," and he hurried from the room with the herb, leaving you to follow after.
Lying unconscious in a bed is a man you recognize; Alchemist Castorz. He is the most skilled and practiced magi at brewing potions, able to create a draft in half the usual time. He is a great teacher, and you feel a pang of remorse at having helped injure him. You watch as Thane leans over him, dropping a single leaf into a brew. With only one sip, Castorz begins to revive, his pale skin turning healthy, eyes fluttering beneath lids. With another sip, the man returns to consciousness and is sitting up, blinking. Thane slumps back in his chair, catching your eye and smiling.
Castorz looks around and spots you, gray eyes full of warmth. "Is this the student that is responsible for my recovery?" he asks, voice full of approval. You nod, aware of your role in this man's illness. Struggling to rise, Castorz stands, pushing Thane away. "Come with me," Castorz says, beckoning. You follow him, amazed at his sudden recovery.
He leads you to his study, and then begins rifling through his things, displacing odd bits of parchment and essays, finally finding what he was looking for. "Such bravery deserves recognition," he says solemnly, presenting you with a bundle of cloth. "Not many your age would take on such a quest."
Smiling, you take the parcel, gently unwrapping the package, revealing an egg like none you have ever seen. A tiny green wing has unfolded from the egg, soft to the touch. You hold the egg gently against yourself and make your way upstairs, full of pride at being trusted with such a rare creature.