Foreign Scroll: The Foreign Scroll (The Keep)ent over your book, you didn't notice when someone came up to your table. You did notice, however, when a piece of scroll was laid over the page you were reading. It was old, almost crumbling, and showed its age. Script you could not read was written over it, in an unfamiliar language. Thoughtfully, you held it up to the light of the window, surprised at the sharp scent it gave off. “This is from Raza, isn't it?” you ask, raising your gaze. “I didn't know there were any people there.” The boy who interrupted your studies was much younger than you, his blue cloak marking him as a student specializing in water magic. “There aren't,” he replied, blue eyes bright with interest. “Where on earth did you find it?” you continue, wondering how a student so young came by this clearly valuable scrap. The boy shrugged; “Traded a sanus for it. I don't know the language, though. You're older than me. Do you?” Still examining the paper, you shake your head, intrigued. The boy sigh impatiently; “Will you help me figure out what it means? Or at least buy it off me? The other students say things like this are valuable.” “Oh, it is,” you agree, smoothing out a wrinkle. “What will you take for it?” The water mage gives his brown hair a quick ruffle, a thoughtful look coming over his face. “Well... how much is it worth to you? Will you give me a xand bear egg?”
“Hey, what is this?” the young water mage asks, confused. “You said you'd give me a xand bear egg in return for that weird scroll. Are you still going to?”
“Ah, thanks! I've been wanting a xand egg forever!” Gently, the younger student takes the egg from you, and you smile at the look on his face. “Well, now you have one,” you reply, taking the scrap of scroll from him. “I should have fun translating this.”
Foreign Scroll: Encounter in the Library (The Keep)Deciding that the library is the best place to translate this piece of parchment, you quickly make your way there. The place is nearly empty at this time of the day, and the glass ceiling gives a breathtaking view of the emerging stars. You light a nearby candle to fight off the encroaching darkness and settle down at a table to work. Quickly becoming absorbed in your translation, you become frustrated that you can't seem to find any information on this strange writing. It is unheard of for an entire language to go undocumented in The Keep's library. This library is one of the best known, rivaling even those of Synara with its extensive selection. The fact that you can't find even a mere mention of this language is bizarre.
“Excuse me,” says a student, the second one of the day to interrupt you. Looking up from the dusty tome you're bent over, you see a magi from your year. “Nimor,” you say by way of greeting. “What are you working on?” she asks, sweeping back her long, dark hair. You sigh and offer her the scrap of paper. “This ridiculous piece of scroll. I can't find any translations for it.” Pulling up a chair, Nimor settles next to you and wrinkles her nose as she scrutinizes the scrap of paper. “Do you have any clues to its origin?” she asks. “It's supposedly from Raza,” you say, shrugging with exasperation. "Oh, this looks like n..." she says, stopping herself and looking at you with a mischievous smile. "Looks like what?" you ask, leaning forward. “Oh, I don't know, just something my father was studying before he died. You wouldn't be interested." With a groan, you reach for your satchel. “Can I make you think otherwise?” Fiddling with one of your feather pens, she gives you a jackal grin. “Perhaps.” You draw out a handful of large coins gold. “5,000 gold sound good enough?” Leaning back casually, Nimor produces a fake yawn. "Doesn't look like five thousand gold to me," she replies. "It isn't," you say, digging through your things, "It was just on top of my checkbook."
Nimor scowls at you, showing you her most withering expression. “Didn't you promise me 5,000 gold? Come back when you have it, and then I'll help you. A deal's a deal.”
“Ah, excellent,” Nimor says. “Just what we agreed upon. Now I can get that alagos I've had my eyes on. Hand that bit of scroll to me, I'll figure it out.” You happily do so, watching as she sets to work translating the foreign script. She tells you a fascinating story as she works, and you lose track of time as you become engrossed in the tale.
“Once, a long, long time ago, magi spoke to nagas. Do you know of the nagas, the snake people? They are half human, half snake, and possess unknown magic. They live deep in the Jungle of Raza, which is why we never see or hear about them. My father was one of the last magi to travel there – it's too dangerous. He never returned from his last trip.” Her voice grew sad for a moment, but she shook her head and kept writing. “Anyway, these snake people, they even lived among us once. If a magi finds the naga, and presents them with the traditional peace offering, a manticore egg, then a naga becomes an ally. The naga will come back to The Keep and live among us. We'll teach each other different magic and strengthen our bonds. Or so it used to be,” she said, growing thoughtful. “There haven't been any nagas here for hundreds of years. But this bit of scroll could change that!” With a warm smile on her face, Nimor pushes the pad of paper she was working on over to you. It reads:
“In the land of reptiles,
among vine and flower,
follow the rising sun
to the farthest corner
to find the children of the jungle.
You will know them
by their blue skin
and strong tails,
whose power none can match.
Offer them an egg
with red wing and tail,
then you will find peace
“Well,” you say with a dry chuckle, “It looks like I have a trip to go on.”
Foreign Scroll: Mortal Danger (Jungle of Raza)The sky is darkening rapidly, and you are still deep in the Jungle of Raza. This is farther than you have ever explored before, and you know yourself to be in trouble. Any first year knows better than to be caught here after sunset, the time when unknown creatures come out. It is too late to turn back now, so you decide to face the night high in a tree, with your companion helping to keep an eye out. You resolve not to sleep, and stay alert, but as hours pass you begin to see lights. You blink hard, but the growing flames do not vanish, and you realize this is no dream. Fearfully, you gaze under the branch you're resting on, your jaw dropping over at what you see. A line of nagas are making their way through the undergrowth, strong tails easily propelling them forward. They stop at your tree, and you freeze, certain they know you are there. Breathlessly you wait, not daring to move, until the trail of nagas move away again, back to wherever they came from. You sigh and lean back, considering it a close call, when you hear a chilling sound; a deafening roar. You know this to be a hunting cry of a wild panther, and you draw closer to the tree, hoping it has not spotted you. As you watch, however, you see it is not you that the large cat has spotted, but a straggler. A young naga has fallen back from the others, and even now is frozen in fear.
With a loud shout to distract the panther from its would-be prey, you leap from a branch and meet the forest floor. The large cat turns towards you, only half-invisible at this proximity. You wonder at its beauty for a brief second, one of your hands seeking a suitable weapon. The powerful cat opens its mouth to roar again, exposing long lines of sharp teeth that make you cringe. Its yellow eyes meet yours, full of rage, and you brace yourself for the attack. The telvian panther gathers its back legs under itself, readying to pounce. Every line of its body is tense muscle, and you feel for a moment as if you are some strange mouse, caught in a game you do not understand. With only a flick of a tail as a warning, the big cat launches itself. At the last possible second, you flick your hand out in a quick spell, fingers splayed. You murmur a few words under your breath and produce a pinch of powder from a leather bag. Fireballs appear from nowhere, leaping from your palms to shoot into the ground before the panther. An acrid smell rises as the large cat's paw bursts into flame, and in seconds the panther has fled, shrill screams piercing the night. You turn to the young naga, who is uninjured but shaken.
You need a manticore egg to give as the appropriate peace offer.
You need a manticore egg to give as the appropriate peace offer.
Cautiously, you approach the young naga who was but a minute before in mortal danger. You know very little of these beings, and hope your actions have not caused more trouble. Behind the youth, the other snake people are standing, silent. With more than a little fear, you approach the young naga with the appropriate peace token, a manticore egg held out reverently with both hands. The snake-child slithers forward, a smile creasing his blue face. You try to suppress your surprise as he takes the egg from you and speaks in your native tongue; “I thank you, friend, for this gift. I will return to your lands as an ally, and once more take up our ancient alliance.” Shocked, you stumble for words, trying to regain your composure. It appears your journey was beneficial for all magi, and it would not do for you to make a mess of it now. “I... share your wishes for alliance,” you say slowly, trying to sound as if you know the proper words. “My fellow magi will be filled with happiness when you arrive home with me.”