Water Magi: The Invitation (The Keep)ith a sigh of relief, you sit down on the bench in one of the Keep's many gardens. It has been a long morning, full of various tasks and chores, and you're happy to get a few minutes of rest. Not to mention the sandwich you grabbed on your way through the kitchen. You take a big bite out of it, catching a few falling crumbs in your hand and throwing it to a Jerboa Rat that is watching you curiously from a few feet away. You eat another piece when you hear someone call your name. You look up and see a young magi come toward you, a friend of yours called Helen. She comes toward you and asks: "Taking a break?" You nod and hold up your sandwich as an answer. "Good, good," she says, standing in front of you and smiling broadly. "What," you ask. "Is anything the matter?" She grins and replies: "Don't you notice something?" You look at her, wondering what she could mean, when she reaches into a pouch and carefully pulls out an egg you haven't seen before, greyish with a green gem on it. "Look what I got here," she says. "What egg is that?" you ask. "I've not seen its like before." - "I don't know yet what it will hatch into," she replies. "I didn't ask because I want it to be a surprise. As to where I got it," she continues before you can speak, "they are only sold to members of the Society of the Trident; and as of this morning, I have been accepted into their ranks." She smiles and points to a small blue emblem sewn to the front of her robes. "Congratulations!" you reply. "But what is the Society of the Trident?" - "We," Helen says, and you hear the emphasis put into that single word, "are magi who have dedicated ourselves to caring for and learning about aquatic creatures. Whether they live in lakes, rivers or the seas, we are interested in all of them." She gives you a calculating look. "Now that I am a member, I am allowed to introduce potential new members, you know," she tells you slowly. "Perhaps you would be interested?"
Water Magi: The Lord of the Seas (The Keep)You meet Helen in front of one of the smaller festive halls of the Keep. "Why did you want to see me?" you ask. "The Society of the Trident is having a gathering here today," she explains. "It will be an opportunity to introduce you to the Lord of the Seas, which is necessary if you want to join the Society." - "The Lord of the Seas, huh?" you reply. "Well, isn't that a mouthful. Who is he?" - "He's the head of the Society here at the Keep," Helen explains, "and since this is the headquarters, the head of the Society in general. Well, actually one of the two heads, there's also a Lady of the Seas, but she's away on some business currently. Now come, let's go in!"
The two of you enter the hall, where a man asks you your business. A few explaining words from Helen later, he nods you through. Inside, tables have been erected, laden with food and drinks that are placed around ice sculptures and small fountains. Magi are standing or sitting in small groups around the room, many of them clothed in blue or green robes. All of them have the same emblem sewn to their robes that Helen showed you.
Helen heads toward a group in the back of the hall that has assembled around a plump elderly man sitting on a chair. He is draped into pale blue robes embroidered with gold, a squarely cut, curly beard hanging down to his breast. Other groups of Magi are keeping some distance from this one, telling you that these people must be of some importance. Helen approaches the group and curtsies, then addresses the man on the chair. "Excuse me, Lord of the Seas. I have brought a friend who is interested in joining the Society. I would like you to meet them." She steps aside and waves you forward. You take a few steps to stand in front of the Lord of the Seas, who looks at you thoughtfully. "I am sure you have heard tales about the privileges entailed in joining the Society of the Trident," he says, flashing Helen a look that makes her blush. "I hope you are also aware there are duties that go with thise privileges?" He waits for you to nod, then continues: "Of course there are also certain requirements for joining. First of all, members of our Society need to have an interest in those creatures living in the water, whether in rivers lakes or the sea. I assume you do, or you would not be here." Not waiting for you to agree, he keeps speaking. "Secondly, those who want to join must be proven friends to the merfolk." He snaps a finger at one of the Magi standing nearby, a slender man in his thirties, wearing glasses. "This is Meros, the local Lord of the Rivers," he explains. "That means he is responsible for the daily administrative duties in the Society," Helen whispers into your ear helpfully, then falls silent again as she earns another look from the Lord of the Seas. "Give him your name and he will inquire if you are known among the merfolk. Once that little matter is out of the way, he will let you know what else is required." He nods at Meros, who pulls you to the side and asks you your name, scribbling it down busily when you give it. "It will take a bit to hear back from the merfolk," he tells you. "You can call on my office in a few days."
"We haven’t heard back from the merfolk yet," Meros tells you. "Please come back in a few days."
"Ah, I've been expecting you," Meros says, peering at you over his glasses. "The merfolk have sent word that you are indeed known among them. You fill the first requirement for joining the Society of the Trident." - "The first?" you ask. "Then what is the second?" - "Well, there would be the matter of your entry fee," Meros explains. "Everyone who would like to join has to pay a fee of no less then 10,000 gold." You gulp at the rather steep amount, but Meros continues:" It is also expected that you provide fresh blood for our breeding programs. Now where did I put that list..." He rummages through the papers on his desk, then pulls out one. "Ah, here it is. The Lord of the Lakes has given me this list of what he needs." He scrutinizes the list for a while, then looks up at you. "Ocean Leviathans and Gold Pearl Wyrms would be appropriate, I think. A male and a female each, and they should be hatchlings. Once you've provided all that, I'm sure you will be admitted to the initiation ceremony."
Water Magi: Society of the Trident (The Keep)"A male and female Ocean Leviathan hatchling and a male and female Gold Pearl Wyrm hatchling," Meros repeats. "And don’t forget the 10,000 gold!"
"Here," you say, putting a sack filled with gold coins on the table. "This is the gold. The hatchlings I have already dropped off with the Lord of the Lakes. He said he'd notify you." Meros starts to shuffle through his papers, putting those he has looked over in seemingly random piles on his desk. Finally he pulls out one and nods. "Ah, yes, here it is. The Lord of the Lakes is very pleased with the specimens you brought." He puts down the note and looks at you over his glasses. "That means you have filled all requirements for joining the Society of the Trident." He pulls out another paper and scrutinizes it. "We could set the initiation ceremony in three days for now. I hope that is acceptable?" You nod quickly, eager to get on with it, and Meros scribbles something down on the paper in his hand. "The ceremony will be held at dawn, in the small western festive hall," he tells you. "Please make sure you are on time."
Three days later, you hurry to the appointed place at daybreak, where you are met by Helen at the door. "Good, there you are," she says. "As your sponsor, I have to lead you in. Come, follow me." She opens the door and steps through, with you following right behind. Inside, a shallow pool has been erected, with two heavy stone chairs placed into the middle. The chairs are adorned with intricate patterns representing stylized aquatic creatures of various kinds. The Lord of the Seas is sitting on one of the chairs, while the other is occupied by a woman in her forties with long auburn hair. She is clad in a dress made of thin turquoise fabric, that looks revealing while not actually showing anything. Two rows of Magi all wearing the emblem of the Society of the Trident are forming a lane that leads to the pool. You and Helen walk down the lane slowly, until you stand right in front of it, with Helen a step behind you.
"Who comes in front of the Lord and the Lady of the Seas?" the Lord of the Seas asks loudly, and you speak your name. "Who brings this person in front of us?" the Lady of the Seas intones, and Helen steps forward to stand at your side. "I am!" she loudly proclaims. "Then let the applicant step forward, to be initiated into our ranks!"
You shrug out of your robes and step forward into the pool, clad only in your underwear, as you had been instructed in advance. "Do you swear to uphold the rules of the Society of the Trident?" the Lord asks you, and you answer with a firm "I do!" - "Do you promise to aid your brothers and sisters in the Society above anyone else?" the Lady then asks, and again you answer "I do!" They both stand up and scoop up some water in their hands, letting it trickle over your shoulders. "Then we welcome you into the Society of the Trident!" Both say in unison. "May you always follow the way of the water!" The Lord turns toward the assembled group of magi and proclaims: "Let us celebrate now. A new member has joined our ranks!"