Days 60 – 93
Today we arrived in Camoore, and it’s everything that I’d hoped it would be. Temperature controls are set across the island, keeping it warm and dry no matter what time it is. The residents wandering around are practicing all sorts of psionics that I’ve never seen. In fact, I saw two children tossing a bolt of lightning to each other as if it were nothing more than a ball!
Unfortunately I have no money. I spent the last of it to build my second amplifier. And while my amplifiers whirl calmly around me (I’ve been careful to make sure they don’t interfere with Ayu’s perch), people stare at me in more awe than terror. Even with mages everywhere, amplifiers are still somewhat difficult to come by outside of the mage guilds. I’ve had to use an illusion psionic to hide my features as best I can, even with my mask, just to make sure I’m not standing out too much.
But it’s not my ugliness or my amplifiers that are drawing attention…it’s my staff. And it’s been drawing my attention rather than anyone else’s. I wasn’t imagining when I first found the staff…a crau-inth seems to haunt it.
It says that its name is Danadago. Although it doesn’t seem exceptionally intelligent, it can definitely talk. It’s told me daily that it’s hungry and wishes to be released. I suggested eating away at Azra, since I don’t care for the demon anyway, but Danadago stated that it must continually fight to feast on Azra. And if Azra ever got loose, it would tear even Danadago, a Grand Crau-Inth, to pieces.
However, Danadago says that it’s happy to be reunited again. I told it that I was happy as well, since Danadago seems to eat away at unpleasant emotions that I feel. But part of me wonders why I hate crau-inths so much, yet my weapon houses one of the most powerful crau-inths known. I managed to do some private research of my own, and I discovered that ancient texts mention a powerful black mage revenant who was partial to crau-inths, but something happened. The crau-inths rebelled against the mage, or something, and he barely escaped with his life. As punishment, he bound a Grand Crau-Inth in a vessel, and he was able to control the crau-inth by summoning it. When I asked Danadago about how it’d become stuck in the staff, it clumsily changed the subject, asking when he would be released. I sighed and told it to wait until the appropriate time. I don’t know why I would have been drawn to such a simple-minded being of psionic destruction.
Thankfully none of the people here have taken much notice of my research. I did, however, find out that my weapon has a name too. It’s called the Fetter as best as I can tell. And the black material that makes the staff is called raes. It’s an extremely dense material that is only found in drowl ore mines near areas of intense psionic energy. It’s actually impossible to make, at least with the technology that I know of, and it’s powerful when it is used with alchemy. I haven’t found out what the amber bar is yet.
Yaisona has plans to set up a school of training tomorrow. Each of us will teach classes, offering what we’ve learned to earn some gold. Personally I’d rather go learn new psionics, but everything is so expensive here. I’m teaching four classes per day this week, and hopefully I will be able to manage. We need to save as much gold as possible so that we can all take the Avatars lesson, which costs 10,000 gold per person…no small price. In the mean time, I’ll work as much as possible.
I love Camoore! Why anyone wouldn’t feel at home here is beyond me. The expenses to live here are through the roof, but I’ve made a substantial amount of money…even though I’m exhausted. Still, next week will be just as busy, and by then I’ll have made enough money to pay for the ultimate lesson: Avatars.
I decided to teach four lessons per day. When I first started, I didn’t know what to call my psionics, other than what they do. So I’ve had to learn some jargon. The psionics that I favor tend to be called Crush, Bind, and Syphon here. But even with psionics being my strong suit, students are willing to pay more money for a lesson in alchemy. When I showed off some of my own work, I was immediately confronted with monetary offers. I took out my projects that had gone badly, at least in my opinion, and people were desperate to get their hands on them.
I sold many of the items that I’m tired of carrying around and won’t get around to using. The drowl ore that I picked up in Terminal Frost went for an amazing amount of money, as did the frost oil. I sold several terribly built sling bullets and arrow tips for a small fortune as well. Apparently the alchemy craft is much more rare than I thought.
Gertrude spent some of her time teaching too, but she’s been taking it easy. She’s mentioned more than once that the clarity of mind that Camoore provides is offset by Azra’s amplified presence. So she’s spent a lot of her time relaxing as much as possible and being sure to keep a tight rein on her emotions. But she also wants to go to the avatar lesson next week, so I told her that I would work extra to help pay her way. By the end of next week, we should have enough to buy our lessons and have plenty left over for learning.
Elinara has been teaching amplify, stasis, and bolt this week, but apparently this place is torture to her emotions. Even though she’s taught less than I have, she seems much more exhausted, and hasn’t been teaching well. When Arik hasn’t been earning his keep as a guard, he tries to comfort her as much as possible, and I think she’s starting to come around…although telling stories about the Battle Arena wouldn’t be the way I would choose to calm Elinara down.
Yaisona has spent most of her time relaxing. Yaisona told me that it’s probably not wise for her to learn psionics away from the Eye of the Storm, but I offered to teach her anything I knew anyway. I didn’t know how much I could help, or how the Eye works, but I think she understood that I wanted to help. She said that she’d keep that in mind, but not to worry about her if she didn’t ask for help. Sometimes I wish I could help her like I can help Gertrude with hypnotism…but her problems are not ones that I can understand.
Alyssa has relaxed a lot too. This time away from battle has mended her body and spirit more than I’ve seen in a long time. She spends most of her time with Syrai, who is either giggling and cooing or screaming at the top of her lungs. Still, seeing Alyssa this happy is enough, in and of itself, to warrant a trip here.
It’s going to be a long week next week, but I’m looking forward to teaching some more.
The week started out well. Although I was tired, I decided to keep teaching the same four lessons every day. Everyone continued their work from the previous week as well, and things were going well. The psionic wonders of the place never ceased to amaze me. We lucked out with the location of our “school” since it was near one of the psionic rechargers. They reminded me of Null Towers, except that they didn’t cause headaches and block psionics. Instead they allow you to heal psionic energy more quickly. Between lessons, I would sit in the corner closest to the recharger. It wasn’t close enough to rid my body of exhaustion, but it did help me charged for each lesson.
I always made sure to plan my Syphon lessons after my Crush lessons. There was always at least one prankster in the Crush class who thought it would be funny to crush the teacher. I calmly informed him or her that that wasn’t acceptable. And I only had to ask Arik to heal two of them this week.
So I would go into my Syphon lessons with bruises. When the students figured out that they couldn’t steal my physical energy as effectively as stealing from one of their classmates, they just started casting it on each other. This gave me all the opportunities I needed to heal. I was usually back to feeling healthy at the end of my Syphon classes.
My Bind lessons were boring. No one moves. But at least they’re attentive.
The alchemy lessons, however, were very interesting. Since the powers of alchemy are linked to the psionics that one knows I wasn’t around people who cared only of weapons. I wouldn’t have catered to those people at all, except that they were all so eager to pay me money. The lessons were interesting, and yesterday I held a special lab lesson. I charged extra and bought some very remedial alchemy supplies, and told them to build whatever they wanted to. I was expecting some very boring and unexceptional things, but they surprised me.
They all made something different, something personal. One student took some common stones they found on the ground and enchanted them with light. The light could only last a few hours, but it would change colors based on how much time had passed. She sold them afterwards and I tried to buy one, but she gave it to me for free and thanked me for helping her mix her chemicals. I gave it to Gertrude, and I think she liked it.
I think my favorite project was the snap-trap, as Ipr called it. It was simply a piece of cloth that had been enchanted with a weak Crush psionic. If you touched the center of the cloth, it would snap around your finger and wouldn’t let go for a few minutes, providing plenty of time for the victim to panic.
My best student was exceptionally resourceful. He took the few chemicals he’d been given and enchanted two glass balls. One of the balls was hollow, and the other ball was small enough to fit inside the first. He enchanted both with a spell called Draw, which isn’t a very difficult spell to learn for those who like neutral psionics, like Elinara and Alyssa. When he placed the small ball inside the second ball, it floated! It was an interesting trinket, although it absorbed psionic energy from anything it touched.
Danadago continues to pester me about being hungry. I’d feel bad, but it’s a crau-inth.
We’ve finally saved enough gold to attend an avatar lesson, which is tomorrow afternoon. I’m going to rest until then. I just hope that I’ll be able to learn some psionics afterward; I’ve heard rumors of Obliterate being taught…
Crau-inths have very little self-control when they’re hungry. And I’ve never known a crau-inth that wasn’t hungry.
For all of my loathing of the evil things, I should have known that from the start. I guess the only thing I do have an understanding of is their size. But no one listens to me.
It started when we went to our avatars lesson. I was excited beyond imagination, and Danadago was whining even more than usual because I wasn’t feeling miserable; apparently that makes him even hungrier. I took the Fetter and my amplifiers and left Ayu on the transport. I didn’t want to, but Elinara wouldn’t have it. She actually thought that I have difficulty keeping Ayu out of trouble. Well, after what happened with Danadago, I’m sure she realizes that I have plenty of control over Ayu…at least in perspective.
We paid our way, and they led us into the barrier. It was hazy and grey, like a torrential downpour, and for anyone who tried to sneak in without paying, it was as if a thousand pieces of hail were crushing your body at any given moment. But it just clouded your vision if you had paid.
I couldn’t see anyone after we went in. I just saw a large staircase with a being at the top. The mages were using some impressive illusion psionics to change the form of the strange creature at the top. It took the form of many of the creatures we have seen in our travels. And that’s when the lesson started.
An image formed in my mind’s eye, like in the dreamer’s realm, only of lesser quality. A voice spoke of ancient times when heroic warriors called revenants roamed the lands. They had control over some of the most powerful psionics known to Kh’aosii, but the secrets of avatars died with the revenants…until now.
The Songsmiths of Aptheed had rediscovered the ancient psionics and would teach it to those who promised not to divulge the secrets the Songsmiths taught. For those who favored protection and healing, the caster could choose from three spells. One caused nearby people to heal at incredible speeds. Another gave nearby people a natural boost in their body, mind, and spirit. And the last granted the caster, and sometimes those nearby, incredible protection. I recognized that one as the same psionic that Eenen had used on the Sky Spear.
For those who favored balance and nature, the ability to create elementals from their very will was taught. I saw an image of a blazing fire elemental, a hulking elemental of dirt, mud, and stone, and the wispy form of a wind elemental. They all caused terrible destruction in their wake and then became nothing as if they’d never existed.
Last, the voice spoke of the summons for the masters of dark psionics. First was the ability to summon Mar-Shantas, whose illusion psionics can charm enemies. Next was the Mar-Seethas, whose body is both lethal and protective. Lastly, I cringed when I saw the mock-revenant, who looked to be about Arik’s size, summon a crau-inth. I already had a crau-inth; I had no reason to summon more!
Then Danadago started laughing. He said that he thought all of this was amusing. I was so happy that he’d said something other than stating the fact that he’s hungry and wants to be summoned, that I answered back, telling him that this wasn’t the time. And that’s when everything went crazy.
The image in my mind disappeared, and the illusion at the top of the staircase was frozen. In my mind I heard a voice that angrily asked why I would bring such unspeakable evil to Camoore. I had no idea what they were talking about. How could they have known about Danadago? And it wasn’t as if it was running amok. The other people who were taking the class left, leaving only our band…plus Teriine. A mage approached me whose face had been disguised by an illusion. Elinara later told me that the mage was probably female.
The mage angrily asked who I was. I didn’t know what to say. I looked around, and everyone was staring at me in shock. I felt someone try to take my staff away, and I clenched it tightly in both of my fists. It occurred to me that perhaps they had heard Danadago, and that’s what all the trouble was. My mind raced, but I didn’t know how to answer the mage. And then Yaisona stepped forward, stating that we were the last of the revenants.
That’s not what I would have said. I stared at her with about as much shock and surprise as everyone else stared at me. But it seemed to catch the mages off guard for a second. The illusions disappeared, showing a simple room with some walls. But the mages were guarded, and refused to lift their illusion psionics on their faces.
The mage in front of me looked at my staff and asked from whom I’d stolen it. I angrily replied that I’d stolen plenty in my time, but I hadn’t stolen my staff; it was stolen from me and I took it back. I heard Elinara give an exasperated sigh, shaking her head. I wonder what I said wrong…
The mage changed the subject, asking to give proof that we were truly revenants. I looked around; no one else had a weapon. Even Arik had left his multiple swords in the airship. Unwilling to summon Danadago because I didn’t really know what it would do, I did the only other thing I could: I changed the Fetter into its whip form.
Several of mages murmured, but I think it was more because of the fact that I had a weapon at all rather than what the weapon was. The mage in front of me stated that changing the size of a staff wasn’t proof enough. I shook my head…I couldn’t think of any other way to prove except by summoning Danadago. Of course, Danadago was more than happy to oblige.
The only problem was, I didn’t know how it worked. I asked Danadago how to summon, and it stated that I should know. I asked it if it would return to the staff after I summoned it, and Danadago grumbled back that it would if it was asked. So, at least having the assurance that I would be able to return Danadago to the staff, I told everyone to take a few steps back. My friends complied (well, Arik didn’t, but Elinara dragged him backwards), but the mage in front of me laughed.
I tried to summon Danadago, but it didn’t work. I had no idea how to make the Fetter work in that way, and it only made Danadago more upset. So I did what I usually do when I don’t know what to do: I sing. I sang a small song, following my heart, and something inside me clicked. I had solved part of the puzzle, but there was still something missing.
Suddenly I heard Yaisona’s voice in my mind. Time seemed to freeze, and I could see her in my mind's eye, even if my real eyes could not. She told me that whenever she summoned Azra, she never forced Azra to come. Beings of darkness cannot be controlled; it defies their nature. Rather, they must be given an invitation. And that was all she said. As if nothing had happened, the other mages watched impatiently. So I tried to sing an invitation for Danadago.
The Fetter became hot as I sang, and then it became cold as ice. When I opened my eyes, a massive pink blob had filled the room. One of its many eyes met mine, and suddenly I knew exactly what it was going to do. Before I could say anything, the body sent out huge tentacles across the room, and mages started screaming.
I immediately tried to revoke the invitation, but I was so surprised by how quickly everything had happened that I rushed through it. Danadago took no heed whatsoever. One of the large tentacles had wrapped around the mage that was in front of me and swallowed her whole. Within the pink slime, and above the din of chaos that had filled the room, she had cast a Fortress orb around herself. In a remarkably steady, she hollered, “Please remove your proof!”
I tried again, and Danadago angrily turned around. Many of its eyes fell on me, and it tried to will itself to be hungry for me. But the staff protected me and those I hold closest. I felt its mind searching for someone else in the room to feed off of. I commanded its attention just as it realized Teriine was an easy target. Angrily I told it that it was no longer welcome here, and for a brief moment I felt a twinge of sorrow as the pink blob disappeared into thin air. The mage slammed into the ground.
“You didn’t step back far enough,” I told her. I heard Yaisona snicker.
Danadago’s voice filled my mind as its presence returned to the staff. That won’t happen the next time. Surely you understand that I haven’t eaten in so long. Strangely, I wasn’t angry with Danadago; it had only done what crau-inths have a tendency to do. It did not touch Teriine…but it would have, and I wouldn’t have been able to save her. Why do I feel that I need to protect her? It’s not like she’s one of us. She’s just an outsider…but I don’t want the blood of anyone that’s helped us on my hands. Not saving Baadonai changed me, I think…
Summoning Danadago took more psionic energy than I’ve ever used with any psionics. When I asked Teriine what she had felt, she said that the amount of energy I released was comparable to when a mage casts Sphere. I’ve heard of mages who spend all of their energy just to cast Sphere. But I still had some left over, at least enough to crush a few things. But I’ll have to be careful about when I summon Danadago. I’ve heard of stories of mages who have been close to death and gain the ability to cast massive spells without using their own psionic energy, as if they form a link to the Golden Planes.
Anyway, the Songsmiths wouldn’t tell me how many mages Danadago had killed. They had been caught off guard, and most of the mages who were still alive are actually time mages. Somehow they all had acquired will rings, like mine, that had protected them from death. They weren’t mad at me, which was a surprise. This week they’ve spent a lot of their time describing Harmonics and teaching us to summon Avatars.
Apparently psionics is much more closely linked to music than I thought. That explains why songs can have a psionic presence all their own. The Songsmiths have been working to discover new psionics through the use of songs and music. Many are constantly humming, exploring new forms of psionic intonation. It’s all very fascinating, but they keep many of their secrets among themselves. Since I was busy learning to summon Avatars, I didn’t question them about Harmonics too much. I do remember a lot of the melodies they hummed, though…I seem to naturally pick up on the music portion. Perhaps I’ll do my own research someday.
Anyway, the Songsmiths have a lot of influence on Camoore. They receive a discount on everything there is to buy here, and they let us use one of their insignia so we could get the discount too. So this week, I spent a lot of time learning as many psionics as I could. I was going to look for a teacher who could teach me to improve my Crush and Syphon psionics, but the mage I found laughed and said that he had much more potent psionics he could teach: Obliterate and Drain. So I spent my time learning those, but they’re incredibly difficult to learn without a teacher.
The Songsmiths themselves taught me the finer points of bardic songs. I picked it up rather easily, and then I heard about casting psionics with sound that normally require Sphere to cast. One of Baadonai’s old psionics always fascinated me, but I was too stubborn to admit it to him. He could give his own life force to heal the wounds of others. It’s an effective tool for healing. It sounded so much more interesting than making something float or speeding someone up. So I started learning a bardic song for healing.
The Avatar’s aren’t that difficult to summon…at least for me. Although they require a lot of energy to summon, it’s not much different than summoning Danadago. I don’t know how well the others are doing, but Yaisona keeps herself locked away when she practices…if she’s practicing at all.
I think I’ll get some rest. Tomorrow is another busy day.
Well, our last week in Camoore passed too quickly. I’m sorry to be leaving, but I learned so much while I was here. I know that no one stays in Camoore forever, but if we survive our trip to the core, I do want to return here.
We have our weapons, and we have had battle training in Tharmune. We’ve learned powerful psionics on Camoore, and can summon Avatars. But I don’t know if it’s enough…will we be able to find Ees, and what will it tell us to do if we do find it? And why is Mali always talking about something being out of balance in the Golden Planes? So many questions that need to be answered, and somehow I think they all point back to one thing: Azra.
Yaisona has heard rumors that the SecondDawn was destroyed in Evera. We’re going to return to Elbridge, take our ship back from Relic, and then go to Evera to see if the rumors are true. I find it difficult to believe that the prophets would let the SecondDawn be destroyed, but then again, they can’t remember their own names. Oh well.
I picked up some alchemy supplies. I’m going to try to make some more bullets and arrow tips with my new Obliterate psionic. I hope I make them well too. Gertrude helped me buy the supplies, since I spent all of my money on learning new psionics. She told me that it was worth the extra money; she hadn’t seen me this happy in a very long time. The truth of the matter is that she’s the person that makes me so happy. I enjoyed Camoore because I’m happy. When I told her that, she gave me a kiss. If I’d learned to make things invisible while I was here, I would have used it right then…but instead, we had to find a room. Oh well.