The Rod of Ruin

Book Two: The Tower of Vecna (pt 3)

De'Val

You grab onto the walls of the tower as it begins to fade away, but begin to feel the very substance of the tower begin to lost cohesion under your fingers. In desperation, you try the door, and to your surprise it opens- perhaps, in his struggle with Grumble, Paldemar was unable to lock it behind him.

You are surprised once again to find yourself in a strange, formless space. You perceive it as akin to being lost in a fog bank. You see no floor, no walls, no sky, just an effusive light that seems to extend endlessly in every direction.

Immediately ahead, you see three silhouettes, outlined in the mist. One seems to share the outline of Amon. As you step forward, two of the silhouettes seem to fade into the mist, while the third walks towards you. You cast a quick glace behind you to see the door, now closed behind you, also retreat into the fog. Looking back, the silhouette resolves itself as it emerges from the mist.

The figure is a short, balding man, with a pencil-thin moustache. He is wearing an immaculate suit. He speaks:

“Welcome, lightning-bearer. I am Vecna, first Ordinator Arcanis of the mages of Saruun, and creator of this tower.” He laughs a little to himself. “Well, I suppose I’m not technically Vecna, I died long ago. What you see is my creation, imbued within the tower to allow only those most worthy and just entry to its hallowed and venerated rooms. But be warned!” he says with a raised finger. “While the upper levels contain wonders, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross, those who come to this tower with evil intent, or the will to power, shall be cast to the lower levels, where all the foul and terrible creations of the Order of Saruun have been cast before!”

He chuckles genially.

“But such threats are unseemly. What mysteries do you bring to share with Vecna?”

“Well meet Vecna, both yourself and the tower is a amazing triumph of magic, as a student of the magic arts I am humbled by the skills of Vecna.

I find myself in this astonishing place due to the very issue of someone with both evil intent and a will to gain ill-gotten power.

Do you know the wizard Paldamar?"

Vecna seems pleased with your admiration of his tower. You get the impression that you’ve taken a step into his good graces with your flattery.

“Paldemar is one of my order and is under the protection of my tower. He currently entertains a guest in the higher levels.

My tower holds many treasures, but foremost among them is knowledge. But knowledge cannot be claimed by the ignorant. Only those who bring knowledge are permitted to enter. What knowledge do you bring to Vecna?"

“I bring both knowledge and news of the world and more importantly news of the mages of Saruun.”

De-val arcs lighting from one hand to the other displaying his control of the magical elements.

“I have discovered a method of storing magical lighting within a simple glass container” smoothly De-val removes one of the last glass cylinder from his pack.

I don’t presume to suggest that you could not preform this feat yourself but I would be happy to share this method with you, a fellow master of the arcana.”

Vecna beams at seeing the lightning in the bottle.

“How remarkable.” he says, moving closer. “May I have this?” he asks.

“What news do you bring of my order? While I, or I should say my creator, is long dead, I am still proud of my order and hope they fare well.”

Then a sort of wave seems to pass over him, like a ripple in a pond. His concerned look is gone. He speaks again:

“My tower holds many treasures, but foremost among them are mysteries. But mysteries cannot be explored by the incurious. Only those who bring new mysteries are permitted to enter. What mysteries do you bring to Vecna?”

“Of cause you may have it, I have a mystery only you can solve, a powerful magical being is being manipulated by one that used to be called friend but in a way that the magical being is unaware this is happening, I ask you what counter spell or ward would you advise this being to cast upon itself that would free them and shield them from further manipulations?“

He gladly takes the vial and puts it into his suit jackets’ inner pocket. “You are a true mage, worthy of entry. This will make an excellent addition to the level of magical items.”

He goes on: “You do indeed present a mystery. However, you are not the first of your party to pass this way. Your companion, Amon, has made claims about Paldemar, a member of my Order. But he brings no proof. Why should I believe the words of a stranger over that of my own order?” He looks down and chuckles. “I am under no spell, mage. It would be more accurate to say I am a spell, cast long ago. If you have proof of what you say, please present it. Otherwise who is to say that it is not you manipulating me, hm?”

“You ask for proof of manipulating when I suggest your very nature to recognise said proof could be clouded, you are lighting in a bottle asking for proof that the world outside exist, how can I show you when you need to show yourself, tell me Vecna is there no way to prove me wrong, no spell you could cast on yourself that would cause no harm but if you were affected by deception help you gain clarity?” De-val thinks to himself then give Vecna a crooked smile.

De-val closes his hands together as in prayer then as he slowly pulls them apart using he knowledge of Prestidigitation creating a simple two sided coin, on one side is a cage the other a bird.

De-val shows Vecna both sides as he talks “You are the bird asking me to prove the cage exists this I cannot do as the cage has been build into you but” De-val flips the coin towards Vecna and is stops hovering directly in front of him at eye level, slowly spinning faster and faster, “Tell me have you seen any others of your order? How long ago? I have seen them, my friends and I quest to restore them to there place of wise rule, they have been betrayed by one of there own who now using this very tower, Paldemar was using them like fuel to gain further power, he has them chained in the pit of Baphomet, even now as we speak my party frees them, I ask you not to fight or betray your oaths and order but ask yourself this, if I’m right, if I am right what harm is there in checking?”

The coin is now blurring together the two images becoming one, that of a bird in a cage.

“I implore you Vecna, first Ordinator Arcanis of the mages of Saruun let us, insure that you are not being mislead, let us confront the betray together and let us restore your order, help me.”

The coin vanishes.

Vecna considers your argument for a moment. “This tower holds many rare items of intense magical power.” He gestures as, all around you, the white mist rapidly evaporates, leaving you both standing in what appears to be a library of sorts, although books are hardly the most common thing on the shelves.

You’re in a circular room with a staircase leading up on one wall and down on the opposite. Every available space is given over to high shelves containing all manner of books, Based on the curvature of the walls, you suspect you are on one of the levels of Vecna’s tower. The walls seem to have a glassy, semi-translucent quality, although you cannot tell what lies beyond them, they just seem to be a little bit ‘not there’. Vecna confirms for you: “This is the third level of my tower, the Scriptorum. Here you will find many magical items that the tower has gathered over the years.” He withdraws the vial you gave him and begins to search for a place to put it, as he continues speaking:

“If you’ll look to your left you’ll see a Crystal Ball, charged with a Scrying spell. I cannot use it myself, since I don’t technically ‘see’ in the sense that I am not technically here at all. But one with magical ability such as yourself should find it fairly easy to scry with. You should be able to prove your claims readily enough, if you direct it at the right source. I shall observe through the orb to verify what you say.”

Stepping closer to the orb, you quickly deduce that it could be used for a number of scrying rituals, but it appears to be currently charged with this spell. Taking a quick glance around, you see a number of other items which pique your interest, but it’s almost an embarrassment of riches so nothing stands out in particular. Vecna cautions you to take only one- part of his security function is to prevent wholesale looting of the library. However, since you have gifted him an addition to the library, he finds it only fair that you should take one in return.

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