Tales The Lesser Key of Telemachus, Part III

Discussion in 'The Chronicles' started by Telemachus, Dec 28, 2018.

  1. Telemachus

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    THE COLLEGE OF ELBION
    FIRST ORDER MAGE OFFICES

    The office of a First Order mage was rarely a splendorous thing. They were often cramped and stuffy, poorly maintained and sparsely furnished. Consider then that Telemachus also had the audacity, as a non-human, to exist within Elbion. And that while he persisted in his blighted non-human existence that he was engaged in study of Conjuration, and art that was slowly and surely coming to be reviled by the Elbionese mainstream...

    ...He would have a very miserable office indeed.

    Truth be told, it was not all bad. The furniture was cracked and old, dust crowded in some areas. The empty perch that sat beside his desk was the newest thing in the room, and it was a gnarled and ugly thing - scratched and gouged horrendously. He could have replaced these things if he wished.

    Telemachus had, after all, had amassed a small fortune by trafficking in pact magic and helping people sell their souls, something that only worsened his reputation among the more conservative elite. They would not have to suffer him longer. Telemachus would not seek to renew his contract when it came up.

    For now, however, he was still obligated to keep up his scholarly duties. In this case, the review of yet another thesis submitted to him by yet another middling student. Grammatically competent for once, but in this case their grasp of theory was severely lacking. Telemachus filled the margins with scathing corrections.

    His process was interrupted, as it usually was, when Telemachus called out "Enter," to whoever it was that had approached his door.

    In this case, Celeste Tenebrea .
     
  2. Celeste Tenebrea

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    #2 Celeste Tenebrea, Dec 28, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2018
    “Enter”

    Well. Celeste dropped her hand from the door, inches from actually making contact. Interesting. She pulled the cloak closer about her form, having traveled well and truly under cover to avoid being detected. This was the Mage College. Which meant detection would be easier in the close confines of those who could detect it. She smiled sweetly, tilting her head. She found ways around that though. If you were smart enough one might mimic the dead and dying of the everyday regular man. Death still had power. And in it, she found her solace. Thus she appeared as an elf with some terrible affliction and nothing more. A guise that would lift as sure as any midsummer rain if she were to use her magics. She kept those locked well, preferring to keep to the sewers below. Specifically a small utility room meant to house equipment. Abandoned many years before, she’d taken it over and adopted the space for her own purposes. Posting a sentry just outside the quarters to ensure that they were not found, or if they were, they had ample time to escape.

    Celeste wrapped a delicate hand around the door knob and turned it, opening the door in a slow smooth motion. When she entered she closed the door behind herself, and dropped the hood. She was still smiling, staring at the Sidereal elf. Perfect Something had called her here. Some promise. Something invoking. And it happened that the mind slave she’d taken from the student body had been well on her way in the healing arts. Not enough to stave off an attack from Celeste, however, but she had her uses. Her memory the most useful of all thusly, aside from her guise. The book annex was Celeste’s most treasured jaunt in the mind of the student. She studied just as avidly one could if they were truly in the college. For now Celeste continued to stay in hiding. Apportioning a bit of her time every day to infiltrate and learn through the mind of the human woman.

    Telemachus.” A statement. Recognition and a memory. The elf at his desk, scribbling on a stack of papers with a stoicism that made her smile wider. The state of the room was deplorable. Something that made her hate the powers in Elbion more. Her kind Non-humans. Knife-ears. The racism was thick here and she sought to turn that around. You couldn’t be racist if you were dead. Or rich for that matter. And Celeste had need of larger coffers.

    I require…your help. I am in search of a Patron. One that might aid me for a fair trade, of course. I am told you would be able to facilitate such an agreement.” She touched the middle of her forehead and dropped the hand gracefully, bending one knee to bow in a greeting she was taught early on. An elven greeting. At least. For her region. A test. She watched carefully, taking in the features of the male before her. Celeste did not wait. She took a seat, the chair barely creaking under her slight stature. She was not unaccustomed to deplorable rooms. She lived in the sewer for the now and as such ones... tastes had to evolve.
    Telemachus
     
  3. Telemachus

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    "Yes," Telemachus replied flatly at his own name, as if confirming his identity. He returned his quill to its resting place and began to roll up the scroll. Telemachus paused halfway through rolling it up, the only indication he was somewhat surprised at her formal gesture.

    Quite an exotic. It belonged to those seafaring Elves - the ones who supposedly constructed Cerak at'Thul. Telemachus had not had the pleasure of dealing directly with their kind even in his travels, but he did remember them at the Gulf of Ryt in his youth. They used that same gesture. Strange. He additionally raised an eyebrow, though whether that was still in reaction to her gesture or Celeste Tenebrea taking a seat without being offered was dubious.

    He spoke again once she was seated, "You have been told correctly. You are aware, then, of the price carried by such agreements?"

    Telemachus referred mostly to the monetary cost. Most people already knew that their soul was being put up for grabs. Many of his clients were obviously wealthy, but this one was bundled under a heavy cloak. Taking great pains to not be seen or identified. How utterly scandalous.

    Fortunately enough, he did not care who she was or why she was hiding. All that mattered was her coin.
     
  4. Celeste Tenebrea

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    Celeste picked a small twig from her cloak, and twirled it between her fingers, the small branch turning pale in her hands. She nodded at his question. Tilting her head to look at him. She was never one to dally or dance around something she knew she wanted. And this. She wanted very much.

    I am very much aware of the finder’s fee.” She smiled again, a small hand tucking pale strands of hair back behind one finely pointed ear before disappearing in her cloak. The sound of coins can be heard long before the leathern pouch was produced. She set the bag on the desk, the heavy clinking sound ceasing once deposited in front of the dark elf in front of her. Her expression grew soft.

    My desires and wants. They are not so easily achieved by myself. Find me the Best you can and I will pay double this.” Her hands disappeared, pulling another, vastly different coin purse forth. Ornate and with embroidery upon the delicate fabric of the purse. Full with seemingly more coin. Her fingertips pressed into the pouch as she spoke, her smile not wavering for a moment. She didn’t put the bag in front of him. Once he did the work, she’d give it to him. But she wanted him to see with his own eyes that she was a serious inquiry. The coins. Oh she’d been amassing much coin. Thieved. Of course as most villains were not so bothered by such. She had a purpose. She wasn’t poor. She didn’t consider herself rich either. This was money for the cause. Her cause.
     
  5. Telemachus

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    It was not a matter of what Telemachus sought, but what the Gods-from-Stars offered. Not that he was of the disposition to make corrections when a giant sack of coinage had been deposited on his desk. Far from it. Rarely did anyone offer down payment in this manner.

    Telemachus nudged the coin pouch off to the side, making space. "As you wish."

    She was positively flush with money and had apparently little qualms with displaying it as directly as possible. This could only assuage Telemachus' fears, and so he got right down to business.

    "Barkas, the ledger, please."

    The noise came like it always did. There was a rustling noise at the top of the bookshelves, a clatter as tomes and scrolls and glassware were jostled aside to make way for Barkas. There was a flash of crimson as the Imp leapt down from the tops of the shelves and landed nimbly on the perch. Barkas was not pleasing to the eye: an unsightly little humanoid creature, a maw of pointed teeth and beady yellow eyes that glinted like embers.

    Hugged to his chest was a ledger, a book that looked to at least be as old as Telemachus, if only for wear and tear over the years. The Imp handed it off to Telemachus without resistance, staring at Celeste Tenebrea all the while. Its tail, which ended in a scorpion stinger, swished back and forth behind it occasionally, like a cat.

    Telemachus opened the ledger unceremoniously, a lock on the front falling away at the mere approach of his hand. He withdrew a special quil from within the interior flap and began to flip through the filled pages. Here, the questions began.

    "Have you or a family member (to your knowledge) consulted with extraplanar entities in the past?"
     
  6. Celeste Tenebrea

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    #6 Celeste Tenebrea, Jan 2, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2019
    Celeste smiled, watching as the imp made its’ way down. Celeste’s smile only grew warmer at the sight of the creature. He was adorable! Celeste kept her own elation down, reminding herself she was indeed here on business, and no doubt Grimr lay awaiting her return. She needed to stick to her business and return as best as she could. She chuckled, sending soothing thoughts through her connection to Grimr. She knew he worried about her. Worried that she might come to harm, but here. She was safe. For now.

    Celeste’s interest piqued, and she shook her head. “I was born into the cult, I have no knowledge of a contract already being in place. If it was, I have their remnants enough to ensure a quick payment should a discrepancy occur.” Her smile turned somewhat dark, as if a cloud passed by on a clear sunny day and was quickly gone, leaving the female bright and sunny again. She fanned her fingers, running them through her hair to one side, idly thumbing the tip of an ear.

    She leaned back. If only this male knew where the money had come from. No doubt he didn’t care. Didn’t much have a need to care with what he peddled. She tilted her head. The Sidereal elves were meant to be star worshipers. Perhaps that was his connection to his gods? She didn’t know anything for sure. She would need more information. Thus far he’d passed her test. He was very astute.

    She suppressed her desire to test him further. She wanted to make sure this wasn't some snake oil type deal. For the moment, if he turned out to be false, she'd just have Grimr end him. It made no matter to her. Then perhaps with his death she could resurrect him and use him to further her plot here in Elbion. All manner of events whirled through her mind, with scenarios and results ending in differing ways. She wanted to make sure there would be some gain for herself here. She surely didn't have a need for her black soul currently.

    Telemachus
     
  7. Telemachus

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    Eventually Telemachus came upon an empty page. He smoothed out the surface of the parchment and dabbed the quill into the ink. The contents of the page were arranged strangely - it seemed to be some sort of customs form, though all the text was rendered in the peculiar glyphs of the Sidereal Elves.

    "Their remnants?" Telemachus regarded the smiling, sinister woman curiously. He was no enforcer of the law, but the less he knew about any corpses Celeste Tenebrea happened to keep on hand, the better. He did not press the issue even if she did clarify. "It will be of no issue if no formal arrangement was made."

    He especially did not want her to parade those remnants in front of him for the benefit of whatever entities he communed with on her behalf. That would hardly be necessary.

    If a pact had not been formalized between her and the patron (matron?) of whatever cult she had previously frequented, it was irrelevant. And even if there had been.. The Gods-from-Stars were not terribly picky in who they signed contracts with, but they tended to avoid seeking out ones who were already pledged. Unless they sought to poach the faithful of one of their rivals, of course...

    Telemachus could not help but wonder what it was that brought this woman here. She seemed far too at ease. Most others were nervous, tense, or too ignorant to be either. But she was far too aware for that to be the case.

    He forbid his mind from wandering further, and pressed the tip of the quill into the parchment. The ink slithered off of it on its own, entering the empty spaces of the page and contorting into additional Sidereal glyphs according to her answers.

    "Please state, as descriptively as possible, the exact nature of the power or boon you seek to acquire through this contract."
     
  8. Celeste Tenebrea

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    Celeste allowed the cloak to fall from her lap, draping on either side of her. Runes and glyphs danced under her skin, almost seeming to be illuminated. A simple illusion spell warped into a ward of some fashion. With many others being almost indecipherable to even a discerning eye as the patterns moved, keeping the ability to observe them down to a minimum. She was very much at ease here. She knew what she wanted in order to achieve her goals. Knew what she needed.

    "The exact nature." She paused, chin tilting up. "I wish to gain mastery in Necromancy. To be able to control and manipulate the energies of magic in more efficiency. To more easily raise the dead and control them. I wish to open my eyes to the dead beyond the veil. I wish the power to bring whole cities to heel." She licked her lips, eyeing Telemachus as a cat might watch and focus on the actions of a finch.

    She leaned forward, a small smile on pert lips. "Descriptive enough?" A delicate brow arched as she spoke, leaning back into her chair. Her forays in the College had turned up very little in the way of Necromancy except that it was not tolerated. She was waiting for an attack on Telemachus's part, a refusal or denial at best, while feigning relaxed composure. She would be surprised if he continued. Her connection to Grimr tightened for a brief moment, her magic gathering in the pit of her stomach, ready in case the worst did indeed transpire. The elven woman held her breath, saving it to spit out incantations. The magic felt, electric under her skin, tingle and ran like fire ants as it waited for an outlet. It hurt. But she held it, waiting for any response to her declaration.
    Telemachus
     
  9. Telemachus

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    Someone such as him should have doubtlessly noticed the shifting of glyphs and weaving of magic, but he did not offer any real reaction to it. Instead his brow furrowed for a passing moment as he dabbed the quill into the inkwell and applied it to the page. Once again, the ink slithered out and formed what must have been the she-Elf's words on the page.

    And the only sound was Telemachus' continued droning. "I believe so, yes. You may stop holding your breath."

    She must have been expecting some sort of reprisal. Telemachus did not favor the art of necromancy nor those who practiced it. It was not hygienic. There were more sophisticated paths to power; ones that did not pollute them with the fetid stench of death. Such a waste of talent.

    Well, to each their own. Telemachus was not here to lecture people on their tastes in arcane disciplines. He was here for their money. "The power that you seek is, indeed, attainable. I am happy to put you into contact with the divinities who may deliver it."

    Happy was not the best word, but it cost nothing to be polite. Maybe, if Telemachus considered himself the lucky sort, the city she brought to heel first would be Elbion. Soon he would be gone from this place and its fate would be irrelevant to him. He began his usual explanation.

    "Your immortal soul will be offered as collateral. You may then be asked to harvest a certain amount of souls in the name of the entity bargained with. You may also, or additionally, be expected to perform certain additional services. Upon successful delivery of souls and services, you may be eligible for certain benefits or an improved contract."

    Once more, Telemachus dabbed his quill in the ink. It hovered perilously over a blank spot on the page.

    "Your name?"
     
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  10. Celeste Tenebrea

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    Celeste allowed the small hiss of air to escape past her teeth, settling incrementally when he made no move to attack. She shivered as she felt the leech of warmth from her skin for the unspent magic. She chuckled, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear.

    She felt oddly at ease with the elf’s stoic drone, finding herself comforted by the soft tone and easy words. She listened intently as he continued explain about the collateral at stake and the requests of souls and additional favors. She held a hand up, not as a student but as if to say ‘halt’.

    Will these favors be spelled out and identified, or as a type of Boon I must answer in order to continue?” This woman was not afraid of contractual agreements, she usually tried to find out what she was getting into first before she went about the process, but with the rumors, there was very little she could go on. So she wanted to clarify first. Nevertheless, she wanted to continue.

    Celeste Tenebrea is my name,” A rather decent family name, not rich, not poor but known for their magical aptitude. It was enough in some circles for her to just spell out her name, but she didn’t expect that this far north. Her parents had been fools to foster her love of magic, especially in the cult they followed. She was the one. The bringer of the Shadowed one, or so they claimed. She’d written it off as fallacy from the crippled minds of blind followers. Ultimately she ended up being their Shadowed One, and had slain all and gathered souls about her like a reaper.

    Telemachus
     
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