The soldiers in the inn’s dining hall gave the newcomer a unified bow of respect, as did Sorie and mage from Rihéo Galoge. They were in the presence of someone vastly superior to them in status.
Still bowing Sorie viewed the priestess who had decided to intrude upon Lieutenant Kollkie’s interrogation session.
The Silth was a battlenun, from the signature of her armour she was a high ranking warrior priestess of the Badb’s fellowship. Highly trained, highly motivated, and incorruptible; she was a force of divine judgement.
The priestess’ very presence added to the growing tension to the room and despite her size she glided gracefully towards the players’ table.
Lieutenant Kollkie quickly spun off of Jessy and knelt down with her arm held across her chest in a sign of a salute, “Chief Exorcist.”
Sorie could feel perspiration across her brow at the mention of the she-elf’s title. For what purpose would the Badb’s church chose to bring such a being here? The clerk’s eyes drifted to Jessy and John and her heart sank.
Were the worshippers of Badb going to perform a crusade against Techscope? It had been nearly a thousand years since the last gruesome incident.
Chief Exorcist Huebsch was one of the more infamous members of the Badb Church.
Jessy got off of the table and wiped the dented figurines off his back, “I thought being covered in beer would be more fun.”
“Jessy, shut up.” John warned. The Tech scholar stood and gave the newcomer a slight bow. “Do you require some aid. Um. Forgive me, I don’t know how to address you. Shut up, Jessy.”
Sorie breathed through her nose. At least one of the pair had some sense to remain respectful.
Jessy rolled his eyes and looked up at the Chief Exorcist, then he continued to look up. “Crap.”
His reaction was not uncommon, Sorie estimated that Chief Exorcist Huebsch had to be the tallest she-elf that she had ever seen. She expected that even if Jessy were to sit on John’s shoulders the smart-ass Jessy would still need to tilt his head up to look the mountainous Huebsch in the eye.
It was one of the well known perks to being born into war goddess’ grace. Increased muscle mass and strength, all of the boons designed to create the far superior demon-killer. There were even rumours that certain agents of Badb had blessed blood.
The Lieutenant’s men looked to their superior for orders.
Huebsch beat Kollkie to it, “Sit.” the towering Silth whispered, her voice travailing throughout the inn.
Kollkie didn’t for an instant hesitate, she took her seat and remained quiet. The soldiers under her command obeyed the order as if it were a direct order from Badb herself.
Sorie would have been impressed with the amount of power the Silth commanded, if she were not sitting quietly in her seat, ready to do almost anything to appease the exorcist. Then she noticed that Jessy was the only one in the room who was standing.
Brazenly, Huebsch pulled a chair over and sat next to John. “Wont you sit down as well, Jessy?” Huebsch said still smiling, showing that some of her teeth were missing.
“I’ll stand.” Jessy said stubbornly.
“Ahh. The famous defiance of youth,” Huebsch said, “to stand up against the evil adults.”
“Yeah, I’m getting bored. Can we skip this?” Jessy said sounding bored.
Sorie was tempted to get up and smack the impudent child into a wall, apparently the spirited child did not learn his lesson from Kollkie.
“Jessy.” John breathed harshly. “You will have to ignore him, your eminence. He’s an idiot. How may I help you?”
“I seek words with the one you call Arcade.” Huebsch said still keeping an eye on the blue haired boy.
Jessy held his head and John grimaced. Sorie felt her lower eyelid twitch, she had this gut feeling to get on a horse and ride as fast as she could back to Talia.
“Is there a problem?” Huebsch said and Sorie could not help but feel curious.
“While we were digging we came across a map.” John explained. “Last night, Director Arcade took half his staff on what he hoped would be a treasure hunt.”
Though Sorie didn’t have the ability to read minds, the clerk could feel every Silth in the room scream inside their minds. The monster was out and he was playing treasure hunt.
“Asshole, left me here.” Jessy mumbled to himself.
The Lieutenant angrily turned her gaze to her men, “Why was I not told of this?”
Sorie was still under the effects of Huebsch, she remained in her seat but she was already creating a mental checklist. The country needed to be warned.
“You wouldn’t have caught him, Lieutenant.” John assured her while holding himself like a drunk in need of a bottle of wine, “Director Arcade is…” he trailed off, “Tricky.”
Sorie expected that the Chief Exorcist would be screaming and demanding blood, but to her credit, Huebsch just appeared to be tired.
“May I see this map?” Huebsch said wearily.
“I’ll need my phone.” Jessy said looking right at Kollkie as he did so.
A curious expression crossed Huebsch, “Phone?”
“It’s a communications device similar your magic mirror system.” John said.
“I think we’ll need the projector for this.” John said.
At the Chief Exorcist’s permission Jessy had ran back to his bungalow, when he came back the child was carrying two small black knapsacks
A sense of excitement grew inside the Silth clerk at the opportunity at seeing another little device from another world.
At the table Sorie watched as Jessy took out what looked like a white ceramic box with vents. When Jessy’s back was turned she lightly rubbed the cover and the strange writing with her fingers, the texture reminded Sorie of glass, smooth and flawless.
“What does it do?” Sorie asked. She touched the small coloured holes that lay in the back of the machine, their existence a mystery.
“Think of it like a machine that makes an magical light construct.” Jessy said giving no other explanation. He pulled out another black box from its case and connected the two by a cord.
The merchant from Rihéo Galoge was there, holding up the cord. “And this?”
“Power supply.” Jessy said and smiled at Sorie as he flipped a switch.
Every Silth in the inn, except for the Chief Exorcist, jumped and prepared themselves for a fight as a string of blocky glyphs on a blue screen appeared to be floating in mid-air above the box.
“So I’m going to have to tell you everything aren’t I?” Jessy asked his one time lover.
Sorie decided to not acknowledge the smirk, she would have preferred that Jessy would be an drooling, illiterate twit. It irked her to no end that this foul child knew one thing she did not. In magic circles he had more or less shouted “Boo” in her face.
His phone out, Jessy explained what he was doing though Sorie could only understand a quarter of the terms, “Right now I am connecting to the projector by WiFi. The phone sends a signal, the projector detects that signal and sends back a response. Sort of like a machine saying hello to another machine.”
Sorie didn’t know that machines could talk to another. Did a crossbow talk to another crossbow? Did they banter while they tried to kill their owners?
Sorie gasp and hesitantly went to touch the strange blocky script, her fingers passed right through, “Amazing.”
She had seen magic like this before, but it usually involved a skilled illusionist or etherealism expert. Creating a portable light construct so clearly was difficult and required large amounts of focus.
Sorie looked down at the two machines, “Okay, as I understand it. The power for the spell is locked in here.” she tapped the black box.
“The power physically travels from the power box to the box which holds the illusion spell.” Sorie said.
“An crude but effective form of sorcery.” The merchant said in disgust, wrinkling his noise as if the two machines leaked some stench, “A child’s attempt. The boy has already said he has no magic in him, the machine does everything. I’ll pay… Oh. A few dozen eggs for the whole contraption.”
John groaned, “I don’t know what to say about that.”
Jessy had a smug smile now, “You think that’s fun, check this out.”
The floating text disappeared, replaced with five tablets made of diamond. Strange flowing script and crud pictograms were spread across the objects.
Huebsch nearly threw Kollkie aside as she stood up fast enough to cause Sorie to feel it. The Exorcist’s eyes wide, the muscles in her neck tensed.
Sorie took out her notebook and began to copy the the tablets. “Where did you find them?”
“Inside the walls of a stone temple of some kind.” John said, “The Fomori had destroyed two of them. These ones were hidden.”
“These were written by the First King of the Elves.” Huebsch said in awe.
The quill nearly slipped from Sorie’s fingers at the mention of one of the elves greatest rulers, a being who lived nearly five thousand years go and caused nearly every race of the elves to go from tribal barbarian who were afraid of fire to the most powerful people on the planet.
Such an artefact would be worth far more than god, it would be a symbol, a national treasure that armies would fight for.
“Are you certain?” John said.
Huebsch nodded, “Yes. No. We need to study the texts.”
Sorie nodded, hoping that she would be one of the wizards who would be called in to determine the legitimacy of the relics, but doubted she would be so lucky. The churches belonging to the triple goddess held their own experts and didn’t like to get consultations.
The other tablets were written in elven, but they were written poems, riddles, and codes. Sorie cursed that her stupid hand was not fast enough.
“Techscope is willing to hand over the tablets to the church.” John said.
Not known for her trusting behaviour, Lieutenant Kollkie crossed her arms, “And let me guess, the church will surrender a potion of its gold to your masters?”
Hubusch waved the argument away, “Later.”
The child Tech performed a hand gesture on his phone and Sorie nearly punched him in the face as four out of five slabs disappeared, enlarging the fifth one.
Sorie nearly dove onto the table looking for a clean sheet of parchment, “Stop playing with it.”
Jessy looked at the merchant, “I thought he said that the machine does everything. How can I be responsible for what a machine does?”
This close. Jessy was this close from having his head explode. One punch would be all it would take for the smart-ass’ head to sail out the inn’s door.
There was a click which was followed by a cough from one of the soldiers.
The clean parchment in her hand and her quill wet, Sorie got ready to duplicate the tablet, “Okay, this time don’t… What in the Gods name!” Sorie screamed as her own rear staring back at her.
“Still think it’s worth a bunch of eggs.?” Jessy asked the merchant, who, like every other male in the room was admiring Sorie’s rump.
The clerk felt that she was ready to die of shame right there on the spot, she stood perfectly still, her face growing hot enough that an observer would think that she were running a fever.
Huebsch rolled her eyes, “You can torment you lover later, boy. Right now I ask for you master’s whereabouts,” the Chief Exorcist’s tone turned a fraction darker, her eyes harder, “and next I will ask for those tablets.”
John gave Jessy a nod, and the blue haired boy played with his phone.
The tablets changed to form the image of a blue ball.
“Recognise it?” Jessy asked Sofie.
“Should I?” Sofie asked, her body shacking, her voice dripping with venom.
With a series of simple hand gestures, Jessy magnified a section of the sphere, showing several brown and green splotches. To the elves it was like they they were seeing some sort of blue screen that was tarnished by spots of festering food crust.
“Now do you see it?” Jessy asked.
One of Kollkie’s men beat the scholar to it, “By the Gods,” he whispered, his eyes wide in understanding, “It’s the Isles.”
Before the rise of man, the Silth and Dark Elves had gone to great lengths to explore the larger continents and traverse the seas. To their credit the Silth knew more about their world than any other civilisation, except perhaps for the Succubi, but they didn’t know everything.
There were still unexplored places that went beyond the maps, unspoiled wildernesses that not even the humans had yet plundered, and adventures waiting for those who were brave enough to step out of their homes to seek it.
The Academy’s library was a treasure trove of maps, and though they were not Sorie’s speciality she knew the importance of them. What Jessy was allowing her to glimpse was a map that was on a unheard of scale, so complete that Sorie almost forgot about her embarrassment, almost.
Jessy expanded the map again and this time it was Kollkie who seemed focused on the illusion.
“Is this accurate?” The Lieutenant said.
The merchant spoke over the gasps, “How much do you want for this pro-yek-or?”
Jessy kept his smile, “If you say your sorry I can print off a large map of Un Neill and Myjoin.”
Hubusch stopped Kollkie from thrashing the smart mouth, “Later, Lieutenant. Show me where the tablet leads to.” the exorcist ordered.
Jessy tapped his phone again and a red dot appeared on one of the larger continents which lay on the other side of the planet, a place that was on no Silth map.
It seemed almost impossible that the land had not been discovered yet, it was large enough to engulf the puny island of Un Neill twenty times over.
The clerk held her hand over her mouth to hold back the squeak of surprise. A virgin landscape was right there, on the other side of the world.
“What is this place?” Sofie asked, while desperately making notes.
“Don’t know.” John admitted. “It hasn’t been discovered yet.”
Kollkie sneered at the red dot, “That journey will take years to complete.”
And there Sorie felt disheartened, even teleporting held its limits. It would take a considerably advanced and expensive ship to locate the undiscovered continent; then you had to navigate through the pirates, the sea monsters, the weather, it was too far.
A piece of the table snapped off as Kollkie punched into it, “He can’t have gone to far. The ports will be watched. The Fox will be seen.”
Both Jessy and John glanced at one another, Huebsch didn’t miss it.
“What was that look?” Hubusch said. “You two just made a look. You said your master left just last night, under the cover of darkness. It would take a two solid days of riding to reach the nearest port. How much of a head start does he have?”
“Um.” Jessy said.
“Arcade is not my master.” John tried to explain. “Why do people keep thinking that he is like the almighty God of Techscope.”
“No. He’s just the guy who brings in the most money” Jessy corrected.
“I’ve written two journals.” John said.
“Enough.” Huebsch nearly screamed, getting dangerously close to taking her sword and carving her answers out of the bickering fools. “Tell me where he is, now.”