Garkhen recognized one of the soldiers at the gates of Elifort, though it was clear that both recognized him. The Warder felt vaguely embarrassed by how much his reputation had clearly grown in the telling as they spoke with him, but they were more than happy to point the two half-dragons towards where the remaining wizards in the city had set up shop.
Almonihah was clearly unaccustomed to the kind of attention they drew as they walked through town. People would walk up and greet Garkhen, asking for confirmation of rumors of him single-handedly defeating twenty Infernals or other such exaggerated deeds. The half-blue dragon corrected the stories in good humor. For his own part, Almonihah noted just how much respect his new companion clearly had… and wasn’t sure how he felt about it.
If he were perfectly frank… he was a bit jealous. After dealing with suspicion or outright hatred in many places, seeing this kind of treatment was like rubbing salt on old wounds. But at the same time, he had to admit, this was not the reception of someone evil. Unless the half-blue dragon were very good at hiding his true nature, Almonihah had to admit to himself that he had probably been wrong to so mistrust his fellow half-dragon. And yet… it was not so easy.
“Just what’d you do?” Almonihah growled to Garkhen when they had a quiet moment.
“I was one of a number of champions who faced the head of the Infernals during the war not too long ago,” Garkhen replied, gazing off into the distance rather than meeting the Ranger’s eyes. “My… heritage makes me rather recognizable even to those who never met me, and of course brings the interest of bards, so I have gained something of a reputation over time.”
He looked up at his companion with a bit of a grin. “My heritage also made me of interest to mages, which will now aid in our cause, will it not?”
Almonihah snorted in grudging agreement, but said nothing more.
The place the guards had directed them to was a large home across the street from the ruined temple of Mashano, where the story the pair had just been discussing took place. Garkhen shook his head slightly as he looked at it.
“Still we do not know just what happened or how…” he murmured. “No doubt this is why the wizards are working here… and I must wonder if this amulet did not have something to do with it.”
Almonihah grunted in agreement. “Maybe.”
A single guard stood at attention by the door as the two half-dragons approached. Garkhen did not recognize him, but it was clear he recognized Garkhen.
“Say, you’re the half-dragon champion… Grekhin, was it?”
“Ah, Garkhen, yes,” the half-blue dragon replied, “And this is Almonihah, a Ranger. We had hoped to consult with some of the mages here, if we might?”
The guard nodded, smiling. “I’m sure they’d be glad to speak with you!” He turned and opened the door, spoke briefly to someone inside, then turned back to them. “All right, come on in!”
As they passed, Almonihah heard the soldier murmuring to himself, “Not one, but two! Never thought I’d see even one half-dragon in my life…”
A servant greeted them in the small antechamber within the grand home, and directed them to a sitting room, then ducked out with a bow. Soon he returned, leading a woman in deep purple robes.
“Greetings, greetings, good sirs!” She said, taking a seat across the room. “I am Archivist Maritha. You,” she pointed at Garkhen, “I know by reputation, but I’m afraid I have no knowledge of you,” she pointed at Almonihah. “However, based on what I know of Garkhen, I suspect you’re here for something important. Am I correct?”
Almonihah snorted, surprised (pleasantly) by the Archivist’s straightforward approach. Garkhen seemed a bit more taken aback, but quickly recovered, grinning slightly.
“I am indeed Garkhen, Archivist, and this is Almonihah, a Ranger. You are correct that we are here on a matter of great import, as well. To explain, after the end of the war, I spent some time investigating the castle here in Elifort. While doing so, I stumbled upon on odd amulet, which seemed to be fashioned of some sort of multihued, rough stone wrapped in chains. As soon as I placed it in my pack, I completely forgot about its existence.”
Archivist Maritha’s expression grew concerned, but she did not interrupt as Garkhen continued. “I carried it unknowing until shortly after I met Almonihah. When he learned that I had been attacked quite frequently by Madness-Touched beasts, he grew suspicious, and took me to meet the Commander of the Southern Ranger Order. When we arrived, the amulet… reacted to the wards set by the Rangers, which allowed me to remember its existence. Their druids examined it, and while they have not been able to divine its purpose, they have confirmed that it seems somehow to be connected to the chaotic power of Jivenesh. However, they were not able to discern a method by which it might be destroyed. Instead we have fashioned a container warded sufficiently to quarantine its powers, and have come in hopes that a more permanent solution might be discovered.”
The mage’s voice was as solemn as her face as she responded. “This is grave news indeed you bring, though if you found it in the castle here, it is likely connected to the mysteries we have sought to uncover here. Might I see the amulet?”
Garkhen nodded, and pulled its box out of his pack. As he did so, the Archivist murmured a quiet spell. Holding it in front of himself, he opened it slightly. Maritha gasped slightly and anxiously waved a hand.
“Close it! Close it up again, please.”
Garkhen obliged, and the Archivist breathed a slight sigh of relief. “That is, indeed, the most powerful source of chaotic magic I have ever had the displeasure to encounter, and containing such creations is my specialty. Speaking of which…”
She frowned in thought for a moment, then shook her head slightly. “I don’t remember. I’m sure it will come back to me later.”
It was Garkhen’s turn to look concerned. “Is it possible the amulet’s powers are blocking your memory as it did mine?”
Maritha cocked her head to one side slightly, then shook it. “No, I’m pretty sure this is just me getting old.” She laughed a bit—Almonihah noted that she hardly looked middle-aged for a human. “There was just… a little something in the aura that seemed familiar from somewhere. If I dared take a closer look at it, I’d probably be able to remember what it was, but we need more power in the room in case something happens before I’d dare let you open that box again. Let me go round up my colleagues here and we’ll see what we can do.”
There, a little longer of a post to make up for last week.
I wish I’d covered more of how Almonihah and Garkhen dealt with townsfolk and such before, but… I never did. Oh, well.