Farewell to Glantri City
Karnus bid Lana allow him time to mull over the unexpected request she had made; the two parted company for the rest of the day. Karnus announced that he would head to the Great School (unfortunately not even his graduate status would permit Lana the snoop around she had been hoping for) to inform his friends, fellow students and tutors that he would be leaving them for an indefinite period. It did not help matters that Teldon had been so guarded with the details of whatever lay in store for him, Karnus and Lana.
After depositing Karnus on one side of Alexander Platz and watching him head in the direction of the School, Lana sped with all haste on her carpet toward the Kash Flow where her couturier Jean-Paul Tutier was delighted to unveil the wardrobe of pieces he had crafted to fit Lana. The garments had been masterfully cut from exquisite fabrics and Lana lost no time trying each in turn, though she could only lament that she would not be staying in Glantri City to show them off.
That evening the two mages met in the Mages Hostelry. Lana watched her friend down his Mandrake Liqueur with gusto, evidently used to the potent beverage by now. Lana was still obliged to take hers in small sips with lengthy pauses inbetween. Karnus' expression was stern as he informed his companion that despite his better judgment he would return to Karameikos, purely out of curiosity as to why his former master required his involvement. Was Lana sure he hadn't given her any message to hand to Karnus, written or verbal, had he mentioned any other detail? Lana could only shake her head, but was pleased Karnus was returning home and voiced her feelings while embracing him. Karnus made clear that he could not guarantee his support for the mission if it contravened his personal interests, or his loyalty to the Great School or to the Wizard Princes; nor would his absence from the School be tolerated indefinitely. While Karnus had not severed his connection with Karameikos or its Magicians' Guild, it was clear he now had interests which ranked higher than those involving his homeland.
Lana offered to Teleport Karnus using the spell Hadrian had taught her before she left Karameikos, however Karnus expressed concern as to the spell's inability to guarantee safe arrival, notwithstanding Lana's familiarity with Specularum. Instead, he would opt for the safe passage offered by the Staff of Hutaaka with which he would transport himself to the ruined settlement of Krakatos, a short distance outside the Karameikan capital.
Before leaving, Karnus had one last errand to run - research on behalf of one of his tutors, to earn his release from upcoming responsibilities. Karnus had been asked to attend the Sages' Guild and consult with the sages on a topic of arcane relevance. Approaching the canalside building the mages found it guarded by amber golems - several of the feline constructs prowled the perimeter while one stepped forward to lead the duo to a waiting room. They sat waiting patiently for a sage to become free; hours passed. Finally an administrative officer announced that a sage would not be available until the following day at the earliest, so the pair departed.
Outside they instantly sensed that all was not right - something was different to when they had entered. The air was more chill than was to be expected for the time of year, and cries were coming from the canal running alongside the walkway they were standing on. The canal's surface had frozen over, embedding many gondolas and other craft within it. Karnus knelt and put one hand to the ice, feeling its immense and unnatural cold. A couple of amber golems had followed the pair from the Guildhouse and were viewing the ice with equal wariness. Rightly so - since moments later the surface of the ice shattered as an immense claw burst through, and a huge crab hauled its way onto the walkway. It stood twenty foot tall, its body seemingly composed of ice. As the creature looked around, getting its bearings, a sparkling ray of magic shot from one of its antennae - hitting a nearby gondola and transmuting it to mere vapour. The amber golems snarled and pounced at the crab whilst Lana and Karnus looked at one another with concern, before raising their hands in spellcasting. Karnus' fireball and Lana's lightning engulfed the crab simultaneously, then both loosed barrages of Magic Missiles but this was not enough. As the crab turned in their direction, Lana looked at Karnus in desperation - her reserves of offensive magic were depleted. Karnus raised the Staff of Hutaaka and released a second flaming blast which lifted the crab and slammed its body against the building behind. With its physical body rent apart, whatever energies bound the elemental being to the Prime Plane began to disperse and the crab appeared to melt back into the canal.
Not wanting to tarry any longer, Lana declared that she would travel ahead to Specularum to inform Teldon of Karnus' impending arrival. The blue-robed mage noted this, saying that he simply needed to return to the Great School to inform his tutor that he had not been able to consult with the sages despite his best efforts. Lana clasped her companion on the shoulder, brought her hands together and with a word of magic vanished. Her time in Glantri was at an end. Karnus turned and walked the length of the frozen canal before hailing a gondola to take him back to the School. As he waited he recalled a piece of news which he had meant to mention to Lana prior to her departure - a yellow-robed cleric had been apprehended by the constabulary for healing beggars in the Open Market. This had been in brazen defiance of the Glantrian laws prohibiting the practice of clerical magic, almost as if the individual had meant to get himself caught. The idea seemed laughable, but even so... He would be sentenced to death, some of Karnus' colleagues had mentioned taking time out from their experiments to view the execution which would probably take place on the Alexander Platz the next day. A curious affair, Karnus thought.
The next day, as he was bidding temporary farewell to his favourite griffon in the stables of the Great School, Karnus was joined by his fellow students on their way back from witnessing the cleric's demise. Prior to being burned at the stake, the fellow was understood to have shouted something aloud in Elvish - no more than a sentence or two. Even curiouser, Karnus thought, though he did not bother to enquire about the meaning of the cleric's words. In any event farewells were traded before Karnus channelled his concentration through the Staff of Hutaaka. All present in the grounds marvelled as a gateway formed in the air before the blue-robed mage, its edges swathed in ethereal mist. Within could be viewed ancient ruins - those of Krakatos, a few miles west of the Karameikan capital. Karnus took a moment to compare the two lands, each so different from the other. Bidding farewell to the land he had come to view as his spiritual home, Karnus shouldered a pack of his belongings and stepped boldly through the portal.
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