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Grandmaster Tarn_IV
Thomas Anrorc

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III. The Journey through the Spheres

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III. The Journey through the Spheres

Having learned what we needed, we departed again for civilisation. We trekked again through the horrendous dunes and back to the verdant hills of the Gold Coast. We bade ourselves to Arthéno, where our patron, Ms Haspeth, had retired to after the events in Caithos. The city itself was a wonder: nowhere near as old as Caithos, but it had a sense of much more antiquity to it. While Caithos had been built over time and time again, its construction always being subject to the whims of the many kings and merchants who had called the place home over the ages, Arthéno was a much quieter affair, far from the bustling centre of commerce that was Tira Vella's unnoficial capital. Centred largely around the university, it was filled still with many parks, gardens, small shops, and little rows of plastered town houses in pastel hues. Through every street could be smelled the scents of flowers and treesap in the warm summer air, and the aromas of spices and freshly baked bread sold by elderly women in little carts along the cobbled streets wafted through the plazas. Through the centre of the city flowed the Iamaxes river, and the rafts that were its lifesblood, carrying wares from the small port of Lycargos at its mouth along its lazy currents.

It was here we met up again with our patron at her old family home. We told her of the events that had transpired since we had departed, and she told us of what had happened in Caithos hence. Her tone tellingly more distraught and worried, lacking the collected cool she had presented in our previous encounters

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a wretchedly deformed man from the Southern steppes of far Chazdêrma who wore masque and other coverings as to conceal his aberrant corpulence from the world, apparently more for the sake of the tastes of others than for his own self-consciousness. Though initially sceptical of this claim, perhaps suspecting him to be some sort of blackguard hiding from justice, through the course of our relationship, it became clear his statements were true.

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After a great deal of travel eastward through the dense boreal pine forests of Northern Sossis the four of us had found ourselves in the ancient and mysterious marble city of Godhome deep in the Giant’s Valley, surrounded by the silent granite sentinels of the western extension of the Olok Mountains, where the high Varani mages float about, taking careful study of the giant dour faces adorning the ancient, towering marble walls of purported giantish make surrounding the city, and that great library of late king Hugo's vanity lies a great watcher above the city. The streets were cold in the biting air of early winter, and traces of piled snow could be seen along the sides and corners of the narrow cobbled roads. The place smelled at once of the pleasant scents of tarry pine sap and mountain air, as well as the sour odours of man’s filth and ashy fireplaces belching heat into the quaint houses made of the rich, decadent woods of the native coniferous specimens and large, heavy stones cut into rough bricks, with shingled rooves ascending to steep peaks coated in a dusting of snow turned black with soot, all against a stark backdrop of those wondrous and towering marble walls and that specked alabaster ridge upon the horizon, all dimly lit by the diffuse rays of the low solstice-bound sun, choked by the heavy, grey clouds blanketing high above the winding mountain peaks attempting vainly to pierce the sky.

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the vast, whispering darkness claim me amongst its ranks of spectres haunting the infinite possibilities of the spheres

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We serendipitously (although I increasingly suspect the play of outside actors had coaxed him there) encountered there the queer dynitian sorcerer from Caithos, Nyja, apparently chased out by his now former teacher.

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Alas it evades me, as if stolen away from my mind by some daemoniacal phantasm.

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