Into the Depths

I had a strange dream. A rather unsettling one. I was a figure sneaking through the halls of the arcane tower, closing in on the room that I spent the first couple years of my life. I pushed the door open, and found a younger version of myself, almost a newborn, fast asleep in my crib. My father walked in, and ridiculed me for not coming earlier. A voice that was not mine answered him coolly, said something about how that child had fire running through his veins, maybe more than my father had bargained for.
The dream fast forwarded, and I was watching from my own eyes as I gleefully ran, a small tot, through the halls of the arcane tower. This was too early a memory for me to possess, but I knew the scene well. As I rounded a corner, I bumped into a brass fire bowl, spilling burning coals across the stone tiles. I landed face down in the mess, but was utterly unscathed. My tattoos manifested themselves on my fingertips, and grew as I shuffled around in the fire, unhurt. My father ran into the hall to see what had happened, and I looked up to see a flash of anger in his eyes, before he stormed out. The servants in the room were too petrified to do anything.
Again, the dream fast forwards. This is a memory that has been burned into my mind. I see myself sneak through the tower, at age 12, after my rejection from the University. I enter my father's office, and engage in a shouting match with him. He tells me that I was refused entry because I'm a blood mage, not fit for a wizarding life. I scream at him, tell him that I hate him, and slam the door. My perspective changes. Suddenly I can see inside the room again, and I watch as my father sits down and sighs. Another presence manifests itself - a robed man with a chaos tattoo on his face. I recognize his voice; it is the voice of the man whose eyes I saw through in the first part of my dream. He tells my father that I shall still be useful in the days to come. He also insinuates that he has my mother captive, and safe, for now.

I awoke with a start, and hit my head on a jutting post of the broken ship. Lynn awoke beside me with a scream, suggesting a similarly traumatic dream. My uncle came downstairs to help us, and I left while he tried to see what went wrong. So my family has indeed held close ties with the cult of chaos. And what's more, my mother is within their clutches.
We washed up, dressed, and ate breakfast. Lynn had a dream where she communicated with her alternate selves, it seemed. She still has much she needs to sort out in order to figure out why she was resurrected as a Samsaran. She must have some ultimate that she had failed in her past lives, otherwise her spirit would have moved on.

We left Xerxes as a captive on the ship, and headed to the arcane tower for our audience with the Divination Saint, Sibyl. She told me that she had tried to look to the future, to see how I would do on my quest, and saw two outcomes. In one, I had swathed the country in fire, and in the other I had become a peaceful ruler. She had no way of knowing which was to be the correct prophecy.

My uncle volunteered his word that he would guide me on my journey, and I swore on the blood of my fallen comrades that I would fight for peace, and nothing more. With that, Sibyl gave us her blessing, and told us that she would supply us and our crew with a new ship.

We thanked her and left. Lynn had left the meeting early, and we found her on the balcony, brooding. Well, Lynn's a bit chipper for brooding, but this is as close as I've seen her come. I tried to cheer her up, telling her that the best place to start searching for the purpose to her past lives would be with the lead that Xerxes presented us. Lynn had close ties to Nirvana, and the dark cleric had promised us something of value related to it.

We gathered Xerxes, borrowed some horses, and set out through the bog. Xerxes told us that there was some sort of overgrown underground temple that was in the middle of the territory of his ogre tribe. The Jester had wanted it protected. Every so often, a scholarly traveler would come looking for it, always with tomes of information about Nirvana. But it didn't seem to matter whether the tribe was there to guard it or not — nobody who entered the temple ever came out.

Sounded like it was important. When we arrived, we dismounted, tethered our horses on the most solid ground we could find, and descended into the temple. In we marched, through root-covered passages, all the while seeing discarded weapons and gear, but no bodies.

After making our way down a winding tunnel, we came into a chamber. Filing inside, the first thing we noticed was that the room contained a pool of strangely clear water, which, upon closer inspection, was found to be a water-filled tunnel. The second thing we noticed was that Eli, who was bringing up the rear, was missing. Gone without a trace.

Before we could decide on our next move, we were attacked. The moss and roots in the chamber came alive, revealing themselves as shambling mounds. We did away with them with minimal losses, mostly thanks to Iroh and Lynn, who have now saved my life more times than I care to count.

It turned out that another group of adventurers had died in this room, and their gear was in a pile for the taking. We helped ourselves. Lynn dove down the water passage, and after casting a water breathing spell, we followed after her.

—Matau Ing'um

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