Chapter 13 - Abelard & The Great Diviner
Abelard & The Great Diviner
As the Four Heralds, (The Rude Awakenings? Zigras's Troupe? They really did need to figure out a name, he supposed), went about their Tor downtime business, Abelard sets himself up in the Tor's grand library and continues his seemingly never ending reading of the Devilish Soul Binding Contract he had unwittingly signed.
Eyeballs deep in Legal jargon, Devilish doubletalk, and Contractual subtleties, the young Half Elf immersed himself in the shadows and barely even noticed as others came and went, seeking to talk to Diviner Wyleth du'Bosch for advice and council.
Muttering to himself about 'Prima facia', 'demeurr', 'certiorie', and other confusing terms as he takes notes, it eventually dawned on Abelard that the room is silent and no one appears to be huddled in conversation with Wyleth. In fact, the Tor sounds muted, other than the scrape of a turned page, or the clank of a pot from the kitchen as Bitta prepared her next meal.
Steeling himself for the answers to the questions he had asked Wyleth to look into for him, (Had Abelard ever met his father since beginning his travels? Did he know his father's name as he goes by now? Had his father's bloodline caused harm to MorLanthir? Should he try to release Scyntillax from her imprisonment? Is Raj under the influence of another being?), and not really certain he wanted to know them, Abelard carefully closed his Contract Tome and put it away with his notes, then stood and made his way over to Wyleth, who was already gesturing for Abelard to sit before he had even stood up. It never became normal, working with someone who often seemed to know what you were going to say or do before you did.
Abelard took the proffered seat by the fireplace next to Lord Wyleth du'Bosch, Diviner of Lusterlin, and, blowing out a deep breath, turned to Wyleth, atop his mecho-crab chair. "Ah, Lord Wyleth, sir. Had you had a chance to..."
Wyleth steepled his hands and was nodding before Abelard had really even begun his query.
"I need to advise you, Abelard," Wyleth started, "that I was not able to target your father with my spells. That does not mean he is dead, however, for I have learned how to reach beyond this mortal plane into the dimensions of the afterlife, recreating the procedures used by those of the priestly profession."
"No, more likely it means that he is shielded from divinations, just as you and your friends are when Zigras invokes her the power of her protective Dome. As we all are within the Tor's walls. These abjurations are not minor magics, so this tells us that your father is likely someone of importance... and that he has taken pains to not be discovered casually."
Abelard sighed, half in disappointment of receiving no clear answers, and half in relief of not being told the worst. His mental focus on processing Wyleth's first statement, it took him a moment to catch up when he realized the Diviner was not done with his response.
"You, however,", Wyleth continued, "Have taken no such precautions. When I asked questions about you, the results were much more forthcoming... Yes, you have met your father since arriving in Lusterlin. And yes, you do know the name he goes by now. But as for whether his bloodline has caused harm to Môr’lanthir, I cannot see."
Ignoring, for the moment, the spike of fear and adrenaline Wyleth's words about him having taken no precautions against spying, Abelard listened, even as his mind tried to process what that could mean. "Shielded from divinations.... That means he could be shielding his looks as well. He could look Human, or anything. He could have been anyone I met! How will I ever find him if he could look like anything and can't be scried for?"
Wyleth sat quietly, paused to let this information sink in, then continued on to Abelard's other questions. "If you release the Dragon Scyntillax from her imprisonment, the result will be both weal and woe. The augury's answer was rather inconclusive, I'm afraid. But usually that means we just haven't found the right question yet."
"And poor Raj... no, he is not under the influence of another being. I'm afraid the poor man's mind is lost. Antoinette and I were hoping a few months of bedrest and quiet after his incident would have allowed him to recompose himself. But it seems likely we will need to make arrangements for his longer term care soon. It's quite sad, really. I never gave much credit to his field of study, but he was a lively conversationalist before all this."
Abelard nodded with a sigh, filing away the information he had gained from the responses. "Thank you Wyleth. For this, and for everything else. You, and Lady Antoinette, welcomed our haphazard group in before we even knew we were a group. Thank you, for your council, your hospitality, and your friendship."
The young Warlock paused before standing, half in and half out of his chair, as he battled internally over something more. Wyleth's open face and willing expression tipping the scales and Abelard set himself back into his seat. "I wish that I had some brilliant next steps about my father thought out to ask. But I am at a loss of what to possibly do. I met my father. Here, in Lusterlin! HE could be anyone... I will think on it."
Again the long, painful, for at least one of the participants, pause. "Lord Wyleth, sir. Can I lean on you for a different set of questions. Still of a personal nature, so please feel free to say no. I mean, it feels as if the world itself is being torn apart at the seams, and it seems.... selfish?... to ask such personal boons. But... if you can...I would... It would...", Abelard's questions seem to peter off to silence as he lost his steam and seemed almost to be trying to draw back in his words.
Wyleth gave Abelard an empathetic look, then sighed and gestured out the window, to the gentle murmurs of Lusterlin beyond. "You have had to learn too soon, my young friend, what most people never need to face directly. That the world is a precarious place. The peace and safety that those behind these walls take for granted, it is hard-won by people who make it their personal stake to bring about a better world. To not run from the darkness, but to seek answers, confront the truth no matter how painful or difficult, and to make a difference."
The diviner pauses for emphasis. "So... Ask."
Abelard nodded in thanks, and went still and quiet, as he marshaled his thoughts. "Ok. Ok, thank you Wyleth, sir."
The young Warlock steadied himself, trying to calm the whorl of emotions churning just below the surface. "Ok... To ask my questions, I must tell you a little of my story. Probably the best and worst of it, all in one package."
Abelard started and stopped a few times, before settling himself and starting anew. "I was... not a 'Good' child. I do not say this to mean I was willful, or disobedient, or anything. If anything I was too obedient. I simply mean it in its purest sense. I was not good.... at anything."
"Combat, cooking, art, and a hundred other skills we were taught. I was simply not... good... at any of them. I was useless, and everyone thought so... Everyone but my Mother.... and Jorunn."
Abelard stared, silently, at the closed scroll case in his hands for some time before continuing. "Jorunn was everything I was not. Strong, brave, bold, powerful, artistic, beautiful. She was the best of us. She was obviously destined for greatness, as everyone could see. She could have anything she wanted.... And, for some unknown reason, what she wanted was me."
"We were inseparable. We were unstoppable. We were... in love. The night I survived.... She did not. I watched her die.... Violently.... before me. Cut down, and then cut apart. And I did nothing. I... I ran."
Tears began to fall, unacknowledged, as the Half Elf relived his best and worst memories. "Now. Knowing all of that, it came as quite an emotional gut punch to be shown, by that vile Sorceress Shai Lu no less, fairly convincing proof that Jorunn was alive."
Abelard took a deep breath and raised his eyes to Wyleth's for the first time since emotionally diving into his past. "So I guess what I am asking is... Is Jorunn alive? Where is she? Does Shai Lu have her?"
The words spill out of Abelard, faster and faster as he rambled questions before gathering himself again. "I don't.. I don't really know what I am asking. But if she is alive, I need to know it. I need to know how. I need to know where. I need to know... Everything!"
Wyleth listened quietly, paying somber attention as Abelard opened up about his past. As Abelard completed his confessional request, there was a moment of silence between the two half-elves as the diviner respects the weight that Abelard has been carrying.
Finally Wyleth nodded, to himself as much as to Abelard. ”Then we will find out!”, Wyleth said, with simple confidence. ”Do you still carry anything of hers, a personal item perhaps, that holds Jorunn’s imprint? If you are willing to leave it in my care, it will aid me in finding her.”
Abelard froze, paused an irrational moment, contemplating the possibility that this entire Rood/Far Realm/Reality Split could all be a long con ruse designed to part him from his last piece of his lost love, before he shook his head ruefully and reached for the scroll case in his lap. A scroll case he keeps with him at all times. "This was offered as proof she is alive. This was drawn by Jorunn, and recently. It is absolutely, unmistakably, her hand. I would know it anywhere. I can feel it, even now, pulling at me.", Abelard said as he uncapped the scroll case to remove and unroll, a beautiful, simple drawing. A Horse’s head, drawn in one long, curving, elegant, soul-achingly beautiful stroke.
"She never did tire of being able to say she could do more with one brushstroke than I could accomplish in a Summer!", Abelard said with a loving smile, both at odds with, and balanced by, the still ignored tears streaking down his face.
"Wyleth, sir. Thank you. I do not know where we would be without your aid and advice... But I'm guessing it would be surrounded by clockworks and death, I suppose."
As an afterthought, as the Half Elf's keen senses picked up the sound of Zigras coming towards the Library from the kitchen. "Oh, and please do keep trying to find anything out about Shai Lu that you can. I'm certain she will make another play for us as soon as we are next outside the protections of the Tor. She won't stop until she's torn the worlds apart!"
Wyleth nodded and accepted the offered scroll with care. As Zigras approaches, he places it among the several other scrolls on the table next to him, so as not to draw the gnome's curious attention to it. "I will do my best for you Abelard Agnarsson," he says.
Abelard then darted back to his shadowed corner, wiped at his face, and composed himself to seem as if nothing is amiss and he's just been reading his Book of Shadows.
As the warlock returned to his corner to read his book casually, Wyleth observed Zigras and a blue stoat interact with Jeremy on the far side of the library. He nodded with understanding at what is going on, and patiently awaited his turn.