While Enoch works to translate the remainder of the book, Skeeve returns to the Mage’s Guild to see if he can learn more.
The Mage’s Guild is much as it was the evening before. A different set of wizards seems to be about at this time of day. Skeeve takes his place among them and slowly joins the conversation. When the time seems right, he off-handedly poses the question, “Gentlemen, whom do you believe to be the gratests of all wizards?”
A few of the older fellows roll their eyes and move on. Apparently they see this an a subject good only for endless idle debate. A few of the younger ones get into the spirit of the thing, and toss out a few quick suggestions. One of the youngest, more likely an apprentice than practicing wizard, suggests, “Dravis Lorman!”
Since their country just anihilated the Lormanites and killed King Dravis in the war, this is a very humorous suggestion and the conversation stopps while they have a laugh at Lorman’s expense.
At last the debate resumes. Many names are put fourth and mentally pitted against each other, until at last someone suggests Lucan Forwinol. At the mention of this name Skeeve chimes in, “I completely agree! You know, it’s funny you should bring him up. I’m doing some historical research and… well… is he still around?”
They are amused by the question, “Of couse not”, says one, “he died over a century ago.”
Another adds, “Yes. Over a hundred years since he died, and his son hasn’t seemed to have found the same skill that his father posessed. Don’t get me wrong, Teerin is a fine wizard by all accounts and a credit to the people of Mar Talos, but the might of his father is not in him.”
Skeeve then poses another question, “Do you think Teerin could defeat the Lich King the way his father did?”
This question is considered carefully. The conversation takes off on a tangent as they debate about the sorts of magic Teerin has studied and the sorts that were required to defeat Mordan. Unlike the people to the north, these man have not confused or forgotten the old stories, and are well aware of the threat that Mordan once posessed. The conversation circles around until they come back to the main point. The consensus is that it is unlikely Teerin would be capable of defeating Mordan. His father was only just barely capable of it, and Teerin isn’t as strong as his father.
At this point Skeeve notices that the circle of people involved in this conversation has been dwindling as people have moved over to the steps to investigate a rather excited conversation happening over there. Skeeve follows, and has he approaches a circle of chattering scholars and magic users gathered at the foot of the stairs he hears snatches of the debate they’re having over weather patterns. The observatory is mentioned. It seems something unusual has been spotted in the sky.
Skeeve cuts through the crowd and heads directly up the stairs to see for himself.
Skeeve circles around as he ascends the spiral stairs. With each revolution he passes another doorway leading to the next floor of the building. He sees a room willed with mirrors, tinted glass, bent glass lenses, and freestanding prisims the size of a man. For just an instant as he passes the doorway he can see morning sunlight warped and and scatted about the room. The next floor is a library. Another orbit and he passes a doorway into some sort of packed storage area.
Skeeve at last finds himself at the top of the stairway and in the observatory. It is a circular room with open windows on all sides that takes up the entire top floor of the tower. On the north side of the room, several people of various races have gathered around the telescope. The elves peer out the window studying the horizon, while the humans jockey for position to be the next to use the telescope.
A debate is going on between a very fussy old human and a young elf.
The young elf says defensivly, “I was just up here getting some morning air when I saw it.”
The human, an old man with a squashed pointed cap, is peering out the window, “What did you hope to see out of the telescope at this hour? It’s daytime.”
The young elf gestures with exasperation out this window, “I wasn’t using the telescope. I was just looking out the window!”
The old man squints unhappily, “Well I don’t see anything….”
To which the elf cries, “Look through the telescope!”
Skeeve squints out the window and, with his elven eyes, can just barely make out a black cloud to the north. It is very low. The rest of the sky is blue, with a few puffs of white strewn about. The dark cloud does not look like weather. It is a dark haze that seems to cling to the earth.
There is an argument going on about what they are seeing. Someone suggests a forrest fire. That idea is dismissed: Smoke would be rising up and dissapating, not gathering like a lot stormcloud over a single location.