A rich tome, bound in red and fresh with the smell of new leather, lies on the desktop. Daargan sits in his chair, deactivates the magical ward on the book, and opens it to the first page. Dipping his quill in an inkwell, he begins to write in a strange, spidery hand.
Some months later the spymaster, Eoghan, will succeed in finding the journal and bypassing the ward; on opening the book, he’ll discover it is not only ciphered, but written in Aklo. Chuckling, he’ll put the book back, letting Daargan keep his secrets. For now.
As I sit in my desk in my new chambers in the castle’s tower, looking through my window at the growing town of Tuskendale, I can say I feel pleased with my achievements over the past seven months here. I have convinced the Council of the nation that I would be well-suited to replace Kaydee of the Chocolate Wench as Magister, and earned my place in this castle as part of that. So, a new beginning; new responsibilities; a chance to put my chequered past behind me, and start afresh.
Gods, I’m beginning to sound like Gideon.
Looking back, the timing of my arrival was somewhat fortunate. Any earlier, and I may well have been part of the ill-fated expedition into the southern troll caverns which necessitated these changes in government. As it was, arriving shortly before they left, I have been well-placed to be involved in the rebuilding of the nation. By all accounts the deceased were good people, and had I known them better I would have grieved for their loss. But as it stands, when opportunity knocks, you open the door. Better that I advance myself in this situation than we fall into stagnation.
The wounds of the nation are still raw, but beginning to heal.
As Magister, my responsibilities and constituency are both presently limited. One such responsibility is the education of the people; Gideon thankfully volunteered himself to shoulder this himself, for which I am grateful. I do not have the temperament for such work. I have been in search of the magically-inclined, in the hopes I can further their education in the arcane arts, although am yet to find any pupils. We have re-opened trade negotiations with a local kobold tribe, and given their ties to draconic blood, I have hopes. Building up a coven would be both an asset to the nation, and me, should old foes come a-calling or new ones make themselves known.
Outside of the Churches tending their flocks around the city, I have encountered only a few with arcane talent. It would be beneficial to form arrangements for the exchange of knowledge and equipment, as well as to gauge their level of mastery, which is difficult outside of situations where blood is being shed. As we tend to resent being controlled, I am conflicted as to what extent I should attempt to coordinate and task these magi for the development of the nation, and to what extent I should just leave them be, under watchful eye.
Kaydee tends towards alchemy, which I do not understand, and is established and well-liked by the populace. I may have misjudged her, but I get the impression that she is happy as she is and likely no longer interested in, well, ‘fieldwork’.
The other two are something of a mystery. The Lodovka nobleman frankly shakes me a little. He is difficult to read, but I have heard tale of his skill with a blade as well as magic. His brother Jacek being baron means he may also wield a deal of political influence. As a Chelaxian sorcerer many look on me with suspicion, and given that it would be wise not to get on his wrong side. I would like to know him better, although I remain wary; he seems, again, a good man, but by all accounts relentless when wronged.
The halfling Lotho rounds out my roster so far, and is maddening. He professes necromancy as his vocation, but is deliberately unhelpful when pressed for details on his talents (admittedly, a wise move for him, although frustrating for me). I have asked Eoghan to keep watch on him. Eoghan, I think, is of like mind to me that sometimes things need to be done which don’t need to become common knowledge. The halfling may become an asset or liability. Common squeamishness aside, a competent necromancer is a powerful tool. I may have to force a confrontation to assert my dominance, but until I know the extent of his powers, that is risky. Certainly he is feared enough that, despite his mischief to date, he has not been called to account for it.
He keeps a familiar, which could be his weak point, should it come to that. I have found wizards to be awfully sentimental about such things.
All the more reason to find people I can call my own. I wish to do good for this nation, but I cannot do that unless I can see to my own safety.
I have been so lonely, for so long. Perhaps that is changing now.