“Pass me that rod over there will you?”
Lut looked over to the table Yanika had pointed at and rummaged a bit through the bits scattered on the surface before retrieving the small steel rod she had mentioned. He walked over to where Yanika was working on the Anti-Portal Device and handed it over. The redhead smiled in appreciation and fitted the rod into the right place.
“So, it was Jeeren’s key that led you to this place then?”
Lut asked with some curiosity to his voice. Ever since he had been appointed as assistant to Yanika, the girl had been telling her all about the adventures they had been having, and in particular on how they had ended up in Baltia.
“Well, we got the glass key from Jeeren’s stuff and Ace got the location of the tavern Magpie from him. So obviously we went to check it out and as soon as we approached the inn, the key started lighting up. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the place? It’s this rather rundown tavern in the Racks, run by a changeling named Krek, and the only thing they have to drink is this horrible excuse for a beer. Now I’m already more of a wine person myself, but will take a good beer if nothing else is available. But this stuff would be an insult to sewer water.”
Yanika picked up a couple of screws from the table and sorted through them until she found the one she needed and dropped the rest back down. The Magpie had been a quaint little place and someone who put in a bit of effort could certainly turn the place into something interesting, but as it stood, it was just a rundown shack with horrible beer and equally horrible food.
“Ace talked to the owner a bit, explaining the situation and how she got the location and the key, before disappearing through the backdoor in order to go and complete the tests to get into Baltia. We didn’t know about Baltia at that point of course, in all honesty, we had no idea where the key would lead to. The rest of us just waited in the common room for her to return, and after a while Krek informed us that Ace had succeeded in the tests and that it could take a while before she returned, if she ever returned. So instead of just hanging around and waiting pointlessly, I went to visit my girlfriend Emine, and tell her that we had caught the puzzle box thief.”
It had taken a few hours before the news had come that Ace had returned, so Yanika had gone to pick up Kayne, and then had headed back to the Magpie, making a stop at the office along the way to inform Selke that they’d probably be gone for a while.
“The next morning we headed through the gate to Baltia and got taken to your leader, Maytra, as apparently Ace had told her that we are good at solving problems, and might be able to deal with the trouble you have in the Tome Ward.”
Lut pointed to the device Yanika was building.
“Ah so that is what this thing is for then? I had been wondering why you were building a device that implodes portals. Not that I’m not grateful for the opportunity to learn high end artificing like this.”
Yanika grinned at him and nodded, fully realizing that she was probably the worst teacher in the world. She had requested an assistant to help her in building the Anti Portal Device, something she really needed a better name for, but in all honesty she didn’t really need the help, but she could use the company, something to talk to while she worked, and with Hellix not there, she needed someone else. So instead of explaining what she was doing, she had just been telling poor Lut all about their adventures.
“Maytra explained to us that the Tome Ward had been infested with some dark green fog, centered on the Sanctuary of the Fallen, filled with demons, and it immediately made us think of what had happened in the sewers in Himmin. Hence why I immediately said we’d need to build this device, as that is how we dealt with the portal causing these problems in our city. So after some more chit chat in which your leader told us some of the history of Bastia and where it came from, Kayne negotiated over the payment we’d get for this, and then, when we had come to an agreement, Rillovan took us to this place, so we had a place to stay, with a functioning workshop for building this Portal Imploding Contraption? Does that sound better?”
Lut let out a short laugh at the suggestion and nodded.
“It sounds better for sure, though it might still need a little bit of work.”
Yanika grinned widely in return.
“Maybe I should ask Kayne, he’s the one giving everyone nicknames anyway. Maybe he can come up with a good name for these things. Anyway, I realised that I would need quite some time to build this thing, and that I was lacking one very crucial component, namely an item attuned to the Abyss. So I went to talk to Maytra again and she informed me that the only place to get this is by talking to the Oracle, but that this is a dangerous endeavor. She gave us a gift that we could take to her, in order to placate her a bit.”
While Yanika had gone to talk to the leader of Bastia, Kayne and Aitlas had headed back to Himmin to secure some Potions of Law, in order to be able to pass through the fog, but of course they had not taken Ace, or the key, so they had no real way to return to Baltia. Luckily they had realised this in time and Ace had gone to Himmin after them to fetch them and guide them back to the floating city. When they had returned, the group had headed to the Orrery in the center of the city, to have a talk with the Oracle.
“I must say that the Orrery is a bit of a creepy place, with lots of ruins and lots of skeletons everywhere, the only kept place being the temple in the middle, which sported the symbol of a Golden Owl. While we approached the temple, we noticed that we were being watched from two sides, one a set of red reptilian eyes, the other yellow. The owner of the red eyes came out first and turned out to be a Bone Naga, an ancient evil undead guardian. Ace tried communicating with it, which didn’t work very well, and presented it with the gift we had for the Oracle, which it promptly took and receded. It was then that the other guardian showed its presence, and this turned out to be a Guardian Naga. It asked us what we were doing there, and after I explained our purpose, it said we could pass, but told us that we’d probably not get back the gift from his brother Guardian, and told us he wouldn’t assist us with dealing with it. Eventually we decided on getting some living sheep in order to trade it for the gift, and that worked.”
The Guardian Naga had also informed them that the Oracle is very vain about her appearance, being a Medusa and all, and that they should be wary about making any comments about it. Yanika’s first thought had been that it was probably wisest to not touch the subject at all. Avoid the entire confrontation all together. They had thanked the Guardian Naga for it’s assistance, before heading into the temple itself.
Baltia, the floating city