Who is the Duke of Time?

The question of Zebulor remains uncertain. At first he seemed to be a lowly street urchin fallen on bad times, but as we became further acquainted a mysterious past unfolded itself.

This all culminated recently with Zebulor’s death at the hands (or claws) of Brand in the Arcanin Guild Hall. Brand had been brutal. His corpse was charred but still recognisable. Without powerful divine magic, it was clear that Zebulor would not return to this Material plane. We mourned the loss of our friend.

So we were very taken aback to find Zebulor alive and well in a hidden sub-basement of the Arcanin Guild, with our mysterious gold-masked friend Nathan hiding close by. Along with him, we found spell scrolls on how to create a body duplicate and various materials that can be used to make a clone. Most importantly, this Zebulor 2 was lying or at least hiding something. Both Ace and Yanika have reassured me that Zebulor 2 is in fact, not a lich, nor an undead, despite the similarities. But it is worrying.

The first hypothesis is that Nathan seized the opportunity to create a copy of our deceased comrade to spy on our group. But testing Zebulor 2 over the next few days revealed that he at least has all of the memories and same behaviour tendencies as the old one. If it is a fake copy, it is close to perfect.

This of course, leads to a very disconcerting suggestion, has Zebulor been a spy for Nathan all along?

We were tasked by Torrok to find Zebulor based on a set of charcoal drawing. Back then he seemed to just a lowly street urchin without any discernible skills except a talent for magic. He proved himself useful and integrated himself into our group after Har’Hak was dealt with the first time.

Despite our offer, Zebulor refused to move in with me and Ace, but instead opted to reside with Aitlas’ family. It always seemed a bit odd, but looking back now, one can consider that he did not wish to close scrutiny, knowing that we have expertise in identifying deception. Instead, he hight have seen a much softer target in Aitlas and his family, who had recently suffered a familial tragedy. Zebulor integrated himself into the family of Aitlas with little effort and kept up the innocent charade of not being able to read or write.

Many times when the situation became overly dangerous, such as when we were dealing with Brand, Zebulor opted to stay away. At the times, it simply seemed to be motivated due to fear as would be reasonable for someone who grew up on the streets and learned to cut loose when things get too tough. But now we are left to wonder, if this might have created opportunities to report back to Nathan at key times or to safe-guard his cover as a virtually immortal master of magic and deception.

In addition, Zebulor had a tendency to appear with new magical items. He claimed that these were gifts from mysterious benefactors. However with what we know now, I can hardly believe we were not more suspicious. Is this perhaps part of his true persona and is h slowly acquainting us with his power. Or are these rewards from a very grateful master?

Over time, we learned more about Zebulor. He was part of a gang, which can be easily dismissed as many urchins on the streets of the Racks join because of protection. But who knows what kind of skills he picked up in this time. However, more recently, we learned that he was also a performer at the Reverie. There he put on a show as the Duke of Time. By this time, we also knew that Zebulor is a more than competent actor. In fact, I have no doubt that with his skills, he could keep me and my companions fooled for weeks. At the time, I did not question this as we trusted him. But now we no longer have this luxury.

We had been given many hints that something was off about Zebulor, that his soul did not match his body. But alas, I am no expert in the arcane arts, and simply suspected that this had to do with his intrinsically magical nature. After all, he shares many commonalities with Ace in regards to the way he does his magic, and she is also a bit of an exceptional case. But now it seemed like this is part of his elaborate cover. We must wonder at what point Nathan replaced the real Zebulor, or if there was even a real Zebulor to begin with. Had he been tracking Torrok before, had he gained access to the charcoal drawings, did he manipulate events that we would pick Zebulor up? Or did Nathan already know about the pyramid of Arrisia and simply planted his spy long before any of us were aware of it. Perhaps it was simply happenstance that Zebulor came into our group and have we all been pawns in Nathan’s chess game to enact whatever revenge or evil plot on Himmin. It is perhaps no coincidence that our rise to fame and power happened shortly after we met Zebulor.

In the past few days, Zebulor has taken up a fascination with Eliander, the son of a noble family that Kayne is investigating. And I am wondering what the angle is here. Is he trying to convince us of his childlike innocence by playing out a crush? Or is he trying to get close to the noble family and learn their dark magical secrets? It may be no coincidence that they too seem to have returned from the dead.

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