South East Tolaria

What Child Is This?

Dawn was breaking as Jason, Lily, and Mac (Child of Destiny) rode to the gates of Mollywhill. They became alarmed when it was revealed that the guards were seizing infants, and even small children at the gates, marching them away to a holding area nearby.

Thinking quickly, Jason wrapped Mac tightly in a blanket and then slung him onto the saddle to look like a bag of potatoes. The subterfuge worked, because after a cursory glance, they were waved through. Making their way through the early morning traffic to the place Lily called home, they never realized that Malcolm was on their trail, following them every step of the way.

Letting herself into her basement apartment, Lily immediately set about to create a magic circle in which to contain Mac. Jason began skimming through her small but impressive library for any information which could provide answers about what to do with Mac.

Their activities attracted the attention of Simit, the owner of the house. He had been drinking all morning and was in need to company and sympathy. A one-time courtier of the Prince of Mollywhill, he had been temporarily banished after some ill-timed remarks concerning the Prince’s grandmother. Deprived of his usual targets in the court, he sat and chatted with the fugitives, and chucked the Child of Destiny under the chin.

Jason, plying Simit with more drink, and Lily, plying him with the ghostly presence of Geoff, convinced Simit he needed a lie-down, and he departed, leaving the pair to the task.

Malcolm, meanwhile, had sought out his quarters at the House of the Wise, taking the opportunity to wash off the dust of the road, and change into some fresh clothes. He then reported to the Prince and the head of his order, the prophet Aya.

After debriefing him on what he had seen over the past few days, it was determined that it would be necessary to take a compliment of soldiers along if the Child of Destiny was to be recovered.

With 30 soldiers, and a small compliment from the Order of the Wise including Malcolm and Aya, it was hard to maintain any element of surprise. Simit, seeing the Prince march his forces down the street and into his garden immediately concluded the Prince intended to punish him further. Dashing to the basement, Simit burst in on Lily and Jason once more, this time demanding to be saved from the vengeful sovereign.

Jason grabbed the baby while Lily determined that the only way out of the house unseen was to go through the sewers which opened into the scullery. One by one, Simit, Lily and Jason dropped into the muck, and Jason pulled the cover over afterwards. Groping through shadow, they set off for the Southern Unitarian College where Jason was a scholar.

The Prince’s forces searched the house from top to bottom, but revealed no one. Realizing the house belonged to Simit, his disgraced courtier, the Prince concluded that Simit intended to seize the Child of Destiny for himself. He took his men and set off for Simit’s country estate, reasoning that Simit might have retreated there.

Aya was drawn to the magic circle found in the basement. She thought that the wizards who had the Child of Destiny might have used it to teleport themselves somewhere. Summoning two other seers from the Order of the Wise, they fashioned a spell which would act as a homing device. This was given to Malcolm to use to search the city, in case their quarry was still in Mollywhill.

The device lead Malcolm to the sewer grate, though the sewers, and to a small courtyard near the main market of Mollywhill. It even led him to the walls of the College, but there it ended.

Abandoning magic, Malcolm went to the gates and asked the porter if he had seen a young woman with a baby come through. The porter hadn’t, but allowed Malcolm to search the grounds. While his charm was no longer working, Malcolm was able to reacquire the trail of squishy footprints leading to building used to house professors.

After sneaking onto campus, Lily and Jason ran into Jacob, one of Jason’s colleagues. He agreed to take them to his own quarters, and helped wash them off. He also searched the library, bringing them several books of prophecy which was helpful in their research.

The most significant prophecy discovered spoke of a child with the heart of a warrior, would be born at a crossroads, and who would conquer the world.

During their intense discussion and research, Lily and Jason overheard a conversation in the hallway. Jacob, it seemed, had come upon someone listening to the door. The man, Malcolm, made out as if he was just a city inspector, but as the argument grew more heated, it became evident that, inspector or not, he intended to enter the room.

Forcing his way past the ineffectual mage, Malcolm instinctively ducked as he entered, neatly missing the candlestick being swung as his head by Jason. Lily let out a startled yell as Malcolm skewered Jason with his knife and proceeded to force his way in.

Geoff and Lily now attacked Malcolm, and although wiry and tough, the ectoplasmic blows raining down on this head proved to be too much. He subsided, and Lily stood triumphant for a second or two before Jason’s gurgles brought her back to reality. Sending Simit dashing into the college in search of a medic, Lily bandaged Jason as best she could, getting him wrapped up neatly. Together, they questioned the man who had hunted them since the inn the night before. It was revealed he was from the Order of the Wise, sent to collect the Child of Destiny so that it could grow and become a great warrior.

Jacob and several other wizards and university staff arrived on scene. They secured Malcolm and lead him away. Jason suggested there might be other intruders on campus, and that the grounds be searched. Jacob agreed, and the other wizards left, after admonishing Jason and Lily to lock the door after them.

At this point, knowing a little about the child, knowing the spirit’s only desire was to go home, and knowing that several groups, including the powerful Order of the Wise, wanted control of Mac, it was decided the best thing to do was extract the souls in an exorcism.

As Lily prepared for the ritual, Jason made his own preparations. He suspected Lily did not intend to free the souls, or to allow them home to rest. It was her goal, he realized, to control the spirits. Not the child, just the ghosts. If he could interrupt her ritual, they might be free forever.

As she was deep in concentration, Jason took one final stab at stopping her. His knife found her back and plunged in. Lily continued the ceremony while Geoff grappled with Jason. Suddenly, there was a huge explosion of light and Jason found himself looking into the eyes of a ghostly warrior, seconds before its sword pierced his body. The ghost army was free, and Lily was in complete command.


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