I am, quite frankly, mystified by recent events. The baffling experience of the day has me stupefied. For reasons that I am afraid I am unable to even fathom, four of the most capable Wizards of War that Princess Alusair Obarskyr, the Steel Regent of our fair realm, was able to send, for this specific purpose no less, were unable to summon a fire elemental to be bound into the failing Mythallar. Perhaps I am merely revealing my ignorance in these thoughts, but I have heard tales since my time as a boy about wizards summoning forth great and powerful elemental beings, and then binding them to their will. I have seen with my own eyes elementals formed from the stuff of earth and air, summoned by the elves of Evereska, and bound into service for the protection of the city. Why then can these four, no less powerful than the elves I suspect, not summon forth similar beings.
Stranger still were the events that followed that revelation. Upon our arrival in the City of Brass, the Efreet gate guards freely responded to Sir Marren’s question. When he asked it, I thought him a fool for being so direct with a race known for their wily trading skills. But there it was, an answer, forthright, freely given, and as it turns out, honest. How bizarre. How utterly and uncomprehendingly bizzare. Has the entirety of the multi-verse gone stark raving mad?
And yet things get weirder still. The trader to whom the gate guards had so kindly directed us, was an efreet unlike any I’ve ever seen. Standing at only eight feet in height, and outweighing the guards by almost double, he looked more like a flaming boulder than a powerful genie. And yet, how could he have indulged so, when his skill at bargaining was clearly lacking so? To freely give one of your own race an item of great value with naught but promises in return is fool enough, even when that race is so well known for their honor, but to give another race, especially humans—a race certainly not known for honesty—that same deal? Foolish! Stupid! Ignorant! For a moment I thought cleverly so, but no. Here I stand, unharmed.
Then, upon the fields of fire, not one hundred paces from the city’s own gate, we found four elementals and the gem that the trader had asked us to obtain as payment. What luck? Or what mockery! What god in the heavens set this up so, and for what no doubt nefarious purpose? It matters not. If it were a trap, it failed. If it were a test, we decimated it so, as to make it irrelevant. If it were amusement, it was short.
After the battle, we could have easily left without presenting payment to the foolish efreeti trader, and in fact most of us did. Sir Marrin, however, always the implacable knight, felt honor bound to give the gem over in payment as agreed. And how he is no doubt torn over his decision. He likely stands in agonized internal debate, not because of what he did—he would never concede to that being a foolish decision—but because of what he missed. Everyone of us, save the noble Purple Dragon Knight, stood, however briefly, in the presence of a god. And not just any god, no, Sir Marrin’s own chosen deity, Helm. Through the Chalice of Amaunator we traveled to the House of the Triad, and even though we never got past Everwatch and its guardian, we stood within the presence of the divine. For my part, I was… unimpressed. Cyric beware.