Grayson looked concerned after putting down the letter from his friend, Tanos. He leaned in his chair, a slight creak in the floor as his weight shifted backwards as he thought more about Tanos’ words. What little sunlight that escaped the trees surrounding his cabin danced on the table, illuminating the letter that he had just read. He closed his eyes to ponder on its contents.
His longtime friend Tanos, better known in the realm as Sir Tanos Hrafnar of the Cast and Knight of Osterra, sent a letter to the realm at large giving thanks to the funding of Sunbringer, a sword forged to combat the demonic leader Ferdinand and his forces. Portal warriors from far and wide attended its creation, many who were ready and willing to donate their coffers to fund its steep cost. Including Grayson, who’s humble earnings added up to 4 Electrum coins (equivalent to 40 gold pieces), which he fully intended to give gladly. In the end, the bill was paid in full by a few of the more wealthy adventurers. Grayson’s coins now sat next to the letter on the table.
The detail that worried him the most was the sword’s composition. In Tanos’ letter he revealed that the dwarven smith Copperbeard used a piece of Ferdinand’s own armor, still seeped with demonic corruption, as the main blade. Another worrying attribute of this sword is its magical components. Copperbeard has seemingly attuned the magical runes of this sword to only be usable by a single individual, Tanos himself. So not only can this sword only be used by him, but he alone bears the weight of any demonic influences that may seep into him through its wielding.
Grayson has known Tanos for years, meeting him less than a year after he himself came to Osterra. He was there for Tanos’ knighting ceremony, and joined him and the Cast on many adventures thereafter. Grayson was invited to join the Cast on multiple occasions, but he was already set on helping other friends in Cedar Hill, as well as continuing his early magic tutelage under Meryn. He was also there for Tanos after he escaped the demonic realm, in which he was trapped for months due to a cruel trick by Geth. He appeared out of nowhere in the dead of night, delirious and covered in soot and flesh wounds. Grayson and Dima, another member of the Cast, tried their best to calm him, holding Tanos back as he viciously lashed out at Geth. It took a while for him to recover his mind, but he eventually returned to his stoic self. That was only a few years ago, which held many adventures since. And not once was he more worried about his friend than now.
Grayson rose from the table to collect ingredients from his cupboard. Long ago during the First Plague in Osterra, he learned how to create an anti-corruption potion, a recipe known only to a select few. He planned to craft some of these, as well as a few spell scrolls of Remove Curse, and send them to Tanos, in hopes that they would at least ease the burden of whatever darkness that may influence him. As he set his copper cauldron on his table, he began preparing the ingredients.
While he worked, Grayson thought of the runes mentioned on Sunbringer. Runes were powerful magics, which he remembered from his time in the Academy. Runes are used to imprint a magical purpose on an object, giving said object properties based on the spell that the rune represents. In his experience, runes can either be a binding sigil, or the source of focus for a spellcaster. Grayson interacted with students from other magical academies in his home plane, and has seen runes being used on amulets, weapons, wands, staves, and even spellbooks. He’s even apprehended rogue mages with sigils carved into their skin, using the rune’s properties as an extension of their bodies.
Never in his memory, however, has he heard of a runic alignment that actually binds an object to a single individual. The ramifications of that, while on the surface may seem helpful, is a double edged sword in Grayson’s mind, and somewhat ironically so due to Sunbringer being such a blade. If this blade truly is the only way to defeat Ferdinand, and if the unfortunate happens with Tanos falling in battle, who would be able to defeat the demon general then? Would we be able to get Tanos to safety, as well as secure the sword?
Grayson moved the cauldron to the kitchen, now full of diced and powdered ingredients. He filled it with water gathered from the nearby creek and sat it on the counter, starting the long wait for the ingredients to slowly soak in. With that done, Grayson could now focus on the other research he had been conducting. He began clearing his table in preparation of making it messy again, chuckling at the thought. Books and scrolls were pulled from his shelves, and he began to skim through his materials.
Sunbringer was not the first magical weapon present in Osterra, nor will it be the only one wielded in the coming conflict. The Sword of Sylvia is the most well-known, reforged by the Osterran adventurers and gifted to the members of the Grove. The holy bow Lightbringer is held by Sir Randy of the Wardens, which was created at the same time as a holy claymore for the Catalpans (of which the name is unknown to Grayson). Even his guild mate, Siegfried, wields a lance imbued with divine power. All these weapons, though very powerful against demons in their own right, will not matter if these select warriors are outnumbered.
It was because of this thought that Grayson began researching how to make his own. Or, at the very least, an enchantment to allow others to wield a holy weapon.
The overall concept made sense to him, imbuing the powers and intentions of the caster into an object to give it magical properties. This kind of magic has been known to the Portal adventurers for years, in the form of armor enchantments. But that was for armor, the enchantment made to stay in place and repel an outside attack, temporarily protecting the wearer from a strike or two before dissipating to nothing. What Grayson wanted to accomplish was a longer lasting enchantment that wouldn't disappear after a few strikes, as well as an enchantment that radiates the properties given in an attack, instead of keeping it in. That's the only way he could think of making functional magic-infused weapons, but that was easier said than done.
Grayson began casting the spell Holy Armor on his mace, which held until he struck a surface with it and used the charge. At his current skill level, he could cast this spell seven times a day until what he called “spell fatigue” hit, in which he couldn’t use that specific spell anymore. He noted how the spell would affect the surface of his mace, creating a near-invisible barrier around the head, and how the charge would release after use. He went outside to strike a practice dummy, noting the damage left behind compared to strikes from an unenchanted strike. He also noted the ribbon that he used to bind the spell, a red ribbon with a single white stripe that held the spell in place, which was the way most Osterran ward magic worked. Perhaps he would need to look into the color theory of magic? Or maybe change the configuration of the stripe?
Today, unlike days previous, he was hit with inspiration after thinking of Copperbeard and Sunbringer. He did not know of the specific runes used for the blade but perhaps he could mimic the idea, creating a rune of his own to bind the spell stronger than a simple ribbon. With a rune bound to the correct type of ribbon, the spell should theoretically keep. Many of his own holy magics were based on incantations, but if he could somehow channel his intent into a binding rune, it might work. After weeks of experimentation, Grayson felt that his goal was within reach.
Hours later, after hitting spell fatigue for the Holy Armor spell, Grayson began filtering the debris from the cauldron, the concoction inside now a deep brown color. He poured the contents carefully into a large glass jug that he obtained from Foster, which made filling the smaller potion bottles much easier. He packed a small wooden crate with 14 of these potions, and added the spell scrolls in between each bottle. Lastly, he placed a sealed letter addressed to Sir Tanos within the twine bindings of the package, which would be delivered to the postmaster in Trinity tomorrow morning. Hopefully these help, Grayson thought as he looked down at the potions, because they’re not the best tasting.
Grayson found a number of texts containing color theories on magic, and decided to use a blue ribbon as a binder for the rune that he created. One general consensus across these writings for the color blue was that it represented both healing and the throat chakra, the governing body for communication and conveying inner truth. He felt that since the magics here are incantation based, he would need to state his intent with strength and truth in order for the spell to work. He drew his new rune on the ribbon in black ink, a symmetrical symbol within a circle, and attached the ribbon to his mace. Grayson noted the time, stood over the table with a hand over his weapon, cleared his throat, and read his created incantation from his spellbook:
“By the will of Altheda, Goddess of light and protection, I, the Cleric Grayson, using the magics that flow through this world and beyond, bless this weapon with the powers of the Goddess. With me as a conduit, I instill upon you the duty to remain righteous and unwavering in the face of overwhelming evil. May this weapon act as a beacon for all things holy and just, and vanquish the darkness of this world!”
A light flashed from the weapon so bright that Grayson had to shield his eyes, then vanished as quickly as it came. Papers were blown away from the table by a slight gust of wind, and when he opened his eyes, the first thing he noticed was the color of the rune. The black ink he used was now white, with a slight sheen as if made from silk. Excited, Grayson performed the spell Divine Holy on the mace, and almost cheered at his findings. The spell worked! He detected divine energy from the weapon, similar to the energies he sensed from the other holy weapons, with an emphasis on divine. “By Altheda…” he exhaled, eyes locked on his mace while leaning on the table.
He gently picked up the mace, noticing that there was no obvious change in its weight. He swung it from left to right and again, noticed no changes. He sensed the energy it radiated, but because Grayson never wielded a holy relic himself, he wasn’t fully sure if anything would feel differently. He carried it gingerly outside to the practice dummy. He swung at the barrel-chested torso of the target. Upon impact, he noticed a slight flash where the mace head connected. Grayson observed that the impact point differed from the strikes he made earlier, now adding a slight tinge to the dents, as if the metal was burning hot. He carefully felt the mace head, which was cool to the touch. Grayson struck the target again, with the same flash occurring. He continued swinging, blow after blow, flash after flash, until he began to breathe heavily. Casting Divine Holy on the mace again, he was glad to see that the spell not only was still active, but also didn’t diminish in its power.
Grayson went back inside and placed the mace back on the table. He then grabbed a sword that hung by his door, the same sword he used over a year ago to avenge the previous owners of this cabin. Placing it next to his mace on the table, he prepared another rune on another blue ribbon, tying it around the hilt of the sword. He read the incantation again, and with another flash the affixed rune changed from black to white. His Divine Holy spell now showed that two holy weapons were in front of him. With newfound determination, Grayson began to draw more runes on more ribbons, determined to find the limit to this spell.
The sun started its descent in the western sky, and the air chilled around the cabin as Grayson began lighting his candles. On his table sat a comical pile of “holy weapons,” comical due to the “weapons” in question. His actual available weapons included his mace, sword, dagger, and hunting bow, while the other three included his walking stick, a fork, and a spoon. They were all outfitted with the same blue ribbon with glowing white sigil. Like his Holy Armor spell, Grayson concluded that he could bless seven weapons or objects at a time before spell fatigue, which would come in handy to arm his friends in the next battle against Ferdinand’s forces. Or, he had joked earlier, eating a demonic bowl of soup with a Blessed spoon.
As he admired his success, he watched as one of the runes faded to black. Alarmed, he carefully picked up the ribbon, noticing that it was attached to his mace. He set it aside, and made a note of the time using his sundial. Nearly four hours, he thought while comparing the current time to the time of casting noted earlier. Not permanent, but a great start
Grabbing his paper and quill, he began to write a letter to the realm, eager to share his findings with his fellow guild mates and Portal adventurers. As the runes on the other weapons began to fade, he was confident that his work for the past few weeks would save many in the realm, and bring Osterra one step closer to victory.
(OOC) To the past readers of mine, I would like to say thank you for your continuing support! Based on my previous writings, I hope the switch from first-person to third-person point of view wasn’t too confusing. I felt it was a better feel for this story, as well as I am stuck on this style due to a current original project that I am working on. I’m also sorry that this wasn’t as “action-packed” as my previous entries, as I didn’t feel like it would be necessary for a magical research story. This came from an in-game worry I had for my friend Tanos (Chris), and the chance of corruption that he might face, as well as a celebration of sorts for learning the spell “Bless Weapon/Item” and reaching Tier 6 in my character’s progression. I’m excited to use this spell in-game, as well as helping defeat Ferdinand once and for all!
And as always, thanks once again to Skip and all the game organizers for such an amazing game/world/story. I hope to continue in this world for many more years to come!