18th Eleint , The Year of the Warrior Princess (1489 DR) DR (Dale Reckoning)
The moon was rising as Feanar made his way up to the entry to Reidoth’s home. He had returned from a quick herbalist errand for the druid. The rest of the party was likely asleep now, save perhaps Harndur. Feanar had meditated earlier in the evening for enough rest when Reidoth asked him of his knowledge of plant life. Satisfied with the answers Feanar gave, he had sent Feanar off to gather a few more common items for some reason. Having found all the ingredients Reidoth asked for, Feanar approached the exterior of the home and softly spoke the command words Reidoth had taught them all. The Briar-thorn thicket covering large portions of the exterior of the home parted on command.
Reidoth had quite cleverly concealed his home beneath a layer of enchanted plants and illusionary facades to give it the appearance of being far more ruinous and ramshackle than it in fact was. In addition the exterior gave the appearance of being home to a large number of beehives that also had the look of being quite natural and random, when in fact it was a sophisticated apiary Reidoth had set up. He was able to collect large amounts of honey and comb as both food and for use as wax. Feanar moved quickly and quietly up the path to the entryway, the thicket parting and closing behind him as he passed. He reached what gave the impression of a collapsed wall and doorway, once again speaking the command phrase the rubble silently wavered and disappeared to display a heavy bound oaken door.
Feanar operated a number of combination latches in the sequence Reidoth had instructed and then inserted the key he had been given. The locks released and he was able to swing the heavy oaken door inward. Lantern and candlelight illuminated the entry as Feanar walked in closing the door behind him. The magic mechanical locks re-secured themselves of their own accord. Feanar took off his deep green sylvan woolen cloak and hung it in the coat room before entering the keeping room from the entryway. The room was empty and the whole house quiet. He walked through the keeping into a parlor that in turn led to a drawing room with bookcases that stretched to the high ceilings. The room was long and had extensive woodwork throughout. It was well appointed with a number of plush fine pieces of furniture. At the far end was a large walk in fireplace with a solid fire burning. The night outside was clear and very crisp as fall began to march towards winter in the ruins of Thundertree.
Feanar quietly picked his way through the library/parlor as his new allies were all quite asleep in it. Harndur the Sylvan elf was in here as well in a deep meditative trance seated in a plush chair in a far corner opposite the fire place. Erza the wildling gnome was curled up on a large round ottoman in front of the chair Harndur was in. Across the room Varis the human ranger was lying on his back on a couch. Buh, the half orc was sprawled on his back on a bear skin rug in front of the fire, and although breathing deeply he slept surprisingly quietly. His companion Orsik was another matter and he snored in such a way that Feanar was always surprised the dwarf was able to speak at all in the morning. Orsik was asleep on his back on another couch “calling to his gods” as Varis put it. Finally beside one of the couches, and underneath an end table with his back against the wall lie their cut-purse urchin from Waterdeep, Algares, his position meant to guard his own back was the only way he could comfortably sleep. Feanar thought it a bit sad while simultaneously quite practical. All were illuminated by the light cast by the popping fire. Feanar gently placed another good sized piece of wood into the fire and then moved to the exit on the opposite side to the stairwell.
Reidoth told him prior to leaving to take the stairs up to his occulatory where he would be working. It was located at the top of a round tower like portion of the home within a dome. Feanar ascended about three floors to the hatch-like door into the occulatory. It opened into a large airy round room. In the center was a raised round dais with a circular set of stairs leading up to it. In the center of the dais was an elaborate seat that had all manner of gears, dials, and various mechanisms associated with it. On an arm extending from the seat was a sort of mobile that had a number of large crystal lenses hanging from them. Around the perimeter walls of the room was a raised catwalk that rounded the entire structure, it had a number of rolling ladders that led up to it. On the catwalk was a series of grips that to Feanar’s astonishment allowed a single person with little effort to pivot the entire top half of the domed structure.
Below the catwalk were a number of workbenches piled with a variety of tomes, tools, and alchemical apparatus. Feanar saw Reidoth seated across from the entry at a desk he used. There were a number of lanterns hanging throughout, however the room was not brightly lit. It was also somewhat exposed because of it’s function and while there were no elements to penetrate into it, the air was quite cold. When Feanar reached Reidoth he took out the sack was given by the druid and set it on his desk before seating himself in a chair next to the desk. Reidoth spoke without looking up from a text
“You found everything? Even the Canis Root?” He asked Feanar. “Indeed, even the Canis Root, although it did prove to be as challenging as you said it might. I must be honest my herbology is probably not what should be expected of a druid’s apprentice.” Feanar dryly joked.
Reidoth looked over his book and across the top of his glasses, “Well, no one is perfect, and Harndur needed rest.” Feanar smiled and sadly agreed. His kin Harndur had been busy consoling comrades and burying their dead, to say nothing of nursing wounds from their battle with Venomfang, the emerald dragon that also resided in the ruins of Thundertree.
“I am curious why you needed these herbs and items this evening Reidoth?” Feanar asked.
“You and your companions have chosen to leave a few days hence and I thought I might prepare a few poultices and elixirs to aid you in your quest. Your plan to assault Cragmaw is nearly as suicidal as attacking a dragon in its lair.” Reidoth answered. Reidoth paused and looked up towards the roof and then back to Feanar, “Care to see my occulatory in use?” he asked smiling a bright smile.
Feanar looked up, “Indeed, I’ve puzzled over it since I first saw it” He replied.
“It’s a quite an ingenious device really, not my own invention I must admit, but a close copy of a design likely originally made by the your kin the High Elves many ages ago.” Reidoth explained while walking up the circular stairs of the dais. When they reached the top he grasped a heavy looking double latch lever and threw it. The roof above them parted by about a third revealing a starry sky with no moon.
“I’m thrilled to have such a clear night getting this late in the year. Viewing can become all too infrequent when the fall weather turns foul.” He continued, explaining to Feanar as he seated himself in the elaborate mechanical chair in the dais’ center. Reidoth began to manipulate a number of the wheels and dials on the chair, he peered through what looked somewhat like a sextant aiming lens and also pulled a lever or two connected to the chair and apparatus as well. There was a mechanical noise and Feanar looked up to see a pair of circular rings that traversed interior surface of the upper part of the dome structure he hadn’t noticed before. They were turning opposite one another but stopped shortly. Set within the rings were a evenly spaced set of round mirrors. A number of the lenses pivoted and twisted about in front of Reidoth’s seat and they soon obviously began to arrange themselves in a kind or order.
Suddenly the light of the stars above began to be focused, and a beam of pure starlight was formed by the lenses on the apparatus. The beam was in turn bounced off the mirrored rings in the ceiling until suddenly before Reidoth and Feanar a lighted map of the sky itself was illuminated in the very air around them. Feanar hadn’t noticed, but all the lanterns had been extinguished, and there was no other light in the room save that cast by the star field floating around him in the dome. Feanar was stunned by both the beauty and the ingenuity of simply aiming the proper types of crystals, at the proper time and angle. The academics of it all was truly impressive. Reidoth spoke and drew his attention, “Wonderful device isn’t it?” he queried Feanar. Feanar was still marveling “Indeed it is, of course I have to ask other that being able to, and the obvious academics involved, as well as the beauty, what is the practical use of it?” He asked of Reidoth.
“An excellent question friend Feanar, my answer would be to walk with me.” Reidoth led him a few steps from the chair console “Here we stand and view the stars as they appear from roughly where we are now, in our world, on this half of Toril this is what we see, on the lower half of our sphere there would be different stars to view, now, follow me.” Reidoth then led them down the stairs and up one of the ladders to the catwalk, across, and somewhat behind where they stood on the dais. “Now, where do you suppose the stars appear as this?” He asked Feanar. Feanar paused before answering and then was forced to admit “I’m not certain” he replied. Reidoth smiled “That is one of the uses of the device, to discern our sky and what it means not only from our perspective but from other realms and realities in the ether. To more precisely answer though it is likely this is what the stars appear to be from Moradin, High Father of all Dwarf kind and his realm”.
Feanar pondered the answer before speaking “Then it can serve as a kind of guide or map for the navigation of the realms of the gods?” He asked. “Yes, and a the lower planes as well, and all the myriad of paths and realities that both fiend and angel tread. It also shows the grand movement of the multiverse. In these times we now live in we are also shown there is a convergence that happens but once every few millenia nearly upon us, when the distances and barriers between realms are shortest.” Reidoth answered. Feanar examined the stars and then asked “Clearly something these followers of Tiamat must be keenly interested in” Feanar observed. “Yes, oh yes indeed, it is no coincidence they have chosen this time to asset themselves and take the actions they have.” Reidoth answered. Feanar again paused and then asked “Is there anyway to capture this information and carry it, or relay it?” Reidoth smiled “Yes, yes there is Feanar, there is indeed”…