Phaeton's Notes

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Spring 810

Finished my training on the 6th Snow 810. Stayed around the Guild and Carzala during Snow doing the usual things Guild Healers do around Yuletime and the period before and on Twelfth Night.

Been tracking the faint planet of Merlyn through the sky. It's been located rather close to Wotan recently so it hasn't been too hard to find but you need good eyesight and charts to identify it. Each clear night, I have been checking to see whether or not it is still visible as it has this strange behaviour of vanishing every so often. Doesn't seem to be a pattern but will keep an eye on it.

On the 1st of Ice I finally get on with something I should have done long ago. There's still that Third Great Act of Healing to do although it occurs to me that it doesn't have to be something spectacular. Maybe it could be a lot of little things adding up to one big thing. Or maybe it is more of a journey of self discovery. Irregardless of that, it is time to find out more about Diancecht, what I am meant to be doing, and maybe learn a bit about myself on the way. So it was off to the High Abby of Diancecht, located in Stuart country in Caledonia, in the valley under Castle Stalker.

It took eight days to get there, and I wanted to spend the time there as an acolyte, basically doing what acolytes do, attending services, eating the food, and learning as much as I could. Occasionally I would go out and minister to the poor offering comfort and healing when appropriate and required.

Missed the Guild Meeting but did receive a copy of the Seagate Times by courier where I discovered about Aryan's coronation on the second of Blossom. I felt I should attend, not just as a supporting Guild member, but as a healer, just in case the whole affair turned to custard. Besides, it was part of the plan to be back in Carzala during Blossom, but to catch the boat going down to Ebola would mean leaving a couple of weeks earlier than originally planned. So I decided to fly direct back to Seagate. Must put Star Wings on the list of spells to rank up next time.

Caught the boat. Wouldn't have been a good idea to fly all the way down there, not knowing the conditions, besides, I wanted to speak to Sir Christopher about certain matters, like is it worth attempting to organise a trip into the aether to check out the possibility of a dark planet between Wotan and Thunor. Haven't seen it yet but that doesn't mean it's not there. Besides, probably the only way to detect it if a star mysteriously vanishes when it passes in front of it, and that's not easy to notice unless it's a really bright one. The odds of that happening are ..... well ... not worth considering.

Attended the coronation .. and many of the resulting parties. Was busy dealing with the aftermath but these gatherings are a good place to make contacts. Been looking for a good source of clear glass with excellent optical properties in order to build a better spyglass and a skilled mechanician to build it. Maybe Rowan can do Binder things to it as well.

Summer 811

Spent nearly the entire quarter in Paradise. No, not the Paradise that some say awaits one after death but the one located in a valley on the Plane of Sol. What happened that I was asked by Sau Rus to accompany his party to the planes of Mithros in order to find one of the Guardians that could remove the curse that he was currently under - a rather nasty one. My part in all of this was to stay on Paradise and they'd head there if they needed my services as a high ranked healer.

My objective was to find out more about the planes themselves, especially Frigidia, and how they interacted. Part of that was to determine what was causing Frigidia to be so cold and whether or not it could be warmed up again to be habitable again. Healing an entire plane could count as the Third Great Act of Healing. One thing I did want to do was to zip around the entire portal network toi determine their locations relative to each other. It's a pity the original portal locator was lost. However, my sense of duty, and comments made by Sooty (mostly), convinced me that may not be a good idea. Neither would be exploring the area around Paradise, especially on my own. Given what happened to Starflower when she was doing it ... yeah. Besides, no matter what others might think, I'm not a complete idiot - maybe still a bit naive and too trusting. Besides, I know someone who would be very angry with me if I did do something stupid and have to be rescued.

One thing I did want to do was to map the night sky over Paradise and compare it with observations made by the party. As it happened, Imri was also interested in the night sky and offered to take the measurements. So I lent her my planetarium so she could see the stars in the night sky regardless of the time of day or weather conditions.

I didn't know how long this curse removal quest was going to take so I started by drawing the more recognizable patterns in the stars as well as noting their positions relative to the Ceslestial Pole and the time taken for them to transit relative to a fixed point. Initially I used a rather prominent patch of nebulosity as a reference point until I was able to calculate the position of the ascending node. Once the positions of the brighter stars had been determined I started filling in the gaps. Of course I was checking to make sure none of those stars were wandering planets. Those that were spotted were tracked from night to night so there was enough data to determine their orbits - and what they were orbiting around.

Initially I thought I was going to have to repeat the entire procedure for each of the planes until the party returned for a routine visit. To my surprise and delight, the observations and data that Imri brought back, once corrected for the ascending node, matched mine precisely. This meant that the night sky above each of the Mithral Planes was the same. This would make navigation much easier. Once I have these charts done up properly, I'll give Imri a copy as well as Grendel. Another copy will be left in Paradise and a final copy at the Guild. Imri should get a copy of my Alusian star charts as well as a reward.

Finally returned to Seagate just before the next Guild meeting

Autumn 811

A few days after the Guild Meeting, an alert went out for all avaliable healers to check in. Something really odd was happening in Seagate with people transmuting into monsters. Naturally I had to investigate and help out as best I can. It was quickly determined that a demon was involved and the victim had been perminently transformed. Not even death or resurrection would do it. My initial conclusion was a very powerful curse but I would have to wait for divination results. A party was quickly form to attempt to find the victims as they had fled to the hills. We also need to determine which demon was responsible. I will need to obtain guidance from Diancecht.

It took only a couple of weeks to clean up the mess so, once that was done, I headed back to Del Toro. Because I was unavailable longer than I expected, progress on the new Healing Hall had stalled between the drawing of the plans and the laying of ther foundations. So, a week or so after the Guild meeting, I decided that I had better get on with it. I also wanted to avoid any bounty hunters that were looking for Guild adventurers so I had the Guild Illusionists put on a Disguise Illusion and a Disguise Aura as well as asking for a Mind Cloak - just in case. Fortunately the trip to Del Toro went without incident and I removed the spells upon arrival.

The plans were approved by myself as well as the King and Queen and, after blessing and consecrating the ground, building was able to commence. Meanwhile I was kept busy continuing the training of the local healers, which the imported Caledonians had been doing while I was away, as well as polishing up the charts I had made last season plus observing the night sky from Del Toro, since there were stars there we can't see from Alusia. Have to add those to the Alusian charts .. and if I can get a large spyglass made, commission a second one and put it here. Of course the first one will be in Cazala.

It took two months to build the healing hall/shrine to Diancecht and once it was done, I was involved in outfitting it as well as the various ceremonies and consecrations required. Didn't get back to the Guild until a week or so before the Guild meeting.

Winter 811

Started some training in Mechanician, specialising in Optics and Clockworks. My eventual goal in this is to be able to build my own large spyglasses to look at the night sky as well as reasonably accurate devices in order to measure time during and between astronomical events.

Spring 811

Stayed at the Guild in order to provide healing services while Lady Jessica was absent.

Autumn 815

Getting a Ride to the Sun

The sun didn't rise the morning of the Guild meeting and where it should have been was nothing - a black void. The stars around it were the ones that the sun would have been in front of at this time of the year, so I can deduce that the sun was still there but had gone dark. The moon and all the wanderers had also gone out. How long this was going to last, there was no idea.

At the Guild, speculation was rife about what had happened but we did manage to conclude that the sun hadn't actually been eaten by a Dark Phoenix but, more likely, the fire elementals responsible for keeping the sun burning had neglected their duty and allowed it to go out. The arguments were still going in the meeting room when Kali and Corel burst in and asked for volunteers to assemble in the Courtyard. They didn't say what for, but I presume it was something to do with the lack of sunlight. Let's just hope that it doesn't get too cold too quickly.

I could have volunteered, but I chose not to, reasoning my place was here at the Guild, just in case something happened here while all our best and bravest were away. Besides, I had my own plans and started making enquiries for an aether flyer, in order to get to the sun as fast as possible and see what was going on. I could have tried to find the Ancient Elven Portals and use those to get to the castle that was put in near solar orbit but, deduced that there was a good chance that the facility had already been compromised and probably taken over.

Unfortunately, getting the loan of an aether flyer proved to be more difficult than I thought. Certainly I didn't get any response to my note in the Guild Pub so I had to resort to the only one I figured I'd be able to get access to, the Gentleman's Society's Spelljammer. Unfortunately that particular craft is rather slow, requiring three days just to reach the moon. Getting to the sun would take weeks, if not more.

The other thing about that craft, is that one cannot just point it at it's destination then go there. Not at all. It actually works better when respecting the Laws of Celestial Mechanics i.e. one has to calculate the most efficient path to get to where one wants to go, even if it isn't the shortest distance. One would think that, since the Sun is the centre of the Solar System, then one could point straight at it then go there. Unfortunately it is a bit more complex than that. At launch, the ship would share Alusia's orbital velocity, roughly 67 thousand miles per hour, and, in order to 'fall' towards the sun, one would have to lose that velocity, presumably by accelerating in the other direction and spiralling inwards. My best calculations for such a trip gave it a duration of roughly six weeks.

Clearly there had to be another solution. That was when I remembered that the Beth Salem city had managed to enhance it's spelljammer helm with a special helical crystal that had been discovered in an abandoned research facility on the shore of Mare Tranquillitatis on the moon. Maybe there was a chance that there was another one there. If so, we could install it and get to the sun in minutes rather than days.

Selling this idea to the Gentleman's Society meant going down there and seeing them in person. Fortunately that was fairly easy to do, by using my Star Wings. For a Solar Mage, casting under these conditions would be rather difficult, but, this Life Aspect that had affected everyone proved rather useful. It was a short flight to the centre of the Sea of Grass and then through the portal to Pasifika, and knowing the stars as well as I do, made navigation fairly easy. Not even clouds could get in my way.

Upon arrival, I found my way to where the Society Headquarters were on Rangiwhero and managed to convince them to loan me their ship and a crew for an expedition to the moon.

To The Moon

Once we were ready, we took off, settled into Alusia orbit until we reached the point where we could apply power for a Trans Lunar Injection. The trip out took three days and was uneventful. Fortunately the navigation calculations were accurate enough to get us close enough to the moon to swing around it. At the point opposite Alusia we applied reverse power to get us into orbit.

A few orbital course corrections later we were aligned correctly for a landing. Again we slowed down to drop out of orbit and coasted down to the surface. We were getting close to landing when the lookout reported we were heading straight for a crater full of boulders. So it was a case of applying power to pull up a bit then coast back down until settling on the sandy sea. Nearby the cliffs soared up towards the star filled sky.

None of us had any idea where abouts these ancient research facilities were but we suspected they would be near where Mare Serentatis joined on to Mare Tranquillitatis. So we sailed off in that direction and started searching the cliffs. Either the Gods were with us, or we were lucky, but we soon found the tracks the previous party had left and soon we had gained entry to the research area. Much to our relief, there were no signs of Selenites. Unfortunately, no immediate sign of another warp crystal.

One rather extensive search later we did find one. It looked more like the prototype version and it had a crack in it. A divination told us it might work but we may have to be careful as if it did break, it would stop working and we'd be back to a rather long trip home. Well, if that's all we can find, it's what we're going to have to use.

To The Sun

We had to basically lose the orbital velocity that Alusia has in it's orbit, in order to fall towards the sun, so we lifted off from the moon and left it's orbit in a direction opposite to the way that Alusia was going. Yes, I know that sounds strange but, in the space between worlds, everything is moving relative to everything else and our ship had been sharing the planet's orbital velocity all this time. So, being careful not to strain the crystal, we picked up speed, and was able to accelerate a lot faster than we could, soon reaching velocities that we hadn't been able to achieve before. And yes, as the maths said, we soon started to fall towards the sun, even though we couldn't see it. We could however, observe the stars behind the dark disk being blocked.

The immense distances though meant it still was going to take a few weeks just to 'fall' that distance so, to speed up the journey, we applied more speed so we would get there in just a week. We could have gone faster but, in order to get into orbit, we would have to lose all that speed again, otherwise we would slingshot straight past and end up with a very long trip back.

The trip was uneventful until we were just a day out and slowing down. We were already well past the orbit of Ariel. Ahead of us, the dark sun loomed large, making what appeared to be a hole in the stars. Just then, a light appeared on the disk and started to spread. It was very soon apparent that the sun was reigniting and, if we kept going, it was going to get very hot in a matter of hours. We had to abort this mission and get well clear of the sun.

There was a lot of arguing over what we could do but there's no arguing with the laws of planetary motions. Turning right around and accelerating in the other direction would take too long as we'd still be going backwards, towards the sun, for a while. All we could really do was to try for a higher slingshot orbit and pour as much power into the spelljammer helm as we could so we could get past the sun and away before the oncoming wave of light and heat reached us.

As the most powerful mage on board, and being a Solar Celestial, it was felt I had the best chance of pulling this off. The heat was already beginning to build up and the sun was already getting rather bright ahead of us. We had to shield our eyes. Even my Protection of Light was hard pressed to deal with this.

I summoned up the power required and the ship instantly seem to 'blink'. There was a brief impression of us being somewhere else, but then we found ourselves stopped. I felt, while others heard, a resounding CRACK coming from the helm. We later discovered that the flawed crystal we had installed had broken into at least six pieces and was now rendered useless. We were drifting - as far as we could tell, and everything around looked very unfamiliar. Were we lost in space?

To everyone's immense relief it was soon ascertained that we had gone right past the sun and were still somewhere in the Alusian solar system. That was when the sun flared up behind us. From it's apparent size, we had gone well past but not quite as far as Alusian orbit, and now, with the power crystal broken, it could take us weeks, or even months, to get back to Alusia - once we figured out which tiny dot of light was Alusia.

Just then, what appeared to be a gibbous white shape appeared in front of us, amd we were heading straight for it. Checking our position against the stars soon told us we were close to Freya and we were falling towards it. I had used up all my spell fatigue so another mage had to take the helm and get us into orbit. We still had a problem though. Even though we knew where we were, Alusia was still at least three months away at best speed - and it would require another close pass to the sun to get that.

Back to Alusia

The solution, in hindsight, actually was rather obvious, once someone thought of it. All we had to do was fly into Freya's atmosphere, find the island near Perelandra where the portal to Pasifika is and use that to get back to Alusia. Someone actually calculated that dissembling the ship, passing the pieces through the portal, and reassembling it on the other side, would not take as long as it would to spelljam the ship back.

So, that's basically what we ended up doing. The crystal was removed from the helm and examined. It would be possible for it to be magically repaired but, it would never again be able to enable faster than light speeds. Still ... it might be able to get enough speed to make a journey out as far as Thunor feasible. The possibility of trying to get to Wotan or even Hela was mooted. And, with a bit of luck and a lot of planning, maybe distant Merlyn could be reached.

I spent most of the remainder of the season doing services with the new Pasifikan Order before finally returning to the Guild.