The shadowy figure crept ever closer to the clearing in the woods, taking extra care to avoid the crunching of leaves and twigs beneath their feet. What should have been a short walk, turned into an hours-long trek through the forest. The skill of the shadowy figure was almost unparalleled as they seemed to float just above the fresh layer of fallen leaves. Without giving away their presence, the figure slowly approached the clearing in the woods.
“Ah hello there Moreno! It has been quite some time since I have seen you! Word of the heist is just reaching out here.”
Moreno smirked as he took a large gulp of cider from his tankard and then replied:
“I still cannot believe it went off that smoothly. I surely expected to encounter more of Britain’s guards during the incursion, but they could not get into the vaults. Just able to helplessly watch us as we ransacked the vault.”
Ansen chuckled for a few moments as he offered Moreno another helping of fresh fish and bread. Moreno reached for a portion of the fish and set it on a plate in front of him. As he inspected the fish, he looked over to Ansen and inquired:
“So this is what you are doing with your time now? Living out here in the woods, fishing?”
Ansen slowly nodded and replied:
“I have to admit, it has been rather relaxing considering the events that forced me into hiding. I have begun to appreciate what we have out here.”
Ansen motioned to the trees, the grasses and the sounds of nature and then continued:
“I do not miss the lust for riches and power.”
Moreno sat in deep thought for several moments before eating a portion of the fish. He then wiped his mouth on his sleeve and looked over towards Ansen.
“That is sort of where you come in, Ansen.”
Ansen looked up as Moreno continued:
“The particular section of the vaults we raided, that belonged to Moonglow. During the looting, I came across some old parchments that mentioned a very large, heraldic diamond. Of all the times you went down there, did anything like this catch your eye?”
Ansen sat back in his chair and sighed very deeply. After a few moments he reached forward to his pipe on the table and proceeded to light it. After a few puffs, he exhaled deeply.
“The Magincia of Old. The diamond you speak of is the very diamond that used to adorn their crests and banners. It was the largest diamond ever dug up in the old Magincia diamond mine.” Said Ansen. A look of curiosity came across Moreno’s face as he inquired:
“What happened to the diamond? Was it lost with the destruction of Magincia?”
Ansen shook his head and replied:
“The fools bartered with it. They basically gave it to the Council of Mages in Moonglow in exchange for magical supplies and protection.”
“From what I had observed on the parchments from the vault, it sounds like it is being kept safe in Moonglow. A second parchment also hinted at some sort of catacombs beneath the Lycaeum, do you know anything of the sort?” Inquired Moreno. Ansen smirked for a moment before laughing. After regaining his composure, he inquired:
“Surely you are not planning on a raid at the Lycaeum?”
Moreno nodded in acceptance to a straight-faced Ansen.
“By the Virtues, you truly have gone mad! I see, this is where I come in.” Muttered Ansen as he set his pipe down and reached for the open jug of cider on the table.
After sitting a few moments in silence, Ansen spoke:
“The catacombs are real. Only the eldest of mages are granted access down there. Located within, countless parchments, scrolls, writings; and I would assume the riches you seek.”
Moreno smiled as he replied:
“I have been having some trouble locating someone who has been down there. Someone with intimate knowledge of the passageways.”
Ansen pondered for a few moments before speaking:
“I can only assume there must be a map somewhere. Someone had to sketch down the passageways down there, no?”
Moreno shrugged as he took another sip of his cider. Ansen then continued:
“There are rumors of an exiled mage that once resided in the catacombs.”
“What do you mean exiled?” Inquired Moreno.
“His name is Hokar Felian. He is well, a vampire. That is why they gave him residence in the darkness of the catacombs. At first, he was very accepted amongst the mages, his vampirism simply looked at as an affliction. As time went on, his thirst for blood got the better of him. Only after several students mysteriously disappeared, was he accused and exiled from Moonglow.” Replied Ansen.
Moreno sat and pondered for several moments before inquiring:
“I assume if he can be turned, he could provide us valuable insight to the catacombs.”
Ansen nodded in acceptance as he picked his pipe back up and puffed it.
“Perhaps an assistant of his, or an old student perhaps could point you to where Hokar fled to?” Replied Ansen. Moreno finished his fish and cider before sitting back in his chair and relaxing a bit. The two continued to exchange pleasantries and stories for several more minutes in the relative safety of the clearing.
The shadowy figure, listening ever intently was rather disturbed by what she had just heard. She pondered about the possibilities of setting a trap should she reach Hokar first. Her attention again drawn to Moreno and Ansen as she heard the name of her fallen mentor “Ivasaar the Investigator” spoken…