Choose Your Own Adventure 68: On Your Own Recognizance
Your choice for this time — thank your old friend Karret Beleyev for her help, and go to Alederik on your own.
Commander Beleyev returns to her camp, and you tip-toe your way out of it. You find the horse she left for you, and use your standard tricks to ensure you are neither seen nor heard as you leave.
Relative to your previous journeys, your travel towards Alederik is relatively unimpeded. You suspect that Beleyev is running interference for you.
Thus, you reach the city gates with a minimum of difficulty. Getting in is more of a challenge. The guards will surely be watching for someone of even roughly your description, even the the clothes of a messenger, and you vaguely remember from your previous training that they will almost certainly have someone looking for the invisible.
There’s a shanty town outside the city walls, occupied by those too poor to find residences within. There’s also a small market, where a certain amount of trading takes place… particularly involving material that is difficult to get past the noses of the city guards. With some of the money you have left, you have enough to buy a set of mage’s robes. Once you have them, you take several hours in a back alley at night to create a more complete illusion, which changes your face, your height, your hair color. The illusion will only last a few minutes once you trigger it, but it should be enough to get you past the city guards.
Luckily for you, it is. One quick comment about visiting the mage’s academy is all you need to get by. Then you find a quiet alley, and let your normal appearance reassert itself beneath the mage’s robes.
What you remember of Alederik is as you remember it. The usual crowd of merchants and travelers flows through the gates. You are surrounded by the smells of oil and metal, horses and sweat and dust and manure. A beggar here and there tries to call for alms above the din along the main street. Footfalls and cart wheels make solid noises against the stone pavement. Here, the crowd is your best disguise. You make sure you keep your face turned away from any of the city guards who may pass by.
The mage’s academy is one of the increasingly tall and grandiose buildings. At its pinnacle is a glittering illusion, which you suspect is maintained by the students as an exercise. It’s different from when you were last here… an angular, glittering collection of rotating crystals, instead of the whirling of dancing ribbons. You can’t remember the other details of your visit, or exactly who trained the Black Hands in the magical arts in addition to the martial ones. Even though you put in some effort on that task as you ride down the other side of the street.
Then you have your second challenge: how to gain admittance. There are a couple of private guards watching the main entrance, and it looks like they’re checking papers for everyone going in.
Option 71: Using your disguise as a messenger, state that you have an important message for Thedane Lehhev which must be delivered personally.
Option 72: Using your disguise as a mage, state that you are a visitor looking for Thedane Lehhev.
Option 73: Turn yourself invisible and silent, and try to sneak in through a ground-floor window.