Choose Your Own Adventure 74: Strong and Silent Type
Your choice from last time was to stand and wait, given that Thedane Lehhev clearly recognizes you, and then play it by ear.
The mage stares at you in silence for a little while, apparently trying to keep his jaw from hitting the floor. “Sev? Severel Mazurek? What…” He closes his eyes, shakes his head, and pushes back from his desk. “Is the guard still outside the door?”
At your nod, he walks past you and steps out the door, and tells the guard that it’s important, but that he’ll be taking you as your guest while you’re here. The guard says something about the unusual nature of your non-existent message, but Lehhev shoos him away and closes the door.
Once the two of you are alone, he turns back to you, concern flickering around his face. “What the hells happened to you?”
Finally, a thread of memory returns to you. You have to put in some effort to avoid echoing a conversation some time ago, about having become cynical. Now you remember… pieces. As a younger man, he was one of your first instructors in the use of magic. He had recommended you continue those studies… but already, you had seen enough of the world to want to protect the Empire as one of the Emperor’s Hands. He had thought you had given up something. You disagreed.
He had been a friend and advisor, even after you had stopped being a student. But, your friendship had been strained by the secrecy that surrounds the life of a Hand. And by Thedane’s imperfectly hidden disapproval of your career choice.
Without a word, you pull out the spellbook that has been the source of your troubles and drop it unceremoniously on his desk.
“What is this supposed to…” His voice trails off as he reads the symbols on the cover. With a wary look you have difficulty interpreting, he opens it, and slowly turns through the first few pages. Then he flips back and forth more rapidly, faster than you are capable of reading. You suspect he’s still skimming, but he eventually looks up, and says, “Do you know what this spell does?”
His expression hardens. “I won’t cast it for you.”
“If someone else had already cast it, could you dismantle it?”
“Oh.” He says, fear showing around the edges of his eyes. “Oh, oh dear. Hells. Maybe. I’ll have to do some research, and I’d need both targets of the spell. Who was it cast on?”
“Me,” you say dryly. “And I don’t know who the other target is. It will probably be difficult to find them, given that they’re apparently being supported by the Emperor, who made a very serious effort to drop me down a canyon.” You explain what was being done with you, and what you learned from the late mage Grescher. You leave out the less savory details of how you originally obtained the book, and about how many holes your memory has.
“Oh…” He seems to run out of words. “Well, I might be able to make a talisman that will indicate where the spell’s targets are. Perhaps. I’ll need to study the spell further, and I must learn exactly what they were trying to do.” He starts to walk around his office, choosing a book or two from the shelves surrounding his desk. Then he turns back, his hands full of books, and looks directly into your eyes. He says, “And even then, I have no guarantee that I can take it apart without making matters worse.”
You nod your acknowledgement.
Finally, he asks, “What are you planning on doing about all this?”
Option 78: Explain how you plan to confront the Emperor directly once you know more of what he is planning. Dismantling the spell is a second priority, since it can’t be activated so long as you are alive.
Option 79: Given this new information, your first goal will be to find the other target of the spell and take the spell apart. Then you will confront the Emperor.
Option 80: Your plan is to assassinate the Emperor — which, combined with an escape plan, will make much of his plans moot. Then you can deal with this spell and the consequences.