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The Slave Mage
A few days had passed since the initial meeting with the frost daemon, before Nostur’yl arrived once again to meet with those of the Cult of Infernal Necromancy. Smogg Azalin greeted the daemon lord within the lower hall of the tower and the pair quickly made their way to the relative privacy of the rooftop. There, the two discussed the frost daemon’s offer to retrieve the mage, and the occurrences over the days since Nostur’yl last visited. Once Nostur’yl was certain his ally understood the nature of the task, he departed, leaving Smogg to set about escorting the mage back from the dungeon of ice. 

Getting to the mage was far easier for the group assembled then it had previously been: a few well-placed gates and they were on their way. Even the red-bricked hall they entered seemed peaceful this day, showing no signs of the ice fiends that would hinder their path. As they would soon discover, the return journey with the mage would not be so simple. 

Although the frost daemon was nowhere in sight when the group entered the library housed in the back hall, as promised, the slave mage sat patiently awaiting their arrival. Words of greetings were offered between the party and the mage, known as Rathgith, before the business at hand was discussed. 

“We will take you safely to my tower,” Smogg began before being cut off by a question from Rathgith. 

“Why would I wish to go there?” the mage asked. 

Not understanding how the mage could be uninformed, Smogg attempted to explain, saying, “Nostur'yl and your master are working on a deal.” 

“Ahh...he may be my master, but I wish for something as well,” Rathgith said cutting him off again, “and since you are not my master, I will have it. My price is simple...for now.” 

Hesitantly, the leader of the cult asked, “Tell me then, what is it you desire?” 

“Merely recognition that you owe me a favor...one that I may come to collect at any time. That is my price, a favor I may name.” 

The bargain was agreed to by Smogg Azalin, “Very well, we have a deal.” 

“Very good. A few minor things… One, when I leave this place, I shall be vulnerable to attack, by everything,” the mage explained for the benefit of his escorts. “I shall also need to see the site where this column lies buried.” 

Guessing that Rathgith would likely be marked as a murderer by the laws of the land, Smogg asked, “Even city guards?” 

“My master has no influence over them. Outside of this dungeon, I have only a mage's power.” 

A discussion began over the best path they might take, one that presented the least possible harm to the mage. Scouts were sent off to check locations where they might cross over to the mainland of Britannia while other courses were opened for discussion. After a short while, the group agreed to travel through the dungeon of ice and take the exit on the far end that would lead to the mainland. And so they departed. 

While perhaps it was the safest path for the slave mage, the dungeon of ice proved most treacherous for his escorts. Monsters of all types, creatures more accustomed to the cold surroundings, blocked their path at every turn. Time and again their commitment to the task was tested, and time and again the group succeeded in defeating the varying ice creatures until finally the exit was in sight. 

Once back on the mainland of Britannia a gate was opened, taking the party and the mage they escorted to the tower where Nostur’yl awaited. Smogg Azalin brought the mage to the rooftop where Rathgith and the daemon lord were finally introduced. 

The basis for what Nostur’yl desired was conveyed to the mage, while he sat absorbing the words. When Nostur’yl finished, the mage presented two possible solutions, either a spell of protection to allow the daemon of fire to enter the water or a spell that would raise the post to the surface where it might be recovered. To best determine which spell to use, Rathgith again requested to see where the post rested. Arrangements were made for the Cult of Infernal Necromancy to escort the slave mage to where the post was thrown into the sea. 

While Nostur’yl’s allies made their departure, the daemon himself set off on a task to aid them. Prior to the mage having been brought from the dungeon of ice, Smogg Azalin had informed Nostur’yl that the alliance opposing him had setup a form of blockade around the posts location. Knowing this blockade might provide some resistance to the mage’s task, the daemon made his way to Rivendell, which the alliance had been using as a base of operations. 

As a means of distraction, the daemon summoned forth a small horde of hellhounds, beasts loyal to the daemonkin in every aspect, and set them to attack those about the town. As he predicted, reinforcements arrived from the blockade to assist Rivendell, just as Nostur’yl released the second wave of hellhounds and made himself visible for attack. The battle did not cause much harm to Nostur’yl or his foes, but rather lasted long enough for the group at sea to make their way to the sunken post’s location and depart again. 

Almost on queue, the mage and escorts arrived back at the cult’s tower at the same point Nostur’yl reappeared upon the rooftop, once again looking out over the waters. When the mage was brought to stand before Nostur’yl, the daemon quickly asked, “What was your finding then?” 

“The water is too unfavorable for you to enter safely,” Rathgith explained. “Therefore, I shall raise it from its location. However, I must research where the tomes and ingredients I require are located. I may need assistance in procuring certain pieces - I trust I can count on support?” 

With a nod of agreement, Smogg answered, “My cultists will see to it. I will put my lab at your disposal for this research.” 

“I shall leave you and Lord Smogg to the details,” Nostur’yl said to Rathgith before vanishing yet again. 

Published: September 2000
Please Note: Some dates are estimates as exact dates were unavailable.
Ultima Online ESRB Rating
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