The Principle Pieces - Part IV

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   Dupre knocked on Nystul's door. It opened a few moments later and Nystul, still looking worse for wear, greeted the two men.

"You have the books?” Nystul walked to his desk.

Dupre grinned and pulled two books from his pack, setting them before the weary mage.

"Was there any trouble retrieving them?" Nystul asked.

Geoffrey chimed in, "A small bit, Nystul. We dealt with it appropriately."

Nystul grimaced, "How many did you kill?"

Dupre grinned again, "None."

"Though there will be two guards who will be in need of some rest...well at least once they regain consciousness.” Geoffrey beamed.

Nystul let out a sigh of relief. "This faction business is bloody work, but I am glad to see you two have kept your wits about you. I loath having to kill anyone, though I realize we do not always have that luxury. I thank you both for retrieving the books. Leave me now to find the information that I seek."

"Nystul are you feeling well?” Dupre looked concerned.

"Aye, friend. I am still a bit weary from my encounter with that fiend," Nystul frowned. "Now both of you go about your regular business. I know you have more leads to follow in your search for Tyball, Dupre. Now both of you be gone.”

Dupre looked to Geoffrey. With a nod, they turned and left Nystul to his books.

Geoffrey and Dupre walked together in silence. A short distance into the main courtyard of the castle, Geoffrey turned quickly on his heel, bringing his companion to a halt.

"Dupre, I fear for Nystul", Geoffrey said.

"Aye, I do as well. I have never seen Nystul so shaken. ‘Tis my hope that re-creating the bell will return some confidence to him.” Dupre explained.

"Indeed. I would hope so. Cleansing the shrines is vital to regaining our hold on Felucca and rooting out that witch."

Dupre turned and began walking again. "I must admit I am concerned that she knew where to find the bell, and even more concerned that she could destroy it."

"Well, from what I have been told, the bell, candle, and book are magical - but all the same they are still physical objects. I suppose that makes them vulnerable to such destruction."

"I suppose. Well, I am off my friend. Farewell,” Dupre intoned, and, with a tired wave to his companion, he headed off towards the main gate.

Geoffrey responded with his own "Farewell" before turning to walk back into the castle proper.

"Geoffrey", Dupre called back, "Keep an eye on him."

"Indeed, friend, indeed."

Dupre and Geoffrey joined Nystul in his room the next day. Though still weary, Nystul beamed, glowing with pride. He had found the information that he was looking for.

"I have compiled a list of components to recreate the bell. My only fear is finding some of these components.” Nystul sat down and pushed a scroll across the table to Dupre.

Dupre and Geoffrey both read the scroll over.

"Nystul? These are rare components to say the least.” Dupre frowned.

"Yes milords", Nystul grinned, "I have the utmost faith that both of you will be able to find them all for me in short time."

Dupre and Geoffrey looked at each other and both gave a low groan.

"Now gentlemen, you are two of the finest men in this land. I am quite sure you can enlist plenty of good men and women from the various townships of our realm to help you find these objects. One word of caution: the other groups out there will be apt to try to stop you. I am sure Anon is furious that we have the Book of Truth and the books you two 'borrowed' for me. Minax destroyed the bell, so I’ve no doubt she would do everything in her power to stop you from finding these components.

“Finally", Nystul paused. "Finally, Revlo and those shadow worshipers. I am not sure if he is even human any more. I just know he is powerful. I fear perhaps even more powerful than I. Please, both of you, be cautious."

"Nystul, you were not prepared for him. Do not doubt your ability.” Geoffrey said.

"Aye", Dupre added, "I would sooner have you at my back than any other mage in this land, Nystul."

"Kind words, friends, but I am a practical man.” Nystul spoke softly, "Now both of you go and bring me those components. Quickly. We must cleanse the shrines. They have been left corrupted too long. Shamino is on his way here this very day to do his part, once we have all the items we need. We have the Candle and the Book, but we need that Bell remade. Every day the shrines remain corrupted will make cleansing them that much more difficult. So make haste, my friends."

Geoffrey and Dupre nodded, grabbed the scroll and were off.

Nystul eased back into his chair.

"Take care friends. Take care."

From the Britannia News Network - The Journal of Ultima Online, February 9th, 2001.