Echoes of Invasion: Homeward Bound | Scene 6

Once in the study, Hepalonia makes formal introductions between Glammur and her father. She is not exactly embarrassed by her father’s reaction, but it is not as encouraging as she had hoped. As it turns out, bringing a strange dwarf smack into the middle of an elvish forest is a much bigger deal than she had realized. The scope of this exceeds the level her father is comfortable being responsible for. While Thrandolil is happy to chat with the dwarf about news and far-off events, he tells Heppa that Glammur will require an escort at all times and that suitable quarters, away from the family home, will be needed. And as soon as she mentions that she has brought back an artifact for him to study, he is done with the dwarf topic. 

Conveniently, Tric Manu has joined them by this point and is happy to take charge of Glammur. Before those two leave, though, Heppa’s cousin rifles around in his knapsack. “Oh! And the crystal was inside this thing.” He pulls out the creepy skull. “It’s made from at least four or five different creatures. Even just the teeth look like they are from two different ones.” He sets it down on Thrandolil’s desk, warning it, “Don’t cause any trouble.” Then he departs with Glammur. As they exit, Heppa and her father hear him asking the dwarf if they have ever ridden a horse or a deer. 

Once the door to the study has closed, Thrandolil opens his arms. “Give us a hug!”

“Daddy!” Heppa rushes into her father’s embrace. “We found a crystal. A walking corpse had it, and I screamed. I screamed, Daddy, it was so scary!” She pulls out the crystal, and he reaches out to take it. “Oh, wait!” she says, pulling it away for a moment. “Activating it makes a snowstorm on its own.”

“Well, how do you activate it?”

“Oh.” She had assumed her father would already know that. “Probably we shouldn’t do it inside your study, what with all the papers. It is big and windy and a little bit destructive.” She thinks for a moment on how to explain how to use it. Glammur was able to hold it without setting it off but then also triggered it when they wanted to make a point. “I think it requires intent to activate it. But I haven’t been able to study the skull because we were keeping them separate.” Her father takes the crystal and picks up the skull, trying to see how they fit together. “And it was on a staff,” she adds.

“Well, where’s that?” he asks.

“We had a traveling companion and we made a deal, so he took the staff and—”

“You gave away a staff?!” Thrandolil groans. The outburst is an uncharacteristic loss of control for the scholar, and he quickly reins himself in.

“But, Daddy, I got a crystal and a skull!” Heppa’s father assures her that he is not angry, but he presses her for details about the staff, since it is not here for him to study. She explains that she was not able to experiment with it by itself, but that her companion said it was easier to cast more powerful things with the staff. “He was able to separate casting with the staff from using the crystal, even with the crystal mounted on it. I’ve only experimented with the crystal,” Heppa says again, eying the skull in her father’s hand and wondering what type of magic it may possess.

“So you met some sort of human mage? Pity you didn’t bring him back with you.”

“He was going to come back with us, but he shied away. Maybe some other time, he said. But yes, he was interested in meeting you and talking to you.”

“Human magic is…” Thrandolil sighs. “It’s so different from elvish magic. They’re just not attached to nature the way that we are.”

Heppa wishes there had been a chance to get Kachen to try to use the crystal. She tells her father about how she, Tric Manu, and Glammur were all able to use it to create the ice storm. “And I haven’t experimented with the skull yet, so I don’t know if it does anything,” she reiterates.

“So there was the skull, and there was this crystal, and there was the staff,” her father sums up.

“The crystal was mounted on the staff, inside the skull. But I don’t know if the skull does anything besides hold the crystal.” I want to know!

“Interesting. Well, I suppose one crystal is a start,” Thrandolil says, unknowingly echoing Kachen’s words. “I’ll have to see if I can find anything similar in my scrolls…”

“Do you want to go outside and try it?” Heppa asks.

“Oh! Why yes, let’s!” Her father’s eyebrows shoot up at the idea. “Let’s be wild!” He places the skull on his desk, and they rush down the stairs and outside with the crystal shard.