@HowlsOfWinter@Milkman@WolfredWolf@Steel Legion@Shadow Dragon
"We can only be as sure of it as the sources tell us, but they all say this place is about three centuries old. That claim can be corroborated by architectural and artistic evidence, but I suspect that would be pointless at this point."
"And boring" Alyssac chimed in. Cyprian would have said something, but Taranis spoke first.
Cyprian shared Taranis' concerns. It was odd that no defenses had been activated. Then again, it was possible that the defenses would have been turned on in the event that a mage with enough power attempted to breach the walls instead of using the key.
"I'm not sure, but if Anthedon was anything like the mages of today- and that's a bit of an assumption on my part- he would likely have summoned magical guards as defenses, possibly summoned creatures from another plane, some golems, maybe even animated suits of armor." He stopped when they were a few dozen yards from the octagonal building.
"That building- it's practically emanating magic. Could it be-?" Cyprian advanced behind the rest of them. The style of architecture was reminiscent of a mausoleum, yet the magic coming from it wasn't necromantic.
"Amon, I think you ought to know that the 'tower' we're heading to is a tomb. From what I know, that's right up your alley. I have to ask you now not to tamper with anything you see in there. If my suspicions are correct, the tomb is the source of this palace's magic, and I have a suspicion as to why."
Alyssa ran ahead to keep up with Taranis and MacClatch. She'd never run on such a hard, smooth surface before, and she didn't like it. The pavement was too clean to be natural, the stones didn't give and bend under her as soil or grass did, and unlike actual rock, this was completely smooth and tough, lacking the subtle imperfections which gave nature's ground its distinctive character.
With some of the group behind him- he didn't know how many as he didn't look back, Cyprian approached the massive bronze doors of the mausoleum. Carved into them were scenes from the life of someone in robes, obviously the sorcerer Anthedon. The panel in the upper-left hand corner depicted his birth, and the others going from left to right, and down for five levels depicted various acts of heroism, culminating in his betrayal and demise. He reached out for the doors, finding that they opened with but a simple pull, much to his surprise.
Glancing into the palace, the party could see a large sarcophagus lying upon a raised bier, surrounded by four tall candles, all still burning and in such good shape that one would assume they had been lit moments ago.
"Lilith, Taranis, could you please join me in casting a spell of detecting magic? I don't think we need to be mages to tell that this room is saturated with magic, but it would help immensely if we could tell just how much there was. And if I have to say it, that's Anthedon, or at least his tomb. His body still has magic inside of it. Oh, I had hoped he'd be here, but not like this. His being the focus for this place's magic complicates matters."
The warmage felt a mix of admiration and pity for Anthedon. The great sorcerer had bound himself here in death as in life. His soul, his magic, his very essence permeated every wall of the palace. As such, he would never pass on to the afterlife as long as the focus remained intact. In theory, simply blowing out one of the candles would end the enchantments which kept this place intact and hidden, but it wasn't that simple. It would take more magic than the entire party had to be able to tamper with the focus or cause it any true harm. His reverie was only broken by Alyssa's sudden comment.
"If you're going to stare at the dead guy, mind if I look around this place some more? You said these palace had baths with hot running water?"
"Yes. The baths are likely the building parallel to this one. Alyssa, I don't think you understand the magnitude of our discovery. The tomb of the greatest mage Omicria- possibly the world- has ever known, and you want to take a bath in his palace?"
"It's what he would have wanted, I'm sure" she chuckled. "And I'd like to check out some of the trees. There's a grove of 'em just outside the walls. Saw' em on the way over. They look magical."
"I thought I was the expert on that around here." He paused when Lillith and Taranis came into his line of view. "Well, one of the experts. What makes you think the trees are so special?"
"For one, they look like they were posed there, like they had been bent somehow. For another, I don't think Antydon or Ampigon or whatever would have planted anything around here without a reason, if he's as obsessive as you say he was."
"Methodical. Anthedon was methodical."
"Well, whatever he was, I'd like to check his stuff out. Anyone else with me?"