In a high tower in Bemmea, two mages sit opposite each other with a table between them. On the table are two filled wineglasses and a strange device. One of the mages waves his hand over this device and a dark smoke emerges from it and wafts into the room. Tiefling Wizard Erramun the Sleepless and Teifling Archmage Exarch Vermes II are both members of the Ninemage Council.
Vermes: The Great Shadow of the East grows darker, my friend.
Erramun: So that is why you summoned me, My Lord.
Vermes: It cannot be ignored.
Erramun: No, My Lord. Indeed, it cannot. But what does the guiding eye of Sutemamel see?
Vermes: It sees much, my friend, but this is a long game, extending far into the future. I think we shall need to place one of our own there, surreptitiously….
Erramun: In the Empire?
There is a grim silence as both tieflings look into each other’s eyes, gazing deep into the dark soul windows, opened by the smoky magic emanating from the small device in the centre of the table.
Vermes: But possible….?
Erramun: But Lord, all of our members are too well known for such placement.
Vermes: There is the empty seat….
Erramun: My Lord, we surely cannot announce the death of Thelosiphus Duchang
Vermes: No, but even so, a position exists….provided it is not announced. The rituals may be performed without announcement. Salary and benefits can be secretly bestowed, and council anonymity sustained. We just need the perfect candidate. Someone who is prepared to be on the Council without being on the Council, if you know what I mean. You mentioned someone earlier…a young Caelmaran, I believe.
Erramun: The Rennaus boy.
Vermes: And you have checked his bloodline?
Erramun: Pure. But even better…it seems his mother is blessed of Hecate.
Erramun: He is currently in Bemmea tending to his sick father, although he holds position in the Arcane Collegium of Zobeck. A great orator and singer. He has a band – Arcael and The Oooze – you may have heard of them?
Erramun: Fairly popular in Zobeck they were.
Vermes: But we don’t want to draw attention.
Erramun: I believe they no longer play together, but the interesting thing is that this merry band are extraordinary adventurers in their own rite. They could offer just the the support he will need.
Vermes: Hmmmn……I shall confer with Sutemamel. Speak nothing of this to the boy for now. Let us watch for a few years more. We shall need financial support. The Council cannot be seen to be involved. I think I may have to approach our old friend, Alexei.
Erramun: My Lord, as luck would have it, Splitleaf is already a sponsor of Arcael and his Ooozes.
Vermes: The plot thickens. Let us keep an eye on this brew. Put markers on this Arcael and all of his companions. Let us watch these folk for a while.
Erramun: Yes, My Lord!
With the last of the smoke dissipating into the air, the two tieflings, relax and extricate themselves from their telepathic state, uttering mere words instead.
Vermes: A fine burgundy this.
Erramun: Morgau and Doresh.
Vermes: Darakhul have their uses.