Assistant Researcher's Notes, Halls of Erudin
I have been Zal'Urid's apprentice for several years now, and have witnessed his ingenuity and enlightened insight first hand. I guess I should have surmised that one day Zal'Urid would challenge Erudin in some capacity, I just never thought he would engage in open debate with the Erudin council itself. Yet there we were, walking through the city of those we once considered enemies, preparing to meet with those who shunned and stood against us for so long.
Zal'Urid said little as we approached the council hall itself. I could tell that he was lost in thought, no doubt going over his research in his head, anticipating questions and counterarguments that would come up during the debate. Occasionally he would ask for a specific page or manual, but other than that, he said nothing. He didn't even seem to notice the Deepwater Knights escorting us, and only gave a dismissing nod or wave of his hand to the attendants assigned to us when they asked if he required assistance or refreshments.
While my master mused silently to himself, I took the time to observe my surroundings. I had never been to Erudin before, and I was impressed with the beauty and craftsmanship of the halls, pillars, fountains, and artwork placed throughout the city. Everything seemed to open and tranquil, but I knew that the people that lived here were a stark contrast to the city itself, choosing to be oppressive and judgmental of magics they feared or didn't understand. They would never be as enlightened or learned as those of us who called Paineel our home.
Finally we arrived at the waiting chambers, and were instructed to sit and await the summons from the council. Zal'Urid nodded courteously, and took a seat near a large marble table. I sat across from him, and set his notes up where he could reach them. I then turned and looked toward the large doors leading into the council chambers. I couldn't help feeling a sense of dread, knowing that even though the scholars of Erudin and Paineel were now working together, my master and I were entering this chamber as enemies -- opponents to the great plan of the residents of Erudin?.
As he worked on what I assume were his final notes, Zal'Urid must have sensed my unease. "What troubles you, apprentice?" he queried.
I hadn't expected him to address me at all. I was taken aback by the break of his silence, and it was all I could do to muster up a response without stammering like a fool. "My apologies, Master," I replied. "Being here, in this place... I never imagined we would be facing the Erudin council this way. I can't help but feel a sense of dread."
Zal'Urid continued to work on his notes when he responded. "Why is that?" he asked, "Do you not trust my research and findings?"
"Of course, Master!" I responded quickly, sensing the veiled annoyance in his voice. "But, it's just that there will be many of them in there, what if they align against you..."
"They were fools before the alliance between our cities," he answered quietly, never raising his voice, "And they are fools now. My research is sound, whereas theirs is not. The surest way to win any debate, apprentice, is to have the correct information before that debate starts."
Zal'Urid had long been skeptical of Erudin's plan to construct a new Nexus. When the plan was proposed by the Erudin High Scholar, El'Arad to work jointly on its construction, I could immediately tell that Zal'Urid sensed that something was amiss. He never spoke about it much, but he immediately sent me into the libraries of Paineel for dusty tomes and books buried far within the shelves -- to this day, I have no idea how he knew those particular works were even in there. However, he pored through them, making notes and charts, not sleeping or eating for days. His research was very methodical -- he never seemed hasty or rushed, and he would check and double check everything he recorded. I was the only one allowed to visit him during his research, and even then, he would not allow me to set eyes on his calculations or research notes.
Eventually he emerged, with notes in hand, and called for a session with Coriante Verisue and her council. I'm not sure what transpired in that meeting, but when Zal'Urid emerged, he was certainly not pleased, and retreated immediately into his study chambers. This repeated twice more, both with the same result. Whatever my master was looking for, he wasn't finding it with the leadership of Paineel.
Late one evening, I received a summons from Zal'Urid. He asked me to meet him within his chambers promptly. When I arrived, I could see that he had prepared for a journey of some sort. When I asked where he was heading, he did not answer. Rather, he commanded me to load the pack steeds and make ready to depart. We were leaving immediately. There wasn't much to pack, mostly tomes, charts, and notes -- but there were a great many of each of them.
We traveled for some time, our trip made longer by having to stick to the shores to avoid Toxxulia Forest. When we arrived at our destination near the shore of the? Vasty Deep, I was surprised to see that we were greeted by none other than Deepwater Knights. At first I suspected an attack, but they appeared to be welcoming of my master and me. When I was assisting with the unpacking of our provisions and supplies, I noticed that Zal'Urid had walked off with one of the Knights -- the captain who had greeted us. I could not make out their conversation, but it seemed that my master was talking and the Knight was listening and agreeing. This was something I had never imagined I would witness in my years.
As it turned out, it was Zal'Urid's intention to meet with and address the High Council of Erudin. He met with dignitaries and high scholars over the next couple of days, as we waited for the Council to convene and hear my master's testimony. Now, that time had come -- as I sat nervous and in apprehension, Zal'Urid continued working and studying, exemplifying the rigid dedication to knowledge that helps define our people -- the one trait that unifies all erudites across Norrath.
Finally, the large doors creaked open, and a tall man, dressed in the gold and white of the Council, stepped out. "Master Zal'Urid. The High Council of Erudin will see you now."
"Very well," my master replied. He patiently gathered up his notes and his charts, stood, and nodded to me, indicating that I was to follow. Together, we walked into the council chamber of Erudin.