Zg Session 82

After leaving Resal, you headed back to Vendricce on your mechanical carriage, arriving a few hours later. Booking tickets for the train the next day to Sid Minos, you stay overnight before boarding the Avery Coast Express the next morning.
Aleith|DM: Every few hours, you notice someone trying to scry on your party, though there seem to be a few different versions as time goes by…
The train pulls into Sid Minos at 5:25 PM on Winter 23rd, right on schedule.
Zane spends a lot of time sharpening his weapons. A *lot* of time.
Aleith|DM: Kasvarina remembers that she was planning to march with the rest of the Eladrin on Alais Primos in the memories that she does remember, so you're heading over to the Crisillyr capital now.
Aleith|DM: When do you want to arrive? It's a 7-8 hour trip with your mechanical carriage. If you leave now, it'll be about 2 AM, or you could wait until morning.
Chandrasekhar spends his free time chanting the most ominous shit he possibly can under his breath.
Zane: "On the one hand doing this at 2 AM would be the most hysterical possible time to strike. On the other hand, we probably don't want to deal with all the people we'll have to kill as a result."
Kasvarina: "I don't know exactly what happened there, but, I doubt it's going to be pleasant." She glances at Chandrasekhar. "After all, we know what happened there five centuries ago…"
Zane: "Yeah I'm betting that's what the memory is going to be about."
Zane: "No offense, but I suspect original-you was full of shit when you told people you weren't there."
Phyllis wavers a hand. "I still see one possibility otherwise."
Kasvarina: "At Resal, I said I was teleporting across the world and that's how I avoided dying, yes? I feel like that was the truth, but…I wonder what I was doing then."
Zane shrugs. "I'm just real good at expecting the worst of people, occupational hazard."
Gerald: "We'll be finding out shortly anyway."
Kasvarina: "How do you want to play this out?"
Chandrasekhar: "…we should warn them. Pull diplomatic strings if we have to. I don't want to start a war between anyone and anyone over this."
Gerald: "Well I mean it's not home tuff, you're technicanically not supposed to be out and about, and we probably don't want to accidently responsable for spoarking a city wide riot… *probably* ought to talk to someone offical like there and give a heads up."
Chandrasekhar: "We've all already shed enough blood."
Zane: "Well shit if Singh *and* Gerald are on the same page…"
Gerald: "I totally agree on unannounced midnight viewing being *way* funnier, though. Just a bad idea long term."
Aleith|DM: Alright, sounds like you're staying the night in Sid Minos and leaving in the morning.
Chandrasekhar: "I like your style, Mr. Bieito. I just want that on the official record."
Aleith|DM: Kasvarina checks with the Arc in the privacy of your carriage, and can feel a few different pulls from near the entrance of the city.
Aleith|DM: There's a couple of pulls from inside the gate, one from nearby outside the city, and one further out, a bit away from the gates in the middle of the farmlands.
Kasvarina: "There's multiple memories here, both inside and out of the city…"
Aleith|DM: So, who do you want to talk to about this whole 'getting permission' thing?
Is there anything like a Risuran embassy in town?
Aleith|DM: There is, actually.
Gerald: "Shounds like this'll be an all day event then I guess."
Phyllis probably has a few contacts from the earlier parts of her life. If they're still alive.
Chandrasekhar would probably head in that direction, for starters, flash the badge a few times, explain that there is going to be Some Shit Happening, official business, investigation into something something Delft can bury it in a pile of official paperwork later they have a world to save and Chandra speaks bureaucrat fluently.
Aleith|DM: While you're talking your way past secretaries and
Aleith|DM: and bureaucrats, Kasvarina with a couple of the others checks around town, and finds the other two in here seem to be inside one of the many churches and the other is inside the Jenevah Grand Librarium…
other two memory events
Aleith|DM: The ambassador wants to know what kind of access you're going to need.
Gerald‘ sends Chandra a list of locales after they’re done scouting via message feather.
Chandrasekhar provides the list of locales - recommends guards posted, areas cleared out if possible, warnings given that there might be significant illusionary effects visible by passers-by, asks if there's any specific time that day that would be better for this. They can wait around a little while!
Zane: .
Zane: 3
Ambassador: "It'll probably take a day or two to organize some of this-the Librarium in particular, I'll have to speak to the head researcher there, Ken Don-but the church, that's probably fine after tonight's service. I'll send the Minister here with you to talk things over with them… If the events outside of town are as big as you think they are, it's probably best to leave that for tomorrow night, after we do some talking with the guards and the inquisitors…"
Chandrasekhar bows gracefully and clears up loose ends, makes a mental note to put in a good word for this guy back home provided everything goes off without a hitch. "Thank you, ser. We just don't want to put the people at risk."
Aleith|DM: A few hours later, you head to a church near the entrance of the city.
Aleith|DM: The minister and Chandrasekhar talk to the pastor there at this church of Isabeth, goddess of love and healing, and 10 minutes later he gives you permission to take a look around the church for your investigation.
Aleith|DM: A couple of guards and an inquisitor are escorting you and to make sure nobody comes into the church while this is happening.
Aleith|DM: The pastor watches from the side, after getting the warning that there's probably going to be some kind of illusions going on while this happens.
Phyllis conjures one - a transparent, shimmering dancer that exists for a few ephemeral seconds - to demonstrate.
Chandrasekhar does an investigation of the premises before anything else happens, because he /doesn't trust anything or anyone in this city/, but everything's probably fine and he informs the others of what's going on.
Aleith|DM: When the memory event starts, Kasvarina is off to the side of the aisle, lying on one of the pews as it changes into a cot before your eyes. A couple dozen injured eladrin are lying in the room on the cots, and the man with salt-and-pepper hair you saw in Resal-Nicodemus-is tending to the eladrin. Curtains divide the cots, and while listening to him talk to the patients, they seem to magically muffle the sound.
Aleith|DM: For safety he has chained the wrists of each patient to the nearest wall, and he keeps most of them semi-conscious with regular low doses of soporific drugs. (As Garrett and Zane can figure out)
Aleith|DM: Where the church’s rostrum is in the present day, Nicodemus has set up a small bookshelf and apothecary table.
Aleith|DM: This memory-event flickers occasionally in an actual montage that spans nearly a month. Every day Nicodemus treats wounds and talks to a few of the lucid survivors to earn their trust. Eventually he asks them their own religious beliefs, their opinions on the war, who in Elfaivar might be sympathetic to a truce, and whether they have any family they care for back home.
Aleith|DM: He speaks to Kasvarina too, who at first hates him since he’s a priest, and her husband died in the first holy war fifty years ago. Nicodemus explains that he was raised in the Clergy, but he no longer has faith in it; afterward he never wears his priestly robes when he tends to her.
Aleith|DM: One by one, the eladrin die or are carted away by soldiers. After a week (which passes in the montage in a matter of minutes), only four eladrin remain, including Kasvarina.
Aleith|DM: From the calendar in the room, you find that it transpires between Summer 81 to Autumn 15, in what would become 1 B.O.V.
Aleith|DM: On the night of the 14th, when Kasvarina has mostly regained her strength, he removes her chains and they have a long conversation. It’s clear that by now she’s come to trust and respect him. He’s done a masterful job making her rely on him while letting her keep her anger toward the Clergy and the war. And this night he finally makes his proposition: he wants to escape the city with her, then travel to Elfaivar and open a back-channel negotiation with the ranamandala (ruling circle of kings and queens). If they agree, they can come back and speak with some hierarchs he trusts.
Aleith|DM: After a long discussion of the risks and routes they’d have to take, Kasvarina agrees. But, she asks, what of his other patients? At this point he shakes his head, and says that for several days she’s been the only one left here. He gives her a bit of medicine and tells her to rest so she’ll be strong in the morning, and soon she falls asleep.
Aleith|DM: Then he goes to the three other survivors one by one and gives them their 'medicine.' They drift to sleep, and he calls guards to dispose of their bodies. Once the last other patient dies, the memory-event ends.
Aleith|DM: When Kasvarina sits up from the pew as the church returns to normal, she snarls, "that snake!"
Chandrasekhar: "…the ones who express sincere belief in the Gods die; the ones who don't, but are too injured to travel are let go. He was… looking for the right… Goddess damn him."
Zane: "Wow."
Zane: "I really need to figure out how to cut his throat and make it stick."
Gerald: "Oh wow no wonder he didn't try and pretend that he loved her before."
Kasvarina sighs. "I wonder just how different he really was in Pala…"
Chandrasekhar would stare slightly judgementally at his own necklace except it'd be weird and also probably a bad idea considering the circumstances of location.
Gerald: "Honestly given the way he opperates,"
Gerald: "I'd say maybe twenty percent of it was genuine - just enough to really sell the lie and keep his cover up. Not any more than that though."
Gerald‘ scratches at the back of his head. "Sorry, that probably sucks to learn."
Kasvarina: "It’s alright. I knew some of those Eladrin. It helps me remember just how much I want to stop him now."
Gerald: "I reckon the rest of these events are going to suck equally as much, but they're not gunna watch themselves so…"
Aleith|DM: The pastor lets you go, quietly. He doesn't seem to have been trying to listen in on the conversations, and mostly just saw someone tending to patients.
Aleith|DM: The inquisitor nods quietly to you. "Tomorrow evening at the Librarium, right?"
Phyllis is also setting up 1) Silence and 2) Eye of Warning at the viewing sites. (And wherever they sleep.)
Gerald: "Ayup."
Aleith|DM: You get a few bites at the place you're staying, but those sensors are easily destroyed. You get glimpses of a few different mages scrying on you, a different one every few hours.
Chandrasekhar does a little insouciant finger-wave at one of them.
Zane‘ just sharpens more weapons. Jesus christ he never runs out.
Aleith|DM: There’s a bit more running around you have to do the next day, talking to various officials for the evening, but after all of that, you head to the city's grand librarium
Aleith|DM: Ken Don meets you at the door, a slight grimace on his face as he greets you. "You're the ones the ambassador asked special permission for, correct?"
Zane: "… Huh."
Ken: "I don't think we've technically met, but… I'll show you inside."
Aleith|DM: You can tell he wants to do anything but that, but, politics…
Gerald: "Trust me, you'll be glad you did."
Gerald: "Knowledge is power and all that, yeah?"
Zane: "Oh man. I hope this one's as juicy as that last one."
Gerald: "Don't imagine you get a lot of chances to peak behind the curtain this far."
Garrett: "I kind of don't, to be honest."
Phyllis: "Yeah. You're watching this one."
Ken: "I bet you do. Something in the church, right?"
Zane‘ shrugs and gestures to Kasvarina. "Its her show, I’m just the monkey."
Aleith|DM: The inquisitor with you just nods.
Aleith|DM: Kasvarina takes out the lost arc of Reida and puts it on. Ken obviously wants to look at that more closely, but refrains.
Aleith|DM: She leads you over to the library's third floor, within sight of a twenty-foot high rosette stained glass window.
Aleith|DM: As the memory event begins, two bishops and a young priestess meet Nic and Kasvarina. The priests seem quite happy as Nicodemus explains that Kasvarina will be representing her people in initial peace talks. He reiterates his reasoning for doing this without the archbishops' approval, cites scripture that forbids taking treasure from the dead, points out all the wealth being funneled back to Methia, and suggests the hierarchs be deposed.
Aleith|DM: At that point, the young priestess casts a light cantrip, which shines through the window, a signal to the guards and inquisitors outside. Within a minute they have surrounded Nic and Kasvarina and begin tying them up. The two bishops tell the inquisitors that this is the man who tried to lure them into a plot against the faith. Clearly they've turned on Nicodemus to save their own necks.
Aleith|DM: Nicodemus tries to reason with them, but Kasvarina says not to bother; better to face death with dignity. An inquisitor takes delight in taunting them. They’re not going to die, not yet at least. They're going to the Isle of Odiem, where they can live long, tormented lives with other heretics. Nicodemus keeps talking, his reasoned suggestions turning to desperate pleas, and then to angry curses as the two are dragged away and the memory-event ends.
Garrett‘ lets out a breath he was holding.
Zane: "…"
Zane` starts snickering.
Ken: "I suppose that’s your next destination, then?"
Gerald: "Hmm not quite as interesting as I was hoping for… you should come along and see the last two as well, Ken."
Zane: "Ex… excuse me."
Phyllis: "One of them."
Gerald: "Naw there's more in the city still, first."
Zane‘ vanishes among the stacks. and immediately buries his face in the cook of his arm to muffle the hysterical laughter.
Ken: "Well, if you insist." He shrugs. "Just give me a few minutes to make sure everything’s in order here."
Gerald: "The guy with Kasva is Nico, by the by. Not sure how clear that was in the vision without more context."
Ken: "Oh, that was him? He's got more presence these days."
Zane‘ rejoins the others, wiping his eyes. "Ohhhh my gods. Oh spirits. Wow. OK, I’m good. Lets go."
Gerald: "Yeah."
Chandrasekhar: "Gonna be all right, friend?" Somehow Chandrasekhar's managed to restrain himself.
Phyllis: "You're not still involved with that crew, are you?"
Kasvarina: "I take it Nic's refusal to let go had you in stitches?"
Phyllis doesn't seem amused in the slightest. It's … been a time.
Ken waves his hand back and forth. "They pay well."
Phyllis: "And talk about a life insurance plan."
Zane: "No no. 'For your punishment instead of killing you we're sending you to this place where we keep all of our terrible heretic artifacts. THAT'LL SHOW YOU!'"
Zane‘ loses it again.
Chandrasekhar loses it that time too.
Gerald: "Y’know when you put it like that it sounds like maybe he set up getting double crossed intentionally,"
Gerald‘ glances towards Kasvaarina questioningly.
Zane: "God I hope not. It’s a lot funnier this way."
Garrett: "Yeah, I'm sort of surprised he didn't give a 'stop, don't, anything but that,' real deadpanlike."
Ken: "It's what they did back then, you know? I figure after that they learned their lesson."
Phyllis: "… you really have no idea what transpired then and there, do you?"
Kasvarina: "I want to say you're giving him too much credit, but I'm not sure…"
Phyllis: "Let me put it this way: it was hardly a punishment."
Gerald: "Hmm. Yeah I don't suppose he would have let you in on it even if that was the plan, huh?"
Chandrasekhar: "If it's 'what they did back then', it was absolutely part of his plan."
Ken: "Hmmm. It does seem like something he'd do these days, at least."
Phyllis: "The voting was absolutely rigged, I'm pretty sure."
Phyllis: "So yeah. Right up his alley."
Inquisitor: "Shall we head outside?"
Gerald: "Yup."
Gerald: "OH MAN, what would you have voted for out of curiosity?"
Kasvarina: "Do you want to do the one closer to the wall first, or the one further out?"
Gerald: "Start further out probably, we'll be less of a disruption to foot traffic at nice."
[OOC] Gerald: night^
Gerald: "Unless you feel like one might be better to watch first, anyway."
Ken: "Hard to say. I'd probably want to have asked some of my own questions first. I didn't get much of a rundown on them after you lot left…"
Ken: "Let me guess, was that last bomb yours?"
Zane: "Oh, was there more than one?"
Gerald‘ glances back towards Ernst.
Gerald: "The one in the light house was ours at least."
Ken: "I heard about the one that, what was it, duplicant? Set off, too."
Gerald: "Gods, that was funny."
Zane: "Oh right. Him."
Gerald: "Fucking dragons, am I right?"
Zane: "Not even with your dick and the rest of the squad pushing."
Chandrasekhar snorts.
Ken: "That last one blew up half the mansion. I think only a few of the guards were left in there by the time it went off, though. With the mass escape earlier, they started packing up early."
Garrett: "Hah!" He slaps his knee and laughs heartily.
Gerald: "In our defense, there wasn’t much left to blow up or kill by the time ours went off."
Gerald: "Nico and the dragon got a good head start on us."
Garrett: "Haaaahahahaha, ahh. The mansion blew up. That's enough for me."
Gerald: "I'm actually kind of surprised Ernst left you in a safe spot, to be honest."
Phyllis: "The others?"
Ken: "Our leader got us outside and told us what happened. The other three were fine as well."
Ken: "What was their names…? Kiov, Livia, and Gran…?"
Phyllis: "Mm."
Phyllis: "How much do they pay you, by the way?"
Gerald: "I don't imainge anyone was too broken up about the sociopath not making it out."
Phyllis shrugs. "Others with conviction, I'd try to sway by argument. You sound like you have a price."
Ken: "It depends on what they're looking for. Some things are more esoteric than others."
Gerald: "Just so you know we went on this weird future vision quest a while back,"
Phyllis: "Try me."
Gerald: "And it showed the world ending and Rock Rakus saving the world."
Kens: "That sounds like a load of bull. But let's see these other visions of yours first."
Phyllis motions forward. "Let's mosey."
Zane: "I wish it was."
Gerald: "Gahaha."
Gerald: "I'm glad everyone can agree that sounds like a bad outcome at least."
Aleith|DM: Drawn to a hill that overlooks the farmland east of Alais Primos, Kasvarina is hit with desperation and grief as the memory-event begins to take shape. She's able to direct the PCs to a site where they have a breathtaking view of the city’s edge and the crops, which were harvested over a month ago.
Gerald‘ is probably the least likely to get much out of this, and will make sure Kasva’s alright.
Phyllis puts a hand on her shoulder (or at least as close as she can get to from her height). "Are you okay?"
Chandrasekhar braces himself. Possibly literally.
Aleith|DM: When the lost arc activates, its effect sweeps out nearly a half-mile, far wider than ever before. Its edges crackle with unstable power, and within that area farmlands change into the wreckage of a great battlefield, covered with discarded shields, broken siege weapons, and weather-worn battlements. Six bonfires gutter in a ring around you, and beyond them lie thousands of corpses, all of them women. Kasvarina falls to her knees and cradles one woman whose body has been charred beyond recognition.
Garrett‘ readies himself, mentally. Psychically?
Aleith|DM: Around them stands half an army, just the men surviving. At the distant edge of the manifested past, the edge of Alais Primos itself shifts. Shattered stone keeps rise from the empty crops, and beyond them a great translucent golden dome shields the city, shining where sigils of celestial script catch the light of the sunrise. The sound of bells toll constantly from within, and with them triumphant cheers of the humans, proclaiming their victory.
Garrett: "(So much for not scaring the normies…)"
Zane: "… Well shit."
Aleith|DM: Ken, the inquisitor, and the guards are all startled by the wide-ranging vision.
Gerald: "…Holy fuck this is way bigger than normal."
Aleith|DM: In the air above the battlefield, a shadow made of ash and soot hangs in the air. The wind quickly disperses it, but for a moment it resembles the shape of a six-armed woman, a hundred feet high.
Chandrasekhar stumbles in the direction of the nearest bonfire.
Aleith|DM: When you reach the bonfire, it feels hot, but it doesn’t burn you.
Zane‘ sticks with Chan. All jokes aside, this is pretty fucked for his good friend the eladrin.
Chandrasekhar stares up into the sky, eyes bloodshot; reflexively reaches into the flames. He’s a Vekeshi Excoriant; Zane's seen the scars. And even so…
Gerald‘ glances around while standing close to Kasva. "…Anyone got eyes on Nico?"
Aleith|DM: You find the handle of a blade waiting for you.
Aleith|DM: He doesn’t seem to be here.
Aleith|DM: As you grasp the handle, the memory fades, and Kasvarina is left holding nothing. A handful of farmers and people near the edge of the city panic at the strange magic and run for the nearest churches.
Aleith|DM: Chandrasekhar finds a gleaming mithral longsword in his hand.
Gerald‘ squints into the distance. "Yeah, definitely glad we decided to give a heads up."
Zane: "… Whoa."
Aleith|DM: At least the city officials had some idea of what to expect.
Chandrasekhar reaches into the flames and pulls the blade out; there’s an audible flesh-hiss- and the vision ends, and he almost stumbles backwards into Zane.
Ken: "…you said there was another of these visions out here…?"
Garrett: "Oh yeah."
Gerald: "Yeeep."
Phyllis: "How do you feel about the events that transpired here?"
Gerald: "…Why is there still a weird sword in Chandra's hands?"
Zane‘ catches the plate-armored figure and steadies him. "Whoa, Chandrasekhar. I’ve got you, friend."
Garrett: "He… picked it up."
Garrett: "Some…how?"
Zane: "Mystic fey mohya."
Gerald: "Everything else we tried that with just dissapeared though?"
Ken: "That was…the aftermath of the Great Malice, wasn't it?"
Zane: "Looked like the immediate minutes after."
Phyllis: "Roughly around there."
Chandrasekhar looks a little wild-eyed and out of it- the blade flickers into a thing of roaring fire and back- he slowly catches his breath, follows the voice back to reality. "-Zane. Thank you, friend."
Zane‘ nods. "Anytime."
Garrett: "He picked it up, Gerald!"
Garrett: "We all saw that’s what happened."
Zane‘ looks at Kasvarina. "Who was she? And how did you see it if you weren’t here?"
Gerald: "Mmm." Gerald kneels down next to Kasva, putting on hand on her shoulder and offering the other. "You alright?"
Kasvarina: "I-no. It feels like my whole world had been destroyed there."
Garrett: "We can take a rest after that one."
Gerald: "Yeah I can only imagine. Take a couple minutes to find yourself again, we got time."
Kasvarina: "I don't recall who I was holding. But clearly, I was here."
Kasvarina: "But… I don't know why we wouldn't have seen the memory earlier than that. It doesn't feel like there's anything else at this spot…"
Phyllis: "But there 'should' be one?"
Kasvarina: "If I was here for when Srasama actually…" She can't finish the thought, and shudders.
Gerald: "Well, you said you were teleporting during… it… right? That was probably right as your landed."
Kasvarina: "It could be…"
Gerald: "Spot nearer the wall might have more answers, when you're ready."
Aleith|DM: She takes several minutes to regain her composure. Ken, in the meantime, writes down some notes.
Phyllis clears her throat. Loudly. "Whatcha got there, friend?"
Ken: "You've been taking Ms. Varal here sightseeing, right? Fascinating, being able to see the past like this."
Phyllis: "It's quite the privilege."
Phyllis: "One that you shouldn't abuse."
Gerald: "Yep. Seen some interesting stuff. Seen Nico do some awful shit. Seen a lot of hard to watch stuff, too."
Aleith|DM: Kasvarina leads you back over towards the city's old wall.
Garrett‘ shrugs and follows.
Gerald` sticks close to her in cause she needs some help keeping steady.
Aleith|DM: When the memory begins, the city’s holy barrier—a golden dome that could be conjuredby prayers of those within, shielding the city even from aerial attacks—is up, looking like a giant gold tortoise shell at this range, but faintly translucent so you can see the defenders inside. Kasvarina and other mages wait behind a row of eladrin soldiers holding heavy shields against potential arrows from the city. The army has left a wide opening in their ranks, and general Sor Daeron walks out, followed by a hundred human non-combatants held at spearpoint by soldiers.
Aleith|DM: Sor shouts to the army that this wall is made of the prayers of the humans, but that they will make those prayers falter. He turns to the wall and demands a champion of the Clergy meet him in open battle, then says that if the city’s faithful are too cowardly to face him, he will cut down human prisoners ten at a time.
Aleith|DM: No response comes for a minute, and Sor orders his men to begin. The massacre lasts five minutes, with the human prisoners begging as spears pierce them row by row, while those inside the walls scream and jeer. The Elfaivaran army shifts nervously, but true to Sor's word the humans inside are not praying sufficiently, and the wall begins to fade.
Aleith|DM: When only forty prisoners remain, the wall parts and three hundred human soldiers emerge, led by Prime Cardinal Richelmont, a battle-priest who walks within a smaller version of the golden shield that protects the city. Sor begins a formal challenge, but the cardinal interrupts by summoning pillars of salt that spray up from the ground around him, killing every eladrin they touch. A fierce and bloody battle begins as the humans rush and try to pull the prisoners back into the city. Kasvarina is too far away to engage directly.
Aleith|DM: After a minute's battle, the cardinal catches Sor’s arm in a pillar of salt, but Sor manages to strip away the priest’s shield with a spell of his own. The surrounding eladrin launch arrows and spells, and the cardinal falls to a hail of other spells. The surviving humans retreat, and eladrin rush to treat the injured Sor, but an officer beside Kasvarina notices that a new opening has appeared in the dome nearby. He recklessly orders everyone to rush the opening, but only Kasvarina and four others manage to get inside before the opening closes.
Aleith|DM: Once her unit gets inside, the opening in the wall closes behind them. The humans overwhelm the eladrin with a rush of morningstars or crossbows, with four humans targeting each eladrin.
Aleith|DM: Kasvarina glances over towards you, but gives a brief signal to let her go through with this. Though normally she wouldn't be felled so easily, she feigns unconciousness after a near-miss.
Aleith|DM: The humans begin praying to bolster the wall, and two men draw daggers to finish off the wounded when a figure—Nicodemus, cloaked like a healer—rushes forward and admonishes them. He tells them to spare the soldiers in case they're nobles who can be ransomed back for human prisoners. Then he enlists the group to carry the bodies to a nearby church where he’s tending to survivors.
Aleith|DM: As the men get to work, he pulls a cigarette from his coat and lights it. Just on the other side of the golden barrier, eladrin bash at the barrier ineffectually, while others parade the dead body of Richelmont. The men around Nicodemus say prayers for the prime cardinal, which Nicodemus joins into half-heartedly.
Aleith|DM: The men carry the wounded eladrin to a small church, just inside the city-the same church to Isabeth you visited last night. The memory event ends as they set Kasvarina down on the cot.
Zane: "And we all know how it goes from there."
Ken: "Nic tending to her, something something something…?"
Garrett: "We've come full circle, yeah."
Inquisitor: "Definitely 'something'…"
Zane: "Wooing her to the cause, murdering the others."
Ken: "Oh. Lovely. That does indeed sound like him."
Kasvarina: "So I got caught in a battle during the siege. That explains why I was here."
Kasvarina: "I don't feel any other pulls for memories here," she says, before taking off the Arc.
Zane: "I'm pretty OK with that, all things considered."
Ken: "So after this you're going to the Isle of Odiem?"
Gerald: "Preaching peace, secretly plotting the murder the hundreds or thousands. Nico to a T, yeah."
[OOC] Gerald: of^
Phyllis: "Depends. Is word getting back to the rest of your group?"
Gerald: "I believe that's on the check list, don't remember the exact order we were planning on going though."
Aleith|DM: Ken looks towards the Inquisitor. "I suppose we should warn them off from sending a force to stop you. Somehow, I don't think that would go well."
Zane: "For them."
Ken: "Quite."
Zane: "I'm just sad I can't carry enough arrows to cure that zombie probl… OH MY GOD I DONT NEED ARROWS I HAVE A THING!"
Gerald: "I'd definitely prefer not having to take down a dozen exploding bleak golems at once, at least. That was real old, real fast.:
Inquisitor: "Do you mind if we send an inquisitor to escort you?"
Gerald: "Honestly, that would probably make getting in a hell of a lot easier on both sides? So, by all means."
Phyllis: "I don't think we would mind, but one of the denizens of the island might."
Zane: "He can stay outside."
Inquisitor: "We'll inform them of that."
Phyllis makes a note to perform a Sending to Ashima-Shimtu when she gets a chance, informing her that they're dropping in again. (And some scrying protection might be helpful, given the attempts that she's zapped away with Eye of Warning.)
Ken: "Well, if they ask, I'll say you were here, but I won't let them know the specifics." He shrugs. "I'll be interested to see how this plays out. Let me know if you need something looked up in Jenevah's stacks."
Zane: "Thanks."
Phyllis: "Good to know."
Aleith|DM: After that, you all turn in for the night. Kasvarina's eyes are a bit red again when you all get back into your carriage to travel back to Sid Minos.
Aleith|DM: By this time, the Roscommon has caught up to you again so you don't even have to look for a boat to hire to take you to the Isle of Odiem.
Phyllis does that Sending to Ashima-Shimtu: "Remember us? Visiting again shortly. I figure it would be rude not to inform you."
Phyllis: "Some scrying protection may help, if possible."
Ashima-Shimtu: "She remembers those who silenced the unpleasant man recently. Though temporary, those protections will be brought up again."
Phyllis would thank her now if it wouldn't use more time and residuum. Alas.
Aleith|DM: A rowboat brings you ashore to the island. Kasvarina could manifest the memory now, or you could head to the lighthouse first.
Zane: "Not that I'm not confident in our ability to utterly smash the zombie horde, but it'd probably be better to fire it up inside."
Garrett: "No place like the stage, no time like the present."
Garrett: "Aw, you're no fun."
Kasvarina: "The entire island is linked to the memory. I think it starts outside…"
Zane: "Well then I guess we'll do it out here."
Aleith|DM: It isn't yet dark out, so the zombie horde isn't out in strength yet.
Garrett: "Looks like we're in for the whole journey, then!" He keeps his hands on this hilts of his daggers.
Aleith|DM: Once Kasvarina lets the artifact manifest the past, a thunderclap booms across the island, followed by a blinding flash. Darkness envelopes the party, and thick goblets of rain descend from dark clouds. Eerie flashes of golden light flicker across the island from some source outside the artifact's radius, each accompanied by the sounds of sorcery and theurgy.
Aleith|DM: A score of soldiers and priests materialize around the group, carrying Kasvarina and Nicodemus in manacles. The lead priest urges them to hurry so they can get off this island before the Elfaivaran fleet spots them and strands them here. They make haste for a lighthouse. The crumbling structure dramatically rebuilds itself to its full shape, undoing five centuries of dilapidation.
Gerald: "…Very dramatic."
Aleith|DM: While the soldiers ignore you, as you near the lighthouse, a short robed figure steps forward. "Already starting, are you? I'm Serafima Saveli, the inquisitor here to meet you." She shows her badge of office, a platinum scepter.
Zane‘ nods politely. "Stay quiet and watch the show, it’ll be educational."
Garrett: "Keep all hands and feet inside the vision at all times."
Serafima: "Alright."
Serafima: "Do you mind if I perform a sending to let them know you've arrived and we're heading inside?"
Gerald‘ thumbs up.
Aleith|DM: She starts casting her sending.
Garrett` . o O (Something is… odd.)
Aleith|DM: Meanwhile, formally dressed soldiers come out to retrieve the prisoners, completely ignoring the party. They strip-search Nicodemus and Kasvarina, then give each simple gray clothes. The lead priest reads a formal declaration of their crimes—mostly variations of ’heresy' and 'opposing the will of the church'—and then the soldiers open the doors to the first vault chamber. They drag the prisoners to the pious mount that overlooks the circular ‘main exhibit’ chamber, then stop and order Nic and Kasvarina to go forward and pass through the doors beyond.
Phyllis . o O (Define odd. Who?)
Gerald‘ .oO(Beyond the memory thing?)
Serafima: "They have arrived. I will go into the vault with the foreigners, and will let them attend their business."
Garrett` . o O (Serafina. Her soul is odd. It’s… fuzzy? Never seen anything like it.)
Garrett‘ . o O (Keep your backs from her, obviously.)
Zane` . o O (That does sound weird. Poke it, see what she does…)
Gerald` .oO(Not even the robots or Nico?)
Phyllis . o O (What are souls usually like? - tell me later.)
Garrett: "Before we get locked out…" He gives a go-ahead sign to Serafima.
Garrett` . o O (The replicants stretched, and Nico… still not like this.)
Gerald: "…I feel like this is gunna be a loooong memory. Wonder why, all the others have been pretty concise."
Phyllis . o O (Wonder if it’s … angelic, with a name like Serafima. Like the angel trapped here earlier.)
Garrett: "Well, there's only two of them…?"
Garrett: "So it'd take them longer to get through the dungeon…?"
Phyllis: "… this is the prelude to the history-defining moment we just witnessed a few days prior."
Garrett‘ shrugs.
Aleith|DM: Inside, the vault looks neater than when you last visited it-that angel is still there, for example-but still somewhat in ruins. Many of the displays that were missing before are there now, and Kasvarina and Nicodemus end up dealing with many of the denizens in the dungeon before they get to the centre chamber. They loot a few weapons that they hope aren’t cursed along the way.
Aleith|DM: It's a long memory event.
Gerald: "Well sure, but like, that memory was only a couple minutes long at best."
Zane‘ . o O (Serafima-Shimtu doesnt have the same ring to it.)
Gerald: "This is what, hour three?"
Zane: "It’s been entertaining at least."
Zane‘ has a small smile.
Aleith|DM: Several hours later, they reach the door to Ashima-Shimtu’s vault, and spend an hour testing possible rituals to get through, before Kasvarina finally hits on providing a blood offering. The door opens and they head inside.
Serafima: "It's…distressing what's down here."
Zane‘ shrugs. "Your people."
Gerald: "That’s why they kept it here and not back on the mainland, yeah?"
Serafima: "…quite."
Aleith|DM: The central chamber looks much the same as when you were last here, though without all of the golden mirrors, and instead three statues stand along the wall. Tall figures of clergy protectors, they cover eyes, or ears, or mouth.
Aleith|DM: Nicodemus and Kasvarina approach the well and look up to the demoness. A serpent-scaled female humanoid with an inhuman visage, she is held aloft by chains that end in hooks which pierce her legs, back, and arms. A single chain and hook passes through her lips, preventing her from speaking. She seems asleep.
Zane: "… Oh man. You guys took the hook out!"
Aleith|DM: Nic and Kasvarina discuss jumping in and swimming, at which point Ashima-Shimtu stirs. The chains jangle and she tenses with pain.
Aleith|DM: Nicodemus reads inscriptions along the wall that explain the story of the Demonocracy, and of how Ashima-Shimtu betrayed them in order to save herself. But she did not share her greatest secret, and so the Clergy has imprisoned her in this perpetual torment until she shares it. Kasvarina wonders if the demon might have knowledge that could discredit the Clergy or perhaps assist them in ending the war. Nic is nervous, but doesn’t stop Kasvarina as she carefully removed the barbed hook from Ashima-Shimtu's lips.
Gerald: "Alright,"
Gerald: "That was a couple hours slog, but seeing Nico look nervous for once made it all worth it."
Ashima-Shimtu: "For the first time in centuries, Ashima-Shimtu can speak. She is pleased by this change, and welcomes those who come to seek knowledge. Her wish may be the same as her fellow prisoners—to bring down the vile Clergy—but the Lady of the Forked Tongue does not so casually risk the deception of strangers. Already her voice grows tired from disuse, and so she would ask her visitors to share their tale."
Garrett‘ . o O (Witchoil’s about. I'm pretty sure it's not from the vision.)
Zane‘ . o O (Shit…)
Gerald` .oO(That… wasn’t here last time we were, right?)
Aleith|DM: The memory-event compresses Nic and Kasvarina telling their tale into a montage, interspersing their experiences with vignettes from the demoness, where she explains in her third person way how the Demonocracy used the sacrament of apotheosis in war, and how she gave it to the holy man Triegenes so that he might create a better world than one of demons. Triegenes went on to defeat the Demonocracy, but he never shared the ritual with his followers.
Phyllis: "Someone fill me in on what I miss." She goes off to cast Detect Planar Energy (Bleak Gate).
Aleith|DM: After he died, those same followers demanded Ashima-Shimtu reveal the secret their supposed living god would not. For more years than she can count she has hung here, meditating and seeking to understand the nature of evil so that she could reject it. With the ongoing holy war between human and eladrin, however, she is willing to share the ritual.
Aleith|DM: The montage takes a while, but by the time you're done, Phyllis, they're wrapping up the explanations.
Gerald: "Huuh. Did we know that?"
Phyllis: "Know what?"
Garrett: "-I- didn't know the ritual, that's for sure."
Zane: "I dont think we knew… all of it."
Aleith|DM: She instructs Nic and Kasvarina to, after she gives them the ritual, make their way to the entrance to the vault and barter the details of it for their freedom. Let the Clergy bring forth their god of war, and warn the eladrin to be ready to slay it. For each 'god' created by the sacrament is invulnerable only so long as his attacker does not know his true name. Trick the Clergy into summoning a war god, she says, then kill it, and in so doing kill the impetus for war itself.
Gerald: "That the demon lady gave Treis and Nico slash Kasva the God summoning spell."
Phyllis . o O (It's the statues. Is it going to go away once the vision ends?)
[OOC] Aleith|DM: ritual hasn't been stated yet…
Phyllis tilts her head at Gerald. "Treis?"
Garrett‘ . o O (Hopefully.)
Chandrasekhar: "I suspected most, but not all, of this."
Gerald: "Uhh. That guy that founded the Clergy?"
Gerald: "His name is hard to pronounce."
Phyllis: "Triegenes, I wasn’t aware of, but I largely suspected at least Nicodemus' involvement in this for some time now."
Gerald: "Oh, I was just surprised demon lady gave it to him since it didn't come up last time."
Aleith|DM: A voice interrupts from the top of the stairs. "I do say, this is all very interesting, but I must interject. While I installed these monitoring devices after I learned of your prior imbroglio here, I do admit, I never thought you’d return. What in the devil is that lady talking about? I am attempting to intimidate my rivals here, ma'am. Be a peach and stop talking a moment."
Aleith|DM: The three statues from earlier in the room, one of them now wearing Benedict Pemberton's face, stand there. The demoness does not react to his presence, and continues reciting the details of the ritual just as she did five centuries ago. With a perturbed harrumph, the golem with Pemberton’s face and two beside it hoist their heavy stone fists.
Ashima-Shimtu: "The ritual must be centered on an individual who represents the god oridea that is being invoked, and the power that person gains depends on how many followers that god or idea has, and how fervent. In addition to some archaic chants that take an hour, the ritual performers must sacrifice a lion, an eagle, a whale, and a dragon, then use their blood to adorn the subject with the name of the god or idea. Finally, the target must drink a cup of blood from a believer and recite the mantra, 'Before I was nothing but words. Now I am all that is believed. I am faith made flesh. I am flesh made a god.'"
Gerald: "Then again seems like the world has done a great job of letting her know that sharing that knowledge isn't ever a great idea…"
Zane‘ closes his eyes. "Go away, Gradiax. Smashing your toys is getting tiresome."
Phyllis stares at the statues for a moment, then judges the distance between them. How far apart are they from each other?
Pemberton: "Really? I have a few nice features built into these ones."
Aleith|DM: about 30 feet
Zane: "I’d rather face the real thing. Where you hiding at these days?"
Zane: "I've got some vacation days coming up, I could take a trip."
Pemberton: "What, and spoil your little investigative journey? I wouldn't deprive a constable of that fun."
Garrett‘ . o O (His soul stretches somewhere to the west-southwest. Not sure how far, but if you’re good at geography.)
Zane: "Oh I haven't had the time to really investigate you yet. You'd be doing me a favor."
Ashima-Shimtu: "The subject will rapidly transform into a physical incarnation, maintaining that form for a day. He'll gain unrivaled strength and resistance to injury, but anyone who knows the name of the actual person within the incarnation will be able to harm it as easily as they would a normal person."
Gerald‘ glances back and forth between Ashima and Pemberton a few times, then burst out laughing loudly.
Phyllis casts Spatial Lock on the one with Pemberton’s face. She ain't having -any- of this.
Pemberton: "And this has something to do with your whole 'defeating the conspiracy' thing-"
Chandrasekhar: "(I am going to kill him.)" It's unclear which 'him' he's referring to, it's a surprisingly target-rich environment.
Aleith|DM: And the statue goes inert. As do the two beside it.
Phyllis: "It won't last forever, but it's enough for now."
Gerald: "Oh man."
Gerald: "I wonder if he caught the bit about needing a dragon sacrifice. Because him turning up right as that was revealed was REALLY FUNNY."
Zane: "Can't have him, he's mine. There's a couple other options at least."
Ashima-Shimtu: "Also, once the effect ends, the subject is severely weakened for days or weeks. Finally, if the incarnation dies, a backlash will strike the believers. How severe a backlash is relative to the intensity of their belief."
Gerald: "I mean, I don't think anyone here has any plans on summoning any Gods anyway, but. The timing."
Gerald: "Like he was just offering himself up!" A few more lighter giggles.
Aleith|DM: As Ashimtu-Shima finishes explaining the ritual, Serafima turns and shoves Kasvarina into the well. She turns to the rest of you, proclaiming, "I am Grandis Komanov, bringer of this world's icy end, and you have given me the greatest weapon I could ever have."
Garrett: "Oh my."
Gerald‘ sighs loudly, rolling his eyes.
Gerald: "What, do you have a couple spare dragons laying around?"
Phyllis sets her jaw. "Yes. She just might."
Aleith|DM: Kasvarina sputters as she treads water.
Zane: "…"
Phyllis paces, orb out. "We ran into your associates before."
Zane: "Tell me more about that later, Ursinho. But first…" And he’s holding a knife. "Someone needs a lesson in manners."
Grandis: "It's amazing what you can find in the cold north."
Gerald: "Duly noted." There's a gun in Geralds hand, and a slug flying in Grandis' direction now.
Phyllis: "At least that answers why her soul was 'fuzzy,' Garrett."
Aleith|DM: She draws a shard of bloody ice, proclaiming, "O glacier of blood, sate your hunger!" The bullet smashes into it, and it explodes into a cloud of deadly cold.
Phyllis: "She partially exists at the end of time."
Zane: "Whats fuzzy got to do with bein- whatnow?"
Chandrasekhar has a sword in his hand, he always has a sword in his hand when people are being idiots, which is itself almost always these days. "…that's fascinating. How do we kill her?"
Gerald: "More bullets."
Garrett‘ shakes his head. "I can’t wait that long to stab them."
Aleith|DM: Kasvarina pulls herself out of the water. "It looks like we're adding another city to our list, by the way," she adds, pulling out her rapier.
Phyllis: "Is this really the ending you want, Grandis?"
Grandis: "Of course."
Phyllis: "You've taken Heid's words and twisted them."
Phyllis: "Death is inevitable, so you've taken your purpose to be hurtling towards the end as soon as possible."
Phyllis: "The desert had no water, so you've invented a religion that worships thirst."
Grandis: "I invented nothing. It was all there to begin with."

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