It is a grave meeting at the shop. The news of Father Dominic and a dark wizard watching the shop makes for a dire meal. Before they can finish a young boy arrives and announces a summons to the Baron’s Court. Sofiya and Esandeor stay to tend the shop while the others attend to court matters. When they arrive they find Carina shackled and under guard. Carina tells the Baron that they can vouch for her sanity, which they do reluctantly.
Carina tells them that there is an ancient metal war god approaching the down guarded by a spiritual army of dwarves. She says that she was trying to follow the map when she met up with a man who agreed to help her. Together, along with his son, they found an ancient dwarves city that had been buried underground. The elder man used magic to kill dozens of dwarves that lived in this city, despite the pleas from both Carina and his own son. When they reached the center of the town they found a large metal ram shackled between four towers with chains thicker than 10 men. The man broke the chains and released the thing. When his son tried to stop him he bound his body to the thing. He would have done the same to Carina, but she fled.
Xarth tries to convince the Baron of the danger this ancient thing represents, but he has spent little time among courtly humans and comes off more threatening that advisory. The Baron thanks them for their assistance in this matter before they are dismissed. He puts Carina in the care of Briz and makes him responsible for her actions. With the help of Amer they get Carina settled at Amer’s house and discuss the events. Given the timeline of the dark wizard it makes sense that the machine is three days from Ulrichstein. The man and his son must be the Priests of Taur they met in the woods and the father must be the dark wizard’s mentor that he mentioned.
Elves come forward
One of the elves finds them outside of Amer’s house and says that Isha wishes to speak with them. It turns out that Isha leads the elves who live at the single house they have in town. He tells that that they are part of something bigger, something that will and must happen at this town. Long ago the Irillians came and slaughtered the elves that once lived on these lands. Blood begat blood upon these lands as generations before that the elves slaughtered hundreds of Saurians (called the Shaktar) who could work stone with their hands as others work clay. The elves that committed this crime were driven and hunted by other elves who saw only sin in their action.
Ever since the elven atrocity every attempt to civilize these lands has failed in blood and violence. So it has always been and so it will always be. The elves have been working to stop this cycle of violence and so they have watched for the signs to arrive. The first sign is the Fool who is the harbinger of the events – this fits Carina. The Fool will awaken three dark forces and they will be drawn to this location. Each of these forces will compete for control. There is one Champion of Light, who always dies to the final darkness. Isha tells us that when he recognized the Fool he cast and augury and discovered that Sir Sattler is the Champion of Light.
The difference this time is the people in the store. The signs indicate that each of them are the hounds for a Fourth Darkness that has already consumed the Third – this has never happened in recorded history. He asks for permission to once again cast an augury to determine why things have changed. During the augury the table is consumed by a purplish light with two blazing green eyes. Above the eyes sits a crown of gold and pearl. The eyes sweep the room and finally lock on Briz. It says, “I have found you at last! I see you and you cannot escape my reach! I need the blood of the kings and you will give it to me!” Isha recovers enough to banish the apparition.
Isha tells them that they are leaving the house and Esandeor is free to use whatever they leave behind as they will not be returning. The bloodletting is coming and they cannot be here when it happens. They have to be outside until the end of this cycle when they can once again begin the process of cleansing this land. He explains that the loss of life is cruel, but in the span of an elves’ life they may undo what they have wrought.
Once the elves have left Amer says he recognizes the crown as the Crown of Corvis due to the four points of pearl. Corvis was once a city rules by a powerful line of magus. It was a center of learning and magic that fell when Lannoth the Lich King invaded. Since then the wetlands and waters around Corvis have become tainted and deadly to anyone that touches it. Before leaving the house they search it and discover a small chest with 12 vials that seemed to be filled with glowing liquid. Carina also manages to nab some trinkets although Esandeor threatens to beat her if she leaves with them.
While everyone else goes to the store, Xarth goes down to the river to pray. Unlike every other morning this time he has some very specific platitudes. He is granted a vision by his spirit. He sees himself in the distant past, living as the Clan of Stone who once thrived in this area. He sees the elves descend upon his creche during the night. They slaughtered his family while they slept. After everyone was dead a cloaked elf who was not like an elf came towards the bodies. He drew their blood towards him and with their power he crafted a staff of their blood. The elves cheer as finishes the staff and holds it above himself. He then says something in elven and they cheer even louder. That is all that he remembers; although he is sure something else happened.
Sofiya and Amer go to the Baron’s manor and ask to speak with Heidi. Once the menagerie she took on work at the manor. It is not known what she does, but it is hinted at by the townsfolk that the Baron has taken a mistress. Once in her chambers they discuss a deal with her. They know that she is a wizard and need her help. She agrees because her own life is on the line as well if the portents are true. She sends their spirits back in time until the last time the Bloodstaff was on these lands. She then ties the fate of the staff to Amer until one or the other is no more. The staff and Amer will be drawn together.
That morning, while only Briz is tending the store, Gerhard (who is also known as Owen) shows up at the store to buy more spices. Briz tells him to come back in the afternoon as Sofiya knows where the new spices are located.
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