Keribrar and Quilate return to the Veridian Vault but never reach reach it when they are recognized while passing through Crofterton. They are recognized for their attack on Father Karl who people know lies near death in his temple. The crowd begins to ring around them, but things get out of hand when Gabor and his right-hand man Marrow show up. He recognized Keribrar from the tavern and decides the elf needs another beating.
Before Gabor can whip the crowd into a frenzy the woman whose spyglass Quilate took finally finds him. She grabs him by the chest and shakes him. The crowd encourages her to teach the jundari a lesson for stealing from her. Things looked to be calming down, much to Gabor’s annoyance, until Keribrar mouths off one to many times. The mob surge towards Keribrar and pummel him unconscious – eventually depositing him into a dirty water trough.
Quilate manages to remain unharmed because of his close proximity to Jana. He cannot return her spyglass as it was stolen from him, but he does promise to return its worth in something else. She accepts the bargain and gives him one week to find something of value to her. That spyglass cost her 5 silver pounds and she intends to be paid in full.
Raise Father Karl
Thorne left the Pestilence Pustule before the end of the ritual to call forth the spirit of Father Karl and now waits over the body for Lady Anne Mowbry and Hafwyn to arrive. When he sees the body begin to move he calls over the adherents to “hold” unto their priest and pray for him. With enough hands touching him he hopes it stops the body from rising.
With a decanter holding the spiritual water Lady Anne and Hafwyn race through the streets. They are nearly stopped when a vampire appears before them. Hafwyn charges straight through him and they keep on running. When they arrive Thorn is busy trying to deceive Benevenuta that the movements made by the good priest are normal for someone in his condition. She is beginning to suspect something else is wrong with her priest.
Just in time they arrive with the decanter and with the help of the adherents of the faith force the priest to drink it. Father Karl begins to show signs of recovery, but just as important his body seems to be naturally healing. It will not last long, possibly a day at the most, before he finally dies. Should that happen any number of spirits may try and revive the priest’s flesh.
Lady Anne leans over the sleeping Father and asks him what he sees. Father Karl tells her stone as black as night, rising water, and eternal darkness. He also mentions thanking a small child for some reason that he can no longer remember. Benevenuta then shoos Anne out the door as the good father clearly needs some time to rest and recover. Thorne returns to the Watchers’ House while Hafwyn and Anne return to the Vault.
Lord of the Darkness
At the Veridian Vault Quilate and Keribrar are relaxing when a knock at the door rouses them. A well-dressed butler is waiting at the door. He asks if he has permission to come inside and discuss matters of his master. He gives off a strange feeling so they come out into the street instead. His master is the Lord of the Night and he wishes to extend an invitation to Quilate and Keribrar for their great victory over the Priest of Techiuan. The feast will be held at their convenience. They only need to tear up the invitation he has presented them and it will summon one of the Lord’s servants to escort them. The servant then turns into a cloud of smokey bats that dissipate into the night. A signs point to a powerful vampire.
Hafwyn watches the cloud of bats disappears and remembers that she saw something like that while racing to the temple, but cannot remember exactly when it happened. When they get back to the Vault everyone is settling down, except for Keribrar and Hafwyn who are arguing again about elven culture and misdeeds.
In the morning Quilate hears a sound coming from outside the door. They open up and see two kids of the Rover Gang dragging a unconscious body through the streets. They have a rope around his ankles and harnessed to one of the Warden’s Ash Ash Hounds. An unusual site for so early in the morning. The kids were patrolling their territory when this man crossed into it without paying his toll. Keribrar is a bit concerned that it might be a customer, but the kids assure him that it is a member of the Empty Eyes.
Quilate loots the body netting a rune-carved bone necklace and then lets the kids continue on. Given they are headed back to their hideout everyone decides to follow them and speak with Gorrick about his promise to guide them into the dark to trade. The kids lead them deep within the caverns to Corrick’s lair again. While they drag the body into the back room where the Grimshaw is caged they speak with Gorrick. The Grimshaw munches noisily while they speak with the goblin.
The goblin summons Nikoli and two of his hunters to guide them to them through the caverns to the trading stone. The kids gather their gear and them them into the dark avoiding The Ruins and The Fall as they are far too dangerous. Quilate is interested in the ruins, but Nikoli only says it is far too dangerous and he promised they would reach the trading stone safely. When they finally reach a passageway of worked stone they see a brass gong hanging from the ceiling. Nikoli bangs it and then leaves with his hunters.
Lord of Shadows
Beside the passage they came through only a single doorway comes into this “room.” A darkness that swallows the light lays in the doorway. From this eternal darkness comes a leopard and inquires as to their business in his master’s domain. Quilate shows the creature their invitation. The leopard returns to the darkness and the well-dressed vampire returns in its place. He is the major-domo of the realm of darkness and is pleased they have accept his master’s invitation.
The major-domo warns them to stay close to him during their passage to the inner chambers. Things living in the everdark that could kill them before even he could react. A small field of hellish red light pulses outward from him during their walk. Anne recalls much of such creatures during their walk. She has read legends about dark vampires who drink from the darkness itself. They are imbued with the living darkness and said to be immortal until all darkness is banished. They were the first vampires of the world. There are even rumors linking them with the jundari as they are often found in close proximity.
In time they reach a dining hall. There are three doors from the room, which is dominated by a large teak table and elaborately carved seats. Unlike their passage down which was humid and damp, this area is arid. Two women and a man come through one of the doors – two of them wearing nothing but black ink on their bodies. The third is also covered in black ink, but has iron manacles on her hands and ankles. They bring silver platters of simple breads, cheeses, and fruits – along with goblets of a deep red wine.
After a proper about of time the host enters the room. He calls himself the Lord of Shadows and thanks his servant for caring for his guests and dismisses him and his staff. He is a short and paunchy man well into his middle years. He waves off any exchange of names as giving away such power to another is only for great obligations. He is a priest of X’toltn and calls Quilate and Keribrar for helping to break the power of Techiuan and his priest Father Karl.
In fact he is so pleased with the two and the destruction of the Cup Everflowing that he grants them each a boon that is within his power – but that is for after supper. The meal is fresh and well-prepared as the priest is overflowing with superlatives to heap upon Quilate and Keribrar. He does not ignore the others, but he clearly marks both of them as his //most honored// guests several times. He has been in the dark for nearly a decade searching for a way to release his god from the prison. When the bumbling priest found the Cup Everflowing he struck at him nearly a dozen times but never managed to destroy the cup.
He could have concentrating on killing Father Karl, but someone else would just lift up the cause. He needed the cup itself destroyed. To that end he has been building an army that would sweep over the city and bathe the city in darkness. Then he could kill the Sidhe he has bound to his service as the first of the elves. It was Aegrin who crafted the cup and thus his progeny would destroy it. He never considered using the power of the elves along with the spirit of the jundari in combination. He is simply in awe of their knowledge and boldness.
During the conversation Keribrar makes a critical mistake and gives the name of Anne to the priest. While it is not her name from her own lips willingly, Keribrar knows her enough that it still has the ring of some power. The priest smiles, but quickly changes the subject; although Anne knows that it will cost her plenty.
For his boon, Keribrar asks for the return of the brass orbs. The priest readily grants it and sends his head maid to fetch them. The manacled Sidhe returns with the orbs on a silken pillow. In addition to the two he purchased from the kids he has one that opens into a crudely carved mask.
Anne asks for the return of Father Karl’s soul; however, she is is not his honored guest and is not due a boon. When he speaks to her he pushes just a small measure of power into his words to ensure they strike her soul. She understands the enormity of his power now that his patron god has been freed upon this world.
Quilate asks the priest for the return of the good Father’s soul. Without his cup he would be powerless to stop them, but he would try nonetheless. Their host loves the despair this will bring to Father Karl and grants his request, but he plans even a greater undertaking. He recognizes Throne as one of the Sidhe and so uses Seirian to carry his soul. Having the soul of a mortal bound her a fae soul would torture her for all time.
A Vision of Æsir
When the Lord of Shadows leaves to prepare the Sidhe a sudden gust of wind blows open one of the doors. All of the candles flicker towards Quilate, who suddenly tips back in his chair balancing only on a single leg. A vision strikes him – physically hard. He sees a land of clouds with a pure light at its center. Millions of small motes of light rush towards this light to embrace it. On the far side of them is a living darkness intent on swallowing the light. Unlike their untold millions the darkness is composed of a few very powerful beings.
Quilate knows that he faces his eternal enemy. All must be sacrificed to hold the darkness at bay. Suddenly the clouds shift into the form of a great winged being he recognizes as Æsir. She gathers much of the light her and takes them from this place. Without the light to reach the sun the darkness grows in power. As the land must balance one of the great beings of darkness is also pulled away with Æsir. He sees the living darkness explode into a darkn rain that washes over a strange land. The next this he witnesses is his own birth.
By Your Leave
When the Lord of Shadows returns it breaks Quilate’s vision and the wind stops. He has Seirian legs bound with a silver chain and her hands with a slippery black rope, she is clearly in agonizing pain. He gives the rope to Quilate and announces his boons fulfilled. Seirian must be returned within a single passing of the sun or Quilate will pay for the loss. He summons his major-domo to see that his most honored guests and their companions are safely returned to the surface.
Quilate asks to be taken to the Temple of Techiuan, but that is beyond the powers of the servant. Instead he takes them to a wine cellar a few blocks away from the temple.
Temple of Techiuan
The Father Restored
It is late in the afternoon and the sun is only a few hours from setting. They guide Seirian towards the temple as she is barely able to walk and often wracked with uncontrollable sobbing. When Anne tries to cross the street in front of the temple she doubles over in sharp pain. She heaves and pukes up a thick black ichor. When the ichor touches the ground it begins to bubble and give off a noxious gas. The more she tries to push forward the more she retches. She is eventually forced to retreat to the shadows of a alley across the street.
Hafwyn and Keribrar go into the Temple of Techiuan. They see Benevenuta praying over the body of Father Karl. Keribrar takes a handful of holy soil and smears it on his face. He exclaims that he is not an enemy of Techiuan or his followers. Benevenuta tests him and Hafwyn both with holy bread and blessed water. Once they have been accepted as friends he tells them he has brought a great healer of the elves who can aid the good Father.
Benevenuta calls for the deacons to carry the father’s body from the alter and bring it out into the street – taking a wide berth around the bubbling “tar” in the street. Seirian comes into the temple and touches the father at the head and breast. Her head whips back and she begins speaking in a language known only to Thorne. It is forbidden to speak the language of the fae outside of the fae lands, but there is nothing he can do to stop her. He simply hopes no Faerie Queen or other Sidhe overhears her.
When she collapses the soul of Father Karl leaves her body and returns to his own. The priest wakes up and with a great deal of help he stands up. Suddenly everyone notices a hundred plus Sidhe around the area with countless lesser fae. They were no there a moment ago, but now a circle of them are there.
Thorne feels the sight of a Fae Queen pass over him and rest upon Keribrar. It looks at him far too long for Thorne to be comfortable. he recognizes the presence of Queen Mirasandoral, whom he has dealt with in the past. She has a very twisted love of the mortal plane and is often the cause of great hardship for them. She never comes here without a purpose nor without a proper measure of her power – as befits a Queen.
As the Queen’s presence is felt over this land things begin to change. A circle of fauna grows up around them where the fae are standing. The plants tear through the buildings transforming the landscape. Thorne raises his voice and asks Quilate to free Seirian from her captivity. Furthermore he begs the Queen for a boon so that she may once again roam the lands. A small dust mote floats down from the heavens and stops just above her head. All eyes turn to Quilate and one of the Sidhe comes towards him.
When the Sidhe stands directly in front of him he agrees to bargain for her release. The Sidhe verbally tears into him and his presumption to bargain for her release. The fae despise slavery as it does not hold the honor of servitude of obligation, but they love to bargain. Quilate wants a way to summon the spirits of Æsir in exchange for her freedom. The Sidhe gives him a silver whistle that will call them to him. Quilate agrees and frees Seirian from her slavery. The mote drops upon her head and Seirian falls into a slumber.
The Sidhe clap for the release of their kin and then leave this place. Thorne speaks to the Sidhe who bargained with Quilate and discovers the Queen is seeking a mortal consort. A great reward as been offered for anyone that finds a suitable match.
I have a dream
Father Karl has been restored and ready to rally his followers to a just cause. While trapped in the spiritual darkness Techiuan spoke to him. He told him the truth of what happened and what must be done to correct it. The battle once carried upon the shoulder of elves must be carried on the shoulders of man. His followers gather around him as do others nearby who can hear his voice. His call for brother to stand with brother instead of against him resonates with people as his march grows. He is going to the poorest of the poor – the downtrodden of Locust Watch where the garbage of the city washes.
He marches between Crofterton and the Blackhouse District where his followers continue to grown. Quilate and Keribrar march in the front – shoulder to shoulder with Father Karl, while Lady Anne tries to disappear into the background. Meanwhile Thorne and Hafwyn simply disappear from this mess – he goes to the Watchers’ House and she goes out to hunt.
Anne speaks to the growing crowd about who they hate – guessing that they would hate the power brokers. The refrain is King Merridan, the gangs, and Janos. Most have hopes that Father Karl will achieve his dream of no rulers so that each person was only responsible for themselves. Of course, this is not what Father Karl is saying, but it is what the people are thinking. As they pass through the market anarchists among the crowd begin destroying the carts and shops of those near the crowd. Many have rallied to Father Karl’s banner, but not all believe the message.
The mob gathers at the base of the shelf and stand upon the turned earth. Keribrar brings forth the two parts of the cup and in a prayer led by Father Karl the cup is restored and water springs forth. The raw power of Techiuan is too much for Anne and she is forced to flee back into the city. From the fouled earth springs new plants and trees.
Things are getting out of hand as the fervor of the mob is reaching a pitch that nobody can hold back. It is ready to march upon the city and pull down all of the rulers. Working together Keribrar and Quilate manage to redirect their raw emotions by convincing Father Karl it would be best to thank Techiuan for this gift. Once Father Karl sits in the mud the others do as well. He leads his large congregation in a peaceful prayer.
Flee the Dark
Anne returns to the territory once held by the Shakker Gang. No other gang has moved into the territory, but it has been picked clean. She spends a few hours studying the water. It is filled with dark water sprites pushing the water up the chasm and unto the stone of Waterdeep. In addition to pushing the water the sprites are poisoning it. Not enough to kill anyone, but enough to drive them to forgetfulness maybe. No matter, the source of the taint is the large pool of water that is the source of the Gesalt River.
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