Gift of Eomar

Travels

The companions continue their voyage to Gorganhelm aboard the Maiden’s Thirst, ship of Hazzar Boracha. There is some disturbance; one of the crewmen tries to commandeer a small vessel and strike a coarse away from the Maiden.

On’ogg and Sayer subdue the crewman, who seems to be gripped with some insanity. The news ripples across the ship, shaking raw the nerves of the other crewmembers. Captain Hazzar discloses that there have been ominous rumors of some strange sickness striking from random sailors their grip on reality.

There is a guard set as they tether the small vessel in tow behind the Maiden. Bound tightly, the poor sailor is set out where they can be safe from any contamination. During their watch,
the Hand uses their knowledge of the arcane to subdue the madness for a time, finding the sailor scared out of his wits.

The Hand rushes to alert the rest of the companions, who return to find only the line some distance back, a flimsy scrapping of wood bouncing in the surf.

~

The next day the Hand asks Akasha to join them in a small ritual. The Hand lays strange runes in the under-space of the forecastle. The two find themselves transported to a terrible, dead wasteland. They explore a bit and find a strange monolith of sorts, a peculiar light emanating from within passageways within.

They harden their resolve and venture into its depths, finding to their surprise the mystical figure of Baelmar, trudging around his workshop. He answers some questions long unasked, provides some semblance of refreshments and sends the travelers back to the mortal plane.

~

The next day the Maiden arrives in Gorganhelm, where they disembark, taking note of how to contact Captain Hazzar again if necessary. Having spent some portion of his youth in the city, Sayer directs them to the Olde Moldy, a tavern of some ill repute. They eat a few peanuts, turn coin over for a drink more hospitable than the standard grog and enjoy a small poem for what must be a local vagrant.

They discover the forlorn figure to be none other than Baatu, a hollow reflection of his jovial self. He was scarcely recognizable underneath what seemed to be weeks of grime. In a daze, he brought the companions to a small cove on the far end of the long set breaker, where they find a dilapidated hovel.

Within they find the sluggish form of Wilhelm von Keurig slumped near Nazeer. The elvish magi stumbles for a stick clumsily; his eyes were milky white and unresponsive. A great burden seems to have ground their souls into destitution. They pleaded for the companions to find Zorba, who is past due in his exploration of the area.

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Escape to Open Water

The companions lay hidden in the room where Akasha had been stabbed, deliberating on their course of action. Surely the Magistrate must pay for this catastrophe, but were they in a position currently to do more than forfeit their own lives?

Suddenly their conversation is cut short as a pair of the large guards clad in elaborate armor stomped their way up the stairwell. The Hand quickly casts an all encompassing invisibility spell over the companions. They seemed intent on finding the survivors, investigating the lifeless corpses of the assassins with a treatment as though they were no more than rag dolls.

When they are clear from the immediate danger they used the ropes that still hang outside to descend down to the grounds. They found it both dark and quiet, their boots settling in the softness of well manicured grass.

They followed Akasha’s lead as she wound her way through the city towards the docks. She utilized side streets and alleys, as the main thoroughfares were heavy with city guards and emergency fire patrols.

They came to the small customs office on the docks, where they believed
Hazzar Boracha to have been deterred. Sayer relieved the guard of his weapons. Though trying to be subtle On’ogg still caught the attention of the guard, who the Hand quickly convinced into thinking he was dreaming.

The companions rushed down and released Captain Hazzar Boracha from his overnight captivity. Apparently he too had been treated less than hospitably.

Once outside, the companions found a port skiff, Hazar showing his prowess in smuggling them within its cargo. Castien Vauldra stopped the skiff near a small salvage vessel who were fishing bodies from the water. He made a note of the lost crew members of the Callehad. They pressed on, Castien using his credentials to push past the blockade to the Maiden’s Thirst, Captain Hazar’s ship.

Within the relative safety of a ship disembarking from a dangerous place, the companions began to consider what was lost.

~

Akasha used what mental energy she could muster to call out to her friends who had been on board the Callehad. To Wilhelm she inquired as to what happened… to no response. To Baatu she asked if he was alright? Nothing still Nazeer she pleaded to, could anyone hear her…? Her words dispersed over the cold dark sea unanswered.

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The Gateway City of Ando'valah

The companions settle the estate of Darius Vayne, agreeing to work with Xandrilla for a time and folding Willem the Whistler into an indentured position within their cadre.

A suspicion begins to grow as they question the two usurpers. Perhaps young Darius wasn’t as victimized as he had let on. Akasha Delithrang makes questions his motives aboard the Callehad. While reading the surface thoughts of his mind he attacks her, lashing out like a trapped animal. He is soon subdued and brought to the keep where the companions find him guilty of murder of his lord father Tharon Vayne.

His sentence of death by hanging is carried out swiftly, leaving the companions within the manor and in disagreement about who should take ownership of the holdings. They decide to table the discussion for a time so that they can keep their appointment with the Legion of Aelosus at Ando’valah.

The companions make the voyage to Aelostrian, finding the city to be in some turmoil. They soon find out that Executor Rolland Malorne, the mentor of Captain Castien has gone missing.

Magistrate Kellion Zandros receives the companions. He has placed the city under martial law, believing ‘outside elements’ to have abducted Executor Malorne. Assuring them that his agents are working to rectify the situation, he throws a banquet to congratulate the companions on their efforts. He also sets up entertainment, a historical drama known as ‘The WInd & the Flame’.

After the reception party, the companions are seen to private quarters, where all comforts have been accounted for. There is an unease among them; the Magistrate seems to have insulated himself from the troubles outside the aristocratic palaces. They make note to confront the Magistrate in the morning, though they find it cannot come soon enough.

In the night they are attacked by elvish assassins; Akasha nearly succumbs to a series of vicious strikes. The companions recover the situation and defeat the assailants. the Hand manipulates one of the assassins into disclosing who had sent them; she reveals Magistrate Zandros to have made the order and is dispatched by being sent out the open window.

From that same window they notice the Callehad across the bay; the deck is engulfed in flame. Suddenly a massive explosion blows the ship to smithereens, a plume of fire billowing into the night sky. Other vessels shudder and sway from the force as pieces of wood and sail rain down on the area.

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Old Whistler's Keep
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The companions continue their voyage south aboard the Callehad. They make a stop at Archon’s Fall, where they see some great deal of construction under way. Calling on Lord Aetherion Tourek, they find the Explorer’s League in expansion. The guildmaster has been upgrading the facilities, fortifying the structure considerably.

They debrief Lord Tourek, who congratulates them on their good work. Wishing to continue their association, the guildmaster assigns Porthios to act as liaison during their voyage south. They convince Lord Tourek of their need and are afforded Morinth for a time, to help with the tracking of Jotun Borzegar and the Aurens. Displaced after the events of the long Night of Lights, it is believed that the Aurens can be allies in the conflict to come.

The companions also visit their old friend Clyde ‘the Lion’ Vanto.

scene_-_old_whistler_s_manor.jpg The companions then continue south to Coldwater Anchorage, the small port-of-call overseen by the Vayne Manor. The Hand visits with Darius Vayne and with a considerable amount of insight is able to coax a semblance of human dignity from the drunkard. During the voyage the Hand gains his trust, finding in him a longing for his Magdella. With her at his side he would set out for a life of adventure.

Within a few days the companions arrive at Coldwater Anchorage, where they device a plan to confront the bandit leader known as Willem the Whistler. They march up to the keep, finding the bridge drawn and the gates barred. Though the Hand is very adroit in posing as young Darius Vayne, scary even, they find those inside less than obligatory.

The companions fall back to concoct a more subtle approach.

With the use of a giant barrel, they make efforts to look as if though they are delivering a huge cask of wine to the Manor. With Akasha Delithrang, Elbanor and Sayer stowed within, On’ogg delivers it through the gates, with the Hand keeping watch from the tree line.

Bearing his share of insults from the crowd of bandits, Ogg blows open the cask revealing his companions within. The Hand joins the fray as the companions dispatch one bandit after another, taking heed to not strike lethal force. Once subdued, the companions forge ahead to confront the bandit leader.

The companions forge forward with the use of Hand’s ability to cast a mantle of invisibility over the companions in conjunction with general scare tactics and no shortage of chicanery. They find the Whistler in the main hall among his remaining outlaws. They seem to have lost the will to fight. Indeed, the Willem the Whistler stalls long enough for his gang to mostly escape, buying the time with his own freedom.

The companions subdue him as well, finding that there seems to be a witch in the manor as well. She had made her presence known when the Whistler had first taken hold of the estate. There seemed to be a truce among the two, as the witch seemed intent to hold the tower as long as she was not bothered.

The companions move through the halls to find this witch, finding the manor in a reasonably good state of affairs, all things considered. The objects of art have been taken down, but not destroyed. The store of goods have been rifled through, but not completely drained.

They find their way to the tower. Though it radiates a certain arcane energy, they find the door locked, no trap set. Moving in they find the place thick with the scent of incense. Eyes adjusting, they note the room to be comfortably furnished. Beyond they find a figure standing on the balcony that surely overlooks the entire area. The figure turns revealing herself to be none other than Xandrilla, the Bane of Thuul.

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Drunk in Steingaart

After their victory, the companions spent some small time with their friends and colleagues at the Alabaster Citadel. There they bid farewell to those whose path would take them away from the companions.

The Hand and Sayer shared some time to bond together, during which time Sayer revealed a certain fear he has experienced, hidden beneath layers of bravado and grandiosity. He also in some ways entertains the idea that he is part of a force that seems capable of great things.

Akasha Delithrang and Nazeer performed a ritual to stabilize the young elf’s forray into the peculiar dream that she had been experiencing. There a peculiar hooded figure made mention of a sleeping entity within the lake, that they were keepers of the being until such a time as he is needed again. The figure also explains that the gifts that Akasha has been experiencing seems part of a greater purpose; that Akasha was integral for some reason. The figure than read Akasha’s mind, gained insight on a particular phrasing that was prominent in her mind, took the form of her friendly badger and propelled her from the Grove.

On’ogg turned in his homework, ‘mostly’ complete. He than made arrangements to continue his study while abroad, using whatever forms of communication that should present itself. Eventually he is summoned with his friends to the vestry, where he is officially sworn into the service of the Order of the Alabaster Aegis. In light of the recent events First Paladin Dhalamus Cayne suspends On’ogg’s formal training, sending him instead to investigate the threat to the World Chains of Agartha in the name of the Aegis.

At the behest of Sir Huron Amberhardt the companions then travel with Captain Castien aboard the Callehad to the city of Steingaart. Their hope is to parley with Sir Huron’s brother to gain useful information of a stronghold of some sort that they may operate from.

~

A short voyage later they arrive at the gates of the city. Disembarking for the purpose of resupplying, Nazeer mentions to the companions that they may gain the help of the Legion of Aelosus within the southern isles. The relationship of the companions and the Legion has become strong enough that the elf sees their undertaking one in the same. He mentions that though Castien agrees with the sentiment, the captain fears that personal favor for certain party members may be clouding this judgement; thus leading to inaction.

Considering this new information, the companions continue into the city proper. There a few things come to pass…

  • A disorderly drunk is thrown from a tavern.
  • Elbanor has his hammer appraised, where it is revealed to be one of a set of weapons with a great deal of mythos.
  • The Hand, taking the face of a young Madrygos buys several exotic fruits.
  • On’ogg makes an appointment with Garvin Amberhardt.
    Sayer, Akasha, Elbanor and Ogg visit the Watering Hole, where they win a large cask of dwarven ale from a boisterous tavern owner.
  • The companions are seen to Garvin Amberhardt, who reveals that the son of an old acquaintance has unofficial become his charge. The companions lease Mohr Dhoma to Garvin, which will be used for trade purposes by the Amberhardt Mercantile Company. In exchange Garvin explains that young DARIUS VAYNE has lost his father’s holdings to a band of cutthroats. He releases care of Lord Vayne to the companions.
  • The companions then cause a great scene to draw out the drunken Lord, who they’ve come to know is enamored to some great beauty of a woman named Magdella. Through use the commotion that Elbenor’s hammer had created they dredge Darius from his stupor, absconding with him back to the Callehad.
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The Mind's Eye

The companions gathered their allies and ventured north, finally to confront the Exile at the fabled site of Exeter. Though what happened there is known only to those present, it is whispered that someone …or something… scratched quill across papyrus, taking note of everything that had transpired …missing nothing with an insightful eye.

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The Old Rookery Part III

Though beleaguered by the presence of what seems to be a royal dwarf spirit within their friend Sayer, the companions press on deeper. They confront SIR FERRIC deep within the horrid Black Cells.

He had been grossly malformed, carrying plague and death as a weapon against the companions. Entombed in this place in his armor of old, he wore it still; though any adornment or trappings of the Aegis had long been scorched and blackened almost completely beyond recognition.

He claimed to be blessed by some other being and indeed transformed into a powerful creature of darkness late into the encounter. A fetid aura of pestilence hung about him; he invoked powers of plague and disease. Though he nearly brought the group low with his considerable powers of darkness, our heroes were able to vanquish the disgraced knight for good.

As the ascended the dungeons, they came across the wall fresco depicting Dyadorism. With the key they formed in the dungeons below, they found a cache of hidden treasures. They then made the night trek back to the Alabaster Citadel.

Arriving late in the evening, they sent word that The Circle should form first thing in the morning, for they brought news of consequence. Akasha Delithrang investigates some of the mysterious codex, the ‘Castrum Severaturm’. In this codex, she began learning some small introductory information on the Veridian Wardens.

When the elves formed The Conglomerate, there were some who stood apart. They, with the guidance of some benevolent entity, formed the Veridian Wardens, those who rely on the natural world that the Qual’denas, or ‘Those That Came Before’ (as it’s translated from elvish,) have set for the world of man.

On’ogg takes an opportunity to meditate on that which he had encountered below the Old Rookery Station, finding himself on the Citadel crenelations to enjoy the pre-dawn. He watched on the sun rose in between a pair of the Nobles, washing over him with light and warmth.

Soon after dawn the companions traveled to the auditorium, where The Circle had convened. Elbenor recounts their experience, explaining the pestilent state of Sir Ferric the Disgraced. He cautions that the Aegis not forget the depths of the Black Cells, for “a putrid eye had doth turned it’s evil eye upon the black heart of it’s depths”.

The Circle takes heed and Svala proclaimed her justice fulfilled. She takes leave of the counsel, obtaining the storm cleric for a private discussion as she steps away.

As the counsel makes to retire, Sayer steps forward, full of a haughty indigence at having to announce himself. He does so, calling on those of the Alabaster Aegis, an Order that his Lord Father, Thane Olaf Magnus of the Baelstraz held in such high esteem. Sayer’s voice bellows out in uncanny fashion, a glimmer in his eye as he invokes his divine mission to meet with his father’s mortal remains in the Forge of Souls, this strange place that the humans now refer to as Exeter.

Those of the counsel stare on in shock, all but one. SIR HURON recognizes these proclamations, realizing that the young adventurer has within him the soul of the Ulfar Magnus, Lost Prince of the Baelstraz Mountains. Sir Huron calls forth his brothers and sisters, announcing the royal prince as such, taking knee and offering his aid in such a worthy cause.

Any foolish enough not to follow suit finds themselves rebuked with a fervor rivaling the intensity of the sun above. Within moments the whole congregation bends the knee to the Lost Prince.

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The Old Rookery Part II

The companions continue to investigate the Old Rookery, finding themselves in the subterranean levels, among the dusty tomes and old paintings of the study. They find some small signs of struggle and a disruption in the flow of carpeting. They also noticed a malignant growth protruding from the air duct lining the bottom of the wall.

They continued down, finding a small sitting area with a large basin of cool, refreshing water. On’ogg, realizing it to have been blessed, took his fill of the holy water. They also found a intricate wall fresco, depicting the eternal conflict of Dyadorism.

The companions continued on, finding a small chantry, beyond which they witnessed the setting sun through a small passageway outside. There was a mighty clash coming from outside, the sound of heavy forged metal hitting stone. The companions rushed forward, engaging in several more abhorrent knights. They are successful in halting the knight’s attacks on a large stone seal of some sort. During the combat, The Hand passively dragged their hand across the wall as they delved.

Reckoning it to be some containment against evil, Akasha and On’ogg combine their powers to mend the stone. Tendrals of vines sprout from Akasha’s magic, filling in the damaged areas while Ogg radiates small waves of light, which harden the vines into stone.

The companions watch the sunset and use the opportunity for a short rest. They soon continue forward, sliding the heavy stone aside to reveal an old passageway, cut from the rough hewn stone of the mountain itself. They continue down.

Intrigued by the hard edges of the wall, the Hand drags their own hand across the surface passively. Continuing down some ways the companions are halted when the Hand accidentally pulls a lever, opening a hidden panel branching off of the main passageway. Climbing up a narrow flight of steps, they find a perfectly square room with a vaulted ceiling and nothing but a large mirror on a stand centered in the middle of the floor.

They spend some time dabbling with the strange ways in which the mirror reflects magical light. They find some discerning colors associated with each plain wall. They also notice that both the walls and the mirror have a deeply embedded magic about them, though inverted.

After quite a bit of experimenting, Sayer snaps his fingers with a thought and places the mirror against one of the walls, easily stepping through to a room beyond that he had found with his Gem of Truesight.

The companions venture into what they find to be four hidden rooms, one for each wall of the mirror room. With a combined effort they find a Chain from a chamber containing a scale, a Haft from the chamber containing a suit of ancient armor, a Crest from the room containing a paining of a woodland scene and a Bit from the room containing a Chalice.

Combining their pieces they gain a heavy key, with an aura of magic about it. Ogg realizes that it seems to have a similar design to that fresco they came across in the chambers above. He notes this for later investigation.

The companions delve deeper into the Black Cells. They pass through some unadorned cells before finding a peculiar, gleaming plate helm with a ruby the size of a fist centered on the front. There is a bit of discussion as to what to do with such a relic before Sayer relieves the Hand of the artifact and places it upon his noggin.

He is wracked by convulsions for a brief moment before seeming to come to. He stares at his friends without obvious recognition, eventually speaking in a voice not his own. The companions find they are now speaking to a dwarf by the name of Prince Ulfgar Magnus, son of Thane Ragno Magnus.

It seems the Prince is driven beyond the normal parameters of mortality to fulfill some ancestral duty. He seems driven by this calling, and through some small feats of trust-binding decides that the companions could help with this task.

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The Old Rookery Part I

The companions regroup in the morning, break their fast with simple fare. Sir Alfred Leomynd calls on them early, delivering a missive from the First Paladin himself, meant for the sergeant of the watch post. The instruction give the companions access to the long since sealed dungeons below the Old Rookery Station.

They set off soon after. A few hours hike finds them in the upper clefts of one of the Nobles surrounding the citadel, on the far end of the valley. A switchback trail leads up to the Old Rookery, the breeze whistling through a door standing slightly ajar. Nobody welcomes them as they press into the foyer; the watch station seems strangely unmanned.

They come across a statue of a vaguely angelic figure wielding a golden blade, the placard naming it ‘Glorenfauzt’. They take note and soon move along. They find an door that blocked from the other side, then an office with scattered papers and upturned furniture, an ominous smear of blood dragged across a chamber wall.

They find a small observation platform. They also determine that there are no reports dated past two days prior to the current day. They continue on, up a small circular stairway to the Rookery itself.

scene_-_abhorrent_knight.jpg Here they come across a pair of aberrations, grossly malformed by some horrific evil, interrupting the vile creature as it feasted upon the carcass of a bloated crow. Extraneous appendages sprout from their dead bodies, which they use to brutally attack the heroes. There is a aura of undeath about them.

The companions are up to the task and soon dispatch the creatures. They notice that they bare the trappings of Aegis knights, confirming a grim fate on at least two of the knights stationed here.

Backtracking to the level below, they use a crowbar with renewed vigor and break open the blocked door to the billets. Within they find the corpse of what must have been a survivor, determining his death to likely caused by wounds suffered by the abhorrent knights. The Hand weaves a spell around the corpse, animating the poor soul to find clues through conversation.

The man claims to have been caught unawares while he and his colleagues delivered goods to the outpost. In the chaos, he suffered a mortal wound and blockaded himself in the sleeping quarters, where he would eventually succumb to his injuries.

The companions press on into the depths of the outpost. Spiraling down deep into the mountainside, the stairwell leads them into an unlit passageway. They come across a small room with a heavy tome, names listed with some irregularity. Continuing on they find several alcoves; each with several brass urns. Countless mementos clutter the area, including several sealed notes and missives, each with a coin sunk into it’s waxen seal.

The decided it best to not interfere with the shrines and continue forth, to a split in the passage. To one path lies a long hall with a small flight of steps leading into the darkness beyond. The other path opens into a comfortable receiving room, with many substantial paintings and a few shelves with old literature lining the walls.

The companions investigate the study, finding one painting in particular quite intriguing. Upon further inspection, they notice it not a painting at all but a peculiar snapshot of the scene it depicts, like a window to the scene, with just the shades of black and grey detailing the image.

heroes_of_exeter.jpg

It was labeled the ‘Heroes of Exeter’ and depicts Ahrumaz and her band of companions in the harsh tundras of the far north. It listed there names. Among the names listed they are surprised to find Marobar Sul . Sure enough they recognize his likeness, though a much, much younger man, standing among the heroic friends of Ahrumaz, fabled hero of the Giant Gate Wars and legendary leader of the Alabaster Aegis.

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Calling on the Aegis
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The companions regroup before their final trek to the Alabaster Citadel. Sayer the Swashbuckler calls upon Captain Castien, who is happy to report that the state of the Callehad is far less dire than at first was expected. The companions efforts to outfit the ship with reinforced skystone plates have payed off serious dividends in their effort.

Akasha Delithrang calls upon Nazeer for guidance in regard to the inquiries she had made on the ‘Veridian Wardens’. He mentions that he remembers having a conversation with one of the acolytes of the Scribes that hinted at said knowledge. He directs her to find a place where old tomes and scrolls be kept, then call upon him through means of the arcane to receive further instructions.

Elbanor Thaspeclepior, On’ogg and The Hand fall into the company of Noble Squad and as a whole they set out into the Gates of Benediction, delving at a downward grade down into the northern cliffs of the valley. The tunnel they found themselves in was as well kept as it was long. They continued for some time with only sconces of burning brazers to mark their progress. After about ten minutes they saw a gleam of light at the far end, signifying the exit.

Once through, they found the valley much more hospitable than the region would suggest. They had dropped some elevation in the trek through the Gates and the ground was still marked by snow patches escaping the sun’s rays under at the edge of the treeline.

They continue to the Citadel, are escorted by Judith ‘the Noose’ to the Scribe’s Archives, by way of the dining facilities. Ogg inquires about some required reading and is assigned some book-work by Alfred Leomynd, the First Scribe of the Aegis. The Hand offers their assistance, but Ogg decides that perhaps Elbanor is the better companion suited to wax philosophical virtues.

Akasha inquires with First Scribe on the certain subject of the Veridian Wardens. He seems genuinely stumped, so she offers the scroll which she received in the dreaming as a clue. He finds it most interesting and gains permission by the young elf to transcribe to contents, a task which he sets his acolytes to immediately. He is unable to produce meaningful text on the Wardens besides.

Sayer peels away from the group to find more suitable accommodations. He is seen to their lodgings. The Aegis had set them in the formal guest quarters; though lacking any obvious manner of refinement, it was certainly comfortable and well appointed.

He then made his way to conquer the task of growing thirst. Running into the familiar face of supply sergeant McGee, he accepts the invitation to the officer’s lounge for refreshments. While enjoying said company, Sayer listened with some intent on the buzz around the lounge, namely that the Circle had been called for emergency deliberations, that such hasty arrangements were a peculiarity.

The Hand makes attempt to poke around the First Scribe’s office after he departs to his meeting with the Circle, but is quickly set upon by a passing acolyte. Feigning a head injury, the Hand is successful in convincing the young man into believing their trauma. Much to the Hand’s dismay, though, the acolyte now seemed duty-bound to transport them to a medical professional.

Once delivered, a doctor of sorts informs The Hand of the nature of traumatic experiences and their potential to disrupt the natural recall of memories, creating a void of mental capacity. He also warned that though it may be difficult, that delving into said trauma may be to only way to unpack and assuage what he called this ‘dark baggage’. Somewhat shaken by this apparent revelation, the Hand takes their leave after requesting a shiny bauble from his cabinet of medicinal curios.

Some time later Elbanor is called on by a runner from The Circle. His presence seems requested by Svala, a summons he takes immediately. The attendant sees him out of the Citadel and up a forest path to the outdoor auditorium, where The Circle had convened.

Svala calls Elbanor to act in her name as an agent in her stead. His charge would be to confirm the proof of punishment for a Knight that she knows to be integral in her capture by the giants deep within the mountains. He is told that Sir Ferric had been interred some three decades prior in the ‘Black Cells’, the dungeons below what is now an active guard outpost name the ‘Old Rookery’. The man under question had refused any nourishment and has been presumed dead since shortly after his internment began. The ‘Black Cells’ have long since been discontinued and nearly forgotten.

Meanwhile Ogg takes the opportunity to wander about the Citadel for a time. He finds himself on one of the outer crenelations and runs into a young paladin who says that her friends call her ‘Mouse’. Indeed the young lady seems just barely scraping into an age of growth, a so called ‘late bloomer’ as it goes. She mentions having a keen appreciation for a certain star in the sky, a cosmic brightness that sheds some reminder that the divine are shining down on the realm of mortals. A little perplexed, Ogg notices that Mouse has a strength of divine power among her and attempts to continue the conversation, but the young lady soon vanishes around a corner.

He eventually calls upon Knight Marcus Dunham, the head smithy of the Aegis. On’Ogg gives a small practical demonstration of the peculiar sword, a presentation that results in the complete destruction of a dummy target. Knight Dunham, an expert in his own right in the ways of weapons and steel, turns his trained eye in the aura of red energy around the violence. He seems to recognize the curse gripping the orc and brings him to his great forge.

Thereupon Knight Dunham commands Ogg to submerge the blade into a basin of holy water. Ogg complies, and with some peculiar reluctance plunges the sword into the water. A blast of dark energy erupts from the basin, cracking the polished stonework in the process. A shadowy malevolence washes over the room briefly before slamming several acolytes onto the ground and flitting down towards the training grounds.

Ogg and the Knights rush out into the yard with several torches only to catch a tail end of darkness taken form. They look on to watch as it flits into the treeline some distance away.

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