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.