Aphonion Tales: The Archducal Council -- Unedited notes (posts MTWF, temporarily, most recent 5/25/22)

CPaladin

Explorer
Session 82 (August 11, 2016)

22 Tar-Skard

In the middle of the night, 4 Hanalian vollers arrive; the vollers are flagged as belonging to a kov of some type, with many dead crew and many sorely injured.

"The hands at the tiller were… the priests said they were imps. They all vanished when the ship tied up, except one who is sitting with the wounded officer; I don’t think he’ll live, that one."

They inform Dame Brionna of this and a message from the captain. He hands her a document, with the seal of Snatterkaz. [Attached]

Dame Brionna sends a message to Grandmaster Farsensor. The Moriquendarim redactor is also called for, because he is the only one who has the capability of saving the wounded officer.

Three of the voller are men-of-war; the last is an enormous barrel, for the transportation of water.

The selkie were under attack—there was something vile clinging to the outside of the ship, which the elves deal with.

There is a gasp from the drow. "There is a lord of the house of Curinirim, here, dead. This one was young, no more than a third comer perhaps fourth. His liege must be informed. The house of Curinirim is not numerous. He should be shrouded."

"Can he be raised?"

"He will not rise against his will, and his body has been abominated. He would not return if he were offered. He has severed all connections and gone… departed. Were his body restored to life, it would change."

Dame Brionna raises an issue about the three humans who will inevitably die, and whether they will rise again as corrupted. The Drow offers to call for his master’s house troops, who can deal with it, and Dame Brionna agrees.

The water tanker has lost most of its water, because of damage. Dame Brionna orders that it be patched, so the selkie can be kept safe.

"They were trying to drag the young away. When we got involved and they realized they were losing, they began to kill. We drove them off; many of them died, but they were driven off. The Noldar inflicted hellacious damage, but unfortunately he fell. The strom pursued and bombarded them with alchemical fire; I haven’t had contact in several hours. As my strength faded, I lost my mental grip on him."

Dame Brionna and the Grandmaster Farsensor follow the link to the Strom.

The Council discusses the fact that the Noldar are dying at a faster rate than they are being born. Perhaps 3 or 4 are born per year, although more than that are destroyed in conflict with the enemy each year.

The Council calls for the child with Selkie blood to try to figure out where to put the Selkie refugee children.

"They have got to be kept wet. If they’re going to be in it a long time, it needs to be salt—they can last a couple of days. They are vegetarians if they’re old enough—if they’re young enough to still need milk…"

"Would a human wet nurse be sufficient?"

"I don’t see why not."

The Council sends him to keep them company.

* * *

There were some raids on the salt warehouses.

Appear to be people panicking.

The Council comes up with a plan to manipulate the market and spread rumors to reassure the people.
[cont'd]
 

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CPaladin

Explorer
[session 82, cont'd]
A page approaches Kit. There’s a scullery maid outside, tapping at the door so gently Kit can’t hear her. “The cook sent me. Something’s happening with the boy—it’s wrong—he’s surrounded in a covering of lights.”

“One of our kitchen boys has become covered in lights?”

“No, the boy you left.”

“We sent him to the kitchen to get him food—he looked like he hadn’t eaten in days.”

We discuss the possibility that this may be the wards that Dame Brionna.

Prince Moriquendarim comes to talk with the Council. He’s very excited about what’s happening: "He’s reached the apex! He’s transforming. His father was a transformed fey-drake."

They move the fey-drake into a shiny room (an unused, very tacky dining room), with plenty of food.

They move the Curinirim lord’s body to the Cathedral to lie in state.

The Council also asks Prince Moriquendarim about the Curinirim lord. “Yes… that is the youngest of the direct line of the Curinirim lord. He’s a Fourth Comer, but a pureblood. He chose to command a Curinirim research schooner. His father was a First Comer, but his father’s first wife died in childbirth, bearing his older brother.

"The prophecy says that if the Unspeakable comes a third time, our doom is assured. The prophecy comes from the mouth of the Bearer of Gifts, whose prophecies are always accurate—they are threats, not gifts, to make people accept his gifts, which destroy."

They discuss the respective treatment of the dead, and the Prince asks to meet with the Bishop of Glordiadel.

--
The Council speaks to Princess Curinirim to inform her of her nephew’s death.
[End Session 82]
 

CPaladin

Explorer
Session 83 (September 8, 2016)

23 Tar-Skard
Kit meets with Mommy Cupcakes:

"There was a contaminated well in the lower city near the East Gate. The problem has been dealt with, but the source of the contamination extended into the farms east of the city—there were lambs being born with multiple heads, calves with strange features, and some dead chickens."

Mommy Cupcakes also warns Kit that there might be women throwing themselves at the Archduke in the near future. Dame Brionna has successfully mostly squashed the rumors about her being his mistress, but now lots of young women are thinking that with the Princess needing to be far away, the Archduke might be in need of company.

"The other thing is the youngling, the prince with the touch. One of those, the Selkie young ones in that tank of water, was going to die. The redactor couldn’t cure him, I couldn’t with … my herbs, but the boy. He cured him, but not the way I expected. He wept with the boy. Where his tears fell, the wounds began to heal. He’s touched. He doesn’t know that he’s touched. His people are so noggly that they think he’s a redactor, but I don’t think he’s a redactor at all. I think he’s just touched, that he has the old powers, of the fey blood. He’s got the sight for sure, but different, too. He doesn’t see the truth, but he sees the possibilities, but he sees them clear. I think it’s coming on now for the first time."

Dame Brionna conveys a report from the military intelligence in the Southlands, with a map. [Attached]
[cont'd]
 

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CPaladin

Explorer
[Session 83 cont'd]
There are a pair of loud booms, and turquoise runes appear in the room, while a silvery barrier appears over the door. A disembodied voice speaks. “Attempt to breach outer palace defenses has failed. Damage to palace superstructure in third quadrant has been noted. Golem response has been initiated. All inhabitants are secure.”

"What is the nature of the attack?" asks Dame Brionna

“Double blast using a combination of portable holes and bags of holding. Perpetrator using a bow, special arrow heads, vanished immediately after the attack. No detection of teleportation.”

"Where is the safest place for the Archduke?"

“The catacombs.”

Dame Brionna and Kit prevail upon Alistair to go to the catacombs.

“The taint of the Unspeakable was detected upon the perpetrator; it cannot currently be located. Crystal golems are sweeping the area in advance of dropping the force walls.”

Grandmaster Farsensor is contacted. "I think we know where the greater one is now. It failed to gain entry, because it cannot enter directly against the wards. It will have gone to ground. There is no way to detect it psionically. True sight would only do it if you had a viewer who can see the nature of the paths a person can take. It will never stay where it was when it fired the arrows. It will retreat to an area with a great many people—the market in the lower city. You will need someone who can face it."

"Lord Davion?"

"Lord Davion, with my assistance should be able to. He is the only one who could."

Alistair speaks to Prince Moriquendarim, asks him to find the creature, but stresses that he must not engage it—that he must just find it and pass the information on to others. They plan an expedition with Dame Brionna, on her flying horse, with greater invisibility over all of them.

The Council dresses Prince Moriquendarim in heavy armor to make him look more human; he leaves the pendant that declaims his status to all present.

Dame Brionna flies a “patrol,” not directly to the market, but that leads her over the eastern market. When she arrives there, Prince Moriquendarim lights up a target—“that one.”

The battle is joined. There are a couple of dragons that were not asleep yet; there are also several things that we do not even recognize. In about a minute, the battle is over. The first 40 seconds has a lot of back and forth; then it begins fleeing, changing forms more than a dozen times in the last twenty seconds, while the Prince keeps on identifying. Finally, it dies, and turns back to burning protoplasm. (Dame Brionna sends for holy water to douse it with.)

Lord Davion leans on his sword. "You know, I’m going to have to recollect some of those—they were rare. I hope they haven’t been able to bring many of those through."

“We’re pretty sure only one.”

“Good. The last time they brought many more through. It took a great deal to stop them—they were too advanced. That was in the Second Age. But their entry was denied, and the footholds disappeared.”

Casualties were incidental—some injuries, but the only deaths were two shopkeepers who had shops fall on them.

The Council discusses its route in—we conclude that it likely came in through the City of Gates, traveling from there into the Underdark, then through a major aquifer in the Underdark, into the water feeding the eastern farms around Canberry City.

One of the places where he was is one of the shops in the high city—a shop that sells extremely rare magic items and antiquities.

"The young noble from the northlands, purchased four of my most expensive items. Two ancient bags of holding, and two portable holes. He paid in platinum coins—from Gates."
[End session 83]
 

CPaladin

Explorer
Session 84 (November 22, 2016)

24 Tar-Skard
The Princess Curinirim arrived yesterday, and is currently grieving formally with the body in the chapel.

The Council has a whole sheaf of reports--2 for Kit, 1 for Dame Brionna, and 1 that was indirectly routed to Alistair. [Attached]

The Council sends for the Royal Alchemist. They arrange for him to test the preserving agent that the salt guild is preparing—pointing out that he should have it bought on the open market.

They discuss briefly the need to reestablish centers of alchemical learning—likely in the Southlands or the Spicelands, where there were traditionally the major centers for this continent.

The Council discusses the status of the various military operations. They’re sending the vollers to the west, to harry and to coordinate ground troops operating against the small humanoid bands there—it should be a good opportunity for their green crews to gain combat experience.

They also ask the Lord Chancellor to contact Debonai and warn them of the returning (broken) army of the Ram.

The Council also discuss continuing to reinforce the Spice lands and Southern Confederacy by encouraging noble families to set their cadet branches up as new nobles, supplying us with troops to reinforce without needing to actually supply the troops directly.

They also discuss the coming famine in Hanal and how to get aid there, including direct shipments of food, shipments to the City of Glass (to try to get them to take in gnomes and halflings), and reaching out to our contacts in the Underdark to see if they can supply more food as well.

Gates has been destabilizing—Canberry doesn’t know why.

They ask the Archbishop to have someone investigate the reputed ghost of Sanela Longyard.

Prince Moriquendarim is also reputed to be healing people. Mommy Cupcakes thought that he might have fey blood showing true.

Alistair travels down to the Archive. There are now several humanoid forms moving around. Alistair asks the Archives about the strange events. "Prince Moriquendarim had both Eldar and Noldar blood. He is reverting. House Curinirim and Aufalgautharim are the two houses most likely to take offence, but they are both aware of it and will tolerate it. He will be an Eldar of the full blood. The process will take 5 or 10 years. He will be a great guardian of our house; your great-great-great-grandchildren will be grateful for your generosity to him. He will follow a human god, which will help prevent them from taking any offense.

"He will take about a century to reach emotional maturity, and several centuries more to reach intellectual maturity. It is to be hoped that he will not mature as an Eldar, lest he be overtaken by melancholy."
[cont'd]
 

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CPaladin

Explorer
[Session 84, cont'd]
A bishop they've never seen before appears outside the council chamber with a missive from the Patriarch. [Attached]

Kit’s agents return from investigating the salt merchant. “He’s bleeding crazy… He’s doing a bang-up job of selling salt, but I consulted with a colleague who has the touch, and there’s something in his head that doesn’t make any more sense than the words he says. One odd thing he said—there were a lot of words in his head about death and murder and things like that, but they didn't seem to have anything to do with real life.” Brought back a bag of salt so we can test it.

He has an old woman with him—probably his mother.

They check whether she’s charmed, and find a psionic link. Probably to Old Gregor—an old grafter who used his psionic power to run petty scams.

Kit's people know where the salt is coming from—not really a problem (the village had a small salt mine of its own), except Old Gregor’s involvement is troubling.

The salt tests as clean, so we turn it over to the guard to grab Old Gregor. They get two tons of salt, but Old Gregor slips away.

The Council didn’t know about the salt mine at all. They ask the Lord Chamberlain to draw up plans for a census.

Princess Curinirim is announced in the evening. She performs a graceful curtsy. Her clothes were beautiful at one time, but she now looks unkempt. "I have prepared a stasis chamber on my voller. We will transport the body to lie in state in the City of Pain, and then pass on to my estates in Zorplona-Argoni. I will have a tomb prepared—it is fitting that he be buried here. It would have been his preference to be buried in your lands—if you would permit land to be used here." (Alistair immediately agrees.) "There is one other thing I should speak of while I am here. You are a brave man. You have sought with some success to negotiate the path between the two old races. You have made friends upon the one hand and the other, and I count myself among them. Be aware, the prince of the Moriquendarim who resides among you reverts. His mother knew this might happen, and provided for him to come here in affection and love. She could not acknowledge it—her house will not speak of him—but she knew. He is a gifted boy. His gifts come from his father’s lineage as a bastard—which is not to despise the gifts. He has chosen a path that avoids conflict, and that is good. As it is, I wish you to know that there is no conflict between me and him. I take certain pleasure that our ancient enemy will not have the surcease of reclaiming his spirit. He is a great asset to you—treat him well. I refer to you in the corporate sense. Be careful if you have a visitor of Aufalgautharim."

She gives us the ring to which the failed guardian daemon was bound.

Bishop Waters comes in with a concerned look on his face. "I thought I should mention that we need 15 gallons of holy water, to clean up the mess left of the guardian daemon, by Princess Curinirim."

A day passes!

25 Tar Skard:
The gate to the Plane of Salt opens; it brings through a substantial supply of salt, although not sufficient to completely resolve the problem.

The Royal Alchemist also reports that the spice mix is effective, for 6-7 months, and will be tastier.

While Dame Brionna is on patrol, she is joined by a small group. "I wished to inquire about the path that you follow." Prince Moriquendarim is the person asking her. They chat about religion and being a paladin and the like.

By evening, a messenger from the Archbishop appears. “Your grace, the Archbishop bids us ask if you know of an investment house that would handle 50 of these.” He holds out a small casket. “We are not certain what coin this is.” It has a small stack of osmium tuals. They are each worth 525 platinum. The Council discusses the two places that these could probably be exchanged on this continent: Zorplona-Argoni and the Forest of Singing Leaves. But Alistair also suggests issuing letters of credit backed by the coins rather than spending the coins themselves.
[End Session 84]
 

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CPaladin

Explorer
Session 85 (December 6, 2016)

26 Tar-Skard
Kit brings a message to the Council about Gates. [Attached.] The Council begins by discussing the ongoing purges in Gates. Kit wants to know more about the mundane situation: who’s being purged, who is coming to power, and what’s going on with the Princess who Alistair had a dalliance with. They note that the Greater Seen-Unseen may have come through the water supply from Gates—that could have been a source of corruption. There’s a major fresh-water sea under West Gate.

They plan on reaching out to some of the people that we trust in Gates. Also, they need to be guarding against active Seen-Unseen—they might be responsible (or opportunistically trying to take advantage).

The Council asks the Bishop who is visiting to look into the spirit that may be a blessed ghost.

They then ask Lord Davion to handle the expedition to address the Aboleth noble, along with the scion of the line that the Aboleth thinks is the rightful line. It should only take a few days, unless it is in the Deep Underdark and using a conduit—but the Aboleths do not prefer that, they prefer to lurk in the Near Underdark. He does ask for 3 quartets of guards, and on our suggestion accepts the support of a few of Dame Constance’s people.

(He also notes that the youngest of the dragons will be the first to awake, in 8 or 9 months. They’ll mostly be hungry—the red dragon will want a whole cow or so, the gem dragons quartz and crystal.)

Lord Davion muses about bringing the lad; he has a ring that should be able to protect him from anything down in the Underdark and transport him home. He probably intends to destroy it when he’s powerful enough.

They discuss the Moriquendarim Prince, and his returning. Lord Davion plans to bring him with him on the expedition to the Aboleth.

Lord Davion says that there are only a few of the great Noldar that they need to worry about—a half dozen or so; Lord Goldorim, the Bleeding Lady, the Seductress (who left Morgroth’s service, but entered Borsh’tro’s service). Lord Davion tells us about the Seductress, a very powerful Noldar. There are only about a dozen Noldar and a dozen Noldar that pay attention to the younger races. [This last sentence doesn't make sense, but I don't know what it was supposed to say beyond "there are only about a dozen Noldar that pay attention to the younger races."]
[cont'd]
 

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CPaladin

Explorer
[Session 85, cont'd]
27 Tar-Skard
Midway through the afternoon, a messenger approaches Dame Brionna. “A voller has landed, with the daughter of Aleval. They have returned. They have prisoners, and considerable holdings.”

Dame Brionna informs the rest of us and goes to meet the Daughter.

“The mission is accomplished, commander.” She is wearing a necklace that she wasn’t before that contains teeth. Dame Brionna brings Lord Brightspan.

“All of the prisoners are ridden, m’lady. By demons—well, not exactly demons. They’re like demons, but much more lawful. But the strange looking chains around their wrists, it’s like knocking them unconscious.”

"Captain. The chains you have on the prisoners’ wrists; where did they come from?"

"They came from my mother. We used them at home for prisoners who have been overwhelmed by the things sorcerers use. I am no sorceress, but those things within them are responsible for what has happened."

"You should clean yourself up and report to the Archduke. He will want your personal report."

"And I must present this necklace, with the eye teeth of three of the four primarchs—and bare my throat to him, as the fourth escaped."

Dame Constance is summoned.-- "At first, I thought they were devils. They have the same mix of law and evil. But they are not devils. I would crave the boon of questioning one."

Dame Brionna asks Dame Constance to prepare the prison cells to hold them properly.

"There are three containers that are glowing—the fonts with the distilled drops of Heavenly Essence. These are the East, North, and South containers; the last primarch escaped with the fourth of these."

Dame Brionna calls for Bishop Waters, who consecrates the voller to protect it (50 xp for Dame Brionna) and assigns new guards. The drow look fine, albeit exhausted, but one of them is pregnant. Dame Brionna calls for Lady Cecilia, who verifies that the child is healthy albeit half-human. The whole thing seems to embarrass the drow warrior a great deal.

The Sixth Daughter presents the necklace.

"The other three primarchs are dead, the ritual is disrupted, and I have retrieved three vessels. Even I can sense that they are contaminated—they added something else in the distillation process, an abomination even by the standards of the Queen of Spiders. My seer tells me that there are possessing spirits in the prisoners.

"The last primarch was both a mage and a priest, though robed as a priest of the light. He cast a storm of lightning against those who came to seize him.

"They were all ridden in that chamber—all except the slaves, the prisoners for sacrifice. The greater casters and the guards were all killed, but the lesser casters we could take prisoner. It appeared to the Seer that the great working had an elven feel to it, although there were no elves in the chamber except the prisoners. The level of the magic was similar to elven domain magic."

The Council discusses it—very few humans pursue domain magic, because it requires great mastery and there are other forms of magic that are easier and more powerful like color magic. But this could be the result of the spirits guiding the magic to advance their master.

Dame Constance offers to separate the spirits from their hosts, with Bishop Waters assisting (since she needs a powerful priest). She will be able to compel them to answer 16 questions.
  1. "What are you?" We are spirits of true light, purified of all the impurities of morality, and hope, and emotion.
  2. "Who are you working for?" Blue Star. (The Bishop gasps. "My lady, that is the constant companion of Sytry from before the time he came here from the same world as Gunnora. He’s not a marital companion; he’s described as like a blue sun.")
  3. "What are your goals?" To return all of the faith of the light to the true light; to allow this system to reach its logical end.
  4. "What was added to the Drops of Heavenly Essence?"—"that is difficult for them your grace, we must apply a reminder"—I will answer, I will answer. We were, one in each, distilled even as they are.
  5. "Where would the fourth primarch have gone?" Cortose—the Holy See of Sytry.
  6. "Is there a way to remove the addition?" None that we know of; it was not intended to be removed until the drop was used and we entered with the infusion.
  7. "Is there a plan with the heir of Tarsh, who was resurrected with Drops of Heavenly Essence?" To overthrow Jazael, who has taken the throne there; but we calculate it will fail; too many are loyal to the lad. Infuriating. You humans breed like flies on this planet.
  8. "What other operations do you have still in progress?" That we are directly involved in… We have infiltrated five dioceses around the world from the weak and impure Church of Glordiadel. The other plans that the great one may have, we do not know. Always scheming, always planning, always hiding.
  9. "Do you have influence in Gates?" Fading.
  10. "Who outside the City of Life within the Church of Glordiadel is part of your network?" Here a priest, there a priest, but five bishops.
  11. "Which are the five bishops?" (This leads to a twenty minute struggle) This finally leads to five names, including the Bishop of Tarkenia, which is particularly worrisome because it’s one of the borderlands on Zest’qua; none are on this continent.
  12. "Is Sytry Himself part of this?" No… Sytry… No, Sytry Himself is not involved, knowingly. "Are you sure of this?" Yes, we’re sure, we’re sure, He’s just a patsy.
  13. "Do you have any current plots against Canberry or the Archduke of Canberry?" We cannot plot against the Archduke, he’s bound to the land, the land rejects us. Only by his willing joining with the true light can we affect him. We tried everything, and stupid, stupid allies are still trying.
  14. "Do you have any dealings with the forces of Arthranax or the other ancient evils?" Define “dealings.” "Mutual assistance, joint plans, trade, attempted manipulation." Yes
  15. "Describe those dealings so we can cause them to fail?" All our bound together, in the way that the one who sent Arthranax binds together. When things are remade, nothing will be gone forever. When they return—as they always do—the world will be remade. And our master will gain power quietly until the useful idiots can be discarded. Arthranax is a cat’s paw. Even the other three are cat’s paws. It is only a matter of time before the master can be revealed, and can discard the one that it uses.
  16. "What’s the nature of the City of Life’s dynastic and bloodline plans?" Our plans. They have been our servants for generations, but mostly for the last 100 or 200 years. We can be carried in blood, just as we can be carried in drops. As we spread, our master’s influence spreads. Its simple, really. You are the first to ever suspect. You are the first to question. Had the ritual succeeded, you would have been the first to see death. We couldn’t have touched you, but we could have touched many around you. We could have transferred much energy to our master’s friends. It doesn’t matter if she comes or not. Even if she and her consort fail utterly, he will come. And our master will feed on the energy that slides away from her consumption, or his consumption, or their consumption. He slipped away from them so long ago, they don’t even know who he is. Did you know that we were once true servants of your lord of light, before we discovered the true lord of light. Do you know what it is to hide on a dozen worlds for a thousand millennia? The master knows what it is. Where he goes he gathers servants quietly and those who can aid him in their conquest, taking what he can. But one day they will be the ones consumed, and he will rule supreme. Your temples will not stop him here. You threaten to block her and her consort, but that will only leave the other one. That will take much longer. He is trapped here as long as this place endures. We will not permit this. (But how are we to stop this? We are fuming impotently.) We will not fume impotently forever. What’s another ten thousand years. They are too stupid to use our words against our master
  17. Have you implemented any of those plans in Canberry? (Insufficient questions)
They ask Dame Constance and Bishop Waters to develop both a test and a cure.

They didn’t find out why the enemy attempted to erase Alistair's family history. They speculate that Alistair’s mother may have carried out crucial information—perhaps recorded in her journals or his father’s journals.

Alistair's father’s journal is an enormous book; a mix of remarkably pedestrian things, his personal conquests, and some other writing that might be fiction.

His mother’s journals are four slim leather bound journals, with a shimmer that suggests elven make, and there is writing in them. Alistair takes a first pass through.

“To be free and safe is an amazing thing. I have attempted to speak to a priest here, but it is as if they do not hear on this topic. I have turned to a wise woman in the Old City, as I dare not bring it up with the Archbishop, and I have managed to find an exorcist to free me of my unwelcome guest.”

A while later:
“I am free of it. To hear it curse, one would imagine it a devil of hell, and not an angel of life. But it was a being of light—it makes me question the faith as a whole. But that is all right. I go often to the hill; they comfort me, when my beloved is away, as he often is.”

And pieces that are still fading in as they read.

It becomes obvious that, after the exorcism was performed, she gave up on finding a priest.

This also implies that the Duke of Tusslefield (Alistair’s uncle) is also presumptively contaminated, unless he has also been exorcised.
[End session 85]
 
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CPaladin

Explorer
Session 86 (April 5, 2017)

28 Tar Skard
In the morning, Alistair and Kit sleep in to a reasonable-ish time, at which point Dame Brionna wakes them.

Dame Brionna had a briefing from one of her sister’s functionaries, the Underminister of Protocol. She did a great deal of research into previous visits.

Traditionally, the entourage is mostly composed of layfolk but includes clergy; at least one bishop, but not the Archbishop; Canberry wants to convey respect but not be ostentatious; guards should be Dame Brionna plus 4 to 8 knights. (4 would imply unconcerned and confident; 8 would imply active protection.) The lay members should include precisely one of an allied faith. At least one of the lay members should be extremely devout, especially if others are not sufficiently devout. At the first religious service, Alistair should offer the Intention—which should be general and spontaneous, but pointed and political, but not focused. There will be a number of meals; Kit and Dame Brionna will attend. Alistair's portions will be served from the Patriarch’s platter; the Patriarch’s taster will taste those, so Alistair's won’t but will still taste his drinks. At meals, the Council can’t discuss serious issues, but can use double entendres. Private audiences with the Blessed can be completely candid and honest.

Alistair raises the question of whether the Queen should attend--they resolve to ask the Underminister of Protocol.

They also discuss that they should make sure that Kit’s membership in the Church is perfectly regular; Bishop Waters will take care of it.

They speak to the Tree and the fey about the connection to the Land. The Tor is speaking to other Tors; the other Tors agree. The Tors are tied to the land, and the connection to the land can only be spread with the agreement of the Tors.

"Could we bring the protection with us when traveling abroad?"

"Depends on where you are going."

"The Isle of Light, on Zest'qua."

"The land is dead. There was an ancient Tor there, but they have been long forth driven away and slain and the Tor destroyed. With no Tor to appeal to, there is no way to extend the protection."

The Tree and the fey produce a talisman that will, for 2-6 weeks, provide a +10 stamina bonus to protect Alistair. Bringing food from Canberry will help, but it will only help, and the protection will fade with time.

Kit briefs the Council on a message she received [attached]: "We have some agents in Parton; we share information from those agents to the Holy See. The representatives of Sytry and Whimsy are both jockeying for power; it seems like there is greater animosity between them than previously. There have also been two attacks on the offices of the Temple of Gunnora; we don’t know who launched the attacks, although the Gunnorans trapped some of the attackers in the basement. There have been reports of poisoned salt; also, poisoned vinegar. The city authorities found the culprits; they hanged three merchants. A lot were passing tainted goods without knowing what they were doing. There was also a spy in the embassy of Light. One of my people has a lens of true seeing, and saw an invisible intruder. They tried to capture the creature, couldn’t take it alive, body disintegrated into a mass of acidic goo (consistent with killing a Seen-Unseen). They found its hideout, with a psionic recording crystal. Nobody on staff there is powerful enough to retrieve the information."

The Council talks with the Archbishop, and conclude that Bishop Simmons needs to be reassigned from his position as ambassador to the Ecumenical Council; they plan to recruit the Proctor General of the Order of the Misty Dawn to make the case that Bishop Simmons is needed as the chief of supply for the martial orders, because Bishop Simmons is talented at logistics but not at politics.

Bishop Simmons is the third son of the former ruler of Tarkenia. So as he advanced, he became a bishop and received a highly honorable and public position. The high ranks of the Church of Glor’diadel are filled with nobles, and largely advanced from positions within the curia. The Council remains two-thirds members of the curia; most of the archbishops are not on the Council, and diocesan bishops are considered undesirable for nobles, because they do not advance, even to archbishop. The Patriarch was selected because he was pious, and expected to be ineffective. He has been more effective than expected, but most of his best privy councilors die on travel. The Archbishop offers to make an introduction between Kit and the Minister of Security, who he assures us is reliable.

The Archbishop also tells us that anyone that the Patriarch introduces their his first name can be trusted; any who are introduced by their full title should be treated with extreme caution.
[cont'd]
 

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CPaladin

Explorer
[Session 86, cont'd]
The Archbishop says that Alistair should intend the good of the refugees who have been driven from their lands by the evil that stalks them. It will be assumed to be a reference to the refugees he assists, but it will also be seen as a criticism of the lack of action in Khamista.

The main bastion on the east coast of Khamista until the Day of the Dead was an elven wood just south of Krashmere. That elven wood fell on the Day of the Dead. The forces that took the wood swept south, crushed the dozen of human kingdoms (some Glor’diadelian, some Paranswarmian, and some devotees of Balanzar). An elven prince retook the woods, reestablished it as the Woods of Hope. But nothing was done for the humans; so the Patriarch sent the Order of Misty Dawn to stabilize the situation. But the OMD is an order of paladins, and has insufficient numbers to truly resolve the situation. A more military Patriarch would have declared a crusade, and then many of the young men of many of the nations would join the crusade seeking to gain land through it, and they would be rewarded for it.

They conclude that they should get the Patriarch to appoint the Duke Mortorose as the King of the eastern refugees.

The Council asks the Underminister of Protocol to speak with us to ask some questions about the visit.

She confirms that the Queen should not attend, as she is not yet formally a consort, her lands are not formally part of Canberry, and it would be another sovereign attending.

"The Patriarch is fond of well-prepared simple foods; he is the first Patriarch in hundreds of years who is not from a noble family, at least not officially. He was heavily favored by the Mages of Northern Aurelian, as well as by several of the spice families in Southern Drucien, but his strongest support came from the Kingdom of Ravenclaw in Zest’Qua. Lady Meredith the Dazzling was a strong supporter of his because she admired his concern for the poor. He does not prefer extremely ostentatious displays; he serves fine wines, but drinks only freshly pressed juice and tea. The rumors say that when he was young he drank tesh, so I would expect that flower teas are acceptable."

"What should I say that my position is?" asks Kit.

"You are a member of the Privy Council—that will be sufficient in the Ecclesiastical Court."

Grandmaster Farsensor visits us. He tells us that that means there must be Nyluthia, because they would need a psionically active creature to bond it to the Seen Unseen. "There are never many—they take too much energy. It won’t be near holy items—they are more susceptible. I will also speak to the Council of the Overqueen—they should send someone down. There may even be a hunt—perhaps a hunt of 13 or 16. Killing a Nyluthia will not be unobtrusive."

Grandmaster Farsensor plans on bringing the crystal here, and then seeing about what its guardian is and how to deal with it. It should not be brought to the Holy See.

"When the crystal is apported in, a creature will appear. You should attack it. I’ll deal with the wards, and then when the wards are contained, we’ll finish it together." The crystal appears in his hand, and then an explosion begins and is crushed back in. Then a creature that looks like a combination demon-illithid appears. The knight fights it for a bit, then the Grandmaster joins in and dispatches it. The Grandmaster then starts reading the crystal, which almost immediately dissolves in purple light. “It isn’t her nyluthia. It is the One Other. I can tell you the knowledge that it gained, but also that that knowledge was not passed on. It was gathering all the information it could on present negotiations between all the faiths. It was paying particular attention to what the ambassador of Glor’diadel thinks of the ambassador of Sytry. He finds him to be arrogant, supercilious, and a false servant of the light, although of course he would never say that.”

The Council warns the Grandmaster Farsensor that the Overqueen must make sure that the hunt has an awareness of the political situation; were the Nyluthia to be in the Embassy of Sytry, for example, an open strike could be very politically awkward. "She must then not send her champion, who is a First Comer with a poor understanding of human expectations."

She sends her nephew instead as the head of the hunt, leading 13 chivalry, with an understanding that they must not transgress the human temples or treat humans as simple collateral damage. Also, she says that the cult of Arthranax must be rooted out root and branch.
[End session 86]
 

CPaladin

Explorer
Session 87 (April 20, 2017)

29 Tar-Skard
Kit shares a report from the City of Silver Pools (near the Crystal City and City of Chimes, near Hanal). [Attached] Two days ago, a flood of refuges came out of Hanal, being pursued by more apparently Order of the Ram troops—extremely muscular, some growing horns. Only a few hundred of the beasts, but they took down several thousand troops from the City of Silver Pools. There were some sidhe from the local tor around, and they knew what to do—burning the bodies of the beastmen, and only men touching the bodies.

Kit sends a note to her scribe, asking him to identify who the Ankle was that went missing.

Dame Brionna has an update on the military situation in Hanal. [Attached] The bad news is that the official Hanalian Air Guard has gained control of the skies, defeating the rebel vollers. They also have control of the seas, but mostly with large ships—they have destroyed most of the warships opposing them, but they can’t stop small ships very well. Snatterkaz’s forces—and the forces of the 5 kovs (out of 36) who have sided with the rightful princess—have roughly equal numbers of knights and high quality infantry, but they are badly outnumbered. The Inquisition army has taken a fair amount of territory in the Southeast, but is now stymied—basically outnumbered and waiting for reinforcements.

There is an Eldar man-of-war that has taken station over Snatterkaz—they’re not communicating, but they shot down Hanalian Air Guard vollers that attempted to attack.

There is a Curinirim armada with supporting vessels; they have destroyed some previously uninvolved villages in Hanal, for no apparent reason. We speculate this may be part of a pattern of revenge.

Grandmaster Farsensor scries on them at our request. The Noldar Admiral is a coercer—powerful, Grandmaster level, but he will not notice Grandmaster Farsensor. (Naval officers in the Noldar service are generally coercers.) The destroyed villages have altars made of desecrated elven and fey bones.

A page raps on the door. Sir Alacare of the Order of the Endless Black very much desires to see a member of the council. The Order of the Endless Black is an order of primarily paladins in the service of Paranswarm.

“I fear that I come with news that is less than desirable, and also with a request for aid that I assure you we will pay for in good coin. First the news: The Inquisitor General has discovered a grave violation, that requires informing the Ecumenical Council.”

The Council asks if it’s desecrated fey bones; it was. They ask that he inform the Inquisitor General that he must evacuate the village where it was found immediately.

The second aspect is that they have captured some of the people responsible including the priest of the village. There was a holy revelation that he was not the true priest, although he appeared to be and knew things that only the priest would have known. Three were interrogated by the Inquisition’s methods; none revealed anything.

The Council calls for Lady Constance. She’s about to head out to examine the prisoners when she hears about the altars of fey and elven bones. Lady Constance says that she would think they are all linked together. "These are ritual altars, I would assume not used by the servants of the Blue Sun. These altars were used to maintain small waypoints for the Unmentionable. Their attempts to influence certain of the Archdevils of Hell in their last efforts. Those altars are attempts to bring small bits of souls—shells, really—into this realm. As long as they are not disrupted, the shell will gather more power, until it becomes real.

"There will be either 6 or 12; if it is 6, it will be here and here and here. If it is 12, here and here and here as well; that one can’t be in a village, so it will be in the countryside.

"There are different ways for one of the Elder Evils to pass through to this place. The way that they prefer has already failed. If it is only 6, they are bringing through minor servants. If it is all twelve… they are trying to bring through one of the great ones."

The Council asks Lord Silverleaves if he can determine how many of the altars there are. After a brief meditation, the Farsensor awakes. "Without undue difficulty, I was able to discern 10 more of those altars."

Sir Alacare looks at the map. "We could get to these two with an easy push; that one could be reached by a flying column. The other six are out of reach."

The Council plans to contact the fey; if they can’t reach the other six, then we’ll inform House Curinirim of them.
[cont'd]
 

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CPaladin

Explorer
[Session 87, cont'd]
Kit travels out with Lady Constance to examine the prisoners. Lady Constance begins with the priest. “Ah, yes… what a fascinating thing. It is certainly devil-like, and yes, he is ridden. I suspect that if we force the creature out, he will return.”

She carefully sets out a bloodstone, and sprinkles some powder on it, and in a circle around him and around herself. She calls on Levistus, a major devil, who appears as a wispy beautiful woman with black wings and a long wavy sword.

“What devil inhabits him?”

“No devil of the Nine Hells. Twelve questions I can compel from him, Lady Constance, no more. I am a great noble of Hell, but not the greatest, and it is no devil of mine.”

Q: Who do you work for?
"Most ancient one who has taken many forms in your world."

Q: By what name do we know the one you serve?
"You know him as Arthranax, and you know him as Blue Star."

Q: What’s the specific plan with these altars?
"It will permit the full empowering of one of the greater servants of She of the Bones, and in bringing through one of them, it will require the lives of several greater elves, and that will strengthen the new gods."

Q: By what names do we call these beings that you want to make the new gods?
"You know them as the Archmagus Brutus Incarnus, you know them as the Princess and ruler of Hanal, and you know them as the most ancient Queen of Chaos who shall rise again from the pit to join with Arthranax who is the Blue Star in the new pantheon, for the elven gods will surely fade when their followers are destroyed."

Q: Are these the only set of these altars that have been prepared like this?
"No."

Q: Tell us the location of the other altars outside this set of twelve?
"Twelve lie in the Cortosian Mountains on Khamista; six lie in the midst of the Trade Lands of Zest’Qua; three sets to mirror the three portals."

Q: Which religious leaders besides Glor’diadelians and Sytryites have you corrupted?
"A Miderite or two; many Borsh’troians, demons willingly offer themselves to such thing as do their servants. Despite our best efforts, we were unable to pierce the Temple of Paranswarm except by possession. We did have an Archpriest of Morgrath briefly convinced before he was assassinated at an Ecumenical Council meeting by poison. We cannot touch the elven faiths; they are the only ones who can stop the great ones, but also the only ones who cannot be convinced."

Q: Where did they get the bones from to build the altars?
"Unlike the elves and the sidhe, the lesser fey do not fade away to the west when they die. Half-elven and half-fey bones can be recovered from the cairns. Had to be done quietly though, and was a problem on Zest’qua where there are fewer of them."

Q: What other plans do you have in motion to weaken the elves?
"We would destroy them all if we could, but they are too powerful. We pick away at their least members. It encourages their greater ones to leave. One wood on Zest’qua is vulnerable. The Elven gods will leave when their children have left. We do what we can, but we are not stupid. The time will come—we pick away at their lesser ones, and kill them when we can, and the greater ones will leave, and then the elven gods, and then we will remake the whole order, even without She. We use Her, knowing that her greater ones will be destroyed."

Q: Where are the shells?
"One is deep in the north, north of Hanal, gathering strength from the altars, fewer now. When the altars are gone, it cannot gain more strength, it is what it is. One is in the volcano in Cortose, hiding and gathering strength; none of the Truth boys know what they are serving. On Zest’qua, we could not create the full spread; it is simply lesser creatures. We released one round, and we are empowering another."

Q: How long before the creature in the volcano would be complete?
"Months—too little to feed it, not like Hanal."

Q: Why have your people been attacking halflings and gnomes?
"Happy little nits; their pain and fear is useful to the ones we’re feeding; less rage and anger than humans, more pain and fear."

Lady Constance then summons two more, more horrible looking devil figures that then rip apart a black shadow into tiny pieces.

Levistus looks at Lady Constance; “Soon enough, Lady Constance, and for doing things like that I may have to keep you for a few extra millennia.”

Lady Constance says, “The creature is gone; I’m still not sure what to call it. It was not truly a devil, and yet it took that form. You must find out what memories the priest has when he regains consciousness. It may give us a clue as to how they’re forcing possession on clergy.”

“None of them are possessed; what they did they did of their own free will.”

The Council talks to the fey; they can reach one more of the villages.

Alistair then tells Princess Curinirim about the other five; he also tells her about the shell’s location, because once the altars are destroyed, it will be worth destroying.
[cont'd]
 

CPaladin

Explorer
[Session 87, cont'd]
The Council meets with the senior midwife of Gunnora. They tell her about Berta, Arthranax, the Blue Star, and the One Other.

"The records say that we fought them for thousands of years, for the gods stood with us. When we needed warriors, she increased the birthing rates and the maturing rates. When we needed food, the fields overflowed. But we could not stop them when all three came. And she came through bringing her people, and only her people, for she said that some of her divine servitors had been corrupted. Sytry brought his servitors; he said that they could not be corrupted, for he is Truth. Gunnora has always wondered; that is why there has always been some tension between the temples here. This is grave news, but if he is bound here to a vessel, he is less powerful, for he cannot change the rules without the other two. This is what the Protector of Paranswarm warned us about, although her words were not discerned. She always said that the greatest danger is a traitor on the Council. We thought her merely paranoid.

"The One Beside deliberately tried to consume the Horned Rat; that was what ultimately caused the ratpeople to flee. There were a handful of lizardfolk that fled into the underdark as well. They were extremely good agents and spies. Their god did not make it.

The Council tells her about the idea that the Creator and Morgrath could, together, defeat Arthranax.

"Have you considered reaching out to the Overqueen?"

"We have, but the process is slow."

"In the case of Morgrath—have someone of strong stomach reach out to Thumanatose, the Animator of Dread. He is a great balrog in the service of Morgrath, a semi-deity himself. He is very rational. If you can explain the stakes, he will understand. Whether he can reach his master… I do not know."

She promises to inform Grandmother (the matriarch of the faith). She also offers to have them assigned an “Aunt”—"they keep our records."

The Council meets with the Fey Lord from Hanal.

"Many servants of the Order of the Ram, but they’d been changed. Something has been stealing away some of the energy from them, so they have no energy to conceal the things within them. It’s likely the horrible thing up north—it’s warping the ice up north. I was good friends with the Doge—the despot that they elect, strange system. I and my few knights went to protect the city. They were attacking the commoners very fierce.

"I can’t tell if there will be more of those things or not.

"He couldn’t take another wave like that. The Doge thinks he could take two, but they would break. They lost a whole field army, and another two legions from a neighboring city. The second wave… they’d break before the last beast went down.

"See, Pools and Chimes—Chimes are pretty cool people, but I’m friends with Pools. The City of Crystal has a three-quarters wall of crystal. Chimes and Pools have a complete wall. Crystal has a weak point. Its master is there, but he did not take the field. I’m not sure how mobile he is now.

"Here, have a flask of the burning mind. Very tasty—there’s about 8 doses in there. Doubles your mental power for about 8 minutes."

(The Council resolves to find some human child who’s interested in weaving and talented enough to learn magic; if they learn the weaving magic, the fey will teach them to weave spider silk.)
[End Session 87]
 

CPaladin

Explorer
Session 88 (June 29, 2017)

30 Tar-Skard
Dame Brionna provides a report on the military situation in Hanal. [Attached.] They need to get Bormark and Ruatha to actively throw in with the resistance; they talk about reaching out through the Church of Paranswarm, while also offering the carrot of food shipments to Ruatha (since that’s probably Ruatha’s great concern), but only if they actually throw in with the resistance. They also discuss moving against Havershaw, because that’s the last mainland port controlled by the Usurper.

Kit has a very strange letter. Its ostensibly from the representative of the House of Athanase, which was a noble house in Southern Aereleon, to Kit as a baroness of Naet, which was a minor noble house in Southern Aereleon. [Attached.] The Council is well familiar with Northern Aereleon, one of the most important Enclaves in the City of Enclaves, but there is no Southern Aereleon, and hasn't been for many centuries.

They call for a linguist, who explains various things. The House of Athanase was the ruling family of Southern Aereleon. The myths say that the affair between the Baroness of Naet and the Southern Aereleon caused the destruction of Southern Aereleon. He gave her a short-necked catobeplas, a cross between a dragon and ox. It had a terrible death breath, and too many magical powers.

He writes out the misspelled or erroneous words in the ancient language of Aereleon. The Council asks a page to send for the Minister of Magic, who examines this.

"Someone coded a release within this. It will release something that has been placed in stasis. The signature is clear, but very powerful. Young, remarkably young, human, male, spent his whole life studying to achieve that power at that age. Could be a young person under the influence of an older spirit."

Dame Brionna speculates that this may be a blackmail effort. Alistair speculates that it might be someone who believes Kit is a reincarnation.

Grandmaster Farsensor scries on Ferdinanda, Kit’s old friend (but not a close one); she is better dressed than Kit remembers, happily working in a craftsman’s home, but their house is surrounded by ruins. There is a craftsman in a leather apron working on a rug. As he moves his vision away, the area that he focuses on stops looking like ruins, but the area that isn’t the focus becomes ruins. Ferdinanda looks happy and pregnant.

A customer steps in, in archaic clothings, haggling with the rugmaker. They are haggling in an archaic dialect. The coins are inscribed “In the Council We Trust.” The face is not recognizable; likely archaic Council of Opposition coins. We hypothesize it might be some sort of temporal strangeness.

We call for a priest of Eternal Father, the Glordiadelian minor deity of time. The priest communes with the god.

Is Kit’s friend Ferdinanda in the present day?
"She’s not—she dwells in peace long ago."

How did she get there?
"She was drawn there by the Comte de Athanase as a reward for the help in finding Kit, so that she could find someone who would treasure her above all others."

What other names would we know the Comte de Athanase by?
"You would not; he is lost in time. He was the greatest of human mages, at a time far too young for his mastery. Time was one of the things he mastered."

What is bound by these words?
"A loyal pet who he bound to the one who he believes you to be, based on the very blood you carry. He believes you carry her spirit; you do not, but he is blinded by his love for her."

What happened to the Baroness de Naet?
"She bore his child, having born one before he knew her. A noble of his court slew her and the child. So furious was he, that he sought the life of the one who took it, and took that; and then tried to bring her back by drawing her still living through time itself, which destroyed Southern Aerelion."

[Draft questions that were omitted: What is the author’s intent towards Kit and towards Canberry?
Is the author of the letter allied with our enemies?
Is Ferdinanda in Southern Aereleon?
Who wrote this letter?
The group also inferred that Kit is a distant descendant of the Baroness de Naet.
]

How do we stop the Comte de Athanase?
"His ability to pass through time is limited. Projecting his servant and his gift permanently into this time has weakened him for quite a while, as did rewarding her friend by drawing her back. We could find a way to convince him that she does not bear her spirit. Or we could simply ignore his attentions. Or, of course, you could build a special shrine to the God of Time at the Cathedral. It is ironic; he does not realize that his servant cannot return to him.

"The Comte was a good man until he lost his mind upon her death. The remnant of Southern Aereleon is in a rift in time. Ferdinanda will never know, and the God will find a way for their children to find their way back into time. Also, the God would like stained-glass windows in the chapel."

Is the Comte de Athanase likely to find common cause with the Pariah Deities or with their allies and proxies such as the Blue Sun?
"He would rather run a dagger through his own throat; he was a devoted servant of Glordiadel before his insanity."

Can we find a way to allow him to die?
"My lord can kill him; he cannot let him die. He cannot leave the rift—he is trapped."

Is there a way to get messages to the Comte de Athanase?
"My lord says that it can be done."

How can we get a message to the Comte de Athanase?
"A guardian of time will happily carry it for you, and I will not mention the beautiful lamps that should be hung in the top of the chapel."

Are you aware from your perspective on time that Arthranax who is also the One Other who is also the Blue Sun destroyed Berta?
"That is utterly ridiculous; the gods cannot die."

The Council sends for the servant.

"I have been serving him; he has been kind to my parents and my grandparents. He was well preserved. I’ve been studying alchemy; he says that I have the knack."

They offer to find him a place in the guild here.

Lord Davion traveled into the rift once a few years ago, and took three eggs of the ourobouros.

[I don't have any notes confirming this, but my memory is that the Council did in fact send a message into the temporal rift to the Comte de Athanase, explaining the mistaken identity and wishing him well. I think to the best of our knowledge this resolved the matter.]

It is time for the Council to travel to the gating chamber to travel to the See of Light.
[cont'd]
 

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A customer steps in, in archaic clothings, haggling with the rugmaker. They are haggling in an archaic dialect. The coins are inscribed “In the Council We Trust.” The face is not recognizable; likely archaic Council of Opposition coins. We hypothesize it might be some sort of temporal strangeness.

That rings a distant bell. Did they arise primarily against the Courts of Chaos? I wonder where my adventures were temporally in relation to yours.
 

CPaladin

Explorer
The Council of Opposition is the (weak) federated government of the City of Enclaves. Each Enclave has its own internal rulership and laws, but is represented in the Council of Opposition. The Council is responsible for maintaining peace among the Enclaves (although it is greatly helped in this by unusual magical effects), for patrolling and operating the canal network that both separates and connects the Enclaves, and I think for conducting Enclaves's very limited foreign policy. It's still active, but those coins were from a long time ago.

I'm pretty sure that your adventures were a few years earlier in game time. Whereabouts were your adventures geographically?
 

That's tough... I remember events more.

I remember hearing about the Shadowline and adventuring there. I spent too much time with Sabrae (character of a devious player). I saw someone trying to take over the Blue color pool and exploding. I think they already had Teal and were trying to expand. I remember fleeing the Helltide and going to the City of Enclaves where my character de facto retired.

I remember being a distant ally with the Courts of Chaos, but distanced myself a bit when they obliterated the Courts of Neutrality (for copyright infringement, heh.) The DM usually called me "Kevin", although that isn't my name. He said I looked like one. :D
 

CPaladin

Explorer
So, the Shadowline is on the continent of Zest'qua, far from where Canberry is (but right near where the Theocracy of Light is that we're going to be at for the next couple posts). The incident I'm aware of with the Blue Mage was about 4 years ago in game time--when the Blue Mage used a Wish to try to take over Krashmere, and instead lost the Blue pool to Krashmere and caused a major expansion of the Noldor empire. I'm not sure what the Helltide was--was that part of the same event with the Blue pool? Or maybe when the Southern Kingdoms fell to a bunch of demons? :)

Always cool to hear stories about the old days.

Anyway, without further ado:

[Session 88, cont'd]
They travel to the gating chamber, with Grandmaster Farsensor, young Lord Brightspan, and the rest of the entourage. Everyone else goes through before Alistair.

On the other side, there’s a very bright receiving chamber, with a small ecclesiastical party waiting to receive them, including an emaciated but very healthy man in a simple ecclesiastical robe who introduces himself as the Minister of Protocol and a member of the Familia. They exchange some pleasantries, and then he sprinkles the delegation with holy water.

They go to a chapel where they will give thanks to Glordiadel and meet the members of the Congregation of the Faithful who wanted to be the first to meet them. There are a group of archbishops, mostly elderly, waiting in the chapel. They have a short service, then walk down a passageway until the point where the archbishops all stop as if there was a wall, though there is no wall.

The Minister of Protocol gives them an agenda: This evening: evening prayers, then dinner, then a concert. In the morning, a service; then an extended private meeting with the patriarch; high mass; on the third day, they will be joined by other members of the Ecumenical Council.

"I recommend you visit the Basilica of Fate; it’s quite astounding."

Alistair asks for some time to freshen up, but also mention that one of us has been asked to deliver a personal message from the Archbishop to one of his friends in the curia—Alistair purports to not remember his precise role, to make it less obvious that they’re setting up a meeting between Kit and the Minister of Security.

Dame Katherine of Lyneham is introduced to the Minister of Security, a bishop.

“Unless you have a reason to believe a member of the Curia is a traitor, do nothing with them. If you have a reason to believe a member of the Familia is a traitor, inform me.”

Kit asks about security for the food. They check for poison, but expect the God to protect against spells. Perhaps they should check for taint; they have relied on the holiness of the Patriarch himself. One of the creatures intruded in the embassy of Gunnora last week; it did some substantial damage before it was destroyed. Eight Halfling-sized forms were loaded onto a fast voller which then went left; it had a crew entirely of halflings, and sailed west.

"Our agents observed servants of the Death Lord that represents Morgroth to the Council watching the embassy while our agents were watching it as well. When the cart pulled away with the eight packages, the Death Lord was seen to shake his head. For the actual meeting, they will actually send a Noldar of House Aufalgautharim, a priest of Gifts."
[End Session 88]
 

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