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Aphonion Tales: The Archducal Council -- Unedited notes (posts MWF, most recent 11/29/21)

CPaladin

Explorer
[Session 72, cont'd]
Kit sends for Aunt Cecilia and the redactor as she arrives. Aunt Cecilia confirms that Kit looks like she bathed in chaos, and the redactor rips it off her.

Bishop Waters reports that the bishop will likely not survive, even with a redactor and skin and healing. He says that the Council needs to take his report, and final unction, which of course Bishop Waters can provide. Kit offers to take the report, so he doesn’t need to speak.

Dame Brionna gets a report—they came in on a merchant voller, with a shipment of cloth from Zest’qua. Dame Brionna dispatches a detection squad to search that ship, and then she worries about securing the artifacts. She has no difficulty finding the artifacts very carefully packed and stored. And written in the bishop’s elegant hand, there is a copy of a ritual that is supposed to go with them along with a sealed note addressed to “His Most Excellent and Puissant Archduke”. She places the artifacts and the scroll in a plain knapsack, and then tucks it in her cloak, and waits for her pegasus to bear her to the palace.

Alistair joins Kit with the Bishop.

Kit contacts him mentally. “Are the artifacts safe?”

“Yes. There was an attempt to stop me before I left—a Borsh’troan anti-paladin. He regretted my mace hand.”

“It was some sort of a plot—it undergirds all of the ones you have faced. You have queered all of them, as far as I can tell. But it originates with the Great Wyrm of Borsh’tro—one of the Council. When I started gathering the artifacts, I found that the artifacts were not enough. I need to find the ritual. But the books had been tampered with. I am one of the Scholara of the Temple, I recognized the change in hand. I searched out the originals and found a group of cultists who had taken them. I turned the cultists over to the local authorities, which may have been a mistake. The leader of the group bragged about the plan, and cursed the Archduke’s name for his role in causing it to fail. But they were clearly servants of the Wyrm—they attained the Skin of the Wyrm in combat. My library has more information, but when his Grace meets with the Glorious Light he should ask. I should have known from the layers—almost none of the demon lords layer their plans that deeply. Orlodu was known for his connections to some of the demon lords, but the Ram was not known to be connected—he was viewed as a wild card.”

He asks if his nephew could perform his requiem.

He confirms that the artifacts are real, and can undo the curse.

The local investigation was headed by the Inquisitor General of Tarsh, assisted by one of the Blood Counselors.

"It is without question that the Queen of Chaos was involved—she has never bent her knee to anyone. It would be playing with fire for Orlodu to be involved with her, even to release her from her prison. The other absolutely certain to be involved is an old rival to the Queen of the Succubi. She had followers among the cult, but the current Queen had no followers—highly unusual. My books are in my study—they are as complete as holy writ permits. I believe you should know your rivals."

The Council sends Bishop Waters to him. Bishop Waters performs final rites.

The other ship took on a bunch of workers at its last port, apparently innocently, and brought them right over.
[End session 72; the DM clarified that the attacker who jumped expected to transform into a giant worm when he hit the ground, but could not because the land is bound to Alistair, so died messily instead]
 
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CPaladin

Explorer
Session 73 (March 24, 2015)
The Minister of Magic, the Grandmaster Farsensor, and several underlings of the Minister of Magic assist with preparing the ritual. A gallery has been set up to observe the ritually prepared space. The Council makes sure that the people in the galleries have all been vetted, and we have Aunt Cecilia join them as well.

The memory of Alistair’s mother should return sharply, with memories of others drifting back in slowly—perhaps indistinguishably from dreams, but they should return.

They begin the ritual: and on 3d20, get a 6, a 15, and an 11. There are all sorts of energies active in the space, and the Farsensor is watching very narrowly from his space. About 15 minutes in, the youngest of the Minister’s assistants explodes. The others continue, completely focused. Faces begin to drift out of the mist. Dame Brionna believes that they are a combination of angelic and demonic faces, forming out of the mist that is coming from nowhere, and then disappearing. An hour into this ritual, the Archmage leading this ritual, who we haven’t seen before but who is festooned in Glor’diadelian holy symbols, gives a shriek. One of the items simply comes apart, with black smoke coming out of it, and memories start bursting into Alistair’s mind.

He sees many scenes of his mother, virtually falling over each other, with his father, with her ladies, but also many disturbing images—very fuzzy, but images with her in corners in dark rooms, with other people, very fuzzy, whispering to her and speaking to her. There are also memories of scenes of comfort, memories of time with his mother. And then there’s a flash of utter darkness. And now the memories seem normal, and he's comfortable with them.

Lord Davion looks across at the Farsensor and shrugs.

"I can only barely remember my mother’s family—I remember her mother a tall, thin elderly woman, very unlike her husband the Duke of Tusslefields. She came with a large dowry from the Kingdom of Life. Which is very strange, because of course the Kingdom of Life doesn’t marry out… She was never Duchess, only “Lady.” And other members of her family are still whispy, as if they were never really there."
[End session 73--this was an exceedingly short session, with serious scheduling problems]
 

CPaladin

Explorer
Session 74 (August 27, 2015)

Tar Skard 15
The Council discusses the report from Victor Clutterbuck [attached]. They talk about resettling people over there.

Dame Brionna raises the question of whether there was slave taking.

Kit plans on reaching out to some of her people embedded over there; none of them are on the fan, but… She plans on reaching out through her farsensor, checking the demographics of the people who died, whether there were particularly targeted groups (elves, halflings), whether there was any sign of slave taking, whether there was any evidence of ritualism (e.g. targets selected for ritual reasons, etc.).

There were three embedded agents. The farsensor checks whether each survived. One of them did, but two of them did not.

"Was anyone taken prisoner?"

"A very few, and our village withstood them—we had strong walls and a knight with us. They seemed to take the fey touched. They also took a couple of young men, particularly those who fought particularly well. Not many. Everyone else they killed, even the little children. No one does that, you know. And burned every bit of food they could reach that they couldn’t carry."

"Can you tell me which settlements got hit?"

"In this area. I don’t travel far from my ma and da. Our lord out here, he didn’t do so good. Otherwise, they couldn’t have taken this all or killed so many."

"Did you see anything of what your lord was doing? Did you see his men?"

"No, Sir Darben was here, and his friend who throws fire out of his fingers and lightning out of his ears. We were near to the woods. My ma said that, that she always warned us, that the goblins would come... but not like this, not all organized like this..."

The Council discusses how to find and recover the feytouched. Their main thought is that they should talk to the fey. They invite their fey visitor to meet Alistair at the tree.

"From the time of the division of our cousins the elves, all of us knew that you would come. It was inevitable—the Creator foresaw it. You do not do well dwelling in mountains and hills and up in trees. You need structures. You do not know what it is to remember everything that has been. So it was thought that a place would be built, a beginning, and some of our cousins would stay there until you came there. But then the Kinslaying came, and that was not foreseen, because it was the work of the Corrupter. And this place was divided against itself, and only the caretakers remained. But then your people arose, and it was quaint. There had to be a strong house, a strong place, a strong base for one of the young gods, such as they are. And the Queen of Singing Leaves and the Tor that is here think that you still bear that blessing."

Alistair replies, "And so when you call me structure builder, you mean in that sense—continuing to build that house, that strong place."

"That’s exactly right. Your people do many things that are anathema to us. But your house must be strong, or when the prophesied darkness comes, all will be lost."

They then ask him about finding the feytouched, and he says he will, but needs to not be in touch with the earth or anything from it.

The Council takes him aloft in a voller. He just stands there for about two hours.

"They have taken seven prisoners, 4 male, 3 female, all at or just below the age of menarche. They have handed the children to a flying column (not literally) of Chulic mercenaries, about 200. They are desperate people, who come through in small numbers to this plane; bribe them instead of fighting them.

"They come through in small numbers in the valley of the dispossessed, and then they spread out. Their males are only trained in war. They have few females or children, but desperately seek homes for those females and children. They come with weapons and armor almost worn to the point of being useless. Hanal has hired several bands; one has even risen to Chuktar.

"If you fight them, and they are losing, honor will demand that they kill the prisoners."

The fey then awakens the voller, restores it to life. Its hit points double, and there will later be added armor.
[cont'd]
 

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  • Direct Report to the Archduke from Victor Clutterbuck.pdf
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CPaladin

Explorer
[session 74, cont'd]
Shortly after noon, Kit gets an incredibly urgent feeling. Kit thought the node was dead, but it is pulsing enormously insistently. <<Emergency report to the Mouth. Oh, thank the Light. All hell has broken loose in the City of Life. Suddenly, a few hours ago at most, the Royal Guard was in the street, rounding up the House of Sidea, one after another. There are calls for trial—I can’t get too close, I am only a merchant. The charge is treason, but they are calling for a trial of an entire great house, and anyone asking too many questions is being shot. They say it is too disgusting to discuss outside the noble class. I have been asleep here for 13 years. I have never seen anything like it.>>

Kit asks her scribe to pull together everything we know about that family. “Yes, yes, yes. Very important great house in the City of Life. One of the few we know about because of their history. They were tasked with making sure that the great houses never became so inbred…. In the early days, they kidnapped noble maids from other houses that served the Light, and forced into forced marriages. Nobody did anything because of the Drops of Heavenly Essence. In the last century or so, they turned into a house of marriage brokers, tracking and maintaining the diversity that they need. There are also reports that they execute particularly intelligent children from the common stock. Of all the Glor’diadelian kingdoms, they are most likely to use execution. I’ve privately said that they are more Sytryan than Glor’diadelian.

“I had a sudden realization, for the first time in many years, of who his most benevolent and honored majesty’s mother was. My guess would be that house arranged that marriage, without the permission of the Council. Perhaps someone there discovered it. It is against every one of their rules.”

"What could have made them do it?"

“Some of their Great Houses must be dying out—they must think that purity is the most important thing, for they believe that they are the only true humans. Do we know if Alistair’s mother’s house survives? She may have been married out and the house died out.”

Dame Brionna has been researching Tusslefields: large mine lands; controls the only Canberran entrance to the Underdark (through Gateways). Over half the legions of Canberry consist of soldiers native to Tusslefields.

The Council sends Lord Davion and Dame Brionna to meet with the Chulik. (Lord Davion advises that Dame Brionna negotiate, because the Chulik have too much of a sense of race.)

"The three who came to us were a great humanoid cat, and with him two others, a tentacle monstrosity of mind, and the other untouchable, unthinkable, with the semblance of a man but no man. I am not sure this is honorable, but we needed to find employment."

Dame Brionna negotiates with them, easily.

Lord Davion teleports them back with him and Dame Brionna (and their Chulik escorts). The rest of the Chulik head towards Canberry City overland. Mommy Cupcakes is sent to help out with the children, along with the Master of Pages.

Kit contacts Brian, the young boy in the Western areas, who agrees to check on whether the children have surviving parents or other family members.
[End session 74]
 

CPaladin

Explorer
Session 75 (September 24, 2015)

Tar Skard 15
Kit touches base with her agent in the City of Life. The agent spoke with a captain of the guard; while most are simply being held at this time, two of the eldest have been taken away from ordinary captivity and have not been seen again. And papers have been brought to allow the throne to claim all of the house’s property. The eldest were likely the only ones old enough to have been part of the conspiracy. But this upsets hundreds of years tradition, and tradition is what the city has run on for centuries.

<<It was not the traditionalists who pushed for this—it was the radicals, who wielded this power through the person of the youngest brother of the ruler. He does not take part in the life of the court, but he pursues a clerical path. There are rumors that he may have taken a step that is frowned on by the Church—having maimed his masculinity. He is not of the Pale Flame, but he did have seminary teachers who did. He is devious, it is said, and has advanced himself in the clerical orders through subterfuge. He is a canon, and may aim to be the next bishop here. I do not know his religious name, because his order does not reveal such things, but he is Bernard. His order treats the religious names taken upon joining the order as sacred. He is primarily, we thought, a scholar.>>

<<How did he change course?>>

<<He openly espoused their policy when this memory returned. He has studied the factions within the City of Life and the other religions of Law. The bishop here is so staunch a traditionalist that he is ineffective. The radicalists are fewer than the traditionalists, but not hide bound, which gives them flexibility. They favor action, a stronger military, and that their interpretation of doctrine is correct, to the exclusion of other interpretations. They hold various offices in government, for generations, intended to placate them.>>

Kit encourages her agent to reach out to her agent's brother, in the bishop’s household, and to both put the bishop on guard and try to fend off meetings with Bernard.

The Order of the Pale Flame is not a large order, but they are fanatics. The Church is made nervous by them. Many practice self-mutilation. They have also been involved in as near to an Inquisition as there is among the Glor’diadelians. Joining formally would bar him from advancing to bishop.

The Council has some one search to find the order affiliation, if any, of the prior corrupted priest they dealt with.

Kit reports [based on an attached message]: In the West lands, there has been some very unusual and unsettling grave robbings. Four break-ins at separate graves, clearly targeting some specific items and leaving behind gold that was present. They stole a small statue, and maybe some other things, from a barrow. The most significant person buried in the barrow was a lich. There were also some humans buried in there, also some demons or demonic things in two different styles of clothing -- like uniforms. The people securing the barrow currently are more scouts; the nearest military force is about 50 miles away. There were also recent corpses.

Kit sends back as instructions:
"Can you put me in touch with the brain lobe? What I want to know:

  • Describe uniforms?
  • What kind of demons?
  • Who are the recent corpses and how long ago were they killed?

Don't call on the military; we'll send backup.
Don't move the other treasure until/unless our people say it's OK
Don't go into lower level w/o our backup"

Dame Brionna reports: There are some catmen around in the West, who should be particularly feared.

She has two reports: One a military report from Clarence Strawberry [attached]. In the south, of the enemy force of 35,000, the total survivors is about 2500. In terms of enemy numbers, the relevant thing is that at least 25 trolls survived, as well as some hundreds of orkish fighters, some priests and wizards, and some Hanalian cavalry.

In the bad news, 80 percent of the spice plantations have been destroyed or badly damaged. It will take the Seachen about 3 generations to resume their full production; if they go isolationist, about 90 percent of the spice supply will be lost. The Rakshasa are largely broken as an effective force, and the whole region is devastated.

In the West, there are about 1500 surviving enemy forces. Strawberry suggests two legions of military support for at least two years. He suggests that the forces not be under the control of the Western house, because of their incompetency.

The most disturbing news is about the great mountain of corruption that arose from the sea. The inhabitants, of unknown and disturbing races, have begun fortifying the island; they began fortifying within an hour of the defeat of the Abomination of Shurr. Hanal and Tang are trying to maintain an interdiction, and have also set up an inquisitorial camp on the island. Canberry can’t easily add to the blockade directly because Canberry has no sea navy. Strawberry suggests Canberry build up one of the ports in the old Southern Kingdoms and begin building a new sea navy, but that’s probably not fast.

The Council discusses the spice shortage and in particular the salt shortage. They discuss trading with the Quasi-elemental Plane of Salt; Dame Constance suggests that they could trade with some of the more reasonable princes. One of the things they like is to dessicate things. "You must remember the rule of 9 days. Any embassy you send is protected for nine days, any bargain you make lasts only nine days."

The Council then discuss the two messages Alistair received [both attached]. WRT Hanal: the rebel nobles are now in heresy, because they seized an inquisitor who went in. The Inquisitor General, speaking for the Baroness of Mandrath, has asked the Archbishop to declare interdict against the territory, and they’ve also sent in a legion of church knights. But even a field army, unless they can turn the people against the nobles, would be a drop in the bucket. So realistically, though Canberry has no sure sources of information, a legion of church knights is really more of a harrying force. Canberry has not heard anything since then.

Kit has agents in the Princess’s entourage, but not connected to the fan.
[cont'd]
 

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  • Unto Dame Brionna, September 25, 2015.pdf
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  • Unto Archduke Alastair - 2 - 9-25-15.pdf
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  • Alastair - September 24 2015.pdf
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CPaladin

Explorer
[Session 75, cont'd]
The Council sends for Duchess Emma, to discuss her prophecy. She leaves her guard behind and then approaches. She is a striking young woman, in the way that a deadly viper is striking. Armored, elegant, but somehow not appealing.

"I have always had the sight. It takes me at rare times at great space. At this time, it took me during a salutation of my patron in the Eighth Circle. I do not know if he sent it, or if it just happened to come here. The darkness recedes, except in three places: in the south, off the coast; in the far north; and in the inland sea. In the north and south, I saw clarity. In the middle, I saw deception, corruption where there should be purity. I could see that the plans and the schemes were not new. You were what was not expected. The plans were not aimed at you—they were intended for he who was dead. And that’s why the schemes do not catch upon you. The land is bound to you. It protects you from the direct methods they would prefer. It protects you from the easy ability to kill you. But it does not protect you from corruption, it does not protect you against those you believe you can trust. Cling as well to your allies. You have built a group of allies that are loyal. Shining counselors will come. You must be cautious. Do not be fooled by devotion to the light. It is from light the worm will rise to strike.

"Words came to me: No where better can falsehood lie than within the heart of truth. It seems nonsensical, does it not? And yet, that’s what came to me."

* * *

The Council summons back Alistair's sister, teleporting her in instead of relying on her extremely slow progress.

"It’s not just the family that’s crazy. The guards, the nurses, one of the cooks—the other is sane enough, she just doesn’t have an imaginative bone in her body. Betty, the sane cook, swears that the problem started when they dug the new crypt in her mother’s day—before that they were right as rain."

What specific ways did they change? Lethargy is a major problem.

The Council calls for Aunt Cecilia to check Alistair's sister, since we’re concerned about her being lethargic. Aunt Cecilia sees something like an oozing oil. She suggests calling a coercer, not a redactor—something has been meddling with her mind. But of course, Canberry doesn’t have a coercer.

The Council summons Lord Davion to look at her. He blocks it easily; she will recover, and it will not be able to re-affect her, unless it was holding back and trying to be subtle. A grandmaster coercer could break his protection.

"It could be illithid, aboleth, or psionic drow. An illithid would never be that subtle. An aboleth might, especially if it had made a bargain. They’re very lawful, so even if tricked into a bargain, it would feel bound. If it were an aboleth, I cannot shield her depths. We would need to hire a grandmaster coercer." He suggests requesting it as a favor from Princess Curinirim. Of course, if it were a drow, especially a rebel drow, then it would go poorly.

Bishop Waters casts a divination and confirms that the taint is from an aboleth.
[End session 75]
 

CPaladin

Explorer
Session 76 (October 27, 2015)

17 Tar-Skard
The Council asks about whether to ask for Curinirim’s help with a grandmaster coercer, whether to hire an illithid, whether to hire a Zaplona-Argoni coercer.

The Council talks with Lady Constance. She asks whether it was a single aboleth. "To affect this area broadly, it would need to be either a noble aboleth or perhaps a group. There are only a handful of noble aboleths, and several disappeared. Jilithroop was a famous one; he was a dedicated follower of the Lord of Orderly Darkness, disappeared completely. Some of his followers believe he was called back to Paranswarm’s own plane—balderdash, Lord Paranswarm would have waited and watched for much longer. There was also one who drifted into a drowan city on Khamista—Aquavarzin (the “dominating cavern of ruin”)-Uab, the Aboleth Lord. Had a tremendous influence on the city. They continue to follow the Queen of Spiders, but became highly lawful. That’s the city that the late Grand Duchess was from—House Aleval. Most of the aboleth nobles on this plane are barons—dukes and above are not generally captured on this plane. There are no princes on this plane. Gherlith is the duke, a saltwater aboleth, with a fascination with the merfolk. He is performing research on them.

"The noble aboleths are highly lawful. You would only have to be clever enough to trick them. They would never break their word, nor even exploit loopholes like a devil would. If they were betrayed by the other party, the contract would be null and void.

"There was a very young duke who even served Glor’diadel.

"If you need a strong coercer for a short period of time, I am owed a favor by an ultradaemon—probably unwilling to serve for longer than 48 hours, but that might be enough to negotiate."

"Do you know anything of the history of the duchy that might be relevant?"

"The Western duchy was a very heavily religiously divided duchy before it joined the Archduchy. The followers of Paranswarm in the ruling house faded away quickly, and the followers among the common people faded away after that. The heir-apparent was a lyan, but his younger brother stabbed him at table, killing him instantly. His wife then disappeared; it was said that she was locked in the tower, but she was never heard from again. She was a powerful conjuration specialist. She might have just committed suicide. Vivian was her name, and it was rumored she was pregnant at the time of the death, but they had no living child at the time of her death. Several assassins were found burned beyond recognition in her bedchamber."

Dame Brionna suggests she might have taken refuge with the Sisterhood of the Weeping Woman. Alistair suggests she might have gone to the SHH instead, if she was a conjurer.

The Council asks Grandmaster Farsensor to do a legend lore equivalent on Vivian, and in particular on her descendants or lack thereof. She was injured by an assassin, then fled the castle. She fled initially to an order of nuns, until she was delivered of her two children. She sent one of them into the lands beyond the sea, probably to the old holy see of Paranswarm in Khamista. She took the remaining child and traveled to a stronghold she had built for her research north of the ducal capital. She bore great hatred towards her brother-in-law. She built up a force of mind-devils, but the duchy had become part of the Archduchy and she knew she couldn't retake it. She became a lich, but eventually did perish. The son lived, married, had children, and died, living his life as a minor carpet noble. She dealt with many creatures over the years.

There were certain items that had considerable powers. There was a crystal statue, with enormous power, that may have at one time been a portion of a device to bind the greatest of demons. The evidence is strong that she never used it, but she did keep it. It was a “blood statue,” that would consume blood and then summon the creature it was supposed to bind. It would bring the creature forth, and bind the form of the creature inside itself, but it would be up to the mage to bind the creature. It could be used to release a bound demon from an extraplanar oubliette.

The second item was an ancient elven necklace, probably from the Elder Wood. Its power is psychic, and it is cast from laen. It would allow a non-psion to make contact with a psion, and appear to be psionic to one who does not know of such a device. It would drain their life energy to do so, however. In the hands of a psion, it simply augments their power.

The final object is a casket of diabolic summoning. It allows a single conjurer to bind something on the order of a lower devil on a time table of every few months, and keep them all bound.

He became Baron Werner. The Council looks up the lineage. Various barons are noted as having extra children. There is a current Baron Werner, who none of the Council know.
[cont'd]
 

CPaladin

Explorer
[session 76, cont'd]
The Council calls in Dame Brionna’s sister, who has some expertise and responsibility in these matters.

"Do you know a Baron Werner?"

"Yes, a young man. He has fallen head-over-heals to a young woman attached to the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Life; she’s head-over-heals in love with him as well. Apparently, she’s not of breeding, so it’s acceptable for her to marry out.

"He’s a brilliant linguist, one of our chief translators of documents from foreign powers. Also very devout, of Glor’diadel, a daily communicant, and a remarkably hard worker. His mother used to be a lower-level lady-in-waiting to the former Archduchess."

(The Council asks Lord Brightspan to research the history of the tradition of the life offering.)

We summon Baron Werner on the pretense of some assistance translating a brief speech into Noldar. We then have a security team examining him. He’s squeaky clean.

He has dinner scheduled with his special friend.

His younger brother isn’t very devout. He engaged in some … well, he might have a baby or two around. He’s functioning as a messenger for the military, but he’ll end up a warrior. He wanted to head north to Gates, where there are a lot of very attractive young women. The Council has gotten a couple of notes from him. He might have been sent by someone named Strawberry.

The Council sends a team to check out his special friend, who they strongly believe is a honey pot.

Kit gets a message from her contact in the Kingdom of Life. The two children of the family have surfaced—they’ve been exposed. We want to do something, but we don’t know what. They’re guarded, being left out for the judgment of the sun. That hasn’t been done in generations. Even if we could get them out, we’d have to go down, into the water tunnels. But then we’d go past the Isles of the Feet, and then drift out into the ocean unless we had a boat to meet us. Nobody goes into the water tunnels, where there are some punts. Nobody goes into the water tunnels—they’re viewed as cursed.

The Council arranges for a voller to fly over and drop off a boat—ostensibly while en route to Enclaves to evac Kit’s family.

Meanwhile, the young woman (Blanche) shows up at the restaurant, where a squad with a widget of true seeing looks at her. She is, in fact, a beautiful young human woman who is what she appears to be. Her thoughts are not extremely deep; it’s very easy to read them. She develops a combination of annoyance and concern when he fails to show up, and then gets fidgety. Muriel, a waitress working for Kit, heads in. "There is some fear—a shadowy shape to the fear. She is in fact in love with him, admiring him. My brother wanted me to go look at art in the archive, and I do like art. He dared to suggest to me that I try to get money out of poor, sweet Robert. I wouldn’t do it of course. Then he suggested… oh I can’t talk about it, it’s too horrible. He then suggested that if I wouldn’t ask Robert for money, that I ask him to share the Archduke’s secrets with him. Things haven’t been good at home since my brother came back to the palace. I swear he changed. He was only 15 summers when he went into the palace of life, but when he came out after the two years’ service, he became cold and calculating and mechanical after having been kind and gentle, but he lost all interest in women as well and became quite nasty. I actually think he hit mother once. Mother is not happy with the current regime. He goes to services all the way down in the lower city—it’s not a large parish, I didn’t much like the mass there."

Kit arranges to have some thugs pick up the brother—the Council could expel him for soliciting espionage, but they’d rather pick him up. Of course the Archduke can’t take action against him, but if some random thugs picked him up…

The priest is a member of the Order of the Eternal Light, but he’s been there for years and is happy there and it’s small and unimportant so they just leave him there. The Order of the Eternal Light is an enormous order, with priests everywhere.

Dame Brionna sends some paladins to investigate the church. The priest seems fine, elderly but fine. There is however evil straight down—presumably in the uncleanable sewers. There’s a steady low-grade influence, not affecting the priest, but steadily entering some of the people in the services, including the brother. A total of three had been influenced.

Kit sends a group of thugs to pick up the brother, backed up by arcane support. He says, “You don’t want to do this.” The thugs try to pick him up, and a burst of light and energy erupts from the street. One of the paladins runs towards him, another runs to a guardhouse to get more support. He repeats, “You don’t want to do this,” and starts floating in the air, although without casting a levitate or fly spell.

The ground where the flash of light came from is still glowing. One of the thugs (under protection from evil) moves over the flash of light, and zip, it moves along the sewer track.

Kit sends her people to check the sewer underneath; Dame Brionna sends her paladin sewer squad.

He escapes. The sewer squad, runs out of the sewer a glowing ball of blue light, radiating intense evil. Alistair says it seems like an evil lantern archon, and orders it bound in a circle of protection against evil.

They also post people to watch over the house of Blanche’s mother, and to try to apprehend Frederick (the brother).

Bishop Waters confirms that it is indeed an archon turned to evil. "It was brought here, by its summoner. Its summoner’s masters are very powerful, it says. It says they’re mighty priests of the Light. It refers to “the Light” and “the Darkness” as if they are the only things that exist. It says that ultimately the masters serve the Blue Star, although it’s very cagey about whether they know it. “The Blue Star” is another name for Sytry. It is influencing others because they are susceptible. The summoner, it truly acts as if it were diabolic, it is corrupting. It is probably only a few millennia from being truly diabolic. Is the summoner a true human? It says it was when I began."

Bishop Waters says that it’s becoming more arrogant even over the course of this conversation. "But how is an archon of light in service to Sytry? Unless Sytry is starting to make his own archons…"

Alistair asks, could it be a devil forced into the form of an archon and offered into Sytry’s service? It could be. The Council has it bound into a vessel, and moved it into the palace, so they can study its nature.
[End session 78]
 

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