Cross Into Shadows - 5114-01 - The Telling of the Talisman (log)
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Glethad moves over to a white marble railing, standing with the black coral amulet in his hands.The backdrop of Wehnimer's Landing stretches out before him, a dark night filled with stars, and the dim glow of lit homes and buildings below. Glethad whispers something beneath his breath, squinting with his eyes and exhaling. Glethad slowly traces a finger along some grooves in the black coral amulet, uttering faintly beneath his breath. From the cracks within the amulet, a pale chartreuse mist rises up into the air, hanging like a nebulous cloud. The wisps of chartreuse smoke shift and a voice can be heard within. "Of all the places I have been, Wehnimer's Landing has proven the most interesting as of late. Once viewed as a poorly placed wart, hardly worth the attention of the Empire or concern, it has increasingly become a hotbed for controversy and dark magic. Whether the krolvin connection proves accurate is irrelevant, for I have stumbled upon perhaps an even greater threat to the Sun Throne." The wisps of chartreuse smoke shift and a voice can be heard within. "Walkar is an abominaton; he wears demonic armor that forces him to feed on living flesh. I have not seen this in person, but countless citizens when questioned have confirmed it. Further investigation has revealed he once made a pact with a dark spirit known as Estrion, employed orc assassins, willingly accepted his demonic armor from a known imperial threat Elithain Cross, allowed Tehir to openly sell blood ritual components in town, and has erected a garden behind his office, where trees have been planted that grow apples containing the taste of flesh. It is argued the apples are to replace eating flesh, but it is hardly a justification. The trees are fed by willing blood sacrifices of citizens." The wisps of chartreuse smoke shift and a voice can be heard within. "Walkar has publically outlawed dark magic and blood rituals in town, while permitting it to grow in his own backyard. The blood orchard, as many citizens called it, seems to be sentient and when one tree is cut down, two more grow in its place. There has been numerous times where the bodies of fallen adventurers have been pulled to these trees, the soil consuming their blood. A full report and an apple sample will be provided to the Hall of Mages in Tamzyrr. My recommendation is to neutralize Walkar and hand Earl Jovery interim rule until an Empire-friendly leader can be put in place." The wisps of chartreuse smoke shift and a voice can be heard within. "Walkar cannot be easily disposed; as rumors would indicate his armor not only gives him life, but protects it. I have a few theories to nullify this, but will need access to my workshop returned to me. In the meantime, he must be contained and our Mandis cage may well suffice, temporarily. Resistance may come from some remaining loyalists, such as organized militia groups like the Drakes Vanguard and Landing Defense Irregulars. The Silver Gryphons can be used to our advantage and ordered to manage the transition." The wisps of chartreuse smoke shift and a voice can be heard within. "The Drakes Vanguard is mostly comprised of warmongers, men and women who use local protection as an excuse to satisfy their unending blood lust and might as well be servants to V'tull. They actively participate in weekly, sometimes daily attacks on inhabitants in the environs around the town, and wonder why the area has become hostile. They can be brought forth to swear imperial loyalty, or disbanded. Resistance would result in being examples, and put to the sword." The wisps of chartreuse smoke shift and a voice can be heard within. "The Landing Defense Irregulars are but merely a step below a town militia. Men and women of an unscrupulous nature, trying to pretend to be heroes, when they are just rogues and gossipers. Much like the Drakes, their ranks are filled with hathlyn and ordlyn, a true testament to their lack of judgment and desperation. One of their leaders has already been involved with a murder cover up of a town guard. My recommendation is complete dismissal of their organization, shifting their members to become squires for the Silver Gryphons, so they might better learn of honor and skill, but likely never attain it." The wisps of chartreuse smoke shift and a voice can be heard within. "In the absence of Baron Hochstib's threat, the Silver Gryphons have grown alarmingly comfortable and complacent, and I question whether or not their true loyalty still lies to the Sun Throne. They schedule ongoing educational events regarding honor and loyalty, but seem to have lost their way. Their oath does not lie with a decrepit town brimming with ordlyn. My recommendation is for Earl Jovery to be commanded to swell their ranks, bringing in knights from Estoria, Honneland, and North Hendor, and their leadership replaced. Once done, the New Gryphons will be an effective force during the transition and beyond." The wisps of chartreuse smoke shift and a voice can be heard within. "The town's council is hardly any better than their mayor. One member, known as Deylan, hails from the Sea of Fire and many claim he can shift, taking on any face he wants. His title announces him as a diplomat for the town, but I suspect he is more spy than envoy. Under the appearance of strengthening alliances, I have learned he has made a number of visits within our Empire, including Jantalar, Talador, Mestanir, Seareach, and even as far east as Trauntor. He has had known dealings with a priest of Marlu, the great enemy of our Godking Koar. I recommend caution when apprehended and a swift execution." The wisps of chartreuse smoke shift and a voice can be heard within. "Stephos DeArchon holds a seat on the town council and many town witnesses swore truth to his public resentment and threats to the Turamzzyrian Empire. This is well expected, given his self-exile from Idolone. His crimes at home are enough to be extradited back, but I believe I may just be discovering further evidence of his work in Wehnimer's Landing, which leads to a much larger conspiracy and threat to the Sun Throne." The wisps of chartreuse smoke shift and a voice can be heard within. "For the last few years, Stephos DeArchon has been the leader of the Wehnimer's Merchant Council, and going over their financials I have found a number of large discrepancies. More alarmingly, is the fact that large sums seem to be funneled into the guild, indicating outside influence. Additional records have shown recent heavy dealings with Brisker's Cove and Mestanir. The merchant council has also proven to accommodate certain shopkeepers in tax assessments and other fees, the highest offender being Tykel, the local weaponsmith." The wisps of chartreuse smoke shift and a voice can be heard within. "While I have found no immediate evidence linking Stephos DeArchon to the krolvin aggression, he is certainly my prime suspect. His influence over the guild opens a tremendous amount of opportunities for acquiring and moving supplies, and he owns a so-called trade ship named the Fall of the West and confirmed dealings with a known pirate, Parlay, who captains the riverboat Albatross now. My recommendation is using his wife, Alendrial, as collateral in arranging his cooperation for discovery of additional conspirators, then public executions for both husband and wife in Idolone." The wisps of chartreuse smoke shift and a voice can be heard within. "The remainder of the town council is inconsequential, the leader of the town militia is a dwarven ex-mercenary named Khylon, an old friend of Walkar's. If he is unwilling to cooperate under new interim power, then I recommend he be removed from his position, with the militia reporting to a high ranking officer within the New Gryphons. Jenkins, the last member of the town council, oversees the coffers. Few citizens knew of him, or his demeanor, and further investigation has proven he is capable enough to continue his role and has little risk of resistance. He also owns the local scribe shop, which is undergoing repairs. His role could be valuable in the circulation of pro-imperial sentiments." The wisps of chartreuse smoke shift and a voice can be heard within. "My questions have been denied by Tykeara, Chamorr, Sarvia and Ravashaak, as well as the local merchants Tykel, Kilron and Helga. I have successfully questioned the merchants Edwina, Murdos, and Wuldreth. I still seek a meeting with the town mayor, the town council, the archmage Pherantyr, and the museum curator Glethad. All requests have been denied or delayed thus far." The wisps of chartreuse smoke shift and a voice can be heard within. "Within Wehnimer's Landing there are a number of factions, with many participating in divisive behaviors which are at unsettling high levels, and in itself prove a danger to the Sun Throne. Such chaos among the population is a beacon to outside forces, potentially opening up the town to a future stronghold for an enemy of the Turamzzyrian Empire. It was barely over a year ago when krolvin, utilizing a relic we know as the Galestone, to try to lay claim to the town. It is my recommendation that while I do at this time support a full annex of the town, I would strongly suggest a more visible imperial presence to help monitor the situation, which is not easily done presently due to the proximity of the town." The wisps of chartreuse smoke shift and a voice can be heard within. "Despite the growing friction among the townspeople and proclaimed defenders, I was able to glean some information from many of them. Some provided no additional details that I had not already known upon my arrival, while others proved of some interest. Walkar has allowed a number of cursed individuals to walk freely in the town, the locals dubbing them the Lichborn. They had once sworn an oath to the Lich King Barnom Slim, and still suffer from their curse even after his demise. Of the Lichborn, I questioned Raincail, Cruxophim, Bellaja, Semiera and Xoryl. Of them, both Cruxophim and Xoryl have threatened my life and in doing so, the Empire's interests. I recommend a swift execution of the Lichborn, performed within Wehnimer's Landing so that the message might be best received." The wisps of chartreuse smoke shift and a voice can be heard within. "Magister Raelee of the Hall of Mages politely cooperated with my investigation, and she has shared similar findings and opinions of my own on Walkar. While her observations have been limited, she confirmed that the proper precautions were not being taken in regards to the dark magic being employed by the town officials. She provided a number of details and the blood apple that I will be sending to the satellite college in Nydds. I would recommend her presence be required to remain in Wehnimer's Landing at this time, and others of the Hall to join her. Their knowledge, and magic, may be needed during the transition." The wisps of chartreuse smoke shift and a voice can be heard within. "The dhe'nari organization, the Obsidian Tower casts a shadow not far from Wehnimer's Landing, and their leaders and members seem to frequent the town as often as street rats. I have questioned both Azimar and Zeminar, their self-given titles are garbled words best left for the lips of drunkards. I also questioned Bekke, who is often their envoy for contact with others, and she too bandied about threats. Should an imperial presence be increased in the town, my recommendation is that the self-serving Obsidian Tower be completely and utterly destroyed. We do not need them within reach of imperial interests." The wisps of chartreuse smoke shift and a voice can be heard within. "Of note, are Eleonore and her brother Leozande, who hail from Mestanir. I am waiting documentation to be sent to me regarding their lives back home, but they have been some of the most outspoken in their support for my investigation, along with Rowmi, whose only crime is being a hathlyn, which is enough to make him insignificant. Wuldreth, the town's local cleric shop owner has lost much of his faith's vigor, and my recommendation is a forced retirement and deed of his shop given to Eleonore and Leozande, diligent servants of the Godking Koar who might best serve to spread his light in this dark place." The wisps of chartreuse smoke shift and a voice can be heard within. "I have been threatened by Greganth, a leader among the Landing Defense Irregulars, suggesting he might use the blade he had forged to kill Grishom Stone, on me. I have acquired a list of witnesses who report he has murdered a town guard from Wehnimer's Landing, in a weak attempt to frame me. He has now even gone as far to ambush and wound Estorian's finest knights who traveled with me, leaving me little choice but to recommend his public dismemberment and execution." The wisps of chartreuse smoke shift and a voice can be heard within. "Further case against the Landing Defense Irregulars come with another of their leaders, Riend, who reports indicate was once possessed by the spirit of Madelyne Cross, the daughter of a Elithain Cross, a rogue mage who is an enemy of the Turamzzyrian Empire. I have had little time to evaluate her stability post-possession, but given her prolonged exposure to dark magic and spirits, I would recommend her execution, if nothing more than a safety precaution against dormant threats to the Sun Throne." The wisps of chartreuse smoke shift and a voice can be heard within. "Upon initial research of Wehnimer's Landing, I soon learned that a known blood witch was residing within the town, and I later discovered she has been recruiting others into her dark practice. Sarvia still has outstanding warrants in the County of Trauntor and Barony of Bourth for public display of forbidden magic, a tradition she seems to have been repeating in Wehnimer's Landing. She has indoctrinated a number of followers, chief among them her lover and protector, Ravashaak." The wisps of chartreuse smoke shift and a voice can be heard within. "Witnesses have spoken openly of Ravashaak's practice of dark magic, and both, along with Ewin, are said to have spearheaded the kidnap, torture, and death of a town citizen thought to be tied to a criminal organization, but later disproved. My recommendation is for the use of Mandis cages to apprehend these two, and I will personally oversee their transportation back to Tamzyrr for execution by fire. Sir Bristenn, the Knight-Errant and vassal of Vornavis will serve as the witness for their crimes and accompany me." The wisps of chartreuse smoke shift and a voice can be heard within. "There are others, who have partaken in dark rituals in the town, and it is my recommendation that Tykeara and Giogionni be apprehended and once the New Gryphons are in power, have those two publically executed so that the town might be reminded of the fate that follows such practices. Anru and Alasatia have provided witness that Tykeara willingly gave her blood and body to a priest of Marlu during a ritual, in what many describe was done to help break a curse on their town and forest. Common sense would indicate deals with Marlu only bring about curses." The wisps of chartreuse smoke shift and a voice can be heard within. "Tykeara's blood was used and freely given, and what chaos she bred infested her fiance Giogionni, enough that globular creatures of blood gestated inside his body, before bursting forth and killing townspeople. But Tykeara was not alone in her servitude to darkness. Nine other rangers were involved in the blood ritual with the Marlu priest, and I intend to acquire their names, so that they might suffer the same judgment. Mikeke has been staunchly vocal in his opposition to Walkar, and his support of my work, and he shall be tasked to gather these names for Koar's justice." The wisps of chartreuse smoke shift and a voice can be heard within. "Of peculiar interest, the one called Anru has divulged his theory on an alternate source of the troubles in this area, and that the specter, or really even still the man Grishom Stone may be tormenting these people and perhaps instigating trouble within the Empire. Even if Grishom Stone of Mestanir is gone, it does leave open the possibility of more remnants of the Arcane Eyes, such as Elithain Cross and those who followed him." The wisps of chartreuse smoke shift and a voice can be heard within."Expounding upon this theory even more, is that behind both men has been a omniscient dark force, who some have called Althedeus, or the Shadows. While I would easily excuse Anru's notions as typical elven prattle, it is not the first time our Empire has heard the name. Indeed, if these townspeople have more to shed in the way of truth on these matters, then should even I solve the krolvin connection, I will not be leaving until I discern if these shadows are a danger to the Sun Throne, which is all the more reason for the imperial presence to be increased in this town, so that our ears might be closer to the whispers in the dark." The wisps of chartreuse smoke shift and a voice can be heard within. "Lending further credence to Wehnimer's Landing having become a burrow of dark magic, it seems four townspeople claim to have been tormented by shadows and pain, before losing their connection to the essence around them, unable to tap into the threads of mana to conjure their spells, or even evoke a magical song. Those afflicted thus far are named Seomanthe, Kiske, Maags, and Cruxophim. At this time, I do not understand why they were targeted, or the connection between them all. When my primary investigation into the krolvin concludes, perhaps I will research this troubling development, not for the sake of them, but to rule out any possibility of an epidemic endangering the Turamzzyrian Empire." The wisps of chartreuse smoke shift and a voice can be heard within. "As acknowledged previously, a local craftsman in Wehnimer's Landing was abducted back in Lormesta, 5113, exactly a year ago. He was suspected of belonging to a criminal organization called the Brotherhood of Rooks. Confessions of some of the abductors list Ewin, Arpelli, Ravashaak and Sarvia as having conducted torture on the kidnapped tradesman. While the location he was held in was guarded by Sir Ruffelin, Kiske, Puptilian, Alesse, Meureii, Perivan and Evia. It was later learned the captive was killed after his torture, despite his pleas of being a loving father. No evidence had been brought to convict the man, and still none to this day. This sort of vigilante justice has become commonplace in Wehnimer's Landing, which further presents my case for imperial intervention, or the town risks orphans born every day." The wisps of chartreuse smoke shift and a voice can be heard within. "On subject of the Brotherhood of Rooks, it is believed the group originated in Wehnimer's Landing, with funding being sourced from outside of the town. Such a situation draws a striking similarity to the krolvin connection expanding before me. Perhaps it is noteworthy that witnesses have claimed, Drangell, who was once, and may still be the leader of this Brotherhood, himself proclaimed to receive mysterious funding attached to direct orders. So it may be that the origins of this conspiracy were not born in Wehnimer's Landing, but the means to funnel such resources, to criminals and krolvin alike has taken root. I fear if this theory is indeed true, then my work will turn my eyes to the south, closer to the heart of our home." The wisps of chartreuse smoke shift and a voice can be heard within. "When the transition is successful, the Brotherhood of Rooks cannot be ignored. I have heard the whisperings; my men have seen the dealings in the shadows of alleys. No one I have questioned believes the Brotherhood is indeed gone, as silence does not equal submission. They are indeed a force, one that could prolong any occupation and unnecessarily bleed our resources and men. With the exception of the upper echelons, their ranks seem to be brimming with commoners, men and women who are loyal to the town, and refuse to be subject to corruption and the darkness growing around them." The wisps of chartreuse smoke shift and a voice can be heard within. "Steel and spell will hold much of the town at bay, but silvers will work well against these Rooks, as their loyalty above all else is to their families well-being. Money is a concept their leader, Drangell Reedmond will remember well, for only silver can wash the blood of ones kin from your hands, as evident by his treachery at Kragsfell. Despite my recommendation for more logical means to combat the Rooks, I do sanction a quick execution of Drangell, his failed assassination has turned him into an imperial liability." Suddenly, the wisps of chartreuse smoke dim and peel away, slowly replaced by threads of blood red light, snaking up into the air and coiling around like a pit of crimson serpents. The red light dissolves into a fine scarlet mist, shifting and reshaping like a small vermillion cloud. Amidst the fog, shapes begin to form to reveal the surroundings of a dark forest as light snowflakes drift down from the sky. The scarlet haze continues to churn, its cloud fed by trailing strands of energy slowly creeping from the cracks of Glethad's black coral amulet. Your vision is pulled back into the fog. Beneath you groans a woman, her coral blue eyes absent with the fire of love, but alive with the energy of hunger. Her champagne hair spills out behind her head, like flowing silver bleeding into the blanket of snow. You rise, offering your hand as the woman stands, her body glistening with sweat and shivering from the cold. SNAP! You spin towards the forest, and the woman behind you screams. The scarlet haze continues to churn, its cloud fed by trailing strands of energy slowly creeping from the cracks of Glethad's black coral amulet. Your vision is pulled back into the fog. The darkness of the forest encircles you, the scream instantly bringing a dull pounding in your head. It beats loud, almost unnaturally loud, in unison with your rising heartbeat. From out of the forest, a slender figure rushes in, her body gleaming like polished metal under the moonlight. The shining form's eyes shift from green, to grey, to brown, to black, to gold. Red is the last color you see, as the form's arms transform into blades, tearing through your stomach. A final wisp of red mist rises up from Glethad's black coral amulet, curling in the air like a loose strand of hair before evaporating. The amulet in Glethad's hand suddenly shatters, the tiny pieces of black coral crumbling like ash on the ground.