The private notes of Countess Alma de Béziers
- These are the private notes of Sister Alma, Countess de Béziers. They'll serve as my (User:BalthCat) workspace for recording and annotating research. Google Docs is great, but there's no table of contents like MediaWiki!
- Noira Langevin's necklace
- Dessa Underdown's heirloom
- The Order of the Black Down
- Outsiders in the Empire
- Cosmogony and Foundation
Noira Langevin's necklace
- Owner: The owner (Tatiane Corriveau?) is the grandmother of the woman trying to sell it, Ninon de Quercy. It was given to her by a lover
- Owner-1: Her lover acquired it as a payment for murder. (Nouel Izaguirre?)
- Owner-2: The previous owner (Noira Langevin?) acquired it from her father (Marcau Langevin?), but had it stolen.
The interim thief is not considered an owner. There is no indication that ~Noira was aware it would be given to the next owner, ~Nouel.
The owner is a human female, 42 years old, of House Cat. Her alignment is unknown. The button was purchased, and then stolen by a lover. The owner is presumed Phedre Lozada-Boyne; the lover is presumed Sanadhil Orecalo. (Previous owner was TN. Of no known importance.)
The owner is a sexless succubus, 3023 years old, of no House. Its alignment is unknown. The cufflink was given by a lover and stolen by a lover. The owner is presumed Earric Boyne; the previous owner, a lover, is unknown and of no known importance (though human), while the lover who stole the cufflink is presumed Sanadhil Orecalo.
Dessa Underdown's heirloom
My recent examinations revealed the following:
- A human male (54, TN) of House Wolf had the locket made, and gave it to his daughter.
- Note: A previous reading indicated the first owner above was 70, and gave it to a lover, and suggested the lover was the third owner, who died at 70.
- His daughter (human, female, 15, TN, Wolf) had the locket stolen by her foster-sister.
- Her foster-sister (human, female, 70, CG, Wolf) bequeathed it to her grand-daughter, Dessa Underdown
- Dessa Underdown (human, female, 15, CG, Wolf) left it in Ysabeau's care before her murder.
- See also Lora
The owner is Seventh, and a mere year old. Additionally: no House, received the apron from her employer and maintains ownership of it.
Cornelia Nash (letter)
Presuming the current owner to be Seth Argo, the previous owner was a human female of age 65, and a member of House Cat. While such a mundane result for Nash seems strange, there is no real indication this item was not in fact Nash's, or that this information is hidden via a spell such as Misdirection. Her character was obscured, presumably by magic, similarly to Phedre and Earric. Nondetection?
Nine Elms crypt
I saw a shadowy, dreamlike vision of Strauch falling down the narrow stone stairs, lying bleeding at the bottom, followed by two men in shrouding cloaks (they are young, I thought, or at least younger than him) strolling down more casually, laughing a bit, knives out. Strauch tries to get up, to cast something perhaps, but gets kicked in the face. Then the shorter of the two young men spits on him, while the other removes his holy symbol and tosses it aside. "For Theo," one of them says, kneeling on his chest to jam a knife into his throat, twisting it as he pulls it free. Together they haul Strauch's body up onto the tomb slab, strip him of everything he had on him. While he's turned over, the taller man carves something in his back with the point of his knife, then they flip him back onto his back and disembowel him before gathering up the clothing and items and departing.
- Into his back was carved a circle, or perhaps an O?
She eventually made her way to a house in the Grand (later determined to be that of Leonien Kizer) and enters via the servants' entrance. She spent the day helping in the kitchens, leaving around nightfall. After walking through the Place d'Iena and making some purchases, she continues to Pearl City where she enters a small house. After making herself some food, she seems to talk to the air.
- Thea: No, I couldn't. No chance.
- A pause, as if she's listening.
- Thea: I'm working on it, be patient!
- Thea: *laughs* All right, that's fair.
- Thea: You're right. Of course you're right. I know.
- Thea: Do you want me to go back there? I could check if...
- Thea: All right, fine.
- Thea: Later. I'm hungry... You try slaving for a pack of ungrateful nobs all day and see how you feel afterwards. They deserve...
- Thea: Yes. I know, not much longer, but it's so hard to wait...
- She then eats. There does not appear to be any more talking. She cleans up, bathes, and retires to bed.
- Thea: It's kicking, do you want to feel?
- Thea: Tell me again, about what will happen...
- ... ...
- A much longer pause. A rant perhaps?
- Thea: *smiles* I like that. When you talk like that, it makes me feel like things will finally be *right* again. Like everything that's wrong with this world will be washed away. And we'll be together, won't we?
- Thea: I love you too.
Up until this point I was not sure if she was talking to someone who was not there, by magical means, or to someone who was invisible to my scrying. Here, though, she appears to physically interact with the other being, suggesting the latter. The scrying ends before she awakes in the morning.
- Borne by the mother of mercy, it nourishes life out of loss. Blood it held, blood it spilled, blood shattered it and blood makes it whole.
- Mother of Mercy: Emkathon
- Blood it held: Serpent's
- Blood it spilled: Serpent's?
- Blood shattered it: Actual blood, or kin?
- Blood makes it whole: Actual blood, or kin?
- This is the essence of creation, stolen from the sky and frozen to sever the dominion of gods. Under the stars, it grants the power of the stars, but in the shadows it grants power over the land. If it is shattered beneath a starless sky, the ones who destroy it shall face death to receive their hearts' desire, and the stars shall shine once more.
- Power of the Stars: Wisdom?
- Face death: ?
- Hearts' desire: Subjective?
- When a woman fathers a child, and her daughter to Greywatch is kin when the starlight returns to its first form, as the serpent at last sheds its skin then the mother of mercy seeks vengeance, and the wheel shall soon cease to spin.
- Woman who fathers a child: Martan, Tristane?
- A child: Ysabeau's child?, Theonee?
- Her daughter: Martan's daughter? Tristane's daughter? Ysabeau's daughter?
- Starlight: Martan? Starmatter?
- Mother of Mercy: Emkathon
- Vengeance: Kavreshar, revenge?
- To be performed...
- Your child and the child of another who passed through the Arch will give you a grandchild on the 5th of Second-month in your 52nd year. And the birth of that child will herald the death of your faith and the rebirth of another, the death of your love and the rebirth of another, the death of your child and the rebirth of another.
- Your child: Martan, Marrith?
- Child of another: Ysabeau?
- Your faith: The Church of Aveyrone? Butler's personal faith?
- Another: Serpent worship? A changed Church of Aveyrone? A new personal faith?
- Your love: Theonee
- Another #2: Emkathon?
- Your child: Martan, Marrith?
- Another #3:
Reverend Mother Mayne's Commune
- Is the soul of Pasith Belden in the Void? No.
- Is the soul of Pasith Belden in the Centre? Yes.
- Is the soul of Pasith Belden within the Arch? Yes.
- Is her soul divided between these two states? Yes.
- Will Pasith Belden's soul someday be reborn as a Seventh? Unknown.
- Is this division of her soul preventing her rebirth? Yes.
- Can her soul to be reunited? Yes.
- Is this division of her soul against the gods' will? No.
- Will Rab ever be reunited with Pasith Belden or her reborn self? Unknown.
- If the physical Arch was destroyed, would Pasith Belden's soul be released? No.
- If the entity known as the Serpent was trapped once more within the Arch, would Pasith Belden's soul be released? No.
- If the entity known as the Serpent was destroyed, would Pasith Belden's soul be released? Yes.
29 Eleventh-month, 2247
- Is Imraen's dream a real world? Yes.
- Other than Imraen and Ruchard, are any of the apparent persons whose lives we experienced, or who we met in the dream real entities? Yes.
- Do these entities, generally, have souls such as ours? No.
- Do they have souls of any kind? Yes.
- Can their souls be shown the path to the Centre? Unclear.
- As your devoted servant, I want to help all souls find their path to the Centre, to the best of my ability; should I concern myself with the fate of the souls in Imraen's dream? Do not worry for them.
- Are the souls in the dream linked to their counterparts in this world? Yes.
- In Imraen's dream, Char spoke with Belden; was that truly the spirit, of Passith Belden, in whole or in part? Yes.
- When Pheria was killed, her spirit experienced something, which we all came to know... was this an illusion? No.
27 Fifth-month, 2248
- Can Pasith Belden's soul be freed from the Arch by a means other than the Serpent's will or destruction? Yes.
- Can her soul be freed by human magic? Yes.
- Would True Resurrection free her soul from the Arch? Unknown.
- Could this be a result of her dying of old age?
- Could Miracle free her soul from the Arch? Yes.
- Would this harm her soul... No.
- ...or defy the Gods? Yes.
- Does Pasith Belden serve a Purpose in the Arch? Yes.
- Are the Gods of Aveyrone in conflict with the Serpent? Yes.
- Can there be peace with the Serpent? Unknown.
- Do the Gods seek the Serpent's destruction? No.
- Do the Gods seek the return of the Serpent to its former place? ... in the Celestial Order. No.
- Whatever that former place was...
- Is the Serpent in a state of dysfunction? Yes.
- Easily the cause of the conflict... or, then again, merely demonstrative of its diminished power.
- Is my soul split between this plane and the Tal-Antar's dream? No.
- A relief that we are all not similarly split as the Matriarch
- Would destruction of the Arch in the Tal-Antar's dream affect this material Plane? Yes.
- In retrospect a positively useless question.
- Is Reverend Mother Esmena vak Andras knowingly consorting with a fiend? Yes.
- Lending more weight, but no proof, to the idea that Diamond is a succubus. Not that this couldn't be explained by any number of innocuous or merely misguided actions.
- Are the three who present themselves as Temair Metivier, Madelen Lavernois and Evalier Moncaire fiends? No.
- Could this answer be punishment for my laziness? One of the three may not be a fiend. Or does one of the three survive, introducing ambiguity to this question? Hard work will have to suffice to answer this question properly. Perhaps a fiend merely impersonated the Lord Admiral as he is so often away.
- 1: Can the end of the Way of the Wheel foretold in Martan's Legend Lore be prevented? Yes.
- 2: Is it your will that the Church of Aveyrone oppose the end of the Way of the Wheel? Yes.
- 3: Are Phedre and her inner circle important to the outcome? Yes.
- 4: Is it your will that the Church oppose the freeing of Emkathon? No.
- 5: Is it your will that the Church support the freeing of Emkathon? Yes.
- 6: Did Matriarch Pasith have a choice in her role, partly residing within the Arch? Yes.
- 7: It was her choice to stay? She chose to serve.
- 8: Is it your will that the Church support the restoration of the Arch of the Shadow Plane? Yes.
- 9: Is it your will that the Church support the restoration of the Stars in the Shadow Plane? Yes.
- 10: Is it your will that the Church support the restoration of the Arch of Aveyrone? No.
- 11: Is it your will that the Church oppose the restoration of the Arch of Aveyrone? No.
- 12: Is it your will that the Church support the waking of the Tal-Antar? No.
- 13: Is it your will that the Church oppose the waking of the Tal-Antar? No.
- 14: Would awakening the Tal-antar bring an end to that plane? No.
- 15: Does Reverend Mother Esmena still follow the will of Bear? No.
- 16: Does Bear still grant her his divine favour? No.
- 17: Is Sanadhil Orecalo under the influence of Earric Boyne's infernal powers? Yes.
- 1: Is Sanadhil a member of Phedre's inner circle? Yes.
- 2: Is Princess Ilphere aware of his involvement in the inner circle? Yes.
- 3: Was your war against the angels necessary? No.
- 4: Was the killing of the angels ... a mistake? No.
- 5: Was Earric Boyne once an angel? Yes.
- 6: Can such fallen angels be redeemed by the Seven? No.
- 7: Can they be redeemed by Serpent, or Emkathon? Yes.
- 8: Was it Serpent's will that Am was destroyed? Unknown.
- 9: Is the Patriarch's illness the result of a malicious act? No.
- 10: Is a demon masquerading as the Lord Admiral Metivier? Yes.
- 11: Is Madelen Levernois a demon? No.
- 12: Is the birth of Ysabeau's child enough to spell the end of the Way of the Wheel? No.
- 13: Should the Phereia be kept out of the hands of the Order of the Black Down? No.
- 14: Is the Phereia crucial to bringing about an end to the Way of the Wheel? No.
- 15: Can Plane Shift access the plane of the Tal-Antar's dream? Yes.
- 16: Are souls imperilled with punishment in the plane of evil, as the Revelators say? Yes.
- 17: Is this the will of the Seven? No.
- Overheard by Seth Argo
- She was conceived by one reborn, carried by one failed, raised by one chosen. Before her very birth, I spoke to her. Her womb is barren, except for he of whom she dreams, but she bears the light of the stars within her.
- One reborn: Martan Kizer
- One failed: Althea 'Deverara'
- One chosen: Empress Tristane
- He of whom she dreams: Butler Belden
- She: Theonee Deverara
Selections from the Codex Lunaticium
"O Watcher (Cornelia? Serpent? see Talith) of the Forbidden Entrance (Arch?), why must I enter naked? And the Watcher answered Thus it is, the Covenant of old, set down before time began, so that the mark may be seen if you are Chosen. (as emperor?)" - v. 2, Amaspia
"I have found the Gate (Arch?) that leads to the Outside (outer planes? arch plane?), by which the Watcher (Cornelia? Serpent? see below), who guards the entrance to our world, keeps eternal vigil. I have felt the presence of that Ancient One (Serpent? see above) whose name is written in the forbidden texts, the testament of a dead civilization whose priests, seeking power, swung open the dread gate and were consumed. (Am?) My fate is no longer written in the stars. (pulled from the cycle?)" - v. 3, Talith
"'Follow me,' (he will say) (the Watcher?); he will lead you to the dark chamber, the abode below the ground; The abode (under-Arch) which none leave unchanged who have entered into it. A road from which there is no return; A House whose dwellers are bereft of light, where dust is in their mouths and clay is their food. (Arch plane?) O keeper of the door, I have brought my offerings; grant that I may bear the mark." - v. 5, Maferan
"Watcher of the Gate, remember! Open the door that I may enter! Open lest I attack the door, break apart its bars, attack the seal (???) itself! Open the door! Open wide the Gate for my return, lest I cause the dead to rise! I will raise up the dead! I will cause the dead to rise and devour the living!" - v. 6, Zaalia
The personal diaries of Matriarch Pasith
- Comments below are NOT actually Alma's, yet -_-
9-14-2203. Proposals weighed in Council of what to do with the Arch. We have monitored it for five years now, and no sign of magic or 'inhabitation', for lack of a better term, has been observed. Some would like to see it maintained as a memorial, a minority would prefer to see it destroyed. In truth, I would not be averse to its destruction, but for the nagging feeling that we would not be able to harm it, or that even if we could, its taint would never truly be gone. At least grass is growing there once more, I suppose.
- Don’t know what to do with the Arch. Destroy it?
3-23-2205. Dinner with the Empress and family tonight. In another month or so, I will be thoroughly occupied with the new baby, so it seemed an opportune moment to visit. Baby Celestine is sitting up now, though I only saw her for a short while before she grew bored or tired and her nurse took her away. The older children played together, which was a little unexpected. Well, not that Aethan and Trenta should play together, four-year-olds seem to find one another endlessly entertaining, at least until they start squabbling, but Butler and Theonée have never really seemed to get along well. Today, though, she took him to play hide and seek, and they were gone quite some time. On the way home, Butler was quiet, so I asked him if he had enjoyed himself. He seemed uncertain, as if he was thinking hard about something. "Mother," he said at last, "Theonée says that we knew one another before we were born. Is that true?" I told him, as calmly as I could, that it could be that they knew one another in a past life, but that the gods did not usually grant us the ability to recall such things. I don't think that answer satisfied him - as, in truth, it does not satisfy me. What could it mean? The girl is unsettling, half of her parentage unknown, and who knows what effect her mother's passage through the upper Arch had on her. The gods know I have kept a close watch on Butler all these years, but they, as well as my own senses, assure me that he is well, unaffected by any possible taint. With Theonée I am not nearly so certain. Perhaps it would be best to gently discourage him from associating with her as they grow older.
- Creeped out by Theonee + Butler
6-1-2208. I found myself wondering today what Izaguirre did with that necklace, the one that Noira Langevin seemed so eager to get to him. Kalman still believes that it was payment for Sekia Dizon's assassination, but we were never able to confirm that, and I find myself pondering other reasons she might have wanted to get the jewel into his hands. The necklace did not seem to be magical, and yet, of course, magical auras can be concealed. In retrospect, it strikes me as worrying that it is the single link I am aware of between Blackhope and Izaguirre, and yet they both, after a fashion, tried to tear the Empire apart. Was it somehow a part of Marcau Langevin's plan to bring Izaguirre onto his side, to attack the Empire from another angle? It would be so much easier to put this out of my mind if I knew that the girl had simply incurred a gambling debt or something of the sort.
- Noira Langevin’s necklace. Magic was present when we looked... how odd.
5-25-2210. In a lesson this morning, Velten du Champe asked me some quite probing questions concerning the creation story given in the Almas Genara. He began by asking how old it was - did it predate the Empire, for instance? I told him the general scholarly opinion was that it was as old as the Empire. He noted, independently, what Rev. Father Bergen pointed out in his analysis of the passage five centuries ago - that the people who wrote this down probably lived near an ocean, with the talk of oysters and pearls and islands in the fog. Certainly it seems unlikely they were here, at least. Then he asked what was represented by the killing of the (grand)father-figure in the tale. Again I could only fall back on what wiser scholars than myself have said - that it represents the death of our innocence, our ignorance of what is right and wrong. He disagreed quite strongly, and said he thought it was relevant to the idea of challenging the gods - that perhaps, before we worshipped these gods, there were others... At that point I was fortunately able to end the lesson, as our time had run out. I suspect Iana, or his father, have been putting ideas in his head, but perhaps not. Perhaps he is simply too clever for his own good. Nevertheless, he displays a clear gift of priestly magic - the first, so far as I am aware, to call on the divine power of the Rat and receive an unmistakeable response. I hope he may be the first of many.
- Cosmogony (Velten), challenging the Gods.
Holiday 1, 2211-12. At the palace celebrations today, Butler seemed quite down. Rab was able to get the story out of him eventually, where I had failed - I suppose a boy of that age doesn't want to talk to his mother about some matters. Apparently he asked Theonée to dance, and she refused him. When Rab told me, I could not help but feel inwardly relieved. Butler may be glum now that the girl doesn't like him, but surely it is for the best. If they were to become closer... and at this age, how awful it could be!
- Creeped out by Theonee.
11-5-2213. Rab set off this morning. He said he would travel south for now, so at least the weather should be tolerable where he's going. May the gods watch over him and keep him safe, and bring him home to us again when he is able. And may the children one day understand why their father had to leave, why I had to remain, and forgive us for our failings.
- Rab leaves
4-21-2214. A terrible dream tonight, of being led bound and gagged to the Arch, while crowds cheered. I knew in my dream what waited for me there, something more horrible than my waking mind can comprehend, but I know it longed to consume me. My mind was screaming at me to fight back, to try and cast a spell or break away, even if it meant my death at the hands of my captors, because surely that would be better than the fate that awaited me within, but I couldn't do it. The women in robes drew me forward, almost gently, and I passed into the shadow. When I woke with my heart pounding, I reached blindly for Rab, forgetting that he is gone these six months and more. It took me quite some time to recover enough to realize it had only been a nightmare.
- Belden dreams of her sacrifice?
7-19-2214. Tristane has chosen Loch to be the new Chief Sorcerer. It is the obvious choice, of course - there can be few casters in the Empire who surpass him in skill - and I am glad for him, even though it will mean less time for his research, and for his family as well. Still, he says Corwen can carry on with the research, and seems to believe he will find the necessary time for his wife and children. May the gods give him the strength he needs to take on these new responsibilities.
- Research? Why does Belden care?
5-30-2217. Butler was elevated to the Order of the Spoke today. I was so proud of him, looking so serious and so much like his father, as he took his oaths. I wish Rab could have been there to see him. Boden, Kalman, Loch, and Pavo had to suffice. Even the Imperial family came to the ceremony, paying their respects to all the new knights, but (if I may be forgiven this unseemly vanity) I think particularly to my son. I only wished that I felt less worried at the amount of time he spent talking with Theonée - all quite proper, of course, nothing untoward, but it still bothers me in ways I don't fully understand.
- Butler, bespoked. Theonee again.
9-2-2217. Butler left the city today with his friends. It wouldn't have done to fret over him too much while he was preparing to depart, but I find I can't help worrying now. Halden and Ysana worry me by their licentiousness - and I am certain I don't know the half of it, only what Kalman has told me, but that little is enough! Velten is clever, frighteningly clever at times, and he has his father's way of keeping things - and people - at arm's length. He and his twin brother could not be more different in that respect... Still, Velten and Butler have always been good friends, as far back as I can remember, and I trust that they will look out for one another. Emoune Sathin I barely know, as she spent much of her childhood in Greywatch, but she seems a sensible young woman. And then there is Theonée, whose inclusion gives me such dread. I was surprised that Tristane and Althea agreed to let her go, to be honest - I had assumed they would not allow it, and so had spent little time worrying about it until today. I told Butler that I thought it unwise for her to travel with them, and he became quite cross with me before I could even explain my reasoning. She is his dear friend, trained at the Castalia, a brilliant scholar, and on and on - he had nothing but praise for her, and it made my blood run cold. He insists that there is nothing more than friendship between them, but still, what if they were to wed, to have children... is this some plan of the Arch-entity coming to fruition, or am I being unreasonable, overprotective? I cannot keep my son sheltered any longer. May the gods protect them all, even Theonée, as they travel, and especially keep Butler safe and under their blessings.
- Emoune Sathin? Theonee creepy. Kids leave town.
7-12-2218. The children - though they are no longer children, of course - have returned safely once more, thank the gods. Trenta has spent this past month pining for Velten to return, in a way that is at once adorable and insufferable. She begged to be able to go with them, but I told her she was too young, and so she's been snubbing me these past few weeks. I suppose at least she didn't run away to follow them, as I would have been inclined to do at her age. I don't think anything unseemly has passed between them since he returned, I haven't given them the opportunity, but nevertheless Trenta is obviously in love. I hope for her sake that Velten feels the same. I would certainly give them my blessing in another year or so if they wished to marry. Butler and Theonée is another matter entirely. He comes home each evening, he wouldn't dare spend the night with her, but it's not as if such things can only be done after dark! He knows my feelings on the matter, and I don't believe he would lie to me directly if I asked him whether they were involved, but... I don't want to put my son in a position where he would be tempted to lie, and I admit that part of me is weak and frightened and would rather remain ignorant. Let the gods guide us on this path, then.
- Trenta + Velten? Theonee again.
8-12-2219. Such wonderful news! Butler tells me he has decided to marry Cora Engelhardt! I cannot believe how much weight has lifted off my shoulders just since he started courting her, and now I can finally breathe easy. It has been a short courtship, admittedly, but I find I cannot worry about that too much, not when I am so relieved that it's not her. I will be able to tell everyone at Halden and Ysana's wedding in a few days' time. I know others have shared my concerns, and will be glad to hear this news.
- Anti-Theonee! Cora = marriage of convenience?
12-30-2219. My eldest daughter was married today. Trenta du Champe still has a strange ring about it, but I suppose I shall get used to it in time. She looked beautiful, but so young. I hope and trust that she will be happy in her choice of partner, and that they will always be good to one another. I was a little surprised that Emoune and Theonée did not attend their friend's wedding, and asked after them, only to learn, to my surprise, that they had left for Greywatch more than two months ago. It puzzles me...
- Emoune and Theonee went to Greywatch to squat out a kid.
6-8-2220. Butler and Cora were married this afternoon. She was quite radiant, though Butler looked as though he might faint throughout much of the day. Fortunately, he did not, and everything went off without a hitch. I finally feel, now, that things will be all right. [blah blah long description of guests, etc.] Pavo's children, having just come of age, were in high spirits as they enjoyed one of their first 'adult' festivities. Little miss Phedre cornered Butler for a dance, and I swear as I watched the two of them that she said something that made him blush, though I have no idea what. That one will be a handful, mark my words.
- Phedre :( Butler+Cora
4-2-2225. Velten has been elevated to the rank of Reverend Father of the Order of the Rat. This was a contentious decision on the Council, not least because of his young age, but I believe my arguments were convincing. There simply are no more qualified priests of Rat than him, and it has become unacceptable to continue without a priest of Rat on the council, not when it is so obvious that the Rat is a god, that it has returned to the heavens, and that it is able to grant power to its followers. To shut them out would go against everything I have worked for. The only issue that remains unresolved is the matter of where they will fit in the cycle of Patriarchs. In order to gain this much, we had to cede our wish that they be placed immediately next, following the death of Matriarch Briaga, may it be many years hence. I suppose this means that there is a chance, gods willing, that I will be the next Matriarch. A difficult idea to grapple with, but not entirely unexpected.
- Velten as RF Rat.
5-27-2227. [at the end of an otherwise uninteresting entry.] Trimmon tells me that this new guard captain, Nash, has something odd about her, but he can't put his finger on it. I had a look at her myself, and noticed her eyes have a peculiar glow about them. It is most likely just a spell she's had permanently cast upon herself, but not one I am familiar with.
- Nash’s eyes
Speak to Velten?
"The Gods forget. They are distant. They must be reminded. If they are not watchful, if the gatekeepers do not watch the gates, if the gates are not kept always locked, bolted and barred, then the One (Serpent?) who is always ready will enter and bring with him the hordes of the demon armies." - v. 11, Terese
"Beyond the pool (???) I see a set of stairs. Placed beneath the Arch, it falls down into the dank earth. My thirst and the heat compel me to enter. Nothing moves except the buzzing flies and the red clouds above. Darkness confronts me, but still I enter, seeking the coolness of the underground. Hiding myself from that awful red sky. On and on I walk. It is a good thing there is no hunger in this place, for surely I am years now away from my quiet home. Even the thirst I felt above has faded to nothing. Except for the flies outside, I have seen nothing alive, not even one rat in this entire sewer, until the boy (???)." - v. 19, Nuallan
"Night! You'd please me even more without these stars which speak a language I know all too well. I long for darkness, silence, nothing there. Yet even shadows have their shapes, the hordes of vanished souls whose eyes acknowledge mine. Whether spawned by the Void or sprung from the stars, Fate like a spaniel follows at your heel, child; you sow haphazard fortune and despair, ruling all things, responsible for none. (???)" - v. 24, Ythan
The Scroll of Nathmur Umrai
There is little time remaining, I must be brief. Forgive me.
The fil-angthil [lit. 'pale/weak-savages/heretics' = humans?] drove our people from Saraknyel [lit. 'city of bright dawn'] in the days of my mother's youth. We were forced to retreat to Sarasagel [lit. 'blessed city'], our conquest at an end, or at least postponed. The Tal-antar [lit. 'watcher-queen', possibly 'princess', but seems also to have some priestly overtones] was but an infant, and so the Irrdin'erin [lit. 'hidden/masked teller-of-the-future advisors' = some sort of oracle or council?] guided us until she came of age and took the name Imraen no Qu'rret [lit. 'devoted-to-the-void sacred-to-the-void']. She ruled well, and even after her coming-of-age she often sought their advice on matters of importance.
I was elevated to the Irrdin'erin upon my mother's death, and served two long-count-turns [=years?] some unit of time measurement, in any case] before the bane-mists first appeared. Twisted elementals of air and acid - to breathe them in was almost certain death. Many low-folk died before we even knew the cause, but worse was yet to come. After a short time, the dhaun [lit. 'plague-ridden'] began to appear, walking corpses of those killed by the bane-mists, saturated with acid and spewing it out at any who dared to attack them. Being eaten away from the inside, they could not endure their tortured existance for more than a few days before disintegrating, but in those few days they could claim many more lives. Those who could, fled. I do not know how many of them escaped death, but I pray that some of them will have survived, may Serpent ['Vrag'] protect them.
The Irrdin'erin sought wisdom, as was our responsibility, and determined that the fil-angthil, having fallen under the sway of a powerful female-spellcaster [lit. something closer to 'witch'], had created these atrocities and sent them to plague us. They surrounded Sarasagel, and escape by land or air became impossible. Attempts were made to go by way of the land-of-brightness [= the Material or Ethereal plane?] but all died or were captured by the fil-angthil. We consulted with the Tal-antar. None among us were willing to be captured, or to die from the bane-mists and kill our fellows in undeath agony. Better to die by our own hands, we decided, and so we sought her permission to end our lives with dignity. She agreed, and would have willingly accompanied us into the afterlife, but some of our number, unwilling for her to sacrifice herself, proposed another plan. Tal-antar Imraen would be placed beyond time, and hopefully beyond the grasping reach of the fil-angthil.
I will say here that I opposed the plan, but my voice was one of few. I felt it was too dangerous to allow her to survive, perhaps alone, for an unknown span of time, perhaps to fall into enemy hands. But the decision has been made nevertheless, and I must aid in the casting of the spell that will imprison her in a single moment, perhaps forever. Then I will return to my chamber and swallow spider-pain [= some sort of poison?]. I write this so that, if any of our people have survived, they or their descendants may find this and know what happened to our holiest of cities, and seek to avenge our deaths.
- —I name myself Nathmur Umrai [lit. 'doom-witness truth-seeker'] and pray that I will find peace.
- Researched by Sanadhil Orecalo.
- Researched by Sanadhil Orecalo.
The people spoke of the Gods, and reckless men said. “If we knew where these Gods were to be found, we would sacrifice to them”. But the Gods were not among them. They were not to be found within the swamplands or in the cities. Their manifestations were in the Heavens for all men to see, but they did not see with understanding. Nor would any God listen, for all were dumb because of the hypocrisy of men.
The pillars of Heaven were broken and fell down to Earth. The skyvault was rent and broken, the whole of creation was in chaos. The stars in the Heavens were loosened from their places, so they dashed about in confusion. There was a revolt on high, a new ruler appeared there and swept across the sky in majesty.
Men forget the days of The Destroyer. Only the wise few know where it went and that it will return in its appointed hour.
It raged across the Heavens in the days of wrath, and this was its likeness: It was as a serpent smoke enwrapped in a ruddy glow. Its mouth was an abyss from which came flame, smoke and hot cinders.
When ages pass, certain laws operate upon the stars in the Heavens. Their ways change, there is movement and restlessness, they are no longer constant and a great light appears redly in the skies.
They will come softly, as thieves to the tombs, and men will not know them for what they are, men will be deceived, for the hour of The Destroyer is at hand. In those days men will have the Great Book before them, wisdom will be revealed, the few will be gathered for the stand, at the hour of trial. The dauntless ones will survive, the stout-hearted will not go down to destruction. NASHASH, Great Serpent of All Ages, alike to all, who sets the trials of man, be merciful to our children in the Days of Doom. Man must suffer to be great, but hasten not his progress unduly. In the great winnowing, be not too harsh on the lesser ones among men. Even the son of a thief has become your scribe.
- (Note: "Nashash" literally means "he who solves secrets" in Plascencial. )
- Notation f. M. Orecalo.
- (Note: "Nashash" literally means "he who solves secrets" in Plascencial. )
But I will say this as I think. And I will speak against you, O land, which art prospering. The noonday does not always burn. Nor do the rays of the sun constantly give light. Do not expect and hope that you will always be prosperous and rejoicing. And be not greatly up lifted and boastful. For assuredly in its own season shall the serpent's wrath awake against you. Which now in long-suffering is held in as it were by reins. For every emancipator has enslaved the free.
Selections from old religious texts
The writings from olden days tell of strange things and of great happenings in the times of our fathers who lived in the beginning. All men can know of such times is declared in the Book of Ages, but the Gods had their birth in events and things which were in the beginning. All who have seen the heavens know what is transacted there. They know that the heavenly luminaries change not their paths; that each rises and sets regularly, every one at its proper period, without transgressing the commands, which they have received. They behold the earth, and understand what is there transacted, from the beginning to the end of it.
The Seven, they who revolve, driving their Chariots around their Lord, the One Centre of our World. His Breath gave Life to the Seven.
They drew down much strength from the stars, but now they are as Wanderers of the Wastelands, and dwell in caves and in deserts, and in all lonely places where they have set up stones.
By their wounds shall ye know them, and by their smell, for they are not born as men, but in some other fashion; by some corruption of seed or spirit that has given them other properties than those we are familiar with. And they like the Dark Places best; for their God is a Worm.
A brief report...
Attn: Reverend Father Theron Conemaugh.
A brief report on the expedition to the tomb of Patriarch Thaleus Rademacher.
Once the tomb was opened, it was revealed the floor of the chamber had at some point collapsed into a cavern below, due to the erosion of underground brine, over time. The Patriarch's remains were located on a small island of salt, along with three items which remained in good enough condition to be of interest. Once returned to the society and cleaned of salt and grime, the items were shown to be:
One deteriorated leather belt, non-magical. My object reading shows the item belonged to a man of House Wolf, presumably the Patriarch. He gained the item by ritual, and did not lose it in his lifetime of 73 years. He was of axiomatic character, and not particularly good or evil.
One ring of telekinesis. My object reading suggests the item belonged to the presumptive Patriarch Thaleus, who found the ring and did not lose it in his lifetime. Sanadhìl Órecalo expressed an interest in this item as his portion of the expedition's "proceeds". After I mentioned that I would prefer to confirm the Church did not lay claim to it, we came to a compromise in which it and a few other items have been donated to the Antiquarian Society, and Mr. Orecalo will use the ring on a long-term loan. I felt it was important that an item of such potential historical significance remain within the Empire, so this seems an excellent arrangement.
One destroyed Artifact in three major fragments. These apparently mundane shards of a pitcher drew my full attention when they proved resistant to an attempt to cast Make Whole. My object reading implies that Patriarch Thaleus came to, and lost, the urn by inheritance. As the was the most recent owner, I assume this means the urn was to have been passed on to his heir, but the heir did not claim it, or its shards. The previous owner was a woman of House Wolf, who gained and lost the item in the same manner, and, assuming inheritance occurred at death, died at the age of 62. (She was of good character, and not particularly axiomatic or chaotic.)
When the expedition met to consider the results, we chose to conduct aLegend Lore, which was performed by Ysabeau Chanuier. The results were the following:
- "Borne by the mother of mercy, it nourishes life out of loss. Blood it held, blood it spilled, blood shattered it and blood makes it whole."
Here I will remind of the Legend Lore I found conducted on The One, which also referred to the "Mother of Mercy":
- "When a woman fathers a child, and her daughter to Greywatch is kin
when the starlight returns to its first form, as the serpent at last sheds its skin then the mother of mercy seeks vengeance, and the wheel shall soon cease to spin."
Further research, upon which I must elaborate later, has brought us additional information to be confirmed. The artifact, known as The Phereia (which is somewhat disconcerting), once contained the blood of The Serpent after its fall. There appears to have been an agreement between Laeken of the Wolf and an angel known as Emkathon to preserve the blood. Emkathon is likely the "Mother of Mercy" from the two Legend Lores. In return for this task, Emkathon was voluntarily imprisoned somewhere within the city, in order to protect it from Kavreshar.
While the Phereia is now empty, the blood may have been consumed, and passed on within the Rademacher line. (Possibly accounting for the apparently Serpent-related visions of Theron Rademacher and Princess Ilphère Kizer.)
While its provenance suggests it may belong to an individual of House Wolf, I believe this artifact to be of extreme importance, and indeed of potential danger if it is not under the watch of the Church.
Sincerely, Sister Alma de Béziers
ps: While this may be merely conjecture, I wonder if the connection between the city, the Emperors and the Eternit Bell may be somehow related to the presence of Emkathon within the city. And perhaps by extension, it relates to the unique abilities of Seth Argo.
pps: The Duke of Coindeliere may return to explore tunnels which connected to the cavern. I told him that for such an exploration may not require the permission of the Church, should he find a means to enter without disturbing any tombs. If I am incorrect, I would gladly inform the Duke.
The Shadow Plane
- Based on the research of Ms. Vianca Belden of the Antiquarian Society.
- It is of unknown material.
- It is cold to the touch and seems fragile and brittle, but does not melt or otherwise deteriorate under normal temperatures/conditions.
- Vianca reports that while (briefly) holding it, she felt a greater sense of insight and awareness of her surroundings.
- It radiates a very strong magical aura of transmutation, evocation, and universal magic.
- Identify does not function on the flake, nor does Analyze Dweomer. Suggesting it is an artifact.