With formidable funds and credit from House Eloi to buoy them on, all of the party excepting Bucephala Clangula immediately begin the spending of the reward they have received; he heads to the Hama Encanda for a day of prayers and assisting Sunfather Callus. Cassio of Padiha heads to the Temple of Perang to acquire a spell that may help him in future, Czerlai and szletko head off to sort out their business with the Zevgenya Shaman Szumasz and Abbas Jalil decides to speak to one of the Sorcerors at Adeline Kothui’s residence about getting a Power Spirit bound into an enchantment for him. Before Cassio heads out, he decides to take the Eloi family up on the offer of a ship as his reward, and he spends a little time speaking to the precociously competent Thenaiis Eloi about this; she draws up the papers, and makes sure that within 3 months time he shall be the proud owner of a brand new Uskaris trading vessel, which as she has contacts, will be built at cost, leaving him with 2000 lara left over to use as a fund to hire crew. Delighted with this, he departs on another errand.
Cassio approaches the formidable War Monastery of Perang and crosses across the threshold, however as soon as he enters the temple, time seems to slow for a minute that lasts for moments as what sounds like a multitude of voices (both male and female) speak directly into his mind and soul with a force and irresistibility that drives him to his knees; the voice says “FREE MY SERVANT; FREE HER, FOR IT IS MY WILL”. With that his senses slowly return to him, and a curious WarFather of Perang approaches, asking why he has fallen to his knees. Cassio asks to speak to him over a matter regarding spells but also the message he has received. In a side courtyard, the two talk, with Cassio asking him about The Large bickering, arguing, Magical Sword. The Priest casts a spell (Soul Sight) and determines that it is the soul of a Perang Initiate bound within it. Curious, the Priest prays to his God and casts a Divination, after which the WarFather has a little to tell about it; it was made by a barbarous warrior people called the Taryvandyns who hailed from The Turbulent West over 4000 years previously; they were a people who followed strange and cruel Shamanistic practices, one being the binding of their great heroes souls into the weapons they bore in life so that their skill and knowledge would not be lost to the tribe.
Things changed, and in time many of their people took up the worship of the Gods, and so it was with one Indegga Giantsbane, a woman warrior of great skill, bravery and resourcefulness; she became a devout follower of Perang, and after a life of great and heroic deeds she fell mortally wounded in battle, and it was the foolish and spiteful actions of a Shaman who bound her to her sword, thus stopping her soul from ascending to Heaven. This act acted as the flashpoint that spelt the end of the Taryvandyns who split apart in a religious war between the Priesthood of the various Gods and the Shamans. The Priest also advises Cassio that it is Perangs will that the swords bearer be the one who releases her from her torment and allows her to pass on. Cassio asks how this can be achieved, but typically for The Undefeatable God, he is short on advice; this he leaves for Cassio to discover and then do, and as the WarFather advises, the Ravens Friend does not like to be disobeyed or failed. After this, the Priest agrees to help Cassio, and teaches him the spell Bladesharp 4 for a small donation to both Perang and Sensu.
Meanwhile, the two Altai spend part of the day acquiring a Strengthening Enchantment each and also a spell each from the eccentric Shaman, with Szletko learning Shimmer 4 and Czerlai learning Spirit Screen 4. They pay a great deal in “gifts” for this to be done, but think the money well spent.
Abbas gets a decent Power Spirit enchanted by a sorceror, and is happy with this be4fore meeting up with the others in the early afternoon, for they all (Bucephala aside) wish to shop at Honest Jon‘s Emporium. The 4 accompany their ubiquitous guide Linus and he takes them to meet the enigmatic wheelchair bound sorceror, who listens to their interests and finally sells a number of items to them all (for a large amount of the credit they have received from the Eloi); Czerlai pays much for Countermagic Ring and Kargs Hammer, Szletko pays a lot for The Shield of Biting and The Returning Spear, Abbas buys Jon’s First Tome and Cassio decides to buy nothing. They all club together to pay the huge sum of 15000 lara for The Scroll of Akanimus, for it is easily the best item they have heard of and also one that can hopefully benefit the whole group in time. Much poorer in coin but better fortified in materiel, the party take their leave of the old Sorcerous proprietor and return for the evening meal at the Eloi compound, meeting up with Bucephala there. At the gates they meet a bonded runner who has come from the crew of “Satroms Bellow”, the ship of the mysterious Karragas. They tell him have arrived at the number of 8 to be travelling to The Ruins of Velicca and The Wyrm Peaks, and more information will follow. He departs to inform his client.Shortly before nightfall as they eat in the stoica overlooking the gates, they see the arrival of the formidable Taturii Asamakiiro, carrying her full compliment of weapons and campaigning gear. She greets them formally and is soon billeted before heading to the bath house to have her evening bath.
Shortly after nightfall, Patch and Solimara sidle into view through the gates, travelling light and carrying no light source at all. The incorrigible pair chat and charm their way around slave, servant and party member alike, before the party are discretely summoned to an ante chamber within the house by the Head Servant, who tells them they have a visitor.
Leaving their 3 new recruits, they enter the room to meet Palidus Marcorius, dressed for travelling in secret and so not in his courtly robes. His escorts this time are not members of the Fist of Armanixes, but 4 ominous, motionless and silent figures in quiet armour made of silk and leather, wearing silk and velvet masks. The party have no need to guess that the Immaculatii’s escorts are Frumentarii, the shadowy and deadly secret police/state assassins. The polite and affable Eunuch greets them, and without much preamble presents them with 2000 Ames to deal with their travel costs and expenses, and an ornate and magically powerful scroll they are to present to the Dragon Varrax Pyrofer. Given he is not here and that the money does not come from the Empire, Palidus must leave quickly, but he wishes them and their quest the best of success. At that, his escorts draw in close to him, and in a moment vanish from view before the very eyes of the party. Perilous people, those Frumentarii.
With transport sorted and a message sent to ask their captain to prepare for departure on the morning tide, the party and their three new recruits spend a happy evening being dined and feted by Varediis Eloi, Myrha Eloi and Thenaiis, as mutual thanks are passed back and forth; truly, Varediis and his family have much to thank the party for, and the party thank them for their great hospitality, friendship and support (both financial and otherwise). The evening passes well with good conversation, the last of the gifted wine from the cellar of Chancellor Asceppius Diotys and the best food that the House can offer. Soon however, bedtime comes, and all turn in.
Before departure early next morning, the party make a generous donation of 60 lara to each of the 30 or so servants and slaves of House Eloi, who they feel have been superb over their stay. This kind gesture is magnificently received, and Szletko gives Linus a further 13 lara over and above, which delights the young snipe. He wishes them all the very best of luck and will light a candle of fortune to all the gods for their safe and successful return.
The 8 then head down to the harbour, passing through the wakening morning streets of the mighty capital, and soon they arrive at the dock housing the unusual and sturdy vessel known as “Satroms Bellow”. They board it, quickly paying their passage to the First Mate who send the money below for safety. Without further ado, the ship casts off in the early morning sun, with the nip of late autumn in the wind that furls the 4 sails of the ship.
Watching the morning sun blaze and shine on the roofs, spires and domes of Armarissa Invictor behind them, they eventually turn to face the appearance on deck of the mysterious Karragas, whom until now only Abbas has seen. The hulking dark furred figure of the Minotaur commands instat notice and respect in the deck, and even the mischievous Patch (who had made some cow based jokes back at the Eloi compound on hearing of the captains nature) feels self preservation stopping cheeky comments. The low deep voice of the captain assures them that now that there is a formal deal in place, he swears by the gods he follows (Satrom as the Storm Bull, and Lady Sensu) that they shall reach their destinations safely. They then watch him head towards the bow of the ship to perform his religious devotions to ask Wind and Sea for favour in the journey…
With the snap of autumnal wind filling the sails, and civilization falling further behind them with each passing moment, the 8 figures face the horizon, knowing that the seas ahead are merely the start of a perilous but exhilarating quest which will ultimately lead, through perils and adventures aplenty, to the meeting with the one being that defines Immortal Power and caprice; Varrax Pyrofer. Before that happens though, there shall be hardship, pain, struggle and more than a few surprises…
This ends the First part of the PC’s journeys, and they shall return, for their path and destiny is greater than they know.
To be Continued