“South fled the trodden and vanquished,
with darkness behind, with warmness and sunlight ahead.
A fortress they raised on the lowlands, a wonder of stones,
on the Guardian’s bones, storing the relics of Symbar.
But blighted and torn were their bodies.
The sins of the fathers echoed in flesh,
and darkness devoured them all.”
Act 1: Fire over Yndaros
The tablet from Karvosti reveals the following:
“When Lindaros had grown strong and powerful, a military force was sent back to the ‘crushed heart of the empire’ to retrieve the remains of ‘the Guardian’s Favored, the lord of lords’.
The symbol known to represent ‘Symbar’ seems to be referring to the emperor as well as the place from which his remains were taken – as if the city and the person were both named Symbar.
The remains, and the belongings/treasures which had been buried with them, were brought to ‘the people’s new home’ (presumably Lindaros) to be ‘sent out on the Sea of Eternity’.”
The sentence is followed by possibly damaged or crudely drawn symbols: “from the larders/bards bloom/womb to where the deer/it of Symbar was effect/bent to the time/as text/nest.”
At the Victory Vault in Yndaros, you meet with someone who may have information about the underground ruins from the days of Lindaros.
- For the Lindarians, underground construction was apparently as natural as raising structures on the surface – as a result, Yndaros rests upon a subterranean maze of ruins, many of which are both grand and well-preserved.
- Ordo Magica is currently conducting two major excavations: one beneath Old Kadizar and one on the fields just south of the palace. Rumor has it that another excavation is also underway in the Palace District itself, but this is not something that I can confirm.
- In addition, there are several people digging on their own initiative, often starting out in their cellars. Some do so in the hope of finding valuable objects, while others just want more space or seek to satisfy their curiosity.
- And then there are the smuggling routes – criminals use these passageways through the ruins of Lindaros to avoid having to transport sensitive goods (or people) right in front of the City Watch. Some say that the smuggling tunnels extend like a vast spider web, probably starting at the cargo docks.
- Master Ma…
But the meeting is cut short as flaming meteors come crashing down over Yndaros.
You rush to the meteor site and witness the destruction of the Cathedral of Martyrs. There you face a number of challenges.
You do battle with fire-possessed citizens. In the chaos, a nearby man, also fighting, tells you to knock them out instead of killing them.
Afterwards you witness the death of Grand Master Seldonio as he is engaged in battle with a sword-wielding giant.
Hariatma holds the grandmaster in her arms as he manages to wheeze a few last words before closing his eyes forever:
“The prisoner, you must… lord, he is free. You… The eternal night, night, ni–”
“Ar(d or t)el, it was Ar(d or t)el. His revenge.”
“Promise me, find them, stop them. Promise!”
“My fault. My… faaault…”
Hearing a plea for help, you pull a badly injured Duchess Esmerelda from the crumbling wreckage of the Cathedral.
As you exit the Cathedral, more giants have appeared from a nearby fissure in the ground. They have a brief look around, but do not get far before Pansar Captain Livia Arobel and her troops arrive. The Captain acts as expected, rushing toward the threatening giants in a thundering charge. One of Livia’s soldiers is killed instantly by one of the giants as seven burning humans charge toward the Pansars from behind!
Alderan protects the Duchess as the rest of you protect the Pansars from an attack from the rear.
Suddenly a thunderous roar rises over the crash site, in a deep voice. The sound makes the giants stop fighting.
A second shout, this time in broken Ambrian, causes the Pansars to react: “Lower weapons!” Ripe, the Eternal Executioner of Yndaros, emerges through a drift of fog and smoke while he finishes the remaining fire beings.
He then walks up to the others, nods to the giant warriors and turns to Livia Arobel, saying: “Leave to me. They brothers. Not fight.”
And so, a soothing calm sweeps over the disaster. The Pansar captain assumes command, ordering incoming reinforcements to form a perimeter around the crash site and stay clear of the ruins.
The Duchess calls you “her heroes,” and praises you. Finally, she asks you to investigate why an attempt was made on her life. She doesn’t trust the “fools of the City Watch” nor the “ambitious nobles of the Royal Sekretorium, whose conclusions are always influenced by politics and self-interest.”
- I was at the cathedral to rehearse my upcoming wedding.
- The event was supposed to be conducted by the First Father, but my sister called Jeseebegai and First Theurg Peonio to an emergency meeting at the palace. Consequently, the Queen was not present, though she was meant to be.
- The rehearsal was instead held by an ordinary liturg. I don’t remember his name, but he was apparently in charge of the practical arrangements.
- Other participants were my husband-to-be, Thabor; mine and Thabor’s bodyguards (four honor guards); and Grand Master Seldonio who, along with Korinthia and the First Father, was supposed to participate as a ceremonial witness.
- There were also a couple of low-ranking priests, as well as the Cathedral Manager and his two aides. Exactly what roles they would play in the wedding are unclear to me, but I assume that they were to assist the liturg with the practical arrangements. Twelve people, myself excluded.
- I cannot recall anything suspicious happening during the rehearsal, and remember nothing of the attack itself, other than the bang, the light, the pain and terror.
In a teary-eyed plea she says: “Please, I beg you; help me figure out what happened. You saved my life, but someone tried to kill me. Someone who killed my future husband and ruined what would have been the most important day of my life. Please, find out why I fell victim to such a fate.”
Before entering the crater inside the Cathedral, you discover the following:
- You find a member of one of the Noble houses of Ambria; Lugander Galeia. Alderan saw him at the Queen’s Legation on Karvosti. Searching his clothes you find a key with the letter X on it.
- A female assistant of the Liturg appears to have been moved. On her body you find a long thin dagger with an ornamented handle, and hidden in one of her boots is a leather pouch containing four shiny gold coins.
- The coins bear no mint marks whatsoever. They are probably worth about 30 thaler a piece.
- The dagger’s ornamentation on the button on its hilt is decorated with a golden bird of prey which seems to be diving. You recognize the hawk as the Vearra family sigil.
- One of the Cathedral Manager’s two aides has an Assassin’s Blade hidden between the man’s shoulder blades and a garrote sewn into the right arm of his coat.
As you enter the tunnel five meters down in the crater, Lomander feels that powerful protective mystical energies have recently been dispelled from the area.
Leaving the crater and the Cathedral, Alderan follows some tracks outside. You come upon the elven envoy Elori, who aided you against the fiery beings. He explains:
- It would take exceptionally powerful magic to tear the sky asunder, and more powerful still to direct its fragments toward a specific target.
- Such extraordinary magic torments creation, provoking its wrath and vengeance. It can be seen at the crash site; it is probably even worse at the place where the assailants performed their destructive deed.
- The power required to achieve the effect and endure the consequences can hardly be carried by a single soul, unless it is of an eternal or already corrupted nature.
- This incident will surely lead to further violence directed at groups which are being portrayed as enemies of the Ambrian realm – barbarians in general, the witches in particular, and not least the elves of Davokar.
Elori leaves you as twenty pansars enter the area with First Theurg Peonio in the middle, protected by four theurgs and a blessed shield.
You follow the tracks to two burned bodies. They are dressed as ordinary townsfolk, but stand out by lying on top of the rubble and, on closer inspection, by wearing the medallions of Ordo Magica (adept) in chains around their necks. One of them carries a rolled-up letter in a belt bag underneath his scorched clothes. The note reads:
Hariatma notices that the crumpled paper is of high quality; a single sheet probably costs more than most Ambrians make in a week. The letter also reveals a watermark; a diving bird of prey. The sigil of House Vearra.
You head to Fina’s Bakery in the Bohemian Quarter. Along the way you hear a town crier yell: “Extra, extra! Yndaros in a state of emergency; curfew in force between midnight and the fifth glass of the morning; all violations to be punished severely.”
At Fina’s Bakery you question the goblin Buhuluk.
- I went down to get a bag of flour when the backdoor burst open and two of “the owner’s henchmen” stepped inside.
- I’m terrified of the owner, so I dove down behind the flour bags.
- The owner is a dwarf, but I don’t know his name or which family he belongs to.
- It was not long before more company arrived. I did not see anything, but I heard them.
- They talked about hiding a prisoner, and which route to take to “Plob 17.” I have no idea what Plob 17 is, but it was mentioned several times.
- They also mentioned the Steam Bath by the harbor.
At the Steam Bath, you get a hot bath for 1 thaler each. You won’t pay 10 thaler to see the manager.