Previously, the heroes had visited and spoken to a lot of people in order to come to terms with the consequences of their defeat of Xarrombus, as well as prepare themselves for the road ahead and potentially deal with the threat that Epidemius posed.
Eighth Day, First Ride, Autumn Twilight, 1262
(Silvermoon is in high sanction, Bloodmoon is waning, Darkmoon is waxing)
It was nearing the evening when the heroes entered Olafur’s chamber, a small room with dark, wooden panelling on the wall, an elaborate rug on the floor, decorated with red and white details. In the back an oddly placed, red, velvet curtain covered parts of the wall as well as a suit of armour that seemed out of place in the room. There was a mahogany desk with a heavy chair with a large back rest. The desk had many small compartments and drawers and the top held many different writing implements.
The grizzled Miðgarðurian asked the heroes to wait as he went to see whether Réonan, the enigmatic grand archmage of the Circle of Mages, would see them. He had made the same inquiry for them in the past, but it never seemed to get easier for him. He returned, but this time the grand archmage was not with him. Instead, he invited the heroes to follow him deeper into the college.
At the end of the lobby stood an arched door that Olafur unlocked with a key from an impressive keychain. The door lead to a circular staircase winding up a tower. Along the wall there were paintings of mage alumni, tapestries depicting scenes of the arcane, and paintings of legendary figures. These figured were marked with unique symbols that some of the heroes recognised as identifying them as Senhadrim arcanists.
The top of the stairs gave way to a jetty corridor with windows overlooking the city. The heroes could not recall ever seeing a tower reaching this high above Ravensbourne, which, coupled with the impossibly long corridor of the student dormitory, told them the Circle was larger than the outside of the building lead to believe.
All along the jetty corridor there were items of interest; a marble statue of a robed person carrying a bird of prey, a suit of armour made for an exceptionally tall person, a regal display of arms, a midnight blue banner displaying an octagram connecting a constellation of eight stars, a large drum made from wood and hide, a large, ironbound chest, an enormous, ceramic pot with a small tree growing from it, and a series of two dozen kite shields with banners of various noble houses.
Olafur lead the hero down the jetty corridor to a doorway leading to the tower’s interior. This revealed an impressive room with more items on display. There was an incomplete skeleton of a large bird, hanging from the ceiling by near invisible wires, an grand triptych with strange, possibly fey iconography, and a pedestal with a large book, covered by a glass dome. These were but a small number of the object d’importance.
Olafur lead the heroes across the room to another arched doorway behind which stood a large statue of a hunting cat with the head of a woman standing in a circular, vaulted alcove. There were no other ways out of that room, and there was nowhere left to go, but Olafur patiently waited for the heroes to step into the circular room with him. He then turned his attention to the statue, addressed it as “Prayanti, Guardian of the Scarab Temple of the Great Sand See of Noth”, and beseeched it to grant access them access. The entire room then turned 180 degrees to reveal another part of the tower through the same entrance they entered the alcove.
The room was circular, with a deep, blue carpet on the ground. The ceiling was high and domed, with a beautiful painted depiction of the night’s sky, complete stars connected in constellations, colourful nebulae and the three moons. Neahman immediately recognised that the depiction of the sky was in accordance to the current location of the moons and stars.
The windows around the outside of the chamber were slender and tall, again showing Kingsport below. At the opposite side of the chamber were a set of steps leading to a raised section of the room lined with pillars behind which was a cordoned off personal library with a lectern carrying an open book facing away from the room. On the right stood a heavy desk, and on the left stood a comfortable looking seating arrangement with padded sofas surrounding a low table. Réonan was seated on one of the sofas, their long hair combed to silver sheen, their slender frame and milky skin covered by a set of flowing silk robes.
The heroes spoke with Réonan about Epidemius, which they suggested had a role in the Battle of Dunagore, a fierce battle between the Silver Crusade and fiendish forces which was often overlooked when compared to the much more significant Battle of Blue Harbour. When the Book of Woe came up, they said; “It’s not a book, it’s a weapon.” Réonan also suggested the heroes could look into using the Newport Vault to store and protect the Tablets of the Elemental Eye they had recovered so far.
Neamhan had kept a low profile during most of the conversation, but eventually Réonan turned their attention to her. With her already legendary directness, she asked how she could prove that her magic did not originate from the gods. After a few questions she revealed that an elder named Oisín had recently awoken from a long slumber and had captivated her tribe. Oisín claimed magic, including Neamhan’s, was granted by the gods, and that the gods deserved their devotion. Neamhan knew in her heart of hearts that this was not true, and felt that Oisín was taking advantage of her tribe. She needed to disprove his claims.
The conversation came to a dissatisfying ending. Emrys had a growing suspicion that while Réonan wanted to provide the answers to the questions the heroes were fielding, that they simply couldn’t, as if afflicted by a kind of amnesia that they were trying to hide from the heroes. The heroes had already stayed past the city’s curfew and had to depart in order to make it back to the Careless Wanderer without harassment from the crownsguard and red custodians.
While the heroes were visiting the Circle of Mages, one of them went his own way and visited the House of the Raven Queen instead. When Quentin arrived he found the holy place empty of visitors. A silent sister, with her face painted white like porcelain, lead Quentin to cardinal Roark when he asked to see the man who had initiated him into the Order of Grave Knights. The cardinal invited Quentin to come and talk with him in his private chamber, which to Quentin looked very similar to father Devon’s chambers; gloomy and spartan.
The two shared some pleasantries; the cardinal explained that some of the important rituals of the Raven Queen were moved to the dawn in order to accommodate the curfew on the city. But soon, Quentin explained that his involvement in the demise of Xarrombus had lead to many deaths throughout the city, for which he felt responsible. In defending the principles of the Raven Queen, by defeating something from beyond the threshold, he had caused so many casualties. Was it an unfair trade?
Cardinal Roark said that despite the outcome, his actions were guided by the Raven Queen with a purpose, which went contrary to his belief that he must be held accountable for his actions. The cardinal invited Quentin to deepen his understanding of the teachings of the Raven Queen. In return, Quentin revealed that he had brought the feathered cloak that he had found in the Newport Vault, to which the cardinal gasped;
“And so it was foretold that the One who would oppose the Necromancer would recover the Plumes of the Duskmaven.”
The cardinal was filled with rapture at the sight of the cloak and being gifted it by Quentin. When the cardinal showed the cloak to the Silent Sisters they all, collectively, started wailing, something they were said to have done at the appearance of Epidemius as well. Quentin left to head back to the Careless Wanderer