Episode 1 – The Sins of the Past
The fires of Wai’hl still burned and the dead all lay about them. Falling Rain looked on at the metal dart, this thing that fell from the sky, and marvelled at its design and how it carried men within like some pod from a tree. The surface of the dark metal was now lifeless. But where essence had glowed he could make out what looked like writing not to different to the glyph language of Old Realm. Rain pointed it out to Red Echo, who noted that he had seen that language a lot on the on the magitech of Lookshy.
Rain and Echo were then alerted to sounds of people approaching behind them, and they were met by a number of surviving villagers who held makeshift spears. They also pushed forward Aisha, who like Echo and Rain was still surrounded by her glowing anima. All three were no longer glowing like they had before, but it was still present and taking time to die away. They also noted that they all bore the mark of the Sun on their foreheads.
The men before them demanded to know where their families and friends had been taken. They accused them of being demons, and that they had led the attackers here. They also called them Anathema and demanded that they leave. By this point the group of Exalts were joined by Dorn. The brute was unimpressed, and once more the villagers accused them of being demons. Dorn, sickened by this punched the man and sent him flying, leading to the man slamming to his death on the side of a house.
Drawn by the light and the sounds of arguing, Kheralin and Resplendent Trout joined the group of Exalts. Kheralin demanded to know why the villager was dead, and was horrified to hear that Dorn had killed him. Rain calmed the group and suggested that they come to terms with the fact that they seemed to have become Anathema, but that the legends of the Anathema must be lies since he did feel demonic, but in fact the complete opposite. He asked the others if they had seen the flying citadel, and Echo mentioned that the only places to have such flying ships were the Haslanti and their hot air balloons, and of course Lookshy and its collection of First Age sky ships. Dorn also mentioned that only in the far North that he had seen crossbows, but clearly their attackers were not from the Haslanti League. Rain explained that the attacker’s mode of arrival bore the same language, or a variant, of Old Realm. However, it was similar to that which Rain had seen on the ancient buildings of Khacin, in particular the arena known as the Circle of Blood.
It was as they were discussing this that some of the group noted a small bird made of crystal land upon the shrine made of twisted metal. The bird unfolded and formed a man with avian features and composed of blue crystal. This figure presented itself as Sapphire Talon, the local god of the village, and that he had been waiting for the Exalts for a long long time. He explained that he was once privy to the Loom of Fate and that he learnt that he must wait in the village for their arrival. Rain felt contempt for this god. How dare such a being put fate above the needs of the villagers. Sapphire Talon simply said that it was for a greater good and that even the Loom of Fate had not predicted everything. He commented that there were six of them, and that there should have just been 5. He also noted that they missing one of their circle, the Zenith caste.
Sapphire explained that the kingdom of Khacin has a prophecy concerning them, which was belived false, while another prophecy has formed the backbone of the Khacin faith. Rain knew of by hear the prophecy that Khacin clung to.
And cometh the times of the
Blackened Suns, the fears of the past.
And in the heart of the den shall
Blood shall pour, grey to crimson,
And the Tiger’s roar shall sing out
This prophecy was written by one of the first priest of the Grey Tiger when Khacin was founded. By this false prophecy now makes more sense if fate is being altered. The false prophecy was written by a son of the royal bloodline of Khacin. He was blinded and after this event had written many such prophecies in his madness.
For the ship is lost as the stars flow
The Sun shall rise in its path, its light will show,
And they cometh, the key piercing the loss
And it shall cometh, its maker, and with its host,
Shall the hunter weep with tears of
Grey silver, in the time of fears.
Sapphire Talon then handed over to Trout a disc of jade. It was made up of concentric rings and bore the language of the Old Realm upon it. Sapphire Talon said that it was theirs and that his task was done. As he crumbled to dust and nothing more the disc opened up to form a globe of these rings rotating. It glowed with essence and showed the stars as they were now, and for a moment flickered to show the stars as Rain knew they should be.
Rain asked for the others to help with the burial of the villagers, and the survivors looked on and eventually helped. Rain salted the bones and committed their bodies to the 5 Dragons and the Grey Tiger. With respect to the dead invaders Rain found that behind the masks they were human, but upon their foreheads were gems. Aisha pulled one out, noting how it had been attached by prongs that were driven in. Aisha was also able to tell that the crystal was similar to a Yasal crystal, and so as a test Rain suggested that they leave the body out while the others are salted and cremated. As night fell and passed they seemed to confirm their theory that somehow the crystal had captured the soul.
In the morning, the group gathered together to leave the village for the town of Turg. It was 2 days travel on horse. Arriving in Turg they found the town was in the grip of carnival fever as the excitement wa
s growing surrounding the annual martial arts tournament in Khacin. In the streets people were watching show fights, fire breathers and knife jugglers. There was much talk of the town heroes who would be going to take part in the tournament.
Dorn had gone into the town on his own, as it was thought a better option that the troupe split up for their own safety. Dorn was initially stopped by the guards but eventually let through as they recognized him as the once famous gladiator. Rain got Aisha and Echo in as Rain once more acted like the monk he once was, blessing the guards as they passed. Kheralin and Trout simply passed in as Kheralin showed the guards her badge of office. The two of them then made their way directly to the mayor’s house where she got an audience.
The rotund and belching mayor listened to her words in horror. He mentioned the beams of light that the night watch had seen a few nights back, and he said that he would dispatch scouts to go and see the village to confirm her news. But while they wait the mayor asked that they and any companions of theirs should remain in the town and so he gave her some money to pay for lodgings.
Meanwhile Echo was in a bar drinking and smoking. The last few days had been eventful and he had to write. But what should he write? It was while sitting there he heard something in the crowd. A voice. And it spoke as if right next to him. It spoke the word ‘Anathema’. But as he looked about he saw no one. Moments later he was joined by Aisha and Rain who had become concerned that their lumbering brute of a friend may be saying too much.
In another bar Dorn was engaged in a drinking game with a local god, Red Pelt. Both the god and Exalt were getting very very drunk. The others had found them and Rain called upon his anima powers to cloak himself and thus spike Red Pelt’s drink. The god collapsed and then soon after Dorn collapsed.
Overlooking the ruins of the city of Thorns watched a cloaked figure. It looked on with a mask of ice. In his obsidian chamber he was disturbed by the presence of another. His fingers cracked and turned in upon themselves, his hands inverting, and the mask upon the rear of his head came to life. The Mask of Winters beckoned his servant forward. His servant spoke and begged for forgiveness that they had not recovered the missing. But the servant offered something to the Mask. Into the Mask’s large hands the servant placed a gem, the same as that which Aisha had taken from the dead raiders. The Mask looked at the gem.
‘Interesting...’, and the Mask gave a long cackle.