Thriving and ever-changing, Satyrine easily accommodated four new arrivals within its walls; however, the entangling and radiating influence of their histories and current machinations could already be felt in the neighborhoods where each made his berth. Whether great or terrible (or both), the full impacts of their destinies remained to be seen…
It was no surprise that they had been noticed by their single shared point of contact: Imbir, or Lord Ember, as they had known him in the Gray. It was equally of no surprise that the first missive they received from him since arriving in Satyrine was a cryptic invitation to some elaborate social gathering at Ember’s Leap, where he made his home.
Not coincidentally, it was accompanied by another, even more cryptic invitation to Zero’s Bar in the elite Marquis District. The messages were delivered by ravens, either well-trained or aided by effective magics; despite the inherent difficulty in reaching Enkidu and Zerah’s homes, the ravens succeeded in their mission (though those ravens themselves seemed to have paid a steep price for their success…).
Clothed in their finest garb (with a little “assistance” by Darkmoon in finding “appropriate” formal wear for Naranth for the occasion), the four each made their way to Zero’s Bar, where they were greeted by Eru, a beautiful, pale, youthful-looking woman clothed in lavender iridescent (and impressively animated) scales. Apparently mute, she communicated with gestures and magical smoke (with the audible pop of an uncorking champagne bottle); eventually Darkmoon used his own powers to quickly (and temporarily) master sign language, which allowed him to more easily facilitate the conversation.
She greeted them enthusiastically, but was disappointed to find that they did not remember her… or each other, except for Naranth and Darkmoon, who had met since returning, and Enkidu and Zerah, who had known each other in the Gray. The conversation shifted from one of initial celebration to puzzlement and rather sober thought as they tried to fit the pieces they had together, to limited success.
Taking a break, Naranth moved out into the blow of Zero’s Adventurine dance floor. As if to emphasize the foreboding confounding of expectations, magic fluxed in the nightclub, and Naranth stopped mid-giration to turn slowly as if pursuing the strangest sound, and dissolved back into the Gray.
A silence descended on the table. Something went into, or out of each of them, as the Grey reached out to touch their hearts, to stroke their fond memories of forgetfulness.
Zerah in particular, left with a visceral sense of misgiving regarding Eru’s wellbeing and the following evening’s party.
How did Eru know them? What was coming at Imbir’s party? Were there any unexpected hiccups on the road ahead? Who knew?
Preparations swirled in advance of the gathering. Incantations. Summonings. Devices. Hopes. Nascent truths.
Evening descended, and its carriage was black, and emblazoned. Because of course it was. It was driven by a servant of the Darkmoon family distilled of disgruntle.
The road – perhaps unsurprisingly – into the that part of Brickstown was slow and stodgy and blocked of the evening as far back as they could see.
Eventually, late, late, terribly late, they came to the bend of the issue. The river road blocked by construction. A group in saffron robes bearing butter yellow torches were laying new bricks. They were humming and moving together in a most… unnatural way.
Zerah’s impatience got the best of him; in prodding them for an explanation, he found himself subject to a powerful attack that bested his surprised mental reserves. Wordlessly, he gave up party and company and intent, and turned to the vital work of bricklaying.
Darkmoon sprang into action, reaching into his nature to lend the Apostate some of his own sense of separation…family, home, time, self….
Zerah returned to them dripping insight: the construction work was being conducted by cultists of the Sodality of Vrin, on a mission from the Gold Sun here in Satyrine. They were repaving the road to literally imbue it with the degradation of greed and capitalism.
The Vislae touched boot to road, abandoning the black appurtenance of Darkmoon.
One wondered, at the back of the mind, whether there might be some power putting obstacles in their path… or perhaps, keeping them from obstacles in their path, as the next bump in the road was not mortal like the cultists, but a part of the Legacy of Creation.
This fragment of the Legacy was an angel, kneeling in the road like a hurting child, whispering and whimpering at the brick and concrete, the cloud of its shadowed wings a testament to the tarnishing of all things that leave the Silver Sun.
In the distance, underlit by the festivities of Ember’s Leap, they saw one of Eru’s pictorgrams, saying to the sky PHYSICAL DANGER.
Moved, they paused in their Leap to approach cautiously and with helpful intent. The genderless being, with scars on its hands and face, looked up at them, and lashed out at Zerah in the lead. The weak attack was easily fended aside. And in the motion, the Apostate caught site of 3 words branded on the pinions beneath the wings, and they were:
HATE DECEIT TRIPLE
Zerah scoured the angel with a searching magical probe, and the pitiful creature moaned out that the angel saw them accursed of “the extinguishment of embers.”
Enkidu pulled at the Current of Origin, at the fabric of the Silver Sun which is the birth of all things, severing the binding to painful truths that held the angel with the power of the Shadow of Satyrine.
Inferring that they themselves potentially represented a grave threat to the House of Embers and Imbir himself, and that further travel might bring this curse to fruition, they decided to linger behind and send a warning ahead.
Crafting a message together, Darkmoon sent the following missive to Imbir and awaited a response:
“Cursed. Goal: “extinguishment of embers.” Too dangerous to come. Eru also possibly cursed. Has sent warning. “Danger.” Ensure her/your safety. Zerah, Enkidu.” – Darkmoon
Abiding sometimes is motion
As they contemplated their position on the road, the last surgings of Enkidu’s banishment rolling around them, magic fluxed…
They awoke, locked in a hay barn, its broad doors sealed with the sigil of the Deathless Triumvirate. With raw sortilege, they forced their way out… through a hay-chute that was not secured against exit.
They were in a field in another part of the city, near the lake. The straw clung to them, as though they had been encased in it….
Frustrated again by the lack of insight into their situation, Zerah used sortilege once more to reach into the future, to steal insight into the paths laying before them. His shadows multiplied even as his body faded into shadowy stillness. The shadows fell into the darkness of Saytrine, into its shadows of hard truth. Unsettling scurrying came to them, as of rats carrying his shadows away underground. As Zerah struggled to regain his senses, two of his shadows swelled back out of the earth, a terrible energy upon them.
The Vislae made quick work of one of the apparitions, and Darkmoon produced a black and curled Wicked Key, unlocking the future in order to undo the past.
They found or imagined themselves waiting back on the road; awakening again, as if from a dream, where the events of the barn and the field were a lucid dream (worth cash in Satyrine!).
A response came to them from Imbir, but it was confused and unhelpful, though it did confirm his well-being and presence at Ember’s Leap. As they read the last of Imbir’s words, clouds parted nearby, and magic fluxed in the indigo heavens of Satyrine overhead.
Again, they found themselves awakening… this time on a train, with brick dust in their pockets and on their brows. The train was from the furthest of Satyrine’s districts, a place of lost roads. They were sliding into the city, which was indigo with dawn light.
What was real and what was not… was yet to be deciphered.