Arriving at the door was the Lady Isaltha (floating several feet off the ground in her dark dress that was full of stars) and her 2 men, Brune and Drast. Shocked to find Baron Tichronus missing, she let Jack lead her into the sitting room for drinks and to spin out her story of their long love affair through letters and public gatherings full of mystique and meaningful glances. She had come to fulfill their flirtings. He must have gotten his head full of all this silly war business and been called away by manful illusions of duty. big sigh
They installed her in the Baron’s room. The squat, red-headed servingman (his whole head tattooed as a red helmet), Drast, would sleep by her door. Brune, the massive, metallic, dimwitted guard would stand watch outside. Thick-headedness was apparently amenable to not needing to sleep.
The group attempted to look into the strangeness on the Estate, but kept getting… distracted. The hour had grown late, and they set to bed.
In the morning, breakfast was excellent, but it quickly became apparent that Lady Isaltha and Drast had gone missing. They searched the grounds and house without alerting Brune (who was still standing outside on guard).
Having located the Estate Gauntlet, they elected to pursue “Sabazia”‘s note and see if they could find her, since all of the cryptic events in it seemed to have already happened.
Taking the Estate’s Open Pipe to the city center, in the shadow of the great red castle there looming over the city, was a small establishment with a gold banner emblazoned SABAZIA in a flourish of letters. Apparently, “you will be able to find me” meant, “you will walk into town”.
Her shop was thick with incense and gorgeous, complicated hangings and a thick carpet. The air seemed to resist them as they pushed into the shop. Sabazia sat at the back of the shop at a dark table, with cards on the table in front of her, her face hidden behind a mask and thick makeup. She asked their names as they stood on the plush carpet. As each of them – save Jack – announced themselves, the air grew cool and light, and they found it easy, suddenly to be there, and to approach.
Takir was the first. There was a figure of a Knave on the card on the table. Across it was a card filled with spilled cups and green light labelled Corruption. “This is you,” she said, tapping the knave. “I wasn’t expecting you so soon.”
For Jack, she laid out a series of cards made pronounced by a blur of motion and a pair of green eyes burning out of the surreal motion. “You will be going on a trip soon; it will be filled with danger.”
For Hasver, she laid out a series of cards. One of them showed a blue tower with a triangular crest. Another showed a figure reaching out from the other side of a dark metal mirror. “You have come on a long journey. Something is following you here.”
They told Sabazia how they had followed her note, and that everything in it seemed to have come true. She seemed surprised – especially since she had not sent them a note. Takir produced the paper, and she drew out some paper and copied the message. It was clearly her handwriting. She seemed intrigued, and asked if she could keep the note. Takir assented.
Jack, feeling unwell, withdrew and waited for them in the chill air of the city square. It seemed oddly quiet, as though a great many people had recently left Uxphon.
The fee for a reading from Sabazia was 5 shin. They requested some additional readings… Hasver remaining behind alone for one last bit of information.
Back at the Tichronus Estate, Brune had obviously figured out something was not right. He was upset, but content to wait for them to complete a search.
Takir asked Servilan to help them search for any sign of Lady Isaltha. In the Baron’s chambers, they found her clothes, her traveling kit, the Baron’s things, a few Oddities, but nothing of value.
Back downstairs, Servilan produced a scrap of paper smelling of Lilac (the Lady Isaltha’s perfume?) in a feminine hand that read:
O Verdigris EM 〰
The night before, Takir had sensed and revealed a panel behind a set of books. It bore all manner of colored sigils and symbols. They looked at the note and searched the panel. They located 4 buttons that matched the descriptions. The weeping statue in the middle of the room by the table loomed over their work.
Jack had his cane ready. Hasver gripped his staff, watching Takir from a few steps back. He touched a pale circle like the moon. It lit with a soft cream glow. He tapped a green square the color of old copper. It lit up like the salty ocean near Lhauric – deep and mossy green. He touched a red M (or was it an abstract camel?) that kindled like embers. He touched the silver waves and they grew bright… and then all the buttons lit up, brilliant and shining in every color, absorbing attention.
Which is probably why it was such a surprise when the floor fell away under Takir and he fell.
The floor peeled itself away like an onion, becoming a soft spiral down into the dark.
Takir, groaning, sat up from the splattered green capsules he had crushed in his fall. The light of the tower fell down into a space covered in pods like giant kelp divorced from the sea.