17-19 Gozran, 44 NC
Sanorin rushes to the window and sees Vlad broken and unconscious on the ground below. There’s no sign of Gideon Nell. Jacob uses telekinesis and lowers Sanorin to the ground below. Syl, Matten, and Dan rush down the tower steps to join him.
Kagdir reaches out for the Ring of Spirit at Tyr’s bedside, but Ralben tells him to stop. Mengst picks up the ring and puts it on a chain around his neck. Ralben asks him if he hears anything to which he responds, “only whispers”.
Sanorin attempts to heal Vlad, but when he comes in contact with him he starts screaming, he feels pulled into a cold darkness, and he sees a vision of Kishara staring back at him. Syl pulls Sanorin away from Vlad to recover. Dan attempts to heal Vlad and manages to stabilize him somewhat.
Shortly thereafter, Smoot arrives with reinforcements. They take Vlad inside to be tended to. They ask Smoot about Sanorin’s reaction to Vlad and he says he’s not surprised, that Vlad has a taint inside him that he’s been bottling up for years.
It isn’t long until Volkov arrives in force to secure the keep. He is emotionally reunited with Mengst. He sends the party down to the docks to find the source of the disturbance there during the battle.
Nearly the wharf, the party finds the body of Billy Bones, wearing the full mithril plate of the Order of Leopold. His body is being guarded by a very exhausted Gidget and Fawn. They say that Billy killed nearly all of Tyr’s elite guard while the two halflings guarded him as best they could. They asked after their friends, and were relieved to hear that Darrow still lived. They asked if they could come back to the keep with Billy’s body and the party agreed, created a litter, and returned to the castle.
The rest of the day was spent resting and healing. The party stood guard over Vlad’s room into the night. Cutscene:
You’ve taken the deep night death watch at Vlad’s bedside. It’s completely dark save for a hint of moonlight coming in the window. You’ve just about succumbed to sleep when you notice what you can only describe as a bit of the darkness move across the room.
You hold completely still and try not to scream. You don’t feel a new presence in the room at all, but it’s definitely there. As it approaches Vlad’s side, your eyes adjust and the shape resolves into a slender female halfling wearing completely black clothes and an almost absurdly large hat. She reaches out and takes Vlad’s hand. He takes a deep, choking breath and opens his eyes.
“Oh hey…where the fuck have you been?”
“Away. Making sure Whisper couldn’t come back.”
They’re quiet for a time before Vlad speaks again. You’re afraid to breathe.
“She’s still in my dreams. The fucking blonde big-tittied bitch. Will she take my soul when I die? Am I doomed to be hers?”
The halfling kisses his hand before replying.
“No. I’ll protect you.”
Vlad looks at her quite severely for a moment, then chuckles, which turns into a wracking cough.
“I’ll hold you to that.”
There’s a few more moments of silence.
“I am the fire in the night,” he begins. The halfling joins him. “I am the shield on the wall and none will pass on my watch. None will harm my ward….”
Vlad gasps then, and looks up at the ceiling. “Lo there…do I see my father, and my mother, and my sister…atop the mountain in the halls of….”.
There’s a rattling sigh, and then Vladimir Korgrammson, last survivor of the Order of Leopold, and the last Warder of The Black Rose Society, is gone.
She’s still for a moment, with her forehead pressed into his hand. And then she looks at you. The moonlight catches her face. She’s young, much too young for her eyes, which are wet with tears, but utterly cold. You feel like the mouse trapped in the gaze of a cat that can’t decide if it wants to kill. Then she moves without a noise back into the shadow and is gone.
Sanorin doesn’t wake the party, and spends the rest of the night at Vlad’s side.
The next day is clean-up and mourning. Vlad is laid to Reston a floating pyre, attended by the entire command staff. They note that a large dwarf, an elf, and a halfling are out on the breakwater watching the raft burn. Volkov points this out to Sanorin.
”There were seven of them, and now only three remain. And those, the most broken and dangerous. They sacrificed much to give us a chance to end this war. To give you a chance to end this war.”
When Sanorin looks at him curiously, Volkov continues, “We’ll discuss this in more depth at the keep this evening.”
Later in the day, the party is summoned to a council in a private room in the keep. In attendance are Volkov, Smoot, Delayne Muerdetta, as well as a large dwarf seemingly made entirely out of animated sand. The party correctly identifies him as the avatar of Thane Ironfist, née Gronk, the Ringwielder of Earth. When the party arrives, Gronk holds out his hand towards Sanorin, and when it gets close enough, the sand simply falls to the floor, as if the power animating it no longer was effective. Pulling his hand back and reconstituting it, Gronk says, “Well fuck me, it’s true.”
After some discussion, it is revealed that Sanorin is distrinctly unique, he has a special power (or power source) that prevents Kishara’s power from affecting him in any way. Syl and Jacob both seemed aware of this, which is why they were guarding him so fiercely.
At this point, Matten reveals that he is an agent of Isaac Vane’s and is authorized to negotiate a truce on his behalf. He explains how Cyan Marinetti, the Ringwielder of Water, wants peace and doesn’t want the Waygate unearthed, but to do that, Aril Flambeau, Ringwielder of Fire will need to be slain. Sanorin may be uniquely positioned to be this assassin, as he is seemingly immune to her powers.
After some heated discussions about Vane not doing much to stick his neck out to help (besides not invading the North), Volkov finally level-sets the room, stating that everyone is in agreement that there’s no future if Flambeau lives, and dispatching her seems to be everyone’s clear next priority.
The party goes their separate ways for the next day, resting, re-arming, etc.. Midway through the next day, they encounter a very distraught and disturbed Ralben, who seems angry and disoriented. He’s dragging a young BRS soldier with him, muttering about how everything’s all wrong and that “This is David Silvan!” As if the party had any idea why that was significant. Finally he points at the group and says “You’ve changed something…all of you…reality swirling about like a stone in a pond…” then he focuses on Sanorin, “Oh and definitely you,” he continues, “just like the others…. Peruppi, Banagher….” Then he storms off looking for Volkov.
The party follows, curious and bemused, until Ralben finds Volkov and Smoot in the meeting room, both are looking extremely pale and distraught. Volkov is holding a message.
”That woman stole something from me!” Ralben begins. Then looks around. “Where’s young Mengst?”
Volkov, without looking up, says “he’s not here. We think he left with Muerdetta.”
”Why in the world would he do such a…” and then Ralben stops, obviously remembering the looks that Mengsta nd Delayne were exchanging, and trails off with a disgusted grunt.
”Well,” he continues, “you can certinaly go after them… What’s the matter with you two?”
Volkov looks up and gives Matten a meaningful look. “We’ve just received word from Everwatch. The Society has been routed. Captain Tennyson is dead. Isaac Vane has invaded the North.”