A Return to Domus

"Thank you Elspeth, I very much appreciate your help." With a smile and a nod Tengu takes a step through the portal and... Finds a short drop to a mouthful of salt water on the other side. Breaking the surface and taking a deep breath he looks around and sees the shore a short distance off. "Well, that was bracing. It's all downhill from here..." he thinks as he swims towards the beach.

Heading inland, the morning sun quickly drying his clothes, it was not long before he spotted signs of habitation. Following the scent of wood smoke down the road he begins to see occasional foot traffic. Waving down a bull-kin pulling a cart piled with wood Tengu asks, "Excuse me, where is the nearest town?". Casting a furtive glance around the bull-kin quickens his pace, eyes suddenly focused on the ground in front of him. Quizzically watching the kin retreat down the road he frowns. "Definitely not a good sign." In fact all he saw seemed to react in much the same way, and oddly enough most were kin though there were a human or two as well. Not a word in passing, fear evident in the eyes of those whose briefly met his own.

As the sun approached it's zenith he spots a settlement. "Finally, some answers," he sighs. Walking through the gates he is not surprised by what he sees; feathers crossing the brows of most and those without staying close to those to whom they answered to. "The stench of fear gave it away. Biata, slaves, I am most certainly on Domus." Passing more than a few contemptuous looks at his disheveled appearance, meeting each one with a level stare of his own, he recognizes an inn and makes his way towards it.

Approaching the bar the innkeeper, a portly Biata with graying hair, arches a single yellow and white plumed brow with a smirk. "Well don't you look like something the cat-kin dragged in."
"Yes, my... transportation... ran into difficulties and left me cast adrift. Worry not, I can pay, I will be needing a bath, a meal, a room, a tailor, and directions to the Capitol if you would be so kind," Tengu responds with a smile.
Wiping his hands on his apron the bartender chuckles. "I suppose I can set you up." Reaching under the bar he passes over a key. "Room 4, up the stairs on the left. Public baths are down the street and Flavius next door can set you up with some fresh clothes right quick." Giving the Biata a once over he continues, "The Capitol is up the road out the South gate, three days walk. You're obviously not from around here, what takes you to the Capitol?"
"Simply delivering a message. Much appreciated for the information."

Arriving in the Capitol Tengu crosses the great square, pausing to look at the Homestone. Though obviously fractured and still missing pieces it is a grand sight to behold, a monument of living stone and racial memory. He had only been here once before, to return his parents nearly destroyed hematites to the stone, and had not thought that he would return so soon. "Al'Zoon has much to pay for," he think s to himself. "Not only for this, but why an entire race avoids conflict with such a hated foe is beyond me." Shaking his head he turns in the direction of those he is here to speak with, the offices of the Opus Imperatum.

Passing between the pillars of the entry hall Tengu approaches the front desk. The woman behind the desk fixes him with a hawkish stare. "What may I help you with?" she asks coldly, disdain dripping from her voice.
"Greetings," he responds. "My name is Tengu Tietzsche, Executor of the Inner Circle of the Calenhelm Earth Weavers, currently stationed in the Lux Obscura. I have information pertaining to events concerning Aeternous Mortis and Al'Zoon and the shard of the Homestone which was previously in the town of Parson's Breach. If you would be so kind I would like to meet with someone who is qualified to speak on such matters at their earliest convenience."
 

mythic

Knight
Owner
Calgary Staff
Tengu's stay in Dormus has been one of reflection. After his initial request was mostly rebuked, there was not much to do, but wander the streets and marvel at the sights of the Commonwealth's home. An elderly Biata approaches Tengu in a nondescript tavern near the stone walls that ring the cities' inner ward. His eyes show that he has seen much in his life, their blue hue tinged with specs of grey. "Tengu Tietzsche, I am Minister Saavas Plavotis. I oversee the Homestone's care within the city. I have done so for the past 70 years. When I heard that another brethren had come to pass along information, which I have heard many, many times over my tenure, of course it was met with much skepticism. " the older Biata states plainly, with no malice or judgement. "May I join you?" he asks as he looks to the empty seat across from the Executor. With an affirming nod, he takes a seat.

"I had my Ministry reach out to your Lady Fatespinner in Calanhelm. We had a very lovely conversation. She spoke well of you and your character. She strongly suggested that we seek you out while we have the opportunity to do so and hear your story." his tone changes a little,implying that the Fatespinner really made it more of a command than a suggestion. "So, what exactly do you know about the missing fragment of the Homestone?" he asks, pulling several pieces of parchment from a satchel along with a golden feather quill and some deep azure inks.
 
With a nod Tengu smiles. "Thank you for taking the time to meet with me Minister. Much has occurred recently in regards to Aeternous Mortis and and the Homestone fragment which was formerly in Parson's Breach, until the destruction wrought by Kuldranth that is. I felt it necessary to report the most up to date information as well as some history recently unearthed which may shed some light on the current condition of the Homestone."

"Mortis has been quite busy these last years," he begins. "A few years ago several adventurers from our realm traveled through the mists and awoke in what they called the Land of the Dead, a place where the spirits of the deceased walked. While there they claim to have seen Mortis rise from the Homestone fragment which, for some reason, had ended up there. Following this Mortis returned to Calandonia but with a different goal than before, as I have been told." With a frown he continues, "Unfortunately I know nothing of his actions before returning as that he had been slain before I had ever began associating with the adventurers of Parson's Breach."

“Mortis’ first move was to take control of the lands of the Shadow Prince, Stolec, in the Dark Reaches, which he has made his home. Stolec was apparently devoured by the vampire and his powers absorbed. The same has occurred in the Land of Torture and it’s ruler Graznit; Mortis is essentially in control of two realms in the Dark Reaches. It is here that the Homestone fragment was last seen.”

“Earlier this year several adventurers found a tomb with what they described as Biata markings which was, strangely enough, in the oldest part of Calenhelm. It was determined that this was in fact the final resting place of Aeturnus Mortis and found within was his personal homestone. With the aid of a very powerful Gryphon, Auruliea, a large group of us were permitted to view the last hours of the fall of the Capitol in the Great War 650 years ago. Would you be willing to Mind Meld with me, so that I may show you more easily what I have seen?” he asks.

His curiosity piqued Saavas nods. Reaching out Tengu takes both of the Minister’s hands in his own, closes his eyes and brings up his memories of the events, relaying them directly into the mind of the other.

*Memory of Reliving DAM’s Memory*

Scene 1
Narrator: A huge hall is seen. The floor glitters with firelight and on the faces of hundreds of Biata warriors. They are all armed and armoured. An impressive Biata, wearing the garb of The Strategos Prime, is at the head of the gathering, pacing and gesturing to emphasize his speech. A Familiar face stands beside him.

DAM: “Themistocles, my liege, the troops await your words.”

THEM: “Brothers, sisters, the elven hordes approach. Those who depose our great leader, the Imperator, and profane this grand Capitol of the Commonwealth come for us. These Elves, these so-called ‘people’ would feast on our flesh. They would kill our mates and offspring. We must end their march, of terror! Kill them! Take no prisoners, and allow none to flee the field of battle! Today, brothers and sisters, we march. To war! To victory!”

Loud cheering is heard as the memory fades to black.

Scene 2
Narrator: The Biata army is mounted, at rest on the crest of a hill. The command staff are a little ahead of the main body, their griffon mounts restless and impatient, tasting the coming battle. In the valley below a battle is raging. Elves and Barbarians can be seen, slaughtering each other. Themistocles is speaking to his captains.

Themistocles: “Look brothers! The Elven scourge is almost upon us. By a grand stroke of luck they have fallen upon these uncultured swine below. Androcles my son, take your corps and flank the savages to the south. Mortis my friend, you and your troops flank the elves to the north. The rest of you bring your columns with me, and we will run this slime into the ground.”

Narrator: Androcles and Mortis leave to head their columns.

“With me brothers and sisters. Charge!!”

Narrator: The Biata cavalry charges through the melee, cutting both opposing armies to bloody ribbons. After hours of carnage, the Biata Army is seen, mounted on their horses in a lake of blood cheering their victory to the skies.

Scene 3
Narrator: Themistocles is standing in a line with Androcles and Mortis to either side of him, awaiting the Dwarven charge beneath the walls of the grand Capitol of the Commonwealth. The Strategos Prime smiles wolfishly to his friend, Captain Mortis.

Themistocles: “And so these underground scum will soon impale themselves upon our blades my friend. We can have some fine cloaks made from their beards.”

Narrator: The Dwarves charge.

Themistocles: “Brace! Brace!”

Narrator: The Dwarven front collides with the Biata line. Swords flash and blood flies through the air. Axes and shield clash as each side pushes for the advantage, all participants of the melee slipping and sliding in the pool of gore on the ground. Themistocles sword, Elfsbane, flashes and another dwarf drops. Time seems to slow as Androcles defense is beaten down, and a Dwarven axe is buried deep into his face, and he goes instantly limp. The weapon is extracted in a gush of blood. Mortis’ sword punches through the Dwarfs heavy armour as Themistocles drops and cradles his son to his chest.

Scene 4
Themistocles: “No!”

Themistocles shouts and throws his wine into Mortis’ face.

Themistocles: “We will not abandon the Capitol!”

DAM: “My lord, we must. We are beset on all sides, and Al’zoon’s attempts to break our defences grow stronger. We must abandon the city and head to Dormus!”

Themistocles: “I said NO! You craven! You think only of yourself, your own safety, and not for the sacrifices of those we have loft! We will not abandon our stronghold to these scum!”

DAM: “Themistocles, my friend. We have all lost much in this war. Androcles –”

Themistocles: “Don’t you dare speak of my son, coward! He died to defend this post, and you would leave it to the forces arrayed against us!”

DAM: “Androcles was one of many deaths in this conflict! We MUST move the Stone to Dormus!”

Themistocles refills and drains his glass. Filling the glass again, he glares at Arturus.

Themistocles: “Fine Arturus. You take the army to Dormus. The Imperator Guard stays with me. Here. Run Mortis. Run away. Run for all Eternity. Aeturnus Mortis. You shall be remembered.”

Arturus turns on his heel and stalks out of Themistocles’ tent.

Scene 5
Narrator: Themistocles and the Imperator Guard are standing watch over the Homestone as Arturus and the remainder of the army make ready to leave for Dormus. The door is blown open in a fiery explosion and Al’zoon strides in. Themistocles draws Elfsbane and approaches the arrogant mage. Al’zoon casts a spell and the Imperator Guard fall dead. Themistocles lunges at Al’zoon and is briskly repelled. With a flick of his wrist, Al’zoon throws Themistocles against the far wall, instantly snapping the Biata’s spine. Gliding forward, the mage reaches out to the Homestone. A blinding light is emitted from deep within the Stone, and an earth shattering crack is heard. The floor of the room splits and a Shard of the Stone falls to the ground. Aeturnus and a hundred soldiers rush into the room as Al’zoon stoops to gather up the Shard. Another flash of light and Al’zoon and the Shard a nowhere to be seen. Aeturnus runs over the Themistocles, but the massive trauma the Strategos Prime has suffered has caused the Biata die. Aeturnus picks up his mentor’s corpse and tells one of his lieutenants to gather up the Homestone and to tell the army to set out to Dormus.

DAM: “Fool! Your arrogance has damned us all. Al’Zoon now has part of us, part of our lives, our memories, our hearts. Our forces are too depleted to mount any offence. It will take several lifetimes to replenish our forces to the point where we can reclaim what is ours. There must be a faster way…”

Narrator: A flash of light blinds you and when you open your eyes you are back within the Annex. The memories remain, but the images fade.

*Memory Ends*

Opening his eyes Tengu releases the Minister’s hands. “As you can see Aeturnus has taken charge of a situation which many considered untenable. It is unfortunate the lengths that he has needed to go to and we have no idea where he now stands, his Vampiric nature perhaps changing some of his ideals or motivations. Notably the fragment of the Homestone that Al'Zoon took is most certainly the same one that once rested in Parson's Breach and now dwells in the Dark Reaches. What are your thoughts? I would truly appreciate any insights or information you would be willing to share on this matter.”
 
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mythic

Knight
Owner
Calgary Staff
The Minister blinks several times. He takes a while to compose himself. "We always knew that Al'Zoon had shattered the stone. We knew that Mortis had somehow managed to get it back. He likley turned well before that and he has never publicly stated that he has that stone. If this is the lost piece of our history, we do need it back." the Minister finally states when his eyes focus back upon Tengu. "When several of our brethren made it to the Breach those many years ago, they said the stone did not want to leave. They felt its pain and anguish. It is as if the stone willingly left with Aeternous before Culdranth leveled the place. Now, the stone is lost to us again. If it is within the Reaches, then it is beyond our grasp. That is also assuming that the stone will go willingly should you even happen upon it."

The Minister lets out a slow breathe. "I will speak with the Ministry and see what they think should be the next move. If they come up with a strategy I will send you a Whispering Wind." with that, the Minister stands up, gives a slight bow and departs the tavern.
 
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