The hedge-knight Maysor Loreth has met with Under-Marshal Severus; who is located at Solis Hall, in the Citadel District of the city. Marshal Severus has instructed Maysor to take an open wagon with two horses and go to the Coin District. There he is to find the area known as the Circle of the Gods- where most of the city temples are located. He is to find the Imperial Priest Hellvius Gallus, at the Temple of Vexus. Priest Gallus will have tasks for Maysor to perform. Once done, Maysor is to return to Solis Hall.
Meanwhile, Brynhild has entered the Winter’s Eve games, in the hopes of testing her mettle and gaining a bit of coin.Sursiria is still catagorizing the roots and herbs she discovered, while in the forest, a week earlier. And Tariq the Bard, has travelled west, heeding the call of the Bard College in the city of Hawkspire.
Savoir Voler has been having disturbing nightmares as of late. Visions of people in the dark, clawing at the clay walls that surround them. Prisoners of the shadows! He has also noticed that the old gold ring that he “aquired”, from an abandoned satchel in the forest, looks to actually be in the form of a small frog with two green gems as its eyes. Did he really see the frog’s eyes softly glow last night?
Three weeks prior, Tasius the Initiate arrived at the City of Athos, via caravan. One of the caravan’s stops was at the village of Gafolweed. A priestess by the name of Caelia left the caravan to be of spiritual help to the village, and to restore a Wayshrine, dedicated to the Ascended, Zann.
The Priests of Caelot city felt that Tasius would be able to concentrate more on his calling, without the familiar carnal distractions that Caelot had to offer. Since his arrival in Athos, Tasius has followed divine instruction and holy direction from the Priest, Helvius Gallus. Tasius’ days have been very boring and dull, as he is rarely allowed out of Priest Gallus’ sight. The long hours of copying scrolls, cleaning the temple and collecting offerings is starting to wear Tasius’ threadbare patience even more thin- if that’s possible.
One day, Priest Gallus called Tasius to the temple courtyard. ’My son, there is a matter of importance I need you to attend to. I have yet to hear from Sister Caelia. She was to have arrived by now. For the past 4 nights, I have had the same dream: Helpless people- children amongst them- clawing at dirt walls, which imprison them. And poor Caelia stands there, helpless to do anything…
’Tasius, I want you to find out what has happened to Caelia and bring her back here. I have made arrangements for you to accompany an expedition to the village of Gafolweed. Gafolweed is situated on the northern road which travels along the coast. Going along with you will be a noble man-at-arms from a local Imperial Order.
‘I was once stationed at Fort Moonmoth with Marshal Severus, who is now the senior Solis Order member here in Athos. He is sending a man-at-arms of the Order here, at my request. This man will accompany you to the hamlet.’
In the meantime, young Savoir went to visit the old Aksumite charm-dealer in the Great Market, Ardoma, to see if she could give him some insight into the mysterious, cursed “frog” ring. Unfortunately, she could not. Instead, she directed Savior to the Mage’s Guild, in the Coin District.
Upon reaching the Guardsman Road Gate, which leads to the Coin District Bridge, Savoir was ordered to “stand and deliver” by two city Shieldsmen. After initially heckling them, Savoir produced a Silver Writ of Passage and was allowed to continue on his way. One of the Shieldsmen made note of Savoir, vowing that they would ‘meet again in the near future’.
At the Mage’s Guild, Savoir met with an Imperial woman named Julienne Fannis. Julienne appeared to be a White Mage. She confirmed that the ring Savoir wore was indeed hexed, but had no knowledge of the history of the item. She directed him to the Circle of the Gods. Perhaps he could get a Priest there to remove the hex…
Upon arriving at the temple, Savoir saw the hedge-knight Maysor talking to a pair of priests- one elderly and the other not too many years older than Savoir himself. Savoir, walking up, asked the elder priest- now known to be Priest Gallus- if he knew anything about the hexed frog ring and Savoir’s nightmares. Gallus did! He once again told the young trio of the nightmares he had also been having. He also told them of the cursed family and that they still held a crypt in the Athos City Catacombs- in the Citadel District.
The frog ring that Savoir has been wearing, turns out to belong to a noble family whose cursed line died out many generations ago. The family’s name was Skolos. They have a mausoleum in the city cemetery. The Skolos family was rumored to have dabbled in Nether or Void magics. As the ring belonged to Otho Skolos, it too is cursed.
Quickly becoming bored with the retelling of Priest Gallus’ tale, Tasius suppressed a yawn and began to focus intently on any woman walking by. Tasius jumped as the old priest sharply flicked his ear! ‘Boy! You had better pay attention! Now I want the three of you to go to the city catacombs and find the Skolos family crypt. Perhaps there may be clues there to shed some of Vexus’ light on this dire situation!’
Tasius suggested that Maysor leave his wagon and horses at the temple, while they explored the Catacombs. Maysor hesitantly agreed and off they went.
At the Catacombs, Tasius, used his station as both a noble and a priest to get the slacking groundskeeper, to assist them in locating the proper crypt. The dirty, snaggle-toothed man rudely insisted that someone sign the cemetery’s visitor ledger. After reprimanding the slacker for his rude behavior, Tasius signed his name, with a flourish- noting the name that had been signed before his: Herasten. The groundskeeper, now well aware of the station of his guests, humbly offered his services and began to pepper them with his grovelling.
Once in front of the crypt, after many long, frustrating minutes of searching, Maysor and Tasius stepped to the side, to have a conversation about Savior and what Maysor thought were his ‘questionable’ activities. While the hedge-knight and initiate-priest conversed in whispers, Savior chatted up the groundskeeper, eventually tossing him 5 silvers while daftly pocketing what he thought was the key to the crypt.
While Savior was detaining the groundskeeper from his duties, Tasius impatiently examined the crypt doors. They were made of stout oak, with thick, heavy iron hinges and pins. There would be no way to force their way in- or out, if necessary.
The unknowing shirker was still able to open the Skolos crypt, with another key, leading Savior to surmise that he may have pilfered the master-key to the entire cemetery! The groundskeeper hurredly bade the group a good day and rushed off to presumably nap the rest of the day.
Once the heavy wooden and iron crypt doors were opened, Maysor stuck his head inside and quickly proclaimed that they would need torches or some other light source. He made his way to the groundskeeper’s run down hovel, interrupting the man as he drank sloppily from a bottle- breath reeking of cheap, sour wine. Maysor brusquely commandeered an oil lantern from the sheepish groundskeeper and once again walked back to the crypt.
Taking a last glance at the slowly sinking mid-afternoon sun, the three entered the musty, dank crypt.