It is not unusual for terrified cries to carry down Magnagoran streets, but it is unusual for these cries to be those of a child and about a fight. So when an urchin thundered down the streets of Magnagora right after the stroke of midnight on Klangiary 14th, in the year 590, the city took notice. She was soon found at the feet of the laid-back constable at the Constabulary, first by Uzriel d’Vanecu and then by more citizens than the Constabulary corridor could fit comfortably, including Warlady Kailanna n’Kylbar herself.
The sheer weight of attention had terrified the wounded urchin speechless, however, and between Kalas Vexacion’s and Ilisa d’Vangoff’s questioning and Dilettante Danalnys’ unwavering attention, all she could do is withdraw up against the wall. It was Eldrac d’Murani’s soothing words and logic that finally got through to her and others followed suit with the new tactic. The urchin described the dangerous stranger she sighted as “scaley”, which Adnachiel quickly identified as a potential nagasith interloper. Encouraged by the Warlady herself, the urchin revealed that the foreigner had got into an altercation in the Undercity and possibly fled.
It was time to scour the Undercity and the citizens were joined by the dubiously useful laid-back constable and a new eager recruit. The urchin remained under the watchful eye of Adnachiel and Primarch Shango D’Cente while others searched high and low, finally discovering the location of the fight near the Undercity chapel. Sapphira d’Vanecu, along with her husband, came upon two slum dwellers within – one dead and the other badly wounded.
While Vexacion studied the survivor’s wounds, the others quickly fired off a myriad of questions. In the ensuing chaos that yielded no answers, it was decided that one person should interrogate the dweller – Lady Grey of the Society, Sapphira d’Vanecu – for he did not have much time left. Not undead himself, and too close to death, there was little that the Necromancers present could do except set him upright as a mindless ghast should he pass. Reluctant at first, the slum dweller revealed that he and his friend had been betrayed by a man they sought to deal with and that said man sought information on the resting place of Danahi Veloske – a woman of an old Magnagoran family known for their faith. In return for the information, valuable bones from the Bonehoard were to be the reward, which prompted Uzriel d’Vanecu to make haste for the underground catacombs.
As it was becoming abundantly clear that the slum dweller was holding back information, coercion and threats in equal measure loosened his tongue to also reveal that the stranger sought help with a ritual that they could perform. The “they” in this case being the Scions of Rust. The very name had the Warlady cursing under her breath as everything instantly clicked for her – if anyone would name themselves the Scions of Rust, it would be someone following the ideology of the imprisoned Prince of Rust, the leader of the now-dead Cogs in the Smog urchin gang that wrought much havoc in Magnagora once upon a time. She ordered the urchin be kept under strict watch and demanded answers but though the healing remedies provided by Kalas Lysandus bought the interrogators a few extra questions, in the end, the cultist expired while issuing vague threats about inheriting the Engine of Transformation and thriving under Magnagora’s feet.
Left with more questions than answers, Magnagorans expanded their search. Slowly, a story began to take shape. At Uzriel’s behest, Firica d’Vanecu had surveyed the remains laid to rest at the Bonehoard and determined that the bones of a once High Seat of House d’Lardick, Kutaiba, were missing. Some Undercity natives told Lysandus that a suspicious group of dwellers were often seen cutting their way through the College to the Wailing Woman Inn and indeed, along that path, Vittoria d’Lardick was at her lab and told Danalnys and Ilisa that she overheard two passing men chucking about going back on some deal. At the inn, Kalas Ruiku and Vexacion have bribed a regular into revealing that two slum dwellers and a suspicious man have discussed Danahi’s resting place and a future meeting near the Undercity chapel. The Magnagorans were working backwards, all this had already occurred, but it was now clear it was the Scions who betrayed the stranger, not the other way around.
Eventually, Lysandus learnt from Professor Reghul that the suspicious dwellers were often seen meeting at the chapel itself and one of the worshippers there was able to direct those present to an abandoned Undercity inn where they were often sighted. What they found there sent Magnagorans descending into the sewers underneath the city. There, Vexacion found a large enough pipe to enter and everyone huddled within, listening to the conversation from somewhere further down. Right when things were about to get heated, Magnagorans charged and clashed with one Mebyra “the Krait” Ishelum and the cultists. Mebyra fled, and so did several cultists, while the rest were dispatched. Some set out to track them down while others studied the secret hideout where an incomplete skeleton of one Aethon n’Kylbar was found. Between Lysandus and Uzriel, the skeleton was put back together and Firica d’Vanecu proposed to see what it would summon, for surely not Aethon himself, his bones dating back to the Times of Weakness.
Completing more a seance than a ritual, Magnagorans called forth the spectre of Jannah n’Kylbar. Queried, she revealed that Aethon was her distant ancestor, a well-known Fatalist, married to a socialite – Danahi Veloske. Jannah was quick to figure out what it is that Mebyra was looking for – not the remains of Danahi, but that which was buried with her. Danahi possessed a brooch said to had been gifted to her by Emperor Shervelian I, and so beautiful that Danahi’s daughter, Teldahi Veloske, took it with her when she moved her mother’s remains to where she served – the Shallamurine Cathedral.
Careful not to tip off the priestesses of the Shallamurine, Magnagorans converged onto the Presidio first and sent glamoured and otherwise disguised agents in. While Margaret and Vexacion sought answers, Jhagreer d’Vanecu confirmed that the Shallamurine has a mausoleum on its grounds where notable and devoted priests were once interred. That is not where Magnagorans would be heading, however, as Vexacion uncovered the brooch’s true location from Eriligi Sunfar – the spring of Queen Nifilhema. Marani Veloske had secreted the heirloom there when the cathedral braced for the incoming cloud of darkness during Project Cosmic Hope and has been unable to retrieve it since as her ways are incompatible with the Queen’s now. Magnagora’s, however, are not and so they sought out the Queen of Insufferable Cruelty for guidance and were sent back to the Shallamurine with her devoted student, Jemriaee n’Lochli, in tow.
The spring did reveal itself to Magnagorans then, lovely but overgrown, at the back of the cathedral. To claim anything from its depths, it had to be filled and Akyaevin n’Lochli, Sapphira, Uzriel, and Kailanna provided suitable offerings but something was amiss still. Dodging the pirates snooping about the cathedral grounds, disguised Vexacion was sent forth to seek answers from Neinrin Tivreau where it became clear that Marani decided to spite anyone who would manage to uncover the spring. She sabotaged it from the level of the mausoleum and so Magnagorans were bound to visit it after all. Once within, their passage was blocked by a magical ward that took the combined arcane power and cleverness of all High Magic practitioners present to break.
Whether it was the spring mechanism itself, the sound of the attempts, or the novelty of movement within the mausoleum itself, their joy was cut short by a swarm of undead crawling out of every dark corner. Among them was the infuriated spirit of Danahi Veloske herself, explaining well the annoyance with which the priestesses spoke of her daughter. Was the mausoleum sealed to keep the spring from being used? Or was it to seal the undead in? It was then that the infamous Mebyra chose to strike, joining in the race to fix the spring and claim the brooch. Along with him came the pirates, their addition resulting in a three-way skirmish. The Magnagorans were successful nonetheless, vanquishing the undead and sending the pirates fleeing. After the spring was fixed, they quickly made their way to Jemriaee to find the brooch in her hands.
With the brooch pinned to her dress, the Warlady and the others made their way to Magnagora where, to their surprise, Mebyra sought to parley. Meeting him right outside the Lich Gate, the Warlady came with a sizable entourage while the pirate came alone. The deal that was struck – reluctantly and only after a gesture of goodwill on the part of the pirate in returning Kutaiba d’Lardick’s bones – resulted in Magnagora gaining both information and a curious artefact. With the brooch in his pocket, Mebyra withdrew but not without sharing that the pirates had a highly valuable hostage all along – Snaikka i’Xiia – and will be releasing her soon.
But what of Jemriaee and whatever she is plotting at the Shallamurine Cathedral? And will Magnagora find the missing leader of the dismantled cult?