The Curse of the Sunken Heart

Li-varili returned to a world much changed from the one She had left behind. The Enchantress had shared with Her all that had transpired since Her repose in Daeiv ma’Mornhai, culminating in the retrieval of the Sea Spirit and her subsequent return to slumber. Enraged by the betrayal of the Elder Gods in taking Her child from Her, the Lady of the Lagoons summoned Her Bloodtide Coven once more within Her sacred vaults.

There, the gathered mortals shared that Li-varili had lost more than She realized, for Her beloved Keltari, the Sea-Bringer was indeed lost, as Carakhan had said, to the Soulless Illith. The voice that Li-varili had clung to as Her last hope in the Morokeche Seat was not Keltari at all, but rather some fragment of Illith’s will, realized in the form of the Encephalist Iloggoth and his cult of illithoid. The Bloodtide Coven spoke of the projections of “Keltari” they had seen, made manifest from what essence Illith had devoured of the Elder, and the knowledge ignited such grief and fury in the Goddess She denied it vehemently before succumbing to despair. “I have nothing left to lose,” the Lady of the Lagoons whispered, “but My Cousins stand to lose everything.” For there was one thing that had not yet been denied Her: revenge. A new missive was placed before Her Bloodtide Coven, this one a far graver matter than any other, for it would punish the very Elder Gods that had taken Li-varili’s child from Her.

A child of the sea. Woven dreams of ruin. Crystallized thoughts. Tears of rage. A memory of a past life. A love that cheats death. A broken song. These were the ingredients that Li-varili demanded to enact Her curse of the Sunken Heart. “Let it be a curse to end all curses,” the Awakener sneered, cackling.

The child of the sea was none other than the son of Captain Teyitha Contelli, the “Stormfury,” long thought lost to the ocean’s cruelty. The compass of Ilaedron the Fair had led the taurian pirate to find Li-varili deep within the Namiraa Trench, but the nereid Soriali insisted she had no knowledge of the child’s location. This, however, had been a lie. The nereid revealed to her Awakener that the boy had been protected by her fae magic long ago within a bubble, which she placed within the Great Worm Uskashyth so that he would be safe from harm. “He was too precious,” Soriali insisted, speaking of him as one might a pretty shipwrecked bauble.

Guided by Soriali, the Bloodtide Coven prepared a net of fireweed nettles to restrain the Great Worm, entering his giant maw to discover the child Kibirio Contelli imprisoned exactly as Soriali described. They broke the bubble, but in their haste, Zagreus killed the boy before bringing him to Li-varili, who resurrected him with an irritated flick of Her hand. She then summoned the proud Captain herself, reuniting the mother and child to complete her promise. No sooner did Teyitha hold Kibirio in her arms did Li-varili separate the two, sacrificing the child’s life to begin her curse of the Sunken Heart. The grief-stricken Teyitha was immediately dismissed as the Bloodtide Coven watched coolly, agreed that this sacrifice was nothing compared to what Li-varili had lost.

Then came the woven dreams of ruin, conjured by each of the Bloodtide as they shared their visions of a world where Li-varili’s curse came to pass. Next were the crystallized thoughts, retrieved from the illithoid assimilators that had wielded Keltari’s essence against Li-varili. The Goddess wept Ruby Tears of Rage for the Bloodtide Coven to empower by seducing those that watched the realms of Her Cousins, taking Their Divine essence for Her own. For a memory of a past life, the Goddess offered the mask that had been given unto Her as the potential thirteenth member of the Traitors’ Coterie — a promise never kept — and bid Her Bloodtide strengthen it with abyssal essence.

Finally, a ritual was conducted among the Bloodtide Coven, where they summoned forth the compass of Ilaedron the Fair from where it was kept in Carakhan’s possession, following the Lady of the Lagoons’ ritual until the compass manifested and was placed in Li-varili’s cauldron. This served as the love that cheats death, for it was a compass that could find the soul of Ilaedron’s lover, Shalidae, even after death.

There was one more secret ingredient that Li-varili sought, the wordsmithed lock, and one She did not wish to speak of even with members of Her Bloodtide Coven. For this task, She summoned the only person from among those desiring to serve Her who bid Her not to trust the Enchantress – Sutekh. In secrecy even from the Coven, for Sutekh’s allegiance was questionable in the past, She bestowed upon him access to Her vaults and sent him to Her trusted nereid, Iaira. He was quickly found out by the Coven, and they scarcely believed the lies spoken in justification by the both of them, but there was little they could do but focus on their own pressing tasks instead. Sutekh hid his efforts as best he could and eventually procured the ingredient Li-varili most desired – Soriali’s song. The nereid, well-aware of what the song controlled now, would not part with it, not even for her Awakener. But when Sutekh enticed her to accept a gift of an ensorceled conch, the decision was no longer hers.

As the Bloodtide Coven tended the cauldron, Li-varili painstakingly crafted Her revenge. But unbeknownst to Her, She had mortal traitors in Her midst.