A Gift for the Blessed

In mid-Juliary of 613 CE, Elytho Serole made a breakthrough. Running from the Lodestar Athenaeum past the Pool of Stars, it was their hope to reach Light’s Glory, the guildhall of New Celest’s Magisterium of the Holy Father. Yet, they had not realised the great distance between the two parts of the city. Skirting past the Pool, they panted and heaved to catch their breath, whereupon Daxi Strongleaf found them. Elytho explained that they had something to show their uncle, the Magisterium’s tutor Neluane Serole, and it was a kind Daxi who offered to lead the way for them.

As Elytho called out to their uncle, Daxi sought assistance from the rest of New Celest, but the aethers remained quiet. Yet, Neluane descended from the topmost parts of the lighthouse, keen to hear what his relative had discovered. Producing a sheaf of ancient records from their belongings, Elytho explained that they had discerned the possibility of another ‘meliashmora,’ one that resided within Old Celest (now Spectre Isle). It was then that Neluane called out to the Magisterium and Faragan Ladyn arrived to assist the slowly growing group of historians and adventurers.

The records that Elytho had produced, however, were written so enigmatically, it was difficult for them to discern further lines from the ones they had parsed out. When they handed the papers to Daxi and then to Faragan, more and more of the records statements were pieced together. Daxi called upon Lorina Trueflight of Halifax, who subsequently summoned her comrades Zalan and Caoilfhoinn Shevat. Between the five of them, they discovered more of what was written within these records, as others of the alliance between New Celest, Halifax, and even Glomdoring came to assist: Kistan and Inagin La’Saet, Evette Stormcrow, Esei Shee-Slaugh, and finally Gael and Xenthos An’Ryshe. The twelve of them were able to piece together phrases, discerning that a key was laid to rest with someone known as a ‘Mistress of the Crystal Sea’; that there was some substance known as ‘living water;’ somewhere (and sometime) there resided a figure known as ‘the Hummingbird’ who wrote a poem called ‘The Calm, the Sea.’ But most importantly of all, a confirmation of Elytho’s insight: there is another meliashmora.

While Neluane returned to Light’s Glory to consult his own research and records, the adventurers determined that the figure that was laid to rest was perhaps entombed, to which they quickly determined that the Serole Mausoleum within the Oleanvir Valley might hold the next clue. They all travelled there and quickly located the tomb of Symahi Serole, the Mistress of the Crystal Sea. Then, after a brief conversation about the ethics of interacting with the dead (and whether they were committing grave robbery), Daxi and Lorina sought out Alexei Novikei, the caretaker of the tombs, for some questioning. Alexei, however, knew little about any key or anything special about the tombs. But when Daxi and Lorina mentioned ‘the Hummingbird,’ he became immediately interested.

Alexei shared that though he did not personally possess any of the Hummingbird’s works, they were collectibles, especially to his family. He suggested that the pair seek out his relative, Ankia Novikei, who helped run St. Gathlyn’s Orphanage for the Dispossessed. Now on the hunt, the adventuring party, while losing some along the way, braved the frigid Mount Wend and descended upon Anika’s office in full force. The krokani woman was generous in answering what questions they had. Yes, the Orphanage had some of the collected works of ‘the Hummingbird.’ They were an anonymous priest of the Supernal Raziela, who wrote poems and sermons and pasted them throughout the city of Old Celest. Gesturing for those gathered to look around, Ankia turned to the piles and stacks of paper and tomes, for the Hummingbird’s poems and writings surely would be somewhere in her office. It was Daxi who discovered a stack, but when she barely, briefly, touched it, its stability was lost, scattering everything across the floor. But by fortune’s grace, a faded copy of the Hummingbird’s work was found. Eagerly taking it, the adventurers departed – leaving Ankia to tidy up the place – and returned to the mausoleum.

‘The Calm, the Sea’ was a poem of purification, it seemed. But it was not clear amongst the adventurers what to do with it. Elytho suggested to read it aloud, for the records not only acknowledged the need for the poem, but specifically that the first stanza must be read, presumably before Symahi’s tomb. Daxi, again, took the lead, reading each line by line with a steady voice. While at first mispronouncing a word, when the final line of the first stanza was shared aloud, some internal mechanism within the sarcophagus responded with a tick-tick-tick. The stony hands of the sarcophagus parted, revealing a strange bottle labelled clearly with the term ‘Living Water,’ but also with a curious rhyme about twisting its seal upon Spectre Isle to seek out the correct place. And so, our adventurers travelled there, turning the bottle over and over, watching as small droplets of living water descended and changed colour until they discovered some illusory spell woven beneath the ruins of the grand aqueduct on the island. Breaking the bottle, the living water dissolved into colourful mist, breaking the magic that lingered there to reveal a strange wall of enchanted water amongst the ruins.

It would be Lorina first who dared to touch the wall. Pressing palm to the aqueous barrier, the Hallifaxian found that the magic of the wall itself was largely spent, and she was easily able to egress into deeper tunnels beneath the island. Her arrival was in darkness, but her first steps braved into the depths caused lingering magic to respond. Sconces erupted in magical flame, illuminating her, and soon others who passed through the wall, in sickly flame. Yet, while the adventurers sought their bearings, it was Xenthos who first ran into the dark – finding himself, ultimately, within the forgotten meliashmora. But he was not alone.

A tortured and tainted being known as Fallen Gelu rose when Xenthos’ presence was made known. By then, the others arrived, only to hear Gelu’s threat: “Only fools enter here and live.” Gelu struck, but the company adventurers struck as well. Spells, blades, and gnomish weapons made short work tainted being, who, when felled, screamed their death rattle so loud that all the Basin could hear. With victory worn, it was revealed that that was not all. Instead, light began to erupt within the room, coalescing into the figure of Blessed Gelu, Champion of the Flame. An angelic being who was bound into tainted flesh, Gelu thanked the adventurers who freed her from her tortured shell. She offered insight into how she came to be here. Once a Champion of the Flame in service of Loathys Inalai, she passed in the final battle against the Army of Love upon Celestia in ancient days. However, her passing was final. Gelu found herself imbued with the Light so thoroughly, she was an angelic being: born of Light but also bound to a scabbard, a relic of those ancient days. This scabbard, left behind in the meliashmora, was forgotten, and it was when the Taint struck at the collapse of Celest that she became the beast who attacked the adventurers.

Gelu sought to return to the side of the saint that she served, and bade that the company gathered to do what they will with whatever relics or treasures remained. However, before she departed, she recognised Faragan’s presence there and asked him to step forward. He did, and it was then that Gelu shared that she sensed that he lacked the powers that her and her kin once shared. Summoning a sword of Light, she thrust this miraculous blade into Faragan’s chest, intoning that she would impart a final gift, the gift of Holy Fire. And so, the knowledge of Holy Fire returned to the First World, to the Celestines. Her time now short, Gelu departed, leaving all assembled in wonder.

As Elytho and others spoke amongst themselves, Kistan did what all adventurers did and let his sticky fingers fly. Combing through the barrels, the chests, the bags, and the like left behind within the meliashmora, he came across two unique things: a cloth wrap covering an ancient scabbard and a small engagement ring, held within a box. It was decided that perhaps the scabbard was one named by Gelu, and the adventurers sought to bring it to Lady Eliahi Inalai at the Shrine of St. Loathys to learn more. But the ring was more peculiar. Gelu shared too that this was a relic of another, St. Tresalyne, but questions spawned about why it was placed here. These questions were made even more enigmatic when it was discovered letters were engraved within the inner face of the band. Elytho held both close as they travelled to the Shrine of Loathys, ruminating on an insight about the ring and the first saint. Once there, Lady Inalai gave more insight about the scabbard; owned by Loathys’ brother Radele originally, it ultimately fell into the hands of Marlyine (or Marlyinthe as he was also called), the son of Saint Loathys. With this treasure now brought back to the light of history, Elytho offered to stay with Lady Inalai to learn more as their companions departed to their respective homes.

Time will tell whether Elytho’s research will discover additional insights, historical offerings, or simply adventures. But until then, they seek to learn more about the relics now in their possession. Meanwhile, those called to the Light, the Celestines, have been changed forevermore.