A Purpose

Entering the castle silently, Lessie quickly dodges into the Lady's antechamber to avoid soaking rains from the Yew storm. Shaking the wet from her cloak, Lessie's dark eyes adjust to the dim of the room while she listens for any presence.

The room itself is crowded with boxes, chests, scattered parchments, and scrolls. The typically neat and ordered office space is a literal chaos of items and containers scattered around in such a haphazard fashion that Lessie wonders if the Lady is present at all. Her wonderment is solved as the stone wall slowly slides open, and the Lady herself enters with a lit candle.

Kirthag shivers as she leaves the warm glow of her private chamber behind her. The stone wall slides shut while Kirthag steps over a pile of filled bags making way to her desk.

"I thought I told you not to return until--" Kirthag begins.

"I come with a report," Lessie blankly states.

Kirthag pauses and casts a sidewise glance toward the drenched messenger, then moves to her chair with a slight nod.

"Very well. Tell me what you have," she mutters as she sits and pulls the fur cloak around her shoulders for warmth.

Lessie steps closer to the desk, making sure not to drip any moisture upon the items she passes. It wouldn't do to upset the Lady Paladin any more than this news will, for surely Kirthag will dread its utterance. Drawing up a breath, Lessie begins her report.

"As you have tasked me, I traveled the Shards seeking any sign, whisper, or vapor of the cult. It has been such a long time, I wondered if you would still want me to seek." Lessie shivers under her cloak, but not from the chill of the damp garment she wears - moreso from the thought of disappointing her Lady. "I had followed their trail even through the Void into other realms, but nary spied their personage or affects."

Kirthag nods absently, resting the candlestick upon a stack of books as she pulls her fur closer about her form.

"So I made way back through the Void unto Sosarian Shards, picking up artifacts I knew would be of interest to you. I gathered them all unto the Shard of Catskills, preparing for the return here with a hoard I'm sure you would be happy to receive."

Drawing her legs under the cloak, Kirthag nods again. "So where are these riches?" she questions.

"They are still upon Catskills," Lessie replies.

Kirthag glances up, furrowing her brow a bit in confusion.

Sensing the Lady's confusion, Lessie continues, "I felt it pertinent to return without the caravan in all haste as I know you would want word to what I discovered without any delay of sorts. With dread, I came as quickly as I could, Lady, for your fear I have heard tell of directly."

Leaning forward, Kirthag focuses fully upon the damp face of the other female before her. Her dark-green eyes narrow now as an unwanted weight gathers in her chest. "What have you heard?" Kirthag asks, barely over a whisper.

With the weight of the universes, Lessie utters a name, "Ravuul."

Thunder cracks as lightning slices the dark and Kirthag's eyes are seen wide with a fearful hatred not witnessed in an age.

"It had been summoned," Lessie continues in earnest, "in some demonic ritual by a man only known as 'Healer' and it had been slain a bit ago. But yes, the teller clearly said that loathsome name from that list you bade me watch for and it is in recent history the deed was done."

Kirthag glares through Lessie with thoughts the latter could not discern. Within a moment, the warm fur is dropped as the Lady shoves books and ledgers from her desk. She bends to the side, opens a drawer, and rummages within it throwing inkwells and more scraps of parchment in her search for something deep within. After a moment, Lessie hears a slight click, and a panel opens on the top of the desk. Lessie's curiosity is piqued while Kirthag shoves the panel frantically to one side, reaches into the small enclosure and pulls out a small, well-read and thoroughly ancient, book. Kirthag tosses the book to Lessie who juggles catching it with shocked surprise.

"Tell me, Girl, what is that book you hold?" Kirthag utters with a sense of urgent panic.

Surprised by the use of her translated name, Lessie looks at the small book and spies a symbol upon its cover. "Why, this is the very symbol that teller drew upon the dirt while relaying the incident to me. Lady, how--?" Lessie stops as she looks back to her mistress.

Kirthag is fully standing now in her light shift, ignorant of the chill of the room as her fur cloak has fallen to the floor. Her dark-green eyes flash with purpose as her thoughts form a whirlwind behind them. Thunder booms outside, seeming to retreat from the growing ire of Kirthag's visage.

"Let me answer my own question - it is called The Disease and mentions things that are most unsuitable and goes against everything we've ever believed in. It professes to speak about madness and culling such - when the author of such work is hisself mad." Here the paladin begins to shake, not with cold or fear - but a growing fervor rooted in her rage. "He and his followers were there in Napa, wherewith much cunning and wile, they had turned sister upon sister - even warped a beloved into a twisted daemon of their own making. There they almost destroyed everything one could love and cherish. I thought them gone, I thought them and their ilk off to other dead worlds! Now, you speak of a... a summoning on Sosarian soil!"

Striding out of her cluttered office into the storm-ravaged courtyard, Kirthag begins shouting orders above the low rumbles of a dying storm toward the upper corridors of her castle.

"TANDY! Make ready with containers and chests! And mind these vendors of yours to sell - quickly! KAT! Gather your resources into deeds and pack your potions! LARK! Oh, dearest Lark!"

Lessie watches as her mistress barrels out of the cluttered office into the puddles of the grassy courtyard. Following, she spies Tandy, Kirthag's master craftsperson, peer through the windows of the smithy and nod once before disappearing again. Then Katerina the scribe, leaning over the rail of her tower's catwalk, her elfish features furrowed with curiosity at the barked orders. Lark stumbles from the map room across the way, as obviously, she had fallen asleep over her maps when Kirthag's bellowing woke her.

"What is it now, Kirthag?" Lark steps into a puddle, stops and steps back into the map room shaking her foot.

Kirthag strides through the puddle and gathers Lark in a tight hug. "My oldest friend, my sister, my compatriot and confidant!"

Lark can't help but stand in the embrace, stunned by surprise, and glance over Kirthag's now damp hair and shoulder toward Lessie who looks on and shrugs. With that shrug, Lessie holds up the old book with the strange symbol upon it. Lark sees that book and her dark eyes widen in blank amazement.

"We have work, dearest sister," Kirthag releases Lark and holds her at arm's length, studying her features.

"The cult," Lark whispers with a soft lilt that could be either horror or adoration.

Kirthag nods. "Aye."

Lark blinks then with a nod sets her delicate features to stone. "Then we must go, at once."

"My inclination, exactly," Kirthag replies. "And we ALL will go this time."

Nodding, Lark draws away from Kirthag and turns toward the map room. "I will start organizing and packing immediately. There is no time to waste."

Satisfied, Kirthag turns around to Lessie.

"Lessie. Go back to Catskills. Scout the lands. Find us something suitable in Yew - you know what I require. Go. Make hast and pray we are not too late to provide service!"

Lessie sets the book upon a stack of boxes near the antechamber's entrance. She draws her cloak around her as she steps through the courtyard in the lessening rain, past Kirthag who is oblivious to the temperature or weather in her filmy sift while barking orders to the curious serfs who appeared from the depth of the Yew Community Center. Lessie makes her way out past the vendors of the castle and summons a gate for her travels. With determined purpose, Lessie disappears from the Pacific Shard.

Kirthag sends her workers to her various properties around the Pacific Shard, gathering the collections and rarities which will be packed and secured for a caravan through the mists between shards. She dictates messages to a lesser scribe (as Kat is busy organizing) with letters to people she has dealt with on Pacific and Napa. The pigeons leaving the YCC are many.


With the removal from its hiding place, the damp began to creep over, and react with, a small book which now rests upon a box within Kirthag's office. The cover swells with moisture, so long had it been kept away from the elements. The ink within runs and bleeds, becoming unintelligible in the process. In a short time, the symbol upon the book cover is the very last bit of identification which, too, is eventually destroyed by the elemental surge of damp. Should one quest to remember, should there be a want of remembrance... it was a glyph as such...


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