Zeitgeist - Deus Ex Machina

Bonds of Forced Faith; Return to the Vault

Experiencing Risur’s past through a magically induced memory, the party continued to the peak of Cauldron Hill to confront the Red Contessa. They discovered that the skyseer Rachel Lang was actually one of the witches, and those who took part in the ritual (drinking the milk) had tied their lifeforce unwittingly to the Red Contessa. To make matters worse, the witches had performed a ceremony that tied the Contessa to the lives of all the citizens of Flint, and when the blood moon was fully eclipsed, the link would become permanent. King Lorcan Finn named Dame Melissa Gahlot his successor, and heroically tackled the Contessa, taking them both plummeting off the mountain.

When the party regained their own bodies, Gerard revealed reservations about Roland Stanfield that he gained while reliving the deva’s past: namely, his suspicions that Stanfield had encountered NIcodemus at various times, and was likely a member of the Obscurati. The party told Stover Delft about their suspicions, but without any concrete proof, decided not to accuse the mayor of Flint. Stover Delft said he would place men around the mayor to keep an eye on him and alert to any strange behaviors.

The party continued experiencing memory-events with Kasvarina via the Lost Arc of Reida. They traveled by ship to the Isle of Odiem, since a previous memory-event showed that Nicodemus and Kasvarina had been imprisoned in the Vault of Heresies.

As the memory-event took hold, the Vault from 500 years ago began to take form, and they followed Nic and Kasvarina’s journey through it’s depths. When they saw the conversation between Nic, Kasvarina, and Ashima-Shimtu (AS), startling revelations were made. AS had told the holy man Triegenes about the Sacrament of Apotheosis, a ritual the demonocracy had used to empower their ranks in the war against mankind. Specifically, the Sacrament transforms a person into a living avatar of a deity, with power fueled by the faith of those who believe in the deity.

Needless to say, the faith of demons is a paltry thing, and didn’t result in that powerful of an effect for the demonocracy. But Triegenes used the knowledge to overthrow the demons, and helped found the Clergy. However, he didn’t tell his followers the details of the Sacrament, and when he died they tried to force the secret from AS. Sensing that they were evil men, AS refused to give them the Sacrament, and they imprisoned her in the Vault of Heresies until she would agree to give them the secrets they desired.

Moved by the tale of Nicodemus and Kasvarina trying to stop the war between Eladrins and the Clergy, AS decided to impart to them the Sacrament of Apotheosis. She urged them to barter the Sacrament in exchange for release from the Vault. The Clergy would no doubt use the Sacrament to summon their God of War to win the war; however there was a secret that they didn’t know: if a person knows the name of the vessel that was transformed via the Sacrament, they can speak the name and harm the God as easily as they would a normal person. By allowing the Clergy to summon their God of War, they could kill him.And, when the God is slain, a powerful backlash would affect his followers, the severity of the backlash depending on the strength of their belief. They could kill the impetus for War itself, and end this needless bloodshed.

As the memory-event faded, some realizations came crashing down onto Kasvarina and the party. In a previous memory-event, archers had been speaking the name “Dala” while killing Srasama – thus, it was likely that Kasvarina’s daughter (Xel’s fiance) Dala had been transformed into Srasama and then killed using this method, resulting in the Great Malice. But how did this come to pass? Kasvarina remembered that she was released from the Vault, along with Nicodemus, and they were taken to Methia, the capital city of the Clergy’s empire.

AS allowed the party to escape (once again) through her well, where they spoke the name of Methia and were transported magically to that location. But she told them something before they left: “You will come once more to this place.” When asked why, she responded, “To defend a God.”



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