An Imperfect Circle

Session 8

True to her world, 1000 Lilac Cascade led them from the glade. The flowering hedges parted, revealing a blossom covered hall. The blossoms shifted to colorful ceremonial and carnival masks. Their faces displayed extreme emotion; anguish, ecstasy, and horror. Our heroes felt like hollow lights in the eye holes of the masks were watching them, but when they looked closer, this masks showed only empty darkness. Lilac's shell became a carnival riot of cloth and color, mirroring the masks. She stopped at the end of the passage, a broken tiled square in front of a grand building ahead. She bade her farewell to Drac, and said to call upon her when they were ready to depart.

The cracked tiles of the square formed a ten-pointed sunburst. The same sigil was engraved upon the massive gold doors. Genjo approached, and grunted with effort as he heaved the door open. The light of the firestorm overhead pierced the darkness within. Dust hung in the air, and the beam of flickering light illuminated a massive gold statue across from the door. Refuse and debris littered the floor. Looking in, they saw the room was circular, 5 doorways and 5 statues evenly spaced about the room at the points of the ten-pointed sunburst mandala on the floor.

As the Solars entered, the figure of a man rose from the debris. His gaunt form was garbed in ornate green robes of office stained with dark splotches down the front.. A long beard and mustache adorned his face, doing little to hide his sunken cheeks and sallow skin. His finger nails were inky black and his eyes reflected the mad flames of Firewander. The man spoke, stating that it had been many years since he had visitors who were not creatures of the Wyld, and asking them if they had come for a judgement. As he gestured, droplets of ink spattered from his fingers. After speaking briefly, he reacted with anger when they did not know his name.

"I am Tul Wan, Cityfather of Hallow, High Judge of the East."

Zakiti assuage his anger, and asked about the Law. She learned that this place was a court, and during the Shogunate, mortals and Princes of the Earth from across the direction came to Tul Wan for judgement. To make or change a law, required a quorum of five judges from among the Princes of the Earth, the lawgivers, or courtly gods. Tul Wan had been High Judge here since a few centuries after the Lawgivers were overthrown by the Princes of the Earth, and he did not remember much before that. He had served as judge for nearly seven centuries.

Upon asking whether the courthouse held artifacts of power, Tul Wan accused them of being thieves. Once again, Zakiti assuaged him and explained their purpose. Tul Wan said they were looking for a vault sealed by the Deliberative during the height of the First Age. The Five Days Darkness was sealed within the vault and it could only be opened by a quorum of Solars of each caste.

Zakiti and Genjo went to examine the vault while Drac and Kaveh remained to speak to Tul Wan about ancient law. Drac quickly became convince that Tul Wan was dangerously unhinged, but kept quiet about his opinion.

The vault was sealed with an orichalcum door with no visible mechanism to open it. The floor was a mirror of the sun-burst mandala above, except for the five circles marked with the five castes spaced evenly around the room. Zakiti examined the door, and found it was inscribed with archaic old realm script. From what she was able to understand, she learned that the vault sealed away The Five Days Darkness, which was deemed a threat because it was unable to face the light of the Sun. The vault was sealed by the order of the Deliberative, and could indeed only be opened by a quorum of the five Solar Castes.

Zakiti explained to Genjo that there may be ways around the seal, besides finding a fifth Solar. A powerful sorcerous working might be able to circumvent the requirements, but that would take research, materials, and time. Similarly, a third circle demon could almost certainly break or bypass the seal. Finally, if they were unable to find a Solar, and the rumors about the dark reflections of the Solars turned out to be true, finding one of them of the right caste would probably suffice. With no present way to open the vault, Genjo decided that their task for the Astrologer was complete.

Before leaving, Zakiti asked Tul Wan if he could bring them back to this place without passing through the Wyld. He explained that he could always get to the courthouse, but could not go through the Wyld. She offered him a way out in one of her binding jars if he would bring them back here when they needed. After some negotiation, he agreed, provided that Kaveh bound her to an oath to release him from the jar once they were beyond the Wyld and carry him out again through the Wyld if he brought them here. For his part, he agreed not to visit destruction upon Nexus, nor to disrupt its legal system. The agreement was sealed, and they departed.

Drac called out to Lilac, who's Wyld avatar appeared almost immediately from among the masks. She led them once more through the Wyld.  The walls became glassy and ran like melted wax before solidifying once again in rainbow hues, the light reflecting at odd angles, casting strange lights and shadows. Sounds were distant, and even the breath of the Solars echoed strangely as if from elsewhere. When the reached the curtain of fire that marked the boundary of the Wyld region, Lilac expressed her affection for Drac. In turn, Drac said he hoped they would see each other again soon. She said that time flowed differently for her. "The seeds of the sun are strong, and I'm sure we'll meet again soon." With that, she opened the curtain of fire, and the Solars departed once more into Nexus. Zakiti released Tul Wan, who quickly disappeared.

After resting, Drac went to meet with Rinriven Dai. The guild boss told him that several weeks ago, a group of the assassins he was looking for had been brutally murdered. Rinriven gave him the name of the mercenary captain who investigated the scene, and said he would call in his favor in the future. Drac told him were he stabled his horse, and that messages could find him there.

Drac met up with his fellow Solars as they returned to speak to Kratz, the Astrologer. She lamented that they were unable to unseal the vault, but appreciated their efforts. As a gesture of goodwill, she said she would fulfill any favor they asked of her if she were able. She would try to find out more about The Five Days Darkness, and would use favors to try to find a suitable fifth Solar.


Chazzminder Chazzminder

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