4. Richfest 996 AF; City of Alsyenna
Visit at the Brightstone Townhouse
Rurik knocks at the door of the Brightstone Townhouse and inquires about Lord Brightstone, but the servant – who was woken up through the knocks – only has to say that he is not present, and that he doesn’t gossip about his master. Stor then moves in and reveals his identity. The old servant – Master Sam, how Stor called him as a child – hushes them in and calls his wife. Both are very happy to see young Master Stor – he has grown so much and is a real man now. Both worry about that he is wanted for crime against the Realm, being accused of having killed Children of Light. Stor denies the accusations. The housekeeper’s wife – Anne – prepares some quick meal and ale, and they talk about the latest developments. The servants only heard rumors of the demise of Brightstone Keep. Nothing about Lord Brightstone, no rumors that he was brought to Alsyenna. After Stor ensures their confidentiality, and declares that Rurik should be treated as a friend, they leave the townhouse.
Eddard observes the stream of passerbys, and realizes from the edge of his vision that someone was moving into his direction, abruptly stopped, and stared at him. Eddard moves in his direction, but the figure – a small humanoid, but its face veiled from a travelling hood – backs off. Eddard pursuits further, but the figure vanishes an a dark alley. Eddard heads back to the Townhouse, but observes it from a different position. He misses Stor and Rurik, who head to the Temple of Thyr, which is a meeting point.
At the Temple of Thyr
The temple is still illuminated and people are celebrating the midnight mass. Stor stays in the back, and Rurik and Eddard join the flock of the faithful.
Rurik falls into a deep trance, paying for guidance and understanding how the church was meant to be. The different interpretations and understandings, best exemplified by the faith in Alsyenna, versus the faith as understood in the center of the Realm seem to be too different, and the implicit racism and aversion against magic and those of Old Blood, as well as the stance towards other faiths, hurts Ruriks soul.
Rurik then feels drawn to the little altar of Isamir, the Saint of Light. He moves to the altar and continues his prayer. The calms down more and more, his mind becoming quite. The calmer he becomes, the more he is able to get in resonance with the Isamir. Finally, his call is answered. Visions fill his mind. “This is not how it was meant to be … it began in war, fighting for the light and against the Darkness. It began as union of friends” Images of Halflings, Humans, Old Blood, even Hobgoblins fill his mind. Rurik realizes that the priciple of Light, that Isamir embodies, might be same, as emobodied by other gods. But the way it is expressed might be different. Sometimes even cruel and dark, as Light and lighten the Darkness, and also seer the eyes and burn the skin. Nature can nature and grow, but destroy in the next turn.
Rurik slowly comes back to his senses. The rune of Isamir on his mace glows.
Eddard ponders many questions – if Yiviel had a last name – was she a human once? Were all of the Saints once mortals? And what does it mean about Thyr? Was he even mortal? But that’s heresy!
Eddard moves to the altar of Yiviel and sinks deep in prayer. At a certain point, many vision of nature transforming itself – a cocoon becoming a caterpillar, the smalles pollen becoming a giant tree – fill his mind. But in the end, the essence stays the same, is just transformed.
Stor enjoys the peaceful atmosphere of the temple, but doesn’t join the flock. While he is sitting in the back of the temple, he recognizes a hooded figure coming in and observing. It leaves shortly before the end of the prayer and vanishes into the darkness again.
At the Fair
The group decides that it is too dangerous to sleep in their own beds and heads to the fair. The citygates are still open to let citizens move to the fair and back, but are also strongly guarded. Stor, Eddard and Rurik join the small group of people of still celebrate life with song, drink, dance and laughter.
Rurik manages to have some deeper conversations with some fair visitors. He inquires about the events in the east. There are many stories – what is true and what is rumor is not clear, but it seems that the Realm is troubled. There are stories of marauding bandits outside of the realm, who plundered many small homlets and villages. Sometimes they also venture inside the Realm, and Lord Calamere – Brightstones nothern neighbour – seems not capable of handling the situation. Rurik is reminded of the reasons he – a member of Calamere’s guard then – went rogue, but this part of his life seems very far away.
There are stories of bandits in the countryside, refugees from the east, streaming to Alsyenna, to seek protection. Magic awakes in the Old Blood, leading to trouble with abominations and the Children of Light. However, Lord Dunstan promises and provides protection. He is hiring new member for his guard to protect his people. On the other hand, he also favors members of the Church of Thyr, and gave many contracts to the faithful, thereby strengthening the Faith.
As the group finally goes to sleep, Eddard spots a dark figure at the edge of the fire glow. He closes is eyes, leaving only a peeking slit. After a while, the figure vanishes in the dark.
5. Richfest 996 AF
After a hearty breakfast, the group unites with Kharamon at the inn.