The Enmity of Scolrys, Part XV: Questions and Answers

As Ios proceeded apace, the Heartwood sought the guidance of their ancient guardian spirits.

Turning once more to great Vo’acha, Presiding Voice Bhalwyn instructed Duirani councillors to band together and sacrifice the bones of fallen skeletal soldiers at the totem of the great serpent spirit. The council toiled together for weeks to offer a suitable pile to the Shadow, eager as they were to seek his wisdom, patience, and calculating cunning. Each offered soldier scattered into motes of energy that suffused the forest with wild potential that built into ritual tension, promising an eventual answer in the form of a hiss and rasp guiding them to the Den of Shadows.

It was there, only days later, that the Voice and several Speakers met Amitivis, the tremendous serpent wrought by Ankyrean hubris. Expressing a continued distaste for the Theocracy and a desire for vengeance after being freed of his oath to the late Zenith, the giant snake bargained with the council in hopes of seeking the power to enact his long-awaited moment of wrath. Seizing upon the opportunity to secure a new ally in their war against the Dragon of the North, the council agreed under the condition that the serpent would join them in the times to come and offered a nest somewhere within the Ithmia as his new residence. Eager to obtain freedom from the yoke of conclavist coercion, Amitivis accepted and sealed the deal.

As the Heartwood set about planning a ritual meant to beseech Dia’ruis and Vo’acha for strength, the Sanguine Fist tended to their own designs.

Following the signing of a treaty of alliance with Bloodloch, the undercity of Djeir sent one of their loyal beastmasters to assist with the training of a spider gifted unto the Empire during a different era. Utilising slaves as fodder, the Hegemonist’s Fist trained the spider (named Agranoth, according to the Grand Library’s informants) to discriminate between friend and foe, as well as other various aspects of discipline necessary to render the arachnid a terrifying asset upon the fields of war. In an effort to replenish their ranks of slaves, imperial servants swiftly set themselves to the task of capturing fresh meat from the Hlugnic Labyrinth – an activity that the Hammer of Dawn turned a blind eye to, once more reaffirming that only the faithful of the Light were worthy of their efforts and that these enemies had chosen their fate accordingly.

Later in the month, the Threefold Alliance met to plan out the beginnings of an aggressive campaign against the Dragon of the North. Intent upon striking a blow that could not be easily recovered from, the individual leaders put their heads together to form a multi-pronged assault plan that would allow them to enter the city and inflict terrible damages upon property and assets alike. Intent upon sieging their walls and gates with beasts of war as the initial step, Duiran and Bloodloch elected to offer Amitivis and Agranoth as their beasts of war. Although Enorian was initially at a loss for contributions, the city soon acquired information regarding tribal rites of the Raging Herd, a cult dedicated to Accordant Earth – commonly known across Albedos as Gereghond, the Bull.

While the Threefold Alliance outlined a roadmap to Spirean demise, the Theocracy experienced an increase in frequency and intensity of Chaos-adjacent hallucinations. Manifesting first as madness, paranoia, and anxiety, many conclavists reported unsettling presences and the feeling of being watched from the shadows and all corners of the realm. As time went on, the city at large began to share mass illusory experiences that allowed them a collective glimpse into the far-flung reaches of Lanu Du’s myriad realms, culminating in a sharp increase in intrusive thoughts and terrifying revelations. Eventually, this collective insanity reached such a horrible height that Whirran and several other cities began to suspect Spinesreach’s Inner Gate of spying on them and plotting maliciously against the city’s goals. Left with no other sensible choice, the agitated citizens set about to the task of blowing up the gate with a measure of explosives – an act that brought civil unrest and unease that multiplied ‘neath the eye of Faceless Madness.

As scopaesthesia bored into the back of every Spirean skull, the Hammer prepared to take another leap of faith…

Penned by my hand on Tisday, the 22nd of Slyphian, in the year 3 AC.