Will of the Helm, Part II: Woes Four

Following the demise of Aiillassa, unrest continued to wrack the Free City of Delve throughout the early days of Lleian. Rumors of sleepwalking citizens began to circulate throughout the city, with some reports of one woman from the Docklands stumbling off a pier into the waters to her demise. To make matters worse for the last bastion of Albedi freedom, the embassies to the nation states of Sapience were thrown into chaos as their harlequin portals began to experience malfunction. Without the Twilight Eld to empower the four ways into the Free City’s embassies, the ylem-fueled passages deactivated, barring passage through the personal portals for Sapient cities. Alone now in its vital function, the portal to Delve’s Twilight Cavern remained open in the Siroccian Mountains.

When adventurers from all over the continent journeyed to the Cavern, they were met once more with Kull Ervenn’s presence. Explaining that this was merely a product of the eld’akathi’s demise, the wizened Caentoi remained calm in the face of a barrage of questions. The Prelate of the Helm stressed that the death of an eld’akathi would always result in the immediate birth of another, for the number of eld’akathi must always be eight – a fact he insisted once more was the will of the Helm Themselves. When this did not satisfy those gathered, the Helm’s representative explained what he knew of the other seven: he claimed four were chained to the world and that two were beyond his knowing, with a final seventh located somewhere ‘in ice and darkness’. He went on to explain that the eld’akathi have died before, patiently conveying to the less studious that four eld’akathi were sundered by the rigors of Dejaani and Ohlsana’s battles in another age. This event, he explained, was what birthed the Gods of the Tumult and Accord both. Kull remained faithful in the Helm’s design, though he made it clear that trouble was on the horizon for Delve and its citizens.

Later into the month of Lleian, Kull’s predicted trouble began to manifest. Mysterious deaths began to plague the Free City’s populace, events that would typically be innocuous becoming fatal occurrences. Amidst the panic of exploding tea kettles and falling crates, rumors of grain spoilage spread throughout the city like wildfire. Delve’s beloved Caentoi chef Tandalay was not spared the ugly consequence of this spoilage and famine, his delicatessen disturbed by the shouting of an irate, sickened customer who insisted the discerning chef had served her rotten food. This commotion drew the attention of quite the crowd, with Lenoriel, Sheryni, Aren, Pietre, Aloli, Valeria, Ulo, and Benedicto coming to investigate the nature of the duo’s disagreement. After Valeria studiously taste tested a scallion pancake and discovered that it had been spoiled, the chef closed up shop and disposed of all of his stock, concluding that he would need to appeal to Councilor Tirriki for aid. Before his departure, samples of the spoilage were taken by Pietre, Ulo, and Aloli.

In another section of the Exchange, as chef and customer engaged in heated debate, a sailor from the Docklands sought medicine for his slumbering daughter. The man moved from stall to stall, unaware that he was trailed at a distance by Lenoriel and Feirenz Ali’vani-Ourborian. Operating in true Syssin fashion, the two watched on from their hiding place as the sailor sought the aid of Zayzala, an importer of mysterious goods. Finding hope in an exotic tincture she had buried beneath the rest of her goods, the sailor did not notice Lenoriel tailing him as he took flight back to his home in the Docklands. There, in an apartment above a ramshackled fishing shop, the man attempted to administer the folk medicine to his disease-stricken daughter and found that it produced no change in her eternally slumbering state. Wracked with anguish and grief, the man sobbed loud enough to be heard all throughout the city – a fact that attracted a crowd of outlander adventurers to inspect his state.

Urged on all sides to take different measures to see his daughter cured, the sailor could do naught but struggle to keep up with their constant deluge of inquiry. He insisted that he would not take his daughter to Sapience for treatment, citing the danger of lightning breathing lizards and bigoted murderers as primary reason for his unwillingness. When asked if his daughter had eaten any prepared foods from the Exchange, the sailor insisted she did not have that large an appetite, ruling out the possibility of the spoilage and her enigmatic illness being linked. Despite this, he took solace and hope from Grand Crusader Silverain’s offer of succor and assured the Herald of Enorian that he would seek the city out if his appeal to Qayyam, a councilor of Delve and representative of the Auric Guard, did not prove fruitful.

For a time, peace and quiet once more reigned, though an ominous stirring to the east of the Free City soon put an end to this brief respite. The rumble intensified as legions of Shil’tok poured forth from the dark heart of Helba’s mine, their massive number joined together in the name of conquest. The murderous horde of Shil’tok raiders descended upon the village in a vicious sneak attack, their first wave a wicked vanguard mounted upon colossal arachnids. Screams of terror and the clatter of weaponry broke the silence of the surrounding Karak forest as battle was joined, the fury of the Shil’tok held at bay for only so long by Helban guards and militia, as well as the timely arrival of Sapience’s tenacious adventurers. After crushing all resistance and ousting the would-be liberators of the besieged village, the raiders rounded up the village’s populace and imprisoned them inside Helba’s biggest barn. The Shil’tok swiftly barricaded all entry into the captured town, claiming it as their spoils of war even as scouts and saboteurs saw to disrupting the dimensional wormholes across the village.

Even as fourfold tragedy visits Delve, four figures meet within a council chamber deep inside the Free City…

Penned by my hand on Kinsday, the 10th of Lleian, in the year 506 MA.
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