A Dry Heat

In our previous session of Strange Aeons, we had returned from the Dreamlands and were preparing for our trip to the southern city of Katheer. My character, the spiritualist Costian Raduva is writing up our events, and he along with his dead sister Catiana and the rest of our group are seeking Count Lowles to try and prevent him from carrying out the wishes of an Elder god. A calendar of the events, starting with the Whisper out of Time, is also available, though only a week (in game) has passed since we restarted the campaign.

29th Pharast, Toilday, 4716 AR

The quickest way for us to get to Katheer is to teleport there, and since none of us have been there before, we paid a local mage to take us. It was definitely quicker and easier than the boat ride down from Ustalav, and on arrival we were immediately hit with a blast of hot, dry air. Cassomir had been warm, but Katheer was almost unbearably hot and dry.

Our first port of call was the Visitor’s Centre, where we had to register our arrival at the city. Apparently Katheer doesn’t like people to just turn up and walk around. It didn’t take too long to get this done, and on leaving we quickly came to realise just how big this city was. Compared to even Cassomir it was huge. Though I spoke Kelish, this was also the first time I’d really heard it spoken for real, and it took some getting used to. Since by now we were sweltering, we purchased some clothing more suited to the hot weather, and found a place to stay at which was expensive, but had private rooms around a small pool of cool water.

Whilst we decided what to do, I remembered that amongst the various books and papers we’d found at the asylum in Thrushmoor there had been some notes from a Doctor Anya Chawaar at the Department of Modern Chirurgury in Katheer. They were in a book that had beloned to Doctor Arosh Chawaar, who appeared to be her brother. We’d also found his body at the asylum, so taking the notes to her and informing her of his death seemed the right thing to do, even if the main purpose of doing so would be to try and find a contact here who could help us.

With a bit of effort we managed to find her office at the university, and she welcomed us in when I told her that we had news of her brother. She was less happy when I informed her that her brother was dead, probably due to machinations of Count Lowles. We tell her a bit about what has happened – mostly that Count Lowles is up to no good, and that we are trying to trace him down and bring him to justice. All we know is that he is seeking something in the Mysterium, and that we wish to try and find out what it was.

The Doctor says that she will speak to one of the Priests of Nethys, Elder Thyrr, on our behalf. What concerns her though is that she introduced Count Lowles to the priests about 2-3 weeks ago. He had been seeking access to the Mysterium, so she put him in touch with her friend Elder Lythiin. We agreed to meet tomorrow for breakfast.

Afterwards, we headed into the markets and towards the Temple of Sarenrae. Sheena seems particularly taken to the food, but it’s mostly way too spicy for my tastes and I try to stick to the vegetables. At the temple there is time for us to pray, and also to have a look around. There are places to study magic here, including those who teach psychic magic which may warrant further investigation later if we have time.

30th Pharast, Wealday, 4716 AR

I don’t feel too great in the morning, but head down to breakfast with the others to meet with Doctor Chawaar again. This time she is joined by the Elder Thyrr, a Cleric of Nethys and a senior member of the hierarchy of the Mysterium. After we’ve eaten (and shown off our various abilities to do magic – she seemed impressed that I could use magic without needing voice) she tells us of the Mysterium.

It is a place that is used to collect the magic that shouldn’t be floating around in the world. Much of it is really dangerous, and the Mysterium is a place to study it and make it safe. It is also a temple to Nethys. She wouldn’t advise going in right now though, since there are currently problems within.

The Mysterium relies on the donations of wealthy patrons to keep running, and Count Lowles made a donation of two hundred thousand gold in order to gain access. They went into the Mysterium with a number of his guards as well as the Elder Lythiin, and then about a week ago something triggered all of the library’s wards and it is on lockdown.

We explain that since we have been dealing with the mess that Lowles has left behind for several months now, we could go in and investigate what has happened. After some discussion the Elder agrees to this, and asks us to try and rescue any library guards that are in there, as well as Elder Lythiin if we can find him.

Part of the library’s defences include some mirrors that should have summoned axiomites to defend it, but instead dogs without skins with long tongues came out. There is also a guardian, a Exscinder Archon, that the original librarians bargained with a long time ago in order to stay and protect the place. There is a fear that he has been compromised.

When we mention that the dog things sound like Hounds of Tindalos, which tend to like corners, the Elder mentions that there is a meditation chamber in the library which is spherical with no corners, so that might be a safe place to find. There are angels on each floor, the heads of which should be turned to open the gates down to the lower levels (who designed this place?) as well as a main statue of an angel which can be used to reset the wards by sticking our fingers into its eye sockets.

We are also told to be aware of the books, which may make offers to us. We should refuse any offers, however great they sound.

Finally, there are clockwork magi – constructs which can cast spells but are vulnerable to electricity. However, in theory they should ignore those who carry tokens of identification – which the Elder provides us with. When we ask, she also manages to sketch some maps of the place.

Of the puzzle box that Lowles mentioned, it can only be opened with the correct placement of symbols, of which there are about thirty. Apparently only elder Lythiin knows the correct symbols, so that gives us another reason to find and rescue him.

Now that we know what we’re up against, we spend the rest of the day preparing ourselves for the journey into the Mysterium.

31st Pharast, Oathday, 4716 AR

In the morning we have breakfast and head out to the Mysterium, which is a low, squat sandstone structure with a pyramid on the roof and carvings of angels all around it. As we first set eyes on it, the voice of the elf speaks to us again.

The touch of ruin, of death, is upon this place. More than the blot. More than the black stars. Many gather in this chaos. There are deep roots here, and that which should not be has been birthed within. This place is poisoned. Hurry—you must staunch the wound.

What the elf said the tenth time

The guards of the library open its doors and allows us inside, to where there are corridors of small study rooms, as well as walls lined with books. As the doors slam shut behind us we carefully move down the hallway.

My sister and Sheena reach the junction first, and to the right there is a large mirror against the wall. Its surface bulges, and a Hound forces its way out of the mirror – before we know it is followed by three more. Both Sheena and Catiana are surrounded by three of them pretty quickly, they flicker in and out of corners as I would take a step, and then one is right on top of me.

I quickly fall back, casting Boneshaker upon it to wound it, and then Catiana is at my side. However one of the original three is suddenly there as well, but it drops as Gregor puts arrows into it. The other three fall quickly as well, but one is dropped by Sheena but is not slain. I think it was Erasmus who suggested keeping it alive until we had destroyed the mirror.

The mirror is bulging again, but nothing is able to get out, so Gregor and my sister shatter it, breaking the magic and preventing any more coming from coming forth.

Samuel Penn

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