6th of Quartus, 1668 – Burke University (Donega, Inismore)
Having discovered that Dauby the Buchan was content living at Burke University, the group decided they would not force the little book worm to leave. That did beg the issue of what to do for the O’Brady’s, as their farm was in need of assistance. While discussing their course of action in a local tavern, the group was approached by a young courier. She delivered a message to Dr. Blackwell and Fabien, with the seal of Burke University upon it. Opening the envelope, they learned they were invited to an unveiling of Folklore significance at the University the following evening. Apparently, their new found respect and admission to the university had earned them an invitation, one that Associated Dean Finnán Riordan had not mentioned heretofore. Guests were permitted, and Zhennya, Silvia and Bonny decided to attend the event as well. Now there were preparations to make and Bonny took the opportunity to get fitted for a nice gown that would make a good impression on the crowd at the upcoming event.
Zhennya, Silvia, Fabien and Dr. Blackwell decided to visit Seamus O’Brady back at his farm in order to explain the circumstances. Dr. Blackwell, ever wanting to be polite, decided to purchase a pig to take as a gift. When Zhennya scoffed at this, pointing out problems, he attempted to return it to Silvio’s Livestock. However, the wily Vodacce did not want a returned pig, for he wasn’t sure what the doctor may have done to it. With pig in tow, the group took Bonny’s carriage back to the farm.
When they arrived, Seamus and Mave were sitting down to dinner. The group joined them for a small amount of stew after presenting the pig. While Seamus was pleased to hear that his father’s debt was not incurred from drinking but from buying books for a sidhe that was responsible for the farm’s prosperity, he was equally disheartened to hear that the creature was happy at the University. It was pointed out that likely, he could not afford to keep the small bookworm in books anyways. Several suggestions were passed to the family about working in town, hiring themselves out to other farms, or taking up additional crafts. All the items were considered and the group was welcomed to stay at the O’Brady homestead for the evening.
When the group arrived back in Donega the next day, the group got back together to make their preparations for the evening’s events. Always suspicious, Bonny and Silvia both hid daggers upon their person, with Bonny’s dress having been tailored to accommodate the weaponry. Zhennya and Dr. Blackwell went unarmed as was the custom, and Fabien wore his rapier peace knotted, befitting a member of the Duelist Academy.
Dr. Blackwell drove their carriage to the event, dropping the group off in front. As he was pulling the carriage around to the waiting area, Fabien noticed several figures rushing passed the group, darting in and out of the carriages. The lead figure bumped into Dr. Blackwell as he emerged from the carriage. The doctor felt something pressed into his stomach and a female voice whispered, “Keep these safe! You’ll need them.” As the figure turned to leave, her hood fell back, revealing the face of Oswin Oswald, an Avalonian spy known to the doctor. With a finger to her lips, she signaled for his silence as she left over a fence, with a group of 6 black-robed figures in hot pursuit. Shaken, the doctor made his way back to the group and showed them what had been given to him. In a black pouch were three smooth tumbled stones with strange symbols. Two of the stones were red in color while one was black. The inside of the pouch had the words “Property of the Inquisition” stitched in gold lettering. Fabien reported that the outfits were reminiscent of the Inquisition but did not match exactly to what he was familiar with.
As the group headed in to the University’s Reception area, Fabien mentioned to the group he was planning to find out what he could from the visiting scholars. Dr. Blackwell affirmed the same for himself, while Bonny intended to suss out some of the movers and shakers after giving her pep talk about how parties never seem to end well for them. Zhennya would rely on her keen senses and keep an eye out for anything that might occur and Silvia said she’d be around, which everyone knew meant she would be investigating other thing besides the reception.
During the socialization period, the group split up and began learning what they could. Fabien and Dr. Blackwell spoke with Dean Riordan about the upcoming unveiling. The three items were all covered by sheets, with one appearing to be a large block shape, one being on a pedestal, and one leaning against a tall marble pillar. Fabien mentioned that there seemed to be a coincidence between the number of items and the number of brothers in a story they uncovered recently. Finnán confirmed that the number three was a powerful number in legends and folklore, often representing a trinity of ideas or three faces of a particular problem. He also mentioned witchcraft of certain types use the number three, as both a benefit and punishment. Dr. Blackwell asked about the Numa goddesses Potnia and Theonoa and their vying for the attention of Perifanos the warrior. In the end, he was elevated to a spot in the pantheon by Potnia, but in the end he chose neither sister. Dean Riordan confirmed the accuracy of the two sisters, but mentioned that while Perifanos has been mentioned in some of the legends and scripts, there is not a great deal known about the deity, and it seems that his presence has not been felt in quite some time.
Zhennya moved about the reception, uncomfortable in the dress that Bonny purchased for her, but keeping her eyes alert for anything out of the ordinary. Her diligence was rewarded as she began to feel the air crackling with energy. It was subtle, and was hard to put her finger on, but she was sure there was energy in the room. She also kept seeing small fluttering of movements but when she would look, nothing would be there. This was perplexing but she continued to be alert.
Bonny found a group of women from different nations. Guilianna from Vodacce, Eliza from Castille, and Beatrice from Avalon. The women were well dressed and did not appear to be ‘academics’ but were discussing the first edition manuscript from Montgomery Peerson’s play “A Midwinter’s Journey through Dreams.” As the conversation deepened, it became clear these women may have ulterior motives for their friendship and they saw Bonny as a kindred spirit.
Meanwhile, Silvia let herself out of the reception area and down one of the hallways to look around. She quickly noticed another figure coming out of an office and heading down the hallway in the other direction. Keeping to the shadows, Silvia maintained a stealthy stance as he followed the other woman down several corridors. The mystery woman spent some time unlocking a side door before returning to the reception area. Silvia backtracked and picked her way into the office the woman had originally come from. Inside, she found a research lab, complete with tools, strange apparatuses, and research notes. In the research journal on the desk, several pages were ripped out about a “Forest Crown.” Silvia returned to the reception and identified the woman, mentioning her to Fabien and Zhennya as well.
At that point, Dean Riordan got everyone’s attention and began the unveiling. He started with the smaller pedestal, quickly removing the sheet to reveal a crown seemingly made of vines and leaves, but which held finely cut white and green gems admidst the vines. He explained that the crown had been found within the hollow of a huge tree in northern Inismore. The tree had been struck by lightning and split open, revealing the crown to some local woodcutters, who sold it to the university. He explained that it had amazing properties when exposed to moonlight. As if on cue, the gas lights were dimmed and the oculus overhead was opened so that moonlight could stream down. As it struck the crown, the gems seemed to reflect the light out across the room in a myriad of colors. The colors were quite enchanting and calming, though to Dr. Blackwell, who had taken time to meditate and steal his mind against undue influence, they looked just like colorful lights. Several minutes later, the oculus was closed and the lights were lit again, with murmurs of astonishment and wonder from the gathered crowd.
Next, Dean Riordan unveiled the object leaning against the marble pillar, which revealed itself to be a huge, stone sword. The sword was easily seven or eight foot long, six inches wide and about 2 inches thick. The hilt itself would easily allow 5 men to grip it double handed, and the entire thing must weigh about five hundred pounds. Vested runes were carved along the entire outer edge of the blade. Finnán remarked that fisherman off the northern coast of Avalon had recently discovered it when their fishing nets caught on the item, possibly loosened from its watery depths with the recent storms.
Finally, the large stone block was revealed and it turned out to be a monolith, or standing stone. Easily seven foot tall with a width from four foot at the base to three foot at the top, the stone was etched with carvings. The stone itself was black in color, as if from obsidian. Along the bottom were carvings of roots, with a moon shining down from above, in relief as it protruded some from the stone. Along the left side was the depiction of a river and along the right side was the carving of a tall tree. A series of inscriptions in the Cymric language covered the front, and the University had provided several copies of a translation on stands next to the stone. Dean Riordan explained that the stone had been unearthed by Dr. Emmet Simpson, an archaeologist from Avalon, who found the stone in the Camlaan county of northern Avalon, in the lands once occupied by King Brand Muldaigh of Camlaan.
After the presentation, the guests were welcome to observe and study the artifacts and compare any thoughts or knowledge about them. At this point, the group separated again with each person taking to a particular aspect of the artifacts. Bonny was fascinated by the stone sword and began a detailed and exhaustive transcription of the runes along its edge. Though she couldn’t read them, her skills were such that she accurately copied them all.
Silvia kept an eye on the Eisen woman she’d seen earlier, who was now working her way around the leafy crown. Though she appeared to be studying the crown itself, it was clear to Silvia that the woman was casing it’s display pedestal, which consisted of four metal bars bent over the crown in a protective manner. Bonny had noticed that the crown appeared to grow more vibrant in color as the moonlight hit it earlier and had let Silvia know this. Zhennya, meanwhile, was again keeping an eye on things and noticed a strange man looking rather nervous and carrying a satchel over his shoulder. He clutched the satchel tightly and seemed to be watching the people carefully. Recognizing him as Vodacce, she set about warning Fabien about it.
Dr. Blackwell was taken with the monolith and as he began to study the Cymric runes, encountered an old colleague, River Song, a noted historian and archaeologist who happened upon an invitation to the reception by luck. She was already busily scribbling down some notes on the translation and the two of them soon conferred. While the University had postulated the stone had been a protective device created by a Sidhe named Oiteag, it became clear to River and Dr. Blackwell that the translation had missed some clever word play, which gave it a darker history.
The translation had several errors, which instead of speaking about being watchful, it indicated that the stone was guarding something or someone. The other lines in the poem properly translated hinted that whatever was ‘sleeping’ had caused terror and harm and this was a prison. Four names were embedded in the prom. It mentioned Dedach, a poet from King Elilodd’s time, who became a wandering knight, creating poems and ballads against the Sidhe. Finncha was also mentioned, a young knight in the service of King Elilodd with alabaster skin, known for his great beauty, and often pursued by Sidhe men and women alike. Mine, the daughter of a king, who became the first female knight under King Elilodd. She is said to have died saving a town from attack by the unseelie Sidhe. Finally, Degha, a warrior knight of King Elilodd, who rescued a king’s daughter from the prison of an unseelie knight. The theme was obvious in what was written…these four knights were instrumental in cementing a prison for something with the name of Bàs Gaoithe.
Just as Zhennya was trying to point out the strange Vodacce to Fabien, he was nowhere to be found. However, shortly after, strange words were heard from the upper balconies. The man was there, reading from an old book. Dean Riordan recognized the man, calling him Alfonso Rinaldi, who had apparently been kicked out of Burke University some time again. Laughing, the Vodacce man kept reading, and then the carved moon relief on the monolith cracked and the dried husk remains of a heart fell to the ground, turning to dust as it hit. As everyone looked to one another, the Vodacce waited and read….until cracks began to appear in the sides of the standing stone. As realization dawned that something was emerging, the scholars and guests alike began to panic. Zhennya rushed towards the monolith, while Dr. Blackwell pulled River Song out of the way. Silvia made her way quickly towards the crown, believing the woman would use the distraction to steal it. Bonny looked from where the stone sword translation she was making while Fabien called over to Riordan that someone was going to steal the crown!
As the monolith cracked open, the front of it fell with a resounding thud, shattering into stone pieces. The lightning that had crackled over the edges was now extending outwards towards the walls of the reception hall. A terrifying vision emerged, a male figure just over six foot in height with long gray hair floating as if by static electricity. His skin was a smokey gray and storm clouds seemed to play over the surface of it. Angular features framed a vicious smile, while cold blue eyes pierced the mist. Twisted horns rose from the sides of his head into several sharp points. In Cymric, the creature whispered loudly, “I am free! Come my storm kin, let us awaken!” As if on cue, veils between the Glamorlands and the University parted and a dozen or so small flying sprites emerged. Lightning crackled across their bodies and their faces were frozen in hideous scowls. They began to dart around the room, indiscriminately attacking people and objects. Finally, a larger rip formed and out strode a tall man with similar looking skin, but with dark hair. He wore what appeared to be armor fashioned from solid cloud and wielded a claymore sword that crackled with lightning. “Riagan!” shouted the Sidhe prince as he floated upwards. The storm knight looked directly at Dr. Blackwell and spoke in Cymric, “A knight of our warden! I shall deal with him!” As if in answer, a strange ghostly mantle appeared over Dr. Blackwell’s form, that of an aged knight in gleaming metal armor. Though Dr. Blackwell wanted to rush towards the man with the book on the balcony, he felt compelled to meet this foe in combat, though he remembered that he had left the sword Oidhche Tonn back at their room. As he thought upon the irony, Bonny withdrew the sword from beneath her gown tossing it to the doctor, “I thought you might need this later!” she called out as she too took up a stance to meet the oncoming storm knight.
Bàs Gaoithe, the unseelie Side prince, began unleashing bolts of lightning at nearby guests and objects, wantonly destroying them. As he rose further into the air, the winds in the room became stronger, making it difficult to move. Bonny strode towards the advancing storm knight and drew twin daggers from her waist. Though not as big as her own weapon, she landed several good hits, lunging in and plunging the steel into the knight’s armor. Though the knight was wounded, he ignored Bonny, smashing a mailed fist into her face and knocking her aside as he advanced upon Dr. Blackwell. Dr. Blackwell, now armed, also began a series of attacks against the knight, causing a previous wound. However, as the knight advanced upon Dr. Blackwell and the ghostly form of Ealdraed, some of those wounds began to heal. As he struck at Dr. Blackwell, the lightning from his blade threw the doctor backwards, dazing him for a moment as well. Across the room, Fabien was shouting above the storm’s fury to the guests of the reception. Together with River Song, the pair were able to convince the masses to make an orderly exit, with over a dozen academics and visitors making it to safety amidst the storm. Her instincts correct, Silvia made it to the crown at the same time as the other Eisen woman. Both grabbed for the artifact at the same time and a short struggle back and forth found Silvia holding the crown but the woman ready to snatch it back. During the struggle, Julia, as the woman hurriedly introduced herself, pleaded to allow her to take the crown. “It is not meant for the University. It is too dangerous,” he said, but Silvia remained suspicious. Zhennya, standing alone against the Sidhe prince, knew it was time to act. After watching the lightning that emanated from the prince’s body strike several guests and destroy some valuable objects, she raised her head and began a prayer to Matushka. Calling up Grandmother Winter to calm the storm, she reached out towards the unseelie Sidhe and began to feel the winds and lightning. Suddenly, in answer, Matushka’s call came and the winds quieted and the lightning subsided, and the storm prince looked down at the mortal with venom in his eyes, behind which small streaks of lightning could still be seen, “What is this!?” he bellowed in Cymric, filling the heads of those nearby with comprehension at his words. Looking up, the small debris that had been falling from the oculus stopped, and Zhennya breathed a sigh of relief when it did not appear the roof would come crashing down.
With the storm abated for the moment, the mass of guests and objects were mostly safe, though several crashes alerted those in the room to the presence of the storm sprites, who were tearing at flesh and stone alike in their attempts to cause as much damage as possible. A small group broke off and hurried down the corridor towards the back rooms. Julia used the distraction to snatch the crown from Silvia and head towards the other back hallway, the one at the end of which she had unlocked an escape route. Silvia took off after her, but in the crowd found herself slowed several moments, the words of the woman echoing triumphantly in her ears, “The Society thanks you!”. Fabien called out to Bonny for a dagger, and after an amazing catch, began to wade through the storm sprites. Stabbing and slashing, he whirled through their wings, shrugged off the electrical burns, and felled eight of them before catching his breath. Dr. Blackwell struck several more blows against the storm knight, in an exchange of slash and parry, dizzying bashes, and a gambled lunge, the two fought in a circle of steel and lightning. Bonny, too, aided the doctor, her blows not seeming to land as true, and one attempt to lunge at the knight resulted in him side-stepping her offense, leaving her vulnerable to a counter-attack that staggered her. Zhennya held her own as the storm prince’s anger focused solely upon her. He roared angrily and the storms began to slowly rise in power again, and a strong lash of wind seemed to wrap itself around the Ussuran, holding her fast and crushing the life from her. Defiant and unbowed, Zhennya grabbed a storm sprite from the air and hurled it at the prince. The small claws tore into his skin only briefly but the look of hatred and astonishment was her main reward. Calling once again upon Matushka, Zhennya found renewed vigor to continue the fight, struggling against the unseelie sidhe’s hold. A lightning bolt also struck the balcony, causing a long crack in it, and the shouts of the trapped scholars could be heard downstairs.
Fabien, having dispatched the remaining storm sprites with River Song’s help shouted to those on the balcony to get moving, allowing them to get to safety before the entire thing fell crashing to the floor below. Fabien then moved to aid Zhennya, providing another target to the prince, causing him to split his attention between the Ussuran and the Vodacce wielding weapons behind his back. Silvia continued to give chase to Julia, who quickly made it outside onto the streets, but with Silvia hot on her trail. A well aimed throw of a dagger knocked the crown from Julia’s hand, giving Silvia enough time to close and trip the woman. She once again pleaded with Silvia to allow her to take the dangerous item, but it was clear they were at a stalemate. Back inside, Bonny was recovering from her wounds, while Dr. Blackwell made one last desperate attempt, calling upon his incredible luck and the power of Oidhche Tonn. He lunged towards the knight, driving the blade deep within his flesh. With a look of shock, but also of peace, the knight muttered “And so it ends old Knight!” As the storm knight’s life left his eyes, the clouds that formed his armor dissolved, and the sword he wielding erupted into so much aether, leaving the doctor and Bonny standing over a corpse. Bonny, realizing the fight was not over looked up to where Fabien pointed, “The man with the book is up there!”. Unable to reach him in time, she took off down the other corridor to make short work of the storm sprites causing havoc in the research areas. Fabien, using an opening, stabbed forward into the back of the sidhe prince, causing him to bellow in rage and pain. His grip on the winds around Zhennya tightened, but she would not be cowed. As the very breath of life was being sucked from her, she called upon her inner reserves of strength, breaking free of the hold of the wind and staring down the lord of storms. Calling once again to Matushka, the storms abated for a second time. The storm prince bellowed with renewed raged, but upon seeing the death of his knight and the sprites, looked towards the ceiling. Quickly, he ascended upon the wind towards the oculus, looking down and locking eyes with the Ussuran sorcerer, “We are not through!” he warned in Cymric, but Zhennya caught the meaning of his words easily.
As the prince left the building, Fabien and Dr. Blackwell followed Silvia’s path. They emerged from the building to find the two Eisen woman locked in stand off. However, seeing she was outnumbered, Julia issued a warning, “This is on you now!” and took off, leaving the crown for Silvia to deal with. Upon arriving, Fabien asked about the woman, and Silvia explained she’d mentioned some type of Society and described a pin with a compass and spyglass upon it. Silvia also remembered noticing the woman seemed to use some unguents that Silvia was familiar with but that had different effects. She wondered what that meant now that she had met this woman from her homeland. Fabien took the crown, “I’ll return this to Finnán,” he said. He reentered the building and when he returned some minutes later, the delivery completed, he helped the others clean up. Other than three unfortunate deaths early in the fight and the loss of a dozen valuable objects, no other casualties were the result. Dr. Blackwell and River Song completed their translation, determining that the sidhe trapped in the monolith was Bàs Gaoithe, a half-sidhe bastard son of King Brand Muldaigh of Camlaan and a Seelie queen. The son had been tempted by the powers of the unseelie court, and became a prince of storms amongst them. King Brand, after Elilodd had brought the Avalon lands together in peace with the sidhe, sacrificed himself and used his heart as a way to trap his son and keep him from causing more death and harm to the lands…
Rewards: 1 XP (Bankable), Storm’s Resolve (Once per session, you may spend a Raise or Hero Point to immediately negate your Resolve in Wounds done by lightning or winds)
Fabien: Local Reputation [Scholars/Academics]: Confident
Dr. Blackwell - Local Reputation [Scholars/Academics]: Fearless
Bonny – Local Reputation [Scholars/Academics]: Loyal
Silvia: Local Reputation [Explorer’s Society]: Determined
Zhennya: Local Reputation [Scholars/Academics]: Indomitable.
Zhennya: You have a Nemesis in Bàs Gaoithe and have taken the first step on a 4-point Story for “Foul Weather Jack" if you confront and defeat him.
Silvia: You have completed the first step of a 3-point Story to learning from an Apostate.