Orborros

Faerin's fifteenth letter

Betrayal at Aurion

Dearest Father,

We are returning home. Things have suddenly turned very sour in Aurion and we felt it best to make quick haste exiting the city.

In my last letter, I detailed how we had finally defeated the treacherous Ombras. But many questions still remained. We therefore journeyed to the main caste of the Mage Lord to ask for help in our investigation.

The Mage Lord agreed that the matter was worth investigating and have bestowed upon us two writs. One to draft a cleric of Math Mathomby to aid us in communicating with the corpse of Ombras. The other to question Tigress Rasa and her possible involvement in the entire were-tiger affair. 

We first journeyed to the temple of Math Mathomby to draft our cleric. However they were surprisingly dismissive of us, until we showed them the writ signed by the Mage Lord himself. Even then they only sent a young acolyte with a scroll containing the magical spell. 

In any case, we travelled to the morgue, acolyte in tow, to where Ombras’ body was being kept. The acolyte cast the spell but we soon noticed something strange. The spell had failed to cast but a secondary effect had been cast to mimic its appearance. And the culprit was none other than Ombras himself! He had faked his death during our early confrontation and was now trying to trick us a second time. And so we did battle again with Ombras, this time knocking him out. To avoid the same trick twice, we got the guards to place him in one of the antimagic cells, same as those that Marantha was being kept in. 

And so we got a second chance at questioning Ombras. We tried to be direct but he evaded all our queries. The only thing he did shed light upon was that he was working for another, likely the Archfey Duluhan, and that he was unaware of the plot with Xerax in Arcarost. Finally he revealed that he had several contingency plans that would be set in motion upon his capture. He laughed at us and told us that he expected to be released within the next 48 hours. If we wanted to know more, we could go to his hideout. But he claimed that we would not like what we found there. We set out to stop his plan, not knowing then that we ourselves will in fact contribute to his eventual release. 

We journeyed to his residence. It was near empty. The only items of interest where a Duluhan statue and a bunch of papers. The first set of papers detailed food transport from Raven to Aurion, but Varis noted that they were encoded. They used an old Inaste coding scheme, where the different food items were a stand-in for different golem parts. The Inastes had apparently been aiding Ombras by moving all of the required pieces into the city to build a golem army. The second set of papers were official documents from the Aurion military. They detailed the annexation plans for the Woodsong region, who they claimed had grown far too independent from the Jewels.

We immediately reported back to the castle. Although it was close to midnight, General Coldfire still received us. She dodged all our questions about any invasion of Woodsong. But agreed to the urgency of stopping Ombras’ plan. She gave us signed orders to interview the Inastes.

We went to sleep and early next day travelled to where the Inaste airship was docked at the Magical Academy. We were greeted by Aisolon Inaste, whom we immediately confronted. He denied any involvement with Ombras or any knowledge of golems. But Fierna had prepared a little spell in advance and was able to read his mind while he was talking. Before long we knew it all, the plans he made with Ombras to overthrow the leadership of this city. How the Inastes had seized control of Raven. And the location where the golems were being stashed. We warned Aisolon that we now knew everything and strongly suggested that he leave before facing the wrath of the Mage Lord. As we left the Magical Academy, so did the Inaste airship.

We sent a communication to the guards on the whereabouts of Ombras' golems. Then we ourselves journeyed there. Though it was still midday, the skies were turning dark as clouds gathered around the horizon. A strong wind was picking up as we made ourselves to the warehouse. Once there, we evacuated the surrounding streets and lay in wait for the guard reinforcements. 

General Coldfire soon arrived with an entire contingent of guards and they surrounded the building. We knocked down the doors to find dozens upon dozens of the golems. When we entered they were still inactive, however with a thunder crash from outside they all awoke. We did battle with the golems. Trying to prevent them from going outside and rampaging among the populace. We could stop a few but there was simply too many. As Varis went to check outside, he noticed that the storm had gotten much much worse. The lightning strikes were so common now that they illuminated the surroundings. The rain had turned bitter and acidic, corroding any flesh that it touched. The wind threatened to toss you away as if you were a paper bag. And large balls of ice the size of fists fell from the sky. Varis did not last long exposed to these brutal elements, and had to rely on the kindness of some city guards to drag him into a nearby building.

It wasn’t long before we realised that the golems weren’t the threat to the city. The storm was. Indeed, any of the golems that did make it outside were swiftly brought down by the random lightning strikes. And so we were stuck, in the far reaches of the city as it lay under siege from this magical storm. We could see distant flashes of light coming from the Magical Academy but had no insight if they were aiding or stopping the storm. Nissa and myself tried to journey out into the storm in an effort to make a magical strike against it and break it apart. But we accomplished nothing except some grave injuries on ourselves.

We set about searching the warehouse. There we found an Inaste henchmen, who had been left to guard the golem crates. The henchmen revealed to us that there was a secret entrance to the sewer under the building. Before we had the chance to search for it, Varis had already found its equivalent in the building where he was residing and he made his way to the warehouse where we were positioned. The sewer entrance turned out to be hidden behind several crates but allowed easy and quick access. We decided to use the sewers to get to the Magical Academy as quick as possible. We commandeered a boat as the Aurion sewers consist of large flooded rooms supported by columns. 

Before long, we had made our way into the city quarter of the Magical Academy. However the first entrance we found was a landing platform under the club of Tigress Rasa. It was heavily guarded and given our past history, they did not let us use their entrance. So we rowed further and eventually found an entrance under the Academy. We traveled up and asked to be directed to the wizards in charge of stopping the storm.

We were directed to a room high up in one of the towers. There was a busywork of wizards who were pouring over books, sometimes moving quickly out in the storm to throw a spell or two at the storm before returning disappointed. By the time we got there, we were able to see that the storm had started dying down. The wizards told us that it would soon be ok to go out again but that the storm was not gone, merely temporarily recharging. It would be back in less than two days unless the ritual used to summon it could be stopped. 

When the storm was gone, we set out to find the possible location of the storm. We checked on Ombras, more to see if he hadn’t escaped yet than anything else. We tried doing some research but came up nothing. It was through Varis who confronted Ivar the transmuter and May the clanswomen, that we got to information we needed. We knew that they were involved with Ombras and that they were more than likely part of the group being about this storm. Varis tried to convince them to stop and that they were hurting innocent people. But they turned the argument around and challenged us that if we cared about people so much we should be on their side. The ruling class in Aurion has long suppressed its people, especially the clans. They hoped to bring about a better Aurion, and hoped we would want the same. In this we may have agreed, but not at the cost of innocent lives. As a final challenge, May told Varis the location of the ritual. We could either join them or fight them. It was now up to us.

When Varis reported back we made quick haste. We sent Miri on to inform the guards of what we had learned. The storm had to be stopped. On this we all agreed. We traveled to ritual location and confronted Ivar, May and Ombras’ druids. They were around a lake surrounded by ancient standing stones. One final time, we tried to convince them to stop what they were doing, to get away as quickly as possible. But they would not listen. Though Ivar and May were having doubts, they were committed to their course of action. So we could only watch as a dozens wizards teleported in and blanketed the entire area in fire. The druids maintaining the ritual were consumed instantly. Ivar was flung to one side, head first into one of the stones and fell unconscious on the ground. May survived the initially brunt of the assault, although I think her determination was the only thing keeping her up. We spirited Ivar and May away as quickly as we could, hiding them from sight from the wizards that had burned their friends. We healed Ivar back up so that he could walk again. We tried doing a quick search but could find no other survivors. The wizards had already tasked themselves with the removal of the standing stones, destroying what could be the last piece of shamanic heritage in Aurion. We took Ivar and May back to the mansion and let them rest. 

The next day, we talked about what Ivar and May would do next. Their revolution had failed. Though we were not unsympathetic to their cause, we could not let them hurt innocents. We knew that they were good people and that they themselves had doubts near the end. We convinced them to travel to Woodsong, where they would hopefully be safe from Aurion law, which would have them executed. Although it did seem likely that given Aurion’s current ambitions that a confrontation may not be avoidable. We asked them if they would stand with us against the rulers of Aurion should it be needed, which understandably confused them given that we had stopped their plan to do the same. Had their methods been different, or even had it not been Ombras and the influence of Duluhan, we might have joined them. It’s become clear to me that the world of the humans is focused on accomplishing their goals, by any means necessary. They seem to believe that doing evil deeds for the right reason, vindicates them. While it is doing the right thing, irrespective of the reason, that is the more noble path. There is so much beauty and joy in the world, and we must do everything to preserve and grow it. But for now, we could only point Ivar and May to the right path again. I have no doubt that they will get there.

Ivar and May safely on their way, we went to visit Ombras once more. Now that his threat was no longer valid, we hoped that he would be more forthcoming with his information. Varis here had an excellent plan. Knowing that Ombras was in league with the Inaste, he would pretend to be one of their agents in the hope that Ombras would reveal something more. Unfortunately Ombras provided little more information, even though Varris’ deception was in part successful. He did state that there were more plans still in motion, but refused to give any specific details. When we left the prison once more, we noticed two strange things.

The guards of the prison had all been changed. I didn’t recognise a single one. They were also not as friendly as the old guards. Secondly, we saw noticed three new invisible airships in the sky by their shimmer in the sky. We realised that this may be the front of an invasion force. So we tried to contact General Coldfire. First Thorin sent her a sending, but got a swift rebuke that she was to preoccupied to deal with it. We were instantly put off by this reply and vowed to find out what she was up to. So we travelled to the nearest guard house and claimed we had an urgent message for Coldfire. They took it down and sent a messenger out. Thenw e followed to messenger. Strangely the messenger ran into the layman’s district, which was being heavily guarded. We again managed to get in by claiming to have a message for the General. Luckily these were the guards that I had met before.

What we found in the layman’s district changed everything. The main square, once a busy bulwark of quant stalls filled with smells and people, had been cleared out. In its stead stood a vast military operation with one single goal, clear out the clansmen and clanswomen who resided outside of their designated ghetto. The square had turned into the site of heartless wholesale slaughter of people. Most of the clanspeople had been closed of behind a wall and gate on the far north of the city, their designated area. The guards were then travelling in groups of twenty, going from house to house. They dragged out those clanspeople who resided them, away from their homes, though they were unarmed, though they did not participate. All in the name of justice for the recent uprising, they were killing a mass of innocents, whose only crime was were they lived. Thorin and I must have turned red with anger. This was the final straw. I vowed to having nothing to do anymore with the rulers of this city.

We communicated back to our allies what was transpiring, but were all a bit at a loss what to do about it. Aurion had the superior force and there was little we could do to stop even a single group of guards. But Thorin had an idea. 

Thorin found a quiet ally to the north side of the layman’s district, near the gate blocking the clans. He then started a small fire, not enough to burn down the city but enough to distract a few guards.

The gate, thought to be secured, was then momentarily guarded by one a single guard. I walked up to him, and with the force of Lugh behind me, commanded him to run away. He had no choice but to head my word and took of running. I then reared back my trusted hammer and broke the wooden beam securing the gate. Thorin and I both took our hammers and slammed the gate open, sabotaging it so that it could no longer be closed. I had warned the Mage Lord months before that he needed to strengthen the defences on the northern side of the city, and now I was glad that he hadn’t headed my advice. The remaining clansmen were now freed from their prison and took the hint to rush out and go help their compatriots. This levelled the paying field between the clansmen and the guards, and before long the city’s forces were pushed out of the layman’s district. Though this didn’t stop the killing, it at least placed it upon those who wished to fight rather than the innocent people of Aurion and the clans.

This all-out civil war was also all the signal that the airships in the sky needed to start their attack. Before long, the Mage Lord castle, the Magical Academy, and the Temple of Math Matomby were under siege from the sky.

We met up again with our allies, who had put their own plans in motion in our absence. Nissa had apparently broken into the Academy and had stolen the Cubic Gate that Ombras so desired. Fierna and her had apparently hatched up a plan that this item was too dangerous to leave in either the hands of the Aurion wizards or Ombras’ revolutionaries. Fierna had also managed to get a hold of General Coldfire, who was apparently also not happy with the executions but had been given an order that she couldn’t refuse. She had agreed to delay the executions for a short while, but that was before Thorin and I had knocked down the gate.

The city now in a state of war, we made a short trip to the prison to talk to Ombras one final time. The prison itself was a mess, poorly guarded and in full riot. I took this chance as well to break out Marantha, who had been waiting for her own execution. These humans seem so intent on killing, and I refuse to let them decide who lives and dies. In the same logic, I left Ombras in his cell. We could have ended him then and there, but we had to be better than them. I know this will likely come back to haunt us, but how can I hope to save Ivar, May and Marantha if I don’t set the right example. No matter how evil someone is, they don’t deserve their death unless it cannot be avoided.

We then split up. Nissa and Miri went up to the north side of the city to talk to the barbarians. Luckily they convinced them that they were fighting a lost cause and that they were better off leaving this city for now. The clansmen reluctantly agreed. They first evacuated their elderly and children across the river, away from the city and then their warriors followed. 

The other journeyed to the south of the city to evacuate as many civilians as possible from the attacks of the airships. As we were doing so, we saw one of the airships go down. We sped over to the wreckage because Varris wished to know if it may have been crewed by someone he knew. While the ensuing fireball left few identifiable remains, nothing seemed familiar to him.

The clansmen gone and the airships in retreat, we decided it best to leave the city as soon as possible. I went to the house of Rovaart Temps, the noble whom we had been helping with his election. He was not home, likely fleeing the fighting but hopefully still safe. I left him a letter apologising that we would no longer be able to under his employ as we were leaving. 

We also quickly visited the Magical Academy but were not allowed to enter by the guards present. One of the three towers had grown unstable and was likely to collapse at any moment.

So we all met up again at the South Gate of Aurion and set out. We intend to journey back through the Feywild, so we should make good speed. It should not take longer than a few days until we are in Woodsong and a few days more we should be back at Khan Hall.

We have also learned that you may have met one of our trusted allies from Aurion, professor Jake Omar, possibly accompanied by his assistent Diana Jae. Please bestow upon them the best of Dwarven hospitality while they are visiting our home.

Looking forward to seeing you all again. 

I have brought souvenirs for everyone.

Love to mother.

Your son,

Faerin

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