Descending Air 25
The Doctor, Demi and Susinen are awakened by a conflagration reflecting in the clouds above Vendig. Looking down from the Doctor’s estate, they can see sickly green fire burning over the South Side, along with sparks of golden light, and streaks of electricity and red fire. Knowing that the other Exalts had gone to fight the Dragon Bloods at the Ragara estate, the trio stayed put and tries to sleep through the anxiety of what the day would bring.
The Doctor carefully wandered into town to examine the damage done by the night’s activities, and to begin tracking the bodies of her companions. The neighbouhood surrounding the Ragara Estate – the prosperous South Side of Vendig – was gutted by fire. The estate itself was destroyed, blackened stones and timbers were all that remained. Inspector Tantei of Chanos was present, turning over burnt boards and trying to glean meaning from the various scorch marks.
Dressed as a peasant fisherman, the Doctor remained on the sidelines while the bodies of her friends were gathered up. Mal and Hai-Long were recognizable as they werepulled out from crevices in the cobblestone courtyard, but the other bodies were much harder to distinguish from their charred and broken remains. The Doctor paid close attention as Tantei and his sorcerous assistant carefully identified all the exalts and placed them in heavily warded boxes, before transporting them away towards the Cathederal.
Over the following days the trio carefully listened around town, watching the preparation for a grand funeral. They also tries to discover what had happened to Ragara Syn, but she seemed to have disappeared along with her estate.
The funeral was a grand affair, with much chanting and burning of precious incense. An entire wing of the catheral had been walled off during the week, with the sorceror raising a stone barrier. The doors had been carved with occult symbols and sealed with many locks. Once the sarcophagi had been taken into the room, the Doctor heard much chanting of strange languages before the door was sealed shut.
After some short meetings with local officials the Wyld Hunt returned to the Blessed Isle, bringing many of the Ragara guardsmen back with them.
The trio had not been idle, and had the basement of the Doctor’s estate filled with preserved body-parts, knives, saws, and needles. All they needed was to bring the bodies back through town. Parking a cart in the now abandoned broken fort, they passed through the undercity tunnels to sneak into the Cathedral. Demi had borrowed Mal’s tools and set to work on the locked door. Having seen these locks before (and having bought one for her workshop many years earlier) he was able to break through very quickly, but what was inside terrified him.
The makeshift mausoleum had four sarcophagi centered within a summoning circle and ever-burning candles. With his enlightened essence he could immediately sense the watching presence, waiting to finish summoning some horrible guardian demon. Many of the occult etchings on the floor fairly glowed with power as well.
In the cramped space surrounding the engravings, Demi and the Doctor carefully trod, holding a rope between them which they edged towards the candles – freezing every time they neared the attention of the watcher. When they could go no closer, Susinen confidently stepped up and walked over the rope – disappearing from sight after only a few steps.
Her invisibility was so complete, the Watcher never noticed as she entered the circle of candles and opened the sarcophagi and removed the mostly dead bodies. Even Demi and the Doctor only noticed that the heist had been successful when Susinen whispered at them from the main Cathederal.
They quickly left, with Demi trying to lock the doors behind them, but managing to break the lockpick in her haste.
When the bodies arrived at the Doctor’s Estate, the work was only beginning for her. Mal and Hai-Long were easy to stitch up to perfect condition, but the burnt bodies required a lot more work. Under her skilled and essence infused hands, replacement skin and muscle flowed together with the charred remains as she spent hours rebuilding her friends’ bodies. Both Demi and Susinen stayed upstairs and tried to ignore the shadows and cold that emanated from below their feet.
As the rising sun slowly crept up on the estate, the Doctor looked at the blessing stone given to her by the Silver Heron. Once she touched this to the lips of her companions, their sould would be released to either reanimate or leave for Lethe. Even though her work at repair was miraculous in its completeness, there is only so much that is possible to repair the effects of demonic-fire.
Having done everything she was able to, she allowed her companions’ souls to return, and watched in awe as they slowly awoke, coughing and in pain, but very much alive.
Over the following days they all remained under the close care and supervision of the Doctor, and she carefully tended to their rehabilitation. But Vlad’s burns had been too deep and he was reduced to whispering and coughing his requests for food and drink.
As they recuperated, they discussed the activities of the Wyld Hunt and the people of Belicht. They realized more than ever that their very presence was a danger to the people they had cared for – Eisenshmide slaughtered by legionnaires and Jotunn, Siegsdorf burnt and shattered by lightning and exalted blows, and Vendig! The people of Vendig had been scourged by plague, and now many more left homeless or dead by fires of violence.
Most of all, they realized that they needed time to learn about themselves, and their powers away from the ever watchful eye of the Realm. So long as the Exalts remained in Belicht there was the danger that they would be spotted again, and yet another Wyld Hunt descend on them, bringing destruction to their families and friends.
They needed to stay hidden, somewhere the flares of their power would be overlooked. Talk turned to the wilderness of the north, or the legendary exotic crowds of Nexus in the far east…
Ascending Water 10