Vlads attention shifted from the Queens statue to the final one of the 10 – an Icewalker female by looks of things, fairly short stature but possessed of great conviction and surety. The figure is flanked by 2 large wolves. Vlad, and the rest of the group, are surprised when the owner of the statue walks out from behind it and introduces herself as Susinen. She claims to be here because the stars led here (clearly has some astrology skills), and to destroy the invaders – a somewhat ambiguous goal, since to the Icewalkers everyone currently living in Belicht (except Aujaq) was an invader, as these lands once belonged to the Icewalkers.

As the more socialable members of the group started to get to know the new arrival, Vlad turned his attention to the guardian god that they met last time they travelled to this temple. He finds the god lying near the gateway leading further in, near death and barely coherent. Seeing the failure inherent in the gods current situation Vlad has no compassion for him, and demands answers to a series of questions. He learns that the queen has entered the temple. Aujaq and Koda have a brief discussion, which ends with Koda consuming the last of the guardian gods essence. As he does so, Koda grows and gains golden armour, as he absorbs not only the dead gods essence, but also its role as guardian of this temple.

“There are 4 intruders further within, in the history corridor” he intones.

The 9 of them move down the stairs with Vlad leading the way, sword drawn. As the pass the alcoves, the draugr do not move to attack them, despite the lack of stealth. The doctor studies them for a moment and then speaks a word of command. Several of the draugr fall in behind the doctor, and follow at her command. Further along they encounter the Queen, Birgit and 2 of the queens guard working on opening a door. With his spirit detecting charm active, Vlad also spots a pair of immaterial demons waiting nearby – Vilkata’s. Approaching the queen and her party, apparently ‘unaware’ of the demons, Vlad spins and attacks as he passes them. Solar fire blazes along his sword and burns one of the surpised demons to ash in a moment. The Queen shouts something about not fighting, but Vlad ignores her, focussing instead on the second demon. A quick slash and more solar fire see’s it badly wounded, but it manages to escape via its own magic before he can finish it off. Vaguely irritated that it escaped and could now warn its brethren, Vlad sheathed his sword and started to pay attention to the Queen and his friends. Apparently she has been exalted for about 2 months, not a week like the group.

The Queen demands an explanation for what just happened – Vlad explains how the Vilkatas had been entering this tomb for months, and that Birgit had been helping them. He was confused by the Queens denial involvement given that she had a Vilkata handmaiden, but decided that now was not a good time to press the issue. The Queen dismisses Birgit for her “treachery”. Vlad makes a quick confirmation that the Queen was washing her hands of Birgit, and then runs the woman through – as he should have done when he first found her in a den of demon worshippers. Several of his friends are surprised at the action, but noone says anything.

Turning to the door while everyone recovers from his unexpected actions, Vlad translates it for everyone. ‘Only the blood of the rightful ruler will open the door.’. The queen takes out a small knife and cuts her hand. Placing her hand on the door causes it to swing open. They enter the new chamber, and find it lined with 10 sarcophogi, each made of precious gems and what they now recognise as orichalcum. The Queen claims she has come here to reclaim their secrets and moves to the end of the room to open the final door. While Aujaq, the Doctor and Hailong examine the sarcophogi, Vlad hears a voice much like the ones he encountered in the other ruins. This makes him highly suspicious of the contents of the final room. Hailong causes one of the sarcophogi to open, and then the Doctor closes it on him. After a few moments it opens again, and Hailong steps out. A discussion ensues over what the device did, and the conclusion is that it checks on the health of the soul.

The Queen still wants to enter the final chamber, and the writings on the door are translated. Unlike the other writings in the temple, these are in High Realm (the language of the Dragon Bloods on the Blessed Isle) rather than Old Realm. The chamber has been sealed by order of the deliberative, and should not be opened. Ever. An argument breaks out over whether or not to open the door, as Demi needs to find orichalcum for the plague cure, and Mal seems to be hunting for treasure. Vlad argues for the door to remain closed until they find out what is behind it, and returns to the history room to do so – on his last visit he only managed to translate one of the panels. Pytor, the Doctor and Hailong accompany him.

Translating the panels they discover that behind the final door is buried a somewhat dead demon lord – “Burning Song of Creation”. Vlad has never heard of him, but the revelation causes the 4 to hurry back down stairs – Vlad grabs Birgits notebook in passing. While they had been upstairs, it seems that the master theif had decided to open the door anyway, and they were now inside talking to a ghost.

The ghost turns out to be Louhi, an ancestor of sorts as she used to be an exalt. She became trapped in here when the dragon blood uprising killed her in the room. Since the wards are designed to keep the dead demon inside, she too was trapped. And very irritated about it after a millenia of noone to talk to. She explains that the dead first one wakes up occaisionally – but is currently asleep – and demands to be released from the room. More arguments happen as Vlad, while willing to help her leave, is absolutely opposed to opening the prison to allow her to leave. He suggests that the artifact with the warden in be used instead – the oft delayed trip to Kerker Hall is now becoming a major need. Louhi agrees but wants something to read, Koda is left to get familiar with his new role, and also to talk to Louhi.

Vlad continues to be surprised by the changes wrought by the exaltations. Many of the group, himself included, seem far more single minded about certain goals than they were before. For himself, the instant he knew there was a demon nearby, nothing else really mattered except dealing with it. Mal, normally cautious where his own skin was concerned was willing to open a door to unknown terrors in searhc of a little profit. It was strange, and it concerns Vlad. He didnt even feel anything over Birgit’s execution. No pleasure, no sorrow. Simply a demons accomplice executed. A name crossed off a list he didn’t know existed inside his own head.

Thinking back over the recent events, Vlad wonders if the dragon bloods do not have a valid point. They call Solar exalts Anathema, monsters to be destroyed, and so far in the last week or so he had seen little to prove that assessment wrong from their little group. Even better, going by the histories there may be alot more like them around Creation now, a frightening thought.

FInally, a connection was made as his thoughts wondered. The Queen was exalted 2 months ago. This was about the same time that the statue in Headless Cove was destroyed – an act that would have opened the sealed chamber with a voice there – but noone reported anything untoward. Then, at the same time he inadvertantly opened the chamber under Vendig he himself exalted. prhaps those chambers didnt contain demons, but exaltations. But if thats the case, where did the rest come from, and who else knows how to open those doors…


Belicht Dionysus