Resplendent Air 16
After routing the attacking elementals, Vlad, Mal and Pyotr were unsure how to proceed. The Surviving Jotunn was placed in a warded cage in the center of the marketplace – where the locals were able to take out their frustrations with rotten fruit and rocks. They tried questioning it, but it remained stubbornly quiet in the face of the inferior humans.
News spread quickly by boat and horse, and word that three Solars had returned and brought battle to Siegsdorf reaced vendig within days. The Doctor, deep in her studies, quickly realised what might be going on, and took the first boat to Siegsdorf. There she was able to examine the dead bodies of the Jotunn and Woodfolk.
With the additional knowledge of how the elemental bodies worked, Vlad and Mal were able to start extracting information with the aid of swords and knives. Grudgingly it spoke words of defiance – that even in death it would empower his lord Surtr, the greatest sorcerer among the Jotunn and leader of the gathered tribes. Demi, even though he was angry at the Jotunn for attacking the town, found the torture distasteful so Vlad beheaded the Jotunn and ended the torture. The doctor was overjoyed at the outcome, and spent the following days carefully preserving and packing the body parts of the Jotunn for transport back to her estate outside Vendig.
Meanwhile Pyotr was disturbed with all this talk of ‘empowering’ and started searching around town. The Solars suspected something inside the buried manse might have been the goal of the attack. They checked the sealed entrance along the smugglers tunnel, and found it still caved in. They went out to the collapsed tower and found the stairwell still choked with fallen stone and overgrowth. They suspected that the Jotnar may have been able to get though these blockages with their strength and elemental affinity, but as humans they needed to find another way in. Mal and Pyotr searched the cliffs underneath the ruined tower, and found a small crawlspace had been carved out by the action of the waves – with the aid of some well-placed ropes the solars entered the underground manse once more.
Inside they found the remains of a small library, but the years of exposure to damp had transformed this possible priceless source of information into damp piles of rotten wood and shreds of leather and paper. The journey through the passages was uneventful, and the marks of the previous fiery battles down here remained undisturbed since they had collapsed the entrance. But deep in the bowels of the manse they found the hearthroom – and a roiling pool of essence infused water. Demi and the Doctor carefully examined the pool and chamber, and determined that they collected the souls of all who died in the vicinity (which, if working properly, would prevent hungry ghosts arising), and channeled the resultant power somewhere else. With the assistance of Pyotr, Demi and the Doctor were able to trace out the flows of essence and gain a sense of the direction of the flow. They planned to carry out similar acts in Vendig, and hopefully narrow down the location of the nexus of power. At Vlad’s prompting, Demi snatched the hearthstone from the pool, and spent the afternoon attuning to the manse.
Pyotr spent the time considering the evidence they had uncovered, and began to build a profile of the as yet unmet ’Surtr". It was obviously some king of knowledgeable leader among the Jotunn, which apparently had access to some kind of sorcery, even if only the ability to bind elementals to his will. He was aiming to take control of the network of manses made by the Old Lords – and was inciting war against the humans.
The Doctor, realising the danger of these pools, desperately sought a way of stopping the flow of essence. From her investigations, it was clear that the only way to permanently stop the essence flow would be to redesign the temple, or failing that destroy it. Of course, they could simply empty the pool to ensure that there was nothing to send onwards. Demi immediately began work on a way of storing the essence of the souls, and after a mere ten days returned with a morbid artifact – carved from the skull bones of a Jotunn and encased in tinted glass, it would hold essence from a ghost or bled from a human – but barely made a dent in the collected souls in the manse. After another week of work a second skull container was created. With winter setting in the solars wanted to return to Vendig, so with no more time left, Vlad used his power to destroy the souls, preventing their power from being used by anyone.
As Mal and Pyotr guided the loading of the Blue Dragon’s goods onto the waiting ship, Vlad made sure to find some realm merchants and tell the story of the Solar defense of Siegsdorf, to ensure that the true story was spread. The merchants and soldiers listened in terror and were more than happy to take the last ships south.
Descending Air 9