Being a spell of limited distance, Laurian’s summoning on the water elemental quickly expired once the party exited the courtyard. With a wet pop, they were sent cascading to the cobblestone streets just outside Tower Progenerate. Looking behind, they saw a pitched battle between the evokers and a group of monks bearing tabards emblazoned with a sphinx – Leantha’s new mercenary order in Paravahl.
Fighting down a straggler evoker who managed to pursue them, the party made good their escape from the ambush by following Therese, de facto leader of Sphinx Paravahl. Therese told the party the story of the Sphinx order:
The Umbral Soul monk order in Paravahl could never be officially chartered, largely because many in the city see their focus on physical and spiritual perfection through connection with the shadow to be a misunderstanding of Shadrathir’s teachings. When the Order of the Sphinx was formed and chartered through the Cathedral of Bureaucracy, the monks saw that the order’s tenants were largely in line with their own and volunteered to become part of the organization, effectively disbanding their former order. Therese currently holds the position of Talon Leader within the organization.
After a brief trek the party arrived at the headquarters of Sphinx Paravahl, where they found Eunice. Eunice explained that she hired the order in haste to engage and distract the evokers in order to allow the party to escape. Eunice had connected the dots with her spies – the members of the Intrigue Indexing Institute’s steering committee, after listening to Graver’s rants, were personally visited by Adelaide herself. One in particular made haste to Tower Progenerate, very likely to deliver the knowledge of the party’s plans to lower the restriction on violence in the streets at just the right time.
It was only seconds later that a delivery Imp arrived, bearing the following message:
To my “Key” associates – I hope this letter finds you whole and well. It is with deep regret that I must inform you of a terrible misstep on my part. Shamefully, I must admit to being out-maneuvered by the Cathedral of Bureaucracy.
I came to an urgent summons from a member of the Intrigue Indexing Institution. He expressed grave concern for the seditious speech from a group of kayal striking down the pretender gods infesting our city. In my attempt to assuage his concerns, I fear I may have revealed too much, and placed you in danger.
Please accept these gems as a token of my contrition. I wish I could present these to you in person, but the situation within the city has grown ever more dire with each passing day and all my efforts must be bent towards the restoration of our prosperity.
I urge you to act with caution in the days ahead as the edict of marshal law winds down – the situation within the city is more volatile than ever and I fear you may be caught between my efforts to restore order and the Cathedral’s grab for power. Please be cautious, eschew conflict if you can, and avail yourselves of the services I’ve offered.
In this time of strife, I take comfort in knowing that the generous Priesthood of Shadrathir and the innovative minds of the Apothecary Society are working hard to obliterate the plague that scourges the halflings. It is my fear that they will not be able to withstand the trials the kayal must endure in the years ahead; it is better that they be freed altogether. As such, I have identified a location for their resettlement – Eldoreem Valley. Even when their health returns however, I would fear for their safety during the trek.
Should your path take you from the city, I offer you thrice as many gems that are with this letter to accompany the halflings over the Pass of Kettoras and to their new home. Already arrangements are being made to assemble the items necessary to relocate our esteemed neighbors. Such haste is an unfortunate necessity as I cannot guarantee the continued will of Paravahl in this matter should I be unable to restore the index.
May the shadows conceal you from your enemies,
Adelaide Omenra, Supreme Potentress of Paravahl and Headmistress of the College of Divination
Eunice was obviously flummoxed, but could prove nothing. So the party took action to make their way out of Paravahl once and for all. Loose ends reared their ugly heads however when the party was invited to Tower Requiem at the behest of Shadrathir. On their journey it became evident that the city was in chaos – riots wracked the streets, the stability index had tanked and the collection was nigh, and many had not the means to pay it.
Meeting with Shadrathir, the party learned that there were Praetorian Guards stationed about Tower Prescience and the Cathedral of Bureaucracy. The shadow goddess shared what she knew:
”The wizardess (Adelaide) has gathered her most trusted lieutenants and stormed the Cathedral of Bureaucracy. Rumors abound that she’s taken the halls of Enchantment Maintenance. It’s unlike her to attempt the futile – no mortal magic can make more than minor adjustments to the energies that bathe the city. Its power is sealed within a vault crafted by Dumathoin himself at the height of his power. Tell me, what do you know?
After some discussion, the party realized that Adelaide was using Perfections Key to gain access to the enchantment of the city. They also made the connection that the rumors of efforts to kidnap the reborn Scarceno were connected to the entire operation – she planned to somehow use Scarceno to impact the city’s enchantment. Just as the final connection was made, Shadrathir imploded, consumed by a hungry power and nearly swallowing the party as well. The party fought off the terrible creatures of the void that stepped through the rift and in the end Requiem collapsed. Shadrathir was now the sole source of power for the city’s enchantment.
Adelaide wasted little time, making the following declaration via massive magic illusions wreathing Tower Prescience:
Citizens of Paravahl, hear my words. I release you from the burden of intrigue. The oppression of the Bureaucracy is ended, and a new era of freedom begins today – the tax is no more. With solemn determination, I claim the mantle of wizard queen of the new Paravahlian Empire. The season of our isolation is ended – it is time to turn our gaze outward to the threats that have plagued our sovereignty. It is time to claim our rightful inheritance as bold leaders of a vast new civilization where progress, wealth, and prosperity are abundant. It is time we band together with the blessing of the Shadrathir and prove to the world that no force can tame the shadow we will cast across the land. It is time that the cities of old rise again to restore what the other races have squandered. It is time for the glory of the Kayal to return and woe be to any who oppose us.
It was the dawn of a new age for the city and all about them the party saw the abundance of power in the enchantment bring the city back to life.