With the town finally reaching some sort of peace, the party is able to take a bit of well deserved rest just before Consolodation Day. Many used the break for researching old tomes in Andric Ellard’s personal library. Interesting things to note was a method to “bring out” Khalid’s spirit inhabitant, a possible connection between the obsidian temples and the former queen of Falcatta and a mysterious group of mute pilgrims, Cyndine Aedwynn, as well as rumored traits of the mysterious Shoui Orb. Solomon also learns that his captain has been captured and is being transported to the capital, and is constantly in the company of High Priestess Ionne. Likely she is being required to heal the tortures being inflicted upon the prisioner.
However, their research is brought to a halt with the new arrival of Lord Tresker. This youth of about 15 years old, and a rising star of the Blood quickly takes control of the Blood office, and requests the presence of the party due to the recommendation of Lady Reiss. It turns out that Lord Tresker is the harbinger of the Shoui Orb, and he claimed to want to prepare the city for its arrival. After inquiring about the party’s qualifications, he tests their mettle with none other than erstwhile guard member Critwall. However, this time the tables are evened, as it is revealed that the laggard man has been Teathered, a sentance of punishment carried out by the Blood which seals the latent powers that an individual can wield. Lord Tresker temporarily Unteathers Critwall, and it is quickly and painfully noted that he has a hybrid bloodline which somehow is part elemental. In his case, lightning. His suddenly increased abilities make him a match against the party, but they manage to eke out a victory.
Lord Tresker seems impressed and assigns the party to travel out along the Western road to meet with the carriage transporting the Orb to Tor Sera. They are accompanied by a silent and unfriendly Captain Graythall. The trek out of town is easy, however, the next day, when accopanying the carriage back, they are ambushed by a clever group of Wildblooded warriors. A huge man managed to disable the carriage as well as defeating Captain Graythall and dragging him off a battle trophy. Meanwhile, the party broke into the carriage and recovered the box containing the Orb and made their escape towards Tor Sera.
Fleeing Wildblood reinforcements, Korrigan outpaces the rest of the party and bunkers down to get his own personal look at the Shoui Orb. However, upon breaking into the box, he finds a mundane, fake orb. Revealing his find to the party, they begrudingly (and angrily) return the fake to Lord Tresker. The youth doesn’t seem to surprised at the ambush, and he reveals that he always had the Orb on him, just in case such events happened. He is unappologetic about sending them into a likely ambush, but notes that Captain Graythall was a loyal and duty-bound man who brought Lorec honor with his sacrifice.
As a reward for what Lord Tresker says as ‘successfully drawing out the enemies of the Blood’, he willingly shows off the power of the true Shoui Orb. Using a simple, but powerful dvine ritual, he draws a ‘mote’ of energy from the Orb into an obsidian locket, which he gifts to Andric Ellard as an Amulet of Protection. He also explains that there are two artifacts required to keep the Sands at bay. The power contained within the Shoui Orb, and another previously unknown item that he called “The Looking Glass”.
Andric Ellard, happy with his gift from such an upstanding member of the Blood, invites the party to stand with him during the closing ceremony of Consolidation Day to be bequeathed with the rewards they deserve for defending the city over the past month. However, what awaited at the closing ceremony was not at all what was expected, either by the party, or by Andric.
The ‘protective amulet’ given to Andric seemed to contain a trap of some sort. It shattered, and in the process turned the figurehead into Sand. A wave of energy pulsed over the city from the released power, and the ground started to show signs of turning to Sand as well. With a haughty announcement, it is revealed that Lord Tresker has basically sentenced the city to death for ‘rebellion’, its citizen’s souls to be claimed by the Shoui Orb for defense against the Sands.
A crystal similar to the ones seen at the obsidian temple, and in the dream world appears and channels a mote (soul) from the sandy remains of Andric Ellard to the Orb Lord Tresker holds in a fortified position on the City Walls. Alongside him is a contingent of royal Lorec guards, wearing their fineries, holding the wall against those who may attempt to escape. To add to the party’s troubles, something appears to be moving in the new patches of Sand that are growning throughout the city. Reapers…