Shattered Moon

The threat of destruction

Zalyanitha, Bastyn and Rakshavyada witness two caravans leaving the city in a hurry. One sight catches Zalyanitha’s eye: the person with appearance of Enya pulled off his face like it was a mask and revealed a mirror mask underneath.

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Padme and her chosen one entered her bedchambers. Padme started undressing but her husband stopped her: “We won’t be needing that”. He took off his mask and Padme recognised Saturn. He was armed and was prepared for an attack. Luckily, Padme dodged it and stomped the ground with intention to stupefy him. The floor broke and she went down. Saturn’s impersonator escaped and all Padme could do was complain about weak constructions of the pallace to her vizier who hurried in after he heard the crash noise.

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Bastyn, Zalyanitha and Rakshavyada entered the grand hall. They tended to some refreshments and talked to some guests to find out what was going on. It turned out that Padmes decision for a suitor was scandalous and the siege of the city is inevitable. Afterwards Zalyanitha talked to the grand vizier and expressed her wish to help. She inquired if there was time for re-selecting the suitor upon circumstances that Padmes current suitor would die. He affirmed Zalyanitha that there might be hope for that but he does not wish to get involved.

Zalyanitha went to talk to Padme. They exchanged pleasantries and reproaches. Zalyanitha said that Padme was not responsible in her decisions and Padme reproached that Zalyanitha should have cancelled Padmes contract to become a queen. Padme informed her that her last suitor had turned out to be Saturn.

Afterwards Padme decided to go for a walk in her domain while it was still intact. The war-horns could be heard and it was becoming clear that time is running out.

Zalyanitha asked Rakshavyada for help to locate Saturn and went to the library together with Bastyn in hope to preserve some manuscripts from being destroyed upon the siege. Saturn was nowhere to be found so Rakshavyada helped them to gather scripts and scrolls and hide them. They had just finished burrying them when the war-horn was heard on the city gate.

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Who am I?

Black shadow enters the balcony before Padme takes a blood bath. This secret movement was not ignored by deva. She went towards balcony, but it seams that shadow was fast enough to fall-back to the streets. Besides the governor comes in with servants escort and necessary tools to prepare the proper bath. Padme requests that everyone left her alone until she wash ups. Deva plunges into the bloodstream with happiness. The warm blood calms her and restores the vitality. After few minutes of silence the several thralls comes in to the apartments with luxurious cloths, fancy head wears, adornments and mirror masks. They cloths deva in ceremonial liveries. The trumpets sounds in the city once more…

Meanwhile in the library. The immortal merchant finds out that council of five were the generals of the Wild One and Mad One. Three of them served to the Wild One and rest were pledged allegiance to the Mad One. The willingness and volition are the main keys to ensure the distance and direction to the target location, but you must not to forget that the realm has her own purpose. Make peace with land and you will be ready for journey… Zalyanitha ascertains the travel requirements in the memoirs of deva. Zalyanitha enjoying reading in the library until the commotion starts in the hall. It seams that Rakshavyada is very angry on the mirror masked librarian, because the man destroyed the manuscript about creatures which covers they faces with mirror masks. The commotion overturns to struggle when the greate hunter does not answer to the question – Who am I? This masked man cast out of Zalyanitha’s patience. This disrespect must not be tolerated. After a few moments the offender was arrested by devas. The immortal merchant recalls that Zalyanitha is the head of law. The crew attracts towards the city prison.

You are nothing – just sand in the desert, man without a soul… Are the answers to every question Who am I? Immortal merchant feels the soft touch in the middle of the process. He quickly turns his shoulder and face the man in shape of Verstur. – What your name stranger? – My, my… name is Vestur. Bastyn relaxes and invites the scholar to come with him. The man waves his hand to other sailors and joins the group.

- We need to be in one place, because this strange place is very dangerous for mortals.
- In this city is more safer when in the desert – Bastyn responds slowly.
- Why did not you run away when had a chance? – Vestur asks the merchant.
- I had made a promise not to leave ship’s crew, but it seams that you all easily forgot that.
- We had no choice… – scholar touches merchant’s shoulder to make him calm down.
- Do you? – teachers face distorts of pain. – Next time the sacrifice would be yours. Don’t forget it.

Finally the crew enters the prison.

Zalyanitha starts the interrogation of the librarian. After question session the deva could not find any specific information what do these mirrored person wants from devas or why they target them. More drastic methods comes in the hands of deva. Burning flesh and screams drives Vestur and sailors crazy. So, they decided to leave the prison cell and wait outside the prison. Bastyn joins them too. He wants to make some investigation how mad realm affects mortals. It seams that blood and water are the only source of food. More and more scream fills the prison cell. Few more tortures and the thing can’t even focus his mind any more. Rakshavyada has an idea how to interogate this thing, but he needs to retrieve the mask. He runs to bring it from the library. Bastyn offers his assistance, but deva thinks that he will be safe. The grate hunter returns to the hall, but he announce that someone is following him. He grabs the mask and returns to the street. Rakshavyada tries to surprise the tracker, but it seems that he is retired from his spot. Deva returs to the prison. Deva dons the mask and turns around to the thing.

- You don’t have personality, you is the memory without context like sand in the desert, you need to forget deva’s memories and return to your convoy…. These words had affected thing… It started to change his physical form to the his original one with his own minds and explanations how they could be affected by strong memories of others, especially deva’s or long living ones.

Rakshavyada gives the mask to Zalyanitha.

- It’s time to return the memories of Chandrakridalu to your self.

The process begins from the start.

- You not my son. Just a memory from the past nothing more…. The trumpets sounds reach all the corners of the city.

Meanwhile in the throne hall. Padme enters the hall. Many townfolks and quests gathered in the hall to witness the caronation ceremony. Awkward, but many faces are familiar to the deva. The shadow man is the hall too, next to the entrance to lodging. The governor holds the crown of the city. He politely shows where she must to stand. Solemn music began to play when Padme stands to the carnation position. The governor makes short convivial speech and puts the crown on the head of the deva. Padme refuses to wear the mask. Many applauses rippled through the hall. The shadow man leaves the place after carnation ceremony. The trumpets sounds echoes in the hall and all around the city. The guests salutes the queen.

- Queen, it’s time you to choose the first mate.

The first one was the head of beasts convoy, but Padme refused his offer with nausea. The creature threatened the queen and Padme accepted this ultimatum. The second one was the head of the masked… Deva was not impressed too and she announced that the shadow man is her choice.

- Please, bring him to me.
- Yes, my queen. The sadness covers the governors face.

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The Coronation

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Chandrakridalu’s attitude towards Rakshavyada was clearly very negative. He was demonstrating extreme annoyance of merely presence of the hunter. Unfortunately that was completely ignored by either Zalyanitha and Rakshavyada himself. Deva of the hunt pointed: “this one is persistent”. Zalyanitha suggested to head on the palace of Padme to meet the rest of the gang. As they entered the crown hall one could see everything outstanding up to the tiniest details and then there was Bastyn. The immortal was sitting in the corner completely naked as he emerged from the Roots of the World. Surprisingly that was kind of natural appearance to see Bastyn for both Zalyanitha and Rakshavyada. The guards were also not paying attention. After greeting devas Bastyn seemed to realize his awkward outfit in such a place. He tore down one of the curtains to cover himself up lifting up the absurd of the situation. Luckily again no one paid to Bastyn any attention because at the moment Zalyanitha firmly tried to go through the door where she saw Padme had gone through last. Guards tried to stop her though merely mortal are no match to devas strength. As more guards were about to aid the poor one standing in Zalyanitha ‘s way and escalating the situation even more, doors opened widely and the vizier came through with inquiry to know what is all the fuss here. Zalyanitha demanded to see Padme that instance though vizier’s eyes were all on torn curtains and Bastyn trying to dodge the glance. Vizier summoned servants to bring some clothes and kindly asked deva’s to wait in waiting-room along with other guests. While Zalyanitha and Rakshavyada had no quarrels with that, dressed up Bastyn refused to go in crowded area and stayed in crown room under watchful eyes of guards.
Zalyanitha, Rakshavyada and Chandrakridalu were once again alone in crowded room. The child immediately took another strategy to dominate all the attention of Zalyanitha. Meanwhile Rakshavyada took his time to look along the crowd if he sees more familiar faces from his past. There were some faces that looked somehow familiar ergo Rakshavyada couldn’t recall where he had met them before.
“Excuse me, I think I was had to find you” – there was a plum man in front of the hunter, he wore one of those somehow familiar faces.
“Who are you?” – asked Rakshavyada
“I thought you’d knew who am I”
This situation was a dejavu for deva. He once again took his way of misleading. And explained that the person is none other than Mahormimat and he was aiming to do mischievous things with him and his friends. The man took it all as a real thing. Then bells began to chime and doors to the crown room opened. The crowd poured through the door Zalyanitha, Rakshavyada, Chandrakridalu and “Mahormimat” went along. Rakshavyada now recalled that the man actually looks like Danal, the merchant that found him and other devas in sarcophagus. All the crowed divided into two groups leaving the path from door to the thrones. The queen appeared as well. She looked stunning with new saris and jewelries. Padme took a seat in the throne and then the first caravan came in. The one with lights and mirrors. They came all blinking and presented her a huge chest of masks as a token of respect in honor of the new queen. Vizier was quite pleased to receive such present as there was a ball of masks was planned later this evening.
Second caravan was of people that were moving very strangely and unnatural. Even the voice of the caravan master sounded mechanical. They had no present for queen but they promised to build a theater in the honor of the queen. Vizier first wanted to show his dissatisfaction on such present but he immediately was hushed by Padme. The third caravan was the one Rakshavyada came to city with. First everyone could smell it then saw all the fantastical colossal creatures. They presented Padme with a huge bowl of blood. Then Vizier invited guests to take masks from the chest brought by first caravan and prepare for the feast. Danal-Mahormimat suddenly went straight to the throne staring absentmindedly to Padme. At first guards wanted to stop him but Padme ordered to let him through. He introduced himself as Mahormimat and stated that he needed to see her but he was not sure why. Padme explained that Rakshavyada is a big joker and in fact “Mahormimat” is not Mahormimat because he is human and his name is Danal. That somehow triggered extreme happiness to him. That guards had to lead him from the crowd. Under strict order of Padme no harm had to be made to him. Zalyanitha asked Chandrakridalu to bring some masks just to have some quick words with Rakshavyada. They managed to agree to talk a bit with Padme till Chandrakridalu got back with masks: mask of the queen for Zalyanitha, mask of the knight for himself and mask of the joker for Rakshavyada.
Devas approached the throne to have a chat with Padme. Chandrakridalu was asked to wait, which was a bit hurting for the boy. Zalyanitha explained Padme her suspicions how to end her reign. Rakshavyada sahred his concerns on mirror masked people. And Padme looked very worn and annoyed. Devas decided not to disturb her any more. She ordered vizier that her friends had full access everywhere they want.

Meanwhile Bastyn was sitting alone in the crowded crown room when he heard a familiar voice “have you seen my husband”. Woman took off her mirror mask and indeed it was his wife. Bastyn stopped her from hugging him and asked to get them both a mask. While Bastyn ’s wife was away he went to the other end of the hall. Then he was founded there as well. He then asked his “wife” to bring some drinks and then while she was away again he took some other mask and was about to head to another corner, but then he spotted Zalyanitha, Rakshavyada and some child leaving the throne room. He decided to follow them as there is never boring when you tag along with those. Devas on their way was greeted by some person with mirror mask and they decided to go after him. Bastyn continued to follow. Very soon he was spotted and only then he realized that he is still in his mask. Immediately when he took of the mask and recognized as Bastyn the tension disappeared. Rakshavyada explained that they are going to the library to seek some closures on some puzzling questions. They all entered a tower. From inside it was full of scrolls and books. Rakshavyada started to search anything about history of the land and some clues on mirror-masked people. Zalyanitha searched for some answers on mystery of Unmandin. Bastyn pretended to help Rakshavyada but in fact was searching some information about his origins and The Roots of the World. Rakshavyada found a book about the rules of the magic and why shimmers are free in Mad lands. And that all rules are written on the gates of Unmandin. The book was interesting for Zalyanitha as well. They shared their findings and went searching for more details.

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Hail Padme, hail the queen

Enormous size gates of city starts to open slowly, but Padme is ready to leave this place. Deva set eyes on the convoy of lipless slavers mounted on strange beasts. The leader is even stranger with his second skin robe covered in patterns. The scarecrows had binged cages with slaves inside. The slaves of ship crew… The last cage contained of suspended and skinned human body. The bad feeling priced deva’s mind that this body could be of her fellow – Bastyn. Padme turned back to the city. She founded the city’s governor in the same spot where he was left a few moments ago. Padme announced him that he must ask the scarecrows about the price of all slaves, but the price was too high for deva, but lord of the city could afford such luxury. So, she had chosen to save paupers from suffering. She promised to ministry the city for ten years from now.

Meanwhile. Rakshavyada finally came out of the sand labyrinths. The great city sprang before his eyes. Such kind of city should not offend even deva’s standards. Majestic sound of the trumpet starts hums through dunes. The great hunter notes the caravan not far from him. Deva had decided imperceptibly to join them. Nobody had been bothered that Rakshavyada joined them. Actually, mongrels of various animals had travelled to the city. They were not usual hybrids, but mixtures of human and bull, bird and so on. It seems that big monoceros was the leader of the caravan.

Zalyanitha recovered from the water shortage. Deva continued the journey to the Unmandin. This time she left the bloodless Guntur’s body in the dunes. She finds the city after a few hours of walking in the sun and sand, but decided to move on. Few more hours of walking, but city did not wanish from her eyes. The strange movement starts in her spot after the sound of trumpets. She looks around and remains surprised that she is in the middle of the convoy. She touches one of the wagon to make sure that she don’t see the mirage. Sunny bunny jumps on her face from mirror mask of familiar person. One more look and the person is vanished, but deva attracted towards the city.

The queen of the city is accompanied to throne room. She asks for food and beverages and requests the audience with the slavers, but no need to complete this request, because the slaver leader comes personally to greet the mistress and deliver gifts to her. She insists that the skin has to be delivered too to complete the whole package.

- Governor, you need to find Zalyanitha.
- Yes, my queen.

Zalyanitha enters the city and in the blink of the eye the two servants presents to the deva of justice. Although they did not convinced deva that lady of the city had summoned her to her presence, but she does not resisted to them. After a few moments she was escorted to the city throne room. She saw the slaves and one skinned body before entering the throne room.

Padme greets her dear friend. She describes to Zalyanitha that she had take the place of city lord for ten years in order save the sailors from the ship, but scarecrows binged the gift to her. So, she thinks that one part of deal is violates an agreement. Zalyanitha started to debate about city laws with the governor. Deva of justince could not understand how with out proper coronation rite could be city lord assigned to his task, but governor announced that this deal was completed without errors. Such law is written on the gates of the Unmandin. During the conversation the Bastyn‘s body and his skin was departed to the throne room. Padme ordered to leave the room to everyone. She started to lay out skin paces on lifless Bastyn’s body since she had perceived the pain in her fingers.
She is well aware of what kind of pain. She pulled out of his body and ordered servant to complete her task. Black shadows erupted from skinned body and had winded around servant. After a few moments later two bodies lay down on the ground. Shadow covered all Bastyn’s flesh. The blackness converted to the fresh skin on immortals body. Bastyn regained his consciousness. Scream of the merchant rocked all the hall.

- It’s enough, it’s enough, please… Let me be….

After a few moments merchant saw the volts of the hall. The suspicious voices of Padme and Zalyanitha reached his ears. He explained that he had sacrificed part of his body to Yapvdanyasa in order to keep his last resorts of sanity. He also want’s to find the way to die and completely destroy his body and not became the abomination. The governor interrupted the scene and announced that Padme must be prepared to the ceremony of the coronation. So, she left the throne room. Zalanytha decided go to the city and try to find the way how to help Padme. Bastyn was left alone. He started to familiarize with his new skin.

Rakshavyada entered to the city with the strange convoy. He had walked arount the city till the moment he run into a woman in mirror mask. She greeted deva and said that he could help her to remember. The voice of the woman was quiet familiar to deva. So, he decided to folow her to the safe spot. There he found himself in luxury apartments with a woman. The woman unmaksed her face. Rakshavyada saw the face of the Adi. The woman was approching to deva with one single question „Who am I?“. The great hunter described to her that she was a shimmer in the past. „Maybe the taste of blood could help you to remember who you are.“ The woman accepted deva’s offer and had been beat to the death by the curse of the Wild one. Deva secretly withdrew from the apartment and from the hotel – back to the „safe“ streets.

Zalyanitha had started her investigation from the fountain. She found out that many town dwellers come here to gain fresh water from the pool. The ornaments around the basin are simple enough – no complex patterns or fancy art. If she could stop the the water from the source maybe the town comes back to lethargy and Padme will be free once more. Thinking about this idea she attacked to city. She met Chandrakridalu – the young and bewildered boy with one goal to find his mother. She not immediately admitted that her is his mother. The youngster became very very glad about it, but that happiness was spoiled by the Rakshavyada. The great hunter announced Zalyanitha could not trust this cheat and not tell anything about real Chandrakridalu. It just a play of Mad one. Zalanytha described situation about Padme and sailors a.k.a. slaves of the scarecrows. The youngster started to make a little mess in the street.

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Lost in the lands of the Wise One

Bastyn is passing in and out of consciousness, hoping that his body will finally gives up and he will be saved from the inhuman pain of torture in the seclusion of his warren. But his immortal body does suffer a lot before this happens. And so the poor merchant witnesses how his skin is skillfully torn off in front of his terrified ship-crew. One crew member is then picked up by the slave-drivers and forced to dress it. Through the red mist Bastyn sees how the skin wearer the takes a knife and starts methodically, with a doctor;s precision to torture him.

Finally, exhausted, immortal body falls numb, and Bastyn finds himself in his warren. It seems unussually empty, only a black mist whirling on the ground. Suddenly somebody whispers in to his ear:

“Give up. Bastyn, it is enough”.

The merchant recognizes his black tentacled demom.

“Give up, stay in the silver labyrinths, newer return to the waking world”, whispers the voice.

“But what will happen to my body?”

“I will take a good care of it, I waited for it for so long, I deserve it”.

“But what will happen to me?”

“You? You will forever stay in the silver labyrinth, lost, but safe from your enemies and from your so called friends. Why would you want to return there? Humans hunt you, Devas torture you, there is nothing for you but pain.”

“No”, answers the Immortal.

“Fine… fine… then I want half of your body and I will help you.”

“What does that mean for me?”

“Well, what you touch will be mine, and how you will be seen will be mine also. Accept this offer, you will not have any other choice.”

“Let it be so.”

“Let it be so”, repeats the demon and wraps Bastyn in to a sheet of darkness.

  • * *

Zalyanitha drenches her thirst by drinking from the flask that The Blue-Eyed-Deva-Creature gave her and then realizes that it is not a water she is drinking, but blood. Soon she discovers the source of her refreshment – Guntur lies on the ground with his throat slit, gushing the last drops of his lifehood.

“There are only two things that can quench a thirst in the madlands”, the Blue Eyed one speaks, “Moonsilver and Blood, and who would drink the Moonsilver when it’s so plenty and blood is so scarce?”

Zalyanitha ignores her ad tries to rescue Guntur, but his life is leaving him fast, and all that Deva can do is to comfort him and to say the last goodbyes. Finally she lies down the limp body and asks:

“Who is the one wants to see me?”

“But the Mad one, of course.”

Silently Zalyanitha gathers her belongings and sets of to the white towers dotting the horizon in the east, passing the city that she sees in front of her.

  • * *

Rakshavyadha finds himself travelling alone through a red labyrinth that seemed to be gnawed by the winds in to a sandstone. It seemed that it does not have beginning nor the end, just endless corridors winding, looping intersecting and dividing. Even the tireless body of hunter Deva was starting to feel exhausted, and the endless wandering without a knowledge if one is progressing or just walking in circles, was not helping his mood either.

But unexpectedly the tunnel had abruptly ended, opening in to a colossal crater. Its bottom, far down was hidden in to a blackness, blackness that moved. Rakshavyadha could she as a huge, serpent-like body had risen from it, stretched dark winds and plunged back in to the abyss. And then deva realized that his own pattern is separating from his own body, lagging behind in the air for some time after he moves, and just after while, lazily repeating the movement of it’s host.

“This is what you help to bring to this world”, the familiar voice sounds from behind.

Rakshavyadha turns around and sees the veiled figure blocking his retreat.

“That’s what you say, and this is what the Mad One tells you”, retorts Hunter.

“Perhaps, but this is what I believe, I do also believe that you carry something form the Wild One.”

“I do, but this I will bring to the Mad One, it does not concern you”, replies Rakshavyadha scaning the situayion for the possibilities of attack and defence and noticing that Blue Eyed one is hiding her left hand behind her back.

“In that case, Your death will be a my apology for the master, for leaving him”, in an failed attempt of surprise she jumps at the Rakshavyadha with a dagger blade shimering in her hand.

The blade misses her mark and devas clinch in to a deadlock.

“For killing You, I will be forgiven”, manages to shout the assailant, before the iron grip of Rakshavyadha’s left hand seizes her face.

Short but desperate struggle ceases with a whet crush, when the scull in the metal grip shatters. Deva tosses the lifeless body in to the crater, where it slides and rolls down until a dark, serpent-like spawn of abyss swallows it and disappears in to a blackness.

Rakshavyadha turns around and walks in to a sandstone tunnel, which quickly leads him to a peacefully looking valley with a suspiciously normal looking city peacefully situated at the bottom of it. Deva puts the trophy dagger between the plaits of his furs and walks towards the city.

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Past, Future and the Memories of long lost glory

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After dingy runs aground Bastyn jumps out of it walks last meter on foot. One step from the waterline he stumbles and stops… but there are footprints that continue from him into the shore. On a dry land dust forms figure, that develops into beautiful blue-eyed deva. The demon tentacles reaches for her and she gently caresses them and sights “So you liked me so much”, but the tentacles return to Bastyn. Mage returns to his self, but feels that he lost something – knowledge or memories.

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Blue Eyes welcomes travelers with a gracious curtsy to these lands. After what she walks with Rakshavyada talking about past and future and the causes of The Mad One and The Wild One, how one of them wanted to breed warriors naturally and other use old constructs/devas in battle with the impending doom. They also talk of First Traveler Last Dreamer, the Mother. Blue Eyes tries to touch Rakshavyada as if to take something, but Rakshavyada resists her tries and asks not to do that.

-X-

Padme tries to follow but she lags and loses those two. Looks like all party accidentally separated. Padme walks in the direction where Rakshavyada and Blue Eyes went, but cannot catch up with them. Deva notices that dust tinkle under her feet, so she amuses herself dancing, kicking the dust and making music of it until she is absolutely positively lost. That way she reaches strange city with dried up well and people half dead from thirst and famine. She remembers her glorious days when she could produce fresh water springs with her spear, so she tries the movement and feeling as she did numerous times before while it was “Times of Devas”. There is a big surprise – fountain well swells up with water… Padme is very suspicious, her suspicions grow after people drink from the well and recover instantly. It looks more like delirious dream than reality, so Deva feels need to escape from this false dream. People of the city try to convince her to stay and rule them, but she tries to dance around the issue and calmly escape to find her companions. She reaches the gate and wants to escape, but there is knock of the gate from outside that locals declare “the envoys are here to greet our new ruler and they bring you gifts”. Padme is trapped.

-X-

After lying to rest Bastyn wakes up bound. All his human companions (soldiers, crew and Vestur) a bound too. It looks like they were caught by slavers. He tries to break free from strange beats (camels are not normal too) like caravan masters, but is caught and ends up punished – the beasts begin to flay him…

-X-

Zalyanitha walks with -Guntur until they see shimmering of moonsilver. The spheres of moonsilver float in the air and they somehow resemble long lost Zalyanitha‘s mirror artifact – she sees herself pregnant in the reflections and sees the silver band she lost at Moon Island. Also she sees Chandrakridalu as her child… Devas mortal companion is at his limit and fells, Zalyanitha takes the things he carries and tries to walk forward… here she hears slurping and feels pain in her arm – she sees a girl with iron teeth leeched on her hand. The girl, it seems this is Adi, she rises her blood face and smiles, after what returns to devouring Zalyanitha’s blood…

Zalyanitha is almost slipping from her consciousness but hears Blue Eyes who scolds Adi as “bad, bad Shimmer” and drives it off. Blue Eyes wear a veil on her face, she tries to touch Zalyanitha saying that she is curious about the “fresh” memories of the past of the Devan apex… also that there is someone at the city who wants so meet Zalyanitha, she points to the city.

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Road to the Unmandin

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The sailors makes tremendous efforts to move the ship back to human world or far away from the island. This strange place nevertheless do not want to release the grip on newcomers. Bastyn releases the crew from the work after a short investigation on distance between ship and island. The immortal merchant returns to the captain’s cabin to find the answers how to run from the island. He finds Vesturn in the apartments. The old scholar investigates the strange book made from wooden sheets. Bastyn asks him to show the book. Immortal does not recognize the characters, but imagery are quiet understandable. Eight pictures are scratched in the wooden tablets. The first of them shows the ritual how to escape from the island to the human world. The same vision immortal man saw in his dream while ago. During the exploration of the images Padme came to check on Bastyn, but after short look to the book she just run away from this boring occupation.

Mean while on the ship’s deck. Zalyanitha handwriting the escape pattern on the ship. Padme from time to time helps her to make this pattern. Rakshavyada performs his routine meditation and gathering his body strength. Bastyn appears on the deck after some time and announces that they have one option to leave this place. The woman’s blood (lots of blood) is needful to complete the ritual. Immortal merchant fears that they don’t gather such amount of blood. The great hunter still proposes to go to the Wildone’d or Madone’s realms. Bastyn reveals the imagary to the devas. One of the paintings depicted the armoured person holding the dagger above some figurine. Zalyanitha confirms that the armour is similar to the ones Padme had wore in the Moonisland. Guntur shows on deck in the middle of parley. The youngster whines to Zalyanitha that he wants to take some adventures and he does not want sit in one place without any action. At this moment to sail a bout is not available – Zalyanitha patiently explains to the youngster, but after few more whines deva returns to the pattern handling. At the end of pattern completion the crew decides that Bastyn will bargain with the deamon and Padme will sacrifices her blood. The other problem is that the crew don’t have the proper drugs for ritual. Bastyn explains that wild bees venom was used to connect to silver space during the sorcerer king times, but this knowledge is forgotten, but… Bastyn, Padme and Guntur attracted to island to look for wild bees, but Guntur had cough some stings to his body. The hunt was successful enough to make the venom’s oil.

It’s seems that everything for ritual is setted up, but at the last moment Bastyn‘s eyes started to flash in blue once more and Varttamatravabodhana utters through immortal’s body once more. All devas gathers arround the shimmer. The daemon speaks about the all the meaning of world’s rescue plan, but it’s seems that they failed. Varttamatravabodhana is ready to return to her’s origins – to the realm of the Madone. She wants to meet with her old friend and look there for consolation till the end of the world will come to Madone’s realm. The shimmer will take Bastyn‘s body to the one of banned banks. Bastyn returns back. Devas announce him about Varttamatravabodhana decision. After long conversation they decided to go to Madone’s realm and take a place in the Unmandin if they success. Bastyn‘s gathers all sailors to the deck and apprise them all possible options how to leave this island: travel to the Wildone or Madone lands or make sacrifice and complete the ritual. All these options had been presented to the ship’s crew and there small revolt begins. Any attempt to calm down audience failed with short fight between Bastyn, Rakshavyada, Padme and foreign sailors. Only Zalyanitha watched the steel dance from the safe distance. Opponents had been bitten in few seconds. Vestur promised to cool this tension and present the decision till dawn.

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Death of the Aturn

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Beneath the mountain, next to long dead enormous tree a group of our beloved adventures were slowly waiting for the end. Everyone were bidding their time in their way. Esteva was silently whispering with the prince.
Unsurprisingly Rakshavyada chose a spot further from the group sitting and meditating when he heard the voice:
“You smell different from others, you smell like you being touch by us or even initiated us”.
It was not the first time Rakshavyada was hearing voices in his head hence he was barely surprised.
“I might smell different as I have seen the one who dreams”
The entity was slowly crawling with it tiny tentacles all up to Rakshavyada ‘s furs. Answer was received quite positively by the entity and as reward it promised to devour Rakshavyada the last and even let him to choose who will be the firs victim out of the remaining. Deva of the hunt did not doubt long to suggest Aturn. Entity wasn’t leaving Rakshavyada alone for a while asking to tell everything about … well everything. And so Rakshavyada was whispering stories of his meeting with the Mother.
Meanwhile Bastyn also was meditating next to the trunk of the tree and slowly drifted to the dream. The dream of how he used to live here when it was all green and alive. He dreamed about how the pattern of the Blue Eye was carved to his back how he and ten chosen were boarded in the boat and ten women slit their throats and spilled their blood to the wooden bowls and spilled that to the river. The boat was all covered in the pattern. And then the boat moved south up the stream.
Zalyanitha was also bidding her time next to the tree and slowly drifted to the dream where sh suddenly heard a voice urging her to run away from here. She jumped out of her sleep and after she once more looked around searching for another way out she decided to climb up and try to dig her way up.
Bastyn was woken up by salvage from the spot Zalyanitha was digging. After short moment to regain his grip on reality he tried to search advice on his dream from the Rakshavyada but to his horror he saw him whispering under his nose all covered by small black tentacles. He immediately climbed the tree next to Zalyanitha alerting her that deva of the hunt was lost to this horror haunting this place. Rakshavyada raised denying him being lost. All the tentacles withdraw from him. He firmly approached Padme and whispered her an idea that his blood forced to grow some sprouts of this dead tree so maybe more blood would revive it and this might even be a way out of here.
“I cannot do it all by myself, just do it quickly and painlessly”
Padme seemed to caught the idea asked Rakshavyada to kneel in front of the trunk of the tree. As she drew a dagger Bastyn immediately spotted this act and tried to stop Padme. Deva tried to calm the immortal by saying that this is a plan of both Rakshavyada and her as she sliced the arteries of Rakshavyada ‘s neck and held the wound to spill as much blood as it needed on the base of the trunk. Needless to say rest were left speechless of this reckless act. As the blood fell in waterfall out of Rakshavyada neck Padme was trying carefully to avoid any contact with Rakshavyada ’s poisonous blood. The effect of the blood was soon to kick off as little by little the tree became all green. Rakshavyada fainted because of loss of blood Padme immediately jumped to his aid. Rakshavyada himself slowly drifted to his warren – a labyrinth of mirrors and forest. Deva looked around and saw a small girl glittering in metal hiding in the corner. It was quite a long time since Rakshavyada saw Adi.
“Why you’re not drinking my blood?", asked deva
“Your blood is poisonous. It destroys my vessel”
“I can give you no other blood”
“Then release me”
“Ok you’re free”, after these deva’s words a faint smile appeared on Adi.
“I need a new master to take care of me”
“I will arrange it”, promised Rakshavyada

Meanwhile in the hall of recently revived tree –
“My child at last you came to me, have you brought that was promised?”, the voice was ringing from all around the hall.
Bastyn answered with the shade of uncertainty:
“I brought only one from the five”
Branches of the tree formed a cradle around Bastyn to lift him up
“… no have you brought me what I have asked you?”
“No sorry WE have lost it” – Bastyn was gently put down back on the ground with those words. Zalyanitha interrupted the conversation:
“We actually know where it is what you are searching”, branches formed the cradle around Zalyanitha then.
“Who are you?”
“I am Zalyanitha of the devas”
“It is too late to bring what I am searching for, and so there is no hope, my child, have you at least have the one you were carriyng”, Zalyanitha was also put down on the ground.
Bastyn lost his consciousness and his voice somehow changed.
“Yes I am here. But this is too late for all of us. Silver Spring is running wild, Star Counter has died I am too tired only Widow Weaver is still weaving it’s net. And we can neither leave this world for humans that believe they are gods neither to those devas that barely can play gods. The world is doomed.”
“But I sense that the Wild One was brought here. It is then really too late for all of us then. But I can give you the last present.”
Suddenly Aturn stepped forward:
“I traveled so long to taste the fruit of your tree”
The tree decided not to lift Aturn.
“Oh poor deceived mortal. You have done your role, yet the whole story is not true…”
“But it cannot be!”
“You have done as Widow Weaver schemed” – branches gently leaned and touched Esteva – “The gift I will give you is a freedom to choose your end”, with those words hall began to tremble and all the roots started to move. The ceiling of the hall began to fall and the trunk formed a spiral ramp up out of the place into the open air. Padme grabbed unconscious Rakshavyada, Bastyn took Esteva on his shoulders and they all began to climb up. It seemed that the dark Entity sensed also that it’s prey runs away so it started consume everything from all around. Prince ordered his soldiers to cover their all retreat. First to reach outside was Zalyanitha, then as Bastyn put Esteva out of the harm he glanced as Aturn raised from the ramp in the mid-air, his face looked horrified and he was dragged to the dark all consuming Entity. There was no way to help the prince, ergo Bastyn just helped Padme to drag helpless body of Rakshavyada out.
Finally everyone but prince made out of the mountain prison. Esteva started to search for her lover. Unfortunately Bastyn had to say her that prince is no more along the living. Esteva immediately started to beg to let her join Aturn. Firs Bastyn tried to drag her to the shore against her will, but soon she managed to free her out and blindly stumbled back to the heart of the mountain. As they were moving down to the shore the group could see the differences in the island as it was consumed all by the green. A lot of insects were buzzing around and biting everyone retreating.
The rest of the party along with Vestur were quite surprised to see others running to them and shouting to ready the boat back to the ship. Vestur protested that they have to save prince or at least his body, however he was explained that the body is beyond of any saving. So with the grim mood they reached the ship.
Bastyn was announced as new captain of the ship and they started to drag themselves with oars away from the island that is changed now. Now it is consumed completely by green and the hoards of birds and butterflies where flying from the eastern bank of the river. Bastyn told about his dream of the ritual that helped him to leave the island many years ago. And from the one of the artifacts that were found by Vestur he recognized the exact pattern that was been used to decorate boat in his dream.
Rakshavyada finally regained his consciousness and weakly asked devas’ audience. He told that he would give away his artifact sword to one of them. Padme was quick to refuse. Zalyanitha on the other hand heard instruction to bath the sword in her own blood suspiciously and warned deva of the hunt that it better would work. Soon Rakshavyada fade again and everything fell again into darkness.

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Unexpected presence

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Bastyn, Zalyanitha and prince enter the hall with the tree and start exploring it. It is very very high and the roof is formed in the branches of the tree. The tree seems to be dead. After inspecting it, the party sees that no saplings are on it, the life seems to be sucked out of this place completely. Prince looks devastated and falls into desperation with shouts like “Everything is lost!” and “We failed!”.

Meanwhile Rakshavyada meets something or someone. It is a colossal abyssal creature with two personalities, many eyes and tentacles. It talks about having a feast. Rakshavyada asks it if the one who bring the end of the dream of the great one. The creature answers that he is a cleaver one and it will be granted a gift to escape before the feast. Rakshavyada realises that this abyssal creature is going to end the life of everyone here and runs to warn the others.

After hearing Rakshavyada’s shouts everyone reacts differently – Zalyanitha runs for the exit, Padme drags the prince with her into the direction of exit, but prince refuses to go and wants to end everything on his terms. Esteva is under the care of Bastyn who also tries to go for the exit. Suddenly Zalyanitha sees that the path to the exit is blocked by some large black mass. They are too late. The abyssal creature caught up to them. It is surprised to see Rakshavyada and says it was a mistake to stay. Zalyanitha tries to clear a way with fire, but the creature does not step away. Gradually the tentacles are trying to surround them and block the entrance into the great hall where the tree is. One if the guards is mutilated and crushed into pieces.

They manage to break through to the great hall. Padme and Zalyanitha draw a protective pattern on the ground and it seems to help. The creature does not enter the hall yet. Rakshavyada convinces the prince to organise the defenses and block the entrance. It takes some time since Aturn still thinks that they should accept the defeat and any attempt to fight it is hopeless. Aturn’s men build some sort of barricade.

Bastyn starts chanting and tries to connect with one if his demons.
Rakshavyada smears some of his blood on the tree and some plants start to grow on it. It even looks like the tree lets out a few of his own saplings. Everyone notices the change and starts asking Raksgavyada what he did. Aturn gains hope and declares that they should defend the entrance until the tree revives and gives fruit.

Bastyn‘s tentacles start growing from his mouth and start defiling the plants on the tree. Aturn starts shouting and asking to intervene. After two blows in the head Bastyn comes back. More that a half of new saplings are destroyed and the growth stopped. Rakshavyada puts a hand on Bastyn’s back and Bastyn suddenly haves a flashback. He remembers the great tree when it was still alive. And there was a tribe who looked after the tree and the fruits were falling to the ground. Women picked them up and hold babes in their hands. Bastyn was one of the tree-fruits. He was set on a mission with a group of other chosen ones. He cannot remember what the mission was but seeing the tree dead tells him that he failed it. He was supposed to return when the completes his mission.

Bastyn tells the others the main things he remembers about the tribe and the great tree. Everyone starts hearing the abyssal creature’s discussion with herself about how it should end their lives.

The saplings are alive but they are not growing in notable speed. Padme asks if they should just take some of the saplings and try to grow them elsewhere, but others doubt if it could work. Esteva asks Rakshavyada of he could do some more of the thing that made the tree revive. This request is met with silence.

Their supplies are quite low. Everybody understands what that means.

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Coming home

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Bastyn once more tries to make the connection with the roots, but without any success. Strange feeling does not leave him any second. Back at home… Maybe. Man with the child appears on the seashore. They greets Zalyanitha and deva waves her hands as the greeting too. Padme standing next to the deva of justice does not understand why she is talking to the something invisible. She asks the Zalyanitha what she is talking too and the deva explains what a man and a child is talking to her. This island gets stranger and stranger… Bastyn has started to investigate the camp site. He finds the golden ring on the human skeleton and the holster with the captain logs. It’s seems that log is written in old Free Port dialect and merchant could read without any problems. Zalyanitha still does not understand what she is doing here… She starts to communicate with the prince in the ship. The Aturn torts out that he is ready to deplaine an island. The deva of justice sets in the campsite too and makes her investigation too. She finds out that the capers had been committed the several sessions of the cannibalism. They had consumed they comrades one by one. The one skeleton was not touched by this crime. According to the captain logs the sailors survived up to a month after a deplane. Several of them escaped, some of them gone mad. Even the captain demon started to act a little bit funny… The log had been written up to 1800 years ago. The defensive pattern is mural in the internal side of holster, but Rakshavyada could not communicate with shimmer of this device. Bastyn inspects the ring too. The craftsmanship of this decoration is the hundred precent from the Purpple lands, but there are no engraving or a coat of arms on it, but the the article is expensive, very expensive. Rakshavyada wants some explanations about strange behaviour of the merchant. Bastyn clarifies that he has many memories not only his own, but many, many more… He event shows his pattern on his back. The old scars had been vanished and the pattern of memories had been imprinted in his flesh. Rakshavyada was very impressed by the complexity of the pattern.

The crew returns to the ship to eat and take some food, tools and working hands. The Bastyn explained to the prince what happened to the last crew and the consulsions must be made to prevent the same ending, but the nobelman once more ignored the warnings. He hurriedly bought the team, tools and was heading to an island. Vesturn did not have any comments about the ring. The devas and the immortal man returns to the island too. The new camp site was established and the excavations started. About an hour of work is required to remove the only one peace of root. The sailors was very tired till the end of the day. They returned to the camp without any discussions. All campers were prepared to sleep. Rakshavyada and Padme settled a little bit further from the main camp, only Zalyanitha and Bastyn stayed inside the camp. A strange feeling again overtakes Bastyn and he awakens in the middle of the night. He is sure of where to find the entrance to mountain. He invites Zalyanitha to accompany him to the entrance. They had located the entrance in the south part of an island. Bastyn asks Zalyanitha to summon other devas and he will complete to clear the way to the entrance. Instead of few deavas the whole camp gathered to the foothill. Prince and Vestur were very exited of the finding. The Aturn ordered that Esteva must be in a group which will go the heart of mountain. Before entering to the cavern Bastyn observed the shadow inside the cave walls, but for a few moments. He announced about this creature the rest of the crew. The trip to the cave begins…

Padme was the first person who entered to the cave. She seeks to protect the pince from the any threat. Bastyn remains the last one. The cave goes still deeper and deeper – beyond the sea level. They were passing few corridors. In one of them they find statues spaced in the wall niches. Despite the fact that the statues are increased from the root, they are in very good shape and very detailed. The first of the statue shape is similar to the Bastyn in every detail. Padme invites the merchant to the statue. The immortal man remains in silence. He has no any explanation about this. Maybe he was the guardian of this place many years in the past, but he did not share his minds with others. The strange feeling did not abandons his mind. Going down will become increasingly difficult for him… Increasingly difficult to deal with the fact that he is the last of his kind.The crew had reached the settlement after a short period of time. It seems that it is not occupied by any living creatures. The crew splits up. Padme is going alone to inspect the city and Rakshavyada decided to go to the largest building of the city. Bastyn went to the place where his intuition leads. Zalantyha, Aturn and Esteva had follow him from behind. Padme finds the cemetary and rushing to look for Basyn. Bastyn walks in huge room with tree in the center, strange shells scattered all around the place… Some of them are cracked. Undeveloped embryos constitutes inside them. Rakshavyada came to the conclusion that the largest building is a library. In centre of the building he finds the tree and and shadow among the branches…

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