May 13th, 2007

From Ferath

Jump to: navigation, search

The Return of the Eternals

I have a gift for you, ambassador. It is an antique of your people, I believe. ~~ The Most High Suul, of the Eternals

Jendai's rebellion has all but succeeded. Holdouts of Iron Serpents still loyal to the Eternals remain in the castle and lighthouse, but the rest of the city has thrown off its ancient chains of allegiance. But while the city is theirs, the inevitable counterattack of the Eternals has not yet come. Jendai's soldiers now set about arming and training a citizen militia to bolster their numbers against that inevitable battle.

Meanwhile, the agents of the Tarsul Republic have not yet chosen sides. With the harbor has been sealed off by some work of the Eternals or their supporters, incoming Tarsuli ships are trapped outside, cut off from desperately needed resupply as much as those within the city are cut off from escape. The ambassador, with the support of Gaius and Marcellinus, determines that they must simultaneously open the harbor and avoid being seen to take action on either side of the civil war.

(In apparently unrelated news, Dalgeard and Shamir have disappeared, while a compilation of Chorach's legends of the 'drus' is delivered to them at the Embassy)

Meanwhile, Asim is charged with a similar task by the rebel government. And in the end, it's he who succeeds, with the backing of several platoons of temple soldiers. They burst the door of the lighthouse, and fight their way in against the small but well-positioned defending force. All seems to be going perfectly, in fact - until the reach the lighthouse beacon itself. There they are met by Zuberi, the Eternal commander of the Iron Serpents himself, returned from wherever it was his kindred had been gone to while Jendai took control. Almost singlehandedly, he slaughtered the attackers within the lighthouse. In desperation, Asim withdraws those he can save outside the tower, and prepares the battering ram that shattered the lightouse doors to strike Zuberi as he exits.

The ram is destroyed in a blast of flame before it can be unleashed, and Zuberi strides forth to wreak terrible destruction on the besieging temple guards.

But while he is occupied with them, Asim manages to escape his notice, and leads a small group of Red Tigers back into the lighthouse through a back door. Reaching the beacon again, he finds it to be a colossal quartz crystal, enclosing a living mass of fire. Communing with the bound elemental, Asim convinces it to attack Zuberi in return for its freedom; the crystal is heaved over the side of the lighthouse tower, to shatter on the road below. In the ensuing battle, both Zuberi and the elemental go over the cliff and into the deep water of the harbor in a plume of steam.

The Eternals' return is not limited to this one instance, however. At nearly the same time, the Tarsuli Embassy is visited by the Eternal Suul and his entourage, who delivers veiled threats and demands that the emissaries of the Republic meet the Eternals when they shortly return in force, and acknowledge their rule of Shanur.

As the Eternal leaves, Viad attempts once again to present her request for aid, but is rebuffed by one of Suul's Djatey servants.

Thus the agents of the Republic can avoid choosing sides no longer: they must either capitulate to the Eternals as Suul demands, or side once and for all with the rebels. Still unwilling to make that commitment, the ambassador (along with the party) go to the House of Ark to meet with Jendai and discuss the matter directly.

In the course of this meeting, the high priestess of Ark reveals an anecdote of her past, claiming to have seen an Eternal not only die, but die on a perfectly normal sword wielded by a human man like any other. She further promises favorable trade terms to the Republic, stating outright that the survival of a free Shanur will depend on outside connections, if they will aid the rebellion with supplies and what soldiers they can.

Yet the ambassador still seems unwilling to make such a decision on his own authority. Perhaps nudged by Gaius' constant influence, he turns to the party for their opinions on the matter. Each speaks in turn of fighting the good fight, and aiding the long-oppressed Chorachi people in overthrowing their Eternal masters - Alcibiades in particular has taken their plight to heart. When the ambassador offers them a chance to leave, now that the harbor is opened again, all refuse. Even Eleidon seems by her silence to advocate supporting the rebels.

The decision is made. Small though their numbers may be in this far corner of the world, the legions of Tarsul once again arm for war.

Personal tools