The Illuminated Ones

Illuminated Journal 12

By Zakhar Melnokov

Vigilant Peer,

Alongside escorting Lady Katerina Byrne to Mercir for Black Powder Festival, we also continue to follow the trail of relic. Within our band, there is scepticism about Lady’s trustworthiness, though I believe such fate could be guidance from Ascendant Shevann or Morrow himself. It appears to be more than coincidence our paths crossed.

I should also note, we have not seen Diego since we returned from Morhurst. We had heard he was in the company of Lady Elisabeth Baern, honing investigation skills from woman responsible for exposing and removing cult many years ago. This would not be surprising, as his libido seems to be reserved for more mature woman, which could account for his two week absence. If he return to Sanctum, we have left message for him meet us in Mercir.

We made way to Mercir aboard vessel “King Malfast”. Lady Byrne had graciously paid for journey for us, as part of her escort, and has also shortened trip if made by land. The Lady is most fascinated with the Order, and seeks our company more than our protection, asking us to share stories of exploits, though we have kept these vague, hiding true intent of missions.

On second day of voyage, we were surprised to be boarded by Farrow pirates. Once we ensured Lady Bryne was safe, we repelled attackers who had breached hull, felling Commander and Gun Boar. With leader and grunt dead, the sounder of man-swine quickly surrendered. The crew of the ship proved of little use, and once attack over, the Captain confronted us, distressed, and wanting to know condition of cargo.

If being attacked at sea by Farrow was surprising, things became even stranger. It appeared time had stopped for all aboard except for our band and the Kapitan. Before us appeared Infernal with entourage. The Infernal is the same we are trying to stop from attaining relics we seek, and we have learned his name to be Zatibii, The Soul Flayer.

The Infernal had made contract with ship’s Kapitan to cover gambling debts, in exchange for delivering cargo to Mercir. Kapitan complained that contract was unfair, as his ship had never encountered problems at sea until this time. Although he was a fool to take such measures to avoid debts, Caleb and Mathius challenged Infernal’s contract, and successfully proving contract not be ironclad and ambiguous in nature. Thus mark was removed from Kapitan’s soul, and Caleb and Mathius did not lose theirs.

The Infernal also made mistake, letting us know he was in Mercir, and we were already too late to retrieve relic. Such boasting most likely from anger, though we know we are heading in right direction, and will die before allowing it to gain power.

Once Infernal vanished, all became normal once more, and Kapitan feinted. Mathius took Kapitan to his quarters to tend his needs and make aware his situation, and stupidity of actions. Lucian checked on Lady Bryne, and Caleb and I returned Farrow to their ship, slow leaking the vessel so they could make it ashore. We then checked cargo, finding cargo for transport was generic Infernal ritual items. We disposed of contrabands overboard.

From here trip continued to meet with tragedy. On shore we found caravan attacked by another sounder of Farrow. We ensured bodies were blessed and buried, and can assume one was of nobility, as he also held invitation for Black Powder Festival. The mood aboard the ship was now low, only to be made worse the following day.

On fourth day of journey, Ambassador Radamir Lashka, of Khador was found murdered in lower deck quarters. The most obvious suspect was a dispossessed Llaelese noble, Malik Antiss. The Llaelese had made a public display of anger to ambassador, threatening to kill him. Though it seemed too obvious he would be murderer, and once we examined body, we knew we were dealing with a Blood Mage. It appeared blood had been drawn through victim’s skin, and signs indicated victim knew his killer, as there was no struggle, and victim was facing direction of attack without defensive wounds.

We had Malik detained, both to question, and also hoping murderer may make mistake thinking blame successfully laid elsewhere. Searching his room, we did find Thamarite symbol hidden in luggage. Lucian and I could deduct from shocked reaction that Malik was speaking truth when defending his innocence.

We shall report once we discover more revelations to this murderer, and shall take Kapitan to temple in Mercir to face justice for actions.

Your faithful servant,
Posadnik Zakhar Molnikov

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