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Episode: Lodge of Petrichor, Part 3

Posted by Story on 11/14/18
There are an increasing number of ridiculous rumors circling the city about the Gray Forest. But of them, the most believable is the number of cultists that seem to be trying to infiltrate the city. To worship false gods. The faithful men and women of the Compact have no time for these folks - this is beyond the schism between the Oathlanders and the Faith. This is not hardliners versus more lenient folk, no. These are rumors of those who worship other people instead of the Pantheon.

And so when factions across Arx agree to go root out corruption and cultists, the people can get behind that. They go in groups. Miranda, Faruq, Nuala, Vitalis, Fecundo, and Sophie first, with prayers from Legate Bianca strengthening them. They return victorious, a little bloody, and thoughtful - but the Mother Mercy herself has gone with them and so they are well-tended when they arrive back in Arx.

Next the Mirrorguard and the Society of Explorers, and Talen, Enyo, Lou, Arcadia, Meriah, and Emily scout the next series of caves. They too return bloody, and thoughtful, and victorious. See, says the Compact. See how our scouts are superior. And we fight for the Faith. Against these false gods. We are strong as we walk in the Light of the Pantheon.

Now Reese, Theron, Giulio, Felix, and Jhond, with support from the Order of East Light's Dame Coraline, supplied well by Princess Alarissa. And again they try - and again they win, though not without pain. Still they return to report the caves have been cleared, and if they immediately send messages to some of the leaders of the Compact, that's probably after-action reports, right?

Valdemar, Vanora, Rosalie, Luis, Salvator, and Harald are the last to return. They return bloody but victorious, with tales of cultists deep within a cave - but thanks to their efforts, the cave is empty now. And yet those efforts are not without a price - the Grim Duke himself returns, carried on his shield, lost in the depths of the caves in the Gray Forest. Those now speak of his sacrifice, of his bravery. But still others remember him on the front lines in the Forest in another battle, of spitting in the eye of death and coming out on the other side. He died as he lived - grimly - but he will be remembered for his bravery.

And so the caves are clear.