Numenera: Shadows of the Past

Part One, Act I
Getting to Know Thy Friends

January 1

The characters begin at Shallamas, City of Echoes, in Navarene. The citizens of the city are anxious, with tensions between Navarene and Draolis coming to a boil. A border conflict looks inevitable. Both sides have sent soldiers to the Dark Hills to establish a foothold at the border, though neither campaign has been successful – the legions have gone missing.

En’ir Nashaki and his sister Aegan, small-time treasure hunters, are currently in town helping a merchant, Yogo, retrieve a long-overdue caravan carrying valuable goods. On their travels north through the plains of Navarene, En’ir and Aegan are ambushed by bandits — the same ones responsible for the caravan’s disappearance. With the two of them severely outnumbered, they prepare themselves for their last fight, but are aided by Asher, a jack, and Tranavaros Syr, an Aeon Priest and nano.

After a gruelling skirmish, the band is victorious against the would-be raiders and set to return to Shallamas.

In the Dark Hills, Captain Maxxos Raven of the Navarene army and rogue jack Ay’lin have banded together after surviving a monstrous onslaught and struggle to send word to Navarene of a threat greater than any rival kingdom.

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Part One, Act II
The Dog Days Are Over

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January 2: day

After returning to Shallamas and meeting up with their companion, Jinx, En’ir, Aegan, and co spoke to Yogo the Merchant. Pleased with their recovery of his lost items, Yogo awarded them with shins and allowed them to be on their way.

Captain Maxxos Raven and Ay’lin reported to General Bion of the Navarene Army about the Merkadian Soldiers invasion. Ay’lin was awarded the title of Auxiliary and given permission to leave to regroup. Ay’lin and Maxxos journeyed to the Golden Knave Inn, where they encountered Aegan and her seskii, Sven.

Neither group were able to enjoy a long reprieve, however, as Shallamas fell under alert and shut its three gates against a Merkadian assault led by a single figure of unknown importance.

Captain Maxxos and Ay’lin met the Merkadian horde with a squad of soldiers at their back. Asher took to the eastern port gate, assaulting a city guard before leading En’ir, Aegan, Tranavaros, and Jinx on a road to Fasten. In their travels across the fields, the group were attacked by a trio of fierce chirogs. Though the beasts were slain, it was not without a price — Sven perished.

Shallamas, the City of Echoes, remained under siege, defended by a skeleton garrison and on the verge of destruction.

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Part One, Act III
Siege of Shallamas

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January 2: night

Captain Maxxos and Ay’lin led the Naven vanguard against the Merkadian threat, cutting a path through their ranks until they found their commander, the fierce Merkadian Dominator.

The brutal leader appeared invulnerable, clad in numenera devices and hard steel, impervious to crossbow bolts. Through clever tactics and cypher knowledge, Maxxos shattered the Dominator’s armour and left him vulnerable to sword and bolt. The pair brought the warrior to his knees, with Ay’lin firing the final shot. Maxxos decapitated the fallen Dominator and Ay’lin looted the corpse, discovering a communicator that transmitted command prompts to the remaining Merkadians, revealing the coordinates of their master.

With this knowledge, the two reported to General Bion, who informed them that Bodrov was similarly attacked by Merkadians and not in the position to send them reinforcements for a campaign into the Dark Hills. They must wait for foreign aid from Thaemor before they can make their next move.

The following morning, in the eastern plains, Aegan and En’ir stood and watched in silence as Tranavaros cremated the body of Sven. The group moved on, continuing their journey to Fasten and coming upon a nest of ithsyns. The creatures were destroyed, though Jinx was able to tame one for a pet.

And so the adventure continues.

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Part One, Act IV
Getting to Know Thy Enemies

January 3

In the eastern plains, En’ir, Aegan, and co came upon a group of bandits brutalising a young woman. The gang intervened, saving her life and killing the men threatening her. After reassuring the woman of their good intent, she introduced herself as Clara.

Clara and her companion were travelling from Shallamas to Fasten, journeying via the treacherous Vagabond Road. Her companion died protecting her from ithsyns (unbeknownst to her, her companion’s compass and shins were looted from the ithsyn nest by En’ir). The gang agreed to help Clara reach Fasten; a deed she insisted would be ‘worth their while’.

As the gang continued their trek, Asher suddenly fell through the earth and discovered a hidden tunnel riddled with steel spiders. The others climbed down into the darkness to aid their comrade, slaying the creatures and following the passageway into an abandoned castle. After an encounter with some looting grush, the gang returned to the road.

January 10

At the Dark Hills, General Bion led a force of a hundred soldiers: mostly city guards, mercenaries, and Ausparian scouts, with Captain Maxxos and Ay’lin accompanying the cohort. The main ranks clashed against the Merkadian guards surrounding the hidden passage inside the Dark Hills, while Bion, Maxxos, and Ay’lin took a second force into the caverns.

Deep into the heart of the Dark Hills they found a chamber riddled with numenera devices, as well as the mastermind of the Merkadian onslaught — the arch-nano, Amara.

After being questioned by Bion, Amara admitted she wasn’t responsible for the initial deaths of the Naven and Draolin armies, but merely observed as the two forces butchered each other. Thinking the conflict to be a ‘waste of valuable resources’, Amara used her mastery of the numenera to resurrect both sides as Merkadians. To what end, she did not say, though she deeply believed it served a ‘great purpose’. Having heard enough, Bion initiated the attack on the arch-nano.

The battle was long and gruelling, though teamwork prevailed and saw Amara defeated. Ay’lin fired the fatal shot, shooting the nano’s head clean off her shoulders and into a wall, ending the Merkadian Crisis.

While investigating the chamber, Maxxos discovered several interesting devices, including a command matrix. If brought to the right person, the matrix would reveal what ‘purpose’ Amara was referring to, and may be the key to controlling the renegade Merkadians.

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Part Two, Act I
Bounties and Mounties

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January 18

After weeks of endless travelling with no rations, En’ir, Aegan and co arrived at the town of Fasten, weak and hungry. They were confronted by guards wearing the colours of Charmonde emblazoned with the insignia of Lord Heston. Upon inspection, the guards discovered Asher’s poison and paralysis potions and confiscated them after his failed attempt to persuade them. The captain of the guard, Gavin, recognised Clara and immediately seized her, claiming her lord father was ‘concerned’ for her safety after her husband reported her missing from Bodrov.

The captain revealed he and his men followed Clara’s lover, Tymon, from Charmonde to Fasten, suspecting he was leaving to meet Clara. An assumption that proved to be correct. After confirming Fasten to be the rendezvous point, the guards locked Tymon in a prison cell beneath the town hall.

As Captain Gavin prepared to escort Clara back to her father in Charmonde, Jinx deceived the guard into believing he and the cohort were sent by Clara’s husband to track her down. Convinced, Gavin recommended they escort the lady on to Charmonde so that her father could arrange her transport back to Bodrov. To assist in their task, the captain gave them an official letter of authority so that they could move smoothly through the capital.

After accepting the letter, the party continued on into Fasten with Clara once again under their protection. They first entered the general store, buying enough supplies to last them the trip to Charmonde. Next they met Cali and her green seskii, Bud, at her trinket cart. After selling their oddities and gaining some shins, the group moved on to the Loose Leaf where they met Sister Twia, a healer formerly of the Order of Truth. She offered Tranavaros and Asher her famous herbal tea before they entered the Spotted Seskii for a meal.

Meanwhile, Aegan left Fasten to search the plains for a new beast to tame.

In Shallamas, a parade was held in honour of the Saviours of Shallamas: Ay’lin and Maxxos. Later, General Bion briefed them both on their new mission. Certain elements in the command matrix they found in Amara’s chamber could only be decoded by a Convergent. He explained in Charmonde was an Aeon Priest by the name of Orren, who was once of the Convergent order. Orren would be capable of deciphering the rest of the matrix, if it were brought to him.

Ay’lin and Maxxos bought aneen mounts and started for Charmonde with the command matrix in their possession.

In the Spotted Seskii, Jinx and the others eyed a female bounty hunter named Verenus. Jinx eavesdropped on her conversation with the barmaid, Bakele, discovering her bounty to be Sister Twia.

Upon questioning Verenus, the bounty hunter revealed Sister Twia was a longtime renegade from the city of Dynafel in Iscobal, where she was responsible for the deaths of seven Aeon Priests and the destruction of the ecclesia in Dynafel. No citizen of the town had yet divulged the sister’s location. When asked if Jinx knew of Twia’s whereabouts, Jinx attempted to lie and claim he knew of no old woman by that name. The bounty hunter saw through his deception and intimidated him into revealing all he knew. She then set off to collect her bounty on Twia.

En’ir, Jinx, Asher, and Tranavaros agreed that whatever Sister Twia had done in the past, she was now a healer and making amends for her mistakes. The group left to stop Verenus, initiating a fight inside the Loose Leaf.

Although a formidable warrior, Verenus succumbed to the combined might of the jacks, glaive, and nano, aided by Sister Twia and her powerful esoteries.

After collecting their rewards from Twia, the group hired beds in the Loose Leaf for the night.

January 19: morning

The following day, Aegan returned to Fasten with a tamed caffa. Tranavaros and the others entered the Spotted Seskii for breakfast, unbeknownst of the drunken skirmish inside.

En’ir, Clara, and Tranavaros sat at the only quiet table in the corner, where they met an ominous glaive with a bandaged arm. Curious of the man, Tranavaros sparked conversation while En’ir offered the stranger a drink. Jinx joined the table after completing his morning training. While Tranavaros continued his conversation with the stranger, Jinx noticed Clara’s anxiety regarding Tymon’s incarceration. He and En’ir left with her to visit the man in jail.

Elsewhere, on the eastern plains, Maxxos and Ay’lin were attacked on the High Road by a frilled baul, which they slain.

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Part Two, Act I Continued
Journey South

January 19: Morning

En’ir, Jinx, and Clara entered Fasten’s town hall, bypassing the mayor’s watchmen. Down in the cellar’s holding cells, two jailors stood guard. Clara recognised Tymon and with the help of Jinx convinced one of the jailors to release him as their ward. The lovers’ reunion was cut short, however, when the party encountered Captain Gavin and his men outside of the hall. With clever deception, they escaped persecution and returned to the Spotted Seskii.

Clara and Tymon gave thanks and bid farewell to the party, announcing they were headed south to Thaemor.

In the Spotted Seskii, the stranger named Theron agreed to join Tranavaros and the others after the Aeon Priest offered to help the man find a cure for the ‘affliction’ that plagued his bandaged arm. Theron only had one condition for his company: no one converse with him. Tranavaros accepted, though assured him they would talk when he was ready.

In the corner of the inn, Tarlin, the mayor’s daughter, was overheard by En’ir telling a crowd of drunkards that explorers had vanished at the ancient fortress of Wyrguard. One fat, bald patron rebutted her story, claiming the fortress was abandoned and looted of everything worth stealing. Tarlin disagreed, stating she visited the old fort a few nights past when it was crawling with bandits looking for the Sword of Naos, the legendary general whose tomb was said to be hidden in Wyrguard.

En’ir intercepted the heated discussion, ending with the fat patron’s face on the floor. Tarlin introduced herself and explained where the party could find the fortress, if they were interested. They would have to go south, via a road so old its name had been forgotten.

Before the party left to Wyrguard, they returned to Cali at her cart to buy an extra tent. In the distance, Asher noticed two men lurking. Cali divulged the pair had been hanging around often, usually eyeing an old music box she kept in her inventory. Asher approached the men, who introduced themselves as brothers Fillan and Murdo; explorers searching for a music box heirloom of theirs that had been stolen. They believed the music box in Cali’s cart was theirs, but could not pay for it. Asher helped the brothers purchase the item, and in appreciation the brothers joined the party for their journey south.

On the High Road, Maxxos and Ay’lin spoke of their pasts while spotting a large bloom of smoke in the distant farmlands.

January 21: Afternoon

Maxxos and Ay’lin discovered a small boy on the road, covered in soot and crying. The captain placed him on his aneen and continued on their way to Fasten.

January 21: Night

Ay’lin cheered up the boy, who finally spoke and introduced himself as Tren. The five-year-old recounted the death of his parents, who were killed in a farm fire lit by bandits two nights prior. His hands were still cracked and blistered from his attempt to drag his mother free of the flames, before he watched her burn. The boy was able to escape with his friend, Bobo, but lost him in the fields and feared the bandits would find him if he wasn’t rescued. Maxxos and Ay’lin agreed to find him and set off into the night with Tren.

On the old road to Fort Wyrguard, En’ir, Aegan, and the others set up camp. The moon shone bright above them, and En’ir felt a burning pulse through his body.

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Part Two, Act II
I'm Jasper

January 21: Night

Under the light of the full moon, En’ir transformed into a lycan beast. Full of rage, the beast attacked Tranavaros while Aegan and the rest of the party attempted to calm him. Jinx intervened, successfully binding the creature with rope. After calming down, En’ir shifted back to his human form, leaving him confused and hungry. Unnerved, the party made preparations for the rest of the journey to Fort Wyrguard.

In the eastern plains off the High Road, Maxxos and Ay’lin searched for Tren’s friend, Bobo, only to discover Bobo to be a stuffed seskii toy. In the distance, the bandits responsible for burning the farmlands were spotted by Maxxos, who attempted to make a stealthy escape back to camp — only to be seen by the bandits after his glowglobe exploded by accident.

The bandit leader — a crossbow-wielding woman of fair appearance — led an assault against Maxxos and Ay’lin. After a brief skirmish, the pair intimidated their assailants into a retreat, spurred on by the captain’s fatal sword thrust through the skull of one of his attackers. In shock, Tren kept his hand gripped to Maxxos, choosing not to let go of his protector. The three of them returned back to camp, believing the worst to be over.

January 23: Afternoon

After days of demanding constant attention from Tren, Maxxos’s health started to dwindle before Ay’lin’s eyes. Sleep deprived and reaching the limits of exhaustion, the captain continued pace, turning down Ay’lin’s offers to watch Tren while he rested. The boy refused to leave his hero’s side, yet after some insistence from Ay’lin, the three eventually stopped to break on the side of the road.

South of Fasten, Aegan, En’ir and co arrived at the base of Wyrguard, their objective: to find the hidden tomb of General Naos and retrieve the legendary Naos Blade. During the climb up the fort’s treacherous steps, Asher fell and injured himself, prompting Fillan and Murdo to remain with the jack while he recovered at the base of the hill. When the rest of the party arrived at the top of the steps, they discovered the fort’s entrance to be sealed shut, cuing Jinx to grapple hook a fifty foot rope to the stronghold’s second level and scale the structure.

En’ir followed him up the rope and the two waited as Tranavaros began the climb to join them. The priest’s fiery esotery ignited without warning, burning the rope and leaving him and the others stranded on the ground while En’ir and Jinx observed from above.

The entrance to the fortress suddenly opened, revealing a group of bandits and a tamed seskii. Tranavaros led his companions, Theron and Aegan, in a skirmish against the outlaws, resulting in the death of the thieves. Theron’s brutal killing of the seskii earned the animosity of the beastmaster Aegan, who was still mourning for Sven. The three then entered the fortress while En’ir and Jinx moved swiftly through the second floor.

As both teams navigated the passageways, they encountered and dispatched several bandits all under the leadership of a woman named Ytaya. Upon interrogating one of the marauders, Tranavaros learned of Ytaya’s plans to find Naos’s secret tomb and retrieve the general’s blade from the undercroft. Meanwhile, Jinx and En’ir made their way to the ground floor in order to meet up with the others.

The two groups rendezvoused and headed to the undercroft, where they encountered a bandit, Jasper, keeping watch at the entrance. Jinx dispatched him quickly and disguised himself as the bandit before entering the undercroft, where he encountered Ytaya and three of her underlings. Jinx was easily recognised as an imposter, igniting the final skirmish between the party and Ytaya’s band.

Amid the fighting Theron unbandaged his arm, revealing a serpentine limb, and his identity as a mutant.

Despite Ytaya’s ruthless combat ability and skills with a lightning whip, she was defeated — taking a fatal shot through the eye socket from Aegan’s crossbow. After killing the last of the bandits, the group turned their focus to finding Naos’s tomb.

Using his senses and knowledge of the numenera, Tranavaros found the secret opening into the general’s tomb, opening a passageway that gleamed with blue light.

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Part Two, Act II Continued
Hide and Seek

January 23: Afternoon

Theron led the way into the gleaming blue passageway, followed by Tranavaros and the others. Pink slime covered the radiating walls and floor. In the distance, the sound of slurping could be heard.

The passage opened into a grand chamber with the sarcophagus of General Naos resting at its centre. Skeletons sucked dry of flesh and blood littered the room, covered in a layer of eggs and slime. Theron approached the sarcophagus before being thrown to the ground by an invisible force, revealed to be an ellnoica.

The party battled the creature, which used its body composition and phasing abilities to trap the steel-skinned Theron within itself. The ellnoica fought viciously against the rest of the party but eventually succumbed to the flames of Tranavaros.

Theron and En’ir smashed into the ancient numenera device that kept General Naos’s body preserved, looting the corpse of all its possessions. En’ir claimed the general’s legendary sword, while Theron and Jinx dismembered the corpse to remove the general’s plate armour. Having acquired what they were looking for, the party left the fortress — only to run into a Seeker of Truth and her entourage of Aeon Guardians.

In the eastern plains, Ay’lin attempted to gain Tren’s trust. She used her first aid kit to properly treat the burns that plagued his hands, hoping the boy would warm up to her. Instead, Ay’lin fell into a haze, seeing the boy grin as she and Maxxos drifted into unconsciousness.

When the pair awoke, they saw only darkness. Wrapped inside cocoons, Ay’lin and Maxxos could only listen as Tren prepared to ‘marinate’ them. He was interrupted, however, when bandits stormed the camp, causing the boy to flee. Ay’lin and Maxxos were freed by the bandit leader, a woman they recognised from the night before.

Introducing herself as Me’gan, the woman revealed she and her comrades had been hunting a Nibovian after it tricked and killed her friend on the road while disguised as a helpless child. They had tracked the being to a farmhouse, but were too late to save the inhabitants. Me’gan burned down the farm, hoping Tren would get caught in flames. He escaped, however, and saw Maxxos and Ay’lin as the perfect protectors. The Nibovian used mind-altering chemicals to manipulate them while he secretly planned to have them kill his pursuers and then cocoon them both for a process that would turn their bodies into incubators for his Nibovian siblings.

Maxxos and Ay’lin joined Me’gan’s pursuit for Tren, who they found tearing apart one of the bandits that followed him into the fields. The trio fought against the being’s uncanny speed and strength. Me’gan downed the Nibovian with a cross bolt to the head, killing the creature. The bandit claimed the creature’s organs — animated cyphers and other numenera devices — which she would sell in Fasten.

Ay’lin offered Me’gan shins and a ride to Fasten as payment for saving their lives. The bandit accepted, though admitted she was planning to steal their shins regardless of them being offered or not. Despite the admittance, the pair allowed the bandit to join their company, feeling honour-bound to the debt they now owed her.

At Wyrguard, a Seeker named Tiresia held Asher, Fillan, and Murdo captive at the foot of the fort’s entrance steps. Tranavaros guessed his fellow Seeker was there to recover the Naos Blade for the Order of Truth — an artefact now in En’ir’s possession. With nowhere else to go, the group descended the steps and met with the Seeker, who immediately identified the artefact. After failing to deceive Tiresia, the Seeker ordered her Aeon Guardians to kill them and retrieve the blade. Asher, Fillan, and Murdo were killed without hesitation, freeing the guardians to assault the rest of the party.

After a long battle, Tiresia and her guardians were defeated — their minds shattered into oblivion by the power of Tranavaros. Jinx and En’ir survived, though not without serious injury.

The party divided the items of their fallen comrades among themselves, discovering journals on Fillan and Murdo that revealed the brothers were sons of an infamous thief, who had kept his treasures in a hidden cave that could only be opened by the music box Asher bought for them back in Fasten.

Tranavaros cremated the bodies of Asher, Fillan, and Murdo before the party set off northwest of Fasten, to the secret cave the brothers had described in their journals.

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Part Two, Act III
Eyes on the Goods

January 26: Morning

After traveling northwest of Fasten, En’ir, Aegan, Tranavaros, Theron, and Jinx arrived at the entrance of the thief’s secret cavern. En’ir played the music box looted from Fillan, the tune setting hidden mechanisms in motion, moving the boulder that blocked a staircase leading down into darkness.

Jinx led the way down. En’ir activated his major glowglobe to illuminate the area with a dim light. As they descended, the light revealed a rounded cavern with steps following the curved wall downward. When the party reached the bottom, they were disappointed to see no mountains of shins or artefacts, but a single locked chest laid on a podium of rock.

Expecting the chest to be booby trapped, the party cautiously attempted to open it. After Jinx’s lockpick snapped while picking the lock, Tranavaros utilised his esotery to open it. Inside was a pile of shins, cyphers, and an artefact wrapped in old fabric. Still aware there may be a trap, Jinx took a single shin from the chest.

Twelve crimson lasers appeared across Jinx’s body.

Tranavaros clapped and lit up the cave with a flash. Flying sentries flew around them, pointing their laser sights on anyone who took hold of a shin or tried to leave. Realising the gazers weren’t going to let them escape, the party attacked the hovering spheres.

Tranavaros and Theron felt the sting of the gazer’s red beams, the latter suffering an eye injury in the confrontation. However, the party managed to destroy the gazers and take the chest’s goods, including a teleporter ring taken by Aegan, and a mysterious ceramic snake claimed by Theron.

Tranavaros recommended Theron take the cypher to the ecclesia in Charmonde, where it could be inspected properly.

After collecting the goods and acquiring something to eat for En’ir during his lycan transformation, the party continued on their way to Charmonde.

February 1: Morning

Maxxos, Ay’lin, and Me’gan arrived at Fasten.

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Part Two, Act III Continued
Crossroads

February 1: Morning

In Fasten, Maxxos, Ay’lin, and Me’gan split up to buy supplies and sell items. Upon returning to their aneen mounts, Maxxos and Ay’lin discovered Me’gan missing along with Maxxos’s aneen and possessions. The pair shared their remaining aneen and moved on to the capital.

On the Vagabond Road, En’ir, Theron and Tranavaros continued their own journey to Charmonde while Jinx and Aegan searched the plains for a new pet. An old beggar on the road approached En’ir, asking for some spare shins. After rejecting the man, En’ir and the others were surprised to see he now possessed En’ir’s chronometer. Before they could act, the mysterious man vanished in a flash of light.

February 2: Morning

After awakening in his tent and hearing a mount riding away, Theron noticed his shins missing and raced outside to see Me’gan on Maxxos’s aneen heading to Charmonde. Theron and the rest of the party chased after the unknown woman, then awkwardly rushed to help her against an ambushing frilled baul.

In the ensuing conflict, Tranavaros ignited a fire, creating a distraction for the baul and leaving it vulnerable to attack. After slaying the beast, Theron settled his score with Me’gan — taking her stolen aneen and leaving her in the middle of the plains. Meanwhile the fire blazed out of control, burning acres of land in the party’s wake.

Ay’lin and Maxxos took note of the smoke in the distance, wondering its source and what carnage the inferno would bring to Fasten.

February 5: Morning

En’ir, Theron and Tranavaros arrived at Charmonde, the immaculate capital of Navarene. The party noticed the city lacked walls, but were cornered by enormous fortified towers. At the city’s Southern District entrance, the party stopped at the Wayward Inn where they met Maxxos and Ay’lin for the second time. Among the crowd of drunkards was the old beggar from the Vagabond Road, who rewarded Maxxos’s kindness with a chronometer he obtained from a ‘friend’. Both parties then left the inn, having business at the Ecclesia of Charmonde.

At the ecclesia, they met with Dean Ennon, the Aeon Priest in charge of the ecclesia’s day-to-day operations. Tranavaros was guided to the library for his private studies, while Maxxos and Ay’lin were directed to Orren, an acolyte of the Order of Truth and former member of the Convergence.

Maxxos found Orren with his pet shanu in the ecclesia gardens, where the young man was asked to decipher the command matrix previously possessed by Amara, creator of the Merkadian soldiers. Orren informed the captain he could not help, as the ecclesia’s archpriest, Mother Hiana, restricted him from studying any numenera connected to the Convergence, in the fear his transference to the Truth may be false.

Dean Ennon offered his assistance in the matter: he would oversee Orren’s work on the matrix and reassure Mother Hiana of Orren’s trustworthiness in exchange for the captain’s aid in investigating the disappearance of an ecclesia priest and three acolytes. Brother Blaise and his acolytes were last seen in an ancient cave called Falkerstone, off the Jerribost River, where they’ve been missing for days despite searches led by Aeon Guardians. Maxxos and Ay’lin agreed to find the missing priests, and left to Fort Miserth (one of the city’s fortified towers) to resupply for the trip.

Meanwhile, Theron and Tranavaros finished their business with Dean Ennon and headed to the Silver Market with En’ir to look for a metalworker capable of teaching him the craft. They were stopped in the middle of the street by Captain Gavin and Lord Heston Lambert’s men and escorted to the noble’s mansion.

Lord Heston made his acquaintance with the men, aware of their part in helping his daughter, Clara, flee the country with her lover Tymon. He threatened to report their actions to the Navarene constables — only with a far more dark and convoluted spin to the story — that would lead to their execution. The only way the noble would allow the three to leave unharmed was if they sided with him against his rival, Raoul Dufort, in a political skirmish to determine Queen Armalu’s successor as ruler of Navarene. All they’d have to do is force the right information out of Dufort’s mistress, Aina Fay, to unveil Dufort’s well kept secret and shatter his reputation — and any chance of his succession.

The three reluctantly agree to aid Heston.

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