The Weight of Rubies
Weeks XXXII through XXXIV
A bit of travel ensues. Thanks to Athron’s ability to speak with the voice of his god to send messages over long distances, our heroes are able to send advance warning to some of the potential targets of retaliation. (At the same time, he also tells his mentor, Alphonse Orrick to release Damiano.) However, Vermillion and Cassick have to find other means to protect their loved ones – Cassick sends yet another letter to his sister Finnella to warn her to keep her head low. The Nightsong Guildsman rushes back to Tarrish to make sure that his mentor and friend, Kaz, is safe and manages to catch him in time before he leaves for Malisis for an “interview” with Leonardo Shal Tamasi.
Back in Tarrish, Duran receives word that although his sister Gabria is unharmed, her twin Gabran has been killed in a horse clan raid on a League farming settlement. He and Broc both ride out, Duran to attend his brother’s funeral rites and Broc to rush to Obber’s Mill and check on Ghini Eglund, his “betrothed,” who had been visited by the sword-for-hire, Varimer – and who, he finds, has married and now has a one-year-old son.
When the heroes gather again, they debate why a warning was given, but no harm came to their loved ones, and what they should do next. They doubt that direct violent action against their enemy will be successful – and recognize that they cannot afford drawing his attention back to the friends and family who have already been threatened. With knowledge that Antazos may be about to lose his position as the Sa’iph ambassador to the High Council, they scheme about how they could ensure he permanently fell from favor.
They decide to go for the Viersiring, the religious artifacts of Hamal that the Sajeem had ordered Antazos to find, and head for the Libraries of Halveet to see what information they can get about them. In the front entry hall, they stop to consider the ancient map inlaid in the floor, and the symbols marked thereon – including the symbol of the Eye of Hamal where they had previously found it.
The group splits up in the Libraries. Vermillion gathers some history about the ogre-king who held the Eye, and learns some information about the black pearl he and Duran found at the ziggurat. Boeden investigates the Steltand and concludes it is in the possession of Owen of Clun. Cassick dug up some gossip about Antazos and Isabel Shal Cavallos, the Sajeem’s ambitious and ruthless daughter. Athron, in turn looked into other ancient maps – and had an insight into the ancient inlaid map in the entry hall and the dome of stained glass overhead. Broc did some drinking, but also figured out the next step for activating the gifts of his sword.
After a confab, the heroes decide to head north for the Beennocken, and with the help of some astronomers, mathematicians and a daylight spell unlock the mysteries of the inlaid map to pinpoint where they should look. Things don’t go terribly well at first with the local North Redding tribes, and steadily go downhill from there with attacks by giant frost wyrms and other exotic wildlife. Eventually, however, after encountering some landwyrms and bargaining with a white dragon, they manage to gain possession of the bone-staff – and learn that the crew Antazos sent for it had managed to piss the dragon off with fatal results.