The First and Forsaken Lion. A new enemy of Creation. Called a Deathlord by some.
And apparently with designs on Chiaroscuro.
A plague of Shadowlands began to rise throughout Chiaroscuro, unleashing many hungry ghosts. Skye recalled that something similar happened in Thorns, prior to its destruction at the hands of the creature called The Mask of Winters.
Kafun returned, revealing that he’d managed to misdirect the efforts within the Southern Deserts, and prevent the activation of what turned out to be a Manse of possibly enormous power that the 17th Legion was apparently attempting to protect… or activate.
The Circle discussed the many hungry ghosts that had been rising. They searched, and discovered that an agent of the Lion, called the Curator, was placing fetishes around the great glass plain of the City, attempting some sort of magic. He was employing creatures called Mortwrights, which apparently operate as priests of the dark forces within the Underworld, to place these items. The fetishes used blood, which the Mortwrights obtained from random attacks. Someone on the skin of Creation, meanwhile, was displacing the salt lines that had been sealing the Shadowlands shut…
The Circle learned later that Sapphire, their favorite barmaid, had gone missing, apparently in the company of a man. They investigated, finding that the mysterious man was a member of the Tri-Khan’s Palace Guard, who had also been missing for some time, and been seen near the opened gates to the Underworld. When they gathered the information about the guard, they sought a meeting with his Captain… only to be greeted by Temuz and a famous Ifrit sifu. It was the Sifu’s manse that was sought by the Curator, likely to enable an assault upon the Manse by the Curator’s forces.
Temuz revealed that the Ambassador from Harborhead had been assassinated by her bodyguard, a bride of Ahlat. Sundered Cliff remarked that it was unlikely that a Bride of Ahlat would do such a thing… and more unlikely that she would commit suicide afterward. Similar crimes were being reported around the city – outbreaks of insane violence.
And Sapphire had been seen near several of these sites.
Realizing that the Curator was likely behind this, and had their friend under some sort of control, the Circle spread out, searching for her. They encountered her near Grandmother Bright’s plaza, talking to two people, who quickly went into murderous rages against the Circle. Once the Circle subdued them, they went to inform Grandmother Bright, who stormed from her Pavilion in her full Battle-Readied Glory. She charged the Circle to end this influence upon her people.
So they went forth into the Underworld, by way of one of the gates, destroying two Mortwrights and engaging the Curator within his Manse, along with 4 of his servants. The fight was furious – even the mightiest blows of the Circle seemed to barely hurt the Curator, though his servants fell easily enough. The Curator unleashed a blast of necrotic lightning, which nearly killed Yaro, Black Fly’s Dragon-Blooded apprentice. Sundered Cliff, feeding on his pain, drew deep, and unleashed furious blow after furious blow upon the Curator, backing up Obsidian Skye’s furred fury and flying fans.
Eventually, they succeeded, splitting the cadaverous creature open, and freeing his four captives: the Ambassador from the Lap, Cathak, Darius Gray, a mid-level financial minister from the Palace of the Tri-Khan, the Palace Guard, and Sapphire. They returned to the Entryway, exiting the Shadowlands and emerging once more into the sunlit world…