Tales of Arestia

Into the Hearth of Darkness

From the Journal of Sylvius Modesto

In hopes of forestalling further casualties, and frankly because if I hadn’t sent a warning and anyone else had mentioned it to the paladin, I’d probably be on te wrong end of a holy smite, I sent a message warning Brother Roscoe Goodbarrel that Claudio had plans for the Petarkis family. I learned the following morning that he rescued her anyway (good for them!), with the help of the priests of Lunor, one of whom disguised herself as Selena and occupied her cell to cover the escape, after they absolved her for the sin of consorting with Fallen Stars.

It was at this point that I learned that suspicion of Illyria’s rather broad “law” enforcement-powers were not wholly unfounded, as the good father revealed he’d kept the poor priestess locked up to “think about what she did” without proffering any actual charges or any intent of of an inquest or tribunal. But by the time I got there, he just wanted rid of her, and I ingratiated myself to her as her escort back to the temple.

After that little moment of excitement, I briefly shared some wine with Garret and his friend (brother? cousin?) Harken Burrow, at least until we were interrupted by Tucker, who insisted that his sister Calina was going to leave town if she didn’t get an apology from Garret.

That went about as well as expected (a whole lot of yelling), and at one point I had to walk Tucker out of the room so that he wouldn’t challenge Garret to an honor duel. Cooler heads prevailed, and Garret found a way to make a peace offering that Calina could bring herself to accept. During this time, Gandren also had a vision of Petarkis being attacked by a skilled assassin in his prison cell in three days’ time.

With that handled, we just had to deal with the question of Tommen Aristian’s widow, a matter made only more urgent by Gandren’s vision. We crashed her mansion during the funeral preparations, at which point one of the servants had something of a spell, and Calina had to make a big deal over how much portraits of young Tommen looked an awful lot like me. Now, don’t get me wrong, I liked the man; he was good to me, and there were worse possibilities for the contributor of the seed that sprouted me, but I always knew it was a possibility — as did he, I am sure — and the confirmation doesn’t change the affection and respect I felt for him.

We walked into her room in the midst of another hysterical screaming fit about whores and bastards, even to the point of calling Gandren Allandriel a “gigolo” when I’m fairly certain he outranks her. But then he put that spell on her and weaseled his way into her confidence, eventually learning how the Secret Hearth can be contacted: You leave a signet ring on the edge of the fountain in the center of the Hanging Gardens District on the night of the New Moon. With his testimony as a witness to her confession, the watch took her into custody.

While this was going on I also contacted the priesthood of Lunor to warn them that the contract against Claudio Rosseti was still active, only to learn that the Lunarians (Lunorians? Lunatics?) were keeping the lovers under guard and planning an ambush for their would-be assassins. I took this information to Roscoe.

Gandren’s second sight warned him that our actions had changed Petarkis’ fate. The assassin was striking immediately. With time of the essence, we rushed to the holding cell and apprehended the assassin, who was a young woman dressed as a priest of Artimestia.



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