Eyre 28, 1002 YK
The Eclipse Collective reunites in Grey Titan’s Hold. Lucan is put in the hospital. Rilic begins a book tour for the newest volume of his autobiography, completed over the last few days. Zil’dejin and Derli begin preparations against the atropal. Derli returns to Hopelorn, tells the secret of the White Mountain to Daroon, and is allowed to kill the Ragdoll Killer, restoring power to his amulet.
Zil’dejin makes arrangements to offset his vulnerability with both Ser Tabin Hamson and Rave. Hamson wants to introduce him to a priest of the order she gets her scrolls from, and Rave wants to perform one of a number of horrifying necromantic procedures. Zil’dejin sets up both, but must return the next day in either case. Derli speaks with Hamson and Coref Irvallo about whether he should send in the Hammer of St. Derli in against the atropals.
Dravago 1, 1002 YK
During a book-signing in Wroat, Rilic is approached by Saal Perryn, who tries to get him to sign the second volume of Albard Balendal‘s journal Saal purchased from Tamztur. Rilic refuses to even touch it, and Saal eventually leaves under pressure from the crowd of Rilic’s fans.
Zil’dejin meets with Varias of Lathleer, a priest of Moon’s Gate, the secret order of scholar-priests founded by Elyas, whose reincarnation now leads them. Zil’dejin begins the process of a blessing that he hopes can offset his vulnerability, but requires the sacrifice of something of personal value. He chooses his Thundering Halberd, taken from Cabor’s Chains and enchanted by Lythanis Zyk. Additionally, Derli goes looking for angel tears to allow the Moon’s Gate sect to prepare holy oils that can be used on weapons against the atropals. He fetches Rilic and they go looking in the Teardrop Palace, nearly buying from Yrkhetep but deciding against it.
Derli goes to Atur to speak with Bronzesmith. Bronzesmith tells Derli he can get angel tears from the Blood of Vol, but needs to see where Zil’dejin sleeps. Derli agrees. On his way back to Eros, he boards a false lightning rail car, which is filled with shadowmorphs created by Cassianus and Iskandar. They close in, preparing to attack Derli as part of the hexblades’ test.
Eyre 28, 1002 YK
The party finally regroups in Grey Titan’s Hold. Lucan is placed immediately in the hospital, still in a near-catatonic state after his resurrection in the Drowning Court. Conlon and Indicus leave to attend to their own business, and Kaleth is still missing, leaving Zil’dejin, Rilic, and Derli. Zil’dejin and Derli begin to prepare for the upcoming battle against the atropals Zenza and Suhnen, while Rilic goes on an impromptu book tour to promote the latest volume of his autobiography: The Adventures of Rilic Balendal, vol VI: The Man who Cheated Death.
Derli has Nimozaran the Green transport him back to Hopelorn, accompanied by Zil’dejin to keep watch over the wizard. He returns to Daroon with the secret of the White Mountain, and his belief that it is the tomb of the Third Empty King. Daroon, as promised, gives him the Ragdoll Killer, gagged and bound. Derli removes his gag to hear his final words, but he only utters “I was your final chance at salvation.” Derli beheads him, and feels the power reenter the amulet. He then leaves the citadel with the others.
Zil’dejin speaks with Ser Tabin Hamson, who reveals that she has nothing else to offer against the atropals besides the scroll he is already carrying. However, she can set up a meeting with a priest of the secret order from which she gets her scrolls. Zil’dejin thanks her for this, but must wait a day before the priest can arrive. He then goes to see Rave in the death magic academy. Rave offers him three possibilities to offset his weakness to negative energy: he can transplant the specially-prepared heart of a dead man, he can transplant Zil’dejin temporarily into an undead body (similar to what he did for Kaleth), or he can possess Zil’dejin with the soul of a demon he recently acquired created by Katashka, the Gatekeeper. Zil’dejin considers the first option, but leaves him.
Meanwhile, Derli converses with Coref Irvallo and Ser Tabin Hamson (separately) about whether he should send the Hammer of St. Derli in to face the atropals. Coref believes he should, because Zenza has created a legion of undead and they are best suited to fight it, but Hamson believes it is best to keep them safe.
Dravago 1, 1002 YK
The start of Rilic’s book tour outside of Eros is in Breland. While signing books in the city of Wroat, he encounters Saal Perryn, who is waiting in line with the second volume of Rilic’s brother Albard Balendal‘s journal. He tries to persuade Rilic to sign it, offering him money and making a vague threat regarding a wand. Rilic refuses to sign it, and tells Saal to come see him privately in Grey Titan’s Hold in a few days. Saal tries to press the issue, but the crowd of Rilic’s fans begins to look threatening, so he backs down and leaves.
Back in Eros, Zil’dejin decides against the heart transplant, and meets with Varias of Lathleer, the priest Hamson spoke of. Varias represents Moon’s Gate, the secret order of scholar-priests founded by Elyas. According to Varias, they found Elyas in his latest reincarnation, and with his guidance have assembled a great deal of knowledge on divine rituals and secrets. He offers more scrolls of protection in exchange for donations, holy oils if they can get the ingredients — angel tears — or blessings, provided they spend several days of rigorous purification and sacrifice something of personal value.
Derli goes to find angel tears for the oils. He fetches Rilic from Wroat, and they go to the Teardrop Palace, where Yrkhetep tries to sell him the tears. He cannot decide for himself if they are real, but notices a faint feel of necromancy in the vial. Rilic finds a cacodaemon appraiser called “the All-seeing” who offers to appraise it for a new body from the Cinder Furnace, but Derli refuses. Yrkhetep wants a shop in Grey Titan’s Hold in exchange for the tears, but Derli refuses to give him anything, and they leave empty-handed.
Zil’dejin prepares to sacrifice his Thundering Halberd, his first weapon retrieved from his rebellion against Cabor’s Chains which was enchanted by Lythanis Zyk. Before he brings it back to Varias of Lathleer, a student of the magic academy informs him that Rave has a new option. Rave presents Zil’dejin with a curse he discovered that will invert his weakness, making him resistant to negative energy instead, but killing him instantly and possibly destroying his soul should he lose consciousness while under its effects. Zil’dejin decides not to undertake this spell’s effects, and returns to the priests.
Finally, Derli goes to see Bronzesmith in the Crimson Monastery of Atur to try and acquire angel tears from the Blood of Vol. Bronzesmith, who has just returned from adventuring with the Evening Star Company, offers to help in exchange for seeing firsthand where Zil’dejin sleeps. Derli agrees. On his way back to Grey Titan’s Hold by lightning rail, he inadvertently boards a false train filled with faceless “people”. It was created by the hexblades Cassianus and Iskandar, who are testing him as they tested Conlon. The shadowmorphs close in as Cassianus leaves the fake train.