Kirac's my name, tracker and officer in Oriath's new Citizen Vanguard. We're the front line, ensuring the likes of Kitava and Innocence never blindside us again. The Templar kept the true nature of the world hidden from the populace, but now the rhoa's out of the sack, and we'll keep both eyes open. Or the one eye open, in my case.
I'll come right out with it, Godslayer. I have a problem, and you may be the only one that can help.
My younger brother, Baran, fell in with a radical by the name of Zana Caeserius some time ago. She's a bit of a famous one in certain parts. Many who have worked with her have ended up two pews short of a congregation, ranting and raving on street corners or accosting random citizens... you can see the cause for my concern. I've reason to believe she was working out of an old Templar Laboratory off the Square. Head there with me now.
Baran sent me letters. He wrote that he was embarking on an expedition with Caeserius and several skilled exiles. Kitava's temper tantrum kept me from Oriath, but my brother should have long since returned by now. I know that searching for one man's brother is an inconsequential task for a Godslayer, but I have a bad feeling about this.
My brother spoke of a device like that in his letters. He said they used it to open passage to distant lands, whatever that means... However it works, it's clearly dangerous if it can explode in such a manner. We must do our work somewhere away from civilians. I'm going to requisition a team of tinkerers and engineers. Using the notes in this laboratory, we can construct a similar device. Your hideout will do nicely as a base of operations. Yes, I know where it is. I came up the ranks as a tracker, mind you.
Rumour has it this was built by order of a previous High Templar, the name of Venarius. If the impossible components we need are anywhere in our mortal realm, they would be in the Vault of Venarius in the Reliquary.
We're going to need to find the key to that Vault. Dominus was the next High Templar, and thus the one who declared his predecessor's pursuits heretical and had them sealed as blasphemous. A load of manure to secure the secrets for himself, no doubt. A man like him would have kept the key close. My gut tells me it's likely in his old office in the Templar Courts. Let's head there.
Hurts my eye just to look at. Those are definitely what we're looking for. Angles that don't make sense, shapes that shouldn't exist, and corners to trap the sight. Let's install these in the device and see what happens. Meet me in your hideout, exile.
The device seems stable now, though I've no inkling where its portals may lead. My instinct as a tracker usually gives me some sense of direction, but I just feel light-headed when I think about it... Baran's last letter included a small crudely hewn stone map so that I might follow him if anything happened. The carvings didn't make sense at the time, but now I understand.
Put this map in the machine. Somehow, I'm certain it's our destination.
Caeserius is a skilled cartographer, but she hasn't got martial understanding of the terrain. If I was looking to build a fortress, I know where I'd place it. I've marked it on your Atlas. She might be able to get you there.
If Caeserius is still alive, I'll track her down, and I'll deliver her in chains for judgement. It's not for me to decide whether skulking around Oriath with mystical technologies that explode is a crime worthy of prison. The new citizen Magistrates will handle that.
I intended to bring Caeserius to the Magistrates, but it sounds like Baran is in real trouble. It runs at odds with my position in the Citizen Vanguard, but I think I've earned some discretion. We should work with her until we rescue my brother.
Caeserius has a good head on her shoulders. I'm starting to think her reputation as a radical is unearned. By all accounts, regarding this 'Elder' creature she and her exiles defeated, she may have done Wraeclast a service, and nobody's the wiser. Of course, that opinion hinges on whether they're telling the truth, and whether my brother can be saved.
In my heart, I do blame her for what happened to Baran. If he was simply dead, that would be one thing, but he's out there suffering eternal madness because of her. I can't deny that bitterness. However, duty calls. The people we've got are it. If we tried to explain all this to the citizen Magistrates, Caeserius would be locked up for her associations with criminals, and we'd all be thrown in an asylum for our wild tales. We must face this 'Sirus' together, all grievances aside.
I'll keep my own counsel on the topic of Zana, thank you. Uh, Caeserius, rather. However, it seems someone reported to the Magistrates that she's innocent of all her supposed underhanded activities... funny that.
So that's it then. Baran can't be saved. Caeserius... did she understand the costs? Did she know the fate she was consigning my brother to? I've no small bitterness over how far she went to try to save her father, yet here we are, abandoning my brother to eternal madness. There's nothing to be done about it, but it still burns.
Even after all that's happened, I find myself unable to move on. Keep pursuing Baran, exile. Let's keep trying to save him. We won't fall into the same madness, either, because I'll stay out here in the real world. I'm the one with the desire, and you're the one with the strength. If we keep the two separate, the Atlas can't trap us.
Seems enough was enough. The Vanguard undertook the largest evacuation in history... hundreds of ships... and Oriath has been abandoned. After the domination of the Templar, then the crackdown under Innocence, then the slaughter at Kitava's hands, and finally the ruination by Sirus, it's clear our little island is no place for men to live. Even cursed, one could say, though we are not entirely blameless for those disasters.
No small irony that the Oriathan people now depend upon the Karui we once enslaved. I always said that if you kick a rhoa in the arse, one day, it'll kick you in the head, but I underestimated the honour of our new hosts. They're different after the death of their gods... and we are, too, after the departure of ours. I wasn't a believer, but I can feel it. We're on our own now.
We're going to have to work together to face what comes next...
Some say the Citizen Vanguard failed in its mission, but I say we succeeded, and wildly so. Oriath may have been ruined, but its people will live on, because you and I were out there in the wild unknown facing dangers that would have destroyed all of Wraeclast otherwise.
Life in the Karui Archipelago will be tough, but we've been through worse many times over. We'll be alright.