Exile... you've helped me before. You can help me again, can't you? My hope waits for me to the east, tucked away in a shrine in the Quay.
The Ankh of Eternity. Veruso, Prima Imperialus, placed it there himself at the dawn of the Empire. If the legends are correct, the Ankh has powers over life and death... when paired with the correct Azmerian ritual.
I've learned the ritual. All I need is the Ankh of Eternity and I know I can bring Tolman back... properly this time.
Will you retrieve the artefact for us? I've tried but the creatures around the shrine... simply too dangerous.
Yes, yes, Tolman, I'm getting to that.
I've already prepared a site for the ritual, out in the Quay. Please, meet us there with the Ankh so that I may yet breathe life into my dearest love.
By all accounts, Tarcus Veruso was a ruthless despot, a man to rival even the likes of Dominus. Yet his heart of stone contained one precious seam, his love for his wife, Chiara.
So when the poor young woman died giving birth to Veruso's son, the grieving emperor threw aside his great convictions and placed his last hope in thaumaturgy, in the Ankh of Eternity.
Perhaps it was shame that drove Tarcus to lock the ankh away, to steal such hopes from his descendents. It was he who had asked his people to turn their backs on the ancient arts, so what right had he to enjoy that which he forbade? Love gave him that right.
As I understand it, the Ankh of Eternity was somehow able to return the dead to the full bloom of life. There was nothing necromantic about it, rather it was a source of true resurrection.
How it came to exist, I honestly don't know. A couple of inscriptions I read treated the ankh as some sort of gift to Veruso from the Vaal. But surely the Vaal were long gone by Veruso's time... weren't they?
No matter. Despite the vagaries of the Ankh's origins, Veruso used the Ankh to return his young wife from the death bed to the wedding bed. The accounts are unanimous on that point.
As it was for Veruso's love, so shall it be for mine.
How could I have been so stupid? Veruso didn't hide the ankh out of shame. He hid it out of fear, out of... oh my, what did the ankh really do to his wife? Everything I saw, that I read... lies to cover the truth of what Chiara had really become.
Alright, I'll destroy the ankh. We've come a long way since Veruso's day so I'm thinking I can manage where he so sorely failed. At least that's something I know I can do right.
I'll meet you back at the encampment soon. For now I need to... look, I'll just see you there. I promise.