Quite the pretty pair, aren't they? Yes, pretty bloody disturbing.
That girl was once the sweetest lass I could name. Nowadays she's barking as batshite over that living corpse of hers. All it'd take is a quick, hard bash with a rock and Tolman would no longer be a problem. Tempting, don't you think?
If Sarn wasn't mad enough, now we've got some whip-tongued hag cooking up a stinking curse in the sewers. Took her for my mother-in-law at first. But no, based on my meagre historical knowledge, I reckon we've a certain Doedre Darktongue to contend with.
Where in blazes she's hiding, I've no idea. So the only way we're going to catch this witch is by getting our hands, and possibly a lot more, well and truly dirty. By 'we', I mean 'you', of course. The sewers are no place for a simple businessman like me.
Do us all a favour. Head into them sewers and track that old hag down. Get her to reveal herself and put her down. Hah... better your eyes than mine, eh?
If you're going to be in the antiquities business, it pays to take note of whatever history you can. High Gardens and the great Emperor Izaro, for instance. Have you heard of the Lord's Labyrinth? The High Gardens were designed by Izaro as a test run for his great work.
He turned his personal garden into a maze and filled it with all sorts of traps and nasty beasties. Convicted criminals were then given a choice. Death or the Garden. If they got through, an imperial pardon was theirs.
Weren't no pardons on record as far as I could see. That's what happens when people have too much time and gold on their hands.
A word of caution. That ankh, it might have had some miraculous powers but I bet there's a nasty reason why Veruso hid the bloody thing away. I've tried to warn Clarissa, but her ears seem as dead as that boyfriend of hers.
Needing my eclectic expertise again, are we? Solaris and Lunaris got front and center stage among them folks of the Eternal Empire.
Solaris was thought to be the light of leadership, guiding and enlightening each emperor that sat the throne. In practice, most of them emperors turned out to be a bit dim, but then history and theology have never quite seen eye to eye.
As for Lunaris, a goddess of the moon and earth, the mother of dreams and inspiration. Doesn't sound like a bad lady until you consider that dreams harbour nightmares and that inspiration is just one notion shy of insanity.
I'd thank the gods, but you seem to be taking them out at an alarming rate.
Not that I'm complaining! In my experience, theocracy's never been great for entrepreneurs like me, unless you're in the holy relics business. It's too single-minded. Too orderly. Give me chaos any old day, for it is in chaos that opportunity is bred.
Sarn can get back to its usual state of mayhem and I can get back down to business. Everyone's a winner!
Powerful baubles them orbs are. As old as the Azmerians themselves, maybe even older. I've read all there is on them little beauties. The Sun Orb's said to contain all that has been, while its sister, the Moon Orb, holds all that will be. Past and future, packed up neat behind glass and thaumaturgy. Shudder to think what might happen if all that got out one day.
Grigor left without a single word to me, rude bugger, but I suspect his poetic soul has been drawn back home, to Ezomyr. A long journey, but a trek worth taking to find solace among one's own people. Of course, they'll get quite the shock when they see him. Let's hope familial love is as nearsighted as they say!
There're the fine tales Grigor will be able to tell them, of course. Come to think of it, now that Dominus has been knocked off his perch, there's nothing to stop the Ezomytes from learning a thing or two from Grigor's stories. They might even consider invading this jewel in Wraeclast's tarnished crown. I certainly hope they have just such an eye for opportunity... a man could make a tidy sum helping said invaders navigate Sarn and its many hazards.
I heard tell of an ancient Vaal scholar who bore the name 'Yugul'. He'd conduct these grisly experiments in pursuit of some piece of nasty wisdom tucked into the nether regions of human terror. Practiced on young kiddies no less, scaring the living shite out of Vaal toddlers and then nabbing their fear within a hall of thaumaturgical mirrors.
Could be the whole story's a crock, and here's where it gets even hazier. Seems old Yugul found something in that fear, enough to scare a whole swag of Vaal into worshipping him.
Honestly, some people will worship anything for a bit of spiritual peace of mind.
So it was that bloody scholar after all, was it? Sick bastard. Well, he's gone now, and I hope you made sure he suffered like those poor kids he tormented. I'd've toasted him nice and slow like a spitted pig, see how he'd like them apples stuffed in his mouth.
Here, have something for keeping us safe from the divine undesirables in this world.
Tell me something. Any chance you might be willing to join forces and turn a healthy profit with old Hargan? You ever heard of the Wings of Vastiri? Not just another damned artefact. This one was the highest symbol of office for the Maraketh, held by the "Sekhema of Sekhemas". History books say the Wings were last worn by Sekhema Asenath, the Golden Sekhema... the one who went and got herself murdered by Hector Titucius.
The only problem is that Titucius himself is up and guarding his pretties once more. Still, if you can recover those Wing of Vastiri then I'm confident I can sell them back to the Maraketh for a fair sum. They're a cultural icon after all, dripping with sentimental value.
You found them! No easy feat, I'll bet. How's old Hector these days? Not so good after you crossed paths with him, am I right? I'll polish these wings up and get them back to their owners just as soon as my Maraketh friend can get her folks to pay the ransom... ahem, price, I mean.
In the meantime, take a little something from my stock as payment.
Well, they're forged from solid gold, I can tell you that much. But I suppose that's not really what you're asking about.
The wings are a treasured piece of the Maraketh heritage. Back when the tribes quit their squabblings and joined hands to battle the Eternal Empire, the wings were seen as a symbol of their unity. The Golden Sekhema wore them as she led the whole bloody Maraketh horde against Sarn. She was the single greatest hope for the Maraketh, was that Asenath.
Hector Titucius crushed both their hopes and their precious sekhema.
What little humanity General Titucius was born with, he traded in for strength. Went as far as to have Malachai replace his joints with virtue gems... mad bastard. Afterwards, Emperor Chitus charged Titucius with subduing the Maraketh, a job he took a little too much pleasure in, if you ask me.