Akkarid; July 19
We gathered the necessary materials for Lyr’s ritual and set to work in the middle of my uncle’s stables. This seemed like maybe not the best location to do this at the time, but we did not want to risk the neighbors spying us (as they surely were). We did not know what to expect. Reincarnation is an inherently unpredictable process, but I do not think any of expected the phoera to come back as a true Phoenix. It seems obvious in retrospect, but when the enormous bird sprung forth from the matter we assembled for the spell, we were all for a moment struck dumb by the power and fury of the being before us.
Any doubt about the justice of trapping spirits in the Tenrashinban was quickly set aside as the creature turned its anger on us and the stables. Feng was, thankfully, on hand to abate the fire, but had I not rushed forward and bound the creature, things would have become quite challenging… In the end, it was good that we did this ritual in the stables, otherwise I am quite certain it would have flown away as soon as it came back to life!
At this point, my poisoned flesh could no longer support itself. Abu helped me to the guest room and I promptly fell asleep, though the next several hours were far from the most restful night I have had. Whatever was in Kage Okosa’s poison inflicted upon me hideous dreams from which I could not awake.
Sehera, Indira, and Lydra meanwhile were finding getting attention at the Grand Temple of Bahamut to be a challenge; many in the aftermath of the library’s fire, chiefly from the rioting. It did not help, I suspect, that the friend they sought aid for appeared not as an injured individual but as a huge, black egg.
After Indira lost patience and began to create a scene, some attention was finally paid to my friends and they were left in a small courtyard, where they were promptly ignored again. Sehera tells me that Lydra was growing quite upset; sunrise was approaching and she feared that, with it, Ramal would be forever lost.
Eventually a priest came, but he seemed reluctant to help, or even to take the problem with the seriousness that it warranted. Sehera said the man appeared exhausted and overworked; Indira had less kind words for him.
However, something peculiar began to happen and a powerful vibration began to fill the air. The priest seemed to truly notice Lydra and was struck by her appearance. We have learned that the Ancillae are made in the image of Yadisunu and he may have recognized the Herald’s visage.
The egg became hot, too hot to touch, and when Lydra laid her hand on it, a fire that did not burn ran up her arms, covering her. She touched the egg with both hands and, in a great burst of heat and light, the egg disappeared and, in it’s place stood Ramal.
In the morning, Lyr cured me of the aftereffects of Kage Okosa’s poison which, combined with the joy of seeing Ramal standing and uninjured, restored my vigor. We ate heartily and set to work. The task ahead would be hard and likely grim, but we could not leave the library uninvestigated.
Sehera had examined the ruins on the way back from the temple of Bahamut, and had mentioned that they were a flurry of activity, with guards forming a tight perimeter to keep out looters and to ward off gawkers. She had also found, surrounding the library, a ring of six massive rubies, each the size of a cart, the mark of magic from the Ruby Mountain and, possibly, the signature of Izznaar-Al-Sara. Was the murder of the Zythu and Anari dignitaries we observed when we met Cressida also his magic?
We found the ruins of the library as Sehera had described. Much was still smoldering, but work had already begun in earnest. Sehera and Cressida set off to find the Feshtarken, whose labor would be a great boon to this operation, and the rest of us appraised the situation before us. The entire library was destroyed. I had hoped that the overall damage was not as sever as it had first appeared, but if anything it was worse. So much knowledge lost…
Several survivors had been rescued, and Lyr set to work. Among them was Captain Belsharuzza Hunzuu, who was brutally wounded. The fire had a supernatural quality to it and efforts to repair the damage done to him did not seem promising. Claudia conferred briefly with him; though he was verging on delirium, his concern was for Lillian. He did not know what had befallen her, which at least meant that there was still a glimmer of hope.
Claudia immediately set to work, ordering the work crews, and I did my best to aid. It was exhausting work, but the Feshtarken arrived quickly. With the increase in manpower—and Cressida’s ability to transform into an elephant—we were able to start making progress, carefully removing large segments of rubble. Sadly, all we found were bodies.
Indira and Feng, both resistant to the effects of smoke, scoured the ruins for unusual signs. Eventually they found a crevice, possibly an old stairwell that was not entirely filled with rubble, and Feng was able to weasel down into the rubble.
The way below was treacherous and many times he feared that he would be trapped under the rubble, but he pressed on. Perhaps it was simply a way of venting frustration—apparently Sifu Ling Huo had taken his spell book—but I think all of us were surprised by Feng’s determination. His behavior was highly commendable.
Eventually, he noticed a strange light emanating from below. He pushed onward until he found the edge of a large dome of magical energy. Within—though the dome was difficult to see through—was Chaim.
As soon as we learned of what was found, we immediately refocused our efforts to dig down, into the spot Feng indicated. After many hours of back-breaking labor, we found the dome. After many more anxious hours, we were able to clear the rubble piling around it.
At nearly the instant we finished, the dome collapsed and we could see Chaim clearly. He knelt, unmoving, and underneath him were Lillian and Creature. As loose rubble began to slide back into the pit, Indira grabbed Lillian and levitated up, where we could pull them to safety.
Lillian was badly injured, though her wounds were not life-threatening. Creature was sitting upon her, purring, an act that seemed to put them both into a trance. Lyr healed Lillian who was joyously reunited with her exhausted parents.
Chaim, however, was not moving, and the glow had gone from his eyes and the symbol on his chest. We pulled him from the rubble, though many seemed to wonder why we were saving what seemed only to be a statue.
Chaim had given his life to protect Lillian, converting the very lifeforce that animated him into the magical dome.
Captain Hunzuu, dying of his wounds, was crushed to hear this, though he was deeply relieved to hear of Lillian’s rescue, gave up his own life to reanimate the golem, the second time in under a month that I have seen such an incredible act of selflessness. Captain Belsharuzza Hunzuu was a hero, a paragon of loyalty and service, and his name should never be forgotten.
Chaim was able to detect more life within the ruins and, as the day turned into night, we were able to extract three more people from the ruins.
We went back to my uncle’s house, completely exhausted, but we did not have a quiet night.
Lyr and Sartaj, who were sharing a sitting room that receives the first of the morning sun, had a lengthy and loud theological debate. Sartaj feels resurrection, even in circumstances as extraordinary as Ramal’s, to be unquestionable blasphemy. Lyr, however, is less zealous in this regard, and so a confusing argument of theological minutiae was begun. In the course of this discussion, Lyr implied that one of our group had been resurrected, but she did not tell him it was Indira, no matter how vehemently he badgered her.
Eventually I lost patience and went to their room to yell at them for a bit.
As I tried to get back to sleep, Dendera entered my room, dressed to leave, and moving with a portentous deliberateness that banished all thought of sleep. She sat at the foot of my bed and began to speak, for the first time sharing details of herself in a rush, as if she was suddenly completing a dozen conversations.
She is one hundred and twenty four years old. I know Terashal live longer and slower lives than humans, but to hear her say this drove that home hard.
She is a widow. She has a son.
She began to speak slower after the initial rush and, when I finally asked what had happened to her, a narrative emerged.
See Dendera’s page for the whole story!
In Terashal custom, it is taboo for a grieving widow to be allowed near a child; they are raised by the community until the widow has remarried, completing an out of balance equation. And, as she has been exiled from Al Haddid Jalut and, by extension, her community, there is little hope of being able to rejoin her community. She had sought the Khatam Mahib Ghaza not on behalf of Al Haddid Jalut as we had initially thought, but in order to get back into their graces, to atone for threatening the life of the Arajnord’s son. If she could find a husband on the way, she would be reunited with her son.
When presented with such a story, what else could I do?
Sehera was awoken early by the noise of an angry mob, and she awoke us early in turn by hammering on our doors. The city was in chaos; angry people of many races were proceeding towards the Muqelefah District, chanting “Kill the djinn.”
The people were scared, the attack of Iznaar al-Sara would have appeared to everyone save us as an assault from the City of Brass and they were lashing out at the descendants of the effriti, the city’s fire genasi… and any other genasi who got in their way.
Recognizing that Fazia and her family were in immediate danger, Cressida transformed into a giant eagle and carried Sehera, Lyr, Feng and I as fast as she could. The mob was huge, and coming from all directions; by the time we arrived, it was already there.
Unfortunately, none of us knew which house was the Shula’s estate, but there were three homes that, by their design and the focus of the mob, were clearly fire genasi. We split up, Feng and Sehera taking one, and Lyr, Cressida and I another.
Cressida transformed into a gorilla and smashed down the door to the roof garden and we entered the house quickly. Looters were at work, and we could hear the sound of screaming children.
A man was standing over a dead fire genasi, bloody knife in hand, and I slew him, chasing off his companions. We could hear the sounds of screaming children—Fazia is an only child, so clearly we were in the wrong house—and we ran towards the sound. A group of people were beating several children violently; we chassed them off, Lyr healed the children, and we made sure they were able to find a hiding place before we went to the third house.
Meanwhile, Sehera and Feng had also infiltrated the wrong house. They rescued the family within, chased off some looters; after Cressida dropped us on the roof from of the Shula home, she took that family to safety. We broke into the Shula house—their door was reinforced so Feng had to take several tense moments to pick the lock—and quickly found Fazia and her family, cornered by an angry mob.
Lyr pacified them with her magic and we got the Shula’s to the roof. Unfortunately, Cressida had not yet returned and the door did not stand up to the force of the rioters. We hid ourselves within a wall of blades and I did my best to talk down the citizens. Unfortunately, they were only able to listen to reason to a point, but it was enough to allow Sehera and I to hold them back when the blades fell.
Eventually Cressida returned. Bolstering her strength with magic, she took the Shula family, Feng, and Lyr and flew off while Sehera and I fended of the mob. Our friends clear, we jumped down the side of the building, into the top floor windows, and escaped the house.
Finally, the city guard was approaching, banging their shields, blaring their horns, and dispersing the crowd. Sehera and I slipped away…