Frostmoon 15 – The pair travels to the other side of the lake to enter the fey hollow. They encounter a group of gremlins, killing several of them before the rest flee. Yope, having noticed that one moved substantially faster than the others, takes a pair of slippers from its body and finds that they re-size themselves to fit her.
Yope and Svadin continue through the hollow, taking advantage of useful plants and bypassing dangerous ones. Eventually they are attacked by the surviving gremlins with some new, nastier friends. The duo prevails again, taking an exceptionally fine gauzy shawl from one of the dead gremlins.
In the final chamber of the hollow, they meet a nereid taking up residence in an underground pond. She insists on the return of her shawl (stolen by the gremlins) and offers to help Yope find her fey assassin in exchange. Yope acquires a pendant with which she can divine the location of fey creatures. Halfway back to Orness, the pendant begins pointing toward the city.
Frostmoon 16 – After visiting Lad, Yope triangulates the location of the fey in Orness. She finds him in a compound in the north-east corner of the city. She returns to Karla to bring her along on the raid of the compound, and the watch captain agrees.
After breaching the compound and setting off a few traps, the pair confronts the svartalf. More interested in discussion than fighting, he introduces himself as Havarisenian Kalajek and claims that he was not responsible for the deaths of the Harlequin guild. The assassin, he claims, was a well-known assassin from the south named Flint. “Jek” claims that he was hired by the Harlequin guild to kill Flint, who had been contracted to eliminate them after the guild stumbled upon a connection between Isaac Alvain and the siege of Velothi. Karla is satisfied that neither Jek or Yope is the killer, and Jek agrees to share the information he has if Yope will continue about her business and act as bait to draw out Flint.
I think we may have stumbled upon the true nature of the siege of Velothi in the south, and it has some terrifying implications. The armoured individuals described seem to be the Judges of old. Whether they have persisted in obscurity all this time or have recently re-awoken, we do not know.
What is known, however, is that two of them are currently in Orness. Byram, one of St. Lucian’s Sentinels is one. He opposes any arguement that aid should be given to Velothi, and now we know why. We’ve observed him meeting on several occasions with Isaac Alvain, the Queen’s chiefest knight and her steward in Orness while she is at the winter palace in Deepcrest. We believe Isaac to be a second Judge, if not more.
Though he was the leader of a mercenary company in the east before coming to these lands, little else regarding his background is public knowledge. But it’s his actions since arriving in Orness that we should find disturbing. After spending his first six months as Queen’s North at court, he quit court to go questing. He has spent the three years since very rarely at court except in the winter. During the spring and summer leading to the siege of Velothi, no one heard even a hint of his whereabouts or activities. While he claims this time was spent patrolling the countryside, it is no great assumption to say that he was gathering his army of monsters to besiege human civilization.
Why would the Judges, who were once protectors of Eldin, now orchestrate the end of humanity within our borders? Are these the same people who defended us of old, or are they a more recent incarnation of that office? And if, as we believe, each Judge represents one of the major arcana of a card deck (the heraldic armour of two of them clearly indicates the Emperor and Justice), why were there only ever six of them? Were there once more?
Frostmoon 17 – Yope continues her item collection for Svadin, returning to the guild to turn in the information she received from Jek and to see what Caleb and Jack were able to discover regarding Abbot Bernard. Variel ponders how this newfound knowledge could benefit the guild, and Jack and Caleb have a schedule of Abbot Bernard’s activities prepared for Yope. She uses this to steal his key while he relaxes at the bath house.
With all of the items she requested, Svadin asks Yope to descend to the floor of the lake and seek out a monolithic temple. She sends Yope with a pendant to place on a broken throne in the most inaccessible room of the temple and assures Yope that the structure will contain enough treasure to make the swim worth her while.
With the prospect of a virtually inaccessible dungeon to crawl, Yope formulates a plan to teleport in Jek after she’s inside the temple. Jek agrees, but only if she’ll make herself a particularly appealing target to Flint first. Seeking her guild’s help, Yope finds Variel surprisingly excited by the prospect of spreading the word that Red Dragon is using her to move against Isaac and Byram, a Sentinel who is acting out of accordance with his order. The guild works through the night to plant this news throughout Orness while Yope rests up for her mission.
Frostmoon 18 – A fishing vessel agrees to drop Yope in the middle of the lake (provided she also accepts a barrel to float on when she changes her mind), and she descends to the lake bed. She soon finds the temple and enters it through an improbable moon pool.
Yope proceeds through the temple’s multi-leveled puzzles, finding sculpted stone representations of the major arcana and disturbing murals depicting the death of the god Eldin as she goes (and a reasonable amount of treasure, too). In the final chamber, she places Svadin’s pendant as instructed and turns to find Flint sealing the door to force a life-or-death confrontation. Yope summons Jek, and the two work together to overcome the legendary assassin. Yope loots his equipment (and blood) before returning to the surface. She gates Jek back to his rented compound along with her treasure, and he departs, leaving her the keys to the house and offering its use until his rental expires in spring.