Friday, December 27, 2013

Isle Imperium 1.50 -- The Last, But Not Least, of the Fae

As the sixth of the First to master the accomplished Unconquered Warder, ARCTURUS causes the shard to become essential, a process that will be complete in a total of seven days (four more by the end of this episode).

Through ideation, CATALINA learns that the whereabouts of the land grant to Nova Aeternus are known by a certain CUBURDUS, tertiary prinsept of the fey court, which evidently is allied via Feylight Pact to the Army of Shards, principally the Amber legion—in fact, all 37 Feylight shards among the army were given by the fey court.

MANTIUS and KHIMERE therefore reactivate their Phantasmic Gate combination to enable transport to Cuburdus’ location, the sunken tree Garthruda, in the midst of which transport Mantius is required to speak “rhymes in the manner of those that mock us”—which turn out to be limericks, ably supplied by one of Kim’s related shard entities, JERIC THELON.

Concerned that Cuburdus might take offense at Cat and VARIAN’S shards—these being an elementalist and a summoner, both technologies mimicked from the fey—Mantius leaves them behind when traverse is abruptly activated. However, they are left alone for just long enough to reshard more appropriately before Kim sends Jeric back to fetch them.

Mantius’ caution and Cat’s ideation are both proven right when, before long, Cuburdus seems as disdainful of BREGAN’S Torrent Mariner—evidently another elementalist, of a sort—as he is clearly charmed by Cat’s Lady of Passion and ALECTO’S Saint of Consonance. As the group goes to talk to Cuburdus, Brand remains behind, kept company by Kim, who is appalled to discover that the prinsept has been snubbing her because her Imperious Magister, contrary to her prior belief, is male.

From the otherwise surprisingly affable Cuburdus—who is deeply distressed when told of the fate of the Amber legion—the rest of the First learn that the land grant to Nova Aeternus was not only stolen but separated into seven pieces. The good news is that not only can the last of the fey—the rest having fled the war as well as the world, according to him—reintegrate the pieces, he also offers to accompany them to Gran Laginus, home of LAGINUS, banished from the fey court as the “undying lord of treachery” and current possessor of at least one piece of the land grant, which may be won at the latter’s dark Carnivale.

At Gran Laginus, Cuburdus goes to deal with Laginus while the First sneak off to the carnival, where the barker demands to see his master’s medallion before letting them in. Luckily, when Mantius presents the Feylight claw from the Master of Merchants, it is accepted, and they are invited to stake shards from their pool for the opportunity to win prizes in the following contests:
1. test of mind = guess a very fat woman’s weight = undertaken by Arc
2. test of spirit = differentiate between true and false voices of the dead = undertaken by Ian
3. test of heart = find the one “pure” blade of grass amid a field = undertaken by Mantius
4. test of body = ring a bell by striking a target with a hammer = undertaken by Aly
Thanks in large part to the aid of the Phantom Herald, the Saint of Consonance, and Cat’s generous gift of a heart box, the First are able to win eight new shards and five pieces of the land grant, albeit at the cost of six of the seven shards they were given by Zanthuza in Ilipa. Then, thanks to immersion in carnie culture, Aly manages to befriend the barker, such that they able to trade Covetous’ necklace for a faux ‘contest victory’, giving them the last three pieces of the land grant.

At the barker’s urging, they hurry backwards—literally—to meet with Cuburdus, whom they overhear exchanging cool threats and imprecations with a voice that presumably belongs to Laginus. Through a trick he learned from the legions—artillery—their fey friend apparently manages to kill the latter, but not without cost. Even as they traverse back to Garthruda, Cuburdus is visibly weak and fading—until Mantius transforms himself into a Feyheart, the sight and presence of which instantly gives the prinsept renewed health and vigor.

They arrive at the sunken tree and Cuburdus promptly reintegrates the land grant, soon after which he regretfully tells them they must go, as prolonged exposure to Garthruda’s ambience will cause them to gradually die. Fond farewells are exchanged—including a limerick written just for him—and the First depart, the 2.5% they thus gained bringing their chance of success at reforming the writ to a running total of 11%.

Just in Case Y’all Want to Remember It -- The Rhyme for Cuburdus:
Cuburdus was last of the fey
For the rest had all gone away.
With many a spark,
He shone in the dark—
The last but not least of the fey.

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