Baron Reilan clears his throat from the branch of a nearby tree. He’s sitting there, utterly relaxed, and eating chunks of white flesh from a hard, brown fruit that looks suspiciously like it’s from one of the trees on the endless beach.
“Let’s be off then! We have preparations to make!” He then leaps down from the tree and alights lightly on the lake shore. “We have things to discuss and little time to act. Besides, we wouldn’t want to disobey Edara, now would we?” He sets off at a brisk pace back toward the City of Shadows.
Our heroes follow, but this time he takes an alternate route through the city. He leads them not to his guild hall, but rather through a twisting maze of dark alleys riddled with dark hooded forms. The labyrinth opens up to a single, tall, golden spire with a relief sculpture of an enormous dragon on it. Edara is waiting outside, but her gaze is not so scornful upon Reilan.
“Hurry, the seneschal wishes to speak with you and does not enjoy waiting.” she walks back into past into the veritable maze of streets without further explanation.
“I have a prior appointment, so we’ll have to be brief and speak as I work.” Reilan leads them into the building and up several flights of ornate golden stairs inlaid with onyx. Then end in a circular room like a small, shallow colosseum. There are four other casters spread out and chanting.
“Our patron deity, Paulsalto, was once a man like any other. But he saw the truth of things through his many adventurous exploits. He saw the truth of things: that good and evil must always circle in an endless struggle. One never to overwhelm the other lest they both teeter over the edges of reality into the brink of madness.”
A fine mist has slowly been filling the room while the shadow casters continue to chant.
“By will alone, he harnesed the power that separates the true light from true dark and with it he manifested a device that transcends planes of existence indefinitely. It even transfers minute amounts of his power over shadow to his followers he chose from the most intelligent and trustworthy beings. Those untainted by good or evil for the last 10 centuries as well as their progeny by blood or by vows.”
By this time they can barely make out Reilan’s form even a couple feet away. The chanting is reverberating around the small room and threatens to drown out reilan’s voice, but still he speaks.
“And so we, Paulsalto’s chosen, are divided into six guilds. Two each of good, lawful, and evil. We are assasins; icons; heroes; villains: whatever we believe is needed to plant a hope where none exists, or cut down pride where good is too strong. We rule the universes through subtlety. Nothing escapes our grasp… except the two of you.” He indicates nimian the un-holy and Feathersong
“The two of you somehow appeared into our realm without our consent and tracked me down. You’ve created waves in the fabric of our perfect, balanced world. Your small feats of heroism started the gears of hope turning once more. The celestials are on a warpath and the devils, seeing opportunity, are also on the move! Normally we would have killed you as we would any demonic or angelic usurper, but as of yet you show no allegiance to either side. Not only that, you are proving to be immensely useful.”
With a flash, the mist finally disappears, but in its place are rows upon rows of men clad tightly in black garments and carrying two handed curved swords. Them take no notice of the party or the casters and march in an unending line from a portal in the far side of the room out the doorways towards the already crowded city streets.
“Over the past nine centuries, we have done our duties, recruited allies, and refined our magic. Even so, the celestials approaching may prove too potent for us. Our deity has rested for the last 9 centuries, leaving us in the care of his consort: the Seneschal of Neutrality. We need our lord to prevail in this endeavor, but she is strictly opposed. She must be convinced before he can be awakened. We will plead your coming as a sign of our instability, but then it must fall on you to awaken Paulsalto. For now, though, we must fight. Allow my subordinate to lead you to a suitably defendable position for the fight ahead.”
Reilan yells something in a strange language and the dark clad men stop marching. They raise their weapons and release a deafening battle cry, then pad silently after Reilan as he runs out the door.