4/11/2015 – Session 4 – 16, Ascending Water – Rats
The next morning Liric went to a magistrate's office to report what had happened the previous evening at the tomb of singing blades. Liric realized that people who were not informants reporting things they were not actually paid to report was not the norm in Nexus. After getting some run-around, he left some information about where he could be contacted in case there were further questions. He felt a little better about things, hoping this would be enough to convince any reasonable person looking into things that he had just been witness to a bizarre accident, and not its cause.
Someone did get back to Liric later. He was a city bureaucrat sympathetic to Liric's inquiries but didn't really want his name used. Liric thought this a bit odd, but was much more irritated with himself after the meeting because his notes were quite fuzzy in a few places and missing a couple details. Obviously he was still feeling distracted due to yesterday's events.
Liric learned that Nexus – no, Hollow – had a bit of a secret reputation, and the council would likely not appreciate rumors of the old city being spread. He had managed to get a copy of an old map of Hollow, probably not entirely accurate, but good enough for some initial work. Liric saw that Hollow was built to ... (attract? / contain?) the spiritual ... (essence? / manifestation?) of ... (disease? / sickness? / entropy?). No, it wasn't a physical cesspool (that was Nexus), but something much more subtle and possibly sinister depending on the purpose of the solars who had been behind it. There had also been rumors (very old) that the great contagion began in Hollow (this was news to Liric). Someone had taken some pains to squash these rumors out over time. There was the name of Hollow itself, from which it was possible to derive the phrase "creeping sickness." It was only apparent in the characters of Old Realm, and not completely obvious even then. Possibly coincidental, possibly not. Finally, excavations in city projects occasionally produced disturbing relics predating the contagion. Like twisted and deformed skeletons or partially preserved bodies. Nobody tended to look really closely into their history (there was a wyld pocket in the city that could produce similar results, after all), but in light of everything else, these took on greater significance and indicated ... something.
A few things that made sense during the meeting weren't clear at all aferward. Liric decided to put the information aside for a few days until he heard back from Sund. Maybe she would have something that would help bring everything together.
But before then Liric received an invitation of sorts to meet with the god of the undercity, named Oro. It would be in a few days time. At the meeting, most of the other exalts he had already met were there as well. Oro was a ratty-looking god, and while Liric knew enough not to put too much into the appearance of a god, he got the general impression over the course of the meeting that Oro was, in fact, a rat. Oro wanted to help the various exalts who had arrived in the city (and would not refuse any benefits they might bring him, of course), and as a gesture of good will told them about a solar tomb in the city that practically nobody knew about.
There were six well-known solar tombs in Nexus. Liric had already become acquanited with the defenses surrounding the Tomb of Singing Swords. The others were all different but their defenses were said to be similarly effective. Attempting to open any of them would likely result in death (either from the tomb itself or from the wrath of the council for breaking this long-standing civility). This tomb Oro was speaking of was not one of them. It was much smaller, and had a lion dog guardian. The ghost of the solar was also still around. And it was not technically covered by any civility. Not that anyone present would likely consult with the council just to be sure, before going there. But it was not under active scrutiny, nor apparently were its defenses beyond the combined abilities of a few inexperienced chosen. If you could get past the lion dog.
At the meeting Liric also learned a little more about some of the other exalts. Of particular interest was Alya. Like Liric, Alya was having some memory issues. Also, one of the guild heirarchs, named Arys Shen, had put a hit on Alya, who had previously worked for the guild... by doing hits. Alya had also tracked down the person the plague spirits had been working with and had "taken care of it." So Alya was a little scary. But that both these exalts had memory issues seemed like too much to be entirely coincidental to Liric. It was something he decided he would have to look into further. If Alya would let him.
After this meeting, Liric would find that small rats (unmanifested, and therefore invisible without some kind of spirit sight) would constantly follow the exalts around and keep track of them.
Nexus has an Exalted infestation, and no one--not even the Exalted themselves--know who, how many, or why.
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