Chronicles of the Graceful Knight

Chapter Eleven: Hidden Secrets

Lady Koralia and her entourage, accompanied by Philosophus Belesis, make planetfall on Pentateuch, and quickly make preparations to head to the location detailed in Noviate Darryl Fane’s journals. Acquiring a landcraft is an easy matter for a Questing Knight and a Philosophus of the controlling Eskatonic Order, and they are quickly on their way.

While in transit towards their destination, the group notices a menacing storm brewing on the horizon. Father Belesis and Enhenduanna recognize the storm: it is the fabled Sirocco, a manefestation of the strange phenomena on Pentateuch. Belesis urges Paxton, who is piloting their craft, to stop in a rocky outcropping to weather out the storm, insisting that it could be dangerous beyond belief.

The Sirocco lasts for five long hours. During the storm, every device the group possesses which runs on fusion batteries malfunctions. Paxton is quickly able to isolate the malfunctions, noticing that the exact same malfunction has occurred with each device, including their landcraft: the fusion relay control system, essential for processing the power in fusion batteries into a format usable by the device in question, has burned out. It is a quick fix for a man of Paxton’s abilities, and he sets about fixing a few of their devices. However, nearly as soon as the repairs are made, the same part malfunctions once more. Father Belesis and Enhenduanna both tell him that the Sirocco has been known to cause strange reactions in technology, and it is best to wait until the storm has passed before attempting to initiate any repairs.

As the Sirocco rages, every member of the group loses consciousness and is given a vision. Each is different, and when they speak after regaining consciousness, they determine that each and every one of their visions culminated with a single phrase, the same across their vastly different visions. Whether spoken aloud or written, all of them saw the phrase, “I am He Who Builds Bridges.”

Disturbed by their visions, they continue onward towards the north pole of Pentateuch. Once they arrive, they find a cave in a mountain face. It looks as though there was once a rather large boulder covering the entrance, but it has been pulverized, and the polar snows have since begun to cover the rubble. The notice no footprints, but it has been several weeks since Novitiate Fane was to come here, so that is not a matter of concern.

Inside, they see a large chamber. Scattered throughout the chamber is camping supplies, tents, food, books, and the like. Laying spread eagle in the center of the chamber is a cold, bloodless corpse. Father Belesis is overcome with emotion, recognizing his lost student immediately. Kadan, being somewhat versed in the myriad ways a man can die, notes that the boy was killed by having his throat slit with a vibroknife. It is not a clean or painless way to die by even the most cruel standards.

Dominating the opposite wall of the room is an enormous metal door, perfectly flush with the stone surrounding it. The door is easily eight meters tall and four meters side to side, and strange symbols that seem to move with a life of their own are projected into the air in front of the door. Enhenduanna and Kadan both get a strange sense of familiarity when they see the sigils, but Enhenduanna can only place one of the symbols: directly in the center of the array is the personal seal of Doramos the World Shaper.

While the rest of the group investigates the cave, Kadan uses his powers to see the shadows of the past surrounding the corpse. He sees, about a week prior, a man walking into the cave, wearing solid black leathers and a black, featureless mask. This man walks up behind Novitiate Fane, and slits his throat. In Fane’s dying motions, he knocks free some kind of pin or broach from the mystery man’s lapel, which falls to the ground. Shaking free of his vision, he finds the broach. It appears to be the Eskatonic image of the Jump Cross, with the personal glyph of Doramos inside the ring. Enhenduanna does not recognize the imagery, but Father Belesis identifies it as the symbol of an Eskatonic heretical sect, called the World Shapers, which reveres Doramos with nearly the reverence of the Prophet Zebulon himself. He had thought the sect to be a myth.

Meanwhile, the rest of the group has found nothing of note. What they don’t find, however, speaks much louder than what they do find: while Novitiate Fane had many notes here on many subjects, there not a single document, scroll, book, journal, or even marginalia that even so much as mentions the door.

Disturbed by their findings, the group decides to make their way back to Heliopolis to do some research and try talking to some of the Eskatonic Priests. As they leave the cave, intent on giving Novitiate Fane a proper burial before they leave, they see words written in the snow by their vehicle in what appears to be fresh, still steaming blood. They say, “I am He Who Builds Bridges.” Slightly frightened, but unperturbed, they conduct the funeral of Novitiate Fane and leave.

Upon arriving back in Heliopolis, they make their way directly for the Eskatonic libraries, stopping only to fill out the requisite paperwork to get the non-Church members of the group their guest passes so that they may move with some freedom about the Cathedral. As she is handing them their guest passes, the attending Novitiate says with a smile, “I am He Who Builds Bridges.” When a stunned Lady Koralia asks her what she just said, she says “I said, ‘Have a nice visit.’”

The group enters the Eskatonic libraries with chills running down their spines.


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