Ep 44: "Total Recall"

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All the pieces for the spell had finally been gathered and plans were set in motion.
Primeheart woke GB, Cyl, and Lark in the early morning at the Brell Estate. He was dressed in plain clothes and met an elven couple in the forest at dawn to lead them through a marriage ceremony. Lark had brought some breakfast food for a picnic afterward. Cyl meditated while she waited. GB was filled with energy and played in the woods with some squirrels and Purrl.  
Pesk spent the morning returning home, to Primeheart’s camp,  and dropped a flower in Primeheart’s hammock as a thank you. She then went to find Cyl.
At Reynard Manor, Finkoo dropped off a brown-wrapped package for Seldanna from Tirah. A spellbook was inside, with a note at the front, telling her “learn it, know it, be ready”. Seldanna studied the one spell in the book. Even after she identified what it would do, she continued studying it. The spell was Disintegrate.
Juveha offered to stay with Seldanna that day,  knowing what the day might have in store for her, but Seldanna told her to go to the store instead. Seldanna prayed to Bahl for guidance. Without an answer, she continued studying the book until Aldion appeared without warning.
Aldion presented the Ring of the North to Seldanna. It was a large ring that widened on the top, almost like a helm’s visor, with a large blue gemstone inset, flanked by two empty gemstone slots. Aldion explained that Seldanna would take over after the assassination. If she did not want to continue to be the monarch, then she could restructure the government afterward.  Seldanna was nervous, scared of what would happen if the plan failed.
Aldion revealed a plan B did exist, but it did not have a good chance of success. If the plan tonight failed, the King would turn the Nocturne and Amy against the city once more, and perhaps even the Leviathan again. He said the resistance was prepared to destroy the boatlift, if necessary, but all of that was a worst-case scenario. He stressed the importance of choosing the right time for her to act. Aldion praised the party, but her especially, for being strong.
In the Skyroot Forest, Pesk read about the incident with the new Goa the night before. After reading what happened, Pesk checked on Cyl. Cyl expressed sadness, frustration, and acceptance that others did not really understand why yesterday was hard. She was in a place without a good choice and hoped that her mother would understand. Pesk comforted her.
Primeheart initiated a group hug with Cyl, Pesk, Foster, GB, and Purrl. Lark still stood apart after the events of the previous day. Primeheart’s outfit revealed his back tattoos, which Lark and GB recognized as a prayer and a large number of hash marks. Primeheart explained that each represented a life he saved fourteen years ago. The party headed off to the Beer Forge to meet for lunch before the big day.
At the Arasys Estate, Seldanna returned home to see her mother. Lady Arasys was working outside and wore more plain clothes than Seldanna had ever seen her wear before. They headed inside and Jastra cleaned herself as they discussed the plans for the night. At Seldanna’s asking, Jastra explained that Seldanna’s father was not aware of the Resistance and their participation in it. They embraced, surprisingly at Jastra’s request. She also offered to answer any of Seldanna’s questions, just in case the day went poorly. In response to Seldanna’s voiced concerns, Jastra expressed her trust in Seldanna. “Act when you feel it is right.”Jastra also revealed out of the blue that she had been sleeping with Lark.
Before she left the house, Seldanna also stopped in to greet Rydel Arasys, her father. They made plans to have dinner soon. The conversation was poignantly one-sided with emotion.
Everyone else waited at the Beer Forge. Zreet walked in and revealed that there may have been a leak about the plan for that night, though she did not know who. They discussed the plans for Seldanna would have dinner with the king as the ritual was performed. We would not be joining her in taking the King out. The rest of the party would be staying at Reynard Manner until further instructions were given.
The group prepared for what could potentially be their last night. Pesk found Mezzrilock and learned that he would be staying in town longer than he originally planned. Both were happy about that. GB picked up armor, scrolls, and potions and headed straight to the manor. Seldanna spent a bit of time in Pinból’s library, continuing to read the spell book. Primeheart left food and kisses for his trees and Lash. Lark walked with Seldanna to the tower and tried unsuccessfully to find Mo. He continued Mo’s job of giving black accent swatches around the tower, save for Mo’s room.
Cyl painted in the park with the copper paint. Whatever found her there and  read her a crumpled poem:

A liar we can never trust. 
Even when she says what’s true.
And she who does one fault at first
and lies to hide it,makes it two.
We have not known,
nor heard nor read
how Gods do hate, deceive, and wrong.
Or how the smith struck dead,
with a lie caught upon her tongue.

She made plans for him to come to the studio next week “if we’re still all alive” and he kissed her on the cheek before leaving.
At Reynard Manor, GB and Primeheart were outside waiting when Seldanna arrived. She let them in, to be joined by Pesk quickly. They prepared for the fight that was likely to come soon and, over the next couple hours, a bunch of people slowly trickled into the manor. There were the few survivors of the other Resistance cells. The Phoenix Dawn had been more successful than most and had lost no members. Zreet, Tirah, and Jastra showed up and then Aldion came into the manor.
Aldion commanded the assembled people to leave the city if things went wrong, someone was in place to disable the boatlift. GB and other arcane casters set up the ritual. Pesk gave Seldanna a warm stone, filled with Bahl’s blessing, as a good luck charm. The King’s carriage showed up for Seldanna and she commanded the Nocturne around Reynard Manor to accompany them. As always, Juveha joined her. The carriage guard gave her a missive from the King, saying that he had a gift for her that night. The ritual started and the Resistance members assembled there got into position to guard the manor.
Seldanna and Juveha were greeted by the King. After pleasantries, the King led her outside for a picnic by the falls. The King personally cooked dinner for Seldanna—limp, poorly breaded and fried chicken, poorly chopped potato salad, ill constituted coleslaw, and over browned pie. They dismissed Juveha and a King’s guard was sent to get Seldanna’s gift.
Meanwhile, at Reynard Manor a carriage arrived and GB threw up an alarm in the ritual room. The group rushed out and saw the carriage overturn. A beholder floated out of the broken carriage frame and a huge fight began.
Back at the castle, the King presented a white Pegasus foal to Seldanna. It unfurled its wings dramatically as she stared at it, not fully understanding what she was seeing. She was speechless as they continued to eat dinner.
The party scrambled to react to the the beholder while it quickly dispatched five of the Resistance fighters in about two seconds each.  The party fought back with all they had and so did what was left of the Resistance. The beholder wrought chaos and destruction, before finally being taken down. Luckily, not all of the arcane caster were stopped from completing the spell. The wizard finished the ritual.
Seldanna ate dinner and had a real conversation with the King for the first time during one of their dinners. As he first took a taste of his pie, he doubled over in pain, bloody tears on his face. Seldanna saw fangs as he turned away from her. He began shuddering and as it stopped, the King sat up and cleaned himself with a napkin. Satisfied with having removed the blood, he turned to Seldanna. “Seldanna, did you do this? Did you rid me of my curse?”
Seldanna went to use the Ring of the North, and he begged for his life. He claimed he was innocent and had not done what he’d been blamed for in the past. As he begged, Seldanna hesitated only for a moment and then used the ring to turn the newly purified Earl Goodsbury to dust.
Seldanna immediately feared she had made the wrong decision, and her real tears allowed her to thoroughly convince the guards that the dust on the ground was the King. She was distraught and unable to explain what had happened to the guards. Juveha and the guard helped her inside the castle.
After the beholder was vanquished at Reynard Manor, Jastra revealed that Afra knew Cyl would likely be infected with the disease and specifically invited her to the boatlift. She said that VKTR were the ones who summoned the Leviathan. They had done it to cover up their mistakes in changing Imelda,  the Nocturne, and other poor decisions they had made. She claimed to be coming clean, because Seldanna had shown her a better way to live.
Cyl broke the table in her anger and pain over the betrayal. Lark and Foster carried Jastra to the castle, with GB in tow, to see Seldanna. Cyl, Pesk, and Primeheart turned from Jastra  and did not follow.
Seldanna let herself be dragged into the castle. She sat, near catatonic. Helia, the priestess who married Seldanna and the King, questioned Seldanna about what happened to Goodsbury. Seldanna answered with true statements, leaving out that she was the cause and how much she knew about it.
Helia took Seldanna to the temple in the keep. She revealed that they had learned of a ritual that would have removed the King’s vampirism for one day, that would have weakened him greatly. She guessed that was what happened. Helia asked Seldanna if that could be it and whether his death was a good thing. Seldanna answered that she did not know. Helia asked if she wanted him back. Seldanna answered no.
Helia apologized and slid the alter aside to reveal a metal coffin. Inside, the King’s naked body lay in a green viscous liquid. Seldanna left for her personal quarters, using a Sending to Aldion to inform him that the King had another body. She followed Aldion’s advice to flee.
Juveha and Seldanna exited the Castle to find Jastra, Lark, and GB. Jastra told Seldanna that VKTR did everything that the King had been accused of at the beginning of his reign. Jastra claimed they made themselves forget to block it out. Seldanna turned away from her mother and asked Lark to take her away. Jastra, feeling utterly alone, ran into the castle as they left.
Suddenly, the boatlift began acting strange and dropped uncontrollably. Aldion appeared at the edge of the cliff, followed by a group of wood and sea elves. They stood on the edge of the Crescent  and summoned the Leviathan. It was a half-dragon, half-serpent creature.
The Leviathan reared up and cracked the castle in half. It pushed the castle, and all its inhabitants, over the cliff and into the ocean below.

END OF ARC ONE

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