The story of Liliana de Karling-Satou continues as she makes her way back to her home; Marienburg.
It’s a 3 month journey on the river to Marienburg. Liliana is on the Berebelli, along with her brother, Johann and Kall’s uncle, Ernst Steurmann.
It’s a rather uneventful journey, but along the way Ernst and Liliana share a few moments to talk. Ernst is concerned about Liliana and how she seems to have ‘changed’ in an unusual way, such as her pale complexion and the cold that now emanates from her. Ernst has no idea that Liliana now possesses ice magic, although he certainly has had suspicions ever since the Maria-borger back on the river reik when Liliana tried to tangle with that vampire, and lost an arm for her efforts.
Ernst is on deck, relaxing and chilling out with a cup of reiklander wine as he and Liliana chat among-st themselves. Talk soon steers towards the subject of her brother who Liliana finds it highly amusing that Johann has now taken up the cause of Shallya and become somewhat recluse as a result, even to the point of not drinking anymore.
As Ernst is chatting and drinking, he notices something peculiar in his cup of wine… He stares at it for a moment, lending an ear towards the cup as if he was trying to hear something. Then he goes wide-eyed, and approaches the now concerned Liliana who he hands the cup to, saying, “Err… I believe it’s for you?” Ernst hands her the cup, and heads down the cabin.
Liliana peers into the cup. At first, it looks like she see’s her own reflection, but… as it becomes clearer, that’s not the case. She see’s not her reflection but the face of Gertrude, the old crone that aided Liliana and Kall Horst outside of Bogenhafen, and the witch that managed to fend off the demon known as Gideon, nearly at the cost of her life.
“Can you hear me child?” a strained voice comes across.
“What’s that? I can’t quite hear… one moment, I need to boost the signal!”
Liliana is shocked and taken back by the sudden appearance of Gertrude, and in a cup of wine no less.
“I think you shocked poor old Ernst aunty Gertrude…”
“Sorry about that, wrong cup ya see.”
Gertrude tells her that she wishes to thank Liliana for her efforts in dealing with the demon, Gideon, and that she hopes she is doing much better.
“I hope your reading that tome I gave you child, you have much to learn. But remember, your power comes at a cost, and you must respect it… do not use it willy-nilly, only when you have to.”
“How come you didn’t put this spell in the tome, Gertrude?”
“This is old magic deary. Far beyond your means. Besides… I don’t want you calling me up every sodden day!”
They both laugh but then the tone changes to a somber one… “I wanted to get in touch with you to also warn you child… I saw it in my dreams. You need to know.”
“What is it Gertrude?”
“I do not know when, but you will come across a boat. I saw its name written on the side. The Maria-borger… Liliana, do not get on that boat! Whatever you do, do not ste-“, “Aunty Gertrude…”
Liliana gets a word in and explains to the old witch that has already happened… Gertrude curses under her breath about something concerning dreams and Morr, and tells her that her divination powers are not what they used to be.
Liliana brings up the subject concerning the news of the Graf and his wife, the Countess Frau. Gertrude mentions in a rather matter-of-fact manner, “O that old sister of mine. Yes I know all about that…” Liliana is taken back by this, and shouts out for Ernst to come up on deck.
“Gertrude, you gotta tell Ernst this about the countess!”
“The magic is fading child, I can’t hear so good.”
Ernst comes up, a look of disbelief still present as Liliana comes over and holds up the cup of wine to him, “Ernst, meet Gertrude.”
But when Ernst peers into the cup, the face of Gertrude is no longer there. Johann has also been quietly observing all this after coming back up on deck.
Liliana goes into a hissy fit and Ernst excuses Johann while he talks to her.
“Liliana… what in seven gods are you doing? What is all this? Talking faces in cups of wine?” at that Ernst gets the rest of the wine and pours it onto the deck.
“Liliana, we need to talk about what just happened…”
The two of them have a frank discussion, and Liliana comes out with the truth that she has… magic.
“So, your a witch… that Gertrude one, a witch also?”
Liliana nods as Ernst sits down and sighs, “If you were anyone else… I’d get some rope and string you up on the nearest tree. But your not… and I consider you a friend. Perhaps despite what they say, there may be such a thing as a ‘good’ witch.”
The Berebelli barge continues along the river and after a few more weeks, Marienburg is finally in sight.
Marienburg City of Gold, The Big Waterway, Handrich’s Gem and Sith Rionnasc’namishathir, as the high elves would call it, is just a few of the names the city is known as.
The city is dominated by water canals, and to make a real-world comparison it is essentially Venice in many ways. The bridges of Marienburg are its lifeblood as are the many rowboats that ferry residents and visitors alike to the city districts.
The Berebelli pulls into the south-docks, as it does, Liliana spots a familiar face.
Wilfred Ernst van Noordermeer the 3rd, the Karling-Satou family butler/servant for the past 15 years. (Played by another player, Cortez, who also plays Durgin the dwarf slayer)
“Greetings Miss,” Wilfred says as the barge pulls in.
Liliana is no doubt excited to see Wilfred and steps aboard to greet him.
“Wilfred! It has been too long!”
Wilfred doesn’t get too excited though and maintains an air of professionalism as he urges for her to step aboard the waiting carriage to meet her father. Ernst Steurmann greets him briefly and says he will be along shortly as he needs to pay the docking fee as well as deal with some last minute business, and Johann nods towards Wilfred, but makes his excuses and says he wishes to go to the temple of Shallya for a moment, and will be along later.
Wilfred and Liliana get on the carriage and make their way through the city at a sluggish pace.
Liliana inquires as to how her family is doing, particularly her father, Emmerich.
“Could be better Miss. He is bed-bound these days I’m afraid, quite frail and ill. He spends nearly all his time at the estate Miss, while your brother Heinz spends his time at the family offices in Treasureholm.”
Liliana asks after her step-mother, Freda, who is the mother of Johann and Heinz, “In Tilea Miss. On Tilean business I believe.”
“Tilea? Freda? On a business trip? Tell me… my brother Heinz wouldn’t have anything to do with that, would he?”
“I wouldn’t know Miss…”
The carriage continues along when the subject of religion comes up as Liliana tells Wilfred that Johann has found… religion, and in the form of Shallya. The old butler seems to take it in his stride, refraining from giving his opinion on the matter when a man in a dirty brown ale-stained robe comes up to the side of the carriage, walking along as the carriage slowly but surely is drawn through the city.
“Go away,” comes the quick snappy reply from Wilfred.
“Might I part in some wisdom perhaps? Have you ever heard of Osras, the God of Misconceptions? Maybe I can share a mome-“, “Fuck off!” cries out Liliana, who is quickly chided for doing so by Wilfred for using such foul language.
After a few more attempts in being heard, the man promptly fucks off, and the carriage continues through the south-gates towards the family estate.
The Karling estate lies 2 hours (if walking) south of the city and off the beaten track, but not far from the main south road that heads on towards the Grey Mountains and other parts of the Empire.
Liliana straight away notices that the estate’s gardens are unkempt and left to grow to its own devices. Wilfred explains to her that the gardener had to be let go, along with all the other staff. Liliana is aghast at the notion that her father had fired the servants and let the Karling estate get into such a mess.
The carriage pulls up, and Wilfred departs, helping Liliana down. They make their way into the main hallway of the estate. Liliana notices that the paintings that used to don the hallway are all gone. The ornaments that used to line the walls are also gone, as to the family crests.
Wilfred, when asked about this, tries to explain to her that her father simply wanted to create space and preferred the hallway to be bare.
Liliana doesn’t buy it… and makes her way to the upstairs landing and heads for her father’s master bedroom.
Opening the door, she steps in, while Wilfred waits outside the room, closing the door.
There, she see’s her father under rows upon rows of bedsheets.
– Emmerich de Karling-Satou
His complexion is pale, and he has lost a lot of color in his cheeks. “Who goes there…?” he feebly cries out.
Liliana approaches him and sits on the bed next to him, reassuring him.
“Liliana? My sweet child, it is you!”
“Yes father, I’ve come home. For good.”
The two share a moment and talk of recent times. Emmerich is deeply concerned and becomes animated once he realizes that his beloved daughter has only one arm, and doesn’t look well herself. She calms him down and says that much explaining will be done later, but that he should rest.
Yet rest is the last thing on his mind, “No. Much work is to be done my sweet Liliana. Much work. Noordermeer!”
Wilfred pokes his head in, “Yes Sir?”
“Fetch me that high elf! Torendil… Head down to the elf quarter and find out where he’s at, he should have been here by now.”
“Yes Sir, at once Sir.”
Wilfred makes his way down to the stairs, but as he walks towards the front door, the bell above chimes. Someones at the door…
Peering through the hatch, and then realizing who it is, Wilfred opens the door.
Torendil, the high elf, has made good timing. Wilfred has seen the elf on a near daily basis over the past few months, but has never spoken to him. He suspects the elf is a powerful mage, but is not privy to the relationship between Torendil and his father.
Torendil strides past him and makes his way upstairs into the master bedroom. Wilfred notices that he’s holding a peculiar small box.
“Torendil! Your late.” – Emmerich.
“Preparations are already made. Our agreement is still in effect?
Liliana grows concerned and asks her father why a high elf is here, but Emmerich does not answer her as he becomes visibly animated and despite seeming frail, does his best to climb out of his bed, with the help of Liliana.
“Are you ready?” Torendil asks Emmerich.
“Yes, lets get on with it.”
“Father… what is all this about?”
“Shhh now. In good time. This is all for you.”
Liliana can’t help but be deeply concerned about whats happening.
Torendil then sets down the box, and hovers his hands over it while chanting something in elvish tongue.
The runes on the box start to glow… and then they twist and form, making new shapes and forming links in a chain around the box.
Liliana, who is knowledgeable when it comes to runes, only knows that they are elvish runes but not as to their purpose or meaning.
When Torendil finishes, the runes begin to darken and the box stops glowing. He cautiously opens the box, and in it is a strange but beautiful orb that lights up the whole room.
Torendil picks it up using a cloth, and Liliana again expresses concern, but it goes unnoticed. Emmerich is growing increasingly impatient as he seems eager to hold it.
Torendil reaches out towards Emmerich, and gestures for him to take it.
“Our agreement as previously discussed,” Torendil says as he hands the orb to Emmerich.
Emmerich does indeed take it, his hands shaking. Yet Liliana notices that her father seems greatly relieved once he grasps the orb.
Emmerich closes his eyes for a moment as he grips the orb, letting the cloth drip to the floor and now holding the orb directly in his two hands. Fizzles of sparks emanate from the orb and flow over Emmerich’s fingers.
His eyes open, and flicker to Torendil… “I’m Sorry Torendil.”
A spark of thin energy shoots from the orb and strikes Torendil. He vanishes into thin air…
“Father! What have you done… What’s going on!” Liliana cries out.
“Is everything ok in there?” Wilfred says from behind the closed doors outside.
Emmerich looks at Liliana, and then looks at the painting that is hanging over his bed. The painting depicts the water gardens of Wei-Jin, the capital of Cathay.
He looks back at Liliana, saying, “Liliana… My sweet Liliana. Do you know what it is that I desire the most out of this world?”
“You miss Cathay…”
“Not just miss… I wish I had never left. It pains me to even think of it. Your mother… my beloved, my true love would never had perish on that foolish journey back to this cursed city. I do not even know why I left to go back to this rotting cesspool of greed.”
“But what of Johann? What of your friends that you have here?”
“I have no friends! They are only after my money, well… there’s nothing left for them to take, and I’ll not let them take my soul. Wilfred and you are like family… Johann, Heinz… they are my sons, but…”
He starts to trail off as Liliana tries to reach out to him, “This is for you my sweet. I do this for you.”
He closes his eyes, and grips the orb tightly.
The whole house begins to shake violently. The paintings that are left on the walls drop and their frames smash upon the floor. Doors begin to shake off their hinges and cracks begin to form in the floor.
Liliana shouts out for her father but he is not listening. Desperate, she tries to use her magic to move the orb, and succeeds! (She used a Move Spell and passed)
The orb darts over to Liliana and she grips it tightly… but something is not right. (At this point she fails a toughness test, and a subsequent WP test)
Her mind is mentally under-siege by whatever power is within this orb. Emmerich shouts out, “Liliana, No!” as he races towards her. Wilfred tries to do the same but is warned by Emmerich to stay back.
Emmerich grips the orb, and now the two of them are holding it together. Yet Liliana’s interference has caused the orb to become unstable… sparks of lightning shoot out from towards the foreheads of both Liliana and Emmerich.
Liliana see’s her father’s thoughts… She see’s images of his memories. His time treeing across the darklands on his long journey to Cathay. She sees… her mother, her true mother, Ao Sueh-Satou… Then images of Gertrude, as her own memories come flooding in.
Liliana tries to get a grip, at least a mental one, of whats happening. The house around them is falling apart and something will need to be done. But she fails… (failed a WP test)
Suddenly she is brushed against the wall as her father is the last one to grip it, yet sparks of lightning shoot from the orb, sending him flying across the room through a set of doors and into the other room.
The house stops shaking, and the wall behind Liliana crumbles apart.
She looks out, and see’s a land that is alien to her…
(To be continued in part 2)