- Skeeve noticed a black cloud on the northern horizon. Everyone assumes this is the growing power / evil / presence of Mordan the Lich.
- Enoch completed work on the Book of Norvus, thus finishing the backstory.
- The players were told to present themselves at the Citadel, where they will be allowed to meet the Queen.
- They met General Tarvis at the south side of town. He turned out to be an evil agent of some sort.
- I left out an important detail from session 8. At some point (my notes don’t say) the players draw a copy of the tattoo that General Tarvis had on his arm. Enoch took this to the Archives and showed it to some of the scholars. They said the symbol was used by the Children of the Cathedral, who everyone believes were wiped out over a century ago when Mordan was defeated.
- Eomer found Norvus (the author of the book) and learned a few interesting facts from him.
They stand outside of the gates of the Citadel. They are in the central square, which is ringed with shops, city buildings, and various meeting places. Numerous inhabitants of the city hurry past them. The afternoon sun washes over them as they look up at the dark, towering spires of the Citadel. A detachment of guards stands before the gate.
This is no small thing they are about to do. From what they have gathered, the Queen rarely has visitors. She lives a reclusive life inside the lightless Citadel, commanding her minions through unknown (probably magical) means. Now she has agreed to meet with them. All five of them. Eomer, Skeeve, Thordek, Enoch and Thu’fir stand together and discuss the coming meeting.
None of them knows what to expect. She rules this land ruthlessly, and has just prosecuted a particularly bloody war against the inhabitants to the north. They have seen the sorts of malice and cruelty of which she is capable. Already one of her generals has tried to kill them. Was he working for her? For someone else? Why would she summon them to the Citadel? Does she know about Mordan? Is she bringing them here for revenge? To take the orb? To extract information?
At length Eomer points out that they should all go in armed. If they are not allowed to take their weapons in with them, then they should leave. Some agree. Others disagree. Skeeve points out that her power is such that their weapons offer them no real comfort: She could kill them all easily, armed or not. A debate ensues.
They present themselves to the commander at the gates and identify themselves. He blows a horn and the massive wooden gate is pulled up, opening the way to the stone bridge that connects the Citadel with the rest of the city. They cross, and are met on the opposite side by the Gatemaster.
The Gatemaster is a large man. His long dark hair, streaked with grey, is pulled back into a thick ponytail. Beefy arms extend from the embossed plate mail covering his chest, like the limbs of a mighty tree. His beard is well-trimmed, and his face bears the lines of many grim years. With a deep, authoritive voice, he introduces himself as Gatemaster Fulan. The doors stand open behind him, and he beckons the party to enter.
They find themselves is a massive circular hall. The ceiling is obscured in darkness far above. The floor is smooth, polished marble. In the center of the room is a single black pedestal. It holds nothing but a thin layer of dust. There are several closed iron doorways that presumably lead to other aeras of the Citadel.
The group gathers before Gatemaster Fulan. He unfolds several papers. He takes their names, and checks each of them off of his list as they introduce themselves.
Finally he begins, “Welcome gentlemen. I assume you are aware of just how rare it is that visitors – particularly foreigners – are given an audience with Queen Alidia.”
They nod. Of couse they realize this.
“And so I need to give you a bit of a warning. Don’t speak rashly. Speak truthfully. Respectfully. If you kindle her anger, likely as not she’ll just kill you. If anyone dies, you’ll be able to recover the body in the lower morgue, back near the servant’s entrance. You’ll have three days to recover the body of your comapnions for burial, if you like. If you havn’t come ’round to collect them by the end of three days, the staff will dispose of it as suits them. That usually means incineration. Now, just mind your manners and I doubt we’ll have any problems along these lines. The only other thing is that you’d probably ought not bring up her…” He points to his eyes significantly, indicating the Queen’s blindness.
Skeeve nods, “Right. We won’t mention that. Will we be allowed lights?”
Fulan nods, “A light will be provided for you. I’d caution you against lighting your own. The Queen is blind but can still see, if you take my meaning. And she would probably take offense if you lit the place up. However, like I said, a light will be provided for you. I’m sure you appreciate how unusual this is.”
He glances down at his paper before he continues, “Now each of you will enter as your names are called.”
Thu’fir is surprised at this, “Wait. We’re not all going in at once?”
“No, you will go in as called.”
They are all shocked by this. They just spent a long time deciding what they would do if they were obliged to leave their weapons behind. Now they find they are free to take their weapons, but that they are not going in together.
They argue on this point, but Fulan seems to have little choice. They may either accept these terms, or leave.