Interlude: Beneath the Citadel of Light

Valmeer Ironhorn, Truthseeker of Gatrius made his way through the towering stacks of scrolls and leather-bound ledgers piled neatly atop the myriad shelves that populated the cool, dry sub-basement of the records room of the Citadel of Light. Above him lay the cathedral to his God an architectural marvel of glass, every surface a window that allowed the light of the sun, and thus the light of their Lord, to reach every corner of this holy place of worship.

Despite this, the Sons of Gatrius had chosen to keep their archives deep underground, no doubt to protect them from the bleaching, aging effects of sunlight. The irony of this situation was not lost upon Valmeer, who cradled the small shuttered lantern before him as he searched among the shelves for the section he was seeking. Strictly speaking he wasn’t forbidden from these annals of the Sons of Gatrius’ files, and there was no need to be sneaking about in the dead of night while the Brothers of his order slept above him, but perhaps it was best not to have anyone questioning why he was looking into the dossiers that he was.

Finally locating the volume he had been seeking, Valmeer placed the lantern on the ground and settled down upon the floor to page through the vellum sheets, until he came across the excerpt:

Phoebus Sodalis, born to merchants in the Free City of Daphni in 10,109 A.E.
Served as page to Truthseeker Ewan Gildran from 10,119 – 10,126 A.E.
Initiated into the Sons of Gatrius in 10,126 A.E., receiving the Brother designation
Participated in the Western Baroi Reunification Campaign from 10,126 – 10,133 A.E.
Assigned to patrol duty along the Necropolis borders from 10,133 – 10,139 A.E.
By Celestial decree, excommunicated for heresy and apostasy in 10,139 A.E., and stripped of his rank…

Valmeer raised his horned head in the dim light that pooled around him, his brows furrowed in concentration. Brother Sodalis had not met his end until 10,142 A.E., three years after he had been excommunicated and fallen from the grace of Gatrius. Yet Valmeer had seen that Sodalis had worn his Medallion of Gatrius until his last day. He had kept the faith, despite whatever may have happened to him. Perhaps it was not Sodalis who had abandoned his God…but Gatrius who had chosen to turn away from his follower. But why?

His gaze flickered back to the page, where a single line of text remained under the entry for Brother Sodalis.

…following the unauthorized release of three prisoners captured at the Necropolis border, including one who was a suspected practitioner of demonic magic and follower of the Demon Prince Baelkriez.

Valmeer snorted, bemused, but trying to keep quiet in the gloom of the archives. In retrospect it now seemed so obvious. All this time he and his companions had been trying to make sense of the various forces that they had come up against, as they experienced more excitement and adventure than many people faced in a lifetime. But the more they learned, the less it seemed like coincidence as the connections hidden beneath the surface made themselves know.

Gatrius, Jocund, Sylva, and now Baelkriez…all these deities had a role to play in this mystery of the Soulshard. A deity would hardly need a reason to be invested in such a powerful artefact, but why simply these few, and not all the entities of the Celestial and Demonic Plane? What connection did these deities have to the Soulshard that made them the prime players in this crisis?

Carefully placing the volume back on the shelf where he had found it, Valmeer began making his way out of the dusty archives. In the morning he would ask for leave from his superiors. He had lingered too long here in the light of his God. And with this new information it was clear that the forces his companions faced were powerful indeed. They would need all the help they could get. It was time for him to return home.



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