Pain, all over her body, the taste of blood in her mouth, her breath ragged and broken.
She opens her eyes. The red light of the bloated, dying sun fades at the center of the dust cloud, the dark anima of the assassin eating the radiance and colors of evening.
Rohim is crouched in front of Pragatima’s face, concerned and already ready to help. Harik, the grey clay of his demon-armor flowing around his skin, and Beyaloa, now a living bronze statue, unleash their sorceries at Nash Draghma, turning the sand into glass at his feet.
With a shake of her head, the Dawn gets back up, jumping back into the fray. The two lances clash once more, Nash’s anima exploding into an iconic skull-faced raiton.
The last people trying to leave the arena scream, and shouts of “Anathema!” ring out in ripples amongst the crowd. And in a flash, Rain Pearl is at Pragatima’s side, whirling her sequined dagger and flashing her tattooed hand as she transports from place to place, spinning in and out of view.
In a chaos of fire, dust and obsidian butterflies, the mercenary warrior finds her killing blow, piercing the masked Nash throught and estinguishing his anima like a un-candle blown by the wind.
Night falls on the city, and a deafening silence spread over the arena. The news spreads fast : that the Hazan woman, wielding the solid lightning of her godspear, has slain the dark Anathema ; and soon the whole group ends up carried away on the shoulders of the crowd, the start of the festival having transformed into an impromptu celebration of their prowess.
Seeing the way the wind is blowing, the council decides on the shores of the river to name them heroes of the city, awarding them the trophies and prizes meant for the winning gladiators. The wild romp carries them to Ysmir’s palace, where the night is spent reveling and drinking.
Morning finds our heroes in front of Nash Draghma’s palace, accompagnied by Rain Pearl and her Prince Zapir. While the properties of the disgraced merchant-prince now officially belong to the council, they have agreed with Ysmir that looking for additionnal proof into Nash’s wrongdoings is important for the safety of the city, even moreso considering his newfound power.
The castle is filthy, most of it looking nothing short of abandonned, a thick smell of death lingering in the corridors. As they explore the rooms, waiting for the silent attack of a dream-eaten, they stumble upon two grisly discoveries : the bodies of dozen of silver-masked warriors, taken by hunger and dropped unceremoniously in a funeral pit, and a strange room covered in sigils of blood and shards of broken mirrors, centered around a sacrificed raiton.
Harik and Beyaloa start studying the necromantic circle as the rest of the group discuss their findings, Pragatima claiming as her spoils a precious cup and a chest of red wood.
As Harik turns over one of the mirror shards, a reflection seems to jump out of it, turning into a somber floating figure : a young woman wearing a black solar disk on her shoulders, who introduces herself as the one who took Nash’s names in exchange for raising him up from death’s door. Almost coy, she mocks the group, seemingly unnafected by Nash’s demise, treating the death of such a powerful pawn as nothing more than an inconvenience.
She ends up inviting anyone interested in the power she can offer to the Temple of the Sun, an offer that Zapir almost takes here and there, stopped only by the reaction of the circle. An argument breaks out between the prince and the sorcerers, who recognise the danger of accepting such an offer from what they suspect might be one of the rulers of the Underworld. Nonplussed, the shade steps back into the glass shard and disapears, leaving them all on edge.