Chapter 5, Cauldron-Born

Aodhan entrusts the party with vital tasks.

Spring 8, 501 AOV

King Aodhan called a meeting with the constables at the recently-constructed Hotel Aurum, the site of the city’s upcoming peace talks. There, he distributed to them a dossier outlining almost all the information they’d compiled on the Obscurati through their own efforts, with added commentary and insights by RHC specialists and the king’s own skyseer. Aodhan was serious about ending this threat to Risur, and personally thanked the constables for bringing to his attention the fact that “the woman I’m supposed to be marrying might be trying to destroy my kingdom.”

He promised to trickle funds to the constables from the royal treasury itself (slowly, and off the books, of course). In addition, he charged Harkover with providing them behind-the-scenes magical support. The Principal Minister personally went over some of the relics brought back from the Crypta Hereticarum, noting some of them as cursed. He also attempted to break the geas on Alexander Grappa… only to find it too powerful for him to undo!

The next obvious step to take against the Ob would be to shut down the facility hidden in the Bleak Gate version of Cauldron Hill, originally discovered by Gale (back in Chapter 2) and hinted at in Hugo’s Object Reading vision (in Chapter 3). However, the work of Kaja Stewart had only progressed as far as to allow the use of the conspiracy’s carefully placed rusted rings, which would only half-shift a person into the Bleak Gate for 5 minutes, after which they would automatically return to the mortal world. The conspiracy obviously had some means of completing the planar jaunt, but it had not yet been discovered.

Also of interest to the king were two matters that had come to his attention. Firstly, Lorcan Kell’s thieves’ guild was getting bold as of late, and guests to the peace talks might see his operation as a sign of Aodhan’s weakness. Since the crime lord’s goons had been seen working as Ob-hired muscle during the attack on Flint’s RHC office (end of Chapter 3), Aodhan reasoned that Kell’s arrest might also be the key to finding a way into the Cauldron Hill facility. Alain Templeton had been given supervision of a task force of 50 Flint police officers, with instructions to use them to chip away at Kell-guild operations until he had enough momentum to take down the Theater of Scoundrels itself.

Finally, it had been brought to Aodhan’s attention by Kida that Ekossigan, one of the six high lords of the Unseen Court, had come to Flint with a small force of gremlins in tow, supposedly with designs to disrupt the center of industry he hated so fiercely. The Court’s envoy (the resurrected dreadnought Asrabey Varal) invoked the Rite of Kelland’s Tribute to ensure the king would devote the necessary manpower to slay Ekossigan before he could damage the relationship between man and fey—after all, Asrabey himself was powerless to harm him, being sworn to the Court’s service.

So, the constables’ goals were clear:

  1. Find a way into the Bleak Gate, and shut down the Ob facility.
  2. Work with Asrabey to find and kill Ekossigan.
  3. Arrest Lorcan Kell, who might possibly have the key to goal #1.

And all of this needed to be accomplished before the opening dinner of the peace talks, the evening of Spring 13. It was a tall order indeed, but King Aodhan seemed confident in his constables’ abilities.



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