Ordo Silva

The Final Offering

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A blood moon hung high in the night sky over Kenthar. It’s crimson gaze penetrated leaves and branches, and it peered through the open window to Cassiel’s study. She sat quietly in a meditative pose, a small bowl covered with a cloth and her ritual blade to one side of her, and the Dusklight Grimoire open on the other. A seven pointed star encircled by thirteen mystical sigils, all painstakingly drawn in chalk, covered the floor directly in front of her. Each point was crowned with a lit candle, their colors alternating between silver, white, and red. At the center of the star she placed a rare black opal, its gleaming surface alive with shimmering wisps of blue and violet in the flickering candle light.

Cassiel knew that this lunar eclipse was a auspicious omen for working rituals, both sacred and arcane, to the Priestesses of the Evening Glory and she needed all the help she could get.

“What is all this?” A shape of living darkness appeared in the window; Raith Shi returning empty handed from his nightly prowlings. His ghost fire eyes narrowed to suspicious slits.

“I’m going to perform the Final Offering, as described in the seventh chapter of the Dusklight Grimoire, which will end the need for my ritual blood sacrifices… And bind you to me forever.” Her voice grew stronger as she spoke. “I will share your mind as you now share mine and you will no longer be able to lead me astray.”

The cat-thing let out a hellish yowl as his back arched and his fur stood up on end. He then gave Cassiel an unreadable glare, composed himself, and gracefully leapt down from the window sill.

“A novice of your ability shouldn’t be able to access that chapter yet…Or ever. Especially not without my tutelage. You’re far more clever…More dangerous… Than I gave you credit for. But, my dear Cassiel, what if I refuse your offering?” He approached the ritual circle cautiously, his tail flicking back and forth as he inspected the young mage.

“But you won’t refuse.” Cassiel smiled sweetly as she removed the towel from the bowl at her side. The smell of fish and herbs filled the room. “Fresh caught sweet fish, raw, seasoned with the wild catmint that you love so well.”

Raith Shi’s ears perked up. He inhaled deeply and closed his eyes slowly before opening them again. They glowed even brighter in the dim study. Unable to resist his favorite morsels, the cat-thing began to eat with unfettered enthusiasm.

“Let’s start then, shall we?” Cassiel stroked Raith Shi’s silky black fur before placing the Grimoire in her lap.

“You know, even if the binding works you could still bleed out from the wound, right?” He said in-between bites, his voice already more languid, pacified, from the catmint.

“That’s a risk I have to take.” Cassiel whispered, her delicate hand slowly closing around the hilt of the slim dagger at her side as the arcane words began to appear in her mind’s eye.

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An Unexpected Visitor

Pale moonlight filtered down through the mirrorlike leaves of Kenthar, throwing dancing pinpricks of gossamer radiance on the dark flagstones surrounding sacred baths of the Evening Glory. A faint lilt, as thick and sweet as golden honey, played on the slender Elven lutes so favored by the Holy Consorts could be heard from temple proper.

Both the delusory lunar will-o’-wisps and mellifluous tune found Cassiel soaking in the cool perfumed waters of the central pool alone. The alabaster nakedness of her lithe form glowed in the twilight, even as the raven-blackness of her feathered wings seemed to drink deep of the night around her. She sunk deeper into the spring-fed crispness, letting herself be swallowed up by the silent solitude. Submerged, her silvery hair reached out to play and writhe in the clear waters, a halo of evening mist.

Her reverie was cut short by a curious mewing, heard in her mind’s eye even below the water. Her moonstone eyes opened with a start and she stood when she recognized the sound. Slinking in-between the moonbeams along the edge of the marble pool was a familiar cat-like shadow, darker still than any night.

“I expected you to be studying. So…studious.” Twin blue ghost fires burned where a real cat would have eyes. RaithShi’s distracted statements were punctuated by fur cleaning licks to himself. Despite being an ancient elemental of pure magic and unknown power, he still had the little pink tongue of a cat.

“Why…How…What are you doing here?” Cassiel whispered, equally confused and pleased to see her strange mentor.

“I am bound in this form by, and to, the Grimoire you possess. I was merely taking a little nap.” The cat-thing lifted his head and sniffed, enjoying something on the warm breeze.

“A little nap? It’s been years!”

" A very long… little nap." He perched along the edge and gazed at, and through, Cassiel expectantly. She reached to pet his silky fur and he hissed.

“Don’t you touch me! You’re wet!” He backed away and turned in circles twice before sitting again.

“Don’t let the blue lotus they use to scent the waters and flavor the wines slow your mind… They are eating sea bass so fresh they still wiggle with life, and cakes with sweet cream in the temple. I am very disappointed that you are not in there to bring me some! Nyaooo.”

Cassiel smiled. ‘He hasn’t changed’ she mused silently.

“But you…have.” RaithShi replied. “You learned a new art from the harlots, I see. I could have taught you that, of course…If I felt you were ready for such things. You are brighter than I thought…Prrrrrrr.”

“Can’t I have any thought to myself?”

“NeverRrrrr…”

“Come, let’s get you some of that sea bass.” Cassiel climbed from the pool and wrapped herself in the diaphanous silk shift she had waiting for her.

“Yes, let’s! And some of that sweet cream too!” His ears perked up and he followed the young Averial woman in an excited trot with his tail held high into the air, swishing as he talked on.

“Soon it will be time for you to learn the next chapter of the Dusklight Grimoire. If you are ready to pay the price.” He purred.

Cassiel didn’t see it, but the cat-thing’s eyes flickered crimson when he mentioned the price.

“Very soon, indeed.”

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Air in the salt water.
The order Ordo Silva & Thalla'Nor

“do not
put
your hand
in the mouth of loneliness.
it’s teeth are soft
but it will scar you for life.”

do not be seduced by the lonely ones

A new order has come in & with it the belief in the animism of natural physical entities. They conjure each Psychic Stone with a customized spell, imbuing the sculptures with powers of healing and self-empowerment and enslavement. The result is a sculpture that is both an object of aesthetic contemplation and a Power-Fetish, tailor-made by each collector through an experiential unique magical ritual.

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Welcome to your campaign!
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