Dreams and Revelations
After much discussion, the magi finally agree to take Drogo and Eira and hide them in the silver dragon's regione near to the covenant. They also make arrangements for two magi from Hibernia, Exticon ex Tytalus and Senach ex Flambeau, to join the covenant. Most of World's End covenant take over what is left of Ungulus covenant.
Deciding not to tell the newcomers anything, the magi leave Adric in charge and head down to Doissetep to talk to Benzigotrin ex Criamon to find out exactly what he saw when investigating the elemental stone. After some discussion, he says that he still has dreams at night, which tend to revolve around the same theme:
I am at the feet of Aphrodite, in her temple at the great river. The river takes me towards the setting sun, to the great city, which is looked down upon by a cave in the sand and rock. At the foot of the cave is a red jar, with four handles, with words trapped inside which speak with the voices of angels bound into twelve books.
The cave is dark, and is guarded by the four lions. There are words in gold within the cave, which speak to the mind and soul.
He thinks that the place is on the Nile, and creates some illusions to try and describe what he saw.
The magi decide to head to the Levant to investigate this and try and find the golden tablets, but first they stop off at Pavia in Italy to find Columbanus' old friend Bishop Fulk.
At Pavia, it is soon discovered that the Inquisition are here, and that the people think that the Bishop is being held by them at the cathedral. A quick scouting of the cathedral indicates that its walls are kept clear of birds by gargoyles which watch over it. Inside, Columbanus is turned away by a man wearing red, who tells them that the cathedral is closed and that they are not welcome.
That night, the magi decide to break into the cathedral, Shale making a (temporary) hole in one wall so that the magi can slip inside to investigate.
The magi sneak into the cathedral of Pavia, looking for Columbanus' old friend the Bishop Fulk. As soon as Shale step's out into the main part of the cathedral, he is assaulted by a large humanoid creature with a bestial face and sharp bony barbs protruding from all over its body. It is unable to pierce Shale's armour, but pins him to the wall and seems resistant to Shale's own magic. Columbanus tries a Demon's Eternal Oblivion on it, and it falls back in pain.
More demons assault them, and soon the cathedral seems to be filled with them. Shale is able to crush some under large blocks of summoned stone and Umbriel and Vladimir keep the ones downstairs at bay, but then there is the sound of Hermetic chanting, and Columbanus narrowly dodges a very fast moving object. He quickly goes invisible. There is further chanting, and the entire cathedral begins to collapse on top of the magi, who are just about able to escape out or shield themselves from the falling stone.
There is a bit of clearing up of a few demons outside, but then the townsfolk begin to turn up to find out what just happened. By morning, the town is out in force trying to dig through the rubble, and though there is the sound of some trapped people near where the crypt was, the townsfolk are unable to clear their way to it before nightfall.
The following night the magi are able to clear the rubble without problem, and find their way into the crypt where they find Bishop Fulk, or rather what is left of him. He is undead, and in a lot of pain, his legs being torn stumps of flesh and bone, and his entire body broken and tortured. There are two others here as well, also in a bad way.
Taking the three out of town, they find that they were questioned by the Inquisition, one of whom seemed to be a demon, and the other probably a magus. There is not much the magi can do for them, and Fulk asks to be allowed to find final rest. The magi see to it that the three get a quick and painless death.
With no sign of the invisible magus that attacked them in the cathedral, they head on to Levant to seek the red jar outside a cave and possibly divine tablets that the Criamon Benzigotrin had a dream about. They stop first at the Pyramids, a covenant of hedge wizards led by Heliobus Magister ex Bonisagus, for help in translations of Coptic and Aramaic.
The Bonisagus is unsure why the magi are seeking such things when the world is on the verge of collapse, but allows the magus Meret Djehuti to go with them, partly as a guide, and partly to keep an eye on what they are doing. From the description of Benzigotrin's visions, she recognises the temple of Aphrodite as being that of Hathor at the town of Dendera. Flying there is no problem, and following the Nile west they come to the town of Chenoboskion that sits below tall cliffs.
After much searching, the magi encounter an expected aura - a Divine aura in a world that no longer has a Divine presence - that surrounds a cave. Going inside, the back of the cave has text engraved on the wall that reads “Herein is kept the Words of the Lord. Read them with wisdom”. They are written in a Divine script that only Shale can understand. Opening up the wall, they find a great hall that is painted down both sides.
On the left side, the series of paintings are:
- A woman kneeling before a great light that shines down from the heavens.
- A woman holding a child, surrounded by a golden halo.
- A man on a cross, dark clouds above with a ray of light shining down.
- A man teaching students, who write in books. Two angels stand flanking him.
- Angels carrying a man up to heaven, a cave down below.
- Men stand with swords, facing demons. Above them clouds of light and darkness.
- Men building a tomb.
On the right side of the hall is painted:
- An angel looking down at a woman.
- Angels before a great throne. A light is upon the throne, and a woman with shining eyes sits beneath it.
- A great serpent with a lion head wrapped around a shining light.
- A dozen angels, carrying flaming swords.
- A woman with shining eyes holding a man that bleeds light.
- Angels of light fighting a serpent with a lion head within clouds.
- An angel holding a flask with lion heads upon it.
Vladimir decides to kneel and start praying, and some of the other magi follow suit.
At the end of the hall are five archways, which lead into a great domed room 100 paces across. The walls and ceiling are painted in four sections, showing:
- A great light on a throne. A shining woman at his feet, stars spread out below with angelic beings. Near the bottom, an angelic woman gives birth to a serpent.
- A serpent coiled around a garden, many trees of fruit. An angel hands fruit to a woman, a man stands next to her. Another woman lays before the mouth of the serpent, its tongue between her thighs.
- A serpent spews angels, and a light shines upon them from a woman by a throne. Those on the other side of the light are larger, brighter than the ones before it. Below is a world full of men. Amongst the men are angels.
- Angels fight, some with blood stained wings. A serpent coils around them. From a throne is a shaft of darkness, which spears the ground, opening up pits of hell.
At the centre of the room is a pedestal, on which is a gold and silver chest. Surrounding the chest, each facing away from it, are four giant iron statues of lions.
Inside the Divine regio, the magi carefully enter the great chamber whilst keeping an eye on the elephant sized iron statues of lions. About half way in, the statues begin to move, turning towards the magi and beginning to attack. Shale summons a large wall to block them, though one of the lions leaps on top of the wall.
At that point Vladimir starts repeating words he heard in his head after he prayed. The lions pause briefly. Shale, who understands Celestial much better is able to repeat the words and soon the lions stop advancing, and become passive.
Approaching the golden chest, the magi realise that it is too heavy for them to open, so Shale resorts to magic to do so. Inside are three golden tablets, each over a tonne in weight, on which are inscribed words that Shale can understand. The titles on each of the tablets seem to be: The Beginning and the End, The Tree of Knowledge and The Fallen and the Sinners.
Moving the tablets out of the chest reveals nothing else inside, and there does not seem to be any sign of thirteen books. Deciding that they may be buried outside the cave, Shale again uses magic to put the tablets back, but on trying to place the lid back on he falls into Twilight when the high Divine aura causes him to lose control of his magic.
The magi hope that the experience is short lived, but after a day he has still not recovered from it so they start exploring outside themselves. Eventually Columbanus discovers a red jar, inside of which are twelve codices. Stuck into one of them is a thirteenth codex. The books seen by Benzigotrin in his visions.
Leaving Shale and the tablets behind in the region, the magi head back to the Pyramids and explain to Heliobus ex Bonisagus the importance of their discovery and how it relates to the end of the world. With Meret's account of what she saw as well, he agrees to help the magi decipher the codices, which are written in Coptic.
The rest of the season is spent at the Pyramids, trying to understand what they have found. At the end of the season, Shale comes out of Twilight.