The Ninth Knot opens the letter from Cardinal Thorn to read.
To My Ninth:
Since that day you arrived filthy and famished upon my doorstep, I have always seen within you great potential. And today you prove me correct once more. You have the Deamon’s Gift! I could not be more pleased. You have in your possession a terrible weapon and now we must see it used.
Get thee to Ghatsen hall with all haste. Therein seek Barnabus Thrane, master of the Stygian Knot. He awaits you in the Library of Ghaster. Ask him whom he serves. He will answer “only knowledge.” Yes he is a priest of Mitra, but fear not – he has seen the power of our cause. Into Thrain’s hand deliver the Gift. He has agents who will see that the Tears are delivered to where it may do the most good. He will have something for you as well – a token of my esteem.
Then I command you; wait in Ghastenhall, avoiding the eyes of our enemies. You will have one month to rest and regain your strength’s full measure. Use it well. Prepare yourself for your next mission for it shall be thy greatest test yet.
The Tears of Achlys is a scalpel, my Ninth, and with it we will cut the hated Mitran faith from the heart of Talingarde. When the month is past, Tiadora will fetch you and bring you to audience with the Fire-Axe. He will give to you the kernel of an army. Build upon it! Recruit any who can aid you once your army is ready, with the first gale of winter – you march to the Vale of Valtaerna, the most holy site in all of Talingarde.
They will not expect a winter assault. Break the Watchtower of Saintsbridge, invade the vale and during the winter’s merciless heart destroy everyone in that sacred place. Leave no witness making it look like a bugbear raid. Violate the holy heart of the Cathedral of Mitra Made Manifest and leave not a single soul alive. By the time winter is ended, the Tears will be well spread across Talingarde. The people desperate for respite will run to the simpering Mitrans begging for relief. And they will find in your wake only death and ashes, my Ninth.
Do all as I command and the time of our victory draws ever nearer. Commit my commands to heart and then burn this letter.
The Ninth makes their way to Ghastenhall where they go to the Library of Ghaster and find Barnabus Thrain upon which Raphael asks him “Whom do you serve?”
Nodding he answers “Only knowledge. If you are interested in seeking knowledge perhaps you could join me for a symposium tomorrow evening in the basement lecture hall.” at which point he departs.
Later that evening the party keep their appointment where they find Barnabus Thrain in the basement lecture hall with a pair of bodyguards. He sends them to guard the entrances with orders that they are not be disturbed.
Once alone he asks the party, “I am the Fifth, and you are?”
“We are the Ninth.” Raphael replies
Relaxing Barnabus says “Welcome to Ghastenhall. I am Brother Barnabus Thrain and you are expected. Word has already reached my of your great triumphs. I presume you have something for me?”
Bringing forth the green vial Zeitrum hands it to Brother Thrain. Holding it Thrain stares at it saying softly, “And behold a pale horse and hell followed with them.” He shudders.“I will do what is asked of me, but I say now that I am filled with dread of this errand. Once unleashed, I am uncertain how easy it will be to put aside the Daemon’s Gift.”
Hiding the Tears away Thrain states, “For now the Tears must wait. The time is not yet right to use this weapon against our enemies. I am told you will be staying in our fair city for awhile. Towards that end, I have already arranged for a small villa in the Lord’s Quarter – The Crowley Estate. It is stocked and well supplied for a month’s stay. there are servants so your stay will be comfortable. My name is not attached to the place so I care not what you do there. I will continue my duties as a keeper of the Library of Ghaster and should you require my assistance you have but to seek me out. We will not meet openly in the Library. Instead contact me and I will arrange a suitable place.”
“There is one more thing. In exchange for the Tears I was commanded to give you these.” He produces a small bag of black velvet and pulls out five black jewels, placing one in each of the party’s hand, he asks, “Each of you has an iron circlet, yes?” Upon receiving accent he continues, “Merely place the jewel in the center and the circlet will be strengthened. It is a gift of Thorn’s esteem. With that done, I depart.”