More and more I am coming to the realization that my decision to support the Scarlet Chorus in the battle for Vendrien’s Well was having consequences further afield than anticipated. The Disfavored still maintained a hold on the Blade Grave – formerly known as the kingdom of Stalwart – and Lethian’s Crossing, but Voices of Nerat and his crimson zealots were spreading as quickly as possible to all corners of the Tiers, including attempts to push the Disfavored out of regions they had previously been gifted.
Having secured the Burning Library, the Voices of Nerat’s confidence seemed to grow, his demands becoming more onerous. Even Verse, a companion of mine pulled from the ranks of the Scarlet Chorus, was seeing his growing thirst for power. His latest task was for me to visit the Blade Grave and capture Graven Ashe’s daughter, for use as leverage in his political games against his enemies in the Disfavored. He framed it as a “rescue mission,” but it didn’t take a wizard to see through his giddy deception.
The march to Trapper’s Junction, our entrance to the Blade Grave, would take days, returning us through the slightly-calmer wilds around the Burning Library. Though the air was still hot and wind visible in the billowing smoke, it seemed slightly less oppressive than before, a touch more bearable. The Edict of Fire had soaked this place in its magic for years, and while the Edict was no longer, it would take time for nature and a normal balance to restore itself. It was good to see that the process had already started at least, even just a few days since our departure.
The Blade Grave was once known as the realm of Stalwart, an impressive fortification heralded as the Tiers’ greatest military achievement. I had the option of traveling with the Disfavored as they marched on these lands years ago, but my path took me other directions. Perhaps for the better, as in the middle of fighting another Edict was loosed, this one of Storms; thunderclaps, howling wind, and frequent lightning strikes hit friend and foe alike, ruining whatever structures the Disfavored had left behind, and murdering hundreds if not thousands on both sides. Some of the Stalwart forces had re-marshalled, as the oathbreakers had done at Vendrien’s Well, and were now attacking the major Disfavored outposts in the area.
These “Unbroken” were being harried by the Scarlet Chorus as Voices of Nerat sought to exert his control over the peninsula. Signs of battle were present when we arrived at Trapper’s Junction, and it was difficult to tell whether the armour was red from blood or warpaint.
In addition to finding Graven Ashe’s daughter I had been tasked with “convincing” a local Unbroken leader, Mattias, to join the Scarlet Chorus. I didn’t have high hopes, but I was willing to offer my aid in hope to see more of the Voices of Nerat’s plans.