Tomb of Mirrors
  1. Outcome Value: 113
  2. Story Result: It takes time to find the Loneliest Alley in Setarco. The alley behind temple street near the Old Graveyard of Setarco, between the Shrine to the Thirteenth and Pravus Keep, is very lonely. The alley has no name that anyone knows, but for a people that scorns superstition, it's always been a place with unsettling rumors that is avoided, and the Pravus children raised in Setarco can recall a sense of unease at seeing it. An alley almost never walked, and on the thirteenth night of the money, they are there alone.
  4. The moon is shining and bright, and at the very end of the alleyway, against what would be the back wall of Pravus Keep where it meets the Shrine of the Thirteenth, the full moon catches the black stone of the wall. And that wall, if one is looking at it from a perfect angle, is no wall at all- but a mirror. Duchess Belladonna Pravus, the Duchess of Setarco, knows what to do. She takes thirteen silver coins, each stained with the hearts blood of desperate men, and throws them one after the other against the mirror. The thirteenth coin makes no sound, for the mirror is gone, and stairs leading down into the dark below Pravus Keep instead are in its place.
  6. The crypts below Pravus Keep have a very distinctive architecture. An elaborate, ornate style that is as imposing as it is unmistakable, and they see that same style lining the walls with murals of thirteen robed figures carrying a great coffin to a ship to set over a sea of corpses. They see the sconces artfully designed with black, reflective stone that looks like the gauntlet fist of House Pravus' sigil holding a torch, and each of the torches bursts into light as they descend the stairs. They see the mural of a great queen staring into a mirror beneath a ziggurat as dragons fly threatening overhead, and then stepping through the mirror. And then they reach the door at the bottom of the first flight of stairs.
  8. It's crowded, with Celeste's infantrymen in the rear of the tunnel, as the elaborate door made entirely of onyx bars their way. There is no handle at all on the door, but an inscription written in an ancient language long before the tongue of men that Belladonna Pravus is able to recognize, and none others. The inscription says, "We Welcome Our Blood". As Belladonna rests her hand on the door, it swings open with a great boom that rocks the tunnel, and a long hallway of mirrors with a thousand torches lights the way ahead of them, with black marble for the floor and ceiling. Belladonna, Viviana, Arianna, Sebastian and Celeste all step forward past that door. The first pair of guardsmen do so as well, and then they seem to trip, falling forward, and a brief, horrifying scream. The pair of guards seem to dissolve in an instant, their empty armor clattering to the marble as blood seems to hover in mid air, and then suddenly flies to the door, with a bloody outline of additional words appearing below the inscription that says, "And No Others." They, without their guards or servants, proceed into the Tomb of Mirrors.
  11. The first odd thing is the music. They hear a quiet, melodious song being played, seeming to come right from behind the mirrors. Songs of House Pravus, each played with an inhuman skill and elegance. There's the triumphant March of Silken Welcome for a duchess' coronation, played but once during her reign, echoing the footfalls of Belladonna Pravus perfectly. The melodies of the Spider's Journey, one song after the next, as they all walk by. The Sailors of Silk, a jaunty song popular in Setarco taverns about cunning pirates who outfox their rivals, played as Viviana walks down the hall. There's the March of Silk and Iron, a militaristic song that's long been a symbol of the military of House Pravus, that celebrates the arrival of Celeste. The Artist's Lament follows Sebastian, a song of obsession and loss. And there's The Dance of Shadows, a religious song for mirrormasks, as Arianna walks the halls. It is not obvious at first that they are all hearing different songs, and cannot hear the ones for others.
  13. The long hallway of mirrors ends suddenly into a bright and completely unexpected room. The gallery bears a striking resemblence to the Grand Ballroom of Pravus Keep, a decadently lovely and opulent room, that the more its studied, the more it becomes obvious it IS an exact duplicate of the Grand Ballroom of Pravus Keep. Almost. And the differences are unnerving. The windows that would be looking out over the bay and a beautiful vista of the rest of the Silken City are replaced with mirrors, and all see their reflection but Viviana. Their reflections seem to walk closer and closer to them and speak in perfect unison, "You did not come here to barter." The voices sound puzzled, as if this was a great surprise, then adds, "You did not come here to mourn Her." And then each reflection walks to the side and is gone from the mirror.
  15. The dance floor is different as well. Instead of the beautiful tiled floor, it is a great collection of murals. Murals that tell a tale of the Founding of Setarco. The murals are titled, in flowing Arvani. "Primeria's Servants Bring her to Arvum, and Find The Thinnest Point Between Our World and the Abyss" And they see a gathering of robed figures with a coffin, standing on the Lookout Hill, a hill that overlooks the silken city, but in the mural they are pointing to a great darkness where the city of Setarco should be. "Primeria's Servants Build A Holy Place To Her Patron And Bury Her" titles a mural that shows the first Shrine of the Thirteenth in Arvum, being built over an elaborate tomb, and being constructed by human slaves bound by Primeria's elven servants. "The Halls of Wanting" is the title of the next, a mural showing the human slaves building what looks like the hallways of Pravus Keep, only somehow different, and in each of the mirrors there's the stylized picture of a demon whispering to a listening human slave. "Bargains Made. Bargains Kept" is the next mural, showing a mass slaughter of elven masters by the now freed slaves along with their demonic allies. "Cunning is no sin, a foolish ideal is no virtue." The house words of House Pravus, and they see the humans building the first city of the south as half of the mural and treating with elves as equals, while the second half of the mural shows them secretly in the Tomb of Mirrors bargaining further with demons for power. And finally "Along Came A Spider, a mural showing Procella Pravus fleeing deep into the tomb long forgotten, all the way down to the deepest room that contains Primeria's coffin, and negotiating through a mirror with Malrico who had not yet entered the world. There's more and...
  18. "Hello, Me!" The investigating of the murals is cut off by a woman that looks exactly like Viviana sauntering down the stairs towards the ballroom floor, "You reeeeeeeeally aren't supposed to be here unless you're cutting a deal, and it's been a long, long time since what's down here has been fed. Since you're all just window shopping, which they reeeeeeeeeeally hate, you're going to need to run. Like right now." The room starts to get darker and darker, as if the edges of the room are slowly being swallowed up by impenetrable darkness, and there's snarling in that darkness. They hear Viviana's voice yelling from the darkness, "Come back when you're ready to bargain, or have specific questions!" As the devouring darkness closes in, they turn and flee.
  20. Scrambling back through the hall of mirrors, with the sound of music suddenly now a funeral march that they can all hear, with the sound of jaws snapping in the dark, and all the way back through the door, which slams back behind them with a boom, unable to reopen. Until the next 13th of the next month, of course.
  22. [STATUS: Resolved]
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