Krodnok turned the severed hand over and over slowly, inspecting it. He shugged, and placed it into the pouch that once held the cross. He then looked up towards the display case with the hand print on it. Being cautious, he inspected both the case, and it’s contents, using the spirit scope on his cannon before he’d touch it…
The hand print on the display case was obviously from a different hand than the severed one.
The print came from the left hand of a very meaty indivual of earther descent.
Both middle finger and pointer were equal in length.
The dust of the print was the same dust in the pile in front of the case. It appeared as though someone reached out touched the case and was disintegrated and the dust was all that remained.
Krodnok could see no traps using his scope which led to believe that some obscured artificing may be protecting the case.
When he looked at the vial in the case the black liquid was a fiendish concotion of demon essense, nightmare hybrid flesh and undead vampyr flesh. What its purpose was is unknown.
Krodnok lowered his cannon and called Khalid over to him. When Khalid got close enough, Krodnok lowered his voice and whispered, “That,” he said, nodding towards the vial. “Whatever is in that vial, I want it. Problem is, to get it, I either need to destroy the case, or need to figure out what it is that’s protecting the case. I believe the thing to be obscured, however. So I can’t tell if the leyas on the case is something I should be worried about, or if it won’t harm me. Any ideas? Because otherwise, I’m going to blow the thing to pieces…”
“Wow Okay them my new friend,” said Khalid looking at the vile vial,“You want that. I get it for you. We consider this a deal and payment in full for your aid? That’s a one of a kind sample in there. You shoot it, it goes boom.
I pick that lock you walk out of here one vial richer.
What say you?”
[If krodnok agrees Narrator please move foreward with lock pick and burglary tests, and I will give Krodnok viail]
Krodnok looked over at the vial in the case, then at Khalid, then back to the vial, then to Khalid again, then over at Reugent, then the vial again, then back to Khalid.
“Ok,” he said. “Why not? I think I could have some fun with that.”
With Krodnoks agreement Khalid began looking deeply into the Leyas traps bound to the box.
The keyhole on the display case seemed to call for two keys.
Leaning over Khalid pulls on a pair of nightmare hide gloves pulls out a zela metal probe and gently inserts it into the top keyhole.
In the bottom keyhole he inserts another probe of normal steel and begins alternating the bottom and top locks with his lock picks until the case pops open.
Krodnok reaches in and withdraws his prize. They both step away from the display case.
Khalid looks down realizes he withdrew the zela probe but not the steel probe.
The steel probe is struck by enough fire and light leyas to melt it into liquid which drips down on the floor.
Khalid is now in need of a replacement steel probe for lock picking.
Krodnok can feel the semi sentient ooze in the vial trying to get out. It smashes against the walls of the vial trying to get at his undead flesh.
Wisely Krodnok does not touch this ooze to his own flesh, putting it away for experiments later.
Still he almost wished he had a lab in the area to conduct experiments. Unless he found one he would have to travel far to get back to his main base. Pondering the idea of a forward base, krodnok is interuppted by a hologram that appears.
It is a tall handsome bald man with the blood cup of the church of one tattooed on each cheek and verses of the bible demanding the destruction of all things demonic wrap around the base of his neck.
His eyes are clear and without malice.
He says , “I am Kas, I made this AI copy of me and left it here in case any of my squires return.
Who are you? And what has brought you to this place?”
Having his prize, Krodnok tucked the vial away for safe-keeping. He then listened to the hologram of the one called Kas.
“This, uh,” he started, turning to look at Khalid and Resugent. “This seemes like something the two of you came for. I got what I wanted. Mind if I take my leave?”
Khalid was pleased that Krodnok had kept his side of the deal. He turned to the AI.
"Kas AI I have many questions but first I must escort our travelling companion outside.
Sir Resugent this AI is a computer not magic. It has every memory taken from your orders Bishop Dannor.
This would have been imaged before his…tragic end.
Please noble knight ask away while I escort this traveler outside. It holds knowlege of a holy man long lost to this world."
Escorts Krodnok outside and says,"Be careful traveler that sample will grow unrestrained when exposed to the energies of the Ancient Evils. If exposed for too long it will become dangerous to you personally and dangerous to this world as well.
Take this comm. Crystal and we will keep in touch."
Krodnok looked at the crystal in the Earther’s outstretched hand. Without lifting his head, he glanced up at Khalid, then back down to the crystal before taking it. He turned it over in his hand, inspecting it, then tucked it into a pouch underneath his cloak.
He held his hand out, waiting to shake Khalids, in a much more Earther gesture than one would expect from an Olgog. “Thanks,” he said. “And, you know, good luck in your search.”
Khalid extended his hand and shook that of Krodnok.
He watched the traveler leave and returned upstairs giving Resugent some time to ask his questions in privacy.
I am Paladin Resugent, I am a cousin of Lord Grimaldus of Dunesphere, I came here seeking to recover artifacts belonging to our family that had been stolen from us in the past. I seek enlightenment and honor in all things. What can you tell me about the Grimaldus family?"
The Kas AI shimmered for a moment saying, "Accessing relevant files: Brothers Grimaldus. Elias Grimaldus elder brother, Henly Grimaldus younger brother. Sons of Lord Mattias Grimaldus. Joined the squire program at the age of 14 and 12 respectively.
Elias recieved highest honor befitting a squire the Childrens Cross for leading a platoon sized element of squires and serfs to wipe out a band of Goblin Raiders after his Paladin Sir Reginald McManus was killed by posion throwing spears.
As a result Elias was given a ceremony where I… Bishop Kasanth Dannor, i mean, granted him an audience.
Elias was personally selected as a squire of the Bishop.
When he reached the age of eighteen he was granted the Rank of Knight Crusader. After years of great success during the Goblin purge,
He was assigned to Karov when it was destroyed by Flamewinds.
Only the blessing of an Inquisitor allowed him to survive.
When he returned to the Bishops employ he was sent to aid the Bishop at this laboratory where younger brother Henley was already employed as a squire and aide.
While both Henley and Elias showed uncompromising faith and loyalty to Dunesphere, Henley felt great compassion for the lost souls of the natives. Seeing the burning of Karov first hand Elias could not accept this as anything other than weakness.
Despite that both were respected members of the staff, Both brothers fought too much and as a result publicly disgraced the Bishop when Elias summoned an Inquisitor from outside the lab to test Henleys faith. Henley did not survive the testing by pain and died.
Elias publicly blamed the Inquisitor and was publicly reprimanded by the Lords of Dunesphere.
As a result Elias was sent away to the family holdings to the north and relieved of his duties here.
The body of Henley was returned here to this site for continued experimentation on direct order from the Inquisition and the Lords of Dunesphere.
Our records do not show the current location."
A small tremble went through the AI and it said, “Henley Grimaldus was an aide to the team studying the Blood Cup.”
Paladin Resugent had heard of the Blood Cup. A relic from the days of the first Pope of the Church of One.
It was lost and an entire order of Inquisitors the Order of the Blood Cup are dedicated to its recovery.
The Kas AI continued speaking saying , “What other information may i provide?”
"So Elias was sent away, I wonder how we rose up again.
Do you know any information about the current location of the Holy Blood Cup?"
The Kas AI said , “All files on location of the blood cup are at the following coordinates.”
The location provided by the Kas AI, Resugent immediatly recognizes as the Chapel of Cardinal Bray located in the town of Johnsport.
Kas AI continues speaking, "No other references to the family Grimaldus until 400AR.
In 400AR approximately give or take a half century i was accessed by Inquisitor Mortis Leonin and Sir Antonine Grimaldus descendant of Elias Grimaldus.
Antonine collected the Cross created by Bishop Dannor for Henley Grimaldus.
At that time Sir Antonine was granted a field promotion to Paladin Lord Grimaldus by Mortis Leonin. Antonine returned with relics from this site to Dunesphere and what he brought with him resulted in a confirmation of rank.
on two other occassions Antonine returned here and accessed my memory banks.
The first topic assessed was Heresies within the Church Hierarchy.
The second topic assessed was the Ritual of Closeness to God."
“very interesting, please elaborate Heresies within the Church Hierarchy and the Ritual of Closeness to God”
The Kas AI begins to speak, "This information is for Inquisitors and priests the rank of Bishop and higher only.
If you are not that rank please fall on your own sword now.
The Church of One has two major heresies predating my…Bishop Dannors leaving of the church.
The first heresy was the simple fact that Cardinal Bray founder of the faith is an alien and always was one. A shapeshifting species known as the Kias. He was the Kias Criminal named Domino. This is the truth of the matter as all Inquisitors of rank Captain and higher know. The heresy was when this information was spread to layfolk as most humans cannot be trusted with this information.
All priests who were part of the first heresy were publicly scourged for lying and beheaded before their corpses were crucified.
This included all the inner circle of the church at the time except the Blood Pope Cristos Dugari an apprentice of Cardinal Bray.
The second heresy known as the weakness of Pope Paul. When the first Pope of the church of One returned to power after the Blood Pope’s first reign, Pope Paul tried to institute a policy of tolerance for all natives and alien races. This was unacceptable to the Lords of Dunesphere. Fearing this rise in solidarity and what that might mean for their slave work camps throughout the colonies of Brez, Unen and Karov they declared the teachings heretical. Pope Paul made a public declaration along with S’saris Rass, Zaodonai of the tribe of the Sunset Ridge.
Dunesphere nobles lead by Cristos Dugari deposed Pope Paul and publicly executed S’saris Rass. With Pope Paul deposed The Blood Pope Cristos Dugari took over again and it became a captial offense to speak in the defense of a native or alien species."
The Kas AI continued, “The Ritual of Closeness to god is the ultimate purpose of the Church of One as Cardinal Bray laid down to the original Order of the Blood Cup. They were to collect relics known as the Godswords. Once all nine were collected the ritual could take place and the blessed one would rise as an ascended being with the power of a vengeful angel.
Once this ritual is complete according to Cardinal Bray the ritual being must use Gods power to wipe out all Children of the Falosini.
This second part is not part of the ritual just instructions codified by Cardinal Bray.
Antonine left here with the white godsword which had been collected from the cursed ruins by the Bishop Dannors apprentice.
He stated he would deliver it directly into the hands of the noble Lords and buy back his family honor and lands.”
Khalid entered with a look of concern, “I wanted to make sure the traveler left without trying to take the cross.
Did the artificial intelligence say anything about Morris Leonin?”