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Level 1. House Erushkaye


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Level 1. House Erushkaye

spacer.pngThe four united god-shards planned their rendezvous along the banks of the Loch of the True God’s Ichor the next evening when all the guests were gathering at the aptly named Fang Manor. The manor was the summer residence of House Erushkaye just outside Gaos. Here, eternal darkness had permanently broken the circadian pattern of day and night after the diocide. Lit by an unholy hazy moon and the clever Erushkian electrical lamp poles that buzzed and flickered nervously, occasionally causing the hair of the uninitiated passer to stand comically on end.

The lake had long dried up to a greasy, fetid bed of rotting vegetation. The wrecks of several cruise boats lay gutted like the bones of an old corpses strewn about the depression. The road that wound its way along the dead lake passed through several gates and walls on its way to Fang Manor. The castle itself was cloaked in a deeper darkness that hid its features. Arendela had been in invited several times, so knew the basic layout well enough. Once past the outer curtain wall and Black Barbican, they would enter Blister’s Bailey, a rather large grounds that held the guest houses, stables, and various outbuildings needed for a well-run house. The bulk of the guests would likely be corralled here with various entertainments and merriment. No doubt it would be brightly lit by the marvels for which the Ereshkayas were well-known.

The keep proper was at the center of this, its towering bulk disappearing into the eternal nothingness that swallowed the skies. Even Arendela had never before been in the fabled upper apartments. Only the blooded members of the matriarch’s line were allowed in those upper levels or personal friends going back generations. However, the courtyard within would be to where the most esteemed guests would be admitted, and most likely where the feast itself would take place. The girls would likely be brought from the dungeon (or wherever they were locked away) to the courtyard during the festival proper. The apartments would be a great difficulty into which to gain admittance. It was not known if any of the Ereshkayas would even show themselves to the guests in the courtyard. They would hold their own feast in the apartments. That most elite spectacle might not even see the matriarch herself, who was said to cloister herself in her inner sanctum for years at a time, only agreeing to her meals brought to her by her favorite butcher, and her confidant, Maximillian Srevgney.

At intervals along the flickering walk neighboring the Loch’s banks, the house had various manservants placed, checking invitations and offering various well-prepared but gruesome dainties to tantalize and whet the appetites of the incoming guests. As the four followed the way, they were met by a many, “How do you do this evening my Ladies and Gentlemen? May I offer you an hors d’oeuvre or apéritif? Here, allow me check your invitations…”

The four were among many late guests, including a cadre of immaculately dressed and heavily perfumed dignitaries who proceeded in a train at the fore. Barthalk recognized these as representatives from House Yangeyelnitza, another of the seven, and one that had procured the secrets of everlasting existence in a similar but slightly different method than the Ereshkayas’ particular brand of blood-letting — one that the manipulator of the ephemeral veil better understood and sought to unravel himself. The two houses were not that different in tenor and methods, so it was only natural that members of the rival house were invited to the Festival.


Enough of an intro for now. I’ll have Arendela roll to see the level of admittance that she could get in whatever form fits each of your characters, whether you might be a valet, a cook, a sister, etc. I’ve named four areas but only three are accessible according to the result:

Tough (15) — Blister’s Bailey

Extra Tough (18) — Courtyard of the Keep

Godlike (23) — Upper Apartmfents

Even on a fail, it might mean it’s only a problem to gain entry for the other three tag-alongs to Arenedela’s singular invitation.


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They were approaching the belly of the beast, and if they were not in that belly so to speak, Barthalk would say with some confidence they were at least in the gullet. The casual wickedness of the House was all about him. Men and women were not things to be held at hostage for the sake of amusement. There was a reckoning coming, when all of these would be paid the wages duly owned from eternities of wickedness.

He repressed a desire to spit at the sight of the Yangeyelnitza, adding that to the retching that welled within.

Not yet time for that, servant. Do not be presumptious for it does not become you. A lesson I thought your masters would have taught you. The lady there has all the papers in order. If you want to do your accounting, speak with her. I have wasted enough words on the likes of you.

If this was anywhere but one of the Houses, Barthalk would give the servants respect and kind words. But here, right and wrong was inverted, and compassion was weakness. Never let your enemies see you on unsteady ground, those were wise words here.

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The single most popular spectator sport in Gaos is called serpent-song dueling. Two absurdly yet alluringly costumed contestants kneel before a rhythm-drinker snake, thrice the size of a man and possessed of a sharp ear for music. Each duelist delivers a song no more than ten minutes long, and then the serpent takes a moment to think. The snake abruptly lunges and plunges fangs into the loser. The poison is never lethal, thanks to selective breeding of rhythm-drinkers, yet it confers unimaginable agony for several hours. The victim inevitably wails and writhes, and is put on display for all the audience to cackle at. Naturally, this cacophony continues on in the background even as successive matches take place.

Each year, House Erushkaye sets up an annual serpent-song dueling tournament just advance of the Feast of Myriad Maidens. The winner receives a set of invitations to the upper apartments. Arendela has tried, tried, tried, year after year year, to triumph. Each time, she lost right at the finals, acquiring only the second-place prize that is invitations to the courtyard of the keep. The dog remembers each and every such humiliation.

This year, of course, was different. This time, the divine shard in her heart impelled her to victory. Wide and mirthful was the grin on Arendela's face when she finally, finally claimed the grand prize... and yet, not long after doing so, hollowness sunk into her spirit. Was this triumph truly earned, if it took an external infusion of skill and grace to obtain it?

Here and now, Arendela pushes those thoughts aside as she presents the most vaunted of invitations. They are marked with a mystically irreplicable, slithering sigil, indicating that the invitations were obtained from the serpent-song dueling tournament. "I truly am so eager to see Breaker-Matriarch Hasielba, I must remark," she says while sliding them over. "Her work on ceraunic coils has been a most respectable contribution to all civilized peoples." The dog gestures to the poles lining the path to the estate, all crackling and coruscating with whirling helices of electricity. Touching them tends to be inadvisable.

The doggy is dressed and styled practically identically to every other aristocratic lady present here: hair done up in a bun, face slathered with countless layers of cakey cosmetics, lips and nails painted a glossy red, underbust corset cinching her waist, a strapless ball gown baring the entirety of her décolletage, sleeves wide and detached, innumerable skirt-layers of silk and frills draped atop a wide cage crinoline, teetering-high stiletto pumps with little ankle straps, and a cloying number of perfume spritzes. Those women of more monstrous shapes have some leeway with this configuration, but on the whole, female fashion standards for formal events are not particularly diverse. Conformity is the name of the game. Colors are negotiable, at least; Arendela's scheme is all reds and blacks at the moment.

The minotaur... well, he can come as a servant, if he would rather not appear as a more stately guest. And if the swordmistress is unwilling to play along with the houses' vision of haute couture, Ysennoth can surely concoct an excuse for more austere attire.

Edited by Colette (see edit history)
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Level: 1 | Shatter Dice: 4
Tags: Acrobatics, Martial Artist, Sorcerer
Attributes: Physical 8, Intuition 7, Intellect 6, Charm

Ysennoth did the bare minimum to fit in, she had long ago given up trying to tailor herself to the whims and customs of others, no instead she often taught the opposite lesson, that individuality was the most important. But she could at least make an effort. She was dressed nicely just simply, she stood out more for her low style of dress than its quality. Any attempt to separate her from her sword would have been met poorly, though she has tied it in an elaborate knot to prove that the sword could not be drawn.

Failing to add that should could without difficultly kill with it sheathed anyway. She kept excuses simple, she was just a guard, she was just a simple swordswoman. She let them draw their own conclusions on her importance.

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Members of his species were never seen in high society such as this except as servants, so an elaborate costume had needed to be concocted for Tanurak to be able to enter with his compatriots. His wide horns could not be hidden, so he wore a stylized, gaudy, painted mask designed to make it look as if he were a human dressing up as a minotaur. A distinct fashion statement. He had his doubts that his disguise was believable, but there wasn't much else to do if he was to stick with the other god-shards.

Inwardly he recoiled at the pomp and circumstance of the whole affair, finding these nobles with all their frivolity repugnant. But they were here on a mission, so he would keep his distaste as hidden as he could.

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