October 27 – November 13, 213 XT
Following the party’s return to Tyr, a meeting was held with the three High Lords to discuss the results of their fact-finding mission. The party didn’t mention that the Emperor was almost certainly dead, but instead said that they had been unable to find him and had no further solid leads. Inquiries were made as to the possibility of raising the dead under the pretense of speaking with someone who had been found on the island, but nothing conclusive was said.
The three High Lords seemed to take the news quite well, an unexpected and unsettling reaction. They quickly agreed that they had to work together to lead Tyr to continued glory, and they dismissed the party to discuss how the news would be broken to the citizens of the city. The day after the party’s return, all three High Lords appeared before the gathered citizenry and told them that their leader was off on a crusade and they could not say when he would return. They also praised the party for their efforts in the service of the Empire, and there was much cheering.
Desiring further answers on the nature of the Emperor’s longevity, the party headed to the Imperial Palace to speak with the ministers. It took some convincing, but the party eventually gained entry into the palace. The party was more forthcoming with the ministers than with the High Lords, and the ascetics they spoke with were quickly overwhelmed by sorrow at the death of their lord. Sorrow turned to shock, however, when a small boy entered the room and revealed himself to be Catzin the 8th, heir to the throne. He reveals that Catzin the 1st began his dynasty with the discovery a Belxic machine that could produce a fully formed human child from a drop of blood. Every thirty years, a new Catzin ascended the throne, young and full of vigor once more. Catzin the 7th was a troubled man, deeply saddened by the death of his predecessor whom he viewed as a father-figure. While going through the Imperial Codex (the collection of documents, books, and wisdom that each Catzin has given his successor,) the 7th learned of the various demonic artifacts that Orenwell and the party have been working on recovering. Believing them to be a threat to the Empire, and perhaps longing to embark on a glorious quest as his predecessors had done, the 7th set out to find them, which lead to his death.
Shocked by the discoveries they had made, the party quickly dissolved into an argument over whether or not the Belxic machine should be dismantled. Arden argued that it represented a perversion of the natural order and that it was responsible for the calamity Firofel was now facing. Gan said that a machine could not be blamed for the actions of men, and that there may yet be some use for it. Catzin agreed, and the machine was left alone for the time being. Catzin turned over pieces of the Imperial Codex to the party, and a foster home was secured for him with the House Maro. Meanwhile, the High Lords were preparing for the Fall Quarterlies…