The Whorl

Game 8 - The Garden

2000 XP = Total 8560 XP

My Lord,

The Thar Desert Expedition is concluded, or at least all efforts have been made to ensure that the populace at large believes as much. The survivors have been lauded, feted, and rewarded for their discoveries. The Wizard's College has taken custody of the arcane slave collars used in the traitor Raj Sinhala's blood magic rituals, as well as the necrotic knife he used to such ill effect upon his loyal companions. The Bardic College of Lore retains possession of the Heart of the Titan, as well as the three Titan-control artifacts, but we both know that this nominal title means little. For all that the Expedition was funded by the Bardic College, they have not the means nor the expertise to unlock the secrets of these artifacts. I anticipate the Wizard's College will shortly possess them in fact if not in title or prestige.

As for Sanjaya Pandava, the official line is that he died a heroic death in pursuit of knowledge. His connection to Emperor Rama I and the fact that he may well have been inadvertently responsible for a century's worth of clandestine infiltration of the Kingdom is being suppressed. The Temple of Kali has been engaged to hunt down the Professor's various connections, assess them, and dispose of them if necessary. This has already resulted in some two-dozen deaths which I imagine your office will be hard-pressed to manage in the eyes of the public. I cannot promise the deaths will end soon, but I anticipate they will slacken significantly in the coming days as the guilty flee to deeper concealment and the obvious traitors are slain.

Nearly half of the dead so far are various menials and lesser underworld figures affiliated with the self-styled "adventurer" Shah Khan. It would appear that he had developed a significant information-gathering network within Videha and that he sold information to the highest bidder. I suspect Shah Khan is not a traitor in his heart so much as a mercenary beguiled by a possessed Professor Pandava's offer of great riches. Nevertheless, the Temple deemed this network a threat. It seems, however, that Tavi Agarwal has capitalized on Shah Khan's lieutenants' fear of imminent execution to seize the network for herself. Although she was chosen to accompany the Professor himself in the Expedition, her actions in staving off the Emperor's machinations and securing the Heart for Mithila puts her, currently, above suspicion. The Temple has moved on to other targets.

This brings me to the interesting problem of the Professor's surviving "Team Eka." All of them were hand-picked by an unwitting spy and unknowing traitor, yet their actions prevented Ayodhya's emperor's success. I wonder, now, whether Professor Pandava, in the depths of his subconscious mind, was aware that his hated former Emperor was manipulating him. I wonder if he made his choices, in part, to FOIL the plans with which he was not consciously aware. If so, ironically, these direct companions of the Professor's are the MOST trustworthy of the many associates he accumulated over the last century.

In any event, the decision has been made to send them out into the desert once more. Although we may be able to trust them, leaving them here in the political and social quagmire that is Videha would court unnecessary risks. Saatvik in particular, notwithstanding his increasing prestige within the Temple of Sarasvati, has something of a reputation for indiscretion. I fear what might casually drop from his lips concerning the Professor and the Emperor. Vinihata, although less incautious in some regards, remains an unpredictable element, and Panja is clearly uncomfortable in the city and craves a return to the desert. All this speaks to the wisdom of sending them out again as quickly as possible.

As for Xedris Thrannis, the revelation of his family surname is oddly comforting for our purposes, yet also a danger should he remain in the city. Until we've suppressed Ayodhyan infiltration, his assassination will always be a risk. I understand that sending him back out will necessarily curtail his studies within the Wizard's College, but I have taken some steps to ensure his education won't fall too far behind. As he studies the spellbook I've given him, his intelligence cannot help but grapple with the arcane problems therein, hopefully aiding him in his self-study.

I've consulted with “Arvind” and we agree that they would be best used investigating these rumors of the Cult of the Risen Son. If there is some truth to them, we would be well-advised to prepare for the threat they might represent. While these heroes of the Thar Desert Expedition publicly depart on that mission, Arvind will lead a more clandestine one to the third Titan location with the goal of plundering its Heart or rendering it unusable to Ayodhya.

Which brings me to one last detail. Saatvik was rewarded by his Temple with a Question of the goddess Sarasvati. He chose to use this question to inquire into the location of Ayodhya's secret Titan construction facility. He has provided that information to us. It would appear the Titan is being constructed below the surface of the Dawn Sea, nestled within the Greater Cut, rendering it relatively inaccessible from shore. It is currently unknown how the Emperor's experts and craftsmen get to the site let alone survive there in order to complete their work, but it is my hope that a more … targeted interrogation of the Imperial Scholars captured by the Expedition will reveal more. Our first priority should be to ensure the Emperor never gains control of a Heart, but failing that, we may need to prepare contingencies against the work site. I admit to some concern that Varuna or elements within his priesthood might be complicit in this. If so, there are divine implications far greater than what I'm equipped to assess.

May Mithila stand ever as a bastion of enlightenment,

“Alia”

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ardhanari

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