Immortals’ Wake: A Few Hours in Belan’si

What follows is a taste of the world of Immortals’ Wake… Many, guided by faith, skill, knowledge, or logic, see this magical realm in very different terms. As in most worlds, there are Haves and Have-Nots. When the bells at the Basilica sound a warning, where and with whom will you seek shelter?

Marion O’mani keeps to herself most of the time. A girl of faith, she regularly attends mass at the Basilica to worship the words of Mother T’aibi who guides from above. And when she’s not attending services, she can be found at her family’s stall in the bazaar, selling handmade goods as the O’mani clan had sold for 100 years. As such, she had many friends among the other merchant families of Belan’si.

As a port city, trade caravans constantly bustled for attention from wealthy buyers who then turned around and sold those trinkets to the people of the city with coins to spend. Stalls on the side of the bazaar closest to the merchant and noble quarters were the subject of intense positioning, sometimes leading to bad blood.

Today, Marion had some free time before the sunset service began, so she decided to find her friend A’bas. A’bas Relan and Marion attended the church school where they both learned to read and write and do the basic math they would need every day in the bazaar. The pair often explored the dark interior of the markets to see what lost treasures they could find among the shops, stalls, vendors, and colorful people passing through the area each day.

She found him at one of their favorite stops, the booth of one Evani Georgia, a man of ill-repute who always ended up with the best strange pieces every week. A’Bas was admiring an azure pottery bowl that seemed to change and move as he shifted it in and out of a shaft of sunlight. “That’s beautiful, but how does it do that?” she asked tentatively as she approached.

“Ah, another distinguishing eye! Yes, this is a rare item indeed,” said Georgia. “It came to me by way of the ocean from Kardyn, island kingdom of the Saesi.”

“But why does it shift so?” she asked.

The merchant gestured for her to come closer as he whispered “The pottery is imbued with demon magic.” A’Bas nearly dropped the fine porcelain bowl, but recovered quickly enough to set it gently on the table.

“Demons? Really? Have you ever seen one?” asked A’Bas. “We’ve heard tales, but have never seen one ourselves. Beyond the strange rippling stone of the Mother’s Fold over the river, I started to think they were a myth.”

The man smiled. “Oh, they’re real. I once watched a battle between a group of fire demons and a detachment of knights from the Order of St. Greggor. Raw magic nearly destroyed their weapons and armor. But numbers were on the side of the Church that day. The losses though… I’ve never seen such carnage and the smell…”

“A’Bas, I think it’s time to go,” Maria chimed in. “We’re needed elsewhere. Thank you kind sir for your tales.” And she grabbed her friend’s arm and led him from the booth.

“Next time bring some money and I’ll entertain with tales of the wave demons!” shouted Georgia after them.

Maria and A’Bas hurried through the crowded marketplace to the Grand Basilica so they could get seats at the evening service. “All this talk of demons has me worried,” she said as they worked their way through the throngs of people. “Even Deacon Nobin has mentioned them in her sermons lately…”

“I’m sure this will pass. We’ve all heard the stories, but beyond some old stone bridge and that weird pot have you ever seen a reason to be scared?” asked A’Bas. “It’s just talk.”

As they shuffled through the double doors and under the great domed roof of the church, they were far from the first to arrive. Services, especially lately, had been very crowded of late. But they found room on a bench in the center as more people filed in. By the time the Deacon appeared with her acolytes, it was standing room only and a few hundred people were seeking spiritual guidance…

Deacon Nobin began… “Good evening, my friends. May the Mother’s Grace be upon thee…” And also on thee…

“Here in the city of Belan’si we have been blessed by all our guardians… The Queen’s Order of the Sovereign Rose, the King’s Order of the Missing Sword, and our own Order of St. Greggor help our overworked guardsmen patrolling the city streets and keeping us from harm. Thank the Mother…” Thank you oh wise Mother.

“But now we’ve seen evidence that our great, safe city once again lies in the Nameless One’s path… And we must pray for guidance during the dark times to come. May the Maker and the Mother watch over us all.” Amen

“In the days and weeks ahead, we must remain vigilant. Watch for signs of the demons all around you. And if you see signs, let our guardians know so they may deal with each threat as it comes. Do not wait. Do not stray from what you believe. For if these demons are allowed to run free, we will all pay the price.”

Eventually the Deacon finished her sermon and bid her flock good night and safe journeys. Her words left Maria and A’Bas wondering if they should tell someone about Evani Georgia and his strange, demon-touched porcelain bowl…

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