Justice finally leads everyone to the space where the Theodotion explosion originally occurred. It was a gory sight and it gives Nightingale flashbacks of the informant’s house and his unfortunate demise.
The traces of the original mine were barely visible. The crater from the explosion that took place was huge and left a chasm that stretched across the underground in a way that was unreal.
While the others take in the horrific sight, Justice begins searching for something immediately upon arrival.
As Justice pokes at dark corners in her search, Nightingale pulls herself away from the traces of human still littering the crater to ask Justice more about what happened. Nightingale asks about the people that were after her in the mines.
Justice tells Nightingale that it was Grim Deacons.
Rook’s interest is piqued by the mention of Grim Deacons. He turns and asks Justice to confirm that by the Grim Deacons, she means the same Grim Deacons that are well known as very talented Brahmanian Spies and soldiers.
Justice nods, confirming that Rook is spot on in his analysis.
Damocles overhears and worries at the news. He’s heard of the Grim Deacons. They’re notorious elite killers for the aristocracies of Brahma, the country to the west. They’re hard to kill, and incredibly connected.
Justice turns to explain that the Grim Deacons are after the friend she wants to take Nightingale too. His name is Zafir and he’s likely to be able to help them out with the Maluma issue.
The mention of Grim Deacons causes Rook to become increasingly more wary.
Justice reassured them that the Grim Deacons were caught in the blast and makeup half of the bodies here. So there is no need to worry. She seems confident that the blast killed all three of them although there was a fourth individual who did not look like a Grim Deacon but instead looked like a resident of Hyde.
Damocles goes to ask more about the fourth man but Justice mentions he ran off into a nearby tunnel that has collapsed. She’s certain it’s where they needed to go.
Finally, and with a triumphant gasp, Justice finds what she and her friends were after. She holds up an irregular white rock in the corner of the room and laughs triumphantly.
Damocles swipes the rock from Justice and curiously asks what it is.
Justice calls it a pontifex. Or… at least part of one. It’s something Zafir was after. She explains that she doesn’t know what it does exactly, they were on orders from Zafir to get it for him.
Something stirs inside Nightingale, the Maluma thunders inside her mind. It yearns for the Pontifex piece and part of its feelings impart upon Nightingale and she too feels the need for this artifact.
Nightingale, in a trance-like state of submission to the Maluma, snatches the Pontifex piece from Damocles. Nightingale claims that she’s the Princess of Elenia and this belongs to her before anyone else present in the mines. Nightingale says that she’ll keep watch of the Pontifex piece until Justice’s end of the bargain is fulfilled. Then, she’ll give it to Zafir only if she deems that it’s safe.
!New Story Item: First Piece of the Pontifex.
Both Damocles and Justice seem bummed about Nightingale’s decision for different reasons but they both submit to it being fair. Nightingale is the Princess of Elenia after all.
Damocles asks if everyone is ready to continue towards where the fourth man ran off too. They agree, and Justice leads them to the collapsed section she mentioned earlier. After a short moment the group is able to squeeze themselves into a tight corridor. The party continues down the corridor a very long way until they finally reach a thick locked stone door.
Damocles suggests that Justice cause another explosion to blow through the door but Justice refuses, saying that anytime she uses her Theodotion magic, a price must be paid to her Tome. Confused, Damocles simply accepts the answer without further explanation.
Just then, Remi leans in, hearing voices on the other side of the door.
The group hear two different people talking, a man and a woman. The woman is furious with the man for failing to kill “the Duke and his heir”.
The man assures the woman by the name of Echo that Elias’ infected wife will soon “turn”. Nobody survives the Blight, and Rivka will be no different. Elias will not have the willpower to execute his own wife and will thus become infected himself. The plan is all coming together.
Frustrated. Echo responds to the man by the name of Hendrix. She’s furious with Hendrix’s lack of initiative. Echo suggests they infect Hyde’s water system with The Blight. She explains that if they can uproot the city, Brahmanian plans can move forward with occupation.
From listening to the two voices talk, It seemed a Grim Deacon by the name of Echo is conspiring with someone by the name of Hendrix.
Damocles knew Hendrix. And hearing the man plot the demise of Hyde and his family drove Damocles’ face white with anger. Enough was enough, Damocles angrily orders Justice to use her magic to blast their way through.
Confronted with his anger, Justice reconsiders using her magic. She channels energy from her giant book and focuses it on the stone door. The door rots away as if time itself was destroying it. After the door shrivels, there’s an explosion of dust as the passage before them explodes.
Through the dust and madness, the party makes out what’s behind the door. It looks like a primitive laboratory of some sort with cages and vials and syringes and experiments of all sorts. The explosion caused by Justice sent the equipment scattering and the room was now a mess.
Echo and Hendrix were now clearly visible.Damocles had always seen Hendrix as one of his fathers best friends. He had always trusted Hendrix to protect Hyde. Instead, Damocles finds him conspiring with a Grim Deacon and the culprit behind his mother’s impending demise.
This betrayal sends Damocles into a blind rage. He charges into the room as the debris and dust still settles. He makes a lunge to tackle Hendrix.
Fed up with Hendrix’s incompetency, Echo grabs a sketchy looking syringe off of a table and injects Hendrix with its contents.
Hendrix immediately starts pustulating and turning pale. He screams at the realization he’s been infected with such a pure form of the Blight.
Before anyone can stop Echo, she disappears into the far exit and escapes through a door.
Meanwhile, Damocles tries to get information from Hendrix, but it’s too late. The man’s form twists into something inhuman and he screams in pain as he’s turned into something horrible.