The Despite of Fable
The blood moon rose and House Velenosa held its great celebration of the Eclipse of Mirrors. But this was no ordinary Blood Moon, and the streets of Arx ran red with blood raining from starless skies, as the moon waxed high and terrible. Panic follows in its wake, and secrets hidden for eons begin to be revealed as something dark and terrible finds itself coming close to waking.
On Feburary 11th of the year 1021 After Reckoning, the blood moon rose in the skies above Arvum. The Eclipse of Mirrors, the Lycene celebration led by House Velenosa in worship of the 13th God, accompanies the coming of the blood moon, a night of whispers and secrets told, and for many a night they never forget.
The Compact has forgotten much in the past thousand years. But not this night.
As the blood moon rose over Arx, the skies rained blood, mixing with the fallen snows of the streets. In the Lower Boroughs, the unfortunates with inadequate shelter were in a panic, and a refuge run by the Knights of Solace was near overwhelmed by a mob. The moon waxed huge and threatening in the sky, far larger than the moon should ever be... and then it was over. The moon returned to normal, regular snows blanketed the red lined streets.
But the people that had saw the blood moon rise and rain blood did not forget.
In the past years, the Compact has been noted for its intense skepticism. Anything supernatural is explained off readily. Stories of the fantastic are mocked, and the commoners of Arx often jape at the 'addled nobility' harboring silly superstitions, and being conned by a group of shavs calling themselves elves when such a thing doesn't actually exist. Even the king married one in a height of foolishness, and mention of magic would bring derisive laughter. This even extended to attacks on Arx itself, with the fantastic forgotten, and the mundane remembered, and much mockery of anyone that would ever say differently. But not this time. Not now.
Something is different. The people remember, and the people are terrified.
For a few moments only, the moon seems to dull, and the stars seem to shine all the brighter. There's a gentle breeze that washes over Arx, warm in defiance of the bitter cold, and a few people swear they can hear the final notes of a joyous song. Then it's over, and the people of Arx sleep well and deeply through the night, though none of them quite know why.
The sudden sound of a BOOM on the Islands between the Lyceum and Oathlands causes a little bit of a stir, though nothing more than that at first. But word starts to trickle back to the city of mysterious particles that linger on the air that some of the people who dwell on the Islands -insist- is cause for increased distress and restless sleep on their lands. They can't quite put their finger on it but it must be so.
Investigations in the form of ships sent out further toward the border result in reports of a couple of destroyed Islands, though not as many bodies as they'd have expected, and dull lifeless crystal shards floating on the ocean. Those reporting seem to also show signs of distress, weakness, fatigue and restless sleep. Strange.
Fear has lingered over the Compact since the Blood Moon rained blood down over the streets of Arx, and violence followed in its wake.
In Arx, the Inquisition and Iron Guard respond with calm in enforcing order on the streets, finding some of those responsible for the violence, while the Shadow Court has handled its own and a gang war is averted in the Lower Boroughs. In the Oathlands, the Faith launches a tour to Sanctum, bringing the leadership of the Faith to quell the tensions of rebellious elements pushing for a crusade against the Lyceum, while in the Lyceum much of the heretical elements have been rooted out- with heretics fleeing to a handful of cities where they have found religious toleration, Ischia among them. The mirrormask calling himself Marach the Second remains uncaptured, but there's no sign of him in any major city, and rumors he fled to the wilds of the Saffron Chain.
A great many push for calm while for the first time in hundreds of years openly discussing magic and its history on the Compact. The Black Mummers hold plays, the Society of Explorers share stories, House Malespero builds a new occult academy in Nilanza, there's a propaganda campaign in the Boroughs mocking a demon that some of the people name 'Azazel, the Eater of Stories', and leaders of numerous different domains reassure the people of their regions that come what may, they'll be there for them. There's no panic or riots, and general calm, though there certainly is violence. There's a sharp uptick in murders, and numerous suspicious highly fatal accidents in the Lyceum, but the worst fears of wars breaking out appear to not be coming to pass. Numerous leaders, and tireless efforts by peacemakers such as the Whispers, are surely responsible for the Compact not coming apart by the seams. It's tense, shavs are raiding, there's violence, but most Arvani are glad the worst is over, and things will be just fine.
Though very, very, very few Arvani probably realize the significance of the hedge around an old ruined castle called Harrow Hall.
There's not much reason for scouts to visit a deserted area of the Crownlands around a ruined old castle named Harrow Hall, but still, word does make it back. A massive wall of thorns, a gigantic hedge hundreds of feet tall, seems to surround the old ruined castle, in what scouts would imagine is several miles thick. No one can explain it, but few have gotten close enough to try, as there's gigantic towering beasts sitting on the hedge that seemed to be horrifying amalgams of many faces, or warped creatures of wood and thorn. In any other time, stories such as that would be laughed off, but not since the Blood Moon. Now, most Arvani are glad such a nightmare is far from them, and they can just leave it to its own devices. If it is a problem, surely the leaders of the Compact will deal with it.