Investigations begin. Gustav has a secret rendezvous on a mountain. Secret precautions taken by Aurelio are revealed. Siria comes face to face with a demonic entity. Aurelio's work is undone and the transmission let free. An ancient golem commits suicide.
A letter from Keinon Rolal to his friend at the Arx Machinus.
My Dearest Friend,
The desert, a sickening yellow-greenish hue, is so vast and empty, and so void of anything but the immense heat. I find myself quite exhausted by the thought of it alone. I took solace in the thought that, surely, no pleasing thing could survive the malevolent climate. Alas, my friend, I was soon assured of my error as we were given the tour of the Chapter House: apparently, Paramon, the Head of Security, maintains a lush indoor conservatory enhanc'd with live birds. The price I pay for my decision is, at times, too much to bear, but in my heart I maintain the conviction that it is the right one still. I write this mainly for my own self, for You, I know, know the meaning of it intimately. To add to my dismay, the presence of the bureau in my close quarters is an abhorrent necessity.
On a lighter note, I received the most delightful little device from the esteemed Ms. Liam. It is a golden clockwork Scarabe of excellent Craft. It is for long-distance communication and as I lack the far-speaking gifts of the Nuntius, it is a useful way of communicating with my companions. It was initially offered to my friend Gustav who, quite foolishly, I should add, refused it with odd vehemence. I have taken to feeding it shavings of Omnium and examining its inner workings.
It seems the deceased Nuntius was either decidedly unhinged or had come upon some horrifying discovery. My friends Gustav and Valefarion discovered in her personal room a fascinating machine which broadcasted a short-range disturbance sequence on several frequencies, and an unfinished Faraday Cage woven into one of her robes. She also apparently had fixated herself upon the fractal shape, which seems unsettling. There was something stolen from her room following her death, so I must admit myself shying away from thinking her insane.
To discuss the deceased, I met the Chapter House Hospetaler, Mr. Benjamin (of his Last Name I find myself uncertain of and therefore use the most familiar name only). I found him insufferable, he appeared condescending and frivolous, and acted outright rude towards the esteemed Ms. Liam, and yet I could feel xe squirming in delight in the recess of xir abode. Therefore, to my great shame, my countenance was not of disinterested professionalism but one of amateurish deference. It soon turned out, to add to the humiliation, that Mr. Benjamin had made a hasteful work of the examination of the Nuntius. He had overlooked many crucial aspects, most notably the marks of hands, whether of humans or of likenesses I cannot say, and the fact that both the Humerus and the Radius in her left arm were shattered pre-mortem. They were perhaps difficult to detect given the fact that the multiple impacts during her final fall had broken nearly every major bone in her body; however, the patterns of force were, once studied, notably dissimilar. Pardon my ramble, I wish not to bore You with the minutiae of Fleshcraft.
Upon inspecting the head, something quite provoking occured: a contraption embedded in the cranium caught me unaware and I initially thought it injected me with some substance. I soon noticed it was a simple blood-test, and before I had gathered my wits again, the contraption ejected a micro-chip from its slot in the head. Later I presented the find to my companions, and the esteemed Ms. Liam took it upon herself to view it. It was ghastly business indeed, for the thing contained a record of the Nuntius' final moments of anguish, and the inevitable lethal fall. The gifts of the Voluptas are better suited for such an experience, nevertheless I wish we never find ourselves forced to review the recording. I simply hope the information the esteemed Ms. Liam was able to extract proves useful.
We also visited the mining complex today, and as Ms. Candice, the Major Domo of the Chapter House, lead me to believe, the Head of the Mine, a Mr. Plato, is invested mostly in his lofty ideals. The flaws of his character are unnegotiable, and so the emergent leading force behind the mine is a mere worker called Naimon, a Brass. I find the societal structure of Eurasia excessively appealing; the different classes, though separated by chasms of power and propriety, seem unified, harmonious. Their class-assign'd Marks, to me, seem quite unnecessary for the passions of their hearts are as truely reflected on their foreheads as the Brass, Silver & Gold Emblems. The mine itself I found compelling, more gloomy than Gloom itself, and mostly abandoned. I admit to being shaken by it, but the presence of a number of likenesses was a comfort. I was also able to peer into some of them, and despite their apparent crudeness, they were, I hope, illuminating.
Let me warn You, it is here that my narrative turns more sinister still: Upon leaving the mine, accompanied by the esteemed Ms. Liam, we both remarked the absence of my friends Gustav and Valefarion. We returned to the Chapter House wherein the queerest events then took place. I assure You, my friend, I could not believe the account I shall give You, had I not taken part in it personally. The esteemed Ms. Liam wished to contact our friends for she feared they had been lost in the mine. However, it became clear that they had found the communication device of interest high within the mountain, and overridden some spiritware protection in order to turn the thing on. Immediately upon start, all techmantic devices forcibly rebooted, and faced heavy interference while a Datapackage of gargantuan size was broadcasted from the ancient device, routed via Arx Machinus back to our location. We were unable to capture the data but my friend Valefarion, who had his hand in the heart of the situation, accomplished a part of the feat. Not long after the incident, the ancient and excessively elaborate likeness of the the Chapter House Machinus presented us, quite unprovoked, with a tome of the Scripture, and continued its way towards the roof. After failed attempts of containing its erratic action, the likeness jumped to its demise. A search-party recovered what parts they could, and I promised to assist the Machinus in the reassemble.
During the night, I assisted my friend Valefarion in deciphering the data from the old machine, and what we discovered, after labourious effort, my friend, I can only write of with trepidation. My friend suggested the very thing I dared not speak aloud, for its ancient and heretical implications: the data was a perishingly small particle of a vast, unfathomable protocolle for a Likeness of such proportions it rivals the Ancient Machine Itself.
I am exhausted; I must end this letter at once; forget about me not but let Your thoughts fly to me.
Sincerely Yours, Your Friend,