That’s the news out of Althea that has caused the last month of troubles. And there are little more details than that. The child of an Althean noble has been snatched. Those guarding the child have been slain, and there was no ambiguity in the clues. The vivisecred guards, all marked with a chalice symbol in their own blood is clear enough. The Knights of the Black Chalice haven’t come this far west in half a decade. And even then they appeared only long enough to murder their way through many of the Inner Circles of both the Knights of the Golden Moon, and the Knights of the Silver Chalice, the last former members of their progenitor order.
The importance of this kidnapping has been clear enough just from the response. Karne himself, the last of the Immortal Sons still alive and in the public eye, has led a band of Althean forces and scouting airships scouring the kidnapper’s trail south across Cetheron. The Sovereign Midnight has rallied many from the Knightly Orders to aid that force.
Thankfully, not all of the Knights of the Golden Moon followed. The trust of Cetheron’s people have proven to be more valuable than the offered Althean reward. Another trail was found, far behind Karne’s expedition. Word had come to the Knights Auric that a small group has broken off from the larger Chalice force, cutting across the Lake of Fallen Stars from a fishing village in Northern Cetheron.
A month of hard travel has followed. Across the glowing sea and through the dragon-owned mountain passes, following old trade roads nearly abandoned thanks to The Rot. Certainly the dragons tolling that road every few miles have gotten expensive, though at least the bribes have earned hints that the party has gotten very close to catching up to their quarry, who are reportedly slowed by a wagon. A sign that perhaps that larger force was a distraction.
One day ahead of the party, on the tip of The Scimitar, a northern-thrusting inlet from the Inner Sea, is one of the few remaining surface settlements in the South of Felarri; Vashra. It’s through there that your quarry is likely to pass on the way to Dis, either on foot or by ship. And if they reach the soil of Dis, nearly any hope for the child, the mission or the reward vanish.
Of course, standing between that goal and the party is one large issue: A night spent under the cloud of The Rot, even at the very periphery, is a mortal danger that all too few survive.