The group reappeared back in Lencia, must to the amazement of those involved. Nethri lay prone on the hard cobble road, the others strewn about the area. Maaya collected herself and hurried to the unconscious Dwarf. “Good, he’s breathing at least,” she thought. Lying next to him was his pack, unlatched with the top flap open. A glint of light was lost in the deep onyx of the sword’s handle, and excitement filled Maaya. Quickly grabbing the sheathed weapon, before anyone noticed, she hurried off to her House, hopeful that her redemption was at hand.
Nethri shifted on his feet. Standing before the Lords and Ladies of the Council was trying for anyone, but in this particular case, it wasn’t what made the Dwarf nervous. Sir D’Aubry was currently presenting the Raven’s Tooth to the Heads of the Houses. Seeing the artifact leaving his possession was painful, but he understood the reason for the maneuver – he just didn’t agree with it.
However, as the twin sisters of House D’Urban, S’Jet and Amirah, accepted the sword, mixed emotions swirled within the Dwarf. Pride in his accomplishments mingled with irritation at his shortcomings. The sword was his and was ripped from his grasp. But his agitation was tempered by the knowledge from his god that his path would cross with the sword once more.
The ceremony concluded and Nethri chose to take his leave. Back to his room in House D’Orinda, Nethri sought comfort in his deity’s grace. A quick communion with Dumathoin gave him guidance and he headed back out. The historian of the Dawn War needed to complete one more task – the confirmation of the sword’s authenticity.
The echoes of the knock ricocheted off the entry walls. Simon strode down the stairs with the kitchen servant trailing behind him. A breeze entered through the balcony window, causing the drapes to billow as they passed. Another knock quickened the old butler’s steps. Reaching the wooden door, he smoothed out the creases in his shirt. Presentation must always be maintained. Opening the door, Simon bowed low, welcoming the guest.
“Sir Nethri. Welcome to House D’Urban. We welcome your presence. Please, follow me to the sitting room.” He moved to the side, allowing Nethri to pass inside. Leading him to the room to the right, Simon motioned to a large, cushioned seat. “If you will, Sir Nethri.” Moving his robes about his feet, the Dwarf sat down. “The Dames of the House will be down momentarily. Do you have need for anything?”
Nethri shook his head as his fingers clutched fiercely at his robes, “I am fine.” His eyes willingly left Simon as the servant took his leave and fell upon the object of his summoning – the Raven’s Tooth. Before him, propped in a wooden mount, was the sword, just within his grasp. “Do not be foolish…” The words rang loudly in his ears.
“Welcome, Sir Dwarf.” Nethri turned up to see Dame S’Jet and Dame Amirah standing in the entry to the room. S’Jet strode forward and addressed the Dwarf, “I see you have found what we summoned you for.” Nethri’s eyes darted back to the sword before returning to the Dame. “We thank you for your efforts in retrieving our Mother’s sword, but we must ask, why was this sword so important to your Houses, Sir Nethri? What could you possibly want with such a thing?”
“Simply, Dame D’Urban, I am a purveyor of historical artifacts, especially those from the Dawn War. My research spoke often of Inistrad, the sword’s true name, and the history of the sword intrigued me. When the opportunity arrived to seek it out and learn more about the artifact, I leapt to the chance. Though I can not be absolutely sure that what lies before us is indeed Inistrad. However, my god has provided me with means to ascertain its authenticity.” Nethri paused a moment before continuing, “And given the state of House D’Urban, and the ‘disappearance’ of Lady Myria, House D’Orinda felt it would be a sign of mutual benefactors.”
The twins exchanged worried glances with one another before S’Jet peered over her shoulder. In the corner of the room stood Syral and Sir Luc D’Urban, eyeing the interaction between the Dames and Dwarf. With an approving nod from Syral, S’Jet turned back to Nethri. She motioned to the sword on the wooden mount, “If you will, Sir Dwarf.”
Nethri tried hard to conceal his eagerness, though he was sure it was quite visible. Standing up, he pushed his robes to the side and strode to the sword. Planting his feet before the mount, he outstretched his hands, holding them above the sword. Relaxing the muscles in his forearms, he felt the power flow through him. Closing his eyes, the words of the ritual given to him by Dumathoin became clear.
“Sovd yegnor i cau”
Nethri’s body relaxed and his arms fell limp at his side. Staggering on his feet, Luc moved quickly to catch him. Moving him back to the seat, Luc set the Dwarf down. Looking up at the others in the room, Nethri’s eyes flutter open. A look of satisfaction grows across his face.
“It is what we thought it is.”
Luc, eagerness rushing him forward, asked, almost pleadingly, “My mother – how can we get her back?”
The hope in his voice panged Nethri deeply. Shaking his head, eyes solemn and downtrodden, he regrettably replied, “There is little I can do from here. You must speak with someone with higher divine affiliations than I. And I am hesitant to say you should look no further than the Church of the Raven Queen.”