It was not long after entering the Castle of the Red King that Aether began to feel many outside influences in her mind. This place was the demesne of chaos and evil and the power that lay hidden here spoke to any who would listen. Yet others voices were guiding her path.

This was not the first time outside forces had woven Aether’s path. When she was a child the “gift” had awoken in her. She knows now that it was the power of the Ethereal Sorcerer, and these voices bore the same pattern. Aether allowed the voices to once again guide her path. The words of Desna and others flowed through her. It was a warm and comforting feeling, a much needed boon in this place.

As the party dove deeper into the Red King’s madness, his treasure room unlocked another, more sinister voice. Fearing weakness of will, Aether chose to ignore that voice – yet the Harrow deck called to her and she broke down and took the powerful artifact. After short study, she knew she should be careful, to not abuse the power. But power and knowledge can be a subtle seductress.

The battle for the Castle was a blur, Aether was solely focused on saving the children and bringing those back who perished. Yet – that sinister voice and the will of Desna caused the chained box to come into her possession. Possession…that could be the right word.

Her fitful sleep was barely enough to regain her strength for the day. The dreams of her father and his wisdom, the wishes of Desna, the voice in the box. They all seemed to be directing her to open the prison. Her heart tells her no, but so many voices – including the Harrow deck – say yes.

Provoking the Deck’s wrath, Aether searches deeper for answers. But as soon as she does, she knows she went too far. The deck answered her questions and more. She was inundated with answers. Answers to questions barely asked. She knows she’s attracted the attention of something powerful. She’s put her friends in danger. She sacrificed an innocent creature. She’s grown arrogant with the power of her stolen goods and now… she’s considering opening the box. But where? Where can she unleash the soul inside safely?

The journey of their airship will take them over the vast ocean. Maybe there, away from civilization can she safely inspect the contents. Should she?

A Harrow card appears in her hand, but Aether doesn’t need to look at it to know what it says. She looks around her to her shipmates – a tortuous schizophrenic rake destined on bedding one of her Order, the noble fighter now carrying the weapons, armor and heart of an evil king, the barbarian – stinking of booze and fornication, a hidden enemy bent on betraying us all. Aether doesn’t know what she did in her life to deserve the company she’s in, but the gods are testing her now.

Maybe it’s time to test her fate. If only dad were here to see this.


The Castle at the Edge of the World ironwright Baddriver01