Interlude - Mysterious Woman

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There she is! Nowhere left to run, it seems.

Hero 1: "Stop right there!"

Hero 1: "Who are you? Why are you following us?"

The woman seems surprised, but only for a brief moment. There is a wry grin across her face.

Woman: "Following you? Oh, please. It's actually you who seem to follow me around."

Hero 2: "Oh, cut it out!"

Hero 2: "What were you doing back an Elry? Why did you attack us?"

Woman: "A pure coincidence, I might say. It was never my intention to 'attack' a merry band of Yivanian lowlifes. Especially while they were doing a noble cause for the country and its people..."

Hero 2: "Enough of this nonsense! We know you intended to meet us in that alley in Elry. We know you are here not by a 'mere coincidence' either."

Hero 2: "You want something from us."

There is a sudden change of mood. Her face twists in anger.

Woman: "Of course, I want something from you, idiots!"

Woman: "Name's Shaela Baeder. Rings a bell?"

It's the same as it was in that dark alley - hard to explain. Seems like we've been close friends for years. And yet we've never met anyone with this name before.

Hero 3: "Should it?"

Shaela: "No. Not anymore."

Suddenly, she looks sad and desperate.

Shaela: "Look, I'm sorry for everything."

Shaela: "I appreciate your efforts, I really do. Escaping the prison camp, travelling all the way to Boldery, Granov encounter, nearly getting killed - you know, all of that..."

Shaela: "Too bad that in the end this was all in vain. There is nothing I can do for you anymore..."

Hero 2: "What are you talking about? Does this suppose to mean something?"

Hero 2: "We did not 'escape' the camp. We had no intention to come to Asmus in the first place. And we definitely did not come here to meet you!"

Shaela: "Unimportant details. You were the ones to come looking for poor old Joseph."

Hero 1: "Joseph? Who is Joseph?"

Shaela: "Joseph Aldwyn, mayor of Elry. You were supposed to meet him."

Hero 2: "Are you trying to fool with us again? Even stupid Yivanians like us know that Serafim Danator is the mayor of Elry. Have been for years."

And this is when things became really creepy...

Shaela: "Of course, he is."

Shaela: "Someone had to fill the place, once Joseph was removed."

Hero 3: "Removed? You mean, he was killed?"

Shaela: "Oh no, not 'killed'..."

Shaela: "Erased from existence."

Suddenly, a cold shiver runs down our spines.

Hero 5: "What is this supposed to mean?"

Shaela: "You've heard of the Order of the Crow, haven't you?"

Hero 4: "Some kind of a religious cult?"

Shaela: "More or less so."

Shaela: "During the War they posed themselves as a neutral force. Roaming the battlefields, serving their masses, providing 'final rest' to the fallen."

Shaela: "While in reality they secretly gathered human blood for their dark rituals."

Hero 3: "Hold on. Is this for real?"

Shaela: "As real as it gets. For most of the common people the War was presented as an economical struggle for resources and territories. But there was much more to that than meets the eye."

Shaela: "Think about it. While assassination of Leedon Rayes surely was brutal and shocking, it was hardly enough reason for eight countries to jump straight into a war."

Shaela: "And it is definitely not a coincidence that most of them now lie in ruins."

Shaela: "While high authorities battled for power and influence, for some of the more subtle forces the chaos itself was rewarding enough."

Hero 1: "Like the Order of the Crow?"

Shaela: "Oh, they are not too much of a force themselves. Just a convenient cover-up for a bigger player."

She narrowed her eyes for a moment.

Shaela: "The Easton Covenant."

Hero 2: "The Easton Covenant? Never heard of them."

Shaela: "Oh, you definitely did. In fact, you were a part of it."

Hero 5: "What?"

Shaela: "Important enough that the entire Order of the Crow was dispatched to search for you after the War."

Shaela: "Who would have though that all this time you were right in front of our noses?"

Hero 1: "There must be some kind of a mistake. We are a simple folk who were unfortunate enough to be captured after we... after..."

Shaela: "After what, huh?"

Shaela: "You don't remember, do you? That's no surprise."

Shaela: "For seven years the Order performed countless alterations to cover your dirty work. By now your line is so unimaginably twisted, I'm surprised you even remember your names."

Shaela: "If these are your real names, of course."

The things she talks about are hard to believe. Yet for some reason we know she does not lie.

Hero 1: "So you say the Order somehow possesses a knowledge of how to change the reality by kicking certain people out of it?"

Shaela: "Exactly."

Shaela: "The time conserves, though. It adapts itself to fill the gaps, creating new events and removing the ones that already happened."

Shaela: "This is why you have no memories of Joseph Aldwyn. This is why you have no memories of our time together."

Shaela: "This is why you are shocked and confused, having absolutely no clue of what is going on around you..."

This is a bit too much to comprehend.

Hero 1: "So, what does this leave us with? What should we do now?.."

Just as she is about to say something, there is a loud knock on the door.

Guard: "Open up, in the name of the law!"

Hero 4: "What the..."

The knocking repeats.

Guard: "I know you are there!"

Everyone is dazed at first, but Shaela quickly comes to her senses.

Shaela: "Great. You've brought us some company."

Hero 1: "What? We've..."

Guard: "I count to three, then we smash the door!"

Shaela: "No time to talk anymore, I'm afraid."

She immediately rushes to the opposite window.

Guard: "One!"

Hero 4: "Wait a moment! We have not finished yet!"

She is not here anymore. Disappeared in the shadows without a trace.

Not sure how she does that...

Guard: "Two!"

And just as we think we are left alone, there comes a muffled voice from the distance:

Shaela: "Come to the Order's headquarters in Aspry. Maybe there you will find the answers you seek..."

Guard: "Three!"

With a loud crack the door shatters, leaving us face to face with what is about to come from the other side.

Close Call
Level 1 Late Arrival Unexpected Visitor Territorial Struggle Escalating Confrontation Outlaws · Out on the Countryside · Trolls under the Bridge · Suburbia · Through the Gate We Go · She Again!
Interludes Aftermath Hello There Mysterious Woman