Transylvania Chronicles

The Clay Tablets

“I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come”
Melachi 3

As Drago and his men readied the caravan to move on, the Vampyr prepared for their daytime slumber. Soon after the caravan’s first few turn, Borislav reported spotting the ruins of an old tower and the flickering torchlight atop a nearby mountain peak.

It was decided that the caravan would camp here, close to the old tower and without any lights, until the Vampyr would rise again after sunset.

At dusk, Andronicus was the first to rise, and Drago informed him that the firelights at the site of the ruined tower faded just before sunrise, to be lit up again after sundown. He had heard no unfamiliar sounds or seen anything alarming during the day.

As Andronicus organized another praying session – where he was joined by one of Radu’s men who seemed genuinely interested in this Christian custom – Hrothar and Zedenek awakened and instructed the guards to protect Petru’s body when they would head out for the mountaintop. A pile of firewood was prepared near the caravan so it could be lit in case of trouble. Andronicus gathered Frederik and Gulielmo to accompany the Vampyr on their way to the top.

After first scouting around the corner that followed the road around the tower mountain, the party of five traveled the small winding path towards the top. Before they could spot anything, the whistling of a cheerful hymn could be heard from among the ruins. The Vampyr advanced and spotted an armored figure kneeling at the edge of the ruins, his whistling suddenly interrupted by their approach.

The one light source – a torch on a pole amidst the ruins – was suddenly extinguished as a shadowy humanoid shape rushed past it, to disappear in the darkness behind the ruins.

Andronicus approached the kneeling stranger, as Zedenek and Hrothar tried to spot the shadowy figure hiding somewhere in the darkness…

“Ah, blessed art those who come in glory to the place of revelations.
Welcome, fellows!”

The male wears tangled and filthy blond hair, has fine features and is of average build. He looks somewhat like a vagrant mercenary; he wears piecemeal armor and a squalid tabard and carries a rusty, blood-encrusted sword. He then stands up, turn around and walks toward Andronicus as he begins to speak in Latin with the accent of a descendant from the Kingdom of France:

“Your coming is the sign that I have long awaited. The field is fallow, awaiting those who will search for the seed of wisdom buried deep within its hidden places. Please help me with this.” – as he points towards a huge stone slab blocking the entrance to what must be the underground area of the former tower.

Andronicus paused the strangers momentum by formerly introducing himself and asking his name. The stranger spoke: “In life I was the son of a soldier, now,
“I am the seeker after that which was lost and which will come again. I am a messenger of God. I am Vampyr. I am Anatole. I am your ally.
Now please help me, I cannot move these stones by myself.”

Hrothar asked Anatole who hides in the shadows of these ruins and Anatole explained he traveled here with a companion. Anatole told Hrothyar that this companion is more confortable unseen and that she would soon make herself know.

Indeed, a lady by the apparent age of 17, tall and graceful with a dark classical tone to her skin, appears from the shadows. She has black hair and wears the garb of a noblewoman, although these clothes are uncommonly dark and somber and seem to favor ease of movement rather than presentability. She speaks in Latin without accent:

“I am Lucita, mortal daughter of Alfonso I of Aragon, childe of Bishop Ambrosio Monçada and here as emissary on behalf of King Pedro II of Aragon.”

The three Vampyr explain the nature of their visit: how Radu has asked them to claim these ruins. Anatole seemed only focused on finding a way into the basement, while Lucita apeared more interested in their business here. She explained that she is on the road constantly to stay out of the clutches of het angered sire and how she has decided to follow Anatole and his visions for the time being. When prodded, Anatole speaks of how he has had visions for decades and that, although the precise meaning of these foresight visions is usually not apparent to him at first, in the end, they always come to pass.

By concerted effort, all the stones are eventually cleared away and the door to the basement of the tower fully appears. At first glance, the door seems to open towards in inside, but closer examination reveals that the door is heavily barricade to prevent the door from opening outwards. Dents in the firm plate work of the door and the smell of decaying flesh warns the Vampyr that something was locked inside.

With the necessary precaution – Hrothar decapitated the head of a dead giant snake before fully opening the door – the inside of the basement in revealed. Besides the rotting body of this hellish serpent, the floor is scattered with remains of crates that once contained grains and edible roots. The walls of the basement are adorned with remaining of wooden planks that held scrolls and books that now lie crumbled to dust on the floor along the walls. Anatole, and Andronicus search for academic treasures as Hrothar takes a closer look at the monster-snake. Zedenek examines the floor above the basement and finds a chimney construction with a hatch which could serve to lower goods down into the basement. The Vampyr would later find bloodstain on the floor beneath this hatch. Hrothar discovers that the snake has, unusual to a any constrictor snake, this one has a pair of hollow fangs. With Zedenek’s knowledge of manipulating the flesh, they later establish that this beast was partially created of reformed by a skilled flesh crafter. Meanwhile, Anatole and Andronicus find several clay tablets at the far end side of the basement containing unfamiliar sings. Amidst these tablets Anatole stumbles upon a golden disc which turns out to be a means of translation the clay etched symbols.

Andronicus settles down and starts to translate and copy the tablets. Some symbols are not too easily translated and the order of in which the tablets were written cannot be determined with certainty. And so hours have passed when Andronicus presents the other Vampyr with his results. He reads to them (in the order established by Andronicus):

Let the lesser ones war one upon the other
Each hearkening to the omens that i have foreseen
But merely shadows of those things that shall be
Fools, all! By my guile they know not the actual signs
Only I of us all shall know the truth and this shall be my shield and my spear
Thus, I set down my true visions that I may remember and keep to the path I have chosen
Most exalted shall I be in the time of the final days
Let the world tremble when I come in my might and majesty
For I shall rule above the father, above the mother who gave succor to our father
Even the father shall quail before my might
Above the children of Seth Yea, even above God himself
Let the reign of blood commence.

Anatole expresses that it is clear that these words are the seed of wisdom which the Lord had sent him to find. Lucita asks if she may make a copy of the tablets for Anatole.
Hrothar wishes to know from Anatole what he believes these words mean, but Anatole states that the meaning of his visions and these words will reveal itself when the time is right.
Zedenek seemed not too interested about the text, and stared planning the coming day.

Before the sun started to rise the Vampyr had all retired within the caravan, leaving their safety into the hands of Borislav, Drago and their loyal guards. Anatole and Lucita would find shelter from the sun in the basement of the ruined tower.

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