The Core Worlds
Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Gaming

Episode 4: Justice (DramaSystem: Heroes of the City)

July 29, 2014

Sarissa wakes up in a backstreet alchemists’ with Xathra watching over her. Xathra makes threats, discovers that Sarissa needs the blood of a von Rose and that the twins are the Archmage’s sons and tells Sarissa not to leave. The sorceress agrees and points out that she is in no condition to go anywhere.

Stefan and Alec meet in the watchhouse and Stefan tells him about Sarissa’s promised cure for the curse. Alec offers his blood in exchange for training with the sword, something he hopes will help him earn the respect of both Stefan and Xathra. Stefan agrees.

Xathra traverses the catacombs looking for Andros, but finds Alec instead. He conjures a ball of light to guide her way.

Elron goes through the, now stable, portal and meets Raphael, a shadow creature looking for his clanmate (Balthazar). Elron takes the opportunity to feed Raphael lies about heroes who murdered Balthazar and who now want to destroy his people. Elron seeks power, and Raphael agrees to give it to him. His knowledge of the other realm being limited, Elron is expecting Raphael to provide power in the form of magic, but the creature is no sorcerer and offers a division of warriors who Raphael will lead personally. The handshake that Elron receives brands him like Alec and causes him to comment that gloves will have to become fashionable this season.

Andros captures Odson and drags him to the watchhouse where he confesses to spreading the plague, blames Prince Elron and comments that leaving Alec hasn’t improved his lot as he desired. Stefan now has a witness against Elron.

Pira returns to the watchhouse and presents Stefan with the cure to the plague. It seems to work on him, but will take a couple of days before success is confirmed and it still leaves Stefan with the Archmage’s curse to deal with.

On the ramparts of the tower, Xathra lies to Andros, telling him that among her tribe, a victim may forgive a dishonour in exchange for a blood sacrifice. Having dishonoured herself in this way, she tells Andros that she will forgive him for assassinating her mother if he makes such a sacrifice. With the cup of his blood in hand, she leaves to take it to Sarissa.

In the throneroom, Andros accuses Elron of spreading the plague. The elf denies it and the assassin adds “liar” to the list of the Prince’s shortcomings.

In the training grounds, trying to prove himself to the father of the woman he loves, Alec trains with the sword under Stefan. He manages to defeat the older man and earn his respect. The blood he lost in the fight had been gathering a little way off the ground and, gathering it up, he presents a ball of it to Stefan knowing that it could be used to construct a cure.

Xathra and Sarissa find Stefan in his rooms in the watchhouse and Sarissa completes the cure to the curse in front of them by adding a drop of his blood to the potion. She then announces that whomever drinks it will take on the curse and free Stefan from it. The news is not taken kindly and Xathra is ready to force her to drink it at swordpoint. She is persuaded that that would not be honourable and they are left wondering if they can find a volunteer or if they can bring themselves to force someone else to drink.

Elron leads Raphael and his division through the portal into Alec’s lab where the twins are. Raphael is shocked to sense Balthazar’s soul inside Alec and accuses the mage of imprisoning it. He has no patience for Alec’s explanations and demands that they free Balthazar immediately. With the threat of the division of creatures from the other side ready to march into the heart of the tower, Andros looks into his brother’s eyes and asks for forgiveness. He pulls out the sword, caked in the blood of a sorceress, taken by a lover, for a brother and plunges it into his twin, dealing him a mortal blow.

The glowing arcane runes burst forth from Alec’s skin and Raphael recognises the language, at least partially. He can only translate odd words but seems awestruck by what he reads. Xathra arrives and tries to save Alec by returning his ball of light to him. The light is absorbed but only seems to make him glow brighter, perhaps even accelerating whatever is happening to him.

Caught in the glow, the shadow that is Raphael’s form seems to burn away and he pulls away. Alec collapses to the floor, not breathing, the light fades and Balthazar’s soul flies free. Raphael’s shadow is gone, revealed beneath is a glowing being of light.

Balthazar accuses Elron of lying to him but Elron points out that they still have an agreement, one sealed with a brand. Balthazar looks unhappily at the the palm of his own hand. He reminds Elron that the terms of the agreement were that he would provide the elf with the power to deal with the “heroes” and says that he will provide that opportunity now. He asks the three surviving heroes if they have honour. Stefan and Xathra claim to have honour, and Xathra declares that Andros has it also. Alec is in no position to make any such claim.

Balthazar says that he would be willing to sit in judgement, as a neutral outsider, over the two sides. If Elron’s arguments are found to be the stronger then the others will leave the city, but if not then the elf must submit to their justice. They all agree, Elron more reluctantly.

Elron’s arguments for the sake of his people are good, but tainted by the evidence of his deeds. Xathra speaks eloquently for the other side and Elron submits to their justice.

They consider making Elron drink the potion and take on the curse, and seek Raphael’s approval for the idea. He tells them that he can see justice in one who spread a plague taking on a disease to free another of it, but insists that it is their decision. They make him drink.

Alec’s body begins to glow once more and he wakes up, transformed into a being of light, much like Raphael.

Raphael says that his people came from this realm many centuries ago and that they had to cloak themselves in shadow to survive in their new home. With his shadow burned away he can never go home. He asks if he might stay and perhaps build understanding between the two peoples, since the portal is now permanently open and stable and ambassador could be valuable to the city.

Suffering under the effects of the curse, Elron is banished from the city. Escorted by one of the elves, he entreats them to take care of his people now that he cannot.

Andrus returns to the lab under cover of night and slips through the portal.

Xathra offers Alec a kiss.