Shade, Moira, Kamali, and Kobb return to the Bucket to find a Cypher waiting there with an invitation addressed to Shade. Kamali notes that, by the handwriting, the author is almost certainly Severosi. It is an invitation to tea tomorrow afternoon at Dimmer Manor in Brightstone, signed by Lucrezia Dimmer.
The next afternoon, they take the carriage out, with Boots driving. They make their way east into Charterhall, and across the bridge to the north, where they can see a marked change in the architecture. Charterhall is made up mostly of uniform row houses, while in Brightstone the size and shape of houses is quite a bit more varied. They skirt around the park in the center of the neighborhood, and pass by the Sanctorium. As they approach Dimmer Manor, they can see it distinguishes itself from its neighbors by its distinct Severosi influence, in both the shape of the building and its color palette: all subtle earth tones and red roof tiles. Moira feels that something is familiar about it, but can’t quite place it.
They bring the carriage around to the side entrance, where Roslyn Kellis is there to greet them. Kamali is very glad that she thought ahead to disguise herself as Shade’s secretary again. Boots steps down and opens the carriage door, and the crew piles out. Kamali keeps her head buried in her notebook to avoid attention.
Roslyn opens the gate and leads them into the garden, which is populated by a widely diverse selection of flora, many of which are not native to Akoros. Shade recognizes several plants that are quite valuable for their arcane properties, and speculates that many others would be of singular interest to Gears. He also notes that many of the plants are quite poisonous. Kobb notices that at least one variety of flower seems to be watching them as they walk past.
They are brought to a wide patio, where they meet Lucrezia Dimmer herself, sitting on one of the wrought iron patio benches with a large umbrella bolted to it. She’s very obviously Severosi, and looks to be about 40. She’s accompanied by a young girl of about 12. Lucrezia apologizes for her sisters not being able to leave the house. She dismisses Roslyn, and tells the girl, Serafina, to serve the tea, and invites everyone to sit and relax.
Shade mentions that two of his friends have gone missing, and both were among the living impaired. When he names Nyryx, Lucrezia says that Nyryx is a dear friend as well, and they suspect that the Path of Echoes had a hand in their disappearance, but they cannot confirm it.
Shade also mentions Jezelle, and Lucrezia responds that she is able to help with that matter. She has Serafina bring out an ornately decorated spirit bottle and place it on the table. She says that Jezelle was caught while attempting to gain access to an artifact of theirs, and was in quite a state. She gives Jezelle to Shade as a gesture of goodwill, advising that he be careful in handling her.
She also offers the crew a job to retrieve a particular ghost from the Path of Echoes: her sister Anastasia. She can’t guarantee that Nyryx is there as well, but it seems quite likely. She’s prepared to offer them 8 Coin for the safe return of Anastasia, as well as cementing a friendship between the Dolls and the Dimmer Sisters. When Shade brings up the prospect of taking some cuttings from the garden, Lucrezia says it’s certainly possible, within reason.
The crew takes their leave and piles back into the carriage to head for home. On the way out, Moira realizes that the reason the garden and house look familiar is because she saw them, from a different angle: it’s the house that Ixis brought her to the top of in her nightmare.
Preparation for The Ghost Host Raid & Roast:
Kamali and Kobb both exit the carriage and head to Charhollow to investigate the Path of Echoes, while Shade and Moira return to Crow’s Foot. Moira confides in Shade that she had seen the house before, and in so doing has to come clean about the scarab. Shade says the price of his silence is that he gets a look at the artifact. The possibility that the Dimmer Sisters are in league with Ixis is raised, but it’s something that will have to wait for later. Moira warns against mentioning any of this to Constance.
Back at the factory, Shade and Moira speak to Constance to inform her that they’ve taken on this job. When Shade says that it’s apparent that the Dimmer Sisters are preparing for war against the Path of Echoes, Constance asks if war is what the Dimmer Sisters want, or is it what they expect. Shade says it almost certainly the former.
Constance asks after Kamali and Kobb, and Shade says they are already gathering info on the job. Constance is alright with the job, but warns that it had better not interfere with her own business, and if she tells them she needs them, that takes priority. She tells Shade not to accept payment until he can extract a promise of exclusive rights to supply manpower during the upcoming war.
Kamali heads to the former church that the Path of Echoes have claimed as their headquarters. Much effort has been expended in making the place look abandoned, but that is certainly not the case. As she watches from a nearby rooftop, she can see that individuals wishing to enter come to a side door and knock, and there’s a small slot in the door through which they converse with the doorman. She can see them give a passphrase, and are granted entry.
Later in the evening, when the foot traffic in the streets around dies down, she starts poking around in the churchyard. While it is true that no graves have been dug in Doskvol since the cataclysm, there are remains of ancient graveyards. It is also common practice to erect monuments to commemorate prominent families in the city, and to build mausoleums to house urns. One such mausoleum catches Kamali’s eye. The doorway has iron bars across it that look to be embedded in the stone itself, but she’s able to find a cleverly hidden switch to open the gate. Inside, the small building is completely empty: no niches or shelves for urns. She’s about to leave when the large stone slab under her feet shifts slightly. She Attunes, and sees lines of force all leading to one spot: another hidden switch. All around her, the whole place is covered in protective wards. She can’t tell what they do, but she’s able to copy them down so she can show them to Shade later.
Kobb ingratiates himself in the locals of Charhollow, and starts asking questions about the Path of Echoes. This is what he does best, so it’s no surprise that he’s able to get a good idea of their numbers (they’re Tier III) and their most prominent friends and enemies, as well as the passphrase to gain entry to their sanctum.
Local Canon Fact: The Dimmer Sisters are of Severosi descent, and the name itself was originally d’Mare (literally “of the sea”). There at least four of them, and it is unknown how old they are. Lucrezia is the youngest, and least spooky of the bunch. Anastasia is the oldest, and at some point she died and rose as a ghost. The others are confined to the house for unspecified reasons, though speculation abounds. The garden has specimens from all over the empire, even some that shouldn’t be able to grow in Akoros’ climate. Many of them are very poisonous, and all of them have medicinal or arcane properties.# dontmesswiththedolls