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Ritual of Accession

Author: 
Xan

Liann

(See that Sheogorath is sitting on one of the benches in the Sacellum Arden-Sul)

Sheogorath

Aren't you off to a good start! That's important. For me. Really, your work is going to save me a lot of time.

Liann

Save you time?

Sheogorath

The Greymarch is upon us, and the Ordering begins. Armies of Order sweep My Realm. Death. Destruction. Then I have to pick up the pieces. And there are always lots of pieces. I don't like it, having to rebuild My Realm every era. Sometimes I forget where things go. Like New Sheoth. I can never remember where it belongs.... You'll change that. Break the cycle. You'll stop Jyggalag, and I'll have My Realm to come back to. I've never actually tried that before.

Liann

I can stop the Greymarch?

Sheogorath

Why not? Something has to work. Once, I dug a pit and filled it with clouds. Or was it clowns? Doesn't matter. It didn't slow him down. To be honest, it wasn't the best idea. And it really began to smell. Must have been clowns. Clouds don't smell bad. They taste of butter! And tears. But, this is all new! A fresh idea! Something I hadn't thought of, until I did. It's sure to work, even though it might not.

Liann

What now?

Sheogorath

Now? You'll need the respect of My citizens. They'll need a leader, someone to look up to when I'm gone. They're the backbone of any great land. Except where the backbone is an actual backbone. Ever been to Malacath's realm...? Nasty stuff. But, back to the business at hand. You'll need to control one of the Courts of Madness. Replace a current Duke. Or Duchess. Whichever. That will command respect! The people will rally around you. You'll have their love, their admiration, their complaints! Whatever. As long as it keeps them on Our side.

Liann

Won't the Dukes be displeased?

Sheogorath

No. No, no, no. Absolutely not. Well... yes. Absolutely. Bit of a shame for them. But, sometimes you need to break a few eggs. Or skulls. There are rules, though. Even in the Isles. Rituals and rules. You need to follow them. Speak to Arctus and Dervenin, the High Priests at the Sacellum Arden-Sul. They can explain what needs to be done. And you've always got our man Haskill to call on for help. Faithful like a good hound, that one. And he looks better in a suit.

Liann's Journal

I've been directed by Sheogorath become the sovereign of Mania or Dementia. He's suggested I speak to Arctus, High Priest of Dementia or Dervenin, High Priest of Mania at the Sacellum Arden-Sul here in New Sheoth to learn more.

Liann

Ask about "Greymarch"

Sheogorath

It's already started, but you might be able to stop it. We're making you into a leader the people can trust. Someone to look up to. Someone to blame! Once I'm gone, things usually get bad quickly. Lots of defections. Lots of carnage. But with you at the helm, things will be different!

Liann

Ask about "Jyggalag"

Sheogorath

This time, I'll beat him. I can't stand losing. And I don't mind cheating.

Liann

(Talk to Arctus)

Arctus

How can I be of service?

Liann

Ask about "Replacing a Duke"

Arctus

Interesting. Not many wish to hear about such things, but I would be glad to oblige. Becoming the Duke of Dementia requires passage through the Ritual of Accession, specific guidelines set forth by Arden-Sul himself.

Liann

Ask about "Ritual of Accession"

Arctus

Seldom is the subject ever bro-... wait a moment, did you want to hear the history of the Ritual?

Liann

Please, explain the Ritual's history.

Arctus

As it happened so many years ago, my lord Arden-Sul suspected a traitor in his midst. Not wishing to find himself on the wrong end of a blade, he gathered his flock here in the Sacellum. By poisoning the sacramental wine, Arden-Sul was able to suppress any such conspiracy in one fell swoop.

Liann

He killed them all?

Arctus

Yes. He then removed their hearts from their bodies and used his ancient scrying technique known as visceromancy to read their lifeblood. When Arden-Sul couldn't divine the traitor's true nature in their hearts, he became distraught and took his own life in the same way. From that day on, the Ritual of Accession for the throne of Dementia was set.

Liann

Tell me what to do.

Arctus

Very well. Spoken like a true son of the Demented. To become ruler of Dementia, the current leader's heart must be cut out and brought to the Altar of Arden-Sul in the Sacellum. Once this is done, I can pronounce the heart-bearer a Duke or Duchess. Then, all that is required is the blessing of our lord, Sheogorath.

Liann's Journal

I've spoken to Arctus, High Priest of Dementia. The Ritual of Accession for Dementia is simple; Syl would have to be slain by the proposed successor, and her heart brought to the Altar of Arden-Sul at the Sacellum. After I decide which ritual to undertake, I should return to Sheogorath and inform him of my choice.

Dervenin

I'm disappointed in your choice. Why you would choose to honor the fetid madness of Dementia is beyond my understanding.

Liann

Ask about "Arden-Sul"

Dervenin

Yes, Arden-Sul. Doesn't the name simply roll wonderfully off the tongue? He was the sovereign of thought and a regnant artist. To call him a simple craftsman would not suffice; know him as the Artificer Superior. Words dripped like honey from his tongue and his songs were intoned with extraordinary verisimilitude. Had we been blessed with his constant presence, the Isles would be a Maniac's paradise.

Liann

Ask about "Ritual of Accession"

Dervenin

An important part of our history, my friend! I would be glad to tell the tale if you have a moment.

Liann

Describe the Ritual's history.

Dervenin

Arden-Sul was perhaps the greatest Duke to walk our land. Many years ago he decided to hold a night of absolute indulgence, resplendent with dance, wine, and sex to celebrate his fondness for his brethren. The Greenmote flowed like water in a stream as the revelers voraciously succumbed to its rapturous ways.

Liann

This hardly sounds lethal.

Dervenin

Ahhh, but it was. As the bacchanal reached a crescendo, the people began to clutch their chests as their very hearts exploded! The Greenmote had taken its toll. The ground stained a deep crimson as the sanguine liquid flowed from their lifeless bodies. To represent that night, when the ruler of Mania is to be replaced, he partakes of the Greenmote and allows his lifeblood to flow upon the Altar.

Liann

Tell me what to do.

Dervenin

Certainly. When the ruler of Mania has decided it is time, he will choose a successor from his court. The successor is invited to a huge celebration... a night of hedonistic revelry; wine, song, and, of course, Greenmote. During this, the exiting regent imbibes three doses of the potent drug. This causes his heart to burst... and his lifeblood flows from his body. The successor then gathers the drug-tainted blood and brings it to the Altar of Arden-Sul in the Sacellum. Once this is done, I will proclaim the successor a Duke or Duchess. Then, Sheogorath gives His blessing, and the cycle is completed.

Liann's Journal

I've spoken to Dervenin, High Priest of Mania. The Ritual of Accession for Mania requires the current ruler to commit suicide by taking three doses of Greenmote, which is lethal. Then his drug-tainted blood must be brought to the Altar of Arden-Sul at the Sacellum. After I decide which ritual to undertake, I should return to Sheogorath and inform him of my choice.

Sheogorath

You're back! How nice for you. Does that mean you've made a decision? Or are you lost? Suicidal? Just let me know.

Liann

(tell him the decision)

Sheogorath

A friendly word of warning before you choose. Once you have decided which Duke to replace, there's no turning back. One choice. No more, no less. Try not to do something stupid. So, which is it? What will it be? Mania? Dementia? The suspense is killing me. Or you, if I have to keep waiting.

Liann

I choose Thadon, Duke of Mania.

Sheogorath

A safer choice, perhaps. Maybe you'll live through this. Thadon's a bit lost these days. Not that it's a bad thing. It suits him. Until now. Besides, won't it be a grand surprise when you make his heart burst from too much Greenmote? Thadon loves surprises!

Liann

Ask about "Greymarch"

Sheogorath

It'll be in full swing soon! Excited? You shouldn't be. It's the death of all things. But, if we can get you into shape, we might stand a chance. You'll lead My forces, inspire My people! Hopefully, everyone won't end up dead.

Liann

Ask about "Jyggalag"

Sheogorath

He'll be here soon, and I'll be gone. Can't say I like the sound of that. I like the sound of other things, though. Like birds. And bones cracking.

Liann

Ask about "Thadon"

Sheogorath

Thadon may be in a constant state of euphoria, but I wouldn't underestimate his intelligence. Oh, this is so much fun!

We will speak when your task is complete.

Liann's Journal

I should begin asking around New Sheoth about Thadon's court and learn the best way to get him to overdose on Greenmote without his knowledge.

Liann

(Go to the House of Mania. Talk to Wide-Eye)

Wide-Eye

How can I help you this fine day?

Liann

Ask about "Thadon"

Wide-Eye

Such a kind and noble man. In times like these, it's good to have a leader who still enjoys all the modern pleasures Mania has to offer.

Liann

Pleasures?

Wide-Eye

Well, yes. Apart from enjoying his painting, reading a good book, or a rousing night of erotic bedroom games? I'm speaking of Greenmote, of course! There is no greater pleasure. If I didn't have such a busy daily routine, I'd likely indulge myself in its pleasures more often.

Liann

Ask about "Daily Routine"

Wide-Eye

Very well, I see little harm in telling you. After a bit of reading in the garden and running my special errand at noon, I like to shop at Books of Bliss. Around 8 p.m., we are served dinner. Gundlar is quite a chef and prepares Thadon's meals personally, adding just a hint of Greenmote. After that, we dance, we sing, or we do whatever else suits my lord's tastes.

Liann

Ask about "Greenmote"

Wide-Eye

Greenmote is the refined version of the spores that are harvested from the spore trees that dot Mania. We keep the Greenmote safely tucked inside the Greenmote Silo. You can imagine the ruckus if its location was known. Only a select few, such as myself, know the Silo's location. However, we are sworn to secrecy. There isn't enough gold or enough jokes in the world that would convince me to tell you where the Greenmote is located.

Liann

Ask about "Thadon"

Wide-Eye

Yes, I must attend to him. Speaking to you has already cost me time. I must go.

Liann's Journal

Wide-Eye has described to me a bit of her routine. I'll need to find where she gets Greenmote from and obtain some without being discovered. Wide-Eye mentions she does a "special errand" at noon every day, I should follow her and see where she goes.

Liann

(Sneak and follow Wide-Eye at noon. Wide-Eye goes to a special place in the courtyard, and she takes a dose of Greenmote)

Liann's Journal

I've observed Wide-Eye activating the secret entrance to the Greenmote Silo. I need to get inside and procure two extra doses of the potent drug without getting caught.

(After she left, take some more of Greenmote. Go back to House of Mania, and put the Greenmote in Thadon's food)

Liann's Journal

I've slipped an extra dose of Greenmote into Thadon's meal and Thadon's wine. I should proceed to the dining area at eight o'clock for the evening feast and watch the effect the Greenmote overdose has on Thadon.

(Thadon comes to dinner)

Thadon

(Eats the food, then he starts his soliloquy)

Oh my yes, I feel especially delighted this evening! Perhaps it's time I recited my latest soliloquy. Ahem. The lady fair, our love is told. With hair as fine as soft-spun gold. Lips as red as a sun-drenched dawn, skin as soft as a newborn fawn. Eyes as blue as a cerulean sea...uhh...what... ...my heart...can't breathe...help me...

(He dies)

(The House of Mania erupts in chaos. Some are happy while the others are weeping)

Wide-Eye

I never suspected it was Thadon's time, but what's done is done. I honor his choice.

Liann's Journal

After Thadon rose to deliver an odd soliloquy, he clutched his heart and fell to the ground dead. I should now collect as much of his tainted blood as possible.

Liann

(Collect Thadon's blood and go back to the Sacellum Arden-Sul. Put the blood on the altar, and the blood is burned)

 

Dervenin

Once again has the Ritual of Accession come full circle! The Blood of Thadon has been consumed by Arden-Sul's will, and all of Mania welcomes you with open arms. I now declare you Duchess of Mania of the Shivering Isles! May your light shine upon all our happiest days.

Liann's Journal

After touching the Altar of Arden-Sul, there was a brief flash of light. Dervenin, the High Priest of Mania, has now proclaimed me Duke of Mania.  I should speak with Sheogorath about the next step in his plan.

Sheogorath

You've done it! The Ritual is complete, and you've survived! A shame about Thadon, but it's how he would have wanted to go. Now, on to other...

(Suddenly Syl arrives, with her Dark Seducers)

Syl

Wait! I must speak! The Ritual must not be completed!

Sheogorath

Syl! You dare interrupt Me? Only I interrupt Me. Like just then. I'm speaking with someone. We'll talk later. Or not. When is later, exactly? Not now, I'm sure of that. Guards, I think Syl forgot how to use the door. Kindly show her out. Before I forget myself.

Syl

Thadon... dead? You've done this. It was you all along!

Sheogorath

Hold your tongue, little Duchess, or I'll tear it from your mouth.

Syl

Replacing Thadon with this... outsider? This is how it ends. I should have seen this coming.

Sheogorath

Calm yourself, Syl. You're making my teeth itch. You still hold your office. I suggest you see to your duties.

Syl

No! I see what's going on. I should have seen it before. You conspire to destroy us all! You're a fool if you think I'll allow this to happen.

Sheogorath

Fool? Visionary! Change is in the air, Syl. Breathe it deep! Bathe in its scent! Bottle it up. Save some for later.

Syl

Order stands at our door. They've taken the Fringe! Did you even know? Do you care? And you speak of "change"?

Sheogorath

Change will preserve us! It is the lifeblood of the Isles. It will move mountains! It will mount movements!

Syl

No. I can't do this. There has to be a way out. A way to escape.

Sheogorath

Then go, Syl. Return to your quarters. Before I send you back in pieces.

Syl

Yes! That's what I'll do. I'll go. The enemy of my enemy. Order is the key. I'll keep them close.

(The Golden Saint guards unsheathe their sword, and followed by Syl's Dark Seducers)

Sheogorath

No! Let her go!

Syl

This is not over, Madgod. I give myself to Jyggalag. As a Priest of Order, I'll be safe. Your empire will crumble before the armies of Order.

(She left)

Sheogorath

Wondering why I let her go, aren't you? I can see it in your face. Mostly in the eyes. I may take those from you when this is done. This has never happened before! The ruler of Dementia turning traitor? Unprecedented! I've seen others defect, but never a Duke! Maybe we're on to something here. We'll see how it plays out. It can't be worse than what's happened before.

Liann

If you say so.

Liann's Journal

After informing Sheogorath of my victory, Syl, the Duchess of Dementia became furious. Before she stormed out of the Sacellum, she threatened that we hadn't heard the last of her. I should continue speaking to Sheogorath to receive my rewards of office.

Sheogorath

I do. I did. And I won't say it again. But, that's enough about that. You're the ruler of Mania! Just look at you. You're positively beaming! You now have the power to summon Golden Saints. They've always served the Duke of Mania. I think it's the bright colors. They just love 'em. And here is the Ring of Lordship, a symbol of your new station. Symbols are important. They carry weight in this Realm, and others. You would be well served to remember that.

(Retrieve the Ring of Lordship and the ability to summon Golden Saint)

Liann's Journal

Sheogorath has awarded me the Ring of Lordship. I am now officially Duchess of Mania of the Shivering Isles.

Liann

And the Fringe?

Sheogorath

She was right about that. I can feel it. In My bones. The little ones. The Greymarch has swept the Fringe. Order gathers its forces there as we speak. And I hate when people gather forces in My Fringe. You'll need to put an end to that. Stop them. My armies should already be there, but I want you to see what you can do to help. If they continue to marshal their forces there, we won't be able to contain them. Make sure they can't.

Liann

(Summon Haskill)

Haskill

It would seem that the forces of Order have moved very quickly.

Liann

Ask about "Greymarch"

Haskill

In the Fringe, you can see for yourself the devastation that accompanies the Greymarch. Let us hope you are up to the task of stopping it.

Liann

Ask about "Obelisks"

Haskill

The obelisks operate by reflecting and focusing energies in order to create a portal to this Realm. They can be overloaded and rendered inert by placing the crystalline hearts of the Knights into the obelisk itself. Each heart will increase the power of the obelisk until it eventually overloads and shuts down, closing the portal.

Liann

(Go to the Fringe to face this Order invasion)