Synopsis of Season One

A determined group of conspirators managed to drive the corrupt Count Stefan Dodochesiv from the Barony of the Little White Hills. The Count survived the storming of his castle and fled across the snow covered passes to death in the winter snows or freedom in the lands of the Solderin beyond. The agents of his downfall split into two groups; while one would go to the court of the king and petition for a just ruler for the Barony the other would risk death and pursue the Count through the snow and if necessary further still until he was dead.

The pursuers made their way through the snow-filled passes to the southern lands. There they encountered a large land, sparsely populated and wild for many acres. They came across a farm where all the inhabitants had been brutally massacred and from there a road leading west, parallel to a great river. They followed it to the town of Kuzulgrod, sited on a mighty waterfall over a great cliff. There they discovered sightings of the Count, days ahead of them, dressed in native clothes, burning with fever and clutching a valuable wooden box.

According to the locals Kuzulgrod was merely the outpost of the Mother of Cities Kalkuzhan to the west. It seemed the Count was making for this city. While descending the cliff at Kalkuzhan the group was further split by injury. It was decided that the two friars Big and Little Alexander would go ahead to the city and keep with the Count’s trail. The others would journey after them when they were recovered.

The two friars discovered that Kalkuzhan was located on an island in the mouth of the great river that flowed from the waterfall at Kuzulgrod. Passing through the mighty bronze gates they meet with an old friend Sister Eva. Once romantically linked with Little Alexander and a surrogate mother to the younger Alexander she now distributed alms in Kalkuzhan a beacon of light in a dark city motived by greed and lust for power.

Staying in Sister Eva’s small apartment the friars questioned the gate guards and ship captains as to whether they had seen the Count pass from the city. They were answered in the negative and then one night they met with a captain who claimed his men had seen the Count arguing with the doorkeeper of a rich local merchant called Bey Calan. A waiter at a nearby coffeehouse confirmed the story and it appeared that Bey Calan might run a brothel for the benefit of the young, beautiful and rich inhabitants of the city.

But had the Count been given shelter in Calan’s grand house or had he been forced away to seek shelter elsewhere in the city? The friars decided to search the caves in the sides of the island, sheltering place of the most destitute and despairing members of the city and there they discovered a netherworld of tunnels and ruins that lay under the city.

After exploring the tunnels for a while the pair come across a large grotto filled with floating corpses and hordes of scavenging fish and crabs, crossing the lip of a weir at the mouth of the grotto the friars find a large and ancient vaulted chamber containing wall tombs, all of which have been broken open and looted while some have been used to form yet more tunnels heading elsewhere. Using these tunnels they find a section of well-maintained and decorated passages that take them to haphazard collection of “alleys” running amongst the levelled ruins of old buildings and the foundations of the current buildings of the Temple district above them.

After following a set of steps that have obviously been travelled recently the pair find themselves in a set of parallel tombs, offset slightly in height. The contents of the tomb, though robbed indicate an ancient history with a provenance in the ancient Carthians. They decide to climb up into the next level of tombs and keep on exploring.

In the meantime Sister Eva is concerned at the amount of time the two friars have been away and arranges for Anatoli to enter the tunnels after them and bring them back out if they have are lost. Anatoli is one of the regulars at Eva’s temple and know for sleeping rough and hiding in the tunnels beneath the city.

On a hunch he finds the cave the Alexanders used to enter the tunnels (the passing of two Valdorians being a rare event) easily and quickly follows their fresh trail until he catches up with them in a tomb marking the transition from the Orthodox faith to the Amdati version of Albinism. He introduces himself to the Alexanders and asks if they are ready to leave but the pair insist on continuing to explore, it is clear that they are in the tombs of one of the temples.

Meanwhile the nobleman Sedziwoj Wolkonski-Koniecpole who had been injured in a fall and forced to recuperate in Kulzulgrod makes his own way to the city looking to find the Alexanders and see how close they to finding the Count. At the gates his lack of Solderin results in an easy entrance as the bewildered guards eventually let him into the city out of amusement. However in the courtyard beyond there is trouble when a swarm of beggars descend on him and some try to rifle his saddlebags.