The Undead Art of Beauty

Date: 6/19/2013 at 17:55
From: Anonymous
To : Everyone
Subj: The Undead Art of Beauty

Beauty is art and art is beauty. Or so the y'Bolgari say. However, the
family once prominent and famed for its artistic endavours, House
y'Bolgari of Magnagora, has long been waiting for a cultural revival in
order to embody this creed. The other Great Houses of Magnagora have
slowly been returning to prominence - d'Murani, n'Kylbar, d'Vanecu, and
the latest of them all, n'Lochli - but not the y'Bolgari. True to her
family's calling and wishing to embrace it fully, a young maiden, by the
name of Latifa, has set out on a mission, against all odds, to do just
that and restore her House this eventful Roarkian.

One familial argument and an escape later, Latifa was in Angkrag
discussing a suitable course of action with her great aunt Selima. But
her mother, Afifah, would not have such disobedience and beseeched
Magnagorans to return her daughter home, away from what she considered a
fool's errand. Warlady Nymerya n'Lochli and Heresiarch Lavinya d'Murani
were the first to find the unruly maiden but were quick to be absorbed
by the scene before them. Latifa pleaded for her great aunt to return
with her to Magnagora, while Selima lauded the countless romantic
conquests of her youth and conjured images of gentlemen queued around
the Megalith of Doom simply to court her. Many an ear-burning story
later, the matter has finally arrived at the crux of the matter - the
fact that Selima would gladly return to Magnagora to help were it not
for her condition. One with beauty so far gone in undeath could not
possibly walk the streets of Magnagora, even with a mask.

And so the quest began to unearth a set of heirlooms that could restore
Selima's beauty, a treasured secret of the House. Map in hand, Latifa
and a gathering of Magnagoran nobility has set out to scour the Blasted
Land where the heirlooms were last known to have been. Their search was
arduous as Selima's memory for detail, not to mention cartography, has
proven to be much worse than for her suitors. Eventually, the
Magnagorans arrived at a rocky field where the heirlooms were allegedly

As they set to unearthing the treasure, the noblewomen standing aside
for the gentlemen to do the deed, a churning vortex of light appeared
above the Blasted Land and within could be seen a shimmering presence.
Hissing, "You must not find that which is hidden!", the presence
descended upon Latifa and turned the local gravediggers violent against
her. In seconds Latifa was pulled underground by gravediggers and her
screams echoed throughout the fields. At that moment members of all
organisations have made their appearance at the Blasted Land, drawn by
the presence of the churning vortex. Just as Xenthos An'Ryshe saved
Latifa from one pit, she was pulled underground even farther, only to
appear in another pit where Tridemon Regalis stood bewildered. And so it
continued for a while amidst screams and great confusion.

Latifa came largely unscathed from the ordeal and eventually everyone
gathered at the rocky field to begin the excavations anew. The
mysterious presence did not stand idly by, however, and made another
appearance, bellowing in luminous rage from the sky. Again was Latifa
captured and dragged underground, but this time, to the horror of those
gathered, her muffled screams echoed quieter and quieter directly
beneath them. At once everyone set to furious digging, working in tandem
in spite of their differences. Gravedigger after gravedigger jumped out
of the crevice, attacking any who were present. A few dozen corpses
later Latifa was finally unearthed, dirty and in torn clothing.

She clutched to her chest a small iron container and would let none have
it. Her mind not quite there from the ordeal, she did not heed the
Warlady's warning to retreat at once, and sure enough the presence
struck again the moment Latifa opened the lid. In a desperate attempt,
she threw herself over the chest shrieking at others to protect it but
the presence surrounded the chest and pilfered the items with ease.
Little could be done as the heirlooms exploded in a pyrotechnic display
of sparkling motes and Latifa curled up on the ground, her face covered
in soot and streaked with tears. Just as suddenly as it appeared, the
shimmering presence vanished, satisfied with the result, leaving behind
only floating motes of light that were once the heirlooms and a smoky
haze of burning parchment.

The chest slipped from Latifa's grasp and landed on the ground where
Xenthos An'Ryshe was quick to check for any remaining contents. One item
remained, a bowl of gleaming jade that he rose for all to see. The
inscription on it read, "Gifted to Philema y'Bolgari from the Beloved
Ones for most gracious services." The attempt to decipher what it could
possibly mean was soon abandoned amidst heated debate created by
Xenthos' refusal to return the bowl to Latifa. Eventually, he relented
once he managed to elicit a promise from the rightful owner that she
would beseech the Iron Council to remove the brand inflicted upon Queen
Maeve by the Demon Lady Nifilhema.

Many left the Blasted Land once the matter has been concluded and
Magnagorans, accompanied by few curious outsiders, delivered Latifa to
the Presidio of the Damned. There she has been granted quarters by Lord
Prudenzio d'Murani and revealed to those still with her that she might
still be able to turn matters around. With a few items secretly retained
from the chest, notably a scroll detailing the process of restoring
beauty to the undead, Latifa set to studying while others bickered on
the side. Should outsiders be permitted to remain in the Presidio?
Should this be kept secret? That and more Magnagorans discussed with the
outsiders - Xena McCloud, Xenthos An'Ryshe, and Chade d'Illici.

Once Latifa completed her reading, she urged for them to stay and be
witness to the glory and beauty of the undead and the matter was
settled. Even more so when Xenthos and Chade both eagerly enrolled to
assist Latifa with gathering the ingredients for her experiment, while
Magnagoran nobility discussed matters a polite viscanti society is wont
to do. Geomancers were represented by Corascun n'Lochli and Yurizhi, the
Nihilists by Lavinya d'Murani and Kalnid, the Cacophony by Solange
n'Lochli, and the ur'Guard by Xaldrin Somnius and Amaliel.

Buckets of tainted oil and a necromantic ritual later, Latifa had her
mixture ready. Encouraged by its restorative qualities tested on her own
skin, she ushered everyone still present to accompany her back to Selima
in Angkrag. The visit would not do without a refrain about Selima's
gentlemen callers and fair youth, but culminated in her applying the
ointment and, to the surprise of all, indeed becoming the very image of
her youth. Alas, the celebration did not last long. The effects began to
fade, slowly but surely, and Selima fled the mines to hide her
humiliation. Latifa was left with little choice but to return to
Magnagora when it was suggested that perhaps other nobles might still
wish to purchase her product, even if its effects are temporary.

And so, the Effervescent Beauty boutique and laboratory has been set up
in the Presidio of the Damned and Latifa's wish to make House y'Bolgari
more prominent has come to be, albeit not in a fashion she expected. She
now watches over her fine establishment and seeks to prepare jars of Oil
of ur'Lai for discerning viscanti nobility and anyone who might wish to
assist her in the process. The first edition of the product is already
on the shelves by gracious help of Lavinya d'Murani and Kalnid of the

And mystery remains, what was the presence that continues to thwart the
efforts of so many? Why does it seem intent on destroying artifacts from
the past? And what could possibly connect the disparate events that seem
to summon it? Scholars can only scratch their heads in collective

Penned by My hand on the 25th of Urlachmar, in the year 357 CE.