Book VI: The Lovers
1. Into the Past
You awake in the palace. You have the day off. You head to the gardens, and hear a faint voice calling out to you with a single word: "worried". It is Faust. You are surprised you can hear her, since she's Asra's familiar and not yours. Faust directs you to the back of a tree, where someone has carved your name. You recognize it immediately as Asra's work, though you can't imagine how. It's years old, much longer than the few years for which you remember knowing Asra.
Faust shows you one of her memories of Asra. He is thinking about a special someone who has gone where he can't follow, but he's close to getting them back. Julian makes an appearance, teasing Asra about his daydreaming and threatening to cure the plague without him. Julian does not wear an eyepatch; his eye appears normal. You snap back to reality, where you are lying on your back in the garden.
Faust imbues you with an urge to go to the library. Before you do, you have the option to try and contact Asra; you do not succeed. You arrive at the library door, and remember you do not have the keys. Fortunately, Portia makes an appearance and unlocks the door for you. Before she lets you in, she pulls out the emerald necklace Nadia gave to you last night. She says she'll give it back to you and not tell anybody you dropped it in the fountain, so long as you keep her secret. You agree, and she happily returns the necklace and leaves you to enter the library.
2. Secrets Between Pages
Faust accompanies you in the library, saying "find." You reach for two books that you feel Asra has touched. You take one down from the shelf. Faust says "friend," and shows you another memory. The first book contains a memory of Asra with Muriel; the second, one of Asra and Nadia. You come out of the memory, wondering what secrets Asra is keeping from you. You pick up the book you did not choose before. Nothing happens.
You are drawn to two books in a different corner of the library. Each contains a memory, and you must choose one. The first is of Asra with Julian, who is unsuccessfully trying to cure Lucio. The second, confusingly, is of you and Asra at the Masquerade. You didn't know Asra the last time there was a masquerade.
Faust draws you to Julian's desk, where you find one final book. Julian is working industriously, searching for a cure to the plague. Asra is less enthusiastic. Julian, with frustration, says he won't be able to protect Asra if he keeps slacking off. He's afraid for Asra's safety. Asra brushes him off.
You return to the present, wondering about the nature of Asra and Julian's relationship. You can decide to use magic to see it for yourself (150 gold), or to leave it be. You realize it's nearly night, and head back to the fountain in hopes of contacting Asra again.
3. The Other Side
In the palace garden, you prepare to drop the emerald necklace into the fountain. Before you can, Asra makes an appearance in the reflection. He teases you about having tired out Faust. You ask why your name was carved into the tree. He doesn't answer properly. You ask he it's something you've forgotten. Your memories only go back a few years, and before that, everything is blank. Asra has told you not to try to remember.
He now wants to talk in person. As if he was not just a reflection, Asra holds his hand out to you. When you take it, you are pulled down into the dark water, emerging in Asra's arms, in a fantastical oasis. He says you are in a gateway between worlds.
Holding hands, you walk on water together. Asra says he's ready to talk about your past, but if you get headaches, you should stop. He worries about damaging you irreparably. First though, he tells you to stop calling him "master." He's only helping you access knowledge you've forgotten. Asra invites you to explore the oasis with him. You can accept (150 gold), or not. Asra thanks you for taking his hand in the fountain, and says he'll see you soon. He sends you home before you can ask him to explain.
You find yourself back by the fountain. A sleepy Faust asks you about Asra. You tell her he's doing well, and she is "relieved." She wraps around your wrist, and you head back to the room.
Book VII: The Chariot
You awake to a knock on the door. It is Portia. As she talks to you, you spot Faust behind her, on the door frame. You try not to make it noticeable. This tactic fails and she spots Faust. Faust makes a great escape down the hallway. Portia, shocked and increasingly upset, starts to chase her. Faust makes a mad dash to the garden.
You encounter Nadia on the veranda overlooking the garden. The Chamberlain is there to make an announcement, but they are interrupted by the appearance of mysterious hooded figure. The person performs some showy magic, and is almost immediately tackled by the palace guard. The Chamberlain irately finishes announcing Asra's arrival and asks the guards why they have tackled him. Asra is nonchalant, saying "they usually do."
Nadia is intrigued to meet Asra. To Nadia's confusion, Asra mentions "remembering" her. He apologizes for violating court protocol, and hugs you vigorously. Nadia is amused. Asra requests to borrow you from the palace for the day, to hone your magical abilities. She agrees and tells you to enjoy yourself. Before you leave, she compliments Faust on her looks and asks where Asra got her. Simply, he replies that Faust was a gift.
You two depart silently. Asra comments that the palace has changed. He thinks the chamberlain remembers him, but the guards, and Nadia, seem to have forgotten. Asra asks if you want to try the limits of your magic. You first head to the market, staying close to Asra. You smell fresh bread, and head to the bakery. The baker and Asra strike up a conversation while you wait for the loaves to come out of the oven. Asra pays for them by healing some scars on the back of the baker's hands.
Eventually, you and Asra leave the bakery. You pass the fortune teller's stall. Asra notices you avoiding it, and offers to disguise you so that the two of you can get a love reading. You can accept (150 gold) or decline. You and Asra get to the edge of the woods, and then go off your normal path. You wonder what awaits you.
2. Enter the Cave
You walk with Asra, reflecting on how you used to lean on him for everything, before you could even form words, when you were limited to wordless sounds. You like walking beside him better. Asra says you look worried, and tells you to relax. Faust coils around your shoulders. Asra explains that you're going somewhere you've been before: a cave that is a magical hot spot where people go to experience another side of reality. Asra says he won't hold you back anymore, and that you'll do fine. You feel confident, but sense there's something he's not telling you.
You enter the cave, nevertheless. The cave is very bright, cool, and humid. You feel waves of magical energy. Asra says they come from a spring in the center of the cave. That's your destination. He wants you to lead. Whether you accept or decline, Asra and you get to a cavern where the energy is very strong. Asra stares in surprise at a bubbling pool - the spring has been dry for years.
Your test is to get a flower on a lily pad in the center of the pool. You walk across the lily pads while Asra watches tensely. You reach the flower, and tumble into the water. Asra pulls you out of the pool, but you are fine; you don't need to breathe. Asra is proud and relieved. You have the option to let him hold you (paid choice), or leave. You notice the cave has changed, with glowing magic patterns visible on the walls. The lights guide you to a new exit.
You climb out of the cave to discover that the forest has changed. Just like the cave, it now shows traces of magic everywhere. As you take in your new surroundings, you hear a whispering voice in your head. Asra hears it too. He asks you what you saw at the palace, and tells him that there's a creature that may be Lucio returning. Asra urges you to not listen to Lucio, who is starving for attention.
At the mention of starvation, your stomach makes a timely growl. Asra brings you to a clearing to make food. You notice it is surrounded by protective charms. Asra created it as a safe place long ago. Asra tells you a little more about Lucio, then says he is going to show the creature to you, so that it can't hide from you again. Faust, frightened, warns Asra by saying "him." You climb up on a rock from which you can see the palace.
You also see Lucio staring directly back at you (in his goat form). He begins to talk to you. Asra takes your hand and the voice quiets. He tells Lucio to go away, and consoles you by reminding you that Lucio has no power over you. As a precaution, he puts protective spells on you, "just for now."
Book VIII: Strength
1. The Low Road
It is night, and you and Asra are preparing to leave the city. After your encounter with Lucio earlier that day, Asra said he thought it was a bad idea for you to go back to the palace, with Lucio on the loose. You agreed to leave town, and Asra sent Faust to keep an eye on Nadia and make sure she is ok.
As you walk through wheat fields under a starry sky, Asra explains he wants to strengthen and test your magic due to things changing at the palace and the cards. There's a golden circle of wheat. Asra holds out a handful of water chestnuts, and a many-legged creature emerges. The Beast greats Asra, in a voice like "groaning wood". The Beast speaks your name, after a sniff. It remembers you, though you do not remember it.
Asra asks the Beast to take you to Nopal. The Beast agrees. You two get on, and take a wild ride into a desert. You reach an inviting house after sunrise. Asra turns sand into water to take care of the plants while you go inside to rest.
2. Away from it All
You awake from a dream and Asra tell you that he heard you talking in your sleep. You briefly remember your dream: Muriel was telling you that it's only a matter of time before you and Asra vanish into your own world. He seemed upset. In the present, Asra asks if you are ok. You shake off the dream, and Asra offers to make rice pudding for breakfast. He suggests that you go outside and practice deep breathing to improve your magic, but you have the option of keeping him company (Paid Option - 200 gold).
The Beast is resting in the yard. You pet its "wheaty locks." Asra brings out two bowls of rice pudding, and you two talk about the future. Asra asks if you want to try the spell to make water. He tells you to imagine the feeling of water under your palms. You seem to create water, but when you touch it, it's still sand. Asra demonstrates, channeling his magic through your hands so you can feel the spell.
The Beast announces that someone is coming. Saguaro arrives and greets the "great wizard, Asra." Asra does not immediately remember him, but Saguaro reminds him of the first time they met. Saguaro explains that the town spring has dried up, and Asra asks if you want to help.
You go to the empty town well. You feel the spring to see if there's water, but all you see is red. You may choose whether or not to help Asra create water. Instead of water, however, the ground violently shakes and a red spout erupts from the ground.
3. No Escape
A red spout erupts from the dry well in Nopal. You thought it was fire. There was no heat, but a vibrant red gleaming. It darkens the sky like a storm, then turns out to have been insects. Asra makes sure you are ok, and the townsfolk rejoice: the spring is running again, and the well is filling quickly with water.
You are swept into the crowd and treated with a great feast. As you wait, an artist lets you pick a clay animal. You can't decide. Asra selects a fox. You are surprised he didn't pick the snake, but he insists it doesn't look like Faust. He wonders how she is doing at the palace.
When the food is ready, you can sit with Asra in a private spot, or ask him to dance with you. After, Saguaro thanks you again, and confides that the spring originally went dry after some Vesuvians demanded one-third of the town's crops in exchange for "protection." When the townspeople refused, a giant red beetle came and rampaged. The Vesuvians offered to "take care of it," if they were given two-thirds of the crops. The count "saved" them by striking the beetle, which turned into thousands of tiny beetles. They burrowed in the ground, and the spring was dry ever since.
You say your goodbyes, and discover that the Beast is waiting to take you back to the house. When you get back, the Beast asks for water. Asra suggests you try producing it again. You make water, but it is red. Asra tells you not to worry, but then says that the beetles were a sign. They are "not of this world, but they can pass through it, and cause a lot of damage when they do." He says the two of you should return to Vesuvia. You can linger awhile (Paid Option- 150 gold), or start your journey straight away. Asra worries that something will happen to you if you go back to the city. You comfort him, and then you go wake the Beast to start the return trip.
Book IX: The Hermit
1. Shelter From The Storm
At a field overlooking the city, you and Asra debate whether to go straight to the palace or stop to rest at the shop first( Choice of Palace or Shop). On your way, you pick up Faust at the edge of a forest, and your decision is made for you: a torrential downpour begins, and Asra suggests seeking shelter at the house of an "old friend." The both of you arrive at Muriel's hut, drenched and teeth chattering. Asra invites you to try lighting the fire. You succeed on your first attempt.
Asra explains that Muriel is under a spell: people forget him, "So you'll be meeting him for the first time...again." Muriel is Asra's oldest friend, and he's anxious for you to get along. Asra notices that the fire is dying, and he prepares to gather wood from the shed. You have the option of inviting him to cuddle by the fire first (paid option), or letting him go immediately.
Asra warns you not to open the door for anyone while he's gone. Soon, Muriel bursts in out of the storm with his wolf Inanna. Muriel tells you you aren't welcome, but Asra arrives with the firewood.
2. The Hermit
Asra greets Muriel and Inanna. He introduces you, but it feels like already know Muriel. Asra explains that Muriel is under a curse (or blessing, as Muriel sees it): people forget him. Asra notices that Inanna's muzzle is bloody, and cleans her off while telling you about his and Muriel's childhoods together. You have the option to pet Inanna (paid). Inanna was hunting a creature that looked like a white goat. Lucio's specter is apparently now solid enough to bite. Muriel says he's checked all the protections-- but not the one up on the tree.
You venture out into the woods. Along the way, Asra collects some berries, greens, herbs and mushrooms, and talks some more about his past. You reach the tree, and Muriel climbs it. With Muriel out of earshot, Asra confesses that he's worried. Muriel was never very social, but he didn't hate people until Lucio made him do things he regrets in order to protect Asra. Muriel returns from his climb and claims to have seen Lucio.
3. The Magician
The three of you head to a mountaintop, where Muriel often casts runes. Asra explains that magicians can create gateways between worlds, and use them to ask the Arcana for answers more... directly than usual. He takes you into his gate, but Muriel stays behind to watch over your bodies. You and Asra enter, and he takes you underwater. You get to a beautiful beach, remniscent of Vaadhoo, in the Maldives. You are here to asks questions of the Magician, who takes the form of a fox on two legs, just like their tarot card. Asra warns you not to be starstruck: the magician loves to play tricks on newcomers.
The magician beckons you inside a tent that wasn't there until he opened it. The interior looks just like the shop. Asra asks The Magician for information about the entity manifesting at the palace. The Magician then transforms into Asra. You can sense a test: can you distinguish the true Asra from the false? You having the option of saying yes or no, or asking to feel the Magician (Paid Option- 200 gold). Afterwards, the Magician reveals that Lucio tried to become one of the major arcana: the goat-headed Devil. However, sometimes, when a person identifies too strongly with one of the arcana, they begin to lose their individuality. The Magician also mentions off-hand that Asra made the deck himself. You two are sent back to reality, where it is raining again. You head to the palace.
Book X: Wheel of Fortune
1. Hungry Eyes
You arrive at the palace via the servants’ gate in the garden. Chandra, the owl, notices you and flies off to report your presence to Nadia. Asra cautions you that there are eyes and ears in the palace, and to be careful when talking about Lucio. You come across the tree with your name carved in the trunk. When you run your hand over it, Asra feels it. He confesses that your first memory of him is not the first time you met. He carved your name in the tree when he was at the palace, missing you. You wonder where you were, all that time when he was calling out for you. Nadia arrives, interrupting your musing. Asra cautions you to watch your words: you never know who’s listening.
On the Veranda, you and Asra inform Nadia that you have not caught Julian, but worse, the swarm of red beetles you unearthed is heading towards the city. The courtiers, Volta and Vulgora, arrive. Vulgora has seen the beetles at her house, and at Nadia’s suggestion, gleefully sets out to battle the horde. Volta decides to follow, to snack on (or rather, dispose of) the remains. Asra stops her, momentarily. Volta can smell the plague, and used to help identify contaminated food. He asks her to smell you both, to check if you have been infected. She sniffs Asra, and pronounces him plague-free. She sniffs you and says “sweaty!” Nadia concurs, and recommends that you both “bathe at your earliest convenience.”
After the courtiers leave, Asra asks Nadia about the nightmares that have been disturbing her sleep. She has been seeing a white goat with red eyes. If you tell Nadia to trust her intuition, Asra will offer to bless Lucio’s wing. He holds up some Myrrh. You hear coughing from the bushes, where Volta and Vulgora are eavesdropping. After sending them away, Asra whispers long instructions in Nadia’s ear for how to prepare Lucio’s chamber.
You are sent to bathe before the blessing. You can bathe together (Paid Option - 200 gold), separately, or not at all. In your chambers, wearing the sheer bathrobes Nadia had made for you, Asra explains that Lucio seems to be hiding. He’s hoping to tempt him out using good food, wine, and yourselves as bait.
2. Haunting Taunting
Asra explains his plan to Nadia: Lucio appears to be hiding, and he wants to tempt him to manifest himself. The three of you enter Lucio’s wing. The hall is full of portraits of him with their eyes ripped out. Nadia dreamed about Lucio doing this; she has been dreaming about him since she first awoke, three months ago. You enter Lucio’s room. Asra says Lucio used to ask him, Nadia, and Julian to keep him company when he was sick, and then suggests that the three of you curl up on Lucio’s big, comfortable bed. You have the option of playing truth or dare (Paid Option-150 gold), or skipping it. Either way, you then read the arcana. “Death” shows up as the card for the future. Asra says the card, which represents transformation, would have been Lucio’s favorite, if he’d understood it. Instead, Lucio was afraid of death.
Lucio is enraged, and an invisible presence throws Asra across the room, pinning him to Lucio’s portrait and revealing a glowing mark on Asra’s chest. It looks like Asra’s own spellwork, but you don’t understand why and how it is there. Lucio accuses Asra of pretending to play by the rules, and asks him where it got him, having the apprentice (you) by his side. Asra retorts that Lucio ended up stuck between realms. Lucio insists he is not stuck, and shows himself in the form of a goat. He says he will make Asra pay for making him manifest before he is “complete,” and disappears once more. Asra asks if Nadia saw all that. Horrified, she nods.
3. Rise and Fall
In the salon, Asra, Nadia, and you discuss what you have just seen over tea. Nadia reflects that her nightmares have been real all along, and that Lucio has truly returned. Asra suspects his plan is to manifest at the masquerade. Nadia invites both of you to stay at the palace while you investigate the situation, and has Portia show you to your rooms. After Portia helps you into some new clothes commissioned by Nadia, she brings you to the ballroom, where you meet Nasmira, Nahara, and Navra. Asra arrives, and the two of you practice dancing for the ball.
While you dance, you have a romantic conversation. You ask how long he’s been romantically interested in you. He asks to guess how long you’ve known him. You’ve known him years before what you can remember, and you wonder if you were in love before. You have the option to slow dance (100 gold), or leave the floor.
The Satrinava sisters and you repair to Nadia’s Veranda. They ask if you, as a person from Vesuvia, like the masquerades. You can’t remember, but Asra saves you from having to answer by saying that you first met at a masquerade, the day Nadia entered the city nine years ago. You hide your shock as the conversation continues. The sisters ask Nadia about Julian’s impending execution, concerned that Vesuvia has no system of justice. Nadia retorts that she plans to set one up, but Julian is not someone they should be worried about saving.
Nahara asks if the people want Julian dead. Under questioning, Nadia realizes she only has her courtiers’ word for this, wondering if they are trustworthy. As if on cue, Volta and Vulgora enter, covered with a red substance, the apparent remnants of their battle with the swarm of beetles. Nadia asks if any live specimens were obtained. Volta says no, while Vulgora hastily hides a beetle crawling out of her sleeve.
Chandra arrives, insistent that Nadia should follow her to the garden fountain. There, you encounter the infamous Dr. Julian Devorak. Julian announces he is here to turn himself in for the murder. Catching sight of Asra in the crowd, he further claims that he did not act alone: Asra was his accomplice. Asra is stunned into silence.
Book XI: Justice
1. Bound Together
The next day, you and Nadia take a carriage into town. Nadia reassures you she has no intention of executing Asra. Instead, she will introduce a novel step in between accusation and punishment: Julian and Asra will be tried by public vote. She announces publicly that I trial will be held at noon in the Coliseum. You go visit Asra in the dungeon at the Coliseum. You find him arguing with Julian, to whom he is manacled. Julian claims Asra must know something about Lucio’s death, because there was something magical about it. Asra was at the palace, knows magic, and previously cursed Julian. Asra informs Julian that the “curse” is not of his making, and asks if Julian accused him as revenge for a curse he didn’t place.
Your arrival interrupts the argument. After you join the conversation, Julian confesses that accusing Asra was an impulsive decision; he had been looking for a chance to ask Asra questions. Asra is understandably angry, but calms down. He informs Julian of Lucio’s return, and the reappearance of the red beetles. Julian believes you, but jokes that it sounds like a bad ghost story. His impression of the Count makes Asra laugh - it’s "not nearly pompous enough.”
Now that Asra and Julian are getting along, you redirect them to strategizing for the trial. After, you have the option of joining in a group hug (75 gold) or stepping away. Faust slithers out of the wall to inform Asra that Muriel is coming. Portia comes to get you; the trial is about to begin, and you are the Countess’s lead investigator. You go outside, and Vlastomil calls the trial to order.
2. The Whole Truth?
As the trial begins, all the courtiers are present, except quaestor Valdemar, who is cleaning their vivisection chamber. Julian’s face goes pale. They are asked to testify about the night of the murder. Vulgora says they went to check on Lucio to “see if he was ready to harve— —haaaaaave fun and party!” Alas, Lucio was not ready to have fun and party, as he was on fire. Vlastomil, a less than impartial judge, immediately sides with the other courtiers. Asra asks if anybody actually saw Julian light the fire. The courtiers continue to contradict each other, making an unfavorable impression on the crowd.
Asra is called to testify next. He tells the crowd that the banquet was part of a magic ritual, “meant to replace Lucio’s dying body with a new one” provided by the Devil. The crowd is shocked. The courtiers deny all knowledge, though Volta begins reminiscing about perfectly normal banquet's “delicious food, delicious drink, delicious blood of the-“ before Vulgora tells her to shut up. Asra says that the spell went wrong, and Lucio is trapped between realms, merged with the Devil. A few people believe Asra, but it is clear that the crowd has mostly turned against Asra. In the escalating chaos, Nadia instructs Vlastomil to call a recess.
Making your way through the crowd to Asra and Julian’s cell, you hear snippets of conversation indicating that people have seen Lucio’s goat manifestation. The baker sees you, and gives you a loaf of your favorite pumpkin bread to bring to Asra. When a guard demands you give them the bread, you can either hand it over, or keep it for Asra (150 gold). Then, it’s time to return to the trial.
Quaestor Valdemar has arrived to offer testimony about “Doctor 069,” as they refer to Julian. Julian and Asra request a trial by combat, an option popular with Vulgora and the crowd. Together, they will face off against Muriel, who will resume his role as the Scourge of the South.
3. Blood and Sand
Asra and Julian are lead away to prepare for the fight. Nadia recognizes Muriel, with difficulty, and says that he used to be known as the Scourge of the South. Lucio must have had great leverage over him, because he used him as an executioner. Vulgora takes over presiding over the trial, on the basis that “a fight with the Scourge deserves a proper enthusiast” to announce it. Ludovico, the deer guard from the hunt, rushes over to convey Asra’s request for a token from you to wear during the fight. You decide to give him the emerald necklace. You can either bring it to him yourself (250 gold) or allow the guard to bring it back for you. Ludovico (or you) bring Faust back to the box to keep her safe during the fight.
Asra and Julian emerge, armed and wearing truly absurd costumes. As they stand in front of the box, you overhear them whispering in a way that suggests the fight is staged rather than genuine, but you don’t think the crowd can tell. In the ensuing “fight”, Muriel accidentally injures Asra, leaving him wit a cut on the mouth. Muriel freezes, transfixed at the sight of blood. Asra attempts to rouse him by disintegrating his collar and freeing him of the chains he has worn around his neck for years. Muriel looks enraged, and Asra uses the emerald you gave him to cast a dramatic spell. As Asra and Muriel face each other down, Julian appears to think Asra is in real danger. He throws himself forward to rescue Asra, and in so doing, is knocked unconscious.
The trial by combat is over. Asra has been acquitted, but Julian is found guilty and Muriel seems to be suffering negative emotional effects from returning to his previous role. Quaestor Valdemar offers to oversee Julians’ recovery from his head wound before the execution. A celebratory crowd carries Asra and you out into the square. He thanks you for the token, saying sadly that it brought luck to him, but not to anyone else.
Book XII: The Hanged Man
1. Calm Before the Storm
Asra sends Faust to look after Muriel. He heads to the shop to change. You can accompany him (paid option), or head directly to the palace. Nadia asks you to question Julian, who has recovered from his wound but is refusing to talk with her. Asra suddenly realizes Julian’s plan, and confronts him: Julian plans to put himself at the edge of death to speak with the Hanged Man from the tarot deck. Julian explains that he needs to meet with the Hanged Man to remember how to cure the plague, which is returning. You and Asra know that this plan, while risky, has the potential to work. You wish Julian well, and leave. You find Nadia and ask her to keep Julian’s body safe after the hanging. Asra also asks her where Lucio’s private dining room was, as it may have been the site of the ritual. Nadia does not remember, but suggests checking Lucio’s wing of the palace. You head towards his chambers.
2. Last Rites
You encounter Mercedes and Melchior, who seem to want you to follow them. Asra worries about the potential harm from a powerful magic ritual. You can comfort him (paid option), or move on. In Lucio’s chamber, Mercedes helps you find a small button in the frame of the portrait of Lucio. It swings open, revealing a hidden stairway and the smell of food. Asra cautions you not to eat or drink anything, and you enter the room.
You find a lavish dining room with exactly 22 seats. Asra starts remembering, and feels a strong pull to eat some food. You stop him, and you realize that the food is actually long rotten. Asra realizes the 22 seats correspond to the 22 cards of the major arcana. His seat represented the Magician. The plates are marked with the same glowing mark you’ve seen on Asra and Julian’s skin. According to Asra, it is “the magical sign of a bargain struck.” Everyone present at the ritual was trying to make a bargain. You feel compelled to sit in Lucio’s chair, causing you to realize that many of the seats were empty, leaving members of the Arcana without representatives. The ritual failed because Lucio had less than half of the people he needed. To prevent Lucio from returning, you will have to identify the people associated with the missing cards, and warn them.
Suddenly, the plate at the Hanged Man’s place glows, and the chair dissolves. Julian’s execution was a day away. Have you spent a whole day in this dining room? As it turns out, you have; time was warped when you enter the room. Nadia tells you she has protected Julian’s body, as you asked.
Book XIII: Death
1. Shadow of the Past
You go to the room where Julian’s body is being kept. He surprises you by sitting up in his coffin. He tells you that he learned the plague is tied to Lucio’s existence. To eradicate it, you will have to prevent him from returning and make sure he stays dead, for good. Further, Julian did not murder him. He died because the ritual went wrong. Suddenly, you feel feverish. Sitting in Lucio’s chair broke the magical protections Asra placed on you, allowing Lucio to whisper in your mind.
Asra joins his magic with yours to protect you from Lucio, but it is a temporary solution. It only works while you are physically touching. He asks you to think of your anchor, the place that defines you and ties you to the world. You have a vision of the Lazaret. Asra is dismayed, but ultimately agrees to take you there. He hires a gondola, and uses magic to power it towards the Lazaret. You have the option (paid) of kissing him, or traveling quietly.
When you reach the Lazaret, you feel a need to enter. Asra follows you, despite his fear. As you approach, Lucio’s whispers in your mind “fade to nothing.” You are drawn to the furnace, built to cremate plague victims when they ran out of space for burials. Suddenly, you remember: three years ago, you died of the plague.
Asra takes you outside to the beach and explains: the two of you argued one day: he wanted to flee to safety outside of Vesuvia, and you wanted to stay and help. He learned, too late, that you had died of the plague. He came looking for you, but all he could find was your ash, mixing with the sand on the beach. At Lucio’s ritual, he struck a bargain, trading part of his heart for bringing you back to life. He regrets leading others towards dangerous magic. Your conversation, love for Asra, and acceptance of death drive Lucio from your mind.
You and Asra return from the Lazaret, and see fireworks in the sky. You have the option of leaning in for a kiss (paid), or just watching the fireworks. You leave the Lazaret behind you, hopefully forever. You head back to the palace. The masquerade has begun, but you see Lucio’s specter slipping in through the gates.
Book XIV: Temperance
1. Visions and Illusions
As you make your way into the palace, the Chamberlain intercepts you to give you and Asra. They send you to your guest room to change into the costumes that Nadia provided for you and the masks that Asra made. Something is bothering you: when Lucio speaks to you, he calls you a thief. What does he think you stole? You ask Asra about this, and his eyes go wide with a realization: Lucio was using the ritual to bargain for a new body, but Asra stole it and used to revive you. Unfortunately, Asra can’t remember any details.
You go out to join the masquerade, and hopefully to warn the guests that Lucio might drag into his ritual. Helping Asra remember how he sabotaged the ritual is your best hope to stop Lucio, but you also want to enjoy the party. In a room where food is enchanted to disguise it until you eat it. You encounter Volta, immoderately enjoying the fare. You bring refreshments to Asra, and suddenly find yourself in a memory of the last masquerade. Nadia is asking you if you are alright, and you reply in Asra’s voice. He is worried about his plan to sabotage the ritual. Nadia says she supports Asra, and you feel his relief as the memory evaporates.
Asra is shocked that you shared his memory. He puts his hand over your heart, finding that it beats in exact time with his. He is pleasantly surprised to realize that this is an unintended consequence of the spell that brought you back: the part of his heart that he had to give up now resides in your chest. You realize that visiting other parts of the masquerade might unlock memories about the ritual. In the garden, you encounter Julian, astride a parade float, gleefully tossing colorful, perfume-filled eggs down to the crowd. As the float pulls away, you are drawn into another memory.
You are on the Veranda. We encounter Lucio, the man, for the first time. He is approaching death, unkempt, and resentful of watching other people party while he convalesces. Asra is less than sympathetic. His thoughts rest on the key component for the upcoming ritual: Lucio’s blood, which will be mixed into the wine served to the unsuspecting guests. You return to the present, Asra triumphant with this new realization.
After an optional stop in the bubble room (200 gold), you follow the crowd to the ballroom. There, you find Navra capturing the crowd’s attention with her dancing. The festivities are interrupted as Mercedes and Melchior rush into the room, their muzzles stained red. Portia chases them frantically. You and Asra help catch them, and Mercedes drops a pomegranate on the floor. You are relieved to discover the red liquid is not blood, but you slide into another memory.
In the ballroom of three years ago, Asra watches a puppet show reminiscent of Punch and Judy, where the puppeteers are using pomegranate juice for fake blood. When the audience is distracted, Asra sneaks behind the stage and grabs a jug of pomegranate juice.
Back in the present, Asra laughs at the realization that his method of disrupting the ritual was to substitute Lucio’s blood with pomegranate juice. The solution seems almost too simple. You feel the Tarot pulling at you, and take the deck out. The Magician has a message for you: you’re almost out of time.