Sandalwood incense clogs the air as you enter in through the side of the converted temple. Inside, many of the windows have been covered with solid-colored tapestries bearing a gold-embroidered symbol of Ioun, as much to insulate against the harsh Saharan sun as to tout the newly-installed deity. The chandeliers overhead and candelabras lining the ambulatory smoke badly, providing even fainter light in this grim sanctuary.
An attendant acolyte recognizes you and leads you into the cloister behind, where even more tapestries hang, obscuring what you assume to be the iconography of the previous patron of this sacred site, given your insightfulness. Looking around you see many devotees poring over ancient tomes and scrolls, copying some and restoring others. This place has been converted into a repository of knowledge and a hub of learning, but seems off somehow, as if the very walls protest the divine intrusion.
Finally the acolyte brushes aside a curtain and motions for you to enter, where Kothar-ur-Khasis awaits. He leaves, and it is only then that you realize he never spoke a word to you.
“Your friend has finally awakened,” Kothar says gruffly, standing up to give you a salute befitting a subordinate. “Though I would say he has much changed from his ordeal.”
Looking over to Shysar you see him sitting on the edge of the awkwardly small bed, wearing a simple tunic, cowhide britches, and a double-belt that girdles a blue-and-white tabard with the head of Bahamut emblazoned upon his chest.
“…” Ekdhrine draws up a chair, and sits, nearly motionless, waiting for Shysar to notice his entrance.
Shysar sees his cousin walk in and quickly looks down, unsure of what is happening.
Ekdhrine looks Shysar up and down. “Well? Are you going to tell me what happened?”
Shysar, still a bit unbalanced, looks ruefully at his cousin, “Cousin, I fear we may be in over our heads…you know not the circumstances on which our freedom teeters.”
“…” Ekdhrine patiently waits.
“Our freedom hinges on the demons which I dealt with…it wasn’t my proudest decision, but for our freedom I saw it as necessary at the time,” admits Shysar.
Ekhdrine calmly pats Shysar’s shoulder. “I told you while I was studying the arts, dealing with demons is not inherently evil, it is a lack of judgement and understanding of consequences that is the problem.”
“Your words ring true. I fear we may have a problem in our future.”
“I expected this outcome from the beginning; be it demons or enemies of Tiamat that were not side-by-side with our brethren at the end, our escape was certain to have costs. Now…” Ekdhrine leans forward and taps Shysar’s chest. “What is our’s?”
Shysar looks down, ashamed of his actions. “I do not know. The demon merely said I would pay when the time is right. At the time I was ready for anything in order to keep us safe”
Ekdhrine stomps the ground, shaking the rafters with a yell, “THIS. THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT I TOLD YOU NEVER TO DO!” Ekdhrine spits out a lick of lightning as he yells.
Shysar stands up with a roar, cold mist surrounding his mouth, “What would you have me do cousin? We needed to escape and I made it happen!”
Ekdhrine regains his composure. “The costs…” he shakes his head. “I tried to tell you before, a demon’s costs can be more than you could possibly imagine, thralldom for instance, what kind of freedom is that? Or worse, the death of more innocents.”
Shysar walks to the window of the room and stares out, “The folly was mine, cousin, if anyone is to die for my actions it will be me and me alone.”
Ekdhrine sighs, “You can’t know that, if you were controlled, there is no way of knowing what you could do. Your life would be forfeit, not destroyed, but uncontrolled by you.”
Shysar turns around slowly, “It is there I must interject, cousin. For my slumber and my dreams were not normal. I was visited by the Platinum Dragon, he has purified me. The demon has no more control over my soul than you do. He will come for his puppet, but he shall find no easy victory over my soul!”
Kothar nods in agreement, the plates of his armor chinking together as he crosses his arms. “What he says is true. Bahamut saved his life and safeguarded his soul. Now, Shysar’s hammer is for Bahamut to command.”
Shysar grunts and takes a deep breath, “I fear for what I have done cousin, but with my new strength and resolve, I feel we may just have a chance at fighting this. What say you?”
Ekdhrine continues shaking his head, “I am glad that you will not be coerced into foul action, but we still have a problem.
“That demon’s deal was completely legal and binding, while his intent may not have been pure, the gods—and particularly Bahamut—can only interfere with it with the intention of still having a completed bargain, whatever price he intended, and it was surely high, must be paid one way or the other. Simply killing him goes against our father’s convictions.”
Shysar nods thoughfully, “Kothar has told me this. He has been very kind in his treatment of me, and has made a lifelong brother for saving me. The demon shall have his price paid, I will see to it. Whatever it may be.”
Ekdhrine stands, “If he requires a price that goes against your convictions, you understand that to a point you must pay it…”
Shysar looks grimly, “I have thought long and hard about this and I understand. I will pay any price to fix my folly. And I swear no innocents will fall for my mistake!” He punctuates the last statement with a frosty roar.
Ekdhrine sighs, “I can not help you with this, and there is a high chance that I will have to kill you before the end, but I hope that this somehow sees a happy end.”
“And neither can Bahamut interfere," interjects the older Paladin. "It is up to Shysar, but the Platinum Dragon must have seen something in him to stir the heart that had been stilled.” Kothar looks between the two, the air growing hot with his temper. “He has an intergral part to play in the coming struggle to retake Sumarat. Of that I am certain.”
Shysar nods, a white-hot fire seeming to burn behind his eyes.
Ekdhrine leaves without another word, as rage and sorrow conflict on his face.
Kothar inclines his head, watching the Dragonborn go. “He, too, has a part to play, though I fear what that might be.” With a flutter of his cape he turns and leaves Shysar to himself.