Candles in the Dark

"Candles in the Dark"
Candela Obscura episode
"Candles in the Dark" (CO3x03) thumbnail featuring Noshir Dalal, Liam O'Brien, and Ashly Burch.
Episode no.Chapter 3, Episode 3
AirdateJanuary 25, 2024 19:00 PT
Running time4:45:27
Links and related articles
Episode chronology
"The Guardian of Groundswell" (CO3x02)
"Seeking Serenity" (CO4x01)
Candela Obscura

"Candles in the Dark" (CO3x03) is the third and final episode of the third chapter of Candela Obscura Something deep within Oldfaire beckons the Circle of Tide and Bone, as they leave no stone unturned.

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

Part I[edit | edit source]

Nokari is at the council of Lightkeepers, lost in thought about a dream they had had about a dead whale being consumed by scavengers, when their judgment is brought into question regarding the events of the assignment in "The Guardian of Groundswell" (CO3x02), since Mina was not taken in despite being a phenomena. The council also brings up that many members of the Circle of Tide & Bone are themselves phenomena. Upon hearing this, Nokari, as a medium, uses their ability to contact Rajan and warn him that Candela Obscura is coming for the circle.

Rajan, who had been unable to sleep, is awake when he receives the message. He first awakens Cosmo and tells them they need to leave, and then knocks on Elsie's door in The Antiquarian. When she does not answer, he tries the knob and finds it open and wakes her up. Elsie tells him to take Cosmo and leave without her, as she is likely the greatest risk, but Rajan refuses to do so. Elsie becomes stressed, and the Beast awakens, though she is able to suppress it for now. Rajan also notices that Elsie still wears a necklace he gave her. Cosmo, meanwhile, eats a Timely Iris flower from the Scarlet Woods, which Candela Obscura has been experimenting with as a means of counteracting Bleed. He wishes Godot goodbye, expecting this might be the last time he sees his dog, and thinks back on his long life.

At the Glass Cat Casino, Madam Glask is instructing Mina in how to comport herself, and Mina is slightly resistant. She gives Mina a pendant the color of sea foam. They are interrupted by Oscar, and as he enters, Madam Glask notices six members of Candela Obscura arriving outside and setting the casino on fire. Madam Glask presses a panic button which engages her emergency protocol. Four of her best girls - Ashlyn, Liamel, Noshira, and Samantha - and her bartender all run out the fire escape with Mina as Madam Glask and Oscar go out onto the floor to deal with the two Candela operatives who have entered. Oscar, angry, jumps down the stars onto one of the attackers and uses his chain. Madam Glask also gets into the fight, but one of the men grabs her wrist and breaks it when she attempts her attack. The taller of the two men inside aims at Oscar point-blank, but Oscar manages to dodge it. Cordelia crushes one of her earrings, which are filled with flash powder, to distract the men, and succeeds in escaping, although her wrist is further crushed.

As this is occurring, Raj and Cosmo ride in a car driven by Elsie. As she approaches the Glass Cat and sees it in flames, she loses control on the Beast and begins to transform, which causes her to flip the car when it hits a curb. Elsie, who still harbors romantic feelings towards Raj, moves to attack Cosmo, but Raj uses his swarm of insects to shield them both, although both he and Cosmo both take scars and are knocked unconscious. Elsie is able to regain control, having done sufficient violence, but faints upon seeing what has happened.

Back in the casino, Oscar kills the shorter, more muscular Candela agent, Bran, with his chain. He then runs out the front door and recognizes the flipped car, and goes to it. As he does, Madam Glask escapes out the back door and hides. She sees Mina once again coughing up the seawater sentry. The sentry motions for her to run, but instead she uses her power to strengthen the sentry, who is able to take down the four agents at the back door. As Cordelia watches, a voice speaks in her mind, telling her to find it, and that "the only way through is down."[1] Oscar, at the car, first pulls out Cosmo, who is badly injured, and then shakes Elsie awake. Elsie's eyes have turned white from her Bleed scar, but she is able to help heal Cosmo. Raj, meanwhile, has a degloved hand that is covered with his insect swarm. Oscar slaps him awake. As he awakens, Raj thinks of how he must find out the secrets behind his mother's death and why The Great Maw attacked his sister. Oscar and Cosmo also notice that Cosmo's wheelchair is too damaged to use.

Madam Glask and Mina run to meet the others and Glask directs them to some unobtrusive getaway cars she has a block or two away as Raj suggests they all go to Groundswell to go down the well. Oscar notices that the tall Candela agent, Tolliver, is pointing a sniper rifle at Mina, but it is a poorly lined up shot. Oscar steps in front of Mina to protect her and blocks the shot, but falls unconscious from the wound. Elsie is able to stabilize him and revive him, and they all get in the car as they make their getaway to Groundswell. In Groundswell, a riot is underway, but they are ultimately able to get to the well: Oscar puts on the Periphery disguise he'd used when investigating Mina and also finds a handcart that Cosmo can ride on; Madam Glask and Mina spread rumors within the crowd to drive them away from the well; and Raj and Elsie light a molotov cocktail, Elsie helping Raj after he realizes his injured arm appears insectoid and cannot grasp a match. As the molotov cocktail explodes, the circle also notices a loud rumble coming from The Sidle, possibly at The Antiquarian, but they use the opportunity to go down the well.

Part II[edit | edit source]

The circle is able to descend down the well using the rope without issue, and are also able to transport the handcart Cosmo is using. They descend 300 feet to a domed cave full of clean water and a few small sandbars and islands. Cosmo and Raj realize they know very little about this region of Oldfaire, as it has often been treated with the intent to preserve rather than explore. They all are able to make it across to solid ground, and, realizing they are safe, take some time to consider where they are. Raj uses his swarm to detect Bleed, and, connecting to the same things his mother studied in Oldfaire, is drawn westward. Some of his swarm lands on Elsie. Madam Glask meanwhile tries to tell where she was being pulled, but is unsure.

Cosmo apologizes to Madam Glask for the destruction of the Glass Cat on his behalf, but she tells him he is as close to family as she has ever had, and that she would gladly lose it on his behalf. He then pulls out an old silver coin that dates back to the time of Oldfaire and is engraved with the image of a woman, and tries to connect with Nokari. He is able to feel that The Antiquarian was badly damaged by the earthquake, and also feels that the council of Lightkeepers is still meeting and Nokari is safe, if upset. Raj directs the circle west. Elsie and Raj speak briefly about this and about their fears regarding their monstrosity; the host on Elsie permits Raj to absorb some of her own bleed. Meanwhile, Raj places the syringe Toren Gevni had had on himself to soak future bleed.

Cosmo and Oscar speak; Oscar thanks Cosmo for all he did for him and apologizes for not being able to move on like a father should. Cosmo tells him that he lived a good life and that Oscar was a good father, and after Oscar wishes on the coin Cosmo gives him, they continue forward. The circle navigates through the tunnel; as they do so, Raj remarks to Oscar that he looks forward to working with him more, and Oscar hesitantly attempts to compliment Raj. Madam Glask tries to reach for her sea god, Katma, but realizes that Katma did not cross the ocean with her, and is in fact connecting with something else. She looks to the west, and sees a woman approach, and recognizes that the woman she sees and the woman she once made a deal with is Iomene. Some sort of creature seems to surround the circle, and Madam Glask warns the others. She also tells them that they are coming upon Iomene, and Raj notes she has influenced all of their lives. They are able to avoid the danger and continue. Cosmo senses they are getting very close and the jawbone he uses as a Bleed detector grows cold, but he does not tell the others, though all of them take Bleed as they continue.

The Circle of Tide & Bone reaches a structure upon which there are many warnings in Oldfairen as well as pictograms, all warning them to go no further. They realize that they are at the Anatithenai, rumored to be a tomb containing a sarcophagus, and the energy of it is palpable. When Oscar investigates the text more clearly, he realizes it reads "When one enters, all is cursed" but Madam Glask continues in despite that. The Bleed soon overcomes her, and she falls. Oscar calls for Elsie, who offers to run in despite Raj's protestations not to sacrifice herself. She, too, begins to be overcome with Bleed. The Beast tries to overtake her, but she maintains control, though she also staggers. Raj and Oscar both run forward, and Oscar feels tethered to something within the structure. The thing he is tethered to stabilizes him, and tells him that he is the only person like it, who can always get up. Oscar absorbs the Bleed on Elsie's behalf, and as he continues forward, Cordelia and Raj, along with Elsie, are all pulled out of range. He turns back to the rest of the circle. Cosmo also moves forward, saying that he is tired, and crawls out into the area. The two see a massive topographical map of Oldfaire carved into a table and marked with various disasters. Cosmo is able to interpret it as a working of magick. He tells the entity within that they are the descendants of the Oldfairens, and asks how he and his family can get its blessing rather than being cursed.

Iomene responds and tells him to change the sigil, and he raises the dagger to do so. As he does, he wishes for an end to the story of the Grimms. Oscar assists him with some of the cuts. Iomene then invites them and the others of the circle forward. Madam Glask awakens, scarred with water in her lungs that forces her to whisper. As they move forward, they pass through a number of rooms, some full of treasure, others full of magickal workings. They eventually reach huge 5-paneled gold doors engraved with images of the life of Iomene and with the magick that granted her her very long life. It shows her absorbing Bleed into herself and neutralizing it. The story ends with different engravings of Calinus's coup. Cosmo, aware that he is at the end of this life, and pushes the door. Oscar assists him. The rest of the circle joins, and all five push together, but then find themselves each alone within the room.

Raj finds himself before Iomene and reflects on the loss of his mother, who had searched for a cure for his condition. He learns that his sister, Aadtika, has been trapped all these years, and Iomene asks him what he would give to return Aadtika back. Rajan agrees to give over himself in exchange, and trusts that his sister will have a good transition back to the regular world. As he leaves, he thinks of the others in the Circle. Iomene then welcomes Oscar as all his lost memories and abilities from his many deaths return. He asks if he was given his life as a reward or punishment, and Iomene admits to him it is not and that she is like him. She had taken his memories, believing it to be a mercy given how hard it was for her to live her own eternal life. Iomene asks what he had wished for, and Oscar tells her he wanted Cosmo to have a chance to be his own man. Iomene promises that if Oscar joins her, Cosmo will be okay, and that Oscar won't be alone, and that she will continue to pursue a way to end their curse of immortality and share it with him should she find it.

Madam Glask apologizes for making her deal with Iomene, and Iomene tells her that she does not need to. Madam Glask admits that her deal has left her unfulfilled and asks for another deal. Iomene reveals that two of the party have already left, and Cordelia offers her own life to ensure that Mina is safe. Iomene accepts the bargain. Cordelia feels herself in the islands where she grew up before she fades away. It is then Elsie's turn. Iomene reveals she has also experimented on herself with magick. Elsie remarks that Iomene appears to be searching for a way to die, and Iomene asks Elsie what she wants: a cure for cullet or means to heal. Elsie says that she does want to heal, and fears death despite the many difficult things in her life, both the ills she has inflicted and those she has experienced, mentioning that her time with Raj was her only respite and noticing that he appears to be gone now. Iomene tells her that cullet is not magick, so she cannot cure it, but she can give Elsie time. Elsie asks if the Beast will remain with her, and Iomene tells her that it will, though the time she gives Elsie may help. Elsie expresses frustration that she will be alone, and Iomene tells her she could choose to die as she is, or she could realize her potential and return, either as herself or possibly as Unabridged to ensure she has even more time. Iomene also tells her that if she instead takes the tome with the Unabridged ritual to Candela Obscura, it will likely absolve Elsie in their eyes, or at least ensure she is no longer pursued by them. Iomene tells Elsie to accept that the beast is part of her.

Iomene finally greets Cosmo with tea and tells him she is proud of him for all of his research and his dedication to Oscar. Cosmo tells her that he is ready to die, but wants to know what will happen to Oscar. Iomene tells him what she told Oscar: that he will join her, and while she cannot end his life now, he will not be lonely and she will do all she can for both Oscar and herself. With that, Cosmo agrees, and Iomene breath-binds him with her gold hands as he passes.

Elsie is the only one who returns: she settles in Groundswell, as she can no longer afford to live in the Antiquarian even after it is repaired. Over the next few years, she keeps an eye on Mina, who takes on work as her lab assistant. Elsie has not yet found a cure for cullet, but is able to find treatments that make it possible for people to live with it as a chronic, rather than terminal illness. The Beast now has aspects of Raj's insects and Madam Glask's affinity for water, and occasionally commits violence against structures, but its appearance is much more rare. She also encounters Aadtika, and realizes this was what Raj sacrificed for. Elsie does not use the ritual in the tome.

Featured characters[edit | edit source]

Player characters[edit | edit source]

Returning[edit | edit source]

These characters previously appeared in the Candela Obscura actual play series.

New[edit | edit source]

These characters have not previously appeared in Candela Obscura, though they may have been previously mentioned.

  • Bran, member of Candela Obscura
  • Tolliver, member of Candela Obscura

Mentioned[edit | edit source]

  • Aadtika Savarimuthu, Rajan's sister
  • Ashlyn, one of the best girls at the Glass cat, named after Ashly Burch
  • Liamel, one of the best girls at the Glass cat, named after Liam O'Brien
  • Noshira, one of the best girls at the Glass cat, named after Noshir Dalal
  • Samantha, one of the best girls at the Glass cat, named after Sam Riegel
  • Toren Gevni
  • Vimala Savarimuthu, Rajan's mother

Quotations[edit | edit source]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

After the epilogue, Gina Darling mentioned that she did not realize that they could have chosen to survive during the Iomene scene.[2]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Candles in the Dark" (CO3x03) at 1:23:12.
  2. "Candles in the Dark" (CO3x03) at 4:41:40.