The Gilded Graveyard

"The Gilded Graveyard"
Candela Obscura episode
"The Gilded Graveyard" (CO4x02) thumbnail.
Episode no.Chapter 4, Episode 2
AirdateMarch 28, 2024 19:00 PT
Running time4:59:29
Links and related articles
Episode chronology
Previous
"Seeking Serenity" (CO4x01)
Next
"Into the Abyss" (CO4x03)
Candela Obscura

"The Gilded Graveyard" (CO4x02) is the second episode of Candela Obscura: Circle of the Crimson Mirror. Past horrors resurface as the Circle of the Crimson Mirror attend a masquerade, along with Newfaires major powers.

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

Part I[edit | edit source]

Decklan Murphy's past speech to the members of the Circle of the Crimson Mirror, regarding the challenges and responsibilities of joining Candela Obscura, is repeated. He addresses each of them, and mentions Tottergrass and Westecklyn specifically.

In the Fourth Pharos, Drs. Hector Aguilar and Edgar Lycoris work on Decklan, as they have for the past week, but Dr. Aguilar announces to Edgar, Leo, and Grimoria that despite their efforts, Decklan has fallen into a coma. Zora Manning tells the circle they should leave the Flare and go home to Newfaire, having extended their stay past when most of them needed to be back. The group is then led through the Fourth Pharos, past a room of people in blue robes and sandals with a peacock on the table, to another isolation room, this one for Malcolm. Malcolm has been recovering as well from his injuries, as well as undergoing a variety of tests both regarding his prosthetic hand, and regarding the injuries he sustained on the Isle of Serenity. Zora breaks the news about Decklan to him, and becomes emotional when Malcolm asks about Decklan's prognosis, telling him that she was in Decklan's first circle, shortly before she retired to become a Lightkeeper. She mentions informing Decklan's current circle, the Circle of the Wyrm, before she escorts them out. After a door briefly opens accidentally, revealing a woman in a parka, Zora returns the circle to Leo's bohemian, Art Nouveau-style home in Red Lamp, located above The Endless Well, a coffee shop. She points out the wine she had mentioned earlier, and sends them off. Leo's home includes, among other things, a letter tray that can communicate remotely with Zora, and a crimson mirror.

Leo takes the wine, which has a label in a language he does not know, and pours them all a glass. Grimoria is worried about her employers and after a small drink leaves immediately to take the streetcar to The Eaves, where her employers and guardians, Oliver and Cynthia Fogg live. The Foggs' reasons for taking her in after she was orphaned were less than altruistic, as they were mostly interested in her magickal abilities, and when she returns, they are both extremely angry at her for missing multiple appointments. Oliver addresses her by her birth name, Alma, before Grimoria attempts to pacify them by alluding to the bones of Atia Griffia she encountered on her travels. He shows her a bronze dagger they will be showing a client tomorrow, and Cynthia sends her up to her room, in the tower of their home, to commune with it. Grimoria recognizes the dagger as a forgery immediately, and also overhears a conversation between the Foggs about the bones that reveals only half of Griffia's skeleton was in the chest she and her circle purchased; Aroha Tama-Kai had swindled them. The Foggs also mention an upcoming masquerade ball and auction at the end of the week, as well as that it is unknown who purchased the other half of the skeleton. Grimoria sends an urgent missive to Leo requesting a meeting as soon as possible and begins to plan a way to join them at the masquerade.

Malcolm walks further into Red Lamp, towards the Glass Cat Casino, where he often works as security. He also works at other locations in the area, and generally is well known as a heroic figure within the community. He has good relationships with a number of the local children, as well as an elderly beggar, a veteran of one of Hale's war, and Malcolm considers that his family manufactures for the military. He speaks with the beggar, and gives him some money before entering the Glass Cat. There, he meets Cordelia Glask, the proprietor, and the two talk, and she offers him support if he needs it. She sends him to Shirley, one of her girls.

Edgar is in the Grand Halen Hospital in Silverslip, performing surgery on an injured railway worker. He also received some criticism for his unexpected absence, but was able to endure it, and his surgery is successful. However, he begins to recall his own sister's death, in which she blew away in many pieces. As he washes his hands, Edgar grapples with the fact that he used his medical knowledge to kill one of the Murphy women, and that he assumed that the Isle of Serenity was not remarkable. He is interrupted by someone pointing out his hands have grown raw from the hot water, and he assures her he's just tired.

Leo makes dinner for himself and listens to a record alone before eventually deciding to go to the Endless Well, named for the well in Calinus Market in Groundswell. There, the proprietor, Charley, greets him, and the two discuss their love lives. Felix, the owner of a music shop nearby, comes in, and he strikes up a conversation as well. The two flirt, and Felix suggests they try to get into the masquerade, which is at the Hayden House in The Varnish. Leo considers how he might acquire some tickets.

The following morning, the Circle all meets in Leo's apartment and discusses Grimoria's discovery that they only have half of Atia's bones. They put together that the Hayden House masquerade is indeed being thrown by Aroha Tama-Kai of the Red Hand, and Edgar writes a note conveying this information to Zora. Edgar admits he dislikes parties, and Leo tells him he will try to get enough tickets so Edgar will not have to. Grimoria leaves so as to not miss another appointment, but Leo tells her to be careful and commiserates with her about the Foggs. Malcolm plans to enter the party as part of the waitstaff if possible.

Grimoria makes it back in time to rehearse her performance regarding the dagger, telling a tale of betrayal, using an fake accent. She ties the dagger to a vial in her narration, in the hopes of selling both to the potential buyer. The Foggs approve of this gambit, so she brings up the masquerade as an opportunity for her to assist them with even more sales. While they are disapproving that she overheard them and threaten to take it out on the maids, Grimoria's strategy works effectively on the dagger's potential buyer, a wealthy banker who gladly buys both it and the vial. The Foggs give her a ticket, though they warn her she needs to stay with them and follow their instructions while at the party.

Back at his apartment, Leo, while considering his contacts, receives a letter from Zora in the inbox very quickly confirming that their suspicions that Tama-Kai cheated them are true. She tells him she wants to meet with the circle tonight, and Leo sends off three letters to the others before going to a restaurant he knows his Aunt Leanna is likely to go to. He finds her there, and the two have a conversation. She asks him to speak to his father, from whom he is estranged, telling him that his father is unlikely to make the first overture. Leo is reluctant to do so and believes the favor of receiving a few tickets to the event is insufficient. Leanna agrees to provide the tickets, and asks him to talk about Felix as they share a drink. Malcolm and Edgar are also able to obtain entry: Malcolm has a friendly conversation with a bartender friend and fellow veteran named Gail, who agrees to get him in as waitstaff to the event. Edgar meanwhile uses a connection he has not previously used; he saved the life of a hospital board member, Mr. Gunner, several years prior by removing a tumor. Vera, the board member's secretary, permits him entry. The two have a conversation during which Edgar responds somewhat awkwardly to Mr. Gunner's friendly ribbing about his unexplained absence, but ultimately, he does receive two tickets. Edgar also reads his letter from Leo, which is somewhat longer than those Leo sent to Grimoria and Malcolm, in which Leo tells him that should he need to vent or decompress, he is welcome to come over as he seems to very much need an outlet.

The circle reconvenes at Leo's apartment that evening, with Zora in attendance. She tells them that this is their new assignment: to ensure the other half of the remains of Atia Griffia are recovered and brought to the Fourth Pharos. Grimoria shares the information she knows from the Foggs. Leo offers to help shop, particularly to ensure Malcolm has backup formal wear in case he needs to abandon his cover as a caterer. Zora also gives them a single-use rare item that will permit them to turn any doorway into a portal to the Fourth Pharos. Leo and Malcolm also note that they are likely, as members of wealthy families, to be recognized, and attempt to plan for that. Grimoria notes she will be with the Foggs, and Leo idly wonders if they can make the Foggs ill so that they have to leave early. Edgar declines to directly provide advice on how to nonfatally poison them, but alludes to how Grimoria might obtain this information.

On the night of the party, Malcolm arrives several hours early with the catering crew, noticing that Hayden House is situated between the Shriveline and Silverslip, where his family lives; between church and state. Grimoria adds a mild poison to the Foggs' drinks during the cocktail hour before the auction begins. Edgar and Zora come as a pair, both dressed in black and silver. Leo comes with Felix, who is wearing a green suit with copper accents and a red velvet mask, and he himself wears a deep red shirt and a black suit, with a cracked red mirror mask with hanging beads. Grimoria arrives with the Foggs in the robe she wears when performing at their appointments. She is heavily made up, though not masked. Upon arriving, she gets the Foggs drinks, and poisons their drinks before giving them to them. Someone recognizes her admiringly as she enters.

Part II[edit | edit source]

Walter Timley, an antiques dealer Leo knows, ignores him and walks past. Malcolm searches for Aroha, and notes that there is security at the event. After several passes through the first floor, he notices a shorter man surrounded by other people walking up to the second floor whom he suspects is Aroha, and follows him. Meanwhile, the Foggs and Grimoria also move up to the second floor where the auction items are. She asks about Aroha, who is on the balcony as well, but is told he is the one throwing the party and to stop asking so many questions. Grimoria decides to do something that will get Aroha's attention, and approaches a group of young people and offers to read their tarot. She tells a homelier girl that she will find a man at this party, and when another girl in the group expresses doubt, Grimoria warns her of upcoming tragedy. She then leaves, using a green-tinted smoke bomb, which does have the desired effect of garnering attention. Aroha, in a black cat mask, turns towards her, as does his assistant. Meanwhile, Malcolm, stationed near them, overhears Aroha telling his assistant to keep the Foggs away from him as he greatly dislikes him.

Edgar takes the opportunity to ask Zora why Grimoria was inducted to Candela Obscura so young. Zora admits Grimoria is young and it was a difficult decision, but her abilities are extremely rare and she felt it would not only be a boon to the organization, but also an investment in Grimoria herself. Edgar admits he feels protective of Grimoria; he knows why he joined the organization, but sees it as a difficult choice. He then asks why Zora had joined them for this mission, and she says she feels invested in this series of events; some of her motivation is Decklan and some of it is that she misses field work. Zora then notices a middle-aged man with a mustache and addresses him as Reginald, and the two have a conversation in which he reveals his intention to bid on the bones. The two have a familiar if slightly barbed conversation, and Reginald reveals the location of the auction.

Leo and Felix split up to mingle, and Leo looks for Walter, but instead runs into his niece, who reveals his father is here. He asks her if she can help get him into the auction, and the two part. Malcolm, meanwhile, goes to try to flirt with Aroha's assistant but instead runs into his brother Desmond Trills. Desmond scoffs at Malcolm working at the party, and the two have a tense conversation about Malcolm's decisions regarding their family before Desmond walks off. Malcolm, having lost sight of Aroha's assistant, attempts to follow her but instead finds several guards guarding the stairs leading up. He offers his last glass of champagne to them, which they refuse, and goes to update the rest of the circle. Meanwhile, Oliver finds Grimoria and tells her Cynthia is feeling unwell, and irritatedly asks Grimoria to go over to the busts they are selling so that she can do her performance for some interested buyers, an older couple. Grimoria spins a tale of ill-fated lovers regarding the pair of busts as Oliver grows increasingly unwell and eventually darts off to find the restroom. Leo approaches and pretends to also be an interested buyer to assist Grimoria, who has been left alone, and soon after the couple leaves, intrigued and with the intent to bid. Leo pretends to be interested in finding a different item and he and Grimoria take the opportunity to talk. Leo says that his father is here and that he might be able to use this but it will be unpleasant, and they speak; Grimoria is aware of their difficulties. A bell rings indicating the auction is approaching, and Zora and Edgar join them on the second floor. Malcolm also joins them with his platter of champagne. They all update each other on their findings; Zora reveals Reginald is from the OUP but did not get access to the auction with his offer. Leo decides to use his father's connections, and leaves to follow him.

Leo's father does not notice him at first. They have a tense conversation in which they allude to past wrongdoing, and Leo realizes his father is unaware of the true nature of the party and cannot help. His father also reveals that he is terminally ill, with six months to live, and walks off. Leo sits down where he had sat. Aroha exits the auction area with a tall, red-headed woman and then Aroha returns. The rest of the circle discusses how they may gain entry to the private auction, possibly by using Leo's family name even if his father is not involved, possibly by using Malcolm's family name, or possibly by sneaking in. Leo, having gathered himself, approaches the guards. He notices Aroha exiting with Desmond, and notes that using the Trills name is no longer an option. Grimoria tries to use another smoke bomb to get Aroha's attention, but it tips Desmond off that Malcolm is not just a server; Grimoria covers it up with an ambiguous innuendo. They decide Leo is their best bet; he and Edgar will try to get in. Malcolm and Grimoria, meanwhile, change into their more formal clothing to appear not as workers but as guests. Leo goes up to the guards to the third floor stairs, and uses his family name of "Steedwell" and threatens the assistant with dire professional consequences; Grimoria and Malcolm assist and the assistant agrees to have Aroha bring Leo in. Leo gives her some money. The circle walks up the stairs to the third floor where they find a narrow hallway, and notice an open doorway on one side and a billowing curtain on the other.

As they approach the door, they hear a strange rumbling and Leo enters the room. He sees a security guard dead with a bloody hole in his chest, and two people in fox masks are at the chest, one bearing a blue, faintly glowing sword and cutting the gold chest, similar to that of the one the circle recovered, free. Upon noticing Leo they break the chest free and run with it towards a stained glass window at the back of the room and crash through it onto a lower roof. Leo yells and the circle follows out the window, all but Edgar taking some damage as they slide down the roof. They reach the ground and chase the two people in fox masks through the streets of the Varnish, headed towards the Shriveline. As they continue, Leo notices with horror that that they are headed to the massive Sacred Ascension Cemetery. Leo recognizes that they are headed to a small and very old disused church in a corner of the cemetery. He continues to follow as the rest of the circle catches their breath, waiting at the church door, and sees the people with the fox masks and the sword. Grimoria reaches the door and Leo pulls her away. He recalls a devastating incident from the Dawn Society 23 years ago that destroyed his life, and sees a door within the church that leads to a room where he and his friends and performed their ritual involving a clock. Leo begins to panic as he recalls the clock ticking and something appearing from the darkness; his sister screamed and his friends froze up and were chased and killed by some entities, and he himself woke up in a "different" world, the only survivor of the incident.

The rest of the circle arrives behind Leo, who is having a flashback, and see the four people in the church, two with the swords and one a modern priest. The fourth is holding the chest, and all stand before a covered altar. The priest calls the circle heretics and another warns them off. The man holding the chest says the church will be "cleansed by the Flint and the Flame,"[1] before beginning to open the chest. A high pitched noise begins and a beam of light comes through, hitting that man in the chest. He becomes surrounded by the green glow they had seen when the chest was knocked open on the ship. His body begins to disappear as an unmasked man in a black suit with a leather gauntlet covered in wires and alchemical symbols steps into the church. The body fully dissipates, and Atia Griffia's skull falls from the chest onto the floor and rolls over to Grimoria. Grimoria freezes and rises into the air. The unmasked man yells out that the package is secured, and another beam of light vaporizes the priest. Grimoria meanwhile can see both the current reality, but also sees a second reality, in which she stands on white steps by the ocean, carrying a staff. She is approached by men in armor who tell her to return an item, telling her she is in defiance of the emperor. Grimoria/Atia speaks and says the emperor will destroy them all. In the vision, she destroys one man, but another spears her. Knowing death is imminent, she breaks her staff, causing a brilliant glow. The others see, as a spectre overlaid on Grimoria, Atia: a tanned woman with white hair and blue and white robes.

The circle realizes the men with the beam weapons have some military training, and the people in the church are from Pyre. Edgar recognizes the beam weapons' effect as similar but more precise than whatever killed his sister. The cylinder in the man's leather gauntlet appears to suck energy from the chest to power up as one of the remaining Pyre members runs towards him with a sword. The bones within the chest are visible, though still strapped down. Grimoria attempts to communicate with Atia and asks how she can help and release her. She receives the message of "his legacy" and Grimoria expresses that she wants to give Atia a resting place. Atia grants her power, as the Pyre agent runs through the man with the gauntlet, in who in response vaporizes him. One of the strangers on the roof fires his beam weapon towards Grimoria/Atia, and Malcolm shoots his own gun, distracting him: Grimoria/Atia dodges and the beam instead damages the floor of the church. Malcolm makes his shot through the man's head, and the man falls from the roof, dead.

Leo, still hearing the ticking of the clock, takes off his mask and tries to use it to scoop up the skull and push it towards the chest, but instead breaks his mask on the stone, cutting his had. Edgar runs to the gloved man who was stabbed and tells him that he is a doctor and can help if the man answers his questions, and then punches the man in the throat with the goal of stopping him from speaking. The remaining Pyre agent, who had been pointing a gun towards the gloved man, fires his gun at this and hits Edgar's shoulder. Grimoria, communing with Atia, directs her power towards the shooter and he is hurled back into the wall, crushing and killing him. However, this causes Grimoria to become overwhelmed with Bleed. Atia leaves, and Grimoria falls to the ground, unconscious. Edgar shouts to the others to put the skull in the box and find a door so that they can leave; an image of glowing fingers appears on the side of his neck as he does. Malcolm takes his jacket off and successfully uses it to scoop up the skull, put it in the chest, and close it. The man stabbed with the sword holds out his now-charged gauntlet towards Malcolm. Edgar picks up a piece of fallen masonry and hits the man in the head as Leo heads towards the door, walking in front of Malcolm as he does. Edgar rips off the man's glove and bashes his head in. The man crawls a few steps before collapsing, dead. Edgar then finds Grimoria's occult text in her pocket and is able to seal the chest.

Malcolm picks up the chest and follows Leo, who was headed towards a door. Leo arrives in the room and sees the same clock and Oldfairen relics. He begins to destroy the artifacts, and bash the clock with his bleed detector before setting it on fire. Malcolm, however, arrives, and sees Leo doing this to a round stone that is part of the floor of the church. He asks Leo what is happening and calls for Edgar, who has both Grimoria and the quartz that will open the portal to the Fourth Pharos. Leo continues to attack what he believes to be the clock. Edgar grabs the wallet of the man he killed and carries Grimoria, who is coming to. Leo, meanwhile, passes out, his hand bloodied. Edgar gives the quartz to Malcolm, who puts it on the door, creating the portal. Malcolm drags Leo into the Pharos before grabbing the chest and bringing it in, and Edgar follows with Grimoria as well as the gauntlet and wallet he had taken. The door shuts behind them, and they are all on a long, twisting stairway in the Fourth Pharos.

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.

Mentioned[edit | edit source]

Quotations[edit | edit source]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • This episode was erroneously titled "Into the Abyss" during the YouTube livestream and initially for the VOD release.[2][3] The title was corrected shortly after the VOD release.[4]

References[edit | edit source]