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The Diabolical Infiltration was an elaborate plot enacted by the Division of Diabolical Devices from years 438 to 439 as part of their attempt to subdue the cities of Mirith and Andris. Despite the massive amount of deception involved, the plot ultimately failed, and it would end up being the last act of the D.D.D. and indeed the entire Black Hand for almost a decade.

Reconstruction and DissolutionEdit

The first seeds of the infiltration were planted in Mirith, which was an obvious choice for the Diabolicals. The city had only just been conquered by the Black Hand in late 438, and was still in a state of disarray. The new regime of King N'eroth was in its infancy, and the citizenry could only wonder at the direction in which the pirate king would go.

Of equal importance, the Black Hand wasn't faring much better: the year 438 had been a momentous time of upheaval and division for them as well. The organization's tripartite split, long the subject of rumor and hearsay, had become a violent reality.

There was the faction of the Alliance, led by ex-Duchess Tirana - these were the ones responsible for the capture of Mirith. Then there were the Diabolicals, who had temporarily allied themselves with the Mirithian Resistance force in order to get the Alliance out of Mirith. And lastly there was the faction of Marthonis and the Bone Lords, who were also opposed to the Alliance but for the most part uninvolved in the conflict.

The D.D.D.'s assistance in the fight against the Alliance was only the beginning of their plan to gain Mirith's trust. Devised by Master Rem and Uryste, this plan involved having other individual Diabolicals come to the cities in peace, pretending to have left the organization in order to gain political asylum. And from there, the various agents could start to bring down the government from within. And this is exactly how it started, when the wizard Csilith came to Mirith in the Sleeping Moon of 438.

The Unknown WizardEdit

Unknown Wizard Arrives

The unknown wizard arrives.

Csilith's arrival was a matter of intrigue and mystery right from the start. Refusing to give her name, she claimed to be an enchantress who was searching for someone. That someone would turn out to be a duo of Diabolicals, Jirel and Misty. A group of Mirithians had actually just met the duo a few days prior, in a violent confrontation on the road from Duldrus. These two claimed to be “ex”-Diabolicals, and that they had left Rem to form an all-female fighting force. This in turn was the purported reason for Csilith’s search – she was hoping to join Jirel’s force.

To be sure, it is entirely possible that the whole fighting force story was an act. Csilith never did find Jirel and Misty, and whatever became of the duo, it was never made clear. Either way, after spending some days away, Csilith returned to Mirith.

Whilst there, she made the acquaintance of a cunning young rogue by the name of Tiatan. Tiatan was interested in Jirel’s plight, and was hoping to uncover the truth about her by means of Csilith (who still remained nameless). So he endeared himself to Csilith with his subservience, and was soon taken on as her personal servant. This status in turn made him privy to a wealth of classified information about the D.D.D., but he took great care not to share any of it in public, so as not to compromise his position.

Then, on one stormy night at year’s end, a Mirith Scout came to the inn to bring Csilith in for questioning. But Csilith was made wise to the scout’s movements by Tiatan, and together the servant and mistress fled the city.

Machinations in AndrisEdit

Meanwhile, traces of a vast conspiracy were rife in Andris. Sightings of Diabolical artificers were on the rise. Large hordes of spiders, gooeys, and other poisonous creatures began to ravage the lands, and rumors began to spread that the Venom Priests were returning to exact their revenge on Andris. And according to various second-hand accounts, an unknown agent of the D.D.D. had even attempted to hire someone to assassinate a Senator.

Artificer Venom Priest

An artificer raising the specter of the Venom Priests.

Somewhere in the midst of this chaos, Csilith and Tiatan came to the city. This time, Csilith made no attempt to hide her identity (perhaps because Mirith had finally realized who she was, and had put out a warning). The wizard was apparently unperturbed by this, and decided to test the mercy of the Andris senate. Putting on the guise of a repentant exile, she came to the senators and begged for pardon.

The Senate agreed to grant Csilith asylum, on two conditions: be a law-abiding citizen, and divulge whatever information she could about the D.D.D.. Csilith assented, and revealed that Rem and Uryste had captured the Queen Spider and were planning on using her as some sort of leverage. Furthermore, the powerful wizard Valencius – who had betrayed Rem to join Tirana – was now back with the Diabolicals once again. Satisfied with this intel, the Senate dismissed Csilith as a free citizen.

Almost immediately, Csilith’s actions caused a great deal of suspicion toward her true character and motives. From getting involved in a heated duel with another wizard, to attacking a miner, to her constant physical and verbal abuse of her servant, Csilith was never far from trouble during her stay in the Red City.

It was around this time that Tiatan started to realize that there was something far more insidious happening then he initially surmised, and his steadfast support of Csilith began to waver. One day, while he was alone in the city, he was approached by two senators. Upon questioning, Tiatan revealed that Csilith had found the Queen Spider, and so the senators tasked the servant with arranging a meeting to discuss next steps.

Mirith’s PardonEdit

While Csilith continued to win over the senators of Andris, another Diabolical came to Mirith seeking an audience with the king: the artificer Arathis. Arathis was already well known to the people of Mirith for having personally assisted in the fight against Tirana on numerous occasions, and his arrival in the city was met with mixed response.
Audience of Arathis

The audience with N'eroth.

Nevertheless, the audience was granted, and Arathis pleaded for mercy, claiming that he had left the D.D.D. and was full of remorse.

Just as Csilith had done, Arathis strengthened his case by speaking freely of his knowledge of the Diabolicals. According to him, he had been replaced by Valencius on the orders of Rem, and he was currently being hunted by Uryste. After some debate, N’eroth relented, and granted Arathis the freedoms and protections of a citizen of Mirith.

Arathis made his leave, and then one of the spectators requested another, private audience with the king: Tiatan. Just how much Tiatan knew about the plot, it is unclear. But he was dead set on working out a “diplomatic solution”, with an urgency that suggested an awareness of terrible things to come.

In Vino VeritasEdit

And indeed, an assassination might have ended up being the least of Andris’s worries, had Tiatan not shown up at a drunken gathering on Day 107 of the Growing Moon. There, under the effects of many goblets of Andris champagne, he let slip everything that he had learned during his time as a servant.

Firstly, Csilith was trying to take over the city, as expected. Secondly, she had had access to the Queen Spider all along, and threatened to feed Tiatan to her if he ever interfered with anything. Third, the whole Venom Priest scare was just another ruse, perpetuated by Csilith herself. Fourth, all of the various ‘exiled’ artificers were still very much a part of the D.D.D., Arathis included. And lastly, Rem and Uryste were behind everything.

All these revelations immediately put Tiatan in grave danger. An escort was arranged to bring Tiatan to Mirith to warn the king, but while they were en route, they were found by Csilith. They managed to keep the true intentions of their mission hidden, and so Csilith let them go. Tiatan made it safely to Mirith and stayed there for a time, existing uneasily alongside Arathis. Meanwhile, rumors of another assassination plot began to surface, this time in relation to the big coronation ceremony being planned in Mirith. And on top of this, the Queen Spider had been freed, and her minions began to terrorize Oberin once again.

This fragile balance carried on for a number of days, until the end of the Growing Moon came, and with it Andris’s counterstroke. Having tracked the Queen Spider to the Pixie Cave, Andris organized a task force which included the famed wizard Istra Falvo, and at long last they eliminated the beast. At that very moment, an unwitting Csilith arrived and began claiming credit for the victory, thinking that the infiltration plot was still a secret. As the battle came to a close, Istra passed one of her infamous ‘soups’ to Csilith, who upon drinking it instantly turned into a spider.

AftermathEdit

And thus came the end of the infiltration. Csilith would never be seen again, and while Arathis continued to enjoy Mirith’s protection for a spell, he too eventually fell out of favor in the royal courts.

The failure proved to be the downfall of the D.D.D., and neither it nor the Alliance would ever trouble the denizens of Oberin again. However, some elements of the Hand have begun to resurface as of late 448. And it is generally believed that Rem & Uryste still live, and one never knows what treachery or vengeance they might be planning.

ReferencesEdit

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