After avoiding it for as long as they could, The Mighty Nein has made their way back into the Dwendalian Empire. Never ones to do things part way, the party set their destination for Felderwin, the site of the most recent (and furthest west) Xhorhasian attack. Felderwin is also the nearest town to where Nott grew up as a member of a roving goblin clan. Upon arriving, the Nein realized that their visit would be much more complicated than checking up on Nott’s old friend, Yeza.
There is a lot of information that we just don’t know yet about the entire situation, and probably won’t until at least episode 49. Speculation, naturally, has been rife this week. We’re going to lay out everything that we do know related to Nott’s history, the Cerberus Assembly, Xhorhas, and dunamis, and how it all factors into where we left our band of adventurers.
As always, we attempt to avoid speculation, so we’re only presenting information that has been mentioned so far. We will make one assumption, though: that up until this point, Nott has been telling the truth about her backstory, barring the glaring omissions that came to light last week. Everything we’ve seen so far would indicate that she has been truthful, but there are a few unconfirmed details that we have to assume are true until shown otherwise.
Yeza and Nott
Yeza and Veth Bernatto had a son, Luke, about 5 years ago, a family of halflings. Old Edith, a human woman, knew them both well. Yeza ran the Bernatto Apothecary in Felderwin as the resident expert in alchemy.
Nott’s goblin clan raided Felderwin. During that raid, Veth was killed, and Yeza was taken captive. He met Nott, with whom he became very good friends. He taught her alchemy and the Halfling language. At some point, she got to see his shop and the basement chamber where he kept chemicals. Nott did not have any magical abilities at the time, especially those to fully disguise herself as a halfling. Nott knew of Edith, but did not know Edith.
When Nott was told by her clan that her time was up with Yeza, she created a distraction by shooting a goblin in the butt, and the two ran in opposite directions. Yeza went back to Felderwin to his apothecary. In her travels, Nott has been sending Yeza packages for Luke with toys and things she’s gathered. Yeza has told Luke that they were gifts, but never said who they were from.
Under forced truthfulness by Molly, Nott revealed that she needs Caleb to learn a lot so he can eventually change what she looks like. Nott told Luke, while disguised as Veth, that she couldn’t come back yet because she wasn’t strong enough. (It can be noted that “Nott the Brave” is an anagram for “Veth Brenatto.” It can also be noted that Nott’s previous aliases of Bren and Otto seem to pay homage to this surname.)
Dunamis and Dunamancy
Dunamancy, the field of magic associated with the bending of time, gravity, and entropy, has been practiced by those in the Kryn Empire in Xhorhas for hundreds of years. The energy used to do this is called dunamis. The Xhorhasians use the dodecahedron beacons to focus the dunamantic energy to aid their attacks, whether by allowing an individual soldier to bend time, or forcing an entire area of people to slow down. As Thuron, the Xhorhasian infiltrator in Zadash, alluded to, they’ve also used it to establish a type of reincarnation. Thuron insisted that he had lived four lifetimes. With each rebirth, the soul remains, as do the person’s memories.
A recent book Caleb read at the Cobalt Soul indicated that the Cerberus Assembly’s study of dunamis only began recently. The Empire (or at least the Cerberus Assembly) at some point stole at least two of these beacons from the Kryn to study and learn of dunamis. The Assembly has also realized that not only are they just now discovering a type of magic that has been around this whole time, but the Xhorhasians beat them to it. The Cerberus Assembly has been forcing captured Kryn “operatives” to show them dunamis extraction techniques and has been using them for human experimentation with dunamis. They’ve also expanded to testing out dunamis in other places, often noting that the dunamis fields encompass parts of towns and affect the citizens (which they pass off as other things to not raise suspicion, such as molded crops).
The Cerberus Assembly has been seeking out individuals who have a knack for the skills they need to master dunamancy and harness the power of dunamis. Trent Ikithon reported that a few of his protégés have shown skill in “early dunamancy.” Given that 16 years has passed since Caleb, Eodwulf, and Astrid studied with Trent, the number of candidates available at the Soltryce Academy to practice this new magic has almost certainly increased. While the aforementioned trio’s training seemingly took place before the Assembly was aware of dunamis and had a focus on each caster’s predilection (such as Caleb’s evocation), it is not specified whether or not Eodwulf or Astrid are among the researchers, or are among Trent’s experimental protégés themselves. The writer of the notes that the Nein found indicated she was interested in learning about “their findings,” which indicates that those protégés of Trent’s are currently learning and are aware they are part of the research into dunamancy.
Yeza and the Cerberus Assembly
Sometime after Nott and Yeza parted ways, Yeza was sought out by the Cerberus Assembly for his superior alchemical skills to help them distill the dunamantic power from one of the Xhorhasian beacons. He was monitored by Vess DeRogna, and was described by Luke as being “mean.” Yeza made sure to have Luke go to his room when she came around. Vess found Yeza’s simplicity irritating, but appreciated that he wasn’t intelligent enough to be disloyal (in her eyes).
Yeza was successful in his work and distilled one vial of dunamis. Yeza is currently missing, but the M9 did find the vial of dunamis in his basement workroom. It is unknown if the Kryn army killed him, captured him, or if he managed to escape after telling Luke to run to Edith.
The Attack on Felderwin
As was reported back on Bisaft Isle, the Kryn army infiltrated Felderwin by digging tunnels beneath the Empire and attacking by popping up out of the ground. What the crownsguard in Felderwin added was that the assailants utilized what we now know to be dunamancy to force the Empire army and guards to slow down. This allowed the invaders to easily slaughter almost 100 of the Crownsguard’s ranks, set fire to several buildings, destroy a quarter of Felderwin’s crops, and leave.
From everything we saw, we know that the Kryn were after a missing beacon, the one Yeza was using to distill dunamis for the Cerberus Assembly. After finding Yeza’s workshop and presumably taking the beacon with them, the Kryn army left through the same tunnels they came through before collapsing the entrance behind them. It remains unclear if the Kryn intend to return to Xhorhas after successfully completing their mission, or if the tunnels will be used for another purpose.