In Chapter 84, Dora performed psychometry on the black rapier discovered in the basement of Briarstone Asylum. She had two visions:

The first vision is a flash of chaos, a moment of heightened emotion amidst a pitched battle. She saw a forest at night. A small group of bandits – three, to be precise – were attacking a merchant’s wagon protected by a platoon of armed soldiers. The bandits – two humans and a one-eyed orc – were in black, but one—the subject of the vision—also sported a colorful scarf. The bandit holding the rapier at that time, in that fight, wore a scarf of bright orange. He was a Varisian man, around 20 years old, dark hair and goatee. He looked to Dora like he could have been Rony’s younger brother. The family resemblance was strong.

The assault on the caravan had just begun, and the situation was on a razor’s edge. This should have been an easy job, but… context counts, Gavrony Stoiču thought. It’s something he said a lot. So often that he’ll pass the saying on to his nephew Viktor, who will pass it along to his only friend in the world.

And the context here was that not only were there more guards than they had been told to expect, the owner of caravan was here as well. And this damned cloud cover and mist  moved in and blocked the full moon, so it’s significantly darker and foggier, and thus more confusing, than they’d been planning for. But…

The Gray Master favors the bold, Gavrony thought.

And in the darkness, and mist, and confusion, the man who would come to be known as Serpent of the Lost Coast, and the Triad, after dropping three guards, came face to face with the owner of the caravan. He could tell by the shape. And out of the corner of his eye, he saw Nicholas and Mej ,having just finished their own battles, hustling to join him. So he leveled his new blade with the rose-shaped hilt, the one he got made just for situations like this. And he thrusted. The tip of the blade found its way through the mists, and slid into his opponent’s chest. Nicholas and Mej closed from the rear, blades glinted in the moonlight… and soon no one but the three bandits was left standing.

Then Dora’s vision shifted.

At first, she saw nothing. Just blackness. With no visual at the start of this memory, Dora’s senses expanded in a way they hadn’t quite in other psychometric explorations.

Dora smelled a deep, wet, earthy aroma.

And then she heard a distant scratching sound. Like someone digging. Digging in wet earth. Dig. Dig. Dig.

Finally, a thump. A dull thump like a shovel striking old, hollow wood.

After some more digging and the muffled sounds of exertion, she felt her perspective lift and move. Everything was still black, but something stirred the back of her inner ear and she felt like she was floating and turning about.

Then, there was a pounding. A prybar was being hammered between wooden planks. Then, a creak, creak, creeeeeaaaak… and finally, light spilled into the vision.

The rapier was resting in a wooden box that had just been dug out of some moist, earthy soil. The lid of the box was lifted back and Dora saw a young man… probably in his early 20s. Skin that would later seem leathery and tan now looked a bit redder and more sunburnt. No beard. No tattoos on his face. Yet. Longer, shaggier hair. Crappy clothes.

The young man—he’s calling himself Rony now—looked down into the box with his horrible dead eyes, and what passes for a smile crossed his face. There was no precious metal in his mouth yet, and the iron teeth were less rusty than they will one day be.

He reached in and pulled out a length of silk that the rapier had been resting on. It’s orange. Long and thin, like a scarf, perhaps. On each end of the long piece of fabric, there’s an embroidered black equilateral triangle. The young man wrapped the scarf around his neck, and then he just sits for a moment. Amazingly, the scarf still smelled a little like his uncle. It shouldn’t. But it did.

It’s hard to tell, but it looked like a tear slipped from Rony’s left eye, but as soon as Dora saw it, it was gone. And then he unwound the scarf from his neck, lit it on fire, and watched it burn. He’ll make one of his own. When it’s time.

When that ritual was done, he turned back to look at the rapier. He picked it up. It was breathtaking. Rose-shaped hilt. Razor-sharp blade. STILL. The young man took the hilt in both hands. He closed his eyes and concentrated. The rapier pulsedpulsedpulsed… almost like a heartbeat…. and then a thin trickle of blood started flowing from the tip of the blade.

Rony smiled. The cold, dead smile of a serial killer. He whispered, “Hello, Heartsbane.”

And then the image faded.

First Reference: Chapter 84
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