Cathaly was a prosperous mercantile city. One of Cathaly's cultural quirks was the annual Festival Night, when licentiousness ruled, and anything went. The High Haruspex was the chief priest of the city.

On one Festival Night, Ricold Botron, scion of the Cathaly's grandest trading house, had a chance encounter with the young maiden Ellene Caffilos. They determined that they would wed, a prospect pleasing to their families, who foresaw a union of grand clans. High Haruspex Hilarion was soon consulted.

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