No, it is impossible; it is impossible to convey the life-sensation of any given epoch of one’s existence—that which makes its truth, its meaning—its subtle and penetrating essence. It is impossible. We live, as we dream—alone.
After some lengthy discussion, the company decided the best path forward to solve the mystery of Chattanooga was to capture a few of the so-called “zombies”. Khiron and Justice set up some nets and baffling, and Gabriel guided the Bessie Bell within reach of one those damnable bridges, and the “fishing” was a success.
Mr. Dwight and Thorne had a field-day fiddling with the poor souls, and after some time came to understand that they were not particularly ‘smart’ or ‘attentive’ largely because the vast majority of their minds were swirling with the arcane equivalent of “extreme abacus computation”—not so much technology, but raw magic—and that it was somehow warping the flow of time within the center of the city.
Armed with some more information, the party was able to avoid extended engagements with the “zombie hordes” with some judicious use of planted distractions (Mr. Dwight called them ‘crybabies’), and make their way up one of the towering buildings next to the First National Bank of Chattanooga. Simply breaking through the warding was futile, so the party ascended through the structure to reach a sky-bridge many floors up—Olis and Justice stayed behind to keep the area clear in anticipation of a possible messy retreat.
On the far side of the bridge stood a pair of well-armed “zombies” that seemed a bit more aware, although exquisitely bored after hundreds of years of vigil. Mr. Dwight pushed a magic barrier around them, and the reaction was swift, deadly, and thankfully ineffective. As the company entered the building, the thread of the narrative become rather confusing and even a bit fuzzy in the memory.
Time within the building was broken in some way, but the company was able to see the world as it was the day of the Fall. Thorne felt the whole thing was sad seeing such a great civilization and such marvels destroyed in a single day of utter stupidity, but there was nothing to be done for it. The denizens of the bank were barely aware of us, and our interactions with the contents were equally ephemeral.
Based on Khiron’s and Mr. Dwight’s ‘scanner’, we knew the source of the effect was below, so the party clamored into a lift and descended to the lobby. The trip was unpleasant and disorienting in the extreme, and much of the company were visibly shaken by the time we reached our destination.
As terrible as the journey had been getting here, we had come to the right place. Within what was once a ‘museum’ was a powerful artifact swirling with raw magical power. It held the ward and “time lock” in place. After several hours of research, the party learned a bit of the source of the artifact and that , and further proof that the events in Chattanooga were accidental rather than deliberately done by some outside force. Several more hours of experiments, weird equipment modifications, and the aid of Thorne’s spirit-allies revealed that the artifact could sense through time & space, and was searching for ‘home’. With much labor and concentration, we witnessed the nuclear fire that “woke” the artifact up from a long slumber, and ultimately located it’s ‘zero-point’ far off which resulted in it “shutting down for transport”. The party prepared as best it could, and the all-clear was given as the artifact dropped to the floor.
What happened next was utter chaos. Two centuries of raw arcane power and ley-line energies continued to swirl as the wards about the building and city crumbled away. The might waters of the Tennessee rushed into the building, as the party did their best to escape up the stairwell to the relative safety of 10+ floors up. Khiron’s mental powers snatched the artifact from the maelstrom and passed it to Mr. Dwight, who used his magics to step to what we presumed was safety in an instance, and then Khiron himself used his etheric jetpack to fly up the stairwell. Gabriel, Thorne, and Ser Marcel ran as quickly as their legs could carry them, but Gabriel noticed Ser Marcel pause for just an instant and Thorne stumble as the former bank lobby exploded with magic, rushing water, and noise…
We live as we dream – alone. While the dream disappears, the life continues painfully
After a mad rush up the flooding stairwell, Gabriel fleet legs finally gave out as he fell back panting on the dry ground next to where Khiron had halted his flight in wait for the rest of the party. Looking back down the water rose and rose, and then leveled off… but with no sign of Ser Marcel, Thorne, or even Mr. Dwight….