Annals of Aldamere

Lead and lasers
Marcel, Olis, Thorne, Gabriel, and Khiron

The six horse-riders arrayed out in front the group claimed to be in the employ of the “King of Madrid”, but they were disinclined to provide recompense for the damage done to the hired barge. After some banter, the party engaged the men and only one got away with Marcel finding he lacked the knack for gunplay.. Unsure of the next steps, Thorne used hir heretical magics to capture and interrogate the shade of one of the gunmen which Thorne took to calling “Shell Case Pete”. He revealed more of the situation in Runnel, and warned of the power of “artillery” as well as the arrival of more reinforcements. Deciding that discretion is the better part of valor, the company gave Runnel a wide berth and continued on the way to Des Moines.

Arriving at what was rumored to be the town of “AIMS”, Gabriel noticed traces of what looked to be children’s tracks, and Khiron used his “etheric jets” to scout from above to confirm the group was being tailed. Setting up an impromptu shopping stall lured the strange and quite diminutive folk out from the forest. One of the folk traded for what he knew of the area, and lead the party to a strange cave they called the “cave of the cooked food god”. They told of strangers entering and only cooked bits of animals ever being recovered.

Gabriel and Khiron cautiously entered to see a long hallway that ended in a strange metal door. After some investigation, two wand-like weapons revealed themselves and began to fire invisible but highly painful burning rays down the hall. A barrage of gunfire and one of Khiron’s strange “ice bombs” damaged the mechanism sufficiently to keep them from fully cooking either of the party members. Despite Thorne’s healing efforts, the pain of the wounds remained for some time.

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Bend of the River
Marcel, Olis, Thorne, Gabriel, Khiron, and Mr. Dwight

As had been arranged, the key to Cartwright’s abode lead Ser Marcel and the rest of the company to his residence: a simple but spacious apartment. After some time, Gabriel noted that the attic seemed a bit smaller than one might expect from the other floors. Mr. Dwight then used his arcane pistol—which he referred to by name as “Clementine”, so perhaps it’s actually a haunted arcane pistol—to remove some warding that hid Professor Cartwright’s secret laboratory/office from our view. Within were found a few key clues, including a collection of papers that Mr. Dwight said were contained in “plastic binders”—apparently made from the skin of dinosaurs. Thorne’s impulsive curiosity also found a secret note with some numbers, and a poison needle. Mr. Dwight used some kind of stick called a ‘detox-stick’ on hir which seemed to hurt a great deal, but also quickly dissipated the effects of whatever poison had been on the needle.

Leaving the dwelling, making sure not to take any of it’s possessions lest the strange golem guarding it take offense, the party made their way to Cartwright’s bank. Mr. Dwight used the numbers that Thorne found to gain access to a ‘safe deposit box’ and within he found a copy of Cartwright’s journal that had been left for his cousin. While leaving the bank, Gabriel noticed that one of Mr. Dwight’s rivals from the road into town was making a point of following him around town perhaps to leverage his investigation for their own profit.

After some study, it was decided to return the journal to his kin along with the key, and then the party set off up river towards a location of interest. Gabriel did not take well to water travel, and while in route the party’s boat was attacked by pirates. The attack was quickly repelled, but left the craft unable to continue the journey.

Taking to land with Khiron in the lead on some horse-like vehicle, the nearest town proved to be under the sway of the same river pirates. Taking time to parlay with their outriders, Mr. Dwight and his cousin Justice drew them out while the rest of the party lay in wait…

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D.O.E.

So there we were, innocently travelling down the body of a mostly dead, immortal snake god, when things began to get weird. The Serpent man who we freed said something wasn’t quite right ahead and told us to avoid it. Intrepid travelers we may be, but I don’t know fuck-all about changing course yig-back. Turns out, neither did anyone else. Something loomed ahead in the impossible dimension spanning snake void – weirdo, somehow orderly patterns of time-space anomaly fireworks cascaded across the infinity of the void. Avoid them! Shit. We didn’t. Fuck! Boom!

Although, maybe some of us did because when we blasted through the psychadelic hellscape – Aetheric Pulsar – we were missing our Gretta, Father Aerik, and the Snakefather.

So, disgorged from the space vagina, we behold… assholes! Not literally. Two gents in funny dress. One like a rag merchant with an odd hat, Dwight, and another with loads of strange armor and two big sticks poking out his back, Kyron. (Cowboy, Aeronaught – fuck off Chezza, mine were better)They speak like they’ve got more time than us. Everything. is reeeaal. draaawn. ouuuut. Although they do speak a wee bit closer to me than everyone else does, except for the sounding brain damaged part, although the way Olis reacts sometimes, I might give that impression as well. I definitely feel that way about you.

Also, Marcel is Possessed by the witch of Belout, so that’s neat.

So, big dome, made of shiny glowing shit that would probably be shiny even if it wasn’t glowing. Some sort of synthetic material. SITE 109. Dwigth says there’s not many lawmen in Gateway City. Sounds like a Yen Enoth analog? Are we in an alternate dimension? I explain this to them. I explain about the snake monoliths – quill through two pieces of parchment, you know the drill. Time-space vortices Also that probably, we’re not on the same page, possibly two different pages in the same book. Kiddie stuff, you know. I think Dwight gets it, but I’m not certain.

They ramble on about someone called Cartweight. He’s apparently a real DOOSH. Which means ancient and learned. Also, I’m apparently a witch here also. Dwight and Karen, Kyron? Something. They’re bounty hunters or mercs or slavers or some combination thereof. They’ve got GUNS, which are like wands, but harder to use. You have put little bits in them before they’re good for murder. Chemical, alchemical, and mechanical – cartridges. Magic can be channeled through them, Mr. Dwight knows this art.

Charon says he’s an Aeronaught, but won’t teach me how to be one also. Says it’s really hard. He’s very impressed with himself. They work for Ryquist Caville, who wanted this Cartweight. He’s going to be very cross with them, so to make up for this, they gather up all kinds of shit from inside SITE 109! CIRCUIT BOARDS, etc.

We learn about RADS – which is a unit of measuring poison in the everything.

Outside is a jungle, very beautiful, but also dangerous? We are loaded into THE BEAST. A metal golem-wagon – automobile – with an angry demon trapped inside – Aetheric Converter. They have loads of men waiting outside, which sort of work for them, but also seem hostile about not getting paid. There is a BACK HO, which is another frightful automaton.

On the way back we’re ambushed by some other assholes who laugh at Dwight when they find out he hasn’t got Cartweight. They have yet another automaton. It’s bipedal and armed with a GATLING GUN. Gatling means “kill everything.”

Dwight: “Cars can’t attack.”

The place we are is called the LEBARK MOUNTAINS. It is west of GATEWAY CITY.

Doctors wear leather. I am upgraded to a Witch/Doctor/Prostitute. Witchdoctorprostitute.

Arriving in Gateway city – which is a big bowl, filled with buildings, surrounded by fake rock walls – ferrocrete -.

I’m told not to go near the CHURCH OF THE REDEEMER because I’m posessed. But, since it’s spirits instead of demons, maybe I won’t be burned at the stake. Maybe. Fuck yes, religion is still shit, mostly.

Mayoral Palace is where the rulers live.

We go to the Inquisitive Mew. We meet the fat man and the gaunt man. Fat man is Mr. Caville. He smells of cheese and turnip, innit? Something close. Cartweight owed him money, and now he thinks that’s Dwight’s and Charken’s problem. He postures about it, makes the spooky 7 foot tall monster grab shit from the top shelves to intimidate us with his book keeping skills. All this is bollocks because clearly, what’s more important than some twat owing him money is that his men have brought him proof of inter-dimensional travel, and real life ALIENS. Because, technically, that’s what we are.

I broker an amazing deal in which tubby funds our exploration of this weird ass place, we get to explore post apocalyptic ruins – did I mention that this place had their apocalypse already? Because they did, and it wasn’t demons or summat. It was them. They blew themselves up, because reasons! – look for other aether-whatsit makers – Aetheric Pulsar and I suppose send ourselves home, or somewhere new. Fatty fat wants the tech for himself. Personally, I think Dwight and K should just use it for themselves and fuck the creep, but we don’t care because we’ll have gone through the portal on to whatever comes next.

There’s an arch in the river filled with ghosts and some “stupid flying god.” “SPIRIT OF SAINT LOUIS!”

There’s only one moon. It’s called THE MOON, which is rubbish. I name it Lawrence. It likes it. You all saw that it does.

I bought loads of clothes. I am now PUNK ROCK. This is a very worthwhile thing to be. I will be getting various things pierced. This pleases me.

We go to the voluptuous pint glass or whatever. Stein? Swan? They’ve got whores and drugs. I’m a witchdoctorprostitute, so I get pissed and defile myself to an extent that impresses even me. I AM WHOLE, give unto me all the whores! Chezza likes it. Are you sure it’s not just your idea of Chezza who you’re pretending likes it? Pretty sure, the lines are almost gone, way past blurred. This is healthy.

We go to the University where Cartweight worked. I incorporate Professor Frederick whitehorse Hernandez, pre-columbian Archaeologist. He worked in Cartweight’s office before the world blew up. He’s definitely a DOUCHE – he knows how to spell it.

I speak like I’m from GREAT BRITAIN. Which must be the best place on this world.

Cartweight was researching DOE sights, which aren’t places where they’ve loads of female deer. It’s DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY. I learn about the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, which was the king before the Boom! POTUS was a very powerful wizard and he had a council of other wizards which helped him run USA. I think he was worried that they’d try and take power from him, because he kept them in an enchanted cabinet, which he could enter, and meet with them to share their wisdom. Anyway, the DOE Wizard maybe created all the portal sites. So we’ve got to seek them out and find another one.

Guy named Oppenheimer created the ATOMIC BOMB. When he did, he said “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” Yep. Asshole.

So, loads of places to go. West of PUEBLO – Cannibals there. TRINITY SITE, where they made the bombs. NORAD. TENNESSEE VALLEY. GROOM LAKE in NEVADA. This is where the alphabet men made secret plans.

By the way. The reason Oppenheimer made the bombs. Everybody in the world was at war with these guys called the NOT-Zs. Really awful, killed everybody and yelled. Put JEWS in ovens for no good reason. They had skulls on their hats, so really awful. Anyway, they made bombs so that nobody like that ever happened again and ended up probably using them against one of the groups that helped them fight the NOT-Zs. THE REDS!

Putz means cousin.

The ancients could infuse life into things – “The Adam”

We need to go to Cartweight’s TOWNHOUSE and his SAFE-DEPOSIT-BOX.

Everyone here is as crazy as me. Maybe not as smart, though.

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The Stranger and the Gunfighter
Ser Marcel, Thorne, Gabriel, Khiron, Mr. Dwight

Having little choice, Ser Marcel’s company set off into the dim twilight of the Body of Yigg, seeking escape from the wrath of necromancer Crode. Thorne seemed both thrilled to experience travels beyond, and deeply troubled at having left the object our quest, his sister-shade Chezza, to her new life. Ser Marcel was somewhat shaken as well, having been unsettled more than the rest of us by his first trip through the silvery mists. This time, however, the company had a guide, an ancestor of the Skreet, a true “snake-man”. Master Vakarn had said his people had created the portals, although they did not necessarily function as intended. Before the party could probe into the mysteries only known by such a living fossil, the mists became alive with colorful showers and bright flashes. Our guide thought to us a name for the phenomenon, a “etheric pulsar”, which he warned us to avoid. Before the party could move safely away, however, there was a great flash and dull thudding blast that threw the group asunder.

Moments later, Ser Marcel, Thorne, Olis, and Gabriel found themselves in a strange room of glowing white walls, ears still ringing from the explosion. An acrid smell of ozein filled the air, like having been too close to a lighting strike. There was no sign of Gretta, Father Aerik, or our guide. Instead, we were faced with two angry men shouting at us in some strange dialect of Hrondene and threatening us with arcane wands. After a few tense moments, the strangers introduced themselves as Khiron—a strange man festooned in metal armor with bizarre pauldrons—and a Mr. Dwight (later found to be a Mr. Earnest Dwight)—a mage of some ilk wearing a leather cloak-coat and quite eager to demonstrate the deadliness of his arcane tools.

Alas, there was no sign of the portal, our missing companions, or the quarry that Mr. Dwight and Khiron had been in the process of securing, leaving Ser Marcel’s troop with scant options but to accompany the strangers back to “Gateway City”, a town of some size. Leaving the strange room in which they arrived, a place the local folks called “Site 109”, the travel back to the city was full of wonders for Thorne and uneasy danger for the rest: A great metal wagon that moved at great speed with no yolk or beast of burden, a towering golem armed with a huge barrel-shaped wand that threatened Mr. Dwight and his property on the trip back, roads made of some poured rock, and city walls seemingly carved from immense stone (the locals spoke of ‘ferro-concrete’).

After months in Yen Enoth, it was both familiar and deeply unsettling to again be in large city full of strange wonders and noise. After taking a little time to rest and recover, the party accompanied Mr. Dwight and Khiron to meet with a local merchant-lord. The meeting did not seem to go as well as Mr. Dwight had hoped, but in the end it was decided that the fellowship assembled would seek out other places there the now-missing Professor Cartwright had researched in the hopes of finding another portal back home or perhaps finding out what became of Gretta and Father Aerik. The trail began at the Professor’s office, which provided both a great deal of information and scant solid leads as to where such “technology” might be found. His cousin, another professor, graciously agreed to make arrangements to visit Professor’s Cartwright’s abode.

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Four from Elsewhere
An Unfortunate Escape and Unexpected Arrival

Four from Elsewhere
Chapter 1: An Unfortunate Escape and Unexpected Arrival
By Khiron Vaan Ascot

Ryquist Caville had been most specific in his instructions to Mr. Dwight and I, he wanted a return on his investment from Professor Pembril Cartwright as well as the man himself dealt with, he emphasized the return on investment part. And somehow a ricocheting bullet, burnt out computer terminal, giant FWOOSH of light and Professor Pembril and his lovely assistant disappearing into who-knows-where, with all of their research notes, was not going to fit the bill.
By Meto Suway’s dark arse this mission was not going well.
First it had taken an inordinate amount of time to find the dear doctor out here in the wilds of the western jungles of Gateway City, which at least allowed me time to gather some alchemical reagents, but it used up our expense voucher as well for the most part.
Having finally found the quack his guards and workers put up enough fight to make life difficult although we finally managed to get the workers to stop shooting after the guards went down.
Making our way through the maze of collapsed buildings, tunnels and substructure, being wary of traps and the remaining guards we managed to catch up with the good Professor as he feverish manipulated controls on a computer along with his rather lovely assistant whose name I never caught.
And then the FWOOSH.
After my eyes cleared I noticed two things, first that there seemed to be four bodies at the site where previously the Professor had stood, and they looked nothing like anything I had seen before with armor that seemed right out of a museum, spears, swords and one even had a pointy hat! Were they some sort of Cosplay troupe?
Second was the fact that Mr. Dwight was busily yelling “What did you do?” at me as if I were somehow to blame for this disaster. “It is not my fault!” I replied back, which did nothing to settle him down, as it never does, but by the Founders, I was not about to let my him pin the blame on me for this disaster.
“Remember if I do not get paid for this job neither do you” he growled out in his rural twang as he made his way towards the four strangely dressed people. While this is true, the statement omits the point that I am a co-contractor with Ryquist Caville and not Mr. Dwight’s employee like the dozen or so other men he brought with us on this mission, however I let that slide for the moment.
Of the four people three were groaning and seemed to be awake, one of which proceeded to puke all over the place, the other was quite unconscious. Of the four three seemed to be male, two were heavily armored, one dressed like a wilder and the last was a woman I think dressed in lighter clothes. They also stank, badly. The styles of their clothing were right out of some Pre-Fall historical documentary vid or fantasy story. One even pointed out her magic wand which, she was sure, was something like my rifle, which I demonstrated for them, causing a great deal of odd looks.
To be honest it took some time to figure out what they were saying with all the thee’s, thou’s and whatever horrible bastardization of vowels they were using. It seemed they were travelling across “the body of Ygg when a etheric pulsar engulfed them and split their party” apparently someone named the Guide, some sort of snake man, one Father Aerik and a Gretta did not end up here, much to their consternation.
Mr. Dwight took a once over of the machinery they had used, with glowing walls and computers and pronounced it dead and proceeded to direct the men in looting it for parts. I looked around for anything else that might be helpful, journals, writings, diagrams, but came up empty, although I did find the Pembril’s food stores and supplies, which I distributed to the newcomers as they were going to need them.
After that Mr. Dwight and I discussed what to do with our new friends. He was of the initial opinion to cut them loose not seeing any good coming out of their weirdness but I had another idea, maybe, just maybe Caville might find them and their story of portals and other worlds interesting enough to not cause us to be black balled in Gateway City and forced to move on as Caville was known to do, in one of the better case scenarios for people who failed to fulfill their contracts. There were less pleasant rumors in regards to such events but let us avoid those for now.
Mr. Dwight insisted that I take responsibility for the strangers, whose names we learned were Sirmarcel and Olis were the heavily armed mean, the former with sword and shield and the latter a spear, the wilder was apparently a Priest of Squeezeme of something like that named Gabriel and the last an occultist named Thorney, and I agreed to do so as they seemed like interesting folk and there is nothing this far out in the jungle that would otherwise help him.
At that point we returned to the surface and after telling the workers their boss had deserted them and making sure he had enough of a haul to pay the mercenaries Mr. Dwight had hired we loaded up the vehicles for our return to Gateway City. I took off to do a once over of the site, which had been swallowed by the jungle and saw nothing but jungle so we mounted Mr. Dwight’s vehicle, a beast of a truck with a mini-gun on top and armored sides. He had insisted that I ride in the cab, which was very polite of him, and off we went.
Things went well after we made it back to the road until we rounded a corner and came to a screeching halt. It seems two large trucks had blocked the road and they had a large robot with them.
“Friends of yours?” I asked Mr. Dwight who proceeded to point his gun at their leader, some loud mouthed man I forgot to get the name of. Needless to say the two swapped barbs, insults and intimidating looks and threatening words until the loud mouthed man realized that Mr. Dwight did not in fact have Professor Pembril and that further chest pounding was pointless. They took off in their trucks to loot what remained of the site.
Mr. Dwight was in a dour mood for the rest of the ride and started mumbling about charging me and our new friends seating costs, mileage costs and wear-and-tear expenditures as well as ammunition costs and taxi fees. I took a nap.
We arrived in Gateway City were our companions seemed surprised by the size of the city and scope of it all, they said it was comparable to someplace called “Yen Ee Noth” but was much easier to see the entirety of, which was confusing. The guards asked for our papers and we showed them as well as acquired the paperwork for getting such for out new companions, who were listed as under my responsibility until then. After that we made our way into the darkening city as the street lights came on as we parked the Beast, found an Inn, cleaned up and got some sleep, tomorrow we would have to deal with Ryquist Caville.
Here is the long and short of it.
Caville: So where is Cartweight?
Us: He escaped.
Caville: That is most unfortunate, do you know what happens to those who fail me?
Us: Yes, but…
<insert>
Somehow the people we found got introduced to Caville and they seemed to know about where Cartweight went and … hope for the best …
New People: Portals, other worlds, Body of Ygg, etheric pulsar, rescue our friends… I am not really certain what they said as I was trying to calm things down between Mr. Dwight and I in regards to the above mention heated words, fortunately that went well as well as whatever the pretty occultist Thorney and others said to Ryquist …
Ryquist: How about a three year contract to find one of these portals?
Mr. Dwight: One month.
Ryquist: A year.
Mr. Dwight: three months.
Ryquist: Six months.
Mr. Dwight: Five and half months.
Ryquist: So it is!
The rest of us: Fine with me.
And the deal was done, finalized by paperwork Mr. Gaunt had prepared amazing quickly and we all signed. Phew, got out of that one decently, I really did not want to end up as fertilizer.
We spent some time shopping after that, filling out paperwork for Identity Cards and generally getting our new friends adjusted to life in Gateway City as well as getting them some food, which they all greatly enjoyed as “there were no tentacles anywhere” which pleased them all except Thorney who deemed the food “boring.” However Thorney seemed fascinated with Gateway City and bought herself many clothes while the others headed straight for the Armories. They all mumbled things about “a city of blacksmiths” as we got acquainted with one another. The next day we would begin our investigations into the Pembil Cartweight, but I shall let that be the end of this chapter and begin our story there next time.

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Context

This is a problem of context.

It’s in me now, whatever Crode took from her. I can feel it, and it feels very safe. It feels like a warm bed after a night in freezing rain. But… The fear is on me. Worse than it’s ever been, because I can’t find the borders anymore. There was a ragged hole where “she” had been, a savage wound festering in the center of me. Filling it was all I cared about, but now, this syrupy warmth is erasing it and I can feel her there. But it can’t be her, it’s only a seeming. A fragment. Because I left her behind, or she left me. For a body, and existence apart, a chance to learn from the master. I was saying, the borders, what separates her from me, it’s blurring again, I can feel her mind reconnecting with the parts that were left behind. I struggle to define what is and isn’t me and can’t. But why? There is no need, remember what we were. Remember.

Context. When Chezza was deepest in her studies and gave herself over to the mastery of our uncle’s art, I was lost, because I was, for the first time, alone. Leaving, I lost myself to mischief and fell in with others as adrift as I. I lied for a living because I couldn’t think of anything better and because they admired me for it. I didn’t need the money we took, I needed context. I made sense in contrast to who I had been and who they were. I hated it. I hated them and myself, and those who were weak or foolish enough to be our victims. The truth is when I heard the shrieking of her mind across the psychic gulf, calling for help, calling me back home, I felt… relief. Because she needed me, my twin, my mirror, needed me, I meant something again. I left the charlatan’s life behind without a thought. I got up from our camp and started walking, abandoning my watch and saying nothing. I was scarcely aware of their sleeping forms as I crept out from our camp, never to return.

Or was it her who returned to me? She said that she remembered dying, but I remember it also.

When I returned, when I saw the ruin that was my childhood home, I knew what had been done. Her his? spirit came to me, immediately. There was no hesitation, there was just a brief moment when we were apart, and then we weren’t. Everything made sense then. Context. Before we were born, we were one. We started existence as one thing, one context, and somehow, that being was split in two. I like to think that we needed to be separate to understand what it meant to be reunited.

Chezza had a clarity of purpose, an ambition that I couldn’t imagine. Magic was what she was made for, and she tirelessly pursued it. She was made to learn and to practice her craft to perfection. But she was brittle, inflexible, and devoid of one thing that all truly great mages posses: Improvisation, which I had in spades. I was fluid, but unfocused. I was endlessly creative and inquisitive, but couldn’t bother with anything for more than a fleeting moment. I was extroverted, where she could barely express emotion or tolerate the presence of others. I was emotional, where she was placid. We were everything the other wasn’t.

The moment our spirits touched, everything made sense. Her magic, my fluidity, her focus, my charisma, all served the whole. We were happy, and whole and in love with each other and the universe. We wept at the beauty of existence. She wasn’t a ghost possessing a body, she was an equal part of a once sundered being, restored. No matter what anyone says, our union was Natural. It was supposed to happen.

When the rat took her from me, it was like dying. It felt like dying. The absence screamed to be filled. I hate him for it still, even after seeing his ignoble fate. But… context. It seems incumbent upon us to start speaking from a remove. Alright, Erasmus was a shiftless blackguard, a lazy confidence man. He was no Mage. He had no talent for magic, no focus for mastering his craft, any craft, much less the arcane. But in the seeming absence of Chezza, he did just that. His talent grew and he learned the arts of the vile horned rat who had stolen so much from them. He became what he needed to bridge the impossible gulf between them and honed his skills for the inevitable confrontation. But necessity shouldn’t have been enough to allow him to master the arcane. He should have been stripped of that, just as he was stripped of her. But he wasn’t. This might indicate the inefficient skill of the rat who took Chezza away, a crude knife, excising most of what is useful, but leaving behind some essential, functional vestiges. Or, put another way, the being that was Thorne kept what it needed in order to thrive, whether deliberately, or through happenstance.

Which brings us to memory. That is what Crode claimed to return to me. Chezza’s memories. But what are we, if not the sum of our experience. He offered it as a pittance, but his understanding, I think, was incomplete. I have Chezza’s memories, of before, of her time with the rat, even some of her time with the master. But, I can feel the connection between what I was given and what she left behind, the crude stump from the savage knife of Zakakirzgig. There is context there, there is connection and sympathy. If I was left with what Chezza could do before, I have now been given what Chezza is. This is no semblance of my sister, we are no shadow of what we were. I have grown in her absence, just as she has grown in mine. But this, is me. You are her. I feel like her. I think I would know if you weren’t. We will not mourn.

We feel whole. But what have we left behind. What is she? If what I have been given has rekindled itself into the shape of my beloved, then what is this being who we left behind. One presumes Crode did not leave her an amnesiac. She must also have memory, and he claimed to take a piece of me in exchange for what he gave me of her, though I cannot feel it’s absence. Are there now two of us? Are we the same? We cannot fathom what the price of this reunion will be, but we care not, any price would be fair. We are Thorne, and we are restored. Some day, we will return for what we left behind, and sunder he who dared to separate us.

Last, speaking of price, we will never have the measure of the debt we owe our fellows. Gretta, Marcel, Gabriel, Olis and Aerik, finer friends were never had by anyone.

Thornerelaxed.jpg

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Reunion and Sequestration
Marcel, Olis, Gretta, Thorne, Gabriel, Aerik

In the middle of the disturbing cave of not-quite-trees stood a strange mansion guarded by tentacled beast straight out of man’s deepest and darkest dreams. Ser Marcel’s men had little choice to but to face the beast in order to seek the mysteries—and hopefully find the missing Thorne—beyond. Wary and uncertain, the company tried to split the attention of the beast by coming from three directions, but Father Aerik’s attempt to sneak past the beast was an act of faith that as not rewarded although by some miracle he wriggled freed of it’s grasp before he succumb to it’s crushing strength. Olis sought to land the first blow, but was soon trapped by the creature as well. Ser Marcel fought mightily to aid him, while Gretta and Gabriel did what they could to hastened the beast’s end. Thorne, in a state of desperation and frustration to reach his sister’s shade, was distracted with strange notions of sneaking past the beast covered in the filth of the cave. Ultimately, it was blade, arrow, and arcane fire that drove the creature back to it’s lair, and only luck that released Olis from it’s deathly embrace.

Within was a house of ancient opulence driven by megalomania, as it seemed to be the home of the ancient necromancer, Endruthian Crode, still clinging to the glory days of his lost Ebon Council. Within the ‘audience chamber’ we found Zakakyrzig, or rather the shell of the horned rat who was now fully possessed by a demon put there by the foul wizard. The creature babbled on after claiming that Chezza’s spirit was now bound to the necromancer, leaving the party to push forward in the hopes of finding more information before a confrontation with some likely-also-possessed bull beastman.

The company quickly came upon a bound and arcanely chained ancestor of the Skreet, one of the true race that Master Vakarn said had created the portal he used to send us to Yen Enoth some months ago. With little time and some trepidation, Gabriel beseeched the blessed St Juljeta to free the creature from it’s ancient bindings, freeing it from endless torture at the hands of Crode. While unable to speak it’s alien language, Gabriel’s act of freeing it along with Thorne’s tending to it’s wounds had gained some level of trust, and it lead the party quickly away from danger through some ‘teleportation’ device, and then into the realm of another misty portal—what the Skreet had pronounced upon our arrival in Yen Enoth as The Body of Yigg.

Within the mists, the creature was able to communicate and thus learned of our mission, allowing us to return in the hopes of finding Chezza before being taken off to some homeland far beyond the West or even the East as we knew it. Thorne entreated a spirit of the ancient pre-Skreet to aid him, and thus we returned through the teleporter to parlay with Crode and his Iron Bull.

As the mission was and had always been Thorne’s quest, the company trusted him to see it through and awaited his lead. Leaving to discuss the matter with Crode and his spirit-sister Chezza who was indeed present and willing to become Crode’s both apprentice and bride, the company waited warily staring at the two demon-possessed creatures in Crode’s service.

After some time, Thorne returned seemingly both relieved and distraught, and told us that Chezza was to stay as she in the end desired her own mortal form rather than continue to exist as only spirit bound to her brother’s mind. While true to the technicalities of his word, Crode having satisfied himself the victor of the matter of Chezza immediately rescinded his hospitality and sought our deaths. With Throne’s ally, however, the inevitable betrayal was short-lived as the teleporter quickly whisked them to safety.

The company, however, was left stuck in an ancient temple dedicated to beastmen, and no path back to Yen Enoth. After some deliberation and little choice, the party set forth again into the mists of Yigg. While the prisoner we freed was indeed able to guide Ser Marcel, Olis, Gabriel, and Thorne through the Body of Yigg to some place beyond, Father Aerik and Gretta were lost to their own fates.

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The Magpie

As the path narrows, my skepticism grows. I find myself afraid. I know that just ahead lies something. An end? It should be her, or at least the corpse of the wretched horned rat that stole her away. He of the ominous name but small reputation. We should have been bold when first we met and laid him low. It was our interest that made us spare him, our coveting of his imagined power, mysterious and shiny, like tinsel to a magpie. He was less than he seemed, but became more than he was because of the power that he stole. I shudder to find his corpse and no sign of her. I tremble at the thought of what I will become if she is lost. Madness is certain, for this faint thread of hope is all that staves off that slavering beast, howling from the periphery.

If you ask my companions, It has found me already. They may be right. They say I am mad because I am drawn to this place, this city whose foundations are the unquiet dead, who’s mortar and bricks are spirit. Such a place where such a being as me might, in the right light, be seen as boring, commonplace, unremarkable. I can feel the proximity of possibility. Doors to unimaginable vistas yawning just out of my vision. It is a cruel thing that I am robbed the joy of any dalliances with this singular place because I cannot bear any moment of pleasure, however fleeting, until I am We once more. No matter what anyone thinks, the being we were was fated, perfect, true. We were better as one, and we will be one again, lest we become none.

The necropolis awaits, we have our guide, we know our destination, the trail lies before us. This must be the moment. It must!

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The Monochromatic Death Forest
Marcel, Olis, Gretta, Thorne, Gabriel, Aerik

As the blinding flash of light faded and the vision of those of Ser Marcel‘s company returned, the party found themselves in a stone dungeon, with a grate up above. Gretta noticed an active summoning of some kind in the room, and thus with some haste Father Aerik used his purchase from the rat skeller to provide a rope. Gabriel and Thorne’s fox tried to work out how to open the grate, and shortly thereafter a demon appeared.

After a brief fight that drove off the demon with powerful blows from Olis’ eerie spear, the party ascended to find the remains of a number of ancient noble folk who apparently had given themselves up to a death cult. Further exploring revealed a temple to a death god, one that had been crafted with ancient dweomers and long forgotten. More recent activity was evident as someone had taken up residence in the place after the original crafters had perished. No living creature as found, although the preserved bodies of a woman and a few others were present captured in containers of liquid.

With no clear indication of how to escape or find the way out of the complex, Ser Marcel’s party descended in a lift to a huge cave below the temple. The cave was filled with disturbingly shaped, bone-white ‘trees’ which appear to have been planted in a field of corpses. Exploring the reaches of the cavern, the party noted a central structure and headed in to investigate in the hopes of finding some clue as to the location of Thorne’s missing sister-spirit.

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I am from Punt
Marcel, Olis, Gretta, Thorne, Gabriel, Aerik

The late evening of shenanigans at the Staggering Hedgehog was followed by an early and sudden awakening with the sounds of explosions outside in the street. After a few moments of alarm and confusion, Ser Marcel’s party discovered that the new day was a city holiday, something about eggs and coneys. The party decided that Saint Aud would be quite annoyed at the festival, which the locals claimed to be the new year—such a calendar is yet more proof that the men of the East are insane.

The source of the noise turned out to be children who were setting fire to little balls that would then bang with a great sonance. They looked quite dangerous, so naturally they piqued Thorne’s interest. The “fireworks” as they were called were sold by annually visiting merchants from a land called “Punt”.

As agreed with the Delver, Kristin, we arranged to visit the Necropolis that evening to seek out the crypt of Marthos Phail—our only real clue to the whereabouts of the cursed horned rat. After spending a few hours in preparation, the company head in with Kristin as our guide.

The Necropolis was a subterranean structure, full of dire traps and wards, but we made our way fairly directly to the 4th level based on the research notes. A great stone golem attacked us as we neared the final bend, which the party was able to destroy after some effort. Throne had managed to envigor the local spirits in the battle, who took a very unhealthy interest in Olis.

Upon arriving at the crypt, Father Aerik was able to work the lock mechanism to allow us to gain entry, only to find an empty room. As Gretta and Gabriel ventured in to examine the room, the party followed on with Kristin and Aerik in the back. Just as a great flash occurred, Kristin shoved Aerik into the room which was shortly thereafter empty once again.

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