Author Topic: Observations  (Read 3802 times)

Offline Gnarl

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  • Adam
« on: 19:39, Sunday 24 Jan, 2016. »
My recording of the sessions, feel free to mention any inaccuracies.

      We awoke in the village of Criades on the eastern edge of the Unseen Lake. A pleasant but primitive village made from white driftwood and other flotsam, inhabited by a friendly if pale looking fisher folk. Saar did not enjoy their hospitality as he was partially off-line as he appeared to be integrating new components. The group bought some dried and salted fish for a low price, and were bid farewell by the presumed leader of the village, a elder man slender man by the name of Gren Coronus.
   Jered and Neve spoke to this fellow, unfortunately failing to reassure him that no trouble was following them, but kindly telling him most of the reason they were there. That being that Jered had been accused of having borrowed an artifact of scrying, that took the worrying form of a large crystal eye, from the powerful Emol family in Harmuth. And that they were of course attempting to return it. He was a tad unsettled.
   Gren told them, nicely but firmly, that he could take no sides, and not hide their presence. He asked one of the younger members of the village to guide them through the somewhat dangerous invisible pools in the direction of the Cloudcrystal Skyfields, a energetic girl named Strok. She led them through without incident, and was kindly rewarded by Jered with a whole Shin, a not insignificant amount to distant villages like the residents of Criades.

   And so they strode across the white and yellow dunes, with Arnott taking a scouting position ahead of the group. As they were just entering the shadow of the first floating crystal, Arnott discovered some unusual insect-like creatures. Rising up in four swarms they formed separate pointed cones and attempted to strike at Arnott, who beat a hasty retreat. An unseen fifth swarm took Jered by surprise, and entered his mouth, rendering him unconscious.
   While Arnott pacified one of the swarms, Neve Scanned Jered to ascertain his status, finding him insect filled but otherwise fine. Saar awoke and moved to help Arnott while Neve retreated further from the main force. Brel attempted to follow, but was unfortunately distracted by the swarm exiting Jered and slashing at his face, and so instead moved towards Arnott. Arnott calmed one swarm, but when the other three did not display the same reaction, let lose a Cypher of massive Detonation that destroyed part of all four swarms, but undid his earlier calming work. Saar attracted the attention of the swarm following Brel by crushing some between his hands, and then studied them closely. They were asymmetrical, having three limbs on one side, but four upon the other, and their movements radiated from the centre of gravity of the swarm.
   Neve found she could disable the creatures using only her mind, and caused one swarm to collapse inwards to a small cuboidal solid. Further attempts would cause one more to slumber. Raesh had been viewing this scene from hiding, but a shower of falling crystals caused him to move towards the group at a fast pace, and then skirting around them, all the while appearing aflame. Saar placed his hand in the centre of the swarm nearest him, causing it to dramatically disperse in all directions.

   Meanwhile, Arnott had made some work of removing the remaining swarms near him with his shield, while Brel distracted them with his Graceful movements. One fled, while the last was caught in a sudden shower of crystal, narrowly avoided by Brel. The oncoming crystal fall led the party away, Saar collecting Jered and two small objects on the way. Abrief discussion and they allowed Raesh to join them, even sharing their food with him. As it was a day or so's journey to their goal (they believed), they found a natural hollow to rest for the night.

Offline Gnarl

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  • Adam
Re: Observations
« Reply #1 on: 14:11, Wednesday 27 Jan, 2016. »

   After a relatively restful night warmed by Raesh's Halo of Fire, the travellers awakened. While Brel and Arnott searched nearby for water the rest were visited by a Philethis, who ported directly into their camp. It spoke of strange things, as they are wont to do. It's subjects included the military, paths and evolution. No one could really make sense of it, and then it left, heading west.
   When reconvened, the group headed north, in to the Fallen Fields, towards their goal. Their journey proceeded without incident for some hours, as the number and size of the fallen crystals increased. They avoided any falling crystals or other impediments until they came across a white plain of dust in the mid afternoon, where beautiful but alien music sung out.
   The party saw that some pieces of crystal were falling from an overgrowth of the large cloudcrystal floating high above them, and on to the plain. The shards of various sizes were disintegrating to dust before they reached the ground, causing a falling sandstorm of pink and purple flecks. The sounds were emitted from brightly coloured yellow and purple flowers, 2-3 metres wide, and dotted sparsely across this plain in groups of two or three. Those near the falling dust were open and singing while those further away were closed and silent.

   As they all took in this sight the top of a sail and flag appeared, and then disappeared, over the top of one the crystals behind them to the south west. And they also noticed some raised sand to the east, as if something was moving across the sand in that direction. Brel, and Brel alone, noticed his friendly old mentor Arlon stroll out from behind a crystal. Arlon caught Brel's attention, and then showed him a safe route across the white plains, stepping carefully.
   Brel understood the message and followed in his master's footsteps, and the others in his. However, Arnott formed the rear guard and therefore had the hardest task of finding the correct places to step. When one of his feet missed the mark, the flowers let out a distinctly more unpleasant sound that shook him to his bones, and he started to retreat. This left him in a difficult situation when he spied one of his old comrades from Armalu's Tithe, his regiment of scouts, appear around the corner of a crystal riding an Aneen, calling to him to return to them.

   Saar came to his rescue, quickly moving back to Arnott, easily picking him up and returning to follow the others. Arlon had dived into the middle of the dust storm, from what Brel could see, and he sensibly put his trust in his old friend and dived after him, soon followed by Jered, Neve, Raesh, and finally Saar and Arnott. Before the curtain of falling dust blocked their view the stragglers were able to make out the prow of a Gondalight, a floating ship, and the flag of the Emol family flying above it. Along side it, another member of the Tithe joined with the first to loose arrows at Saar (assumedly to recover their comrade), unfortunately catching Arnott with one. Also, the group from the east appeared, seeming to consist of a Mudren in a capsule carried by creatures similar in construction to Saar. A damaged member of this group ran across the plain but soon fell, it's crystal parts dissolved.
   This was only briefly seen, and then the party navigated using the sun to head towards their goal, to the north. Raesh allowed them to find each other through his natural luminescence, and while the path was arduous surrounded by thick falling dust and distractingly voluminous music, they forged on.
   An hour so in they began to see a thinning in the iridescent rain. They came out on to a similar white plain to which they first encountered, where they saw that the crystal dust slowly lose it's colour as the plants sapped nutrients from it. Far ahead they could see their goal, a large head 3 metres high encased in crystal, covered by some rudimentary fabric tenting. The head had some unusual features, such as a lack of hair and nose, and numerous eyes instead, and that it appeared to be joined to a body that extended beneath the ground.
   Investigations followed whereby they discovered a few facts: stepping on the white sand displeased the flowers; the flowers were resistant to flame, but had sound generating areas towards their centre; there was root system underneath all the plain connected to the flowers, roughly half a metre down with thin extensions upwards; that some well placed arrows from Arnott would allow them to proceed mostly unharmed. And so they reached the monolith.
« Last Edit: 00:04, Thursday 25 Feb, 2016. by Gnarl »

Offline Gnarl

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  • Adam
Re: Observations
« Reply #2 on: 18:37, Friday 05 Feb, 2016. »

   The monolith they had reached was certainly a peculiar sight. A 3 metre wide, high and deep block of purplish crystal. (Which possibly looked a little different to the other crystals, perhaps?) Well, the statue inside was certainly different. A human head in basis, the lack of nose and small round mouth was striking, but the large number of eyes covering the top of the head was probably the most striking. The rough bits of cloth and skin hung over it looked positively primitive compared to it's sharp edged construction.
   Raesh wandered around the block and found to the rear some crude matting of similar making. Made of bones and odd pieces of wood bound together with some skin and twine, there were some forty or so of these stacked near the back of the monolith. Meanwhile Neve made the unfortunate mistake of touching the crystal while peering inside. In a shock to all, the crystal flowed as if fluid, encasing her hands and holding her tight. At the same moment, ten other figures sprang from the sand surrounding the group.
   Mostly human looking, sharing some similarities with the bust, including the lack of nose and odd mouth, but mostly only having the traditional two eyes. Those eyes varied significantly between those normally present, some with cat's eyes, multifaceted eyes, wholly black eyes, and even some eyes artificial in construction. These ladies and gentlemen were not very welcoming however, charging silently with their primitive weapons unsheathed. Most of them lacked anywhere to sheathe them, to give them their due, generally lacking many garments at all.
   As the group started to defend themselves, the gaunt people attacking with bone spear and clubs seemed almost prescient in their ability to see (and take of advantage) of the explorer's movements, dodging projectiles from Arnott and Jered, and thrusts and swings from Brel and Saar as the fight continued. Neve was encountering a different problem as the monolith inflicted pain upon her, extracting a cry of pain. Raesh ignited himself and moved from the rather precarious position he held on the edge of the group to a more central one.
   Saar smashed a chink out of the crystal with his unusual club, releasing Neve while some of the aggressors struck him with their weapons, to little apparent effect. Raesh attempted similar violence upon the monolith with fire, but to only impact the surface of the crystal. Arnott and Brel danced with a number of them to little effect on either side, other than the felling of the only foe properly armed, with an unusual black synth sword.

   Jered seemed to court danger. Firstly deliberately placing his hand upon the crystal, and then donning a glove that allowed deep and significant telepathic communication, which he proceeded to attach to the surface of the crystal. His expression suggested much was shared with him, of the history of the creature and it's more recent dealings. It's possible too much was shared, as he appeared quite pale afterwards.
   Raesh and Neve began a retreat, as more of the strange eyed folk were appearing from beneath the sand and joining the attack as their comrades fell. Jered and Saar followed them, Saar with many of them attempting to force him back, into contact with the crystal, slowing his progress. He threw a Cypher that turned some to plants, and struck a number of them with is third leg, but still on they came. Brel fought the never-ending tide of attackers, cutting down some, but taking the occasional blow in return. Arnott was less fortunate, being toppled and then forced into the monolith, where his head was gripped by the crystal flowing around to his temples.
   Their numbers seemed less, but the party's strength was fading also, when Neve fired a beam from her hand. It struck the large head, and reflected throughout it's structure. It dealt it a hard blow; it's eyes closed and large reddish bubbles boiled from the top surface into the air. Arnott was fortunate enough that he broken free before the ray fired across, but Brel made up for that luck by being struck by a reflection, numbing his leg, the poor soul.
   No more servants of the monolith appeared after this strike, and the remainder seemed lacking in their previous skill. They were dispatched in short order by Brel and Saar. As the beam was only theorised to work for a minute or so, the group hurried to leave. They had deduced that the mats piled near the statue would allow movement across the plain without pain, as it would spread the fall of their steps over an area not offensive to the plant. A small amount of unpleasant butchery by Saar and Raseh, and they had two extra eyes they felt might be useful, and then they went on there way, with the following airship staring at them across the plain.
« Last Edit: 00:04, Thursday 25 Feb, 2016. by Gnarl »

Offline Gnarl

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  • Adam
Re: Observations
« Reply #3 on: 16:11, Monday 15 Feb, 2016. »

   Lifting up the rear-most mat, passing it along, placing it down. Moving forward, picking up the next one, passing it along. That's how everyone occupied themselves for the next twelve hours; crossing the white planes, serenaded by the song of the flowers, watching the Gondalight keep pace behind them, always the same infuriating distance away. Not that there weren't some distractions.
   Raesh disappearing suddenly in a flash of fire was quite distracting. He left only a card behind, some form of receipt for the return of a '527' from somebody named 'Chainson of the Convergence'. While worried, the group couldn't immediately see any useful responses to the situation, being currently more focused on fleeing the following Gondalight and the people upon it. They discussed awaiting their inevitable fate but instead decided to hold on to the hope of escape, and so continued their labours.
   Somewhat into the night, they came to the decision that they wished for some intelligence on their pursuers and so Arnott bravely took the risk of eating one of the eyes they had liberated from the folk at the monolith. Neve assured him this would give him the ability to see far away, and fortunately, she was correct. He could sense that a number of possibilities of persons to take the vision of were available, including one older gentleman.
   Arnott decided that the older man would be his target, assuming that with age comes authority. Seeming to take direct control of the eyes of this person, who was searching through a telescope for the party, his control seemed to disorient the gentleman, causing stumbling, falling and therefore a rather harder to interpret series of views. From everybody else's point of view, Arnott's own eyes disappeared entirely, but that didn't prevent him narrating what he saw in his askew  scrying.
   He saw that the ship was inhabited by four lightly armoured, though fairly well armed, guards; his two scout comrades and their mounts; eight slaves (including the culovas); and the person he was inhabiting, apparently dressed in fairly rich clothing. Most seemed billeted on the log-like deck, with a cabin he didn't have the opportunity to see, and an under deck compartment. This compartment had a trough of water running down one side, and a trough of glowing charcoal on the other. There were five large spheres on wooden racks over the charcoal, that Neve identified as a material frequently used as a form of ballast, which expanded and contracted when in different temperatures.
   Here the gentleman in the rich clothes sat, with his eyes half-closed, seemingly to try and recover. While one of the slaves replenished the charcoal, he fingered a pill box emblazoned with symbol of the Emol family of Harmuth, a tree made of paper, even opening the box and examining the red tablet within, before replacing it in his pocket. After ten minutes or so, the effect ended, and Arnott's eyes regrew (if slightly painfully), and they continued, with only a small misstep by Brel.
   When the sun started to rise over the horizon ahead of them, they noticed three things. The first, the ship was still doggedly behind them. The second, the crystals floating above them seemed to be shedding significant amounts of themselves, and the red bubbles that had emanated from the monolith were still floating around the sky. The third, that their goal, the Crowd City, appeared to be just over the first dune, with its occasionally collapsing and reforming towers formed of the bodies of people and creatures.
   As they tiredly struggled to end their trek across the white sand plain, Brel noticed another one of his old mentors, the fierce Xinma Oh, appear over the dune. She advised him a friend of hers was about to send him, and the others, a vision. A vision that would bring wisdom, but also danger for the entire group. While some attempted to not be consumed by it the wave that then rolled over their minds, hijacking all their perceptions, proved irresistible to every one of them.
   All of them were sharing the same, low to the ground viewpoint, looking up at an androgynous person in a brown robe peering down at them. Arnott instinctively drew his sword, which to the party appeared as if they all drew their sword. However, speaking proved to require a majority of agreement amongst the five, and so after being asked if they were in distress by this figure, it took them a few moments to reply that they were not. And then say perhaps that they were. When discussing amongst themselves time did not seem to pass outside at a very fast rate; it almost seemed held. The robed person informed them that had been experimenting with the crystal mirror on the table near them when it had flashed, and they had been knocked over. The mirror that appeared very similar to that normally found floating at the opening at the top of a Philethis's cloak, in fact.
   Looking around the rest of the room, they found themselves in a large stone, open sided structure that seemed to be a workshop of sorts, with tables, tools and a number of crystals and other projects on the tables, including one appearing just like a newer version of Saar. Two other people seemed to have been working in there before being distracted by the events occurring. They appeared similar to the first, being robed, armed and not having many obvious characteristics of gender, but coloured differently to the first in skin and clothing, being yellow and red. And the body the party seemed to be sharing was similar, but green. While the brown robed individual offered them some food, which they refused, the red one went to fetch a doctor. They asked about Saar, and the brown robed one said that it was the work of Warred, the person who had just left. Some food arrived none the less, carried by a swarm of asymmetrical insects just like the ones the group had encountered a couple of days previously. The food was a (surprisingly appetising) whole dead mammal carcass, raw.
   Ignoring this feast they decided to go outside, where they found themselves in a city. Many other people were roaming the streets, but not all dressed that similarly to those in the workshop. Some were also flying through the air without an obvious method of doing so, and some were girded in armour. The city itself mainly seemed formed of a number of spaced out but similar houses of a simple stone construction, two stories high. Looking up they saw that the sky seemed to be lacking a sun, but instead had a bright line running from horizon to horizon. In short order, they realised this actually was the sun, but they were perceiving time at a much slower rate than they were used to. Their perceptions of the people around them changed, and they noticed that they were all constantly being provided with, and eating, large amounts of food from the asymmetrical insects, which were roaming back and forth down the streets at a extremely heady pace.
   Confused, Jered sought currency in his pockets, but only found an insect control device, appearing like an electrical control box. It was decided to use this to retrieve a book. In a minute or so (from their perspective) a book did not arrive, but rather the bugs returned carrying a larger insect with a larger than normal abdomen. It spoke to them, asking what they wanted from an elder. After discussing with it for some time while it told them strange things, such as it being millennia old, and that they should really split up as they had lost cohesion, and then it suggested that they eat it so they speak more easily. This was debated for a moment, when Saar suggested that they were in fact all inhabiting insects.
   Their perception changed once more, realigning with the view of themselves as similar large insects to the elder, but held securely within a mass of a large variety of other insects. What had appeared to be other people around the city now seemed to also be swarms of insects, of differing composition and colours. This revelation caused them to lose their qualms, and they subsumed the elder, who joined them in their centralised and armoured bug covered centre. There he told them that they were a scientist, and that perhaps a doctor could help them with  their coherence problem. When asked how he would help a child with this problem, he explained that children were formed from new parts of other people placed together carefully and so was unlikely to occur. But if this had happened to a new person they would probably be split up to form other people. The doctor arrived and viewed them from a distance, sending a few of their flyers to probe the party, and also recommended a trial separation.
   The group ignored this and went back inside to question brown robed one about the Philethis mirror. Unfortunately, the party was apparently the expert. Neve decided to attempt to use her Scanning esotery on the mirror, but it seemed to take an unusual form, whereby the colony that made up the body they were inhabiting seemed to start hatching different insects, that then connected with the device. She learned that it was a communication device with a very distant star, that the beings viewing through it had a great revulsion to the insect life present, and that it had communicated with other places all over the world to try to rectify this problem.

Offline Gnarl

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  • Adam
Re: Observations
« Reply #4 on: 19:07, Saturday 20 Feb, 2016. »

   Raesh had run into a little trouble, or rather had been teleported into a little trouble. His previous dramatic disappearance from the party had left him a little stuck in the crowd city, and extricating himself took some time. Once free and composed, he heard some familiar voices over the dune in front of him, the voices of the party. However, what they were discussing made little sense to him, being on the subject of leaving. And about damaging a mirror. And occasionally they seemed to be listening to somebody that didn't appear to be there.
   When he peered over the dune, his confusion was not removed. The group had been taken captive by the crew of the Gondalight that had been following them, and were being slowly hoisted on to the ship. Surprisingly, they seemed unaware and uncaring about this fact, talking on other topics entirely. Raesh watched, undecided as to what to do.
   From their perspective they were discussing the situation with the Philethis's mirror. Neve had just Scanned it, in a way, and they realised that it was likely to be about to enact some events that they would prefer didn't occur, an opinion likely shared by the rest of the inhabitants of the city they were in. They felt they had received enough of the elder they were currently sharing their head with's wisdom, and so asked him to leave. He was happy to comply, and so they bid farewell. After some discussion, they then felt that reactivating Saar would be the best choice (the one they saw on the table that was). Unfortunately, the doctor swarm was blocking them, saying he felt it might be best if they didn't handle the various dangerous objects while they were in their current incoherent state.
   Jered took this badly, causing the all of the swarm to flee the area in fear. They had moved half way down the street before Arnott managed to calm them down and bring them to a halt. At this point Saar decided he had quite enough of this and separated from the rest, taking a small number of the main swarm with him. The other inhabitants of the city would have taken greater note of these mildly unusual events had a large number of intricately faceted but regular and symmetrical crystals appeared floating in the sky, spinning around each other at quite a pace. While Saar tried to change his swarm towards a more militant form, the others went back towards the workshop but were again stymied by the doctor. As they returned, the number of crystals in the sky increased, and the swarms that had been happily flying in the sky began to suddenly disperse, flying in  different directions, with the non-flying members falling to an unpleasant fate.
   The group decided to all split up, with Jered and and Neve following the doctor's recent example of attempting to leave the area at high speed, with Saar following. Brel and Arnott bravely went in to investigate the mirror, and upon deciding it was the source of their woes started to destroy it. They met with some success, but it did not have any effect on the surrounding events with those swarms in the open air outside falling apart. Brel was rudely awakened however, by the events on the other side.

   Raesh, with few options other than a suicidal assault or a prolonged death in the desert, surrendered to the crew of the Gondalight. He was restrained and his weapons confiscated, and then was moved on board to join the others, who had also been bound by their hands and feet and then tied to the main mast. Offering his help to the captain, he was left untied, but still under threat. He reasoned out the likely cause of their malaise, and that to wake them would require some sort of significant neurological shock. This would include a sharp pain, or perhaps the Cypher that rendered everybody in a large area unconscious that Raesh had recently acquired. If only that had not been taken by the gentleman in charge of the vessel. And so Raesh attempted to persuade him that it would be everyone's best interests to activate the device. The captain was not convinced. He took Raesh up on his second suggestion, that of inflicting pain, ordering one of his guards to injure Brel, seemingly without remorse. Being stabbed by a spear did wake Brel however, but possibly not into the situation he would have preferred.

   Those still residing in the city of the insects were trying different methods to escape the advancing doom that was causing the other swarms to collapse. Arnott, left alone, continued with his assault upon the mirror, eventually cracking it in twain. Distressingly, all the other people near him had broken into individual insects, that now appeared to begin to fight (mostly each other) or fly. For no obvious reason, he remained unaffected. A way across the city the others were fleeing, but the wave of this effect overtook them, dissolving all but them. Seeing no reason to continue to run, Neve changed her insects and took to the sky. Jered's attempt to follow was less successful. Saar focused, and perhaps unknowingly spurred on by Brel, managed to return the to previous world.
   Neve, Arnott and Jered all started to notice small crystal or synth dots appearing on the ground and insects around them, almost as if it were raining but the droplets were invisible until they landed. Neve, airborne, gained height and headed out of the city, and out of the vision. Arnott found he couldn't dig his way out of the problem, as he burrowed down through the rock, but not fast to not be sealed in. Jered, the last there (though he did not know it) ducked into a house, or as he now saw, an insect mound covered in many holes for ingress. Heading down into it he found only dead ends, and for a moment it looked like he would suffer the same fate as Arnott. But digging down and out, with the added filter of the mound behind him, he managed to escape and make his way to the edge of the city.
   Looking back, he saw a large number of the large symmetrical multi-faceted crystals spinning at high speed above the city, and a film beginning to appear over the settlement. To the west and to the east (assuming the sun was where he was used to), he saw two mountain ranges stretching from north to south. As he headed west, the vision faded for the last visitor.

   On the ship while the rest were waking, Raesh took the distraction of Brel's waking to begin to untie Saar using a subtle Esotery. The captain noticed, unfortunately, and had a guard loose a crossbow bolt into Raesh as a lesson, which prevented much progress in that direction for the moment. After ignoring Neve's protests for some time, the captain had a brief discussion of her Narwhal family history as members of the Ledon (in the Sea Kingdom of Ghan) nobility. He seemed unhappy this problem had arisen, and unsure how to deal with her.
   Fortunately, the party took this situation out of his hands, with Saar surprising everyone by having an extra set of limbs sprout from the sides of his chest. While he started to use these to remove his bonds, the captain ordered his guards to attack him, to little effect. The others used the distraction to free all but Neve. A tense situation indeed.
« Last Edit: 00:04, Thursday 25 Feb, 2016. by Gnarl »

Offline Gnarl

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  • Adam
Re: Observations
« Reply #5 on: 00:04, Thursday 25 Feb, 2016. »

   Once untied Arnott reached into somewhere else, somewhere unseen, and withdrew a purple coloured synth monocle, which he passed to Jered. He thought this might serve as a replacement for the Bi-Eye of Far Seeing that Jered was alleged to have stolen from the Emol family on a visit in Harmuth. Meanwhile, Neve used an Esotery to free the rest of Saar's bonds, which allowed him to strike out and severely hurt one of the guards attacking him. While Brel remained fully prepared for any moves against him, Arnott swung on a rope, kicking one of the guards clear off of the Gondalight. Brel was disappointed as the guards all attacked Saar, one of them managing to find a gap in his plating, while the seemingly unphased Captain Horrek placed a red pill in his mouth. One of the women of Armalu's Tithe peered over the edge of the ship to see what was happening, when the guard flying past her swiftly answered her query. Neve was in turn untied by Raesh, and then Jered had the presence of mind to call for a moment of peace and talk, which was thankfully agreed to.
   Captain Horrek was more than happy to explain that he didn't really want any of the party for any reason, apart from Jered and (ideally) Arnott to return with him to Harmuth. The object he believed that had been stolen would also be a nice addition, but his main mission was to retrieve Jered himself. Horrek informed the party that the Emol family believed that Jered was the father to Ushsnt Roun Emol's newly expected child, with Ushsnt currently the heir to the family. An unusual family, composed entirely of men, whose method of their continued lineage was not generally known. Horrek did relate that there were few who could aid in the propagation of the Emol family, and those that could became members, with their every need catered for. Horrek displayed great passion in his speech expressing his wish to return to the comforts of Harmuth, and that Jered should return with him. Arnott was the purview of the two women riding the aneen, as far he was concerned, and not someone whose fate strongly vexed him.
   Jered agreed to return to Harmuth, as long as the rest of the group were allowed to come with him. And so peace was achieved, although the party's weapons were still kept under lock and key despite Jered's arguments. Horrek took Jered below decks, while Arnott, Raesh and Neve spent some time figuring out how the ship's sails functioned. Captain Horrek bellowed out numbers, to which the slaves responded by pulling ropes on the side and main sails, and then using long and thin pieces of wood to push the vessel along. Arnott proved to be a natural at intuiting these methods, even realising where he might cut to cause difficulties with the vessel. He was distracted from this exercise when Melbae Soran, a sergeant in the Tithe, came aboard to have a chat.
   Not tall, with a round face and short purple hair, dressed roughly, she attempted to persuade him to return to Navarene. That the consequences would not be very dire if he did so and made a report. Also that freedom was a relative concept, and that only if he had committed grave crimes would they not allow him to continue in his role. After Raesh mentioned the previous comments of the other scout Cicia, regarding memory, did Melbae reluctantly admit that the heads of Armalu's Tithe operate a Numenera. One that removed the memories of deserters until they didn't remember why they deserted in the first place and so normally returned home. Neve believed that it would require a connection to him; either something on him, or something of his they had. Nothing came to mind however.
   The group then had two hours or so to rest, meditate and repair, before reconvening for a discussion. Raesh related how he knew the purpose of the Ruby Pill they had seen Horrek place in his mouth before, when they first broke free, that it would allow somebody to return to their home if swallowed. Jered shared his true lack of enthusiasm for returning to Harmuth, and therefore openness to suggestions to avoid this. While Jered wished to avoid as much violence as possible, by forcing Horrek to swallow the Pill and perhaps intimidating the guards to surrender. However, most of the others thought some bloodshed would be necessary. This council was interrupted by the Captain bringing the ship to a sharp halt, having spotted an object ahead.

   Sharing his telescope with Jered, he pointed out a large capsule shaped object lying in a large gap between dunes ahead of them. Discussing the possibilities, the party believed it to be the item carried by the Saar-like robots they saw just previous to entering the dust fall the previous day, and so recommended an approach. While the Gondalight moved closer, Raesh noticed the glinting of metal around the top of one of the dunes, and saw that  was where the robots were hiding. Approaching nonetheless, the learned folks decided that the five metre long, two metre wide synth brown capsule was fairly difficult penetrate, and certainly immune to fire. The murden inside seemed to be bouncing a ball against the side.
   Horrek pulled the Gondalight to a sudden halt in front of the capsule and murden within. Saar, Jered and Neve jumped and climbed down to talk to the captive abhuman. Motioning calm, the murden had a Saar-like unit dig up from under the ground and move around the capsule, where it began speaking. Indicating that the person actually communicating with them was the murden in the pod, and it was simply controlling the metal and crystal construct in front of them. The murden told them how it was there to kill Raesh, but didn't wish any others any harm especially as it knew the kindness Neve had previously shown to one of its kind. The rest of its people were been given sanctuary at the Scorpion Sanctum as the Convergence had a method of blocking the annoying buzzing that naturally followed them everywhere they went, causing their lack of welcome wherever they went. In exchange for this sanctuary the murden did some tasks for the Convergence, such as killing Raesh. The murden explained that Raesh had killed his master to gain his master's power, but then had fled. It said it could not return without completing its mission. It could not lie and pretend it had fulfilled his job, as the Magisters could penetrate these deceits. It emphasised that it would like to avoid as much conflict as it could.
   Everybody returned to the ship to decide on their course of action. Raesh related his version of events, that he had been kept captive, and then taken out into the desert by his master Chainson. Here Chainson had told him he was becoming too powerful and attempted to kill him with lightning, but he had defended himself and so it was Chainson who had reached a fatal end. Some, especially Arnott, were sceptical and felt handing him over to the murden would be best. In the end a kinder option was chosen. With some implied suggestions from the murden, and agreement of it temporarily suppressing its telepathic communication, Jered persuaded it they had killed Raesh.
   It asked if it might have the Cypher that Raesh had taken from Chainson, a small tube adorned with dials and buttons. To this, they regrettably informed the murden that Captain Horrek had taken the device, and he was refusing to acquiesce to its return. The murden took this with grace, and wished to give Neve a gift in parting. When she and Saar moved back to the ground, the other Saar-like units had moved over to retrieve the capsule. The one speaking handed her a seashell, but emphasised it was important that it was solely for Neve, while the capsule was carried away. She realised as the murden left that this gift was a Cypher to protect against large explosions, and so she recommended that the rest of the party leave at a fast pace. While the ship turned and started to move away, Saar ran, and then a great detonation occurred at Neve's location.
« Last Edit: 13:26, Monday 07 Mar, 2016. by Gnarl »

Offline Gnarl

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Re: Observations
« Reply #6 on: 13:30, Monday 07 Mar, 2016. »

   Neve was probably the most fortunate, the gift from the murden springing into life and surrounding her in a (quite literal) protective shell. Being at the centre of the explosion she flew a long distance in her oyster-like pod before landing far back on their route, but fortunately emerging safely. Saar was less lucky, running from the immediate area, but alas not fast enough to avoid getting caught in the explosion and the following rain of acid regardless. Prioritising Neve over his own safety, he continued his speedy traversing of the sands towards her, his outer surface smoking worryingly.
   The rest of the party on the Gondalight watched as Captain Horrek barked out some brief commands to the slaves manning the sails and poles to leave in all haste, and headed quickly below to the control room. When the compression wave reached the ship it started to tumble aft over bow, weighing much less than its size and shape would suggest. Brel was extremely unfortunate, slipping on a unexpected patch of grease or oil and colliding his poor head with the ship surface and falling into unconsciousness, and soon after tumbling off of the ship to the sand below as the ground changed its orientation. Arnott and Raesh soon followed, suffering through the acid rain that occurred soon after, and then heading towards Neve carrying their comrade Brel. The Gondalight eventually landed on its base once more, the Captain immediately beginning repairs.
   Saar reached Neve before the others, but his outer plating was in a poor state. When the rest (save Jered) arrived and had just started to pull themselves together they were disturbed by Melbae arriving on her Aneen and requesting their help with Cicia, who had recklessly charged off in pursuit of the Murden. Arnott and Saar acquiesced and mounted the Aneen with her and departed, leaving the still unconscious Brel in the care of Raesh and Neve. The awake members of those remaining behind were somewhat surprised by the head of the Saar unit that had been at the middle of the detonation landing near them, and then even more taken aback at the voice of Chainson emitting from it. Now Chainson had been a fellow student of Neve's, but had also been Raesh's captor. He now seemed to be communicating through the head to ensure that Raesh had been killed, which Neve seemed to convince Chainson he had. They also discussed various other Nano matters before Neve made decidedly sure that the device was no longer able to communicate. She and Raesh then moved Brel on to one half of the protective shell and started to move back towards the ship.
   Thankfully for their backs, on the journey back Brel recovered consciousness and had the current situation explained to him. When they arrived at the ship they found Horrek had finished his repairs that had taken the form of some sort of Cypher that had covered the holes caused by the acid rain in a light foamy synth. He informed them that the fatalities from the incident included five of the eight slaves, leaving him with only three culovas in servitude, and also might include Jered if they didn't take some preventative action soon. Jered had tried to take shelter in the store cabin on the deck but had shared it with a number of barrels of water and other stored essentials. These had escaped their bonds had given him a number of blows leaving him in a poor state, skull cracked and blood still running from his head. Neve searched him or anything useful and found his healing grenade, and so planned to use it as soon as the others returned. She did her best to stabilise him as much as possible until then.

   Saar and Arnott had a somewhat uncomfortable but short journey past the newly forming and terribly smelling lake of acid at the epicentre of the recent explosion, to where Cicia was battling the Saar units. She was using the cover of dunes to perform duck and cover tactics in a rather uninhibited fashion when they arrived, while some of the robots returned fire with a sort of tubular device that loosed small explosive balls. After some debate a retreat was indicated.
   On their return they discerned a blinking light somewhat around the new lake, as did Brel from the deck of the Gondalight. Brel tried to wave them over to the ship (as Jered was a concern for them all), but Arnott did not seem able to understand his message and so the scouting party moved to investigate this light. Saar was riding with Cicia, who appeared to have a slightly less careful attitude to the hazards than Melbae, and so reached there first. He found a bolt of harnessed lightning in a crystal, which they handled carefully, and then on the return the torso of the Saar unit from the centre of the explosion, surprisingly well preserved. While Arnott was beaten to the first two punches, he did find three connected tablets of etched stone half immersed in acid, which he felt noteworthy enough to retrieve.

   When they finally reached the Gondalight there was little time spared before the Cypher of healing was activated, generously including all the injured guards, slaves and the seemingly fine Captain Horrek. While he got the ship under way towards the south once more, with some of the party helping with the polling  given the lower level of manpower available, others saw to different tasks. Neve replaced Saar's damaged plating from the unit they had found, while Raesh began the translation of the tablets. After they had cleared the area and the smell was thankfully starting to fade, a vision appeared over the horizon to the south.
   From east to west, slowly emerging from the haze at the edge of vision, Angulan Knights riding Xi-Drakes appeared, stretching the entire width of the northern border with Navarene. At least fifty could be seen by the party before the obscured by the night falling. The repairs were finished, tablets were translated and Neve informed those on board of the nobility of the knights and their non-partisan attitude, as the darkness fell. They then encountered the unusual obstacle of a Xi-Drake and knight sitting across their path.

Offline Gnarl

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Re: Observations
« Reply #7 on: 17:07, Wednesday 09 Mar, 2016. »

   All save Saar left the Gondalight to meet with the Angulan Knight sitting upon her Xi-Drake, and Captain Horrek and one of his gaurds deigned to join them. After the party had explained their presence (with some mild accusations of kidnapping laid at the Captain's feet), the Knight introduced herself as Knight-Commander Bish Novalar, second highest ranking Knight in their current expedition. She suggested that they have a slightly more civilised conversation on board the ship, able to trust their intentions as her Xi-Drake companion would be able to discern if they told untruths (as they are known to have psychic ability).
   On the short walk back to the ship Neve and Arnott both began to have suspicions that Raesh was not himself. Arnott noticed that Raesh had worryingly placed a Cypher on himself such that it would discharge itself into his own body, and so Arnott subtly disconnected it, while Neve used her Nano senses to realise that Chainson was somehow possessing Raesh's body. When she started to confront him, Arnott took the more direct approach of attempting to render him unconcious with his shield. Surprisingly Raesh, with more grace than he usually displayed, dodged the blow but protested his innocence. Arnott struck again regardless and then Raesh started to intone foreign syllables. Realising this was probably related to the stone tablets they had found near the lake of acid, they attempted to stop him. Arnott ignited a Cypher that bright lights flew out of but sadly none impacted Raesh, while Brel attempted to strike at the sonorously speaking teenager with the flat of his sword.
   His utterances caused a thick stone wall to appear between him and all but the closest, Brel. Thankfully Brel's skill with his blade allowed him to strike Raesh around the head gently enough to not cause lasting damage, but strongly enough to disable him. While they were pondering how reform their group Bish demanded an explanation, and received one apparently adequate to her requirements. She then called her drake Fortune to help, who picked up Raesh and dropped him aboard the ship, where he was restrained with wire.
   Bish then set upon finishing relating the reason for the Knights dramatic appearance at the recent sunset. The Knights had been informed of the unusual activity of crystals by a Thremody Marcelell, a non-papacy affiliated Aeon Priest in Uxphon, and that the damage they could cause had the potential to be extremely harmful and widespread. The Knights believed that the Convergence were responsible, and that a show of force would hopefully cause them to rescind their foolish actions and return the crystals to senescence. An approach to Scorpion Sanctum and parley was planned for three hours after dawn the following morning. Neve began to tell Bish of the vision they had experienced, and of the party's theories regarding the crystals.
   Part way through this discussion, Raesh exploded in fire, throwing back the guard watching him and sending Raesh over the edge of the Gondalight. As he started to flee methods of disabling him were put forward, but the Bish simply called her drake over to retrieve him instead. Before being dropped back to the deck, he did set himself on fire once more, to little consequence other than to irritate the Drake, Fortune. Jered took on the role of healer, seeing to the guard's burns first and then helped splint (but also cunningly disable) Raesh's leg, injured in his recent excursion. While still (somewhat poorly) denying his changed identity Raeshson indicated that this situation may not have been entirely intentional. And more, that the Convergence were unlikely to take a conciliatory position in response to the Angulan Knights actions, but that Chainson might disagree with the generally violent reaction that the rest of Magisters and Magistrixes of the Scorpion Sanctum were likely to have. If they helped him reset Chainson so he could again speak to the other members of the Convergence he might be able to help resolve this peacefully. Further, if Neve reactivated the Saar unit head he may be able to communicate with the group.
   With Neve's aid, it proved quite simple to achieve this, but unfortunately there was no immediate return of the genuine Raesh with him seeming to fall into a deep slumber. Neve completed her interrupted tale to Bish, and Bish informed them that the Navarene response had been expectedly militaristic. The armies of Navarene had begun massing troops at the border to the south of the party, as it was rumoured that Queen Armalu believed this crystal situation to be a Gaian (the allegedly warlike civilisation to the north of Skyfields) move. Bish then thanked them for the information and had to return to other Knights, but promised to return at dawn to hear any further intelligence they might have. Jered attempted to cajole around to the opinion that Captain Horrek's duty was to stay, or to at least let them remain here while Horrek returned to safer lands. The Captain was not persuaded and intended to continue moving south throughout the night.

   Despondently, the group lay down for the night. Jered seeming to have form a strong relationship with the guard he tended to, a gentleman called Rossom, talking to him for some time before sleep about what seemed important matters. They were awoken in the morning by the return of Knight-Commander Bish who had brought an ally, the Aeon Priest Thremody. Thremody seemed to be previously acquainted with Jered and was pleased to see him, but Bish and her were disappointed to hear that Chainson had not made contact in the night. Bish was also somewhat disconcerted to see Saar on the deck, but Neve assured her that he was but a simple servant. Still somewhat unsure, as similar beings had been seen in the use of the Convergence, Bish pressed further until Neve felt pressured into (privately) informing Bish how deactivate them. Thremody, meanwhile, seemed more interested in Brel, questioning him about his origins and his interactions with the crystals he had encountered. Obviously quite knowledgeable on the subject, she felt he might have somehow activated the Skyfield's current activities, but was disappointed that did not seem to be the case from what she heard.
   She and Jered moved aside to have a separate conversation on topics I can only assume are the ones normally shared a little later in relationships.

Offline Gnarl

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Re: Observations
« Reply #8 on: 23:10, Saturday 19 Mar, 2016. »

   After Brel and I had finished our conversation, the ground started moving in a direction it traditionally abhors - directly upwards. Captain Horrek was distressed by the drit and sand impacting the base of the Gondalight and hurried below deck, swearing and calling out his command numbers. His was quickly followed by Rossom, Jered's new guard friend. Neve, Saar and Knight Commander Bish were returning to the Gondalight and were still on the ground at that time. They suggested this might be one the gravitational anomalies they had been expecting from the activation of the Cloud Crystals, and their expertise was proved as the ship suddenly inverted and began accelerating towards the sky.
   Those on board did not seem head ground wards however, seemingly held to the deck as tightly as before. Raesh, tied and paralysed, wormed his way towards the edge slowly while Brel gracefully dodged a large rock divings directly towards a serious head injury. Those on the ground simply watched the ship rise above them, left with little other recourse. Then, the ship reached its zenith. And began to fall. Raesh made the edge and managed to exit via the side, but defied the trend of the rest of the vessel by slowly floating downwards rather than falling at breakneck speed. He also kindly allowed one of the guards to descend slowly with him. While most of the other passengers braced themselves for impact, Jered took quick command of the situation, ordering the Aeon Priest Thremody to revolve the ship upright, and the remaining guards and Culova to aid her. The Gondalight performed a surprisingly neat spin, and landed solidly but safely against the ground, followed shortly by Raesh and his cargo drifting down.

   In the calm moments immediately following the landing they all noticed Captain Horrek, taking the form of a translucent red figure, floating away south-westerly high up in the sky. He must have taken his pill. While Jered fixed his leg, Raesh related his experiences of the previous night. He had appeared in the body of Chainson at the Scorpion Sanctum, and had been privy to some of the inhabitants' meeting regarding their response to topical events. They had apparently not instigated the crystals activation, but were endeavouring to worsen the situation, as well as making life difficult for the Angulan Knights by upsetting the local fauna. Further, they were planning an strategy of aggression and mind manipulation to decisively remove the Knights, and evacuation of the Sanctum if things went against them. A fair negotiation seemed not to be their preference. Bish listened intently, and then indicated that she should return to the rest of the Knights to inform them of this information.
   Before she had left, Raesh discovered that Chainson, while in control of his body, had begun to fashion some sort of teleportation device from the materials available to him. While crude, it would allow up to ten people to enter the heart of the Scorpion Sanctum but only when the Cypher had been properly tuned. This could take longer than the time allotted before the talks were agreed to start in just over an hour. And so the group hatched a plan. They would attend the parley between the Knights and the Convergence, and Jered would attempt to negotiate with them. Bish was persuaded to aid this action - she support his promotion to diplomat and call the Drakes of her comrades to fly them to the site where talks would occur. Meanwhile, Raesh and Neve would attempt to engineer the teleportation Cypher to functionality before their arrival, as a back up option. Arnott, having left with the Armaru's Tithe scouts the previous night, would catch up with them. Bish then departed, intending to return soon with their transportation.
   The guards had been having their own conference over their actions now their commander had departed. It reached a heated point when Rossom raised a subject the other three obviously took offence to, and violence threatened to break the calm. Brel was leaping valiantly to Rossom's defence, but Jered's commanding tones reached them first, calming them quickly. On reflection they decided to remain and protect the Gondalight, apart from Rossom, who would keep watch over Jered. Raesh, however, had suddenly launched in to the air on a pillar of fire, presumably from also attempting to come to Rossom's aid. Landing some distance away, and walking back, on his return he told all how he briefly spotted a figure. A figure similar to those with the unusual eyes the party had encountered around the monolith two days previously.
   Gathering their possessions all those planning on leaving for the parley went to search for this creature. Saar spotted her first, hiding in the dirt under a scrub. Not taking any risks, he approached her at speed tackling her to the ground when she stood. Unfortunately, she was more fragile than she first appeared and required Jered's aid in recovering afterwards to a state where she would be able to communicate. On closer inspection she did appear very similar to those they had seen before, expect that she had one very large eye (with a eye within another eye) and a set of small light blue eyes around the top of her head, like a broken line of a crown or halo. When she awoke she was very agitated, but thankfully Neve had formed some sort of mental connection with her and managed to calm her. It was decided to take her to the conference, as the Artifact was too much a part of her head to be removed, and she seemed to be able to communicate with the monolith. And it had some ideas as to how to stop the sky crystals.

   But first they had to persuade the riders of the five Xi-Drakes that had landed nearby of that need. Which, with some resistance on the part of the Knights, they did. And so the group took to the air, with Saar in the slightly less comfortable position of being carried in a the tail of his conveyance. Sweeping over the sands and scrub at high speed they saw crystals, strange creatures and gangs of bandits passing below them. Jered almost saw them too closely when one gravity eddy nearly dismounted him.
   And then, in the distance, a strange and twisted tall dark building appeared over the horizon. It looked to spiral around towards a point from a wide base, becoming progressively thinner, but never seeming to fully disappear. Some distance off from the Scorpion Sanctum was a protective ring formed of Drakes, with a leading figure at one open end facing towards the tower. They landed just within time before the diplomacy had begun, but unfortunately Raesh's work on the Cypher was not complete. There would be no porting into the tower. For now. After landing, Jered met with Master Knight Erance Noriban, the highest ranking member of the Angulan Knights present, and the man who was about start the talks (when the Convergence arrived). The elderly man was convinced to let Jered speak in his stead, and so Jered took the centre position.
« Last Edit: 23:13, Saturday 19 Mar, 2016. by Gnarl »

Offline Gnarl

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  • Adam
Re: Observations
« Reply #9 on: 16:33, Sunday 27 Mar, 2016. »

   It was a tense time as the moment of the meeting between the Angulan Knights and the Convergence arrived. The large dark spiral some distance away began to uncurl, and started to resemble a very tall structure made of black glass. Jered, standing slightly in front of the assembled Knights and the rest of the group, was surprised when a ring of twisting and distorting space (about eight metres across) began to form around him. A few seconds later, the top of the building seemed to snap down towards them and then immediately return to its former upright position. Sullenly, it then curled up once more. As the building has flicked down, the ring had raised to form a dome of shifting distortions of space around Jered and he was now sharing it with a Masgitrix of the Convergence.
   She was almost completely covered by a long black robe, traditional garb for a member of the Convergence, just leaving her head visible. She had long lustrous blonde hair above a striking, if elderly and severe, face. The robe seemed to extend outwards as it descended from her shoulders, to a rough circle at her waist with six small bulges spaced around this circle, and no legs showing below the bottom of her robes. From the outside the dome it was difficult to make out was happening within, and no sound seemed to escape the swirling surface.
   Soon after it formed, Arnott arrived on another Xi-Drake and handed blooded organs to Saar and Neve, alleging their use as Cyphers. Neve had been quietly communicating with the unfortunate woman with the Bi-Eye implanted in her, and shared this information with the members of the party outside the dome. She believed a way to stop the destructive actions of the floating Sky Crystals involved acquiring a Philethis mirror, the part formed the (for want of a better word) head of the strange teleporting creature. Luckily (as active Philethis are known to be tricky to catch), she also knew where one of these items could be found. It was the broken specimen they had seen in their earlier vision, amazingly still in existence but now encased at the bottom of the Crowd City. While Neve was sharing this, Jered and the Magistrix had talked for some time. And Master Knight Erance Noriban decided he had exhausted his patience. He was too concerned for Jered's safety and frustrated at what else might be taking place in the barely visible interior of the dome, so endeavoured to force entry with the help of the other Knights. The conference ended shortly after, as the dome suddenly expanded outwards as a maelstrom of twisting space that broke those it passed through.
   Thankfully, the majority of the assembled people managed to outpace the destructive forces on the Xi-Drakes, save the nearest Knights, Erance (who bravely charged into the middle of the fray) and the Gondalight guard Rossom. The distortion wave formed bands as it grew, allowing the Xi-Drakes to evade them. As the party circled back around they saw the Scorpion Sanctum rearing up and whipping down repeatedly at a number of locations in the surrounding locale. It seemed to be depositing hundreds of the Saar-like units, and we could see that they were immediately hostile to any knights entering their range.

   As the group landed they saw Jered urgently tending to Rossom's wounds - he was quite a bad way, but thankfully would survive. It was decided he would return to the Knight's main camp to recover. While the Knights regrouped, there was discussion as to the next course of action. Jered related his lack of faith in Magistrix Casatile's sanity after their talk, and the consequent unlikelihood of a peaceful resolution. During these events, Raesh had finished tuning the teleportation device to enter the heart of the Sanctum. Knight Commander Bish wanted to use it for an aggressive but perilous assault on the Convergence, but did not attempt to force the issue when the party decided to keep it safe and unused for now. Instead, Bish agreed to have some Knights transport them to the Crowd City to search for the fragmented mirror while she returned to the Knight's main camp. She would now be looked to for guidance, Erance having not survived his charge leaving her as the highest ranking Knight.
   Now, Neve had combined two Cyphers to aid in the search while the discussions had been occurring. One was a small bar of the servant insects, and the other was one that allowed a different device to awake to some sort of conciousness in other Numenera. This initially just seemed to cause the insects to consume the other device, but after a few minutes, Brel was shocked by them suddenly talking directly into his mind. The insects were very confused by what had happened to them, yet seemed certain that they were servants of Brel's. With the others help Brel managed to calm them and place them within a bag for their journey. And so they set off for the Crowd City.

   Knight Marshall Flen Yamorian was the ranking Knight with them, with only two other Knights journeying with, as three of the Xi-Drakes had lost their previous lifelong companions. As they soared through the skies, they saw the large numbers of Saar units moving out from the Sanctum, and also a significant number of hostile creatures and bandits roaming the plains below them. The Convergence were causing the Fallen Fields to become a dangerous place to travel through. Once the group had landed in an area mostly clear of the large fragments of crystal common to the centre of the Fields, Brel asked the servant insects to retrieve the mirror. Neve, with the help of Bi-Eye and the Lord's Sight, gave him the location, which he passed on. The insects believed it would be easiest to burrow underneath the city to a point closest to where the mirror was, and then go up to it from there. This deep delving would take a day or so for them to complete, however. As the Bi-Eyed  woman had been here before and had experienced no success in finding another way down, they decided to settle in.
   Jered read a Cypher, which exhausted it but did provide refreshments, which the Knights partook of before they left, with Flen saying he would check on them every six or so hours. As the insects finished off the leftovers they planted some eggs on the underside of the table. This led to some spirited discussion about the risks of their existence, for the present and for the future. Afterwards, Raesh, Saar and Jered decided that they would explore the City as they had little else to do. Saar would keep an open mental communication with Neve while they did so, for both of their safety.
   Their expedition seemed to be proceeding well, with only Saar having some issues with the synth-crystal covering the area repeatedly attempting to slowly absorb him. The city seemed to comprise mostly low one or two storey buildings, with the occasional very tall building. There were openings for doors, and sometimes for windows, and inside some basic shapes of furniture. And disturbingly, everything was made of crystal-like synth covering the shapes of people and animals. After some time of navigating this ghoulish landscape, they found another Saar-like unit almost completely embedded in the substance at the outskirts of the city. Saar called for Neve's assistance with it, and so the rest of the party moved to meet them.
   On the walk to meet up with them, Arnott noticed a rumbling emanating from the ground suggestive of an arrival from below. Neve, Brel, Arnott and the Bi-Eye woman scattered, whatever it was rising from beneath Brel's feet. The others, more focused on the city and the unit, failed to notice a similar occurrence and so were all caught by the creature as it rose.

Offline Gnarl

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Re: Observations
« Reply #10 on: 15:53, Monday 11 Apr, 2016. »

   They were large, at least eight metres long and probably almost the same across, and looked like some sort of beetle made of sand. This continued to stream off of them after they emerged, eventually revealing a kind of resin and sand composite underneath, which proved to be quite gooey and clinging when touched. It had four legs, and another two limbs having what appeared to be mandibles at their ends, mostly to be used for digging through the ground and to snatch up people. After one burrowed up from below them Saar and Jered were both caught by the creature before they had time to react, and abducted as it headed back underground . Raesh's ability to hover was the only thing that saved him from a similar fate.
   Neve, Brel, the Bi-Eye person and Arnott were more prepared, and had scattered. The Beetle still managed to arise beneath Brel, catching him in it's right mandible, before turning quicker than could be expected and also catching Neve in it's other claw. Arnott mounted the bug, even as it  moved to chase Bi-Eye, and seemed to commune with it. This did not seem to have much of an effect, unfortunately. As Raesh came gliding over the top of one of the large crystals strewn about, Neve activated a Cypher that fired electricity through the Beetle, and also Arnott, that caused the to freeze in place, save for some residual spasms.
   Neve struggled out of its hold, found Arnott where he fell and started to pull him away from the creature. Brel, after discovering it held him in unbreakable grip, cunningly used his incredibly sharp black synth sword to remove the appendage holding him, promptly removing its head for good measure. Raesh threw a torrent of fire from above scorching some of the surface sand away. a few seconds late, both the Beetle and Arnott regained control of their bodies. The creature, cowed,  began to flee down and away, while forming replacements for the parts lost. Raesh bid it farewell with a last ball of flame.
   After it had escaped they investigated the parts it had left behind. It was found to be entirely a sand and viscous fluid synth mixture all the way through, even its head, apart from a Cypher embedded deep within. Raesh and Neve used the Lord's Sight to search for their kidnapped companions, finding that there was a few of these Beetles slowly emerging from the very bottom of the Crowd City, seemingly from smaller versions still embedded in the synth-crystal. Saar and Jered were held within one of the Beetles, unmoving but probably still alive.
   Chainson decided on this moment to make contact through the Saar unit head Neve carried. He shared little useful information, other than the Convergence had mostly left the Sanctum and had been lied to by Magistrix Casatile. She had told the rest of the Magisters and Magistrixes the Angulan Knights had offered unreasonable terms that would never have been accepted. He ignorant of the outcome of using a Philethis mirror to return the Skycrystals to their passive state, or the location of one, but intimated he would search for one amongst the Convergence’s archives. He also asked after Raesh's state, but it was felt imprudent to give him an answer.
   After the conversation had finished, they all decided to investigate the Saar unit almost completely found earlier. Almost completely encased in the Crowd City, at one of the city's edges, Jered, Raesh and Saar Prime had been examining it before the appearance of the Beetles. Neve talked to it in some invisible fashion and found that it was mostly non-functional, but had itself been investigating the area two months previously. While they headed back, one of the intelligent insects reported in to Brel. Digging the tunnel towards the broken mirror was proceeding apace, but they also hadn't seen any evidence of the Sand Beetles near their tunnel.
   Thinking that the Beetles, if tamed, would be very useful in their underground excavations, they discussed how best to tempt them back out. Seeing no direct avenues available, but confident that eventually the creatures would return, they settled in to wait. After two hours or so,  Knight Marshall Flen Yamorian returned, as promised, to check they were well. The Knights had been having a hard time of it, but were persevering against the Convergence’s forces so far. The only worry was the Cacs. These were a large abhuman group of bandits native to the Cloudcrystal Skyfields, normally nomadic and never forming groups larger than thirty, all those the Knights had seen had been slowly moving towards the party's position. Not directly or deliberately, but as if by a series coincidences in their normal random motion. Thankfully, they remained at least a day away for now. Neve told him to expect more attacks from Convergence, particularly at their reserve camps, having learned this from Chainson. The party declined any aid from the Knights, and so Flen said he or another of them would check on them once more at some point that evening.
   Work on the tunnel progressed as clouds seemed to be form over the Fallen Fields. And it was getting surprisingly cold for summer in the middle of the desert. Brel remembered a story he had heard back at the monastery that might explain this, of a battle that occurred between the nation of Navarene and Uxhpon. After the large and bloody battle, clouds began to form over the Skyfields and soon after it began to snow and continued so for a number of days. After the snow had cleared, the bodies left on the battlefield had disappeared.
   Then around dusk, with little warning, a Sand Beetle returned! This time it had grown to a gigantic size, enough to fill the clearing they were based in at least twenty metres across. Raesh floated up, out of its range, but Neve was unfortunate enough to be caught by one of its dual mandibles once more. Brel and Arnott climbed up on to its vast back, Arnott hoping the connection he felt before might be enough to allow him to control the beast.

Offline Gnarl

  • Posts: 149
  • Adam
Re: Observations
« Reply #11 on: 23:45, Sunday 17 Apr, 2016. »

   It threw Neve aside, her impression of someone recently departed convincing enough to persuade the Sand Beetle to release her. While Raesh floated down to see how she was faring, the creature began to roll over, throwing Brel aside and pulling Arnott underneath it. As it turned, Jered was expelled from within the creature, nimbly landing, strapping a Cypher to his arm and firing lightning at the Beetle in one smooth action. If his aim had been true, his arrival would not have been more impressive.
   Raesh found Neve to be in better health than he initially thought, and so pushed off in to the air with her in tow, following a wide arc over the chaos below. As the Beetle turned on Jered and Brel (who had ended up near each other) Arnott came out the other side of the rolling Beetle looking no worse for wear, save a little sand. Jered loosed some lightning that struck its mark, just before the creature's pinchers came for both him and Brel. Brel easily stepped around its clumsy grab, taking the opportunity to cut deeply in to the Beetle, carving chunks of sand and gooey synth from it. Jered, obviously distracted by the use of the lightning Cypher did not move with the same pace and was caught by a giant mandible.
   Brel quickly reacted, severing the appendage almost immediately. But fast enough, as the unheld Cypher shot Jered through with electricity before he could recover it. Thankfully, he regained control in time to send the final bolt flying harmlessly into the air. Arnott levelled his bow at the creature, that had significantly shrunk since it had been set about by Brel, and released an arrow directly into its centre. The piercing of the outer shell seemed to have little deleterious effect on the Beetle, unfortunately. By this time, Raesh had carried Neve over the top of the moving creature even as it was increasingly hidden by a layer of separated sand as it was butchered by Brel.
   Neve divined that there was actually a smaller organic version of the Beetle at the centre of the sandy mass, and relayed this to her companions. Arnott took up his sword, and cut his way deep into the middle of the newly formed dune. As he disappeared, the mandibles continued to thrash about at Brel and Jered. For a moment, it looked like Jered would be caught once more, before guardian Brel pushed him out of the way just in time, only to be entrapped by both claws himself at the next strike. As the giant sand pincers seemed to be spelling the end for Brel, they collapsed to the more commonplace state for sand, that of immobility.
   Peace descended across the clearing. Broken as Arnott emerged from beneath the sand. He was holding the small Beetle that had been controlling the giant outer shell and had become friends with the insect, it being a descendent of the being(s) the group inhabited in the vision (that of the insect city of the past). It seemed that the intelligence carrying insects that Saar and Arnott had been viewing from were, millions of years later, still very barely conscious. Their anger had caused the parts of them they could wrest control of to inflict this wrath upon the the party. Arnott, being perceived as remaining part of them, could command the small Beetle himself. Happy with this resolution, the others shook themselves off and began clearing the sand away to find what was hidden underneath.

   And this turned out to be quite some treasures. Most prosaically, the tunnel entrance was uncovered, and their travelling gear retrieved. Joyfully, Saar was also found, although in some form of stasis, the synth crystal penetrating deep into his workings. Neve believed this torpor would retreat in time, and that there was danger in any attempt to accelerate the process. Other treasures found buried within the sand shell of the Sand Beetle were three different bugs, all of which could be seen as Cyphers. One caused great consternation amongst the group, an insect with a long, slightly glowing abdomen. It could cause devastation over a large area, which would then linger for quite some time. The possibility of using it to destroy the Scorpion Sanctum was strongly mooted, before being shelved for the present as both too risky, and too ethically dubious.
   Arnott's new friend not having any way to presently speed the process of retrieving the Philethis mirror, the party once more settled in to wait for the sapient insects beholden to Brel to complete their excavations. As darkness completely fell they set up camp in the tunnel, as it was the most defensible place to settle in for the night. A few hours after dark, while all but Arnott slept, a Angulan Knight passed overhead. Arnott signalled the man to the ground, and called the others to hear his counsel. The Knight introduced himself as Ushsnt Roun, of the rank of Knight Avenger, and he returned a renewed Rossom with him. Although Ushsnt's equipment and Xi-Drake didn't seem to be in as spotless condition as the other Knights they had seen, his cheerful attitude helped soften the less than wonderful news he related to them.
   Unable to hide his disappointment that the deactivation was not ahead of schedule, he also could offer no greater insight into the oncoming snow. The Knights continued to be hard pressed by both monster and robot, and had retreated further south. But they had persuaded the Navarene forces to advance north sooner than had been planned, on the day following the oncoming morrow. Worryingly, they had lost sight of the Calcs, the bandits that had been moving in the direction of the Crowd City and the party. Ushsnt reiterated the offer of support of more Knights, and once more was rebuffed, although Jered was notably tempted. He hoped he, or another of his order would return to ascertain their good health, and that they would do so around dawn.

   A few hours later, after they had again bedded down and Neve was keeping watch at the exit, the forecast snow began to fall. Not as raging blizzard, but as soft quiet covering. Not risking venturing out herself, Neve did notice some the intelligent insects drop from the air when risking contact. It was not until the morning, and on questioning the Bi-eye lady, that the mysteries of the white precipitation were revealed. It seemed that some tiny creatures lived on top of the floating Skycrystals, and only awoke when blood covered the sands below. Using an ability to induce snow they then rode these flakes down to the ground, where they consumed the blood and flesh of the dead and then rose back to when they came. It could cause damage to bare skin (or a thin exoskeleton), but was fairly benign compared to other phenomena in the Cloudcrystal Skyfields. It did make it quite chilly though.
   Nearing their goal, and needing Raesh to help melt the sides of the tunnel now the insects couldn't go outside to salvage supports, everybody remained close to the active end of the excavation. Rossom guarded the other end, the one open to air. As the burrowing insects opened up the base face of the crowd city, everybody saw with their eyes what they had only before seen in their minds. The workshop appeared almost exactly as they had previously seen it, another Saar unit sitting on a workbench, and their prize just a couple of metres away from them on a different bench. A couple of metres through synth-crystal, unfortunately.
   But Arnott's new little pal could solve this problem. Using its ability to manipulate the substance of the  Crowd City, it slowly but surely swam into the synth-crystal, dissolving a narrow tube just wide enough for Arnott to squeeze through and finally grab the mirror. As he reverently returned it to the Nanos, Neve was distracted as the Bi-eye woman tugged her sleeve. Opening their silent communication, Neve was distressed to learn that a group of thirty or so Calcs were nearing the clearing the tunnel opened up in. And so they all started to sprint to the entrance of the tunnel to confront them.

Offline Gnarl

  • Posts: 149
  • Adam
Re: Observations
« Reply #12 on: 23:06, Friday 29 Apr, 2016. »

   They needed time, time to reform the Philethis mirror, but the Calc bandits were approaching with alacrity. The party covered the entrance to the tunnel with the camouflage Cypher they had found days ago, when first venturing in to the desert, and then allowed the sand to return to its previous state and seal the end of tunnel off from the outside. When the Calcs reached the clearing they seemed to know that what they sought should be there, but it failed to discover it. This, and their following scouring of the site was seen by Bi-Eyed lady and so related through Neve.
   The Nanos, referring to books, talking, and then carefully welding one broken shard to another, managed to restore the mirror back to its original state. Whole and beautiful, Raesh told everybody it could deactivate the crystals, whereby they would float as they did before waiting to be reactivated once more. Or they could ask the crystals to destroy themselves, removing that risk. In either situation, the Crowd City would melt, releasing those long held prisoner there. Only on the permanent dissolution of the Skycrystals would the insect people that once dwelt there regain their faculties once again. If only deactivated, their society would remain a figure of the past. And so the debate that would decide the fate of a civilisation was held. I counselled Brel that I thought that my ancestors would (in the main) be little threat to nearby peoples. They were unlikely to mistake humans for food, and their thoughts moved so slowly that there would at least be significant warning before any aggressive action. And from what we remember, that was not our way.
   Happily, the final decision was to consign the Skycrystals to legend. The command was given, followed by an unexpected lack of fanfare. While the group pondered what had occurred, the Bi-Eyed lady alerted Neve that the Calcs had discovered the illusion covering the entrance and were beginning to dig! The party swiftly prepared to defend themselves. As the genuine sand wall was breached, as opposed to the horde expected, only one elderly Calc man was at the new gap. His skull and nerves glowing eerily from beneath his skin, as in all Calcs, he demanded the Philethis mirror. Jered, seeing no more use for it, complied. Somewhat taken a back by the ease of completing his task, the Calc left.
   Through the conduit of the artifact fused lady, the party were aware of the events outside. The Calcs were passing the mirror between themselves, becoming increasingly frustrated. Eventually, the same Calc man returned. And this time he demanded that they repaired the device as his superiors had found it unable to meet their needs. Pressed further, the Calc told them that they had seen that the destruction of the entirety of the his race from the use of the mirror, and so they sought to prevent this by acquiring themselves and undoing the damage. On some consideration, this was deemed plausible by the party, the very foundations of the Calcs bodies based on the same crystals as those dissolving above.
   Although the gentleman's threats (of the party's death if his species survival could not be guaranteed) were mildly concerning, it was the more enlightened motivation to prevent the extinction of a thousand people that spurred the group to action. Even if those people were, in the main, fairly disagreeable. So while Jered calmed and occupied their guest, the possibilities were examined. Neve even went out of her way to ask me if the newly awakening beings above might be able to offer aid. Regrettably, I had to tell her that no, our ancestors were very capable but, in all likelihood, the Calcs physiology was just too different. We had never really begun to understand the mirror we had found, and the crystals were of the same character. The only way they had a chance was replace the endemic crystal with a similar but more robust substitute.
   Chainson, with his usual suspicious timing, chose this time to make contact. He had found a Philethis mirror, but was a modicum concerned that it might not be to the required standard as it was in liquid form. For the party's current needs, however, that sounded ideal. In exchange he forced them to agree to kill either King Noren tiKalloban of Iscobal, or the Magistrix Casatile. They reluctantly agreed, displaying grudging preference for the King. After just a few minutes, arrangements had been made and there appeared a glass cylinder filled with a viscous purple fluid in front of them, that looked to be medicine hoped for.
   The next challenge was the administration of the cure. It needed an educated and delicate touch to apply correctly, or it would do no good at all. In conversation with (the surprisingly patient) Calc waiting at the hole to the exterior, it became clear that medical care and academic study were not highly prized by his people. There was not enough time for the party to dispense the solution themselves, and teaching the Calcs in the time available would be beyond the greatest instructor. Neve decided on the unconventional route of imprinting the method within the fluid itself. It would then hopefully pass this along to each Calc treated, and so they could continue to apply the treatment themselves.
   While Neve was interfacing with the liquid, the other Calcs apparently ran out of patience. A number of beams of light struck the man waiting outside, who promptly exploded in a luminescent detonation. Through the narrow view of the now more exposed tunnel, they could see a group of Calcs drop down to the ground from a large crystal above, and move their hands in a synchronised gesture that fired a piercingly bright ray past the party and down the tunnel behind them. Arnott and Raesh returned fire, in one case quite literally. One of the attackers was incinerated instantly, and a clear half were quite toasted. This certainly helped Jered's call to down weapons to be heard, and complied with.
   The Calcs sent a second representative, who shared many characteristics to the first, and Neve carefully applied the treatment to him. After a few moments, it was obvious it was complete success, and the Calc spoke of great understanding he gained from the process. Calling over two of those previously burnt, he aided Neve in their healing, which mended not only their crystal deficiency but also their charred injuries. Hinting they also had experienced new revelations, they perfunctorily thanked the party for saving their entire people, and exited with the container. Worryingly, as they departed they suggested they might make contact with the Frieze  intelligence the group had unpleasant memories of from a few before.

   Trailing the Calcs out, the party saw the clearing surrounded on all sides by the bandits, but reassuringly they were departing. The crystals both on the ground and in the sky seemed to be slowly falling to dust, being carried away on the wind before their eyes. Thoughts turning to other matters, they asked the Bi-Eyed lady the situation at the Crowd City. Those trapped there were emerging as it dissolved, but rather than the distress and confusion one would expect the various people and creatures seemed to be aiding each other, and any conflict appeared rare and quickly resolved.
   As they moved towards the City to see these events in person, they noticed that the snow was no longer falling. As they were walking, the Bi-Eyed woman indicated that she would be departing from the group, now that the Fallen Fields were saved. But Neve saw that this was not her true wishes, but the control of the Frieze exerting itself through the Bi-Eye artifact within her. From afar Neve cowed the thinking statute, forcing it to relinquish its hold upon the nameless woman. And so she remained with us, but now free.
   Upon sighting what had once been the Crowd City, they took in the wonder of thousands of beings, in hundreds of varieties, all emerging from the dust that was once their prison. They were all helping each other, talking if it were possible, or peacefully leaving the area (in the case of the most anti-social). One of the red bubbles released from the monolith some days before, that had been floating around the sky since then, softly landed in front of them. On touch Raesh found that it was an information containing inflatable and contained the activation signal for the cataclysmic Skycrystal weapon, a signal that was only meant to be sent at last resort, if the insects escaped all of their confinements. A signal that had, in a circuitous way, released the very creatures it supposed to contain itself. Alongside this message was a condensed history of the empire the statue-like device had presided over, one of some violence but, perhaps surprisingly, also of some small wisdom.
   As they were probing the Glimmer, a relatively normal appearing woman approached them. Blonde and thin with slightly out of place clothing, she first thanked them on behalf of all those now free. Not seeming entirely certain of the herself, she told the party that those recently released from the City shouldn't need their help, that together (and with the aid of the reactivated servant insects) they should be able to cope by themselves. However, in appreciation for the efforts of the party, the insect that Brel once shared minds with would like to show them visions of their future, if they wished. They wouldn't be perfect, but having shared some level of thought with all those incarcerated, she felt it would be a fairly accurate prediction.
   They all thought for a few minutes, and made their desires known.

Offline Gnarl

  • Posts: 149
  • Adam
Re: Observations
« Reply #13 on: 20:09, Monday 02 May, 2016. »

   Knowledge of the future, even if certain knowledge, is not something everybody wishes for. Rossom was one that preferred ignorance, and so instead patrolled the area around the increasing changed Crowd City. Jered seemed initially interested in seeing the fate of this old and new civilisation in its dealings with its near neighbours, but decided instead to encounter its people face to face (where faces were available). With Saar still not responsive enough to state a preference, this left four of them; Brel, Raesh, Arnott and Neve. And Brel was the first. He wished to know how things would turn out with our order, the Kin of Bukaz. After half an hour or so, a potentiality of what that might be was presented to him.

   It began on the mountainside where our home is. Not within the buildings themselves, but on the path that leads to the site where we first made our compact with those folk that would become the monks and nuns of Bukaz. A hard pilgrimage, that is one of the important steps from novice to Kin, but the weather happened to be with us on that day yet to come. Master Arlon was guiding the party, and conversing with Rossom. The topic, that of the decisions of the Kin regarding the new insect civilisation. Despite being our distant relations, the Order had made the prudent choice to have some infrequent contact, but in the main keep our distance. They were likely to be embroiled in many conflicts, a risk we could ill afford given our remote location and relatively small numbers. Also, they should find their own path, just as our apprentices do when we send them on their way.
   This conversation was suddenly interrupted by the call of a newly emerging adult Bukaz, and the cry sounded a more difficult transition than normal. It came from below us, in a gulley running along side the path. Of the travellers, only Arlon and Brel could hear the sound, and weren't sure what the noise was exactly but it sounded as if someone was in distress, and so they hurried to investigate. Arlon, being greater in years, lagged somewhat behind the others as they skidded or floated down to investigate. When they reached the cave entrance they could see nothing in the darkness but a turn in the cave a short distance in, and the signs of a large creature on the scree surface outside. With the light of Raesh, they headed inside.
   A few steps in they heard the call of a familiar voice from around the corner, demanding to know who had entered. The voice was familiar, but unexpected, that of Knight-Commander Bish Novalar of the Angulan Knights. As she came into view, they found her knelt over the recumbent body of a novice of our order. As the party approached, it became obvious that the poor teenager had departed this world. Her death did not appear recent, or from the result of malice, but her the state of head did appear a little out of place for her current condition. It had collapsed in on itself, particularly around the parts not supported by the skull, such as the eyes and ears. Neve Scanned the poor soul to find the cause of this detail, but this only achieved in giving her some seconds advance notice of the creature emerging from the apprentices mouth.
   Our final form, a butterfly, crawled out of her mouth, and began drying their wings. While I shared how impressive this feat was with Brel, what with her being so young, everyone else was a little surprised. And it said Bish possibly a tad more than just surprised, as she armed herself and her expression shifted to one of anger. She immediately exclaimed wild theories of the Kin of Bukaz being controlled by insects, and that the Skyfields affair had all been a cunning plot to free their brethren. Obviously, these charges were refuted by all, but she was having none of it. She started to edge past everybody and out of the cave, declaring she would return with more Knights to purge the monastery of this supposed evil.
   And bumped into Arlon, who had just caught up with the group. Brel looked to him for guidance, as was appropriate, and he reluctantly confirmed Brel's own thinking. She could not be allowed to leave. A short duel between Brel and Bish followed, where she was disarmed and restrained in fairly short order. Arlon told the others that she would unfortunately have to be kept prisoner and gently cared for by the Kin until she had understood the truth of the situation, or at least conceded their lives were not forfeit. All were briefly concerned when Fortune, Bish's Xi-Drake appeared at the cave mouth, but he thankfully acquiesced to the plan. And as they were carrying the two back to the monastery, and as the new member of our flutter took to the cold mountain air, the vision faded.

   After a brief visit back to the desert, (during which Brel indicated an willingness to allow me to remain with him, much to my relief) we next found ourselves in a drinking establishment, and a rather crowded one at that. Low ceilinged with beams of a slightly glowing wood, we were sitting at a table with two other gentlemen who had a strong resemblance to each other. As they became visible to us, they were enquiring as to whether Raesh would agree to their terms or not. Both nondescriptly dressed Iscoballian men, it would later become clear they were the sons of Sarrowmere, Bren and Kor. We requested further clarification of their proposal, and they were happy to oblige.
   Their main difficulty with Raesh was in the acceptance of his claim of relation to them, given that he was the illegitimate child of their lost mother, in a dream, and with the sun no less. Given that, they only had some small regrets in the cessation of the payments to guarantee Raesh’s survival, but given his presence before them, wanted to clearly resolve the situation. If Raesh (and assumedly us also) would be willing to help in one of their endeavours, a and risky one at that, they would welcome him with open arms. If not, they would have to assume close brotherly affection was not in their future with Raesh, and that the party would most likely have been captured by the Royal Vault's guards in that case. For it was the Vault they wished to rob.
   The brothers would have some of their supporters of cause a distracting amount of civil unrest. Meanwhile the party would slip into the palace, and stealthily proceed down to the Royal vault. Using their wide range of expertise, they would proceed to open this vault, and procure the items within. These items would include the Artifact that would allow Raesh to travel to the world of dreams, as well as vast sums of Shins and various other precious Numenera. They could keep more or less whatever they wanted from the vault, the brothers said, as it would harm the current regime either way. Afterwards Raesh could join the rebellion and hope to become part of a new royal family, or go on his separate way with his half-brothers love.
   As the brothers went to acquire more libations, Raesh mulled his choices. By their return he had decided that he was willing to risk this, and more, for the opportunity. And so agreed.

   Another spin through the desert and out again, and we were in a dark, hidden camp. Dead, lifeless trees surrounded us on pale dead ground, and it was a cloudy, oily night. Whatever the consequences of Arnott removing his nanites were, they definitely hadn't led the party to picturesque environs. The party awoke to the vision as their future selves awoke to a sudden noise.  An eerie call threaded through the blackness, from a voice that echoed that of Cicia the Armalu's Tithe scout we had travelled with for a time. Saar was missing, but Rossom (assumedly the Rossom of the vision's time, and not the present) was on guard, and seemed very distressed by this turn of events.
   A sound of breaking glass, followed by moment towards us in the trees. The party stood and prepared themselves as a translucent creature swung through the branches, bearing directly for us. Shadow like, and formed of detached human arms gripping one another, it moved with surprising speed and agility. While Raesh told us he knew of its immunity to fire, and that it was a least partially designed by members of the Convergence, Neve attempted communication with it. Seconds later, she fell limply to the ground. Raesh started to float away, while an arrow from Arnott passed directly through it.
   It was on them sooner than they expected. It stopped, shaking and shuddering that caused it to emanate a terrible cold that froze still the muscles of those present. As I began moving again, one hand tore Rossom's throat out in one motion and then the thing began to violently pummel Arnott in to the ground, giving off no sound, other than that of Arnott's body against the ground. Brel stood paralysed, unable to intervene as he saw his friend beaten mercilessly, before being pierced in the chest by some sort of harpoon. Dragged at an incredible rate through the trees, he caught glimpses of Arnott's motionless body before it disappeared beyond sight. When his journey ended a few moments later, he found himself in front of Cicia. The forest faded as he moved to take his revenge.

   And then the party were relaxing in a distorted meeting room, sharing tea. The size of the room was difficult to pin down, it seemed both large and small at once. The table, similar in its variable dimensions, had the party sitting around it, excepting Saar and Jered but with the addition of a Chainson. There was some signs of recent battle spread around the unsettling room, a splash of blood here, fallen glove there. And everybody seemed quite exhausted by whatever events had recently occurred.
   Chainson posed them a question. He was concerned that they might not hold up their end off some sort of bargain. The puzzled expressions of the party in reply seemed to distract him for a moment, and then he found enlightenment. He seemed to become aware of his circumstances, that he was only a simulacrum of himself inhabiting a predictive vision. This probably made the following conversation flow better than it would have otherwise. Chainson outlined recent events from his perspective.
   He and the party had come to an arrangement. While most of the Convergence would leave the Scorpion Sanctum (their current location in the vision), he would delay the worst elements, such as Masgitrix Casatile, the woman who had caused the ruckus at the parley with Knights. He would help the party enter, and aid them in the almost certain violence that would follow. They would then take control of the Sanctum with its Saar unit creation matrix and teleportation powers. Chainson would return to the Convergence and work to make it a more moral place, and would continue to coordinate operations with the party. The Convergence would be unlikely to try to retake the Sanctum, given it was abandoned as an asset for them in any case.
   His concern was that the party would not honour this agreement, and instead take this opportunity to take revenge for his previous misdeeds, or to take the Sanctum and simply cut all ties with him and not continue their partnership. He did do his best to build a persuasive case to keep their word. Whether that made the difference or not, the party did agree to go along with him. Relieved, the Chainson before them managed to somehow transfer the events of the vision to the real Chainson elsewhere. He then drew the outline of a door on the wall, and stepped through it.

   The party awoke for the last time to be surprised by the appearance of a complete and non-dismembered Philethis that had just appeared. As they watched, the mirror that formed the head of the creature began to shine brighter and brighter, eventually outshining the sun. When it spoke it remained confusing, but much less than it normally would be, and Raesh and Neve were able to make some sense of it. From what they could discern, it had been father to Raesh, but not intentionally. Rather as a side effect of its attempted communication with entirety of the world. It regretted the construction of the weapon, and was most grateful that it had been dismantled. So in turn it was happy that Raesh had been created, and was pivotal in deactivating the Skycrystals. Its piece said it teleported away, we are left to wonder what the future truly holds for these folk that had made such an impression on the Ninth world.
« Last Edit: 22:50, Monday 02 May, 2016. by Gnarl »

Offline Gnarl

  • Posts: 149
  • Adam
Re: Observations
« Reply #14 on: 20:15, Monday 02 May, 2016. »
Oh, and for reference

You and I in a little toy shop               - All of us in little roleplaying game
 Buy a bag of balloons with the money we've got      - Bag of cyphers with rolls we had
 Set them free at the break of dawn            - Start the characters playing at dawn
 'Til one by one they were gone             - Cypher + Frieze = Red Ballons
 Back at base bugs in the software            - Malfunctioning Frieze tells controlling
 Flash the message "something's out there!"       Skycrystals the bugs are back through red
 Floating in the summer sky                data bubbles float through the summer
 Ninety-nine red balloons go by

Ninety-nine red balloons
 Floating in the summer sky               - Frieze emergancy message + all the
 Panic bells, it's red alert               surrounding nations notice
 There's something here from somewhere else      - Philethis/sun gods
 The war machine springs to life            - Crystals start activating
 Opens up one eager eye               - Eyed women looks to sky in horror
 Focusing it on the sky
 Where ninety-nine red balloons go by

Ninety-nine decision street            
 Ninety-nine ministers meet               - Advisors to the Navarene crown/ knights
 To worry, worry, super scurry            /convergence
 Call the troops out in a hurry         
 This is what we've waited for
 This is it, boys, this is war
 The president is on the line               - Queen commands mobilisation.
 As ninety-nine red balloons go by

Ninety-nine knights of the air            - Well, yeah.
 Ride super high-tech jet fighters            - Cybernetic dragons
 Everyone's a super hero            
 Everyone's a captain Kirk               - Knights charge in, no one really listens.
 With orders to identify               - Intially there to fin out what's going on.
 To clarify and classify
 Scramble in the summer sky
 Ninety-nine red balloons go by

As ninety-nine red balloons go by

Ninety-nine dreams I have had            - The visions
 In every one a red balloon
 It's all over and I'm standing pretty         
 In this dust that was a city               - The ex-crowd city.
 If I could find a souvenir
 Just to prove the world was here            - One of eight previous worlds.
 And here is a red balloon
 I think of you, and let it go               - Well, thought control is hard.