This week in the Anduwin Chronicles…
The fight with the Greyborn now over, we get a moment to catch our breath. The pirates around us rest their blades in scabbards seeing we are the victors of this tussle. One red dress mariners walks to our group, and congratulates is on our victory. Abraxos makes excuses that we have a boat to catch, aware that more Greyborn may be on their way to this site. Abraxos and Patch help the weakened Kavan along, whilst Granuelle breaks the ammunition of the Greyborn firearm, and Brant searches for possessions in the spoils of war. Patch expends divine healing into Kavan and to Karl. The lady dismisses her magically summoned Jackal back to its own dimension.
Abraxos leads our way to the docks, but Brant doesn’t want us to just sit and wait on a boat for a possible ambush. Brant warns that Karl’s armour is still glowing and illuminating light. The weakened Kavan dispels the light, but is out of his senses. He can still hear the voice of the talking cat on his shoulder, as well as a hallucination of a bunny, due to the random effect of his healing potion. Granuelle tied Kavan to her armour, to support the climb down the rigging, whilst Abraxos spies a group of ten or so Greyborn wheeling a large Gatling in down the street in our direction. Brant asks about any other way out of the housing. Patch shares that the cavernous network is a tomb system, and we could hide, but it is unlighttly to have another way out. Granuelle suggests we jump from the rigging on our current ship, to the next, as though fleeing rooftop to rooftop.
Kavan unites himself, seeing the docks, and runs off, swigging the potion of flight he has had. The shadow sorcerer drifts lower but still towards the docks. The foe are a hundred feet away, but three hundred feet below, and settling to take aim. The gun opens fire into the boat which is jutting out of the mountain, as we back away from the edge. The first volley of fire rips the lower parts of the boats. Bullets begin to fly through the floor, blowing huge holes in the wood. Seeing this fire, Kavan changes direction, and flies towards the gun at the fastest the potion can carry. A spray of bullets tear Kavan’s armour and twist, rending his flesh as his flight is slowed by the pain, knocking him unconscious. His shadowy magic pulses as he tries to cling to his dark life. He begins to fall, and then snaps out of it, catching his landing before he is injured by the fall.
Back up on the ship, Abraxos seizes one of the Anduwin crystals, and dashes out of the ship. The samurai comes out with two crystals, and passes on to Patch, and throws the other as far as he can towards the Gatling gun. The samurai throws, and the cat dashes down with his super speed. When he’s low enough Patch also throws his crystal, and then activates the time dagger, appearing back at the edge as though it had happened but he has his time again. Patch turns to Abraxos and then tells him to run, grabbing his friend and rushing from the blast radius. A freak gust of wing catches the pair of crystals in the air, and both make their way towards the gun. Bottles connect with crystals, shattering them, and causing explosive cascade. The blast erupts 120feet in diameter around the gun, levelling the ships and buildings in the area, burning almost everything in radiant fire. On the surface level, Kavan tries to avoid the blast, but his body is bleeding fro, the bullet wounds, and weakened by the own power. The rubble rocks and falls, starting to bury our sorcerer. He draws on his celestial heritage to resist the burning of the radiant fire. The noise is deafening, but amungst the roaring flames and the blinding crater we start to her cries and wails from the few survivors, as our ears recover from the ringing. Pinned beneath the rubble he slow, and alone breaths his last.
Our at down is ruined, and shaky. Brant starts to look for scratches or marks on the walls written in Theives Cant as a coded language, for a possible passage or entrance out. Granuelle’s noble station compels her to make a speech to the pirates in the room with us. She says that this destruction happened because of the Greyborn, not because of us, and that the pirates cannot join with the Greyborn, and must fight against them. One larger pirate steps forth and seems to agree with Granuelle, that they have made a poor choice in their allegences. They ask about a safe way out, and we are unsure. We feel that the Greyborn are all dead, but that there is no safe way through the catacombs. This man tells that the pirates owe our group a debt for our actions in saving them, and the city from maudraune.
Karl approaches Abraxos and places a hand on his shoulder, and tells that he doesn’t agree and cannot justify what he did, but that Karl cannot understand why he did it. The samurai says he did what he had to, before taking out a half full bottle of drink from his pack, and settling into his mourning for his actions, and as a way to punish himself. Karl tries to persuade Abraxos to stop drinking, and not to be so hard on himself. Abraxos tells that he needs to be hard, because he used to use words over actions to achieve his goals, but that taking action achieves the same, and if somewhat faster than his cunning. Abraxos wants to protect what is important to him, because it is in range, and still in danger. Abraxos sees this as the only way to get out of the war, and end it. Karl does not believe this, and is shaken, so takes his leave, realising that Abraxos isn’t mourning, but is celebrating his achievements in this endeavour.
Granuelle gathers some rope and begins to tie knots to secure them, and help the decent to be safer. Granuelle helps Patch out of his shell shock to make ropes, and have a meaningful function to ease his conscience.
Brant gives up on his search, learning there really isn’t another way out, and looks for Johna. The pirate accuses Brant or his party of causing the explosion, and Johna storms past him, and secluded himself away behind his bronze door. Brant uses the password to open the door, and heads towards the two magical looking boxes that Kavan had previously pointed out, but can’t discern which is most magical due to his own fatigue. He chooses two boxes at random and starts to leave. Something inside himself tops him, and Brant puts the boxes back, and comes to the main chamber where ropes are being made.
The ropes complete, and Granuelle goes first and makes her way safely. The party begins to follow. The half orc sets out searching the destruction looking for Kavan, not knowing his fate. The scenes below are hallowing. A mother knelt over a child who is obviously dead, it she is trying to pull him up, and get him to go. Karl starts to look for survivors. He approaches a man with a shard of wood sticking from him, and pull the splinter out, and passes divine magic from his paladins oath to heal. This man offers his services as a life debt, but Karl refuses, as a means to save him. Karl sets about doing this over and over, in different settings, to different people, to tr to do some good from this horror.
The half orc searches around the area, and eventually locates Kavan’s body, covered in splinters and dust and debris. She sees him not moving, but when looking at him, sees he is alive, but barely. She clears away the debris, and sees Kavan is surrounded in a pool of thick green liquid, and broken glass. Seemingly all the healing potions Kavan had on his person have broken and soaked into him. Kavan’s right arm has been taken over, and transformed into living wooden arm. Covered in bark, and his branch arm has lost a finger, ending in a wooden claw. Granuelle calls the paladin over, who assesses that Kavan’s transformation could be reversed by powerful Druidic or shamanistic magics. They pick in the sorcerer, and the cat fro, his shoulder climbs back up, and is unscathed by the fall, the explosion or the buriment. Karl scoops up some of the healing liquid as a sample to help cure Kavan. He uses his drinking horn, and some of the liquid touches the armour, which immediately rusts away.
Granuelle carries Kavan away to the docks, with the rest of the party in tow. Patch takes the coin from Abraxos for passage, and spies out the docked vessels. The Greyborn are in a panic, and some ships seem to small to make the journey. We board the SeaCrest and request passage to, or close to Onkonia. We are bought onboard and Kavan is settled in a bed in the main cabin. He rithes wildly and tosses in his fevered sleep. Not too long safer, our boat casts off away from the destruction we caused at Booty Bay. Patch stays with Kavan, and casts a spell to protect the sorcerer from evil forces, and he settles in his sleep somewhat.
Granuelle sets about the ship looking for a medic, as Kavan’s condition appears to be worsening. She is advised to seek out Dragheye as he may be the one to aid in Druidic issues. She tells how Kavan appears to have become half tree to a very tall and drunken elf. Dragheye asks how much of Kavan has become pe-tree-fied, and accepts that payment will be needed for his aid. She offers a bronze key which sings to the barer when they touch it, and the trade is accepted.
Dragheye gets to work on Kavan, with practice hands and a combination of enchantments, he rubs spices and spit into Kavan at the points where the bark is turned into skin. Dragheye shares he has stoped the transformation from spreading. Dragheye also warns that Kavan’s mind is also wrapped with conflict, as his soul is on the line, having been so close to death. We are armed that if Kavan doesn’t come to consciousness, we should burn him, as he may be corrupted.
Eventually we learn that this ship is heading to Shengrilah, and Abraxos heads to discuss getting dropped off near our destination with the captain. A deal is struck were we can be given a dingy to row ourselves to shore, as the ship isn’t due to stop. The samurai feedsback this information.
Patch approaches Brant, shaken from his actions in the destruction, and asks for some form of help to forgive himself, before coming to his point. He has grown close to Kavan when he has been upset himself, and so asks Brant to check how Kavan is doing, and to read the sorcerers mind, as he battles for his mind and soul. Brant agrees to this, and reaches his mental magic into Kavan, and hears horrendous screaming, before pushing deeper into his mind, meeting no resistance due to his unconsciousness. Brant finds himself in a strange environment. Kavan is in a completely black void with a floor made of nothing. Brant stands on this nothing floor too, seeing Kavan before him, starring out of a window, with a bright rectangle of light. The light pulses to be brighter and more intense, Kavan seems to be starring endlessly, and deadly still. The bard approaches the sorcerer, and hears him muttering to himself. He can see more beyond the window with each step. Brant realises there is a shadow of something or someone stood beside Kavan, with the pair talking, including Kavan’s replies. From outside the mental effects, Brant termors and falls into unconsciousness along side Kavan.
From Kavan’s perspective, the window has been bright and blurry initially. A voice beside him whispers “look at my strength, look at my power” boasting its skill to Kavan. After a long time, his vision adjusts to the lights. He sees subtle detail of two very bright moons who are close together. One moon is fractured apart, and the light flashes are explosion firing from one moon to another, destroying it further.
“What are they fighting for?” Kavan asks.
“They are defying me. Or they are defying us” the shadow whispers
“If they are defying, how do they still fight?”
“Ever agency has a lead, who is able to create a fire within them, to fight. To resist. This is the Githyanki last strong hold. They will meet their end here, at the hands of the Githseri, who are now free to make their own choices”
The voice pauses and then whispers to Kavan, “if I am to send you back, you must make me a promise”
Kavan asks what the shadow desires.
“Fall. Switch allegiances and make them believe you. Fall for me, until the right moment”.
“I have fallen to many depths. Things you wouldn’t believe”
“I will be with you. You won’t be falling alone. I will be watching, and can help put things right, if you should fall again. No one else is capable of promising what I can. I will soon be with you, on Menosophia”
“Then we shall fall together”…
Brant here’s the very end of the conversation, as a slender woman’s silloquette looks over to him with yellow eyes, before she fades. Brant tries to figure out who this figure is based on his bardic lore and knowledge. He thinks back and recognises this as a trait of the Anduwin, and that they are always depicted with yellow glowing eyes. Brant moves around the window to look at this, and Kavan becomes aware of the bards presence.
“It’s time to wake up” the voice whispers to Kavan, as the female figure fades to nothing.
Back outside of Kavan’s mind, five days has past, with Brant still within the sorcerers mind, seemingly unaware of the true passage of time. Granuelle keeps them alive with her magic spoon, and Patch protects both from good and evil forces. Patch stays at the bedside, and writes his experiences into a journal, to share with Azazel.
Kavan asks the mental projection of Brant what he is doing in his mind. The scene of the moons being destroyed in the void continues, and a solider is thrown at the window. A Githseri hits the light window, and then falls through into Kavan, falling unconscious from his injury. Kavan places his hands on the man, and tries to heal him. The Githseri starts to float down, into the floor, sinking, and merging, becoming a liquid with the floor. Kavan tries to save him, but fails. Brant recognises this figure as Du’Reth; a former party member whose soul was lost. At this, Brant becomes distressed and starts looking for a way out. Kavan is also hoping to get out, and return to his body. Kavan suggests they try to fall through the floor, as the Githseri manages to fall and possibly get out. Brant suggests Kavan imagine his favourite door, to try to manifest one. Kavan imagines and a door appears. Brant runs through, and sees that this door leads to nowhere. Brant gets irate at this, and encourages Kavan to make a door to a way out. Brant runs through encouraging Kavan to make doors to Granuelle or Patch, or anyone else. Eventually, Kavan realises the way to get out is to follow his patrons instructions and to fall. This works and Kavan falls into his consciousness. Brant is then expelled from this void and the pair wake up.
Patch is on shift watching the sleeping pair, as they awake. Brant storms off, and settles into his cabin for what he expects is five days journey. Patch explains what happened to Kavan, and why he asked Brant to read his thoughts, to try and see how he was doing with his battle for his soul. Kavan dresses, and stands and conjures his pact weapon as a crutch, and walks, to he deck for air and food. On the deck he bumps into a man who pulls a familiar smile, and bites into a fish. Kavan recognises this man as Stenton. He asks the sorcerer how she is, and is she is well. He seems to know where Kavan has been, and that he has been taking to her.
Kavan and Stenton talk for a period about whether She mentioned coming to this planet, as well as what Kavan saw in his mind. He describes the window, and the rocks and moons. He spoke about the void crafts, and broken injured Githseri, and about Brant in his head. Stenton relaxes and tells he is pleased that things are going as prophesied. Kavan settles on the edge of the boat, having rested for so long. Stenton begins to walk past, and leans in very close and whispers “Hail Isabella”.
Abraxos spent most of the voyage reading. He reviews the Journal of J’Hal as well as the history of Soil, to further try to figure of the cypher. Abraxos learns of a Greyborn discovery from J’Hals diary. He doesn’t quite figure out the cypher, but is sure when he does learn it, he suspects it will lead to somewhere. Abraxos takes his notes and findings and drops these before Patch to try to figure it out. The cat finishes writing in his journal about what has happened here last few weeks. He also looks over Abraxos’ notes and that they lead to something, but cannot get further. Granuelle spends time strengthening her connection with the Anduwin Chalice, and she feels able to use it more easily than before. Karl tries to resist th urge to drink, and to turn his life around. He sees Abraxos drinking, and steels himself, throwing his drinking horn overboard. Karl then settles to meditate and deal with his inner demons, before attempting to spar with Abraxos as a training bout. Karl tells he is trying to improve his defence, and he will “allow him” to take some swings at him, Karl discards his sword, and bares only his shield. The samurai stares for a while, and says this isn’t the best time. Karl reiterate he wishes to prepare for what is ahead, and he wants to get stronger. Abraxos tells Karl to pick up his sword, of he is going to die. The samurai draws his blade and begins. Abraxos rushes the paladin, striking with a ferocity that isn’t seen in a spar, but in a true fight, and a show of raw strength, smashing three consecutive blows. Karl heals himself, and puts his sword away, holding his shield defensively.
“Is that how you would fight the innocent.” Karl utters.
The samurai pauses, “innocent. You consider yourself to be innocent and without sin”
“Everyone sins, and we all have our demons. It’s what we do with our lives to redeem ourselves from them” the paladin replies.
Rattled by these words, Abraxos swings wide, thinking about his father. He does to stab, and embeds his blade in the board. He lets go of the weapon, and raises his fists.
“I’ve seen good in you, and there’s a right way to win this war”, Karl lowers his shield “I know you’d want to do it this way, the right way”.
“Good doesn’t win wars” he cracks Karl on the jaw, “fight me!” And then punches at Karl’s nose. The punch connects and break Karl’s nose, knocking him to the floor.
Their fight continues, and Karl says he is trying to fight for the innocent and protect them. Abraxos warns that so many innocent are dead because of Karl’s years of inaction. Karl replies there is valour in trying as he stands, and Abraxos rushes again, and beats the paladin. Who just closes his eyes to absorb the blow.
Karl wants to keep fighting until he has gotten through to the samurai, and he won’t give up. The samurai tackles Karl to the ground, and then wails on him, beating over and over. Crying and beating. Each punch getting weaker and weaker. Eventually, Abraxos loses his strength to fight. Karl is slightly concussed, and dazed. He offered he is here for Abraxos. The samurai shares he is tired, of everything.
Karl tells that men like Abraxos need to fight on, but the samurai feels that men like him die, serving the will of others, going over the wall. He is not convinced he has saved the right people. And the once who have been saved have wasted their lives, and his input.
After a moment, Abraxos stands, and helps Karl up.
Abraxos shares that he is not back, but he is weighing up his options. Karl rinses the blood from his face and rests.
After the fight, Abraxos keeps to himself on the boat. He strips off his blood gauntlets, and then punches the wooden posts until his fists bleed. He is seeking a way to punish himself, frustrated that Karl wasn’t going to punish him.
Once everyone is awake and rested, the vessel passes a stature of a maiden, sunken into the water, as our dinghy is lowered into the waves, and we prepare for the next leg of our journey.
And that’s where we left off.