This week on the Anduwin Chronicles…
Still stood perched atop the obsidian font, Y’Shai turns her attention to Karl, who as yet hasn’t asked her a question.
“Paladin, come forth” she ushers
He steps forward and starts to speak, his faith shaken somewhat by the revelations of the Anduwin not being gods in the sense we thought. “So, you’re saying that all this holy stuff is malarkey? I require a holy symbol to cast some of my abilities. Can you help me out with this? I’m trying to reconnect with Vollabuke, but if its for nort, and its not real, then whats the point?”
“Of course these a point. We still listen, we still hear. Its just the way in which we have done things mimic and look very much like what you would expect a deity to do. But that is what we are” she reassures him.
After a pause he makes eye contact, asking “Do you know what Vollabuke thinks of my actions?”
“I fear that by the end of this, you’ll have the chance to ask him yourself. Whether this be a good thing or a bad thing. It has been a long time since I have been in contact with my brethren. I do not know what has happened to them beyond what I can last remember, but I can sense that they are still alive.”
“To help in this fight, I would need access to all the abilities I have. Could you help me?”
“Show me your most valued and prized item”
Karl takes out his shield and presents this to Y’Shai. The item is damaged, and scratched from spiders as well as scuffed badly. She reaches out her hand but doesn’t touch it. The shield begins to float up with her, hovering slightly above her grip. The golden trim edged to it warms and glows and begins to drip off as the shield melts and warps, with rust and gold pooling underneath as it falls. She turns it over in her hand, sill not touching, and the item glows bright before the light starts to diminish, revealing a beautiful bronze shield with deep red trim. On its face is the classic Horned depiction of Vollabuke in his Oxen form. The shield now appears to be a true item dedicated to the Anduwin of constitution. She turns her hand once more and lets the item magically descend to Karl do looks upon it with his faith starting to renew.
The paladin and his shield now strike an imposing figure, as a champion of Vollabuke, before he turns back to Y’Shai, “I have one more question, if you don’t mind. Are you able to find someone for me?”
“I could try”
“I wonder about the whereabouts and status of Lexler, if you can, for my ears alone”.
The goddess closes her eyes, and speaks into Karl’s mind, explaining that Lexler is trapped in the place between places, as are many former friends of the party. The small temportal void which exists between two thin layers of the Editch. She warns that he cannot get to Lexler, but before the night is out, Lexler and the others will be brought to us.
“He has an illness, and is dying. He betrayed the party trying to find a cure” Karl explains, “would you be able to use your powers to find a cure, or heal him”
“I can only feel his presence, but cannot sense much more”.
Karl turns his attention to his shield as Y’Shai starts to pay attention to the screens warning of the Editch’s low power. She asks the party who they feel will be of help in the coming battle. The paladin feels a bond with the item, and soon realises instinctive that it can create an impenetrable barrier for 10feet radiating from the centre of the shield, which will only last a short while, but may be helpful in the fight ahead.
Before given a series of names to Y’Shai, Granuelle asks if there is anything she can do to empower her new blade. The once corrupted blade is presented, and she says she would prefer a hammer. The sword now begins to transform much as the shield did, melting and twisting. After a similar transformation, the weapon is a hammer, with a powerful glass looking pommel. Its transformation complete, Y’Shai again asks for allies, as she would be able to contact them, and if they’re willing, transport them to the battle.
After a brief discussion, we devise a list of allies of the party, as well as some allies we have known individually. Alpha Team; Amelie, the Protectorate of Vespard; The Sultan of Al’Zieeharia; Forth of the Anduwin; Julio; Raaj; 428, Lexler; The Sultan’s advisor and council, Prodomicus; Azazel; Mathias Burkskurkaman; Solomon the Healer; Rhogar Sandlewood; Aspaal of the Greyborn; The Seer; Halli the spear solider; Dram the Oakkeeper; Mai the witch doctor; Farandril; Captain Wigstrum of the Templars; Venraka; The Five Timber’s Clan of Serenmyre.
Y’Shai, with her eyes closes begins to go through the names, saying each in turn out loud as she passes her hand and arm to her side when she is successful, and letting it fall when she is not. With each name said, and the hand actions, we have an idea of who we have been able to summon to join our assault. Whilst these individuals do not appear before us, Y’Shai assures us they will be present within the battle. We assess our collected allies by name, having been able to reach Captain Wigstrum; Farandril; Alpha Team; Amelia; Julio; Prodomicus; Solomon; Aspaal; Halli; Dram the Oathkeep; Mai the witch doctor and Venraka. Y’Shai turns body and rests her power for a spell before she transports us. She begins to weave energy into transportation ability. Whilst she does this, Karl looks at his enchanted map, and sees a red X just behind us. He begins to slowly back out of Y’Shai’s chamber, and the door opens. He follows back into Lesoto’s chamber, and the X is indicated beyond a wall, as though behind it. The paladin reaches out and pushes the wall. The stone does not feel as stone should, but is now bending slightly. Karl applies his strength to this, and bends the material away from him, and is able to see a passage before him.
Karl walks along 30 feet into a small chamber with a short 2 foot platform all around the circular area. In the centre, beyond a 10 foot jump or drop is a plinth, and atop this structure is a golden lamp which is what the map is indicating as the treasure. Above the lamp, though we are deep underground, is a sun hold, and a series of mirrored surfaces which cast a beam of sunlight into the darken cavern, illuminating the item and the plinth. Karl takes out his travellers rope and affixes this to some lose stonework in the chamber. Carefully walking around the exterior ledge Karl makes a single pass, and the rope is tied onto the stone, and then wrapped around the plinth. With his passage secured, he jumps and finds his footing. He takes hold of the lamp, and rubs. Steam begins to billow out of the lamps tip before an enormous scream is heard and a giant figure fills the chamber.
The scream tails off as the figures bellows “Finally! Fucking Hell!” It creeks its back and stretches before swaggering over to Karl and continuing, “Hey boy. I’m Supreme, and you just got yourself a dream” Karl is still holding onto the pillar, before Supreme says “you look like you could use some help there boy. You know, you could always wish your problems away”
“How many wishes are there?” the paladin enquires.
“Only numero uno. I don’t know what books or fairy tales you’ve heard off, but with this genie, it’s only One”
Having heard this mighty sound, the rest of the party begin to follow the scream, and investigate Karl’s shouts.
“Please make a wish. Or at least don’t put me back in the lamp. I need to get out, I haven’t weed in millennia” as Supreme says this, smoky from the waist down and solid from the smoke upward, he turns his back away from the lamp and begins to urinate over the edge, into the drop Karl leapt over earlier.
“I want to return to my prime fighting age” says the paladin in his mid-fifties, thinking back to when he was in his mid-twenties and stronger than he is now.
The genie thinks for a moment, tempted to send Karl back in time to when he was his prime age, rather than granting what Karl presumable wanted, to stay here, and be made younger again. The genie, being grateful for his release just allows Karl to have his wish, and the paladins hairline regrows and becomes less greyed. His ale gut reduces into firm warriors stomach, and his armour magically adjusts to better fit his youthful form.
“What is your name, Genie?” the younger Frankfurt asks.
“Supreme, I told you that as I came out of the lamp” He begins to slip back into the lamp, and says “Enjoy being younger, I’ll see you in 100 years” Then right before Supreme vanishes completely he shouts out “You should have asked about the Ts and Cs baby”.
Karl turns and does a perfect backflip from the plinth onto the passageway. Surprised by his back no longer hurting, he stands and rejoins the party. Upon his return, the party has come to the edge of the passage way and sees the younger Karl.
Patch looks up and asks where Brant is, as the bard appears to vanished. We think back and realise that Brant did tell Y’Shai he had no intention of fighting alongside us anymore, as we do not respect life in the same way he does. It seems Brant has made his choice, and has left the party. Realising this, Karl walks to the door, and shouts “Coward” after the bard.
Y’Shai warns we do not have much time left, and that she has summoned all the allies who were willing and within reach, and they would join us when we arrive. She reveals our destination is the Hull of the Andromeda.
“For this to work, the Andromeda needs to be brought down” Y’Shai says.
Kavan speaks to Y’Shai and asks for healing, from his injuries he acquired facing traps on the way down to her in the tomb. She places a hand on his shoulder and pulses energy into the shadow mage bringing him to his fullest health.
Lady Granuelle tries to offer comfort to Karl, that Brant has made his choice and his heart is not in this fight.
A short while later, the bard returns to us, having realised that he cannot see, and cannot disarm the traps, or make his way out safely, without assistance. He tells Y’Shai that he does not want to go to the fight, but he does want to leave. She asks Brant Goldust where he wishes to go, and he thinks for a long while, before settling on Mouintainsfoot.
“Brant,” stirs up the voice of the archaeologist, “It doesn’t feel like we will erm survive this. But, but you might. Would you take these?” he asks, as he hands over his scholarly notes from Lesoto’s tomb, and his journey from Vespard to the tomb. Patch also hands over this journal he has been writing to Azazel. “You have a chance to survive. And if we don’t, but the world is somehow still spinning, then well, erm, you have one hell of a story to tell”
The Bard accepts the request, and the two share a respectful moment – “its been a privilege”
Granuelle removes the magic of the ring from Brant telling him that she will no longer look for him, as she hands over some magical patches from Rhogar’s cloak. They may be of aid to the bard, but equally, they carry sentimental value, as Rhogar saved Brant’s life, after endangering it, at the cost of his own”.
Karl looks the Halfling up and down appraisingly, still hoping to convince him to stay and fight. “Throughout my travels, knowing paladins are meant to be heroes. I always hates how shit I was, and how shit I was compared to the legend of Brant Goldust” The paladin’s heart breaks at this moment, as he turns away, and Y’Shai waves goodbye. The bard’s form wavers and becomes petals.
In Brant’s perspective his form petal’s away in a teleport and appears instantly in Vespard by a familir but significantly melted statue of brass. There are civilians chained together being marched by armoured Greyborn, with the Maudorne flag being flow across various parts of the city. The skyline is destroyed and smoking. As he looks up he sees Dreadbats with Greyborn riders flying overhead, with the engine sounds of the Andromeda whirling up, as the vessel, gigantic in the distance is preparing to take off. The bard lowers his head in sudden realisation of the situation, and the chances of survival growing rapidly smaller.
Back in the tomb, Y’Shai completes her other teleportation, and the Outsiders are moved to another place. A cold metallic room. We stand atop a huge pile of loot, and gold, and silver. Before us stand our allies, seemingly all prepared for battle, perhaps by Y’Shai’s mental communication. Julio approaches Granuelle and is adorned by a small jagged crown. His pure black fur darker than ever, but he is now showing a grey white mane. Amelie approaches Granuelle and goes in for a reunion hug, but the half-orc attempts for a kiss. Amelie tells the solider off for having disappeared on her after their last fight. Amelie warns that Oskilliath has fallen completely, but the nobility have be sheltered by mountain gnomes.
Farandril and Commander Wigstrum are present along with around 25 other Templars who are fully kitted out for war. Our friend approaches Granuelle, “Its good to see you. I’m sorry I had to run off so quickly. I just wanted to let you know that we’re all here. I know that some truths have come out that things are not as we believed them to be. I have no doubt that after all of this, we are going to have to sit down and work things out, but for now, the Templars are with you”
“Its good to see you again Farandril, I’m glad you could join us for this assault”.
Prodomicus is the next to approach Granuelle, as she is the only party member he knows, “I am humbled that you have thought of me”
“I’m sure you will be a great help,” she replies, “thank you for coming”
“You have obviously forgotten that I am an adept council and advisor to the Sultan. I am not sure what help I can offer you, other than a small bit of magic. I am honoured to be part of this final bout”.
“Can you heal?”
“That I can my lady. I’ll keep to the back and heal those I’m able to”
Aspaal approaches the party. As one of the Ortaghs, and higher ranking Greyborn leaders, he has brought along with him many loyal Greyborn who do not support the emperor. He is more wounded that our last encounter, with scars and an eyepatch. His mark, of Aspaal is no longer hidden beneath his scales, and is now worn proudly, as is the same mark on most of his men. Aspaal offers to lead the attack with his troop as they know the land. This is agreed as Halli and his two lancers join us. One solider has four arms, and is wielding six sickles, with Halli and the other baring spears. The Oathkeeper and witch doctor offer passage to Kantra after this battle, if they survive.
A puff of confetti canons, and a lazer lightshow fills the holding bay, until Grant Boldlust steps forward, playing his electric violin, the rest of Alpha team step through their party member, Latch in a Door. There is a new member of the team now, called Kara Van, who appears to be an older man sat atop the stoop of a wagon. The tarp blows back slightly, and we gain a glimpse of the wagon’s payload – a wealth of Anduwin crystals.
We sit and plan, and review our possible courses of action. We need to bring down the Andromeda by any means nessicary to stop it from crashing into the doors of the monolith and releasing Nesar. We decide the best way would be to reach the engine room, and destroy it with something volatile. We consider Kara Van’s Anduwin crystal payload, as well as Patch’s Dawnstar as both has huge explosive potential. We review a layout or blueprint that Aspaal’s men have acquired, and learn there is a Dawnstar powering the system, and introducing two them together would immediately destroy the ship. However, the Andwuin crystals might be enough to destroy the engines, but not the whole ship. At this, the whole floor shakes as the vessel appears to be launching and beginning its destructive run to become a monolithic battering ram into its own quarry.
Abraxos suggests that Wigstrum stay with the wagon as the Anduwin shield can protect the crystal payload. The greyborn soldiers lead by Aspaal take a vanguard position with Abraxos, Karl, Patch and Venraka. Granuelle assumes strategic command and organises our forces to move in three staggered groups with the crystals and healers in the back, the main party in the centre with the Templars, and the Greyborn leading the assault. She takes up her mount and encourages us to fight with our all, as the fate of the world is at stake. Kavan stays with Granuelle and tells he will relay magical messages forward or backwards to her forces, and Patch casts a blessing over Abraxos, to protect him from the forces of evil. At this moment, Karl spies Solomon in the corner of the room grabbing coins. He lifts the “healer” by his robes, knowing what he has done. Karl threatens the healer with his chance to do some good and have his followers actually believe in. Solomon is not moved by this threat, by Karl conjures his Dreadful Aspect as his eyes darken, and his skin pales. The blood in his veins darkens and becomes more visible under the alabaster skin. Solomon screams and falls backwards as his skin begins to peel away. He shrinks further and further into his turban. Karl tosses aside the cloth to reveal Solomon’s true form- a tiny humanoid frog with a pulsing hump on his back, and carrying a twisted spear. Karl still imbued with his Dread stomps onto the amphibious healer, extinguishing his life. As he does so, Karl returns to his normal form, human and no longer inducing fear, as the life Solomon took returns to him.
The assault begins, at a slow pace initially. Aspaal’s men lead the charge towards the engine room. The lancers change and push through the fight. A lot of the resistance we face are workers, and do not fight back. Some are turned to join our side revealing hidden symbols beneath scales of Aspaal’s agents. Other Greyborn seeing their lost Queen, Venraka join our side. With each turned to our side, there is less and less resistance. We make excellent time clearing room after room. Each room separated by a thick metal door. Abraxos stays with his mother, Venraka, to help keep her safe, so she can still bolster the joining Greyborn. Karl heals those he can within reach, as Patch uses his vibrant to slice through the doors. We breech zone after zone, until we arrive at a large chamber, enough to house a whole city. With each chamber we have passed more and more warning lights flash. Kavan continues to send magical messages to allies, preparing for our forces to send ranged spells or fireballs into the enemy, to co-ordinate our assault. Karl stops healing, and sees three Greyborn who are doing well, and appear more notable on our side. He calls on his faith to Vollabuke and blesses each of these to make their attacks greater.
The city chamber has thousands upon thousands of light, and hundreds of doors like our own, seemingly leading down into more storage hulls. Here, we meet resistance. Troops gathering forward, with guns being rolled up and pointed at us behind defences. Above, a larger Greyborn, presumable an Ortagh themselves oversees the defence of this part of the Andromeda. There are commands being yelled from our group ordering the resistance to stand down, telling them we have Venraka of the true blood. The true queen. The greyborn are ordered to stand down and to turn against the false emperor. The shouts are magically amplified, and the message is heard somewhere and everywhere.
Silence holds the chamber, as the adrenaline builds. Lights go out in the city, and in the distance. Explosions erupt and the canons are being turned around, away from us, as yet more Greyborn join our ranks, and a civil battle rages.
A bless Greyborn turns to Karl, and tells him that the Greyborn will deal with this, and that our party need to push on, and ensure the crystals get to the engine room. Messages are cast and passed as we keep moving towards our target, no longer moving across, but now moving down. Fires are lit and bits of metal and rubble are falling. Prehaps Venraka’s presence helped, or this was a separate uprising just joining the chaos we have brought. Making our way through this madness and towards our route down, we are exposed. There is a volley of arrows and gunfire.
Halli and his men literally form the tip of the spear and the charge as our Greyborn allies are no longer with us as they deal with their own kind. The Templars move up to join the vanguard of our assault and use the shield formations to keep the groupings safe from the volleys. Karl keeps an eye out for enemy canons, and is prepared to envelope them in magical darkness if they spot us, so that they cannot see through the dark, and so cannot aim as well. With the darkness and Templar shields we are better protected and most of us are able to avoid being shot. Kavan is not so quick, but is able to avoid a direct hit. The shot ricochets off a shield and glances the shadow mages none bark arm. Halli’s men continue to throw spears, and impale the Andromeda defenders, with the sickle fighter being able to cut the arms from two men at a time.
Continuing onwards we avoid further fire, but reach a huge plate covering a door and stairway into the lower levels. The plate has two cranks. Julio and Granuelle begin to shift on one side, as Karl and Abraxos start to heave on the other cranks. Granuells instructs the Templars to continue with their shield wall whilst we open the metal doors. Granuelle hooks a rope around the cranks and instructs Julio to pull. After a period of time grunting, the levers start to move, and the plate door begins to move. As it does, greyborn snipers precisely fire at the individuals moving the levers. The bullet misses Granuelle, and Abraxos but a rifle shot finds a gap in Karl’s armour, and weakens the paladins arm. Abraxos calls out to the mercenaries from Amelie in Vespard, Gundram Drake. The mercenary turns and takes a deadeye shot, and the bullet opens a small hole between the enemy’s eyes. Two more snipers are felled by shots from Drake and his men. Patch turns his divine healing onto Karl, after the shot, and restores some skin.
Abraxos looks down the stairs and into the dark. Before him in the distance is a large figure facing the bright light of the engine. The figure is in shadow, with some bony protrusions. Halli and his allies go into the engine room first, and we see a massive flaming golden disc, which we assume is the engine. Halli warns that there is a giant man down here, in reference to the figure. Gundram sets his gun sights onto the figure and waits for instruction to fire. Granuelle rides up at this, and now sets her eyes on the returned form of her friend, 428. His body is more massive than before, still wearing very little. His skin is darker, and he has purple veins pertruding across his body. His eyes have a dark liquid slowly pouring down. The goliath turns around holding his war axe to meet the half-orc’s gaze.
“428, good of you to join us” she calls out, recognising him, and although changed, this may be normal for him, given previous changes she has seen 428 undergo.
In 428’s mind there is a flash of memory at Granuelle. He recalls how he got here from when he was last seen. He completed his mission with Nesar and Sivaras’ help, before being approached by the emperor of Maudorne. 428 hates the emperor, and so agrees to do Nesar’s bidding and ally with the emperor with the task to kill his old friends. 428 agrees under the condition that he can fightr the emperor and kill him after Nesar’s release.
428’s memory ends, and he walks towards Granuelle, dragging the axe along the metal ground, reaching the half-orc. 428 now stands as tall as Granuelle is, even with her on top of her mount. He keeps her eye contact as he approaches slowly.
“428, you received our summons” she starts, “Join us, we have a mission here to bring down the Andromeda. We could do with your arm”
He walks further, now next to Granuelle and Julio, looking off into the distance. “…take down…” he murmurs before he swings his axe into the horse’s neck. The blade digs deep wounding mortally but does not kill the beast. However, the second strike, using the momentum, cleaves through the horse’s flesh and bone, as a full gap is made and the head falls to the floor. Julio’s body begins to tumble down now lifeless.
Granuelle is enraged by this, and whilst the horse starts to fall, she swings her new enchanted glass Warhammer into the goliath’s chest. As the blunt glass Anduwin glass strikes, a flash of magic enters his mind. Some of the emperor’s control over Nesar, and even Nesar’s influence begins to loosen over the goliath who staggers backwards clutching his head.
Granuelle continues in her momentum off of her horse and swings wildly again and again, enraged by the loss of Julio. The goliath responds by lashing out at whoever is in front of him, unsure of what is real anymore. Confused and thinking he is hallucinating, his axe strikes only air. In his rage he clenches his fists firmer around his axe, as lightning starts to spark out of him, and lashes the half-orc. Karl, seeing his employer being challenged in this way rushes behind the goliath to flank with Granuelle. He imbues his weapon with wrathful energy and stabs. The burning hatred of his smite connects to the goliath pushing the rage into 428’s mind, and instilling fear. Seeing 428’s size of nearly 9 feet tall, Karl calls additional magic into his weapon and radiant blasts ignite his blade at the moment it cuts flesh. Karl swings again, noticing that his magic and radiance seem to hurt his foe, but his blade is not hurting as much as it could. Kavan calls back to Gundram Drake to take the shot, as the mercenary had 428 in his sights. Kavan closes the distance and begins to cast a shatter spell targeting the floor beneath 428. Kavan holds off the final part of the incantation until Gundram fires. Patch reaches out his paw and his blade unleashing a torrent of psychic energy into 428, after seeing the physical damage being less effective. Abraxos then rushes in, with snow in hand and draws on every ounce of his samurai training, cutting into the goliath twice, as ice creeps up the storm warriors injured form. Gundram fires his shot at the moment Abraxos is out of the way. The bullet connects and the goliath shakes slightly from the force. Kavan completes his spell and the floor, as well as the goliath is beaten with thunderous energy. The metal is destroyed and the goliath begins to fall. He loses his axe as his holds onto the edge. Granuelle looks down at the goliath who killed her horse. Her long-time friend and ally. She takes Julio’s headless body, and slams this down into 428 in the hole. Beneath the goliath the engine disc swings and burns. The horse’s body strike 428’s head and then continues its own fall. He manages to hold on with a single hand shaking off the weight of the falling Julio. Granuelle takes out the Chalice of Paz, knowing it can dissolve any item placed within it. She leans and places the cup over 428’s hand which beings to melt dissolve, loosening his grip. The goliath falls in pain. As he falls into the gears spinning, he has a moment of sudden realisation that the last few weeks has been real before he connects with the engine in a red mist several hundred feet below.
Granuelle turns around and takes a breath as the wagon carrying the Anduwin crystals arrives. Between Karl, Abraxos and Granuelle the wagon is set up on a delayed release system using Granuelle’s magic rope, which she can untie from a distance. The set-up is established. Patch clicks his boots of speed and runs ahead trying to warn the rest of our forces about the explosion. Our forces begins to attack the walls and take over the teleports. They are able to jump from the vessel through walls, or activate the teleports that Kavan had noticed when we were in the city area. The cat rushes warning solider, and then when this is done, he starts to grab injured fighters, or children or the elderly. Kavan steps into an area of darkness and then disappears, teleporting himself back into the engine room. Granuelle instructs the Templars to go ahead as well and make sure there is a path for the civilians and our forces to access the teleports. The half-orc, the samurai and paladin begin to leave the engine room, with enchanted rope ready to command it to untie just before Granuelle teleports.
Alone in the engine room, Kavan kills Kara Van who is still sat with the wagon, and disarms the trap in such a way the Granuelle could not notice the change in tension on the rope. Kavan spends his time trying to move the wagon away from the hole in the floor, so it cannot fall in. He then makes his way to a teleporter and his own future away from this fight.
Granuelle drops the magic rope, which begins to unravel as she, Abraxos, Karl and Patch jump through one of the last teleporter down to the land below them. We find ourselves on an island below us with a single rundown and ancient lighthouse on it. The island is in significant disrepair and sections of it are falling into the sea. In the distance behind us, a looking volcano, and next to that, the towering doors of the Monolith. In the sky above us, the sight of the Andromeda nearly fills the air. We stand there on this islands shore waiting for the explosion and the ship to fall.
Around us, Halli and his one surviving ally as well as Gundram Drake, his group of mercenaries and Amelie are gathered. Before us, stands The Seer, as requested. He stands before us, looking confused as though he has been teleported here, unwillingly. He looks upon us and asked, “What are you doing here?”
“We were pulled here, as we went through the teleporter” Granuelle offers.
He looks forward, “This is an old place. My father used to bring me here. I haven’t travelled her in a long time”
“He may be here now” she warns.
“This is where I found the wand” adds Abraxos.
“Some kind of being attempted to call me to arms not long ago. I didn’t understand what it was, so I denied it” wonders the Seer, almost to himself.
“Yes, that was on our behalf. Y’Shai” she tells Venarrin, the Seer.
“Aunt Y’Shai?” he thinks, “So why am I here? What is all this about”
“I’m not sure, we are waiting for that ship to explode” she answers.
At this moment, an ethereal blue figure, ghostly and intangible appears in human form. Visceron the Second, Venarrin’s father. He stands near 10 feet fall, with short, sleek horns growing out of his head, but curling backwards in the same direction of his dignified hair. His face is adorned with a number of runes.
“Venarrin, finally, you have come” Visceron says to his son.
The Seer is immediately and visibly taken aback by the sight of his father, whom he had long thought to be dead.
“Father…?” he starts but is interrupted as Visceron continues, having looked upon the group and our allies now on this island.
“I have watched you for so long my son, I have waited for this moment for a long time. We have much to discuss but so little time. I have watched you blame yourself, and scurry into the darkness in denial. I have seen you blame and worry for your people. I have seen horrible things occur. It must end” the ghostly form says, “It must end Venarrin. And it ends with you”
Venarrin looks back, completely confused, almost lost for words, until he finds his voice once more. “I need to care for my people I do. I know I have shied away from my duties for so long. Ever since I learned the truth about my brother. I cannot bring myself to kill him. I couldn’t. Not after all this time. No after I left him to die” His voice becoming more panicked and emotive. “It was my fault, my fault that he has become what he is now”
Visceron sits calmly and shakes his head before looking long at Venarrin, “No, no no my son. You do not understand. Nothing could have survived what your brother endured. You know that. Look deep into your feelings. You know V’Saries, your brother is dead. You know it. Nothing could have survived that explosion.” Venarrin begins to shift his weight unnerved by his father’s words. “I barely made it out and survived, and that is because I am a demi-god. You are merely mortal. You have twisted yourself and allowed someone in. You have spoken to something and it has turned you. It has broken you, and split you in two and allowed you to assume a second identity. You are what you search for.
Tell me, many time, you have been with your party” he gestures at the group, “many times they have faced the emperor and you? Where did you go? Where were you? Every time you wanted to confront your brother, every time you wanted to fight him and confront him that one final time, where were you?”
Venarrin is increasingly unnerved and looks worried at his father, “What are you talking about, what are you on about?” he half demands half pleads for an answer.
“Venarrin, recently, you carry a new satchel, but you dare not open it. Why?”
“It contains. Contains what I believe to be the brother of what used to have a sword. It was a beautiful sword and I found it on the battlefield, and I wanted to hold it, to have it as a momento of him”
“Why won’t you look at it Venarrin? You know that if you look upon it, you’ll know the truth. Show it to me” the Grey Drake ghost commands his son.
The satchel is opened and a long simple plain wrap is brought out, as Venarrin trembles. The wrap unroll and the Seer stumbles back dropping it. The cloths rolls and uncovers a blade which falls onto the shoreline. The Sword of Marr.
Venarrin starts to freakout more and more.
Visceron looks upon his son in a calm knowing voice and says, “show him to me. Let me speak with him” as he says this, the ground around Venarrin starts to freeze and his body begins to tremble more. Dark smoke begins to eminate from within him and around him. Abraxos draws his sword at this sight, as the Grey Drake looks from his son to the group and nods in approval of what must be done. Venarrin’s form shifts and grows taller. His skin becomes darker, with purple veins spread out beneath his flesh and scales. His eyes turn red and pupil-less, and two grotesque shadowy wings creep from his back growing fast but not erupting. He turns around as his body twists and takes form. Venarrin no more, as he has become his other identity. V’Saries. The emperor of Maudorne.
He looks down upon us and leans to pick up the Sword of Marr whispering, “you think you can stop me?” the blade is picked up, and lightning crackles up the weapon and along the emperor’s arm. “I’ll end it all. Right now. I’ll command all my forces to stop, if you can best me, as you have tried and failed to do so many times before”.
The emperor lunges forward and stabs Halli’s only remaining ally with the Sword of Marr. On contact, the remaining Lesoto’s lancer immolates into a pile of dust and ash. Satisfied with his first move, the emperor raises a hand to the sky and hurls it downwards, drawing two shadowy plumes of smoke to his sides. On cloud the smoke clears to show a Greyborn warrior with a half mechanical face, with a robotic arm on one side. The other is a previous party member. Sivaras Marvolaas.
Patch is the first to react after the clouds clear. He is panicked by this revelation and the power of the emperor. He raises his paw and commands divine power into a spell. An area of radiance erupts around the three foes stood before him. The emperor and Sivaras resist the spell, but the cyborg Tenockas greyborn does not. Sivaras resisting the spell retaliates. She pushes her cobra hooded staff into the ground and draws an arcane circle around herself before she hisses an incantation and conjures forth a Shadow Deamon. The creature appears in the middle of the party, and immediately beings to attack the party, under the darkened clouds. Its ethereal claws slash out at the samurai, but Karl interposes himself and uses his sword and golden armour to reflect what little light there is into the shadowy monstrosity, causing the claws to miss. The daemon then vanishes from the field, melting to hide in a shadowy place. The daemon manages to shake off the control of Sivaras, and stays around to fight, as Sivaras is blasted by staying put inside the radiant aura created by Patch.
Lady Granuelle unleashes a firebolt into the emperor, and is able to get the spell to burn scales. She moves away from where she saw the daemon last. Abraxos calls forth his angelic blood and divine wings appear at his back, illuminating him, and allowing him to see where the shadow daemon hides. He calls his magical sword into action, and then begins his assault. The sword swings into the daemon cutting through shadow. The blade does not seem to cut as much, and Abraxos notices that the daemon does not react to the cold damage of his sword, but took additional pain from the angelic form.
Karl turns his sword again, having been able to distract the daemon most recently. The paladin rushes past Patch and takes the stored Dawnstar. Karl continues to run forward and enters the radiance zone, activating his new Vollabuke invulnerable shield containing himself and the emperor. Karl then looks back at the group, and throws the Dawnstar onto the ground to smash the gem, and cracks it under his heel. The gem shatters and the energy burns out rapidly, filling the space within the invulnerable shield. The magic holds, but barely, as the arcane shield starts to crack. Karl’s form is dusted, as flesh, muscle and bone is stripped apart atom by atom, having Frankfurts final fall, after having managed to redeem himself somewhat. The emperor is stripped of skin and scales and the shadowy parts of him burst. V’Saries is shaken now seemingly to be at 1/3 of his power, pissed off and seriously wounded.
Halli rushes forward to the emperor, as the enemy brushes himself down, and tries to regain some composure. V’Saries points his hands at the sky, unable to maintain the concentration needed to hold invisibility over the other Greyborn vessel, the Orion. The ship begins to move, now visible, charging towards the mountains in Maurdorne, beyond the volcano, and into the side of the mountain, and the Monolith doors.
“Lantern, and a flute” the emperor stutters, in reference to the two Anduwin items he managed to use to break open the doors of the monolith.
In the crash a white light flashes and a shock wave begins to roll across the world. Power pushes towards us in an orange bright light. As the wave hits us, some of us are knocked to the ground by the force of power. The pulse blows away all the dark winds, revealing bright light. In the temple by the monolith a burning begins, and the structure starts to collapse in on itself. The energy pulse also expands upwards towards the top of the sky until it hits something. A dome of some sort. The sky and dome become orange in the light, as we see cracks start to form all across the sky, as far as we can see to the horizon in all directions. Pieces of this dome begin to fall down upon the world. Shards of something like glass begins to fall. Hailing down sharp solidified magic into the world. The Editch has been taken down, just as Y’Shai planned. Sivaras notices a change in how much she can feel a connection to the Queen, now that the barrier is no longer in place. Her loyalty to the emperor wavering.
Halli reaches the emperor whilst he is distracted by the Monolith and Editch. Two spears hit the foe, but serve to only irritate. The emperor grabs hold of the two spears and snaps them, before the Sword of Marr parrys more blows away and stabs the lancer. The sword burns again, turning our ally into dust.
Gundran Drake and his men, begin to open fire into the Emperor, but most shots miss. One hits, but doesn’t seem to puncture the draconic hide. Patch’s spells is still in effect, and pulses radiance into the emperor before he moves out of the zone, and walks towards Abraxos menacingly. The emperor reaches a claw out and taps the talon against the samurai, inflicting magical wounds across his body. Every injury Abraxos has every experienced begins to reform, as injuries reopen, and scars unheal. The pain wracks his body, and the spell paralyses Abraxos in place. The emperor, satisfied with his spell, then becomes slightly incorporeal, and rolls through Abraxos, hitting him with thousands of tiny cuts and knives.
Tenockas takes damage from the radiant area, before he charges at Granuelle with his axe in his robotic arm. The axe swings down and at the last moment, she casts a shield spell and holts the attack in the air, avoiding the damage.
In the distance, from the wreckage of the monolith, a giant smoky black hand reaches out from within and pulls the rest of the body of Nesar from the area. Around her shadowy form, hundreds and thousands of smaller shadows fly about, which appear to be her own army of Shadow Daemons.
Patch keeps hold of his concentration on his radiant spell, and sees the emperor attacking Abraxos. The cat rushes towards the emperor with his warlock’s blade and cuts into the emperor’s darkened scales. The first cut connects with the scales, but cannot break through. He swings again but this time the vibrant enable him to damage, but in doing so, he gets the emperor’s attention.
Back in the radiant zone, Sivaras shakes off damage from the spell, and moves out of her warded circle of protection. She drops to her knees, and runs her fingers through the dirt, muttering another incantation, whilst looking at the fallen bodies of those around her. Grass and vines grow rapidly over skeletons which had been burned, and as they do, the skeletons begin to rise. The vines holding the bones together, as though they were muscles or tendons, all helping to keep the necromantic puppets upright. She seamlessly combines her druidic and necromantic abilities to call forth eight skeletons to join the battle. Standing, she issues a psychic command to them, to circle and attack the emperor. The bones move mechanically and in a grotesque manner, following the command, then surround his form, and begin to attack as a coordinated unit, helping each other to flank, and strike at weaker points. The undead mauling V’Saries and injuring him heavily. As we look at the emperor, he appears to be much weaker, almost as though he has fulfilled his purpose. The Shadow Daemon reappears and tries to swing at Abraxos in his paralysed form, but now that the dark clouds have parted by the energy pulse, the Daemon is finding it a lot hard to concentrate or to hit with any really strength or malice. The shadowy claws aren’t enough in this light to pierce the armour of the samurai.
Lady Granuelle calls on her connection to Paz, and conjures her own aid in battle. Her Jackal, which appears behind the robotic greyborn. However, when this Jackal has appeared before, it has been the size of a dog, where now it is three or four times the size, possibly big enough for the whole party to ride it. Granuelle swings her Warhammer at the greyborn twice, breaking bones and denting the mechanical arm. The Jackal joins in the fray and tries to bite the cyborg, but misses. The pair continue to challenge Tenockas and keep him out of the fight. Gundram’s men continue to fire, but their shots are not having much impact on the emperor, so change target to Tenockas. The Greyborn tries to his Granuelle again, but she again conjures her shield to resist the weapon.
Abraxos finds he is unable to shake off the effects of the paralysis, before the emperor attempts to stab the warrior. The blade of Marr sinking in slowly and deliberately between armour plates. Not a reckless battle slash, but a surgical impaling. The warrior survives, but the emperor then gives into his rage. He rips the sword out, and then drives it in deeper, into a fresh wound, nicking something vital inside, knocking the samurai unconscious. His sword loses its magical glow, and his wings fade from his back, as his paralysed form falls just a fraction away from death. Patch looks over at the fallen Abraxos, and reaches both deep within himself for his friend, but outwards, to his connection to Azazel, and issues out a burst of powerful healing, to keep his friend from death. The cat stays close to the emperor as he makes his way quickly from behind to in front, and next to the samurai. Taking up Snowhearth, the samurai’s sword in his left paw and brining it, down to hold onto Abraxos, he pulls Azazel’s magic as much as he can through his right paw and his weapon, as he teleports his friend away, leaving behind a burst of thunderous energy which overwhelms the emperor. The pair reappear on the island, and far away from the emperor. The thunder behind them crackles and shatters the bones of the undead hounding the emperor, and banishing several of them, as Azazel has asked him to long ago, but the thunder is far more fatal for V’Saries as the emperor falls. His body shimmers in his collapse to return to his initial form of Venarrin. The ghost of Visceron steps forward and takes Venarrin’s body into a spectral realm, as the two begins to disappear, ending the dynasty of the Grey Drakes.
A portal in the sky shimmers and ruptures, starting to open now that the Editch is no more. Through it, a red scaled claw, then a second, until grown red dragon makes its way through, flying with a single rider. The dragon breathes out fire, and the rider is tiny by comparison. Abraxos keen eyesight sees this figure as a blonde man, with shining ethereal wings, in a blue robe. As the dragon clears the portal, representing the Plain of Fire, a wave of Aarackokra (birkfolk) fly through representing the Plain of Air, and a series of DreadBats and a whole host of chromatic and metallic dragonborn riding them representing the Plain of Earth. These new figures descend down. The dragon is ridden we can no see by a face Granuelle recognises. Orryon Ma’Talli; from within the horde of bird folk, Rhogar Sandlewood; and riding a DreadBat of his own, Magnus Marche. They explain that they have travelled from being trapped within the Editch to the elemental Plains to call for allies, and were only now able to breakthrough.
The portal flashes shut, and in the sky above us, huge balls of light float. The first takes the form of a woman we saw early today, Y’Shai, before becoming her Owl form avatar. We then see the Eagle of Marr; the Oxen of Vollabuke; the Jackal of Paz; and the Stag of Kaine. A’Dal is not present amongst the Avatar’s of the Anduwin, but then we hear a familiar electric violin and Patch spies sight of Alpha Team, come to join the fight. However, before they reach us, the members of the attack force start to merge into Grant Boldlust before lifting up into the sky, and beginning to glow and grow until Boldlust is transformed into the Shining golden Moneky of A’Dal – who it seems was acting as a god of mischief and playing a long running prank of Brant Goldust.
The combined forces of the Anduwin, the representatives of the Elemental Plains, our surviving party members prepare to battle Nezar and her forces of darkness and to repel her. However, after all this and the fall of the Editch, the shadowy form of Nesar, Y’Shai’s first born has already escaped, almost as soon as she was able and the Editch was destroyed. As the collected forces begin to return to their home plains, a large vessel arrives in the sky. Not via portal, but having flown here. The vessel has a look similar to the Orion and the Andromeda, but is larger and has weaponary. Along the side, in the common tongue, and in a far older language is a single word.
And that’s where we left off. The Editch destroyed and Menosophia open to the other planets and planes of existence. Y’Shai’s children now travel freely with Isabella returning home, and Nesar no longer contained. The emperor of Maudrorne dead, and the Greyborn assault no longer being lead, as Venraka has returned home to take up her throne.
The Outsiders are shattered, and split to the four winds. Older members thought lost have returned, and new members have fled for their own ends, or fallen in battle along the way. The Dawnika vessel hangs in the sky, its intentions unknown. What happens next for Menosophia and the Anduwin that rule it is unclear…