This time on the Anduwin Chronicles….
Continuing at the Solomon hotel, nestled in The Vale. A weary group have parted company, and settled to their own evening’s rest. In the ambassador’s suite, the samurai cancels the ship, as Pliskin offers the use of a Waygate to the homeland. In his own less lavish accommodation, Cato looks down at the mess of burned and damages robes, as he shakily starts to examine the notes he had found earlier under the hotel. Realising the notes are fragile, he looks to obtain more paper to make copies of these to research properly. He leaves the suit, and makes his purchases, along with new ink and quills to aid his study. The mage returns to his own room, and conjures an invisible manservant, before instructing it to begin to transcribe his findings in the original handwriting. He conjures three more, numbering them as 189, 190, and 191. The mage spends the remainder of the day going through the notes, and handing them to his series of magikal staff. The notes seem to detail Anduwin crystals and Anduwin Glass, having fallen from the Edict. There is also reference to a “deposit” where more and more crystals can be obtained. Each note is signed “E. Lancer”. Not making any more headway on these notes, he retires for the night. He expends arcane might over his bed, creating an illusion of himself asleep, whilst he settled into the chair, hidden, as the illusion makes the chair appear empty. Eventually, sleep takes the mage after the attack at the arena.
After leaving the ambassador’s suite, Lady Granuaile makes her way into town, hoping to find a magikal bag to hold her wealth and possessions while travelling. Although unsuccessful in this venture, she does find a satchel containing a large amount of coin, seemingly abandoned. Siala also goes into town to find a fletcher, replenishing her supply of arrows.
The ambassador arranges a series of meetings. Firstly, with Greymane, the leader of the Unhorned. Abraxos wants to make sure he and his people are ok after the attack. He is told he cannot see the leader, but is assured the clan are safe. The samurai then tries to find Gundram Blake, to catch up on news. The mercenary tells Abraxos that they found weapons and explosives being smuggled into the hotel, but they lost track of who was smuggling them. He had hoped to warn Abraxos of a suspected attack before the arena was burned, and tells he asked Brant to pass on his request. The mercenary is without work now, and so Abraxos arranges with Pliskin for Gundram to travel to Máurdórne with the party. Teleport arrangements are confirmed and authorised.
Abraxos then seeks out Orryon, and the pair begins their conversation. Orryon comments first, that he has never met another individual who was able to manifest ethereal wings in the same way he is able. Whilst Abraxos is not fully sure where they come from for him, he suspects that they are due to his heritage and being of the Grey Empire. Tea is poured and the occasional slurp punctuating silences. Abraxos tells that he knows of a Templar – Farandril; and that Lady Amelie who were also gifted with wings. Orryon challenges the line of the Grey Drakes theory, but that he and Amelie were most certainly no of the Greyborn. They each tell of the first time their wings manifested, and they agree to speak with Amelie at some point in the future. They also agree to avoid the Templars, as the organisation has fallen into Zealotry. Abraxos believes the wings run in bloodlines, but Orryon challenges this too, as his twin was unable to translate his celestial message. In any case, Abraxos hopes that one day the answers about his birth will reveal themselves.
After speaking with Abraxos, Orryon sets out to the town in search of magikal scrolls. Something to bring him a familiar or magikal guide, in much the same way that his old friend Magnus has a magikal bond with his chuff. However, as this part of the world is so close to the Peaks, trafficking in magik is not common place and he is told to search to the West. Half expecting this news, the healer finds an abandoned temple. Pews are dusty from neglect, and a growth of vines cascades down the once pristine altar. Papers from sermons long forgotten are strewn across the floor, but beyond the edge of the altar, a large stone Jackal sculpture sits. Orryon tidies the dust with a few wrist flicks. Kneeling on the stone ground, free from dust, he pours this waterskin out onto the ground, and magiks this into a frozen shape of Paz, as he then touches the ice carving and imbues it with a moat of light. Finally, he ensorcels himself with the spell Paz gifted him so long ago, allowing him to speak with animals.
“This is perhaps not the way you work, it don’t expect you to be here right now. You probably have other things to be doing. But it seems like I’m being pulled back into a war of some sort. Called to action. I don’t know what is expected of me. The world works in mysterious ways, and maybe there is a reason I was here, but I’ll admit, I’m struggling to see it.”
The light flickers in the cool breeze.
“I had hoped that death and destruction wouldn’t pull at my feet ever again. I worry it is shaping me. If you need me to, then I will do my duty, but I don’t know where this road leads. You of all people know what happens next. What is meant to happen at least. And if you tell me to, then I’ll go.” Orryon is about to stand, but his light spell dissipates before his eyes. A hand touches Orryon’s shoulder and stands him to his feet. A voice on the wind, barely auditable hushes “I’m closer now”. Orryon smiles softly to himself, and leaves the shine, content at the response.
After their day, sleep comes to the party, each in their beds. They dream, and rest, but midway through the night, though still asleep, a level of consciousness and control takes over. Objects appear, as the party separately fly through their minds. The objects are light spheres. As they fly, they pass objects of earth, light, fire and water. A shimmering massive sphere is at the centre; a rainbow ripple of light. The sight looking almost as oil distorting the colours of water. The world and vision around these objects, until now black as pitch. Suddenly the images become clearer as the world around their shape begins to glow. From the central liquid, the vision becomes a mirror of water. Emerging from it, a blue skinned woman reaches. Facing the party individually. Her appearance is similar to the Netheran killed in the arena, although she is grander, and less crystalline. Each of the party dreams separately. Those who drank the vials see this vision. The other two, do not.
In Siala’s dream, she asks who this is, and where she is. She learns this is the Exalted, and she remains in her own dream. Communication from Siala being verbal, but from the Exalted, it is telepathic. She senses that the Exalted is here to answer a question, and parle.
“Sir Pliskin mention that the Ambassaro you sent had vial and descriptions of each of us. If you knew this ahead of time, then why would you send her to die?” the elf asks.
Siala begins to feel the answer fill her mind, and learns that there is an Unrevockable Pattern that continues forever. Thus, my beautiful Emissary had died many times before, and many in the futures, thus they were willing to die again, as before.
“If you have observed this pattern over and over again, then what do you expect to change” Siala asks trying to follow up the conversation.
The ripple begins to fade, as Siala is drawn back into her natural dream state. She thinks to the Exalted that the emissary died in pain. Leaving her dream, falling backwards through all the elemental visions she passed on her way to meet this revered universal ruler. The archery finds herself in her own bed, startling awake at the experience, before returning to her elven trance some time later.
In Lady Granuaile’s dream, she tells that people look to the half-orc to lead and defend her allies. The warrior asks the Exalted where she can find the power to lead and defend her friends.
Melaki Lesoto, Karl Feneed, Jordan West, Rama Von Weld are names given, as all reportedly sought power at one time or another throughout history. But the Exalted is kinder than this, and tells Granuaile that Jordan West always spoke of Void Major and Minor; two planets wrapped around a Void Star. In the centre of this star can power be found. Only those who are good, can reach this star and take the power.
Orryon’s dream is shorter. He asks, “Can he be saved?” She answers simply, that he can be replaced, before the dream fades.
Cato asks how Charn is tracking him, and learns it is in the mage’s blood. He ends his dream, waking annoyed with this answer, “Ah fuck” he curses to himself. His illusionary magik and traps still in place, but less confident that they will protect and obfuscate his true location.
As morning draws in, each of the adventurers rise from their rest; some fresher than others. Those who had drank the vials, gifted vivid dreams and visions, and feeling stronger than before. Those who rested without visions wake without newfound power, but with the same feeling of dread in the aftermath of the arena burning to the ground.
In his own room, and still beneath an illusion, Cato reviews the notes he and his magikal manservants had made the day before. Now able to read them, without worrying about breaking the delicate originals, he discovers they mention a temple on the Isle of Ice where Anduwin Crystals could be found, in a Deposit. He reads and learns that when the Edict fell, and Edict glass shards were collects, this researcher also managed to take some shards from the Arboreum Sol Sanctum. And one word comes up time and time again in his reading. A name; Greythorn. He packs up his notes and leaves his room, heading down into the market, hoping to find some information about the Monolith, knowing that he will soon be travelling there on Pliskin’s orders. Whilst his search is not a total loss, he only manages to find a short story about the Anduwin Structure, rather than anything based in truth, history or facts. This is Esop’s tales the Bat and the Monolith. Cato gets the impress that this man may have written the tale on the back of some paper he has in his store. Not to be defeated, the blue mage makes his way to the embassies, hoping to sell some of his newly found information. The representatives from the allies planets are housed within a single building, with one main reception clerk directing individuals to the correct consulate. Before entering the building, he ensorcels an illusion over himself, to improve his clothing, and disguise his features. Approaching the desk under his illusion, he introduces himself as Steven McMoneyburn, and tells he has discovered information about Anduwin research which he asks if anyone would be interested in.
A short while later he is brought, by a large and burly elf towards an intricate and beautiful door. The elf leads Cato to a small square room, he pulls a metal grate over the doorway, and seals the two within. He swings an amulet over a series of numbers. The room begins to move and descend with its two inhabitants. He finds himself, escorted by the muscular elven guard, in an underground labyrinth of pillars. Every ten yards another pillar climbs upwards and out of sight. Each on thick set and holding up the caverns in this underground world, as well as the embassy palace above Cato’s head. He is steers through the maze of columns and directed towards a desk stationed before three guilded doors. Behind the desk is a squat dwarven man, hastily scrabbling into a gargantuan tome. Cato introduces himself, again as Steven McMoneyburn, and the elf signs something with hand gestures to the dwarf. Cato is told that he can find a potential buyer behind door three, but to be careful, as “he” is already in a bad mood. The dwarf leads Cato to the door, and as he pushes him across the threshold, he whispers to the mage, “The escape words is Conundrum, and don’t look at his face”
Within the shadowy interior growling in bitter tones sits a massive hellspawn. An imposing figure with dark red skin, eyes without pupils, but of one solid black colour, and bones that curled up and back like exaggerated rams horns. His frame blocked out any light that could have shone from behind him, instead causing his shadow to elongate from his chair to the hastily closing egress of the room. He scoops a hand with bestial claws into a pie casing, pulling out an oversized handful of what he called “terracotta pie”, but that Cato surmised looked more like treacle. Taking his clawful of pie, and swallowing it, the figure leaves messy crumbs of pastry around him. He makes a show of licking his hands and talons clean before adjusting his miniature spectacles that look ridiculous on his large demonic face.
Cato barters with the demonic representative and eventually the pair settles on a platinum piece per page that references Greythorn, as well as this large Hellspawn being offered first refusal of any future research about Greythorn that Cato discovers. When the deal is shook, the demon warns Cato on crossing him, as he is Mordant the Canny, the Steward of Rakka, and is not to be trifled with.
Lady Granuaile dismisses her official staff, sending them home to Mountainsfoot, and ambassador Abraxos keeps his own, knowing they will follow him home through the Waygate soon enough. The half-orc sets out back into the city proper to find a magikal bag once more. This time, she spies a fallen Templar, who is hauling large sacks of chicken feed from a wagon. Describing the item, the Templar does suggest he has one in stock, but has a ten thousand gold piece price tag. Granuaile successfully intimidates this Templar, though threats of reporting him trading illegal magikal goods. The fallen faithful lowers the price. Granuaile then offers her Chalice of Eternity as trade. The Templar recognises this as a powerful Anduwin Artefact and immediately accepts the trade. The deal agree, the half-orc hands over the chalice and walks away. Once she is out of sight, she conjures the chalice, and watches as it reconstitutes in her hand, pleased with her new bag and having outsmarted the shady Templar. Whilst Granuaile is out and about in town, Siala also takes a walk, and finds a local green space; a park to rest in. She strolls for a while, before sitting for a time in the shade of a tree. A strong wind blows and a cacophony of leaves fall over her. As she brushes the vegetation off her, her elven fingers cross a broach in the shape of a wild leaf. She takes a hold of it, and feels that she was sent this from some far away patron.
After their morning’s unique events the six travellers tasked by Pliskin unite back at the hotel, and begin to discuss their next moves. Whilst talking about Professor Lexler, Granuaile imprint her ring of finding onto Orryon. A carriage is called, and the six, along with Abraxos personal guards set out from the Hotel Solomon towards the estate of one Professor Lexler.
As the carriage pulls to a stop, the adventures clamber out, and take in the scene before them. A large and princely estate of a wealthy family now turned over to Lexler and his staff as a research facility. His estate is now Lexler Hall, and is located a short walk away from the holy site of the Pendulum. There are a number of mercenaries from the Belapont organisation working as private security. Brant, Grnauaile and Siala are all able to recognise this organisation form experiences they’ve each had in their time. Yellow sashes, not a uniform as such, but armour with each solider having a yellow sash somewhere on their person. Signifying their origins in Nespit.
The Halfling takes some time trying to talk to locals about how long Lexler has been based here, but few people are able to give him a straight answer, other than “years” or “since they gave the house to him”.
Brant is worried that the group is walking into trap, as Lexler May be under Nezhar’s influence. Brant shares his worries as the last time he, Abraxos and Granuaile saw Lexler, he was falling from, after Karl had pushed him into an abyss beneath Mountainsfoot. Recalling this, Granuaile uses her magik mirror to contact Amelie and tell her where she is, and who she is about to meet. Amelie agrees to call again in a few hours if she hasn’t heard and that the full might of Mountainsfoot will come to Granuaile’s aid if needed.
As the team approach the gate of the estate, a duo of dark skinned, turban wearing guars approach the gates from within the compound. These guards open the gates and join the party outside the estate, and as the gates close, as slight arcane spark is spotted. The group introduce themselves, and ask to speak with the professor, however, without an appointment, the gates remained sealed. Abraxos invokes the name of an old mutual friend, Karl Frankfurt, and asks one of the guards to tell Lexler that the group are friends of Karl. The gate opens, and one guard runs inside. Several awkward minutes later, the guard reappear joined by another figure. The older human form of Professor Lexler. He appears just the same as when he last saw the party. He approaches and the gate remains closed. His mid-length lab coat with a high collar buttoned, and a pair of goggle resting on his forehead. His manner is vague and aloof with him not at all surprised that Granuaile, Abraxos and Brant are alive. Conversation takes place about Karl, and when Lexler last saw him. He tells the party he cannot recall exactly, but it must have been three or four years ago. This immediately alerts those who knew Karl that Lexler is either not who he says he is, or something else is at work here. With this revelation, the party begin to put pressure on Lexler about this apparently obvious missing information about Karl’s death, which is unusual, given how close the two once were.
Lexler comes off as somewhat rattled by the conversation but when the party moves to ask him about his interest and involvement in the Waygates, he sounds to be threatening the party, explaining that some people have gone missing when they are teleported and that the technology and magik remains chaotic and dangerous. This warning comes across as a thinly veiled threat.
The party then questions him about a delivery that was seen, and signed off by him, in the Hotel, as well as the signing off for the Festival site itself, and how the explosion and terrorism took place. He side steps these questions too, and replies that the only deliveries he has coming are for fine quills used to document his research and breakthroughs. He orders these quills from a new supplier in The Peaks; a merchant company called Staples. However, Abraxos who hails from the Peaks has never heard of this company.
Lexler then tells the party that he is very busy and that as fun as reminiscing about old friends is, he must get back to work. He turns to go, and walks away from the gates towards the manor house. The gates open, and the arcane flash is spotted again, allowing the other turban wearing guard back into the grounds. The moment the gate is open, Brant sends a magikal message to Lexler’s ear, whispering “you’re a bitch Nezhar”.
The spell connects and the gates close. In that moment, an ethereal pair of red glowing eyes shimmer into being on the back of Professor Lexler’s head. There is no immediate reaction from the man or the Anduwin influence within, but Brant is pleased with this visual confirmation of Nezhar having taken over at least some part of the professor.
The party are shaken slightly, by this and want to explore further, but know that they have transport booked in a few hours, on orders of Pliskin, therefore decide to keep this information to themselves, for now and warn those who need to know when they are able to. Granuaile recalls that she was told long ago to visit the Anduwin Structure in this part of the world – the Pendulum, so as she leaves Lexler’s estate, she leads the party away and towards the Pendulum.
And that’s where we left off…