Terminus

Through the Narthex
Game 8 by Arda

We eventually made it out of the oppressive, cursed wood. We came out in a beautiful valley. Content that enough of the features matched our map, we set up a position to ambush the Cartographers.

In time, it appeared again. A metallic structure that looked an egg on some kind of holder. Electing to take discretion, we waited to see who would emerge. To our surprise, a single girl ran out and made for cover. She ran to get cover with us. She was a run away from the machine and the people who lived within. Her name was Evanna. Her brother and her had been abducted from their village far to the South but a cult who lived within a realm that can only be accessed through the machine (which it turns out is called the Narthex).

There are approximately a dozen cultists, Abrasal is in charge, Gregor is his second in command, we found out nothing about the other cultists other than the fact that all bar those 2 were generally nice and laid back, especially in comparison to the leaders of the cult.

After some debate, because when can any decision be made without an inordinate amount of debate, we took the Narthex control key and headed in with a view to save her brother Shome. Ragnarok being the charismatic lady’s man of legend elected to stay back and defend the delicate flower Evanna (and totally not because Matt was away this week…). The key is less than a foot long and has 6 buttons, what these correspond to is something we have yet to deduce. Only 2 of the buttons worked granting access to an underground cave and the real world. Conscious that the Narthex would likely only be in this part of the world for a day or 2, we explored as quickly as possible.

The Narthex led to an underground complex. The only light was torches that the natives had put up in one area. We used cyphers to grant me the ability to see for a bit of extra security. We looked at some of the unlit side chambers but, as is often the case, they contained strange machines that do nothing immediately useful to us.

At the end of the lit tunnel we found ourselves overlooking a makeshift village. Within the village were the cultists.

  • Burst in.
  • KIlled Zealot and stole her Knimitar
  • Found out that the cult protect the Vortex
  • Looted some stuff
  • Went to meet Abrasal
  • he’s a pig, but also a glaive who controls magnatism.
  • He asked us to join him, then told us to leave when we wouldn’t
  • He refused to tell us anything more about the cult.
  • There are 2 guardians, him and a steel angel.
  • Before leaving Lorax got a message in her brain calling “Help me”

If I don’t flesh out this description of our story so far, assume that I’ve been killed. Make sure that I get full credit for this discovery on any subsequent papers!

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Talking heads - take 2
Game 7, by Vesh

It seems that saving the local children from a giant lizard, is actually a very good way to go about arriving in a new town. Trummle, Jutte’s blacksmith and protector welcomed us warmly, and all the villagers came out onto the streets to cheer and thank us. We were offered free meals and lodgings at the local tavern, the Trout & Terrier, which we gratefully accepted.

Between the dancing and celebrations that followed we learned a few things about the town. Apparently our cartographer friends with the strange flying spaceship had been spotted just a day or so before we saw them, though nobody seemed to know who they were or what they were doing there.

We were also informed of a monster of some kind in the lake nearby which, just days before, had killed two brothers who were fishing there. We had a little time to spare so agreed to help out; Trummle offered us 10 shins and a new warhammer for Ragnarok if we killed the beast.

We also met a strange lady, who despite her advanced age appears to be in good form and, oddly enough, carries a scythe. Nelgedara is her name, and she seems to have taken a liking to Ragnarok. She informs us we should have asked for a bigger reward!

The next day we make our way to the lake, and Nelgedara decides to join us (though I can’t say she was much help). The lake is shallow but is surrounded by tall reeds, which also grow throughout the body of water making it a very convenient hiding place. Lorax and I take a small boat out into the middle of the lake to have a look. Ragnarok helpfully throws stones in order to wake up the monster.

Suddenly we hear voices, laughter and chattering; several heads appear, all on spikes, and we all know what we’re up against: a MESOMEME! It knocks over the boat, Lorax hovers upwards out of its reach and I leap backwards ready to fire my crossbow. Ragnarok charges in and engages it, and Arda saves the day with a heroic mind blast!

The townsfolk are ecstatic as Nelgedara announces our return, dragging the beast behind us. Tremmle agrees that such a significant victory deserves more than 10 shins between us, and gives us 10 shins each instead! Lorax and Ragnarok head off to the market and acquire a flute and a drum between them (the drum was a gift from Nelgedara to Ragnarok – seems fishy to me…)

Another evening of celebration and dancing, followed by an early morning as we’re getting eager to make some progress on our journey. As we venture into the forest, we all start to feel a little strange; the only way I can describe it, is something like static but in our minds. We press on but soon notice that we’re being pelted with something from the trees. At first we can’t see who or what is doing the shooting, but eventually catch sight of a cloaked figure, sliding soundlessly through the forest. We spot more movement; there must be a few of them.

Further along we stumble upon three ramshackle huts in a clearing; one is lit but the others are dark. The cloaked figures are strange creatures, humanoid in form but with yellow crooked beaks!

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Doom, or so they say
Game 4, by Vesh

Glass_Half_Full.jpg Tonk is my new favourite game, and it seems I’m very good at it. Brekkles, for all his faults, was a very gracious loser, writing off Lorax’s old gambling debts but also covering our night’s food and shelter. Unlike Ragnarok, who seemed less than impressed at losing to me – despite us all playing for the good of the group. He is a strange and unfathomable beast. Hover still won’t go near him; it’s probably those big clanking hands he’s so fond of…

During our night of Tonk, Brekkles introduced us to a local whose name is very long. Let’s call him Deelian. Anyway, it came to light that Deelian had a brother in Druissi whose wife had recently gone missing. We were due to pass within half a day of Druissi so agreed we’d stop by and see if we could help.

Flying_elchin.jpgWe journeyed onwards the next day, heading for the Black Riage mountain range. On the way we were ambushed by a flying elchin, that lured us in by mimicking sounds of human laughter. Ragnarok was injured and Hover was swatted clean out of the sky. It took a chunk out of Lorax as well before scurrying off, terrified by the bolts of ice that Deelian sprayed it with. Seems this one might come in useful after all.

The_End_is_Nigh.jpgIn Druissi we found there’s been recent movement of the metallic structure the town is known for, as well as changes in the intensity and consistency of the hot spots they produce. The town is inhabited by the Hozai, a sort of priesthood forecasting doom and destruction. They believe the metallic structure their town is built above is coming to life, and that a great monstrosity will rise from the earth and swallow the town whole. They sound crazy at first, but in honesty – given the evidence – maybe they aren’t that far wrong?

One of them, Theybis, asked us to help him investigate by bringing him some samples from down below – where Deelian’s brother, Geirn, believes his wife has either gone or been taken. He helped us find a fissure large enough for us all to pass through, and we began to venture deep into the structure. It was a strange place, with long corridors, pipes coming from the ceilings and an almost see-through, bouncy material making up a large part of the structure.
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At the end of a corridor we came out into a large mezzanine type room, the lower part of which closed off by a metal grid. Next to the grid was a gelatinous circle, that we were sure had some sort of mechanism to open the grid. I am not so well-versed in these things and spend several fruitless minutes swirling one way and the other before Lorax brought her insight.

Meanwhile, Deelian was channelling his ice powers into the grid, to help Ragnarok break through with sheer brute force; Ragnarok was charging at the grid and slowly weakening the frosted metal.

In hindsight we should have warned them that we were working to unlock it; Ragnarok was mid-charge when Lorax deciphered the code and unlocked the grid. He sailed through, plummeting into the unknown beyond!

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The Mind in the Distance
Game 3, by Lorax

Everything hurts.

My brain still throbs from the migraine that crept into my head when Seria first touched me. It lingers still and clouds my thoughts. After last night’s encounter with the hounds, I awoke with a growling stomach and bloodshot eyes after being temporarily blinded by Ragnarok‘s flash bomb in the scuffle. Honestly. His recklessness knows no bounds…..but, mercifully, neither does his good will.
The girl appeared to respond well to the foraged items that Darvin had us procure for her. Conscious and alert she spoke of ’The Mind in the Distance’ that was plaguing her sanity and that of the beasts of this land.

As I continue to journey onwards with this motley crew I wonder if my own sanity remains untouched! Why I keep travelling with this group and not heading for the coast I do not know. I am not used to travelling with others. History has taught me that fair-weather friends aren’t worth their weight in shins. But something keeps me by their side. I feel weirdly at home in their company and have even started to harbour a strange and possibly misplaced sense of loyalty to the group. Perhaps, just like the creatures around us, The Mind in the Distance has indeed taken my sanity.

It was a day’s travel to Embered Peaks…the town in the palm of the seven fingered hand that the townsfolk of the girl’s village referred to….famous for its Forum of the Dead and now the place where the relentless voice of this Distant Mind emanates from. Depsite Ragnarok’s ‘special’ persuasive skills we fail to beg, borrow or steal a mount and are forced to trudge along the mountain path on weary feet. Oh how I miss the swiftness of sails upon the sea! Driving hunger soon sees us hunt a pack of catpigs that we happen across in a clearing. They were mustard quick…but not quick enough…we killed enough of them to replenish our ration packs and stomachs…however not without attracting that attention of The Herder….a huge plains dwelling beast that came lolloping and bellowing at us from over the hill with a crazed look in its eyes….hard wired to zero in on poachers (picture)

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Hags and Whores
Game 2, by Ragnarok

The sky fell.

Dancing stars crashing to foul earth. It ruined my fucking sleep. No, it was the Clean one that did that, days on the road and a few acts of violence together makes the civilized bold. If only he knew of the dreams he tore me from.

Choking stone in the black, vermin scratching as I crawl. He’d be more careful if he knew how close I came to cracking his neck.

A good man, a clever man, a clean man. Not one I’d want on my conscience.

Stars, I said, specks of twirling light driven as mad as anything else we’d seen out on the road in the past days. No true stars these when you get up close, ugly maggot like things shimmering with their own dirty light and lusting for heat. We fought them, we won.

Not much else to say about that whole affair, except it fucked my sleep. Well, no more than it ever is. Why I drink so much. Speaking of which…

This is good stuff, has you pissing fire when you get into it. Not exactly fucking healthy, but who gives a shit lets me know my cocks still alive.

You don’t need to do that, it’s not why I’m here.

We came to this place after we did for the beasts in the woods, good killing out there. You ever killed? Anything at all? Insects crushed or raw balled men with a knife through their eye it’s the same sensation, a pure madness that lets you know every other moment of your waking life is sane. Only the mad can kill and only the truly fucking insane kill as well as I do. Mad for battle, practically fucking choking on the slaughter.

It just needs to be done. Fuck, that shit kicks the doors in your head fast, can bare think straight.

Then we get here and it’s all pools to cure what ails you, bullshit. I see people looking just as haggard here as anywhere else. Fucking magic cures, it’s all bollocks. We met your town hag, speaking of which, she’s trying to put right that young lasses brain hoping it’ll stop the crazing. Part of me, you know, part of me hopes that it doesn’t and the whole fucking world falls to fighting

That madness, that blood soaked battle rage where you rip and tear and hammer and howl, I’ll take it over what I deal with knowing when I’m sane,

What I remember from my dreams down in the fucking dark.

We did it though, we did it regardless. Strolled out where lessers fear to tread and fought for what can put her right. I still have the blood on my boots and my eyes sting from how it all ended up. They’re strong, the women I travel with, more balls than this towns alleged fucking men. Even Clean was there in all his finery, useless as a sack of dead mens dicks when it comes to the fist and boot, too fancy for it. Got balls though and smart. I keep telling myself to listen to them more.

That’s the problem with battle madness, you can’t play the good dog when you’re a wolf.

We’ll know tomorrow if the girl’s well. Is it wrong I don’t want her to be?

Times almost up, tell me about your day…

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A Long Way Home
Game 1, by Arda

The road home had seemed peaceful so far, with Ragnorok Strange leading a guarding action and taking care of the pilgrims all seemed to be going well. Things began to get a bit too exciting when we spotted bandits further up the road. They followed us relentlessly as we led them away from the pilgrims until we came to a field of tall grass filled with free standing obelisks.
IMAG0192.jpg

We were set upon by the bandits in the field and learned 2 compelling things; firstly that the Obelisks were numenera and sent shockwaves out at random intervals and secondly that the bandits were infact not men at all (as decribed in my notes below).
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The creatures fought hard and sought to crush and eat us but they were slain. Knowing that the pilgrims would now be safe we made our way to the Mouth Cairns to rejoin them.

The Mouth Cairns have long been used by the Wanderers as a place of shelter. Though many ghost stories were told of mystical or terrifying things, we had an uneventful night.

In the morning, we were visited by a young man and his sister riding a giant catapillar known as a scutimorph. The girl, Seria, appeared to have some ability to command the creature by touching it. Her brother was injured having just brought her from their village where they had been attacked by flying pollones. The brother asked that we take his sister to a spa that was on our route back to the Steadfast while he return to the front. She insisted that she could travel with the scutimorph and the pilgrims and we should go to the village with him and defend it. After much debate, Ragnorok and Lorax suggested that the best plan would be if the injured brother took Seria to the spa and that we would travel to the village.

The village was within the False Woods. My notes below attempt to capture its appearance but be aware that it was far more perplexing and magestic than this:
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We spent some time in the village talking to Seria’s relatives. The place was attacked, as it had been the preceding day at the exact same time, by enraged pollones. Their floating transparnet bodies made them hard to see; but the razor like teeth on their edge make them lethal when they perform their spinning attack. Ragnarok and Vesh made their way to the top of one of the floating trees and above the canopy, and left escape routes for the villagers to their. The plan worked and many were saved who might not have been; due in no small part of Ragnarok’s braver…
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Through various techniques we have learned that the pollones have been enraged by a distant mind and that some negative emotional energy hangs over the False Woods. Lorax has become sensitive to this for reasons I do not fully comprehend as of yet. We must now strive to get to the bottom of this mystery so that we can get back on the journey home to the Steadfast.

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The Story So Far

All final year students at the University of our Queen’s Enlightenment are required to provide new scientific research to further the knowledge of the University.

Rast, often unorthodox, looked further afield than most. He had discovered mention of a mysterious forest – Ausren Woods – in the Beyond.

From his search through the archives, and written correspondence elsewhere, it appeared these Woods had not been investigated for several centuries. In fact, the research in the archives amounted to little more than warnings of danger with a verbose way of saying ‘Do not eat the fruit’. Digging further, Rast developed some new, if disturbing, theories.

It took time to convince his Supervisor of the merit of such a journey. However he finally gained permission when he inadvertently discovered that a small village, Corebere – created around the old University expedition many years ago – remained on the periphery of the woods. This could then hopefully provide a safe base from which to operate.

The journey took over a month, with Rast using the last of his funding for safe travel to Corebere. It seemed that merchants had nigh on stopped going there over a decade ago.

The town of Corebere was parochial, and not welcoming. Rast’s difficulty with social situations did not help. However he eventually came to an understanding with a strange lady called Vesh and her curious flying pet. Vesh escorted Rast into the woods for his research over the next three months.

During those three months, the villagefolk gradually grew more suspicious and angry at the intrusion. Rast and Vesh were practically chased out. They journeyed north to the Wandering Walk – an interesting side project for Rast.

There they joined with a group of pilgrims, being protected by a hulking cloaked man who called himself Ragnarok. He talked little of his background but, on more than one occassion, proved himself a powerful and trustworthy companion. All the pilgrims sensed that Ragnarok’s background had some elements of tragedy with hints that perhaps Ragnarok himself did not yet fully understand it.

Most recently, just several days ago, another traveller, Lorax, joined the walk. She described herself alternately as a rogue, a minor noble, a tradesman’s daughter, sometimes pirate and certainly irreverent talker. Likewise, she, gave differing stories of her background. Her accent, beyond that of the Steadfast, was hard to place.

And so we begin with this group in flight – leading pursuing bandits away from the other pilgrims…

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