ZEITGEIST [ZEITGEIST] The Continuing Adventures of Korrigan & Co. - Page 105
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  1. #1041

    Orcus on an Off-Day (Lvl 22)

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    That pickle vendor was included courtesy of Greg Spanier, a game shop owner in Gautier, MS, who was one of the $500 backers for the ZEITGEIST hardcover Kickstarter.
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  2. #1042

    Lama (Lvl 13)

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    Quote Originally Posted by RangerWickett View Post
    That pickle vendor was included courtesy of Greg Spanier, a game shop owner in Gautier, MS, who was one of the $500 backers for the ZEITGEIST hardcover Kickstarter.
    Congratulations, Greg Spanier, you have won a bonus reward! Innwung the Pickle Vendor has been immortalized in song. (Or should I say preserved?)

  3. #1043

    Lama (Lvl 13)

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    Session 218, Part Three

    Conference

    Following a sending to Harkover Lee, to inform him of developments, they arranged for the king’s key advisors to teleport on to the Coaltongue as it flew back to Flint. Lauryn Cyneburg, Viscount Price-Hill, Stover Delft and Sebastian Harlock attended in person. The Principal Minister attended in astral form. (Alden Wondermaker sent his clockwork avatar, too, but not to take part in the discussions.)

    Sebastian Harlock had come to quiz the unit on their encounters with the gidim, and thereby bolster Risur’s defences against them. He was already training a cadre of dwarven ‘battleminds’ with the help of Orum Dwist and Throgmorton. Throgmorton descended from all-but-forgotten cadre who had stood side-by-side with the Ancient orcs in ridding the world of the gidim, and had honed their psionic powers with the aid of the gith. “If you had called for help, I could have tested them in the field. Perhaps even defended the Coaltongue?”

    Lauryn Cyneburg was impressed by their report on Agent Doran. It was agreed that he would receive urgent (and expensive) healing to regenerate his eye. Uriel suggested sending him to Crisillyir to get a heads up on the situation there. Cyneburg shook her head. “Waste of a good agent. The situation in Crisillyir is known to us, and extremely dangerous: God trials, conducted by a religious faction that has assumed power in the vacuum left by the dead clergy upper echelons. Up front is a Risuri elf woman, who once trained at the Triunfo, funnily enough. They’re alert for dissent and for spies, and zealous in their response. Operating on his own, Doran would be incredibly vulnerable. The matter will have to wait until you’re done with Grandis Kamanov. … Your majesty. ” She added the last bit as an afterthought. Korrigan noted her implicit criticism and confronted her directly about it: She said that she thought their mission to Drakr was personal. Better to leave the Drakrens to cope with Kamanov’s disruptive influence and prioritise Crisillyir. Price-Hill disagreed. The Drakrens were their fastest ally. That must surely count for something! (In any case, Rumdoom was not to be dissuaded, and they had already promised Vlendham Heid that help was on its way…)

    Harkover was intrigued by the vortex array. Here, at last, was a method by which they could assess the viability of distant worlds, should an attempt to undo the damage of the Ob prove possible. They still needed the Axis Ritual, and a means to travel to other planes. Only those already linked to the world were currently visible in the night sky. Leon said he could look into it, but the process was likely to take a long time. All involved agreed that this was priority, especially when Harkover told them of Professor Asher Henton’s recent conclusion that Av was located in the Gyre! (Still the precise nature of the Gyre itself was unknown, but this last bit of news was disturbing and revealing.) Once Leon had conducted negotiations with the Bruse, he would do what he could to investigate the possibilities of planar travel. (Luc Jierre might be able to help, he thought. And while he was at it, he could replace the shattered Wayfarer Lantern!) Uriel offered to augment this endeavour, and Korrigan agreed that both of them should devote their time to the matter.

    Stover Delft indicated that the situation in Flint was no better or worse than it had been, save for some unrest caused by the announcement of elections. Thames Grimsley was rabble-rousing to ensure he won the working-class vote, and there had been demonstrations from some quarters when Gale’s candidacy was announced. Khaled Valchek had been able to afford huge posters that now hung throughout the city. Guy Goodson was standing in place of Catherine Romana’s alias. His report brought the meeting to a close.

    Alden Wondermaker had come bringing a gift for Quratulain: he had created a new mask for her. This one was a burnished metal replica of her original, cadaverous face – a grinning skull, with a glowing left eye-socket. Here, Wondermaker had implanted the firesight eye – a magical item he had recovered from the corpse of Pemberton’s daughter, Terakalir when he had gone to investigate the dragon’s lair (and dispose of the Godmind Urn in the volcano there). Quratulain thanked him politely, and Wondermaker turned his attention to the Coaltongue.
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  4. #1044

    Lama (Lvl 13)

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    Session 218, Part Four - The Snowy North

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6cBu3ZTWCbo

    One of the ancient bastions of Drakr’s might, the city of Bhad Ryzhavdut and its famed tower fortress had for centuries guarded traffic along the Volgir River, where frigid mines in the Shawl Mountains fed ore to the eastern sea. The Avery Coast Rail Line had stolen some of the port city’s prosperity, but it still served as a bastion against potential invasion by frost giants of the north.

    Some twenty thousand people lived in Bhad Ryzhavdut, many in subterranean compounds dug into the hills alongside the river. The highest hill rose five hundred feet above the river, and from its peak rose a two-hundred-foot-high tower fortress.

    Many days earlier ago, shortly after the unit had received Vlendham Heid’s mystery box, Leon had sought to expedite their eventual journey to Bhad Ryzhavdut: he had teleported to Trekhom, using the Rumschatologists’ teleportation circle, then ridden all night on a flying phantom steed as far as he could to the north-east. And so it was that their journey began a two-day ride from the fort. Leon was required elsewhere (as was Uriel) so there would be no phantom steeds. Instead, they climbed into Rumdoom’s mechanical carriage. There was plenty of room. Of his retinue, Rumdoom had only brought along Thurgid (who was overjoyed to be serving his master once again) and Hildegaard. Thurgid rode on the roof, as did Uru and there was plenty of space inside for Gupta, Quratulain, Hildegaard, Korrigan, and Rumdoom himself.

    The snows made everything brighter, especially when the Gyre was in the sky. The scenery was breath-taking – mountainous and forested and white. They had a surprisingly good time, ate well and played chess when they paused for a rest. All in all, it was a pleasing hiatus.

    Perhaps if they hadn’t been having such a good time, someone might have thought to phone ahead?

    Their approach to the old fortress was appropriately cautious. Some miles away the stopped, and Korrigan employed his newly developed psionic eye to look down upon Bhad Ryzhavdut and its surroundings.

    Instead of the encamped army he had expected, he saw only the dark stain of its previous presence. There were no lights in the city. The gates were open.

    They had arrived too late.

    How had such a magnificent fortress fallen so quickly and easily?

    Before entering the city they examined the camp. The score-marks of huge runners led away west, down the frozen Volgir towards Mirsk. The army had conquered Bhad Ryzhadut and moved on. There were gigantic hoof marks in the snow, too – and footprints so huge they must have belonged to fifty-foot giants. They counted five sets. … Lesser giants had been here too, along with dire bears, mammoths, and hundreds of dwarves and dwarven skeletons. All had departed on five huge sleds.

    In the city they found thousands of frozen corpses. Few save the outer defenders bore any signs of violence. The entire population had been drained of life and lay where they had fallen – in the streets, in their homes, alone or in each other’s arms, men, women and children alike.

    Cautiously, Uru communed with the spirits of the city. There were none; a void where they ought to have been.

    Rumdoom declared that this ‘bad ending’ had been caused by Grandis Kamanov. She had drained all of these people of life. Had she used the Stone of Not to do so? He could not be sure of the means. Gupta stared in wonder and focused on the whereabouts of the Stone. It was heading west on a vast ice sled.

    While they kicked over the traces and looked for other clues, Uru went looking for Vlendham Heid. He did not find him, or Kvarti, but he did find ship-like vessels which the dwarves had brought into the fort for safe-keeping: stone ships that sailed the frozen Volgir on great runners. With the help of his ghostly entourage Uru prepared one for their immediate use and they set off in pursuit without further ado.

    Since the battle aboard the leviathan, since the whole experience of fighting off the gidim invasion, and being steeped for several days in the aura of the psychic mesh, Korrigan had found that his burgeoning psionic abilities had been strengthened. Now he tried something new: to contact Vlendham Heid, hoping that he had somehow survived. Heid responded! His ‘tone’ was one of intense, almost tearful relief. In a fractured exchange, for fear of being discovered, this is what he was able to tell them:

    Heid was now the captive of Grandis Kamanov, who now led her Doomsday army towards Mirsk on five gigantic sleds of ice. These sleds had been summoned into being by the five Lost Riders, who now took the form of gargantuan stone skeletons, sent to serve her at the behest of the Voice of Rot. The Riders now rode gigantic skeletal steeds; all save their leader, Nebo, who was mounted on the Frost Wyrm, Distemper.

    It seems that Heid had been lured to Bhad Ryzhavdut under false pretences by servants of the Grandis, purely so that she could have the pleasure of explaining to him in person how she had perfected his philosophies, and bring him along as witness to that perfection. He was her constant companion, along with the rest of her immediate retinue: a deranged, mute lackey who served as the brunt of her continual spite, and a blindfolded half-giant that wielded the Kum Ruk Nazar. Grandis herself bore an even more powerful weapon, one that she had excavated from its resting place beneath the ice near the ancient fortress, a twelve-foot long, arcanoscientific ‘lance’ she had built around the missing eye of the Voice of Rot!

    Long ago, it seems, a great hero had cut out the serpent’s eye in battle, and in doing so denied it dominion over spirits, ghosts and all incorporeal undead. (Uru ears pricked up when he learned that portfolio was vacant…) It was this terrible weapon that Grandis had unleashed on the population of Bhad Ryzhavdut, killing everyone within – sacrificing their souls in propitiation to the Voice of Rot. She had somehow spared Heid and Heid alone, and sent her minions in to bring him out to her. Heid did not know what had become of Kvarti Gorbartiy.

    “I regret that we came too late,” Korrigan told him. “But we are here now, and we are in pursuit. We will do what we can to prevent further destruction.”

    Heid then told them one more grim detail: it would appear that Bhalu had travelled north at Rumdoom’s behest and located Kamanov shortly before she called her army to her. He had failed in an attempt to assassinate the witch, and had been punished by the agonising rite of the blood eagle, then kept alive through magic and mounted on a crucifix, to accompany her everywhere as a warning. His feeble groans were a continual torment to the philosopher, who had not slept for many days.

    Korrigan ended their conversation by urging Heid to remain strong. Then he tried to contact Kvarti in the same way. There was no response.

    End of Session
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  5. #1045

    Lama (Lvl 13)

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    Session 219, Part One - Glacial Chase

    Over the course of time, it became clear that they would only gain on the doomsday army very slowly, by virtue of the fact that Uru could man their sled-ship on his own (with the aid of his ghostly friends) and so could continue overnight while the army was encamped. Korrigan gradually established this by creating a psionic link with an item he hoped was still in Kamanov’s possession: the handle of the Cracked Cauldron, which she had stolen from them while soul-riding Hildegaard. Once a day, it stopped moving for eight hours or so. The army was two days ahead of them. At this rate, they would catch up a day’s ride from Mirsk.

    During this time, they kept in regular contact with Vlendham Heid, who managed to remain remarkably composed now that he knew (or could at least hope) that rescue was on its way. Heid told them more about Kamanov’s plan, which was quite simply to kill everyone in Drakr (for starters) and sacrifice their souls to the Voice of Rot. No points for subtlety. If only the Ob could be as straightforward as that! Korrigan also asked Heid if he had noticed any signs of hivemind activity. Heid said that the dwarven element of the army did appear to be unified under some sort of psychic cloud, but it had not manifested fully.

    Their five-day journey down the river of ice was relatively uneventful. Every day they would pass a spot where the doomsday army had camped. The ice would be blackened and stained, and littered with burned down fires and mangled corpses. Small towns and villages nearby were utterly destroyed. Occasionally, they would come across a wrecked vessel similar to theirs. These grim punctuations served to keep their minds on the urgency of the situation, even though the days they passed on the vessel were otherwise smooth.

    Uru spent most of his time piloting the craft. For a few hours a day he would give this task up to the others and rest. Then he would fantasise about plucking his eye out and inserting the eye of the Voice of Rot. It was pointed out, when he wondered aloud about this, that the eye was probably very large. Could he fit increasingly large stones into the socket and gradually widen it incrementally? Probably not, but a deep faen could dream!

    Korrigan used his newfound ability to communicate over vast distances to keep in touch with his advisors in Risur, and to obtain regular reports from Leon. He had already been to Seobriga with Glaucia, Brakken, Commodore Deinosa (and Uriel) and petitioned the Bruse to rethink his relationship with the Ob. Given everything that had happened in Ursalina, it was agreed that Risur could not be viewed as a foe after all, and the invasion plans were called off. An Ob representative at court was vociferous in his denunciation of this decision, whereupon the Bruse had him placed into his labyrinth.

    From there, Leon travelled first to Slate, to persuade Luc Jierre to fashion another wayfarer Lantern; then to Shale, to leave Uriel in consultation with Professor Asher Henton; then on to Cherage, to lend support to a burgeoning opposition movement, led by Korrigan’s contact Naz Duchamps, who had been freed from prison in the wake of the Godmind disaster. The Ob’s abandonment of the city had been even more keenly felt here than Ursalina, as the whole justification for the actions of the Jierre dynasty – and its centuries old support for the Ob – was that they were for the good of Danor. The whole city – or at least everyone who had been drawn into the Godmind – had witnessed with their own eyes their rescue by the King of Risur, their ostensible foe. The appetite for war was not as ravenous, here in the capital and Duchamps had enough connections in the military to cause a schism which bordered on mutiny. Duchamps had invited Leon to speak to potential allies, and help to convince them that Risur was not responsible for the hivemind phenomenon, or the act of sabotage on Axis Island which had damaged the Ob’s ritual.

    All of this had happened even before the rest of the unit had reached Bhad Ryzhavdut. Since then Leon had worked on spell that would enable him to teleport to other planes. Uriel and Henton had helped him to create an arcane connection to each world, and he had begun to visit them one by one, protected by magic from their environmental challenges. So far he had successfully visited – and returned unharmed from – Baden, Fourmyle, Illocus and Jiese (where the wary salamanders had fled from him in horror). The plan was to eventually build up to jumping to Av.
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