ZEITGEIST [ZEITGEIST] The Continuing Adventures of Korrigan & Co. - Page 110
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  1. #1091
    Caught up again. Dang, now I have to be all patient and stuff again.

    Major props for bringing the Jenny Greenteeth plot thread back in so masterfully. Feels really organically part of the Voice of Rot's whole B-plot.
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  2. #1092
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    Quote Originally Posted by SanjMerchant View Post
    Caught up again. Dang, now I have to be all patient and stuff again.
    Once every couple of days is the current schedule, although there'll be a long break in late July/August, most probably.

    Quote Originally Posted by SanjMerchant View Post
    Major props for bringing the Jenny Greenteeth plot thread back in so masterfully. Feels really organically part of the Voice of Rot's whole B-plot.
    Cheers for that. I wasn't sure how successful it had been from an outside perspective. For me, it's a small victory to have blended all these threads together finally, especially because I didn't know where they were going from the outset and had to wait for inspiration to strike. I'd also set myself the challenge of not spending sessions on side-quests so I had to draw them all into the main campaign or let them fade. (I broke the rule slightly with Rumdoom's quest to the deep ones and now this minor intrusion, but I stuck to the AP 99% of the time after the reboot.)
    Last edited by gideonpepys; Friday, 17th May, 2019 at 05:02 PM.
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  3. #1093
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    Session 226, Part One - Several Impossible Things Before Lunchbreak

    Several Impossible Things Before Lunchbreak

    Just three days after the events in Alais Primos, King Baldrey held an extraordinary council meeting in Torfeld Palace. It would have been sooner, but outside agents had been invited, and needed to be given time to respond, make arrangements and travel to Risur. So, in addition to the unit (all save Rumdoom, who was ‘busy’, and in any case, not fond of too much talking, particularly after the protracted speeches he had been forced to endure in Trekhom) the following dignitaries were present:

    From Risur there was Harkover Lee, Viscount Nigel Price-Hill, Stover Delft, Alden Wondermaker, Lauryn Cyneburg, Duchess Ethelyn of Shale, Hildegaard (representing Rumdoom) and the newly invested Governor Soliogn. (Thanks to her very public rescue of children on Cauldron Hill, Gale had enjoyed a late surge in support and narrowly won the Governorship of Flint only the day before. At the inauguration, King Baldrey gave a fine speech about the incredible symbolism of this moment, as it ushered in a new age both politically and ethically.)

    From elsewhere came Brakken of Heffinata, Vlendham Heid (with Kvarti in tow), Morgan Cippiano and Matunaaga. Matunaaga had come a day early and spent the time with his family. Glaucia had been invited but asked Brakken to come in her stead. Cippiano was here as Aulus Atticus had also declined (so precarious was the situation in Crisillyir) and everyone had finally stopped kidding themselves about the link between the Family and the Church.

    There had been a debate as to whether to invite Benedict Pemberton. Korrigan was initially unsure. Gupta successfully advocated for him (blushing only very slightly as she did so) but in the end, her effort was futile: Pemberton was invited, but declined: “Thank you, kindly, but I have too much on my plate right now. Keep me posted, though, won’t you? Let me know if I can be of any assistance.”

    Gale paced – or, rather, floated – back and forth, and kept glancing around as if she expected someone to attack. She wasn’t used to formal surroundings, or the confines of a single room, however grand. (Uru realised she was right, and that bombs usually went off at moments like this. However, he resisted the urge to slip under the table, unable to sense anything out of the ordinary.) Brakken quietly read the surface thoughts of aides who came and went just in case any of them were mind-controlled.

    On the king’s behalf, his Principal Minister called the meeting to order and explained its primary goal: to decide how best to deal with the threat of the looming Gyre, and thwart the Obscurati. Thanks to their successful defence of Triegenes, the unit was now in possession of the Axis Seal Ritual, handed over to them by a grateful Aulus Atticus and a reluctant Arch Secula Degaspare. Harkover now explained how to replicate that ritual:

    • The ritual required a connection with eight different planes – Air, Earth, Fire, Water, Life, Death, Space, and Time. Most planes had two primary energies they could be used for. Each world chosen would lend some of its nature to the party’s homeworld.
    • Any physical object could function as an icon for a world; the Ancients used gold because they had tons of it and it was long-lasting. Crafting an icon required visiting a world and channelling its native energies into an object, which it absorbed over several days (perhaps even weeks). Then you had only to mark the icon with a symbol to represent the world.
    • A question remark remained over the reappearance of the sun. The ghost of Toteth Topec had told that was a last-minute inclusion. The ritual made no mention of it. Did something need to be put in the middle, or did the seal just need to be closed? (Uriel also wanted to know how the Ancients had put the seal in place to begin with, and suggested returning to talk with the ghost of Toteth Topec, if he was still haunting the High Bayou.)
    • Even the colossus wasn’t strong enough to survive the energy that poured out of the breach. Additional defensive magic was required. The Ancients had specific chants performed by several hundred allies at the site of the ritual to keep the energy from going out of control. The Ob apparently used those same chants, performed in nearby bunkers, and it was working until they were sabotaged by the servants of the Voice of Rot.

    Here was another threat that needed to be dealt with. Thanks to Kasvarina, the unit knew that the titan was coiled around the plane of time. What was he up to? And why did he want Kai Korrigan? Finding out the answer to that was another argument in favour of the main proposal:

    That they travel to the Gyre and find the planes they needed to fix the world.

    While the Ancients had as much time as they needed to make the ritual happen (notwithstanding their ongoing efforts to fend off multiple alien invasions) the unit did not have that luxury: the Gyre was drawing ever nearer, Av was close to possible destruction, and the Ob could regain the upper hand at any time.

    Leon’s explorations had taught them that regular teleportation was insufficient to take them to the Gyre. Telescopes were able to provide a visual reference for teleportation to nearby worlds, and masters of the art could teleport back to anywhere they had already been. (Home; back to a world they had already visited.) But no telescope was powerful enough to draw a bead on the planar motes clustered around the Gyre. (Could they build a telescope on the outermost nearby world? No: it would still be too far, and in any case there was not enough time.)

    Here, a heated but premature debate sprang up about which worlds to choose, should a solution be found. Unhappy at the idea of compounding the Ob’s arrogance, Uru advocated the status quo, though Brakken laughed at the idea of forgoing all the rich possibilities in favour of a solution chosen “ten thousand years ago by a bunch of alcoholic orcs who were high on primitive narcotics. It didn’t do them much good, either, in the long-run.”

    Uriel thought that improvements could certainly be made, assuming they could reach the Gyre: “Let’s see what’s up there…”; Alden Wondermaker reminded Uru of how far their bio-tech discoveries had come this this ‘new version of the world’; Leon broached the idea of leaving things as they were right now, only fixed; Lauryn Cyneburg pointed out that the Ob’s choices had been predicated on an element of coercion and control: “We don’t have their lanterns. Do we want to hand power straight back to them?” Leon said that they would have to do that as a last resort – if they couldn’t do any better, they would need to cooperate with the Ob to fix the world and “get the sun back”. But it was agreed that if changes were made, any element of control should be avoided. Heid asked them about what they learned at the convocation, and some of the unit mentioned Reed Macbannin’s faction, Arboretum. Matunaaga reminded them that this provided no barrier to outside invasion.

    Korrigan levelled with them all at this point: he felt that the isolation of the world should end. Matunaaga was unhappy at this prospect. “Consider our ongoing struggle to fend off the gidim. Their assault will never end and we cannot fight them off forever.” Korrigan disagreed. He thought they could. After all, had they not already done so? And with greater global unity and strength, and the removal of limits on mortal power, the world would be in a stronger position to resist. Matunaaga absorbed all of this and then nodded. Though no longer a member of the unit, he remained as loyal to Korrigan as ever, and yielded to his wisdom.

    Now that he had their attention, the king went on to say that he may have stumbled on a way for them to reach the Gyre: He had witnessed the disappearance of Weary Enid’s vessel from the summit of Cauldron Hill, when the Gyre was overhead, and the hill was eroding. The hags had been in the process of attempting to kidnap Kai and take him to the Voice of Rot. And where was the Voice of Rot? Why, the Gyre. Divinations had proven that the Bleak Gate was also there and it was this connection which was causing the hill (and everything on it) to be eroded and drawn upward.

    “So we just need to cover ourselves in soil from the hill?” asked Uru.

    “Why does everything with you have to involve soil?” asked Hildegaard, before the more constructive reply that this was not necessary came from Harkover:

    “You don’t have to disguise yourself as the hill. Just be on it when the Gyre moves overhead. The Mayor of the Nettles has examined this theory and confirmed it only this morning.”

    Maybe it was the memory of the soil she had ingested during her scouting mission with Uru, but Quratulain was suddenly sick in her mouth – so much so, that she was forced to lift her intimidating skull mask, with its glowing red eye – revealing her young, feminine face with its haunting blue eyes – and eruct into a kerchief. This done, she quickly replaced her mask, ashamed of her vulnerability.

    Concerned, Korrigan asked her telepathically if she was all right, then declared a lunch break.
    Last edited by gideonpepys; Saturday, 18th May, 2019 at 12:22 PM.
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  4. #1094
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    Session 226, Part Two - Kickstarter

    Kickstarter

    Over lunch they heard rumours. Across Lanjyr, huge numbers of snakeskins were being found, all white and hollow. Snakes were dying en masse by constantly shedding and reshedding their skin until muscle and bone became visible. Stover Delft (now back in charge of the RHC) shared his report of multiple suicides – whole families taking their lives, unable to cope with the bleak, new, sunless world.

    Danor was still in turmoil. In Han Jierre’s absence, Gardienne du Cherage, an Ob officer (present at the convocation) who originally was responsible for making Danor less hostile to Risur, was now doing mental gymnastics to convince Danor they must liberate Risur’s masses from the superstitious leadership of the King Baldrey. Her efforts were being resisted by Naz Duchamps and his allies, including much of the population of the capital who had witnessed the Risuri king’s brave actions in destroying the Godmind. Similar struggles were taking place in Trekhom and Alais Primos.

    Obscurati control had been impressively solid in the Malice Lands and Elfaivar, where there was little existing government to contend with. Model communities had sprung up, each an experiment to test different ways of solving local problems. The residents were all happy and cooperative, or so the Ob-endorsed couriers would have it. Elfaivar had been placed under the technocratic rule of Solace Petrov, a human economist (also present on Mutravir) who had catalogued the resources of the newly-cooperative eladrin survivors and brought them into the world economy by having them sell all manner of magic items once hoarded for an eventual war against the Clergy.

    Running counter to Obscurati propaganda was an underground network of Panoply newspapers. (Ironic, given their Millerite foundation.) Melissa Amerie and her global allies had continued to report the Continuing Adventures of Korrigan & Co. and enlighten the inhabitants of the world to their true saviours. They were more like mere leaflets now, without access to large printing presses, but they did the job.

    One story from rural Ber, confirmed by Brakken, was that of a one-armed eladrin who had lived harmoniously with the locals for centuries, and was attacked for unknown reasons by government (and presumably Ob-sponsored) forces, shortly after the Great Eclipse. The government lost the engagement, and the fugitive had disappeared. Local newspapers continued to receive boxes containing grisly trophies from the battle, and letters from the fugitive demanding, inter alia, that, “Kasvarina should come face me herself.”

    When the council meeting reconvened, they picked up where they had left off: If they took this newfound route to the stars, how would they get back?

    Lots of questions were asked that could not easily be answered: Would teleportation work to return them, as it did to come back from the nearby planes? Hadn’t Kasvarina returned from Reida to the Dream Palace and was it possible to make the journey that way? Could they pester Pemberton and send duplicants of themselves instead?

    Uriel determined that he would settle the matter with an urgent divination. Not here and now, but as soon as possible. They agreed to proceed with the discussion on the assumption that they would find a way to return. Now to decide how they would travel. Uru proposed a capsule of some sort, to protect them from the unknown elements. Lauryn Cyneburg rolled her eyes and said, “If only we had a flying ship of some kind.”

    Would it be safe to take the Coaltongue? they wondered.

    Gupta thought back to the vision of the far future they had experienced in Ingatan’s Refuge: they had been running, pursued by chained demons, towards a ship that rested on dry land. At the time that had meant nothing to them, but now she remembered it was almost certainly the Coaltongue! “Wasn’t Rock Rackus with us?” she said. “And isn’t he on Av?”

    Unbelievably, at that very moment, Rock Rackus’ voice reverberated in Leon’s head: “I’ve learned to cast sending, and the fey taught me some new teleporting tricks. Where are you? You need my help. Expect a weedy-looking kind of guy with terrible fashion sense.”

    After a brief discussion, they told Rock where they were. Teleportation wards meant that the new arrival came to the palace grounds and they waited while he was shown in. It was none other than Swami Melanchol the medium from Flint, with his lank black hair and robes. They had last seen him on the docks when he was brought in to demonstrate that the spirits of the dead were lingering near their corpses instead of departing as they should have. Now he was host to the exuberant Rock and behaving in a far more flamboyant fashion than normal. Rock had brightened him up with a rose from the palace gardens, but had eschewed any gold decorations, and complained that Viscount Price-Hill’s gold medals were ‘in poor taste’.

    “I’m in the Bleak Gate,” he went on. “But I’m not dead. The Bleak Gate is on the inside of the Dreaming. And the Dreaming is about to smash into some giant gears in the sky. And there’s an army of devils in gold chains who are enslaving all the fairies.

    “See, I had a falling out with Thisraldion, and after he… she… he…” he paused to shake off his evident confusion. “Anyway, after that I started dating this ghost chick, and when the devils attacked Thistle Palace she helped me escape through a crack in the ground into the land of the dead. Turns out, this whole time the moon is hollow. Who the knew? Fey live on the outside and dead people unlive on the inside. Except every once in a while dead people disappear and go to the afterlife, or at least that’s how it used to work. But now all the dead people are piling up because they can’t go anywhere. So the inside of the place that used to be the moon is getting crowded and spooky. I just saw a dead whale fly overhead!

    “But that’s not the point. The point is the Dreaming, where all the ing faeries are, is in trouble, and I need you to be my back-up when I go to save them. My ghost-chick says that if you go on top of Cauldron Hill when the weird gears in the sky are overhead, you’ll get pulled to the Bleak Gate. Then we can go back through the big hole in the ground and get to Clover.”

    Before they could interrogate him further he declared, “The sad dude wants me out. I’m gonna teleport him back home. I’ll meet you at the Bleak Gate version of Cauldron Hill tomorrow. If you don’t show, I’m going to have to save the Unseen Court my mothering self.”

    With that, he vanished.

    All of a sudden, they had a deadline.
    Last edited by gideonpepys; Monday, 20th May, 2019 at 10:30 AM.
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  5. #1095
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    Session 226, Part Three - Wrapping Things Up

    How long would all of this take? Weeks? Months? It seemed like attuning with planes would take the longest time. Kai whispered in his dad’s ear that he thought he would be able to help speed things up, and Korrigan realised that Kai had a natural knack with planar energies of all kinds.

    Uriel didn’t care that any item would do – gold still seemed the most appropriate. He announced that he would create a dozen or so blank icons ‘just in case we need a few spares’. (While the others went on to discuss other matters, Morgan Cippiano, tugged Uriel’s sleeve. “How do you know how many you will need? You might make ten icons, then find you need ten more. Or say you decide not to link to one of these motes and then move on, but never find another. I think you will need many more than that. Just to be sure.”)

    Xambria spoke up for the first time in many days. She reminded Uriel about the vortex array she had salvaged from the gidim leviathan. That would enable them to sense the traits of distant motes without travelling to them unnecessarily.

    The rest of the meeting concerned practicalities – supplying and fitting out the ship. They also drew up a roster of who would be coming along – or who would be invited to come along at least. Crew members would be asked to volunteer. Those who wished to step down would be free to do so.

    Lastly, King Baldrey’s advisors assured him that they could hold the fort while he was away.

    Then the meeting adjourned and they bid farewell to their visiting allies.

    Matunaaga stayed with his family as long as he could. Ayesha would travel with Kai on the Coaltongue, as would their younger children. Meanwhile, the gith would continue to patrol the skies, ready for any gidim resurgence.

    Uriel made a point of talking with Xambria now that she had spoken up, since she had remained sullen and silent for so long. Xambria felt she had performed her last act in helping to rid Ursalina of the gidim, and hoped that Uriel would consider allowing Gupta to end her existence now, instead of keeping her prisoner indefinitely. Uriel refused. He hoped that Xambria would soon see what he could: that she was vital to their effort to fix the world.

    Uru had spent the three days before the council meeting in the Anthras Mountains doing “fey titan stuff”. The Nice Spiders had asked to come with him and he accepted their offer enthusiastically, now that they were tooled up with machine guns. On discovering that Granny’s cave had entirely collapsed, he found another, suitable cavern deep beneath the earth and began to meditate to improve his connection with the mountains. He found at once that he became suddenly aware of the shadowy spaces beneath the peaks: the passes, nooks, caves and crevasses. These would be the places he held power. He had a vision of them filled with mists and webs, impassable but for his permission. When he returned to Flint, he had grown another two inches!

    After the council meeting, there was no time for him to return to the mountains, as he had planned. Instead he set about gathering munitions and equipment: Weapons to deal with demons, that sort of thing.

    Gupta sought permission to let the Ob know for certain that it was the Voice of Rot who sabotaged their ritual (just as they had shared the knowledge of how to defeat the gidim; existential threats trumped factional rivalry to her mind). Korrigan refused. “Nicodemus will find a way to turn it against us.” In truth, it had only really been an excuse to contact (and toy with) Wolfgang von Recklinghausen. She did that anyway, asking him why he had left without speaking with her. (Of course, he had, but she erased the memory.) Wolfgang replied, sounding forlorn: “I couldn’t find you. I thought you were avoiding me.” Gupta said that she expected him to seek her out. “Remember,” said Wolfgang, “I did come to find you. I helped to rescue you from the gidim. Doesn’t that count for anything?” Gupta did not respond. Instead, she went to party with the Dockers. (Thames Grimsley was pissed that he had lost the election, but still knew how to throw a good farewell party. Korrigan had already quizzed Morgan Cippiano about Family support for Grimsley. Cippiano was blithe and said they viewed him as a ‘viable candidate, with the interests of the working man at heart; just like us.’ ...)

    In a break from official duties, which consumed most of his remaining time, Korrigan met with Uriel to discuss Ashima-Shimtu. Uriel asked the king where he stood on the demon. “I might ask you the same question,” said Korrigan. “As I recall, you were once quite sanctimonious on the subject.” Uriel reassured him that he was not as rigid as Malthusis. “You know my thoughts on redemption,” said Korrigan. “Everyone deserves a second chance. Even demons.” Uriel said he would like to believe that, and was intrigued by the possibilities Ashima-Shimtu presented. Together they contacted her, and offered to meet.

    Ashima-Shimtu declined, but was happy to talk: “The caged bird enjoys her freedom. But she finds, now free, that the ascetic mode is difficult to maintain. All around her are mortal souls. Like a fox in the chicken coop, she knows temptation once again. But Ashima-Shimtu relishes her newfound capacity to resist!” Korrigan impressed upon her that it was resistance that was important. It was of no merit to be ‘good’ in the absence of temptation. Ashima-Shimtu added that she felt a second compulsion to reform – an emotion she found it difficult to compute, but might have been what humans called ‘gratitude’. “She was freed by those who had nothing to gain by it, nor were they suffering from a compulsion. Ashima-Shimtu finds this behaviour, and her own response to it, intriguing.”

    When asked about the legions of Egal the Shimmering, she said she did not know a great deal: They predated the Demonocracy, of which she was a part, and were driven away before the Axis Seal was closed. The Demonocracy was led by demons who were thereby trapped on this world. They thanked her for her help, urged her to behave, and ended the conversation with an open invite from Uriel to play chess.

    Leon tried to contact Lavanya. There was no response. By now he could barely remember when he had last seen her, or what had been said. This was always the way. Their dreamlike encounters seemed solid and real at the time, but turned to vapour afterwards. He also tried to communicate with the Thinker, to no avail. Then he began the prosaic task of loading up both the absurdist web, and the Dream Palace with rations and supplies.

    That night, Uriel did as he had promised, and performed a divination ritual to ascertain the likelihood of their return. He was rewarded with clear confirmation that they would find their way home. But he learned something else too, something that disturbed him, which he chose not to share with his colleagues right away.
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