The Rise of Felskein [Completed]

Iron Sky

Procedurally Generated
Session 12, Part 2

-Notes: Ahah! I was smarter this time. Typed it up in OpenOffice so the dreaded crash only took 1/3 of a page instead of the whole post!-

“This is... not what I was expecting,” Suniel said as they stood starting at the lizardfolk's lair.

An ancient looking male with cracked scales leaning on a long staff stood at the front of about two dozen of what Suniel assumed were females and young. The old one raised his staff and bared his teeth, then dropped it and prostrated himself on the ground.

Harold, Kezzek, and Suniel looked at the small tribe and glanced at each other. Keeper stood by impassively.

“Do you speak Common?” Kezzek said, tugging on a tusk as he took in the tribe.

“I speaks your tongue, boat-dwellers,” the lizardfolk elder said, still prostate.

“Why did your tribe attack us, old one?” Suniel said.

“And where did your owl go?” Harold said, still glancing about warily, bow drawn and arrow nocked.

“We show strength to all boat that come, we board, we take food, they go.” The old one said. “Our Shaman we not see since battle.”

“He abandoned you?” Harold said, looking about suspiciously.

“He serve the Spirit Totem. Spirit Totem killed by orc, Shaman leave,” the old one said.

“Half-orc,” Kezzek growled.

“Stand old one,” Suniel said, helping the ancient lizardman to his feet. “You were boarding ships for food?”

The old one nodded and gestured to the small tribe. “We fled from the other Tribes, Shaman said Spirit Totem knew of promised place up great river. We lost most of tribe coming up and now Totem dead and Shaman gone...”

“You were boarding ships with weapons drawn, what do you expect?” Kezzek said.

The old one raised his hands. “In our ways, you must bear teeth and raise weapons to show you are not weak before you can negotiate, otherwise they just kill warriors and take females and young.”

“Well, that sure worked well for you,” Harold said, finally putting away his bow.

“It was all we knew to do. We travel and run out of food... none knew what else to do. And now we have nothing.”

The three companions exchanged a glance. Suniel nodded, Kezzek shrugged, and Harold sighed.


They stood at the rear rail and waved at the tribe as they steamed away.

“That was probably a waste of two days,” Harold said. “They aren't going to survive out here.”

“We gave them a chance,” Suniel said. “It's all we can do.”

“Who knows. Maybe they'll be able to domesticate those wild pigs we rustled up and set up trade with ships passing by,” Kezzek said. “They know better than to show their peaceful intentions by drawing weapons now at least. And Grok'nar will have some company tromping around near his grave. I think he'd have wanted that.”

Suniel nodded and glanced down at the hobgoblin's wineskin. He raised it in salute towards the tiny village they'd helped the lizardfolk build and tossed it into the river.

Kezzek grunted and gave a salute of his own, banging his gauntleted fist against his chest. Harold turned and looked downstream.

"Farewell Grok'nar. Never thought I'd say this of a hobgoblin, but you'll be missed," Suniel said. They watched as the village passed behind them out of sight.


Almost everyone else was already on deck by the time Harold made his way out of the hold. He pushed his way through Suniel's motley band, clustered about the bow of the ship, and turned to the Captain. “Why are we stopped?”

Guntl shaded his eyes against the noon-day sun and pointed downstream. “Look, there, you see?”

Harold squinted in the direction Guntl was pointing. “I see nothing, what are you pointing at?”

“This is bad,” Captain Shingleclank said, pulling his tricorne off and gripping it. “Thought we might get lucky again, but there she is.”

“There who is? What are you talking about?” He stared ahead, still unseeing. Then she moved.

The great green dragon was stretched out along the shore at the next bend basking in the sunlight, at least sixty feet from nose to tail, maybe more - the foliage was blocking part of their view of her.

Harold reached for his bow, but Suniel put a restraining arm on his. “I don't want to fight Ashcandia if we can at all avoid it.”

“So what are we going to do then?” Harold said, dropping his arm to his side. “Sit here until she comes to us? Wait, you know her name?”

“Yes, I've heard it before; Ashcandia Gloomwood, she claims this area as her territory. And no, we aren't waiting for her. I thought I'd go talk with her,” the elf said, glancing downstream. “I speak Draconic and thought I might be able to negotiate for us.

“I'll come too then,” Harold said.

“I thought you didn't speak Draconic,” Suniel said.

“I never said that.”

The wizard stared at him for a long moment, then shook his head. “All right, let's go then.”


The largest trout Suniel had ever seen wriggled and twitched, impaled on one massive claw. Ashcandia didn't even turn to look as they approached, her lazy, half-lidded gaze watching the death-throes of the fish.

“Hail, Great One,” Suniel said in Draconic, bowing low. He noticed with much annoyance that Harold didn't duplicate the gesture.

She didn't respond, instead slowly and delicately extending a razor-sharp claw and popping the fish's eyes.

Harold cleared his throat as if he were about to speak, but one great eye turned to them. “You may pass,” she rumbled back.

“We are envoys from the Crystal – what?” Harold said, Suniel echoing him.

With a swift movement, the green's claws snicked and the fish flew apart in a spray of blood. Lazily, she dipped her bloody claws in the water and watched the water ripple around them. “I said you may pass.”

Suniel bowed deeply again. “Thank you, oh generous one, we are most grateful and will be on our way immediately.”

“Why do you let us pass so simply?” Harold said. Suniel stared at him and took a few steps back, reminded again that this man seemed to be afraid of nothing.

She arched her graceful, slender neck and turned to regard him. “Bold, human. But she likes them that way, I can see why she would pick you.”

“Who? What do you speak of?” Harold said, taking a step closer.

Her eyes narrowed dangerously and Suniel took another step back in spite of himself, half expecting Harold to disappear in a flick of those claws and a spray of red. “Do you try me simply because you bear Gilderalin's mark? Do not think that her protection makes you invulnerable.”

“Whose mark? Do you speak in riddles, dragon?”

The green's eyes widened then, one eyelid arching up. “You mean you truly don't know? Very interesting. Why would she mark you in secret?”

“Who is Gilderalin?” Harold said.

Ashcandia arched her head back and there was a throaty rumble that Suniel took to be a laugh. “Oh, this is too rich. Marked by her and they don't even know it, probably off on one of her fools errands. Priceless.”

Suniel saw Harold's expression darken and he quickly stepped forwards. “I'm sure we'll discover in due time. We won't trouble you any more, Great Ashcandia.” He gave yet another deep bow. “We will be out of your territory as fast as we can travel.”

He pulled at Harold's elbow, first subtly, then harder as Harold continued to stare up at the dragon. Finally, the archer turned and followed him back towards the ship.

Suniel cast a quick glance back and saw the great green regarding them coolly, all traces of amusement vanished, eyes calculating as she watched them go.
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Iron Sky

Procedurally Generated
Session 13, Part 1

-Note: Short post, late night, early morning. Also seemed like the best place to break-up this session. I'll probably type the entire rest of the session up next week, should be a pretty long post, but it was a pretty... eventful session.-

It was dawn the next day when the Steamship was stopped by a massive Treant standing in the middle of the river. Suniel had called an alarm as soon as they came around the bend and he saw what seemed to be a tree growing out of the center of the river, but the Captain hadn't been able to stop the ship in time.

Right before they collided, its two largest branches swung down and slammed into the boat, stopping it and lifting the front out of the water with a jerk that would have sent Suniel to the deck if Keeper hadn't caught him.

He thanked Keeper and slowly walked towards the again-immobile tree, its branches gripping the gunwales like huge many-fingered hands. Suniel was examining it when Kezzek ran up on deck, quor'rel in hand, looking quickly about before stopping and staring. He walked up beside Suniel, never taking his eyes off of the huge trunk before them.

“Suniel, is there a tree holding on to our boat?” Kezzek said, still staring at it.

“Yes, Treants they are called, I've seen a few before,” Suniel said, experimentally reaching out and touching a branch.

As he did so, Kezzek drew in his breath and stepped back, but the tree remained inanimate.

Suniel was about to try something else when a high, light female voice called out to them from the bank. “You there, aboard the abomination. Don't touch Gnarlknot!”

Suniel and Kezzek exchanged a glance as they walked carefully back down the deck to get a view unobstructed by the tree.

A beautiful naked woman stood in the river beside the boat, the river lapping at her navel and her long, thick, green hair gracefully concealing her breasts and running into the water. The dawn light struck her at a perfect angle, causing her skin to seem to glow with an inner radiance.

Others were coming up onto the deck as well, but Kezzek motioned for them to stay near the aft-castle. The Greywarden turned to the woman.

“Is this your tree?”

She laughed, a clear, clean sound that made Suniel's heart flutter just to hear. “Gnarlknot belongs to no one, nor do I.”

“Why does he stop our ship?” Suniel said, trying unsuccessfully to not stare. She began to run her fingers through her hair and no amount of propriety could make him turn away and miss any glimpse of her he could get.

Her beautiful face darkened and she pointed at the metal hull of the ship. “That monstrosity chains elementals, binds them against their will as slaves until they are used up, spent, discarded. It should not exist.”

Suniel tried to get his mind to work, to formulate words to negotiate, but just as he found the words, Harold ran up on deck, bow in hand, taking everything in in an instant.

He nocked an arrow and aimed it at the woman. “What do you think you're doing?” he demanded.

Her skin transformed, wrinkling and hardening almost like bark. Her eyes began to glow, shining like the first bright beams of dawn light cresting over a hill. Then the glow flared brilliant gold, filling Suniel's sight before he could turn away.

As soon as it had come, the golden glow faded away, leaving Suniel in darkness.


The gnome priest finished chanting his absolution and the darkness that had taken Kezzek's sight for nearly three weeks began to fade. He wept unabashedly as the first grey outlines of the temple walls began to register on his brain, then the forms of Suniel and Harold kneeling at either side, then the haggard, dirt- and soot-covered face of the priest.

“I see!” Suniel croaked, voice breaking with his gratitude. “I thought I might never see again.”

Harold stood without a word and walked outside, squinting his eyes almost shut against even the dim sunlight that broke through the thick black smoke and raining ash outside.

Suniel stood, crying as well, and took the priest's hand, kissing it and saying something to him in what Kezzek assumed was elvish. The gnome smiled sadly and patted them both on the head, his eyes distant and mournful.

“In spite of all that has happened to my people in the last few days, I feel that perhaps you have suffered more than I,” the gnome said. “Please, I would hear what happened, even for a few minutes' escape from what goes on outside.”

Kezzek stood and shook the priest's hand and stared out the doorway, seeing the devastation, the glow of fire, hearing the distant howl of wind, the crash of water, the crack and rumble of distant earthquakes somewhere to the east.

“It began with a Treant and a... I believe a Nymph, from what I dredged
from the recesses of my memory in our dark, helpless time,” Suniel began.

“They had stopped our Steamship not far, by my reckoning, from where the Greenpath meets the Crystal Deep, though what their intent was I do not know, for before I could truly learn, Harold, the archer who was here,” he gestured towards the door, “came to the deck and aimed his bow at her and she stole the sight from our eyes.”

He took a deep breath. “We lived in the darkness of the blind from that moment until your absolution a few minutes ago, so I saw nothing of our journey here, but I have the words of my... Keeper and the members of the Black Carriage for what we saw, and I can tell what I heard and felt.”

“It began with the roar of a Treant, a sound like timber breaking in a tornado, a sound that will forever be imprinted upon my mind and associated with the onset of our darkness and helplessness. It began with that roar, a lurch of the ship, and a blind, helpless tumble, swallowed by a river and sinking in the drowning dark with no idea of direction...”
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Iron Sky

Procedurally Generated
Session 13, Part 2

-Note: Had hoped to finish session 13 tonight, but I'm falling asleep as I type. Here's most of it, I'll see if I can finish the last bit sometime this week. No promises though. Enjoy.-

“When I pulled myself onto the shore, blind and half-drowned, the river was a maelstrom of chaos behind me. Again, most of what I tell you is what Keeper and the others told me, since in my sudden blindness, everything was confusing and afterward my blindness seemed to steal from all of my other senses as well.

“It was about the time that the Treant pulled the front of the ship apart that Two-Peg was releasing his creatures. I heard later that, ironically, the Owl Bear that killed Grok'nar killed Two Peg as well as soon as he freed it, but it did some damage to the Treant as it fled the sinking ship. It was really Bingor the Machinamentalist that saved us.

“He released the elementals and ran - and for good reason. The long-imprisoned elementals unleashed their fury at the first thing they sensed as they tore their way out of the ship; the Treant. It was a battle of two extremes of nature and fortunately for the rest of us they destroyed each other. The fey woman slipped of some time during the fight, when everyone else was distracted by the elemental destruction unleashed on the Steamship.

“Keeper and the others gathered us together after the fight. Surprisingly, none of my companions were killed or even seriously hurt, though the Captain and Two Peg were killed and the Steamship destroyed. Bingor was inconsolable and mute for several weeks at the loss of his brother.

I found that Kezzek and Harold were blinded then as well. We spent much of the morning sitting on the river bank in a daze, the three of us wondering what to do as the others did their best to salvage what was left of our belongings and the Steamship. Somehow my carriage survived as well.

“It was decided that we'd try to build a raft. Stumbling blind through the Gnarlbend Forest with its wild dangers or the Stoop Oaks and their capricious Fey didn't appeal to any of us so it was decided that we'd take what we could salvage from the Steamship, cut down some trees, put it all together and see if it could get us to Steamport. I wasn't optimistic, but Keeper said his access to the Nexus was strong enough that he could build the raft. He took charge.

“It was humbling for the three of us to be so useless, sitting by helplessly as the Ambassadors and my entourage did all the work. It took almost a week of hard labor for them to finish it – though at least nothing lumbered out of the Gnarlbend and none of the fey found us chopping down their Stoop Oaks. We were in no condition to fight.

“Fortunately too, our journey down the last of the Greenpath was uneventful and the weather was clear and calm as we crossed the Crystal Deep. Guntl told me of it as we crossed its clear waters, so clear that he could see schools of fish a hundred feet below us and caught glimpses of far darker, larger things moving in the depths even further below. Fortunately as well, none of those unnamed monsters took an interest in our crude amalgam of lumber and metal.

“Guntl and Keeper saw the first faint ruddy glow of Steamport burning after a bit more than a week crossing the Crystal Deeps. The others saw it a while later and said it was like a sunrise but in the south, though occasionally it would flare up enough that the whole sky lit up and there was a sound like far distant thunder...”


“Bingor said it looked like the Elemental Reactors that powered Steamport must have been breached, judging by the earthquakes that sent rocks rattling down the cliffs and waves washing high against our raft, by the tornadoes that roared through the inferno that was the ruins atop the plateau where Steamport had been built, and by the waterfalls that crashed down the cliff-faces or boiled away into the black clouds.

“I saw none of it of course, but even from the distance I could hear the wind, feel its heat on my skin and the quake-waves in the motion of the raft, smell the ozone of lightning and the char of falling soot on my skin. Keeper described it all in detail as we approached, the almost unbelievable destruction and the hell-storm that had engulfed what was once the largest and most advanced city in Felskein.

“We landed on one of the few docks that was still intact, amidst the wrecked hulks of Steamships of all sizes that protruded from the water about us. We'd just finished securing the raft when Guntl growled.

“'There's someone else on the dock,' the orc said in a low whisper. 'Surrounded by bodies looks like, maybe one-hundred paces.'

“A gnome? 'What does he look like? What's he doing?' Harold said. Keeper told me later that Harold pulled out his bow and Kezzek reached for his quor'rel in spite of their blindness.

“'He's just standing there. Not a gnome, something else,' Keeper said.

“I sighed then and reached for Keeper's cool metal arm and had him help me along the dock. When we got near, Keeper stopped.

“'Hail,' I called. 'Who goes there?'

“'I'm too late,' the other said, his voice strangely familiar. 'He's already come and gone, gone where I can't catch him.'

“'Annandor?' I said. 'Is that you?'

“'Thessalock was here. This is what he leaves in his wake. And now he's gone back to his Ashen Tower where even I cannot follow,' Annandor said.

“'Thessalock was here?' I said.

“Annandor gestured to the maelstrom of energy and destruction that was Steamport, Keeper told me later. 'Here and long gone. The Crone must be my hope now, to the South. Perhaps she has the cure.'

“'Who is the Crone? And what of Thessalock? Will you just let him go?'' I said. High above there was a great roar and a flash of heat that flattened me to the dock.

“Keeper said that Annandor turned to us then as Keeper pulled me back to my feet. 'Thessalock is what I hunt, not that which hunts you. I've seen the iron machines in my dreams. I've seen them coming, casting their shadow over the whole of Felskein until all the decay and destruction of this continent is under their rule. Only the Crystal Tower Defenses will stop them.'

“'You know of Iron Sky?' I said.

“Harold had apparently stumbled his way to us and overheard. 'My people? The Crystal Towers are the defense of the continent? What do you mean?'

“And he was gone. Keeper said that he smiled, a sad, mocking smile, just before he vanished.”
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Iron Sky

Procedurally Generated
Session 13, Part 3

-Note: It would make more sense to take the time to type these up earlier so I'm not falling asleep as I type them all the time... Anyway here's the last of Session 13. Next session: A guest star from the Black City and the party is again four strong(Grok'nar's "reincarnation")-

“We stayed the night on the dock. Everyone was exhausted from a week of rowing across the entire Crystal Deep, so there we slept, even though the smoke was so thick it was almost choking. Our sleep was fitful – and not just due to the smoke.

“We'd hoped we'd find refuge, some bit of civilization after more than three weeks traveling through the wilds, and maybe someone to restore our sight lest we live the rest of our lives in the darkness.

“We started meeting refugees not long after we landed the raft and started across the burnt grasslands whose blackened stalks crunched under our feet. From them we pieced together... maybe not the story, but at least a story of what happened.

“They told us about the Cabal's celebration, and the initial reactor explosions that came simultaneously with the Airship unveiling and the announcement of the new-forged alliance with the Crystal Towers. Many of them blamed the Crystal Towers for bringing the Ashen Tower down upon them. And there was no doubt about who it was: too many reports of the dead rising on the streets even as the Elemental Reactors exploded and the city collapsed on itself. I think Harold took it harder that they blamed the Crystal Towers than the news that the largest city in Felskein had been wiped clean off the map.

“I wish I had gotten to see Steamport in its glory, the massive elemental reactors, the magilifts to the skytowers, the steamwalkers that roamed the streets. I heard your city was a wonder of Felskein and you have my deepest condolences for what has happened to your city and your people...”


Kezzek walked next to where Suniel and Keeper stood on the wall and looked out over the chaos of the settlement, overflowing with a thousand refugees. Ash still rained down and the landward horizons still glowed from the great grass fires that now burned across the plains and to the east, the clouds whirled and flashed and glowed with fire where Steamport still burned and shook and crumbled.

“They say the elementals have destroyed their entire country, their entire race – except for what we're looking at down there,” Kezzek said as he leaned on the wall beside them.

Suniel shook his head. “What a waste. I'd heard it was the greatest city ever constructed. Peace, trade, technology; three words that summed up their whole society. All gone like that...” he gestured like he was brushing away a cobweb... “and only this one ragged, overcrowded settlement left of an entire race.”

Kezzek growled in thought as they stood watching a boat pull up to the small harbor – this one made of wood for all the metal Steamships lay wracked in their harbors or sunk in their rivers or at the bottom of the Crystal Deep or Landspear Lake. Finally Kezzek spoke. “Maybe it's justice. How long have they been enslaving elementals? Elementals straight from wherever their plane is. Heard those giant reactors that blew had rifts straight to their planes, pulling them in to use like firewood. Only firewood that thinks, maybe feels, probably hates as it burns.”

“You call this Justice? One thousand, maybe two, left of an entire race.” Suniel turned to Kezzek, his expression incredulous. “You call this justice?”

Kezzek thought about it for a moment, then shrugged. “Maybe. The elementals seem to think so. Maybe the gnomes 'used up' a couple species of elemental, enslaved and wiped out a couple of whatever they have for races. What do we know, really?”

Suniel shook his head again, but didn't reply, instead looking back out at the huddled remains of what had been Felskein's most advanced and prosperous race until less than five days past. Keeper met Kezzek's eyes as Suniel looked away, the electric flicker of the construct's eyes and the brown metal of his face giving no insight to whatever he was thinking. If it thinks at all, Kezzek thought, watching Keeper out of the corner of his eye long after the machine had turned back to look over the settlement.

He's a constant reminder, Kezzek thought. A reminder that there's more out there somewhere beyond the scope of all we know about our world. Something that we know almost nothing about but might still hunt us, hunt our continent even. That thought alone was boggling. And all we have is Suniel's guess that we can trust him. Trust it.

He pulled his journal out and flipped to a random page, reading it for comfort in a world that seemed out of control. At least crime I understand, criminals I can catch. Justice is simple and swift. Who ever thought I'd look forward to a hearing about something simple like a murder, something so mundane as a robbery?

“There's a word for this, though I don't know where it comes from,” Suniel said, breaking Kezzek from his reverie.

Kezzek looked from his journal and quirked an eyebrow. “A word for what?”

The wizard gestured across the entirety of the gnome race that huddled under crude shelters, packed into a small scrap of land. Suniel met Kezzek's eyes.

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Iron Sky

Procedurally Generated
Session 14, Part 1

“Elorn Stoneprow? I think his is that ship over yonder.” The gnome gestured vaguely to the ramshackle docks, full to bursting with all manner of craft – except Steamships, of course. “Heard he deals in metals usually, but somehow got his hands on a boatload of food. Good thing he's got thugs for a crew, 'cause people's already getting hungry round here...”

Kormak turned towards the dock, ignoring the gnome's ramble, drawing a few calls of protest from the gnome as he walked away.

He saw what had to be Elorn, the fat dwarf sitting atop a stack of boxes behind a line of burly looking gnomes, goblins, and all manner of rough and tumble. The crowd pressed up against the crude barrier they had thrown up to keep the hungry gnomes away from their shipload of food. Kormak's eyebrow shot up as he overheard what exorbitant prices they were already charging.

He slipped into the shadows below the docks where ramshackle huts were already springing up. Satisfied he was alone, he pulled out a blank sheet of parchment, pulled up his sleeve, and pressed softly on the quill tattooed on his forearm.

He's here, as expected. Continue?


Kezzek sighed and wiped his brow as what was left of the gnomish nation moved about what passed for streets in the shantytown that had sprung up around Watersprock. Most of them seemed to be wandering around in shock or despair, while a few possessed of more angry and vocal temperaments vented about the Crystal Towers bringing the Ashen Tower down on them. A few whispered curses at Thessalock, though not without many sideways glances as if he was about to step out of the shadows.

Several long, hot, and dusty hours asking about the Crone that Annandor had mentioned had yielded only one lead. After a deep drought from his waterskin, he wiped his mouth and pushed through the mob that filled the dock Elorn's ship was moored against.

“I'm looking for Elorn, may I speak with him?” he said to the goblin that sat scribbling down transactions at the edge of the barricade.

The goblin waved Kezzek off without looking up. “He's busy, bugger off unless you're here to buy something.”

Kezzek stared at him for a long moment, then leaned over the barricade – mostly designed to stop gnomes judging by its height – and slammed his Greywarden gauntlet into the planks the goblin had set up across a couple barrels to create his makeshift desk, sending parchment and ink bottles flying.

“Hey!” the goblin said, jumping back, half-drawing a long dagger. He took in Kezzek's orcishness and Greywarden gauntlet quickly. His knife was sheathed and Elorn himself stood before Kezzek in under a minute.

“This is your ship?” Kezzek said.

Elorn smirked and rubbed his gray-streaked black beard. Kezzek disliked him immediately. “Yes, full of foodstuffs by way of Port.”


Elorn snorted. “Yeah, they named their port that, bloody Freeholders. Being the primary port of the Freeholds, it changes hands faster than money's changing hands here on this dock.”

Kezzek looked at the despondent and desperate looking gnomes pressing against the barricade, trading the scant treasures they had fled Steamport with, sometimes even the clothes off their backs, just for a few meals. “Fortunate for you that you happened to have a hold full of food and enough guards to protect it...” Kezzek said, tugging at a tusk as he surveyed the ship.

Elorn chuckled. “Not guards, just my crew. But you are right, lucky indeed. Fortune smiles upon me at last. But I'm sure you didn't have my First Mate come get me just to talk the trade.”

“Indeed, no.” Kezzek cleared the local predicament from his mind. “I heard from someone that you know someone who knows of the Crone.”

“Ha! That's a roundabout way of finding something out. What's that, fourth-hand information?” The contrast of Elorn's cheery mood to the general mood of Watersprock did little to improved Kezzek's initial impression of the dwarf.

“Regardless of how I came about the information, is it true?”

Elorn scratched his head. “I heard about this captain named Witherleg who supposedly had a gimpy leg cured by her, but that's about it. Haven't seen him in a while though, might well be in Steamport or at the bottom of the Crystal Deeps for all I know.”

“Hm. Is that all you know about the Crone?”

“What does that make it, fifth-hand information now? Ha! Anyway, I'm 'fraid so Greywarden. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a fortune to make here.” Elorn gave the barest of polite nods as he turned back and began yelling at his crew as they lowered another pallet of grain-sacks with the ship-board crane.

Kezzek tugged at a tusk again and growled to himself, then pulled out his journal.

One Captain Witherleg may have more information about this “Crone” that Annandor mentioned. Location unknown. Status unknown.

He sighed again as he pushed back through the crowd. Chasing rumors of rumors of a ghost...


Angelo knelt, whipping his silver-traced longcoat back as he did so. The tracks were fresh, clumps of baked dirt strewn in its wake. He rose and looked toward the horizon, half wondering what calamity wracked the north where the sky burned, the land rumbled, and from whence damp ash rained and coated everything in a dull gray.

He stood and pushed long strands of white hair away from his face, then rested his hands lightly on the rune-traced silver of his pistols.

The sooner the hunt is over, the sooner I can leave these strange lands, he thought. When the Huntmaster learns how far I've had to pursue this one and how many have died to it...

He shook the thought from his head, sending a black dusting of ash raining from his hair and collar. Just as he was about to continue his pursuit, he noticed a bit of color beside his quarry's trail, half-buried in a drift of ash. The brightly dyed wool sleeve was like many of the others he'd found; torn and blood-spattered, though this one was small, as if from a gnome or a child.

He gritted his teeth and threw it aside and set off at a taxing pace. No more die to you, nightmare, he thought as looked ahead to where its trail met the horizon. No more, if I have to run for three days straight to catch you.


Suniel came out of his trance with a start as someone knocked loudly on the door to his carriage. Keeper glanced from the door to Suniel, his sleepless, flickering eyes following Suniel as he stood and pulled his robe on.

“What is it?” he said as he opened the door a crack and peeked through.

Guntl pointed towards the bay. “The food ship, out there where they anchored it in the bay for the night. Was fighting on-board and now it seem the ship's abandoned. The gnomes are heading out to it in anything that floats, heck some are even trying to swim all the way out there.”

Suniel only had to think for a second before he reached a decision. “Guntl, go grab Kezzek and meet us at the dock. Keeper, go find us a boat while I gather my things.”

Guntl nodded and disappeared into the night while Keeper rose and headed out the door. A sudden worrisome thought stopped Suniel as he gathered his things and he put a hand on Keeper's shoulder. The flickering eyes turned to him.

“Don't kill anyone out there. And that goes in general, unless I specify otherwise. Like if we're defending ourselves, understand?”

“Of course,” Keeper said, staring back in his indecipherable, expressionless way until Suniel waved him on.

Suniel hoped that his warning was unneeded, but in some ways it seemed the more time he spent around Keeper, the less he understood him.

How can you really know someone – some thing – that doesn't think, whose thoughts are just information pulled from some unknown source out there in the sky somewhere? What is it like to have your thoughts not be your thoughts, but like ten-thousand pages pulled from books in a library that you've never even seen?

Then he was on his way to the docks and pushed his contemplations aside. Keeper and Kezzek were waiting for him with a boat they'd found somewhere. They nodded to Suniel as he climbed in and together they made for the ship, hoping to beat a hundred starving gnomes – and the chaos that would likely follow – to the ship.
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Iron Sky

Procedurally Generated
Session 14, Part 2

-Note: Couldn't get it up last night(this post I mean) since the database was down when I was trying to post it. This is the first opportunity I've had to post it today. Enjoy.-

Kezzek growled in thought as he stared at the disarray of the cabin. “He was murdered,” he finally said.

“By his crew?” Suniel said from outside, glancing landwards at the hundreds of gnomes swimming or paddling their way out to the ship on whatever they could find that floated, then seawards towards the two packed rowboats that headed out in opposite directions, presumably holding the ship's crew.

“Mm, no,” Kezzek said, walking over to a window with broken shutters. “Look at the hinges, this window was forced open by someone on the outside. Why wouldn't a crew member just come through the door?”

He glanced out the window at the wet smoothness of the ship's hull. “Whoever did it was skilled too, if he did it without bringing the crew down on him and if he was able to climb this. Strange too, he managed to kill Elorn without stabbing him, no blood, bruises on his temple, crushed wind-pipe even after Elorn had drawn his weapon...”

“Maybe it was a thief and Elorn just got in the way?” Suniel said, pointing to small chests that lay strewn about the floor of the cabin, silver and gold glinting here and there in the light of the orb of brilliance that floated on Suniel's palm.

Kezzek shook his head. “Why wouldn't the thief just take the chests? They're small enough to slip into a pouch. It looks like these were smashed open, but that would make too much noise.” He picked one of them up and tossed it to Suniel.

He squatted near the bed where Elorn's body lay looking about the scene for a moment, then at the dozen gnomish, goblinoid, and dwarven crews' bodies that lay sprawled out on the deck. They killed each other. Mutiny after the captain died?

He was about to make a comment on it when Suniel hissed. Kezzek spun, hand going to his quor'rel.

The wizard stood shining his light on the small chest, staring at the broken lock. After taking a deep breath, Suniel turned it towards Kezzek. “Do you recognize this symbol?”

After looking at it for a long moment, Kezzek nodded. “Wasn't this on the chests that Annandor had? The ones from-”

“The Ashen Tower,” they said together.

“I found something,” Keeper said, standing next to a dark alcove in the corner of the cabin. He walked over with a weathered, leather-bound journal.

Kezzek took it and stepped outside the cabin, taking in the gnome flotilla that was just reaching the ship. A handful of half-drowned gnomes were already pulling themselves up the netting on the side of the ship.

“Lets look this over later,” Kezzek said, motioning to the cabin with the hand that held the journal. He turned to Keeper and pointed at the escaping rowboats. “Keeper, can we catch one of the rowboats with the ship that you commandeered?”

Keeper replied without even looking at the rowboats. “It would take us approximately eight minutes to pursue and acquire the the smaller vessel with the current wind velocity and their rate of traversal. Chances of locational synchronization with the more massive transport are of questionable predictability.”

Kezzek and Suniel stared at Keeper for a few seconds before Kezzek spoke. “So that's a yes on the small one, right? Good, let's go.”

Kezzek walked over to the first gnomes that were pulling themselves gasping over the rail and onto the deck. He loomed over one and pointed at the captain's cabin. “The ship's current ownership is unknown, but I'm authorizing you to take as much food as you can carry. Oh, and if anyone touches anything in the cabin, I'll consider it a crime against the Greywardens and come seeking justice. Let the others know that too. Got it?”

The gnomes nodded quickly.

Kezzek, Keeper, and Suniel climbed down to their fishing boat, setting out after one of the rowboats.


Kormak dropped to a crouch and froze, staring out to the sea as a rowboat full of dwarves and gnomes emerged from around the blackened trunks of a once-forested promontory, followed close behind by what looked like a crude fishing boat manned by an orc, an elf, and a rusted construct.

Wanting no part of it, he started to move off quickly down the beach when he saw something that stopped him cold.

It was probably sixty feet long, the deep green-black of its skin glistening as if it were coated with slime. It had forty or fifty insect-like legs, seemingly none of them symmetrically paired and, even more bizarrely, some of them had bits of colorful cloth wrapped about them and a what looked like a backpack strapped on the back of its many-mandibled, many-eyed head.

Kormak stared at it for a moment in shock, even as the rowboat crushed into gravel of the bank behind him. It wasn't until a rough hand planted on his shoulder and spun him around that he snapped out of it, grabbing the hand and breaking it's owner's arm out of reflex.


“What is that thing?” Suniel shouted, pointing to the monstrosity that reared it's body like a snake or centipede, head swiveling towards the skirmish that had broken out on the beach.

Kezzek stared at it, quor'rel drawn, as its legs churned it closer. Without a word, he leapt into the still knee-deep water and started wading towards shore, on an intercept course.

Suniel sighed and turned see a stocky, bearded figure ringed by cutlasses and clubs by the rowboat. Two of the crew members already lay still in the gravel.

“Keeper, this is one of those times when we try not to kill anyone. Take them alive if you cane,” Suniel said before muttering an incantation.

Keeper splashed into the water, eyes flaring, as Suniel unleashed a spell.


Angelo swore as the Bent creature's head shot up, antennae swiveling down the beach. It's spotted prey again, he thought. No choice but to attack it now. Damn.

He sprinted after it, drawing and firing his brace of pistols at point-blank range before leaping on its back. It twisted and thrashed as he did so, gouts of greenish fluid spurting from the bullet wounds as he landed, but it didn't stop its charge.

Gripping tightly with one hand, he used the other to draw his rapier and drive it into the thing's back. It screamed in an oddly human voice and flipped over, sending Angelo flying from its back. He hit the burnt grass and rolled, coming to his feet as it stopped its motion and turned on him.

“Come get me, Bent One,” he snarled, crouching and waiting for its charge.

Instead, a hulking gray figure lept from the side, slamming a strange double-bladed sword into the thing. It twisted and curled back, flicking the figure off with a dozen bristling legs.

Angelo didn't waste the opening, rushing in and and severing the first two legs that shot out to pierce him and ducking underneath, slicing up and leaping out before it could drop its weight and crush him.

When he climbed to his feet again and turned, the gray figure – what seemed to be an orc with a strange, massive metal gauntlet – was beside him. They stood, weapons ready as it reared back on it's last dozen legs, its main bulk rising forty feet above them. It made a sound then, half between an insect chitter and a human laugh as one of its mandibles hooked back and slid something from its pack and ate it.

“Was that a potion it just ate? What in the hells is this thing?” the orc said, his accent almost indecipherable foreign.

“A Fae Bent,” Angelo said, reloading his pistols quickly as he did so. “I'll circle right, you go left. Whoever it doesn't go for kills it before it can kill the other, ok?”

“A fey what?” the orc said over his shoulder as he circled left.

Angelo didn't respond, instead focusing his attention entirely on the creature, waiting for it to make its move. When it did, it was almost blindingly fast, one moment risen high and swaying back and forth like a snake, the next on the orc in a blur of slender piercing legs and chitinous bulk.

The orc was trapped in a forest of barbed and thrashing limbs, slashing desperately with his weapon, his dark blood flowing freely.

“For the Black City!” Angelo screamed as he charged. May I live to see it again.
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Iron Sky

Procedurally Generated
Session 14, Part 3

-Note: Angelo's player was the same as the Sky-monk way earlier. He'd come on leave from the Navy from time to time and play for part of a session, then be gone for six months. I really liked this character too, thought it might introduce the group to the Black City and the Fae Wood. Instead, they didn't really get to see the Black City until... well, you'll see.-

Angelo clung to the pack straps on the creature's head and buried his rapier into it. It kept thrashing, trying to kill the orc that still fought underneath its bulk. Angelo swore and drove his rapier into it again and again, until finally the thrashing stopped and it started curling up.

As Angelo leapt clear, he saw the orc crawling away from the thing, leaving a trail of blood in the grass. Sheathing his sword, Angelo stared at the Fae Bent creature as it twitched in its final death throes. The orc walked up beside him, spattered with blood and gore.

“So what was that thing we just killed?” the orc said.

“Something that wasn't supposed to exist,” Angelo replied. He turned away, mentally preparing himself for the long journey back home.


Kezzek watched the mysterious hunter walk off to the west, leaving the giant many-legged horror twitching in the burnt grass.

Suniel walked up beside him, staring at the creature with sheer curiosity.

“What was that?”

Kezzek bent and picked up a colorful bit of cloth, like the many that adorned the thing's legs. “Something that wasn't supposed to exist I guess. A fey something.”

“Fey? That's not like any fey creature I've ever heard of.”

“Well, whatever it is, it's dead now or just about.” Kezzek tossed the cloth aside and glanced back at the rowboat. Keeper and a simply dressed dwarf stood over a pile of bodies. “They all dead?”

Suniel didn't look away from the dying fey-thing. “They shouldn't be, Keeper and I at least were trying to take capture them. I'm not sure about the dwarf.”

Kezzek sighed, winced again, and walked towards the rowboat.


“You killed these three? Why?” the bloody Greywarden said, staring down at Kormak.

“Wow, that thing sure uglied you up, or is that normal for your face?” Kormak said. He glanced at the dead and unconscious dwarves, goblins, and gnomes and shrugged. “One of them put a hand on me so I tried to break it off.”

“And you killed them with your bare hands?” the Greywarden said, eyes narrowing.

“Why the suspicious look? The elf here took out these other ones with his bare hands - well, and some arcane whatever-you-call-it. Your machine here shot energy from its eyes and used its bare hands.”

“The captain on the boat that we pursued these sailors from was killed by someone using their bare hands,” the half-orc said.

“Oh, so I must have been the one that done it then? You as stupid as you are ugly?”

The Greywarden didn't react, just staring down at Kormak and tugging at one of his tusks. “Well, I suppose capability does not mean guilt. I'd like you to come with us back with us to Watersprock none-the-less.”

“Sure, why not?” Kormak said with a nonchalant shrug. “Was heading that way anyway.”


“So the log here says that Captain Elorn traded in metals. Is that correct?”

The captured dwarf, Ragnen, swallowed as he sat bound in the bottom of the sailboat, looking up at the hulking bloodied Greywarden as Keeper steered them back to the ship. “Yes, that's right.”

“So why the sudden interest in foodstuffs after trading in metals for...” the Greywarden stopped and flipped through the Captain's log. “Six years? It's almost like he knew somehow that food was suddenly going to be worth a whole lot more than metal suddenly.”

Ragnen looked over at the wizard and his rusty metal construct, then to the hideous dwarf that had killed Patch and Teral with his bare hands, then back to the Greywarden. “I dunno, I was just following orders.”

“The log doesn't say you carried anything on the way to Steamport. Why was that?”

“We had passengers, but we didn't see them much. Got off at Steamport in the dark.”

“Passengers? Where did you pick them up from?”

“The mouth of the Greenpath, they were just waiting there.”

The Greywarden and the elf exchanged a glance. When they looked back their expressions were hard. “And you delivered them the night before Steamport got wiped out. Who were they?”

“I don't know, but I saw them hand over something when they got on. Gold, several chests worth. Elorn didn't let any of us see them, but for that glance I got, hid them in his cabin. Lookit and his bunch got to the cabin first, so I don't know any more than that.”

“And you're saying you don't know who they were? Not at all.”

“Naw, Elorn didn't tell me much,” he said. “He kept it between him, that log there, and Witherleg.”

“Witherleg?” the Greywarden said, one eyebrow quirking. “Elorn told me yesterday that he had only heard of Witherleg in passing. Fourth-hand information and whatnot.”

“I don't know 'bout that, what the Captain said's between you and him.”

“So, the Captain died how?” the wizard said.

“Dunno,” Ragnen said. “Lookit found him dead, or so he said. I think Lookit might have done it himself.”

“Lookit, wasn't that the goblin?” the Greywarden said.

“Yeah, little backstabbing runt. He's the one that 'found' the Captain dead and said he was Captain now. I said no, I'd be the better Captain.”

“So you had a disagreement?”

Ragnen nodded. “It got... violent. Some sided with Lookit and pulled weapons, those of us who thought I should be Captain pulled ours in defense-like. We... disagreed a bit, then saw all those starving gnomes coming for us and decided to bolt with what we could take.”

“So, you were the First Mate then?” the wizard said.

The Greywarden's eyes shot down to Ragnen and his eyes narrowed.

Ragnen's thoughts churned. The Greywarden was on the dock yesterday. He talked to Elorn. How much does he know?

“Well,” the Greywarden said. “Were you First Mate?”

Ragnen swollowed hard. If I lie and he knows, he might just kill me now.

“No, I wasn't, Lookit was,” he said. He dropped his head.

“Didn't think so. If I remember correctly, Elorn called Lookit the First Mate back on the docks.” There was a pause.

“Mutiny then,” the Greywarden finally said.


Harold looked down as the others' little boat bumped up against the side of the ship.

“What the hell is going on here? Where have you been?” he said.

“Long story,” Kezzek said as he pulled himself up onto the ship.

“What's the short version?” Harold said, crossing his arms as he watched them clamber aboard.

“We're still figuring it out,” Suniel said as Kezzek and Keeper helped pull him up.

“How about searching the Captain's cabin, some things in there that might be of interest to you,” Suniel said.

“Oh?” Harold said, sizing up the ugly, plainly-dressed dwarf that climbed aboard after the others.

“What you lookin' at?” the dwarf said.

Harold stared at the dwarf for a moment then, without another word, headed towards the Captain's cabin.


Suniel rubbed his eyes in the early morning light as they climbed out onto the rocky beach.

“Long night,” Kezzek said as they pulled the three still-bound crew members out onto the beach.

Harold leapt over the gunwales of the boat and stormed off into Watersprock still carrying one of the Ashen Tower coin-chest he'd taken from Elorn's cabin.

“Figured anything out about that crystal that Harold found?” Kezzek said.

“It's cold and I have a feeling it has something to do with the whole dead-rising-in-the-streets-as-Steamport-burned thing that we heard about,” Suniel said, putting his hand in his robe to where the chill purple crystal was hidden.

Kormak the dwarf climbed off the rowboat after them, looked up and down the shore, and whistled loudly.

Suniel and Kezzek stared at him for a minute, then there was a bark from up the beach and a dog with a miniature set of canvas saddlebags strapped to its back came galloping down the beach. They watched the dour dwarf play with the dog in bemusement until he turned to them and said, “this here's a dog. Never seen one before, huh?”

Suniel and Kezzek glanced at each other and shook their heads, then turned to the three crew members on the beach.

“So what do we do with them?” Suniel said.

Kezzek looked at them for a long moment, then seemed to make up his mind. “The Captain's log says he and this Witherleg are... were partners. Ship belongs to Witherleg since Elorn's dead, says so in the contract. Cargo's split between the crew in shares. Figure since we only have three crew left that have returned to the ship, in a manner, that the shares of cargo are theirs. And they're guilty of mutiny.”

Suniel had a sinking feeling at the grim matter-of-factness of how Kezzek was speaking. Kezzek stared at the three for a long moment.

“What are you thinking Kezzek?” Suniel said. “They've already lost enough, haven't they?”

Kezzek pulled out a coin from his pocket and looked at it for a long moment. “I'll be right back.”

Suniel waited, unsure of what to do – and, more importantly, what Kezzek was going to do – as Kezzek disappeared into the camp. Several minutes later, he returned with an armload of wood and what looked like a small crucible. In minutes he had a hot little fire going and a gold coin melting in it. Kormak looked on in interest, the three sailors in apprehension.

“Kezzek, what's going on?” Suniel said.


“Justice? Justice for what?”

“Mutiny, theft.”

“Theft? What are you going to do?”

“I figure they were fighting over the cargo. When I questioned the other two, what they say mostly matches with Ragnen's story. Right now, that cargo is worth more than just about anything you could pack in a ship short of gold. And in a sense, by mutinying, they were trying to steal it. Sounds like Lookit and his crew drew their weapons first, so the murder might be self defense, but the mutiny was theirs.”

“Sound enough reasoning I'd say,” Kormak said.

“So? Why are you melting gold coins?”

“It seems fitting, they were motivated by greed, they wanted the wealth for themselves, willing to kill others for it. Common penalty for thievery is losing a hand.”

“That sounds about right to me,” Kormak said.

“What? Wait! You're going to pour molten gold onto their hands?” Suniel said, shocked.

“More like into their hands than onto with that much gold,” Kormak said. “Probably burn right through the skin, go inside.”

Kezzek was silent. The sailors eyes bulged.

“You can't do this!” Suniel said.

“What would you suggest?” Kezzek said, not turning his eyes away from the crucible.

Suniel's mind churned. Kezzek won't be able to be talked out of this. Justice is his life, Suniel thought, weighing options quickly.

“So they still have rights to the cargo, right?” he said.

Kezzek thought for a moment. “I suppose they do.”

“So how about they give it up to the local authorities, the people of Watersprock. Then they go free. That way they still don't get what they were killing for, they get justice.”

“Naw, I say they just lose the hands,” Kormak said.

Suniel shot the dwarf a dark look. When he looked at Kezzek, the Greywarden seemed to be contemplating it. Finally he lifted the crucible from the fire and walked over to the now-pale sailors still sitting bound on the beach.

“You three are guilty of mutiny, attempted theft, maybe murder. By rights of the contract you signed with Elorn, the cargo belongs to you three. I've decided to give you a choice. You can keep your cargo, worth a large fortune considering the circumstances here, and lose the use of your hand...” he gestured towards them with the crucible. “... or you can keep your hand and surrender your cargo to the local authorities.”

“What about the ship?” one of the sailors said. The other two glared at him.

“Hm, good question,” Kezzek said, looking out at the ship. “The ship belonged to the partners, Witherleg and Elorn. Elorn's dead, so rightfully it's Witherlegs. I say we find him, deliver his ship. At the same time, we can see what his part in this illegal action against Steamport was.”

He looked back down at the sailors and gestured again with the crucible. “So, what is your choice?”

“Hand!” they all said in unison.

“Aw,” Kormak said, his expression falling. Suniel glared at him. “What? I've never seen molten metal... you know.”

Kezzek cut the three sailors free. “Your shares in the cargo are forfeit. You can come or go as you please. Justice is served.”

Ragnen rubbed his wrists and looked up at Kezzek, a calculating look already on his face. “Say, I heard you might be needing some sailors to man a ship you just acquired.”

“Not acquired, commandeered until its rightful owner can be found,” Kezzek said.

“Ok, commandeered. I know a dwarf who'd make a right good first mate, and I'll bet he can find you a crew out of this sorry refuge camp in no time.”

“Cheeky, aren't they?” Kormak said, apparently talking to his dog.

Kezzek cast a questioning glance at Suniel, who just shook his head and walked away. “Come on Keeper, let's get some rest.”

They were half-way back to the carriage when he heard Kezzek finally reply to Ragnen's offer.

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Iron Sky

Procedurally Generated
Session 14, Part 4

“You made how much?”

“Maaaaster,” No Tongue said, proudly showing off his handfuls of coin.

“Little runt made more selling those wooden statues of his than Lunt and I did keeping those gnomes away from Master Elorn's food. Gnomes think they're good luck or something,” Stabber said, eying No Tongue's new-found wealth.

“Don't touch it, it's his,” Suniel said, picking up a statue that looked remarkably like Kezzek. “This is really good. Wait, you were working for Elorn?”

“Yeah, till he bought it,” Stabber said, drawing a finger across his throat and glancing at the forgotten coins that littered the dirt about No Tongue's feet.

“Don't even think about it Stabber,” Guntl said, walking over to the impromptu gathering by the Carriage. "He made a carving for Shruka and I too. I asked him if he could carve a sign for our makeshift healing and husbandry business, made us this instead.”

Keeper shot his hand out and caught whatever it was Guntl tossed to Suniel. They all stared at the sudden almost violent motion. Keeper held whatever-it-was for a second then slowly lowered his arm and handed a little carving to Suniel. It was a finely detailed turtle with what looked like remarkably like the Black Carriage on its back.

“Huh,” Suniel said as he examined it. “He's got an imagination at least.”
Harold strode up to the group, quickly finding Suniel. “Council meeting at sunset, by the old mill,” he said. He nodded once to Suniel and walked away.

Suniel glanced at the rapidly descending sun. “There's a council?” He tossed the turtle back to Guntl. “Guess I'll see you all later. Apparently I've a council meeting to attend.”


“So I'm staying behind,” Ambassador Stevens said, motioning for Harold to sit back down. “Now now, there's not much for me to do at the Crystal Towers, but there's plenty for me to do here.”

“What can you do here for the Crystal Towers? Their nation is destroyed,” Harold said.

“I can do the same thing I've been doing the last few days. Not much left of the gnomes, like you say, but allies are allies and these ones lost everything just for becoming ours. How would it look to any future allies to see this, hear about it?”

“I suppose,” Harold said, looking out at the hundreds of camp and cook fires burning across Watersprock. “I've been doing what I can to convince them it was the Ashen Tower that made all this happen, not the Crystal Towers.”

“That too,” Stevens said. “And just maybe I can take what's left of them and help make them into allies worth having again. Feel kinda guilty about what happened – I mean, reports have come in. There's nothing left of what they had; Watersprock is it and they don't even know why it's still standing. Said the fire roared right up to the walls, but then just... went away.”

“Who knows. Maybe they just got lucky.”

“Maybe. Anyway, I think this council meeting was good. Food from the ship by the Greywarden's orders, permanent council here with me as adviser, the wizard's town layout plans, your militia training. I'm glad you are all sticking around for a few more days at least.”

Harold nodded. “We need a few days to get a crew together. I'm also thinking about heading to Steamport, see what happened there with my own eyes. Remember for when we pay the Ashen Tower back.”

“I'll leave that part to you at least,” Stevens said, shaking his head. “I hope I never see anything like Steamport again.”

They turned and looked to the east, still aflame, like a second sunset on the wrong horizon.


“We're ready to sail first thing tomorrow,” Ragnen said, grinning at Kezzek.
“Found you a crew like I said I would. Now there's one last position that needs to be filled and I was thinking that I would make a-”

“I'm Captain,” Keeper said, walking past them onto the ship. Kezzek, Suniel, and Ragnen watched him head to the aft-castle, the gnomes still pulling food from the hold giving him wide berth.

“Okay then, I guess that solves that,” Ragnen said with a wry grin. “When do we leave?”

“Tomorrow morning,” Harold said, walking down the dock to join them. “If we're agreed that we're going to investigate Steamport, no time to waste before we get to it. Been here in Watersprock for three days already and I for one would like to get back to our journey. Long way to go to get to Crystal Towers yet and Steamport is at least half-a-day's sailing in the wrong direction.”

Suniel turned to Ragnen. “You heard the man. Tomorrow morning it is.”


It was almost sunset by the time they reached what was left of Steamport. As they disembarked onto the one somewhat-intact dock, they all stared in awe at the raw elemental carnage above them.

A constant waterfall ran down the entire north face of the plateau upon which Steamport was situated, enough water that even from hundreds of feet away they could hear its roar. In the east was a giant pillar of fire that seemed to reach into the clouds, burning through even the black smoke that still rose from the rest of the city. In the west, a giant tornado whirled and turned, sending debris raining down constantly amidst the ash and mingling its roar with the waterfalls. Rock and mudslides seemed to be a near-constant thing, frequent earthquakes large and small shaking the plateau apart rock by rock.

“I'll scout ahead,” Kormak said, not waiting for a reply before ducking low and moving quickly down the dock. The dock itself was warped and buckled and he had to leap here and there to get past the larger gaps.

Eventually, he found himself on the rubble-strewn shore, clambering over broken masonry and loose stone, twisted metal, and broken, smoldering wooden beams. When a roughly humanoid watery shape suddenly rose up from the crevice he was contemplating jumping, he nearly lost his footing.

“What is it that comes to the cursed hill?” it said, its voice nearly indistinguishable from the roar of the waterfalls. “Does it come to fight the fires?”

“Uh, nope. That is, not expressly,” he said.

“Why does it come then?”

“Uh, it comes to see what the hell is going on here. That's what it comes to see.”

“Then this goes,” it said. Before he could reply, it disappeared back into the crevice with a soft splash.

“Well, that was different,” Kormak said to nothing in particular. Then he turned and headed back to the ship.


Suniel approached Steamport from the south, working his way carefully up the cracked cliffs and constantly rumbling and shifting scree that was the whole southern side of the Steamport plateau. He was almost a third of the way up when a huge boulder suddenly detached from where it rested near a distant rocky escarpment and hurled down towards him.

Scrambling, he tried to get out of its path, but it seemed to shift its course to follow whichever way he went. It's an elemental, he realized suddenly as it was almost upon him. Instantly, he supplicated himself, grabbing a handful of coins from his robe and pressing them into the dirt in front of him.

The boulder's flying tumble stopped abruptly three feet from his head.
Tentatively, he rose to his knees, then his feet. “Hello?” he said.

It sat like the boulder it was. He tried again in elvish. And dwarven. And on through all the languages he knew.

When he reached gnomish, he just barely was able to hurl himself out of the way as it suddenly rolled over, slamming into the dirt where he had been standing and sending rocky debris, ash, and dust flying.

He prostrated himself again, groveling in the rocks at the base of the boulder and pressing more coins into the dirt.

It went still again and he remained on his stomach, at an impasse.

And there they sat.


Lava flowed not ten feet from where Harold's horse's hooves clattered on the hard black lava-flows. He wrapped another cloth about his face to ward off the smoke and burning sulfurous fumes that rose from all about the western side of the plateau.

When he stopped for a moment to figure out his route onwards, his horse suddenly whinnied, kicked, and sidestepped. He spun about, bow and arrow in hand in a heartbeat, and saw a bit of flame, no larger than a torch-flame, floating in the hot wind behind his horse. It flickered and shifted, darting to one side of him, then another, burning a bit of his cloak, then his horses tail, then nearly burning off some hair.

“Whoa there, little flame-thing,” he said, putting his bow away and raising his hands. “Look, I come peacefully.”

It didn't seem to understand, still darting here and there, sending little licks of flame across clothing and skin. Then he had an idea. He pulled out his waterskin, pulled the stopper, and upended it onto the hot ground. The water came out in a dozen large chugs, sending steam billowing up off the rocks. When he turned to see the thing's reaction, he had to duck to avoid getting his face burned off.

His horse bucked as the flame moved about them as if in a frenzy, burning where before it had singed. “Whoa, stop!” he said. After another near-miss with his face, he snarled and his great sword flew from its sheathe to split the flame in half, apparently putting out whatever life-spark kept the the thing burning. It drifted down in ash about him.


The cliff was nearly sheer and irregular winds blasted down its face, but Kezzek had found a chimney that he thought might be climbable. Making sure all his gear was securely fastened on his back, he began the ascent, bracing one leg on each side of the large crack and slowly working his way up.

He had gotten almost thirty vertical feet when suddenly the wind gusted so strongly that his arms slipped off the smooth, wind-carved rock. Frantically, he tried to brace himself with his feet, but they too slipped. He landed on his back, gear clanking and crunching in his pack as he landed on it.

By the time he had recovered his breath and was back on his feet, he noticed a dust devil whipping across the scree at the base of the cliff and meandering towards him. When the edge of it was just rippling into his clothing, he nodded to it and motioned to the scree.

“Rock,” he said.

He wasn't sure if it was his imagination, but it seemed to blow more strongly.

He pointed at it again and said, “Rock bad?” He kicked a rock.

In response, the dust devil's winds strengthened, forming a small tornado. Rock chips and debris flew all about him and glanced sharply off his face and hands, but he made sure to not even wince. He picked up two rocks and smashed them together. The winds spun faster and faster as he repeated the performance.

Finally, it had apparently seen enough. It engulfed him and he felt the ground fall away from under his feet. He tumbled like a rag doll inside it as it carried him away.


Kormak peered into the crevice again. “Hello there? Water thingy, you there?”

He called for several minutes before it appeared again. “What does it want?” it gurgled.

“It wants to see the big water. Water leader or elder or lake or whatever you call it,” Kormak said. “What do you think I want, to sit here in this ruin talking with a ambulatory stream?”

“Does it speak in water-speak?” it said. Then it frothed up and blew what he thought of as a misting of spit across him.

“What's the big deal?”

It did it again, thoroughly dampening him. “Alright, I didn't come here to get soaked by a spit elemental. Go bugger off!”

He stormed off to his tent and called his dog over. “Hmph. Maybe the others will have better luck with theirs, 'Cause I'm done with mine. It spit on me, Dog, can you believe it?”

As usual, Dog didn't reply, just wagged his tail and lick the elemental spray off Kormak's hands.
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Iron Sky

Procedurally Generated
Session 15, Part 1

Kezzek flew out of the whirlwind and landed hard in the rubble. He stood, grunted, and brushed himself off as the little tornado drifted off to the west.

Around him, the city was blown flat, except where bits and pieces had been tumbled together or dropped. Ash blew past him and various bits of debris occasionally fell from the sky to land around him.

It was the giant black tornado farther west that really caught his attention, it's roar audible even from what might have been a mile. The tornado was so large and the city so flattened around it, it was hard get a real sense of its scale, but it had to be immense.

Half-watching the rubble under his feet and half-watching for the rubble that occasionally rained from the sky, he worked his way towards the giant column of twisting wind. He had only traveled a couple minutes when he stumbled upon the bizarre combat.

A giant splintered jumble of obsidian was locked in mortal combat with what he assumed was the whirlwind that had carried him. The whirlwind blasted and gusted at the heap of glassy rock, occasionally sending bits and pieces flying, but apparently having little effect on it. There was sense of desperation to the whole thing.

Then he saw a where a fist of obsidian shards extended into the whirlwind, keeping it pinned as the animated rock-pile slowly smothered it.

With a roar, Kezzek drew his quor'rel and charged, sending flakes and jagged bits of obsidian flying from the thing as he slammed his blades into it.

He had a sense that the thing had turned towards him, though he couldn't be sure what it was that gave him the impression. It exploded towards him, razor-sharp blades of obsidian sliding to jut out of its surface as it slammed into him and sent him flying into a pile of loose brick. He got up, spitting rock-chips and bleeding from a dozen cuts, and leapt aside as it drove a rocky limb into the brick-pile, sending fragments flying in all directions.

With another roar, he brought his quor'rel down, severing the rocky limb from the main body of the thing, the rocks that composed the limb tumbling apart into the dirt. It released the whirlwind, which immediately flew off into the blackened, churning sky, and shot two jagged spear-head sized bits of rock out.

Kezzek managed to parry one, bits and flakes of obsidian flying, but the other pierced deep into his side. Snarling he stumbled back, then lunged back in, driving his quor'rel straight into the center of the elemental, his gauntleted arm plunging deep into the rough jumble of rocks. The thing froze for a moment, as if in shock, then compressed like a vice on his arms. He thought he heard something pop, then his arms were free.

There was no time to even so much as raise his hands to protect himself when it slammed full force into him, sending him falling back, the roar and blackness of the giant tornado seeming to fill his senses.


The fire erupted suddenly, sending steaming-hot fragments of rock raining all over Harold. He scrambled up the scree as another vent opened up, the blast of heat that billowed out from it drenching him in sweat instantly. Then he was clear and sat panting and wishing he hadn't dumped his waterskin on the ground for that annoying scrap of flame, or left his other two skins on his horse when he sent it back.

He wiped his brow and turned back to his climb, senses hyper-alert to the change of temperature or shift of the rock that warned of another vent opening beneath him.

Finally he reached the last lip of the cliff, free-climbing a short ways before hauling himself up over the edge and crawling a dozen feet to be sure of the rock before standing – and discovering he was surrounded.

They were shaped roughly like candle-flames, though some were as tall as a tree or wide as a house. They flickered in all colors of flame, most reds and oranges and yellows, some flickering blues and whites and purples. An unmistakable sense of hostility emanated from them – aside from the heat.

He raised his hands, thinking quickly. “I come in peace, don't be hasty. I bring food.”

Thank the Crystal Towers for our superior equipment, he thought, pulling one of his many javelins from his quiver. He turned to the largest elemental, a monstrous bluish flame the size a small tower. “Here, food,” he said, tossing the javelin to it sideways. A lash of flame shot out and seized the javelin from the air and pulled it into the core of the flame. Surprisingly it didn't burn instantly to cinders like he would have expected, instead slowly blackening.

Maybe it's savoring it
, he thought.

“Take me to your leader,” he said. The flames sat flickering but otherwise immobile around him. He repeated it several times, turning to different ones each time. “You have a leader?”

Finally, the big blue one started moving away from the others, deeper into the city. He looked around quickly and hurried after it, not wanting to be left behind.

If it weren't a giant blue flame, he might have lost it in the smoky haze. Everything was blackened and singed, all the wood burned and even some of the stone melted here and there and even through the double-handful of cloak he had pressed against his face, his eyes watered and he coughed regularly.

As they traveled he glanced about him, looking for anything that might be useful – to him or the Crystal Towers. There was nothing but a scorched and blackened ruin, not a trace of the fantastic wealth the gnomes of Steamport were said to have left behind.

When the flaming pillar suddenly stopped, he nearly stumbled into it, singed some hair in the process. “We there already?” he said.
It didn't reply, instead spitting out a red-hot metal javelin head. He dodged out of the path of the glowing bit of metal and reached back into his quiver. “Don't worry, I have more for you here. Take it.”

He tossed it to the thing quickly to avert it from taking it from him and burning his hand off in the process.

Seemingly content, it moved out again across the rubble, occasionally deviating to pull in some scrap of wood or cloth that had somehow survived the hellish inferno that must have ravaged the place. It cost him four more javelins to reach the Rift.

Even standing a hundred feet away, he could feel the heat rippling out from it in waves. Its edges blurred in the heat, but it looked just like he would have imagined it; like a tear in the fabric of the world to a place of pure flame, a giant column of fire and heat blazing out into the ruins and rising into the clouds. Directly beneath it, the rock had melted away and flowed slowly deeper into the plateau, venting gouts of sulfuric steam.

Nearby was a giant green bonfire, maybe sixty or seventy feet tall. It seemed small compared to the giant rift that rose burning into the clouds, the giant blue flame that had guided him seeming even smaller.

He approached as close as he dared and stopped, sweat running freely down his face and under his clothing as his guide drifted to the giant green flame. As it did so, he noticed a large metal cage nearby heaped with small figures that he assumed were gnomes. If they were alive, they were probably wishing they weren't at the moment, smothered by each other and the blistering heat of the Rift at the same time.

The giant green bonfire seemed to take notice of him, working its way slowly towards him. Thankfully, it stopped twenty paces away. Any closer and he wasn't sure he could stand its heat.

“It isn't a cursed one,” it said in Common, its voice like the crack and splinter of logs in a bonfire.

“No, it is a human from the Crystal Towers,” Harold said, bowing before it. Slowly, he drew two more javelins and a couple spears from his quiver, tossing them towards it. “I hope these suffice as some small gift.”

It reached out with an almost-humanoid arm and picked up a javelin, burning it to ash in seconds. Then its attention returned to Harold. “What does it want from Greenpyre?”

“I have heard that the fire fights the water here.”

It snatched up the other javelin, burning it apart in seconds. It held onto it until even the metal tip melted and ran onto the ground beneath it. “Water and fire are enemies. Water must close its Rift and leave the Hill of the Cursed Ones to the flame.”

Harold thought quickly, clearing his throat to buy some time. “Well... I heard that Water was trying to ally Air and Stone against the Fire.”

It suddenly burned hotter, forcing Harold to take several steps back. It motioned to the blue pillar of flame that had been his guide. The pillar moved to the cage and, at its approach, the gnomes began to squirm weakly. Somehow it opened the cage, and wrapped a tendril of flame about a gnome's leg, dragging him screaming from the cage.

When it got back to them, it threw the gnome towards Harold and Greenpyre. The gnome landed hard and whimpered, clutching at the hideous burn on its leg as it tried to crawl away. Greenpyre approached slowly, watching the gnome writhe in its heat until finally Greenypire lunged forwards like a treetop fire in a strong wind, and engulfed the gnome. The pitiful thing thrashed once or twice and cried out, then burned away in layers until only the bones remained.

With a flicker, Greenpyre hurled the bones back to the rift, where they flashed like a wood shaving in a forge and were gone.

“Air and Stone will never stop, as Water and Fire will never stop,” Greenpyre cracked and rumbled. “The one before me will bring us more Cursed Ones, so our vengeance for their slavery and cruelty can get its fill. Will it bring us Cursed Ones?”

It moved towards Harold again, sending him scrambling away from its heat. He raised his hands to placate it. “Yes, yes! I'll bring you more gno- Cursed Ones!”

Just as quickly as it had been advancing on him, it was moving away, back towards the Rift. “Fire Pillar will escort it from the Burning and it will not return unless it brings us more Cursed Ones.”

Harold sighed and wiped his brow again, wondering where he could find water in the ruins. Non-hostile water that is, he thought, following as Fire Pillar's blue flickering mass moved past him and deeper into the ruin of Steamport.

Scratch one faction off of the Crystal Towers list of possible allies I guess.


“Take us to biggest rock,” Suniel said, or hoped he said as he thumped on the ground and clattered rocks against each other. As Keeper approached, the construct had what Suniel might almost interpret as a quizzical expression on his face. “I'm trying to talk to this earth elemental in Ignan,” he said, motioning to the boulder that had almost flattened him.

“Yes, that is what it looks like,” Keeper said.

Was that irony? Suniel thought, staring for a moment at the inscrutable construct. Finally he gave up and turned back to the boulder, banging his rocks and stomping for several more minutes. Just as he was about to give up, suddenly the boulder shifted, sending scree skittering a Suniel and Keeper's feet, and began rolling uphill.

“Look at that, it's almost absurd,” Suniel said. He said to his sky-metal lightning-eyed friend, he thought, rolling his eyes.

“Come along Keeper, with any luck, it's taking us to the leader of the Stone faction, assuming there is a leader.”

“As you say,” Keeper replied. Suniel glanced over his shoulder and squinted at Keeper.

“You know, the problem with you, is everything you say is with a straight face,” Suniel said.

“My face is molded in the rough likeness of a humanoid,” Keeper said. “Though there are twenty-six surfaces on it that could be labeled as straight, depending on your definitions and margin of error.”

“Exactly my point,” Suniel said. “That's exactly what I mean.”

After that they climbed in silence, following the boulder as it rolled up the side of the plateau.
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Iron Sky

Procedurally Generated
Session 15, Part 2

The Boulder finally came to rest next to what had to be the Rift. It was as if a continuous rock slide was falling from out of the clear sky and coming to a stop not ten feet from the ground. Occasionally, a rock would clatter out of the rift and some of these rolled off on their own. The rumble was deafening. Suniel was looking about for whatever passed for the leader of the elementals when what he thought was a cliff-face moved.

“Earthquake Moves,” the boulder that had escorted them rumbled in Ignan.

Suniel stared as the “cliff face” toppled over, slamming into the ground ten feet from where Suniel and Keeper stood.

Suniel bowed deeply and collected a couple small rocks and began clattering them together and stomping.

“Hail great one, we come to offer our services against the forces of air against which you battle.” Suniel's Ignan was rusty, so he really hoped he was saying what he thought he was saying.

“How would it help against the wind? It is one flesh thing and a fleck of iron,” it rumbled back.

“Perhaps I could help negotiate peace between you. Surely you can see that this war you wage can never be won?”

“What does the flesh thing know of this? The wind-hate goes to the core, only the Cursed Ones bear more hate,” the massive thing shifted, as if somehow agitated by the conversation.

“Bring one,” it rumbled.

What Suniel had thought of as a loose pile of rubble formed into a vaguely humanoid form and moved off to the far side of the rift. When it returned, a tiny gnome child twisted and thrashed in its rocky grip.

Suniel knew what was next and raised his hands. “Please, great one, spare the little one. It knew nothing of what they did. Surely your vengeance must be sated now! Return to your realm, leave this world. What do you hope to accomplish here?”

The massive boulder heaved into the air, its immensity made it seem to move almost in slow motion. Suniel and Keeper moved back quickly and the earth elemental that heard the gnome fell apart into the rubble. The gnome child screamed.

Earthquake Moves hit the ground hard enough to knock Suniel from his feet and rattle more pieces from what few ruins still stood nearby. When the dust settled, Suniel rose to his feet, disgusted.

“We will push the wind back into their realm and then we will claim this world too, rule its dirt and rock and stone. We will press every Cursed One into the dirt, press them out, roll them under us and even this will not be enough to repay the slavery they imposed.” Earthquake Moves' Ignan speech rumbled out as an earthquake, buckling the ground around it with its intensity.

Suniel shook his head. “Then this is a fruitless gesture. I will go now.” He turned to leave, back the way they had come.

“No.” The word rumbled through the soles of his feet. “You will aid us. You will bring us more Cursed Ones that we may press into the earth or you will go nowhere.”

“Then I will go no where,” Suniel said, sitting down on a nearby rubble-pile and staring up at the immense elemental. He stared up at it, gritting his teeth for a moment. Then, without looking away he spoke.

“He said nothing of you coming or going Keeper. Head back to the ship and let the others know my predicament.”

He watched carefully for any sign that Earthquake Moves would stop Keeper. It sat still as a mountain as Keeper left, leaving Suniel again at an impasse.


Harold ran hard through the ruins, glancing behind him to see if any of the elementals were still pursuing. A quick glance showed nothing, but ducked inside a half-crumbled tower anyway. He was heading deeper into the ruins when he tripped over something in the shadowy dark. Cursing he felt around, eventually finding a small but heavy chest half-buried in fallen, half-burned timbers. He popped it open and his eyes widened.

Need something to do while I'm waiting for them to give up on looking for me anyway, he thought, starting to count the coins. Guess this venture wasn't a total waste of time.


Kezzek awoke to a face looming over his. Instinctively, he reached to throttle it, his orc blood raging, but the figure was too quick, moving just out of reach.

“Hold there Greywarden, it's Harold,” the figure said, slowly coming into focus.

His orcish side was screaming for blood but he managed to resist long enough for it to simmer down. “Harold,” he was finally able to say as he examined the bandages wrapped about his arms and chest. “How in the bloody hell we're sitting in the middle of did you find me?”

Harold gestured behind him at a dozen tiny whirlwinds that danced about them. “They led me here, good thing too. Looks like something half-killed you.”

“Which half? I think I could handle losing the orc side sometimes,” Kezzek said with a grunt and a wince as he stood. He looked up at the black tornado roaring high into the sky to the west.

“Well, I've talked with the leader of Fire,” Harold said. “Big green bonfire that called itself Greenpyre.”

“And?” Kezzek said as he pulled his Gauntlet on.

“Let's just say it's probably not a good idea to go back there."

Kezzek grunted.

“Well, might as well get moving,” Kezzek said, pointing towards the tornado. “I think we need to go talk with that.”


Kezzek felt like he was leaning almost parallel to the ground by the time he was able to reach the wind-blasted plateau around the giant tornado. As he approached, a second twister detached from the massive Rift-tornado and drifted towards him, stopping only when it was so close he had to cling to a craggy outcropping to keep from being blown away.

“I come to ask you to give up this pointless war against the Water. Close your Rift and return to whence you came, this is no place for you,” he shouted, voice straining with the effort of shouting over the wind.

“Our Rift grows wider,” the wind boomed back. “When the Rifts of Wind and Fire and Stone close and the last of the Cursed Ones is torn apart and their remains scattered to the four winds of the place, then will we return.”

“But that will never happen! Anyone can see that this war you are waging is pointless,” Kezzek said. “In this world, does the sea or the wind or the fire or rock ever win? How will any one of you ever find victory here?”

“If it takes ten times the span we were in bondage to snuff out the other Rifts, then that will be soon enough. If we are blown back through our Rift in defeat, the knowledge that whichever remains will destroy that vortex of Cursed Ones we left in place to collect the Cursed Ones all from the four winds, then that will be enough.”

“Vortex of the Cursed Ones?” Kezzek shouted. Then it came to him. Watersprock! They left alone so that the gnomes would gather there within easy striking distance! He stared at the swirling, somehow malevolent swirling black wind that swayed before him and swore, using the rock to pull himself away until the wind had died down enough for him to stand.

“It didn't kill you, that's something at least,” Harold said. “Any luck?”

Kezzek just growled in return. “Let's get back to the ship.”


Suniel was just about to give up when he saw Keeper appear out of the ruins, Harold close behind.

“I see Keeper reached the ship,” Suniel said.

Harold nodded and looked over at the Stone Rift, glancing right past Earthquake Moves. “Yes, just as I reached it myself. So what's the situation here?”

“Simple. He says I either bring him more gnomes to slaughter or I don't leave.”

“Ah, that. Don't worry, I've dealt with this before,” Harold said. “Where's their leader?”

Suniel pointed at Earthquake Moves. “That.”

Harold stared at it for a minute. “What, behind the cliff? Oh. That's their leader?”

Before Suniel could answer, Harold was walking up to it.

“You there, I have a message for you,” Harold said, shouting up at the rock. “We'll bring you more gnomes, we just need to go get them. Give us some time, we'll get a bunch, bring them back.”

He stood staring up at it and Suniel half-expected Earthquake Moves to shift once and flatten him. Instead, a boom echoed out, sending Suniel and Harold staggering. Suniel motioned Harold over quickly when he caught Harold's eyes.

“What was that?” Harold said as he approached.

“He said yes,” Keeper said.

Suniel looked sharply at the construct. “You speak Ignan?”

Keeper's looked back, expressionless as ever. “No. Why?”

“Well, regardless, what did you just agree to?” Suniel said. “There's no way I'm going to do that.”

“Exactly,” Harold whispered, leaning in. “I agreed to the same thing with Greenpyre. I don't know about you, but there's no way I'm ever coming back here again. Are you?”


“Wait, you're saying you saw a silver turtle here?” Kezzek said.

Guntl and many of the other crew members nodded. “Yes, it went to the beach, opened its mouth, and a figure walked into the city with what looked like a crate. It didn't move an inch the whole time until a few hours later when he returned. Then it swallowed him and headed west. I could see the bubbles.”

There was a moment of silence as everyone took the information in. Finally Harold spoke.

“Our course takes us west. The journey to the Crystal Towers that is. We can keep an eye out for the turtle as we go.”

“And warn Watersprock,” Suniel added. “If what Kezzek found out was true, the little city we were helping organize is a trap.”

There was another silence. Then Keeper strode from Suniel's side towards the aft-castle, shouting at the crew as he went. “Avast! Make ready the sails. You sailors or landlubbers?

The others all glanced at Suniel who simply raised his hands and shrugged.

“Don't ask me, I just turned him on.”
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Iron Sky

Procedurally Generated
Session 16, Part 1

Urblabetha motioned for the rest of the shoal to move up to the surface craft. She surfaced a ways away on the night waters and watched as her kind began climbing up the sides of the craft. For a while, she thought that they might make it undetected onto the deck, but then one of the land walkers called an alarm. With practiced skill, the Locath dispatched those on the deck and Urblabetha thought they might take the ship uncontested.

Then there was a roar and a member of the shoal flew arcing off the ship and into the water. Then there was a flash of flame and a half a dozen more shoalmates fell to the deck smoldering or sailed into the water trailing smoke and fire.

Urblabetha dove under the surface and swam farther away to get a better view of the ship. When she resurfaced, she saw that her shoalmates were being annihilated. A landling archer was firing rapidly, dropping one of her kind with every arrow. A figure in a brown cowl hurled magics, bringing hateful fire and tearing arcane forces to bear. A short, bearded landling used its under-developed landling flippers to crush and break. A huge landling with a metal-wrapped arm and a double-fanged blade slashed and cut. A strange metal man stood on the craft's aft-castle, hurling lightning from his eyes. In mere minutes, the fight was over and Urblabetha's shoal sank to the deeps or lay gutted on the craft.

She watched for a few minutes as the landlings moved amongst the dead ones. Then she nodded in satisfaction and dove beneath the waves.


“So, anyone know what these things are?”

Everyone on deck glanced around at each other, meeting only empty expressions and shrugs. Ragnen knelt next to an especially large one wearing strange metallic armor that lay face down on the deck and rolled it over.

It was fish-like, but with legs and hands that ended in flexible fins. The armor covered most of its body, including a bulbous helm. Its trident was still gripped in a hand-flipper. A strange multi-eyed skull-like shape was branded into its armor in several places.

“Don't remember it's name, but these fish-things live down in Landspear Lake. Shipping sometimes has trouble with them, but it's pretty rare,” Ragnen said. He snapped his stubby fingers. “Locath, that's what they're called.”

“Hm...” Kezzek said, tugging at a tusk before pulling out his Greywarden journal, mumbling to himself as he wrote. “Unprovoked... Locath... pirate... Landspear Lake.”

“How are they organized?” Harold said, staring out ahead of the ship.

Ragnen shrugged. “I dunno, never run into them before myself. As I said, they're mostly in the Landspear Lake and we've mostly run the Crystal Deeps.”

“And what does this symbol mean?” Suniel said, tapping on the Locath's armor.

“The ship is stopped,” Keeper said, walking up to the cluster that gathered about the body.

Suniel squinted at the symbol. “Must be some bizarre, alien hieroglyphic system if it means that. I would have thought it was a caste mark or some other organizational-”

“No, he means our ship isn't moving,” Harold said, walking quickly over to a railing and peering over.

Suniel looked up and blinked a few times as the entire crew stopped policing bodies and ran to the railing.

“Over here,” Harold said. “There's something, stuck to the side of the ship.”

They gathered around Harold and stared down at a large bulbous shape stuck to the side of the ship. “Ok, anyone know what that is?” Harold said.

There was a long mement of silence, then Kezzek sighed and said, “I'll go check.”

Suniel joined the group at the railing and watched as Kezzek cast a rope over the side and climbed down. Gingerly, the half-orc stepped on the strange pod, then shifted his weight a bit and looked around the sides of it.

“It's spongy and slimy, has some sort of vines running from it deep into the water. Looks like there's some blackish substance holding it to the side of the ship. Kinda like tar. Someone drop me a plank and I'll pry it free.”

Kezzek tied the rope about his waist as he waited, then a crew mate tossed him down a piece of lumber. After positioning it carefully between the pod and the ship, the Greywarden pulled, first gingerly, then harder, until he was straining with all his might. Finally he stopped and tried to pull the plank free, but it was stuck as well.

“Looks like some sort of natural adhesive,” Suniel mumbled. He turned to Keeper. “Go to my carriage and get the green flasks.”

As Keeper walked to where the carriage was lashed to the deck, Suniel leaned over the rail. “Kezzek, hold there, I might have something that will help.”

Keeper returned with four greenish flasks. Suniel motioned for Kormak to bring him a nearby bucket and then carefully set the flasks inside and tied a rope to the bucket handle. He lowered it carefully, wincing every time the motion of the waves knocked the bucket off the side of the ship.

Kezzek took the bucked gingerly and looked up. “What's in these?”

“Acid. Strong enough to eat through wood. You'll need to apply it very carefully where the black substance meets the wood. Try not to get any on the ship's hull itself. The concentration should be enough that the water doesn't dilute it too much before it reaches the tar.”

They watched for several tense minutes as the half-orc carefully unstoppered a flask and poured it here and there on the tar. The black tar bubbled and sizzled as the acid hit it. “Smells awful,” Kezzek said as he poured the last of the first flask. He grabbed the plank again and strained against it again, planting both feet against the side of the ship for extra leverage. There was a popping, tearing sound and the pod tore free, sending Kezzek and his plank plunging into the water.

The crew laughed as they hauled the spluttering Greywarden up the side of the ship, but it was good-natured and they patted him heartily on the back when he reached the deck.

Suniel handed the bucket rope to Keeper. “Raise these very carefully and return them to my carriage. Place them securely back where you found them. Wouldn't do at all to have these come loose in the carriage during a storm.”

Keeper took the bucket and looked Suniel in the eyes. “Verily,” he said, then turned and walked across the deck.

Suniel watched him go and wondered again whether the construct had a sense of humor hidden somewhere beneath his metal skin.

His musings were interrupted by Ragnen's approach. “We'll be at the Crystal River in two days, weather permitting.” He paused and looked at the deck. “Lost four crew to the attack.”

Suniel nodded to him and sighed. “Carry on. Finish getting these bodies overboard. We'll have a ceremony for our dead at first light.”

He watched as the crew set to work, tossing Locathi bodies back into the Deeps. Everywhere we go we bring death, he thought. Is it our curse together or mine alone, still following me after all these years?
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Iron Sky

Procedurally Generated
Session 16, Part 2

Harold was chatting with Ambassador Roderic when one of the sailors on early-morning watch called out.

“Stay here unless I come for you,” Harold said, grabbing his bow.

“Of course, wouldn't want me catching something horrible like a breath of fresh air,” Roderic said.

Harold ignored the comment and ran to the deck. A couple of the others were there as well, peering out at something on the waves. The figure was partially submerged so it took a moment for Harold to recognize it as one of the Locath that had attacked the ship the night before. He drew an arrow and raised his bow, but Suniel put his hand on Harold's arm.

“There's only one and it hasn't done anything hostile,” the wizard said. “Let's wait and see what it wants.”

“What it wants? They left almost two-dozen dead behind last night, what do you think it wants?”

“Call it a hunch. I think if it wanted to attack us, we'd be under attack already.”

Within a few minutes, nearly the entire crew and all the passengers were staring out at the Locath that swam along beside their ship a hundred yards out. Then a wave passed between them and the Locath and it was gone.

“See, we missed our chance. That was probably a scout,” Harold said.

“Hm. He might have a point,” Kezzek said, squinting out over the water.

It resurfaced maybe ten yards out, a second smaller Locath with it.

Hands went to weapons, but Suniel raised his hands to them. “Hold! I think they are here to talk.”

The larger Locath started making sounds that to Harold sounded like someone drowning. The smaller was still for a while, then spoke in broken Common.

“Urblabetha say that landwalkers have passed Undredakul test.”

“What's an undredakul test?” Kormak said, quirking an eyebrow.

“Why did you attack us?” Harold said. He kept an arrow in hand just in case it was a trick.

The smaller one blurbled to the other one, the one he had called Urblabetha, and they had a brief conversation in what must have been Locathi. Then the smaller one spoke again.

“Locath test landwalkers. Locath die, landwalkers live. Landwalkers pass test.”

“Hell of a test,” Kormak said with a hideous half-grin.

“Who is this Undredakul?” Suniel said. “And if we passed his test, he must want something from us.”

There was another brief consultation.

“These landwalkers are strong,” the translator said. “Urblabetha think they might be strong ally against Nakral. Will landwalkers fight the many-armed ones?”

Harold, Kezzek, and Suniel turned to each other and a moment later Kormak pushed his way into the group.

“Anyone here know who this Nakral is?” Harold said. Everyone shook their heads.

“Ok, many armed ones? And idea on that?”

“There are many creatures with many arms,” Suniel said. “Most likely they are aquatic in nature, though that still leaves many varieties of water creatures and otherworldly abominations.”

“Right, so that leaves us with a question-” Kezzek began.

“If the landwalkers fight Nakral, safe passage through Undredakul's kingdom is,” the translator called up to them.

“We don't actually have to fight this Nakral and its many-armed whatevers,” Kormak said, dropping his voice to a rough whisper. “We can just agree to it for the safe passage.”

The others exchanged questioning glances. “You know, for once the dwarf might have a good idea,” Harold said.

Kormak grinned back at Harold. He was even uglier when he grinned.
They turned back to the Locath. “We will fight this Nakral and the many-armed ones,” Harold said loudly.

The Locath translator spoke with Urblabetha briefly and they disappeared beneath the surface.

Everyone at the rail stared out at where they had been, a murmur running through the crew.

The ship lurched and everyone was sent staggering and reaching for ropes or rails.

“A pod, there, attached to the back of the ship!” Harold shouted. “It was a trick!”

Then the ship lurched again and the pod fell away, leaving tar in the same three-eyed-skull shape that they'd seen on the dead Locath.

“That's different,” Kormak said. “I guess we're on their side now.”
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Iron Sky

Procedurally Generated
Session 16, Part 3

Inkanis nodded to the hatchling and they tucked their wings, diving from the clear sky towards the wooden craft that was slowly floating down their river. The little humanoids on the deck let out a cry of fear that sent an excited tingle through Inkanis' body as she unfurled her wings and opened her mouth, engulfing a few figures on the deck with acid. She beat her wings and hurtled past, glancing back to see that the hatchling was, somewhat clumsily, following her lead, catching a lone dwarf with its much smaller gout.

They beat their wings to gain some altitude and circled around again. She nodded to the hatchling, seeing that it too was exhilarated by their kills.

As they began to dive again, she aligned herself to catch the figures coming up on deck, recognizing the weapons in their hands. She twisted and jerked to vary her path, the first few arrows narrowly missing the mark. Her maneuvers brought her out of alignment to catch the few archers, so she settled for a gnome that stood on the aft-castle, leaving little but a half-fleshed skeleton and a hole sizzling into the deck.

The tiny black behind her screeched as one of the humanoids on the deck hurled some sorts of magics into the sky. That gave her pause and she flew up far out of range, the pathetic little hatchling struggling to catch up to her.

“Go for the one that used the magics,” she snarled at the hatchling. “Take it down first, then the archers.”

She looked over at the hatchling to be sure it heard her. It looked at her dumbly and snapped at the spot on its side where the spell had seared it. She hoped that meant that it understood.

They dove again, the wind slipping around her body as the river expanded from a thin blue line to a rippling waters and the speck of the ship became a wide deck. She aligned herself with the cowled figure, gritting her teeth as it began to gesture, looking up in her direction. I can endure whatever feeble magics this wizard can throw at me. Can it endure this?

She opened her mouth, feeling the acid bubbling up to her throat. The wizards gestures became bigger until she could begin to hear little snippets of chant and could see that it was an elf.

Just as she opened her mouth fully and the wizard thrust his hand at her, she saw the Mark. She lurched to the side, her acid splattering into the sails and the wizard's magics barely missing her. She banked hard, coming about and slamming into the hatchling, sending it spiraling off into the trees just as it unleashed its acid, the black sizzling ichor burning away a railing a few feet from the wizard.

She flew away quickly, barely avoiding a small volley of arrows. She arched her neck and glanced behind her, snarling. Damn, damn! It thought, Gilderalin will tear my wings off and hurl me to the Endless Sands for this!


Kormak glanced up from the still-sizzling railing as the two black dragons circled far overhead.

“What was that about?” Kezzek growled, lowing his quor'rel bow.

“That was a neat trick,” Kormak said.

“The acid?” the Greywarden said, his brow furrowing as he glanced at the acid-splattered and -eaten deck.

“No, whatever you did to turn your sword-thingy into a bow.”

Kezzek glanced down at the quor'rel in his hand as if he'd forgotten it was there. With practiced motions, his hands moved on the weapon, pulling and twisting here and there. The wire of the bowstring retracted instantly with a zipping sound and with a few twists it was again the twin-bladed sword. Kormak now understood what the various strange notches and holes in the blades were for.

“Why did they stop attacking?” Harold said, joining them and raising a hand to shield his eyes from the sun as he stared up at the still circling dragons. “The big one even attacked the small one.”

“Maybe you'll have your answer, they're coming back,” Suniel said as he and Keeper joined them. He put his hand on Harold's arm as the archer raised his bow. “Wait, they aren't diving this time and the little one is holding back. I think they wish to talk.”

“I think we should let Harold fight it,” Kormak said. The others all glanced at him, some sharply, some questioningly and he grinned back at them.

The dragon closed and beat its wings mightily, to hover before the ship for a moment. “Come to the ruins around the next bend, I will wait there,” it snarled.

It landed for a second on the front railing, then used it to launch itself off and flew off.

“It must be a trick,” Harold said, bow still in hand, eyes squinting as if he were estimating a shot as it flew away. “It knows it can't fight us openly so it will use deception.”

“I don't think so,” Suniel said. “It turned at the last second when it was about to use its breath on me. It might have killed me right then.”

“I still think we should have let Harold fight it,” Kormak muttered. As often happened, the others ignored him.


They walked into the ruins warily, despite Suniel's assurances. Kezzek stood up, holding a copper coin. “Gnomish, these are gnomish ruins.”

“Look at the stones, scorched and tumbled and blasted. Even this far from Steamport the elementals unleashed their wrath on the gnomes,” Suniel said, bowing his head.

The black dragon slipped out of the ruins, startling them all with its speed and stealth in spite of its size. It didn't seem as large when it was on the ground with its wings furled and Suniel guessed it was less than a century old. Maybe as little as a few decades. Icy malevolence glinted from its eyes and its black scales gleamed in the sunlight. Even from twenty feet away, he could smell the acrid stench of it, like acid eating away rotten flesh.

“What business does the Undercouncil send you on?” the black dragon said, its horned skull-like face even more hideous and terrible when it spoke.

“The Undercouncil?” Suniel said. “What is the Undercouncil?”

She stared at them, hard eyes glittering. “I would think an elf would know better than to toy with dragons,” it finally said. “Either you are mocking me or you are unwitting pawns. In either case you are fools.”

“Well, you're even uglier than I am, and that's saying a lot,” Kormak said. Suniel turned to silence him, but saw that Keeper was already moving, placing a metallic finger on the startled dwarf's lips.

“Shh,” Keeper said.

The incongruity of the construct shushing the dwarf while they talked with a black dragon in gnomish ruins made Suniel blink and shake his head.

“I do not take kindly to being called fools by little runts like you,” Harold said. “I've had enough of dragon riddles. Tell us of this Undercouncil.”

“You truly don't know...” it said. “Well, I guess that means we're both pawns of the Undercouncil then. Gilderalin usually gets what she wants.”

“Pawns? You consider yourself a pawn as well?” Kezzek said.

The black showed its teeth and flicked its tail. “I have to take care of the hatchling. Ashcandia brought it to me to take care of, under orders of Gilderalin and the Undercouncil.”

“Ashcandia the Green?” Suniel said.

“You do know something of dragons, despite your ignorance of your role in our affairs. Yes, the green. I'd rather kill the stupid little runt, but if I did they'd send Ashcandia. She'd take my horde and exile me from my territory... at best.”

“Your horde?” Harold said, one eyebrow quirking.

“Yes.” It showed its teeth in a terrible snarl. “And I must give some of it to you for killing your pawns.”

“What?” they said in unison.

“You are pawns of Gilderalin. They were pawns of yours that I killed, the ones that run your ship. How many did I kill?”

“Five,” Suniel said, anger rising up in him that the dragon would try to simply buy them off for killing five good crew members. Dwarves and gnomes that had served them loyally and well.

“Then I will give you five handfuls of gold, or five items of value from my horde,” the dragon said, through clenched teeth, body twisting as if the words physically pained it.

“Sounds fair,” Kormak said.

Suniel was about to object when the black turned, ran a few graceful steps, then dove into the ruined gnomish town's large communal well.

Suniel glared at Kormak. The dwarf looked at him blankly. “What?”

A few minutes later, the dragon returned with an ornate shield pressed to its body. It held it tucked with one arm as it walked towards them on the other three limbs. It craned its neck to look down at the shield and whatever was on it, then it shook its head and threw the shield at their feet, the golden coins heaped upon it scattering on the ground.

“There, tell Gilderalin that Ikanis paid her blood debt. I owe you nothing now. Get on your ship and get out of my sight.”

Harold and Kormak began scooping up coins while Kezzek pulled out his Greywarden journal and began scribbling. Suniel stood, clenching his fists and gritting his teeth, staring at the dragon.

Then Harold turned, caught Suniel's eye, nodded back towards the ship, and began walking. Kezzek finished writing, glanced at the dragon a final time, then joined Harold.

Suniel finally relaxed his jaw and sighed. He turned and followed after Kezzek and Harold, glancing back to see Kormak give a deep flourishing bow to the dragon then jog to join them, a half-grin on the ugly dwarf's face as he met Suniel's eyes.
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Iron Sky

Procedurally Generated
Session 16, Part 4

The town was once gnomish, though it took some of their gnome crew to point it out. The broken, rusting half-sphere of an elemental reactor was the only evidence in the otherwise blasted and flattened ruin.

“The turtle is going southeast,” Keeper said, walking up behind them as they stared over the railing at the ruins.

They turned towards him. “How do you know?” Harold said.

“Isn't it obvious?” Keeper said, returning to the aft-castle.

“I think we should land here,” Kormak said, pointing out at the ruin.

“Why?” Kezzek said. “There's nothing there.”

“And I think if I have to stand on a ship for a minute longer, I'm going to drown myself.”

“I've seen enough gnomish ruins for a while I think,” Suniel said, examining No Tongue's latest carvings. One was lizard pulling a cart while another smaller lizard rode on the cart-bench, the other a dragon wearing a strange collar and harness. When Suniel had asked why he'd made them No Tongue had just said, “Maaaster” and grinned at Suniel.

“The crew did say we need water,” Kezzek said. “If there's a city this size, there must be a well somewhere.”

“Uh... can I ask something?” Kormak said. “Why do we need water? Aren't we floating on a huge amount of it?”

“The water here is salty. No one knows exactly why that is,” Suniel said.

“How would you know that?” Harold said raising a questioning eyebrow.

“I... talked with the crew,” Suniel said, glancing quickly out at the ruins.

“Let's just get it over with,” Kezzek growled. “Should probably scout it out before we send the crew out. If these ruins are anything like the last ones, they're probably dangerous.”


The burrower felt movement again in the empty paths of the small-walkers. It knew others would be there soon, so it tunneled up, burrowing through dirt and rock towards the heaviest vibration.

The walkers called out in alarm as the burrower tore out of the ground, catching one of them in its jaws. It shook its prey, sending pieces of it flying in all directions.

At first, the burrower thought this walker had a metal skin, like some of the walkers the burrower had eaten, but the expected taste of running blood and the feel of tearing of flesh was absent. The burrower discarded the remains of the metal-thing in its jaws and turned just as a big two-clawed walker slammed into it.

The walker's metal claws bit into the burrower several times before it managed to get ahold of the walker and fling it away through a wall. It could feel the ground tremble as other, smaller burrowers sensed the fight and closed in to take its prey.

Then something else was biting into it and it turned, snapping its jaws at the air. Another walker was spitting sharp spines at it from atop a nearby pile of rubble, while other walkers were running towards the fray.

The burrower dove into the ground, sensing the shift and tumble of the rubble above it. When it sensed the movements of the spitter directly above it, it churned its body in the loose soil and hurtled upwards, rubble flying in all directions as it surfaced and caught the spitter's arm in its jaws. Warm blood ran into the burrower's mouth and it released its bite for a moment to get a better grip and pull the spitter under the earth.

The walker was too fast and slipped away in that split-second. The burrower leapt after it, not wanting its prey to escape, but the walker was gone, sliding down the slope and hurling more sharp spines behind it as it fled. As the burrower slid down the rocky debris, a sudden jolt of fear washing through it along with the realization that it was exposed in the open, beneath the hateful sky.

Suddenly there were walkers surrounding it, one clubbing the burrower with its limbs, another ripping at its underbelly with its sharp metal claws, the spitter still hurling its barbs, and another calling fire. Another burrower lay still and broken on the ground nearby.

The burrower twisted and thrashed, hurtling the clubber and the metal-clawed one away. It made a final lunge towards the fire-caller, half-burrowing into the ground as it closed. It leapt entirely from the ground, jaws flying wide to close on the fire-caller, but it slammed into something unseen, harder than the hardest rock, and then the walkers were on it again.

Real terror ran through it as it tried to flee, but the walkers pinned beneath the hot sun and it grew ever weaker until finally it was too weak to struggle and its essence ran back into the soil and rock.


“What the hells were those?” Harold said, eyes sharp as he gazed out over the ruins.

“Everyone all right?” Kezzek said, still snarling and trembling with blood-and-battle lust.

Kormak was limping slightly, blood streamed from Harold's arm and back and streamed from Suniel's brow. As the battle lust slowly faded, Kezzek could feel pains emerging all over his bruised and battered body.

He walked to the biggest creature and stared down at it.

It was almost like a snake or worm, but its skin looked like and was as hard as the rock it burrowed through. Its four jaws were strong and muscled, with blunt grinding teeth that could – and probably had – chewed through rock and metal. It had four eyes, each hard and glittering like a gem. No blood ran from its wounds, instead a thick sand-like substance spilled out.

“Suniel, are these what I think they are?” Kezzek said. When there was no reply, he looked up and saw the elf hobbling around the battlefield, collecting pieces of Keeper, a worried and almost mournful expression on Suniel's face.

“These must be elementals of some sort, maybe released when that blew,” Harold said, jerking his thumb towards the rusty crown of the broken reactor that jutted over the ruins. The archer knelt and drew a dagger, carefully placing it in the burrower's eye.

Kezzek watched impassively as Harold pried free an eye, examined it, and handed it over.

“These might fetch a decent price somewhere,” Kormak said, his ugly grin at odds with his limp. The dwarf held out his hand, revealing a small handful of the gems.

Then the ground rumbled and they all looked at each other with worried expressions.

“I don't know about anyone else, but I'm not really feeling like fighting more of these things,” Kormak said.

Harold stood up with a handful of burrower eyes and nodded. Suniel was already walking back towards the ship, grunting as he struggled with the weight of Keeper's parts.

Kezzek glanced at the now-eyeless corpse of the burrowing thing one last time and jogged over to help Suniel with his burden, wincing with each step.


“I guess I'm heading out then,” Kormak said, slinging waterskins over his shoulders and loading two up on Dog.

“If you're sure,” Kezzek said. “I'm still hurt too badly to go with you - I think something might be broken - and I don't think Suniel is coming out of his carriage until he can figure out how to put Keeper back together again. And Harold's in cooped up with the Diplomat again.”

“I'll be fine,” Kormak said. “Don't worry about me.”

“Famous last words,” Kezzek said.

Kormak grinned and headed out across the gang plank with Dog in tow.

They hadn't gone more than a hundred feet into the ruins when the ground suddenly exploded out from underneath him. He landed hard and rolled to his feet while Dog landed heavily with a yelp. The rock worm was one of the little ones, but still far bigger than Kormak. The thing turned towards where Dog had landed.

With a shout, Kormak threw himself into the air and slammed both feet into the thing with a rewarding crack, but it caught his leg before he hit the ground, twisting him and slamming him through a crumbling brick wall without releasing its iron-hard bite. Kormak slammed his bony fists into its jaws, sending jagged bits of rock-skin flying until it finally released his leg, sending him sprawling down a pile of debris.

The burrower loomed over him, jaws widening for a final pounce. Kormak tried to stand and felt his injured leg give out underneath him. He rolled over and propped himself up against a large rock, ready to die fighting.

The creature came apart in a spray of viscous sand, the two halves of it flying apart like a titan had tugged on either end.

Kezzek stood where it had been a second before, quor'rel split into two blade, his eyes flaring with bloodlust and his lips pulled back in a feral snarl as the creature's sandy insides rained down around them.

“Told you it wasn't a good idea,” Kezzek said, clicking the quor'rel blades back together and extending a hand to help Kormak up.

“Is Dog all right?” Kormak said, nearly collapsing as he put weight on his leg.

“Let's get you back to the ship first, then I'll get Dog.”

Kormak grumbled and scanned the ruins as Kezzek half-carried him back. Dog was no where to be seen.

After being deposited on the ship, he watched Kezzek every step of the Greywarden's return to the ruin, ignoring his own injuries. After several agonizing minutes, the half-orc finally stooped to pick something up and began carrying it back.

Kormak pushed Shruka away as she came to tend to his wounds and dragged himself over to the gangplank as Kezzek returned.

“He's alive,” Kezzek grunted, gently setting Dog down on the deck.

“It's a she,” Kormak said, breathing a deep sigh of relief as he gently ran his hands through Dog's bloody fur.

“Let me see to that leg,” the hideous orc woman said.

He shoved her away again. “Treat the dog first.”

She stared at him in disbelief, glancing pointedly at his bleeding and probably broken leg, but he crossed his arms and stared Shruka down until she complied.

He knelt and petted Dog, murmuring to her as the orc woman checked the mutt's wounds.

“It's all right girl, it's all right...”


“I'm going out,” Harold said, adjusting his horse's stirrups.

Kezzek winced as his snort of derision shot pain through his broken ribs. “After seeing what's out there, what almost killed Kormak when he went out?”

“We need water, and I can hunt,” the archer said, moving to the other side of his stallion to check the other stirrup.

“We don't need it that bad. I say we just move on down the coast and find some place less dangerous,” Kezzek said.

Harold shook his head and mounted. “No, we'll get it here.”

Before Kezzek could say another word of disagreement, Harold clattered down the gangplank and out into the blackened and crumbling town.


Harold returned late at night, two days later, on foot and limping.

“Looks like that went well,” Kormak said, shifting his propped up foot so he could get a better view. “Where's your horse?”

The human didn't reply, instead throwing down a couple laden waterskins and what looked like a carpet. The few crew that were still awake, drawn by the commotion, approached, bearing lamps.

“Give me one of those,” Harold said, unrolling what turned out to be a tapestry.

As Kezzek approached, he took a lamp from one of the dwarven crew and shined it down.

The tapestry was tattered, dusty, and torn, but part of it at least was clear.

On it, fish people that had to be Locathi rose out of the surface of stormy waters, hurling tridents at a hundred tentacles that thrashed in the frothing seas about them. Figures aboard gnomish Ironships stabbed into the water with long spears or fired indiscriminately about them with arrows, striking Locathi and tentacle alike. Kormak found the huge tentacles wrapped about and pulling an Ironship under especially ominous.

“Where'd you find that?” Kezzek said.

“Not far from where my horse died.” Harold said. “I'm heading below to rest.”

He pushed through the crew and a moment later disappeared into the hold, leaving Kezzek, Kormak, and a few curious crew staring uneasily at the tapestry.
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Iron Sky

Procedurally Generated
Session 17, Part 1

<Note: Since I can't ever seem to get the post up on Wednesday anyway, I'm changing the posting schedule to approximately Wednesday. So, some time before the weekend. Mostly. Probably.>

Kormak stayed quiet when the group decided to put planks over the Locath markings on the side of their ship, slipping off to the side, pulling out a sheet of parchment and tapping the quill tattoo on his arm.

“We don't want to get caught up in some war of theirs,” Harold said.

Heading to Landspear Lake, pursuing Silver Turtle, Kormak wrote. He glanced up as the others continued their discussion.

“Hm, I guess I agree,” Kezzek said. “Perhaps if we remain neutral, we can avoid getting caught in the fighting.”

Kormak heard a faint scribbling sound and glanced down at the parchment.

His eyes widened as he read the new orders that had written themselves there. Quickly he put the parchment away and rejoined the group, squinting at Suniel and wondering if his orders meant what he thought they meant. What other secrets does the wizard have that he's not telling us?


Suniel threw up again over the rail, even as he clung to it for dear life. He was just glad he'd gotten Keeper rebuilt before the storm hit: the construct held the wheel even as the most experienced crew members were tossed about the deck by the storm.

Kormak slammed into Suniel and almost knocked him over the side, leaving him dangling precariously on the railing as giant waves crashed into the side of ship. Kormak grabbed his hands and pulled him onto the deck.

The dwarf grinned down at him as he lay gasping on the deck, just before a tentacle reached up over the railing and yanking the dwarf into the water.


“Behind you!” Harold shouted, pinning a tentacle to the mast just before it grabbed the Greywarden. The half-orc spun and cleaved through the tentacle with his quor'rel and then pinned another to the deck.

Harold ran to the railing and fired at the thrashing mass of tentacles that convulsed around the vanished dwarf and elf. A huge squid launched out of the water at him, tentacles flailing towards Harold, only to fall back into the water with an arrow through a bulbous eye.

“Cover me!” Kezzek shouted as he threw down his quor'rel and hauled on the rope the wizard had lashed about his waist before diving in after Kormak. A couple crew members dropped their hatchets, belaying pins, and cutlasses to join him while Harold fired arrow after arrow at the dozens of tentacles that lashed out at them.

Finally, with huge effort and almost another full quiver of Harold's arrows, they got the half-drowned dwarf and elf back onto the ship and within a few minutes had beaten back the squid attack. They weren't in the clear yet however, since the storm was still raging.

After maybe another hour of the harrowing storm, suddenly the main mast was struck by lightning. Harold might have put it off to chance, but then another bolt struck, blasting a crew-gnome apart as he scurried up the rigging and a third bolt hit the deck not a foot from Harold, sending the archer flying making all the hair on his body stand on end.

“In the water, it's a Locath,” Guntl shouted. Harold could barely hear him over the storm. “Out there, to port!”

“What? But we're on their side!” Harold shouted back.

“No we're not!” Kormak shouted from where he clung to the railing. “You put boards over the mark they made, remember?”

With a wordless roar, Kezzek ran to the rail, lashing a rope about his waist as he went. “Hold this!” he shouted, looping the rope around the railing once and then tossing the other end to Kormak and Harold.

“What are you doing?” Harold shouted, staggering as another wave rocked the ship.

“Pulling those planks off before that Locath blows the ship apart! You, lash a rope about your waist and help me,” Kezzek shouted, pointing to another crew member. The dwarf replied, complying and joining Kezzek at the rail.

“Hold tight!” Kezzek shouted.

Harold and Kormak scrambled for some sort of sturdy footing as the half-orc dove over the side and another lightning bolt struck the ship.


Kezzek tried to brace his feet against the wet hull, but a wave slammed him into the side of the ship and tangled him in the rope. He shook the water from his eyes and saw the dwarven sailor was making better progress, having already pulled on plank free and struggling with another.

As Kezzek untangled the rope and positioned himself again, something huge and white hurled up from the water, swallowing the dwarven sailor whole and rising several feet out of the water before crashing back into the waves.

He vaguely heard someone on the deck, maybe Guntl, shouting “shark!” He tried to ignore it as he drew his quor'rel and used it to pull another plank free. He winced as another flash of lightning lit the sea and glanced down in time to see a huge white shape hurtling up out of the depths towards him.

As the massive white shark broke the surface of the water, he pushed hard against the side of the ship and launched himself away from it. The shark tried to turn in the air, hideous jaws wide, but its momentum carried it past him and its jaws closed inches from the rope that kept Kezzek out of the waters.

He hit the hull hard and shook his head, quickly repositioning himself. Another plank flew free as he cast a quick glance at the water. He growled as he struggled with the final plank, pulling with all his might, afraid that he might break one of his blades. Finally the board came free, the quor'rel almost flying from his wet grip as he gave the final jerk.

“Pull me up!” he shouted, glancing down in the illumination of another lightning bolt to see the great white shape beneath the waters, againt accelerating up towards him.

Many hands reached up to pull him over the rail and back onto the ship, the shark's jaws snapping in the air, its huge bulk propelled almost higher than the railing before it crashed back down into the waves.

Kezzek coughed up water and struggled to his feet, waiting for the next lightning bolt to strike. After several minutes, it was clear the attack was over.


Suniel leaned on the prow rail, watching the massive shark churning in the water as it helped tow their ship through the last of the storm. The Locath waved up to him and pointed at the Landspear, the massive mountain seeming to pierce the sky as it rose from the small crust of broken hills at its base.

"Mountain of the Sky,” the Locath said. “That where shining shell-thing go.”

Guntl stood next to him, squinting. “Look at that, there's some sort of silver line that seems to run up the side of the mountain. What do you think that is?”

It took Suniel a minute to see what the orc was looking at. “Your eyes are sharp indeed Guntl Keen-eye, I only see it now that you mention it. Maybe it has something to do with that glint of silver there amidst the broken rocks. Do you see, where the water meets the broken hills? Keeper, aim for that rocky inlet there, I think that's where our turtle has gone!”

As the ship turned slowly towards the gradually emerging silver ruins, they stared up at the mountain that rose miles above them until its upper reaches vanished into the clouds.
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Iron Sky

Procedurally Generated
Session 17, Part 2

Suniel tapped lightly on the silvery metal of one of the buildings in wonder. The metal was tarnished and the buildings leaning and utterly empty, but they were intact, without as much as a dent or scratch in them.

“You know anything about these Keeper?” he said.

“They are old. Older than even the rock that lies broken around them,” Keeper said, staring up at them.

“I see the turtle!” Kormak shouted, climbing across the jagged boulders that jutted up out of the water. They all scrambled across the rocks until they saw it.

It was a mostly smooth patterned metal shell, the metal silvery like the ruins about them, but shiny and clean without the heavy tarnish of the ruins. It had no head or legs or tail, instead smooth, blank surfaces where they might be. In all other ways, it looked identical to the shell of a turtle - just the size of large inn.

They wandered around it, touching it in wonder and curiosity. “Any idea how to make it work?” Kormak said.

“What do you mean?” Kezzek rumbled.

“Well, it got here some how and I don't think it's alive. There must be some way to use it.”

“Up there, look,” Harold said, pointing towards the Landspear that towered over them like an impossibly tall sheer wall that stretched away to either horizon and up to the clouds. “It looks like that silver line is a metal rail of some sort. It looks like the base reaches the rocky hills over there.”

The others began following the archer across the rough tumble of broken rock towards the rail. Suniel touched the turtle shell a final time, sighed, and followed after.


The Landspear was so immense, it made the distance to the rail seem small, but they had to climb over several miles of jutting boulders and broken hills to reach its base. They stumbled out from between two massive boulders and found the base of the rail. It was encased in a giant shimmering bubble that seemed to be made of liquid meta over two hundred feet across that intersected with the metal rail that ran up the side of the mountain, hiding whatever was at the rail's base.

They approached and stood a few feet from the bubble, watching their reflections run and ripple in the wavering metallic... substance. Harold immediately moved off into the boulders, skirting the edge of the bubble. The others just stared at it in wonder until he returned some time later.

“No way around it. It seems to meld perfectly with the rocks that it encounters and touches the Landspear on either side,” Harold said.

“You know anything about this, Keeper?” Kezzek said.

The construct stared at it for a moment then slowly shook his head. “The Nexus is... distant.”

Suniel wondered for a moment what exactly that meant then shrugged and took a step towards the bubble, slowly lifting his hand towards it.

“I don't know if I'd-” Kezzek began, stepping forward to stop Suniel from touching it.

It like cool, wet metal, but flowed beneath his hand. He pressed lightly on it and it resisted for a second and then his hand pressed through it. Someone behind him gasped and he quickly pulled his hand out. He was unscathed.

“I think it's safe,” he said, stepping forward.

It felt like cool metal pressed against all of his skin, molding against him as he stepped into it, then it released him and he was through. A faint metallic taste filled his mouth and the air inside had a faintly metallic smell to it, but the air was clean and fresh too in a way, almost like the clean smell of a waterfall. The others stepped through around him as he looked about.

Inside was a two-level metal platform of the silvery metal. The upper platform connected to the rail and could only be reached by a long narrow ramp that ran along the cliff-face of the Landspear. The lower platform was much larger and nestled into a base of more of the silvery metal, though the base was surrounded by rocky debris and partially obscured.

Three canvas-covered boxy shapes sat on the lower platform and a cloaked figure with a giant shining silver statue stood upon the upper platform, turning and limping towards the edge of the upper platform as they stood there.

“You followed me I see,” the figure said. His voice was vaguely familiar and Suniel frowned as he tried to place it.

Kezzek stepped forward. “Captain Witherleg, I presume?”

The cloaked figure laughed, a hard, bitter laugh. “I go by that name when it suits me.”

“You have another name?” Harold said, his voice hard, drawing his bow from his quiver and taking a step forward.

“Of course.” His cowl moved as if he were looking at Suniel. He reached up slowly for his cowl.

Suddenly, Suniel placed the voice - a voice from long ago, from a time he'd tried to leave behind and had spend decades trying to forget. The cowl dropped and a wordless groan escaped from Suniel's lips. Kezzek glanced at him with concern and Kormak with curiosity.

Witherleg had clear half-elven heritage; high, elegant cheekbones, slightly pointed ears, and a thin beard. He sneered down at the group. “My other name is Danovin Au.”

He turned and stared down at Suniel. “Did you miss me father?”
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Iron Sky

Procedurally Generated
Session 17, Part 3

-Notes: This was one of my favorite sessions in the whole campaign. The upcoming revelation of Suniel's past had me practically shaking with excitement before the session and the shocked silence as it unfolded was one of the most gratifying hours of gaming ever.-

Suniel stood, head bowed in disbelief. He was vaguely aware of the others staring at him but his focus was on his son, standing high above them.

“Surprised father?” Danovin said. “Thought you'd run far enough to be rid of us by now, I imagine.”

“It was only because-” Suniel began.

“What?” Danovin shouted, limping a few steps closer to the edge of the platform. “It was only so Thessalock wouldn't find us when you left? Well he did father, he did. Mother died because of him, because of you. He didn't believe us when we said we didn't know where you went, that you'd simply abandoned us. He didn't believe you'd just run away and leave us behind at his mercy. So he had to do this to be sure.”

Danovin pulled the drape of the robe aside to reveal his legs. Even with pants over them, it was easy to see how his right leg was bent and misshapen.

“I thought it would keep you safe, I never meant-” Suniel said.

“No, you never meant any of it. No father, of course you didn't,” Danovin said, snarling. “I see your companions are surprised, angry even. I guess you never told them that Thessalock once treated you like a brother, thought of you as a brother. Never told them that it was your research that helped him become what he is today.”

Suniel could feel Harold's eyes boring into him, could hear Kezzek's low growl.

“No, you obviously didn't tell them. If you did, they'd hate you, hate you like I do. You ran away after Thessalock drained you of all your power, but when he found me, he made sure I could never run. He's the only one I could hate more than you.” There was something wild about Danovin, a madness to the way he moved and stood and spoke, as if even he didn't know what he was about to do or say.

Suniel leaned on Keeper, needing some solid weight as it seemed the weight of the world had fallen upon him.

“Ahah, but I was smart, father. Cunning, like you. He took me in, at first because it amused him, but then because I made him need me. I took a page from your book and made myself indispensable to him. An Au was his right hand once, and now is again.”

“You serve the Ashen Tower?” Harold said, glaring up with hard eyes, hand gripping his bow tightly.

“Ha! I serve no one, like my father before me. Like him, I only serve myself,” Danovin said. “I pay lip service to Thessalock, but behind his back I gather power of my own.”

“Then what do you do here, what do you hope to accomplish?” Kezzek said. "What power can you gather at this mountain?"

A sly smile came across the half-elf's face. “I learned from Thessalock and learned of him. I listened and waited and in the Shadow Council I discovered his many secrets. Now I have found one that will be his undoing. A whisper in the Shadow Tower repeated his words.”

“'The Black Orb atop the Landspear, it must be kept safe,' Thessalock said. 'The white beast that flies about the world's top, let us aid it that it might protect my the Orb. It alone protects me from the single real threat to the power of the Ashen Tower.' That is what the whisper told me and so here I stand."

"Not three days ago did I delivered Thessalock to the shores of the Landspear Lake. I watched as he destroyed Steamport, smiling in my heart as I grovelled at his feet, for I knew what I now know - how to unleash upon him that which he fears most.”

“What is it? What is it that this Orb protects him from?” Kezzek said.

“Something terrible indeed, for I have seen the half-substantial things that walk the walls of the Tower. Things terrible and broken and dark, torn from the mad places between worlds or conjured up from the depths of the Void,” Danovin's voice dropped as he spoke, until Suniel could barely hear its chill whisper. “And those things fear him, hide in his shadow and swirl in the eddies of his passing. I tremble with fear even as I rejoice to see what unworldly thing will be unleashed upon him when this task is complete.”

“How do you know that it will be some dark thing?” Harold said. “Thessalock is like a beacon of darkness, a foul blot upon the face of the world. Perhaps this Orb protects him from some great beings of light that will descend from the heavens and destroy him.”

“Ha! There are no such things!” Danovin said, laughing. “There are only shadows and the powers that cast them. If you don't find a way to cast a shadow of your own your are doomed to hide in the darkness of another.”

“That is not true, Danovin,” Suniel said, his voice quiet and more even than he felt. “There is light in this world. It has taken many years, but I have begun to see it. It is there if you will but look to see!”

Danovin stared down at him and their eyes met. For a moment the subtle madness that filled Danovin's eyes seemed to clear and a surge of hope grew in Suniel's chest.

“Father,” Danovin said, tears coming to his eyes as he extended a hand towards Suniel. “Father, come with me. Let us destroy the white beast, let us dismantle the Black Orb. We can return to the Ashen Tower together and cast Thessalock down.”

“And then what?” Suniel said. “After Thessalock is destroyed, what will happen then?”

“Then, we can seize the tower!” Danovin said, his voice becoming almost childlike in its excitement. “All the dark things that follow him will be cast out. Your experiments are the basis for what he has created - he would be nothing today without you! You can recreate the ones that you destroyed before you left and we will be even more powerful than he is. What he has created is nothing compared to what we can create, what we will create together!”

“No! There is a reason why I fled, why I let him drain me of those terrible powers I should never have possessed,” Suniel said, voice breaking. “I saw it only as research, but I was playing with the boundaries between life and death, channeling forbidden energies that should never be allowed into this world. That is why I left. I only wish I had been more thorough, that Thessalock hadn't been able to recreate so many of my... so much of my... All the terrible...” He broke off, biting back tears.

What little light there was in Danovin's face fell away as Suniel spoke, as if some final hope had finally left him. His expression became hard, cold, and cruel, his eyes empty and dark.

“I will come with you to help you do this thing,” Harold said, taking a step forward. “We can destroy the beast and Thessalock's Orb together.”

Danovin turned towards Harold slowly, as if the energy had all left his body. “Oh? And what would you ask, Harold Trisden, mighty Agent of the Crystal Towers.”

“How do you know who I am?”

“You think Thessalock doesn't see you all? His spies are everywhere. There is no one you can trust,” Danovin said, his eyes returning to Suniel as he spoke. “Anyone will turn on you in a heartbeat if you do not take suitable precautions.” He gestured towards the three almost-forgotten canvas-covered shapes on the lower platform.

Harold's expression darkened. “Well, then perhaps in exchange for my help, you might tell me of the spies within the Crystal Towers. Once you overthrow Thessalock, I'm sure the Crystal Towers can come to some accord with-”

Danovin turned away and waved a dismissing hand in Harold's direction. “I have no use for you.”

“Then I have no use for you either, pawn of Thessalock” Harold said, gritting his teeth and reaching for an arrow.

Danovin made a subtle gesture and suddenly the small platform upon which he stood shot up out of the bubble, riding the metal rail and passing out of sight before any of them could react.

There was a moment of silence as the others glanced amongst themselves and cast accusing, suspicious glares at Suniel. He dropped his head, his heart heavy.

A shrill whistle sounded from somewhere high above them.

The three canvas covered shapes on the large platform exploded, canvas shredding and splinters flying as three monstrous winged shapes burst from them, each creature breaking free to the sound of its own distinct and terrible roar.
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Iron Sky

Procedurally Generated
Session 17, Part 4

-Note: Between not being able to connect to Enworld and having/recoverring from the flu, this post is delayed until Wednesday. I'll see if I can get a double post up this next week-

Level Up: Advanced 5th Edition Starter Box

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