The Slave and Her Sovereign

1 Successes (0 Hard DC Available)/0 Failures/1 Secondary Skills Available/0 Advantages Available)

"Will you allow us passage back to the Mortal Realm, where we may stand as your allies against the encroaching forces of the Far Realm there?"


I have no doubt of your mettle...of your prowess. But I must know more of your judgement if I am to rely upon it...a reliance I am presently reluctant to grant.

Two of your numbers have fallen out with kin. Your own kin is now in bondage as a result. Tell me; who did this bondage serve?

The other, free kinsman of your consort has perhaps great, perhaps terrible designs on your homeland.

How do you know if he is wise or a fool? How do you know if he delivers you or damns you?

In such a material collision, the Gods above and the Primordials below would have both chosen a path that led to the destruction of your world and the undoing of the life it was imbued with. So how will you decide between dispatching him or granting him clemency...or perhaps even acquiescence and alliance? Who does this decision and the action that stems from it serve?"

Last edited:

log in or register to remove this ad


CHANVATI feels his face flush with rising anger at the words of the Soul Serpent. Did the Being not comprehend his self-effacement? His acknowledgement of brashness and transgression?

“Great Spirit,” he utters between gritted teeth, “You ask whom is served in my kinsmen’s bondage, how I can discern the nature and designs of my consort’s sibling, how his fate will be decided, and to what end.

Know you that our mortal mythology opens with demigods; their genius is paramount. The world is upheld by the veracity of great men: and I am one. The gods of legend are the shining moments of great men. We run all our vessels into one mould. Our colossal theologies are the necessary and structural action of the human mind. Man can paint, or make, or think nothing but man. He believes that the great material elements had their origin from his thought. And our philosophy finds one essence collected or distributed.

I know that to believe what is true in my heart is true for all men. I know the power that resides in me is new in nature, and in myself I trust. No law can be sacred to me but that of my own nature. Truly it demands something godlike in him who has cast off the common motives of humanity.

And yet, I assert what I believe to be true in my private heart is true for all humans, would they embrace the gleams of light that flash across their minds and subsequently reach for the stars. Alas, too few are bold enough!

But I lack such shackles. I embrace my genius and know that in my strength is a bulwark for the weak, a puissance to battle our enemies, and a judgment to know what action is required, and when.

So that is my answer to you: I trust in myself, my own judgments, and your designs would be best served in doing the same.”

Chanvati makes a Primary Skill Intimidate Check to remind the Spirit Serpent that it does not trifle with a plaything but rather questions, impudently, an equal, r(12) +8 = 20 vs 16 Moderate DC. Success.

2 Successes (0 Hard DC Available)/0 Failures/1 Secondary Skills Available/0 Advantages Available)

The serpent considers Chanvati's words for what seems like an eternity. uncoils ever slowly from the gate. Not fully no. But just enough to draw its serpentine face, prismatic scales gleaming, very near to the spirit of the Psion. Yet all of its words are projected directly into the mind. It simply says:

"Do you know the Dawn War tale of Khala, goddess of winter?"



CHANVATI returns the communication in kind, the force of his telepathy augmenting his natural tenor with a deep rumbling echo, like thunder in the mind of his interlocutor.

<<The tale of Khala, goddess of winter? Indeed, an episode after the Dawn War proper, the War of Winter as I recall. We had a course unit on that subject at Xerxes’s, in Cosmology and Theoretical History.

Khala was a fool, so emblematic of the foibles and failings of the gods. She would have fixed the world in eternal winter to serve her own ends. So like a god! The Divine Beings are no different from their eternal enemies, the Primordials, in this way, captured by a fixed idea taken to extremes that provides the only prism through which to view all experience.

Serpent, when you and your Primal Kin locked out the gods and Primordials from the Mortal World, you acted with sagacity, for it is the mortal races that align most genuinely with the nature that is your own being and essence. What we call nature is a certain self-regulated motion, or change; and nature does all things by her own hands, and does not leave another to baptize her, but baptizes herself through her exemplar actors, the mortal races.

So, yes, I know the cautionary tale of Khala, whose failings led to her own death.

Now, tell me: was it you or your close kin who wrapped Khala’s exarch and the Primordial lord of ice in mighty coils and crushed them into a shattered mass that Everflame burned away as cinders and ash in warning to the gods?

I ask you a second time: will you allow us to pass, to return to the Mortal World as your allies against such forces of stagnation, destruction, madness?>>

Chanvati uses Send Thoughts (Encounter Power) for a +2 bonus to Primary Skill History check to demonstrate that he not only knows the history but understands its lessons and implications, r(5) +11 +2 = 18 vs 16 Moderate DC. Success.

3 Successes (0 Hard DC Available)/0 Failures/1 Secondary Skills Available/0 Advantages Available)

Abruptly changing its interrogatory line and aggressive bearing, the Elder Spirit extracts itself from the more intimate posture with Chanvati and recoils itself fully around the gate:

"When you return to your home, do you know how to investigate the psionic trails of your passage to this realm in order to confirm if prying eyes from the Far Realm have surveilled the emanations of the corridor you generated for your transit? Do you know how to undo whatever remnant emanations that might persist and any associated, perturbed positional coordinates that remain?

If not, do you need assistance in these material matters?"

Last edited:


Realizing he has communicated his point to the Serpent, CHANVATI eases up on the hubris and aggression, sincerely.

"Great Spirit, I did not seek any quarrel with you; again, I apologize for my transgression, necessary though it was. In my mortal being is imperfection. I acknowledge that.

And I acknowledge that I do not stand alone, that I require aid in my actions, my dreams, my obligations."

Using psionic energy to fuel a scan of his memories from studies long past, Chanvati unlocks what must be answers to the Serpent’s questions.

"Do I have it aright that performing the rituals Analyze Portal and Signal of Pursuit together will allow me to retrace the psionic trails of my journey to this realm, to confirm or reject your suspicions? And similarly that the Dream Concordance and Magic Circle rituals, when combined, can ward off or battle Far Realm monstrosities that may threaten to breach the boundaries of your Realm?

If I am mistaken, Wise Serpent, please correct me and teach me the proper methods to enact these safeguards and provide recompense to you for my failure to properly acknowledge your custodianship of these Gates."

Chanvati makes a Secondary Skill Diplomacy check to assure the Spirit Serpent he is true in his humility, +12 vs 12 Easy DC = autosuccess for +2 bonus; uses Adept's Insight AUG 1 for r(1) +1 = +2 bonus; makes a Primary Skill Arcana check to identify the necessary safeguards, r(14) +12 +2 +2 = 30 vs 16 Moderate DC. Success.


Per @Manbearcat:


: 350/2 = 175 apiece


*60 gold

*Ritual Book level 8 or less

The Spirit Serpent yields, finally, an alliance assured, with promises by the Sojourners to return to the Gate with a powerful Ritualist to enact the scheme Chanvati concocted. With the mutual foe of Far Realm aberrations looming, petty transgressions and mundane concerns are set aside.

When the Sojourners step back through the gate, their spirits reanimate their physical forms. Chanvati raises his head from its drooped position where he stands above the submerged Goliath, eyes opening and blinking rapidly. Bita-Bousseh gives a great sigh of relief when Pa’avu rises from the mud like a dreamer sitting up in bed from a vivid nightmare, gasping for air. Hazard leaps from the bath and shakes violently, showering the three in a rain of mud.

The withdrawal from Stoneroot’s Perch passes in a flash, and with relative ease. They emerge from the deep stairs beneath the oily moat and then make their way down the Breathless Chimney in half the time of the ascent. Bita-Bousseh seems confident in her climbing skills now, which master the reflexive fear of earlier.

Whatever the mutant Goliaths of the Cult of the Iron Gorgon are about in the Gray Grove continues, for their weird drumming, continuous chanting, and foul musk are constant reminders of their activity and proximity.

Before long, Chomrok is visible on the horizon. The weary foursome enter the caravanserai, Raathya bowing and scraping obsequiously at their return, and collapse into exhausted rest.


The next day, Pa’avu draws her gosb’tar aside and makes a startling revelation to him; when she communed with Stoneroot in the Spirit Realm and received his blessing, he communicated to her staggering information: The Cult of the Iron Gorgon Goliaths worship a foul, pulsating, purple rock, fallen to the surface of the world through the heavens from some Far Beyond; a sentient entity calling itself the Meteorite of Caiphon that has warped their very bodies and minds to some inscrutable purpose!

Extended Rest: all Daily and Encounter resources refresh.

L8 Ritual Reward: Sending Ritual Book (L6; Chanvati can master this next level).

Pa’avu Major Quest: Destroy the Meteorite of Caiphon, freeing the warped Cult of the Iron Gorgon Goliaths from its dread influence.

Chanvati Minor Quest: Procure the aid of Mirage Moonstar, Psicrafter Ritualist teacher at Xerxes’s School for Gifted Psicrafters.

Chanvati Major Quest: Investigate any psionic traces of his circumventing the Spirit Gate and seal a possible breach between the Spirit and Far Realms.


The smell of anise pervades Ibhea's senses as he deliberates. At first he casts the sensory experience from his attention; a mere trick of his numbing mind combined with the arak on his lips or the remaining traces in the nearby bottle.

But like an angry rebuke of his willpower, the scent grows to a powerful crescendo and then disappears suddenly.

No. Not a material trace of his liquor.

A sign.

Ibhea recognizes that Omthala, like all the gods, often communicates to her worshippers through signs. This scent of anise, not of his bottle, connects to the slave girl somehow. He racks his brain of doctrinal matters concerning anise or its uses. If the goddess wants her acolyte rescued, there must be something there! But what is it?!?

Ibhea makes a Primary Skill Religion check to interpret the sign from his goddess, r(7) +11 = 18 vs 15 Moderate DC. Success. (I updated the Skill DC and Ibhea’s level from L4/3 to L6/5, respectively.)


CHANVATI carefully considers Pa’avu’s revelation about the Cult of the Iron Gorgon and Caiphon. If what she claims is true, then the Spirit Serpent’s suspicions may be underselling the threat. The forces of the Far Realm may already be amidst a full-on assault upon all reality! Action to seal the breach to the Spirit Realm is of the utmost importance.

The Merchant Prince summons the Goliath into his chambers while Bita-Bousseh is occupied with a regimen of hot salt baths and a firm rubdown with oil. “Sahtree, you have a way with the creatures of this wild place. Call to us a cactus wren so that I may ensorcel its mind and send a message back to Bantouk.”

Pa’avu complies, stepping out onto the balcony and producing a high-pitched, melodic whistle that calls one of the local birds to the railing, cocking its head quizzically. Meanwhile, Chanvati raises the frequency of his psionic pulse to fall in time with that of the small avian. In no time at all, the wren is captivated by his mind, servant to his will.

<<Professor Mirage Moonstar. Xerxes’s School for Gifted Psicrafters. Please come to Chomrok with great haste. Rituals of scrying and sealing needed or great calamity befalls us all. Receive my offering. Yours, Chanvati Audaseie.>>

Chanvati reluctantly withdraws the jade hairpin Bita-Bousseh had given him lo those many days ago and attaches it in a small leather pouch to the bird’s leg. The barrister will not be pleased, but Mirage does love baubles and ornaments. Perhaps Bita-Bousseh will be none the wiser?

Chanvati pays the Ritual cost (10 gp) for Animal Messenger, an autosuccess in the subsequent Skill Challenge to recruit a powerful Ritual Psicrafter. First Success in the SC.

He then pays the hireling price (250 gp) to engage her services as an autosuccess in the SC. Second Success in the SC.
Last edited:


Ibhea recognizes that Omthala, like all the gods, often communicates to her worshippers through signs. This scent of anise, not of his bottle, connects to the slave girl somehow. He racks his brain of doctrinal matters concerning anise or its uses. If the goddess wants her acolyte rescued, there must be something there! But what is it?!?

Ibhea makes a Primary Skill Religion check to interpret the sign from his goddess, r(7) +11 = 18 vs 15 Moderate DC. Success. (I updated the Skill DC and Ibhea’s level from L4/3 to L6/5, respectively.)

4 Successes (0 Hard DC Available)/0 Failures/2 Secondary Skills Available

Ibhea’s liturgical offerings are sincere and unbroken, yet no answers from His Lady come.

With all hope lost, he breaks his prayer and picks up his sprits-containing ceramic to dash it on the floor. At the apex of his hand’s angry arc, his outburst is arrested by
the chief steward calling out to one of his subordinates:

“Boy. Take the small purse from the safe to the largest high-rise in Burning Row. The one with the roof bearing the greenhouses. You know the one. Fetch me two bushels of anise and have them satcheted. The triage center is growing rather rank with the scent of wither and decay.”

Every action remaining is MEDIUM DC.

Of-Level C1 SC to Secure the Services of Psicrafter Mirage Moonstar to Journey to Stoneroot’s Perch and Seal any Psi-Breech. DCs 10/15.

2 Successes (0 Hard DC Available)/0 Failures/1 Secondary Skills Available

Mirage Moonstar cuts a startling figure on her pegasus, looking the part of Valkyrie, red cape trailing, psi-bow and quiver of Astral Arrows secured on her back.

“The school appreciates your donation, Stout-mind”; the rank Chanvati achieved in his technical studies under the professor.

Never one to mince words nor waste time, she disembarks her steed and gets right to it.

“Your missive bore catastrophism. Link with me and project your recall of these events.”

Every action is MEDIUM DC.
Last edited:


[Flashback to an earlier moment in Chomrok]:

PA'AVU lies back in one of the cooling pools, eyes unfocused, letting her thoughts float through her mind like dust motes. Her lips smile slightly as she remembers how – in the Before-Time – one of her fellow younglings, frustrated by his inability to best her records of enduring some of the more difficult trials, suggested that Pa’avu’s mind is made of rock and that her receptors recognizing pain are thus slowed. He might even have been right, the goliath thinks, for she is always deliberate in her thought, like the stone of her skin. At moments such as this one, her body at rest, her brain unimpeded with thoughts of “protect” and “defend” and “attack,” that the young giant can allow herself to “think the same as that the sleeping rocks dream of.” Again, she gives a slight smile, recalling those words often said by K’m’ot’hi, the clan-uncle who attempted to teach them rational thought... with only moderate success.

As Pa’avu falls into a waking-dreaming state, the thought-motes begin to slowly move into a gentle constellation, her inner attention focusing briefly on one mote, then another, and so on, a pattern slowly falling place:

[a series of motes of memory]

[In Bantouk]: Defending Arunny, Priestess of Omthala, against Hakhaman’s thrall.

[In Bantouk, prior to the secret meeting in Ruffly Gelded]: As Chanvati strolls leisurely through the marketplace, stopping to idly examine an ornate vase here, a jewel-encrusted mask there, Pa’avu follows, maintaining a distance of a few paces so as to be able to thwart any possible threat. The variety of wares in the numerous stalls are not of much interest to her, and she allows her eyes to wander over the crowded road, looking for but not expecting any threat. Her attention is momentarily caught by one nearby stall: the hawker and her small child are wearing a style of clothing that the goliath recalls seeing in the long before time – in the Issyc Sehari region, wasn’t it? These are not as splendid as some of the other merchants’ garb in this marketplace: obviously this family has traveled far and recently and has only been moderately successful in cleaning their garments. And they look tired, very, very tired, the goliath thinks briefly, before returning her attention to her gosb’tar.

[In Bantouk, on a rooftop near Ruffy Gelded]: Pa’avu stares down at the merchant “owning” the little girl and reflects on her own relationship with her “master,” her gosb’tar. She has never fully understood the concept of “ownership” with regard to herself: apart from living in a dense city, Pa’avu is following her life’s purpose of being a warrior, albeit in defense of only one being. She does not feel “owned” particularly by him: after all she is stronger. This child, however: her purpose is being perverted, derailed, misaligned. Her “ownership” is Omthala and service to her Sect, not this merchant who is not allowing her to use her proper skills.

[In Bantouk, in tunnels under the city]: As the large group wanders through the tunnels, following Chanvati’s direction, Pa’avu barely pays attention as the revolutionaries-turned-fugitives talk among themselves, not only pondering Bita-Bahlin’s words (occasionally breaking out in hot debate) but also worrying about their change in situation. Walking alongside her, Bjorkus murmurs something about the pampered rich.

[In Bantouk, on a rooftop near Ruffy Gelded]: Moments before leaping down on the soldiers below, Pa’avu witnesses them shedding their “merchant” disguises.

[On the plains outside Chomrok]: The moment Chanvati finds a sphere in the loot of the raiders and realizes that it is an icon of the Sect of Omthala. His subsequent discussion with Bita-Bousseh: perhaps they can raise funds with a reward for its return? A brief argument whether it is more valuable by itself or in reaping a reward, followed by a debate on what is value, followed by Pa’avu returning to her task of deboning a dactyl so that its meat can be properly harvested.

[In Chomrok]: Accompanying Chanvati to the Shrine of Omthala to return the recovered icon to its rightful home, Pa’avu leans against the wall, taking a moment for rest, vaguely overhearing the conversation between her gosb’tar and the Elven Priestess Berylana about a dismaying pogrom against Sect of Omthala.

[In Bantouk and elsewhere]: Reflecting on the effect of the Stonefang spider on her and of her own effect on it and of its subsequent attack. Of spiders in general and their astonishing abilities. Of Audaseie family trade in Phase-spider silk.

[In Chomrok]: Pa’avu starring up at one of the signs of the Old Faith, only barely registering the voice of one of the many recent refugees, an old man relating the confusion of the attack against his town’s temple of Omthala and themselves, of hallucinogenic smoke smelling of anise, and of the strangely “soft hands” of the bladeling attackers, attackers who also seemed to disappear at will.

[In the before-time]: A hyenic body felled by one of Pa’avu’s clan-mothers, unusually slight of build (perhaps a Gnollish youngling?), wearing the clothing of a V’linski shepherd, but clearly one of the dactyleer raiders disguised as an elf.

Pa’avu allows her stone-mind to gather the thought-motes from the constellation and weave them into a tapestry of truth-possibilities. Some central ideas begin to draw attention to themselves: Disguise. Spiders. Omthala under attack. Many sources? Combined forces? Bladelings in disguise? “Soft Hands” disguised as bladelings? Anise. Arunny must be told! As Pa’avu steps out of the pool, pondering how to do so, her golden-eyed Hound frolicks up out of the pool as well, shaking his fur thoroughly, causing Pa’avu to laugh and others to scramble hastily away. Perhaps the barrister can be of some assistance.

BITA-BOUSSEH stares speculatively up at the gargantuan goliath as Pa’avu explains her need of aid in writing a letter to be sent to the Omthalan Priestess back in Bantouk. In answer to her demand for explanation of such a request, Pa’avu outlines her reasoning, relating the path of her “thought-motes” to the goliath’s conclusion. Looking downward, blushing slightly, Pa’avu murmurs that she would do it herself … but that writing is not one of her skills, as Bita-Bousseh is well aware. The ideas the giant suggests are staggering: The Empress’s forces disguised as bladelings! Possibly working with other forces? Insane! But certainly possible, perhaps even going far in explaining the change in the Empress’s attitude toward herself. The barrister agrees and quickly scribes a letter for Pa’avu to slip into Chanvati’s packet of epistles heading to Bantouk.

[Present Day]: Letter clutched in hand, ARUNNY hurries up the circular stairs leading to Ibhea’s cell. <I should have shown him ages ago,> she thinks desperately. <Why have I not done so before? What has been causing this constant disturbance in my mind??> In her distraction, the priestess is not looking where she is going and consequently slams into another body, moving in a similarly hurried fashion. As that person’s hands clutch her shoulders, steadying her and keeping her from tumbling downward, Arunny registers his identity. “Ibhea! Thank Goddess! I have something I must show you! Something most vital!”

Note: On a failure, it will be bad information given to Ibhea, and the Cost will be Hard DC for his follow-up move, but...

* Secondary Skill Streetwise check to gather information in aid of Primary Skill Insight: r(15) + 2 = 17 vs. 11 Easy DC = +2 bonus to

* Primary Skill Insight check to understand the pieces of information gathered: r(14) + 3 + 2 (bonus) = 19 vs. 15 Moderate DC Success!
Last edited:

An Advertisement