ZEITGEIST Tizbiz Zeitgeist Campaign

Lylandra

Adventurer
Reunion in the Bleak Gate

Session 30

After our final talk with Aodhan, we take Flying Spark who used the spare time to get stuffed at the banquet's leftovers and head to the RHC. Auryn takes a small detour to get Asrabey on board and together we meet in our office. There, we tell Asrabey about another person who might accompany us and who might be the perfect guide as he was the one Carlyle saw in his vision of Kasvarina: Alexander Grappa. We then tell him about the Mindmaker's new body and also that we have yet to decide whether we should take him with us.

Margit nods as she gets that now is the time to cast her prepared auguries and divinations. She then shares her results with us: Bringing Grappa means both weal and woe (“Who would've guessed that?” Auryn says) and she can also say that joy, grief, happiness and pain await us in the Bleak Gate. So we decide to take the risk and let Grappa be part of our group. We then venture down to his Workshop and introduce him to Asrabey. Grappa is still eager to come along even if this means danger due to his metal body and Quintal's metalbending.

We already calculated this in our equation and so we don leather armor and present our druidic ironwood weapons. This leaves only one last problem to discuss: Carlyle and the spirits of the Bleak Gate. As it is right now, Carlyle is highly sensitive regarding the spirits of the dead and we all fear that he might lose his sanity should he cross the border to the realm of the dead and be exposed to the constant wailing of the dead. He thinks about this fact for a while and finally says that it cannot be helped, he simply has to take this risk.

However, he hopes that maybe those spirits he personally guided towards the Bleak Gate will protect him from the harsh environment. Auryn then closes her eyes for a long time and finally promises that she'll protect him from the malevolent screams.

So we head to Stanfield Canal and see that a small group of sailors await us with a barge and a specially prepared, large box. We all try to fit into the box and the sailors agree to drive our barge through the canal while we're inside. Auryn then takes Carlyle's hands and starts singing ancient eladrin songs her mother sang to calm her when she was a child. After a while, the sailors learn the melody and they start humming along while we're crossing the bridges to the Bleak Gate.

Despite the song, Carlyle is soon able to hear the dead and their endless screams and after a while they are loud enough that the rest of us can hear them as well. Once we cross the last of the rusty gates, the voices suddenly stop and the sailor's humming disappears as well. We see this as a sign that we arrived at our destination, so we open the box again and find ourselves at the end of the canal in a gray world with little vegetation.

As the barge vanished as well, we use the box to get to the riverbank and leave the “vehicle” one by one. Grinding marks on the ground indicate that this isn't the first box that arrived here, so we guess that this is where the smuggled material ended up.

Grappa points at the single path that leads towards what appears to be the Bleak Gate version of Cauldron Hill. So we take the wand of Slylyx to make our transition permanent and head towards the hill. On our way there, we see that this whole area, including our path, is warded with some kind of giant, violet glowing shield. Grappa finds the intensity of the color rather strange and he says that usually, you should be able to hear the wailing even past the barrier. So he believes that something or someone must have strengthened the barrier. We guess that this might be the physical form of Macbannin's seal and are quite happy regarding our request to the Old Stag.

Grappa then explains that there are two ways into the complex: One direct way, leading through the grand entrance and one secret path, leading through the vent system. As we're all for secrecy, we decide to head towards the vent system and cause as little noise and light as possible while going there.

On our way through the strange, bleaky wilderness we spot some stray shadowy creatures here and there. We remember our first encounter with Leone and suddenly understand where he and Creed might have gotten their reinforcements from. Asrabey musters the creatures at a distance before he deems them too dangerous. Carlyle agrees to his assessments as they seem to be slowly approaching like predators. So the two men toss a die to determine who'll have the honor of eradicating the threat. Turns out that it is Carlyle who has to stain his new weapons first.

After a while, we reach more difficult terrain. As neither Margit nor Grappa are among the best athletes, the rest of the team does their best to help the two ascend. We manage to avoid several patrolling shadow trolls and finally arrive at the vent shafts. Unfortunately, they emit a constant stream of hot fumes, making it nearly impossible for normal people to enter the shafts unharmed.

Grappa cannot really help us out here as he doesn't really know how the vent system is controlled, but there has to be some sort of shutdown mechanism, he guesses. We fear that any kind of manipulation might draw some unwanted attention towards us, so it is time to make a plan that'll get us in there without causing trouble. Fortunately, Margit, Flying Spark and Auryn got all we need to protect ourselves from the heat while making sure that we can see through the smoke unhindered.

So we cast our spells and climb into the shaft. After a short while, we reach a crowd barrier and see a massive fan underneath it. We can see a door leading to a maintenance shaft beneath the barrier, so Carlyle uses a spell to shrink himself and slips through the barrier.

(So we just added chibi-Carlyle to chibi-Hana. And Flying Spark was pretty amused to have finally someone of his size in the team)

Carlyle doesn't need much time to enter the shaft, spot two engineers and knock them out. He then turns out the fan and helps us slip through the barrier. We proceed into the maintenance station and decide to disrobe the engineers so two of us may pass as part of the crew. We also find rusty amulets in their possession and put them on as well. When taking a closer look at their uniforms, we are quite surprised as they appear to be decorated with risuri emblems. So we guess that these people, too, might be misguided Risuri.

We proceed to scout the complex with as much caution and stealth as possible. We soon reach the worker's quarters and find that the “employees” there have little work to do and are pretty much relaxing. Fortunately, this means laxer security levels as well, so we can get around much easier than we anticipated. We also spot guards who appear to be mercenaries (no official risuri soldiers among them) and avoid these guys.

To get more information, we enter one engineer's private room and search his personal chest. We're quite lucky as we find a diary where the engineer describes his work and his thoughts on it in detail. He seems to believe that he's working for a secret government project of Risur and is quite proud that he was chosen to work here. They payment is high as well, he writes, even if there is one higher-up who's quite the creepy guy.

He also mentions a beautiful elf who he describes in detail and who fits the description of Kasvarina (or Auryn, but he does mention black hair at one point). He guesses that this woman might be a high ranking clerk who's involved in planning the project. This reminds us of Ekossigan's words and incites Asrabey even more. The engineer then mentions two strange men who fit the descriptions of Augst and Kell and he asks himself whether these guys even belong here.

So we ask Grappa to lead us to the guest's quarters as we might just find everyone of interest there, be that Augst, Kell, Leone or Kasvarina. We stealthily knock out some more engineers to get more uniforms and amulets. When we find trolls guarding another section of the complex, we put them all to sleep via fey magic and knock them out while they're sleeping.

As we follow the smaller hallways, we suddenly realize that getting these amulets was the right move as we're now entering an area with a higher security level where said amulets are needed to proceed without getting hurt.

(Oh forbiddance, how I missed you!)


This way, we also manage to avoid a giant golem who's patrolling the larger hallways. We find a magical sensor in the next corridor, but Carlyle can cut its vision off with an illusory wall before anyone can see us.

(Carlyle's player surely loves wall spells. And I didn't even know he had that spell, or even know that such a spell exists. It is really niché, as the wall with the illusion is rather small, but it is permanent and perfect for fooling patrols or magical sensors)


We get to the kitchen next and see one drunk cook who's easily fooled by our uniforms. As it is currently lunch time (yeah, they seem to have a different time zone here), we take a peek into the dining hall and spot Augst among the elite mercenaries. He seems to be quite chatty and distracted, but Kell is nowhere to be seen. As Augst isn't our primary target, we decide to let him be and move forward. From the conversations, we also get that this “project” is about to be finished very soon.

When we finally reach the guest quarters, we come across several private rooms and laboratories. We first find the room of a static's specialist, then bioengineering labs and an alchemist's lab. Among these rooms is Grappa's old workshop where we find sketches of several golems. We take the sketches and also find clues that some of these materials might have come from the military academy in Pine Island. We also spot the name Col. Harlock here and there, so it turns out that our initial theory after the attack on Nevard was quite correct, even if we could not find any proof.

(So the space pirate is working for the Obs? Oh noes!)


Just as we leave Grappa's workshop, the soldiers and Augst have finished their lunch and our groups kind of bump into each other. Before they can get cause much ruckus, Auryn captivates them all, except Margit, Asrabey, Carlyle and one troll with her music. So the latter one is knocked out by the others. They then proceed their KO routine and lock them all in one of the guest rooms.

The next room we find turns out to be Grappa's private room. As we open the door, we are quite surprised to see Kasvarina sitting on the Mindmaker's bed, seemingly absent-minded. The whole room is decorated with beautiful elfaivaran tapestries, so someone must have made this the Matriarch's new home.

Before we can greet her, Asrabey shoves us all aside and then kneels before his wife. He seems overly moved to finally see her again, takes her hand and kisses it gently.

“My matriarch! I've found you! After all these centuries, we can finally be reunited.”

To Asrabey's surprise, Kasvarina looks at him in disbelief and surprise. She seems utterly irritated at Asrabey's behavior, then shakes her head before her eyes fall upon Auryn.

“Matriarch? No, you must mistake me for her. Is that you... mother?”

Understandably, all of our jaws drop at once. Auryn then carefully tries to explain that she is not Kasvarina's mother, it is more or less the other way round and yes, she is one of the first matriarchs of Elfaivar. Regarding Asrabey, we tell her that he is her most loyal esteemed husband who did everything he could to find her. We cannot convince Kasvarina though as she is very much certain to be a maiden of 30 years who got captured and brought here by a strange man.

Asrabey is devastated as he begins to understand what Ekossigan meant when he said that Kasvarina wouldn't remember him. Then, a mechanical voice mutters strange words of regret:

“I'm sorry. I only wanted to help her start anew. Like I did with my son. I really didn't wish to turn her into a hapless child”

“You did WHAT?!” Asrabey screams in rage, drawing his blade in an instant and threatens to use it against Grappa. Auryn intervenes and places herself between golem and Eladrin while Kasvarina whimpers in terror. This causes Asrabey to cease his attack and he demands that Grappa explains what he did to his wife and how he can revert it.

Grappa then tries to convince everyone that Kasvarina, while being a proud and impressive woman was so much torn apart by hatred and pain that it hurt seeing her that way. Still, he saw remnants of the woman she had been once, so he only tried to help Kasvarina become the person she was before whatever tragedy happened to her. This way, he wanted to let her see the world with different eyes, and maybe bring back the goodness inside her. So what he did was basically suppress her memories. Then he tried to bring her to her homeland of Elfaivar, but Leone Quintal found out about their disappearance and killed him. Sort of.

Asrabey is still furious, but he seems to understand what Grappa was trying to do. He then says that he's sorry, but he has to leave us right here, right now as Kasvarina needs to return to the Dreaming where he or the Fey may find a cure for her amnesia. Before anyone can react, he pulls out a magical staff, places it on the ground where it sprouts leaves and summons a portal to the Dreaming. Asrabey then asks Kasvarina to come with him, takes her hand and leaves the facility.

“Asrabey, please wait, I can help...”

But Auryn's words don't reach him and the portal closes. She sighs about the impulsivity of her kin, even if she can understand Asrabey's desire to bring Kasvarina to safety. But with Asrabey gone this also means that Grappa is now safe from the dreadnaught's blade. So we ask the Mindmaker about his motives regarding Kasvarina and who he meant when he was talking about “his son”. Grappa repeats that he only wanted to help her and that he sensed that all the tragedies of her life made her so miserable and spiteful that he feared her hatred might consume her fully in time.

“She's a very special woman, you know. Full of determination, a fire within that attracts all those who can see it like moths. Especially people like Leone Quintal. He's been drawn to her since he first met her, a true follower of her cause, even if she never let anybody come close to her emotionally.”

(Uh yeah, Auryn was pretty much upset about Kasvarina's state as well. She didn't know much about her as her relatives didn't talk about their ancestor, but Kasvarina was one of the first Matriarchs, so she had to be among he wisest and most powerful. Someone to look up to. Seeing her pretty much helpless was the last thing she'd wanted.

Also, the similarities are quite striking...)


“I see” says Carlyle, then he takes a short look at Auryn and asks Grappa about this mysterious son of his. Grappa explains that he wiped his memory as well after he figured out what “they” wanted to do with him. He fears that they wanted to control him, even if he had a mind of his own. He calls his son Borne and can only say that he's placed inside the project chamber. Judging from what we've seen in this complex so far, this chamber must be really huge. Grappa then says that they wanted to make Borne indestructible, shielding him against any kind of attack.

Carlyle is a bit shocked at this revelation, so he asks Grappa how on earth somebody would keep Borne from committing horrible crimes against humanity once he was set free. Grappa explains that there would have been a security mechanism, but “someone” decided to remove it. This upsets Carlyle even more (that old guy really does fiddle with things that are far beyond his responsibility), but it can't be helped for now. So we decide to continue our search for Leone, Kell or Borne.
 

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Excellent stealth mission.

I don't think any other groups I've read about brought both Grappa and Asrabey with them. Most folks don't seem to get along with Asrabey that well.

Captain Harlock was very irresponsible.
 


Lylandra

Adventurer
Thanks :)

We tend to prefer stealth to brute force whenever possible. Getting Margit and Grappa stealthy wasn't easy though. If I remember correctly, we used invisibility on both and levitate on Grappa to eliminate the thump-thump of his mechanical feet. So yeah, we dragged him around quite a bit.

Regarding Asrabey, I guess it really depends on your experience in the first adventure. We managed to persuade him to let Ethelyn be arrested so that Aodhan can have "his revenge". On top of that, Auryn looks up to him quite a bit because he's this mystical, powerful dreadnaught. He also married into her family and she knows he wouldn't harm her. Plus their goals often align, like saving Kasvarina.

Carlyle and Asrabey really respect each other as veteran warriors although Asrabey saw a potential enemy in him at first. I guess Carlyle thinks that Asrabey is too impulsive and bold while Asrabey might think that Carlyle is the living embodiment of understatement.

So I guess the group's chances for getting along well with Asrabey are directly linked to either having an eladrin in your group (increased if said eladrin is female) or having someone who's interested in fey matters.

Oh and we definitely used his killing ability to a great extend when we took out the Scoundrel's Theater. Better not risk more casualties among the police when you can just make a pact with Asrabey.
 

Lylandra

Adventurer
Shadow of the colossus

Next, we find a room with exquisite storage racks for both wine and cheese, so we guess that this room has to be either Kasvarina's or Leone's. Just as Carlyle is about to appreciate the taste of whoever got this collection, we find traces of teleportation magic and get that someone left this room quite hastily not so long ago.

(guess what? Leone heard Asrabey shout at Grappa and realized that something was amiss)

“It has to be Leone! We need to get to the project chamber, now!”

So we cast a haste spell and let Grappa guide us through the various corridors at high speed. Unfortunately, someone sounds an alarm while we're halfway through and one by one large bulkheads seal off the corridors. Auryn, Flying Spark and Carlyle, all fleet-footed, manage to outrun the bulkheads but Margit and Grappa fall behind. Looking at both the golem and his other partner, Carlyle has to make a decision and so he twists the flow of time to push Margit's time forward by a few seconds. This way we can draw her through the closing corridor, leaving only Grappa behind.

“Just go, leave me here! I take care of the rest and then find another way!” his robotic voice calls to us as the final bulk closes.

After some long seconds we finally reach the gigantic project chamber where we freeze for a moment as we see one enormous colossus made of adamant standing in what appears to be a pool of witchoil. We also spot Leone Quintal who's standing on top of the colossus' head and who is surrounded by a swirling cloud of metal. The whole chamber is swarmed by other, smaller golems who patrol the ground floor and the bridges, therefore standing between Leone and us.

“Ah my guests have arrived. Take care of them.”

With these words Leone waves his hands and the smaller golems turn around to approach us. Carlyle doesn't have time for Leone's minions, so he uses a teleportation spell to bring the three of us next to Leone on the colossus' head.

“Like I told you before... you started a fight with the wrong people” Auryn says, being confident that this will be over soon. We then proceed to remove the first layer of Leone's metal cloud shield.

(This was a direct reference to her comment she gave Leone when he demanded to get Recklinghausen and revealed that his goonies had killed a young RHC agent in adventure 2. She never forgets and rarely forgives. At least not when her family and friends are involved)


Leone isn't really surprised though he seems a bit unnerved by the fact that he cannot control any part of our equipment. He instead orders the colossus to bring three of his minions to our “platform” on top of his head. The three golems agree to follow Leone's call to defend him and seem to have distinct personalities. Which is why Auryn asks them whether they'll really want to attack the relative of Kasvarina and her friends.

“Are you friends of father, too?” one of them asks before casually adding “Oh, how rude of me. I'm Linus.”

“I'm Mr. Carlyle. nice to meet you, Mr. Linus” says Carlyle, and reaches out to the golem to shake his hand. He then confirms that Mr. Alexander Grappa is indeed our friend and ally, so we do not wish to hurt his children.

Auryn does the same and introduces herself to her two opponents with her full name. One of the golems, Hunting, is quite impressed by her long list of ancestors and he ceases all hostilities immediately. The other one, Colin, heeds Leone's orders however and lands a massive blow on her.

“What are you doing, Colin? You damaged father's friend!” Hunting protests.

Leone is obviously not very happy about this turn of events and so he proceeds to hurl metal objects at us. This doesn't help him either as we ignore the golems for now and cut down the metal mage's iron shield. Once that obstacle is removed, Leone doesn't pose much of a threat and he soon collapses, slipping off Borne's head.

In this very moment, Grappa finally enters the project chamber. He calls for his boys to stop attacking his friends and says that everything is fine. But with a last twitch of his hand, the falling Leone manages to manipulate one of the metal cranes to crush the body of Grappa. Fortunately, he doesn't hit the golem's head though. Just when the life leaves Leone's body, he falls into the pool of witchoil and vanishes.

Then the whole complex begins to tremble as a loud voice screams one word: “FATHER!”

The colossus suddenly breaks free of Leone's command. He steps out of the pool and we hurry to get off him and rescue the three golems and what's left of Grappa. We then take shelter in one of the side labs as the whole complex seems to collapse and the fabric of reality tears down.

Once we get the impression that the collapse has stopped, we carefully enter the main project chamber again and see... starlight. It appears that the ceiling of the chamber is somehow missing now and we seem to be back in Risur again. Another thing that's apparently missing is Borne.

We fear the worst and so we hurry, climb out of the destroyed complex and reach the top of Cauldron Hill where we find the colossus staring up into the starry sky. As much as this view makes our worst fears come true – the colossus managed to escape to our realm and is “alive” - we also realize that he is free of external control. So Auryn dares to approach him, believing that she may reach the “son” Grappa spoke of.

“The stars are beautiful, aren't they? Even in the far east, we revere their shining light.”

She then sings a calm elfaivaran song about the stars and the guidance they provide at night while moving in Borne's direction. The colossus seems to hear her song and so he turns his head in her direction, looking at her with a good amount of curiosity. He then tries to pick her up with his large hand, but Auryn realizes that this giant of a child doesn't know the full extend of his strength and so she dodges him.

“Careful, big boy. Tiny people like me are quit fragile and you don't want to crush me.”

Borne obviously doesn't seem to understand Auryn's words, so he continues his attempts to catch her. We realize that this is bad news indeed as the colossus might cause massive destruction should he get the idea that the city down there might be a more interesting playground. As he's more then 100 meters high, Borne could easily crush whole buildings with a stomp of his foot. We also spot one cavity inside his chest that appears to be fitting for the Wayfarer's Lantern but cannot grasp what the Obs would want to do with that as the golem is very obviously immune to magic.

We quickly decide that the officials need to know about this threat to the whole city, so Auryn asks Carlyle to head to the Aurum immediately and warn the king. As Borne seems to react to her, she'll try to keep him on her track even if this game will be pretty exhausting. She also asks Margit and Flying Spark to get Grappa's head and care for those who might be buried in the collapse.

Carlyle is a bit reluctant to leave Auryn, but he realizes that he's the only one who may reach the King in time and Auryn is the best bet when it comes to keeping Borne occupied. So he teleports in front of the Aurum and makes haste to reach King Aodhan. The latter just appears to have finished a long talk with the Danorans and so he's at first quite irritated when Carlyle warns him of an impeding catastrophe and proposes to evacuate the whole city. Carlyle then leads him outside to show him the towering giant atop Cauldron Hill and Aodhan turns pale.

“As I said: If that giant decides to come down here, our city is doomed. We need to evacuate everyone immediately. This is a force no one can dare to control.”

Aodhan takes a moment to sort his thoughts, then turns to Harkover Lee and nods.

“There may be a way to deal with him. An ancient ritual to banish him to the Dreaming. But it will need some time to be set up. And we need to bring him to the sea. By the way... where is your partner? I hope she's alright.”

Carlyle turns a bit nervous and then responds that his partner's whereabouts and bringing Borne to the sea might just go hand in hand as the colossus is currently chasing her and she's trying to keep him from moving down to the crowded districts. Aodhan seems relieved at this information and he then immediately orders his staff to bring the Danoran delegation to safety as dead diplomats is the last thing he wants.

Carlyle takes this as an opportunity to help explain the danger to the Danorans. He then gestures at Lya and asks her to have a few words in private. Carlyle points at the colossus who's now heading for what appears to be the Nettles and tells her that this is what the Obscurati were hiding in their complex in Cauldron Hill. It appears that their project is finished now, but something went wrong and now this monster is threatening to destroy a whole city. He asks her to think about her allegiance to this organization and to ask herself whether this can truly be the work of philanthropists.

Lya appears to be shocked about this development and hints that there is much she'll have to think about. Lastly, she also asks about Auryn and Carlyle, again, explains that she's the one who's trying to lead the giant away from the city.

(at this point we started making jokes about the Benny Hill theme as everyone imagined Auryn running away from Borne making use of all her crazy ideas. Carlyle's player always got his tablet ready so he played it at least one time :) )

Meanwhile, Auryn does her best to lead Borne towards the areas of Cloudwood and the Nettles that are only sparely inhabited. The boy also seems to have a short attention span as he's easily distracted by larger trees or buildings. This gives her some time to breathe, but she also has to work a bit to get his attention back. During her chase, she runs across Dame Jillian who helps her out with a flying spell just when Borne is about to run into a smaller community. She's able to get his attention back before he can cause much destruction, but she also has to witness how the colossus tramples over Mayor Doyle Idylls, leaving only a smashed puddle behind.

After a while, Carlyle returns and tells her about the plan of the King. After a while, Borne comes across a field full of flowers and he seems mesmerized for a while. We use this opportunity to call upon our connection to Srasama to send a message to the Old Stag: We tell him that a colossal, invulnerable, metal child has escaped the Bleak Gate complex and threatens to trample all of Flint under his feet. We explain that we'll try to lure him to the sea near Cloudwood, as he somehow reacts to Auryn or her songs, so the Bay area will be spared. He returns that he'll rally his crews to get the ships ready as soon as possible.

(Leaving this as a cliffhanger as this session really ended at this point. Phew, what a day.

So it turns out Margit's divinations were spot on. And yeah, we didn't regret bringing Grappa with us, even if this guy is still strange and we don't fully trust him yet. He got a good heart, but he's far too chaotic to be really reliable. Not necessarily in terms of alignment though - both our characters are derivatives of neutral good themselves but with strong outliers in certain aspects.

Also, the colossus... I remember making theories about the "true patriot conspirators" building a walking Coaltongue back in adventure 2. I even sent Tiz this video about the spirit vine giant mech from Legend of Korra as an example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwMUtHzHBdo
And Borne is even bigger and less... controlable. He fortunately doesn't have a giant magic cannon mounted on top of him.

Carlyle also did his best to convince Lya that the Obscurati are dangerous and not as honorable as she may have thought. I thought his last-minute intervention was pretty genius and it surely helped getting Lya a bit more sympathetic in the next chapter.

For Auryn and Borne... we'll see more about her relation towards the "big boy" in the next session. For now, she's trying to chase him through the woods.)
 


Tizbiz

Explorer
Ack, the mayor!

I was trying to add some sense of danger. Auryn was handling the colossus like you would a handle naughty toddler or a playful puppy and some scenes got to serene. I believe i said Borne destroyed the mayor's residence and somehow the players believed the mayor was killed and as it suited the mood i did not object. The mayor was never a well liked NPC anyways.
 
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Lylandra

Adventurer
But...but... he *is* basically a toddler who hasn't learned how to not step on his minifigs yet and who doesn't understand the concept of death.

His whole story so far is terribly tragic :/
 

Tizbiz

Explorer
But...but... he *is* basically a toddler who hasn't learned how to not step on his minifigs yet and who doesn't understand the concept of death.

His whole story so far is terribly tragic :/

I wonder what the agents are going to do, if they ever confront an awakened Borne. Auryn would probably like to adopt him or something like that. I am looking forward to what the other nations think about their security, if Risur has a 104 meter colossus at their disposal ......
 

Lylandra

Adventurer
Preparing to blow up a giant

Session 31

We continue our efforts to keep Borne as far away from central Flint as possible. After Calrlyle tells Auryn all about the plan to banish the colossus to the Dreaming, we agree to send Asrabey a warning as we don't wish to avert one catastrophe by causing another. So we tell him that something enormous made of steel with a free will just escaped from the Bleak Gate and might be coming to the Dreaming soon. So if he wishes to get Kasvarina to safety, he should put as much distance between the Dreaming equivalent of Flint and themselves as possible. Oh and warning the Fey of the Unseen would be a good idea as well.

At some time Borne seems to lose interest in Auryn, so she thinks about a new plan and realizes that Borne might recognize Kasvarina. She then uses a quick spell to turn her hair black and her eyes as green as those of Kasvarina and calls for Borne again. This causes a sudden change in the colossus' behavior as he fixates her for a while. He then calls her “mother” and tries to touch her yet again. This way we manage to get him down the mountain a bit and lead him through the wilderness, supported by one or two fly spells every now and then.

Whenever Borne's attention threatens to be focused elsewhere, we do our best to get it back again, be this by firing elemental spells up in the air or summoning columns of divine light, as well as conjuring local flashes of lightning (thanks, Margit). We soon learn that this sort of magic really doesn't hurt him and it seems like this is all just one big game for the “big boy”.

(Does anyone still know the phrase "kiting Kazzak to Stormwind"? Because luring Borne through Cloudwood surely felt like kiting one of those damn big bosses around... where one single delay or moment of lost attention could kill you in one blow.

And as much as Auryn was intrigued by the fact that Borne called her/Kasvarina "mother", she didn't want to risk getting crushed by his hands)


We use the short breaks when Borne ceases his movement and musters his environment to continue making plans. Carlyle thinks about rebuilding the blockbuster bomb to maybe blast a hole into Borne's shell so someone or something may take him out from the inside. As Borne is pretty much immune to any influence from the outside, he plans to ask Sechim for his strongest acids to maybe weaken his hull a bit. He also discusses the use of sea water to slow his movements and fill him up through a blasted hole.

Auryn isn't really happy with the prospect of dissecting a childlike being with an obvious consciousness, but realizes that the threat for Flint may call for more desperate measures. So Carlyle forms a magical telepathic bond and returns to the King to talk about the current situation and his progress in preparing the ritual. He tells Aodhan the planned vector of Borne's movement and also mentions that he sent a message to the admiralty regarding the fleet.

Aodhan is really grateful for his effort. However, the whole mission might be doomed as many people wanted to flee Flint by boat after they saw the colossus. And panicked people tend to make bad decisions, so the harbor area is currently blocked by all kinds of ships who crashed into each other. Carlyle explains his idea of using the blockbuster and insists that we'd need the Coaltongue to fire at whatever hole this bomb might tear open. He suggests to evacuate the wedged ships and to destroy those ships which are in the way of the fleet.

But the harbor isn't the only problem the King and Flint are facing. Due to the general panic, plunderers used the opportunity to loot the local shops and simply using the police might be seen as an act of brute force by the Dockers. Who are about to protest in the middle of said chaos. So maybe “he and his colleague who's a good friend of the Dockers” might try to calm everyone's minds down.

Carlyle takes a deep breath and then replies that while this is tragic and terrifying, but he cannot really help with this problem.

“Your majesty, I know you wish to help secure all of Flint, but with all due respect... my partner is out there on this hill, running for her life. She's doing everything she can to keep Borne away from Flint. And while it is true that she could probably calm her friends with ease, I simply cannot imagine what would happen if she left her post. And every second I spend down here she's without the support she desperately needs”

He then suggests using the police officers who were tasked with Operation Fallen Curtain to restore order in the city while simultaneously briefing Auryn mentally about the situation in Flint. Once she can sort her thoughts, she suggests that Carlyle and the King write a message in her name to explain the whole situation to Thames Grimsley. She asks them to tell Thames that she's currently occupied with keeping the city safe from what appears to be as powerful as a mechanized Titan, but she's quite sure that the police officers she and Carlyle chose will manage the situation with dutiful grace.

Aodhan sees reason in our proposal and so he clears his throat and dons his mantle.

“It seems as if we have to reverse our roles today. The time has come for a king to face his citizens and stand by them in their hour of need. It has been a long time since I had to rally my crew.”

He then winks at Carlyle and leaves the council in the Aurum, ignoring all protest of his advisors. Carlyle nods in agreement and then tells Auryn about Aodhan's decision. She seems happy about this outcome as she always told Thames and the Dockers that their King was a reasonable, honest and empathetic man, so it would leave a great impression if the King actually showed up in person to take care of the citizens.

(Yeah, that's one drawback of having such a small party. And we got that keeping up the morale in Flint would have basically been our job by the book. But we found this to be quite the elegant solution.

We don't really know what Aodhan told the Dockers and protesters, but I'm pretty sure he did a damn fine job as monarch of the people.)


With the king gone, Carlyle asks Harkover Lee to lend him all the scrolls he might have left. We're especially interested in flight magic as we need to keep Borne's attention and Carlyle also might try to plant a bomb on the colossus. The Principal Minister wastes no time, opens his large briefcase and hands him a couple of scrolls. Carlyle thanks Lee for his support and then makes haste to reach Sechim's factories as quickly as possible.

To his surprise, Sechim is still working amidst all this chaos, even if he is a bit nervous about the whole colossus threat. He's surrounded by the hard core of his working force who try to keep up the morale and run the machines no matter what. Carlyle quickly explains his plan to him and mentions that he also suspects that whoever built this giant might have used some of Sechim's acids in the process. The chemist hurries and gets him some samples of his strongest products, but he also warns him that enchanted adamantine is one of the most robust materials he knows, so dissolving that might be difficult.

Carlyle wants to give it a try nonetheless, so he thanks Sechim for his help, takes the acids and heads to the RHC to rebuild the blockbuster. He leaves out the complicated timer however, as he'd need to detonate the thing immediately. He then asks the RHC staff to bring this thing to the Coaltongue (handle with care!) before returning to Auryn.
 
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