Monday, February 1, 2010

Descendence (Blog 6)

Bron had passed out near town square the previous night, after spending time with Tek Phlaeg. He had offered the dwarf a drink while fixing Bron's avatar, then there were songs, more drinks, and finally waking up in a crypt. He was awakened by Nau Fien, who was apparently keeping Bron safe, and asked to take the necromancer to Tal Onas.

The Night's Wrath arrived at Tal Onas while Bron was on his way there with Fien. They all attend Lord Faul's debriefing. Each of the mercenaries' contracts with the Emperor are agreed upon. The proposal to renovate the zeppilin to include an avatar chamber is proposed to Tek Phoeboes, who takes it to Lord Faul. It is agreed upon, but the work to be done will ground the vessel for the duration. Descendence squadron will have to rely only upon the captured cutters for support.

Ronia, Bron and Jauques go into the woods to hunt large game. Upon encountering one of the keepers of the wood, a raccoon, they abandon the hunt by morning.

The next evening Lord Faul orders Descendence squadron to the Glimmerhold, a dwarven forge-city on the other side of Hove. Their mission is to bring the dwarven hold under the trade alliance Myotis offers and punish them if they refuse. Given the lack of zeppelin, it will be a long journey through hostile territory.

Anui Ronia plans a route first to Jonas, the last friendly outpost before crossing the plains of Hove. As they arrive they notice a forest clustered against the wall of the city that had not been there before. It an impossibility since they had been gone from the town for a week. As they approach they change their approach angle, and the forest follows them, staying between them and the town. Descendence simply flies over it.

As they fly towards the keep they notice despoilers and Myotis guards posted as normal, other than the wood, nothing seems wrong. They approach the keep's doors and are denied entrance by the orders of Aniu Gweneth. Karyssa go to speak with Tek Phlaeg, he tells her of the town's Aniu being seduced by a dark fae adept named Darakoth, and the forest is his doing. The dwarf believes that he will use the coming "true night" (when both visible moons are dark) to harvest the inhabitants of the town.

In order to contact anyone with enough rank to over rule Gweneth, the mercenaries breach the topmost tower of the keep while the despoilers seize the scrying stone kept within. They contact Lord Faul who instructs them to destroy Darakoth's "heart", which he keeps protected within the forest. Through the fae, Darakoth Knows their actions and prepares the denizens of the wood. They plan thier assault for noon.

Ronia and Karyssa go to speak with Gweneth's second in command. He agrees to arrest his Aniu and strip her of rank personally, in return he will become the new Aniu. They proceede towards the keep, Karyssa entering through the forge intent on sabotaging the adept's avatar. When she arrives in the barracks, she finds the avatar protected with workings. Knowing that an adept's skills are greater than those she currently posses, she works a Deflection to block the small Unlock working that would be required to release the avatar. Ronia breaks the Closing worked upon the keep's door with her avatar's cursed claymore and proceedes to the audience chamber where Qweneth is waiting in her avatar. Aniu Ronia declares her arrest, leaving her second in cammand to strip her of rank.

As the rest of Descendence squadron proceeds into the wood, a force rips a path past them towards the center. They can feel it's presence, and with no better option, follow it's path cautiously. Before long, the creature reveals itself by eviscerating two despoilers. It stands taller than the avatars, its body a combination of daemonflesh, machine workings and armor plates fused together with the darkness of the wood. It grabs an avatar, throwing it against another despoiler with enough force to break it's cockpit. Bron charges into melee combat while Jauques unloads his four magelocks into the beast. Bron's fists repeadedly scar the daemon's hide as holes appear on its shoulders and neck. The remaining despoilers do what they can against it, adding more wounds. With a laugh like grinding granite, the daemon heals itself with the darkness around it, the avatars retreat above the forest.

Ronia and Karyssa meet them above the trees. Taul, Julian and a dragon named Dex, are sent to find the "heart" while the rest of them assault the creature below. In order to decrease it's power, the forest canopy is to be destroyed to let as much light in as possible. The squadron sets to work, burning and hacking the trees, forcing a clearing where the arcodaemon attacked. As they engage it again, Karyssa sets to the task of finding survivors who can be repaired. The arcodaemon reels as Bron, Ronia and Jauques press thier attack. The squardon survivors continue to hack at the forest, increasing the amount of killing light.

The Aniu carves a massive burning wound into the shoulder of the arcodaemon, Jauques rends it wider with curses of Vet-Aunn. Into the gaping whole, Bron teleports himself and back, leaving a single stone. The stone is made from condensed solar fae, the opposite to dark fae. The arcodaemon becomes a pillar of burning skin and metal for an instant.

Julian uses his divination to find the "heart", a stone mortuary containing four female corpses. The corpses are subsequently destroyed along with the stone structure. Nothing is found below it. Karysa does a knowing upon the fresh ruins and learns some disturbing news. The forest is a ruse put there by Darakoth to give him time to escape if he is found. Destroying the "heart", (the bodies of his previous wives,) will destroy the forest, but he still lives. The forest did provide him with large amounts of power, and they have weakened him.

Returning to the keep, the new Aniu Jabber greets them. Darakoth had left as the assault upon the forest took place, as they had guessed. The mercenary Dex is asked about the powers he used in the wood, Karyssa identifies them as the type they need to activate the avatar chambers. She teaches him about it, enough to activate the one within the keep. As a pracaution, they plan to stay in Jonas until the dawn after true night, just to be sure.
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