Khevoran 2 Session Notes: 21 November 2009

Khevoran 2 Session Notes: 21 November 2009

Late in the evening of Xander’s funerary service, Diego is attacked by a Guild assassin while returning from the latrines.  He dispatches the foe, barely surviving the encounter, and discovers the assassin was sent by one Count Rocheleau – the same Penshinite merchant lord who had destroyed his family and sent him into exile.

The next morning, 2nd Battalion holds their sharpshooting competition – Alton enters for gunnery, Vladimir for archery, and Poppy for crossbow.  Before the start of the competition, Erik arrives and gives Poppy Xander’s exquisite repeater crossbow “el’Rashoud”, the Desert Adder – because he would’ve wanted her to have it.  Alton wins the gunnery competition, even though he is injured when his weapon explodes on the last shot of the finals.  Vladimir is knocked out of the archery competition in the first round, and Poppy has a rash of bad luck and is defeated in the second round of the crossbow competition.

 

The party discusses their plans for travel to the south over a midday meal and then briefs Mengst on their plans (Stein is focusing on internal security and finding Volkov).  Mengst tells the team to get a few days rest while he gets the necessary resources for their expedition assembled.

 

The session ends with a cutscene – transcript below.

 

 

There is an explosion.  A huge, thunderous explosion from the direction of the warehouse and silos.  It’s so powerful that even here, on the other side of Hillcrest, you feel the compression wave flow past you like a soft breeze.  You all drop what you’re doing and rush that direction.

 

About halfway through town, there’s a second, much smaller explosion, again from the direction of the warehouse.

 

You arrive to a scene of utter devastation.  The front face of the warehouse is literally gone, there is debris everywhere, and it’s hard not to notice the body parts scattered among it.  At any given time there are around a hundred 5th battalion soldiers working in and around the warehouse, many are dead, many more are terribly maimed – and it appears that the second explosion was timed just far enough apart from the first one to rip into the first responders who came to give aid.

 

Cedric is already here, kneeling over the prone form of Itchy, unconscious, blood trickling from his eyes, ears, nose, and mouth.  A Warder you’ve never met before, in full armor, helm on, faceplate down, with twin scimitars at his hips, stands above them as a bodyguard would, watching the crowd, veritably radiating deadly intent – ready to defend the Society brothers he trusts, from the army regulars he can’t.

 

You move into the wreckage of the warehouse to see if there’s any good you can do rescuing people who may be buried in the wreckage not only of the building, but of the stacks and stacks of supplies that have been toppled and scattered.  You step into what was once Futz’s lab.

 

Your first instinct is that there’s an injured woman, kneeling on the floor in the corner of the room, her back unnaturally straight – you have to blink a few times with all the dust and smoke, to realize that it’s one of the NewElves.  One of her arms has been pulverized, and a lot of her artificial skin has been shredded.  She looks up as you enter, half the skin from her head is gone, revealing something…amazing.  Beneath the artificial skin of these things is clockwork – a dizzying, magnificent symphony of engineering and motion.  The intricacy of it is difficult to wrap your minds around, there are literally tens of thousands of tiny cogs and gears exposed, meaning there may be millions making up the whole.  You notice the details that you’ve previously overlooked – how the appearance of muscles and tendons in her neck flex as she looks back down, how she breathes when she most certainly doesn’t need to.  There is a soft, orange glow emanating from somewhere inside her skull, the light shining through the thousands of interconnected cogs, but it is dim, and flickering unsteadily.  None of you have ever seen anything so brilliant and intricate – not the columns of the Great Way, holding the weight of mountains, nor the crystal spires of Tir’Valar, nor all the wonders hidden in every guildhall in Penshin, come close to the achievement you see before you, broken and dying, in the dusty back room of a warehouse in an army camp.  No matter what you may think about the motivations, it is, without a shadow of a doubt, the greatest scientific, engineering, and artistic achievement of the whole of civilization to date.

 

She has, cradled in her lap, the shattered, bloody body of Futz.  She’s tenderly stroking his stringy white hair with her one remaining hand, and she’s making a mechanical but distinctly feminine noise that sounds like it could be cooing or sobbing, and is very likely both.  After a moment, something rattles loose inside her, some tiny, delicate cog.  A shudder goes through her body, and the marvel of connected motion exposed through her torn skin slows, and stops.  The light shining from her head flickers, and goes out.

 

And all that remains of her sad song is the sound of soldiers, shouting above the screams of the wounded.

 

4 Comments

  1. Arwin
    Dec 1, 2009

    Journal entry *date and number here* (written just before the explosion!)

    They’ve tracked me down to Hillcrest. Count Rochelau’s assassins. I hoped that after all these years, they had forgotten about me. Now I know that isn’t the case. They got to me, before I could get to them.

    I am writing this from my cot in the infirmary, where I have spent the night. Not by choice, but rather necessity. I am starting to learn to not leave the company of my companions in order to relieve myself. The first time I ended up straining my ankle. This time, as I left the latrines, I was set upon an assassin. Penshinite, by the looks of him. A dark figure whose face I could not see, wearing a dark cloak and hat, stepped forth and promptly demanded a duel. He said he had come to claim the rather sizeable bounty on my head, placed there by Rochelau himself. That downtrodden bastard. It fuels my hatred of him even more. He is pure evil and deserves to die.

    The assassin was swift and well trained, and armed to the teeth. It didn’t help that I had drank with Vlad, again, but I managed to keep my composure nonetheless. It seemed for the longest time we were equally matched as we fought eachother, the pale moonlight revealing my assassin’s face. The silence and darkness was only interrupted by the clashing of our swordplay. The fight seemed to last forever and I wondered why none of the others had heard anything and come to take a look. No matter. I wanted the honor of defeating this ruffian myself. I slashed his face, but he managed to land several jabs at my body as well. Fortunately I’ve become quite adept at avoiding blows, but the assassin picked up on this. Seeing that he wouldn’t defeat me in a fair duel, the scum dropped it’s gauche and fired his pistol straight into my chest. For a moment I saw my life flash before my eyes. My childhood, my teenage years. The murder of my father and mother. Anger filled my body, providing me with a final burst of energy as I lunged forth and slashed his ear off. From out of nowhere a net fell out of the sky, entangling him. I left nothing to chance and thrust my blade into his eye, ending my foe’s life.

    It was then that I noticed Poppy, standing by. Some of the others came rushing forth as well as I fell heavily injured to the ground.

    First the Avenger’s weapon that had sliced open my chest. Now a bullet to the chest. I wondered what I was doing wrong. Slowly but surely I felt the life drain out of me and my sight became blurry. I could only barely make out Banagher standing over me, putting his hand onto my head and murmering something. As if touched by Aluviel herself, I felt energy course through my body and veins as I bucked up. Everybody looked in amazement and surprise at me and Banagher. I think I was the last to notice that the bulletwound had seemingly closed by itself. It was Banagher’s doing, of course. I am now certain that he is either a wizard, angel or otherwise blessed by Aluviel.

    Cedric patched me up quite nicely. Besides the bulletwound, most of my injuries were not that serious, although I did gain some impressive scars.

    The following day was a quiet day, mostly. The archery contest was held, and some of us competed. I’m glad to say Alton won the arquebus competition, though not so glad to say his rifle blew up in his face. He seems fine, though a little shaken perhaps. I gained a pretty penny betting on him winning. Poppy competed in the archery contest, but her skills with the bow were left wanting, and I gained nothing on my bets.

    Today I spend my free time thinking of the south, of Penshin, where we will soon travel to in order to find Bubblesneezer. The others will likely depend on me to guide them around the city. I don’t think any of them have ever been there, but I’m sure they will be inspired by the city. If only it was without the kisharans. A free Penshin.. one can only hope. I am worried about being recognized, though. Odd, one might say, as I am travelling with a dwarf, halfling and elf. They would be the most likely to be recognized. Still I cannot help but think there may be more assassins on their way. And despite the thousands of citizens in Penshin, there are some that may still know my face, as well as the price on my head. We are heading into the Lion’s Den, so to speak. I hope I am ready to face the lion.

    Signed,

    Diego Vasquez

  2. Patricia
    Dec 3, 2009

    By then, it was getting dark, and close to the funeral. At the pyre, they found Thomas, and now, his face was painted in the Warder way. On his chestplate hung a book, most likely a holy symbol; from what had happened at the infirmary earlier, she supposed he was a priest of sorts.

    As the pyre was burning, Thomas was playing the instrument he had been carrying. It was an eerie sound, brittle and wailing at the same time. And out here, with the stars out, the autumn cold creeping up on them, and with the sound of the pyre crackling, it was a fitting tribute, she thought. And in a strange way, a beautiful one.

    She wondered what kind of funeral she would get if she got herself killed. ‘With that crowd, probably dumped in the ditch somewhere’, she reflected. But then, noone here would know how to do it properly anyway. Not that it really mattered.

    Watching the fire made her aware of the calling from the forest again. It was always there, but sometimes, it was harder to ignore than other times. And, she realised, she missed Tamariel. She closed her eyes, and could almost hear his voice and his laughter. ‘Missing me already, little cousin?’ She did, him and the forest both.

    He was not exactly her cousin, but that meant a lot less than it once had. Her homecity Dorotea hardly even deserved to be called a shadow of what it once had been. Suddenly, she wanted to get away from there. The Warder’s pyre reminded her of her own people for some reason. They too were dying, though slower, and hopefully more peacefully, than the Warder.

    **

    The next day was the day of the archery competitions. Moriel knew that Poppy, at least, had been looking forward to this for a while. Moriel herself had long since decided not to join in; the attention she was getting just for being an elf was more than enough for her.

    As they were standing at the area where Poppy was going to shoot, they noticed Erik heading their way. Moriel felt a touch of panic; she really did not want to face him right now. She was convinced that if he as much as greeted her, she would somehow make a complete ass of herself, right here in the middle of the crowd.

    ‘At least the crowd is useful for something’, she thought wryly, as she ducked in among the people and tried to find a place out of sight to watch from. Erik seemed to give something to Poppy, what seemed to be a crossbow, and showed her how to use it, then spoke briefly with the others, before he headed back the way he came.

    As the competitions started, Moriel wandered around. She had a couple of people she wanted to talk to, but as the day passed, she was starting to realise it was harder than she had expected. Her first attempt was interrupted by an accident on the range. The second just did not go the way she had hoped. And judging from Poppy’s face, neither did the competition. Moriel decided not to ask. She had no idea what to say anyway.

    As for the meeting, that broke up leaving Moriel with the feeling they did have nothing even close to a plan; even for a “let’s improvise” it was not much. As they left the room, Banagher grabbed hold of her, wanting to talk, probably to finish the conversation they had had earlier, that had been interrupted.

    Not that they got very far this time either. The two of them had hardly exchanged more than a few dozen words, when they heard a loud explosion, coming from the direction of the warehouse. Before they got there, though, there was yet another explosion, this one smaller, but powerful enough to do plenty of damage still.

    The sight that met them as they reached the warehouse, was a dreadful one. There were dead and wounded everywhere. Cedric is here, tending to Itchy, who seemed to be unconscious. There was a Warder, guarding them. Not that it would help against another explosion, but she supposed that if someone was willing to blow the warehouse up, killing individuals, especially someone like Cedric, would not be a problem.

    She followed the others into the ruins of the warehouse. As they entered the gnome’s workshop, they saw someone kneeling on the floor. Or rather, something. As Moriel got a closer look, she realised it was one of the mechanical elves that the gnome had been working on.

    The mechanical elf, a female, from what she could see, looked up at them. A lot of the skin was gone, and where a real elf would have had muscles and tissue, this one had a vast amount of tiny wheels and mechanical bits that Moriel did not even know the names of. There had to be thousands, even tens of thousands, of tiny tiny parts just in the part of the head she could see. Her mind reeled at the thought of how many tiny parts the entire thing was made from. It even appeared as if she was breating, as if a mechanical thing needed air.

    And in her lap lay the broken body of the gnome. The mechanical elf was gently stroking his hair, making sounds that sounded almost as if she was crying. She. Looking at the ruined female in the corner, so clearly mourning what was, for all intended purposes, her creator, made it impossible to keep thinking of her as ‘it’. How an inanimate object like this could feel anything at all, Moriel could not even begin to guess, but it was obvious that the female kneeling there, grieving, did.

    As they watched, there was a rattling sound from the female, she shuddered, then stopped, the light emitting from her head flickering, before going dark. Moriel had the feeling she had just witnessed the death of the artificial elf. Even if whatever was wrong with her could be fixed, the only person who could do that was lying there dead, in the arms of his creation. For some reason, she felt saddened by the loss.

    This was no joke, no stupid whim by someone making fun of her dying people. The gnome, for some reason Moriel could not understand, must have spent thousands of hours building these artificial elves. And while nothing would stop the elves from disappearing, there was no longer any doubt that the gnome had created something magnificent, something that could have become a legend in its own right, had Futz been given the time to finish his work. Instead, his work ended here, on the cluttered, dirty floor of a ruined building, accompanied by the screams and moans of wounded and dying soldiers.

  3. debinani
    Dec 3, 2009

    Poppy’s soliloquy of laments…witnessed by whomever she bumped into on her way to eat
    I have:
    A new blanket
    A new clean cloak
    A hat!…the most mysterious of floppy hats!
    Dinner stuff
    Knives…about ten nice sharp knives, very close and very hidden
    Gold…I could have had more…much, much more, but I lost. At least it was a play game and not the real game, so I have my life.
    The El’Rashoud, The Desert Adder, a crossbow suited for royalty, once gracing royal hands, the most marvelously, stupendous of crossbows ever made, and now it’s come home to Poppy.
    I was shaking so badly after I was handed The Adder, my pet. I was so excited, too excited. My game was ruined. The last time I played pluck n’ plunk so bad was when I missed Jonquil La Minx, a live bounty, but I told him otherwise, aiming for his head, but shooting his hand instead. He was so scared I had to bring him back to town with piss soaked clothes. His fear kept him tame, so he walked. But I missed on purpose, because he would have been a heavy one to drop n’ drag.
    So I missed not once, but twice! I lost gold and fame! Everyone thinks I’m all pomp without a bite. Oh…I bite…I bite hard…even harder now that I have my pet. The tragedy is balanced by the gain of the Adder. Perhaps this loss will benefit the future. People won’t suspect. Surprise is most often a winning element in the game. I will regain everything, and more! My song will be sung!
    *Poppy brushes past a few more soldiers before entering the mess hall. The annoyed soldiers turn back ready to clobber the self absorbed halfing, shake their heads, and figure why bother, she wouldn’t learn the lesson anyways.*

  4. Vethnos
    Dec 5, 2009

    (made before the explosion)

    Just some quick notes today, got a squad meeting to run in a few. Last night Diego got his ass hurt trying to piss again, after the fighting was over I found that kind of funny. Banagher did his creepy magic thing to fix him, I’m not so sure how long he’s going to be able to do that though, he seemed too weak to help me at the archery competition, either that or he’s one of those stingy mages that don’t like to help us unless he thinks it’s important.

    I had a great day today though. We did the marksman contest finally, and I beat the pants off of everybody, even without banagher’s creepy powers. I think I did Donus proud for it. Only problem is my arqubus blew up on my last shot and sunk a shard of metal in my arm. Doesn’t seem so bad right now though, I got a good buzz going after I won Ninety fucking gold betting on myself and Poppy before she blew her shots.

    Speaking of Poppy, she was given a gift from Xander, some crossbow called “elfashoot” or something. Knowing him he wanted her to have it because the irony of giving a crossbow named after shooting elves to a halfy with an elf best friend is fucking hillarious. I bet he’s getting a good laugh in wherever he went after he died.

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