Wednesday, 4 November 2009

The last chapter

Having made it to Drachenau, the Company were now faced with the task of finding their way back again. This proved to be anything but easy. The captain discovered this when he realized that he was unable to tell where he was, let alone how to get back to the citrus grove (for a Deciple of Space, this can be rather terrifying).

Luckily, M'narcel was able to locate a path. Van Zaar was certain that they were deep in the Dreaming, and that they should head for the port of Longing. On these precepts, they followed the path towards the ocean. Van Zaar also named a few particularly nasty locations and creatures, just to make sure everybody expected the worst.

After a while, the path led them to a gorge, with a small river that threw itself forcefully towards lower ground. On an ancient stone bridge accross the river, a man sat, smoking his pipe. Black haired, clad in a worn but well kept traveler's coat, with a black staff resting against the bridge's railing; van Zaar quicly reckognized Sir William, the Black Staff of Argos, arguably the greatest wizard of this time.

As it happens, Blackstaff was waiting for the Company, and in the manner of wizards, seemed to expect them exactly when they came. He was meaning to talk to them, he said, and for the next while that is what happened. The heroes asked himany questions, and he answered them to the best of his ability. They asked about libraries and Outsiders, about magic and the future, and about other things purtaining to the end of the Third Age.

"Where we stand now, know that defeat is the most likely outcome."
~Sir William Blackstaff

Blackstaff also told the tale of his Awakening; when Aziz, carrying the fallen Grishnak, led his followers accross the desert to the Broken White Tower. Where the ancient Living Prophet showed Blackstaff the path to Awakening before He was killed, and where he was given the Black Staff by the Master of the Ahl-i'Bahtin. He told them about Franko da Cola, a man he has been following ever since the Great Betrayal. He spoke of many more great things.

Upon parting, Blackstaff showed the Company the path back, then he wandered off into mystery again, promising that they would meat again.

"I walk the narrow path between what is and what must not be, between what will happen and what may come to pass."
~Sir William Blackstaff

Upon reaching the citrus grove again, the debate over what to do next erupted. They had been given leave to call upon the dragon Ahazverus three times, and here they had need of a powerful intervention. The discussion led towards calling the dragon down on first Assari, then Victoria, and in so doing, forcing Caracalla out into the open. But first they would meet with the Marshall.

Marshall Roeder seemed quite pleased with the prospect of taking two cities in as many days, and so their plan got his blessing.

When night fell over the besieged city of Assari, the plan had been altered slightly. Galan would create a magical gate from their own lines to a tower on the city walls. Through it, Aegir, M'narcel, and himself, would make their way to the middle o the city. There M'narcel would summon the great nightmare-beast N'Gartl, thus reserving the dragon for a later time.

Before the gate was opened, Banzel sniped off the three guards on the tower. The rest of the men on watch in that tower this night were dispatched by the Last Prince of the Enæïdan while the trio descended to street-level. The streets of Assari, quiet under the curfew, offered little to stop or deterr the infiltrating war cabal.

On the central piazza M'narcel called out to the dream-demon again, offering it every soul within the city walls. As the Hound of Morfeus tore into reality, Galan created another gate, leading the three back to their compannions, and to safety.

That night, none slept in the camp of the besiegers. From within the city, the screams of the dammned rose towards the heavens like flames from a great fire. Only come daybreak did silence fall over the empty houses, streets, and fortifications of Assari.

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