This chapter picked up a day after where the last chapter left off. The cast is the same, though Bansl's player came a little after we began, and Tito's a little after that.
The following takes place between 23 Septium 1022 YE, and 14 Octavum 1022 YE.
After their victory at Geminon Field the cabal had a telepathic conference with Master Octavian of the Ordo Hermetica and Aktor Smit of the Wezellian Syndicate. The strategic picture was discussed, and some information exchanged. After this meeting, Master Galan decided to commune with their man in the Argonauts, Commander Colomb. To the surprise of the masters, Colomb was somewhere above the Enlightened Skythian Empire in a balloon-ship, seeking for the Pius Cabal, carrying a summoning from the King of Pendrell.
The heroes quickly answered this summoning, and appeared before King Rowar II. The king begged the masters to help him*. The problem was that over the last weeks, people had been disappearing from villages on Pendrell's southern coast. Whole villages were found empty, with food, live-stock, and valuables left behind. Up til now, some two thousand had vanished. As for witnesses, only four had been found - all seeming like empty bodies without a soul, none could provide any information on the matter.
As the cabal had other plans, they decided to put together an amalgam of six magicians, picked from all the traditions of the Arcane Congress. To lead this amalgam, they asked the Syndicate to appoint the seventh man, the one to lead the six. This group were then sent to look into the Pendrellian problem.
Once the First Amalgam had set out, the masters returned to the Pius who had been anchored on Cora. Here they presented three hundred revolving Bansl-rifles to the Knights of St. Invictus, and in discourse discovered that the fortifications on the island consumed a large quantity of mana each week. More in fact than the Knights' hallow could provide. This was something the wizards of the Pius decided they had to remedy.** After having performed the proper auguries, the ritual was completed to great success. In fact, the hallow now produced a surplus. The Knights were so pleased and impressed that they knighted the magicians, and threw a procession, with the necessary speeches and masses attached.
Bansl, the Master of Matter, became so inspired that he created a statue of the cabal to be placed in the city of Borgen.
Having wrapped up their business on Cora for the time being, the Pius now set out to find the Land of the elves beyond the Horizon. Plotting the course after the primestaff they had acquired from Mr. Godfree, the ship teleported to the easternmost point of the Waymar Islands. Here they saw why no ship had come from the Western Isles for the last seven months.
They came up to a forest-clad island as the morning sun arose behind them. The ocean had a sickly sheen, and there was a foul smell on the air. One of the seamen fished a dead sea-bird out of the water, covered in a black, sticky substance. On the horizon, the magicians could make out burning metal towers, rising out of the sea.
As the captain was about to plot a new course, Bansl's ravens warned that metal birds were coming over the island. As the ship blinked out of its location, the heroes could see these flying machines. Three of them, in formation, were coming over the green hills of the island. At the next location, the westernmost point of the Isles, things were much the same - with the difference of more activity. Towers were burning on the horizon, and six of the flying machines could be seen, in addition to a type of metal barrels with short towers pointing towards the sky. These were floating on the surface, and on the top of each there was a blinking light.
Despite the cloaking of the ship, they were quickly spotted from above, and the flying machines swooped down. Better prepared this time, the Pius went to full battle-stations. Then it teleported away, to the Land of the elves.
Following the primestaff led the heroes to the mouth of a great river with primordial, temperate forests on each shore. The sail inland took days and days, and the crew had to get in the boats and tow the ship until they got inside the tidal zone. After this, it was slow, peaceful days while the primestaff led them through the network of tributaries and steadily inland. One of the things that really bothered van Saar at this point was that he couldn't find the name of the Land of the elves; the great men of the Last War did too good a job of erasing the elves from the history of man for that.
At long last, the Pius rounded a bend in the river, and came upon a river pool, behind which a city carved out of the living rock reached for the heavens. A white pier stuck out of the forest on the far side, and on this pier a tall, slender silken-clad figure stood waiting.Though the figure had human-like features, it was most certainly not of the human race. This was Alyssia, the elven ambassador on the Waymar Islands, the same elf the cabal had spoken to earlier.
The visit with the elves did not go as the cabal had anticipated. Alyssia wouldn't let them into the city, and she kept repeating that in the final hour, the elves would buy the humans time. When the mages argued that this was the final hour, the elf didn't agree, and repeated the promise. At length, the heroes had to accept that the First of the Younger Races wouldn't take the field at this moment. In frustration, they then demanded to be allowed to talk to another elf, and to be shown the might of the elven race. The first was denied, and after days of persistence, the elves gave the cabal a parade.
Over the forest, flying vessels looking like great butterflies fashioned out of living wood, passed by. On the ground, thousands of beautiful, dangerous-looking, armoured warriors filed by. Finally realizing that the elves would not give them more, the cabal boarded the Pius and set a course back to the world of man.
*This I admit was a deliberate red herring, which the guys resolved elegantly.
** This red herring, however, was completely of their own manufacture.
Storyteller's note: At long last the group made it to the elven lands, and I cheated them of the dog-and-pony show they wanted. For that have to say, "I'm sorry, guys." Then again, having given the Elven Problem a lot of thought lately, I had reasons for making that decision. This is patently not the Final Hour. While it looks grim, the world is not ending right now. Granted, the apocalypse is seemingly on track, but as the elf-chick said, there is still hope. At least I still think so.
If the elves had been brought on to the scene now, what or who would then come to aid man when the final hour finally rolled around? Besides, that was their promise all along.
There are also details I have omitted in this post, but these are matters that deserve devoted posts so as not to lose the information in the text. These topics include: The Waymar Islands, Cora, and some more vague stuff about elves ;) I aim to get that up before next session.
Thanks for a good session.
[Picture source: unkown]