Cast: Aegir of the Enæidùn, Gryff Galan, and Yolander van Zaar. Also, as NPCs, eleven Enæìds and fourteen ghosts.
The following takes place on 30 Octavum and Harbringer, YE 1022.
Following the events that took place after the Battle of the Tower of Man, Gryff Galan visits the graves of his ancestors; the cabal gains an audience and pays the ferryman, checks in on a friend in need, and pursues their enemies to the moon.
After the Isle of Man was reclaimed by the forest of Fornost, Masters Galan and van Zaar, together with Prince Aegir the Exalted, decided to pursue the information about a Thulist fortress on the moon. As the lunar body is separated from the world of Argos by an umbral ocean, the Pius could not simply teleport there. Another solution was needed. Unfortunately, the cabal's theurge was too exhausted after the previous events to contribute.
The Masters and the Prince all came up with ways to bridge the gap between Argos and its moon, and after some deliberation the Underworld was chosen. Van Zaar has for a while been studying the Arcanum of Death, and at this point he had reached the level of Adeptus. The plan he came up with was to summon a ferryman and pay him to take them there and back again. For this they needed corpse-coins.
After the defeat of Dìs, many ferrymen has vanished, or they have been lost to the Deep. Before this, most people of Eria were committed to either earth or fire, and therefore few ferrymen ventured to these shores even then. Getting hold of one now, and one who could be trusted, van Zaar reasoned, could best be accomplished by opening graves.
Gryff Galan, although his family originally came from Aragorn, grew up not far north of the Isle of Man. Now he turned the Pius around, and on winds of an early winter they flew north. In Glencaellyn, now abandoned to the Elfwoods, they found the family tomb of House Galan. The three left the Pius, accompanied by the eleven Enæìds left on the ship. Shortly after, fourteen graves were opened -- one for each of the travellers -- the coins collected from the eyes of the dead, and van Zaar placed them in the fount. At that moment they found themselves in the darker scenario of the Lands of the Dead.
Together with the ghosts of the Galans, the party made its way down to the river running below the town. Here van Zaar hailed a ferryman, and once all had boarded the gondola, they set off.
After a long, dark journey down the river of the dead, they reached the ocean. The master of their boat piloted them into the moon's reflection on the water, and within a few blinks of the eye they were in a total darkness.
At long last the keel bumped gently against a foreign shore. Small on a sky of strange constellations, Argos was visible as a thin, blue sickle, far away. The landscape they had come to was alien and lifeless, and neither Galan's mastery of Space, van Zaars command of Death, nor Aegir's superhuman senses could pierce far into the dark and inhospitable terrain. The fourteen dead Galans were not impressed, and they made sure everyone knew this.
Never daunted by possible danger, the heroes pushed forward, into these strange hills. The Enæìds scouted ahead, and after a while they had reached the edge of a vast sea of rocks and dust. In the far distance, Galan managed to scry the outlines of a steel construct lying on a plateau above the surface of the ocean of silence. At this moment van Zaar realized that they were standing at a crossroads. Not long before this, Aegir's scouts had found tracks. Through magics, these were found to be made by none other than William, the Black Staff of Argos.
The last time the Black Staff was seen, he had come on board the Pius with Toadface. He had said that, as Galan later told it, "he was running from a greamangus demon, summoned by the Queen of Shit." Now the Pius Cabal stood in a position to follow him. Van Zaar, consulting the fates, could determine that unless the situation was changed, William's path would be a dead end. The heroes decided to thwart the plot of the Queen of Stars.
This plot, as far as the cabal has been able to put together, revolves around the Black Spear. It is believed that the black staff William carries is the shaft of the mysterious Black Spear the Ordo Ultima Thule is searching for. This spear is mentioned in the Atapraxor Tablet, half of which the cabal retrieved on the Isle of Man. Now, at the crossroads, preparing to change the fate of the William Blackstaff, in the embers of a fire fuelled by Mana, Galan found the second fragment of the Tablet. It was wrapped up, and the party set off into the shadows.
The trail took them close to the Abyss, and high into the Astral reaches. Time ceased to be, and finally they found themselves on a dead rock, hurtling through the Void. Sometimes names are easy to find, and this time it was like that. They had followed the Black Staff to Varanger, the dead world abandoned by the Thulists. Here William was stalked by the demon.
Again consulting the fates, van Zaar advised against confronting the hunter. By coming here, by being this close, van Zaar argued, they had already changed the picture. The inevitable, he was certain, had been avoided when they reached Varanger. Neither Galan nor Aegir had any objections, and so turned back to their own world.
The OUT fortress would have to be tested when they returned with a full cabal.
Storyteller's note: We played on the night before New Years Eve, and I must confess I let the festive mood intoxicate me a little more than I like when I'm hosting a game. Therefore I'm a little unsure of the details in this chapter, so if you were there, and if your memory is clearer than mine, have at it. If you weren't, but still would like to pipe in, please do.
|Appendix: The Second Fragment|
[Picture source: 1 The Metropolitan Museum of Art; 2 Royal Astronomical Society of Canada; 3 Mr. Jack; 4 Own]