Monday, 28 February 2011

Chapter: Moonwalk

Cast: The entire Pius Cabal. Also, as NPC's: Illandra of the Rubayan, Master Ludenius and Onkel Smit.

The following takes place between 10 and 14 Decanum, YE 1022.

After discussing the imminent assault on the OUT's moon-base, the war-council agrees that more intelligence is needed; Toadface promptly volunteers himself, Bansl and Dr. Drake for this job, Tito expands expands his maps, Aegir enters the slave-business, and Galan stares at the moon.

The War Council went through all that was known about the Thulist activity, and every piece of information was careful analysed and debated. Still, no clear and easy way to defeat the enemy presented itself. In the end, Toadface decided that if one were to learn anything, one would have to go there and have a look. When he volunteered Bansl and Dr. Drake to accompany him, no one objected. A few eyebrows were raised when Bansl's companion, the beautiful gypsy-princess Illandra decided to accompany them.

Tito searched his Umbral maps, and found a location in the Redlands that used to lead to a moon-bridge, and soon after, the he led the scouts East. Finding the bridge was not an easy task, as the landscape had been changed over the centuries since the map was drawn. Illandra's people, the Rubayan, had long been allied with the ruler of the Redlands's Shadowrealm, the Raven King. Now she called in a few favours, and soon scores of ravens were scouring the land for signs of the old path.

Once the path was found, Tito had few problems leading the moon-walkers deeper into the Umbra, and in a matter of hours, they had come to the bridge. Now Tito returned to the Black Man's Mill, and the scouts headed into the darkness. The only guide the three had were the silver disc of the moon, and steadily they pressed onwards.

After a long a strenuous trek through the black emptiness, they finally emerged into a bleak, windless, pock-marked landscape scorched by the sun. They had reached the moon. They also reached the light side, and to find their target, a long journey lay ahead of them. Toadface stirred some lunar dust into his troll-juice -- to acclimatize, as he said. Bansl and Dr. Drake made similar adjustments. Dr. Drake had been quite gloomy ever since the Battle of the Blight, but he seemed to lighten up once here.

The good doctor, a renowned. . . wait, make that infamous, spirit magician, managed to locate a short-cut that saved the party from a day's worth of desert-walking. He led his companions into the dark shadows of a crevasse, and into what felt like a tunnel. Through this they came out in the freezing darkness on the dark side. Now they sought out the highest point they could see, and from there Bansl used his knowledge of the Arcanum of Space to scout the moon's surface for signs of their enemy.

The moon has no tectonic activity, no wind, and no rain. Every geographical feature is the result of meteors and stars falling onto it, creating craters, hurling rocks far and wide, and sometimes even moving pieces of the surface, creating deep fissures or mountain ranges. For the most part however, mountains are the walls of craters. The OUT base "Nattland" lay in one such, the crater of Yogoth. Finding one in a landscape solely composed of such, isn't entirely dissimilar to finding the proverbial needle. Even so, Bansl quickly located his target.

Immediately he realized that the main tower, Helreginn, was transmitting an extremely strong signal on the Deep Frequency. He also realized that if he listened carefully, he could gain insight in the Ars Abyssal, the Arcanum of the Deep. Bansl's magical theory is built on some simple, yet surprisingly efficient principles; he believes that Paradox is something that only happens to others, and that knowing every form of magic there is is the best way to combat the influence of the Enemy. And so he listened to the mind-numbing, all-encompassing silence. And he learned.

Over the course of the next day, the bomb-man listened in on the communication between the Reavers -- learning little of value -- before he decided to scry the station coordinating the flying vessels. Focussing his energy, he penetrated the Abyssal Aegis, and despite the severe assault on his psyche, he reached the communications room in Tower Helreginn. In the few seconds he could maintain his connection [each turn cost him 1 WP] he learned that the room was guarded by two Hellghasts, and that the commanding officer reported to Office 17. Weary from the effort, he broke the spell.

Now he tried spying on one of the other forts lining the crater's edge, but worn out as he was, he couldn't withstand the call of the Deep. When Toadface saw his friend's eyes go black [-1 Com/turn], he gave him a firm blow behind his ear, and Bansl was carried off the the moon.

Back on Argos, Aegir had been discussing the prospects of inserting friendly forces into the moon-base. Together with Master Ludenius, a.k.a. Orm the Fat, he had decided on selling some two hundred of his men into slavery. Orm and Onkel Smit pooled their resources, and through heavy bribery (most of which apparently ended up in the pockets of Caracalla's men, a deal was struck.

When the lunar scouts returned, Galan had enough information to establish an Arcane Connection with the dark side of the moon, and turning his telescope towards the heavens, he scryed some of the forts, as well as the larger settlement. Each of the positions were heavily manned, fortified, and bristling with guns. He also scryed the subterranean installation in the centre of the crater. Here he found evidence of research and mining activity.

In the next chapter, we may see the Pius Cabal penetrate deeper into the secrets of Nattland.

Storyteller's note: You know damn well where you can put your comments ;)

[Picture source: Legal Juice]

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