Wednesday, 2 December 2009

The last chapter

Startig with the Pius returning to the surface, the Blockade in its wake.

The Company decided on their course -- that of the Plague Ship. They also knew how to proceed -- the Captain would transport them there. Then they would take up possition outside the Erian Gap, thus making them able to intercept the Naglfār before it could enter the Inner Ocean. Then they determined on the matter of how to take the Plague Ship out -- they would call upon the dragon.

Storyteller's note: Seriously, I can't remember the last time any group of players had a plan this good, this early in the session. Neat thing here of course was that while their plan covered everything they had set out to do, it didn't take anything else into account.

Bear with me while I lay out a few factors that will come to affect the Erian adventures of the Pius Cabal. The Erian Gap, the narrow straits that separates the Inner Ocean from the Outer Sea, is very heavily trafficed by ships of all Erian kingdoms. Not the least of these being Pendrell. Now, remembering an earlier chapter, the Pendrellian Parliament wants to see the gentlemen of the Company tried for the Scutino Incident, and they want their ship back (this session was the last before I started posting them here). And then there's M'narcel/Drake's Black Mark to worry about.

Well pleased with themselves, the magicians set about their business. Banzel had decided that he would make the Pius fly again, and so he turned to his plans and experiments. Van Zaar and Drake resolved to study the Saragossa Manuscript, in hope that they would learn how to destroy a Black Ship. Galan set out to device magical procedure grand enough to transport the ship and its crew several thousands of miles.

Long story quite short; the following sunrise saw the Pius in Erian waters. At this point van Zaar reasoned that since everything was proceeding smoothely they might afford to change the plan somewhat. He proposed to seek another way of destroying the Naglfār besides the dragon, thus keeping the proverbial cat well inside the bag for now.

Just as the debate over how to slay their prey started to become interesting, a midshipman reported that a Pendrellian corvette was coming up on them.

The corvette, the Suprise, signalled the Pius to stand down and be boarded. Despite some objections from the Company, captain Galan decided to follow the command. So it was that when the boarding skiff approached the side of the Pius, the Suprise lay in command of the wind, broadside threatening the stern of the ship of our heroes.

The spiffy young leutennant who commanded the boarding party, introducing himself as Thorne, presented Galan with his orders. Gryff Galan was, with imediate effect, stripped of rank and removed from command, and arrested. Further, Jolander van Zaar, the Wezellian spy, as well as Mandan Banzel, was to be arrested. Finally, Pius was to be surrendered into the command of Mr Thorne and returned to a Pendrellian port.

Drake was not mentioned.

Mr Thorne was pleasant enough to give the Company half an hour to get their affairs in order. It should be noted that according to Galan's memory, the lieutennant's father is Ebenezer Thorne, an influential Presbyterian member of Parliament.

The magicians did not agree on much in the events that were to follow. In fact, they did disagree on more issues than not. Drake, being quite pleased by not being mentioned in the order, had no wish to surrender himself to captivity. Van Zaar on the other hand, felt warmly about everybody going. Banzel wanted to blow up the Suprize and get on with the task at hand. Galan was too shocked and apalled by the entire debacle to get a proper grip on it. So, when Mr Thorne came to take the arrestees into custody the Company was still arguing. Drake stayed behind when the three prisoners were rowed over to the Suprize.

On the Suprize, things went from bad to worse. Captain Ardyke, an old seadog, expressed his regrets about chain of events. Regardless, despite loud objections from both van Zaar and Galan, the heroes were stripped of their personal belongings and shackled, before they were taken to the brig.

The Company still kept contact with eachother through the hive-mind established by Galan, and with three of them imprissoned and a price-crew abuot to set off with the Pius, an argument broke out between Galan and Drake. This ended with Drake severing the connection, thus cutting off any contact between the two parties.

Drake set about to retake the Pius, and so he summoned a nightmare spirit to put the marines from the Suprize to sleep.

On the Suprize, Banzel, never passing up on an opportunity for magic, decided to break the shackles, instead he managed to set of a Paradox effect that transmuted his boots to iron. Still bickering, the prisoners fumbled on for a bit until Banzel broke van Zaar's chains. Of course, the two guards outside their cell summoned a sergeant.

When the door to the brig was opened, van Zaar, manipulating time itself, attacked the guards and managed to severly wound the sargeant and injure one of the guards. The last one fought fought desperately while the alarm was sounded on the ship.

On the Pius, the enemy marines was now tipping over as the nightmare, a tall cloaked figure with smoke coming from within its cape, collected their dreams. Mr Thorne tried to sound the alarm when his men fell to witchcraft, but he was quickly and effectively dispatched by the Prince. To avoid being fired upon by the watchfull gunners of the Suprize, Drake asked the nightmare to skinride the body of the dead lieutennant.

Back on the Suprize the prisoners were still fighting the guard when Galan opened a portal back to his quarters.

Now escaped, the matter of surviving took precedence. Banzel magically hardened the hull of the Pius, while Galan wove a cunning spell to protect the masts. These measures proved sufficient to see them through the Suprize's broadside, and the light load of the Pius allowed them to leave the enemy in their wake.

It is at this point Banzel, van Zaar and the Prince get into a bet of sorts. Banzel wants to shoot one of the men on the Suprize, and van Zaar mentions the marksmanship of the Enæìd. Captain Ardyke is not to be harmed, someone says, before the Prince's man let's his arrow fly. It strikes the man next to the captain, and he falls over. Then Banzel shoots captain Ardyke in the heart.

The Suprize breaks off.

That evening, Galan believes his scrying has revealed their target, and the course is set.

That night van Zaar and Drake sit down again to finish their study of the Saragossa Manuscript. To make sure they have enough time, van Zaar again manipulates the flow of time.

In the morning they come upon their enemy, and the Saragossa Manuscripts proved to contain a spell that could banish Naglfār. The drawbacks was that it was beyond the capacity of any of the magicians, and that while the spell could be read directly from the manuscript, this would result in it being lost permanently.

Opting to preserve the dragon, the Pius Cabal took up possition on deck while Drake read out the Abyssian words of the spell. As the ancient magic formed, the words that summoned it decayed from the cracked vellum. The mist that hid the target dissipated, and then sounds of cracking timber came from the enemy. Reality seemed to become even more solid, and then the plague ship Naglfār collapsed in on itself, leaving nothing.

End of chapter.

Storyteller's note: Even if I received a lot of objections this night, I was quite amused. Mostly by the bickering and chaos that evolved as it became apparent that the Suprize did in fact mean to arrest and detain the Pius and her crew.

The affairs of the Erian kingdoms are complex, and quite important in the big picture, and I'm looking forward to seeing what the heroes decide to do next.

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