After having concluded their business at the University of Ghoerwald the Cabal returned to Zaarbrügge where the Pius were anchored. On their way there they were caught in an ambush, and once again Galan was the first target. Shot through the chest he fell from his horse. While the magicians established a perimeter, Aegir managed to find where the shot had come from, only to narrowly escape the blast of bomb the assassin had left behind.
The rest of the jurney went without further complications, except for fact that the captain had be put in a carriage.
Back on the ship, they became certain that the assassin had more in store for them. The Prince soon found that another bomb had been placed below the water, on the keel of the Pius. Banzel, now having reached Adept in the Arcana of Matter quickly dealt with the bomb, unmaking it entirely.
While this happened the Prince led his Enæìd ashore, and with the help of Galan's scrying and Drake's command of the Spirit Arcana, the enemy, a Hellghast, was taken captive.
Aboard the ship again, the Cabal were debating what to do with the prisoner until van Zaar settled the matter by shooting him through the head.
Banzel had been told by his god, Geminon, that to find the Dragonheart he had to find Margareta of Borg. Thus it came to pass that on the afternoon of Nightfall, the last day of the year, the Pius sailed into the harbour of Borg, north in the West Fold.
Again, Galan's scrying helped the Cabal, and shortly after having arrived a shore party consisting of Galan, Banzel, van Zaar and the eight surviving veteran marines rode inland.
The night was cold, dark and forboding, and when the party reached their destination, the mining village of Hammershaven in the foothills of the Goblinwall Mountains, a great storm was raging above them.
Above the village lay an old watchtower, and beside it twelve men were using the Dragonheart to tunnel into the mountain. Galan also discovered that one of the mines had a resonance of Mana. Without further ado they moved into the village and up the path to the mines and the tower.
In the village they briefly encountered a mad crone who babbled about something called Bolgen, and the awakening of that something. Not easily distracted, the magicians proceeded to the Mana-mine and plundered it for Tass and vìs.
Once they had taken what they could, Galan opened a gate for himself and Banzel into the pit where the Dragonheart was used to power a tunelling machine. While the captain held the crew at gunpoint, the Bombman lifted the red hot furnace off its bearings, and then they left. The return to the Pius was made quick and easy -- again the captain resorted to magic, and the entire party was teleported home.
Storyteller's note: This chapter was clearly different from the others, and the main difference was not that I only had three players, but that the players relied heavily on magic every step of the way. For the first time the Pius Cabal showed that a coordinated cabal is a truly formidable opponent, and they did so without killing a single soul (that may actually have been the greates difference, come to think of it).
Storyteller's note: Coming to the table this evening I had absolutely no plans for the players. Rather, I was prepared to let them spend some time doing all the things they never have time for, like studying, building things, talking to random NPCs...
In stead they decided to go on an adventure. A long time ago (about three months game-time) the Cabal sent out a secondary party to look into a lead on an elven treasure. Since then one of the unfortunate adventurers turned up dead, an unfinished account of the adventure turned up in a half-penny weekly in the possession of a captured sailor, and Dr Mysterio was freed from the clutches of the Ministerium. Now the Cabal set out to find their lost NPCs.
The ship was anchored in a Shaderealm south in the West Fold, and the Cabal teleported to the last known location of the lost party, as described by Tomas Parlay.
The portal was easy enough to find, but harder to open. Drake, now an Adept of Spirit, tried twice, and failed both times, until the following dawn, when the entire Cabal worked in concert, weaving a powerful ritual. The two ancient trees that formed the portal was struck by lightning, bursting the gate open and revealing the path that lay beyond.
The path, a ley line, according to the two Prime Deciples, Galan and Banzel, took them accross primordial mountains deep within the Umbra. After a long walk they came to a small plateu overlooking a vast and forboding winterbare forest. Drake guided them all safely down the cliffside and into the trees.
Here they quickly realized that they were not at all welcome. The trees seemed to shift and move, and on the wind hateful whispers could be heard. Banzel, carrying with him both blades and firepowder was snared by roots and tangled in branches, until Drake managed to calm the trees enough that they could travel deeper. Still, they soon realized that they were being led; forward only where they were allowed, and behind them the path seemed to vanish.
Finally, while Drake was ahead trying to find the path again, the others, three magicians and seventeen Enæìd, were captured. Van Zaar looked up to find that his entire world was dominated by an arrow, its steel the colour of moonshine, pointed between his eyes. Banzel fared no better, and even the Enæìd were caught, blades and arrows wielded by pale elves were trained on each and every one of them.
Drake, scrambling up a gravelly slope, came face to face with the Prince of the elves. Here he found that the fate of them all depended on his next words, and that the Elf Prince bore a deep hatered for all humans.
After some halting negotiations the entire Cabal was allowed to talk, and they were led to a clearing in the woods. Here the Elf told them that to fight the Deep, all things touched by it had to be burned; that if the Five Forts were burned the elves would return to Pendrell; that the elves would burn the world of Man; and finally, that in this fire they (the Cabal) would find the salvation of their race.
Deaming the meeting over, the elves vanished into the forest, and the raining five of the missing party were set free.