Werks within Werks.

Defeating the Deathjack

In order to enlist Methabetha’s aid in fighting off Louis Lewell’s warjack army she tasked the Royal Learnéd Order of the Rune to recover the chassis of a Cryx Souljack. The Deathjack had been buried beneath an abandoned village ruined by Pyrrhic heroes 5 years prior. The Order immediately began preparing for the encounter.

The Learnéd Balder ventured to the Associate’s Library of the Fraternal Order
of Wizardry to research the Deathjack. There he discovered the abomination was the first Souljack to have been created by Cryx and had a terrifying aura that would paralyze those who see it with fear unless they were extremely strong of will. Together with this fear the Order must also contend with its claws and horns. The other Members and Associates of the Order repaired to
the Guildhall to best prepare for the fight to come.

The next morning the Order set out from Corvis to make the half-day journey to the place where once the village stood. Amazingly, Jordie finally returned from his business with the Steamer’s Union and his Steamjack newly fitted with an Aurum Cortex and upgraded weaponry.

Arriving at the location where the village once stood, the Royal Order found only the foundations of building and a hole dug deep into the earth. Suddenly, a terrified scream was heard and a figure erupted from the hole fleeing for his life as he wailed. The Learnéd Fellcaller Thorgrim set off after him, his Wings of Air allowing him to quickly catch up to the figure.

He found it was a pale skinned elf with horns and other disfigurements issuing from cheeks and brows. The Nyss elf did not respond in any known language, so Thorgrim relied upon the universal language of violence, rendering the Nyss insensate. Through close questioning and the quiet interrogation of Jordie, the Royal Order learned that the 9 Nyss were sent to recover something from where the hole was dug. 2 remained upon the surface while 7 went underground.

Sir Milo decided he would draw out the two on the surface by restraining the prisoner and repairing to a nearby trapdoor leading into the catacombs beneath the ruined village. Meanwhile, Thorgrim descended down the hole and Jordie used his steamjack’s crane to lower itself into the deep. Once it reached the tunnel’s floor the gobber undid the hook without the winch lock being set. He was immediately dragged across the earth and barely escaped losing fingers and bodily harm by Jordie’s release of the hook and the timely intervention of Thorgrim.

Sir Milo’s watch proved fruitless, so he rejoined the party who had already learned that many of the alcoves and chambers in the catacombs were filled with rotten barrels, once filled with wine or other liquid repasts. One chamber in particular had been walled in from the inside with the barrels in the best repair. It was suspected, after hearing voices beyond the barricade, that the other Nyss took shelter within. Leaving them to their terror, the Order continued to explore the catacombs.

Around a corner Balder’s Light in the Darkness exposed the opening of the lower tunnel from which it was thought the Deathjack dug itself from its prison in the deep earth. There the Order found the Deathjack’s tracks and were followed until the disappeared into a chamber.

Jordie ordered his Jack forwards and Thorgrim followed. He was immediately presented with the most terrifyingly horrorifying thing he had ever witnessed. For a moment, fear gripped him but he shook it off. His Trollkin voice wavering, he described what he saw – specifically two glowing skulls on either of the Deathjack’s arms – the jack itself sitting idle in the corner.

The plan became to destroy the skulls and Jordie ordered his laborjack to fire on the skull, blowing apart the wall behind the Deathjack with its dualcannon. Thorgrim cast Raging Wings and then struck the other skull with his stoneaxe. Learned Lady Hellith Disrupted the Deathjack, depriving it of focus.

The Deathjack lept to life. It advanced on Thorgrim and struck out with claws and horns nearly crippling the Learned Fellcaller. Sir Milo advanced and was confronted with the terror of the Deathjack but fell to the fear despite his Iron Will. Jordie ordered his laborjack forward and dealt some damage to the Cryx-made jack. Thorgrim retreated using Wings of Air to escape a coup de grace. The Deathjack counterattacked Jordie’s laborjack, severely damaging it. Hellith managed to magically immobilize the Deathjack, even in the grip of fear. Sir Milo lost his battle with his fear and fled into the darkness.

The laborjack attacked once more, further damaging the Deathjack which had been continuously healing itself. Thorgrim revitalized himself. The Deathjack shook its immobility and counterattacked further wrecking Jordie’s laborjack. Meanwhile, out in the dark Sir Milo recovered his wits and began running back into the battle.

The laborjack valiantly struck one more blow against the Deathjack and the counterattack wrecked the redoubtable Do-it Mark II. Sir Milo lept to the laborjack’s defense and struck the Deathjack, it turned its remaining attacks on the knight missing every time. Lady Hellith used this opportunity to attack and wrecked the Deathjack.

Having won, the Royal Learned Order of the Rune began recovering the wreckage of the two Jacks and made their way back to Corvus arriving just around midnight.

View
Indiana Holmes Personal Journal: Day 1-Shadow Octopus Men and their Molesting Shadow Octopus Mistress

I feel the time has come to start a new chapter in my journal, having finally been able to acquire partial entry in to the famed “Order of the Rune” (now royal no less, but i’ll get to that). An order i was advised could benefit greatly from my unique set of talents, as well as assist me with my own personal “explorations”

I finally managed to gain an audience with the Order after weeks of trying, (apparently they’ve been taking leisurely cruises on air ships, I guess everyone needs a break every now and then) and I feel first impressions have gone relatively well… Well… aside from my obvious faux pas of addressing them as lords, ladies and gentlefolk… when it was quite clear they were not all lords and there were no ladies present and given our first adventure together they were not overly gentle. (Although a rather “unique” female Iosan did arrive later in the day. Could this be a problem? she doesn’t seem overly… “social”, so possibly not.)

Anyway, after correcting my initial address mistake, (I decided upon a rather eloquent greeting of “males of varying race and social standing” a rather smooth save if i do sway so myself) introductions were made and it was decided that my joining of the group would require the passing of A “test” of sorts. I have to say, I do not believe they were entirely upfront about the nature of the test. The plan was for me to enter the abode of one Lady Dashingham, I was then to investigate and gather any evidence relating to a possible Infernal activities (although the Priest suggested a plant go do it… now I know at this point they were unaware of how capable I may be, but surely I’d do a better job than a plant… I mean… its a plant… they don’t do much except grow… and sit there… anyway). Obviously I jumped at the chance, who knows what information I could gather for my own investigations during such an expedition… Of course, I did not let on about the possible benefits to myself, I do not know these people yet, but I must say, the opportunity was a chance not to be missed… although sadly it offered up nothing but problems rather than any answers.

So, on this task I was to be accompanied by an individual they refer to simply as “Cobb” (obviously Cobb Ironside), presumably to grade my test. Mr Ironside was a rather interesting gentleman, and as our little adventure was to prove I am not entirely sure he is all together trust worthy. So, whilst myself and Cobb were entering the building, Sir Milo Bradigan Forsythe III would be entertaining Lady Dashingham on a little light socialising around the finer areas of the town. As it turned out, this would involve short jaunts to a number of wine merchants, I later found out that Sir Bradigans date, started to take a rather bizarre turn when it seemed the proprietor of one of these establishments visited that evening was preparing to close shop when, for no apparent reason, a small trickle of blood began to leak from the corner of his mouth. This was swiftly followed by the gentleman taking on the mannerisms of a puppet of all things. He began moving around his store, collecting various bottles of wine for the tasting, with a rather wooden and awkward manner, seeming to find it rather tricky to control ones motor functions in anything close to a normal manner… hmmmm… infernal activity or just drunk… I’ll let you decide… wait, you is me given the nature of a “secret” journal.

Anyway, i deviate from my own evenings festivities, whilst Sir Bradigan was off galavanting with Lady Dashingham, the remaining members of their small, but as it would turn out very capable (if not somewhat rash) party, would accompany me to the residence, in an attempt to judge the competency of my skills and lend a hand should anything go wrong… Well… things did go wrong, although it could be argued that things went wrong due to the company…, but I shall not make such a judgement just yet. As i was saying, Cobb and I were to gain entrance by the rear of the building, through kitchens, whilst the others remained in rented carriages outside. Honestly, I believe they were expecting trouble but i guess with the way things turned out, it was lucky they were there, or maybe things turned out the way they did because they were there?

On entering the kitchen there was the exceptionally pleasant aroma of cinnamon buns, I instantly assumed this to be some sort of trap, never has a bun smelt so good, so, i pocketed a bun for further investigation later having found what i believed to be a bone buried within one of them. As we proceeded, Cobb leading the way, he meticulously went about turning out every single light, very odd behaviour i thought, given the fellow could not see in the dark, but still, as it turned out, he had very good reasons… a little pre warning would have been nice given what transpired, still, i guess he did take precautions and i was being tested.

Cobb led us effortlessly to a small room containing a hidden trapdoor, a door quite obviously had foreknowledge of given our direct path too it. This door lead down to a series of secret rooms and hallways. Cobb, still continued to switch off all lights and decided to proceed no further as the entire area was now pitch dark. So, casting true sight i decided to continue alone, although i am sure Cobb knew what was waiting ahead and was afraid… I can’t say I blame him, if it were not for me extreme courage i too may have decided to turn back given what lay ahead. So, i guess i can understand why, when i looked back, i could see Cobb disappearing back up the stairs behind the closing door. I must remember to keep an eye on this gentleman during our future jaunts.

So continuing down the passage i found a number of rooms, all far to easy to unlock, so easy intact that someone would not be considered insane to believe that the area wanted people to break in. The main corridor ended in three doors, one on the left, one in the centre and one to the right. Trying the door on the right first i found a small library… Given my uncanny ability for rather speedy perusal of books, i thought a quick glimpse couldn’t hurt, even opening the cover of the first book gave me a headache, yet it almost willed me to read it. I decided this may not be wise, so i closed up the book and placed in my bag, more possible evidence. Back out the first door, on to the centre, which was locked, although this time i decided not to try and force it feeling that time was of the essence, and being down here alone i would be far better served investigating the easier routes rather than those blocked to me. Given the apparent want of this area for people to enter certain rooms, i actually decided that a room that did not want me in, was probably best left for a later. And as time would tell, i could not have been more correct. On to the left hand door, this room held two small lights, and following the now absent Cobbs actions, I extinguished them. With true sight on, being able to see was not a problem… something i was to foolishly forget very soon.

In the centre of this room there was a single table with a chalice containing a rather viscous red liquid, if not entirely blood, my rather keen nose knew that there was at least a little blood mixed in. This room also had two doors, another to the left and right. Trying the right hand door first, this led on to a short corridor ending in yet another door. Before trying this corridor i decided i would try the door on the left first. Opening this I was confronted with a rather peculiar sight. There was a gentleman, sat within a circle of runes, with wispy, shadowy tendrils and pulsating tentacles, emanating from every area of this gentleman’s body. It was hard to work out if these tendrils were holding him in place or feeding him from the very shadows around him in someway. As it turned out I need not have pondered this question too long as I would discover the answer first hand.

The rather bizarre man seemed not to notice me until i was about to leave, I was apologising for the intrusion and about to leave when the gentleman addressed me. I remember not what he said, i politely stated i was looking for a rest room and got lost… I think he believed me. He then proceeded to tell me he was trapped in the circle and that by bringing him the chalice from the previous room i could help free him.

Now, while i have made a few errors in judgement in my time, one of which was going to happen literally within minutes, using my keen detective abilities, i surmised that helping free a man who was either being held within a circle by shadowy tentacles for some reason, or feeding off of the surrounding shadows by aforementioned shadow tentacles, might not be in my best interest at this point. So, informing him i would return momentarily, i swiftly shut the door, passed the “wine” and made my way down the remaining corridor to the final door. This door opened with ease on to a rather well appointed ladies boudoir. In my haste to finish my task and exit the building, i decided i would give the room a quick once over and leave… but… I overlooked the two light sources in the room.

As is always the case in these places, while there were many chests, cabinets, wardrobes and other such places i could look through for final evidence, i decided i would start by looking under the bed. If there is a bed in a room, “It” whatever “it” might be, is usually always found under the bed, humans… so predictable. Bending down to take a peek i heard a voice from behind me “looking for something?” Now i have ears far more sensitive than most, it is nigh on impossible for anyone to sneak up on me, yet, there they were… feet, attached to the man (and i use that term loosely) who had only moment ago been sat in a shadow tentacle smothered circle, yet was now enquiring as to why i was looking under the bed.

Lucky, with my hawk like reactions, i got the drop on the being, a relatively regular sized man, which snow white skin, long black hair, that gave the appearance he was underwater, not wet, but waving of its own accord, and with long shadowy tentacles coming from his body… oh… not to mention the rather large sword in his hand. So, with my uncanny speed and having the drop on my foe and given my incredible skill with both pistol and rifle, i did what any wise and skilled warrior such as myself would do… i ran, out the door, down the hall and up the stairs.

No, this was not cowardice, having bent down to look under the bed, my legs felt tight and before i could fight needed stretching, i was planning on running back down there.

Anyway, as it turned out, while i was engaged in these rather… unique circumstances, my new found friends were having fun of their own outside. First they were approached by local guardsman, enquiring as to why they were parked outside the house of a lady who was not present. My new dwarven friend Balder Greenhammer eloquently misdirected the gentlemen and informed them they were waiting for the ladies return while she was accompanied by Sir Bradigan. Next up was Officer Skint a gentleman i have encountered before, but it would seem he has been promoted somehow and now works the more well to do areas. The group, having had some dealings with Officer Skint before, started off with polite conversation, which very quickly turned in to Hellith, our female Iosan friend, trying to shoot the man in the face (maybe she will be a problem after all?) Thankfully her shot went wild, although it did blow a hole in the carriage they had hired, (I very much doubt they will be getting their deposit back on that somehow)

Anyway, after this, it seems they decided that waiting outside the house was no longer an option, and the now terrified officer would be helping them gain “lawful” entry in to the abode.

This all took place while i was wandering the corridors ad then stretching my legs away from the rather pale gentleman who had decided to “accompany” me in the bedroom. By the time i reached the top of the stairs they had reached the front door, and proceeded to kick it in “in the name of the law”. Obviously I believed my little excursion had been discovered, being given no warning they were forcefully entering the abode, and fully believed i was about to have to defend myself from a number of the cities law enforcement officers. Drawing my gun, and slowly peeking my head out from behind the door to see what i would be facing, i was pleased to realise it was not the cities finest…but… unfortunately… i came face to face with the rather swift blade of the somewhat anaemic gentleman from down stairs… boy he’s fast.

I ducked back away from him, and luckily it was my companions who had burst in through the door, and just in time i would say, this wavy hairs octopus gentleman would prove to be rather tricky.

Meanwhile, back in the carriage of the Lady of the house, who it turned out was not so much of a lady after all, Sir Bradigan was having quite the adventure of his own. Still attempting to keep Lady Dashingham occupied, Sir Bradigan decides to “woo” the woman, although from the sounds of things i think she had her way with him, rather than the other way round. There is a saying, that if the carriage is a rocking, do not come a knocking. From the sounds of things, given the motion of said carriage, you would be well advised to stay well clear from said carriage due to fear of its extreme rocking motion potentially crushing you.

Anyway, back inside the house, my new companions and I realised that while all of us are competent in the arts of war, this shadow being was somewhat of a handful, taking the combined efforts of all of us to stop the creature (although, truth be told, had it not been for the priest, a somewhat "obsessed individual if ever i saw one, we may have had a lot more trouble than we did as his spells certainly put a kink in the shadow beings step… a weird name given how pale he was, but still)

Having defeated the rather bothersome gentleman, I proceeded to accompany my companions downstairs to show them what I had found, and what I hadn’t found given the still locked door. I now wish that door had stayed locked and i had never seen behind it, as we all know what effect curiosity has on cats… Behind the locked door was a vast chamber… inside this vast chamber, many many many circles, containing many of the shadow men we had only seconds before hand had so much trouble i dealing with.

The Order swiftly went about summoning a door so that we could go talk with yet another secret organisation who we were apparently investigating said infernal activity for. When we passed through the door, we were “created” a term i use light, by a rather unpleasant hunchback fellow. You’d think, given the fact we’d just uncovered definite infernal activity, destroyed one of their assassins and had news of a possible infernal army of rather swift, shadow tentacle agents of death, he would have been a slightly more grateful and gracious host. But to be fair, if i was a hunchback midget, i too might be a little on the grumpy side.

Anyway, I was advised that we needed to wear both a blindfold and a hood while we passed from this strange little room, in to the halls of the secret society, i scoffed at this… with the things i’ve seen, what possibly could be waiting between doors that would even make me bat an eye, let alone need a hood. Quite a lot it would seem… to say i remain shaking would be somewhat of an understatement. Remember the carriage i mentioned earlier, and its violent rocking notion, well my current mental state from but one peak at while lies between those doors would make the rocking of that carriage look like the gentle swaying of a babies cradle whilst you gently put them to sleep. While my mental state is now akin to a ship, lost at sea, in a storm, swept up by a tornado and then dropped in to the middle of an erupting volcano while an earth quake took place underneath it… and even that does not adequately describe how “shook” I am.

There is a gentleman author who talks of indescribable horrors, unimaginable things, and when i read this, i think “nonsense, what horrors can not be described” the horrors that lie between those doors, they are the horrors that can not be described, nor would i want to try… Anyway, after foolishly peaking out from under the blindfold, gibbering, i made it in to the chambers of Naes Srond

My companions proceeded to tell them of the night events while i gathered myself in the corner by shaking and vomiting uncontrollably. And when my friends had finished telling The Silencius of what what lies in the cavern it was decided we would assassinate all the shadow folk in the circles.

To be honest, I am not sure what part of that sounded like a good idea give our last encounter with just one of them, but apparently this was not a problem and we will be under taking the task at hand, albeit with some help from The Silencius. Although, I have to say, in these situations, the help beings like this generally give is not exactly of an overly helpful nature, if it were, they would usually undertake these tasks themselves, instead they find less than smart people to do it for them… this time… us. Really, we were guilt tripped in to it, fate of the city, can’t allow internals to walk the earth, blah blah blah… its not them i’m worried about, its whats between those doors.

Anyway, the evenings festivities came to a close with me being enrolled in to the order given my outstanding performance and we began hatching a plan as to how exactly we were going to destroy a room full of the same beings we had quite a tricky time with one of. Oh, and Sir Bradigan finally made it home, with a rather large smile on his face struggling to hold up his trousers.Although I must say, I’m not really sure what he was smiling about given the fact he looked like he had been “taken advantage of” by a group of rather amorous male octopi… octopus… octopod… octopi’s … with all my knowledge i’m still not sure why you call them… anyway, and given the fact he had just spent the night with Lady I-Keep-Shadow-Octopus-Infernal-Men-In-My-Secret-Basement-For-My-Own-Strange-Pleasures… Sir Bradigan may well have been molested by a group of rather amorous male ocoto… whatevers… and that would likely be the least of his worries.

Especially given whats to come…

Oh… P.S The Order was also given a royal seal… which was nice. I must be good luck for them. So I am now a part of the ROYAL Order of the Runes. If only the rest of them could see me now… well… probably lucky they can’t actually, that could be tricky.

View
High Deeds Below-Ground and Low Deeds Above-Ground

Upon plummeting through the newly erupted breach, the party were scattered and spread out from whence they fell, with Balder Greenhammer and Peewee Pogtoganovi narrowly avoiding a second plunge into a bottomless chasm. Before the Learned Order of the Rune could gather their wits and regroup, they were suddenly set upon by a horde of enemies! Advancing towards them through the darkness were the misshapen forms of what were once Nyss Elves and their monstrous pets which were seemingly naught but teeth, legs and tails with deadly looking stingers. And thus the battle commenced!

Acting quickest, Cobb quickly closed with and dispatched one of the monstrous teeth creatures which was unfortunate enough to have been in their midst where they had unceremoniously landed. As the monsters began to advance towards them from the shadows, spellcraft could be heard coming from the far reaches of the cavern accompanied by a thunderous roar. Mistress Hellith moved quickly and moved into the central of the three openings which provided access to the party and fired off a spell at another of the beasts. causing it grevous injury. Not to be outdone, the brave Master Bayden moved up beside her and hurled one of his miraculous alchemical grenades and splashed acid upon the creature and the Elves surrounding it, badly wounding one and slightly damaging another. Balder quickly gathered to his feet and took cover behind some abandoned mining carts and began to work his magic, bolstering the party’s defenses and firing bolts of arcane energy at their enemies. Alas, amidst the confusion and darkness, they did not reach their mark. Finally gathering his wits about him, Peewee swiftly moved to the far left-most corridor to intercept a host of Elven warriors bearing wicked looking blades who had appeared but just moments ago, parrying their attempts to halt his advance and positioned himself to bar entry into the cavern.

Seeing a cadre of archers advancing upon their position, Cobb skulked down the right-most corridor stopping just short of where their hail of arrows couldn’t reach him. Finally reaching the mouth of the central corridor the the creature that Hellith had previously wounded attempted to bite her, but failed to find a way past her protective Warcaster armor. Hellith then attempted to strike at the creature, but missed, unable to find any way past it’s snapping jaws. Bayden threw another grenade past the creature combating Hellith, killing the injured Nyss and immolating the other swordsman. Then showing surprising quickness, he moved down the path and cast yet a third grenade at the foes Peewee was desperately holding bay. However, this time, his aim was off and the projectile exploded behind the surprised Gobber, narrowly missing him and cutting off any hopes he had of retreating. Next up, Balder again fired his arcane bolts from behind cover of the overturned carts, this time his aim true, injuring one of the warriors in front of Peewee. Enraged by the small being that dared block their path, two of the warriors attacked the wee thief, one of them managing to wound him. Howling with rage, the rest of the squad had no choice but to find another way around. Taking a moment to recover his breath, Peewee launched a counterattack, but was only able to just nick the injured enemy.

Evading the hail of arrows surrounding him, Cobb charged the archers and quickly dispatched two of them, but alas, he was surrounded…or was he?! It was in fact all part of his plan for as the archers attempted to fire at him, his blades whirling death, until there was but a single archer left, standing between him and the largest of the hell-beasts that had emerged alongside the warwitch that commanded it. In the other corridor, the beast attacking Hellith finally succumbed to the corrosive effects of Master Bayden’s acid. Now that the creature had fallen, she had a clear shot on the last of the swordsmen and killed him with a blast of her arcane powers. Bayden flung yet another grenade, this one again, again barely missing Peewee but killing off the injured swordsman and critically injuring his partner. Balder shot at him and missed, but Peewee was not so lucky. The warrior struck the Gobber, weakening him badly. Peewee, gathered his strength and struck just hard enough to fell him. However, his cries of victory turned to horror as yet another one of the creatures turned the corner and stopped just in front of him, it’s maws salivating in anticipation. Any thoughts of reprieve he thought he might have were dashed, when suddenly an explosion of arcane energy blasted from the creature, leaving him once again, badly wounded.

Once again, the young alchemist was there to save him as he threw another grenade, mortally wounding the fanged beast. As it staggered towards Peewee for one last snap of it’s jaws, it withered before the flames that had left it aflame. Before the thief could thank him, however, the warwitch charged into the fray and struck him with her dagger, felling the valiant Gobber. That was to be her last act, as Hellith came down the tunnel and wreathed arcane fury on the Nyss witch, killing her instantly. As Cobb dispatched the last of the archers, all that remained was the large beast which went berserk at the loss of it’s master and attacked the infamous cutthroat. But the scoundrel was too agile and it was unable to land a single blow. Converging on the beast, the party took it down quickly, again due to Hellith’s might magics.

The battle over, Balder revived the fallen Gobber using one of Professor Pendrakes potions. As the party regrouped, the body of the slain warwitch began to twitch and convulse. None of the party willing to venture forth and investigate, the brave Master Bayden carefully edged forward, preparing to use his medical skills…and began poking it with a stick.

When nothing happened, he moved closer when suddenly a voice emanated from the corpse identified itself as the master of the Cryx and demanded to know what had happened to it’s servant. The young alchemist boldly claimed that he had killed it and a conversation indistinct to the rest of the party ensued. A few moments later, Master Bayden returned and said that he had declined an offer of great power in return for fealty to the dragon. He elaborated by informing the party that there was a crystal embedded within the corpse of the warwitch that could be used to empower the bearer…at a cost.

The party carefully removed the crystal, being careful not to touch it and proceeded to gather their spoils of war. Upon inspection by Balder, the leader of the Learned Order of the Rune, he discovered that the daggers carried by the warwitch were magical. The party gathered the spiked tails of the creatures and the weapons of the fallen Cryx warriors and decided that the bodies of the beasts should be stuffed as trophies and placed in the guild hall. When all was finally ready, they called up to the townsfolk and were hoisted out of the cavern.

As Balder took the loot to be stored, the rest of the party went off to see Professor Pendrake to give their report. He was most pleased to see the captured specimens of the Thrullgs as well curious to hear of the Cryx attack and the magical daggers. Offering them a deal for two of the daggers in return for any information he could divine on them, he was a bit taken aback to find that they were unwilling to confirm any transaction without first consulting Balder. Disgruntled at being rebuffed, he curtly dismissed them from his office.

Meeting back at the guildhall, Balder decided that he would go on alone to meet with the Professor to make a full report as well as negotiate the deal with the daggers.

Meanwhile, Peewee and Cobb were sent off to investigate the rumors of black magic being performed by Lady Dashingham. As they approached the estate, the thief and the cutthroat split up and entered from separate entrances. Finding nothing but a bloodstain on the wall in one of the rooms, they met up inside the house where they saw a shadow mysteriously pass through a closed door. Investigating the room behind the door, they found a secret door hidden beneath a rug and proceeded to follow it down into a dimly lit corridor that lead to a room with a pitcher of dark liquid on a table and two more closed doors.

Again the pair split up and investigated each door separately, after making a bet on whether the liquid inside the container was blood or not. As they reached their respective doors, Peewee once again spotted a shadow…this time leaving by the opening from whence they had come. Opening the doors simultaneously, Peewee found that his entered into a small room with a man sitting in the middle of a mystical circle and frantically entered for Cobb to join him. A few moments later, after a brief struggle, the inferior strength of the Gobber was not enough to prevent Cobb from pushing him into the room. Cautiously approaching the strange circle, Peewee noted that the man did not react to his presence and waved his hand in front of his face, at which point, the man stirred and bade Peewee bring him the pitcher of blood from the other room so that he might leave the Lady Dashingham’s service.

Triumphantly, the Gobber turned back and told Cobb to pay up on the wager. As they questioned the odd looking man further, he suddenly revealed that the Lady Dashingham had just left and bestowed upon him a task…to kill the intruders in the house.

Panicking, Peewee dashed for the door successfully avoiding Cobb’s foul attempt to trip him and ran to pick up the pitcher of blood, thinking it might protect him. As the pair raced to get upstairs the man appeared out of the shadows ahead of Peewee and struck him, wounding him. Gritting his teeth, Peewee ran up the stairs where he was momentarily stunned to find the man in front of him again. The man struck again, this time felling the poor Gobber. As Peewee dropped the pitcher and blood poured down the stairs, Cobb extinguished the lantern that had shed the dim light in the corridor down at the base of the stairs.

Holding his breath, he slowly crept up the blood soaked steps and stepped over Peewee’s still whimpering form and paused at the door before bursting through and dashing for the window. He leaped through the window expertly, and ran as hard as he could from Lady Dashingham’s estate. Alerted by the sound of the window breaking, the guards saw him running out and chased him, but he was able to reach the manor of Sir Milo where his gang of thugs brusquely stopped the guards at the door. Going straight to his quarters, Cobb extinguished all the light in his room and found comfort in Sir Milo’s brandy until he was sure the apparition was no longer after him.

Finally, after quite some time had passed, he went to the guild hall of the Learned Order of the Rune and concocted a story about how they had split up when they reached the estate and Peewee never showed up at the rendezvous spot. Suspicious, Balder prodded him for more details and Cobb again lied and told him that he was searching upstairs when he heard the most bloodcurdling scream he had ever heard and bolted for the exit. Still convinced he wasn’t being told the whole truth, Balder went to see for himself and found the estate being investigated by the city watch. There, the officers told him that they heard a window breaking and they gave chase to Cobb dashing down the street. Cobb denied it all, claiming that he was always being blamed for everything. After making sure he got their assurance that he would be informed of any developments in the case, Balder and the rest of the party returned back to the guild hall.

View
Narrations of the exploits of the Order

An investigation of the time during these events has over the years unearthed that the seemingly unrelated happening of….. have a greater role than commonly believed.

What now follows are three reports collected due to the closeness to the person in question, the first hereby, being from an ex-soldier who has found work as a driver for Sir Milo and to an extend the learned order of the Rune. Please excuse his lowly level of writing.
“2 hours I waited for this stupid order. Some damn message from the university about some sinkholes outside the walls and everyone is up sending me to buy some crap. At least Balder didn’t want me to get him anything, him looking at that weird belt he got from the university before we went off. But the rest! Uh, I need some gasmask, wait I need a new cloak and prepare another couch because I am too good to ride with the gobber.

Two hours later I finally drive them there and immediately Sir Milo in his fetched cloak and armour greets some highborn idiot of the city. I couldn’t hear anything except something about missing reporter, sneezing and how the entire city counts on the order to save’em all. The last thing I saw before they left for the biggest hole was giggles and then something about the looks of Sir Milo’s cloths. Don’t know what that about they seem good made to me."

Here his entry stops, luckily a second report was found, written surprisingly by one of the guards employed by the city.

“Well today turned out to be quite boring. Was ordered to watch a hole, wasn’t as different to my usual duties. But at least I didn’t need to go down there to rescue Keve Murdock and those other idiots who fell down. Saw how the learned order of the rune arrived. Weren’t everyone I reckon, the dwarf, Sir Milo and most importantly Lady Hellith came, but also a gobber, a guard and a priest of Morrow. It was actually quite entertaining to see Sir Milo in his rugs standing between the beautiful Lady Hellith and the dwarf. They spend quite some time here, the dwarf talking with the city council about what happened exactly and doing that god-awful sneezing the entire time.

Afterwards they got moving. Stood closer when they talked, with Officer Walker, he briefing them with our knowledge. Don’t know why but he pulled the gobber beside to tell him something. Took us some time lowering them all down that hole both the dwarf and Sir Milo too heavy to climb themselves. Couldn’t really see them from up here except for one small, fast moving light. It disappeared for some time. Then they came back and made us carry some ugly as hell things up, and then some monster corpses. Strangely enough the order itself hasn’t come back before I was ordered to escort the nobleman home."

What happened in this time before the retrieval of the lost group has been pierced together by the account left behind from the late Keve Murdock himself, a rather well-known reporter of the area.

“After falling down this hole, my companion and I rested for a while. But having seen no rescue for over an hour and slowly being driven uncomfortable by the sight of a corpse sitting at the bottom of the pit, we elected to travel further into the tunnel hoping to find an exit on our own. After some uneventful walking along in a rather dark corridor, we arrived at a peculiar place, a corridor ankle high filled with water. Believing to be close to the end of our journey, we elected to rest for a while.
This has nearly leaded to our collective demise as here we were nearly ambushed by some rather dangerous looking beasts, named as I would later learn Thrullgs. Here we split, a large group running from where we came, while some brave souls and I decided to distract the beasts by advancing and drawing their attention. Through the chaos, where two brave man perished we found ourselves in a cave filled with some rather strange looking rocks. Here our group will prepare ourselves for our impending death………….”

A second text was later unearthed continuing Keve Murdock’s narrations.
“The learned order of the runes consisting of the heroic Sir Milo, the famous Lady Hellith, the rhulicman Balder Greenhammer, learned Father Brent, the alchemist Master Bayden and their tracker, the gobber Peewee were ordered to rescue our groups not long after our journey. For this task there were given unique belts by Professor Pendrake himself, the belts having the ability to nullify magic around them.
The reason for such magnificent objects were the ability of the Thrullgs to backslash anyone using magic around them. In exchange for these belts the learned order of the rune were asked to deliver both living specimen and their eggs to them, therefore the order armed themselves with bombs filled with a strange concoction strong enough to knock the beast out cold.

Not wasting their time they immediately descended down the sinkhole, pausing momentarily to test out the functionalities of the belts to their own satisfaction.
Then lead by their tracker they swiftly manage to track our group down and regroup with those who have chosen to run the path back to the hole. Here Sir Milo demonstrated his good-natured soul, by trying to convince them to return safely to where the hole was located. Sadly the group not recognizing how Sir Milo desires for them to stay out of harms way decided to follow them closely.
Not far from where I and my companions were standing they met the beasts. Standing in a crossroad between three tunnels they heroically prepared themselves. Here the creatures demonstrated rudimentary intelligence by charging them from two directions in groups of two.
Suddenly the gobber demonstrated grand bravery by charging the group coming from the side tunnel single-handedly and taking out one beast by lobbing one of these “knockout-grenades” at them and then in a second act of courage charging the second one.

Meanwhile Sir Milo demonstrated true leadership by engaging the second group coming from the front and occupy two of these great monsters by him alone. Lady Hellith used this perfect distraction given by Sir Milo heroic action to take aim, supporting the gobber and wounding his opponent gravely with her magic.

Seeing the gobber and Lady Hellith perfectly being in the ability to kill their menace by themselves the leader of the Expedition, Lord Greenhammer, elected to damage both beast surrounding Sir Milo, therefore giving the alchemist the opportunity to both lob a grenade at one of the menaces and then trying to subdue the second beast with a syringe.
Unfortunately only the grenade proved to be successfully putting one soundly to sleep but leaving the second one awake.

Fortunately Lady Hellith and Lord Baldur were spared of any backslash of the Thrullgs magic, the belts proving to work in an excellent condition.

Before the surviving Thrullgs could be taken care of, they struck each at the gobber and heroic Sir Milo, luckily the gobber has proven agile enough to dodge all the attacks while Sir Milo resilience and his armour protected him quite well only wounding him weakly.

What then followed was a swift execution of both beast one bludgeoned by Sir Milo himself, the second being vanquished by Lady Hellith magical talents. Having properly secured and detained both sleeping monster Sir Milo, Lady Hellith, the alchemist and Lord Balder moved closer into the caves and finding our brave group. Here they also discovered three nearby eggs, believed to been laid by the Thrullgs and two young ones. Lady Hellith, Sir Milo and Lord Balder then seized the eggs and detained the young Thrullgs planning to bring them back to Professor Pendrake.

On the way back as I conversed with the member of the Order, trying to piece together what they did before meeting our Group, Balder Greenhammer said a strange thing. He raised the concern that the tunnel are unnatural unstable and this is most uncommon for such extensive sewer systems.

I myself am personally glad to having finished this “adventure”, as we shortly thereafter arrived at the sinkhole and signaled the guards to lift our expedition out. Humbly our rescuers have volunteered to wait for the nobleman and the sleeping beast to be lifted out first, watching and guarding the evacuation site. I believe that due to the constant vigilance of the order this entire operation will be successful and the heroic rescuer, foremost of all of course Sir Milo, will afterwards be praised with the great success of this miss…..”

Here his narration ends prematurely. From different account we have learned that an ambush on the group followed,first impaling Keve on a Harpoon afterwards collapsing the tunnel and moving the group deeper into the tunnel complex.

Sadly enough all these texts do not precisely help to determine the true origin but still bringing us closer to our goal. “Excerpts from the book“Custom of Cyngar: Why Sneezing?”

View
Groupies, Crackpots and Satisfaction

A new day dawned and I gave thanks to Morrow for the opportunity to do his bidding.

Today would be busy as there were many things to accomplish in order to bring light to the darkness. After breaking bread with fellow Order of the Rune members, Gooddwarf Baldur, Lady Hellith and Goodman Magrovich, we headed down to the University of Korvis. The grounds were well kept, and students on campus looked bright and eager. Most of the staff were professional and direct in our dealings with us. The same could not be said of the receptionist of the xeno-forensics-bio-archeaology department. The silly woman gushed and spouted all sorts of nonsense about Lady Hellith. She even had the effrontery to go about fondling and grasping at the elf’s heathen armor. Surely such blatant symbols of infidelity would put off a more upstanding and devout woman, but the university is known to be a haven for atheists and unbelievers.

Upon entering Professor Pendrake’s office I was impressed with the vast array of artifacts and mementos, no doubt collected from far flung excavations and exotic adventures. However, not a single devotion to Morrow could be spotted among the earthly treasures.

Pendrake outlined a plan to root out a nest of thrullgs. It seemed that the nasty creatures were dug-in deep, and inhabiting some of the same disgusting tunnels and sewers that we investigated earlier. My heart raced at the opportunity to bring some of the fell beast low. However, Professor Pendrake was planning on playing with fire. His rash plan was not only to attack or exterminate but to go as far as capture some young specimens for his dangerous research.

Despite my enthusiasm to attack the nest, the plan to go forward with 4 spell casters was a foolhardy one: the thrullgs are well known to repulse arcane effects. Prof Pendrake had developed some new technology and offered some prototypes which may or may not negate the thrullgs’ anti-magic bursts. Even with the untested devices, the plan was too risky. Borrowing the items until a later time, we promised to look into the issue when more members of the Learned Order of the Rune were available to assist.

Our next stop was Council of Silencius. The trip was both short, and an extended one. We only needed to go as far as one corridor away from the cluttered faculty office. Intoning the special incantations, I created an extra dimensional doorway to enter. We entered the familiar room with blindfolds, and the same old wooden door. We waited for our guide to arrive, but a servant of Morrow will not be delayed. Confidently, we forged ahead through the door on our own. Later, the guide came out in the nether-realms and met us. How such a man can find his way through that nightmare space is beyond me. The mind twisting terrain, and sense-shunting images. I remember it well. How can I ever forget? But to make sense of it…. To put it into words is impossible. I was confident that Morrow would guide us through. Surely, the guide is full of swagger, and led us about blindly and randomly. No sane mind could make up nor down of that place. Perhaps he is touched by a demon. He warrants further consideration in another entry.

On the other side, we met not with Naes Srond but a cabal of secretive men. The Silencius. They put forward their mission: to stamp out demon worshippers and diabolic influences on the mortal plane. Ironic that they would employ that infernal imp to guide their guests. They laid out a simple task that needed to be done. Lady Dashingham is suspected to be dealing with diabolic worship. This corroborates what I saw at the horse track, the way she seemed to be praying, the subtle movement of lips, and the deep concentration. We would need to investigate her further and find more definitive proof of her heresies.

Finally, we had enough time in the god-given day to visit the asylum. Louis Lewell, the hero of the war was locked up there, in a catatonic state. We were given his name by an unreliable source, a foul creature who gave up his humanity when he opted to dabble in unborn fetuses to create unholy, clockwork abominations. I do not regret bringing him to the judgment of Morrow, and given the opportunity would do so again. Surely, he had nothing of value to us beyond his filthy lies, and crafty misdirections. Nonetheless, my fellow order members believed that talking to Lewell would not be a waste of time. How could such a hero be involved in such perversions of nature? I hoped we would not sully his name. To add shame to his unfortunate mental state would be too much.

In the asylum itself Lady Hellith wisely stood well away from the doorway as we attempted to interview the poor man. We noticed runes circling his body, ostensibly to keep him from casting magic while in his fragile mental state. However, twisted, black tendrils were interwoven with the arcane blue runes. Nearly invisible, and leading off through the walls, they were a mystery. We hadn’t a chance to investigate further, because the uncouth Khadorian started a rant of military doggerel and mislaid patriotism to earthly governments. This seemed to unhinge Lewell, who suddenly stood up and yelled at him to shut his mouth. Then the patient attacked us!

Lewell seemed to sense Lady Hellith through the walls, and his maniacal face gleamed with anticipation. The Lord Morrow teaches us to look out for our fellow man. In this case it was a woman. And an elf. But we protect our own, no member of the Learned Order of the Rune stands alone. We all interceded between Louis and his prey. Arcane energies flashed back and forth across the small room until we stood victorious.

Curiously, Lewell exploded and sprayed gears, transistors and pistons all over the room. Yannov suffered grievous injuries from the suicide burst, but survived. Surely Morrow’s guiding hand deflected the worst of the shrapnel and kept him alive.

Aha, divine light seemed to touch upon this mystery. Parts of the diabolic plan now became apparent. It seems that an evil coven of clockwork surgeons assembled a simulacrum of Lewell, and inserted assorted weapons and traps meant to kill Hellith. Perhaps their plan derailed when the doppelgänger went catatonic and was sent to the asylum.

Finally, on the way home, outside of the Order headquarters we were greeted with an unwelcome sight. Some boorish man wished to duel Hellith. After hurling some crass insults, she showed to be the classier of the two and simply walked away. I will pray for the lady tonight. It seems that everyone is targeting the poor Iosan, from receptionists, to boors, to insane androids.

View
Tragedy Strikes Race Day!

“Corvis Evening News” TRAGEDY STRIKES RACE DAY!

Race Day in Corvis, a time of great excitement, a time where both the great and powerful of Corvis, and the great unwashed masses, can find a common joy amongst the trails and tribulations of these troubling times. Today, it is a time marked by great tragedy and controversy. What began as a fine day of racing and celebration ended in despair in the final race of the day. Noble Silk, the winner stallion of the final race, died moment after it cross the finish line, it’s great heart bursting within its chest. While accidents have happened it the past, it is rare to see such a terrible incident after the race is complete. What makes this race more noteworthy is the addition death of Ajeeb, who started strong at the beginning of the race but suffered a horrible injury halfway through the race. The stouthearted beast managed to cross the finish line despite a broken leg, but quickly succumbed to its injuries on the sands. Race authorities are looking into this matter, but have assured this reporter that no foul play was indicated…

“Corvis Tatler” Sir Milo Makes a Statement, In More Ways Than One!

If one wants to be seen on Race Day, one must be seen at the regular soiree of Lady Dashingham. Truly the place for people of substance and class, and who is in..and who is out. Lady Dashingham rarely disappoints with her parties, and today was no exception. One would note that one local celebrity was not initially on the invite list. Iosan oddity Hellith Wyldiss was not to be seen, despite a wave of popular interest amongst the middle and lower class. Despite some claim to some form of foreign nobility, it seemed not to be enough to warrant Lady Dashingham’s invitation. One could say that while some may claim the apparent slight was other than accidental. Perhaps it may have something to do with rather scandalous rumors involving the company of Sir Milo Bradigan-Forsythe III. Speaking of which, if anyone was able to upstage the Good Lady, Sir Milo accomplished that…if not with style. Sporting what could only be described in the loosest of term as “an outfit of which scarecrows and possibly Ordians would turn their noses up at”, Sir Milo made quite the stir with not only his tattered appearance, but with his announcement of a refuge fund in which he begged the nobles in attendance for support…financial support of course. One must suspect the true reason for Sir Milo’s request was to finance a new wardrobe, or ANY wardrobe…

“Your Nicked!” Pig Pilfering Case Resolved!

In what may be the greatest case of livestock theft and misuse since the Great Chicken Buggery Incident, the disappearance of several high-quality piglets from the Auction House was recently solved thanks to the kind and considerate involvement of Corvis’ local citizenry. Of particular note has been the selfless contributions of Balder Greenhammer, who was able to provide much appreciated support in locating the missing porcine miscreants. This writer does not have all the details of yet, but while the piglets were recovered, they appeared greatly abused and in ill health. To what use the poor creatures were put to is up to speculation…
View
Arcane Mechanics, Plagues, and Lost Friends

In the Learned Order of the Rune nothing was ever quiet for long. In fact everyone was getting very frustrated by the Emergence of much noise. The staff was getting very Irate in having to suddenly tend to a Litter of pigs, prime little piglets but still in need to be raised.

This would be difficult in the city and in what was to be horse stables not pig pens. While the Staff tended to the pigs the sound was getting on the nerves of those in the order and their compatriots. Wild speculation turned left and right amongst members until they could find who the responsible for this sudden pork miracle.

Hellith of course. “No. Not me.” Yes not quite, but she was agent Provocateur. Sir Milo and Balder had cornered her while she was tinkering having found her to be the source of the Pigs. “They were gifts. You do not throw away a gift. It’s Rude. I know that much about Living in this city.” The two men exchanged a knowing glance, and that familiar look was on Balder’s face again, that exasperated, ‘I should be studying magic no dealing with people problems’, look.

“Perhaps we can just cook them and eat them.” Was Sir Milo’s suggestion, a tasty one, but soon brought down by one of the attendants. “They are not yet grown sir… Perhaps with some care in a year, they will be prime…”.
Balder butted in quite quickly. “Yes fine, do that. I’m sure we can find land around Corvis…”
“I have land.” Said Sir Milo. “Plenty enough to raise these.”
“Hellith, can he take and tend to these pigs?” -Balder
Hellith put down the components looked at them both. “Yes, that would be fine, let’s have them out of the stables.”

And this was just the banalities of the morning.

With the Trivial dealt with Balder broached what he had found in his chambers that morning.
“I found this scroll this morning, addressed to the order collectively, the Fraternal Order of Wizards needs us to investigate a plague, one that is currently spreading through the refuge camps just outside the city.”

There wasn’t much to discuss but the Order decided to investigate, the long way around as they went first to the Steamo’s Union head office. Where they met Griff Irongrip the dwarf head of the Steamo’s Union.

There was a brief Exchange before Sir Vendrom decided to drop the fact that Hellith was the last Arcane Mechanic in the city, before the room was barricaded with Dwarven Bodies. A small walking wall of metal bristling with armour, bearing shields and riffles within and whithout of the room. Griff Irongrip assured Hellith it was within her best interest to join. Sir Vendrom blurted out how it was financially better for them then for her. At which point the room including the wall of arms, turned their eyes upon him in steady gazes of uncertainty.

Wasn’t Hellith the one who didn’t know how to talk business?

It was not long after that they group departed, the Plague could wait only so long.

After stopping at the University to consult a learned professor… who most likely would catch the plague himself considering the pile of rat corpses splayed within his study. They learned form him that it was carried by the rats, but most likely passed into them from somewhere else, and that the cause would most likely be found, at the camps.

One member of the order decided an alchemist’s mask would be required, which ended up creating a sudden rush to buy more from the rest of the members. Hellith wasn’t quite sure why, only one within the Order was an alchemist, and they were not carrying toxic gasses to kill the rats, though they probably wish they had been.

Once at the Refugee camps it was a quick search before finding and following rats down to the graves, which graves? well for some brilliant Idea the refugees thought sitting upon the paupers graves would be the best place for a camp… In Corvis.. City of the walking dead.

The graves had been burrowed through riddled with many tiny holes for rats to crawl through. Brother Brent leant in even warding himself against the potential lunge of a rat from the hole, only to collapse the grave and find a wider tunnel. A long dug out tunnel covered in scratches only large enough for Gobbers. Peewee was given the grand duty of scouting out ahead, And after an Hour he came back with the wonderful news. It lead to the sewers. It always ends up in the sewers.

In their journey through the Sewers Brother Brent found that the Sewers were not actually that deep, and that Sir Vendrom could easily wade it, instead risking a head first plunge into the muck, which would also extinguish his boiler. (Joys of a warcaster)

Through tunnel, slop, muck and contortion our brave heroes made it to another dug out series of tunnels. and the sounds were not very pleasant at all. Sir Vendroms Mechnica was constantly bothering him, starting and stopping. Causing no end of difficulty. And the noises up the hallway were not very reassuring.

After slow and careful exploration… Walking down the hallway making much noise and brandishing as much light as they could. The Order’s adventuring party found… swarms of rats. Writhing seething piles of rats that looked very hungry, hungry for adventurer.

This was not the only things they found, for while they fought with the rats, and dealt best they could with the dim light, something else was coming. From the end of the tunnels the sounds of looming creatures hissing and flicking.. something, sounds that recalled the travels through the blindfold corridor.

Thrullgs, Beasts of Nightmare no one recognized but knew were bad news. The party lept into action, creating a rotating shield wall… of bodies to slow their advance, While some flanked the beasts, or hid down side passageways.

Sir Milo up front, then Bayden took the lead, then Brother Brent! It was a glorious strong and stalwart Advance. Then down went Master Bayden, then Brother Brent. Milo surged forwards to fell one, Pewee and Hellith at the sides shooting from the corridor which seemed too narrow for them to cross.

Where was Cobb in all of this? Why he was tracking down the key to this whole ordeal, the large blue spiny rat, protected by standing Rat Men. Cobb would not stop going after the Rat, while Balder and Sir Vendrom assisted him. Near everyone in the group was badly wounded, having taken wounds from fighting Rat Men and Thrullg alike. Only Sir Vendrom had but a simple Scratch.

Brother Brent made sure no one would die of their wounds.

Many corpses later, and a little back and forth after discovering the Mechanika thwarting abilities of the great beasts, collected that post haste, delivered the much mutilated rat queen/king/blob of guts to the Professor who thought he could make an agent against the plague from studying it.

And with this resolved, they all headed on home to the Order Guildhall, to find a large burlap sack, groaning faintly and giving the occasional squirm, mostly it breathed heavily. Hoping not to find another unwelcome gift the sack was opened to find the beaten but living Yannov Magrovich. Seems like he finally had his meeting with Dimitri after all.

And five days later Sir Vendrom died of the plague.

View
Through the Portal, the Shadow Witch, and Sniper Fire

A warm spring morning saw the Members and Associates of the Learnéd Order of the Rune in the Guildhall meeting room. There, the Wisdom, Balder Greenhammer, immaculate in plaited and brushed beard, and freshly laundered raiment, announced that the Leader of the Fraternal Order of Wizardry, Naes Srond, would be sending for the entire Order to answer to him for the wherefore of their existence least they be exterminated as a threat to the sanctity of the Arcane in Cygnar. Although, the Learnéd Mistress Hellith asked many a pointed question, she acquiesced, guessing this was some strange Mannish custom beyond the fathom of Iosan understanding.

Next came the orders of business for the day. Balder thought that the first should be to seek out the origin of the attack upon the Learnéd Mistress Hellith, since some leads had been furnished by her audience with Lady Jane. Namely, they should seek out the Witch Methabetha and the Khadorian Gippus, to determine whether either had been behind the attack upon their most famous Member.

The Wisdom accepted that they should try to learn more about the green liquid that had been smuggled into their baggage. Therefore, he decided they would visit Erasmus Spindle, who owns a shop near the docks and is known to be knowledgeable about certain arcane elements. They would then interrogate the captain of the barge they traveled on, should he still be found at the docks.

Erasmus Spindle’s shop was a small dive with a sign larger than the frontage of shop itself. Balder and a few other Associates entered and encountered the proprietor. Giving over a sample of the mysterious green fluid, Erasmus announced he would need half an hour to make his analysis. Begrudging him this time, Balder sat uncomfortably in the filthy environs of the shop as his lower classed associates searched in vain for something to steal. Eventually, Master Spindle emerged from his inner shop and announced that the substance was not magical, but that its ingredients included exotic spices from the deserts of the East. He warned that the hint of almond might suggest a poisonous effect upon those that imbibe the substance. In all, his analysis was that it was a substance that could provide an energy boost to a large animal or creature over a short period, measured in hours, but might result in the death of the recipient.

Gleaning what they could from the Goodman Erasmus, the Learnéd Order turned its attention towards the docks. There they found the barge they had arrived upon the day before taking on new cargo. The Wisdom, Balder, called the Captain over for an audience. After a brief questioning, they learned that the only suspicious activity was at the last refueling stop a day’s travel upriver from Corvis, where the stevedores were unfamiliar to the Captain. However, there had been several stops due to Sir Milo’s demand to overnight at accommodations he deemed appropriate, and at each stop the barge had to be unloaded upon landing and reloaded in the morning to continue the journey.

The Learnéd Order of the Rune continued on their investigation of the abomination sent to assassinate the Learnéd Mistress Hellith. Crossing the North Bridge on the way to the Northern Graveyard, Balder was accosted by a strange, pock-marked hunchback, who bid they follow him. Guessing this was the awaited summons by the Fraternal Order of Wizardry, Balder ordered the Members and Associates to leave behind their mounts and vehicles and follow the Hunchback down the narrow alley he led them. It ended in an unremarkable door but before he would open it, the Hunchback bid all the Learnéd Order of the Rune wear blindfolds before opening the door. He warned them not to remove their blindfolds least they end up hideously scarred as he was. The Order entered, all following his orders, for none fell to any misadventures.

Through another door the party passed. Though still blindfolded, they could hear the difference between this place and that beyond the portal. Here there was mostly silence and still air, nothing probed or licked their faces as they stood. Suddenly, a tortured scream ripped the air, followed by a human voice weakly stating, “You may remove your blindfolds.”

Removing their blindfolds, they found themselves in a dimly lit chamber covered in shadows. A hooded and robed figure sat in a shadowy alcove and beckoned them closer. “I am Naes Srond, Leader of the Local Chapter of the Fraternal Order of Wizardry. It is our job to determine whether upstart arcane orders are worthy of inclusion as Associate Members to the Order or need to be eradicated. I will start by asking you questions,” but held up a hand, looking directly at Balder, “But not one that has been well rehearsed and planned.”

He began by asking the Learnéd Brother Brent Longbridge what the ultimate purpose of the Learnéd Order of the Rune was and he answered expansively concerning the Unified Rune Theory that had brought most of them together. The other Members of the Order answered in turn, Learnéd Lady Hellith Wyldiss said she came to Corvis to learn more concerning Arcane Mechanika to add to her knowledge of Arcanika, but her purpose had been thwarted by the recent death of all the Arcane Mechaniks in Corvis. The Associates gave their various replies and all seemed to satisfy Naes Srond, who announced the audience at an end for he sensed “a Change” coming. He granted the Members of the Learnéd Order Associate Membership to the Fraternal Order of Wizardry, including access to their Associate’s Library and Meeting Rooms. To Balder, he gave a Command Word that would summon his Portal Master to lead Balder to the nearest portal to Naes Srond’s chambers.

Then, shambling across the chamber to the bed, Naes Srond began to transform. The flesh beneath his robe shifted and warped, his limbs cracking and shifting in grotesque fashion, prompting the party to retreat through the portal. However, this was not the last horror some of the party were to witness. Suddenly, Goodgobber Peewee and the Learnéd Lady Hellith found themselves stranded in the portalspace, their companions before and behind them having disappeared. With many curses, the Hunchback gathered what was left of the party and led them to safety. Many minutes later, he emerged with Mastergobber Jordie, Goodman Cobb and the Learnéd Brother Brent, who all appeared to have had their soul harrowed, Brent having seen the worst of it.

The Order sent Cobb Ironside and Sir Vendrom ahead to announce their intentions for an audience with Methabetha. There they were greeted by a Flashboy who agreed to announce them to her for a price, which Sir Vendrom readily paid. After disappearing into the Shadow Witch, the Flashboy returned to extending a welcome to meet with Methabetha. Before entering the Shadow Witch, Vallence appeared to Hellith telling her there’s no way he was going in there and that she was on her own. But the Order proceeded through the veil into a strange ruin of washed out shadows, where clockwork abomination rats ran through the streets. Approaching the site where the Witchblade was Broken, the Order saw a group of Flashboys lounging around the entrance. Judging this to be the place where Methabetha lived, they entered.

In all, it was a pleasant audience. She invited the Order to sit and they conversed pleasantly. This place was invested with similar looking cat abominations to the one which attacked Hellith. This being the purpose behind the audience, the Order asked about such things. Methabetha said this could only have been done by a specialist. After several distracted minutes, which included Sir Vendrom chasing cats around trying to claim one for his own, she revealed the specialist by name, Gippus, the Khadorian, and gave them his address. The audience at its end, someone broached the subject of Arcane Mechanika in the city and that all the Arcane Mechaniks had suffered accidents, fatal mishaps, or had been disappearing recently. To this, she replied that there were 47 Arcane Mechaniks registered with the Steamer’s Union and it was curious to know they had all been killed. She then demanded a price for her audience and the information she had given them. Balder agreed he would send her the corpse of the abomination that attacked Hellith. This seemed to satisfy Methabetha and she gave Sir Vendrom a gift of the cat-abomination she had allowed him to catch.

Leaving the Shadow Witch and returning to their carriages, wagons, and mounts, they found a constable of the watch waiting for them, one Constable Skint. Giving a perfunctory greeting to his betters, he harassed Cobb some and had to be prompted to state his business. Skint stated that he was stationed at the Watch House nearest to Sir Milo’s manor and had been dispatched to inform him of the latest developments. The murderer of Sir Milo’s servants had been caught! The culprit was none other than his own Stable Master who was caught in the act of attempting to murder two of his victims by the Butler and held there until the constables arrived. So informed, Sir Milo thanked the constable and the party took their leave of the lawgiver.

On the Order pressed to their meet with Gippus, whose shop was found in the Quad. The Learnéd Brother Brent, Learnéd Sir Vendrom, Learnéd Gunmage Yannov, and Jordie entered bare and unassuming shop. A plane and unassuming Khadorian appeared from the back moments later. Yannov greeted him as a brother, but despite all enquiries, Gippus refused to all knowledge of clockwork. Upon mention of Methabetha’s name, however, the Khadorian immediately attacked with Arcane Bolts. He quickly fell beneath the onslaught of Brent’s Arcane Bolts, Yannov’s magelock rifle, and Sir Vendrom’s sword.

Simultaneously, a rifle cracked in the afternoon sun, the bullet striking Lady Hellith as she stood in the street! A second shot was intercepted by Vallence, throwing himself before it, unable to catch the first. But he did point out where the sniper perched and Peewee began making his way to the building 40 yards distant. Balder called the Gunmage to deal with the sniper, Yannov having the only weapon with range enough. Meanwhile, the sniper shot twice more with the same result, one bullet striking Hellith, the other intercepted by Valence. Then, the Gunmage brought his magelock to bear, empowering his Rune Shot, and striking true. The Order saw the sniper’s weapon falling to the street, several stories beneath his rooftop perch. Peewee reached the site only moments afterward, finding little of interest on the body except ammunition and money. The weapon, once retrieved, was damaged beyond use, but was clearly a Widow Maker – a rifle designed to target Warcasters in battle. Thus, it was the second time in two days the Lady Hellith had been a target of assassination.

Inside the shop, Jordie found a locked door, which Brent blasted open. Using his True Sight, the Learnéd Brother found jars of foetuses fused with clockwork, the mechanika still clicking against the inside surface of the jar. Around the room were arrayed many tables festooned with surgical implements, their apparent purpose to aid in the extraction of foetuses from living wombs, or performing abortions. Gippus was strapped into one of the abortion contraptions and brought to consciousness. Under Jordie’s interrogation, Gippus admitted that he made the abomination that attacked Hellith for Lewis Lewell, nearly 3 or 4 weeks ago. He said Lewell is killing Arcane Mechaniks because he wants their brains for some insane purpose, but has been locked up in the Asylum. After Jordie leaves the room, Gippus regained full consciousness and attacked Brent with his arcane powers. The Learnéd Brother beheaded the Khadorian with his halberd.

All that was left was to pick up the pieces, deal with the constables and return to the Guildhall.

View
A Hero's Welcome

Note with a huge party with various stories going on it’s tough for one person to catch everything. Please feel free to edit this update, adding or correcting anything that you think will help us down the road when we look back at this to retrace our steps. For example at the end I don’t remember the names of the 2 possible suspects for the clock work kitten,( I think I wrote it on my char sheet but it’s at the shop) and I’m sure there’s other things I missed. If you see something say something even in person if you don’t feel like typing, and I’ll update it right away.

As the Learnéd Order of the Rune made its way back to the city of Corvis after their fruitless jaunt in the swamps, a sense of warmth and happiness came over them as the river barge approached the docks. Everyone was eager to get back home and settle in for a bit of well earned relaxation. However, such was not meant to be. Despite the bold curiosity of some meddlesome dock waifs, all went well until a cart bearing certain delicate items of the ravishingly exotic Lady Hellith Wyldiss, and many bottles of fine wines and other quality goods belonging to his Lordship, Sir Milo B. Forsythe III, wildly darted off unexpectedly. One moment the sound of a large crash could be heard as an odd box dropped off the top of the cart, the next saw the cart dashing down the street the wrong way!

Rushing to the spot where the noise was heard, the Order members saw fine silverware strewn about the cobblestones of the docks being slowing engulfed by a strange green liquid oozing out of an unfamiliar luggage box. Further inspection by Cobb Ironside (under the generous patronage of Sir Milo) found the substance to be not immediately dangerous, and Cobb’s keen eyes, and worryingly selective memory, confirmed that the box indeed did not belong to any member of the order. Explaining that to the local authorities, lead by a Lt. Morton Rorke proved a touch more difficult, especially for Cobb who seemed quite well acquainted with the local watch at the docks and not in an entirely good way either. Fortunately a bit of friendly persuasion, and some gentle reminders of one’s place from Sir Milo, sent the constables on their way and allowed the Order to focus on the bigger problems at hand, namely, the missing carriage and this mysterious box, which still held 2 sealed bottles fully intact.

The Order members split up, some heading back to the Guild Hall, others to canvas the docks for clues, and still others to track down the runaway cart. Questioning the local dock hands proved fruitless, as the simpleton Trollkin stevedores could barely put a sentence together, and no one else seemed to see anything. Upon heading back to the Guildhall it was readily apparent that the cart was indeed stolen as it hadn’t arrived there and messengers confirmed that it wasn’t at Sir Milo’s home either. After a short time tracking the cart, the trail went cold. But questioning around a local dockside pub, known for its popularity with bored highborn youths fancying themselves poets, proved to be more fruitful.

Meanwhile, back at the Guildhall there was a ring at the door. Tending to the door a young servant boy brought back a package for Lady Hellith. The servant described the man who delivered the package as being dressed in some sort of odd costume, powered face, pointy extensions on his upper ears, and a weird stylized cardboard “armor” eerily reminiscent of Lady Hellith’s Warcaster armor. The package was a medium sized box with holes in the top to allow air to circulate through it. It was opened to reveal an adorable little kitten, mewling. Lady Hellith went into the kitchen with it to fetch it a bite to eat when she noticed it acting strangely. The kitten seemed to stutter in its movements, its mewling becoming strangely shaky, almost automaton in nature. Fortunately for Lady Hellith, she noticed this just in time. As soon as the kitten was brought close to Lady Hellith, its head split open and a viciously sharp razor blade mechanism jutted out and started to attack her. Startled, but still quick enough to avoid the attack, Hellith pushed the creature off of her and she and her companions opened fire. The thing was shot by arcane bolts of power and proved both tenacious and resilient; however it was finally brought down by a sound blow from Pewee the Gobber’s wrench.

An autopsy of the body proved even more frightening. Advanced, bio integrated clockwork machinations, of a complexity unknown to anyone in the Order, were found connected to comparatively crude, rudimentary weapon systems, blades and such. Who could have done this? Was it more than one person? Why the seemingly different levels of craftsmanship in one very small, very deadly, package? And who of such means would want Lady Hellith dead, and why?

Another knock came at the door, proving not so exciting this time. A messenger from the noble house of an esteemed shipping magnate brought a letter of invite. Sir Reginald Perkinson welcomed all members of the Learnéd Order of the Rune to sail on the maiden voyage of their newest ship, the Royal Blue Bird. Two special invitations to an exclusive pre-launch banquet were extended directly to Balder Greenhammer, and Sir Milo B. Forsythe III.

While this was going on Cobb Ironside had managed to find and scout out the location of the missing cart in a seedy part of town, and learn the name of the gang who stole it. “The Lone Wolves” led by a Trollkin with particularly large spiky “hair” had the cart held up Inside a raggedy warehouse. A band of thugs had ravaged the baggage and drank up the wine and devoured the fine meats within. Some pranced around with Lady Hellith’s undergarments on their heads, while others wore Sir Milo’s hats, mocking him as some kind of pedo sexual deviant. Cobb returned to the Guildhall with the news and it was decided that the Order should assault the warehouse that night, wasting little time. Along the way, the Order tasked their Gobber associates to try and ascertain the nature of the green substance that was planted in their goods. They were then to meet at the Quad Iron Inn, located near the warehouse where the thugs were storing the stolen cart.

They set out into the night through the city’s winding roads , deeper into some of the less respectable areas. Approaching a house the Gobbers in their company believed a Gobber Alchemist of some renown resided. They were proven right when a explosion blew out the upper floors of a nearby townhouse, rocked the streets below. Coughing from the smoke, a very angry landlady came out demanding that the Goblin Alchemist leave her premises immediately. Jordie and Pewee managed to placate the obstinate landlady down and headed upstairs to speak gobber-to-gobber with the alchemist. Harcourt, the Gobber introduced himself as while wiping the soot of the recent explosion away from his eyes. He turned out to be quite interested in the green solution they had found and offered to test it out and determine its make up within the hour.

The Order carried on through the Merchant’s district when Sir Milo’s carriage rolled into a square where several people were dressed like “elves,” similar to the boy who brought the deadly cat abomination to the Guildhall. In fact, the selfsame boy was there with them. Sir Milo called out to the boy, who came over to the carriage and proceeded to squeal with uncontrollable elation at the sight of Lady Hellith, who was also present in the carriage with Sir Milo. The boy’s cries attracted the rest of his ridiculously dressed fellows, who formed a crowd around the carriage in the hopes of seeing their adored Iosan. Sir Milo tried questioning the boy there about the package and where it came from, but the boy’s mind was elsewhere and could not seem to focus with the object of his adoration before him. The crowd attracted the attention of one of Corvis’ most prolific reporters, Mr. Keve Murdoch, who, smelling a good story, shoved his way up to the cart and began furiously scribbling notes, “the exiled Lord in a carriage at night with a luscious Iosan consort.” This was sure to make an excellent story for the Corvis Evening Post. However, a few choice words, and no small amount of coin from Sir Milo, seemingly persuaded the intrepid reporter too look elsewhere for his scoop, for now.

The delivery boy’s fate was not so charmed as he was brought into a nearby inn and interrogated by none other than Jordie the shy Gobber Investigator. Sadly, the stress from all the onlookers proved too much for Jordie to bear and he was unable to put his interrogation techniques to much use. All they managed to get from the boy was that whomever gave him the package was a woman, local, and of average age, not so young, not so old. His mind seemed to be nearly blank for that period of time. Lady Hellith’s knowledge of the blasphemous spells employed by Human wizards informed her that the boy’s mind may have been erased arcanely or through hypnosis.

Soon it was time for the Order to move on the warehouse and reclaim their cart and missing baggage. Led there by Cobb, they quietly made their way down a disgusting alley, choked with filth, to the main gate of the warehouse. They kept Jordie’s Laborjack beyond earshot so as not to alert the thugs of their presence. Cobb and Peewee slipped around the back of the warehouse locking all of the exits in advance of the assault, sealing the celebrating brigands in their wide open tombs. Once the other doors were securely locked, the main gate was quietly opened and the stealthy Peewee moved inside taking an overwatch position atop the cart, followed by Janos, a Khadorian Gunmage taking aim on the hapless thieves. With little fan fair the group stormed in, Sir Milo firing the first shots without a word, as two thumb sized hand cannon slugs vaporized a gang member’s head, blowing away the Lady Hellith’s underthings he was wearing in a gout of red mist. Before the drunken hooligans could react, another shot clapped loudly with a metallic twang, as the Khadorian’s magelock rifle round found a new home in the heart of another hapless thug. He had been joking around with his fellows, holding one of Sir Milo’s fine silver serving platters next to his now open chest. He died with his eyes open still in shock. With vicious speed the order poured in the warehouse, flashes of arcane fire and shots ringing out. One after another, before any of the thugs could react, they found themselves in hell, mangled bodies, bleeding out above.

It all happened so quickly it was a miracle that anyone of them survived, yet one meekly surrendered at gun point to the Iosan Warcaster, as Jordie’s Laborjack rumbled in. The surrendered gang member said that they were smuggling the crates of green liquid in the Order’s baggage to slip it past the eyes of the guard. He also said that their leader was heading to a prominent horse race the following day. With a quill and the blood of a dead gangster, Sir Milo wrote out a receipt for the damaged, consumed, and broken goods and let the surviving thug know that we would be expecting payment in 7 days time and that he should deliver the receipt to his leader post haste.

With the baggage repacked and loaded on the cart with the help of the Labor Jack and one very shaky, sobered up thug, the Order returned to the Guildhall. On the way, they stopped at Harcourt’s accommodation for word on the green substance. Harcourt had indeed finished with the tests by this time and confirmed that the substance, while not explosive or overtly poisonous, did indeed speed up the adrenalin production to the extent that in most systems the resulting shock would result in cardiac arrest. Thanking the Alchemist for his work, Jordie and Pewee headed back to the wagon carrying the Laborjack and returned to the Guildhall.

Once everyone was settled back at the Guildhall, again a bell rang at the door. This time it was a rather distinguished noble lady, in an elegant dress, bedecked with a large variety of stunningly beautiful (and expensive) jewelry. Stranger still she was seemingly alone. Sir Milo invited her in, of course, and she was incredibly brief, no small talk, nor the courtesies common to a woman of a highborn station. She simply sat down, asked to see “The Warcaster” and accepted a cup of tea from Sir Milo who went to fetch it himself as the servants were asleep by this hour. When Lady Hellith came down to greet her mysterious visitor introduced herself as Lady Jane, a Cygnarian Special Services operative, tasked with the mission of investigating the murders of Arcane Mechaniks in the city. Apparently, every single other Arcane Mechanik in Corvis was dead. They were killed in various ways ranging from traditional stabbings and shootings, to poisonings and drownings, leaving no readily identifiable modus operandi linking them together. As Sir Milo returned with the tea, another individual with Lady Jane slinked in. An impeccably clean, yet terribly uncouth man, dark of manner and short of word, introduced himself as “Vallance”. Lady Jane made it known that he would be assigned to Lady Hellith, to protect her from attempted assassination. Vallance spelled out the terms of his protection, namely, that she likely would not be seeing him and that he would only protect her against assassination attempts, not any other threats to her person or property.

Upon hearing this, Lady Hellith produced the mechanikal death kitten that had attacked her earlier. Lady Jane was intrigued and said that this work could only be done by one of 2 individuals in the city.

View
Home Again
Back in Corvis

It had been a rather dull and fruitless trip. Searching for the remains of a mercenary crew that were said to be hunting down the kidnappers of two young children and the massacre of a small fishing village. Rumours had it that they had chased a Jack into the swamps, a Jack that could cast spells no less…well that was the rumour anyway.

After weeks scouring the swamp, avoiding Gatormen and worse the remains of several bodies had been found on a dry area within the swamp. Tracks showed that there appeared to have been quite a battle here, including at least one Jack and several beings of various species. Of the Jack and any survivors there was no sign and no trail to follow…a wasted trip.

And so back to fair Corvis, the polluted over crowded stamp of Cygnar that stands in the face of Khadorian, Menite and Skorne aggressors. Home…and finally a chance to get off the steam tramp that had been base for the past 4 weeks!

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.