A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #811
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    Default Re: [IC I] The Wellspring Saga: Aurora Tenebrosa

    Juno

    "Do try to be more subtle and gentle than a brick to the face." The paladin had finally made her way downstairs, just in time to make mock scowly faces at Henrietta's harsh judgment of reality behind her back. "Ghosts are known to get emotional when confronted with horrible truths."
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  2. - Top - End - #812
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    Henrietta

    Dragging the corpse back upstairs (and past the rather somber-looking Custos Pacem who had dutifully been waiting near the generator room for further orders), Henrietta arrived back at the evidence room, placing the corpse of Nicholas at Kaja's spectral feet.

    A look of sorrow upon her face, Kaja ran her spectral hands over his face, as if hoping against hope that they would become solid again and allow her to feel her beloved's skin again. Then, a sense of calm pervaded the room. As Kaja began to dissipate, her form blowing away as if by an invisible wind, she turned to Henrietta.

    "Thank you. To all of you - thank you."

    Spoiler: Sidequest Complete!
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    You all gain 1000 XP.

    Seconds later, Kaja was gone. As the final mote of ectoplasm disappeared, Henrietta heard something fall to the floor. Looking around, she saw that a pair of heavy-duty insulated gloves had fallen to the floor - the kind she realized was often most used by those who worked on the generator.
    Last edited by Lord Of Mantas; 2016-08-11 at 11:10 PM.
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  3. - Top - End - #813
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    Henrietta

    The young Hellknight watched the transpiring scene with a passive and blank expression, her eyes following along with Kaja's hand, and only breaking that connection when the ghost fully realized the gravity of her situation. She looked down, placing her clenched fist against her chest in salute of two fallen law enforcers, and their finally being put to rest. "Rest easy." She said with a level of sincerity and softness wholly devoid in any of her previous conversations. Closing the eyes of Nicholson, shewalked over to the dropped gloves and picked them up, examining them briefly as she walked back down to regroup with the others and tell them what she found.

  4. - Top - End - #814
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    Returning to the basement, Henrietta found Juno at work searching through the bodies of the fallen for Kaja's own body - which, by the look of it, had been successful, even if it had required going to the very core. The body, while covered with hundreds of superficial cuts (along with a telling knife wound to the base of the skull) was completely intact.

    Henrietta held up the gloves from before and handed them to Snorri. "For generator."

    After acknowledging one another, both Paladin and Constable turned to Vidkunsson.

    Spoiler: Juno's Detect Evil
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    Vidkunson does not detect as evil.

    Spoiler: Henrietta's Detect Chaos
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    Vidkunson does have a faint aura of chaos around him.

    Henrietta looked to the corpse pile. "That should be it for this room. Should properly bury them when this is over." She pointed a finger at the tank full of alien eldritch parasites. "Can they survive out of water without a host?"

    "Yes. Not forever, mind, but long enough that just smashing the tank open would be a bad idea."


    "Fine. They stay for now. Get your cuffs on, someone fix the power line."


    Spoiler: OOC
    Show
    Refresher: Upon initially entering the generator room, you were able to see that a line from the generator had been severed and redirected to power the lightning gate. As you entered the hallway between the generator room and the morgue, you saw that the severed line lead to the elevator.

    Give me a Disable Device check to alter the line.


    Once Vidkunson was cuffed, Henrietta brought him upstairs, where the rest of the Custos Pacem promptly open fire on the rest of the pods. After cleaning out the half-formed monster bodies, Vidkunson was secured.
    Last edited by Lord Of Mantas; 2016-08-12 at 12:35 PM.
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  5. - Top - End - #815
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    Snorri

    "I shall give it my best shot!" Snorri offered, springing to action and slipping on the gloves.

    Spoiler: OOC
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    Disable Device! (1d20+16)[29]
    This is without his Trapspringer's Gloves, of course.
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  6. - Top - End - #816
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    Snorri found recoupling the power line to the elevator to be a surprisingly simple task, and a pleasant *chime!* came from the direction of the elevator. Assembling together, the party squeezed into the elevator, and, at Henrietta's behest, began ascending to the second floor.

    As they began the slow climb up, however, Juno's radio began crackling.

    "Hello? Hello? Blast this infernal contraption, this wouldn't be happening if we were using good old gnomish technology - Ah, there we are!"

    "Panja di Myla? This is Professor Smokestacks, the gnome you left that marvelous specimen of a creature with a few days ago. I have a discovery of the greatest magnitude to share with you!"

    "The azure-headed creature you left with me - I began work immediately on it of course, more so once the army finally got its act together and I was able to get it back to my lab at home. Oh, what I wouldn't give for the Universities facilities once more... Anyway! I began subjecting the creature to various kinds of energy in an attempt to try and understand what made it tick. I did found out, as many have, that its spongy head is rather vulnerable to attack, and it doesn't seem to like electricity very much, either. But the true breakthrough came when I subjected it, gradually, to pure arcane energy and a large diet of meat scraps. It not only grew more resilient, but more intelligent as well - until, just an hour or so ago, it transformed into a different creature entirely!"

    "It's quite distinct, really - it has a large, bulbous head similar to its original form, but it has lost its overt vulnerability to attack there and gained eyes and a lamprey-like mouth, surrounded by tentacles! It appears to have quite the array of psychic abilities, as well - it tried to enchant my assistants and I into letting it loose, then stunned the both of them and ate Gunnar's brain when we summoned the will to resist. Pity about him, mind, but it gave me the opening to hit the thing with a Charm Monster spell of my own, and now I don't have to worry about spending so much on pay day anymore."

    "Anyhoo, I know your kind doesn't really care about the history of these things, so here's what's relevant from a combat situation. Apart from what I already mentioned, they're capable of travelling to other planes of existence at will (though with a high degree of inaccuracy), levitating themselves, reading people's thoughts, and creating armor of psionic energy around themselves. They also prefer to have a retinue of enslaved or manipulated creatures around them as guards, so watch out for that as well. Of course, that all depends on you finding one of them first - I was able to get in touch with that other Lieutenant, and from what he and his fellows know there's been no sighting of these in the wild as of yet."

    "Smokestacks out."


    And just as the radio finished crackling, the elevator chimed again, and opened upon the second floor.

    As the party took a few careful steps out, a voice emanated from Commander Kampfrichter's office, directly in front of them. The voice was soft, as if in a good deal of pain.

    "H-hello? Is someone there? Please, help me - I've been trapped, and I need help!"


    Spoiler: Henrietta
    Show
    You note that whoever set this up was quite thorough - the voice sounds exactly like the Commander's. However, you're able to recognize that, even without seeing the inside of the room, it's an illusion.

    Spoiler: Everyone Except Aldric and Amala
    Show
    You realize that the voice is being created, not naturally, but through the use of magic.

    Spoiler: Aldric, Snorri, Octavia, and Amala
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    You hear a soft 'click', as if a door is being closed, coming from the hallway to the west.
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  7. - Top - End - #817
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    Default Re: [IC I] The Wellspring Saga: Aurora Tenebrosa

    Henrietta

    Packed tightly into the elevator, Henrietta's bulky armored frame felt rather uncomfortable especially when squeezed next to Juno, who might not have had the same body size or mass as the Blonde Bruiser but certainly took up plenty of space with her wings. Grumbling in annoyance briefly, she silenced herself as the Panja's radio crackled to life, and uncomfortably stared at the Paladin the whole time as the briefing was being given. Finally, by the end of it, Henrietta merely raised a hand up and gave the Half-Angel a thumbs up.

    "Know thy enemy, control thy enemy, crush thy enemy. Good thinking Juno."

    She lowered her hand and stared once more blankly at the metal doors of the elevator, contemplating her own foray into controlling and knowing the enemy. She had sent Zeppit out on his own a while ago and he hadn't returned, if she found his dead body lying around somewhere that would certainly explain that, otherwise she would have to viciously punish him when next she saw him. Watching the doors open, her mind was snapped back to the present, and she stepped forward with her blade drawn looking in all directions.

    "East and west first, then hit the trap." She whispered as she began moving towards the office of Captain Lindberg.

  8. - Top - End - #818
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    Juno

    The paladin had lurched unsteadily when the lift began moving, even banging her head against the wall. "Ugh. Why would the floor start moving? It's not a natural way to ascend..."

    After the radio call and Henrietta's commentary, a slightly green Juno had deadpanned, "Right, I'm a paragon of responsibility." Not letting the creature eat people had been, like, her one instruction to Smokestacks. She hit the button the radio to allow her to reply. "Good work professor, but let's try to keep the casualties down, okay?"

    She started to fly the moment she had room to do so, hovering after the team as they explored the new floor.
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  9. - Top - End - #819
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    Spoiler: Henrietta
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    As you make your way east, you feel a slight disturbance in the air around you, followed by two taps on your armor and a stroke going from east to west.


    As Henrietta began to head eastward, she suddenly made an about face, and slowly began creeping west.

    Spoiler: Henrietta
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    As you move west, you feel yet another trace on your armor, this time tracing vaguely in the direction of the office of Captain Eklund - from which you hear a noise, as if someone is trying to hide.


    As she made her way down there, the rest of the party heard muffled noises coming from Eklund's office as well. However, no sooner had Henrietta accidentally taken a slight stumble than a hideous - and familiar - creature burst through the door. As they looked upon it, they realized it could only be one of the creatures that Smokestacks had just been talking about.

    Spoiler: Excorebrum
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    Roll for initiative.

    Spoiler: Which you won! Round 1 Begins!
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    And speaking of ones, the creature rolled a one on its initiative. Dice, why do you hate me?
    Last edited by Lord Of Mantas; 2016-08-13 at 10:23 PM.
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  10. - Top - End - #820
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    Default Re: [IC I] The Wellspring Saga: Aurora Tenebrosa

    "It's always tentacles with you ugly bastards, isn't it?" Aldric sighed, thumbed back the hammers of his big irons. Elated to have something evil to reduce to puddle of problems for the janitorial staff, he aimed for the monster's head and started dropping lead.

    Spoiler: Full Attack, Focused Aim, Point Blank Shot
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    (1d20+12)[21]
    (1d8+14)[22]

    (1d20+12)[25]
    (1d8+14)[21]

    (1d20+12)[14]
    (1d8+14)[20]

    Spoiler: For a crit, see me
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    (1d20+12)[16]
    (1d8+14)[16]

  11. - Top - End - #821
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    Default Re: [IC I] The Wellspring Saga: Aurora Tenebrosa

    Juno

    "Right?" The paladin watched Aldric open fire, and then did a double take when the image flickered. Uh-oh.

    She took off with a burst from her wings, rounding the corner into the office, kicking off the desk, and moving around to force its attention away from the door. After hearing about its mental and psionic supremacy, she wasn't going to take chances. Her halo and expanded glowing wings exploded into existence as her eyes glowed white. "Fall, creature."

    Spoiler: OOC
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    Smitin' time! Juno gains +3 to hit and damage from Snorri Song, +7 to hit and +5 to damage from smite. Also +6 more deflection (for a total of +7) to AC.

    Attack: (1d20+20)[29]
    Damage: (1d8+14)[17]
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  12. - Top - End - #822
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    Henrietta

    Feeling the invisible Imp's guiding motions, Henrietta wasn't surprised to see an enemy suddenly appear, and wasn't even shocked by its appearance after having it descrihed by Smokestacks. Watching the illusion vanish, the young Hellknight raised her eyebrows in interest, glancing back at Aldric just in time to see Juno barreling past her. Slamming her back against the wall to give the Paladin room, Henrietta loudly groaned before grunting "Consistency. I like it."

    Pulling herself off the wall she rushed forward and slid around the corner of the entrance before jumping forward into the room. Rolling across the debris ridden ground she sprung back onto her feet in a flanking position just after Juno finished her smite.

  13. - Top - End - #823
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    Snorri

    I meet mine fighting
    a foe from the borderland--
    my spear finds his heart
    while his own blade bites me.


    Spoiler: OOC
    Show
    Standard Action to start singing, obviously. +3/3 competence bonus to attack/damage. +3 morale bonus to saves vs charm and fear. Move to AT 83.
    Last edited by Othniel; 2016-08-14 at 02:51 AM.
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  14. - Top - End - #824
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    Default Re: [IC I] The Wellspring Saga: Aurora Tenebrosa

    Henrietta

    Positioned in an optimal flanking spot, Henrietta swung her massive greatsword and then pushed forward with her body and fist behind it. She growled under her breathe briefly as she locked eyes with the Grey Matter Basher, wordlessly expressing her intimate focus on murdering this abomination. The blade struck true and she jammed it fiercely through the chest of the eldritch monster, her body swiftly used as leverage to drive the blade upward and split it in half with disgusting results.

    Spoiler: OoC
    Show

    Power Attack:(1d20+17)[36]
    Damage:(2d6+24)[30]

    Power Attack:(1d20+12)[30]
    Damage:(2d6+24)[32]

    Swift Action Challenge dis foo.
    Last edited by Tychris1; 2016-08-14 at 04:18 PM.

  15. - Top - End - #825
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    Swinging her blade in an upward arc, Henrietta lunged forward and up and ended with a flourish. For a second, it appeared as if the excorebrum had been entirely unaffected - but then, crumbling to the floor, it was revealed that her attack had, in fact, split it completely in two. As the blue ichor that served for its blood began to stain the floor, an ebony-colored case with five sapphire-blue stones inlaid in the cover fell from its pockets and landed on the floor with a clunk.

    Spoiler: You Win!
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    Due to Estralita's departure and Mathemagic's prolonged absence, I am hereby dividing encounter experience by 5 until further notice. You all gain 1920 XP, bringing the total up to 42130.

    Spoiler: Loot
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    You find 400 Crowns (Platinum Pieces) upon the excorebrum's body, along with a Ring of Protection +2.
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  16. - Top - End - #826
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    Default Re: [IC I] The Wellspring Saga: Aurora Tenebrosa

    Turning her attention to the ebony case, Henrietta saw that the stones atop it appeared to be some variety of blue quartz, but with a uniformity and clarity of color similar to that of sapphires. Moving to pick it up, her gauntleted thumb brushed against one of them - and upon that contact, the stone began emitting a bright blue glow, a low hum coming from the box.

    “What the… Snorri, know what this means?”

    Snorri promptly used detect magic on the item, and located two auras of abjuration - one of which he was able to identify as a nondetection spell. Henrietta, in the meantime, attempted to open the case - only to find out that it did not appear to have any visible seam.

    "Cool."

    Henrietta quickly packed it away with the rest of the loot before leading the party back to the Commander's room.

    It was slow going, initially. Snorri and Henrietta first found two traps upon the door, and after a bit of fumbling, Snorri was able to disarm them without further trouble. Carefully opening the door to Kampfrichter's office, the party was greeted by an utter mess.

    The dressers and shelves around the edges of the room had clearly been torn to pieces in a frantic search, almost nothing left intact save, ironically enough, the desk at the center of the room. Upon that desk, the familiar salt-and-pepper rough hair of a dwarven figure is slumped, with what appear to be several very old wounds in its back. Henrietta recognized it as a dead ringer for the Commander - however, right inside the door, she, Aldric, and Amala also spotted what appeared to be a makeshift pressure plate, carefully hidden under the rug. Aldric was also able to point out what appeared to be a very carefully concealed crossbow attached to the ceiling, a small wire running from it to the plate.

    Snorri, continuing his lucky streak, was able to disable it without issue.

    Moving around the room, Henrietta examined the shelves of the man she had once called commander, but found only dust and shards of broken glass - the Heralds who set this up had apparently been very thorough. Deciding to finally confront the corpse, she found a couple of salient facts. Firstly, it appeared to not be a real corpse at all, but a highly realistic dummy. Secondly, delicately concealed beneath its clothing and hidden under its torso were what appeared to be some sort of gas bomb. Ever so carefully, Snorri began work on it, and with a satisfying click declared that he was nigh-certain he deactivated it. Carefully moving the dummy, he revealed that it was indeed so.

    There was then only one more item to examine - the desk. Carefully, Henrietta examined every inch of it, and finally found what appeared to be a small scrap of paper rolled up and taped under the lip. Unfurling it, she found a message quickly scrawled down.

    Our most hated enemy hides what we need.
    Raising an eyebrow, she tucked it into her pouch before turning to her next observation: Three symbols crudely scratched into the wood. One was an arrow pointing upward, three lines of increasing length struck through it from top to bottom. The second, a crude stick figure with four arms and outstretched palms. The third, a six-tendriled spiral.
    Aldric spotted that each of these symbols is hiding a button, and Juno realized that they were rather crude drawing of the symbols of the three aspects - Order, Balance, and Change, in that sequence.

    After determining that there didn't appear to be any traps, Henrietta pressed the button for Order, then for Balance, then for Change. Nothing happened when she depressed the first two, but upon pressing the one for Change, hidden compartment opened in the bottom of the desk, and a letter fell out.


    Picking it up, she realized it was a most peculiar letter, for it is written in a code taught to all leaders of the CP of grade Lieutenant and above. Her eye, immediately familiar with it, traced over its contents, which read as follows:

    To whoever among our number finds this note,
    If you are reading this, there is a very good chance that I am dead, incapacitated, or otherwise missing. Whoever is attacking Gottenburg is highly organized, systematic, and relentless - and they had help from the inside.
    More importantly, right before this all happened, I found evidence that they've been hiding under our noses this entire time.
    Recently, under direct orders from the Archon himself, I have been investigating a missing persons case - a Vieran ambassador from Kastali who went missing a few weeks ago. What separated this from other cases is that the trail lead to a high-profile member of society - Ulftyr Falinnson, headmaster of Myrkvi University. I was ordered to keep this under wraps, with only one other person on Eldin knowing what is up - an old friend, and fellow CP member, Lieutenant Adam Jokson.
    For weeks we investigated, without clear evidence as to what was going on, until, not 20 minutes after the attack began, Adam showed up at the precinct and ushered himself into my office.
    These people - they are not your garden-variety terrorist. They call themselves the Heralds of the Eldest, and they venerate the Fyadir - who they claim are the remnants of a whole previous civilization that existed before ours - and the six Eldest, who they claim are divine beings intent on consuming the entire world and laying it to waste.
    And it is with this in mind that they have begun their attack.
    Adam found out that the Heralds had the help of several un-named figures in the Gottenburg government, and that one of their goals with this attack - other than to kill everyone possible - is to ritualistically torture the Archon himself in a month-long ritual that will enable them to open a magic seal located half a mile below the Heavenly Palace.
    If that seal is opened, and the ritual completed, the weakest of the Eldest - Inchoate Oili - will emerge, and with him, the end of the world.
    Go to 140 East Finngross Way, in the Northeastern sector of the Fifth Circle. Everything Adam has found is there - and, aspects willing, he and I will be also. If not... do not go gentle into that good night.
    Your Commander,
    Godric Kampfrichter.
    Moving the fake corpse off of the commander’s chair, Henrietta sat herself down as she kept reading through and deciphering the letter, her face growing heavy as she took off her helmet and placed it on the desk, and kept reading the letter intently.

    “He was right, he was onto something. Unbelievable. The whole time….”

    She began to hollowly laugh.

    “Was right the whole damn time…. Ha. Ha. Ha.”

    Calantha stared at Henrietta in consternation.

    "Aldric….. say you’re a force of nature eh? Well, want to test that statement? Got directions to place where we can learn to kill an Eldest mini-god. Hah. Hah. Hah.”


    ***

    Moving outside, the party next turned their attention to the ebony case, examining it once more. Snorri decided to examine it once again, and upon touching it, another of the stones began to glow.

    Turning his attention to the Custos Pacem, who were reporting their success to Lieutenant Haetta, Snorri found that none of them were versed in magic. As such, his next action was to hand it off to Calantha, who promptly saw another of the stones glow. As she examined the box, trying to figure out its activation trigger, Snorri was then hit by a flash of inspiration. In that moment, he remembered tales of wizards hiding important letters in boxes with an arrangement of gems not unlike the one on the case, which would activate for people carrying a certain enchantment or other trigger.

    "Juno, Aldric, c'mere and touch this."

    As Juno and Aldric touch the box, the final two stones light up, the humming growing higher and higher - until, at last, the top of the box folds open as if it were a budding flower, sliding to the side with a soft click.


    Inside, five amethysts worth 100 Sunrays (gp) each are located, along with a small stack of paper that is written in a familiar code - the code of the Heralds, which Snorri was able to crack not two days ago.


    Spoiler: Loot and XP Summary
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    Belated loot from the first fight outside (sorry for lateness!):
    +1 Composite Longbow (+1 Strength) x2
    +1 Breastplate x2
    1580 Sunrays
    2 Gold Statues of what appear to be Elder Things, inlaid with emerald shards (worth 1550 gp each)

    Excorebrum Loot:
    +2 Ring of Protection
    400 Crowns (platinum pieces)
    5 amethyst (100 Sunrays (gp) each)
    Ebony Case (worth 500 Sunrays)

    You are now up to 44630 XP. You have 6370 XP to go until level 8.
    Last edited by Lord Of Mantas; 2016-08-16 at 08:58 PM.
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  17. - Top - End - #827
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    Chapter 3

    Beyond All Spheres of Force and Matter

    Having secured the Headquarters of the Custos Pacem - or what was left of it, at any rate - the party then began debating their next course of action, with Amala, Snorri and Calantha coming out in favor of resting to gather their strength while Octavia, Aldric and Henrietta favored pressing onward to 140 East Finngross. Ultimately, it came down to Juno, who, after some deliberation, elected to vote in favor of pressing onward.

    As they pressed onward, Henrietta tuned her radio to the Custos Pacem's private station, and as the party wormed its way through first the south, then the southeast, and then the eastern sector, they were treated to a repeating refrain - the refrain of declarations of victory. First the west and southwest, where they had been, had fallen, then the south and southeast, then northwest, then north, and then finally east - and a fresh victory it was, as well, for they had no sooner stepped foot into the sector than they heard the last echoes of cannon and gunfire reverberating through the streets as Gottenburg fought to reclaim itself.

    Making their way down East Finngross, they eventually arrived at number 140 - and, to all appearances, it was a rather dilapidated old cottage, even without the broken windows, soot marks, and battle damage one would expect from what had happened to Gottenburg. Circling around the building, Octavia reported back to the rest of the party. There was, in addition to the expected front entrance, a back door and what appeared to be the entrance into a cellar; however, it had apparently suffered some damage and was blocked by rubble.

    "The front door's bolted, and the back door was trapped - some kind of explosive, but lucky us, I managed to disarm it. Anyway, it's a bit cramped, and we don't know if there are still Heralds in the area, so I suggest you guys go on in, and Amala and I will keep watch. We'll hide under those bushes there and radio you if we see anyone coming."
    Last edited by Lord Of Mantas; 2016-08-18 at 12:43 AM.
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  18. - Top - End - #828
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    Default Re: [IC I] The Wellspring Saga: Aurora Tenebrosa

    Henrietta

    Looking at Octavia silently, Henrietta grimly nodded her head and trudged onward to the back entrance, greatsword in hand. Hope was the first step on the road to disappointment, so she kept any ideas of being reunited with her adoptive father strictly bottled up and restrained. Chances are he was dead, but the information he had collected and she had ignored earlier could very well prove to be critical to Gottenburg's survival.

  19. - Top - End - #829
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    Entering the house with eyes peeled, the party took in what appeared to be a rather barren kitchen. Simple wooden dishes and a few scant cans of what appeared to be potted smoked meat lay in an open cupboard, and the hearth was cold and filled with grey ashes. As far as kitchens went, it was completely ordinary.


    And yet, there was something quite unusual - for in the hearth, buried in the soot of old coals, the party could spot a glint of gold. A small statuette, no bigger than the palm of one's hand, was buried head down in the ashes.

    Spoiler: Snorri
    Show
    Partly concealed under a rug near the door into what you can only assume is the living room, you spot a style of magic glyph that you instantly recognize as characteristic of a magical trap.
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    Snorri

    "Hm. Trap here, folks. Watch out. In fact, you may want to step back fort feet or so." The Bard cracked his knuckles and went carefully to work.

    Spoiler: OOC
    Show
    Disable Device, go! (1d20+24)[43] (includes +3 for traps from trapfinding)
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  21. - Top - End - #831
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    Henrietta

    Watching Snorri disable the trap and then pompously smile at her, Henrietta blatantly ignores the Bard's dashing grin and proceeds past the disabled trap. "Good work." she says flatly before kneeling down to examine the fireplace in great detail, waiting for a once over from another party member before reaching down to grab the buried statue.

  22. - Top - End - #832
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    Default Re: [IC I] The Wellspring Saga: Aurora Tenebrosa

    *** Before disarming the trap... ***

    "Oh, lovely."

    "Can't you disable stuff like this?"


    "Well, yes, but being able to dispel the glyph would make it easier. I don't tell you how to enforce the law, and you don't tell me how to brea-I mean, uh, do my job."


    Spoiler: Trap Disarmed!
    Show
    You gain 1280 XP, bringing you all up to 45910 XP.


    *** Afterwards... ***

    Carefully, Henrietta, Snorri, and Aldric gave the hearth a once-over. When, after a couple of minutes, all of them determined that there were no traps in that part of the kitchen, Henrietta reached forward and carefully turned over the figurine. By all appearances, it was clearly meant to be a toy of some kind, likely in a miniatures game, but then again, most toys weren't made of what appeared to be solid gold. The model depicted a rather heroic looking man with long, spiky hair, armor with the insignia of a lion atop it, and a large lance in his hand.

    Spoiler: Aldric
    Show
    As Henrietta handles the model, you realize that it is a model from the Devils vs Clanks spinoff game known as Banner of Flames, which is a tabletop war game based around collectible statuettes. Ostensibly meant to depict warfare among the more human and less demonic/mechanical denizens of the realm, you are able to recall that the main focus of the game involves strategically fielding miniatures with certain types of weaponry to counter your opponents - however, you are unable to recall specifics.

    Spoiler: Calantha
    Show
    Sheltered as you are, you are able to recognize the miniature as a model from a tabletop game called Banner of Flames, which is based around collectible statuettes that can be used to play war games. You are also able to recall that it is a spinoff of another tabletop game known as Devils vs Clanks.

    Spoiler: Henrietta
    Show
    As you examine the model more closely, you are overcome with a wave of nostalgia, for you recognize it as a model from the Devils vs Clanks wargame spinoff, Banner of Flames. On the rare occasions where Adam took any time off, he was known to occasionally indulge in games of this type.

    "It might not be analogous to real warfare, but any game where you have to use strategy and careful maneuvering is a worthy expenditure of time."


    Regretfully, you find yourself completely unable to remember anything of note about the game, as you yourself were rather driven, only occasionally stopping to rest in your own pursuit of order.

    Spoiler: Juno
    Show
    As Henrietta handles the model, you realize that it is a model from the Devils vs Clanks spinoff game known as Banner of Flames, which is a tabletop war game based around collectible statuettes. Ostensibly meant to depict warfare among the more human and less demonic/mechanical denizens of the realm, you are able to recall that the main focus of the game involves strategically fielding miniatures with certain types of weaponry to counter your opponents. In particular, you recall one of the core tenets of the game.

    Axes beat lances, lances beat swords, and swords beat axes.

    Spoiler: Snorri
    Show
    As Henrietta handles the model, you realize that it is a model from the Devils vs Clanks spinoff game known as Banner of Flames, which is a tabletop war game based around collectible statuettes. Ostensibly meant to depict warfare among the more human and less demonic/mechanical denizens of the realm, you are able to recall that the main focus of the game involves strategically fielding miniatures with certain types of weaponry to counter your opponents. In particular, you recall one of the core tenets of the game.

    Axes beat lances, lances beat swords, and swords beat axes.
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  23. - Top - End - #833
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    Snorri

    "Well, that's interesting." Snorri commented. "Axes beat lances, lances beat swords, and swords beat axes." He looked over at Henrietta. "Now what?"
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  24. - Top - End - #834
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    Henrietta

    "Adam used to play a game with pieces like this. Might have been found. We keep looking, turn this place upside down." She grunted as she stood up, eyeing the piece one last time before putting it away in her bag. Looking for an entryway to another part of the house, Henrietta waved to move on.

  25. - Top - End - #835
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    Moving forward through the door, the party was next greeted by the sight of a rather dusty and seemingly infrequently-used living room, with decor that could only be described as immeasurably tacky at best. A sofa and two armchairs sat around what appeared to be a cheap teak coffee table, all of them made from crushed velvet of one color or another. A bear-skin rug lay before an empty, cold fireplace, and what appeared to be an automatic crossbow was aimed at the front door, which was barred. The trigger wire sliced through the air like a silver thread, connected to the doorknob. Upon the walls, various paintings sat, most of them depicting an older man with two young women beside him.

    Spoiler: Henrietta
    Show
    You know for a fact that Adam's sense of decoration had never been quite this tacky, which leads you to believe that he was likely deliberately attempting to decrease the likelihood of anyone tracing this location back to him - at least from an outside view. You also recognize the people in the pictures as close associates from work, although they're all quite heavily made up to try to conceal this fact.


    Moving over to the mantlepiece, the party found it strangely empty, save for a small brass plaque.

    We must not be afraid to speak our enemy's name, for it is when men quail at the sound of those who would oppose them that chaos reigns.
    Spoiler: Henrietta
    Show
    You remember this as one of one of Adam's favorite quotations - it was attributed to the first Commander of the Custos Pacem, Sir Heinrich Gladfell.

    "But what was the enemy he spoke of?"

    "Why, chaos, my dear. Chaos."
    Last edited by Lord Of Mantas; 2016-08-20 at 05:37 PM.
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  26. - Top - End - #836
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    Looking around the room, the party was not able to detect any traps, but as Henrietta traced her eyes over the mantlepiece, she was able to spot something else - a rectangular seam, almost invisible to the naked eye, right below the plaque. Trying to push it down or around, she found herself unable to do so, although Snorri, after some examination, was able to say that it looked as if it theoretically should be able to retract somehow. Their attention was then drawn to a small crystal the size of a pin, embedded in the wall below the plaque. Casting Detect Magic on it, Snorri was able to determine that it was an Alarm spell.

    After then drawing back the bearskin rug (and finding nothing beneath it), the group's attention was next drawn to the bedroom. Entering inside, they found the decor to be more on par with the rather spartan kitchen rather than the living room. A thick dark orange woolen blanket covered a king-size bed, an old and slightly yellowing newspaper was placed upon a small desk in the middle of the room, and a dresser stood east of the door in. Directly to the north, judging by the smell wafting from under the door, was a lavatory of some sort.
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  27. - Top - End - #837
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    Grabbing the newspaper off the desk, Henrietta found that it appeared to actually be a couple of years old, with the front page headline apparently consisting a report on the 2148 Summer Solstice celebration. However, her attention was drawn to one of the classified ads in the sidebar, which was rather squashed and located off to the side. Something about it seemed... off, somehow.

    Selling a slighty used
    porcelain supperware set,
    estimated at around
    eight pounds in total.
    Kindly be prompt.
    All offers welcome.
    To contact, please send to 240
    Finngross Way.
    In event of false offer,
    retraction will be made and
    every contact severed.
    Tucking the newspaper into her belt, Henrietta then searched the bed and dresser. Searching the bed, she found nothing of interest, but as she moved over to the dresser, pulling out one of the drawers, she spotted a large box inside that appeared to be filled with Banner of Flames pieces. She was also able to spot a springloaded blade just inside the drawer, which was promptly disabled by Snorri before it could shank anyone.

    Opening up the box, she found that, at first glance, all of the pieces appeared to be gold - but upon further inspection, most of them were quite a bit lighter. She determined that they must be wood painted gold.


    Eventually, she found one piece that was about the same weight as the one they had found in the hearth. This one had short hair and the emblem of a dragon on his armor, and was carrying an axe.


    Moving on to the bathroom, Snorri, Henrietta and Juno all spotted what appeared to be yet another trap - a pressure plate hidden right inside the door beneath a bath mat, and a steel door concealed on the top inside of the wooden one. Quickly scanning it for magic and finding none, Snorri easily disabled it. Entering the bathroom, they found what appeared to be a mid-range ceramic bathtub and a simple flush toilet inside, with a small sink in the corner. Examining the bathtub and sink revealed nothing; however, taped beneath the lid of the toilet cistern, they found a third golden Banner of Flame Piece. This one is of a woman, her armor decorated with the symbol of a phoenix, a sword raised high into the air.

    “Can’t be coincidence."

    "Aye, very doubtful."

    “So. Push the button in the living room?"

    "After you."


    Unfortunately, as it turned out, pushing the alarm crystal beneath the plaque over the living room mantlepiece really didn't do much of anything. Scratching their heads, the party began searching the living room top to bottom, spending several minutes searching for some clue - until, at last, Aldric determined by pure chance that the area beneath the bear rug, when struck, sounded hollow.

    "Anyone got an axe?"


    Henrietta replied by slamming her greatsword into the wood.

    “Why axe the question?”

    Snorri booed, and Henrietta allowed herself a grin at his reaction to the pun.

    "You can do better than that, lieutenant."

    “Maybe." She yanked her sword out and drove it back down again. "Not my forte.”

    "No, but it is mine. Also piano."

    “What?”


    SLAM. SLAM. SLAM.

    "Piano and forte....? Soft and loud. Musical terminology, my steel-clad associate."

    “Oh. Adam would like that. Big piano fan.”

    As Henrietta repeatedly slammed her greatsword into the wood, the floor began to be reduced to splinters, and little by little, a gaping hole in the floor was revealed. About 10 feet in diameter, a ladder could be seen on the otherside of what apparently once was a trapdoor, leading down into the depths. Those with darkvision, and Henrietta (once she had turned on her flashlight) realized that it went down about 20 feet.

    "Well, I can see without the light. Want me to go first?"

    All of a sudden, grenade rebounds up out of the shaft, bouncing off the wall, and came to a halt in the air.

    “What the-.”


    As the grenade exploded, Henrietta shielded her face and dove for cover. Snorri yelped, being unable to dodge out of the way in time.


    Spoiler: Eat grenade.
    Show
    Calantha, Juno, and Henrietta save for half damage. Everyone else takes 8 bludgeoning damage and 3 fire damage.



    A low, growly voice echoed from out of the depths.

    "I don't know how you found this place, or what your intentions are."


    You hear the sound of sabers being drawn.


    "But if you want what we've got, you're going to have to get past me first."


    Spoiler: Henrietta
    Show
    You immediately recognize the voice as one familiar to you throughout childhood - none other than Adam's.


    “Adam! It’s me!”

    "...baby girl? Order above, tell me this isn't some trick."


    “No, not a trick. Hold on.” Henrietta took her flashlight and pointed it at her face, removing her helmet, and looked over the edge.

    Six seconds passed.

    Then, bounding up the ladder, a figure comes, clad in, oddly enough, what appears to be a Percellan Hunter uniform rather than a Custos Pacem one, as would be expected.

    Spoiler: Henrietta
    Show
    You are familiar enough with the tells to realize this is disguised Hellknight armor.




    Large, muscular, built like a fridge, and with brown eyes under a short-cut salt-and-pepper hairdo and a matching thick mustache, the figure leapt out and embraced Henrietta, crushing her to his chest.


    "Henrietta. Oh, thank the aspects. I feared... I knew you were assigned to the Carnival, and... I always hoped, but we went dark. Couldn't risk anyone knowing where we were, so there was no way for me to... Oh, thank Order above."

    Spoiler: Adam
    Show



    Snorri sat to the side, picking shrapnel out of his flesh and looking rather grumpy.

    “Oh, gah, agh. Body sore. Long day. Good to see you.”
    She finally managed to finagle her metal arms around him.

    "Good to see you too, daughter."


    Adam helds the hug for several seconds longer before drawing back.

    Calantha blinked.

    ...wait, someone hugged
    Henrietta? Voluntarily? And she hugged back? WHAT MADNESS IS THIS


    "You must have found the note Kampfrichter left. Come, come along. There's much to do, and -"


    Adam then blinked, looked around at the assembled party, and had a slight look of horror on his fae.

    "...aaand I just tried to blow you up with a grenade." He immediately assumed a supplicative posture. "Please, you will all have to forgive me. The information we're sitting on, it will change everything, and... if someone was entering by force, I confess I was prone to assume the worst." He looked up pleadingly. "Are you alright?" It appeared to be 50% directed at Henrietta.

    "The greatest wound was to my pride,"
    Snorri muttered, and then more loudly, "We'll be all right with a bit of healing."

    “Fragile as it be, yes.” She glances at Snorri and then back down to Adam. “The Half-Angel, Panja Juno, potent and efficient healer. Flesh wound, that’s all. Won’t take long.”

    Snorri glared at Henrietta for a moment and then grinned.

    "And I have first-aid kits below, as well. Although, that said..."
    He playfully rapped Henrietta on the head with a gauntlet. "We need to talk about your detective skills, young lady. Have your senses dulled so much that a simple riddle was too much for you?"

    "Swords trump floors, apparently," Snorri chuckled.

    “Sword trumps everything.” Henrietta grinned even as she got knocked on the head.

    "Mind over matter, Henrietta. A sword is nothing without a sharp brain to guide it."


    Snorri snickered quietly, and Aldric muttered something about guns being merely tiny sword delivery systems.

    “Yes, yes. I know. Was in a bit of a crunch though and, well, been cutting through every horrible problem that’s been chucked at me since the carnival. Decided to do it again. You’re right, of course.”

    "Fair enough. Time is a precious commodity nowadays, even as we face off against the advancing forces of Chaos."



    The panel on the mantelpiece retracted as Adam emphasized the last word, and three tiny pedestals emerged, perfectly sized for the statuettes the party had found.

    "Anyway, now you know it for next time, once we get this trapdoor fixed up."


    "I, uh, could probably help you with that."


    Adam looked to Snorri curiously."How so?"

    "I'm pretty handy with traps and contraptions, which reminds me, you'll probably want to reset all of them in your house."

    "I figured as much, seeing as you all appear to be otherwise unharmed. Now, come. Down below. Time is of the essence, here."

    Climbing down the ladder, Henrietta spoke once again. "Surprised you didn’t hear us upstairs."

    Adam grunted from at the top of the ladder, where he was trying to cover the hole as best he could with the rug. "The bunker is buried fairly deep below. Didn't know you were here until you touched the alarm crystal."

    “Aye, thought that would reveal a panel for these.”
    Henrietta indicated the 3 collected pieces.

    "Well, you were on the right track, my dear. The key, though, as I just demonstrated, was to speak the name of our enemy - Chaos - as written on the plaque."


    "What happens if you say it just in passing?"

    "That's what having to hunt down the pieces is for. And if that fails, at worst we do have cameras and additional traps down in the passage below."

    "And if that fails, well, no choice but to take the emergency exit to the sewers."

    "Ah, sewer exit. Classic."

    "Well, that's city life for you."
    Adam chuckles. "Take the good with the bad."

    "You said time was of the essence?"

    "Indeed."
    Adam slid down the ladder, the hole now covered. "Follow me."


    Spoiler: XP Time!
    Show
    After all the XP for finding the entrance into the bunker and trap disarming is added up, you are all at 49000 XP.
    Last edited by Lord Of Mantas; 2016-08-22 at 09:55 PM.
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  28. - Top - End - #838
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    Working their way down the corridor, Adam at the head, the party went down several more sets of ladders before they at last came to a door made of solid steel. Pushing it open, Adam gestured inside.

    "Enter."

    Moving inside, the party was greeted by a medium-sized room, no larger than about 50 feet by 50 feet wide. Maps of the city with pins in them, and strings between each of the pins, covered the walls, as did photographs with hastily scrawled notes tacked under them. At one edge of the room, several desks sat groaning under the weight of pounds and pounds of paper, while a large war table sat in the middle of the room, a more formal map of the city and what looked to be a smaller amount of paper stacked there. At the other end of the room, a very simple magically powered stove sat, along with an icebox - and in the corner, a couple of bedrolls could be spotted, along with a stack of first aid kits.

    One of the bedrolls moved, and a pained groan emerged.

    "Jokson? Did you take care of it?"

    "Better. I come bearing wonderful news, Commander. Help has come - Henrietta found your letter, and she brought friends."


    Groaning, the figure tried to prop itself up, and after a few attempts, succeeded. A gaunt, white-haired dwarf with a full beard stared back at them, propped up on his left elbow - for his right arm ended before there.

    "Should have known you'd be the one to find it, Askstål. You were always too stubborn to quit against odds like this."


    Spoiler: Commander Godric Kampfrichter, Head of the Custos Pacem (when not emaciated due to wasting illness)
    Show



    He then looked past Henrietta and to the rest of the party, and blinked.

    "Aspects, this sickness must really be messing with my head. It looks like one of them is a purple unicorn."

    Stopping to fully admire Phaeton for the first time in a while, Adam also looked to he party rather questioningly.
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  29. - Top - End - #839
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    Snorri

    Snorri quirked a smile that he quickly suppressed, his tone businesslike, "I'm not exactly sure what Phaeton is - and I'm sure Calantha can fill you in later - but Adam said time was of the essence."
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    Juno

    "I'm sure we can afford proper introductions." Juno stepped forward, giving the formal bow she'd practiced at the monastery. "I'm Panja Juno di Myla of the Order of the Solar Wing. It's a pleasure to meet you."
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