AAR: [4M] A River(bed) Runs to It (2020-05-17 2300 GMT)

The current version of the Earthdawn West Marches Discord campaign, effective Jan 1, 2020

Moderator: etherial

Xzandrate
Posts: 32
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2020 8:28 pm

Re: AAR: [4M] A River(bed) Runs to It (2020-05-17 2300 GMT)

Post by Xzandrate » Mon May 18, 2020 5:58 am

From the writings of Moe'uhane, T'skrang Illusionist, 3rd Circle

As I sat and enjoyed the comforts of Throal's theatre district, sipping on the most magnificent drink while listening to the many stories of other patrons, I saw a distinct touchstone making it's way through the crowd. I recognized it as Rama, he certainly did not frequent this area, so I was intrigued. He had come seeking my assistance in locating his missing liferock. A puzzling dilemma that I needed to him to repeat to ensure I heard correctly. Some how his liferock, Gannagroth had disappeared.

It seems that a powerful Illusionist from his liferock named The Hidden was fending off a evil while embedded within a cave, but had directed Rama to follow a dried riverbed within the Throalic mountains. I am always up for an adventure, and one with such a grand tale as this, from an even kiltered Obsidiman none the less demanded my attendance, if not just my professional critique if this was all a trick of the illusionist. The faces of Rama's party were mostly familiar. Zivilyn the Windling wielder of Shamanic and Wizard powers, Sandrin the Elven Air Sailor, and a new Troll face, Norg the Gauntlet. He likes to punch things, quite slow and deliberately. I am told a Namegiver was once quoted as saying 'speak softly and carry a big stick', Norg seems to have misheard or misremembered this as 'react slowly and bury a big fist.'

We began into the Throalic mountains finding the dried riverbed and tracing it for nearly three days. On the third day, some of the party though they saw someone off to the east of us. As we investigated a bit closer, it wasn't "someone" not far away, it was something quite distant from us. A large humanoid rock creature, approximately twenty feet tall and moving forward while standing still. We approached cautiously, but it paid us little heed. The strange creature seemed to be made of salt crystal, though it's very nature seemed to bend the world around it at certain angles. Not and illusion by my judgement but something adjacent to it. The creature was slow, relocating forward every minute a short number of yards by deconstructing itself along a crystal line and constructing itself again. Zivilyn attempted to perceive the creature astrally, but it was an even more disorienting collection of crystal shards. It was however leaving a distinctly tainted trail, that judging by it's bearing had originated from Salt Cellar to the south east, and it's path seemed to be leading it to the same destination as our intrepid group. We did not tarry near such a danger any longer and returned to the riverbed with much haste to try and make use of our pace over the creatures.

As we continued along the riverbed, Zivilyn alerted us to the presence of others ahead. As we came around the bend we encountered what appeared to be a pair of Elven beggars who had gotten lost in the mountains. Then they spoke to us in a dialect that none of us recognized. Eventually they tried again, in what I was later told was a broken form of Sperethiel. Apparently they were Therans who lived not far up river and felt we should speak to their father. Again, such an astonishing tale drove us forward to investigate. Sure enough, on the banks of the dried river sat a small Theran villa, the home of Kerim Ianjyre, a Theran scholar focused in the study of geology. He had once been quite friendly with the residents of Gannagroth, and it was one of the reasons he chose to locate his villa down river from them on the outskirts of the city he could not remember the name of (this was powerful illusion magic at work). He pointed to a barren area in the north east and Sandrin marked it on his extensive charts. While Rama, Sandrin, and our hosts carried on a conversation, the rest of us were left to take in the villa. Some of the "wait staff" appeared to be descendants of the original staff, on both sides of the family tree. Everyone wore whatever tattered remnants they could fashion into a semblance of clothing. Our host did not appear hostile to his staff, and was confused that some of our own party were considered equals; but while his sensibilities deemed slavery acceptable, he was also scholarly enough to be open and accepting of our views. It did not take an illusionist of any skill to see the true emotions just beneath the surface of my parties exterior demeanor. But just as Kerim was open and accepting, we too accepted that his ignorance may be of no fault of his own. This man had provided for these people through the Scourge, no matter what his motives, and seemed intelligent enough that he would be open to a visit from Throalic agents more prepared to handle his education. The most peculiar thing we noticed while we waited was the sounds from the roof. Norg eventually wandered out to investigate and quickly returned. He asked Sandrin to have our host clarify why there was frozen feces falling upon the roof. This got the most emotion from Kerim. It seemed they had a problem with flying monkeys dropping turds upon the roof. Sandrin and Rama negotiated a trade of services for information, he would provide us what he knew of Gannagroth, and we would take care of his Ice Flyer problem, as Sandrin labelled them.

We made our way stealthily up the mountainside and awaited the decent of our primate pooh pitcher. Then as he flew away screeching and laughing we trailed him. We eventually came across a group of four of the beasts, but with the slightest shift of the breeze, one of them caught our scent and we lost the element of surprise. The fight was quick and brutal, sort of. I am quite use to the springing and floating of other melee types dashing forward as I try and shroud them in spells. Norg patiently took in the actions of all those around him, giving me ample time to cloak him in the mantle of a giant silverback gorilla. He then stepped forward and laid into one of them. The loud screeching from the vision of a silverback caused him to slightly graze the creature. The next round he more carefully lined up his target and knocked the creature out of it's wings. Meanwhile, Rama took the brunt of the attacks, while Sandrin bounced around throwing a broadsword, and having it return to him. It seems someone had found a very nice item to add to their legend. Zivilyn and I provided support and enabled our fighters to push our advantage, with the assistance of Jolly Jumper to be a distraction. We eliminated one and drove off the other three beasts, but the message was clear. The house was dangerous and not to be flung upon any longer.

Returning to Kerim, we collected our information, and borrowed some of his geological tools and a boat. For it seems Gannagroth was located in the middle of surprising deep lake . . . that was now dried out and instead a dangerously deep chasm. So we would need to make our way further above the liferock to find the source of the river, a source of true water marked by a statue. Kerim's final warning was that a pair of his children has left the villa during the scourge and they did not know the fate of them, they could be a danger to themselves or others, such as us. This was a valuable portent, because as we made our way to the source statue, we came across three elves, two females and a male. The male and one female bore enough of a resemblance to Kerim that we deduced these to be the missing children. The third however was younger and bore the features of the other two, Kerims great grand-daughter it seemed. The three were guarded with a near deranged look about them, and as soon as we mentioned restoring the source they cut us off. Declaring 'non would interfere with the Parliament of Glass.' Not only deranged, but named as well, we find such interesting adventures. The matron directed her compatriots to guard the glass and take us down, as we closed the gap, her daughter followed orders, moving forward and entangling me in a net. While he father loosed a pair of arrows, striking myself and Norg. The daughter spat insults at all of us, threatening to wear most of us. Rama distracted her while Zivilyn wrapped himself, Norg, and Jolly Jumper in a spell. Norg walked up to the belligerent youth and struck her square in the chest with such force I could feel it from where I sat entangled. Most surprisingly, the girl stood her ground and professed her love of Norg. . . quite the basket of mental issues on this one. Rama took advantage of her enamoured state and cut her down with his sword as she turned to him. The matron lost all sense of her composure and assaulted Rama, bringing her into range for the counter attack from Sandrin, Jolly Jumper, Zivilyn, and eventually Norg. The group of them made short work of her, with Norg again landing a thundering blow. At this point, the patron had been attempting to avenge his daughters killer and had sunk a number of arrows into Rama, and with his sisters death, two additional archers join him . . assumedly more children, a son and a daughter. Sandrin continued to heave his sword into target after target while Norg and Rama pressed the attack. Once he was too close to the crystals, they exploded towards Sandrin. As we had them upon the ropes, the father enshrouded himself and his daughter in magic and escaped, causing us to loose all memory of them temporarily. That unfortunately left the unfavored son to go down fighting, showing all the signs of a trapped animal.

Eventually, we used the borrowed tools to clear way the blockages around the statue, and we could hear the rumble begin. We cleared the riverbed in just enough time, as a torrent of true water rushed towards the liferock. We made our way back down to what was now a large lake with a liferock in the middle. Just in time to see the great salt creature appear at the lakes newly formed shores. With the same pause as before, the creature moved forward after a minute passed and it's crystalline body dissolved within the true water. We used the boat to ferry the party across to the liferock, and there Rama greeted in the embrace of a long lost relative. After a sweet, then awkward, couple minutes of a giant stone man hug a hill we saw Rama's image appear in the reflective rockface, but it was not Rama. It was an ancestor coming out of the liferock and embracing Rama, followed by more and more Obsidiman. It was a touching reunion, and Rama told us he would be staying here for a time and thanked us for our assistance. We stayed a while longer to take in the sight and speak with the people of Gannagroth. We told them of the adventure to get here, and Rama told them of The Hidden and his fight. They advised us that the Parliament of Glass was young fools misinterpreting the translation, and warned that it was actually a reference to the Crystal Dominion. A horror that did not target Namegivers, but instead targeted the things around them. This was the very thing that The Hidden had been fighting in the crystal caves where he was trapped. They further elaborated that it wasn't a single horror as much as a series of crystalline beings that encapsulated things within it's structure, like large piles of salt crystal, that it could drive towards the liferock. Luckily the currents of true water should have dealt with the structure it created, but there could be a great deal of danger for whomever goes to open those salt mines.

Eventually we made our way back to Throal, we have quite a bit to inform the proper parties. There is a newly formed community of Obsidiman fresh from their sleep, an additional kaer home recently opened with a need for supplied and education, all sitting along the banks of a newly formed source of true water. We will be keeping a number of studios dwarves busy for quite some time. I love how information makes this kingdom move.

Sharkforce
Posts: 201
Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2019 8:39 am

Re: AAR: [4M] A River(bed) Runs to It (2020-05-17 2300 GMT)

Post by Sharkforce » Mon May 18, 2020 6:58 am

From the Journal of Zivilyn, Windling Magician: A River(bed) Runs to It

My good friend Rama has been spending a great deal of time and effort in finding his home over the past couple of years. I am pleased that he finally had a chance to see those efforts bear fruit. He had recently been to an old living crystal mine to commune with a powerful Obsidiman Illusionist sleeping in the stone, known to him as The Hidden. From this Illusionist, he was able to recover some knowledge about a river that was tied to his lost LifeRock of Gannagroth, and would always lead to it. This is important because apparently his LifeRock had moved while he was sleeping through the scourge; perhaps it is in some way related to the moving forest I saw many months ago. A subject for further study, I think.

In any event, I was more than happy to help him find his home; having relatively recently gotten my own people settled, I can certainly understand the desire to have a place to go home to. Also joining him in this quest to awaken his family were Norg, Sandrin, and Moe, all of whom I have previously adventured with. Sandrin had worked with Rama in studying maps to find the riverbed that leads to his home, and they had a pretty good idea of where to go, which is a refreshing change from most of my adventures; one of these days I'll have to learn how to navigate, it is getting quite tiresome not knowing where we're going.

In any event, as we were on our way, we noticed a rather large thing moving towards what appeared to be our destination, as best we could tell. It seemed to be coming from the general direction of the Caves of Koilos, or so I am told; as I mentioned above, I am not skilled at navigation. However, a large pile of salt shaped like a statue of sorts did make me think of a salt mine that I vaguely recall Strorbout mentioning the existence of when I was helping him with his missing goods. I was fairly certain it was somewhere in the area, which Sandrin confirmed. So we had a likely origin location, and knowledge that The Hidden was defending the Caves of Koilos from some sort of Horror. This did not bode well. The construct seemed to move in fits and starts by almost flowing a thread of itself through the ground, shrinking away to nothing from it's original position, and reconstructing itself in the new location it wished to be in. Most peculiar. When I examined it in the astral, I could not get a good idea of it's internal workings, but it seemed to be full of mirrors within mirrors, repelling my efforts to discern what it was.

This humanoid heap of salt crystals seemed to be impervious to everything we had available to use on it (which wasn't much; we hadn't expected to need a large crew of expert miners equipped with picks, and thus didn't have any such thing with us). Norg tried smashing it, but it merely seemed to very slightly delay it from reforming. Perhaps if we had some mighty destructive magic, or a battery of fire cannons, we might have been able to accomplish something. As it was, the thing didn't even acknowledge our presence. We resolved to try to reach our destination first and see if we could do something to stop it. We returned to the riverbed, and I noticed as we were traveling that someone was moving along the tops of the mountains, looking down at us. I couldn't make out any details, but I suspect it was a scout watching us from a group we would encounter later.

Around the time I noticed that, we ran across a pair of pitiable elves dressed in what looked like the remains of someone's linen closet from a hundred years ago. One had a bow, the other a sword, neither of which looked to my (admittedly untrained) eye to be of particularly fine quality. They couldn't speak Throalic, unfortunately, so I'm forced to rely upon my fellow adventurers for translation (another thing I should like to rectify), but I gather that their father had been a wealthy Theran administrator of some sort, had retired to a region far to the north, and had no idea how they had wound up in the northern part of the Throalic Mountains; apparently he had thought to retire near Gannagroth and when they moved, he moved as well, being right on the river's shores. I regret to report that the family kept slaves, which were showing the results of several generations of intermarriage.

Unfortunately, we were on a rather tight schedule, trying to keep some sort of horror construct from reaching an entire LifeRock full of Obsidimen. Someone else will need to explain things to them. Probably someone who can actually speak Theran, because on occasion we struggled with Sperethiel. In any event, I'm sure they'd be more than open to trade; they must have been living on nothing more than hard tack and wearing random bits of cloth for a loooooong time, which gives an opening to discuss other matters, like "why slavery is a horrible and cruel injustice". I don't know if I'll be able to get around to that myself, unfortunately... so little time, so much to do, and Grakor isn't going to solve itself. I hope they can be persuaded with words, rather than with weapons. Better to find a new ally than to strike down a new enemy.

In any event, they had problems with some ice flyers that were flinging poop at their house constantly. We had problems with needing information and tools to try and stop a horror construct from taking over my friend's home. A deal was struck, and we went off to drive away the creatures to someplace else, while he gave us information that would help defeat the salt monster. The ice flyers weren't too much trouble; once we showed them we would not be intimidated (Sandrin and Norg did most of that; apparently Windlings don't rate screaming matches from big-shot ice flyers) and were, in fact, quite dangerous, they decided to cede the territory to us (of course, we weren't staying around for long, but they hardly had any way of knowing that). Our host, Kerim, told us that the river bed should not be dry (unsurprising) and that there should be a spring we could find that would start the flow of water into the lake surrounding Gannagroth, which should hopefully dissolve the salt monster before it could achieve whatever sinister purpose it was marching towards (figuratively, of course; as I said previously, it didn't really walk, as such). He also mentioned that some of his children had left their tiny kaer before the scourge was over in an act of rebellion, and asked us to keep an eye out for them. I immediately thought of the figure I had seen watching us from the top of the mountains, but as our host thought them probably dead and I thought they might be horribly corrupted and we might be forced to kill them, I didn't bring that up.

In due course, we arrived at the place where the spring could be found. There was a statue (which was supposed to be there) covered in weird, glowy crystals (which were not supposed to be there). Also, Kerim's children. And also, his children's children (with each other, as far as I can tell). Ick. Well, I suppose decades of being exposed to horror corruption will do all sorts of things to people. They seemed to have joined some sort of cult which they called the "Parliament of Glass". If you meet people wearing clothing that has glass panels all over it, it's probably them. When we mentioned we were there to restore the stream and kill the giant salt statue (did I mention it was giant? it was more than 2 Norgs tall, so pretty big) by dissolving it, they attacked us. Sorry, Kerrim; I appreciate the gestures of friendship you made to us, but I think your children are better off dead, and I'm certainly not about to stop trying to protect my friend's home so that their so-called "Redeemer" can reach it.

Fortunately, we more than proved a match for them. Unfortunately, a couple of them got away (one was named Yevon, I think, and was Kerim's son... the other was Yevon's daughter, and the way things seem to go with them is probably now his new wife. She didn't have a name tag, and Kerim wouldn't know her name as far as I'm aware, so I'm afraid I don't have it handy. Anyways, inbred elf, wears glass bits on her clothing, if you see her expect trouble. They seem to like bows, and shooting people in the back). They will probably raise a new brood of horror-tainted children if nobody can catch up to them. Unfortunately, I can also add tracking to the list of things I wish I was better at. There were also some of those crystal growths that grew on the statue, which apparently burst sort of like how I've heard volcanoes are supposed to (I mean, I've never watched one in person, for obvious reasons) and launched crystal shards at us. They weren't very sturdy, and they weren't the most deadly thing around, but they were holding the spring back, so we smashed them and dug away the rest of the bits of crystal with some tools Kerim loaned us (apparently he's really into geology, perhaps the Library could send someone there to trade knowledge; he's had hundreds of years to do nothing but study his rock collection). Well, let me tell you, that spring was definitely being unnaturally blocked, because the second we got rid of the last bit of crystal a great fountain burst forth and filled up the river bed as quick as a flash. It was like a wall of water crashing down the river, going over some cliffs, and filling the lake.

Fortunately, the water performed as we had hoped; it was apparently empowered by True Water, and it definitely dissolved the salt crystals away to nothing. Kerim had loaned us a rowboat that we could haul up the dry riverbed so that once we refilled the lake we could go across (and obviously, in this case by "we" I really mean "everyone else"; going across would have been easy for me. Waking up a LifeRock, on the other hand, is not something I am particularly suited for). We went across, and Rama went up to the LifeRock and... well, honestly, I'm not sure what. He did some Obsidiman stuff. I don't fully comprehend it. Perhaps I never will. I will say that it was like he had gained new life, and that much at least I can understand; he had lost his family for 400 years, and now he has regained them.

Apparently in addition to recovering his family, Rama had also been told by The Hidden that Gannagroth held something that would be useful against the horror that was being kept from the Caves of Koilos. What exactly that is may remain to be seen, but it did come with a great prize of knowledge; the Obsidimen of this LifeRock had knowledge of this horror. It is, apparently, *not* called the Parliament of Glass, but the Crystal Dominion (I guess elves don't speak "earth" very well or something). Instead of tormenting NameGivers, they corrupt inanimate objects and sort of possess them. If you ever see a thing that looks like endless mirrors folding in on themselves and twisting about in the astral, that's apparently them. It would be the height of disaster if they were to take over a living crystal mine. Something will need to be done to stop them. And, as I mentioned earlier, I suspect they are already in the Salt Mines near Throal. Hopefully, the kaer that I've heard was once there is not completely destroyed; if these crystal Horrors do not care about NameGivers (and their construct certainly didn't care about us, even when we tried to destroy it), they may have a chance. We'll need to keep in touch with Gannagroth as well; their knowledge of this new Horror, and how to fight it, may not be the only things they have to offer. I'm sure trade routes will be starting soon enough, anyways; a source of True Water is nothing to scoff at, and who knows what else they may find out there in their neck of the Throalic Mountains.

It is nice to feel that you have accomplished something. But it would be even nicer if I could say that I felt nothing more was needed here, that all was well and that there isn't some sort of existential threat. All in good time, I trust. All in good time.

Dougansf
Posts: 352
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2016 4:14 am

Re: AAR: [4M] A River(bed) Runs to It (2020-05-17 2300 GMT)

Post by Dougansf » Mon May 18, 2020 8:09 pm

Journal of Sandrin

Rama found me in the Grand Bazaar. He'd scared up enough support and material for the expedition to find the riverbed we were told to find Gannogroth at. My map was superb, given the odd method we were instructed to find it, but some of the notations were in my own shorthand. It was a rush job after all. It certainly wasn't done intentionally to ensure I would be brought along.

Norg, Zivilyn, and Moe-uhane arrived at the gates to come with us. A few animals are following along too, occasionally listening to Zivilyn.

Day 2:
We arrive at the closest part of the riverbed, which happens to be where it abruptly ends. We start following it towards the source.

Day4:
Zivilyn's sharp eyes (and better viewpoint) spots something like an Obsidiman in the distance. It turns out to be a 20-foot fall figure not far away. As we approach, it seems to shift size and shape, rebuilding itself a short distance later. The statue seems to be traveling along paths of crystal veins.

We decide to intercept the moving statue. Some of its angles seem impossible. It seems to be formed of salt crystals. I recall that the area known as Salt Cellar is reportedly nearby, he may be drawing from that. Zivilyn checks Astral Space upon the statue, it has an astral presence, but it’s a maze of mirrors. It's leaving behind a wake of corruption.

Norg predicts it’s next emergence point, and then prepares to punch it as it forms from the ground. Norg form is perfect, yet he bounces off like punching a rock wall, and it doesn’t react in the least.

We decide to start moving faster along the riverbed path.

Hours later, as we approach a bend in the riverbed, Zivilyn spots 2 people, and possibly another hiding up in the rocks. He flies up and spots someone running off away from us. As we approach, two elves appear, wearing rags. The rags appear to have been repaired in an effort to look like higher quality clothing. They have a bronze sword and bow between them. They speak some language we don’t recognize, then speak old Sperethiel. I adjust my speech to speak with them (Rama understands, but remains silent), and we’re invited back to speak to their father.

We note that this is not the direction the person running was headed.

On the bank of the riverbed is an old, nice house, of a low-level aristocrat. There are other races present, but unarmed. The non-elves are doing manual labor. The doorman invites me and "my slaves" as guests. I quickly, but politely, clarify the situation to them and we're all invited in as guests. Zivilyn determines the house is a tiny citadel. We notice an unusual amount of physical deformities in the shorter-lived races, indicating in-breeding.

We’re led into a well-appointed study, with an elderly elf man behind a desk, Kerim Ianjyre. They sheltered next to the river, near a place of people gathering. We discuss maps and locations for a while. As a geologist, his study is full of rocks, calipers, and books. Apparently they were originally located much farther to the North East, but cannot remember the name of the nearby settlement.

The others hear something hitting the roof. Going out to investigate, there are frozen turds falling upon the roof. Something is flying off. When asked, our host is very angry at their continued assault and insult. He knows of Gannogroth, and marks it upon our map.

As we travel up the mountains, we find plants that don’t belong here and rocks placed in a pleasing array. We find a blind to spot the ice fliers and track them back to their lair. When we do, they smell us on the breeze and sense our approach. We waste no time in attacking. Recalling some facts of Ice Fliers, common pests of Air Sailors, I determined which one was the leader, and focused on him. Gale Cutter and I took out his wings for a moment, causing the other Fliers to try and assert themselves as Leader by intimidating me. I stood unfazed by their challenge and ascended to finish off the leader. After asserting our dominance, and killing one, they fly away with significant injuries.

We return to the estate. We take our respite with a meal. Our host asks if the Governor of Barsaive is available as they are in need of supplies. I let them down easy but promised to arrange a supply caravan to trade goods with them (also to bring a copy of the Book of Tomorrow and Council Compact to be read aloud to the household). Rama gets more details about Gannagroth, and we tell him of the Horror coming. If the waters could be started again, we could travel to the liferock. It was in the center of the lake, which is now a sheer 50-foot drop. He offers us a small sailing vessel and a rowboat we can carry with us.

Kerim Ianjyre tells us that some of his rebellious children left before the Scourge and struck out on their own.

We decide to head to the lake, and see the channel where the water fell into the river. Some of us spot the flash of a cloak as someone jumps behind cover. We also spot the horror statue in the distance, several hours away.

Following the tributary of the lake, we see a statue with lots of glowing pink crystal around it. There are two elf women and an elf man talking to each other and tending the crystals. They have pendants of crystals around their necks, and shards are sewn into their clothing. They notice us and become guarded. They speak Throalic and ask why we’re here. When Rama says we’re here to restart the river, they move to defend the statue. They Name themselves the Parliament of Glass. When I warn them of the approaching Horror, they refer to it as The Savior.

Nasya is the leader/mother. Aesval the Cutter and Yevon (Archer). Later, Brione the Archer appears from the woodline, then Brieni his twin sister.

When I gets closer to the crystals, two of them send shards flying at me. After Aesval and Nasya are killed, Yevon takes Brieni and Gracefully Exits. We dispatch Brione and shatter the crystals on the statue. As we work out the last of the crystals, there’s an underground shudder, and water fountains out of the statue and heads down the riverbed to the lake.

Around the time the lake is properly filled again, the rock horror arrives upon the scene. When it sees it can’t cross the lake, it slowly dissolves and shrinks into nothing.

We use the rowboat Kerim loaned us to traverse the lake and reach the liferock of Gannogroth. Rama leans into the liferock and tries to merge with it. Soon, another Obsidiman emerges and embraces Rama. They are surprised to find that they have been moved. Others begin to emerge as well.

I use Empathic Sense on Rama during his reunion. His joy was so pure and overwhelming, I started crying at once. I can only hope that seeing Wyrm Wood for the first time will be as impactful.

Across the lake, we see members of the Ianjyre household watching and crying.

The Brothers believe the Parlament of Glass is a bad translation of the Crystal Dominion. There’s a particular type of Horror that is unlike the others, collectively known as the Crystal Dominion, they like to find places to possess items, people, and locations. The river contains True Water, so it destroyed the construct.

sigfriedmcwild
Posts: 87
Joined: Wed Nov 13, 2019 6:59 am

Re: AAR: [4M] A River(bed) Runs to It (2020-05-17 2300 GMT)

Post by sigfriedmcwild » Sat May 23, 2020 6:40 am

From "Notes on the world outside the kaers" as penned by Norg

Rama, the obsidiman Warrior I had the pleasure of travelling with and eating the cooking of a few month prior, sent a message asking to if would join him on the next step of his journey. Before I could get too worried about the macabre implications, he clarified that he'd found information about the location of his liferock and wanted to check on it.

We were joined by Sandrin, Zvilyn and a t'skrang Illusionist named Moe'uhaune who I had not met before. Yet again we went into the mountains, but at least the rains seem to have finally let up.

The others all seemed to know what was going on and Rama briefly explained that we were looking for the dried bed of a river that would move with the liferock and it was somehow tied to stopping horrors from entering reality through the caves of Koylos with only some kind of magician holding them back. I will be honest and admit I did not really grasp the entire situation.

After a couple of days of trekking we did indeed reach a dried riverbed which looked rather out of place. For one thing the water would have had to flow uphill, for another it did not follow any of the surrounding land features and it stopped abruptly from in the middle of a meadow. From then on we followed this displaced river towards its source.

The next day, Zivilyn, who was taking care of scouting, noticed a massive humanoid of some kind in the distance. It did not appear to move but after about a minute it had shifted position slightly. Some quick estimations by Sandrin told us that it was likely moving towards the same goal we were. Further observation also revealed it was some kind of crystal statue and it moved by dissolving into the ground and forming up a few yards ahead.

I pushed for us to try and intercept the entity before it could get close to the liferock and endanger it, this was easy since its movement was so slow. As we got closer and get a better look we realised it was shaped vaguely like an obsidiman but far, far larger and made of salt crystals whose surfaces shifted in impossible ways. The others mentioned something about a location called the "salt cellar" as a possible source of the entity. Moe wondered if it was some kind of illusion while Zivilyn took a look astrally finding it even more confusing and disturbing there. It was also leaving a trail of horror taint behind which revealed its true nature.

Unwilling to let this thing get closer to anything it wanted to approach, I stood near where it would emerge on its next move and struck it as it was reforming. The blow was a solid hit but failed to even mar the crystals. Master was right, I still had a long road ahead of me on the path of the Gauntlet.

Since we could not stop or redirect the horror construct, we decided that our next best option was to get to the liefrock as quickly as possible. We resumed our journey, quickly leaving the construct behind. Barely a few hours later, Zivilyn spots some figures along the riverbank and a shadow further up in the mountain. The figures by the riverbed turned out to be elves wearing curtains or tapestries as togas, definitely an unusual fashion statement, and wielding some really crude weapons. The made it clear they wanted us to stop, but spoke only Sperethiel and some language none of us could understand.

Sandrin and Rama took the lead here, since they were the only two of our group that spoke a language the elves could understand. From what they told me, the elves seemed to be both confused and not quite sure of where they were. We were taken to their home, a Theran style mansion that looked as out of place as the elves themselves. There we found a few more elves and bunch of humans, dwarves, and windlings.

Since I could not understand the language, most of what I describe next is a retelling of how Rama and Sandrin described the events. The elves were Therans who had set up their own kaer in the mansion. The humans, dwarves, and windlings were slave servants. Since the kaer was so small, the humans were showing some fairly strong deformities due to inbreeding. Since they were Therans, they assumed that Moe, Zivilyn, and I were Sandrin's or Rama's slaves, but at least they acquiesced and let us inside when they were corrected.

Inside we met the patriarch of the family, an old Theran functionary, who explained that they were sure their house used to be far to the east, but could not recall any names of specific locations. Looking at the state of the inside, it seems likely that they ran out of supplies like clothes at some point and had to resort to using tapestries, curtains, and carpets for clothing.

As Sandrin and Rama chatted, there was a weird noise from the roof. I went outside to check and found a frozen turd falling to the ground. Apparently this was a "present" from a nearby group of Icefliers. The patriarch seemed to know about Rama's liferock, his mansion had been built near it along the river, and offered to give us directions and information if we removed the flying monkeys.

We made our way up the side of the valley and shortly found the proverbial barrel of monkeys, the fight was brief and irritating but not dangerous and we were back at the mansion within a couple of hours. There we were offered a feast of biscuits and hard tack and only Rama's culinary skills saved us from that tragic fate. Over food we got some more information about our situation: the liferock was on an island in the middle of the river and would be hard to reach without water, the source of the river would be a bit further from the liferock, marked by a statue. The patriarch also suggested that a salt construct may have issues crossing a river, especially one rich in true water as this one should be.

Sandrin promised to let Throal know about the mansion so that supplies could be sent. He would also make sure that the supplies came with a copy of the Compact and the Book of Tomorrow and people prepared to read those to anyone who could not read them themselves.

Fed, we set off again with a borrowed rowboat. The island was only a couple of hours further along, and would indeed be hard to reach without water as the riverbed dropped surprisingly far with sheer walls. We continued on up a cliff and a dried waterfall and soon reached a statue in the riverbed.

The statue was surrounded by weird pinkish glowing crystals and 3 elves wearing leathers decorated with more crystal shards, I was later told these were two of the Theran old man's children that had left for unspecified reasons. Left and got busy since the third seemed to be the daughter of the siblings. These elves spoke Throalic but as soon as Rama mentioned restoring the river flow the "mother" decided she wanted us dead instead.

The fight was brief and brutal, the elves were clearly deranged even if the "mother" had a keen grasp of tactics and directed her three children, yes two more popped out of hiding, with skill. Skill alone still loses to skill and brute force as Rama and I proceeded to dismantle the "mother" and eldest daughter while Sandrin engaged the "father" and Moe and Zivilyn magnified our prowess.

Soon after the first two kills the "father" ran off with his remaining daughter, leaving his male child to our mercy. The siblings had made some cryptic comments about serving a "parliament of glass" which given the other going ons we assumed to be horror related. This led to our decision to be light on the details about the fate of his children with the patriarch when we saw him again, nobody wants to be told "we found you long lost children, they are incestuous horror cultists".

Clearing the crystal from the statue was a simple job, even if it tried to zap us repeatedly. With that done water started flowing again and filled the riverbed surprisingly fast, so we made our way back to the island.

Here we got to see the beautiful and no longer dry waterfall fill the river just in time for the horror construct to arrive and try to cross it. I admit not really believing the old man when he said the water would stop it, but even a Theran can be right: the construct could not reform in the flowing water and each time it attempted it lost part of its mass, eventually wearing down to nothing. Elementalists say that water quneches fire, but it did seem quite good at washing away earth too.

Finally we grabbed the boat and made it across and Rama reconnected to his liferock. I still know very little of the connection between obsidimen and their liferocks so I can only describe the basic events of what happened next: obsidimen started walking out of the crystalline surfaces of the liferock, first one, then more and more. The first one to emerge hugged Rama and started talking with him in a much less disturbing family reunion that the elven one would have been.

When asked Rama's brothers had some information on this "parliament of glass", they said it was a mistranslation of something closer to "crystal dominion", a kind of horror that did not target namegivers directly but rather things around them, which sounded like the thing in the caves of Koylos, the salt construct is also something a Crystal Dominion could create.

Post Reply