Forgotten Suns: Log - Kether Rock
From DivNull RPG
|22nd day of Resplendent Wood, RY 769|
|Chiaroscuro||21 Mar 2006|
Before dawn, the circle snuck into the Tears of Heaven, where they were greeted by Hammer in the Woods. She gave them simple hooded cloaks with which to conceal themselves and led them up a long spiral ramp. From a hallway, they could hear voices coming from a large amphitheater and Hammer motioned them in. The theater seats were half filled with people in robes similar to those the circle wore. In the center were a group of people in different robes, with colored sashes. A man in the center appeared to lead them.
Dawn struck as the circle sat down, and with it the outer wall of the amphitheater became transparent. The rays of the morning reflected off of numerous fixtures in the room, filling it with prismatic flashes. The group in the center began to pray, giving thanks to the Unconquered Sun and other gods for the delivery of the Shining Ones, their salvation. When this well rehearsed offering finished, half of the acolytes in the center took up martial arts stances and held them while the rest prostrated themselves, intoning mantras. Combined with the prismatic display, the droning was hypnotic, with much of the audience joining in.
Once the sun was completely clear of the horizon, the acolytes filed out of the room, leaving the leader in the center. Introducing himself as Krej Mu, the leader welcomed the audience to the Cult of the Illuminated. He told them of the glorious First Age, when all lived in harmony. During this time, a prophesy was made, one that only recently came to light, a prophesy known as the Five Promises. While he explained the promises and what they meant, the prismatic flashes still dancing around the room formed images in the corner of the audience's eyes, acting out what Krej Mu was describing. (Gutts saw images of someone in his suit of armor fighting off attackers.) Mu was convincing, and by the end of the service, many members of the audience applauded.
After the service was done and the audience filed out, Hammer introduced the circle to Mu. She then dismissed him, and took the circle into an adjoining room. She explained that she had been in contact with the leaders of the training camp she had mentioned. They had agreed to train the circle without requiring them to take the full three year training regimen. She referenced a door at the end of the chamber and told the circle that behind the door lay a large mirror, which could be used for communication with the leaders of the training camp, who agreed to the training on the following conditions:
- The cash, most of the drugs and much of the armor seized from the Velvet Savor Vineyard be handed over to them.
- The circle swear oaths bound by eclipse caste solars never to reveal in any way the location or purpose of the camp, its personnel, or the cult itself.
- Optionally, each member of the circle touch the mirror, which will reveal the training to which they will be most suited and they attempt to follow the mirrors revelation.
- Each one will be asked to perform a specific task.
Gutts went first, finding a man and a woman, both in armor, in the mirror. The woman greeted him by name and introduced herself as Maduka Shin, master of Kether Rock. The man, Michael, introduced himself as the camp's warmaster. Gutts touched the mirror, which suggested that brawling might be his most suitable talent. Michael seemed pleased with that. Maduka then asked Gutts, before his brawl training, to pretend to be interested in learning the Fire-Dragon style and, when in the desert with the style's trainer, Cathak Garel Gaton, kill him. Gutts asked no questions, answering only "no problem". Maduka indicated that they would deny any involvement in this act, but that they would leave it to Gutts whether or not to involve his circle mates.
Stag went into the room next, immediately identifying Maduka as a sidereal. She asked Stag to remove his mask, which he did. Touching the mirror revealed that Stag should be trained in Earth-Dragon style martial arts and Prismatic Arrangement of Creation style. Maduka apologized for not being able to offer further training in the Violet Bier of Sorrows style. Their brief conversation appeared to baffle Michael, who said nothing during the entire visit. Maduka confided on of the camp's weaknesses in Stag, dependence on a single water source, controlled by a spirit named Shimmering White Eyes. Recently, the water has occasionally turned bitter, for no evident reason. Maduka asked Stag to track down the spirit, figure out what was going on, and correct the situation.
The visit with Guen lasted a bit longer than the others, as he was the only one who asked many questions. They also were a bit puzzled on how to handle him, interested in what he wanted. They also claimed ignorance on how to handle a problem. Within their camp, one of their number, a adept decon named Jak the Outrider. He is night caste solar who has gained the affection of an untattooed lunar girl named Faithful Pia. While she is desperate to be harmless, but underneath lies a beast waiting to come out. Maduka asked Guen to remove Pia from the camp by any means that would not cause a furor. Guen suggests that the proper thing to do is bring Pia to be tattooed, and perhaps returned when she has more control. Maduka left the matter to him, but suggested that they'd be interested in talking to an emissary from the Silver Pact if Guen could arrange it, though they left him struggling with how to do so without betraying the oath of secrecy he just took.
Varden was asked to covertly steal an onyx dragon figurine from the room of Pearl Fist, a solar who dwells within the main fortress, and plant it in the room of another soldier, Beneficent Hill. When asking why, Varden was told the intent was to cause the two solars to come to blows, testing their faith.
When asked to spy on Stag, Jorias respectfully refused, concealing his anger at the request. He apologizes, but their training is not worth that much to him. As he is about to leave, they call him back, claiming that he "passed the test" and agree to train him anyway. This made Jorias even more suspicious, though he kept this to himself.
All were told that sharing the specifics of their mission with the rest of the circle was up to them, and they almost instantly traded stories about what they were asked to do.
|Chiaroscuro||28 Mar 2006|
The circle tied up some loose ends for the remainder of the day. Gutts freed Emily and Morton, giving them the elephant and a bunch of money. After going on a shopping spree, mostly for new clothing in preparation for desert life, they headed back to the Tears of Heaven. On a large balcony, high in the spire of the glass tower, a wooden ship named Rebuttal rested in a wooden cradle. The ship lacked sails, but was large enough to voyage the ocean holding dozens of people and quite a bit of cargo. The captain of this ship, a dressed in a simple elegance, introduced himself as Obsidian Scream.
The captain administered the oaths of secrecy to the the circle, sanctifying it to heaven, then asked them to get comfortable for an all-night trip.
Once the circle, joined by Hammer and Ox, got settled, the captain conjured a mass of beautiful feathered wings of all sizes and colors nearly 500 feet long. The mark of the eclipse caste shone brightly on the captains brow as he ordered the spirit to take the ship into the air. Massive taloned feet grabbed the boat and lifted it into the night. In the dim light of the city below, a red haze continued to hang in the streets.
|23rd day of Resplendent Wood, RY 769|
|Kether Rock||21 Mar 2006|
The circle arrive at Kether Rock at dawn, the winged spirit setting the boat down on scaffold designed to hold it. As the boat is being unloaded, the circle is informed that they must stay outside the camp. This makes Stag surly, and he sarcastically declines food and water.
Varden gets to work building an extremely cool two-story hut out of stone, complete with a water collection system and windmill that turned fans inside. The rest of the circle spent the day gathering food and water.
Training With the Cult
|24th day of Resplendent Wood, RY 769|
|Kether Rock||21 Mar 2006|
Training began with the circle being told they must go south into the desert with no weapons or armor and they must reach a crystal in desert by noon. Stag asks lots of annoying questions. Jorias summons 3 horses, Guen flies and Gutts leaps. They make good time until they are ambushed by 10 sandswimmers.
|Kether Rock||4 Apr 2006|
They sandswimmers are dispatched in fairly short order, but Jorias doesn't dodge as well as he should and gets cut up fairly badly. Nearly everyone gets poisoned, fighting the effects until they reach the crystal. When they each touch the crystal, they get a message from their trainer:
- Varden told by Masked Ox to head west to train in the pinnacle charm of Snake style. Falling Jewel and Ebon Shadow?
- Gutts told to head south to meet Copper Hand to learn melee.
- Guen flew east to meet Perfect Mountain for tiger style.
- Jorias told to stay by the crystal to meet Tepet Surla to learn Air-Dragon martial arts.
- Stag was greeted by Hammer with "Hiya, sexy!" and told to go north (back to the camp) to meet her for training. He went, only to find a note saying "a real sidereal could find me". Stag elected to completely ignore Hammer and puttered around the house.
Meanwhile, in Chiaroscuro, the Red Haze finally disperses.
|25th-28th day of Resplendent Wood, RY 769|
As rest of the group trains, Stag becomes a bat with God Ways and eventually finds (as Flowing Pen) Shimmering White Eyes deep in the recesses of the camp's manse, behind a fissure that only very small things can fit through. White Eyes is lonely, and pines for Ivory Manacle who used to visit her.
|1st-3rd day of Descending Wood, RY 769|
|Kether Rock||21 Mar 2006|
Training continues, with even Stag finally joining in, learning from Hammer.
Gutts comes close to killing Cathak Garel Gaton after a pretty close battle, but spares him, taking the emblem from his armor and telling him "it's obvious you're no longer wanted here, so get out of here."
Guen meets Jak and pitches lunar tattooing. He indicates that he'll ask Pia and meet Guen the following night, but they never show up.
|4th-28th day of Descending Wood, RY 769|
|Kether Rock||11 May 2006|
Blind Waterfall, a big black guy with shocking blue eyes trains Gutts in brawling. The training mostly happens over deep, magma filled fissures, and is some of the most difficult training Gutts has ever done.
Guen gets several trainers, after Ox teaches him an additional tiger charm that he was not actually supposed to teach. While doing so, on the fifth day of Descending Wood, Enya returns with a message from Korlysto.
On the night of the full moon, the circles gossamer armor decays a bit more, but the lunar cycle causes no other problems.
|1st-14th day of Ascending Fire, RY 769|
On the 11th, largely done with his training, Varden (with Guen) sneaks into the camp using passageways discovered by Stag. With his new stealth abilities, he steals an onyx dragon figurine from Pearl Fist while he sleeps and plants it in the empty room of Beneficent Hill. Varden doesn't realize until later how similar looking the figurine is to those given to the group by Fakharu. Having completed the crime undetected, Varden spots Hill deep in the facility, having sex with someone. He moves on, also evading detection by Shimmering White Eyes. Lacking the will to fuel the magic he needs to get out, he is forced to sleep in the cavern.
The night of the full moon that month (the 14th) is eventful. The gossamer armor some of the group wears degrades in the face of reality a bit more. Guen fights off the effects of the full moon, but the circle later hears that Pia was not so lucky, becoming a beastman and savagely wounding Jak, including ripping off and eating his ear. Days later, an ashamed Pia meets Guen and agrees to go with him.
|15th day of Ascending Fire, RY 769|
|Kether Rock||16 May 2006|
With the circle's training done, Rebuttal returns to take the circle back to Chiaroscuro. Maduka Shin meets them on the deck to bid them farewell. There was a commotion on the previous day and Maduka indicates that Beneficent Hill killed Pearl First over a disagreement. From her tone it is clear that she finds the weakness of both of them personally insulting. After enduring some pointed inferences from Stag, she asks them to keep an eye out for several things:
- Rumors of the White Queen keep coming up. Maduka would like her tracked down and someone from the camp contact her.
- Any information regarding Thorns is always welcome.
- The camp wants to capture deathnight for "study".
- Other solars should be contacted and put in touch with someone in the camp.
- The other training camp is misguided, but secretive, so information on it would be useful as well.
- A solar who calls himself Husk as been "apparently waging a one man war against the Fair Folk". The camp would like to meet him.
To facilitate communication, Hammer gives the group a transport jar, so that they can get messages to each other when needed. The circle also grudgingly contacts Adrios, letting him know they will be coming by the manse.
|Kether Rock||13 June 2006|
Once the circle is airborne, the ship captain (Obsidian Scream) gives each of them a small, sealed scroll. Each scroll contains a message from warmaster Michael. Once done reading his, Jorias flicks it over the side of the boat and incinerates it with a Fiery Solar Chakram. Though usually chatty about such things, only Jorias discusses what is in his message, indicating that the Michael claims the Book of Three Circles rests with a First Age lunar named Raski, Queen of Fangs. Guen knows that this lunar has a reputation for eating intruders, or pretty much anyone who crosses her.
Stag asks Obsidian about the wyld and how to defend against it. He provides basic information about the various stages of the wyld, but doesn't have much practical experience with it. While this is going on, Jorias also casts Mist of Eventide into Gutt's capturing cord.
The circle talks a bit about various loose ends, but decide their best bet is to head to the Forgotten Manse first, then drop off Pia with Korlysto and see about his Fair Folk problem. The ship arrives in Chiaroscuro toward the evening, so the circle rests in the Tears of Heaven.
|16th day of Ascending Fire, RY 769|
|Chiaroscuro||13 June 2006|
Retrieving Cloudwalking Ingot is first on the agenda, so the circle took it out of hiding, moving it to the same platform inside of Tears of Heaven on which Rebuttal landed. In the trunk of the vehicle, the transport jar from the mine was found to contain a number of letters. The first, dated 19 Resplendent Wood, RY 769, said:
Dearest cousin -
Last Evny is now a wanted man. If anyone knows he coming to you, I expect you'll be receiving orders about him shortly. If no one does, so much the better. If I were you, I'd see to it that, once your business is concluded, you see to it that Last Envy never makes it home.
Let me know that you are safe and what happens.
24 Resplendent Wood, RY 769
Dearest cousin -
I simply can contain myself no longer. Has Envy showed up? What has happened?
3 Descending Wood, RY 769
Dearest cousin -
Are you all right? I am getting frightened.
15 Descending Wood, RY 769
Dearest cousin -
I fear the worst. Please send me a sign that you are well.
The circle thought about sending a message back, but figured it might be more wise to see if anything had happened to the mine in the interim. Since Guen wanted to go retrieve some of the hide of Mutoxis to give as a gift to Korlysto, a side trip back to the mine is planned; however, due to the large amount of stuff the circle wants to bring back, they decide they should hit the manse first.
Concerned about fighting Fair Folk, Gutts picks up an array of iron weapons, both for use when they go into the wyld and in defense of the manse. He also grabs a number of weapons made from the famous Chiroscuro glass for the manse as well. Guen picks up a number of glass weapons to give fellow lunars as gifts. To fuel his new martial arts skill, Jorias grabs a number of exceptional chakram, as well as some made from iron. Stag tracks down a vendor who sells masks made of iron, and buys three different kinds, each with spiked horns. They also picked up a handful of tools and various seeds, seedlings and small plants for the manse.
With their shopping done, they piled everything into the vehicle. The two lunars turned into small animals for the ride, and Stag possessed the vehicle itself, leaving Gutts, Jorias and Varden crammed into the bench seat. After enduring flatulence from Gutts (with the aid of his lighter stone), they arrived at the manse just before sunset, storming into the grounds and landing under the arch of the central building. Not knowing who they were, Ranesk growled out to confront them, a conflict stopped by the arrival of Adrios.
Introductions were made all around, and a feast was prepared. Adrios revealed he had a hearthstone fashioned by a deal with a spirit involving a demesne to which he had attuned before meeting the circle. He allowed the spirit to take the demesne as a sanctuary, provided the spirit cause the sanctuary to form a stone that he would then take. He also indicated that Ranesk, quite skilled with shaping plants, had been creating scaffolding and other preparations to reassemble the manse. Once the dinner was over, and after Gutts toyed with inviting and dis-inviting Stag from the manse, both Varden and Stag were allowed to attune to the manse.
|17st-25th day of Ascending Fire, RY 769|
|Forgotten Manse||29 June 2006|
While Varden, Ranesk and everyone else started working to fix the manse, Stag, Guen, and Pia took the Ingot back to the mine. The stopped along the way in the Lap to pay for docking Ghost Envoy of the Dragon for a year. Kardak greeted them with kindness, but considered Pia as something of a challenge. He aimed to toughen her up a bit, even hurling off the mountain to see how she would save herself.
Kardak told them that the mine had seen some activity about five weeks after the circle left. A magical flying ship had come by and disgorged a number of men, who spent several days combing over the mine and the buildings outside. They uncovered two of the warstriders that the circle had hidden and transferred them to the ship, but didn't find the third one. Once they were done, they returned to the ship, and beams of magic streaked from it, leveling the buildings, the manse and the mine entrance. Stag and Guen investigated the mine after this, confirming the story. Not finding much of the site left, they returned to the manse.
Once they returned, the circle spent the next three days assembling all the pieces of the manse, Guen pulling in mammoth form, Ranesk growing plants as scaffolding and rope, Gutts, Adrios and Varden boosting their strength to insane levels and Stag and Jorias monitoring the occult workings of the manse. Some good planning from Varden allowed this to proceed quickly, but finding all the pieces in the jungle proved difficult. Once everything was assembled, the rest of the circle trained while Varden meticulously sealed the cracks with Crack Mending Technique.
On Stag's advice, Varden saved a particular crack inside the spire for last. Once sealed, the essence flows from the rest of the manse flowed into the newly repaired spire. A bevy of strange noises followed, as a slight whine receded and strange cracking and crashing noises came from the ground outside the manse. Adrios, stationed outside the main tower, saw the stained glass sphere stabilize.
Then the manse's hearthstones exploded.