Forgotten Suns: Log - Unshaped Tomb
From DivNull RPG
The Living City
|Misty swamp||7 September 2006|
After licking their wounds, the circle set off again towards the base of the trees holding up the unshaped, Kinaniz. Leaving Bezul behind to guard the Cloudwalking Ingot, the circle climbs the massive trunk. After a bit of confusion, they manage to break through the upper foliage onto a flat surface that gradually becomes a city street. Scattered along the path are multicolored glass statues of humans, frozen in horrified poses, as if recoiling from something up ahead. As the circle continues, the statues become more numerous and Guen can sense that the Essence of living people remains in these statues. Vaguely creeped out by the scene, the circle proceeds slowly until reaching a bridge.
Laying on the bridge is a long dragon made of stained glass. Suddenly, and inexplicably, interested in diplomacy, Gutts steps forward and introduces himself. The dragon responds by breathing acid on everyone. As the dragon brings its four tails to bear against the circle, Jorias jumps on top of the dragon's head. Gutts follows, jumping right into the dragon's mouth.
|Kinaniz - The Glass Lamentation||19 September 2006|
The dragon is so beautiful, the circle feels a pang of magically induced guilt each time they attack it. That doesn't stop them, though. With Gutts cutting away from the inside and the rest of the circle pounding away on the outside, the dragon eventually falls.
In the distance, the circle can see a tall tower. As they continue down the road, they notice that the statues are looking slightly off the path of the road. This becomes more pronounced, eventually turning nearly perpendicular to the road. They decide to follow the gaze of the statues off the road, into a disorganized neighborhood. In a plaza within, they find a monument indicating that, on this spot, Wyr'palja turned the inhabitants of the neighborhood to glass. No reason or other explanation is given, and the circle doesn't know what to make of it.
|Kinaniz - The Perpetual Bustle||19 September 2006|
They move back onto the road, which eventually leads to an open gate. Through the gate, the circle moves deeper into a city, the road seemingly a main drag where much is going on. To much, in fact. It seems as if hundreds of various stories are being acted out by inhabitants, all at once. None of the inhabitants react to the presence of the circle, and only interact with other inhabitants in the same "vignette". Most appear human, but occasional dragon kings or even stranger creatures appear.
The circle travels fairly far down the road through this perpetual bustle before realizing that they are being followed. At first, only a few flying creatures resembling large clusters of wings tail them discretely at a distance. Soon, they spot one or two giant frogs with skin made of water following them on the ground, joined by octopi-like rose brambles. Eventually, a hound with fire for eyes and smoke for a tail and two lizards made of rock crystal join. They keep well back, but their numbers grow as the circle proceeds.
Since they are not actively hostile, the circle leaves them be. Ultimately, they reach a large plaza with a fountain in the center and a circular road around it. Ahead, the road forks, and each fork is filled with creatures just like the ones following them, collectively known as Mute Sentinels. They make no noise and no demands, just stoically blocking progress down the two forks.
Varden runs down a side road, to see if they can go around, but he quickly emerges on the opposite side of the street, the side road somehow feeding around in a loop. Meanwhile, the pack that was following them draws closer. The circle decides to force their way through the left fork, as it appears more likely to lead to the tower they've seen. When the make a move to do so, the sentinels attack, leading to a large brawl in the center plaza.
|Kinaniz - The Perpetual Bustle||22 October 2006|
The sentinels all have their own advantages (dogs all breathe fire, the brambles are poisonous, the wings fly, etc.) but they do not work together very well. The long tongues of the frogs and their sticky saliva cause the group most of the trouble, and allow the sheer numbers of the others to work in the sentinel's favor. Adrios evens the odds, however, using a blur of magic and motion to plant an arrow in every sentinel at once. This kills many of them, and rallies the rest of the circle. Adrios joins the rest of the circle in becoming iconic when he repeats this attack with the remainder of his arrows, killing most of the rest. The circle, anima nearly to bright to look at, mop up the rest.
Exhausted and wounded, the circle gathers as many arrows as they can salvage, then moves a bit down the left fork. Before long, they break into a house (which is empty) and rest.
|Kinaniz - The Vaporous Anchorage||26 October 2006|
After sleep and serious healing from Jorias, the head down the street again, towards the tower. The reach it without incident and realize it is meant to be a tower where air vehicles would dock, though it seems long abandoned and run down. For reasons that make sense to them, they decide to climb to the top of the tower. About halfway up, they hear buzzing and barking that gets louder as they climb. The send Guen ahead and he finds a hive of giant pink wasps, with dog heads. The circle ends up engaging a few of them lower down in the tower, until Stag possesses one and flies up to the top. There, he sees just more wasps. Without anything particularly of interest above, the circle decides to leave and move on.
|Kinaniz - The Consummate Repose||26 October 2006|
They walk, entering an area containing miles of residences, hotels, inns and other places of rest, all looking warm, cosy and inviting. The weather became irritating, with freezing rain and wind. Rightfully suspect of the inviting nature of the inns and hotels, and noticing a compulsion acting on them to rest and clean up, the circle remains steadfastly outside and dirty.
They start to notice a number of mortals in some of the inns they see, clearly being fed on by those who ran the inn. Gutts takes to setting buildings they pass on fire. They come to a crossroads and take neither path, going down the middle instead. They eventually come to the largest, most opulent inn they'd seen, which turns out to also be a bath house and bordello. Peeking inside, they see more mortals in an opium den-like room being tempted by half-naked fair folk. Ignoring the scantily clad woman trying to tempt them into the front door, Gutts smashes a hole in the wall to the opium den. The circle climbs in as the fair folk mostly scatter. The mortals, and a few fair folk, stare sleepily at the circle until Gutts fires up his anima. The ten foot fiery gerbil sends everyone running from any exit they can find. Entering the room calmly against this panic, Blooming Radiance and Purity Song ask the circle if they can be of assistance. Though they appear as an attractive couple, the two make no secret of being noble fair folk and using the inn to feed. Guen, in beastman form, begins a strangely cordial discussion, with the flaming gerbil still looking around the opulent room.
After failing to get much information from the couple, the circle (well, Gutts and Adrios) decides to burn the place while the rest get the remaining mortals out. Stag ignores all this and explores the inn, locating and grabbing the Clean Pillow Wish. After several attempts to bind to it among the circle, Guen eventually succeeded, identifying the pillow for what it is.
Meanwhile, the rest of the circle decides what to do with the humans, who mostly whine about being dirty and tired. They eventually decide to take them along. Some abandon the group and others have to be dragged by Gutts most of the way, but the group travels until the green plants gradually switch to a deep purple-red. After a bit more traveling, they find themselves in something resembling a city park and decide to camp for the night.
|Kinaniz - The Amaranthine Esplanade||19 November 2006|
During the night, a horde of 12,000 six inch tall people rush the camp from all sides, almost from out of nowhere. Stag, on watch, barely manages to yell out a warning before they swarm over the circle. Gutts wakes up and immediately flares his anima. The sight of the 20 foot flaming gerbil sends about a quarter of the diminutive mob running into the night and reveales four units of bigger (about a foot tall) people with bows, one in each direction. While the smaller people seem dressed as farmers, longshoremen and other laborers, these relatively larger troops appear and act more like soldiers. The light from the gerbil also reveals a mob of the tiny people attacking the mortals the circle rescued earlier. The group fends off attacks from swarms of the little people while they raise charms, all except Jorias who doesn't wake up, even after being stabbed by one of the mobs.
As the circle gets up to speed, Gutts slices great swathes through the mobs, Stag digs holes in the ground to bury large groups, and Guen becomes a flurry of fur and claws. Adrios sends flaming arrows into their ranks and, once he got going, Varden knocks large chunks from their ranks. Stag, using a charm to make his skin like orichalcum, starts rolling around to crush large numbers. Within seconds, the ground is covered with a sea of tiny body parts and high-picthed wails.
During the melee, a sudden wind picks up, sending purple leaves screaming through the night. This was part of a narrative shaping from a Fair Folk who could not be seen, attempting to tell the story: ""A mighty wind arose, blowing the purple leaves so quickly, they cut like razors. The exalts cowardly abandoned their human charges and pressed on, leaving the hapless mortals to be blown out of the forest." Stag, not particularly caring about the humans, chooses to accept this narrative, as do a number of humans to weak to resist it. Those humans, about half, are shredded by the leaves and blown a huge distance back the way the party came. The others ignore the narrative, fighting through the leaves and mostly helping the mortals that remain. The trees also seem to get involved, but indecisively. One attacks Jorias when, after finally waking up, he jumps into it, but another prevens Adrios from falling out of it.
At one point in the battle, both Stag and Guen hear an amused laugh off in the distance. As they spread that information to the rest of the circle, nearly everyone hears a voice say "Hmm. I thought this would be more fun. I guess you might as well retreat." Gutts continues to hack into the tiny assault as they turn to retreat, vocally denigrating exalts and praising "the revolution" as they withdrew. More concerned with the voice, Adrios fires a number of flaming arrows various distances into the darkness, trying to illuminate the source of the voice. Stag manages to catch sight of something as an arrow passed it, but it was gone by the time Guen checked it out.
Gutts and Jorias promptly go back to sleep and the others take watch.
In the morning, they continue deeper into the forest, which eventually turns into more of a park, then a garden. They see statues of Wyr'palja in various guises, sometimes with a birdman who was always vandalized, missing a head or a face. Continuing on, they come to a huge palace, about two miles across and suspended a hundred yards above the ground on glass spires.
|Kinaniz - The Imminent Eminence||19 November 2006|
Leaving the remnants of their mortal charges outside, the circle enters the large building. Passing through a door into one of the spires, they find it to be a hollow tube, leading two hundred yards up. Something attempts to convince them of the following reality: "The visitor relaxed and the palace welcomed them, bringing them safely to the top of the tube." Gutts and Varden accept this hospitality and easily float to the top. The others don't trust it and have Guen fly them up.
Inside is a large series of catwalks connecting numerous floating platform gardens. Each platform seems to contain a tribute to some place, person or event, but they make no sense. They obviously try to convey some meaning, but it gets lost in a jumble of psychosis. Under all the catwalks is a large glass model of a huge city.
Led by Gutts' magic map, they track down what turns out to be a mortal, nearly starved to death, staring at a waterfall within one of the gardens. She doesn't remember much about how she got there, or how long she has been there. With the mortal in tow, they look for others.
As they look, they notice that the model is populated by tiny glass people doing a variety of things. Also, the model itself reshapes and moves, changing the city in bizarre ways. The city follows no plan at all, but as they watch for a while, they notice a cycle that repeats, though with different variations each time:
- The city is, briefly, and endless forest. Suddenly, from the center, a wave radiates outward, leaving towers, buildings and roads in its wake all circled by a wall.
- The buildings grow tall and narrow (though never in the same way) and airships fly between them.
- The city freezes, and a vast funeral procession occurs somewhere.
- People suddenly swarm out of lesser buildings and storm more important looking ones. Mobs drag people out of these buildings and kill them.
- Large groups of people suddenly die, falling where they stand. Only a few remain roaming around.
- Hordes of strange people and creatures storm in from the edge of the model and rampage through the city.
- The city ripples and collapses in on itself, sinking into the ground, leaving only an endless forest behind.
On one of the catwalks, hey find an obviously non-mortal woman waiting for them. She introduces herself as Embouchurean and tells them that she serves one of the masters of this place.
|Kinaniz - The Imminent Eminence||22 November 2006|
Both Embouchurean and the circle ask each other questions, but the answers given by all only confuse everyone. Eventually, the circle convinces Embouchurean to get her master to talk to them directly. One of the tiny glass people from the model below flies up to the catwalk and grows slightly. It introduces himself as Misplaced Promise, "inhabiting this poppet to converse with you". He demands to know why they are here. The circle prevaricates a bit, but eventually mentions they are seeking a tomb. A long discussion follows, during which Promise makes a deal with them: he tells them how to get to the tomb, in exchange for a promise that, should the circle gain entrance, they allow him inside as well. They eventually agree, but not with much enthusiasm. He gives them a decent idea of what they will face along the way as well, but its clear he doesn't know what's in the tomb, but thinks that finding out will "complete" him somehow.
|Kinaniz - The Sauroid Mnemonic||22 November 2006|
The party moves on into a strange neighborhood of a city, all built around curves and triangles, and scaled slightly larger than human size. Though it is abandoned, artwork makes it clear that the inhabitants were lizard-like creatures very similar to Ranesk. Jorias and Stag realize that there is a large body of writing on all of the artwork, with enough context that they may be able to decipher it. Jorias thinks this might be of great help to Ranesk, and Stag agrees for his own reasons. The rest of the circle couldn't care less about the language, but want to take time to train, so the circle and their mortal flock settles into the area for a while.
After three weeks, and quite a bit of learning magic, Jorias and Stag learn quite a bit about the Dragon Kings, while the others train, and the mortals get very bored.
|Kinaniz - The Determined Citadel||29 November 2006|
The circle moves on to the next section, which they know will contain opposition in the form of something called the Regency. They move through some tunnels to get to a large stronghold made of trees. They elect to leave the mortals behind, and scale the walls to get in. A large cadre of poppets seems to get out of their way as the move deeper into the castle. Eventually, all paths seem to reach a central courtyard, where the Regency and Revolting Proletariat wait.
The circle engage them both, in spite of reality turing against them. After a few attacks against the Regency fail, they figure out that only magically backed attacks can hit him. The Regency, however, isn't prepared for Stag attacking at range and cutting through his armor, so falls fairly quickly. Meanwhile, Gutts uses magic to fly into a killing rage.
|Kinaniz - The Determined Citadel||19 December 2006|
It doesn't take long for the circle to take on Proletariat and Stag lands a flurry of blows backed by his newfound knowledge of the Earth Dragon, turning the behemoth to stone. Unphased, Gutts keeps hacking at the rock, then starts tracking down other enemies to kill. The circle attempts to intervene, without letting Gutts know. After he shrugs off one sleep spell (with some help from Guen, who thought the Fair Folk were trying to poison him), Gutts gets possessed by Stag, who tries to knock him out by jumping off a balcony, face first into the ground below. Gutts armor protects him from the worst of this. Gutts pushes out Stag and continues his rampage, with Guen using charms to pump up Gutts' virtues. Varden finds the whole scene childish and offensive (gaining limit) while Gutts manages to overcome yet another sleep spell and attacks from the flowing cobblestone floor (now animated by Stag). Stag engages Gutts attention for quite a while, but he eventually overcomes the stone and Stag is tossed out of it as well.
When Gutts finds some enemies asleep from the first spell, his newfound Temperance makes him consider ending the charm and, therefore, the killing spree, but he blows the test needed to end the charm, so is forced to suppress his Temperance and gain limit. A later check also causes him to override his newfound Compassion as well. Eventually, running deeper into the castle (and out of the zone of protection from the Wyld generated by Stag's artifact), he runs out of enemies and comes to his senses.
By this time, the party had elected to ignore him, searching the body of the Regency instead, finding a number of gossamer weapons and armor, but not much else. While pointedly ignoring Gutts, the party rests for a night.
|Kinaniz - The Thoroughfare Lattice||5 Jan 2007|
Having been told the way to the tomb, the circle regroups and follows the instructions, winding down a corridor that takes them to the bottom of a well. Peeking up the well, Varden sees a vast spherical room above. In the exact center floats a large rocky area on which a marble building rests. The building is upside down, and the rock it is on seems anchored by a web of chitinous buttresses that connect to the sides of the spherical room. Millions of multi-colored flower petals slowly float in the air of the sphere, making it hard to see.
Stairs lead up the sides of the well to the sphere, but when the circle tries to use them, arrows rain down from above. They also feel a story trying to enforce itself on them: "the heroes see the impressive display and run away, avoiding the freehold's guards." They resist, but doing so constantly distracts them. Once prepared, they rush into the well again, most leaping into the webbing within the sphere. Adrios stays in the well, sniping targets from a distance. Varden stays there as well, covering Adrios.
As they do, the realize that there is no gravity within the sphere. They also spot some of their adversaries. Floating between the circle and the building above, a strange woman with a dragon tail and covered with purple scales fires arrows at them with great precision. The circle guesses this is Cahlenna, having been captured by the unshaped and forced to guard the tomb. Surrounding her are her Petal_Guard, androgynous warriors, bald, with pointed ears and covered in bright body paint and even brighter silk. These all hold knives and a nearly religious fervor burns in their eyes. Arrows also continue to rain from further away, but the petals prevent the circle from seeing their source.
Varden continually makes distracting gestures at Cahlenna, greatly messing with her attacks. This earns him her wrath, and she concentrates fire on him, which he largely dodges. Still firing as the rest of the circle closes, she starts to say "Perhaps we can come to some sort of an…" but stops when she notices Guen in beastman form. Seeing this, she immediately yells "kill the lunar!"
As the arrows start to target Guen almost exclusively, the opposition unleashes shaping attacks against the circle. Some Ring shaping succeeds, forcing two of the circle to spend Willpower to avoid it. The androgynous warriors use sword shaping against various artifacts in the circle's possession. Most of these fail, but Gutts grand daiklave and Jorias' armor get claimed by the raksha. Though this does not transfer physical possession of the items, it allows the raksha to deattune the solars from these artifacts, making them dead weight. Fortunately for Gutts, the zero gravity and his enhanced strength allow him to continue swinging his sword, though with less effectiveness.
|Kinaniz - The Thoroughfare Lattice||2 Feb 2007|
The circle focusses on the Cahlenna, but the androgynous warriors continually intercept attacks against her with their own bodies. The hidden archers also inflict quite a bit of damage. Jorias attempts to find one of the archers, moving away from the central battle to track him down. His now de-attuned armor makes him sluggish, but he spots something that looks like a humanoid tree with a wicked looking bow. Closing the distance, he exchanges ranged attacks with him, getting the worse end of it. Realizing he needs to close more rapidly, he grabs one hand onto the chitinous "webbing", then catches an arrow fired at him, using its momentum to whip around the webbing and carry him back to the arrow's source. This isn't enough however, and Jorias falls unconscious. From far below, however, Adrios manages to finally take out the archer.
While this was going on, Guen uses his own senses to find the other hidden archer and dispatch him with his bow. Gutts and Adrios manage to make some headway against Cahlenna and her guard, with Gutts knocking the guard far away from the battle and Varden continuing to provide distraction from below.
Meanwhile, Stag largely bypasses the battle, drifting up to the roof of the building above. As he gets near, he can feel the tug of gravity, and flips around to stand on the roof, looking up at the battle now "above" him. As the battle rages on, he leaps down a level to find a large set of doors. He tries to open these but gets a large shock when he touches the door.
|Kinaniz - The Thoroughfare Lattice||2 March 2007|
Guen makes it back over to Gutts and takes down a few more of the Guard. Gutts finally manages to land decent blows on Cahlenna and kills her. With her death, the fight goes out of her guard immediately, most of whom just stare in stunned silence as Gutts finishes them off.
The circle gathers up the bodies of their enemies and lands on the roof of the building to sort through their gear. They stabilize Jorias, but he remains unconscious. Varden claims the Ophidian Kata Rings worn by Cahlenna and Adrios takes one of her arrows, tipped by an Essence Union Dart that she tried to use on Varden. The group looks through the rest of the gossamer gear and considers various pieces. Guen finds a sphere of topaz on Cahlenna and determines it is the physical manifestation of a Srishti oath called the Topaz Mind. He eventually decides to swear an oath of his own to claim it.
Grave of the Founder
|Kinaniz - The Reclaimed Sepulcher||9 March 2007|
After resting long enough for Jorias to recover and debating for far too long, the circle decide to enter the tomb. Inexplicably, Jorias refuses to heal others in the circle at first, conserving his essence. The door opens at the touch of Varden, leading to large room with a pool and a statue of a winged woman holding a spear. Three stairs lead down to the pool, then three more lead up on the other side to a set of double doors. Intricately carved glass birds of all breeds, sizes and colors birch on the side walls. Recognizing this room from their collective vision, the group proceeds carefully. The birds begin to flutter when Varden and Stag moves onto the first step. From there, Stag sees the statue says "Wyr'Palja".
Guen tries to fly across the room, but as soon as he passes the stairs, the birds erupt into motion, filling the room with flying glass. Guen takes quite a bit of damage but makes it across. He reaches the door, but is unable to open it. The birds remain flying and without much discussion, Varden and Gutts storm across the room. Varden manages to dodge most of the birds, but Gutts get a bit cut up. Stag, Jorias and Adrios stay where they are.
Varden manages to pick the lock on the door and, once it opens, the birds land back on the side walls. The rest of the group crosses without issue and go through the door. They enter into a very large room, created as a tribute to Wyr'palja. The main part of the room is divided by a circle of columns surrounding a strange pattern on the floor, in front of a sarcophagus.
The walls of the "outer" portion of the room are covered in art, featuring lots of bird motifs and scenes from Wyr'palja's life and other images, including:
- A large mosaic which appears to be a map of Creation as it existed in the First Age. Stag had Fern make a copy of it.
- A winged Wyr'palja's holds a caduceus up to a hideous dragon that appears to be made of shadows of people. Stag guess this to be the Ebon Dragon.
- Standing on the tip of a tree, Wyr'palja raises a city from the forest.
- Wyr'palja surrounded by strange symbols (salt, quicksilver, gold, etc.)
- Numerous small paintings of Wyr'palja's life and exploits. Fighting various creatures, lecturing, teaching alchemy, spell craft, etc. In one, she stands over an apparently dead woman, channeling energy into her mouth while others battle a dark force in the background
- No references at all are made to a lunar lover.
Varden checks out the sarcophagus and with a number of Craft charms, figures out that it is actually a solid piece of rock, more like a non-functional sculpture of a crypt than an actual coffin. He also notices that it is magically trapped, and guess that tampering with it would cause a massive energy release. Around this time, Gutts gets fed up with bleeding, and demands healing from Jorias, who grudgingly agrees.
Jorias and Stag examine the pattern on the floor, three circles of glass- or gem-like substance embedded into the floor, one green, one blue, one clear, with lines leading to a smaller circle in front of the sarcophagus. Meanwhile, Guen finds a large rack of jars, bottles and containers against one wall. He finds three large braziers made of magical materials, one made of the five types of jade, one made of moonsilver and starmetal, one made of orichalcum. At about the same time, Stag finds small triangular indentations in the circles, and before long the circle figures out that feet of these braziers fit perfectly into the indentations.
Guen's magically enhanced sense of smell, picks up residue in the bottom of the braziers, and he manages to look through the rack of bottles to find the sources of the smells. It takes a while, but Guen makes his best guess at what was in each brazier. Without knowing what will happen, the circle adds the mixture, then ignites the braziers. Each pot releases a white smoke which swirls toward the sarcophagus, catching in a slow vortex around the smaller circle in front of it. The circle gets brave and walks onto the circle. They all vanish.
|Wyr'palja's Mausoleum||14 March 2007|
The group appears in a large marble room, filled with a number of warrior statues. Lighting the room with their anima reveals a collection of blades connected by chains floating toward them. As it attacks, they see another. The battle doesn't start well, with most of the circles attacks doing no damage, and the blades managing to score some hits. Guen eventually realizes that the automaton are somehow being animated by dematerialized demons, and attacks directly against them work a bit better. Only Guen and Adrios have any ability to affect dematerialized beings, but they put it to good use.
During the fight, Stag opens one set of doors in the room and starts running down an arcing hallway they reveal. He passes several other doors in the hall until finding a set of all the way around the arc of a circle. By then, the rest of the circle has dispatched the demons, and some have run to join him, leaving the tangled remains of the automatons in heaps behind them.
They open the door to reveal a room filled with crystal sculptures of trees, like a forest made of glass. As soon as the open the door, it begins to rain within the room. It doesn't take long for them to realize that the rain is actually a strong acid, which seems not to affect the trees, but burns metal and organic material very quickly.
After some discussion, Varden uses his shield artifact to project a wall of force like a canopy between the entry door and an exit they spot across the room. He pumps a lot of essence into it, and the circle rushes across, relatively unharmed. The door opens at Stag's touch.
|Wyr'palja's Mausoleum||10 May 2007|
Behind the door lies a circular room with a mandala pattern on the floor, with a large, slowly spinning sphere in the center. As soon as they enter, all the circle get a strong sense of dry reality, pushing away the influence of the Wyld that has been around them for weeks. They can make no sense of the runes on the sphere, but do notice a hearthstone socket on the bottom pole. Not finding any exits, they decide to place one of their captured hearthstones in the socket to see what happens. Upon adding a level 4 air stone, the sphere begins to spin faster and faster. Once it reaches speed, the room shakes briefly and large, thudding bangs are heard from outside. After this, all is silent, the sphere spinning merrily away.
In spite of obvious distress outside the tomb, the circle continues, discovering a false floor underneath the sphere, revealing small space with a five foot ceiling and stairs leading down. The short ceiling continues down the stairs and into a two yard hallway. On each side of the two yard hallway are extremely realistic paintings of what the circle assumes are dragon-blooded in ornate jade armor. Each kneels on one knee, their swords at rest like crosses, point-down with a hand resting on the pommel. All bow their heads, more in shame than reverence. At the end of the hall is a door, ornately decorated with the five colors of jade. A theme of wings and birds is consistent throughout, with the solar imagery on the right giving way to lunar on the left. Stag notices that the patterns on the door are actually stylized Old Realm writing, saying:
Beside her, in death as in life, lies the silver rain that saved millions by killing one.
After a bit of discussion about the panel, Varden examines the lock on the door, intending to pick it. With most of the rest of the circle stooping behind him, as soon as he touches the door, phantom swords thrust out of the paintings into the hallway, each with an elemental effect on it related to the dragon-blooded from which it springs. Once triggered, the trap doesn't seem to continue, and Varden picks the lock and opens the door.
The room ahead continues the low ceiling, and is jam packed with four foot ceramic jugs, amphora and other vessels, all painted to look like jade. One jug is removed, dragged back up to the room with the sphere, and opened. It contains spoiled food, and Jorias and Stag speculate that most of the jars will contain similar mundane contents, food for the afterlife.
Forced to clear most of the jugs to enter the room, the circle starts to haul them into the sphere room, passing them up in a fire-brigade style chain. Doing so rouses fifteen Grave Hornets, who sneak onto most of the circle, and inject their magical venom into them. The circle manages to destroy them and fight off the effects of the poison, though the hornets would tend to explode when damaged, causing slivers of metal to inject even more poison.
Originally intending just to make a path into the room, the circle notices strange paintings on the walls, and decides to clear out all of the jugs to see them. They are surprised to see that the paintings are fairly macabre, disturbing, and not at all flattering to Wyr'palja. Among the scenes:
- Wyr'palja turning a neighborhood into glass.
- Wyr'palja fanatically engrossed in an experiment while mortal servants helping her are being burned and crushed to death in the background.
- Wyr'palja idly watching while vicious creatures stalk and savage mortals in the back alleys of a city.
- Wyr'palja officiating a ceremony where lizard men sacrifice hearts cut out of living victims to the Unconquered Sun.
- Wyr'palja in radiant glory in front of a crowd of people with unnaturally vacant, adoring stares.
- A series of paintings showing Wyr'palja casting a flashy spell in front of a hundred children. As the sequence progresses, the children rapidly age until dead, while Wyr'palja becomes slightly more youthful.
- A large painting of a naked half-man, half-parrot, kneeling on a bed, pointing a silver sword to his own belly. His clawed hands are covered in blood. Behind him, a dead Wyr'palja is tied naked to the bed with golden silk rope, bleeding from eviscerating wounds to her abdomen.
Two doors also lead out of the room, and based on design on the door that led into the room, the circle guess that the one on the left leads to the tomb of the lunar in the painting, while the one on the right leads to Wyr'palja. They decide to check out the lunar side first.
|Wyr'palja's Mausoleum||16 May 2007|
The left door leads to a circular room, twenty yards across, crammed full of grave goods and effigies. Many of the goods are real silver, though now tarnished, and include furniture, silk clothing, weapons (some silver, some painted to look like jade), wooden coins painted gold, sculpture, gems (glass and real), even an alabaster bathtub. Like the hallway that precedes it, the ceiling is only five feet high. The walls, floor and ceiling of the room are painted as rich forest, with many birds, particularly parrots, with the paint on the ceiling and floor mixed into a layer of plaster.
With searching and sense-enhancing magic, the circle discovers that the plaster on the walls conceals five doors. With the plaster cleared away, they doors prove to be covered in ornately detailed moonsilver, each featuring a certain phase of the moon. Each of the doors opens into the equator of a perfectly spherical room, half the room curving four yards above the door, half below. The rooms contain:
- Full moon - two deactivated and damaged royal warstriders, one orichalcum and one moonsilver, crammed in back to back. It is unclear how they got there, as there seems to be no way they would fit through the doors or short ceilings, even disassembled. Gutts nearly cried.
- Half moon - a forest made from very unusual jade of every color in the rainbow, a large number of stuffed and preserved animals are posed. Most of the animals are parrots and other birds, but also forest cats, wolves and even a bear. Guen guesses that this might have been a lunar's pack, enshrined to accompany him into the underworld.
- New moon - an empty sphere, with walls of white marble, covered in scratches. Eventually, Jorias figures out how to read these scratches and realizes that the whole room is a spell book, holding: Becoming the Wood Friend, Blood Lash, Calling the Wind's Kiss, Commanding the Beasts, Eye of Alliance, Hound of the Five Winds, Personal Tempest, Thunder Wolf Howl, Virtuous Guardian of Flame, The Faithful Ally and Summon the Army of the Wyld.
- Waning moon - packed with terracotta sculptures of men and animals in all shapes in sizes. The largest stand in the center of the room, nearly scraping their heads on the ceilings, with the sculptures getting smaller moving away from the center. These are all very detailed, with gemstones for eyes. Stag suggests that these effigies would make a formidable entourage in the Underworld.
- Waxing moon - a large sarcophagus, stylized from moonsilver and many colors of jade to suggest the shape of a flying parrot, floating in the center, with the walls enchanted to display a moving image of the sky. This is the resting place of Iron Monsoon.
Climbing up on the coffin, the circle discovers that its moonsilver bits are covered with contact poison. Shaking off its effects, they open the sarcophagus to reveal a skeleton wrapped in silk. Guen notices a number of moonsilver needles at various points of the body. Stag suspects that Iron Monsoon hid these needles in his own flesh before dying.
The needles prove to be the sum of Iron Monsoon's knowledge of the nine attributes, and charms that use them. They also allow the user to read the coded scratch writing (which is how Jorias read the spells in the new moon sphere). Content that they've found all they could here, the circle heads into the solar side of the tomb.
The solar door leads to a similar circular room, with similar grave goods, save these feature more sun imagery and gold instead of silver. Stag comments that those who entombed these exalts did the bare minimum, skimping on accouterments, such as using wood painted in gold rather than gold itself.
The room is also covered in paint mixed into plaster, showing a likeness of a city, as if from the point of view of where the tomb may have rest within it. The circle doesn't spend much time considering this, instead anxious to look for concealed doors. Like the lunar tomb, the walls conceal five doors which open onto spherical rooms. Unlike the lunar rooms, all five of these rooms have the same appearance, except for slight changes in material.
Each sphere is largely empty, the walls covered with strange patterns that change for each room. Within the center of each room, resting on a pillar of magical material, is a sarcophagus made from a mixture of jade of all colors and orichalcum. Sculpted birds of all varieties line the sides of the coffin, giving the impression that they are holding it aloft. The coffin is locked mechanically, but not trapped.
The first coffin the circle opens, suspended on a thin column of orichalcum, contains a perfectly preserved Wyr'palja, dressed in flawless white silk, a white cloak with sunburst pattern in golden thread and an orichalcum clasp, matching earrings and a small orichalcum caduceus on a neck chain. She suddenly opens her eyes and sits up. Confused, she asks for help out of the coffin, holding her hand out to Stag. Eventually, Stag takes her hand uncertainly, and immediately doubles over, dying. Gutts quickly bisects the woman, who appears to be some kind of semi-organic machine. A book materializes next to the corpse.
The circle tried the moonsilver room next, with much the same result, except no one was lethally poisoned. They also attempted to get more information out of the duplicate, but didn't discover much. This duplicate wore moonsilver, including another set of wings named Feathers of the Moon, and Wyr'palja's Workbook.
One of the rooms was based around salt, not a magical material, so they checked there next, finding an actual mummified corpse in this tomb. She also wore a set of orichalcum Wings of the Raptor (Feathers of the Setting Sun), and her orichalcum caduceus was quite magical.
|Wyr'palja's Mausoleum||7 Nov 2007|
Assuming the remaining coffins contain poisonous duplicates, the circle decides to see if they can bargain with one to get various questions answered. Opening the sarcophagus perched on the jade base reveals an automaton who is all to eager to be outside and willing to talk. She warns the circle that they should kill the remaining automaton, as she is "cursing me up and down" using a form of telepathy.
Adrios: warning shots of flaming arrows to the check. Varden digs the automaton. Automaton needs to name herself. Book learnin'. Raid the labs.
|Wyr'palja's Mausoleum||21 Nov 2007|
Remaining duplicate chooses the name Forgone Vitriol. Peek outside to find Embochurian waiting outside. Shut the door on her. Eventually decide to let her in. ("She'll make a great candidate.") After way long debate, Guen flies to meet with Misplaced Promise, Stag tags along. The make a deal. The circle turns off the reality engine and agrees to take it with them. Promise creates a wheeled barge-like vehicle to hold everything the circle is taking and agrees to let them take it, provided they show it to him first. He also guarantees them safe passage out of the place. Gutts goes nuts in the meantime, trying to hack through the floor. Eventually, the circle sics Gutts on getting the sphere out of the place, which is accomplished by knocking some walls down. As the rest of the circle moves stuff (including crypt doors) down to the barge, Promise enters the tomb and becomes fascinated by what he sees. After taking a particular interest in the first age map mosaic, Guen takes him down to the warstriders. He turns the floor of their room into bugs, which fly away, leaving a hole all the way through the rock, out the bottom of the (floating) tomb. They push the warstriders out, letting them free float in the zero gravity outside the tomb, where they are grabbed by the rest of the circle. Promise then goes into Wyr'palja's side of the tomb and gapes at the paintings therein, completely ignoring everything else. After waiting for twenty minutes without getting any response from him, Guen leaves a note and the circle leaves, with Jorias summoning the bird to carry the barge.
Leaving the city, they see Kinaniz reshaping itself around the tomb, as if it is trying to become more like the original city, perhaps. Land near the car. Bezul indicates only an hour has passed for him. Seeing Bezul gives Jorias idea: figures out how to use alkahest to dissolve souls in axe and sapphires, making potion which will transfer info. Using Bezul to possess the axe to first kill the evil spirit in it, then convince the db's that they will die forever, he moves them into a corner of the axe. This is dissolved with the gems.
A long talk follows. Eventually, Stag drops destiny and drinks it, learning the hidden memories. Stag splits the information into pieces and tells each circle member a different piece. With his destiny down, the circle quickly forgets the specifics of who told them the info, but remember the actual info. Stag then works with Jorias to remove all but the proper order of the information (i.e. Guen first, Varden second, etc.) from Stag's head, into a gem, which Stag keeps. Memory Sapphires Vision.
Once done, they take off, bound for the lunar camp. On way, negotiate monthly contact drop in Sijan with Bezul, in case they want to get in touch. Bezul then vanishes, prior to leaving creation.
Checking the time in Creation, only one day has actually passed.