We had our follow-up session today, although our newest player was unable to make it leaving us short one Ephraim. It went well enough, with a few details of the big Heroic→Epic tier plot being introduced, and several PC-specific encounters.
Following the group’s scuffle with the Dula brothers from the previous session, Ephraim immediately ran out ahead of them to track down the source of the smoke and fire coming from the Government District while Eli, Snow and Sed discussed their game plan. After a quick re-interrogation of their prisoner, the impersonator of Sed’s old friend and recent enemy Torval, they set out after Ephraim to investigate the source of the trouble.
They arrived to find the Government District aflame, most of the damage stemming from a blaze in the Parliamentary Hall. Out front, a handful of armed civilians, all carrying rather expensive, well-crafted weapons, were shouting threats and cutting down anyone who refused to obey and stepped too close to the Hall’s entrance. With bodies already scattered at their feet, the PCs still tried to talk them down. . . without much success. They fought their way through the entrance and lobby, where they found and rescued a wounded Ephraim before continuing onward.
By the time they reached the Parliament, the sprawling chamber looked like a portrait of some personal hell. The flames racing up walls and dancing in the beams of the ceiling, smoke clouding vision and filling lungs, and corpses scattered across the seats and stairs of the chamber cast a grim scene, and as they entered they found two more men threatening the last two survivors. Alex Iroe, governor of Danton, was just barely managing to defend himself with a dueling cane from the spear-thrusts of his black-clad attacker as another politician hid behind him, and as the PCs charged onto the scene they quickly recognized his assailant: Joseph, Snow’s cousin.
Leaving the two surviving politicians to cower in the corner, Joseph re-introduced himself with his trademark flourish, warning his cousin to leave him to the family’s business and not to get involved. He’d divulged the information on Torval earlier as a mercy, to keep them away, but apparently that hadn’t distracted them for long enough. Snow took umbrage at this, condemning Joseph for his actions, but still seemed reluctant to actually fight a member of the family.
Instead Sed took the lead, charging down the steps and right into a net thrown by Joseph. The assassin showed no sign of following his attack up, however, giving repeated warnings even as Eli charge down the stairs to engage him. They danced round each other for a moment, Joseph displaying the skills he’d developed in a lifetime spent training for precisely this purpose, until another assassin emerged from amongst the armed civilians working with him and struck Eli from behind.
With an archer killing the wounded politician and injuring the governor in the back of the room, and the fires getting worse, Snow and Sed quickly decided to sound a retreat, much to Alex Iroe’s dismay; he’d been the one to deputize Sed and Eli, after all, and now they were going to abandon him. Joseph acquiesced, and when the other non-family assassin decided to ignore his orders and continue the assault, Joseph killed him with one of his nets before turning to stab the archer in the back. He described it as “removing the witnesses”. Distraught at what happened, and secretly hoping that Snow and Sed would come back and stand with him, Eli stayed to see the result of the decision they’d made, and watch as Joseph finally struck down the fleeing governor of Danton.
As they retreated, leaving Joseph alone in the hall, an earthquake rocked the city. The building, already weakened by fire, collapsed inward, and Joseph disappeared in the rubble and dust as the party fled into the street. By now the fighting seemed to have calmed down, although the militia and citizens were still fighting the flames and reacting to the sudden quake. Seeing a cloud of dust originating from the North side of the city, Eli went to investigate as Sed and Snow took Ephraim back to their lodgings to recover.
Sed and Snow ended up running into Ricky, who they briefly conversed with about the quake. He seemed split on the issue; it seemed localized, like something someone with a Talent might be able to do, but the scale of it was way off; even if the Talents were still around, no one could pull of something that devastating. They also asked about the mysterious Wildman imprisoned in the Gaol, whose foreign powers Sed had shown some interest in before. Unfortunately, Ricky didn’t know much, other than that the man’s door hasn’t been opened but once since the disappearance, and that his powers are most certainly still in effect as he was able to crush a guard’s skull by casually grabbing his face and squeezing.
Eli meanwhile investigated the dust cloud, and the epicenter of the quake. He found the destruction there on a whole other level; an entire city block completely leveled, with no stone left standing within the area. Cracks as far down as the sewer system bisected the streets, and cowering and grieving families were clustered around the wreckage. A brief investigation led him to a rumor about a green-cloaked man, bearing the symbol of the architect’s guild, who had placed a hand on a building in the center of the destroyed district and seemingly caused the massive quake. Little other information was available.
Eli met back with the others, and together they went to investigate the Wildman. They went to the Gaol, using Eli and Sed’s positions as guards to get in, and were taken to the Wildman’s room and allowed to speak through the food slit while under guard. At first, the dangerous man the guards described as nearly mute seemed uninterested in conversation, making so little noise as to make the room seem empty, but when Eli approached his voice rose. “Heartslayer”, he called him, causing Eli to flash back to the strange boy he’d slain in the mountains and who he was convinced had somehow led to him causing the Disappearance of the Leylines. He quickly convinced the guards and party members to step back and allow him privacy, and the Wildman suddenly seemed quick to talk.
He said Eli, or “Heartslayer”, had freed “Worldbreaker” from the “Worldprison”, and that only “Lifebringer” could cage him again. When Eli mentioned the boy, the Wildman called him the “Key”, and said that its destruction had caused the five strands of Lifebringer’s power to shatter. He said that even now, Eli’s kind were using Lifebringer’s power to destroy themselves, oblivious to the threat that was coming, and that the Wildmen would soon be crush the southern peoples underfoot in order to prevent disaster. He then acknowledged Eli’s oblivious nature in all of this, and gave him the mercy of commanding him to flee into the seas, where Worldbreaker and the Wildmen can’t find him. For they would all be looking, himself included, and for his sins he would be killed in a most spectacular manner.
Eli kept most of this to himself, telling the group as little as possible as he kept the secret of his “sins” to himself. They went back to their lodgings, where Ricky is now also staying, to rest, and that’s where the session ended.
All in all, things are going well so far. Eli’s player seems to be trying to really keep a friendship between his PC and the NPC Llewyn, while Sed’s player wants to keep Ricky around as an unofficial member of the party. I think my nasally Brooklyn accent won him over or something. The climax between Snow and Joseph went off beautifully, although Snow’s refusal to fight him, even at the cost of the entire city government, will come back to haunt her me thinks. It probably would’ve gone so much differently if Jun Xi were there though. Ever notice how every time Jun Xi is absent, the party causes or allows something awful to happen?
Two weeks from now, we’ll be meeting again, and hopefully Jun Xi and Ephraim will both be back. Gandrake seems permanently out of the equation though, and I’m unsure about our other player, the one who originally ran Tyranis back at the beginning of all this. More to come, as always; our bi-weekly schedule on this game seems fairly solid now, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Cheers!