Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Gossamer Saga e04 : Homebrewed System



09/01/2013
The Gossamer Saga : Revolution

Episode Four
"The Forge"

Home-brewed Game

A month has passed.

Kale been preparing for problems.  Quince been at the "hive" hoping to learn more about the regent.  The Seers are helping him investigate.  Ash been "courting" Larkspur to gain more info on the Bright One.  Acting interested in her.  Larkspur has no idea that Ash is merely gathering information she can use in the future to pose as Larkspur.

The Regent been missing for sometime.  And yet, the government continues to function without him. No one seems as alarmed, which suggests they either know that he's gone or it is quite normal for him to disappear.

Quince's investigation discovers the following details:
1) The Regent has been missing far longer than they have announced he's been missing.
2) The Imperials have a warrant for him.
3) They are expanding a dragnet. Imperials looking for him.

Quince is in the library and the patterns are starting to form.  Maybe the army was a bigger problem than realized.  Ash and Larkspur are still having "cathecism classes."  Kale sparring with Gorvahl, and deep down is hoping to see Faraker.  Then something happens.

Pain.

Immense pain explodes within the inhabitants of the Tower.  For some, the pain is so intense they lose all consciousness and fall.  Others are overwhelmed and sick, puking out what they had in their stomachs.

Quince sees many seers dropping. Some begin to vomit uncontrollably.
Larkspur falls to the ground in pain, and Ash uses Perceive to see if Larkspur is dying.  Ash can see that what Larkspur is going through isn't something natural.  Larkspur forces herself up, ignoring the pain.  She knows the pain isn't something coming from the Bright One.
Kale sees those in pain, and feels the pain in his head.   The rooms through-out the Gossamer Tower lose their imaging, appearing back as an empty room.  Gorvahl begins to groan in pain and mutters as much as he can, "Dawn... we have to see Dawn..."

Quince tries to tap into the pain.  "The Hive is falling.  The bees are dying.  I want to understand why."  He uses Understand to see what is going on.  He recalls the Apiary and it fuels the use of his magic.  Around 3/5 of  those in the tower are down.  The effect bleeds off back to the Jian madj.  No one in the Apiary is affected.  "This is far spread."  He asks who to report this to, but the woman admits there's no protocol for this.

Ash rushes out, sees the corridor is littered with people.  Ash panicks, thinking the "safe place" of the tower has fallen.  Ash leaps back home to Staniga's Ass to hide.

Kale and Gorvahl realizes the different layers are collapsing into one. Tries to slap Gorvahl to wake him, but he catches his hand.  "Must get to Dawn." Kale tries asking others about Dawn but no one knows what he's talkin about.

Larkspur, now alone, thinking the Bright One is making herself manifest.
"New adherents!" she thinks.  She uses the Trust to reach out to them to calm them and do so.  The people turn to face her. "Why is everyone here now?  What is the conjuction events?"  The man turns and vomits on her.  "The Bright one does not deal in vomit.."

Back at Staniga's Ass, Ash emerges frantic and tense.  The featureless plain is like a field that has been snowed over.  There is nothing there.   The city seems to be gone.  She starts digging into the snow, wondering whats underneath.  But as she shoves her hands in, the "snow" flutters away.  It is ash!  She screams and uses the Trust to wipe the ash away to see what's left behind.  She crumbles to the ground and screams and weeps.

Elsewhere, a familiar armored figure stands in a similar ashfield area.  Chitairn drops her faceplate and weeps.  "I was too late."  There is nothing but ash all around her.  The parts of the city that stand closer to sea and shore have broken off.   Jutting islands from what was once a shoreline.  Parts of the land have broken away.

Ash realizes her city is indeed gone.
Staniga is dead.

Back at the tower, the place begins to reassert itself.  Dimensions are disentangled.  Rooms reassert themselves.  It takes a while for all to get back to normal.  But there remains no word from the Council.

Ash eventually recovers and finds her way back to the Tower.  The others learn from Ash about Staniga.  They learn of a City's death.

Quince slams a fellow person in the mess hall to the table to grab attention.  Ash and Kale join him.  Larkspur apologises the to man.  Guards arrive demanding we explain what's going on and Quince tells them we want answers.  Ash causes a nearby table to food to turn to Ash, "I am from Staniga and that is what has happened!"  "The only person who left the tower has returned and informed us the world has been destroyed."  Gorvahl arrives as Kale asks, "Who do you report to."  "They all report to me," Gorvahl answers.  "Come along children."

All four are lead by Gorvahl to the receiving room.  Walls have runes, parchment scraps, long lines of writing.  Dawn is making cords to connect things and plots in the room.  Her thoughts reach out to the others.

"If you don't want us to ask questions then let us leave to find our own answers," Ash growls.

The Council has forbid all travel.  But the group will not accept it.  Larkspur sides with Ash.  "The Council is not doing its duty, which is to counsel."

Dawn turns to face the others.  She is clearly bothered and stressed by the events. Her features aren't as polished as usual.  "I have not been completely open with you, I must admit.  It is an instinct of the order. There are things that I have seen.. that I have foreseen which I have been trying to prepare for.  Unfortunately not many of the other seers have seen the visions I have.  And so it is being dismissed as inconsequential."

Larkspur questions if there's a process for an entire land being assaulted or an attack on the tower.  Dawn explains it was a side effect.  Kale asks a Side Effect of what.  Quince mutters, "We are assuming it took a large tragedy to take this event."

"The order has become large and cumbersome over the centuries," Dawn admits, "Before a single voice and all prophecies were important."

"A side effect of what?"

"I am not certain," Dawn.

Ash accuses them of ignoring her "inconsequential city."  She asks if the armored woman knew about this.  Asks if she warned them about this.  Dawn looks away.

Quince tells them that they will be blinded by not seeing all the aspects.  Dawn shows the writing she has tried to document.   Only other person who had seen them might not like it.   She might be the only one who can leave the tower too.  The council controls the members through the fact we all draw from the tower.

"What's her name?" Ash asks.

"Send us out," Quince tells them, "Let us figure out why the past has happened."

"Get the boy," Gorvhal is ordered by Dawn.  Faraker arrives with Gorvhal.
Ash questions if he's "inconsequential" and considers what happens when one kills a fellow member of the order.  "Explusion would be a way out of the tower."  Dawn replies, "So is death."

Dawn holds out Faraker's token and it dissolves.  "It is an illusion," she tells the group.  "Faraker does not need the tower.  Not all magic comes from the tower.  You've met Madga.   You've seen the Fallen One, the beast beneath Staniga. The council frowns on this.  Few innate users have gone well.  Most tend to accidentally kill themselves when their magic manifests.  We got to Faraker in time."

"So he's not a member," Larkspur asks.

"Not really," Dawn.

"So killing him won't expel me," Ash.

"No," they all reply.   But it is clear in Ash's eyes she means every word.

Faraker can get the group out and bring them to Chi'tairn.  "She is the best personal fighter I had trained, she would have taken over the guard if things did not.. happen." Gorvhal admits.

"So you can leave and survvie," Larkspur asks.

"People like Faraker and Chi'tairn, yes." Gorvhal admits.

Kale asks if others can train to become like them.  Gorvhal admits not really.  Not everyone has the spark.   Dawn reminds them Faraker is in training and will need guidance.

Ash and Quince threaten that they can provide motivation.
Kale mutters that they will not be back within the hour.  Dawn admits that she will maintain an illusion that the group remains here and it will stand for up to a week.  Then the Council will know.

Dawn draws out a coin.  Explains it is the best way to find her.
Larkspur uses the Trust to transform into priestly garb as she walks up to them.   The group jumps.

*

Disoriented and naseous.  The group struggle to remain focused and calm as they feel their very essences twisted all around them.  They are finally are out of the tower.    They all remember that any use of their Tokens, or tapping onto the World Pool of Essence was to alert the Council.  The group arrives and find themselves in the ashes of Staniga.

Ash asks Kale for the knife she once gave him.  It was the knife she had used to try to attack Chi'tairn when they first met.  Ash tosses it to Larkspur and asks her to try to track Chi'tairn.

"The bright one says, that way."

The group walks.   Kale tries looking ahead, but worried of any threats that could stand ahead, and quickly returns.  The group continues to walk through the ashes and dust.  And soon, standing far ahead of them, is a man in a cloak with a staff in his hand.

"Well met, travellers.  Have you come to enjoy the view?"

The man speaks to the group with a calm peaceful demeanor, but it quickly becomes apparent how much malice the man truly holds.   Ash asks the man if he knows anything about what happened to Staniga.  Quince suspects the man is a threat and subtly gathers a handful of ash.  Ash asks the man about the people, part of her still hoping they were delivered from the City before it was razed.

"Where are the people?  One could say you've been breathing them.  I have never expected things to be this beautiful."

"Did you cause this?" Larkspur demands.

"I wish I had," the man replies.

"Do you know who did?"

"Why should I tell you, lost sheep of the Order?"

"Hardly lost, and hardly sheep," Larkspur hisses.

"Who did this," Ash growls.

"The Regent did," the man grins.

"Tell me more of the regent," Quince asks, taking a step closer as he spoke.

"He has served his purpose.... Which was to prepare the way.."

"Of what?"

"Grandeur."

"That is no reponse," Quince hisses.

"It is all you will get," the man remains steadfast.

"It is empty," Quince mutters and takes another step forward, "He is where?"

"Transcended," the man smiles.

"Religious then?" Quince quieries.

"Oh some would cry out in exaltation!"

"I dislike Religion," Quince growls.

"It is useful," the man challenges.

"It is noise," Quince insists.

Ash angrily takes a step towards the man, and using the Trust, calls upon the dead of Staniga to avenge themselves.  The very ash in the air, the powdered remains of the people of Staniga, become the very weapon of destruction that she forces into the man's mouth.  As the man  feels death devour him from within, his skeletal mummified look begins to get revealed as his parts are eaten away!    And yet, the man continues to have the power to speak!  "Nice trick little girl, you show promise!"

"WHO DO YOU SERVE!??" Ash screams.

But the whole body collapses without an answer.

"Leave," Ash tells the rest.  "Leave before the Council senses us.  I used the Trust.  Surely they would sense my hand in this."  But Faraker tells them all to stop.  Tells them he hears someone.  A voice.  Tells them to all go with him instead.  "If we jump now, there is little chance they will follow!"

The group jumps a second time.

*

The new world is one of stars and swirling skies.  Like the galaxies that flowed outside the windows of the Gossamer Tower, this world seemed endless and devoid of any other life.  But in the distance, a structure.
something else.  A polished steel anvil.  The size of a building.

"Where did you bring us, Faraker?" Larkspur snarls.

"I heard a voice," he tries to explain.  He admits he thought it was someone calling.  Kale breaks part of his staff on the ground, wedging it to the cracks on the stone, then weaves the Trust to make it sprout into a massive wooden bridge.    Larkspur leads the group in crossing the bridge.

Ash hesitates.  She asks Kale for the knife once more and threatens to cut her Token off.  "The Order may still track me.  I rather not endanger the rest of you."  Faraker convinces her to hold on to it, however.  He admits he senses they were all beyond the reach of the Order.

The anvil towers above us, like a massive pyramid, but seems to not have any openings.    The group eats apples at the base to recover some lost strength and sate their growing hunger..  Kale hits it with his staff.  The pyramid feels very solid.  Faraker raps the anvil with the token. It absorbs it.  A faint glow. An outline of a door.  The group steps inside.

They find themselves in a larger chamber, like a steel factory.  Large molten steel buckets moving on its own.  It is noisy and alive, yet seemingly unmanned.  A massive forge.

"She did wear an armor," Ash mutters.

Quince tries to grasp what this place is with Understand, relating the place to the Apiary.  He realizes there are diffent kids of metals being refined.  "This way," he tells the others, grasping where the man in charge would be situated if the place was a hive.   The group reaches a closed door and Quince raps it a few times with a staff.  Door cracks open.  Light shines through.  The man that emerges is dressed in a blacksmith's outfit.  He seems annoyed at the presence of visitors, and it takes him a beat to realize.. "You aren't supposed to be here."

"He brought us here," Ash shoves Faraker forward.
"He made the bridge," Faraker points at Kale.
"Dawn sent us," Kale squarely explains.
"Who?" the blacksmith asks in honest surprise.  The group stares dumbfounded.  Did they just transport themselves to the wrong place?

Larkspur tries to introduce the others, but as congenial as she sounds, she fails to convince the man otherwise of the fact he feels they should not be there.  He leads them to a room with cool air and explains that "she" comes when she needs something.   He shares how he was an artist.  But now builds weapons when asked to.  Ash inquires if he had anything to do with Staniga.  The others explain how it has been reduced to ashes.

The smith gets agitated at how dangerous the group seems to be in his perceptions.  His feelings towards them get worse when Ash suggests how Chi'tairn would rush over if she senses him being hurt.  He quickly draws something from his belt.  Larkspur Perceives their dynamic true enough and tells them, "He creates things for her.  That is all."

Smith getting agitated at how we seem to be dangerous.  Worse when he gets threatened when Ash suggests how Chi'tairn would rush over if she senses he is hurt, he flicks something on his belt.  Larkspur Perceives their dynamic and true enough, he creates things for her.  The Smith causes six silver golems to appear, and the massive things escort the group to a room where they could wait for Chi'tairn.   Ash studies them but finds them far too dangerous to try besting while imprisoned by them.

Time passes.

Chi'tairn arrives. She wears a magnificent black armor. It stands in contrast to her powerful red hair.  "We are here because of an inconsequential prophecy." Quince calls out, knowing the words should catch her notice.
"I was expecting her, not some miscellaneous crew," Chi'tairn admits.  The group talk to her about the Gossamer Tower being on lock down.  How none of them could get to the tower.  Nor leave it.  "That's why were are here."

"She could not come herself?" Chi'tairn asks, and when they shake their heads, she turns to Faraker and mutters, "I guess you brought them here."

The golems dissolve into liquid metal and are drained away.  The discussions move rapidly now, with Chi'tairn offering information the group could not have found on their own.  They discuss how the Regent was behind the attack. Him and the priest.  How the Regent did not intend for this to happen.  How he was merely used as the weapon.  Ash questions her weapons, her forge, and if she kills people - why didn't she kill the Regent before he murdered Staniga.

"I failed to stop him," Chi'tairn admits.

*

A flashback.  Dawn's visions were increasing in succession.  Each one spoke of the Regent.  Chi'tairn tracked the Regent running in the woods of Vohan.  There was a mad dash towards Staniga.  A robed figure, however, suddenly stood in her way.  Chi'tairn dueled against the robed figure, but the time it took was long enough for the Regent to get away.

Every time Chi'tairn would get close, forces would seemingly conspire to prevent her from getting to the Regent.

*

"I had lost track of him in Staniga.  There were just too many cults.  Disrupted the patterns of magic," Chi'tairn admitted that when the event happened, something must have amplified the Regent's potential for power.  Transformed him into something like a bomb.   She had to jump away as the Regent exploded.

She explains how there are many flavors of magic.  How the Order insisted that no other magic should exist.  Only the Trust was the true magic that existed.  But Chi'tairn was a bounty hunter by trade.  It is not easy for anyone to evade her when she hunts someone down.  "There are forces at work that we do not understand.  I do not understand the full pattern but I have seen some of the visions."

The pain that rippled through out tower was no random occurrence. It is attuned to the tower. Something is.  And it is coming for the Order.

Chi'tairn explains how the true power of the Council comes from the Orb at the center of the Gossamer Tower.  The Joining of the Universes.  The Council was formed because the five leaders were repentant.  People who were capable of great evil but because they had recanted, had pledged to change for the better, the Orb manifested.  "That is why the magic is called the Trust.  It was the ultimate gun to your head."

"Gun?" Ash asked.  Chi'tairn apologizes, claiming to have forgotten that the rest have not explored the many other universes.  Ash asks if she can have one.    They ignore her question.

"The Forge is not a fixed point," Chi'tairn continues.  The Tower was made by some greater being.  An overlap on the Universes.  The Forge finds those pockets and stays there, and jumps away when it must.  That's how it remained safe.

"Were you the voice that Faraker heard?" Kale asked.  Chi'tairn admits it most likely was the Smith he had heard.  "You must have picked up the resonance of the Token as he was cursing.  You don't get here by using those Tokens."

Chi'tairn admits she needs to get a chance to speak with Dawn.  The others ponder on what to do.  Ash, however, sees the plan clear as day. She offers her Token to Chi'tairn, telling her, "You can pretend to be me.  You can look and act as me.  And with this Token, the Order would believe you are me."  Kale draws out the mirror he had been given by Magda.  He peers inside and sees the image of the cult in Staniga.  It seemed that they had survived were in hiding.

Chi'tairn reads Kale's head. "That's interesting. A fallen angel. They require sacrifices to live." The cults in Staniga, it seemed, were always underground. As if they were prepared for this.   Ash offers to recheck the underground.  Quince and Kale offer to go with her.  "It may be the best way to make sure."

Back at the work shop.  Chi'tairn gives Kale something:   a frame of metal that encases his arm and a frame that rests on the palm.  Chi'tairn draws a darker onyx and affixes it to the frame on the palm. "This sort of works like a token. This won't rely on the Trust.  So it will hurt every time."  The device is to allow them to traverse the worlds.  Chi'tairn then borrows some of Ash's memories.    "I just need this for a while."

"I am used to not remembering," Ash admits.

"Yes I noticed. That is quite a big hole.  Something was taken from you," Chi'tairn admits.  The two lock eyes.    Somthing indeed.











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