Ormid et al - Session Report 21/12/2010

Sorry this is so late. I have been a little distracted and knackered with work lately (I didn't get time off over Christmas, the joys of doing what I do I guess), but today I finally got chance to write up the last game session. This entry bears a slightly modified (as in more ordered) version of what happened in the actual session as things were a little random and laid back thank to the "Christmas Cheer" (5.3%) and generally chilled mood we were all in - hardcore roleplaying was actually pretty tough that night.

Anyway, it's a short entry, which is good, as the Post War Natives are playing tonight! Enjoy...

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23/4/13268 K.C. (2nd Age)

10:33 - The air of the Time Dilation Chamber blazes with coruscating coils of warping reality, and the mage currently using it screams in abject terror, upsetting the carboys of components and braziers of ensorcelled incense he has set up as part of his arcane research. Sparks of blazing energy flame madly across the room, and a deafening thunderclap heralds the arrival of the group in a tangle of limbs and screaming.

10:35 - By the time the group have managed to stop the room spinning, four figures dressed in full length robes of shimmering colours, their faces hidden behind mirrored masks, are in the room, each bearing a sparking spear of raw magic. Behind them hulks a masked figure in white robes bearing the symbol of a pentacle within an upsidedown triangle – symbol of the Arcane Star - an ancient fraternity of loosely affiliated mages, spellcasters and priest magi, who lived in the mid to late Second Age.

A sparking sphere of force surrounds the party, which, when touched, delivers a powerfully painful but harmless jolt of energy, and as the party watch, the arcane star mage produces a small ziggurat of reddish clay and mumbles a spell, the air around him gleaming with briefly released magic. Then, in perfect Third Age Tradespeak he addresses the party.

“My name is Calsiphus Ardraenan, Arch-Mage of the Arcane Star and affiliate of the blessed Silver Guard. Your arrival has sparked quite the panic in these hallowed halls, and unless you agree to come in peace, I am afraid these fine men and women will possibly turn you inside out and then to ashes.”

But his words are lost on the group as the massive physical and psychic trauma of their journey through time hits home, and deep, crushing unconsciousness overwhelms them...

...8/5/13268 K.C. (Hot and hazy day, with rumbles of thunder in the humid evening)

08:45 – 09:00 – The tinny tintinnabulations of a small silvery bell are the first sound the group hear as sluggish consciousness thickly forces its way into their heads, and as they move towards wakefulness, the strong smell of sharp, antiseptic herbs stings their nostrils, and the gentle caress of a summer's breeze stirs their faces. Opening gummy eyes, the group feel their weariness fading, though the ringing of the bell continues, and the group find themselves in clean and well made beds within a large, open, airy stone hall, lined with beds and lit by misty beams of light which tumble through high, wide windows. Every surface within this place gleams with cleanliness, and several figures in full-length robes of pure white, their faces hidden behind white gauze masks move amongst the beds (many of which are occupied). Around their throats gleam the holy symbol of Oerdaine'Maelandra (or just, Oerdaine as she was called in the 2nd Age, before the world was re-joined with its lost half, Verdaniss); the healing hand, and the group quickly realise they are in a hospice.

The bell continues to madly ring...

The air at the foot of the group's beds begins to shimmer with power...

...And with a pop of displaced air, the same mage that spoke to them in the Time Dilation Chamber appears, a wide grin on his rotund face.

He makes a gesture and the bell stops ringing, and seeing the parties expressions merely shrugs and says (in a strangely accented voice) “The bell is part of a spell I wove, to let me know when you were awake. You've been here for a couple of weeks, and I wasn't sure, given the battering you took, if you would ever wake up.”

Met with only awkward silence, he continues a little self-consciously, his chubby hands waving around, a sweat beading on his brow.

“My name is Calsiphus. I am an arch-mage with the Arcane Star; a loose affiliation of mages, sorcerer's and other spell casters. I have agreed to be your sponsor in this place whilst you are with us, for there are some who...who... Well, let's just say that not everyone in this glorious city views such strange folks as yourselves as welcome when you arrive in such unusual circumstances.”

The group remain silent for a moment. Then; “My name is Ormid Thefler; Dragon Slayer and Time Traveller, and this is my band of heroic companions.”

Ormid introduces his band, and then asks, “When are we? I mean, we were in the present, but then we were in the future. I mean our present is your future, but where we were it was the past not the present, though at that time it was our present as well, you know, before we came to here, which is your present but our past.”

Calsiphus seems to be following the artificer's rambling, even though the others are bemused, and he merely smiles and nods as he listens. Then, with some gravity he informs the party that they are in the year 13268 according to the King's Calendar (which Ormid quickly calculates is roughly 300 years before the ancient dundorin king, Brundor Trull Slayer was born), and that there have been “presences detected at the edges of this reality” which seem to be showing more than a passing interest in the party. He states that it is felt that these things may be Quarut's; extradimensional beings who police the fundamental laws of the multiverse, and who specialise in disruption to the flow of time and the sanctity of the time lines. The group are naturally somewhat distressed at the idea of being hunted by such ageless, ancient things, but Calsiphus assures them that the “unique pressures of the cities multiple mythals hamper their ability to shift between worlds” and that they are “safer here than anywhere else”.

09:01 – 09:03 – At this point the entire party feel a crawling “sheet” of magic slither over them, accompanied by the sudden sense of being stripped naked and of being unpleasantly closely examined. All heads turn towards a small group of robed figures, each dressed in the kaleidoscopic gossamer robes and mirrored face masks of Merriel'Shaava's (or, as Ormid remembers with a jolt, just Merriel's in this time – something he realises the Veteran will know, but which he doubts the others will) clergy. All three are clearly female, and bear no inscriptions on their masks.

Calsiphus has gone quiet, though he quietly hisses out the corner of his mouth, “Ak! 'Tis Justina, high priestess of the House of Mysteries.”

It quickly transpires that Justina is the middle priestess, and from the arch tone of her voice and the colour Calsiphus turns as she speaks to him, it is clear that she is not entirely friendly. She and the mage exchange some curt words, which are not translated by Calsiphus' ritual, before she turns her hidden face towards the group, and in flawless Third Age Tradespeak informs them, “You are all being closely watched. Let not your actions cause any more chaos than they have already. We do not take kindly to those that out our universe at risk.”

She then nods towards Calsiphus, and with her two silent attendees flowing behind her, turns round and quickly leaves the hospital.

Clasiphus, his eyes darting unconsciously to the retreating figures of the priestesses, regards the group.

“grab your gear and prepare. I shall aport you to my home, and there we shall discuss what is to be done.”

10:30 – 17:00 - The group are settled within Calsiphus' magnificent tower, and are only just getting over the shock of seeing Laertraine for real as it was depicted in ancient tales of wonder and power, for it is the last vestige of the ancient might of the four guilds; a shimmering place of extravagant magic use unrivalled since the splendour of those ancient days of might. It is a small city when measured in normal terms, though it rivals some of the greater southern cities in size when its many extradimensional districts and pocket realms are taken into account, its physical and psychical boundaries guarded by layers upon layers of intertwined, living spells – mythals. These invisible but all encompassing magics are exemplified in the five huge rainbow arcs of brilliant energy that beam from the backs of the five titanic iron guardians who mark the five arcane cardinal directions at the cities physical limits, to meet in a blazing sphere of raw, scintillating power at the point of the highest spire of the High House of Mysteries; Merriel's grand temple - a towering, impossible structure of flashing crystal, solidified energy and alien materials that soars above the rest of the city like some deities crown. It is a place where the city guard consists of great golems, and where the meaner things (such as sewage management and the maintenance of city integrity) are taken care of by the layered mantles of magic woven within the mythals.

The group are shown to their chambers by invisible servants of force, and by mid morning are talking to Calsiphus about their adventures; the arrival of the Gennamene, the discovery of the ancient portal weapon, the journey through the extinct volcano, the time in the Fay dimensions, their adventures in the far future, and finally, their need, in this time, to locate a means of activating the portal weapon and returning to a time where they will get chance to use it effectively. Through all this the arch mage listens quietly, only interrupting to clarify any points he finds confusing, or to make notes on a small piece of vellum with a pale green quill.

Once they are done, he puts down his quill, summons a servant (who begins to bring in wine and food), before saying, “I feel that there is much we can do to help you, though we should be mindful of the mortal and immortal foes who would cause us great strife if allowed.
“Firstly, we need to locate a power source capable of working with a Ael'Shar weapon like the one you described. The continent you have described it resting upon does not exist in this time, so I must assume it is inaccessible at this time. However, such power sources have been found before, and I believe that I may be able to try and fathom where such an item is most likely to be found. I would warn you however, that such a place may not lie within the bounds of this universe – not that you seem entirely foreign to extradimensional travels.
“Then we have the problems of crafting a precisely aimed chronoportal. I have a friend who is fascinated by chronomancy, who would no doubt love to help us do such a thing, and I shall call upon his expertise to refine our efforts. However, off the bat, I would say that we need to look at obtaining some primal binding runes, in order to contain the ferocious energies of such a portal, and some resonant crystals of particularly excellent quality to amplify the powers without distorting them.
“I shall need some time to access the great libraries of this wondrous city, and shall need to contact my friend. In the mean time, I know where primal binding runes are kept, for they are guarded by the Star and its allies against those who would use them to usher evil into this world.”

Ormid holds up his hands and asks, “What are they exactly? I have seen them referred to in passing in some ancient treatise, but in no place are they described.”

Calsiphus smiles. “They are fragments of the primal language of magic forged in the Primal Wars. They hold almost impossible strength and can be used to bind Gods and daemon lords. Such runes are items of priceless value and potentially world sundering might, for should the likes of the Ebon Flame or the Draxian Empire get hold of them...well, it does not bear thinking about.
“Luckily, as an arch mage, I know where a set are held, watched over by an ally who owes me a serious favour. I shall send you to the Palace Lake on Calsor with a spell of introduction, and he shall give you access to them. You shall then use these,” he hands each adventurer a crystal carved with a smooth, curved rune, “to return here safely. Does that seem fair?”

The group agree it does.

Calsiphus smiles and nods, leaning back in his chair. Then, with business done, and an embryonic plan in place, the group allow themselves to simply enjoy their surroundings and their company; spending the rest of the evening swapping tales and drinking Calsiphus' fine wines.