The Choice – Spectre Group – Episode 1

Episode 1 - The Bargain

Day One

Greetings loved ones! This is the written word of the mysterons….Wait no! Itsa me: Stephen. What is going to follow on here is the description of where you are starting this section of the Online Game. BUT before I go throwing all that wonderful text at you we will touch on what happened in that last Debrief along with what is happening now.

  • Everything bar the passing of the days
  • But with the following slight caveat
  • As the farewell was taking place and you were wondering why no-one was talking to you…..

The garden was brimming with the tearful and the heartbroken; the words of Archibald were being clearly heard but when you spoke or moved to be involved you were pushed aside, ignored or passed by like some fleeting thought. Only Archibald had any real attention for you, if you caught his eye he might nod toward you or share a secret smile but there were many others that needed his attention and you were certainly not going to interrupt the Kings farewells. You had moved away to some quiet part of the gardens as the pyramid started to open and begin to discuss the issues and happenings of the incredible forty hours that had just passed.

It was the banging of shields that took your attention away from the conversation and back to the garden. The people that you had expected to see were still there but their voices had faded into the background as though someone had put them all in another room. Spectral figures now mingled with them although their garb was different from those that had been here before. They were physically distant and hard to make out but they could be heard as could the drumming of weapons on shields as they sung out their sorrow at the passing of the Saviour.

As you make your way down to investigate this new throng and see to the fate of your own people both groups begin to glow in an odd GOLDEN light. They stretch and writhe and an eerie screaming begins to drag through the scene. Hag Stones are pulled from their homes and peered through but only the blackness of Oblivion is seen beyond them. Magic is sucked away, destroyed in an instant as though it no longer has purchase. All voices, all beings drawn in their parodied forms towards Dazak only it is not Dazak in rest it is Archibald and Dazak stands by his side with tears running down his face. Dazak/Archibald in his death bed opens his mouth to speak but the in rush of all in the garden silences him as he consumes them.

And here you stand alone and it is just Dazak lying in the bed alone in the garden and he looks at you, fixing you with his gaze. Keeping those eyes on you he raises his arms, sweeping them to encompass the areas beside you and he speaks: “It is the end, but the moment has been prepared for” and from his eyes all that he took into himself is expelled once more in that GOLDEN light so bright that you must cover your own eyes for fear of losing your sight. Even after you know it has passed it takes you some to blink away the searing white spots and get a bearing on what has happened around you because all in the garden has changed.

The Garden has been stripped bare of life, trees are leafless but blood oozes from their bark pooling around their base and you could swear that they are screaming on the wind. The Great Pyramid of the Nexians is the black of lifeless Arcana Stone but red lines run through it and the doors hang open the interior barren. Two groups stand on either side of Dazaks resting place; to the left a party made up of Mallory De Mandeville, Honest John Cobb, Tessica Spears, NAV, Malak al’Moalej and Mathius Larkwood.

To the right, standing vigil over him are another group: Kincaid Blackstaff, Silvana Helgathsdottier Ingenium Fellastir, Phillip Longheart and Thaddius Kael although neither group seems aware of anyone else present nor indeed to move or speak although their presence and physicality cannot be questioned. A tearing sound causes you all to spin on your heels in time to observe two ribbons of that golden light rip into the world, inviting you to step through them clearly portals. In final response to this you hear a voice speak into the world from somewhere far distant and is it cracks into the world you feel a chill on your skin and see ice forming along the dead branches of the woods around you.

She is confident and so cruel that you almost piss yourselves at the sound of her darkening voice whipping out to flay your confidence from far away. Perhaps you do. She is ageless and eternal and she burns like the heart of the sun whilst freezing your bones like the coldest depths of the ocean. Hers is the voice that cannot be resisted, that no prayer can deny, no door can deafen and no nightmare can withstand. She is like nothing you have ever heard or would want to hear again even though from now on you will always hear her when the dark is at your back or the cold has found your marrow. She will always be waiting for you in the dark or under the bed or in the moment that you know you will die alone. And she speaks.

“Ah my little one, my brave soldier, my hero of the skies look what they have done for you! This was meant to be! The circle of fate is closing but the door of the past is opening. I do not know you Dazak of the North but I feel your blood as I feel yours Valsung of the Timeworn Mantle, Shadow Wolf of the Oldest Blood, The Long Man Reborn, Dirk: Lionslayer and you: The Man of Blades. But I know that you stand outside of everything that is happening.

I know that for the first time in thousands of your years I can speak to you with a voice that has not been heard by any that live now. I know that this has come to pass because of deeds that you have done and that you are the pivot point of everything that is happening and that any moment now he is coming. The new King. It is time for me to come back into the world and you have the means of that deliverance because I was the one that taught you how to make those weaponised spoons that you carry with you. Use the spoon. Come to me when you are ready because you are not yet ready for the new King and we must talk.”

Unusual Circumstance

  • You are dressed and carrying equipment but it doesn’t seem or feel real
  • Whilst you can draw swords and the like they are intangible to the world around you
  • Everything is blurred until you enter an area.

Rules

  • All Current Rules are in play
  • Remember that until an area is revealed you will not gain Actions for it.
  • If you have Fate Points to spend tomorrow you will need to reveal an area today!

Actions

Action

Type

Fate Points

Examine the Trees

Interact

2

Examine the Pyramid

Interact

2

Use Magic to work out what is happening

Threat

14

Examine Mallories Group

Interact

2

Examine Kincaids Group

Interact

2

Attempt to understand Left hand ribbon

Threat

10

Attempt to understand right hand ribbon

Threat

10

See to Dazak

Interact

4

Reach out with Magic to gain knowledge of the Voice

Threat

20

Day Two

Hurriedly you begin to set about your tasks, discussing the possibilities of the many fates before you: Who is the new King? Who was the mysterious voice on the frozen wind? Even as you move however things begin to shift and change around you. At the edge of the keep gardens a viscous, umbral mess of grey matter, clearly magical in origin forms a barrier around the perimeters. I is clear that it would prevent against further mobilisation out of the garden and that it will move inwards to encompass the whole garden. This you decide to label as “Grim Matter” for ease of reference and turn your attention to other matters.

As the “Grim Matter” arrives so the two other groups shudder and move, not in any natural form of perambulation, shimmering they occupy the space by the King/Archibald, at the same time a space equidistant between the king and a ribbon and then only that second space. If the same happens again soon they will be through the portal in their next move. At the same time the ribbons undulate more violently and diminish slightly.

Valsung, Dirk, Arthus and Jaq fan out casting quick eyes to the floor, seeking any tell tale signs of tracks and report the alarming: The tracks of every participant who had mourned the King seem to change, some slightly, some drastically in footware, gait, weight some simply vanish. Well perhaps not all you cannot tell, there are so many out there but your guess would be all. Perhaps more so alarming that your own tracks last but a few seconds before they too vanish.

Environmental Effect: Growing Pressure

Gain: 2 Fate for use in this day only but you may only engage with 4 actions overall.

Unusual Circumstance

  • You are dressed and carrying equipment but it doesn’t seem or feel real
  • Whilst you can draw swords and the like they are intangible to the world around you
  • Everything is blurred until you enter an area.

Rules

  • All Current Rules are in play
  • Remember that until an area is revealed you will not gain Actions for it.
  • If you have Fate Points to spend tomorrow you will need to reveal an area today
  • You may only take 4 actions this day

Actions

 Action Type Fate Points
Examine the TreesInteract 2
Examine the PyramidInteract  2
Use Magic to work out what is happening Threat  14
Examine Mallories GroupInteract 2
Examine Kincaids Group Interact  2
Attempt to understand left hand ribbonThreat 10
Attempt to understand right hand ribbonThreat 10 
See to DazakInteract 
Reach out with magic to gain Knowledge of the Voice Threat 20 
Use the Spoon Threat 10 
Examine the Grim Matter Interact 2

Day Two Starting Fate Point Pool: 26

Day One Action Response

Dirks Action

The Great Black Pyramid may once have been a colossally impressive feat of Architecture because within you can see that there were once great causeways and pillars to hold them up where chambers and others edifice may once have held true. Now much of what they are is now Crumbled Rock and dust, the work of ages, unseen for millennia, turned to nothing in what seems like the act of moments.

The blackened husks of scores of Nexians litter the base of the interior all almost identical in death: They kneel but in a way that indicates that they were forced to their knees, their arms are held out wide, stretching away from their bodies pushing their breasts out and their heads back. A strange triangular mark has been burnt into their chests and their mouths are open as if in some silent scream.

Among the many figures of Nexians something catches your eye: A piece of glittering gold among nestled in the crumbling hand of a lead Nexian, it is from the Nexus itself, a rare piece of Arcana Stone.

Open Action Available: Snaffle the Arcana Stone: 1 Fate Point

 

Mohandis’ Action

The Trees here grew in the garden of the Grey Keep and as such were at all times possessed of the power of the Gillieabad. Warped into the wood of the trees are the ingrained outlines of human faces, Gillieabad that burned alive in their tree remembering the faces of those chosen that they possessed as humans. What has been done to them is clearly abomination and you can easily divine two things: This sacred tree has had the life stripped from it as part of a ritual and that the life force of a Gillieabad ended here as it was drawn out for use elsewhere.

Reaching out with your powers and extended your senses you strain to find the Gillieabad and connect with any that might still remain here. What passed through these trees were Gillieabad, they were not from another Duchy, they were native to this place and they were named. You fall back inside yourself and connect with your bear and your Vorkisht, seeking for any remnant of the name of the Gillieabad that was here, it should be the keeps but it is not. The tree’s here have been used to either Shackle or destroy many Gillieabad:

Chiuta, Calimar, Palagon, Gerd, Heiletsi Abib, Valil, Chool the list is long and already you can feel your Spirit reeling at the relentless pain that they must have felt. The Gillieabad that were here were more than Shackled, they were enslaved through these trees and taken elsewhere, perhaps to be bound at the disposal of some powerful Altar. But that cannot be right, that cannot be the truth of what happened, nothing has the power to enslave in such a way.

Seeking more of an answer you desperately claw for the Spirit World to see if the answers lie there and a clue to whatever power has done this. It is all of chaos and turmoil. To all intents and purposes there are two Spirit worlds here, identical, one in which the Gillieabad are enslaved and bound and one in which they are free, the normal world. They are at war in the heart of the Keep and and out into the world, vying for the same place and yet they are the SAME Gillieabad, not from another Duchy, they are the same. Perhaps the turmoil that happens here is the same in the real world and those trees and that sacrifice of blood is also from another place and not from here.

As you ponder a distant figure appears and looks at you she is snow and cold and ice and you realise that you have heard her voice. She fades as quickly as she came but you know the meaning of her appearance, she calls to you.

Open Action Available: The Invitation: Go straight to her with the team without the spoon to protect you Fate Points: 5

Arthas’ Action

Around you the lines of Fate are in chaos: You can make out Fate lines that have been present for decades, centuries and all are in flux as if trying to regain purchase in the world to which they belong. Meanwhile Fate lines, equally as old but not at home here seek to fill the same space, some kind of battle takes place and Dazak is at the core of it.

 The Ribbon to the right carries the power of the Fate lines that have been here for long years, what is right and true in the world. The Ribbon to the left is where a new fate snakes from battling the fate lines in which your own stories have been and are being played out.

Arthus raises his hands to the heavens and calls out to the Corrigun invoking his powers and seeking through the mastery of his deities skills in war and tactics. The pain of an old soldiers wound, an arrow lodged under rib, began to bother him but in return he felt that old soldiers skills play into him and he sensed in him the strength that was swimming about him. Through the magic of these swirling fates you sense the powers that are at the heart of each side of the battle and the God understands them:

A war was taking place a war between hundreds of thousands, loyal, powerful under the command of one individual. These people were full of love and a shared suffering, there is nothing that they would not do to serve their leader. The other; they are alone at the head of an army and that army is an army enslaved and shackled by the power of the one. They serve out of fear and false passion to this person of power and yet the tactics and skills of these two are identical?

And then the power his God was gone, fading from his grasp.

Jaq and Harrison’s Action.

Around you the lines of Fate are in chaos: You can make out Fate lines that have been present for decades, centuries and all are in flux as if trying to regain purchase in the world to which they belong. Meanwhile Fate lines, equally as old but not at home here seek to fill the same space, some kind of battle takes place and Dazak is at the core of it.

The Ribbon to the right carries the power of the Fate lines that have been here for long years, what is right and true in the world. The Ribbon to the left is where a new fate snakes from battling the fate lines in which your own stories have been and are being played out.

Jaq and Harrison leapt their minds into the Astral to find that the turbulence of the fatelines were stripping back the power of the Astral even here. Swiftly they merged their powers and stretched out with their minds seeking a source of this chaos. Here in the Astral the they could sense the change happening on a much quicker scale. Here they could sense that a huge change had happened here. They could feel no emotion, no White, only order and control, the power of one mind, one human mind outside of the influence of any creatures such as ministers or similar entities.

Whatever existed here sensed their intrusion and far, far away but at the same time directly in their presence something turned its attention towards them. Something so familiar to them but at the same time not familiar to this world? Perhaps the world was not the right word? A great shape appeared in the Astral Sky above them in the same way that the keep would but it was not the keep, it was the silhouette of a great pyramid, deep red in colour. And then its power drove them from the Astral.

Back in the world Jaq struggled to understand what she had felt, something was incredibly familiar with whatever had such power in the Astral. Reviewing her memories she reviewed what she had seen and reach out with her senses and felt the deep power of the world inside that Pyramid, the power of the Gillieabad bound and mingled with the Nexus, fed by blood and souls, so many souls. An amalgamation of such power and such utter control unlike anything that she had ever felt before. Shivering she remembered the power of the Arid and had a vision, strange moments, A distant woman in a forest in a storm, a bear watching, the woman vanished into the ether and the vision was gone.

Day Three – Descriptions

With the Grim Matter rolling forward and an impending sense of dread you speed forward into action however is it too late? Both groups shudder once more translocating swiftly towards the closing Ribbon forcing Dirk and Arthas to dive forward rolling and sliding to gain a closer look at their departing companions as the ribbons begin to swallow them up. Jaq and Harrison are forced to move carefully keeping ahead of the Grim Matter before Jaq skids back to cast an eye over the closing. Meanwhile Mohandis summons up his connections to the past to draw upon the power of his Barrashtika to take them to their mysterious speaker.

 

Day Two - Action Response -

Examine the Grim Matter:

Harrison and jaq to look at the grim matter. Jaq using- Communication (in case it may be sentient) sensing, lore and ability, insight. Harrison will do psi stuff and Chirurgery.

System Suggested Fate Points: 2

After Skills: 2

Whatever this matter is its magic is extremely powerful and covers all of the realms of magic. It is active and working and contains the magic of change and oblivion. Walking into this nightmare would mean the end of you for sure. No mind or signs of life seem present as you examine what is a part of its matter from a distance. Given that your own tools seem useless you would need to find something that would act as a container, take samples and get it to some kind of lab? For now though best to steer clear of this stuff.

Open Action Available:

Take Grim Matter Safely: 200 Fate Points

Examine Kincaids Group

Arthas and Dirk to look at Kincaids group. Arthas using- Application, Tactical awareness, allegiances and scout skills. Dirk using- scout skills

System Suggested Fate Points: 2

After Skills: 2

Kincaids group, as with Mallories, exist within an odd GOLDEN light like flies trapped in Amber, except that they seem to be experiencing a myriad of moments at once, changing, as though you were watching them through a kaleidoscope. Yet as you peer at them you note a continuing consistency: The group stand scattered around the form of Dazak who stands dressed in a long black coat but it lacks the usual gold brocade. They are within windowless cells, so brightly lit that they banish all shadows from the room, whilst they are clearly the cells of the Grey Keep these walls are blood red brick and the sight of them sends shivers up your spine.

Kincaid is shackled at the wrists with ancient chains, wreathed in runes and illuminated by an eldritch blue luminance. The rest seem unchained and normal save Phillip who looks like strange creature warped by the ravages of fate and time, destroying the world around him. As they are drawn into the Ribbon you exchange a few words: Arthas: “That looks like Kincaid” Dirk: “And Thaddius” and as you do so, in the seconds that they are drawn into the rift, seconds before it closes, you see Kincaid register the sound of your voice, the manacles at his wrists somehow amplifying your voice.

Open Action Available:

Send Kincaid a Twenty One word verbal message before he passes into the portal. This can be passed to your spokesperson no later than 12pm today: Fate Cost 0

 

Attempt to Understand the Left Hand Ribbon

Jaq to look into the left ribbon- using- surveillance, Insight, sensing, astral sight, and being the Ebon Flow. I state that I am NOT speaking the word but utilising its passive stuff that I did before on the event and being meds chosen to try to understand the madness

System Suggested Fate Points: 10

After Skills: 4

This is clearly a moment (The Moment?) that is happening twice but beyond this rift is something that could have happened. Something that was so close to happening with such power and magnitude that its not happening sent ripples of change far out beyond just this Duchy. Just the power of this moment forces you to dig your feet into the floor to prevent it pushing you away from itself. Here is something that is order, all things under the domination of the subject of that moment in defiance of all things natural and the strain on the world of that moment is immense.

If you had longer you may know more but the Golden Light that contains Kincaids group slip through the threshold and the ribbon begins to merge.

Use the Spoon

Mohandis to use the spoon- using- frozen north lore, using the spoon before, being connected to spirits and for them to guide him utilising The Spirit World, Spiritual contact, strengthening friendships, the unnatural, abominations

System Suggested Fate Points: 10

After Skills: 4

The bronze of the thing was cold in Mohandis’ hand as he held it forward and remembered, unbidden, what the Dralkosh had showed him. They leapt into his mind and he closed his eyes to be with them. All those that had made their Oath to the North: Some stood with their children, laughter on their lips, whilst others tilled verdant farmland and smiled lustfully at their neighbours. All kept their eyes to the sky though and swords at their belt, aye, to watch was their duty and fight when they were called upon. None could deny them their stories.

A woman came before him and he was Valsung again, all leathers and greens, Spear still and old blood. She smiled and so did he, for he was young again and not dead. She walked with him through the long grass and up the old hill whilst he picked flowers to put in her golden hair. Sword though, with spear and eyes to the sky, aye, it was his duty. As they reached the top of the hill they came before the old Long Hall of their Battle Leader, long empty, the seat unsat. Here she stopped and turned to him, leaning in she kissed him and nestled in the crook of his shoulder whispering the words: “It is the Moment but the end has been prepared for”. He felt the soft touch of her hand on his paw and opened his eyes.

The Great White Bear towered over the scene: An ancient, dead figure had appeared before all, she sat on a heaped mound of earth a shining bronze crown upon her head and the skulls of the fallen lain about her, one still cradled at her lap. The shining blue of the North burned in her eyes, her was of Ice and her gaze was fixed on the soul of Valsung and in that voice. THAT voice she spoke one word “Freedom”.

 

Day Three Description Continued

From the point of view of all bar Mohandis as he pulled forward the Barrashtika, who seemed oblivious and in deep meditation the Grimm Matter and the Golden Ribbons reacted violently to the power that came from the simple device. The two ribbons snaked across the sky as the groups that were close to them were swallowed by their power. As they merged a dance began between them as of love and life and hatred and death and all the moments of a passing. Violent they were and brutal and all the power of the world was held here and those that stood before them were as insects soon to be swatted aside by their might and cast into Oblivion. Screaming they turned to Mohandis to hurry him, urge him on in the Magics that were accelerating this insanity.

Gone was the man and instead, towering, was a great white bear ensconced in power and roaring its rage at the oncoming storm. Answering its call came the call of the Shadow Wolf racing to join her battle brother, the rest following under the shelter of their mighty forms, Vorkisht rising! An ancient woman, crowned and wicked and it is HER voice, THE voice that you hear as you reach the shelter of Mohandis’ form. It rolls out from her: Freedom. And as you vanish from that place you see the Grimm Matter wrap around the two battling Ribbons, like a cocoon waiting to see what will emerge alive, new and fresh.

Within  the Ice

How long you have slept you cannot say but you are hungry when you wake and it is a desperate hunger that sits on you as though your lips have never tasted food. As you look around you perhaps, you think, all that come here would feel this way. Where you stand is so desolate that it is not hard to imagine that no life has ever sprung here nor any life that come survived for more than a number of heartbeats as that is all that the landscape would allow.

This is the North, that is for certain, the North of Daer Akmir but not the North that you have become familiar with. This is the story board of the North where hardy heroes survive for but a handful of days and battle the most fearsome of beasts in only the oldest of tales for none now are born that are that hardy. Here is a place where death would come and wonder who would come for their bones when the magics that held them to this world collapsed and found an end.

You stand at the entrance to a cave that is so old that it may be the Great Grandfather of Caves within which was placed the idea of darkness so that all other darkness would have nightmares in which they were trapped within it. A fire burns, perhaps lighting itself because of your presence and meat turns brown here, the succulent smell filling your nostrils and tempting your food starved guts. But your seasoned eyes are drawn towards four things:

 

There are strange writings in a language that you do not recognise above the entrance to the cave that read as thus:

 

Arranged before the entrance are three clear places of ritual that seem thus:

A place of Animal Bones, all gnawed and chewed that have been partially consumed by fire, pieces of copper and brass have been melted in that fire and blood is clearly spilt. On a raise stone the following marks are made.

A place of wood carved into identical tiles have been placed here in a circle and a place of stone has been placed so that one might kneel central among them. They are unmarked and unblemished. On a raise stone the following marks are made.

A place of ceramic coins that have been tarnished by gold and blood lie scattered here among the remains of broken and melted scales, weights and measures. On a raise stone the following marks are made.

Environmental Effect: Hunger

Gain: Everyone’s personal Fate will be reduced by 1 at the end of the day

Unusual Circumstance

  • You are dressed and carrying equipment but it doesn’t seem or feel real
  • Whilst you can draw swords and the like they are intangible to the world around you
  • Everything is blurred until you enter an area.

Rules

  • All Current Rules are in play
  • Remember that until an area is revealed you will not gain Actions for it.
  • If you have Fate Points to spend tomorrow you will need to reveal an area today
Fate Points Today: 31
Actions:

Action

Type

Fate Points

Use Magic to investigate the Cave

Threat

15

Use Magic to investigate a ritual

Threat

5

System Translate a section of text

Interact

8

Actually Translate a section of text

Interact

0

Tell the ref you have translated text

Interact

0

Eat some Meat

Interact

0

Tell the system that you have eaten Meat

Interact

0

Enter the Cave

Interact

10

Activate a Ritual Area

Threat

100

Scout around and Investigate anything found

Threat

10

 

Translations

During the day the following Translations were made:

This is the place of Sewrag Musakask who is the Mother of Destiny. She is kept here by the hand of her Svetala who is styled Meera. She is chained by the three paths and death to those who do not walk them.

This is the rite of the new Dralkosh who were Svetala and here shall Sewrag Musakask be kept until her grandsons are returned to her and she be shackled. Those that wish to walk this path call the name of Akamasada and the gift of passage shall be revealed.

This is the rite of the Sisterhood of Oracles who are orphans to the sons of Svetala and here shall Sewrag Musakask be kept until her grandsons are returned to her and she be shackled. Those that wish to walk this path call the name of Yen Olas Ampadora and the gift of passage shall be revealed.

This is the rite of the Brotherhood of Ondrasks who are ours through the making of the beast and here shall Sewrag Musakask be kept until her grandsons are returned to her and she be shackled. Those that wish to walk this path call the name of Jreuq Haax and the gift of passage shall be revealed.

Everyone Eats Food and Tells Stories

System Suggested Fate Points: 0

After Skills: +1 Permanent Fate Each and because your telling it to me on Discord +5 additional Fate for tomorrow.

As you hunker down by the fire you immediately feel the breath of the predator at your back and hastily stumble to your feet, weakened by the gnawing hunger that seems to have truly started to overwhelm you now. In a brief moment you see the flash of its wicked eyes in the night like a terror from your childhood but then they are gone, beyond your sight, to add fuel to the nightmare. You know that you should follow the beast, take up your weapons and hunt down your enemy. But your hunger consumes you and you turn to take on the precious food. Soon your companions have joined you and feed.

As you eat you begin to feel strength in your body and you soon come to understand the power that you wield. Here in the nothing of the North where nothing survive sit you, consuming the flesh that another has willingly put before you. How hard must they have fought for this meal and they have put their rarest commodity in your hands. The sacrifice of their life, perhaps they have enough to feed themselves but no doubt not their community or their family. You feel the beast in the darkness again but you do not flinch or turn because you are the power here.

Aloof and alone, you are the only strength in this world of…..Mohandis utters word: “Somewhere in the eastern part of the Drayal Vork, where, in winter, it gets so cold as to freeze the blood within your veins, there is a dark forest. If you are ever brave, foolish or ignorant enough to walk through that forest, there is a good chance that you may come across a most strange house…” his sonorous voice, so full of the North spoke out the story of the witch of the North and soon others joined in the art of tale and the feeling of aloneness passed and the group sat together and the beast at their back was not their fear but loneliness and abandonment and it was theirs no longer and they remembered the days of the fleet and what their King had taught them.

Mohandis’ Story

Somewhere in the eastern part of the Drayal Vork, where, in winter, it gets so cold as to reeze the blood within your veins, there is a dark forest. If you are ever brave, foolish or ignorant enough to walk through that forest, there is a good chance that you may come across a most strange house. It is a wooden hut, but it is not like any other that you have seen, for it stands on two giant legs, like those of a chicken – and it will often walk around, just like a monstrous farm yard bird. This hut is the home of Grushnak. I do not advise that you to knock at the door of the Grushnak’s hut, no matter how much you have lost your way through the forest – for the Grushnak is a witch.

On the edge of Grushnak’s forest, there is a small village, and everyone who lives within knows of the strange hut and the lady who lives inside. They know her, and they fear her, for it is known that she likes to eat children.

Many moons ago, a man lived in this village with his beautiful daughter, who was called Vasilisa. The girl’s mother had died some years before the start of this tale, how does not matter, only to know that it was sad and that she cared for her family deeply. Before she died, she gave Vasilisa a wonderful gift – It was a small doll made of rags. It did not look so different from any other doll, but it was a gift from her mother, and so Vasilisa loved it. The girl’s mother told Vasilisa that she should take special care of the doll. Every night she must feed it a little milk and a little biscuit, and so long as she did so, the doll would always be ready to help her – no matter how much trouble she found herself in. Vasilisa did just as her mother bid her. Every night the little rag doll sat up and drank a little milk, and ate a little biscuit before smiling at Vasilisa and then going back to sleep.

As time went by, the girl’s father decided to marry again. His second wife had two daughters of her own, neither of whom could touch Vasilisa for beauty or sweetness of character. In fact, they were jealous of Vasilisa and they hated her terribly. So long as Vasilisa’s father remained at home, the stepmother and stepsisters had to pretend that they liked her, but every now and then one of the sisters would whisper in Vasilisa’s ear, “Just you wait until your dear papa leaves us alone with you. Then you’ll see!”

When Vasilisa had recently passed her sixteenth year, her father said that he had to go away on a journey that would last at least a month. Vasilisa begged him to take her with him, but he just laughed and said he was travelling to see the Ondrask, and the girl would find the journey tiresome and dull.

The first night after the father had left, the stepmother gathered the three girls together in the parlour and spoke as such: “Now my dears, I have a little task for each of you. “Tanya,” that was the oldest, “go in my room, please my dear, and sew a button on my red dress. Katya,” the youngest, “go to the kitchen table and roll some pastry so that it’s nice and flat. And Vasilisa dear, go to Grushnak’s hut in the forest and ask her to lend us some lights. Now run along sweetheart. Don’t waste any time. We don’t want you to get caught in the dark now do we.”

The stepmother shooed Vasilisa out of the house so fast that she hardly had time to put on her hat and gloves. She walked forlornly to the corner of the street and took the little doll out of her coat pocket where it had been sleeping.

“Oh little doll,” she said. “My mother told me that if I fed and looked after you, you would be ready to help me if I was ever in trouble. Well I have fed and looked after you. Now I’m in terrible trouble. I must go to Grushnak, and everyone knows that she is a dreadfully wicked witch. So please tell me – what am I to do?”

The little doll looked up at Vasilisa and said: “Be as brave as you are beautiful. Go to Grushnak’s hut and no harm will come to you.”

Vasilisa mustered up all her courage and walked down the path that led through the woods to the hut of Grushnak. After a while, the young girl heard the sound of galloping hooves coming up behind her, and she stepped off the road to let a horse ridden by a rider in a blazing red cloak shoot past her.

“I wonder who that was?” Thought Vasilisa before setting off on a her way once more. A little further on, she once again heard the sound of galloping hooves, and this time a rider in a cloak of dazzling white sped past her and down the road that led to Grushnak’s hut.

Some time later, a third horse shot by. Its rider wore a cloak that was as black as night. After about an hour of walking, Vasilisa came to a clearing in the forest. Although it was now getting quite dark, she had no trouble seeing – for this neck of the woods was lit by skulls with blazing eyes.

The skulls were mounted on top of a high fence. Beyond the fence, she saw the strange hut that stood on chicken legs. It turned around to face her, and it seemed to Vasilisa that the hut was looking at her. Then the chicken legs began to kneel and the hut lowered to the ground. The door creaked open.

Grushnak’s nose was so long and bony that it appeared through the door before the rest of her. A moment or two later the nose was followed by a tall, skinny old woman holding a broom stick. Vasilissa was so frightened that her legs would not obey her when she told them to run. The old lady came towards her – but she did not walk – her feet flew just a few inches above the ground.

“Well child,” she said, “Did the cat get your tongue? Or are you just badly brought up? Speak Child! Spit out your name and your business here! I haven’t got all night to hover around while you tremble and gibber like an idiot!”

For a few moments Vasilisa’s lips quivered so much that no proper words would come out of her mouth, just a kind of “ah, ah-ah,” but she then remembered the doll’s words that no harm would come to her, and eventually she found courage to speak clearly.

“Good Ma’am,” she said. “It is only me, little Vasilisa. My stepmother sent me to the forest to borrow a light from Grushnak.”

“Did she now?” Said Grushnak thoughtfully. “Well I am Grushnak, but you may call me Babushka.”

Vasilisa brightened a little at this, for if you were to speak  my tongue, you would know that Babushka is a kindly name to mean “Grandmother.”

Grushnak went on: “Now come with me into my hut. I will give you some simple tasks to do. If you are not lazy and you complete your work like a good girl, then I will give you the light that you ask for and let you go free. But if you do not manage these simple tasks I shall cook you in my oven and eat you for my dinner! Ha Ha Ha!” She cackled. “How do you like that for an offer?”

To tell you the truth, Vasilisa did not like it at all, but she had faith that all would be well, that she would complete the tasks, and return with the light, and so she curtsied and said, “I like it well, dear Babushka,” and she followed the old lady as she floated back to the door of her hut and called out: “Locks, unlock!”

The doors creaked open, and then shut again behind Vasilisa as she stepped inside. The hut was surprisingly roomy, but a large part of it was taken up by a huge oven. Vasilisa had to hold in a scream, because the house started to rise up on its chicken legs and move about. She realised that there would be no escape unless Grushnak let her go. 

The witch sat down at the table and gestured to the larder. “Fetch me my supper, dear,” she said.

“Yes, Babushka,” replied Vasilisa, and she brought over some bread and cheese for the old lady.

“Ah well,” said Grushnak. “Soon I shall be enjoying a nice plate of roast meat, thinly sliced and pink in the middle.” With those words she pinched Vasilisa’s arm. “Now tomorrow my dear, you must complete my little task. When I am away from the hut, you must tidy the yard, clean the hut, and cook pumpkin soup for my supper. Can you manage that?”

“Why yes, Babushka, I can.” said Vasilisa, who was relieved that the task did not sound by any means beyond her ability.

“That is good,” said Grushnak, “and when you have finished doing that you can sort out all the kitchen pots and pans.”

Grushnak ate her bread and cheese and drank a tankard of frothy brown ale before falling asleep on top of a thick fur which was strewn above the stove, the warmest place in the hut.

The hut continued to move around and Vasilisa felt queasy. She certainly had no appetite herself, but before she lay down for the night, she did not forget to feed her doll a few crumbs of bread and some drops of milk. When the rag doll had finished her supper, Vasilisa asked her: “Oh dear, what have I done? How shall I ever get out of here?”

The Doll replied: “Have courage and keep faith and all will be well – for Grushnak is unable to tell a lie and she is bound to keep her promise.”

The next morning, Grushnak arose from her bed on top of the stove, and drank another tankard of ale before flying up the chimney and onto the roof. Vasilisa looked out of the window and saw the witch flying away above the trees, but this time she was riding what looked like a giant mortar. A mortar, by the way, is like a strong wooden bowl, and you can use it for cooking. You put some herbs or spices in there, and crush and grind them with a stick called a pestle. This is what the witch was flying in – only it was much bigger than a usual mortar. A giant pestle was what the old lady was holding in her hand, and using as a rudder to guide her flight.

Vasilisa gazed at the witch until she was out of site, and then she started to clean and to cook. She managed to get everything spick and span, and get the soup on the cooker by midday, but now she faced an impossible task. How could she possibly pick the black peas out of a sack of white ones? Why, there must have been thousands, if not millions of peas in the sack.

She heard a noise outside the hut. “Oh, Grushnak must be back early. Now I’m done for!” She exclaimed – but when she looked out of the window she saw not Grushnak, but the white horseman who had over-taken her on her way to the hut. He galloped around the fence of the compound and then was off again into the woods. Vasilisa sighed and wished that he would only come and rescue her, whoever he might be. Then when she turned around from the window she saw that all the peas had been sorted into two piles – one black and one white. Her task was done.

That evening, after Grushnak flew back home from whatever business she had been on, the old witch could not hide her surprise at all that her guest had managed to achieve the task in one day.

“I see that you are good little worker my dear,” she said. “Well in that case, tomorrow you can make pea soup and fetch water from the stream to fill up the tank. Here, use this bucket.” What she handed to Vasilisa was not a bucket, but a sieve, and the poor girl wondered how she would ever manage to use it to fetch water. Still that night, when the little rag doll urged her not to feel despair, she knew in her heart that something wonderful might happen to help her – and it did. For as she stood by the stream holding the sieve in her hand, the red horseman rode by, took it from her and swept over to the hut where he hurled it through the open window. When Vasilisa returned she found that the tank was filled with fresh water.

That evening Grushnak dipped her bony finger in the tank and tasted a drop of the fresh water. She said, “Indeed you are a hard working girl. Let’s see if you are clever too. Tonight you can stay up and count the number of stars in the sky. If you tell me the right number in the morning, you can take your light and go free, but if your answer is wrong, even if you tell me one star too many or too few, then I shall have you for my breakfast.”

That night Vasilisa gazed out of the window at the sky and tried to count the stars – 1,2,3, 5… But by the time she reached 100 stars she was no longer sure whether or not she was counting the same ones again, and she had to start all over again. It did not help that the hut kept moving around so that the view kept on changing.

Eventually, Vasilisa began to sob quietly. She took out her doll and said: “Oh dear little doll, who will come to the aid of poor little Vasilisa this time? I cannot guess the number of stars in the sky, and in the morning the witch shall surely eat me.”

“Do not worry said the doll. Have courage and keep faith, and all will be well.” And it was – for at the midnight hour, the black horseman came riding up to the window where Vasilisa was sitting and he whisper a number to her as if in a dream. It was a very big number, but I cannot tell you what it was, for it is a secret, but it was the exact number of stars in the sky that he told her, and in the morning, when Grushnak stepped with her bony legs onto the floor, Vasilisa said: “Good morning Babushka, shall I tell you the number of stars now?”

Grushnak yawned and said: “Go on child, tell me. But you had better not be wrong – for if you are, I shall eat you.”

Vasilisa told the number to Grushnak, who let out a terrible cry like: “Ha!” Her eyes blazed like those of the skulls on the fence surrounding her hut.

“Who told you that?” She demanded so fiercely that Vasilisa sank back. Grushnak picked up a plate and threw it across the room so that it smashed against the wall. Then she picked up a knife and Vasilisa was sure she meant to kill her.

“But Babushka,” she said. “You promised that if I told you the number correctly I could take a light and go free.”

Grushnak froze for a moment, and the fierce glare of her eyes lessened somewhat.

“Ah yes,” she said more calmly. “So I did. I suppose it was morning and day that helped you with the other tasks I set you?”

Vasilisa nodded, for she now understood that the three horsemen were morning day and night.

“Then you are a good girl,” said Grushnak. “For if Morning, Day and Night choose to help you, that means that you are in harmony with the spirits. I will do you no harm. Wait here while I go on my business. I have no tasks for you today. Tonight you shall return home with a light.”

That evening, after Grushnak flew home on her mortar, she took Vasilisa out into the courtyard and gave her one of the skulls with blazing eyes.

“Take this,” she said. “It will light up your stepmother and your two stepsisters very well.”

Vasilisa took the skull and returned back down the path to her village. She expected that her stepmother would have found a light by now, but in fact the house was not lit. Instead her relatives were sitting in complete darkness.

She stepped into the house. The skull lit up the inside as bright as day.

“I’m home,” called out Vasilisa. But she received no reply, for as soon as the light fell on her stepmother and sisters, they turned to dust and blew away on the wind.

Vasilisa went to live with a kindly old lady in the village until her father returned from his business. When he came back, he thought that his wife and stepdaughters must have run away. He did not miss them much. He lived happily ever after with his beautiful daughter.

Harrisons Tale

Once, there was a girl named Agnes.

She had two brothers and three sisters, and she lived in The Golden Lands where she and her family lived devout, simple, honourable lives. They prayed to the Nine every day, and much of their meagre possessions were given over to the honour the Saints on their feast-days and festivals.

On the day the Shadows came, Agnes ran. She was not brave, or strong, and she had no magic. She had nothing but the hoe she used in the fields, and when her own Shadow rose to slay her, she leapt from it in terror. She saw her brothers dying, and then she woke up on the Fleet.

Agnes never found out if the rest of her family came with her. She was evacuated from the ground when it seemed like there may never be a return. She did what she could. She darned clothes and knit cloth. She learned how to sharpen a blade. She learned what it was to be hungry, truly hungry, and she still gave what food she could to the Saints on their feast-days, because she knew that is what her mother and father would have wanted her to do.

She saw so much horror. She saw Daemons who wanted her soul. She saw the dead rise to claim the living. She saw the children, when even the children were used against us. That was the worst on her, I think.

Agnes was changed. As she saw the guildsfolk growing weary, as she saw the list of the dead rise, as she called on Notelexus more and more, she grew brave.

Some days I wish that she had not.

Agnes Bell was sixteen years old when she saw the Shadows for the first time. She was seventeen when she saw them the second time. And this time, she had more than her hoe. She had an old blade that she had been trying to force to take an edge for three weeks straight.

The Shadows came for her family again, and this time Agnes did not run.

She took three Shadows with her, and saved a dozen girls, all of them her juniors.

I told her father that. And every word I’ve said is true.

But I told him that her end was painless.

And I wish that it was. But I was not the man I am now, then. And it was only as painless as I could make it. Which could never be painless enough.

 

And that is why, though I care little for the Gods, I honour the Saints’ days and give them what I can.

Jaq’s Tale

Once upon a Fate, there was a woman. She sat with her 6 children, around her feet as she sat on her throne.

She watched, waited and witnessed. She saw was, is and will be.

She knows that 7 is best but 2 3’s will be worse.

She saw the Deplorable and the Blood and the Unseen Enemy. And she spoke to her children.

“Children listen…can you hear that? That is the sound of the Drums. It heralds 3 things that must continue to Phlow. You, will act as you see what I do. And now I must do 1 thing that will lead to many.”

And with she stood up and took the crown from her brow and placed it upon the throne. She looked over to the right where another throne was present.

Empty but full of love and honour and faeth.

She smiled and closed her eyes and everything, everywhere, stopped.

She was walking through the tall Trees, listening to the whispers, the birds and the wolves. She looked up through the canopy and Witnessed the Moons, the Stars and the Sun.

She looked to the east and felt the salt, the waves and the pull of the Tides. She nodded, 3 times, smiling and spoke, which all that needed to, heard. “It is Time.”

She walked further into the forest until she came to a Circle of 7 Trees and stopped in the centre.

She reached out her arms to the Lands, her head to the Skies and spoke the Oaths, the Pacts and the Words to the Seas.

Her belly swelled, feeling the Blood of worlds well up within.

It grew and grew and grew and she screamed, that sound resonating across lands far and wide. It echoed through the Arches, to the Moons and out across the endless Waves. Her blood spilled onto the Land, phlowing from her. As more blood left her, she became less and less and less.

Until, there was nothing left of her here.

And where her blood spilled, the grass grew and was verdant. It twisted up to the Sky, forming, converging, Creating.

And all became silent.

The drums, beating, quietly and then built in crescendo until nothing else could be heard. And all that lived felt the strength of the Blood Warrior, now born.

 

The Following Day

Use Magic to investigate the Cave – All Bar Dirk 

System Suggested Fate Points: 15

After Skills: 10

Having eaten well and participated in an act of group storytelling, Arthas shuddering in potential shame, the power of the Weave falls upon our worthies. Arthas is soon mollified when he realises that the power has not come from bards and is simply a by product of their own stories being enhanced.

Each one of you finds the core of your power, as you usually would, carrying with you the strength of your being. All bar that at your centre have fled the area long past: The Spirits, the Gods (should they have ever been here but at least their faith), the beings of the Astral and the Supernatural of any realms. Reaching out you find only hollowness and within the cave, an absence of life, yet there was life there once and it was snatched away. What is left, this emptiness, remains, inside the cave, waiting for you to fill it with your blood and your life.

A monster waits to challenge you in the darkness and it will draw its skills and powers from you when you enter the cave your skills will become its skills as if in a nightmare, a true beast of the North. It is the guardian that you must overcome.

As you reach out to it with your senses the weave guides your path, strengthened by your tales and you see a moment that is not your own.

Two children in the snow blonde of hair and only a handful of summers old, garbed for the North but fresh like cut grass. Blizzard thick and angry baring down with hatred to take their life to keep it warm. A man with them of many summers with a thick black mane and dark eyes, protecting and sheltering but already weak. The snow is thick and no shelter offered in deepest winter, death stalks their tracks and the end is inevitable.

As the man weakens his strength ebbs from him but on he drives to protects his cubs. Hope fades from his eyes and as best he can he shelters his wards with his body. Light fades from his eyes and the children emerge from his warmth. They look to the skies in innocence and blue light softly seeps into the world from their eyes. Around them the world snaps and changes, again, again, again and in snap the world is more favourable until…fate chances upon the shelter that they seek…..

Scout around and investigate anything that you find – Arthas, Dirk and Mohandis

System Suggested Fate Points: 10

After Skills: 2

This is heavily based on the image of the North

The area that the three of you tread upon is barren, sheened by a layer of ice that has not seen the tread of the living for thousands of years. Far you roam from the camp fire, seeking a path or a route among the jutting spires of Ice. Eventually sharp eyes discover old marks, perhaps of massive chains dragged across stone marked too by the scrapings of some tremendous clawed feet and the sign that many had pushed hard against the ground to force their shackled prisoner on towards the camp from which you came.

Bravely and full of tale you sternly make your way, swiftly to follow the mark from where they came, ducking below cave ntrance, through tunnel and across ope tundra the far end of freedom from that darkness. Not long, more than minutes less than hours you stumble unto the foot of a low slung tumble of rocks, protected from view by the rising of Ice one arch and what you see surprises you in the deepest ways

Saying the Words of the Translations

As you speak the words of the translations so the three ritual points spring into life:

The Animal bones shudder in amongst their ash and rise up, the fire that burned the flesh from them sparks once more upon their morbid renaissance. The ivory fashions itself anew becoming blade and guard and grip, wrapped in  the remains of the leather that once clothed the beast from which it came. Sin, it speaks of, as it leers at you but it calls, so strongly, that you almost stumble forward to claim it. It is a weapon for a man of blades and will lay low any beast. As you go forward to claim it though the fire roars and encapsulates its wickedness daring you to thrust your hands into its damning maw.

Indicators, all of ancient wood, clatter together rolling one over the other to form a circle of perfection around their kneeling point. Each of the Long Men sit perfectly balanced for a moment and then begin to spin, faster and faster, until words and images begin to appear on them like some grotesque galanty. What they say or what is there could only be seen if one were to rest in the centre that you could see from all positions. As you consider this a great up rush of ice bursts from that place, thin enough to step within but surely death to whoever would stand there.

From the fire where rests the Copper, Bronze and Gold there comes a great roar and clashing and the sounds of hammer on metal with the slow beat of crafting. The metals sliver and melt becoming as the molten components before their shaping, their colours mingling as lovers would, full of their passion and fire. They become a pool, so deep and so striking that they are the only beauty in this stark and barren place. There at the heart far down in the burning heat sits a shape that calls to you through the ages since it was last forged. Tantalisingly close, waiting to be claimed to take you to her should you dare to risk the crafters fire.

Meanwhile the word above the cave mouth glow and fragment becoming living magic that dares the fabric of world. Dripping down to the blackness of the cave they form on its ebony surface, it cascades down giving form to that black shape, it steps forwards all sinew and strength and sultry death. From the magic of the words spring five heads all parodies of your own: The long eared, snarling maw of Mohandis, The Shadowed Wolf of Jaq, The Black Lion of Dirk, the screaming face of war that is Arthas and the cackling, twisted madness of the Chirugeon that has passed too many lives. With death in had it steps forward.

Unusual Circumstance

·       You are dressed and carrying equipment but it doesn’t seem or feel real

·       Whilst you can draw swords and the like they are intangible to the world around you

·       Everything is blurred until you enter an area.

Rules

·       All Current Rules are in play

·       Remember that until an area is revealed you will not gain Actions for it.

·       If you have Fate Points to spend tomorrow you will need to reveal an area today!

·       Environmental Effect: Songs around the campfire

·       +1 Permanent Fate Each and because your telling it to me on Discord +5 additional Fate for tomorrow.

·       Only one Person can attack one head

Actions

Action

Type

Fate Points

Take the Bone Sword

Threat

10

Read the Long Men

Threat

10

Dare the Forge

Threat

10

Attack Mohandis Head

Descriptor Please

Threat

??

Attack Jaq Head

Descriptor Please

Threat

??

Attack Dirk Head

Descriptor Please

Threat

??

Attack Arthas Head

Descriptor Please

Threat

??

Attack Harrison Head

Descriptor Please

Threat

??

Call Upon Nyral – Weapon

Threat

5

Call Upon Ghul – Weapon

Threat

5

Call upon The Headhunter – Weapon

Threat

5

Go Look at the Arch

Threat

5

All enter the cave if you kill the thing

Threat

1

 

Day Four Starting Fate Point Pool: 46

Day Five

It moves across the ice in silence, the twisted parodies of yourselves grind out their rage and madness through a cloak of bizarre tranquillity. Moments pass as you steady each other and prepare yourself to face this creature of darkness. Poised you step forward, some of you in serene calm others all blades or beast in the night. Each of the five mouths open impossibly wide and that nerveless, unending quiet rushes to meet you. Some may falter and attempt to roll from the fate that speaks to you in your heart but there is no escape and you vanish from each others view.

 All moments of your lives that you have ever remembered are mirrored around you in the fragments of Ice that jut up around you. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of them stretch away components of some long ago fractured mirror. A huge piece that erupts from the ground to your left plays out your battle with the monster from the cave and you watch, fascinated for a moment as you become absorbed with your struggle for life but then she clears her throat and you drag your eyes to the right and see that terrifying figure upon her pile of rocks, carrying her skulls and wearing the crown of bronze upon her head.

Dirks Battle

The Battle

The two men stood facing each other

The Monster that was Dirk Screamed in rage and leapt forward

The man that was dirk moved aside and watched in anguish

So much rage, trapped beneath that Lions head

The Monster tore at the flesh of its head and blindly lashed out again

The man that was Dirk called to him reaching to him spoke words of comfort

The Monster that was Dirk staggered as though choking

The man that was Dirk neared and saw that the creature was blind

That once the mane was gold and had turned black

The man that was Dirk spoke his words to the Monster and it calmed.

The Monster that was Dirk touched the Man and the Man saw

All the horrors that the Lion had done through so many lives

The Shame of the Lion and the wickedness of its deeds

Swamping the good that the Man that was Dirk had done

No matter what good the Monster did the Lion always took away that goodness

Made it wicked and evil. 

The man that was Dirk sighed and closed his eyes because he knew that this was true 

The man that was Dirk said to the monster that was Dirk

“Aloysius didn’t knight us because we deserved to be Lionsgold

He knighted us because he was proud to know us and wanted the Lionsgold to be better

Because of us”

The Monster that was Dirk looked at the Man and wept.

The Queen

Well done Lionslayer” said that voice “you are a long way from home and home I think is a long way from you. We are all the same young man, capable of breaking, taking the wrong path. Know that if we take the wrong path, tempted perhaps by the wrong things, that those things are the monsters. They would consume the strength inside us and you should slaughter those monsters. Then that path is safe. All paths have monsters and all paths can be made safe. By people like you and my nephew.” She pauses to laugh raucously.

You are close to me, so very close to your truth, if you can warm my heart and wake me up, break my chains and set me free! But beware that path will only lead to further destiny. Two sisters have I and for that truth to be fully realised you must give much more than most would. Especially if you are to stop him.” 

Harrisons Battle

The Battle

Two Harrisons stood

The Monster that was Harrison and the Man that was Harrison

The other battles were over and The Harrisons looked at the bodies 

The four that had stood where collapsed and down

Broken and dying but their monsters were slain

The Monster that was Harrison ran to Jaq and ferried tools to hand

No stitch was enough, no bandage could stem the flow but he would not stop 

The Man that was Harrison came to him and pulled him away

The Monster would not come it would not stop

It took reached for its crystal with Jaq soaked hands

It poured its training into her but as fast as he healed here, there she died more.

Screaming he took his scalpel to rake at himself

To cut away his weakness, his imperfection, his failure

The man called Harrison grasped the monsters wrist and sat with him

As the monster collapsed to the floor sobbing his self loathing.

The man held the monster and whispered his soothing words.

This hero had killed the monsters and Harrison could not save them 

But Harrison had carried them and thousands like them this far

And thousands more were safe because of them

The man would not become a monster

Swiftly the man and the monster moved on to save Mohandis

The Queen

Long Man reborn!” Exclaims that voice “You are so very young to be standing here before my place of sleeping. Long ago I was born of a great mother and saw the thrice cursed moment although I could not place a truth on what would happen after. I suspected that great heroes would come to set me free and I see that you are no other than that. The people of the North do not rely on power, it is guarded by beings like myself, to maintain the balance. Power is always a trap anyway. It can never be controlled but skill can be learned and passed on.”

To free me, to free the Mother of Destiny, your kin must claim those crafted foci and open the arch to my Sisters. To do so they suffer the three wounds that destiny will bring to them and no healer of this age can tend to such wounds. It will mark them until it is the death of them. I could teach you the art of such healing for a price little man. If you will pay it”

Jaq's Battle

The Battle

Two Lycans

They stand apart both fearsome but they do not engage 

The monster that is jaq sheds her skin

She stands the Warrior Queen, weapons drenched in blood

The heads of here enemies severed at her belt

The skins of human and beast make up the cloak that sits at her shoulders

She is death and fear and she will kill all things that stand before her 

The Woman that is Jaq sheds her skin

She is the General and the Soldier, weapons sheathed but ready

Her Uniform is smart but reminds all of the Skagriagaard that she once was

The badges of her house and her rank shine resplendent reminding all of her deeds

She is a leader and she is death to those that come against those that she protects

“I am the beast, I am freedom, I am power” Screams the Monster

“I am Jaq, Freedom from the beast is an illusion, I am the North” Says Jaq Gunnarson 

The Monsters Lycan consumes her

The Womans Lycan lays at her feet

She lays with it and they rest against each other.

 

The Queen

Greetings Shadow Wolf!” Exclaims that voice “I had not expected to see one that carried my own title here again. Stolen story, well misused, reused, story might be more apt. You have done well to tame a beast such as yours and to become your own person in such trying circumstances. You have achieved much and taken up such an exulted position under the auspice  of the king. The reflections of time and self are always our enemies, but not here, not in the North.

Few people that now serve the Svetala would understand, they would see fear and they would sacrifice to that fear to be safe from it. The reflection that she provided would end them but it has not ended you. Life is suffering and can be unforgiving. Dralkosh: It means an oath, a promise, to keep safe what was taken until they can return, to stand against the Sky Tribe and to rely on nothing but ourselves. We are defiance young story, we are not our own enemies, we are love and nurturing. There is a time for the darkness in ourselves and that is when our enemies come. Go forward in all that you believe man of Shadowed Wolf.

Go forward Arrid, the Mora Mari have much to answer for and we will be their undoing!”

Mohandis' Battle

The Battle

Two Lycans

They stand apart both fearsome but they do not engage

The Man that is Valsung sheds his skin

He stands before you looking like you used to

How you did in your recent vision

He leans on his spear and turns so that you can see beyond him

The family that he has and the place that is reserved for him

In the place beyond where all of the North find happiness

One that cannot be healed

The Man that is Mohandis sheds his skin

He is as Mohandis is now

The Dragon and the memory of the Clan

He leans on his spear and looks behind him

Anghast and Dazak stand there too

All three are alone.

“Choices were made” says the man that is Mohandis

The man that is Valsung replies

“You were the only man that could have made them” 

The man that was Valsung vanishes into the afterlife

The man that is Mohandis realises that Valsung is now truly dead 

For once the wry smile does not appear on his lips

He has not lost but neither has he won.

But he is home.

 

The Queen

You have come home man of the North,” says that voice “and you have not come alone. I can taste the blood in you. How old are you? How long have you worn that skin? Is that your past? Was that the man that you were before you spread your wings and flew to join your brothers in the Sky? The three of you, preparing yourself for what is to come. Now you have come here to find me, your Aunt, I suppose you could call me and you are close to me now. You are so very close to your truth, if you can warm my heart and wake me up, break my chains and set me free!” She pauses for a moment and looks into the ice with you.

 

Do you miss him? The man that you were? Did you think you would become this Mohandis? The man who took up such a time worn mantle and carried it down out of the mountains? Mohandis: In their tongue it came to mean ‘The men of Battle’ and eventually the last battle but originally it belonged only to their Chieftain, The Man of Battle. Are you the man of the last battle? Or will you bring your brothers with you I wonder. Come to me Mohandis. You, your little clan that you bring with you, take the blade, read the words and claim the mark. Walk into the darkness and find me and I will tell you the truth of things.

 

In the aftermath of the battle you feel the a sense of Victory and stagger to your feat to continue the day. You feel your connection to her fading but she grants you the right to ask her, question her as to how to proceed, to understand. The air darkens as her voice, once more seeks you out. You can feel the weariness this time as she once more fights to reach. Despite her weariness she remains all of the things that she was in her first descriptions and should you speak of her to other groups I need you to keep that power and strength alive in your descriptions:

What is the price Harrison must pay to keep those that take the 3 items alive and well?

“When all things were balanced we had no need to speak of payment. When things changed one of my Sisters was the most invested in the land and understood the payment that was needed to maintain that fragility. They were called Ondrask. When that balance was broken and the Svetala dealt with my Sisters and me they had to maintain the balance for what they had done. These Foci keep that balance and if they are taken and utilised the cost will shift to those who hold them. The wounds that will suffer is the cost that Svetala should have paid and instead kept in debt here. To HEAL those wounds is to pay the debt to world for the years that I have been imprisoned.

The Cost will not come to you now Long Man. It will come down the line when a life passes into your hands that could trouble that debt. I am the North, I speak the truth as I can. It MAY be a life that you are saving. It may be the life of someone wicked that YOU must end. It may be the life of someone good that will gladly let YOU end their moments. But if it is not paid the debt will pay itself back and the deeds that you will make from the action of my release will become soured. It is the burden of the North. I understand that you are not of the North. But I will teach you if you believe that you can…”her voice shudders, becomes harsh, masculine, familiar “roll the hard six”

What is the sacrifice/price that Arthas must pay?(I thought it was specifically Arthas?)

 “When all things were balanced we had no need to speak of payment. When things changed one of my Sisters was the most invested in the land and understood the payment that was needed to maintain that fragility. They were called Ondrask. When that balance was broken and the Svetala dealt with my Sisters and me they had to maintain the balance for what they had done. I am known by many names but I am also known by my deeds. I am harsh and unrepenting, I am the Fate Spinner. Arthas you are a man that serves and battles his enemies in the name of his duty.

You will see soon see the right of me and the cost that is incurred in my release. Not to the wicked although I will punish the wicked but to the right thinking folk of this last Duchy caused by the actions of the foolish and tricked Svetala. Each of my Sisters that you release will climb your cause: Duty, Success, the Mission, further to the pinnacle of victory and each one that is released will demand the payment comes in a way that will be paid much more harshly than the cost that the Long Man has paid. You, man of Blades, will feel that cost the most, so says your spirit.”

If I am freed I will bring an end to this

How do we break your shackles and warm your heart and bones (as it has also been described as shackles.)

The action facing the ire of this worlds power, which is what guards the, will transfer the cost of my imprisonment to you. But that is not the last of the moments that the Svetala has prepared for you. You will be forced to test the validity of my words, question the cruelty that I will bring to the North and beyond its boundaries. When you are faced by my form you will face the choice by the Ondrasks bargains and by the word of the Oracles to release me. Will you choose to accept the wounds that have been caused to world? Will you pay the cost?

But more than this can YOU make that choice for the change. If you release me I will enter the world as I was supposed to have done long ago. When I return I will bend my will to return my Sisters and the balance and sweep aside much of what the world around us has put into place. We will heal the wounds of the world. Woe betide those that are the wounds of the world, that profit from the progeny of the Earth Tribes and their deeds. What this will do to the world is what you must consider in the BRIEF time that you will have to make that choice.

But you belong to him. He has made you warriors of fate. He has crafted you. You are his children and his passion and I do not believe that you will fail your King.

Which of us are best suited to take which ritual item?

None of you. None of you owe the debt you are not the Svetala. No doubt that they will have been forced to change so much that they could no longer be so self guided that they could even be guarantors of that debt. These will be your choices. And I think that you some of you have made them in days gone by whilst the rest would have made them if the days that you had faced lay ahead of them. I feel the North in all of you. The place and the man.

Do we need to go through the Arch first or cave to reach you correctly?

Take the relics of the Svetala, cede the debt to yourselves and the cave will bring me forward. When you have made your choice you can find my Sisters beyond the Arch.

The last is whispers. Her voice fades and you realise that take the relics or not, go forward or retreat she will only speak again when someone takes them. If those people are not you they will be uninformed and alone. The last of her strength is spent and fate…destiny….sits with you.

Unusual Circumstance

·       You are dressed and carrying equipment but it doesn’t seem or feel real

·       Whilst you can draw swords and the like they are intangible to the world around you

·       Everything is blurred until you enter an area.

Rules

·       All Current Rules are in play

·       Remember that until an area is revealed you will not gain Actions for it.

·       If you have Fate Points to spend tomorrow you will need to reveal an area today!

·       Environmental Effect: EXCELLENT stories and stuff

·       Each action only cost you 1 Fate Point yesterday

Actions

Action

Type

Fate Points

Take the Bone Sword

Threat

10

Read the Long Men

Threat

10

Dare the Forge

Threat

10

Call Upon Nyral – Weapon

Threat

5

Call Upon Ghul – Weapon

Threat

5

Call upon The Headhunter – Weapon

Threat

5

Go Look at the Arch

Threat

5

All enter the cave if you kill the thing

Threat

1

Reach out to contact that voice

(You may ask one question each before end of day that your ref will answer before the need to supply answers)

Interact

2

 Day Five Starting Fate Point Pool: 41

 

Day Six - The Grande Finale -

Taking the Blade of Bone and Flesh – Arthas –

Stepping forward to the flamesyou utter a short cursive to the world and roll your sleeves up and away from your hands to rest at the elbows. Without hesitation, after what you have heard, you plunge your hands into the fire. Through gritted teeth you try not scream as the skin burns away from your bone, the nerves in your limbs shredding away as your fingers grip the hilt of the blade and pull it from the flames.

The Wound: The flesh of your skin can be repaired, whilst the pain was immense you have suffered wounds like it before. What is now marked into your spirit you can feel burning away there, part of the contract that the Queen spoke of:

The thirst will grow within you to take life and it will only be quenched by the thrust of this knife. It can be resisted but eventually the urge will become too great and you will submit and in that moment you will feel the truest despair. Every life that you take with this blade will go towards the great debt but it will take another from the line of the family of the one that you slay each time. That life will be selected at a whim of the Svetala.

Do you wish to replace the item? NO

Reading the Long Men – Jaq –

The chill of the ice that roars before you freezes the moisture on your skin and forms crystals in your hair. Stepping forward into breech you feel at first the cold and then the warmth that comes with such temperatures. Your extremities being to cease the signals that they send to your mind but those are not the senses that you are directly concerned with. Against the frozen gale you peer at the flashing words before you and take them in.

The Wound: The damage to your body can be repaired, whilst the pain was immense you have suffered wounds like
it before. What is now marked into your spirit you can feel burning away there, part of the contract that the Queen spoke of:

All lines of fate have been shown to you, perhaps not understood but you can feel them burning in your mind, the knowledge so painful. When you look at another you can see their fate spiralling out before you, you can see the spiralling moments of every dizzying choice that they make. You are surrounded by the cacophony of uncertainty and the madness that it brings, all futures screaming at you endlessly, you must silence them. When you can longer bare the madness: *Snip Snip* to sever a line of someones fate and gain some peace but how that will effect their future and the lives of others…….

Do you wish to replace the item? NO

Taking the Token of the Ondrask – Dirk –

With a lingering sigh you speak your farewells to the arm that you have come to know and love and without resignation plunge it into the seething molten magma below. You must be swift as the skin sloughs away from your bone with startling efficiency. Screaming you encircle the token drawing it to the surface and collapse away the Blood Tile of the Ondrask Still resting in your hand as you lay panting beside the crafters fire.

The Wound: The damage to your body can be repaired, whilst the pain was immense you have suffered wounds like it before. What is now marked into your spirit you can feel burning away there, part of the contract that the Queen spoke of:

The coin that you carry now is a marker of the bargain that was struck, representing as it does the need for all things to be done to carry a price. Every life taken must be paid for, every crime must be punished, every due must be brought home. This desire, thirst, will consume you until you snap and dispense your justice in the form of bloodiness and balance born of “justice”

Do you wish to replace the item?

Examining the Arch

As previous description but as you approach you make out markings that are positioned before the Arch covered by snow that you move to reveal.

Stepping into the Cave

As a whole you step forward into the cave and the darkness falls away to reveal the scene that you are so familiar. There she sits on her pile of rocks, surrounded by the skulls that she has always carried. Where her heart should be there burns a dim light that is mimicked by the blade that you have so recently claimed and it is clear that this is the fire that will warm her bones and heart.

 

Do you place the blade in the socket of her heart?

Together: Yes we do

The Awakening of the Queen

Her eyes open and you feel the strength sap from each of you as the blue fire returns to her eyes with so much strength and power as to make the Gods dim and the Vorokians scramble in terror. You sag to the floor as you feel the life drain from your bodies, is this the end? Flesh crawls back across her bones, eager to give her back the breath that she once held until she stands before you as you cling to the last remnants of life that she has left you. All beauty and death is she.

And she opens her mouth to speak in a voice that is confident and so cruel that you almost piss yourselves at the sound of her darkening voice whipping out to flay your confidence from far away. Perhaps you do. She is ageless and eternal and she burns like the heart of the sun whilst freezing your bones like the coldest depths of the ocean. Hers is the voice that cannot be resisted, that no prayer can deny, no door can deafen and no nightmare can withstand. She is like nothing you have ever heard or would want to hear again even though from now on you will always hear her when the dark is at your back or the cold has found your marrow. She will always be waiting for you in the dark or under the bed or in the moment that you know you will die alone.

 

“I am styled as Sewrag Musakask (Shew rrrag Moosh A Kisshk (Eastern European accent??)) although the first folk of the North called me Mother, for my Mother was Grandmother, or The Bringer of Destiny. In places that are long dead and long forgotten others came to this world and claimed my name and title whilst I was imprisoned and they carried the name Fate Spinner although their story had been told and ended in a place that is nothing more now than a distant memory and my Mother would be called Arrid by them.”

 “I will now tell you my truth:”

“When Straval Ayeay, my mother, had her heart broken and torn away by the actions of the woman that you now call Countess so were the three Custodians of the North. I am Dralkosh the first of the three, I am the promise that I have already spoken to you of in your journey here. I am the night and I am terror, aye, but I am the protection of the North. I was born in the Blood of my Mother, tearing my way from her womb and born of her grief that I might stand as guardian for the North and the power that she once held. I am all that is wyld, that hunts and rules from the highest points of strength, supreme and confident. All will love me and be in despair for that love and worship me and adore the power that I have.

I am akin to the Gillieabad but it was a chosen that birthed me and I was the magic of all the land in the North, all came to me with gifts and I demanded that they were more than they could live without. Why? Because that is what would come to them should I fail in my duty. But I kept them safe in the spirit and made for them the Drayal Vork and it was a place of the days that they should have lived in opulence. That they could live out their afterlife in happiness but carry with them the lessons and hardships of their lives should the Sky Raiders return from their exile. But soon I came to realise that I could not live alone and give custodianship to the North.”

“So from the remains of the blood and bones of my mother I crafted my two sisters who were called Ondrask and Oracle, one to make the pacts and bargains between the people of the North and the power that I would allow them for the prices that they could pay and one to guide their stories and give them strength. My Sisters hurried forth and made for themselves followers whilst I remained alone, the Queen in the North and all power. But it was not to last for the coming of the comet had effect on me more so than any Gillieabad and the Rising of Chaos was to be my downfall.”

“More than any other creature of the Wyld I found myself impaled on the power of the Spire from the sky, trapped and weakening. I could no longer roam the ways as once I had and spread my power out to defend the land of the North. I lured to my place of power men of strength and ages and together we committed our bodies to the future of the North. Our progeny were strong and powerful and bore the lineage of my Mother and the Men of the Earth Tribes with whom I had chosen to mate. Not the Skagriagaard for they had stolen away our story through the Mora Mari and used the blood of an Arid from a long dead world to recreate the men of legend from that place and bled his blood into the world”

“My daughters, for women they were, were called the Svetala and they were as chosen to me as my Mother was to the Gillieabad. I sent them into the world and through them I could travel but they were mortal folk and they too needed to breed to create more Svetala for me. My Sisters too soon needed Svetala of their own although they were given different names and titles. But we had not expected the corruption of their spirit and they became wicked things, terror was not one with them they used it to their vantage to control. They did not have my power but were powerful practitioners of rite and ritual. They also came to understand their power over me for if they died out I would be trapped and unable to defend the land till I could sire more of them.”

“Soon they in their mating they began to have male children but realised that these children were not chosen like my Mother. Instead they had become personifications of the power of the Sister from whom their lineage sprung. Some had the power of Fate and Time, Others the power of Prophecy or skill with the Spirits. There were many among them and they represented more power than a Svetala could control. These boy children were swiftly put to death by their parents and the wickedness that seemed to dwell in our progeny found true purchase. The Svetala become swiftly more and more corrupt, descending into the darkness of what you, I see in your minds, have seen in the Dralkosh of today.”

“But one daughter was called Meera and she retained the spark of purity that I believe may have caused the downfall of the daughters of Straval Ayeay who was in turn sister to Estekan. Meera, I believe had male offspring and deliberately tried to hide this truth from her own Sisters and in doing so from me. I do not know the truth of what happened to her save the following. She had mated with a man called Unrst Urdegrithe who dwelled in the village known as Haggasard which is now Knife Spire and here had her Progeny. Secrets are buried in the grave of Urnst Urdegrithe who was lain to rest where the shadow of the wolf can be found.”

“In secret the offspring, fleet footed, was carried to the village of Teekegephry where the Gregorvich family took possession of them. Here I believe that the offspring grew into youth but that the remaining Svetala had planted the seeds of hatred in the thoughts and minds of my blessed daughter. She was whispered to by the woman that was the Countess in your thoughts and persuaded that the out pouring of her womb could be used as a weapon to destroy we three Sisters and take our power from us. Meera was persuaded to seek out her seed but they had fled to the village of Gudsag, a thought that I had placed in the minds eye. After this all knowledge of this future is gone as whatever protections may lay in the body of any of my Grandchildren began their work.”

“I know that Meera did not break that magic for she soon came to my door with an army of Svetala and the Countess lurking in the heart of them. She declared that they were now the Dralkosh and that my Sisters were to be slain and our power stripped from us. She had woven deep and powerful pacts with powers from other mirrors of our world as well as her own and paid a heavy price for our deaths. But the world would not accept them. Arkithane had already strengthened the ancient foe of the Grimsvotn who carried that cursed blood of Skagriagaard to its fruition. The soldiers of the Prisoner could not be allowed to reach the first Bastion and so we were sent to slumber. Alive but imprisoned. Waiting.”

“Whatever lies the Countess has told the Dralkosh, whatever has happened to Ondrask and Oracle must be undone for the time of Grim Harvest is nearly upon us. The Blood of Skaggrid has bred the greatest heroes and most terrible evils, the latter must be fought. The Sky King has met his end but the moment HAS been prepared for. I do not know why or how but you stand at the centre of the greatest moment of fate that history will ever know. We six are perhaps the last linchpin that will prevent the prisoners release and the hope of day alive. But the moment of Fate has splintered and you are not alone, I can feel that there are groups of people living in other moments of fate and that communication is possible.”

The group then questioned the Queen briefly before the end of the chapter

What is the 1st Bastion?

This is the First Bastion, the North, the land of the hardy where the last battle against the Grimsvotn was fought and the Gargantuan warriors, avatars of our lands battled. One to death and the other to the Oblivion of imprisonment.

What/Who is the Prisoner?

The great secret of the Gillieabad.

Who are the offspring of ‘your daughter’ who can gift you Immortality?

The male children of our lineage, for reasons unknown even to me, carry the power of the Sister who spawned their lineage, like myself and seem to be immortal. Their power could grow to such levels that the Svetala kill them at birth, they are dangerous to our kind. My offspring would be a powerful manifestation of destiny.

What is the Grim Harvest?

It is the time of the coming of the Grimsvotn and is spoken of in their legends and in our prophecies, all I know is that they must be stopped in achieving it.

“What are the duties and responsibilities of an arid/arrid supposed to entail that you have described as being your Title/belonging to you originally?

The story of the Mora Mari and their Arid belongs to another world and all of its incarnations a place where the Prisoner moved on from. That story died and ended but was reborn in our world and my Mother and Father were to be the players. If there is an Arid, if that were a title that we used it would be long to her who is called Grandmother by many but that is the title of someone that should have died. Instead she came to our place and stole her tale and weave.

What are the True Names of all the Mora Mari?

They are not known to me, I only know of their meddling such as the creation of the lineage of Skagridd whose line should have died on their world and led to the creation of the Grimsvotn. I have been away from the world for too long. With the power of the Oracle we may be able to divine them. Perhaps.

How do we stop the return/plans of Arkithane?

We defeat the Grimsvotn

Who/What stole the Deplorable Word first?

My feeling is that it was the Mora Mari

You have said that the Title of Arid/Arrid is yours, who is/was your Kren?

I did not say that. I said that the title of Fate Spinnner would sit well upon my shoulders. I am known as the Mother of Destiny. My Mother could be called the Arrid so her husband would well be called the Kren but those titles are not of this world.

Which Duchy/vaklam Did the Mora Mari first come to, from where?

They are from beyond the seven incarnations of this world.

unnamed.jpgWhat is the end goal/aim of the Mora Mari?

I do not know.

How do we undo the creation/magics of the Grimsvotn?

Assemble my Sisters and we shall see what can be done.