Across Thunder Sea
Anemone ducked her head over the side of the ship heaving out hearty belches of the simple rations she had just consumed in an attempt to quell her already nauseous stomach. The sickness was a combination of high breaks in the ocean and withdrawal from the dream lily she had ingested during the previous night at Brewfest. The waif, or Lilane Montdragon as the party now knew her, had tempted Anemone with the substance and now it was Anemone who was learning the responsibility that accompanied a drug habit.
The group mostly kept to themselves during the voyage as they each contemplated their return to the place where this journey had originated; They would soon be in storm reach. Sera spent several nights in her cabin pacing around it as a tiger. Frost stayed in his cabin for most of the time recounting the events and pondering how to best use them to his advantage. Occasionally he would take such pondering topside for a walk around the deck. When she wasn’t liberating her lunch from her insides, Anemone slept in hopes of sleeping away the symptoms of her choices.
Shim would often take walks through out the ship in an attempt to count the total number of planks that went into this fine Lyrandar vessel. As he would walk back to the stern to begin the next count he reflected about his opportunity to experience what the humans referred to as “intoxication”. He tried to find equivocations between his experience and what he understood about Solaruun’s condition. After hundreds of counts of every various piece of hardware that the ship was comrpised of, he was still no closer to a solid conclusion. He was also full of questions as to the changes that were developing inside him. His systems were somehow broken into by the strange professor, Siviroth, the man in the silver robes. How had he been able to take control of Shim? What was the noise that the group said Shim had emitted and what was the nature of the information it conveyed? More observation would be required.
On one day of their trip, Sera and Frost set to learn more about the new device that they had created from the pieces collected in their journey. The “Chaotiscope”, as they now called it, seemed to have several properties. The pair started by examining the individual components. The initial convex lens piece that they discovered seemed to show blurry visions of what Frost and Anemone agreed was most likely a nearby narrative. The Spark emitted a small radius of light and offered a protection from negative energy. The Dark Vapor functioned in a similar way but with darkness and positive energy. Both could be focused through the convex lens to form a beam of light, or dark depending on the component utilized. The concave lens spread the beam out into a wide cone of light or dark and the two together could be used to focus the beam into an intense ray. The chaos fluid that surrounded the device was the strangest aspect of the whole thing. It pulsed and moved almost of its own volition. Sera learned that when both lenses were present, the chaos fluid seemed to be able to move them to create the various light patterns without disassembling the device. The most interesting aspect was what happened when the entire device was used to look at their surroundings. Frost peered into it and was able to see the ships walls in various states of dry rot or disrepair. As he tried to focus farther out all object became blurry. It became apparent after much conjecture and debate, that the chaotiscope was able to focus on the near by narratives much further than the convex lens alone. It could see through a wide array of possible states of items gazed upon but, it began to lose focus when pointed at people or narratives to far flung from the current one.
Another topic that was often at the forefront of the groups thoughts was Lady Omaren. What would she be like in this new narrative? Would she have them killed on sight? Would she still be trying to craft her own Inevitables? Would she even be in this telling? These questions swirled into a tempest of musings that broke as the ship pulled into the harbor of Stormreach.
The harbor of Stormreach was a welcome sight after the days at sea. The view of the ramshackle
structures seemed to have changed a bit in their absence but, the smell of the harbor was still a strong olfactory trigger to memories of their time in Stormreach. The heavy brine in the air matched the heavy anxiety in the group as their ship came to dock.
They made their way down the gangplank as their goods were taken from the ship. They then followed the worn wood planks to the noisy din of the harbor district. As the pier gave way to land, the party came to a band of six warforged that wore the symbols of the Iron Watch. The warforged though seemed to be of a strange construction. Their arms held a mechanism for some sort of chain weapon and their backs had a pair of odd raised areas just next to the shoulders. The group recognized these modifications as being very similar to hardware they had seen on the Zekylhuts of Daanvi.
They cautiously approached and were asked for their travel papers. The formalities were fairly routine; the party was asked about their reason for travel and to provide letters of marque for their plan to export artifacts from a giant ruin. Sera and shim inspected the new style of warforged intently, each formulating a battery of questions that they knew would have to wait for a more appropriate time.
After the interrogation by the new Iron Watch, the party collected their papers and made way to the first familiar site, The Wavecrest Inn. On the short jaunt over to their first meeting place the group took notice of the shear amount of Iron Watch presence in the cities streets. Stormreach, the pirates bastion, home to countless scoundrels, and a den of the most devious thieves, was now a well patrolled and orderly city. The streets pulsed with the heavy feet of warforged marching in bands of two. Their patrol paths were incredibly efficient, leaving nary a blind spot or hiding place.
The group put their heads down and made haste towards The Wavecrest. They met a familiar face at the door. The doorman cast them a slight nod of recognition. After some pleasantries were exchanged, Sera finally asked about the new warforged. “How long has there been such a heavy patrol of warforged in Stormreach?”
Sera’s question caused a look of confusion to appear on the doorman’s face. “The Omaren’s have kept patrols around Stormreach for protection from criminals and the like for some thirty years. Lady Paulo Omaren maintains order throughout the city.”
With this, the confused expression dropped from the doorman’s face and transplanted itself to the faces of all the party, save Shim who just stood there taking in the odd displays that the fleshlings kept trading.
Quickly and silently the group came to the same conclusion, this was a variation in the new narrative that they had entered. They gave each other quick glances and made their way inside and too a table near the back of the room.
The look of The Wavecrest was just how Anemone, Frost, and Sera remembered it. The tone of the once lively tavern was vastly different. A somber mood hung like a noose around the bar. There was no music, only muted conversation, and quiet drinking. The group stood in disbelief while Shim casually took in the scene. Having no basis for comparison, Shim took the scene as totally normal, albeit unique among the taverns they had visited.
Anemones voice suddenly reverberated over the low din of the muted murmurs. She called for strong drink and food. As the server came to the table she politely asked Anemone to lower her voice. The poor girl looked almost panicked as she did so. Anemone, either indifferent or unaware, continued to speak in a voice that carried easy across the room. “Where is the Wavecrest I knew? Where are the drunken arm wrestling matches? Where are the bards?”
“Bards have been forbidden from entering the city for some time.”
“…”, a slack-jawed silence was all that Anemone could muster.
When she regained her composure she turned to the group and whispered, “We cannot let this stand, Omaren must pay for this.”
The group urged Anemone to wait for an appropriate time, and wait she did. She waited an unfathomably long five minutes, during which she angrily tapped her foot while contemplating how to usurp this imposed somberness. When she could not take it anymore she stood up and burst into song.
At first the crowd only looked on shocked. The bar maid shirked back into the kitchen and even the bartender moved back from the bar, keeping a cautious eye on Anemone. Anemone sang a triumphant song that she had picked up along her journey. Her rousing performance led to another patron picking up with her in song at the second verse. He stood from the bar and sang even above Anemone’s voice. He gestured wildly along with the lively meter of the song, seeming to be free of what ever inhibitions had kept him silent and still before.
As they moved into the chorus Anemone let the man take the lead while she pounded her feet and clapped, attempting to rally more singers to their cause. Suddenly, with great clamor, a pair of warforged with Iron Watch insignia burst in with heavy steps. They moved immediately to the singing man and as they did his song abruptly ended. Anemone, at the silent behest of her comrades, quickly took her seat.
One of the machines stood before the man. The metal man opened his mouth wide and a strange sound, very similar to the one that Shim emitted in the Moregrave library, emanated from his throat. The patron seemed to fall somewhat limp; his shoulders dropped and his spine began to slump. He moved lethargically back towards his bar stool and took his seat, once again quietly sipping on his drink.
The party decided then and there that they would have to investigate what Omaren had been up to while they were away. They rented rooms for the night and listened to the metered march of the metal enforcers as they drifted off to sleep.
The next morning the party convened in the common room of the Wavecrest. The remains of an evening of drunken revelry were strangely absent in this room. No dents on the arm wrestling table, no stains of spilled wine and blood, and most strangely, the same number of chairs around the tables that were there the night before. Shim counted and verified this fact.
After a brief discussion the group came to a consensus, gaining knowledge of what changes had happened was priority. Two main points of interest came to their attention. Was Solaruun’s house still safely hidden in the jungle and what were the marked houses doing about the state of things in Stormreach. Sera and Frost set out to investigate the Citadel of the Twelve and possibly speak with Sera’s grandfather. Shim and Anemone were off to investigate the old man’s house to ensure that the Occularum would have a housing to be setup in.
As a precaution for their separation, Shim attempted to link the minds of the group so they could communicate. As the bond was established, Anemone reached for her ears and let out a resounding roar of pain. After a moment the pain dimmed but, at the moment that Sera asked as to her well-being across the mind link, a blaring wall of static noise filled Anemone’s eardrums. Shim relinquished the effect.
This was a curious state of things for the group to adjust to. The mental bond that the psiforged produced had oft acted as a safety tether when the group was forced to part ways with each other. Something was interfering with the effect here. Though unspoken, the group all came to the conclusion that this was caused by some strange machination of Omaren’s new stranglehold on Stormreach. The group split and nervously set out on their respective missions left free to wonder in this new iteration of what was once a free, albeit dysfunctional, pirate city turned into a prison of brainwashed people corralled by new metal shepherds that the party now dubbed “Reach Forged”.
Frost and Sera set out to the citadel. As they passed through town they spotted familiar sights of broken relics from the collapsed giant ruins, floating islands of flowers bound by chains to keep them from flying skywards, and ramshackle buildings built atop all of this. The buildings though, had a uniformity about them that was not there previously. Even though their construction was still thrown together from scraps, the scraps seemed to be of the same materials. The metals, woods, and other elements seemed to be relatively mundane in their make up and, as Sera noted, they were all materials used in the construction of warforged.
As they finally arrived at the area where the Citadel of the Twelve should have been they were instead confronted with a large industrial complex that could only be described as vast. The perimeters were protected by a large wall and heavy patrols of “reachforged”. The main building in the complex was an incomprehensibly large structure that seemed to glisten with a strange, viscous moisture that clung to the sides of the building. There were tall smoke stacks that, guessing by the smell and smoke rising from them, were used in the smelting and reforming of metals.
Both being marked members of the Houses, Frost and Sera proceeded past the boundary towards the main building. The moment that they passed that edge a small troupe of metal guards were upon them. One of the guards approached and asked that they produce “work authorization papers” before they proceed. Both highlighted their dragon marks which were plainly evident as they were both upon their faces. Despite their clear affiliation with the two houses, the guard balked their entry. Sera pleaded to speak with her grandfather. “Without papers there is to be no entry into the main facility.”, the guard coldly repeated at their every attempt to gain entry. They soon realized that no amount of bargaining would convince the patrol to let them through. Accepting the small defeat they retreated to a short distance away to formulate another plan of action.
After reaching a suitable distance between themselves and the complex, Sera summoned up a small lemur messenger to fly above the building and provide a bit of recon. The lemur took flight and made way towards the complex from a high angle. As it neared the complex to begin recon it suddenly vanished in a small cloud of smoke. Sera attempted to sus out the nature of this magic and found it to be some intense form of anti-magic field protecting the complex from the top.
Something huge had changed here. Both could not help but wonder what work was being conducted inside this new complex. What change could have happened to bring about a narrative with no Citadel of the Twelve? The two backed away from the site quietly and made their way back to the jungles to meet up with their troupe at Solaruun’s house.
- Shim and Anemone Investigate Solaruun’s old Occularum housing.
- Find an “echo” of Solaruun.
- Find copies of Solaruun’s books, arrived well ahead of him.
- Anemone Investigates the housing (no occularum), gets a blast of fire while opening the door.
- Good Friends Stick Together
- Group reunites at Solaruun’s house.
- Shim and Sera investigate “echo”
- Patrols Arrive
- Shim gets a shock to the system, Covers group in Ectoplasm. (Ectoplasm mysteriously does not cover patrols.)
- Group is bound and put to sleep. Except Sera.
- Sera wills herself into a were-tiger and destroys several of the warforged.
- Warforged partol turns shim against sera.
- Sera Subdued.
- Group reunites at Solaruun’s house.
- Black and White, Red and Yellow.
- Lady Omaren disects shim, questions group
- Talk of warforged as living beings v. constructs.
- Programming Languages (Duality of Shim)
- Party is taken to the Lower hub.
- discussion about how Omaren uses the Chain drive to program the “reach forged”
- Omaren reveals that Shim is guided by two separate systems of language.
- Relay and the Beacon, over Chicken
- Party discusses things further with Omaren.
- Learns of her creation of the reach forged.
- Sera accidentally reveals that the group has changed the “narrative”
- Omaren Takes an interest in the Key @ Mi’la Au’roth and the ability to “program the narrative”
- Party discusses things further with Omaren.
- A bargain for release.
- Omaren keeps a part of Shim and allows the group to go with the promise that when they set out on the next jump she is allowed to accompany them.
- Spiders, Driders, and Clerics
- Party Sets out to Giant temple to collect statues for vundry.
- Followed by Drow
- Encounter Glorian
- Glorian attempting to lead a rebellion through his connections in the red ring.
- Just slaying evil in the mean time to keep his skills keen.
- Enter ruined temple and encounter Driders
- Driders attack party, 3 statues broken in the battle.
- Mi’la Au’roth
- Party arrives and notices distinct style of temple.
- Resembles Tower in Kythri in its disjointed structure.
- Has strange polished plates along the towers sides and reaches.
- The problems with doors…
- Order of being puzzle
- Slit pattern
- The Key
- A slippery situation
- Traps and lights
- Jeweled Mural
- Depicts a battle between Cyclops, Dragon, and Giant over seen by a strange figure of a solemn faced woman looming larger than even the dragons.
- Opening the final door
- Death in Giant form.
- Party arrives and notices distinct style of temple.
- Singing and Selwyn
- Party hears strange tones
- Encounter outpost.
- Outpost members report that several of their band have disappeared. Commission party to go and investigate.
- Find hidden path and encounter 2 Stone singers (MM3)
- Traveler arrives with Selwyn to investigate the nature of the Stone singers.
- Group investigates temple and finds more Stone Singers. Glorian rains destruction upon them.
- Discover trapped members of outpost and lots of great loot.
- Plotting and Departure
- Group returns to stormreach
- Glorian begins plottings with red ring members for “Two Prong attack”, makes plans to appear in Tournament the next day.
- Frost Does the same with House Philarn
- Sera & Shim return to Solaruun’s, the rest of the party reconvene later.
- Sera, Shim, Anemone, & Selwin go to bargain with Omaren to get Shim’s piece back.
- Omaren balks their attempt, saying that she will give the piece back when they go on the jumps.
- Glorian competes in the red ring, Frost spectates.
- Group oversee loading of goods into transit and leave on chartered boat to Sharn.
- Group returns to stormreach