Zg Session 103

Aleith|DM: Cosette's tale mostly just reinforces what Pemberton and Brakken have already told you: She's one of the Ob's agents that were on the island, but not directly participating in the ritual. There was a huge explosion from where the ritual was, then shortly after that an army of gnolls invaded. Her and the remaining Ob agents fled to the mines.
Aleith|DM: When reinforcements didn't come, the other Ob agents began to act strangely, often speaking at the same time with the same sentences, or eerily completing each other’s thoughts. (You reason that, due to Cosette's Ob officer ring, she was protected from the effects of what sounds like a gestalt forming.) After a while, all of her fellow agents were catatonic, and she was left by herself until you showed up.
Gerald: "Nothing we didn't already know…"
Phyllis: "Other than a means of protection against gestalts. That … is news."
Phyllis: "And may yet yield further insight on that phenomenon."
Zane: "I still find it incredibly convenient that Gradiax just happened to be in the neighborhood with an army of fanatics to capitalize on the ritual going haywire."
Chandrasekhar: "Valuable information from the Ob. That's a first."
Pemberton shrugs. "Yerasol is easy to hide in."
Zane grunts.
Phyllis: "He's spied on the Ob before. As we're well aware."
Phyllis: "He was the other party successful in infiltrating their conclave, remember?"
Pemberton: "A damn shame they've caught onto my duplicants since then."
Pemberton: "What shall we do with Ms. Arianne here?"
Gerald‘ opens his mouth, closes it with a shrug and glances over at Phyllis and Chandra.
Zane: "I think we lack the extraterritorial authority to arrest her."
Phyllis: "She’s in no position to harm us, really. She may be able to assist us further. Personally, I'd like her to see how the Ob -really- operates."
Pemberton: "Should I send her back to the fortress with the injured gnolls, then?"
Chandrasekhar: "I think… we have the authority we claim, at this juncture… That said, what Lenz said."
Zane smiles at Chandrasekhar and shrugs. "Right but I don't arrest people unless I'm working within the laws of Risur, and I dont really benefit by cutting her throat and leaving her in a ditsh."
Pemberton: "If you're worried about territory, I could 'cede' it to King Woodson's care by right of conquest."
Phyllis: "I think they were more concerned about international affairs, before it was just us against them."
Phyllis: "But that's somewhat absurd to care about at this juncture, in my opinion."
Pemberton: "Let's head back to the cars and check out the ritual site, then."
Gerald: "H'kay."
Aleith|DM: Once you get back to the cars, he sends the gnolls who were with Brakken back to the fortress with the Ob agent, then brings all of you and the minotaur to the former lake to the west.
Aleith|DM: Where a decent-sized lake once was on western Axis Island is now a dry lakebed, which has been drained and its tributaries dammed and diverted.
Aleith|DM: Pemberton stops his car at the former shore. Off to the right of the road are stone bunkers, once covered in protective wards, which have been exploded from within.
Aleith|DM: Tendrils and arcs of planar energy trail hundreds of feet upward from the centre of the lakebed.
Aleith|DM: Up ahead the flashing energy rising from the ground makes it hard to see quite what happened in the dry lakebed, but a quarter mile away the colossus has clearly collapsed in several pieces, and some huge metal disk lies atop it.
Zane: "Wow. This place got wrecked but good."
Gerald: "Serve's 'em right."
Chandrasekhar whistles.
Zane: "Well yeah. I'm just impressed at the aftermath."
Ernst: "I would advise checking out what happened here in more detail. We may be able to ascertain what went wrong with the ritual."
Gerald: "What, were you worried we were going to just drive on by and call a brief glance good enough?"
Phyllis: "Agreed. I figure your expertise in planar affairs would come in handy here."
Aleith|DM: Looking at the bunkers, it's pretty obvious that the explosions were arcane in nature.
Ernst: "At a glance though, I can say that the burn marks hold an arcane pattern of fey origin. The power of the explosion was provided by the Voice of Rot, who transmuted the flames to not only burn flesh, but to consume life force and dispel magical defenses."
Ernst: "Essentially, Nico got fucked."
Chandrasekhar: "…wow."
Zane: "And that just breaks my heart."
Ernst: "And that explosion was not intended."
Gerald: "Wonder what his deal is."
Zane: "Also sweet tiny gods if that's what you can get at a glance I cant wait to see what you get if you take a few minutes to really look at things."
Ernst chuckles. "I imagine we'll be seeing the Voice of Rot again at some point down the road."
Phyllis: "I thought as much. That would explain Nicodemus' accusations that we tampered with his ritual. Both us and the Voice hail from Risur."
Gerald: "He kind of owes us a tongue, yeah."
Chandrasekhar: "I'll be sure to high-five him before tearing his tongue out, then."
Ernst: "I admit I am curious what their endgame is at this point. I would not be hard pressed to believe whatever it is, we're going to have to deal with it eventually."
Pemberton: "One of the titans at work, huh?"
Phyllis: "Whose endgame, the Voice's?"
Ernst nods.
Phyllis: "And yes, so it seems."
Phyllis: "Nihilism. Think Grandis Kormanov, but at a grander scale."
Zane: "She'd probably argue that there shouldnt be a grander scale."
Phyllis: "Precisely."
Zane: "Unless Grandis was the one that tried to blow up the city, not the one with the ice simulacrum. Gods now I feel like Gerald."
Pemberton: "Well, we've had a a bit over a month to study this ritual, even if from afar-you don't want to get too close, that energy isn't just for show-and we think we've got the basics. Brakken and I have a proposal for you, Your Majesty, constables."
Ernst glances at Pemberton with a 'this is gonna be good' look on his face.
Pardo speaks up. "First, how much do you know about what's going on elsewhere in the world?"
Phyllis: "Part of the same death cult organization, really. You don't think she was the mastermind behind the bomb?"
Gerald: "Nico mentioned ceasing control of a lot of places…?"
Ernst: "I was under the impression that most of the world lost their free will and the Ob has installed figureheads."
Ernst: "But I do not understand the specifics."
Pardo: "We may have been trapped here by a titan, but daily divinations add up eventually."
Phyllis: "Sparse details here or there. The Obscurati's united most everyone except Risur and Yerasol."
Pardo: "Yes. Unlike Risur, other nations had strong cells of Obscurati agents who made sure their local brands of ancient monsters didn't wake up and start causing trouble. Magic now functions normally in Danor and the Malice Lands."
Gerald: "Haha."
Zane: "… Wow."
Pardo: "Danor is firmly in league with Nicodemus the Gnostic, who revealed himself and penned letters to several newspapers to explain what has happened (in layman's terms) and encourage cooperation. He didn't assume an official government position, but supported by Sovereign Han Jierre, Nicodemus let the people of
Aleith|DM: the world know that he has answers to their many questions, and invited the leaders and most prominent thinkers of these nations—this Forward Symposium of his he menitoned. "
Phyllis: "I would wager that's due to the loss of the sun, but magic still works in this arrangement. I was under the impression that the Malice Lands suppressed Vona's influence."
Gerald: "Oh right! We're not out of Jierra to kill quite yet."
Zane: "Yeah I'm sure he did. 'Answers to their questions'. Shit. I only have one question, and I know he wont answer that."
Pardo: "Drakr has been pretty stable due to the Eschatologist movement, as many simply accepted what they've seen as another step toward the End Times. Your 'friend' Grandis Komanov has been getting an influx of followers, however, in the far north."
Pardo: "Crisillyir was almost the opposite. Many of their leaders 'seem' to have committed suicide, leaving behind notes confessing that their faith was a lie, and that they used myths of gods only so they could hold onto power over the common people."
Zane: "Huh."
Phyllis: "If Nicodemus was sincere about that aim, he seems to have accomplished it."
Gerald: "Well, no great loss there at least."
Pardo: "Ber sufferred some small upheavels as Obscurati agents attempted to seize control, but they were brutally quashed by Bruse Shantus. Sensing he precariousness of his position, he proclaimed that the darkening of the sky heralds that this is Ber's time to prosper. Since many of the Beran races possess darkvision, the nation of recently-savage people actually remains mostly orderly. Bruse Shantus is wary of Nicodemus, but it looks like he plans to attend the conference in hopes of maintaining his rule without unnecessary war."
Zane scowls.
Zane: "I shouldn't be mad at him for trying to seek peace, but I am. Nicodemus is going to screw him in every possible way."
Pardo: "Even the eladrin living in the colonies that have overtaken Elfaivar responded positively to Nicodemus and the Obscurati. However, those eladrin who hid for centuries in the fey enclaves—which existed between this world and the Dreaming—began to stream into colonial cities, telling of their enclaves splitting apart and disintegrating. Thousands died. One enclave, Sentosa, seems to have survived, managing to pull thier enclave into the real world in time. Their matriarch is urging her people not to be tricked, but her voice is mostly drowned out by optimism for reconciliation."
Gerald: "Saying he'll go to the meeting buys them a few weeks to start getting their military in order, Zane."
Zane: "Yeah, but I'd be willing to bet Nicodeums sees that too."
Brakken: "The Obscurati's support is very global, aside from Risur. Most people are just naturally loyal to them, and only a few people who had dealt with the group before were able to resist being so swayed. Risur is, simply put, outnumbered. A direct fight won't succeed."
Chandrasekhar almost, almost, looks happy about Crisillyir, but then he gets the news about Elfaivar.
Pemberton: "We have to work like a conspiracy. Our mission is to figure out how the Ob pulled it off, and then put it back on. That might not be the right metaphor, but nevermind. Like I said before, they're sucking the life and fun out of the chaotic mess I liked living in. I don't want to turn into a cog in their machine, but they basically rule the world now."
Pemberton: "Fortunately for us, I have experience with fighting authority and concealing my intentions. We have to be discreet, be brilliant, and then be gone before they catch us."
Phyllis: "The power dynamic of the masses in relation to those in power stays the same - the reins of canon have merely switched hands."
Pardo: "Given the name of the Obscurati, if we're opposed to them, I think we should call ourselves the Illuminati."
Pemberton scoffs. "Pardo, explain about the colossus and the ritual."
Gerald‘ scrunches up his face.
Phyllis: "Hold - before you do, what reason do we have to trust that you won’t fight us at some point or another? You rebel against authority, yet here you are, seeking an alliance with us?"
Pardo: "As you can see, the ritual was performed in this valley. Someone set off an explosion, apparently a Voice of Rot cultist, that killed numerous mages involved in the ritual, and the colossus was damaged before it could close the Axis Seal."
Pardo: "We were able to interrogate a mage who survived, and learned that the original plans for the ritual were stored in a vault somewhere in Alais Primos, the capital of Crisillyir. A necrotic curse took the man in the end, though."
Pemberton: "This is mostly where we need your help. If we want to redo the ritual ourselves and fix the world, someone needs to break into that vault."
Pardo: "The specific incantation to perform the ritual would need to be recovered, but the larger hurdle is that it seems each of the eight shafts in those pits has a golden icon that is infused with energy from a specific world."
Pardo: "In the various mines around the island, the gnolls have discovered similar petrified trees and golden icons, which appear to have directed the magic of the ritual outward into the rest of the world."
Pemberton: "The best I can reckon, to undo the ritual we just need to get icons linked to the same planes the world used to have. Or, if we're being clever, we could make icons linked to new planes, and do what the Ob did: make the world the way we want it to be."
Gerald: "Yeah, because that worked out so well for them…"
Pemberton: "Of course, I'm not going to hold his breath and expect that you'll agree with me on how the world should be. Especially since, yes, you'll be doing a lot of the legwork…"
[OOC] Aleith|DM: hold my breath
Pardo: "In order to create the icons, it seems necessary to travel to the worlds they'll be linked to. The Obscurati used an eldritch telescope on this island to aim at planes. But now the night sky is starless."
Pemberton: "Even if Pemberton Industries could create a colossus of its own—a machine strong enough to withstand the energy coming out of the open seal—it would be useless without the appropriate icons. And we're not sure how to get those."
Pemberton: "Especially if you're still as concerned about keeping the rest of the multiverse locked away like you were at that convocation."
Phyllis: "To be honest, that was my aim from the outset, when I realized their plan. It seems the Rot and I had similar designs."
Gerald: "Do YOU want to have to deal with giant ass brains killing your gnolls all day long for the rest of your life?"
Pemberton: "Admittedly, no."
Brakken: "Since w'ere stuck on the 'golden icons' point, I've been busy trying to plan the other key part of the conspiracy: not getting caught and killed."
Brakken: "The Obscurati is no longer hidden. In Crisillyir, Danor, Drakr, and even the states of the Malice Lands, the Obscurati openly work side-by-side with the local governments to establish new laws set forth by the Ob's leadership. Most governments seem open to cooperating with the Obscurati, and Nicodemus has called that Forward Symposium in a few weeks in the Danoran capital of Cherage to decide the future of the world."
Brakken: "I want to infiltrate the conference, learn the Ob's plans, and possibly delay hostile actions against Risur, Pemberton, and anyone else you get involved in our little rebellion."
Pemberton: "As I said, the Ob's onto me, so duplicants are off the table."
Phyllis shrugs. "Not our fault you're a one-trick pony."
Zane: "I'm just gonna drop this little idea and watch where it goes. Who says the icons have to be gold? Look at the relics of the ancients we found. They're not any sort of metal by default, they become gold when channeling energy."
Phyllis gestures with a hand, almost threatening anther [Spatial Lock].
Pardo: "They'd still have to be linked to the worlds intrinsicly."
Zane: "Well yeah. I'm just saying 'dont get hung up on the gold part'."
Pardo shrugs.
Phyllis: "Certainly not, they also mentioned petrified wood. I think we're clear on the energy mattering more than the material."
Zane: "Anyway I can get into the front door of that conference easily. The rest of you will take some work."
Brakken: "I have a plan for that."
Gerald: "Why even both sneaking in and listening to them make shitty plans? Lets just go and kill them all."
Zane: "its easier to kill them all if we sneak in first."
Brakken: "I'd warn against that. Trying to stop an 'open discourse' will make it easy for the Ob to paint Risur as enemies."
Gerald: "Man…"
Gerald: "You clearly have NO idea the relationship we have with Nico."
Gerald: "That is happening regardless of what we do from now."
Zane: "Yeah. We prettymuch *are* enemies, plain and simple."
Zane: "He just wants a chance to push our shit in with the entire rest of the world at once, because he knows he can't do it any other way."
Brakken: "Yes, but doing it in front of dozens of witnesses who are on their side, or at least leaning towards it?"
Phyllis: "I'm more tempted to crash the party but fight them on the debate floor. If they're simply not willing to have a friendly discussion, then surely they can't be in favor of free speech and free thinking."
Zane shrugs. "I'm still working on how to kill Nicodemus at this point."
Pemberton: "Yeah, that's another problem."
Gerald‘ sighs loudly at Brakken.
Phyllis: "Get that ritual. Tie his idea down to a corporeal form. Kill him just like Srasama."
Phyllis: "I don’t see what's so hard about that."
Chandrasekhar: "…it would be justice."
Phyllis seems oddly nonchalant and casual about the idea. Like it's just blindingly obvious.
Braken: "Since the Great Eclipse, I've expanded my psionic abilities. I can form a minor gestalt conciousness now with other willing people now. While others inhabit my mind, I can use their abilities and skills as an extension of myself. I'm confident I could house several minds in my body; effectively allowing a group like you access to the conference as Ber's ambassador, with me as your eyes and ears."
Gerald: "Hm."
Zane: "I was just gonna go as Damata Griento."
Gerald: "We DO know someone that knows the ritual, don't we? … Why haven't we asked her for it before?"
Zane: "Because I can't use it, so me asking for it would be stupid."
Zane shrugs.
Gerald‘ gestures towards Phyllis.
Zane shrugs again.
Pemberton: "Wasn’t that what I nearly interrupted in that island vault in Crisillyr…? Anyway, I'll insist on my own 'ticket' to the Cherage conference, alongside the rest of you."
Brakken: "I assure you, there's no sharing of actual thoughts in the gestalt; people have to intentionally communicate within the gestalt, so it’s not like anyone’s going to be controlling anyone else's mind."
Gerald: "Oh yeah, YOU'RE why we don't have it right now."
Gerald‘ punches Pemberton in the gut.
Aleith|DM: It’s metal. *clank*
Gerald: "- Right. Gods. Dammit."
Gerald‘ shakes his hand with a wince.
Pemberton dusts himself off. "Ms. Lenz shut me down quite quickly."
Chandrasekhar laughs.
Pemberton: "I may not have heard the full details, but you likely did."
Zane tuts at Gerald. "You’ll break your wrist you punch someone like that for real."
Phyllis shrugs. "There was another interloper."
Phyllis: "Ms. Kormanov made it difficult."
Pemberton: "Anyway, our overall plan, then, is first to infiltrate the Forward Symposium and get information to help this new conspiracy avoid being tracked down by the Obscurati."
Phyllis: "Right around the same time as you were about to, mind. You missed the din of our scuffle with her, not key information."
Pardo: "Second, we need to retrieve the details of the ritual from Alais Primos."
Pemberton: "Third is finding a way to relink the lost planes, or to find new planes to link to. Fourth will be redoing the ritual. Somewhere in there, we need to figure out how to destroy the Obscurati and Nicodemus himself once and for all."
Phyllis: "I have many, many thoughts on the third."
Phyllis: Her eyes flicker with ambitious intent. "This should surprise no one."
Zane: "Just remember, Ursinho. I love you like a sister, but I am watching you."
Zane pats Phyllis on the shoulder.
Gerald: "Uugh."
Gerald: "Okay I'll make you a deal."
Gerald: "You get to upstage Nicodemus with the talking bits on the first part,"
Phyllis: "I am keenly aware."
Gerald: "But we DEFINITELY get to shoot everyone on the second part."
Gerald: "Okay? Okay."
Ernst: "Nico is going to be very tricky to catch given his… adaptability."
Phyllis: "I have been thinking about that for a very, very long time, Ernst."
Gerald: "Naw I don't think so. I feel like we're personally pissed him off enough that he's going to want to finish us… and if that fails we can steal some of their Nico-summoning syrum."
Ernst: "Ghosts can certainly be brought to peace and will pass on if they accomplish their regrets in life, but we obviously are not going to let Nicodemus win to get rid of him." He shakes his head.
Pemberton: "That definitely sounds like a bad idea, yes."
Phyllis: "As I said. His aim is to defeat hypocrisy, especially that of the Clergy's, but all free thought and individuality seems to be in the line of collateral damage. Hence, as I said, the reins of canon merely switched hands."
Pemberton: "Otherwise, it sounds like we've got a good foundation here. Obviously some details need to be worked on. Like how I can get get Mr. Bieito here to not kill me once we're done."
Ernst glances at Phyllis. "With all we know so far, I've been running under the assumption that Nico originally died at the exact moment of the Great Malice, which impacted the entire world. Normally ghosts are bound to the location that they died, but Nicodemus can obviously roam. He's also more cognent than the average ghost which draws to parallels between his rejuvination and the reincarnation of devas. His power is likely tied to
Ernst: power is likely tied to the death of Srasama. "
Gerald: "You're on your own on that one, pal."
Phyllis: "Sure, I surmised as much, too. But why him, and how does he differ from the other devas? Like the late Stanfied."
Ernst: "I certainly didn't expect you to add in on the conversation at least, Gerald." He shakes his head.
Chandrasekhar: "He used Her death for his own purposes, somehow. Orchestrated it, exploited it."
Gerald: "I… was quipping at Pemberton, Ernst. C'mon."
Zane bares his teeth at Pemberton. "You like living in interesting times. Think how interesting it'll be once you know for certain that I am coming for you."
Pemberton: "I'd rather not, to be honest."
Zane: "And that, too, breaks my heart."
Zane: "The Hex Eater built up centuries of reasons for me not to kill him with his time in exile. You… have not."
Zane: "Choices and consequences, Gradiax."
Phyllis: "You have to make a case for that, Pemberton. Even I'm pressed to find reasons for our cooperation. You have not … yet."
Pemberton: "I may not have worked directly for the king, but you can't say that Pemberton Industries hasn't helped Flint in the last few decades. And my land dealings before that still build homes and businesses across the country."
Zane: "Money that you stuck into your coffers and used to fund your attempt to re-take Ber."
Phyllis: "You have to convince us with action. Action that doesn't involve betraying us. Then you might be able to crawl out of the pit of your sins from your time in Ber."
Pemberton: "I'm an innovator at heart. I've got something to help you back at the fortress."
Gerald: "I think he's more getting at how, when we talked about this last time I and told you thta if you bid your tie and continue to amass influence through your company you would have eventually would have been a defqacto ruler of the world and then you… what was it again…"
Zane sneers. "You are a greedy power-hungry predator at heart. You happen to also enjoy innovation."
Gerald: "Right, you flipped us off, went off to try and conqour a contry anyway, then got your ass kicked. That was it."
Pemberton: "Well, yes, very true, Mr. Bieito. Thank you."
Brakken: "Constables, Your Majesty, I believe we can all get along, both during and after this. Your Minister Lee could surely keep a closer eye on Mr. Pemberton afterwards if you need to. I have another concern."
Gerald: "Yeah?"
Chandrasekhar: "I'm listening."
Brakken: "My psychic link does have a problem: I can only maintain it within a few miles; I'm not quite sure how far. You will all need to be somewhere close to Cherage in order to properly maintain your link with me. Aside from Mr. Bieito, who may be able to infiltrate along with me."
Brakken: "Given the increased military and Obscurati presence in Danor, this could be exceptionally difficult."
Pemberton shrugs. "My invention will help with that."
Aleith|DM: There's a sudden loud honking noise from nearby.
Aleith|DM: One of the car engines has started back up.
Gerald‘ tilts his head back towards it.
Phyllis: "I may be able to arrange some kind of illusory disguise."
Phyllis: "… what is this."
Aleith|DM: You see a familiar-looking kobold sitting in the car at the wheel.
Gerald` then pulls out his rifle and takes a closer look with his scope.
Aleith|DM: It’s El Extraño
Gerald: "Oh hey it's the guy that definitely never told us any state secrets."
Gerald‘ shoulders his rifle and heads on over with a wave.
Zane rises , bows politely, and goes to see El Extraño. "It is an honor."
Phyllis: "Who is this again?"
Gerald: "No one important!"
El Extraño: "I am here to save you, despite this dragon’s attempt to conquer my homeland. We, of course, defeated our overlords long before you even considered defeating this Obscurati. The noble line of El Extraño can keep a secret, and just like the enlightened people of Ber, we shall cooperate with those who are unlike us, no matter their flaws."
The kobold points at Pemberton and snarls, "Do not interrupt! My operatives traversed the ocean by hiding inside of undead whales, which your kraken could not detect. I am amazed you did not consider this option. They then spread across northern Lanjyr and have reported to me critical intelligence. They have already located a location near this Forward Symposium where you will be able to hide. It is large enough."
Again he points at Pemberton, his face severe, and cuts the man off just as he's about to interrupt. "Failed usurpers will wait their turn to speak!"
El Extraño: "The Obscurati have placed a divination beacon that disrupts information in a factory complex in Cherage, where they are slowly constructing a second colossus. My people discovered it by granting hivemind consciousness to the rats of the city and establishing two competing spy guilds, which we reward with pepper cheese. These rats have excellent taste. We regrettably have not refined their fashion sense."
El Extraño: "Without being detected they have inscribed the names of Pemberton, Brakken, and the Risuri constables into the beacon’s stone obelisk. Now you shall be protected by the same anti-divination wards the Obscruati ringbearers had. Their preparations for the symposium will likely keep them from detecting our sabotage, but do not rely on it in the long term. My eyes will handle the mundanities of your mission to this symposium, and will report any information they discover in the city."
El Extraño glares at Pemberton and twitches the scaled tendrils of his moustache. "You will want to remove the pyrotechnics I hid inside your bedchamber. That was not an assassination attempt. I had a better surprise appearance planned, but I had to abandon it because a fleet of Danorans is about to attack the island, and it is in our mutual interest for you to evacuate. You should get to the fortress now, but not to defend. The facility was never designed to resist an attack with the current nature of magic."
He throws a large bag out of the car in front of you, then shifts the vehicle into gear.
El Extraño: "Use these scrolls to reach the fortress. Once you are there, Pemberton will show you what he thinks is a great surprise." He scoffs at the idea. "Do not be impressed."
Aleith|DM: With that, he drives away into the jungle.
Aleith|DM: The bag continas scrolls to teleport you back to the teleportation circle in the fortress.
Zane smiles from ear to ear.
Zane: "I love that guy. SO MUCH."
Pemberton: "Hmmph."
Chandrasekhar opens mouth, closes it. Thank goodness for invisibility.
Phyllis: "I do, too, but - who?"
Zane: "It would take too long to explain."
Gerald: "Not a bad little dude at all, no."
Brakken: "…I still have not gotten used to him."
Phyllis: "But Danor's on their way, yes?"
Pemberton: "Sooner than I expected."
Gerald: "Seems like. I wonder if any of them are on deck so I can shoot a couple before we leave…"
Gerald‘ hands the scroll over to Phyllis.
Phyllis: "If they caught wind that She Who Writhes left, it’s actually not too surprising."
Zane: "Well I guess we should figure out how to make our escape. Lets go."
Zane picks up a scroll.
Phyllis: "We will have to return here for phase 3 and 4, I assume."
Gerald: "I reckon that's the surprise back at the fortress."
Pemberton: "I was hoping for a few more days to get things ready before leaving" He sighs.
Gerald: "
Gerald: "- Dangit we should have asked that guy to find out what happened to Kasva after we dissapeared."
Aleith|DM: Once you teleport back to Axis Fortress, Pemberton sends Pardo to make his loyal cultists ready for a fighting retreat, then shows you to a factory near the docks.
Phyllis: "That is why I know Sending."
Pemberton: "I've been working on some new steam engines here: light-wieght ones enchanted with flight magic. I thought I might as well take advantage of the wrold's new arcane physics. Hopefully we can get it setup on your ship in time to leave."
Pemberton: "It should make running around the world easier."
Zane: "I have faith in Ernst."
Gerald‘ glances over at Ernst.
Gerald: "I guess that’s why the little guy said not to be impressed, using flight magic is kind of cheating."
Gerald: "Still KIND OF COOL though."
Aleith|DM: Inside the factory, you see various gnolls putting the finishing touches on a collection of retrofits to be installed on the Coaltongue.
Ernst: "Shouldn't be that hard to deal with. I already have myself and Stocke flying, this is just on a larger scale."
Pemberton: "Feel free to help with the retrofits if you like. I'm sure you'd feel a bit better overseeing them."
Phyllis shrugs. "I prefer teleporting. It's a better kind of cheating than flight."
Gerald: "I'm in."
Ernst nods. "I agree, but that's what my rifle trick is for."
Phyllis: "Sure."
Pemberton: "Meanwhile, I've got some smaller working models to show you." He leads you up to the roof.
Zane holds a hand out to Gerald. "Rifle. If you're going to be helping them, I'll be on the wall."
Gerald‘ nods, handing it over to Zane before folling after Pemberton.
Aleith|DM: On the roof, he has a few prototype flying machines parked. Unlike his roadcars, he has gotten around to decorating these: each flier’s nose has a draconic face with twin autocannons at the sides of its mouth, its two-level wings are framed with mithral resembling dragon scales, and the stabilizing tail boasts a proud Pemberton Industries logo. The wings are covered with glowing white glyphs, and the engine crackles with lightning when it revs. The two seats—for a pilot and a spotter—are even comfortably upholstered.
[OOC] Aleith|DM: they're basically enchanted biplanes
[OOC] Zane: OK as much as I hate Pemberton, these things are cool lol
Pemberton: "As part of the retrofit, we can install docking arms on the Coaltongue as well. These would allow the dragon fliers to both launch and dock at the side of your ship."
Gerald: "Oh maaaaaan."
Phyllis: "We're changing the aesthetic and we're not calling them dragon fliers."
Phyllis: "… as soon as it is not frivolous to do so."
Pemberton: "When you have the time, I suppose. It'll take a couple of hours before the ship will be ready to fly and then we'll be out of here."
Pemberton: "I'm going to go look at the defences a bit. Can I leave my 'body' on your ship in the meantime? And bring my daughter onboard along with Brakken and a few gnolls here?"
Gerald: "Sure."
Aleith|DM: Pemberton disappears for a bit to plan the fortress's defences before returning to help oversee the retrofit. Brakken and Terakalir (now in a human form, with a mechanical prosthetic arm and eye) board the Coaltongue, waiting in one of the rooms belowdecks out of the way.
[OOC] Aleith|DM: yes, he's in his 'human' body now
Aleith|DM: He keeps Pardo nearby coordinating the fortress defenders.
Aleith|DM: A couple hours after work begins, you hear look-outs shouting warnings, and sporadic cannon fire.
Phyllis: "Status report on completion."
Phyllis: "Because it had better be 'now.'"
Pemberton: "…half an hour left."
Pemberton: "If we leave now, she'll list badly and may not even clear the wall."
Gerald: "Shoot a few for me, Zane!" Gerald shouts from further down the ship, wrench in hand.
Pemberton: "We've got it from here. You can take a look if you want."
Gerald: "F'you say so."
Phyllis: "Any way we can speed it up, or do you need us to buy time? Or are we getting out of here before an altercation?"
Zane responds by blasting someone off a deck.
Pemberton: "Buy us some time!"
Gerald: "That was almost definitely him saying to buy time, so we don't crash."
Gerald‘ hustles up to the wall.
Phyllis: "The retrofit may not be done, but he smaller ones?"
Aleith|DM: When you get out to the sea wall, you can see dozens of ships coming for the fortress, dimly visible by the lights on their decks.
Pemberton: "Those ones are good to go!"
Aleith|DM: Shortly after you get to the wall, a small explosion disturbs the water near the sea gate.
Gerald: "Oh. OH MAN."
Aleith|DM: The gate hangs loosely in place, and a minute later two submersibles surface.
Gerald: "ERNST CAN WE TAKE ONE OF THE TINY AIR MURDER BOATS OUT FOR A RIDE???"
Aleith|DM: A bunch of marines exit the port on the top, and then they teleport in amongst you.
Ernst scratches his head. "… right now? Really?"
Phyllis unsheathes Dukain’s blade. "After we deal with this immediate incursion."
Gerald: "It's got two chain guns inside of it! You fly I'll shoot! It'll be great!"
Aleith|DM: 5 of them are right in front of you, three tieflings with longswords and pistols, one carrying a mortar and a variety of vials, and one with a musket much like Gerald's.
Gerald: "Well okay AFTER we kill these guys."
Aleith|DM: There's three more squads further down the wall, and they start assaulting the various bunkers along the wall.

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