Archive for October 2011

Chapter Three: The Mysteries of Space (Part 2 of 2)   Leave a comment

(Part 1)

While Sir Victor sent and received messages from Prince Flavius, the rest of the pilgrims talked among themselves in the Observation Station’s rudimentary cafetorium. They were a bit put out by Sir Fitzpatrick’s bizarre nature: his weird way of speaking, his refusal to enter the same room as they, his insistence on rigorous decontamination. A lone xenobiologist in an outpost shorn of religious iconography – hardly the place for a Li Halan noble. Manx inferred that Sir Fitzpatrick might be an embarrassment to the family, an inference he kept to himself.

The pilgrims’ ride to Kish turned out to be a commandeered Scraver vessel, the Pitiless, captained by one Yori Jaehar. Jaehar greeted the pilgrims with ill humor, pulled down some rough benches in his cargo bay, and flew them to Kish with little ceremony. At the spaceport, the pilgrims were greeted by a flitcar to convey them to the Governor’s palace and an audience with Prince Flavius Yue Se Chou Kung Li Halan.

Prince Flavius Li Halan, Governor of Kish

Prince Flavius, after inquiring after the pilgrims’ health and hearing their remarkable tale, called for refreshments for them while he and Sir Victor talked. Pacing through his gardens, Flavius grilled Victor on the extent of his theories about Emperor Alexius’s parentage – and whether he had any evidence to back up his claims. Victor, remembering that he was speaking to a one-time claimant to the Phoenix Throne, deftly avoided incriminating himself, soothing the Governor with bland pronouncements. The talk then turned to the Li Halan homeworlds. Prince Flavius suggested that the pilgrims would do well to visit each one before continuing on, as the common people would have their spirits lifted by seeing their holy quest. “Yes, but your word of our visit would also be a boon to their souls,” Victor replied, not wanting to go months out of his way to visit Icon and Midian. Having deftly avoided several diplomatic bear traps, Victor consented to Prince Flavius’s last suggestion: that, in light of the pilgrimage having lost a member, Flavius might send another along with them.

In an opulent anteroom nearby, the pilgrims gorged themselves on whole foods for the first time in days. Captain Jaehar, drunk on Li Halan wine, tried to start a fight with Captain Manx by dissing the Muster. Manx defused the situation by going on about the role the Muster played in bringing order to the galaxy, a role sanctioned by the Church. “And,” Manx added under his breath, “I happen to be in good with your boss Dean Toth, and if word of this gets back to him, he will come down on you like a guillotine.” Jaehar gritted his teeth but backed down after that, showing deference to all members of the party.

Captain Yori Jaehar, Scravers Guild

Brother Sand and Apprentice Fannagus, meanwhile, ducked out to perform a quick blessing over Lady Corezza’s personal effects. “Kish has a marvelous cathedral,” Sand said. Laying out her belongings on the altar, Fannagus discovered the quantum core that he had been sent to retrieve – and which Corezza had secreted away in her satchel. Shaking with rage, he explained the full story of what had happened in the arcology on Sutek. “It doesn’t belong to her!” Fannagus insisted. “It shouldn’t be with anyone but the Engineers.”

Brother Sand calmed the young man, whose curses were echoing through the cathedral’s beams and drawing the attention of a few acolytes. He promised to surrender the quantum core into Fannagus’s care, so long as he kept the discovery secret from the others. “We mustn’t quarrel amongst ourselves,” Sand insisted with an odd fervence. “The pilgrimage is all.”

Posted October 24, 2011 by John Perich in Uncategorized

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Chapter Three: The Mysteries of Space (Part 1 of 2)   1 comment

Our pilgrims embarked on Lady Corezza’s yacht through the Sutek jumpgate. Experienced travelers all, they knew to expect a profound but brief sense of soul-splitting disorientation as they breached the gate itself. This time, however, was much worse.

[Every session begins with one die being removed from the Dying Stars. The players ended the last session with one. And when the Dying Stars are emptied, catastrophe strikes.]

The ship emerged from the jumpgate in chaos. The extended time in the space between the stars filled everyone with dread and confusion. The yacht itself spiraled out of control, the pilgrims colliding into each other in free fall. Sirens screamed and a terrifying popping filled everyone’s ears: the early signs of explosive decompression.

Captain Manx tried to get everyone to calm down, starting with Lady Maryam. Sadly, his attempts to slap some sense into her only provoked her bodyguards into restraining him. Apprentice Fannagus and his sidekick Ferezzio rushed to the pilot’s console, as eager to save the ship as they were to get their hands on forbidden Charioteer tech. Sir Victor relied on his knowledge of constellations to orient the yacht, since all power had been lost to the navigational computers.

Wrestling free of Maryam’s bodyguards, Manx calmed everyone enough to get them into EVA gear in case the decompression worsened. Fannagus and Fez figured out how to manually seal off the damaged portions of the ship, preventing vacuum from ripping apart the intact quarters. And Sir Victor extinguished an electrical fire in the observation lounge.

The Charioteer pilot had died from head trauma in the initial panic. Fannagus set a course for an (apparently) inhabited moon orbiting a nearby gas giant. Since the thrusters were completely inoperable, he had to execute a series of unorthodox maneuvers with the ship’s attitudinal air jets to bleed off the yacht’s momentum. The wildly spinning vessel was met in the moon’s orbit by a pair of odd spacecraft, each equipped with grapple arms, that guided it to a landing bay. The pilgrims emerged from the yacht and examined the ship’s damage. Some accident with the jumpgate had sheared the back half of the yacht clean off. The loading bay and the engines were completely gone.

Their examination of the ship’s remains was interrupted by a crackling voice on an intercom: Sir Fitzpatrick Li Xen. He welcomed them nervously to Observation Station 7-A, orbiting the gas giant Shatan in the Kish System. This led to some consternation among most of the pilgrims: not only was Kish thousands of light years away from their intended destination of Byzantium Secundus, the Sutek jumpgate didn’t even connect there. Apprentice Fannagus was unaffected, though, and chatted with the equally scholarly Sir Fitzpatrick about the odd phenomena they observed during the jumpgate malfunction.

Sir Fitzpatrick Li Xen

Once learning that they were the pilgrims sanctioned to visit Nowhere, Fitzpatrick welcomed them inside the station with all the courtesy he could offer. That courtesy, sadly, included extensive decontamination procedures, papery jumpsuits (after burning the pilgrims’ clothes) and reclaimed nutrient paste in the cafeteria. Fitzpatrick put in a call to Kish and got word back from his great-uncle Prince Flavius Li Halan, the Imperial Governor. Sir Victor set out to craft a reply, returning to the ship for the Patriarchal Bull that identified them as pilgrims. Sadly, this essential document had been lost along with the back half of the ship. Sir Victor managed as best he could with his own seal and secured passage to Kish for an audience with the Prince.

Posted October 17, 2011 by John Perich in Uncategorized

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Chapter Two: Terrors in the Deep (Part 2 of 2)   Leave a comment

Our heroes fled the massive beast that pursued them from beneath the arcology: some gigantic terror of which they only glimpsed huge claws or smelled its noxious breath. Fannagus convinced the group to flee down a side passage to avoid its tremendous bulk. Sir Victor inspired them to plunge on, leading them with a rallying speech (and a little aid from his psychic gifts). They nearly made it to the landing pad, only for a claw to rear out of the darkness and impale Lady Corezza. Victor tried to pull her to safety, but could only snag her satchel as the abomination dragged her to her death.

The group returned to Djehut, somber in their loss. Fannagus was particularly frustrated that the expedition had cost them a fellow pilgrim and netted nothing. Victor, who was growing more and more convinced that the relic they had found was the quantum core, said nothing. Deacon Nedeau made plans for a funeral mass for Lady Corezza, while Captain Manx convinced Lady Maryam not to desert their party. “Sir Victor needs you now more than ever,” he said, hoping to keep her (and her purse) around for a few more jumps.

Manx had used his politesse to get an invitation to a private party thrown by Duchess Elena, the planetary governor (as part of Maryam’s plan to embarrass Corezza in a public place). After the funeral mass – conducted in the dark and imposing Temple Avesti chapel by Deacon Nedeau – the pilgrims took a flitcar to the governor’s mansion. They mingled in the opulent gardens, with Sir Victor, in mourning garb, receiving many condolences from the assembled courtiers.

Gardens of the Imperial Governor's Estate, Djehut, Sutek

Captain Manx was pulled aside by a Scraver flunky for a private meeting with Dean Toth, following up on Manx’s request for bona fides on his son’s whereabouts. Toth produced an IOU, signed by young Manx: a 10,000 firebird debt to a Scraver office in Criticorum. Toth then put a new offer on the table: Manx would ask Toth’s question to the Gargoyle and the Scravers would produce his son, but young Manx’s debt would only be forgiven once the Scravers verified Manx’s answer. Manx bitterly lay into Toth, frustrated by this new deal, but ultimately caved. Toth then set forth his question: what are the present whereabouts of Caspar Chauki?

Fannagus got drunk.

Sir Victor, already pretty drunk, was ushered off to a private grotto by Deacon Nedeau. As they approached the enclosure, Victor felt a wave of immense psychic unease. He waved off the Deacon’s kind words and fled to a bathroom, only for her to follow him in. “You mentioned that you and Lady Corezza were hunting a relic,” she said. “I have an interesting relic of my own.” Pain assaulting his mind, Victor pushed past her and fled for the main patio. There he found Lady Maryam, who had dressed in mourning attire of her own. Her plan was apparently to worm her way back into Victor’s heart by pretending to console him. Victor, in desperate need to avoid a confrontation with the Avestite Inquisitor, passed out in her arms.

The party ended with Brother Talisker Sand (remember him?) collecting a tithe from the governor’s consort as alms to aid them on their pilgrimage. Manx lit on the idea of returning Lady Corezza’s effects, including her yacht, to her father on Criticorum. Flush with funds and with a means of transport, the pilgrims departed Sutek and made for the system’s jumpgate. Next stop: Byzantium Secundus.

Posted October 3, 2011 by John Perich in Uncategorized

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