Session 11 – 6/26/2015
(Logged by Ishnt)
- We hear dripping from the corridor, now that things have quieted down. As we listen, we feel as though we hear an eerie choir that we can’t quite focus on. It soon fades away.
- Ajax takes the lead as we continue on, while Robutler goes on about sediment. We hear the choir again. Mina concentrates, and understands that it’s an ancient elvish song. She can’t understand the words, but she recognizes the style of music. However, she can’t tell if there are any magical properties in the music.
- We come upon a wooden door barred by cold iron. Mina knows that it’s used frequently in cemeteries and weaponry. It’s said to have protective properties against faeries, ghosts, and demons. (Side note: Elves are highly evolved faeries, but because they’re mortal, they’re not vulnerable to the stuff. This is especially true for Mina, being half-human.) Eleforah checks the door for traps. After a little while, he declares that he can’t find any. Ajax, with an incredible display of controlled strength, knocks down the door without making too much noise.
- We enter an enormous room with a lava pit at the bottom. The room is incredibly dark, but we can see some important details thanks to Ajax’s candle. There’s a great wooden bridge over the lava, with a pair of islands on either side. There are crane-like stone birds on the islands. They’re elegant-looking statues with flowers on their heads and wispy wings.
Mechano: Ahh, Robutler, this makes me nostalgic. It reminds me of our old lair, back before we moved to Sun’s Peak!
- Ajax decides to cross the bridge first, while we stay back with our weapons ready. As she approaches one of the bridge’s support columns, she sees that there are runes engraved on them. When she steps onto the column, the script begins to glow, and the light then spreads to the entire column. Ajax hears cracking, and the statues start to come to life. Mina, in a panic, immediately looses an arrow at one of the statues. It strikes true, but doesn’t seem to do much, as the stone continues to be shed. They become flowing red creatures, and turn their gazes on us. They ask in unison “Friend or foe?”
- Mina asks who they are, but they don’t seem particularly interested in her. “We are the Guardians of the Flame, and you must prove to us that you are followers of the Sacred Fire.” Ajax explains Mechano’s predicament, and says that he must get the flame out of him. Mechano claims he has the power of the fire burning within him, and that as their ally, he must be let past. Flame erupts from their eyes, and they say that he is cursed, and must prove himself as a follower of the flame.
- Mechano throws a pyromatic explosion flask at the ground to show his mastery of flame, but the birds aren’t impressed. They rocket into the air and begin to become agitated. Mechano then uses all of his charges to power up his flame, tossing down explosion flask after explosion flask. The birds calm down and begin to treat him as a friend, but ask him again to prove with his words that he follows the flame. Mechano starts to talk about all the flame he’s worked with, including the fireworks he’s famous for. The birds want to see the fireworks.
- Mechano pulls the colorful fire crystals (from the elf city) and rifle ammunition (from the ancient city) from his pack. As he is working on the fireworks, the heat of his surroundings begins to catch up with him, and he feels the curse coming forth, stronger than before. He feels the pain of burning, but manages to finish his fireworks. The display is glorious. The birds are in awe, and say that they haven’t seen the multicolored flame in ages, which they call “the truest of flames”. They agree at last to lead Mechano to the flame.
- The birds fly down to the ledge of the cliff and present their backs to us. They have stone on their backs, from the nape of their necks to their tails, that we can climb onto, and we do. Mechano, Mina, and Lucia ride on one bird. Ajax, Eleforah, and Robutler ride on the other. As we settle in, we notice that on their heads are beautiful flowers— blue on one, and green on the other. Ajax looks the flowers over, and remembers stories about the flowers of the phoenix. All phoenixes have flowers that grow on them. Phoenixes are symbols of life, but they are also creatures of destruction. The more things the phoenix has destroyed, the more flowers they have. They are powerful and magical.
- The phoenixes take to the air, zooming forward and startling all the riders. They take us past the bridge and into an inner sanctum. Within, there’s a blue screen encasing the back wall. Protruding from it is another wall of blue. They seem as though they are made of water, and they flow and drip. The great wall of water stretches 50 feet high, while the smaller wall seems to be holding something we can’t quite make out from this distance. A grand staircase leads up to the center wall, and pools of magma are on either side. At the top of the staircase are humanoid figures, and while we can’t make out any details, we can hear them singing. They are the choir we heard before.
- Mechano asks who the people are, and the phoenixes reply that they are followers of the Sacred Flame. They say that it is time for him to join his people. Mechano begins to ascend the staircase. All the people are in grey, ragged robes, and they kneel, facing the wall of water, as they chant the song. Mechano sees that inside the wall is a feminine figure holding a stone. He can’t quite make out any other details through the water’s distortion.
- Mina focuses on the music and tries to learn the song. She can’t understand the words, but she does understand the music. It’s a song of protection against fire. Mina sings the song and focuses it on Mechano, trying to mitigate the effect of the curse— and it’s effective. A magical water barrier forms around Mechano.
- Mechano turns to the woman in the wall and addresses her, asking what the deal with the stone is. One of the acolytes— a female zombie— looks up to Mechano. The acolyte says that Mechano must not speak with her, and must join in the chanting, in order to keep her at bay. Mechano asks who it is that they’re trying to keep contained. A different acolyte identifies her as the Fire Priestess, and says that if she escapes, she will destroy the world. Mechano says that he’d rather fight the priestess, but the acolytes say that the priestess will take their minds and force them to destroy him if they ever stopped singing.
- Mechano tries to reach through the barrier and grab the stone. He sees the woman more clearly now. She is holding the stone above her head with one hand, and pointing with the other, an expression of fury on her face. Mechano takes the stone and puts jerky in her hand. The stone is a beautiful, perfect sphere that reflects light. Within, glimpses of fire can be seen. But as Mechano looks up, he sees that the chanters are horrified.
Mechano: It’s okay! I don’t think she noticed.
- As Mechano exits the water, he falls to his knees, unable to let go of the stone. He finds himself lost in the sensation of fire. The stone explodes in his face, burning him severely. However, at the same time, the explosion seems to draw flame from him. The curse is pulled from him, but as he tries to recover, he’s blown down the stairs by a second explosion. He survives— but barely. Mina quickly forces a potion down his throat to keep him alive. As he clambers to his feet, he notices that little flames have appeared, floating above his hands, but they don’t seem to harm him.
Lucia: We need to get you to a medical doctor! You’re burning up!
- Mina examines the flames and thinks about it. She thinks that it’s residue of the Sacred Flame, left over from touching the orb. It’s some kind of fire magic that Mechano may be able to manipulate.
- The wall of water floats away, and the chanters scream. The priestess’s expression becomes confused, and we can see her clearly now. She seems to be a beautiful woman with bright red hair, an obsidian necklace, and a flowing black gown— at first. But her flesh and gown begin to rot before our eyes. The priestess screams in elvish, then floats forward, touching down on the ground. She asks “Who is the one who released me?” Mechano steps forward and tells her that he did. The priestess says that she will wed him, and that together, they will turn the world into a burning star.
Mechano: Er… I’m flattered, really, but… I’m way too young for you! You know that, right?
- The priestess tries to put a ring on Mechano’s finger, but Ajax steps in grabs her arm, forcing it away. However, in the same motion, the priestess forces the ring onto Ajax’s finger. She admires Ajax’s strength, and says that she, instead of Mechano, will be her betrothed.
- Mechano steps forward and thrusts his hands forward, hoping to use the power of the flames against her. Using his willpower, he manages to overcome the mental strain from the force of the power, and a column of flame bursts from his hands, blasting the priestess away. Wasting no time, Ajax pulls the ring off and puts it in her pouch. Mina empowers her with her song, then Ajax springs forward with her hammer, bringing it down on the priestess.
- Lucia goes in for a strike with her sword to bring the priestess down, and with an enormously mighty blow, cleaves her in two. The chanters, who look as though they were about to attack us, stop in their tracks. They look down at their hands. “She’s gone…” There is some initial confusion, with Lucia and Mechano thinking that the zombies are about to attack us, but Ajax says that she thinks they’re friendly.
- The zombies are confused, and Ajax explains what’s happened. The zombies then tell us their story. “We cursed ourselves to stay alive so that we could keep her at bay. You’ve freed us… Is there anything we can offer you?” Ajax asks what they have, and they present her with a key. They say that the key will unlock the doors on the upper levels and disable any traps within the temple.
- Mechano asks what the zombies will do next. They don’t know what to do. They say that the song kept them nourished, but now they have nothing to sing for. Mina suggests that they go out to see the world, but they doubt that society will accept ghouls. Aside from that, they also say that they require the flesh of the living, and if they do not eat, their hunger overtakes them. Mina wonders if there is something else they might sing for, and Ajax remembers the song that kept the corrupted Timbermare contained. She says that they could put themselves to a new purpose, singing that song until we find a way to lift their curse. They are hesitant because they aren’t certain they can contain their hunger. They say that it may be better to kill them now, but Ajax insists that they follow her plan.