We all stood there, in the throne room of the Nameless Lair of Mahasuchi, whose body rested beautiful and extremely dead at our feet. We’d done something impossible and increadibly sad in our act of ending the ancient and mad tyrant. Its something I hope that we do not come to regret.
Outside his remaining beast-men were fleeing into the jungles. Could we have tracked them down and done the pragmatic thing and put an end to his line? Yes. But… it didn’t seem right. One by one the Lunars who had watched the whole show down take place begin to leave. The largest and most aptly named Leviathan paused before leaving. “I remember having you inside of my mouth.” He indicated to Durandle. In a flash I was at the Lunars side giving him a cookie. I hoped it would help him forget such a taste. He transformed into an orca colored trout and swam away upstream. Lunars are… an interesting group of people.
Winter Wolf, remained behind, stoic and strong. Felsic approached him, asking about the future of the Lunars now that their full cycle of Castes would be returned to them. He supposed some of the Pact might find this reason enough to change their Castes (is that a thing we can do too? I’ll need to ask the good Doctor about that). But, bare minimum it meant a far richer future of choices for the next generations of Lunars. Vox and Felsic offer that should the Silver Pact need any assistance with the research around the Castes that Kaemlin and the Sorcerrers of Zion would be happy to assist. Winter Wolf, the former gladiator, transformed into a hawk and flew away.
Durandle spoke separately with Eyes of the Canopy. They spoke of her joining him in the Unbroken Circle. It seemed like the kind of thing that she’d maybe asked about before. But, she confessed, toying with the false canisters gifted to her by Felsic, she didn’t want that now. Not … right now. In her past life she had been known as Seven Devils Clever, and they had been together for a time. Her Moon, paired to his Sun. She died by the hands of The Mask of Winters, who; Durandle would personally slay. She had no regrets about her death. But now, things were complicated. His Deathknight wife and all that. For now she’d go and work on the restoration of the Castes. But she would return, and with that she left.
Guided by Byrrden’s guidance Vox found his way to Onyx, who was being a very good boy and letting Bear Fist pet his massive scaley nose. There appears to be more than a little… er sexual tension in the air. Vox remained calm and betrayed none of his intentions, unlike Bear First. But Bear Fist was as direct as his name implies, did Vox truly mean to help him gather his people back together now that the conflict was done. He made a promise and meant to keep it.
As for me, it really is interesting the things my old eyes can see as I leapt and bound up the side of the Zigurat of Ma Ha Suchi. At the peak, Camazots, the Lunar I’d only ever seen as some giant form of Angry Animal form, greeted. Now, a handsome olive skinned main with bat -like ears, he thanked me for my help in showing him a path more virtuous than that of working under Ma Ha. Now he would set his sights for the lands of his people, with the noble goal of helping them flourish. We promised the next time we met it would be as friends, and he admitted, he might well be a new Caste by then.
We shared one last meal before setting off towards our new goals. Vox with Bear Fist. The rest of us to Zion our mission complete for now.
On the Wind Chicken, Durandle’s … Fair Folk… ally, brought us the tale of the final confrontation at Chaya. The people of Chaya had become docile, drugged it seemed, all at once. The Barbarian’s took their opportunity. And they would have laid waste to the nation had it not been for the arrival of The Seventh Legion. Lookshy had come through! But, and of course there was one, I mean why wouldn’t there be? Lookshy had proclaimed themselves the Protectors of the Chayan Republic, and had done so as part of their stead fast defiance of the Anathema. As such, all of Durandle’s men had captured and were being held in Lookshy itself. One of Durandle’s men had gotten a message out to the Fair Folk. “With friends like these who needs enemies. Don’t come for us, we’re being treated well, doing war here would not be a good thing. The Lookshyans assume after a time the mortal troops will no longer be under his influence. Love Dredrick.”
As we prepared to disembark the Wind Chicken, Felsic and I came to a business transaction. If he could help build some special weapons modifications, and create some special wands for me, I’d cook him anything he liked for dinner any night he was working on a project. I also mention to him the location of my good friend Krod’s foundry as a good place for building.
We were greated by our friends, and Tessie, the charming immigrations officer let us know we’d need to debrief back at Yuan Farsons office. When we arrive we a greeted with drinks to our success at saving the people of Chaya. He appologized that Tepet Mela could not be present, Durandle requested that one of Mela’s monks be sent for so he could send a message to his master. We also learned that for our efforts, those of us who had not been citizens of Zion were now, and that we as Solar’s were now part of the Deliberative. Also that housing of a fancy sort had been granted to many of us. Manses.
While the rest of us went off to make Zion our permanent homes, Durandle hung back spoke with the Monk he’d sent for. Nefverans Ranidos had been assasinated. Passing on the message, he set off for his home to be at last reunited with his family.
Felsic turned his attention to REBA next, he set out to forge her a … well I don’t rightly know what you would call it. A home I guess. Basically it would keep her alive until further measures could be taken to expand her to her former glory.
Before moving my family into our new home, Fauve took me asside and talked about the lovely meetings they’d had with Lizard Lords and the other locals of Zion. And I told her about my plans for us to set up our new home as a bakery, a source of income, and the nerve center for The Golden Guardians.
In the days that followed, we would learn of strange happenings around Zion. Ghosts. Shadowlands. The Labrynth.
Reports of Shadowlands forming in the Underways. Lizard Lords fighting Undead Lizard Lords in holes that formed between the land of the living and the dead. All happening in a rapid repetition. The Beacon Over Stillwaters should be keeping the Underways, but that appears to no longer be the case.
Durandle, in the market, is approached by shopkeeper whose friend has gone missing. Alena’s husband Corin suffered from depression and took his life. A few days later, Alena stopped coming into the shop. She wouldn’t have brought it to the Light Bringers attention if it hadn’t been for the concern that the dead husband might somehow be involved.
Minutes later, Durandle found himself looking into the doorway of a tired and disheveled looking woman. Alena. She was shocked, to say the least, that a Legendary God-King stood on her doorstep. He called into her house, demanding by right of his Caste that Corin manifest himself in his presence. Corin appeared, and admitted that he’d been with his wife a while after he realized he could manifest in Creation. Alena confirmed the presence of a shadowland she’d seen other ghosts through. Durandle put Corin’s soul to rest and advised Alena to move out for the time being until the proper measures could be taken.
Several nights later at the Foundry, Felsic was working on some special projects when three roiling boiling slag monsters make there way out of a transformed slagpit, covered in skulls and bones. Felsic leapt forth and smashed the opening of the pit closed, while Krod dispatched the three undead beasts. It turned out three men had recently fallen into the pits and somehow, that turned the pit into a mini-shadowland. Something that shouldn’t have been feasible to form off of such an event.
Elsewhere Bear Fist and Vox traveled, gathering the Ar’cheki people for a bit over a week. Bear Fist again didn’t try to hide the fact that he was still interested in Vox. But Vox insisted he was more interested in becoming friends right now. During their travels one band of the horde evaded detection. The Dreaming Tree Band, so named for their habit of impailing Dreamers, a habit carried from the tribes time in the Wyld, where dreamers could be a liability.
A day later the found the band, in a forest filled with ghosts impaled and hung from the trees all around. At the center of this, area the tribe marched forwards towards a nightmare of ghosts, that swarmed and consumed the flesh of those who entered in an instance. Vox jumped into action, letting himself give in to his power. Glowing he called out to the tribe, calling them back from the dream, the nightmare that had them under its sway. His words reached their hearts, and they were pulled from whatever sway the ghosts calling to them head. They knew Vox to be real. The most real of anyone they’d ever known according to the dreaming tree band.
Winter Wolf turned to Vox then, and warned that he should return to Zion and tell them of what has happened here. This newly formed, and rather deadly shadowland was right on it’s borders. In agreement Vox and Onyx took back off towards Zion to warn the people of the danger already well in progress.
Upon his return Vox finds out just how true this is. He see’s Bog’wa’i beating up several ghosts in a park. Exorcists and salt-slingers all a flurry of activity. Myself flying from building to building to support those in need. Our Circle convenes at a restaraunt called simply “Black” the decor, the plates, the staffs clothing… all black. The Food… mostly black. As we passed through I took note of several ingredients hanging around. It smelled … good? I’ll have to come back an investigate at another time.
Through Black we reach our goal lead by Durandle, the underways of Zion. We’re eventually greeted by one of The Beacon Over Still Waters servants, Sera. She’s a pretty girl, and also a ghost or zombie? Something unnatural. Nexus Grey is out of town, she tells Durandle, but she’s got someone to introduce us to that can help us get to the Beacon. Kimba. The Shark-Lion-Monster-Ghost. He will be our guide through the Labrynth and to Beacon… and potentially Dace, Durandle’s mentor, and chosen of the Sun.
With no delay we step through a gateway to the Labrythn… is it okay that we have that under the city? At any rate, it feels like we’re drowning inside our hearts as we step through the portal. Our connection to Creation severed, we no longer respire the power of the Unconquered Sun here. Only a faint trickle of energy comes to some of us, any one holding a Hearthstone. It’s a shock to say the least, and for the first time since I’d arrived at Zion I felt particularly stressed about a situation.
The Labrynth… surprisingly is a lot of life…er activity going on down here. A non-stop, end of the world type party. The Void is coming, for whatever that’s worth. Traveling under the pale lanterns hanging above us, we come to a square filled with Ghosts. As we enter the square we notice our footfalls leave behind bloody hoof prints. Vox, notices a face that looks like Durandles watching him from a side path, but a horrific ghost version of him. Vox waves at it before it disappears.
At the center of the Square, is the most vile and terrifying Ghost I’d ever laid eyes on, and that’s including Kimba. A Nephrack they called him, he beckoned to us, from a well of The Void. This Nephrack serves The Lover Clad in a rainemnt of Tears, and is known as the Dread Neffy… the Nephrack? A name it emparts, that it gained from The Beacon some years before. Vox and Durandle do most of the talking. Finding out that the ghosts chained here are to become part of the Lovers Armies, and that Neffy wants us to find The Beacon as this will somehow further his mistresses goals.
Vox, lovely sweet Voxy, inquires of the ghosts joining the army. Did they want to do that? Not all of them it seemed did. And so, through his usual way with words six of the ghosts join us in our travels to finding Dace. Neffy gives us one last bit of parting advice, look for a place of marked by spears and swords, and we will find Dace.
We travel for several days… though it never does get sunny down here, and one night during our rest Vox had a strange dream. A dream of sitting in an opulent garden, sketching a mouth over and over again, filled with sharp teeth. When he awakens, it’s there in his face, that smile. A Ghost, Gengar, looks at him expectantly. I call for alarm, seeing the ghost bite down on Vox’s arm that he extends to the creature. Vox reassures us all is well, and that having drank of his blood that Gengar is now… his friend. Vox and I do need to have a talk on how friendship works.
Another day or two pass in this horrible place, before we find what we are looking for. A fallen city and castle, that we approach its porticulous open, but veiled. This, we reason, has to be the place. Steeling ourselves we pass through the archway hoping to find Dace and any of the survivors from the City he had been protecting.
And find him we do. He, his army, and a woman in green jade armor face us from a distance. And the army begins to charge at us on his command, no recognition for any of us that have suddenly appeared. A handsome General of the Sun sending his army against us? I guess this is just our lucky day.