Nierest's Journal - Session 5
The eyes have it
They were eyestalk plant-tree creatures. I don’t know the name for them but there were six of them. Each stood at about our height with barklike skin with two appendages that branched from their core, one armlike forming a sharp wood-blade. They surrounded us. This getting surrounded has become a theme out in the wilds.
A terrible clash ensued that was brutal and culminated in their total destruction. As we fought, I had to shift my attacks because these things had remarkably tough armour. It makes sense since they were beasts made of tree so striking them with physical impacts would be like cutting into a tree trunk. Even with that disadvantage Skylar managed to shoot one dead by repeatedly shooting it with her crossbow.
Once I shifted my attacks to a mental blast I was able to cause one’s central region to burst open in an eruption of green viscera and bark fragments. In the midst of the chaos of battle my focus faltered and as I sent forth my mental onslaught I thought briefly of how Tuck was engaging his opponent. Unfortunately, that slip of the mind forced my thoughts upon Tuck. I frantically killed my thought and I believe I was quick enough as Tuck did not seem to notice how my thoughts brushed against his. That man has a surprising depth to his thoughts. He might not always manage to say the right thing but behind that simple manner is a complex and devious brain. No wonder we get along so well.
With the encounter felled by our heroic deeds we made our way to the small town that I have discovered is named Rust. In Rust, we spoke with Bren Sarromere and provided him with the instructions on how to display our captive and cadaver for his greater glory. Bren professed his gratitude and other platitudes that are meaningless should he fail in his endeavors. With that he asked us to look into a situation with his forces in Mulen.
I was and remain hesitant as to the benefit of this action for our own ambitions but the others seemed keen on the idea of visiting Mulen. I have acquiesced to the greater desires because while the journey is of dubious value there is little lost for not going.
We made ready for the expedition to Mulen when shouts were heard towards the outskirts of Rust. Naturally we remained with Bren as he investigated the disturbance. Upon arrival we discovered a well-dressed man in terrible condition. His status was clearly stable as he could talk, after the fashion of moaning and gasping out the words, and told us of some ruins near the town. Apparently he lost his son in the ruins and had been set upon by creatures known as Faerinae. Faerinae, according to Bren, are very short people.
Since the ruins where the son was misplaced were to the east of Rust we decided that we could not pursue both objectives in a reasonable time. We spoke with Bren and he determined that travelling to Mulen was more important to his cause. Tuck uttered the nonsense of “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” Bren seemed impressed by that although I know he was already swayed by my countless and appropriate arguments to that resolution.
Note to self: I obtained the details of Marcaus’ shop in Mulen. With Marcaus’ demise at the ministrations of Skylar (I knew she was able to make the difficult and profitable decisions) he will not be in need of his wealth while we could make great use of it.
The road provides
The trip to Mulen was rather quiet. We did encounter a man upon the road who begged for our assistance. Tuck and I were both of the mind to ignore his whining pleas but Skylar and Shiro seemed interested in his woeful tale of trials and tribulations.
He had a map that is now in our possession that indicates a floating island to the northwest of Mulen. I acquired the map for our benefit and gained all pertinent information from this glory beggar. He wanted forty shin for it. What kind of ignoramus attempts to “sell” a “valuable” possession while alone, unguarded, and clearly in distress upon the road?
We would have left the poor sop behind with a few shins due to Skylar’s overly generous heart (what she wants to do with her share of our spoils is entirely up to her) however as we were riding away with the map that this man had managed to forget that he gave to us Skylar reminded him of it. So, once again, I had to save the situation.
I invaded his mind, again, for the fifth or sixth time and cleared his memories of the encounter yet again. This final time I gave him a stronger nudge so that he would be a little disoriented and leave us with plenty of time to ride off without his complaining. Unfortunately, Skylar seemed distraught by his disorientation and perhaps at Tuck for reclaiming the shin he had offered to the man. While they were arguing about this man he regained his senses. He did not regain as understood by the common convention of the term rather he was perfectly functional. He was just lacking all his memories.
At this time I had begun riding away from the scene having ensured our disentanglement of the situation so I was not entirely certain how Tuck managed to become this man’s master. With the absence of any memories we discussed a name for Tuck’s latest acquisition. I proffered the name “Pet” which Tuck misheard and adopted as “Ett.”
Look at me… Into Mulen
Mulen is a large city. There are hundreds of thousands of people here. The city is crawling with soldiers who are marching up and down in their little cohorts, regiments, and squads. The city is preparing for war. The citizens of Mulen appear to be frightened and worried. This could be useful.
We spent a few days in Mulen doing some shopping and discovery. Shiro ordered some special snowflake armour for himself while I picked up some appropriate travelling garb. At least I will finally be able to travel in relative comfort.
We were to stay at a nice establishment named the Lucky Witch. I asked around as to what Witch was supposed to mean but no one was able to say. I believe the inn keeper made it up perhaps as wordplay on which. The Lucky Which. Perhaps.
Unfortunately my companions balked at the pricing of this lovely facility, being five shin a night and absconded to an alternative location. Five shin a night seems perfectly reasonable to me. Rations cost us two shin a day. Three shin on top of that for proper beds and facilities. Yes, it is definitely worth it.
Since they did not wish to stay at the Lucky Witch I suggested that we visit the home of the late Marcaus. Tuck seemed interested at the idea. Shiro had already retreated towards the edge of town muttering about staying in his tent. Skylar was amicable to the suggestion so we made our way to the wealthier district of the city. Ett, of course, remained with Tuck like the faithful thrall that he is. If the abode was empty of occupants I was looking forward to a quiet night of enumerating our wealth acquisition.
Upon arrival to the quiet and darkened house we made our way to the back door. All was proceeding placidly until Skylar attempted to pick the lock of the door. She broke her pick in the lock mechanism and suddenly lights turned out and alarms blared. We retreated back to the alleyway and while my companions wanted to run (and so reveal our culpability in the situation) I advised caution and we walked in a casual manner.
We reached the street proper and began to make our way back to the lesser district of the City. Unfortunately, a soldier approached us and demanded to know what had transpired. My companions managed to raise the soldier’s suspicions so I wormed my way into his mind and erased his memories. We walked down the street ever so casually and the soldier responded to the sudden alarm he heard. Clearly we were not the cause since we were there on the street with him when it went off.
We asked around for a new inn to spend the night and were directed towards the Assassin’s Daemon I think it was. We approached the middling quality inn that seemed so familiar to me. I have been in so many of these establishments that without looking I knew we would find smoke in the air, hanging heavy like a murky pall as it coiled in the shifting currents of air caused by the occasional movements of tavern wenches. The floor was sticky in some places and the furniture was adorned by the occasional scar of an industrious disagreement.
We inquired as to rooms for the night to which the innkeeper claimed a price of two shin per room and no meal. Yes, that means we will be spending at least four shin for the night’s slumber. I suspect my companions fail at basic addition perhaps later I will point this out to them. Tuck acquired two chambers, one for himself and one for Ett, whereas Skylar and I opted to share a room. That way we could split the night’s watch which, having stayed in such establishments before, was likely to be necessary.
It was necessary.
I stood the first watch and as I did so I heard Tuck shout out something. Without a moment’s hesitation I smacked Skylar and rushed for Tuck’s room. Skylar, being a veteran of many a night encounter, leapt to her feet without question and followed. She fumbled with the lock on Tuck’s door and wasn’t able to spring the mechanism. I heard movements and muffled sounds from within so I charged at the door. I think spending time with Tuck is having an impact on my methods.
As I lay on the ground atop the now crashed in door I saw that a man loomed before Tuck. They were surprised by our gallant and forceful entry but recovered to begin speaking once more. This man was the representative of Bren in Mulen. He was complaining about how Bren’s “loyal” forces were being conscripted into the army. Tuck was incredibly interested by the word conscripted to tell an animated tale of how he’s used the word before himself and he thinks that it is a great term. Unfortunately, he wasn’t entirely certain as to what it meant.
He then dissipated into nothingness. He was either a projection or his command of the Numenera allows him to travel instantly from one location to another. I will discover the truth of this and try to learn how it is done. However, I was not able to pay as much attention as I would have liked because I noticed a clear and present danger: a feline was stalking the hall beyond the broken door. If Skylar had seen that beast I shudder to imagine the consequences. I quickly distracted Skylar and placed myself between her and the beast. Thankfully, I managed to prevent Skylar from noticing the creature and the crisis was once again averted by me.
Bren’s representative told us to meet him in three days beneath a church in the catacombs of the city. Skylar it seems like you and I are going into the dark once more.
The situation appears to be that a girl child in Ancuan has caused a rebellion of some kind and Ancuan’s government has fallen. There is war and destruction dominating Ancuan. I suspect I know exactly what “girl” is the cause of the situation. We made the correct decision in not engaging that monstrous entity.
New friends and new experiences
The third day dawned so we gathered together to set off for the church. Shiro was waiting in the armourer’s shop with his new snowflake armour. Ett was really excited about buying armour so slapped down his final shin in an attempt to purchase a fine set. The armour smith made a bit of a misjudgement and grabbed the shin without providing anything in return.
Tuck took exception to the act and swung at the felonious racketeer. In that moment a few things happened. First, Shiro and Skylar made their way to the door. I stood by ready to assist Tuck should he require it while taking note of where any transitive valuables resided. Ett stood by with a look of open astonishment whilst the miscreant stepped back.
Tuck’s fist soared the air in a graceful arc that promised delivery of Tuck’s powerful vengeance. Tuck’s fist continued past the surprised bully without connecting and pursued a path through the innocent air where it flailed to an abrupt and ignoble dysfunction. Tuck stumbled in his failure to consummate the connection and hit his head upon the counter. The impact bounced Tuck’s head back up where he proceeded to evict the contents of his stomach with prejudice. The vile greenish liquid sprayed through the air and coated everything from the counter to the floor where it pooled like viscous syrup.
With Tuck prone in the midst of his body’s coagulated emission and the shopkeeper opening his mouth to shout something I surged with my mind. I invaded the merchant’s mind and quickly removed the immediate past and then began shouting how could such a fine establishment allow a valued customer such as Tuck to suffer from slipping in this objectionable pool of vomit.
It would have worked.
Unfortunately, Skylar shouted at that exact moment from her observation post by an open window for me to “not wipe his mind” while Tuck began to shout something else. Ett frantically began questioning me if I could restore his memories and the shopkeeper started to react in a rather abusive and negative manner.
I ushered Tuck and Ett out to the door while the shopkeeper was still coming to terms with what was happening. Thankfully I think Skylar was rushing to the street door and would not notice what I did so as a parting gift to the merchant just before I exited his premises I once more removed the memory of the aftermath leaving him with a mysterious puddle of Tuck-bile to contend with.
We began the search for the church and in the quest to do so something odd occurred. Everyone around us, including Ett, stilled. They ceased their movements and in the distance we heard a boy’s giggling. We stood baffled by the cessations of activity when I caught sight of what appeared to by a young lad skipping down the road some distance from us.
I immediately gave chase. I need to know how he did this. How could he halt everyone but us? Was this some incredible esotery that I could learn? We ran through most of the city. I did not pay attention where we went I just wanted to reach that child. I used my mind to open a momentary distortion through the physical medium and rushed to the child’s side. For that briefest of moments I stood by this powerful being before he did what I had done and transferred himself to a distance away.
We kept us the chase which led into the castle of Mulen. I was so intent upon the child that the only recollection I have as we rushed through halls was Skylar commenting that she wouldn’t mind living in a castle. Finally, Skylar begins to understand what I’ve been telling her for years.
We reached the throne room or perhaps a strategy room or something. There was a huge table covered by little figurines and many soldiers surrounding it gazing down at all the little figures upon a fake landscape. The child had settled into a large and magnificent chair likely to be the throne. At that moment with us scattered in this chamber amongst the ruling figures of Mulen the little one vanished and all were restored to action.
There was confusion and an immediate movement towards weapons and armaments. I shouted wait just as I saw Tuck’s mouth open. I just know he was going to say, “I am Tuck, Glaive and Personal Message Carrier to King Holiva the First of Thaemor.”
That shout brought us precious moments of stillness. I addressed the figure of authority in a red and black pinstriped synth suit and asked if we could speak in a somewhat more private environment with his guards of course. Unfortunately, King Ti’Kalloban was an unreasonable fellow and rejected my rather reasonable request. Instead, he ordered us captured and taken to the cells probably for torture and execution or something.
As we were being escorted to a repeat of our sojourn in Ancuan’s jail the little one appeared once more. All were not stilled so as we were being encouraged to our eventual struggle to escape the little one told me that he was not Faerinae. We had a hurried conversation while our guards proceeded and he revealed himself to be named Maxi.
At that moment at some provocation that we were not having fun being guarded and escorted to jail Maxi sent us to a metal chamber. This chamber was cool and had no wind. The air was stale but very breathable. We stood before a large window that revealed a vast darkness dominated by a round orb of blue and white.
We asked where we were and he told us that the blue orb was Steadfast. Apparently to Maxi we are interesting and he likes interesting things. I immediately inquired how I could learn his ability but he told me that I was not old enough. He claims to be thousands of years old. Imagine how much power he has to be able to do these things. I covet his powers. I will make him my friend and convince him to reveal unto me his secrets.
Shiro sparked upon the idea that it would be fun to assassinate King TiKilloban and Maxi seemed intrigued by the idea. TiKilloban, at least I think it is him, appeared before us and Shiro immediately hurried to stand behind him. TiKilloban did not seem capable of moving so it should have been easy. Naturally, I announced that it is always fun “To Kill a Man.” TiKilloban – To Kill A Man…. It IS clever regardless of how my companions groaned.
Unfortunately, Maxi vanished TiKilloban before Shiro was able to strike and echoed my companion’s groaning. With that he clearly seized upon an idea that would be exciting to him and we immediately appeared in a new location.
I scribble these notes quickly as I take stock of our environment. We stand upon a solid grey floor. The stone is polished to a fine sheen and we appear to be in a large rectangular chamber with a large gate in front of us. This gate runs from wall to wall and is made up of thin slats of metal. We can see beyond the gate to a large hall with a high ceiling.
In the chamber around us are a series of racks that hold an assortment of clubs, sticks, gloves, and outlandish clothing. A counter stands towards the far end of this chamber with a box-like device on top of it. The racks are made of a polished silver metal and above us there are long tubes that emit a pale white light. A box above us seems to be generating a soft series of woeful notes that are grindingly irritating in their repetitive and simple cadence.
Our garb has changed as have our weapons. I hold a small metal object, barely larger than my hand, that seems to be a rectangular tube connected to a hilt. At the top of the hilt where it joins with the black tube is a protrusion of metal that arcs away from the hilt. There is a hole at the end of the rectangular tube and a variety of machine-like bolts and mechanisms.
Looking back to the gate and into the hall beyond I can see a multitude of humanoid formed creatures. They seem to be shuffling listlessly and are incredibly pale. They are distant to us so I cannot make out full details but many of them seem to be slouching as they drag one foot awkwardly behind in their shambling walk.