(Art by Jack Lee)
Saturday was the big reunion special! martak was visiting Metropolis from Coast City, & he guest starred. I let him down a little; he didn't get to play his signature character of Gaspar D'Eivon, brother of Vol very much. I got a bit...I think the term is "tippled." I hate when excuses are made for drunkenness, but never-the-less I offer up not eating enough & two antihistamines to explain my inebriation. Still, I think it was a very fun session; I had fun, at least, & it was another bit of space opera carried out without falling to pieces. Integrating space adventure with fantasy horror, that seems to be a big theme of this campaign-- what can I say? Music was notably provided by The Protomen, whose rock opera about Mega Man is...great.
(Photo by Cristina Quicler)
last session saw the duel of Adelard Wolvus & Damocles the Maimed of the Sun Cutting Darkness sept, Sharif of Dragonfly on the behalf of, & champion for Lorelai Odanata, Baronetta of Dragonfly. Now, they knew from their encounters with Adelard's family, his victims, his rumors, the stench of blood, that he could not be killed by any conventional means. He had drawn his heart from his body & secreted it away, hidden it where none could find it. None except perhaps the rival wizard, & hero of our tale today-- Balthazar Thrice-dead of the Ten-eyed Devils sept. With his apprentice Lupus Crucious & the ghoul Gaspar, he traveled to the secret library where Baroni Corvulus Crucious had hidden away Adelard's works & papers. They lit many candles & there, at Lupus' urging, Balthazar focused his will to a pinprick, coated his Dark Crystal with their mingled blood, & dissolved it into Lupus' bloodstream. As Lupus went into seizures, & the color of his eyes drained away, an eye opened in the palm of Balthazar's Alien Hand. & Gaspar set to work-- putting leeches at the chakras & organs bearing concentrated humors, & then like that, Balthazar cut his wrists, & bled in bowls prepared to catch his vital fluids-- the plan being to recirculate them in his body before he died on the table; to evoke a near-death experience.
Balthazar awoke in an empty place, surrounded by candles as he had been when he died. Except...the sounds were off. A silence pervading everything, punctured by three very distinct audible events. One, a persistent tick-tock, tick-tock. Another, a pounding, as though a giant was slamming his hammer upon an anvil-- Boom! pause, Boom!. Third, a chittering, stammering, tic-tic-tic cicada-like sounds, which soon resolved itself: a small, imp like creature, a body like a cicada grub, claws, but also like the casing of a cicada grub, empty, worn like armor by a tiny humanoid figure? Or an amalgam between the two, a hybrid. It stated its name: Eivon! The patron saint/god of the ghoul Gaspar D'Eivon! Leaving the circle of candle light, they found an ornate, but decayed room. Eivon, patron saint (god?) of doors & metamorphosis, opened the way, & they went to explore the Boom!ing sound.
(Art by Daniel Dociu)
Like an abandoned city, suspended from the sky. Up above, a light-- the Sun-- perhaps twice the height of the Empire State building. in the clearing, on the floor-- a forest, a meadow, a wilderness, a paradise; deer nibbling shoots, birds flitting here to there without singing, salamanders wriggling in the grass. &...some other presence. Presences. Balthazar & Eivon hear them, know they are not alone, but see nothing. & from a bulkhead, the pounding-- Boom! Boom!. The skittering things are hiding from it-- whatever it is, whatever they are. & Eivon opens the door, lets it in!
(Art by Layne Johnson)
Lets not be coy, lets not dissemble any further. The things that are hiding are squid-faced, mindflayer-resembling, cthulhu-inspired. The Charioteers! Viral creatures, creatures made by the implantation of the Celestial Pollen that collects at the Lagrange Points. For where were they but on The Wreck, a Spacehulk, a vast starship-world twice the size of a city. Adelard hid his heart well; on a spaceship, out of time! What foul luck for him then, that Balthazar is one for whom space & time hold increasingly little meaning. But wait! All this is beside the point, for the creature through the door is seven feet tall, girt in power armor, alien, dangerous, wild! But then! The front opens like water, flows apart, to reveal Qor, Princess of PERL, the heart's desire of Balthazar (sometimes called Kore). Oh but that isn't all; so to came...Adelard! (Adelard played by Sam, Qor by Tracey).
(Sam dressed up like Adelard)
Here is the story: Qor must convince the Charioteers to use the spacehulk's internal transportation vessels, to take her & Spark to the Memory Core. Spark, once Old Spark, is mostly dead. He floats in a medicine tank, caught in suspended animation. His wish is to have his heart, his brain, his nervous system, removed & integrated with the spacehulks systems; hopefully then, as a golem of memory, Qor & Spark will take the spacehulk from URTH orbit & position it above PERL to prevent further incursions from the terrible Endura of RAM. To that end, she needs a surgeon-- one who is skilled at removing organs-- perhaps Adelard nee Jack the Ripper, who removed his own heart, might fit the bill?
(Views from inside the Spacehulk, art by Andree Wallin & Daniel Dociu)
(Fashion by Alexander McQueen)
Oh but then comes the kicker. Let me explain-- our wizard friend, Balthazar, once sold...well, not his soul. As he lay dying on the ground, he sold his firstborn, his most cherished memory, the color of his eyes, all for one more chance. Well-- he got more chances than he bargained for, it seems. But here it comes. Balthazar has been laboring under the impression that his most cherished memory is gone-- maybe he got a puppy when he was a child. Gone. Well now for the first time (for him...) he is alone with Kore. She has a secret chamber set aside, with Spark's body floating in bacta, but private, concealed...intimate. & as they embrace, the screen goes white, & the Janiform-- the faerie creature made of faces that Balthazar sold his memory to-- comes out of the pixels on the screen & poof. That memory is taken, one moment of perfect happiness, a la Buffy & Angel. Qor comforts him; she's old, older than he, older than when she last saw him & he last saw her, but has seen him before; he will come to her in time, two years ago for her, & he will be older than. & that time, that time he will remember.
(Art by James Paik)
They go to the Memory Core, flown by a Charioteer in an airship (much like the airship Adelard possesses). There, they set up a table for surgery. Adelard knows Balthazar intends to duel him; he doesn't much care. Tick tock-- the tick tock hasn't stopped. There, he does surgery on Spark! Eivon, seeing this as a transformation, a molting, a metamorphosis, adds his spiritual authority. All to no avail. Spark dies on the table. In her grief, Kore crushes Adelard; crushes him like a tin can. She is very deadly. Balthazar cuts open Adelard's chest...& finds no heart. In that moment, he realizes-- he came to the ship first. Before Adelard. He anchored himself through the Astral to the heart...it his in his chest. Balthazar grins; he quips at Qor-- & then he shoots his brains out.
(Art by Lisa Black)
Other things happen, but I'm drunk & I'm not alone. They'll be retconned, or at least retroactively tidied up. Still, it was very fun, & Mike was in the rhythm as always. Tracey dressed up all commando, with things in her hair. Sam was really enjoying playing dress up, changing into his Damocles garb after Adelard died. Mike got us all cicada themed presents! All very very enjoyable. I had to go home then (drunk). Here are some more pictures of the evening: