We picked up after last session with the our hereos (Damocles the Maimed of the Sun Cutting Darkness sept, sharif of the Dragonfly theme, Lodge of the World Serpent, hashashin; Lorelai O'Dragonfly, Baronetta Odanata, Barrister of Malake; Balthazar Thrice-dead, Goblin mouthpiece & Starlock; Bedwin Hermóðr) in the fallen Karnak star. They'd come to it in a hurry, entered through their own cunning, & explored. Met Lorelai's brother Legend & his companion, Archer. Bedwin, scouting ahead, said that after about a mile of tunnels, there was a wall of milky white-- the same colour as the liquid in the Sleeper's tanks-- & that, given the translucent walls of the star-vessel, he was fairly sure it was a pearl at the center of the spars, a bubble of white at the heart of the ship. While Damocles took his time readying his morning toilet (& while Sam picked up some food...) the others talked amongst themselves, & then set forth for the center (at Bedwin's lead) once Damocles had returned. They reached it & pressed their hands against it-- soft, like the meniscus of water is to the water strider, vast like one alabastar breast. They pressed against it & pop!
& into a circular room, with a clear pool in the middle & melting cherry blossoms above (see picture, by Alex Roman). I put minis down on the table-- sworls of petals caught in the wind, with some approaching humanoid features & figures. The flecks of white paint, dollups of ice-milk, white petals-- they coalesced together as the players approached one (Legend & Archer staying far-put, possessed as they were of distance weapons) into...features like Lore's. Or like Kore's, Balthazar's otherworldly princess, more to the point. Another doppelganger (see picture above. ICO screencap). She said she was the Avatar of the Wishing Chamber, formed to mimic the clearest broadcasted desire-- Balthazar's fondest wish. The Avatar answered their questions to the best of her ability; she had certain resources of the ship, but mostly, what the players had brought in with them. Heremod scarfed down leaves & pale albino strawberries, hungrily; the others sipped the carbonated milky beverages the other, waiter-like figures brought them. The Avatar spoke somewhat of the purpose of the vessel-- long ago, the world Ka & its duplicate vibratory continents (present both on the world & on those they colonized) were destroyed, & this vessel (& many others like it) littered the space between the worlds with Sleeping survivors. The Sleepers wait, with only three awake at any time. When the vessels find a home, the three would leave, infiltrate society, & return to imprint upon the Sleepers the languages & skills they'd need in their new home.
Lore asked if the Avatar & the Wishing Chamber (who had, at this point, made reference to the Conduit, the demon that was powering the holodeck-like Wishing Chamber) could connect the pool in the middle of the room to the Sleepers for the purpose of imprinting. The Avatar, mentioning that the imprinting was meant to be Karnak, but also saying it had not qualms about allowing the humans to do it, said it could be done, so Lorelai stripped her clothing but for her sceptre & stepped into it, swallowing the milky fluid that suddenly filled it, breathing it, sinking to the bottom & going fetal. Then, stilling her mind, she smelled cinnamon & made contact. What did Lorelai choose to imprint on the slumbering Karnaks? Languages-- Vulgate & Aladeen. Craft, Medicine, Empathy...with some survival & defense as an afterthought. Knowledge about the damage to the ship, & the alien-demonic influence. & an overview of regional political upheaval-- an unbiased view, though she did confirm her own preference.
The only thing left to do before leaving was...well. The Avatar (above picture by Fung Chin Pang) had, upon deeper analysis of the party of adventurers, asked for Lore to give her a name, & for Balthazar to make...some kind of pact with her, a pact like the one he made with his apprentice Lupus, or that the Janiform made with him. Lorelai had been thinking, under the marble white waves, of a name, & chosing synchronicity, she went with More. Then, yes-- More cut her hand on the straight razor Heremod carries...that Bedwin used to carry...that he took from Balthazar, & Balthazar dissolved his crystal into her blood & upon his stomach, where his belly button, opened the grey lips of a woman's mouth...& after some decompiling, & coaxing by Lorelai, they left the Chamber of wishes.
They came upon the Karnaks, awakening. Legend said his goodbyes, & he & Archer left before things could get hairy, if they were going to-- concerns that a local warlord would be approaching hanging over his departure to reconnaissance for the party. Balthazar, Heremod, & Damocles watched the Karnaks struggle against the hardening goo of their glass coffins, & eventually Lorelai led them down. The first out was a female (pictured above, by Jason Levesque). The Karnaks resembled humans, more or less, but with important differences. Barrel chests, wider shoulders, bowed legs with long femurs & short shins, heavy brows & very little chin & long skulls. In modern terms, neanderthalic. Importantly, with less sexual dimorphism, less over-all variance. The awakening Karnak said she was Ribbon-Four; she took charge of the situation, as the Karnaks seems to operate according to very generalist terms, with a strong hierarchy but little division of labor. She parlayed with the party, speaking of the imprinting, of their weapons (in particular, shocklances) all while naked; until reminded by Lorelai to dress, at which point the Karnaks left & came back in Ming the Merciless collars, capes, metal codpieces, harnesses & ornaments, Choshen-like chest devices & sigils, draped long sarape like garments over glove-fitted unitards; strange Flash Gordon-like outfits.
The session concluded, without any Narratorial prompting, with a confrontation between Hermóðr & the other members of the party. A terrified Bedwin was found wandering the halls by Damocles; Bedwin started asking where he was, what was going on. Damocles brought him back to the others, & they tried to speak with him, but Bedwin panicked & tried to flee-- at which both Balthazar & Damocles conked him on the head & knocked him out. Lorelai tied him up & when he came too his eyes were clouded black again-- & he was Hermóðr. There seems to be some kind of possession, or multiple personalities, or merger that has occured; though Hermóðr & Bedwin both seem to have different ideas of what it might be or mean, let alone Balthazar, Damocles, & Lorelai. They argued with Hermóðr, who claims to have saved Bedwin from death; or at least, the little of him there is left. Things were terse, & ended with a vote-- should the adventurers mercy-kill Bedwin, or let him free? Balthazar voted to put him out of his misery, Damocles voted not to...& Lorelai chose to reserve her judgment for a later time. Very interesting.