(The Old Fora. The Inarizawa chemical mine, by Michael John Grist.)
Last night's game opened with the party still in the Karnak star, the fallen vessel from the heavens. They were waiting for Lorelai's twin brother, Legend, to bring word of troop movements-- the warlord "The Generalissimo" was expected. When Legend came, the facts were somewhat grim. 30,000 in the vanguard, 70,000 en route, 400 cannons (32 pounders) & besides that, some vague, indeterminate "faerie witchcraft." The players are undaunted, gung-ho! They've got 30,000 karnaks, with who knows what kind of weapons-- demons, shocklances, mazers. Well...maybe not. Eventually they convince each other to try the diplomatic route; they've been pretty successful with that so far, after all, & the Generalissimo can't be that crazy...can he? The politics break down thus: the landlord-nobility of Englezarke mismanaged tenure & horded wealth; they were overthrown by the Mermaid Revolution-- so called due to their long tailed goats of green or blue--who then went on to become almost as bad as the landlords. The Generalissimo was in charge of their army, & found various charges--trumped up or otherwise-- to have his rivals & detractors executed, till he was the sole military despot, or at least the Big Dog among them. Well, alright; diplomacy! Legend will wait in the Karnak ship-- he's a known malcontent, a dissenter against the Generalissimo's junta (& as the players joke, it makes things easier for the Narrator).
(Elfshark things. model by creature effects & Marro Grok Rider miniature by Heroscape.
Outside the Crystal Ship, the air smelt of ozone & burnt hair; the sky was tornado grey, artificial twilight. The metal of the fences hummed & sang, the silverware in drawers crackled with wisps of pale fire, the fallen axel of a wagon wheel sang out sequences of meaningless digits (Sam had requested the Numbers Stations, so out came the Conet Project!) The players spread out cautiously, forewarned by Legend that something fishy was going on-- when it struck! Or, they struck, I should say! Faceless creatures with fuzzy horns, oozing honey, riding...or wait, conjoined?! with landsharks, piscine hunters with wolf-like legs. Oh god, what! Weilding maces of skulls attached to vertebrae (which I was convinced to make Bashing damage). They tried to trip Lore, to no avail; she responded by "punching" a sharkface in the nose...with her trident. One of Heremod's guns was twisted out of his grip by the skeletal flail; he dissapeared in a puff of flies (!) & rematerialized elsewhere, his other pistol BOOMing! a hole in an elfskull. Damocles, in a spurt of furious violence, leapt from one place to the next, his Sword Reborn coup de grasing a fallen sharkelf on the way, & putting himself in-between Lorelai & a fell rider-- the seawolves furiously tore up his leg, & the blood floating in the air as if it was heavy like water. Balthazar was a blaze of possible places, pistols, predictions, periodically vanishing & reappearing-- he chased the third hound-shark-faerie as it scrambled in retreat (pausing only to suck Damocles' blood from his cloak, ringing it out into his mouth). As they left, they passed out of the bubble of shadow, entering the sun-lit autumn world of the city of Brineheart.
(The Old Fora, under the pillars. Ruins by Daguerre.)
(The Generalissimo, Thufir Hawat by Moebius, & the "traitor", "Love" by Ariokh.)
With Balthazar announcing their way (as a good bard or wizard might...) the party sought out forces of the Generalissimo, & through force of nearly over-whelming personality, convinced the guards it would be best to take them directly to him. The soldiers confiscated their weapons (besides Bedwin's cunningly concealed holdout pistol & Lorelai's technomagic telescoping trident) while Damocles, who wouldn't give up his sword so easily, was kept at the far rear under armed escort (until the Generalissimo eventually called him up, despite his guard's requests). The Generalissimo was tallish, perhaps 6'5" or a little more, blonde of moustache & broad, well-made. & who should accompany him but...Xenobia, Adelard's widow. Also with him was the "Savage," the so-called "Saint of the Machete", the Generalissimo's bodyguard. & another figure (pictured above, sans arm) hiding in the awnings. The Generalissimo seemed...bored, & put-out with the negotiations! The party at turns spoke of the Karnaks, calling them refugees or armies; he bantered with them, but was almost depressed, kept asking leading questions & being glum (& sucking on his pipe) when they didn't take the bait. Eventually he came out with it-- asking Lorelai "why can't we just be a family?" Damocles & Balthazar had noted that Lore's hair, & Legends, was the same colour as the Generalissimo's...could he really be her father? Lorelai convinced him that she'd need to speak with her brother (& then returned to Brineheart, & the Fallen Star, to do so, with Damocles) while Balthazar & Heremod stayed behind, lured by their interest in the Generalissimo's "Panopticon Gigas"...