The Ninth World

Session 21

A Web of Lies - Part 5

After Jesus rejoins the party, the three venture back into town to purchase some worker’s clothing. Having disguised themselves appropriately, the party begins their attempt to infiltrate the palace grounds. Having established a meeting point in the palace grounds, Cairn and Jesus retrace Jesus’ steps from his previous excursion, passing uneventfully through both gates under cover of the invisibility cloak. They take up their position at the meeting point (a distinctive clump of bushes in a corner of the grounds) and settle down to wait under the cloak.

 

Meanwhile, Elswyr leaves the city and hikes back to the clearing where the party stashed the fire-fliers. As night falls, she dons a flier and makes her way over the city towards the palace. Once she reaches an altitude of about 600 feet above the grounds, she cuts the engine and spreads her wings in an attempt to glide silently to the ground. However, the bulky fire-flier prevents Elswyr from fully extending her wings, and she begins to plummet rapidly towards the ground. With a mighty effort, she frees her wings from the flier, and with an acrobatic front-flip, gracefully glides to the ground. She stealthily sneaks to the bushes, and nearly trips over Jesus and Cairn in their cloak.

 

Each party member swallows a sleep-preventing pill, and Cairn, garbed in the invisibility cloak, approaches the great hall and lobs the sleeping stone into the hall. With a soft thunk, the stone shatters on the floor, and guards and servants alike slump to the ground in a deep slumber. The party immediately rushes forward into the room. Elswyr pulls the sleeping guards into the hall, and shuts the doors, blocking them with heavy chairs. Jesus approaches the candelabra, and, fortunately, discovers that one of the candles functions as a lever. He pulls the lever, and the sound of gears whirring and clicking reverberates through the hall, and the seal in the center of the hall slides to the side, revealing a dark shaft below. A ladder leads down into darkness.

 

Cairn leads the way down the ladder. At the bottom, a single, dim passageway leads away from the shaft, and Cairn, hand on his hammer, ventures cautiously down the passage. As he steps forward, a bone-white tile depresses slightly under his foot. A rushing sound fills the corridor, and Cairn jumps back just in time to avoid a searing jet of flame from the wall that engulfs the space where he stood just moments before. Upon closer inspection, the party finds that the passage is tiled in four colors: bleached white, frostbite purple, dried-blood red, and sickly yellow.

 

Cairn cautiously reaches out with his hammer and depresses a purple tile. No visible change results. Jesus scans the immediate area, and detects no anomalies. Cairn cautiously walks forward, stepping only on the purple tiles. The last purple tile is some distance from the end of the corridor, though, leaving Cairn with no choice but to jump. He takes a flying leap, and clears the remaining tiles. Jesus follows in his footsteps. He reaches the last tile and jumps, but slips at the last moment, stumbling on a sickly yellow tile before sprawling across the floor at the end of the hallway. Three doorways open up silently, and from each doorway crawls a menacing, mechanical creature, one shaped like a crab, another like a scorpion, and the third like a metal lizard.

 

As the three approach, Jesus scrambles to his feet, and Cairn gleefully raises his hammer. He smites the crab with a devastating blow, sending it flying down the corridor. The creature ricochets off a wall and lands on its back on top of a white tile, and a gout of white-hot flame flashes above its body. Elswyr springs into action, leaping across the purple tiles while freeing her spear, and, at the last hop, thrusts it into the scorpion, raising her shield and shouting, “Don’t touch my friends!!”

 

The scorpion lunges towards Cairn, and plunges its stinger into Cairn’s leg. Searing pain shoots through Cairns body, and the wound throbs with poison. Cairn, enraged, strikes back with his hammer, smashing the heavy weapon into the scorpion’s carapace. Jesus draws his crossbow and quickly fires a bolt at the crab. The bolt flies wide and ricochets off the wall near the crab. Elswyr stabs his spear once more into the metal scorpion, which seems to shudder in agitation. The lizard leaps onto Cairn, grappling with him with its sharp claws. The crab rights itself and shuffles towards Elswyr, who evades its snapping claws. The scorpion strikes Cairn again, taking advantage of the opportunity afforded by the lizard’s distraction.

 

Cairn thrusts the lizard away and takes up his hammer, ready to do battle once more. Jesus lays his hands on Cairn, and a soft, healing light surrounds him, invigorating him and soothing his wounds. Elswyr thrusts her spear again, but, off balance from the crab’s attack, misses the scorpion.

 

The lizard launches itself at Cairn, latching on once more, while the scorpion strikes yet again, dealing a powerful blow. The crab snaps at Elswyr, who nimbly dodges its claws.

 

Cairn rips the lizard away, and with a cry of rage, throws it bodily onto a white tile, which obligingly blasts it with searing flames. Jesus heals him once again. Elswyr raises her spear, and impales the scorpion with a mighty blow. The scorpion quivers once, and is still.

 

The lizard rushes back to Cairn and bites him. The crab snaps at Elswyr, who scornfully deflects the blow with her shield.

 

Cairn crushes the lizard’s skull with a powerful blow, and Jesus heals him again. Elswyr stabs the crab with her spear and attempts to leap to safety. She stumbles, and depresses a blood-red tile. Current courses through her body, and she falls, stunned, to the floor at the end of the corridor.

 

The crab snaps at Cairn, who leaps back, avoiding the metal claws. Cairn raises his hammer and smashes the crab to bits.


 

We see a mechanism holding a man in suspension. He has long white hair covering most of his face, but we can still see a large scar on his face. His old looking face contrasts his strong looking body. The color of his body appears as though it was stone, and he is surrounding by a shimmering gel. There is also a pedestal with a single, circular opaque tile.

 

Jesus inspects the pedestal, and does not see any explosives or other immediate signs of danger. He also scans the dude, who appears to be made of not-quite-stone – in all appearance human, just made of stone rather than flesh.

 

Elswyr tries pressing the tile, nothing happens. Elswyr then tries pressing the tile with the staff, which seemingly releases the person, who looks like a person under the stone and slime.

 

Jesus says Hi, Shilomen. Shilomen says Hi back. Jesus explains we’re here to rescue him, he requests that we help him just a little further. He is tired and weak, but not injured. Jesus engages in physical inspection, and prepares to heal. Jesus tries to heal several times before hitting his stride and Shilomen stands up straight, expressing his surprise and Jesus’ power. Shilomen recommends we get the hell out of dodge.

 

We successfully jump across the purple titles, get the hell up the ladder, open the front door, close the dungeon doorway, and hurry outside. We see the guardsmen are asleep, and head down to the gate to try and get out. The gate is locked from the other side, but there are stairs up to the guardhouse. Jesus heads up to the guardhouse, where he finds two levers. He pulls the lever facing left towards the palace, and the left door opens. The guards start to stir, but we scram into the city.

 

Bishop Ardentia calls out to Jesus as we hurry through the city, but we ignore him and run for it. We bring Shilomen back to Dracogen and meet back up with Mesmer. Shilomen, as it turns out, is an engineer, who is going to build a portal back to their world. He explains that the cube is highly useful but not necessary, but without the cube we would be long dead before the portal was complete.

 

Dracogen summons Ruthan, who says that the Golden Sanctum, which is hidden deep in the West Woods – fairly unfriendly place. The forest is full of creatures with a penchant for killing those who enter. Ruthan has been scouting from air, watching the Convergence gathering their power. Ruthan opens his mouth and projects an image of the Golden Sanctum. Incidentally, we flew over the West Wood earlier when we were headed to the castle.

 

The Sanctum is a busy place – there is a massive stone wall, and loggers are busily logging, getting massive timber to support the defenses. Doing all this activity are both people in peasants’ clothes, who likely were pressed into service.

 

--tactical discussion—-

 

The group decides on the ‘Use the Aeon priesthood to attack the Convergence and in exchange for the information they will give us the cube. We’re telling them the cube is an ancient relic we found – any attempt to put a human touch inside the cube results in tremendous pain, which we’ve used before for “enhanced interrogation”.

 

We go to Charmon to the house where the bishop is staying, and approach the guards. Jesus requests an appointment, announcing them as a group carrying an object that would be of great interest. The guard says that the wedding is over, and the bishop has a bit of time. The guard escorts us into the building and announces us. The bishop comes in, and Jesus apologizes for having to run away last time we saw him. The bishop took no offense, and Jesus explains we have information of great importance.

 

Jesus explains that we’ve spent the past while investigating and tracking down the Convergence, and we believe that we have found a key stronghold of there’s. The bishop inquires why we were talking about the Convergence. Jesus explains that in our hunt for the key Numenera, we encountered them. The bishop acknowledges that he is aware of the Convergence and that they are terrorists. Jesus offers a deal where we point out the stronghold, they give us the box if they find it. The bishop acknowledges that as reasonable. Jesus dramatically hands the bishop the staff, who wraps it in an unused curtain.

 

The bishop wonders where the sanctum is; Jesus explains it is in the West Wood. The bishop says that the West Wood is in his jurisdiction, so he will gather troops at the amber monolith.

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