Schism

Frozen Pipes
Cannons, Carriages, and Carnage

With Eigil railroaded by the Church of the word, but obviously innocent to those that had dealt with him, a plan was formed to allow him (and Argal) to escape.

It was to be leaked that a carriage leaving the station would contain Kinsky, thereby rousing the Stormers to break her out enroute. All was going to plan, when Arnaud at the reins noticed a well organized group of mercenaries bringing small cannon to bear on the carriage as it neared the bridge cross the river Tear. This was much more firepower than the Stormers could bring to bear, and it was noticed that Dawn’s Imp was among them, glamoured up of course.

Amongst shouting, and flurry of shots and spells, Arnaud managed to avoid the cannon fire, and pull the carriage onto a side street and into an alley. Cora Thunderwaved the carriage wheel off to make things look less suspicious. The group hurried into the alley, finding a convenient sewer entrance.

Only as Arnaud dropped through the hole, did he notice the Imp watching them. Pulling out lights the group plunged into the reasonably well kept storm drain. A room opened up, with a rusted grate down into the sewers proper. It’s rusted hinges and locks proved too much for the group to just quickly jar loose. Before they could try again, they were accosted by a tattooed man claiming to usher in a Saint of the devils that had plagued the group before.

This tattooed monk turned out to be the devil Aal inhabiting his form. With a similar grotesque transformation, he confronted the party with his icy powers. The party quite handily did for him and his icy armor shards.

With nothing else to prevent the escape, Eigil and Argal escaped to the sewers, and Eigil’s hideout. The Officers, and the Justice returned to the station and Cpt. Arden.

A mission well completed was rewarded with Cora and Dracaena being officially terminated to further appease the pressure coming down from higher up. However, the Chief Commander, realizing their true worth, retained their services outside of the regular chain of command. They were to be super-secret secret-police!

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Flood of Ashes
In which many things were said, but few were done.

On the way to the station, the group divided the loot from their last night’s adventure.
Each member received 50 gold pieces and $16 in imperial currency.

Outside the station, a large group had gathered. The Stormers had roused the
neighbourhoods under their control. People were demanding that the guard release
Kinsky. Well, that wasn’t going to happen yet.

Chief Inspector Arden greeted the group at the station and initially believed that Argal
and Eigil were the murderers that Arnaud, Dracena, Cora and Renard had been sent to
investigate. The group however explained to him about the devils and pit fiends they
had encountered and that Tasia’s murder was for a summoning ritual. Cora showed
Arden the book that they had found in Emerald Park containing the Infernal text.
Arden believed the group’s story, but it was not he who they had to convince. Instead,
some high-ranking priests of Gaol were at the station with the Chief Commander.
This was highly unorthodox. Arden told them that the night had been weird at the
station: after the report of Tasia’s murder had come in, Lord Priestess Kaja had come
to the station, demanding that Eigil be brought to justice.

Arden led the dwarves to a holding cell in the dungeons for further questioning away
from the priests, a few cells down from Kinsky. The rest of the group convened in
the hall. It was clear that they needed to prevent Eigil from being falsely tried. They
went to intercept the Chief Commander and Lord Priestess Kaja in their questioning
of the dwarves.

Renard and Dracena went to watch Lord Priestess Kaja question the dwarves. The
Lord Priestess and her entourage (assistant priest Ove and bodyguard Hilde) were
all dwarves of high ranking. They were from the Church of the Word—the part of the
Gaolian justice system that normally dealt with internal religious laws, not criminal
cases. Dracena and Renard learned that Kaja knew of Tasia, but not in what context.
As Dracena and Renard left, Arden received a report that someone had been burned to
death in their home, which made it the third death in such a fashion.

Back in the cell, Kaja queried Eigil’s knowledge of runes and suggested that the runes
of power that he knew and the runes that were drawn around Tasia’s body were from
the same source. She decided to continue the investigation, but detain the dwarves.

Cora and Arnaud remained with Chief Commander. Cora tried to decipher the
spellbook, but as she turned the pages, there was a smell of burning, and more names
appeared crossed off on the list; a total of five. Cora and Arnaud speculated that the
names referred to victims used as a source of power for spells for the devils to cross
over.

The group reconvened and Arden notified them that Eigil has been slated for an early
trial (and execution). There would be an armoured carriage that would take him to
the courts. He also speculated that the well-dressed dwarf who was at Tasia’s body
at the park (Feldan of the Clan Biviar) was somehow associated with this. The group
decided then to split up to gather evidence exonerating Eigil and also investigating the
victims of the fire. However, the crowds outside prevented the group from leaving the
station, so they holed up for the night.

The next day, Arden arrived with some bad news: Eigil’s court date was that
afternoon, and Lord Priestess Kaja would be presiding over the case. Also, the crowd
outside (which didn’t subside overnight) had been given the group’s description, so
getting out would be tricky.

But, it seemed, it wasn’t that tricky. Arnaud, Cora and Renard disguised themselves
and left the station. Cora went to the University of Vectis to have the book translated,
but nobody wanted to admit to speaking Infernal. But she did find some information
on summoning rituals: the ritual that the group witnessed in Emerald Park seemed to
be a reverse summoning. Souls were what made devils powerful, and it seemed like
someone (or something) had been banking the souls that had been killed.

Arnaud went into the town to look for information on the next victim. He discovered
that the last victims were similar to Tasia: they were either lower or middle class and
moving up with ties to people of power. They had access to a life of privilege above
their own class.

Renard went to have a look at the records in the scroll library at Church of the Word.
She found that there was a pattern of murders similar to Tasia’s, where a trial had
happened quite quickly afterward and the defendant had been found guilty due to
witness testimony. In each of these cases they had been presided over by a high
ranking judge or priest. Also, all of the homicides had at least one large stab wound,
but otherwise there were different facts about the murders.

Dracena stayed at the station to interrogate Kinsky. Kinsky turned out to be more
cooperative than expected and told Dracena that Tasia was a close friend who lived
in her neighbourhood and supported her cause (by prostituting herself). Tasia had
recently stopped though, because she had found a wealthy benefactor who donated to
the Church of Vashti. On the night that she died, Tasia was apparently at home and
her benefactor had visited her.

Kinsky also admitted that she didn’t think that Eigil was the perpetrator of Tasia’s
murder and that she only wanted the Stormers to rough him up. Dracena agreed to
release Kinsky if they could get out of the prison. Kinsky gave Dracena the symbol
of Vashti that she wore around her neck and told her to go to the crowd outside and
ask for Zia — he was a member of the gang and would give the group information.

Cora, Renard and Arnaud returned to the station. The armoured carriage would be
arriving soon, and the group needed to orchestrate Eigil’s escape.

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Rain of Fire
Of Poisons, Parks, Pit Fiends, and Powerful Magiks.

The Stormers (including Kinsky) were hauled away by the paddy wagon. The Stormers under heavy protest, and threats of anti-guard violence. The head of that squad saw fit to inform Dracaena that the lieutenant still expects some heads to roll for the murder, heavily implying that they should turn in Eigil and be done with it. Dracaena, believing Eigil’s story, decided to keep Eigil and Argal in custody, as Eigil was the only one who had seen the potential murderers.

The group headed off to The Liquid Emerald. Upon entering, the shopkeeper looked a little cagey, and quickly disappeared into the back with Arnaud for some trumped up reason. Arnaud applied the subtle pressures of law enforcement but also customer to dig out some information. The shopkeeper had sold the offending poison, some paralytics, as well as some magycal items of whose precise nature he deigned to reveal. Tox also noted that the offending customers smelt strongly of brimstone, and such that they may have been demonic, or at least around sulfur.

Deciding that we might follow up the sulfurous smell, we headed towards Emerald Park (I think) which was now pretty much a dump, but situated just downriver of some of the larger chymical plants. The outskirts of the park were inhabited by hobos of various kinds, and they feared to move deeper into the park because of “The Green Lady”. OoOoOoooOoh. Legends of The Green Lady known to our crew, as well as gleaned from questioning hobos by various methods, described her as a savage creature known to shred those unwary enough to stray into her domain. She would leave bloody carcasses hanging from trees on the outskirts of the park as a warning to others.

During the questionings, Argal became agitated, as if something was wrong in the heart of the park. Thankfully some details were turned up that sounded suspiciously out of character for The Green Lady. Some hobo’s friends had been abducted, no bodies. That hobo guided our heroes deeper into the park. Argal’s agitation grew, and he was spoiling for a fight. About the time the hobo chickened out, a sulfurous smelling hole in the ground was discovered. It was surrounded by strangely verdant vegetation, considering the gnarled thorny scrub the heroes had seen so far.

Venturing in to the “cave” the players noticed light. Twas wise to send the stealthy members ahead to scout the nature of our enemy. Arnaud and Renard crept ahead, and just as Renard thought to cautiously ask Arnaud if he was checking for traps, there was a click. The floor fell out from Arnaud’s feet, and with preternatural awareness and grace, he flopped himself backward onto to the rough floor. Unfortunately the trap was also equipped with a steam whistle warning system.

The whistle summoned a demonic woman, Dawn, from her rooms. She had large blue horns and an imp on her shoulder, and was determined to stop the two heroes from interrupting her compatriot. The group didn’t know what he was up to yet, but could hear an ominous chanting coming from another room.

As dawn pulled out some pistols and fired on Renard, Arnaud levered himself up, and leapt across the pit using some sweet wall running moves. The rest of the crew joined the fray all safely leaping across the 10ft pit, the ungainly Cora using some additional luck. Unfortunately, Dawn had backup as well, and a massive, blue, spear wielding demon came out swinging. The party traded blows, and insults with the demons as the chanting grew.

Realizing the delaying tactics of the two demons, Arnaud acrobaticized his way around both demons and using quite the sleight of hand, managed to jimmy open the only remaining closed door in the room.

Beyond, a cloaked figure was carving green, firey runes into the air around a wicked looking hovering blade. With deft precision, Cora knocked the demon out of it’s chant, and the runes were extinguished.

The players handily defeated the demons. The last of which tried to retreat out the cave, only to trip and expire in his own pit trap. Each of the demons upon death, reverted to a normal person, revealing that they were simply possessing mortals on this plane, and were more powerful than the heroes first suspected.

Upon investigation, the magyk on the blade appeared to be something to do with summoning, and binding, and feeding ,and storage. Upon touching, Cora conjured the spirit of Tasia, and she answered 3 questions before evaporating.
The questions were…
1. What happened to you?
2. Who killed you?
3. Why?

The group, feeling happy with their victory, trudged out of Emerald Park heading back to the station to file their report with the Lieutenant. The rain slicked the cobble stones, but did little to dampen the spirits of the victors. An old lady approached the party in the street, and before anyone could blink, Dawn’s visage was upon her, and she smiled a delicious predatory gleam, threatening them for disrupting her plans. That is, until Renard shoved a knife in her ribs, and the old lady collapsed, dead.

Aal appeared upon a well-to-do portly man, and threatened the party much more convincingly, telling them that their city would burn for interfering with his plans. He summoned a huge ball of magyck, filled with horrible destructive runes, all swirling around in apocalyptic fury.

As the majick formed fully, he cackled devilishly, and dropped the despicable sphere to the stones of the street. The sphere touched the ground, and burst. It ignited the very rain falling from the sky, the majikal fire jumping from drop to puddle, until within a minute an entire city block was burning. The body of the man was incinerated even before it could fall to the ground. The heroes sprang for cover immediately, and began measures to combat the demonic spell.

Argal, using his heavy shield as a rain cover, began shepherding the citizens of the neighborhood away from their certain doom. Renard ran off to find the local bucket brigade. Arnaud took to his feet, and went to seek some priests from a nearby temple who could hopefully help.

Unfortunately, the water-igniting ball of doom appeared to be rolling… downhill… towards the river. Who new what would happen if it arrived.

Eigil, recognizing the runic magic used by the demons braved the burning sleet to approach the ball. Argal, assuming a more stalwart form than he ever had, followed, shielding Argal as best he could at expense of shielding himself. Bringing his hammer and the mightiest and purest of his runic magiks to bear, Argal smote the sphere. Cracking the surface, he forced his magick and his will upon the orb. It was pushed into the ground, and slagged his hammer. But the orb slowed.

Watching from a nearby doorway, Dracaena saw the efforts of the dwarves, and recognized a way to stop the sphere. She and the others collected as much scrap metal as they could and buried the sphere in a gradually cooling, still hissing, slag pile of metal.

Finally the sphere was stopped, and the rain extinguished itself. The party, exhausted and burned explained themselves to the now arrived priests and clerics, whom recognized the demon majgycks for what they were, and agreed to make sure the disaster was truly snuffed.

Thusly our heroes prepared to finally return to their home station.

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The Red Light of Justice
An Adventure Begins

Lt. Arden of the city guard ordered Dracaena and Cora to investigate a murder. To go along with the pair, he sent Arnauld, also working with the guard to watch us and document the investigation, as well as Ms. Renard, a priestess of Gaol who was sent to gain additional field experience.

The murder was out at the mouth of the river Tear, in a park beneath a massive statue of Gaol. The victim was an elven woman with her throat slit brutally. No blood was on the scene indicating that she was not killed there but rather brought there as a message, she was not robbed, and there was a faint aura of protective magic around her.

When we arrived, the guard patrol was there trying to keep away a group of humans and elves wearing armbands signifying that they were members of the Stormers gang. The victim was Tasia, the sister of one of the gang members, Silas. He originally believed it to be the rival Spike gang. They were at the scene because while they were nearby they were told by a very large man that there was a murder. Silas was incapable of remembering any details of the man, and an arcane check showed that he had been put under some sort of enchantment.

After speaking to the guard, we found that they were alerted to the murder by a hooded human woman who later disappeared.

Also on the scene was a woman who found the body originally, and reported a short, shabbily dressed, hairy humanoid who was seen bending over the corpse and then ran away. The Stormers, upon finding this out, split up and went off.

Finally of note on the scene was a very rich, well dressed dwarf of the clan Biviel and his two Arbonal bodyguards. We had little success at questioning him due to the bodyguards, but he definitely seemed to know the victim and was extremely distressed at the murder. When he left, he pulled out and fondled gem studded necklace.

With further investigation proving to not reveal much new, we found a track and started following it.

The scene then switched to the two dwarfs, Argal and Eigil, at the Coal Heap bar. Eigil explained that there had been a murder, and after a few drinks decided to go alert the guard. On leaving the bar, they ran into the Stormers, now with an elven cleric of Vashti named Kinsky, who said they were going to beat information out of Eigil. Not believing Eigil when he said he didn’t do it, they started fighting.

Shortly afterwards, the party merged, and we beat the Stormers. Silas tried negotiating with us to not arrest them, as he claimed the guard would not want to arrest a cleric of Vasthi, as it would be more trouble than it would be worth. We arrested them anyway, and asked Silas more questions about the man who alerted him to the murder. He started trying to describe the man, but then found himself unable to speak. He had been inflicted with a lockjaw poison, with a rune on the back of his neck. The poison itself used some very rare ingredients. Since he was unable to speak, we made him write the description. It was of a large creature with a tail, he thinks it was human, but hard to tell. Had two small, blue horns and compound yellow eyes.
After arresting the Stormers, Arnauld decided the best course of action was to investigate sources of the poison ingredients.

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Prologue - Gideon's Folly
The first session

The party of 5 soldiers started out on a routine run from Tukakari, Riftward and Spinward in the Impernium. They were to deliver a large crate to the Imperial Captial of Gelborg as fast as they could. The crate seemed to be breathing, which no one took as a good sign.

Deep into the night, the train came to a break in the track. Soon the brave soldiers were beset by foul mutants. With fire, steam, and lead, the soldiers turned back the tide of wretches.

With the mutants dead, a voice came from the crate on the train. A damaged Steam Knight, one of the great shock troops of the Impernium, turned out to be the cargo.

With the Steam Knight in tow, scouting ahead and hoping to find someone to help repair the track and send message on ahead, the soldiers came upon the small mining town of Clearsprings Bluff. The town had been infected with mutation, everyone it is was dead or missing. All over were signs warning of a mutated villager, Gideon. In many of the buildings, there were huge piles of gently pulsing eggs.

A Megapede burst forth from the ground, falling on the party. The creature was mutated grotesquely, allowing it to reach out into the minds of the party. They fled before it, the Steam Knight providing covering fire. Eventually, the party escapes into the ruins of a church on the solid stone bluff near the ravine by the town. The megapede cannot burrow through the solid granite.

While the Steam Knight goes to kill the Megapede, the Soliders meet the other inhabitant of their little refuge. Gideon, the mutant from the wanted posters, has made this church his new home. He has infected an alter to Gaol with dark energies. He summons more mutant insects to his aide, and sets upon the party. With great difficulty, they dispatch him.

Leaving the church, they find the wounded Steam Knight dragging himself back to the church. As the approach, they realize that the Knight has been slain, and the megapede is dragging him with it’s stinger. The poor soldiers were consumed by the great beast.

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