Campaign of the Month: November 2007

Bodhisattva Complex

Chapter Seven - From the Shadows to the Horizon

Eight days have passed since the putting down of the thief Nameless. Ravi and his team have had ample time to rest and recuperate from yet another harrowing experience and Gandharva is feeling peaceful again. Preparations have been made for the retrieval of the Shirley from the roiling waters of the sea surrounding the continent, and it is on this day that the event is scheduled to take place.

Padme enters the library at Aeon Home and finds Tien and Rosalind thumbing through some large tomes and taking notes. Charlotte enters as well, taking some time for herself before the events of the day are to unfold. Asking his acquaintances where he might find Ravi or Jacques, Padme is directed to the residents’ quarters on the east side of the Home. As satisfied as can be expected, the automa makes his way east while the others are left in the quietude of the library.

Padme finds Jacques in the residential area, engaging in a most unusual practice. After hearing some angry and desperate shouting coming from the young woman’s room, the automa kicks in the door to rescue her and finds her situated in front of her mirror, dressed in an unusual manner and shouting “I hate you!” at her own reflection. No explanation is offered – Jacques simply shoos Padme out the door and emerges moments later in her normal attire. The duo head for the beach to the southeast of the city gates to meet with Malcolm and the others for the exercise.

The team gathers at the beach, admiring the glittering waters of the ocean reflecting the afternoon sunlight, but they aren’t all assembled. Ravi, Honoria and Charlotte are all missing in action. Just as the team heads off for the city again to find them, Tien sends a telepathic message to Jacques asking her and the others to return to Aeon Home. Apparently monsters have suddenly overrun the city and the guard has their hands full as it is. Malcolm and Padme decide to stay behind in case anything develops with the sea creature while Milo and Jacques head back.

In Aeon Home’s adjoining square, Milo and Jacques find innumerable vampire bats clogging the very air of the city. They sense the fighters’ presence and turn to attack, but Honoria appears out of nowhere and cuts one in two, joining the fight with Ravi by her side. Together the party take care of the bats with minor injuries; Ravi discerns that the creatures are being summoned at a rapid pace by gelatinous oozes hiding with the aid of invisibility magic. Purging their arcane energies long enough to bring them into the light, Ravi and the others lay waste to the oozes and head into the academy to check in with Tien.

Inside the academy, Tien greets the party with some news on the nature of the attack. It seems the oozes were dropped into the city by a third party intent on causing a ruckus somehow. The oozes fabricate smaller creatures at an alarming rate, causing intelligence to believe there were more lurking in the city than was the case. Oozes were set about strategically in the most populated areas of Gandharva to distract the city guard and put them in a panic with the necessity of protecting civilians. Ravi asks after the individual who summoned the creatures, but Tien has nothing to offer him yet. He says only that some oozes remain in the merchants’ quarter of the city and the guard is too busy to take care of them. The praetor sends the group off with a teleportation art and wishes them good luck.

In a nauseating flash of light the group appears in the shadowy merchants’ quarter. All the lamps have been snuffed out by someone and the air is heavy and oppressive. Without warning, oozes hiding in the darkness spout out a large number of spirit creatures and let loose with terrifying roars. Milo is the first to act, wading into the melee and using his shamanic abilities to chastise and injure the spirit creatures. With the aid of augment crystals dropped in the previous conflict, Jacques’ arcane energies take on the glow of fire and cut a terrible path through the oozes, leaving them bubbling and melting in their demise.

A frustrated voice cuts through the shadow, sarcastically commending the party for their hard work in unraveling his spells. He speaks with the mannerisms of a rakshasa and spews threats at the party. Jacques and Honoria send insults his way, calling him out for his cowardice in remaining hidden behind the veil of night, but the rakshasa is unfazed. He warns them that the next day, the sea creature they have hunted after will surface and when it does Gandharva will be ruined- such is the price paid by those who desecrate Rakshasa holy land.

The group returns to Tien and is joined by Charlotte, Padme and Malcolm. After much deliberation they decide to meet the raksasha arcanist face to face and kill two birds with one stone, squelching the arrogant cat and defeating the sea creature that holds the Shirley captive at the same time. The rest of the night passes uneventfully with Padme tinkering at something while everyone else is asleep.

The next day the group meets on the beach and awaits the arrival of the ferocious creature and the sorcerer who will summon it. Just as the sun begins to touch against the horizon, the rakshasa makes his appearance standing perfectly still on the water. Tall and regal, he has blue black fur and brilliant ice blue eyes that sparkle with malevolence. He identifies himself as Kumarra, prince and scion of the rakshasa, and says that he has declared Gandharva marked for destruction due to the humans’ disrespect of the holy land Forgotten. Ravi argues that prophecy is only so reliable and that perhaps the prince is misguided in his zeal, but Kumarra is not moved. “Our fate is supreme so long as we tug on the reins of the Behemoth,” he replies with a hiss and raises a strangely-formed circlet into the air. As the sunlight catches the item and reflects off of it in and back into the roiling waters, a great earthquake rocks the area and the seas part to reveal a gigantic crustacean that crashes onto the shore with an incredible noise. The Shirley, fully intact as though Avae’s cannons had never broken it in half, sits on top of the creature’s back, diamond-hard chitin formed around her hull.

Obviously the fight will have to be taken in two phases, so the party decide to split up. Charlotte, Padme, Malcolm, and Ravi pursue Kumarra into the city to confront and punish him while Honoria, Milo, Jacques and Rosalind take care of the sea monster.

Inside Gandharva, Charlotte’s party corners Kumarra and the battle begins. The rakshasa is adept at summoning, calling pisaca and redcaps to his aid while he snipes at the group from the shadows. The summoned beasts fall easily, but Kumarra himself is sly and hard to track. He throws everything from arcane shadows to animated objects at the party, but nothing seems to stick. Just when it seems this war of attrition is going to continue forever, Purusha surfaces and whispers clandestinely in Ravi’s ear. While Padme and Charlotte chase the rakshasa all over the square and wound him with their weapons and abilities, Ravi sees a name in an ancient tongue slowly begin to reveal itself to him. When the name is complete Ravi feels Purusha’s essence stronger than ever and he speaks a name. “Narasihma!” Kumarra falls to his knees, shocked, as countless bolts of silken cloth emerge from the very earth itself and entangle him in their grip. Before his truename sealing is finished, the rakshasa bitterly retrieves the circlet from his sack and smashes it on the ground. “Now that creature’s last remaining thread of sanity has been severed. Your friends are doomed!”

Meanwhile, Honoria’s group prepares to take down the sea monster with a concerted effort. With some careful study of the creature, Rosalind has a breakthrough and assists the group by enchanting Honoria and Milo’s weapons so that they’re as hard as adamant. The creature has a nigh-impenetrable barrier around it that can only be broken through with the strongest of attacks. Honoria and Jacques concentrate on dealing as much damage to the creature as possible while Milo distracts it, drawing its attacks toward him and keeping his and everyone else’s health up to the best of his ability. The creature crashes down on the party numerous times, its enormous claws rending the sand apart in great rifts and its super-heated breath catching Milo and Honoria off-guard. The battle is hard-fought – the creature has an amazing amount of stamina and strength to throw around. Seeing an opening, Honoria rushes forth and plunges her sword into the crustacean’s underbelly, splitting the water apart and great waves. She brings her fist into the air, literally lifting the creature up with the force of her attack and splitting it in twain. The monster explodes in a hail of crystals all over the beach, its anima freed from its body to drift along the ocean waves.

The two groups reconvene on the beach, taking some time to discuss things and relax a bit, knowing that they have achieved their goal. Malcolm is overjoyed to see that the Shirley is safe; Rosalind assures him that his late wife was some kind of genius, setting up an intricate series of arcane marks inside the ship’s guts to ensure that if she were ever destroyed she would literally regenerate herself completely within days. Ravi makes the decision to accompany the party once he learns that they’re headed for Oh-Kenga. Priorities have changed, though, and no one will be hiding out anymore. The group resolves now to beseech the Oh-Kenga royal family for military aid in Moregnon’s efforts to fight back the Olmennan advances. Since Moregnon has now officially declared war on Olmenna, other nations are sure to follow their example. Padme asks if he can come along as well, since his search for Nandi has no starting point and he’s come to rely on the presence of his new friends for comfort in a world he’s altogether not a part of. Agreements reached, everyone returns to Tien for a full report after scooping up every last crystal left behind by the sea monster.

Tien is overjoyed to see that everyone is alright and commends each person for their seemingly endless assistance over the months. He rewards everyone with a respectable sum of money and a few magical items that they might find useful in their travels. He also gives Malcolm a letter of introduction for the Oh-Kenga emperor to further grease the wheels in their negotiations, once the time comes. The group rests for the night, safe in their beds for once.

In the morning, Barbara is standing at the docks with the Shirley, waiting for everyone to arrive. After some comical exchanges and a silent farewell from Ravi, the group board the Shirley and embark for Oh-Kenga. Hopefully this voyage will be much smoother than those previous.

Extras

Honoria’s Diary

Comments

This was such an awesome session. I seriously couldn’t stop thinking about it for days afterward.

photoneater

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