Lore Drop of the Gods

We travel for a long time, or a short time, or no time. I really don’t understand. We walked and we walked through a beautiful, raw, and beautiful land. Duskward and Springward, according to our new friend. Toward the Temple of the Clever Prince. Nat is eager to get back to her body, finish off the nightmare monster, and finish the ritual to cleanse Old Town. But first, we have to get to the temple.

The group gets into a strange discussion with our guide about time and intention and distance and the past or future. I’m not entirely sure, I wasn’t listening. I was enjoying the quiet of the forest. No heartbeat, no terrifying throb of a world about to rip at the seams. Just solid nature. Just believe in where we’re going, and we’ll get there, I say.

Then the land changes. Darker skies, fungus and mossy plants. Alok has turned bluer in tone. He says it’s time to set up camp, and we dont’ argue. Dalish sets up our normal protections, dome, sanctum, dog and all. We decide to set up watches because it’s weird here, even though we’re safe inside the magic. And, I still think we would have been.

Nat and I are on second watch, the light doesn’t change here, so it’s hard to tell the difference. We notice the moss rippling. Then a long claw pokes up through it. Around ten strange figures claw their way out of the ground. They have five strange long arms, tipped with a pointy claw. They mill about, confused by a strangeness in their path.

Nat looks into their minds, and find sadness and fear. Digging deeper, she can only sense the question, where? They’re poking at the edge of the magics now, so we wake up the rest of the group. Which, honestly, I think might have been a mistake in retrospect, maybe they just would have gone away.

Everyone armors up, and then Nat and Klyce go out of the dome to speak to them. The creatures scream at the sight of them, like everything here has done. Except these don’t run, they immediately attack. Two grab up Klyce, and stabbing all of their arms through him, clutching him between them in the creepiest scene I’ve seen in this strange realm. I rush out and Thunderstep him away with me, tossing a tiny bit of my magic into him to get his bleeding to stop at least. Naturally, he runs right bak into the fray.

The others also come out of the dome, except Dalish, who is trying to keep the spells up. I pull up a Storm Sphere and spend the rest of the fight trying to zap these creatures off my friends. It takes a while, and Gerhardt has to save Klyce again, but we manage to put the creatures down. We then head back inside and finish our rest in peace.

We head on in the not-actually-morning, with Nat and Dalish interrogating Alok about the monsters. He doesn’t know anything about those, but promises that we have been able to avoid the things he does know about in this area. Eventually, we head out of the fungal forrest into a wheatfield, with the sunsetting on the far horizon. Above us, we can see the floating temple from our dreams.

We organize a few flying spells and polymorphs, then fly up to the entrance stairs. There are really creepy, melting statues on either side of the double doors. Alok says they are the guardians of the temple and will destroy everything if they sense a threat. Right, remember to control your thoughts everyone. I just want to go home. We head up, and Klyce gets a weird melty glob tossed at him, but they do no harm and we are able to enter.

The foyer has sweeping pillars and flying butresses, and the hint of chanting from somewhere far off. Two figures step out and give bows to us. They are faceless, but humanoid, and have strange growths out of their shoulders.

“We greet you, Breakers. What business in the temple of the uncrowned king?”

Alok prompts me to ask for an audience with the prophets, and so I do. They ask us to wait here for some time. And their emphasis is so strange on the word time, that I stare after them for a few minutes. Then the group goes off onto another esoteric discussion, and I tune out again. We’re gods, guys, why can’t you just let it go. We need to go home and save the Bones, why does anything else matter?

The figures return and say we have been granted audience, so we follow them through the temple. There are libraries and great halls, and a strange room full of fae gathered around a rather massive tree-looking individual who is unmoving. They take us to a set of double doors that has a red glow leaking through and bid us enter. We open the doors and enter, the glow gets brighter and brighter. Then a flash. Then Darkness.

We are in an open hall, with black roiling clouds beyond, and the setting sun is still visible, as well. A many-armed, and horned figure bows to us from the far end of the hall as we approach. He bids us welcome, again, as the Breakers, but does admit we aren’t actually the gods, though we carry their power. Dalish explains that we died and woke up in this place, and we came here seeking a way home. He says it may be possible for ones such as us.

Someone asks how the war started between our peoples. He says he was there, and the war was inevitable, but then decides to start from the beginning. This is the best I can retell his story, it was a lot to take in:

There is a spectrum from Perfect Frozen Order all the way to Utter Chaos. Our two worlds are linked, circling mirrors in the center of this spectrum. The Human world on the Order side, and this Fae world on the Chaos side. The human world has rules, like gravity, climate, time, and movement. The Fae world is far looser with those concepts.

In the long past, travel between the worlds was easy and frequent. And this caused significant friction between our two peoples, when chaos and order mixed. This friction lead to conflict and death. Starvation and dehydration are ridiculous rules to the chaotic fae creatures. How could humans blame them for eating whatever they could find?

So, there was war. But it was easy and good at first. But, restrictions breed creativity. Humans grew clever and began to master their world and its rules. They learned to use iron to hurt the fae, and to harness magic from the Fae world. The balance of power shifted until it was even. This was still a fun challenge, but then the Breakers came.

The Breakers were the gods of the world of order, the Human world. They gathered power their, followers, entire tribes and nations. They lead armies into the Fae world. They burned villages to the ground.

Someone interupted here, to ask if they were really gods, probably Remy, but maybe Dalish, I wasn’t really paying attention. The prophet asked: What’s the difference between a god ad a being with immense power? And then continued his story.

They came to the Fae world, and tried to learn the rules among the chaotic realm. But they couldn’t, they didn’t understand the chaos. It didn’t play by the rules they knew. So, they made their own rules. They seduced the Clever Prince. He was fascinated by the Human world. He fell in love with one. (The Green Witch by our stories.) At the end of the wedding, the Breakers killed Balor, the King of the Fae world. (The evil eye of a god we defeated.) Then, before the Prince could be crowned in his stead, they imprisoned him in a place outside of reality. Then, they locked the Fae world away. They have cursed the fae to live here, as they are, forever.

The Breakers did not like the uncertain and confusing time of the Fae world. They changed it so that time no longer flowed in its normal path. They took away their freedom to change. We toss out a few questions at this point. It’s confusing, because we saw beings of all ages in the village. He explains that while we are here, in the Fae world, no time is passing back in the Human world. He shows us a window into our world, nothing is moving. He says generations that have been born since that time were different than the ones before, but it is difficult to explain how.

Alok asks about the monsters we ran across. He says he hasn’t seen one of them in eons. They were weapons of war, created by the Breakers. They are known as the Sorrowful Ones. Nat asks about the oncoming darkness, but the Prophet suggests she try looking into the future here. She will find it impossible. He is not a Prophet in the future sense of seeing anymore.

Nat asks if peace between our peoples might be possible, but he repeats that it is inevitable. We are too different. What if we could return the Prince to you? He would give anything for that. Nat asks about the place beyond reality, what if it leaked into reality? He says it would do less damage here than in our world. What about time? Would you want time back. Yes, he would, but he has no idea how we could do that.

We ask if there is some way to get back through that window he opened, but he says not in any way he knows, but he can look deeper with a gift of blood. Dalish immediately steps forward, and the prophet creates a pool of darkness and whispers. As Dalish’s blood drips in, we can see the cave. All of our bodies are still there, with the monster standing over us, and Nat’s form surrounded by a black smoke. The prophet asks the dark whispers how we could return there. The vision focuses in on Remy’s eye, which is still twitching, and looks up at the pool, which then catches fire.

We explain about Balor and Remy’s eye, much to his shock and dismay. He suggests that we could make a connection to that from Balor’s burial mound perhaps. It is further duskward, Alok could show us the way. It might be possible, somehow, for us to travel on that thread of connection, back to our world.

A few more questions before we go. The big silent, unmoving tree, is their judge. He meets out justice, but is unable to function right now. Do the beings here age? Yes and No. We ask if people have been going missing and he acknowledges they have. We explain the mana machines, regretfully, and our attempts to stop them. He wishes we would leave, and never return, so we head out.

A Deal With a Goddess

Round Ten.

Waking in the dirt again. After we get past Cross, Remy heads off to talk to Carmine. The rest of us head towards the bank to try and find the foreman. We find a promising looking apartment building, but the name plates are all corroded. Dalish manages to Mend them enough for us to see the names. But we don’t actually know her name. So, with Klyce in the lead, we begin searching room by room, until, on the fourth floor, we see a doorway blocked by a bubble. I head down to catch Remy on his way to the bank, and bring him upstairs, because he has the spear that can pop the bubble.

When we get back up, he spears it, and we start to hear a beeping. In through the door, we see another smaller bubble with a robed figure holding a book and a wand. Also, a rather large bomb. Klyce rushes in, grabbing the bomb, and diving out the window. BOOM!

Round Eleven.

We run straight for the apartment, while Remy heads off after Carmine. We have a plan, to try to get the bomb further out the window with magic, if the code from the mine door doesn’t work on it. While we’re doing that, we’re also going to pop the lady’s bubble, so she can help us, now that we found her.

Once Remy makes it back with Carmine, we try it.

Pop. Code. I levitate the bomb. Klyce runs and jumps with it. Remy pops the lady’s bubble. She has time to say… oh… no… BOOM!

The lady in our whitespace vision was missing an arm…

Round Twelve.

Klyce insists that the bomb didn’t kill him, but what does that matter, really, we’re back in the dirt.

Remy says that it didn’t kill him either, and he was able to pour a healing potion down the lady’s throat, and she told him to find her journal before the reset.

Okay, new plan. Maybe the journal is in the vault. Carmine is pretty certain that something in there will fix all of this, so how do we get inside? The manager appears to be the only way in, so Remy will mask up like the sheriff, saying he needs access, and Maribeth will look like Cross. Klyce and I will go try and ask Cass about the big bomb. Dalish and Gerhardt are going to ask around for the foreman’s name, because the name plate says J. Isaacs, but we’re pretty sure that’s the sheriff. We split up and run.

Klyce and I go sit at the tree to wait for Cass, but it turns out she doesn’t know that foreman’s name, they just referred to her by title. Sad to say, Klyce did way better at talking to Cass than I did, I really don’t like dying a dozen times in a day, it makes me cranky.

We all meet back up at the bank, where Remy and Maribeth have managed to get the foreman’s journal from the vault. The journal has the bomb’s code in it, and we discuss going up immediately to turn it off, or heading to the church, now that Carmine will go with us. The church wins out, and Carmine insists we all come along.

The brothers, man and skeleton, pray together and the church rebuilds itself. Dalish says it’s strange magic that does it, not quite like the fae, but not like ours, either. The brothers then pray to the Dawnmother for her light, her guidance, and her help in the path forward. At this, a shimmery haze fills the altar area, and Maribeth rushes into it. What else to do but follow, so we all go into the light.

It seems like the white space between explosions. There is a woman here, made all of light, and I am nearly overwhelmed with the power coming from her. She greets us as mortals, and insists she would not normally meddle, but there is a great trouble, and causality is all out of order.

Dalish asks how we can fix things, and she says it is within her power, but there is a price. She requires worship in return for her help. Remy is having none of this, he doesn’t know who or what she is, but he is not interested in worshipping some strange being of power who is only just now stepping in to help stop only one of the horrors we have lived through. Dalish asks if the worm is the wandering vengance, but she says no, it is our ancient enemy. She assents, it is the fae, and the war has been going on for ages, but will answer no more questions about it.

Klyce, ever reasonable, asks what it is she is willing to do. She says she will remove impediments before us, but we must give her both the spear, and the hourglass that the foreman has used for the time bubbles. Klyce says we have already removed most of the impediments, and we have a plan, and we have the bomb’s code. He asks if she’ll fix this area of town, put it back the way it was, put the people back. She says she will fix the threads of time, reintegrate this part of the city with the whole, but the changes to the people cannot be undone. The foreman, who has died many times, and put all of herself into the protection of this area, will not survive.

This throws Remy into another fit, arguing that she has been instrumental, just like us, in keeping things whole, in saving all these people. The Dawnmother says there is a higher order, and she is only allowed to do so much. Maribeth suggests she only has control over certain aspects of the world, and the Dawnmother agrees.

I cut in, and ask what sort of worship she requires. She asks only that we show appreciation for the sunrise and sunset. Remy refuses. Dalish agrees, asserting that we might as well acknowledge the gods, since she’s right here in front of us. Remy and Dalish argue for a bit, over her intentions, our ability to solve the problem without her, and the possibility that she’s just like Garian, only she succeeded.

Klyce eventually cuts in, asking her if we all have to agree to worship her, or just some of us. She says not all of us. Dalish, Maribeth, and I agree to worship her. I was already going to talk to the priests about her, ever curious about my powers. The dreams mention “her coming, shining as the sun,” so I was already on my path. Klyce agrees to the plan, if not the worship, and Remy simply abstains. The Dawnmother agrees, and reminds us that the hourglass and spear will be collected when we are done.

Outside the mists, the explosion completes.

Round Thirteen.

We get past Cross and head for the foreman, discussing our plans as we run. Maybe the foreman can help with the reactor. That worm is huge, but surely the bomb will kill it. Dalish and Remy have quite the conversation about gods and evil and Rictus. Klyce and I discuss the plan, my magic, and I even tell him what my dreams have said.

We get to the apartment. Remy pops the bubble, and quickly enters the code from the journal to disarm the bomb. Then he pops the foreman’s bubble. She says thank you, it is up to us now, and disintigrates in his arms. Remy grabs the hourglass and it begins speaking to us all. Klyce grabs the bomb, and we begin heading down to the mine.

It says that it is Time given physical form. It says June did a great job holding things together, and is sure we can fix this whole mess. It says that having all of us together changes the math of the situation. It says we an fix all sorts of things. Some of the others go a bit blank, like they’re seeing things that aren’t there, or maybe that used to be there. We start asking it questions, but it doesn’t really know what the big worm is, and it can’t see forward in time to know if our plan will work. It can, however, pause time, which it does for a moment. Remy asks about the war from his extra memories, but the hourglass says that’s too far back to tell us anything. Remy asks about the Dawnmother, but the hourglass can’t see her because we were out of time when we talked to her. The hourglass isn’t alive, but more of an intelligent item, it seems to like that label.

We start to fill it in on our plan to explode the worm with the big bomb. We tell the hourglass that we will then have to give it up to the Dawnmother. We talk about the bubbles and the one holding the worm in. It says that June didn’t create a very good bubble around it because it was done in a hurry. We ask about creating a bubble just around its head, like we through the bomb in, then bubble it so that it cuts it’s head off, and blows it up at the same time. It says this is doable.

Remy asks about going back to save June. It says that it would take him out of time. Remy asks about going back to our first cycle, and saving her there. The hourglass says she was already dead many times over by then. Remy talks about various plans, saying he does’t want to give the hourglass over to the Dawnmother. The hourglass agrees with him, not being interested in being pulled out of time again. The hourglass tries to tempt Klyce, but he wants no part in more strange magic. Remy says he’s going to try and absorb the hourglass somehow, to keep it from the goddess. He thinks she has bad intentions. He asks it if it could lock itself away in time, and while it could, it finds that even more boring. It thinks it could meld with Remy, but it also thinks he might just fall into pieces. They go back and forth a bit, but at least it seems Remy accepts June’s sacrifice.

We head down to the bottom of the mine and prepare. Maribeth sends me a message, saying she plans to put Remy to sleep, and do I side with her. I tell her that I will not attack him, but neither will I let him hurt her in return. Klyce tosses the bomb out over the worm, Remy pops the bubble, and the hourglass seals a new bubble around its head. We feel everything click into place. We hear and feel the rumble of the rest of the body falling deep into the earth. The head floats in the air, a contained explosion inside a bubble.

The Dawnmother appears before us, and says it is time. Remy insists that he did not agree to this plan, to giving her the powerful items. She asks him, Will you make oathbreakers of your friends? His answer to her trails off, as he drops the spear, and starts trying to shove the hourglass into his chest. Dalish rushes forward and touches Remy with cold magic. Maribeth puts Remy to sleep. Dalish hands over the items to the Dawnmother who thanks him and hopes to not see us again. She tells us to proceed out to the edge of the bubble, and she will prepare us an exit. Then she will reknit the area back into time.

Klyce lifts Remy’s body, and we head out. When we leave the bubble, the cannon’s report is still echoing. Nat and the artificer ask if it worked, and we say yes. Turning back, we watch through the hazy bubble as the area clears, and years pass. We watch them build statues of us, with June standing above us all. In five minutes time, the bubble falls. There is a huge wave of cheering from the people inside. They all know what we did to save them, and the rush over to thank us.

Klyce asks the artificer to get someone over here. Maribeth goes to speak to the artist about her grandmother. Cass comes over to Klyce, saying she’s going to turn her life around and join the police force. We wait for Prime Hadrius to arrive, and stop Dalish from causing a panic over the worms. Klyce tells Hadrius that these people need to be given proper legal status, that their current state is not their fault. Maribeth, Dalish, and I go back to the church. Kevin has been given back a proper body, thankfully. The welcome us to come and worship, and talk to us for a while about the Dawnmother.

Back at work the next day, we debrief as a group, and tell them everything that happened. The story, naturally, gets out to the press, and it isn’t long before political parties start approaching us each to join them. I repeatedly remind anyone approaching me that I’m 12, which is much to young to get into politics.