Rise of the Eldrosk

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Wondering how to get started? Here are a few tips:

1. Invite your players

Invite them with either their email address or their Obsidian Portal username.

2. Edit your home page

Make a few changes to the home page and give people an idea of what your campaign is about. That will let people know you’re serious and not just playing with the system.

3. Choose a theme

If you want to set a specific mood for your campaign, we have several backgrounds to choose from. Accentuate it by creating a top banner image.

4. Create some NPCs

Characters form the core of every campaign, so take a few minutes to list out the major NPCs in your campaign.

A quick tip: The “+” icon in the top right of every section is how to add a new item, whether it’s a new character or adventure log post, or anything else.

5. Write your first Adventure Log post

The adventure log is where you list the sessions and adventures your party has been on, but for now, we suggest doing a very light “story so far” post. Just give a brief overview of what the party has done up to this point. After each future session, create a new post detailing that night’s adventures.

One final tip: Don’t stress about making your Obsidian Portal campaign look perfect. Instead, just make it work for you and your group. If everyone is having fun, then you’re using Obsidian Portal exactly as it was designed, even if your adventure log isn’t always up to date or your characters don’t all have portrait pictures.

That’s it! The rest is up to your and your players.

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Chapter 1.1 - Unexpected Introductions
Session 1

As Adric, Jace and his seven followers near Gnomen, they are startled by a bell ringing frantically in the town and a people scrambling on the top of the walls. Jace notices that they seem to be waving them towards town. The gates are slowly starting to close but the group can’t see danger in their surroundings.

Not having a better solution, knowing they are in a dangerous local and trusting the warning, they haul ass towards the gate. Half a minute later the scene unfolds quickly to all. They first notice a group of Kesh, or what surely must be Kesh based on descriptions, barreling towards an intercept point in front of the gate. Right after that a young girl pops out from behind a ridge between both groups. She throws something down in front of her and jumps on it. The group is mesmerized, running blindly forward, while watching the girl as she gets charged with a static red energy and then come hurtling through the air. She bridges the 400 foot gap between them in seconds and lands with a thundering crash 10 feet away. Her landing slightly craters the hard rock round with a resounding crash and dust thrown in all directions.
The group stops, dumbfounded by the display for half a second, then starts up again, the pace renewed. Bex easily keeps stride and tries to explain to Adric and Jace, whom are in the lead of the band, that they creatures are very deadly, will be after blood and their best bet is to run as fast as they can. Since it was their plan anyway, they continue on.

It soon becomes clear they aren’t going to make it to the wall, the creatures are too fast. Jace starts to peel off, trying to get a better angle on the Kesh and prepares to subvert gravity to his will, trusting range to be his best protection. Adric take the lead and pours empathy into his actions, trying to dissuade the Kesh from attacking. When it becomes clear his message isn’t being heard he commands his men to form up, pulls out his neural net launcher and readies himself for the combat. Bex, knife in hand, triggers the device on her chest, which injects into her spine, linking with her nervous system and forms a translucent yellow glow around her body that reflects the light in various ways as she moves.

The group sets themselves up for the incoming assault but all of the Kesh seem to be singling in on Bex, and run right past Adric at the lead. Bex is ready though, and gets the jump on everyone. She sprints forward to the nearest Kesh, feints to the right and rushes by on the left, slashing into the mid-section of the creature as she passes. In her next step she launches in the air, trying to use the Kesh behind as a springboard to flank the pack. Another Kesh tries to turn as Bex moves and readjust to intercept, but has too much momentum and misses as Bex flies through the air. Right before Bex would land on the Kesh, Adric fires his net at the creature and wraps it up, which crumples it immediately. Bex adroitly adjusts her weight and lands in stride on the far side of the group.
As the largest beast growls and yips commands to the others, Jace arms his grenade and throws it right at the face of the Kesh closest to him, continuing to float higher into the air. The Kesh sees it coming and adjusts quickly to evade the bomb. It explodes in a tightly contained burst, making some nice pyrotechnics and lots of noise, but not much else. The Kesh then takes two bounds toward Jace and launches itself up in the air towards him. Clearing an amazing distance, it swipes out and catches the bottom of Jace’s boot with its finger tips. It’s enough to knock Jace off balance and spin him sideways, but otherwise leaves him unscathed.

The group of followers converges on the netted Kesh at Adric’s command and thrust their weapons through the net, trying to quickly finish the helpless creature. In response to this the largest Kesh roars and growls commands, turning the pack towards the defense of their fallen brother. In short order the Kesh bulrush the attackers, smashing heads in, ripping arms off, and generally causing a bad day for those involved. In the distraction Bex is able to open another gash in the side of one of the Kesh, but she quickly sees that the group is outmatched and won’t last much longer. Jace focuses and fires a blast of energy at the eye of the leader, trying to cause a mortal wound and swing the battle back in their favor. Unfortunately his blast is too focused and his target too fast.

Watching the battle turn, Adric calls for a retreat and makes for the walls of Gnomen as fast as he can carry himself. Bex maneuvers through the Kesh in an attempt to get their attention as she too runs towards a different section of the wall. Seeing an opportunity, and feeling safe so high in the air, Jace launches an empowered blast of energy at the helpless Kesh, trying to finish it. His plans succeeds on all fronts. He kills the Kesh, which sends the rest of the group into a frenzy and takes all their attention from the events on the ground. This gives the survivors precious time to escape, make it to the wall and get pulled to safety from ropes dropped from the top of the wall.

In their fury, the Kesh mobilize and launch the smallest of them up towards Jace. Jace sees their intent too late and can’t climb out of the reach of the flying Kesh, who wraps him in a death grip, and the two plummet back to earth. The superior strength of the Kesh allows it to position Jace as a landing pad and it’s all Jace can do to use his ability to manipulate gravity in order to not have the impact be a fatal one. The blow knocks the wind out of Jace and his vision fades as the impact nearly takes him into unconsciousness. Seeing the plight of his companion turn dire, Adric rouses the defenders on the wall out their stupor and into action. They begin to rain down arrows and other projectiles, trying to scare off the other Kesh. A man in a large numenera crafted projectile turret begins unloading the automatic weapon towards the group. His aim is terrible, but Adric guides his movements and is able to center in on Kesh smothering Jace, hoping the thickness of the Kesh body and armor will be enough shield for the man below. The shells tear into the Kesh and one perfectly aimed shell pierces deeply through the center of the Keshe’s body. Jace feels the impact of the shell and a guttural noise from the creature as the life is snuffed out of it. In the confusion Jace summons the rest of his strength to try and crawl out from under the beast. He succeeds and then prepares to use his powers in ways he had never attempted before. Tapping into the mental focus needed to control gravity, he tries change the gravity not to lighten it’s affect on himself, but to increase it, and then change the point of gravities strongest pull towards the heavens. He succeeds in doing this, which sends himself flying through the air, upwards amazingly quickly, but also uncontrollably. As he passes the 300 foot mark and continues to climb those on the side of the wall can hear the reactionary wail coming from Jace as he tries to gain control.

At this point the Kesh have successfully unnetted their fallen kin and are starting to gather the bodies. The leader Kesh casually dodges the incoming projectiles as it scans the city walls, looking for something. Bex tries to tap into the crystal embedded in her hand, to try and see if she find any vision out among the Kesh, to try and learn more. As she taps into the crystal the lead Kesh immediately turns to look at Bex’s position. It’s eyes lock with her for a few moments, then the Kesh growls out some commands and the group runs off into the wastes. Adric watched the whole scene unfold and saw the look that passed between the Kesh and Bex. With the immediate retreat after that look, he surmises that Bex must have some control, connection or power over the creatures. He makes a mental note to learn more about the girl and find a way to convince her to join him on his expedition. The towns folk cheer as the Kesh retreat and things slowly return to normal.

It takes about 20 minutes for Jace to regain control of his movement and slowly work his way down to land in the center of town. He takes a few moments to compose himself, then finds the nearest bar. He tries to pawn the dead travelers gear that remains outside off on the bar keep in exchange for drinks, which is quickly turned down. After a couple drinks, Jace finds out where Bex’s family lives, which is his sole contact in the town. After meeting with them and asking to stay with them for a while (to which they agree), he heads straight to the room offered him and sleeps the rest of the afternoon off.

Meanwhile, after a brief confrontation with Adric, Bex’s parents in a frantantic state come to make sure she is alright and bring her home. Adric spends the better part of the day making arrangements to stay in town and handle the affairs of the dead followers in his care. He notices Bex tailing his movements, clearly their interest in each other is mutual.
With all current matters settled, Adric heads down to the bar in the local in he is staying at. There he finds Jace in strong form, drinking, talking to the locals, telling stories and generally building positive relations. Adric grabs a table with the sole companion left to him and notices Bex near by. He uses the opportunity to tell his story to Bex, through a loud dialog with his companion. Not long after that the companion turns in for the night and Bex approaches Adric awkwardly to discuss the the crystals, the Kesh and an expedition into the wastes. Through this dialog Adric learns of the contacts he’ll need to talk to in town and also that Bex can make the introductions.

The next day the group goes to work. They meet up with Riana Raynor, the head of Raynor family and person in charge of the defense and expeditions in town. Through some dialogs they learn that a small group is best for a deep venturing and adaptable team. They learn that the three best in town are a lady names Crys (known for her scouting and mastery of the subtle arts), Adem (a beast of a warrior that is a little crazy and never returns with the companions he set out with, always alone) and Jeck Raynor ( son of Riana and a balanced warrior, scout and survivor). They group has a hard time deciding on whom to go with and in the end, with Bex’s prompting, settles on Jeck. They pick up one more to accompany them on their travels, a man named Matris (a dead shot with a bow and a solid scout).
The caveat to taking Jeck was that they needed to wait a full month before the journey. Jeck was recently back from an expedition and there were things to get in order and injuries to heal. Over the course of the month, Jace takes the opportunity to scout the surrounding land, looking to the best routes and where trouble might pop up. He has one close call that keeps him from staying out in the wastes alone after his first few days and makes one discovery of a small piece of clear Kaori crystal, worth about 50 shins.

Having gotten resupplied from Riana, the group heads into the wastes on 65th day of the year 1702. The five head out with a lizard creature to carry their gear, which Adric befriends and quickly earns the unfailing devotion of. He starts to teach the lizard tricks and even names him.

Lizard_mount.jpg

On the third night, the group passes out of Jace’s mapped range. They are woken in the night by a quick call from Jace, whom is on watch. A throng of bandits was intent on sneaking up on them , but did so poorly. They put up a poor excuse for a fight, even for bandits, and were quickly dispatched. Adric questions the last one alive and finds out there is a bandit basecamp to the east, quite a ways to the east. They let the bandit go, knowing he’ll likely bleed out from the stab wound Bex put in his stomach. As the bandit limps away, Bex runs up from behind, jumps onto his back and slits his throat. Everyone is left to wonder the motivation as they decide to get an early start on the day’s travels.

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Chapter 1.2 - Lady of the Deeps
Session 2

Confused by Bex’s merciless killing, but knowing she’ll open up on her terms, the group decides to get an early start on the day’s travels. The next day passes without event. That evening Bex tells the group about where she found her synth-steel dagger. Not too far off their path is a ruin, built into the rockside made completely of metal. The group decides to take the detour and explore the ruins.

All is quiet as they approach the 10 by 10 cave entrance in the ruin. Jace tells everyone he doesn’t plan to venture into the cave, and that he’ll watch entrance. Not being a fan of closed spaces that limit his defensive capabilities, he is understandingly apprehensive. Activating a glow globe, the group decides to venture inside, with or without Jace. Seeing that no one else is willing to wait outside with him, including George the lizard, he reluctantly decides to join, staying in the back watching their escape route. It’s about 20 meters in when the floor, walls and ceiling transition seamlessly into metal. There is a faint hollow sound on their footfalls, as if the ground isn’t as solid as it seems. After 10 minutes or so the path abruptly opens up into a massive room. The floor is the same, but the walls round out, their edges unknown. The ceiling distance is likewise unseeable.

As they gather and look on into the absolute darkness, Jace decides to test the upper bounds of the chamber, happy to have three dimensional movement back. The ceiling is about 40 meters up and seems to still be made from the same metal material. It is cool to the touch. As he floats down to convey his findings, the rest of the group is analyzing what they can see and what they might do. It seems pretty clear this place has been untouched in many years. The dust build up on the ground suggests no disturbance in quite some time. While they discuss amongst themselves, they hear strange noises from inside the cavern. “Bezzzeep…beep…..beep….sswooossh..” They can’t make out what is making the noise, but Adric recognizes some of the sounds from Zog; something certain machines would make while moving. Just then they see a some light arc, then a white beam with a slightly bluish haze appear, travel a short distance then disappear. The spectacle is about 400 feet away. As they watch on, the sound seems to move from place to place in the massive room.

Not knowing what else to do, but being carried forward by curiosity, they travel further into the room. Adric takes the glow globe and rolls it on the ground, hoping to have it settle about 20 feet in front of them and extend their forward line of sight. Unknown till this time, the floor must have had a slight slope, for the globe doesn’t stop, but continues to slowly roll away from the group. They keep pace with it, so they remain on the edges of it’s light as it continues to roll. The sounds they heard earlier stop for a moment, then seems to pick up in frequency, then in volume, as it seems like whatever is making them is coming their direction in a hurry.

The group prepares itself for contact, not sure with what it will be yet. Jace is now even with the group, but flying 20 feet above. Coming full pelt into view at the edge of the light, some 30 feet away, is a large spherical machine with six “arms” protruding from its side at regular intervals. The arms end in nasty looking blades, hooks and pincers. As is moves more clearly into the light, it’s center shifts upwards towards Jace and a small blast of energy comes out from underneath it as it launches itself towards Jace. The events happen so fast that no one is ready for the mechanized creature, especially not its upward movement. Jace drops his gravity field and tries to free fall under the creature, thinking the 20 foot drop will be nicer than a pair of pincers around his waist. It will also allow his companions to engage the creature. Chasing him down towards the ground and battering him into it, the mech bounces off the ground, which makes a deep and far away sound of a bell, to hover again about three feet in the air.

Jace hits the floor just a few feet from the mech, laying prone on the ground and at it’s mercy. Adric comes flying in, targeting the nastiest bladed weapon, and smashes down with his beatstick, trying to rip the arm clean off. The blow hits hard and reverberates through his body and he strikes metal harder than anything he has felt before. It slightly dislodges the arm from it’s connection point, exposing the cabling and wiring inside. On que, Bex uses the moment to rush in and target a vicious stab and slash at the exposed joint. In response the mech whirls around preparing to snatch Bex off the ground. Jace releases an empowered onslaught blast from his finger, which curls in time and blasts the mech right in it’s exposed joint, sending electricity arcing throughout and beaming light through the joints all over the mech. The blade arm goes limp as it whirls to snatch Bex. Moving quickly and vaulting over the arm, Bex lands safely on the far side of the mech. Mathis unleashes an arrow from his bow, but it glances harmlessly off the solid metal armor. Frozen in place, Jeck looks on in horror at the abomination, clearly something from his worst nightmares.

Screaming a war cry “For Motherrr!” Adric drops his shield and puts all his weight behind a thrust aimed at a sealed shutter at the center of the mech. His aim is true and the thinly armored shutter bends easily to his blow. The beatstick drives deeper and deeper into the heart of the sphere making a metal shearing sound as delicate electronics are mashed and ripped asunder. As Adric continues to drive forward the lights go out and the mechanized ball drops abruptly to the ground as gravity regains control of it. Adric also hits the ground, being driven down with the mech as it suddenly turns to deadweight. He pulls out his club with a satisfying rip and Bex runs off to collect the glow globe, which has drifted about 60 feet away. Once she brings it back, the group inspects the mech, they’ve dubbed a “disassembler”. Jace is particularly interested in the inner workings and goes to work quickly trying to break into it’s shell and find the treasures within.

Mathis and Jeck hold perimeter, Jeck looking thoroughly defeated at his inaction in the last conflict. With Jace’s instructions, Bex places precise strikes in the armored shell with her combat knife to open rents in sphere. From there Jace finds a moment of brilliance and is able to identify and scavenge all manner of cyphers and artifacts from this treasure trove wreckage:

Cyphers-

Gel – Nanite Gel – Repairs mechanical construct – 20 points of dmg
Ring – Gravity Nullifier – Once activated can float in the air for 1 hour – moving vertically a short distance per round
Intelect enhancement Liquid – +1 edge (Int) for one hour – drink it
Living Solvent – Lv 5 – Burn through 1 cubic of material each round for 5 rounds (can only burn through materials of a lv = or lower than itself)
Phase changer – Lv 6 – push user out of phase for 1 minute – medallion worn over heart – can pass through walls as if ghost up to materials its level or lower
Cel Disrupting Ray Emitter – shoulder mounted, interfaces with nervous system – trained in use of attack – Lv 6 (11 dmg biological only) – 200 foot projection

Artifacts -

ID Synth Shield – A transparent round shield – has a HUD on the inside that displays the weak points of targets, allowing the person to use INT to boost for dmg on attacks. If used as part of an attack assist action, will allow the person to also ignore 2 points of the targets armor.

Synthetic Nano Disruptor – Fires a beam of white light (with a bluish haze). If it hits a non-organic target, it will deal 10 points of damage and atomize part or all of it. Depletion: 1d10.

After piecing the disassembler, the group notices a beam of light coming down and illuminating something on the ground about 600 feet away. They would all swear there was no such beam when they entered the room, but there it is. Jace decides to test his luck with his gravitational power and launch himself forward at an incredible rate in order close the distance quickly to the new feature in the pitch black chamber. He controls the gravity quite well this time around and is able to settle himself nicely on the ground about 15 feet away from the structure. Bex runs ahead of the rest, part of her childish exuberance coming through, so she doesn’t miss any of the action or discovery. The rest of the group follows, at brisk yet casual pace.

pedestal.jpg

As Bex arrives, she notices Jace eying the strange structure on a pedestal in the center of the light. Three wiry pieces of synth protrude from the ancient pedestal, each curling into a loop at the top. Jace is on his knees sorting through a strange bag he hasn’t opened since coming together with the group, at least not when they were looking. Bex watches on, intrigued by the man’s maneuverings thus far. As Jace pulls out a circular piece of small light blue glass from the bag, the rest of the group is nearing the scene. He slowly brings the disc up to one of the loops, it being opposite another loop that seems to be filled with an object the same color. As he brings the piece towards the loop Bex gets a strange look on her face that Adric notices. He brings the disc in line with the other loop, to see if it will fit. Bex’s body convulses slightly and she has a look in her eyes that puts her in a place far away from here and now. Hearing the jolt and turning to see Bex’s face, Jace quickly pockets his disc and removes the one from the other side. It isn’t long before Bex comes to, a look of confusion and relief on her face. She settles cross legged on the floor right where she stood, taking some silent moments to compose herself.

Adric is flabbergasted by the events. There are things in play that others know about but aren’t telling him. He starts to ask questions of Bex and Jace, getting more and more agitated as the conversation continues with cryptic answers or no response at all. He goes into a mini tirade about his honesty and openness with his plans, and his expectation not to necessarily know the inner workings of his companions, but at least the pieces they directly interact with in their travels together. His frustration peaks as he continues to get little response from his companions and rather than continue to fight decides to leave and cool off. Mathis and Jeck go with him, but Jace says he is staying to explore the rest of the cavern. Bex stays as well to explore. Once outside Adric vents his frustrations to Mathis and Jeck, who share a willing ear, but not much else.

Before they explore the remainder of the cavern Bex asks Jace to repeat all the movements and place the disc actually into the slot to see if it will trigger anything or spark another more clear vision. No combination of discs triggers anything. It isn’t long before Bex and Jace emerge from the cavern, having found it’s far side in short order and discovered nothing else of note. As it is nearing dusk, the group finds a place to camp. Tensions are high, but unbroken as the group settles in for the night and their watches. When Bex is up to watch, she quietly wakes Adric and Jace to have a private conversation. She explains her history, her escape from Zog and the visions that find her at random moments. She explains that she is sure these visions are from ancient history and that there is a reason she has them. So, it’s her mission to explore the known world writing down the histories long forgotten. In this she hopes to find her purpose. She then tells them of the latest vision she had in the cavern earlier that day:

“When Jace brought that small blue disc up to the slot, it triggered a vision. I saw what looked like a silhouetted lady in Jace’s exact position drop the first disc into a slot, then the second, and finally the third, all that same light blue color. As the third one dropped, the figure snapped around, just her head coming into view. All I can remember from that face was glowing whitish-blue eyes and a green stripe under them, pulsing with power. The vision ended as soon as the face turned, but there was an ominous feeling, like danger in those eyes.”

In this moment of sharing Adric confronts Jace on the glass discs, called decants, and an explanation of them. Jace tells him they are hard to explain, as they can do all manner of things, but their primary function is unknown to him. He admits to being a little obsessed with them, but is also sure their secrets will lead to long lost power, especially if their indestructible nature is any indication of the power within. He shows Adric one that plays a quiet song when put to the ear. The music is lovely, like nothing Adric has ever heard and the quality is pure, perfect. He then shows him another, which projects a holographic image of a schematic in some long lost language.

Seeing an opportunity, Adric asks Jace what it would be worth to learn the purpose of the decants. “Knowing this would be worth anything I could offer,” was his response. Adric propositions Jace for honesty and openness in the future and a commitment to his cause to topple Zog. Jace agrees, if the question is answered. Adric pulls out a ringed cypher about the the size of the palm of his hand. He activates it and tells Jace to ask his question.

“What is the purpose of the decants?”

The face of a woman materializes above the device and begins to answer the question. “The decants preserve the wonders of past ages. Waiting to be unlocked by the worthy. They have been scattered to the winds to protect their secrets until the time of transcendence comes again.” The face abruptly disappears and the device starts to glow red, then bright white as it melts to nothing in a matter of seconds.

As they sit there quietly, looking at the burn mark in the ground, Jace begins telling a story from his past. “As a young boy I traveled extensively with my father. During my fourth Summer I found my first decant, though I didn’t know that’s what it was at the time. We were on an exploratory dig in the Radadune Steppes and I noticed a small crevice in the rock face near our dig site. Inside I discovered a three inch round light blue glass disc, it seemed to call to me, though I can’t explain how, it just felt that way. My father later saw the disc and asked for it. When I told him no, he demanded it from me. I ran away, finding a quiet place to collect my thoughts. I was afraid then, I’d never seen my father act that way and was shocked by the behavior. When I returned I hid the decant in a slot I cut into the sole of my boot and told my father I’d lost it when I ran away. He was back to normal then, just happy I was safe.”

“That event has always stayed with me though, I think it was a turning point in shaping my view of authority. The next time I was treated in such a way was by the aristocrats of Zog, bastards. I travel now to discover knowledge and wealth and more specifically to discover these decants. After hearing the answer to my question I feel even stronger that I’m on the right path. That these are the key to the power I’ll need so that I’ll never be talked down to like that again, like an inferior. I gave you my word, and my word is my bond. I’ll help you take down the corrupt elite of Zog. It may not be my only focus, and you may not always agree that my actions drive towards this goal, but I will follow you in your mission.”

Bex also pledges herself to the effort. The Toppers uprooted and mistreated her family, casting them into exile. That’s good enough reason to take them down by itself. Secretly, she knows full well how many visions she had in Zog and believes it to be a place where she can experience and learn much from her visions. As the center of the known world, it must have had a profound impact on all manner of history over the years.

With the tensions eased, the group wakes in better spirits and continues on towards lands uncharted. About midday as they group summits a small rock outcropping, Jace notices a young Kesh clearly scouting and looking for someone or something. He has the high ground and has caught the Kesh unawares. He arms his singularity cypher and chucks it straight at the face of the unknowing Kesh. It detonates on cue and vaporizes the rock in a 15 foot sphere centered on the Kesh. The Kesh itself isn’t vaporized, but is littered with holes as the surrounding rock gets pulled into the center of the singularity. Because the blast the terrain isn’t really reachable by the rest of the group, so Jace floats down to inspect the body. He pulls out a good sized light blue kouri crystal from inside the Kesh, a fine prize. On the open market it could be worth as much as two royals.

The next day the group comes up to a jagged choke point, the path between two steep and unstable mountains. Their only clear route is through a ravine, which drops below the standard level of the badlands. They drop down into this ravine and things get dark in a hurry. It isn’t so dark as to be unable to see, but it’s as if it was dusk, light levels are just low. They near the bottom of the ravine, where it starts to climb back out up towards the light on the other side. Jace catches a glimpse of something out of the corner of his eye and snaps his head quickly to see the hindquarters of a Kesh dip behind a rock ledge above. He shouts out warning and fires a blast of energy up towards another Kesh he sees peeking out above. It ducks behind the ledge just in time to avoid the bolt of energy. As the group takes up defensive stances around each other the Kesh attack.

Mathis is torn to pieces in an instant by one massive Kesh that rushes out from behind folds in the ravine wall. Two Kesh jump from elevated positions blocking retreat back the way they came and close in on Jeck in the rear. He takes a nasty blow to the head that opens up a long gash in his face. Six more in total join in the combat, two closing on each remain person. Bex fumbles terribly in the chaos of the ambush, and nearly has her blade cypher smashed to pieces in the assault. She manages to save it, but takes a nasty blow from one of the Kesh, getting battered to the ground by a powerful fist. Jace for a change is on point defensively and moves with a grace not common to him. Adric flows around the oncoming attackers, baffling them with uncharacteristic movements and well placed shield blocks that keep him safe from harm. The scene looks grim, surrounded on all sides and outnumbered four to nine.

(Read text at timing listed in the song)
(0:00) Before anyone has time to think they hear a sound of a beautiful female voice, echoing down the ravine from the direction they came. At the sound of the voice combat stops and the Kesh freeze in place, all craning their necks and ears to listen. Music can be heard faintly coming down from the ravine.
(0:35) The Kesh start to gather together, slowly disengaging from combat. Dumbfounded by the events and also captivated by the song, the group stay where they are, watching, frozen in place.
(0:50) The sounds of the music grows louder and a herd of creatures comes into view at the top of the ravine. Jeck, still mesmerized, says “Calyptors” in awe under his breath.
(1:17) The song transitions into a steady rhythm as the herd starts to move down the ravine towards them. Jace tries to act, to shake the compulsion and take advantage of the distraction. It’s too powerful though and he quickly forgets even about his thought to act.
(1:45) The Kesh start to back away towards the cliffs, moving slowly, but deliberately, never taking their eyes from the herd marching down the ravine.
(2:15) There is a slight lull in the music, and everyone snaps out of the reverie for a few seconds, held still, but not as firmly. They look around and notice the Kesh are all but gone, having retreated back into the caves and nooks that line the ravine.
(2:55) The Calyptor herd breaks into a run, stampeding down and shaking the ground and walls of the ravine. Only the song can be heard though, it’s sound near deafening as the beasts approach the group. The group gets their first glimpses of the source of the female voice, running effortlessly in the middle of the herd.
(3.23) Each person gets the feeling that they should run with the Calyptor, the compulsion to run with herd is overwhelming and they see Jeck fall first to it. In turn they all do the same.
(3:45) As they run the group catches glimpses of the lady, beautiful and strong yet moving with an effortless grace as she sings. The Calyptor continue to move around her blocking access to her and obscuring any constant view. Bex catches the corner of her eye for a split second and her sight starts to blur as she feels a dream vision come on. It fades before beginning as a Calyptor breaks the line of sight.
(4:23) The song builds into a finale and then suddenly the creatures abruptly break apart and run in different directions, the lady in the center mysteriously no where to be seen.

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The group realizes they are out of the ravine now and out in the open expanse on the other side. The compulsion completely broken, they fall over in exhaustion, the full measure of their run sinking into their brains. As they lay there trying to remember the experience, for it seemed like dream, they realize they aren’t sure how long they’d been running, and also that there truly is only four of them left.

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Jahira and the Golthiar
Chapter 1.3

Recovering from their exhaustion and pondering the mystical lady, the party finds shelter not too far away. Though evening is still some hours away, the days events have taken their toll. Was it random chance that the lady came through the ravine just then? Was she a more premeditated savior? Was their any connection between her appearance and the vision Bex had the day before? As a journey intent upon exploration and discovery, they so far seem to be getting farther and farther away from answers.

The next day comes and goes without incident, no one complains for that. Jeck is more quiet than usual, but otherwise the group is in passing spirits. The encounter with the Kesh and the Calyptor seems to have subdued the group, set their minds to their own personal thoughts and battles.

The group passes into a small valley with sheer walls, about half a mile wide and 100 feet tall. Being wary at this point of ambush, Jace levitates to the sides and quickly checks any obvious ambush points along the ridge. The cliffs on either side look clear and shear, nothing should be able to ambush them from the ridgeline. As they travel down the center of the ravine, being really the only clear and clean path through this stretch of hillside, Jace notices out of the corner of his eye movement on the eastern cliffside. He snaps his head to see a caped figure running, full pelt down the side of the deadly edge. He alerts his companions to the scene and soon enough the full group is aware of the chase. A group of Kesh, probably 4-5 strong, is chasing and gaining on what they believe to be a woman is flight. The group starts to run themselves, seeing danger in the proximity of the Kesh, but also wanting to see if it’s possible to help the woman. Even though they are running at full pelt, the woman looks to be gaining ground on them, she is moving faster than she rightly should, hounded by Kesh or not. Despite the speed, the Kesh continue to gain.

As the group nears the wall, not more than 50 feet from the side, the scene above reaches its confrontation point. The Kesh are feet away and looking up, it seems only a matter of seconds before one of the Kesh pounce. Abruptly the woman takes a single step towards the cliff edge and launches herself, directly parallel with the group below. Stunned by the dramatic leap, the group looks up in awe and dread. She flies out easily 25 feet before she starts to plummet. Facing head first, she hurdles toward the earth, only to flip her body around and land feet first just before hitting the ground. There is a tremendous smash and more noise and force than a woman so slight should rightly make. Dust flies into the air obscuring the vision of the entire group. Everything is quiet for the span of five to six seconds, then the wailing and howling starts from the clifftop. Clearly the Kesh are not happy with the result. At the ready and waiting, the group is intent to behold the scene as the dust clears.

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In the fading dust they first see a silhouette, then the image becomes more clear. The woman is casually, almost saucily, sauntering their direction…
The first thing they notice is the legs, a slight pink glow in the joints of her clearly numenera bound feet and calves. As she comes more clearly out of the dust the light fades, leaving only the mechanical movement that somehow seems to have some swagger to it. Next they notice the arm, fully metallic and mechanical from the elbow down. The caped figure has a synth mask on, but the eyes reek of humanity. This person has entwined themselves with the numenera, but she remains clearly human.

She continues to saunter up to the group, sheathing her modified crossbow into a holster on her back. As the group watches on she unhitches the mask around her mouth and unleashes a devilish grin. Jeck goes to half mast immediately, though no one but the oncoming woman notices, paying the slightest and coyest of looks before returning her gaze to the group as a whole. She is beautiful and not a single person fails to acknowledge it in their own way. Adric hails her, but does so initially without tact, still taken aback by the situation. She quickly turns defensive, reaching for her crossbow. Being the master of social interaction he is, Adric quickly diffuses the tension and makes introductions. The woman acknowledges in time, but never slows her stride, continuing to move towards and through the group.

The wailing, barking and howling continues for a while longer, then abruptly stops as the Kesh run forward along the ravine, in the direction the group is and previously intended to move. They start to worry and talk about picking up the pace, for fear the Kesh might enter the ravine and cut off their escape. The woman, casual as ever, explains that the cliffside peels off to the east and does not intersect with this valley anywhere or anytime soon. She explains she’s run this path many times and knows from experience the lay of the land. When questioned how many times, she simply smiles and says, “many times.”

In continued conversation with the casual yet friendly woman, they learn her name is Jahira. She explains little, though from a bag hanging at her hip, they realize she must also be crystal hunting. There is bittersweet frustration as she seems to simply ignore questions of a personal nature. Why are you here? Where are you going? How long have you been here? All of these questions are either ignored completely or deflected with other conversation. She does not seem intent to learn anything from the group, but rather simply seems to enjoy the banter of human interaction and flirtation. Before long she addresses the group with five words that carry with them a finality to the interaction, “Good luck and good hunting.”

With that she runs west toward the far cliff face. As she nears the wall she pulls out a small cypher that launches a grappling hook near the top of the cliff. It connects with the cliff wall and she flies up towards the top as the device retracts on itself. In a manner of seconds she is gone, hoisting herself up onto the upper lip of the cliff, looking back for a couple seconds, cape flapping in the wind, and taking off westward. Dumbfounded by the days events but knowing this position is also known by the Kesh, the group moves forward with renewed intention.

It takes a few more hours before they clear the valley and the near distance they can see the river-forest glade and the river that feeds it coming from the western mountainside. They meet up with the river and its clarity gives them no misgivings that it is fresh. They take their fill from the slight though steadily moving river and refill their supply. As they move down the eastern bank towards the lightly forested area Jace first notices movement in the trees. He again alerts his companions. Adric tries to hail the creatures, for anymore than that can’t be determined from this distance.

The sound of a carrying voice rouses the creatures out of their reverie and they quickly move into formation and close on the group. They are a plant-like creatures, moving with human grace and yet being made fully from what looks to be plant matter, besides the eye, which looks like an oversized sentient eye on the end of a massive flower stalk. As the group closes and looks on to the potential threat Jace notices eyes on him. All at once, each of the seven eyes is on him, and more specifically on his decant satchel. The leader’s eye bugs out and then makes contact with each of the other eyes. This entire time Adric is trying to communicate, in every possible way he can with these creatures, to no avail. As soon as he spotted the creatures Jace began manipulating the gravitational pulls on his body, moving himself into a defensive position 15 feet above the ground and 10 feet over the river’s edge.

Despite Adric’s efforts, the plant creatures, called Golthiar, attack. They move quickly and in coordination, trying to flank and separate their foes. What they didn’t realize what that their only chance was to try and overwhelm one of these heroes each in it’s own time. A pair attack Bex, a pair to Jeck and the two remaining, plus the leader, attack Adric. Adric comes into the battle as if possessed, flowing with the combat as if he’d never lived a different life. As the first, and leader, comes in to attack him he nearly bursts into laughter as he predicts and guides the movements of the leader so perfectly that it nearly breaks its own arm against itself.

Bex arms her energy blade cypher and goes into a maddening rage, unleashing devastating and mortal blows with each swing her dagger-like cypher arm attachment. Systematically Jace unleashes blow after blow in the form of concentrated onslaught blasts from his hand. As both Adric and Bex dance around their foes Jeck seems to be missing a step. He take jab after jab, not seeming to be able to even defend himself, let alone go on the offensive. Seeing his plight first, Jace begins to target the foes surrounding Jeck from his elevated position. It isn’t long before Bex also notices the plight of Jeck and moves in to intercept. Jeck drops to his knees from the focused attacks but Jace and Bex are able to lay low his attackers, preventing further harm.

Adric moves like a bipolar combatant, moving from effortless dodges to fumbling attacks from round to round. Every perfect movement seems to be countered by a bone-head overconfidence that turns into a near defeat. This culminates in a perfect feint, leaving a wide open target, and in turn a foolish blind attack that leads to nasty counter attack that puts the thorny arm blade of the Golthiar in between his ribs. The blade twist and turns, releasing tiny spores that continue to attack from the inside after the blade has left the wound.

Over the course of the battle the wounded pile up more heavily on the Golthiar’s side. Bex systematically is ripping the creatures apart while Jace pummels them from afar. Adric holds the majority in limbo and while not being a overly effective combatant, his capture of the enemies attention provides distinct advantage to his more offensively minded companions.

During the battle Jace unleashes a particularly devastating blast that drops the lead Golthiar to his knees. The attack takes it from behind and drops it to it’s knees, but in the action its head rotates around to face Jace. The eye is completely bloodshot and locks eyes with Jace. Over the next few rounds Jace watches as what looked like blood veins slowly turn from red to green, starting from the outside and working their way in.

When the veins turns completely green Jace feels a penetration of his mind, a probing, a searching for something. As his mind is tortured by the intrusion he begins to feel the presence within him, a searching, a frantic searching for something. Jace splinters his mind and concentrates on the here and now while also trying to maintain the connection with this creature, to learn its intent. As the Golthiar sifts through memories at a breakneck pace, it settles longer on the memory of Jace in the Filo forest, receiving the bag he uses to hold decants, from the old hermit in the woods. Once this memory fades he feels the release and starts to see new images. He can only assume they are being implanted by the creature making eye contact with him. At this point the penetration in his mind is too complete and Jace loses his contact with reality, dropping the gravity field around him and sending him plummeting into the water. Bex and Adric notice Jace plummet and at the same time see the eye drop lifeless from leader, who slumps over on the ground.

As he drops he sees an image of himself and his companions digging a hole and burying the lead Golthiar in the soil and watering the ground afterward. In seeing the image, subconsciously Jace decides he will follow through with this action. In creating that thought more thoughts are projected into his mind. To remove and use the shield and dagger like natural weapons to further his own agenda. Never one to deny an opportunity, Jace works on collecting this weapon and shield after digging burying the lead Golthiar. The other Golthiar that have passed seem to be degrading at an incredible rate, but they are able to capture a single eye stalk because of a well timed slash from Bex earlier that severed the head from the body. No one knows for sure, but the eye may be worth a pretty penny on the black market to the right buyer. They also are able fill a bloodthorn vial with living sap from one of the Golthiar before it completely hardens and goes inert.

Having looted what they could, the group agrees to camp out at the river and decide on a course of action in the morning…

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