Meridian City

Session 12
The Shattering of Five Circles

At the end of the Tournament of nobles, The Ven was slain.

The carnival hid his body, but produced his wares. The world knew of his demise.

The new Ven – Rotrer abolished the government.

Her first and only act.

In wake of this news, a vacuum of power appeared. Forces from all sides rushed to grasp at the corpse of the empire.

The First Circle turned chaotic. Fires and famines raged. People turned on one another. Bandit lords roamed and the keepers were powerless to stop them. That is, until the Shaebearers rallied the remaining keepers. The Religious captured the bandit lords, subjugated them to their ways and spread their influence. The whole of The Field now worships Shae over all other gods. Their opposition, the sane men, are all but wiped out as any opposition to Shae and her mandate is seen as heresy punishable by death. Spiou serves as the Mother of the fields, the leader of the new Religious kingdom.

The Second Circle never descended into anarchy. The largest of the Mercenary groups banded together to form “The Union”, a republic of warriors. Other groups who refused to join or attempted to take for themselves were swiftly routed by the mercenaries. Though this union has subjugated the circle, infighting and squabbles are regular. No formal law was ever drafted, but it is common knowledge that disputes can be settled by a duel to the death. It is recommended to have a witness to the duel, as killing someone in cold blood is still quite illegal. Despite the change in rulers, the Brae’s function has remained unchanged. Traders and good flow in and out regularly.

The Third Circle was considered all but lost to the carnival until an armada of clunky automation took to the streets armed with steam sticks. Slowly and awkwardly they drove The Carnival out of a few districts, securing their borders with massive blockades of steel. The mastermind behind this revolt was none other than the famous inventor Oswald Grotto. Few understand his reasons for liberating a handful of districts, but the populace is delighted to not live in the endless chaos of the carnival.

In the fourth circle two noble families split the land. To the east, the Horus family held dominion, with Noblis enforcing strict rules on trade and travel. To the east, The Frey raised their banners. An army of conscripts and knights patrolled the streets. The remaining noble families have been made to fall in line, their titles and riches consumed by either faction. Despite their normal animosity, the sides seem to have an unspoken agreement not to interfere with the plans of the other. Their forces have been seen working together on regular occasion.

Finally, the fifth circle is ruined. An endless battle ground where all strike out to claim the Ven’s tower and the trade routes throughout. All factions appear here, even an unorganized force of chaos representing The Carnival. Lord only knows who will emerge victorious.

View
Session 404 - Part 1
Chris's Drunk Adventure

The following has absolutely nothing to do with the events in Meridian

“By golly that was an intense session!” Danny spoke with a real humdinger in his voice. Around him his gaggle of friends walked in an air of enjoyment. Though night had fallen and the streets were coated in the shadows of a Sunday morning, the group glowed like a second sun, reminiscing about lemon scented Skeletons having nearly slaughtered them en mass.

“Yah!” Geoff chimed in “I cant wait to see what happens next time. Do you think we’ll have to kill the last two necromancers?”

Cameron piped up “I Should hope not, This one nearly burned our nose hair!”

Laughter echoed through the street.

“Well gee” Danny said with a hum “This is my turn. Gooooooooodbyeeeeeee!” his arms waved like a drunken eagle trying to stay in flight. His friends all waved back as the roaming jolly slowly broke apart, each child wandering of to their own bed.

Scanning his badge, the blonde bandit made for the spooky death elevator, his eyes assaulted by the incandescent lights burning in the lobby. With a ding the doors slid open. Finally back to his room, Danny spoke out loud to himself in that way he always does even though his roommate was already in bed, asleep, snoring quite loudly.

“Oh Jeez, I sure am exhausted from dungeons and dragons. Hopefully I get a good nights sleep tonight and can tackle my job at Gamestop tomorrow!” He said. and then fell, and the covered himself and slept.


Ernest tried to blink. His eyes barely moved. Every limb stiff. Frozen in the cold. The faintest twitch broke the stillness. A wiggle of toes. Then fingers. Legs kicking, arms frantically trying to break out of this invisible hold. They finally moved. Reaching forward. sturdy, cold plastic met his fingertips.

With a hiss, the pod opened up, dumping Ernest to the floor. Pinkish-red, curly hair flopping down onto his forehead. He struggled to stand, hearing more hissing noises. Around, Icy floppy bodies fell onto the cold metal ground.

“Danny?” he stammered out

“Ernest?” The man replied.

“Guys?” Geoff added

“I’m here too!” Maggie called, face down on the floor after failing to catch herself

“What the fuck… Where the fuck” Ernest rubbed his head. He scanned his surroundings. Eventually, he spied a large black rectangle, spotted with little white dots. He blinked,

“Oh fuck no”

“What?” Danny asked, having pulled himself and Maggie to their feet.

“Are we in fucking space?” He yelled

“What!” Geoff looked out the window “Oh fuck, how did we get to space!”

“Wait, space!?” Maggie asked bewildered

“I fucking guess!” Danny threw his hands up. “What the fuck are these things anyways!” he kicked at the plastic pods the quartet had awoken from. “Gah!” He grasped his foot.

“I dunno, stasis pods?” Geoff mumbled. “Is it just us? maybe the others are here too”

“Why the fuck would they be here?” Ernest shot

“Why the fuck are we here!” Geoff shot back.

The four all stood, staring at one another.

A voice crackled through speakers above, a deep and brass like voice rang through the static. “Uh, ladies and gentlemen, this is captain Otto speaking. Prepare to jump to hyper space”

Geoff and Ernest went wide eyed. “No fucking way”

“Wait” Danny interjected “Isn’t Cody’s middle name Ott-”

The ship lurched forward. The whole party dumped onto their asses. Pained groans echoed out of the room.

“God damn it, is this the space campaign?” Ernest called. His question was answered by a sudden seizing of the ship, followed by a great grinding explosion that rocked the vessel

“What the fuck was that!” Maggie cried.

“Probably the left most engine ripping off in hyper space” Geoff groaned “We gotta get to the engine room!”

“Why!!!” Danny and the others had stood at this point. They faced a strange rectangle with a button on it, a device they assumed to be a door

“The engine room was the only safe place in the space campaign! If this is the same place, then we gotta get there!”

The door opened.

Everyone gasped. A salvo of curse words shrieked into the air as the innocent boys and girl stared into the horror of their new reality.

Ahead, a corpse riddled with holes lay broken on the ground, clutching a large metal gun of some sort. His blue robes were adorned with religious iconography and large flowing tapestry.

Everyone paused.

“Okay fuck this” Ernest pulled out his cellphone. Its display lit up revealing the date “Libris Proto 40XXX”. By some stroke of divine favor, he had service.

“What are you doing?” Danny asked

“I’m calling Chris.” Ernest dialed.

The Phone rang,

“Ernest, whats up?” Chris answered

“Chris what the fuck”

“What do you mean, what the fuk?”

“We’re in fucking space!”

“You’re what?” Chris replied, incredulous. “I just left DND dude, Quit fucking with me”

“I am not fucking with you!” Ernest yelled

“Bullshit!”

FINE” Ernest tapped at the screen, flipping it sideways. The others watched as a flash of light captured the spectacle ahead of them. He tapped a couple more times before returning the phone to his ear. “Check your messages!”

A moment passed.

WHAT THE FUCK” Screeched out of the phone.

“Christ! Volume!”

“Sorry! But how the fuck are you guys in space!”

“I wish we knew!” Ernest yelled. “But this feels like the space campaign!”

“Fucking really!”

“Really!”

The two continued to chat as Danny and Maggie made their way down the hallway. They checked the corridors, finding them empty. The walls were covered in strange scripting and symbolic imagery. The only discernible markings were a trio of signs with arrows pointing down the various hallways. Their meanings were lost on the two, the symbols designating the rooms were indecipherable.

“Well, the dead guy looks like a tech-priest.”

“The hell is a tech priest?”

“Its a servant of the imperium of man, from the Warhammer 40k universe.

Ernest threw up his hands. He groaned “Of course It is! Why! Why is any of this happening!”

“I don’t have a fucking clue, but if it really is Warhammer you need to be on full alert if you want to stay alive!” Chris scolded. “That universe is unforgiving.”

Geoff inspected the dead body. There was little of worth on him save for a very large gun with the words “BOLTER” carved on the side in plain English.

Searching the walls, Maggie came across what looked to be a communications panel.

“Look, Ill be home soon. I gotta check on something”

“Alright, call me when you’re there” He hung up the phone.

Maggie called out “Hey, maybe we can ask for directions!” she pointed at the console. The others looked over at the strange square object. An obvious red button stood out next to what appeared to be a speaker.

“I got this” Danny stepped up to the console. he mashed the button and began to speak in a firm voice. “Engine room, Report”

A deep and familiar voice crackled out of the speaker. “This is the engine room!”

“Cody?!” Danny’s voice returned to normal.

“This is Cody 26 yes”

“Cody its Danny! Wait, 26?”

“Oh hi Danny! I didn’t know you were aboard this ship.”

“Never mind me, why are you here?”

“I’m the engines guy. Been here for yeaaaahs” Cody responded

“What, wa- okay never mind, Cody we need to get to the engine room, how do we get there?”

“Just follow the damn signs!” Irritation peaked through his voice.

“We cant read these signs!”

“What are you dumb?”

Danny was stunned. “Okay… what symbol represents the engine room?” he turned to the signs. “There’s a skull with lines through it… one thats got some weird triangular shapes… and the last one looks like a penis.”

Silence crackled through the speaker.

“Whats a penis?” Cody asked

Time stopped for a moment. Every face in the room stared in bewilderment.

“What the actually fuck” A small slap echoed from Ernest’s hand meeting his brow.

“Cody what the hell is wrong with you” Danny chided

“Excuse you!” he barked “You’re the one who cant read! Just follow the rocket okay?”

Everyone blinked.

“The rocket is probably the dick.” Maggie muttered.

The group collected themselves around the corpse. Ernest stared at the gun. “I don’t think we’ll be able to take that” Geoff added in. He looked off to the right. “Its as big as your chest” As he looked back, The gun had vanished. His eyes went wide, he looked up to find Ernest stuffing something in his back pack.

“What!” He exclaimed “How?!”

“Lets get moving” Danny called from down the hall.


The quartet made their way. In front, Ernest led, followed by Geoff, then Danny, And finally Maggie.

The long winding corridor went mostly straight, only curving slightly at points. The group passed a few crossroads, still continuing to follow the dick on the wall.

After a few minutes, another corpse appeared.

“Hold up” Ernest whispered, signaling for his friends to stop. Geoff peered over his shoulder, then broke into a sprint past him. “Geoff wait!”

Geoff grabbed the corpse. Its head rolled limp onto its shoulder, its glossy dead eyes staring into oblivion.

“God! Damn it!” Geoff screamed! “Its Cameron!”

The rest of the party rushed over. Cameron’s corpse was riddled with similar holes as the one before him. He was dressed strangely, adorned in robes and tapestry that coated him like a priest. He was not alone in his dead state, on the opposing wall, a little further down, a massive bright blue armored man lay unmoving as well.

The group grieved. Anger, sorrow, despair. Waves of emotion rocked them. Ernest looked away, filling his despair with visions of the metal man in front of him. He leaned in to inspect him closer.

A great weight pressed upon his shoulder as the Ultramarine in front of him came to life. His hand held Ernest firm, the gigantic hand making the stout man look puny by comparison. Despite his injuries, the marine moved with such swiftness and precision that Ernest had neither seen nor felt his movements until the hand already held him.

“Battle brother” The marine called out, delirious

“Uh! uh, Yea, yes! battle brother! I am here!” Ernest sputtered

“You must warn the others, Chaos boards this vessel” The hand dropped, clanging on the floor. The others looked over at the noise. Ernest looked back wide eyed.

Geoff looked back to his dead friend. A curious book was clutched in his hands. Curious, Geoff took the tome and began to read through it. Curious arcane texts, numerous and indecipherable appeared. An energy surged through him, tinting his skin red, then rouge. He blinked, closing the tome.

A sudden chill filled the air. Maggie looked down the hall.

A strange, shape staggered in the dark. Its formless, numerous legs lurched about underneath it, bringing it closer and closer. It shook violently with every motion. A subtle, violent shriek oozed from its maw.

“Guys” Maggie called to the others. “Guys we gotta go. We gotta go now!”

The creature charged.

RUN!” The four scattered. Danny tripped. Ernest grabbed him. They made for the nearest door.

Looking back the creature morphed. Its pinkish blue skin shining in the darkness. It raised what one could only believe was a finger. Tendrils of lightning streaked down the hall. The blasts narrowly missing.

The door in front of them opened.

They dove in.

It slammed shut, keeping the creature at bay.

“Is everyone okay!” Danny called

The others groaned out their living state.

“Oh hey guys”

The four looked over. Standing by a console near the door “Stood” Cody. His normal tall, narrow form was instead replaced with a slightly green, blobby form that only resembled his normal shape. instead of his usual drab, an orderly uniform was submerged in the goop the dribbled from his skin.

“Fucking Christ. Cody?!” Ernest managed.

“I am Cody 26 yes” He answered.

Everyone worked to their feat, staring at their oozy friend.

“Cody 26…” Geoff started. “So there are 25 other Cody’s?”

“Well there were. They’re all dead.”

“Oh!” Geoff stammered “I’m sorry?”

“Don’t be, I was cloned well after Cody 25’s demise.” he tossed out.

“Huh” Geoff could only stare.

While the two spoke about everything and nothing at all the others inspected the room. A set of laser rifles adorned the nearest wall, four guns and what looked to be a strange headset. Around the room a large generator that had some kind of cyborg fiddling with it, a door leading into a back room, two windows streaked with the bleeding light of hyper space.

“And so now we’re trying to figure out how we got here” Geoff finished

“Well I can’t really explain that.” Cody 26 shugged. “Maybe you can ask the commander”

“The commander?”

“Yeah, Maggie Prime”

Maggie whipped around “Wait what?”

“Yeah. Maggie Prime, Leader of the Sisters of Battle, and commander of this ship”

Maggie mouthed a silent ‘what the fuck’ as the others swallowed their surprise. Danny disappeared. He was still in the room, somewhere, shouting when talked to. The others mostly ignored his disappearing act. A plesant smell of fresh homemade cooking filled the room from no discernable location.

“G E N E R A T O R, F I X E D” The cyborg announced “P R E P A R E F O R W A R P”

“Wait” Ernest turned. “Zach?-”

The ship lurched. Space folded in on itself. darkness stole the world.

View
Session 11
All Souring is sweet to me

Among the bones and the ash, piqued by an overpowering aroma of lemon, marked by the metal dust of a once cursed artifact, sat Mathias. Sword in hand.

The victory felt hollow. A necromancer defeated, the blade destroyed, Snottle-kek sent back to the grave. But the price was steep. The plague was ravaging him and his friends, tendrils of infection burning through his veins. His coughs now came with blood, and his muscles ached with a pain somewhere between laceration and ignition.

Toland had managed to survive despite taking some nasty blows early on, The fallen sat in the center of his circle, faint trails of magic emitting from it as he stared blankly into the room.

Darious Painhammer, bard of the Kitten, friend to the party, and reliable support lay dead in the sewer. His last visions of a titanic skeleton and his horde. The party payed their respects as best they could, two coins on the eyes, clutching his guitar.

Around the ex-keeper the party grieved in their own ways. Dwynen and Merella held each other tight, the two having nearly lost one another in the battle. The two were a mess of sobs and anger and bellowing laughter, a frightening mix that gave an uncomfortable optimism to the air

Jane sat off alone. She seemed surprisingly calm despite losing her dominant arm, her brow furrowed like a pair of tongs desperately trying to grab a passing thought. Now and then she would pick up a stone and throw it with her left arm, watching it sail, a small smirk on her face.

Zelkova managed to keep his composure despite the massive lacerations his flesh now sported. At his side, shade gleefully padded the wounds with cloth. He spoke softly with Alden, whose skin shared similar wounds and the marks of the plague. Shade did not touch Alden.

Tiska sat off to the side with Andre. She had propped him up on the wall, his wounds too severe to allow him to stand just yet. Pained grunts rang out from time to time as the assassins steady hands applied rough sutures to the wounds of the man. They argued in a playful, almost childish way.

Lastly, Chuck skittered about the battleground. Skeletons offered no food to be cooked. Their stores of lemon-ale were certainly promising, but with no food to cook with it he was lost. The only scraps he managed to collect were barrels of bone meal, a find he could have made bread from with some yeast and an oven. However, his efforts were fruitless. Sitting upon the sewer soaked dirt, he began stringing together another necklace.

“Another suicide survived” Mathias grumbled. “Where does the madness end.”

“War is hell” Mathias turned to find the fur-matted leer approaching. “If you all hadn’t killed the big one, the war would have claimed most of this circle.”

He took solace in that. “That is true, and the thought bolsters my spirits yet…” He looked down at his blade. “We were thrown into this haphazardly. No plan no assistance from the city, Just a man with a wheel ordering us to die”

The room took notice of the conversation.

Mathias sighed. “Being a keeper used to mean something. Respect, unity, care. Nothing was done without careful preparation. Now it seems our lives are worth nothing more than the rot we become”

Leer rolled his eyes. “Welcome to the Brow.” he chided. “There’s too many people, not enough help. The damn autos ruined the factory life and forced people into homeless poverty. This filthy circle does nothing to provide for its inhabitants. its a cesspool of all the filth and unwanted masses of meridian.”

The tiny furry beast pointed at the keeper. “And that includes you”

Mathias closed his eyes. A deep, slow breath left his lungs. He stood.

Leer broke his gaze

“anyways, I have good news.”

Ears peaked, eyes looked to the man.

“there’s only two necromancers left. The city managed to get two others.”

“Great” Mathias dully emitted.

“And” He continued "With the destruction of the blade, it appears the skeletons have weakened drastically. the militia has managed to push through and reclaim several districts.

Spirits brightened with the news. Even Mathias grinned quietly at the thought of this war being over.

“Considering circumstance, is amazing we managed to do this” Tiska chimed in abruptly. “I mean, think of it. We pretended to be skin skeletons, escaped factory trap, Zelkova taught us to walk like the dead, we all swam in water, and Jane even survived her arm. Like, ya, is sad Darius died but If we are being realistic many more of us should be dead now”

Everyone stared. Tiska looked back blankly

“Vvhat?”

The looks subsided.

More time passed, eventually everyone got back on their feet. Leer said his goodbyes, quickly leaving through a secret tunnel behind where the necromancer had sat. The rest of the group gathered to discuss their next move.

“I suggest we regroup on the surface” Zelkova began “Even weakened we’ve seen the kind of threat these skeletons pose. We shouldn’t risk running off on our own until they are finished”

“Thats all well and good” Mathias added “But I would prefer it if we let the city handle the last two. We shouldn’t risk our own lives this close to the tournament.”

“See I reckon we outta go boil up them bones ourselves, Them scaleless soldiers never was too good at crackin the dead.” Chuck countered

“If we are to believe what Leer said, The city can handle it. The skeletons are weak. It may take time, but that is time we need to rest and recover. Not to mention we need to get this plague cured!”

“We may not have a choice” Toland finally spoke, eyes glowing in the center of his circle. The crowed looked to the mage.

“One of the necromancers is in the kitten”

View
Session 10 Extra
Janes Diary: THEY HAVE A BONE TO PICK WITH ME

MAGGIE WROTE THIS ONE

Dear Diary,

As a quick note There needs to be more dead people in my life. They make great listeners!

Anyways, I woke up this morning at the Kitten, with an aching neck on account of sleeping face-down on the table down in the tavern. Buttercup was still there, although all my buddies had taken off somewhere, which I think was kind of rude. They didn’t even leave me a note!

So I drank breakfast, and then I was feeling really awful. I don’t like to write about this sober, but I was stuck in an awful place for a long time. And I guess I started telling Buttercup about it. Bless his dead, dwarven soul for being so patient with me, no matter how inflexible his position has gotten.

Anyways I told him about the torture and the assassins and the faces and oh my god it was so unspeakably (crossed out text)

Then I had an idea to make myself a mask after that discussion with Buttercup. It honestly felt like the right thing to do at the time. After a bit of thought, I realized I could just cut up some nice leather to make something to cover my face, so I started looking for the person with the nicest leather wallet. I found this noble-looking moon elf lady walking down the street so I snatched her coin purse right out of her pocket! There was an unbelievable amount of gold in there, too! It made a lot of noise when I dumped it out on the ground, so then she obviously heard that (duh) and started chasing me or whatever so I bailed. The purse was pretty cute, too. All purple and lacey and stuff. I tore it up and poked some eye-holes in and I was good to go!

So I took off down an alley to go cool off, and I also borrowed some other halfling’s laundry that actually fits better than my other clothes do since getting held in a secret assassins lair for a month and enduring all manner of torture and misery without beer or any other form of alcohol makes you lose a surprising amount of weight. I’ll give it back to them when I’m done with it, I promise. I guess this was the back alley of a baker’s shop too cause I found a thrown-out bottle of vanilla extract! I chugged that right away.

Anyways I started to head towards the general store to get some supplies, I think. I don’t actually remember at this point. I remember striking up some conversations along the way about how I wish I was better at jerking ogres off than cutting off people’s fingers. Or the eyeballs thing. I don’t think that made me many friends.

I forgot what I was going to buy at the general store when I got there, so I just started wandering around. The shopkeep kept on standing reeeeeally close to me too the whole time, like he thought I was going to actually steal something from him. Or he wanted to smell my hair or something weird like that. I ended up in front of the tools section (heh) when I saw there were a bunch of pliers in there, and then I got this awful feeling in my gut and I got super sick all of a sudden! I ended up puking all over this poor shopkeep, and I felt so awful about it that I grabbed a carton of eggs and ran outside.

I kept running and running and then some keepers started yelling at me about wanting somebody called Grand Lars N.E. for something. I didn’t want them to think I was suspicious in any way especially after that coinpurse thing so I ran away really fast. And they kept on following me! I started climbing a building to get away from them, which worked pretty well. I started hopping blocks heading left for a while, then I climbed back down. But just as I thought I wasn’t being chased anymore…. they appeared!

Not the keepers, the SKELETONS!

I’m pretty sure these were the same skeletons Leer had in his lair. Leer Lair. hehe

But these guys seemed pretty sour about something. Almost like they wanted to hurt me! I started running back the way I came cause I did not want to deal with them.

But then I ran into the keepers again!

They rounded a corner as I was escaping the skeletons, so they ran into me and also gave me a good scare! I tried to warn them about the skeletons, so I told them “Skeletons!” and then I remembered they probably wanted to arrest me or something, so I threw my eggs at them.

That didn’t work too well, and they pinned me to the ground in about five seconds. Being short sucks sometimes.

So then I got dragged off to the crime zone. The sin bin. The prison-wison.

At least it wasn’t that prison.

When I was being herded into the holding cell I caught a peek of that Art-Work guy reading some folders or something. Though I don’t think he’ll give me any more money or do that funny thing where he turns purple once he finds out I’m in Actual Jail. I figure it’s best to keep quiet and stay out of his way for a long while. I almost feel bad about that.

Anyways I spent a few hours in here with the other degenerates of the Brow. Am I officially a criminal now? Literal, actual, scum of the earth? It’s probably better my legal status has caught up after what I’ve done to my friends. They took my new mask, too. It’s kinda weird they’re letting me use this quill for my diary while I’m in here, though.

(Crossed out words here)

Anyways, so while I was sitting in the cell writing the whole building caught on fire! Crazy right? Keepers were freaking out and running all over the place. Prisoners were going crazy too, I mean, so was I, I wasn’t exactly happy burning to death in a cage. Thankfully one of the older guys ran over to us with a key and led us out of the burning building. I spied some boney boys with torches whacking the walls as we gathered into the back of a cart and sped off.

Did you know horses can run really fast? I see so few of them these days. All the skeletons and the burning building disappeared as the cart raced off into the night.

Anyways, I’ve got to stop writing for now. We’ve reached this familiar looking factory and are carting everyone Inside. All of us lawbreakers are getting re-caged in these makeshift boxes. At least I have my own private space here. I wish I hadn’t thrown my eggs. I’m hungry.

I miss my friends. I hope they’re alright.

Kona

View
Session 10
Will we ever go home again?

Sobs echoed through the underground.

Refugees cupped warm bowls, wrapped in ragged sheets and tattered rags. The stew, a boiled amalgamation of a few carrots, potatoes, and what scraps of meat that could be found was distributed meagerly about. A stale, watery taste was shared.

Off to the side, The Wheel men spoke in hushed voices, taking bites of jerky as they eyed the ragged men and women who took shelter under the factory.

Near by, in a small tent, Chuck lay restless. Sleep was impossible, the arid cries of those unfortunate enough to have lived through the skeletal assault tore through his scales like a frozen wind.

His stomach growled. The stew was too light to satisfy or fill, not more than warm water with a hint of taste. No spices existed here to improve the situation. His tongue whipped about in his mouth, dancing at the memory of curry and pepper and allspice. Rolling over he grimaced, trying to think of something else.

“Chuckathy” the tin voice rang from outside the tent. The lizardfolk sat up.

Zelkova was of the queer folk, a strange and unnatural kind considered noble by the city. Chuck didn’t much care for the addition to his name, but he enjoyed the company Zelkova gave. With that, Zelkova always had many thinks to cook

“You called boss?” He asked, stepping from the tent.

“Yes, I managed to gather some small supplies. Please cook them as you see fit” The noble brandished some salted beef, a meager bags of spices, and trimming of fat on a string. Plenty enough for Chuck to stew.

The two sparked a fire, setting to work on their meal. The others gathered around, drawn by heat, or smell. Little was said. Survival had been more fluke than favor. A grim shroud of despair lingered, peaked by the misery that rang through the empty warehouse.

Ages past. The water bubbled. The spices marked the thickening water as the lard dissolved into the mix. The meat rose and fell, its brownish red edges coloring. The aroma was the only plesant thing in the atmosphere.

“She’s ready” Chuck broke the silence. With care, he ladled portions into bowls. The rations were small, but at the very least filling. Far more so than swill the rest of the encampment ate.

and so they supped.

With bellies full, spirits lifted. The occasional grin could be seen passing between Dwynen and his sister, or exchanged between Tiska and Andre in that stoic and silent way they shared.

Off to the side, kek’s and clacks could be heard as bread attempted to teach a squad how to speak Crypt. But the effort was futile, the various clicks were difficult to distinguish, let alone speak. A few recruits even chipped their teeth in the process. Tiska grimaced remembering the trials of learning at a young age. Years spent on the effort, and two teeth lost in the process.

“After what happened, d’ya think our waterhole still stands?” Chuck thought aloud

“Most likely” Zelkova answered "From what we’ve seen, the Skeletons are not concerned with damaging the infrastructure in this area. Their efforts appear to be focused on eradication of “the parasite”

“Yess’m” Chuck agreed “I just hope the girl’s waiting for us when this is over”

“Vvell at very least, is not burned down” Tiska chimed in. Zelkova paused momentarily, then continued eating his stew. “Unlike last time”

“Yes that is very good” Mathias hummed. “But not good enough I think” He stared off into the distance. The plague showed on his face now, skin visibly strained by the infection ravaging his body. He and Alden sat further away from the rest, isolating themselves.

“Well, we are alive” Dwynen rose. “As long as we live, we have a chance to take our world back.” his sister raised a proud fist in agreement.

Mathias eyed him. “The enemy is immortal. They do not sleep, eat, tire or cease their efforts.” His voice cut the room. “As if that was not enough, they weaponize the plague, while at the same time invoking powers from the lemon sword that defy any sane logic we have applied to the situation”

The whole group stared at him. He blinked, then shifted in is set.

“Forgive my harshness” he apologized. “These days have taken their toll”

The moment lingered in the air. the party looked from one to another. Tired, battle soaked faces filled with fatigue and pain shared their anguish with one another. Smiles faded, eyes drooped. Tiska shuffled into Andre, who gently pulled her in with an arm. Dwynen and his sister sat back to back parallel to the fading cook fire. Zelkova covered his mouth, staring into the dirt. Alden looked at Mathias. Then broke the silence.

“You’re just airing out what we’re all thinking.” He gave the geezer a pat on the back. “This is a bleak situation.”

The archer looked to his companions. “But thankfully, we do not bear this weight alone.”

Heads nodded in approval.

the party rested around the fire once more.

tranquility, marked by the occasional sob, was ruptured by an approaching guitar strum. Heads turned, spying the approaching form of Darius.

“Hail Painhammer” Mathias started. “I am glad to see you alive.”

“Yup” He drew his mouth to a thin line.

A moment passed, everyone starting at the bard.

“Anyways, I think you all may want to come see this”

The party exchanged glances, then rose, following the bard across the camp.

The harrowed faces of forlorn souls and wounded innocents marked the journey. People begging for aid, crying from hunger or for lost loved ones. Off to the side a quarantine held those who suffered from advanced stages of the plague. Horrid puss ridden sores marked limp and lifeless bodies, gasping as they clung to the final strands of their existence. Rotted fingers and extremities littered their floor space, dried pools of blood and rotted bandages festered in the ick. The Keeper and the Scout grit their teeth, praying they could cure themselves before they found that stage.

The air was suddenly filled with a small and powerful voice. It gnashed at the bars that held it, offering either death or a good time depending on who was being spoken too, in exchange for freedom. The noise first bred confusion with the party, an emotion that blossomed into surprise and disbelief. The group picked up speed, racing ahead to an area sporting makeshift cages. Behind bars, thieves, killers, profiteers of the helpless, and there, alone in a cage in the back, guarded by the larges of the wheel bearing men, Sat Ratty Jane.

“Jane!?!” Zelkova shouted in disbelief. Jane looked over, suddenly quiet, then smiled as her friends approached her. “How in the name of the five did you end up here?”

“Funny story actually” She rang out into the air, smiling as she spoke. “Would you mind busting me out of this cage?”

View
Session 9
The Snottle-Keks Strikes Back!

His boniness sat drumming his fingers against the driftwood chair. Around him, the ranks of the dead gathered their compatriots. Crushed and melted bones swept into buckets and boxes, hoisted by the boney brothers to the great mill.

One by one the containers emptied into the mill. The crunching mulch of bone under stone rang through the sewers. bone meal rushed from the container into the drum at its base. One by one skeletons hefted their cracked and rusted tankards into the drum of meal, pulling half fulls cups full of their grinded dead.

More of their brothers gathered great containers of rot-brew at the sides of their home. A festering, skunky brew made from the various fungi and glowing grains of the sewer farms, spiced with the sour of the guiding citrus. Tankards filled, mixing the thick and slimy brew with the dust. The legion of liberated bones gathered in front of their leader. Snottle-keks stood from his chair. A small, child skeleton fought against gravity, forcing herself to raise a heavy, ornate tankard to the master of the lemon legion. Snottle-keks smiled, or rather would had he the muscles to do so. He patted the littlest skeletons boney head, taking the tankard from her.

“My bleached brothers” his voice scrapped against the edges of the sewer. “We raise this drinks not in defeat, but rather, in remembrance of our fallen brothers and sisters”

Cheering ke’s clacked in agreement, filling the sewer with a harmony of echoing clicks.

“Though we may have lost the sacred blade, we have gained a great knowledge!” He hoisted the tankard high. “With this brew! Soaked in the arid dusty corpses of our fallen we grow stronger and wiser against the parasite that seeks to enslave us!”

Clacking ke’s rose to a crescendo.

“We now know of the prophet and his location! We know he holds our blade! Our Scoutelkens have watched them and studied their weakness and our rebuke will be swift and brutal!”

A final clacking cheer shuttered the foundations of the sewer, All the skeletons raised their cups. A sicking swirling garble, like a goldfish struggling to swim in a half inch of water, resounded from the glutenous skeletons. Snottle-keks himself downed the sour brew spiked with his kin. Wiping his glossed teeth, he left his brothers to their revel and retreated to a chamber further back.

Deeper within the sewer, behind the slimy bricks and walkways stained with grime and gunk, a hidden chamber opened revealing a round table. As his boniness entered, four skeletons, wrapped in poorly stitched together suits of flesh covered in heaps of ill-fit clothing wobbled to attention.

“Your boniness” They spoke as one

“Scoutlekens” he replied “Report”

“Sir” The one on the left, dressed as a portly woman spoke “The prophet and his companions take refuge in a tavern known as the Windy Kitten. They spend an extraordinary amount of time their quaffing sour-less brews”

Snottle-keks wished he could express his dissatisfaction with the knowledge that anything would choose a brew without the grace of sour in it. “Those Sinners. Go on”

“Of course” he continued “Recently they have made several exhibitions to the northern district where parasites have been falling to an unknown ailment.”

“Yes” another chimed in “This ailment is known as ‘the plague’, a deadly thing that kills the parasite but spares the bones within”

“A sign from our divine” Snottle-keks stroked his jaw “How timely that it should appear as our crusade begins”

“I agree your boniness” To the far right, a saggy skinned old man, chimed in “It must be the work of the sour”

“To continue” the portly skeleton spoke “They entered this realm searching for a cure for the shadowy parasites facial wounds. They found a parasite there that could do it”

“The parasite always seeks to hide its bones from the world” The final skeleton, whose stolen skin could not be seen under the exorbitant wraps of fabric covering it, kek’d

“After meeting the parasite, the prophet and the other parasites entered our domain. With the help of the enslaver they destroyed dozens of our brothers and escaped on the wings of a very big shadow”

“Yes, i was there” Snottle-keks spat “Thank you for the report my scoutlekens, now I have a new mission for you”

“Yes your boniness” they all hummed

Snottle-keks tried to grin. and failed.

“Gather as many of the fallen parasites who were in the area with the plague.”

His boniness clacked savagely

View
Session 8
The Full Henderson

The Following is an excerpt from Tiska’s Journal

Dear Book

Ivan is dead.

For real this time.

No men in masks pretending to be he.

No svvitches with Andre when I am inattentive

Only his vvithered, perforated, popped corpse.

The vvorld is cleansed of one more evil.


I still cannot believe is real.

Years I have hid away in fear.

Years vvatching shoulder, afraid of masks and daggers in night.

Years pretending not to exist.

Now. Safe on streets again. Can walk with head held high.

Well, save for scars on face.

The vvound remains open. Sleeping is difficult. Searching for cure.

This vvas all so sudden. Vveeks of endless torture and starvation. The gauntlet that marred my face. Zelkova’s arm. Mathias’s eye. Jane’s mind. Tiger’s Teeth. Who knows of Rel’s horror in this. Can only hope his passing was swift.

And then… an attack on the Assassins, a suicide mission to rescue us. I never vvould have believed i was worth such. The Man and Woman who released us, Bread and Cocoa. Never before have I seen such… Zeal. The duo broke us free and helped us escape the assassins cave. There vvere not alone. Zelkova has other team, they helped.

Apparently lizard-man made several tons of soup. They stole pump and flooded main chamber with soup.

Stupid plan. Surprisingly worked.

During escape, found Ivan. Cocoa man tried to sacrifice self for group. We almost let him, but vvent back eventually. Cocoa-man good fighter, bested several assassins but Ivan to stronk, nearly killed him.

Shade got really fat eating soup. Jane pushed him like big rock. Hit Ivan like big rock. Think I heard rib snap. Very happy noise.

We battle Ivan. He may be stronk, but he can still be poisoned like man. Brought low by his own devices. I drove him into the dirt.

Lizard man offered me green knife. Ritual dagger. Vve all look away from Ivan. Look back. I stab Andre.

Andre you probably read this in secret. I really did not mean to stab you. Please forgive.

Ivan and his bag of tricks let him switch with Andre. Not before poison maimed and marred, but escaped death no less. Very, very angry

We continue on, trudge through soup. Party has made way toward exit. Vve regroup. In next room many dead assassins and rest of team. Four more people join us. One is dead, so doesn’t join but i don’t want to exclude. They die for us. Honor that loss.

Hear buttercup is up with pump. Vve escape fortress. Find big pump. No buttercup.

Assassin reveal themselves. ALL of them. Surrounded. Outnumbered many times over. Ivan appears. Has buttercup by the throat. Demands many things. monologues. Typical Ivan. New party member. Small confused gendered elf man with vvong horns tries to save Buttercup. Fails. Dives into assassin crowd.

Ivan slits Buttercups throat. He is dead.

Zelkova and Andre try to figure out swap magic. Doesn’t vvork. Nearly kills Andre. Cocoa saves once again. And sprouts vvings? Vveird pair those two. Cocoa grabs everyone he can, flies over assassin ranks toward Andre. Keepers appear, assault the assassin ranks and storm fortress.

good timing.

Jane and I are throw at Ivan. Our daggers dance. The pump explodes, Mathias’s fault. Lots of shrapnel and pain.

Finally. Dagger finds Ivan’s heart.

Jane goes mad. Takes Ivan’s face. Vvears it.

I vvish not to know vvhat vvas done to her any more.

Assassins scatter. Sister tried to interfere with Ivan’s death. Failed. Ran with the rest. Hope not to see her again.

With Ivan dead, the Keepers rushed the fortress releasing captives. Why they were there, no one can say for certain. Vve left quickly. No masks in the carnival is bad news. Vve made it out with little issue. Surprising.

Andre now stays vvith me at kitten.

Speaking of. Nin in pregnant place for some time. Apparently Orgoth has baby coming. He vvould be happy man. Vvonder what child’s name will be.

Kitten now has strange fallen bar man. Toland. Different from other fallen. Race lines looks less like lines, more like vvaterfalls. Skin glows. Does drinks vvell. Good man. I think.

Bread and Cocoa obsessed with justice. Vvill be on best behavior around them.

Crow man funded Bread and Cocoa to save us, not Zelkova. My trust for birds grows thinner by the day. Vvhat is crow plan?

Future looks weird. Lived life to kill Ivan. Not sure vvhat to do now that he is dead.

Tiska.

PS. Vve murdered Owen. He turned into monster. Vve murdered again. Vvould like to forget him.

View
Session 7 - Tiska's View

There is no time in this place, only moments and as each goes, it is harder to keep head clear. I do not know who is living and who is dead, which does not make me feel better. I have been awake for too long, my face screaming when I try to lay down. My comfort is when world goes black for moments and I am free. Never long enough.

I remember now why I hold no gods. There is no room for gods here in cell. If there are gods, why does Dark Carnival go on? Why does Ivan breathe still? No. There are no gods. If there are, they are sick and disgusting and I will no more of that in my life.

Sometimes, I am like child: staring at wall and trying to fold into the cold stone. Sometimes I am filled with fire, burning inside like my skin and I can’t sit still so I pace. Ten steps one side, twelve the other; at least someone taught me how to count. I walk along sides of cell, heart beating out of chest as I walk faster and faster until I can’t see, there is blood in my eyes from Ivan’s new work and I am sitting on floor again.

I tried to die but they would not let me. Stopped eating the food they left at door but this only made them come in and make me eat. Ivan called me a “petulant child” whole time as he shoved tube down my throat; I eat food now.

There is hole in the wall where rats once made tunnels but there are no rats here, not any more. Even they grow sick of smells of death and blood. I thought hole might reach other cell, so I try to speak through hole. Person on other side only hisses and tells me to go away. I try again. They hiss again. Later, I hear person go in and beat my neighbor until they cry, stopping at my door to say that I’m not allowed company. I do not try again.

It is too easy to think of friends and what is being done to them, ones who are alive. Jane is shell of former self and this hurts me more than I will let Ivan know. She was so bright, what I hoped I could have been but now we are same: empty but surviving. Not living.

Rell is being tortured, this is easy to know. Ivan would not let prize like that escape him. I only hope that he becomes dead to pain and he is free in small way like this.

My heart calls out for Mathias even though I tell it to quiet. He is only person I have known to be so kind and have no price. His soul will not last long which is blessing and curse for him. He will either die or never be the same; I hope his death is quick.

I do not know what will become of Ra. Some animals go to Rot as pets and this is good for them but I do not think this is his fate. Ivan hates Rot too much for this. He may be taken to kitchens as meat for a party, or given to Animal Masks as part of show. Nothing good will happen and hearts breaks more and more.

Zelkova is probably best off. Ivan knows noble when he sees one and needs money after damage from fire. Maybe he was able to bargain for freedom with this, though parts were probably sent off to his family for proof of capture. I only hope his pain was less than mine.
This is lie: Shank is best off. He is dead and not trapped in this horrible place. He was so brave but brave ones do not last long. Ivan tried to teach long ago that “bravery is just another word for stupidity” but I will never believe this.

Andre has not been back but I hear him walking outside door. He always stops, but never comes in. I know not to call out, this gives Ivan excuse to put Andre in here and torture us as punishment so I pretend to not know it is him—Ivan wins both ways. Our hearts break separate but to be in same room would be more pain for other person.

I will get out of here. I will save my friends. I will lift magic from Andre’s heart.

I will kill Ivan even if it means to lose myself too.

View
Session 7 - The Fate of Rakku
Old soul, New Tricks

Rakku lay on the floor of the cell.

He hadn’t spoken since arriving.

They tried to speak to him. He simply ignored them.

The assassins must know, he realizes. But that wont make him speak.

His sharpened senses make this place hell.

Smells of death and pain and rot.

Tastes like moldy bread.

Water than ran across an ogres back.

Rakku had had enough of it.

The next time the door opened he was bolting

Or he would.

Were he not chained by the neck.

On queue, the door opened. Rakku though to test the chain, but would rather not break his neck.

Ivan. The smell was indistinguishable.

The scent of antiseptic. As if he bathed in it to wash himself clean of sin.

“Here Kitty Kitty” He hummed

Fucking asshole

Ivan approached

‘a little closer’ rakku thought, ‘Ill take your neck’

A step forward.

Rakku leaped.

Ivan countered, shoving an armored arm into the lions maw.

A rotation, Rakku was pinned to the ground.

Stitchers entered the room. The tiger’s limbs were quickly restrained. Now, looking like a cat loaf, Ivan returned him upright.

He withdrew his arm, replacing it with a contraption to force the tiger’s mouth open.

“Let me tell you something Kitty” Ivan began as he beckoned someone into the room

“When I’m done torturing you and your friends, I intent to use the stitchers to turn you all into slaves” He chuckled. “Not assassins, just horribly disfigured servants that I will display like furniture”

Jane entered the room, a pair of pliers in her mouth.

Rakku’s eyes went wide.

“But I don’t want my furniture to bite back” His tone shifted. Dark. black

Jane stood over Rakku. A Husk of her former self.

“take the twelve” He began. “leave him enough to chew food. But the canines have to go.”

Jane didn’t even respond. She lifted the pliers like a zombie.

And began to yank.

View
Session 7 - The Fate of Mathias
All My Sons

The letter trembles in my hands

“Dear Father, she murdered in the night”

My son is widowed. They slaughtered his wife.

I understand the message. Its as if Ivan stands next to me, whispering “Your family isn’t safe”

I crumple it. My handcuffed arms mash the paper, lobbing it across the room. wet paper slapped the stone floor.

This empty, humid room. The stone floor sticks to my feet as i walk, spots of moss breaking up the cool and cracked floor.

There’s no escape. Hardly any ventilation.

All these grim realities made worse by the sobbing.

Endless. Wet. Ethereal.

I can feel her here. Crying for me

I slump down the wall

“Please Elenor” I beg “Please, stop…”

the room goes quiet.

Did she…

I look up.

“Hey gramps.” Ali sits on the edge of the cot.

“Aliyah!” I stand. “What are you… Wait… Don’t tell me”

“Easy. I haven’t had to do anything yet. Just keeping up on this. the future’s unwritten remember?”

That eases my mind a little. My friends live.

Footsteps.

“Hide yourself” I say softly. She nods

The door opens. Two crutches enter the room

“Owen!” I fume. How. DARE. HE

“Hello Mathias.” he starts. His chin is low. eyes shielded. Guilt. “They sent me to collect you”

“For what” I bark.

Rage. No forgiveness.

“Just come with me okay?” His leg is in a full cast. Good.

I approach the lame betrayer.

“Owen” I say softly. he looks up.

my skull bashes into his face. Teeth snap. He falls screaming, crutches fly out from under him. he reaches up to me, covering his now busted smile. I see Ali giggle.

I shouldn’t do this in front of her.

Its too late to stop.

MATHIAS, PLEASE. NO!”

“Dont worry.” I soothe him “I wont kill you”

I Stomp his cast. The plaster shatters. i feel the bones wobble underneath my weight. He screams again. Footsteps race in the hall. I wont be able keep this up.

One last kick. I go for his face. May the world know your sin, monster.

I feel his cheekbones give under my stomp, shattering into his mouth. He sobs in violent pain. I raise my leg

Tackled.

Something pinches my neck.


“Where am I” A light burns into my eye sockets. I try to move. I’m strapped down. Head, Arms, Legs, Waist.

After what I did, I understand.

I see Ali near my head. She looks concerned

That can’t be good

“Welcome back” that voice…

“Ivan” my disdain is audible.

“How good of you to remember” he walks where i can see him, looking down on me, like a surgeon

“Where am I”

“Stitchers table. Usually for vivisection, but I already know what makes you tick” He grins. If only it were he instead of Owen.

“Thank you by the way” He walks off

“For what?!”

“The punishment you inflicted” hes continues. “Owen had gotten too attached to your group. He even tried to sacrifice himself for your lot. I wasn’t even sure he would listen when I told him to betray you”

The madman laughed

“Hes a smart boy though, he knew which side would win”

Someone elses footsteps enter the room. The rattle of a chain.

“But now its your turn Mathias” He returns to my view “I know you got my message. If you should cross me again, your son will join his wife.”

i grit my teeth “You’re a coward”

He smiles

“Jane” he coos

Jane?! what the blazes is Jane doing here.

She climbs a step stool near my head. Her sunken eyes don’t see me. She says nothing. The spiked collar bites into her neck. shes covered in blood and slime.

something’s in her hand. Mechanical. many shovels on a base that looks to rotate.

“Take the left one”

she nods softly, raising the device. with a light press it hums to life, spinning with an electric whir that shrieks like a banshee. its horrid cry gleams in the bright light

“You may want to hold still Mathias. She’s never done this before” The man stares, laughing.

Ali covers her eyes

the device falls.


Blood seeps from the empty socket.

the repeated drip, drip, drip collecting on the floor.

They hung me in my cell, hands and feet bound. Right side up at least.

My body aches. This life has worn on me.

Ali enters the room.

She walks to me.

Is it…

“Ali…” I softly whisper.

She looks at me solemnly.

“Is it time?”

The moment hangs in the air.

She smiles, planting a kiss on my forehead

“I’ll see you around gramps.” she lights a cigarette. and exits.

I cant help laugh, soft and choked

“Elenor” I hum to the room with a grin. I can feel her near me once more. “Please don’t cry for me…”

“I’m sorry, but I wont be joining you yet.” I stare at the door with my eye. “There’s still something left for me to do”

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.