The Shadow and the Flame

Session 5: Mass Indecision

Session 5 – Mass Indecision

_"Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich…

That’s how it goes
Everybody knows

Everybody knows the boat is leaking
Everybody knows the captain lied
Everybody’s got this broken feeling
Like their Father or their Dog just died…"

Leonard Cohen – Everybody Knows {From the wisdom of Tam’s Grand Random Shuffle Typing List}

WARNING – first draft type up – please amend as necessary…. if I missed it I either did not hear right or got entirely the wrong end of the stick…_

GARRIDAN and MICHAEL return.

’SAIL gets icon contact with a pale and knackered looking Sylvia and they are brought back to the GALLOWGATE LAD.

They explain in outline their walkabout. That MICHAEL entered the LABYRINTH leaving Sylvia with an acquaintance of MICHAEL’S who was apparently another masquerading as the man he knew as SHADER. SYLVIA was attacked by a group of what they know now as a corrupted sect inside the Order of the Pillar. She lost a kidney and has been recovering having been saved by MICHAEL.

MICHAEL asks ’SAIL if he can experiment with the doors on the ship and she agrees, He opens the erstwhile mop cupboard door and it now leads to a Volcano. He closes and seals it again, breaking the door somehow.

On seeing the door opened again ’SAIL has a moment of epiphany and then with it the knowledge that she is being hunted.

MICHAEL can feel that there are 12 (11 + ’SAIL) people walking the Stair who are close to ascension and are being tracked by the HOUNDS and PURSUVIANTS . The ascension is what takes places during the call to the LABYRINTH and the trial you undergo there.

MICHAEL confirms what ’SAIL had dreamt of … that the Ship had once been part of a fleet that was destroyed in the War. It is known as a Spearship.

They both met LUCIEN during their walk about, and he said he had been released from the Oaths of the Order of the Star as he was no longer needed. He offered SYLVIA the gauntlet he owned and the Seat of the ACADEMY. She has taken time to think about it… but is not keen as she has been released from her oathes by LUCIEN.

SYLVIA and MICHAEL also speak of the Sixth, he apparently is always fighting, and losing the war – and that he reincarnates to do so. That this is the path of the cycle.

The Question of What to Do??!!

MICHAEL raises the point that his Order have been infiltrated by the DWIMMERLAIK, a small cabal in the upper echelons … and that this is worth taking out, especially as they have a Library that pre-dates the war.

He also raises the point that we should give the 11 who are being hunted some kind of respite on a distant world or perhaps on the Ship as it’s moving and harder for the HOUNDS to track.

PIETER raises the idea of trapping and seeing if we can actually take on the HOUNDS and the PURSUVIANTS.

SYLVIA wishes to return to the GARDEN and ‘secure’ it somehow; and MICHAEL too wants to go back and seal some of the doors to the GARDEN.

TOMASCAL wishes to find FINESTERE and the LIGHTHOUSE.

There is much indecision.
It is finally agreed to go to the GARDEN and perhaps set up a trap for the HOUNDS using ’SAIL as bait. No one is wild about the idea.

There is much indecision on whether it is worth using the GARDEN as it resists the HOUNDS and PURSUVIANTS. PIETER points out we would not know if it was us or the GARDEN that bested them if we did work out how to use NYX’s knowledge she gained testing the remains of the PURSUVIANTS PIETER brought back from the ASHEN PATH.

’SAIL opens a portal to the GARDEN with the respect that at least SYLVIA and MICHAEL can do their tasks… and that perhaps we should go with what is most pressing… though there is no consensus.

In the GARDEN.

The GARDEN is co-locating in a number of positions… is not on the Stairs, but it is – its cheating. Its currently about 2/3rds the size of the GALLOWGATE LAD and a kind of diorama of a world with a sun and Moon circling this block of land, which is currently a mass of thorns. The thorns clear as SYLVIA looks down to the land.

The wood of the trees in the GARDEN look very similar to the wood of the ship and the SERVITORS. ’SAIL asks them if they are the same, the SERVITOR ties a shank knot; she takes this to mean YES, they are tied in a fundamental way.

SYLVIA and MICHAEL learnt from LUCIEN that the Garden was one of many. That they were places of Ideas, which bore fruit that eventually ‘grew’ into new worlds. The trees in the GARDEN are in fruit.

’SAIL is asked if she can identify doors that worry her. She points out two, and MICHAEL finds a safe door. He shows her how to open it. She does and it goes to her home world. On seeing it ’SAIL realises that she can never go home, and that she does not want to. She makes the Epiphany with “Well that is shit!”.

She closes the door and MICHAEL releases the location it leads to has changed. The door as it was is no longer needed. He gets her to open the door again, it leads to a places that is almost, but not entirely quite unlike Hobbiton .

MICHAEL asks ’SAIL if she wants him to keep the HOUNDS from her. She says yes, emphatically so.

SYLVIA says she is just going off to look at the Sundial.

NYX and ’SAIL talk, neither are convinced of the necessity or profit in hunting the HOUNDS. ’SAIL asks NYX what she thinks they should do and she outlines looking for areas of incursion and dealing with them… its what we should be doing. ’SAIL agrees, she has been listening to gossip, trying to identify persons who the gossip is coming from, who could know more than they should from the official histories… she thinks it might be a good idea to find out more from other sources before taking on anything as big as the possibilities before them now.

TOMASCAL, PIETER and ’SAIL discuss the merits of looking for incursion points and seeing if we can find a better way to deal with them, based on the theory that ’SAIL proposed to broken channels being exploited by the DWIMMERLAIK in areas where the boundaries between our realities are weak. TOMASCAL and PIETER point out that they are going to have to face the dogs one way or another… and if we go and do anything else we will end up facing them less prepared. ’SAIL agrees.

At that point everyone notices a large dome of ivy has grown in the area that SYLVIA walked into… they go to the dome in no state of surprise at all that SYLVIA has managed to walk head first into something.

Outside the dome it grows dark and stars come out. MICHAEL does not like it much and NYX works out that dawn will come, the night is young. ’SAIL lights the area. There is much facepalming as they wait for SYLVIA to emerge.

Finally a door opens into the dome and a voice floats out “beware there are dragons” and SYLVIA emerges. She was apparently asked by the GARDEN construct to claim the world and shape it… make it a world…

So she gave it Stars, a Water Cycle (MICHAEL finds himself stood in a Brook that was not there before) and some mountains. Inside the dome softly glowing fruit have appeared. The Garden does indeed appears to be birthing world’s as LUCIEN told.

The SERVITORS leave the GALLOWGATE LAD and start cutting down the trees. ’SAIL looks at SYLVIA with despair… after some toing and froing with a piece of paper between ’SAIL and the SERVITORS it appears they are building another Spearship and the SERVITORS for it. 20 SERVITORS are needed to make one ship… it appears they will be some weeks.

In the meantime the OUROBOROS wakes and starts pointing… TOMASCAL goes up into the GALLOWGATE LAD again and sees THE LIGHTHOUSE. The group go up as he calls to them and see the LIGHTHOUSE as well… then the OUROBOROS starts to point downwards and the LIGHTHOUSE fades… it points towards a Monolith, a door.

There is much indecision as to whether they should go through the door, but both TOMASCAL and NYX feel that this is a path they should and want to follow. MICHAEL opens the door knowing it to be a dangerous place, a fated place – and which also appears to be warded in such a way as to make people ‘forget’ it, unless they were trying hard to find it. They pass through the door….after a lot of toing and froing and gathering of supplies.

FINESTERE

They arrive in a world devoid of life. A blasted city, like some kind of dead Alexandria. TOMASCAL and NYX know the place, it is FINESTERE… the place of the final battle. The corpses there are mummified, there is no decay here… there is no life here at all. There is a sense this world has been amputated from life…

There is no sign of the LIGHTHOUSE, but TOMASCAL starts to follow his memories down to a shore that seems to end in utter void… darkness, the darkness beyond.

NYX and ‘SAIL attune their psyche to the world as they walk through the blasted city. There are giant war machines of every imagining and also the remains of House-sized Leviathans and the dead are both human and Dwimmerlaik. The dead number in the thousands, thousands upon thousands.’SAIL is shocked at the remains of children on a battlefield- but the LIGHTHOUSE was supposed to provide safety, and the end was fast. It is clear from the fighting that the main battle was outside of the city, pushing towards the LIGHTHOUSE.

’SAIL notices that the skittering and moving shadows are actually ghosts, trying to grab onto their own shadows… they want life. She brings up a ward around the group and sets a light to places their shadows directly below them…. and tells all to stay close to her.

They see the tattered remnants of BASTINIOS’S flag… ’SAIL and NYX start to her the ghosts and smell something like flint… TOMASCAL starts to whistle and old marching tune… the ghosts start to echo it… feeling their rage at being sacrificed ’SAIL tries to talk to TOMASCAL to get him to stop… but he continues and they echo him.

As they approach the seafront a ghost calls out that they are going the wrong way. ’SAIL explains the situation to TOMASCAL asking him if he is sure of his memory. They follow the ghosts direction to a row boat on what was once a pleasure beach of some kind.

There is the question of whether to take the boat and what state it is in. ’SAIL suggests that she call the GALLOWGATE LAD. TOMASCAL asks NYX if they should take the row boat out… he believes the LIGHTHOUSE to be out there. NYX agrees they should go out there…

TOMASCAL hearts the voice of a ghost… and appears to have a conversation with it. He explains that as far as the ghost knows the LIGHTHOUSE was a defence mechanism that was corrupted by the DWIMMERLAIK into being a weapon… a weapon that ended the war… TOMASCAL asks NYX again what they should do. She think they should go.

There is only space for 4 on the boat. ‘SAIL and PIETER join NYX and TOMASCAL on the boat. As they leave they hear VARLA’S trumpets…


VARLA’S is horrendously annoyed… and on the beach questions MICHAEL and SYLVIA as to why they did not just ask if they wished to know the answers to the questions that brought them here… they point out that it was far from clear that such things were possible.

VARLA is clearly excised that they have gone into the darkness in a tiny row boat when they had the GALLOWGATE LAD, and that they took DRAKES sword in, which is a violation of the peace treaty that was drawn up in FINESTERE.

She argues MICHAEL and SYLVIA into returning with her to SHATTERLIGHT and walking the MAUSOLEUM as TOMASCAL did, as there are things they need to know.


In the Darkness

’SAIL feels her sorcery leaching and the others feel the lack of any other powers…. she uses the last of her power to call out to the GALLOWGATE LAD. A day later the ship finds them and they board.

They sail out for three months into the void – accompanied by ’SAIL’S cyclical rant that they are going to far too soon. TOMASCAL argues that this is a an adventure PIETER says that they have already set out on the PATH… besides they do not know how to get back.

It takes them 6 weeks to attune to the darkness and ’SAIL to regain the use of her sorcery. About the same time to learn to use the charts on the ship that show the darkness. ’SAIL and NYX work on the charts.

It’s three months at least before they can make any contact with the Group through sorcery.

They learn to feel and work with the shifts and eddies of the darkness… they spot remains and debris in the darkness…

Around 2 months in they see a lot of floating lights in the distance.

Two of the lights come out to them… they turn out to be little Shifs they hail the GALLOWGATE LAD, wondering if we are lost. They are denizens of E’DRIGOTH… they are the descendants of the survivors of the Great War… and they live on the remains of a dragon carcass in a city.

They follows the Shifs back to the city… it is clear a 1000 people or so live on the remains. They are very pale and have made their city, their everything, from the remains of the dragon. Their eyes are almost reptilian slits.

They are welcomed by the dockmaster, the city is a free trading post and they are welcome to come and trade. Our dock fees are waived because it’s our first visit and the GOVERNOR wishes to see us….

They are taken by a rickety elevator to the the head of the dragon, and there in a Throne room in the skull, against the giant stain glassed windowed eyes of the dead leviathan is a high backed chair. It turns to them… and they see a DWIMMERLAIK.
“I am THEYDON BOIS, this is my Dragon. You will explain why you brought a weapon of War here.”

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