The Shadow and the Flame

Session 7: Dissention in the Ranks

Dissention in the Ranks

And you said you always had my back
but how were we to know?

Oh there is bad blood here, won’t you let it dry?
Its been cold for years, won’t you let it lie?

If we’re only ever looking back
we will drive ourselves insane
As the friendship goes, resentment grows
we will walk our different ways

But those are the days that bind us, together, forever.
And those little things define us, forever, forever.

Bastille, Bad Blood

Leaving Theydon Bois

Whilst at the Dragon City ‘SAIL has been aware and fighting a presence that was trying to control the GALLOWGATE LAD. Towards the end of the fight she was helped out by a second presence bolstering her defences – this turns out to be DAYLE who then reactivates the icons on the ship and talks to ‘SAIL with some urgency.

DAYLE convinces ‘SAIL that the lighthouse is another 3 months away and that there is no guaranteed way back. ‘SAIL argues that TOM is going to go whether they go with him or not, and it’s best not to leave him alone. DAYLE argues that none of them are ready… ‘SAIL is swayed by the fact that she knows events are accelerating, that they are getting ahead of themselves, and she is unconvinced that there are any answers in the LIGHTHOUSE… not to mention she knows it make take them far too long to get back.

Everyone returns to the GALLOWGATE LAD – ‘SAIL announces she is turning around and going back, giving and overview of her conversation with DAYLE. TOM does not see the point of going of not going forward. ‘SAIL and NYX argue that we can always come back, but going there ahead of ourselves could be very bad. PIETER mediates and eventually they agree to turn back, following the trail that DAYLE as left for them.

During the conversation the STAIR attaches briefly to the ship and then retracts.

Icon contact comes from MICHAEL and GARRIDAN – but they are reluctant to say more until we are all together. They are in SHATTERLIGHT having gone done the pilgrimage to the 6ths tomb. It is agreed that they will all meet in CARCOSSA as they all wish to talk to BASTIANOS.
Morning comes and TOM has predictably taken the row boat and left. ‘SAIL can get him back… but is reluctant to violate his right of freedom like that. She talks to PIETER and NYX who think she should… and she tries to force him to return, fearing that he is going into to something way above all their heads – but he does something and the contact breaks. She declares ‘Fuck him’…

Carocssa

Sans TOM they all meet up in BASTIANOS’s realm. MICHAEL and GARRIDAN explain that they journeyed into the MAUSOLEUM and discovered that Tom was the 6th and that the others could not say as they were bound to his will. In the tomb they also saw NYX… well many Nyx’s – it transpires that both her and TOM may be related to the TYPHONIANS, Nyx a creation of theirs (part of a defensive army) and TOM possibly a descendant.

MICAHEL explains the lack of Masters of the Stair; the previous 6 used them to fuel a massive burn-seal of the stair to shut out the DWIMMERLAIK. The war started because the 6th went exploring… and he failed massively at diplomacy… and that this was the 6th (6-8th no-one was willing to give an exact number DC) of such wars, that all started with one exploring and recruiting the others. However the massive burning of the Masters of the Stair to fuel a seal was Plan B… there was a Plan A – and all agree they would like to know that.

Now the DWIMMERLAIK are shut out, they confirm that they are corrupting minds to fight for them… and open doors to let them through. This seems to fit with ‘SAIL’s previous idea that they were corrupting icons and using shadow images as conduits to take control of minds and let themselves in.

The plan is to talk to BASTIANOS to see what he says – given he is the most proactive of those that remain from the previous 6. Michael and Garridan wish to know things from him as well as asking what Plan A is. After that it’s agreed after discussion to find an incursion point and investigate it to see how the DWIMMERLAIK are operating. MICHAEL says that they should isolate the infiltration of his order as that suits his and our purposes as well… and it seems like a good test case.

Contact is made through a CALIBAN, who is only persuaded to let them meet BASTIANOS when MICHAEL pulls rank as a Master of the Stair.

BASTIANOS has appeared to put a monumental effort into getting pissed… since he is about to die soon enough. PLAN A appears to be nothing more complex than destroy the LIGHTHOUSE as without it there is now way for them to find us. This plan failed as it appears that the LIGHTHOUSE, even though it was constructed by the 6th became imbued by a PRIMAL FORCE – which resisted destruction. The same is true of all the other Ancient Artefacts, such as the ORUBORUS and the SPEARSHIPS.

It is asked how long he has the ORUBORUS (to figure out how long the ACADEMY had been infiltrated). BASTIANOS relates that he had it since the fall of the 6th, he knew the second it was taken, it was gone barely a month. The logical conclusion is that the infiltration on GARRIDANs ACADEMY had started long before the raid as they set up the room prior to taking the artefact.

GARRIDAN then throws up TOM… to pretty much no comment from anyone. PIETER immediately attacks TOM and releases him of the shard of the LIGHTHOUSE that he is carrying. TOM explains that he was hijacked by the 6th AKANAT when he travelled down into the MAUSOLEUM (a Sun deity of some vein) and compelled to the LIGHTHOUSE. It was apparently a plan of the previous 6 to send the 6th forward into the next group to guide them. (MICHAEL leaves within moments of TOM’s return – DC)

‘SAIL is highly exasperated and in a fit of pique (but also genuine pity for him) offers to sleep with BASTIANOS… mostly so she can have a sensible conversation.

Pillow Talk

BASTIANOS reiterates much of what was already known and said, but independently so… and ‘SAIL becomes convinced they are not being tricksy – they are simply desperate, and always have been. He relates that DAYLE prophesised that SHATTERLIGHT would fall and they would die defending it – but as they did so they would buy us time to figure out who was behind the DWIMMERLAIK and the answers to all the unanswered questions…. ‘SAIL pushes him a bit, asking why they are all simply laying down and accepting that they will die. Why none of them are fighting such a fate – and it appears it’s because they are out of answers. He points to there being something in the Ancient Artefacts…. Something primal… in MICHAEL’S SILVER SWORD SHARDS, in the GEM in the LIGHTHOUSE… that all of these are linked in some way … but he does not understand and suggests we talk to LUCIEN who knows more about it than any of them. He has spent his life waiting for someone to pulls the SILVER SWORD, and now MICHAEL has he feels his role is done.
He explains that none of them were recruited as they believe. The 6th found DAYLE and he and she went exploring… DAYLE recruited the rest. DAYLE and the 6th built the lighthouse and the Ships… and caused the war….

Lucien

‘Sail relates what she learnt from BASTIANOS and it’s agreed that they go and talk to Lucien. ‘SAIL questions… guided somewhat by a circumspect MICHAEL. GARRIDAN pushes on her ACADEMY… and the upshot is the following information.

He reconfirms that they were brought in by the 6th and DAYLE.

He thinks that the DWIMMERLAIK EMPRESS is older than any of them… maybe even the Ancients. She will not compromise but the DWIMMERLAIK themselves might.

DAYLE’S PROPHECY (less a prophecy, more a pact) simply stated that they will all fight to defend SHATTERLIGHT. But it will fall and at that time the true enemy will be revealed. He describes it as a tontine.

He contends he is not hiding in the labyrinth he has a duty there. ‘SAIL confirms with MICHAEL (sort of) that his duty is to defend the Labyrinth, because if it falls so does everything. A duty which MICHAEL is supporting – and why he has to spend a lot of time away from them.

LUCIEN presses GARRIDAN as to why she did not destroy the GARDEN… because ultimately she knew it was special. These artefacts, the Garden, the Sword, and the Gem of the Lighthouse are imbued with a PRIMAL FORCE… but he does not know anything about it really.

The TYPHONIANS do not predate the Stair; they came first though, perhaps. They protected… and hence the question of Why are they gone when they are protectors and protected. Lucien reaches – what if they saw something in the beyond… if the stair was smaller then (hence all the ancient worlds are lower down on the stair) … if one of the echoes was that of the desire for exploration.

LUCIEN asks TOM what happened at the LIGHTHOUSE. TOM says he arrived in the LIGHTHOUSE to find the EMPRESS of the DWIMMERLAIK and to be confronted by the 6th… who was apparently very confused and did not know what he was doing there. The EMPRESS mocked him, told that he had come too soon and without any backup. There appeared to be a lot of history between the EMPRESS and the 6th… he pleaded with TOM for help, but as he had been hijacked he did not feel inclined and left the 6th to his fate… the EMPRESS intimated she would kill him (it’s made clear here that the EMPRESS is not a DWIMMERLAIK, she is a red headed woman… but I am not sure at what point… tis all a bit sketchy).

Pieter asks about the ORUBORUS – was it a thing that bound? Lucien does not really answer, but confirms that the ancient artefacts are pervasive.

The DWIMMERLAIK walked the Stair and changed it… in a way that made it anathema to them. There is something behind them that wants the Stair to end… if they destroy the Labyrinth, they get that. The idea scares MICHAEL.

MICHAEL and ‘SAIL talk – he is bound, he cannot say… but he says the answers are in the TYPHONIANS and the ANCIENT worlds…. He makes hints. ‘SAIL can feel something just beyond her comprehension – and feels utterly thick. There is much thinking until ‘SAIL finally realises that what she needs to do is ask MICHAEL to take her to the Oldest World… she does. He will.

‘SAIL and TOM get into a massive argument over him leaving the 6th to die. He sees it in purely personal terms, she does not… in the end PIETER mediates talking ‘SAIL down with the words “What else could he have done?”

Plans are changed. GARRIDAN and MICHAEL will raid the ORDER alone… with NYX as backup. PIETER, ‘SAIL and TOM will talk to THEYDON BOIS about the mind-set of the DWIMMERLAIK.

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