The Shadow and the Flame

Session 8: Torture & Destruction

I added my notes over Ben’s… so this is both of our stuff. Andy you might want to stick your stuff in here for OCC record.

So fast this expedition
So vast this heavy load
With a touch of luck and a sense of need
Seeing the guns and their faces
We look around the open shore
Waiting for something …

… Exchanges in the currency of humans bought and sold
and the leaders seem to loose control

Shall we lose ourselves for a reason?
Shall we burn ourselves for the answer?
Have we found the place we’re looking for?
Someone shouted ‘open the door’
Lookout!

Shoot High, Aim Low by Yes

Recap of the Month between Session 7 and 8

Michael and Garridan have been traveling the Stair, Michael has become THE Master of the Stair and gone to the center of the Labyrinth – discovering the family feud behind the Dwimmerlaik. (See Session 7.1 and 7.2 notes)
’Sail traveled home – and has been ruminating on how to get round Fiona
Tom left the Garden on one of the new Ships that have been built by the crew of the ’Lad – he has reverted to his original form of Tomascal.
Pieter – has learnt Wrighting
Nyx – ?

Discussions have been had that disseminate the information in 7.1 and 7.2 mini sessions – which for brevity come down to these facts:

The Stair exists in the Abyss (Shadow) between two alternate dimension/realities called Chaos and Order. The effects of these realities cause tides in the Shadow – and maybe the manifestation of Eidolon and Umbra.

Fiona, the Red Haired Woman is behind the Dwimmerlaik. She is sister to Corwin, a man at the center of the labyrinth who is literally dreaming the Stair into life. We know this from his dodgy son Merlin whom Michael met in the center of the Labyrinth.

Fiona has control of the Cariarch, the Empress of the Dwimmerlaik somehow and is causing these cycles of war because the Stair is imposing on her dimension of Order – she wants the Stair not to be. The Dwimmerlaik are effectively her puppets.

Session 8 Notes

Discussion on the ‘Lad and its agreed that we assault the infiltration on the Order (Michael’s organisation) to find out how the Dwimmerlaik got control and what they are doing. Hopefully this information will be used to cut the infiltration out of Garridan’s home world of Edifice… and give us some clue as to how we can break the control on the Dwimmerlaik and on infected parts of the Stair.

The Plan for the Order Op is simple:
- Michael will open several doors in range of the Order’s Tower, they will investigate, thinning their numbers
- We will go in through the ‘back door’ and try to quietly talk to the Master of the Order’s Library which is ancient, and may give us clues.
- Big no no’s the tower is mostly wood, so no fire
- There are about 12 persons with significant power there, but hopefully things will be okay

Caer Dolsadarn – Home of The Order

Step out into cold, wet Welsh landscape – NYX notes that there is a sense of Umbra (imbalance on the plane). Out of range of the Order, give the Sorcerers time to adjust.

MICHAEL relates that a Master of the Stair has been present in last 6 months – many doors have been opened – could be indication of MICHAEL’S mentor (back from dead). Something about the world seems akin to a Mind Garden.

MICHAEL is going to open a door into HENGIST’S Chambers – he is the Master of the Order’s Library and who we have come to see.

Eliiseg – kill if have to (is Michael’s wish, apparently behind attack on Garridan)

Step onto Stair then through door into quarters/cell of Hengist (Master of the Library) – candlelit room, shadows appear to be pulling light in – feels akin to when there were storms out in Shadow. HENGIST is not there.

Garridan – opens scrying spell to show library – writing desks been converted to 1960s mainframe computers, HENGIST and apprentices are focussed on giant Egg – just in corner of library slipping in and out of vision in the Shadow is a Dwimmerlaik. The room appears very similar to what we saw in the Caldera on Edifice where we found the Ouroboros.

’SAIL asks if there anyone MICHAEL can trust, he only trusted HENGIST and CADWELLAN. Move into neighbouring room to see CADWELLAN – he is asleep… MICHAEL has to remove an illusion, CADWELLAN suddenly looks dirtier, unkempt – unmanaged (long beard, nails, pressure sores, etc) – reveal truth, he has been cut out of the loop. CADWELLAN Recognises The Nyx, mistakes Pieter for Drake because of his sword.

Nyx, is The Nyx – plural, The last of her kind, and at the same time all of them. CADWELLAN takes the news of 6 months (the last thing he remembers is a visit from SHASTA) passing and Drake’s demise fairly well and is calm about the idea that we need to talk to the Dwimmerlaik in the library. He organises a drill parade on the grounds outside to provide distraction whilst we pile into the library and have a “Chat with extreme prejudice”…

We wait, spying with GARRIDAN’s new fisheye spell – only HENGIST, two apprentices from SHASTA’s CELL and the Dwimmerlaik left.

Go in. ’SAIL opens portal to her warren Thyr in front of Dwimmerlaik bathing it in pure light – screams and anguish

The rest storm through, NYX void-blinks to Dwimmerlaik and engages, GARRIDAN sweeps its legs and NYX and PIETER we pin it to the floor with their swords through the shoulders.

MICHAEL takes out the apprentices with koshes to the back of the head and incaps HENGIST. They are bound and gaged.

Dwimmerlaik speaks – words hurt our heads. Interrogation begins:

SAIL has to form a psychic link to the Dwimmerlaik in order to interrogate it… her impression is of a creature made of blind hate. It is Amalash the Deceiver (AtD) – never set foot on Throne of Skulls, but has beheld it. It is obedient to the hate. It is fueled by hate but its not hate, it is simply a vessel.

SAIL uses the hate and obedience to get AtD to report back: NYX supports her by disrupting AtD’s ability to use Umbra or anything else.

For 50 yr I have watched and waited; we sent them into the wild, we waited and we bound… Their bones are too feeble to grace your throne (It infiltrated during the last war and has controlled the Order to some extent since then, sending them out to be the eyes and ears of the Dwimmerlaik)

S: Extent of your control

AtD: They seek truth, but they do not know the meaning of the word; they cannot see us…they are our thing

S: What have you learnt

AtD: We have found an egg, hidden behind a door…(controlling Order since last war)…in the final fires there will be darkness. We await only your cry, we are ready, we are amassed. The hour is near
(They have sent out multiple MICHAEL later relates 8, groups to find Eggs to rebirth the Dragons and use their fire to burn ‘the tree’)

S: How secure is your control from the point of entry

AtD: We are in the shadows, we are the monster under the bed, they cannot see us
(They are ready and amassed, they await only the fall of SHATTERLIGHT and the call to arms)

S: Are there any threats?

AtD: SHATTERLIGHT, new knights – they are fractured and weak, cannot even stand together.

Other voice: Yes

S sees distant throne/tower of metal and skulls that belongs to the Cariarch – OV: I see you little god, you will die last (is pure hate) – ’SAIL is nonplussed by this but gets out before the connection can be used against her.

AtD cries out, stands up (stripping flesh off) spurting out an ichorus blood, GARRIDAN pulls Sail out of the way of the spurting ichor as rest of the group dive to avoid it.

The Remains of AtD taints everything, the blood is a cursed ichor, like acid but worse, its persistent corruption. GARRIDAN has to lose her armour as its corrupted by the ichor that she took for ‘SAIL.

The Library has somehow become an attempt at Garden, but not correct, like someone had heard of how Garden’s work, but did not understand them.

MICHAEL interrogates HENGIST – is aware of being under control of enemy; (’SAIL’S investigation of mind reveals labyrinth of different cells, he is a construct of the darkness and enslaved by it, there is no way to separate him out).

HENGIST has been here 92 years. They have been working on reviving the Dragons.

H – brought in Van Buren; they brought in the boxes – don’t open the boxes, one of them will bring them through, (he is referencing the constructed nature of his mind, filled with 12 boxed personalities)

There’s twelve of us, one between the 5 & 7th – one of me is Master of the Doors, trying to open all the doors (a reference again to the 6th) that one can start the war today.

Menhirs – surrounded by stone, each of those surrounded (reference to his internal mental construction)

MICHAEL pushes and brings out the voice that controls HENGIST. It warns him it can open the doors, MICHAEL goads it and it opens the doors in the Library (MICHAEL later reveals that it opened ALL the doors in existence and it cost him a lot to close them all). HENGIST is then knocked out and killed.

CADEWELLAN found SHASTA on Parade, and he is now down a well with smashed legs. MICHAEL orders him recovered. He is questioned by MICHAEL.

SHASTA reveals they have been to many worlds with rooms like the one in the Library and Caldera. He will only agree to talk to MICHAEL about what is down in the Cells. MICHAEL is insistent about going down into the Cells as there may be more Dwimmerlaik present. MICHAEL returns with a Map to the Cells.

Head down to dungeons – NYX senses more corruption as go deeper… it was once a place where men contemplated in the dark, in a process to make themselves stronger against the darkness. This process appears to have been corrupted by the Dwimmerlaik into a process of nightmares and torture. The cells contained tortured and mummified remains of Order members who never made it out of the process alive. The deeper they go into the Cells/dungeons the greater the sense of corruption.

At one point the darkness speaks and is answered my MICHAEL and GARRIDAN. IT asks “Would you prefer us in the light” – there is some backtracking… and it starts to retreat a ‘metaphysical’ rate, just beyond our encroachment. It leaves.

NYX finds a crack in the foundation stone, part of an earlier building where the darkness came through.

On emerging from the Cells/Dungeon MICHAEL orders the library packed and ensures that the returning groups place their Eggs and anything else they found into a Cell he can access. He will seal all the doors to this world and set it adrift into Shadow, effectively burning it as the previous 6 had done to corrupted worlds before because we cannot cleanse it.

GARRIDAN asks ‘SAIL to check her head to see if TOM did anything to her. ‘SAIL can find nothing, but whilst there TOM initiates icon contact, but tells ‘SAIL to leave so he and her can talk privately.

GARRIDAN relates from TOM that DAYLE is dead and SHATTERLIGHT is falling to the Dwimmerlaik. VARLA and BASTIANOS are fighting.TOM has given her an icon because he wants contact from PIETER – he is going to find DRAKE and needs PIETER to aid him. TOM was told by DAYLE that the cycle (that had only begun really a month or so before) is ending and that it is to become what they make of it.

NYX pokes the Machine found in the Library. (not sure what came of that)

MICHAEL despite NYX, ‘SAIL and GARRIDAN arguing that its not the best path, that they are repeating a cycle they are supposed to break out of, feels he must go to SHATTERLIGHT. He is taking 110 men from Caer Dolsadarn who are tainted with him, its their last chance to be useful. He wishes to watch what the Dwimmerlaik have to throw at VARLA and BASTIANOS as it may be important. He asks ‘SAIL to create a banner for him a single lit candle on a white field. He feels it is important to not let VARLA and BASTIANOS go into the darkness alone. ‘SAIL argues, but ultimately its because she has a gut feeling its wrong, that VARLA will do her nut because they are doing this to give them cover to find another way, not repeat the past… and because she fears they will not return. MICHAEL is certain he will be able to get out. GARRIDAN will go with him whatever. NYX decides to go with him to make sure GARRIDAN and he return.

‘SAIL retreats to the Garden, she is given the ICON for PIETER to contact TOM. She will make sure that should NYX fail she can bring them all back to the GARDEN.

Meanwhile on his quest to find DRAKE TOM is accosted by his own Shadow that wants a chat with him… like any sane person he freaks out at having his shade come chat with him.

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