Jonathan's Numenera Game

Dawn of a New Day

This story begins as so many others do – by pure chance. In a small campsite tucked away in the shadow of a hulking metallic structure, the paths of four strangers cross, changing the future in ways that no one could possibly have predicted. Leanna, a young, bright-eyed, blonde-haired woman, set on discovering the secrets of the desert. Lloyd, a confident, but cautious adventurer just returning from his last expedition. Lemmy, a nosy, hyperactive lad with a penchant for causing trouble, and Sugar, a veteran of the Wandering Walk with a permanently sour expression on his face, despite his name. The four meet in a small alcove just off the Mouth Cairns, one of the few landmarks along the Wandering Walk.

Mingling with the other travelers huddled together around the campfire, the party meets several new people and exchange stories and rumors. A young man named Joe, and his grandmother Clara, who explain that their family have been pilgrims for many generations, and that Joe himself was born on the Wandering Walk. A grizzled old man named Seamus, who tells them that he hopes to breathe his last breath while on a grand journey, not quietly in bed. A small child named Henry, who survives in the desert by begging from passing pilgrims. These and many others rest in the campsite, one of the few safe places in the vast expanse of desert.

As the evening passes, Sugar spends time helping to prepare a communal meal, although deep in thought and distracted by some troubling dilemma. Leanna asks those in the campsite about the existence of swarms of green light said to be commonplace in the Mouth Cairns. "Mah gram’s been lookin’ for ‘em for thirty years, and no one’s seen ‘em in generations, " Joe says as he points to his grandmother. He points out her mechanical eyes, capable of seeing incredibly long distances, and says that despite her many years of searching, the light swarms haven’t appears in several decades. Lloyd sleeps in his tent, weary from the day’s travels, and Lemmy is nowhere to be found, presumably off causing trouble.

Late into the night, as the various members of the campsite gather together and tell stories by the fire, Seamus walks towards to group and exclaims that someone’s been stealing food, and that since the party was the most recent to arrive, he immediately suspects them out as the culprits. Sugar tries to smooth things out with Seamus and the others, but the temper of those traveling in the wilderness turns far more quickly than he expects, and he soon finds himself trying to talk down an angry mob. Joe brandishes a long knife at them, trying to force them out, but Lloyd, in an act of either desperation or wanton violence, hits Joe with a bolt of lightning from his hand, instantly causing him to collapse on the ground and begin foaming at the mouth. Rocks fly towards the party from all directions, and rather than try and fight off an entire campsite of people, they flee into the cold, pitch black desert. However, as they run away, the party notices a large creature heading towards the campsite, kicking up a cloud of sand as it moves.

Letting his curiosity get the best of him, Lemmy returns to the campfire under cover of darkness, hoping to find out more about the large creature that just recently arrived. Sugar follows, and as the two approach, they see a large, brown-multilegged creature about 40 feet tall, and two newcomers,, a young man and woman, who apparently rode on the creature standing next to it. The young man frantically speaks with Seamus, and Sugar manages to overhear that the man, Patel, came with his sister Seria from the nearby False Woods and was hoping to find someone to take Seria to Cylion Basin while he returns home to defend his family. He constantly looks over at his sister, doubled over in pain and barely able to speak in complete sentences. Unfortunately for Patel, none of the people in the campsite offer to help him, and he curses them as tries to help his sister back on the creature.

Taking pity on them, Lemmy leaps out of the darkness and offers to help them if they’ll come quickly. At that moment, Seria lets out an ear-piercing scream, and the large creature rages out of control, smashing apart a nearby tent. Patel picks up his screaming sister and runs towards Lemmy, as Sugar and Lemmy reveal their weapons and attack the creature. Trying to penetrate the creature’s thick shell, Lemmy stabs it with one of his knives, but quickly gets caught in the layer of sticky mucus surrounding it. Sugar quickly ties a lasso and throws it around the creature’s neck, looping the other end to a nearby rock in hopes of slowing it down. With its mobility removed, the creature poses little threat, and between Lemmy, Sugar, and the people of the campsite attacking it, it eventually falls. As the conflict ends, Lemmy and Sugar lead Patel and his sister out into the desert to regroup with the rest of the party.

To their surprise, they find themselves in yet another battle, this time against a jagged chunk of what appears to be plaster, with several large protrusions sticking out of it. The creature managed to sneak up on Lloyd and Leanna as they rested and talked, and although the pair narrowly escaped being eaten by the wide mouth and row of teeth on the underside of the creature, they were unable to make any headway in killing it. Sugar and Lemmy leaped into to assist while Patel stood back to protect his sister, and between a combination of ropes, crossbow bolts, beams of light, and bolts of electricity, the creature fell. As it collapses onto the sand, the plaster protrusions on its back shatter and reveal several well-preserved corpses as well as a number of other strange devices and oddities. Unfortunately, their battle was not without issue, as Lloyd’s hand was bitten and transformed into a brittle, bone-white rock.

Now having a second reason to accompany Seria to the village of Cylion Basin, home of the famous Healing Pools that brought in pilgrims from all over the Beyond, the party prepares to travel the rest of the night to reach the village before they are attacked yet again. Patel bids them farewell, stating that he must return to the False Woods to defend those he left behind, and that he places his sister’s life in their hands. As the party travels, Seria manages to speak just well enough to explain her situation. She tells them that since she was young, she had the ability to place suggestions in the minds of others, and that her power made her an outcast among her village. Recently, monsters had been coming out of the village to attack, and she began hearing a panicked, garbled voice in the back of her mind, a constant scream that threatens to drive her insane. The villagers chased Seria out, blaming her for commanding the monsters to attack, and she hopes that someone in Cylion Basin will be able to help her silence the voice in her head.

Several hours later, and as the first sun of several suns begins to peak over the horizon, the party arrives in Cylion Basin. Lloyd immediately asks one of the locals about the Healing Pools, and he is directed towards the black, bubbling pool in the center of town. Lemmy and Sugar find a store with a brain nailed to the sign hanging above the door, and figure that would be as good a place as any to find Seria some help. As they enter, a stern looking woman, with decorative pieces of synth at the corners of her eyes and mouth, knowingly beckons to Seria and says, “I know what this one has been through. She will find rest here.” Confident that the woman will be able to help Seria, the two leave to regroup with Leanna and find a place to sleep.

When she awakens in the late afternoon, Leanna goes to the center of town and finds Lloyd, fast asleep in the pool, but with his hand restored to flesh. She wakes him up, and the two wait for Lemmy and Sugar. However, after an hour of waiting, Leanna goes to find them and see why they have slept for so long. She finds no traces of them in the small rooms they rented above the tavern, and it appears that unlike herself, the two of them did not want to concern themselves with helping a wounded ally or a woman with voices in her head. Disgusted, Leanna returns to Lloyd and informs him that they have been deserted, and that there is little point in sitting around how that his hand appears to be have healed. Lloyd and Leanna head back to the store to check in Seria, and inside, they find the shopkeeper and Seria calming speaking with two men. One, tall, bald, and burly, wearing dark blue pants and a skin-tight white shirt, and the other with well-kept brown hair and rudimentary armor that barely managed to cover his terribly burned skin.

The shopkeeper turns to Leanna and Lloyd and introduces them to her guests. She explains that their names are Delin and Ignus, and that they had recently arrived in town to investigate rumors of a machine capable of resurrecting the dead. Seria, now fitted with a golden half-faceplate with three vertical red synth-stripes, continues her explanation, saying that after the shopkeeper silenced the voices in her back of her mind, she was able to filter through all of the noise and find their source – the small village of Embered Peaks. Ignus speaks in a calm, clear voice befitting of one who holds authority, and offers to join Leanna and Lloyd on their journey since they are headed the same way. After a brief conversation, Leanna and Lloyd agree to travel with Delin and Ignus to Embered Peaks to learn more about the resurrection machine and discover the reason behind the voices that plagued Seria. Leanna thanks the shopkeeper for her help, and together with the rest of the party, sets off for Embered Peaks, hoping that her new allies would a bit more loyal to each other than the last.

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The Definition of Insanity

As the party approaches Embered Peaks, they find a town on the edge of extinction. Illuminated by the flickering wisps of burning buildings, the party looks around. Signs of destruction and violence can be seen everywhere, and the remaining residents remain wander about in a daze, a stupefied look on each of their faces. They stare straight forward, eyes wide open, uttering stories about how each of them suddenly turned on the other, life-long friends strangling each other in the streets, and parents bashing in their children’s skulls with rocks. It quickly becomes clear to the party that no one is in a state to provide them with any information, so they quickly head to the largest building in town in hopes of finding some answers.

The inside of the building fares almost as poorly as the outside. Papers and machinery are strewn about, and large splatters of blood cover the floor and furniture. The signs of struggle are obvious, and as the party follows the blood trails past the main room into one of the narrow corridors leading deeper into the building, it becomes clear that this building was the site of a massacre. The corridor leads them to a set of stairs slick with blood, and as the party follows the stairs deep underground, the temperature rapidly plummets, the frozen blood and ice on the steps leading to even more treacherous footing. Finally, the stairs end in an doorway, slightly ajar, and the party can hear the clack of boots from inside the next room.

The party opens the door and is greeted by a tall, gray-haired man with clean black shoes and carefully tended robed. “Are you here to hinder me or help me?” he asks in a low voice. The party takes a quick look around the room – a dozen stone-slabs rest on the floor, each one occupied by a body shrouded in a reddish-purple cloth. The heads of the bodies are exposed, all freshly shaved and branded with a black symbol about the size of a fist. At the far end of the room rests a vat of opaque, orange goo, and the man himself holds a large syringe full of the same liquid. Unsure of exactly what to do, the party states their names and says that they are there to help. The man introduces himself as Yieran, and as he does so, plunges the syringe deep into the eye socket of the man he was standing over. He then says a short, unintelligible sentence and brings his ear close to the man’s mouth, listening for a response. The dead man’s mouth begins moving, but as he speaks, Yieran visibly grows frustrated, and exclaims that he has asked the wrong question yet again.

The party presses Yieran for more information, and he answers their questions as he prepares the next body, he explains that Embered Peaks is home to a machine capable of resurrecting the dead. However, through his trials with the bodies in the room, he has learned several things – that the machine cannot raise the dead, but rather returns them to life long enough to answer a single question, and that the dead always answer the question with a lie. As he plunges the syringe into yet another body, he mentions that he has killed all of these people with the hopes of discovering the machine’s true nature, and to prevent it from torturing everyone in Embered Peaks into madness with its silent whispers. As the party explains that Embered Peaks has already descended into chaos, Yieran collapses on the ground and exclaims, “I have killed so many, and I have learned nothing! But I must continue, or all will have been for naught.”

Hearing this, the party decides to put an end to his experiments, and resolves to destroy the resurrection machine. They attempt to subdue Yieran, and although he puts up a fight, the party prevails and takes the syringe from him. Looking around the room, Ignus finds a hidden panel next to the vat of orange liquid, and pushes it aside to reveal an entrance leading even deeper underground. As the party descends, they find themselves in the remnants of an ancient building, walls made of rusted blue and silver metal. As they proceed with Delin leading the charge, the party encounter minuscule amounts of light, glistening off of something in the middle of a large, otherwise empty room. Delin rushes forward to investigate, but before he has a chance to understand the situation, he slams into a web of hair-thin metal wires, each strong enough to cut through iron.

Although he manages to stop before he completely slices himself through, he only just removes himself from the web before several spiked, metallic spheres roll down the web, intent on impaling their prey. Delin backs off immediately, as the others move to cover him. The spheres spin rapidly on the web, building up energy, and as they launch themselves at great speed towards the party, Ignus gets struck with one and notices a strong poison spread from the spikes into the rest of his body. Lloyd notices that his lightning appears to be very effective against the strange machines, and single-handedly destroys one with bolts of lightning from his hand. Ignus and Leanna take the other one down with a combination of thundering axe-blows and precise beams of light, and having had a chance to recover, Delin finishes a third off by grabbing it by a spike and hurling it against the wall. After their encounter, Delin takes a liking to one of the creatures, naming it Spikey, and carefully places it in his bag as a constant companion.

The next room the party comes across contains several control panels lined along the wall, along with several dozen globules of orange goo seeping from the walls and ceilings. Although a quick investigation fails to reveal anything about the control panels, Leanna blasts one of the globules with her light, and watches as it grows warm to the touch. She continues to pour more energy into it, and it begins to glow white-hot. Expecting it to burst, the party hides behind a metal wall, and Leanna hits it with one last burst of light. Suddenly, the ooze puts off an incredible amount of heat, and in a brilliant flash of white, it explodes, leaving a crater where it once sat and covering the room in reddish-orange piles of goo, still hot enough to burn skin. Excited about their new discovery, the party collects several jars full of ooze, completely ignoring the fact that they now carry several large containers of explosives on their person without knowing its true properties. Undaunted by this, they move through the only exit in this room and down a short flight of stairs.

However, before they manage to get far, they quickly run into a seemingly insurmountable obstacle – the room ahead of them is flooded with the orange goo they found on the walls earlier. They notice that the thick ooze would support them for a short while, but they would sink into it before they made it across. Remembering one of the cyphers they picked up earlier, Ignus runs back into the previous room and pries off a large metal plate off of one of the controls panels, and coats it with a luminescent spray. Suddently, the plate becomes weightless, and begins floating up towards the top of the room. Ignus grabs it and returns to the party, where he explains his plan – Delin will tie a rope to the panel and hover across the pool, dragging the panel and its occupant along with him to the other side. The panel should sink far less quickly given its larger area, and as long as the person riding it doesn’t move too much, they should make it safely across.

The party agrees with the plan, and Delin begins dragging Ignus across the pool of goo. They make it across without issue, and Ignus steps onto a platform on the other side and starts working to unlock the door. Delin heads back and begins towing Lloyd across the pool, but as they reach the center, Lloyd feels a heavy thump as something hard contacts the bottom of the panel and tries to tip it. He manages to hold on, and as Delin pulls them faster, he sees a thin, metal spike pierce the spot they just occupied. A second spike springs up from underneath the ooze, and stabs into the back of the plate, nearly locking Lloyd off. A third puts a solid dent in the middle, and Delin hurries to get Lloyd across to safety. Without anyway to determine the cause of the metal spikes, Leanna is left with no choice but to try and cross the pool, despite the obvious dangers.

Delin begins pulling her across, and the spikes immediately begin pummeling the underside of the plate. Leanna manages to hold on, white-knuckled hands tightly gripping opposite edges, but as they approach the half-way point, one of the spikes knocks the back end of the plate up into the air, sending her tumbling forward into the goo. The spikes quickly find their prey, but as one of Leanna’s arms get pierced through, Ignus manages to get the door on the opposite end open, and some of the goo begins spilling out into the next room. As the room drains, the party learn the cause metal spikes – a massive crustacean with two large pincers, resting on the bottom of the pool. Several slender spikes sprout from its shell, showing severed skulls that spin and stare with stark sockets. The skulls begin chattering, as the party wades into the ooze in their attempt to rescue Leanna from becoming yet another head on the creature’s back. Although the sticky ooze makes it difficult for the party to move, the creature’s pincers fail to hit their marks, and they soon retrieve Leanna, bloodied, but alive.

As the party steps through the door, they are confronted with a mass of large black, transparent spheres with glowing orange centers, stacked on top of each other like bubbles. The mass takes up most of the room, leaving little space for the party to move around. Inside the room, the party is assailed with a wave of angry, unintelligible gibberish shouting from deep within their minds. As they endure the pain of the intensifying screams, Lloyd finds a set of controls along one of the walls, and pushes several of the buttons in an attempt to end the voice. Suddenly, the black bubbles begin to burst, revealing a petrified brain with dozens of wires attached to it, sitting on a faintly glowing pedestal. Asthe last of the bubbles disappear, the voice in the back of the party’s mind becomes deep and clear. “Thank you for freeing me, I am Boregal, and it has been so long since I have been awake.” He converses with the party, explaining that he had been sleeping until just recently, and awakening to find that he could not move or speak sent him into a panic. Unfortunately, he had the same ability as Seria, the ability to touch the minds of others, and amplified by the spheres around him, his power caused his panic and distress to spread to people all over the desert.

As he speaks though, the party begins to notice that Boregal is not as calm, or as innocent as he makes himself out to be. Although the party seemed to handle his influence without issue, the entire village of Embered Peaks was in ruin because of him, and he brushes the villagers deaths off without remorse. Ignus notices the dark undertone of his words, as he discusses his suffering he caused as though it were entirely natural. The conversation takes a turn for the worse, as the party asks him what he plans to do with his freedom. The first word out of his mouth is “revenge”, and dozens of rocks break off from the walls and fly towards the pedestal, forming a vaguely human shape around the brain. The form walks towards them with the brain at its center, and Boregal explains that he will leave them unharmed as a reward for freeing him, but that those who put them in this machine, and their children, and their grandchildren, and any descendants still remaining, will pay with their lives.

Unable to stand by as a powerful, psychic entity leaves to sow death and destruction among his enemies, the party attacks. Delin kicks off the floor and launches himself towards Boregal, but as he gets close, he finds that his body no longer responds to his commands. Instead, he watches helplessly as he changes course and barrels into Leanna, trying to bash his skull into her with enough force to kill. As Lloyd and Leanna move to stop Delin from hurting himself or the rest of the party, Ignus bursts into flames and leaps towards Boregal, axe raised high above his head. However, a heavy rock flies out from Boregal’s body, smashing into Ignus before his weapon can connect. Realizing the difference in power between themselves and their enemy, Leanna pulls out several contains of the orange goo that she collected, and with pinpoint accuracy, hurls them at the brain in the center of Boregal’s body. As rocks fly out to intercept the jars, they shatter and cover Boregal in a sticky orange goo. Coming of out his stupor, Delin rushes forward to grapple the advancing enemy as Delin and Lloyd intercept the flying rocks and Leanna blasts Boregal with beam after beam of light. As the goo begins to glow white-hot, Delin sprints to the back of the room, and Leanna fires a final beam, causing the body and brain inside to explode and throwing the party against the walls of the room.

The voice in their heads silenced for good, the party salvages whatever pieces of technology not destroyed by the explosion and returns to the surface, taking a tied up Yieran with them to try and explain the situation to the remaining villagers. Once outside, the party gathers a crowd of villages and Ignus gives a speech about how Yieran, their leader, betrayed them and killed the others for his own selfish desires towards the machine resting deep underneath Embered Peaks. He takes his axe and unceremoniously beheads Yieran, expecting the villages to praise the party for their hand in ending the nightmare brought on by the resurrection machine. Instead, the crowd turns against them, and upset at the death of their leader, they begin to move closer to the party. Thinking quickly, Lloyd and Leanna attach two of their cyphers together, creating a massive, mile-wide cloud of amnesia gas that covers the entire village. In the confusion, the party quickly makes their exit, hoping never to have to return to Embered Peaks again.

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Dracogen, We Have Liftoff

After returning to Cylion Basin, the party begins hearing rumors of a strange floating platform floating several miles south of town. Deciding to spend some time to gather information, they learn that the platform has only recently appeared, and that although several people have already tried to enter it, its location several hundred feet above ground level renders it all but inaccessible. As they wander around town, they are approached by a six-foot tall man, with black, neatly-trimmed, slicked-back hair, and wearing a fine black suit. The man introduces himself as Dracogen, an entrepreneur by trade, and explains to them that if they are interested in exploring the platform and learning its secrets, he would be happy to provide them with the necessary equipment as long as he would be able to accompany them.

The party agrees, and Dracogen invites him to his home in Cylion Basin. He shows them to his mansion on the outskirts of town, a fine crystal and marble mansion easily the largest building for miles, and capable of accommodating at least thirty guests on the first floor alone. The party waits in one of the receiving rooms while Dracogen goes up to the second floor. He quickly returns with five back-mounted devices, and explains that they can provide enough thrust to allow the user to fly for long distances. He hands each member of the party one of the devices, and escorts them to the outskirts of town.

The party flies for about fifteen minutes south until they finally reach the platform. A metal plane with a jagged crystalline structure in the middle, the platform does not appear to be more than a few hundred feet across. When they land, they are immediately attacked by large birds that have made their home here, but they manage to quickly dispatch them with minimal injury. Much unlike his previous demeanor, Dracogen remains silent for the majority of the time there, stating that he prefers to observe. The party manages to find an entrance to the structure several feet above the platform, and begin their exploration.

As the party searches through the dark interior, Leanna uses her Illuminating Touch to light up the interior. However, they find very little of interest while searching inside the centuries-old ruin, and a frustrated Ignus calls over to Dracogen to help them look for anything they may have missed. At first, he ignores them, but as Ignus becomes more insistent, he slowly moves towards the rest of the party to take a look. As he does, The light from Leanna’s Illuminating Touch fades from a bright while to a soft purple, and though he does his best to hide it, Dracogen solemn expression changes to surprise. He quickly moves away from the party, stating that he wasn’t able to find anything, and refuses to answer Ignus’ further requests. After an hour of searching, the party manages to salvage a few scraps of useful devices, but fail to come away with anything particularly breathtaking. They come to the conclusion that whatever purpose the platform once served had been completely lost, and now it only remains as an old, hovering ruin.

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Where There's a Worm, There's a Way

Playing the part of the gracious host, Dracogen invites them to his mansion for dinner to thank them for allowing him to accompany them. Not ones to turn down a free meal, the party decides to spend the evening at Dracogen’s luxurious estate. In the middle of their six-course meal, Dracogen explains to them that he has another venture that he’d like them to explore. He explains that a man named Millian recently stole something of his, a handheld device made of red metal and blue synth called a revitalizer, and that he would like the party to retrieve it in exchange for compensation. Although his words are light and casual, the tone of his voice heavily implies that he believes that party owes him for providing them the means to explore the platform, and that to refuse would put them on his bad side.

Picking up on his not-so-subtle cues, Ignus agrees and asks for more details. He explains that Millian lives in a small, two-story building in Cylion Basin called the Challimone Building, and that it should be relatively easy for such a capable party to apprehend him and retrieve the revitalizer. The party decides to help their gracious host in returning his stolen property, and after finishing their meal, retire in several of Dracogen’s guest chambers for the night. In the morning, the party go hunting for more information about Millian, and any potential allies he may have in the cities. Although they learn nothing of interest about Millian himself, they do learn that he stole the revitalizer not from Dracogen, but from Ehvera, a criminal mastermind working to grow her influence. After thinking for a while on whether or not they should help Dracogen obtain a device that was not originally his, they agree to retrieve it for him, stating his incredible wealth and generosity as a large factor in their decision.

The party heads to the Challimone building, and devise a plan to lure Millian out in the open. They send Leanna up to the second floor alone to speak with them and find out where the revitalizer is, while Delin hovers by the window and Ignus and Lloyd wait outside. As Leanna knocks on the door to their small apartment, Millian invites her in, believing her to be harmless. She learns that Millian is not alone, sharing the room with a large burly man who he introduces as his brother Graun. Although she originally intended to lure them out of the apartment into an ambush, things quickly take a turn for the worse as Millian deduces the true reason for her being there – to steal the revitalizer. Delin starts to smash open the window on the second floor, as Ignus and Lloyd rush up the stairs to break down the door. Hoping to buy some time, Leanna pulls out a cypher and sets it on the floor, filling the room with a powerful sleeping gas just as Ignus and Lloyd manage to get the door open and Delin finishes breaking through the window. Unfortunately, the entire party fails to stave off the effects of the gas, falling asleep instantly, while Millian and Graun shrug it off and escape through the now thoroughly smashed doorway.

Luckily, the gas wears off after twenty or so seconds, and the party finds a blood trail left behind by Graun as he tried to steal some of Delin’s belongings, not realizing the poisonous, spiked metal sphere he so wisely decided to bring along with him sitting in his bags. They chase them through the back alleyways of Cylion Basin’s small residential district, with Delin steadily making progress as the others fall behind. Seeing Millian and Graun turn into a nearby alley, Delin rushes forward and launches himself off the wall, manipulating the gravity around him to send him hurtling head-first into a quickly tiring Millian. The rest of the party quickly catch up and help Delin to apprehend the two before they can get away again. Leaving them tied up in the streets, Ignus finds the revitalizer on Millian’s person and uses it to heal their wounds. Although he realizes the power that having such a device would give them, he convinces the party to return it to Dracogen out of both respect and fear for the strange man.

The party returns to Dracogen late in the evening, where he thanks them for the return of his stolen device, and promises them food, drink, a place to stay, and a pouch full of shins for their service. He explains that although he must leave before they awaken tomorrow morning, he gladly allows them free reign of the mansion during their time here, and hopes that they will accept his hospitality. The party feasts at the behest of their gracious host, and after several hours, the four of them retire to their individual rooms for the night. In the morning, Ignus, Delin, and Lloyd awaken to find that not only has Dracogen left as he said he would, but Leanna had decided to sleep in, given the unresponsiveness at her door when they decided to check on her. Another hour passes, and they enter Leanna’s room, worried about why she had not joined them for breakfast.

They find a pale gray Leanna with jet black hair, and a small amount of blood around her left ankle. Although they find it very difficult to rouse her from her sleep, an electric shock from Lloyd manages to do the trick. As she groggily sits up, the rest of the party immediately notices something different about her – the large, segmented mass resting on the top of her spine, just underneath the skin. Delin examines her, remembering his training in identifying the causes of such flesh wounds, and determines that the blood around her ankle, accompanied by small bite marks, was caused by a Bloodfeast Tick. The tick, when it finds a suitable victim, releases a toxin into the victim’s bloodstream, sending her into a deep coma so the tick can drink its fill. When undisturbed, the tick will easily consume several gallons of blood, swelling to many dozens of times its size, after which it crawls away to begin its transformation into a Bloodfeast Scion.

Understandably surprised at this turn of events, Leanna asks the rest of the party to help her to figure out what was done to her, and how to reverse it. Leanna goes with Lloyd to the Healing Pools in the center of Cylion Basin, Delin heads off to town to see if anyone has ever seen her condition before, and Ignus decides to see what he can learn by investigating the mansion.

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Farewell, Desert, I Hardly Knew Ye

Leanna and Lloyd
After experiencing the wonders of the Healing Pools of Cylion Basin first hand, Leanna and Lloyd head to the center of town to see if their restorative properties would be effective against the new growth on Leanna’s back. As they head towards the main street, Leanna notices that the sun appears to be fixed in a location west across the Black Riage, despite it being almost noon. Lloyd notes that the sun is perfectly overhead, as it always is during this time of day, and Leanna drops the subject. Leanna jumps into the black pool, the one supposedly able to cure physical ailments, and after several minutes, she feels a small amount of movement from the top of her back. At first, no more than a small amount of squirming, but soon, Leanna begins to feel a series of sharp pains as several tendrils radiate out from the main body and wrap themselves around her organs, leaving a spider web of black trails just under the skin. Recognizing this as the exact opposite of what she had hoped the liquid would do, she leaps out of the pool and examines her back. Whatever had attached itself to her had worked itself another inch down her spine, and the black tendrils showed no signs of retracting anytime soon. Both disappointed and frightened by this new development, she and Lloyd searched for Delin as they looked around town for someone to cure her.

Ignus
Ignus wanders around the mansion for a few minutes, finding two sealed areas locked away by heavy metal doors and keypads. Luckily, he happens to have the right tools for the job – cyphers that allow him to manipulate and melt large metal objects. Behind one door, he finds a large study, books arranged neatly in bookcases that cover the walls. On the desk, he finds two desiccated specimens in tall, glass tubes. A shriveled, dark purple snake approximately three feet long, and a thick, hard-shelled creature about the same length, both of them suspended from the tops of their containers with thin synth wires. He notes the labels written in neat, flowing cursive – “sleeper”, and “defender”, but otherwise leaves them alone. The other door he opens reveals a spiral staircase descending deep into the darkness, and he wisely decides to gather the rest of the party before proceeding into unknown territory.

The party gathers in the middle of Cylion Basin, no closer to finding a cure than they were earlier in the day. Delin mentions that he found store with a brain stem and spine nailed to a sign hanging over the door, and given the nature of Leanna’s ailment, suggested that they try asking there first. They head over to the shop, and find a young shopkeeper who introduces herself as Illya. Leanna explains the situation to Illya, and she agrees to take a look. She leads Leanna to a small operating table and has her lie down while injecting a pale-green liquid into several places in her back. Confident that Leanna’s back had been thoroughly numbed, she takes a scalpel and makes several incisions down the length of her spine, peeling back the skin to reveal the cause of Leanna’s worry – a dark purple, multi-segmented creature about two-and-a-half feet running down the length of her spine. The creature appeared to be firmly affixed to the spine itself, and several black tendrils radiated from into other parts of the body.

Exclaiming that there was nothing that she could do with the tools she had, and that she had never seen such a creature before, Illya quickly cauterized the incisions and recommended that Leanna seek help in a larger city. She mentioned that although there were very few cities in the Beyond that would fit that criteria, the closest city in the Steadfast that would be suitable would be Jyrek, the City of Nobles in the south of Thaemor. The party thanked Illya for her time, and headed back to the mansion to plan their next move. Ignus relays to the rest of the party the various discoveries he made as he snooped around Dracogen’s estate, and told them about the spiral staircase leading underground. The party heads to the staircase, and use Leanna’s Illuminating Touch to light the way. However, her light comes out as a barely visible glow, useless for seeing anything past a few feet in front of them. Still, they move into the darkness, unsure of what they will find.

After a few minutes of climbing down stairs, the party comes across a dark room, lined with several rows of purple pods, and with a tall, cracked statue of a woman standing in the back of the room. They take a quick look inside a pod, seeing a small, purple snake with a hard-shelled creature lying on top of it. However, before they get a chance to examine the pods, the statue animates and begins sprouting bright green mold from its cracks. The statue approaches the party, and as the party breathes in the mold, they feel a harsh stinging in their lungs, as the mold’s poison begins to spread. The party quickly springs into action, bringing axes, beams of light, bolts of electricity, and thick skulls against the statue, but the mold continues to wear them down as they fight. Delin and Leanna are forced to retreat into the stairwell, but Ignus and Lloyd continue fighting. Finally, as Ignus burns away the mold with his flame aura and Lloyd smashes the statue along its cracks with his sword, the statue crumbles and turns into a pile of moss-covered rubble.

Rather than stay any longer and potentially have to face a new threat in their severely weakened state, the party retreats to the upper level and seals the door as best they can. Unconcerned with Dracogen’s eventual return to his mansion, they pile the entirety of the living room furniture, dressers and couches included, in front of the basement door in the hopes of deterring any other statues from climbing up the stairs and assaulting them. Exhausted by their battle, and still no closer to resolving Leanna’s issues save for a suggestion to cross the Black Riage in search of more sophisticated medical treatment, the party rests for the remainder of the day.

Having reached the peak of their frustration with the vast expanses of desert in the Beyond, and spurred on by Leanna’s search for someone capable of removing the parasitic worm on her back, the party endeavors to leave Cylion Basin and cross Tremble Pass, one of the only passages through the Black Riage. They leave the town the next morning after purchasing enough supplies for several weeks, should they need it. The journey itself was relatively uneventful, save for several party members getting mauled by a vicious pack of Ravage Bears, but after a few days of travel, they begin to notice several small, clay figurines along the side of the road, sculpted in a fairly reasonable likeness of Lloyd. While this did not immediately concern them, the frequency and size of the statues continued growing over the next day until the party finally arrived at the mountain town of Legrash.

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It's Pronounced Lay-graus

A small mountain town dug into the side of Mt Zanlis, Legrash is the only sign of civilization along Tremble Pass. Although the pilgrims of the Wandering Walk report it as being a disease-ridden hellhole full of murderers and pickpockets, the current reality is strikingly different. The roads have been crudely paved with stone, providing a pathway through the mud-covered earth. The old, decrepit buildings have been patched up with scrap wood and clay, and a number of new buildings have even been erected. The most noticeable changes, though, are the large, clay statues of Lloyd, standing tall by the entrance to the town, and in the distance, a temple that has been cut into the side of the mountain.

As the party approaches the entrance to town, Lloyd notices the multiple statues that bear his likeness, and promptly throws up his hood to prevent anyone from seeing his face. As he does, a white-robed man, feet caked with mud, moves from the entrance of town to meet the party.

‘Howdy there, travelers! How ya’ll doin’? Look like you’ve been traveling for quite some time!" He pulls back his hood to reveal dirty-brown and gray hair, and a smile missing more than its fair share of teeth. “My name’s Lester, lemee tell you somthin’ about old Legrash here.” Lester goes on to explain about Legrash’s newfound religious beliefs at the hand of a prophet who arrived several months ago. The prophet displayed great and awe-inspiring powers, which he said he received from the great Lloyd, patron saint of Mt. Zanlis, Although Lloyd was no longer walking among them, the prophet said that he would prepare the way for him to return by carving a path deep into the mountain. “That prophet’s taught us all kinds of things, and he tells us the words of the great Lloyd every day during his sermon. If you’re got time, it’s in a couple hours. Why don’t you stop on by?”

The party decides to stick around town for a while and gather information, in the hopes of figuring out why Lloyd is suddenly being worshiped as a god in a backwards mountain town. Delin keeps making silly faces at Lloyd whenever someone mentions his name, hoping that he might explain himself. Still, Lloyd appears to have no idea why people are making clay statues of him, so he goes along with the party to the local temple, keeping his hood over his head all the while.

The temple itself is fairly large and spacious,. A large cavern cut into the mountain, it appears to be capable of holding over 200 people at a time. Rows of stone benches line the floor, and the walls are decorated by crude paintings and statues of Lloyd. In the center of the room lies a large stone altar with a head-sized yellow crystal resting on it, and in the back, a set of heavy wool curtains separate the main chamber from the cavern beyond. Faint sounds of whirring machinery can be heard from beyond the curtains.

As the party enters, a large bolt of lightning strikes the ground behind them, and where it hit stands a young man smelling of singed hair and dressed in a dusty white robe. He introduces himself as Pollen, and while the others have never seen or heard of him before now, Lloyd recognizes him as a slightly older, more mature version of the boy he saved on Mt. Zanlis. “You’re welcome to join us for the sermon,” Pollen says, “but I’d be happy to show you around a little beforehand. We get many visitors here who are interested in learning more about the one true Lloyd.”

He beings to take you around the main temple area, showing you the various artworks and statues that the people of town have created and displayed here. As the party continues asking him questions about Lloyd and how he came to be worshiped here, Lloyd takes you beyond the curtains into the back rooms of the cavern, where all kinds of mining equipment is stored. He shows you a shrine to Lloyd, a small corner of the cave with a tattered tent and charred climbing equipment that he says was used by Lloyd as he ascended up the mountain. He continues on to say that when Lloyd reached the top of the mountain, a blinding flash of light hid him from view, and the next time he saw him was in a dream, a room of pure white filled with strange people standing around them as Lloyd lay by his side.

Finally, he leads you to the back of the cavern, where a large mine shaft has been dug several hundred feet into the rock, and where the clanging of metal against rock can be heard even from this far above. He rolls up his sleeve to reveal a marking etched into his skin: a jagged circle with a lightning bolt-shaped dagger running through the center of it. He concludes his tour by saying that this was the mark he received as proof of Lloyd’s blessing upon him, and that he and his followers dig tirelessly into the mountain in the hopes that Lloyd will return to them.

By the time that Pollen finishes his tour and explains the five tenants of Lloyd, people have already started gathering outside for the sermon. He invites the party to find seats in the main hall and be blessed as he delivers Lloyd’s message to the people. Then as quickly as he appeared, he vanishes in a burst of lightning. The party leaves the back of the cavern and heads back out to the chapel, where they can see Pollen standing by the door, greeting townspeople and visitors alike.

After sitting down in the back of the chapel, the party listens intently to Pollen, as his speaks about the virtues of manliness and courage in the face of adversity. He reminds them that a truly manly person takes care of his home and his family, and that Legrash will become a prospering village with enough hard work and dedication. And finally, he invites visitors to come up and touch the Lloydstone, the yellow crystal in the front of the chapel, and understand the true power of Lloyd.

Both Ignus and Delin take his offer and walk up to the altar, where they are instructed to place both their hands on the Lloydstone. When they do so, an sharp, electrical sensation surges from the stone into their body, but causes no pain. When they release the stone, they find that both of their hands have been blackened, but that the color is caused by ash that easily rubs off.

When they return to their seats, Pollen concludes the sermon and moves to speak with some of his followers. The party leaves the temple and heads over to the Rusty Nail, one of the taverns in Legrash that provide room and board to visiting pilgrims and merchants. They devise a plan to have Lloyd miraculously return during tomorrow sermon, and rest the remainder of the day, waiting for nightfall to put their plan into action.

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Birth of a Pantheon

When night finally fell, and the people of Legrash went back to their homes, the party moved to the temple, careful to avoid attracting the attention of anyone still awake. They found that the temple was empty and lit only by the soft glow of the Lloydstone. As they opened the curtains that led to the back of the cavern, they took extra care not to wake Pollen, who spent his nights sleeping in Lloyd’s old tent. As they approached the mine shaft, Ignus lit a torch and volunteered to operate the crane that served as a makeshift elevator. Delin, Leanna, and Lloyd stepped onto the wooden pallet that served as the elevator’s floor, and descended into the darkness.

As they traveled foot after foot into the mine shaft, they saw the progress that they people of Legrash had made. The shaft opened out into a small area every fifty feet, serving as storage space for crates of supplies and other necessities. Several small indents were made in the walls of the shaft, solely for the purpose of putting a statue of Lloyd inside. Still, as they continued further, they began to see a number of strange formations in the wall, almost as though the rock there had been melted away by something. Similarly, there were a number of rough tunnel openings about three-feet wide that appeared sporadically along the walls. These formations increased in frequency the further down they went, and when they finally reached the bottom, they found the cause.

When the elevator touched down against the pockmarked stone floor, the first thing that the party saw was several brown, moving objects at the openings of the tunnels in the shaft walls. When they sensed the presence of movement at the bottom of the shaft, the objects popped out of the tunnels and revealed their true form: stubby, three-foot tall brownish-green creatures with hard chitinous plates protecting their head and back, and rows of razor sharp teeth lining the insides of their flat, wide mouths.

Before they had a chance to react, one of the creatures opened it’s mouth wide and launched a globule of viscous green goo at Delin. He managed to just barely dodge it, and it splattered against the back wall, sticking to the solid rock and melting it into a greenish-gray puddle on the ground. Thinking quickly, Lloyd, placed a thick metal tube bisected by an orange glow of light onto the ground, setting up a force field that separated them from two of the creatures. Leanna, in her now light-less state, barely managed to summon forth the energy to create an Onslaught, but what little remnants of light remained collected themselves in the tip of her finger and she focused it at one of the creatures. Delin followed up by launching himself towards the creature and wrapping his arm around its head in an attempt to keep it from spitting more goo at them. Meanwhile, the other two creatures curled up into balls and began spinning, their thick outer shells grinding and cutting into the stone floor.

With one of the creatures immobilized by Delin, Leanna and Lloyd finished it off with a quick burst of light and jolt of electricity. Noticing that the other two creatures had disappeared into tunnels cut into the floor, Lloyd pulled out a burnished metallic sphere with a single white lens on the outside, and readied it for when the creatures returned. They never did, however, and the mine shaft remained quiet. Now, they were ready to put their plan into action. Lloyd, for some reason, insisted on being naked and covered in explosive goo, so Delin and Leanna did their best to accomodate his strange wishes. Afterwards, Delin and Leanna returned to the surface on the elevator, leaving Lloyd alone in the barren mine shaft, and waited until dawn when followers would arrive to continue the previous day’s work.

When dawn broke, the sounds of activity could be heard outside. Pollen walked into the room, surprised to see someone else in the cavern. “What are you all doing here? I wasn’t expecting you to be here so early.” Ignus explained that they felt a strong presence here, and came to determine the cause. Pollen went down into the mine shaft by himself to investigate, and several minutes returned with a gooey and shivering Lloyd. Pollen took off his robe and gave it Lloyd, as he turned to the party and exclaimed “This is truly a great day! Lloyd has returned to us in the flesh to lead us to the heart of the mountain! Please Lloyd, you must come with me, your followers need to hear your message from your own mouth.” Still covered in goo, Lloyd walked with Pollen out of the back of the cavern, while the party slowly followed behind.

When they reached the main hall, Lloyd addressed the people who were gathered there. “This is a great day for us all! The one true Lloyd has returned!” He beckoned Lloyd to move up to the pulpit so that he could speak to the audience. As Lloyd spoke, he could see that many of the followers were completely caught up in his presence, and stared at him with eyes full of excitement. There were, however, several in attendance that did not accept a naked, goo-covered man to be the almighty Lloyd they had heard about, even if he looked like him. They shouted jeers while Lloyd spoke, calling him out and forcing him to prove his abilities in front of the audience. Lloyd charged his hand with electricity, in an effort to show his power, but the few unruly audience members pointed out that Pollen used the same ability on a daily basis. “Lloyd has only just returned to this world, he has not yet had time to regain his true powers.” Still, even as he said this, there was a look of expectation in his eyes,

In an effort to prove himself, Lloyd moved to the Lloydstone and shocked it with a surge of electricity from his hand. However, almost as if taunting him, the Lloydstone remained inert. At this point, other members of the congregation had started to question Lloyd’s authenticity. Seeing that the crowd was beginning to turn against Lloyd, Ignus stepped forward, ignited his armor in a blaze of orange and crimson flame, and addressed the people with the confidence of a nobleman. He explained that he and his companions were indeed gods, and had come here to collect Lloyd for a mission of great importance. To support his words, Leanna summoned forth as much energy as she could, causing her skin to emit a bright yellow light. Delin, in true Delin fashion, kicked off as hard as he could and launched himself into one of the cavern walls, leaving an imprint of his forehead in the dense rock. Both appreciative and deeply disappointed, Ignus continued with his speech and told the people that Lloyd was indeed the one true Lloyd, although weakened by his battles, and that when he next returned to Legrash, he would prove himself to them many times over.

None of the people there could deny that the four individuals in front them held unique abilities, and caught up on Ignus’ words and attitude, the crowd prostrated themselves in front of the party and begged for their forgiveness. Ignus bade them to stand, and told them that they would be in Legrash until tomorrow morning, when they would set off for the Steadfast to continue with their world-changing mission. Pollen stepped forward and declared that everyone in town should take this day to celebrate the return of Lloyd and his allies, and learn as much as they could from them before they left. Satisfied with the way things had gone, the party left the temple and went off to mingle with the people of Legrash.

Lloyd spent the day basking in the apologies of those for doubting them, and immediately started accepting offerings. He requested an embroidered pillow from one of the children, with full understanding that it was the child’s prized possession, and commented that now that he had returned, the village should spend its time selling gems and materials from deep inside the mountain to gain wealth. He mentioned that the next time he came back, he hoped that the village would be more accommodating and less muddy. Pollen had been following him for some time, and although he kept a smile on his face, there was a look of pain in his eyes. Ignus asked around for an armor-smith, capable of making him armor fit for a noble. Although the people of Legrash were not capable of creating such armor, he heard from a visiting merchant that the city of Jyrek in Thaemor would most likely have what he was looking for. Similarly, Leanna inquired about someone able to remove the creature attached to her back, and she was told that a big city such as Jyrek would likely have the resources needed to detach it.

After spending the night at the Rusty Nail, the party leaves Legrash in good spirits. The village sends them off with heartfelt goodbyes, and wishes them the best on their journey. Pollen, however, is not around to see them leave. They party travels for another week along Tremble Pass, facing few issues, save for a pack of wandering Pallones. When they reach the Steadfast, they spend some time among the pilgrims that set up camp along the entrance to the pass, and learn more about their destination. Leanna notes that the sun is still fixed in the sky, now to the north-west, but for the other members in the party, the sun is moving across the sky normally. Still, the party decides to move south to Jyrek, where they hope they can find answers to a few of their many problems.

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On the Case! Tale of the Nobleman Murders

The party arrives in Jyrek after two weeks of travel from Tremble Pass. During this time, they pass by a number of travelers and merchants on the way two and from Jyrek, and slowly learn about the general state of the city, as well the layout of the city itself. Rumors of murders have been slowly trickling out of the city, but very few concrete details can be found.

During this time, Leanna notices that her vision is getting worse, and that the sun appears to be in the direction of the north-east. However, the party continues to Jyrek, with the hope of finding someone who remove the creature from Leanna’s back.

After stepping through the southern gates of the city, Delin immediately disappears into one of the back streets, stating that he’d be right back. Meanwhile, the party is confronted with a mob of peasants, shouting at a sheepish man as he addresses the crowd from his position above a small wooden crate. Moving closer, the party learns that several nobles have been killed, and that the nobility have responded to these murders with strict curfews and heightened surveillance. However, the lower-class has been suffering as a result of these new measures, since the increase in guards only results in an increase in taxes. In addition, the murderer is yet unknown, with very little evidence being left at the scene. Ignus attempts to convince the people to leave, but his declaration of his noble birth draws more hate from the crowd.

Delin returns during Ignus’ speech with several IDs, stating that the party is here under the employ of a Count Magellan. He states that the IDs are fake, but that he has an old contact in the city who can provide him with information and other such materials. Delin tries his hand at calming the people, but only succeeds in head-butting several of them. Still, the crowd disperses, most of them running away from Delin, and the party is left alone with the man on the wooden crate.

He introduces himself as Adachi, one of the members of the police force and assistance to Constable Frei. As you talk with him, you learn quite a bit about the ongoing investigation, including the names of the four victims, and the location of the crime scene: Goodman’s Bridge. However, before you can speak much more with him, a booming voice grabs your attention. “Adachi! How many times have I told you not to talk about case to outsiders?”

The voice belongs to a man who introduces himself as Constable Frei, the head of the police force in Jyrek. Ignus mentions to the Constable that the party is here under the order of Count Magellan, and presents the relevant paperwork. As a result of this, Frei provides the party with information about the murders, and asks for their help in gathering evidence about the main suspect, a sellsword named Orellik. He tells the party that four people have been murdered over the past few months:

Eelos, who was found on top of Goodman’s Bridge two months ago. He had been clearly strangled, and several of his bones were crushed.
Faenouc, who was discovered a half-mile downstream of Goodman’s Bridge one week after Eelos’ death. The cause of death was not able to be determined
Qualue, who was found underneath the bridge three weeks ago. The body was crushed much like Eelos. Frei supposes that the man was killed underneath the bridge, rather than being dragged down from the top of the bridge.
Yiaen, who was found on top of Goodman’s Bridge two days ago. His death was very similar to that of Eelos.

In addition, Frei gives the party a few leads to investigate. Orellik owned a small house in the Puddles. In addition, he provides the names of a few people who might know more about the night of the murders, or Orellik himself: His mother, Salazia the Fortuneteller, Mishen, the owner of Mishen’s Masterworks, and Om the Osbergian, a well-known researcher of the Numenera.

Armed with this information, and with the promise of a reward if they bring Orellik in, the party promptly splits up with the hope of covering more ground and completing their tasks. Lloyd and Ignus each go off in search of a more permanent residence than the local Inn, Delin goes off in search of more information about Orellik and Leanna weakly limps by herself off to Jyrek Central Hospital in order to ask about treatment for her parasitic spine-worm.

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Of Hospital and Home

Lloyd:
Llyod wanders through the slums of Jyrek and manages to find a completely abandoned warehouse on the south-west side of the Puddles. He determines that the warehouse could easily be used as a temporary hideout, given its out-of-the-way location, and with a little work, could be made into a serviceable living space for a time. He then goes back to their previous location in order to meet Delin.

Delin
Through his contact, Delin gains the location of Orellik’s house and his likely location during the day: the Wayward Tavern. He meets up with Lloyd after finding this information and the two of them go off to Orellik’s house to find more information.
After 20 or so minutes of walking, they find themselves in a small residential area on the east side of the city. Oreillk’s house is small, and rather than being discreet, Delin unsurprisingly head-butts the door in. They find nothing of value in the house, but they are confronted by the landlord of the building who loudly states that they have no right to be there and that the guards are on their way. Delin and Lloyd quickly subdue the landlord, and in a desperate act to escape before more people arrive, sprint through a wall in the back of the building, leaving a Delin-sized hole. They then head off to Jyrek Central Hospital to find Leanna.

Leanna:
Leanna attempts to check herself into the Jyrek Central Hospital, only to be badgered by the receptionist about her health insurance and ID. Instead, she puts on her shirt that displays internal organs, and shows the receptionist two very interesting and previously-unknown problems: the two-foot, scaled purple worm attached to her spine with multiple tendrils extending out to her organs, and the fist-sized region of complete darkness in the middle of her chest. After seeing this, the receptionist calls over several nurses to take Leanna into a room where her problems can be diagnosed.

After an hour surrounded by a swarm of doctors and nurses, Leanna learns that the purple worm appears to be some kind of parasite that provides temporary physical enhancements. However, as the worm matures, it will continue growing larger and larger until it consumes the host and moves on to the next state of its life cycle. They could not determine the species of the worm, but recommended attempting to remove it immediately. The area of darkness in her chest could not be diagnosed, but was thought to be related to her waning vision.

Leanna is informed that the operation to remove the worm would have to done while awake, due to complications with blood pressure and heart/lung stress that could impact the process of removing such a large parasite. However, they would be able to temporarily disable certain nerve endings leading to the affected areas. Leanna is prepped for surgery, as she is moved into a large auditorium for researchers and other curious observers to watch the operation.

Leanna is placed face down on the operating table, and as the first few incisions are made into her back, it is immediately apparent that the creature will not be simple to remove. With numerous tendrils already embedded in several vital organs, it would be very difficult to remove the worm without harming the host. In addition, over a dozen attempts were made to penetrate the worm’s thick outer shell, first with scalpels and and bonesaws, then with industrial cutting lasers and trying to shatter the shell by freezing it. The only technique that was able to cut the shell was a high-powered chainsaw with ultra-dense synth edges traditionally used for cutting through thick metal walls. However, cutting into the creature caused it to extend more tendrils into Leanna’s heart, lungs, and liver. Seeing this as a threat to the patient’s life, the doctors stopped the operation.

Ignus:
In an attempt to secure a base of operations in Jyrek, Ignus asks around about Count Magellan’s Estate, since he already has documents stating that the party is in the city under the orders of the Count. Ignus is directed to a large, crystal and white marble mansion in the Silver district. The mansion itself looks like it contains at least twenty bedrooms, and the outside is surrounded by a well-kept rose garden dotted with several small gazebos. He convinces the guard to send for the housekeeper through his noble demeanor and relevant papers, and soon, a tall, gray-haired man walks out to greet him.

“My name is Dorial, and I am the head housekeeper of Count Magellan. What business do you have here?” Ignus explains that he is currently investigating the murders in the city, and since his father was well acquainted with the Count, he was hoping the Count would be able to provide him and his party a place to stay while in Jyrek. Dorial explains that the Count is currently away on business, but that the party is free to stay in the mansion during the course of their investigation. With a new home in Jyrek located, Ignus goes to Jyrek Central Hospital, worried about Leanna.

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The Fortuneteller's Bargain

A day after Leanna’s operation, the party sets off begins their investigation of Orellik in earnest. The first place they stop is the business of the fortuneteller, Salazia. Her fame in Jyrek certainly precedes her, and the party has no problem finding her. The party steps into a large blue building adorned with purple banners, although they are informed by the two attendants at the entrance that audiences with Salazia must be booked months, if not years in advance, their relationship with Count Magellan buys them an exception.

The party moves onto the large stage where Salazia holds her daily shows, and they are confronted with a slender woman wearing a gold-laced purple dress. She has a thin veil over her head, but a close look shows that she wears a full-faced black mask covered with depictions of eyes.

“You are here for two things. Information about my beloved Orellik, and about your friend’s unfortunate ailments.” She displays her psychic abilities freely, addressing each of the party by name. She says to them that her fiance is innocent of the crimes that he is accused of, and that she has no interest in providing any further commentary. However, she does tell the party that if they return to Frei with reports of Orellik’s innocence, she would reward them with the information they sought about the parasite on Leanna’s spine. In a show of good faith, she tells them that the only way to remove such a troublesome creature is with an ancient device called the Impossible Blade. However, more information would have to wait until Orellik was cleared of suspicion.

The party leaves Salazia, hopeful that they’ll be able to convict Orellik of the murders in order to gain more information about Leanna’s condition. Ignus, Leanna, and Lloyd decide to return to Magellan’s Estate in order to plan out their next move and gather more information, while Delin decides to spend his time scouting out the Goodman’s Bridge. He finds the that bridge is now being watched by guards belonging to Constable Frei, although from what he’s seen, they haven’t been very effective.

That night, Delin activates his gravity powers and hovers over the bridge, watching for any suspicious activity. While the guards are still watching the bridge, he still sees a lone woman, dressed in fine clothing, quietly speak to one of the guards and walk onto the bridge undeterred. She walks to the middle of the bridge and spends a few minutes sitting on the railing overlooking the river below. She then places one leg over the railing, and before Delin can react, leaps off the bridge and disappears into the darkness.

Delin rushes down to the river, where he quickly scans the surrounding area, hoping to find the woman. He sees slight movement in an area underneath the bridge, and finds the body of the woman who jumped floating just underneath the water. He scoops her up to find that she is still breathing, and rushes her over to Jyrek Central in order to receive treatment. Afterwards, he returns to Magellan’s Estate to discuss his findings with the others and rest until the next day.

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