Dragon Watch

Episode 58: Children of the Sightless Sea - Chapter Two
23 Gozran 4754

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​The Initiative was making their preparations for their infiltration of the ruins of Tzim’chevaghol. They hoped to retrieve the Eye of Chevaghol from within the city, though Orin’s scrying had already indicated to him that the city was inhabited. Expecting resistance, but also hoping to avoid conflict, Orin knew he would have to take great care in planning this outing.

But first, Orin had a made a promise. Once the Initiative had gone their separate ways for the evening, Orin came to Astrid’s chambers. She was dressed and ready to go, and without hesitation, Orin brought them to the remains of Iskarel in the Awzera Fen. Acting on a hint from Abadar, Astrid sought to consume Iskarel’s blood and come into the full promise of her Rogarvian bloodline. With Orin’s help, they removed the protection of Umbrath’s icy breath, and Astrid managed to carve her way to the dragon’s heart – still full with warm blood, even after all these ages. Quickly, beseeching the solar dragon for her blessing, Astrid drank full from the heart.

Meanwhile, Thorgur took a visit to the forge chapel in Anchorport’s mining camp. He consulted a priest within, who shared his own challenges in faith since Mountainfall and the sundering of the world. He had been challenged even before Mountainfall, he revealed, when he visited the Golushkin Mountains and saw the devastation there. Yet, the priest insisted, everyone had faith, and in the end, he chose faith in something greater and something good: Torag, and the joy of creation. Pondering the priest’s words, Thorgur took up an avil and set about some work. It was an act of worship – and maybe faith – the dwarf had not participted in since before the coup in Kraggodan, when he still called himself Lightshammer.

Their work complete, Orin and Astrid returned to Anchorport, and Astrid took her rest. When she woke, she found her head swimming with power, putting her off at the same time as she felt even stronger than ever before.

Finding the rest of the party, Orin declared his intention to travel back to Endwatch and collect his father and any other supplies he could get his hands on. Astrid, Rhodin and Hudson joined him. They conducted some business with the local shopkeepers there, and Orin reunited with Arion, who was more than ready to travel to ruins of Tzim’chevaghol again. Before making their journey, Orin took one more look at the region through the Frozen Heart of Orphys. He saw the ruins in clear detail, and observed a semi-intact aboleth ruin on the outskirts of the city, offering some cover from any wandering eyes from the creatures now roaming the area. Putting the heart away, Orin caught a slip of something – a slight resistance within his mind – but filed it away as information for the time being.

After resting one more day to prepare spells and last minute arrangements, the Initiative at last traveled to Tzim’chevaghol. They immediately caught sound of something nearby, and Orin wasted no time in creating a door to his mage’s magnificent mansion. The party shuffled inside, and decided on their next course of action. Hudson volunteered to scout the city with Orin, and the pair set out.

They found the city sparsely populated, save for a deal of movement within the town center. Hudson also caught a glimpse of a rune on the aboleth stone near the party’s hideout. Marking the rune down, he noted it was written in Azlant, and read: “we’ve lost your gift”

The pair noted the rune and continued scouting the area. Orin noticed one new structure in the city: a synagogue perched above the Dark Rift – the great abyss below the city, still filled with ocean. They moved in closer, and Orin eavesdropped on creatures inside. He quickly realized the Initiative’s arrival had not gone unnoticed by the gillmen, and even now a scout was going to return and investigate.

Hudson and Orin returned to the edge of the city, out-pacing the scout – who appeared to be invisible himself – and Hudson went into the mansion to inform the party of what they had seen. Meanwhile, Orin stood and confronted the creature now coming to search for them. Upon revealing himself, the scout stopped in its tracked – and bowed.

“Grant me your blessing, great one!”​

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Episode 57: Children of the Sightless Sea - Chapter One
20 Gozran 4754

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Anchorport

The party’s welcome to Anchorport turned out to be short-lived. The captain of the guard, an orc named Brahg, was none too pleased at the group bullying their way into his town. He drew his weapon, a single-shot pistol, and Hudson drew his in return. Rhodin talked both men down from bloodshed, and Amber insisted she was a child of the town and would be welcome in Port Ice.

Eventually, the party talked their way into a conversation with the mayor and soon smoothed things over – and discovered the reason for everyone’s confusion and itchy trigger fingers.

Anchorport was indeed Port Ice, but after surviving a terrible battle against creatures of the Dark Tapestry with the help of the pirate lords of the Lake of Mists and Veils, the town found itself cut off from New Stetven and the rest of the world. Taking a new name, they set about on a new life, surviving as best they could.

The mayor of this town was Dalila Surtova, niece of Noleski Surtova, and she expressed how desperate their situation had become. On learning that the party had arrived seeking refuge, not their destruction, she was relieved – particularly on learning that they had brought near half a dozen dragons with them.

The party found themselves now on the receiving end of a true warm welcome. They brought the rig into the city proper, with the help of the dragons, who quickly made friends of the townsfolk.

Hospiena’s Perch

Orin, Astrid and Kel’s work to create a tuning fork bound to Axis continued at a pace. They were soon successful, and Orin contacted Hudson to let him know of their intentions to traverse the planes. Hudson acknowledged, but decided against joining the wizard.

Kel, meanwhile, hung onto the Dragon Watch, hoping to study it and learn more about its connection to Castle Ouroboros, where Malam supposedly once lived.

Axis

Orin and Astrid arrived in Axis to scenes of war. It appeared the Dominion of the Black had invaded Axis, just the same as it had Golarion.

An enormous shoggoth, as large as a mountain, had evidently been attempting to attack the massive Godmind that emerged from the center of the enormous city. Axis’ defenders had apparently slain the creature, and it rested, dead, on the horizon.

Yet another shoggoth, nearly as large as the first, was still actively assaulting the city. As Orin and Astrid watched, an army of constructs and other flying creatures streamed out of Axis towards the massive creature, where it seemed – for the moment – to be kept at bay.

Soon enough, however, after evading a close encounter with one of the shoggoth’s spawns, and enlisting the help of a gnomish shopowner, they found themselves in the First Vault, hoping to find an audience with Abadar, God of Law and Cities.

They found the god and were, surprisingly, granted an audience. The god, wounded in the battle with the first shoggoth, was nevertheless keen to provide aid to the warriors – provided they help him in turn. He desired the return of Lissela, Goddess of Runes and ancient Azlant, who slumbered in the Stylite above the city.

Orin and Astrid promised to consider his offer, and Abadar returned them to their home plane.

Anchorport

Following a quick teleportation spell, the party was reunited. Astrid obtained quarters for the group after revealing herself – and her heritage – to Mayor Surtova, and the party debated their next steps.

To Orin, it seemed clear. The Eye of Chevaghol, if it indeed lay within Tzim’chevaghol, could answer many of their questions. The rest of the Initiative, aware of their own objectives, nevertheless agreed.

Orin was going to go home.

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Episode 56: Interlude
18 Gozran 4754

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Triumphant over the Iskaron zygomind, the Initiative were nevertheless saddened to find that it was too late for Hibok. The fungal predator had drained the dwarven gunsmith of life.

Umbrath the White, though sick and weakened, was in a somewhat better shape. Grateful, he told the party how he came to be in the swamp in his state.

A mighty dragon, Iskarel, had been buried deep beneath the ground in the swamp, ages ago. Yet after Mountainfall and the coming of Yog-Sothoth, the body was corrupted by an alien, fungal creature known as a zygomind. Sensing the surge of life within Iskarel’s grave, Umbrath rushed to her side. Unsuspecting, he fell prey to the zygomind’s powerful psychic spell and became trapped in its mindscape, while his body remained a tool for the zygomind to use to protect itself and feed on more creatures. This state of affairs continued for nearly 4 decades.

Umbrath had more of this story to share, however, and he revealed a great deal to the Initiative under their questioning.

Umbrath was one of five members of a dragonflight. the Rostland Astronomers, in an outer dragon collective known as the Aeon. This collective had been at war with the Dominion of the Black for countless ages, and that war had brought Umbrath and his allies to Golarion when it was still a young world. Their vortex dragon, a being named Hospiena, had perished shortly after their arrival, however, leaving the group stranded on this strange new world. The dragonflight itself fell to in-fighting, leaving another of their brood, the mighty Iskarel, slain, and soon their fellowship was broken.

Yet though the Rostland Astronomers went their separate ways, the surviving members would go on to have a lasting impact on Golarion.

Vellath the Green, the void dragon, would go on to ally himself with Chevaghol and Nochen, opposing the Initiative at the Battle of Tamran before being forced to flee by the party.

Umbrath the White, the lunar dragon, maintained a vigil over the solar system on distant Aucturn, but even he was unable to predict or prevent Mountainfall.

Iskarel the Red, the solar dragon, lived on even in death. Her brood, the Iskaron dragonflight, would go on to sire Astrid’s own bloodline, and her descendants served Brevoy and the Rogarvians even into this fallen age.

Hospiena, the vortex dragon, forged ley lines of powerful magic deep within the planet with her blood, even as she lay dead atop her perch.

Malam Fol, a time dragon well known to the group, was the fifth Astronomer. Umbrath revealed his connections to the Dragon Watch – forged with the time dragon’s very essence – and Malam’s reluctance to intervene in the timeline, despite his power. It was this very reticence to intervene – and prevent – Hospiena’s death that led Vellath to leave the group – and leave Iskarel slain in the process.

This revelation piqued the group’s interest. They revealed they were searching for Malam to re-activate the Dragon Watch and return to the past, where they could prevent all of this destruction. Umbrath was taken aback by the plan, but admitted he did not possess the means to find Malam. He did confirm, however, Malam’s likely presence in Castle Ouroboros, somewhere in orbit around Golarion.

Hudson re-affirmed his desire to take Titanis to safety and repair her. Umbrath agreed to travel with the group to Port Ice, but not before encasing Iskarel’s body in solid ice. He wished to preserve her body from further corruption, but did not have the strength to do more in his current state.

The Initiative, with Umbrath in tow, returned to the rig. It was just as they had left it, indisturbed, except for a morose – and somewhat angry – Rok the Wary. When the day broke, the rig took off again, and by the day’s end, they had, at last and this time for real, left the Awzera Fen.

With the road to Port Ice now open before them, Orin felt it was time to undertake a quest of his own. He informed the party of his desire to contact other planes in the Multiverse and determine the impact of Yog-Sothoth’s invasion. If they were likely, they might even find willing allies, Orin noted. Astrid decided to travel with him, and the two set off immediately using one of Orin’s teleportation spells.

They teleported straight to Hospiena’s Perch. It was much as they left it, and unlike the abandoned version of it they had found in the mindscape, here they were greeted once again by Kelvennan Duskwalker. Orin informed the half-elf of his desire, and with Astrid’s help, the trio set about researching a ritual to open a rift. Orin’s first destination was Axis, the Eternal City, a land Law.

Meanwhile, Hudson, Rhodin, and Thorgur continued their journey to Port Ice. With Umbrath’s help, they managed to locate the Iskaron dragons that had been sent to find them, at Orin’s urging, when they first entered the swamp.

They arrived at Port Ice the afternoon of their second day of travel – or at least the location Amber’s memory told her it would be. The path through the Golushkin mountains, which stretched along Brevoy’s border to end at the coast of the Lake of Mists and Veils here, was blocked by an enormous, solid stone wall. Interacting with the wall, Hudson discovered an illusion masking a door leading beyond. A gatekeeper greeted them, but had no interest in letting them past the wall without credentials. After presenting credentials in the form of an adult red dragon, the gatekeeper relunctantly opened the gate. Beyond, the group was greeted by an orc, who welcomed them… to Anchorport.

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Episode 55: On Fallen Wings - Chapter Seven
18 Gozran 4754

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Half of the Initiative found themselves trapped within a false reality, seemingly alongside the dragon, Umbrath the White. The dragon informed them of this fact, then noted the consequences of this revelation: four dragons had gathered on Hospiena’s Perch, surrounding the group.

Umbrath explained they were guardians of the dream – avatars of the zygomind that controlled it – and that their destruction would destabilize the dream, and allow them to escape. No easy feat, but Astrid, Orin and Thorgur had little other choice.

The dragons were in five colors, and surprisingly similar to dragons the group already knew.

One appeared to be of the same shade of purple as Malam’s panther form, and would have matched Rhodin’s memory of the creature, had he been present in the dream.

Another appeared as a slightly smaller version of Vellath the Green, with whom the party had tangled near Fort Ferrodan.

The other appeared as Hospiena herself, whose corpse fed the ley line beneath the very caldera in which they stood.

The fourth – red and vibrant – was reminiscent of Irthelia and her Iskaron dragonflight, and indeed shared an appearance with the dragon corpse near which Rhodin now stood.

In the real world, as Rhodin and Amber watched their companions march unerringly towards this red dragon, and the terrible growth that appeared to be growing from it, Hudson fell to his knees. Amber rushed to his side, relieved to find him – somehow – awake. He had awoken by his own means, somehow, but there was little time to discuss the situation.

For a fifth dragon – resembling the dragon Umbrath, but sicklier – had spotted them, and this one was very real, and very alive. The growth – what Umbrath called a zygomind – activated at their intrusion as well, and set about defending itself and its prey.

And so a battle was joined on two fronts – a battle against four dragons of the dream, and against the zygomind and Umbrath the Afflicted in the real world.

Eventually, Thorgur was able to slay the dream form of Hospiena, allowing himself to escape. He awakened and aided his allies in the real world. Soon, Astrid was able to slay Malam the Dreamer as well – though not before the zygomind’s defenses destroyed her physical body. Yet at the last moment, her armor – enchanted by Orin – restored her to life. And soon thereafter, her destruction of Malam the Dreamer set Orin free as well.

As Umbrath the Afflicted suffered terrible blows, he also retreated, exposing the zygomind’s interior. Thorgur laid into the zygomind’s core with all his rage, and the trauma destabilized the dream further, allowing Astrid to awaken and then Umbrath himself.

Awake for the first time in many years, Umbrath wasted no time in turning his wrath upon the zygomind, sealing the alien lifeform’s fate, and ending its threat once and for all.

Weary and wounded, but awake, the Initiative found themselves at last the victor against the terrible Iskaron Zygomind.

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Episode 54: On Fallen Wings - Chapter Six
18 Gozran 4754

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At the edge of the Awzera Fen, our heroes were reunited with Irthelia and a full squadron of the Iskaron dragonflight. The dragons were eager to aid Astrid and her companions. Although they could not lift the sizable – and heavy – rig, Irthelia tasked her dragons to escort Titanis to Port Ice, where Hibok could direct the rig safely to Skywatch through friendlier Brevoy territory.

As for Astrid and her companions, Irthelia urged them to return with her to Skywatch via the more direct route of dragonback. Arion had left Irthelia with the daring news that gillmen refugees had made their way to his call – Orin and his father were no longer the last of his kind. Even more pressing, Irthelia revealed the arrival of yet another visitor – the great dragon Umbrath, of the Rostland Five, of whose number the Iskaron dragonflight had been borne and the Rogarvian bloodline with it.

Orin, curious at this news, stepped aside to consult the Frozen Heart of Orphys. Through it, he contacted his father, Arion, who assured his son that Irthelia spoke true – the gillmen had arrived safely. Satisfied, Orin agreed to travel back, albeit under his own power and his own greater teleportation spell.

Astrid and Thorgur, meanwhile, returned to Skywatch via dragonback, leaving Hudson and Rhodin to escort Titanis the rest of the way to Port Ice, with a full company of red dragons.

And yet…

As this occured, indeed, Rhodin Skyking stood over the motionless forms of his companions, Astrid Rogarvia, Hudson Graves, Orin and Thorgur Fireborn. At his side stood Amber Wallace, gunslinger, the only warrior not to fall prey to whatever affliction drew his companions into their unerring slumber. As he attempted to examine their condition, Amber and he were surprised by Benjamin Holt, emerging at last from within the Titanis. The old gunslinger was unresponsive, however, yet seemed intent on pressing onward into the swamp without escort or word.

Thorgur, frustrated and hoping to delay Benjamin’s flight until answers could be retrieved, attempted to knock the gunslinger out cold. Yet his blow had an uncanny effect – the back of the gunslinger’s skull caved in, exposing inhuman, fungal growths within his mind.

Amber drew her revolvers, Akiton and Castrovel, commanding the man in black to halt. He ignored her, distancing himself from the rig. Rhodin, convinced that whatever they were dealing with was no longer – if it had ever been – Hudson’s old nemesis, ordered Amber to fire.

A single shot was all it took, and with a surprising result. Benjamin’s head exploded in a shower of spores and sickly fluids.

Meanwhile, Rhodin’s companions did at last rouse – much like Benjamin. Unlike the gunslinger, they showed no signs of infection. Like him, however, they seemed intent on moving deeper into the swamp. Rhodin and Amber gave pursuit, hoping to find some way of stirring them from their reverie before they got to wherever it is they were going. Both warrior suspected their destination to be less than desirable….

Yet while Rhodin dealt with this, Orin was outside the swamp, teleporting back to Skywatch. There, he spoke with his father, confirming the gillmen refugees’ story: they had found the SIghtless Sea abandoned after Mountainfall, and managed to safely navigate its once forbidden waters to Arion’s call.

Orin found the gillmen amicable, and he summoned his magnificent mansion to grant them rest and reprieve.

Astrid and Thorgur flew atop Irthelia and her dragons to reunite with their companion. As they stopped to rest for the night, Thorgur was struck by a dream – a dream he found more real than his waking world.

In his dream, he found himself deep underground. He passed through a burning flame beneath a stone arch, finding himself before a grand tomb. A hooded figure, of dwarvish height with blackened skin, stood at the tomb’s side. “The gate is open,” the figure spoke to Thorgur. “And the way to the tomb with it. Your faith…. is yet to be tested.”

Thorgur woke at this, and shuddered as he recalled heresy he once bitterly knew – that the symbol of a burning flame beneath a stone arch was the symbol of none other than Droskar, the dark god of the duergar.

Yet as they continued their activities, all three heroes began to suspect something was not quite right. Like an itch they coudn’t scratch: a corrupt swamp appearing altogether healthy, a dream within a dream.

Rhodin, in another world, appeared to know just what that itch might be. In his reality, all four of his companions were still in the swamp, insistent on their north-westerly path. A wall of holy ice failed to stop them – they threw themselves against the wall, even to the point of injuring themselves. A heal spell appeared to halt Orin’s advance only slightly. The dwarf prince was running out of options, and he knew it.

In their world, it was the next day, and Astrid and Thorgur reunited with Orin in Skywatch. Irthelia ushered them to the Clocktower to speak with the elder dragon, Umbrath. Umbrath was indeed waiting for them, a dragon unlike any they had ever seen before. His skin shimmered in the afternoon light, his scales white and pure even as they appeared to be translucent.

The dragon introduced himself, telling them that the time had come to make a stand against the being responsible for mountainfall. A being known as Tawil at’Umr had opened the Gate, and now the Gate – and the Key, for they were one – had come unto Golarion: the Lurker at the Threshold, mighty Yog-Sothoth.

Umbrath was unimpressed with Astrid’s possession of the Dragon Watch. Malam Fol, he said, was ineffectual, and his toys could not help them now. Orin insisted otherwise – the Dragon Watch had brought them here, and it could take them back. “Impossible,” Umbrath said. “For the device is inert, and Malam Fol is dead. There is nothing we can do.”

The party was aghast at this news. According to Rhodin, however, even if this was so, Castle Ouroboros stood out of time. They could still find their way there, they reasoned, and use its power to return to the past.

Umbrath agreed to escort the party back to Hospiena’s Perch, where they could confer with Kelvennan Duskwalker. The group set off immediately, landing at the mountain’s base and traveling by foot to the caldera, as they had before.

At the sight of the dead dragon that fed the caldera’s ley line, Umbrath grew somber, however. He went to its side, and spoke no more to the party. Yet there was no sign of Kelvennan Duskwalker, nor of his camp where they had met him before.

Astrid went to Umbrath’s side and found the dragon weeping. Comforting him, she heard him speak. “She was the best of us,” he said. “We fled here to escape the Dominion, but she did not survive the trip.”

Something appeared to come over Umbrath then, and he turned to Astrid and her companions. “This is not right,” he said. “This place cannot be.”

At his words, the veil was pierced, and Astrid and Thorgur saw through it at once. This world, they knew, was not real.

They were not in Skywatch.

They were still in the swamp.

Rhodin followed his companions the rest of the way. At last they came to a clearing, and he saw a shocking sight.

A great red dragon, far larger than Irthelia, lay dead in the middle of the swamp. From the ancient dragon’s corpse grew an enormous, cage-like growth, as large as a house, shedding foul spores into the air. And standing next to this foul corruption was Umbrath.

And the mighty dragon was infected, the same as all the rest.

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Episode 53: On Fallen Wings - Chapter Five
17 Gozran 4754

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As Hibok’s rig dove into the Awzera River, the team came under assault from Technic League artillery on the shore. At Hellion’s command, a trio of metallic beasts threw themselves into the midst of the Technic League’s heaviest weapons. With this last attack – and sacrifice – to distract their pursuers, the party at last escaped from the League.

They now crossed the Awzera Fen. The solar-powered rig’s engines shut down at nightfall, and the party camped for the night. Hellion expressed its concerns at Orin’s desire to change the past, as it was Mountainfall – and Unity’s subsequent destruction – that freed the AI from its previous existence. It was, in effect, born of the apocalypse that struck the world.

Orin heard out the Iron God, but he was undeterred. Perhaps, he reasoned, Hellion could yet find a way to be born even in a world with Unity.

The party rested and took turns at watch.

Rhodin spotted them first – humanoid toad creatures creeping through the swamp. He roused the party, and they took up arms to defend the camp. Yet as they fought, a strange affliction began to overtake most of them. Two of the three toadmen fell quickly, and Orin gave pursuit to the third – but not before the sickly corruption drained Hudson Graves of his life.

Rhodin’s faith came through, however, and he was able to resuscitate the gunslinger. Soon enough, the party recovered and fled the swamp at daybreak, glad at last to be free of their adventure.

Yet Rhodin saw a different path. In Rhodin’s world, Hudson – though revived – never awoke. And soon Astrid, Orin and Thorgur joined him in his inexplicable coma. While his party appeared to find themselves free of the swamp, Rhodin appeared to find them unconscious. The party seemed to be experiencing twin realities – but whose was real?

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Episode 52: On Fallen Wings - Chapter Four
17 Gozran 4754

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The Titanis and her crew faced a challenging battle, even with the reinforcements of Astrid, Orin and Thorgur, as Hibok drove the rig towards the nearby river. The battle was pitched, and things grew ever more dire as they neared the river’s edge. Only a timely spell by Rhodin Skyking, summoning forth a massive wall of storm and ice, staved off the assaults of the Technic League’s most powerful robots.

But they weren’t out of the woods yet…

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Episode 51: On Fallen Wings - Chapter Three
17 Gozran 4754

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Amber Wallace found Hudson as he stood watch atop the Titanis. She confessed an unexpected tale to the gunslinger – she had spent nearly 20 years of their 40 apart married to a Molthuni man that she had met while fleeing southern Avistan. Despite their long relationship, she had buried the man already. He had been killed years before by the Technic League.

Hudson took the news in stride, encouraging Amber to keep her wedding ring and stay true to her memory. His true feelings on the matter, whatever they might be, he kept to himself.

Their conversation was interrupted by Hellion. It had spotted pursuit. The Technic League had caught them.

Meanwhile, Orin, Thorgur and Astrid found themselves pursued by the [[At the Mountains of Madness: Episode 7 | flying machines that had hunted Hudson so long ago]]. Orin directed his phantom chariot deep into the nearby hills, while Thorgur scanned the landscape for any signs of the spine dragon rumored to live in the area.

They managed to lose their pursuers in the canyon and, despite a few wrong turns, found the spine dragon’s lair. Orin bartered with the dragon in its own language, tempting it to pursue the nearby army of machines for a robust meal.

Taking this opportunity – and hopeful delay of the Black Sovereign’s advance – the trio fled the canyons. Yet they were caught here by the flying machines who had pursued them this far. Orin stopped the chariot, allowing his companions to disembark and engage the machines in the manner they knew best – melee combat.

The battle carried on, but in the end, the trio put the machines down and returned to the chariot, again taking to the air and flying as fast as they could towards the Titanis – if it was not too late.

Back on the Titanis, Hudson, Rhodin and their allies prepared to engage the Technic League’s war party. The battle began quickly, as gearsman boarded the rig and engaged with its defenders.

Yet as the battle progressed, and things grew more dire, reinforcements arrived from an unexpected quarter: the sky.

Astrid, Orin and Thorgur had returned.

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Episode 50: On Fallen Wings - Chapter Two
17 Gozran 4754

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​As they trundled across the wastleland in Numeria’s eastern Sellen Hills, Hudson called out a warning. Something was approaching the Titanis, and it was moving fast, stirring up a massive dust cloud in its wake. Orin, still waiting down below, quickly ascended to the rig’s rooftop, his body forming into solid ice from an ice body spell. The party made their preparations, expecting the worse.

They were not wrong to prepare themselves. Out of the dust, four riders emerged, Technic League gearsmen armed with rifles, and following not far behind them was a massive machine, its back heavy with death in the form of rockets. The party fell into action. The Beasts of Hellion fell onto the interceptors, immediately slaughtering one of the rider’s horses and dismounting its owner. Hudson opened fire with the Star Cannon and, when they came in range, Alexander’s Guns, drawing black, thick blood from the riders’ metallic bodies. But the League’s soldiers returned fire as well, damaging the side of the Titanis’ hull.

Orin responded with the summoning of a phantom chariot, magical hippographys pulling the vehicle aboard the Titanis. Astrid and Orin clambered aboard, flanked by Rok the Wary, and set off to board the large, rocket-firing machine. Orin led the charge with powerful lightning, setting the clouds above aflame with thunder. From this thunder, Rhodin himself summoned forth a huge lightning elemental, which moved to join the fray. All the while, Hibok pushed the Titanis ever forward, as Hellion’s repair drones worked to undo the damage to the hull.

As they passed over the rocket machine, Astrid and Rok leapt off. The bugbear missed his quarry, but Astrid did not. She planted herself on the machine’s back, and set about dismantling its rocket launchers. And the fight elsewhere raged on, as the mounted soldiers traded fire with Hudson. But the gunslinger was not moved by his enemies’ violence, and his father’s revolvers fired seemingly without end, dropping one of the riflemen and severely damaging the rest.

Under heavy assault by the warrior on its back, the rocket machine fired one last ordinance at the Titanis. The missile landed square on its roof, immediately destroying half of its solar panels, and severely damaging the rest. But as soon as it did so, Astrid hacked off the last of its weapons, leaving it in the dust, and Titanis’ wake. Defenseless, the machine tore away through the desert, leaving Astrid in its own dust. Orin, the Beasts of Hellion, and Rhodin’s lightning elemental made short work of the remaining gearsmen.

In the wake of the battle, the repair drones conducted repairs on the rig, with some help from Rhodin’s artificing. Down below, the party convened to discuss their next plan of action. Hibok bemoaned they had been found already, not even half a day out from Scrapwall, and Amber expressed her concerns that the party could safely make it to Sunder Horn at all. Perusing the map, and their options, the party decided to try a different strategy. Orin, Thorgur and Astrid boarded his phantom chariot and flew back, towards Chesed, from which the Technic League rode, to see what they were up against. Rhodin stayed behind with Hudson and the others, as the Titanis drove to the banks of the Awzera River, whose crossing might give the Titanis a sizable escape in the Awzera Fens.

As they rode, Rhodin was visited by Hibok. The two dwarves exchanged greetings, commiserating for their lost homeland – though Hibok reeled at the knowledge of Rhodin’s time-traveleing adventures, and despaired at the seeming ineffectiveness of Malam’s missions, given the apocalyptic landscape they now faced.

“The greater the darkness, the greater Torag’s light shines,” Rhodin told the gunsmith.

“You must have some faith, if you can see this world and still believe,” Hibok replied.

The two parted amicably, with Rhodin leaving Hibok with one final revelation: his family name, Skyking.

An hour into their scouting, Orin, Astrid and Thorgur spotted the Technic League’s war party on the move – miles away, but much closer to the Titanis than they would have liked, as Amber had feared. They mused over their options some more, and Orin attempted a gamble. He attempted to call out to a spine dragon in the nearby hills, a noted enemy of the League. Yet the shredded magic of this world failed him, and he did no more than yell loudly in his companions’ ears. But, whether because of this or something else, the trio found themselves catching the attentiion of the war party below. Flares of fire spouted into the distant air, and the trio watched as something detached itself from the long caravan of machines – and began to fly right towards them.​

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Episode 49: On Fallen Wings - Chapter One
15 Gozran 4754

Scrapwall.jpg

Our heroes found themselves in a vast underground chamber. The half-dismantled remains of Titanis dominated the cavern, and, true to Orin’s vision, a number of metallic creatures were crawling over the hull.

The party leapt into action, quickly dispatching several of the robots but not without rousing a large bugbear. Orin managed to trap the creature in a block of ice before it could come to bear on the party, but that did not keep the metallic monsters from assaulting them.

Before the violence went too far, however, they were interrupted by gunshots. A figure ordered the bugbear and the robots to stand down, surprising the party by asking for their help instead. And at that, the figure removed its hood, revealing none other than Amber Wallace.

Amber quickly explained that they were attempting to remove Titanis’ mainframe from the ship in order to transport it to Brevoy. The Black Sovereign was still alive, and his army of machines were intent on destroying Scrapwall. Titanis’ power could not be allowed to fall into his hands. They would be aided in all of this by Rok the Wary, the bugbear, and another AI, Hellion. Hellion was the guardian and leader of Scrapwall, and it saw the value in protecting Titanis.

The party agreed to help, and Amber took them to meet another old friend: Hibok Marbleaxe. Hibok and Amber had both fled Fort Ramgate after Kraggodan’s destruction, and they had made it through Molthune with the help of the wandering bugbear, Rok.

As he wandered the city, Thorgur was disturbed by a familiar sight. Far away to the south, a storm was coming. No natural storm, it had the like of the terrible cataclysm that had befallen Highhelm. Thorgur warned the party, explaining that they may have only a matter of days before the storm arrived.

Hudson went to work on the Titanis, hoping to accelerate the AI’s removal from the spacecraft. While working, he interrupted the work of a Technic League assassin. The assassin had come with an explosive made specifically to disrupt machinery – it had been targeting Titanis explicitly.

Hudson stopped the assassin’s plans but nearly lost the creature afterwards. The creature was stopped by an old Benjamin Holt: the Man in Black.

Benjamin revealed his own journey, of enslavement to the Black Sovereign and his Prophet, and his work with Hellion to redeem his life as the Technic League’s executor. He nevertheless granted Hudson an opportunity to enact justice. Hudson refused to kill out of cold blood, instead forcing the Man in Black to a quickdraw duel.

Benjamin appeared to accept, but he did not draw in the end. Hudson, for his part, drew but did not fire. And so began an uneasy alliance between the two men.

With the Titanis at last prepared for its journey, Hellion drove the rest of the citizens to their own evacuation. The Titanis, aboard Hibok’s war rig, would flee first, drawing the Black Sovereign’s patrols after it as it fled towards Brevoy’s Port Ice. The Scrapwall citizens would come after, with their own escort but hoping to avoid the Black Sovereign’s notice. They would flee directly east, south of the Awzera River, into Brevoy’s Golushkin Mountains.

The party set out the morning of their second day. The Storm gathered behind them, and the Black Sovereign waited with his Technic League before them. It would be a hard journey. But Hudson was prepared, surrounded by old friends, secure in the knowledge that whatever came next, he was, for the first time in a long time, not alone.

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