Dragon Watch

Season 4, Episode 7
On Fallen Wings, Part IV

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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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Season 4, Episode 6
On Fallen Wings, Part III

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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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Season 4: Episode 5
On Fallen Wings: Part II

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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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Season 4: Episode 4
On Fallen Wings, Part I

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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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Season 4: Episode 3
Interlude: The Mage of Planes

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Irthelia presented herself to Astrid, humbly begging her forgiveness for her behavior when the two first met. Before Astrid could respond, Irthelia removed the Dragon Watch from her neck and presented it to the woman. “This belongs to you,” Irthelia said.

Astrid accepted the gift graciously, and the council soon departed their separate ways, leaving our heroes to ponder the specifics of traveling to distant Tzim’chevaghol.

Irthelia pledged to take the group anywhere they wanted on dragonback. Orin describes his hometown’s location to the red dragon, and she departed to the draconian fortress to pick out a feasible route through the twisted wastelands of Golarion. As for Arion, Orin’s father indicated his desire to travel with the group and see his homeland once again.

Here, Orin recalled one item he possessed that may still work in this apocalyptic land of fading magic: the Frozen Heart of Orphys. It would allow him to scry on the distant gillman city, he reasoned, and allow them to know exactly what they would be up against.

The group begrudgingly decided to allow it, wary of Orin’s past experiences with the artifact. Orin departed with the dwarves to discuss magic he might prepare for the upcoming journey.

Meanwhile, Astrid returned to Rogarvia Manor and took a late morning tea with her mother. They discussed her father, with Viktoriya remarking, “You have your father’s hands.”

“They help me do stuff,” Astrid agreed, a typically Astrid reply that earned a smile from her mother.

“I lost your father long before he died,” her mother continued. “He refused to accept this world for what it was. If your friends are not successful and you cannot return to the past and change any of this, then I only hope I do not lose you too.”

While Astrid pondered these words, Orin returned with Hudson and the dwarves in tow. “I’m not going to scry on Tzim’chevaghol,” he revealed. “I’m going to scry on Titanis.”

A bath was prepared for Orin in short order, and his friends gathered around in case things should go wrong while he attempted to use the Frozen Heart. “If this thing overtakes you and turns you to evil,” Rhodin assured the gillman. “I will be happy to bash your skull in.”

And so Orin communed with the Frozen Heart. He was granted a vision of Titanis somewhere in eastern Numeria, in mountains made of metal and iron. It was apparently under assault by strange, quadrupedal creatures, under the direction of a becloaked figure. The creatures had apparently pulled apart a large portion of the ship, exposing the engine’s core and the housing for the AI within.

Orin withdrew from the image, seeking to return to his body. He was compelled in a new direction, however, one he recognized – a distant planet covered in darkness.

He found himself before the same iron throne and the same iron creature as before. Now, the creature was bound in ice, unmoving. Yet in Orin’s presence, it slowly roused itself, the ice falling away from its helmet to allow it to speak.

“I remember you, little wizard. It has been some time since we spoke,” the creature said.

“Well, I traveled through time to be here,” Orin responded.

The creature reaches forth with its mind, and Orin, unable to resist the call, felt the creature search through his mind for something. When he was finished, the creature rose, freeing himself of the ice that still cling to his body. Picking up the swor, he strode swiftly towards the wizard – and bent the knee.

“The Master is truly dead. You are the master of the Frozen Heart now,” it proclaimed.

Orin learned the creatures name was Valourax, and he stood on the planet Eox, sixth planet from the sun. Nochen Valmugen had been Valourax’s Master, and had traveled to Golarion aboard a corpse ship eons ago. Valourax has no master now, and the ravaged Golarion held little interest for the bone sages.

Valourax informed Orin of the Frozen Heart’s power – to commune with Valourax in the Black Citadel, to command undead loyal to the bone sages, and to communicate telepathically with any creature he could desire. “Your mind cannot be compelled by us,” Valourax said. “I can only request your attention.”

Thanking the giant undead knight, Orin excused himself and returned to his body at last. He informed the party of Titanis’ location, but kept the revelations of Eox – and the Frozen Heart – to himself as the party was interrupted by a commotion outside.

Irthelia has returned with a decision to not travel to Tzim’chevaghol by dragonflight. Instead, she would take them to the Mage of Planes, the last mortal on Golarion who could still teleport beings safely.

Diverting their course now to Numeria – to the formations Hudson identified as Scrapwall – our heroes departed Skywatch atop dragonback. They arrived at a summit in the Icerime Peaks shortly after. Irthelia landed at the base of the peak, and granting Astrid a draconic horn of summoning, bade Astrid complete the journey on foot.

At the summit, our heroes discovered an ancient caldera. Contained within its center, almost entirely in status, was the body of a blu-ish silver dragon. Blood dropped from its body, gathering in a pool below to form something few mortals see: a magic ley line.

Their observations were interrupted by Kelvennan Duskwalker. A powerful summoner, still without his eidolon Malam, if indeed Malam ever truly was his eidolon, Kel was now known as the Mage of Planes. Old, weathered and wise, he promised the party an ability to teleport them anywhere they could envision.

Before they left, Kel granted Hudson a special gift in remembrance of their first meeting, so many years ago: a bracelet of friends. Hudson graciously accepted the gift.

Their plans set, our heroes readied themselves. Drawing on the incredible power of the nearby ley line, Kel drew forth a portal to distant Numeria. Our heroes entered, hearts ready.

They were going to save Titanis.

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Season 4: Episode 2
A World Moved on, Finale

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Orin is reunited with his father, Arion. He learns his father became a time-traveling Watchman for Malam, but was eventually abandoned in this future. Arion shares the most disturbing revelation of all: the gillmen in this future are extinct, wiped out by the Apocalypse. Even Chevaghol is dead – a small piece of good news. Orin resolves to return to the past and prevent this future from ever occurring. His father gives him one clue: Chevaghol’s eyes were recovered by her servants and taken to Tzim’chevaghol; any gillman who attunes him or herself to them can see a vision of Chevaghol’s last days and learn what she knew of the Apocalypse – and even how to destroy her.

Thorgur and Rhodin get the lay of the land from each other. Rhodin shares his story, and Thorgur reveals his knowledge of the Tomb of Torag, which can only be opened by the blood of kings. Rhodin takes Anthony’s research from Thorgur and resolves to learn what he can of Torag’s connection to the gods laying waste to Golarion in the current age.

Astrid takes tea with her mother and learns of her father’s work to discover time travel to the past. Traveling to the future is apparently easier than going the other way around. He never solved it, however, and he never saw his daughter again.

The party meets with the Skywatch Council in the Clocktower. They discuss their paths forward, and Orin persuades them to pursue the Eyes of the Ancient One in Tzim’chevaghol. While deciding how to cross the dangerous lands of Golarion, they are greeted by the Iskaron dragonflight. Irthelia, much older, is at their head, and she lands to present Astrid with the Dragon Watch.

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Season 4: Episodes 1
A World Moved On, Part I

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Hudson Graves and Thorgur Fireborn were left behind in the present to deal with the Technic League’s army. It was a terrible battle, leading to the death of Aszrogal, Choral’s companion.

Hudson dueled the Man in Black during the ensuing battle, known as the Battle of Skywatch. This led to the loss of his right arm, which was rebuilt by Titanis into a cybernetic limb. Hudson fought in the ensuing war between Numeria and Brevoy. On the eve of a great battle in Numeria, Hudson departs the country with a Watchman named Niramour Lockewinter, leaving Titanis behind. The Silver Mount was destroyed by some cataclysmic event, setting forth a wave of darkness that would come to curse all of Golarion – an event known as the End of Stars.

Hudson returned to Numeria to search for the Titanis but was ultimately unsuccessful. He settled in Skywatch with other survivors, and eventually met Astrid’s family when they used the Observatory to travel to this future, in what was known in their time as the Vanishing. This foreshadowed his own reunion with Astrid and Orin.

Thorgur was wounded in the Battle of Skywatch too, but he recovered and departed for Fort Ramgate. There he fought in wars to retake Kraggodan. But the End of Stars came during one such battle, and a great dhole emerged from the Darklands thereafter, consuming all of Kraggodan. Thorgur awoke in the aftermath and discovered a Watchman had attempted to reach him, with orders to bring him to Skywatch. The Watchman was dead, however, and Thorgur was alone.

Thorgur was eventually found by Anthony Arkwright, who took him to the Five King’s Mountains. There, Anthony discovered that Torag had fought a terrible old god, and the secret to his victory may lay beneath Highhelm in a great tomb. But before they could explore Highhlem, the city was destroyed by a terrible army of beasts. Anthony noted the pointlessness of their quest in any event, as opening the tomb would require royal blood, and the End of Stars had ended the few dwarven royal bloodlines remaining in Avistan.

Thorgur and Anthony fled north to Skywatch, but Anthony was lost in the ensuing trip. When Thorgur did arrive, he was reunited with Hudson. To his surprise, when Astrid and Orin also returned, he met a new dwarf as well – a dwarf wearing the sigil of Skyking.

Rhodin Skyking had fought in Kraggodan’s Shining Crusade against the Whispering Tyrant. But he was also taken on the eve of a great battle – by Malam, speaking to him through dreams. He thereafter became a Watchman, discovering that Malam was a time dragon who presided over Castle Ouroboros, seemingly in orbit around Golarion. For years, he traveled through time to fight against the Dominion of the Black.

Eventually, the Watchmen are allied with Urzen Rogarvia and his allies. Urzen was bitter about Malam’s inaction, however, and planned to betray Malam and master time magic for himself so they could truly make a difference. Rhodin refused to join in Urzen’s campaign, but he also kept Urzen’s plans a secret from Malam. Nevertheless, Malam sent him on one last mission, depositing him in the apocalyptic future outside Skywatch. Here, he worked with the future Rogarvians and their host of dragons – including another survivor, Irthelia, with whom he recovered the Dragon Watch from Numeria.

Thorgur and Rhodin caught up in Skywatch’s local tavern, where Thorgur heard Rhodin’s tale and told him on the secret Anthony had found. Thorgur realized Rhodin’s story, if true, meant he had royal blood – and could perhaps reopen the tomb.

Eventually, Astrid and Orin did come to join their companions at Skywatch, via the Dragon Watch. Astrid was reunited with her mother, but learned her father had long passed away. He had intended to bring Astrid with him, but Astrid had been abducted by Malam the night of the Vanishing. Urzen had dedicated the remainder of his life to researching chronomancy in hopes of returning to the past to find his daughter.

Astrid was not alone in reunions. Orin was directed by Hudson to his own reunion, discovering to his surprise that he was not the only gillman in Skywatch. And so Orin traveled down to the nearby Icerime River, where he was surprised to meet none other than Arion, his father.

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Season 3, Episode 20-21
Skytoucher

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Hudson catches the Man in Black outside Hajoth Hakados and learns his true identity: Benjamin Holt, an old gunslinger and ally of Hudson’s parents. Hudson decides to let the Man in Black go in exchange for the location of Astrid’s codex, and the two depart.

Hudson returns to his hometown, Torch, and finds his parents’ names carved into a tree. He adds his initials to theirs. He takes a stone from the burnt foundation of his childhood home, and returns to the party.

Aboard the Titanis, Orin learns the Frozen Heart of Orphys was crafted on a faraway world at the hand of necromancers.

The party flies to Skywatch in Titanis, where they rendezvous with Choral Rogarvia, Aszrogal, and a host of Brevoy soldiers and wizards. Astrid’s codex is complete, and she turns the spell over to Choral and the other spellcasters. Together, they undo the spell around Skywatch and open the city.

Astrid’s lifelong search for answers to her family’s disappearance and her abandonment was nearing its end. She squared her shoulders, took a single breath, then led her friends into the depths of the Observatory.

The party descended a series of stairs, wide enough to allow a full-grown dragon to pass, for several minutes before arriving in the ruins of what was once a beautiful rotunda. A stone mosaic inlaid into the floor had been destroyed in some kind of rage – and the giant claw marks in the walls and floor hinted at the identify of who that would be. Scribbled on the walls were the signs of the unrest – the creature appearing to question himself, and questioning the meaning of something our heroes had seen before: the Black Truth.

Whatever the identity of the creature, it was long gone. Our heroes explored a nearby alchemical library. After contending with an errant mithral golem, they collected a few handfuls of gold coin and moved out into the rest of the dungeon.

The next chamber was a spiraling library, where they learned that the red dragonflight of Iskaron had found the observatory and discovered evidence of an impending second Earthfall. To stop it, they bred with humans to unlock astromancy – star magic – finally succeeding with Choral Rogarvia. The dragonflight bonded itself to the human family and helped them unite Brevoy.

Further on, they discovered an astromancy ley line buried beneath the Loci. They defeated its guardians – strange creatures out of a Nightmare – and pressed on to find Ghoriasz. The ancient red dragon had been corrupted by mad dreams, and the Host of the Nightmare attempted to stop our heroes from saving the dragons. Both were defeated, and Ghoriasz revealed that the Dragon Watch could only be repaired with his blood. As the dragon died, Astrid bathed the artifact in his blood, restoring its power.

Back in the Observatory, Astrid inserted the Dragon Watch in the altar, and powered the structure. A portal opened, but not before a Brevoy soldier interrupted them to warn of an approaching army: Numerian, with the Man in Black at its head. Hudson and Thorgur turned their backs on the portal and left t aid the army.

Astrid did not hesitate. She entered the portal, and Orin followed.

The pair found themselves in a Skywatch lit by the shattered remains of the moon. The landscape was irrevocably altered, but before they could assimilate the new scene, they were met by a carriage. And stepping out of the carriage: Viktoriya Rogarvia, mother of Astrid Rogarvia.

Astrid had truly come home at last.

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Season 3, Episode 19
Silver Crimson Black, Conclusion

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Fateful Rendezvous

Our heroes dithered, debated. For certain the Technic League would cross the border to Numeria near Hajoth Hakados, but when? Hoping to cut them off and expand their chances of catching the erstwhile kidnappers, Orin decided to split from the party and travel to Gorum Pots, another river city and potential landing for the Technic League. The rest of the group, meanwhile, traveled to Hajoth Hakados straight away, to begin their own search.

Orin came to Gorum Pots and set up camp on a hill far from the town, with a good view of the riverdocks, and waited for boats to make landfall. Before long, one such boat did arrive – long and flat – and disgorged a host of figures. Among their number, quite clearly, was a black horse.

Meanwhile, the party landed in Hajoth Hakados. A town guard quickly recognize Hudson – or rather, his rifle. The guard claimed it had been made by the town’s old gunsmith, a distinct work of craftsmanship. Puzzling over this, the party nevertheless continued their search, beginning in the place they always begin a search: a local tavern. Making their way there, however, Hudson noticed more attention – this time from a pale man following them.

Once they got to the tavern, Hudson hung back, waiting for a moment to force the pale man into the open. He surprised the stranger, and encouraged him to sit with them in the tavern and share his intentions with them. He did so – with some “encouragement” from Thorgur – and told them he was working for a local herbalist named Cythrul. He demurred further questions, but insisted he could take them to meet his mistress.

Back in Gorum Pots, Orin landed in the docks and found the black horse he had seen before. Using his arcana, he granted the horse the ability to speak. Transporting the animal away from the city with more magic, he attempted to learn what the horse knew.

Stranger in a Strange Land

The boat’s crew were not, in fact, Technic League agents but in fact the opposite: Kellid warriors who roamed the Numerian Plains, hunting robots and the occasional agent of the League.

Orin saw in this chance meeting a rare opportunity. Though they would be of no aid to the party in the coming battle, ultimately, Orin nevertheless returned to Groum Pots to recruit the Kellid. They were pleased to meet another enemy of their enemy, and proved eager to engage the League in battle direct, should such an opportunity ever present itself.

Meanwhile, the rest of the party followed the pale man to the shop of Cythrul, who proved to be a creature unlike any they had ever seen. Tall, with purpled skin, and three pairs of arms, Cythrul was uncanny and utterly alien As the meeting progressed, it became clear just how accurate that assessment was. Cythrul quickly determined that she could trust the party, and revealed herself as an enemy of the League. Hajoth Hakados was, in fact, a refuge for people like her – or the pale man, in fact an android from the Silver Mount – who were strangers to Golarion in one way or another.

Cythrul was sympathetic to our heroes’ search for Malam and his Technic League kidnappers. She sent our heroes to speak to Hajoth Hakados’ leader, Lady Altouna, who Cythrul promised would know of any Technic League agents in the area – or any en route – for it was her business to know.

Taking this lead, Hudson and his companions traveled to Lady Altouna’s manor and there met the city’s leader. Lady Altouna revealed all they needed to know: the League was indeed en route and still downriver, expected to make landfall in the city in only few days.

As they left, Lady Altouna asked Hudson to ensure they succeeded, then requested he return with word of that success. And so Hudson departed for his confrontation with the Technic League and the Riders in Black.

The Second Rider

Orin returned to the group with news of Kellid allies and on word of the League’s sighting near Hajoth Hakados. Our heroes gathered downriver and plotted their next move. A quick scouting trip revealed that the Technic League was not far and would likely pass their way the next morning. An ambush would be necessary – time to turn the tables at last.

Orin delved again into his magicks, using a move earth spell to construct a dam across the river sufficient to stop the League’s barge. And then they waited.

The League appeared only hours after dawn, as expected, and the river barge smashed into the dam, beaching itself. Our heroes engaged the League immediately, whose number included several arcanists, a powerful gearsman of the kind they had faced before – though much sturdier – and the second Rider in Black, the woman who had escaped their ambush outside Kraggodan before.

Orin took the form of a dragon, making short work of the arcanists, while Thorgur attempted to stymie the gearsman only to take a dive off the boat. The Rider exchanged gunfire with Hudson, but was pinned down by Astrid, quick to join the battle. Yet it was Hudson’s shots that put the Rider down in the end. The gearsman, alone and restrained by Orin’s magicks, did not last much longer.

Waiting aboard the crashed barge was an enormous crate covered in runes – Malam’s prison. Orin, still acting as a dragon, retrieved the box and brought it to shore. It took little effort to open the crate now, and within they found Malam, as hoped. The eidolon was weakened, however, and in dire straits – a fact shortly confirmed by Kel, who had rejoined the group now that the battle had ended.

And then it was with a somber tone that Kel relayed the truth of the matter. Malam was dying – his time on the Material Plane coming to a permanent end. And yet Malam’s work, it seemed, was not over. Communicating telepathically with Kel, he asked for Astrid to indulge him in one more dream – confirming her own suspicions that Malam had been behind several of her visions before.

And so Astrid managed to slip into a slumber and a deep dream.

She found herself in a castle, unknown to her, but within eyesight of an observatory – surely the Observatory of Skywatch – on a distant hill. She was in a hall of some kind, and soon realized that her father was there, Urzen Rogarvia, only old and gray, much older than he had been in the pre-Vanishing dream she had before.

Nonetheless, her father appeared to recognize her, even despite her own aging, and startled her with another revelation. This vision, he insisted, would only be possible if Astrid – or someone near her – had possession of the Dragon Watch.

Astrid had little time for her questions, as the vision threatened to fade almost as quickly as it formed. But her father gave her one more task, asking her to bring the Dragon Watch to the Observatory – into the catacombs that lay beneath it, where she could open it and rejoin her family at last. As for Skywatch being sealed, Urzen told her it was no more than a spell, the workings of which were described in the codex left to her.

The vision faded, leaving Astrid with more questions, few answers, and the bitter knowledge that the final piece of the codex was yet missing.

But as he faded, Malam revealed that final answer as well: it was held by the Man in Black.

The Gunslinger’s Return

With the mourning Kelvennan aboard, our heroes returned to the refugee city in the Titanis. While his companions recovered from the battle with the Rider, Hudson returned to the manor to deliver news of their victory to Lady Altouna.

Lady Altouna greeted Hudson warmly, clearly unsurprised at his victory. Beckoning him into her private office, she then stunned Hudson with her own news: she knew his identity, even his parent’s true surname.

The reason for this knowledge was even more startling to Hudson. Hajoth Hakados had been founded by the Gunslingers of the Way, but when the Technic League threatened to raze the city, they turned its rule over to Lady Altouna, an agent of the League who was in fact loyal to the Gunslingers.

Although many of the Gunslingers had turned themselves over to the League’s prisons to buy peace for the people of Hajoth Hakados, Lady Altouna kept many others hidden. Hudson’s parents, Calia and Mathias Stone, were among those granted refuge in the city. Yet when Calia grew heavy with child, the Stone family decided to leave for Torch, hoping to start a new life, far from the dangers of the frontier in Hajoth Hakados.

As he left, Mathias Stone sought to turn his back on the life of violence he had lived to date. Knowing, however, that there might come a day when his child would need to embrace that volence and cast himself against the Technic League, he did not destroy his guns. Instead, he gave them to Lady Altouna, and asked her to keep them safe until such a time as a Gunslinger in need came to Hajoth Hakados. And if that Gunslinger should prove his honor and valor, then Lady Altouna was to give those guns up and pass them along to the next generation.

And so, as Hudson stood in shocked silence in Lady Altouna’s office, he was given his father’s guns in a wooden box, resting on a bed of red velvet. Two revolvers from another time, another age.

Lady Altouna left Hudson with one more gift. The Man in Black, she insisted, was not far – he had been seen fleeing north, towards Starfall, just that day. His trail was still warm. Hudson could still catch him. The Man in Black could still be stopped.

And so the Man in Black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.

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Season 3, Episode 18
Silver Crimson Black, Part III

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Wrinkles

Astrid returned to her research for the next several weeks, hoping to learn more about the Silver Mount and the secrets the League seemed so intent on discovering. Yet on coming to the townhome to rest one evening, Astrid was again surprised by a visitor. Yet this one was no League agent, but in fact a young dragonling.

The dragonling, Irthelia, had been sent by Choral and Aszrogal to fulfill an old pact between the red dragonflight of Iskaron and the Rogarvia family, where each ruling member was served by a draconic companion.

Astrid found this intrusion unwelcome but, in many ways perhaps, not unexpected. Once more, her family (and Choral in particular) had sought to carve a destiny for her without her input. Irthelia, it seemed, was not much more excited about this prospect than Astrid, but insisted she should stay for the time being. Nonetheless, Astrid crafted a sternly worded letter of rebuke and inquiry to her great-x-grandfather and returned to her study.

Meanwhile, in Fort Ramgate, Thorgur spoke again with Queen-in-Exile, Rarrel Greathammer, demanding an explanation for the Kraggodan envoys who were allowed to traipse into Fort Ramgate without even the slightest harassment – save that which he had dealt out to the previous one himself.

Queen Greathammer explained that the dwarven refugees in the city were playing a dangerous game, for any sign of military build-up or aggression would cause political problems for the Nirmathan and Molthuni governments – if not provoke a war between the three states. So, she explained, the envoys were allowed to come, make their demands, see the refugees put on a show of fear and hiding, and return to Kraggodan with nothing to report – least of anything to reveal the Queen’s plans to retake Kraggodan.

Thorgur accepted this policy, albeit with reservation (if only because his new pursuit was to exact violence, not abate it), but agreed to leave further envoys to their own devices.

The Other Side of the Fence

Weeks later, Hudson completed his training with Hibok, and the Initiative plotted their next course. As Malam had last been seen in the Molthuni port city, Korholm, it seemed a perfect place to start their search.

All loose ends in Absalom and Fort Ramgate for now resolved, the Initiative boarded the Titanis and set off for Korholm. They traveled for several days before landing in the dessicated Witherbark Forest. After landing, Hudson, whether out of excitement to help his old friend or out of some temporary affliction of the mind, forwent all proper efforts to disguise the Titanis from any passers-by. Orin, however, noting this, did not bring notice of it to his companion, as a gunslinger’s pride is not to be trifled with. Instead, the gillman cast an illusion, disguising the ship from anyone passing by along the path as no more than another row of the endless sickened trees that populated Witherbark.

The Initiative soon arrived at Korholm. As they were heroes of some renown from a war whose losing side they were about to mingle with, the party elected to disguise themselves as mere travelers. Stowing their weapons safely out of sight, they entered the city and found themselves a nearby inn.

The innkeep proved of little use, however, not being eager to gossip about his customers to unknown travelers. Orin chose to drop the subterfuge of their disguises, hoping to win by intimidation what they could not by innocent interrogation. Yet the innkeeper recognized the sight of a dwarven warrior, a noble fighter, and even a handsome wizard – albeit bearded – and was likewise upset to discover the use of such provocative magicks in his inn. Refusing further questions, he instead asked the heroes to depart – and they did.

Yet outside the inn, they were again recognized, this time by troublesome city guards. Seeing that speaking to their leader and bargaining for information in return for a quick departure, the party effectively turned itself over and allowed themselves to be taken to the city’s military leader: First General Lord Duraga Steelsworn.

Duraga was not much suited to conversation but recognized the value in ridding himself of Nirmathan war heroes. And so he acknowledged that a band of strange travelers, carting a large crate, had indeed been seen about Korholm in recent months. He mentioned their exchange of currency to obtain Razmiran coin, and his knowledge that they had already left. He referred them to the dockmaster, with orders to their escort to ensure the dockmaster cooperated, and dismissed them. The dockmaster was as forthright as he could be, revealing that the Technic League had chartered a ship bound for a distant port.

Back on the Titanis, the Initiative decided the League’s next likely destination was to be Xer, the obvious port on Lake Encarthan’s coast in distant Razmiran. Knowing now that the League was on the move and prepared for travel, they surmised further that it was, in fact, returning to Starfall in Numeria. And the most obvious waypoint, their most obvious goal in Numeria’s borders, was the distant town of Hajoth Hakados.

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