The Arzhela Campaign

Black-boats & Black Blood

On a search for the missing Hannah Tuakar Vrixxear led the party to a man named Black-boats, a former native the Mawhidu Forest who ran a smuggling operation in Arzhela. It was implied that Black-boats could be bribed, but just as the party was about to leave to acquire the necessary goods, Finn asked to see Black-boats’ tattoos, having noticed something strange about them during the meeting. Suddenly talons sprouted from Black-boats’ hands and he attacked the party. The foul creature which he became proved to be of little of difficulty to put down. Vrixxear locked the door, conscious of the corpse the party created. Upon searching the office, Vrixxear found a lock box containing a locket that belonged to Hannah with a picture of her lover Zhain inside, Severa found a Pensive, a kind of recording artifact, which had a statement from Black-boats saying he had arranged contacts for Hannah in the Mawhidu, and Finn found a half burned note implying that someone with power in the Council coerced Black-boats into helping Hannah escape the city. One of Black-boats smugglers came to the room shortly after it was thoroughly searched. The party admitted him only to find out that what had happened to Black-boats had happened to one of the rowers on the journey the smuggler had been on. At Vrixxear’s request the smuggler informed him that the next in line to take over the operation was a man named Redtooth. Finn was able to recall a fairy tale he had heard among the Okwipulkas which attributed afflictions similar to that suffered by Black-boats to creatures known as Kymeras. Severa was able to know that one of the names of the black blood that had overcome Black-boats and the rower was Miata. And when the party left the office, Severa stole the body of the rower and with heavy examination the whispers of knowledge that invade her mind told her that such a creature was born of avoided misfortunes.
After some mask shopping the party sought to track down Zhain by attending Vrixxear’s family’s masquerade ball. Vrixxear was able to track down the young fop and place a Tracer on him, while Finn was approached by Oram Thar and told to avoid the political realm. Severa bounded off to find some food and in doing so ruined the uniform of Hygh Odar, a rival of Vrixxear’s who accosted the young noble before challenging him at dance. But once Vrixxear began to dance with Severa and he tore off her disguise the party stopped. Vrixxear’s sister, Vrizkana, pulled him off the dance floor and ranted about his ruining the family reputation, while Severa and Finn were forced to leave by a contingent of the staunchly Arslahan faithful. But as Severa tried to learn their names, uninvited knowledge invaded her mind, and she saw a vision of Zhain undergoing the same transformation as Black-boats.

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The Vomiting Fop

After a night of dancing and horrific revelations, Vrixxear was awoken by his servant Vriska, alerting him to a visitor at the front door. Standing there was a young woman named Jinx who said to have been sent by Rebode Tuakar to aid in the search for Hannah. Shortly after Virxxear came to the door, Severa flew her way to her master’s side. Vrixxear pointed Jinx and Severa to Zhain’s last known location before “retiring back to bed”, but in fact donning his mask and slipping out his bedroom window. Jinx and Severa fetched Finn from his home at his bookstore before continuing on to Zhain’s last known location, a tavern called The Fool’s Tabernacle.

Meanwhile at the docks of the Blasted Isle. a man named Crow heard whispers in his mind telling him to seek out an old friend he knew only as the Owl. Crow scoured the city for Owl, finding him swiftly on the Plateau. Crow told Vrixxear that the voices within his mind told him to help Vrixxear, and so together they journeyed to The Fool’s Tabernacle where they met the rest of the party.

Severa used her mutant scent to seek out Zhain, easily finding his home within a two-block radius of the tavern. Outside was a passed out, pants-less, and otherwise comically dressed young fop. A knock at the door produced no response, and when Vrixxear attempted to force his way in he found the door locked. Crow tried his hand at picking the lock but he tripped a security mechanism losing a pick in the process. Vrixxear and Jinx each pressed the block for rumors. Vrixxear discovered that two weeks ago the block had suffered a disturbing presence. Jinx found out that Zhain prefers men to women. The party found a side door in a nearby alley, but Vrixxear failed to unlock that one. Just as he did, the formerly passed out fop stepped into the alleyway and asked what was happening. With some quick speech from Vrixxear and covert memory altering from Severa, they were able to convince the fop that Vrixxear had just moved into the house and thus gained entrance. The party stumbled into Zhain, the only awake individual in the house. Vrixxear insinuated that he and Zhain may have slept together. Zhain sought to speak privately with the party to assure the secrecy of his status, but Jiinx was able to turn him to the topic of Hannah and establish a friendly exchange. Vrixxear took the opportunity to mention Black-boats and make Zhain aware that they knew where Hannah had gone. Zhain then told the party that Hannah had come to see him two weeks prior. She hadn’t let Zhain see her face and she said that something terrible had happened, that her father had used her to some unnatural end, and that she was going to the Mawhidu to find the Kertrea, which was said in a story Zhain and Hannah shared as children to be able to grant redemption and salvation to any who could free the Steel-Frozen man at it’s heart. Severa and Finn looked for any signs of the black blood, the Miata, in Zhain but found none. In an attempt to exacerbate it, Severa called upon the hate within Zhain trying to bring the blood forth. And she did: in a quivering, veiny black ball that Zhain vomited forth after a fit of seizures.

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Secret Revelations

After Zhain vomited out a writhing mass of Miata, Jinx disappeared in a flash of light and Crow ran forth from the building, a mumbling of something on his lips. The voices in Severa’s mind revealed that this Miata had come forth because the bird was herself blessed by a presence that was also interacting with Zhain. Vrixxear threw a dagger at the strange object, which became embedded in the black sphere and frosted over. Severa’s voices made comment on the sphere being stuck, unmoving, frozen in a sense. The party was able to continue conversation with Zhain and discovered that Hannah had friends in Mazra who she may have seen on her way to the Mawhidu Forest.

Having exhausted Zhain as a resource the party returned to Finn’s bookstore to do some research. There they met The Black Dog, Ferazber, who requested that Finn meet with him later that day.

The party’s research managed to demonstrate that the ball of Miata would not move quite like a normal object: some motions would not cause it to move like a normal object.

That night Finn left to his meeting with Ferazber and others, where he gained the knowledge that another instance of Miata taking over an individual had occured within the city. Vrixxear returned home, where he was given a new coat by his mother and guaranteed passage to Mazra for he and his friends on the condition that he gain the favor of an influential agent in the other city.

The party returned to Zhain’s house and found him preparing to leave. He sought to journey after Hannah, hoping to leave the sadness that Arzhela holds for him behind.

The party then went to see Rebode Tuakar himself. Throughout the discussion it seemed as though Rebode may have been hiding something, avoiding the question of why his daughter may have left. The party was able to confirm that Hannah did have friends in Mazra, and they were able to gain the identity of one: a Linn Hanza. At one point Severa attempted to alter Rebode’s memories, but she failed, and Rebode made some comment that indicated he knew what Severa was trying to do.

As the party left the Tuakar household, Vixxear held up the jar containing the Miata and said, “I’d be careful if I were you. There’s a plague going around the city.”

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On a Boat

The party found their expedition ship ans began their journey to Mazra. Of course Vrixxear’s first course action was to schmooze amongst the nobility while Severa went down to the animal hold. Severa found a shanu named Botswell in the hold, in a golden electrified cage. She managed to release the creature by tapping the cage ‘s power source with her ceremonial hammer. Meanwhile Vrixxear was bragging about Severa as a pet, which attracted the attention of one Lontressa Maliana. When Vrixxear, Finn, and Maliana met up with Severa, Severa changed Maliana’s memories so as to make her think they were old friends. The party talked with Maliana until she implied a desire for privacy with Vrixxear. He and Maliana then had a conversation that ended with him showing her the Miata and her attempting to steal it. She nearly got away but for the strange connection between Severa and Vrixxear which allowed Severa to feel his distress and then go after Maliana. With the “Lontressa” brought down, the party interrogated her through the use of a truth serum. They discovered that she is one of the Jaekels, in fact their princess or Autarata. She attempted to steal the Miata because she believed that it could be used as a source of empowerment by her people, and she was on the ship in the first place in order to act as a spy. Finn then erased her memories and Severa replaced them with memories of her and Vrixxear coming to a positive accord where upon Vrixxear gave her the Miata which the party recreated by bleeding a Seski and making that blood the Miata in Maliana’s mind. Later on Vrixxear arranged the party to travel with Malian to her homeland after her spying was completed.

Severa went hunting around the ship for Numenera and she found a suitcase the size of twin bed in the ship’s hold, unmarked and locked. Vrixxear disarmed the lock by using the Miata to freeze the electrical current maintaining it. Inside was a jello-like substance with a series of organically shaped wires running through it. Finn stuck his wand in the substance and found that it was able to communicate with him. When Severa attempted to put her hand in it however she found the surface to be solid. After a long conversation with the matter Finn discovered that it was dying due to the electrical system being disabled. In an attempt to save it Finn used a remaker to imbue the substance with a part of his own life force. It then became a gelatinous copy of Finn, produced a mind blade which it gave to him and then tore a hole in the fabric of reality through which it left.

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Meeting the Delvers

The party arrived in Mazda to the sounds of commotion coming from down the main thoroughfare. The party followed the noise and found a group of three men in glowing armor fighting about a dozen Margr in a pit in the middle of an intersection. A crowd was gathered, blocking the party from advancing to the pit itself, but Severa easily flew over the gathered people to join the fray on the side of the men in glowing armor before Vrixxear and Finn were able to create a distraction that cleared a path for them to the pair’s edge. During the melee the lead Margr tore a chunk from the armor of one of the men, causing his suit to power down. The party was able to protect the downed soldier and dispense the Margr. After the battle the party discovered that these men were Delvers, members of Linn Hanza’s company, who were in fact in search of Mr. Hanza, who had been captured after being defeated by a Margr weilding a burgundy glowing spear that was able to deactivate Hanza’s equipment. The party agreed to join in the Delver’s expedition.

After a short journey through the Maze, lead by Severa’s tracking ability, the party found Hanza strung up in wires pulled from the ceiling. The Delvers were anxious to return Hanza to the surface but Linn said his wife had been taken deeper by the Margr. When asked by the Delvers the party agreed to take up the search for Leisha, Linn’s wife.

Severa found Leisha’s trail and tracked it to one of the many portal pools that litter the Maze, this one deactivated. She attempted to reactivate it but when she did, it turned a pale yellow-green instead of the common red that signified a portal to deeper within the Maze. A hand with an eye in its center came up out of the pool. Severa used her psuedopods to drag the unknown creature to the edge of the pool. When it climbed out it had eight arms and four legs, and spoke in a completely alien language. The eye in the creature’s hand bulged and popped out of the creature. It rolled across the floor until Vrixxear caught it in the jar containing the Miata. The eye crawled into the Miata, and then Jinx appeared in a flash of light with the eye in her forehead. Suddenly it seemed as though the party was floating in the void of space for a minute until the room returned and Jinx was gone. The creature began speaking again this time in a different voice. After failing to be understood it tentatively rose and reached into one of its pockets where in retrieved some sort of translation device. It proceeded to introduce itself. It described the eye as a parasite, a usurper, a betrayed, something that takes on a mythical level and he said that its motives involved acquiring ways to change reality. After a conversation the creature investigated the pool and declared that he would be able to reset it to the last destination used before that which he came from. Before doing so however, Severa asked to see his translator which she connected to the Pensive and she then copied its database of languages, retrieving most of them.

On the other side of the portal the party found a hallway lined with corpses and skeletons, all wrapped in the same wiring. As the party moved to make their way through they were attacked by these wires which suddenly came to life. Both Vrixxear and Severa were caught by the living wires only to be saved by Finn’s blade.

Upon reaching the other side of the hall of bodies, Severa picked up Leisha’s trail again, but just as she began to follow it a strange shadowy robed figure stepped out from an alcove and said “Hello Severa.”

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Do Not Smite the Goat for Its Flaw

The party swiftly discovered that the figure which stepped out from the shadows was a Philethis, a strange and unknowable being that speaks only in riddles or apparent nonsense. It greeted Severa, Finn, and addressed Vrixxear as master. When Vrixxear addressed it, it said ‘’The stanza of fire is almost frightening.’’ Vrixxear said he didn’t know much about poetry then the Philethis asked, ‘’Is the manure finished?’’ When Vrixxear gave what seemed an unsatisfactory response it turned to Severa and asked ’’Why is the glue worthless when your feathers are flawed?" Severa responded, “You think my feathers are flawed?” The Philethis then said, maintaining a monotone and mechanical inflection, “Now I know the servant is worthless. Do not smite the goat for its flaw,” and then it disappeared in a small flash of light.

Continuing on through the Maze, following Leisha’s fading scent, the party eventually heard a voice echoing from down a passage, demanding entrance. They found the source to be none other then the ever pristinel uniformed Hygh Odar, demanding entrance to the Margr village. After warning Vrixxear not to interfere with Arslahan’s plans, Hygh stomped away down another passage.

When Vrixxear asked for entrance to the village the guards were no more gracious then they were in their interactions with Hygh, calling out “Fuck what?” Severa flew high enough to see over the wall, into the village where she saw about fifteen Margr, a series of ramshackle structures, and a complex , fountain at the center of a fighting ring. Severa then sent a challenge forth, and the party was admitted to the village with it’s leader Zygaasu waiting to fight. Severa flew into the ring positioning herself so that Zygaasu would have to come to her, but instead he lobbed his spear Arnihilum at her and landed a glancing blow that, through the magic of the spear, destroyed the adamant foam which Severa had applied in preparation for the combat. Recognizing the danger of the spear Vrixxear made his way silently through the crowed and was able to, without gaining attention, sweep the spear into his cloak. Severa bounded forward, while at the time deconstructing a pill into an applicable poison and she took a vicious swipe at Zygaasu that left him poisoned, unconscious and beaten. Vrixxear and Finn started a chant that was picked up by some of the Margr, though without direction, until Zygaasu regained consciousness and recognized Severa as his superior. Zygaasu offered up his subservient mates to Severa. Vrixxear showed him a piece of Leisha’s clothing and said that Severa would only take a mate wearing that color. Zygaasu then showed the party to another chamber were Leisha was chained to an altar. Severa was able to commune with the altar and gain information implying that the Philethis were in some way given orders from one of the ancient civilizations of the world to guide or control the Margrs’ development. The party manipulated the altar so that they could send a signal to it which would cause it to emanate a high pitched feedback. They then left a prophecy with the Margr that said it was time to attack the surface when they heard such a sound.

When the party left with Leisha, Zygaasu was quick to accept their taking of her, but when they insisted on keeping the Arnihilum, he asserted his divine right to the artifact. However Severa asserted here own divine right, explaining to Zygaasu the relationship between the Vynysja and the Daimons. Zygaasu accepted and relented his possession of the Arnihilum.

With Leisha in tow, the party made their way back to surface. On their way Vrixxear told the best joke ever told, and at Finn’s expense. Getting closer to where they left the Delvers before the party encountered another group who helped them return to Link’s manor. Once the party was able to sit down with Linn and Leisha, Link’s revealed that Hannah had in fact been there and that her father had done something atrocious to her: Rebode had turned his own daughter into a Kymera. With the party’s promise that they help Hannah rather than Rebode, Linn reveled all he knew: that the Miata was the residue left behind in those who spent time around a Kymera, and that Hannah had taken a portal to the Mawhidu Forest. Linn agreed to show the party to the same portal after he and his wife had some time to heal.

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Cubist Mercantilism

Before leaving Mazra, the party sought out the location to which Vrixxear’s mother had asked him to deliver a mysterious box. They found the location to be a tall steel tower in the middle of an intersection, but being avoided by most of the locals. As they approached a small hole opened in the side of th tower through gleaned a pair of intelligent looking eyes. The man inside the tower inquired as to Vrixxear’s identity and when the young noble informed the man that he had been sent with a box, the man greedily commanded Vrixxear to place the box in the hole. Vrixxear began to move the box toward the hole but with a magician’s trick he made it appear that the box had disappeared. The man, convinced by Vrixxear’s trick and thoroughly confound, began to sputter before calming himself and then under his breath claiming that Ornathanmiez must have returned. The man asked Vrixxear to go to Ornathanmiez’s home in the Mawhidu Forest, a copper tower much like his own. The wizard in the steel tower also told Vrixxear that he cold access the other tower by bringing forth a 12 inch copper rod, which Vrixxear had commissioned.

The party left Mazra through one of the portals of the Maze, with gifts and blessings from the Delvers. When they appeared in the Mawhidu Forest they were immediately assaulted by projectile webs. Severa and Vrixxear were able to avoid the shots but Finn was caught in the webbing. A creature with the thorax of a giant spider and the body of a young boy scrambled down from the treetops while a man with slit nostrils and a ring of black markings surrounding his face stepped forward from behind a trunk. The man questioned the party asking who they were and what they were doing there. Vrixxear replied that they were simple box merchants, come with a strange business model and the desire to sell a box. The man, apparently unconvinced asked then why they had come through a portal used once in the last thousand years and why they brought with them the Vysynguena, referring to Severa. Severa asked why he called her that, but he responded that it wasn’t his place to tell her if the voices that have always been with her had not done so already. Vrixxear, taking this man to be “pig-faced man” described by Black-boats, was able to while maintaining his box merchant guise, inquire about Hannah as well as the man’s identity. He introduced himself as Dyalue and the young Dryder called himself Essil. Dyalue agreed to lead the party to Ornathanmiez’s tower, and along the way he informed the party that Hannah was being held by the God-priest of the Mawhidu, a man known as Brah’Bahargas, until such time as certain prophecies are fulfilled and that in the mean time Hannah has become a vortex of pain and chaos, emanating destructive energies and creating more Miata than ever before. When the part reached the Copper Tower, Dyalue and Essil left with Essil leaving a trail behind for the party to follow.

When the party approached the tower, a small hole opened up in the side and they found themselves conversing with a person who introduced their self as Nonalger, a servant if Ornathanmiez’s who said that his master was either sleeping or dead (he always got the two confused). Vrixxear said that they were here to sell his master a box, and indignantly asked whether or not Nonalger was going to invite them in for tea. Nonalger did so and expressed his master’s interest in the box. After a little sit down they went to his master’s chamber where the party discovered that Ornathanmiez was in a form of stasis. Severa was granted temporary and limited access to the computers in the chamber in order to confirm that Ornathanmiez was still alive, but after doing so she sought to open the box rather than trade it away unknowingly. She sought out metal in the room and found that the top of the stasis chamber was capped with a large amount of silver. She rubbed the box against the silver until it opened and inside she found an axe that could go through any metal or wood and a ring in which she felt the presence of infinity. Finn took the ring and when he pointed his wand at it, wisps began to flow from it into his wand. He was able to determine that it was some sort of data source. Finn took the chance to ask Ornathanmiez through Nonalger about his wand. Ornathanmiez proposed a deal to Finn: the old wizard would tell Finn all he knew about the wand in exchange for Finn binging him another or forfeiting his own in six months when Ornathanmiez would exit his stasis. Finn agreed and Nonalger told Finn that his wand a piece of the Arkubul, an ancient mechanism that could understand, hold, and interpret any data. Vrixxear also established a deal with old wizard that they would negotiate over the ring once he was awake, as well as also being able to gain some information from Nonalger about how to achieve influence in Arzhela. With their deals established the party left the Copper Tower, only to witness the ground shaking and the trees falling as something massive made its way towards them.

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Hangin' with the Brah

Trees crashed and the ground shook as something terrible charged through the forest, headed directly for Vrixxear, Severa, and Finn. The box merchants rushed back to the Copper Tower and just barely made it inside before what looked like a giant black-veined tree barged into view. The monstrosity beat against the side of the tower as the boxers looked on from the view screens in Ornathanmiez’s chamber. Soon Golthiars began to swing in from the forest on vines protruding from their bodies. As they did Severa formulated a plan. She left the tower, using her own psuedopods to hang from the side of it. The beast charged and swung for her, but she dodged the strike, and dropped down onto the creature where she sliced out a chunk of its neck, incapacitating the creature.

The merchants acquainted themselves with the Golthiars before they left to follow the spider silk trail left behind by Essil. Despite Vrixxear’s disappointment at Dyalue’s lack of tea the party stayed long enough to converse and discover that they had killed the Brah’s only rival, who they had known as the smuggler Black-boats. In possession of his former journal, the Pensive, they went to the city of the Mawhidu where they proved to the Brah that they had indeed killed his only opposition. The Brah granted the merchants a boon and they asked to see Hannah. While looking upon the Kymera, Vrixxear offered up the Miata, which took the form of a black mist that surged towards the Brah. In an attempt to stop it Severa struck the Brah with Arnilihum, which destroyed the apparatus that sustained his life, leaving the Brah dead. Dyalue ran to release Hannah from her bonds. When he did so they began to talk in whispers and Finn overheard them discussing Severa, saying that she could be useful and that she was in some way connected to Dyalue’s master.

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