February 27, 2011
You all survived, although some less than others.
The Cell began in the midst of a furious battle erupting in Stern Hope.
Cecil, Sil, and Thak headed straight towards the Leader of the Voicers – doing well to find him in the shifting morass. The Leader used his hand cannon to blast away at Thak, but Thak’s accurate sniping eventually drove the Leader to take cover in a truck bed. While Cecil and Sil took turns cutting off legs and spraying blood everywhere in the open spaces, Thak carefully aimed, called his shot, and blasted the Leader’s head right off. MPV: Thak. (+30 XP)
Zero, Mordrin, and Hextes rushed to the Generatoria to try and prevent the Voicers from burning it down and returning Stern Hope to the dark age. Zero’s psychic powers were essential in driving the Voicers to madness and disrupting their ability to use the firebombs they had. Hextes bravely rushed forward to try and save the generator from within, while Mordrin laid down suppressing fire and dispatched one Voicer in hand to hand combat. MVP: Zero. (+30 XP)
Cecil, Sil, and Thak received communication from Mordrin and went after the Voicer giving a sermon to the Emperor. Cecil’s unerring awareness allowed them to locate the Preacher, and they cornered him and tied him up to deal with him later. (Bobby rolled a 01 on a very difficult Awareness test . . . ) They moved to join the others at the Cathedral.
Mordrin, Zero, and Hextes rushed towards the Cathedral to help Warchief Kos’ke stop the Voicers from bringing a bomb into the Cathedral. Firing their guns at the bomb carrier, the Cell managed to get him to drop the bomb and set it off, killing all of the Voicers.
As the battle wound down, the party interrogated the captured voicers but didn’t get much from them but muttering. At the Cathedral, Aristarchus and Skae faced off with Kos’ke and [[:esha-raine | Esha Raine]] over the fate of the last Voicer. Esha claimed that he was controlled by some force and wanted to investigate it. Aristarchus became enraged, threatened to label her as Heretic, and summarily executed the Voicer. Raine, Kos’ke, and the other Ashleen became furious and rode off, saying the Cathedral was a forsaken place.
The party saw Brother Lamark in the hospital and surveyed the wreckage. Suddenly, Skae burst out of the Cathedral covered in blood. He claimed he had been attacked by a shadow woman but had driven her off with the aid of the Emperor. Aristarchus ordered the Cell to track down, arrest Esha Raine, and return her for questioning.
The party took to the truck again, wtih Thak driving carefully. When they reached the Ashleen settlement they piled out and were quickly faced with Kos’ke and half a dozen Ashleen soldiers protecting Esha Raine. The party managed to convince Esha they weren’t going to kill her, and she agreed to go with them. Suddenly, Shale Crows appeared and formed into two flocks. Their beaks and numbers were frightening, and the Cell had to ally with the Ashleen warriors to overcome their terror and fight the creatures off. Zero, however, was wounded, and both Hextes first aid and Zero’s own psychic powers did more harm than aid. At the conclusion of the fight, the party took Raine back in the truck to Stern Hope.
In the truck, the party successfully got Raine to give them an ancient book, revealing that the Crow Father was an ancient demon defeated by St Drusus at the exact spot the cathedral was being built. Its had previously been summoned in rituals pitting brother against brother, and rituals in which much death occurred often led to it appearing at dusk. The party realized that the attack on Stern Hope could well be the beginning of a summoning ritual for the Crow Father – also known as the Dancer at the Threshold.
Returning to town, it was in wreckage. The populace were huddled in their tents, out of their minds with fear. Those who had tried to flee had somehow been forced to commit violent suicide and their corpses blocked the gates out. In the bar, they found Aristarchus’ room tossed and managed to recover parts of his data-slate journal – Aristarchus believed he had seen the reborn St Drusus in the church at night with Skae. Somehow, the generatoria had entirely disappeared from the manufactorium, and Stern Hope was in total darkness except for a strange haze over the cathedral. Raine managed to perform some first aid on Zero where the others had failed. In the priory, they found Severus and all of the clerics dead, with their eyes put out. Lamark was barely alive, and Hextes managed to stabilize him and save his life. Before they headed to the cathedral, Esha Raine told them that folk legend told that the only thing that made the Crow Father afraid was the same wounds that he inflicted on others.
In the cathedral, the Cell found the rest of the population of Stern Hope bound in thrall in the pews, speaking words that were not their own and frozen in place. In the center alter, Aristarchus floated in the air, surrounded by a column of spinning tarot cards glowing with an intense light to bright to look at. The column went up to the domed ceiling, where the roiling darkness allowed Zero to sense the warp was pressing through. Behind Aristarchus, the Cell saw Abbot Skae, deformed and altered – before he could speak, they opened fire on him. Unfortunately, to fire upon his terrible visage drove several of the party to terror – Zero passed out for a while, and Mordrin fainted. Many found their ability to fight impaired.
Thak took up a sniping position in the rear of the cathedral, and Hextes went around the edges to the altar. Mordrin did a leap over the pews to join Hextes near the altar. In the center, Sil and Cecil got into a furious melee with the Skae thing. As it began to charge them, the Skae thing announced that it was Tyziak, Crow Father, Dancer at the Threshold, and that when its ritual was complete it could pass beyond the useless meat that held it in check. The Cell knew they had to defeat it quickly or it would tear them apart and corrupt the whole planet.
Cecil felt the rage of the Emperor at this blashpemy and put all of his strength and more into one blow, doing serious damage to the creature. Somehow, though, it continued to savage him. Although Sil joined the melee and managed to distract the creature for a while, it eventually shredded through Cecil’s armor. After making a grievous blow to Cecil’s right arm, the Skae thing rent Cecil’s left arm clear off his body and blasted Cecil across the room into a puddle of blood. Sil took the brunt of the creature’s anger from then on, until Sil was nearly knocked down. Then, at Thak’s urging, he disengaged and sought cover.
All the while, Thak carefully aimed and shot at the creature, and by doing some damage to the beast’s head, assisted by Cecil, managed to figure out the creature’s weakness was its eyes. Cecil chopped one of its eyes out of its head before he lost his arm and went down. It put out the eyes of its enemies and servants, and, like Esha Raine’s advice, did not want its own eyes put out. Hextes and Mordrin pleaded with Aristarchus to help them and turn against the creature, and began to get through to him. As Sil disengaged, Mordrin turned to take the creatures attention and give Zero a chance to heal Sil a bit. Zero managed to rally and used his psychic powers to stabilize Cecil, who was bleeding out. Mordrin took a terrible blow from the monster and was on the verge of collapse. Hextes pleaded further with Aristarchus and the seer seemed to be coming around. Thak, carefully firing all the while, again called his shot and put a rifle bullet into the creature’s other eye. Dark energy poured out of the creature, and it spun across the room into the column of spinning Tarot cards. The cards shot up into the air, slicing Aristarchus to bits, and disrupting the warp energy above. The energy blasted the roof off of the cathedral and rubble rained down on Stern Hope. MVP: Cecil. (+50 XP)
The warp was blasted away, and Aristarchus and Skae were left only as lumps of flesh. A single Tarot card floated down and landed on the altar. It was the Magus of the Executoria suit. Damage to the card revealed a strange circuity inside, and when Hextes was unable to figure it out the party realized it was probably not human in origin.
As they surveyed the wreckage, the cell realized they had accomplished a great thing. They had headed off a full blown deamonic incursion, defeating the creature at its chosen ground. Esha Raine told them that, perhaps, they had finally cleansed this ground of the demon’s taint and the cathedral could be salvaged. The party tended to their wounds, secured Cecil int he flatbed safely and looked after him as he rocked in his coma, and headed back to Port Suffering. They began to prepare their report the Inquisitor, and to think on what had happened in Iocanthos, and where they would go from here.