Numenera: Shadows of the Past

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October 16: Morning

The Highwind flew past the Amber Monolith. The floating obelisk shone reddish-yellow in the morning sky, its mechanical heart thrumming with power. Tranavaros wondered aloud what secrets the relic held; so potent that they forged the Amber Papacy.

The party landed in the Guardian Citadel beneath the obelisk, where they were welcomed by an escort of Aeon Guardians and led into the Ecclesia of the Amber Monolith. Mother Eleanor welcomed them from her ecclesian throne, and arranged a banquet in honour of their return. The archpriest had been given a report about the Sky Tear’s disappearance and expressed her gratitude to them, before asking for the Rifter.

The party previously decided it was unwise to give the Rifter to the Order of Truth, out of fear the Aeon Priests would make the same mistake as the Convergence. The power of Bilu-sha-ziri should not be wielded by man. And so Tranavaros kept silent as the party lied, claiming the artefact was destroyed. Mother Eleanor appeared disappointed, yet insisted on raising a toast to the heroes. And so the party sat and feasted.

The Feast

Mother Eleanor took a sip of her wine and asked with a deceptive smile about a rumour she’d heard, claiming how the heroes fought alongside the Urgevek’s son. The party spoke of the Gaian and Aeon Guardian’s desire for peace, to which Mother Eleanor revealed her true intentions.

The archpriest spoke of her plot to use the Northern Crusade as a means to gain more power and influence among the Order of Truth, giving the High Curia no choice but to promote her to their ranks, where she’d usurp High Father Durranet VI as Amber Pope. To do that, she’d thought to use the Rifter’s power. She didn’t expect Polemarch Ianos to see reason when the heroes presented it to him, underestimating the commander’s commonsense. To rectify the matter, Mother Eleanor planned to kill the heroes and destroy their air balloon in the northern plains. She’d blame their deaths on the Gaians, convincing Ianos that the Urgevek’s claims of peace were false.

Aeon Guardians stormed the hall, led by two members of the Amber Guard. Mother Eleanor rose to attack the party, summoning a halo of fire.

The Fight

The heroes fought for their lives at the centre of the hall. En’ir cut down his former guardian comrades with his scythe, spreading fear through their ranks like a nightmarish reaper. Aegan and Ay’lin showered arrows and bolts, providing cover for Tranavaros as he summoned his halo of fire to shield Ay’lin and Maxxos in an aura of flame against Mother Eleanor’s onslaughts. Theron and Jinx pushed back their foes with steel and fist, breaking a path to Maxxos, who held his ground against the elite Amber Guard.

The Amber Guard loomed over the battle, men made bastions by their heavy synth and steel armour that glared a mean reddish-gold. The elite warriors swung bronze greatswords with deadly skill, though found their match in Maxxos, Jinx, Theron, and En’ir, who defeated them.

With Eleanor’s guards dead or retreating, Tranavaros engaged the archpriest. Their flames collided with blooms of heat and energy, but Eleanor’s mental powers proved greater, breaking through the Seeker’s mental defences to discover he possessed the Rifter. Eleanor unleashed her telekinetic esotery to take the artefact and install the small sphere into her golden gauntlet device. Crimson energy radiated from the archpriest, her fiery halo encircling the hall’s interior.

Wings of blood-red flame formed at Eleanor’s back, taking the visage of a burning angel. Maxxos pressed through her flames, still warded by Tranavaros, and struck the archpriest’s gauntlet, breaking it. Eleanor looked on in fury as the Rifter fell into Tranavaros’s hands. The Seeker paused, realising the power he now wielded.

Eleanor struck fast, retaking the artefact and equipping it to her remaining left gauntlet. Her strength returned and the archpriest set herself to destroying the heroes.

The Final Act

The party devised a plan that would transfer the power of the Rifter to Tranavaros. Maxxos provided cover for Jinx, who ran and took hold of Eleanor’s gauntlet, throwing the device to Tranavaros.

All the power of the Bilu-sha-ziri now at his command, Tranavaros unleashed a wave of scorching fire at Eleanor, shattering her protective ward and burning her. Eleanor proved resilient, casting onslaughts of fire at the party. Jinx fell to her attacks, prompting the wounded Theron to drag the jack free of the battle.

The heroes pushed the offensive. To weak to call forth her esoteries, Eleanor saw her doom in En’ir’s scythe as it swung at her.

Her head rolled across the scorched floor, the threat over…

…But not for Tranavaros.

The power of Bilu-sha-ziri proved beyond anyone’s control and engulfed the Aeon Priest in its fires, eating away his skin. Without thinking, Maxxos reached into the flames and destroyed the gauntlet on the priest’s arm, breaking the link between the Rifter and Tranavaros.

Before the party could sigh in relief, a familiar figure appeared at the hall’s entrance — the same beggar wizard the party had encountered throughout their adventures. Particles of light fell from his face, revealing a mid-aged man of fine features and brilliant white hair, richly dressed with the vestments of an Amber Pope.

He introduced himself as Calaval, the founder of the Order of Truth, thought dead for hundreds of years. Long had he watched the heroes, hinting it was he who gave Tranavaros the dreams that guided him to the others, so that they may save the world.

Calaval picked up the Rifter and warned that mankind was not ready for such power. His reason for creating the Order of the Truth was so that they would guard such knowledge, not abuse it. Having proved themselves worthy, the first high father offered to show the heroes a sight beyond belief.

The party accepted.

The high father unlocked the secrets of the Amber Monolith and teleported the heroes to a citadel that lay beyond the sky, in a starry realm overlooking the world. Numenera sang around them as Calaval placed the Rifter among hundreds of artefacts. He explained he was but one of many who guarded such great knowledge, and asked the heroes keep the location of the Rifter a secret. The party agreed and the high father returned them to the ecclesia, where they discovered their pockets heavy with shins.

Free to walk any path, the heroes moved forward to their next adventure.

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