Numenera: Shadows of the Past

Aftermath Act VIII
Heroes of Navarene

ecclesia_of_amber.jpg

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.

View
Aftermath Act VII
Highwind

171379110867216eca5d1a58d8632116.jpg

October 8: Morning

The party entered the Uxphon arena where they were billed as ‘the Freemen’ against Grand Champion Llaritan.

If the gladiatrix was intimidated at her number of enemies, she didn’t show it. She summoned her magnetic powers and launched six blades.

The heroes struck hard and swift, Rask being the first to successfully disarm one of the swords. Tranavaros identified Llaritan’s belt as a numenera artefact that enhanced her powers and used hedge magic to loosen it around her waist. Jinx sprinted past flying steel and ripped the belt from Llaritan, limiting her control to three swords in her immediate range.

The heroes stormed the grand champion. With only half her blades to ward off the Freemen, Llaritan struggled to maintain the upper-hand. The party broke her defence and struck. Ay’lin shot the champion with her crossbow, the bolt tearing through skull and brain to end Llaritan’s reign in the arena.

The crowd cheered.

High in the stands, a figure called for silence. The man was identified by Rask as Xanpon, the master of Llaritan and rival of Vromarask. His face was stoic despite the loss of his greatest warrior, his mismatched eyes of platinum and gold looking down at the party with contemplation.

Xanpon spoke for all in the arena to hear. As per his request, the arena officials permitted the slave master to take ownership of Llaritan’s slayer, as compensation for losing her in an unfair match.

Vromarask made no objection, complacent with the arena customs. The arena exists were blocked by force shields, preventing the party from leaving until one agreed to take the title of grand champion.

Rask stepped forward, agreeing to take Ay’lin’s place as champion, at the cost of returning to his old life. Xanpon accepted the gladiator’s proposal and allowed the other heroes to leave. Rask made his farewells, and the party returned to the air balloon — now rich with the arena prize money.

October 9: Afternoon

En’ir returned to the blacksmith and collected his upgraded battle-scythe. Maxxos paid for the repair of his battle armour, and the rest of the party made preparations for the return to Fort Toinette.

In the town square, Jinx encountered a sharply-dressed wizard the jack recognised as the same old beggar he and the heroes encountered several times in Charmonde. The wizard spoke to him in riddles, warning him that they were wasting time in Uxphon and must, ‘Travel to where the sun sinks,’ if they’re to make it in time. Before Jinx could ask more, the old man vanished.

The party set off in the air balloon Maxxos named Highwind , leaving Uxphon and all its customs.

October 13: Morning

On their flight across the Cloudcrystal Skyfields, the party noted several Angulan scouts on their xi-drakes. Over Fort Toinette, a Gaian army led by the Urgevek approached. The Aeon Guardians rushed to their stations on the fort battlements, under the command of Polemarch Ianos.

The party had to stop the impeding carnage.

The Highwind landed in Fort Toinette. Polemarch Ianos and Sir Umain greeted the party, expressing thanks for closing the Sky Tear. The party persuaded the polemarch to cease his attack on the Gaians and call a truce. Ay’lin explained how the Urgevek saved their lives and how his son sacrificed himself to help destroy the Sky Tear for the good of the Beyond and the Steadfast.

Polemarch Ianos agreed to a temporary truce if the Urgevek withdrew. He would, however, order his army to defend itself if the Gaians continued their march on the fortress. Ianos couldn’t guarantee to a complete armistice, however, as he didn’t believe Mother Eleanor would grant a treaty. The party asked the polemarch permission to cross the field to speak with the Urgevek, which was approved.

The party met the Urgevek with somber looks, En’ir holding the covered corpse of Bishen. They explained the circumstances of his son’s death, and the great feats he accomplished. After telling of the party’s success in closing the Sky Tear, Ay’lin used her persuasive skills to convince the Gaian leader to withdraw his warriors and end further bloodshed.

The Urgevek took Bishen’s body and called a retreat, temporarily ending the crusade. As the Gaian leader withdrew, he reminded En’ir of his destiny to bring peace to the Skyfields.

Back at Fort Toinette, the heroes received orders from Polemarch Ianos to return to the Amber Monolith with the Rifter, their mission in the Beyond now over.

View
Aftermath Act VI
Uxphon

Uxphon_Arena.jpg

October 7: Morning

The party journeyed to the western edge of the Black Riage, a mountain range of menacing black crags that overshadowed the land from the east of the Cloudcrystal Skyfields to the southern border of the Pytharon Empire.

The city-state of Uxphon lay in the mountain’s Deathwater Canyon, built upon a system of huge ceramic pipes that emerged and disappeared from the canyon’s solid rock walls, showing no trace of their origin. Atop the large pipes and rocky floor stood tall, narrow houses built from brown brick and tiles. The noblest of houses stood the highest, with empty pipes connected into their walls for private travel throughout the city. These same nobles owned the pipes that delivered fresh water to the people, monopolising on water prices.

The party entered the city’s central district without opposition. Uxphon had no defensive walls or fortified towers, being built within the protection of the mountains. Their pivotal role in slave export and trade with the Steadfast nations kept it safe from conflict with the Nine Rival Kings, meaning it needed no army or watch to guard its borders.

The city square bustled with hundreds of nobles, traders, slaves, merchants, and gladiators going about their business. Mutants and visitants walked freely among men and women, who wore loose robes of vibrant colour. Nobles and slaves alike crusted their faces with jewels. Warriors of both genders hung their hair in extravagant braids. Butchers sold seskii meat and chirog legs; slavers sold sex masters, battle champions, and kitchen servants all within the metres of each other.

Eager to resupply, the party found a shopkeeper named Antii, who sold them rations of dried berries and jerky meat. Enthralled by the city’s acceptance of mutants, Theron asked the woman about any local rumours she might have heard.

She told them of Filloria Dram, an adventurer and inventor from the Steadfast who was petitioning nobles to buy her air balloon — an invention which could carry ten people in its enclosed cabin — for a thousand shins. Antii also spoke of one of the battle arena’s masters, a yovoki abhuman named Vromarask, who was seeking gladiators to fight the arena’s grand champion, Llaritan.

The party bid Antii farewell and returned to the square to observe the slave auction, hosted by a slaver with three eyes.

Afternoon: The Slaves

Three prominent nobles in the crowd: a woman with reptilian features, a bald man with beady eyes, and a former courtesan with golden feathers in her hair, waged a bidding war over a woman slave with jewel-encrusted nipples. The golden-feathered woman won with her bid, leaving the other nobles to bid over a young kitchen slave with platinum blonde hair.

Aegan placed a bid, shocking the crowd. The beady-eyed noble refused to be beaten and matched her bid for bid, threatening to take the slave for his perverse desires. Jinx swept through the crowd and placed a knife to the noble’s throat, intimidating him into giving up the fight. Aegan won the auction, purchasing the woman for 180 shins.

Next was a gladiator and former arena champion named Rask, a master of the dual-bladed style of combat. The reptilian noble placed a high bid, irritated when Jinx placed one higher. The two fought for the gladiator, but Jinx ultimately won with a bid of 250 shins, insulting the noble.

The two slaves joined the party, naked and without possessions. Aegan offered the woman spare clothes and asked for her name, to which she replied she had many names given to her by many masters. Her original name was Five, named for the price she was sold for. When Aegan told her to pick her own name, one which gave her pride, the slave chose ‘Myanna’, her mother’s name.

Jinx clothed Rask and the party ventured next to the local blacksmith to purchase fresh weapons and armour for themselves and the gladiator.

The Blacksmith

The blacksmith’s shop was carved into the canyon rock and roared with heat from the forge. The shopkeeper, a man more giant than smith, standing near eight feet and heavy with muscle, greeted them. His face lay half hidden behind a great wiry beard, with a curtain of black hair falling behind his back in a heavy braid.

The party did business with the smith; En’ir asking for an upgraded blade for his scythe. The smith took the scythe and the shins to pay for his work, and told him to return in two days. Newly armed and armoured, the party left the smith’s shop and ran right into a flabby-skinned, hairless man who introduced himself as the arena master Vromarask.

The Arena

The arena master talked fast and shook his hands while hopping from one foot to the other, excited to have found a large party of warriors. Vromarask eyed Theron, Maxxos, and En’ir specifically and offered them the opportunity as free men to represent him in the arena against his rival’s gladiator, Llaritan, in a three-on-one match he had arranged by bribing the arena officials.

Maxxos refused, not wanting any part of blood sports, while En’ir and Theron wished to see Llartian for themselves. The master agreed and escorted them to the Uxphon arena; an enormous amphitheatre located on a rocky peak, the structure itself a natural formation of weathered rock with a pit smoothed by gravel and compact sand.

The party watched from Vromarask’s private stand as a silver-haired warrior entered the arena wielding a spear, identified by Rask as a famous and swift-footed champion. Next entered Llaritan, a woman of slight build with a shaved head and ancient tattoos that marked her face and arms. She wore no protection but for a robe and a numenera belt used to hold her six swords, each taken from the corpse of a famous champion.

The silver-haired warrior studied his opponent and charged, attacking with his spear. Llaritan dodged the weapon almost lazily, only moving her neck to avoid the spear’s tip from penetrating her head. She raised her arms, her tattoos glowing as the six blades at her belt rose into the air by themselves and attacked, bypassing the warrior’s spear and overwhelming him.

Within moments the man was dead, Llaritan not having moved one step.

Theron and En’ir realised the folly of entering the arena against the grand champion, and refused Vromarask’s offer. Disappointed, the arena master allowed the party to leave.

City Fight

At the base of the arena’s steps, the party were ambushed by five reptilian warriors, sent to kill Jinx as payback for his actions at the slave auction.

The warriors were quickly dispatched by the party, impressing onlookers and catching the attention of nobles and slavers.

Uxphon society acknowledged cunning, wealth, and power. Everything was owned by nobles, whose assets were protected by hired warriors. For this reason there were no city guard or central law enforcers — in Uxphon, death and insult was repaid by shins or blood. Killing was a skill all nobles prized.

Having witnessed the party’s prowess, Vromarask offered to increase the prize for winning against Llaritan, if the party accepted to fight in the arena. Realising they would need the extra shins to afford a way back to Fort Toinette, the party accepted on the condition that all of them could enter the arena.

After being persuaded by Ay’lin, the arena master proposed to bribe the officials to allow the entire party to battle Llaritan, though it would not be a cheap request. En’ir gave Vromarask 200 shins to help the master ‘appeal’ to the officials more easily. The arena master left to bribe the officials, while the party returned to the square to purchase Filloria Dram’s air balloon before another noble did.

Elsewhere, to help preserve Bishen’s body and ward off the stink of rot, Tranavaros purchased a bag of salt and a bottle of lavender oil to pour into the sealed tent used to protect the corpse.

Evening: Air Balloon

The party combined their wealth to buy the air balloon and made preparations to sleep in the cabin. Jinx and En’ir suggested they each take night shifts to watch for assassins or slavers.

As the sun sank beneath the mountains, Vromarask appeared with good news: the arena officials had accepted the bribe — they’d all be fighting Llaritan come morning.

View
Aftermath Act V
The Sky Tear

September 25: Evening

The party stood on the edge of the Scorpion Crater, a pox mark on the world. Shimmering heat surrounded them, with only Tranavaros, Maxxos, and Theron being spared from its choking effect. The sky bled, a pillar of crimson light rising from a black cube resting over the centre of the crater, hundreds of feet in the air. The red sky and evening light shone over the barren earth, turning the rocky ground the colour of a bruise. If left, the Sky Tear would fester and spread across the world, bringing all to ruin and ending the Ninth World almost as soon as it began.

They had to stop it — there, now.

Tranavaros studied the black cube, recognising it as the gateway they used to enter the star chamber of Bilu-sha-ziri. The destruction of the Venerator caused this, somehow leaking the star’s energy into the world. To stop it, they needed to trap the black cube into the Rifter — a spherical bronze artefact that could shrink and hold all forms of matter. But how to reach the cube?

Jinx suggested using his Ultimate Grapnel, extended by using rope from the other party members to reach the cube. En’ir would use his mechanical arm to throw the grapnel and hook the anomaly. Tranavaros would then climb the rope and use the Rifter. The cube, however, would disappear and destroy the grapnel, closing the Sky Tear but leaving Tranavaros to fall to his death — a sacrifice he was willing to make.

As the party debated their course of action, Theron opened an oddity he obtained months prior; a small box containing a band of musicians. The music echoed across the crater, awakening the Ember Revenants both Gaians and Aeon Guardians warned them of. Fire fell from the sky, taking the shape of tormented beings. Their screams were familiar — echoing the voices of those whose souls were taken by the Venerator.

The party fought the spirits and scattered them into embers, freeing them from their suffering. But in the depths of the crater, a greater terror stirred.

A pillar of fiery energy erupted from the Sky Tear, a colossal skull taking shape at its core. The skull laughed, its mouth and eye sockets ablaze and dripping fire like venom.

It could not be denied, Iom had returned. The skull spewed a tempest flame, surrounding the party in an inferno. Armour melted, clothes burned, and the Heroes of Navarene resisted.

Alive, the party mapped out their plan. En’ir would throw the Ultimate Grapnel, Jinx would climb the rope with Tranavaros on his back and use one of his cyphers to gently drop to the ground once the Seeker had the cube inside the Rifter.

The others would do their best to survive.

Jinx and Tranavaros began their ascent, the others keeping Iom distracted with everything they had. Tranavaros summoned a giant golem of rock, shaped like an ancient meles omnivore, to protect the party against the skull’s fire.

The flames were too strong, melting rock to reach the heroes. Burning crimson ravaged the earth, an infernal storm bathing the party in dense fire. Death surrounded them, licking at their flesh with heat. Theron stood in front of Aegan to shield her from the impact of the flame, but neither could fight the fire’s tide and vanished in the blaze.

Among the smouldering earth, En’ir, Ay’lin, and Aegan gasped for air, sucking in smoke and cinders. Maxxos remained on his feet, face and hair black with charcoal. Theron stood beside the captain-commander, naked but for the ash that covered his skin. Near their feet lay Bishen, the young warrior’s eyes open and still, his flesh bubbling.

The fiery skull prepared its last attack.

Hundreds of feet above, Tranavaros trapped the cube inside the Rifter, destroying Jinx’s Ultimate Grapnel and sending them falling to the ground.

Jinx’s cypher activated, and both descended gently as feathers.

The Sky Tear dissipated, the energy fueling Iom’s spirit dissolved. The skull roared as fire spat from its mouth and eyes, leaking out life as its form crumbled like parchment and scattered to the wind.

Jinx and Tranavaros landed safely among the party and rushed to aid their fallen comrades. They had saved the world a second time, but their journey was not over.

October 1: Morning

The party packed up camp, having spent over a day to recover some of their energy and heal their wounds. Their aneen mounts had perished in the flames, leaving them with no means to return to Fort Toinette with their limited rations. They would have to continue east to the slave city of Uxphon to gain supplies; a place outside of Steadfast law, beyond the reach of the Aeon Priests and Nine Rival Kings.

The party wrapped Bishen’s body in Theron’s tent cloth and strapped it to Aegan’s razorcat, hoping to bring the body back to the Urgevek.

And so they walked.

View
Aftermath Act IV
3 Billion's a Crowd

September 20: Morning

Guided by the Urgevek’s son, Bishen, the party journeyed east through the Cloudcrystal outskirts. As they travelled, the party observed large cavities and cracks in many of the land’s floating monolith crystals — a stigma caused by mining operations led by the Aeon Priests.

Bishen explained how the crystals were sacred to the Gaians, who believed the souls of the dead resided within them. Their ancient power, however, attracted the Aeon Priests and their misuse of the crystals ignited conflict between the Urgevek and the Amber Pope…

…Bishen was cut short as a black city appeared in the distance — the Crowd City. Unaware of any such settlement, Tranavaros asked the young Gaian about it.

According to Gaian beliefs, when the souls of the dead moved on, their corpses were taken by the death god, Amay, to build his eternal black city. Few Gaians had ever seen the dark place, as it was said to always move, sometimes remaining out of sight for centuries. The party discussed diverging around the city, though it would mean adding an extra week to their journey. Curious to find the truth behind the Crowd City legend, Tranavaros voted to enter the settlement. Jinx and Maxxos agreed, knowing rations would run low if they had to travel an extra week.

The party entered the city walls, taking notice of its roads and high towers, all made from preserved corpses. Hundreds of dead eyes watched as they passed on their aneen mounts. Stiff hands reached out, grabbing hold of one another and pulling bodies together to create new buildings and paths. At the centre of the city, thousands of bodies took the shape of a titan’s head. Curious, Tranavaros and Jinx led the party toward the monument, only to be halted by a tentacled monstrosity rising from the road — its yellow bulbous eyes glaring at the intruders.

Bishen identified the gruesome creature as a travonis ul, a servant of Amay. The ul wrapped its tentacles around fresh corpses, exposing its mouths on the appendages, which ate into the flesh and drained it of blood. After its feast, the creature’s many eyes gazed at the numenera held by the party members, taking an interest in the ancient devices.

Worried the ul would attack, En’ir and Theron threw glowglobes, hoping they would shatter against the creature and blind it with their light.

The ul caught two of the globes and devoured them with its tentacles. As it caught the third, Aegan fired an arrow, causing it to explode and blind the creature. The ul leapt forward, knocking Theron and capturing Maxxos with its tentacles — its mouths eating into his armour with each passing second.

Theron — thankful it was Maxxos and not him being eaten for once — charged the creature and broke its grip with his strength, freeing the captain-commander.

The party ultimately triumphed against the ul, with the final blow falling to Jinx. Cyphers and shins oozed out of the creature, along with organs and foul-smelling blackness. Before they had a chance to savour their victory, the ground beneath them rose with the city. Billions of corpses took the shape of the walking titan, Amay.

The party clung to the shoulder of the titan, standing thousands of feet above the ground. Amay turned north, each step nearly sending the party plummeting to their deaths. Realising the titan had to be stopped, Tranavaros, Theron, Ay’lin, and Jinx climbed into its ear and entered its head.

At the centre of the skull chamber, a bright crystal shimmered within a cage of petrified corpses. Theron attempted to punch through the cage, but failed. Tranavaros summoned a golem from the corpses nearby and watched as the fabricated minion took its turn to break the cage.

It was successful.

Ay’lin fired a bolt at the exposed crystal, cracking it.

Outside, the titan shook with pain, sending Maxxos, En’ir, and Aegan over the edge of its shoulder. The three managed to grab hold of corpses that made up the titan’s torso, avoiding instant death. Back inside the head, Ay’lin fired a second shot and destroyed the crystal.

Amay and the billions of corpses released a single, mind-shattering shout as they crumbled apart and fell in heaps across the barren ground. The party emerged from the mountain of bodies, relieved to be alive.

September 25: Evening

The party arrived at the Scorpion Crater, formerly the Scorpion Sanctum. Above, the sky grumbled and radiated heat and blood-red light.

They had made it to the Sky Tear.

View
Aftermath Act III
Heart and Soul

September 15: Afternoon

The party recovered at Fort Toinette, where Guardian Commander Giden worked with Sir Umain to assess causalities. They discovered the fort’s ancient cannons drained the last of their energy cores in the battle, and needed to be restored in the outcome of a second Gaian attack. Giden tasked the party with retrieving ‘hearts’ found within crystalline entities called the quishamis, known to inhabit the Cloudcrystal Skyfields. Once obtained, the guardians could then use the hearts to recharge the fort’s defences.

The party set out with aneen mounts to investigate the Sky Tear, while keeping watch for quishamis.

September 18: Afternoon

As the party crossed the rocky barren plains beneath the enormous crystal clouds, they encountered three quishamis, their large floating forms of crystal shards distinguishing them.

Aegan made first contact with the beings, using her ability to communicate with creatures to try and enlist their aid with Fort Toinette’s defences. The quishamis refused to help the Aeon Guardians. When asked why, the entities used their shards of crystal to etch an image into the ground, depicting Aeon Guardians standing side-by-side with Gaian lycanthropes, seemingly at peace as the quishamis observe from the sky.

Uncertain of what the image meant, the party tried another approach and had En’ir transform into a lycanthrope to provoke a reaction. The quishamis released a harmonic song while Tranavaros observed from a distance with Ay’lin, noting the sharp buzzing noise of numenera activity.

Before the party could react, the quishamis shattered into a single floating stream of razor shards. The stream encircled En’ir, Jinx, Maxxos, Aegan, and Theron. The mutant raised his arm against the stream in a bid to escape. The shards liquefied and re-solidified, encasing his hand in a segment of crystal wall. Upon withdrawing his arm, the crystals shattered and returned to the encircling stream.

With no obvious escape, the party stood and attempted to come up with some plan to get free. In the distance, a great roar was heard.

A reptile of colossal size, colourful as a jungle flower, charged towards them on two powerful legs. Tranavaros and Ay’lin readied for a fight, while En’ir and Jinx attempted escape from the quishamis. En’ir equipped anti-gravity boots, rising into the air and beyond the reach of the crystalline entities.

Catching the attention of the ferocious reptile, En’ir was struck and knocked to the ground with bone-shattering force. Unable to move with several broken bones, he could only watch as Jinx crawled over the makeshift crystal wall and rushed to help Tranavaros and Ay’lin.

The three fought the monster, knowing a single mistake would lead to their deaths. As Tranavaros and Ay’lin attempted to distract the beast, Jinx was caught in its razor teeth. The jack fought for his life, escaping death before climbing upon the beast in the hopes of killing it. The creature wrestled against him, trying to shake his grip.

The arrival of Gaian warriors ended the battle. Two Parahni among the group charged the reptile, forcing it to retreat, though at the cost of their lives. Unable to move out of the monster’s path, En’ir was crushed under its weight.

With the monster out of sight, the quishamis stream shifted from the party and surrounded the body of En’ir. The party watched in awe as the glaive’s broken corpse was restored to life, bones completely healed.

The leader of the Gaians, a warrior named the Urgevek, stepped forth and declared En’ir one of the Parahni — the Chosen. The quishamis had determined En’ir worthy to protect the Skyfields and Lostrei, a destiny he was meant to follow in the eyes of the Gaians. Their song had called the Gaians to them after seeing En’ir’s ‘true’ form, but also unintentionally summoned a jiraskar — a Great Guardian. The quishamis had encircled the party to protect them, not trap them.

When questioned, Tranavaros explained their mission was to close the Sky Tear, though avoided the topic of why they engaged the quishamis to begin with. Urgevek informed the Seeker that Gaian scouts sighted a ominous black cube resting in the air above the Scorpion Crater. The cube, Tranavaros reasoned, was the same one connected to the Venerator and held the Bilu-sha-ziri star.

When the Convergence originally found the anomaly, they likely built the sanctum around it to conduct their plans, since the object couldn’t be moved without the use of an ancient artefact — the Rifter, now in the Seeker’s possession.

Urgevek sanctioned their mission and allowed them to continue, sending his son, Bishen, to guide them the rest of the way. Before parting, Urgevek warned En’ir that the time would come where he must choose to accept his calling, or fight against it.

View
Aftermath Act II
Battle of Fort Toinette

September 15: Afternoon

The party and Sir Umain arrived at Fort Toinette moments before the Gaians launched their assault. Aeon Guardians manned the fort’s numenera turrets while the party joined the vanguard on the battlefield. Ay’lin stood with the other archers on the battlements, providing cover for her comrades. Gaian warriors and elite Parahni lycanthropes clashed with the Aeon Guardian forces in waves, relentless in their attack.

The party demonstrated their growth, utilising new abilities to smash through the enemy. Tranavaros summoned a golem of rock to defend himself, while En’ir, Theron, and Maxxos cut and broke through the Gaian ranks. Jinx used his swift daggers to wound Gaian warriors, as Aegan and Ay’lin showered them with bolts and arrows. The last of the Gaian forces were obliterated by the fort turrets and the flying xi-drake beasts of the Angulan Knights, decimating their offence and sending their surviving warriors into retreat.

View
Aftermath Act I
The Amber Monolith

September 11

After acquiring a numenera artefact called the Rifter, Tranavaros Syr was ordered by the Amber Pope to deliver the device to Mother Eleanor at the Amber Monolith and aid the Aeon Guardians in closing the Sky Tear, an anomaly created six months ago during the destruction of the Scorpion Sanctum.

Tranavaros, accompanied by Theron, arrived at the Amber Monolith and entered the Guardian Citadel — a sprawling fortress the size of a small city. There they encountered a contingent of newly-arrived Navarene soldiers, commanded by Captain-Commander Maxxos Raven and Sergeant Ay’lin Shir.

Maxxos explained that he and Ay’lin were reassigned to the Amber Monolith by High General Gerard to liaise on behalf of the Navarene Army with the Aeon Guardians and Angulan Knights. In truth, Maxxos believed Gerard felt threatened by General Bion’s growing influence in Shallamas, and so had them re-stationed to weaken the general’s command.

The group met with Mother Eleanor at the citadel’s ecclesia, located in a grand cathedral. The archpriest inspected the Rifter obtained by Tranavaros, expressing delight that the artefact was retrieved. She returned the device to the Seeker and explained that he would need it on his mission and tasked Tranavaros with leading an expedition to close the Sky Tear; an expedition that would be aided by Theron, Maxxos, and Ay’lin.

To gain supplies and obtain permission to enter the wild Cloudcrystal Skyfields, the group met with Polemarch Ianos, supreme commander of the Aeon Guardians and the general in charge of the Northern Crusade.

The polemarch greeted the famed Heroes of Navarene before being interrupted by Sir Umain of the Angulan Knights, who reported an imminent Gaian assault on Fort Toinette — a major Guardian stronghold in the Skyfields.

Ianos sanctioned Tranavaros’s mission, but assigned him and the others to first help reinforce Fort Toinette along with Sir Umain. The polemarch summoned Guardians Eni’r and Aegan Nashaki to join the party in their mission, hoping their history and experience as comrades would benefit them. Jinx, who lingered in the shadows, revealed himself as the party set out to Fort Toinette.

The Heroes of Navarene were thus reunited.

View
Part Three, Act IV
Epilogue

En’ir, Tranavaros, Theron, Aegan, Ay’lin, Maxxos, Orren, and Jinx stood before the Silver Throne in the Empiternal House. Queen Armalu, a small old woman of 253 years, awarded them with the Royal Medal of Recognition and named them the Heroes of Navarene.

Lord Heston, General Bion, High General Gerard, Mother Hiana, and Sir Umain attended the ceremony.

En’ir & Aegan Nashaki

After the group defeated the Convergence, En’ir and Aegan were approached by the Order of Truth and offered positions as Aeon Guardians, to which they both accepted.

They travelled to the Amber Monolith, where they trained and advanced to the rank of minor zealot.

Tranavaros Syr

Tranavaros was exonerated for his crimes against the Order of Truth for his part in saving Navarene and defeating the Convergence, and regained his lost status as a Seeker. He bid his comrades farewell and returned to his duties, hunting for numenera across the northern reach of the Steadfast.

He believed he’d see his friends again.

His strange connection with Theron was still such a mystery that Tranavaros invited him to join the Seeker on his explorations, hoping to find the truth in their uncanny bond as priest and mutant.

In later weeks, the Order of Truth assigned Tranavaros to locate and retrieve pieces of a lost artefact, known only as the Rifter.

Theron

Theron joined Tranavaros on his explorations to find and retrieve ancient numenera. He grew to trust in the priest, the two forging an enduring friendship.

Ay’lin Shir

After defeating the Convergence with the aid of their rag-tag allies, Ay’lin returned with Maxxos to Shallamas, where they were regarded as heroes.

Ay’lin chose to accept General Bion’s offer to join the Navarene military and advanced to the rank of sergeant quickly, thanks to her merit as a Hero of Navarene and Maxxos’s influence.

Maxxos Raven

Maxxos was promoted to the rank of captain-commander and awarded several military decorations for his roles in the Draolis Conflict, the Merkadian Crisis, and the Convergence Affair.

He returned to his station at Shallamas under the command of General Bion, joined by Ay’lin.

Jinx

Jinx returned to Kaparin in the nation of Ancuan, where he repaid an old debt to his estranged foster father, Madrox. Using the wealth he ‘earned’ over the course of six months, Jinx was able to buy Madrox a new ship to replace the one he stole years prior.

He later returned to Navarene, where he tracked down En’ir and Aegan at the Amber Monolith. There he remained by their side, lingering in the shadows.

Orren

Orren became an official Aeon Priest of the Charmonde Ecclesia. There he continued to aid the Order of Truth in matters relating to the Convergence.

The Inquisitor

The Inquisitor didn’t appear with the others at the medal ceremony and vanished without a trace. Only whispers hint at his continuous role as the ‘Blade of the Amber Pope’.

View
Part Three, Act III
The Future

Iom’s consciousness was revealed to exist inside the pyramid device, transferring to the minds of those connected to it and overwriting their memories with his own. So long as the device existed, Iom would remain.

The Iom-possessed Blaise fought the party briefly before retreating into the black cube. The Inquisitor and Orren pursued, leaving the rest of the party to debate whether or not to follow.

Meanwhile, Tranavaros freed nine of the remaining acolytes and priests. Realising time was a factor, Jinx attempted to unplug the rest of the abductees at the cost of their lives in order to deactivate the pyramid. Theron and Maxxos stopped the jack and convinced the party to pursue Iom instead.

The party entered the black cube, appearing in a starry dimensional chamber. Billions of kilometers away, at the centre of the chamber, was the crimson Bilu-sha-ziri star, pulsing like a heart.

Tranavaros followed cables that led into the chamber from the pyramid outside. To his amazement, the cables led to a second pyramid. Iom stood atop the device, ripping cables from the machine’s controls. The Inquisitor and Orren rejoined the party and listened as the magister rambled in his frenzy.

He revealed the pyramids were named the Venerator by Quaran, who believed the device would turn him into a divine being. In truth, the device functioned as a conduit for the Bilu-sha-ziri‘s energy. To draw out the star’s energy and process it safely, the machine needed living brains to power its complex operations — the brains of nanos. The energy could then be used to create powerful esoteries and enhance a nano’s abilities to godlike levels.

Amara had argued against the device’s use after the sanctum leaders Quaran, Rilaq, and Iom activated the Venerator without first understanding it. The result almost led to the destruction of the sanctums and the nation of Navarene.

Iom remarked that the party’s meddling meant he no longer had the luxury of time. He pushed a cable down his throat, directly absorbing the star’s energy. Flame jet forth from his eyes and mouth, fire and red electricity creating a vortex around his body. Flesh peeled away from his face in clouds of ash and cinders. The magister removed the cable and discharged onslaughts of fiery energy down at the party.

The Inquisitor once again teleported to Iom, distracting him as Maxxos threw Ay’lin to the top of the pyramid. Ay’lin lowered rope for the rest of the party to climb up, while Maxxos and Orren remained below to destroy the pyramid at its base.

The Inquisitor, En’ir, Aegan, Ay’lin, and Theron distracted Iom as Jinx and Tranavaros worked on a plan to transfer some of the star’s energy to Theron, the most endurable among them, using Tranavaros as a conduit. Theron had already shown to be unaffected by Tranavaros’s fire, meaning he could absorb the Seeker’s energy without being harmed.

As Jinx gave Tranavaros the power cable, Iom shot the jack with a discharge of energy. Jinx fell over the side of the pyramid, injured and barely conscious.

Tranavaros drew energy from the cable, ciphering the star’s power through his esotery and into Theron at the cost of his own health. Tranavaros collapsed, unable to walk.

A super-powered and rejuvenated Theron brought Iom close to death, but the magister proved ever resilient. With no other option left, Maxxos, En’ir, and Orren destroyed the Venerator. The party and Iom plummeted to the chamber floor among shards of metal and glass.

Iom climbed to his feet just as Maxxos ran his greatsword through his chest. Cut off from his power source and unable to restore his strength, the magister could only look on wide-eyed as he disintegrated.

The sudden destruction of the Venerator set the rest of the system into haywire, alerting the party to the imminent destruction of the sanctum. The party rushed through a warp zone in the chamber wall, created by the star’s instability.

The party appeared in the barren plains of the Cloudcrystal Skyfields, the tower of the Scorpion Sanctum seen out in the distance.

A pillar of flame erupted around the tower. The sky turned crimson and the earth opened into a chasm, swallowing the sanctum’s remains.

A cohort of Aeon Guardian scouts arrived, alerted by the explosion. They aided the party in finding the nine survivors who Tranavaros freed, all of them having escaped the tower. The Guardians escorted the party back to Navarene, where they would explain the incident to the Order of Truth and Queen Armalu.

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.