Iron Gods: Echoes of Eternity

The Journey to Scrapwall
Chapter 2, Episode 1

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As Recorded by Joram Khyte. High Artificer of Holy Briegh

May the Mother of Gears give me the sight and Wisdom to record the journey of her Champions as faithfully and accurately as these old bones will allow.

THE COUNCIL

To travel over the lands of Numeria is never an undertaking to be done lightly. There were many revels, and now the city celebrates relighting day, as a time of kinship and rekindling old relationships that have gone out. It is a wonderful gesture done by the Town council, but it is all smoke and mirrors in light of the true threat we here in Torch still face. In a meeting of the town council, it was discussed that this entity “Hellion” seems to know the secret of Torch. It is our saving grace, that this entity does not appear to be in alliance with the Technic League, or else I suspect we would have been quickly dealt with while our town was occupied.

The Champions were commissioned, (nay, if I am truthful we would have begged them, if they had required it, ) to intervene and discover the threat of this entity and deal with it. Our plans to convert the vessel under the hill, as well as all our lives will exist under the shadow of the league unless we know that the bearers of this secret are silenced. They have been offered riches, and fame, if they can succeed, and all that we can do now is wait, while I chronicle their story in the books of my holy Mistress. Before they left, we gave them a wagon as well as horses in which to travel across the dangerous wastes. Even this comfort may not be enough if they should encounter difficulty, but if they stick to the caravan routes then they should be safe.

THE TOWN OF THE FALSE

Early in their journey, the Champions of Brigh happened across a town that was peopled by false people. Robots and mechanisms that are meant to look like us, but only in passing. Their skin was rubber and plastic, while their movements were stiff and unnatural from the tremendous age of their components. Meanwhile, they asked for help from the travelers who had come across their town on the way to Scrapwall. Although there were misgivings, and suspicion of a trap, the Champions of Brigh agreed to help and continued inside. Once there they met an Andriod who cared for the False folk. Apparently they had negotiated some kind of deal with the League to keep the False folk from wandering. The Android had them work on farms, because they ate nothing of what they grew, and sold the results to pay the bribes that kept the League from looking closely in their affairs.

Unfortunately, something had recently moved into their area, and one of the Gear’sman would rampage into their town and tear several of the Mannequins apart. The Champions of Brigh were contracted to deal with the threat, which they quickly took apart and loaded unto the wagon before leaving the town to its own devices and collecting their bounty.

During the night however, the Gear’sman arose from his resting place in the back of the wagon and began running back towards the Village. they were able to stop it before it escaped, but it was a vicious battle.

THE BARBARIAN HORDE

The Champions of Brigh then encountered one of the larger tribes of Kellid who dwell within the boundries of Numeria. The encounter could have gonve very badly, but fortunately, they recognized Myithnu’s folk and treated him with honor before offering to purchase Ariana for a wife. The Champions kindly refused this request before continuing on the trip towards the Sellen River fort.

ALDRINARD’S REST

The Paladin Aldrinard had committed suicide upon reading of his beloved’s death at the hands of bandits. This meant that the keep where he was stationed was now haunted by his shade, at least the Chapel was. The Garrison of Crusaders who were stationed here had avoided the Chapel as a result, but still maintained a presence there, as it was a strategic location along the Selen River. Unfortunatly, due to a shake up in the heirachy of power in Scrap-wall, an ambitious gang of scrapers and thugs had decided on a bold play for Hellion’s favor. There is a vicious gang referred to as “The Smilers” due to their habit of smearing their face with a numbing gel and removing their lips until only a richtis grin was left. These Smilers had attacked the garrison of the Sellen Keep by surprise and had killed most of the garrison before taking a small number of prisoners. The long term effect of the numbing gel, also causes madness, and as a result, the Smilers are also Cannibals of the worst sort.

Several crusaders who were captured were also eaten before the Champions of Brigh could arrive to defeat the gang. There was a terrible firefight in which the Smilers used crude but effective pistols to maim and injure the fellowship. They were able to prevail however, and left one of them alive to interrogate for answers while the remaining crusaders were freed. Several, including the garrison captain had been badly beaten before being trussed up, but the fellowship was able to heal them as best they could.

What followed was an interrogation of the remaining smiler, before he was executed for his crimes. Then Ariana along with the others investigated the chapel to discover the ghost of Aldrinard. The fallen Paladin took her to be his long lost wife, and once she had forgiven him, and set his spirit free, she had retired from the others in distress of something that had happened directly afterwards. When she emerged, their was a profound anger that filled her spirit along with a keen sense of betrayal, but what it meant, is not for this lowly priest to know.

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The Birth of the Torchbearers
Chapter 1, Epilogue - Part 2

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Outside of the Council hall, The party had been going on all night, and would continue into the following day. Colorful streamers and purple flamed fireworks had been produced and the Torch council had declared today would forever be remembered as “Relighting Day!” As a new holiday, it would be celebrated with violet streamers of fabric and paper.. food and song as well as the rekindling of old relationships that had died out. It would serve as a day when all the people of torch would remember what almost happened, and be thankful for the violet stream that shoots up into the sky in the center of their town.

Meanwhile, a much more somber gathering was happening in the Town Hall. The council chamber itself had two doors on either side, and was quiet as one by one, the councilors of Torch entered the building and moved to take their seats around a large stone table. It was a massive, black veined stone ediface that had five settings, one for each councilor of their district.

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The First to enter was the youngest of the new councilors. Bazlundi Otterbie was a woman in her early 20’s and the dark skinned daughter of a crusader from Mendev. When she entered the hall, her beaded locks clicked behind her as she moved gracefully into the room. She had a proud and noble bearing from her father, and had negotiated her family from near ruin, to a position of prominence among the artisans and craftsman of Torch, securing a seat on the council.

The next to Enter Was Dolga Freddert. As one of the oldest on the council, The Dwarf was now widely credited for helping to keep Torch together during Konnir’s disappearance and the crisis. Some whispered that her connections ran much deeper and were much more entangled then anyone realized. On the surface however, Dolga always kept up her gruff, no nonsense exterior. She had come to the first meeting of the Council since the crisis dressed in a shining suit of ceremonial Chain armor, and had her hammer strapped to her back. Over her armor was the violet and green robes of office that marked her as one of the council.

Following the dwarf, was the High Artificer of Brigh, Joram Kyte. His leather apron and rugged Artificers clothes had been replaced by the heavy ceremonial robes of office he wore as a member of the Clergy. Even then, they clicked and clinked as several gears hanging from his belt and around his neck rattled against each other with every movement of his aged body. He had on a carefree smile, which like everything else he did, was carefully crafted to serve the situation and his clockwork goddess.

Next, the missing Council member, Khonnir Baine hobbled into the room, leaning heavily upon a cane that made him appear much older then he actually was. There were some who whispered that his harrowing experience beneath torch had nearly killed him, but he had made every effort to prove otherwise. His robes were immaculate and resplendent, but his normally clean shaven face was starting to grow some uncharacteristic stubble. He hobbled over to his seat with some effort and nodded to the other council members who looked on with obvious concern.

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Lastly, the leader of the council was an older woman named Serantha Olandir, her hair was tied into a long braid that extended down her back and her fierce eyes regarded the room with a radiant intensity all their own. 2 years ago, her husband had been leader of the council, but a mugging near Silverdisc hall had gone bad, and since then she had dedicated her life to cleaning up torch and Shaping its politics for the better.

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She was escorted by the Captain of the Guard, Aaronlu Langer. She was a warrior known for her cunning, her ferocity, and her dedication to the well being of the town. She had previously worked as a bodyguard and a sell sword for the Olandir Family, but ever since her husband’s Death, Serantha trusted no other Captain of the Guard except Aaronlu. It was widely known that Garmen, before his untimely disappearance, had offered a sizable bounty on any information, or dirt on the Captain of the Torch Bearer’s, but had come up empty.

Each councilor had a wooden block that was covered with ornate carvings upon which to sit. It was whispered that these blocks had been made by the original tribe of Kellid who had first settled on this place, before Torch had come into existence. It was rumored that their shaman had used these blocks to pass judgment on other tribes that would come to them, and now they were finding such use all over again. Each councilor moved their block out far enough to sit down, and gently moved in front of the table. Some of them, such as Dolga, were less graceful then others, but after a moment the entire council were seated.

Serantha began as she gently lifted a ceremonial Glaucite hammer and tapped it upon the stone table, calling the meeting to order. Her musical voice lifted up, “So, is it True?… is he dead?”

“Yes.” Nodding Slightly, Khonnir Baine replied. “I have it on good Authority That Garmen Ulreth will no longer trouble this Council, or the people of Torch.”

There was a small collective sigh, as the other councilors released a breath they had not even realized was being held. Dolga was the first to speak as she nearly spat out the words.

“Good Riddance, I say.”

The young Councilor Bazlundi looked over at Khonnir as she spoke, “Yes, but now that begs the question. What of his holdings?”

Khonnir motioned dismissively and gave a reassuring nod. “I have someone I trust, a family member that I would like to take over his holdings. They will put them to much better use serving the community, I think. Perhaps convert it to an Inn, or have it remain as a casino to attract traveler’s coins.”

Serantha, leader of the council took a slow breath but nodded. “There will undoubtedly be questions and an investigation regarding his disappearance, but everyone here knows my feelings on the matter. Garmen was a slime who probably engineered the death of my husband, so I will not any shed tears. That being said, If it comes to light that you engineered his demise Khonnir, then I shall hold you accountable according to the law. Otherwise, I am keen to grant your request, and see to his holdings, as no Legitimate Heir will likely come forward and admit ownership of such a nefarious estate. What say the rest of you?”

One by one, the council nodded their agreement, and when the attention focused back around to Serantha she also joined the others. “Agreed, if there is no further discussion then we grant your request. Return to this council with a report about the final disposition of his holdings, otherwise you are free to conduct them in a way that benefits Torch however you see fit.”

Khonnir quietly nodded his thanks to the other councilors and then looked very seriously. “Now that the matter of Garmen has been dealt with, I would like to discuss something of great import. First however, I need to insure this conversation does not leave the room.” He gently touched a rune that had been carved on the surface of the table, and it glowed for a moment with violet energy. It was joined by runes drawn all over the walls, ceiling and even windows. All of them glowed and revealed a barrier of arcane energy that blocked any attempts to listen in on their deliberations. This was only something done in the most severe circumstances, so the other councilors looked on gravely.

Once Serantha was satisfied the proper precautions had been taken, she opened the conversation with a question. “This is about the Champions of Brigh, isn’t it? And about what they found under Black Hill.”

This time it was Joram Kyte’s turn to answer, his voice was frail and subdued as he nodded his balding head. “Yes, The champions of Brigh have uncovered several significant discoveries. It now falls to us on how to deal with them.”

Bazlundi shook her head as her dreadlocks clicked in response and her voice was tinged with growing concern. “There are already rumors flying. What did they find under there?”

Khonnir answered the question after giving the runes one last check. “They found several things, including an entrance to Nar Voth, the Under realms. And more, they found the remains of a massive star-ship. Apparently, a damaged fusion generator has been sending its pulse up towards the surface, and emerging at the top of black hill as the great Torch. It slowly builds up until release, and vents the energy in a massive discharge to keep from exploding. The Emergency Venting was deactivated by the Android Mayanda, so she could harness its power for her old Master. An entity she refers to as Hellion.”

The council Chamber grew deathly quiet as they all took it in. Finally Councilor Bazlundi broke the silence. “If the Technic League catches wind of this, we’re dead! They will send a military governor, and the council will be dissolved.”

Khonnir nodded in agreement. “Yes, the Council will be dissolved, swiftly followed by ourselves. Some of you know the secrets of my former life, but it will be a moot point if the League comes here in search of the remains under black Hill. Everything you have heard about their ruthlessness and cruelty is true. If the League is brought here searching for that ship, Torch as we know it will die.”

When she finally spoke, Serantha’s voice was barely more then a fierce whisper. “I have not endured this long, just to see Torch taken by The Black Sovereign and his Technic League Lackeys.” Dolga nodded in fierce agreement. “Nor I.”

Khonnir nodded his head once, and Serantha’s voice acquired a touch of wry amusement. “I’ve known you for too long, Khonnir. You would not have mentioned the ruins under black Hill, if you didn’t have a plan. It’s clear as day that the League must never discover the Secret of Black Hill, so lets not play coy and tell us what you propose.”

he shrugged thoughtful and gently took up one of the pens from the massive table in front of them, tapping it once or twice. “It would be easy to seal off the entrance by letting it be known that an access point to Nar Voth has been found. No one wants to actually go into the darklands, except for adventurers and the insane. In reality, we seal the entrance to the dark Lands, but the entrance to the Caverns under black Hill will have a hidden access point. Guards will be positioned out of sight from the outside, and to the rest of the town, whatever is hidden under the Hill will be forgotten. Meanwhile, we repair, we restore, and convert the crashed vessel into a place where those who hide from the Technic League can gather and conduct research in secret. It will be a place were Andriods, the robot folk who are fleeing from the Technic League can find shelter and freedom. Lastly it will be a place where our trusted agents can bring technological wonders for research, and hopefully, one day… replication. I suggest we convert these ruins into a base of operations for our benefit and perhaps our eventual resistance. After all, if the Technic League will destroy us anyways if they discover its existence, then we have nothing to lose by using it."

The entire council went utterly silent as they struggled with the scope of Khonnir’s suggestion. Finally Bazlundi broke the silence. “How could we keep such a secret? Sooner or later the League would find out, and we would all be killed.”

Khonnir shook his head. “The secret of Torch had remained a secret to the town for hundreds of years before Mayanda, Hellion’s prophet, descended into the cave. People don’t want to know how precarious their life is, balanced on a lance of purple energy. It is in their best interest to forget, and so they will. The secret of Torch shall return to obscurity, and it will be one more mystery of Torch, only to be revealed when the Technic league has fallen, may that day be within my lifetime.”

Finally, Serantha, leader of the Council spoke up. “That brings up another question. What of this Mayanda? If her master sent her below the hill, then already there is someone or something, who knows our secret.”

Khonnir nodded in agreement. “Yes, this is true. But instead of contacting the League, Mayanda was sent with a company of scrap soldiers to infiltrate the town, and steal the energy from the Torch. If this Hellion had reveald the ship’s existence, despite her failure, the Technic League would already be swarming this place… The fact that the League has not come searching for it already, speaks that They may not be working together. My hope is that somehow these two forces are working in opposition. But As knowledge of Torch is out there, we must discover the nature of this Hellion and if possible it must be neutralized to keep our secret."

Serantha saw where this was going and gently rubbed her forehead. “So… The Champions of Brigh?”

Khonnir nodded in response. “The Champions of Brigh.”

After another minute of consideration, Serantha looked to the other councilors and spoke softly. “Very well. I propose that we offer the Champions of Brigh a generous commission to travel to the home of this “Hellion” Entity, and discover his nature and purpose. Furthermore, if they are able to neutralize any threat he represents, they will be well rewarded in coin and treasure by this body. What say the rest of you?”

One by one each of the councilors nodded in agreement.

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Lord of the Ropefists
Chapter 1, Epilogue - Part 1

Epilogue 1 of 4.

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Silver disks clattered all over the floor as Garmen continued to stuff the leather bag as full as the seams would allow. In his haste, one of his hands slipped and a scooped pile had scattered down its side to form a glittering cascade as he gave a particularly colorful curse. His two most loyal Ropefists paused to glance back over towards him and exchanged a worried look.

Shafts of dying sunlight formed orange and yellow lances that slashed across the old warehouse that had been his backup hideout for many years. Garmen had never thought a need to use this place, but now that everything had gone to hell, he thanked the base cunning which had seen its potential as a life saver. He started to scoop up the silverdisks, but shook his head and muttered another curse. “A pox on that Purple Haired Bitch.”

The two Ropefists nodded in agreement, but said nothing as they moved to help their boss pack the last of his possessions. The moment his scout had returned with the news that Mayanda had emerged from the Black Hill caves, being led by the Champions of the Council, Garmen knew his number was up. Eventually she would reveal the bargain they had struck, if she hadn’t already, and Khonnir would send the Torchbearers to arrest him.

Konnir Bhaine, 1st councilman of the Torch Council and local enigma always detested the Casino Owner, and had it in for him. He alone was the only person on the council who Garmen feared to cross, because there was a secret being hidden, and in rare moments when Khonnir slipped up, he would reveal terrible power. The 1st councilor would not miss this opportunity to be rid of the crime boss permanently, and so Garmen Ulreth, business owner and Crime Lord of Torch, would now become a refugee.

Fortunately, as he was still a man of money and power, he had many options available to choose from. The most delicious option that presented itself was revealing what lay beneath the Black Hill, to agents of the Technic League. Undoubtably they would pay handsomely for knowledge of the technological artifacts hidden beneath the mountain, and Their involvement would certainly bedevil Khonnir and the accursed adventurer’s he had hired to foil all their carefully laid plans.

Throughout it all however, Garmen could not shake the feeling like he too, was being played. The Android, Mayanda had weaved a delicate plot upon her first arrival, and Ulreth had never received a satisfactory answer for what the strange device was beyond “something to move energy.” Before it had malfunctioned and exploded, the device had appeared to be becoming more and more active, loud and unpleasant to be around. It was unsettling to think about, but it was almost as if it had been building up towards something .. dangerous, potentially deadly.

He looked around at the abandoned warehouse and nodded. Torch had been good to him, and he would miss it. “All right boys.. bring the carriage around back. It’s time we say Goodbye to Torch and get some distance. Once we’re clear, then we can put out a call to the League.”

The two rope fists nodded once again and started towards the door. Unfortunately, they only got two steps before a quiet chuckle echoed all around the room.

“That’s too bad. I was rather hoping you wouldn’t involve the league. Your not complete scum, but you seem intent, which is why I’m going to have to kill you now.” The voice which echoed all around the room was quiet, dull and raspy, but could still be heard. Garmen drew a weapon as did the others, but then they all glanced around frantically at a strange sound. There was a dull buzzing noise as a small mechanical device emerged into the sunlight and hovered about the room. To Garmen’s eyes, it looked like a collection of small pieces of metal, gears and legs that had been crafted to look like a strange crab of sorts. It buzzed about the room as his two thugs swatted at it and tried to shoo it away. Finally Garmen saw a vicious looking needle inject snap from underneath as the device dove at one of the ropefists, and the man screamed as it drove the needle into his throat.

Such a tiny wound should have done little to the big ruffian, but as the man shuddered and died, his face already twisting into a purple richtus, Garmen suddenly lost his courage for what was happening and grabbed everything he could before fleeing towards the door. The Second ropefist tried to scurry away from his dying compatriot, but The small mechanical device was already spreading its wings like a vicious buzzing insect and had lifted off of its first victim to give chase.

As soon as he neared the rear exit, away from the dying thugs, Garmen reached for the door just as it started to open and a dry mist wafted into the room before him. A dark, robed figure emerged from the mist, its face obscured by a smooth metal facemask and goggles that wheezed with every breath the intruder took. The mist made it difficulty to see exact features, but it seemed as if several small hoses were connected to the mask, and with each breath, there was an almost mechanical hissing noise.

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“Who the fuck are you?!”

The figure gave a small cough, but shook his head at the former crime boss. “No one Important, but I will say this, My brother sends his regards.” with that, the cowled intruder produced what looked like a cane that was covered with metal inscriptions that were woven together in hard lines that criss crossed one another all over its surface. He flicked the cane once, and touched it to Garmen as there was a blinding flash of light and energy that sent the Crimeboss flying backwards in a trail of smoke. The room still echoed with the energy of the discharge, but Garmen couldn’t hear anything at this point anyways. His eardrums had possibly been ruptured by whatever device the intruder had used on him.

As blood poured from his ears, Garmen reached down to retrieve his weapon and shivered at the static discharge that still lingered in his body after the impact.

“Right.. All right Creepy.. I’ll do you for that one.” Garmen snarled at the intruder.

His muscles still twitched and jerked slightly from the energy of the discharge, but Garmen still had enough strength and skill to charge at the intruder. The masked figure glanced up from beneath his cowl and Garmen could only see the black gloss of lenses that had been constructed into the mask. The intruder raised his cane in a defensive motion, as Garmen swung at him with all his might.

Halfway through the arc of his attack, his weapon met an invisible barrier of some kind and glanced away harmlessly. The figure did not even acknowledge the blow as Garmen shouted his frustration and struck again and again at the dark, mysterious intruder. Each time his weapon glanced off of some unseen armor that protected the intruder from attack. After several more strikes, the intruder flicked his wrist out and Garmen could see that his hands were covered with some kind of metal glove that had crystalline pads on each of its fingertips. The pads glowed for a moment as the hand was fully extended, and suddenly the sword was ripped from Garmen’s grasp and flew into the intruders waiting hands as he closed his fingers around the pommel.

Defeated, Garmen went to his knees and shook his head. “So.. its gonna be like this.. eh?”

The intruder only nodded once before extending his other hand, and touched Garmen on the forehead. As soon as the metal glove he wore made contact with Garmen’s forehead, a staggering amount of energy surged into the crimeboss’ cranium, cooking his brain and killing him instantly.

As Garmen’s corpse hit the wooden floor of the warehouse, The figure took a step back and glanced around, not even looking twice at the silverdisks strewn about before leaning over to cough several times. It was not a jagged, wet sound, but a subdued dry cough that the figure was able to quickly recover from. It motioned once for the mechanical device, which buzzed after him and landed on the cowled man’s shoulder as they both disappeared into the alley behind the warehouse.

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The Warehouse of Light and Noise
(Chp 1, EP5) Written by Joram Khyte

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Recorded by Joram Khyte

My the Goddess of Gears grant me clarity, so that I might be able to record these events with precision. As the last vestiges of the place referred to as the “Bio-labs” deck were explored the Champions of Brigh returned to the surface and immediately set to the task of developing a plan. Several new threats had entered the arena, and Khonnir Bhaine knew that if they were not dealt with, then much more would be put at risk.

Developing a Plan.

Sanvil Trent was a weasel of a man that few trusted and fewer liked, but he was widely acknowledged as one of the best authorities when it comes to the origins and purpose of technological finds in the region. He also was possessed of seemingly limitless resources when something caught his interest. It would almost be foolish to assume that someone as obvious as Sanvil Trent could not possibly be a spy for the League, however it did make a certain degree of sense when you considered the tactic of hiding out in the open. He would never speak of his true Allegiance, but everyone who had ever participated in dealings with Trent knew that his Technic Leaugue pin was probably just under his clothes. The only way they could know the truth, was by bringing him within range of the Cereribric fungus known as Fred’di, (whom I have not met, but from what I am told his appearance is ratherly ghastly although his demeanor is extremely civil.)

Dealing With Sanvil Trent.

Unfortunately, obvious or not, if Sanvil was a plant and an Agent of the Technic League, then he needed to be dealt with before he could report back the unusual events unfolding beneath Black Hill. Khonnir had suggested a direct approach, but it was decided to lure him into the caves with irresistible bait. The robot which was now responding to Niera. Once he was down in the caves, their friend Fred’di would scan the surface thoughts and look for anything that would indicate he was intent on betraying him.

Everything proceeded to plan, and when they showed the Robot to Sanvil, Fred’di scanned his surface thoughts to reveal a quickly formulated plan in which Sanvil Trent intended to murder them all in order to bring the Robot back to his Technic Leauge Masters and finally get the promotion he richly deserved. Unfortunately for him, the only Richly deserved action taken, was the heros viciously attacked as soon as they learned of Sanvil’s imminent betrayal. The fight was as terrible as it was swift, and before long, Sanvil, was revealed for the traitor he was and payed the price for it with his life.

The Warehouse

Once Sanvil had been dealt with and his body removed from the Black Caves, it was now time to deal with another potential threat which had been lingering. Khonnir Bhaine had suspected Garmen Ulreth of being invovled with this plot from the very beginning. Once the Champions had gone down into the caves to deal with Sanvil, Khonnir deployed his best spys to ferret out what was happening, and what they found surprised them all. One of the Warehouses possed a large technological object which was being used to transfer vast amounts of energy to a far away place for some unknown reason. Our operative was able to get close enough, and discovered that the device was siphoning power from a massive generator beenath Torch, to a location somewhere near the town of Scrapwall.

Once they had penetrated the warehouse and discovered the Technological device, they learned what they could and immediately beat a hasty retreat after disabling the device. Garmen Ulreth was none the wiser for their involvement, and he had one of his own men put to death for seeming to disable it. Now that the device is deactivated.. whoever put it there must now be alerted to the activities of the Champions. So they will be ready when the next hammer blow lands.

Scrapwall Fanatics.

The time for diplomacy and planning have passed, and so the Champions descend once again to deal with the threat under torch and confront the mysterious Meyanda.. I suspect that I will either see them victorious, or not at all.. may Brigh grant them victory..

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The Lost Expedition of Brigh
(Chp 1, EP4) Recorded by Joram Kyte

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I am Joram Kyte, 1st Artificer of Holy Brigh, Lady of Gears, may she grant me the vision to record these events with percision and Clarity.

TAKING STOCK

Up until now, the wonders Brigh’s Champions had brought back from underneath the Black Hill had been considerable, but unaccounted for. Now that Khonnir had been returned, they were able to properly take stock of what they had and what they were able to use in the coming battles. Everyone in the town was much relieved now that Khonnir was back, but the Torch was still out, and this strange field of power was continuing to build. Furthermore, there was a terrible silence that fell about everyone who went down into the depths. If the Leauge were to discover what sat just below our feet, then surely they would send operatives to secure this site, and the town of Torch would be crushed beneath an iron clad boot.

THE SPORE CREATURE

After they had re-equiped and rearmed, the Champions of Brigh made their way under the mountain.. much to the displeasure of the Chelaxian oracle.. for she despises getting wet, especially the untreated water of the spring. It is understandable, for it is thick and tainted with the chemicals of Numeria. When they returned to the metal caves under the Hill, they confronted the spore beast, who was growing ever more intelligent and offered him a gift of a barrel of Pig’s blood in order to sate its hunger. The creature appeared to accept the offer and expressed its gratitude for the “red food.” I find it unsettling that such a creature exists beneath us, for its intellect grows at such a terrifying rate. I fear that soon, the option of being rid of it, should its intentions turn hostile, will no longer be available to us. Hopefully, it will remain agreeable in its demeanor after the Champions of Brigh have concluded their business here and The Goddess of gears calls them elsewhere.

THE BIO-LAB

After they spoke with the Spore Creature, It told them of other lifeforms and so they spread out to investigate. The discovered the remains of Biology Lab, where specimens had been kept in stasis. Apparently the return of power to the entire structure had short circuited several chambers, bursting them open and spilling several ravenous proto life forms into the lab. These creatures were dealt with, but not before several of them exploded, spraying several of the Champions with a noxious disease that needed to be cleansed through a combination of Brigh’s Blessings and a strange device called a “Decontamination archway.”

THE BREAKROOM

When the Proto life forms had been incapacitated and returned to functioning stasis tubes, they moved on to what must have been a break room for the previous inhabitants. While inside, they found a large, upright food preparation device that was still loaded with tubes of flavored nutrient Gel. They secured the rest of the tubes and left to investigate the remaining chamber in on that floor of the complex.

THE FUNGUS FOLK

It was there, that they discovered the fate of the other party which had ventured down into the caves. Sadly, as I feared they were now dead.. and their bodies had been used by a noxious substance called “Russet Mold” to propagate a horrid race of creatures who reproduce by infesting a living host and slowly killing it while gestating small fungus creature inside them. It was a horrid fate for the acolytes of Holy Brigh, and I am comforted to see them returned, so that their bodies can be properly buried and given over to the Goddess. I cannot fully describe my sadness however, at their fate, for they were good Acolytes and did not deserve to die in such a manner. I had tried to warn them, I tried to tell them to trust in the Goddess to send help.. but they did not listen.

I sense, they are close to the heart of this Mystery.. and when we find this.. Mayanda.. we will all have our answers. ..

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The Return of Khonnir Bhaine
(Chp 1, EP3) Recorded by Joram Khyte

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I am Joram Khyte, 1st Artificer of Brigh’s Holy temple of Gears..

May the Goddess of Gears bless my vision, and provide clarity that I may record these events with accuracy. Some time ago, the flame atop black hill went out, and our beloved town, with all its difficulties has come into a time of troubles.

Brigh’s Champions, which have traveled under the black hill, were able to search deep into the ruins of Old. There, they discovered many wonders, including a great cavern made to appear like the desert of a far away world, locked and sealed away for the ages. Myithnu, the Kasatha, was suddenly confronted with a terrible truth, as the 4 armed skeleton’s of her ancestors rose out of the sands and moved to bar the groups passage. Myithnu moved deeper, they were confronted by an undead Chieftian of the “Red sky Clan”.. a potential progenitor of her people on this planet. While she engaged, Niera the Android moved around in secret and activated the ancient sky device, which made the sky appear as a red desert world.. which apparently was the place where the Kasatha came from. Myithnu was profoundly moved, as she felt (even if only on simulation) the sun and warm breeze of her true home for the first time. When the “Red sky” was returned to the cavern, the undead were apparently released and Hetuath exalted in his freedom before his undead form finally perished in the Simulated sun of their ancestors.

They delved further into the ancient vessel, buried beneath our town, and came upon another strange discovery. A fungus that had been harvested from a distant world had been held in stasis, until recently. Despite its childlike demeanor, its intellect was considerable, so when it was released, it began to contact people via telepathy. The Champions of Brigh, decided to show mercy on the creature, and spared its life. It was apparently hungry and they gave it a name.. “Freddy, the Space Fungus.” I do not know if such a creature will be a boon or a curse upon our town in future days, but hopefully Brigh has guided their actions to our continued survival.

At last, they found our missing Council member. Khonnir Bhaine along with one of the companions from their expedition.. a Kellid warrior named Salmyrion. The pair had been experimented on and cut open several times to be rehealed and prepped for surgery after surgery. Khonnir was injected with some kind of tiny machines that tried to map his mind. These devices did not fully understand magic, and it was their intent to look inside him to discover its secrets. Unfortunately, because of their condition, all it ended up doing was nearly destroying his intellect and inflicting great damage. I have used much restoration magic and many blessings from Brigh in order to restore him, but it will still take time.

I cannot describe the joy I feel at seeing our council member again, but the threat under the mountain is still very real. A great field of power is building, and all of this is coming back around to the strange purple haired woman who started it all..

Her name.. is Mayanda.. and she is an android.

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Notes for Val Baine
(CHP 1, EP2) Recorded by Kyrion Thalix

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Journal of the Search for Connor Baine
Kyrion Thalix of Iadara

Introduction.

I am making these notes for use in the event that our rescue efforts meet with failure, to aid any subsequent effort. As as first and only personal note, I would request that if this unhappy eventuality occurs, my own remains be returned to Iadara if possible.

These notes chronicle our attempts to track Connor Baine through the caves and adjacent buried structure that lies beneath the titular Torch of this town.

I trust that translating these notes from Elvish has not proved too much of a burden.

Chapter 1. The Caves

The caves are home to several entities and groups of entities. It appears that these entities may move around, and may also reappear even if bested, so rather than providing an exact map I shall limit myself to general notes on each type.

The skulks: (Note: this is probably a pejorative term; it might be polite for us to enquire what they call themselves.) These are humanoids with the ability to blend in to backgrounds. During his original passage, Connor Baine simply drove them away, but we were able to come to a peaceful arrangement with them. Our companion Arianna had the good idea of opening trade with them; if this proves fruitful, they may be able to maintain safe passage through the cave to the entrance of the buried structure in future. As Connor slew their leader, we neglected to mention our purpose in the exploration, and I would suggest that the same would be the wisest approach for any who might follow in our footsteps.

The gremlins: These creatures were at war with the skulks. They can teleport a short distance, but apparently only use that ability to escape. The gremlins are adept at trap-building and stealth. Their small size makes them extremely difficult to hit, and their fey nature gives them some limited resistance to weapon damage and magic. Cold iron weapons handily penetrate this resistance. A tactical note: while their flesh can’t easily be cut by normal materials, they are as vulnerable to being tripped or disarmed as anyone else. Their small size puts them at the disadvantage when trying to respond to such an attempt made from more than a couple of feet distance.

Miscellaneous infestations: as these are less likely to return, so I shall only briefly mention them. Brown mold: radiates cold, but vulnerable to cold. Russet mold: vulnerable to fungicide; be careful not to accidentally bring a corpse infected with this foul stuff back to the surface! Fungal crawlers: look like large cave crickets, but are infected with a cordyceps variant. We also saw fire beetles and a blindheim.

Chapter 2. The structure

This buried construction is primarily built of glaucite, suggesting it is some sort of ancient crashed vessel. However, we have found technological artifacts within that seem of fairly recent construction. There is nothing in the historical record about this crash; this then remains a paradox.

There seem to be numerous workers, or as the locals call them, “robots”, in the area. At the moment these automata are unable to communicate with their lord or overseer, which communication they can apparently do through the aether when all is in order. They issue a steady litany of complaints about this lack in their language, Androffan.

A repair worker, which I sketch here (you will forgive, I hope, the crudeness of my artistic abilities) was the first we encountered. I believe you, Val, had had a similar one in your forge, which Connor brought back on his first expedition. These are nonthreatening, unless they decide you are yourself imperiling the integrity of their vessel. We established that, just like the magically made constructs “native” to Golarion, the workers cannot see through illusionary figments. They are presumably immune to other sorts of illusion. However even this limited ability can be very useful in e.g. preventing a repair worker from seeing some action that would trigger its offensive instructions.

Just inside the front door of the structure, the tracks of Connor Baine led us into what appeared to be a cave. Casual examination of the walls showed it to be but a simulacrum of natural stone, however; the purpose of this deception eludes me – possibly it served some entertainment value. More later.

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The Undermountain
Chapter 1, Episode 1

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I am Joram Khyte.

1st Artificer and high priest to holy mother Brigh in the Numerian city of Torch. I had begun to fear that this chronicle, was to tell the tale of the last days of our blessed home. The great foundry fire atop black hill had gone out almost 2 weeks ago, and of the expeditions sent beneath the mountain, there was nothing since Conner’s second expedition. The town’s folk are beginning to fear the worst, and rightly so. Even I, faithful of the clockwork Goddess had begun to lose hope until today.

As I prepared my morning devotions and went to oil the great cogs of the workshop that turned the machines which sang in Brigh’s holy name, I felt a whisper in my ear that drew me to the door. When I opened the front door to the temple, I saw 4 compainions who had been gathered together directly in front of me. They glanced to one another, as mystified as I was, and in that moment I knew we were saved, for surely this could be the works of none other then the Goddess herself.

It is a bittersweet joy that I feel, for I had begged the previous group of Brigh’s faithful not to go under the mountain until the clockwork Goddess had sent a clear sign of her approval, but they would not relent. Now they are numbered among the missing, and I suspect they will be included in the final tally of the dead. Such is the way the Cog turns, and so I write now to record what has happened as best as my old feeble hands, and fading eyesight can manage.

Shortly after the group of wanderers found each other and became wanderer’s no more, I welcomed them into the house of Brigh and begged them to help us. When they asked, I informed them that there would be two places it would be best to visit before they began their explorations below our fair city. The Central Town Hall, and the Foundry Inn. The first place could be found, Dolga, one of the few remaining councilor’s to our city, and the second could be found Val Bhaine, adopted daughter of the missing Councilor Khonnor.

They traveled first to the Town Hall, and made their presence known to Dolga Freddert, and she informed them that they would be well rewarded if they were able to return Khonnor Bhaine and relight the torch. Of course, the torch was the highest priority, but Khonnor was much beloved because of his efforts to purify the toxic water seeping out from the Black Hill. Once they had arrived at the town hall, they found Dolga already being harassed by an emissary of the Technic leauge with a Representative of the black sovereign in tow.

Shortly after they met up at the Forge and discovered a nasty surprise as the robot which Khonnor had brought back up had suddenly come to life and attacked Val, the shopkeep. The Fellowship was able to hear her scream as she tried to hide from the construct, and before long, they had attacked it and destroyed the bezerk machine before it was able to inflict considerable harm to anyone. Once the machine had been dealt with, they spoke with Val and were offered room and board in exchange for finding her adopted father.

After another quick excursion to help gather some last minute supplies, the group met back up with me to receive Brigh’s blessing of breath under water, and then headed after the previous expeditions. From what I have been told, they encountered resistence almost immediately and vermin and lamplight frog creatures attacked without consideration or mercy. Fortunately however, they were repelled one by one until there was nothing left to attack.

So far, I am told they were able to recover..

The three halflings from the first ill fated expeditions under the Hill. Their bodies had been consumed by slime and there was nothing left except rotted scraps of clothing and a vicious trio of slime molds that attacked the fellowship.

Parda Garr, Female Half orc’s body was also recovered from a stalactite filled cave. They were able to return her body for proper burial and there are several in town who are grateful for closure in her case. Many had feared this group would lead her astray, it seems they knew all to well what would happen.

Another body that was partially recovered was unidentifiable based on what little remained from a Blindhiem. All that anyone realized was that it carried a holy symbol to Zhyphus. I suspect it was one of the thugs from the Parda’s group. Why anyone would follow A God who takes such glee in the accidental deaths of his faithful is truly behind my understanding.

The most alarming was the body of Gerrol Sonder, who was a rogue and a locksmith in the employ of Khonnor Bhaine. Apparently his remains had been infected by the scourge of underground caverns.. Russet Mold.

They placed his body back in the freezing cold before they were able to leave, and investigated the last passageway into a ramshackle gathering of houses. When they ventured inside, they were confronted by a voice from the hidden shadows who demanded that they either retreat, or enter into a bargain with them. It was easy to see that whoever they were, they could not or did not want to attack.

Finally after several moments, the stalemate was broken. They were able to speak as a group and avoiding unnecessary conflict. A strange voice started to speak.. and for us.. The voice spoke of a cave filled with potiential enemies. Gremlins..

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