Cast, Part I: Dellin, Ranthin, Archibald, Rufus, and Choppy (special guest star)
Cast, Part II: Dellin, Ranthin, Archibald, Rufus, Choppy, and Bronan
Part I: Characters meetup with Mix Riggins. They are delighted to be reunited with Choppy, who as a part of his literacy and monster-lore training was sent by Riggins to study occult texts in a special section of one of the university libraries in Aldorff. After several months of pain-staking research and scribing, Choppy has returned with the requested information. The topic: “Slaning” (pronounced SLANE-ING…long A). Slaning is the process by which certain evil wizards of ancient times repressed the personalities of their victims and implanted them with a minor demonic entity to control their actions. Choppy wasn’t able to understand much of what he scribed (being only newly literate and dealing with complex material in archaic languages, etc.), and Mix Riggins claims he’ll need time to study the material with the hope of finding a weakness to be exploited.
That evening, they are plagued with troubling dreams of a creepy puppet (marionette) show. The puppet master has 8 fingers on each hand, and is pulling the strings of heroes and villains alike. The audience consists of pigs, goats, and donkeys, stuffing their mouths with food and braying loudly every time a villain or hero dies some gruesome death (even though they are puppets on stage, they look like real people and so the deaths are particularly gory). On the sidelines is a fat merchant making stacks of coins selling food to the audience and admission fees to the show. Each character has the same core dream, but with a different ending. [Author’s note, we rolled the endings, and I’ve lost the paper that told me who saw what combination…alas! Does anyone remember? At least what your character saw??]
Mix foresees potential disaster in the near future and presents to Ranthin a magic arrow, encased in a special box lined in felt. The arrow has intricate scroll work, which captures the eye and risks putting the observer into a trance. Ranthin fell into a trance while investigating the arrow and briefly saw the life force emanating from everyone around him. Mix cautions that using the arrow will have a serious cost, but he’s not sure what…
The next morning the party is attacked by three of the Vivisectionist’s creations. One is a monstrously large patched-together version of a greater mountain Troll, complete with iron armored tusks. The beast stands nearly 15’ tall and wields a double-bladed axe of enormous proportions. “Herding” the troll-golem are two knights that look similar to the previously encountered black knights, except that they wear blood-stained yet otherwise normal colored armor (steel) and they move exceptionally fast. Mix Riggins and Choppy take the first two blows of the troll, but skillful shield blocks prevent any damage. Rufus had previously climbed a tree as a lookout and decides to stay up there. Ranthin tries to shoot his arrow at the troll, but gets bewitched by the arrow’s magic. Archibald runs in abject terror. Dellin uses a rope trick to slow down one of the chaos knights. Choppy rallies Ranthin out of his trance, and Ranthin lets fly with the arrow, using the witch-sight of the arrow’s magic to target the “heart strings” of the monster.
The arrow burrows deep into the troll’s heart, a magical “arc” momentarily lights the Aethyr (which only Rufus can see), connecting the arrow in the troll’s heart to Ranthin. The troll collapses, instantly killed, but alas, Ranthin also falls, a victim of the arrow’s “backlash.” The arrow embedded in the Troll’s corpse is charred but unbroken. With the troll down, the party with the formidable help of Mix Riggens take on the two Chaos Knights. Dellin works wonders with bolas, nets, and what-have-you to greatly inhibit the foes. Rufus casts drop repeatedly to prevent the Knights from having effective attacks with their weapons, and eventually they even drop their gauntlets, opening up a weak point. Ranthin, apparently only “dazed” by the magic’s violent aftershock (he used a fate point), rejoins the battle. The Chaos Knights are defeated. Mix and a few others were wounded, but are healed with Archibald’s skills and Dellin’s poultices. The charred arrow is returned to the felt-lined box, and temporarily given to Rufus to study…he believes at some point he may be able to “fix” the arrow so that it may be used again. Of course, the corpses are all burned to prevent any troublesome regeneration.
Thus Ended Part I of the Chapter 2 Conclusion.