Here Be Dragons

The Path Ascending
A Pilgrimage to Pyris

My travels to the heights of mount Carilis were duly uneventful until I ran into a rather peculiar terrestrial hailing from the immaculate monastery Northeast of Cadia. He dwarfed my entire honour guard and myself included, and rode atop a majestically loping cat-beast, considering the potential lethality of my destination he was honestly a welcome sight. The news that he bore, however, was not so comforting. He explained that the mines that I had recently told factor Yanxing I would consider selling to him have some sort of profound arcane power within them. This is a significant revelation for a few reasons; firstly he would like access to it, secondly the Dutchess will doubtless be aware of this, and thirdly this wellspring of power sounds exceedingly valuable. I may be glad that I entered into the trade with some caution, opting to evaluate the hills rather than accepting the deal outright. This requires further investigation. He is clearly up to the task of excavating and exploring whatever is to be unearthed however, as I witnessed him create a grand earthen domicile with his bare hands as though it were idle play in waiting for Pyris. He is truly exceptional, and I hope to come to better understand him.

He lacked the typical pomp of a prince of the earth at first, though he hit his full stride once we had entered Carilis keep and met those who hold vigil over Pyris’ sanctum. In typical immaculate fashion he argued that a God should not be delivered worship by those moved to worship them but should instead adhere to their damned connect-the-dots-prayer-along sheets. In fact, the very idea that these priests would worship Pyris alone appeared to be sufficient for him to depart. The very idea of scripted and obligatory prayer of every god on the calendar is to me the opposite of any kind of heartfelt worship, but I suppose that’s their point. Then again… maybe that’s what these gods deserve after all, to be yoked to our carefully meted prayer rather than having it the other way around.

The words of the abyssal ring painfully true to me. I am a resurgence of an entire caste of people forgotten by their gods. Are we all sheep to the gods? Are they loving shepherds or do they lead us to the slaughter for their own profits? The weight of the armour I instinctively wear seems a hint to the latter. There is only one way to be sure, and that’s why I stand before Pyris today.

Many would default to ritualistic barbarism to appeal to her. I had sacrificed no lives, and caused no suffering to summon Pyris. I had my assistants place ten candles each eight feet fall three feet apart outside of Pyris’ temple. Performing the thousand cuts kata, I arranged the candles such that they fell meeting at an angle to form the ridgeline of a mountainside. Finally, with a single strike from end to end, I lit the candles and the red wax within poured forth under the amber light of the sizzling wicks. I then prayed for her to come so that we might discuss the safety of her peoples and mine. She did come, and so she has passed my first test of humanity. She was driven to act by love her home conveyed through my art, and the welfare of her people. That I can admire, that I can hold onto.

Upon entering her sanctum through what appeared to be a solid stone wall, I was greeted with an utterly complacent god in a poorly maintained first-age mess. At first she seemed not to take any great heed for the urgency of my message, but so very much is riding on this. I tipped my hand as to my true identity, and she seemed intrigued. When I told her that I could repair the machinations that had fallen into disuse in her home, it piqued her interest.

Now that I have, and now that we explore the hidden corners of her mind together, let us see of what cloth Pyris is cut, and if she can be gently guided to value the welfare of mortal men.

Granite & the Blood Ape/Taggart & the Slavers/PA & the Abyssal

Taggart, waking from a night with Shiloh, noticed she was agitated and upset. Despite trying to pry the answer from her, Shiloh insisted it was just the remnants of a dream, and left. They departed shortly thereafter for the Stormspire, aided by Zephyr, a Huraka sent by Kireeki. Sabah was nowhere to be found.

After several nights of seeing Shiloh sleep poorly, Taggart called her to the crow’s nest and attempted again to wrestle the reason out of her. After some assurances that nothing bad will come of it, Shiloh reveals that she has been receiving nightly visitations in her dreams from Burning Feather, in which she and Burning Feather have sex and Shiloh cannot remember Taggart until she wakes. Taggart assures her that this is not her fault and that she is not angry, instilling a minor principle of “Taggart won’t judge me” in Shiloh. It seems only partially successful, but Shiloh later claims to have made peace with it. Taggart also begins conducting nightly prayers to Burning Feather, asking her to stop, but these appear to have no effect. Near the Stormspire, they encounter Sabah, who has shanghaied a ship of slavers as a gift to Taggart. Taggart, posing as a Terrestrial, ushers the sailors below to free up the slaves and barricade themselves in the hold. She then does mock battle with Sabah in view of the captain and the freed slaves, before ushering the Captain below and telling him not to exit until he hears her give the password ‘Forgotten Kingdom’.

Path Ascendant, meanwhile, enters the temple, where he finds a poem written in Old Realm and a diorama of corpses. The thrust of the poem is that the gods have chained humanity to their will with prayer, and that the gods must be thrown down and destroyed. As he arrives, a freed slave is about to sacrifice the high priestess of Pyris to the volcano. He also finds an animate mannequin, who claims to be an Abyssal Exalt. She also claims to want to help him cast down the gods, and assures him that he has the power to defeat Pyris- and to do anything he wants, or so she claims. Seeking guidance, he calls upon Chord Euphonic, who immediately attacks the Abyssal in spite of Path Ascendant’s protests. The two fight, with Chord Euphonic briefly gaining the upper hand when the Path Ascendant calls for order and distracts the Abyssal. When he successfully manages to get Chord to halt her attack, the Abyssal vanishes into a portal formed in a pool of blood.

Chord Euphonic then berates Path Ascendant for A) talking to an Abyssal instead of killing it, and B) praying to Benecera without her explicit go-ahead. Apparently, doing so has made it so that the Path Ascendant can no longer escape the notice of Heaven or the world at large, and that it is only a matter of time before his status as a Solar is outed. She vows to help him contain the damage as long as she can, but says that she doesn’t know how long it will hold up.

Meanwhile, Granite returns to his village to find it being menaced by a monster, which has- among other things- claimed his father’s leg. He crafts a replacement out of pumice before setting out to find the remains of the sword given to him by his master. Along the way, he finds the monster- a blood ape- and attacks it. A fight ensues in which he breaks the monster’s arm and chases it into the forest, stumbling upon an altar which has seemingly not been used for a while. The blood ape heads up a tree, Granite does not follow and instead travels on to the nearby mining town of Thunder Falls.

Once in Thunder Falls, Granite breaks up a bar fight, drinks some beer, and then makes to the three nearby mining companies- Bountiful Jade Mining Company, Lucky Cat Coal Mining, and Shining Silver Ore. After briefly interrogating the owner of Lucky Cat Coal, he speaks with the owner of Bountiful Jade Mining Co, also named Bountiful Jade, and is taken inside the mine. There, he is attacked in the darkness by five ghosts.

Ishin and the Statue/Taggart and the Customs Officer
(July 26, 2015)

Ross (DM)
Bruce (Taggart Bonham Heironymous von Delacourt III)
Patrick (Ishin Spirit-Slayer)

Ishin’s adventures continued in the Wyld as he abandoned Zaheira on a beach and went to check out one of 3 moons in the sky. On the way, he became briefly involved in a fight between bird-men and monkey-men. Siding with the bird-men, he was nonetheless struck and badly burned by a bolt of fire, which also seriously damaged his invisibility cloak, rendering it patchy and not fully functional. He extinguished the fire, eventually, but not without killing several bird-men on the way down.

He then landed on one of the three moons, this one a city of ever-shifting buildings and streets. He soon found a crypt to someone named Pride, engraved with the phrase “He was a true and loyal friend, only his like may enter.” Using the key he obtained from Adramalech, he entered what seemed at first go to be a conservatory of some description. Hearing singing coming from down one of the hallways, he called out and was answered by a woman (name yet unknown) who asked him if he was here to pay his respects to Pride. Ishin followed the voice down the hallway, emerging into a courtyard adorned with statues of The Voice of the People, one of which appeared to be the source of the voice. Ishin offered a brief prayer to the dead in general, an act which seemed to anger the statue. Upon demanding to know his purpose, Ishin attempted to placate her by assuring her that The Voice of the People was not, in fact, dead- referring to The Path Ascendant. The statue offered to show Ishin firsthand and engaged him in battle, which went badly for Ishin. He managed to escape by using charms to conceal himself. The statue then returned to its plinth, and Ishin exited the courtyard.

Meanwhile, Taggart and the crew of the rolling dawn continued to sail towards Cadia, arriving in port on 11 Resplendent Wood. Taggart briefly attempted to employ Marin as a translator, given his history in Chiaroscuro. This turned out to be an ill-fated affair, given Marin’s lack of familiarity with Highborn Delzan Flametongue, though it did yield some information of importance:

  • Sabah insists on referring to Taggart in the masculine sense in Flametongue, given that she captains a ship and bears a weapon.
  • “My Respects, Your Debt” is a formal apology, mistranslated from Flametongue.
  • Sabah was compelled to seek out Taggart by ‘her soul’, though Taggart felt no accordant compelling force.
    Sabah and Taggart then spent the night together in Taggart’s cabin, during which time Taggart experienced firsthand how supernaturally strong Sabah was.

The next day, Taggart spoke briefly with Yanno about the Immaculate Faith, during which time he revealed that he didn’t fear Sabah out of adherence to the Immaculate Faith (which he distrusts somewhat), but because he had firsthand seen Lunar Exalts go mad and devour his crew. Sensing that a show of good faith might calm the crew, Taggart had Sabah swear a sanctified oath to not harm any of them.

Upon arriving in port, Taggart, Shiloh, Sabah (in cat form), and Yanno went ashore to resupply and pick up some local gossip, but were accosted by a customs officer asking to inspect the ship. The man recognized Taggart for who she was and sent guards, acting on a warrant for Taggart’s arrest issued by The Path Ascendant weeks earlier. When it became clear that Taggart could not fool the man, nor dissuade him from searching her ship (which she didn’t want on principle, rather than because she was carrying anything illegal), she instead began ridiculing his arrest warrant, arguing that the description was laughably inaccurate, and that since she was here on Royal Business the customs officer ought to let her go on her way. When neither he nor she would budge, and he offhandedly suggested that perhaps she had some token of The Path Ascendant’s favour, she produced the letter he sent by way of accepting her invitation to dinner- signed by him and verifying that he had an interest in strengthening their relationship. This kept Taggart from being arrested, at least, but the customs officer still demanded that she be escorted by guards at all time, and that her ship would still bear the docking tax and inspection. She acquiesced, but used the opportunity to put the guards at ease with her charms, regaling them and her crew with the stirring account of the Battle of Wrackstone Bay, as well as the comical tale of Peleps Oran’s Hilarious Egg Farts. The guards, including their leader, Juchei (who was himself from Wrackstone Bay), were thus mollified, and the boredom of the 3-hour long inspection was alleviated. The group then ventured into town for drinks and grub at an uppercrust merchant’s gastropub.

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