Saturday, 31 August 2013

[actual play] Iron Kingdoms - Adamantine Will

Episode 2 : Witchfire - The Longest Night - Part 6
Darcey and Hurst quietly closed the door and quickly made their way up the stairs, hoping the thralls would not follow them.
Out on the battlements of the gatehouse of Fort Rhyker, Gregore and Brother Eckert assessed the stone bridge before them that stretched out over the chasm. Somewhere below in the mist was the drawbridge. To Gregore's eyes the bridge in a bad state, but it may hold long enough. He threw his grapple hook to the other side of the bridge, hoping that if the worst happened he would have something to hold on to. He then began to edge out over the bridge.
Eckert held the other end of the rope and watch, but acknowledge the arrival of the other two, asking if they had found anything. The two shook their heads. Gregore was now half way across the bridge, and some masonry had fallen away in places as he had made his way across.
Darcey and Hurst looked back to the stairwell, and spotted the band of thralls emerge, their eyeless sockets spying them. With no time given for explanations, Hurst and Darcey made to run across the bridge, with Hurst first dropping a smoke grenade at the end of the bridge. Eckert was dumb struck, and seeing there was no point in protesting, he ran after them. Gregore to saw what was happening, and made to leap the remaining distance of the bridge.
As the witch hunters sped across the bridge more stone and masonry fell away, revealing large gaps in the bridge. Darcey, finding her feet less sure on the ground leapt forward and clattered on the stones at the other end of the bridge. But Hurst tripped. He reached out and grabbed the rope, and Gregore braced to hold his weight. Hurst barely held on for his life, almost falling to his doom in the chasm. Eckert seeing this, sped forward and jumped, landing at the other end of the bridge as the entire structure fell away. Both Eckert and Gregore held tight onto the rope and Hurst fell and swung, hitting the side of the fortress wall. He looked up, glad to see who was holding the rope. He looked back to the other side of the chasm and the gatehouse, and watched with glee as the thrall warriors charged through the smoke, and to their doom as they tumbled into the chasm.
On the battlements of the fortress proper, the group did a circuit to ensure that they were safe. The only way down led into the court yard. There below them they counted some 500 thralls. And amongst them were the freshly dead zombies, Swamp Shamblers. A thrall captain used a spear to keep the rowdy monsters at bay.
"Juicy and dangerous", Darcey quipped.
At the north end of the battlements the troupe were able to look into the main hall, peering through the cracked and broken stain-glass window. The in the hall some 20 thralls protected another dozen who were arranging the bones of skeletons, as from body to body Alexia, aided by the 4 animated witches of the coven, went to animated the thralls. Red sigils on the ground formed a circle, and as Alexia spoke the arcane words of Necromancy. In turn Telgesh runes appeared about her, circling in spirals, and then the runes on the bodies, etched into the bones, flared into life. The eyes of the thrall blazed into life and the skeleton stood up and went to gather its weapons and join the rest of the army.
The troupe considered their options, wondering how they might escape. Facing Alexia head on was now not an option. There were more pressing matter. Gregore looked about the outside of the battlements, trying to find the shortest drop. From here the rope was lowered, and soon the entire group was down outside the fort, though they had taken some injuries in their landings on the rocky scrub.
Looking around Hurst figured that with the chasm between them and where they had left their horses they h The ash cloud dissipated and Gregore charged into the thralls, hacking at them with his great sword. In seconds the thralls had a 3 hour hike to get back. As they set off he noticed some fresh bodies on the ground, well fresh parts. They had been gnawed upon by something with large teeth. Looking back up to the fort they saw a trail of shreds of clothing and other body parts. In amongst the parts they found the badges of the two missing city watchmen. And in the side of the fort they could see a tunnel had been carved into the wall. From within the fortress they heard the sounding of horns and more horns replied. The army was moving. Almost in response a creature bellowed from within the tunnel. The troupe thought it prudent to get going quickly. Turning back Hurst spotted the large, shaggy haired biped that loomed out of the tunnel - a Gorax.
The troupe were exhausted when they arrived back in Corvis, the trek and the flat out gallop of the horses had sapped their energy, more so given the bighting cold of winter. In the sky above all the moons of Caen glowed, illuminating the street festival of the Longest Night. They quickly made their way to the inn of the Falling Star, sat on the river bank, and to find Captain Helstrom.
The grizzled captain sat near the fire, nursing a beer and smoking a pipe. He seemed lost in thought, but his eyes grew wide when the troupe arrived. He quickly asked about what they saw, and of the fate of his men. He then went on to explain, that he had tried to muster what watchmen he could to apprehend Alexia, but his efforts were falling on deaf ears in the council. Eckert was not surprise, and Hurst explained the trouble of Magistrate Borloch. Helstrom nodded and said he would gather what men he could and that their goal was to stop Alexia's scheme - trying to stop the army now was near impossible. He would also send some men out into the woods to watch for the army, so that they would have some sort of warning.
Gregore acquire a alchemical lamp, and told the others he would go act as lookout at the top of the Order of Wizardry tower. The top of the tower was where the observatory was, and so he should have a clear view of the city.
Hurst headed to the guild house of the Golden Crucible. The squat building sat on an island on its own. It was made entirely of stone and squat. Better that then have a tall building set ablaze in an accident. Within the house he met an official who was still attending for the evening, and showing his marks of authority, both with Corvis University, the Golden Crucible and the Order of Illumination, the official sat up straight, and tried to better listen - he was somewhat drunk. Hurst suggested that the Crucible guard should try to keep some order in the quarter, and that rather than raise the alarm for invasion, then they could use the alarm for for a fire, something even the council would have to take note of.
Hurst also took the opportunity to rearm himself, grabbing more grenades, and also taking a rockbreaker spray gun. But he changed the liquid for Vitriolic fire, in essence he now had a flame thrower, if a rather fragile one. As he left the guild house he watched as a dozen guards gather in the courtyard, dressed in the yellow and red colours of the order, and armed with halberds and shield cannons.
Darcey and Eckert returned to the cathedral and found Dumas in the chapel. They explained what had happened and that the church must take action. Dumas lifted himself on his staff fom kneeling in prayer. He thanked Eckert and Darcey for what they had done so far and hope that together they may be able to stop Alexia. He explained that he was certain she would be coming to the cathedral, and that the invasion was a distraction. He asked them to follow him.
They first went to Dumas's vicarage and there he opened a very old trunk and asked that Eckert would help him with fitting him with his armour. The armour was that of a Cygnaran Chaplin, and still bore dents from war. Dumas though old, stretch and groaned as he made the armour more comfortable. He then led them to the cathedral armoury.
Within the basement of the cathedral a number of priests were already donning chain mail and taking weapons. Darcey looked about and found that there was some chain mail that would fit, and with the help of the nuns, she was dressed for battle, the picture of a warrior nun. She then began to strip her rifle and prep it for battle.
Eckert noted that deep in the armoury, covered in dust were a number of of warjacks. Dumas had said they were church consecrated, but had not been used in years. Eckert remembered a few things from his days on the battlefield, and so with what he knew already, and what he found in a manual, quickly made himself versed on 'jack marshalling. I hope I don't end up getting someone killed with this machine, Eckert thought.
Eckert and a number of priests attended to one of the 'jacks, a Nomad class that bore silver and blues, and the Star of Morrow. The machine towered over the priests who had filled it with water and coal and stoked the priming fire. As the pressure built, and arcane generators span into life, the optics and vents glowed. The cortex was running. Eckert spoke the commands to bring the 'jack under his control, and in turn gave it a new designation. Solovin. Solovin stood and hefted its warhammer and rested the head of it in the other hand. It seemed to nod as if it liked it's new name. "Soon Solovin, soon".
From the tower Gregore spied something, but not from the outside of the north gate. There in the dark of the river bobbed a boat of some form. It was garishly coloured and had two figure on-board. Once in focus Gregore felt repulsed. The boat was the bodies of carnival goers, their clothes all colours and illuminated by the lights of the city. This boat, lashed together with their bodies, was ridden by two skeletons, one which punted the boat down the river.
From the other side of the river Gregore could now make out even more chaos. One merchant ship was drifting out into the river, ablaze, and with the crew battling thralls, while another ship, a warship, was also free in the river. There was a flash of gun power as it fired its cannons into the city.
Gregore went to the window, set the alchemical lamp alight, and then started his long run back down the tower and to the cathedral.
Hurst was in the streets, pushing past the partying people. He heard a cry from behind and turned to see a carriage racing down the road, sending people aside. Hurst dove for cover, face first so not to crack the container of Vitriolic Fire - it would be very bad for that to happen. He looked up from the dirty snow on the ground to watch the carriage ride past, and the driver fall from the seat, dead. A skeletal face looked up and back over the carriage, seemingly laughing as it continued its rampage.
Scouting the island next to the cathedral, Darcey watched the warship firing its canons, but then she heard screaming nearby. She followed the cries to a alleyway, a dead end, and found a shambler menacing a group of finely dressed women. The beast turned to face her and growled.
Eckert and Solovin strode out into the courtyard of the cathedral. He could hear the cannon fire, and the bells from the Crucible guild house rang out a fire alarm. The battle had begun.
Picture from

No comments:

Post a Comment