Savage Archanic

Out of the frying pan and into the drink...

Gods. Could it get any worse? Hush Cecily, you’ll only make it worse… just get on with the tale and leave the future to the future…

We left the mines and had two days of uneventful travel along the mountain road, and then it happened. A huge rock slide bars our way. As we began looking for a way over or around we are attacked by a huge snake-like creature sporting a dog-like head. I slithered in and out, popping up to strike from between the rocks. Icharus and and Ox took it on, but I felt totally helpless, and completely useless, so, against better judgement I drew my pistol, waited for a clear shot and fired. I missed horribly, of course, but at least I didn’t hit my friends. However, I did cause a new rock slide, this one behind us, blocking any retreat. Brava Cecily. Ox, I think having had enough, breathed fire on the thing and it retreated, leaving us in peace for a time. With both directions on the trail blocked we decided our best route would be down and around. Yes, brilliant Cecily, you are not athletic, not a climber, but you will choose to climb down a rock scree to safety. Brilliant. Not surprisingly I slipped and fell, sliding down a very long length of rock and rubble losing my pistol in the process. I came to rest on a bit of landing and nursing my bruises waited for Icharus and Ox to join me. We took stock of my injuries and decided we still had two choices, up or down, until we spotted the mouth of a cave a short 20 foot scramble away. We decided to make for it and rest. Well, again Cecily the athlete won over the day and gracefully, with much help from Icharus, made it into the cave.. which turned out to NOT be the respite we had hoped for, for no sooner did we settle than glass lizards came scrambling out of the dark. Beating a hasty retreat we chose down. Again a brilliant choice, since I was pointed that way, gravity decided to take over and assist. Yes, you guessed it. Cecily lost her hold and fell…. through the dusk light, down past rocks and into the mists. The only thought that ran through my brain pan was “I didn’t know Icharus could fly”….

Obviously I survived the fall. Below was a mountain lake, deep and clear and cold. It was a struggle, but I managed to fight back to the surface in time to see Icharus splash down, in a far more graceful fashion than myself I’d wager, and then Ox behind him. Together we tread water trying to decide which direction to start swimming when we heard the sound of waves and oars and a light moved towards us out of the fogs.

Orcs found us… took us back to their village. You heard right. Village. Not just caves and holes, but stone houses that looked to be dwarven made. They were kind to us, fed us, dried our clothes, tended our wounds. They spoke with scorn of many of their brethren and their choice to be ignorant and dirty. They gave us foodstuffs and a guide and tomorrow we head out with Gort, a fella who served with the King’s Army in Ristopia, who will take us out of the mountains and back to the real world.

I’ve been given skins that are slightly smelly, but warm, my journals and notes are drying, a little smudged in places but none the worse for wear, and the seat of my trousers now have a reinforced leather patch where a huge tear used to be. I think I will trust these orcs and sleep. Ox has no fears, he is asleep already, and to me, that is a very good sign. Tomorrow is soon enough to wonder and worry about the next step.

At least, for now, I don’t have to choose up or down.

Departing for Home

We had finally arrived at the Mines to begin taking care of what we were sent to do. However, it would seem that there is business I need to deal with first. Granther Volkov has sent out a summons for all of the family to return to the Clan’s holdings. What business there is, I am not sure, but the last time I can recall such a meeting was long ago there was an issue of succession in the Clan. The only thing I can think it may be is that there is upcoming trouble due to the tension between the Senate and the King’s rule.

An ill wind blows, and for my reckoning, it blows from the North. And on it, I fear I hear the sounds of war.

No sooner spoken...

No sooner did I speak it to myself, it has come to pass. Nickolai is leaving. He has been called home and I dare not ask to follow. We sat across the long rough table in the dining hall, talking of what will come next and more than once I found myself wanting to tell him of my thoughts, of my deepest fears, of this feeling I find growing deep within me and to beg him to let me come too… but, seeing the look on his face, the indecision, yet determination and surety that he must indeed go home, I vowed not to make a scene and not to make things difficult.

No sooner were we done discussing and he picked up his things, checked his pack and waved us a goodbye…. and he was gone.

I was left to sit across the table from Icharus, his hand resting companionably on Ox’s massive head, himself so very sure he could take on this orcish leader. But at least he was still talking, there was hope of sobriety and careful planning. You see, it seems the situation that The Jeddick sent us to look into has changed a bit. A bit indeed. Nex, the leader who dealt such terrible blows to The Jeddick and his men, has grown in power, not only the leader of his clan, but the acknowledged leader of the entire area, AND the owner of a system of mines yielding large, high quality gem stones… mines that are infringing on the operations here, using a machine that appears to be of dwarven manufacture, that blows through walls with the greatest of ease. It has gone far beyond a clan of orcs terrorizing and annoying, and far beyond, I believe, anything our little group, intrepid though we may be, and possessing of Captain Icharus’ invicibility though we may have, I do so believe it is beyond us to effect any changes other than to the state of our own welfare.

With some serious consideration, and a long evening spent talking, our little group of two plus dog have decided to walk the trail back to Hullifer. There to research more information, and perhaps another avenue towards our goals. Of course, having goals would simplify the process, and perhaps, on the five day walk back we can hash out just what we want to do, and even if we want to stick together.

Right now I am simply satisfied that Icharus is not going to issue a challenge. I don’t think I could give my full attention to the problem, and I honestly don’t think that is the way out of this particular situation. Just because it worked once, doesn’t mean it should become one’s modus operandi for rest of one’s life.

The hole that Nikki left is huge. The silence in my heart is even grander… almost like the day the massive grandfather clock in the hallway stopped ticking… the silence in the house was palpable, the noise left by the absence of ticking filled our ears until we wanted to scream. It was a good day spent elbow deep in gears and copper coils working to restart the Old Man in the Hall… with Father and I celebrating the successful resuscitation of our dear friend by dinner at McCormick’s followed by port and shortbread gingers in The Roost.

I miss you, Da, now more than ever. I’m certain you could have shed light on the turmoils of my soul and helped me to find the key to unlocking the answers.

Wonderful, Cecily. You have successfully managed to create two grieving halves to your heart. Perhaps you should go to bed now.

Parting and choices
*GM Update*

Upon arriving at the Stonegate mine, they go to meet the mine foreman. When he finds that Nikoliis a spark binder, he asked why he has not headed Granther Volkov’s summons…He also relays a good deal about Neks, and his particular dislike for orks. Once they have a few moments, it is decided that Nikolimust leave their company to see to the clan Sparkbinder summons. Icharausintends on meeting and challenging Neks, and believes that the show of strength should cow the clans.

*GM Update*

The walker has been damaged severely by a glas lizard that was caught and died in the view tube. For the time, the players stay at the outpost. They meet Cornelius who reforges many of the parts of the sorely damaged Walker. He also reforges Captain Wyldesblade. After several days, they encounter a drapt of dwarves with elves and humans. Later the “hopper” arrives with replacement parts. And they are attacked by Rock Crabs.

Time flies, hearts sink and you can never go home again...

So much time, so many things… yet not one coherent thought to put down in words. The Jeddick did us right, gave us warning, sent us off, even gave us something else to pursue, but it is all overshadowed by the events that transpired tonight.

The trip to Hullifer City was uneventful, and very long in my eyes. One bright spot was bittersweet, when I discovered a small jewelry box for sale in a tinker’s cart, so very much like the one my father gave me on my 12th birthday… and lost in my late teens when we a water pipe broke and flooded the house… never will I store treasures under my bed again…. A box made from layers of pressed paper, it was painted gaily at one time, now faded and scuffed, one corner dented and crinkled, but unbelievably, the dancer under the lid still popped up when released by the opening. With a little care and cleaning solvent the key turned, the music box played, the dancer whirled. The song, the same as the one in my memory brought tears to my eyes, causing me to retreat to my bunk, draw the curtains and hugging the box to my chest, cry for so many lost things. It is with similar grief that I deal with the tragic loss we face now.

So recently left, I did not fancy returning, did not wish to see the streets, smell the aromas, hear the familiar sound of industry in my ears once again. Hullifer was left behind for a reason. I knew I would return, but I had no idea it would happen so soon, and my heart was just not ready. When the train pulled into the station I was struck deaf and dumb, allowing my companions to lead me out and onwards, only really waking to my surroundings long enough to hail a conveyance and give directions to one of the guild houses. We acquire supplies, and even a ride to the Sandgate Mines on the most fabulous machine I have seen in a while…. a steam powered walker… and the trip, to the half way point was uneventful and even dull. However, in the night, at the way point, the encampment was set upon by glass lizards. Glass lizards so incredibly fast, and so very hard to see, who’s blood is acid and destroys all it comes in contact with.

That is the tragedy we face tonight. Acid, in contact with steel, equals broken sword, and broken heart. Icarus’ beloved blade broke. In the heat of it all you could see him shut down. The light behind his eyes snuffed out, as if one blew out a lamp flame. The joy in the fight, the zest for adventure and drink, gone in an instant. I watched in horror, my own skin burning, my reloading block forgotten in numb fingers, as he paused, stared at the stump in a blank daze, then tossed her aside, reaching for his throwing axe. The fight went on. We were hurt, but the lizards were dispatched. A healer helped us with our bodies, but there was nothing to be done for Icarus’ heart. I wanted to follow him, as he walked away, disappearing into the bunk house, but knew I had no words… so, with care and reverence, I gathered the pieces of his sword, Victoria, cleaned them, and wrapped them in my silk shawl. I don’t know what can be done, but I do know that Icarus is as broken as his blade and we must do something.

I sit now, quietly on my bunk, the wrapped wreck of a sword across my lap, trying to put things down in words and I cannot help but wonder at the relationships that have been forged between three strangers. True, there is much I have yet to learn about my travelling companions, but the things that I do know are what seems most important… Icarus may be a serious narcissist, but when he decides you are his “crew” he will fight to the end of the world and back. He may lie, he may make things up, but, he won’t stab you in the back until you stab him first. As for Nikolai… Nikki… Tragedy struck Icarus tonight, but thinking of Nikolai sends hot tears streaming down my face. I cannot begin to tell you the conflict of emotions I feel for him… am I even allowed?…. What I can say is that I would trust him with my life, and if he told me he had to take it, I would lay down quietly and go knowing it was truth…. and, something, in the center of my being says I will lose him long before I will be able to discover all the wondrous nuances that are he.

But, Icarus needs us now…. treading softly, we must help him and his sword heal.

Dear Victoria, I know you're hurt.
Some say that ghosts don’t exist, but I know that they do… mother always used to tell me that, but people who said that they show up as specters have had one too many to drink. She always used to tell me that if a man was killed with something, his spirit was trapped in the item that let him slip the mortal coil. She was also one of the keenest women I knew, itsa shame that none of that brilliance rubbed off on me, “fighting isn’t needed, there doesn’t need to be a fight” she used to say, “Use your wit as your weapon and you’ll never lose”. Then when I killed my father for the rights to my ship, the night I returned with the news, she fell upon his blade… I had been using that same sword, honoring my mothers name, and carrying my fathers ghost upon every conflict that I ran into. Victoria… she never failed me, she never saw he husband die, and she wouldn’t let me. Now, I disgrace both her, my father and every enemy I’ve ever felled with her. “If you break a mans murder weapon, his soul is set free and is finally laid to rest.” She used to say, and I should be happy to see her released into peace, but it hurts. Now, I’m left with no damn steel to deal with Hellscream, and I know for a fact that niki and Cecily can’t do it either. Stupid lizards, ain’t no reason for the divines to give a stupid thing acidic blood.

To hell with it, I’m going home… to get Victoria fixed, maybe my old ghosts will stick around for a while. They can do this without me….

Trek From Hullafir
*GM Update*

The party has secured transport aboard a mechanical conveyance from Stonegate to the Stonegate mine. They chose to work their passage, so started before dawn loading the 12 legged tube with supplies.

At the evening posting they were warned that glass lizard encounteres were increasing in frequency. Oddly enough, the outpost was attacked during the night by glass lizards, who caused significant damage.

Like break o' day in a boozin' ken...

We’re back to this Icharus. You really do need to get a hold of yourself. Since when did you ever leave a duel of honor to travel with a woman! on dry land! You used to never travel with no-one for anything until your challenge had been met! you could have taken him, it was just an elf sea dog, that you slapped in the face with a fish! its a small man that can’t take a joke of being slapped with a fuggin’ fish! I can’t believe you, you’re changing and there is no way that it is a good way.
On a different note we got to hullifer city and and got checked into the adventurers guild, and with the breakfast we got a bit of an unexpected lesson. A rather interesting dwarf thought that I owned Ox like some house pet! Well, I guess this would be a good time to tell you about my dream. We as in, me, Nikki, ceccily and some weird spelly, thing… It must have been because of these wear things that found us in the hole. But either way, in said dream, Ox’s head burst into flame and he didn’t seem bothered by it. When I awoke, I figured it was my body’s way of explaining his heat rise, but now, this dwarf tells me that he’s a magical constant… or constract. wait no, he said construct. Which means that ox can really catch on fire. This could be beneficial… anyway, there isn’t much else to say…

Oh the things you will find on Mulberry Street

Everyone knows that adage, I’m certain, because everyone knows, although no one seems to know how or why it came to be, that if you want to find the pawns, the second hand, the curio shops you ask for directions to Mulberry Street. No matter where you are there is a Mulberry Street… and there are can be found the wonders of the lands. So it was at one of the small water stops our train made on its journey south. A good water source, a good piece of land, and a township grew where the only real road in is the train tracks, and sure enough, a Mulberry Street. While we waited for water and coal and other bits of maintenance we wandered. Not happy with the tea house or the pub (that most especially odd for Icharus) we strolled the streets, stretching our legs, watching Ox gambol. I guess being cooped up on a train was not his idea of fun at all. When what should we come across, but a small, painted sign pointing to our right simply stating “Mulberry” in tall, slightly curly letters. We looked at each other smiling, and with a shrug turned right to see what we could find.

A pleasant hour was spent roaming from shop to cart, blanket to pile of boxes, and oh yes, the things you will find. Most particularly, I found a treasure that brought back vivid memories of happiness and warmth and light so, of course, I had to spend my pennies on it, paying more than I should have, I’m sure, as it was worse for wear and really only a cheap child’s trinket to begin with, but it was a treasure to me and I gladly paid the first price the seller quoted.

What did I find on Mulberry Street you ask? Well let me finish cleaning the gears and I will show you…. it is a box, you see? Made of cardboard, with pretty pink roses nestled amongst curls of pink ribbons to decorate its outside. Yes, it is worn and there isn’t much color left. Yes the corners are rubbed to the brown of the cardboard and one is even crumpled, but… if you lift the lid, I think you will be pleasantly surprised. Yes! See! You laugh with delight just as I did when I received one just like it for my tenth birthday. Open the lid and a tiny ballerina stands up, toes pointed, arms upraised in graceful arcs, waiting for the music to begin. Now, if you turn the key on the back… there… not too far or you will spring the gears… they are a bit worn you know… Yes! Laugh some more! She dances! As the music box tinkles out its tune, the tiny dancer twirls.

I miss being ten. Ignorant of the way of the world. Full of joy, and hope and wonder. I miss my father, the smell of wool and oil and tobacco. The sense of well being and safety that filled any room he occupied. I wish I had not missed the tell tale signs of his sickness, perhaps something more could have been done. But. I refuse to dwell on the might have been. I think I will simply enjoy my little jewelry box, winding the key carefully to hear the sounds of laughter and merriment from the past. My father is with me so long as I remember and hold him close… those memories are the treasures I will store in my musical box.


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