Alright, ladies and gents, it’s been a long time since I have updated this and graced you with a nice recap of our adventures, so I figured I’d do two mini-recaps. Hopefully, I can remember enough about each to warrant a good recap. If I miss any details, I apologize deeply. Anyway, without further adieu, here they are!
The Elves of Osonor
Construction on the grand museum in Republic Central is starting to wrap up, and will do so in a few months. Luther desires one final addition to that museum which will add the best flavor of all: a ship from a bygone era. He has already attempted to send one of his best teams to the Northern Wastes to find an old shipwreck, rig it up to their airship, and bring it home. Unfortunately for them, they ran into some issues along the way, and could not complete their mission. Luther then calls upon our team to take on this burden and take the A-Team’s place in the mission of retrieving a shipwreck for his museum. To the grumbling and astonishment of our party, he offers us double what the A-Team usually makes, and assures us safe travel across the world in three different paths: one along the ocean with a stop in Cape Sundar of the Aquul Nomadic Caliphates; one that travels through northern Alwyn through all of the Aquul Nomadic Caliphates; or a long, land-locked journey through Alwyn, Elbion, and north through Elingrad. The party decides on the first option: the oceanic journey with a stop in Cape Sundar for resupply and rest.
A two-week preparation takes place, and the party finally departs. We almost accidentally take Luther with us, but he escapes in a one-man pod, heading back to his office, remarking that while he would love to travel with us, regrettably, he has business here in Alwyn to attend to. It is a long two-month journey to the Northern Wastes from Alwyn. Each character is absorbed in his or her own thoughts and activities as the journey progresses. There are no threats or issues along the way on this long, long trip, and our party makes it to Cape Sundar in a month. The second month is spent with us resting at the Cape, resupplying, and heading northwards to the Northern Wastes at the polar ice cap of the world.
As the party approaches the cap, we run into a nasty storm that nearly knocks us off of our course. The party has to work together to man and steer the airship to a land-able area of ice. Once that is done, we have to get our bearings back and find the lay of the land, seeking out the coastline where the majority of the shipwrecks will be.
After a few days’ march across the ice, we make it to the coast, and begin searching for a suitable shipwreck to rig up and bring home. Roderick the Gnome finds one and climbs aboard with Hikaru not far behind. The rest of the party begins to follow. Roderick nearly tumbles through the decking of the old ship, breaking apart the rotted wood, and barely catching himself with his climbing hooks on the edge of the broken wood planks. As he looks below, he sees some mean looking, icey stalagmites sticking up from the lower deck of the ship, sharp and menacing. Luckily, he pulls himself out of harm’s way, and he and Hikaru continue to search the ship. Ruby and Thorin arrive, as well as the others.
At that moment, something breaks forth from the water, breaching the surface—something huge and horrid. It is a sea monster, or a Leviathan—a beast left over from an age long past! It attacks the party, and they try to fight back. In the confusion and chaos of battle, Hikaru once more transforms into his terrifying fox-like form, and sends lightning bolts flying into the creature! Many of the rest of the party open fire and try to shoot the beast down, but its hide is so thick, and its malice is so raw! What will our party do?
Suddenly, as if from a bygone era, a battle hymn rises from somewhere behind the party. Long, heavy, and sharp harpoons fly out and pierce the beast’s tough hide. The thick cords that are tied to these harpoons are pulled taught, and while the beast struggles, writhes, and thrashes violently, it is slowly pulled earth-ward, until it is laying flat on its belly. At that moment, dozens and dozens—hundreds!—of hooded and cloaked figures appear out of the fogs and gloom of the ice, and begin to mercilessly hack and slash at the leviathan, all while continuing to sing their battle hymn in an unknown tongue. Eventually, in its death throes, the cloaked figures leap off of the beast and let it die.
The party is then suddenly surrounded without warning by dozens of these hooded and cloaked figures, and have no clue what to do, especially when the figures make sharp demands in an unknown tongue to the party. Well, not wholly unknown to everyone. When the figures realize that the party do not understand their tongue, they speak in common, and demand why the party is there, and if we do not answer, they will kill us where we stand.
Azandar, having known all along what tongue these strangers were speaking in, begins to speak back to them in their own tongue, relaying our reasons why we are here. He states his name and who appears to be the chiefest among this large group of strangers steps forth and pulls his hood back. He is in the spitting image of Azandar himself! It is none other than Azandar’s father, Fa’anor Vayakir, king and leader of these people, who are, as we learn, the last remnant of the Elves in the world!
Fa’anor greets his son with open arms, and accepts the rest of us as friends and allies, telling his people to lower their weapons and stand down. The party is to be lead to the Elves’ home city of Osonor, where they will be given food and rest, but we must go blindfolded, for the Elves are loath to give away the secret entrance of their hidden home. So we willingly go blindfolded, being led gently by the Elves to a large lake where the blindfolds are removed. At the far end of this lake is a mountain range, and in the center of the mountain range, nearly on the beach of the icy lake is a grand and prominent structure: The Last Elvenhome of Osonor. It looks to be formed of the ice and rock itself, carved and formed of great shape, cunning, and skill, over a thousand years! We are lead to slender Elven boats, and are driven across the chilled lake toward the Elven city.
Little does anyone know that we have a follower from Lenova not far behind!
When we arrive at the far end, we disembark from the boats and make ready to enter the city of Osonor, when all of a sudden, a figure is spotted back on the far bank of the lake where we just were. Fa’anor dispatches a group of Elves in boats to deal with the unknown trespasser. When they arrive, they find a young woman done up in the armor and garb of Lenova struggling across the ice and stone to get to the bank of the lake. The Elves that were dispatched disembark from their boats, surround this woman, and threaten her that she has trespassed the secret way, and must be put to death. Facing this with great courage, she informs these Elves that she must deliver a message to Armella Kolbe, a member of our party, and Bonded Paladin of Tarj! Hearing also a mighty cry from Fa’anor across the lake to cease and desist their attack, the Elves reluctantly put down their weapons, and bring the newcomer across the lake in one of the boats. This newcomer is none other than Acolyte Emma Vorgrimmler, Cleric of Tarj, and Healer from Lenova, bearing a missive from the Church directly addressed to Armella.
Once she is over, the Elves lead the party into Osonor, and we are introduced to the city proper! It is bustling and alive with activity—the Elves have not been idle in their time here, and they are preparing in all things for the “Ra’mariendil,” or “Feast of Ancestral Visitation.” Fa’anor leads us to a grand banquet hall, where we are seated to a most sumptuous feast. Here, questions are asked, and things are discussed. Also there is much singing, music, and story-telling.
The Elves and the party feast until midnight, then with lit tallow candles, make their way to the parapets of the castle to stargaze as a city. There are scattered clouds in the sky, and the moon is low on the horizon. A gong sounds after 15 minutes of quiet meditation, with nothing but the chill wind and water making noise down below. At the sound of the gong, they burn papers on which prayers are written to their ancestors, and retreat back inside for warmth.
Hikaru thinks he spies something in the distance on the horizon during this festival, and with the advanced scope on his long sniper rifle zeroes in on it. He can’t quite get the best view of what he’s seeing due to the clouds and the waning moonlight, but he thinks he sees a floating rock in the sky moving at a stiff pace high above the earth’s surface. That is all he can glean from this, but it seems quite ominous and strange to him. Armella also takes a glance through the scope and sees pretty much the same thing, although the floating rocky object is now waning in the distance.
Two weeks have passed since the party’s arrival at Osonor, the meeting of Emma, and the festival of Ra’mariendil. During that time, the Elves have learned our party’s purpose for even being here, and have for us found a suitable ship, which they have dug out and prepared for rigging up below our airship. Before we leave, however, Fa’anor gathers us in a lower chamber, and causes us to swear a blood oath that we will not reveal or give away the location of the Elvenhome of Osonor. Unfortunately, not all of the party agrees to this, and there is some deep tension, but in the end, Fa’anor concedes on good faith that we will not give away his location. Only Hikaru took the blood oath.
Finally, the party departs, and with the old shipwreck rigged to the bottom of our airship, we sail off back the way we came—back the the Alwyn Free Cantonry. Little does anyone know just how short that freedom will last…
The Bombing of Republic Central
Luther is overjoyed! Not only have we succeeded at our mission, but we have made it possible for his museum to flourish, and far before any of his competitors could hope to go, construction is complete on the grand museum in Republic Central!
Luther immediately books a train and hotel for our party in Republic Central where we can stay, and plans to have us do an early morning walk-through of the new museum. It’s a four-day journey by locomotive from Haven City, and we arrive in the bustling national capitol of Republic Central in Southern Vespa.
The very next morning, we’re taken to the new museum, aptly named the Grand Museum of History in Republic Central, and begin our tour. We are greeted by the original A-Team that was supposed to go to the Northern Wastes and collect a shipwreck, and are told that we have been promoted to their old position! Generally, they are happy for us.
The tour begins in the Horrid Histories room, where we discover facts and histories about ancient artifacts and peoples who used to live in various places in the world. Heavily featured in this room are the findings by Mr. James Davenport, the anthropologist who accompanied us on our previous journey to Wuxia, about the tribal people who dwelt near the Kurai forest in the mountains of Hateshiganai. To our horror and utter sadness (and in one case bitter rage), the notes and descriptions did not match at all what we saw: they described a primitive and horrible people who sacrificed their own kind to their false gods and ate their own children, all while practicing heathenistic magicks! We were dumbfounded, for the tribe we had met in Hateshiganai were peaceful, kind, and at one with the natural world around them. While they may have practiced and dabbled a little into magic, they did not use it for profane purposes, as these notes indicated. Some of our party began to be angry at Luther, and directly blame him for this outrage, but he backpedaled and admitted that he had no hand in contriving any of these notes. He promised us he would close the exhibit and deal with it personally.
The rest of the exhibits were interesting and fun, but with the bitter taste of the Horrid Histories exhibit still fresh in our minds, we couldn’t quite shake it off enough to fully enjoy the experience—some did more than others.
As the day wore on, and the morning grew hotter, the opening ceremony for the museum took place. Several speakers came, including the Southern Vespan governor himself, and he it was who gave the golden scissors to Luther to cut the ribbon, signifying the museum being opened to the public.
Right before he cut the ribbon however, was when they came!
Ships bearing the emblem of the brutal Rhen Autarchy loomed over the nation’s capitol and began dropping bombs relentlessly on the people and buildings below! How these ships got there without notice was a marvel and beyond anyone’s comprehension! After the initial bombing, the troops were lowered to the ground, and began sweeping the city. There must have been a hundred—maybe more!—ships in the air!
Before the bombing first started, Luther cried out for the party to flee the scene and get to our airship, which had been flown in two nights previous. We began to run through the city, but found ourselves bombarded by a falling building. Most of us jumped or maneuvered out of the way, but some were caught in falling debris. Azandar was knocked unconscious! Emma broke from the party to save a group of children. She fended off some Rhenese shock troops with her mere presence, and sent them packing! One of the original A-Team, an Aquulish orc who never speaks, spoke the only words he’d ever spoken in his life to her: that Emma go to her friends, and he’d take the kids. Leaving him with her blessing, Emma ran through the city, eventually catching up to the group. She revived Azandar from his unconsciousness, and the party fled the rest of the way to the aeroport, where their airship was docked. It was heavily damaged, but still flyable, and so we boarded, started it up, and got the heck outta town as fast as that damaged ship could take us!
Four huge Rhenese warships started to pursue us, firing their massive guns relentlessly. Emma, using an alchemic trick, amplified her voice and called out to the entire fleet of the Rhen Autarchy to cease their senseless violence and stop this madness. Only the four ships that were pursuing us heard her plea, and turned away. Republic Central had fallen to the Rhen Autarchy, and Alwyn was overrun.