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NUMENERA: A WORLD OUT OF TIME Part Two The Workshop Of The Telescopes

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PART TWO OF A WORLD OUT OF TIME                                                                          THE WORKSHOP OF THE TELESCOPES

 

 

Edited by Nina

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                                                                                                                                                                    I

The Iron Wind blew.

It scours, transforming, creating destroying, cleansing, and defiling. A remnant of a forgotten past, Nano-spirits sent to punish transgressions against the gods. At least that is what the common folk believed, the Order of Truth knew different or so they believed.

She had found refuge in the small yet deep cave as soon as she had read the signs. She rubbed her chest as she huddle at the back of the cave swathed in every layer of clothe she had. She had been caught in the periphery of an Iron wind years ago she did not relish the thought of another. She huddled in fear and prayed.

The Iron Wind blew.

Sometime during the night she had fallen asleep, when she awoke the storm had past and a wane light from the moon illuminated the mouth of the cave. She checked herself relieved that the wind had not reached it's finger into the cave, into her. She crawled form the cave first looking up at the pale globe in the sky it was a green moon. The day before it had been normal but today the green stripe ran clear across the face of the disc hanging in the sky. She gave a slight shiver, first the Iron Wind now a Green Moon, then she saw them.

At the foot of the slope, standing motionless were three figures. At first, in the moonlight. she thought they were giants. Each stood three times the normal height of a man, the closest was male, her keen eyes could see his bulging muscles and make out a shadowed beard. The one standing beside him was female and stood about thirty or forty feet away. The third figure she couldn't quite make out as it stood behind both and was further away. She dropped into a crouch hoping they hadn't spotted her, hands clutching at weapons, but they gave no indication that they had seen her. Minutes passed and they remained still, she began to doubt, then curiosity caught hold of her and she slowly began inching her way toward the still figures.

She studied them as she got closer, it soon became apparent that they were not alive but instead statues, whether created by the Iron Wind from three unfortunate souls caught in the open or created whole cloth was a mystery but they were perfect in every respect. The man towering above was impressive and the woman with her long legs and exotic looks and on her shoulder some sort of animal crouched, but it was the third which froze her blood in her veins once she could see it clearly.

Sparx had seen some startling and horrifying things in her life, but this was by far the most terrifying.

The third statue was her.

 

                                                                                                                                                                  II

 

They had come at him one at a time at first and taken their lumps, two lay unmoving where they had fallen and the other four now came at him together. They thought to bring him down with the shear weight of their numbers but in truth they were as bothersome as flies and he brushed them off as easily.

In seconds the remaining four were laid out with their fellows and Large Gord was declared the winner.

Again.

The announcer called for more challengers but all of the gathered fighters who had not faced the giant in the cage yet shook there heads.

Gord sighed. Two fights wasn't going to pay much but it was better than nothing. As Gord was collecting his meager winnings he calculated how long the small amount of shins would support him, he noticed a wormy little fellow standing and looking at him.

“What do you want?” He asked gruffly.

“My master wishes to speak with you siraa. If it please you I will take to him.”

Gord was not used to being addressed with an honorific then he noticed the tattooed symbol on the wormy mans neck, indicating his status as a slave with the symbol identifying his owner. This could mean money.

“Take me.”

The slave led Large Gord out of the arena shack across the dusty path that served for a road in this waste of a town. The two entered the only establishment which served food and drink neither of which were of quality. They made their way to a table where a very lanky older man with silver hair and some sort of weird set of spectacles sat. Aside from the hair which seem to be made of fine strands of pure silver metal it was the spectacles which caught Gord's attention. The man wore them perched upon his head above his eyes and the were of numerous lenses and levers and looked very delicate and quite complicated. When the man spoke it was with a heavy accent and the dialect of the truth he spoke was not one Gord had heard before but he could make out enough words that communication was possible.

“I am led to believe that you are a caravan guard without a caravan. I wish a bodyguard to ensure my safety for a journey to the Workshop. I will pay handsomely.”

Gord looked around there was a slim girl who brought the food and drinks and a man behind the bar, the only other patron was a person dressed in dusty travel clothes and so wrapped up that he couldn't even tell if it was human let alone male or female.

Gord looked back at the silver haired man with the odd spectacles.

“How much is handsomely?”

The man grins and pushes a small sack across the table.

“More than you can Imagine”

 

                                                                                                                                                                   III

 

They stared at the statues for a long time. The silence belied the fact that they were communicating. Something the Mechanical noticed but said nothing about, after all it wasn't as if his feelings were being hurt by being left out.

<So you are sure you do not know either of them?>

<I cannot recall ever seeing either, and if the depictions are as accurate as our statue, then I think I would remember a man that imposing and a woman with whatever that is in her chest. What concerns me most though is that she is pointing in the direction we are headed. I don't like coincidences.>

Firanis and Goutro after deciding to go and destroy his ship lest its dangerous secrets fall into the wrong hands, scavenged what they could from his burned wagon for things they could sell or trade for supplies. They had traveled bringing along the Mechanical to a village nearby and along their route into the mountains and towards The Beyond. There they acquired a mount and sufficient supplies to see them to the other side and a fair way towards their destination. The night before as they passed out of the pass an Iron Wind threatened and they had taken shelter in a cube of force which Goutro had produced with one of the various Numenera he had kept from his salvage. A few hours after the Morning they had come upon the three strange statues.

<Who do you think made them and why?>

<I don't know but I....>

The Mechanical cried out and they turned their attention to it.

“There is a cave up there and I sense a residual electromagnetic field. The field is from a living thing I believe a human but I have never encountered a EM filed like this from one before, so I cannot be sure.”

Firanis looked to where the Mechanical pointed and started that way.

“We better check it out. Whoever it is may have been injured from the Iron Wind passing last night.”

“There is no need Mistress, the life form is no longer there. It came out of the cave several hours ago and went there” He points at the statues.

“You can track this field?” Asked Goutro in the incomprehensible language of his alien race which the Mechanical can understand due to the modified translator they had attached to him.

“Yes, as long as the residual field is present I can track it and it seems to have a low decay rate of 2.7677859...”

“That's Enough!” Squeaks the Furry Alien in annoyance.

“Should we follow?” Firanis asks out loud of her tiny friend.

“I think we must” answers Goutro out loud his words instantly translated by their telepathic link.

“I think we must.”

 

                                                                                                                                                                    IV

 

The serving girl sets a plate of steaming stew and bread down in front of Sparx. Her heart had been racing ever since the huge man had entered. That the man and the statue she had seen weeks ago were identical was obvious. But what could it mean?

Against her better judgment she had traveled the way they perfect statue of her had pointed and found herself here . She never would have entered the ramshackle town except that she was out of supplies and the thought of a cooked meal was too tempting so she had waited until night fall and while not exactly sneaking she took pains to not draw attention and made her way into town and to this tavern. There had only been the silver haired man and the server and bar keep when she entered the man had studied her curiously before returning to his meal. She had ordered after inquiring the cost and waited . Then the giant had come in.

Gord looked at the small sack but didn't pick it up. Yet.

“I can imagine a lot. Who are you?”

Before the man can answer the door swings open and a tall leggy woman with a furry critter on her shoulder comes into the tavern. She stops and Stares at Gord and obvious look of recognition on her face.

Sparx takes a spoonful of stew keeping a surreptitious eye on the giant when the door opens and she looks, her eyes grow wide as the other statue steps into the tavern.

Firanis stopped dead in her tracks standing in the open doorway. Across the room sat one of the statues or rather the living model for one of them. Her eyes narrowed as she looked to the other side of the room and saw the woman looking at her the face the spitting image of the other statue.

 

 

 

You all meet in a tavern...

 

Firanis you may have decided to leave the Mechanical outside of the town. Indicate yes or no in your post. Also the road (dirt wagon trail really) you traveled to this town and the town itself according to Goutro did not exist when last he traveled here twenty some odd years ago.

 

If there are any questions pm or catch me in chat.

 

And so it begins...

 

 

 

 

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Gord didn't mind coin, but the giant, while not a scholar, had learned that asking a number of basic questions before taking a job helped extend the likelihood of living for another day. "More importantly-" He paused as a sense of something off brushed, like sheep afraid of wolves, feeling their presence. It was the tall woman. Attractive enough.

But the staring probably wasn't the good kind. It usually never was. "Gimme a minute," Gord grunted to his would-be employer of the silver hair, before shifting his attention to the woman. "Can I help you?"

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"Statues," said Sparx, hesitantly, with the halting speech of someone who wasn't entirely sure how her own voice sounded. "You were statues. I mean. Not you, you weren't, but there were statues of you. Her also." She waved at the woman across the tavern. "After the passage of Iron Wind. Not that kind of passage. I saw."

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Firanis left Cyrix the Mechanical Man outside the boundary of the town, a ragged poncho somewhat concealing his form. She had never been to this town before, Goutro said it had not been here twenty years ago despite it looking it had been here for many years longer than that, and did not know how the residents would react to such a one as the Mechanical Man. Besides, she did not know how it would react in the presence of the being with the decaying electromagnetic field. She got the direction and distance to the source of the odd field then entered town, Goutro riding upon her shoulder.

In the Tavern, seeing the incarnations of the two other statues standing there. Firanis wasn't sure which one Cyrix had locked on two, if one of them were indeed it, until the woman spoke in stilted inflections. Someone or something was playing with probabilities again, unless it was her own discontinuous nature affecting situations about her again. Cosmos guide my steps and preserve me!

"I witnessed the statues as well," Firanis agreed, nodding at the woman in layered clothes, "in the aftermath of the Iron Wind." She glanced up at Large Gord and gave him a frank appraisal. "The likeness quite uncanny." Her amethyst eyes slid towards the woman for a moment, or rather her chest, before she included them both in her gaze. "As for what you can do for me... I don't know."

The woman looked young, perhaps sixteen or seventeen, though quite tall, but carried herself with the assurance of someone who had experienced twice that many years, interesting and exciting years at that. Firanis gave the blue furred mammalian creature riding her shoulder a gesture as her lips quirked in a lop-sided grin.

"We were off on a quest for my companion here, when we came across the statues. A..." Firanis snorted a short laugh, "... device in my care, sensed a unique emanation, from you I believe." Firanis nodded at Sparx once more. "That, plus the obvious likeness to myself, we felt it a necessary detour to seek out the mystery." Her lips turned down in a wry frown. "I've been finding coincidence suspect of late. I am Firanis Phlux, explorer extraordinaire. How are you two called, if I may ask?"

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"I make sparks," she said simply. "Sparks. Yes. Call me Sparx. Hello Phlux." She nodded, awkwardly.

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The silver haired man stares at the two new comers and Large Gord, one hand reaching up and dropping his spectacles down to his eyes and flipping levels. focusing on the furry creature riding the tall willowy girls shoulder.

"Companion?"

He mutters standing, his other hand snatching the sack of coin off the table and out of Gord's reach.

 

Goutro clutches Firanis" neck

<Firanis, that man is coming toward us>

The serving girl who was about to approach the newest patron and show her to a table stops unsure what to do.

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Sparx takes an involuntary step back at the man's approach, looking about ready to bolt out the door. "Don't like this," she said aloud.

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"Iadace, Sparx, and well met," Firanis said in return, tapping her chest and dipping her head in a gesture of greeting. She arched a dark, bluish brow at the large man with an expectant air. The leggy youngish woman come across as friendly enough with no artifice over her openly curious expression.

"Large Gord," Large Gord rumbled.

"You certainly are," Firanis agreed with a smirk.

"I see him," she responded to both Goutro and the skittish woman, taking a half step between Sparx and the silver-haired man. Her large eyes narrowed slightly and long, strong fingers brushed the hilt of her broad-bladed machete as her voice grew coolly polite. "Hold, manx. I did not mean to interrupt your dealings with the large nameless fellow. Finish your say and I and Sparx will return to her table."

Firanis waved a hand in a the vague direction of the table Sparx had been occupying just as Firanis had walked into the tavern, then nodded up at Large Gord. "When you are done, Large Gord, I think it would be meet if we all spoke some of this... oddity we find ourselves part of." Firanis glanced down at the hesitant serving girl and pointed at Sparx's table. "Another serving of meat, bread, and brew, there, if you would. And something sweet for my companion." So saying, Firanis turned to encompass everyone with her gaze, brows raised questioningly/ "Acceptable to all?"

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The tall woman with the furry friend talked strangely, The silver hair man thought as he pulled up short, as he saw the nervouse reaction of the other woman in dusty travel clothes. he help up his hands in a non threatening manner to sooth her.

"Oh no,no! No harm friend I mearly wanted to see this creature closer i have never sen it's like before." He gestured at Firanis and Goutro before addressing Firanis.

"But you know each other, yes?"

He now gesture to encompass all three.

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"No," Gord grumbled, having become much more irritated at seeing this interruption potentially lose him his job. "Now, are we going to continue our discussion, or have you changed your mind?" Honestly, speaking of this 'oddity' didn't really interest him much if it meant he'd lost very important coin.

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Bloom shifted around to eye The giant sitting irritated at his table. Seeing as how the fighter outweighed everyone else in the building put together he thought best to placte him and well regardless he needed the protection.

"No Gord, no. My name is Bloom and the job is yours if you want it. Fair is fair"  He tosses the big man the sack of shins. "But if you are indeed acquainted with these two, then perhaps they could join us, there is reward enough for all."

And risk he thought to himself.

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"Acceptable. Yes. I accept. Good. What job? What do you do for a living?" She gave them a once over, noting the various weapons and tools at their belts. "Swordwork?"

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Everyone stops and looks at the strange woman who called herself Sparx.

Bloom looks back at Gord who has stashed the bag of shins already, Gord simply shrugs.

"Well then, good. Perhaps you two Fems would join us at my table. YOU! Serving girl bring their food and drink to my table."

 

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"Swordwork, some small skill with numenera devices, and other things," Firanis replied to the woman with a smirk. "I am an explorer, off to see what there is to see in the Ninth World and Beyond. And yourselves?" She asked Sparx and Gord as she nodded her head towards Bloom and walked towards his table. "That is acceptable, Bloom."

Gord seemed reticent about his business, but Firanis was curious at the moment. She wished to see if there was something more to the statues fashioned in their likeness or if it was a mere, if unlikely, coincidence, and for that, she believed she needed to spend some more time in the company of Sparx and Gord. If she could acquire some wealth or a unique piece of numenera at the same time to help pursue her explorations, so be it.

  "Perhaps, you can explain more of this job and the reward you mentioned? Reward enough for all you said?"

<Do we have time to pursue this mystery, Goutro, if it delays us dealing with your ship? The coincidence does seem more than a little suspicious.>

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<the statues are too much of a coincidence, but the fact that they were perfect replicas of us and these two indicates an intelligence at work. This man may be of no consquence but we can at least here him out and gather information on these other two while doing so>

 

Goutro's thoughts flashed into Firanis' head at the speed of thought and she missed not a beat as she took her seat beside the man calling himself Large Gord. After a seconds hesitation Sparx to the seat on his other side and Bloom returned to his.

Gord frowned at the realization he may have to share but the funny silver haired man did say there was plenty of reward for everyone.

The serving girl brought the ordered food and more drink for all and when she left Firanis leaned forward and spoke before beginning to eat.

“Well, get on with your pitch.”

 

Bloom poured himself a cup of the dark beer the tavern served and took a sip eyeing Gord and the two women.

“As I was saying to your friend here.”

Gord frowns even more

“I don't know them...”

“Be that as it may, we are all friends now yes? As I was telling Gord here I want an escort to the City of Workshops, Particularly to the Workshop of the Telescopes!”

Silence greets him. Silence and looks of incomprehension. After a few moments Firaanis asked.

“What is this City of Workshops?

 

Bloom sits back a look of amazement on his face.

“You have never heard of the the City of... none of you?”

He shakes his head in disbelief.

“To the north of where we sit right now Beyond the Empty Machine, lay a city. In a way it is more a grouping of encampments and makeshif factories involveded in the Great excavation.”

 

At the mention of the empty machine Goutro stiffens and his thoughts betray sudden worry. <Oh no...>

 

Bloom continues.

“Some twenty years ago a massive eruption occurred and great plumes of ash and debris were flung into the air there and molton rock flowed from the cracked earth for many weeks. Events such as this are not uncommon and it is known that rare minerals and metals often come to the surface from deep below and sometimes even Numenera find their way from long lost vaults. Treasure hunter, miner, craftsmen and those seeking riches flew to the area to grab what they could. Many small encampments were founded and in time a few towns sprouted then a new discovery was made.”

 

Goutro's tiny hands grasp at Firanis' hair as if to steady himself.

 

“A large metallic ovoid was uncovered or at least part of it. It was huge some three hundred feet across at is widest and twice as long. It was very much like the Empty Machine in construct in fact I would dare say that the two are related in some manner though my colleagues scoffed at the thought, saying the shapes were too dissimular.”

 

Bloom shakes his head in disgust.

 

<They found it>

 

“Yes I was one of those who discovered the oviod. I was young then and so full of enthusiasim I just knew that I would be the one to find a way in. You see. It was seald nothing we had could open it there were no entry or egress ports. Oh there were plenty of hatchs but no way to open them. Then the priests came. A Clave of Aeon Priests and their troops, at least that is what we thought they were. Somehow they had found an artifact that let them bypass matter and they were able to enter the shell and wrest its secrets. Bu tthey did not share those secrets. Instead, they chased us all away and built a wall around it and built a tower. It has taken them nearly twenty years. At the top of this tower they have built a new workshop, a mysterious workshop full of telescopes.”

 

He drains his cup and pours another.

“I want, no need, you to get me into that workshop.”

<They have my Ship>

Text in color between < > denotes telepathic communication   The green is Firanis, the Purple is Goutro. sparx and Gord will have their own color as well

Edited by NUMENERA ST

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"Was it said what was in? The ovoid. Did the Clave say what was..." She paused, recounting how the others spoke, memories of human conversation slowly surfacing. "Did the Aeon Priests hint at what they found?"

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"No Sparx, it was Sparx, yes, The priest were no more open about their findings than anything else. Oh they made use of the craftsmen and others that had collected in the camps and it was they who turned those disparate camps into a town and now a city. After they went into the ovoid they became insular. They had already brought a large number of soldiers with them almost a hundred but they hired more cut off access to the Ovoid to anyone else and began building the tower."

Bloom looks to a corner of the tavern at the figure huddled there.

"Xoon, bring my satchel."

The slave rose to his feet and carried the satchel to his master. Bloom rummaged around inside and produced several rolled up sheets of parchment. unrolling them revealed drawings of various devices, including for those familiar with such things, many different sizes of Telescopes.

"I acquired these at great cost they show the things built in the Workshop at the top of the Tower they had built. These are telescopes and my source says there are many, some of such size that they had to be built at the top of the tower."

He passes the parchments around.

The drawings are very detailed and show many telescopes and other scientific numenara  your characters can recognize the more normal looking telescopes bu there are even more sophisticated ones displayed including one that if the size indicator is correct is huge and doesn't resemble a normal telescope at all. each of you get the impression that he isn't telling you every thing. I am assuming that your characters are from the steadfast and not the beyond if you are from the beyond or have traveled in the beyond within the last 5 years your character may have some knowledge of the city let me know in a pm if you think you might

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"I have Lightning Sight."

At everyone's looks, she clarified. "I can see things with lightning up close, and maybe I can see inside with the lightning?"

She examined the scrolls and the telescopes.

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<That is suspiciously convenient> Firanis thought wryly at Goutro, her belief that it was more than merely suspicious leaking through. <Someone or something is playing with the probabilities of our lives. But at least we may have aid in reaching your ship, Goutro. We will free it of the Priests' grasp.>

Firanis leaned over the table with interest, perusing the devices depicted on the parchments. She was a Cosmologist, she found meaning and satisfaction moving her body in step with the celestial bodies above them. To look upon them with the eye, naked or aided with cunningly crafted and arranged lenses was a grand thing.

Firanis nodded absently at Sparx's comment, not quite understanding her meaning. "Some of these devices seem to be powered by bottled lightning - your Sight may be of great use." She glanced up, meeting the eyes of the others. "It has been some time since I traveled the Beyond for an extended time. I have not heard of the Workshop of telescopes, but I heard some things when I was working a caravan. A band of Mystics ruling a town north of the Empty Machine with a fist fashioned of fire and twisting minds. I believe the Workshop is the same place and we should be wary of their tactics."

Firanis sat back in her chair and took a long sip of beer - it was bitter and salty, but not entirely unpleasant. Her strange amethyst eyes with an inner ring of vibrant gold fastened on Bloom as she gestured at his scattered parchments. "Do you seek something specific from the Workshop or simply any secrets the Aeon Priests have wrested from the Empty Machine's cousin?"

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Gord didn't recognize much of the fancier, academic numenera, images and words. Didn't matter - that wasn't his part of the job. Mysterious Aeon-types, with their own private army and fort around the target location. "So, a hundred soldiers. How many of these these priests, and do they have other defenses?"

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Bloom looks somewhat askance at Firanis' question about what he is after.

"I seek knowledge nothing else but with knowledge there is reward. I was offering a job to Gord here, to escort me to the city of workshops. I give the same offer to you two as well. See me to the city, and protect me until I make contact with my agent there, nothing more will be asked of you. I will pay each of you 4 shins a day, in shin or coin your choice, with a sizable bonus if you can get me there before the moon turns again."

<He is hiding something and i cannot see into is thoughts, his mind is shielded>

  <Do we trust him and them?>

<we must get to the ship there are many dangerous, very dangerous things that must not be found>

Sparx glances around sure she heard talking but there are only the two tavern workers and those at the table, but no it wasn't voices it was thoughts, barely brushing the edges of her mind.

Bloom produces a hand full of shins and divides them between Sparx and Firanis the total amounts to about 20 shins each.

"This is just for hearing the offer and a confidentiality payment. Take the night to decide if you wish the job. I want to to leave first thing tomorrow."

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"Knowledge and experience of new things are the greatest rewards," Firanis agreed before her lips quirked in a lopsided smile as she scooped the proffered remuneration into a pouch.  "But shins are more easily spent."

The pale-skinned, blue-haired woman nodded, but though her tone was sure, her lips turned down in a vaguely dubious frown. "We - I - do not need the night decide. I accept your offer and will see you to the Workshop of Telescopes. Having heard about it, I find that I wish to see it as well."

<Reading thoughts?> Firanis's mental tone was wry. <That would be handy as a merchant. Anyway, I hope dealing with your ship, these two others won't regret taking this warrant on. Hmm, what of the Mechanical Man? Do we take him along or leave him behind and out of Bloom's, I am sure, curious sight? He is most certainly seeking something specific, I am thinking.>

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Is four shins a lot of shins? Hmmm. They seem on board, and not out to trick me. It would buy a lot of provisions too.

"Yes. Agreed." Sparx nods. "I'll go. Sounds good. Yeah."

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On 10/20/2015, 11:35:49, Large Gord said:

Gord didn't recognize much of the fancier, academic numenera, images and words. Didn't matter - that wasn't his part of the job. Mysterious Aeon-types, with their own private army and fort around the target location. "So, a hundred soldiers. How many of these these priests, and do they have other defenses?"

Bloom shakes his head.

"I don't have a clear picture of that. The numbers i spoke of were my experience all those long years ago. I am sure since then they have at the very least they have increased their muscle. I know they hire mercenaries to patrol and keep peace in the outer camps and workshops, and that they have a more dedicated force to guard the ovoid and the citidal which has the tower."

He looks off distantly moving his fingers and lips as if counting.

"I believe there were maybe six or seven priests back then. I know one was killed inside the Ovoid, and another disappeared. But they probably have added members since then."

 

The conversation continues for a bit but no further information is to be had after everyone agrees to Blooms offer he makes sure they have accommodations for the night and bids them a good sleep.

 

********************* THE NEXT MORNING*****************************

 

The various members of the party are awoken by Bloom's slave and find gear and mounts for their journey. They also find a new member of the party, Cyrix, a Mechanical who is with Firanis. They also discover that the strange creature riding Firanis' shoulder that they assumed was a pet is an intelligent being that communicates  with her and a machine that the mechanical wears around it's neck which translates it's words for others to hear.

With in the hour the party has eaten a meal and sets off on their journey.

 

Spoiler

sorry i dragged getting this going no one to blame but myself. but i'm back on track and moving this on. i will hold on posting until i am sure there are no more questions.

You may each get some addtional wepons armor and gear supplied by bloom to add to your equipment lets say an additional 150 shins worth each. you also have a Aheen supplied for riding. The Mechanical will have to walk or be lashed to a draft aheen.

if there are no further post that any of you need to make I will post again tomorrow I will make myself available some time today and tonight to answer any questions in chat as always you can Pm as well.

 

 

 

 

 

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Sparx is wide-eyed at the gear that 150 shins has bought, having not seen so much money in ages. She rides quietly on the beast, seeming more at home while on the trail and in the wilderness.

((OOC: Sparx bought:

1 buzzer and one clip for it

2 clear synth bags

1 major glowglobe

1 tent

One weeks' rations.))

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Firanis accepted Bloom's shins and perused his wares and what the town had to offer with a critical eye. A veteran traveler and explorer, she well knew the value of having the proper gear on hand. She already had plenty of rope and added a Healing Kit, since now she was traveling with companions as well as a dome tent. With surprised excitement, she replaced her synth bodysuit with one of midnight blue, elastic Micromesh that stretched over her body like a second skin. Though comfortable in the dark, it was always expedient to have a source of light on hand and so she acquired a persistent Glowglobe.

Firanis spent part of the night - with Goutro's help - replacing the lenses of her goggles with the lenses scavenged from a pair of binoculars, but she seemed rested and prepared in the morning. Though she favored using her own legs to travel, she sat astride her assigned Aneen with casual competence, her furry companion sitting before her and Cyrix the Mechanical Man lashed behind.

The morning was a bit cool, but the dawning sky was clear, a good day to travel. Firanis smiled. Despite all else that seemed to be happening, it didn't diminish her sheer joy in traveling and discovering new things, and if they could deal with the danger offered by Goutro's ship and get paid for it, all the better.

"Shall we be about it, then?" she asked her new companions and the employer whose true intentions she was still in doubt of, as the orange ball of the sun crested the horizon.

Spoiler

Firanis acquired a Healer's Kit, Micromesh Armor, a Major Glowglobe, and a set of Binoculars (which she cannibalized for her own goggles)

 

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The equipment offer was more lavish than Gord had seen in... probably ever on his jobs. It said something about either the potential rewards of this job, or Bloom. And Gord wasn't sure which it was precisely. When he joined the others the next day, the layer of hide that had been taken from some creature had been replaced by a more metallic article of clothing - and a large brown synth back was included - definitely packed with tools and supplies.

Somehow, the giant handled the weapons, the shield, the extreme load with casual ease.

Spoiler

Major Glowglobe, First Aid Kit, Large Synth Bag, Compass, Binoculars added, upgraded to a Metalweave Vest.

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"About it?" Sparx cocked her head, thinking. "It is itself and we are not - you mean should we do it. Yes. We'll do it. Ready, here."

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After prepping and assembling their gear and supplies under the curious gaze of the denizens of the small crossroads aldea, the party sets forth. Before them a long journey by the worn track serving as a road, the distance ahead to the mysterious City of the Workshops, some twenty days travel, filled with uncertainty and possible danger.

 

Bloom rode his Aheen followed close by Large Gord, with Sparx and Finaris taking turns leading and tailing the procession, the slave rode one supply laden beast and led two others followed behind Gord. Bloom urges speed not allowing long breaks and stopping for camping only as the sun begins to sink below the mountains in the west and rousing the group before dawn to once more ride as the sun peeks up in the east.

 

During the days travel there is little chance to talk and interact with one another and once camp is made at night Bloom vanishes into his Shelter and does not emerge until morning leaving the three adventurers to care for the animals, and feed and entertain themselves. The Three companions thus spend their time regaling each other with tales of their deeds and homes and travels. Goutro will acquaint Gprd and Sparx with the relevant parts of his story and the mechanical, Cyrix, will tell insane stories it claims are the truths of the past which no one save perhaps Goutro will believe could possible be true.

 

And so it is that eight days of travel on the dusty road passes with the three (four counting Goutro) strangers becoming well acquainted companions and possibly even friends. Bloom stays aloof and insular not interacting in a social manner with the rest and answering an questions either academically if about the road and brushing off any specific questions about the Tower. There have been no other persons passed on the road and outside of a few encounters with animals which become supper nothing of note transpires. But in the late afternoon of the eighth day the forward rider can spot the towering mass of the Empty Machine rising like a small mountain on the horizon. Bloom calls a halt.

 

“Its still two days away, the road leads directly to it, but we don't want to risk getting close. Double your alertness and after tomorrow we will want to cut to the east and go overland until past.” Bloom instructs. Gord looks at to Finaris and Sparx before asking.

 

“Why leave the road? It will only slow us down, we will lose all the time we have gained. What worries you?”

 

Bloom consulting his map responds slowly as if preoccupied. “The Machine is empty but still people journey there in the hopes of unlocking it's secrets. There are those who have made it their purpose to feed on the desires of others, scavengers, robbers, and worse. It is better to lose time which can be made up than o become embroiled in something which may cost more.” He folds up the map and tucks it into his coat. “No, we shall make the detour but increase your vigilance from now until we are past this obstacle.”

 

Spoiler

Sorry took so long. I will leave this for a day or so before moving on to an action scene. this pause is just inc ase you want to recap/rp a bit.. also i know I slacked off for a lot longer than i meant to so If any of you don't wish to contiue I understand just let me know and i will npc you with the option of you returning at alater date if youwish.

 

 

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Over the intervening days, Firanis grew used to Gord's stolid taciturnity and Sparx's eccentric manner of speech. The bonding between them may have grown partly in response to Bloom's reticent aloofness and Firanis didn't regret it. Her trust of their employer wasn't growing with continued exposure to his presence. And his insistence that they avoid any proximity to the Empty Machine despite the delay in their progress was very curious, maybe even foreboding.

Firanis checked the tension of the springs of her bolt-caster, loosened her machete in its sheath, then took the lead, looking for their best way to circumnavigate the Empty Machine while traveling cross-country. "This will be bothersome, to say the least."

<But it will be worth it if we can stop the danger your ship can pose in the hands of others, Goutro. But I am really starting to dislike this man, Bloom.>

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Sparx examines the map carefully. Over the course of the trip, the group has learned that Sparx's unfamiliarity with any manner of social graces is made up for with a strong familiarity of how to survive in the wild. She traces a few paths with her finger, trying to suss out a way to potentially stay safe and cut their travel time.

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Gord may have limited his talking, because he was forthright and blunt when he did talk, and certainly Firanis at least understood the issues it imposed from time to time in civilization. Certainly, something came across that it had contributed to his departure from home and taking up the life of a glaive. And his alertness was of a different sort than the ladies.

His was, to put not a fine point: watching for trouble.

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Bloom after having his say goes and sits in the shade of a twisted tree leaving the Sparx, Finaris and Gord to determine how to proceed. Consulting her Map and discussing with the other two Sparx show a good route which will depart the main road a few leagues from where they currently were. After eating a small lunch they once again set out this time with Sparx in the lead. A few hours later they leave the main road and cross the bleak country side following what may at one time been a game trail but now is only a dusty remnant, east. As the day ends they make there way onto an old riverbed the water long since dried up, if the map were true the river bed would take them  further east before turning north west and taking them past the Empty Machine.

They had rode alert for any danger but had seen nothing all day save a few small rodent like animals none had ever seen before and which fled as soon as they were seen. As the light faded they made camp. On previous nights they had relied upon the Cyrix to provide a watch since he required no sleep, but now to reassure their employer it was decided that they should also mount a watch themselves. In the end the only thing mounting a living watch succeeded in doing was make them lose sleep.

So it was that the next day the travelers set out again and surprisingly made good time following the riverbed. Late that afternoon they passed the Empty Machine at the closest distance they would come to it, and even though their direction would take them west now they would be leaving it behind them. That night the mounted guards to sit with the mechanical again.

Late that night the wind picked up from out of the north and the temperature began to drop. Gord woke cold and in need of relieving him self. He got up and went to the fire wear Cyrix sat he asked the machine where Finaris was. Cyrix indicated  a st of rocks outside of the fires light. He went there exchange a few words with Finaris who was bundled against the sudden cold and with the strange small visitor nestled in the woman's lap . After he made his way further out into the cold darkness to relieve himself. Standing there  in the cold his eyes were drawn to the moon just starting it's waning phase, the green strip clearly visible. To his astonishment something cross the moon as he is looking and he can hear a strange buzzing sound comes to his ears...

Spoiler

Gord sees a shadow across the moon and hears this sound. straining his eyes in the darkness he can make out some sort of winged craft flying overhead it is between 300' and 500' and moving at a good speed. the sound is defiantly coming from the flying object. it is not a living creature but most assuredly a vehicle. what does he do?

 

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Gord cut off a growl - that sort of thing only spelled trouble worse than a massive explosion. Forcing his privates back into his pants and pulling them up roughly, Gord hurried back and roared loudly, searching for his weapons.

"GET UP! TROUBLE COMING FROM ABOVE!"

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Sparx snaps awake instantly. She grabs for the buzzer she purchased, scanning the skies for the trouble that Large Gord spoke of.

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The evening wind had a chill bite this night and the thermal lining of her synth-and-micromesh bodysuit wasn't enough to keep Firanis warm during her watch, so she had thrown a fleecy longcoat over her shoulders and pulled its trailing tails around over Goutro nestled in her lap. Though furred, the mammalian visitant didn't seem designed to endure the cold and she held him close, petting him with one hand, using her own body heat to keep him. Her other hand held her drawn bolt-caster ready, balanced across a sleek, firm thigh.

She had journeyed for the most part on her own, a solitary explorer. But first with Goutro and now with Gord and Sparx, Firanis was coming to enjoy and even value traveling with companions.

No sooner had she traded words with Gord as he went to make water then the hulking man was rushing back shouting his warning. The young looking woman swung her unusually long legs and flowed to her feet with a pungent curse as Goutro swarmed up her arm and huddled in the hood of her coat, bracing himself with his tiny, nimble hands on her shoulder.

The moon was bright this night, giving plenty of light to see, but she had seen nothing untoward and was disgusted with herself. Holding her bolt-caster at the ready, she followed in Gord's wake with fluid steps, her gold-rimmed amethyst eyes scanning the sky. At the camp, she dug the toe of her foot into Bloom's ribs mercilessly then continued towards the fire, squinting her eyes against its light to preserve her night vision.

"Wake, Bloom," Firanis hissed sharply at her employer. "Danger approaches." With her feet, she began kicking dirt over their fired, casting a glance at Gord and Sparx before looking over her shoulder at the Mechanical Man. "Help me douse our fire, quickly now. Cyrix, unhobble the aheen, we may need to move quickly."

 

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Within moments the fire is doused by Cyrix and the party has been woken Bloom and the slave are a bit confused but the rest of the party is alert and ready to face the alleged threat. After Gord tersely explains what he saw crossing the moon, everyone's eyes turn up to scan the sky.

"There!' calls out Firanis softly as she points toward a shadow crossing above them. It's difficult to make it out in the darkness, it is large, big enough to hold two to three people of normal size and it is moving fairly fast. It is making a buzzing hum that is clearly audible. As it crosses over them the shadow seems to bank and a light blazes out from the flying object like a baleful eye peircing the darkness. The beam illuminate a wide swath some three hundred feet from where the party is too the east.

Slowly the beam turns and starts towards them...

Spoiler

The vehcile  is circling shining a bright light (not torch light) on the ground. the light illuminates a circle on the ground about 75 - 100 feet across. teh vehicle is at long range and is moving fast compared to a character  (about 75mph) it is banking in its turns amd will most likly spot the camp with in a few minutes. Attempting to shoot the vehicle is a level 7 task (this is taking into account, range speed) only weapons and esotaries with a range of Long can attempt an attack. It is not possible to hide the camp before it will be spotted.. For game prposes you are considered to have the initiative.

 

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"Will spot us," says Sparx. "Can't ride the lightning far enough. Suggestions? Open to them. We run? If so, pick a direction now."

Sparx is going to get to cover, and will hope that the skiff gets close enough to hit.

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Firanis debated for only an instant. The speed and distance of the mechanical... thing flying above them would make it difficult to strike with her bolt-caster and its seeming size made her doubt a single strike would inconvenience it. There was the remnants of the disintegration rod she possessed, but she wasn't entirely sure it had power left to function and with only a single shot, she would prefer to be sure of her strike. She glanced at their camp and snorted softly. No way to hide that there were here, not quickly enough at least.

"We run," Firanis decided, quickly scanning their gloom-wreathed surroundings. "North-East. Steady, don't rush, and we stick to what cover we can find."

Their goal was still North and to the West, but if the searchers were sent from the Workshop of the Telescopes, their scrutiny would be more intense in that area. So, Firanis decided to head more Eastward for the moment, then they'd track back West later. They would be adding time to their journey, but wouldn't be moving directly against their goal. Good enough...

<Goutro, if it looks like we will be spotted, I will break away and try to draw them away. If so, you stay with the group and I will try to meet up with you later when I lose them.>

If I lose them...

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