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PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?



Specialist Tamara Jackson posted:

She thinks I’m dead. I think I’m dead.
But I’m still here…
So I watch, those that shine in this storm-toss ocean:


A knight-errant, unprepared for the horrors she will find…
My sister-in-arms, great secrets locked within her shattered mind…
The high priestess of a new god, culling the weak from the herd…
Death’s own son, bringing the Last Peace wherever he walks...
The voice of hope, trying to bring the words back to the lost…
The siren of tomorrow's end, clinging to the wreckage of her past

I will watch, and I will weep. For true Destruction slouches towards this fallen Bethlehem...


Corvi and Zero
Twilight finds the two of you on the eastern slopes of E’kidnaw, the long shadows hiding you from prying eyes. The bloody work of yesterday is done, and now its time to get paid. Speaking of which Zero, did you tell Corvi about that weird-rear end figure you saw when the two of you got separated last night?

Coming around a claw-tip reveals a junk-wagon, its engine still running. Dakota sits on the tailgate, their ‘assistant’ Attache standing over a sheet-metal crate big enough to hold you pay. All this was as agreed. What isn’t is the handful of ruffbois watching the perimeter and your approach. Nothing too heavy, but they’re definitely packing heat. You two recognize any of them?
What do you do?


SKADI
Its been a busy two days, but a combination of go-tabs and NEWtrient have fueled you long enough to do a rough recon of your dropzone (orbital photography has given you a good layout of the geography, but it failed to note how populated the region is). The mostly intact ruins of the Launch Control Center is the location of the high-energy readings, and is bristling with weapons and sensors. The largest entrance, and the only one big enough to admit Heracles, has drawn a bit of local interest as well. From your hidden spot in the eaves of the nearby woods, you see maybe a dozen men loitering a medium distance from the gate.

This close to the complex, you’ve picked up a weak broadcast on one of the old military bands. Its a inflectionless voice, a recording of some sort:

Recorded Message posted:

This place is not a place of honor.
No highly esteemed deed is commemorated here.
Nothing valued is here.
This place is a message and part of a system of messages.
Pay attention to it!
Seriously Artie, Dremmer knows you’ve arrived. Either of your heads would look good on his wall, and his Huntsmen are very good at their jobs.

You HUD lights up with warning symbols, multiple movement vectors in the trees that the suit’s AI has tagged as a possible threat
What do you do?


Spec. Lombardi
L’nai has closed up for the night, and is helping you set up your kit down below in her sleeping bunker. You can tell she’s a bit confused when you roll out your portabed on the floor, but she doesn’t say anything.

She’s inviting you to share a meal when she’s interrupted by two unwelcome noises. The first is an insistent beeping coming from your gear. You NBC monitor is going off, showing a non-lethal increase in alpha and beta particles. The second is a pounding on the door to the shop above you. Its followed quickly by a rough voice shouting. “Heyyo bitch! Yuv lost the lotto and Dremmer wants his due!”

L’nai is obviously upset at this news, and is looking at you with a now familiar ‘how do I explain this to my simple friend who knows nothing’ expression.
What do you do?


Armstrong
It was a good show today, got to spin some fine tuneage and Shade even provided some primo info. Do you happen to know where she gets her deets? Anyways, its breaktime and you’re heading down to grab a cup of joe with Shade when you hear a ruckus in the mess. Raised voices and insults, sounds like some of the scrapper crews enjoying a dry-break are at each other. Again

As usual Goldie is a few steps behind you, and you hear her sigh. “E’kidnaw’s Teeth, they are really getting on my tits. Can I bust up some faces this time, brother-mine?”
What do you do?


Melody
Consciousness doesn’t come easy to you, and that’s the first warning sign. The second is your accommodations, once you managed to open your eyes. You’ve squatted rough before, I mean who hasn’t, but its been a long time since it was this bad. Bare and stained concrete walls, a roof that’s more rebarb mesh than solid. And the bed is just bare springs with a light blanket over it, and… Oh.

Third warning sign: Your left hand is cuffed to the mattress, key nowhere to be seen. But at least you hear movement outside your room, the sound of someone walking and the sound of a long bit of metal being slide over stone.

Ok, so maybe that’s not that comforting after all…
What do you do?


++++
Please Post your charsheets in your first post. Go forth and kick rear end.

People and Places
A Map of Rinpurt Valley and its Environs

PoultryGeist fucked around with this message at Dec 31, 2017 around 17:51

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PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?

Spec. Lombardi
Relief spreads across L’nai’s face, but she shakes her head. “Lord Dremmer, he has… bad blood. Those of us with… good blood are required to… give him some when he needs.” She pulls up the flowing fabric of her sleeve to show you several puckered scars in the crook of her elbow. “The… process hurts, but I will be safe for the next… season.” She motions towards upstairs, and then holds her thumb and forefinger a few inches apart. “Tommiboy just has littledik brains, he’s an rear end to everyone. It would be nice to see him laid out, but that would cause problems with you and Lord Dremmer.” She looks down, smiling to herself. “T-thanks for offering though.”


Melody
The shuffling noise grows louder, and a figure appears in the doorway bearing a tray. Her face is mostly veiled, but you recognize the visible scars and her hunched posture. The nameless bone-picker shuffles over with the tray of bread and beer in front of her, a rictus of a smile twisting the undamaged portion of her face.

“Greets to you Songstress, I bring you yummies. If you promise not to melt thisun’s brainmeats, I can be giving it to you.” She wiggles the tray at you, your stomach telling you its been a while since you’ve eaten.


Zero
Dakota’s reedy laugh echoes oddly in this cul-de-sac formed by E’kidnaw’s claws. “Ahh, such pertinent questions. That’s why I enjoy working with the two of you. No trouble, at least not for you. It seems that my bizness ‘sociates think I went off the rail with this last job, so I get a bit of a leash. They’re here to make sure I just pay you for a job well done, and not escalate certain issues. Speaking of which-” They pat Attache on one well-defined bicep, and the assistant opens up the crate and reveals the contents.

“So a set of lux long-lookers for Madame Corvi, and whatever-the-hell a clutchplate is for Monsieur Zero. Additionally, you’ll find that you have passes to the Inner Market for the next year.” Dakota leans forwards and stage-whispers conspiratorially. “I think that’s the part that got Dragon’s balls twisted, he doesn’t like letting go of those passes.”

The ruffbois stir at sound of Dragon’s name and look displeased.
(-Dakota intends to do business with you, straight-up)


Corvi
You listen with half an ear as you set up the bones, but the situation doesn’t immediately erupt into violence so it can’t be that interesting. And now something else requires your attention as the discussion and the bones fade, drowned out by the flapping of wings.

The murder carries you up into the howling tempest of the EndSong, its cries beating back the worst of the maelstrom. From these gaps spurt knowledge, knowledge of The Hunter. A hello will within a will, can you hear me?it stalks the valley. And the best way to find a Hunter? be careful Corvi Find its prey.



SKADI
As the combat systems activate, you start to see a more detailed view of what’s happening. Maybe a dozen movement signatures, but the foliage and undergrowth is hiding their exact numbers. But something strikes you about the pattern. Always movement in pairs, on the opposite sides of your field of view. The best way to surround a larger opponent. And the bulky ends of their spears look perfect to contain crude explosives.

Recorded Message posted:

Smart girl, you may just survive your first week. Listen. I have to go, this is tiring for me. But when you find Lombardi, tell her that I… I… poo poo
Just tell her his name was Giles.
(-Your opponents are trained and armed to fight larger foes. Your size will not be an advantage)


Armstrong
Goldie rolls her eyes, and you hear Shade murmur something about ‘the foibles of youth’. Taking a look around the doorframe into the mess reveals a punch-up in progress. It seems to be good-natured, with more shouting and pushing than serious blows. The main attraction seems to be Fair Dinkum and Two-Ton, the rival crew-chiefs that are currently swinging each other around by their shirts. Its looking good for Goldie to have some fun when something tickles the back of your brain.

Two-Ton’s boy Tazerface isn’t hooting and brawling like the rest. He’s moving towards the main attraction with a fraught look in his eye, and something in his hand. Can’t tell if its a knife or little plink-shooter from here, but its definitely not a happy thing.
(-Tazerface is up to no good)

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?

Spec. Lombardi
As you leave the bunker there’s a peak in the readings, but it quickly drops off to a lower (but still higher than background) level. The monitor begins to flash symbols on the side of the display, looks like its calculating vectors and other complicated poo poo. As you walk past Tommiboy, he squawks down at you from the bridge connecting L'nai's to Wooodhold proper. “Hey bedwarmer I don’t care how mushbrained you are, when a Huntsman speaks you listen! If Dremmer says its time to do something, it gets done! So go back in there and bring out your sugarmomma! Hey!"

A knife sails down from above you and thumps into the soil a few feet away. In the distance, a vaguely familiar klaxon sounds…


Melody
The bone-picker’s smile twists her face even more as she approaches and set the tray on the side of bed. Kneeling down, she begins to tear the bread into smaller chunks for you. “Yes, much apologies Songstress but Glorifikus says it must be. That the Mother Rust plans to use you to profane the Rokoff!” She makes a placating motion. “He and we know that you would never dishonor the Metal like that, but She might take you and force you!. So Glorifikus says we safekeeps you while he faces Her and sets us all free. For doesn’t say in the Album of Ronnie that ‘We Have the Power’?


Zero
Before Dakota can respond to you, the ruffboi with the largest pauldrons gets up in their face, and a whispered conversation starts up. The ruffboi doesn’t seem too happy with Dakota, and is becoming more agitated as they talk. Dakota winks at you, and nods their head slightly towards the rest of the ruffbois.
(-Dakota would like you to kill the ruffbois)


Corvi
Attache hands over the long-lookers you you with a smile and a wink. “Sorry Madame Corvi, but we weren’t able to source a set with heatsight. They do have a spare slot if you find an expac yourself.” He’s about hand you a small metal token when one of the ruffbois grabs his arm.

“Let’s not overhaste.” The ruffboi nods towards Dakota and Big-shoulder’s quiet argument. “My boss thinks Big Boss didn’t like this part of the deal. We wait until this is sorted.”


SKADI
The photo-sonic display of a fully powered walking suit send the Shades in front of the gate fleeing, screaming something about a Titan as you break from the trees. The Huntsmen behind you hoot and whistle, but they are no match for the suit’s speed. Now the only thing between you and the LCC gate is one of the Shade’s transports, abandoned to their terror.

But as you plant one foot to swing around the vehicle, the ground beneath it collapses with a metallic shriek and the suit’s gyros are unable to compensate. Your sprint becomes a fall, and you and the transport (Heracles’ AI helpfully labels it as a 2018 Toyota Hilux) tumble across the open space, both now covered in a fine black power kicked up from the underground space you punctured.

You come to a rest, tangled in the wreckage of the transport. As you clear your head an insanely loud klaxon sounds, rattling you inside the suit and nearly drowning out the weapons-lock warnings.

WARNING! YOU ARE TRESPASSING IN A RESTRICTED AREA. LEAVE IMMEDIATELY OR BE FIRED UPON
(-you are off-balance and within the Siren Gate’s firing range)


Armstrong
Goldie moves past you, then stops and turns back to you and gives you A Look. “You do realize, brother-mine, that some day you’re going to have to accept that you’re the boss around here.” Without waiting for a response she heads into the mess, shoving folks out of the way as she makes her way towards Tazerface. Scooping up an overturned chair along the way, she smashes it over the man’s head without warning. Tazerface slumps to the ground, his knife sliding across the floor. Its a wierd looking bit of kit, almost like it was hand-forged. The crowd subsides, all looking at Goldie.

“So fukkos, as much as I like a good brawl, you all see what chucklefuck here just dropped. And what is Miss Goldie’s #1 Rule?” The scrappers mutter something. “What? I can’t hear you!”
“NO BLOOD ON THE CARPET!”
Goldie smiles and turns back to you. “So bossman, do I bounce them or not?”

PoultryGeist fucked around with this message at Dec 8, 2017 around 22:28

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?

Spec. Lombardi
The stupid rear end in a top hat actually sizes up the 15-foot drop to the overgrown pavement, but thinks better of it. “When Dremmer hears about this bitch, you’re dead! And I’m going to put your head on my wall and gently caress your skull-holes! With a few more snarled curses that make no sense to you, Tommiboy turns and heads back over the wall into the ‘Preserves’. A few folks that were out and about give you speculative looks, and then continue their business.

Your monitor beeps and a subwindow opens up to display some text: Radioisotope signature matches Mark 7 Nuclear Reactor (Geodyne Systems). More data required for distance and criticality estimates

And that damned klaxon is still going off, and... is that gunfire too?

Melody
The bonepicker pauses, possibly blushing. “I-I lost my name Songstress M-Melody, when Folly-folk took my people. The Raven-Goddess calls me Heyou if that would please your lips.” She looks away, obviously mulling something. “I-I do not claim to have perfect knowing of The Metal, but I trust that Glorifikus’ heart is with those Mother Rust has wronged. But I think your heart is pure, and I will make sure you are treated well.”
(-She is using 1-hold to act as your eyes and ears)


Zero
(Exchange of harm: 5-harm AP/2-armor vs 2-harm/1-armor. Zero is fine, ruffbois are salsa)

The ruffbois were ready for something, but that something was not some fucker unloading with explosives. Those that survive the first grenade are knocked over by its concussion, and easy picking for the second. Corvi seems to be joining in on the fun too, and Dakota kicks Big-shoulders into the second blast. For a few moments there’s only the echoes and a quiet discussion between Corvi and Attache, then Dakota claps their hands and giggles.

“Bravo, bra-vo! Such beautiful music. Terricloth thought she had me backed into a corner, but you certainly showed her, didn’t you? I might be old, but you can’t go to sleep if you want to get up early enough to take my seat at the table!” They hop off of the tailgate and toss a small object to you. “Keys to yon wagon, with my thanks. I’ve got a zoomer hid around the bend, the better to make my escape.” They look down at the pile that is Attache and Corvi. “Are you coming with me my boy, or are you taking your life in your hands?”


Corvi
(Exchange of harm: 4-harm/2-armor vs 2-harm/1-armor. Corvi is fine, ruffboi is bleeding out)

In the sudden silence after the explosions, there’s only the death gurgle of the ruffboi and Attache’s low chuckle. “I try, but you inspire me to greater heights. How many can say the Queen of the Bonefields thought they were worth saving?” You hear Dakota interject themself into the discussion, and Attache gives you a well? look.


SKADI
The suit’s servos whine with the strain, but you unwrap yourself from the Hilux and dart to the door. Just in time too, as hidden machine guns open fire, shredding the transport. Unfortunately, now that you are within the opening, you can see the obstruction that was hidden in the shadows. The blockage before you is massive, reminding you of the hanger bay doors back on the Olympos.

You think you should be able to force it open, but it will take time. Time you’re not sure you have, as you see your pursuers cautiously emerge from the woods.
(-a worse result: there is still a physical barrier to overcome, and the Huntsmen haven’t given up.)


Armstrong
You can see Goldie smile at you through the crowd, does she prod you like this alot? Anyways, there is a collective shuffling of feet and embarrassed coughing from the scrappers. Two-Ton looks at a couple of her boys, and they shrug. She purses her lips, not happy. “Sorry about that Armstrong, Fair. I mean Fair’s crew totes beefed us, but it wasn’t worth sticking someone over.” There’s some rumbles from Fair’s people, but she silences them with a look. “We’ll take Tazerface away, relearn him a bit. We cool?”

Tazerface’s blade is obviously homemade, the handle chopped from a grippy. The blade is odd, sharp but with a dull sheen. You feel a faint heat from it, but it doesn’t show signs of having been pulled from a fire.

PoultryGeist fucked around with this message at Dec 12, 2017 around 00:03

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?

Spec. Lombardi
You head towards the gunfire in a double-time jog that eats the distance. The land between Woodhold and Stasis(the Tallboys?) is criss-crossed with shattered pavement, broken up by trees and concrete ruins. The gunfire slows and stops, just in time for you to be nearly run over by a group of Woodholders panic-sprinting from the direction your headed. Screams of ‘Titan!’ are their only response to questions.

Your NBC monitor has been dutifully taking recordings, and shows upticks in readings every 98 seconds before dropping back down to background. You’re just about to clear the last large structure before the Tallboys(Stasis?) when the gunfire starts up again, mixed with explosions. And then you hear the sound of God’s own lawnmower.

Battle. It doesn’t last long, but its familiar cacophony stirs up half-remembered instincts.


Melody
The bonepicker’s smile returns. “I am a poor Singer, but I would be honored to Sing his Song to you. He’s a Lead of the Iron Choir, second only to Mother Rust. It was he that discovered the lost Album of Roth while on pilgrimage, prostrating before the Five Venues. Upon his return, he saw how mired Mother Rust had become, selling out to those that desired the Holy Pyros and silencing the other Leads. He alone stands up to her, and Oderus willing, he shall defeat her in the Rokoff.” She leans in, whispering conspiratorially. “But it was I that found this safety for him, buried on the edge of the Raven-Goddess’ territory. We will be safe here, the door bore the great rune HAZMAT.”

There’s a thump from the doorway, a large man resting his axe against the jamb. His stare sweeps over you and settles on your companion. Woman, if the Songstress has been tended to you have other duties. The luxe will be arriving soon and Glorifikus wants them treated well.” Heyou bows and give your hand a squeeze before collecting the tray and moving to the door.


Zero and Corvi
Disappointment covers Attache’s face as he finishes the handover of the payment, and Dakota continues to laugh at him as they set off to the hidden vehicle. The junkwagon starts rough, but the engine settles down quickly. It takes the broken ground of the Bonefields easily, and you’re soon making good time. Zero, how’s the driving in the Bonefields, anything to be worried about? And Corvi, have you ever visited the Tallboys before?

The one luxe thing about the junkwagon is its radio, a large mast feeding into a console pristine enough to still be flashing 12:00. The tuneage from Swamp Ash Radio comes in loud and clear, at least at the start. A few minutes after clearing the Bonefields, it starts to crackle and break up, and is replaced by a woman’s velvety voice. “Ahhh, Dakota you old bag, my scannermajig here is saying you’re alot lighter than you should be. You haven’t ditched my boyos have you? If I don’t hear from Davis toot sweet that everything is green with you and the deal, I’m gonna be pressing this nice red button that says ‘Boom’. So I recommend getting him to give me a holler, yeah?”


SKADI

Recorded Message posted:

You should be dead.

Heracles should be ripped apart. You should be hanging upside down from a yardarm, entrails spilling out from a slit abdomen. Head mounted on a plaque.
Holy shiiit Artie
The Huntsmen come at you, without fear. Darting from cover to cover, never allowing you to focus in any direction for more than a few seconds. Multiple explosive-spears hit your suit’s joints, triggering multiple warnings.

In the end its the facility’s defenses that save you, keeping them from swarming you. Well, the defenses and your autocannon. Cover and dexterity can only do so much against a blanket of 20mm fire. The Huntsmen may have been able to damage you suit, but you doubt any will be able to walk away from this fire-fight.
(Exchange of harm: Huntsmen (small gang so 3-harm/2armor) vs. SKADI (6-harm/2armor). Walking suit suffers 1-harm and is ok, Huntsmen suffer 4-harm and are mostly dead/dying and are in no condition to continue the assault. As they were using explosives, Artemis needs to roll harm(with +0 harm))


Armstrong
There’s another round of shrugs and head-shakes. You’re not sure if its genuine ignorance or if the crews just don’t want to risk antagonizing you/Goldie. Either way, looks like the knife is now yours. Under Goldie’s eye the mess is straightened up and a light chatter starts up again. There’s a light hand on your arm. Shade, you’d almost forgotten about her. “I wouldn’t hold that too close Armstrong, and you’ll want to keep it in a lead box.” Her voice is low and urgent. “Its nukium, taken from a demon core. If the edge doesn’t get you, its poisons will.” Her hand squeezes tighter. “Is there somewhere we can talk, alone? I didn’t want to say anything yet but it looks like poo poo is moving faster than we thought.

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?

Zero and Corvi
So Corvi, how hitech was Titan and His army? I mean thanks to Armstrong radios are a known quantity, but how deep is your knowing? Zero, a quick look under the dash and seat reveals a whole bunch of wires, but at least some of them look out of place from the general rat’s nest. A bit newer, and as far as you know nothing inside the bench seat requires electricity.

Unless Dakota has reinvented heated seats, but then he’d be a god instead of a wildcat fixer.


SKADI
Damage report comes back fairly clean, except for the servos in Heracles’ legs. They aren’t out of commission, but having to reboot/activation-cycle them means you’re going to be off-balance and barely mobile for a few minutes. And while trying to speed up the process you accidentally close out a HUD warning before you can read it. But really, this far from any active plates, how important could a seismograph warning be?
(I choose 2 from the 7–9 list: You lose your footing and You miss noticing something important..)

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?

Spec. Lombardi
As you inch around cover, you at last get a good look at the area that has recently become a battlefield. And yes, you’ve been here before, your path to and from Stasis lay to the north, along the tree-line. But the open land you saw to the south has been transformed, its isolated trees and concrete structures shredded by weapons fire. Floods push back the encroaching night, illuminating the the bodies and wreckage. And in the shadows of the opening (Siren’s Gate? Main Vehicle Entrance?), an immense humanoid figure is braced against the metal of the bulkhead-gate. Easily four meters tall, its clad in metal and hefting a gun normally seen on a vehicle mount.

Distracted as you are by this sight, a strong hand clamps on your lower leg. A man, clad in deerskins and antlers like the bodies strewn about, lays slumped against a wall-remnant. His other arm hangs useless, shattered by bullets. “Its no Destroyer, L’nai’s Fool, its Titan returned to avenge himself. You must go warn Dremmer, our Lord must make ready!” The man shifts his grip to a large-headed spear and leverages himself up with a groan. “Go woman! I will distract him!”


Armstrong
Shade settles down on an old crate and sighs. “You may not want to get rid of it for good, could be useful. Just, you know, not something to keep on your belt.” She pauses for a bit before continuing. “Upfront, there’s going to be alot of things I’m not telling you. Can’t tell you. I shouldn’t even go as far as I’m going, but it looks like the General is pushing up the timetable. So. Let’s just say that I’m a member of an enclave of folks that have access to pre-Fall knowledge. Not like all of it, but enough to help things not be so lovely. Only, we’re having a bit of a difference of opinion. A sizeable fraction of us have come to the conclusion that things have to finish collapsing, all the way back to the Stone Age before the Destroyers will be satisfied and leave. They were voted down, but there’s evidence that they’re acting on their own. Striking out secretly at the bastions of civilization. And don’t take this the wrong way Armstrong, but your operation is a pretty soft target. I don’t have details, but I’m pretty sure Crompton’s going to be back in a few days, and he’s gonna have some new toys.”


Corvi
There’s a bit of a pause, a slight crackle and Zero’s shifting around the only noise. “Well you’re not Davis, though I’m not complaining much ‘cause Davis has a voice made for pictures. But that’s the wrong question my little honey-voice. All you needs to know is that I’m the one that can inboominate the piece of poo poo you’re in. The important question is who are you and what’s happened to my boys?

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?

Zero
Yeah, the bomb is up under your seat, you can see its bottom through the slit material as you trace the wires. It doesn’t look big enough to blow the junkwagon apart, but its definitely big enough to gib the passengers inside the cab. Some good news: you don’t see any attachment points, it looks like its just wedged into the springs.


Corvi
“Hmmmmmm. That name sounds familiar, but its not on my poo poo-list. I am intrigued enough to postpone your horrible death, for a little while at least. There’s an old ‘caster tower about half-way between The Works and Bonefields. Laika’s Rest if you’re a local. I’m there, come over and chat. Don’t get any ideas, I’m not alone.”

You know this tower Corvi, on a clear day you can see its enormous skeleton from the Roost. Armstrong may have rigged it up with a cast-booster, but its had many uses in its day. Do you know any of its secrets?


Spec. Lombardi
The link to Stasis Control establishes with a happy chirp. The NBC monitor minimizes as several high priority alerts display:

Stasis Control posted:


-Warning: Perimeter Alert
*link to external cameras*
-Warning: Seismic monitors registering readings consistent with multiple Class 3 movement traces
-Warning: Seismic abnormalities have damaged Facility reactor vents. No loss of function. Minimal environmental release.

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?

Spec. Lombardi
Four video windows replace everything else, three showing the mech from various angles. It doesn't have the rundown look of most things you've seen since waking up, but it has taken some minor damage recently. The fourth window shows a patch of ground you aren't familiar with, the soil turned over in a spot a few feet across.

Armstrong
Shade looks uncomfortable for a moment before speaking. "I don't think the General would take someone like Crompton in confidence, its more likely he's letting the little rear end in a top hat do whatever to weaken you and the rest of the Muckfolk. He can always take away Crompton's toys later and crush him when he's not useful anymore."

She fishes out a small plastic card, silvery-grey with age-worn runes embossed on its surface. "We were hoping you might already have some friends to call in, folks seem to like you. But we also don't want you to start the dominos, so I can offer some direct assistance." She offers you the card, the runes AMEX still legible on its surface. "I've cultivated an... understanding with Tiny, the headtalker of Stockards ruffbois. If you need them this card will bring them, although you'll probably need to sweeten the pot to get their full cooperation."

She looks uncertain again. "Be warned though, the card is an object of power, and using it would align you to us to those that have the knowing if such things."

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?


The last of the Sun’s light fades from beyond the Lost Fleet, and true night has come to Rinpurt Valley. Clouds gather over the southern mountains, and the echoes of lightning-less thunder roll across the land.


Corvi and Zero
Laika’s Rest looms above you now, even at this distance. Here and there, hi-lights blink among its skeleton. Corvi, the darkness makes your long-lookers less than green, but you can still mark generalities. A cluster of tents surround a few fires at the base of the tower, and a large number of men are backlit. A few bright lectrics shine up in the lower reaches, bracketing a scrap-metal hut bolted to the frame.

An additional reason for stopping here: the small concrete structure to your left leads into the tunnels under the Rest.


Spec. Lombardi and SKADI
While the harsh lights of Siren’s Gate still illuminate the area, the klaxons cease their hell-howl. Just in time, Spec. Lombardi, for you to hear the breathy scream of the wounded Huntsman behind you. Something serpentine has wrapped around him and pulled him into the ground. Only his grip on the thunderstick has kept him from being taken completely.

SKADI, Heracles’ HUD lights up as several large furrows begin disturbing the ground. Signs of large things moving through the soil under the surface. Large angry things


Melody
Adrenaline narrows your focus, reinterpreting your surroundings. While the door is the most obvious exit, it leads to the Axe-guy and an unknown distance between you and the door. However, the lovely roof above you has possibilities. Its mostly rebarb mesh, and with a bit of effort and fair amount of luck you should be able to worm your way up and out. Oh, and if you weren’t attached to the bed.

The bonepicker turns back to you, the rictus-smile plain on her face. Axe-guy snort and hefts his axe. “Remember your other duties wretch, I will be tending to mine.” He then turns and leaves, his footsteps receding until you hear the sound of metal-on-metal. Heyou makes to your side and pats your free hand. “Yes Songstress? I am here to be helpful.”


Armstrong
The tension is broken somewhat by a pounding on the door. “Hey Brother-Mine, the playlist you set up for the break is almost over. I can spin the next set if you need more time to finish with Shade.” The amusement is evident in Goldie’s voice, she’s taken a different interpretation of your private chat.

She’s perfectly capable of operating the equipment, but she has decidedly different tastes in music. And the last time she spun, it took nearly a week to convince Dakota not to lower his donation.

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?



Corvi
Even though your interactions with these Ruffbois has been limited, you’ve recognized they work off of a shoulder pad-based command hierarchy. Biggest looks down at you and smirk, the rest of the bois shifting not-so-subtly to bring weapons within easy reach. “Daboss don’t deal with Bone-trash, freak. So why don’t y-” He’s cut off by a shrill whistle from above. Backlit by the lectrics is possibly the fanciest woman you’ve ever seen. A pristine fur coat wards off the night’s gathering chill, and her hair is styled in a way you haven’t seen outside of the scraps of zine that insulate the Roost.

“I actually am expecting her Pillz, so be a good boy and show her the stairs.” Her voice is even silkier in person, but there’s no mistaking the undercurrent of command. The bois go back to dinner, and Pillz angrily points to a staircase running up a support column.

(Just an FYI, the Ruffbois here are a medium gang with a better selection of weapons. (2-harm 1-armor))


Armstrong
Shade blushes at Goldie’s implication, but shakes it off quickly. “Two days? Three at the most. Crompton isn’t that bright, and whatever aid he is getting will be more complicated to handle than a nukium blade. But the General has a time-table of some sort so he won’t broke too much of a delay.” She hesitates, then squeezes your shoulder. “Good luck. I won’t be able to come back for a bit in case I’m being watched, but I will be thinking of you and yours.”


SKADI
The AI finally gets a lock and pulls up a helpful file:

"Spawn of Shahmaran posted:

https://i.imgur.com/WOdjgEK.gifv
CENTAUR class threat. The epics indicate that they are lesser version of the JOTUNN Shahmaran that roam her territory. Subterranean nature makes direct engagement at range difficult, however they are sensitive to seismic disturbances.

There are two Spawn, one surfacing in the vicinity of Lombardi, one circling the open area/battlefield closer to you. The realization dawns as you mutter the rites of analysis. If you engage the Spawn nearest you the other will be free to do as it will to Lombardi and any others. But if you engage that one, you’ll leave yourself wide open to the one nearer you, and CENTAUR class threats are capable of doing serious damage to your walking frame.

(Spawn of Shahmaran (Lesser Destroyers): massive=2, speed=1, handling=0, (3-harm close/messy 1-armor))

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?


Corvi
The woman motions you to a chair on one side of the shack, away from the hitec and luxes. She lounges down on some sort of sofa-chair, and extracts a coughing-nail from a shiny case. Lighting it with a small mechanism, she motions to you again. “While I am indeed interested in what happened to my bois, I’m even more interested in the fate of that shitheap’s original owner. The old freelancer Dakota or his batboi?” She eyes you speculatively, then frowns. “I’m afraid that I simply can’t straight-talk you with that thing on your face. I don’t care if you’re horribly scarred, I’ve seen my share in the House of the Risen Sun.”


Spec. Lombardi
The great thing about instinct is that you don’t have to think about it. The downside is that it doesn’t always plan ahead. Your body is scrambling up the side of a ruined building even as you bring your rifle to bear. Looks like you’re safely out of reach up here, but most of the actual roof is collapsed. Not alot of space to do much beyond perching.

Below you the Huntsman’s screams are cut off as the thunderstick he’s clutching snaps under the strain and he’s pulled down into the maw. The serpent-tongues begin casting about in you direction, seemingly confused by your sudden movement. Beyond the creature you can see a half-dozen or so thundersticks scattered about the area, remnants of the force that attacked this SKADI.

(You are safe, but it is precarious. You won’t need to roll Act Under Fire, but ‘you fall off and injure yourself’ is now added to the list of bad things that can happen)

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?


Corvi
The Endsong’s winds whip through the shack, catching your bones in mid-toss. They whirl about, taking the form of the woman before you. Terricloth, her name is Terricloth. Her true form. A creature of chrome and brass, endlessly calculating angles and probabilities. Masks whirl about its head, showing annoyance, showing lust, showing curiosity. But none touching the eternal mathematics within.


Melody
You’re certain that Heyou would be blushing right now, if her scarred face was capable of it. She takes one look at the door before fishing a twisted bit of metal from her rags. A few moments of poking and the cuff unlocks. “Just, if The Axecutioner returns keep your hand up there so he doesn’t see Songstress.” She reaches towards your face, but stops short and scurries out of the room
(The nameless bone-picker uses 1-hold to give you what you need)

Now that you have a better angle, you can totally see a path up through the rebarb mesh to freedom. Though if you want to ascend quickly/quietly it will take steady nerves.
(Act Under Fire to climb out without complication, you’ll get a +1 from your Read)


Spec. Lombardi and SKADI
The ‘Spawn’ menacing you dies in the thunderous roar of the mech’s gun Lombardi, giving you a first-hand demonstration of its destructive power. Definitely similar to Stasis’ defensive emplacements, they can’t have too much spare ammo on that frame.
Your autocannon deals with the one Spawn handily SKADI, and you’re able to side-step the other Spawn’s attack with the help of Lombardi. It scrapes some paint, but it can’t close easily against your superior firepower. It attempts a few more passes at you, before it seems to give up and both your targeting and Lombardi’s seismic sensors track it leaving the courtyard heading west. That would be towards Woodhold Lombardi+.
(Spawn 1 takes 7-harm vs. 1-armor, is dead. Spawn 2 attacks 2-harm vs. 2-armor, SKADI’s fine. Spawn 2 yields the area to SKADI’s defense)

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?


Corvi
“Yes, thank you. Much beeeee…..” Terricloth trails off as she stares slack-jawed at Weasel. Her mouth works soundlessly, the coughing-nail falling to the ground. This close you can see that while she is indeed an attractive woman, life has left its marks on her. Several scars and wrinkles are hidden by skilled use of covergirl. You even think that her eyes aren’t actually the blue of the Before-sky, you can see rings of mudbrown around the outer edges. A solid layer, between her and the world...

“Yyyyeah.” It seems she’s recovering her voice. “Find Dakota, reward. Find the boi-killer, I’m happy. Keep wagon, gift for… preeetty.” Looks like you have so time if you wanted to do something before she was fully with it, but she’s throwing off the her shock pretty quickly.


Zero
Yeah, now that you’re not bouncing around or afraid of it going off its pretty easy to see what’s going on. It actually slides a bit out when you lift the seat, its mainly the tangle of wires that’s holding it in. Which does raise a problem as none of them are helpfully labeled. Given its size, if you just rip it out and chuck it you should be clear of the blast. But cutting it out without hitting the wrong wire, that’ll be a bit tricky.
(bomb is 4-harm area messy)


Spec. Lombardi
The seismic monitors track this ‘Spawn’ about a third the way to Woodhold before it passes beyond some threshold for precision tracking. It did look to be taking several detours, possibly to circle around underground obstructions. A reasonable speed should be able to keep pace with it.

And a thought strikes you as you pick your way down the rubble. While you haven’t seen any heavy weapons around Woodhold, the bridges and walkways between steel-reinforced concrete buildings make a bit more sense. Perhaps weird loving monsters like the Spawn aren’t unknown to them?

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?


Corvi
Terricloth’s eyes widen and her breathing becomes ragged. One hand reaches up to cup Weasel’s face and stroke her hair, the other dips into the neckline of her dress and produces a bedazzled key. “Yessss, a pretty for my pretty. My Cruzer for you.”

The hand in Weasel’s hair becomes a fist, gripping tight. Terricloth pulls herself up, seeking you. Lips. Moans. Hunger. She’s made her intentions known, but you’re stronger than she is if you’d like to cut and run.


Spec. Lombardi and SKADI
The walking frame eats up the distance, gaining on the Spawn, but it still reaches its destination first. But all is not lost, it seems that a warning preceded all three of you. The ‘streets’ of the trading post are empty, frightened faces peering from upper-story windows. Dremmer’s bois line the bridges and parapets, rifles at the ready.

A single person, a sickly man wrapped in rags, is at ground level. He bounces along, attached to an overhead hoist by a length of stretchy possibly-bungee. He yells out for help as he tries to climb to safety, but the two Huntsmen on the hoist maneuver him away. You see a furrow in the ground behind him that he doesn’t notice, though the assembled guns begin to track it.

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?


Corvi
(There is now 1-hold in case Terricloth gets in the poo poo)
Time passes. There are no sappy goodbyes or angry remonstrations, just a businesswomanly acceptance of events as you are sent on your way. Its possible that Terricloth’s self-control isn’t as iron-clad as she would have the world think, and occasionally needs release. But that’s not really your ball of string. Or is it?

Anyways, the Ruffbois aren’t happy when you claim the Cruzer, but Terricloth seems quite happy to break camp without it. You can already see its going to be a pain to maintain without someone with the Knowing, but its gonna be a mighty fine ride until then.
(The Cruzer is a coupe (Massive 2, Speed 1, Handling 1) fast/offroad/luxe/cramped/guzzler)


Zero
Corvi’s negotiations take a bit, long enough for you to stow your little present and get the junkwagon resituated. And lucky for you, looks like none of the boom systems were wired into the ignition proper, it starts up fine. When Corvi does emerge, it looks like she’s got herself a set of wheels of herown, in addition to getting a verbal contract on Dakota. As well as the killers of Terricloth’s ruffbois, but one problem at a time, yeah?


SKADI
(Spawn 2 takes 6-harm vs. 3-armor, takes 3-harm and is seriously wounded. SKADI’s takes v-harm: you take 1-harm ap)
You time it perfectly SKADI, knocking the Spawn away from the bait-man just as it breaches. It recovers quickly and slams you into one of VAB’s outbuildings, a chaos of snapping jaws and hydraulic fists. Its unholy strength wretches at the limbs of your frame, and the HUD lights up with warnings as the left arm’s actuators redline and die. Then a shot rings out, and a fresh crater explodes from the Spawn’s skull. Your HUD pops a new sub-screen, focusing on one of the remaining supports for the Vehicle Assembly Building. An older man in ancient finery, hoisting up a large rifle from its bipod. He gives you a curt nod and speaks.

“My thanks for holding it down, Child of Titan, the worms can be slippery beasts. And as you have added me and mine I will give you the option to leave Woodhold peacefully, never to darken my door again. Otherwise,” More threat indicators pop up as the Revenants swing their guns to you. “Otherwise I will deal with you as my papa dealt with your kind.” He raises his hand, removing a glove to reveal heavily scarred flesh. “I have suffered the Curse of Titan my entire life, and will not have it brought down on my lands by his children! GO! NOW!” There is cheering, not just from the men on the walls, but from those inside the buildings.
(The suit has taken 2-harm, so it has some functional damage. FYI, at Woodhold Dremmer’s thugs are a Large gang (2-harm 3-armor) as they are well fortified, and Dremmer is sporting a sniper rifle (3-harm far)


Spec. Lombardi
You gain you footing and get your bearings after the bumpy ride just in time to see Dremmer hole the Spawn with a rather nasty sniper rifle, and then proceed to denounce SKADI as some sort of boogeyman. It seems to play well with the entirety of Woodhold, as even the civilian join in. You see him look to you, and his voice effortly rises about the cheers and jeers. “L’nai’s Fool, I hold you blameless in this matter, you were not to know. But if you do wish to continue enjoying my hospitality, we shall have a speak soon.”


Armstrong
It feels good to let out some of your worries onto the air, it feels even better when Goldie finds you during a break and tells you that Two-Ton and Fair Dinkum have both left heavies behind ‘to lend a hand’. And that Vision has already pledged some paladins to ‘fight the Scourge of Darkness’. And she doesn’t press you for details, trusting you to bring her in the loop when needed. You’re the boss after all.



Unless anyone wants to get in a few parting words, or maybe destroy a hold, I am calling the End of Session One

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?


Session 2
A new day dawns across Rinpurt Valley, bringing with it a strengthening Endsong. Animals and other intelligent creatures stay inside, for the distant shrieks and wails of the Long-Gone can only mean one thing: Death walks among us.


Corvi
You were only going to pass through Woodhold on the way to the Tallboys when you saw things of interest. A building wall, partially collapsed. Two dead Spawn of Shahmaran, one ripped apart by scores of bullets, the other with jaws partially crushed. When you stop to investigate, the people are whispering of a Child of Titan, a harbinger of Doom. They are reluctant to answer questions, committing only to an unspecified trouble, one that Lord Dremmer dealt with nicely.

You’re working on the grogslinger Bake, who at least seems agreeable to having the deetz bribed from him, when the grogflop’s doorway darkens. Two big fuckers dressed in hides wearing deerskull helms scan the crowd and settle on you. They approach cautiously, but with purpose. “Oi bonewitch, Lord Dremmer doesn’t like it when outlanders belly up in his bidness. Since its you, we’re to escort you out instead of the usual. Savvy?”


Melody
The Good News: you’re out. The Bad News: Armstrong.

Sorry, sorry. The actual bad news is that you didn’t get out clean, they’ve been dogging you for the last day. With the twin landmarks of The Roost and E’kidnaw you should have been able to find your way out of the Bonefield much easier than you did, but the baying of hounds and shrieks of the dead worked against you. But at last you find yourself on a hill overlooking the Central Road, running east-west through the middle of the valley. To The Works. Its not empty, you can see Thornboy with that odd land-chair and his merry band of looters/scavengers, wagons piled high with plunder.

You’ve seen Thornboy out at Swamp Ash Radio once or twice, shooting the poo poo and repping the Iron Choir . Armstrong was cool with him, what was your impression? Eitherways, a few of the wagon-haulers have waved at you and you hear the hounds getting louder behind you. Guess its decision time.


SKADI
If you’re going to have to shelter in a cave, at least this one is fairly nice. The northern hills are full of them, obviously parts of a subterranean complex. Its been looted already of course, but its decent sized and still has a great metal door on stiff hinges. Safe enough to give you the time needed to let the HEPHAESTUS auto-repair kit do its work, and to read your dispatches.

Most of them detail the gains made by your fellows in other sectors, looks like a stable beachhead has been achieved in NIFLHEIM. One is marked priority for TARTARUS and its surrounding sectors:

VALKYRIE posted:

Warning: Local lore is replete with tales of a large humanoid creature Titan [designation TITAN] that provoked the gods into destroying him and the surrounding landscape [most likely JOTUNN attacks]. These legends lend a negative aspect to the walking suits, caution is advised when attempting non-combat contact with Revenants while in-frame.

The final is encrypted with your personal cypher, countersign by ASGARD themselves

ASGARD posted:

SKADI EYES ONLY CLEARANCE LEVEL LOKI
Chosen, I salute your efforts so far. However unfortunately I must ask you to return to readiness as soon as repairs are completed. Three hours ago Echo/Drop Station CHARON received a tight-band transmission originating in Sector TARTARUS. After registering a ODIN clearance, CHARON went dark. All attempts to raise CHARON and Chosen NJORD have failed. You are to determine the source of the signal and disable it with extreme sanction. Coordinates to follow
The coordinates are for the central plains of the valley, near the large refinery-town you saw on your initial scouting.


Spec. Lombardi
You have to hand it to this Dremmer man, he certainly kicks it old-school. His manorhouse within the woods fenced in by the that huge-rear end old building is at odds with the concrete-and-steel aesthetic of the rest of Woodhold, but its a drat sight prettier. L’nai has tried to coach you the best she can for this meeting, how he respect civility, good taste, and quick wit.

And now you’re having breakfast with him, at a big wooden table loaded with meat and vegetables. A few servants swish about doing servant things, and two toughs in fancy overcoats stand at attention by the door. And even though they took your rifle and sidearm at the entrance, there’s enough sharp cutlery and decorative swords around that its obvious you’re not being treated as a threat.

“So Ms… Lombardi is it? I do hope you’re enjoying the meal, but unfortunately I do have to add some business to this social call. As it seems that we are neighbors of a sort, what exactly is your relationship with the Tallboys? Some of my more superstitious subjects say that you are the Queen of the Spectres, spying on us before unleashing the ghosts of the past upon Woodhold. Care to put their fears to rest?”


Zero
Man, you’re pretty sure the shitheaps they call ‘roads’ in the Murk have gotten worse since the last time you were down here. The junkwagon is now carrying its weight in mud and poo poo and strangle-vines, but at last you make it to Swamp Ash Radio. And there’s a fair amount of activity outside. There’s a double-handful of folks in the unofficial scavvy uniform (random poo poo patched together randomly) clearing out some undergrowth around the building, and there’s even a couple of the Deetwenti jokers wandering about.

One of them ambles toward you, the challenge on his lips silenced by the bullet ventilating his helmet and skull. And then the air is full of gunfire and screaming, and a hot twisty smell. There’s a mad scramble for cover as the treeline continues to spit death at the radio station.


Armstrong
Your old man used to say that ‘idle hands are the Devil’s playthings’. Well, whateverthefuck a Devil is aside, you’ve definately not been idle. Seems like every scav-crew has sent you at least a few hands to help, as well as a fair amount of genny-juice. Vision himself has come with a squad of holy warriors and a big sack of his weird dice. Normally annoying, but their cast in lead and scavs trade for lead at a premium. You might even come out of this ahead, if you survive that is.

Goldie’s trying to help organize, giving you time to keep up with broadcasts. Seems Thornboy and his crew scored big in the ruins of Folly, and are on the way to The Works with a metric poo poo-ton of salvage. Unfortunately Littlebit stopped by Tarpaulin’s shack and found the door busted in, blood on the walls. No body, but somebody got hosed up in his corner of the Murk

You’re just sitting down to you first meal in probably a day, things finally calming down enough to breath a bit, when the glass in your office window is shattered by gunfire. The shutter-blinds catch the glass and the bullets, but are you hallucinating or is the metal melting where the bullets have lodged?
(Gain 2-barter from Rally for the Cause)

What do Y’all Do?
===
Don’t forget to pay for your lifestyle or let me know if you can’t

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?


Corvi
The Huntsmen relax subtlety when you agree to clear out without a fuss, although it seems they want to make sure you leave before dishing. When you get to the Cruzer the older Huntsman jerks his chin back towards Woodhold, dismissing the younger. He then pulls a dogend out of a pouch and lights it. “Now you won’t remember me bonewitch, but my brother and I worked your Lord’s camp back in the day. So I’m… sympathetic to you and yours but Lord Dremmer lost his mother and his health to Vishvarupa’s rampage, and he blames Titan. So whenever any of His Children come around, we go hunting. The other day, a warparty of my brother-hunters came across a Child in the north wood. It killed them, then killed the Spawn threatening the area before Lord Dremmer told it off.”

He throws the smoke down and crushes it under his heel. “This weird woman the local weaver adopted seemed to know the Child. Lord Dremmer will be sending her north to deal with something, maybe you can keep her company. You’ll know her by the saint’s armor she wears.” He gives you the side-eye. “Just try not to be seen around here for a bit, poo poo’s a bit hosed and Lord Dremmer’s on edge.”

The Huntsman takes his leave. In the distance, you hear the faint rhythmic pounding of metal.


Melody
Thornboy’s greeting falters when your words reach him, confusion clouding his expresion. But you don’t live the life of a scaver for this long without thinking fast. A low whistle and a hand motion causes two of his wagon-tenders to wave you over while sliding back a panel on the bottom of their wagon. One helps you up into the hidden compartment and the other spritzes you with the contents of a grubby blue plastic bottle. Hmmm, pine. The convoy takes off again, the ox-bikes quickly filling your hidey-hole with fumes. The wagon-folks start a road-song, a decent acapella rendition of CrazyTrain.

It doesn’t last long, a deeper engine grows louder before the convoy halts again. You hear the sound of Axecutioner’s voice, angry against Thornboy’s conciliatory tone. Then a gunshot, and a yell of pain. Axecutioner again, his voice cutting through the engine noise and the metal walls of your chamber. “Now I don’t suggest anyone else try to run. And don’t Brother me Thornboy, I know where your true loyalties lay. So who’s going to earn a spot on the winning side by telling me where the song-bitch went?”


SKADI
The repair kit has done its job well, Heracles responds well as you make your way across the valley. As you draw closer to the central landing strips a few klicks from the target zone, your HUD starts throwing up low-level warnings. There’s much less cover now, and there is a cluster of vehicles before you that have a good view of the area. Although from the weapons indicators, they may be distracting themselves from noticing you. Some sort of local disagreement, as to be expected from Revenants. Easily avoided with a bit of caution.

Except as you pause to take stock of the situation, a higher-level alert sounds. An OLYMPUS IFF signal, weak but in the immediate vicinity. One of the rebuilt cargo-carriers glows amber in your HUD and is tagged: RAGNAROK/DESIGNATION: REDACTED.
(Your Cover Ground roll means you can keep going to The Works without issue if you’d like)


Spec. Lombardi
Dremmer listens to your tale intently, before dissolving into laughter. After a few moments he regains his composure and takes a drink of his milk. “My apologies Miss Lombardi, but I argued at great length with my grandpapi about whether or not the Tallboys were haunted, and it seems the old bastard was right. After a fashion, at least. So while you are not the Queen of the Spectres, you are at least their steward. And we have avoided the Tallboys for generations, so I have no issue with continuing to do so. With an eye towards future co-operation if your people do awaken.”

He motions and a servant steps forward and presents you with a tattered piece of cloth. It looks alot like your unit patch, but obviously hand-sewn. “And as a show of good faith, I am willing to allow you to stay in Woodhold. And though she wouldn’t want to admit it feeding two mouths has strained L’nai’s fortunes, so I am willing to offer you compensation for services performed.” He nods to the fabric. “That was taken off a breaker that was trying to gently caress my well. It took a bit, but when he broke he gave up his clan. They have a bolthole in the hills north of here, I would like you to go and deal with them. Permanently.”
(Dremmer is happy to support you if you go gently caress some dudes up.)


Zero
Luckily for you the mirror is a wide-angle, giving you a decent view of the battlefield. The fuckers shooting you are a few yards inside the treeline, concentrated in a handfull of fox-hole type structures. Their volume of fire is impressive, you’re pretty sure they have some sort of shooter-rotation going on. They’re also using a fair amount of incendiary ammo, a few of the scavvies are screaming and trying to put out burning clothes. As hardened as your armor is, you don’t want to have to make an open dash for the door.

But maybe you don’t. The ‘courtyard’ of the bunker is fairly flat and graveled, and the junkwagon is reasonably light unloaded. Rolling it from here to the door for mobile cover might even let you help some of the others out here make it inside too.
(The attackers are a medium gang (3-harm 2-armor[from cover]. Their attacks are messy due to incendiary rounds. Staying behind the junkwagon as you roll it to the door will keep you safe, an Act Under Fire will let you help others make it to safety too)

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?


Corvi
You head out in the direction of the noise, and you quickly find the trail of something large moving south through the valley. Kicked-up dirt, knocked over trees, and the occasional hole where a large foot has found a weak spot in the ground. But try as you might you can’t seem to catch up to it, this beast is fast.

And then the sound of the beast’s movement stops. You can still see signs of its passage, but its not moving any more. You’re nearly to the Bonefields, only the flatlands of the Center Road
Between you and your turf. And now that the thumping of metal isn’t in your ears, you can hear the sound of a gunshot, and yelling. As you clear a partially fallen tower, you can see a scrapper-convoy on the Road, held up by members of the Iron Choir (the paintings on the sides of their vehicles is distinctive). And it looks like the beast trail is heading towards them.


SKADI
As you scan the scene before you, Heracles’ AI does its job. Threat assessments flash across your HUD, coloring the area a rainbow. The Revenants tending to the crude ragg-topped chopped-trucks full of scrap are armed, but with crude small arms and melee weapons. The group in the garishly painted vehicles accosting them also have small arms, but of a better quality and higher caliber. And their leader, yelling from the cockpit door of his jacked-up people-mover, holds a cut-down large-bore rifle in one hand and is waving a large axe threateningly with the other. Oddly, you pick up energy readings from the axe, almost like it has a small powerpack attached.
(Axecutioner and his gang(small 3-harm 1-armor) are the biggest threat. The man himself has some sort of hi-tech axe too)


Spec. Lombardi
Dremmer wobbles his hands in equivocation. “Most like to dress in disguise, but I do think this saint’s medallion is important to them. It gets sprayed when they want to claim some bit of fuckery. And he said it would be no more than a double-hand of his fellow breakers, they don’t like to move in big bunches. They know my boys are beast-smart, and that too many would be noticed right-quick.” He waves and the servant hands you a yellowing bus schedule, on the back of which is a rough map. You see the Facility, and Woodhold, and a few of the landmarks in the northern hills. An area is circled in red. “That should get you where you need to be. Wasn’t sure if spectres were wood-wise, and I’d hate for you to fall astray.”

The scrap Dremmer gave you is fairly similar to your unit patch, but a closer look reveals differences that aren't just down to material and technique. The gauntlet with its warding palm on your is a clenched fist on the breakers. The cowled and armored knight takes on a much more demonic mien, and the seven stars that stand for... something are now the clawpoints of some background beast.

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?


Corvi
As many guns as the Choir-folk and scavs have, your prey has what looks like something made by welding six gently caress-off rifles together. Cruzer’s sheet metal and your own protections can handle some small-arms fire, but not a Titan-damned hell-cannon. And its the focus on the massive weapon that’s your downfall. Distracted, you don’t notice the two bike-mounted outriders cutting you off until you’re upon them. One goes under Cruzer’s wheels, and something gets jammed up ‘cause you lose steering. The world is dominated by the sounds of tortured metal as you bounce off debris and stray walls before you spin out and come to a rest rear end-backwards on the final slope down to the Center Road.

All eyes focus on you, and most of the guns track with them...
[i](SKADI is the biggest threat. Something is wrong with your vehicle, if you want to get it going again you’ll need an Act Under Fire. People are also going to start shooting you soon.)



Spec. Lombardi
You head out of Dremmer’s manor, and Rench leads you through the private forest within Woodhold’s walls. Its peaceful as gently caress, you almost forget that you’re in some sort of insane post-apocalyptic nightmare. Almost. As you clear the north gate, the older man catches your eye. “I don’t like people. But I think I might like you. So watch for Tommiboy. He’s a fuckin moron, but a fuckin moron that has mean friends.”

The hills rise gently north of Woodhold, and you do have some knowledge of the area due to your post-awakening wandering. While vague and out of scale, the map has several easily recognized landmarks and its about an hour later you find yourself looking at your destination across a clearing of broken pavement

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?


Melody
While it is indeed some sort of epic poo poo-show outside, its also a fairly static one. Both the insane driver and the metal man are on the north side of the caravan, and the focus is on Axecutioner’s bois to the west. With a bit of luck, someone could slip out the south side and head east a bit. At least long enough to find real cover.

You hide-hole contains a few other items, and as you you shift around in order to get a better look outside, you feel something poke into your back. Then there’s a sound of metal on metal, and then you feel stabbing pain as a serious of needle-jabs march up your spine and then something is pulled tight to you back. And just as that pain fades, something settles on the crown of your head and jams more needles into your skull. And just as your panic reaches a peak-

Calm. Of a sort. You’re still in pain and the ol’ fight-or-flight is kicking in, but its like a weight has been lifted from your shoulders. Like you’ve always lived in a crowded room but now you’re in a peaceful garden.
(Take 1-harm. You are also now Weird-nil)


SKADI
You march towards the IFF-containing caravan, hosing down the ‘bandits’ as you move. The cover of their vehicles gives them time enough to return fire, but its not enough to save them. The leader’s war-wagon lasts the longest, but eventually its tires explode, sending it end-over-end. More warning indicators light up, your stabilizers have taken some damage.
(The Choirbois take 6-harm, which means vehicle destruction and full blow-through vs 1-armor. Some survive, but the gang is broken. SKADI takes 4-harm vs 2-armor, so minor damage - you can only move at walking speed.)

But you make it to your target, abandoned by its drivers. Its too big to carry, but moving it shouldn’t be an issue. A motion indicator draws your attention: its seems the bandit leader survived. He’s dragged his bloody and broken body up on top of his flipped vehicle, axe in hand. But he’s holding it oddly, the head against his stomach and the handle angled into the air. He screams something at you and begins to move his hands across the weapon and- the sound. THE SOUND. Stormclouds crash above and lightning crashes behind him. Your power-plant screams a warning at you as suddenly your psi-dampening rig is suddenly using 300% of its standard power consumption. A threat indicator fills your screen: THREAT CLASS SVARTALFAR
(Everyone in the area not in a psi-rig, which is Corvi and NPCs, takes psi-harm)


Zero
You slowly move the junkwagon through the courtyard, picking up speed as more and more folks take cover behind it. Most of those that were outside make it to the cover of the bunker entrance, but you truck pays the price. It grinds to a halt cock-eyed as something in the suspension gives way, and you can smell the upholstery burning.
(You are safe inside the bunker. The junkwagon isn’t going anywhere without serious repair.)

The general panic dies down as the concrete walls of the bunker offer protection from the bulletstorm outside. Wounds are quickly covered, burning clothes cut away, and weapons readied. You realize the scavs and paladins are looking to you for orders. One of the Detwentis, a scarred woman whose helmet lies smoldering in the corner catches your ‘eye’ and racks her AK. “Sir Alice and her paladins, and assorted others that answered the Truthspeaker’s call, at your service. While you and my order have had their differences, I acknowledge your greater skill at dealing with wholesale destruction. Our weapons are yours!”
(You have a small 3-harm gang at your command. You currently have building-armor, if you move out it has 2-armor naturally)

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?


Spec. Lombardi
You’re arm is starting to get a little tired and your projectiles are running a bit low when you notice the door shift slightly. Like someone has unlatched it maybe. Then it flies open, and three figures in tattered fatigues and body armor burst out. Two go low and check the corners, the middle goes high and checks out. Almost a textbook clear, but that almost gives you your opening. Your rifle pounds the entrance, their return fire nearly non-existent.

While not full-auto like your’s, the breakers rifles still pack a punch as the ache under your shoulder-armor can attest. Luckily for you, their armor isn’t as good and the trio lay on the concrete pad, groaning in pain. Beyond them the door sits open, utter darkness within its frame.

(The breakers have 3-harm hunting rifles, so 1-harm gets through your armor. They only have 1-armor, so they are sitting at 6:00 and may bleed out)


SKADI
Just as you let the over-sized bumper fly several of the caravaners slam into your legs, screaming and bleeding from their eyes. Your stabilizers complain, and the smooth throw ends up bouncing off the ground before slamming into the wrecked vehicle acting as a stage for the ‘musician’. The NOISE ends with a squeal of protesting metal, but between shaking off the now unconscious caravaners and soothing Heracles’s protesting systems, you aren’t sure what happened to the SVARTALFAR. No corpse is visible, and your motion trackers haven’t detected anything in the area.
(You stop what Axecutioner was doing, but aren’t sure what happened to him)

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?


Corvi
The chaos is nearly overwhelming, the wild movements of the car turn into the earthbound thunder of the prey’s weapon. And just as that winds down, the fragile silence is shattered by the NOISE. It pounds its way into you brain-meat, a harbinger of the screaming EndSong. It shatters Corvi. It shatters Weasel. It shatters-

Calm. The vortex of the EndSong parts, revealing the sitting form of The Mother. Her bloody smile lifts your heart and soothes your flesh. Her many hands each hold the destruction of Mankind, and Her toothy smile grows as she offers one to you. Thus honored, the screams grow louder and the winds whip at your face until-

You crouch behind the broken wall, the Cruzer and your prey a hundred feet away. Your breath is ragged, as if you’ve sprinted the entire way and you can see oddly Corvi-sized gaps in the intervening terrain. Clutched in your arms is an axe of peculiar design...
(SidekickBOT - Today at 9:03 AM @Corvi(SNG): 2d6+1 = (1+6)+1 = 8
-You take a single concrete action of the MC’s choosing: You have recovered Axecutioner's axe.



Spec. Lombardi
Wandoo bursts into sobs, squealing about ‘following orders’ and ‘she’s to young to die’. Coffecup simply stares at you, blinking through the blood in her eyes and cradling her useless arm. With a grunt of pain, she flexes her legs and rocks her feet back and forth. “As much as I want to eat your heart and poo poo in your skull, I want to live to see tomorrow more. If you’re green with that, we gotz a deal. If not, shoot me so I don’t have to listen to Dunker’s fool blubber on.”

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?

Spec. Lombardi
Coffeecup looks a bit nonplussed when you silence Wadoo, but quickly shrugs and slowly rises to her feet. She tucks her useless arm into a bit of webbing, and wipes the blood out of her eyes before responding.

"Its your basic damp and cold poo poo-hole, stairs down to an oldtech commons with small rooms off that. Like you'll find all around these hills. Some Stonechild mods: tripwires on the main stairs, and some of the shine-square stacks are rigged to fall on you. Dunker ain't back yet so its only MarMar down there guarding the post."

She pauses, and gives you a look. "I ain't in a position to make askings, but could you not kill MarMar? She's not a truefaith, but joining the Stonechildren was the only way to stay out of Stockard's Pinkpit. She's barely bleeding, but she didn't have much of a choice."

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?


Spec. Lombardi
Coffeecup give you a look eerily familiar to the ones you’ve received from L’nai in recent days. “If everyone is lucky, she’ll be the only one at the guardpost. A childish-type-” She waves her good arm at you, indicating your armor, “crammed into as much saint’s regalia as we could find. Yours is in better shape though.”

You pick your way down the staircase, gingerly stepping over and around the various tripwires. You probably would have been OK without Coffeecup’s warning, they’re primitive deadfall and razorwire affairs. The piles of stacked monitors may have giving you trouble, the triggers didn’t stand out as much under redlights. But forewarned your step is cautious and you make your way across the rusted and damp circular chamber without issue. Its obviously the remains of some sort of nerve center, the racks and desks that held the monitors occasionally swiming out of the darkness. On the far side of the chamber is a set of double-door that have a crude barricade of desks and scrap metal welded in front of it. Carved into the stone above the doorway are the words ‘Центр сейсмического мониторинга’, pitted with age.

The quiet is shattered by a noise that reminds you of forgotten training fields: the sound of a rack sliding and a gunshot at the same time. There is muffled cursing, and you see the top of a ballistic helmet poke up above the edge of the barricade. A voice rings out, desperately trying for something more than a child’s squeak. “I-Intruder! Halt or be fired upon, you trespass the halls of the Children of the New Stone Age!”

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?


Spec. Lombardi
There’s startled cursing from behind the barricade, and MarMar pops up like a jack-in-the….. somethingorother. She raises her hands jerkily and comes out from around the wall. She’s reasonably tall but painfully thin, the kevlar vest and battle webbing hanging off her frame. The scars on her face are easier to see now, and you’re not too surprised to recognize that they’re letters. T on the right cheek, C on the left. “I meant no disrespect Saint Maria, my failsome eyes didn’t reckon your seeming. I bear your icon, my life is yours!”

Before you can process the strangeness, you hear shouting from up the stairs behind you. Coffeecup protesting her innocence, but her words are cut off by a single gunshot. Then a deep male rumble echoes down the stairway. “Hoy boi, you killed my fool. Get up here so I can gut you proper-like.”


Corvi
The beast seems distracted by the contents of one of the scav’s wagons, and you take your chance. You close a fair bit, keeping to its periphery. But just as you’re leaving the last bit of cover, the beasts eyes swivel out of their sockets to regard you. It catches you off-guard and you freeze, realizing that none of the nearby cover will hide you from its gaze or shield you from its weapon.
(You’re caught out in the open, well out of the range of your weapons)


SKADI
The cloth cover and its frame pop off easily, revealing a treasure-trove of technology. Circuit boards and electronic devices are carefully stowed in packing material. But your prize takes up most of the back, Heracles’s AI struggling to identify it aside from the ‘Ragnarok’ IFF. It greatly resembles a warjack’s control couch, but its been built up with metal spars to make it free-standing and covered in gems and silver. A veritable throne, but one that still has a flickering power source.

And then a prox alarm sounds, and a window opens up on you HUD. It shows a tiny bird-shaped figure paused out in the open, holding the axe that recently belonged to the SVARTALFAR. Its movement vector is towards you, and the AI helpfully tags it as a threat.

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?


Spec. Lombardi
The sound of Dunker hocking a loogie down the staircase echoes loudly. “What, you think you’re the first to play the Saint? Trying to get the Dox to dance to your tune? You could have at least chosen a cool Saint like Tamara or Fernando, not the lovely Watcher of the Threshold.” You hear something heavy moving up top.

“So here’s the deal, my Saint: you can either come up here so I can kill you quick, or I’ll block the door and stuff the vents. A bullet to the dome is alot better than choking on dead men’s farts, believe you me.” The echoes of his voice die, leaving only the sound of MarMar’s whimpering.

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?


Spec. Lombardi
MarMar nods gravely, then makes an oddly familiar series of motions across her chest before kissing a medallion that was under her armor. You take off back towards the entrance, a not-quite-sprint that comes to you naturally. The doorway is clear as you begin your ascent, but as your head clears the ground level you see a squirrelly fucker set back several feet from the door, shotgun raised. He’s standing on the broken pavement, using the raised slab of the entrance as cover. But while this means you don’t see him until its too late, you’re moving so fast that he can’t give you a face-full. The blast catches you right in the thick parts of your armor, aside from some sore ribs you’ll be fine.

And you’re already in the air, coming down hard on Dunkers chest. The shotty goes sliding off, and his head bounces hard off the asphalt. His helmet saves him from a cracked skull, but he’s still blinking back pain-tears.
(Shotgun is 3-harm, Lombardi’s armor is 2, for 1-harm taken. Don’t worry about messy or a harm roll due to circumstances)


Corvi
The car isn’t too messed up, aside from the broken glass in the driver’s side window. Like something flew out of the car at a high rate of speed. Odd. Anywho, now that no-one is shooting or shouting or other distracting things, its the work of a few minutes to remove the twisted bits of motorbike and rider that got tangled up in the under-bits. Nothing looks too badly damaged, but then again how black is your thumb?

So a new Hunt, different prey. Do you have any leads on Dakota, any knowings of his thinkings?


SKADI
The strange bird-woman seems to taken your offer of not-death and removed herself from the battlefield to work on her vehicle. An odd creature and an odd encounter, perhaps its an omen of some sort? Anyways…

The couch/throne has attachments point that approximate the OLYMPUS standard, so you can mount in on your frames carry-frame. Normally its bulk would slow you a bit, but with your stabilizers on the fritz you won’t be moving that quickly anyways. Heracles’ AI is reporting that the object is designated THRONE OF WANT in its handshake protocol, but none of your standard codes seem to be working to move beyond that point.

You’re only a few miles from the OA given to you by ASGARD, and you know that cover will increase once you clear the Launch/Landing Zone. Do you continue your mission or examine your prize?

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?


Spec. Lombardi
Dunker struggles, but the fight goes out of him when you mention Dremmer. You can still see the hate in his eyes, though he hides it behind a cocksure grin. “Sure, ask your questions oh Saint. Won’t matter much in the long, Ragna Rock is almost upon us. God’s children couldn’t protect us last time, do you really think you can stand against The Mother’s return?”


SKADI
Even limited to a light jog, Heracles’ long legs eat up the last few miles to your destination. As you approach, your suit starts picking up all sorts of radio signals, a mish-mash of music(?) and words. The AI can’t seem to make heads or tales of it, it seems to hold no tactical significance. As you move through the remnants of the blast walls edging the Launch Zone your target comes into sight.

Its a tangle of piping and buildings, and has even more human activity than when you passed by a few nights ago. At least as many as at Woodhold, maybe more. You see one addition to the skyline that wasn’t there before, a massive tower that’s covered in Revenants attaching what look like transmitter modules to it. And if recognizing your gaze, your suit’s radio receiver is swamped with a massively overpowered signal, the screech of mis-aligned diodes slowly resolving into a man’s screaming voice.


Anyone Near Anything Remotely Receptive in the Valley
Your electronics crackle to life and emit horrible feedback, a man’s voice slowly emerging.

”HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEY RINNNNNPURT VALLEY! GLORIFIKUS HERE, COMING TO YOU LIVE FROM THE HEART OF THE IRON CHOIR! TOMORROW NIGHT IS THE ROKOFF, AND EVERYONE SHALL HEAR THE NOISE AND THUNDER! A NEW AGE WILL BE BORN, AND YOU WILL ALL WITNESS IT!”

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?


SKADI
Luckily the ‘Glorifikus’ signal fades out after his announcement, and the background babble of radio chatter is easier to handle. This Works that’s grown up around the fuel bunker is a hive of activity, four-score Revenant signatures just out in the open. Who knows how many more hidden by the maze of pipes and sturdy buildings. But the most troubling sign comes through the suit’s spectroscope. The refining and fuel pumping operations have spread a pall of hydrocarbons over the area. The concentrations are high enough to wreak havoc with your atmo-filters and, perhaps more importantly, renders the entire facility an explosion hazard.
(Breaking poo poo/heavy weapons use within The Works may cause a fire to break out)


Spec. Lombardi
Dunker gives you a surly shrug. “Ain’t no Dox, can’t recite the whole Verse. The tear-bag below probably could. I knows Tamara is The Speaker From the Storm and Fernando is The Arms-Bringer. Giles is….. something like yours, dun-”. He’s cut off by the transmission, which seems to cause him pain enough to massage his jaw.

Dunker blinks a bit at your question, then clears his head and spits on the ground. “A highup in the Iron Choir. Crazy fuckers that worship loud music, but their fuel’s prime so ya deal.” He gives you a bit of side-eye, almost speculative. “Chatter is that one of the highups has brought in an outsider that can sing to the Storm. Wouldn’t be interested in bringing Tamara back, would you?”

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?



Spec. Lombardi
Dunker shrugs again. “I’m for pointing your hate-thrower at someone else, Saint. I do something shiny for you, I get cut loose to do my thing. Yin-for-Yang, yeah? There’s nothing you can do that can stop what’s coming, you might as well have a friend with you at the end.”

A shaky voice echoes up the stairwell. “My Lady? Do you still breathe?”


Corvi
The car definitely could do with having someone looking after it, its got a bit of a shimmy to it now. But it can probably wait. Now you have Prey, and the Hunt. Which brings you to Rockslide…

The story is that it was something like the Tallboys in the before, but didn’t survive the End intact. But the Oldies built strong, and even the broken walls and rubble is strong and safe. Years of tunnelers have opened up paths and holes, one of which is occupied by The Rest. A drinking hole full of hunters, current and ex, its the best place to get the downlow and those that don’t want to be found.

Light filters in through the gaps in the rebuilt walls, showing just a few of the regulars scattered about. Several look up at your entrance, and quickly find somewhere else to look. A huge scarred man looks out from a door behind the plankwood bar, and scowls at you.

“Whatcha want Death-bringer? Don’t say my company, Dust only falls for that once.”

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?


Spec. Lombardi
Dunker nods sharply. “‘Green. I’ve done my part anyways, the rest is out of my hands.” He crouches down and picks up a bit of rock, and begins to draw on the broken pavement. “See here, a few miles south and a bit west of Woodhold is the Works. Fuel store and stronghold of the Choir. Deets are a bit thin, but here’s what I have: now Mother Rust brought in the Storm-singer, but the tell is she’s a bit of a game-chip as all the highups jockey for position before the Rokoff. Your boy Glorifikus is a power, as is Garwiz the Ruinator. That’s the castle your princess is in Saint, beset on many sides. Save her and she’s sure to show your Tamara the way back. ”

MarMa- Little Maria appears in the doorway with a grunt, seemingly carrying most of the bunker in overstuffed packs. She blinks a bit at the light, and then pales at the corpses. At your offer she straightens up and tries to look professional. “Aye Saint! I would follow you to the next beginning and beyond, it would give my emptiness purpose!


SKADI
Several other vehicles approach the gate at the same time, but they give way to you and several heads poke out of windows to gawk. At your cry, a greasy face pokes above a scrap-metal parapet and peers down at the road. Seeing Heracles’ feet, their eyes travel upwards and their jaw down. “Ahhh, hail yurself! What’s your purp metal man? We’re only open for biz and worship, the Leads are in seclusion until the Rokoff.”

You see the gunners on either side of the gate stand a little straighter. Not combat-ready, but more watchful than they were before. Wary, but not outright hostile like the inhabitants of Woodhold. You have a feeling your answer is important though…

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?


What Came Before…
The Rinpurt Valley was a quiet backwater for years, a few scattered holdings getting by among the vast and varied wreckage of the World Before. While it was rarely visited by Greater Destroyers, it was preyed upon by the slavers of the mountain fortress of Folly and the traders of the black markets of Stockards.

But change has come to the Valley. The Dark Lords of Folly are dead, and its halls thick with scavengers and thieves. The Barons of Stockards joust with each other, testing to see if any are strong enough to dethrone Dragon. Swamp Ash Radio has fallen silent, victim of open warfare. Woodhold whispers of breakers, seeking to shatter the mechanisms of Lord Dremmer. The Soloists of the Iron Choir prepare for the Rokoff, their supporters scouring the Valley for anything that could aid them. And most worrying of all, the Siren’s Gate has opened for the first time in the After. It has vomited forth two figures onto the Valley, both powerful and aweful.

The Saint Maria/Queen of the Specters/L’nai’s Fool has allied herself with Dremmer of Woodhold, and kept the Children of the New Stone Age from destroying it. She speaks in riddles and talks to specters, and has claimed the cursed Tallboys for her own.

The Titan’s Child/’SKADI’ is a monsterous enigma, a mysterious giant clad in metal. A knight from a far-away realm, she has saved Woodhold from the Spawn of of Shahmaran and thwarted the Endsong-calling Axecutioner. She has also discovered evidence of her peoples’ advanced technology in the valley, and is on the trail of a missing brother-knight.


(A summation of what has happened so far, and a jumping-off point for when we start up again)

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?


Spec. Lombardi
Dremmer’s happiness is a tangible thing, and he offers up a pile of the flattened metal beads the residents of Woodhold refer to as ‘jingle’. He is unconcerned that not all of the breakers are dead, simply scattering them off his land is good enough. He does send a group of Huntsmen out to seal up the door though. A cautious man.

As you leave Dremmer’s manor house, MarMar is oddly silent. The walk back had been filled with as much nervous chatter as her two enormous backpacks would allow. Of her people: scrappers of the Lost Fleet to the west. Of her capture by slavers: after following the wrong sort of merchant out of Waterway. Of her faith: the DOx, followers of the Saints and the Bright Man that battled the Mother of Destruction at the End.

But now she’s silent, and you see her eyes dart back and forth. And then you notice the whispers and glances around you, barely hidden anger. Its the young bucks of Dremmer’s Huntsmen, their facepaint garish. Perhaps Tommiboy’s friends are as stupid as he is? It is a long walk back to Stasis, and a lonely one.

(3-barter gained from working a gig)


SKADI
The outer courtyard of this ‘Works’ place is a chaotic mess. You can see how this area was not part of the original facility, created by the scrap-walls. One corner is filled with smaller vehicles of types and conditions that defy description or cataloging, all jockeying around fuel dispensers. The majority of the courtyard is dedicated to enormous bowsers and large tanker transports and the scrambling crews transfering fuel from one to the other. There’s an inner wall separating the courtyard from the fuel bunker proper, decorated with garish colors and symbols. Its broken by two vehicle-sized gates and a more human-sized one, and the spaces between are covered with stalls selling food, drink, and an assortment of oddments.

While your walking suit has drawn some attention, its more of a ‘big weird vehicle to dodge’ sort. A man wearing a bright but grubby yellow vest and nothing else waves two painted sticks at you, gesturing towards the smaller vehicle depot. This close to that monstrous antenna, you’re starting to get some static in your comm system. Its odd, almost like BIFROST’s carrier signal is being duplicated.


Yx
Its amazing the number of friends you’ve made in the weeks since Folly’s fall, all interested in your particular skill set. You and Parrack sit now in the highest level of The Works, insulated from the noise and the smell in Mother Rust’s boudoir. The older woman studies the pair of you, but soon gives up in the face of Parrack’s secretive smile and your veil.

“A bit of biz for you, secret-like.” Her voice is low and throaty, gravelled by decades as the head of the Iron Choir. “The Rokoff draws near, the holy of holies. And I shall welcome all comers, as is our way. But there is one, the Solo known as Glorifikus. He perverts the Rokoff, makes deals with strangers in the shadows to deny me my Instruments. I want him to never feel the touch of the Metal ever again, cut off from the Maiden of Steel for the rest of his life. If you do this for me you will never want for fuel again, and all of the Choir shall sing your praises. What say you?”


Scarlet
It was supposed to be a simple job. You didn’t even have to go into the Beyond, just provide transport and security for a small parcel from Stockards to Waterway. A bit boring really, but the money was good. Was good. The box is sitting on the table between you and Corgi in his driftwood shack on the edge of Waterway’s market, and he’s looking at it like its about to take his fool head off.

“Look, I know you put in the travel time and such. But what I’m saying is that I ain’t taking this and there’s no money for you.” His two hardbois, their fists wrapped in tough leather to avoid Waterway’s weapons rules, shift a bit and look less bored. You figure you’ve got about a minute before they persuade you to leave.

What’s in the box anyways?


Vaya
Its been a nice quiet morning, a rarity. The market’s bustling, the swamp-folk and scrappers stocking up in the face of the rumors flying around the valley. And it looks like the tenchfoot that was giving your folks such issues has retreated for now. You’re enjoying a bit of quality time with a nice bit of gatortail when Nitro and Broadside, two of your perimeter-walkers, bust into your shack supporting a third bloody man. Its Mossy, a pathfinder who’s known to you.

He’s been through the wringer, several bullet wounds poorly bandaged. Nitro looks at you, eyes wild. “He just ran outta the swamp into me an’ Broad. Started yelling about the radio being dead and the death stomper chasing him!”

These two would have been walking the south side, closest to Swamp Ash. You’d heard the talk on the radio of an attack, but you also knew that a sizable number of scrappers and such had volunteered to help. Nothing in the Murk could marshal enough force to crack that many bois, could it?


What do you do?

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?


Spec. Lombardi
There’s a bit of mean-spirited laughter that’s meant to sound intimidating, and almost a dozen of the younger Huntsmen melt out of the trees and old outbuildings. Of course Tommiboy is there, surrounded by a wall of muscle. They’re all armed with clubs and wrapped fists, some at least have the sense to look a bit nervous at your rifle. Tommiboy of course is unconcerned.

“What, tired of L’nai’s bed already Fool? Gone and got yourself a Fool’s Fool? Its time you learned to respect your betters. Put up that popper and I promise my bois and I won’t break nothing.”

-there are alot of Tommyboy’s bois (medium gang)
-they are all around you.



SKADI
As you head towards the indicated berth, you don’t notice anything that screams OLYMPOS, and Heracles doesn’t toss up any more IFFs. As you cast you gaze around the courtyard, you do notice a woman making the rounds that the other refuelers and metalwrights seem to defer and report to. She heads over your way, a puzzled expression on her face. “I didn’t see you leave Sir Knight” she yells about the din. “I’m sorry but none of the Choir are about to let you through into the Sanctum.”

A new window opens on your HUD, the results of the AI’s investigation into the errant signal. It is in fact interference, another tight-beam signal transmitting with the same protocols as BIFROST. It seems that while CHARON is not talking to OLYMPOS, its still talking to someone.


Scarlet
Corgi’s round face fushes even further, and he nervously mops at his sweaty brow. “I knooow. But poo poo’s hit the fan and its not worth my life to be seen with that… thing.” Corgi’s never been a cool customer, but he generally keeps it better than this. His hardbois push off from the wall they were leaning against and come around to either side of the table. Nice and calm-like, but with an understood for now.

-Corgi is most vulnerable (he’s within arm’s reach)
-the hardbois are the biggest threat
-you’re pretty sure Corgi keeps a holdout weapon under the table



Vaya
Nitro and Broadside look relieved that things aren’t their call anymore and snap to action. As Nitro leads you back towards the southern perimeter Bug, Dig/Dug, Sali, and Posei catch up to you and let you know the rest are on their way. You hit the southern edge of your territory at a near-run, Nitro pointing the way. You come up over a hillock rising above the muck and see a large shape moving through the trees beyond with much whining and clunking.


It rotates back and forth, almost like its looking for something. The fellow on the shoulder mount pounds on the armor and then points in your general direction. Actually, not at you, at the quickest path a 5-meter metal monster could take to Waterway.

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?



Spec. Lombardi
The burst is already leaving the rifle’s barrel as you swing it up towards Tommiboy. But while he’s an idiot, he’s not stupid, and he’s already ducking. The two Huntsmen next to him cry out in pain, though you swear you at least winged the Chief Idiot. He jackrabbits, and the rest of the Huntsmen decide that they signed up for some heavy hazing, not gunplay. They fade back into the trees, leaving the wounded to their fate.

You hit them low, and despite their pitiful cries for mercy you don’t think that they’ll bleed out. MarMar takes a step forwards, a fire in her eyes. “And thus shall all that waylay the Watcher of the Threshold!” She turns to you, a grim set to her face. “Will you end them my Saint, or show them Your mercy?”


Scarlet
Corgi’s hardboiz start towards you when you begin to move, but you’re done and holding an empty revolver before they can close the distance. They stop short, itching for a fight but looking to their boss for the go-ahead. Corgi looks even more panicked, the fear of not having his gun and what Vaya would do to him if she found out about this adding to whatever got him in this pickle. He holds up his hands, and then slowly reaches into his vest-shirt. A bundle of Works fuel-cards hit the ground in front of you.

“Here, take this and your shipment and just go, please. I don’t want to have them hurt you, but I also don’t want to get gakked.” Its less than what you were promised, but you could still shop around your delivery. If you want to avoid trouble here, that is.


Vaya
Your heart’s beating alot harder than it used to, but you’ve made it up to the top of the stomper. This close, you see that Goggles is Pinto, one of Crompton’s cucklefucks. He’s blinking at you through those goggles, the lens marked up with range markers. ‘Course he’s also got his hog-sticker out, its tip practically touching the end of your shotgun’s barrel. He grins a toothless smile and yells over the noise of the stomper’s engine.

“Heyya Vaya, Crompton sends his best. We’ve come to letcha know you’re part of Greater Cromptonia, and to collect tribute. Gonna ride in with us quiet-like, or are we gonna show your head when we get there?” He seems to think his knife is the equal to your gun, is he that good or just stoned-up?


Yx
Its fairly easy to find Glorifikus’ chambers, most of the Solos live in the upper reaches of the Works, away from the noise. His roadie stands at the door, barring entry. He brandishes his clipboard, and inquires if you’re on The List in a self-important tone.
Beyond him, you can hear the muffled but still booming voice of Glorifikus. He’s speaking with someone, the silent echoes carry tastes of pleasure although his words can’’t be made out. Oddly, he has a guest that is also speaking, but you only hear the muffled words in your ears, not the silent echoes in your depths.

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?


Scarlet
Corgi’s hardboiz lurch towards you, surprised by your sudden movement. Corgi frantically waves them off, already gurgling with the slight pressure you’re giving him. They hesitate, then shrug at his gurgled curses and leave the shack. You don’t think they’ve gone too far, but they’re out of sight and earshot.

“See Scarlet,” he wheezes. “I’m still your dude, there’s no… need to end a… profitable relation… ship.”
(Corgi does what you want)


Vaya
Now, if Pinto had actually read the training documents that shipped with the original chassis the doom stomper was grafted onto, he might have seen a section that spoke of the training and self- control required to overcome the sense of euphoria and invulnerability that most new pilots felt. Of course, even if Pinto found that ancient Operations Manual, the man couldn’t read.

So is it really his fault that he thinks he can gut you before you pull the trigger? Unfortunately for Pinto, while he might have been quicker than you his poker face is… was, lovely. You squeeze before he can twitch and the blast sends him backwards, his corpse dangling from the gunners seat by a caught leg. The stopper pauses, and begins to turn erratically. The flamethrower arm transverses as far as it can, but the gout of flame barely warms your face.
(Pinto sucks it up, 3-harm messy vs his 1-armor means he ded)


Yx
The roadie, SAVER hand-stitched on the breast of his jumpsuit, pales a bit under his stage makeup before licking his lips. “Uh, yes. I believe that His Melodiness might have an opening for later. But as His trusted assistant, I should… check your business first. To ensure its up to His standards." He tilts his head towards a nearby door with the faded runes ‘ванная’ painted on its surface.
(The Roland Saver will totally let you into Glorifikus’ room later, if you let him sample the merchandise first.)


SKADI
The woman looks at you (the chest compartment, not Heracles’ head) as she listens to your tale, and then simply taps a bit of tech on her chest three times. The suit’s AI chirps a warning as a weapons emplacement on the inner wall rotates slightly to face you.

“They really need to teach Knights to lie better.” She points out the weapon emplacement. “You are now being watched Knight SKADI. You may sup, repair, refuel, whatevs here in the outer courtyard like the rest of the rabble. But if you close upon the Inner Sanctum, the boomer on the wall will put a dew shell through you. Good day, welcome to The Works, please direct all complaints to my arsehole.” She turns away, ‘DE MACHINA’ labeling the back of her jacket in reflective tape.

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?


Scarlet
Corgi lets out a sob an slumps against you. “I… I got a hidey-hole a bit south of Waterway. Been filling it up the last few days, was gonna make a break for it. Mostly food and water, but I’ve got a mint bit of Saint’s Regalia stashed there for bribes. One of their blue buckets, its still got the dark-brighters attached. Get me there safe and its yours.

(Escort Corgi to his stash and he’ll pay up)


Vaya
The stomper pauses its attempts to flame you, and you hear the crackle of a loudener. “YEAH RIGHT VAYA, YOU’VE NEVER HAD poo poo! HAVE A SEAT, ENJOY ME SMASHING YOUR HOUSE!” The voice is familiar, but distorted by the lovely loudener.

The stomper sets off again, but you notice that its not taking as direct a route to Waterway. Its sticking to the bogs and other terrain that would make it difficult for a vehicle to get to them. You think the driver (pilot?) might be a bit more concerned than they’re letting on about kamikaze attacks.

(The stomper will need to see some vehicles before it capitulates. It will take longer for it to get to Waterway now though.)


Yx
The Roland Saver is, at his heart, a simple creature. An outer layer of control and competence surrounding a core of neuroses. The crying boy still begging forgiveness for ending his father’s Gorge-pain. The fear that his fellow Choir-mates will discover his deafness. His desperate need for approval that has made him so easily manipulated by Glorifikus, and you.

You let yourself out of the waste chamber, Saver semi-conscious and mumbling happy to himself. You can hear Glorifikus clearly now, he must have the door open. “Go forth and Rok Brother Dionysus! The Iron Choir will salute your assistance in the coming days.”

The door closes, and nothingness walks across your field of view to the outer door. The wrecks hidden behind your veil tell you of a spare man, tall and pale wearing strange clothes and a crown of light upon his brow. But your more important senses register nothing about him, like he’s simply a paused note in the great Song.



Spec. Lombardi
MarMar shrugs at your mercy and settles her packs before joining you again. “One of the crew-girls, called Fair Dinkum. There’s good eating on a swampdog, she showed me how to use her short-gun.” She mimes shooting a pistol. “ These long-guns are a bit poo poo, too long to use inside. That’s where the nasty fighting happens on the Lost Fleet.”

She pauses for a few moments before continuing, looking at her talisman. “Saint Tamara’s was the ul-tee-mate sacrifice. The Mother of Destruction cannot die, its not Her nature. The Bright Man watches over us, but even He can’t see into the Mother’s Realm from his post. Saint Tamara saw that the Saints’ and the Bright Man’s victory wouldn’t be eternal, and threw herself into the Maelstrom to be our warning for the End’s End. My mam said that the Siren’s Gate would be her howl, that she would awaken the rest of the Saints.”

MarMar pauses and looks at you, once again the frightened tweenage girl trying to be brave. “Is it true Saint Maria? Are you back to save us from Destruction?”

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?


Scarlet
You get a brief glimpse of green text scrolling across the device when the vortex explodes around you. As the winds fade, your father faces you. He tries to say something, but when he opens his mouth thick black ichor spills out. Looking down, you see a huge tooth plunged into his gut, your hands wrapped around the base. Another pair of hands enclose yours, also dark with ichor. A second pair of hands slide up your hips and hold you tight. A third pair of hands graze your shoulder blades before seizing your neck. Breath in your ear, hot, sweet, carrion-tainted.

“Murderer. A life for a life, justice will be done.” A woman’s voice, freezing your heart and inflaming your nethers at the same time. Teeth, small and sharp, close on your ear. The pain wakes you, and you look around Corgi’s empty shop from your spot on the floor. The air is full of a sickly-sweet smell, and from the doorway one of Corgi’s hardboiz grins evilly at you. Her blackened and broken teeth set hooks into your brain, but not as much as the match she thumbs alight. Winking, she throws it down, and the floor bursts into flames.


Vaya
Your boiz take up position around the perimeter of Waterway, crouched behind the wooden fence or in the handful of redoubts around the gate. They’re tense, the earth-rattle is unnerving them. But they know the score and maintain their positions. With one last rending crash of a tree being shouldered aside, the doom stomper comes into view.

On cue, Ray revs Cross’ engine, and the stomper pauses. It rotates back-and-forth slightly, as if the driver needs help taking in the full spacing of your forces. It raises its flamer-arm and sends a gout of fire towards Waterway. At this distance it doesn’t do more than wash warm air over your face, and the swamp-wood is too waterlogged to catch.

“This is your last chance Vaya, tribute is better than being dead!” The loudener makes the pilot’s voice easy to hear, especially the hint of nervousness. The stomper side-steps a bit, taking it off the raised road.


Yx
The shape makes its way through the complex down towards the lower levels, the amount of traffic in the crowded halls making it easy to blend into the background. After several minutes it comes to a large open room, painted green and full of people at long tables. One wall of the room is taken up with trays of foodstuffs, mostly breads and other staples.

The man-shape ignores the food-wall and sits down at a table in the corner. An actual person is there already, dressed in finery and idly spearing at a plate of food. The shape begins to talk to the eater, but the general noise of the Green Room makes it difficult to hear anything at this distance.


Spec. Lombardi
MarMar hits you with a pure guileless smile of joy for a moment before she remembers her ‘tough’ affectation. “Then I’m your boi, my Saint. I think I know the Ess-Ohpee you speak of. After the Bright Man defeated the Mother of Destruction, a prophet came to my ancestors. He brought with him the Book of Ways, so that we could keep it safe. Those that accepted his charge and added the Book of Ways to the Old Book and the New Book became the Dox. Its said that the original Book was lost during Titan’s End, but copies were made. Each enclave will have one of the blessed copies. The Works, the Innerprise wreck, and First Light Mountain.”

Your march has brought you out of the wooded hills around Woodhold, the central grasslands of the Valley strech before you. To the south, the air above ‘The Bonefield’ ripples and pulses in patterns that hurt your eyes, the skeletal platforms and gantries... things twisting against the sky. To the west, The Works is still a smoggy blot on the otherwise clear sky. It now sports a large metal framework that towers above it, colored lights flashing at the top against the midday sun.


SKADI
The de Machina woman gives you some sort of one-fingered salute over her shoulder. Looking around the courtyard, you see a handful of Revenants eying you speculatively. Most of them are in a group at one of the food stalls, watching you over the rims of their soup-bowls. They’re dressed in ragged armor and have a motley collection of weapons leaning against the stall. Local warriors of some sort.

There’s another one though, separate from the warriors. Dressed in layers of ragged cloth, its hard to make out much detail. But their eyes follow your progress across the courtyard, to the extent of ignoring the person they seem to be haggling with.

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PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?


Vaya
You stare across the battlefield at the stomper, and it stares back at you. A moment stretches into a minute, then two. Suddenly the doom stomper lurches forward, falling to its knees. The engine sputters and dies.

Nothing moves for another minute or two, then you see Nitro making his way through the trees behind the stomper. He cautiously approaches, then he gives the ‘all-clear’. He trots over to Crosses, an amazed smile on his face. “Hey Bosslady, the fucker’s gone!”


Scarlet
(Exchange harm: Scarlet inflicts 2-harm vs. the hardboi’s 0-armor. The hardboi doesn’t have the range to inflict harm on Scarlet)

Two of your shot hit the hardboi high in the chest before she can connect with a punch, and she drops like a sack of rocks. You dive over her through the door moments before it too bursts into flames. A few bystanders have grabbed buckets, but they recoil from your gun.

Corgi and his other hardboi are no-where to be seen, but there seems to be some sort of hub-bub at the gate.


Yx
The vortex spreads its arms wide, lifting you up into its embrace. The EndSong is strong here, but out of sync. So many hearts filled with music, altering the rhythm of the beat. But there is no music in the woman’s heart, it is filled with gears and springs. Plans-within-plans.

But unlike her companion, she still exists so she echoes in the Song. Tick-Kill Dakota. Tock-Protect Dragon. Tick-Suborn the Knight. Tock-Find the Girl-Child.


Spec. Lombardi
MarMar snaps off a surprisingly correct salute, palm outward. You make good time over the open grassland, there’s less broken ground and ruins here. You actually hit a road of sorts, a partially paved track running east-west. A handful of travelers acknowledge your approach, but they seem to be keeping a closer eye on the Bonefields to the south. This close, the twisting air currents seem to unsettle the travelers, though you’re not too sure what the deal is.

Ahead of you, The Works grows large. The huge radio tower is the new addition, rising above the twist of metal pipes and towers. You can smell something, a thin petrochemical tang to the air that’s getting stronger.

There seems to be some sort of commotion on the road in front of you. A handful of rough types in outlandishly spiked armor and hair are ransacking a wagon made from a cut-down water tank. One steps back and shouts through cupped hands. “The Rokoff is upon us! All wishing to enter The Works must offer up their hitek to appease the Metal!”


SKADI
Unfortunately, Heracles is not outfitted for stealth operations. The figure (woman?) quickly figures your intent and makes to run, tossing a handful of cards at the junk-dealer they had been ignoring.

On the plus side, the press of bodies and machines impedes their progress almost as much as yours. A few moments of shuck-and-jive later, you’ve managed to get ahead of her. She whips out a small plastic device, a… EMP emitter?. Your suits systems are hardened so it wouldn’t cause any permanent damage, but its definitely a step above anything you’ve had brandished at you so far.

PoultryGeist fucked around with this message at Jun 10, 2018 around 02:07

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