Sigil. Session LV
September 19, 2009
7th day of Unity in the state of Order, YFHR 128
The Day of Humility
The back of the temple lacks the facade of the front, appearing unfinished. Eki thinks the maze is meditative rather than actual.
The place was called the Oraculus. A place where pilgrims or truth seekers came to gain a glimps of the future. This was the receiving area. It was once in Sigil as part of the Clerk's ward. Back then, it was called the Ward of Masks. The pools in the entrance were for purification (spiritual and otherwise).
Zoe goes to the clean pool and gets some of her power points back.
Examining the central room, we find statues that best match Zoe's dream. Svanna was here; and was moved. She was purified in the pool and then moved into this room for a time. We think Ludvik traveled with her until he was awoken by Zoe's scream.
On the other side of the Oraculus stands three gates. Guarding them is a fire giant. Chryseis believes the fire giant isn't natural. It is, perhaps a manifester's dream? Zoe hypothesizes that this place is Her Serenity's dream.
The fight is nasty, but we prevail.
Chryseis puts the giant's sword into her bracers - gaining bracers of giant strength +4.
Zoe examine sthe portals with the potion we got from Hyzik.
We go back to the library and retunr to the bunk room to rest. Eki seals the library.
During the down time Ludvik tells us his tale.
First day of the center rule in the state of Order, 128 F.H.R.
Chastity day ending.
A long eventful day of unraveling the library's secrets, battling its monstrous guardians and escaping its bounds has finally drawn to a close. Having plunged through the Ourouboros portal, our heroes set out to explore a ruined edifice adrift in a twilight sky. There they encountered and fought a trio of the mysterious grey men during which their gith companion betrayed and abandoned them while their lost friend Ludvik suddenly resurfaced. Reunited they plunged ahead only to have their path blocked by a stalwart fire giant guardian. An epic battle ensued, ending in the guardian's defeat. With the path to a trio of portals open before them, our heroes decided to retreat to the security of the vast Library to rest for a night and a day.
The noisy crowded streets of the Lower Ward seem far away as our canny cutter from Crossguard lane while away the hours in the lost Sigillum library. The betrayers betrayed, Shaglin and Toggle, alternate sleeping and standing guard. Ludvik, as is his habit, broods quietly by himself; concerned for his missing sister evident to those who know him.
Chryseis will spend some time reading her book on Hephaestus, as well as any others that are handy (and that we know aren't full of minotaur.) During the still hours when most of the party is asleep, she will pray and mediate on her experience with the fire giant's weave, and the bracer. After all, the helm and the bracer have been with her since her birth... and now they're both empowered with the strength of defeated foes. They're still reminders of the ultimate mystery of her existence...
Chryseis can call on Athena to weave a meal for the party. It's a little bland, but hearty. She will also try to talk to the more devout of the two men they've fallen in with. During quieter moments, she'll try to engage him in conversation and learn a little bit more about him. She's not trying anything specific, aside from her usual impulse to tend to the well-being of those around her, especially followers of Athena.
We got a glimpse of what was on the other side of the portals, didn't we? Chryseis, despite always being a little uncomfortable with it, is inclined to trust Ekikos' feelings on which way to go next. Though maybe, the endless gray sand isn't the most attractive option...
The mystery of the controlling book and his link to the Library nags at Ekikos' thoughts even as he tries to assist Chryseis in her tasks. He will also jon Shaglin and Toggle in their guard duties, chatting with them about growing up Hellenic in Sigil.
WHen he has free time, he will try and meditate on the control book and his strange feelings about the book. Why can he feel this place as he does? For what reason did the grey men obey him? Is this linked to his meditations as a cypher, his tatoos or the strange spirit now bound in his flesh? The young man will spend hours trying to quiet his thoughts, replacing confusion with harmony.
As for the course to follow, Ekikos has no strong compulsion towards any gate, so logic dictates they try the most harmless looking one forst, the one leading to a large room with tunnels.
Zoe will spend a lot of time trying to bring Ludvik up to speed, answering his questions and trying to see if he has a deeper link to his sister than just the knife.
Getting anything out of Ludvik is as frustratingly difficult as it ever was. By and large he keeps to himself once he's gotten answers to his few questions. Thereafter he rests or pokes around the library a bit out of curiosity.
When he tires of answering her questions, she'll try to spend some time in quiet contemplation, exploring the depths of her own mindscape. She is very curious (and terrified) of the grey men.
There are now so many mysteries surrounding them.
What did they mean when they called the dagger a shard.
Why are they collecting them
For what do they search outside of Harbringer house
Can they only be seen in the mindscape and through Harbinger house's mirrors
Why did they obey Eki - was it the book or something more?
Within the Midnight Forest, the disembodied Guide draws Zosime to the wellspring. Within its murky depths they review rippling images of Harbinger House's myriad rooms, of the Sigillum library's shifting nature and of the Oraculus adyton with its maze-patterned floor. Considering the dreamlike quality of the latter, the empowering effects of the pool from which Zosime imbibed and the puzzle-like nature of the library itself, it's the Guide's opinion that the Sigillum faction, at least in part, was comprised of some sort of mentalist tradition not entirely divorced from the power of the wild. Unfortunately, they may have inadvertently lost ground in their efforts to expand their understanding by ignoring the primal aspects of the wild in favor of erudite research and experimentation. That's mere conjecture though.
Their full names are Shaglin Wert and Anicetus Northman. 'Toggle' is actually only the latter's nickname; something he's called because of his steadfast demeanor. Both are distantly related; Shaglin is the grandson and Toggle the son of two cousins; neither can agree on whether that makes them second or third cousins however. Shaglin is definitely the more talkative of the two; his story sounds all too familiar. He and his extended family live in the Lower Ward's Central District near the Ditch. Most are Godsmen longshoremen who work at unloading ore from Ditch barges in the Industrial Stitches. Shaglin often takes mercenary jobs to make ends meet through a Garianis middleman when work in the Stitches is scarce. He swears most of it is above board and harmless. Escorting and protecting Djhek'nlarr seemed relatively easy and lucrative; that is until she led them through a mirror smack dab into the middle of the Lady's mazes. He intends to spread the word that the gith isn't trustworthy if he ever makes it back to the Cage alive.
Having rested and finally restless, the lot of you finally gather your things late Chastity day. Making your way through the ancient Sigillum library, the six (or seven or eight) of you sequentially pass through the rotating portal at the center of the room with the ourouboros mosaic floor. Each of you jostles around as you emerge from a freestanding arch at the end of a earthen island facing the indistinct outline of a temple-like facade. Entering the ruined structure, your group traverses the small antechamber and adyton room with its monstrous wall sconces until you're once more standing in the open plaza at the rear of the earth island. Overhead, the a leaden sky roils and flashes with silent lightning. The indistinct outline of the slain giant guardian remains where it fell the day before; a mere blur blotting out the center. Behind it stands a trio of freestanding archways each with a glowing blue planar pathway.
Ekikos proposes to go through the first arch Zo analyzed, the one leading to stone corridors. If everyone agrees, he'll jump into the portal first, ready for trouble.
On his guard, our young cipher steps through the freestanding archway placidly rippling with luminescent blue energy. Sinking into the portal's surface Ekikos is swept away from the ruined courtyard of the Oraculus only to step out of another glowing archway a world away. The rough-cut cavern in which he finds himself is akin to being inside a gargantuan piece of cored coal. The glints and highlights of a distant fire play off the black stone walls, promising a great bonfire somewhere ahead.
One by one the companions follow Ekikos across the planar divide; the gold-skinned statue with her raccoon rider, the resplendent aasimar, the reincarnated priestess and finally the two nervous pikemen. Inching cautiously forward, our heroes spy a large cavern dominated by a stupendous bonfire. The flames apparently roar up from a cleft in the dark rocky floor, and its heat is a formidable presence. Next to the rift stands a featureless black granite building with no openings except for a wide archway directly facing the fire. From behind, Shaglin offers his assessment: "Bloody hot. Is... is this Tartarus?"
Ekikos barely feels the warmth of the fire around him, as the tattoos on his arm of the Plane of FIre helps to shield him from the temperature. Looking at Shaglin, the young Hellenic quips with a half smile. "Or this could be the Foundry. Plenty of fiery caves in the multiverse."
Zoe will jump down from Chryseis' shoulder, and go ahead a bit; mostly to peek around corners. She tries to get a good gauge of the cavern from a safe distance. She'll look to Eki to see what he's thinking. "Are we going in ... there?" she points to the black building while shrinking back from both it and the heat.
"...or the Forge..." Chryseis murmurs quietly in response to Ekikos' statement. Gripping her living bolt of lightning, she follows Zoe.
"I don't know, Zoe. Perhaps we should get a better idea of the lay of this cavern before we venture closer to that building. We don't want to be attacked from behind by something wandering around."
Ekikos seems to zone out for a few seconds then his eyes flutter and he looks at his companions " You are right Priestess. This is a workshop, but not the one you think. It belongs to a man named Pherecyde, one of the Sygilum. We should be wary, there will be guardians." So saying, unless someone stops him, Ekikos will start to advance in the cavern.
"..how did you..." and Zoe is talking to where Ekikos was.
Zoe scurries ahead and glances carefully down the side-corridor from the shadows; she'll continue into the cavern only once she's sure there's nothing within her sight.
Chryseis cocks a curious eye to the young monk, then hefts her shield and follows. She signals the two spearmen to stay close.
Skulking, the tiny raccoon keeps to the concealing shadows along the rough hewn wall as she quickly investigates the right hand tunnel. Peering around the bend in the wall reveals that the tunnel dead ends after a dozen paces at another stone archway containing a glowing blue portal. Rearing up in front of the portal is a creature unlike any the wily Cager has ever seen; a snake-bodied humanoid with crackling flames dancing along the creature's blackened, fiery-red scales and spines. Having spotted Ekikos striding boldly into the central chamber, the creature hisses angrily, hefts a spear threateningly and begins slithering forward.
Striding forward boldly, Ekikos sees a pair of the same guardian creatures rising up as expected out of the flaming cleft to challenge him with raised spears.