Dark Earth

DE-R2 Umbra Lovis
The Shadow of Zeus

Offered: 12/21/14
One Slot, Levels 5-10
Short Description: Tiresias the Blind, in the wake of the discoveries of an undead cult under the temple quarter, calls a Conclave of the Factions. The Chosen attend the meeting only to be met with chaos and battle. What can they learn from it and how does it involve the missing High Priest of Zeus?

Summary
Characters: Yang Beifong, Heskarn, Bree Tealeaf, Tennessee

Under a rainy sky, the Chosen appear in Rome to find only the sleepy Thaddeus at the waystone to guide them into the city. Upon meeting back at the Shrine to Prometheus, Tiresias. the Blind Soothsayer, tells them that little action has been taken by the Legions since their discovery of the undead below the city. He laments that it is as if the Arbiters would rather ignore the problem than confront the reality of a cult of Hades in their midst.

Further, Tiresias believes only the Factions will be able to deal with the Cult if it gains in power and marches its restless dead upon the city. However, his pleas to the other leaders seems to fall on deaf ears. Adelphus Gein, the High Priest of Zeus, has not been seen in weeks nor returned letters from the Witnesses. Ianarius the Cornucopia has brushed off meetings, consumed by preparations for the Harvest Feast of the Descent, marking Persephone’s return to the Underworld. Renae of Apollo, dubious of the old soothsayer, ignores him in her pride. Efrem of Hermes, seems not to care while Sidony of Athena schemes to replace the Temple of Zeus as leader of the factions.

The Chosen seek out the leaders, and through shame, cajoling, intimidation, and outright bribery manage to convince all of them to meet Tiresias at the Waystone for a conclave at dusk. Though the ordeal costs them much of their coin as they needed to bribe the Legio Arbites upon being found near the Senate. Of them all, they find the most hope in the reclusive Adelphus of Zeus, who’s absence was easily explain as mourning for a wife and son lost to childbirth a month prior.

The Chosen, flushed with success return to the Witness shrine to prepare for the conclave. As dusk loomed, they made their way to the hills near the Hippodrome, where the Waystone rests. Sharp eyes caught sight of collectors of the dead heading towards the stables and athletes dormitories of the Hippodrome. When approached, the drivers fled, leaving their carts of linen draped dead behind. The Chosen approached, confronted by a number of undead, including the desiccated husks of mummies. During the battle, explosions rocked the hills near the aqueduct, coming from where the Waystone stands.

The Chosen finish off the dead and rush to the conclave site. What they find is devastation. The conclave tent, erected earlier in the day by Tiresias’ stewards, lie smoldering and obliterated. Bodies of the faction leaders and their attendants cast aside by the force of tremendous explosions. The Chosen tend to those they could save, cover those they could not, and a midst their mercies, are accosted by a platoon of Legio Arbites investigating from the city wall. Only a bribe settles their interest, leaving the survivors to make for the Temple Quarter, bearing the bodies of Renae, Efrem, Adelphus and a host of assistants, including young Thaddeus.

Tiresias wakes under the ministrations of Aella of Dionysus, despite the tragedy, he is more certain than ever that the chosen needs to hit the undead leadership in the necropolis if the cult is so brazen to make such an open attack.

The Chosen descend into the undercity only to find the massive cavern housing the army of the dead no longer exists. While the find the great wall and gates, along with the ruins of the Flesh Golems and Minotaurs that once guarded them. The rough hewn walls of the cavern end behind a line of noble mausoleums. The wall is solid and ancient, of the miles of necropolis that once stretched beyond, nothing can be found. Two of the chosen search and find the remnants of powerful artifacts that bent space, tuned to Carceri and Tarterus. Further search reveals that the noble mausoleums have been plundered, the bodies disinterred and in one, evidence of a dark animation ritual is found. That was found in the family crypt of Urbanus Gein, the very family of the High Priest of Zeus.

Returning to the surface, they find the city above being battered by gale force winds and torrents of rain. With every step, it seems the storm grows in power, dogging their steps to the Shrine of the Witnesses. There, they barter for the services of Aella who casts the ritual to speak with the dead. The blacked, burned body of Adelphus is awakened to see if he can provide insight into the doom that has befallen his family and the factions. After a few questions, it becomes apparent that the body is that not of the priest, but of a slave, either duped, charmed or animated to impersonate the missing faction leader. The Chosen head out to the temple of Zeus to confront the fallen priest.

The streets are empty as the storm, now a hurricane, beats down on the city. Lightning and thunder clash to make travel, even the few miles between the districts, an ordeal. The chosen arrive deep in the night, lighting flaring into the open roof of the temple. Only with their gifted sight, the Chosen see churning winds, elementals, guarding the entrances to the temple. With Yang in the lead, they scale the back walls of the temple and gaze upon the open air plaza within. Adelphus, clutching an artifact of power, stands invoking the corrupted powers of Zeus to destroy Rome under the fury of the skies. In the shadows of the colonnade around the plaza, a spectral creature lurks.

The battle is a marathon, as the four chosen attempt to stop the weather controlling ritual. Thinking the odds in their favor, they commit to the fight early, only to find the Stormlord more than a match. Aided by the command of the elements and his spectral wife, the mad priest pushes the chosen to the edge of death numerous times.

Only when they alter their tactics, targeting the spectral creature and banishing it, are they able to break the giant of a man’s concentration. Turning the tide, they push him to the limits of his resilience, finally felling the priest. Without him, the storm fails, eventually dwindling to a light rain at dawn.

In the early morning light, they leave the temple and are greeted by the golden sparks of Zeus, thanking them for breaking the corruption of his temple.

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DE-S1 Into the North
The Games Begin

Offered: 12/14/14
One Slot, Levels 5-10
Short Description: Winter is upon the people of Scandinavia and with it marauding Jötunnar and old rivalries threaten the peace. To divert his people’s attention King Olaf holds the first in a series of games. When the chosen join they cross paths with with a sinister force. To what end do Giants roam so far South so early in the season?

Players:
Hempen: Barbarian
Aife Scathach
Yang Beifong
’Rence Gale
Kev: Rogue
Tyriom
Others

Summary
The Chosen arrived in Trondhjem, Norway on the eve of Gormánuður; a feast day in honor of Freyr and the first day of winter. While sheltering for the evening in the local tavern The Chosen were invited to participate in the upcoming games by a small group of Völsungar warriors; Bersi the Skald, Eldjárn the Warrior and Gamli the Wanderer.

On the following morning the first of the games was announced and the group set out against two others to win a foot race to find the camp of Galinn Löfgren and return a white bear to Trondhjem.

For five days The Chosen raced North eventually pulling into the lead. On the eve of their second day they began to hear war drums and the sounds of loud guttural cries in the distance. The Chosen opted to stay their course and investigate the distant threat after winning the race.

By mid-day on their fifth day the war drums and guttural shouts had become constant. The Chosen’s path crossed the paths of at least two other groups of large humanoids and battle became an imminent threat.

When battle could no longer be avoided Tyriom and Hempen stood fast against the oncoming enemy while the rest of The Chosen lay in ambush. Tyriom’s attempt to parley with FitKit (an Ettin) and his Ogre hoard were thwarted as Hempen charged into battle. A decisive victory was won by ambush and skill at arms leaving The Chosen’s Völsungar companions awed by their skill at war.

Later that day The Chosen found Galinn Löfgren’s camp. Declaring The Chosen victorious in the race Galinn sought their aid in healing a warrior he had found dying on the Tundra.

The revived warrior told The Chosen that he had been struck a near fatal blow by a marauding band of Ogres but their leader had stopped them from killing him and instead left him for dead. Galinn informed them that it is highly unusual for Jötunnar to venture this far South and asked The Chosen to investigate the following morning.

As dawn of the following day approached a second group of Jötunnar surrounded the camp. A clumsily executed ambush led by a Gnoll quickly became a pitched battle. During the fight Bersi was almost killed by an Ogre but the killing blow was mysteriously stayed by shouted orders from his leader.

Pitched battle quickly became a route with the Giants and their leader in full flight. The Chosen pursued and managed to capture or kill all but on of their attackers. The Gnoll leader—now captive— resisted questioning about his master but revealed he had been ordered not to kill warriors in battle lest their souls move on to Valhalla.

The Chosen returned to Trondhjem with bear, Gnoll and a load of heads so impressive that old Berkhildr Sigrunarson—an experienced slayer of Jötunnar, game warden and Stratego— nearly wept with gratitude as she handed out their reward. The revalation that Giants had moved south and were mortally wounding warriors rather than slaying them outright was a cause of major concern.

Berkhildr and Galinn now seek council and question their captive while The Chosen enjoy hard earned rest.

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DE-J1 A Mother's Remorse
A missing Child, a mourning mother, and an angry father

First offered: 12/14
One slot, levels 5-10
short description: The chosen arrives in Kyoto, capital of the Empire of the Rising Sun. There they meet Tsubasa Daimeshi, a compassionate miko and find themselves thrown into the middle of a strange and complicated abduction case involving the heir to a local Daimyo.

Characters:: Marsalos, Rence, Aife, Tyreum, Kev, Hasken

Summary

The chosen find themselves in the city of Kyoto, capital of the Empire of the Rising Sun. There they meet Tsubasa, A miko and head of the Primal Order faction in Kyoto. They barely had time to experience the strange and foreign land before they were approached by a local Daimyo.

Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the local Daimyo of the region, had lost his son and only heir, Shin. He demanded the assistance of the chosen, and told them that he needed his heir found. be believed that a yokai was behind it, as it would be impossible for any normal man to steal away his heir.

The chosen began to investigate the lord’s estate and soon discovered that his wife had died during childbirth. They discover the room of the child empty, with only a few strands of hair remaining near the crib. Close examination of the hair find it magical, and maleable. The hair of a shapeshifter.

The chosen soon discovered another shapechanging yokai was watching them, in the guise of one of the Daimyo’s guards. After confronting him he ushered them to somewhere safe where he could tell them his tale. he told them that the mother did not die in childbirth, that she was killed by the Daimyo after giving birth. That the being that took Shin was known as a mu-onna, nothing woman, a yokai formed from the spirit of a mother who lost her child. A spirit who will either absorb the child out of grief or care for it, believing it is the deceased child’s mother.

They soon return back to the temple to speak again with Tsubasa, believing she knows more then she let on. After a tea ceremony where she spoke some interesting “poetry”, the chosen gleamed that the yokai they spoke to in the Damyo’s estate was actually Shin’s father. And that Toyotomi murdered his own wife after giving birth to his heir. Tsubasa told them that a mu-onna usually goes to a place that was important to the child or the child’s mother and then gifted them with an amulet of protection against detection and told them to do with it what they see fit. After leaving the shrine they found the raven’s belonging to the child’s yokai father and followed them.

The path lead outside of the city, to a secluded mountain stream. But tracks were there already. A group of ronin and mercenaries were also hired by Lord Hideyoshi to track down his missing heir. And to take care of whatever yokai had taken him. And when the chosen reached the bank of the stream they found a group of men trying to slay the faceless mu-onna and retake the child she held at her breast.

The mercenaries were all killed, and after the struggle the mu-onna was given the amulet and told to run off into the words. She nodded and thanked them, fleeing with her child.

Exhausted and exasperated at this strange and bizarre land, the chosen took their leave of the Land of the Rising Sun. For now, at least.

Mu-onna.jpg

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