Shining Light on Shadows

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We ended our previous session of Zweihänder just as shadows were unveiling themselves from the corners of the room. This was not a good thing to be happening, and I had been considering that maybe the best course of action for Eva was for her to try and jump out the stained glass window. In the end, something quite different happened.

The last item in the room to be examined was the sceptre, but as soon as I laid my hand upon it the four urns in the corners of the room shattered, and dark skeletal shadows uncurled themselves from the wreckage. Deciding not to hang around, I turned tail and ran straight for the door, leaving Noreen to light the book on fire.

I reached the outside corridor, but two of the shadows seemed to be gaining on me, so unable to run and out of options, I turned and thrust both the candle and sceptre in their faces, calling out on the God Emperor to drive them back. Surprisingly, my prayers were answered and the sceptre burst with holy energy, and both shadows were obliterated.

Player’s Note: I spent a Fate Point, and we also determined that I still had the stone on me from before. The nearest creature was destroyed, and the further one was harmed – but due to Djarin having put a crossbow bolt into its head whilst I was running it ended up being destroyed as well.

There was a flash of fire, and unholy screams from the room, and I stumbled back to the door at the top of the stairs and waited for the others to reach me. Once we were together again, we rushed down the stairs as fast as we could, getting to the basement just as a sudden blast rocked the entire building.

From discussion afterwards, it seems that Calthar and Djarin had both managed to harm the shadows, Calthar killing one. Noreen had set one on fire, then thrown her satchel at it – this was the source of the later explosion. The book itself, though engulfed in fire had seemed undamaged by the flames. Calthar had run over to the book and hit it hard with her Zweihänder, calling on the God Emperor and causing both the book and her sword to shatter.

We fled along the tunnels and made it to the sewers, but there were the howls of wolves behind us. Djarin tried to help us mask our scent (but covering ourselves with a lot of the scent from the sewer), and when we climbed out onto the street, I coated the exit with the strong smelling liquid Noreen had given us earlier. It was strong enough to kill our sense of smell, so I had hoped that it would also destroy the ability of any wolves to track us.

We eventually made it down to the docks and stole a small boat. Behind us, there were eerie sounding howls, then something that almost turned into a human-like scream. Could there have been werewolves on our tail? Piling into the boat, we allowed the current to carry us down stream. None of us knew how to pilot the boat, so we ended up in a tangle of reeds on the bank some distance from the city. We still stank, so we stripped down and tried our best to clean both ourselves and our clothes. Then we found a place to try and get some sleep until morning.

This morning Djarin and myself headed back to the city, leaving the others to look after our ‘loot’. The plan was to try and find the inquisitor Bernado, but I became convinced that somebody was following us. Djarin wasn’t so sure, but came up with a plan to try and lose them by hiding in various pubs. After about the third pub, I finally realised what he was up to, but at least we’d used the opportunity to get some breakfast and by that point I had started to feel somewhat less paranoid.

By lunchtime we found Bernado in the inn he normally staid at, and I recounted our adventures from the previous evening. He seemed concerned about a number of different things, and was willing to head back to the others to examine what we had found. Apparently the church of the Order of Redemption had been mostly destroyed last night in a large explosion, but there was no talk about who had been responsible.

On the way back to the others, the Inquisitor told us that he believed that the cult held a powerful holy artefact, and the sceptre was probably it. But after all the excitement I had taken a closer look at it and it had seemed more wooden and ‘fake’ than actually holy. He knew that Sir Kelvis, a person we’d pretty much forgotten about by this point, had been involved in the obtaining of the sceptre, so possibly he had given the Order of Redemption a fake version of it and kept the real one?

Once he had reached the others, we were able to take the time to really look at the items. I decided to risk some magick, trying to determine which of the items were actually enchanted and which not. Once again I almost lots control of the magick – my eyes became partially blinded, but I could just about see – and what’s more the magickal auras stood out in great details.

Player’s Notes: Casting the usual Detect Magick, I got a critical success (77!), but since I’d pushed three times (for a +30% bonus, if I hand’t that would have been a critical failure) I had to roll 3d6 for chance of a mishap. I got a single 6, and rolled ‘Milky Eyes’ – I was unable to see clearly, and would automatically fail any skill test that requires sight for the next three hours. Given that the spell lasts 7 minutes, that would have completely ruined the spell had the GM not ruled that I would still be able to see well enough to make use of its effects. My feeling at this point is that Magick is simply not worth it. It’s not powerful enough to outweigh the costs of using it.

The old paintings had a faint residue of preservation magick on them (though one, which had been mostly destroyed in our boat mishap) was pretty much non-magickal by this point. The new looking one though radiated a strong enchantment of communication and some distance effect. Maybe it was a way of communicating with someone?

The sceptre had a strong enchantment on it – but it was one of misdirection to provide a fake aura. Very probably the Order thought that they had had a real holy artefact. Well, if they do catch up with us they may end up being more annoyed that whoever they got it from than with us who stole it.

The gold which Calthar had taken was non-magickal, but the ink I had taken from the alchemist’s lab below was highly enchanted, a form of life binding magick. We wondered whether it was what was being used to write the contracts that the peasants were being persuaded to sign with their own blood.

I was also able to take a look at the hilt (pretty much all there was left) of Calthar’s Zweihänder – which now had a faint divine aura about it.

Finally, the medallions that we had been given by the Baron had some form of protective and life binding enchantment on them. Though the enchantment on Calthar’s was relatively weaker, since she never wore hers.

A more mundane look at the paintings suggested that they were about 400 years old, and somewhat heretical in what they depicted. The clothing and armour on them was of an old design. However, Calthar noticed that the painting of the Handmaiden looked a lot like Lady Zinofiel, the owner of the White Orchid whom she had met a few nights back. Curious.

After a long conversation, Bernado is willing to take the gold and items off our hands. Noreen was initially wanting to hold onto the gold, until it was pointed out to her that they had probably been used in human sacrifice – at which point she wanted nothing more to do with it.

Finally, the Inquisitor handed me a ring – it has small marks on the inside which identified the holder as a member of the Inquisition. I guess that these problems are more of my responsibility now then, but what we’re going to do next I’m not sure.

Samuel Penn

Samuel Penn