Black Stars Beckon
After finishing What Grows Within last session, we are now into the sixth and final chapter of Strange Aeons as we begin Black Stars Beckon.
We have been transported across the black tapestry to the world of Carcosa, to a strange city that looked a lot like Neruzavin but compressed. The buildings were smaller, and most of the streets were too narrow for us to walk through. The streets are lit by light from a pallid moon, whilst two black suns are overhead. The entire place has an unearthly, spectral feel to it.
As we tried to get our bearings, there was a peculiar whistling noise on the wind – a sound we had come to associate with flying polyps. Nothing was visible, so Ray headed down the only street large enough for us to fit. From out of the air, lashed vaguely visible tentacles, grabbing at him and revealing the polyp that lurked near to one of the buildings. Which was fortunate, because where we could now see the polyp had been where I had been planning to run to for shelter. A second one appeared next to it as Sheena ran it to stab the first.
Knowing that they disliked electricity, I got out the electrical gun and shot at the first polyp, causing it to scream in pain. It lashed out at Ray again, but Catiana stepped in and gave it a punch, dropping it to the ground.
Both Gregor and Ray lay into the second one, whilst Catiana yelled insults at it to attract its attention away from Ray. That worked long enough for me and Gregor to finish it off with a combination of electricity and arrows.
With things now quiet, we headed down the widest of the streets where we came upon what initially looked like a life sized porcelain doll. She turned towards us to reveal a regal and breathtakingly beautiful woman with a crown and attire that marked her as royalty.
She introduced herself as Queen Cassilda, and seemed keen to talk to us. Apparently this had been her home under the King in Yellow came here to destroy it. He was on a mad quest to consume worlds in an attempt to become a Great Old One.
Carcosa, she said, was like a vampire and the Star Stelae were its fangs, latching onto worlds and feeding upon them. As Carcosa is fed, so is the King in Yellow. It is up to us to break the connections between Carcosa and the worlds upon which it feeds.
She has seen Count Lowles – he is activating the Star Stelae here in order to aid in the feeding of his god. There are three Stelae, each of which has consumed part of another world:
- Aevan Vhor
Of them, Aevan Vhor is the least stable and most likely to be consumed first, whilst Parsis is the most stable. So I guess this means we need to go and find the Stelae of Aevan Vhor and deactivate it.
There is a musician at Aevan Vhor who can walk between the various cities, and knows how to avoid the side effects of doing so. Queen Cassilda suggests that we find him and try and convince him to aid us. He is currently a guest of Lord Eldarius of Aevan-Vor.
It is then that the Queen shudders and falls silent, and then another voice rasps “My Lady, you talk too much”. From out of the darkness comes a man dressed in yellow.
This slender man stares with confidence and contempt, no small task for someone concealing his face. Only blue eyes peer out from behind a white, expressionless mask.
He seems to take control of the Queen, silencing her. He demands that we swear fealty to Hastur, and if we do we will be granted crowns of gold and made lords of the coming reality. It didn’t sound like that great a deal to me.
Sheena walked up to him, and stabbed him in the face, which began our fight with the Pallid Mask. When he died, he dissolved into twisting yellow signs that fade rapidly from sight.
The Queen gave us directions to Aevan Vhor, and so we left the shrunken version of Neruzavin, and headed to a rural place where peasants toiled in the fields. The peasants were quite dead, they just didn’t know it. The only sign of pleasantness seemed to be an inn, so we headed there to find some food, and hopefully people we could talk to.
There was a barmaid here serving food, and she seemed very much alive, though the rest of the patrons were dead – they just acted as if they still lived. She was pleased to see us, since apparently there are not many living left here now.
After providing us food, she tells us that Lowls was here, and he came with an old woman who was some kind of witch. She knows where Lord Eldarius is – he is a ghost that dwells up at his manor. She will take us there after she has finished for the evening.