[Taocow PBEM] Chapter XVI - Into The Southlands

Aaron Clausen mightymartianca at gmail.com
Mon Aug 25 21:00:56 BST 2008

> [Carlos]
> "Lady Frost! Grab Osiris and get out of there!" Carlos then runs, swims, and jumps like
> mad to get to the boat.
> [/Carlos]

> > > > [Lady Frost]
> > > > Lady Frost looks at Ted, and then back at the chamber below as it fills with
> > > > molten rock.  "I'll be back in a moment."  With that she leaps back towards
> > > > the manhole, ice leaping from her hands down into the heat below.  "I won't
> > > > leave one of ours behind!" she shouts as she climbs down into the lower
> > > > chamber.
> > > > [/Lady Frost]

> > > [Ted]
> > > "Frost, I don't...," the lizard man begins. He feels the floor rumble again
> > > and decides to make for the surface. With all her superpowers and
> > > experience, surely she will join them shortly.
> > > [/Ted]

> > [GM]
> > Above, just as the first of the company climbs up the rope to the top of the
> > island, they can see the boat struck by a boulder and Alister flung into the
> > water.
> >
> > The island is now shaking horribly, so badly that even standing is
> > difficult.  Below, in the chambers, all that can be seen is the red of
> > magma, which is coming closer to the surface.  This is offset in a most
> > distressing way by the blue of ley lines doing the impossible, and moving to
> > converge on the island.
> > [/GM]

> [Sia]
> Sialillion rises from the tomb and takes two steps out before being
> shaken off her feet.  It's then that she casts her eyes skyward.  Her
> jaw drops, and she's rendered speechless by the impossible sight of
> the ley lines approaching from the north and south.  She looks
> terrified.  Rooks can be heard crowing plaintively somewhere far away,
> giving voice to Sialillion's feelings of the situation.
> As soon as she regains her wits she does her best to run to the bottom
> of the hill towards the boat while maintaining her footing.  She also
> has Rooks (who has been hiding in the trees nearby) get an aerial view
> of the situation.  Are there any other ley lines bending towards the
> island?  How long until the ley lines are right on top of her and the
> rest of the party?
> [/Sia]

There are four ley lines in total.  None of the ley lines are yet close enough,
but perhaps within a few minutes.

> [Ted]
> Ted directs everyone to the boat as quickly as they can get there.
> [/Ted]

> [Koba]
> Watching the whole event unfold from the surface, Koba is watching those ley
> lines closely. Nexus points are well known to be points of incredible power
> and can form rifts, but what happens when a new nexus forms right above
> their heads. An interesting question he would like to find an answer to from
> many miles away. Looking down the rope he holds, he has wrapped his end
> around his arm and trying to hold his grip as everone franticly climes up
> the rope. While not known for his strength, he is doing his best.
> As soon as everyone is out of the chambers and on their way to the boat,
> Koba flies over and attempts to pluck Alister from the water.
> [/Koba]

> [Sia]
> Sialillion continues to struggle to find sure footing as she clamors
> down the side of the hill towards the boat.
> [/Sia]

> > [GM]
> > Louissa nods.  She pulls a large lever and the whine of the anchor motor can
> > be heard, as the cable begins winding up.  At that very moment, another
> > large boulder comes lose, crashing down on the deck with a loud boom.  The
> > boat suddenly lists heavily, and with a shout Alister is flung into the
> > swift river.
> >
> > Nearly as dramatically the boat lists to the other side before righting
> > itself.  Out in the river, Alister can be seen trying to swim back to the
> > boat, but it's all he can do just to keep up with the current, and he'll
> > tire soon.
> > [/GM]

> [Alex]
> Alex looks around and finds a life support ring. She throws it towards
> Alister's position. She can only hope that the boat says afloat.
> [/Alex]

Alister manages to catch the ring and scrabbles up on to it.  In a few moments
Koba reaches Alister and manages to get a hold of him and pull him out of the

As for everyone else, a line is tossed over to the small landing, and Louissa
does her best to keep the boat from drifting too close or too far.
It's a strain,
particularly as the boat seems to be taking on a bit of water..

Once Alister is aboard, he immediately heads below to try to stem the leak.

Once everyone is aboard, Louissa simply cuts the line and with a roar of
the engines, begins heading down river as fast as the boat can manage.  It
is just a short hour or so from dawn, and yet any glimmer from the approaching
sun is blotted out by the bright blue of the ley lines, brighter even
then normal,
perhaps protesting this violation of their basic nature.

[Lady Frost]
Even as the boat pulls away, through the wrack and ruin of the island, a figure
appears.  It is Lady Frost, her icy form covered in dust.  On her shoulders is
Osiris.  Raising her hands, a ragged ice bridge appears and though stumbling,
she manages to make it across and with a final burst of speed leaps on to the
[/Lady Frost]

The seconds tick by, and Louissa's basic training shows itself.  She is unsure
as to how to steer the boat through the raging torrent that is the Hudson River.
She tries dodging high waves instead of plowing through them and a couple of
times the boat nearly capsizes.  It's all the company can do just to hang on.

The southernmost ley line is now within a mile, and so bright it casts shadows.
The river is more like a wild untamed surf, with waves fifteen feet high.  Some
sort of static-like discharges from the ley line are exciting the
water, and every
magic-user and psychic feels the vibration of mystic energy like an

Suddenly the ley line is immediately above them, and an immense wave beneath
it crashes on to the deck with a terrifying thud.  The very structure
of the boat
moans in protest, as the wave attempts to smash it to pieces.  The roar is all-
encompassing, so powerful that it makes hearing even in full environmental
armor impossible.

And then it is gone.  The ley line has passed by.  The river becomes quieter,
the tortures of the event leaving little more than a few small whirlpools and
choppy waves.  All around, however, the signs of destruction are clear.  Bodies
of people and animals float in the water, smashed boats have been crushed
against the banks, a small village can only be recognized by the stone
of its houses, everything else swept away in a horrible tide.

Lady Louissa hangs on to the wheel and throttle, her hands pure white from the
strain, her eyes wide.  Though she can scarcely believe it, she has managed
to keep the boat afloat through what must have been the most powerful mystical
storm to strike this land since the Apocalypse itself.

It is only now that the company can take stock.  Lady Frost lays on
the deck, one
hand clinging to a rope while the other hangs on to Osiris.  Before
the rest of the
company's eyes, Frost's form alters from ice woman into that of Amanda Connors.
Though no injury can be seen, she is unconscious.

As for Osiris, the situation is worse.  The old man's face looks
hollow, his eyes
open and yet unfocused.  His breathing is shallow, his body wracked with some
sort of fever.  Two injured and, if Carlos is right, too little time
to seek treatment.

Fort Peters, Lady Louissa's home, and the place where the rest of the party
(apart from Lady Sialillion, Alister and Koba) had just been a couple of days
ago is before them.

Louissa looks to the others.  "It seems I am the only one that can
pilot this craft.
I'm afraid your stuck with me at least until the Last Bridge.  There we have a
small outpost, the closest to the ruins of Old New York.  From there,
I don't know
where you want to go.  If it's further south, then take me, and we'll
take a run at
the Gulf of New York, or if you like, you can go overland to wherever your
destination is.

Geographical note (entirely of my own creation): The Gulf of New York is
a large bay made up of what once was the Upper and Lower New York Bays,
as well as a fair portion of the old city (now submerged).  While Louissa and
Sialillion are likely to know something of it, very few people from Poughkeepsie
have seen it, and even fewer have ever come back.  The most most people in
most of North America has ever heard is that it's a haunt for pirates or
supernatural beings or mutant humans or sea beasts or Splugorth Slavers
or a nexus point that regularly opens up to introduce new horrows on to Earth...
or possibly all of the above.

Aaron Clausen
mightymartianca at gmail.com

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