[Taocow PBEM] Book 3 - Chapter XVII - Return to Hoburn Hill

Aaron Clausen mightymartianca at gmail.com
Sat Mar 7 01:52:44 UTC 2015

>> [Jacek]
>> Jacek is still furious. "The Hood will recover to some extent from his
>> injuries, though he will need cybernetics. If I were in command, I
>> would take that cage out to see and dump it into the deepest part."
>> His electronic voice only enhances his anger at this creature being
>> taken along with them.
>> [/Jacek]

> [Oz]
> Oz nods at the former bandit. "If I thought it would do any good, I'd
> slit her throat and dump her in a ditch myself. But dropping the cage
> somewhere, even the deepest, darkest hole we can find, seems to
> promise that she'd be free eventually. At least if we're watching her
> we can try to stop her when she tries to escape. Which I'm sure she
> will." He glances at the druids and goes on more quietly. "And I'm not
> sure the druids would have taken no for an answer about this. They
> didn't want to keep her and we owed them."
> With that in mind, Oz orders a heavy watch put on the cage. No guard
> is ever to be left alone with the girl, no one is ever to go within
> arm's reach of the cage, and no one is to talk to her. If she starts
> trying to talk to the guards, she is to be ignored and if she persists
> white noise generators should be deployed to block her voice. He
> reiterates to his officers to relay to the guard that she is a demon
> and no matter what she says she cannot get sick, does not need
> comforting, and absolutely may never, ever have physical contact with
> anyone.
> [/Oz]

Most of the men by this point know exactly what kind of creature she is,
and go well beyond even reasonable precautions.

The demon, of course, spends most of her time taunting her captors.

>> [GM]
>> Other news is not nearly so grim. Despite general dislike of the
>> pro-magic, pro-D-Bee stance of New Camelot, the New German Republic
>> has decided to send aid in the form of a part of its Baltic Sea fleet,
>> with the possibility that it may land ground forces if New Camelot and
>> its allies cannot hold off the Splugorth. Rumor has it that NGR has
>> even informed the Coalition that its assistance may be required. Some
>> among the company's hosts are ill-pleased by this, the Elf Druid
>> Taelaen suggesting "I fear that if the New German Republic is
>> successful in occupying Splugorth-controlled lands, they will not
>> leave."
>> [/GM]

> [Oz]
> Oz's German accent is pronounced as he responds. "And if they are able
> to turn back the alien invaders, are they not entitled to stay? Would
> not the people of New Camelot be better off with a military force that
> can effectively fight such threats nearby?"
> [/Oz]

The elf merely shrugs, not even acknowledging any offence she might have
given. "Our experience with the New German Republic has not been entirely
positive, Sir Osmar. They would be better neighbors than the Splugorth, to
be sure, but whether they would be good neighbors in their own right,
neither of us can say."

> [Alex]
> If they get a chance, Alex will show Vesper a good time. May not be true
> love but she is a romantic at heart. She dresses up really nice in a dress
> as well. She is pretty curious about magic. It does not appear as if she
> any wish to become a wizard herself but just wants to learn a bit more.
> One item she will look towards is if there are any available used hover
> she might be able to acquire. Might be able to afford at least a
> version if they have any.
> [/Alex]

The ship comes with a complement of four Triad hovercycles.

> [Vesper]
> Vesper is more then happy to enjoy some simple times with Alex away from
combat and
> the constant fighting they had been doing with the Splugorth and other
forces. He would have
> bought himself a nice outfit and taken Alex to one of the restaurants
that surely must be in or
> around the great tree.
> He will explain what he can about magic to Alex keeping it in laymans
terms. Explaining about the
> various disciplines of magic he has come across as well as his own
practice of Shifting. He enjoys the
> downtime with Alex as much as possible. It's clear he enjoys the
peacetime much more then the
> constant running war the group has been through.
> [/Vesper]

>> [GM]
>> ...
>> Now, before the company, is the ruins of that ancient supercity;
>> stretching as far as the eye can see. In the midst, gleaming in the
>> sinking sun, is the River Mersey, and to the west of it the Irish Sea.
>> Alex, in particular, is reminded of Old Chicago; seemingly endless
>> rows of ruined buildings, many toppled, but some still standing,
>> looking toothless and grey. From this distance, the supercity looks
>> abandoned, but as they approach, they can make out numerous fires,
>> some small camp fires, some huge bonfires, though the identities of
>> those who have lit them can't be determined.
>> A number of the major ley lines of the British Isles run through this
>> region, and in this distance three larger nexus points can be
>> glimpsed, as well as half a dozen smaller ones. This is a land that,
>> even in the darkness, is perpetually lit by the great energies of ley
>> lines. At least two millennium trees are also distantly visible;
>> supernatural wonders in the midst of a waste of ruined concrete and
>> steel.
>> Captain Neeson looks to the adventurers. "The shortest route is over
>> these ruins, which might take us an hour or two. However, this is a
>> cursed land. I have served on only one ship that dared this realm; a
>> band of scholars and treasure seekers, and we were attacked by a demon
>> and a band of mutants and D-Bees. The whole of these ruins is divided
>> into dozens of so-called kingdoms; some ruled by demons, some by
>> powerful D-Bees, some by violent men. Borders shift all the time, and
>> the only way to make it across is to have enough treasure to buy safe
>> passage; but too much and maybe they just attack you and take what you
>> have."
>> "Alternatively," she continues, "we push eastward towards Old York.
>> That area is, or at least was, relatively peaceful, with many small
>> but stable kingdoms. We lose time, however. It is up to you."
>> [/GM]

> [Alex]
> Otherwise, as the good soldier she is, she is ready to travel once the
> gets ready to go. If she is able to get the hover bike, will do scouting
for the
> ship. The hover bike should be faster.
> [/Alex]

> [Ted]
> Ted had been conspicuously quiet and aloof during the preparation for
> journey. He had helped load equipment and make plans, but avoided the
> cold iron cage and its occupant. He had taken his meals alone, risen early
> in the morning and retired immediately following supper. He no longer
> seemed physically bothered by the girl's presence; it seemed more than he
> wanted to be done with her and her curse and move on with his life. So, it
> comes as a surprise to the others when he recommends the longer, more
> conservative route around the city.
> [/Ted]

> [Oz]
> "I'm inclined to go around through Old York. This ship is our only
> transportation and it's the closest thing we've got to a home. I don't
> to risk it against demons and unknown d-bees."
> [/Oz]

> [Alex]
> When they get to the disputed lands, the ex-Coalition ranger looks towards
> the various kingdoms and asks, "Is there any way we might fight our way
> through. Too bad we do not have a special forces with us."
> [/Alex]

> [Vesper]
> When the areas are described he offers that if an area has entities,
haunts and similar things he
> should normally be able to scatter them but risking going through such an
area with the demon girl
> would be very dangerous for she is likely to draw some of the nastiest
entities like possessing entities
> or tectonic ones. So he is for going around as well.
> [/Vesper]

> [Alex]
> "I enjoy being a scout," Alex responds to Vesper when he indicates that
he likes
> times of peace over war. "Just as happy exploring as being a soldier.
> fascinating places to learn about."
> "Not many options in the Coalition," the red headed woman continues.
"They are always
> looking for skilled scouts or training them. I don't think I really have
what it takes to be a
> commando or special forces. "
> [/Alex]

The navigator finds a ley line heading eastward. It is a smaller like that
should avoid any major nexus points, and hopefully anyone seeking to follow
them. Night slips over the company and then they can clearly see the glow
of the ruins.

Captain Neeson shakes her head, some worry on her face. "Those are the
Ghost Lights of Liverman. Some of the light is the nexus points, some of it
is lingering radiation, and some of it, well if the tales are to be
believed, are permanently opened rifts; gateways created during the dark
days of the Apocalypse by the first great sorcerers of the new age; gates
to unimagined hells."

"What they usually mean," the navigator interjects, "is intense ley line
activity, which makes sailing on a ley line, even a minor one, dangerous.
I've seen this glow a few times, but never this bright. And the ozone, it
is getting stronger."

As the navigator speaks, everyone can smell the sharp odour of ozone, and
those sensitive to it can feel the growing tingling sensation. A ley line
storm is brewing.

The area they are entering is hilly, and the ruins themselves are out of
sight, though the glow is not. A few bluish bolts of lightening flash in
the sky, and the ship trembles slightly at the energies coursing down the
ley line.

"We can try to outrun the storm," the Captain says, "or we can take the
ship off the ley line and hunker down around here."

It is reasonably sheltered. A few houses remain, half fallen down, but
large and well built to have lasted through these centuries. They look to
have been mansions, so perhaps this was a suburb of the great city, an
escape and retreat for its wealthier citizens.

Aaron Clausen
mightymartianca at gmail.com

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