Entry 190, Day 106, brunch
Our day begins investigating the nearby barbarian tribe. They live on the cliffside, and are thus in a good position to know about the varying monsters of madness within the Scar while avoiding being tainted by it.
Entry 191, Day 106, Afternoon
Well, I was wrong.
We met a traumatized young man who was (it seems) the last member of his tribe. His chieftan, a powerful warrior named Akina Cragstorm, had slaughtered his family, killing everyone who did not escape. She had been a great leader, but had chosen to leave on some kind of vision-quest; and she returned atop a mechanical horse. Her eyes burned with a yellow tint and robed humanoids marched with her, assisting in her bloody work.
We investigated, I was expecting servants of the Dominion and hooded cultists, but was quickly disabused when the clockwork monsters threw off their cloaks and began to fire. But I am getting ahead of myself. We found the village in ruins, tents ransacked and their ritual ziggurat spattered with blood. We climbed the mound to check for cultish activity (and to attract attention of any would-be watchers) and were soon assaulted by Cragstorm and her forces.
She was a mounted fury, striking hard and fast with her lance and commanding her mechanical servants to pepper us with repeating crossbow-fire; but in the end we brought her low. Amusingly, the Bralani Azata who heeded my magical call in the midst of battle was able to calm and capture the steel horse, which seems for all the world to act just like one of its flesh-and-blood counterparts.
Study of Cragstorm’s body revealed Silvermount Fluid Abuse. Her consumption of the tainted substance had twisted her mind and body so that she would find more in common with machines than her own kind, and would have influence over them as a chieftain to her tribe. Some damaged idea borne of this affliction led her to tear the hearts out of her kith and kin, burning them in the village altar.
We collected all the bodies we could find and gave them proper burial. Such things are important, especially to those in mourning. I convinced the survivor who led us here to stay a while with Paetyr, they could use each others’ help and support, and I’ve no wish to drag them into the thick of things. I get the feeling he will be walking his own path, seeking any survivors of his clan or a new clan to join. I would recruit him for Arim’s little empire, but he has the look of a wanderer who cannot be settled down in such a way.
Our next item on the agenda is investigating a cave said to have tech-using people in it.
Entry 192, Day 106, evening
We met some escapees. Soldiers of the Technic League have come from afar to investigate the troubles here, and their investigations lead to a breakdown of order. It seems these breakaways took issue with the orders that they were receiving from the Kytons in their retinue. They were so very paranoid about Kytons that their first questions when I began to parley with them revolved around contact with outsiders, contact with evil outsiders, and finally contact with Kytons.
Preferring honesty to attempting to lie, I told them the truth. As a result, Flynn was very much distrusted, but we still managed to get over that little social “hiccup” and get information. They were cagey, but very concerned about the Kytons and about the “change” in leadership once the organization got there. I suspect these people are loyalists, chased out by a bunch of chain-devils who switched allegiance to the Dominion. It is known that the void between the stars is where Zon-Kuthon became the thing that he is now.
We also got some information about Binoc, the apparent “master” of the robots near where Isuma was staying. They fought the robots several times, always being overwhelmed and forced to retreat, but always being attacked with non-lethal methods. A curious series of events.
They made nebulous agreements to helping us if we went and fucked up the Kytons, and since we were going to do that anyway, we’ll be kicking in the door there. I do not enjoy helping the League, but in a battle between elemental evils and mere servants of evil, the necessity is clear.
Entry 193, Day 107, noon
We have infiltrated the base and discovered some new information. The refugees we met were deserters, and only turned away from the Kytons because Kytons are nasty monsters. This is a useful development, as it means that the deserters will have difficulty going back to the League, and we may be able to turn some of them. Of the forces that remain, Erin the priestess is slavishly devoted to her new god, Zon-Kuthon and will fight to the death, as will the Kytons attached to each squad. Jessica the alchemist, however, may be willing to abandon the fight if none stand to “force her to keep the faith.” We have already turned a pair of soldiers to the cause of the deserters, and I believe that most of them will in the absence of leadership to the contrary.
I believe I can recruit most of these people. The corrupt and evil League sent them here on a fool’s errand, and will likely have them arrested if they return without their devilish “political officer” watchers. This “Jessica” might prefer having access to better support, better technological forges, and more sane leadership. Likewise Paetyr may find value in creating a preserve of nature and magic built off of my Wayshrine. Which will be a comfort to many who find discomfort in the sterile nature of technology.
Thinking on this, I miss Bas.
In any event, we have more battles to fight.