Chronicles of Khaldun: Crux of Eternity

Expedition to the Black Moor, Part 8

Waterday, Goodmonth 5, 552 CY (50 AN)

Hearing that the command center is open, Bezaldooz, Bosabrieln, Peren, Valna, and their ally R-66Y decide to proceed. When they arrive before the door, it is open. A hallway stretches off to the left. They walk down that hallway, and when it turns right, they follow.

The windows and open doors reveal a large chamber containing various control panels similar to those they have previously seen. A raised dais sits in the middle of the room; it appears to have some sort of light projection function. At the far side of the room, several large tanks sit; they are surmised to be some sort of cooling system. One large turret is visible in the room.

As the group enters, the doors close and a large, blue, feminine, humanoid figure is projected on the dais. Two other heavy turrets are visible inside the room. It is translucent and obviously an illusion. Evidently the face behind the Voice, she addresses the Shields of the Sorrowfell, indicating that she has determined them to be terrorist saboteurs. She has further determined that R-66Y has been subverted. Her only conclusion is that they must be terminated.

She activates the turrets and starts pumping poison gas into the room.

The Shields go to work, despite the danger of the gas. R-66Y goes to work on the computer, and he activates a dehydrated scientist (just add water!) to aid him. He is quickly joined by Bezaldooz. Bosabrieln, Peren, and Valna each target a turret before Bosabrieln moves to access the command console. Peren rushes up one of the ladders and destroys a turret with his swords. As Bezaldooz, R-66Y, and the scientist attempt to force the system to reboot, Bosabrieln addresses the computer and convinces it to shut itself down.

All told, the procedure takes about fifteen seconds.

Everything goes dark. After a few seconds, the light-projector that projected the female illusion reactivates, displaying some sort of readout. The lights start to reactivate as the readout starts displaying large quantities of information, apparently some sort of restart procedure. After a few minutes, the scrolling, alien text is replaced by a giant face depicting the same woman as before. It quickly zooms out, revealing the same figure.

The Shields of the Sorrowfell speak with her. She apologizes for their trouble, and at Bosabrieln’s behest, introduces herself as SENSEI (apparently an acronym for Sentinel Electronic Nervous System and Engineered Intelligence). She explains how the Sentinel encountered a wormhole — a portal, she explains — in something called the Oort Cloud. It drew the ship inside. Interference knocked out the sensory arrays (and evidently adversely affected SENSEI’s mind), but SENSEI’s understanding from members of the crew is that they traveled through some other place. One described it as a featureless void, while another described it as punching through fleshy layers resembling onion skin. The Shields recognize descriptions of the dreaded Far Realm, suggesting that the ship traveled through that accursed realm, and if the mind flayer and intellect devourers were any indication, it picked up some hitchhikers along the way. A disease erupted which wiped out the crew, and leaving the Sentinel stuck here. Since the ship was designed to split when it reached its destination, some of the sections evidently broke apart from the stress, meaning that the three floors here are not the only parts of the Sentinel. SENSEI has no way of knowing whether any other sections came through with this one.

As for the problem regarding creatures attacking the swamps, as she is now in her right mind, SENSEI can keep the doors properly closed to prevent any exodus.

Bosabrieln thanks her, and says that some researchers from a nearby university will likely seek to come with questions after they leave. SENSEI seems excited at the prospect. She then informs them that they are welcome to investigate the armory, and that the command center crew has quarters nearby, complete with running water. Baths and showers are located on the first level.

Investigating the armory, the group finds what they initially suspect to be a humanoid construct, but what they quickly determine to be some manner of armor. It is too heavy for any of them to wear, although Torinn might be able to make use of it. Other items of note include a collar that bolsters the reflexes and immune system of the wearer, a headband that scans environments and focuses mental power, and a heavy mace-like object that occasionally knocks opponents to the ground. Bezaldooz, Bosabrieln, and Valna take them, respectively.

Bosabrieln takes the opportunity to shower, and the group rests.

The next day, the group develops a plan to return to Duchy Jepson. They will transport the bodies atop a bier atop a conjured Tenser’s Floating Disk. The group goes to gather boughs to construct said bier, but as they exit the cave, they see an old man sitting on a rock. Seven canaries flutter about him, settling on his shoulders. As the group hails him, they all recall the tales — the Old Man with the Canaries is a legendary sage, and is a mask for none other than Bahamut himself. They also recall that the Platinum Claws are dedicated to Bahamut. He bids them to not concern themselves with resurrecting the Platinum Claws; he will see to it. They should worry only about their companion. Bosabrieln attempts to return the magic wand he took from Sariel, but the Old Man refuses, telling him to keep it. He does thank Bosabrieln for the gesture, however, and pointedly looks at the other three. Bosabrieln asks to shake his hand and he allows it. He then takes his leave, with the Shields of the Sorrowfell bidding him farewell.

After that interlude, they decide to visit the Terrible Old Man in the hopes of reviving Torinn so they can simply walk home. They sell some scrounged technology, which the Terrible Old Man seems to recognize while making other cryptic, vaguely unnerving references to other times and places. Bezaldooz also resells the cloak he purchased from the Terrible Old Man, and the group purchases the necessary incenses and oinments to use in the Raise Dead ritual. The group returns so that Valna can study the ritual for a few hours, and then she enacts it over the course of several more hours.

Torinn awakens, asks for his axe, and punches Bezaldooz. The Shields explain what happened, and introduce him to his new suit of powered armor. With the group reunited, they deign to return the following day.

The next morning, Freeday, Goodmonth 7, the group departs. They arrive three days later, on Moonday, Goodmonth 10, to greet the guards outside Duchy Jepson. After some debate, they decide to meet with Headmaster Ebenezer Jepson that day, and so go to the Wizard’s Tower. Once they arrive in Headmaster Jepson’s sanctum, they catch his attention. He seems pleased to see them and asks about their adventure. Bosabrieln relates an abbreviated version of events — he plans on telling the tale that evening at the Addled Alchemist — and some of the Shields of the Sorrowfell offer objects they found in the Sentinel. Bezaldooz gives him a grenade that appears to have additional effects against aquatic creatures, Bosabrieln gives him a translator creature apparently called a “Blather Gecko,” and Peren gives him a chess set he recovered from the ship, evidently made from the strange material found throughout the Sentinel.

Bosabrieln then asks of any news. Headmaster Jepson indicates that there are no further developments regarding the teleportation circle in the kobolds’ caverns; any divinations they’ve done have been murky, and research has not offered any explanation. The Headmaster also indicates that, should they be interested, he may have some work with his abolitionist allies in Scandshar, although he has not contacted them in a little while, and so that would probably be a couple of weeks off. The Shields of the Sorrowfell are also to be considered guests of the town, and will no longer be charged for room and board. He further indicates that they should be ready on the morrow, as they are to be brought before the Duchess Jepson for a small ceremony. He finally tells them to meet with Adeptus Gloomblight Spellweaver downstairs, as he will see to their payment. They bid the Headmaster adieu, and Bosabrieln reminds him to visit the Addled Alchemist that night.

Arriving downstairs, the Shields find Adeptus Spellweaver with a rather large wooden chest. They exchange greetings, and he leaves them to their 5,000 gp payment. Bosabrieln informs him that he plans on recounting their adventures in the Black Moor and aboard the Sentinel this evening at the Addled Alchemist.

With the day ahead of them, the group decides to go shopping for supplies. Afterward, they simply gather until the evening. That evening, as planned, Bosabrieln tells the assembled travelers about the harrowing adventure through the Black Moor swamp and into the ruins of the crashed extraplanar vessel. Everyone is enthralled by the telling, and the Shields end the night by celebrating. Peren, Torinn, and Valna all drink and celebrate raucously, and each goes to bed with some students from the town. Peren manages to impress both and elf and eladrin lady, while Torinn travels upstairs with a young dragonborn sorceress, and Valna finds a bookish young sage. Bosabrieln refrains from drinking, but still revels and retires to his room with a contingent of an elf lass and two eladrin women.

Bezaldooz, strangely, goes to bed early, alone. However, just as he is ready to go to bed, mist starts sliding through the cracks in his window. It coalesces into the form of the beautiful, pale woman he met before he left for the Black Moor. She asks how his studies are going, and asks if he has considered her offer of immortality. He says he needs more time to consider. After some discussion, the two do work out some continuing teaching arrangement, and she ends the night by crawling into his bed.

The next morning, everyone makes his or her way downstairs. Peren and Torinn are both hung over, but manage to maintain their composure. Bezaldooz appears somewhat pale and a touch woozy, but manages to compose himself. Bosabrieln and Valna appear to be none the worse for wear. Everybody breakfasts and hangs around until a steward from Duchess Jepson’s palace arrives. He informs them that they are expected in the afternoon, and that he will wait here for them. They may prepare at their leisure.

As many of the Shields purchased fine clothing the previous day, they decide to change. Torinn did not purchase anything of the sort, although he will wear his shiny new armor. Once everyone is prepared, they follow the steward to the palace.

When they arrive, he shows them to a waiting room with refreshments and says that they will likely be fetched in about an hour. In that time, he returns and asks if they are all prepared. They reply affirmatively, and he leads them to the throne room. Guards open the doors, revealing a court full of people ready to hear the proclamation. The steward announces them, and one by one, they are called forward. Headmaster Ebenezer Jepson bestows an honorary Adeptus rank upon Bezaldooz, complementing his scholarly abilities. He also bestows an honorary Adeptus rank upon Bosabrieln, saying that he does not know him as well as Bezaldooz, but he can vouch that Bosabrieln was mentored by one of the greatest bards he’s known. When Bosabrieln returns to his spot, he briefly scans the room and sees that his mentor, Vianibrar, is indeed present. The Captain of the Guard bestows the rank of Sergeant-at-Arms upon Peren and Torinn, giving them both badges and making them officers of the law. Abbot Aelius gives Valna a small, silver amulet of Pelor and bestows upon her the rank of Deaconess. They embrace before parting. Finally, Duchess Jepson bestows the Shields of the Sorrowfell with the title of Baron; she indicates that, for the time being, they are landless, but they are still ranking members of the nobility until such time as they are assigned a parcel of land.

The group then has the opportunity to socialize, and they do so. Bosabrieln speaks to Vianibrar and learns that Vianibrar will likely be in town for a while. Bosabrieln and Valna then proceed to make smalltalk with the members of the court while Bezaldooz, Peren, and Torinn do the same, albeit in a significantly more boisterous and crude manner. Duchess Jepson, at least, is entertained.

Finally, the party starts to die down, and the Shields of the Sorrowfell take their leave.