Thursday, December 24, 2009

Chapter 12, Part 2: "Return to the Bornite Mountains"

This Episode's Cast of Characters:

Buzz Brazelhach - Rowdy, Hearty and Lusty Australian Adventurer
Dickie Dee - Bone Man Intoxicant Addict and Sorcerer
Jedediah - 1850s' Nevada Alien Abductee, Cousin of Thibodeaux
Nigel Nightbringer - British Man-at-Arms
Thibodeaux - 1850s' Nevada Alien Abductee, Cousin of Jedediah
Thragg the Skyman - Zermish Man Ornithopter Passenger and Fighting-Man
Dank Darkstar - Earth Man (Texan) Fighting-Man,
Former Crewman of the Scout Rocket Alpha
Mookla of the Slime Lands - Fighting-Mutant possessing a Sulfurous Stench and twisted limbs

Part I Here, Part III Here.

The party sets forth from the rough mining town of Pit into the Prismatic Wastes, the towering iridescent heaps of the Bornite Mountains on their right as they travel through the foothills. Eventually, when the rolling green Moss Steppes are visible to the northwest, Buzz seeks out a familiar trail leading up into the mountains.

The party, especially Thragg the Skyman who is clad in a cumbersome splint mail harness, make slow progress through the rocky heaving paths of the Bornite Mountain. On more than one occasion the companions watch in sullen disgust as Thragg clumsily tumbles or slides down a rocky slope.

When the party is settled in a makeshift campsite for the night their patron, the hunted Vaasht nobleman Jhooghavahr, makes a fuss about how long it's taking to travel through the mountains and begins harassing Thragg the Skyman to switch to less encumbering armor, eventually offering the use of his own suit of richly-dyed weave armor to Thragg.

Thragg finally concedes and the splint armor joins the rest of his baggage. Later the next day the party is traversing a narrow, deep defile. As the wind is coming from behind the party, Mookla the reeking mutant is sent ahead of the party and is the first to see three loathsome worm-like forms coiled in the rocks.

As Mookla shouts a warning the three things uncoil and begin slithering, one towards Mookla the other two heading for the rest of the party. Their slimy skins consist of mottled patches of scales and banded chiton, irregular wavering fringes of segmented legs sprout out of their sides, and their heads are a hideous conglomeration of bulging green fly-like eyes, quivering poison dripping mandibles, a gaping fanged soft mouth, and unsettling idiotic features.
One of the things sinks it's mouthparts into Mookla's coarse hide, which turns green as the mutant spasms and collapses. Jedediah fires two shots at one of the things, both missing, before punching it in the face with his shield as it strikes at him. Jhooghovahr dashes away from the melee and Dickie Dee takes advantage of the opportunity to cast a spell at the Vaasht Nobleman's retreating back before dashing after him into a nook in the mountainside.

Swords and halberds lash out at the monsters while one of the things sucks Mookla's lifeless form into it's rubbery expansive maw. Thragg is struck by the fangs of one, turns deep green and falls. Dank Darkstar maneuvers behind the creatures and fires several times with his automatic rifle, putting a bullet into one of his companion's thighs. Jedediah repeatedly punches away at the head of one of the abominations with his shield before it finally succeeds in biting him. The pain is agonizing but the Earth Man fights off the poison and keeps fighting.

Soon the three disgusting monsters lie dead, hacked into pieces. Jhooghovahr rushes forth while unwrapping a metal box-like contraption with several segmented arms. He places it on the chest of Thragg, who was poisoned by one of the things and lies lifeless at his feet. Several of the segmented arms unfold and begin putting probes and needles into Thragg's skin before the Skyman's breath starts and his eyes open. Meanwhile Jedediah hacks open one of the monsters with his bowie knife and pulls out Mookla's lifeless form. The party briefly debates saving the disgusting mutant's life, and Jhooghovahr's medical device is dispatched to neutralized the poison in Mookla's system and restart his mutant heart.

After a brief rest the companions continue their journey, and Dickie Dee begins questioning Jhooghovahr about the secrets of his mission. The unwitting Vaasht Man speaks freely of his quest, being unaware that the Bone Man Sorcerer has placed a glamour upon him.

Jhooghovahr explains that for generations his family has held the secret of how to operate a terraforming device located in the Vaults of Eternity. Shadowy villains, agents of the Lords of Change, have been attempting to obtain this secret for their own nefarious ends. His family has been slain one by one as these villains know the necromantic arts which allow them to steal the secrets of the dead.

Jhooghovahr however, is the only member of his family who knows the secrets of the terraforming device, the knowledge of which requires a lifetime of study of the multidimensional operations of the inhuman artifact. When the keeper of the secret dies his brain is fed to a vat of specially bred flatworms. Once the brain is devoured, the flatworms would be processed with certain special compounds, the mixture would then be drunk by the next in line to hold the secrets. That individual would then know how to operate the terraforming device. When Jhooghovahr's father died, the process was repeated and Jhooghovahr drank the mixture, becoming the current holder of the secret.

Now, with all of his family dead and villains seeking to steal the secrets from his brain, Jhooghovahr plans to descend through the labyrinths of the Vaults of Eternity to the terraforming device of the Elder Races and destroy it with an artifact of the Ancients: a disintegration bomb.

With this story circulating in their minds, the party makes camp on a bornite slope a few miles above the white fog of the Forbidden Mist Valley and prepares to set watch.

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