Sunday, January 3, 2010

To Bring Back the Dead

The Expeditionary Journal of Xarnagan Vrokk
To Bring Back the Dead

previous entry found here, corresponding Algol Adventures here, here and here

Dickie Dee - Bone Man Intoxicant Addict and Sorcerer
Kalervo - Cactoid Fighter
Rodan the Scrounger - Zermish Man Scavenger and Fighting-Man
Thragg the Skyman - Zermish Man Ornithopter Passenger and Fighting-Man
Xarnagan Vrokk - Haasht Man Fighting-Sage
Thibodeaux and Jedediah - Earth Man alien abductees from 1850's Nevada
Nigel Nightbringer - Earth Man and English Beefeater Fighting Man


Moon Martin - Earth Man Mind Wizard and fellow adventurer of Radar on the Scout Rocket Alpha

Leaving behind the drunken Rodan the Sodden to rest his head in a pool of gin and his own spittle on a bench inside The Bronze Engine, the rest of the party made good for the journey. Mounting our Ornith steeds, their bird heads jostling and legs jumping as we turned their beaks toward the Bornite Mountains, we rode fast through the desert of rust. There, whilst camping, we were attacked by a short-faced bear of sorts. It was a horror to awaken to, but we came out of the fight without a scratch. Well, I say we, however that star-robed sorcerer named Ter'lek we hired did happen to find his head horribly caved in, and seeing as we didn't know the chap all that well, we covered his body in rocks and left it at that.

Coming upon the foothills of the all too familiar Bornites we dismounted and made our way, this time with careful accuracy, toward the chalk cliffs of the mutant crow people. Yes, we were now all too familiar with the territory and our expedition proved quite expedient... hmm, yes. We wound our way through the cliffs and cavernous gullies and gulfs, our hearts racing as we came upon the chalky caves of the crow men. Who knew how many lay inside? Thragg the Skyman, seldom speaking, but when words do appear they are concise and clever, postured it could be an endless conduit of caves leading ever onward to a city of the horrid beings; the party and myself hoped otherwise. Carefully climbing the cliffs toward the caves, we waited til nightfall. I picked up a sizable stone and cast upon it an incantation of light. It immediately began to shine and shimmer with a bright radiance quite adequate to light our way inside. I quickly hid it in the folds of my robe as we approached the mouth of the main cave.

Creeping ever so quietly inside, we hoped to make our way into the warren where we speculated at least some remains could be found. We hardly stepped our fair feet into the caves before we sensed a presence. There in the dark before us we heard muffled steps, and saw the glint of eyes and the sheen of talons. I tossed the lit stone not far ahead of us to reveal what we feared: the feathered faces of mutant crow men! Seeing a possible ambush, I made myself comfortable outside of the cave entrance, doing my best to scout for any others that might try and attack from the rear, thereby surrounding us and making escape that much dimmer a possibility. I stood there in the gloom, listening in horror to the thundering cries of the crow men. "Doom! DOOM!" they cawed as talon clashed against steel. Feathers flew, the cries of "DOOM!" grew, and shrieks erupted from all corners as the thunder of talons seemed to erupt out of deeper caverns. Then all went quiet. I took the chance to spy 'round the corner to see that Dickie Dee had used his infamous Sleeping Incantation, and had put the whole tribe to sleep! Ah, a sleep that they would enjoy forever more.

Luckily there were scant few crow people left it seemed. Kalervo, Nigel, and Thibodeaux skillfully dismembered the sleeping bodies of the crow men and their women. Ah yes, the extermination of a clan of beings merely protecting themselves from wayward scoundrels such as ourselves. Not the noblest thing we have done, but necessary to retrieve the magical items, I mean party members, that we had lost. At this point I went to the cliff edge to continue my scouting duties. No need to get my robes dipped in bird blood!

Suddenly, there was a rustle in the shrubbery. Forms lurched from the shadows and began to caw at us! I drew my sword and struck my most fearsome pose. The caws became subtle laughter, and it all became quickly apparent that it was the formerly gin-sodden and now robust Rodan and a man I had not seen before. Ah, the Scrounger, it was a good sight to see that fellow had regained his composure and his constitution. A strange and helpful rogue he is indeed.

Lifting his arm in a strange mechanical way, the stranger introduced himself as Moon Martin, a mind mage of sorts and one-time companion of Radar O'Reilly aboard the scouting vessel Rocket Ship Alpha. His dress and demeanor were quite peculiar. Firstly, he had his blond locks shorn into the shape of a soup bowl, Secondly he spoke like I'd imagine a rather droll computer might mimic human speech. His spectacles perched precariously on his nose-end, and his red jacket hiding a plethora of weapons, he approached and we shook hands, touching skin to scale. A clammy fellow. Very much expected from his "type". I did however find the presence of a laser rifle strapped to his back to be a comforting one; providing he knows how to use it!

We then returned to the task at hand. Quickly moving through the tunnels we found the bone and gristle heaps of our one time companions; their valuable items shining in our satisfied faces. With Rodan's magic Eye of the Ancients we restored to life the captain Buzz Brazzelhatch, the no longer metal-nosed Radar O'Rielly (a miraculous Eye in every respect, it reformed his former missing feature-his nose being eaten from his face by a disgruntled baboon upon first landing in Algol), Monster Monagin, and in a moment of pure benevolence Dickie Dee raised the notion to re-animate Vroomish the Tikalg Dandy, who upon rising from the earth ran in joyous tears to the muscular, and surprisingly welcoming, arms of Buzz Brazzelhatch. They share something special that I haven't quite put my scales on yet.

The party decided to not resurrect the hated Hobab, nor the race-obsessed hyperborean Kal-Mor. Decisions I found wise and prudent.

Then came the loot!

Scrounging about, Rodan discovered the weapons of the Vat-Men, as well as taking the opportunity to rifle through the remnants of Kal-Mor and Hobab. It was then that Radar did find placed in his hands that magic axe of the Vat-Men; which I was able to identify as one of a potent power. And to Thragg's delight found himself gifted the needler-pistol of Vroomish who in thanks did not reclaim the item from the Sky Man. There was also a Ring of Protection discovered amongst the decaying matter of Kal-Mor. It was at this moment that Dickie and Buzz began to squabble. The Bone Man Sorcerer feeling he was most in need (albeit the man practically jingles as he walks with the amount of stash he has about him) and of course brash Buzz Brazzelhatch, claiming the Captain card yet again argued in his own favor. All the while the calm Cactoid, of equal leaderly virtue, stood by, keeping a steady eye on the ring and cleaning his nails with a spine from his own body. It was at this moment that Moon Martin quickly approached the disputing duo, and with a strange gleam in his eyes swiftly lifted the ring and placed it on his own finger; Buzz and Dickie in seeming understanding of the fairness of his actions. Both Kalervo and I met eyes at this point, our own swift and unspoken understanding that we would have to keep an eye on this suspiciously sly mind-mage Earth Man.

Not long after we had bedded down, and I had been dreaming the most wonderful of fantasies about exploring the dark and glorious moon Thoggyu, I was awoken by shrill screams and loud thumps. Yes, it seems the powers of Moon Martin had worn off. Buzz was using his boots to aggressively remind Moon Martin of the consequences of thievery, by any means, and Dickie was quite busy strewing about all of the mind wizard's goods and equipment. All the while Moon Martin groveled and slipped words out of both sides of his mouth; all falling on the angrily deaf ears of Dickie who furiously continued his search of the man's wares. In the end the only consequence levelled on the bowl-headed Mind Wizard was that his impeccable, and near impeachable, flexible alloy mesh-and-plate armor was given to Kalervo, who happily ditched his clumsy plate and spent the next half hour or so admiring himself in his shiny new suit. I do believe he has finally found something that doesn't make him miss his clipped-off spines. Deservedly so!

Many days then passed as we labored through the rough and rugged terrain of the Bornites, then merrily crossing the Rust Desert; this time around with all companions well fed, and in good spirits.

A curious and comical event occurred here in these burning sands. There was a strange camelid creature, with a snout not unlike a snake. It appeared to be oblivious to us as it plodded along in the distance, but Dickie Dee surmised it to be a good candidate for target practice. Dickie began firing many wild shots with his new gamma radiation pistol, the only effect being the beast rearing its head toward the party; and it did look ever so foul when it sourced the fount of the blasts and began raising it's trunk in a venomous fashion. Faster and faster the creature did bear down upon us. Moon Martin anxiously grabbed at his laser rifle and in nervous jitters did let it bounce from hand to hand firing all the while, melting nearby rock and precipice into lava and smoldering stone. As each shot missed, the creature grew ever near. Then, in a bout of luck and after several wild shots flinging past its form, the creature went up in a green gooey glow as Dickie Dee finally struck home and dissolved the beast before our very eyes.

This was the last of our great adventure. We then shortly arrived in Jakay, where the party was treated to an endless stay at the Bronze Engine by the much appreciative Vroomish. I, myself, having made previous arrangements with Tazar the Interlocuter, made my way to his towering manse of turqoise and copper and set about there in comfort for some time sharing tea and tales with the likeable lord. When after almost a quarter of a moon cycle had passed, I finally convinced the party that now was the time to make for the pristmatic wastes and mine that precious ore! We saddled our beasts and headed away from fair Jakay. However, not far into our journey, I found myself stranded once more! Yes, it so happened that in Agog City the party did come upon yet another Bordello! They seem to lack such focus at times. It was there that Buzz did spy a place called The Lurking Serpent, and there they stayed for quite some time.

I, yet again, wandered alone in Agog with Kalervo, each looking for something to bide our time, and found our own fascination we did indeed.

Yes, I used my money not on liquors and loose women, but on research at the wondrous Hive of the Sages. There I found a library to rival the beauty and savvy of Slarnunna the Slut of the Seven Stars! Yes, I did indeed delve into rich tomes, place my hands on the taut tentacles of technological wonders of the Ancients. With orichalcum wiring, carefully faceted prisms, and some savvy of my own, I then created, in nearly nine nights in the hive, a device to read Radiation Crystals. Now I had a way to determine the life left in these important implements, the true universal power source of the Ancients! Yes, I could now tell with certainty how many charges were left in a raygun, not to mention reading the power of many other devices. With my pockets emptied of all their credits I then made my way to the house of the Houri's, hopefully finding at least one of my party sober and fully clothed.

Creeping in amongst the cacophony of sound and flesh, I found Rodan and Dickie, seemingly alert, and obviously recovering from some binge or another. We then discussed the prismatic ore business again, even taking it so far as to try and locate slaves to do the mining for us. After much failure in that department, and after much personal deliberation, and of course after the reading of the party's raygun crystal levels to prove good use of our gold credits, I decided to find a way to return to the hive in order to further my research.

Even though I was now proud and penniless, I could see that we would not be heading to the prismatic wastes any time soon, and found my time better spent now trying to learn how to recharge these wonderful devices. I then vowed, ' the Hive I shall return', and left the party to their pursuits.

Ah! Such glorious moments to be had deep in the Hive!

I do love the smell of chemicals and the sting of misplaced orichalcum wiring in the the early morning... oh, any time of day really.

By Thoggyu, I will find a way!

Xarnagan finds a way here...

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