Archive for February 19, 2013

The Devil’s Riddle: Session 5

Posted in The Devil's Riddle on February 19, 2013 by Carl

Jeden is staring at Lisandra and Rufus, trying and failing to make sense of what they are saying.

Rufus places his hands on Lisandra’s shoulders and looks into her eyes. “This is not the time or the place. We will talk more on this later. But for now think on this; what happened there need not happen here. This may be a second chance, an opportunity to succeed where previously we failed.”

The channeller blinks, and her face becomes its usual serene mask. She nods once. “Of course” she says quietly. My thanks.”

Rufus turns to the innkeeper. “Fear not Jeden, your other self is no more. It is dead. Calm yourself. Now, I need more answers. How were you brought here? How did those men get here? We last saw them at your inn, and later that same night camped in the entrance to this place. How did they get in here unseen?”

“Oh, they used the old smuggler’s tunnels” the innkeeper explains. “They run from the inn down to Deep Cove, as well as up here to the catacombs. The entrance is through there.” He points at a huge oak door set into the wall behind the dais. “I can show you the way back if you’d like.”

Lisandra nods and helps the innkeeper to his feet. “Yes. I think it would be good for us to get back to Tylon.”

As they start down roughly cut stone steps into the darkness below Lisandra turns to Jeden. “I have a question for you innkeeper. Can you tell me what the Devil’s Riddle is?”

Jeden stares back at her in surprise. “You mean you don’t know?” he asks. “I thought everyone knew the Devil’s Nine. Yes, I can tell you the Devil’s Riddle, and the answer too.”

The Devil’s Riddle: Session 4

Posted in The Devil's Riddle on February 19, 2013 by Carl

The bartender seems delighted to be rescued from whatever fate the farmers had intended. A cursory examination indicates that he has has suffered prolonged abuse at the hands of his captors. Reaching out to the Source Lisandra is able to heal the man’s wounds, despite the curious mystical impediment this place generates.

“Thank you! Thank you!” the bartender gasps as they release him from his shackles. He slumps to the tiled floor and they kneel beside him. Even healed the man is weakened and exhausted by his ordeal.

“Who are you?” Rufus asks. “How did you come to be here?”

“My name is Jeden Birch, I’m the owner of the Devil’s Riddle in Tylon, I have been since my da left it to me. His da left it him, too; it’s been in our family for four generations. An’ when Greta and I have a son, it’ll pass on to him…”

A fleeting glance passes between Rufus and Lisandra, too swift for the innkeeper to notice. Keeping his face impassive Rufus continues. “And those men? Why were you held here in chains?”

Jeden shudders as he answers. “They took me days ago. Holden, Ralt, Caynen and the others… I’ve been here for ten days, maybe more, I’m not sure how long it’s been. They did… terrible things… some sort of dark rite, a summoning… they called up an unspeakable thing from the darkness, made of shadow or smoke… it whispered to me.. and it took my face! They made it look like me, sound like me!” Jeden is becoming more and more agitated. “Oh Gods, that thing is out there! It’s taken my life, my Greta!”

Rufus reaches out to calm the man, then notices Lisandra’s face. The normally unflappable channeler’s features are white and drawn, her eyes wide. “It cannot be!” she whispers.

“What is it?” Rufus asks urgently. “What do you know of this creature?”

The channeler lets out a hollow laugh. “And to think I hoped to find the Elysian in this place! I could not have been more wrong.” she runs a hand over her face, and lets out a long shuddering breath.

“My friend, there were things the Tower did not share with the wider world, in the early days of the Dark One’s rise to power. My sisters and I discovered too late that people everywhere were being replaced with simulacrums born of the shadow. It had been going on for years, perhaps decades, and the infiltration seemed to be at almost every level of society. The Sisters of the Tower decided, rightly or wrongly, that making the knowledge public would only lead to panic and paranoia. Instead we rooted these doppelgangers out as best we could alone, but the damage was already done. The widespread political infighting and civil war that preceded the invasion of the Dark One’s forces was a direct consequence of that shadow invasion, as the Dark One’s pawns turned us against ourselves.”

Rufus stares at Lisandra in disbelief. “And you never told us? Never told me? How could you keep knowledge like this a secret? What arrogance led the Tower to…”

Lisandra shakes her head in frustration. “You’re missing the point. Regardless of what the Tower did or did not do, regardless of our failures, you and I fled our world as it fell to the Dark One. We fled to a new world, an entirely new reality. But it was no use, we ran in vain. Don’t you see? We have escaped one world that fell to the Dark One’s taint, only to find another doomed to the same fate!”