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Genesis. Season Two
Coda (Part Two)

Quin stepped away from the others, her long stride taking her quickly across the blood stained deck and into the nearby passenger quarters.

Once inside the blue carpeted and mahogany-paneled hallway and confident that she was out of earshot and sight Quin called out softly, “Princess Parizade. I know that you can hear me, so listen. I have no intention of allowing Captain Rafiq and his men to take you to Yhakkoth. I would help you to find your lost love. As your new Captain, I order you this: before the crewmen below can secure us to The Sirocco, fly fast and fly far. Follow your heart and fly to your love.”

Quin risked a look through the door back onto the deck. Alias and First Mate Hanbal were alone now, the others having climbed overboard. She wished she could have consulted with her friend over this, but there was no time. The human was a strange one indeed – and she had no idea if the druid would agree with this course of action. Oh well, if he didn’t they could set him down somewhere safe once The Sirocco was out of sight. As for the First Mate, well, he might be more of a problem, but not if he knew what was good for him…

The Princess Parizade leaped forward with a terrific eager speed. In one moment the luxurious airship had been stationary, some twenty feet above the deck of The Sirocco and the desert sands. In the next moment, the fire elemental that powered the Royal vessel was awake and flaming in a furious and terrifying display of power, spinning in a hoop amidships, and The Princess Parizade was flying forwards and upwards, banking gently into the setting sun.

Quin grabbed for the door frame to catch herself, but missed and fell backwards onto the carpet. Outside, Alias was also taken by surprise by the sudden motion of the ship and he crashed onto the bloody planks of the deck and skidded into the rail, colliding with First Mate Hanbal in a confusion of tangled limbs.

Great cries of anger and surprise arose, unseen, from below as the crew of The Sirocco were jerked violently backwards by the few ropes they had begun to fasten. The Sirocco collided with a sand dune and listed hard to her stern, her bow pointing dangerously upward before the ropes snapped and The Princess Parizade was free.

“I am coming for you, my husband!” The genie was nowhere in sight, but her triumphant voice echoed across the decks nonetheless. “Finally, I am coming for you!”

Momentarily confused, Alias slowly got to his feet, offering a hand to First Mate Hanbal who eagerly grabbed for it. The First Mate rushed to the rail and looked down at the diminishing shape of The Sirocco, Captain Rafiq and the crew hopping about on deck and waving their fists in impotent frustration. Clearly they were readying their own airship for pursuit, and just as clearly they had no chance of ever catching them.

“By the Gods,” First Mate Hanbal swore. He buried his face in his hands and shook his head, his antennae drooped so low they lay flat against the side of his head. “What have these women done?”

“Quin,” Alias called out. “Quin! Of what does this spirit Djinn speak? Husband? I have not left the care of one selfish captain to be held ransom by another who is blinded by foolish passions. What is happening? How quickly the slave becomes the master! Quin! Quin!"

“Do not be alarmed Alias,” Quin said, emerging from the passenger quarters. “We are not slaves, by slaying the pirate captain, I have become Captain of this ship and the genie Parizade is obliged to do my bidding."

First Mate Hanbal‘s antennae pricked up at Quin’s return, “I cannot believe this, any of us could have landed the death blow upon the pirate’s Captain and taken command of the ship. We all crossed swords with him.”

“Yes. You could have. But I did, and I find that I don’t have the taste to play slave-master to anyone, that is a man’s task. Neither do I wish to condemn the genie to slavery in the name of our City-Gods. Not even if that makes me an outlaw, which I guess it does.” Quin said. “Instead I have ordered the genie to follow her own heart, her husband has long been a prisoner of The Sand King and I am going to help her to free him.”

“From The Sand King’s Dark Tower?” First Mate Hanbal sputtered in a high-pitched panic. Alias had found his footing and paced upon the racing deck listening and frowning.

“True love deserves to triumph in the end, not slavery, not the military or commercial might that our city would gain with such a tremendous vessel at their command.” Quin ignored the dumbstruck Templar. “But I do apologize to you, Alias, my friend. We came here in the service of the city, to protect our friends and my family in Muan Oasis. They were being preyed upon by the pirates, and I have jeopardized our future by bringing the wrath of Yhakkoth’s City-Gods and Merchant Houses upon our heads. But I say again, true love deserves to triumph. I understand if you do not wish to join me in this, Alias. To be honest, our Templar friend is likely correct, freeing a prisoner from the Sand King’s dungeons does sound like the plan of a lunatic, but there it is. Would you have us set you down?”

“True love is a gift that is precious Quin, but don’t let the passions of another rule your heart as well,” Alias said, softening his tone somewhat. “Hear me, my friend, I have something to say.”

Alias looked over the edge of the speeding ship, quietly watching its shadow as it weaved like light on water over the dunes.

“I did not board this vessel to serve either love or a city. I serve only the Goddess. I bring truth unto this land. Whether it will heed it or not isn’t my concern, only that it hears it. I have a message for the ‘god king’ and it will be delivered. But we need not part ways so quickly. Perhaps there is good fortune in freeing your spirit friend? This is a land of trade. I have something she may value, and she may return to me what I value most – passage to the great city."

“Very well, Alias.” Quin smiled, relieved at the Prophet’s answer. "And you, Templar? I have no desire to keep you against your will.”

“There is nothing down there!” First Mate Hanbal cried, his goat’s feet clacking in agitation upon the deck. “You would set me down to die of thirst!”

“You are wise in your fear Hanbal, but you are no coward.” Alias said. “You have been the leader of strong and able men. They looked up to you and followed your example and command. You have helped defeat a powerful pirate. The Sand King is just another puppet on a larger stage. We will not leave you to die, but we will not be making any special concessions either.”

“Then this is a madness, that I must endure it seems,” Hanbal answered.

“Surely Quin’s Djinn has tossed nights in ethereal slumber if only to conjure visions of revenge. Bring me to her, or it to me. Come forth spirit! I would speak with you. Tell me your dreams.”

“If the genie is flying this ship, she will be at the helm.” First Mate Hanbal said. “Up there.”

The Fey Templar pointed to the rear of the ship where the aft-castle rose several levels above the main deck, culminating in a round turret offering a commanding view of the decks below and the desert landscape streaming by some fifty or so feet below that as the Royal airship was flying away, westward, to parts unknown.

“Let us follow the spirit’s dream.” Alias said. “We shall save her love and then find the prize we both seek – the great oasis of the city of the god king.”

Following the First Mate, Alias and Quin left the forward main deck and entered the passenger quarters. They followed the plushly carpeted hallway past a spiral staircase (an elegantly engraved signpost directed passengers upwards to the dining hall and the ship’s tavern, and downwards to the Mosque and library). They exited the straight hallway onto the aft main deck and crossed to the aft castle.

“This is the finest airship I have ever seen,” First Mate Hanbal said, tears flowing openly down the Fey Templar’s purple cheeks. “It is everything I have ever heard and more.”Princess parizade ship

They entered the aft castle and climbed a staircase that led to a landing opening onto the officer’s lounge and the Captain’s suite. It was here, it seemed that the pirate’s had spent much of their time. The heavy scent of their hookah smoke still lingered throughout the cabins, and their trash was scattered underfoot, their stolen loot piled in drifts in the corners.

A spiral staircase led upward from the landing, to another deck that housed the officer’s quarters, and yet further upward to the deck upon the roof of the aft castle and it’s deadly array of ballista and catapults.

“With this ship at her disposal, Yhakkoth could be a great city once more,” Hanbal said with breathless awe. “No longer would we be a second-class city, forgotten and past her prime.”

Yet another spiral staircase took the three, yet further upward through a navigation room laden with maps and charts. The maps adorned the walls, spilled from a grand table and were stacked in untidy piles on every available surface.

Finally, above the navigation room they came upon the entrance to the helm, some six stories above the deck. The door was locked, but atQuin’s request the genie within answered their call and the door opened.

Coda
by Ian Hewitt

Alias, Prophet of Anaru (Doug Harris)
First Mate Hanbal (NPC)
Princess Parizade (NPC)
Quinvera the Tall (Donna Hewitt)

Game Master (Ian Hewitt)
Play-by-Forum
Summer 2011

View
Genesis. Season Two
Coda

The pirate’s head rolled across the bloody deck away from Quin’s feet. The battle was won.

Silence fell across the deck as everyone caught their breath.

“Alright lads.” Captain Rafiq said. “You’re a courageous lot of sand rats, every man-jack of you. You’ve fought hard, and you’ve lived to tell the tale. But there’s still a job of work to be done. Let’s help the slain overboard, and get this ship tethered. We’ll tow her back to Yhakkoth and be hailed as Heroes of the City.”

Quin and Alias had seen Captain Rafiq in action during the demonic incursion last year. He was a Templar worthy of the city, brave and obedient. A lean Fey man with ears taller than the crown of his head. As a Templar in Farid, his role was that of a Priest, Soldier and Guardsmen. He, and First Mate Hanbal, commanded thirteen sibeccai soldiers, four of whom were now dead and three others wounded (although not badly).

Alias was not so quick to assume the dead should be tossed over board. He cautioned his fellow ship-mates to hold before following such a command, and they did so, solemnly arranging the bodies of their fallen comrades on the deck (and less ceremoniously dragging the slain pirates out of their way).

The druid performed a quick field triage to separate the dead from the wounded, not taking much stock in the Captain’s order or his opinion. As none of the survivors were seriously hurt he did not use magic or herbs. During a recent stay with the Sisters in Yhakkoth, the Prophet had concocted a salve to ease discomfort and speed healing. Alias’ poultice brought tears of relief to the injured soldiers, cleansing their wounds of blowing sand and infection and damping down the pain as the druid wrapped their wounds in bandages.

Suddenly a blue-skinned, ghost-like figure arose from the very planks of the deck. It was a woman wearing a simple white shift and veil and she prostrated herself on the deck at Quin’s feet.

“A thousand blessings upon you, mighty Mage Blade.” Alias instinctively reached for his spell components. The druid was thrown off guard by how human the genie appeared, and how beautiful. But he shifted his thoughts quickly, Alias remembered he was still a stranger in a strange land, where many he had encountered were not what they appeared to be (nor what they claimed to be.) “I am Princess Parizade, spirit of this ship. You have slain my master and released me from his bonds, what is your command?”

Alias searched for reactions from the captain and the other shipmates to see if they had any knowledge or insight. The crewmen were clearly startled, they averted their eyes and made signs of acquiescence toward the Princess.

Captain Rafiq took a stunned step backward and bashed his head on a low hanging beam, he didn’t even seem to notice. First Mate Hanbal joined the rest of the crew on one knee, shocked into fealty.

“What new devilry is this? Shoshanna bless us,” Alias muttered quietly as he waited to see what his friend Quinn decided.

“Ask me not, what is my command." Quin replied. “Instead answer me, what is your wish Princess Parizade?”

The blue woman lifted her doe-like gaze to meet Quin’s, surprised. “My wish? I wish only for one thing, and that is to find my Prince and free him from whichever dark dungeon the Sand King has buried him in. But I have long been bound to the will of Men, who would have me do their bidding, to make them rich and all-powerful. And now?”

The slender genie stood up, her mournful eyes swimming with tears. She towered head and shoulders over Quin and was even more beautiful. The Princess saw the ropes attached to her rails, trailing down some ten feet to the deck of The Sirrocco below them. Princess parizade ship

“And now? I find myself about to become shackled to a ship flying the Unseelie Flag? The flag of Men?”

“This ship has been used to attack and steal from those operating under the protection of the God-Kings of Yhakkoth!” Templar-Captain Rafiq had finally found his voice. “It has been seized in the name of Kin-Yhakkor and will be returned to the city, forthwith.”

“Alright lads,” Quin turned her back on the Princess and offered Alias a mischievous wink that no other could see. “You heard the captain, get back on board The Sirocco and attach those ropes.”

The crewmen blinked, as if coming out of a reverie and sprang to action at Quin’s direction.

“First Mate Hanbal,” the Captain said, casting a suspicious glare in the direction of the two women. “Why don’t you keep Her Highness company until we’re sure everything is secured tight and ship-shape. We wouldn’t want any mishaps, now would we?”

Templar-Captain Rafiq deftly swung down the ropes, barking orders before his feet even hit the deck. Parizade rubbed the back of her hand across her weeping eyes and vanished, as a cloud disturbed by an errant breeze.

“How does your Goddess,” the First Mate couldn’t say this without a sneer, “counsel we bury our dead, Prophet? These poor sods will bake in the sun. They’ll smell us in Yhakkoth a day before we arrive.”

Alias smiled and then lifted a dusty empty bucket from the deck and turned it over to shake out any debris. He then turned it upright, his expression unchanging.

“Take this and drink,” he said, handing the bucket, now full with sparkling fresh cool water to the Mate. “The sun does burn bright in these windswept lands but there is no need for the living to toil in thirst.”

The sarcastic sneer vanished from the Templar’s face, replaced by a confused thoughtfulness as he drank deeply of the cool water.

Alias said in a quieter tone, “The Goddess is no more mine than I would claim the stars in the night sky. We cannot count the dead. Nor can we count every grain of sand that blows beneath us. Yet as with each grain we too, all of us, are known to Her and precious in Her sight. The Goddess is generous with Her creation. Bury your dead as you see fit, or not at all. Everything, even under a thousand, thousand suns holds fast as one.”

“If it were not blasphemy to say so,” First Mate Hanbal muttered in a barely audible voice. “I would say your Goddess is generous indeed. This water is so fresh.”

Walking to the others and offering more water, the Prophet raised his voice and said, “20 silver coins, even when cut from different veins, still melt as one in the crucible. How can we seek counsel over creation when we are as so much sand? We look upon these dead and see empty shells, and say the seed has been stolen. Yet how can a thief steal from her own coffer? All of creation melts as one in the fire of Shoshanna’s gaze. That we live in our time makes us nothing more.”

Glancing around as his arms began to rise heavenward, Alias noticed the crew, having had their fill of water, had returned to their work. They muttered among themselves, offering him occasional sidelong glances as they began making their way down the ropes to join their Captain on the deck of The Sirocco.

“They think I am mad,” he said to no one in particular. Nor did any stop to assure him one way or the other.

Coda
by Ian Hewitt

Alias, Prophet of Anaru (Doug Harris)
First Mate Hanbal (NPC)
Princess Parizade (NPC)
Quinvera the Tall (Donna Hewitt)

Game Master (Ian Hewitt)
Play-by-Forum
Summer 2011

View
Genesis. Season Two
The Sirocco

Some weeks after the Heroes of Yhakkoth had prevented the ghul warband from attacking the city, they received a summons from Merchant-Lord Summonel. Negotiations with Kin-Yhakkor, the City-God were completed and the Merchant-Lord was finally ready to open the new trade routes between the capital Ishtaduk and provincial Yhakkoth.

But, one obstacle remained in their way. A Royal Airship, called The Princess Parizade, thought lost with all hands in desert years ago had reappeared under the command of a band of pirates. These pirates had already attacked Muan Oasis, home to Quinvera and Uncle Kahaal, and robbed Alias’ friend Arishka the Trader of all his goods and profits. They were now threatening the trade routes, swooping out of the desert sun to ambush caravan trains and sandships. The Princess Parizade is said to be the fastest, sleekest and most desirable of all such magical vessels.

Airships are uncommon in Farid, but the Royal Fey each have their flying flagships and the most powerful Merchant Houses have several between them. Much more common are sand-ships, magical ships that hover and glide across the dunes on flat-bottomed hulls but that cannot achieve true flight.

Merchant-Lord Summonel, grateful for the help the Heroes had given him in rescuing his concubines from the clutches of the necromancer turns to them for help. The Merchant-Lord had petitioned the City Gods for aid, and a naval sandship, The Sirocco, was being sent out against the pirates. Merchant-Lord Summonel requested Alias and Quin – as Heroes of Yhakkoth – to accompany the soldiers and ensure that the pirate was stopped.

After the meeting was concluded, and the Heroes had agreed to help, the Merchant Captain pulled Quin aside for a private conversation.

“A thousand thank you’s beautiful Quinvera the Tall.” He kissed her hand and smiled. “Thank you for agreeing to kill the pirate-genie. He is a fearsome enemy but there can surely be none fearsome enough to stand against your sword and your sorcery.”

“There is just one more thing. The ship that he has somehow gained control of, the Princess Parizade… If the ship were returned to us, we would become the most powerful Merchant Company in all of Farid, perhaps in the world.”

“Slay the pirates, mighty Quinvera. And then return that ship to us at Muan Oasis and you can name your own reward. Your heart’s desire will be yours.”

Alias and Quin quickly found themselves on board The Sirocco, under the command of Templar-Captain Rafiq, skimming out across the desert further than they had ever traveled together.

They survived a difficult encounter with a Sand Kraken during a terrible sandstorm before finally catching up with the pirates. There was a suitably epic battle. Quin faced off against the genie-pirate. Alias traded spells with the ship’s sorcerer and her scorpion familiar. The soldiers and pirates bled all over both ship’s decks until, ultimately, the pirates were defeated.

The Sirocco
Adapted by Ian Hewitt from the adventure The Sand Pirates by Clay Fleischer & Wolfgang Baur

Alias, Prophet of Anaru (Doug Harris)
Quinvera the Tall (Donna Hewitt)

Game Master (Ian Hewitt)
Played at the tabletop in Laramie, Wyoming
Spring 2009

View
Genesis. Season Two
The Scorpion Guy

Alias and Quin were assigned to Templar-Captain Rafiq, who was in command of some thirty Yhakkoth soldiers. Thanks to Quin’s clever scrying they now knew the location of the oasis when the ghul warband was gathering under the command of the unknown magic-user.

The group left Yhakkoth at dusk and made good use of the cool night to travel quickly eastward across the desert. They arrived at the oasis in the hours just before dawn. The ghuls were gathered around the shores of the small oasis, grotesquely finishing off their latest meal of sibeccai. A cave was clearly visible in the rocks behind the pool.

Templar-Captain Rafiq and Quinvera led the soldiers in a full frontal assault upon the undead. They were heavily outnumbered, and the ghuls deadly talons made them formidable foes but under Templar-Captain Rafiq’s leadership and bolstered by the heroism and skill of the mage-blade, the defenders of Yhakkoth quickly took their toll upon the ghuls.

Alias transformed himself into a scorpion, and unseen by any hurriedly scuttled into the cave. Once inside the cavern, the shapeshifted druid found the evil magic-user upon his throne of skulls. The kidnapped women were imprisoned in a bone-lattice cage, and an awful magical blood fountain, nested within a series of copper bowls dominated the cavern. The necromancer was flanked by several ghasts and was in the process of bolstering himself and his bodyguards with a serious of deadly spells.

Alias was able to prevent the necromancer from completing his spells by harrying him, unseen, with his own whispered prayers. The druid scuttled about the chamber, a scorpion barely an inch long, praying to Shoshanna and summoning yet more and more scorpions. The stinging tails were enough to spoil the necromancers spells, and more than enough to keep him occupied until Templar-Captain Rafiq and Quin had driven the ghul warband back into the desert.

The Templar-Captain and the mage-blade, and their surviving soldiers stormed the cavern and slew the ghasts and their cruel master. Alias finally transformed himself back into his human form, scorpions falling from his beard and tangled in his dread-locks. The Prophet of Shoshanna used his divine magic to destroy the fountain of blood – the source of the illusionary magic that had been used to disguise the ghuls as living men, and to bind them to the necromancer’s will in the first instance.

The threat to the city was averted; the Merchant Lord’s concubines had been rescued, shaken but unharmed and political disaster was likewise avoided. Quinvera escorted the women back to the city and delivered them to the Merchant Lord who was very grateful.

Alias chose to remain at the oasis cave. For reasons he could not entirely explain, his call to the scorpions had been much more effective than he would have expected. Literally hundreds of the insects now swarmed the sands and rocks around the oasis. The druid remained with them, spending more time among them as one of them, than he did as a human – and there he remained for weeks; literally at one with nature in one of the harshest deserts on the planet.

The Scorpion Guy
Adapted by Ian Hewitt from the adventure Oasis of the Blood Moon by Jeff Grub

Alias, Prophet of Anaru (Doug Harris)
Quinvera the Tall (Donna Hewitt)

Game Master (Ian Hewitt)
Played at the tabletop in Laramie, Wyoming
Winter 2009

View
Genesis. Season Two
A Whiff Of Spice

The Heroes of Yhakkoth were enjoying a late morning coffee and hookah in the Grand Sook when a terrible scream and a cry for help echoed from a nearby alleyway. Rushing to offer their aid, Alias and Quin arrived to witness two snarling humans assaulting two well-dressed sibbeccai ladies. One of the women was on the floor at the feet of her attacker, screaming and trying to defend herself, the second had been thrown across the shoulders of her attacker and was being manhandled further down the alley.

The Heroes killed the two humans and rescued both women. Quin trapped one of the two men with the judicious use of a tanglefoot bag until she could deal with the first. Alias finished Quin’s injured opponent with a critically thrown dagger through his eye; Quin decapitated the second.

Alias was able to detect that something was amiss with the two attackers. They both smelled very heavily of cheap spiced perfume – in fact, they stank as if they had bathed in it! One of their victims was paralyzed, as if by some foul poison, and the two humans seemed to ignore the worst of Quin’s sword blows inexplicably.

The city Templars arrived and, while they deferred to the Heroes somewhat, quickly took control of the situation. The Templars recovered the corpses and questioned the women. It was quickly discovered that one of the women was the wife of a powerful visiting Merchant-Lord and the other woman was his favorite concubine. Two other women in their group had been dragged away, kicking and screaming, by their assailants before the Heroes had managed to arrive.

The Merchant-Lord represented a powerful Merchant House from the City of Ishtaduk. They were in Yhakkoth to discuss reopening old trade routes, a deal which would benefit Yhakkoth tremendously. Given how delicate this situation could become, diplomatically, the Templars requested that the Heroes accompany them back to the Temple.

At the Temple, the heroes (eventually) gained an audience with General Marduk. It was determined that the humans were, in fact, ghuls disguised with illusion spells to appear as living beings. Clearly these ghuls were organized and aided by some powerful magic-user; after a delicate negotiation General Marduk convinced the Heroes to find out who or what was behind this and to put a stop to it.

Quin asked a series of probing questions of the rescued women and discovered that their attackers had emerged from a particular doorway in that ill-fated alleyway – a doorway leading into Tufail’s Spice Shop.

After commandeering a detail of Templars, under the command of Captain Rafiq, the Heroes returned across the Grand Sook to Tufail’s Spice Shop. Disguising herself under a burqah and cloak Quin entered the shop. She tried to cast a spell to divine the fawning spice merchant’s true nature but gave herself in the process.

The disguised ghul attacked, but was not a match for Quin’s swordplay and quickly fell prisoner at her blade. Alias quickly searched the premises, but found nothing of note.

A difficult interrogation ensued as Quin used intimidation and Alias used violence upon their undead prisoner. He mentioned a name, “Abdul-Nezka” and said that “Nezka will lead my brothers from the desert and take your city,” – but the ghul refused to betray his undead kin.

Quin remembered a spell that she had recently studied at the Green Tower. Quin returned to the Tower and purchased the greenspy scroll from her friend Zharr the Green Wizard. The mage-blade was then able to enchant a nut enabling herself to scry through the nut. She then hid the nut upon the ghul, and had it unceremoniously tossed from the city walls. Once freed, it fled quickly through the desert to a hidden oasis.

Armed with the knowledge that a band of some one hundred ghuls, led by an unknown magic-user was hidden in the desert and plotting to raid the city, the Heroes returned to General Marduk. A plan was quickly hatched and the army was summoned.

A Whiff of Spice
Adapted by Ian Hewitt from the adventure Oasis of the Blood Moon by Jeff Grub

Alias, Prophet of Anaru (Doug Harris)
Quinvera the Tall (Donna Hewitt)

Game Master (Ian Hewitt)
Played at the tabletop in Laramie, Wyoming
Winter 2009

View
Genesis. Season Two
Interlude

It had been some nine months since the Passing of the Lightchild.

Quinvera the Tall had settled into a quiet life studying at the Green Tower and practicing her blade-work. Quin developed an interest in a collection of scrolls, penned by Zharr the Green Wizard. They were too complex for one who spent as much time holding a sword as a quill, but they helped Quin to achieve a greater understanding of what an accomplished practitioner of the faercana arts might be capable of.

Quin maintained a steady correspondence with her Uncle Kahaal. Uncle Kahaal remained in Muan Oasis where he had moved into the subterranean home of Rhea the Witch. Hidden beneath the desert community, Uncle Kahaal had taken up a detailed study of the Engram Ark where it lay hidden beneath the oasis. He hoped to learn more about the destroyed civilization, and the alien souls that survived still within the Ark; and indeed, within the rune tattooed upon Quin herself.

Alias the Prophet, after a strained and private encounter with Kin-Yhakkor (the details of which remain unclear to most, but it is believed that Alias survived a gross blasphemy against the City-God, by means unknown), spent a great deal of time in the desert. He scuttled upon the sands in various reptilian forms and sailed the hot winds as a bird. During this time he meditated much upon the sin of pride, upon the sacrifice made by Rhea the Witch in becoming the Light Child, and upon the nature of Shoshanna.

From time to time the Prophet would return from the desert and stay in Yhakkoth at the Abbey. During these times, he committed many of his thoughts to papyrus and scroll, completing the first several Books of Alias, and devoted a great deal of study to desert survival, flora and fauna.

Interlude
Written by Ian Hewitt

Alias, Prophet of Anaru (Doug Harris)
Quinvera the Tall (Donna Hewitt)

Game Master (Ian Hewitt)
Played at the tabletop in Laramie, Wyoming
Winter 2009

View
Genesis. Season One
Epilogue

In a ceremony, conducted on the steps of the ravaged Temple of Yhakkoth just days after the Defeat of the Dark, Alias and Quin were made Heroes of the City. The entire surviving population turned out to watch as Kin-Yhakkor and the Seelie Court granted medals and treasures.

Kin-Yhakkor, Supreme City-God and God of Family, was an elderly, elven-appearing Fey of a gentle and yet firm demeanor. His skin had an unnatural red tone and his hair was wavy and curly and moved in a way that suggested a flickering fire. He appeared unarmed and dressed in simple orange robes.

General Marduk, God of Law, was a middle-aged elven-appearing Fey of massive muscular stature with a fiery red, braided beard. He was dressed in a scarlet kilt and a horned helmet but was otherwise naked showing off his awesome physique. A mace, so large and heavy that few would even be able to hold it, hung from his belt.

Lord Phalanx, God of Battle, was Marduk’s identical twin brother, but his demeanor was even more threatening and intimidating. His body was painted with flaming tattoos and runes. An axe, taller and wider than a person remained always by his side.

Abess Clementine, Goddess of Mercy and Healing, appeared as a teen-aged sibeccai to most (although Alias saw her as a teen-aged human). She appeared uncomfortable in the company of her fellows. She was unarmed, dressed in white robes and she picked nervously at a bowl of alms that she cradled in her arms.

Lady Ishtar, God of Fertility, was a stunningly beautiful young sibeccai woman, with fragile butterfly wings decorated with intricate flaming patterns. She sprawled luxuriously on the steps of the temple seeming disinterested throughout the ceremony – she was fully naked except for her bangles, bracelets and various piercings. A lion cub constantly at her heel.

Queen Erishkigal, husband to Kin-Yhakkor, sister to Lady Ishtar and Goddess of Peaceful Death and Quiet Journeys was likewise beautiful and naked – but where her sister was alluring and lustful, the Dead Queen was dark and looming. She played with a sickle absently throughout the proceedings and her jewelry was funereal and morbid.

Kin-Yhakkor delivered a stirring speech to the gathered people of the city. He explained the recent troubles in terms of ‘demons and devils’ who invaded this great city in an attempt to enslave the entire population, pervert them to darkness and form an evil army and a wicked city of depravity.

His explanation was a little off the mark – there was no mention of Shoshanna’s Fallen Angels, or of Heaven or Hell (he talked of the Underworld, which the Fey believe to be the source of demons) – but it was not a bad explanation. It didn’t appear intentionally deceitful and was, at least, in terms that the people could understand.

He explained the salvation of the city as a miracle, resulting from the heroism of Alias and Quin and the ultimate sacrifice of Rhea – who was described in glowing terms and not at all as a faithful witch of Anwen and enemy of the City-Gods, which is what she was. Kin-Yhakkor’s ‘miracle’ explanation was couched in terms of an incredibly powerful spell-ritual performed by the Heroes that created the Light-Child who defeated the dark.

At the conclusion of his speech the God-King of Yhakkoth cast a spell of his own and erected a fifteen foot tall marble statue of Rhea in the middle of the market square on a massive stone plinth. The plinth was adorned with a plaque naming both ‘Alias the Prophet’ and ‘Quinvera the Tall of Muan’ as the heroes that brought the Light-Child to save the city.

Abess Clementine then, seeming a little embarrassed by the entire proceeding stepped forward to present Alias with the following: an enchanted suit of hide armor fashioned from flexible but resilient reptilian scales; an enchanted shield crafted of the heavy wood of a Yhakkoth date tree (decorated with a faint but discernible painting of two fighting dragons); an enchanted ring carved from a single piece of wood, its appearance was simple but carefully made to retain its grain and texture; a masterwork sickle sword crafted by the finest weapon-smith of Yhakkoth and a masterwork longbow carved by the city’s greatest bowyer; and a chest of coins.

Abess Clementine took the opportunity to speak a few words of thanks and to offer Alias a permanent home at her Abbey. Abess Clementine made a few politically- shrewd references to Shoshanna and offered her thanks to “whomever Alias deemed worthy of praise”. This subtle reference was more than Kin-Yhakkoth was willing to make, but a significant recognition of Shoshanna as a God beyond those the citizens of Yhakkoth already worshiped.

Lord Phalanx came forward to present Quin with the following: an enchanted suit of leather armor studded with crystals; a shoulder brace of six masterwork throwing daggers; and a chest of coins.

Lord Phalanx, never a man of words, had no time for speeches, but he did loudly and publicly offer Quin the position of High Templar of Yhakkoth – a position that was part soldier, part law enforcement, part priest of the city (essentially a High Templar could do as they please with the general population, either as a great protector of the innocent or as an iron-fisted tyrant, but answered to the God-Kings as the enforcer of their will).

After the ceremony was completed, there was much rejoicing and days of street festivals and parties. The locals celebrated their victory over the Darkness, the city Templars gave marching displays, parades and engaged in mock battles recounting their struggles against the devils.

Each evening there was a great spell and torch-lit circus in the Grand Sooq where various unfortunate criminals and Yhakkoth’s gladiators battled an assortment of creatures, animals and one another.

Kahaal, Mage of Muan Oasis, arrived with an entourage of celebrating revelers from Muan Oasis, including Arishaka the Trader who took a soapbox in the Grand Sooq and continually recounted the charity and kindness of Alias the Prophet and the bravery of Quin the Tall (he recounted the tale of the attack upon the oasis).

Alias and Quin were invited into every home in the city for the personal thanks of the citizens. They are both showered with small, inexpensive gifts – whatsoever a person could spare or make with their own hands. Everyone in the city wanted a piece of their Heroes…

Epilogue
Written by Ian Hewitt

Alias, Prophet of Anaru (Doug Harris)
Quinvera the Tall (Donna Hewitt)

Game Master (Ian Hewitt)
Played at the tabletop in Laramie, Wyoming
Summer 2008

View
Genesis. Season One
Dawn

Alias, Quin and Rhea awoke after a troubled and broken sleep. They had rested for just a few hours in the home Rhea had made in the cave beside the Ark.

In his scant few hours of sleep Alias dreamed of a ruby shining from within a waterfall, he failed to decipher the meaning of this imagery but he recognized that it was prescient. The Prophet struggled to recall the fading remnants of his dream but it was like catching smoke – all he could remember were the words, “Seek for the source of the Liquid of Life, Delve into the dark for the secret of the light.”

Alias’ dream may well have been prescient, but the Prophet’s mind was still whirling with unanswered questions and he could make no sense of Shoshanna’s message. The three decided to seek out the Green Wizard of Yhakkoth, in the hope that he could shed any light on the riddles and help them to find the light that would drive back the darkness.

They retraced their steps once more through the dark temple and returned to a dark dawn on the streets of Yhakkoth. What remained of the cities’ population were gathered in the Market Square – or as close to it as they could get. The few desperate faces that they saw as they hurried toward the Green Tower were devoid of any hope.

The mist had encroached upon the city. The walls were lost and undefended. Lord Phalanx, the God-King was fighting a delaying action against the Fallen angels within the mist, but his men could not throw them back.

They arrived at the base of the Green Tower even as the black mist was brushing against it. Quickly they climbed the exterior steps that took them to the peak of the tower hundreds of feet above the city skyline. From that vantage the three could see the ink blot of evil that had swallowed the city of Yhakkoth.

Once inside the tower they found the Green Wizard, Zharr. He was a tall Fey man with red-silver hair and golden eyes. A scarlet jewel blazed from the crown on his forehead and a shifting radiance fell from his caballistic robes. Quickly Alias and Quin laid out everything that they knew about the darkness and the Fallen Angels.

Their discussion was disturbed frequently as the wizard continually entered a spell casting trance in order to defend the Green Tower from the angels attacking outside, but, despite the distractions, Zharr quickly reasoned through the riddle. The Liquid of Life is water – especially in the desert – and in the city the main place to draw water from is The Falls and Ruby Street well.

Their mind made up they quickly began to withdraw even as the darkness tried to take the wizard. Zharr stiffened as a black viscous oily fog began to drip from his eyes, ears, nose, from his mouth and to blacken the robes about his pelvis.

“It comes. Leave.” The wizard cried.

Alias did what he could to bolster the failing wizard with prayers, but there was nothing else that could be done and they fled. Once back on the streets they rushed with all haste to the well at the intersection of Falls and Ruby Streets.

The streets were deserted, the wall of mist and the Fallen Angels were almost upon the well. Quin was able to divine an area of strong protective magic part way down the well-shaft. They quickly climbed down the shaft and discovered a holy rune on the flagstones that threatened a wrathful destruction to any who disturbed it – but it opened at the touch of Alias, the Prophet.

Beyond the rune a white marble featureless passage stretched away to a distant point of light.
Above them the dark mist reached the well head and began to pour, like a thick oil into the well. The three hurried into the passage way, with tendrils of numbing blackness reaching for their ankles as they rushed along.

The Fallen Angels summoned shadows to block their passage, and then a pack of diseased hell hounds and a painshrieker demon emerged out of the darkness to behind them. The battles were fast and deadly and victorious.

Quin, Alias and Rhea found themselves in a circular arched chamber with the source of the Light. A blindingly bright, white light that hovered burning in the chamber. This was Heaven’s power, Shoshanna’s power. A gateway to the Heaven’s. Even Anwen’s witch was humbled, falling to her knees and begging for Anwen’s forgiveness as she was struck dumb by the power of Shoshanna.

Alias and Quin were likewise dumbfounded and as the urgency built, Rhea leaped into the white flames of Heaven. Anwen’s witch was instantly transformed into Shoshanna’s Lightchild, an Angel of Light. With Alias and Quin flanking her, Rhea marched back along the passage – the darkness repelled and retreating at her approach.

The hordes of evil within the darkness did everything in their dark power to prevent the Lightchild from returning to the city but they could not stop her. Once they had regained the streets they made their way quickly toward the Market Square where the City-Gods were fighting a futile final stand against the hellish invaders – the population cowering about their rulers and the burning pentacle of living flesh that still hovered above them.

The Lightchild emerged from Heroes Street, flanked by Alias the Prophet and Quinvera the Tall. The only light in the entire city came from the Lightchild as she made her way to the Temple of Yhakkoth where the darkness was at its blackest.

The Lightchild paused at the steps of the temple, bathing the citizenry and City-Gods alike in a fresh hope. She directed Alias and Quin to follow her no further, but to remain behind and see that the True Word of Shoshanna is never forgotten.

Alias realized that Rhea was taking the Light into the Temple and that it would never return again so bright. He wanted to follow, Rhea cautioned that if he followed there would be no return and she entered the Temple. The Prophet paused on the steps, undecided and awed, but there was no time for indecision.

As Rhea, the Lightchild, entered the Temple it darkened along with the sky for several long and terrifying moments. Then, with a crackling power and a blindingly intense flash of light, it blasted from the Temple doorway, across the Market Square and into the Dark; spreading, leaping from house to house, person to person, street by street until the whole city was ablaze with white heavenly fire.

Around the town walls, the Dark rose higher, drawing greater power to itself before making a last effort and once more tumbling over the city walls and sweeping once again into the Market Square. The Light, once more, flared up striking the senses from everyone within Yhakkoth.

When Alias and Quin awoke, they were prostrate upon the steps of the ruined Temple. The City-Gods themselves, and the surviving population of the city were laying strewn across the Market Square slowing awakening from the nightmare.

Behind the Temple, the morning sun was rising on a new dawn, a new beginning for the city of Yhakkoth.

Of the darkness, of the Fallen Angels and of the Lightchild there was no sign.

Dawn
Adapted by Ian Hewitt from the adventure Irilian by Daniel Collerton

Alias, Prophet of Anaru (Doug Harris)
Quinvera the Tall (Donna Hewitt)
Rhea the Witch (NPC)

Game Master (Ian Hewitt)
Played at the tabletop in Laramie, Wyoming
Summer 2008

View
Genesis. Season One
The Ark (Part Two)

The two companions, Alias now disguised as a cat, entered the metallic sphere several minutes behind Arah.

The interior of the metallic sphere was illuminated by a ghostly blue sheen that glowed beneath the steel-plastic material of the sphere. It was clearly larger inside than out, defying all physics.

Quin led the way some three hundred feet along a curving, descending spiral passage. Part way along, they passed the scene of combat. A jackal lay dead among three slain korred, there was no sign of the fairy or of the angel – but the sounds of battle could be heard further ahead.

The passage ended in a massive spherical dome. At the end of the passage a landing opened onto a walkway that ran around the interior circumference of the dome. Arah was locked in deadly melee with the elderly fairy. In the center of the dome, hovering, was a great machine of steel, glass and crystal. It appeared to be a great orrery of spinning arms, globes, and strangely shaped fetishes,. Whatever the strange objects purpose, it appeared broken an orbiting cloud of jagged broken steel and glass flashed around this thing and lashed at the pair fighting on the walkway.

Beneath the animated and hostile machine was a sea of runes. At first glance the bottom of the dome appeared to be filled with a thick and multicolored liquid that shimmered and shone like oil on water. A second look revealed that this wasn’t liquid at all, but a collection of millions upon millions of individual runes, or engrams – each as unique as a snowflake.

Alias prayed for Arah to be healed, but was confused and unsure whom to believe. The angel was decrying the fairy as a pagan and a heathen who must be slaughtered; the fairy was accusing the angel of a wicked deception. The alien machine attacked everyone except the Prophet. Alias hesitated and Quin acted.

Quin rushed toward the combat without hesitation. Quin physically acted to prevent the angel from rejoining combat with the fairy, but the angel was too strong and shoved past her. In doing so, the angel lunged at Alias with her spear and stabbed her.

“I have tolerated your pagan ways too long, heathen!” Arah screamed.

Quin responded with her dagger, and, as it had before, the dagger became alive in her grip. In a single strike the dagger took Arah in the heart and slew her. The angel disintegrated into a pile of black ashes and a twisted horse’s skull.

The angel dead, the fairy yelled for a retreat from the attacking machine and everyone retreated into the tunnel. Alias was struggling, his guardian angel had been killed by his friend, had he been betrayed? Who to believe? His faith was rocked.

A hurried conversation took place in the glowing tunnel of this alien sphere. The elderly fairy begged to be heard and this was what she had to say:

A war had erupted in Heaven between two rival factions of angels – none knew what had caused the conflict, but the fairy’s best guess was that a difference in the interpretation of Shoshanna’s will had led to the conflict.

The schism was severe enough for the aloof god Shoshanna to side with one faction and cast the other into Hell forevermore. Those who were thrown from Heaven were to be called The Fallen, those who remained became known as The Vengeful.

In time The Fallen found their way out of Hell and into another world. Once there, they began to preach Shoshanna’s Word without opposition – but it was a twisted, misinterpreted and wicked version of Shoshanna’s Word.

By the time_ The Vengeful_ realized what had happened it was too late and the world’s population had succumbed to their Dark Word. Shoshanna instructed her angels to destroy the planet entirely – and that Vengeful Armageddon is exactly what they did!

Such an event is not without consequence though and the blasted chunks of this dead world have since crossed the cosmos and only now began to pound the World of Llowellen. The first impacts were felt two hundred years ago in these very deserts, but more are still coming and are predicted to continue arriving for the next millennium.

The old fairy revealed herself to be Rhea the Witch. She had predicted the first skyfall two hundred years ago but confided her discoveries with none except her own journal and spellbook – the Book of Stars.

As the time drew close she left her lonely tower in the hills and headed for ground zero. Her forewarning and her magic saved her from the destruction but what she had not predicted was that not all of the rocks falling from the sky were natural.

Engram Arks, metallic extra-dimensional spheres guarded by a memekeeper and various engram guardians, carried the lost souls of the now-dead world. An engram ark was designed to encode the soul of a living being into a magical-psychic rune-engram that would then be reconstituted, somehow, into a living physical being by the memekeeper once it had found a habitable world.

Rhea battled with the engram guardians and slew them – leaving one petrified in what is now Muan Oasis’ main thoroughfare before she gained access inside the Ark and disappeared from the world for two centuries.

In the time since, she has learned all that she knows by studying the memekeeper and doing her best to repair it; but also, by immersing herself in the Sea of Runes and melding with just one of the lost souls. It appears as a writhing runic tattoo, glowing just beneath the surface of her skin.

In the meantime, Rhea’s tower was looted by shepherds fleeing the falling comet. These refugees took her journal, the Book of Stars and it eventually became a hereditary treasure in the shepherd’s family passing to Kahaal, Mage of Muan and then to Quin.

Kahaal was the first to really understand the value of this family heirloom. He communicated about the book with a magister named Aand in the city of Yhakkoth. That was his mistake, Aand was a member of a dark cult that operated in a hidden temple beneath the streets of Yhakkoth. The cult believed that if they took the book to Rhea’s tower they would be able to perform ceremonies to unlock great magics. Aand and his cult were being deceived by a dark angel that pretended to be Aand’s familar – the imp, Talon.

Talon was a lowly soldier of the Fallen, searching for another world to corrupt to the Dark Word of Shoshanna. The book was recovered from the clutches of the imp, but not before the darkness descended upon the world and upon the city that had invited it in: Yhakkoth.

Rhea now believes that only the Vengeful can defeat the Fallen, and despite the harm it will do to her own faith she counseled Alias to fulfill his mission as Prophet and seek the source of the light in Yhakkoth and bring the true angels into the world.

Where is this light? How can it be found? Rhea doesn’t know but she advised Alias and Quin to speak with the Green Wizard of Yhakkoth, because if anyone would know where it could be found it, would be him.

Alias was still confused. He didn’t know what to believe, and grieved the loss of his angel even as he struggled to accept that he had been deceived. He agreed to seek out the Green Wizard and the source of the light but only if Rhea came along too. Reluctantly, for she hadn’t left the cave where the Ark had come to a rest in centuries, she agreed.

Before they left to prepare for their hasty return to the city, Quin paid a visit to the Sea of Souls. Standing on the parapet above the Rune Sea in peace, the Memekeeper also remained peaceful, the souls sang out in a deep and alien basso chant and Quin responded.

She gently lowered herself among the millions of engrams. Rivulets of untethered engrams rolled off Quin’s body, and back into the greater body of engrams before just a single one attached itself to Quin’s neck and shoulder grafting itself beneath the skin like a tattoo.

The process was entirely painless but still a little unsettling. Quin experienced a flashing vision of an alien world, she heard an indecipherable word echo loudly in her head, and she smelled the trace of an odor like nothing she had ever experienced before, and finally she was left with the undeniable impression of a mind seeking desperately wholeness.

It lasted only a moment, and Quin climbed from the Rune Sea, tattooed but apparently unharmed. Unharmed, but strengthened and invigorated by the experience. Her rune was white, about three inches on a side but indecipherable in it’s alien complexity. It is vaguely reminiscent of a face with three eyes and conjures images of martial strength, but that is all that could be learned from an initial examination.

After an physically exhausting and spiritually frustrating day the three collapsed into a brief and broken rest in Rhea’s home.

The Ark
Written by Ian Hewitt

Alias, Prophet of Anaru (Doug Harris)
Quinvera the Tall (Donna Hewitt)

Game Master (Ian Hewitt)
Played at the tabletop in Laramie, Wyoming
Summer 2008

View
Genesis. Season One
The Ark (Part One)

The pulpit pool was revealed to be a fairy gate that led to a damp and dripping cavern lit by phosphorescent fungi. In the center of the cavern a thirty-foot metallic sphere was sunk into the fractured rock of the cavern floor, crevasses extending across the floor and the ceiling alike. In the back of the cave was a permanent structure, a fortified stone building close to the ceiling with a porch and steep steps offering an impressive vantage over the subterranean scene.

Arah was surrounded by a pack of slavering hellish jackals. Above them, a line of korreds clung to the rocks and stalactites in an offensive line. An elderly fairy could be seen across the cavern on the porch of the stone building.

Before barely a word could be spoken a vicious battle erupted. Arah entered a celestial rage and led the fire-breathing jackals against the korred. The korred responded with a deadly volley of hurled rocks before engaging with their clubs and their horns. Several of the jackals and Quin fell prey to the enchanting laughter of the subterranean fey and made difficult work for Arah, Alias and the Templars.

Alias engaged the elderly fey with his magic, blasting her with lightning bolts that ripped from the rock ceiling in a cloud of dust and broken gravel before she quickly fled down the steps and out of sight.

Arah fought a difficult battle against the korred, shored up by her own rage and by Alias’ healing prayers. Quin was confused first by the beguiling laughter, and then by a voice that spoke in her mind, calling for her to attack Arah. The voice, speaking clearly to Quin and only to Quin, insisted that Arah was a Fallen angel and that she had deceived them all.

Before Quin could determine the truth, the korred brought the ceiling down over Arah and the jackals in an avalanche of mud and rocks. The fairy woman hurled a magic blast of jagged metal at them, before fleeing into the otherworldly metallic sphere in the center of the cavern.

Arah was enraged by the fairy’s escape and would brook no delay in pursing her into the strange sphere. Alias cautioned against rushing into the unknown and for the first time a wedge was driven between angel and druid.

Quin stood silent as Alias relinquished Arah from any debt or service she owed him and told the angel to go, if she would go. Arah did, she took the remaining hellish jackals and charged headlong into the circular tunnel that spiraled down into the sphere.

Alias and Quin turned to the stone building and searched it thoroughly. They identified the fairy woman as the witch Rhea. It has been her tower in which Quin’s great-great-great-great-grandmother had sheltered from the comet on the Night The Sky Fell; the same Rhea who had disappeared that same night, two-hundred years ago, but who had left behind her journal and her spellbook: The Book of Stars.

Quin also found letters from Uncle Kahaal, from whom the Book of Stars had been stolen, the letters clearly showed that he trusted and confided in Rhea. Bolstered by her findings Quin explained to Alias what the voice had said about Arah; that she was a Fallen Angel, a deceiver who was manipulating the Prophet to her own ends.

The news jarred Alias to his spiritual foundation. He could not, and would not believe what he was told, but numb from the news he thanked Quin and expressed a need to speak with Arah immediately.

The Ark
Written by Ian Hewitt

Alias, Prophet of Anaru (Doug Harris)
Arah (NPC)
Quinvera the Tall (Donna Hewitt)

Game Master (Ian Hewitt)
Played at the tabletop in Laramie, Wyoming
Summer 2008

View

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