10. The Black Cloud
Date: February 11, 2020
Players: Chris, John
Characters: Bard, Roenick
Other Personas: Yamira (wizard), Hana (little girl)
Bard, Roenick, Yamira and Hana return to the 1st sacrificial site to collect a sample of the powers it emanates.
Apogee 4, Year 810
- From the carcass of the bear escape some wisps of blackness, similar to the ones previously seen. Around, the sky is a dark steel in colour and it feels more like night than day. The group makes it way to the cave, where they entered cautiously. Yamira creates 3 hovering spheres of light, pushing the shadows away. Inside, they notice that the white marks seem to have strengthen. Yamira tries to use the orb receptacle, but it does not work. As she does, Bard notices that one of the light sphere dims. There are black wisps coming from the ceiling. Using an enchanted flask, Roenick catches some of the strange smoke. His injured finger reacts to the black smoke, which makes it throb painfully. Bard feels through his medallion that the source of power is above them. They leave the cave.
- Outside, the darkness seems even thicker. The group makes its way up, with Hana leading the way. Roenick experiences some difficulty with the climb. The higher the group gets, the more they can see black wisps in the air and sky. On the horizon, they make out crows going in circles. Yamira asks Hana to keep an eye on the birds.
- Finally, they reach the top and are faced with a very thick cloud of blackness. In its center, a humanoid creature floats. Waves of evil emanates from the cloud, crushing in its coldness. As the group approaches, the creature lifts an arm. "The birds are coming," announces Hana. The group quickly retreats, putting its back to elevated boulders, taking a stand.
- The battle is fierce. With more than 30 crows converging on the group, aiming mainly at Yamira, fluttering and cawing, piercing with their beaks and scratching with their talons. Roenick notices that the crows seem to follow a leader, the largest of them. He concentrates his spells on it. Bard defend himself the best he can with his two-handed ax. Finally, the lead crow is defeated, and the other birds scatter.
- Hana's cries resonate through the darkness. At her feet rests the inert form of Yamira.
- Bard and Roenick are shaken. They hesitate as to what to do next. Roenick says they can't turn around now. They must continue and capture some of the essence. Bard agrees. They find Hana already on her way toward the cloud. They quickly catch up and after consoling her, they continue on their own, with Hana waiting behind.
- As they approach the cloud, they notice an object on ground, from which the blackness seems to emanate. Above it, as if tied to the object by an invisible chain, a ghost tries to escape, while keeping its distance from the humanoid creature floating above it. Bard recognizes the ghost: "It's the ranger!", the one who once maintain the camp in the cave below. Above, the humanoid creature is much taller than initially thought. Standing at more than ten to twelve feet in height. It now stirs, and open large wings... but it is transparent, as if not completely formed. "We must do this," says Roenick. Bard agrees.
- Roenick places the receptacle orb created by Yamira on the ground, and perform the casting. Bard places a hand on Roenick's shoulder, offering what support he can, passing on some of his own energy... but it not enough. The creature above and the blackness around are crushing and both Roenick and Bard find themselves frozen in fear, incapable of thinking, or moving...
- A sudden wave of bright yellow flames passes over them, blinding, eating... everything disappear in a roar and a flash... the next instant, a new scene forms in front of the duo: the blackness has dissipated, the winged creature is gone, and the ghost is free.
- The ranger take a few steps toward Bard and Roenick, its feet not touching the ground. Then, it bows and disappears, free.
- "What was that?" asked Bard. They both turn around to find Hana standing a few feet behind them. In front of her, a fiery symbol is burning in the air, disappearing as they stare.
- "We have to do it now," says Roenick. They approach the object on the ground, and see that it is the small replica of a mansion. "I've seen that house before," says Bard. And indeed they have. That same morning, they stopped at Arladon's home to check on him: the replica is of his home. Shocked, but focused, Roenick deposit the orb receptacle on the small mansion and activates it. It fills with darkness.
- Hurt and shocked, the three slowly make their way back toward Telstar, Bard shouldering the inert form of Yamira.
The Black Cloud ( COMPLETED): Collected a sample of the dark powers from the site.
The Mentor's Secret (Roenick): Investigate Saldoras' life, including his sojourn to Shalème and the reasons why he would not join the Synod of Magikas. Complete tidying house (63% done). Investigate secret lab in the Dragon's Forest.
Joining the Synod (Roenick): Complete the tests to join the Synod. If successful, Sage promised Roenick that he would make arrangement for him to meet Yasmina, who will heal his finger.
Symbol in the Dirt (Roenick): Research the strange symbol drawn by Hana in the dirt in front of her house. Roenick is now acquainted with the people at the library. 2nd option is to visit the library in Var Galdin.
The White Finger (Roenick): Figure out what is the nature of the infection that is eating up at his finger. Sage Fidès mentioned it is similar in properties to the black mark of Xemus.
The Ranger (Bard): Find out what happened to the ranger who had a camp east of Hana's house.
The Family Signet Ring (Bard): Find out the history behind Cilia's family ring, as well as its powers.
The Land Owner (Arladon): Find out what Arladon's father did to the farmers to make them hate him so. Discovered that his father is scared of someone.
The Ghost's Insignia (Arladon): Determine the roots or meaning of the insignia seen on the ghost of the cracked blade, at the Sanctum of Five.
- All: +70 XP for completing "The Black Cloud".
- All: +10 XP for defeating the crows.
- Bard: +1 Will due to actions (rolls).
- Roenick: +1 Intelligence due to actions (rolls).
- Roenick: +1 Mana due to critical spell against the crows.
- Roenick: +2 Aura due to caring for Hana and Yamira.