This week’s adventure had a different focus to it. Instead of following the three heroic characters, Jack, Fraus, and Gamil, this story was about three commoners who found themselves in Enrico Garibaldi’s tower at the time of the first great tremor. Rail Maihd, Sweet Pea, and Jeremy Riddle awoke in a small. dark room filled with rubble. There was, however, a body. The man was clearly dead, but he had several small sun-rods in his pocket. Upon lighting one, the trio saw that the room’s only entrance was blocked and would need to be cleared. Also, a large metal barrel was dripping an unrecognizable violet fluid on the dead man. Sweetpea, out of curiosity, touched the fluid but immediately pulled away as it felt like it was burning her now-stained finger.
The trio spent some time clearing the doorway enough to crawl through and re-sealed it. They had stumbled into a slightly larger room filled with mangled remains and the sound of a young girl crying. The girl, named Celeste, was small and dirty. She said that she was here looking for something important, something called a ‘controller room.’ She indicated a trapdoor leading down as the way to go. There wasn’t much time to deliberate as the room began to shake once more. Rubble began to fall as they fled for the door. A large stone fell on Rail’s hand, and Sweet Pea twisted her ankle as she ran.
Celeste urged them to move on and produced a small, magical blue light which hovered around her. After the sound of falling stone ceased, a rabid scratching noise replaced it. This was all the convincing needed. The group moved as fast as they could down the tunnel until they got to a chamber with the sound of running water. The room was separated by a small river spanned by a rotting wooden rope bridge. Pausing to take in the surroundings, the sound of pursuit was heard. At the edge of the bridge, they turned and saw to blowing purple orbs. Eyes. Sweet Pea took no time to think and dove straight into the river, quickly being swept away. Rail took off across the bridge, but the beast was upon them before Jeremy could cross. The creature, now in better view, was a deformed and bestial form that used to be the dead man from earlier. Its long claws latched into Jeremy’s shoulder, and it took all his strength to throw it off. It fell off onto the near side of the bridge as the ropes snapped. Jeremy hauled himself up just in time to see Celeste fall unconscious. The blue light quickly extinguished, but not before the two men looked back to see several more pairs of eyes join those of the creature that had attacked them.
Sweet Pea struggled to keep her head above the water. The river twisted and turned at great speed through the passageways. Just before going under for the last time, the water surged downward and over a ledge. The water passed down through a grate, but Sweet Pea did not. She landed poorly on her bad ankle and passed out from the sudden shock of pain.
Meanwhile, Rail and Jeremy continued down the passage with Celeste in tow, knowing that their pursuers couldn’t be far behind. The cave-like gave way to a constructed tunnel and eventually into a cubic stone room. The floor contained a indent large enough to fit one person. The opposite wall, where a door looked like it should have been, was sealed with a stone panel. After making contact with this panel, the door behind them slid shut from above. At the same time, the ceiling began to drop slowly. Realizing they only had seconds left, they quickly decided that Jeremy should should lay in the indent with Celeste and hope for escape. The ceiling however, halted just two feet above above the floor. Both stone door panels slid open. In front of them: blackness. Behind them: seven pairs of glowing violet eyes. The two men struggled to escape the room ahead of the beasts. Jeremy escaped with Celeste in tow and took off down the tunnel. Rail, however, couldn’t make it. His screams followed Jeremy down the dark corridor as Rail attempted to slow down the pursuers for as long as possible.
As Jeremy ran, the flagstones eventually gave way to metal grate and the sound of rushing water became very loud. In the darkness, however, he tripped over a prone figure. This shock snapped Sweetpea back to consciousness. The two heard the sound of the creatures moving after them, and continued on as fast as they could. Without realizing it, the purple stain had spread over much of Sweetpea’s hand, which had begin to take on a mottled appearance.
Rounding a corner, the two beheld two massive bronze doors pulsing with some internal light. Celeste, suddenly awake, ran to them and slid between the doors. The pair followed and closed the door behind them. The room was huge, both tall and bottomless the walls curved around while four walkways extended to a platform suspended in the center of the room where Celeste lay prone, the small blue light hovering above her. A slight tremor shook the cyclopean room.
Before their eyes, the blue light passed into one of the machines adorning the platform. Blue lines of light and energy flowed from the machine to all corners of the room. Soon the room was filled with an azure glow. Seeing that the walkways all led to matching sets of bronze doors, the pair began looking for a way out, almost missing the fact that a human form had begun to materialize from thin air behind them on the platform. The figure was that of a woman, tall and beautiful with almost elf-like features. Her skin, and all things about her had a blue tint to them.
Upon gaining her corporeal state, the figure explained that she was a manifestation of Azul, the archmage of the island. She needed to get to this control room, the heart of the city, to determine the cause of these quakes that had begun to destroy everything. She determined that the Great Engine’s fuel had been stolen. In addition to powering the devices that keep the city aloft, the compound was also incredibly dangerous to humanoids, as shown by the creatures that had been pursuing them. Azul then said that she needed help. She asked them to take her to the Conclave, the mages of the island that work from and for the palace in the hopes that their wisdom will allow them to temporarily put aside their loyalty to the First Citizen in order to save the city. Even as she spoke the room began to shake again. Her material form began to dissipate as she transferred to a quartz tablet. By the time she finished, the shaking had become quite violent. Behind them, the bronze doors they had come through fell from their hinges and a whole score of the creatures came surging through them.
Going as fast as they could, the duo made their exit the way Azul had indicated. By this time, the mottled purple stain had spread over much of Sweetpea’s body. They turned a corner and saw a metal box supported by two struts and with a metal cable latched to the top, this was the way out, but Sweetpea was beginning to hear voices. A cool, and sly voice encouraged her to kill, and to relish in it. In a last moment of willpower she pushed Jeremy into the box and sent him speeding upwards. She turned around towards the beasts and ripped out her own throat with her newly-formed claws.
The metal box deposited Jeremy higher up in the cavern system. Feeling his way through the darkness he found his way back to the surface. As his eyes readjusted to the light he made out the devastation wrought by the quakes. Hugging the tablet to his chest, he stumbled around the rubble that used to be people’s homes in the slums. Eventually he locked eyes with a nobleman who had apparently come from the palace to offer aid to the refugees. The nobleman, who had seen the tablet, walked over with his guards as the light played on his set of crystal rings.
The nobleman asked if Jeremy was hurt at all, and then asked how he had come by the quartz tablet. All Jeremy could say was that he needed to deliver it to the Conclave at the palace. Only the wizards there would know what to do with it. The nobleman looked pleased and offered to personally escort him back to the palace. Jeremy accepted and the two men left the scene of destruction with the full escort of guards.