To Fly on Metal Wings

Serran's Secret Report #2
Time to Take Flight

I grow restless. The trial should begin tomorrow morning. Llewellyn and the others believe that Riley has a good chance of acquittal. We have the wizard’s promised testimony, as well as some scant other evidence. Normally I’d be willing to test our odds against a legal technicality, but it has become quite clear that there are forces at work here that no means of juristic acumen will keep at bay for long. First the summoning, then the symbols, and now the mysterious Brotherhood…how could they have escaped my knowledge? For three years I have lived in this city. I am supposed to be the one who knows it, especially its less savory aspects. I need to find out more if we are going to be prepared for the storm that is brewing. Georgina has not been seen these last days…a fact that worries me greatly. I do not fear for her safety from the usual riff-raff as I would for a normal girl of her (relative) age, but with D’Caeli gone from the city our list of allies grows thin as our enemies enumerate. There may be foes lurking in the shadows that she cannot face alone…though without more information, I fear that even all of our combined resources may be at a loss against whatever conspiracies brood in the halls of power and the back alleys of Satyeva. The first lesson of the Shinobi-no-mono states that the greatest threat is the one that is Unseen; it is a code by which I have survived, and conquered. Now I fear it is being used against me and my companions…I must be ever vigilant in the coming days. A visit to the Eagles may be prudent…

On that note, a new page of the Manual became clear to me today; it is entitled Moukinrui. It will need more study, but it is familiar…it is the name given to me back at the Cairn, in the Cave? I have only now remembered it; but was it the memory that triggered my new found understanding, or did the sudden clarity stir the memory?

Memories…Small gods…Brotherhoods…I need to know more. The moon is up- a cloud is shrouding her face like a scarf or a veil. I do not fear the shadows; those others who would take refuge there will find they provide no shelter from me. It has been so long since I have felt the wind whip my face, careening from rooftop to rooftop…the night is young…whilst the others rest, I will hunt. Time to spread wings and take flight.

Before I forget the words...

Forgive the medium, dear journal. This wax paper, covered in in biscuit crumbs and slightly oily, is all I had available. And I have seen some things that bear being written down for posterity.

As I left, the door read: “It did not end when Dalover died, nor when the walls came down and the dragon flew; it did not end when the little boy was lost and did not end when I dropped my sword; all for a respite, all for relief. I’m sorry Auntie, for borrowing your power; but you weren’t there then so I bought you some time. Only here could I warn you.” Each word disappearing as I read it.

Now that the important bits have been recorded, I suppose I’d better begin at the beginning.

Last night was my first vision-dream in quite some time. A city was being attacked, walls crumbling under a barrage of artillery-fire. A massive purple dragon rose from the smoke and debris, while thick clouds drowned the moonlight. Rather than the usual chaotic sounds of battle, I heard only a single dying shriek before everything I saw became blindingly bright.

When it became dim enough for me to see again, I looked down on a rocky expanse of desert, an old woman’s voice narrating the scene below. “The last of the clerics found a place to rest.” Wounded and exhausted, brought low by battle and the heat of the desert, barely able to keep her weapon in her hand, she finally collapses. Here the vision picks up speed, as men and women of all the races gather, slowly at first but then thicker and faster, and building a shrine around the cleric’s body. When the shrine is finished people continue to gather, and around the shrine they build a large and bustling city.

I woke knowing the shrine still stands. And I would not dream it if it were not important. The city in my dream must be Satyeva, and this made it easy enough for me to go looking. A spell, more difficult than others I have tried before, led me to a peculiar neighborhood unlike any other I’ve seen. Somehow brighter, and more… old-fashioned. But once there, my spell became useless. After a morning spent in fruitless wandering, I would have taken any possible hint.

A scarlet-red mantis-man named Scarlocke offered me tea. Aside from being a most friendly and personable gentleman, he was able to direct me to someone who could help me find the tomb. A woman named Marie, whom he called “The Teller.” The clerk in the lobby of her building was engrossed in a dog-eared copy of some penny dreadful. On further inspection, I discovered its name to be “Gentleman Goblin Diggelemelbegekaganen and the Case of the Fabulous Cloud Pearls.” I shall have to inform Diggel, or see if I might find other books about him. He would be amused; it would make a nice gift.

Upon arriving at her residence, her grandson opened the door and informed me that she was expecting me. She looked at my hands and told me that there are legions of ghosts between my fingers, and the ghosts of all I’ve killed follow in my wake. I doubt I’ll be sharing that bit of information with my companions. Though they are not a particularly superstitious lot, it would still (I imagine) be unsettling. Marie had made us all biscuits. So I ate mine as I asked her about the shrine, and in true oracular fashion, she cryptically responded that I should look “where the last lights fall.”

I waited for nightfall. The whole neighborhood aches with some sort of power, but I cannot place what it is.

I found her. Through a warped door, and a stone passage. Through another door and into a room that slowly began to glow as I entered. Her perfectly preserved body lay on a carved stone bier, in the same distressed armor I had seen, with the same sword lain across her chest. She is young, only a few years older than I am. The sword bears an engraving of a flower. She wears a silver fox on a chain about her neck.

Her name is Saint Eva, Eva Chandliere. I do not know who entombed her here, or who, if anyone, still visits her. I do not know who sainted her, or what she is saint of.

But she left me a message on the back of the door. A message that lit up and then vanished the moment I touched the door to leave.

And she called me “Auntie.”

Diggel's Log

Diggel’s Journal, Entry XX and counting;

Some excitement has gotten the blood flowing in my veins; this new time may not be as bad as I’d thought. If you’re reading this that I hope you can learn something, because the last person who stole this diary won’t read anything ever again. After some of our possessions were stolen and it was made clear that I hadn’t done it, we tracked down and recovered them. You’d think this town would be used to such things, but after the quiet extermination of one little pathetic human, the whole town guard was up in arms after the world’s favorite green interloper. This forced me into hiding and resulted in the arrest of Riley. I’m surprised to say I feel something akin to guilt, Riley was the only human that treated me with anything I could call acceptance. Llewllyn’s always busy keeping his language intact (continental this and that, it sounds like I’m a zoo exhibit to him. Human’s and their terms; they only use them to plead innocence of their bigotry) and I’m never sure if Georgie is all there, for all I know she thinks I’m imaginary. Better Riley than me, he’ll have a better chance of beating the prosecution than this city’s lone Gobber. Where is my kind? Have they fled the cities of men and created their own metropolis, or have they been cast out of the public domain, forced into obscurity, or worse, slavery? Dalover will hopefully have some answers, if we ever get there; it seems that the longer we stay here the more likely it is we’ll never leave. New contacts and situations continue to arise; which brings me to the Moonlit Brotherhood. Serran’s never heard of them, but they are clearly powerful, which means their organized, dangerous, and entrenched in all aspects of this city. It turns out that the crescent wielding assassins work for them, and I believe they have some interest in Georgie. If this is true than they are trying to use me, and helping humans in what will assuredly result in my own misfortune is not a game that I like to play. Luckily for me, I cheat. They acquired a disguise for me, possibly from Serran’s “friend” (I use the term loosely because I don’t see how anyone could stand him), and it will continue to work if I acquire a particular item for them. I felt good to get back to what I love most; I’d almost forgotten the rush of pulling a job, and the thrill of collecting a bounty. They wanted a helmet; an old artifact, unremarkable in its power, they said. It turns out I was robbing the judge of Riley’s trial, and despite my suspicion of such a coincidence, I had little choice. Getting in was easy, getting the prize was not. For a judge, he kept his home more guarded than most forts, and some very peculiar things were in there. First of all, there was a massive statue of Georgie of the first floor, in what I could only assume to be the socializing room for other rich humans to gather and talk about the inanities of their worthless lives. She was clad in armor, and exalted like a queen. Upstairs was an unmistakable portrait of Johannes fighting a dragon. Apparently he won the fight, although I have no idea how the painter managed to capture the scene. Furthermore, in the judges bedroom was a diary, heavily trapped. In fact you may notice my sloped writing because some poison on the latch paralyzed my arm. I can only hope that it isn’t permanent, otherwise I’m moving closer my vision. The Diary was clearly for the owner’s eyes only, because before I could read the whole first sentence, it burst into flames, so much for not leaving a trace. A little more exploring led me to discover a secret stairway filled with traps of all variety, deadly to the last, and all easily avoided and disabled. Clearly they hadn’t planned for the legendary Diggelemelbegekaganen (surely by now my exploits from the past must be legendary. I must find a scholar). I reached an attic that was absolutely filled with treasure and the helmet I was sent to retrieve. I grabbed all I could, including a pair of gun blades, that I remember clearly when Cameron D’Caeli wielded them quite devastatingly against some cloaked figures. The existence of D’caeli’s guns, the portrait of Johannes, and the statue of Gerogie in armor (armor that I later found) means that something much bigger than we know is going on, and it’s time to let my travelling companions in on what I’ve been doing. The more people in the group that know the better chance we’ll have to survive. Given Serran’s complete ignorance of the brotherhood, I think even he can be trusted. I am sure now that even if I hadn’t killed the human, someone would be in jail and the city would have some hold over us. I just hope that this arm can be fixed; it looks like I may have to break into a jail soon. Nothing is as it seems which is why I have every reason to believe that this helmet isn’t just some artifact of no great power. I have to be careful, but I don’t have much time. I guess I’ll find out what the helmet does the old fashioned way.

Serran's Secret Report #1
My Purpose

Recent events have lead to my decision to begin this secondary log. There are things happening now that are not yet understood, but I can no longer keep up these pretenses of secrecy in their presence. Moreover, my own conscience is bothered by the turn of events in the last two weeks that I fear any records kept on the corporeal realm will be compromised, no matter the lengths I go to to keep them secret and safe, my cyphers will not hold up long under intense scrutiny of the kind I fear may fall upon them. Safe to say, no one will find these records where they are being kept now. I had a conversation with Riley after consulting Capt. Danielson…we now understand each other much more. I would hesitate to say that he likes me, but at least he seems to trust me. We both came to the realization that my superior, L.H. Chandler, is most likely related to Georgina, who apparently carries that natal name. We are in agreement as to her particular status, but are in agreement that, for the moment at least, we will keep from her any knowledge of possible descendants. Diggel was privy to our conversation, it seemed, though I do not know how much about her nature that he truly understands…nonetheless, I have made increasing overtures of friendship that will hopefully lead to his trust. Eventually.

Georgina asked about Jenya at dinner. How she knew, I could not say, and she could not have known how difficult it was for me to answer. I must speak to her about this at some point- if she wants to know something about me, all she has to do is ask.

Dawn has brought trouble- Diggel’s rash actions at the summoner’s house have brought the law down on him. I was able to help him elude them, but Riley was taken in for questioning. Our priority now is to procure his release, as well as keep Diggel hidden (being the only goblin in the city, this will not be easy, even given his penchant for subterfuge). Attempts to contact Talib failed, so we turned to Cameron D’Caeli. At his Kaffehouse a messenger relayed his departure and dire warnings about the shifting balance. It became clear that the Lady is in danger should her identity become known. At the message’s urgings, we went to see Father Genesios; his church was barricaded quite formidably, and inside we discovered his body, as well as four deceased assailants using the familiar crescent blades. His office had a number of symbols pertaining to the Small Gods; what importance they have are unknown.

A cursory visit to the scene of the crime was unproductive, though the Desert Nomads were present, which is suspicious to say the least. I wonder how much longer it will be safe for the newcomers in Satyeva…we should leave as soon as Llewellyn is done with his work. I pray it does not take much longer.

Riley has been taken to the Courthouse. His trial is in two days. Our efforts will concentrate on procuring a defense attorney to represent him. If that fails, we do have other methods.

...Everyone has a Cause. A Purpose. Everyone is free to choose what that is. I have lacked one since losing Xan. Perhaps it is time I found one again.

Trials of Mine Patience

Today, a Most Peculiar Thing occurred. Someone Stole from Us! This is Most Unheard of! Those who Dare to Steam from the Knighthood are Few and Far between, and Those who Would Steal from an Inn in Which a Knight and Many other Travellers (many of Which are Formidable in their Own Right), are Even Rarer. The Young Georgie, However, Managed to Track Down the Culprits in a Most Peculiar Manner: She Blessed a Pool of Water, and then Made it Show us Images of the Thief. As Far as I know, it is Rare for Even Priests of the Wheel to be Able to Manifest such Abilities. But, We Managed to Track the Thief Down. This resulted in dealing with Nosy Neighbours, and Further Evil Cats. I must Look into the Felixan Population in the Area, as they are exhibiting an Affinity for the Evil and Seditious (Not to Mention Necromantic) Arts! One Felixan Necromancer, and One Felixan Thief! This is Most Unacceptable! A Most Unfortunate Thing Happened in the House: we were Forced to Destroy Two Creatures Who otherwise might have been Allies. It seems that they were Summoned by a Sorceror (also, a Former Knight! Another Situation that Must be Investigated!) and Forced to Attack Intruders (which we Seemed to it to Be!). The Further Investigation of the Situation should Involve an Inquiry to Alleged Summoner’s Teacher of the Arcane Arts. Oh, Marcus, it Seems that Members of the Glorious Knighthood have Resorted to Questionable Sources of Power. Oh, I Do Hope that the Old Mistake is not being Repeated! Oh, I Most Avowedly Hope not. Another Civil War would be Devastating! I Must Say, though, Matthias, that I was Most Surprised When I realised that Members of My Party were Opposed to the Beheading of the Deceased Knight/Summoner! It seems that They do Not Realise the Danger of His being Called Back as an Undead! the Removal of His Head would Prevent Both this (in Most Situations at Least), as Well as Facilitate Identification in the Investigation of These Occurrences! I Must Talk to Serran and Ascertain his Standing on the Undead. Their Arisal is To be Avoided at All Costs!

Dear Brother Mixail, I Shall Write You More Later!

In Love, Your Brother, Johannes

Limited Schemata for Hilda Garde (Mk. II)

Further Notes on the Schematics of Hilda Garde (Mk. II):

the Steam Plant: Photobucket

and the Automated Steam Assist System (A-Sys): A-Sys Schematic

The Text on the File Says: This System allows the Pilot to Augment and Magnify his Movements using the Power of Steam. Strapped into a Motion Sensitive Internal Suit, every Motion the Pilot Makes triggers the opening and closing of Finely Tuned Steam-Pressure valves. The Valves open Pistons that extend the Armor’s Limbs. Each opening of a Valve-Piston closes the Opposite one to a Supplemental Degree. Springs opposing the Vector of the Pilot’s Motion assist in Closing the Valve-Pistons.

Notes on the Calibration of the Steam Assist System (A-Sys): Great Care needs to be Taken in Perfectly Calibrating the Valves and Springs in the A-Sys! It Must be Calibrated so as to Not Over-Extend and Injure the Pilot, or Make a False Move in Battle (Particularly Fatal when Battling Dragons!)

Exerpts from the Manual Shinobi-no-mono
Stepping Between Spaces

_When the body and the spirit are not one, the spirit exists and feels only as the body exists and feels; it is bound to but one place. Yet the spirit exists beyond the strictures of the body it is bound in tandem with; it feels of its own accord, and works in spaces not seen by the eyes of the body. When the spirit and body are one, just as the spirit exists as the body exists, the body can be made to exist as the spirit does, in the spaces in between. When the skilled practitioner has already learned to move without being seen, and physically touch the space beyond, he is ready to step into the space where normally only the spirit intrudes. This task is arduous, and requires complete focus and concentration- calmness and breathing must be practiced to execute the technique correctly. _

_A word of caution to the inexperienced- even for the skilled practitioner, the body is not meant to exist in the spirit realm for any length of time. Whilst the body is taken to the realm of the spirit, a great strain is placed upon both, and it drains the spirit greatly to keep the body there. Likewise, the body is not accustomed to the spaces in between- the beings there care little for light or heat. Sight and sound may seem strange to the uninitiated, and the cold is not to be underestimated- it is unlike anything the living body knows, though the spirit abides it well. Certain items can help adjustment, but they are rare and valuable indeed; a wise practitioner would do well to never lose such a boon. _

Notes on Hilda Garde and Knighthood Heraldry

Some Notes on Hilda Garde (Mk. II):

Improvements over Mk. I:

-the Chassis is based on the Newer SantalaGear Armor developed in Tandem by the Knighthood and Ratatoskian Order, as opposed to the Older GhoulBane Armor (on which Hilda Garde Mk. I was based)

-Increased Armor Plating

-More Powerful Steam Plant

-Improved Facial Coverage

-Improved Durability of Plating

-Improved Steam Plant Endurance

-Improved Manual Dexterity Capacity

-Strengthened GearStave

-Capability to Install Mechanikal Conduiting and Plates on Armor

-Slots for Accumulator Sockets in Coffin

Projects yet to be Undertaken:

-Installation of Arcane Turbine to convert Steam Power to Arcane Might!

-Mechanikal Fortification to Prevent Devastating Damages

-Climate Control within the Coffin! That Blasted Hole can get as Hot as a Dragon’s Belly!

It Should be Noted, that the Shield carried by this Noble Knight is the Same as was Carried in the Hilda Garde Mk. I, as well as in the Preceding Armor, called Sara Rose.

The Shield Looks as Follows: Johannes Original [THE PHOTO IS REVERSED]

Some May Note, particularly Llewllyn, that the Coat of Arms on the Shield seems to be a Well-Preserved and more Elaborate version of the Coats elsewhere about Johannes’ person.

Particularly, the Coat on his Shield intended for Unarmored Use (which is the same as the Coat Flown on his Banner) Johannes New

and the Coat on his Formal Robes, and the Seal on his Papers of Office (a rather aged looking sheaf) Knighthood Modern Basic

Schematics on the Armor to Come Later.

Passing Strange

Woke this morning to discover my brooch missing. Everyone else had also lost items of marked importance.

So I attempted something I had never attempted before -I scried for the thief. No one else seemed to find it any more unusual than anything else that I do, but I had no reason to expect it to work. Just a feeling that, given some holy water (the inherent strangeness in my ability to bless water laid aside, for the time being) and an article that had belonged to the thief, I could see where they’d gone. It worked, incredibly enough. Doubtless, I’ve made quite the impression on the innkeeper and his staff, but we needed their knowledge of the city.

In no mood to brook questions, I’m afraid we were rather intimidating to a few bystanders who had nothing to do with the house in question. I even blinded the man at the door so that we might avoid his interference, and before anyone could say a word Diggel had stabbed and killed him. I don’t feel that I am the one to say whether it was that man’s time to die or not, only that I had not intended it. And I do feel responsible, having made him so much more vulnerable.

The house itself was eerie, full of people who moved about but were clearly not under their own power. In the hidden basement, summoning runes filled in with slowly coagulating blood, and a beautiful creature, seemingly mad with pain or confusion. But she attacked Riley, and did not survive him defending himself. As we attempted to clean our the runes, a woman came forth from the summoning portal, fierce and aghast at the newly dead body of her charge. I was unable to dissuade her from attacking me, and she too fell.

I suppose we could have run. Spent more time thinking. Come up with a plan. But saddened as I am by these deaths, I try to remind myself that the fault lies most with the man responsible for those summoning spells. Perhaps there are more answers to be found in the morning, but for now we are all tired and short-tempered, and ought to rest.

As I try to sleep, it is our little band that worries me. When we had a mission, that mission unified our purpose and held us together. But now… Llewellyn wants to return to the Aetheria he knew (and I believe Diggel would as well, if he thought it possible), the Knight makes his usual rounds performing whatever function his church requires of him, Riley is on some kind of mission for the Abbott but its nature is a mystery to me, and Serran… Serran remains inexplicable. Llewellyn sinks deeper into his tinkering, Diggel seems more bloodthirsty, and Riley has an impatience about him.

They were the my first companions in a long time. I don’t want to go back to being just me and the voice in my head. But I don’t know what’s the become of us.

Serran's Report #3

Returned from [Redacted] to the city today, having cleared out the infestation there. Events that followed were…unexpected. Awoke to find numerous party effects missing, including the Cairn Sword. Ensuing scramble to locate missing items lacked cohesion (am somewhat worried may have been impolite at moments, under such agitation)...GREEN decided to check pulse on the streets whilst HEALER and GUNFIRE debated effectiveness of magical detection. Decided to drop off messages for feline friend should occasion for information exchange arrive. Proved unnecessary- HEALER was able to scry the location magically. Another talent to be wary of. Managed to track down location of an abandoned house. Proved to be occupied with a number of residents, clearly under some kind of influence, whether narcotic or magical. Infiltration proved extremely easy…bit of a scare when discovered a golem of some alchemical nature…was able to prevent any hostile engagements with the construct. Proceeding throughout the house, became clear residents were attracted to “Shiny things”...curious, but not hostile, at least. Finally encountered resistance on the upper level in the form of a [Redacted] EDIT: STRAY CAT and two CHITTERY LITTLE BUGGERS (for lack of a better term for them)- the former proved willing to retreat when engaged, the latter similarly obsessed with Shiny Objects and had to be forcibly put down. Attempted to EtherWalk without the Cairn Sword…proved difficult, to say the least. So cold…like back at the Cairn…not eager to reenact the experience a third time. Limitation is bothersome…must consult the Manual…perhaps it holds something, some secret previously undiscovered…it’s secrets are becoming more and more knowable every day…progress has sped up since arrival of party. Coincidence? Unlikely…

Finally discovered source of problem- botched Summoning of some kind. Poor wretch of a creature bound to hidden basement chamber (discovered with HEALER and GREEN). Missing items there as well. Suspected poor creature being forced to guard them, looked quite sick, though once beautiful. HEALER suggested cleansing the blood-stained Rune in the room with a solution of water and mercury…resolving to head back to get both, GUNFIRE disregarded explicit suggestion and retrieved missing weapon, prompting creature to attack. Then proceeded to mercilessly slaughter poor wretch. Attempts to justify murderous actions fallen on deaf ears. Imagine GAUNTLET’s presence would have defused situation somewhat, but current preoccupation with “special projects” necessitated staying behind. HEALER procured application of water, GREEN mercury…HEALER was attacked whilst alone in room, rest arrived and dispatched the being, clearly originated from a dimensional doorway, subsequently closed by cleansing, and permanently shattered by GUNFIRE. Corpse turned out to be owner, a Summoner of some sort…IRONHEAD suggested decapitation to confirm identity later…gods, what sort of barbaric company is this?? Beginning to seriously doubt own objectivity…actions taken by certain party members this day may have permanently altered outlook…need time to meditate. Whilst they head to the inn, will go to usual spot for the night…being reunited with the Cairn Sword has stilled some of the ghost-taint, but mind still whirling with conflicts, needs to be calmed before clarity is regained.


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