12 August 2014

Earthdawn: Adventure Log 28 - Everything Ends

This is the twenty-eighth Adventure Log in an ongoing series about Earthdawn. Introduction and Index.

This is not a canon location.

Adventure Log – 028 Everything Ends

Written By: Honeysuckle Sunspray of Glenwood Deep

Date: 1 Mawag – 8 Mawag, 1508 TH
Group Name: Mismatched Steel

Group Members
Bongani the Scout
Coriolis the Swordmaster
Elmod the Nethermancer
Honeysuckle Sunspray the Windmaster
Ting the Swordmaster

Our time in the forest continues. I use my time to learn about the botany here. I am finding lots of unique plants and berries. Each morning everyone goes their separate ways to discover what the forest has in store for us today. Bongani has managed to find food for use each day since the forest spirits found our food to be better than what they had before.

Elmod is making torches in the hopes of keeping the shades at bay to explore the tree at the heart of the forest. First, I found quarsh berries. They look pretty neat and like something we can use(1). While gathering berries there was a lot of screaming. Heading that way, everyone converges on an unconscious Ting and a canopy full of gleaming white, winged monkeys(2). Coriolis was able to recover Ting's body and the rest of the day will be committed to getting back to full strength.

Before returning to camp, I find some jimicia fruit. I'm sure Elmod would be interested in pursuing the visions the fruit offers(3). Coriolis claimed to have talked to a shade, a windling Weaponsmith who claims that someone connected to the forest might be able to get past the shades.

Elmod takes one of the jimicia fruit and has visions of his "mother" and betrayal(4). Kristof arrives and claims that the fruit just makes hallucinations rather than visions of the future.

The following day we head out together only to discover what we thought were moon moths. Upon closer inspection we discover they are death moths. Death moths are so scary. I've never seen anything so scary, maybe this is why the forest spirits are afraid of moths and butterflies. Elmod and Coriolis have seen way creepier things than moths and take down the moths(5).

Later on in the day, Elmod finds the prettiest gem in a tree. Using my awesomeness, I get the gem! On our way back to camp, we encounter a true wonder: a black unicorn, so wonderful and sweet to be around. I got a unicorn ride. Being an adventurer is the best thing ever.

Kristof says he will help us with our search for the free in a few days because it sounds like it will help a friend who has become a shade with unfinished business. We spend a few more days in the forest waiting until it is time to complete our task. The more time we spend here, the more time we spend saving Elmod from being eaten by shades.

After saving Elmod the most recent time, we happen across shades building a step pyramid out of skulls and bones of those that came before us. Spending more time in this forest, we keep seeing stranger and stranger things, yet we continue our questing here. I wonder if we will ever leave, or if we will simply become wanderers of the forest permanently(6).

There have been more sightings of the windling Weaponsmith. I haven't seen him yet and I worry that if I see him, he will disappear. I have a feeling this is my father, Firefly, whose spirit went out a while ago and I now carry his heartblade(7). Kristof required a meeting with Elmod before finally helping us. Kristof confirmed my theory that it is Firefly here, it seems they traveled together for quite a while along with Mestoph. Kristof says I can see Firefly once more, but only once, and then he will be released from this place

Mestoph seems to be watching Elmod and helping to make sure he stays alive, a return on his investment as Mestoph claims. A strange claim, but nothing we haven't heard from Mestoph before(8).

The next day we head off on our tree adventure to find if this is truly Regia's tree. With Kristof's help, hopefully we will have an answer. The tree is pure white and appears to be multiple trees wrapped together; the leaves are white as well. As Elmod and Regia approach the tree, small children's faces appear in the trunk. There is a spot where one child's face is missing, making it seem as if the face had been hacked off, red sap runs down the tree(9).

The faces seem to be reaching out toward Regia, beckoning her to come back to them. Elmod makes a crucial and strange decision and pushes Regia into the tree. The children take her back into the tree and she is gone(10). Before we leave the forest, I say goodbye to Firefly and receive a set of armor from him(11). We leave here and decided to try civilization for a while.(12)
*     *     *
(1) If you need to put someone to sleep for a while. These heroes need an editor.
(2) Ice flyers. 
(3) This does not surprise me. There are conflicting claims about the veracity of the visions. There is a minority within the Library which maintains the "power" of the visions depends on a number of factors, such as location, the user, their state, etc. This would be a very bad place to use them.
(4) Which, of course, he did.
(5) This entire paragraph needs more details.
(6) This comment makes me wonder how many of these "shades" are travelers which simply never left the forest and turned.
(7) We still need information about this. It is a provincial treasure.
(8) What does this mean?
(9) This makes perfect sense, actually. It is just that wrong.
(10) I can now sleep a little safer at night knowing the doll is gone. Seriously creepy.
(11) Yet another provincial treasure we know nothing about.
(12) Received and edited by Ela Pono

This session closed out the arc and went to some surprising places.

The continued exploration of the forest got stranger and more disturbing. This wasn't actually planned, but randomly worked out favorably. There were quite a few encounters which were left off of here, but were largely inconsequential in the bigger scheme.

There were a number of sit downs with the forest guardian, Kristof, to get information from him. He eventually explained some of the theories regarding karmic ties and how they impact the world. The end result is his hands were tied on how much he was willing to offer since he still had an important task in front of him for now. This also went to shed some light on the strange behavior others have been engaging in, such as Mestoph trying to game the system, and Poison Wing and Firefly severing all ties with family (not to mention for political protection). There were some hints of why Firefly died so young and he may have found a loophole to exploit.

The last fireside chat went to some dark places and was foreshadowed by the title of the session. It was the talk of someone facing their own mortality; as their power grew, their ability to directly use it shrank. The table was rather solemn for the rest of the session.

What happened at the tree surprised everyone, myself included. There was a disturbing imagery, and the distinct impression was given the forest isn't a force for good in any sense of mortal comprehension. Elmod's final solution was painful to portray - he was essentially killing his daughter (despite how strange their relationship was) for what he thought would make the world a better place. There was screaming, crying, pleading, but to Elmod the ends justify the means. While most of the group is happy they no longer have to worry about Regia, there is a little nostalgia for here (she comes up multiple times every session) and some slight fear this plot thread may not be over.

At the end of the session was a father and daughter united for the first and last time. It was not the first time they had met, but the revelation which had taken place certainly changed the tone. It was bittersweet, cementing Firefly as one of the most influential NPCs they have come across. One of the few truly decent Namegivers in the setting, who they have now watched die twice. It's interesting when he could surface at the table as a topic - he isn't mentioned. There is just a bit of silence for his memory.

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