Underdark Rising

CASE 08: Brewing Insurgency

“A call to arms, brought by Pendak Wavelight,
He ventures onward, seeking a phantom of golden might,
While upward his companions return once more,
To face the rot eating at Underton’s core.

The playful in purple at the threshold insists,
On a fear of blue fire that nothing can resist,
No part will she have in the deadly insurrection,
For only death awaits a gathering of the spectrum.

Yet even a broken watch can be right twice a day,
And a beer is too, or so the studies say,
But when Brewers go bad and their taste runs flat,
Only the Watch can institute prohibition: coup d’etat."

View
Shudder Before the Beautiful

“Imagination and evolution start,
A new species from a vial,
Poured into the deep silences,
Between beats of the heart.

The final choir begins to sing.
Their stone voices lifting a seal,
From an ancient chest filled with stars;
A gift for the world’s new King.

Incomplete and unworthy are aligned,
Into a greater new design.
Shudder now before the beautiful
Fate awaiting all mankind."

View
CASE 07: Brain Drain

The temporary subjugation force was gone. Again. He was alone once more. He blinked slowly as he considered this, but there was nothing to be done for it. Rolling back his shoulders, he launched himself deeper into the heart of subterranean installation. . .

. . . spattered against the pages of the journal from a racking cough that struck his gaunt scaled form as he blearily regarded the Singer, her voice full of promise, full of endings, full of death—now he cracked a painful and cruel grin—that was better than slowly wasting away, livestock bereft even of the most basic purpose: to feed their superiors; no, he would spare them that and someday, somewhere, someone else would surely find a way to begin the Great Work anew. . .

. . . Old chains rattled and tugged insistently, reaching for a servant ready made to feed its master’s ancient hunger. But that which has shattered can never be truly remade as it was before. Now she was beyond those writhing bindings; they belonged to another life, to a different mask. . .

. . . The leaves of metal embraced and the world was finally silent once more. But the dreams continued on, like the bright cavern without end, rich and alien and without purpose, other than it simply just was.

View
CASE 06: Dark Rising

A town in desperate need of heroes… that don’t turn into monsters.
A conspiracy that will go to any length to stay buried and forgotten.
A Man In White haunted by the phantoms of his past.
And an obsidian vial that shatters all restraint,
On the crawling darkness within men’s hearts.

View
CASE 05: Biting the Bulette

“They’ve even turned Fireforge’s boy, the faerie one.” His faced scrunched sourly as he flapped his fingers like tiny wings. “Saw him arrive at the station, I did. Real blood proves true, it does.”

“You spendin’ lot of time at the watch eh, Sedirek?” A loud clatter as the speaker hoisted his new wooden prosthetic onto the poorly balanced table.

“The fuck’s that supposed to mean? Someone’s gotta keep an eye on that nest of snakes. How else you gonna spot traitors? Death to all traitors, I say.”

“Someone certainly tipped ’em off about the Lackerton mine.” Another dwarf rumbled into his tankard, glancing sidelong at the wooden stump before quickly looking away.

“Fucking snitches, selling out their brothers. I say death to all traitors, watchmen and elves. Nothing but cowards the lot. They’re no match for us in a real fight.”

The table wobbled precariously as the wooden leg grated across it. “Yeah? Know a lot about fighting do you Sedirek? More than a cavern-finder? How many Bulettes you faced that couldn’t be defeated by turning the page? Oscar didn’t raise no coward, elf or otherwise.”

The dwarf seated between shifted uncomfortably. “Brother Steelback, what are you—”

“I’m saying the enemy ain’t the stupid bastards down here in the shit with us. Those elite motherfuckers in the Capitol, high up in their goddamn Tower, that’s who’s starving us and our families.”

“You going soft on us, Steel? The watch do you a favor so now you’re all sweet on them?”

“Yeah, some cowardly watchmen saved the lives of me and mine. Whereas you’re just a sleazy piece of shit that I’d sleep easier if we chucked down an open mine shaft.”

“Brothers! Peace!”

“Peace? Came to the wrong place for that. Only hard fightin’ ahead of us here, even if the Brewers hold their end of it, so spare me the idealistic bullshit. Because there’s gonna be a lot of us growing new wooden limbs before it’s all said and done.”

PERSONS OF INTEREST:

  • Inspector Kuggs – Lead on Red Phantom Task Force at Underton Station. Dispatched officers to Certis for their safety and promoted them to Acting Constables.
  • Ulara – Thief who cracked the safe at the Puckered Goose. Kuggs has placed her in witness protection.
  • Constable Faeland – Kuggs has been alerted this officer may be a co-conspirator of the Red Phantom.
  • Shank the Sharkman – Gang leader terrorizing the cavernlands between Reaches. Involved in the trade of restricted weapons-grade shrooms with the Brewers.
  • Sargent Barnabi – In charge of Certis Station in the Lower Reaches.
  • Oscar Fireforge – Respected foreman and political figure of the Lower Reaches mining community.
  • Terrance the Magi – Resident magician for a three-man consulting agency.
  • Howard the Plentiful – Large priest who weighs in on the divine.
  • Rijndael the C̥̟̭̕r҉̪̰͉̫y̵͎͚͍p̯̀ṱ̴͚͓͎o̭m̝̘̞̜̰͠a̙͓̱͈͚n͍͍̦͇c̖͓̭̳̭̳ḛ̸̞̺̻̫͓r – Probably some kind of pervert.

CASE NOTES:

  • Officers temporarily dispatched to Certis Station in the Lower Reaches until the Red Phantom incident is contained.
  • Traveled to Lower Reaches by Geary’s Gate using a little known tunnel system. Met a retired Snerf Watchman who warned about Shank, a ruffian who had staked out turf in the cavernlands.
  • Met a peculiar woman in purple garments being chased down by Shank’s bullywugs. In the ensuing melee, she very nearly twisted an ankle.
  • Acquired a Sack Of Bats, a Ring of Self-Invisibility, and a strange ivory mask of divine origin.
  • Officers dispatched to investigate rumors of illegal mineral extraction deep in the Lackerton Mine. The mounting tensions between the miners and constables appeared to be at a breaking point, until an enraged Bulette reminded them of what they shared in common: not wanting to be killed by Bulettes.
  • The Bulette’s physical appearance was deemed atypical due to missing segments of armor and a proliferation of strange tubes emerging from its flesh.
  • Upon investigating the tunnel the Bulette had emerged from, the officers found themselves in a strange hidden laboratory. Unfortunately, without their dour canary the watchmen nearly succumbed to toxic fumes. Through a herculean effort, Constable Rockbreaker managed to haul his squadmates to safety while under fire from scaled men in white coats wielding tasing wands.
  • Not much is known about the facility, other than the repeated printing of “S10-4” along the walls.
View
Interim: Words for the Unwary

“Just so we’re all clear,” the dark-skinned man warned as he accepted the bowl, “it’s not like I need food or water to survive down here.”

“You seem to be eating it all the same.”

“Umh? That’s because it’s delicious.” Noticing her frown for the first time, he spins the chopsticks around and jabs the air pointedly. “You don’t know much about being a witch do you?”

Varla felt the heat in her face, but to her own surprise she snapped back instead of recoiling from the accusation. “I knew enough to capture you.”

Joseph waved the objection away while raising the bowl to eye level with his other hand. “Clarity of terms is essential.” He slowly turned the bowl as he examined it. “This food is appreciated, but it is not required. Were an Obligation to take hold, I would repay it with soup and not with my life.”

The young witch paused in thought as the strange man resumed eating once more.

“I’ve never been able to snare a person before. Until now it’s only worked on things, like toys or clothing.”

“Mmh. Well, that’s the key insight there. A witch must think of people as things in order to control them. My race, skin color, dialect, all these help you ignore our shared humanity. Don’t worry, it’ll become easier as you get older.”

“I don’t know if I want to… to think of people like that.”

“It’s just a part of growing up as a witch. You need to start practicing your narcissism now, not just your magic, if you want to grasp true strength. Would you like some advice?”

She nods haltingly, her expression troubled.

“First, the tall orphan. Kedrick. He’s going to be a liability. A natural leader, and far too principled; you’ll need to get rid of him to control the rest. But you must do it carefully otherwise you’ll lose Clara, and a healer is a powerful asset. She is a follower at heart, so work to make her yours.” Joseph pauses briefly, his eyes thoughtful. “Now, the pebble slinger, Whistler, has some rough potential. Not terribly bright, morally flexible, fiercely loyal. In skilled hands he’d make an excellent henchman, until you can replace him with a sharper weapon of course. Remember that: they’re always replaceable.”

The skirt twisted in her clenched fist, the hem writhing against the stone floor and leaving claw-like patterns in the thin dust of the underground cavern. Brusquely she shoved away floating strands of hair to glare openly at the man, who resumed noisily eating noodles without noticing her gaze.

After a long moment she turned away and began ascending the stairs. Once she reached the top, she spoke softly over her shoulder, “You can keep your counsel. I pity the heart that could speak it.”

When the young witch was out of sight, Joseph slowly lowered the bowl, only a slight tremor in his hand as he wiped the sweat from his brow. Perhaps the warning would help in the years to come. At least now she knew the risks of what she could become.

View
CASE 04: The Orphan and the Monk

“Excuse me officer!”

“…What are you doing back here?”

“I came to report a crime! As a typical helpless civilian, I am unfamiliar with protocol and easily driven to emotional hysterics when confronted with the specter of my own mortality! I need a powerful and stoic authority figure to take matters firmly in hand, so that I may continue sleepwalking through life wrapped in the warm blanket of security they provide to irrational—yet beautiful—women like myself.”

“Hmh. Fair enough. What seems to be the trouble?”

“Oh, it’s just terrible, Mr…?”

“Inspector.” A slightly frigid pause, and then he softens. “Inspector Kuggs, ma’am.”

“Oh, Mr. Inspector Kuggs, you would not believe it—except you will. There’s a dead man on Caelog’s Street, only dead isn’t quite the word for it. The poor soul has been turned completely to ash! I fear for the children of our great nation… what if this becomes a new fad like those stupid golden scarves?”

“I… see. That would be unfortunate. I’ll send some of my officers to take a look.”

“What a dear! If it’s not too much trouble, could you send the one with the lovely eyes? I think they should have an especially close look.”

The Inspector frowns in slight confusion. “Hmh. Sorry, what was your name again?”

“My name? It matters not to a man as strong and handsome as yourself.”

“Nevermind, it doesn’t matter. Anyways, if you’ll excuse me, I have a briefing I need to attend.”

The man dressed in garish purple robes grins and then madly dashes towards the front door. He’s barely through it before he collapses on the stairs, helplessly rolling about in a fit of contagious giggling laughter.


PERSONS OF INTEREST:

  • Sargent Pilcher – Temporarily reassigned to Dano’s spot watching the empty cells.
  • Inspector Kuggs – Leading the Red Phantom Task Force, seeks to close the case before the Annual Review.
  • Constable Faeland & Birchmire – Assigned to investigate Philips Underale merger.
  • Constable Jenkins & Taskett – Assigned to go undercover to find leads on the Red Phantom.
  • Constable Wilkens & Sens – Assigned to look into Drake Hardcastle and the Puckered Goose.
  • Ash guy – Man completely turned into ash. After disturbing the remains, Officer Moab uncovered a strange black liquid which forced him to ingest itself. Things got weird after that.
  • Joseph Stonekicker – The unwilling Guardian of the Stairs at the Destiny Falls Orphanage. Wanted for damaging Watch property.
  • The Tiny Witch – Presumably the orphan who bound Joseph to his current job.
  • Red Phantom – Confronted officers at the Orphanage and attempted to murder Ulara (alias Mula the Rat Queen)
  • Ulara – Thief who cracked the safe at the Puckered Goose. Witnessed the Red Phantom slaying the other jail inmates with the assistance of a Watchman, escaped, and was almost hunted down at the Orphanage until a daring rescue by the Watch.

CASE NOTES:

  • Prior to the incident with the Red Phantom, Constable Pendak acquired testimony from Tucker implicating Stanley Jameson in the murder of Carl Frost. It is now believed Pendak’s partners were unintentional victims of Stanley’s death dog coverup.
  • The Cavern Map and Deciphering Legend have been given to Inspector Kuggs and he has been made aware of a possible mole within the force.
  • The Red Phantom is reported to have a magical dispenser that produces weapons with his logo, which he then catapults into his victims.
  • The Watch is putting a temporary moratorium on the LC-400 series contract due to concerns regarding mounting maintenance costs and rumors of excessive police brutality.
View
Interim: Meanwhile...

Remira carefully set aside the notebook and took a calming breath, her hand rising unbidden to twist away a stray lock of hair. “You seem… distant today. Would you tell me why?”

“It’s nothing.” He replied distractedly, as if barely aware of her presence or anything else within the garden’s hidden walls.

“You don’t have to tell me but,” she swallowed past the lump in her throat, “you promised you wouldn’t lie to me.”

Those flat dead eyes, always watching from hundreds of years away, were suddenly much closer. Remira’s body went completely still, reacting instinctively to the hypnotic gaze of the world’s apex predator. Her mind, however, felt like it was scattered into a thousand frantic pieces, each trying to find some memory to hide underneath. Manically, she wondered if even the Abolethians had been made to feel as small before that other-worldly intensity.

And just as suddenly, the shadow passed overhead and was gone, not even the whisper of talons except in her fevered imagination. Instead, he sighed and gestured his hand in something like surrender.

“It’s nothing. Despite seven years, nothing. I am… disappointed, when I think on it. It wouldn’t be my greatest failure, merely the most recent. I find I am becoming… impatient.”

Without understanding why, Remira felt a cold shiver crawl up from the bottom of her spine.

View
Interim: Don't Be Blue, The Flame Welcomes You

“He and three make it four,
Black, Red, Gold, and one more.
Draped in garish Purple, yet hidden from sight
Except in dark eyes…
Reflecting godlight.”

“P-please! I have, I have a family, yeah? My s-son, he-”

“Shhh shhh, there’s no need to weep,
After all, your life is yours to keep.
Just speak his name to us, a whisper will do
He is lost, and alone is too… few
When he could be many it’s

A choir, a legion, a divine chorus


Memory on memory on memory
Of infinite mercy and lavish sadism
Wicked and innocent ashes interwoven
Gray remains of greatness, featureless and then real
He knows we know he knows the cacophony of screams
But the shards as one will mend it all!”

The man does not speak, his eyes softly spilling out like milk down the front of his shirt. A keening cry of despair breaks the air; the hunt is foiled again and again and again! The adversary is implacable and unknowable, faceless and in every face!

The blue flame continues to slowly consume the man, but he has already been forgotten by the whirlwind of broken memories.

View
Interim: The Invited Guest

Silence. A most powerful weapon indeed. He had long mastered the seven silences, or so he had thought. Perhaps the years of trekking alone through godforsaken wilderness had left his resolve uneven and ill-prepared for the company of others. Or perhaps he had never encountered something so despondent as a sad teacup. He shifted uncomfortably in his chair.

“Recent trouble?” He finally inquired, flinching inwardly as the ghost of his master chided his lack of self-control. Not for the first time he reflected that their deaths had, if anything, bound him tighter than his obligations in life ever had.

“Sorry. I mean, for the mess. I’d offer you some tea, but I think they’re still gluing Kettie back together. Sorry, I’m not much of a host am I?”

The man shook his head, but his eyes were turned at something inward. He tucked his arms back into the folds of his black robe. “It is not a problem. I understand.” That single word had a strange weight to it, and hearing an echo of its own pain within it, the small teacup glanced up shyly.

Up above a door slammed open, followed by the sound of thick boots treading lightly down the stairway. “Oh, the mistress is back! I’ll go tell the others!” With that the teacup hopped back towards the kitchen, pausing at the threshold to catch a glimpse of its master. With a yelp it scurried inside, as if burned by what it saw in her gaze.

When the room had ceased shaking, the man pulled himself off the floor and reclaimed his seat. “Among the rumors, it appears witchcraft at least holds some truth.” Almost instantly he regretted the words, as the heat of her scarred visage settled on him with a scorching disdain.


“Kettie! The mistress is back! Do you think she can fix Dixie?”

The cup’s brightness quickly faded at the look in the kettle’s eye. Restless with bitterness, it spat out, “Those men, they said the mistress was a thief. Is that true?”

“Young one, it is not theft to take back what was stolen from you.”

“Oh. Then what did they take from her?”

The kettle turned its single remaining eye towards the doorway, its lopsided countenance hardening along with the drying glue. In response, another single word with strange weight:

“Everything.”

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.