Underdark Rising

CASE 14: Ascension
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Interim: The Path of Kings

“So now we have a princess, a mysterious knight errant, and a skulking cult of lizard men emerged from myths and beyond the depths of the known world?”

“She’s been a bit bored, yeah. Just thought you’d want to know, in case it means she’s starting to go crackers up there. Harold would just throw her back in Tower Rose, but I’m thinkin maybe we got something else she could be doing?”

Philip paused, the smoke from his cigar curling softly through the air as the Library glared on in restrained disapproval, a reminder of the strange world they’d stepped into. He had almost shaken the distracted musing when his eye fell upon the chessboard in the corner of the room. The ash of his cigar continued to smolder and fell away unnoticed.

“Well,” he said finally, sipping from his brandy to clear the dryness in his throat. “We are walking in the Land of Kings now I suppose. Such things are to be expected—the chivalrous knights and dire portents at least. No harm in humoring her for now. Perhaps a public appearance will shore up the troops and take her mind off such things?”

“Alright Philip, but I won’t have her talking to the boys about no greens.” Jenna’s image in the mirror made a swift cutting gesture. “People on edge enough as is, and superstitious nonsense like that ain’t gonna help anyone.”

As her image faded Philip plunged his cigar into the remaining brandy, which emitted an unsettling hiss as he strode across the room. Carefully he studied the six new figures on the board, for once ignoring the golden rook that had been drawing closer for days now. These pieces by comparison were nondescript, appearing to be nothing more than common pawns.

But beneath them a hard shadow stained the surface of the board, stretching and contracting in a regular rhythm, like a slumbering heartbeat cut from an unfathomable darkness.

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CASE 11: The Jerkin Tightens
  • Umberhulk restrained—briefly—on suspicion of murder and/or public consumption of the dead.
  • Investigated a cry for help originating from a nearby alternate dimension.
  • Charged a Painted Guardian with obstruction of justice; sentencing later reduced to indefinite slavery.
  • Mirror-man wanted for impersonating an officer.
  • Interviewed Aquila, a flighty bird woman with red feathered wings serving as a messenger from the Capitol. She has been unable to return home since the closing of the Ascending Gate. She wears an porcelain mask that she refuses to remove, which she claims was gifted to her by a King. Her name is likely a derivative of the underlatin word for ‘eagle’.
  • Interviewed Philip T. Hennessy, a middle-aged dwarven male and self-proclaimed member of the Brewer Rebellion. Philip described himself as the tactical mind behind their organization, which has been implicated in numerous acts of smuggling, kidnapping, murder, and Capitol Treason. May want to bring in for further questioning.
  • Identified Harold Tallsinger as an important member of the Brewer hierarchy. Human male in his late 40’s, previously the general manager of the Puckered Goose. Whereabouts unknown.
  • Identified Jenna Krisborne as one of the three leaders of the Brewers. Female gnome in her early 30’s ( HRE). Is considered armed with two short swords and also dangerous.
  • Acquired research material on Cryptography, L-men, and the King’s Sword.
  • Thoroughly inspected Kassandra Eris-Aleta Estanfor. Human female with elven ancestry in her late 20’s/early 30’s (HRE). Suspected of being a princess. Is protected by a golden serpent companion she refers to as ‘Cuddles’
  • Met a monk in black robes who implied he had worked as a Watcher at some point.
  • Extracted Watcher Manin White from the depths beneath Certis Station using a river that was more metaphorical than anyone’s really comfortable thinking about.
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CASE 09: Prison Hooch

“Hey canibros, main man Billy Freskin here once a fuckin ‘gain. I gotta tell yeah, it’s been real out there. Like real real. Inside prices hitting that roof, but you know outside’s just givin it away for free. Like we be in some kinda tipsy turvey Underton. Sheit.

But yeah yeah, that’d be a fast way to catch somethin, somethin unnatural if you ain careful. You gotta be safe out there man, especially now that law and order be fallin apart. Tsh, Ol’ Billy got a keen ear for opportunity tho. Hooked up wit this black chick, you know, professionally speakin. She too hard a motherfucker for Billy, talkin dark arts and shit, but she runnin some angles, and her maid’s a sweetheart, y’know, for a ghost. An Billy don’t judge people on that kinda shit.

Yeah so anyways them Brewers got a lil’ surprise today with they scones, allegedly. Bunch of them Watchmen guys busted outta prison, and boy they was piiiissed. But damn man, you shoulda seen this Doregal dude. Coulda fed a family of four all month long. Real fuckin shame we had to leave him behind like that…"

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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."

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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."

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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.

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