Far From Home

Self Discovery 13
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Self-Discovery 11 - Elven Horticulture

By Joe (Dominic)
This session began in another cavern, though this wasn’t apparently immediately. They emerged into a forest, though it wasn’t long before it was pointed out that all the trees in the forest were of the exact same type, which confused many of them. Wandering through, they saw no end in sight to the trees, though they didn’t get very far before they heard a voice, babbling incoherently at them.

Fortunately, Dr. Collins understood the voice, which was commanding them to strip naked so that it could inspect them for something it called the Blight. Doing so somewhat reluctantly, the group proved that they had been touched by no such thing, and the voice allowed them further entry. Upon reaching a clearing, the group met three Elves, one of whom had been the one talking to them. The Elves were Galadín, an excitable young man who seemed pleased at the newcomers, Nimrié, the one who had spoken to them earlier, and Imir, who appeared to the leader and the eldest among them, though they couldn’t be sure, given alien physiologies and all.

They found the Elves amicable, and asked them several questions regarding both the Blight and the Bloodswarm, though it disturbed the Elves to hear of the latter. When asked to help the group, the Elves refused, claiming that they had to stay with the grove to protect it from the Blight, though the group was welcome to stay with them for a short while to rest and recover. The group agreed, glad to have a place to rest their head, and Dominic, Langdon and Peter went off to bathe, much to Dominic’s displeasure. It became even worse when they got to the small lake to bathe, when Langdon was pulled under the water by some dark presence. Peter went under to fight it with his bare hands, somehow managing to not die from suffocation, and proceeded to actually beat the dark water to death with his bare hands, astounding Dominic. Unfortunately, his incredible victory was somewhat diminished by almost immediately drowning, but Dominic managed to keep him and Langdon from dying.

As it turned out, the dark water that Peter had fought was a manifestation of the Blight, which had somehow infected the grove. The Elves asked for the group’s assistance in hunting down the Blight, and the group agreed on the condition that the Elves accompany them to the fortress of the Bloodswarm. The Elves said that Galadín would accompany them, but the others would stay. The group agreed, and proceeded to assist the Elves in their search for the source of the Blight in the grove.

After splitting up into five groups, it was Peter and Dominic who found the first sign of the Blight, when they stumbled upon an entire herd (or perhaps flock?) of the Amputee Apes from Hell, which Peter and Dominic attempted to murder with great prejudice before realizing how sorely outnumbered they were. Retreating to a nearby clearing, they found the others and managed to destroy the rest of the AAHs, with surprisingly little trouble.

Moving deeper into the infected area, the trees became more and more obviously infected until, after reaching some kind of critical mass, the group came upon an area that appeared to not be infected at all. The elves revealed that it was not possible to burn branches from these trees, and thus that these trees were at the final stage of the Blight. At the Elves’ behest, they burned the healthy remainder of the grove, rather than let it become infected, and Imir and Nimrié remained behind to guard the Blighted Grove, while Galadín made preparations to leave with the party.

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Self-Discovery 10 - The Coldest Night

By Joe (Dominic)
The sound turned out to be emanating from behind them, as well as in front. As the source became louder, they were beset by several ludicrously large cockroaches, causing Peter to nearly wet himself, as well as freaking out the rest of the group no end. At least until the rest of the COUS’s ran by, followed by the thing they were running from; floating spheres of acid surrounded by broken glass. They were very hostile, and needless to say, incredibly unpleasant to fight. And of course, the group had to fight them. Floating spheres of broken glass are rarely friendly.

After vanquishing them, the group moved on deeper into the caverns, where something odd started happening. It had been cold the entire time, and the more genre savvy among them had already guessed that it was going to get colder before they got out. They were proven right when it started snowing. In a cavern. God only knows how far underground. None of them could make heads or tails out of it, until they noticed red moss covering the walls of the cavern. After Dominic Bertolazzi touched it, freezing his hand in the process, they managed to deduce that it actually sapped the heat out of whatever was nearby, including the air itself, resulting in the hideously low temperature.

As they moved on, vanquishing a few more skeletons (though these were covered in and animated by the cold itself), the snow became stronger and faster, becoming a blizzard. They managed to find refuge in a small side cave in the hallway, protected from the wind. After an hour or so of waiting, they moved on to the exit, finding a tunnel that led upwards into a forest.

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Self-Discovery 09 - Escape from the Emerald City

By Joe (Dominic)

Realizing that their only hope to stop the Bloodswarm from overrunning the city of the Grey Men was to go past the Swarm and attempt to find the battlefield where it all started, the group began to search for ways out of the city. Their only find, however, was a system of caverns deep beneath the city. Unwilling but without recourse, the group began to plot their journey under the city and the Swarm to get to the battlefield. Gathering supplies around the town, they outfitted themselves as best they could with what they could find, selling the gems that Dominic had found previously, giving them enough funds to purchase components for rituals, as well as give the rest of the survivors enough to get by until they returned, assuming they ever did.

After taking on several more passengers (including Mordecai, a Grey Man merchant, and the Content Not Found: do-sara who would lead them to the battlefield once they reached the surface), they began to make their way down to the caverns, filled with supposedly unspeakably terrible horrors from hell. Or so they had been told. There was no actual evidence of these beings down there, but it’s what everyone said was down there.

Once in the caverns, all seemed rather benign until about ten minutes into the actual caves, when they found a large area with two branching pathways. It was here that they found the first hints of evil, with a band of six skeletons assaulting them, actively seeking their destruction. One hard-won fight later, nearly seeing both Dr. Collins and their guide go down, they managed to recollect themselves and press on down the caverns, heading on deeper.

The next tunnel they found was round with smooth walls, as though something had dissolved the rock away, though they were all baffled as to what could have done that. The answer came in the form when a clear blob dropped from the ceiling onto Dr. Collin’s head, which revealed itself to be some form of Gelatinous Cube, which demonstrated its acidic powers on Dr. Collin’s clothing, though it had apparently no effect on human skin (thankfully). With it in tow, they kept walking as the tunnel shifted from sheer rock into a tunnel filled with crystals, each reflecting light in new directions. It was here that they heard an odd sound in front of them that they couldn’t quite identify…

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Self-Discovery 07 - Amateur Spelunking

By Mike (James)
After much exhausting travel with the bloodswarm closing in, the survivors could see an emerald city at the end of the road. An ominous rumbling, the beat of the drums of war approach behind the survivors. All hope seems lost as the swarm is closes in and there is not enough time to escape to the city. At what seemed to be the last possible moment a Father Langdon noticed a small entrance to a cave that could provide a spot for the survivors to hide.

Father Langdon led the group into the cave, The cart and rations were left behind and smashed so it could cover the cave’s entrance. Once inside Rodney noticed a small riverbed path that led deeper into the cave. Father Langdon and Dr. Collins led the way while Peter and Dominic stood near the entrance. Almost half of the survivors were able get down the path, when a scratching sound began to emanate from the entrance. The group was almost out of view, but they were spotted by a skeletal creature that let out a bloodcurdling scream to signal for more creatures. Peter, Rodney and Dominic held the creatures back while the survivors could continue escaping. They bought much needed time for the survivors and Father Langdon and Dr. Collins led them down what they hope was a path toward the city.

Rodney decided to serve as a decoy and lead the skeletal swarm down another path. He managed to get all the swarm following him and he ran without any particular direction in mind and happened to escape them and possibly cause them to fall down a long crevasse.

Another fork in the path caused some panicked survivors to find themselves lost in the caves. Dr. Collins doubled back and was able to find a few stragglers and lead them to the rest of the group. Father Langdon took a risk and decided they should head down a path that was freshly carved by a Groundbreaker, but this path lead directly to the city. after some travel they found themselves at an emerald glowing stone wall. the path went toward the surface.

At the surface Dr. Collins noticed that they were just outside the city and scaling the wall would be impossible with the wounded. Even worse the Bloodswarm was lining up in formation in preparation for taking the city by storm. The survivors went back into the caves to find another exit. Peter and Dr. Collins searched for a way out while the remaining survivors rested in an large opening in the heart of the cave. Dominic and Father Langdon kept watch and searched near the group for and dangers or possible exits.

Rodney continued down the cave where he noticed some green glowing ore. He followed it and found a stone door with a mechanism for opening it. After a few tries he was able to open it and go through. Through the door he found inhabitants similar to the ones depicted at the monastery found earlier. Rodney realized he was able to communicate with the “Grey Men” and asked for help and told them of his party’s plight. He was brought to the city elder and he told of his companions and their abilities. Upon hearing of Dr. Collin’s ability to command the elements a search party was sent because they believe that he can turn the tide of this siege.

Peter and Dr. Collins searched for hours looking for ways out and marking their progress on the cave walls. They eventually find the same entrance that Rodney had found earlier. Unfortunately, they were unable to understand or speak with the Grey Men but they were brought into the city. They met with Rodney and the search party Rodney and Dr. Collins stayed in the city to prepare for the siege, while Peter reunited with the survivors and led them to the city. The wounded are being tended to, fed and our heroes prepare for the fight of their lives.

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