Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Earthdawn: A Death in the Party

Last night was Earthdawn. And, sadly, we lost a character. Read on for the sad tale.

The characters, you'll recall if you have a fairly long memory, were in the Root Kaer, and the shadowmants were circling. They attacked - Kurita shot one with an arrow and then crushed it with her tail, Arden Dominated a couple of them and sent them to attack the others, Oolo cleft a couple in twain with his axe, and Rosanna used Earth Darts to kill another. Arden went after one and Dominated it further (the goal being to used Animal Bond and make it a mount eventually), and the others looked around the room.

There were runes carved on the roots, and the roots, too, had been worked into ladders - from the size, probably by dwarves, elves or humans. The runes were standard graffiti; love declarations, poems to the sun hoping for deliverance, but one bit stood out: A more recent carving saying "DO NOT DANCE."

Oolo called out into the darkness, "Hello! OOOOOOLOOO!" And a voice answered back, singing his name. But only he and Rosanna heard it.

The characters talked a bit, looking around at the tunnels leading off the main chamber. Some of them were blocked off deliberately, some by natural rockslides. In the course of conversation, Oolo mentioned Rosanna's name, and the voice sang that, as well. Now everyone could hear it. It was getting louder.

Oolo mentioned Cain's name, and the voice sang that, as well. Kurita told him to stop, and said, "Very well, Kurita." And, of course, the voice sang that. Rosanna realized it was singing in Elvish, and the song was basically a "come dance with me on this cold winter night" sort of thing.

A light appeared from a tunnel. The singer was getting closer. Arden's shadowmant turned and flew up, disappearing into a nest (where she wasn't stupid enough to follow). The singer was slowly walking into the room. Cain hid in an alcove above the tunnel where she was coming. Kurita nocked an arrow.

The characters heard another voice from a tunnel. A young dwarf appeared, desperately beckoning them into the tunnel, telling them, "Don't dance with her!"

The spectral elf appeared, dancing, and beckoned to Arden to dance. She did not...and the elf bared claws and fangs.

The characters felt a wave of magic come from the creature, and Cain (who, as a windling, can see astral things), saw everything go white...and Arden fell dead to the floor. The characters fell back, and the dwarf place a stone bar across the tunnel - a ward. Cain, meanwhile, took the long way round (guided by another dwarf) and wound up in the same place.

There were about 30 survivors, people who had been down here (rather, descendants of people who'd been down here) since before the Earthdawn. They revealed that most of them had escaped on an underground river, and their greatest hero, an elven archer, had stayed behind to fend off the Horrors that had broken through. Now that archer was the Songstress, walking through the kaer, killing those that danced with her slowly and killing those that refused quickly.

Cain flew up to Oolo and slashed his face with his little dagger - "That's for Arden." Oolo protested that it wasn't his fault she'd flown right up to it, but the others called him on deliberately telling it their names and goading it. He accepted this, and the characters started trying to figure a way to get these people out.

Climbing the slide was out - there were too many, and between the shadowmants and the Songstress they'd all be toast. The dwarf offered to show them where the river had been (a cave-in had blocked it off, so escape that way was out), and the runes that the escapees had left. And so off into the dark the characters went, a gently lilting song echoing in the dark.