Friday, January 14, 2022

Session Five: The Miller's Tale

The Chaos Moon Rises Over Annecy

Escaping Annecy

Sabina reaches the Whelm, pounds on its barricaded door, and begs the people within to come with her to the shore. When they hesitate, Sabina calls out to Allison, who is inside, and tells her that her father is there, and that he has built a ship to take them all to safety. Allison convinces the villagers to exit the inn and gather everyone else in Annecy, while Sabina opens the barn and frees all the animals, including her horse, Hellbitch, Squire Henri’s unnamed horse, Sir Jean-Marc’s horse, Ambrose, and Bartholomule.

Sabina leads the village down to the beach, to find that Magnus and Jean le Bois have all but finished the ship. She and Magnus begin loading people in as storm clouds pour across the sky to cover Morrslieb and the tide rapidly rises.

Escaping the Caverns

Seeing that the tide is coming in unusually fast, the company decides to abandon their explorations and flee the caverns. As they do, they note sparks of green lightning playing off all of the flotsam and jetsam around the floor of the cavern.

By the time they reach the first cave, the water has already risen high enough that the derelict ship has righted itself. The remaining gemstones placed in its handrails crackle with green flame, and greenish light shines out through gaps in the hull.

The company retreats up the tunnel to the beach, but find themselves fighting against the storm-tossed waves that are now pouring in through the entrance. Squire Henri acquires some rotten rope and ties Pierre, Garnier, Maurice, and himself together, allowing the four men to combine their strength to leave the cave. Frieda, Renee, and Jean-Marc go it alone. Eventually, all of them pull free of the cave and go down the now narrow strip of beach to the shrine.

Absalom and Albrecht

The Spire of the Shrine of the Miracle

The company reunites at the shrine and helps to load the villagers onto Jean’s ship. As they do this, a second group of torch-wielding villagers—led by Absalom—march up to Albrecht’s work site and demand an accounting of the scholar. Several members of the company try to dissuade the mob and get them on the boat, but all are in the throes of the charismatic—albeit nasal—Absalom, and do not listen.

Albrecht emerges from his work site and pleads with Absalom, explaining that all of his research was to learn if, and when, another Chaos storm would assault the coast. He says that the storm is coming now, and that he would have known that months ago if not for the delays in his research.

Albrecht attempts to explain how he really wanted to aid Annecy fall on deaf ears. Absalom orders his followers to seize Albrecht, at which point the scholar begins to make arcane passes through the air with his hands.

Several members of the company intercede in various ways. Sabina fires her pistol into the air and warns that the next shot will not miss. This shakes several of Absalom’s followers so badly that they break off and board the ship. Garnier and Maurice both fire arrows at Albrecht to prevent him from using sorcery, while Jean-Marc and Renee race up to the worksite to intercede in a more personal manner.

Renee produces her net and shouts that, as a bounty hunter, she is arresting Albrecht. It is her hope that by trussing up the scholar, she can de-escalate the situation and get everyone onto the ship. Unfortunately, Sir Jean-Marc is faster than she is and, with a mighty shout, swings his hammer at Albrecht. The scholar just manages to dodge out of the way and blasts Sir Jean-Marc in the face with a powerful magical dart.

As the rest of Absalom’s followers cast aside their torches and retreat to the ship, Maurice fires a second arrow that pierces Albrecht through the heart. As he dies, Absalom continues upward to the shrine, ignoring the company’s calls that he should join them on the ship.

The Storm

Green lightning arcs down from the clouds, striking land and sea and shattering the air with thunder. The company helps Jean le Bois push the ship into the churning waters before getting aboard themselves.

The ship is swiftly carried away from shore by a powerful undertow as the sky opens and rain pours down. The company learns, to their horror, that neither they nor the people of Annecy have any experience with ships. It is only through luck and a carefully coordinated effort on the company’s part that the ship clears the rocks surrounding Annecy and makes it into open water.

Just when they think they have succeeded, the derelict ship sails out of the partially submerged cave. Its unfurled sail glows a sickly green and bears the same strange symbol seen earlier. Lightning sparks from the ship to the sea as it turns and sails toward Jean’s ship, seemingly unhindered by wind, wave, or storm.

There is little that the company can do but watch as the derelict ship sails unerringly toward them. Moments later, it comes along side of them, crashing into their hull with such force that the two ships are locked together. The people of Annecy scream in panic as the crew of the derelict ship—skeletal sailors animated by the foulest magic—ready their weapons and prepare to board.

Even the members of the company, many of whom have been hardened by battle, are horrified at the thought of facing skeletal warriors wreathed in green fire. Fully half of them recoil in shock or—in Garnier’s case—adopt a fetal position and pray to the Lady for aid. Sabina is so overcome with fear and panic that nothing, not even Pierre’s desperate please, can bring her back to herself.

The rest of the company ready their weapons and attempt to repel the boarders. A battle begins!

The Deathless Sailors Prepare for Battle

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