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RunePunk: ScatterPoint Stories [Spoilers]
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In ScatterPoint, when things get way beyond words, my preferred course of action is to...
Engage in the voracious thrill of hand to hand combat.
33%
 33%  [ 7 ]
Fast draw a firearm and solve my problem with an explosion of hot lead.
33%
 33%  [ 7 ]
Elegantly sketch a rune of power that succinctly makes my point for me.
9%
 9%  [ 2 ]
Subtly call upon the blessings of Umbriel to aid me in my vindication.
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
Rely on the synergistic foundation of applied and theoretical science used in an inventive manner.
4%
 4%  [ 1 ]
Run…run fast…run now !!!
19%
 19%  [ 4 ]
Total Votes : 21

Author Message
Marcos
Novice


Joined: 28 Apr 2006
Posts: 98
Location: Hickory, NC

PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2007 10:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello All,

Just wanted to thank everyone once more for their interest and more importantly, their patience as I have been delayed in continuing to chronicle the exploits of my group of ScatterPoint jobbers. As Captain Blood hinted, life has a way of eating up one’s supposedly free time.

To Thrallking, thank you for the kind words and the thread bump to get me back on task to catch up on my session summaries. I am glad you have enjoyed reading my group’s adventures as much as I have enjoyed running them. With luck, the posts will be timelier in nature and your porridge bowl will not need to be brandished with any regularity. Smile

To Captain Blood, we shall see who is beat repeatedly about the head and shoulders this coming Saturday. Somehow, I do not expect to be the one needing the Excedrin. Laughing

Good Gaming,
_________________
Mark

Second watch. Roll for surprise.
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Marcos
Novice


Joined: 28 Apr 2006
Posts: 98
Location: Hickory, NC

PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2007 11:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

13th of Madness 1107p.t. continued

Katryn beamed at having found a clockwork companion, but realized that the construct would need to be armed to be of any use against the Nightmare Brigade that had taken up residence in Broken Palace. The inventor ordered MEKA to pick up one of the automaton’s hammer and scythe. With a mechanized “Affirmative” MEKA advanced on one of the fallen automatons and twisted the hammer and scythe free of the ruined construct with disconcerting ease.

“Well Veruna, let’s get this menagerie moving,” Roxton quipped as the screeching noise subsided and the clockwork companion was armed.

Veruna checked her compass before raising her head and straining to see beyond the range of the group’s dark lamp and arc light. The wayfinder knew that time was expiring on the enchantment Nicodemus had wrought using the ensorcelled crystal to create the group’s temporary ally. After hearing Katryn ask and receive confirmation from MEKA that he was indeed programmed with a map of Broken Palace, she asked which way MEKA thought would take them closest to the runetower.

Katryn relayed the question to the ancient clockwork and MEKA took the lead. MEKA set a seemingly tireless pace that the group followed for twenty minutes in the twisting maze of tunnels before coming upon the ancient remains of a large battle that had involved humans, Malakar, and automatons. From the positions and state of the remains, the battle had been brutally vicious and without quarter.

The group paused only a moment to take in the silent diorama that told of the final hours of Broken Palace so many years ago. Ten minutes beyond the battle site the group exited the seeming maze of tunnels and proceeded to make their way through an area with more grid-like construction.

As the group passed the dark and silent side passages, Katryn asked MEKA what they contained. The construct answered immediately in his precise tone, citing armories, waterworks, and food stores. Not long after, the jobbers arrived at a verdigris-stained lift. The smell coming from it was reminiscent of a midden, which in fact turned out to be the current use for it

The group discussed sending Kay to investigate and eventually Nicodemus acquiesced, sending the rune wraith on up the foul smelling lift shaft. As the rune wraith began her climb, Katryn instructed MEKA on whom everyone was and that they were to be considered allies. The inventor then went on to set up a couple of basic commands, which the clockwork animatron seemed to understand.

Kay’s reconnaissance revealed the gutted floor of an old office lobby; the accumulated debris of decades covering the floors and staining the lobby’s once finely crafted walls. Just outside the main entrance, the rune wraith saw a fire burning, surrounded by several beast men warming themselves and cooking rancid smelling meat.

The rune wraith returned as quietly as she had departed and manifested to inform her master of her findings. Once Kay finished her report, the group discussed the option of ascending the lift shaft to take out the beast men versus continuing to use the ZU to reach the central square of Broken Palace. The approach of continued stealth was decided upon and the jobbers bypassed the lift, jogging to a set of stairs that MEKA said were nearby.

The jobbers arrived, slightly winded, their throats raw from breathing the dust-laden air. The stairs MEKA led them to were clogged with debris, the damage having been incurred when Broken Palace had been overrun.

Kay’s ethereal scouting revealed that the stairs exited into an abandoned flywheel and Nicodemus set her to working the far side of the collapse as the others, except for Nicodemus, worked at clearing the stairwell. Veruna grunted her displeasure at the runecaster’s perceived laziness with each stone and timber moved, her frustration giving her the energy needed for the arduous task.

Once the group cleared the stairwell, Jonathon informed his companions that his reserves of shadowmagic were still very low. Veruna smirked and sarcastically said “Well, let’s try not to get hurt then,” before taking point and climbing the dust choked staircase.

The staircase ended in a ransacked and polluted flywheel. As Nicodemus checked behind the bar, hoping that a stash of Ransom was still present, Veruna huffed that the jobbers did not have time for his personal interests. As that was going on, Roxton observed Katryn placing her KEVLAR projector on MEKA.

The retriever walked over, unclipping his KEVLAR projector, and offered it to the inventor saying that she should not be unprotected while the jobbers were within so hostile an environment. The inventor demurred, saying that she would be all right, since she planned to stay out of any melee oriented confrontations.

Once the runecaster was satisfied that no Ransom was to be had, Veruna lined the group up to lead them through the ruins of Broken Palace. The wayfinder’s destination was the town’s center square where the runetower, nicknamed The Finger, warded the area.

The journey through the ruined streets revealed that even more “beastmen” and “overwights” were bivouacked near the town square, forcing the Malakar to lead the group back into a nearby alleyway so that they could discuss their options. Luck and skill had seen the jobbers through so far, but with the number of Nightmare Brigade soldiers gathered near the runetower, any thought of one of the group scouting the area was not a viable option.

Eventually it was decided that Veruna and Jonathon, with Kay accompanying them ethereally, would swing wide and come at the tower from the opposite side of the square from the group’s current approach. The remaining jobbers would conceal themselves in the alleyway to await the scouts’ return.

Jonathon loosened his rapier and resisted the urge to take a drink of his flask as Veruna slipped out of the alleyway, taking the lead. The pair kept to the shadows, Jonathon’s keen eyes seeing the streets and alleys in perfect clarity, despite the heavy darkness, and helping to keep them undetected by the Nightmare Brigade soldiers.

As the pair finished their half circuit to the far side of the square, they spied a heavily armored Overwrought, or “Gunmetal” in the vernacular of ScatterPoint, standing beside a large machine with coiled piping and various colored wires running about its surface and that of The Finger. Taking cover, the pair witnessed a hooded figure, similar to the one seen patrolling the perimeter wall, head into a nearby office building, which prompted Veruna to suggest that the shadowpriest and herself look for the schematics in there.

Before Jonathon could offer a reply, the office door opened and a human man dressed in a fine cloudbreather’s cape coat over an evening suit emerged, accompanied by a female Gunmetal and the hooded man. The trio headed towards what the jobbers took to be the prototype Entropy Engine, prompting Jonathon to instruct Kay to return to their companions to have them create a distraction.

No sooner had Jonathon given the command to the incorporeal rune wraith, than the unknown cloudbreather made some adjustments to the machine and a bluish corona formed over the wires affixed to the runetower.

In the distant alleyway where the remainder of the jobbers waited, Roxton heard a static-like noise building from the town square. Breaking concealment, the retriever emerged into the street and looked towards The Finger.

Lightning played across the towering structure, the runes glowing brilliantly before fading downward in a spiraling rush. As the rune energy washed downward in a cascading tide of bluish-white light, the tower began to undulate. The swaying increased as the runes flamed with excess energy moments before a massive shockwave raced outward from the runetower. For a moment the runetower went completely still, then it began collapsing in on itself in a thunderous crash. The collapse was seemingly surreal, the shockwave and the thunderous roar of the collapse stunning the majority of the observers even as a billowing cloud of dust and debris rose into the air.

From where Veruna and Jonathon watched in stunned disbelief, they could faintly make out in the cloud of dust the two gunmetals screening the cloudbreather inventor as he nodded sagely at the machine’s performance.

“If there was ever a time to sneak into the office and steal the schematics, it’s now. Shall we?” spoke Veruna as she watched the beastmen moving in fascinated disbelief towards the square. No sooner had the wayfinder spoken than the Andari pulled his cloak’s hood over his pale features and stepped out into the passing throng, hunching his shoulders and loping his gait to match the seemingly hypnotized crowd.

Veruna wasted little time, using her Malakar heritage to shape change into one of the “overwights”, and merging into the crowd to follow the audacious shadowpriest.

Across the square in the alleyway, Kay had arrived and relayed Jonathon’s belated request. The jobbers discussed their options and decided that after witnessing the destruction of a runetower, the prototype needed to be destroyed. However, there was no ready means for the group to act and Roxton decided that they would continue to wait for the wayfinder and shadowpriest rather than put themselves into any unnecessary or foolhardy risks.

Jonathon arrived outside the office door with Veruna close behind. Acting as if he had every right to enter the building, Jonathon opened the door and strode in, Veruna on his heels.

Once inside, Jonathon looked at the passer’s choice of a disguise in the illumination of a hanging dark lamp, smiled sarcastically, and suggested that the Malakar adopt the form of a “beastman” to better maintain her natural agility and to more readily blend in with the predominant enemy on their exit. Veruna wondered briefly what was wrong with her choice, but chose not to debate with the seemingly manic shadowpriest. Instead she began to shift as they looked about the office that had been turned into a field tent.

A sturdy travel cot complete with heavy blankets and a deep pillow was laid out along one of the narrow walls, opposite which sat a small travel desk with a portmanteau lying on the floor beside it. Across from the door the office ended in a small archway with a heavy curtain serving as a screen to what laid beyond.

Veruna took a closer look at the newt-leather portmanteau and realized that the fine clasps were secured with intricate, keyed locks.

“Well we will just take this then” the now shifted Malakar said curtly, extending one of her newly clawed hands.

“Won’t it be missed?” asked Jonathon scornfully, turning from his investigation of the curtained area and causing Veruna to pause in her reach.

Veruna protested, saying that the group needed the schematics that were most likely contained within the sturdy travel case. The shadowpriest marked how the portmanteau was resting and then pulled forth an almost translucent seeming knife from a sheath beneath his voluminous cloak.

The wayfinder recognized the ghostblade for what it was and watched as the shadowpriest turned the travel case over. With supernatural ease the enchanted blade neatly sliced through the seams on three sides of the case’s bottom.

Jonathon quickly sheathed the ghostblade and lifted the newly cut opening. Within the portmanteau rested a leather bound journal, with fine clothes resting underneath it. Jonathon handed the journal off to Veruna and then placed the travel case pack exactly as he had found it, hoping that the cloudbreather inventor was not a prolific journal writer.

Just as the Andari rose, his keen hearing detected a conversation approaching the door to the office. Without hesitation the shadowpriest surged across the room, pulling Veruna close and sweeping them through the curtain, his hand clamped over the Malakar’s mouth to prevent any wayward protest.

Veruna found herself in Jonathon’s arms, nodding into the Andari’s hand that she understood that silence was paramount, as the office door opened not a moment later. The pair hid in the corner of the archway past the curtain, in what appeared to have been a reception area now turned into an Overwrought bunkroom. A second door provided entrance and egress, and custom packs hung from the posts of metal framed, reinforced cots. As the Andari removed his hand, the jobbers listened to the enemy inventor giving instructions to whomever he was talking to in clipped, efficient tones.

The inventor instructed that Malcolm and Quinn were to load the Engine onto a wagon and that it be towed to a warehouse within Broken Palace. The inventor said he wanted everything ready to leave at dawn and that a full brigade with a wist was to guard the device. He added that the Remnants and Motleys patrolling the town’s circumference were to maintain an alert watch as reports out of Warden Cliff caused him concern that the experiment might have been compromised.

“As you command Mr. Giles. Just to clarify, since you wish a dawn departure, shall I use the warehouse by the outer wall?” spoke a strong, baritone voice.

Mr. Giles answered that the location would be fine and the jobbers could hear the inventor shrugging out of his cape cloak as the man accompanying him moved to the office door. Jonathon pressed his lips against Veruna’s ears and whispered to her to be ready, before he pulled his cloak’s hood over his head.

As the office door opened, Jonathon opened the door to the reception area and strode out, standing as tall as his slight frame would allow him and striding with a seemingly arrogant purpose. The passer was on his heels, her Motley-like form affording additional credence to Jonathon’s masquerade that he was one of the hooded leaders.

The jobbers’ audacity afforded them the perfect camouflage as they moved through the chaotic throngs that mingled and bounded about the destroyed runetower. A short time later the two rejoined their companions, who anxiously awaited their return in the chaos following the still unbelievable event of the runetower’s destruction.

Jonathon and Veruna related their tale and the companions decided that Kay should watch to discover what warehouse the prototype Entropy Engine was taken to as they fell back to the ruined flywheel to rest and plan their next course of action. The wayfinder took point and the jobbers set out through the shadowed streets as the rune wraith went ethereally to the town square to conduct her surveillance.

At the flywheel, Veruna presented the journal to Katryn and the inventor hungrily began flipping through the tightly scripted notes and clean, crisp drawings that showed a master inventor plying his craft. The illustrations and crib notes revealed a virtually theoretical field of endeavor beyond anything Katryn had ever thought of.

After a moment’s perusal, Katryn realized that the complexity of the schematics would take weeks, if not months, to fully read and to riddle out the intricacies of the design and theoretical sciences behind them. Almost hypnotically she turned the journal pages and it was with effort that she pulled herself back to her friends’ conversation.

Kay had returned and was relaying what she had discovered from following the gunmetals and the Nightmare Brigade. The prototype Entropy Engine had been taken to a large stone warehouse located two blocks from the outer walls of Broken Palace.

The warehouse rose almost two stories and had heavy steel doors set in a track system that opened onto the remains of a main thoroughfare. At the back of the warehouse was a single metal door that opened out into a tight, narrow alleyway.

Within the warehouse was a makeshift corral of heavy steel drums to hold the skirr, while the wagon that held the engine was parked beside it. There was an elevated supervisor office that one of the hooded leaders had commandeered, while a half dozen each of Remnants and Motleys patrolled and stood watch both without and within.

The group discussed their options and, with the exception of Katryn, decided to get what rest they could before assaulting the warehouse at two in the morning, hoping that they would have only the surprised guards to contend with before the main encampment could be roused to respond to their attack. The jobbers were agreed that destroying the prototype and fleeing with the schematics was their best option to complete Sister Cannondale’s mission. There were just too many foes with unknown capabilities to do otherwise.

After a discussion on what the watches should be the jobbers settled to rest, with Veruna determined that Nicodemus would not be left on a watch with just himself, her confidence in his affirmation to actually keep a watch being somewhat shaky. Katryn spent the time anxiously studying the journal, hoping to have at least a rudimentary understanding of the basic structure of the engine, so as to determine a method for destroying it. The hours passed uneventfully and soon the jobbers were once more moving stealthily through the night-cloaked streets to the warehouse.

Veruna, once more in the guise of a Motley, successfully followed Kay’s directions and brought the jobbers to the warehouse without discovery. In front of the warehouse stood two Remnants, while another two walked a patrol around the building along with a pair of the Motleys. The roving guards had been staggered to be equidistant from each other so that at any given time one each was on opposite sides of the warehouse. From Kay’s previous report the group knew that a lone Motley stood watch outside the back entrance.

The jobbers’ plan of attack was straight forward, though it meant dividing their forces to deal with the various threats present. Katryn and MEKA would handle the Motley and Remnants guarding the front entrance while the others sought to secure entrance through the back door of the warehouse using Veruna’s shapeshifting abilities and Kay’s etherealness. The remainder of the group would rush the warehouse and engage the foes therein to obtain an opportunity to destroy the prototype Entropy Engine.

Katryn watched her companions move off down the deserted side streets, maneuvering to arrive undetected at the rear door of the warehouse. Once they were well on their way, the inventor set a series of command phrases for MEKA to follow as contingencies in case things developed beyond the jobbers’ ability to handle. When she had finished, confident that MEKA understood what to do, the inventor drew her LASER and sighted on the area about the front doors, waiting for her companions to start the attack.

The remainder of the jobbers arrived around the back of the warehouse and readied themselves for the fight to come. Veruna, with Kay ethereally beside her, strode from the shadows, staggering her gait and making sure her Motley form was readily apparent to the lone beastman standing guard.

As the wayfinder approached, she could see that the Motley had the deformed features of a bat, complete with a flattened wide nose, deep black eyes, elongated ears, and coarse, fur covered skin. The guard was startled by Veruna’s sudden appearance and her bluff that she needed to see the wist.

When the beastman hesitated, saying that they were not to be relieved until the morning, Veruna decided that persuasion was not going to be an option. The passer growled “Me need to see wist, NOW!” while rising from her stooped posture and advancing menacingly.

The Motley was taken aback, but it was obvious to Veruna that the threat of violence was a language the beastman readily understood. The creature pounded on the metal door, growling that someone had a message for the wist.

When the door began to open, Veruna shouldered by the door guard, only to be halted by the Motley that stood within. The Malakar repeated her need to see the wist, but the bluff had been expended and Kay manifested, her ruby light claws tearing into the door guard even as the creature let out a screeching cry that echoed off the night-shrouded buildings.

As the bat creature’s cry faded, Katryn let loose a stream of blazing white shards at the Motley that was crossing the front doors. Her first magnesium alloy shard seared through its deformed shoulder, spinning it about. The second shard impacted into the metal fragments sewn into the creature’s coat, while the third punched through the creature’s jugular, killing it.

“Those two are enemies” spoke Katryn, pointing her free hand at the pair of Remnants standing guard. The enemy command was confirmed by MEKA and the clockwork companion charged across the street, pile driving its massive hammer solidly into one of the guard’s chests. The Remnant was blasted back off of its feet and slammed into the hard ground, off-white ichor leaking from its shattered chassis.

The moment of surprise had passed and the Entropy Engine’s guards were fast to respond. Veruna was forced to dodge back as the Motley within the doorway lashed out with its longsword. A second later the Malakar passer ducked another wild longsword swing as yet another Motley leapt down at her from a stack of crates.

Veruna cast off her Motley form and unsheathed her fighting talons with an audible snick. The wayfinder stepped in swinging, but her long tresses fell in front of her eyes, ruining her attack. At that moment Nicodemus arrived behind her, an incredulous look upon his features at her seeming ineffectiveness even as Kay moved ethereally into the warehouse and struck at one of the Motleys from behind.

Out front, the second Motley on the roving patrol charged around the corner at MEKA, brandishing its longsword overhead. The creature’s down stroke was too fast for the clockwork companion to parry and the hardened steel blade cut solidly into the construct’s chest in a shower of sparks.

On the side of the building, Roxton, in a low sprint, advanced on one of the roving Remnants, runic rapier at the ready. The retriever’s thrust was thwarted by the chest armor the creature wore as the mechanized corpse turned to the disturbance at the rear door. Spying Roxton, the Remnant lashed out with one of its clawed hands, but the jobber was faster and ducked low to avoid it.

Jonathon mirrored Roxton’s approach on the other side of the warehouse, though his attack was foiled by the construct’s parry rather than the creature’s armor. The Andari wasted little time, feigning another chest stab, before swiping his blade across the Remnant’s forehead, causing off-white ichor to flow into its eyes.

Within the warehouse came an unnatural howl that seemed to reverberate within the stone structure. From the upper office raced an unnatural white wolf, its blazing red eyes set upon the rune wraith. The demonic wolf’s gait and otherworldly aura caused only the briefest hesitation for Veruna and Nicodemus, while Kay’s ChainJack foiled its bite. As the demonic wolf snapped at her back, Kay’s claws shredded the back of the Motley she fought.

As the runecaster overcame his temporary shock at the sight of the demonic wolf, he sketched a rune of power on the Malakar’s shoulder. The rune blazed with a scarlet hue and Nicodemus was momentarily surprised at how much effort the rune took before recalling that Malakar were resistant to all forms of runic energy, including beneficial enchantments. Still the rune’s enchantment held and a reddish sheen supplemented the natural coloration of Veruna’s claws.

The wayfinder was only slightly aware of Nicodemus’s tapered fingers upon her shoulder before the runic energy surged through her body and her claws changed shade. Anxious to see what effect the rune would have, Veruna swung in hard at her foe. Her first swing was parried away by the Motley’s longsword, but in the brief opening that followed, she buried her second claw easily through the Motley’s metal studded coat and into the creature’s heart, killing it.

Outside, Roxton stepped in close to the Remnant, sacrificing his defensive stance and stabbing the monstrosity through the chin, the runic rapier punching out through the top of its corpse pallor skull. As the creature fell back, limbs thrashing in its death throes, the retriever whipped his rapier free, spun on his heel, and raced towards where Jonathon was still engaged on the other side of the warehouse at the corner.

Katryn advanced from her concealment, sending another stream of shards across the street. The white flashing fragments blasted into the Motley and Remnant that menaced MEKA, slaying them both even as the clockwork warrior’s systems compensated for the damaging effects of the Motley’s sword stroke. The inventor ordered her companion to the warehouse doors and angled her advance to join him there.

MEKA strode with purpose and arrived at the metal sliding doors. Katryn joined him a moment later and ordered him to open the doors and to proceed inside. The clockwork set down his oversized hammer and gripped one of the steel doors to slide it back. The locking bar proved stronger and the doors groaned over the sounds of the combat within. Not wanting to leave her companions unsupported, Katryn left MEKA to his task and moved to run around to the back entrance.

Inside the warehouse, Veruna slew the last of the Motleys even as the beastman had slammed his longsword through the rune wraith’s defenses, stunning her. At that moment a cloud of foul smelling brimstone filled the blood-scented air and a horrific demon emerged from within it.

The creature was larger than the gunmetals the group had witnessed, with a leathery hide of yellowish green, sharp-clawed hands, and a wide fang-filled maw beneath a single baleful red eye with a vertical slit pupil. The demon roared as it lashed out with its claws, the appendages ripping through Veruna’s LeatherJack to sink deep into her side.

Nicodemus glared at the sight of two demons and spat “Another demonologist!” before sketching three crimson runes into the air. The first runic bolt blasted through the white furred wolf, rendering it into a greasy grey cloud of fading smoke. The other bolts went towards the cyclopean demon, but one impacted into the stacked barrels and the other scorched the sidewall as the demon dodged to avoid the runic attack.

Outside, Roxton plunged his rapier through the neck of the Remnant Jonathon faced. The automated cadaver fell away without a sound and Roxton quipped “Now we can go inside” before smiling and racing off, the shadowpriest on his heels.

The pair arrived at the back door and took in the slain Motleys and the towering demon that loomed over their companions. Roxton charged forward at the demon, but at that moment a hooded figure stepped out from the elevated office within the warehouse.

The man was dressed in LeatherJack beneath grey robes that had a deep cowl that obscured his features, but his calloused hands were easily visible as they sketched a twisted rune of power. A large mirror image of the rune blazed with a hellish green light beneath the jobbers’ feet and an explosion of hellfire surged over them. The flames licked at Roxton and Jonathon as they both avoided the unexpected onslaught. Veruna and Kay were not as fortunate, the hellish heat scorching the Malakar’s gaping wounds and stunning the rune wraith.

Seeing Veruna’s vulnerability, the demon stalked in, its claw swipe nearly severing the wayfinder’s left arm, rendering it useless. Brother Keeganfall stepped forward, reciting a prayer of healing only to watch the shadowlight fragment across Veruna’s back, her heritage having thwarted the restorative magic.

Nicodemus saw that Jonathon’s healing attempt had failed and ordered his recovering arcane companion to step beneath the wooden supports of the office stairs. He then stepped forward only to watch his rune of armor scatter ineffectually across Veruna’s shoulder.

“Get back!” Nicodemus barked to the shaky wayfinder, even as he moved between the Malakar and the looming demon, its baleful eye alighting upon him with supernatural malevolence.

Katryn arrived at the back door, having raced down the warehouse alleyway while activating Roxton’s KEVLAR projector remotely. Seeing Veruna covered in blood and reeling, the inventor keyed the switch to activate her KEVLAR projector, but the transmitter failed to activate.

At the front of the warehouse, MEKA rent the locking bar and with a terrible screech of metal the warehouse door broke free and slid back on its rollers. The clockwork companion collected its hammer and advanced into the warehouse to be met by the two Remnants guarding the prototype Entropy Engine. The automated cadavers swung in with their metallic claws, but MEKA deflected their strikes and set himself to counter.

“Valiant of you to defend the female” the demon sneered in a voice that sounded as if the creature spoke through a throat choked of slime.

“What would one such as you know of valor?” asked Nicodemus incredulously.

“I feast upon it” was the entity’s reply.

“That’s called feces!” mocked the runecaster trying to hold the demon’s attention as Veruna made to fall back. However the demon was not distracted and the Malakar saw every detail of its clawed appendage as it just missed ripping her face off.

Still shaky, Veruna found herself thrown brutally against the warehouse wall as the wist unleashed another explosion of hellfire into the gathered jobbers. The impact shattered her ribs and the wayfinder tasted blood as she fought for air. Her other companions fared somewhat better, but only Nicodemus’ arcane defenses spared him completely. The others had been badly burned and staggered to keep their feet.

“Roxton, be ready!” called Nicodemus as he unleashed a rune of power into the demon, momentarily stunning it, while two more searing red runes blasted into the supports for the stairs the wist stood upon. The stairs buckled but appeared as if they would hold, until Nicodemus yelled to Kay to finish the job. The rune wraith surged against the wooden supports, bullying her way through the struts and bringing the stairs, and the wist upon them, down in a thunderous dust-filled cloud.

Roxton gritted his teeth against the pain of his scalded flesh and lunged at the prone wist. The runic rapier twisted in his hand as the blade, in a flash of blue-black light, deflected off of a field of arcane energy protecting the detachment leader of the Nightmare Brigade.

The wist glared at the retriever’s attack and the undignified situation he found himself in. With a smile that gleamed within the folds of his hood, the wist sketched another twisted rune while uttering a blasphemous incantation. Roxton felt his mind gripped in a greasy, coiling force moments before his consciousness was fighting not to be suppressed. As if from a great distance he heard the wist say” Kill that one”, and could see him pointing at Nicodemus.

Roxton felts his body setting itself for a thrusting lunge into Nicodemus’ flank and rallied against the force that had control of his body. With a titanic surge of will the retriever freed himself from the supernatural control. Turning to face the wist once more, Roxton growled “I’ll kill him in my own time.”

Jonathon moved up to support Nicodemus against the wist’s demonic servant, slashing out at the recovering fiend. The steel blade rebounded off of the demon’s rubbery hide and the Andari recovered his stance for the inevitable counter attack.

Nicodemus saw the difficulty the shadowpriest had in penetrating the demon’s bile green hide and sketched his rune of power along Jonathon’s rapier. The thin blade took on a reddish sheen, its edge gleaming with the ensorcelled energy.

Katryn had been caught completely off guard by the punishing hellfire that had afflicted the jobbers when she had arrived at the back door. The flames had stolen her breath and her scorched flesh caused her to have difficulty in regaining it. The inventor realized that in her current state she was more a liability than an asset and staggered back into the cool night air, fighting to regain her equilibrium to rejoin the fight.

MEKA continued to engage the two Remnants that guarded the prototype Entropy Engine. The clockwork companion swung his massive hammer, tearing the head from one of the mechanized cadavers and sending it bouncing into the makeshift skirr pen. The second Remnant lashed out with its steel claws, spraying sparks, but only gouging MEKA’s plating. The two automatons continued their mechanical engagement back and forth, with MEKA finally landing a punishing hammer strike that rocked the Remnant back on his heels even as the battle at the rear of the warehouse turned to the jobber’s favor.

The wist had recovered his footing and drew a runic dagger from within the folds of his robes. The enchanted steel flashed out and cut deep into Kay’s side, staggering the rune wraith, reddish energy bleeding out into the air about her.

With Nicodemus’ companion reeling, the wist made to flee and Roxton seized the opportunity to land a jab, but the wist’s dagger seemed to turn of its own volition and parried the rapier off target enough to be further deflected by the demonologist’s arcane field.

However, Nicodemus’ runic bolts were not so easily diverted. The three scarlet rays flashed into the demonologist, burning through the bluish-black energy that blazed forth as a shield about the fleeing foe.

The wist stumbled and Roxton’s long legged stride ate up the ground between them. The retriever put his full weight and speed behind his thrust, watching with satisfaction as the runic steel pierced the demonologist’s shield to go deeply into his side.

Jonathon continued to fend off the demon’s claw swipes, parrying and dodging, waiting for an opening in the creature’s defenses. It wasn’t long before the fiend overextended himself and the shadowpriest landed a two-handed thrust, pushing the rune infused steel under the demon’s armpit, causing it to evaporate in a yellowish green cloud of nauseating sulfur.

Not wasting any time, Jonathon moved after the retriever and seeing the wist reeling, recited the blessing of the black blade upon Roxton, causing his rapier to become dark as pitch, seeming to drink in the available light.

“Let him heal you” spoke the Andari coldly even as the wist stumbled away from the two jobbers, ordering in a blood-choked voice for the last Remnant to attack Roxton.

The Remnant turned from facing MEKA only to be rent apart by Veruna’s claws. The critically wounded Malakar wayfinder was barely standing, but determined to continue the battle and urged Roxton to finish the demonologist.

“You are my healing” the retriever said in a low voice, a wolfish grin upon his features as he stalked in.

Frantically the wist brandished his defending dagger, but Roxton contemptuously swatted it out of line before plunging his rapier through the man’s heart. Immediately, life energy surged out of the dying man. Conveyed by the shadowpriest’s enchantment, the energy healed Roxton’s wounds even as the demonologist expired. Roxton felt the pain of the burns about his body fading as he shook his head, fighting against the primordial high that the life stealing enchantment conveyed.

The battle had been hard fought and the jobbers came together to take stock of their situation. Katryn had finally recovered enough from the last hellfire blast to command MEKA to stand down. The clockwork companion, with the last Remnant fallen, had been pursuing the frantic skirr with its oversized hammer thinking the beast of burden an enemy per the inventor’s last command.

Nicodemus ordered his wounded arcane companion to become ethereal once more and quickly searched the wist’s body. Roxton handed off one of his healing draughts to Jonathon and went outside the warehouse to listen to see if their battle had drawn any unwanted attention. After he downed the potion, Jonathon recited a prayer of healing over Veruna before sitting her down and pulling healing materials from his voluminous cloak to tend her.

Katryn looked at MEKA’s damage and decided that the clockwork companion was still functioning adequately so that no immediate repairs were required. She then turned her attention to the prototype Entropy Engine, marveling at its complexity and its already demonstrated capability. Shaking away the desire to methodically study the machine, the inventor set about trying to determine the best means of destroying the device before the group fled Broken Palace.

Nicodemus relieved the wist of a FlintFlicker Fifty and his enchanted gear, handing Katryn the enchanted dagger. To Veruna he presented the wist’s rune crafted LeatherJack saying, “Here, you need this.” Veruna protested, offering the LeatherJack back to Nicodemus, who turned his nose up at the obviously inferior, to his thinking, armored coat. MEKA received the pistol and spare ammunition.

With the group patched up and no obvious indications that their fight had been discovered, Katryn announced that she had determined the best place for a ShatterStone to be placed to destroy the prototype. Nicodemus volunteered to place the explosive, as he had his rune of armor to fortify himself since outrunning the explosion was not an option.

The group agreed and Veruna wrangled the skirr out while the others set up watch posts outside. Once alone, Nicodemus sketched his rune of armor and licked the ShatterStone to activate it, placing it where Katryn had instructed.

The runecaster then dived behind a barricade of barrels moments before the ShatterStone detonated. Looking over the barrels, it was obvious that the ShatterStone had not had enough force to destroy the device. Not hesitating, Nicodemus commanded Kay to manifest on the far side of the machine.

Once in position, he commanded her to rend the device and then to shift back to the ethereal. The rune wraith did as commanded, her claws causing sparks to fly along with gouged pieces of metal. She then shifted her form back across the dimensional border as her master unleashed the last of his energy into one focused bolt of power.

The runic attacks were enough to finish what the ShatterStone had started and the prototype Entropy Engine detonated in a massive ball of metal, flame, and wild runic energy. Nicodemus’ armor held, even as barrels rained down upon him and the smoke of the spot fires threatened to choke him. Gathering his feet underneath him, the strength enhancing enchantments of his LeatherJack helping him to shift out from under the barrels, Nicodemus made for the rear door of the warehouse.

Outside the runecaster joined his companions. The jobbers let the skirr go and set off at a brisk pace towards the ruined walls of Broken Palace, Jonathon in the lead to guide using his Twilight Sight. The detonation of the prototype had at last garnered the attention of the Nightmare Brigade and the sounds of their awakening camp were audible over the crackling flames within the warehouse. Speed, the jobbers knew, was now of the essence.
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razorwise
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2007 12:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What an exciting read. Great stuff, Mark! Wish I were there!

Regards,

Sean
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