Monday, November 16, 2009

Dark Heresy - Night 4

So we last left our intrepid explorers waiting for church services to start. Nobody really does anything before hand. They all go up to the Cathedral and are greeted by Abbot Skae who shows them to their seats in the front row, a place of honor. James decides to stand by the door. Kos'ke enters with Esha Raine and they are seated across the aisle from the PCs. Right before the services begin, Aristarchus sneaks in and sits with the PCs.

Skae starts to talk about a miracle that is going to take place as part of the dedication services, but before he can go on the city alarm bells go off. James is immediately out the door and he sees the truck crash into the front gate jarring it open. A bunch of blue-faced Ashleen come pouring in killing and burning everything they see.

The other PCs, Kos'ke and his men join James in viewing the attack. The first few things noticed are:

A group of men with a large bomb heading directly for the church.

A group of men with molotov cocktails heading for the city's generators.

The dustdogs have been spooked, broke their pen and are now attacking everyone they see.

James runs down to get a shot off at the bomb. He hits the Ashleen carrying the bomb and the bomb is dropped. The impact of the fall causes the make-shift jury-rigged bomb to detonate. Killing all the group of Ashleen with it.

Shawn and AJ go to cut off the warriors attacking the generators. AJ kills one rather quickly, but catches the attention of some of the others. AJ gets heavily injured during the fight. Shawn finishes the Ashleen off. Cheryl rushes over to help AJ with her medical skills.

While Shawn and AJ are fighting at the generators. James, Alicia and Cheryl notice a group of Ashleen heading towards a woman trying to protect some children. The PCs rush over to her and the children's aid, intercepting the Ashleen before they reach the children. James, Alicia and Cheryl handle the group rather easily, when Shawn calls over the vox that AJ is injured. That is when Cheryl runs to his aid.

The leader of the Ashleen is spotted. He is armored and carrying a cleaver, plus he has several men with him. He is charging Kos'ke and his men, who have just finished rounding up the loose dustdogs.

With the help of Kos'ke and his men, Alicia, James and Shawn take out the leader of the Ashleen thus ending the attack on the town. James is injured during the fight but refuses treatment. Cheryl helped AJ to the make-shift hospital. She stays and helps the overworked Priest there.

After the fight there is a commotion in front of the Cathedral. Kos'ke gathers his men and heads up to the Cathedral rather briskly. James, Alicia and Shawn join him. At the doors, Esha Raine is standing on one side, Kos'ke and his men join her, there is an Ashleen in the middle uttering something indistinguishable and the Abbot, Brother Severus and Aristarchus are on the other side. There is an argument going on between the Abbot and Esha. Esha wants to call off the dedication as obviously something is plotting against them. The Abbot is insisting that the ceremonies will continue as planned.

Aristarchus walks over and shoots the Ashleen in the head. He then says to Esha, "This is the fate of a heretic. Do you wish to stand in the way of the Church and the miracle to come?"

Esha is completely put off by this and makes the comment that the Crow Father is sitting on their shoulder and whispering his lies to them. She will have nothing to do with the Cathedral. Esha, Kos'ke and his men then leave riding immediately out of town. The gathered towns folk are quite shocked and unsure of what to do. Immediately Abbot Skae speaks up and tells everyone that this will not hinder the ceremonies that the God-Emperor looks down on them and will turn this Cathedral into a lighthouse as brilliant as the sun to shine on Iocanthos.

At this time, the PCs have some time to themselves. Cheryl stays in the hospital helping out. James goes to meditate and speak to his new daemon friend. Shawn and Alicia talk to some people around town. No one really finds anything out.

James decides he needs to speak to talk to Aristarchus immediately because he fears Aristarchus' life is endanger. He finds Shawn and Alicia in town, then picks up Cheryl and AJ on his way to the Cathedral where Aristarchus and Abbot Skae are located. When the group arrives at the Cathedral, their path is barred by Brother Severus and few younger priests. James demands to speak with Aristarchus. Brother Severus tells them that no one is allowed in right now as Aristarchus and Abbot Skae are preparing for tonight's ceremony. James is about to force his way through them, when the doors open. Aristarchus is supporting an injured bloody Abbot Skae.

Skae says he was attacked by a shadowy figure and barely fought it off. Aristarchus confirms what Skae says and has no doubt that it was Esha Raine that attacked Skae. He sends the PCs to arrest her and bring her back to the Cathedral by order of the Holy Ordos Hereticus.

Brother Lamark, who was called up during the first situation, tells the PCs where Esha is camped. He wants to go with them but his duty is to protect the Cathedral and Abbot Skae.

Alicia drives the flatbed heading towards Esha's camp. On the way she stops the vehicle and asks James how he knows what he knows. James claims the God-Emperor is talking to him directly and cites when the Emperor first spoke to them when they arrived in the future. (Cheryl, the player not her character, just realized that the God-Emperor never speaks to anyone for any reason, because basically he can't. She figured out something big but hasn't quite put together why it is a big thing, yet.) The group has a long discussion where James explains his theory that they are all being controlled by Tzeentch. He goes as far to claim that the God-Emperor is not Sigmar. He never says that he thinks the God-Emperor is an agent of Tzeentch but he does so without words (to have made that claim with words would have got him attacked by Cheryl. She already does not trust him.) After the discussion they continue on to Esha's camp. Along the way a violent dust storm kicks up. The dust storm dies down right as they reach the camp.

Upon arriving, Esha, Kos'ke and his men greet them with weapons at the ready. The only one that almost does something stupid here is AJ, but the others keep him from drawing his weapon. They tell her they want to talk. She says, "Good then there are people who are not being controlled by the Crow Father and are willing to listen, come inside I have something to show you."

Before they can even start to go inside, the dust storm kicks up again even stronger than before. Lights start flashing in the storm and evil laughter can be heard. Two groups of Shale Crows descend from the sky, one group attacking the PCs, the other attacking Esha and Kos'ke. Alicia and AJ dispatch the Shale Crows attacking them rather quickly and as soon as they do, the storm dies down. Some of Kos'ke's men are hurt but Esha and Kos'ke are fine.

Esha gets everyone inside. She then asks them to retell everything that has happened to them. After they are finished she gets up and brings them an old book. She calls it a widow's book and tells them it will help them. Shawn is able to read the book. It talks of St. Drusus and his fight against the daemon known as the Crow Father or the Dancer at the Threshold. Their final fight took place where the Cathedral is now. They thank Esha and as they begin to leave she tells them one more thing, "The Dancer's weakness is what he does to victims." Everyone realized very quickly that meant his eyes, technically he is vulnerable to Blind effects.

They hurry back to Stern Hope, it is dusk and the place is eerily quiet. There are no guards at the gate. A quick scan of the area and nobody can be seen. Tables from the Inn have been thrown out into the street and obstruct their way. The PCs park the truck and get out. Once out and walking, they notice a few bodies, some are riddled with bullet holes or las blasts while others seem to have been torn apart, all have had their eyes removed. The only light is coming from the Cathedral, a sickly pale glow.

On the way to the Cathedral, they see movement in the Abbey. Brother Lamark is barely alive. He tells them it was the Abbot. The Abbot turned into something monsterous and attacked anyone that did not go to the Cathedral. Cheryl is able to bandage Lamark and save his life.

The group head up to the Cathedral, opening the doors to reveal most of the town gathered, standing and staring at the altar. On the altar stands Aristarchus. He has ghostfire flowers at his feet and his tarot cards are floating around him. In a flash the cards gather into 9 single cards and fuse onto Aristarchus, 2 on each arm and leg, 4 on his chest and 1 on his forehead. Alicia makes the comment that they should take out the cards. The dome above Aristarchus is a black writhing mass, slowly moving towards Aristarchus almost reaching for him. A will power roll is required to even step inside the Cathedral. Everyone succeeds. Once inside they notice to people standing in the darkness behind Aristarchus, the light for the room is coming from the tarot cards. One shape is human and the other is not. As they get closer the non-human shape steps forward, it was Abbot Skae. It speaks to the PCs about how glad it is to see them and that they should now come and join him in devotion, while Brother Severus collects the blood of Aristarchus. The Skae-thing just used a daemonic power on them and all are required to make a will power roll to contest it. Alicia is the only one who failed. She drops her weapons and begins to walk forward towards the Skae-thing. Cheryl tries to take Alicia out of it to no avail. The fight starts after that.

Skae hits Alicia knocking her out of the mind control, but injuring her also. Severus is able to drop some of Aristarchus' blood onto a spherical device he is holding. James shoots the device out of Severus' hand. It goes rolling back into the shadows with James and Severus chasing it. Everyone else concentrate their attacks on Skae. James severely cripples Severus. This gets Skae's attention and Skae starts to attack James. James also attacks Skae at this point. Skae kills severus by stepping on him. James receives a message from the Watcher saying, "You are attacking the wrong thing. The arbitrator had the right idea." James quickly tells everyone to attack the cards on Aristarchus. The others attack the cards, while James continues to take on Skae directly.

During the fight, James is badly injured. Instead of getting away from Skae and letting someone else, like Cheryl who could directly fight Skae much better than James, James charges Skae and tries to shoulder tackle Skae. James bounces off of Skae and Skae would have killed James with his next blow, so James had to burn a fate point which caused a bright flash in Skae's eyes blinding him. Before he can regain his sight, the other PCs finish destroying the cards. Skae screams and runs away into the warp.

Aristarchus collapses from the altar. The congregation comes out of their hypnotism, no one in the gathered congregation died. If they had taken Skae down to 0 life, one of the cards on Aristarchus would have killed several people in the congregation to give life back to Skae. Aristarchus tells them what he can remember, everything being hazy since he received the cards from Skae. James shows the globe he got from Severus to Aristarchus. It looks like a map of the sector to Aristarchus and the planet glowing is called Sentinel or Drusus Shrine world. Aristarchus insists that they need to get back to Scintilla as soon as possible. He calls the church in Port Suffering and has a ship halted so that they can head off immediately. Aristarchus also sends a message ahead to Kaltos at Scintilla. The PCs and Aristarchus drive through the night and arrive at Port Suffering at dusk the next night. Aristarchus is taken by a Sister of Battle to the local hospital while the others are loaded onto a drop ship and back to Scintilla. That is where the night ended.

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