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@Stormquiss, perhaps I could write in a rescue for Serij and Aavion? I have the next couple of days off and was planning on spending it writing.
I am FREAKING OUT from your narratives everyone. Aubrey, is that you narrating?!
@Aubrey I just listened to it. It was great! I also read the post as I listened to it so I noticed the few changes that were made between the versions. Still loving the story. Also I have been getting the pronunciation for Hiero wrong this entire time, glad I got it now.
Oh btw, I recommend listening to the whole narration, even though you will have to put up with the slight peak at 2:30.
However, if you have no patience you can skip to about 4:00 if you want to jump to the best parts.
Actual post to read along: http://numenera-starbornmachine.my-free.website/chapter-2-part-5
(Prior snippets on Ordovico the Schoolmaster at https://pastebin.com/Run20P2k )
The Syndicate was expanding steadily. Ordovico vetted every candidate thoroughly, separating the simple muscle from the leadership material, and ensuring all moles met discreet, clean ends. He saw much promise in Xandra, but her current boss was more than the cartel could chew at the moment -- he could try to make the man's path cross with that of some violent do-gooder or another, have them fight it out; but in his day job, Vico was Simin's schoolteacher, and the kid's safety was paramount -- he couldn't risk a plan with too many moving variables. Meanwhile that other interesting candidate, the dishonorable one who conceals the truth, might be perhaps too much of a lone wolf; Vico didn't mind that the man had many old enemies -- he knew the feeling -- but perhaps he wasn't after new friends at all either. Either way, as soon as possible, he would have one of Caspyr's lieutenants contact the gentleman in question in a diplomatic, nonthreatening manner. Yes, and "Mad Sarrak" Deklos would be most suited for the task -- his nickname was ironic, he had an accountant's mind in a decidedly unthreatening body. Deklos managed the many warehouses the Cobalt Syndicate owned behind fake identities and businesses, and kept track for Vico of all the dark stuff being smuggled into and out of Ellomyr. It's best to know.
But parallel to Caspyr Múm, another identity had also been busy. Phasrap Nizam'Yermak Qalandar, the Holy Man of the Wastes, had founded his tariqah. He had a couple of dozen followers, and they called themselves the Gardeners of All Tomorrows. His main teaching was that Ellomyr was a holy place, the final battleground in the universal struggle of Good and Evil, and that Seven Trials would happen -- the margr attack he had warned so many of ahead of time, the first Trial. The Gardeners pledged to dedicate their lives to study and communal pursuits preparing the town for the Trials, by becoming defense engineers, militiamen, doctors -- all the good stuff. They were by necessity a bit kooky in the head, but lived upright lives and worked hard, and the community did not resent them -- or their occasional preachy claims of imminent doom -- too much. They preached mostly to passing caravans, anyway.
News of the coming Iron Wind were music to the Gardeners -- the Second Trial was ahead. They set themselves to work twice as hard -- their religion said forethought and hard work were the only effective forms of prayer. The Syndicate received the news with a lot less enthusiasm -- other than digging deeper bunkers or laying low in cells elsewhere, they were short on ideas. Deklos complained this ruined his profit estimates for the third quarter. Caspyr did not push the truth of the prophecy too hard; as it was, perhaps skepticism should win the day in the organization, at the moment, until there was a better plan.
Vico sought out Cygn by leaving a message in public -- paying a kid to fly a blue and white kite against the sunset. The man met him shortly after.
"I'm sorry we have to meet again so soon, Rook. Twice in twenty years may be a bit too much."
"It is your territory. It would be discourteous of me to refuse the meeting. Though we may have to set up a dead drop protocol, for convenience."
"We should. Well, I trust you've heard of the Iron Wind. Are you going to finish your mission here before it happens? Do you have a way to survive it? Or is it related to your mission somehow?"
Cygn balanced a knife on a fingertip. It turned on its axis slowly, evenly, without wobble. "I can't share that much, Bishop." He sighed. "The Iron Wind. Teardrop would brave it, you know. She trained her nano in pacifying the storm around her; it was a beautiful bubble, a pearl of chaos. She claimed the wind could decompose her and make her into a new form, or pure consciousness, and then she would abide among all things."
"Was that what happened to her?"
"No. Nothing so simple. Anyway, in her experiments, the stranger ones, close to the end... she made this." He handed something strange to Vico, a wristband seemingly made of salt-and-pepper ashes, which kept their form somehow; once in Vico's hand, he felt the item's granularity and elasticity.
"It's strangely beautiful."
"Is it not? It is apparently a tame precipitation of the Wind. Once it's been worn for a few days, it memorizes the shape of the wearer; when the Iron Wind comes, it supposedly tells its brethren in the air not to harm him."
"Valuable. What would you want for it?"
Cygn shrugged. "I don't need it. You do. Going back to your business will keep you out of mine. I'm fine with that."
Vico rolled the band in his fingers in velvety ashen cascades. "A hell of a gift."
Cygn smiled. "Even so."
Later in his study, Vico sat with the artifact on the table before him. The room was completely dark.
It's useless to keep this just so I can survive the Wind, he thought. I need to send this to someone who'll use it to investigate its workings, perhaps generalize its effects. But who?
(As for game rules, the Ashen Band protects the wearer from all instances of nano transformation. Unless you roll a 1 in 1d20, in which case it depletes and you're forked. XD)
Well I'm glad the story I was writing already had me in a safe-ish place. If anyone wants me to write their characters to on the expedition to a safe, but troublesome location, message me before I finish.
@secondrevan That was great! What a bind. Your depiction was excellent. Keep assuming the Syndicate is overly cautious and will only act/commit resources when they're sure of a decisive win.
Anyone wanting to hear Hiero's latest story and epic motivational speech as read by me, with tasteful background music, feel free to click this link here:
Please tell me what you think of it as well. It takes a lot of work to make this, and I'm wondering if you would like future finales narrated in the future.
That last piece broke my heart a little to write. Especially that ending. I'd love to see how heart wrenching that scene is after a couple of drafts.
@TCC I hope I depicted the Cobalt Syndicate well. Because I'm looking forward to continuing to write about Xandra's relationship with them
Xandra originally learned Three Card Monte shortly after she ran away from home. As a far too young kid, she used it to make her first shins. These days, she used it to entertain Simin before school. She’d basically reversed the trick, challenging Simin to try and find out where the card was.
Every time, he’d get invested, concentrating like nothing else mattered. He’d follow the card, and each and every time, he’d fail. And each time, Simin wanted to try again, to try and get it this time. He’d never be able to get it, he didn’t realise that Xandra was tricking him. That the game was designed for her to control the outcome. And yet, he kept trying to beat her.
And every so often, when the timing was right, Xandra would give him the win. And when he won, nothing made him happier. And nothing made Xandra happier.
She didn’t really know how to handle Simin. She’d run away from home far too young. She was fifteen. He was four. She’d missed him growing up into the precocious twelve year old he now was. It was only when her parents died that she went home. That she found herself the only family Simin had left.
She wondered how much Simin remembered of her, before she suddenly returned home. She wondered of what she thought about leaving his life of relative comfort to this dingy basement. He always put a brave face on it, but Xandra couldn’t escape the feeling she was failing him. Was this right for him? Xandra wanted to avoid forcing him down her path. Give him the choice not to join his sister in her life of crime. There was a reason she made sure Bart didn’t know who he was. But was she doing enough? She wanted to be a good sister.
At least, three card monte helped. Simin always loved it, and it helped Xandra feel less guilty about all the late nights she was having. “Well done” she gleamed, as Simin correctly chose the card. Simin’s smile of pride was, for a moment, the most precious thing in the world. “You’re getting better. You’ll be beating me regularly soon”.
“I think I worked it out. I think I worked it out”.
“Oh really? Well, you’ll have to prove it next time. Time for school”. Simin was crestfallen. He loved school, but he didn’t like leaving Xandra. Especially lately, when he realised that he wouldn’t be seeing Xandra again until next morning. “Oh, and by the way, Tiri is going to be looking at finding a new place today. With her new job, we’ll be able to have a real place. You can have a real bed again”.
This excited him. “And Simin. I’m going to try and come home early tonight. I know I’ve been late lately”. This made him happier.
Xandra was uncomfortable, in her seat at the Trilling View. She shouldn’t be. But she was. She wished Tiri was here. This was her field. But if she was ever going to break away from Bart, she had to do this.
She sat opposite Battik, a midlevel member of the Cobalt Syndicate. His face was friendly, inviting. And the Cobalt Syndicate had developed a good reputation. But under is mundane clothes, Xandra had noticed something. A weapon. It looked valuable. And dangerous. The Cobalt Syndicate were crooks, and this was never a safe industry.
“I’m not sure I should work with you, to be honest. I’m far too busy to sell any little trinket. So you found a pretty bauble. You don’t even know what it is. It is probably just another oddity?”
He was fishing for information. It would take no effort to get a syndicate expert to check the syringe, but he wanted to know what she knew. She just had to hope she played this right.
“It came from the Valley of Sins. Brought it back with me from my expedition there. That’s got to be pretty rare”. She left unspoken the implication hidden beneath. I went on the disastrous expedition, and returned. I’m useful. I’m worth investing in.
“An impressive achievement. But there is lots of junk at the Valley. It doesn’t make it valuable”
“It is complete”. That silenced him. Even the most powerful numenera could not be called complete. The Ninth World was built on the wreckage was the previous world. Every piece of numenera was a shard of a greater whole. What power would a complete numenera hold? She’d got her in.
Just before he found his voice again, someone interrupted them. “Battik. We need to talk”. As Battik moved to dismiss him, the man simply said “Now”.
“I’m sorry. Let me handle this” he said, as he left his seat.
Xandra sat in suspense. Something felt off. She felt like everything was about to go wrong.
He returned to his seat, defeated. Fearful, even. “I’m sorry. You didn’t tell me you worked for Bart. We aren’t going to be able to work together. Bart doesn’t like it when other people touch his things.”
Bart? Damn him. “The piece isn’t Bart’s. It’s mine”
“I wasn’t talking about the numenera”. He grabbed her hands. “He gave me a warning. And I’d never have met with you if I knew. We know Bart’s reputation.” Bart, meanwhile, had done his best to keep that reputation secret from his employees. She suddenly understood why. As she saw her hopes and dreams shatter, as she realised how little chance she had to truly escape, how hopeless her dreams really were, she understood why. Bart had wanted her to do this. Wanted her to see what happens.
She was so lost, she almost missed the nearly imperceptible tapping on the hand. A message. I want to help you. I’ll do everything I can. She understood the subtext. Under Bart’s threats, there was very little that he could do. Still, at least she had one card in her corner. She didn’t know if she was helping for her, for her numenera or just to try and hurt a threat, but she could only use what she had. It was better than nothing.
She got up suddenly, and left. IT was all she could think to do. She started to walk home, only to see two bodies lying on the ground, dead. She recognised them as Cobalt Syndicate men. Behind them stood a man, shimmering translucent. Between the armour, the hood, the mask, Xandra recognised him immediately. The Phantasm. “This is the Cobalt Syndicate’s warning” he said, before disappearing into the ground.
Xandra tried to summon a smile as she returned to her basement home. That is, until she heard conversation. Simin was talking to someone. It wasn’t Tiri, nor the brothers they shared the basement with. They were all still working.
It was Bart.
As she descended the stairs, she saw Bart sitting on the ground, instructing Simin. He had cards that Xandra used that morning for three card monte in his hands, showing Simin exactly how the trick worked.
She was amazed at how quickly a smile came across her face. False. Artificial. But a smile.
She approached them warily, taking every step like the floor was going to break beneath her. In her head, it already had.
“Sorry I’m early” Bart said, sounding unnaturally friendly. “I thought you were in”
Simin charged at her, hugging her leg. She didn’t realise how off balance she was, until she was pushed back by Simin’s assault. “Bart taught him three card monte”.
“Oh, that’s a shame. You were so close to working it out yourself” she said, the picture of false sincerity. “You’ll have to show me”
“I’m glad we got along” Bart said. “If he was going to stay with me while you and Tira were so busy…” The threat was clear. Bart knew they were hiding something. Something that made them think they could try to escape him. And Simin was his hostage until they fell back in line.
“He’s a great kid. It is going to be a lot of fun” he continued. Bart never broke character. Seemed so perfectly friendly. He had never been scarier.
“Yeah, it will be” Xandra said, kneeling down to face Simin. “You’re going to have a lot of fun, and we’re going to miss you. But when you get back, I won’t be so busy and you can show me your skills at Three Card Monte”. She tried not to cry. Not to break character. Not to do anything.
When Tiri returned home, Xandra was crying. And there was nothing she could do to comfort her.
How do I post audio?
Jeff you can pledge at all books in PDF level ($100) and add the physical core book set as an add on ($120) for a total of $220. Sure it's pricey but you are saving 60 bucks.
@Aubrey please tell me Hiero is going to survive the battle? While he would make a lovely statue I would miss him (and door makers across the Ninth World would despair) ;-)
I wish there was a pledge level for the core books and then everything else in pdf. 280 is so much to pay for all the physical product. I always buy physical core books but the rest can be pdf.
(This correlates Ellomyer Update #8) #Numenera2
Chapter 2, Part 5, Humanity
As the army of margr coasted over the horizon like a grim sunrise, the villagers of Ellomyr braced themselves to fight. Many of the villagers were armed with nothing more than simple weapons and looks of growing horror. There had been the appearance of courage amongst them earlier, but the chittering of the approaching hoard had drawn mortality sharply into focus. The sea of margr seemed to grow infinitely larger as the monstrous army continued to rise over the hill and into view. In a twist of irony, many of the villages began to notice that the wooden barricades almost resembled the pen of a lamb waiting to be slaughtered. Hopelessness settled firm over the town.
Hopelessness however, was always a term used in hyperbole. Amidst any sufficiently large crowd, there was always at least one idiot too dumb to realize how desperate the situation.
Enter Hiero, a mechanical knight so delusional in his bravado that he would mentally calculate the exact percentage chance of failure, and then flip a table and shout, “Never tell me the odds!”, before running out of the room towards his next adventure. Sometimes he remembered to open the door before running through it.
The man, the myth, the walking joke, Hiero, now stood atop a balcony overlooking the many townsfolk. The star at the center of his chest made him shine like a beacon in the evening gloom, and drew the attention of many before he even spoke.
“Hello there citizens of Ellomyr, I'm sure most of you have heard of who I am through my many incredible exploits, amazing adventures, and daring do-goods. However, I'm also sure there are a handful of you that have been living under a rock, too busy crying your weird human tears of fear to have realized that the hero you had been praying for has been here all along. I know this because when I look out at you all today I see faces of terror, despair, and an utter soul-crushing hopelessness that couldn't possibly exist if you knew the truth. So, for the few of you rock people out there, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Hiero Sol, Champion of Starlight and Guardian of Humanity. Yes, a daring claim to make, I know, but daring is my middle name, or at least one of the three. Now, I'm sure you're all dying to know why I'm standing here speaking with you." Hiero noticed several people flinch, "Oh, I’m sorry. Did the word DYING bother you?” The knight smiled. “Well I’m certainly not surprised! I can see quite clearly that each and every one of you are wondering whether this day will be your last, and I'm here to tell you that if you keep thinking like that, then it sure as heck will be. I almost can’t blame you. Just look at yourselves. You're small and squishy, you have no natural weapons, armor, or any real means a defending yourself, and your greatest asset is a brain so flawed, unnecessarily convoluted, and self-contradicting that’s it’s a miracle you can even remember to keep your heart beating. Oh wait, never mind, it’s called a heart attack. I mean really, the greatest accomplishment of humanity is perhaps that you've managed to survive this long.”
The crowd was beginning to grow restless. A few were looking annoyed, but just as many looked simply disheartened by Hiero’s words.
“Yes, I know what you’re thinking. ‘Hey you, crazy robot man, shut the front door! We don’t need to put up with your salsa. Aren’t you supposed to be motivating us or something?’ Well you’re right! I am supposed to be motivating you, and I’m doing a right sour job at it aren’t I?” Hiero gave a synthetic sigh, and shook his head as if ashamed. “Well, that’s because I wasn’t built to stand up here and stroke your ego. Your ancestors only made me to thwart villainy in all of its forms, and lying to you about your chances today would be villainy indeed.” Hiero stopped to stare out over the crowd. He caught a small rock that was thrown at him, and casually lobbed it behind his back, “But tell me, did any of you catch the important part I just said right there?”
Hiero placed a hand on his forehead. He thought the answer was obvious. “You made me. Let me repeat that. You. Mankind. Made. Me. Your ancestors, who by every rational law of the universe, should have died out hundreds of millions of years ago, managed to construct something as complicated and powerful as me. For all their flaws, they had found something within themselves that gave them the strength to move mountains. That’s why I’m here. That’s why you’re here. Each and every one of you is a product of your kind’s relentless drive not only to survive all obstacles, but flourish in the in the face of them. You may think, ‘Oh, but I’m not like the humans of the past’, and I’m here to tell you that you are every bit the same.
Look to your left and right. Each and every one of you could have run for your lives, but you chose to stay and fight. I’ll repeat that. You heard that an army of monsters was coming to murder you, and you chose to stand your ground and fight. And I know there are some of you out there thinking, “You’re wrong Mr. Hiero, I couldn’t leave. My family is still here.” That’s malarkey and you know it. No one chained you to the earth. Your family didn’t hold you to the ground and keep you from running. You stayed because you gave a damn. Because this village isn’t just a village, it’s your home, and these people aren’t just people, they’re your family! So you fed the earth with your sweat, and tears, and you raked it with worn, bloody knuckles, and from it you raised defenses the likes of which these margr have never seen, and never will again. Don’t you understand? Any beast with a grain of common sense and desire to survive would have run for the hills by now, but not you. You aren’t satisfied with SURVIVING. You want to LIVE! You all still have the same unrelenting will as your ancestors. The same drive that made them never settle for good enough. The same indomitable will that let them shape the stars!
“Let me tell you another thing. I am not the pinnacle of creation, astonishing I know, but true. I've seen past worlds rise and fall, and I can tell you that I have seen you do so much more than me, and so much more than this.” Hiero gestured to the margr hoard. “After everything that’s tried to destroy you, and EVERYTHING has tried to destroy you, you’re still here, and the defacto rulers of this world. I said your greatest accomplishment is that your kind has managed to survive this long in spite of all the odds stacked against them. Do you have any idea of what an accomplish that is? Scholars say that mankind was among the first intelligent life on this planet, and I’ll bet my left arm it will be the last.”
“I dare you to look me in the eye and tell me that knowing your ancestors crossed the heavens wide, you draw the line of impossibility at driving off a bunch of spear toting umlan goats! For crying out loud, I can train a seskii to herd goats. I know you’re afraid to die today, but you have so much more to lose than life. Don't you understand? These margr aren’t coming to take your life, they coming to take away everything that makes life worth living. That shouldn’t make you scared, that should make you FURIOUS! How DARE they think that they can march into your home without being invited! How DARE they think that they can take everything you have worked so hard for! How DARE they think they can hurt your friends, family, and children!”
“Well I got news for you people, they think they can! They THINK waltz into this village and take your lives as you cower fear. Well let’s show them what WE think about that!”
A flag bearing spear pierced the sky, “Now who here is with me!?” A chorus of battle cries rang out. “I don’t think they can hear you out there! Louder!” The cries intensified into a roar. Hiero amplified his voice to rise over the dim, “Do hear THAT margr? The children and friends of mankind stand ready to face you, for we shall bow to no one! Now quicken to battle stations my defenders of Ellomyr.” Hiero turned towards the hoard. “Tonight, we fight for justice. Tonight, we fight for our families. Tonight, we fight for ELLOMYR!”
And with that, and his flag toting pike held high, Hiero leapt to the sky towards the approaching army. He hit the ground, and continued in a sprint with a brilliant star, bright like day, clutched in his glowing white fist. A thousand and one alarms screamed in the knight’s head. Some hundred about overheating. Some hundred more about having drawn out nearly all of his starlight. The knight ignored it all. He ran like Prometheus stealing fire from the gods and delivering it to the margr. The very first abhuman to approach him received the gift. A cone of starlight erupted from the knight’s molten palm, and washed over dozens of margr. Swaddled in the embrace of searing plasma, many died, but the army was merely dented. Every grain of common sense the knight had screamed for him to run and recharge, but Hiero couldn’t allow the villagers behind him to see anything short of unwavering courage. So, he clutched his melting hand so that it would solidify into a fist, and raised his war banner high. Then, with his body begging him to reconsider, he broke into a charge.
Want more? (Bios, Art, Stories)
FOLLOW HIERO AND RO's MISADVENTURES HERE:
So I guess we need…
A stirring speech from an Arkus.
A plan from an Aeon Priest or some other source (perhaps another timely call for help via the Trilling Shard?)
Intel on where we can find the necessary iotum and other parts (this may involve talking to traders, visiting nearby towns, or expeditions to places other than the VoS…there must be local myths and legends…shame Gurner is gone).
Teams to fetch the necessary bits and teams to build them.
Then, of course, nothing will go to plan so we need teams to be able to respond to unexpected events as the storm approaches.
Hmmmm - perhaps Serij and Aavion could finally work out how to get back from the Outside with something useful.
Aww...crap. Now I’m going to have to figure out how to write Nir & crew back to safety. Kinda saw the Iron Wind coming, though.
I think we are gonna need a bigger force field, folks!
Ok - my skin is actually crawling - off to chase it down now.
How on the nine hells do we defend against the iron wind?
@LCC Bart is many things, including petty. Unfortunately, in his own way, he is not bad at HR. At least, he isn't bad at his particularly ruthless version of HR. He will prove himself quite a threat and competition for the Cobalt Syndicate.
But I'd love to get Xandra in with the syndicate, eventually. Not only does it make a lot of sense for her, but access to their information networks would be perfect for my longer term plans for the character. Glad to see she'll be welcome. I can see a fruitful collaboration between Xandra and the Cobalt Syndicate. If they can both survive Bart
@Jeppe Laursen: Since the freight will be managed thru MCG Shop as they are released, you can go to their website site now and simulate the purchase of some books, and can have an idea of the price.
Is there anywhere I can see an estimate on shipping? I need to know how much shipping will be before I know how much to commit
It seems like the Arkus is going to be more community based than talking. Someone that can truly encourage and strengthen other characters through their words and presence. Someone people are drawn to, almost like a cult leader. I always saw a glint as a fast talker that was great at getting their way through words more than anything. Someone that you wanted to negotiate contracts for you and such. Glints could be cult leaders but they do it more via their speeches while Arki seem more along the lines of presence types.... but I may be incorrect. Would love to see a bit more explanation of it myself.
Im curious what the difference in abilities an Arkus and a Glint will have. I understand an Arkus is meant to be less of a fast talker and more of a true leader, but it sounds like their actual abilities will have a lot in common.
About a year has passed in Ellomyr since the attack...at least that's what I get from the write-ups from MCG.
Does anyone know how much time has passed since the Abhuman attack? Day, weeks years, etc?
@dee Could happen! Of course, Flavik would first receive a generous job offer of a leadership role in the counterbanditry branch to put his dishonorable ways to good use. Maybe use the organization to fight his old enemies if they try to move into town? :p
@LLC Why do I forsee Flavik Thurn and the Cobalt Syndicate butting heads at some point in the far future? Hmmm.....
Lol! There's a reason I have "repair" listed as one of Hiero's first skills to take if I ever play him as a PC.
Truth be told, Hiero doesn't actually tend to bother too much with crimes like smuggling and simple theft unless it falls into his lap. "Asimov's first law" makes dealing with criminal humans a pain in the metal butt for Hiero so he prefers to only do so when it comes to stopping murderers, breaking violent gangs, and thwarting plots by the Convergence. (He can overrule Asimov, but only while suffering severe penalties to most actions)
@LCC Reminds me of this one mythological being young children talked about. Some sort of sentient glass-like creature that was filled with a hallucinogenic chemical. They always announced their arrival with a crashing through the wall and exclamation of "Oh yeah!"
@LCC and @Aubrey LOL
@Aubrey *hands over broom* GRIME. We were talking about GRIME. Get cleaning! ...especially the rubble from the wall.
@Storm and LLC: *robotic knight bursts through a wall* "Did someone say CRIME!?"
@Stormquiss You're welcome, I really liked your story. :) I thought about setting the scene in the refurbished Aurora's Arms, but ol' Trilling View had been established as Silkhand's favorite haunt. I kinda forgot whose contribution that location was! It's hard to scroll back to the oldest pieces.
@secondrevan Xandra would rise fast in the Cobalt Syndicate, she seems to have the right outlook, and Caspyr Múm is all about delegating (since most of the time he doesn't actually exist)! Bart seems petty and bad with human resources, I sense a turf war may be in the cards. XD
The Cobalt Syndicate is likely running a protection racket with the merchants, but at a fair rate and doing its own part scaring off unaffiliated bandits, driving the overall rate of attacks and violence down, without charging the caravans more than they can afford sustainably. (Sort of Ankh-Morpork Thieves Guild style.) In organization they have two main branches, the executive branch that steals from those who do not pay for protection, and the counterbanditry branch that suppresses competition. Those with reliable discretion work in the first, while the bloodthirsty headbashers are contained in the second. All very tidy and PR-aware.
I think it's particularly cool how there are certain parallels between long-running characters in these Ellomyr stories. Elita knows everyone's secrets, but no-one believes her, while Ordovico also keeps spies and files on everyone, but is terrified of being found out. (And I can foresee an ending where he gets Littlefinger'd by the magical oracle child...) And while Vico has to juggle numerous cover identities without getting overwhelmed, Kira is literally several people.
Continuing Flavik Thurn's, the dishonorable jack who conceals the truth, story: https://drive.google.com/open…
Still unsure if I will continue on with this or not....I mean, trips to the Valley of Sins and Othmar aren't really something Flavik is interested in (see "Chapter 1" for why), and building stuff isn't in his wheel well either....
For those wondering who Pasha and Gronick were:
Pasha was a resourceful glint who fought dirty.
Gronick was an intelligent arkus who works the back alleys.
Will we ever see what happened to them (aside from knowing they are dead) or what happened when Pasha and Flavik first met in Othmar? Doubtful but who know....
Hearing of the new settlement that was being built, Kastraya's interest was piqued. She had had plans to renovate an abandoned port city off the coast of The Steadfast and watching the development of Ellomyr would give her ideas for how she would go about her own project.
Arriving in her airship, she flared with her Energy and descended down into the town proper. She was there to observe and learn, yet would keep to herself that she also was on the look out for a traitorous individual that she had long ago known as ally.
Kastraya is a Mlox who Becomes Energy, whether that is common to some or none at all, and as such she appears human albeit with markings on her forehead. She appeared older, with a couple streaks of grey evident in her black/blonde hair that was tucked mostly under her strange cap. Her white-colored garb might catch eyes as well, as it was that of a design that ancient historians would dub a male's "sailor uniform". In her time, most found it comical. Humour was an easy way to break the ice in a social interaction.
@Stormquiss Glad your enjoying my character. And yeah, it can be hard to write at times, especially when she herself doesn't exactly have a real name. But I'm glad it looks easy, as the fear has always been that I'd mess it up and confuse people. And yeah, I am going to have a lot of fun with what happens next. Have lots and lots of plans
@LCC I might take you up on your offer to have others use the Cobalt Syndicate. Xandra would be very interested in working alongside them, and I'd love to see what they think about Bart
@secondrevan I am definitely curious to see how Kira's other personalities will react to her secret being uncovered (I am always impressed by the way you make writing such a complex character look easy).
@LCC Interesting how a criminal organisation can be a yardstick for the growth of a city. At least Ellomyr can look forward to its crime being...well...so thoroughly organised ;-) (oh, and tyvm for the nod).
@Periklis Paschidis welcome to the fiction party :-)
After all that great fiction a few updates ago I am definitely going to make the effort to keep up with everyone's posts.
[Trondil in the Valley of Sin: PART 2]
(...continuation from part 1)
“Yes”, the man replied. “I think so. I haven't fought such a creature before. I was lucky I had an explosive device on me... What the shit was that?”
“It’s a young jung-gaar”, answered the boy, and added: “We should leave; fast, before its mom returns.”
“You mean... There are others, bigger than that?!” the nano asked while pointing at the mass of blown-up meat.
“Yes”, again the oldest boy piped up.
“Oh, Kala’s shit! And where do we go, boys? I’m not from this place. All I know is I was heading west. You’re natives, aren't you? What is this place?”
“It’s called The Valley of Sin” the same boy replied. “I’m Kamaal, by the way. This is my older brother, Yavaal.”
“Older?” the man inquired in disbelief. “He looks half your age... Uhm... Kam’al...”
“Kamaal! One word. And don’t let the image fool you. He’s teen years older than me. He’s smarter and more experienced than me, but... I dunno. Mom kept saying that something touched him when he was... at this age and stopped developing. I dunno...”
“And why can’t he tell that by himself?” Trondil asked, still in disbelief.
“He can’t speak. He has no tongue” Kamaal replied.
“And how do you comm—” The nano stopped his sentence in the middle. “Oh...” he said a few seconds later, nodding his head. “I see... Yes... I can hear you, Yavaal. Loud and clear. No need to shout.”
Kamaal formed a grin full of smug. “I see you get it now...”
The nano nod and in just seconds, he received the information that normally would take hours of conversation.
“I see”, the nano finally said while standing up on his feet. He took some salve out of a small metallic cylinder and smeared it over the deep cut in his hand. The bleeding stopped almost immediately and he then bandaged it by ripping a thin lace from his delicately embroidered ceremonial loincloth.
“So, your brother told me there’s not much time. Your aldea got destroyed by an attack of the Margr. You are trying to reach a small town called the Trilling Shard or so?”
“Yes. It’s the biggest settlement in the region. We spotted some people venturing into the valley from there a few days ago. We couldn’t catch up... But it means that the place is still up and running... They somehow survived the horde of the Margr... We have no else to go. We do not know what to do...” Kamaal said.
“I see... If your brother is right, it means we have about three or four days of trekking ahead of us. And the mother of the... Youngling, over there, might show up at any time... We better get starting.” Trondil said, looking towards the west.
“Gimme a few breaths, please” Yavaal said inside the nano’s head. Boy, he was loud!
The nano wondered about the boy’s... No! The man-who-looks-like-a-small-boy, he had the powers! He was impressed, and a tad scared of how easily the boy penetrated his mind and conveyed his thoughts and images into his. He wondered if the boy could also read, peer deep and collect information from his head. The thought made his spine to chill.
A few moments later, Yavaal returned, holding in his hand a weird cyst of some kind, still dripping a viscous, purple colored liquid.
“What’s that?” the nano asked.
“That will provide us enough shins, when we reach the Trilling Shard, to be welcomed in a warm and safe place, and not tossed on the streets to become easy prey for the deviators who can’t take ‘no’ for an answer”, Yavaal spoke into his mind.
“I see”, Trondil said. “Okay. Let’s not dally any longer. We need to get moving”.
The trio kept walking, for the rest of the day, not stopping for a moment to rest. Only when the stars in the sky we high above, and their legs were trembling like jelly, did they camped to rest. Yavaal, being the... youngest body of all, was shivering from exhaustion.
“Here, you two eat this. I know it’s not much, but it’s all I got...” Trondil said as he rationed some weird, stone looking biscuit. “You two rest for now. I’ll take the first shift. You’ll take the second, Kamaal. And you...” he said while looking at the youngest boy, still baffled that this was actually an adult man, “take the last... if you can... Okay?”
The kids nod and said nothing more. Soon, Trondil heard their soft breaths while the boys were lost into a deep slumber. The man sat on a small dune which provided a clear sight for miles around.
What awaited him at this... Trilling Shard, he pondered, and lit a small twig he put between his lips. He inhaled the smoke and relaxed. Some of the stars above him twinkled. What a beautiful night, he mulled.
[Trondil in the Valley of Sin: PART 1]
The intrepid nano focused all his thoughts, all his energy, on stopping the creature from attacking the two boys. A crackling lightning jumped out of his head and struck it, just when it was about to grab one of the kids in its huge jaws. Though it was not enough to kill it outright, it managed to get its attention.
Whatever the predator was, it had the intelligence to discern the most potent threat, and redirect its attacks on it. With a screeching growl, it spun around and with surprising speed it hurled itself towards the interloper.
“Damn you!” Trondil spat between his teeth. He had put a lot of his mental energy in his blast; he had reckoned that for the size of the beast it would have been sufficient. Obviously, it was not.
The beast was now running at full speed against the nano, narrowing the distance between them with every fast-pacing step. Every second was of essence.
“You will die!” the man screamed as once more he put all his thoughts aside, clearing his mind to form another bolt of energy. Easy as it may sound, clearing one's mind while being under immediate attack is a task that very few nanos can manage; taking years of practise and meditation.
This time, Trondil focused on the creature’s legs. If it were strong enough to withstand his first attack, then maybe it had something under its skin, some sort of armor that protected it from hits. So, he thought, maybe if he could wound it enough, rendering it immobile, they could all have a chance to run away with their lives intact.
Once more, the sudden ionization of the air between the man and the hurdling creature, created a spark that crackled with a thundering sound. The bright light jumped out with an impressive arch from the nano’s head, and hitting the creature’s thigh. An explosion of some weird, purple fluid substance, along with pieces of meat, indicated that some amount of damage had been inflicted. As to verify the nano’s hopes, the creature trudged a few steps before falling prone on the ground, raising a small cloud of dust around it.
“Finally, you piece of aneen shit!” the man exclaimed. But his moment of joy did not last for long. Not a minute later, the creature was standing again on its feet. It was injured –no doubt about that!–, but still had some stamina, and most importantly, some will to kill. It would have its meal for today, one way or another.
Trondil knew he had neither time nor the energy to strike with another mental attack; his head was already feeling slightly lightheaded and the pain on his temples was a clear sign that he needed to find another way to save his sorry carcass.
The creature, although not fast as previously, was now hopping and closing fast the distance between them.
The nano had just enough time to push the three small knobs on his wristband and form a small disk-like force-field, wide enough to seek cover behind it. It saved him from the sharp teeth, but not from the strong hit of the beast. Trondil was hurled on his back and tumbled a few feet back before managing to find a grip and steady his feet on the ground.
“I refuse to die this day!” he spat and rummaged his small leather satchel, tied on the side of his belt. The time he needed to find with his fingers the item he sought, seemed to last forever. In his head, it were as if the entire world had slowed down in pace.
The creature took one step forward again; its maw a large hole with naught but hundreds of knife-long, sharp teeth, which would render him into mincemeat, if he ended up inside it.
As the creature took one big jump to land on him, the nano maneuvered his body to the side; the shield always up and in front of him. He felt the creature’s weight pushing him aside, and one of its teeth delivering a deep nasty cut on his forearm. Having no time to cry out his pain, the nano clicked and energized the device he was holding in his hands, and tried to throw it inside the gaping maw. Seconds later, he was on his feet, running away from the predator as fast as he could.
“One... Two... Three...” he was counting. He had no idea how long it would take, or if it would work at all. But it had to work! If he were wrong about the nature of the numenéra, than all this had been in vain. He and the kids, they were already dead and not knowing it.
Just as he turned his head to look at his back to check the monster’s whereabouts, he saw a blast of colourful visceral, chunks of bone and meat scattering about. He slowed down and collapsed on his knees. He had made it. There was no way this creature could come back and impose any more danger.
He stood there, catching up his breath, when he heard the sound of small, timid feet stepping on the sand. He turned his head and saw the two boys standing at a short distance.
“Is it dead?” asked the oldest one, no more than twelve years old and clad in ragged clothes.
(continues on part 2)
I like the look of the dice set addon.
I'm guessing that the big hurdle of RPG Kickstarters is that they're mostly aimed at GMs...so player addons are a good way to involve the rest of the gaming group?
Is it possible to add a tier above Patron if Elmore that would let us get a picture made of our character? I think that would be really cool.
Hello- (Second try, lost connection between when I started typing, and lost it all - this will be a truncated version!)
I've not been able to follow along like I would have liked, so I looked back through the comments here and have some comments / questions of my own:
- Any chance for a 5-copy Players Guide add-on for a less than $100 price? Id like them for my gaming table, and the tier right -below- me gets them. Just a thought, and Id asked before, but saw no reply. Sorry if I missed one.
- In what order will the Deluxe copies be signed/distributed? I ask, being lucky Backer Number Nine!
- The discussion/debate over the inclusion or not of the Complete backer lists and only the Billion and Five people...
I understand both sides, and have a suggestion: In Print, include a 1-page graphic/art at the back as a thank you, with a link to go to on the MCG site where the backers are listed (preferably in a larger font than the original book too!) and perhaps searchable. As a bonus, put some small bit/s of 'extra' goodies there, a few Numenera, etc. BUT - Include the Full backer lists in the PDF copies. (Again, hopefully as it is Digital in a more legible size!) You could still segregate the Billion and Five backers there, but Additionally as a bonus list Everyone who helped this time, but still also saving that valuable Print page space for Game Goodness. And if you made the one page Mostly a piece of art (Maybe in some way looking like 'thanks' is involved) with the blurb about a few 'extra' bits on the website and the address that goes to a searchable list of backers being just an inch or two at the bottom, it would not be that intrusive. And would, ultimately, take less space than the original book used for the lists. Just my 2 cents.
I had hoped to be able to write some fiction work for here, but my available time is not what it would need to be to do that.
Thank you for such a great game, from great people!
When will playtesters be able to test the new stuff?
She needed time. Too many crises. Gurner was dead, and Ellomyr was still trying to work out its new leadership. Someone had stolen… It, grabbed it from the smuggling hatch. And the expedition to the Valley of Sins was a disaster. Only a single group managed to return, with nowhere near enough iotum.
She had to ignore political aspirations. She had to ignore that It was missing. And she had to ignore the fact that she knew what would have happened to those that didn’t leave the Valley. Now wasn’t the time.
Kira knew exactly what needed to be done, and it was deal with the resource shortage. And she followed Kira’s lead. She’d done so ever since the Valley.
The job was chaotic. She jumped between every project she could, asking exactly what they were making, exactly what was needed, exactly how far they were along, exactly what was truly necessary. Exactly how much of the dwindling supplies could be rationed to each project.
In her head, she was already doing the maths. Of which projects to prioritise. Of how many projects could be saved, and how many projects would have to die because they couldn’t get enough resources in time
Her hand scurried across the page, writing numbers and figures. She snatched the pad from her new assistant. She hadn’t asked for one, it had been assigned, somehow. The new assistant wasn’t really good. Too slow at writing notes, and making too many errors. The Kira persona was too much of a perfectionist to accept such work. There was a reason she stole the pad.
That wasn’t entirely fair. The woman - what was her name? Siri? Niri? No, it was Tiri – was a terrible assistant, but she was fantastic with people. Kira didn’t need an assistant. But someone could who so easily handle volatile personalities. Someone who could manage stressed and passionate workers at the exact moment things went wrong.
And Tiri could handle them perfectly. A small smile, an innocent stroke of her blond hair, a compassionate touch. Tiri was an expert. No one could tame the impossible stresses of the builders, but Tiri kept the delicate powder keg from exploding. She could even present a stern line when someone tried to be less than honest on what was truly necessary for their pet project.
The Kira persona had already decided to make sure that Tiri got reassigned. She was a useless assistant, but had real potential as a manager. But at the moment, both parts of her were just happy to have someone to help them. Someone so adept at the social side that the Kira persona lacked.
Especially when things got too much. She thought she had held onto the Kira body too long before the Valley. Back during those early days after the margr invasion. But since returning to the Valley, she pushed things even further. Kira’s personality was the only possible thing that could in any way dampen her own mind. She still did not what to face what she’d done at the Valley.
It stressed her body, and illness would eventually take over. Her body started to reject the changes, and it slowed her. Made things harder. And everything else, every other stress just compounded it. She tried to make breaks fromt eh Kira form as rare as possible – she couldn’t stand being alone with her own thoughts. But they were necessary. As was the now customary need to puke, to rest.
But that was how it had to be. Too much to do.
Shadowing Kira did nothing to reveal to Tiri what secrets she may be hiding. Nor did they give her the time to just talk, the chance to tease out information. But she did notice Kira’s periodic disappearances. Did notice the ways that she would seem to get sicker and sicker, disappear, then return in perfect health.
And so, she followed Kira. She waited until she noticed that Kira was feeling unwell enough to disappear, and then strung along the builder she was talking to. This sort of manipulation was effortless, tricking him into being just uncooperative enough that Tiri could be trapped in conversation. Kira always preferred to disappear when Tiri was busy.
But the moment Kira announced that she had to leave, Tiri could just ask one question. A slight variation designed specifically to make the man ‘realise’ what she had been ‘trying’ to ask. And with that, she was free. Her job complete. She could follow Kira.
She saw where Kira went, to the nearest secluded rooftop, the rest place of privacy. And she saw what happened next. She saw Kira transform
What a fun chat! Thanks to all who tuned in.
If you missed it, we discussed:
- SUPER SECRET PRETTY THING TO SHOW OFF (look for it in an upcoming update!)
- What's inside & How to Use: the Ruin Deck, The Essence of Numenera, The Trilling Shard, the Ninth World Bestiary 3, the Player's Guide! These are mostly in the beginning, but scatter throughout the Q&A in response to backer comments. These carry the caveat that they are all unwritten, they are only happening because this Kickstarter and you are making them happen, and therefore we can't 100% guarantee the details of these until we get writing them!
(And then dancing happened)
- Recap of changes/compatibility between the original Numenera and Numenera Discovery (23:30)
- Elaborate metaphors about dessert menus, in the context of how Numenera 2 is all about giving more options for play, not taking options away or invalidating existing content
- What's so cool and new about Numenera Destiny: crafting, salvaging, plans, community building, base building, vehicle building, player-driven exploration, and the potential to support longer term relationships with people, places, and goals.
- More about vehicles!
- The continued utility of the Character Options books
- Asset Team/Cypher Play and Numenera 2 (Cypher Play Season 1 of 2018 will foreshadow some elements of Discovery and Destiny!)
- These are a few of our favorite things, playtesting edition - we love the early playtests of new Jack and Glaive builds!
Follow us on Twitter: Darcy @DarcyLRoss, Charles @CharlesMRyan, and Sean @SeanKReynolds
Let us know if there are other topics you'd like to hear about!
Oh, there we go, got the video working on my phone. Still no chat, but oh well. I really like that player kit!