Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Isle Imperium: Episode 1.16 -- Renegade Revelations

While VARIAN, in his capacity as Oracle of Equinox, “sleeps on” the question of how to get to Igeia, ALECTO, CATALINA, and MANTIUS attempt to gain clarity on the matter of the impending challenge from the Sixth through the Winterheart Oracle, learning only that the shard is blocking their opponents from spying on them through their own oracles, and eventually causing ARCTURUS to suffer profound physical damage from all the questions. ALINA posits that this is because the cold foretelling ability he is using is somehow diametrically opposed to the shard currently mounting him—the Rhythmic Warrior—while Catalina, perhaps influenced by the Fire Mage she bears, is convinced that the Rhythmic Warrior is offended since it has just been accomplished and is now being used to access abilities foreign to it. Arc removes the cracked shard and is taken below deck to rest.

At sundown, Varian awakens and tells them that Igeia is not accessible by land, sea, or air, but that their warder can get them there by simply declaring that they are taking on the mission. Accordingly--after Varian briefly consults CITRINE on the cryptic mission instructions—Mantius dons the Renegade Warder, whereupon he is promptly contacted in quick succession by the warders Urich, Cinelis, Donovan, Tessela, and Terentius, all requesting to meet. Mantius politely declines them all on the basis that they are departing for their mission (except for Terentius, who is cut off in midspeech, since he unfortunately communicates just as Mantius is in the process of announcing their acceptance of the mission); and they do so.

They are transported to a place of silver- and jewel-bedecked towers, which they initially assume to be Igeia but soon discover is the citadel of the warders, a haven where the numbers of the army of shards go to make final preparations before embarking on each monthly set of missions. Here they find facilities for improving some of their personal attributes at the cost of others. (Cat, in particular, is distressed when the personified Fire Mage blithely trades away three of her heart points in exchange for three body—and intends to trade still more, until Mantius, warned to an extent by the Renegade Warder, steps in and makes a deal to persuade Cat to make the Fire Mage essential, if the shard will cease and desist.) They also find facilities that allow them to trade purchased abilities for others within their set of shards, as well as shops selling and buying all manner of items.

Arc, Mantius, and Varian trade sundry items in their possession for a goodly amount of experience, which they generously share with their companions. Some choose to spend the experience then and there; others tuck the experience shards away for later use; and still others make use of the services of the citadel’s bank, where experience may be transferred among unpurchased abilities, and where Mantius discovers that the Renegade Warder has a longstanding balance of 65,000.

Having done their shopping, met several acquaintances of their shards as well as their own (CARITAS, JUDITH, and ELINORA of the Second) and avoided others (LUCIA and others of the Sixth), they officially embark on their mission at the circle of statues in the center of the citadel.

They reappear in a place of intense blue, where they find a Shrieking Titan assaulting a white domed building. Quickly discerning that the creature, characterized by the many open mouths all over its huge metal body, is not infested by blue but wholly of the blue, they are able to defeat it, despite its formidable attack and endurance. Mantius announces them at the dome and they enter, meeting the Sundered Blood Cloak Warder GASPARUS, who informs them that this dome is one of several outposts being manned in the effort to reclaim this blue-suffused area. Their mission is to deliver a package from this dome to Tergoth, another outpost across the all-encompassing blue field to the east. He also mentions that an item known as “the tempting songbird” was lost in the environs some time ago, possibly related to their secondary mission to “listen to the lark”.

Upon his realization that Mantius bears the Renegade Warder, Gasparus becomes curt and orders them to take the enormous, unwieldy package and depart immediately, as they are consuming the ability of the dome, which is not meant to sustain such a large number of occupants. Despite Alina’s trepidation about the surrounding blue “calling to her”, the party obeys, Varian channeling the strength of his summoned dragon QUARTZ to lift the box. They go back outside just in time for the assault of another Shrieking Titan.

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