The Nine Kingdoms: A History

The Fall of the City

The Black City has fallen, swallowed in a catastrophic fight between the Protector and a falling philethis, the resulting clash of vast powers levelling the floating city.

Aboard the vessel, the three agents struggle to regain their health, work out their next steps and make further plans.

Allara, mother of Caelan and now former ‘geneplanner’ of the Black City struggles to find her place in the aftermath of her city’s death and reconcile with her son – still distant from her, in the way those born of the Black City are.

Councilwoman Taurell, the Mistress of Sorrow, slumbers in a stasis chamber in the vessel’s hold. Solinar interrogates her unconcious mind with his menal abilities and manages to converse with the former Councillor of the Black City. Taurell offers information and insight into her powers, in exchange for her life.

The vessel speeds across the desert, across the Black Riage and closes in on Charmonde in a matter of hours. A slight chime as they vessel approaches the edge of Naverene wakes those aboard from their slumber.

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The Escape

As the party quickly discuss what to do, now that Councillor Taurell is outside the vessel, Qi’Vara hears the ship warn that cragwurms have begun attempting to ‘phase’ into the hull and a cragwurm queen has been disturbed and is circling the craft.

Qi’vara mentions something called an ‘Amplifier’ before suddenly collapsing to the floor with blood pouring from eyes, something Solinar quickly attributes to a concentrated psychic attack – something the group deduce is likely to be from Councillor Taurell whom Caelan has experienced the abilities of first-hand.

Zeb quickly acts and uses the ship’s communications device, firstly in an attempt to issue a warning to anything attempting to enter the ship and then to speak directly with Taurell, whom she fools into believing that the group are stuck on the ship and attempting to work out how to open the airlock again.

Caelan attempts to use the ship’s weapon to fight off the cragwurm queen, with some success but at great cost – the strange technology proves overwhelming in view of the memories of his time in the Black City that have recently resurfaced.

Solinar tries to rouse Qi’Vara who tells him that the Amplifier can extend his telekinetic abilities, which he can use to shield the ship – using this proves too much for Qi’Vara, instead Solinar uses it to do the same.

A sudden attack by the cragwurm queen slams into Solinar’s shield, causing him painful feedback, but Zeb keeps her footing whilst Caelan falls to the ground and causes Qi’Vara to smash his head against the hull and render him unconcious

Any further attempts to deter the cragwurm queen prove fruitless – including de-powering the ship or firing at it until the ship’s weapons malfunction. Solinar uses the Amplifier to extend more of his own powers to free the ship from it’s rocky prison, in the nick of time the group activate the ship’s engines and enable it to maintain a stationary position in the air outside the Black City, out of reach of the cragwurm queen.

Tired, hurt and out of breath, the group attempt to plan their next move.

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Exploring the Nightcraft

Upon from recovering from whatever occurred a few moments before, the party find the body of Grix lying on the floor of the hold and an open compartment in the smooth white walls of the vessel.

Returning to the main corridor, they find all entrances save those to the rear and fore of the vessel completely sealed. The rear room contains signs of significant damage to the interior of the vessel.

Moving back along towards the control room, the party find a white-skinned figure staring at a star map in confusion. A brief tussle begins but ends when the creature’s device seems not to have any effect – it quickly employs some sort of telepathic ability to learn the party’s language and identifies itself as Qi’Vara, a ‘commodity’ en route to its ‘owner’ before being set free from the hold and attempting to escape the ship.

It quickly becomes apparent that Qi’Vara is not from this planet, nor from this time. Describing technology, species and places that none in the party have ever heard of.

Solinar quickly briefs Qi’Vara on the reasons why they are in the ship and why they need it, Qi’Vara explains some of the ship’s capabilities but hints that it is somehow ‘broken’ and not fully functional despite the many fantastical things it appears to be able to do.

Qi’Vara demonstrates how to operate some things on the ship, the party are able to view the exterior once more and see that Councilwoman Taurell is approaching accompanied by two Servitors and some City Guards.

A brief exploration of the ship, with Qi’Vara, reveals some further interesting oddities and cyphers, and the group attempt to find more of the ‘translators’ that Qi’Vara wears. Zeb discovers some repair devices and attempts to phase through the, unbeknownst to her, wall of the ship’s hold which triggers some alarms within the vessel.

Solinar decides to make use of the impressive medical facilities to help Caelan recover more of his memories – the process appears to work but Caelan experiences some repressed memories of Councilwoman Taurell, removing emotions and feeling from him, and Councilman Ixa, carving into his very flesh and causing terrible pain. During this, Caelan strikes out and accidentally injures Solinar.
The experience leaves him visibily shaken, afraid and guilty over losing control – all of which Solinar is pleased at, feeling that he is ‘freeing himself’ from his conditioning.

Whilst the alarms go off in the ship, Caelan goes to the airlock believing their to be an intruder but see’s no-one, but does hear the approach of people through the ruins the ship is buried in.

The adventure ends as Councilwoman Taurell rounds the corner, appearing dressed for dinner as opposed to trekking through ruins, and exclaims happily that they found a way inside the vessel. Zeb hurriedly asks Qi’Vara to seal the airlock without responding to the Councilwoman.

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The Excavation: Part II

Venturing further into the excavation site, few pleasantries are exchanged between the travellers and their prisoners.

Zeb spends some time trying to work out how the ‘zappy stick’ she liberated from Mela works, finding a mysterious button on it’s handle which makes some symbols appear when touched. A brief conversation with Mela reveals that the stick can ‘measure pain’ and he offers to demonstrate, which Zeb sensibly refuses.

Approaching a wide cavern, Caelan stealthy creeps forward and espies another explorer dressed in similar fashion to Grix and Mela, however his steps falter as the uneveness of the ground results in poor footing.

Solinar talks the other man down, with what might have been help from Grix, and he relinquishes his nasty-looking weapon by ramming it into the ground. Caelan attempts to retrieve but it appeared to be stuck in the rocky floor.

They come upon an exposed surface of a featureless silver metallic substance, and as they move further on the third man is attacked by a sandworm which attempts to drag him into the ground. Using a device they found earlier, Solinar manages to draw the creature’s attention away and they rescue the unnamed one but find the creature has made off with his lower left leg.

Once they stabilise their companion, Grix remarks that the people they ‘questioned’ said they could hear the device ‘sing’ when they touched it. Solinar takes this advice literally and presses his ear to it.
A series of soft tones sound in the air and symbols appear on the surface of the metallic substance. After a few moments of study, it is determined that the tones heard match the symbols as they appear and quickly the group attempt to replicate the tones themselves with little success until Caelan volunteers and reveals his angelic singing voice in the process.

A circle of light appears further down the corridor, from a source not yet visible, and as the group move closer Caelan and Zeb fail to see the large sandworm curled around what appears to be an entrance to the silver device.
Solinar, again, deflt distracts the creature and they rush inside the device where Caelan uses his vocal talents to close the doorway behind them leaving them in a featureless white corridor with one door at the far end.

As they attempt to tie their captives back up, a brief struggle ensues. Grix attemtps to take the ‘zappy stick; from its new owner, Zeb, who unfortunately drops it in the melee but gracefully retrieves and uses it to knock her attacker off balance.
Mela fairs less well as he first attacks Solinar, only to crash into some defensive field the young man generates and then falls foul of Caelan’s deadly grace with his companion’s former blade.
Grix relents and allows herself and her unnamed companion to be more securely tied in place.

Solinar uses his mental powers and finds there is some controlling intelligence in the vessel but it is very different to what he has encountered before. Zeb tests the surfaces of the vessel in her own unique manner and determines they are immune to her efforts, being circled by orange light which she learns to associate with ‘bad’ effects on the vessel.

Exploring further into the vessel,they find a large room with six empty human-sized alcoves, and doorways to the left and right. Initial exploration leads the group to what must be a bridge or control room, as chairs flow up out of the white material and different coloured globes appear in front of each. They determine that these relate to some control functions of the vessel, and reveal a ‘window’ of sorts that is partially obscured by rock.

Caelan’s attention is drawn to an image of the vessel, which Sol determines is focussed on the room they entered the ship by. On arrival they find Mela’s corpse being absorbed into the vessel’s floor and disappearing.

As they move further into the vessel, they come upon a room containing a series of plinths, chairs and tables where Mela’s body has just appeared out of the vessel’s white material.

The adventure continues….

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The Excavation: Part I

Agreeing to brave the sandworms and rolling desert, the three intelligencers set out from the Black City to seek out the ‘artifact’ the Herald has asked for in payment for the Purifiers.

Upon entering the strange rock formations, the body of a Black City citizen is found with wounds made by either a large weapon or a creature with great teeth and bones broken beyond recognition.
Using his particular powers, Solinar calls the man’s spirit back into his broken body temporarily to determine what killed him – the man described a sandworm that ‘came from the rock’.

Venturing further into the rock formation, the three stumble across two strangely attired individuals beating another Black City resident.
One of the strangers, a muscled man in strange spiked armour tied with fetishes beats the citizen with a weapon that burns flesh as the fearsome woman with black spikes through her skin watches in amusement.
A brief fight ensues, during which it becomes apparent the two are well-used to combat however Caelan’s skills prove sufficient to overpower the woman and Zeb carefully parts the man from his strange weapon.

Sol questions the strangers, determining they are scavengers from someplace they call the ‘Red Kingdom’ – a land only heard of in myth as a home to savages and barbarians. The woman appears to know more of the artifact, saying it is some sort of vessel or transportation device that the Black City wants to break down and ‘feed’ to their strange ‘Protector’.

After relieving them of their weapons, the three agree with the strangers that they can help them search for artifact and fend off any sandworms (which apparently congregate around the artifact).

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The Price

The workings of the Black City and its inhabitants become more apparent as the group explore their environs and meet the residents.

Encounters with a number of the Councillors are enlightening, to say the least, from the laboratories of cloned workers belonging to the Eternal Man and Mistress of Sorrow to the vibrant, wild gardens of the Poison Queen. All under the watchful eye of the oft-praised and never-seen Protector.

Zeb retrieves her goods, on behalf of her client in Charmonde, and has a brief run-in with the local law-enforcement whilst investigating the green glowing liquid that flows throughout the city.

On returning to their residence, the group find Sodrun has returned stating that the price of the Purifiers has been raised by the Protector’s Herald – something he did not forsee – and then promptly collapses in a fevered fit.

Solinar’s medical skills tell him that Sodrun has succumbed to some sort of infection from his Numenera implant which is no longer functioning – a feature of Numenera brought into the Black City – and they are all quickly summoned to the Herald’s Council Chambers to continue the negotiation.

A woman purposefully walks into Caelan and shoves a scribbled note into his hand, unbeknownst to the others.

The Herald briefly explains that nature of the Protector, and the effect this has on Numenera brought into the City. He tells them of the excavation site to the South, plagued by some vicious wildlife but containing the largest Numenera artifact he has ever seen – one that the Protector wants the power of.

In exchange for bringing this back, the Herald will provide care for Rather and Sodrun – or at least, ensure it is continued – and will provide such a supply of Purifiers that they need never return to the Black City. Solinar and Zeb ensure this agreement includes a clause that they can return for more, should Charmonde suffer any further loss of Purifiers such as the situation that brought them there in the first place.

On returning to the residence, to prepare for their trip, Caelan reads the note and reveals it to his friends – a warning about the Eternal Man and Caelan’s life. Zeb encourages the others to join her in the garden district, searching out a suitable establishment where one would go if one wished to remain clandestine.

After a quick haggle with a serving boy, the group are brought food and recreational herbs then approached by the woman who crashed into Caelan earlier. She reveals herself as Caelan’s biological mother, stating him to be an ‘original’ not a clone like the other Servitors but special. She says he was taken from her and put through the conditioning, then sold off as a clone to ensure he escaped the city. According to her, all the clones of Caelan became dangerous and were terminated.
Before she leaves, she tells them to run from the City and to avoid the Eternal Man.

As they return to the residence, Solinar expresses his disgust for the City’s practices, Caelan states that the Eternal Man must die and Zeb focuses on survival….

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The Black City

Leaving Fortress Neverlost as quickly as Duke Theomal can push them out onto the road, the agents of Charmonde head towards the beginning of the Violet Vale. Stopping for a rest along the way, they wake to find an Iron Wind bearing down upon them from the North. Rushing to mount the aneen and hurry away, a snaking tendril of the storm swipes Rather from her seat and swiftly changes her in horrific ways. Solinar tends to her and finds that, somehow, she has survived albeit in significant pain. Sodrun insists that they must move forward, theorising that there may be people in the Black City who can help her.

On reaching the Vale, they find that a shimmering phenomenon above a vibrant purple flower pulls them across the vast distance from the Black Riage to just outside the Black City, set amidst a vast desert.

The City itself is built of curving black cylinders of considerable size, each connected yet none touching the ground. To the South lies some sort of excavation being carried out by residents of the city, all of whom look miserable to be involved.

Once inside the City, the group makes their way to meet with the leader known as the Protector’s Herald. A handsome and jovial man named Gallitaius greets them, dismissing his odd-looking councillors from the meeting they were having very abruptly.
Galliataius quickly agrees to supply purifiers, and comments about the presence of Caelan in the city – alluding to his origins and purpose. It would appear Caelan was ‘made’ in the Black City and was something of a prototype.

Solinar asks for help for Corporal Rather, and Zeb asks that a specialist of the sort who ‘made’ someone like Caelan meet them. Caelan remains somewhat silent during most of the exchange…

The Herald sees to it that the group are housed in comfortable guest residences nearby to the chambers, and sends for a physician to take care of Rather. Shortly after, the faceless creature first seen in the chambers arrives and announces they are the ‘specialist’ Zeb requested. Solinar and Zeb make efforts to appear as though they interested in purchasing another ‘servitor unit’ in order to learn more on behalf of Caelan.
The Specialist explains that Caelan is an ‘older model’ and protoype, bought at considerable discount by Threx due to potential instabilities in his ‘conditioning’. It transpires that many more ‘servitors’ are made each year and Solinar manages to secure an agreement for a tour around the area of the City where the servitors are ‘made’.

Zeb refuses to entertain such a tour, stating that Caelan and she will be going on Candour’s errand as promised before she left Charmonde.

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The Journey continues...
Part II

On arrival at the Empty Sanctum the group are greeted by Magister Bron of the Convergence, an organisation often found to be in opposition to the Order of Truth and the Amber Pope due to a more ‘relaxed’ approach to research, acquisition and investigation of Numenera.

On entering The Empty Sanctum the group see an artifact that Bron later refers to as a ‘conduit’ and under a barrage of questions from Solinar admits that these connect the different Convergence sites in and around Navarene. Indeed, such enthusiastic questioning prompts Bron to suggest that Solinar may find a place for himself with the Convergence…

Travel on The Wireship is largely uneventful at first, allowing Solinar and Zeb to attempt to befriend the other low-ranking magisters accompanying them on their journey aboard the fantastic artifact. A brief tour lets them see the impressive technology of the craft and marvel at how stable and quick it travels through the night above the Nine Kingdoms.

The journey is interrupted as the craft appears to suffer some sort of engine failure, which Bron immediately accuses the group of causing though much speculation is had by all as to whom it could be – Sodrun? The Corporals? The Convergence itself attempting to interfere?
These musings are interrupted by the arrival of large and aggressive moth-like creatures that attack those aboard the ship.

Having successfully killed off the attacking creatures, the group investigate who was behind the sabotage of the ship’s engines, quickly finding that Corporal Vex was responsible. Brief questioning by Solinar and Zeb, supported by Solinar’s impressive mental abilities reveal that the Corporal was working on the orders of General Doe with the express intent of preventing their return from the Black City with the Purifiers.
Sodrun Ak confirms this, with his more aggressive mental capabilities, rendering Vex unconcious. The new agent also makes it known that he is inclined to leave the treacherous corporal with the Convergence, given that it was their ship he attempted to destroy.

Bron supplies some Numenera that takes a record of Vex’s memories for submission as evidence on return to Charmond, and it is agreed that the corporal willbe left with the magisters as punishment. During this conversation it becomes apparent that Bron has encountered someone like Caelan before, in relation to the Black City, and explains that he is some sort of biological synthetic servant that is ‘grown’ in the Black City. Bron also states he was on the last journey to the Black City which Master Threx took part in, though what he retrieved is not clear.

Who is Caelan? What is he?
Who else is out to prevent their return to Charmonde? What are General Doe’s plans?

The journey continues as the Wireship arrives at Neverlost…

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The Journey
Part I

Having secured supplies from the Market, consulted the vague maps of Master Threx and established a plan; the group have set off for the Black City, accompanied by Sodrun Ak in his new role and two corporals of the Queensguard, Vex and Rather.

Zeb informs the other two of her late night visit from Madame Candour who has asked her to collect something from the Black City on her behalf, but does not want the Crown or its operatives to know about it. On questioning, Candour insists the item is of a medicinal nature and she doesn’t believe it affects Numenera adversely.

The first leg of the journey is uneventful as the trio get used to riding the docile aneen towards the Black Riage and the Empty Sanctum. During the middle of the night at their first stop, Caelan sees an abykos attempting to reach something through the fabric of Zeb’s tent. A brief fight ensues, resulting in the abykos’ end, however it is soon found that the noteglass Master Threx had gifted the group with is no longer functional – its energies having been consumed in the abykos’ touch.

Soon after the group continues its journey towards the Empty Sanctum, arriving late at night at the strange stone tower to be greeted by Magister Bron who seems impatient at their presence. Sojourning up the tower towards the ‘Wire’, the group see something Bron refers to tersely as a ‘conduit’ in the centre of the structure but little else can be gotten from him as he ushers them upstairs.

Approaching a wide open balcony, the group are confronted with what can only be described as a floating ‘ship’. Its surface is metallic in nature, with wide wing-like structures spreading from its prow. Magisters cluster around it as they untie the ropes securing it in place, in mid-air.

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The Last 24 Hours

Following on from Madame Candour’s ‘tip’ about the former-Cadavomancer’s whereabouts, the intrepid three make their way to the West Gate. All the while discussing the best approach to the fugitive, Sol and Zeb elect to have Caelan attempt to kidnap Krin and plan to question him as to his motives and methods.

However things to not go to plan as Krin resists any attempts to be subdued, using his formidabble necrologic talents in the process. Accompanied by two desicatted Seskii hounds, Krin binds Caelan to the spot and unleashes his undead gods at once. A stealthy side-step and neat ‘bump’ by Zeb allows Caelan to wake from his stupor and the sneakiest member of the group to hold a knife to Krin’s throat.

Krin attempts to kill himself, to avoid questioning, but Sol’s miraculous skills bring him straight back to life.
The intelligencers are able to commandeer a warehouse in Arulli’s Hem to question Krin, learning of his hate and vitriol towards Armalu and the city of Charmonde. He claims responsibility for the fires that destroyed the city’s stores of Purifiers. During a brief lucid moment, it becomes apparent that Krin knows Solinar’s sister and cites her as the source of the ‘Detonates’ seen in the Cypher’s vision of the Guild of Necrologists fire. He also comments that Caelan is ‘barely even human’.

As if deciding he has revealed to much, Krin issues a silent command to his Seskii hounds who promptly savage his head and neck, tearing it clean off and preventing any further attempts at resurrection.

….

Returning to the Empiternal House, the group arrive at Threx’s office to hear the latter part of an argument between Koda Resk, the new Cadavomancer, and his lover, Sodrun Ak, who has since been cured of the The Grace but now also sports the Numenera implant last seen on one of Administrex Lenne’s lackeys during the Fireside Masquerade. Koda appears particularly unhappy with the situation.

A brief discussion with Threx outlines some of the ‘complexities’ of the current situation. It would appear there are still acolytes of the Grace in their informal temple in the centre of the city, aggressively converting guards and citizens alike. Threx indicates General Doe is there overseeing the situation, however the party elect not to inform Threx of the General’s involvement on the attempt on Armalu’s life. The Spymaster also states that an envoy of the Amber Papacy is on their way to ‘investigate’ the situation with the Grace as word has made it all the way to the seat of the Order of Truth in Qi, and the Amber Pope himself has expressed ‘concerns’ over the matter. The representatives arrive in a few days and Threx stresses the need to obtain more Purifiers from the Black City.

Master Threx goes some way to explaining the cryptic directions found in the Guild records of the previous trip to Black City, revealing that the Queen herself has some sort of arrangement with the Convergence whereby they can use one of their facilities in Charmonde to travel quickly to their destination. He furnishes the group with funds to purchase mounts and provisions, and bids them on their way – sending the newly employed Sodrun with them as insurance.

A brief conversation with Koda Resk reveals he knows nothing of why Sodrun agreed to the implant, which grants him odd abilities but can only be removed on his death, nor why he is helping Threx. Zeb manages to hint that all may not be above board with General Doe, who is currently overseeing the containment of the Grace in the middle of the city. Koda agrees to look into the situation.

With that, the three retire to their beds to await the start of their journey South…

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