The Masters of Darkness

The Masters of Darkness – Attempt 1, Part 8

When we left Lone Wolf, he was being led by a functionary to a central chamber where he was scheduled to take in the evening’s ‘entertainment’.

Not ‘take part in’, hopefully…

Visions of poker tournaments, reality shows and dancing contests dance before my eyes, before I emerge into a vast ‘cylindrical’ chamber, which has been converted into a miniature gladiatorial arena, complete with tiered seats which surround a fighting pit!

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A number of spectators are howling constructive comments at a life-or-death combat in the pit, which ends with the beheading (!) of one of the contestants.

Project Aon link – Fighters in arena

Two fresh contestants enter the arena, and an informal bookmakers starts yammering to me about whether I want to make a bet on the outcome of this fight.

Gambling on a chance outcome rather than my own skill and wit?

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One of the fighters kills the other (before the ‘official’ start of the fight, no less) and while various gamblers argue about whether this negates their bets, the signal sounds, indicating that we are now within sight of Helgedad.

I gaze through one of the transport’s portholes at the enemy capital, colorfully described as ‘the very core of a cancer that threatens to infect and destroy all that is good in Magnamund’.

Oh – and the city is on an island in the middle of a ‘giant chasm’, with walls of (spiked) black steel, and a constant cloud of smoke hovering above.  Fireballs dance around occasionally, apparently spontaneously appearing amidst the smoke.

Yikes.

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There’s also a stylized woodcut-esque picture of the city in the book.

Project Aon link – Helgedad

As our transport travels over the bridge joining the city to the surrounding land, I look down to see that living bodies in torment are writhing in the quasi-lake beneath the city, and it is ‘their torment’ which feeds the ‘raging sea of supernatural flame’.

Goodness gracious.

Project Aon link – Skeletal body in torment

I think after all that, we need a palate cleanser, don’t we?

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And here’s a song to get you back up to where you need to be.

As my ride comes to a halt, the crew make their preparations to unload their cargo into a nearby chute, while the passengers uniformly dash off to a nearby tunnel.

Although I have the option of taking a different path, it seems preferable to stick with the crowd for the time being.

Firstly, I note that all of the other ‘Liganim’ are walking with a pronounced limp, which I attempt to imitate, so as to blend in with the crowd.

We emerge as a group from the tunnel, where a chamber has numerous exits, which the passengers scatter to enter as individuals.  However, one group remains, and seem to have  whispered conversation, while casting worrying glances in my direction.

It could be that they are simply contemplating asking me to join their team for kickball on the weekend…..

Or….

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Due to my Magnakai-enhanced hearing (thanks, Huntmastery!) I can pick up their conversation.

The bad news is that they are plotting to kill me.  The (sort of) good news is that this is not due to my true identity, but rather because they are followers of Darklord Taktaal, an archrival of Darklord Ghanesh, whose colours I currently wear.

I watch them carefully and then, in a slightly anti-climactic move, simply dash into a nearby tunnel when they all (!?) simultaneously turn their heads away from me.

Just as I start congratulating myself on choosing a tunnel which seems abandoned, I am confronted by two hideous creatures, known only as ‘Helgedad Ghouls’.

I have the option of using the Sommerswerd, but think that right about now is the time to follow Banedon’s warning, and decide to keep it in my scabbard.

The Ghouls, presumably due to being mindless, are fans of reality TV.

*Ahem*

I meant, due to being mindless, are immune to Mindblast and Psi-Surge.

Project Aon link – Two Helgedad Ghouls

Helgedad Ghouls (collectively) – CS : 23, E : 32

Lone Wolf (using Sword) – CS : 33, E : 32

I knock them off quickly, although I lose 5 Endurance in the process.

I leave the scene of the battle quickly, without even basking in my success.

A short distance later, the tunnel splits in two, with the option of heading down or up.

This is me, while pondering :

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Since I didn’t like the look of that whole ‘Lake of Blood’ thing, I guess I’ll head upwards.

Following a staircase upwards, I enter a square bordered by four towers.

My trusty skill of Divination lets me know that, as chance (or Joe Dever) would have it, I have stumbled into the area under the control of Darklord Taktaal, whose followers would love to introduce me to their saw-toothed swords.

I start to back away, only to see that a group of a dozen or more creatures emerge from the shadows.

I need to make an R10 check of 5 or more, with my mastery of the Lore-Circle of Solaris adding 4 to my total.

My result of (1+4) = 5 is juuuust enough.

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I manage to quickly make my escape, and apparently the ‘dozen’ creatures show no interest in pursuit.

That was….suspiciously easy.

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In any event, as Lone Wolf cowers in a narrow alley, I leave my faithful readers.

Oh yeah – Go Hawks!

 

Base Stats : CS : 22, E : 28, GC 22 (Kika 28)

Final Stats : CS : 44/44, E : 31/32

Weapons : Sword, Dagger

Weapon-Like Special Items : Silver Bow of Duadon (+3), Sommerswerd (+8 CS), Dagger of Vashna

Backpack : Rope, Lantern, Potion of Laumspur (+4E), Meals (3)

Special Items : 1. Sommerswerd (+8 CS) (with Korlinium scabbard) 2. Platinum Amulet / Gold Amulet, 3. Dagger of Vashna 4. Shield (+2 CS),  5. Padded Waistcoat (+2 E), 6. Bronin Vest (+3 CS, +1 E) 7. Blue Stone Triangle Pendant, 8. Psychic Ring 9. Quiver (6 arrows), 10. Silver Bracers (+2 CS, +1 E) (6), 11. Crystal Explosive 12. Silver Bow of Duadon.

‘Extra-Special item’ – Green Mask

Kai Monastery storage :

  • Backpack Items : Sack of Silver (3)
  • Special Items : Map of Tekaro, Diamonds (2), Boat Ticket, Power Key, Copper Key, Ornate Silver Key, Jewelled Mace, Obsidian Seal, Brass Whistle. Quiver (4 arrows), Pass, Vial of Clear Liquid, Crystal Star Pendant, Receipt, Invitation, Signet Ring

Magnakai Rank : Archmaster

Magnakai Disciplines : Weaponmastery (+4 CS in Sword, Bow, Mace, Dagger, Spear, Quarterstaff, Broadsword, Warhammer, Axe), Pathmanship, Huntmastery, Divination, Invisibility, Nexus, Psi-Screen, Psi-Surge, Curing

Lore-Circles : Fire (+1 CS, +2 E), Solaris (+1 CS, +3 E), Spirit  (+3 CS, +3 E)

Kai Disciplines : Camouflage, Animal Kinship, Tracking, Hunting, Sixth Sense, Healing, Mind Over Matter, Mindblast (+3CS), Mindshield, Weaponskill (+2 CS in Short Sword)

Current paragraph : 48

 

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3 thoughts on “The Masters of Darkness – Attempt 1, Part 8

  1. Smurf deserves some comments after 2 days, so here goes…
    -kickball with the limping lepers, nice
    -Darklord Ghanesh, sounds a little Hindu for me. Bit over the top to be honest.
    -as to “Go Hawks”, I think the more correct term is “Go Hawks as long as you keep knocking the top teams a few rungs down the ladder”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well Ganesha IS the remover of obstacles and Ghanesh’s clothing removes obstacles for Lone Wolf (and raises a few as well). But otherwise I agree that the parallel in names can seem a bit off.

      On the other hand Vashna is a Tamil girls name (SE India and NW Sri Lanka). Haakon is a good Scandinavian name (and the name of the current crown prince of Norway). And there’s probably other parallel’s. Its hard to come up with good names when you’re writing, and with the Internet its even easier for your readers to say where you may or may not have gotten them from.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with Linus.

    What puzzles me is that the “entertainment” can’t have taken more that half an hour max (and that’s assuming that the first pair fought a truly epic duel) before Helgedad comes in sight but if you stay in your cabin you’ve time for a meal and several hours sleep. When you’re told that the entertainment will make your journey “less tiresome” they’re not kidding. Aside, on Monday I’m off on a journey that will take over a day with a tired wife and a hyperactive irritable child, I so wish I could use this method to make the journey shorter.

    ” the beheading (!) of one of the contestants”
    And there you thought you were going to see a reality show. As a side note I remember in Warhammer Fantasy Role Play in combat there was a chance that when you killed your foe you would cut off their head and it would roll a D6 distance away, if you rolled a 6 you got to roll the die again for further distance. Ah, the carefree days of our youth.

    In Varetta, in Kingdoms of Terror, you refused to bet on whether people would die, here you just don’t bet when its not your own skill (and wit) involved. I’m beginning to suspect you don’t usually buy the Lottery in real life either.

    Its a tribute to Joe Dever’s evocative text that for once you didn’t complain about the exposition in describing Helgedad. While the Kittens and the song were nice, to me they just clashed too strongly with the text (I accept that was the plan). Personally I’d have gone with something like “I believe”

    I find it noteworthy that in the great city of Helgedad you face being attacked just because of the colour of the clothing you wear, one wonders are the Darklords also behind football hooliganism. Don’t blame Joe Dever for you’re ending up in the Taktaal district, it was NOT the case that “the only way is up baby”, you chose to walk that way. And far from being “easy”, it took a Kai Archmaster to be able to avoid that ambush. But will you be able to survive what’s to come … Unlike some of the other books at this point we still have no foregone conclusion.

    And well done to the Hawks for breaking the Swans hearts 72 to 66 with a match so exciting even someone not interested in Australian Football found reading about it thrilling.(I read the review in The Age).

    Liked by 1 person

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