Having received their pay from Shanasa, the players found themselves still in possession of the box with the vague instructions to take it to Aldo in The Baron’s tent. Eager to complete the job, Dionaea, Buteo, and Hatsya proceed to The Baron’s tent to find the Aeon Priest and deliver the package. Meanwhile, Zin, Daedryn, and Lar-Ry took the opportunity to do some shopping and exploring of the bizarre and tent-stalls of Madhaani amid the evening’s revelry amidst the slavers.
The Baron’s Tent
Upon approaching The Baron’s tent, the PCs were casually waved in by the large, rough looking guard with no explanation needed. Entering, they realized that the guard was acting more as a bouncer than a protector as the large tent was filled with carousing slavers who were feasting on some initially unidentified large animal. Hanging from the poles of the tent in various locations were numenera devices that seemed to keep a waterfall of smoke suspended in midair, the smoke emitting a strange, but soft light that illuminated the tent as well as giving off a pleasant, spice-filled aroma. All the tables were of equal size and no one table seemed to receive any favorable placement, however further back in the tent one table stood out: two men, one large and loud and the other much older and finely dressed, sat alone at a table, several serving personnel nearby with food and drink in hand. Making use of the two-way mirrors they found previously, Dionaea could show Daedryn what the situation looked like and periodically made use of it throughout their time in the tent. Buteo and Dionaea forced their way through the mass of slavers to the table with the two men, the box in hand, while Hatsya took a moment to examine the food laid out in the center of the tent. Hatsya recognized the animal as a large scutimorph and took the time to eat his fill and relax from their recent adventure.
As Buteo and Dionaea approached the table, they immediately recognized the odd dynamic between the two men, The Baron and Aldo Xantou, and the uncomfortable and alien conversation they were having. Neither man seemed to really be paying attention to the other, The Baron telling off-color jokes and laughing loudly, constantly going on about some great idea and how it would change everything for him if only Aldo could tell him more about it. Meanwhile, Aldo would simply nod, using his fork to play with his food, but never actually consuming any of it, and begin a very matter-of-fact response that seemingly had nothing to do with what The Baron was talking about, as if he had a pre-written lecture he needed to get back on track. Buteo and Dionaea stood before the men, discussing how to approach them as they held the mirror up to give the others a look until they realized that both men had fallen silent. After awkwardly introducing themselves and informing Aldo they had his package, who didn’t even so much as check it, they were met with a loud, roaring laugh by The Baron, who insisted they take a seat at the table and eat, food being delivered by the servers. As if they hadn’t been interrupted at all, the two men went back to their attempt at a conversation, Buteo and Dionaea trying to make sense of the back and forth. After several minutes, Buteo interjected and asked what exactly they were discussing. The Baron told them of his troubles in managing his keeping his trade business profitable, as most of his trade is conducted via the waterways of Seshar, which are largely controlled by the pirates of Ingwald. While he has a tenable relationship with the pirates, it also cuts into his profits and limits what he can do. While recently leading a raiding party into the north-eastern part of the deserts of Seshar he noticed that above the trees of the nearby Ba-Adenu forest was a floating structure, almost like an island, which gave him an idea. If he could discover what kept this relic afloat and use that same idea on a water-bound ship, he could completely bypass the pirates and expand his slave trade empire to rival that of the slave pits of Uxphon. He made it very clear that anyone who could aid him in creating an aircraft of this type would be very generously rewarded and he was currently trying to gain more knowledge on the subject from Aldo, who seemed utterly uninterested in discussing the topic. After several more minutes of watching The Baron fruitlessly attempt to gain more information from Aldo and having finished their meal the players were provided with a very nervous looking escort to show them to Aldo’s tent to deliver the crate.
Shortly after exiting the tent the PCs were approached by Elmon and Virion. Virion, appearing very nervous and apprehensive, summoned up the courage to address Buteo, Dionaea, and Hatsya about the box they still carried. Having seen what it is capable of he tells them that the device would be far more beneficial to the nomads and their way of life than it ever would be to Aldo and his ilk (Aldo even admitted that they were going to use it as a novel addition to their cafeteria at the college). He insists that the nomads would greatly be in their debt and they would share this gift with any they came across who were also in need. He even went so far as to reference their recent choice to sign on with Connectr and how this would be a great example of the network in use. After only a few moments of hesitation, it was agreed by the three that they would let them take the device, instead delivering an empty box to Aldo’s tent. After several long minutes of wandering, the guide they were provided being very uncertain as to the location of Aldo’s tent, they arrived at their destination.
In the Market
With very specific goals in mind, Daedryn, Zin, and Lar-Ry approached the market and stalls which were lit up by large amounts of artificial light pouring out of numerous signs, whose writing was meaningless or in an unreadable language, and gadgets being used to mark various vendors. Zin made sure to pick up some medium armor, in preparation for their later adventure. Daedryn spent some time looking at various curiosities trying to find any hidden gems of numenera, but only managing to find a few oddities before picking up some supplies for future use. Lar-Ry, having been the victim of a few unfortunately placed spears, needed to find some paper or means to transcribe his business plan for Connectr to replace the ones he lost. To his surprise, he was easily able to find a large stash of supplies to replace his missing paperwork and was very eager to get to work on it. Among the many piles of papers he sifted through to find what he needed he came across a buried flyer for an estate auction being held in Nebalich in two weeks. The estate belonged to the former Aeon Priest Tollec and promised that many knick-knacks and interesting items would be up for auction. Has he looked over the flyer, Shanasa approach him, pointing out that she had heard the auction was taking place as well. A thought occurred to her: if Lar-Ry and the group were heading in that direction she had a business proposition for him, and possibly for Connectr. A contact of hers in the city, a man by the name of Loradan, needed a way to constantly, and discreetly, get supplies delivered to him. These supplies are not illegal or typically harmful in anyway, but he doesn’t trust his normal options for delivery as most of these items are numenera and he is afraid would be subject to theft. Lar-Ry seemed very interested in helping and further advancing Connectr in the region. Shortly after, Lar-Ry showed the flier to Daedryn, having recalled hearing the name Tollec from him before, and Daedryn commented that he had known Tollec. After successfully shopping the three decided it best to reconnect with the other half of the group and set off to find them.
Aldo’s Tent and the Docks
Hatsya, and Buteo entered Aldo’s tent first, while Dionaea remained outside with the nomads, and realized that it was a mess with papers, books, trinkets, and numerous other odds and ends scattered around. They quickly set the box down and turned to head out, but decided to take a moment to look around the tent and see what Aldo has been working on. A caged bird, a messenger swelth, drew their attention and they took it out for a moment to play with it, discovering a slip of paper around its leg, not yet delivered that read “The simplest way is to travel using the conduit in the Empty Sanctum.” Further investigation of the tent yielded a handful of cyphers as well, which the PCs eagerly took, but upon stepping out of the tent the various archaic devices Hatsya carried began humming and crackling, the various radiation and energies contained within reacting to one another, and with a loud pop each cypher fell inert. They decided it best to leave these items in Aldo’s tent, to not draw suspicion to the other missing items. Shortly after, the other members of the party arrived, Daedryn looking over Aldo’s numerous books and taking the thinnest one available, Zin deciding to take the thickest one, and Daedryn also gathered up many of Aldo’s papers and stuffed them into his bag, as well as taking the messenger swelth. Not wanting to stick around, the players quickly fled the area, the nomads eagerly selling off their remaining goods and setting out for their camp that night, and the PCs moved to the other side of the slaver camp to rest for the night.
The following morning the players awoke to yet more slavers partying as the crews of various ships that came in throughout the night picked up where others left off. Despite this, the players awoke refreshed and feeling better than they had recently, except for Hatsya, who realized that the scutimorph he had consumed had perhaps been sitting out too long, food poisoning taking its toll on his system. It was decided that the first order of business should be finding a ship departing Madhaani, before Aldo discovered their betrayal. After checking into their various options for ships leaving for Nebalich, they decided to approach a man named Deymish, the veterean captain of a midsize ship, who tells them he will be willing to not only take them, but pay them to act has deckhands and guards along the way, however he won’t be prepared to leave till that evening and he will need to stop in the village of Redstone in order to drop off medical supplies for some sort of epidemic they are suffering there. While they wait, several PCs decide to restock and buy new equipment in the market while Daedryn tried his hand at some street fighting. However, after narrowly losing to a Lattimor, he was left worse for wear and the group simply waited till evening for the ship to depart.
Sailing the Waterways and Redstone
The first day of travel was rather peaceful, the flowing, organic waterways of Seshar giving way to the more ridged natural formation of it as the moved south. Daedryn and Zin spent much of this time reading their newly pilfered books, while Dionaea entertained Deymish’s small crew. Hatsya stayed on the lookout while Buteo attempted to repair his Gazer and Lar-Ry talked up Connectr with Deymish and continued his work on his Connectr paperwork. It was also decided that the messenger swelth should be trained as a pet, however it flew off at the first chance it got. The night was calm and serene, if a bit eerie with so little light making its way into the deep trenches that cut through the desert.
The following day proved more interesting as Hatsya told tails of the various entities and dangerous of the waterways of Seshar, mentioning the fabled, and often though mythical, Penumbra Fiend only moments before it appeared in front of the ship from the shadows around them. Through the course of battle, Buteo found himself lost and disoriented within the Fiend’s billowy darkness and fell over the railing of the ship, managing to catch himself at the last minute. Unfortunately, an arrow fired by Dionaea that failed to hit its mark instead found Buteo’s human hand and he lost his grip, falling into the waterway. Deymish and his small crew made every effort to slow the ship quickly to avoid further hazards on the water as the fight raged on around. While rather intimidating in appearance and with a viciously painful bite, the Penumbra Fiend proved to be no real challenge to the party as it swallowed Zin in one bite, only to be torn apart from the inside out by him. Like smoke from a candle the Fiend dissipated and the ship could continue its journey.
By that evening, the ship pulled into the port of Redstone and the players exited, eager to deliver the goods and move on to Nebalich. They were quickly greeted by some particularly grumpy and nasty citizens of Redstone who did not seem pleased to see the players. Making their way to the Clave of the village, the Clave guard, Hataniah, informed the players that the Aeon Priests of the Clave are not available to receive the package and the Clave was currently closed. Not wanting to leave the package without receiving their pay the players split up and attempted to discover what was going on in the village. Daedryn, Zin, and Lar-Ry tried to investigate the Clave itself while Buteo and Dionaea made their way to the quarry and spoke with Gillis Vehm, the manager.
For several weeks, the villagers of Redstone have been having disturbing dreams, sights and sounds beyond explanation, which has kept them from getting any sleep. To gain more information and attempt to confront the Priests of the Clave, Daedryn and Zin attempt to break into the Clave while Lar-Ry unwittingly distracted the guard. After one failed attempt, they returned more prepared and managed to scale the three-story building and enter from the roof. Digging through many of their belongings, they determined that the Aeon Priests believed the dreams are a possible result of some structure known as the Faceted Dome which one believed needed repairs. From the state of the place it appeared that no one had been in the Clave for a few days, so they quickly grabbed what they could before being confronted by Hataniah and her brother Dal. After finally leaving the Clave and discussing the situation with Corl Vehm, Gillis’ brother and mayor, the party decided it best to head to the Faceted Dome. During this break-in, Lar-Ry also managed to very passionately sell the villagers of Redstone and Corl on the idea of Connectr.
Traveling the 8 hours to the Faceted Dome, the players noticed what appeared to be signs of a struggle outside of the structure with evidence of a Margr raiding party and several strange symbols scribed into the dirt. Deciding it best to rest before attempting to discover what has happened, the players found their night was cold and restless as the same dreams described to them by the villagers kept them from truly sleeping. Buteo, perhaps due to his numenera nature, did not quite experience the same disturbing cacophony as the others, instead seeing a vision of the Faceted Dome and some procedure being performed on it, though the image was as distorted and disruptive as the dreams of everyone else.