The Hands that Move the World

Ordinance IV: Ceasefire

Nymm 8, 1002 YK

Before the Inevitables arrive, Indicus goes looking for a new set of armour and offers Tamztur half a million gold for one. Tamztur fetches Kaleth, and takes them back in time to the Giant Empire, into a desert city in Ammul‘s kingdom. Here they meet Erlandur, a legendary fire giant blacksmith, who offers to forge the suit — his masterwork — out of a piece of a Rakshasa Rajah’s prison that he has acquired. Indicus is all in favour of this, so he begins work, but soon realizes that he cannot finish it. It will take thousands of years of reforging and periods of dormancy. Kaleth assures him that his is no problem and takes Indicus to a future of this timeline, where they find the volcano the suit was to be stored in. An evil version of Indicus, terribly corrupted by the armour, has set up an arena in the volcano and is forcing people to fight him. Main Reality Indicus fights him and loses, so Kaleth steps in and manages to just narrowly succeed. They escape with the armour.

Back in the main timeline, Zil’dejin is leading the Eran troops against the main body of the Inevitable forces, and Conlon is leading his undead from Mellifleur against the Becoming God. The others are holding a fortified tenement in the evacuated area of Grey Titan’s Hold against Vindicator‘s honour guard. Conlon’s undead do well against the yantaruts, but his ribs are crushed and he is left dying on the ground by the Becoming God as it marches towards the city. Rave brings him back and, with the Becoming God distracted by a mortuary cyclone summoned by the Academy, he joins the others in the tenement. After Taldor d’Medani’s probably-unnecessary sacrifice (one goddamn day from retirement), Vindicator arrives. Kaleth and Indicus are soon to follow from their trip through time.

The battle against Vindicator reveals the power of his hammer, Metalshape, which can process any metal out of existence… including the metal worked into Indicus’ new Demon Overlord armour. As he recites the Axioms of Law, he paralyzes party members and beats them with his hammer. Conlon is knocked out, and Derli is killed as a part of Vindicator’s attack, but is brought back by the Oinodaemon — with Mediator, the only axiomite capable of stopping the Inevitables’ assault, previously enslaved by the daemons — in exchange for allowing Solas to capture the Cinder Furnace. He comes back near where the Becoming God is destroying things.

Meanwhile, Rilic overcharges his lightning wand and shocks Vindicator enough to distract him and take Metalshape, but is soon after paralyzed. However, Sturmreiter — having second thoughts about the matter at hand — brings an unconscious Conlon is brought back by divine magic. Sturmreiter demands he summon Mellifleur to push Creator out of the Becoming God. Conlon manages to summon Mellifleur but instead convinces him to subjugate the Becoming God.

Mediator goes to stop the main body of the force (the one fighting Zil’dejin and the Eran Legion) in preparation for a trial of sorts where the party will be allowed to speak. Derli hits the point where he can summon his daemon army at about the same time Vindicator dies, and calls forth the Testament of Sin. Zelishkar of the Bitter Flame, wielding a giant axe made of a Rage Shard, collides with Mellifleur, pushing the lich into retreat. He then joins Derli on the back of Ruin, and the two fly up to the Becoming God, aided by magical force provided by Conlon, and tear off its head. It drops to the ground, effectively ending the last of the three forces of Inevitables challenging the Eclipse Collective.

Main Characters: Lucan Vrinsk d’Medani, Derli d’Kundarak, Conlon Ostrennar, Rilic Balendal, Kaleth, Indicus

Nymm 8, 1002 YK

Once the Eclipse Collective has reunited in Grey Titan’s Hold and preparations are underway to face the Inevitables, Indicus goes to the markets to look for a better set of armour. Unsurprisingly, the mundane blacksmiths and minor artificers of the kingdom do not have armour suitable for a mythical gladiator, but Tamztur, who is in town on other business, offers him the chance for trade. Indicus gives the merchant the entirety of the wealth he gained from his deal with the corruptor devil in the Teardrop Palace, amounting to exactly five hundred thousand gold pieces. For this much of an investment, Tamztur offers to call in a favour he is owed by a legendary blacksmith. Indicus approves, and Tamztur gathers Kaleth for some assistance, as their destination is in the past. Tamztur produces a small hourglass, similar to Kaleth’s old one but smaller and more ornate. He uses this to open a slipgate, and screws a ring onto his finger that guides them along the correct time-stream. In the Temporal Prime, they nearly have a run-in with the Phane, but it is run off by Culdrathan the Judge, who eyes Kaleth and Indicus warily as it fends off the Phane.

Nymm ?, c. -55,000 YK

They arrive in a thriving city in Menechtarun during the Age of Giants. Kaleth asks Tamztur if this is in Ammul‘s kingdom, to which Tamztur replies that he doesn’t know. On some investigation, however, Kaleth decides that it is, in fact, that era. Tamztur leads them both to a fire giant blacksmith whom many have gathered around to watch as he forges a set of armour. Tamztur cashes in his favour, and the blacksmith — the legendary smith Erlandur — brings out a special material he had been saving for this occasion: a piece of the prison of a Overlord. It is a strange alloy of Khyber shard and metal with a silvery-black appearance, worked into the rough shape and size of a man. Erlandur claims it was payment to him for some other work he completed, and that is one ofa set of similar statue-like shards, acting as the prison for an Overlord called the “Broken Shield”. Erlandur begins working it before their eyes as Kaleth attempts to create a divergent reality by interacting with the giants as much as possible.

While attempting to prematurely begin a slave uprising among the giants’ elves, Kaleth encounters the Prime Jester in disguise, who chastises him and reminds him that all he’s doing is branching reality more and more. Kaleth asks if the Prime Jester came to stop him, but the Jester mentions that it was just a happy coincidence, and that he was “just stalking Kaleth normally.” He makes mention of the armour being forged for Indicus and how shards of a Demon Overlord’s prison are singular across reality, such that multiples of a given shard cannot exist in any particular timeline, and that it’s anyone’s guess what will happen to the set of armour once it is brought into the “main” timeline. The Jester also says that he will be seeing Kaleth and his companions again soon, and that he will probably keep stalking him in the meantime. Kaleth curses at him for a while before returning to Indicus.

After about an hour of forging, Erlandur shakes his head and informs them that he cannot complete the set of armour. He can forge it into something usable, but preparing it properly will take centuries if not millennia of reforging and refining, punctuated with long periods of storage in an active volcano. He claims that because this is to be his masterwork, he can set his descendants about it, but worries that the many years this will take could be too much. He knows that Tamztur has come from out of time, but is unsure of Kaleth’s and Indicus’ relation to him. Kaleth assures him it’s fine, but worries about the fate of the armour, as he knows that the Giant Empire falls in fifteen thousand years, which is still many thousands of years before the present. Never the less, they agree to this. Tamztur explains he is not a chronomancer and cannot move them ahead in this timeline (or one branching from it) to a point where the armour exists. As Tamztur returns home, Kaleth thanks him and takes Indicus through a slipgate, navigating to a present that has branched off from the past they were just in.

They arrive in the Menechtarun desert in 1002 YK, which appears more or less identical to the desert in their own timeline. Realizing that Erlandur made no mention of which volcano he would use to continually reforge the armour, Kaleth opts to investigate a trio of volcanoes in the east, splitting up if need be to find the correct one. He uses magic to teleport himself and Indicus to the mountain range of interest, but overshoots the teleport. By sheer coincidence, they end up above another volcano in a different range of mountains, and, noticing some sort of structure built into it, decide to investigate it.

Descending into the volcano, they find that it has been fashioned into some sort of arena, based around a pit formed from some kind of metal over the lava in the caldera. There is a large crowd of spectators from various races gathered to watch some sort of fight happening in the pit between multiple contestants, although oddly, most of the spectators are positioned higher in the stands and away from the action. Kaleth and Indicus land in a clear spot near the front, and watch as a dwarf who looks remarkably like Derli finishes off the other competitors. He is announced as “Earthsmiter,” and named the victor of the melee, eligible to face the champion. This reality’s Indicus then emerges, still in his original pre-Reaper form and wearing the giant-forged Demon Overlord armour. The battle against Earthsmiter is swift and brutal, ending with Indicus sprouting terrible claws from the gauntlets and using them to tear Earthsmiter’s flesh apart and throw him into the lava below.

As they watch the violence, they are approached by this reality’s Kaleth. He is a meek and timid man here, and appears malnourished and exhausted. He explains that in this reality, he and Indicus came to the volcano to retrieve the Overlord armour, and Indicus rapidly became corrupted by its influence and power. He took over the Eclipse Collective and built this arena, where he periodically gathers individuals from across the planes to compete unwillingly in battle. Everyone watching from the stands is just awaiting their turn to be forced to fight. For Kaleth’s assistance in retrieving the armour he is allowed to serve Indicus, but the other members of the Eclipse Collective have mostly been killed or otherwise neutralized by Indicus. Girrrth Thicktrunk, for example, was castrated and made into an “equipment boy”. Indicus decides to face himself for the armour, and Kaleth is willing to help.

Indicus goes through the equipment room where he discovers only mundane equipment has been left by previous competitors. He enters the ring with this reality’s Indicus, and while Kaleth attempts to aid him with magic, the pit is a magic dead-zone created by this reality’s Kaleth over the course of a year and a day, in a process that he has deemed too dark to explain. Kaleth describes the fight as a “bunch of slow haymakers back and forth” and Indicus and Evil Indicus battle it out with greatswords. Towards the end of the battle, Evil Indicus throws his blade away and unsheathes his claws again, and is able to bring Indicus down. Main Reality Kaleth jumps in, but as he cannot cast spells, he uses his whip (transmuted into a blade through some chaos magic resulting from the Star of Chaos) to take out one of Evil Indicus’ eyes. Evil Indicus retaliates, but Kaleth survives and semi-intentionally taps the power of the Star of Chaos, summoning lawful creatures bent on destroying Kaleth in huge numbers: devils, Inevitables, and archons. Kaleth then uses this opportunity to take out the other eye from Evil Indicus and take him down.

Main Reality Indicus is still unconscious, however, and the lawful creatures are closing in. A rat-shake vendor is going through the stands, and takes the opportunity to offer Kaleth a rat-shake to get Indicus back up. Kaleth asks if it’s medicinal, to which the vendor replies “maybe.” He throws a few down but has terrible aim, and even manages to briefly revitalize Evil Indicus with one. Eventually, however, Kaleth is able to get Main Reality Indicus back to his feet. As the volcano is warded against teleportation, escape now seems impossible, and Indicus dons the armour to prepare to fight his way out (already succumbing to some of its corruption). However, the vendor offers Kaleth a black mould biscuit. Because the rat-shake worked, he tries it out and is violently sick, but briefly immune to the anti-magic field. He quickly creates a slipgate and escapes with Indicus.

Nymm 8, 1002 YK

Back in the regular flow of things, Zil’dejin has led the Eran Legion into battle against the Inevitables’ main force, while Conlon has taken his Mellifleur-provided army of the dead to face the Becoming God and the yantaruts. The others have fortified a tenement in the evacuated area of the city and are preparing for Vindicator and his honour guard, which shows up in waves. The first wave is of zelekhuts, who batter down the door but are held at the stairs and destroyed by the party, particularly Derli’s axe, Lucan’s thought-spears, and Rilic’s lightning bolts. They have sustained some injuries from the effort, and Derli hovers on the precipice of death, so he uses the power of his amulet to summon an archon to his side. The hound archon offers to help in exchange for one month of battle-service in Shavarath, which Derli agrees to.

Meanwhile, Conlon’s undead are being quickly crushed by the Becoming God, although they are immune to the Perfection and are able to severely impact the yantaruts’ numbers. Conlon attempts to face the Becoming God directly, but the huge construct just grabs him and crushes his bones, pushing his ribs into his lungs before dropping him to the ground, unconscious. Rave arrives not longer after with some students from the academy, who revitalize Conlon with a potion. Rave indicates that a mortuary cyclone has been summoned, and indicates where the Becoming God — with Creator now on its shoulder — is entering into battle with the conjuration. With the Becoming God distracted, Conlon joins the others in the tenement. The next wave, consisting of maruts and kolyaruts, is held off initially by the hound archon, but he is soon killed by a marut. Conlon stands on the roof, firing eldritch blasts and magic missiles into the approaching forces, while Rilic and Lucan fire out the window.

As their numbers reinforce again, Taldor d’Medani sacrifices himself with a massive burst of psionic energy, despite Lucan reminding him that they still have to find Taldor’s daughter and despite the fact that he was only one day away from retirement. The final wave, as Lucan falls to his knees to scream at the sky for Taldor’s death, consists only of a lhaksharut — the most powerful of the Inevitables — and Vindicator himself. Kaleth and Indicus return just as Vindicator arrives, and a brief, futile discussion begins where they try to dissuade him. He explains that even if he wished to stop the onslaught, only his own forces would obey; the only one who could stop the whole army (save Creator’s) would be Mediator, who was enslaved by daemons. With this, the fight continues. Vindicator begins reciting the Six Axioms, and all non-lawful members of the party (everybody but Conlon) are overwhelmed with the contradiction they pose to the universal laws, and are paralyzed by the revelation. Vindicator takes the opportunity to reveal the power of his hammer, called “Metalshape”: he drives it into Indicus’ new Overlord armour and destroys the metal component of it, leaving behind only a fragile armour made of Khyber shard and various straps, tabards, and leather bits.

He continues reciting the Six Axioms, slowly walking through the party’s ranks and hitting them with Metalshape. The hammer is revealed to not be a hammer at all; much like the axiomites, it is a living mathematical expression of order. Created by the legendary axiomite Reducer, the hammer is the equation for the essence of metal, and is essentially an algorithm that processes metal out of existence. As the party regains themselves (all save Indicus, who spends nearly the entire combat paralyzed by the Six Axioms) they engage Vindicator and the lhaksharut. The six-armed Inevitable is a major threat at first, but Kaleth manages to trap it in a Chronocracy maze, leaving only Vindicator behind.

Around this time, Vindicator kills Derli, who finds himself again confronted with two doors. Knowing fully what they signify, he goes to speak with the Oinodaemon. The Oinodaemon will return him to life, and even bring back Mediator to settle the matter with the Inevitables. All Derli has to do is allow the Cinder Furnace to be taken by Solas and his archons, because, as the Oinodaemon explains, the reclaiming of the Cinder Furnace is essential to moving the Oblivion Compass forward. With this, a vision of the Compass appears below Derli, and the Oinodaemon appears to pluck away one of the countless axiomites driving the machine forward. Derli returns to life on the main avenue leading up to the Eclipse Keep, where the Becoming God is continuing its path of destruction after destroying the mortuary cyclone. Derli speaks briefly with Mediator, who agrees to hear his case once things have settled down a bit. For the interrim, she goes to where Zil’dejin’s forces are fighting and stops the Inevitables.

Back near Vindicator, Sturmreiter begins having second thoughts about the happenings and approaches Conlon, who is unconscious at this point from a hammer-blow. Sturmreiter brings him up with divine magic, and demands that he bring Mellifleur to push Creator’s influence out of the Becoming God. Conlon manages to summon Mellifleur, but instead pitches the idea of controlling the Becoming God. Mellifleur agrees with his plan, and goes for it, flying off toward the Becoming God. Sturmreiter howls in rage, and goes in the same direction as Mellifleur.

The fight against Vindicator continues, meanwhile, as Rilic overcharges his wand of lightning bolts to the point of instability, and stabs it through Vindicator’s hand. As electricity courses through him, Rilic manages to seize Metalshape, but once Vindicator has recovered he again recites the axioms, paralyzing Rilic. Before he can take the hammer, however, the newly-awoken Conlon runs past with blinding speed, grabbing the hammer himself and running away. Vindicator is then blasted with anti-time by Kaleth, and finally finished off, leaving his forces without a leader.

Back in the vicinity of the Becoming God, Derli feels a similar burning sensation within him, and realizes he has come to a point where he can summon the Legion of War again. He thinks on this for a moment and decides to do so, ripping a burning rift in the sky that the Testament of Sin begins plunging through, on course to hit the Becoming God directly. Although the Testament has no external deck, Zelishkar of the Bitter Flame rides on the outside, near the front-blade, brandishing his tremendous axe he has made with the Rage Shard that imprisoned him. At Derli’s direction, he jumps off the front and flies head-on into Mellifleur, attacking the lich with glee. The airship continues on, meanwhile, having no power source again and raining blades down upon the city.

Mellifleur decides to retreat, as he does not want to fight the Harbinger of War in personal combat (although Conlon tries to dissuade him), and returns to Hopelorn. Derli summons Ruin, and hops on with Zelishkar. The two of them ride up to meet the Becoming God even as the Testament of Sin crashes into it. The impact and the blades drive it mostly through the Becoming God’s chest as it slides backwards through the streets, toppling and crushing buildings in its path. Derli uses its backwards momentum, along with daemonic magic provided by Zelishkar, telekinetic force offered up by Conlon, and his own raw strength to push forward with enough force to rip off the Becoming God’s head (which now also contains Creator, who effectively merged into it).

As the massive form of the Becoming God collapses onto Grey Titan’s Hold and the head is dropped to the ground, the last of the Inevitables — the yantaruts — scatter, ending the battle in Grey Titan’s Hold.



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