The Hands that Move the World

Timeout III: Death-killer Lucan and Tyrant Zil'dejin

Lharvion 6, 1002 YK

To find more items to help combat the Phane, the Eclipse Collective visits a reality related to Lucan. His symbols are a pentagram and a cracked skull, and he chooses to focus on the latter, leading to a reality in which Lucan has effectively killed death by destroying all of the thirteen Grim Reapers. This reality is suffering, as nobody can die, and the problem is clearly only going to compound with time. After speaking with a decapitated Zil’dejin and a Derli that is more scar tissue than dwarf, they track down Death-killer Lucan in a church in Fairhaven. They are joined in seeking him by Kaleth-Rilic, whose bodies were fused in a magical accident. Kaleth ends up binding Death-killer Lucan (who is now trying to find and kill the gods) in unbreakable chains, and Conlon and Zil’dejin chop off his arms at the elbows, freeing his artificed prosthetic punching-arms, based on Zan-kyri’s designs. Mainstream Lucan gathers up the arms, while Kaleth tries to open a slipgate back to the Mainstream Reality and the others fight off Kaleth-Rilic and their enslaved, braindead Indicus. Ultimately, they manage to escape back to the Mainstream.

Lharvion 7, 1002 YK

The next reality the party visits relates to Zil’dejin. The symbols he sees are a crown and a book, and he chooses the former. They end up in a reality in which Zil’dejin has conquered all of Khorvaire under the banner of Eros, here called the Eran Empire. They appear outside of the capital of Grey Titan’s Hold, and enter through the only gate, which is extensively guarded. Through a combination of trickery and violence, they escape the watchful eyes of Prophet Elyas and High Inquisitor Mikhal Thanesman into the streets, where they make their way to the Keep. Tyrant Zil’dejin does not take audiences, so they break into the castle through various approaches, and find Tyrant Zil’dejin and his seven wives in the throne room. Numerous trades are negotiated for items to combat the Phane, but all fail. Ultimately, the Zil’dejins decide on a duel, where the winner takes the other’s weapon. The fight is brief and terrifying, but ultimately Mainstream Zil’dejin is the winner. He takes Tyrant Zil’dejin’s Thundering Halberd, and the Collective returns to the Mainstream Reality.

Lharvion 8, 1002 YK

Of all the currently active members of the Eclipse Collective, only Kaleth does not yet have something from an alternate reality. He casts reality jump on himself, seeing two symbols: an hourglass filled with other hourglasses, and the swirling shape of an eye. He picks the hourglass, and the party ends up in a reality in which, apparently, everybody is Kaleth.

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

Lharvion 6, 1002 YK

The Eclipse Collective gathers in the Eclipse Keep as Kaleth casts reality jump, using Lucan as a focus. The two symbols visible to Lucan are a pentagram and a cracked skull, and he chooses to focus on the latter. The slipgate opens and the party passes through, ending up in the streets of Grey Titan’s Hold in a different reality. Everything seems fairly normal, if perhaps slightly busier than usual. They grab a random passerby — as they are so fond of doing — and he recognizes the party members, but notes they are looking “much better,” and comments that it’s “amazing what magic can do.” The literal dirt farmer doesn’t elaborate on this much further, and so the party leaves him and heads for the Eclipse Keep, where King Zil’dejin of this reality is holding audience.

They meet Nimozaran, who has a fierce-looking gash down his face and is wearing an eyepatch. He seems confused for reasons similar to the farmer the party spoke to, noting that he is particularly impressed with what Rilic and Kaleth have done. He takes Zil’dejin to the throne room, believing him to be this reality’s Zil’dejin, and lightly chastising him for not being in his throne room when he is supposed to be holding audience. Here, they see this timeline’s Zil’dejin sitting on his throne, looking fairly similar to Mainstream Zil’dejin except for a few prominent scars on his chin and jaw. He does not rise as they enter, nor does he seem especially surprised.

The Collective speaks to him, eventually growing suspicious about him not moving in his throne and some vague comments he has made about the state of people and their health these days. Kaleth asks if he is capable of standing at all, and in answer, this reality’s Zil’dejin calls forth Derli. A creature that is more scar tissue and wound than humanoid shambles into the room, and with a heavily-calloused appendage, lifts Zil’dejin’s head off the dummy body sitting on the throne. This reality’s Zil’dejin explains that he was decapitated, but Lucan has killed all of the Grim Reapers in this reality, effectively destroying the universal concept of death. Nothing dies anymore, nor does healing magic work. People live with their injuries, as they have no recourse but to do so. Derli should have died “between twenty and forty times,” according to Decapitated Zil’dejin. The only member of the Collective not still alive, he reveals, is Conlon, who was killed in the Tournament of Blades by “that king guy” — a contestant neither Mainstream Derli nor Mainstream Conlon are familiar with. Apparently, he was the previous winner of the Tournament of Blades, and Conlon sought to fight him to deliberately end his own life rather than living in the nightmare Lucan created.

On Decapitated Zil’dejin’s leave, they go to the scrying tapestry in the Keep, and Kaleth views Death-killer Lucan. He is in a church of the Sovereign Host, pummeling priests who cannot die with huge spiked gauntlets, and demanding to know “how to reach them.” Derli and Kaleth discuss the appearance of the church and settle on one of the more prominent establishments to the Sovereign Host in Fairhaven. Kaleth attempts to teleport them there, first missing his mark enough to land them over Lake Galifar, and then teleporting them to somewhere in rural Aundair over a lightning rail track, with a train approaching.

After realizing the train is probably headed to Aundair, the party jumps aboard the train. Kaleth uses magic to teleport himself up to the roof, while Zil’dejin and Conlon attempt to leap up. Conlon misses narrowly, but is pulled up by Zil’dejin. Derli jumps on the caboose after wrestling with the decision of whether or not to hop aboard, and Lucan grabs his heels. While they pull themselves up, Rilic walks gracefully up their backs, and is welcomed into the caboose by an appreciative audience who does not extend the same courtesy to Derli or Lucan.

Kaleth and Conlon, currently on the roof, end up climbing down into the train, where they learn that this reality’s Kaleth and Rilic are supposed to be in one of the cars. They go to the indicated car and find a canopied bed, around which a heavy curtain has been drawn. Laboured wheezing is coming from within, and after Conlon speaks, Kaleth’s voice from in the bed expresses surprise that Conlon is alive. Mainstream Kaleth decides to pull back the curtain dramatically, revealing what at first appears to be an obese Kaleth, lying supine on the bed. It soon becomes clear that this reality’s Kaleth is not obese, but rather that his body is actually two bodies fused into one; Rilic is melded into his back. The two were apparently merged through a terrible accident of magic for which they were mutually responsible. The accident should have killed them, but instead combined them, and as healing magic no longer works, they are without recourse but to go on living like this.

Apparently, Kaleth-Rilic are on their way to Fairhaven to meet with Lucan, and offer for Mainstream Kaleth and Conlon to join them. They make small talk while the train makes its way to Fairhaven.

When it arrives, they disembark. Bored Aundairian Soldiers ask their ages as they get off the train, initially intending to throw the oldest member of the party, Kaleth, into “the pits.” Conlon tries to probe the soldier’s minds for more information on what this is, but does not glean anything. Kaleth escapes, and everybody else makes their way to the church where Death-killer Lucan is currently beating up priests. They find him in there, finishing making a pulp of the last priest, an expression of dissatisfaction on his face.

The party questions him for a time, discovering he has no remorse about what he has done, and learning that he now intends to slay the gods, just to prove that he can. The spiked gauntlets the party saw him using on the tapestry are revealed to not be gauntlets at all, but rather construct arms, based on designs by Zan-kyri. Kaleth ends up binding him in unbreakable chains using some of his most powerful magic, although Kaleth-Rilic attempts to counter him. The counterspell fails, but Kaleth-Rilic expresses that Death-killer Lucan, even despite his apparent madness, is the world’s only hope at being able to die again.

Rilic ends up paralyzing them (separately — the Rilic half takes longer to paralyze, and gets a few shots off using the Content Not Found: wand-of-wonder), while Zil’dejin and Conlon simultaneously sever Death-killer Lucan’s arm-gauntlets from his restrained body. Kaleth-Rilic summons their bodyguard, a six-armed Indicus with a knife in his brain that can no longer do anything but obey their commands. Rilic ends up confusing him to the point where he just leaves, and does not return. Kaleth manages to cast restore timeline, allowing them to return to the Mainstream and escape the deathless reality.

Lharvion 7, 1002 YK

The next day, the party is quick about jumping to a new reality. Zil’dejin is the focus this time. His symbols are a crown and a book. He considers the latter, but ends up going for the former. After going through the slipgate, the Collective finds themselves outside of what appears to be Grey Titan’s Hold, only much larger, and surrounded by a tall wall made of overlapping metal blades. Eclipse Keep is situated on the top of an artificial hill, and looks far more imposing in this timeline. The party decides to try and find a gate leading into the city, and discovers that there is only one. It looks to be very well guarded, but they approach nonetheless.

The soldiers at the gate wear the colours of the Eran royal legion: black, crimson, and gold. They ask the party some routine questions, but as this reality is so different from their own, they are not able to answer to the soldiers’ satisfaction. Most of the party members convince the soldiers they are simply drunk, and are brought in to a cell to await sobriety to decide later if they can be let into the capital. Derli and Zil’dejin, however, fall under greater suspicion, and are led elsewhere to await the judgment of a “High Inquisitor” — apparently, the Tyrant Zil’dejin of this reality borders on god-emperor status, and has a literal cult of personality centered in Grey Titan’s Hold.

Kaleth slips away by making himself invisible while the guards are escorting them. Outside the drunk tank (a literal tank full of some kind of alchemical fluid), Rilic convinces the soldiers that he actually represents an internal government agency, and that Lucan is with him. They are permitted to leave, while Conlon — who announces that he comes from Argonnessen, currently outside the Eran Empire — is taken to speak with the Prophet, who turns out to be Elyas (whom Conlon has not met). Meanwhile, the High Inquisitor is revealed to Derli and Zil’dejin to be none other than Mikhal Thanesman.

High Inquisitor Mikhal Thanesman asks a long series of questions, intended to identify whether Zil’dejin and Derli are actually citizens of the empire and worthy of entering the capital. The questioning reveals some considerable gaps in their knowledge, as well as some points of history in this reality. Typhus is alive and is some sort of villain, while Derli is more zealous and righteous in this reality, but is also viewed by the Eran Empire at large as an enemy for betraying Zil’dejin. Mikhal is prepared to let them in with the “brand of suspicion,” which is a literal brand on the face indicating that the two are to be watched by inquisitors and guards. He explains that this can be recovered later through magical healing. After this is revealed, however, Derli falls under additional suspicion. Mikhal changes his mind, and decides to brand Zil’dejin but subject Derli to further, more involved questioning.

Zil’dejin manages to persuade High Inquisitor Mikhal to be the one to lead the additional questioning, which Mikhal finds amusing. Apparently, he had no real intention of additional questioning; rather, he wanted to neutralize Derli, and to this end offers Zil’dejin a glass jar containing a burlap sack, tied closed with a rope. Zil’dejin is instructed to put the sack over Derli’s head, under the Inquisitors’ supervision: this, evidently, is part of a process called “gentling”. Zil’dejin goes back into the interrogation room with Mikhal in tow, and prepares to put the sack on Derli’s head. At the last minute, however, Zil’dejin yields the sack to Derli, who jams it on Mikhal’s head and pulls the drawstring closed. He flails for a moment before going perfectly still, at which point Zil’dejin throws Derli through the window the other Inquisitors were watching through, causing them to scramble. They then escape.

Conlon, meanwhile, speaks with Prophet Elyas, who collects, maintains, and supervises the greater knowledge of the Eran Empire. He is aware of the party’s purposes (dimly, but well enough), and of the existence of the Phane. Conlon convinces Elyas to let him seek an audience with Tyrant Zil’dejin, although Elyas cannot arrange such an audience himself, and assures Conlon that the Tyrant Emperor does not typically take such petitions. Conlon waves him off and goes to join Kaleth, Rilic, and Lucan, who are browsing in the marketplace (which Kaleth notes, with some admiration, shows evidence of “actual city planning”). Soon, Zil’dejin and Derli arrive as well, and they quickly make their way to the Eclipse Keep before the Inquisitors can track them down.

The Keep is extremely well guarded, even more so than the gate. A long flight of tall stairs lead up to the entrance, and guards are posted all along the steps. The soldiers are quick to inform the party that nobody is permitted in the keep without the emperor’s explicit permission. Even most soldiers are not allowed in, save the Honour Guard, hand-picked by Tyrant Zil’dejin from the Eran Imperial Legion. Kaleth decides to circumvent this by transforming Mainstream Zil’dejin into a toad, pocketing him, and then stopping time just long enough to get inside. Rilic uses a spell stored in his ring to turn invisible, and Conlon and Derli simply teleport their way up the steps and run through the keep, trying to evade the pursuing soldiers. Lucan stays outside, providing a distraction by flying around the keep using his psionic powers.

Eventually, everbody manages to end up in the throne room, where Tyrant Zil’dejin sits with his seven consorts. Tyrant Zil’dejin recognizes Mainstream Zil’dejin as the version of himself that freed the Phane, and ends up waving off the soldiers to permit them a rare audience. It quickly becomes apparent that Tyrant Zil’dejin is really not so far removed from Mainstream Zil’dejin, and that neither would be willing to part with anything that they hold dear. The party keeps suggesting they trade weapons: Mainstream Zil’dejin’s glaive (once wielded by Glanvar Soranath) for Tyrant Zil’dejins Thundering Halberd. However, both value their items too closely to allow such a thing. Tyrant Zil’dejin requests Zil’temeris be given to him to raise, as he ate his son in this reality (per the traditions of the Firebane clan), but Zil’dejin naturally refuses. After a while, a duel is proposed, where the winning Zil’dejin is to take the other’s weapon. They naturally both think this is a good idea.

In typical Zil’dejin fashion, the fight is incredibly violent and extremely brief. Roughly thirty blows are exchanged in very quick succession, until Tyrant Zil’dejin is incapacitated. Lying on the ground, he grudgingly submits his Thundering Halberd to Mainstream Zil’dejin, and as the party prepares to jump back to the Mainstream Reality, Tyrant Zil’dejin expresses his wish that Mainstream Zil’dejin also be able to expand his empire.

Lharvion 8, 1002 YK

On the following day, the party prepares to jump to the last reality they require: one connected to Kaleth. The symbols he sees are an hourglass filled with smaller hourglasses, and a misty, swirling eye. He chooses the hourglass filled with hourglasses under pressure of the party, and they arrive in some sort of settlement filled with simply-shaped but ornately-decorated round huts. The doors of one of the huts opens not long after they arrive, revealing a Kaleth, who is on his way to the “time market.” Kaleth joins him, and soon they are joined by two other Kaleths. They arrive in a marketplace packed with Kaleths, making it quickly apparent that in this reality, everyone is Kaleth.



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