Day 23, Month 9, 2 After the Night of Fire (ANoF)
Krenai Denshawni and Lev Treyhi desperately look around to see what is happening, and how the situation is developing, and Abigail comes running up to them. She is astonished that Guy Tarson's plan has actually worked. Another fellow conscript, Kahyr of the Hareth, comes up to them, and inquires about the escape and why they have not done so. Krenai and the others are evasive, not trusting him as he appears to be a Warlander, but he gets the gist of what is going on. Krenai decides to go and check out some of the scattered bodies lying around in the confusion, and she provides some basic first aid and healing to a few of the living. She manages to sneak four (4) arrows and a worn knife off a couple of the bodies she comes across. Lev Treyhi and Kahyr have a talk, and Lev learns a little about the Warlander. The orc and goblin guards, reestablishing control of the prisoners who did not manage to escape or die in their escape attempts, discourage talking. Lev starts to help some of the wounded as best he can, and Kahyr shadows him. Through overheard conversations, Krenai learns that the prisoners are not to be fed or watered. The characters spot several skorons that have moved into the area, scavenging the bodies of the dead. The orc and goblin guards don't seem concerned, although a couple or goblins pick off a few skorons.
Out in the wilderness, the escaped characters - Currin Tullock, Sandor Frecks, Sabine Tok Cheng, and Kester Handrell - seek cover behind some shrubs and rocky hillocks and the like. They do a count, and realise that both Guy Tarson and Farand have died and that several of the other escapees who came over the ledge didn't make it either. The group of characters make their way further from the Warband's camp, and come upon a ruined, burnt out, abandoned wagon. They scavenge, and find some wood planking and a bone spear, and while Sandor takes the bone spear as a weapon, Sabine and Currin grab up a couple of planks. The characters start a fire on the far side of the wagon remains, and manage to kill some rodent-like creatures for food. Sandor manages to dig to see if they can find some water, and after some labourious work, finds a small trickle. The characters talk and plan what they want to do, and then go to sleep.
Back at the Warband camp, morning arrives and Krenai awakes to a downpour of rain. The conscripts are told that they are to march this day, as they will be fighting an enemy, and are fed before being force marched. They come to a river, and follow it through the rocky terrain for a few miles before they can see their destination. Along the opposite bank of the river, the characters see the ruins of a large city. There are structures obviously made from piled up and lashed together debris. Krenai uses a spell to enhance her vision, and spots what appears to be the golden gleam of quality Legionnaire armour and an old, wizened man with a bone staff. Krenai tells what she has seen to Lev and Kahyr, and the characters are somewhat oncerned that they will be slaughtered.
The escapees awake to find the fire has gone out in the night, and that they are covered in a light rain. Currin, Sandor, and Sabine are unable to convince Kester to "do the right thing" and accompany them, as he is adamant that he wants to head for home and return to the Saikin Wastes. The characters continue their travels after parting ways with Kester, and come upon a huge, swollen river. They follow the river downstream through rocky terrain, and see the ruins of what was once a great city on the other side, with structures obviously made from piled up and lashed together debris. They continue down stream, as the river appears to be narrowing, and come to a spot where the river has turned into fire and another portion where it has turned to ice. They reach a very narrow part, and notice that there is a set of gates on the far side, and what appears to be a greeting party. The party consists of seemingly all beast-men, half-animals and half-humans of various kinds (bear, boar, hawk, and even shark). They talk to their greeter, who is almost human in appearance, though he has a feathered countenance and arms and legs, and is carrying a staff. They try to warn them of the approaching Warlanders, and are told that they should come across, else they will be slaughtered. They characters learn they are at the city of Brigandes, which vanishes and returns to the world every hundred score. The characters tell the folk of Brigandes about the Night of Fire, the world in the After, and that the Warlanders are looking for the talisman. "Oh, that's not here," they are told. The Brigandes folk tell the characters that the Warlanders have arrived at the river, and they are prepared to attack.
As they converse, Sabine has the strangest feeling that she is being... watched. Then a voice speaks in her head and tells her that she's not being watched, merely being observed and that she has now been chosen. When she realises that the voice has not been heard by the others, she thinks to herself that she doesn't understand: chosen for what? The voice says that she has been chosen to make a wish. At that moment, she realises that she is holding Harak's Talisman. *Make a wish,* the voice says again. Sabine thinks about it for a moment, and then makes her wish. There is a massive flash, and world goes to white flame...
...and when it is over, the player characters find themselves together. The Warlanders are gone, the conscripts who survived the battle are still present (some 30 total), and the city of Brigandes looks fresh, new, and vibrant with life. The player characters are given some supplies and clothes by the Brigandes, who create a bridge back over the river so that they can go back down to the survivors of the attack. As the characters walk back across the re-frozen river, Sabine puts the Talisman around her neck, and then tucks it inside her blouse.
Once the player characters get to the other side, they engage in a serious conversation about what to do about the talisman. While Sabine denies having the talisman, Krenai notes that she seems almost either in shock or distracted by something, but she's not able to get the woman to tell her what's going on. "Kester" re)appears and talks to the characters about the Talisman and about what has gone on, and the characters conclude that they have met or encountered the Divine; his words and what he says to them confuse them somewhat. The player characters see that Brigandes is about to disappear, and manage to convince Sabine to throw the talisman into the river as it is vanishing, as the item is too dangerous for both her and the village of Keveli. Sabine remembers the voice of Mother Ocean, and upon hearing it again in her head is quite conflicted about throwing away a Gift of the gods. However, she is swayed by both Krenai and Sandor in the matter, and throws the talisman into the river as the river vanishes once more.
The characters watch as the city of Brigandes vanishes back into the mists of time. Looking around themselves, the characters see the broken, rocky, hilly terrain, a dry river bed, and the various conscripts. But it is Sandor who puts things into perspective for the player characters: "So, where is Keveli?"
While the game session was the conclusion of the "Conscripted" scenario, only a few bits of this session were actually taken from that adventure. The primary reason for this was that Doug had joined the game campaign with this session, and it was difficult in some ways shoehorning him into the adventure, and I needed to end the scenario in such a way that a) it ended this session; and b) the characters didn't keep the talisman. At least, not yet! <g> Furthermore, I couldn't have the scenario run its normal course because Tammy had played in the adventure at conventions and Doug and spross had both read the adventure! Bear in mind as well that I was highly medicated because of the hip/back/leg pain at this time, so some of the decisions didn't make a lot of sense. The false "Kester" being one, the city of Brigandes being another, and a couple of other incidents here showed that I wasn't quite in my right mind. Still, the players didn't seem to mind the "strangeness" of this adventure, and had a pretty good time. At least, they haven't told me otherwise. :)