The Giggling Dark

Session Sixteen

Other Celestial Knights began to come into the room where Sir Xellous, Lampo, Ernzan, and Michael were with Thought-8. Ikuinen Lampo quickly explained that she was in an Emissary form. There were such forms, what the Khen-Zai called Options A and B. “A” was phenomenally powerful but used a lot of energy, taking centuries to recharge. “B” took much less energy but required a fully willing person to let them borrow their corpse for revivification. Ikuinen Lampo was telling Sir Xellous this because she had the ability to restore Thought-8 to full health, but she wouldn’t be able to maintain the Emissary form. It was something she was willing to do, but she wanted to get Sir Xellous’ permission before she did it. Sir Xellous told Lampo that he would keep Thought-8 alive another way, somehow.

Realizing that the other Celestial Knights were a little too close for comfort (a black Khen-zai! What a novelty!) Ikuinen asked them all to step back or help as they could, as Thought-8 knew where Sir Xellous’ wife was. Sir Xellous knelt and begged for any help they could give him, prostrating himself in earnest. A woman named Loray awkwardly stepped out from the crowd and offered to help. She was an expert on Khen-Zai anatomy. She helped Sir Xellous scan the injured Thought-8’s aura (all Celestial Knights can see auras). Loray stabilized Thought-8 and then spent the next four days helping Sir Xellous understand Khen-zai anatomy better, as she worked on bringing Thought-8 back to a more healthy state. During that time Telos, Ernzan, and Michael left to deal with some problems going on in Broadnough. Sir Xellous promised them he’d be there as soon as he could.

At the end of the fourth day Sir Xellous heard a commotion from outside. The other knights had found a gigantic Khen-Zai mech. One of the knights, Charu, wanted to jump into the mech and take the fight to the Khen-Zai. Sir Xellous, although dearly wishing to, passionately argued against this; a lot more research needed to be done before they climbed into any strange machines. Charu called Sir Xellous a coward and a shirker of his duties toward his family, as Sir Xellous’ story had become well known amongst the knights. Sir Xellous apologized for his lack of experience, interrupting Charu’s tirade and confusing him. Not to be put off, Charu jumped on Sir Xellous’ youth and inexperience, telling him that both of those things made it impossible to take him seriously. ; Sir Xellous retorted that experience wasn’t necessary to see the flaws in this particular plan. Charu, worn out by his tirade and a bit confused, pause a moment. Sir Xellous took advantage of the moment: he told the Charu that real courage required wisdom as well as boldness. Charu said that they were running out of time but Sir Xellous responded that didn’t mean stupidity. But Charu refused to back down. The Khen-Zai were known to deliberately show up at planets, stay long enough to attract the Nameless there, and then leave right before they were attacked, leaving the planet as easy prey. Charu had seen this happen once, from the deck of an elven void ship. If they weren’t going to use the mech they needed to leave, preferably by the end of the day. Otherwise the Khen-Zai would deem their planet to be not worth the effort of invading. Sir Xellous reluctantly agreed; he’d wanted to investigate the dead Khen-Zai they still had for enchanting bits and bobs he could use, as well as interrogate the now healing Thought-8 about Kora. Charu went with him, offering to help as he could.

Sir Xellous examined Thought-8’s aura with Charu’s help to make sure he didn’t communicate improperly, as Khen-Zai talk through aura manipulation. Then, since he was the only Celestial Knight who had developed Aura Manipulation, Sir Xellous tried to talk with the unconscious Thought-8. Sir Xellous asked Thought-8 for information on Kora’s whereabouts, in exchange for guaranteeing Thought-8’s safety. Thought-8 waited a moment and Sir Xellous became afraid he would send out a distress call to the rest of the Khen-Zai. But Thought-8 agreed to the terms.

Kora was in Broadnough, married to Komas. She had just given birth. And the Cursed of Xalmantra had been sent out to make sure she drowned her son.

Session Seventeen

Sir Xellous reeled from the news that Kora was alive, but forced himself to think. Kora wouldn’t just go and marry someone else, and the Khen-Zai could manipulate minds; the chances of Kora being brainwashed were incredibly high. Sir Xellous wouldn’t have been terribly worried for Kora if not for the Cursed of Xalmantra, who he thought were disbanded. Sir Xellous needed some serious firepower. They needed the mech. But that required knowledge of khen-zai tech. Using Thought-8 was out of the question, as he could not be trusted. Sir Xellous would just have to absorb the information from the fallen khen-zai around him.

Sir Xellous grabbed a fallen red khen-zai and pulled him into the room with Lampo and Thought-8. He had five days of work and twenty-four hours to do it in. He barely accomplished it, but was absolutely exhausted. But Sir Xellous was pleased; he had made his wedding ring, upon saying “ether”, capable of bestowing knowledge of khen-zai tech upon him. If he removed the ring the enchantment would fade. This was done despite Thought-8, who was being guarded by Ikuinen Lampo, telling him all the nasty things he knew about Kora, whom he called a “bitch mongrel”(mongrel is the word khen-zai use for all humans, in general). But Sir Xellous managed to ignore Thought-8 through the whole process.

As the rest of Celestial Knights were about to teleport out, using their star stones, when Sir Xellous came stumbling down the stairs, saying he’d figured out how to analyze the mech and might be able to get it up and running. Telos showed up right then, roughed up, saying that the Cursed of Xalmantra were attacking the king, who had gone strange again. Charu offered to stay behind and help with the mech as the other Celestial Knights went to help Telos, who told Sir Xellous to hurry: Ernzan had been captured and Michael had run off after him! Sir Xellous told him it wouldn’t be too long now. Lampo asked what to do with Thought-8, who promised that his death would start the destruction of the planet. Sir Xellous told Lampo to go with the others; they would watch Thought-8.

Sir Xellous and Charu went to the mech and Sir Xellous examined it with his new-found knowledge of khen-zai tech. The mech was alive! If anyone had gotten in the mech would have tried to kill him if he wasn’t a khen-zai. Sir Xellous and Charu grabbed a red khen-zai corpse and tried to make it capable of fooling the mech. Charu was nervous; he didn’t think they’d pulled it off. But Sir Xellous wouldn’t take no for an answer. He got into the mech with the specially prepared khen-zai. The door shut… and he mech tried to kill Sir Xellous.Charu started to pry the cockpit open, desperate to distract the mech, while Sir Xellous utterly overwhelmed the mech’s aura, forcing his will to triumph over the bio-machine.

A fleet of khen-zai ships appeared suddenly: Thought-8 had been busy. Charu grabbed his star-stone and told Sir Xellous they needed to leave; they could teleport out with their stones. Sir Xellous the mech was capable of phasing, too, but that it would take time to figure out. Charu needed to leave.

But Sir Xellous was going to get this mech over to help, come hell or highwater.

Right after we finished the session, Ryan asked “Can I fly this mech outta here?”

I responded back “Do you have khen-zai mech piloting?”

Session Eighteen

Facing down an armada, Sir Xellous scanned its auras, trying to ascertain its strategy. The larger ships, which were bio-mechanical, were hanging back. Hundreds of smaller auras were streaming out of them, identical to the aura of his mech. It was time to see if he could fly this thing. Sir Xellous, armed with the knowledge from his ring, attempted to fly the mech. It was a bit shaky, but he was able to get it off the ground. He put the ziggurat between himself and the incoming fleet, so that he could have a second. Sir Xellous didn’t think they would do an orbital bomardment; Thought-8 was still on the ziggurat, somewhere, and they would probably want to keep him alive. He found an entrance into the ziggurat and busted through it, trying to buy himself some time to phase shift the mech.

All of a sudden he was being pulled out of the mech, out of the ethereal plane… somewhere. The pain was intense. The world became a kaleidoscope of colors and horror. Sir Xellous fell onto the ground. He was back on the material plane. And, standing before him, was Ikuinen Lampo, blood coming out of her mouth. She fell over, and behind her stood something that resembled Michael. The smile wasn’t his, he had some significant wounds, and his eyes shone with a fell purple light. The sight of this monstrosity should have paralyzed Sir Xellous with fear. It didn’t. He didn’t have time. If Ikuinen Lampo died the dead would rise in his home region, his mother-in-law Threen would die, and he would lose his ability to see and manipulate auras. He reached out to his sister’s body, which Ikuinen was inhabiting, and reinforced it with his own life-force. It was a similar body to his, and so he lent his own energy to what was left of his sister. His blood vessels burst and his skin began to sweat blood. He held on. Ikuinen Lampo stabilized, briefly. Michael walked up to him while he did this, grabbed Pyra, and winked at him. He jumped twenty feet, to the top of the castle wall, and jumped off easily.

Shaking like a leaf, Sir Xellous looked before him and realized he was in front of the keep of the king’s castle. Bodies were everywhere, Celestial Knights and The Cursed of Xalmantra alike. There was a pile of corpses in front of the open doors to the great hall. Sir Xellous slowly pulled Ikuinen Lampo up the stairs, past the pile of corpses, into the great hall. He needed to find her medical attention immediately, before she died and everything important to him was lost. There were more bodies in the great hall. Telos sat on one of the chairs. He was exhausted and bleeding from a cut to his head. Seeing Sir Xellous Telos got up and helped him set Ikuinen Lampo down on the table. He asked what happened to her, and Sir Xellous told him about Michael stabbing her. Telos said that wasn’t possible, and then grew pale. Sir Xellous didn’t know, no one had been able to tell him yet: Michael had been killed twenty minutes ago, rescuing Ernzan. Sir Xellous said it was definitely Michael, but he had been twisted into something awful. Ernzan came into the great hall and came running up to Sir Xellous, in tears, and told him something awful had happened to Michael. Sir Xellous told him that Michael was running around, but strange and twisted, and much stronger! He told them both about Michael’s twenty foot jump. Telos grew very afraid at that point; he asked if Michael had purple eyes.

When Sir Xellous confirmed Michael now had purple eyes Telos picked up Ikuinen Lampo and put her in Ernzan’s arms, demanding that he take her to the nearest medic. They needed to save Kora, right then and there. Sir Xellous asked why Kora needed saving from Michael, and Telos told him that Revenants bore grudges against their loved ones from when they were alive. Telos had no idea how Michael could have become a revenant on this world, but he was definitely one. They ran out the front doors of the keep, and heard an enormous explosion to their right:

BOOM. A house exploded. Pyra was a work.

BOOM. Another one.


BOOM. Two structures spat up smoke into the evening.

Sir Xellous locked onto Pyra’s aura, and Telos picked him up. He barreled down the street, going where Sir Xellous pointed him.

And there was Kora, baby in her arms. Michael stalked behind her, laughing an awful, creaky laugh. BOOM. He was missing on purpose. He saw Telos and Sir Xellous and stopped toying with Kora. Telos threw Sir Xellous to the ground and pushed Kora out of the way. Telos’ Behemoth-made armor tanked the blast, but the explosion knocked him out. The baby was screaming. So was Kora. Michael notched another arrow. Sir Xellous narrowly got her clear of the shrapnel. Kora didn’t recognize Sir Xellous, just one glance told him that. He told her that she didn’t remember, but that he loved her and they would get through this. Michael told Sir Xellous that at the end, when he had died, there was only one person he had wanted to see, only one person he wanted to rescue him: his big brother, the mighty “hero” Sir Xellous. He wasn’t there. And Michael would take everything from him that he loved.

Grabbing the star stone in his pocket Sir Xellous held it aloft. He found the… thing… whatever it was… that was making Michael a revenant and suppressed it, hoping against hope to buy more time. The invocation of the stone reacted with the foreign object in a way unlooked for; nothing defiled can stand before purity, nothing. The thing shattered, and Michael’s little body collapsed, never to rise again. Sir Xellous collapsed next to Kora, who was trying to comfort her sobbing son. More blood poured from his skin, and he found he couldn’t move. Kora, haltingly, picked him up. There she was! She was real! Her hair brushed his cheek.

Ernzan came running out with a group of people. Some of them grabbed stretchers and got Sir Xellous and Telos on them. Telos woke up and asked what he missed.

Session Nineteen

Rules clarification: Last session Kurlak and I came up with a new use for Aura Manipulation, that of the sorcerer being able to give some of his life-force to stabilize someone. The obstacle is the equal to the type of wound being stabilized. Before the roll is made the sorcerer takes a Midi wound, usually shown as neurological shock, bursting of blood vessels, etc.

Twelve hours passed. Sir Xellous awoke in pain. He didn’t feel as badly as he had a few hours earlier, but he definitely wasn’t back up to 100%. Kora lay next to him on a cot, the baby snuggled up to her. They were in the castle infirmary. Telos was sitting on a nearby stool. The infirmary was full from the battles with the Cursed of Xalmantra.

Sir Xellous learned from Telos that King Varlur had been injured, but the finest doctors weren’t with him; they were with Ikuinen Lampo, and had been for over twelve hours. When last Elos had heard, the doctors had been cautiously optimistic. Something about that concerned Sir Xellous. He got up. Kora was asleep for the moment and he didn’t want to wake her. Not yet. He asked Telos to show him where Ikuinen Lampo was being operated on. As Sir Xellous and Telos walked they discussed Michael; his remained had been burned. Sir Xellous winced, but he admitted it was probably for the best. He and Telos discussed his feelings of guilt about Michael’s death, which Telos told him was unjustified.

They got to the operating room and Sir Xellous saw how close Ikuinen Lampo was to death. He looked over at Telos and asked wryly if this was what the doctors had meant by cautiously optimistic. The head surgeon Artur’s aura had been messed with by the Khen-zai; he had been sabotaging the operation the last twelve hours, but not so much that the other surgeon, Severus, would notice. Sir Xellous reached out and purified the head surgeon’s aura. He then explained to the confused surgeons what had been going on. Sir Xellous then reached out to Ikuinen Lampo’s aura with his own. This caused his system to overload, and he sweated blood. With Lampo stabilized Artur, Severus, and Sir Xellous collapsed. New surgeons were called in, while Artur and Severus tended to Sir Xellous, helping his system overcome some of its shock.

Ikuinen Lampo would pull through.

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