Sunday, July 26, 2020

Part 13: We're Almost There

We rejoin the party as they enter into the inner sanctum of the temple. There, seated atop a large mountain of treasure was a full grown Bronze Dragon that resembled the statue in the entrance hall, speaking with a Tortle that Yesmae immediately recognized as her master, Don Chen, who turned to greet the party.

"Ah yes, come in, Princess and Her Royal Retinue. We've been waiting for you," Chen said.

"I trust my roommate didn't give you too much trouble?" the dragon boomed. "Well, I suppose since the people you were waiting for have arrived, we can start this discussion, right? The reason you wished to see me?"

At this point, Chen began explaining his side of the story, why he left the empire three years before, and what he was doing here. He noticed things were going in a strange direction with the appearance of Elphina Crowe, as many others had, but the thing that clinched it was one evening when he had overheard a group of people, including Crowe, discussing something in a hushed tone. Sneaking closer to the room they were in, he heard one of the group mention that the Emperor and Empress had successfully been "replaced" and that it was a matter of time before anyone else who could prove to be troublesome would be out of the picture, presumably including the princess and her guardians. Chen, realizing that the entire country could be endangered by Crowe's work, attempted to assassinate her, however, as you the viewer could probably guess, he failed, was identified, and was forced to flee in order to avoid arrest and execution, and has been on the run for three years since.

Yesmae had been able to track him down long enough to train under him before eventually being sent off on her own to work with Halinard Townsend. After which, Chen traveled the lands warning of possible invasion from Valmutia, as well as seeking any information on Crowe's possible goals with Valmutia. This journey also involved meeting with mystical creatures that lived in the various lands, trying to form an alliance against possible invasion, which brought him to this very temple.

Once Chen was finished explaining his side of the story, the conversation took a brief pause for everyone to process the information that was just dropped on them. Yesmae's parents might actually not be evil after all, though where they were was another question. They were likely replaced with Changelings which could prove troublesome if anyone else important was replaced. The question then became what Crowe's goal in all of this was.

"I believe I can venture a guess," the dragon offered. "How familiar are you with the history of the land? Before your kind came along?"

The party exchanged confused looks, and the dragon continued.

Millennia ago, before this dragon's time, before his father's time, all the major continents were one land, and the islands of the sea were not quite as plentiful. Magical creatures such as dragons, aboleths, and others ruled the lands, while the progenitors of the various kingdoms lived in small tribes, or, as the dragon put it, "Lived in caves and beat eachother with wooden clubs."

This all changed when a meteor struck the center of the continent, splitting it. Through a combination of continental drift and the large formation of a crater, the land flooded, forming what would eventually be considered the sea beneath the floating kingdom of Valmutia. As in, floating in the air. How, you ask? Magic. Specifically residual magical energy coming from the meteor that struck the land. It is this same meteor whose magical energy made the magical royal line of Valmutia possible, and it is also this magical energy that led to the development of civilization as the world knew it.

However, this energy was not just a spontaneous event. Rather, within the meteor slept a being of immense, almost godlike power. Because of this immense power, the dragons began to call it the God Warrior. Not much was known about this being besides this: if it ever were to awaken, its power could spell disaster.

"That, my friends, must be what she is after," the dragon concluded.

Bubbles perked up a bit. "Oh, that's an easy fix! Let's just wake it up before her! That way it'll do what we want, right?"

The party all voiced agreement, but the dragon shook his head. "Unfortunately, that course of action would probably end poorly. Even one with completely pure intentions could be seduced by the power and lose control over it. It's incredibly likely that, whatever Crowe's end goal is won't matter because she won't be able to control it."

Throughout the rest of the conversation Bubbles continued to stew on the idea of forcing a godlike being onto his side and the possibilities for reasons relevant to his backstory, which I'll touch on a little later.

After the dragon finished his explanation, Chen said, "Which brings us to here and now. What next?"

Yesmae spoke up first. "Go back to the palace, kill Crowe, find my parents, and stop the end of the world?"

"Yes, but we need a plan. That's a goal."

At some point I shared the video clip from Guardians of the Galaxy with the quote, "That is not a plan," and the party went silent for a bit, unsure of what to do next.

The dragon then suggested, "Well, as you can see I have a collection of treasure. I would allow you to search through it and borrow some of it to better equip yourselves for the upcoming fight." Basically I as the DM was permitting them some better equipment since we're almost at the end.

Properly outfitted, the party decided the next thing to do would be to meet with the leadership of the Western Confederation on the way back to Valmutia to let them know what the plan is and that this is the end.

I'm glossing over that because I want to take some time to focus on Bubbles specifically and why he might want to attempt to use the God Warrior's power for himself. I can't remember if I mentioned it earlier (and I'm not about to scrub through previous posts to find it), but an important note about his race, the Kenku is the fact that, while they are bird creatures (specifically humanoid crows/ravens), they do not have wings. Bubbles' flock worked with a group of alchemists to find a way for the Kenku race to get their wings back, which, like any good (read: terrifying) sci-fi/fantasy story would contain, eventually led to experimentation on the race itself, which Bubbles was a product of.

One side-effect of these experiments was the increase in creative thought, something that Kenku are not exactly known for. To make a long story short, he eventually left his flock and the group of alchemists behind, setting off to find his own way of restoring flight to his people. This is why everywhere he goes, he desires to collect blood samples, and wherever he ends up, his chemistry set goes with him (well, that and feeding his drug addiction but that's not important). One evening, Bubbles confided all of this in Grula, whom I'll remind you is another avian, being an Aarakocra, a race that unlike the Kenku has both wings and arms. In a conversation that somehow managed to split the difference between heartwarming and creepy (seriously everyone in the Discord call had some really complicated feelings), Bubbles begged Grula for her help and guidance, which she obliged.

That same evening, Savin started making his way through the city nightlife districts (okay, it was a few taverns, nothing that looks like how you imagine nighttime in Tokyo or anything like that) sowing rumors about an upcoming battle, and Yesmae and Chen went to a small field outside of town for a final friendly spar. Chen wanted to see how far along Yesmae was, and Yesmae was eager to show her master how far she'd come. With nothing left to teach Yesmae, Chen eventually conceded defeat, greeting her as his equal.

While in the capital city of the Western Confederation, the party split up to do some last-minute shopping, and Bubbles was able to brew up some potions for the upcoming battle. And this is where we stand now. Almost all party secrets are out in the open. The party has an endgame goal, and some new allies. Things are about to come to a head. And...we're finally caught up on everything that's been happening so far.

What? I realize it took forever for me to write two updates, especially with two sessions without any real combat, but it's been hard getting the group together. That being said, this is it. Here we go.

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