Monday, February 26, 2018

Hello Again, part 2

Hello Again is a campaign story that started in 2014 involving a carousel of players and a roller coaster of arcs all taking place in the town of Kine. At this point, it's starting to look like a bottle episode but I promise it takes a left turn.

So here's where we left off:

Eckehard wakes from a dream in which millions of eyes surround and constantly watch him. The struggle to regain consciousness leaves him weary and confused. He is in the pitch dark surrounded by damp walls and bars, and there’s something more, the itch in the back of his mind, the ever-present craving, a yearning for living flesh grows ever-steadily until any and all sensations are consumed by one, hunger.

Camilla and Coco find themselves in a fog, riding in a wagon. When Camilla looks to her left, she recognizes the wagon driver. It is Mert. This snaps her back to reality, as if waking from a coma, she very bluntly proclaims, “I saw you die.”

More here: part 1

Ernst Fuchs
Eckehard wakes in a dank mud hole of a cell. Barely conscious, he is suddenly consumed with an overwhelming urge to feed. Unable to control himself, a sound of movement comes from the dark sending him lurching towards it. Groping in mad fury he finds the adjacent cell. Drawing close to the bars, he lunges through and grasps the frail frame of a woman then wrenches her to his mouth. In seconds he's devoured the arteries in her neck. Like an animal, he snarls but even satiated the hunger continues to gnaw at his thoughts. The act of draining blood now drives him to utter madness. Movement from deep in the dark drives him on. He begins throwing his weight at the bars. They are stuck deep in the mud and into stone but the bars give slightly with each strike. As his body hits the bars, he's vaguely aware of the rats watching him. They are sitting in a neat line on the other side of the bars like an audience. He's also vaguely aware that the sound of squishing footsteps are making their way to his cell. 

The sound of steps stops and a figure stops in front of his cell, while Eckehard continues bashing the bars. His mania hasn't let up, but it's strange, the rats are gone and he has no urge to wrench at the figure- just to escape and feed. The bars have moved two inches since he began throwing himself at them.

"Ahh, you are awake. You've been unconscious for some time." A tall, strange looking man stood in front of the cell. His voice is high pitched and sounded a bit like a whistle. "If you'll stop, I'll open up the cell."

Oddly his voice immediately snaps him out of his lust for blood and that's when it hits him, the person before him has an off smell, like formaldehyde.  

"Good. You were unconscious for some time even before I was called to help. I apologize for the accommodations. I realize it is no place for a person of your stature, but we are limited by what's available here... and the situation."

This conversation continues for some time. It turns out the person's name is Nylor and apparently, the Silvers had hired him to combat the Red Plague. He is strange though. When he raises an eery yellow lantern you realize you killed an emaciated Nala, wife of Brill the innkeeper. At the rising horror and regret you feel for your actions, Nylor simply tsk-tsks and continues on, explaining that you are in a makeshift underground lab that interconnects with the old tunnels beneath Kine. As Eckehard walks with him they pass some of Nylor's helpers. The strange creatures are only about three feet tall. You'd guess that he employs only midgets, except these shrouded creatures, have bright yellow eyes- or at least he thinks they do, he only caught a quick glimpse.  

Nylor explains that Jorg Silver had summoned him here to cure the plague in his son. After a while you realize that the son Nylor is speaking of is not Roderick (whom you met and is indeed infected with the plague), but a young boy. 

Pieces are falling into place. The players suspect that this is the boy in Brill's keeping and probably why Nala was in a cell next to you. But you don't have to guess for much longer. As Nylor talks about his son he once again leads you downwards. This time the chambers change, but not from mud to stone, instead stone to something else. The long narrow room seems to throb as if it were a digestive tract. There is a large mirror on the wall but it doesn't reflect anything.

Then you notice the boy. Facing away from the entrance is a slanted table and the boy. He has been dissected, body flayed open and a long glowing worm intertwined with what was left of his still working innards. At this point, Eckehard realizes Nylor has left the room. At that same moment, the throbbing room seems to coincide with a growing headache and nausea, also the worm untethers from the boy. Seconds later it lurches towards Eckehard who collapses. Then the worm is on him, burrowing. He barely grasps its end, while the rest is plunged under his skin, preventing it from disappearing inside him.

He overcomes the agony, manages to pull it from his arm, stumble through the hall and eventually up into the stone part of the structure. The worm doesn't follow. Eckehard is left with a deep fear of this place but also anger. He manages to make it outside and begins the search for his companions.


Camilla and Coco are in the wagon, riding towards Kine. When Camilla says to Mert, "I saw you die." She is met with a look of confusion, then horror. A moment later Mert runs off into the woods screaming. Out of the fog, Coco and Camilla continue on and realize there are two others with them, a tall man named Trafalgalard and a young woman named Alia. They also seem thoroughly confused. The familiar features of the town are revealed. It is still cold, nearly vacant, but Gaunt the guard is no longer at his post and now a strange tower overlooks the town. That's when they notice a familiar man on a tall horse riding from the tower, Eckehard.

Where were there other companions? Where was Jorg? Roderick? Brill? The town seemed sterile. No one was about, almost like it was a model of Kine rather than Kine itself. After sharing his experience with Nylor the companions make their way to the Church of the Green Lady, the last place they remember being before all this. The church inside is abandoned but the altar opens into the underground just as it did before. The answers they hoped, would be found inside.

Immediately, they notice that the underground is different. A mold seems to grow everywhere and there are cracks in the ground. The cracks are filled with a black metallic substance. It almost looks like an infection spreading throughout the underground. As they explore the tunnels it is not long before they encounter the first living being- if you can call it that. The creature walks on two legs but it has no face and arms. At first sight, it charges at them. After a scuffle the creature is dead but Coco, Eckehard, and Camilla are suddenly filled with a sense that the creature was someone they knew, an old companion in fact. They resolve not to harm any of the other strange creatures they encounter underground- and encounter they do. It was a resolution that is hard to keep. 

They find many strange creatures, each different from the other, all with impossible evolutions like no mouth or trailing intestines. They race through the underground until they finally come to its terminus, a circular room with a tall jet black crystal bursting from the center. It appears this is the origin of the cracks. Coco being the curious person she is touched the crystal and disappears. 

She finds herself in a room. She can see her companions distorted within the crystal as if they are mere reflections. At first, the room seems identical, except that when she walks rather than her moving, the room moves around her instead. On one end of the room, she finds tatters and blood, also a letter like the ones they had found before. It is the mere ravings of a man that'd been trapped in a place for too long except for one thing, it was signed Finn Silver. The long missing nephew. Has he been here the whole time? Behind the rags are loose bricks.

At this point, the others have touched the crystal as well. They are all in the room now, pulling at the loose bricks. As the bricks give way, that area of the wall collapses revealing a starry night. 

That's not quite right. Not a starry night. A blackness. A void. They see endless nothingness and a few pinpricks of light like stars, and before them is a sprawling structure like a mold of an ant colony, and below is a room with an identical break in its wall. After some discussion, the group rigs a rope bridge to the other room.

This room appears a lot like the circular room they just left before touching the crystal, but for three portals. Each portal is opaque but bears a distinct color.

So without going into incredible detail, this complex ended up being a micro-universe where Nylor kept subjects to study and experiment on. Our adventure took us into and out of peril in dramatic fashion. For those curious, the playthrough of the conclusion is here: A Fitting End.


For now, I'll stick with the story points so we can get to present day. Nylor, this alien's simulation of a man was indeed summoned by Jorg, but it was his undoing. The Silver's have a long history directly entwined with the Masters, the old rulers of the kingdoms of man and still very much powerful entities. Their relationship with them directly resulted in the Red Death and the rebirth of Erasmus Silver in each generation. Jorg wanted to break the cycle so he enlisted the help of an outsider. But the outsider's investigation ended the same way as it does for most experimental subjects. Nylor infected his lessers with disease and facsimiles, experimented, and recording the results.

The party put an end to this, but the tear in time and space that resulted afterward was enough to change something within Camilla, the porcelain robot-like character with no past. After acting very strangely she seemed to flee the party in abject confusion and being tireless, the others were hard pressed to follow.

Part 3: Camilla flees to the forest while her companions pursue. The others feel as if they are being watched. Eckehard is captured and forced to return to Kine.

Ernst Fuchs

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