Callisto's Mirror (Numenera)

Interlude 1

After spending a day in Redstone recovering from their expedition to the desert and enjoying the hospitality of the grateful locals, the party continued their journey up the waterways of Seshar in the Twilight Princess. Stopping overnight at the town of Quintas, they heard that strangers had been asking about somebody fitting Drax’s description, so they left quickly in the morning without drawing attention to themselves.

When they reached Guran the following evening, they made their way through the market and booked rooms at an inn called “Milly’s FIshing Hole” in the Sweet End District.

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Part One: The Nightmare Switch

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The story so far….

Two Nano-Sorcerers from Qi, Gautis Aguin Brod and Tran Vahdis had travelled to the city of Nebalich in the kingdom of Seshar in the Beyond, having been commissioned by the Order of Truth in Qi to conduct a survey of an archaeological site in Nebalich. While there, they enlisted the services of a Glaive, Vance Cyberdyne, who decided to accompany them on their return to Qi in the hope that the Aeon Priests of the Order of Truth might be able to answer some questions he has.

After surveying the archaeological site, an innocuous excavation containing three huge bronze mirrors, a relic dealer, Drax Alder (whom the Order of Truth often purchased finds of dubious legality from) showed them around a similar off-limit site by obtaining forged documents.

The night before Gautis, Tran and Vance were due to leave Nebalich, Drax turned up at The Ragged Loper Inn where they were lodging, asking to come with them on the boat trip to the western end of the waterways of Seshar. He appeared to be extremely nervous and in a hurry to get out of Nebalich un-noticed, but wasn’t very forthcoming with explanations. Since the Order of Truth values him as a contact, the sorcerers agreed.

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The following morning, it became clear that people were looking for Drax, possibly henchmen of a Nebalachi crime boss, Basavi, one of the leading members of the notorious local criminal network, the “Yellow Serpent”.

The four travellers were hurriedly escorted to the “Twilight Princess”, a canal boat on whuch they had booked passage, by Nothing, a glaive who works as a guard on the vessel. The Twilight Princess is run by Deymish, a well-known and trusted local trader. The four boarded the and Drax immediately hid out of sight below decks.

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They sailed up the canals, with Tran Vahdis making some useful adjustments to the crafts propulsion, although not until his well-intentioned tinkering had landed them in a dangerous situation with a swarm of aggressive local flying vermin.

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After a day sailing up the canals, they stopped overnight at an aldeia called Redstone (after the peculiar local rock quarried there) to deliver some urgent cargo; four crates of medicine ordered by Redstone’s clave.

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When Deymish attempted to deliver his cargo to the Aeon Priests of Redstone, assisted by Nothing, Gautis, Tran and Vance, he was turned away by their guard and told to come back the next day as nobody was able to see him or accept deliveries at the moment.

Exploring the town, it soon became clear that everybody was suffering from weeks of sleeplessness caused by terrifying nightmares. It was presumed that the medicine Deymish had brought had been intended to treat this, but nobody had seen the local Aeon Priests for a couple of days, and Deymish was unwilling to hand over the medicine to anybody other than the priests who had ordered it.

When they went to sleep that night, almost everybody experienced horrific and incomprehensible nightmares. Nothing, however, attempting to stay awake, had a different dream, in which he saw a dome in the desert, and a view of its interior, where a mysterious cylinder was displayed being inserted into a panel in the wall.

As word spread around the town that medicine had arrived, it looked as though a riot might be brewing if the cargo were not handed over, but Deymish was afraid of losing the considerable sum he was owed for it if he did so.

Tran sent a probe into the Aeon Priests’ tower, and found (so far as he could tell in the dark) that nobody was there. Gautis used a Cypher to tap into the Datasphere and ascertained the location of the Aeon Priests – in the desert a couple of days’ travel north-west of Redstone, so Gautis, Tran, Vance, and Nothing set out into the desert to find the missing priests.

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After a fight with a dangerous creature in the desert, it became clear that Vance’s martial prowess was enhanced by biomechanical implants which appeared to be of very ancient design.

At the location indicated by the Datasphere, they discovered a camp in the desert.

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Observing from a distance, they saw that the camp was inhabited by a group of Margr, vicious tribal abhumans that live in the desert.

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When the Margr failed to respond to questions and became aggressive, Gautis incapacitated the entire group by throwing a detonation cypher that exuded a cloud of choking gas into their tent. After a hail of crossbow bolts from the two glaives and the sorcerous assaults of the Nanos left half of the Margr dead or severely injured, the rest threw down their weapons and surrendered.

Searching the tents, the party discovered the grisly remains of the Aeon Priests from Redstone, along with a few useful numenera items, including the cylinder seen in Nothing’s dream.

Following a trail from the camp, they discovered the dome from the dream, and Vance was able to get them inside using a Cypher to shift a section of the wall out of phase.

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Inside, they found the panel from Nothing’s dream, and signs that somebody had been working on it in the previous few days, before being seemingly interrupted. Following the guidance received in Nothing’s dream and their knowledge of the numenera, the Nanos were able to replace the cylinder, and the machinery in the dome immediately appeared to take on a more harmonious ambiance.

Returning to Redstone, the jubilant townspeople told them that the nightmares had ended. The locals were distraught by the news of the deaths of their Aeon Priests, and the guard on the clave’s tower allowed them to enter and search the place, uncovering journals which documented the priests attempts to solve the nightmare problem, and their suspicion that it was caused by something that had gone wrong with the dome in the desert.

They suspected that something high in the sky that was linked to the dome was transmitting a mental message to the surrounding region because something had become faulty in the dome, but being intended for non-human minds, the message was merely causing nightmares in the people. Perhaps something in Nothing’s austere training had made his mind more receptive to the transmission, or perhaps it was merely his determined struggle to stay awake. The journals detailed how the priests had decided to go to the dome and see if they could figure out what was going on, and decided to do so secretely, in case the townspeople thought the problem had been caused by the priests’ previous explorations of the dome and their removal of certain items from the place.

After spending a day enjoying the hospitality of the grateful people of Redstone, the party boarded the Twilight Princess and continued on their way towards Guran….

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