Session 3 – The Decent
Helios, Lysander and Zisk make their way down to the obsidian gate on the morning the expedition is to begin. The crew is assembled and making last minute checks on the equipment and supplies needed for the journey. The full team includes:
3 Pack Chiefs– Skilled with pulleys, weight distribution, goods packaging and organization
3 Warriors – Armed with double bladed pole arms and heavy crossbows
2 Gravity Engineers – Skilled in the use of the gravity machine known as the Rift Walker
1 Numenera Expert – Skilled in basic numenera knowledge
1 Captain – Skilled in combat and leadership and armed with a broad sword/shield and long bow
1 Taskmaster – Skilled in organization, camp set-up, scavenging and cooking
As the team makes their final preparations what looks to be a young girl runs up shouting. She demands that the group take her with them, which is quickly refused by Lysander. The girl, Gess, tries to intimidate Lysander using a trick to lightly buffet the air around him. Just as tensions start to escalate one of the gravity engineers comes forward, recognizing the girl. He tells her to walk off the cliff. Gess, understanding the man’s intent follows his instructions. As everyone watches, the young girl steps off the cliff edge, then suspends in midair. She begins floating around, demonstrating her control over gravity before settling once more on the ground. A short conversation later and they accept one last companion on their journey, knowing she may be of use with the Rift Walker. To prove the point just minutes later, Gess halts the launch and completes an integral step that was missed by the gravity engineers. Now happy to have the young machine girl around, the launch goes off without a hitch.
Zisk notices Quanon standing on a bluff high above the Obsidian Gate as they launch. It can only be assumed he’s watching the effect of his enhancement to the Rift Walker. The decent is largely peaceful and two hours pass uneventfully as the group plunge into the darkness of the Voil Chasm.
Sometime after the two hour mark things take a turn for the worst. The group’s reverie is shattered by the piercing sounds of hidden flyers. Lysander recognizes the sound and his heart sinks, these are no ordinary birds. These were the pinnacle of evolution in the skies within the conch, the Thrisall as his people named them. So profound was their predatory ability that Lysander had only seen two killed in all his years. Those kills could not even be confirmed, as a corpse was never found. That they could be killed was known though. For the master of the hunt had the ultimate trophy, a suit of incredibly light armor woven from the scales of a Thrisall. Lysander poured his concentration into listening, blocking out his other senses to try and get an accurate count of their number. Their movements were too fast and as a best guess he thought there might be eight. He’d never actually seen that many in one place before, in fact he’d only seen more than one once, when he was very young. That battle left 14 of his people dead or taken, with not a single kill counted against the beasts.
Dread fills Lysander’s heart, but also determination. There was nothing he could do as a child to stop the slaughter, he would do everything in his power to change the fate of the group around him now. Lysander snaps out of his reverie as Gess makes a comment about being able to ascertain the enemy numbers. A strange device begins to come straight out of her eye, looking as if the eye itself was popping out. It is as thin as a few atoms and completely disappears if viewed from the front or back. Once fully exposed the thing zooms off to start circling the Rift Walker, moving in larger and larger circles. In the span of two breaths the little device returns at a break neck speed to Gess’ eye and slowly enters again. A moment of concentration later and Gess has her answer, “There are four.”
The attacks come swift and hard. Half of the crew is doing everything they can to tuck in and hide from the creatures. The warriors, the captain and our hero’s take places around the perimeter. Helios takes up position to guard those not combat trained. Lysander and Zisk attempt to supercharge a glow globe in order to maintain better eyes on their enemy. The target proves too small and Zisk misses the mark. The Thrisall take first blood, revealing themselves with attacks on two warriors and Lysander. Lysander is able to fend the beast off with a quick dodge and a deflection from his crossbow. The warriors don’t fare as well and are simultaneously picked up and dropped to their death, miles below. Though Zisk failed to light the globe, his energy projection was bright enough to light up the area, if only for a few seconds. This precious light allowed Zisk to anticipate the first strike of one of the creatures and he launches a perfectly timed bolt of lightning straight into the creature’s chest. The Thrisall must have had something lodged in its scales because when the bolt hits, it lights up like a Christmas tree. It’s throwing out enough light to illuminate its immediate area and seems to be getting brighter. As the group continues to try and pepper the Thrisalls with ranged attacks the alpha makes his appearance. Easily 50% larger than the others, he charges in with speed and cunning, dodging flying projectiles and striking for the largest threat, Lysander. While able to fend the creature off, it’s not without taking heavy rakes across the flesh of his shoulder and back. As the alpha resets for another pass one of the Thrisall comes thrashing in to the Captain. He’s knocked off balance and topples from the platform, catching himself on the edge with one hand. The Thirsall that was lit up by Zisk earlier is glowing brighter than ever now, lighting up everything within 50 feet of it. It’s wounded and looking for easier prey. Trying to target one of the cowering engineers, it swoops in, only to be driven away by Helios’s attack.
The alpha makes another pass then, directly under the Rift Walker. Zisk sees it, but can’t get a shot of quick enough. He readies himself for when the captain is plucked off the edge. Lysander tries to move towards the captain, but knows he won’t close quickly enough. As the captain is ripped from the edge Zisk lets out a blast of lightning. The alpha is too quick and drops quickly to avoid the blow.
The alpha tries to shake off the Captain, but he won’t be thrown. Through the combined efforts of Zist, Gess and Helios, they are finally able to drop the Thrisall lighting up the area. Just then another Thrisall flies directly across the platform aiming to grab the final warrior. Gess sees it coming and rallies her effort for a concentrated blast on the creature as it passes over. Her timing is off however and her blast is just too late. It passes across the platform and nearly rips one of the gravity engineers in half. Helios immediately drops and tries, successfully, to stabilize the man. The Thrisall passes through unscathed and grabs hold of the warrior. It doesn’t drop the man, but carries him off, screaming, into the black abyss.
Meanwhile, Lysander puts a hastily thought plan into action. One of the Thrisall comes charging down on him. He readies himself for his next move and allows it to close in, far too close to avoid taking any hits. As he absorbs the slashing from the Thrisall he moves in to grab hold of the creature. He’s able to get a grip on the creature’s neck and swing himself up on to the beast’s back. As the Thrisall continues its flyby Lysander guides the creature slightly to the left in order to pass nearer to the alpha. His plan works and with a great leap he flies from one back to the other. The alpha begins to thrash around, trying to throw its two passengers, but doesn’t have any luck. Gess sees the dire situation and readies her powers of gravity manipulation in an effort to guide the two back to the platform should the alpha plummet. Lysander moves with resolve, trying to force his will upon the alpha. Seeing this, and guessing at his purpose, the captain begins to distract the alpha, kicking at its head and body. The distraction works and Lysander is able to crash land the bird into the platform. Gess, seeing the trio hurdling straight towards her, backs up to try and get out of the way. With a great crash the two land in a heap on the platform, shaking it mightily. Helios is thrown from the platform, where he catches himself on the edge. Moments later swarms of hands grab hold of him to pull him back to safety. Upon impact the alpha’s right wing smashes into the controlling device, denting it and causing it to start to short circuit. Everyone gasps as the Rift Walker drops a few feet as the pull of gravity starts regain control. Gess moves over to the box and focuses her will, mustering all her knowledge of numenera in an effort to stabilize the device. After a few tense moments of pure darkness as the device shuts down and starts to free fall, the familiar drone of the generator fires back up slowing their decent to more manageable speeds.
The alpha gets to its feet, snapping its sharped tooth mouth at the group as it tries to regain use of its right wing. Lysander runs over to grab his pole arm and face the creature. Zisk prepares to flank the alpha and Gess continues to monitor the Rift Walker, making sure it has fully stabilized. Helios runs up to the creature baiting it to snap in his direction. At the right moment he launches his charm device directly into the mouth of the beast. With two snaps the bottle shatters and sends the alpha into frothing rage. In its flailing it falls directly off the back of the platform, howling and screeching. All is quiet for the span of 30 seconds, it feels like an eternity. The group collects themselves, weary but still vigilant. Another loud screech sets the team on alert. They no longer have the light to see incoming attacks and try to rely on other senses. Just as a Thrisall arches down towards Helios it is intercepted by the alpha at an incredible speed from above. Another eternity passes, with the screams of the creatures piercing the air, then silence. They feel the wind before they see they alpha, but they are ready. The alpha blazes in and lands squarely on the platform. Screeching loudly, it stares intently into the eyes of Helios. Out of the corner of his eye Helios see Lysander approaching and Zisk flanking. His cries to back away fall on deaf ears. With her attention elsewhere, the alpha doesn’t react in time and the deadly thrust from Lysander pierces deeply. The blow sends the alpha into a frenzy. The creature turns to face Lysander fully with the look of rage and death in her eyes. She swings her wing down hard on the pole arm, ripping from Lysander’s hand but leaving it lodged in her breast. Zisk, now fully flanking, hesitates only for a brief second at Helios’s appeals, then gathers his strength for one massive blast of lighting. The bolt hits home and lights up the pole arm, sending the bolt straight through the creature’s nervous system and bursting its three hearts. It falls to the platform heavily without another sound.
Sometime later the group reaches the ground. Sorely wounded and exhausted, the group has made their destination. Three warriors lost their lives in the decent, one engineer is critically wounded, but most made it, a good day. They go about setting up a base-camp. In the distance, maybe three miles, they see the massive wreckage of Lysander’s home…