Playlist: Long Train Running - the Doobie Brothers

Edge of the Pit, Glemt Øe, Norwegian Sea, Monday 2nd June 1941, 15:35

The fight raged on as Marcus and Thor scrambled across the broken ground towards the two casualties. Unable to get a bead on the soldier directly below him, Birapeer simply dropped a grenade over the side of the slope. Delightedly, he heard a dull 'clang' as the weapon actually bounced off the German's helmet before exploding and definitively removing that man from the combat.

Liesel Maurer

Across the pit, Joe fired again and saw the bullets of his burst glance away from Liesel Maurer as she sprinted up to the humming, throbbing machine. Her arm shot out and she flung a handful of what looked like blue grit, sparkling the same blue as the other Atlantean technology, into the middle of the structure. Instantly, the note of the machine changed. Massive green sparks were being given off by the buzzing coils and the air had taken on a dry, metallic taste. An odd, high-pitched chittering noise, punctuated by the occasional sharp “Crack!”, almost covered something else. Joe shook his head and concentrated. It sounded like sharp, staccato chanting coming from somewhere near Maurer. Anné and Marcus could hear it too.

Marcus realized that a soldier was jogging across the battlefield towards Charlie, presumably to check he was properly dead. Raising his pistol, he shot the man twice and down he went. Half-climbing, half-sliding, Marcus scrambled down the cliff to reach the stricken Charlie. His heart sank at the sight, the engine driver was so badly wounded that he was unrecognizable. Nevertheless, he knelt and cast the Healing spell, wincing as he felt the connection spring up through him to That Which Waits Beyond.

Keeper Note: Arthur's taken over Thor here. The First Aid check failed, and so did a Spot Hidden to notice Cyril's own medical kit...

Thor Morgensen

Birapeer turned his attention to the soldier trying to hide behind the burning truck; not a tenable position, and a short burst of Bren fire was enough to terminally point that out to the man. Joe, Anné and Gunther kept up a barrage of fire as Thor reached Cyril's recumbent body. Pulling open his shirt, he began to do what he could with the simple materials he carried for wounds, but seemed to make no progress. Noticing his frantic movements, Birapeer began to jog towards his position.

Joe and Anné both managed to hit Liesel Maurer with shots and this time, her shield seemed to crumple and fail; she fell in a spray of blood. Across the pit, Thor's fingers brushed a pouch as he removed more of Cyril's clothes to try and improve his assistance. The red cross marked on it attracted his attention and he grabbed it, digging through the contents.

The strange chanting from the pit escalated to a crescendo, and suddenly all the spilled blood in the area lifted from where it lay into the air, dissolving into a fine, disgusting red mist. It hurtled through the air from all directions to a point just to the right of where Liesel Maurer had been standing, where it struck ... something ... and vanished into it. A red beam came from there and lashed into the heart of the machine.

In the centre of the array, a swirling, plaited ribbon of rainbow fire began to coalesce, rapidly increasing in size to form some sort of arched gateway. Through the gateway there was a short tunnel of multi-hued flame, at the end of which appeared to be a city street, quite unlike any the team had ever seen before. Regardless of where people were standing, they could see into the tunnel and the city beyond. Suddenly there was a strange, rushing sound, followed by a brief, eerie silence and a violent implosion, which sucked the team and their allies, Liesel Maurer, Khenpo Choden, and a handful of Nachtwölfe soldiers and field testers into the gateway...

A Street in the Upper City, Atlantis, A Dark Day in the Ancient Past, Around Noon

Atlantis - click it for larger image!

The sensation was of being flung violently forward, and serveral of the team staggered and fell.

Looking around, they saw they were on a street paved with a red metal that they recognized – orichalum. Vast, graceful spires towered into the bright blue sky, while great sweeping bridges connected what appear to be a scatter of artificial islands standing in an azure blue sea.  Trees and gardens were everywhere, with beautiful white buildings set among them.

There wasn't much time to look at it, however.

For a start, they were in the midst of a crowd of panicking people, screaming and fleeing in different directions in utter terror. These people were all dressed in bright-coloured, flowing robes, with hair coiled coiled in a style reminiscent of both the Greeks and Romans, yet subtly different. The look was immediately familiar, and the team realized that they were the living models of which the orichalum statues they had been using to track the Palladion across the world had been made.

The city was built on a hill and rose to a central, magnificent complex - which if it wasn't a temple, should have been. Above and slightly to the right of this a familiar rainbow blaze of light and energy was visible, presumably the other end of the Gate they had traversed.

Below their feet, the ground bucked and heaved, not as in an earthquake, but as if it was trying to tear itself apart. Fragments dislodged from buildings crashed down in places. Over, or maybe under, the noise of this, all the travellers could hear the insistent, disturbing whispers they encountered in Peru, this time much more clearly. Though exact words were not clear, each mind hovered on the brink of understanding the meaning and struggled against the horror of it; the terror of what it might mean froze each for a moment.

Charlie Brooks

Through all of this, Anné was not concentrating. Marcus' Healing had not been enough; Charlie was far less damaged than before but still clearly dying. The sniper laid her hands on him and started to work the spell, but part-way through she realized that the connection was not building because there was no-one at this end to connect it to. Charlie Brooks was dead.

Shudde M'ell

Siezing a fleeing citizen at random, Joe restrained him and mustered his fragmentary knowledge of Atlantean. "What's going on?" he demanded. To his surprise, the man's answer was in what sounded like perfectly normal English. Stuttering in fear, and glancing left and right for paths of escape, the man babbled about tremors starting earlier that day and increasing to the point where rumours rippled through the city of the gods deserting them and the Burrower Beneath finally coming to wreak his revenge. Several of the team paled; their arcane researches had touched on the phrase before - as a reference to Shudde M'ell, Great Old One and mightiest of the chthonians. If this were true, the city was surely doomed - and they needed to locate the Gate and escape before it fell.

Thor's medical work bore fruit finally, and Cyril came round, blinking in amazement at the sights and sounds - and flinching at the mental agony of the mental murmuring. Still very badly hurt, he cast a Heal for himself, crying out at the horrible sensation as his pain and trauma externalized itself through his mind. While still bloodied, he could walk, which seemed the thing to do right now.

Tsering Lama

Pushing through the crowds, they hurried uphill, passing magnificent palaces and sumptuous gardens, sweating in the suddenly different weather - their Greenlandic clothing was no suited for this Mediterranean climate. After a few minutes, though, they practically bumped into another of the locals - but this one attracted their attention. Bizarrely, insanely, impossibly; they knew him. His dress was different, and he was a lot younger - but sure enough, they had met Tsering Lama.

When the scarves were gifted, Tsering Lama told the investigators that he looked forward to seeing them once again, and offered his apologies in advance in case he did not recognise them...

He was enormously surprised at these peculiarly-dressed strangers accosting him and claiming to know him from a prior meeting; and curious as to what this title "Lama" meant. Joe explained in swift sentences, and the familiar intelligent smile spread across the man's face. He hefted a large tome in his arms, which they recognized as his own copy of The Book of The Machine, which they had seen in Tibet.

In answer to their questions, he confirmed that the Palladion was kept in the Temple of Poseidon, the big building atop the hill, and that he had his suspicions that it was more dangerous than anyone yet knew.

Joe and Birapeer also displayed their kathak scarf and tea bowl respectively. The mystic examined them, commenting that they "fitted the soul" of the owners. Birapeer handed the Atlantean his own bowl, explaining that it was a good-luck gift at their parting, as it had been the first time. Tsering grinned and hurried away towards the docks.

German Soldier

As they reached the top of the hill, they could see the rainbow coruscation of the Gate emanating from a side garden - one of many - off to the right of the main temple doors. Those doors were guarded by two German soldiers, as out-of-place as they themselves were.

An immediate escape from their predicament beckoned; but the heroes didn't even waver from their duty. Nachtwölfe had obviously already got here, and the prevention of their acquisition of the Palladion was the core objective of this mission. They headed for the doors, a very short burst of gunfire from Birapeer sweeping the two guards from their path.

Through the doors, the team found themselves in the magnificent temple, and the academics among them had a moment to reflect that Plato's description had been pretty close to accurate. As he had written, dominating the temple was a pillar of pure orichalcum, carved with the Laws of Poseidon and a history of the first Princes of Atlantis. There was no time to stand and read, however, as the ground bucked and thrashed again, staggering them as they pressed onward.

The Palladion

Sounds of conflict could be heard from the rear of the temple, and as they neared the source they discovered a small side temple - one of many - with steps leading down to a stone floor. Braziers of fire burned along the length of the room, illuminating it, and a partly familiar object was mounted on a magnificent pillar at the end - the fully assembled and working Palladion, sheathed in an all-too-familiar blue glow.

Atlantean Guard

Liesel Maurer, her uniform spattered in her own blood but apparently healed and once more defended by the shimmering shield of Stumpf die Waffe as she wielded - of all things - a sword, along with her surviving soldiers and two technicians, was engaged in a furious fight with eight strangely-dressed men, presumably guards of the artifact itself. Armoured in leathers and orichalum plates, they were equipped with long spears apparently capable of not only impaling people manually but shooting energy bolts into the bargain.

Khenpo Choden

Off to one side was another figure, an older man wearing the blue robes of a monk of the Veiled Monastary. His spiritual corruption was manifest in his appearance - his complexion was sallow and blotched and his eyes were cold and dead. Instead of being wrinkled, as one might expect with advanced age, his skin was almost translucent, stretched thin and tight across his bones, so that his face looked like that of a desiccated corpse and his hands like grasping, bony claws. The Chankopa Lama was dressed in floor-length, manylayered blue robes, which seemed to hang awkwardly from his skeletal frame, accentuating his apparent frailty. In his hands he clutched the thing they'd crossed Peru to find - the Mirror of Viracocha, drenched in blood. He was muttering the words of a spell as they saw him.

TacMap - click it for larger image!

Only one of the soldiers had noticed the arrival of the party at the top of the steps, and Anné loosed a shot at him, hoping to hit one of the grenades on his belt. The shot missed, glanced off one of the Atlantean's shields and buried itself in the wall. Birapeer, feeling the Lama was the greatest threat, dropped sideways from the steps and across for a better angle. Where Maurer had relied on deflection magic to protect herself, Choden had used some kind of invisibility to evade danger; for whatever reason, it was not operating here, and the Sikh's barrage of bullets flung him down in his own blood. The mask bounced free and rolled to a halt. Joe dropped from the stairs and moved sideways for a better angle, as did Gunther on the other side. The tanker unleashed his own gunfire, taking down two soldiers and wounding Maurer - again. Meanwhile, an Atlantean guard stabbed the last soldier with his spear, taking him down. As the scientists fled to the right of the temple, the guards began to close in around the wounded Maurer, spears seeking her vitals as she desperately defended herself.

Session Date: 7th April 2020 - in CyberSpace!