Drifting above the ruins of an exploded building, there was a brief discussion. They’d have to inform the military guys, check on Arxus and the Thralls, and then have lunch. Marty wanted something heavy: they were all starving. It wasn’t like there were going to be any clues left at the site of a big bomb trap. Jarvian said that military was beginning to make real gains. The hordes of constructs were dwindling, and the General was very pleased with their work.
They said he was welcome.
Unfortunately, Crystal Palace turned out to be a wreck: there were obvious signs of heavy fighting, a barrier which had kept the Thralls from calling for help, the bodies of the Thralls – and no sign of Arxus. The Thralls souls were still around at least, if somewhat apologetic for their failure. Kevin reassured them and found out what had happened. Apparently, as they were mopping up the remains of the constructs, they were assaulted by more praetorian-creatures. Arxus tried to hold them off but was overwhelmed. With something blocking them from calling for help (Kevin made a note to do something to strengthen those links later), and a very well-prepared enemy to deal with, they hadn’t been strong enough. Kevin petted the Thralls spirits and assured them that he’d get them back into bodies shortly.
Well, Arxus couldn’t exactly “die”, so maybe they could pull the traces back together if there were any. Looking for clues, it looked like he’d gotten two guards in heavy fighting – striking hard enough to split blocks of stone, gouge trenches in the ground, and break various weapons. There was quite a bit of cable spooled in a pile in one of the clearings centered around the heaviest damaged zone – but it was crumbling into black dust as they inspected it. Smoke thought it was magically conjured, but unstable in the local reality for some reason. They didn’t exactly have normal matter around here; possibly a high-tech or super-fiber containment cable to hold Arxus?
Kevin went off and found a quiet, and reasonably secure room to ward and re-embody his Thralls in. He wanted to give them some positive reinforcement for loyally doing their best anyway. They might not really have any choice about devoted loyalty and obedience – but being willing and happy with it all the way down made it a happier arrangement all around.
Smoke and Marty went to find a golem and see if the Sunwell was still powered up. They found one partially buried under a collapsed building and spent some time digging it out with some local help. It was heavily damaged, but operational. Either the Sunwell was inactive, nearly drained, or the link was broken – although that seemed unlikely unless there was a general barrier up. There were so many golems
It was running on 3% power – but the Sunwell was still active and stable, just nearly drained. The golem was willing to do what it could to help out, but suggested general repairs and checking the Sunwell immediately. It had limited autonomy based on what it judged best for the people of the realm.
Kevin and the Thralls got back about them. Sadly, the Thralls didn’t know exactly what had happened to Arxus: they’d gone down before him despite his valiant efforts to protect them. They had managed to inflict about 30% casualties though. The enemy had been hampered by their (apparent) efforts to capture Arxus rather than killing him.
That was weird. If they’d wanted Arxus, why was he running loose on the streets to start with? They might not have known who the focus would end up being, but they could have manipulated it. Of course, the group knew that most of their opponents were quite crazy.
Kevin poured some power into the Golem, but told it to try and conserve it. It needed the local special blend or Mana, and – while Mana was expensive – he didn’t have the local magic.
They went to check the Sunwell. It looked like tracking down Arxus was going to be a long-term project – but reaching the Sunwell didn’t involve much more than descending into a really deep pit. Marty and Smoke leapt in their own fashions (Smoke wanted to learn Marty’s – especially since Kevin said it was possible), Kevin and company settled for a more sedate levitation.
The Sunwell was mostly drained – although Merlin had left a sign on it: “For sale: former lakefront property. CHEAP!!! (Smiley face included on sign) Make best offer 1-900-BITE_ME1”. Either Merlin or Snyder had a really cheap sense of humor.
Still, the “Water” level was rising slowly. There was still incoming power, and it looked like it was stable and useful even without the input from distilling down children. It looked like the well would be back to normal in about three months.
The group set the available golems to running tests and checking all stabilization and other systems. It looked like Merlin had wanted a really big, if presumably temporary, charge of magical energy for some reason. It was sort of odd really. Why go to all this trouble? The Manifold was FULL of energy. Maybe Merlin couldn’t naturally tap into it, wanted to be able to, and was trying to find a magical method of doing it?
Right. Now they’d missed Breakfast AND Lunch. Time for a really big afternoon tea… Jarvian was about done with the attack too, so he could come as well. Fortunately, the city was still mostly intact.
Kevin had the Thralls – both his usual set and the local ones – collect hungry local kids on the way: they might be hiding, but the Thralls were telepathic enough to find them easily. Sadly, the local food supplies were being rationed by large thugs – so (while Jarvian refueled and resupplied the Mirage) Kevin looked at the gathered local youngsters, took over a large vacant lot, and started transmuting to provide tables, chairs, and food. It was less fun doing it himself – if only because it always tasted a bit bland and average instead of being actually cooked – but the locals needed some extra supplies. This brought in more people, so they spread the word that the Mages Guild and Ministry of Magic were out of action – and free food was on the menu for the next few hours. If they had any friends they should bring them along.
Smoke provided ice cream, and there was a small stampede of kids from out of alleyways and buildings. They had to set up some lines and delegate some Thralls and locals to keep things under control, but that wasn’t a big problem. They had plenty of cash.
Jarvian came in for lunch as well via telekinetic transport (courtesy of Jaiden); it seemed like he was getting used to magic.
It turned into quite a party. Kevin recruited, Marty got plastered (and put to bed), Jarvian finally realized that Jaiden was a girl and plotted a takeover of the Battletech universe, and Smoke discussed methods of organizing parties across dimensions.
Unfortunately, due to Hurricane Ike, the GM went offline at this point – all right, but no power – and the session wound down after some in-character discussion. 1 CP apiece.