Trials of the Seven Heroes

Outside a Limited Infinite Set
It's a big universe out there

The man in the cloak (who would later be revealed as one Magister Lucien, head of the secret police and bearer of the Cloak of Wonders) demanded the heroes accompany him to the Emperor, willingly or not. To enforce this, he waved his cloak about and axemen strode out from it. The heroes refusing to come willingly, there was a fight, in which the axemen proved competent enough to actually injure their foes, not badly at all, but there were more of them than there were fighters on the heroes side. A shadowy thing then came from the cloak, and during its advance the Magister vanished. Psychic power was used, along with power words, to weaken the thing and hold it in place while Darby hacked it to pieces using one of the axes of the fallen and her own brute strength. After the fight, the heroes went with some of Gavan’s followers to a miniature city/stronghold which they claim is the site of the end of the Purple Emperor’s famous ride, the place he lingered before turning around and going back to Capitol. There’s a vast building called the Stable, which is sort of built like a stable and sort of like a church, in which the heroes were housed. While there, Bennett was in contact with his local self, a functionary at the palace who revealed that the Emperor is apparently immortal, though not unaging, and can barely move on his own, so decrepit is he. LocalBennett suggested that the heroes should come to meet the Emperor, but that seemed like something they didn’t necessarily want to do. Instead, they decided to go to meet the Great Priestess, who rules the other half of the Empire, and who holds one of the three Sirens, another held by the Lord Emperor and a third rotating back and forth. One of the followers of Gavan knew of a spot rather near her temple on the other continent, and Briget was able to get that information from his mind and make a stitching pattern from it. The heroes traveled to the temple, where the rather unrestrained Great Priestess, the daughter of the Purple Emperor and ancestress of the Lord Emperor, and a true immortal, greeted them. She knew quite a bit but didn’t tell all, only giving hints of her knowledge of the Master and the Topaz King, and even the Onyx Queen before him. But she eventually offered up a playing card with a picture of a very large man on it, a card that worked just like one of Briget’s stitchings, and which she said they could use if they dared. They did dare, of course, and, leaving Ridley behind as an anchor, found themselves in a streetside cafe, with a man who introduced himself as Gerard, and who took them to a small meeting room to talk with them. After hearing a bit of their tale, he produced a card himself, and, concentrating on it, said that there were some people who would like to meet you, Random. Disturbingly to Bennett, this world has no local Bennett, and he cannot even feel one.

Killing a God
In which a metal thing is confronted and defeated, and much is learned

From the huge stone pier where they left their ship, the heroes, guided by this world’s version of Bennett, marched through a woodsy forest into the wild country. They travelled for two days, hearing the frightening screams of the tall, soulless monsters of the wood, and hearing tales also of the metal god who devoured the souls that were brought to the Far Shores, and punished those who did not do its bidding. From Auntie they heard of the arrival of the thing, some thirty years before (though with the time differential that they had noted, this meant it was probably more like 25 or 27 years on the Eight Worlds) and how those who had seen its arrival all died of vomiting illnesses shortly after. They heard of its shining spy birds with their distant stings, of the poison gasses it produced, and of threats of worse to come. They decided, of course, to immediately confont the thing. When they did, it proved to be formidable, with a massive mentality that was very narrowly built but horrifically strong. But then, that mentality dwindled to something rather small, and the sorcerers in the group noted that magic had changed at the same time. It appeared to have spent all its accumulated power, that of the souls it had consumed apparently, to shift the world further away than where it had been, and so changed the rules of magic. With a little preparation, and after lunch, the heroes mentally assaulted the thing, and led by Ridley, were able to capture its mind and find out that it had been to other worlds before, where it had consumed local produce, as it were, to move them further out from the core worlds. Soon, it thought, it might move inward to continue, but it had spent all its souls in anticipation of the shipment which came on the ship with the heroes, and thus, in a way, defeated itself. Inside was an orrery that showed the worlds, suspended in air, but it was too complicated and time consuming to reproduce, and Ridley didn’t think he could hold the thing captive forever, so they destroyed it instead. Gavan speculated that perhaps the Fallen was something similar, if not identical, and that the demons there, with their soul gathering swords, were being used to pick up local produce for that device, whatever it might actually be. Messages arrived from the Sirens, revealing that Teddy was some sort of prophecies hero, the Landborn, who was meant to save their Spellkeepers from the captivity in which they languished, held for ransom on their songs, which is why the Sirens crave money so greatly, as they have to buy them back. From one of the Siren’s minds, an image of a set of stone steps rising from the harbor of the Lord Emperor’s capitol was taken, and Brigit made a stitching pattern to take them there, after first transporting all the soul boxes to the Castle, in a great many exhausting trips. Upon their arrival at the Lord Emperor’s city, they were confronted by a man in a cloak stitched like Brigit’s, who said he didn’t realize that anyone had such a thing…

Come Sail Away
Sometimes a vacation is good, and sometimes, it's just creepy

Having been left by their only friend, the Seven Heroes do what any sensible group would do: briefly wallow in self pity, and then plan a trip to the beach. To Strand, to be more precise, the world with more shoreline than anyplace, and the homeworld of the curious Sirens, a race (subrace?) that guides ships to other worlds through the power of their songs. On the shore, Darby heard the singing of the Sirens under the sea, and wisely avoided it, since she was already entranced once before. In Strand, they stayed at the Sea Lion’s Head, using magic to duplicate sea charts and cutlasses, and met with Madame Genevive, a grossly fat and reasonably disgusting Siren with attractive neices (one of whom Teddy would pay to entrace him, in the process learning her song reasonably well) who is the factor, or surface representative, of the amphibious Sirens of the area. For a price, they found out the destination of the ship they had stolen charts from, the Dark Shores by way of Black Rock Island. They found that there is a strange world that the Sirens have never taken a surface dweller to. They found out that even finding out about this place, where they were advised never to go, would cost more money than most people could concieve of. And then they rushed to the Silver Hind, the ship that was sailing to the Dark Shores to obtain rare woods, oils, and unguents, and they bought passage with most of the rest of their money. On board, they were treated as nuisances, and the Siren who was guiding the ship almost killed Bennett when he cast a spell, because she was using some sort of magic to steer the ship and the spell was disrupting it. Apparently, said magic is only done at night, because Bennett cast a spell a couple days later, with no raving Siren trying to kill him as a result. Bridgit and Gavan returned every night to the palace, where Gavan tried to persuade the embroiderer Hero to show him the ways of real love, that is, love with real people, but Bridgit is (so far) still too put about about both of her manservant Thomases being statues in the garden, and Donovan abandoning her, to go along with that. Ellis investigated the hold and found that it contained wooden chests, all the same, inside of which, with Ridley and Mr Pants’s help, he discovered riveted metal spheres, that Ridley sensed ghosts inside of. Later discussion circled around the notion of how one could devour the power of the ghosts, and what one would use that much power for, and how much power it might actually be, and how disgusting the notion of eating souls is, which seemed to be a minority position. It was also realized that the Siren must know of the cargo, and thinks that Bennett is an actual member of the Order, and is probably a bit afraid that he will find out what the ship she is guiding is carrying. Bennett has decided to be rather alert.

We Broke Our Only Friend
He wasn't a construct, but one lived in him

The Heroes discussed their various options, and decided pretty quickly that they wanted to wrap up some local loose ends. While doing this, it occurred to them that Donovan might be a little weird, or even a construct, so Teddy went into his head and found that he wasn’t, but that there was something there. Not to be dealt with at once, whatever it was, so they headed down to the river to check out the ruined manor house where Princess Joanna retires all her former lovers. She names them all Philip and then steals the name, along with their vitality, when the relationship is over, and the place is horribly depressing. The Heroes come away convinced the Joanna is more evil than anyone they’ve yet encountered. On returning to the palace, they decide that their clothes are out of fashion, and then decide to invade Donovan’s brain while he’s asleep. But when they gather for this task, they find that Brigid is missing, because, as they find out, she’s off having sex with Donovan, wanting to find out if real things are better than constructs. The rest go ahead with the plan anyway, and a psychic battle ensues as they shatter the structure in Donovan’s mind and are attacked by the things inside which is either the Master, or a younger version of the Master, or some pure incarnation of rage and hate. Or all of the above. They barely escape, dragging their mental leader, Ridley, away with serious damage. Donovan and Ridley are both comatose after this, and only Brigid’s stitching and the exhausted minds of the other heroes manange to bring them out of it. But Donovan is different after, and he realizes that maybe he doesn’t really like the Heroes, maybe it was just the thing in his head. He wants to see his family in Arborea. So he leaves, after efforts to convince him to stay fail. And Darby is broken up by it, because he’s the only friend the Seven have. She takes him to Arborea and sees him off, and returns to cry out, “We broke our only before” before running off sobbing.

Grim News
In Media Res, so don't expect to get it unless you're in it

After returning to the Capitol, the Seven Heroes discover that Gavan’s amenuensis Esmeralda has been compromised, and that, further, the stitching Bridgit had made of him has been taken by parties unknown. Bridgit than makes a quick sketch of her stitching, and the whole lot of the heroes go to it. It is, unforunately, in a box much like a hope chest, which shatters on their arrival. They are in a fancy bedroom, with a screaming woman and a guard. Mr. Pants runs to the woman superquick and knocks her out. The guard is silenced. But still the occupants of the next room are approaching, and it seems that it’s Prince Michael. This is bad, so the seven heroes bravely flee by way of Bridgit’s cloak. They then go about establishing a seperate means to communicate with Gavan’s secret cult of Purple Emperor followers, which involved purchasing the Severed Hand Tavern (not just a name, mind you, but a decor choice) and establishing a new cult leader, Benedict, in it. Esmeralda is to keep up contacts with the cultists she knows of, but it’s just a front; all new cultists are to deal with Benedict, about whom Esmeralda is unaware. The Seven also discover that there had been a big powwow, hosted by the Ebony Queen’s Wizard, and including the Royal Children, and ostensibly Mistress Madeline, although she was not available. To this powwow, they suspect, Esmeralda was taken, and thus a number of powerful and dangerous sorts might know quite a bit more about the Seven, and especially Gavan, than anyone would like. Grim news, indeed.


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