Carmichael Chronicles

The Story So Far
Or, how everything went absolutely to hell

There and Back Again… A Wizard’s Tale, By John Carmichael

Is what I’d like to title this; Unfortunately, I have no idea where I am or any idea of how to get ‘back again.’ Well, that isn’t entirely true, I know exactly where I am, which is to say, in my “private” quarters aboard the spell jammer, Pilgrim’s Progress. And by private I mean the corner bunk of the officer’s cabin with my sheet tacked up around me like a child’s fort. But that’s neither here no there, the significance of my predicament still stands: I’m misplaced in time and space, forced astray among the stars, and all but lost to my companions at the bureau. Hmph…Fly you fool.

It’s difficult deciding just where to begin…should I start by recounting my childhood, growing up dockside

More thoughts from John coming soon…

Synopsis Part 1

John Carmichael, aspiring wizard, is a Seeker Agent for the Coriander Society, an ancient and covert organization dedicated to safeguarding Earth’s magical heritage. Working out of Boston, he and a team of fellow agents, including Devlin, investigate a resurgence of undead in the city’s underrealms. Eventually they discover the ruins of an unearthly city, inhabited by the undead and their masters—an insane vampire, a fiendish assassin, and a horrifying necromancer. The three are protecting a tomb that contains the armor and sword of Uzhul, Daemon Prince of Destruction. Upon reaching the tomb before the necromancer’s shambling legions, John’s team becomes possessed by the evil artifacts. Thanks to John’s quick thinking and powerful magic, they shatter Uzhul’s swords and flee through a mystical gateway, which collapses behind them.

The gateway leads to the Obsidian Hold, a fortress once held by the Infernal Alliance—a fraternal order of evildoers from across multiple universes. The Stronghold served as their central repository of power, knowledge, and transportation. However, it is at the heart of a chaotic storm, and can only be accessed through one of its members’ portals. With the pieces of Uzhul’s armament in hand and no way to return, the agents agree that their task is to seal away the shards so evil cannot access them, before finding their way back home.

Synopsis Part 2

The Infernal Stronghold is full of its own dangers—traps, curses, bound demons, and an insufferable caretaker, Anamnes. A week into their soujourn the team goes through their first portal and discovers themselves in a dying world, wracked by planar rifts and storms. The youngest of their number, Adyanna, slips and falls into a vortex and is presumed lost forever. John takes the artifact she bore, the Red Kiss, as a token. Adyanna’s loss causes a rift in the team as they blame each other and themselves for her apparent death, and disagree over how they should have acted.

After retreating to the Stronghold again to lick their wounds, the Agents’ next expedition led them into the treacherous Plane of Mirrors. Faced with their own mirror selves, the fight was desperate and distrust spread rapidly. Ultimately, one of their fellow agents—Shinx, a weapons specialist—was too far gone with the Shard’s influence, and John made the choice to imprison her there, an eternal guardian for the shard she bore. Devlin, the only remaining survivor, left John in disgust over his actions, threatening violence the next time they met.

Now on his own, John stumbled through a portal that led into the world of Gloriana. Emerald forests, fiery knights, fey and mysticism prevailed throughout. John studied magic under the mysterious and powerful Runda. They shared knowledge, and perhaps more, until John chose against her will to seal a shard of Uzhul’s armor with a powerful water fae. Furious with his decision, Runda banished him through the underworld and back into the Infernal Gate, sealing it behind him.

With no word from Devlin and no sign of a way home, John’s next several adventures took him across the omniverse.

Synopsis Part 3
The Pyre--Verdure & Quelya

Some extra-dimensional sojourns are the result of choice—John would find a portal, unlock its secrets, determine that the world beyond contained useful knowledge or a place that could protect a shard of Uzhul, and go explore it. Others were not.

One gate in particular seemed to drag John within, activated as it was from the other side. It dropped John in the middle of a jungle ziggurat. Gathered below, a yuan-ti cult gathered to summon forth their dark god, in the sight of a group of captives. John reacted quickly, imitating their god until the cult leader saw through his deception. His next reaction was to shoot a fireball into their ranks and rally the captives to flee with him. Chased by angry yuan-ti and a horde of flesh-eating lizards, the people he’d rescued led him to their escape route—a sailing ship in the middle of a small lake. When everyone was on board, the ship took flight, soaring through the clouds and out of the atmosphere into the void between worlds. John had arrived in Pyresol.

The crew of the ship, Pilgrim’s Progress, had sought the legendary Temple of the Feathered Serpent, said to contain untold power and riches. Captain Domnika Alena set a course for her homeworld—the watery planet Quelya, to make a stop for supplies on their way back to Periannth to report to their patron, the mysterious elf lord Indogalad Fleuris. Along the way they were beset by drow pirates, led by the bloodthirsty Xunyl Qualnoyss’afay Derahel. John led a counter assault, boarding their spider-ship and detonating their powder reserves. His bravery and cleverness earned him the respect of some of the pilgrims—Boguk Cairnmelter dubbed him bundusathur, cloudy-head, for his off-kilter ideas, and Xomkug, master of arms, admired his fighting prowess. Soon the Progress landed in the bright seas of Quelya.

Now the Pilgrims faced a dillemna—their spelljammer was too damaged to make the voyage back to Periannth, and without any riches from the Temple of the Feathered Serpent, they didn’t have the funds to make repairs. Lani Leysimple, the high-spirit pilot of the ship, recommended they get a loan from her old flame Owin Geewick. Owin was now an important businessman in the Freehold of Lagos—a massive marketplace whose population shifted and changed as quickly as the tides. Owin made the pilgrims a deal: they would seek out a lost ship in the dangerous reefs and in exchange, he would fund the repairs of their ship. Reluctantly, Domnika agreed, and the Progress prepared to depart.

Before they could leave, however, Domnika and John had to avoid Akuma, her old nemesis from her homeworld. A renowned and tireless bounty hunter, Akuma would stop at nothing to capture her and bring her to justice for her old piracy. They scarcely dodged him and set out. The first stop of the Pilgrims was Birnoun, a halfling village where they could restock and head south. They found something else entirely.

After celebrating their arrival with a feast, the Pilgrims woke up in a drugged stupor. Nearly all of them were captured to be sold as slaves. John escaped and met up with Tenkoble Bizzbus, who’d evaded capture through the application of paranoia and violence. They fled into the jungles of the island, and Mali Lyclen helped them find their way across. John soon discovered that the halflings there were worshippers of the secret, occult side of the halfling goddess, Yondalla, and they’d been running a slaving ring for many years. Soon, he concocted a plan to recover his ship, rescue his friends, and put an end to the operation.

Sauhaugin—the Sea Devils—waged an eternal campaign of terror and retribution against the surface dwellers, and John posed as a messenger of their shark goddess, Sekolah. Fooling the tribe with his power, he urged them to attack the halfling village that very morning. When they struck, he snuck through the city, rescued his friends, interrogated their captors, then led the pilgrims in a defense against the sea devils. Now the town was in his debt. He demanded the release of all the captives and made the halflings swear to end their slaving ways out of debt. Resupplied, the Pilgrims left their chastised captors behind, sailing south to the coral reef.

Synopsis Part 4
The Pyre--The Wrath of Zorath

In the southern seas, the Pilgrims found more and more evidence of a burgeoning trade in mysterious black pearls. John’s analysis showed that the pearls were not made by oysters, but were strange greasy secretions of a more sinister nature. Mad whispers and flickering delusions troubled those nearby. While passing through an island chain, the pilgrims rescued an insane shipwreck survivor, who muttered and coveted the pearls.

Just as the Progress came upon the coral reef where the missing ship was headed, a tall shadow fell across the horizon— the Iron Embrace, Akuma‘s ship. It was faster on the water than the spelljammer, and a hunt ensued, each captain attempting to outfox the other. When it seemed that the bounty hunter would fall upon the Pilgrims, a terrible storm rose from the depths, and a maelstrom opened to devour both ships. John rose to the _Progress’_ Defense. He detonated explosions behind the sails to give the ship bursts of speed. It became clear that the storm was the malevolent will of something terrible, deliberately rising against them. Fiendish Scyllans, demons of the sea, emerged from the water, screaming their song to lure sailors to their deaths and lashing at both vessels with barbed tentacles. John’s magic kept them at bay, driving them back into the abyssal oceans from whence they hailed. Each time he defied the storm it raised a new threat, and he countered them all in turn.

Just as it seemed they would break free, a glowing phantom ship burst from the heart of the Maelstrom. Crewed by ghostly rowers and flickering with otherworldly green light, a towering figure stood at its prow— Zorath the Tidal King. Defied so valiantly by a mortal, he came forth himself to drag the two ships down to his kingdom. With all his tricks and cleverness exhausted, John could only cling to the ship as the Tidal King’s wrath smashed them all beneath the waves.

Pilgrims and bounty hunters alike woke in a damp, dark, glistening cavern made of Coral. Zorath sat upon a massive throne made from spelljamming helms. He roared at his prisoners—ages ago, his mighty kind ruled the seas and mortals feared them. When Spelljamming magic let them leave their watery homeworld, mortals stopped paying his kind homage, and one by one they vanished. To punish them for their hubris, Zorath captured spelljammers each time they came into his realm and tore out their hearts—the enchanted ___helms_ that gave them flight. By harvesting this magic, he planned to weave a spell that would make every spelljammer in the planet’s sphere falter, trapping humans and halflings once more on this world, where the sea would have power over them forever.

As soon as he discovered that Akuma and Domnika were foes, Zorath forced them to duel in the coral pits for his entertainment, dragging them back to their cells when they could fight no more. He revealed to Lani that Owin was his pawn—years ago, Owin’s ship had fallen victim to Zorath’s power, but the halfling worshipped him and begged for mercy. Zorath bound him to a hideous bargain—Owin would send ships to his domain, or Zorath would lay waste to the Freehold of Lagos. But John soon learned that even with his mighty power, Zorath was afraid. Carmichael had defied him and his magic, so the Tidal King had use for him.

The power at the heart of Zorath’s throne was not his, and though he’d been sending the black pearls throughout the land to lure more mortals to the sea, he was not their maker. They hailed from an ancient city far below Zorath’s lair, and in the middle of that city was a column of violet flame. It haunted Zorath’s dreams, filling his godlike heart with fear. Zorath tasked John with extinguishing the fire. In exchange, Zorath would free them, but made no promise to let them have their ship. Enchanted against the pressures of the deep by Zorath’s magic, John plunged into the nightmare deep, deep below.

What followed left permanent scars on John Carmichael’s mind. The city was vast, ancient beyond the count of humans or halflings, and built by beings inimical and alien to all life. John swam through twisted spires and structures built of half-melting stone. No trace of the original builders could be found. The city itself, unnatural and uncaring, pressed on his mind, whispering to him of the intolerable thoughts of its masters. Studying its carvings and statues John learned of the Elder Evils, the powers that predated known deities, who cared nothing for the material or spiritual realms. The builders left behind an ancient and powerful form of magic—the Deep Glyphs, symbols that drew energy from the Far Realm, capable of twisting reality. Even holding the images of the glyphs in his mind threatened his sanity.

At the towering heart of the city, a madly flickering violet light waited for John. He evaded a stone juggernaut protecting it and passed into the inner sanctum. A cyclone of violet fire, burning without heat at the abyssal bottom of the sea, danced before his eyes. It hid a form that John could not see, but shuddered at its mere presence. From the column emerged a shape, a body it took on to speak with the first intruder in thousands of years, a visage that horrified Carmichael—Adyanna, the lost member of his Coriander team. [[Powers and Paragons | Y’chak, an Elder Evil, the Muse of War.
The false Adyanna was eager to speak with him, and though inhuman and alien it eagerly made a deal. Zorath above had harnessed its power to wreak his plans, and it was time to collect the debt. Beneath his throne of spelljamming helms lay a much older throne, made of the black pearl bile that oozed from this forgotten city. If John could bear a torch of the violet flame to the throne, it would bind Zorath and drag him below. All it required was a vessel that could contain its alien light. John thought carefully and then struck a counter bargain. He would bring Zorath to his unspeakable fate, and in return, Y’Chak would guard a piece of Uzhul’s sword, keeping it from everyone for a thousand years. The contract was struck and John hold forth the iron shard, igniting it with a hidden fire.

In the cavern below the sea, John returned to Zorath. The Tidal King demanded to know if the wizard was successful, and Carmichael responded that he’d triumphed. He lied his way to the throne and unleashed the violet flame. As the fire wrapped around Zorath’s flesh and poured down his throat, John unleashed the power of the Elder Glyphs, releasing his friends and wreaking pain and fear on Zorath’s amphibious minions. The cavern shook and began to flood, sinking even deeper beneath the waves. The last terrified, agonized, maddened words the Tidal King screamed were two mysterious names, pleas for salvation. Lahigara. Kromus. Then, the elder evils pulled him down to redeem his debts, and he has not been seen since.

The crews of each ship worked together to make good their escape. On the surface, John brought Akuma and Domnika to an island, and inspired by his victory over the halflings of Birnoun tried to trick them into setting aside their differences. But Akuma’s dedication to justice was unshakable, and Domnika saw through his manipulations. They parted in anger—Akuma agreed not to hunt her until she returned to the planet, but made no further promises. Domnika kept John on her crew, for he’d saved them all more than once. The damage to her trust and faith in him would not heal quickly, however.

At last the ship returned to Lagos, bereft of wealth or victory, and confronted the terrified Owin. Lani slapped him, Domnika berated him, but John took him aside and told him—now that he was free, he had a new duty to fulfill. Carmichael left a mystical symbol on Owin’s hand—the halfling word for Hero—with the expectation that Owin Geewick would live up to it. He agreed to fund their repairs and repay them out of respect and shame, and at long last Pilgrim’s Progress rose into the sky, to complete their original mission.

Synopsis Part 5
Periannth--The Court of Fleuris

Perianth, the last of the inner planets, is dominated by thick, ancient forests. The elves rule here, as they have for millennia, in quiet grace and dignity. However, behind the facade of serenity lies a churning turmoil of political intrigue, as various noble houses angle for power.

On their return to Perianth, the Pilgrims were welcomed by elven hospitality. In contrast to the hostile jungles of Verdure or the storm-wracked islands of Quelya, the forest world was lush, vibrant, and ruled by a powerful and sophisticated culture. Domnika still resented John over his attempt to trick her into reconciliation with Akuma, but went nontheless with John to a feast hosted by the master of House Fleuris, Indogalad. At the feast, John decided to mess with the elven sense of propriety by bombarding the mysterious king with annoying Whisper spells. In doing so, John attracted the curiosity of Adthea Fleuris, daughter of the King, and of her familiar Kuille. Her handmaiden Miareth Lyclen, Mali’s former friend and lover, spoke with John, inviting him to Adthea’s table. She barraged him with questions about his magic, his strange clothes, his journeys, and much more.

At the same time, Boguk Cairnmelter nearly came to blows with an extravagant and boisterous dwarf—Boignus Khimzabin. In the world of the Pyre, dwarves shave their beards in mourning for their homeworld, conquered as it is by the Illithids. Boignus wearing his beard at full seemed a sign of disrespect. But when John intervened he learned that Boignus hails from another universe, much like himself. A shuckster and a treasure hunter, Boignus came to the court of Fleuris to convince the King to fund his grand vision—a complete transformation of spelljamming as the world knew it. John spoke with Boignus and realized that while Boignus had no way to make his vision a reality, it was technically possible. John and Boignus agreed to work together to get funding for the project.

Finally, John made the acquaintances of Medwethyn Lithdiir and Marikoth A’Fleuris. The court of Fleuris is rife with nobles, attaches, hangers-on and prodigies of various types. Medwethyn came from a distant elven court to earn renown for her magical prowess, and Marikoth buys and sells magical wares (when he isn’t hosting hedonistic parties).

But when the feast came to an end, and the pilgrims scattered with various companions for the night (Nobody quite knows where Xomkug went off with those elven twins), Domnika and John met with Indogalad to discuss the outcome of their quest. As the captain explained that they went in search of a lost temple and brought John back instead, John looked past her and met Indogalad’s piercing stare. At that moment, the elf lord’s guard dropped, and they truly perceived each other.

Within his soul, Indogalad fights a constant battle against the shadow of madness. Everything that passes before his eyes in the waking world seems but an illusion. He comforts himself with the addictive Mordayn Vapor before he trances each night, to fend off the nightmares. The two saw a great deal in common between them—both keepers of horrific secrets, souls of terrible power, whose masks are nearly flawless. John saw that even for an elf lord of his age Indogalad’s magical prowess is incredible. His methods are unusual and inscrutable, inspired by the visions that haunt him, but their results cannot be denied. He knows many words of power, enhancing his spells with primal languages. And in many ways his magical practices and theories should not work—and yet they do. So too did Indogalad see John, the towering cities of his homeworld, the horrors he’s endured, and the secrets he’s learned.

After Domnika left, Indogalad and John spoke into the dark hours. John told the master of Fleuris everything of his travels. The two share a bizarre but powerful bond, and an understanding of each other that is rare. When John retired at last, he was called to Adthea’s chambers. There, she revealed a much more canny and calculating face than the light-hearted princess she played at the feast. She confided in John her fear for her father’s well being. His magic endeavors have corrupted his flesh, and he wears an amulet to maintain his health. Even so she has seen him coughing up blood. At the heart of his chambers is a locked and sealed library, where he does his most secretive research. Adthea asked John to keep an eye on her father, and if possible, gain access to his hidden library.

With the night well under way, John accompanied Marikoth to an afterparty, where Medwethyn and other accomplished spellcasters were entertaining guests with complex illusions. Someone gave John a cup of Mordayn Tea, meant to inhale the vapors. Feeling the judgement and condescending pity of the elves, John stunned them all by drinking the toxic brew and surviving. In the throes of a powerful hallucination he and Medwethyn both saw the drow of the Spider Moon, united and freed to take vengeance on the elves.

The day afterwards, John warned Adthea and Indogalad of his vision. Indogalad promised to take action, and after hearing Boignus’s proposal to build a spelljamming accelerator, he agreed to fund it—provided that John and the Pilgrims perform another task first. They were to delve into the wild forests of Perianth and bring Indogalad a branch from a cursed tree—the Night Twist.

Synopsis Part 6
The Pyre--Perianth & The Nightwist

Again the Pilgrims set off on a quest, this time into the dark forests of Perianth, to obtain a branch of the cursed Night Twist. Because the tree’s dark power extended throughout the swamps, it was too dangerous to approach directly. The only one who knew how to fight the tree’s power was Benthazel – The First Root, Guardian of the Glade, and the only one who knew how to find her was Irthoscasein, a green dragon with dominion over his own forest realm.

Along the way the pilgrims discovered the Drow had snuck past Perianth’s defenses and even now sought the dragon themselves. Led by Xunyl, who sought revenge for the destruction of her last ship, an elite team of spellcasters and warriors tried to reach Irthocasein before the Pilgrims could. John found their ship and, through a series of insane and foolhardy plans, blew THIS one up too, nearly dying in the attempt. Then he left to catch Xunyl.

Irthocasein’s lair was hidden by a waterfall. When John entered, Xunyl and her lieutenant were already speaking with the dragon, offering him an alliance. Carmichael burst into the room and convinced Irthocasein to back him instead. By demonstrating the power of his mundane technology (relics from his homeworld that included TNT, grenades, and a massive machine gun), he cowed Xunyl (and obliterated her second in command), driving her from the cave and earning Irthocasein’s respect. With a dragon as a contact and informant, and with the location of Benthazel’s grove, John rejoined the pilgrims.

Passing through carnivorous plants, fey illusions and annoying pixies, the Pilgrims found Benthazel – The First Root. She held the power of the Night Twist at bay by playing an enchanted, living harp, night after night, to combat its song. Benthazel (pronounced Bent Hazel, not Ben-thazel) revealed that the Night Twist was once her lover Corylus. They encountered the original night twist on an adventure to Verdure, seeking the Temple of the Feathered Serpent. Corylus cut it down and became the bearer of its curse. When he died, a new Night Twist grew from his corpse. John promised that he would lay Corylus to rest and destroy the tree, taking its curse on himself, in exchange for her help guarding another shard of Uzhul’s sword.

Protected by her song, John, Mali and Boguk entered the swamp and did battle with the spirit of the tree. It nearly crushed Boguk with its limbs and unleashed dark magic, but John cut it down nontheless. They returned to the court of Fleuris bearing branches from the tree. John explained what he’d done to Indogalad, who agreed to help him. In its place, John planted one of the shard-pieces, building a false night twist with Indogalad’s power, John’s master of the forbidden Deep Glyphs, and Benthazel’s power over nature. Now it would hold fast the Uzhul shard and keep any who would misuse its power at bay—but Benthazel had to maintain her vigil, playing a new song to counter the war drums of the Lord of Destruction.

Indogalad officially agreed to back Boignus’ project, and offered to serve as long-term patron to the struggling Pilgrims. And he already had their first task in mind—an expedition to the burning desert of Ashen!

Synopsis Part 7
Perils of Ashen
  • Pilgrims go off to explore the Lost City of Spires—locate it and plunder its secrets. Believed to be ancient spelljammers with technology and lore that could help them build the Ether Relay.
  • Travel to Ashen, no significant adventures. Medwethwen and Boignus go with.
  • Encounter terrible sand storms, searching the ever shifting desert.
  • Meet tribe of Janni, prove strength, locate hidden cave base.
  • Learn about Janni (in exile), get fortune told:
    → The City of Spires is lost, and it predates the memory of the Jann. Only the dragons go back far enough to remember, and only their most ancient dead. The Pilgrims must locate the Chronepsis Rift.
    → Prophecy of Doom for John. Rift of light, etc (locate OneNote notes)
  • Nizar decides to join the Pilgrims on their travels, takes a liking to Domnika.
  • Attacked by a blue dragon in a sand storm
  • Blue dragon is wreaking havoc. John uses Web and Drown to drop the dragon. Once its subdued, he feeds it a massive overdose of raw Mordayn powder, inducing a violent hallucination. Then, with Medwethwen’s help, he enters the turbulent dreamscape and manipulates the hallucination, incepting the dragon to dream of the location of the Chronepsis Rift. In addition, he fogs her memories, making her believe she is a human sorceress, and John is her protector/teacher.
  • Names her Haura (Dragon word for Fate)
  • Guided by Haura’s fogged memories, they find the hidden Chronepsis Rift.
  • John enters the rift. It is a dragon burial ground, filled with countless riches, the bones of blue and brass dragons, turbulent elemental energies, and the all powerful Guardians—two Great Wyrm spirit dragons.
  • John weathers the elemental storms, battles undead dragons, and comes face to face with the Guardians. He speaks with them and offers them a relic of great power with which to guard their graveyard, in exchange for the location of the Lost City of Spires.
  • The Dragons tell him the entire history of Ashen, making him the sole guardian of lore lost to the entire solar system…

{Insert Lore Summary—The Strangers, the Marru, the Dragons}

  • Reeling with information and weary from withstanding the power of the graveyard for hours on end, John returns to the ship. Together they go to the hidden location of the city just as the sand shifts, revealing one of the lost spires. Nizar, Boignus, John, Haura, and…who else? enters the spire.
  • Desert-worn ghouls await them, and a massive melee ensues. On the other side of the battle, they discover a wall of force that prevents all access. Boignus and John collaborate and come up with a way to create a localized planar disruption, phasing the wall of force in and out of reality, by reverse-engineering the rune-encrusted metal that surrounds the Wall. Dubbing this the Carmichael Key, they hold on to the technology for later—it could prove useful for developing and utilizing the Ether Relay technology.
  • Far below the spire, down a massive staircase, city streets hidden in a cavern of fossilized sand awaited. The ruins were haunted by the mysterious and brutal marruspawn, a veritable army, and the expedition did battle as they drew closer and closer. The Marru spoke of their revered leader, Ad-Min, and of the terrible might of Strator.
  • In the final vaults, the party stumbled across a barracks containing an army of the marruspawn warriors. They fled, scattered and divided through the vaults. Though Haura was new to her human form and sorceress powers, she adapted swiftly and fiercely, cowing one of the weaker marruspawn into obedience. As John saw the odds rising against them, he pushed forward, demanding to be brought before Ad-Min. Alone he went as the others struggled for survival.
  • Deep in the heart of the City of Lost Spires was a vast cavern. Stone platforms suspended in the darkness held a glowing font of power, guarded by a mummified Marruspawn high priest—Ad-min Strator—the Administrator. John learned to his shock that the Strangers who came from a world beyond did not come with magic, but with sophisticated technology. They were undone when the Marru they created raised a terrible abomination against them. The Administrator unleashed its power on John, and though they struggled for the control rod that would open the Gate of Heaven, John’s strength faltered and the mummified master cast him over the edge. He clung by a single hand as Ad-Min prepared to deliver the killing blow.
  • Haura burst into the chamber and unleashed all of her rage in a single blast of electrical mighty and fury. It knocked Ad-min over the edge, and as he dangled there, John plunged a shard of Uzhul’s sword into Ad-Min’s chest. The marruspawn vanished into the darkness below, to be an eternal guardian.
  • The destruction of the Administrator undid the seal of the Abomination. The entire cavern echoed with a terrifying roar and the way out collapsed, trapping Haura and John. Pressed for time, they had no choice but to leap into the swirling vortex called the Gate of Heaven, and into the unknown…
Synopsis Part 8
DraGun--Renegades and Assassins

When they entered the gate, John felt the familiar tug of the Astral Plane, hurtling them along a portal conduit to another world. It wasn’t quite the feeling of a magical portal, but similar. For a brief moment the conduit wound past one of the Infernal Gates, and John saw Anamnes’ surprised face. Then it was over, and Haura and John were hurled face-first onto a metal floor.

Their surroundings were dark, rusted, radioactive and partially collapsed. John quickly determined the technology in this facility was far more advanced than earth’s, yet the place was old, very old. As soon as they arrived the portal collapsed in a hail of sparks. There was no going back.

Haura and John cautiously explored the facility, seeking an exit, and learned they were not alone—a group of scavengers wearing hazard gear and communicating via radios were attempting to plunder the area. John got the jump on and aggressively subdued one, killing the other as a demonstration. The terrified survivor, Garrit, led John to the surface. There, a war-blasted wasteland smoldered, and a chaotic battle between armed soldiers, mechas, and lizard-riding troopers raged. John and Haura had arrived in a world they came to call DraGun.

They forced Garrit to lead them to his vehicle and fled the multi-sided battle into the wasteland. John grilled the renegade scum for information about the world. He swiftly learned that the humans of the land lived in fear of the Ulhar, terrible inhuman overlords—Blue Dragons. They were the same dragons that had left Ashen millenia ago, yet here only two centuries had passed. John realized with dismay that a temporal differential between this world and the Pyre could mean that all his friends in that world would be long dead if he ever returned, and he could never let them know what’d become of them, or see them again.

Shaking aside the dismay, they came to an outlying settlement under Ulhar control. With magic learned from the Rift Guardians John impersonated an Ulhar Dragon in human form. He learned that the Ulhar were opposed by several human nations—the Exarchs, Voskii and Coalition, along with the mysterious Red Cross Knights. Hearing tales of the Knights defiance and humanitarian efforts, he decided to seek out their legendary leader, Giwargis, in hope that it might lead to a way home. But as he tricked the local governor into giving him access to their records, shadow-cloaked assassins burst in, slaughtering the local ruler and making an attempt on John’s life as well. They wielded the magic of shadows as well as sophisticated stealth and weapons technology. This was John’s first brush with the dreaded Vignar, cultists of the Night Dragon.

Pressed into action, John and Haura fled the city and laid a trap for the Vignar, challenging them to meet him there. Well beforehand, John prepared the site with countless runes. At the time of the meeting an unseen Vignar aircraft fired a sophisticated holoprobe into the ground. The image of a masked figure calling itself Ichero manifested. A techmage in the service of the Vignar, Ichero revealed that his masters knew John’s real name, and that he was not, as he claimed, a rebellious Ulhar scion. Soon he realized that when he entered Haura’s dream to find the Chronepsis Rift, the Night Dragon had looked back through that dream and perceived him. The Necromancer lurking in the city depths back on earth was a favored servant of Falazure, whose gaze was not bound to one world. Now John had an enemy who could follow him no matter how far he fled.
Given the gravity of the situation, there was only one appropriate response—kill every last assassin sent to dispatch him, steal the holoprobe, and flee. They followed their only lead—the Red Cross Knights had been seen moving towards Voskii territory. As they went into the wilderness, John spent his time browbeating the scurrilous Garrit and training Haura. Her innate magic was powerful, befitting of a dragon, but her formal knowledge had plenty of room to grow. John also feared the day that she regained her memory—he felt that day would come or he would be forced to tear back the lies and unleash the dragon in a moment of desperation. He determined to try to be her friend and companion, not just to use her like a tool.

And night after night, as they traveled across the waste, horrific nightmares wracked his sleep. John drew up wards and turned all his dream-lore learned from Medwethyn Lithdiir to protect himself—sometimes it worked, sometimes he could not hold back the curse of the night twist.

Synopsis Part 9
DraGun--Knights and Nobles

A border town ruled by the Voskii Principality was beset by ruthless Ulhar raiders—the merciless Throden-Kothar, adherents of Tiamat, led by Dartak the Terrible. John and Haura moved to intervene, battling massive dragonspawn in the streets of the city. As the battle raged, an unseen sniper laid down heavy fire on the Ulhar. Dropships roared over the hills, and a Red Cross Knight Mecha joined the fight. Between John, Haura and the Knights, Dartak was captured and the Ulhar raiders thrown into disarray.

With Dartak in custody, John met with the field commander of the Knights, Athanius Voski, and their technical expert, Manda. A guerilla faction comprised of idealist from all the human nations, the Knights swore an oath to protect humanity from draconic oppression and to help the needy wherever they were found. John sensed a strange magic around them, the presence of the divine. He brokered a truce between the Knights and the untrusting Voskii, giving the former Dartak and the latter his technology. John also convinced Athanius to arrange a meeting with Gilwargis in the future. Manda, sympathetic to John’s cause, upgraded his 20th century smartphone with sophisticated technology and provided him with a direct line to contact her in the future. She also equipped Haura with two powerful firearms, ideal for John to continue teaching her his unique brand of gunmagic.

Acting on a tip that someone in Voskii society was open to forging a multi-faction alliance, John gained access to the heavily fortified Voskii capital. A society ruled by psionic aristocrats, the Voskii believed in humanity’s transcendence and the glory of heroes. Though the world without was wracked by war, the capital was a thing of beauty and sophisticated technology. There, the Vignar struck again, through insidious and bizarre magic. They subverted the capital’s security system and cast a powerful curse on John through the cameras themselves. John was dying, and Voskii security forces were moving in to apprehend him—even as Vignar assassins closed to finish him off. Haura took matters into her own hands, seizing John and escorting him to safety while returning fire against anyone who stood in her path.

Delirious and in pain, John clutched the Red Kiss that dangled around his neck, and reached out with its sadistic power. The Gift of Vengeance gathered all the malevolence of the Vignar curse and sent it back sevenfold. At the other end of that thread of power he saw Ichero, the Vignar techmage, thrash and die by his own dark magic.

After making good their escape and recovering his health, John and Haura together made contact with Kazimiir Voski. Brother to Prince Voskii himself, Kazimiir held the secret but politically unpopular view that it would be more productive to unite with the Coalition and Exarchate against the Ulhar, rather than conquer the other human factions. He invited John to the opera, a portrayal of the founding of House Voskii after the Dragons burst into DraGun, and there he asked John, as an outsider, to be his envoy and try to forge the alliance. John warned him this would mean collaborating with the Red Cross Knights as well—the only faction Kazimiir hated, for his own son, Athanius, had left his position in society to take up arms as a Knight. Kazimiir told John that a coalition commander, Konstantina, was potentially sympathetic, and that she had intel on an Ulhar offensive that would threaten all humanity. John and Haura left to seek out the intel and determine what the Ulhar were planning.

Outside the city, the Vignar struck again, sending kill teams to eradicate John, Garrit and Haura. They evaded their would-be killers with Garrit’s superior driving skills and vanished into the rocky badlands on their way to Coalition territory.


I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.