The Trials of Cell Theta

Tattered Fates, part 2

After leaving Ciaphus and Obidiah to secure the church, we decided to head to the Fates Wheel arena to try and have a word with the Papa Grist character we had heard so much about, hoping he might have some information for us. Before leaving, Obidiah warned us of a legendary creature, called the widower. A killer from the shadows, the widower was an ancient legend, who many said had begun to kill again, and that we should be on our guard.

After checking in most of our items (except for Delain’s hunting rifle, which he snuck in down his trouser, claiming he had a broken leg), we saw a plush casino, complete with gambling tables, slots and fighting arenas. Delaine headed straight for a table, Danth disappeared to work the room, and Inteos headed to the bar to get a drink. Delain lost 14 of our 20 throne playing emperor’s dice, nearly getting thrown out for trying to cheat… Luckily, a distraction arrived in the form of Inteos. On his way to the bar a noble bumped into him, and the noble’s drink was spilled. Inteos offered to replace the drink, and became confused about why the noble was still angry and this had not resolved the situation. Danth tried to smooth things over, but the noble wasn’t having it. He demanded a fight to the death! Not with himself, of course, but with his combat servitor, a hulking thing armed with 2 chain fists.

A crowd started to form and chant, baying for blood. Inteos eventually had no choice but to fight! The house provided him with a choice of weapons, and Inteos chose an electro-flail. In the confusion, Delain swiped a pouch full of credit from the nobleman. Then, the fight began. The announcer introduced Inteos, to a smatter of cheers, then introduced the Servitor to tumultuous applause, who was unbeaten in over 30 fights! The fight began, and Inteos got the first blow in, but it seemed to have little effect on the servitor. The servitor returned with a punch, which caught Inteos on the shoulder, biting into his flesh. Things looked grim, but Danth had noticed something… The servitor had a loose panel and exposed wiring on its back!

“Hit it from behind!” he shouted to Inteos. Luckily, Inteos picked his voice out from the crowd. He circled and hit at the loose panel. By the Emperor’s blessed luck, the electro flail hit dead on the exposed wiring, and caused a short circuit in the servitor, which froze still for a moment. But it was long enough for Inteos to get another good hit in. The thing turned, swivelling 180 degrees at the waste to face Inteous, and swung again. But, slowed by its damage, Inteos ducked the blow, and delivered a final smash with the flail, and the servitor’s servos slowly died with a metallic whine. The crowd went wild, and the book-makers all looked very happy at this unexpected result.

Danth went straight off to the maitre’d, asking what reward we would get for putting on such a show. We were presented with an opportunity for one of our number to enter a contest of marksmanship… To the death! It was a duel, each participant given a duelling las. Ten paces, turn, and fire. Danth agreed that we would put someone up for this contest, and agreed that the winner would claim everything the loser had on them. Delain arrived back with a huge pile of thrones, won after betting the Nobleman’s money on the outcome of the fight, and was just as shocked that he was to enter a duel as his companions were at seeing his huge pile of cash! Danth then disappeared to find good odds on the duel, while Delain and Inteos went to check out the competition.

They found Delain’s rival, showing off to the crowd. He blasted a smiley face in the side of the arena with a Las pistol, to which Delain responded by shooting it between the eyes with his Hunting rifle, silencing the crowd as he stepped into the ring. He was provided a pistol by the house, and he and his rival faced each other, with a nod of mutual respect. Delain’s opponent was heavily armoured, only his head exposed. As they took their steps, a nervous hush fell over the crowded. After ten, the announcer shouted to fire. Both combatants were quick of the mark, spinning and unsheathing their weapons in perfect unison. Delain took a slight advantage, lining up his shot as he drew, and fired first. Concentrating more on aiming than dodging, a mild look of surprise crossed his opponents face, before the shot hit him square in the eye, blowing out the back of his head. Once more, the crowd exploded and the bet-makers smiled with deviant glee. However, after claiming his winnings, Danth was pickpocketed and lost over a thousand throne! After apologising to his peers for losing the money they had risked their lives to win, we were approached, and told to try our luck at the Wheel of Fortune. After Inteos calculating that the odds should be in our favour, and Delain having a test spin to check the wheel wasn’t rigged, we decided to have a go. After clearing a couple of hundred throne, the croupier presented us with a golden coin, and told us to present it at a door marked “Employees only”.

After being allowed access to the door, we headed upstairs to Papa Grist’s office. He introduced himself, as well as his Bodyguards. The first was a huge beast of a man, champion of the hammer fights, and the only other man to ever beat the combat servo, and an ex-guard. The other was a mysterious robed figure, named bliss, who should “Avoid those black ships, if you know what I mean”. Papa Grist had a proposition for us – he had a rival, by the Name of the Spider Bride, who had been on the planet for many years. He wanted her removed, so he could have a monopoly on the planet. In return, he would provide us with information, a thousand throne each, and a ticket to the Midnight revel party at the great estate. Based on our performance in the arena, and the fact that we were relatively unknown, he thought we might be the right guys for the job. After making it fairly clear that the other option was fighting our way out, we accepted his offer. We asked only that he set us up with a contact to get some supplies, and for one more favour. We asked for him to make it look like we had been brought back here and killed so he could get our winnings back. He assured us that 3 bodies would be found. Then after throwing us a bag containing our stolen Throne (and the head of the theif…), we left.

After collecting the items Delain won (A las pistol, a couple of power packs and a rather small suit of flak armour, as well as 4 syringes of obscura), we went to buy some items with our winnings (1655 throne, not bad seeing as we entered with 20!). After buying materials to resize Delain’s armour, and purchasing armour for the rest of our crew, we had enough left to buy some rounds and were on our way.

Heading to the pleasure gardens, where the spider queen makes her lair, we attempted to get some information out of people there. All had heard of the spider queen, and could point us towards her, but would say no more. Once we approached her den, we were immediately granted an audience, which just felt a bit too easy. However, as soon as we got inside, she made it clear that she knew why we were here. The Spider Bride sat in a wed of satin, silk, cogitators and wires, and was surrounded by a harem of beauties. One came up to greet us, and had a little flirt with Danth. After she scratched him, he seemed to become a little uncomfortable, but just gave the girls behind a little squeeze. At this, she floored him and placed a stiletto heel over his heart, snarling and revealing sharp fangs. The spider bride was amused by all this going on, and warned Danth not to mess with her girls.

She then proceeded to offer us a counter offer. If we took a “Present” to Grist, she would get us into the revel, as well as providing us with information that Grist could not provide. After learning that she had been on the planet centauries, since Harlock’s time, we decided what she may be able to tell us would likely be extremely valuable. Also, as she had a huge harem of sexy ladies with poisonous nails, we decided we did not fancy fighting our way out. So, we left, taking her present with us – a steel box, which she warned only Grist should open. After we left, we all kept quiet until we reached the edge of the Spider Brides territory, keeping a careful watch for her spider servitor spies. When we believed it safe to talk, we headed back to the church to discuss our options (whilst also all vowing to learn a secret language so we can speak without being overheard). On the way to the church we found a group of men and women in heron masks, whose insids had been removed and used to redecorate the street. After not being able to identify the weapon used to cause the wounds, we got the creck out of there pretty sharpish!

After considering going back to the Spider Bride and telling her we had killed Grist and then double crossing her, we decided the easiest option was to simply deliver the gift. So, we went back to Grist’s office. We convinced him that we had the Brides head in the box, after Danth spun him an epic tale of our daring fight with the Bride and her harem. Satisfied, Grist opened the box to inspect his prize… At which a spider servitor leapt out, and used its razor sharp claws to decapitate Grist in one smooth motion. It then smashed through a window with Grist’s head.

Taking advantage of the confusion, Delain tried to put a couple of bullets into the psyker. Unfortunately, s/he was ready and caught the shots. The bodyguard pulled out a hammer, while Delain and Danth rounded on the psyker. Bliss and Delain exchanged shots, however, Danth began to ignore the psyker and went to aid Inteos, who was grabbing the bodyguard to stop him building momentum with his hammer. As Delain continued to trade shots with Bliss, Danth screamed at him to ignore the Psyker, its already dead, while shooting into Inteos and the bodyguard, who were locked in combat. After sustaining a few wounds (particularly Inteos, who had his leg almost broken by the hammer) the pair were felled, and an alarm began to sound. Pushing the desk up against the door, we turned to aid Inteos. Danth remembered Inteos had some doses of stimm in his medpack. Unfortunately, he also had two doses of the obscura, and no one managed to remember the difference. After picking a random syringe, we injected Inteos. By divine luck we picked the stimm, and we were able to make good our escape down a fire escape, after recovering the hammer and a combat shotgun from the bodygaurd and a hand cannon from Grist’s body. We moved quickly back to the Spider Bride’s, where we thought our chances of protection and healing were best.
With Inteos hobbling in using the hammer as a crutch, we were given space to rest while Inteos was taken to be healed. We don’t know what happened, and Inteos does not remember, but we heard plenty of screaming while he was away…

After we had had time to recover, the Bride granted us an audience. She was delighted with her prize (Grist’s head was on display) and seemed in good spirits. She revealed the following important information;

• The steel clock had the power not only to predict astronomical events but also to cause them.
• The clock was impervious to harm, other than during the Eclipse.
• The Widower was an ancient warp-spawn evil, shackled to the clock by Erasmus Harlock, and bound in service to the Harlock line.
• The heron mask wants to use the Revel as an excuse to execute some evil plan, which will result in the devastation of the planet. He has also been trying to kill the Harlock line so the Widower cannot be used as a weapon against him.
• The Widower wants to destroy the planet during the Revel, thus destroying the clock which he otherwise can’t touch, and freeing him from service. But, the Heron Mask won’t let him as it will interfere with his plans.

After receiving this knowledge, and a ticket to the revel as guests of the spider bride, we left to find the Lady Mel’ua. From the charts we had found, she appeared to be the last of the Harlock line and we thought she may have information. We also thought she might need protection, if the Heron mask wanted her dead.

We caught up with the Lady in a bar, and told her of the fate of her brother. We also explained some of what we know, and asked if she believed anything suspicious had happened that may help us, but she knew nothing. She seemed to know nothing of the widower, and told us that she had some family on world, but they were not of the line. She asked us to escort her to the party, and being gents we agreed.

A few hours later we set off with Mel’ua in her coach. We entered the party, and were given masks. We decided to work the room, and try to find out if any of the guests were also on the Harlock family tree.

Danth got chatting to a frisky old lady, who started flirting with him. He did pretty well, and got lots of gossip, but none of it relevant. Delain got on like a house on fire with Tareg Doru, a fane owner from Gunmetal city. They bonded over their love of guns and hatred of the posh pretenders at the party. Again, he was fairly useless with information, as he refused to talk about the other revellers unless he was just insulting them. He seemed a fairly good ally to have, though, particularly as he had a hench looking armed guard with him, and Delain liked him, so they chatted for a bit. After offering to defend Tareg in a duel, he said for Delain to look him up next time we’re in Gunmetal and he’d hook him up. Inteos got talking to a guy, but all he talked about was how much people seemed to hate him, and he didn’t know anyone as no one ever spoke to him. Then he started talking about his interest in effluent. Human or animal, he finds both interesting.

Suddenly, Danth ushered Delain and Inteos over. He had spotted Lord Larx Mel’ua, stood in the corner of the room, the heron mask running from him. We went over, and Larx was catatonic, and totally unresponsive. We led him to a chair and Inteos inspected him. Turned out his chest was ripped open and his heart removed. His lungs still continue to work as normal, however.
Delain and Inteos wanted to destroy the aberration, so took him out to a bedroom, where they planned on setting the body alight. Danth took exception to this and began to argue with Delain, when suddenly, Inteos had taken the knife they recovered from the note the Heron Mask had pinned to a wall. He plunged it into his breast, then into the head of Larx. A strange apparition appeared, screaming with psychic energy, but only Inteos could see it clearly. After blasting it back to the warp, a group of revellers entered the room. One began yelling at us to leave as they wanted to use the bedchambers. Luckily, another man with whom the first man had enmity arrived, and they went outside to duel.

We went outside, when suddenly the steel clock struck, and the ground felt like it was shifting. Then, through the steel doors at each end of the corridor, 6 attack servitors appeared, each wielding two large clamp-like pincers!

They charged us, and while Inteos damaged several with a combat shotgun, they soon engaged us. Inteos began trying to disable the servitors, while Danth began to fight back. Delain expertly dodged their clumsy attacks, while taking them out with a barrage of las-pistol shots. Inteos scrambled the circuits of one, which turned and fled, smashing the door at the end of the corridor. After picking off the remaining servitors, we followed the one that had run into a dusty old museum. We looted the place and got the following;

• Kick ass stealthy armour piercing needle gun
• Super hunting rifle
• Power claw
• Super deadly bolt gun which rolls many damage dice
• Crazy fill it with fire anti psyker lance

We moved through another door and rejoined the main party. However, the clock began to chime again, and we were ushered into the hall of clocks.

We entered a round room with thousands of clocks, ticking away in a great cacophony. Slowly, the ticking seemed to grow louder and faster, and the clocks began to tick as one. The guests all began to mutter and look around – this was not what usually happens.

Finally, the great steel clock begins to chime. At that moment, the Heron mask stepped out onto the raised section on which the clock rests. He started shouting about how the time has come, we’re all doomed, ya-da ya-da ya-da, when the man in the Jackal mask steps out from the crowd. Some words are exchanged, and the Jackal mask reveals his true nature… He has been possessed by the widower!

Everyone begins to run about screaming, as the followers of the Beloved start killing indiscriminately. Heron masks directs his followers to attack the widower, who appears as a large cloud of darkness, with tentacles and maws swirling in and out of existence. We try to take out the two, but any damage to the widower instantly regenerates, and shooting the Heron in the panicking crowd proves difficult. As wave after wave of the Heron’s followers are shredded by the widower, Delain remembers something the Spider Bride said; “To stop a clock, simply remove its pendulum”. Worth a try, so Delain runs across the room and charges through the door at the base of the clock. He is faced by a large steel pendulum swinging through the air, which contains a purple jewel the size of a heart.

Meanwhile, the Heron has joined the fray with the Widower, and the two are exchanging vile sorcerous attacks, covering the whole room in an unnatural chill. After watching it tear through numerous cultists, Danth and Inteous continue to attack the Widower, judging it to be the greater of two evils. Eventually, the Heron is overwhelmed, and ripped apart by the Widower, his warp magics no protection. At this, Inteos and Danth run, Danth to the edge of the room, Inteos to join Delain in the centre of the clock.

Inteos arrives just in time to see Delain fly from the pendulum – he managed to leap on, but the layer of frost made hanging on near impossible, and he only managed to get one swift kick to the pendulum. Delain tried again, but was again instantly thrown into the wall. Inteos watched as the widower approached Danth, whose shots had no effect, and crushed his arm with an unholy maw. Then, it began to head towards the clock. Delain again tried to mount the pendulum but fell, although he felt the jewel dislodge slightly. Inteos stood in the door way, preparing to defend the room from the widower, which took a chunk from him despite his readiness. Once more Delain Grabbed hold of the pendulum and swung upon it, this time getting a stronger grip, while Inteos tried in vain to attack the beast. The widower again attacked Inteos, who was nearly knocked down, and his tendrils began to reach into the room towards Delain where he swung. But with one final kick, the jewel fell from the pendulum. As it tumbled to the ground, the clock began to chime loudly, and the Widower shrank back. Then, the clock fell knocking Delain down and almost crushing Inteos. After the rumble had cleared, they found the face of the widower, in a black puddle on the floor.

The widowers face suddenly cried out in a chilling voice;
“He comes, the master. I am his herald. By the footsteps of fools he is announced. The mirror shatters, the island burns. He returns, the dark traveller, and ruin comes with him.
Last and first of the harlocks my master comes.”

As people returned to the room to see what had happened, the old lady Danth was flirting with got her body guard to administer him first aid, while Delain scooped the Widower into a bottle and Inteos reclaimed the jewel.

Upon leaving the mansion, a man in white greated us. He was the White Scholar, and we filled him in on what happened. He got us in touch with Greyhawk, and after we told him what had happened, and he realised we weren’t all dead (he seemed so upset about it…), he congratulated us, and said he was on his way to meet us.

THE END!

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