Dynasty of Dovak

BY : JohnDoe
Category: +A through F > Exalted RPG
Dragon prints: 2113
Disclaimer: White Wolf, Exalted and Exalted 3rd Edition are all trademarks of White Wolf Publishing AB, and official characters, names, places and text are copyrighted by White Wolf. I do not own Exalted and I'm not making money from this fiction.

Session 19 – Ganan (45XP 36DX, Spent 42XP, 36DX; 18GP 3SP) – Return of the Dead

 

Now – Day 38 since the arrival of our heroes in Dovak, evening.

 

The scene opens to Reya and Ganan sitting in their accommodations at the Wall. Reya has a stack of papers relating to the economic and military position of Dovak, as well as transcripts from the king’s court and petitions (both heard and yet to be heard) from the nobility, and others with enough Voice to be heard. Crown of Laurels is curled at her feet, and absently she feeds it scraps of meat between pages. Ganan sits by the hearth, reading a book.

 

Reya looks up from her notes and rubs her eyes in frustration. Her missed period is proof of what she already knows: she’s pregnant. She walks over to Ganan and takes his hand off his book to place it on her tummy.


“What are you reading?”

 

Ganan flips the book closed with his free hand to show the title, “‘A Lover Clad in Blue.’”

 

Reya frowns at him, “You know that’s proscribed?”

 

Ganan chuckles, “You know I’m a Cynis? My mother had six copies of this. I think she gave one to your mother when we were married. And anyway, that’s the wrong question.”

 

“Is the right question, ‘why are you reading it?’”

 

Ganan shakes his head and looks smug, “No, the correct question is ‘what did Ragara Haseti want with it?’”

 

“Haseti?” Reya is suddenly interested.

 

“Our former Garrison Commander had been building quite the book collection according to our resident Guildsman.”

 

“Brightsky.”

 

“Brightsky. Haseti ordered this specially, from a specific Nexus merchant. Didn’t want the cheaper Flametongue version from Chiaroscuro. Even Brightsky had some trouble locating it and getting it her. When it finally arrived, this morning, he delivered it to your grandmother who gave it to me. I wasn’t sure if she was trying to insult me at first, but reading it…”

 

“Well what’s it about?”

 

Ganan gives her his best ‘as if you don’t know’ look, “The torrid sex acts of a half-demon trying to escape her incestuous demonic mother as she tries to murder her.”

 

Reya sardonically quips, “So Haseti, who we know to be both inappropriately obsessed with his unknown father and also an avid demon summoner had a kink for demonic sexcapades?”

 

“Very droll. No, think about it. Haseti, demonologist, hid a collection of books. Hid them well enough that neither the Dovaki, nor Tepet Agoram and myself could find them. Hid them better than the journal that incriminated him as an Anathema. Then warded the books with sorcery. What was in those books? We don’t know. But we do know that he wanted this specific book about...”

 

“Demons.”

 

“Demons. There’s something… I don’t know. I remember reading this as a kid, there’s this great bit about a gatekeeper… it’s not important. What’s important,” He flips the book open, and turns one of the illustrations sideways gesturing with his finger, “Does that look weird to you?”

 

“Well we’ve certainly never done-” She stops half-way through her tawdry joke, “It sort of looks like a summoning sigil.”

 

“Right. Haseti guarded his room with a demon. Put a demon in Tomonas’s lair. By the Dragons, we ever saw a Neomah in Tomonas’s lair and didn’t even ask how it got there. If Haseti just wanted tawdry pleasure he could summon his own Neomah.”

“I don’t know Gan, some people just like reading tawdry stories.”

 

I like reading tawdry stories. But that doesn’t explain why he wanted this specific version of the book from a specific seller in a specific city. Haseti’s other books were on demonology, I’m sure of it. And I’m sure they were a lot more dangerous than this one.”

 

Reya isn’t sure what to say, but thankfully they’re interrupted by Jorod and Muli barreling into the room in full combat dress, weapons drawn.

 

Muli’s message is four spat words.

 

“The Anathema is here.”

 

****

 

Dovak burns.

 

The outer barricades are overrun, and orange flames contrast the red of the setting sun. Workshops and the housing of the desperate burn, civilians run in panic as the dead move among them, striking without mercy and defiling the bodies.

 

Some Dovaki run for the Wall. They will not be admitted. Not with the city under siege – the royal defenses will not be breached and they will die pressed between the enemy and safety in the killing fields of no-mans-land.

 

Some run for the vast Temple. Sturdy and well defended, the temple cannot hold them all. The Dragons send messages on the wind for the troops stationed in Eletha’s Shadowland. Perhaps they are already dead, but even if they are not, it’ll be hours before they arrive.

 

From whence this vast force comes, no-one knows. No word of warning was given by scouts – human or bearfolk.

 

And of the bearfolk? No sign.

 

Ganan, weapon in hand and skin transformed to Invulnerable Bronze stands with the other Dragon-Blooded as they prepare to ride out to meet the dead in the crush of the streets. The entire Exalted contingent of the Mnemon Alinos house in Dovak is assembled in the stables of the Wall.

 

Mnemon Johon addresses them, “This could be a trap. We could be marching out there to die. This could be a distraction. Whilst we fight corpses, the dead might strike out at the royals and kill them under our noses. But we have no choice. Last time we split our forces, we were almost destroyed. We are strongest together. We will face this enemy together. Succeed or fail, live or die, we will do so together. As a family.”

 

Melody and Ferad clasp Jorod by the shoulders, as Bekara lays a hand on his back. Tepet Agoram looks uncomfortable, but Muli has him by the arm, and at the mention of family Nula takes his other hand.

 

Ganan gives Reya a long look as she stands by her hearth before moving up to the van with Johon.

 

The gate opens and the Dragon-Blooded sally out.

 

The displaced civilians try to surge into the wall as the Dragon-Blooded move out, but a harsh look and a bellowed “Back!” from Ganan is all it takes to cut through the mob. Johon’s white jade and crystal plate armor starts to thrum and vibrate: waves of invisible force keep the civilians back until the gate is barred behind them. None of the Dragons look back: retreat is not an option, it is do or die.

 

They’ve progressed maybe thirty yards from the gate when they encounter the outriders of the dead. Two spine-chains, ahead of the main force causing havoc, barrel into view. The grotesque collections of rotting corpses stitched together to form centipedes of human limbs and torsos mindlessly round on the Dragons.

 

Johon points a thrumming fist at the closest chain and it simply explodes into a shower of gore.

 

“Remind me not to piss you off.” Ganan remarks, squaring up his tetsubo as he takes his battle stance.

 

“Hold that thought Ganan. We’re due a talk if we live through this.”

 

Reya flies into the air on her Stormwind Rider, buoying Alinos, Nanals and Nula into the air. Uncounted Obsidian Butterflies rain down on the remaining spine-chain cutting it into shreds and strewing the path with broken black glass.

 

The Dragon-Blooded phalanx turns onto the main street. Bonesiders run through the streets in the havoc caused by the spine-chains. Drawing back her golden bow, Melody puts arrows into the closest ones, driving them off their intended victims and towards the Dragons.

 

Johon turns to Ganan, “You’ve got this. Meet us at the Temple and we’ll push for the bulk of the enemy.”

 

Ganan nods and squares off against the bonesiders, chambering a Charge in his tetsubo. (13/14m)

 

Two bonesiders lurch toward Ganan. The infected, coal black skeletons swipe at Ganan with diseased claws. Effortlessly, Ganan puts his tetsubo where the claws are and makes sure that’s not where his body is.

 

Three more bonesiders amble toward the Dragon, giving the civilians a chance to escape. Ganan makes a mental note to screen the surviving civilians for puppeteer’s plague. Melody puts a final arrow in the trailing bonesider, which collapses in a pile. She salutes Ganan as the rest of his family round a corner to fight what lies ahead.

 

Ganan spins his tetsubo and drives one of the bonesiders to the ground. (13/17m)

 

The bonesider on its feet claws for Ganan, who batters the blow away. The two new bonesiders charge forward, Ganan’s tetsubo blocks the first with a wide swing. The second has an open shot at Ganan’s back, interposing the tetsubo should be impossible. For a man. Ganan Becomes the Hammer, and the laws of momentum and inertia are set aside and the tetsubo comes crashing between the bonesider and Ganan’s flesh. The downed bonesider claws at Ganan’s feet, raking at his boots but failing to find any real purchase.

 

“Boom.” Raising his tetsubo into the air, then driving it down hard into the ground, his totemic avatar mimicking the action in sand. Ganan unleashes a Mammoth Slam Quake, knocking all the bonesiders to the ground. The wooden slat windows of the nearest buildings are blown open, detritus and rubble is thrown in every direction. (13/12m 3a)

 

The down bonesiders fight through the sandstorm to try to claw at Ganan, to no avail. And Ganan staves in their skulls one by one.

 

Ganan sees the Dragon-Blooded sorceresses on Reya’s Stormwind Rider above the low roofed buildings. Flame blasts from from Reya’s mouth, and Ganan makes a beeline through the houses to catch up to them. Interposing corpses are dispatched without a second thought. With a bound he smashes through flaming buildings and barrels through a wall, face-to-face with the rotting corpse of a reanimated claw strider (13/11m). Two more of the beasts are nipping at Agoram and Muli, trying to flank the Dragon-Blooded.

 

Ganan drives the first claw strider into the ground. Tepet Agoram shouts over the noise of combat, “That’s an entrance.” Muli laughs at what’s become their in joke and twirls his Longfang at one of the claw striders attacking Agoram swipes with his daiklave at the other.

 

One of the striders at Muli’s back jumps for him, only to be punted away by the blunt end of his Longfang. The other claws at him, sending him reeling back out of formation.

 

The striders facing Agoram claw at him, forcing him back and off-guard as he tries to fend them off.

 

The undead beast at Ganan’s feet twists unnaturally, rising to its feet. It lunges at Ganan with its claws, which bounce harmlessly from his Invulnerable Skin.

 

The anima of the Dragon-Blooded tears at the claw striders, forcing them to contend with the elements.

 

Obviously realizing that the beast can outpace him, Ganan has no choice but to go through it. Moving in a Flurry, Ganan decisively strikes the strider facing him, smashing its undead form into ruined viscera, before moving up to Muli to defend him. (13/13m)

 

The claw strider about to tear Muli apart instead tries to bite Ganan, rounding on him and sinking its rotten jaws to his arm, drawing blood (-1). Its companion tries to claw Ganan but it raking attacks bounce from his skin.

 

Agoram slashes at the claw strider Muli impaled, clearly gaining the upper hand.

 

The claw striders facing Agoram rake at him, trying to turn the tide. Agoram fights with practiced discipline, giving only a small amount of ground.

 

Muli rams his spear into the rotten meat of the strider biting his father, clearly Shifting the combat in his favor. He withdraws his spear and thrusts again, dispatching the unclean beast.

 

Agoram follows up his slash with a decisive swing, decapitating the strider he just attacked.

 

Ganan hammers the remaining strider facing him into the ground, with the Force of the Mountain (13/14m).

 

Muli attacks the other strider fighting Agoram, slashing it with his spear.

 

The strider facing Agoram attacks again, but Agoram fends it off with his sword, the beasts less threatening without the support of the pack.

 

The last strider, facing Ganan, whips itself off the ground and tries to bite through Ganan’s bronze skin, but Ganan easily deflects the clumsy attack.

 

Almost casually, Ganan dispatches the strider in return, smashing it to pieces (13/15m). And Agoram and Muli work together to bring down the remaining monstrosity.

 

The sorceresses are making short work of the army of zombies attacking the city. As Reya pilots them into position, with covering fire from Melody and Johon, the sorceresses rain Death By Obsidian Butterflies down on the mob, cutting down zombie and infected civilian without discrimination – the better to save these poor souls with a quick death than let them succumb to puppeteer’s plague and unleash hungry ghosts come the ever more rapidly approaching night.

 

Ganan calls out “Johon, we need a fire break!”

 

With a blast from his armor, Johon starts to demolish buildings to stop the fire spreading. Ganan turns his tetsubo to the walls of the nearest smoldering building, aiming to bring it down before the fire can spread. Jorod uses the water from his anima to try to get the fire under control as Agoram and Muli move up to the van to cover the rest of the Dragon-Blooded.

 

We’re winning.

 

Against seemingly impossible odds, the Dragon-Blooded were winning. The fires burned, but their spread was slowed. The dead raged, but their advance stalled.

 

Where is the Anathema.

 

The dead weren’t using tactics, other than fire. Simply marching in. The Dragon-Blooded couldn’t be everywhere. Grouping the dead in one place, meant the Dragons could engage them as a single force instead of having to stretch themselves over the entire city… why?

 

Unless the Anathema wants us all in one place.

 

Dead bodies littered the city. Still and unmoving – neither animated by life nor necromancy. But a body is only the surface, and that which is most important, always lies beneath the surface.

 

As the sun dips below the horizon, a chill howl rises from the dead that turns into a

keening shriek as the hungry ghosts rise throughout the city.

 

Before the Dragons have a chance to react, they are plunged into unnatural darkness as haunting familiar spectral hands grasp for them.

 

Unable to see, Ganan closes his eyes and reaches out with Essence sharpened senses (9i 13/9m -1 Wound Penalty, Accuracy 12, Damage 20, Defense 5, 5 WP, Earth Dragon Form, Earth Aura, 3a).

 

The Dragon-Blooded (Size 1, Magnitude 11, Might 3, Average Drill, Accuracy 12, Damage 21/3, Move 2, Defense 8, Soak 17/10, 7i, 7WP, 45m), form up into a defensive circle and prepare to meet the charge of the dead.

 

Hungry Ghosts (Size 4, Magnitude 14, Might 2, Poor Drill, Perfect Moral, Accuracy 16, Damage 19/1, Move 5, Defense 5, Soak 7, 6i, 2WP) pull themselves from corpses, both deliberately brought into the city as part of the attack, and rising from the defiled bodies scattered throughout the city.

 

Keening Shriek of Mother’s Love Lost (6i, 6WP, 45m, Materialize, Clinging Shadow Miasma) skulks in the darkness. She wears her own materialized form, directing the dead from an impersonal distance away.

 

Zombies (Size 4, Magnitude 16, Might 1, Poor Drill, Perfect Moral, Accuracy 10, Damage 21/1, Move 2, Defense 3, Soak 7, 3i, 1WP) continue to shamble forward, unhindered by the darkness.

 

The elements whip at the dead, and zombies are burned and blasted (Magnitude 15).

 

Ganan smashes at the ghosts closest to him (13/4m, 8i), hurling them away with the Force of the Mountain (18i/Magnitude 5). He starts to push through the hands to try to get to Reya and the others.

 

The Dragon-Blooded continue to hammer the advancing zombie horde with their combined, Essence back attacks (39m, 11 successes). The zombies reel back, blasted by Essence, arrows, fire and sword (Magnitude 6). The Dragon-Blooded push the advantage in a Ringing Anvil Onslaught (33m), striking again (2 successes), carving a path through the zombies (Magnitude 1).

 

Shriek unleashes the madness of the Neverborn (Dawn of Dead Stars, 35m, 5WP).

 

Hungry Ghosts fall on the civilians around the city who have yet to find shelter. Those closest to Ganan surge forward, empowered by the Dawn of Dead Stars. They rake him with spectral claws, hammering from too many directions to defend against. But the Dragon stands firm against all assailment.

 

The zombies try to claw at the Dragon-Blooded, but are easily held at arms reach by their vanguard, Muli’s spear and Johon’s fists keeping them away from the bulk of the group.

 

Ganan: 18i (13/9m, -1 Wound Penalty, Accuracy 12, Damage 20, Defense 5, 5 WP, Earth Dragon Form, Earth Aura, 3a)

The Dragon-Blooded: 7i (Size 1, Magnitude 11, Might 3, Average Drill, Accuracy 12, Damage 21/3, Move 5, Defense 8, Soak 17/10, 7WP, 37m)

Keening Shriek of Mother’s Love Lost: 6i (5WP, 35m, Materialize, Clinging Shadow Miasma, Dawn of Dead Stars)

Hungry Ghosts: 6i (Size 4, Magnitude 6, Might 3, Poor Drill, Perfect Moral, Accuracy 17, Damage 20/1, Move 5, Defense 6, Soak 7, 2WP)

Zombies: 3i (Size 4, Magnitude 2, Might 2, Poor Drill, Perfect Moral, Accuracy 11, Damage 22/1, Move 2, Defense 3, Soak 7, 1WP)

 

The dead press on, heedless of the swirling elemental forces.

 

Ganan draws a Granite Curtain of Serenity over his mind (13/7m) and drowns out the voices of the Neverborn. He decisively drives at the Hungry Ghosts, smashing them back (13/2m, 9 successes to hit, 17i double-10s, re-roll 6s, 18+4 damage). The ghosts are devastated by the blind avalanche shattering their attack (Size 2, Magnitude 8), as Ganan barrels through unstoppable (13i) and closes with his allies.

 

The Dragons likewise protect their minds and continue to hammer the zombies (27m, 7 successes), cutting a swath though the horde (Size 3, Magnitude 7). Again they launch a Ringing Anvil Onslaught (25m, 2 successes), and continue to slaughter the dead arrayed against them (Size 2, Magnitude 10).

 

Shriek chants in the mad, dead cacophony of the labyrinth, reaching out to twist at the spell wrapped around Ganan (6 successes, Goal 12, 4 rolls remaining; 4WP).

 

The ghosts around Ganan thrown back, the hungry dead descend on the Dragon-Blooded company in earnest (1WP, 8 successes). They press against the Dragons, and the front line starts to give (Magnitude 10).

 

Likewise the zombies press forward, surging forward on a wave of dark power (0WP, 7 successes). Grasping hands and press of bodies hammers against the Dragons (Magnitude 8).

 

Ganan: 13i (13/7m, -1 Wound Penalty, Accuracy 12, Damage 20, Defense 5, 5 WP, Earth Dragon Form, Earth Aura, 3a)

The Dragon-Blooded: 7i (Size 1, Magnitude 8, Might 3, Average Drill, Accuracy 12, Damage 21/3, Move 5, Defense 8, Soak 17/10, 7WP, 37m)

Keening Shriek of Mother’s Love Lost: 6i (4WP, 35m, Materialize, Clinging Shadow Miasma, Dawn of Dead Stars)

Hungry Ghosts: 6i (Size 2, Magnitude 8, Might 3, Poor Drill, Perfect Moral, Accuracy 15, Damage 18/1, Move 5, Defense 6, Soak 5, 1WP)

Zombies: 3i (Size 2, Magnitude 10, Might 2, Poor Drill, Perfect Moral, Accuracy 9, Damage 20/1, Move 2, Defense 3, Soak 5, 0WP)

 

Again the fluxing power of the Dragon-Blooded’s animas has little effect.

 

Ganan closes his mind to the Neverborn (13/3m), and pushes through the darkness and the bodies towards Shriek’s chanting. He pummels the ghosts assaulting the Dragons (11/0m, 8 successes, 18i/Magnitude 3).

 

“Focus on the ghosts.” Reya roars above the din as the Dragons resist the cloying madness of the Dead Stars (6WP, 35m), and the Dragon’s strike home at every hungry ghost in range of their attacks (6 successes). The hungry ghosts fall, pierced and bludgeoned (Size 1, Magnitude 11).

 

Shriek continues to twist Ganan’s spell (10 successes, three rolls remaining). She effortlessly glides through the ranks of the dead, keeping distance from Ganan.

 

The remaining ghosts strike in earnest at the Dragons (0WP, 10 successes). Smashing at them with howling madness, the Dragons sag, ghosts breaking past the front-line troops to menace the sorceresses (Magnitude 4).

 

The zombies fall to capitalize on the success of the ghosts, the shambling horde failing to make an impact (5 successes, miss).

 

Ganan: 18i (11/5m, -1 Wound Penalty, Accuracy 12, Damage 20, Defense 5, 5 WP, Earth Dragon Form, Earth Aura, 3a)

The Dragon-Blooded: 7i (Size 1, Magnitude 4, Might 3, Average Drill, Accuracy 12, Damage 21/3, Move 5, Defense 8, Soak 17/10, 6WP, 40m)

Keening Shriek of Mother’s Love Lost: 6i (4WP, 35m, Materialize, Clinging Shadow Miasma, Dawn of Dead Stars)

Hungry Ghosts: 6i (Size 1, Magnitude 11, Might 3, Poor Drill, Perfect Moral, Accuracy 14, Damage 17/1, Move 5, Defense 6, Soak 4, 0WP)

Zombies: 3i (Size 2, Magnitude 10, Might 2, Poor Drill, Perfect Moral, Accuracy 9, Damage 20/1, Move 2, Defense 3, Soak 5, 0WP)

 

The maelstrom of the elements beats ineffectually against the dead.

 

Realizing Shriek can keep pace indefinitely, with these grasping, ghostly hands slowing him down, Ganan takes a calming breath to avoid the panic of the Dead Stars (4WP, 9/5m). Ganan turns his wrath on the last of the hungry ghosts (9/0m, 7 successes, 13+4 damage, 8i). Whilst individual ghosts still menace the city, their might is shattered, no longer a cohesive fighting force able to challenge the Dragons.

 

The Dragons throw everything they have at the zombies (30m, 5WP; 7successes). Despite the unnatural darkness, the Exalted strike true (Magnitude 3). The Dragons turn the attack into another Ringing Anvil Assault (24m) and strike again (6 successes), pushing the zombies further back (Size 1, 9 Magnitude).

 

Shriek finishes distorting Ganan’s spell, and the full weight of his bronze body weighs down on him.

 

The zombies surround Ganan and try to restrain him, but his tetsubo swung in broad arcs stop them from closing in.

 

Ganan: 8i (9/5m, -1 Wound Penalty (3L), Accuracy 12, Damage 20, Defense 5, 4 WP, Earth Dragon Form, Earth Aura, 3a)

The Dragon-Blooded: 7i (Size 1, Magnitude 4, Might 3, Average Drill, Accuracy 12, Damage 21/3, Move 5, Defense 8, Soak 17/10, 6WP, 29m)

Keening Shriek of Mother’s Love Lost: 6i (4WP, 35m, Materialize, Clinging Shadow Miasma, Dawn of Dead Stars)

Zombies: 3i (Size 1, Magnitude 9, Might 2, Poor Drill, Perfect Moral, Accuracy 8, Damage 19/1, Move 2, Defense 3, Soak 4, 0WP)

 

The zombies finally begin to sag in the face of the constant power of the elements (Magnitude 8).

 

Ganan crashes into the zombies, closing his mind to the Neverborn, but in the darkness he finds it hard to do any real damage (7/0m).


The Dragons make a concerted push at the zombies (19m, 9 successes), and at last the horde is shattered (13 damage).

 

Shriek reaches into the madness of the Neverborn (3WP, 14sm), and begins shaping a spell (2WP, 9sm). She sprays her enemies with Obsidian Butterflies (3WP), focusing on doing as much damage to the Dragons as possible (2WP, 6 successes). Ganan staggers, cut by the shards (2L), but the bulk of the attack hits the closely grouped Dragon-Blooded, scattering them into the darkness as it blasts through their ranks (4 Magnitude).

 

Keening Shriek of Mother’s Love Lost: 11i (2WP, 35m, 8sm, Materialize, Clinging Shadow Miasma, Dawn of Dead Stars)

Ganan: 8i (7/5m, -1 Wound Penalty (5L), -4 Mobility Penalty, Accuracy 12, Damage 20, Defense 5, 4 WP, Earth Dragon Form, Earth Aura, 3a, Short Range)

 

Shriek purposefully backs off from Ganan, and the fallen Dragon-Blooded find themselves out from the Clinging Shadow Miasma. She twists the Essence of Air around Ganan into the cloying Mists of Eventide (1sm, 1WP), forcing his fallen allies to back off further from the fight.

 

Limbs feeling like lead, Ganan shakes off the maddening Whispers of the Neverborn (3WP, 7/3m), and by shear force of will he tries to hold the poison at bay (2WP, 5 successes, Duration 1, 5i, -3 poison penalty). Knowing he can never close with Shriek, Ganan struggles forwards ready to die.

 

Keening Shriek of Mother’s Love Lost: 11i (1WP, 35m, 1sm, Materialize, Clinging Shadow Miasma, Dawn of Dead Stars)

Ganan: 5i (7/8m, -1 Wound Penalty (5L), -3 Poison Penalty, -4 Mobility Penalty, Accuracy 9, Damage 20, Defense 5, 2 WP, Earth Dragon Form, Earth Aura, 3a, Medium Range)

 

Shriek gently drifts towards Ganan, lazily taking her time, and she waits for him to draw closer (9i, Short).

 

Ganan pushes forwards in the darkness, driven by instinct and hatred (7/6m, 2i, Duration 4, Close). He puts everything he has into his attack (Become the Hammer, Force of the Mountain, 7/0m 1WP). Shriek Clashes the attack with her daiklave (Accursed Wraith Body, Soul Destruction, 7i, 30m).

 

Poison pumping through his veins, limbs heavy as bronze weights, unnatural darkness blinding him, and a thousand cuts oozing blood, Ganan brings his tetsubo crashing through the air. A wordless roar of defiance tears from his throat. No fear, no thought, just the only thing he knows – bloody violence. His blow smashes past Shriek’s blade, and knocks the nephwrack to the ground (10i/3i).

 

Ganan: 10i (7/5m, -1 Wound Penalty (5L), -3 Poison Penalty (4 rounds), -4 Mobility Penalty, Accuracy 9, Damage 20, Defense 5, 1 WP, Earth Dragon Form, Earth Aura, 3a, Medium Range)

Keening Shriek of Mother’s Love Lost: 3i (0WP, 35m, 1sm, Materialize, Clinging Shadow Miasma, Dawn of Dead Stars)

 

Ganan keeps his mind clear (7/1m) even as the poison floods his lungs (9 rounds), he lines up a shot on Shriek (2/0m), who defends with Accused Wraith Body (1i). Ganan smashes Shriek bodily (21i/-3i) and at last the unnatural darkness lifts.

 

Shriek just looks up at Ganan and starts to laugh bitterly as she’s lashed by Ganan’s anima.

 

Ganan looks around, poison clouding his mind. Dovak still smolders, ruined homes casting a flickering orange light into the gloom. The armies of the dead are once more all but destroyed, and his family have picked themselves from the ground. Despite all the odds… they’d won?

 

And then he looks further out. An army surrounds them, slinking in from the gloom. For a moment, Ganan tightens his grip on his weapon as the Mists around him finally disperse, then he relaxes: it’s the bearfolk, with Mishra at their head.

 

“It’s over Shriek.” Ganan intones, trying his best to keep his voice level. “Your forces are routed, and our reinforcements are here. You’ve failed. Again.” Ganan raises his tetsubo to banish the ghost once and for all.

 

“Tarry a little Dragon.” Suddenly Mishra is at Ganan’s side, and he looks up again. Poison tears at Ganan’s weighted limbs and blurs his vision… but it almost looks as if the bearfolk are taking the Mnemon hostage. Ganan blinks hard, and notices that Shriek has stopped laughing, lying still at his feet. The Mists slow his thoughts, he tries to focus.

 

“Must...”

 

Everything goes dark as the Mists overcome Ganan… and he falls to the ground. His tetsubo folds into his collapsing anima. The last thing he sees is Shriek rising and smiling broadly at Mishra.


“Well… that went even better than expected.”

 

****

Ganan begins training Purifying Blood Ascendancy (8XP), War 1 (3DX) and Resistance 4 (5DX).



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