Aftermath

Aftermath Log 11

Madness Followed arc, 2

The party made haste for Wight Hall, hoping to at least reach the city before the the players, if not overtake them on the road. As the afternoon reached its peak the group stopped to water the horses, and in the distance Nuana Kornis saw a strange shape moving toward them at an uncanny speed. As it drew closer it seemed to flicker in and out of the shadows near the road, making it impossible for anyone to get a good look at the creature. Then it disappeared into the shade of a tree several yards away. The party strained to see the entity when, without warning, it emerged from the shadows at the feet of Kiernan and plugged a blade into her back. The party reacted to the new danger, and tried to surround the creature. Ipster felt a strange compulsion to rush into melee, and seeing an opening in the creature’s defenses, drew his rapier and rushed at the creature. With a single swift motion his plugged the blade into the back of the attacker, forcing his weapon up to the hilt, as the creature collapsed in a heap on the ground and began slowly to melt away into a shadowy pool at their feet. They bandaged Kiera’s wounds as best they could, and began the ride toward Wight Hall.

As the sun began to set, the group had a hard decision to make – to press ahead and risk injuring their mounts, to split up their forces, or to remain together and risk arriving too late to avert catastrophe. They decided to split their forces, and so Henric Tyrson, Sully, and Anast pressed ahead, driving their horses hard toward the township, leaving the rest of the party to catch up when they were able. After gaining entrance to the city, the forward party searched the town for sign of the King’s Players. Their search was short though full of ill-omen. The Player’s were here, said the gate-guards, but the show had commenced nearly an hour past. They rushed to the Legion Playhouse, only to find the doors barred against them from the inside, likely porters hoping to turn away stragglers from the sold-out performance while they enjoyed the show from the balconies. Sully began working to unhinge the side-door to the stage, while Anast and Henric stalked around the front door, trying to make entry – but their advances were all turned back.

Finally the second group arrived on the scene, and were able to convince one of the guards to come with them to see the horrific effects of the Player’s shows. Together they smashed in the front door, but were surprised to here nothing beyond the normal sounds of a play in progress. The guard went into the theatre to examine the show, but did not return. Likewise the nasiph of Lamid slipped into the playhouse and found a comfortable seat at the rear of the room. Hoping to in some way disrupt the show, Henric moved toward the inner hall of the playhouse, but found only a pleasant and intriguing story enacted by the four minstrels they had met at the charnel house while adventuring in the fen some weeks prior,

...a story so intriguing in fact that he opted to have a seat next to Nasiph Bresnik.

Now the party found themselves at a loss. Nuana, frustrated by the lack of action on the part of her friends slipped into the theatre, but found nothing odd within. With a slap, she brought Henric to his senses and they left the theatre through the front doors. Now suspecting sorcery, but unsure of how best to disrupt the performance, the party moved toward the side door, just as Sully smashed the door from its frame. The party rushed in to engage the Players. However, as they moved several curious occurrences seemed to happen simultaneously. Several of the members of the party, upon hearing the strange and senseless lyrics from within began fighting amongst themselves. Other rushed into the playhouse intent on visiting violence on the Players. Still other stood bewildered and senseless as other turned and fled out into the twilight of the city. Then the fighting began. Several of the Players brandished blades and whips and moved to halt the on-coming attackers, however this rash of violence did little to interupt the performance. Instead, the leader of the group, Sophia Lasilaran, clad in loose garb and donning a pale white mask emblazoned with the Yellow Sign, began rewriting the lyrics of the play to fit with the attack of the party, improvising a new performance that drew cheers and boos from the crowd.

Blood spilled on the stage, but the audience sat awe-struck until, with a roar, Anast struck down the player at center-stage dressed a king draped in yellow robes. Then, as the king’s head rolled to the stage floor screams echoed through the hall, and the gathered crowd erupted into chaos. As they pressed toward the doors, the fight continued on the stage. Swords clashed and whips cracked, the combat constantly punctuated by the spell-songs of the King’s Players. More confusion saw party members struck dumb, others terrified, other enchanted beyond their own will, and several fleeing in panic. Henric, having shaken off the earlier spell, found himself blocks away from the playhouse, and began his long rush back. Sully, found himself in thrall to Sophia, following her every bidding. The violence continued as the whipateer and the swordfighter fell to the efforts of the party, leaving only Sophia.

Yet more confusion broke out, and those still in control of their own mental faculties found themselves facing nearly a dozen Sophias. The group continued their fight, until finally, the images vanished as Sophia Lasilaran fell the floor of the Legion Playhouse, dead. The enchantments fell away, and the party seemed to resume their calm, when, as they reached for the body of the bard, the Pallid Mask seemed to rip itself in half, and blinding flash of yellow-green light roared through the empty playhouse. A shaft of sickly yellow light stretched through the air above her body as the air itself seemed to be ripped apart. Slowly fetid water began to pour into the playhouse and the party found themselves staring through the rift across the drowned ruins of what must have been Carcosa. And standing at the portal staring through the lifeless eyes of an ornate mask was a towering figure wrapped in robes of yellow, a hideous twisted crown upon his brow. Holding out his hand, the Yellow Sign seemed to dance and twirl in the air, and then the King in Yellow disappeared and into the room poured a monstrosity – “a terrible, indescribable thing… a shapeless congeries of protoplasmic bubbles, faintly self-luminous, and with myriads of temporary eyes forming and un-forming as pustules of greenish light,”

All eyes and tentacles and snapping maws, it poured through the fissure in space, this Thing That Should Not Be, pooling into the now-ankle-deep water in the playhouse, only to reform into a monstrous mass of protoplasmic ooze and roar as it attacked…

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laiquatan

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