The 13th Hour
Third Chapter of Tattered Fates, first adventure in the Haarlock Legacy campaign.
- As the bells toll across Xicarph, the party knows that events on Quaddis is drawing towards the endgame. They have in their possession tickets to the celebrations at Gabrial Chase, but there are still many questions that the group needs answered. Considering that they have 13 hours until the eclipse, the group decides to split up into three groups. Atellus and Jericus will play Rogue Trader Noble and his bodyguard, Constantine and Tybalt will play Merchant Lord and Ship’s Weapons Enginseer in service of Rogue Trader Justillius, and Cromwell will accompany the Lady Melua as her bodyguard, along with the White Scholar. Each group will arrive separately, and spend the first few hours reconnoitering the great manse and attempting to establish resourceful contacts amongst the other attendants.
- Each group arrives to a cacophony of noble processions, merchant guilds, spectacular individuals and all their collective entourages bustling for entry into the grounds of Gabriel Chase. The Lunar Gate is attended by several officials in black dress, who are meticulously studying and verifying the seal of each ticket. Subtly placed, high grade weapons servitors monitor the entrance, and despite the chaos that reigns before the gate all is quiet and orderly around the officials. Beyond the gates the broad avenue that leads to the mansion is peaceful, wide enough to accommodate each procession as it is let through the bottleneck at the Lunar Gate. The tranquility is no doubt inspired partly by the awe of the luxurious splendor of the manse.
- After arriving, Atellus and Jericus decided to split up so that Jericus could recon the grounds. Using his solitude to an advantage, Atellus made contact with another elderly man walking on his own towards the mansion. The man, Vipus, turned out to be the head of an very powerful merchant family. Despite his official status, it became obvious that he has been ‘retired’ from actively controlling the family affairs and sent to Quaddis to “enjoy his wealth” as a reward for his long service. Old Man Vipus bears a streak of resentment, but carries himself with honor. Vipus takes kindly to Atellus, who treats him with respect due; and it turns out Vipus has spent his time on Quaddis looking into the history of the Haarlock line. Through their conversations, Atellus learns more about Erasmus Haarlock’s obsession with time. Old Man Vipus suggests that too much attention has been paid by historians upon the slaying of the other heirs, and that he believes this act of vengeance might be secondary – perhaps even peripheral – to what really drove the man after the death of his wife and child.
- Jericus circumvented the grounds, visiting the various eco-domes and particular features of the grounds surround the Gabriel Chase mansion. Although he discovered nothing of note, he had at least familiarized himself with the lay-out and operations of the manse. Once he had linked back up with Atellus, they explored the inside of the mansion. The Theater of Clocks – and the Steel Clock in particular – drew their interest, and together they attempted to discover more about the device. They learned that the Steel Clock seemed to exist ‘out of time’, or at least protected by some powerful force field, but that it was nevertheless linked to every other clock in the theater. The stone attached to the pendulum drew their particular interest, but they weren’t able to find out anything other than its name – it is referred to as the Keystone. The two discuss some hypothesis about how the Steel Clock is controlled by the ‘blood of the Haarlocks’, but discover no further evidence as to the item’s function or purpose.
- Tybalt and Constantine stuck together when they arrived at the manse, and made their way directly to the mansion. After some time studying the Steel Clock, they reconnoitered the inside of the mansion looking for anybody they could make contact with. After witnessing an outburst of poor composure, the two managed to establish a dialogue with a young nobleman and his entourage. The young man was Sire Tarrik Dobu, of the Fane of Dobu in Gunmetal City, Scintilla. The temperamental Tarrik revealed himself to be a rather upstanding young man who could not stand the arrogance of the other nobles who looked down on his own family’s fortune. Although without any particular knowledge of the event, Tarrik’s entourage seemed well-armed and capable of looking after themselves. The groups parted on favorable terms, and Tybalt and Constantine returned to study the Steel Clock.
- Performing what analysis they can, Tybalt and Constantine make some startling discoveries. First of all, Tybalt confirms that there is some form of field ‘phase shift’ surrounding the Steel Clock, and that it’s mechanical properties – at least on the surface – are a dynamic movement of impossibilities. Viewing the Steel Clock with his warp sense, Constantine discovers that the Steel Clock has some form of presence in the warp, at least partially. It is not a thing of the warp, but it affects the warp (or is affected by the warp) in some way. As Constantine lets his senses drift, he feels a presence that disturbs him so greatly he drops out of the immaterium – only to catch sight of the Jackal Mask standing amongst the crowd perceiving him for a moment before vanishing.
- Cromwell’s session (to be played), meeting his NPC.
- After a few hours, Atellus, Jericus, Constantine and Tybalt reunite to continue their investigations. Following Septimus Dexter’s discoveries on the half-burned maps found at the cultist’s abandoned site of worship, the group discovers hidden entrances to passages that lead to corridors secreted within the walls of the manse. The group is subject to a trap early in their investigations of the corridors (which reveals advanced mechanisms that drive the lay-out of the corridors), but they defeat the ancient combat servitors that are unleashed upon them. Further investigations lead the group to discover cultists, disguised as staff, using the corridors to transport and cache assault weapons and grenades.
- The group exits the passages just in time for the 11th hour. During the striking of the bells there is a sudden black-out that last a few short moments. During the darkness, screams of a familiar voice is heard, and when the light returns they discover Lady Melua has been killed, her body hurdled into the machinery of the Steel Clock’s complex machinery of gears, shifts and levers.
- The group now enlists the aid of the group from Gunmetal Hive to hunt cultists within the secret passages, while they confer with Old Man Vipus and desperately search for any last-minute information about the Widower, the Steel Clock, and whatever they can do to unravel the bond. The group discovers some suggestions that removing the Keystone might be the key to the whole coming encounter.
- Constantine’s session (to be played), disruption in the kitchens.
- The 13th hour is struck, and during the eclipse the Tyrant Star appears and shines its unholy light down upon Quaddis. The Heron Mask makes his appearance, challenging the Widower. The Widower answers, appearing to accept the challenge and the two confront each other while cultist of the Pilgrims of Hayte attack the crowd in wanton slaughter. Atellus reacts by commanding other nobles to himself in order to organize a defense, while Jericus makes for the Keystone. Constantine, Tybalt and Cromwell are to provide covering fire, but Constantine suffers a perils of the warp attack. Time distorts around him, and he vanishes out of time while his compatriots engage the enemy. Jericus manages to retrieve the Keystone, the removal of which destroys the widower, the Steel Clock, and banishes the Tyrant Star. The Heron Mask comes under attack from the entire group, is blinded and wounded, but makes his escape.