Children of the Apocalypse at Arisia 2019

At the Greatschool of Peterborough, three heroes-in-training study combat, magic, and psionics – the fierce but compassionate Tannain warrior Argelia “Flu” Fluharty, the wealthy and arrogant psionics practitioner Miss Virginia Hill, and the ethereally-floaty-yet-heavily-armored Champion of Iset Fran Stern. When fellow Greatschool student Brianna Kling approaches them, one of her (four) arms is in a sling and her head is bandaged; some violent wretch called Sir Dave Bearington (first name pronounced Dah-vey) tricked her into letting him into the Greatschool’s artifact vault, then smashed her unconscious and tied her up! Bearing was searching for artifacts of the ancient world known as the Disks of Chaos, which are each about five inches in diameter with a hole in the center. Very thin and somewhat fragile, each disk is silvery-iridescent on one side, while the other is usually printed with some sort of information. Brianna is out of her mind with worry, because when the set of disks is complete, a Tinker Mage can use them to invoke terrifying powers, but she’s worried she’ll get kicked out of school if the administration hears about her embarrassing failure in the artifact vault. The best course of action, she has decided, is for her friends to neutralize Bearington – quietly.

Determined to help, the heroes visit Professor Geraldine Foster, a Tinker Mage and former adventurer. As they have rather rudely buttonholed her outside the lecture hall, Professor Foster takes some convincing to divulge what she knows, but eventually reveals that 5 Disks of Chaos were found 50 years ago in the ruins of Jaffrey. The disks are monumental, dangerous artifacts the students shouldn’t touch! However, if they insist on finding out more about them, the disks might be stored at the Shrine of Iset or at the Lord Protector’s Keep. The heroes head for the shrine, accompanied by Flu’s jaunty and perpetually hungry croco-dog-companion, McTavish. Fran, a Champion of Iset, easily leads them into the shrine, where one of the Lorewardens by the name of Lewis Hawkins tells them that the disks are not kept in the Shrine; after hearing about Bearington’s assault on the Greatschool vault, Hawkins agrees to put on extra guards.

Flu, McTavish, Virginia, and Fran proceed over the Contoocook Creek bridge to the fortified old city, over which looms the Lord Protector’s Keep, the ruling seat of Peterborough. The heroes convince a guard sergeant to let them help stand watch over the treasure vault, joining two of the Protector’s Guard. The night passes uneventfully. However, on returning to the Greatschool, they hear there was a break-in attempt at the Shrine of Iset. Back at the Shrine, Lorewarden Hawkins confirms that the Isetian warriors on guard killed two of the intruders, but Bearington escaped. Certain there will be another attack, the young adventurers take cover by the vault, where two Isetian warriors stand guard.

An hour after midnight, the Isetian guards startle, then collapse to the ground, unconscious. Bearington and three black-clad members of the Rogue’s Guild approach the vault; one of the rogues takes out his lock picking kit. The heroes leap out from cover to surround the interlopers, only to face Bearington, who is holding aloft the Chaos Disk marked Nimal House. Suddenly, a crowd of raucous, toga-clad partygoers appear in the hallway, distracting Virginia and Fran. Two of the rogues approach to kill the distracted heroes, but Flu steps in the way and strikes such a mighty axe blow, that she cleaves the skull of one rogue in two; with a mighty crack, the rogue’s upper and lower jaws fly off in opposite directions, sending teeth flying in a spray of blood. Virginia gathers her psionic powers and blinds the second rogue. The crocotta, McTavish, rips the second rogue’s leg off and settles in happily for a snack, but Bearington and his third man make it into the vault, where the latter swiftly picks the lock and runs inside. Fran and Virginia lurch into the vault after him, and with one mighty blow, Fran thrusts her longsword through the villain’s neck. As blood drips from the six inches of steel protruding through the rogue’s throat, Bearington rushes past them, carrying a wooden casket.

The heroes pursue Bearington from the Shrine of Iset into the dark streets of Peterborough. Flu takes an alternate route, hoping to surround Bearington, only to encounter a fire juggler telling jokes to a small crowd. Determined to hold her pace, Flu plows through, knocking juggler and audience aside, firing arrows at Bearington as she runs. Fran, calling down the blessing of Iset, dashes through the ruins of the juggler’s performance, but gets a night soil bucket to the head, which slows her down (because, yuck, tastes like … you know what). Virginia attempts to dodge the flying night soil, but also gets a mouthful. Giving it their all, Fran and Flu manage to outflank Bearington, who is quickly surrounded by the heroes. With a smug smile, Bearington pulls a new Disk from the casket (labelled Back Draf) and conjures a roiling burst of black and orange flame; Fran and Flu just barely dodge as Virginia closes in on Bearington from behind. Fran and Flu attack Bearington with longsword and axe, respectively, and strike two astounding blows that crush Bearington into the ground, where he lies unmoving. After squabbling about where to bring the Disks, including Bearington’s original Disk, Nimal House, they return the casket to the Lord Protector, but bring Nimal House to the Greatschool, ensuring good grades this semester.

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