Bloodweave, Lizard Scales
Episode Six: By the Book

Click here to return to the Campaign Index.

SPOILER ALERT! This adventure was from Shadis #48; if you may end up playing in it, you may not want to read this.

By a staggering coincidence, Nasara, Vogt and Gorin all arrive at the same time at the Library of Throal to research the thread items they've acquired. Heh.

Once they get into the stacks, however ,they discover a number of books that are completely blank. Even stranger, they have no Pattern - they are astral blanks. They alert the librarians, and Merrox first swears them to secrecy, then tells them that this bizarre and unsettling phenomenon has been sighted elsewhere in the library. He then hires them to assist in tracking down the cause.

They track down a possible culprit - the librarian who was formerly in charge of that section. Before he had a psychotic episode. He's currently on Death Row. The heroes finally wrangle and interview, and find him quite disturbed an insane. They get a little information out of him - it involves a strange book, or a Horror, or both, stored in a certain location in the library. A moment later, he suddenly goes into an epileptic fit...and Vogt realizes that the man's Pattern is disintegrating!

It appears that they are up against a Horror that can destroy Patterns...not a pleasant thought.

They find the place in the library where the book is supposed to be, according to the dead man, but discover only a blank space - someone has removed the book. They prepare to stake out the library in the hopes of discovering that someone and catching them in the act. Vogt modifies a spell to place alarm spirits at several entrances, and the three Adepts sit down to wait.

Eventually, someone trips one of the alarms - a Human Thief. They let him grab the book, and then try to chase him down. He responds by running along the tops of the bookcases, alternately knocking them down and setting fire to them. Nasara runs along the bookcases after him, while Gorin and Vogt are tangled with a golem formed out of books - presumably another of the Horror's manifestations.

Gorin is knocked unconscious in the fight.

They finally bring down the golem and the Thief, but the Thief's Pattern is violently unwoven before they can get anything out of him. His last words: "UDRAK!" (The method of his demise: First he forgets how to walk. Then he forgets how to talk. Then he forgets how to breath. Then his Pattern is disintegrated and his body vaporizes.)

There's a moment of worry about Horror Marks, then they decide "To hell with it," and start reading the book. They finally figure out that it's the adventure journal of a Scout, Varliss, who met trouble in a distant Kaer ("Vrenten") and then retired from adventuring. They track him down.

Varliss is on the edge, desperately trying to drink himself into a stupor at some tavern. He's friendly enough when approached, then falls off his chair when they mention the Horror. (I fell off my chair, too, to show what it looked like.) They talk fast and convince him that they're out to kill it, but the Horror starts unweaving the former Scout before he can tell where to find.

Desperate, he claws for a knife off the table and start cutting into his hand to draw a map before he dies.

Our heroes are stunned.

Our heroes are not dummies. They are not going to go into a Horror's lair - particularly THIS Horror's lair - alone. They are going to go into the Horror's Lair with an army at their backs. At their fronts, too, preferably. They talk to Merrox.

And so the party traipsing through the hinterlands towards the former Kaer Vrenten consists of: one large squad of large City Guards, armed and armored to the max; two musketeers from the Bor valley (a concept borrowed from Joe Dever's Lone Wolf series, the dwarfs of Bor have developed man-portable fire cannon); Elementalist and agent of the Crown, Brog the Astute; and, of course, Nasara, Gorin, and Vogt.

The Kaer looks like it was never inhabited. At the far end, in the very back of the kaer library (filled with empty books) is a strange magical mirror. While they stand around trying to figure out how to open it, someone inadvertantly mentions the word they heard earlier - "Udrak" - and the mirror activates and sucks them through.

On the other side, they are immediately faced with a large number of cadaver men. After the short fight, they realize that they've been transported to a very strange place - it looks like "a library designed by M.C. Escher." As they watch, new books appear on the shelves, their pages filling with words at a tremendous pace - they realize that these are books being absorbed and destroyed from all over the world! A few members of the party, including Gorin, hold still for a moment too long and find words being written upon themselves, as well.

Finally they confront Udrak, a strange thing that looks like "Jabba the Hutt if he were made out of phone books.") It is a long, hard fight. It uses painful, lethal, and messy magic, taking out guards left and right. The spellcasters try to harm it, but find their powers melting away as they use them.

Nasara goes into full berserker combat mode - frightening to see in an elf - burning Karma and Strain all over. She scores a tremendous wound on the Udrak's side, but it belts her and sends her flying away. She struggles to stand and fight, but then forgets how to breathe.

Gorin sees his chance and snatches up one of the fallen fire guns. He sprints up to the Horror and dives into the open wound?! It's insane, but they figure that they're all dead anyway. Once inside the UnNamer's guts, he looks around...and considers how flammable books are. Would a Horror made of books act the same way?

Gorin pulls the trigger.

The blast ignites the Horror's "blood", setting off a secondary explosion that rocks the astral pocket. Gorin is sent to Death's Door, but as the creature dies, some of the group's powers begin to return. They snatch up Gorin and run as the pocket begins the collapse and the books begin to erase.

As the survivors dive through the mirror, the two mages pause - they can't let all this knowledge be lost forever. Vogt and Brog combine their remaining powers in an effort to save what books they can, and summon up a great whirlwind to blow the nearby volumes through the mirror with them.

Gorin comes to conscious half-buried in a pile of manuscripts, with the other surviving party members half-conscious on top of the pile.

Everyone - Adept and non-Adept alike - is well-rewarded by the Crown for their work, the highest honor of all is being memorialized in a special gold-embossed volume, complete with artists' portraits of the various heroes, in a place of honor in the library. A team of librarians begins working around the clock to transcribe the salvaged books, for, having no Pattern, the books won't remain in existence for very long.

In short, victory. Although they suffered scars in the process, our heroes managed to prevent a terrible threat to the world's store of knowledge. This marked their entry into "the big time". No more hitting up people for jobs - now the jobs come to them.

Page content Copyright 2000-2001, William Spencer, in association with Brandon Ove and Daniel Spencer.
This material is unofficial and is not endorsed by R. Talsorian Games, Hero Games, the Fuzion Labs Group, FASA, or Living Room Games. FUZION(TM) is a trademark of the Fuzion Labs Group, an association between R. Talsorian Games and Hero Games; all rights are reserved by those two companies. It is Copyright 1997 The Fuzion Labs Group. Earthdawn is a registered trademark of FASA Corporation, used under license by Living Room Games; all rights are reserved by those two companies. It is Copyright 1999, 2000 FASA Corporation; additional material is Copyright 2001 Living Room Games.