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Session 134 - Dis Ingenuous World

posted Sep 29, 2017, 7:47 PM by Andy Burras   [ updated Oct 2, 2017, 11:05 AM by Will McCain ]
"We met a gnome from an ancient time,
Who said - “Many vast and ageless empires
Stand on this land….Near them, on their books,
Half truth of shattered history lies, whose honor,
And nobility, and traditions passed down,
Tell that its sculptor well those qualities read
Which yet survive, stamped on these false things,
The hand that mocked them, and the ego that fed;
And on the throne, these words, he spoke:
My name is Mr. Gnome, Pranker of Pranks;
Looks at my Art, ye mighty fools, and Laugh!
No truth beside remains.  Round the deceit
Of that colossal Trick, boundless and false
The impact of which stretch far away."

Having narrowly avoided a battle, the Maladroits brought their friends up to speed. Master Morvant was especially outraged to learn what had been done to his friend Mistress Cordova. They split into groups to search the ruins, and left Qip and Boken at the entrance with Cordova's body in case nobody returned. Once again united, the Maladroits set out.

Taking to the sky, Knox observed that the ruins took the form of concentric circles, with each additional ring appearing more modern and advanced than the previous. As they entered, the seasoned adventurers were surprised to see ghostly figures of gnomes milling about in ignorance of their presence. Taking interest in one particular pair, they were again surprised that the gnomish they spoke was not one they fully understood. Older, perhaps, than the modern tongue. While puzzling out what they were saying, the voice of Jonid spoke through one of the figures, bidding them to pay attention with manic glee. Trying to ignore it, they learned that the garden they thought they were in was actually the overgrowth of an ancient attempt to harness the mystical energies of one of the Shards. They stood in something of a substation for the magical flow, which might activate once more since Jonid undoubtedly had the Shard in the center of whatever illusion or maze this was. After clearing away the brush, they managed the reactive some of the lines, narrowing avoiding getting trapped inside in the process.

Now following the flow of magic, they tracked a shorter course to the center. Passing into another, older ring, they found more apparitions. This time, however, they noticed the Maladroits, and looked upon them with disdain. The group noticed that they were bedecked in much finer clothing than those around them. There was also a sigil upon the wall of a <globe with something over it?>. They also noticed that the lines of stone on the ground traced an outline of their home continent, strangely enough. They tried interacting with the gnomes, and damaging the sigil, to mixed results. Lucas and Alera started to worry that Callon was relying too much upon the advice and abilities of Desangriev. Callon dismissed their concerns, and tried to assure them it was under his command. Despite opening up a new path, however, Alera decided to follow the path they had been on, and left the group.

Moving closer in, they were witness to a singular gnome racing about a landscape of ponds and hills, reshaping them with ease. Like before, they noticed clear similarities between the landscape and the layout of their continent. Disturbingly, they saw him create a gleaming metallic object and then bury it beneath a mound of earth and rock. The similarity to the ship of the Guren was not lost on them. After getting his attention, they were able to get him to show them what their entire world looked like. Collapsing his hands together, the landscape around them shrank beneath them until he held a globe in his hands. Standing in the void before him, they saw their planet, with enormous sections of the world separated by the seemingly random snaking of the Stormwall. Alera rejoined them at this point. Not wanting to waste more time in pursuit of Jonid, they thanked the gnome and pressed on.

Coming to the final circle, they were met with a vast plain stretching out from a singular earthen hut. Carefully walking inside, they found tapestries and murals filling the walls. They told in detail of the Guren efforts to uplift the races of the continent that they had learned pieces of before. As they were admiring them, however, they heard gnomish giggling coming from the center of the room. Turning to it, they found a gnome man sitting in a chair, trying to contain his mirth. When they asked him what he was laughing at, he explained that he had been waiting for thousands of years for someone to come by and find him so he could explain all this secret history for what it was: his own, greatest practical joke upon the world.

As he explained, he had gathered the Shards ages before and used their power to craft exacting histories and fill the minds of the various races with tales of how they came to be. He created the Guren ship and all of its technology simply to serve as validation of this great lie. Even the Akari were tricked into thinking that they had chosen to refuse the Guren's gift, when in truth the gnome had merely reshaped their memories. All of this was in service to the greatest joke of all of history, in that all of history had been made up by him. The Maladroits were speechless for a time, but Lucas soon spoke up to voice his indignant outrage at the gnome's flippant manipulation of people. He had brought races low who could have been great, only to amuse himself. Alera joined the rogue in his outrage, but Knox and Callon simply looked back the murals they had marveled at before. 

Upon their asking, the gnome admitted that he was an illusion and that Jonid was waiting for them. Now they knew the truth, though, even if no one would believe them. However, they would not be so easily disturbed. They each dismissed the gnome man, either out of anger as with Lucas, or in unimpressed disappointment from Callon. So the man faded away, and the Maladroits found themselves in a throne room filled with the slow clapping of their fated and hated foe: Jonid.