Steve's Log 53

“It was a colossal and nameless blasphemy with glaring red eyes, and it held in bony claws a thing that had been a man, gnawing at the head as a child nibbles at a stick of candy. Its position was a kind of crouch, and as one looked one felt that at any moment it might drop its present prey and seek a juicier morsel. But damn it all, it wasn’t even the fiendish subject that made it such an immortal fountain-head of all panic—not that, nor the dog face with its pointed ears, bloodshot eyes, flat nose, and drooling lips. It wasn’t the scaly claws nor the mould-caked body nor the half-hooved feet—none of these, though any one of them might well have driven an excitable man to madness.”
~H.P. Lovecraft, Pickman’s Model

I thought I was done with Zamora for a time but alas I was wrong. It seems this nation sucks me back in at every turn. I had headed south towards Shushan only to get caught up in the craziness of my friends once again and now I am in debt to the wizard Jatesh and am on my way to the city of Yezid to retrieve a book for him. Now the fact that one of the books of the Golden Peacock are there is more than enough to motivate me to go. Jatesh put his kung-fu princess, Ming, amongst us to make sure that we do the job.

On the road I made use of the evenings to study and practice my incantations and I feel I am making good progress on my research of the Golden Peacock. I hope someday to master the rites and rituals within. We traveled back to Arunjun where I purchased a couple of large war dogs. I named them Zeus and Apollo. They are vicious beasts and will make fine guard dogs.

Enroute from Arunjun to Shaadazar I was awakened by the two vicious beasts I had purchased only to discover they were cowering in fear. I grabbed my ax and shield and went outside to take a look around. I was expecting a giant spider. Instead I encountered a pack of ghouls. While the guys roused and prepared for battle, I walked out to meet the monsters. I hoped they were open to conversation and my hopes proved true. I learned much as I bluffed my way through the conversation and I thank the gods that the Serpent People marked me as one of their own. Apparently there is a truce between the ghouls and the serpent people and the seal I carry is a part of that pact. The Serpent people told me of a war they wanted me to lead. They told me that they wanted me to become Thanatus (the Hand of Death) and to restore the glory of that name. It seems the ghouls think I am important as well. They told me that they would run free through Yezid and devour all, once the seal was placed and the war had begun. They asked me several times if I was the one to bring the war. I wonder if Jatesh knew these things and set us up to trigger this war. Only time will tell but I could care less either way. Have I not always prayed for war? Besides I took a job and I plan to finish it. Plus I need that book to continue my studies. In the end the ghouls left to hunt for better food and I returned to my friends with the hopes that we would not be on the menu.

That night my dreams were vivid. They were filled with visions of the Steps of Great Slumber and beyond into a forest where I traveled to the City of Ulthar, “where no man may kill a cat”. When I awoke it felt as if days had passed but really it had all been just a dream. Now we are off to Shaadazar and then onto another great adventure. Before heading out I gave John B. the grail. I figure this way John, The Professor, Corey, and myself each carry a piece of the puzzle. This way we can protect it all a little better.

Professor’s Log: Into the Desert

“One mile farther and I come to a second grave beside the road, nameless like the other, marked only with the dull blue-black stones of the badlands. I do not pause this time. The more often you stop the more difficult it is to continue. Stop too long and they cover you with rocks.”
― Edward Abbey, Beyond the Wall: Essays from the Outside

Well, we found Corey. Apparently, he got here ahead of us, and joined up with a group of bandits. We found them, or I should say, they found us when they tried to ambush us. Uncharacteristically, the encounter ended peacefully, and we ended joining them too. At least, most of us did. Steve took a side trip to Arunjun without telling anyone. Our radios are working, so I figure he can rejoin us later.

That night, Pete put everybody in a good mood by cooking dinner. Even the cook he replaced seemed to be impressed. After dinner, Pete told the group that we were headed to retrieve the lost treasure of Khotan, and offered a share of the treasure to any man who would join us. A dozen of the bandits took him up on the offer, including a Kushite, named Kinfe and a Cimerian kid, named Cuma. Bassus, the leader of the bandits didn’t join, but he did let us know of a man named Yaakov in the city of Shushan, who might have information we could use.

The trip south to Shushan was pleasantly uneventful, except for a city we had to bypass because our new found friends had some, shall we say “legal issues” there. Once in Shushan, we found the man we were looking for. He seems like a lying scoundrel, but who are we to talk. He also does seem to have knowledge of the lost city we’re headed towards, so we arranged to meet up with him in a few days and have him act as our guide.

That gave us a couple of days to get the resources to outfit an extended expedition into the dessert. In need of cash, we did what we do best. We found a merchant caravan to waylay. It was well guarded, but nothing we and our friends couldn’t happen. We didn’t get much cash out of it, but we did manage to get the merchant’s cargo of silk and spices. Now, the Silk Road was kept in business for well over a thousand years on the value of silk and spices, so I knew we had something worth keeping. We took the entire caravan and headed back to town.

On the way back, we ran into a large, well-armed group of soldiers. We were badly outnumbered, so discretion seemed the better part of valor. We bribed them to let us on our way. It’s somehow comforting to know that no matter which world we’re in, some things are universal.

Once back in Shushan, we sold the silk and spices for a tidy sum and outfitted ourselves properly. With Yaakov as guide, we’re headed out. I’ll try to reach Steve on the radio to let him know where we’re headed, and then we’re off into the desert.

Corey's Log 22

Well after arriving here, I joined up with a group led by Bassus. We made good on attacking groups on road. I got a chance to make a new friend name Knife who is Kushite. I also me a young man name Kuma. I travel with them for a few months.
One of the groups that we approached in the desert turn out to be my old buddys. I didn’t see Steve with them so that made me on my toes for his long range snipper ass. I know he will pop out of no where. As it turned out, he was not there and I was able to get Bassus to allow them to go free after a paid fee. I was able to talk the two groups in to joining each other for a fun time before parting ways.
Pete show them that he was a great cook. Much better than the old man who has be make a whole pig seem like shit water taste even worst. Professor and pete told them about a trip they were on mission to go. I told Bassus that I was going with them. Knife and Kuma along with 12 others came with us. We left Bassus on good terms

Well we did ok at first made to the city got good food and fun. Pete and Prof made arrangements for us to travel out but we need more money. So we decide to go out a couple days and rob a good wagon of spice and stuff. Thing work well for us all.

So now we go again and get some more

John's Log 50
Hyborian Age 11

The lack of money is the root of all evil.
Mark Twain

We decided to head south in search of the Ruins of Kuthchemes and the treasure we think must still be there – ‘we’ being everyone but Steve, who headed to Arenjun to see an old friend, and Corey, who we hadn’t seen since the gargoyles snatched him up. We were in good spirits as we got started, a feeling that stayed with us up to the point where some bandits decided we’d be good marks.

Pete talked to their leader to lower tensions all around; I was all for killing the lot of them but cooler heads prevailed. Since ‘decorum’ had to be maintained, the bandit king demanded a levy of one silver for each leg in our group – three horses and three men meant eighteen silver coins to travel on that road for us, not really enough to raise a stink. As Pete paid the agreed upon sum, Corey’s voice rang out telling the bandit king that we’d be good men for joining the group – as it turned out, Corey had been riding with this group for two or three months. I’m chalking the difference in time passed as one of those things that happen when time travel occurs – just one of the many headaches that pop up when that’s involved. ‘Course the bastard coulda spoke up before we’d been ‘robbed’, but that’s Corey (or Kas, as he was known among the bandits).

We were taken back to the bandit camp, where we learned there was roughly thirty fighting men and a handful of camp followers and slaves. Pete managed to fix the travesty of a dinner their cook was making (unskinned dog on a spit) and got us into better graces among the brigands. Bassus, the leader, spoke with us for a bit and learned from Pete that we were headed for Khotan’s lost treasure. How did he learn this, you ask? Pete told him, flat out; he even went so far as to offer the bandits present a chance to earn their share – all they had to do was join us on our journey. I know there’s more there than we could possibly carry outta those ruins, but sometimes I marvel at what my friends do – can we really trust a group of bandits on this kind of trip?

In the end a dozen of the bandits decided to take up Pete’s offer, including Kinfe and Cuma. Kinfe is a Kushite from the Southern Kingdoms who seems to be a close friend of Corey’s. For all of our sakes, I hope Corey’s judgment of him is better than the last time he chose to hang out with someone from that region of the world. Cuma is a kid who kinda scares the hell outta me. He’s a Cimmerian who somehow found his way to Bassus’s group of thieves, and has earned his position among them. The rest of the men are the usual assorted group of cutthroats you’d expect to find in this place.

All of us headed south toward the city of Shushan, where Bassus told us a man by the name of Yaakov claimed to know the way to the ruins we sought. We’d been to Shushan on our previous trip towards Stygia, and I have to say it was kinda nice to see it again. The music, the sights and sounds – all brought back to my mind the wondrous savagery this world contains, as well as the beauty and riches that abound for those who would risk the dangers to grab them. We were low on money so had to settle on sleeping in the common room, but that’s not so dangerous when you have a dozen armed men watching your back. The guys then headed out to find the Storyteller, while I decided I’d head out and see if I could find some much-needed coin (or anything else that caught my eye…)

I didn’t mean to, but I found myself in the flesh markets – seriously, all I meant to do was skulk around the bazaar looking for some rich merchant to roll, but soon enough I was in the area where the slaves were being sold. At least there were rich merchants to be found here, even if they were protected by well-armed and strong men and women. Still, I had no intention of crossing steel with anyone, at least not so blatantly. One caught my attention – a Shemite whose name is Senen. He bought a dozen or so workers and two women before heading back to his palatial home; a home I followed him to. I spent a few hours staking out the place and scouting the grounds before heading back to the inn where we were staying. I thought I’d talk to the guys about attempting a theft, but as I entered the inn I noticed two of Senen’s guards sitting inside so I ducked back out before they could see me – I figured they’re being there was no coincidence, and that I must’ve been seen earlier.

Sure enough, while I was looking for a spot to climb to an upper floor of the inn, those two thugs came out looking for me. They saw me so I decided to take to the rooftops, hoping that they wouldn’t be able to give chase – no such luck. Those guys proved to be more agile than I’d hoped, and soon I was in a distant part of the city, running and jumping from one building to another. Eventually I had to take to the streets, and still they came. I ducked down a few narrow alleys, but their greater knowledge at last allowed them to trap me between them in a narrow street – much to their sorrow. I drew my blades and we engaged, and here I had the advantage – all of that combat in the Arthurian realms paid off. Truth be told, these two had been thugs and not true soldiers, and in the end I had a few new cuts that would become scars I could boast about, and they lay dead in the street. There was a handful of silver in their purses, so I decided to make the best of my situation and headed to the nearest Kasbah to spend my ill-gotten booty.

By the time I got back to the inn, the guys had headed out with the men in search of a merchant to waylay. I thought about trying to catch up to them, but in the end I decided it would be better to have a ‘Plan B’ in place in case their hunt proved fruitless. So I headed back to keep an eye on Senen’s place, with a new determination to be more cautious in my sneaking about – I didn’t want any more surprise visits by his men. Sure, the fact that the two I’d dispatched hadn’t returned would probably make the merchant more cautious, but there are plenty of ways to die in this world and his men might’ve just had some bad luck – at least that’s the way I hope Senen looks at it. While waiting I did get a radio message from John telling me where the group had gone; I let him know that I was on a hunt of my own, and that we’d meet back up and compare notes when they got back.

Steve's Log 52

“The raw hunk of meat that used to be my enemy makes a sound, and I know where the mouth is. And I think the word he’s trying to say is ‘please’. Pity, not vengeance sends my arrow flying into his skull.”
~Suzanne Collins

I split up from the group with the hope of making it to Arunjun to see my old mentor. The journey was daunting alone but I was confident I could pull it off. I headed North into the Kothan Desert where I became lost for what seemed like weeks. One night I awoke to find a Serpent Person standing in my camp. I almost shot him but after a brief talk, he gave me directions to where I needed to be. He told me that his people were waiting for me to complete my promise to restore the might of Valusia to the world. I honestly didn’t remember making any such promise but I lied and told him that plans were in motion but I had much I needed before the deed would be done. This seemed to satisfy the creature.

I made it to Arunjun and got a room near the Apothecary. Fassir seemed happy to see me. We spoke of my travels and he told me of the city and events of interest. Soon our talks turned to the dark arts and we spoke much while I assisted him with the running of his shop. One night as we drank in a tavern, the Queen’s soldiers accosted us and we ended up in prison. When they came to take us to a judge, I was surprised as they handed me my gear. It was all there. They took me to a huge chamber where I met Queen Taramis. She told me she needed a warrior and then sicked her men on me. I split the head of the first one with my ax and the second I knocked to the ground with my shield and gutted him with the ax. As three more came at me I threw the ax and caught one in the face. The other two came hard and fast. I parried with my shield and dodged as I worked my way towards the door. Two men stood their and they seemed about to strike so I ran at my attackers knocking them to the ground. As they go their feet I drew my tomahawk and smashed the face of one. The last one lunged at me and as I blocked the attack with my shield, I threw the weapon and it lodged in his forehead. The queen clapped and showered me with praise. She then went on to tell me that I would accompany her niece Jehnna on a quest to recover the jeweled horn of the dreaming god Dagoth. Joining us would be the Captain of the Guard, Bombaata, a giant black man who carried a huge mace. He obviously did not like me. Seeing as I had little choice in the matter I agreed but only if they would free Fassir.

The journey into the mountains near Shadizaar was uneventful. We eventually made it to a frozen lake with a tower in the center. Bombaata said we should set camp and enter in the morning. I agreed. That night Jehnna was stolen by a flying ape. We ventured into the castle the next morning and there I faced off with an ape wearing a red cloak. No matter how many times I struck the beast, it seemed uninjured. I threw my tomahawk at the creature and it passed through it like it was a ghost and shattered a mirror beyond the beast. Suddenly a huge gash appeared on the creature’s chest. I smashed another mirror and another gash. I was near death with injuries but I ran like my life depended on it, smashing mirrors as I went. Soon there was two mirrors left. I threw my ax at one and turned to smash the last one with my shield but before I could an old man came out from behind the mirror I had just smashed. My ax was firmly embedded in his chest. He fell over dead. After that I smashed the final mirror and found the girl trapped behind it. I was glad I didn’t throw the ax at that one. We recovered a gem needed to get the horn and escaped the tower as it fell into rubble around us.

We traveled North for a few days and found a ruined temple. Inside Jehnna used the gem to get the horn but a bunch of cultists attacked us as we tried to leave. Jehnna told me that she saw a cave behind the alter and I told her and Bombaata to take it while I held the door. They ran and I fought like a madman to defend their escape. I realized I was losing so I turned to run myself. As I pushed through the cave I saw Bombaata ahead of me swinging his mace into the ceiling. A cave in came down blocking my escape. I turned to face the men behind me but they were gone. I was angry. Betrayal is one thing I cannot forgive. I sat for a while nursing my wounds and soon enough worked my way through the pile of rubble. Outside I discovered that they had left my horse. Bad move on their part.

I tracked them for days as they headed back to Arunjun. Once I made the city I went and found Fassir. He was safe in his shop and he told me the legend behind the Dreaming God Dagoth. Once I heard the details I knew that the sweet girl that I had traveled with was going to be sacrificed that very night. Fassir told me that there was no way into the castle except through a well. He said it was impossible without magic. That I would have to travel underwater for ten or fifteen minutes at least. I laughed as I entered the well and told him to pour me some ale and that I would be back shortly. I made use of my bioengineering. I can hold my breath for a long time and with my specialized eyes I can see underwater too. Once inside I pulled my cloak out and moved quietly. I used my silent pistol to slice through their armor like butter and when it was out of bullets I tossed it. I wish I had those bullets when I ran into Bombaata. The man was a mountain. A monster with a chunk of steel and hate in his heart. My own anger and vengeful spirit erupted as I charged him. He shattered my shield. I busted his knee. He cracked me so hard that my helmet flew off. I chopped off his toes on his left foot. As he screamed and staggered back I caught him in the groin with an upward swing of the ax. I took his scalp while he was still alive. I laughed as he screamed and then i noticed the pit in the room. Something moved in the pit, I was not sure what it was but all I could think of was Shoggoth. I kicked Bombaata into the pit and laughed a maniacal laugh that scared the bejeezus out me/ Something about that laugh snapped me back to reality and my mission at hand.

The great chamber where the queen made me fight her men was full of cultist looking people. I saw the statue of a naked boy when I was there last but now the statue was growing and coming to life with the Horn of Daggoth mounted in its forehead. I cut down the wizard and grabbed the girl just as he raised his blade to cut her throat. Daggoth screamed and blood ran from his pores. He transformed into a ten foot tall beast with scales and a huge spiked tail. I dragged the girl to a corner as people ran for their lives. The Queen screamed at me and ran forward with a dagger. I split her in two with one swing of my ax. The beast seemed impervious to the blows of my ax and it killed many men who attacked it. I can’t say what came over me but I dropped my ax and leaped on the creatures back. I grabbed the horn and hung on for dear life. Daggoth screamed and smashed me into a wall, knocking the breath from me but I hung on. I felt the horn begin to wiggle and tear and I knew it could be pulled off. I planted my feet on the creature’s back and pulled with all of my might. When it ripped free the creature fell to the ground and transformed back into the statue of a naked boy.

Well things are pretty good now. Jehnna was made queen and she showered me with rewards. She even offered me the job of Captain of the Guard. I considered it but my friends need me and its time I started to seek them out. I hope they haven’t traveled too far.

Corey's log 21

Well i was falling to my doom…. My TK isnt slowing me a down but would i know the difference yet… i am freaking out.

and yes boys and girl ….major tom is still playing in my head

Suddenly, it gets dark and I am being pull or falling sideway… I look around and i am being carried off some gray mass with wings. I am actually being saved by gargolyes. I then heard voice saying relax “Major Tom”and i find myself at a nest.

After a while of rest and questioning, i found out that i could talk to them. It was hard but somehow these things were or at least their leader is a mellor and I still had the controiller on my person. I can guess it helps me to talk with them like i talk with Chamber my wolf. I hope that he is doing ok. I left him protecting the women back at the castle. I found from the bodies there some armor and stuff including T-sword made of the stuff that my T-rapier was made of that John gave me. I already had one blade and spear so i fashion a holder for it across my back and pocketed as much coin i could.

Right about now I am missing all the guys. Well sensing this, the gargoyles took me to the castle that guys went to. While there a fight broke out and among the gargolyes and what else was there……they protected me and as a last ditch effort .. they threw me into the portal

I found myself in Hyboria again. The nano stuff didnt work but swords still do. I joined up with a gang of pirates/raiders so now i travel with them.

Professor’s Log: Back to Hyboria

*We are at the very beginning of time for the human race. It is not unreasonable that we grapple with problems. But there are tens of thousands of years in the future. Our responsibility is to do what we can, learn what we can, improve the solutions, and pass them on.

Richard P. Feynman*

We survived our battle with the Mellors, and made it out of the city, only to be again blasted with the Arctic deep freeze. Nobody in the attacking army was alive to object, so we helped ourselves to a couple of their speeder bikes. It took a little work to dig them out of the ice and get them started, but once that was done, we headed to King Pellius’ castle.

I don’t know what it is about this world and air defenses, but it’s a wonder anybody even bothers to fly anywhere. As soon as we got close to the castle, we were blasted out of the sky again. Corey still didn’t have a falling cloud, but this time, as we watched him plummet to his doom, we saw him get snatched up by a gaggle of gargoyles. They flew off with him before we could do anything about it. I really hate those guys.

We did eventually make it to the castle. There didn’t seem to be any way in from the front, so we climbed around to the ocean side. That’s when we saw the spaceship. It was just floating by the dock, like a houseboat from the Jetsons. It appeared to be abandoned. As much as we would have loved to go inside, we had a job to do, so we headed into the castle.

We found the automated missile turrets that took us down, but there was no one to man them. There didn’t seem to be anyone alive in the entire castle, just human sized piles of dust. That didn’t bode well, but we continued in. In the center of it, we found a large room, like stadium sized large, complete with stands. In the center was a huge scintillating globe of energy. That was what we were looking for. As soon as we came into the room, our cloud armor, and all our other high tech devices stopped working. I took some radiation readings and they buried the needle. The entire place was hot, but we had to get closer to find out what was going on.

We cautiously approached the sphere, and that’s when we found the pylon in front of it. I was just starting to examine the thing, when a door at the far end of the chamber opened and a white Mellor came in. As he started walking toward us, the door we came in opened, and the black Mellor came in and did the same. They were armed, but didn’t seem to be making any aggressive moves, but John wasn’t taking any chances. He fired on the black one. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending upon your point of view, he missed, and they continued towards us.

Pete managed to talk John out of taking a second shot. We wanted to hear why they were here and figure out what their intentions were. Believe it or not, they came up to us, and asked, “What is your quest?” We said we were seeking the Grail. I half expected them to follow up by asking us what the airspeed was of an unladen swallow. Instead, they told us that in order to find the Grail, we had to pass a test, and then they started asking us questions. Lucky for me, they were all science questions. I’d kick myself for getting one of the chemistry questions wrong, but they had some type of blaster ray that did it for me. In spite of that, we passed the test.

That was the easy part, then they told us, that in order to save this world, we had to calculate the exact relative motions of the Nothing and the Matter and jump through the spherical portal. If the calculations were off, even a little bit, we’d die instantly. That’s apparently what happened to the Destroyer and Merlin. We had a computer to help us, but even then, there were so many variables that it looked like a couple months’ worth of calculations were needed. Of course, we only had about 17 hours.

When I say we, I mean me. I was the only one who had a chance to do the math, and even that chance was small. John helped by periodically looking over my numbers, but I was doing some serious sweating trying to make educated guesses to speed up the process. I guess I did it, because when we jumped into the portal, we didn’t die.

We landed in what turned out to be Hyboria. You can imagine how that made my day. At least this time, we weren’t naked and unarmed, and I still had all my cyberware. Of course, all our cloud devices blew up on the way through, but we still had our guns. That’s a good thing.

Now, we have to figure out what to do, and how to get back. It can’t be a coincidence that the Khan and Sekhmet were in Nanoworld and we just happened to land back where we first met both of them. Somehow or other, this all started right back here in Conanland. I have a feeling that it’s going to lead us back to that abandoned city where we attacked by the Mellors. Of course, for all I know, it might be something that happened back in the Casino from Hell. We’ll find out. In the meantime, we managed to take out a band of bandits, nab some loot and endear ourselves to the locals. You know, the usual.

John's Log 49
Hyborian Age 10

It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

After dealing with the mellor and escaping Berlin, our next stop was King Pelleus’ castle. What a dump! The only thing that interested me there (well, besides the whole malfunctioning portal and all) was this huge spaceship that was sitting at the end of the dock. ‘Course we didn’t even get to check that out – man, was I disappointed about that.

We spent a few hours exploring the castle until we found the screwed up portal. The place was radioactive so of course we sat around for a day or two while John made some calculations dealing with what would be our jump into the thing – yeah, I know, don’t you want to trade places with us some times. I guess he figured things out correctly, since we didn’t die the instant we touched the rip in reality. ‘Course, things could be better (but when couldn’t they?)

After an instant of eternity we found ourselves standing on some grass-covered plains. The air was sweet and the breeze refreshing. The sun was high in the sky and shone down on us, warming us nicely after all the cold weather we’d been dealing with recently. We had no food or water, our cloud devices had exploded during the trip (ouch!), and we had no real direction to go – so picked one and started walking. By the next evening we’d covered several hard-traveled miles and found a village; the villagers were guarded upon our approach but peaceful.

It turned out that we were in Koth, back in Hyboria (that just had to make John’s day). We were told to travel on at first, but after volunteering to deal with their bandit problem, we were given a bed to sleep in that night and the next morning we went to work. We were given rough directions to the bandit hideout – that happened to be near a border village we’d passed through before, where we dealt with little vicious humanoids (we called them goblins) that had all but wiped out the population. Since we knew the place we were headed and now had our bearings, it only took two days to get there. We took out the sentries easily (modern firearms do wonders to level the field against otherwise overwhelming odds), and then proceeded to pass quickly through the warren of tunnels. The bandits had made some changes, though not enough for us to get lost. A short while later we’d killed or captured all but one of the bandits – that one we let go to spread the word about the return of the Brotherhood.

It didn’t all go smooth though; I lost both my firearms – my SMG when it misfired and nearly took my jaw off, and my pistol when I had to drop it to save John from what could only be described as a one-way trip to the bottom of a subterranean chasm. Steve later said I should’ve saved the pistol and let John fall – he was joking of course (at least I think he was). I don’t really mind losing the guns though; it’s more sporting to tackle worlds on even footing – you know, when in Rome…

We got a little loot from the bandits – the best of the haul being a number of horses. We also rescued the village headman’s young daughter and her friend; they’d been taken by the bandits for whatever purpose you might imagine – I prefer to think it was for ransom myself…

Now we have to decide what to do next. We have Merlin’s last cryptic communication to us as a guideline, for whatever that’s worth; I swear, the next time someone asks me to do something and then gives me directions in less than clear language, I’m just gonna shoot them in the head and walk away. Steve’s talking about heading to Arenjun to check in with his old mentor, but the rest of us our considering a trek into Shem to see if we can find all that treasure we left behind. I guess we’ll see, but I’m looking forward to it all…

Steve's Log 51

“When I am out there, in time, I am inverted, changed into a desperate version of myself. I become a thief, a vagrant, an animal who runs and hides. I startle old women and amaze children. I am a trick, an illusion of the highest order, so incredible that I am actually true.”
~ Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler’s Wife

The universe is a strange and surprising place. Just when you think you know something, someone comes along and proves you wrong. Just when you get use to something, it is taken away from you. We traveled to the Fisher King’s Castle and the whole way Pete, The Professor, and John argued non-stop about whether we were inside or outside of the Nothing. I stayed quiet as I was reciting a spell of flame ward in my head. I really wish magic worked in this place. I honestly have no idea if I am doing it right or wrong. It is a complicated incantation and I think perhaps it may be out of my reach.

I snapped out of my daydreaming when John shouted, “Missiles!” and we all jumped off of our bikes once again. Once again Corey fell screaming to his certain doom but out of nowhere three gargoyles snatched him out of the air and all we could do was watch as he was carried off into the clouds. We landed and worked out a plan of attack.

Entering the castle proved easier than expected. There was no resistance. On the docks we found a space ship and though John and Myself wanted to check out the ship, Pete and the Professor headed for the castle door and we had no choice but to follow. Inside everyone was dead except for two mellors. Mirror images of each other, one was white, the other black. One named Virus the other named Paradox. They guided us through a series of tests and in the end we passed them all. Then we jumped through a vortex and found ourselves in Koth. Yes I said Koth. How the hell did we travel back in time with all of our gear? I am very confused and curious as to how we will get back. Now we are out for adventure and I feel the primal urges returning. I foresee many great battles and deeds that will be worthy of telling.

Professor’s Log: Hey, What’s That Bright Flash?

“In nuclear war all men are cremated equal.”
Dexter Gordon

We managed to get into the Dragon army camp without too much trouble. It was so big and disorganized that they just sort of assumed we belonged there. Interesting note, you can apparently order delivery in the middle of the Hyrkanian army camp. Who knew?

We saw a large pyramid in the middle of town. It turned out to be a museum, and it had what they billed as the Treasures of Britain, including the harness we were looking for. That just seemed too easy. The odds were that they were just reproductions. When in doubt, do more research.

While I was looking up the harness, John managed to run into our Tehrmelern friend from back in the Hyborian world. I don’t know how she got here, but I was hoping that she’d have some useful information about what was causing the Nothing. Unfortunately, she was as much in the dark as we were.

I did find out that there was still a power struggle going on to decide who the new Kahn was going to be. All the contestants were fighting it out in Berlin, and we figured that one of them would have the harness. Now we had a direction to head in, so we helped ourselves to a couple of speeder bikes and headed out.

We were doing pretty well, right up until they launched the missiles at us. One minute, we’re flying along, almost to Berlin, and the next minute we’re diving off the bikes before the missiles could home in on us. Of course, we had the falling clouds to save us, or most of us did anyway. Corey neglected to get himself one. I’m sure he regretted that as he plummeted to his doom, and there was nothing any of us could do about it.

I thought he was done for, but then we saw feathers flying all over the place. On the way down, he smacked into a flock of geese. It slowed him down a little, and that, plus a water landing was just enough to save him. I guess Steve must have loaned him the horse shoe.

Once we were all down and safe, we tried to orient ourselves. We were just outside Berlin, and it looked like the city was under siege. As we were trying to come up with a way in, we saw a blinding flash on the horizon. That’s never a good thing, so we all dove for cover. We were expecting the shock wave that hit, but instead of it being followed by a wave of heat, we got hit with a wave of cold. I mean really cold, like -50 degree cold. We weren’t expecting that.

Nobody else was expecting it either, so in the ensuing chaos, we didn’t have any trouble getting into the city. The only impediment was that the entire thing was surrounded by a cloud wall of some sort. Once we got over that, we found that the whole city was in the midst of a building to building battle. Once again without a direction to go in, we simply headed to the center of town.

What we found was an open plaza. It was surrounded by tall buildings and looked like a sniper’s wet dream, so we were cautious going in. Steve borrowed my gravity levelers, and checked out things from one of the rooftops. He reported back to us that he saw a bunch of mellors and what looked like a human talking to them, a human who was dressed like the Khan and holding the harness. He also reported that while most of the mellors were the usual, run of the mill white, one of them was black. That matched with one of the stories we had heard about the harness being able to control a “black beast.”

Now all that stood between us and our goal was something in the neighborhood of 50 mellors. Oh, and these weren’t the little mellors that we had been dealing with, no, these were giant mellors with huge claws and heavily armed. Our plan, such as it was, involved John and I acting as a distraction, while Corey snuck close enough to TK the harness with Pete and Steve covering him.

John and I charged in and as soon as we got close enough, John called out a challenge to the would-be Khan. He accepted and then all Hell broke loose. John and the Khan faced off, Steve opened up on the Mellors, they returned fire. I joined suit while Corey and Pete made their way closer. I took out a couple of mellors with my gun, and Steve was dropping them right and left, but then they figured out that if they couldn’t draw a bead on the sniper shooting at them, they could draw one on the building he was shooting from. They turned their blasters on it, and took out the entire building.

Shortly after that, they tried to do the same to me. I took a couple of hits before I could dive for cover. Steve managed to get off of the building before it could collapse out from under him. Meanwhile, John ran up and took off the Khan’s head with a single blow. Shortly after that, Corey managed to snatch the harness with his TK. At that point, all the mellors froze. They just stood there for a second and then they took off running. I guess that means we won. I’ll let you know when we figure out what to do next.


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