Hanos Shot First

Zyn is in a weird place emotionally. She seeks council with Xax, confessing she never expected to ever meet her king and queen, let alone rescue them from their horrible fate. Having initially set out hating her elven side, she now has an older sister and the father who abandoned her to Hyetal as an orphan in tow. Afterward, Xax takes the king and queen to his and Celia’s stateroom; they ask for some privacy and sleep.

With Zyn piloting the ship below the ocean surface, the outer bay reveals over a dozen old wrecks, possibly from some ancient sea battle. In open sea hidden below the surface a night, Zyn halts the ship, asking with Xax for opinions on what the Last Born’s next move should be. Zyn asks Hanos if he thought Nevarus was part of any actual resistance on Hyetal, but Hanos says no because Nevarus has been active in the half-elven breeding program. Both the Corelleon (the magistrate prime) and Zyn look shocked. Xax asks Hanos for a detailed explanation, so Hanos recounts what he and Nevarus discussed about taking their time, even as long as a century to create something.

With a little time on their hands, Sophie asks if her father can show her where Rivershire once was. He does; it’s at the center of the elven spheres inside a growing maelstrom. Mal then asks Corelleon who was responsible for what happened to Rivershire. The magistrate prime says there were stories of a cold war between wizards and the priesthood/druidic order, that Rivershire withdrew support when a compromise could not be reached. Xax asks who Hanos who trained him in Rivershire arts, to which he answers “Caynor McGowen.” The prime magistrate has heard the name “Caynor” as one of the main opponents of the second story: seeking a path back to Sasharria, the elven afterlife who’s path was somehow lost.

The Last Born debate the idea of entering the maelstrom to resolve the issue or discover. Xax mentally projects info about the golden slaves while the magistrate prime mentions two things needed to do this but knows of no such project. Sophie reiterates that she revealed everyhting to her father, prompting Xax takes off his mask to relax. When the magistrate starts asking Sophie about throwing in her lot with all of Sanguine’s followers (whom he had heard was an illithid deity a small sect of elves took beyond the worlds.) Xax (against Sophie’s wishes) demands that the magistrate make some sort of apology for what he’s done toward Zyn; the prime asks for an hour to rest (Sophie’s room) before seeking Zyn to come find him.

Zyn asks Hanos in if she looks pale to him, which is overheard by Xax. Xax immediately checks out Zyn (who swears nothing is wrong with her other than a family crisis.) Sensing Xax playing a cruel game with Zyn, Hanos manages to distract Xax to give Zyn a little peace. Afterward, Celia, Azura, Xax and Hanos meet the king on the way to the galley. The king is taken aback by Xax’s unmasked appearance, but he recovers quickly enough. Soon after, he suggests the temple as a place they can be taken and hidden for protection. The rest meet Sophie in the galley.

Before the hour is up, Sophie goes to find Zyn in observation. They talk for a bit about Zyn’s concerns; Zyn assures Sophie she has no ill will toward her but would like to know more about her family since she now knows she still has one. Hanos takes over the ship’s helm while Zyn goes and talks with her father. Their conversation takes about an hour but apparently does not go well.

Regrouping with the others, Zyn suggests talking to Abdel first, but Hanos and Xax convince her to drop off the king and queen first at the temple beforehand. The king and queen claim there is a moon pool beneath the tower mount large enough for the ship. The queen is also a priestess and should be able to protect both she and herself. No sooner than the royal couple is dropped off, Mal’s pick (of Larnagish) start to vibrate as images of non-Hyetalians suddenly dying after scratching something on their arms fills his mind. People are dying everywhere.

Shouting commands to return to the moon pool under the temple mound, Mal reveals his vision. Xax, Hanos, Mal, Sophie and Celia follow the presumed path of the king and queen before they can put whatever plan they have into action. After bypassing a warded room and another guarded by two colossal stone sentries, they catch up to royal couple in a secure inner sanctum.

The queen defends the room with a barrier of blades. With the king doing something secretive behind a green glass-like enclosure, the queen refuses an ultimatum by the Last Born, claiming there was no choice left. Unwilling to risk whatever the king was about to do, Hanos wastes no more time and unleashes his flintlock on the queen in an attempt to remove the barrier. Sophie follows the attack with a lightning bolt. To the horror of the others, the combination proves fatal, killing the queen, but the barrier remains.

Praying to Sanguine for guidance to reach the king, Mal receives a vision to have Celia open a doorway into the glass enclosure. After signaling Celia, Mal is slipped inside and learns what the king is doing. The doomsday device, an egg-shaped container with carving of wasp-like insects interlocked over the outside, contains a deadly virus that affects non-human blood. After a serious conversation, the king decides to bequeath the doomsday device to Mal, making him responsible for keeping it or unleashing it.

Following Mal’s instruction, Celia takes the king back to the group outside the blade barrier. Unwatched by the group, he sees his queen’s body dead on the floor. After ensuring no other danger with the wasp egg, Mal returns to the group and realizes the king is missing. On the floor below, the king’s body is found where he entered the room and triggered one the sentries. With the king and queen’s death on their hands and a doomsday device in their possession, the Last Born depart the temple for their last destination: the contact Zyn used to leave Hyetal on the doomed Demeter.

CONTINUE READING WITH “Friends in Shanty Places”

Session XP: 3225 per player

About Kevin A. Ranson

Content Creator, Horror Writer, Film Critic. Heeding a macabre calling listening to "Mother Ghost Nursery Rhymes" in kindergarten, Kevin started writing in grade school and filled countless notebooks with story ideas while touring the Mediterranean in the US Navy. He is the author of The Spooky Chronicles and the vampire thriller series The Matriarch, creator/critic for MovieCrypt.com and "ghost writer" for horror host Grim D. Reaper. WEB • FACEBOOK • TWITTER
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