Underway again and heading out of Arcadia space, Mal goes to Xax about a dream. He confesses that he was asked to become Sanguine’s paladin, even though he isn’t sure what that is. Xax offers to tutor Mal in priesthood when he’s not teaching Zyn and Aiden psionics.
Zyn becomes more militant about strategy, including an elaborate plan for shipboard combat and repelling borders. First contact a telepath (Celia, Xax, or Zyn) to ensure Zyn is notified; she will take over the ship’s helm remotely while observation is vacated. Everyone is given a “general quarters” location to go to while the options are coordinated by telepathy so that Celia and Zyn can move people about the ship and get the drop on any intruders. Sophie will be given “daddy duty” to protect him and the ship FROM him. Other drills include general quarters, darken ship, man overboard, abandon ship (including one that Hanos will have to approve.)
Among his other talents, Aiden has learned how to script “psionic tattoos” to grant others powers. Xax will also have him look into the crew’s tattoos as well.
Xax approaches Caine’s acting troupe about setting stories straight about the adventurer of the Last Born to counter any bad rumors going on outside. First story: meeting the group, finding the pick, and destruction of Kaldera. Second story: Finding the Water world, discovering the elves, elves abandoning he world to Sanguine as a show of faith. Third story: Meeting, fighting, and defeating the Vampire lord. Fourth story: finding the drow, confronting the colony god. Fifth story: fighting, capturing, and exiling the elven prisoners. The troupe is asked to embellish the tales to make them non-area specific.
Sometime later, Sophie goes to talk to Corelleon about something that has been bothering her. She asks if her mother, Lorena, knew about his concubine, Nia (Zyn’s mother.) Corelleon confesses that Zyn’s mother was likely killed by Lorena when Corelleon hesitated to burn down the concubine tower as ordered. In fact, he alerted some of the other commanders as well as took Zyn from her home and had her returned to Hyetal as a very young child. Years later when Sophie escaped a second time, Lorena arranged to have Corelleon banished to Hyetal as punishment for any help he might have given her (and to spend his remaining days with the people he preferred over his own kind.)
Aiden does an psionic object reading on Mal’s pick (of Larnagish.) The reading comfims that Larnagish was 249 years old (pretty good for a dwarf) when he willingly set aside his pick into his own tomb. It was forged and bequeathed to him by the commander of a great ship. Aiden also identifies Xax’s new (and intelligent) pick as lawful and neutrally aligned.
Shortly after crossing over into Hyetal space again (with no unusual activity or sightings), Sophie goes to Zyn’s stateroom “for a talk.” Already suspicious of the conversation’s subject, Zyn asks for Sophie to wait, pours herself a drink, then listens. Not one to honey-coat a subject, Sophie drops the bomb that Corelleon said his wife killed her mother. With a word, Zyn takes her drink and seals Sophie into her stateroom before going directly to Corelleon cabin.
Sophie alerts Xax who intercepts Zyn in Corelleon’s room. When she commands him to leave, Xax merely smiles as he swaps locations with Sophie to put the broken family back into the same room. Zyn won’t talk with Sophie in the room, so Corelleon promises not to die while Zyn speaks to him alone; Zyn whispers a thanks for trusting her and unseals her stateroom (not that xax needed her to to get out of it.) Needing something or anything to do with herself, Sophie goes to the galley to prepare a meal.
About the same time, Lochlan manages to stab himself in the hand and goes to Xax, having only just arrived back from Zyn’s stateroom. Xax in turn takes him to the galley and pours alcohol directly over the wound; the scream sets off telepath alerts all over the ship (and really sets off Sophie, who orders them both out of the galley.)
After assuring Celia and Zyn that all is well, Lochlan confesses to Xax in Xax’s room that he misses his foolish, idiot friend Raylen and is beside himself with no one to talk to about it. Xax give it his all (be angry, start a fight, get drunk), but when the subject of sex comes up, Lochlan realizes the conversation has taken a turn for the worse and promptly bails. In the cargo bay, Lochlan strikes up a lively tune, especially when he sees Mal heading toward him with that inquisitive look in his eye.
Xax goes to Zyn (having concluded her conversation with her father) and confesses to her that he wants to do more for crew morale but doesn’t really have a close friend himself, and equal as it were. Zyn offers her own take on family with a renewed perspective and how the crew tends to function like a family. She then offers to be there for him as well.
A week after, Xax goes to retire to his stateroom only to walk in on Lochlan and Celia sharing the oft-empty bed. Slipping out as quietly as he could, Xax questions Zyn first while she is helming in observation. With Sophie listening in, Xax begins asking complicated questions about males and females, himself coming from a race that procreates asexually in a brain pool. While Sophie discomfort listening to Xax on the subject sends her out of the room, Zyn manages to keep her cool about it and let Xax work it out himself. Afterward, Xax goes to ask Caine and the actors troupe about “mating rituals,” prompting Caine to go on endlessly about the many stories about love and passionate beings finding one another.
The smalljammer reaches the first planet in Alluvia space, a small green and blue planet named Vulpine with no detectable spelljamming activity in the area. Zyn musters the crew and suggests a short amount of vacation time for everyone. Zyn suggests Sophie take Corelleon to town in a renewed show of trust; Sophie asks, and her father readily accepts.
Xax, Aiden, Sophie, Corelleon, and Mal all go planet side. The local town, Newshire, is over the hill and down the right side of the road. The village is made up of thirty or so one-to-two story building and homes linked via cobblestone roads. In tune with his paladin abilities, Mal feels the slight presence of evil emanating from the town. Two guard working for the Lord Mayor of the town greet the newcomers and give directions to various stores. Mal gets three rooms at the inn while Xax sets Aiden up with clothes at the tailor (who asks and is told about Sanguine.)
Ever the ambassador, Mal starts gathering info talking to people in the taproom. The biggest news is that, thanks to a couple of young men who frequent the town on occasion, their have been new births in town. The oldest new child almost five years old. These men offer young women a ritual that requires a small fee and takes an evening to perform, but afterward they are able to conceive with their husbands. Mal alerts Xax and learns where the young men are staying in town (having arrived themselves only recently), but the the evil Mal senses is coming from other places scattered about the town.
Tracking the closest source to a local residence, Mal and Xax encounter two more local watch standers. Their conversation leads them to talk about the two local “Primers” named Korbin and Tremayne, the ones credit for the new births. Using the guards as a distraction, Xax and Mal gain entry to the home by way of its owner, Fisk, and his wife, Rae. Rae is holding their daughter, Radha, barely two years old. Xax prepares holy water and blesses the guards and the parents, but when the holy water touches the child, the water hisses and burns. The parents back away as the dropped child transforms into a devilish imp: gnarled claws, horns, wings and all. Mal destroys it with one hit. Xax puts the parents to sleep while the guards dash out the door, leaving the imp’s remains to be found.
Xax contacts Sophie and arranges to have Aiden take Corelleon back to the the ship and tell Zyn what’s happening in the town. Sophie meets up at the next home where Xax and Mal have already bluffed their way in, put the parents to sleep, and killed another imp. Outside, the group meets the Lord Mayor who has returned with the aforementioned fleeing guards, and shows him what’s happening. Immediately recognizing the danger and his luck that someone can deal with it, he suggests sounding a general alert. Mal counters with the need to keep everything quiet and moving house to house; Mayor sends one guard to gather more men quietly.
At the third house, the Lord Mayor gets them in while Xax puts the parents to sleep. Phasing upstairs to engage, Xax hits the creature without killing it. In turn, it smiles and becomes invisible. Between himself and Mal, a couple of hits finally kills the creatures. At the fourth house, the creature tries to flee before Mal’s attack of opportunity puts it down. When the baby’s room in the fifth house is found empty, Mal dispels the area of magical effects, revealing a hidden rat that turns out to be another shape changed imp. Having seen Mal dispatch the imp from across the street, the imp in the sixth house breaks the window out and leaps skyward, but Sophie brings it with a lightning bolt.
Four more are killed in quick succession. Xax, Mal, and the Lord Mayor are being followed by a growing but amazingly quiet crowd of onlookers watching the swift work of the warriors in removing the threat from the town. On the eleventh home, something worse waited for them: a skeletal creature of horns with a tail like a scorpion and glowing eyes sockets. The battle is heated but looks evenly matched between Mal and the creature until it tries to summon something to aid it it. Taking the opportunity to interrupt the casting ritual, Mal stops the summoning before finishing it off. At the last house, the parents are already waiting outside, claiming that something broke through their child’s window and flew off with their child.
At their guest house, the so-called Primers, Korbin and Tremayne, show no resistance to their questioning. They explain that they were given the ritual and shown how to use it but truly had no idea that it conjured forth devils instead of children. They agree to atone and help end this by showing the Last Born where all the other were born. Unfortunately, their travels have gone on for five years; there could be as many as a thousand others. Xax signals for Zyn to brings the ship down to pick up themselves and the Primers. As they depart, Xax gives a quick sermon and his promise to return to Newshire once Sanguine’s work on their world is complete, providing holy symbols and Sanguine scrolls to all those who ask.
Elsewhere, the devils have been alerted to the Last Born’s arrival…
Session XP: 6200 per player (total 81,900 xp)