Knowing the Capital airships would be watching from the skies, the party trekked deeper into the cave system, hoping to find an exit the Capital wasn’t watching. As they ventured into the cave, they found that it was inhabited by the thievish rat-people they have encountered before on occasion. For the most part they seemed to only want the party to leave them and their horde of stolen wealth alone, though a few pickpocketed Yuni when she was briefly separated from the party. The party made no hostile actions against the rats, though they didn’t hesitate to snag an unguarded treasure chest full of jewels.
Deep into the caves was a fork in the tunnels. Down the first tunnel the party ventured they could hear heavy, monstrous breathing. E’rah took a peak further down the tunnel and saw an enormous rat-creature guarding a horde of treasure chests. E’rah was noticed, but the rats did not press the attack when she retreated back to the party. The party decided not to piss off the rats in their home turf and took the other route, which lead them out of the cave.
Around this time Yuni remembered the map she snatched from the captain’s quarters of the airship they stole from Senlis. On the map they could see a hand-drawn line from the northern city of Chantilly, through Senlis and down past the mountains next to Altanoah. The line passes right over the spot in the Altanoah Mountains where the first airship carrying the Woman in White crashed. The party decided that if this is the flight path of the crashed airship, it was worth it to check out the city it originated from.
On their way to Chantilly, they found that the Senlis River valley was flooded. At the banks of the river was a traveling merchant’s carriage. The merchant said he was on his way to Chantilly but the route became impassable because the spirit of the local river bested another spirit in some contest and as his ego bloated, so did the waters in his river. Investigating the rive shore, the party found the river spirit boasting loudly. Dia’chon bet the river spirit he couldn’t hold his waters back for the amount of time it took the carriage to cross the river bed. The river spirit accepted the challenge. When the carriage was half way across the river bed, E’rah decided to use her magic to levitate in case the river spirit didn’t hold the water back for long enough. As she cast the spell, the Words of the Comet, which were on her head that day, glowed brightly and a surge of uncontrollable magical power flowed through her. Her super-powered levitate spell sent her flying through the air! On impulse, Yuni bet the river spirit he couldn’t do that. The river spirit accepted and propelled himself even higher into the air by means of a water spout. Unfortunately, once he was propelled into the air and his water spout came to an end, he also let go of the water he was holding back and a great wave flowed downstream. The carriage just barely made it to shore before the wave hit, but Barimoke wasn’t fast enough to make it across in time. Vengeance grabbed a rope and jumped in after Barimoke and Dai’chon was able to help pull them both to shore.
Everyone made it to the other side of the river except for Yuni and Grimm. While the water spirit was boasting how great he was for winning both challenged, Vengeance offered another bet. He bet the spirit he couldn’t bet what he held inside his bag. Unknown to the spirit, the bag in question was a Bag of Holding, which Vengeance previously filled with 20-pound stones. The spirit guessed that the bag, which seemed to only weigh one pound from the outside perspective, held only a dagger. He was shocked when Vengeance opened the bag and poured out a pile of large heavy stones. As per the conditions of the bet the spirit safely ferried Grimm and Yuni across. The spirit was ashamed he had been fooled by a mortal and as his ego deflated, the waters of his river receded.
The party traveled with the merchant carriage across the frozen tundra that laid between them and the remote northern city of Chantilly. Along the way, they were ambushed in a narrow passage by werewolves. In the fight, Grimm was bitten by a werewolf. When the battle was over, they discovered two objects of note on the bodies of their attackers. One was that the werewolves wore pendants bearing the mark of the moon. Second was they also carried a Rune Sphere, much like those the Capital used to steal Yuni’s Words of the Comet.
The party arrived in Chantilly just before the city closed its gates for the night. Chantilly was a sight to behold, and not just because it’s the second largest city-state, behind only the Capital itself. For a remote location in the desolate northern tundra, the city was a technological marvel of clockwork engineering. All of the buildings were made of steel and iron. Interconnected gears ran between building and along streets in a way that the city appeared more like a giant machine. At night the city did not simply shut the gates to it’s perimeter walls. Instead, a huge metal dome slide into place over the entire city, pulled into place by the myriad of gears and pullies worked into the architecture of the city itself. At night the only thing that laid outside the massive metal dome was the tops of the observatory towers in the heart of the city, which fit perfectly through the only openings in the dome.
After spending the night crashing in a stable, the party recalled that The Wizard Holt had previously mentioned to them that the Words of the Comet looked like astrology symbols. The whole reason the party went to Senlis in the first place was to talk to an astrologist about the words. In the morning there were large crowds around the observatory towers as the nightly predictions made by the astrologists were being sold to the eager citizens. Although the astrologists were ready to head home after a night of work, one of them noticed the Words of the Comet on Grimm’s head and invited them to come in. While talking to the astrologist, the party learned that:
- Much like the spirit of the river that the party encountered earlier, all of the celestial bodies have their own spirits. Including the Earth.
- Celestial bodies communicate to each other. The language of such powerful spirits manifests itself as terribly powerful magic.
- The Words of the Comet are an example of the celestial language.
- Often celestial language is tasked to a mortal Word-Bearer.
- The Word-Bearer takes the Words to a specified destination, usually a shrine or place of strong connection to the recipient spirit.
- A complete message in the celestial language is called a Verse.
- Individual Words cannot be read. Only a complete Verse can be understood.
- The party has six Words, but there is a missing seventh Word. Their Verse is incomplete and cannot be read.
The party told the Astrologist how they found the Words on a dead woman in a crashed Capital airship. When they mentioned the Comet Ring they found hidden under the floor-boards, the Astrologist had an idea. He took the party to an occultist. Using the Comet Ring as a focus, they held a Séance to talk to the Woman in White. Although the ghost was angry at the party at first because Grimm and Vengeance desecrated her body on the Capital airship, she did give helpful information when it became apparent that they were the new Word-Bearers:
- She is part of a group that worships the Excella Comet.
- The comet only arrives on new moons.
- The Verse is from the Excella Comet to the spirit of the Earth.
- The Woman in White was the Word-bearer and her destination was the Earth Shrine.
- Lunatics attacked her on her journey.
- The Capital was also after her and managed to capture her, until the airship that was transporting her was sabotaged by Lunatics.
- The party must now finish what she began and deliver the Words of the Comet to the Earth Shrine.
- The magic of the Words is powerful and unstable. It is dangerous to hold onto Words for too long. The Words will become more unpredictable and perilous as time goes on, especially for Bearers who are unprepared for the task.
- The runes on the Rune Spheres the Capital and Lunatics used are similar to the markings found in the Earth Shrine. These runes are used to retrieve a Word from a Bearer when they reach their destination. In this case though, they are being used to steal a Word before its journey is finished.
- The cult of the comet is based here in Chantilly. One of the elders, Master Sen, could be of help.