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 A Run Through The Usual Suspects

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Registration date : 2007-04-26

PostSubject: A Run Through The Usual Suspects   Tue 19 Jul - 13:10:49

A Run Through The Usual Suspects

Having established contact by magical means and unearthed a few morsels of information, we wondered if mixing the doomstone with the mysterious performing dead dwarves would bring matters to a head. Getz allowed himself to be persuaded to interact with one of the dwarf apparitions and the luckless dwarf apparently destroyed by Wizmag got the vote for first contact.

Getz cautiously merged the infernal chaos engine with the manifestation of Ulgruld* and our glorious leader discovered that the effect of this outstanding tactical ploy was: Zero. However, he also got a jolt of energy that stunned him for a moment as he suffered a slightly cruder download of information from the wraith.

*A less disturbing merging than his recent escapades with the lovely corpse of Miss One Eye

The memory of a particular incident filled Getz’s brain,* a snippet from millennia before, a fragment of experience from one of the key players in the drama of the doomstone. In the vision, Karak Vagno is under construction and an excited Ulgruld explains to the great Wizmag a tiny but vital flaw in his calculations, with no apparent result. Explaining it to the richly dressed Frethrof is met with equal measure of uninterest, the latter apparently too busy paying off workmen. Odd that he should dirty his hands with such minor matters…

*Though let’s face it, it doesn’t take much to positively overflow the Getz cranial cavity

Perhaps we have discovered the key to the mystery: A mere mind meld with all the shadowy manifestations may unlock further evidence, no magical shenanigans required and at worst a mild headache the outcome.*

*Although a mild headache can be fatal when you’re as beaten up as we were

Having uncharacteristically flung caution to the wind we queued in gentlemanly fashion Andilwei as most suitable and least damageable began to investigate with the dusty dwarven husks in turn. Having piqued our interest with his shady monetary dealings, Frethrof was next to be probed.*

*Ooh er missus

His examination revealed that this particular specimen had a very poor opinion of all his associates, except perhaps surprisingly the young apprentice. Odd that. Our friend also had somewhat epicurean tendencies: a great love of the hard stuff strongly evident, even across the gulf of time. A love enough to cause him to make a mistake in vital calculations perhaps?

Engmeld the apprentice seemed worthy of a look next, difficult to track down as his shadow only appeared briefly at the end of the show so to speak. But with persistence we managed to catch up with him. The youngster had a tale of woe, abandoned by his parents for unexplained reasons he had ambitions to work on science projects and was clearly gifted but unable to get a job other than as a lowly servant to Burgmal, lowest of the low in the emerging hierarchy of nerds amongst the doomstone team. Jealousy of an overlooked genius then a motivation for sabotage of the project?

Let’s now turn to Burgmal, apparently a much maligned member of the team. Real puzzler this one: It was quickly obvious that he was a real mess psychologically, or was it more than that? Another team member able to discern the error in the design, yet unable to voice it, preferring to speak in support of Wizmag, a dwarf he actually hates. Or was it more than that? Perhaps he was under some kind of spell or possession that prevented him voicing his fears. Ever heard the saying the more you find out, the less you know? Well we were finding out all too much.

Wizmag himself we saved till last: Was this the arrogant flawed genius we were beginning to suspect? Or was he a victim of conspiracy? Or perpetrator himself of some dastardly chaos plot? All we got from this melding though was confirmation of the rivalry between him and Ulgruld.

So we had tested each of the suspects and were no clearer then before. But although each ghost had been examined, each had been tried only once. We resolved that each of us would test each apparition. Andilwei had done all the divining to this point apart from Getz’s initial merging. We would have to risk wounded party members to find out more. Fortunately although there were a couple of reactions which might be characterised as bad trips, no lasting harm resulted.

Ulgruld again: Arguing with Frethrof about his commitment to the project. Caught checking his calculations. Frethrof more worried about rival projects, political power and financing problems than working on his part of the project it seemed.

More resentment from the apprentice Engmeld: again his talents are overlooked, this time by Frethrof who sees him as having potential, but only in the context of spying on rivals. Frethrof meanwhile is becoming suspicious of Burgmal, his dislike of him becoming fear that he is tainted by chaos, based it seemed on a minor physical deformity.

The possibly chaos tainted Burgmal is revisited; this time he is creeping around at night to correct blueprints as he is incapable of telling any one his fears. But he finds the plans already corrected, corrected better than his own solution, in an unfamiliar hand. Strange that he does not recognise the handwriting in a close knit team working so closely together…

Wizmag again, and again he’s focussed on rival Ulgruld. He also suspects chaos involvement, this time based on a glimpse of a chaos symbol in his rival’s writings. Well by now it’s becoming obvious: Every member of the team is somehow an agent of chaos working independently to manipulate the project. Typical MO for the chaos powers of course. Brilliant.

OK so we still didn’t have a clue.* Now we were getting the final accounts of the end; But even here the truth was hidden. Every account was subtly different: A different sequence of doomstones loaded into the cradle that kept them safely apart; A different person holding each stone, small differences, just misrecollections or crucial clues? And each participant, each witness, saw in the last seconds before destruction vindication of their own suspicions.

* Or more accurately we had about 800 clues, all pointing in different directions

The accused:

Frethrof: More interested in the activities of his rivals, the financial overstretching caused by the raising of many loans and where his next ale is coming from, he miscalculated crucial elements of the formulae required.

He is believed responsible by Ulgruld.

Burgmal: A creature marked by chaos, wormed into a position where he can cause the failure at the critical catastrophic moment.

He is believed to be responsible by Frethrof.

Wizmag: As project leader, only he could be responsible, only he ignored inconvenient truths, blinded to all warnings by his egotistical desire for recognition and prestige, contemptuous of his colleagues, colleagues denied their proper rewards, credit and their rightful place as worthy leaders of the dwarven scientific community.

He is believed to be responsible by Burgmal.

Ulgruld: A scheming insanely jealous rival to the rightfully appointed project leader, his failure to gain control and recognition led him to destroy the project rather than see the credit go to Wizmag.

He is believed to be responsible by Wizmag.

Very neat, every player blames a different suspect in a circle as never ending as the repeating cycle continually played out at the epicentre of the ancient explosion. But there was one final testimony to be wrenched from the macabre spectres.

Getz caught the apprentice again for his third interrogation.* This time, a clear and damning vision is revealed. The unnoticed apprentice of massive potential, overlooked by his own, had received training from a daemon referred to as ‘The Feathered Lord’. This lord taught him a spell, a spell involving complex formulae.

*Sir Alan Sugar was not available for comment

On this piece of evidence, we decided that clearly Engmeld was the guilty party and asserted as much. As soon as we outlined it and before Saladin could even say ‘But there’s just one thing I don’t understand Holmes…’ the dwarves’ forms took fuller shape and thanked us for releasing their souls from eternal torment, before disappearing for good.*

*Or possibly ill, in particular the manner of Engmeld’s souls disappearance did not bode well for its future peace.

Quite how no one else had managed to achieve all this in the past four thousand years was of course a mystery to us; we must assume that only the presence of the doomstone had triggered the ability to commune with the long dead crafters of the power crystals or perhaps the appearance of the re enactment itself. Unfortunately the resolution of the mystery had an unfortunate side effect: Typically shoddy dwarven workmanship once again showed very little resistance to doomstone triggered lava eruptions.*

*What happened to that ten thousand year guarantee?

We made our way out of the complex with great dignity, especially Getz and Syrilliac who were dragged from the jaws of the lava flow by their comrades, the dark elf escaping (well deserved) death by the merest hair’s breadth.

We spent a day fleeing the devastating lava field that permanently remodelled the whole area in an extremely comprehensive manner. So much so that the City of Pompeii’s Urban Regeneration Committee who happened to be on a fact finding tour in the area that day completely scrapped their existing project plan in favour of a more radical approach that would be the talk of Italy for centuries.

Meanwhile, we were shattered and collapsed, exhausted by our ordeal. Meanwhile we had a problem. We were still packing one acme doomstone, the instruction manual to which can be summarised as: ‘On no account ever to be assembled still less used, ever, and yes we mean ever. In case of emergency, end world.’

As we rested, many of us enjoying strange new mutative experiences that would no doubt serve only to enrich and invigorate our future existences, Slurk, (remember him?) was enjoying arguments between its two heads and for some reason chose to share with our Arab friend the fact that he knew someone in touch with the well known daemon T’zench, the only being in the multiverse with the knowledge of how to achieve the destruction of the doomstone. Isn’t that handy? What a relief for us all.


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