Session Two: Family Loyalties
The sorcerers changed their minds about summoning a Farrow within the pyramid immediately, deciding to deal with the forces of Octen Lake first. As they were preparing to leave the pyramid, the sky went dark and a strange, cold ash started to fall all around. A group of soldiers led by the Jarl's champion, he of the cold armour, marched toward the pyramid.
Hong Ling confronted the champion outside and agreed to single combat on the condition that he would control the Jarl's forces should he win. This was agreed, and Hong Ling promptly cut the champion down with a single blow and then took his head off. The army then swore its allegiance to him.
The group then led the army into Octen lake, only to find it largely demolished, with many dead or dying. Survivors were talking about how some girl had brought ruin upon them. Ah-Booh went to the square in the centre of town where he found his sister, Ah-Pook, sitting on the ground and bouncing a ball. As the ball bounced the ground shook. They talked for a while and Ah-Booh learned that his sister had followed him into the cave and had discovered its other occupant, becoming the living vessel of the dying world of Marr'd itself. Marr'd wanted Ah-Booh and Nebulous dead, as well as all other life on the planet, but Ah-Pooh didn't want to kill her brother. There was a brief exchange of power where Ah-Booh brought forth life and Ah-Pook destroyed it.
After receiving a cryptic message from his sister, carved into a wall before his eyes, Shakti decided to go his own way and head back to Atlantis. He discovered that his sister was at the heart of the secret cabal he had been trying to uncover, and that they had need of the pyramid and Farrow. The purpose, she said, was to use the pyramid to kill Sar himself, bind his power to them and use it to make Atlantis fly to the heavens once more. Of course this would mean killing everyone and everything else on Marr'd, but it would restore Atlantis to its former glory. Shakti agreed to make the pyramid fly again and went in search of a Farrow.
Shakti dosed himself with hallucinogenic drugs and spilled the blood of his sister's riding beast to create a living trail to take him to a hidden chamber at the heart of Atlantis where a Farrow was imprisoned in a crystal. He freed the Farrow and agreed to help it bring the word of the stars and of freedom to the people of Marr'd in exchange for its service, binding it to him.
In the meantime, Hong Ling worked his way through the wastelands, finding nomads loyal to Wang Xiao and either converting them to his cause or putting them to the sword. The numbers of his followers swelled and he found more rumours about what had happened in the years of his absence in the red wastes. Wang Xiao is rumoured to be in service to another more powerful individual, and has been building power in their name. Hong Ling also tricked the ruler of a proud nomad tribe into surrendering the blue gem that was their symbol and totem, destroying it to feed Ablat Red's unholy hunger for destruction.
Ah-Booh developed a plan to try to save his sister by separating her from her demon. He asked her to make Marr'd spit up another pyramid from its sands, and the two of them entered it. Ah-Booh found a living Farrow inside and bargained with it for it to take them to a few miles above the surface of the planet. Unfortunately Ah-Booh did too good a job of stirring up the Farrow's desire to see the stars again, and the pyramid kept rising higher and higher. He threatened the Farrow with imprisonment, but the Farrow was unmoved, being immortal enough to outlive Ah-Booh's efforts. In desperation he asked his sister to call upon her demon, and a huge dust storm reached out of the atmosphere of Marr'd and slammed the pyramid back into its welcoming sands.
Hong Ling, desperate to find Wang Xiao, made a deal with his people's old enemy, the Tsarina Pardija Arpeth, leader of the Nines, as her territory bordered the last known location of Wang's forces. In exchange for a favour owed, she presented Hong Ling with a sack containing the badly battered and tortured form of Wang Xiao. Hong Ling questioned his sworn enemy and discovered that not only was his son, Hong Chang, alive, but he had grown to such power that he had usurped Wang Xiao and had taken control of the tribes. Wang Xiao admitted that he had been in service of the Damsel Messiah, trying to help find her enough converts to allow the faithful to rise from the surface of Marr'd; he did not know if Hong Chang kept the same allegiance.
Hong Ling staked Wang Xiao out in the desert sun to die and went in search of his son. Word reached him that the massed tribes of the waste were gathered and were now marching on Battlehymn.