Umbra, "The Shimmering City"

A party to remember

FGame.of_.Thrones.S03E09.HDTV_.x264-EVOLVE.mp4_snapshot_40.44_2013.06.05_13.57.54.jpg</a>inally a spot of light

We reported to Scarlet that her son, Jonah, had been turned into a phoenix by an alter ego of Dr. Crow. She seemed incredibly unfazed. After some questioning she revealed she and Jonah were ancient beings that are cursed to live their lives over and over again and that this was part of the cycle. However Dr. Raven had separated them in time so that Jonah was always younger than her… which was a problem because they are lovers and not mother and son. I found this all pretty disturbing and now seriously question Scarlet’s love life. She could have chosen to call him her adopted child, a friends kid, anything but her blood son… Anyway…

After being invited to join a fancy dinner party in Dobell we decided to attend but with our guard up. The party was a little odd but after some deep inspection of the room and our guests all seemed to be in order. Still several of our party refused the food, much to our hosts dismay. Some of the people in attendance seemed to be people we may have encountered throughout our journeys and they all certainly knew us.

Our host explained there would be some games throughout the evening, the first of which was a raffle. The item to be won was a Bronze Horn of Valhalla. This immediately spiked my interest as I recognized the item and knew of its abilities. I purchased 100 platinum’s worth of tickets to assure it was mine and I indeed won. A fifth of the price of what I would have to pay if I could even find one in a shop.

More delicious looking food was brought out and the second game was explained. Bets were taken to see which would win, the big one or the small one and a cage was revealed from the floor. It seemed like there would be a fight of some sort. This put our party on edge. After all this was a group of nobles about to have a cage match, who knew what would lie under the large and small blankets. Once they were revealed it was none other than Chess Master, and Actual Cannibal Shia Buff!

Upon seeing his sworn enemies, The Silver Fox paid a fee in order to enter the ring so that he could claim the kill for himself. However, when he entered he learned that our gracious host was none other than Imogen Theptide! The rest of the people in the room turned to dust except two. Now our quiet evening had turned into a fight against three of our greatest enemies, none of which we were able to defeat on their own, and two henchmen.

I immediately began laying into Imogen with arrows, Shepard took on the henchmen, and Shia bit down hard on the Chess Masters back immobilizing him. Imogen was the first to fall. It was obvious he had not prepared for us to uncover his rouse so quickly. He was quickly injured and trued to escape but could not outrun my arrows, Caduceus and Hunter Seeker. He turned into ash and just a heart remained.

Shia seemed to be taking care of Chess Master all on his own, not letting go with his bite. The life draining from his body I sent an arrow in to confirm the kill. Now only to Actual Cannibal Shia Buff was left. Hunter Seeker shouted out the order of events that would have to happen in order to kill him. First the liver had to go. With a shot as true as could be I sent an arrow straight into his side, piercing the liver. Then off with his head. Silver Fox took off Shias head in a single blow summoned from his gods. We quickly ran over to the henchman and saw Sheppard and Monk were in trouble. The henchmen wound up putting up more of a fight than their masters but with our combined powers they were defeated.

Finally it seems we have begun to thin our many foes. Perhaps, just perhaps there may be a way for us to turn the tides of this approaching doom. Still even in this victory so many questions remain. Where are the other animal kings? What has Rat Girl become now? Who is sitting on the throne of the light?

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Masks of Umbra Issue 16: The Travler

Having vanquished their terrible foe, the Masks were stuck in the middle of the Scorch. Lucky for them they had new and shiny dirt golem suits to shield them from the sun’s unrelenting assault. They pressed their necklaces, donned the earthen shells and began to look around. Monk saw what looked like a man, alone and in the middle of the blazing heat. Weather he needed help or was a new threat, the group was too curious to leave it alone.

They began the slow mile long march, and then rat girl noticed something: An extra dirt golem walking with the party. The clever rodent heroine had the party pull out their weapons, and it was revealed that two people were claiming to be Hunter Seeker. The jig was up and the imposter was knocked clean out of his protective armor. It seemed as though the newcomer didn’t need it as he stood directly in the sun’s harmful rays. He called himself the traveler, the rouge emissary of Fate. He looked like a quaker mixed with a merchant, but was completely devoid of color: His skin gray, his clothes black and white. He read the fate of the entire party and only Monk chose to remain in the dark, stating that his destiny was not for him to know.

The traveler left and the party continued out towards the figure they had spotted earlier. When they finally reached it, It was the husk of an Angel of the Light, HaLO’s discontinued royal guards. However they didn’t have much time as a giant sandworm burst forth from the ground! Monk was caught in its jaws, and the fight was on. As Monk was carried higher and higher, the party worked quickly to save him. Monk had his own plans as he fought the beast from inside. When they were done, the party had transformed the beast into a sand-submarine and were easily able to make it back to Umbra.

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A Flicker of Doubt

Forgive me gods. It has been too long since my last confession.

I’ve been working with fellow followers of The Light to put an end to the evils of Umbra. They wear masks that hide their true nature but even I use a fake name. I have been working hard to find Imogen Theptide, the Blood Thief, but other creatures of the darkness have gotten in our way. Due to my oath of vengeance, I cannot let these evils continue. If a demon stands in front of me, Imogen must wait.

My fellow masks have given me strength. Their will and desire to save Umbra, mirror my own. I owe them my live.

Something has been troubling me, though. We recently received our fortunes from a being who hid among us, pretending to be Hunter Seeker. Who knows how long he’s been following us but he seemed to take a great interest in our adventures. My fortune was not a pleasant one. The first card, Donjon, foretold that I would become a prisoner of my own mind and the second, Torturer, linked my imprisonment to a great evil.

I haven’t told the others, but I can’t help feeling this has something to do with the Blood Thief. Since our last encounter, something has changed. No. Not a change… a flicker. A flicker of doubt courses through my veins. Very faint.

I must confess… I no longer revel in the thought of finding the Blood Thief. But I must. I took an Oath. I will find Imogen and I will end him. Now that I have the Armor of The Light, nothing will stand in my way.

- The Silver Fox

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Masks of Umbra Issue 15
Mawxy's Final Preformance

After defeating Rat King the team pursued their original mission: Hunt and Kill the Werewolf and Mass Murderer Mawxy. It was clear to all that she had been using a tunnel behind Rat King’s throne to reach her tent in The Scorch.
After a quick rest the team ventured deeper in the tunnels and came across a puzzle locked door. “Find the Lonely Number” was written on the wall as well as 9, 7, and 12. Deadeye had heard an old’s bard song entitled “One is the Loneliest Number” and boldly tried to depress only the “1” in the 12 carving. This was the incorrect choice and caused a load of boulders to drop from the ceiling. If not for the fast hands of Monk a few Masks might have been crushed, but he was able to hold the stones at bay. A rescue mission was mounted and the group was safe. The next guess was the number 7 as it was the only prime number. This was correct and cleared the boulders from the path.
Next the crew entered a dark cavern. The Silver Fox deteceted Mawxy’s particular stench of evil in the room, but she was no where to be seen amongst the sunken towers of Whitestone that populated the cave. The group fanned out but was unable to flush her out. Seeing the group divided, Mawxy struck. A fierce battle ensued and even though her positioning and quick feet gave Mawxy an advantage, she wound up losing the fight. The Masks proved far too great of warriors to be taken down by Mawxy now, but she had one last trick left. The Statue of The True Rat spoke to Mawxy and offered her great power, which she greedily accepted as she was desperate to save her life. The magics of her lycanthropy created a unstable reaction with the magic from True Rat. Mawxy exploded from her fleshy mortal container an became a towering leviathan.
The cavern collapsing around them the heroes made a daring escape to Mawxy’s tent. They braced for the worst, but noticed it was not attacking them. Sheppard could feel it in his gut: this thing was headed for Umbra. Unsure of what to do, the group focused their attentions on the Statue of The True Rat. Monk used the last remaining essence of the light to purifiy the statue, severing the connection the True Rat had. Monk felt quicker and his ears flared out like mouse ears. The creature now cut off from its vermin master, shrank down from the size of a mountain to a man. Hunter Seeker sent WhereAreYourParentsLittleGirl, his trusted fire beetle steed, up into the bright sky with the ever smoking bottle attached. The party ventured out underneath their new cloud and began searching for the beast that was once Mawxy.
The battle that followed was bloody and brutal. If not for Rat Girl’s curing device, several would have been infected by some mutant strain of lycanthropy. However it was Deadeye’s carefully placed arrow that fell the beast. The Light appeared in what is now know to be a semi disposable body and used up the last of its life puling the True Rat into our plane. He gifted the heroes with sand golem suits that will allow them to walk across the scorch.
Now the heroes must return to Umbra and defeat the god of vermin. However, miles of desert lie between them and their goal. And the Scorch may not be as empty as everyone seems to think…

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Seeing the Light
From Dead Eye

The events that have unfolded over the past week have changed everything, and if what the old man says is true could end the world, as we know it…

It all began with the discovery of a passageway that led to outside the wall. The sun shown down hot on us, the burning sand and bright light made it difficult to do anything. To one side we could see the Shadows, A barren and frozen landscape of unfathomable cold and desolation. I believe this Shadows holds great evil, I dread the day we will be forced to go out into its darkness and seek those who would do our city harm. On the other side the Scorch, a desert without end where the only escape from the sun is in a dry death. But in between the two extremes a semi inhabitable strip lies and it is there we found footprints leading out to a shack, cloaked in magical shrouding.

Inside the shack we found a man who I believe to be the true light. He is a being of great power and unimaginable age. He claims he was deposed from his throne by usurpers and charlatans. It may be that they light in the city as we know it is in fact evil, or at the very least self-serving. The old man spoke to us about the darkness to come and foretold of a doomsday where the shining city stops turning and the light shines no more. These things will come to pass if we, the heroes of Umbra do not step in and prevent them. It seems our foe Imogen is at the center of this greater evil. The old man said he would reach back out to us through his skeleton bird Achabacteria then he went into a deep sleep. As we left we received fire beetles to aid us in our travels.

From there we set out to find the werewolf and circus ringleader Moxi. Hunter Seeker believed she has ties to Imogen and the Shade. We were forced to once again traverse outside the wall. It is there we came across the White City, older than our home of Umbra. There we fought wererats in a formidable number. I really wonder if my comrades really have the fighting skill to go the distance of the path we have set out for ourselves. After the defeat of the horde we found a tunnel and proceeded to descend.

Each level in the tunnel presented a new puzzle and challenge. It was if the ground itself did not want to give up its secrets. It was arduous but the reward was to be great. Once all the challenges were met we found the true Rat King. The battle that ensued was one that will be sung of in taverns for a thousand years. The Masks of Umbra took control of a giant set of armor and together set about killing the King. The fight took everything we had but in the end we were victorious.

Before his death the Rat King told us of the trials to come, The Wolf, The Boar, The Bear and The Tiger. He was but one of the plagues of animals set on conquering our city and bringing about the end to the light and the reign of man. The Wolf, The Boar, The Bear and the Tiger. If these animals were equals, or worse, betters, of the slain Rat King we the road ahead is dark indeed.

The king who sits on the Throne of Light is false. Imogen is still at large and it is unknown how big of a role he has in this apocalypse. The actual Cannibal Shia Buff still lurks in the shadows and is a whisper away from the nape of our necks. The Chess Master still knows were we live and is on his way to finding out our identities. Pretty Ricky and his gang seem to be gaining steam yet again. We know nothing about the psychotic fire and ice robbers. Even our former member Clover seems to be counted amongst our enemies.

Every time we put out a flame it seems three more ignite in its stead. Seeing our enemies laid out with quill and ink only makes their power and threat seem that much more daunting. I hope I have the strength and courage for the journey that lies ahead. I know not all of the Masks will make it to the end, I wonder who the next to fall will be…

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Fighting The Rat-King
as told by Hunter-Seeker

Descending into the final chambers, acting as one body and one mind, the Masks of Umbra had formed together in the carcass of an iron golem as The MegaZord Voltron Big O Yeah Gundam Wing Masked Tuxedo (working title).

Essentially we were a giant fighting robot made of people!

Inside this robot was Caduceus in the chest, Deadeye, Milo & Mr Giggles, and Sheppard, in the right arm. The Silver Fox and Hunter Seeker in the right arm, Monk in the right leg and Rat Girl in the left leg.

We approached the crypt of the Rat-King feeling pretty good about whooping his ASS. When he saw us, he turned and clapped his hands together, producing a mystical sythe to cut us down. Using my masterful tactical insight and I urged the group as MegaZord Voltron Big O Yeah Gundam Wing Masked Tuxedo to clap our hands together as well. Lightning struck and lazers shot from our eyes as we were enveloped in an aura of shining light. And wouldn’t you know it a naked Siren appeared from beneath the earth, handing us “HUNTER’S BLADE” the mythical sword and “DEATH SEEKER” the magical crossbow. It was as if The Light himself willed them into our hands after he chose us for divine purpose.

Wielding our mighty weapons we relentlessly, mercilessly, and unabashedly murdilate the ever-living shit out of our foe. The last breath in his body told us of THE TRUE RAT the only were-rat of greater power than he. The TRUE RAT had created a magical statue of a rat (now in our possession) that has the ability to infect one with the were-rat lycanthropy, creating a rat king. With this statue in our hands, we can expect fewer were-rats as opposition.

As the Rat-King died, it became clear that anyone who was every turned by him or by someone in his sire line was now free of the curse.

I believe that this “TRUE RAT” is merely one of several “TRUE” Animals imbued with powers that combined rival even The Light. Much to consider when developing future strategies….

As you all have become such close companions, I will soon allow you all to see “The BIG Board” from my War Room (there is no fighting in the War Room).

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Masks of Umbra Issue 14
In the Court of the Rat King

They thought the stench alone would knock them dead, it would take more than that…

Our heroes had but one seal remaining, and based on the pattern they knew the solution to this puzzle laid in the phrase “One Body, One Mind.” Sheppard felt there was no time to waste and rushed into the room based on a gut feeling. Trying to outsmart the rooms designers, he rushed in facing a wall he did not believe had rune magic on it; unfortunately it did contain one of the powerful runes. Sheppard was overcome and began chanting the phrase, “One Body, One Mind.” Rat Girl sent in Nibbles to scope out the situation. The clockwork rat found that this room contained two runes, one of body and one of mind, and two large rat holes on either side of the far wall. That wall was polished so that it was like a mirror, and therefore reflected both runes at once. The Silver Fox tried to shatter the wall with a mighty throw of his javelin, but was only able to break a portion of the mirror. The Woodsman came up with a quicker solution that was far less violent. Going into what seemed like a drug fueled rave dance, Woodsy threw up a image of smooth rock walls that hid the harmful runes. The party bravely rushed in and faced their first foe of the night.
A gigantic set of iron armor burst forth from the rat holes. The dismembered limbs struck out at the heroes. The Silver Fox was restrained by a bicep, a few others were struck by forearms, but then the battle turned. Deadeye let loose some powerful shots, and the odds were in their favor. The armor clattered to ground piece by piece as the Masks burned out the evil animating them. Soon nothing was left but large chunks of empty armor, and our heroes saw an opportunity.
They climbed inside various body parts of the armor, and retrieved the helm which was hidden behind the wall. Soon they stood tall as one powerful Iron Golem! Being of one body, the group chanted the words of the Rat King: “Greed above all, loyalty that’s blind, all hail the king, ONE BODY ONE MIND!” The platform lowered them.
Now dear reader I could tell you about the battle with the Rat King. I could tell you how the group unified their magics into an all powerful iron warrior. I could tell you how you as a team the reached into the beyond and summoned powerful weapons. I could tell you of how the will of a few overcame an evil eons old. But no one tells it like Hunter Seeker. So, take it away Hunter!
Not exactly how I remember it but…
So the true nature of The Shade has been revealed, as has their ancient motivation. The animals of the old age have come to reclaim the world from man. Can they be stopped? … should they?

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Into the Rat's Nest
This is no Tunnel of Love, It's a Tunnel of LIES!!!

Once inside the cave, Rat Girl parlayed with some of the local Bats (wait a minute, she’s not bat-girl) turns out she can talk to bats too. The bats told us some shady characters were wandering around these parts.

While RatGirl was busy talking to rodents, I, Hunter Seeker, found the real clue. It was on a “Join S.N.O.W.” poster with a secret message on the back. The message was a password that unlocked a passageway deeper into the tunnel. The password was this:

“Greed above all, loyalty that’s blind, all hail the king, one body one mind.”

The password was spoken and the hole was open beneath a mural of a giant crown made of smaller crowns, and into the dungeon we went. Inside it became clear that there were 4 trials we would have to overcome to come out on the other side.

The first level was a treasure room. A magical room compelled the 5 were-rats that were in there to focus on hoarding the treasure. As we looked at the rune, we were compelled to do the same. This affected most of our companions except for Monk and myself. Monk was able to use his superior control of his body to shed the desire for loot and I, a master of intrigue, am not so easily mentally incapacitated. Looking past the obvious tricks, I was able to see the real prize. Only a single chest of treasure was real in the whole joint.

Taking the entire chest of diamonds to a trap door and speaking the first part of the phrase:
“Greed above all” opened the next level.

At level 2, we found another rune that compelled one to cause self harm next to it was written the phrase “I will not take more than you have to give.”

By this level’s trap door was an urn that would suck your blood if you cut yourself by it. So, all the companions drained their blood until they had no more to give. Miraculously, the wounds all sealed before they became fatal, the door opened, and all health was restored. Super weird right? Blood magic is freaky as shit and I DON’T LIKE IT.

At level 3, we were way too spooked out to fuck with this level’s rune room, so we found the trap door, where we brilliantly deduced that the password for this room was “All Hail the King, WE” (we being a name for the rat-king an amalgam of all rats made into one super rat named We.

Now we descend into the 4th, level……. DUN DUN DUUUUNNNNNNNNNNNNN

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The Hunt for Mawxy is Underway
She's a Werewolf Dammit and She Needs to Die

It has become clear to the Masks of Umbra some of their TRUE enemies. One of them being the were-wolf Mawxy. She has only recently become a were-being according to Hunter Seeker’s sources. Knowing about an intimate ring she would most likely have on her person, (Diamond ring with a carving that reads “Love Always”) we were able to track her to a tent in the desert on the West side of town.

Following this lead, we ventured Westward only to discover that the Scorch has more life in it than we initially anticipated. The first instance of this was an encounter with large Sandworms that have created tunnels beneath the sands.

Unable to just walk up to Mawxy’s tent, the Masks of Umbra decided that they best find a tunnel to sneak up on their target. This is when our adventurers stumbled upon the ruins of an ancient city known to us only as White Stone.

Side Note: People in Umbra would be VERY surprised to find out there are city ruins in the Scorch. Seriously, these people think Umbra is everything.

In the center of White Stone we found an old well. OR WAS IT?!?!?! It was an ILLUSION of a well. It was actually an entrance to a tunnel system and that entrance was guarded by WERERATS.

I FUCKING TOLD YOU THEY WERE REAL. THEY’RE ALL REAL. HIDE YO WIFE, HIDE YO KIDS, CUZ THEY WERE’IN’ E’RE-BODY.

They seemed to be at the very least aware of the new organization S.N.O.W. (Stop Nasty Outsiders and Were-Beasts. But don’t worry, we straight up killed those slippery sons of bitches.

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Hunter Seeker's Account of The Meeting of The Light
Enemies! Enemies everywhere

One evening after casually stalking ne’er-do-wells and insulting orphans by asking them where their parents are, I came across the Masks of Umbra trying to go on a quest of great significance.

So, I joined the cause. Underground and behind the walls of Umbra, there lies a sewer system of sorts. With some clever thinking, the Masks of Umbra were able to invoke the code of Ko-nam-i (up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, Select, Start) this unlocked a very secret yet very useful hidden door to the outside of Umbra.

Side note: Most people in Umbra (common people) don’t believe there is a way out of the city. They probably wouldn’t believe you if you told them you left. Partially because it is terribly uninhabitable outside. However, when you stay along the shadow of Umbra, there is a sweet spot where it’s neither too hot nor too cold. Outside of the game we call these Goldilocks zones.

When we arrived outside of the city, there were some mysterious footprints in the never ending dunes. Deciding to ignore all scary movie logic, we followed the footprints only to find ourselves in a magically hidden camp. This was of course the home of The Light. I know what you’re thinking, “Hunter, that’s not The Light, The Light lives on Corona platform and runs Umbra.” IT’S A GODDAMN PUPPET PRETENDING TO BE THE LIGHT AFTER HAVING DETHRONED THE ORIGINAL SO IT CAN USE HIS POSITION TO DESTABILIZE EVERYTHING. EV-ER-Y-THINGGGGGG!!!!!!!!!!!

So anyway, yeah this was totally The Light’s sweet fucking pad. I knew he was the real fucking deal when we met Archibald, The Light’s trusty talking parrot. Only this parrot is actually just a skeleton of a parrot that can speak common and shit. It was pretty cool.

Side note:
We can all communicate with Archibald if we are on the Corona platform and either lure him to talk to us or by writing a letter he can read from a far. He will then relay the message and return with a message from The Light (that is, if he bothers to read it).

So The Light basically had a couple of important things he wanted us to know.

1. The person who claims to be The Light is false. There can be only one Light and this man in front of us still has the power of The Light but it has severally diminished.
2. There is more to the world than Umbra. He had a piece of a map I am compiling that shows the lands outside the Scorch
3. We should seek the aid of the former Masks of Umbra (People like Dr. Crow) they can aid us in our quest.
4. Beware The Shade they have come before and are up to no good.

He then blessed our weapons and handed out vials that could aid our Allies.

We can not rely on him to aid us at the drop of a hat, but his mere existence could destabilize Umbra’s society if they were to find out.

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