New Sneaking trailer
In Seven: The Days Long Gone you play as Teriel, a master thief. To be a master thief one must master the art of stealth movement, or sneaking. Learning when to avoid obstacles, traps, alarms, and armed guards is as important as learning to handle yourself when the shit hits the fan. Sneaking requires patience, strategy, and the ability to exploit your surroundings by moving vertically and horizontally, which isn’t the traditional manner commonly found in 3D Isometric RPGs. Sneaking combined with the first-ever climbing system enhances your ability to succeed!
Extensive gameplay straight from Gamescom 2017
On the newest gameplay video of Seven: The Days Long Gone you can check out the thoroughly rebuilt UI and GUI, inventory, statistics of your protagonist, journal… And much more. Sneak and assassinate your enemies from shadows by putting a knife through their backs. Use various types of weapons – spears, swords, daggers and axes. They differ in individual range, hit speeds and special attacks.
And if you prefer less conventional methods, benefit from wide set of skills. Invisibility will let you vanish from sight, although the enemies will still be able to hear your steps. This is when silent runner comes in handy – it will allow you to become soundless and undetectable. You might also want to put chromosphere to good use by creating a sphere of energy to slow your opponents’ movements down. As for flash, it’ll give you the ability of instant movement from point A to B; quicker as a bat of an eyelid. Useful when you’ll try to backstab your enemies.
Voice overs for Seven: The Days Long Gone are done by actors, who formerly worked on titles like Mass Effect: Andromeda, The Witcher, Divinity: Original Sin, Total War: Warhammer, LittleBigPlanet or Star Wars: The Old Republic. You can listen to the sample of their work while watching the newest gameplay.
The developers also presented how long range weapons work – you can resign from aim-lock option if you prefer manual shooting. In that case targeting your enemies will be easier because of arch showing you the trajectory of an arrow.
Set up exploding mines, gas bombs, electrical traps. Teriel is able to put them on a ground, doors, and… corpses. To lure the enemy wherever you want, use the elements of environment and make a noise where needed.
If you are a fan of minigames, Seven: The Days Long Gone offers something interesting. On the newest video the developers presented panel hacking, with gameplay being an evolution of famous Frogger. Get from the left side of a screen to the other, while avoiding all obstacles. Prepare for gradually increasing level of difficulty!
The brand new gameplay trailer is here!
It wouldn't be possible to achieve that without the team spirit of some great, creative minds. That's why we asked some of the greatest people for help, including Gavin Dunne, creator of fantastic Miracle of Sound project. Other names include Marcin Przybyłowicz - outstanding composer of the soundtrack for SEVEN (and, of course, Witcher 3), and the rest of the talented team from Fool's Theory and IMGN.PRO.
We've planned this for months and, finally, it's time to share with you a brand new gameplay trailer. It's accompanied by a song that was written, composed and tailored for this, over 3 minutes long video. Enjoy watching!
[Click HERE to watch the gameplay trailer]
Join us at PAX East 2017!
We will be waiting for you in Hall B, Booth 18102. You will have the opportunity to leave your feedback and try the latest build of the game!
At PAX East we will present an entirely new part of the game with advanced combat, impressive new skills, and even more demanding monsters.
You can also expect to see the brand new gameplay published after the event.
Please come and join us to see our latest build - your feedback is crucial for us, and we continue our efforts to bring to you the best game possible. See you in Boston!
Sneaking Teaser - January 2017
We are proud to announce a new Sneaking Teaser from Seven: The Days Long Gone.
Sneak around, assassinate hostile guards, and escape. SEVEN: The Days Long Gone protagonist's gatecrashing skills are revealed in a new teaser trailer.
The new video is available on our YouTube channel:
After sharing some stunning locations from the game a couple of weeks ago, IMGN.PRO and Fool’s Theory are now ready to demonstrate what a good thief is capable of.
The trailer shows the main character, Teriel, sneaking through a security checkpoint, many of which are scattered across the island of Peh. As well as supporting a visa system to regulate the flow of prisoners around the island, Technomagi use these checkpoints as transfer stations for cargo transport. By hacking the central units of each cargo branch – known as overseers – Teriel can unlock fast travel routes to allow undetected transport.
We're on Steam now!
"Seven: The Days Long Gone" is officially on Steam! You can now follow our game there and add it to your own wishlist!
„Seven: The Days Long Gone” is officially on Steam! You can now follow our game there and add it to your own wishlist!
On this occasion we gave a small makeover to our website - a huge FAQ has been added, and lots of new info that we disclosed in the last couple weeks has been put together for clarity. Now you should be able to browse all the information about our game in a more clear & structured way.
Last but not least – we’re participating in the Indie Showcase contest during the Digital Dragons 2016.
You can support and share your love for "Seven: TDLG" by casting your vote for us under the following link:
The event takes place in Kraków, Poland 16-17 May (http://www.digitaldragons.pl/en/).
We're on PAX East 2016!
We will publicly present our RPG for the first time ever - SEVEN: The Days Long Gone in a pre-alpha version.
As you can see our game earned a subtitle - visit us at booth no 8236, April 22 – 24, 2016 in Boston to check it by yourself!
Arkadiusz Reikowski joins the Seven Team!
Here's what Arkadiusz says about the project:
“The idea of composing music that connect us with the world that we're playing in is always a challenge. How to describe in terms of emotions the tales of this vast, apocalyptic and unique world of SEVEN, where people still use technology of the old world and magic at the same time? I really like Marcin's idea of blending the sounds of what you can salvage in the SEVEN's world with more intimate instruments like the strings quartet. We both have different musical languages which combined – can make some really interesting soundtrack. Looking forward to be a part of this!”
To find out more about Arkadiusz visit his website:
Seven writer announcement
We have created a core narrative experience and side quests that revolve around our key themes of deception, power lust, discovering hidden truths, and survival in an unforgiving world. Rather than leading the player through this experience, we have sought to create interesting characters and engaging stories so that the player wants to dive deeper into Peh's secrets.
The tale we tell is one of hope, betrayal, and selfishness against a backdrop of scheming factions. As the player, you are faced with decisions at every turn. You decide how your journey through Peh unfolds.
We were excited by the inherent mysticism in creating a new world built on the ruins of an antecedent advanced civilisation. Exploring the similarities and differences between the ages was one of the main allures. Classes, religion, and governments still exist in the game world, but as tools of manipulation for the powerful.
Leading the writing team is Stephen Rhodes, a Narrative Designer and Writer from the United Kingdom. He has been working in the video games industry since 2010. In that time he has worked on several Triple A titles, including LEGO CITY: UNDERCOVER, THE WITCHER 3: WILD HUNT, and HOMEFRONT: THE REVOLUTION. Stephen is a published author, having contributed to several short story anthologies. He also writes pen and paper role-playing campaigns, screenplays, and comic books. He is also currently working on his first full-length fantasy novel.
Assisting Stephen is Tom Killalea, a fiction writer from the UK who has written a number of short stories and screenplays. His favourite game is The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, which was his first foray into virtual worlds. He now spends most of his time thinking and writing about games. He is extremely excited to be working on his first title at Fool’s Theory.
You can follow Stephen on Twitter at @Evazorek or visit his site http://www.sterhodes.com
You can follow Tom on Twitter at @Yukes_1989 or visit his site http://tomkwriter.com
Hunting the hunters
M. Przybyłowicz will create the soundtrack for Seven
We've got some great news for you today – the composer of Seven's main theme will be working with us on the complete soundtrack. Furthermore, we can finally reveal that it's none other than Marcin Przybyłowicz, whom you probably already know from his work on The Witcher series.
Marcin is a dear friend of ours and has been a companion on many foolish escapades over the years, so have no fear, Seven's soundtrack is in good hands!
Here are some words from Marcin himself about what he's got cooking for us:
“If I had to choose the one thing I like the most about game development, I’d say that it’s the beginning of every project I work on. During that initial phase, you make all the important decisions – including what I think are some of the most important – how your game's gonna SOUND, what its musical identity will be, and how you want your audience to resonate with your project, emotionally. After all, that’s what music is all about – we composers are wizards of emotions.
For me, it all starts when I catch the vibe of the world the game is set in, and the world of Seven has a really interesting one. It’s all about how mankind struggled to survive the apocalypse and build a new civilization on the ruins of the old one. And that’s a perfect setup for the music – the world of SEVEN as it is now encourages us to experiment and go wild with our ideas. For example, what kind of instruments do the people of Peh play? Easy – they're the kind they’d build them themselves, from scrap, junk and anything else they could salvage. But have you ever wondered what on earth they'd sound like? Well, this is how I hear it:
That, combined with a traditional acoustic sound is the essence of Seven’s musical vibe. I hope you’ll be feeling it too when the game goes out.”
Marcin Przybyłowicz is a polish composer best known for his work in video games, including on The Witcher saga (most recently as Music Director for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt), The Vanishing of Ethan Carter (as sound designer), Ancient Space, and many more.
Marcin's work on The Vanishing of Ethan Carter earned him Best Audio 2014 award (Digital Dragons 2015,) and has been nominated for Excellence in Audio (IGF 2015), Best Sound Design (IGN Best of 2014), Best Audio for an Indie Game (13th Annual GANG Awards) and Outstanding Achievement in Sound Design (Annual Game Music Awards 2014). His music from The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has already won both players' and critics' hearts worldwide.
The mighty and the magic
Seven - Tales From The Vetrall Empire
It is the first episode of entire podcast cycle that is going to be developed in the future. Follow our Soundcloud profile to stay up-to-date:
"Seven – Tales From The Vetrall Empire" podcast is also going to be available on iTunes soon.
Motion capture session
Few weeks ago we did a motion capture session for Seven. It took place in Mocap.pl studio, located in Warsaw, Poland. Their experienced crew is known for working with developers like CD Projekt RED, Flying Wild Hog or Vivid Games. Acting was performed by Maciek Kwiatkowski from Prime Fury Stunt Team and Adrian Perdjon (Mocap.pl). We’re putting a big emphasis on the quality of animations - our aim is to humanize the protagonist as much as possible to create the natural feeling which helps the player to immerse deeply in the game.
Check out our video summarizing the session:
We’re happy to announce that we have finally launched the News section on our website. Before we’ll be able to show you some materials from the gameplay we would like to introduce you to the setting of Seven.
Let’s start with the basics - its inhabitants. On the concept art shown below you can see how the nightlife looks like in the town of Peh, in the place called Firefly Manor:
?Starting from today we’ll post some news about the lore of Seven each Friday. Our aim is to show and explain what life is like in the Empire of Vetrall.
It’s not everything for today – we would like to give you the opportunity to win one of the exclusive Seven poster + pin sets – check our Facebook page for the details: https://www.facebook.com/seven7game
Make sure that you won’t forget to come back here every Friday to find something new!
About the gameSeven: The Days Long Gone is a 3D isometric RPG in which players can freely explore the sandbox world of the Vetrall Empire.
Set in a 'beyond post-apocalyptic' environment, the title will redefine how the isometric RPG genre is played. The climbing system implemented allows you to free-traverse obstacles of any height, both horizontally and vertically.
On the prison island of Peh, you will experience rich stories of conspiracy, discovery and betrayal, set within an unforgiving world filled with mysterious technology and dark age superstition. As a master thief possessed by an ancient daemon, you are deported to Peh on a mission that could decide the fate of all humanity.
For any player, hunting is a useful ability and can be profitable, but for civilians it’s essential knowledge if they want to turn an honest coin. In Peh, you’ll learn that efficient stalking and hunting of monsters yields many benefits. By studying how they live, you can gain a tactical advantage in combat, or simply learn the best time to nip in and steal their eggs while they’re out roaming.
It’s crucial to understand that different monsters have different vulnerabilities, and that they all have different rhythms and routines. Understanding your prey will enable you to kill it more efficiently, or even exploit its nature to your own benefit. For example, by luring it to an enemy camp to wreak chaos for a while you can make your own job easier. Who knows, you might even get them to wipe each other out altogether. In this example, your knowledge and experience is crucial. Imagine setting up a ‘meeting’ between a peaceful, leaf-eating monster and a bunch of bandits – congratulations, you’ve just provided the enemy with dinner.
So, taking the time to study and defeat the monsters of Peh has multiple purposes: giving yourself the upper hand in a fight, obtaining precious and sometimes rare ingredients for tricky, high-level crafting recipes, and also for reaching and clearing areas that you want to explore and investigate.
Of course, hunting is also a matter of pride. The more successful you are as a hunter, the more you can earn putting down troublesome beasts. But be careful, because there are other hunters in Peh, some of whom are highly skilled and not keen on sharing the big rewards with you...
The most common -- and most devastating -- form of magic is that wielded by the Technomagi. Descendants of the Ancients, Technomagi are something like demi-gods in the eyes of many, able to shape reality with their magic and accomplish almost anything. But in the long centuries since then, today's Technomagi are mere shadows of their incredible ancestors, even though their magical skills are still the most powerful of all. But Technomagi must train for years before they are able to manifest their power in even the smallest way. Also, their skill is somewhat selective -- there are many schools of magic, but no one Technomage will ever master them all.
Magic in Seven can be used for different means, although it is often simply put to practical use. Most commonly, of course, it's used for combat. There are no better spell-slingers than the Pioneers, part of the military wing of the Technomagi, who are trained to channel their power through their firearms, making them some of the deadliest adversaries to come up against. In addition, the Technomagi's ranks include the Engineers, who serve as scouts and advanced recon units, as well as magical Sappers and numerous squads of mechanics and inventors of all kinds. These latter work extensively with artefacts recovered from ruins, like those found in Peh.
There are other kinds of magic, and other kinds of magic users in Seven, too. Let's look at the common magic, Wild Magic. This is magic in its purest, most primal form, unpredictable and dangerous. Its practitioners, Wild Mages, seem often to wind up at the head of rebellions and uprisings, or in other positions of power within Peh's various communities. Ordinary people mostly fear them, yet sometimes see them as potential leaders who might protect them from the greater cruelties of the world and the ruthless Emperor Drugun. Wild Mages are also descendants of the powerful Ancients, but lack the formal magical training that helps them properly harness their power. As such, to the disciplined Technomagi they are considered heretics, and their magic illegal. This makes them prime targets, constantly hunted down and killed for the glory of Vetrall. Of course, while some of the Wild Mages are dangerous, crazy or simply self-serving, there are also a large number of harmless herbalists, apothecaries and paramedics innocently plying their trades in these harsh lands, who also draw upon a little of the wild stuff. And despite working for the common good and helping where they can, they are also branded heretics.
The third most significant magic-wielding force in Seven is the Biomancers -- spiritual scientists in the employ of the Empire of Vetrall. Their duty is to care for the souls of the Empire's citizens by caring for and improving their flesh. The Biomancers believe that science and worship, biology and technology, are not mutually exclusive. Like the Technomagi, their power is based on reason and understanding -- the Biomancers are doctors, researchers and surgical pioneers, able to heal even those wounds that are invisible to the eye. But their services are not entirely free. In exchange for the healing of wounds or reconstruction of missing limbs, sacrifices of equal value must be made...
Finally, as players of the game, you will be able to cast your own spells too. Your available spell set will vary based on augmentations, which you can find and equip. These augmentations can put you on an even footing with other magic users, and cast reality-altering spells that deal damage, deceive and confuse. Getting your hands on them is one thing, but equipping them is a totally different matter, and a story for another time.
Winning the confidence of the people you meet brings all sorts of advantages – an extra hand in a fight, an extra brain with a difficult problem, and at the end of a hard day’s artefact hunting and dodging the Emperor’s anti-Heresy squads, a safe place to rest and stash some extra stuff. There’s no place like home, right?
By the same token, not everybody you meet needs or wants a new friend, and there are plenty of people out there who’ll be more than happy to ignore you or use you as far as they can, and maybe even put one in your back when they’re done. To survive in Peh, you’ve got to be smart. Don’t jump to conclusions. Listen. Look before you leap (especially if you’re being chased across rooftops at night). Listen to peoples’ problems, help those who need it and keep a close eye on those who don’t. You can use what you know to your advantage, turning enemies against each other, or just for doing a little good wherever you go. The choice is yours.
Of course, sometimes it’s not possible to turn the other cheek, to walk away from some ugly mutt who’s just questioned your mother’s heritage, or to ignore a squad of Vetrall soldiers dishing out a beating to some poor urchin in an alley. That’s when you’ll find out who’s really paying attention. Did you just rid a small town of its local drunken bully, earning the gratitude of all around? Or perhaps you just plugged a slightly obnoxious but nonetheless useful man, and have earned the ire of his friends and neighbours. Fight the fights if you have to, but pick them wisely – a victory today may be a loss tomorrow, or another win on a different day. You never know.
Sometimes though, it’s not just the people you have to watch out for, but the world itself. Rain, storms and bad weather make it hard to see, and muffle a lot of sounds too. Anyone who happened to be, say, looking for you, might have a hard time finding you under such conditions. Of course, that may not be a problem, depending on who’s doing the looking.
Just remember to keep an eye on the sky when you make your plans. Getting away with anything in broad daylight is always going to be more tricky when everyone around you can hear and see as well as you can. Even with clear skies, some things are best left to the dark of night anyway… The long and the short of it is, you’ve got a world out there to explore, and a chance to either make it big or end up talking with the worms. Your place in the world is as much about what you do and who you do it with, as to whom you do it. Peh runs by certain rules, and once you figure them out, you’ll have all the tools you need to live the life you want to. Whether you live it long enough to enjoy any success, well, that’s another question.
Episode 4: Ghost Stories
It was the dead of night in Hallard when two figures ghosted along a cobbled backstreet. The soft light of the street globes illuminated their passing; phantoms phasing between worlds. The air was heavy with the settling smog from the daytime’s industry.
One of the figures darted into a side alley and crouched in the shadows. The other followed and stopped, panting.
“I must say Nilon,” the first said, “You’re out of practice.”
“I’m fine, my friend,” Nilon replied. “I’m just not quite as fit as the great Blind - the King of Thieves.”
“Don’t call me that,” Blind chuckled.
A shadow passed across the entrance to the alley. Blind pulled Nilon further into the gloom. He noticed his friend wince as he did so.
“Sorry,” Blind whispered. “Still sore, huh? You did take quite a beating.”
“Yeah, and it wasn’t even worth it. I couldn’t stop them stealing our stuff.”
“Well,” Blind said. “Tonight, we’re taking it back.”
The friends crept to the other side of the alleyway and peeked out. Across the street, the roof of an opulent villa jutted above an imposing Archanium wall. Endangered palm trees dotted the grounds. Blind scanned the street. He focused on the buildings that overlooked the complex.
“Are you sure that this is our guy?” he said.
“I’m sure,” Nilon said. “Counsellor Thoren is an artefact collector. Hiring thugs to mug scavengers is exactly his style.”
Blind was on the verge of asking his friend how he knew so much about Thoren, but it wasn’t necessary. He knew well enough.
“I trust you Nill,” Blind said. “Ready?”
“Ready. Boost me over the wall.”
Blind saw the steely glint of determination in his friend’s eye. He had seen it many times before.
Without another word, Blind slipped out of the alleyway. He sprinted across to the metal wall, keeping an eye on the security camera perched on top.
From the safety of the darkness, Nilon watched the camera pan left and then right. The window of opportunity was small. He saw that his friend was ready with his back against the wall, but he hesitated. The camera panned left again. Blind hissed something that was lost to the night. Nilon took a deep breath. The camera panned right.
Blind was beginning to think that his partner had bottled it when Nilon broke cover. He swept across the cobbles and bound into his friend’s interlocked palms. Blind surged his companion upwards and on to the top of the wall.
“Oh shit,” Nilon muttered to himself. The wall was narrower than he’d hoped.
His momentum carried him over. He dropped down on the villa side and managed to absorb the impact with an inelegant roll. He listened, motionless, for a few seconds. Only the gentle rustle of the palm trees and the murmur of the outside pool greeted his ears. He couldn’t see any guards.
“Are you okay?” Blind whispered through a manufacturing slit in the wall.
“I’m alright,” Nilon replied. “Don’t worry. The landing was a little heavy, that’s all.”
“Okay. I’ll be with you in a second.”
Blind had already calculated his route. He slunk over to the Grand Emperor Hotel. It was an imposing building of polished stone and austere metal that only the wealthiest of traders could afford to stay in. An intricate metal sign loomed over the street below. It depicted the Holy Emperor Drugun spreading his arms wide in welcome.
Blind slipped around to the back of the hotel and shimmied up a drainpipe to the tiled roof.
I’ve got to learn how to do that, Nilon thought.
The young climber dropped without a sound on to the sign. His balance never wavered. He edged along it, crouching, until he reached the furthest point from the building. He was no more than a couple of metres from the villa’s wall. For a few seconds, the eagle eyed his target.
Then he sprang.
Nilon held his breath as his friend soared through the air. With relief, he watched Blind grab on to the wall, scramble over and drop into a bush.
“Impressed?” Blind whispered to his friend as he stepped out of the bush, dusting himself off.
“Eh, not bad I guess,” Nilon replied. He shook his head in admiration.
“Steady on Nill, you’ll make me blush,” Blind said, grinning.
“Let’s find a side entrance,” Nilon said to his partner. “No doubt the main door will be alarmed.”
The friends circled the building, their eyes peeled for movement from inside. They encountered a simple stone arch leading to a nondescript door. It was perfect. Nilon tiptoed towards it.
He started as a strong hand gripped his shoulder. He turned to his friend. Blind’s face had turned as white as his knuckles.
“Listen!” Blind implored.
Nilon obeyed, but heard nothing other than the trees, the pool and a faint humming. A humming! The sickening realisation dawned on him. The archway was filled with a powerful electric security field. If he had walked into it he would have tripped the alarm and received a few thousand volts for his trouble.
Nilon thanked his friend and set about studying the field. A simple lever deactivated it, but it was only accessible from the other side.
“What do we do?” Blind whispered.
“It’s too risky to look for another entrance. What about the sound suppression tech that we scavenged a while back?”
Blind was unsure. The friends had tested the device in their hideout but never used it on a heist. Nilon saw the doubt in his friend’s eyes.
“I know, Blind, but we’re not going back empty-handed. It’ll work.”
Blind shrugged his acceptance. He dug out the palm-sized device from his backpack and placed it on the ground next to the field. At the press of a button, a translucent bubble swelled into existence. Nilon stepped into it, electric drill in hand.
Blind held his breath. Nilon started drilling. Inside the bubble, the drill’s screeching was almost unbearable. To Blind, the security field's faint humming was the only sound.
When Nilon had drilled through, he groped for the switch and flicked it downwards. The humming stopped.
The friends passed through the passageway to the external door. Nilon saw that the lock was of a basic pin and tumbler design. He took out his trusty lockpick and tension wrench. He applied the necessary torque and used the pick to push each pin in turn out of the cylinder.
Seconds later, the cylinder turned and the pair of thieves entered the villa. They found themselves on a white marble floor blanketed by a plush rug. They could just make out abstract paintings adorning the clean walls.
Nilon froze and grabbed his friend’s arm. There was a figure standing in the corner, motionless. Blind patted his companion’s hand and smiled. His keener eyes had already spotted the statue. He had also noticed the empty glass tumblers all over the floor.
“Careful,” Blind mouthed to his friend. “Party.”
Nilon and Blind evaded the minefield of discarded glasses and snoring bodies. They crept further inside and soon found the artefact room. The vast space brimmed with ancient devices and oddities from the Golden Age, many of which the pair had never seen. In one corner, awaiting display, sat the items that had been stolen from them.
“Let’s grab our stuff and see what else we can find,” Nilon instructed his friend.
When their backpacks were full, they weaved their way out of the villa. They reached the grounds without incident. Blind arrowed towards a palm tree which drooped towards the Archanium wall.
“After you,” Blind gestured towards the tree.
Nilon clambered up the rough bark and heaved himself on to the wall. He hung by his fingertips then plummeted on to the cobbles below. Blind flew up the tree, hopped on to the wall and dropped down next to his friend.
“I don’t know how you do that,” Nilon said.
Blind grinned. He looked over Nilon’s shoulder and the smile evaporated. A gravelly voice boomed from the darkness.
“You’re the same kids that brought us those artefacts in the Parchlands, aren’t you? Counsellor Thoren was right to ask us to keep an eye out.”
Nilon turned and saw the heavy set speaker emerging from the shadows across the street. The man was covered in scars and dressed in a thick leather tunic. He carried an Archanium baton. The friends immediately recognised him: the leader of the gang who had stolen the artefacts from them. They looked both ways down the street for an escape route, but the other gang members had emerged.
“That belongs to Counsellor Thoren,” the gang leader said, “Not some dirty street brats. Hand over the rucksacks and maybe you’ll be able to crawl home to your hole tonight.”
Loud guffaws rent the darkness. The thieves pressed themselves against the outer wall.
The trap continued to close in. Blind’s eyes darted between his friend’s calm face and the sneering thugs. He noticed that Nilon was fiddling with something behind his back.
“Be ready to hold your breath,” Nilon muttered out of the corner of his mouth.
He looked to the left. Blind followed his gaze.
“And run,” Nilon whispered.
In one swift movement, the thief whipped out two metal globes from behind his back and dashed them on to the cobbles at the feet of the gang members. From each, a choking cloud surged out.
Nilon and Blind sprinted away but the gas spread too quickly. Tears stung their eyes. Choked yells of confusion and anger churned around them.
They collided with a thug. The ruffian seized a fistful of Blind’s shirt. Nilon drove the back of the thug’s knee into the ground. He crumpled to the cobbles with a shriek of agony.
The thieves broke out of the gas cloud, spluttering and blinking away the pain. They tore down an empty street, but two more armed thugs appeared at the opposite end.
Nilon nodded towards a building covered in scaffolding half way down the street.
“Up there!” he cried.
The friends dashed towards the scaffolding, but the thugs reached it at the same time. Nilon and Blind scampered up the poles to the horizontal wooden plank. The brutes scrambled up a ladder after them.
Before the pursuers could reach the top of the ladder, Nilon kicked it away from the plank. One of the men thudded on to the cobbles below, the other clung on to a pole.
Nilon and Blind flew up a second ladder on to the rooftops, but another pair of thugs had also reached the high ground. Their livid eyes were streaming, and the sneers had been replaced with snarls.
The friends danced away from their pursuers across the rooftops. They could hear the thugs laboured grunts behind them.
The thieves reached a gap between street blocks. Blind put on a spurt of speed and leapt like a salmon over the abyss.
Nilon launched himself into the air after his friend. The sole of his right shoe scuffed the edge of the far rooftop but didn’t grip. His leg began to sink. The roof tile scraped down his shin. Nilon’s adrenaline froze into fear.
“Not down there,” Blind gasped. He grabbed his friend’s arm and heaved him up on to the roof.
The friends looked back. One of the thugs had stopped and was shaking his head. The other was eyeing the gap.
Dread gripped both of the friends. Blind hauled his partner up and they lurched away. They didn’t look back. Behind them there was a thud and a grunted curse. A repeated scraping sound followed. It became wilder and more desperate. The scraping stopped. A blood-curdling bellow filled the air, followed by a sickening crunch.
The gang member on the rooftops filled the chilly air with profanities.
“You were ruthless out there, Nill,” Blind panted when they had made it back to his hideout.
Nilon shrugged, but Blind observed that the label made his friend uncomfortable.
“Okay, let’s see what we’ve got,” Nilon said.
Blind emptied out all manner of fascinating artefacts from the Golden Age. Many he would sell on the black market, but some he thought could be of use on heists.
Nilon waited for his friend to finish. He then took out a smooth silver sphere, about 15cm in diameter, with a flattened base. With great reverence, he placed it on a table.
“Look what I came across,” Nilon announced.
“What is it?”
With a twinkle in his eye, Nilon took out a crumpled piece of paper from his pocket and handed it to Blind. His friend’s eyes widened as he read. Then he laughed.
“Brilliant!” Blind said. “You stole a recording sphere, and you even remembered the manual!”
Nilon and Blind fiddled with the sphere. They managed to activate it. As instructed, they both placed their hands on the smooth surface.
Nilon felt every sinew in his body strain. Blood rushed to his head. His eyes were forced closed as a vivid, dynamic scene swam before his mind’s eye.
The recording showed a garden bursting with colour. Children and adults chatted and smiled around a long table. It was adorned with enticing foods, much of which Nilon didn't recognise. Metallic humanoids filled glasses and served the people. In the far background, a vibrant city hummed with life and technology. Spectacular skyscrapers pierced the horizon.
A voice asked the gathering to look at the sphere. The humans all looked at Nilon. Their eyes glistened with happiness.
A chill shivered through the young thief. He was watching ghosts. Their eerie contentment threw the troubles of modern life into sharp focus.
The recording ended. The friends’ eyes snapped open to their dim hideout. For a while, they stared at each other in wonder. Blind poured himself and his friend a drink.
“To the Golden past, filled with wonder!” Blind said as he raised his glass.
“And to a long-lasting friendship, filled with adventure,” Nilon replied.
Episode 3: Hunting the Hunters
Emeline Selar crouched next to the goat's corpse, her oxen hide duster swayed in the dry desert wind. The corpse was one of a dozen that littered the canyon floor. Blood saturated the desert sand and turned it to a dark crimson in stark contrast to the light brown of the rock that made up the canyon walls. The animals had been mutilated. Torn to pieces and scattered across the area like cactus seeds upon the wind. Emeline removed the glove upon her right hand and placed her sun kissed, weathered hand on the goats eviscerated stomach.
"Still warm," she said to herself. Emeline didn't care that there was no one to answer her. She often spoke out loud to herself; a common side effect of spending so much time away from civilisation. Emeline stood and contemplated her next move as she placed her reinforced leather glove back onto her exposed hand. Not too far from where she stood, she noticed marks in the sand. Thick lines, dozens of them, as if someone had taken a tree branch and dragged it through the earth. As she widened her focus she could see a second set about two metres from the first. They swerved through the corpses, painting a pretty clear picture as to where her prey had gone.
She had followed the Tyrofex for just over a week, following it's gruesome trail as it slaughtered its way across the dry expanse of Peh. It had first ambushed a trader's caravan on the road into Firefly Manor, killing the caravan master, his hired hands and a patrol of soldiers who had tried in vain to save them. That's when she was hired to track it down and exterminate it. This was, after all, what she did for a living. Not that the thought of engaging a fully grown Tyrofex didn't fill her with a deep and unshakeable dread. The big fat pay cheque she would collect once the job was done, however, did help to stifle such fears. Emeline knew that the beast would need to rest after a feast this large. If she could sneak up on it whilst it slept off its meal, she might be able to kill it before it even realised it was being attacked. The hunter pulled her mask back up over her nose and pushed down hard on the large brimmed hat on top of her head. She took a deep breath and followed the tracks deeper into the canyon.
The air chilled Emeline to her bones despite the numerous layers she wore. She had continued to follow the Tyrofex tracks for the last several hours, the blazing sun above providing an abundance of illumination. Her prey was close now; so close that all she needed to find the beast was the scent that drifted downwind. Emeline crept towards the cave she had spotted as she turned the corner and entered this section of the canyon.. The mouth of the cave cut deep into the far wall of the canyon, a large split that snaked from the base of the wall and grew halfway to the top.
Even at this distance, Emeline could hear the Tyrofex's heavy breathing as it slept off its earlier feast. The hunter crept ever closer, careful not to disturb anything in the undergrowth. The Tyrofex might be slumbering now, but they have incredible senses; it would take a single snapped twig or crushed plant to alert her prey. As she neared the mouth of the cave, Emeline gasped as the stench of the Tyrofex's lair washed over her. The smell reminded her of death and decay, and dredged up painful memories she had long since buried in the back of her mind.
She crouched by the cave entrance and slowly lowered the rucksack off her back. Emeline withdrew several short, cylindrical objects from the rucksack. One at a time she pulled the objects out and placed them on the ground next to her. As she pulled out the sixth and final one, she placed her rucksack to the side of the cave mouth, next to a large desert bush that was growing against the cliff face. She went back to the six devices and picked them up with great care. She then began to place them around the cave mouth; three on either side of the large entrance. As she brought the base of the cylinder of a device near the rock, the little object jumped to the cliff face, silently securing itself in place. Emeline did this with all six objects and then retreated to her rucksack once again. She pulled out another metallic object, this one much flatter and wider than the others. She walked a good thirty paces away from the cave entrance and placed the new device on the floor. She pressed a button in the centre of the object and a mechanical, ‘beep’ was its response.
"I hope this works," Emeline said to herself as she walked away from the contraption she placed on the ground and put yet more distance between herself and the cave.
She had never hunted a Tyrofex before, but everything she knew about them concerned her. She put her doubts aside and reached inside her duster. She rummaged around for a few seconds in them deep pockets that lined the inside of her reinforced coat. After several moments of rummaging her hand retreated from the pocket clutching a perfectly round orb of worn metal. She threw the orb into the air and it opened up to reveal a red eye and a pair of tiny appendages. It stopped dead in front of Emeline's face, hovering there obedient, awaiting her command.
"Dot, into the cave. Stun arc detonation in ten," Emeline said to her loyal drone. Dot beeped and bobbed in acknowledgement and zipped off towards the cave. She watched the little droid fly into the cave mouth and disappear from site. She reached over her shoulder and grabbed her revolver-crossbow by its strap. She checked the weapons ammunition; six bolts filled the cartridge, each one as long as her hand. She clicked the ammo chamber back into the crossbow and flipped up the range finder on top of the barrel. She braced the stock against her right shoulder, aimed down the sight and pointed the gun towards the cave. She took a deep breath and let it out slowly. She knew what was about to happen. Her body tensed with excitement, her heart beat fast in her chest.
There was a bright flash of light from the cave followed by a deafening roar. Dot flew out of the cave with blinding speed, it beeped loudly as it flew past Emeline. She cleared her vision and looked back at the cave mouth. The Tyrofex began to emerge, rays of sunlight reflecting of its reinforced carapace, a true monster. It’s enormous pincer like arms dragged its giant form out of the cave mouth. It must have been ten metres long, a mass of chitinous armoured segments and ferocious limbs. The head of the best was even more deadly, housing three sets of bright, red eyes that stared at Emeline with pure malice. Below the eyes were two sets of enormous mandibles designed to slash, crush, and maim. The creature was still confused and alarmed due to the stun arc Dot had set off.
Without a moment's hesitation, Emeline aimed and fired. The boom deafened her as the enormous crossbow expelled a bolt with righteous fury. The deadly munition slammed into the Tyrofex's head. The beast roared in defiance, thrashing its arms around in alarm and confusion. As the dust cleared Emeline saw the creature was still alive and angry. The bolt had hit its mark but it had caused nothing more than a crack in the Tyrofex's chitinous armour.
As the Tyrofex continued its progressed towards the cave entrance, Emeline reached for her wrist and pressed a button on her control bracelet. The wrist device beeped and then the objects placed around the cave mouth responded with their own. When the creature was almost out of the cave mouth, the devices triggered. Spears flew out of the cylinders at great speed. Some of the spears bounced off the Tyrofex's armour, but some struck true and found their mark, burying themselves in the creature's flesh. A few seconds later, the spears lit up and began to glow blue. The Tyrofex bellowed in rage as the spears embedded in its hide fired electricity into the wounds. The air began to fill with the stench of burning flesh. The Tyrofex did what only a scared and injured beast would do and charged headlong at its enemy.
Emeline fired her second round at the beast that now barreled towards her, it's great strides closing the distance alarmingly fast. The sound of her weapon firing echoed around the canyon like a thunderstorm. The round smashed through the crack made by the previous shot and buried itself deep in the Tyrofex. A moment later the bolt exploded, causing fountain of bone and shrapnel to erupt from the wound. Despite suffering such a grievous injury the creature did not lose any momentum. Emeline looked on in shock as the monster stormed forward with part of its head missing.
"What the hell is this thing made of?" Emeline said to herself as she braced for another shot.
Before she could fire again the Tyrofex reached the circular disc Emeline had placed on the ground. The proximity mine detonated with tremendous force. The blast erupted straight at the charging Tyrofex and halted its advance. The beast was thrown backwards by the force of the explosion, its mass hurtling back towards the cave, its soft underbelly exposed to the scorching heat of the sun and the vigilant eye of the huntress. The time was now.
Emeline wasted not a moment. She raised her crossbow and fired. Bolt after bolt flew out of the weapon as the hunter unloaded the rest of her cartridge into the soft, exposed underbelly of her prey. Emeline lowered her weapon as the Tyrofex fell back to the earth, twitching in its death throes. She stood up slowly and checked herself for injuries.
"Still in one piece. Dot are you okay?" Emeline enquired as she looked around for her faithful little droid. Her question was answered by a high pitched beep and whistle as dot emerged out of the dirt and shook itself clean. Emeline smiled at the silly little droid and then back to her kill, a deep sense of pride swelled in her chest.
"We did it Dot, we got the bloody thing. It's bigger than expected; we might have to do a bit of chopping to get all the good bits," she said with a smile on her face as she reached for the tools in her rucksack.
Emeline strolled down the road back towards Firefly Manor, a skip in her step and a smile on her face whilst Dot buzzed along next to her. Over her shoulder she carried her rucksack and trusty revolver-crossbow. In her free hand she held onto the end of a sack which bulged with its grisly contents. The sack scraped across the ground behind Emeline, leaving a trail of blood in its wake. As she walked down the side of the great trade road she came across a caravan which she guessed must have stopped for the night. The caravan crew were busy dismantling their camp in the nearby clearing whilst the driver tinkered with the engine. The weathered road-man saw Emeline approaching and nodded to her.
"Mornin' stranger. What brings you down the road alone this day?" The caravan driver asked.
"Heading to the Manor to sell goods and collect on a job," Emeline replied uninterested.
"We're also heading to Firefly. Can have a ride if you want? For a small fee of course." Emeline looked at the man, "No thanks, I prefer to walk. I like the outdoors and the fresh air."
"But Firefly Manor is another three days from here. That's one hell of a walk there miss."
"I know, I've done it at least a dozen times this rotation."
"Well, suit yourself," the caravan driver replied with a shrug of his shoulders, "Just you be careful now. Rumour has it, monsters stalk these roads when the sun goes down." Emeline stopped and the smile faded underneath her mask and hat as she mulled over the man's words.
"I'm counting on it," She said as she walked past the caravan driver and continued down the road, patting her reloaded weapon reassuringly as the sun began to disappear beneath the horizon.
Episode 2: The Mighty and The Magic
Officer Engineer Tarken put down his pen and read through what he'd managed to write so far.
Report of the 29th Peh Expeditionary Force – Expedition to south-east Peh. Sector under the command of Commander Pioneer Baku, Delta camp.
Patrol squad – 2x Specialist Pioneers, 1x Officer Pioneer, 1x Officer Engineer, 3x Field Scavengers.
Gear taken – Exolances, Devil-9s and two portable scanners.
Mission – Reconnaissance of the Swamps to apprehend a potentially dangerous wild mage, Prison Record No. IDGAF-201, known as 'Old McJagged' by locals.
We know from previous reconnaissance missions that there is strong magic leakage coming from the Swamps. In recent months, the leakage has increased significantly, to the point that it is now a clear threat to the nearby workers' areas of the labour camps in the Swamps. This leakage has been connected by Letargia's analysts to a hermit living in the Swamps, known as 'McJagged'. The possibility existed that the corpses popping up around Peh with their skulls smashed in and brains partly or wholly eaten out were the work of an Immortal – in this case, it seemed likely to assume that this was McJagged, a minor rogue that we've had our eye on for about a year and who now seems to be trying to build his magical powers up through consumption of M-genes. Based on these assumptions, the 29th was sent in under the leadership of Officer Pioneer Jawrun to detain McJagged for questioning.
On the 73rd day of the Dry season of Year 82 of Drugun’s reign, at 06:37, we entered the Swamps.
Tarken stopped reading and stared through the window, his mind replaying the events over and over, niggling away at certain details.
That morning it had been foggy in the Swamps, which didn't help with the hostile, sulphurous atmosphere, thick with the buzzing of bloodsucking insects and spontaneously exploding gas plants. Still, despite those stupid plants and greedy flying bastards, the scanners had pinpointed the most likely location of McJagged's camp fairly soon.
After a half hour's march, they entered a clearing with a shonky old hut located at the far end. It stood on a circular platform built on high wooden legs that kept the whole ramshackle thing from sinking into the crap below. There was no sign of activity, so Spec. Officer Jawrun gave the signal and they broke cover for the hut. One of the two Spec. Pioneers (what was his name again?) slowly opened the door, his Exolance humming in anticipation, and Field Scavenger Drab proceeded inside. Following protocol, a moment later they formed up and piled in behind her in a standard Hi/Lo formation.
It was cold and dark inside, and rank with the smell of old meat. Tarken stood in the doorway, last man through, the breath from his mouth crystallising in front of him, wondering how it could be so cold inside when it was so humid outside, then realised his mistake just a moment too late. The whole bloody bunch of them were blasted out through the doorway with a loud bang and an icy flash, off the platform and into the swamp. After a moment, Tarken peered through the dirt covering his stunned eyes. One of the other Field Scavengers had landed hard against a stump, and his head now hung crooked and bloody on his shattered neck. Then McJagged himself launched himself upon them, hovering in a sphere of magical energy above the ground. Jawrun and the other two Specialists were already up and firing at the bastard. But it was too late, it was all too late, and Tarken shook his head in frustration at the memory of it all. McJagged's enormous bubble pinged their bullets back at them, and Specialist Layo got hit right in the face, the blood spraying out in pencil-thin streamers that splattered the ground around him. Tarken stared at it, fascinated, then Scavenger Drab appeared next to him, firing into a wave of insect-like Skimm that had appeared from nowhere and were quickly fanning out around them.
It was madness. Jawrun was struggling to scramble McJagged's magical projection and the other Specialist was pointlessly trying to haul Layo upright again. Two of the monsters were devouring the fallen Field Scavenger between them while the third Scavenger wrestled fruitlessly with a towering Skimm that snipped his head off with its wicked-looking mandibles. Above it all, he could hear McJagged cackling away and talking to the creatures. Tarken had never seen a situation go so rapidly to shit like this in all of his five years patrolling the Peh wilderness.
He squirmed in his chair, remembering how Drab had pulled him to his feet and hustled them both out of there, Jawrun covering their retreat through the twisted arms of the swamp to firmer ground. He looked at his prosthetic hand. The Pioneer Medics had jammed it on to the stump when he'd finally made it back to Delta camp. It hurt like hell and didn't make writing this cursed report any easier. He'd have to wait another five weeks until the next CryoMass at the Biomancers chapel to be issued with a new, living hand. He sighed, pinched the bridge of his nose and returned to his report.
After scanning for and reaching our objective, we were attacked almost immediately. Clearly, McJagged knew we were coming, although how he knew I cannot say. We had two scanners running non-stop and approached carefully, yet still were caught by surprise.
As soon as combat began, two things happened. McJagged manifested intense magical powers, confirming our reports, first with an ice attack and then with a repellent force shield. His magic seems incredibly powerful, and is clearly unrelated to any of the usual Technomagi or Biomancers? schools. Frankly, I've never seen anything like it before. He seemed to 'pull' the magic from the air around him, without recourse to any chanting or ritualistic behaviour (at least, that I noticed).
The second, more unusual occurrence was that he seemed to be communicating with creatures of the swamp, ordering them to attack us in a coordinated manner. We were surrounded by Skimm and a host of those burrowing creatures, Fossers. Again, I've never in my life heard of such creatures behaving like this, and if this is indeed a consequence of McJagged's magic, then we have a very big problem on our hands. In total, the skirmish in the Swamps cost the lives of all six of the 29th Peh Expeditionary Force, myself excepted. After the initial firefight, Field Scavenger Drab was overwhelmed by Skimm (Note: I am recommending her for a posthumous award for bravery), and Jawrun was dragged down into a Fosser burrow. I have to assume he is dead too.
If there is any good news to come from this incident, it is that we at least know more or less what we're dealing with – McJagged is clearly some kind of 'wild' mage who has been feeding on the M-gene in the brains of our Field Workers for just over a year, which would at least explain the sheer force of his magic. It is my recommendation that future expeditions to capture or kill him be deployed at double strength, at the least.
Officer Engineer Tarken,
Last surviving member of the 29th Peh Expeditionary Force.
Episode 1: The Wave Witch
They say you can find whatever your heart yearns for at Firefly Manor – pleasure, pain, heaven, hell. You might even find the Wave Witch there, during the rainy season, when she comes down from her hills to mix with the regular folk. Lady Firefly – she's the boss – struck a deal with the Witch. She stays at Firefly Manor, comes and goes as she pleases, but the Lady takes a cut of whatever the Witch makes whilst she's there. And the whisper is that that's quite a lot, because although the Wave Witch is feared by pretty much everybody with the sense to do so, they also revere her for her ability to see the future. And the chance to have that kind of knowledge seems to make rich people very brave...
Makail stood outside the legendary Firefly Manor with a knot in his stomach. His trip a couple of weeks ago into the Badlands had not gone well, and it still weighed heavily on him. Well, what’s done is done, he thought to himself. Still, I should've listened to my guts on that one.
But he needed to focus on solving the latest problem, and dithering about in the street outside Firefly Manor wasn't helping. He had questions, and the Wave Witch was the only one with the answers.
Entering the hut, he peered about in the dark before gently setting a pair of relatively clean, relatively well-maintained boots on the table. He'd scavenged them in the Badlands himself and knew they were good. No holes in the soles, anyway. He hoped they'd be enough to buy his answers from the Witch, who emerged from the gloom and regarded them with an ambiguous expression.
"I–" he began, but the Witch cut him off.
"–want to know your future, of course you do. You want to know what to do now, because the time for waiting is done, isn't it? You need some answers."
"Uhh, yeah. How d–" But she flapped her hand impatiently, cutting him off again.
"To look into the future, one must look into the cracks left in our world by God's Judgment. Those cracks are not visible to the likes of you, but through them, I can spy your destiny. Yes I can. And yes I will, because you demand that I do this. You and your... boots." She gestured at the now-empty table. "But you must know, boy, that once the cracking starts you cannot control it and you cannot stop it. All possibilities are etched into the Disc, and the unknowable is known. Do you understand?" She looked directly at him for the first time, one thin black eyebrow raised aloft like lightning.
Makail hesitated for a moment, confused by this flood of bizarre information. "No, but I need to know anyway," he replied finally. "I need to know if I'll ever get out of this place."
The Witch gave him a curious look, and he felt a small, hot ball of frustration begin to grow inside him. Finally, she nodded and gestured calmingly with her hands. "Alright boy, take a seat. We will do this thing, for these nice boots."
Makail let out a breath he hadn't known he'd been holding and sat down at the table.
"Let us begin then." She turned to some shelves, moving things and blowing dust away, then slid out a heavy white box with a glass door. She set it on her side of the table, facing Makail. It was battered but clean. There were markings on the front but he couldn't read them because they were faded, and anyway the Witch was bustling about the box, fiddling and tapping and stroking it.
Finally, she stood behind the box and with her hands on either side of it, solemnly declared it ready. "The eyes are the windows to the soul, and only the soul knows what will happen before it happens. This instrument will talk to your soul and burn what it says straight onto a Disc." With a flourish, she produced a shiny silver disc from somewhere within her equally shiny black robes. Makail's eye was caught by the colours dancing off its sides, but the Witch quickly opened the glass front of the box, put the disc inside and closed it again.
She leaned over the box, her long hair falling in her lean, pointed face. "Once I start the ritual, boy, you must not take your eyes off the disc. Do you understand?" Makail nodded dumbly. "Must not!" the Witch suddenly shouted, banging the table in front of him with an open palm and glaring at him with hot, dark eyes. He jumped, startled, and she straightened herself up. "You must see it all," she continued, more calmly. Makail nodded vigorously, staring intensely into the box. He didn't know what to make of the Witch, but he didn't want to piss her off.
He continued staring into the box as the Witch raised her hands, wrists bent back to the dismal ceiling, and began chanting something in the strange-sounding language of the Ancients. She husked out a series of bizarre words and numbers in a voice deeper than her slender form would seem to allow, finally slapping the top of the box heavily with an open palm. Makail gulped and jumped again as the box's interior suddenly filled with light. It hummed and the disc began to revolve, sparks bouncing off the walls and glass door. It sounded angry, but he continued to stare at the shiny disc inside as hard as he could. The Witch's chanting grew louder, to compete with the noisy, flashing violence. Makail's eyes were so wide he thought he might never be able to close them again.
The chanting and the humming and the sparking and the staring were beginning to make him wish he hadn't come, and just when he thought he couldn't take it any more – silence! The box went dark and the disc stopped moving. An acrid smell filled his nostrils, and as he sat there rubbing his eyes and pinching his nose, the Witch grabbed the disc from inside the box and ran outside. He blinked in surprise and dashed after her.
Barrelling through the door and into the rain, he almost crashed right into her. The Witch stood, hair and robes plastered to her pale skin, with the disc held aloft, turning it in her hands, over and over, muttering and mumbling to herself. She traced the cracks that had appeared in the disc's surface with a long finger, nodding to herself. Several passers-by were already discreetly slowing their pace, the better to hear another new prophecy.
Makail's patience was almost exhausted. "Well?" he almost shouted. "What does it say? Will I ever get out of here?"
The Wave Witch turned to face him, the disc still held in front of her. She gave him a wicked grin. "Oh yes. Yes, you will, you murdering bastard."
"What!" He did shout, then, surprised and annoyed and frightened by her strange verdict. "What are you talking about?" The rain fell heavier.
"Your brother, boy, your brother. The one you abandoned in the wilderness two weeks ago. Left him for a Skimm's lunch, didn't you?" Her lip curled into a dreadful, knowing sneer and she tapped the disc with a finger'
Makail shook his head in disbelief. "The hell you know about my brother, Witch? I didn't leave him there, we were attacked! I went for help! I'm trying to save him. Save us both!"
She turned to face him then. "You can scream all you want, but its not me you need to convince. It's your brother. You'll see him again in a few days, so you will. And he'll tear you limb from limb, just like he told you he would when you blamed him for breaking your mother's best pitcher." Makail's face drained and he saw the Witch shifting and tilting before him.
"Then, yes, then will you will leave Peh," she laughed. "Not on your feet, not in a vehicle, not even in a coffin, but flushed down the drains in pieces to feed the crabs."
Makail's mind went blank and he could think only of wrapping his hands around this so-called witch's skinny wet throat and choking her stupidity out of her. "Give me that disc!" he shouted, lunging for her. She glanced to the side then danced nimbly back a step as Makail fell flat on his face on the cold, wet cobblestones outside her hut.
One of Firefly Manor's guards stood over him, a Sleeper stick smoking slightly from the discharge. "Another satisfied customer eh?" he asked, prodding Makail's slumbering form with the other end of the stick.
She nodded and tossed the ruined disc onto Makail's rain-soaked back. "Yup. I have no idea why these dumb bastards want their future read. Not a single one of them likes it. Besides, this one's a special kind of moron, wanted to know if he'd ever get out of here. Shit, you don't need magic powers to know nobody's leaving this place."
The guard grunted and gave a half-hearted smile. "True enough. Well, what shall we do with him then?"
The Witch waved her hand dismissively. "Give him to the Biomancers for harvesting, the usual deal. I would have said let him sleep it off under a tree, but... Well, nice boots anyway," she concluded, heading back into her hut and closing the door gently behind her.
When all is said and done, when the ashes of humanity’s mistakes have settled again, nature goes back to work, cleaning and patching up the wounds we’ve left on the Earth. But there are always those who’d rather fight nature’s work, ripping the old wounds open again.
Yep, you’re right. There are still fools enough to do such a thing, even now. Why? Well, a long time ago, our forefathers wanted to bring God down to the earth, drag him down out of the heavens to answer for all of our suffering. Did it work? Look around you, that’s how well it worked. Those poor sods screwed up, and I want to know how. Lucky for me, there’s lots of places to look for answers.
Not everyone’s happy about me rummaging through these once-buried cities. Sure, it’s illegal, yeah. But to be honest, ‘illegal’s kind of an understatement when you consider what the Inquisition Tribunal will do to you if they catch you mooching around out there. On the other hand, what choice is there? Could you steal from mothers with starving children? Or be happy starving yourself? Nahh, I reckon it's better to rob the dead and burgle their cities than steal or starve. Least you don’t have to worry about whatever horseshit the Biomancers Order is currently trying to convince you of.
I know, friend, I know. But look – this whole plateau, Peh included, was worth less than a rat’s liver at a cryo auction. And then lo and behold, the earth rumbled and shook, cracked and exploded, and farted out these impossible buildings with their metal pipes full of magic and weaponry only the Technomagi understand.
Those who survived and had enough brains were long gone before the Vetrall soldiers arrived, with those metal damn freaks. Whoever they caught was convicted of heresy on the spot, because of “potential exposure to unwanted elements”.
Ha! Irony is, once they’d put their walls up around the whole Goddamn mess, they sent these so-called heretics back in for a bit of good ol' fashioned back-breaking labour. And between that and the threat of death from magical poisoning came the same lies that have always been told – work is good for you, work hard, work hard enough and if you find just the right thing you’ll be freed. The song remains the same, friend. It’s only the singers that change.
Huh? How did I end up in here? Well shit, that ain’t no mystery. I walked up to them guards outside and politely asked if our beloved Emperor Drugun hadn’t made up their entire holy scripture while sitting on the crapper. They laughed, I laughed, they kicked my face in and threw me inside. Fair trade if you ask me. ‘Cos you know what? Heh. That fat sack Drugun isn’t the only one looking for something in them buildings...
It is your task to decide which item is the most important to you at any one time.
In certain situations, you will find yourself hunting empty glass bottles, that you dismissed a couple of times before, only because you found an alchemist who desperately needs them.
You will talk with people and learn what they need, then explore and acquire (by any means necessary) those items.
Island life is controlled by two leading organisations, which enforce the Emperor's will - the Technomagi and Biomancers.
The first are tasked with uncovering and studying of the Ancients artefacts. They are also the soldiers who protect its borders and cities.
The Second faction - the Biomancers - are like a crossover between a church and a hospital. They study the limits of the human body and delve into not so ethical experiments to enhance the powers of Vetrall's soldiers, and understand better the magical potential of the human kind.