Holes/Session 40

A fragment of the Garden of Remembering

EXT. Riverbank near the other cavern entrance - night
It is a horribly bright night full of birds chirping. The sky is full of funky glowing stuff, like an aurora, but more.
Having just escaped the cave system back into the fresh air, the party sits down for a short rest while Radek tries to sort out the possessed Amadi, who is now sitting on Gravy's horns almost like the usual Amadi.
Radek assaults the possessed Amadi with indecipherable jargon. (rolled 22 arcana)
She gives Radek a confused look and sets Gravy's horn on fire.
...Really, now. What are you trying to accomplish?
Magic, I suppose. Wait, that actually was something, wasn't it?
Amadi starts poking the horn.
Would you mind not doing that?
(indicating the sky)
Is this normal?
George, what do you make of this?
(pushing up his goggles)
Is what normal?
Radek gestures towards the sky.
The Gravedigger points at the sky.
George looks up.
...yes? I mean... Wait, what do you see?
The Gravedigger looks at Radek.
Typical. A beautiful natural formation of light and color and we're suspicious that it's a wormhole or else some kind of dark magic.
Greibel sighs.
Or bees. Could be space bees. It never is, but it could be. Bees.
Radek scoffs.
"Dark" magic...
This is nothing more than a scattering of ionized atmospheric constituents and their resulting optical emissions. Completely harmless.
Ganelon (Radek): Thanks, Wikipedia. I knew I could count on you to give me an explanation that means absolutely nothing to a normal person.
(not seeing anything)
I guess I'll have to take your word for that.
This is the point where Squirrel drops out of a tree next to them.
George hands Dawn to Squirrel.
They proceed to stare at each other.
...Is this another one? How many are there?
Thirteen, approximately. With an allowable failure buffer of five.
I'm not sure that I am prepared to deal with thirteen.
I'm sure they'll reveal themselves slowly for the sake of your sanity.
Greibel takes a toke of his bong, which is still a weird shade of black. He falls over a moment later.
You won't need to. That as many have solidified as you have is peculiar, but they're... they're not here for you. Nevermind that, though. I expect you'd like me out of here, no? Could you lend a hand?
...What do you need help with, exactly?
Magic! And creation.
Amadi climbs down off Gravy.
If that is the most accurate explanation you can give, then you may well be here forever.
It's a specific object, but my magic seems to be broken. It's like it's a good mould, but the batter is messed up, so If you can do the actual mixing and baking and I'll show you the pan, do you think you could make the bread?
Radek sighs and grumbles.
...I can do that.
Rhu reaches out to try and touch the sky-hair, then giggles softly.
So much hair.
The Gravedigger starts digging a hole, just in case.
Amadi walks over and grabs Rhu by the head in the meantime.
(to Rhu)
Do you know any songs?
Ow! What? Songs?
Sing, please.
Rhu looks around at the others in confusion, then start sings a random pop song from his home planet really, really badly. It sounds a bit like "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life".
Amadi looks satisfied at this and then shoves a hand in Rhu's head. Rhu just ignores it and keeps singing. Badly.
Radek scowls intensely at Rhu's attempts at singing.
That's an interesting expression of her love of music.
Amadi yanks something dark and hairy out and suddenly, to Rhu, everything is normal again. He can see normally, hear normally, there's colour, etc etc etc. All the hair is gone.
Rhu gasps and falls over.
Amadi drops Rhu and goes over to Radek, holding out the dark hairy thing.
What the FUCK? I can see! I can see again!
LANGUAGE, young man!
Greibel tokes again, and this time barely manages to avoid falling over.
Rhu runs up and hugs Greibel.
It's gone! It's gone and I can see!
Greibel coughs out a plume of smoke.
Laaaaaanguage language language! Language!
I'm glad to see that my attempt at surrogate parental guidance has resonated with you.
(to Radek)
Can you use this as a base?
Of course I can.
Radek stares hard at the black squiggly.
Radek stares very hard at the black squiggly.
Ganelon (Radek): Approximately this hard. [1]
Rhu is just kind of jumping around exultantly in the background.
Radek nods after a while.
...Let us begin.
Amadi hands him the squiggly and they begin. (rolled 26, 22 arcana) All in all, it works and nothing particularly weird happens. After much not so particular weirdness, a fair bit of black stuff floating around, and a weird feeling of up to three different entities in his mind, they wind up with... a box, maybe 25x15x10cm.
And a letter.
In the background, Rhu attempts to climb the closest tree (rolled 14 athletics), making whooping noises interspersed with random praises to Hazz'ridan.
He fails to actually climb the tree, falls backwards, lands hard on the ground, and just grins widely before standing up to run around yelling again.
Whoohoo! You're good.
Radek grumbles. He picks up the box and letter, but does not open the former.
Meanwhile Squirrel pokes Dave a few times, giggles, and then runs up a tree. Literally running sideways up the tree.
Dave rubs her head.
Rhu runs back to the rest of the group.
Wow. Okay. WOW. This. This is pretty amazing.
(to Amadi)
Thank you. Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou.
Oh, uh... you're welcome.
Rhu tries to hug her, but she pulls away, so he just tries to shake her hand instead. She gives him a confused look.
Oh. Sorry.
Rhu tries to get a grip on himself.
While all of this is going on, Radek reads the letter:
:: Wayfarers,
:: You may not remember me, but we met in Coffle in 2167. Your names were new to these worlds, and thus my organisation took an interest, passing along the standard invitation.
:: Whether or not you would have accepted is moot. The party is long past, but the slow decimation of our worlds yet continues, marked only by the space where things should have been, the shapes that remain hinting at the missing pieces. I cannot explain for the same reason I have no proof, only that I know what I have seen for as long as I still have, and sensed what I have not.
:: Our efforts were attached to a puzzle. The keys were stones with symbols etched upon them. I wish I could tell you more, but the more I try to remember, the more it seems I lose. In the box is every piece of the puzzle block remaining in our archives. With any luck, you will have already found others. With even more luck, you won't have lost them. It may even be enough, all together.
:: Enough for what, I do not know. Like the other pieces, the instructions are long gone, removed from the world as though deleted from past and future, but the simple matter is, you of all the others survived, or so I can only assume. Your names are not in the Codex of the Doomed, and unlike the rest of the worlds, it alone seems to remember what is gone, but seeming is not proof. If the Emissary deems to take the message, then that shall be the proof and testament.
:: So you, at least, may find a use for this.
:: Good luck. I don't say the world depends on you, but if you can do anything at all, if you can just buy us a little more time, it may be enough.
:: For what, I wonder? I can only trust my gut on this one.
:: -L
Gravy looms over Radek to read it too, and then Radek just hands it to him a moment later, being a fast reader and having already finished.
Radek opens the box. It contains a circular contraption with spaces for seven stones, three more of the stones themselves, and a few chunks of something shattered, possibly plastic.
Where are those stones all of you were carrying around?
Rhu hands the two stones he's carrying to Radek.
Greibel gets out his stones and hands them over.
They wind up with, altogether, a pile of the following: bird, tree, mask, dragon, contagion, cat, dream, and fire. There also seem to be symbols around the sockets in the contraption, but they've mostly worn off.
Radek tries arranging the stones into their correct sockets. There are more stones than sockets, so he tries a few configurations, but nothing happens.
He looks more closely and it's like the symbols on the device were never entirely even placed.
Frezak (Gravy): I want to feel the stones. Feel where they want to be. Feel where they should be. Feel the empty spaces, and the spaces that are empty, and what they need. I WANT TO FILL THESE HOLES PROPERLY.
The Gravedigger reaches over to give it a try and Radek passes him the device. He winds up with stones placed seemingly at random, with the cat left over. (rolled 9 madness, 12 arcana)
Nothing happens.
(to Amadi)
What is that thing?
Some sort of... thing. They used it to detect and transport oddities. Back when they had all the pieces. Before the universe tried to write it all out of existence.
Also, I should probably let you have your friend back. And get back. To waiting.
For the bread.
Does this device have multiple configurations? The letter describes it as a puzzle.
It seems to be missing the top, which might be important. Basically they'd first have folks turn it on - that was the test. Then it would be reordered to change the function - the puzzle, to counter the puzzle of the...
Amadi just stops, not sure what she was saying.
I don't know. It's not there.
Hrmph. Perhaps I can fix it.
We could try putting it in the order in which we encountered those things. Cat-Tree-Contagion-Dream-Fire-Dragon-Mask. Not sure about the bird.
Amadi nods and waves slightly.
She then convulses a bit and then falls over.
Rhu checks her vital signs. (rolled 19 heal) She's alive, just unconscious.
In Greibel's hands, the bong is suddenly clear once more. Nobody notices as he tokes away.