Seattle Mission 26: Checkmate

Written by: ???           Played on: 26 Apr 2014
PREVIOUS: Mission 25: The Jewel of Memory – Part 2
NEXT: Shadowrun: Denver – Campaign Conclusion

The six, Father Antenor’s creations such as they may be, trained for over a month in our care in Tir Tairngire, preparing for what was to come. In the grand scheme of time, a month is nothing and woefully inadequate time to prepare for what must be done, but such is the speed this Sixth Age acts in that we must move swiftly to capitalize on the situation.

My days have been spent coordinating the states and corporations who saw to the success of our plan, though at a great cost to all. Lofwyr’s fleet, provided by Saeder-Krupp, made the long voyage from Europe under absolute secrecy. Haulpa’s resistance fighters massed in the jungles south of Aztlan. It would be too much to hope that Father Antenor missed all of the signs, only enough to keep him guessing as to our true plan.

It was a desperate gamble to place all of our hopes in the arms of mortals, though it is so often from their ranks that the great changes of the ages are born. Indeed, even Antenor was once mortal, a shamen of a remote, mountain tribe of no consequence in the Fourth Age. Still we risked much to achieve our ends and we will pay for our actions one way or another.

We met them aboard the SKS Lowfyr, the newest super carrier and crowning jewel of the Saeder-Krupp fleet as the battle group moved into position with the small Tir Tairngire fleet and troop carriers. Lowfyr joined us in the bottom decks along with Lona Shalandalan and Zutal Meraerth.

Lona and Zutal have served as the stewards of Gwynedd’s Shield for the last thousand years and have served the order for nearly an Age. They have grown to become powerful mages and Dunkelzahn felt they were worthy of our greatest secrets, though the others disagreed. I am uncertain. They have served this world faithfully and know some of the darkest threats that face it, but they do not know all of them and I am afraid that none ever should.

Overhead, the assault on Aztlan began while the four of us spun magic, tracing the lines of magic leading back to Father Antenor’s hold. It took time to unweave the layers of magic intertwined with Astral space, but we were born from its threads and none are better suited to the work than we.

The Marahal team, as the elf Marius occasionally referred to the group, along with an assault team of a dozen Tir Tairngire Black Dagger Ghosts left immediately with the artifacts and our last prayers while we took to the fight to the Aztlan forces, keeping them occupied and unable to respond to Antenor’s orders or requests for assistance.

Captain Jorel reported that the insertion, a HALO jump through withering anti-aircraft fire, went off smoothly, though the tilt wing cargo plane they were aboard succumbed to enemy fire and crashed in the desert. Artillery bombardments from the coast and several bombing runs had weakened the base and left its defenses in shambles. The Marahal team was able to use the Ghosts as a decoy, infiltrating through another part of the facility and flanking the defenders. Together they were able to breach to the center of the stronghold.

The Captain was unable to tell me more as his team covered their retreat while the Marahal team entered to face Father Antenor. His apologies were most unnecessary as our connection with the Scrolls of Ak’lear and the Jewel of Memory are entwined with their creation. All of the five Great Dragons were well aware of the events that transpired in that room and all too familiar with the same events that occurred in the Fifth Age.

When the artifacts were created and invoked against Xiuhcoatl, an army a million strong was rallied against his forces in order to reach the great beast. Even with seven great dragons, the battle was very nearly lost and dark things were encountered within the great rift.

Xiuhcoatl’s power was great and though only a fraction of it was conferred to Father Antenor, it is enough that none us would face him alone or on his own terms, so he has kept us at a safe distance all these millennia. Even with the artifacts stripping him of the chaotic powers of Xiuhcoatl, we fear what we might find within the great rift even more. The conflux of energy between the rift and our own energies might be enough to let the terrible Horrors of the deep metaplanes into this world.

Father Antenor has already hastened their time in this age with the deaths of Dunkelzahn, Ghostwalker and the orchestration of the Great Ghost Dance, hastening the influx of mana back into the world and setting the stage for the greatest of Xiuhcoatl’s minions.

The Marahal team successfully engaged the artifact before Father Antenor and his followers could stop them. As they discovered, the completion of the ritual resulted in a surge of Astral energy, collapsing the layers of the physical world into the overlapping metaplanes, all fallen into a singularity of twisting and tearing energy. There they faced an ever changing, twisting labyrinth of corridors through Astral space and the dangers of the ever changing planes surrounding them. Trapped with them within the singularity, somewhere amongst the flux and surge of energy, was Father Antenor and his men.

Antenor likely held the advantage still, given his age, experience with the deep metaplanes and with Xiuhcoatl’s magic. Even so, the twisting energies of the singularity disrupted the other worldly power of Xiuhcoatl, just as it did to the beast when we faced him. Just like that last battle, Antenor was no doubt still dangerous, containing plenty of his own, innate magical ability.

Miraculously, through it all, the Marahal team was able to find and engage Father Antenor and eventually eked out victory. As the artifact’s connection to the embodiment of Xiuhcoatl’s power was severed, the conflux of Astral planes began to collapse. The team was able to find their way free and flee the facility as the rift grew into a stable vortex, marking the site of their great battle like the one atop the council chambers in Denver and the rift in Washington D.C. marking the deaths of two other incredible powers.

They returned, expecting I suppose to be greeted by trumpets and universal good tidings, but that is not the way this world works. Perhaps not the way it has ever worked. Even in death, Father Antenor’s machinations continue to be felt and there are penalties to be paid for our actions, however just.

News agencies, powerful in ways only Dunkelzahn truly appreciated, have condemned the combined surprise attack on Aztlan, gathering public opinion against us. Even in Tir Tairngire, the citizens have already begun to rise up, protesting their government’s actions even though they do not understand their importance.

The forces of Amazonia continue to invade north into Aztlan, though the country has counterattacked into the PCC where Tir forces were granted safe passage. Aztechnology has been lending their corporate backing to near global backing from the population. The CAS felt the time was right to reopen old wounds and attacked Tir Tairngire, claiming much of the southern territory while troops were occupied abroad.

Our intelligence assets are still investigating, but a series of explosions and attacks were perpetrated in Seattle, Moscow, London, Sydney and numerous other capitals and major cities around the world hours after the war began. Public blame has been levied at EarthFirst! following the release of a number of videos, purporting to be members of the organization acting with the support of Tir Tairngire. Gwynedd’s Shield has already begun to cover up and sever our connection with the organization, but it is only a matter of time before the news outlets uncover some missed detail connecting us with them and circumstantially proving we were the source of the attacks. Likely they were teams activated by Father Antenor in a last ditch bid to distract our attention and discredit our cause. He has been more than successful, even if it did not prevent his death.

Even Saeder-Krupp is not beyond reproach. With their involvement in the condemned attacks on Aztlan. The Corporate Court is arranging a vote and it is expected that, but this time tomorrow, it will strip the court seat and AAA status from Saeder-Krupp and name another representative. As one of the few organizations not controlled by Father Antenor’s pawns, this is a terrible loss that will allow the corporations to expand their power unchecked and without our influence.

In the end, we are weaker than we have been in a long time and suffered great setbacks, but not without great victories. If nothing else can be said of today’s actions, it is this:

The last great pawn of Xiuhcoatl in this world, Father Antenor, is dead. Though his plans and machinations live on and must be chased down, a great blow has been dealt against the forces of Chaos. Mortals have once again proven that they are capable of the most extraordinary feats and well suited to protect this world of theirs. We owe the Marahal team for everything we have earned today.

I place this message and the full contents of my memories of today’s events within the Jewel of Memory, hoping that it may never be required again. But if it should, may the events and hardships encountered be both a warning and encouragement to those who wield this power in the future in defense of this world against the Entity of Chaos.

In addition to the events described above of the characters’ struggles, they were also notified, upon their return, that a great number of friends had been caught up in the last month. As Father Antenor scoured the world trying to find them, a number of the contacts they networked with most often and most recently were swept up and ultimately killed. Most painful among them was the death of their former employer and friend, Raven in Denver.

PREVIOUS: Mission 25: The Jewel of Memory – Part 2
NEXT: Shadowrun: Denver – Campaign Conclusion

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