Heinrich was murdered by something? Something smushed him repeatedly with a log. He was stood by the tree as the Wooz did it’s work, and didn’t see what brought it about to kill him. He was certain it was not the Wooz. Worth investigating, but we haven’t got the time. Sorry Heinrich.
Our Goal: Determine if the Damainians are worth saving.
In the interest of this, we asked Athelstan a few questions:
1. How does one become a hawkwood if there is not marriage?
Marriage and sex are completely uncoupled here. One is expected to breed with whomever is eligible as your parent/sex overlord dictates. You can get married to someone independently of that and breed with them also. But regardless, when that breeding involves a Hawkwood, that’s another Hawkwood. We have to admit, apart from the compulsory breeding with partners that might not be worthwhile, the extremely open approach to sex is appealing.
2. How often does one have to breed if one is determined eligible to do so?
It depends. On your station in society, on the proclivities of your sex overlord, on the community in which you live, etc. Sounds mostly alright? The class component irks, but isn’t surprising or a reason not to save these people. If anything. Taking them beyond this world might end some of these breeding practices.
So we arrived at the Basilica. Which, Ramona tells us, is shaped like an American football. It’s staggeringly huge, and is quite clearly a crashed space ship, covered in vegetation. A cargo ship, according to Smythe. At ground level, a huge bay opens and inside it, they’ve built a church and a crypt. There’s a town built around as well. The vaulted space of the church is so big it’s got it’s own weather inside.
The Crypt: lots of glowy techno-whatsit surrounding the “coffin” itself. Inside the coffin is the preserved body of St. Timon himself. Perfectly preserved, like might-not-be-dead preserved. Also, he’s clearly an Aldameri Dwarf. In addition to the technology clearly present, there were wards placed upon the coffin. Preservative magic, but also an inwardly focused ward – the type of thing generally used to trap malevolent entities such as demons and evil spirits. Big time evil prevention. And we walked away from this astoundingly interesting situation – fuck, fuck, fuck – because we were being taken on a tour of the facility by father Romahn. A decent fellow, seemingly.
But was this crazy rocket-church done taunting us? Oh no, no it was not. We demand credit for the unbelievable restraint we showed in here. Chezza was climbing the walls with scientific curiosity, Erasmus wanted to interrogate every fucking body. But we didn’t, because discretion! The Nave was bedecked in the most astounding Woodcuts. Holy shit these things. Here, listing them:
1. The raising of Eleanor Hawkwood – A guy, who is supposedly St. Timon, is seen standing over a female warrior/priest type. She’s supposedly Eleanor Hawkwood – the “I survived the rain of fire” hawkwood. She’s like their savior. Except! Timon is clearly St. Latimer(who looks nothing like the guy in the coffin), and Eleanor is fucking Thesme. Adventuring party, ass-kicking Thesme.
2. The taming of the Giant Wooz – Again, St. Latimer. He’s depicted squaring off with what is clearly a depiction of the Lich King wearing a metal crown. They think it’s a giant Wooz.
3. They think this one depicts Timon hugging a king or something. What it actually depicts is Latimer – in full-blown Gandalf mode – wearing a broken half of the crown of the Lich king standing over the body of a fallen enemy.
4. Timon opening a star gate or something? Again, Latimer, this time with no crown. He’s opening a glowing, stylized door in the stars. The stars in the depiction seem very detailed. Maybe an actual star chart.
In a few of these images are hidden secret symbols that we think are some sort of code to be deciphered. The Wooz picture and the gate picture are being masked by illusion magic, so something is hidden within them! But again, restraint. We didn’t dispel or try to circumvent the illusion in any way.
So after the rain of fire, “Timon” brought the survivors to the Basilica, and it became the first seat of the Hawkwoods post rain of fire (PRF). It is unclear whether he was amongst the survivors or if he arrived post PRF. For all we know he was an offworlder who arrived to take charge. Why? From where? Apparently, he’s appeared multiple times over the intervening years – need more information about this, does he take different forms each time? Is he reincarnated as different people or is he always the same? Reincarnation would explain the present individual in the coffin. In the cellar, they have the crypts of these early Hawkwoods, including Eleanor, although the bodies have long since been burned. So, we check that and there’s a hidden… something inside the wooden bust of Eleanor/Thesme – behind her eye. It’s a puzzle, um, head. Again, we do not attempt to open it, although we most certainly could. Restraint!
Then there’s the records that are apparently upstairs. They’re in a format that they no longer know how to read/access, whatever. They’re willing to let us examine those records to see if we have a way to unravel them. This is incredibly important because it might tell us all kinds of useful stuff – what was going on pre rain of fire, who actually bombed the planet, what the Basilica ship actually was, any number of other useful things.
So now, the conundrum, still. Are they worth saving, or are they religious fuckbags who breed women to death? We had dinner with the Canon, and she seemed groovy. She seemed remarkably tolerant for a high-up in a church. So did father Romahn, so does Athelstan. In fact, everyone who we’ve met that’s been in power here seems very approachable and adaptable to new information. Even when it comes to their religion.
So now, we’re faced with a choice. After we have a look at the archives, we’re going to need to decide what to do about all the amazingly fascinating mysteries contained in the Basilica. We have two choices, essentially.
1. Sneak into the church at night and subdue/befuddle any priests or guards we encounter, and get at all the good shit. Drawback are lying and sneaking around could lead to us getting caught and burning our bridges with the only society sympathetic to us on this world. Arguably the people who need our help. Also, we’re not certain we can crack all the mysteries in one night.
2. Tell Athelstan and the church folk that their Basilica is full of amazing mysteries and we want to solve them. To do this, we’d probably need to hint at our ability to free them from their planet-locked condition. Obvious drawbacks are that if they’re not onboard, we cannot un-ring that bell. So we might never get to unravel the mysteries of the Church or would have to do so covertly.
We think we want option one. Be honest and forthright with these people who are treating us as honored guests. How’s that for a change? But prudently, we should see the archives first.
We look forward to everything yet to be discovered.