Strelok volunteers as bait. Bombs are put on hold because dying to friendly fire sucks. He goes into the cage built outside the wall. All the small ones are already dead, and the big ones aren’t interested.
Meanwhile, Hayden notices that Polena has been strangely silent. She looks a bit pale and dizzy. He asks her how she is, and she says she doesn’t feel well; she hasn’t eaten since the ship, and doesn’t have an appetite. She feels like there are too many things in her head. Hayden calls over Sheila, who determines Polena is a bit feverish, but finds nothing else wrong. Healing helps a little. Polena says she is fine; Sheila orders P to let her know if she feels worse again.
Strelok ventured from the cage a bit and is drawing some attraction; about half a dozen smaller creatures have begun to advance in a slow, plodding manner. He hobbles a few with bullets to knees. He returns to the wall at a reasonable pace. As he approaches, Polena suddenly worsens. “I feel so many things in my head… I feel like I’m possessed!” Sheila searches for such, and finds some evil power has taken hold of her. Hayden asks if she had contact with any of them; she had never even seen them before, being below deck when we saw one from the ship. She’s been with us the entire time. When Sheila tries to infuse some holy energy into her, her eyes roll back into her head; Sheila releases her.
Strelock, about 1/4 mile out now… and those of us on the wall see that rather than chasing him, the small ones approaching are moving WITH him, towards the wall. Hayden points and asks Sheila “what did you do?” Sheila asks Z about book mentions of airborne or posession… no. Hayden asks if there are any other catalysts for the Monster forming; no, just eat each other, like Russian nesting dolls. Strelok is maybe 1000ft from the wall, creatures a bit behind. Sheila tries another Lay On Hands. No seizure things this time, and after, she looks almost normal. When positive energy is channeled, however, her eyes are open, and are solid white. “I can feel them coming.” Sheila asks if the creatures are attracted to Polena; Polena isn’t sure. “It’s like they’re in my head.” When the channel is over, her eyes go back to normal, and the creatures begin to move faster. Sheila asks how many Polena feels… hundreds. We turn to the horizon, and see at least two dozen more coming… much larger. Hayden yells for Strelok to get back, and he books it. Hayden asks P what they want; they have no desire. What’s calling them towards us? “It might be me.” She closes her eyes and furrows her brow. She says “stop”… and they all freeze. Hayden stares. “Next try ‘explode’… no? Just a thought. Zephyr, catapaults??” P sinks down the wall as if greatly fatigued. Sheila takes care of her as best she can, Zephyr readies the alchemists and others capable of firing the catapaults, Strelok barely makes it back before four of the six (2 dead from bullets and Z) near Strelok crash into the wall below Polena’s feet. They try to scale the wall. Zephyr ponders the affect upon Polena… “son of a bitch. It might be Faramil.” Polena says they will destroy everything. They want to destroy everything. They have intent now. P still doesn’t know why they are drawn to her. Meanwhile, another creature has dropped thanks to the bombs.
We carry Polena along the wall towards the cage. Bird-friend dive bombs the creatures a few times, making scolding noises. It is sometimes distracted by the flying empty catriges, which it gleefully tries to catch. Polena insists on walking herself. She slowly sits when they reach the part of the wall with the cage. She closes her eyes, concentrating; slowly the creatures begin to calm. Not stopping, but more calm. We decide to keep them as per the original plan, to be bait for the larger ones, rather than pick them off. After a few moments, Polena whispers, “go”. As if on puppet strings, the creatures turn and start to plod away. Now that she has time to concentrate on the matter, Zephyr ponders. She concludes that Faramil in his physical form was destroyed, but it is possible a metaphysical form was spread across the lands in the explosion. It was diluted. Perhaps no one with the proper blood or powers was ever close enough to bring the power to bear. But Polena can control the creatures, which only Faramil has been able to do. Not even the cultists were able. Hayden asks about how we can use this, and Z points out that P’s abilities seem limited and she is obviously struggling and suffering. P asks Sheila for more healing, which she is given. Polena is getting a handle on directing the healing energy, so that it heals her and harms only the alien entity. Sheila says she will stay with Polena to keep her stabilized; Hayden offers her his stock of potions that have the same effect as Lay On Hands.
Strelok says he thinks this is a potentially terrible idea. Using these powers could make things worse. He suggests getting her as far away from them as possible. Hayden asks what that would gain us; Strelok is thinking more of Polena than the group and humanity in general. Strelok orders people to help her as they can and storms off.
The night passes. Polena has kept the small creatures subdued and a short distance off, but is obviously exhausted by dawn. The larger creatures are only 2 miles out at this point, and we can see them fairly clearly through spyglass or whatnot. They are not converging independently, but fighting amongst themselves. Just after dawn there is a massive clash between two kaijuu sized ones. Niam and Hayden bet on the winner. Polena whispers, “yes”, and seems to visibly relax. “I have figured out how to do it.” Sheila asks, figure out what? “How to make them do what I want.” She told them to fight, to destroy each other rather than everything else. She redirected their overwhelming need to destroy. Sheila tells her to rest, and Polena quickly falls asleep. Looking over, Sheila sees that they are continuing to fight. One soon tears the others leg off. Niam turns to Hayden. “Sure you don’t want to make that a gold?”
The fighting between the two seems markedly different from the eating behavior seen before; there is ripping without chomping. Hayden soon forfeits a silver piece. The victor suddenly starts gnawing on itself. It screeches loudly. It then severs the tendons on one of its arms. Shiela tells the group that Polena is to thank for that, and everyone is duly impressed. The others in the two dozen, however, do feed on the remains.
Strelok is awake and drinking. “Of course, my girlfriend is a scion of some great evil.”
The larger creatures seem to have forgotten about the little guys. There are a few more clashes, which attracts more of them. It is early afternoon when Zephyr finally throws a bomb at one of the little ones, causing it to shriek. The sound gets the attention of the larger creatures in the distance; easy prey has been spotted! In half an hour, the larger creatures are less than a mile away… and we see that they dwarf the wall. Shit. 15 minutes and they are about a half mile away. Sheila tries to gently wake Polena… we need all the help we can get. Polena’s eyes open white, and she gasps. Her irises soon reappear. “I don’t know if I have enough time.” She concentrates. After a few minutes, the creatures begin to slow down one by one, some coming to a halt. Suddenly, one spins, and screeches at its… companions? frenemies? fellow creatures… and it heads towards the stopped creatures. There is a clash between the creatures, and the explosive crystals continue to be fired.
The battle rages for several hours, as more and more of the several dozen seen converge on the clash. Some clashes have erupted further along the wall, and at times creatures smashed through the wall while wrestling. Zephyr is running low on crystals. Several have been taken down, and Polena has kept them from eating each other or the bodies; but Polena and Sheila have almost been swept from the wall several times. We need to move. But as Sheila tries to move Polena, she lifts her hand, saying she is so close… the last six or so converge, about a half mile from the wall. Polena opens her eyes, stands up, and says that it is more difficult the farther away they are… but she thinks she has figured out how to do it. She has to go to Ardova, call them all to her, and will them all to destroy themselves… because she can’t reach them all from here. Hayden asks what happens to her… “I save the world”. Sheila says she is going, to keep her stable. Zephyr is going to incinerate bodies so that if Polena loses control, there isn’t a feast that gives easy access to Monsterhood. Hayden asks his Bird Friend if he thinks it is worth it. Bird gives him a FUCK NO squawk. Hayden points out that if it works, they will have saved the world… think of all the shineys! The bird cocks his head, and alights on Hayden’s shoulder. Strelok once again suggests leaving.
H: Did your father run from the greatest hunt in history?
H: And you want to be like him?
S: …this is was going to end badly for me either way, wasn’t it?
Strelok says he will stick with us for as long as he can.
Polena suggest we leave at daybreak. Z starts burning. Niam and two other guardsmen are coming with us, as are two of the alchemists. Strelok uses dimension door to get the carriage down from the wall, so that the alchemists can be preparing more weaponized crystals as we travel. We have the two birds and some warhorses. We travel for several days and encounter many creatures. Polena gains more strength daily; Z and the alchemists have perfected the crystal assembly lines, smooth flowing, and have identified weak spots on the creatures; Sheila has needed to use fewer and fewer spells and potions to stabilize Polena; Strelok is having a grand old time fucking shit up, killing stuff, and bitching. Strelok’s also been collecting teeth. They are large, chitinous, and yadda yadda. Hayden has been improving his firearm abilities, and is delighted that he can kill things from a distance with no bloodstains on his clothes. We travel for six weeks. We lose one alchemist and the two guardsmen along the way. At the end of the six weeks, Polena says she can’t feel it anymore… her aura has extinguished the evil one, and the creatures are no more.
We return triumphant. Sheila is accepted back into the order, but “fuck that”. She shoves the victory in Strong’s face a bit.
Strelok returns to his cabin to find his brother there waited. And he makes a HILARIOUS FACE OMG. He shoots his brother in the shoulder. There is also some kicking. It is a wonderful family reunion.
Hayden goes to Danuul and sees Marcus. He greats Hayden, says he went back to where they grew up; “he’s not there anymore. Did you have something to do with that?” Hayden is vague, then offers him a partnership conning banks. Hayden also gives his thrush a nest of gold and jewels. The bird finds a lady thrush. They have cute thrush babies.
Polena is welcomed to the most prestigious academy in Vuresca. Zephyr is offered a teaching job, but she rejects it… hey, how about field research? (Zephyr runs off into the wilderness, funded by the college).
Deep in Olvan, someone is plotting, but what the fuck ever. Later.