ARKFALL

Helen's Log, Day 1
The journey to Gettysburg

—The mumps outbreak has been contained. Now that I have some time to look around and take stock of the clinic, I see that we are quite low on preventive and curative medicines. I must find an opportunity to forage for healing herbs outside of the city. I will need backup; perhaps one of the children.

—Professor Sokolov has approached me about a possible cache of medicine, a mere day’s journey from here! This could be the opportunity I need to restock our dwindling supplies.

—I was reluctant to leave, once I learned the group was to be led by that Mountain Man, Lincoln. Still, he wears the protective gear, so it is unlikely that he was involved in Michael’s murder. Once Boomer arrived, with that small man, I knew I had to come, to watch over the child. She seems capable enough, but she has been without a mother for so long.

—We left at daybreak, and almost at once I found an abundance of useful herbs. This journey has already proven useful. I am eager to discover new treasures along the way.

—The small man took to the trees as we walked through the forest. I trust that he will prove useful as a scout. I have found no more medicinal herbs, so I will shift my attention to Boomer’s progress. I would hate to see her injure herself.

-The small man-Ash, I have heard Boomer call him—ended up swinging headlong into a tremendous web. I have only read of spiders in books, but they always seemed to be much smaller in stories. I quickly picked up a good-sized branch, to try to break the web enough to release young Ash. When my attempts proved fruitless, I began to climb one of the trees supporting the web, with the intention of cutting it down with my knife.
As I climbed I heard gunshots below, as Boomer and Lincoln shot at the spiders. I saw two or three explode into ichor that rained down on the hapless Ash. Just as I was about to reach the web, I saw Prof. Sokolov give a mighty swing with his staff, releasing Ash along with half the web.
I quickly jumped down to give aid to Ash, who along with Prof. Sokolov had been covered in fresh webbing. I was able to cut Ash free, as Boomer and Lincoln dispatched the remaining spiders. We then feasted on spider legs, which really weren’t bad once I was able to calm my gag reflex.

—We continued through the forest in search of a stream, so that Ash and Prof. Sokolov could wash off the ichor that had covered them both. When we finally arrived, I helped the Professor to wash the ichor off of his back, which he couldn’t reach on his own. Then, as I waited for Ash to complete his reconnaissance of the area, I searched for useful water plants. I found an excellent supply of blood moss. Together with the webbing, it will prove useful in staunching the flow of blood from grievous wounds.
When Ash returned, I scrubbed the ichor from his back and out of his hair, before we all crossed the river.

—Soon we reached the town of Gettysburg. The town was surprisingly intact. We skirted the edges to find the cache, which Lincoln assured us was just beyond. After an hour of nervous glances toward the outwardly abandoned-looking town, we reached an old metal door built into the side of a hill. Lincoln managed to open the cumbersome door, despite the squealing of rusted hinges. I looked around warily, to see if anyone or anything was coming to investigate the sound.
Once the door was open, we made our way gingerly down the darkened stairway. I was grateful that the ever-resourceful Boomer had packed a flashlight.
At the bottom, we found a door with an obscured porthole-styled window. The door proved impossible to open, until Prof. Sokolov discovered a maintenance room full of useful tools and supplies, as well as a breaker panel which illuminated the cramped hallway. The doctor was able to fashion a powered drill, with which he made a hole in door, large enough for Boomer to insert an incendiary substance. Once the door was opened, I was eager to find what medical marvels were hidden inside.
There were two small refrigeration units. As Lincoln attempted to open the one secured with a keypad, I opened the unlocked unit. Inside, I found a dozen vials of antibiotic! This has been the best find, yet!
Boomer had to step in to unlock the second unit (such a clever girl). Inside, we found several vials of an unknown biologically-hazardous substance, which may prove useful once we return to York.

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Prologue
The Ice Queen

It didn’t matter how many times he’d been summonsed, he always found himself nervous. He would think himself overly concerned if not for the fact that he’d seen the Queen order one of his spy’s tongue removed for delivering ill tidings only the year before. She was not known for having an even temperament. His thoughts were broken by the door to her throne chamber opening. A servant nodded at him. “Han vou vaatii monteno.” She spoke in Azgedasleng. She requires you now.

Iko stretched his fingers, cracking his knuckles out of habit as he did so, and followed the servant passed the guards who had been his only company for the last two hours—not that they’d paid him any attention. The throne room was somehow colder inside than the antechamber outside, despite the sizable fire pit in the center of the room blazing steadily.

There were only a handful of people in the room besides himself and the Queen. There were four of her personal guards, two on either side of the door he’d just stepped through, and two more playing statue on either side of and slightly behind the Queen’s throne. There was the Queen’s personal servant, Ilse, who he was following, her new general, Kristof, and a slave whose name he did not know that appeared to be messaging the Queen’s right foot. The servant indicated for him to wait at the foot of the stairs that led up the platform to the throne, as she herself climbed the stairs and reclaimed her position to the left of the Queen.

Iko swallowed in an attempt to wet his rapidly drying throat. Nia had that effect on many, and made no attempt to hide her pleasure in doing so. She was as beautiful as she was deadly, and flaunted both in equal measure. She fixed her gaze on the spy who was trying to hide his nervousness at the foot of her dais—trying but failing. She smiled coolly at him, and spoke in accented English.

“I’m sure you know, spymaster, how much I enjoy being kept waiting. You have a report, do you not?”

He bowed his head, cleared his throat quickly, and found his voice. “Yes, my Queen. I have returned from the south with news.”

“By all means, proceed. I am rapt with attention.” She motioned for her slave to begin work on the other foot, which he promptly moved to begin.

“Much talk has been made of Azgeda absence from the last Gathering. There are whispers that Azgeda are breaking from the Kongeda, and that they pull the Sankru and Sikru with them.“ Iko shifted his weight.

“That much should be obvious to even a child, spy.” She spat. “I do not think them stupid. There is no other conclusion to gather from our actions. Do not tell me things I have taken for written. What of the Sky? Have they still not claimed the Mountain?”

“No, my Queen. Those of the Skaikru have not claimed the Mountain. The Commander has not allowed it. The Trikru guard it like it was Polis. They allow none to enter, under threat of death.”

“Oh, Lexa, you always were a clever girl.” The Queen laughed softly. It was unnerving.

“My Queen?” Kristof inclined.

Narin turned to him. “She keeps the Sky from their own spoils in the Mountain. She knows they could use it against her—against us all. The missile that ended your predecessor in Tondc was not the only weapon in that arsenal…” Her thoughts trailed off as she seemed to think over something, before turning her attention back to Iko.

“Has the Commander taken from the Mountain? Do the Trikru use it?”

Iko shook his head. “No, my Queen, not that I have seen. They entered the Mountain to rid it of the rotting bodies of the Maunon. Burned them. It took more than a week to burn all of them. Then she ordered the Mountain sealed and guarded. No one is allowed to enter without her express permission. They took nothing else from it, that I know of, and no one has entered it in over a year now.”

“That doesn’t make sense. It is very wise to deny the Mountain to the Sky, but not to preserve it without using it. Why?” Nia drummed the fingers of her left hand on her throne arm.

Iko looked at Kristof, unsure who she was asking and even more unsure of an answer.

“Why…if she does not wish to use it, why does she not destroy it?” she asked loudly.

“The Trikru do not know how to use the weapons of the Mountain. It would be useless to them.” Kristof offered.

“All the more reason to rid herself of the threat the Mountain holds. It would only take the Sky…or another familiar with their machines, gaining control of it to be a danger once more. The Commander is many things, but she has never been careless with assets…or threats. No, there has to be a reason she has ordered as she has.”

“Perhaps the Commander waits for someone who will teach her how.” Iko was surprised to find that it was his voice speaking.

Kristof scoffed, but silenced himself at the raise of Nia’s hand. She took in Iko, who shifted his weight again under her gaze, but to his credit, did not shrink from her sight. She seemed to mull over his statement. A light glimmered in her eyes as her thoughts appeared to sort out the reasoning of something. She smirked.

“Perhaps she does. All the more reason to move forward with our plans. I had thought her first lesson in weakness would be enough. Apparently I was wrong. This time I will not take the head of her lover, I will take everything. I will let her watch as we hang the Trikru from the walls of her city—let her watch Polis burn as she kneels at MY feet.” She slammed her fist down on the arm of her throne as the others in the room flinched. If she was embarrassed by her outburst, she did not show it. The next moment, her impassive face returned, and she addressed Iko once again.

“Enough of the Mountain. Tell me of the Sky city near the edge of my land. I have heard from another that there is much coming and going.”

“Yes, my Queen. The Commander allowed the Skaikru to travel to their other fallen villages so long as they stay away from Trikru villages and cause no harm. So far, they have not caused further trouble, and are allowed gouthru klir.” He caught Kristof’s disapproving glare at his use of Trigedasleng. He quickly cleared his throat and continued. “They are allowed safe passage. Eight months ago, 13 of the Skaikru left their village south of the Mountain to travel to their village north of the Mountain.”

“And who are these Sky that left their refuge?” Nia inquired.

“Young, mostly. Some older. Only a handful of them carried weapons at all. They went to their metal city they call Mecha, but most did not make it there alive. Only 5 survived. The Skaikru in Mecha had begun to trade with York, a Sankova village a few miles away. Two months ago, 49 Skaikru left Mecha and settled in York.”

Kristof scoffed again. “Why would they do that? Why would the exiles take in Sky?”

“The Sankova had illness in their village. Many were dying until a Skaikru fisa—uh, healer—went to them. She cured their sickness. They asked her to stay. She brought the others with her—many young. The Sankova were few after the sickness. Now the village holds 97, mostly women and young. Few warriors, if any.”

“And the Sky there, are they exiles of their people as well?” she asked. Iko could swear he saw a plan forming in his Queen’s eyes.

“No, they are not exiles." he answered. “They chose to leave, and still hold claim among their people.”

Kristof tapped his fingers on the sword hilt hanging at his waist. “So attacking those in the village would be as attacking their clan. It would start a war with the Sky Invaders.”

Iko inclined his head. “I would say yes. Likewise, should they attack us or the Trikru …”

“That is one option, gentlemen. There are several others that are much more…interesting.” She rose from her throne, waving off the slave after he placed her shoes on her feet.

She strode over to the war table in the back corner of the room speckled with maps and beckoned both men to come closer and they obliged. She proceeded to enlighten them with the more interesting options she was considering. They discussed plans for another hour or so before settling on a final course of action. Once set, she moved forward in her chair, resting her elbows on the table and hands clasped in front of her, the fingers on her right hand tapping lightly along the back of her left.

“So you know what you are to do, yes, spymaster?”

Iko bowed his head swiftly. “Yes, my Queen.”

She smiled her unnerving smile at him, then nodded her head at her slave, who rose and approached her. “Good. Now go.”

He bowed once more and began moving towards the door, but not before catching the slave being pulled into a kiss. For a fleeting moment he wondered what it would be like to share the Queen’s bed. She was a very beautiful woman and a very talented, if brutal, leader. He wondered if she were an equally talented lover. He found himself envious of the slave for a breath, before he heard the kiss break behind him.

“Oh, and spymaster?” The Queen called after him.

Iko turned just before he had reached the doors that were being held open by the servant. “My Queen?”

She flashed him a serpent’s grin as her fingers stilled their tapping long enough to clasp at her wrist. It was a motion he failed to register as the slave let out scream of pain and dropped to his knees. Iko watched in barely contained horror as the slave writhed in torture, clawing at the back of his neck and screaming his voice raw. It seemed to take an hour, but was only a couple of moments, before the slave’s screams died away and his body ceased to move.

The silence hung for a moment, as horrible as the screaming had been, it thundered against his ears. If Iko had managed to pry his eyes from the screaming, tortured man, he would have seen that the Queen had not looked at the man she was killing once. Instead she studied her spymaster, ensuring her display reached its full effect before finally ending the life of the man writhing near her feet. She motioned for Ilse, while keeping her gaze on Iko, who finally managed to meet her stare.

She let her hands cross over her chest as she sat back in her chair. “You know what will happen if you fail.”

Iko nodded, bowed, and turned. He wished to be out of the room in that second more than anything else he had ever wanted. As the doors began to close behind him, he could hear Ilse address the Queen. The last words he heard before the doors clanged shut were the Queen’s. “Norez hänet loups.”

Feed him to the wolves.

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Galt son of Galt - Log
Ai Galt don hon ae new kru

Bilaik ain nontu don ste tel ai op, “Taim yu drag raun, taim yu ge ban au. Pas daun, yu gonplei ste odon.” Dis Trigeda we. Ba disha Skaikru ste nouseim. Disha Skairkru na nou jak oso op. Emo nou ste yuj… Emo ste branwada, hod raun op, en ste spichen. Ai tel yu op, emo jomp ai op bilaik ai na tich dem Skairu hashta laudnes. Biga laudnes. Oso gonplei don jos stot au. Ai nou ste kwelen, na nou hod up, na nou tel spichen op. Emo kamp raun mi, en ai na ste odon emo gonplei.

Galt

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Personal Log - Viktor Sokolov, 13 Sep, AF 1

Encountered the most fascinating new species of Gorilla today. The thing was massive! Approximately 4 meters in height, terribly strong. It seemed to have very tough, armored skin, attacks on it had a hard time penetrating its hide. I tried to lever a tree to fall on it, but the gorilla was too fast and agile, and the tree missed. Once the fighting was over, I collected multiple specimens for study, including one testicle, roughly 400ml in size. I’m hoping epigenetic analysis will show not only what species of ape this monster is a descendent of, but also any weaknesses. The genetic material in the testicle will be invaluable in adapting any environmental immunities or resistances the beast has to work with our own genome.

With the surviving equipment, it may take up to a week to develop a comprehensive workup on the material recovered.

At every turn we encounter the new, the adapted, and sometimes, the deadly. We must wring every bit of knowledge out of these discoveries – learn the weaknesses, try to incorporate their strengths. When on the Ark, we really didn’t have new genetic material to really delve into the transhumanist eugenics as much as I’d liked. That’s no problem here! We just need to be extremely sure that all of the metabolic and genetic pathways are fully mapped before incorporating them into ourselves. If we don’t adapt quickly, this place will surely destroy us.

I have determined that none of my companions has any new information about the City of Light – unless they are deliberately keeping the information from me. Why would they do that? No, they are probably just ignorant… Our long range scans show a vast region of higher than normal radiation to the northwest. Somewhere on the other side of that wasteland is the location. Perhaps some pretext to get off the coast… Weather, maybe? Once all the local caches have been raided, and we have acquired all the technology we can, we should move to a more permanent base of operations… Oh, to have a fully operational lab again!

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Thanks James!
Getting Started

I think this will be an awesome tool for the game!

As I am posting this, most of you are unaware this site exists. I’ll be getting your contact info tonight and sending out invitations for this site. I wanted to have some things here for you to start to look at, and will be setting some ground rules for the site as well as adding new content as the days and weeks progress.

The Character section should be of particular interest, as that is where you can upload your basic character information. I do not need to know everything you have on your person, and so have left equipment (other than your basic armor rating) off of the basic layout I’m looking for there. Use “Demo” as a guide for imputing your character info. You can essentially copy and paste then fill in your details.

Also of note is the Wiki. The wiki will be where I upload basic info that might be of interest to you. I might post information or upload images or video there to help illustrate what you might see in a location, or I might just put fun things there from time to time that are not directly related to the story. I will keep the latter to a minimum, I promise. If you have images or video that you think is relevant, let me know and I’ll help you post it.

The Adventure Log will be used from here on out to post game session information (synopsis of the sessions as we play through them). Questions for me can be sent through private message, if private, or through the forums.

The Forums will be a place to hold general discussions on the game. If you feel we are going in a bad direction or a good one, if you want to discuss where or when our next session is, or just general questions public to the group, use the forums.
If some of you are interested, I am also down for role-playing possibilities through the forum. This is not required, and may not even be used, as I will not force that on anyone. I know some people are not interested in playing online at all, and won’t make it a thing unless some of you want to. In which case, I can play some things out here that may not be worth wasting session time on (conversations on the road, council meeting about the minutia of a building project, etc.). Again, this is an idea, and definitely will not happen if no one is interested in it.

The Calendar will hold updated info on gaming sessions. I may also post things in the Meet-up, at least in the beginning, but my goal is to establish 2 campaigning parties of 4-6 players each and move it to a routine schedule. I don’t mind letting people try things out to see if they like it/like my GM style/like the group dynamic/etc. But after a period, I hope to have 2 core groups that want to play on an ongoing basis. I would like those players to commit to a bi-weekly game (every other week) of about 3-4 hours a session. Essentially, I want 6-8 hours of your time every month to sit around a table together and game. Addtionally, you might spend another 1-2 hours (or more if you are into it) a month checking out this site for any updates. I feel like 10 hours a month is not undoable, right?

The Maps section will hold some maps, assuming they are pertinent to the game. I may not post a lot of different maps, unless the party really wants to move outside of the general area I have set up, which currently includes parts of North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Kentucky, and Penyslvania. I feel like that is a fairly sizable chuck on land, but if you guys really want to play Oregon Trail, Post-Nuclear Edition and go wandering off into other parts of the country, I’m not opposed to it.

All that said, I hope you all enjoy the game and each other! That is, after all, the whole point of this endeavor. If we aren’t having a good time, why do it, no?

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Just getting the site up
A.K.A. - What have I done...

The infrastructure for the campaign has been set up, with minor tweaks – Anne will take it from here.

I have found this format very useful in the past to record events from sessions, character journals, loot lists, NPCs of note (even some we didn’t kill)..

I hope you guys find it as useful as I do!

James Coolman
(playing character Viktor Sokolov)

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