Information Gathering At MogNet Central
“Last time I went to Central, we fought an evil moogle. I know the odds are against that repeating, but maybe I should bring a third spear just in case.”
“Last time I went to Central, we found two moogle exiles and a Totema.”
“Last time I was there, I fixed a computer.”
-Champ, Kogel, and Kalil
Champ, Kogel, Naoko, and Kalil traveled to MogNet Central to begin digging into the legend of Thalatte, the former identity of Tiamat. Stiltzkin directed them to the Religion section to begin, commenting that they were excavating a section of Central known either as The Lost Archives or The Scratch Papers, depending which moogle you asked. The thought was that the Lost Archives may contain information regarding the period of time right after the Kouhei/Tetsu War, which up until then had been basically lost to time.
Kalil dipped into his memories for the time when he was a priest of Thalatte, which was from before he met Kheda, roughly 1100-1200 years ago. His place of worship was about a week’s travel east of Mournten, which led to his friendship with Odin. There were seven places of worship at the time devoted to Thalatte.
Kogel found a book titled Mother Thalatte, Goddess Of The Wind And Waves, and Kalil tried to remember if he’d ever read it before, which led to something truly startling.
The man sitting across the table from you, Kalil, is no longer your friend and partner Kogel, but an old man with a red beard giving way to gray, inquisitive eyes, and a scar on his neck that never healed cleanly. You know him as Van Rantald, the scholar who researched Thalatte and wrote what is considered to be the leading resource on the Goddess of the Wind and the Waves, cobbled together from research that survived the Cataclysm.
You also realize that, to your surprise, you’re not just remembering this conversation — it’s like you’re in it, sitting here in this cold, creaky tower, feeling the welcome flames at the fireplace to your right warming your numb fingers.
In this memory, you have enough time for two questions about Van Rantald’s book, because you came here to test him on his knowledge of Thalatte, and…
…you came to determine whether or not he knew too much, and if his life should continue past this night.
Kalil asked two questions.
“Where would Thalatte go if she needed refuge, solace, or simply a place to hide or defend herself from her enemies?”
“As I discovered during my research in the remains of Gunge Castle, she would travel to the land of her husband to be safe, for his strength was always more than enough to keep her enemies at bay.”
“How does Thalatte manifest herself or exert her power on the world?”
“Through the rise and fall of the rivers that carry her blessing. For those she favored, the rivers flowed full, enriching the land and allowing their villages to prosper. For those that displeased her, or forsook her blessings, the rivers would overrun their dams and their meager defenses, and then the rivers would run red, if her ire had been strong enough.”
Kalil stood and shook his hand, sparing his life, and then returned to the present.
Under The Sea
“If she’s in Ad Astra, she won’t be hard to find – only the Field is big enough to hold her without a lot of people noticing. And if she’s in Paradise, fuck the Boryokudan. We found her first.”
The realization that Thalatte would go to Bahamut’s land when threatened very quickly put things together for the heroes. Bahamut was worshipped in Kouhei, as that’s where he was summoned and where they found the altar to him in Kouhei Castle. Historical Kouhei was very close to modern-day Ad Astra. Naoko’s initial thought was that Tiamat would be easy to find because the Field is the only place that could hide her, but Kogel floated the theory that the Goddess of Rivers and Lakes could be amphibious, which former-priest Kalil couldn’t find any fault in. The Boryokudan’s submersible airship elicited a round of frustrated swears.
Various underwater plans were hatched — using the power of the Totema, Wind (Kalil) and Water (Kogel) to be able to breathe underwater, having Wu or Darien build advanced scuba equipment, or staying above the water at all times (the latter being Kogel’s idea).
The second book, The River of Life, followed. Naoko skimmed it and learned three notable facts.
1) Thalatte is the daughter of the //Something// Of The Sea, Bismarck.
2) Thalatte is native to Damocles.
3) The marriage that gave Thalatte the additional title of Queen Of The Dragons was one of god-politics, as it bridged the Two Worlds.
Kogel filled in the mystery word immediately — Totema. Thalatte is the daughter of the Totema Of The Sea, Bismarck. Kalil wracked his memory, and did not come back empty, calling to mind a conversation with a hooded man about Bismarck saving the Camoa from the Cataclysm by sinking their city and claiming it beneath the waves.
The third book was an art book, focused on the legend of Thalatte.
- The first is of a great blue sea, massive and deep, stretching to the horizon.
- The second is of islands dotting that sea.
- The third is of continents rising up with those islands.
- The fourth is closer on one of the continents, a continent criscrossed by seven rivers, all leading into a bay, a bay with the shadow of a dragon painted into the waves.
- The fifth is of seven windmills at the start of each river.
- The sixth is of six broken windmills, flames roaring on the seventh.
- The seventh painting is of the wreckage of the windmill, with a seven-headed dragon in front — six heads black, the seventh one the same deep blue as the ocean in the first painting.
- The eighth painting is of Tiamat again, but this time all seven heads bound together in one barbed black chain, extending off the side of the painting like some terrible leash.
- The ninth painting is the destruction of Kouhei Castle, Tiamat’s shadow in the clouds above it.
- The tenth, and final, painting is Tiamat in seven smaller chains, each extending off the border of the painting, with a new shadow over the imprisoned dragon — that of two dragon-wings, spread wide, topped by a crown.
While Kalil pointed out that windmills were a steady part of Thalatte’s worship, Kogel had concerns: “Think about it. You’re free from millennia in chains, you return to the one place you know is safe – and they’ve dammed your river and are drawing power from it. Is Tiamat going to see it the same way Thalatte did?”
A Second Option
“Yeah, maybe the guy who’s wearing her dad’s necklace, bonded to her ex-husband, and who just helped rebuild the castle she knocked down shouldn’t be the one speaking to the angry dragon lady…”
Kalil brought up the idea of going to see Bismarck, believing that his memory combined with Kogel’s connection with the Totema and Naoko’s navigational skills would let them go to the site of Camoa’s sinking. Through teamwork, they managed to triangulate the location to a chain of islands far to the south, and docked quickly on the largest of the islands. Kogel reached out to the Totema, much in the same way he did when he summoned the wave to keep Geist from crashing in the false world, and the Totema answered him.
The island cries out.
And from behind the Southern Cross, inside the arc of the canyon that once lay here, you feel something incredible happen — and then you see it.
The rest of the islands rising from the sea.
Islands that less islands than they are… barnacles, atop a sunken ship, if that ship was a miles-long shimmering green and blue whale, if that ship was the Totema of Water, if that ship was Bismarck.
Bismarck rises up out of the waves, fifty feet high, a hundred feet high, two hundred feet, five hundred feet, higher and higher still, until you’ve forgotten to estimate the height, and instead just gape in amazement.
Then Bismarck opens his mouth.
And inside, though it must be a trick of the light, it must be something else, something else you can’t define, you think you see… buildings, and nothing inside Bismarck looks anything like you would expect a whale to look, even one the size of the largest city you’ve ever seen.
Bismarck stays there, the fourth continent of Damocles, awaiting your entry.
Our heroes boarded the Southern Cross and prepared to enter.
1 LP for participation
1 LP for discovering the history of Tiamat/Thalatte
Kalil: 1 LP for first instance of Session Play