After fulfilling the disastrous summons from Harvey, Mr. H’s Five felt it was high time to return to the waiting Horniege. Collecting the Steam Trunk and settling their tab at the Gear and Sprocket, they headed their way to a QZ entrance.
Trudging through the still new snow, however, they found however their closest gate to their HQ was closed and unmanned, barring their way back. Disheartened and unsure how to proceed, they were approached by a disheveled Drew, who claimed Harvey survived the hostile Ten Thunder takeover, and implored the Party to follow him to the wounded crime-boss. Naturally skeptical of Drew’s story, but still clueless how to proceed on their current objective, the Party followed him to an abandoned building in one of the neighboring slums.
Inside, Drew ducked away in the darkness, and Lucius Mattheson revealed himself and some of his cronies from the shadows. Lucius demanded an update from the crew, and while they were hesitant to divulge Horniege’s covert operations, the Party opted to tell the whole truth to avoid Lucius far more dangerous ire. After inspecting the contents of their Trunk, Lucius revealed some of his suspicions about Horniege’s new devious goals, in response to the Five’s updates. After revealing some family history for Ave in response to some of the Vault items inside the trunk, Ave manifested her fourth Destiny step by accepting a Brusker-Ortega wedding ring from Lucius.
To confirm Lucius’ suspicions, he charged the Five (the only humans that Horniege would allow into his sanctum) to still deliver the filled Trunk to Horniege, but pump him for information and report back if Horniege proves to be as nefarious as Lucius knows. Giving each of the five a fountain-pen sized gadget and explaining it will return them to safety if things go awry, Lucius directed them to a sewers entrance that should get them close to the Arena.
Navigating the Undercity seemed to be direct enough, until the Party encountered a sobbing woman, who turned out to be a beaten-down Melani. Screaming for blood and revenge for keeping her away from Horniege, Melani and her minions attacked. Desperate to reach their goal instead of engaging Melani in a lengthy brawl, the Party sprinted for a man hole exit with the Trunk, but managed to eliminate the disturbed Woe before making their exit.
Using the Crooked Clocktower as a guide, the Party finally made it back to the Arena, but much has changed in their days of absence. With the interior looking more like the inside of a pocket watch than the bare stone arena previously, Horniege’s head seemed to have created multiple soulstone-powered constructs to make an army instead of making a replacement body as he claimed. With all the parts delivered, Horniege thanked the Party for their services, tossed two last remaining Vault tickets, and promptly began to ignore their presence. When pressed on the Arena’s remodel and constructs, Horniege freely explained his true intentions, since the Five were as good as dead now.
Horniege was never human, even before his Robotic Rebirth. He was a Mimic, an infiltrator inside the Guild, and while the on-paper intent of his Project Lazarus was to help mankind towards a better, more complex construct under Guild servitude, Horniege’s intentions were always to use the Project’s techniques and science to enslave the Malifaux colonists and drive the Guild out of Malifaux. Lazarus’ success proved too temperamental and free-willed to control, and after Lazarus’ explosive closure, Horniege founded Project Osiris to continue the work not to subjugate humanity, but to breath life back into his own fallen kind the Neverborn. Using the soulstones provided by a new Woe companion, Chloe, Horniege has successfully revived ancient Neverborn consciousness and souls from her stolen soulstones. As a protest against the name Neverborn, he named these new Strangemetal constructs the Neverdie, and set the partially-made army upon the Five.
With quick reactions, Cho’ko activated her pen-teleporter, sending the entire crew safely to an all too familiar location; Lucius’ office. With his unmasked face turned away from them as he sips tea overlooking Downtown, we close with Lucius hissing the questions, “What do you have to report?”
An uneditted recording of this session can be found here.
Image taken from New Phyrexia art from Magic: the Gathering TCG.