Session 22: Parleley, Parlelellyleloooo, Par Le Nee, Parlsey—Parley?
With Joel barely clinging onto the edge of the ice, Ali begins to charge again, double-handed axe raised. Sarah jumps forward weaponless and grabs him by the waist, effectively stopping him from reaching Joel. Ali tries to push her aside, but she manages to keep him grasped, though they both move a few inches towards Joel. As he shoves at Sarah, he roars furiously and screams about the dangers humans pose to the universe. They continue to struggle, while Behelam leans over and picks Val up, placing her on her feet. He seizes the opportunity to attack Joel by throwing two massive axes in his direction. Fortunately, they miss and lodge themselves firmly into the ground, but within seconds they begin to drag through the ice back towards him, as he outstretches his hands. Pip flies over to Joel and, with a bump to his face and a bright light, heals some of Joel’s major wounds.
Realizing that the PCs must act to stay alive, Adriana decides to take a more aggressive route, and she uses her magic to float in the air. As water from the lake swirls around her, she asserts her (and Joel’s) godly nature, as humans are known for their tremendous magical powers, and she threatens to kill them all if the minotaurs attempt to fight them. Beside her, Val recoils, obviously shaken and terrified as does Behelam, though he looks slightly less intimidated than Val. Ali, on the other hand, merely scoffs and, still in a rage, retorts that he will bathe in their blood. Joel remains on the edge of the ice, still prone on the ground, and decides to bide his time.
Still struggling against Ali, Sarah attempts to throw him to the ground and push him away from Joel, but he remains firm. After another attempt to separate the minotaur from Joel, Ali raises his axe and slams his elbows into her back, clearly trying to move her without fatally wounding her, and the impact knocks her sideways. Sarah manages to catch herself before falling, but his attack leaves her winded and gasping on one knee. Ali shoves past her, charging at Joel once more, who uses his fire magic to try to melt the ice. It doesn’t melt completely, but it softens enough to knock Ali off-balance, and his axe slips from his grasp and sails into the water. With a roar, Ali hits the ground beside Joel and easily uses his horns to send him flying over the water. Pip immediately flies after Joel, catching him with a tractor beam and pulling him into his bubble. They fly back to Adriana, away from Ali, and Pip drops Joel at her feet with some words of inspiration and instrumental music meant to inspire them both. Adriana, still pretending to be a god, raises her hands in front of her and sends two blasts of energy at Ali. Both hit, though the first seems to do nothing, while the second sends him flying off the side of the ice. He catches himself with a snarl, clinging to the edge like Joel had. Val runs towards him, still scared of Adriana and her powers, and grasps his arm to pull him up.
Sarah takes the chance to position herself between Ali and the others, picking up her fallen sword on the way, to maintain the guise of a commoner. Unfortunately, Behelam instantly attacks Adriana with his axes, before goring her and lifting her into the air, bleeding and gasping for air, before dropping her to the ice. Luckily, she turns briefly into water as Behelam attacks her, lessening the damage slightly. Pip bumps into her neck, healing some of her wounds, and whispers knowledge of minotaur culture to her: if battling minotaur groups, concerned that their leaders are raging and thus unable to think clearly, call for a parley, they enter a truce and restrain their leaders. Coughing, and barely audible, Adriana calls for a parley. Val perks up at the word, still holding onto Ali, and looks over to Behelam. He shrugs, agreeing to the truce, and charges past Sarah to Ali. As he and Val restrain Ali from charging at Adriana and Joel, still roaring and in a bloodlust, the PCs tackle Sarah to the ground; Joel sails past, slipping on the ice, but Pip conjures a chain which wraps around her neck as he and Adriana pin her to the ground in front of the minotaurs. While Val and Behelam try to calm Ali down, visibly struggling to hold him down, Pip lets Sarah know of their plan; she pretends to continue raging, as if they are calming her down, and finally Ali slumps over, clear-headed.
After a moment, Ali asks Sarah what their plans are; his plan will be one of two things: either he will kill the PCs to save his broodlings, and the universe, or he will let them though. Peri finally stops screaming, and comes to stand beside the minotaurs. The PCs claim to only want to go home—though Ali points out that only Adriana and Joel (to his knowledge) are humans, and thus they are the only problems. He scoffs at their indecision, saying that humans cannot handle their magic and eventually will kill innocents around them. He forces them to promise that they will kill each other if someone were to go nova; the PCs readily agree (to kill either Adriana or Joel), while Pip strangely confirms that he will do what is needed. The wording is strange, and un-Pip-like enough that the PCs all think that he is not being fully honest. When Joel says that they only want to kill Loki and go home to earth, Ali tenses and considers their words. Peri immediately turns on the minotaurs, confused that they would be willing to listen to the PCs, and Ali slowly stands. After a moment, he pushes Peri into the water, screaming, before calmly looking back the PCs and demanding to know if they will kill Loki, and then return home. The PCs promise that they will follow this mission. The minotaurs consider this, glancing at each other and nodding, before agreeing that this is their only chance to get back at Loki. When the PCs question this, Ali only wishes them luck on their mission, before the minotaurs all hold each other’s hands and fall backwards into the water. Sarah rushes to the edge of the ice in time to see Val pull out her electric weapon, killing them all, as Pip notes that all minotaur parleys end with the losing party committing suicide in a matter-a-fact voice.
The PCs all group together on the ice as it finally breaks free and floats slowly to the cliffside, towards the crashed Synodan ship. As they get closer, Adriana and Sarah notice that it was not damaged during a battle in space, or really before entering the atmosphere. Instead, it appeared to have crashed into the cliff in perfectly good condition. They look over their shoulders at the trajectory, and note that must have passed through the golden dome in the distance before flying into the side of the cliff.