Ross “Viertis” Meyer, formerly of the Steel Hunters, has received word from his mentor at Colm Academy that one of the institute’s star pupils, Chas Phlebitson, has disappeared after going on a second journey to a ruined compound along a mountain trail in the southeastern part of the Black Riage. Contact from the academy has been sporadic at best since Meyer’s graduation, so he travels back to his alma mater in haste. Along the way, he recruits “Klingklang” Chuckman, an amnesiac drifter whose throwing skills are unrivaled; Ghulam Ali Ayoubi Faezal Az-Allit Az-Lokhar, a nano who’s mastered lightning; and a tall, hooded axe-wielder going by the name of Pikok. Together, the quartet of heroes makes their way to the lonely cliff-side campus of Colm Academy.
SEQUENCE OF EVENTS
- The Academy, short-staffed while its students train in the field, is under attack from eight foolhardy bandits. Pikok pulls back his hood to reveal a surprisingly-featureless face and beheads three of the bandits in half a minute. Chuckman tosses around his sisks and kills more thugs just as swiftly, Ghulam zaps an outlaw with an electrified crossbow bolt (?), and Ross makes an implacable walk to the remaining three attackers, leaving only one alive.
- Our heroes walk to the gym to take the two survivors (the tased bandit was revived) somewhere private for interrogation, but they find a group of 100 teachers and students inside. Ross reunites with two of his professors, an elderly historian named Selyn and a tactical expert named Jaron, the latter of whom contacted Ross about the missing student in the first place.
- While Ross, Ghulam, and Chuckman take one of the bandits aside, Pikok requests that he deal with the other. He hauls the thug in a fireman-carry to a restroom, deactivates his visage changer, and reveals that he is a diruk to his captive, who screams his fool head off. Pikok further frightens the man by dexterously pulling a rotten molar out of his gums, writing “Pikok” on the top with a stony finger, and attaching it to the guy’s necklace. The diruk re-enters the gym and realizes that everyone can see his true form, but he is surprisingly met with applause instead of fear for uncovering the bandits’ purpose:
- Some of the Colm Academy students have formed a gang called the West Side Pigeons and feuded with the 27s, as the bandits are called. The latter group got some technological assistance from a mysterious group called the Steel Hunters to launch a massive assault on Colm Academy when it was at its weakest and loot it for the money.
- Ross is surprised and displeased at hearing the name of his old unit again. He’s also disappointed to learn that the school’s administration nearly bankrupted itself by financing a series of secret, failed expeditions into various ruins and sites of forbidden knowledge.
- The four adventurers accept help from a West Side Pigeon rookie to take the fight to the 27s in a town below in Thaemor. They track down the gang to a museum for the numenera in said town, where they acquit themselves well in a frontal assault. Finally, they discover the missing graduate, Chas Phlebitson, in an underground storage room under guard. Ghulam and Chuckman dress as 27s and pretend to relieve the watch for the next shift, then free Phlebitson and return to the party having successfully eradicated the bandits once and for all.