From Beyond The Stars (IC)

197 posts / 0 new
Last post
MinusInnocence
MinusInnocence's picture
From Beyond The Stars (IC)

Heavy Lies The Crown

"Step out the front door like a ghost, into the fog where no one notices/The contrast between white on white. And in between the Moon and you, the angels get a better view/Of the crumbling difference between Wrong and Right." - Counting Crows, "Round Here"

The party leaves the newly crowned Count Parlfray, blind and alone, in the secret passage between the Keep's jail and the long shaft descending into the vermin-infested tunnels below. His father, now an Undead cannibal, remains locked in his cell (for the time being). He mentioned a text somewhere in his family library upstairs that might shed some light on the secrets this keep was erected by his ancestors to protect. Such insights would make pursuing the murderous rogue Gideon far safer than stumbling after him through the dark, but even if the Heroes cannot secure the tome, investigating the rest of the stronghold and clearing it of hazards is a worthy endeavor. There is no telling how many of the refugees from Thurmaster who made their way here yet live, if any. The cult and all who aid them have proven proficient in their bloody work.

And so, there is nothing for it but to venture upstairs and see what can be seen. The door leading out of the narrow hall the party has found themselves in opens to reveal a short staircase, climbing about five feet before leveing out again. Rounding another corner takes Jugg into what appears to be a wine cellar, which is certainly encouraging. Surface folk appreciate the benefits of keeping wine in the basement, but it would necessarily be easily accessible to the kitchen staff. And if the kitchen is nearby (which is typically NOT underground), so too must the dining room, and from there the rest of the keep's ground floor. Indeed, he can sense that he has led his colleagues to the floor just beneath the hill's summit. Thunk has gleaned this much from his experiences with food and booze, as well, so the sight of rows upon rows of glass bottles gladdens his heart. Not only might this offer another opportunity to drink himself stupid with his bearded brother-in-arms, but if there are any survivors up here, there must be SOMEone cooking SOMEthing.

Surprise Round

Jugg decides on a path through the racks of stored bottles, keeping his head on a swivel. It is quiet here except for the sound of his own footfalls and those of his companions in the column behind him, the reverie occasionally broken by a phlegmy cough and a half-muttered, unintelligible apology from Raphael. There are numerous opportunities here and there to peek through the shelves to see what is on the other side, so it is not exactly like this would be an easy place to set up an ambush; but if the party did fall pray to one, marching single-file in cramped quarters would be less than ideal when trying to mount a counter-offensive.

Thankfully, potential adversaries would also need to deal with the restricted terrain. Anyway, Jugg can see in the dark, which means that even in a brightly lit room, someone trying to skulk about in the shadows would be plainly visible. The dwarf is eyeing up the rows upon rows of stacked wine and trying to figure out how easy it would be to tip one of the shelves over in the case of an emergency when everyone except Dalvar and Raphael observe that it is not something creeping in the shadows that they need worry themselves over at all; rather, the shadows themselves appear to be writhing and moving of their own volition.

INITIATIVE

Jugg - 15

Feruq - 14

Argus - 13

Shadow - 12

Thunk - 7

 

Edited by: MinusInnocence on 02/16/2018 - 14:06
MinusInnocence
MinusInnocence's picture

Surprise Round

Jugg regards the strange, almost-not-there apparation first with bewilderment, then with a growing sense of apprehension verging on dread. There was something obviously unnatural about it, even in a world filled with sentient machines, winged, reptilian behemoths capable of breathing fire and men and women who can bend the laws of the Multiverse to suit their whims. The dwarf hefts his falchion high over his head, rushing toward the thing and bringing the weapon down as hard as he can manage against his adversary, eschewing grace for raw strength.

It pays off, at least for now; the ensorcelled blade slices through the living shadow, causing the inky blackness to vibrate visibly. A tortured shriek erupts from somewhere beyond this realm, and it occurs to Jugg only now that he is standing before his foe that he has let his guard down if the thing manages to lash out in response.

INITIATIVE

Jugg - 15

Feruq - 14

Argus - 13

Shadow - 12

Thunk - 7

Jugg charged this round, incurring a -2 penalty to his Armor Class until the beginning of his next turn.

The shadow has taken 9 damage. It currently enjoys a +4 cover bonus to its Armor Class.

"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats." - H.L. Mencken

MinusInnocence
MinusInnocence's picture

Surprise Round

Feruq finds an empty slot where a bottle might go in the rack next to him and promptly sticks the business end of the torch he's carrying through it, wriggling the oil-soaked rag through the wooden structure as quickly as possible to harass the otherworldly enemy on the other side. It recoils almost instictively from the light, as the monk hoped; but even when making physical contact with his foe, it doesn't appear that the heat from the fire adversely affects the shadow at all.

Argus proceeds around the corner and further into the room, hoping to at least intercept any other threats before they reach Jugg while he tends to the supernatural threat currently engaging him in melee. He raises the lantern high, hoping to fill the room with light, but the various crates, barrels, sacks and rows of bottled wine that fill the space transform the illumination into a dizzying shadowscape of dancing shapes and menacing forms.

Behind him, another sinister form emerges from the ceiling to swipe its arm through Jugg's head and shoulders as the one standing before him flails at the dwarf with both hands. The newcomer doesn't even come close, distracted somewhat by the lightshow from the ranger's lantern. But it was too much to hope for that Jugg could escape completely unscathed, and as the shadowstuff passes through his armor as if it wasn't even there to brush over his flesh, he can feel the falchion grow heavier in his hands. His reaction time and senses have not dulled, but he knows he can't withstand this assault for long, and can only hope the effects aren't permanent.

INITIATIVE

Jugg - 15

Feruq - 14

Argus - 13

Shadows - 12

Thunk - 7

Jugg has taken 3 Strength and 1 Dexterity damage. He charged this round, incurring a -2 penalty to his Armor Class until the beginning of his next turn.

Thunk has taken 3 damage.

Shadow 1 has taken 9 damage. It currently enjoys a +4 cover bonus to its Armor Class.

"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats." - H.L. Mencken

MinusInnocence
MinusInnocence's picture

Surprise Round

Thunk is as alarmed as anyone else about the appearance of living shadows, and even moreso now that they are swarming his blood brother. But there's a problem: the wine rack is floor-to-ceiling and is currently standing directly in the half-orc's way, making slicing up the shadowstuff and smashing all the regular stuff in the immediate vicinity a little difficult. A quick decision about what his chances of bulldozing through the obstacle leads Thunk to shoulder into it rather than attempting to hack a path through it with his greatsword. The whole thing shuders and starts to tilt off the ground on the party's side, but not very far before he has to let go and readjust his footing. He can try again, but it will take more time - time Jugg might not have.

Round One

Jugg opts for a more defensive fighting stance in response to seeing another shadow on his flank drift down from the ceiling. He doesn't want to sacrifice power for accuracy, however, and after assuming the high guard with his falchion brings it down with as much strength as he can bear without overexposing himself. The attack nearly sends him careening into the stack of crates but the seasoned warrior manages to keep his adversaries at arm's length, for now. Deciding that discretion is the better part of valor, he backpedals toward Argus. If the shadows want to press their advantage and surround him, he will make them pay for it.

INITIATIVE

Jugg - 15

Feruq - 14

Argus - 13

Shadows - 12

Raphael - 8A

Dalvar - 8B

Thunk - 7

Jugg has taken 3 Strength and 1 Dexterity damage. He fought defensively while using Power Attack this round and enjoys a +2 dodge bonus to his Armor Class until the beginning of his next turn.

Thunk has taken 3 damage.

Shadow 1 has taken 9 damage. It currently enjoys a +4 cover bonus to its Armor Class.

 

"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats." - H.L. Mencken

MinusInnocence
MinusInnocence's picture

Round One

Feruq hesitates, uncertain of how to proceed. He has no reason to think his fists will be able to strike an opponent that doesn't seem to exist physically on this plane, but he wants to be of service somehow. He hopes someone else will have a better idea of how to contribute so they can neutralize this threat before it does the same to them.

Over the din of melee between the dwarf and his incorporeal foes, Argus shouts, "These creatures may be chained to the room. We should push past and see if they intend to follow." The ranger spies a door across the chamber that might lead to safety and proceeds as rapidly as he can, checking it with his free hand upon his arrival. It doesn't budge but whether that means it is locked, barred or just stuck, he is uncertain. Feruq sees what he is doing and rushes to aid him, passing the torch in his hand to Dalvar as he shoulders past his companions. The monk reaches the door just as Argus puts his full weight behind his shoulder and checks the door again. It rattles in its frame, more than one might expect if it were locked and secured firmly in place. But it doesn't open yet.

Jugg anticipated his enemies might try to surround him to gain a greater advantage, striking from multiple directions at once. This fear proves well-founded as the newcomer from the ceiling fully descends and flits past the dwarf silently, provoking a defensive slash with his enchanted falchion (but to no avail). The shadow's companion follows suit as they both close for melee, and their conjoined attacks are more than the dwarf can bear. He feels the intangible shadowstuff brush past his armor, through his skin and graze over the surface of his heart.

Jugg's limbs run cold, as if all the blood in his veins had been transmuted to icewater. A helpless cry of desperation barely escapes his lips as he sinks first to his knees then rolls over onto his side on the floor, pinned beneath the great weight of all the gear in his backpack. He is not even certain he has strength left to shrug it off his shoulders and try to escape.

INITIATIVE

Jugg - 15

Feruq - 14

Argus - 13

Shadows - 12

Raphael - 8A

Dalvar - 8B

Thunk - 7

Jugg has taken 17 Strength damage and 1 Dexterity damage. He fought defensively while using Power Attack this round and enjoys a +2 dodge bonus to his Armor Class until the beginning of his next turn.

Thunk has taken 3 damage.

Shadow 1 has taken 9 damage.

"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats." - H.L. Mencken

MinusInnocence
MinusInnocence's picture

Round One

The Nose exclaims loudly and with no concern for stealth, "Ain't got no bodies! Git 'ta them wit' magic blades!" The contorted features of the incredibly ugly Raphael turn toward Dalvar. In Infernal, he continues, "Do not attack their bodies, and do not attack their minds. Attack with fire and force."

Raphael smiles and his demeanor shifts from panic to sardonic. "I betcha kin already see them buggas dyin," he laughs through a set of teeth that would politely be described as patchwork.

"They are already dead," Dalvar replies in Common, walking briskly north. "But we shall see if they can burn." He turns and glares at the shadow that just outflanked Jugg'r, hands clasped tightly in front of his lips, and a bar of yellowish-white fire erupts from center of his forehead towards the creature. It makes contact, boring a hole directly through the shadowy essence of the being assailing the now-prone dwarf. The shadow shrieks in pure agony and terror, and its companion takes up the chorus as well.

INITIATIVE

Jugg - 15

Feruq - 14

Argus - 13

Shadows - 12

Raphael - 8A

Dalvar - 8B

Thunk - 7

Jugg has taken 17 Strength damage and 1 Dexterity damage. He fought defensively while using Power Attack this round and enjoys a +2 dodge bonus to his Armor Class until the beginning of his next turn.

Thunk has taken 3 damage.

Shadow 1 has taken 9 damage.

Shadow 2 has taken 13 damage.

"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats." - H.L. Mencken

MinusInnocence
MinusInnocence's picture

Round One

Peering between the racks of bottles to see Jugg fall and flail around on the ground helplessly, Thunk's vision begins to go red. He shrieks, nearly crushing Raphael against the wall as he sprints around the shelf and whirls to bring his greatsword across in a vicious arc as he rounds the corner, not even stopping to look at his enemy as he moves. The shadowy entity cries out feebly before being silenced forever, its inky black essence dissipating before everyone's eyes.

Round Two

Jugg is relieved to see his friend, but too exhausted to say anything witty. He raises his falchion over his chest, more like warding off the Undead abomination with a holy symbol than holding the weapon in a defensive posture. He doesn't know what will happen if the shadow devours the last of his strength, but he hopes he can keep the monster at bay if it decides to try.

INITIATIVE

Jugg - 15

Argus - 13A

Feruq - 13B

Shadows - 12

Raphael - 8A

Dalvar - 8B

Thunk - 7

Jugg has taken 17 Strength damage and 1 Dexterity damage. He is currently prone and using total defense.

Thunk has taken 3 damage. He has 14 rounds of rage remaining.

Shadow 1 has taken 9 damage.

Shadow 2 has taken 25 damage and is destroyed.

"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats." - H.L. Mencken

MinusInnocence
MinusInnocence's picture

Round Two

Argus tries the door again, and this time he hurts himself a little. He's just not getting enough leverage - perhaps it would help to hand the lantern off to someone else? He passes it to Feruq but upon doing so, sees past his shoulder that Jugg has fallen. The ranger forgets the task at hand and rushes to the dwarf's aid, though he knows he will not reach the dwarf before the shadow assailing him lashes out again.

Feruq, shrugging that Argus must have some plan he has not conceived of, holds the lantern aloft and turns his back to the door, kicking back sharply with the ball of his left foot near the handle. It pops open immediately, revealing a shadowy chamber beyond...

INITIATIVE

Jugg - 15

Argus - 13A

Feruq - 13B

Shadows - 12

Raphael - 8A

Dalvar - 8B

Thunk - 7

Jugg has taken 17 Strength damage and 1 Dexterity damage. He is currently prone and using total defense.

Thunk has taken 3 damage. He has 14 rounds of rage remaining.

Shadow 1 has taken 9 damage.

"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats." - H.L. Mencken

MinusInnocence
MinusInnocence's picture

Round Two

Feruq raises the lantern and extends his arm through the open doorway, illuminating the adjoining kitchen. The place is in shambles, as if the normal order of business was disrupted. At a glance, not only is the place in total disarray from the typical hustle and bustle of a working kitchen after preparing a meal, there are signs of a great struggle taking place within. The most obvious clue is the corpse on full display up on the central table, slick with gore and blood pooling around it and having spilled onto the floor below. There is scant daylight filtering in through a short, wide window near the ceiling on the left wall, but Feruq thinks the double doors leading out of here would not take him outside but rather into a great dining hall. It is likely the other door leading east from the wine cellar also adjoins the dining hall.

The solitary shadow is wary of Thunk's prowess, but filled with wrath for the living. It takes one last swipe at Jugg before fliting through the air silently to engage the half-orc. Its shadowy limb brushes across the prone dwarf's face and he gasps weakly, gulping for air as if he can't catch his breath, before finally closing his eyes and slumping to the floor. It isn't clear whether the shadow's touch sapped the last of his strength but if he is still alive, he is in desperate need of rescue. Satisfied that it has finished its grim work, the otherworldy assailant takes up a position roughly between Thunk and Argus. If the ranger had a mind to retrieve Jugg's magic blade, that might complicate things.

Raphael can't hold back his mocking laughter as he descends on Jugg's prostrate form. "Donna worry none, big 'ol stron' Nose will keep yeh safe!"

The strange hobo reaches down and shifts Jugg away from the shadow, situating himself between the hostile undead and the hostile Hero as well as can be managed. For his part, Dalvar seems disinclined to help, or do much of anything else, for the time being.

Thunk does not like this shadow. At all. He shoulders past Raphael, nicer than last time because he can tell even in his bloodlust that the weird man is caring for his friend. The barbarian closes the distance to his foe, slashing through its shadowy form with all the savage strength he can muster. Its shriek tells him he found the mark, but it still basically retains its shape after the brutal assault. It's anyone's guess how close the Heroes are to destroying their enemy, but it is not likely it can shrug off many more attacks like that before the half-orc is robbed of his strength the way Jugg was.

INITIATIVE

Jugg - 15

Argus - 13A

Feruq - 13B

Shadows - 12

Raphael - 8A

Dalvar - 8B

Thunk - 7

Jugg has taken 17 Strength damage and 1 Dexterity damage. He is unconscious and helpless.

Thunk has taken 3 damage. He has 13 rounds of rage remaining.

Shadow 1 has taken 20 damage. It is fighting defensively and enjoys a +2 dodge bonus to AC.

"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats." - H.L. Mencken

MinusInnocence
MinusInnocence's picture

Round Three

Dalvar steps forward to shield Jugg's prostrate form from further harm, concentrating to call on his formal training as an abjurer. Those of his colleagues in his immediate vicinity don't feel any different, but a shimmering field of winking motes of light surrounds them. If the shadow can see the effect, it makes no indication.

Argus does not benefit from this field of protection, however, when he rushes past the shadow to retrieve Jugg's falchion. The thing from beyond this world lashes out as he runs by, and he can feel his strength begin to ebb. Still, though he was surprised to see Jugg fall in battle so abruptly, the ranger saw the merit of his aggressive strategy and knew the weapon could hurt the Undead abominations. He kneels and takes the enchanted blade from the unconscious dwarf, wheeling and bringing it to bear against the shadow. Cleaving through its ephemeral form in a single swipe, the air is rent with its scream of anguish and frustration. Then the room falls silent.

VICTORY IS YOURS!

Argus has taken 2 Strength damage.

Jugg has taken 17 Strength damage and 1 Dexterity damage. He is unconscious and helpless.

Thunk has taken 3 damage. He has 13 rounds of rage remaining today.

Shadow 1 has taken 24 damage and is destroyed.

"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats." - H.L. Mencken

deadDMwalking
deadDMwalking's picture

In the silence that follows, Argus strains to hear any sounds from further in the keep.

Perception
I rolled 1d20+8, the result is 17, 8 = 25.
MinusInnocence
MinusInnocence's picture

Argus thinks he hears the sound of water dripping from somewhere to the north and east of the party's position. Not the kitchen, he's certain it comes from the chamber adjoining both that room and this one.

"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats." - H.L. Mencken

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

"Is he being still alive?" asks Feruq, motioning to Jugg's crumpled form.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

"I think so," Dalvar replies, looking down at the dwarf. He appears unconcerned, but a short, to the point answer is pretty uncharacteristic from him. So maybe this is what he looks like when he's worried sick. "Raphael or Argus probably ought to look at him."

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Cronono
Cronono's picture

Raphael shakes his head.

"I cannae 'elp 'im."

He chuckles at Jugg's plight.

deadDMwalking
deadDMwalking's picture

"I'm afraid all I can do is help with the natural healing process. It'll take about a week. Even a relatively novice cleric could do better. I'm sure we could load him onto Puck so he doesn't slow us down, but I don't think he's going to fight again anytime soon."

Talanall
Talanall's picture

"We would have to get him to Puck, first," notes Dalvar, adding, "So we must either drag him back through the ventilation system, or we must put him someplace safe until we can ascertain whether anything else lurks in the keep."

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

deadDMwalking
deadDMwalking's picture

"It looks like Gideon has cleared out, but we can't be sure he didn't leave any surprises. I can stay with Jugg as you clear the next room. Once we're sure it's safe we can drag him into it and check each of the next rooms. It'll be slow-going, but we want to make a thorough search anyway. Only something well-hidden will have escaped Gideon, but I bet there are answers here."

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

"It is seeming that we are having little choice," says Feruq, holding the lamp higher and craning his neck, as though doing so might allow him to see something hidden to him before in the next room.

MinusInnocence
MinusInnocence's picture

Raphael knows that if Jugg were going to be slain and his soul irretrievably ripped from his body to join the ranks of the Undead as the shadow drained the last of his life force, it would have happened by now. He's alive and well, although hovering near Death's door, nearly incapacitated as he is. He also knows that the damage done by shadows is temporary, unlike that of more tenacious specimens channeling negative energy from the Plane of Shadow or elsewhere. In time, as Argus observes, the dwarf will indeed recover. But the Nose's estimation of the party's projected timeline is that they may not have that sort of time before the next awful thing happens that they should have dealt with.

Argus and Feruq mostly come to the same conclusion - that the trauma and terror inherent in the shadows' relentless assault was enough even for the stout dwarf to quail in the face of damnation. It looks like he just passed out from the stress of his ordeal, though his timely intervention may have spared another, less hearty Hero from a more sinister fate. He should regain consciousness at some point in the next few hours but will probably require supervision in the meantime. He certainly cannot defend himself in this state, and even when he wakes up his options are extremely limited.

Argus, Feruq and Raphael all conclude that someone like the resident cleric Semheis at the temple dedicated to Sarenrae in Milborne is the most equipped to deal with Jugg and bring him back up to fighting strength. Failing that, before the Count's untimely transition from life to undeath as an endlessly ravenous ghoul, he was... old. Not quite as old as the venerable Dirkaster, whose sons run the Baron of Mutton in Milborne, but at least as old as Tauster. It seems plausible that a man of wealth and privilege such as the former head of state of a sovereign nation would have medical attendants on-staff. There is likely somewhere within the keep's grounds the Heroes can find a cache of supplies left by divine spellcasters in case of emergency, and this certainly qualifies.

"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats." - H.L. Mencken

Darker

Thunk looks down at the strength sapped dwarf and refuses to budge, "Thunk no care about bad man. Thunk care about Jugg. Thunk carry Jugg to help. No go keep going down. Go up."

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Dalvar replies, "Fine. Wait here. We must look for medicine upstairs, and make sure that the keep is clear of other hazards. Afterward we shall have to retreat back to Milborne. It seems clear that Gideon's new allies will be too much for us to handle in our current state. And crawling back through the access tunnels under the keep will be impossible with a comatose dwarf and a blind invalid."

He makes for the doorway where Feruq has the light.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Cronono
Cronono's picture

Raphael spits in the space once occupied by the shadow. He also moves toward Feruq while smiling.

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

Feruq obliges the oncomers, carefully moving into the new room and shining his light high.

MinusInnocence
MinusInnocence's picture

What's For Lunch?

"The bluebird can sing, but the crow's got the soul." - William Elliott Whitmore, "Midnight"

Feruq keeps the lantern Argus handed to him held high, lighting the way for the other Heroes. Thunk finds a cozy corner to keep Jugg comfortable and concealed behind whatever he can find on-hand; so that in the event he must leave the dwarf's side, hostile passersby won't score an easy kill on a defenseless warrior.

Raphael brings up the rear with the torch the monk was holding before Jugg detected the enemies that just attacked them. Once he enters the kitchen, it is brightly illuminated enough for more details about the carnage that was unleashed here to be discerned. The corpse displayed on the table looks vaguely familiar to Feruq, and he realizes it is the former owner of the store in Thurmaster, a man named Barranas. He was present at the tavern for the drinking competition Jugg won, but they did not speak then; rather, he recalls meeting him while out late on the evening the party first met Tauster. He was strange and vaguely off-putting, but no one deserves this. Barranas' torso was split open to provide access to his intestines, which have been inserted into some kind of meat grinder at the edge of the table. To his revulsion, Argus spies a small basket on the floor beneath the contraption and realizes someone was in the process of making sausage from the poor soul's entrails before being interrupted.

Aside from the obviously degraded normalcy in day-to-day operations of a working kitchen in the stronghold of this nation's sovereign ruler that would be required for a man's body to be desecrated in such a horrific manner, the place is just in a general state of disarray overall. An overturned bag of flour has spilled its contents across half of another long table and onto the floor beyond the edge. Footprints can be easily discerned there. Pots and pans, normally hanging on hooks on a rail over the cooks' heads, lie here and there in the corners, in the aisles, etc. There is a cauldron of something suspended from a rod in an open fireplace in the far corner.

Two doors beyond the one the Heroes used to gain access to this chamber are visible. One is on the left wall across the room, leading north (and, as Feruq surmises, into the dining hall). The other lies at the other end of a single, long path through this room on the far eastern wall, just a few feet from the portal leading to the aforementioned hall. The fireplace with the cauldron is to that door's right.

"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats." - H.L. Mencken

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Dalvar doesn't seem terribly bothered by the scene of butchery, and strolls over to see what's cooking over the fire.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

MinusInnocence
MinusInnocence's picture

Though the fire has long gone out, the pot is filled about three quarters of the way with water or perhaps a very thin stock. A variety of carrots, beets, potatoes and other vegetables can be identified as well. It doesn't really smell like anything - actually, it occurs to Dalvar that neither does the body. Indeed, he cannot smell anything in this room at all.

"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats." - H.L. Mencken

Cronono
Cronono's picture

Raphael wanders over to the pot sticks his finger in it for a quick taste.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

"Odd. Guts reek if they're left exposed for even a little while. And these vegetables ought to be starting to smell a bit putrid, too, having been cooked in broth and then left to sit without heat for some time. I do not smell a thing." The wizard frowns, and then incants a spell to check the room for signs of magic. He goes on, beginning to stroll around to get a good look at the entire room, "Barranas must have been here for some time; the young count has already had time to get sick from his injuries and the lack of food and water. So at least a day, and likely several. That ought to have been enough time for him to develop quite the stink."

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

"It has being here longer," comments Feruq. His initial reaction upon entering the room was one of revulsion, but he appears to have adopted a clinical detachment. "Two... three days? Long enough that rats and flies should have being attractive to it, but it is not appearing to be so. Odd indeed."

MinusInnocence
MinusInnocence's picture

After Dalvar observes that he can't smell anything, everyone else in the kitchen realizes they can't. either. Raphael thinks that might help to explain why the taste of the broth is so... off... but he can't be sure. Maybe it's just been out too long.

As the young wizard makes his rounds of the chamber, taking in all the details, he comes to the open door leading back into the wine cellar. He can't detect any magical auras here, but there appears to be something the party missed back in there. He can actually see where Thunk has hunkered down with his fallen comrade behind a crate and some barrels, so he knows he isn't picking up any of the auras around them or their equipment.

Random
I rolled 1d4, the result is 2 = 2.

"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats." - H.L. Mencken

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Dalvar turns around to tell the rest of the party what he saw, and pauses for a long moment as a strange expression crosses his face. But it's gone almost before you know it's there, and he says, "There is a magical weapon in the room we just left. Please wait for a moment while I go to fetch it."

He lingers, despite this announcement, then adds, somewhat reluctantly, "For a moment, Barranas's head changed to resemble that of someone I knew years ago. A dead person. And his arm appeared to be moving. I perceive no magical aura anywhere in this room."

The wizard moves briskly back into the wine cellar to look into the source of the aura he just located.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

MinusInnocence
MinusInnocence's picture

There is a loose stone in the floor, half-obscured beneath a pile of sacks of something-or-other; and those, in turn, tucked between a barrel and where two racks of bottles met to form a corner. It is no surprise no one else found this before now. With a bit of shuffling around and hauling things out of the way, Dalvar is able to pry the slab of stone free and lift it up to reveal a short blade in its sheath, wrapped in a plain yellow cloth. The hilt is gold, black leather stitched with gold lace around the grip. Its pommel is adorned with a black stone, with "IX" displayed prominently in the same gold coloring. There is no cross-guard and the edges are notably sharp, though the blade is silvered; indicating even to a layman like Dalvar that this is no ordinary shortsword. In fact, he's never really seen anything like it before and thinks it must either be very old, intended only for ceremonial use, or both.

"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats." - H.L. Mencken

Cronono
Cronono's picture

Do I need to roll anything upon seeing the pommel?

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Dalvar notes, as he lifts the weapon from its resting place, "I am no swordsman, but this most certainly is a magical sword." He draws it from its sheath to inspect the blade and feel the edge, noting, "No rusting or tarnish. Silver plated, I think. Note the luster. Very sharp, even though I think it is both old and intended to be ceremonial in use."

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Darker

"Ooooooh! Shiny!" Thunk exclaims, looking at the sword.

Cronono
Cronono's picture

Raphael nods at the sword.

"Aye, it gotta shine ta it. It gotta mark, too. Eve-ill sons a bitches froma way up North swing blades likea tha one. Aye say keep her, butta gimmie the nine."

Raphael points at the IX.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

In tones of polite confusion, Dalvar queries, "Give you the nine? Are you telling me that it is detachable?"

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Cronono
Cronono's picture

Raphael chortles at himself. The sound is halfway between a belly laugh and a gurgle.

"Iffa yah got a fancy chisel!"

The Nose thinks he is funny.

"Aye dunnae knaw iffa yeh kin rip 'er off. I do knaw men annae devils will kill yehs iffa they seent yeh wit it."

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Dalvar queries, "Refresh my memory regarding the reasons why someone would kill over the number nine on the hilt of a sword, would you?"

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Cronono
Cronono's picture

Raphael gives a wry smile.

"Thar's some righ' bastahds uppa Nort callt tha 'Ninth Legio.' Them bastahds doin some dirtah deeds uppa Nort'."

Raphael's jovial demeanor turns sour. He takes a breath.

"Aye, they donna me some wrongs of tha personal type, tha bastahds."

He shakes his head. As he does so, he appears to be shaking off a bad memory.

"Anywhan, them bastahds got them somma bastahds theh 'ate tuh, inna bunch a bastahds calt tha Iron Pentacal. Iffa tha firs' buncha bastahds seent ya wit' tha aye-hex, thenna theh kill yeh. Iffa tha secon' buncha bastahds seent ya wit' tha aye-hex, thenna theh kill yeh."

Raphael smiles at the unity of purpose achieved by very antagonistic forces. He lets out a brief snort.

"Aye figga aye knaw somma tha bastahds and somma tha bastahds knaw me. Iffa aye-hex see me wit' tha sigil, thenna we coulda parley. Iffa them otha bastahds see me wit' tha sigil, thenna we coulda parley."

Raphael shrugs.

"Orra we just kill tha fooks iffa theh try!"

Raphael bursts out laughing.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

"Yes, I remember when you told me all of that the first time," Dalvar agrees, patiently. "You indicated that your Mook, or Mot, or whatever his name was, was murdered and his nose cut off, probably by these Ninth Legion people. So I guess they must be diabolists. But I fail to see why their sigil would be any special reason to kill someone. I recognize that diabolists murder one another under the slightest pretext—I did live in Northreach, after all—but you speak as if this Ninth Legion group is especially bloodthirsty, or especially hated by other cults."

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Cronono
Cronono's picture

Raphael nods as his laughing subsides.

"Aye. Them bastahds is. Bot' bloody annae bloodin!"

Raphael smiles again at the duality.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Dalvar tries again, "If you do not know the answer to my questions, then it is quite alright to say so, Raphael. If you cannot answer, then I shall consider the matter dropped until further information comes to light."

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Cronono
Cronono's picture

Raphael laughs. He switches to Infernal.

"Forgive any confusion. The Ninth Legion and the Iron Pentacle will both endeavor to kill you if you visibly possess the Ninth Legion's symbol. I firmly believe that I can possess the symbol without the same repercussions."

Raphael wheezes.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Dalvar shrugs, and offers the blade to Raphael, asking, "What leads you to this belief?"

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Cronono
Cronono's picture

Raphael takes the blade and tries to remove the symbol.

He continues in Infernal. "I went to their seminary." He snorts.

"I elected not to graduate."

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Dalvar switches over to Infernal himself, and queries, "You were a diabolist?" His tone of voice is quite neutral as he delivers his inquiry, and he doesn't seem unduly upset at the possibility. Curious, if anything.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Cronono
Cronono's picture

Raphael continues trying to pull the symbol of the Ninth Legion off of the magic sword.

"I was not a diabolist. I did nothing to disabuse them of their preconceived notion that I was faithful."

Talanall
Talanall's picture

"Sensible of you," the wizard replies. He pauses, and notes, "Despite your avowed conviction that you are quite safe with the sigil on your person, you seem to be devoting quite some effort to removing it."

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

MinusInnocence
MinusInnocence's picture

The enchantment laid upon the weapon appears to protect every part of it, even the stone capping the pommel. Raphael doesn't think he risks damaging the gladius in any way with his fiddling, but he also doesn't seem to be getting anywhere.

"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats." - H.L. Mencken

Pages

Topic locked