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Old 11-04-2020, 05:10 PM   #111
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 34 (2020-11-01)

Grogg began lifting the portcullis, invoking his god, bellowing “Orga!” By this time, I had checked the restroom, and found it empty, except for a set of cabinets under the washing bench. I told Nujan to check those. Xipil came running, having fetched his staff, and joined Nujan. We heard something metallic behind the back wall; the washing bench was to our left and the toilets to our right.

As Grogg lifted the portcullis high enough for him and Wolfram to get out, I called out, “Remember the axe!” I put the throwing knife between my teeth, thinking I’d have time to reapply poison to the long knife while he forced the door at the end of the corridor.

Wolfram came out from the portcullis room and Grogg kicked his axe out. Wolfram smashed his flail into the sturdy door, and Grogg exited the prison, dropping the portcullis to the floor with a crash. Xipil hit the wooden wall of the restroom near the washing bench and called for Grogg. The wall was hollow!

The murder holes in the corridor opened, and Wolfram was struck by a bolt. He turned and stabbed upwards with his sword, while calling for help. Grogg picked up his axe and told Xipil he had to help Wolfram first. I finished poisoning my knife and put the vial back into my belt pouch. Nujan ran over to me near the door, and told Wolfram to come to us, as there were no murder holes in the restroom ceiling. The giant human threw himself between Nujan and me, and Grogg began chopping up the door at the end of the corridor.

Nujan took up position in the restroom door, shield up to protect against arrows. I took the throwing knife from my mouth and told Wolfram to retreat into the room and take it easy until I had time to give first aid. He crawled backwards and held a hand over one of his wounds.

Grogg declared the door was open, and I hurried out past Nujan and him. “Open” was a bit of an overstatement, but he had made a hole, large enough for me to dive through. I rolled around and got my feet under me again. Nujan tumbled after me.

In this large room was a T-shaped table. In the far-right corner stood a ladder leading up to a balcony that overlooked the room from all sides, except the side we had just burst through. There was another sturdy door on the far side of the left wall, and someone was trying to hide on the balcony on the left side. All that was pushed to the back of my mind, for Podo stood on the table. He stared at me, just as surprised to see me as I was to see him. He held a knife in each hand.

I ran at Podo and threw a knife before veering off to the right. Podo ducked under the blade that was meant for his throat, and jumped off the table, away from me. I shouted “Grogg, above and left!” and positioned myself so I faced both Podo and the woman on the balcony. Nujan ran past Podo, swinging his sword, but he missed. The woman on the balcony lit her knife. Podo shouted that if it was this important, I could have the whole list.

Grogg made two rapid chops at the woman above, and she tumbled to the floor, dropping her glowing weapon. I drew my second throwing knife and approached Podo carefully. The fallen Toxiner watched me intensely, practically ignoring Grogg and Nujan, except for making a quick attack against Grogg’s neck. Due to Grogg’s metal-inlaid skin, the knives didn’t stab deeply, but I knew the blades were poisoned. You must have withdrawn Your blessing from the apostate, for Grogg’s only reaction was “That hurt!”

Grogg attacked Podo with the flat of his axe in case I wanted to interrogate him, but Podo dodged. I ran up to him and stabbed, but Podo dodged again. “Drop your knives, and I’ll let you live,” I told him. Nujan joined Grogg and me, and Podo dropped his knives and retreated towards the ladder.

A door opened behind us, next to the one Grogg had destroyed, and a man rushed out, swiping a blade over Grogg’s right arm. Unfortunately for our opponent, that arm is the most heavily armored arm in all of Arland, and the blade just clanged off the thick plate. Grogg turned and chopped horizontally, nearly taking the man’s head off.

I sheathed my knives and told Podo to sit down. Not quite seated, Podo pulled back towards the ladder, and Grogg ran to block his retreat. Nujan listened to the massive door, and Xipil looked around for more threats. I bent down and picked up Podo’s knives, putting one of them behind my belt. Podo watched Grogg warily now that my attention was elsewhere, and asked him to let him go. Grogg loomed over him menacingly.

I cut strips of the fallen woman’s dress while Nujan opened the big door. Podo shifted towards me, asking if everything would be all right if he sat down. Grogg followed. I confirmed that if he surrendered, we wouldn’t harm him. Nujan reported to Grogg that he had found the board game room.

I brought the strips up to Podo and had him turn around and put his hands on his back so I could tie them up. I explained that I respected him as an opponent, and it would be irresponsible of me not to control him while we were here together. He asked if he couldn’t just leave, but I told him not yet. He let me tie him up. Then I slit his throat, using his own blade. Even though I was standing behind him, I got blood on my pretty, white dress. It didn’t matter, as it was already turning red.

Nujan reported that there was an exit from the game room, and he believed many had fled that way. I went to take a look, and saw a staircase leading up. I couldn’t go there before I had cleared the complex. I glanced about the room and estimated that there had been at least six people here, and probably more than ten, based on the hastily abandoned wine glasses and other remains. Xipil, Nujan and I went to search the rest of the area.
__________________
You don't need to spend 100 CP on Status 5 [25] and Multimillionaire [75] to feel like a princess, when Delusion [-10] will do.

Character sheet: Google Drive link (See this thread for details.)

Campaign logs: Chaotic Pioneering / Confessions of a Forked Tongue
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Old 11-04-2020, 05:20 PM   #112
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 34 (2020-11-01)

The only unexplored rooms were those above the murder holes, and the entrances from the balcony were too small for Grogg, so he guarded Wolfram. We found another emergency exit, this one leading to the sewers. We found no more enemies, and no corpses, but there was a trail of blood leading from above the murder holes and into the sewer.

Xipil barricaded the two emergency exits, and I returned to Wolfram with improvised bandages cut from our enemies’ clothes. While I was working, we had Grogg smash through the rear stone wall of the room, so he and Wolfram could access the sewer exit. He borrowed Wolfram’s flail to do it. Wolfram asked if we got the person who had given me the mission to kill Niffi, and I said no. Since he insisted, I spoke a prayer, asking You for directions to Robal, but I got no answer. I hadn’t expected one.

The blood trail in the sewer went in the opposite direction of where we wanted to go, but Wolfram and Grogg demanded that we check it out. I suspected the enemies of being long gone, but I told Grogg to run and check anyway. The rest of us made our way slowly towards Yana and safety. Grogg caught up with us after a minute or two, having lost the trail.

I would have been pleased if we had managed to kill former higher-ranking Ashtarites, but as we slogged through the filth, You gave me a sensation indicating that my mission was complete. I knew we had taken out the entire kill squad, including Podo, who I wished hadn’t been there. I had hoped I could turn him towards the righteous path, but I felt no sadness at his death.

We emerged from the sewers covered in filth and blood, but with Yana’s aid, we didn’t catch too much attention. Inside the wagon, Grogg complained about hurting on his neck where Podo had stabbed him, but it couldn’t have been too bad, for he didn’t let me treat his wounds. Yana asked if we needed to race through the streets, but I told her to blend in with the other traffic. Nobody was chasing us.

We left the wagon outside an inn not far from our safehouse and said goodbye to the two “mercenaries”. I told them to lie low, and if they decided to alert the city guards about the abandoned wagon – a topic we’d discussed on the way – they should send someone else to talk to the guards.

The rest of us walked up to the hideout. I gave the code on the door, and the woman I’d met before opened. She wrinkled her nose at the smell, took us through a hatch in the kitchen floor to a large earth cellar, and promised to bring water for washing. She would also take care of our dirty clothes.

Yana and I erected my tent, and after a quick wash and change, I turned to Wolfram, cleansing all his wounds thoroughly. Xipil asked if he could help, but as he didn’t have the skills, I thought I would manage just as well on my own. Had we been in a rush, he could have assisted with handing me the supplies and equipment, but as it was, he wasn’t needed. On the other hand, it might be good to prepare for the future, so I gave him a lesson, explaining what I did and why.

Nujan thought we could have gotten out of the city, had we tried, but it might be too late now, if some of the escapees decided to alert the guards. When our host came to fetch our laundry, we asked if she was in a position to listen to the city’s pulse. She explained that this wasn’t her thing, but if we dared, she could have someone visit us and talk. I preferred to remain here in secret. We wouldn’t be staying very long anyway, I hoped.

Xipil and I sat down to pray, and again, I got the sensation that I had put down killers that didn’t answer to You. I smiled while I fed Little Brother in my pouch. I moved to the corner and sat down, facing away from the others to get a semblance of privacy. There I spent several hours meditating, licking clean my blades and replenishing my venom supply.

The room was quiet when I turned around, and Yana had gone to sleep inside my tent. I crawled inside and joined her under the blanket, slithering in between her back and the canvas wall. I slid one arm under Yana’s head, and reached over her with the other, placing my palms against the ground in devotion. I began my silent evening prayer: “O Ashtar! I surrender my life to Your coils…”

Yana interrupted by seizing the arm I held in front of her and pulling it close to her chest. It felt nice to embrace Yana, and to be held by her. It was just as comfortable as lying among snakes, but at the same time, it felt strangely intoxicating. Something hardened under my palm and pushed against it. I tore the arm free, suddenly reminded of my duty, my daily ritual. Yana pulled at my arm again, but I resisted steadfastly, and whispered forcefully a modified evening prayer before letting her confiscate my arm again.

O Ashtar! We surrender our lives to Your coils. Take us while we sleep, or grant us another day in Your service, as You will.

My fingers sought out Yana’s rock-like protrusion by their own volition, and my heart thundered against her back while my fingertips explored their discovery. Yana murmured unintelligibly, the only discernible word being “sleep”, and pushed on my hand, flattening it against her breast. I tried to relax, tried to take deep breaths, and prayed that You would grant me sleep. You did.
__________________
You don't need to spend 100 CP on Status 5 [25] and Multimillionaire [75] to feel like a princess, when Delusion [-10] will do.

Character sheet: Google Drive link (See this thread for details.)

Campaign logs: Chaotic Pioneering / Confessions of a Forked Tongue
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Old 11-13-2020, 10:40 AM   #113
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 35 (2020-11-08)

22nd of Rama, year 412

O Ashtar, Mother of Snakes, Keeper of Death’s Door, hear my confession!

Someone knocked the signal on the door and we heard light footsteps outside. I peeked out of the tent, and Yana asked if it was time to get up. I whispered “no” to her and asked Xipil to check the door. He listened to the door, then removed the bar and opened the door. There was food outside, bread and fruit, and he brought it inside. Whoever had knocked had vanished. Xipil conjured a light over the serving dish and announced that breakfast was served.

I crawled back inside the tiny tent and asked Yana if she thought we should get a larger one, but she liked how nice and intimate this one was. I agreed. Our packs lay outside, and as long as that didn’t present any difficulties, we were good. On a longer trek through the wilderness, we’d need a larger tent, but I couldn’t see myself going off in the near future. Cities, towns and villages are simply more comfortable.

I was still a little tired, and asked Yana to hold me while I tried to get some more sleep, but just then, Grogg complained about paper in the bread, and Xipil brought me the note: “Dear friend and believer. I could use your help and I have information you might find useful. I have no expectations regarding what you do about this message, but reach out quickly if you want to get involved. Yours truly, friend and believer.” I sighed and slithered out of the tent. “I’ll check it out,” I declared. Yana asked if she should come with me, and Nujan asked if he could go back to sleep. I told them both to remain where they were.

When we came here last night, I had thought we would be hiding in a private cellar under our host’s kitchen, but this was a warren, with labyrinthine passages spanning the entire neighborhood. At least it seemed that way as I backtracked our footsteps. An elderly washing-woman was moving through the warren too, but she kept her distance. I found the correct hatch and climbed up to the kitchen. The room was empty, and I heard no sounds from elsewhere in the apartment.

As I wasn’t supposed to be up here, I moved through the apartment stealthily in search of our host. Suddenly, a hand grabbed my neck and a knife was pressed against my back. I turned my head and saw a young man holding me, and another, both having come in from the back yard. I asked who the man holding me was, but he just asked who I was in return. I told them I lived there, which seemed to confuse them, and the knife-wielder relaxed his grip, allowing me to turn around. There was an unfamiliar woman there, too. One of the men told the woman to check me for weapons, and she took the two long knives resting on my hips and put them on a stool. She failed to find the throwing knives on my back.

The woman climbed a ladder and made gestures through a loft hatch. Someone up there replied soundlessly, and the woman signaled to the men to relax. I asked, and got permission, to take back my knives, biting each before sheathing them. I gave Your signal, and the woman recognized it, so I told her I had breakfast delivered in bed, and wanted to compliment the cook. She didn’t pick up on the clue.

Another woman peeked out from the loft hatch, and it was our host. I asked her who had prepared my food, and she avoided the question, repeating only that the food was safe. I had expected to find whoever had written the note here, but neither the host nor the Ashtarite woman were confessing. I prayed for guidance. Receiving no clear signal from You, I put a friendly arm around the Ashtarite and asked where one might find bread in these parts. She told me we have friends in the chapel. It could be a clue to go there, but the chapel was a little too far away, so I returned to the basement room, making sure I wasn’t followed. I knocked twice, and the door opened.

I told my friends what I had found out, and that I wanted to go to the chapel. Xipil was worried about dragons, but Wolfram agreed with me that we needed to figure this out. Xipil suggested that Yana should disguise me, and Grogg added that she should get me to look like a nice person. Grogg is one of the few people in this world who don’t respond favorably to my disarming smiles. I think he suspects me of wanting to poison him while he’s distracted.

We decided to leave the safehouse to check out the note. We hadn’t received our laundry back yet, so I proposed that the others waited for it and then followed me to the chapel. I packed up while Yana and Xipil studied the note, but they found no hidden message or meaning. Grogg smelled the note, as did Wolfram, after transforming to his bear shape. It smelled like bread, of course. Wolfram and Grogg decided they needed cloaks to move through the slums unrecognized, so Yana and Grogg set to work sewing.

A knock came on the door and I opened to find our laundry outside, and the elderly woman I had seen before, hurrying away. I changed my mind about leaving without Yana, so I followed Nujan’s example and lay down to get some shut-eye while the seamstresses were working.

Yana woke me when the cloaks were done, and we left. The Ashtarite woman was waiting for us under the kitchen hatch, and showed us another way out. I spoke a blessing over her when we parted ways, and she thanked me with a gesture of her hands.

I showed the way to the chapel. There were quite a few people nearby, as usual. I asked Grogg if he wanted to wait outside, for I was going inside the chapel, and I knew how much he feared snakes. A small group of people were sitting and drinking around some rickety tables, and I asked them if it was possible to join them. They permitted it if we bought something, so I waved the others over. Xipil, Yana and I were going inside the chapel, but the others would remain here. There weren’t enough people present to bother Wolfram, who fears crowds. An aproned man appeared and demanded two silver pieces. He was clearly taking advantage of us, but I directed Wolfram to pay. He took his time about it, and the proprietor told us if we didn’t pay, we had to go. Wolfram eventually paid up, and learned that soup and beer would arrive soon.

I took Yana and Xipil inside the chapel. Yana asked if she had to undress. It was tempting to say yes, but I quenched that impure thought and told her it wasn’t necessary this time. We just had to wash our feet and hands, as I had taught her. The ritual of cleansing was not the proper time to admire a beautiful figure.

In the main room, there were only three people, including a sleeping Riko, whose friends woke him when they saw me come in. Riko greeted me, and I saluted back with Your sign. We sat down with him, and I complimented the baking of this neighborhood. Riko nodded and told me he hoped that was why I came, adding Yana and Xipil as an afterthought.

Riko asked if it was all right to discuss the matter here, for it wasn’t directly related to You. I told him of course it was fine; Ashtarites may discuss anything that concerns them in Your holy chapel. I emphasized that if I could help a fellow believer with his problems, I would be grateful for the opportunity. Riko informed us that a woman on the Council had asked for us, or at least he believed it was us from the description, “an easily recognized party of strangers”. The search was focused in other parts of Ur, not the poor quarter, Riko added. He didn’t know the identity of the woman, and there were four of them on the Council. I thought to myself that there was in fact five, including Queen Isa. The searcher could be Nefalonia, or Niffi, who had learned about us preventing her assassination and wanted to thank us, but it seemed unlikely. It was more reasonable to assume that another Council member had been in the Elik cellar when we attacked it, and somehow learned who we were. There had been murder holes in the ceilings of one room and one corridor, and the shooters above, who managed to escape, had seen Grogg and Wolfram.

Riko believed that Ur would be besieged soon, and that certain goods would be hard to find. He and others in similar positions, controlling parts of the poor quarters, had been offered bribes to let certain people pass through. Riko knew that others had accepted, but didn’t know what to do himself. He felt he should do what was best for the chapel and for his gang, but what was best for one might not be good for the other. I proposed we pray. Riko had already asked You about it, but it wouldn’t hurt to ask again. I pulled Little Brother out of my pouch and let him play with my fingers while I prayed. I sensed that no matter what choices we made, no matter what happened, there would be an increase of arrivals to Your realm. Translated, for Yana’s benefit, people would die. I got no indication of what would be right for Riko’s situation, and told him to do what he felt was right.

Xipil thought Lord Mir was planning to let Larma enter Ur, and then besiege the city himself, cutting Larma’s supply lines. Riko didn’t think Lord Mir was nearby. We spent some more time discussing what Riko should do, but I had no strong opinion on the matter. He asked what our plans were. As it wouldn’t help him to learn about our demonic troubles, I just said that we wanted to lie low until the storm had passed. Riko believed that some people would interpret the storm as a sign of something important, and might take drastic measures in its wake. Xipil thought the stone circle might have some importance.
__________________
You don't need to spend 100 CP on Status 5 [25] and Multimillionaire [75] to feel like a princess, when Delusion [-10] will do.

Character sheet: Google Drive link (See this thread for details.)

Campaign logs: Chaotic Pioneering / Confessions of a Forked Tongue
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Old 11-13-2020, 10:51 AM   #114
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 35 (2020-11-08)

Riko gave us a choice, either to help him here in the poor quarter, or to leave before the day died. Xipil suggested praying over it, and we did. I felt that we were welcome here, so I asked Riko what kind of help he needed from us if we remained. He didn’t know; it depended on what happened. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, myself, so we agreed to talk to the others before making a decision. Riko told us he would await us in a nearby tavern in one hour, but we didn’t have to show up if we decided to leave. I put Little Brother down with the other snakes, as it is right and proper to make such a gift to a chapel one visits. Riko nodded in appreciation.

We gathered up Nujan, Grogg and Wolfram, and found an alley where we could talk without being overheard. Nujan stood watch. I told my friends I knew a gang leader who requested our assistance with what was about to happen, and that we had to leave the poor quarter if we didn’t want to help. Xipil didn’t think we had any alternatives. Going out into the desert with a storm on the way seemed like a bad idea, and since someone on the Council were looking for us, we might not be safe elsewhere in Ur. Wolfram feared that if we didn’t leave Ur immediately, it might be difficult to get out. He called for a vote: Should we stay in Ur, or should we leave?

Yana preferred not to vote, stating that she would go with me no matter what, and if she voted, that would essentially give me a double vote. I squeezed her hand gently and said that I had no strong feelings about going or staying. Nujan didn’t either. Grogg asked Kraa, and interpreted the inane chatter from the spirit raven as a desire to stay. So, we were staying, but should we remain in the slums, or seek out our seeker at the Council’s tower? Wolfram was eager to check out the latter possibility, and Grogg proposed that I was the one to go, in case it was a trap. I agreed, if not with his reasoning. If someone was to go, we should pick someone who can get along with people. Since Yana had attended the meeting with Commander Hydor, I thought she should come with me, in case we had to talk to him. A familiar face would be helpful. However, I pointed out that only two of the Council members, Niffi and Garold, were on the kill list, and asked what that meant about the loyalty of the others.

I reminded everyone that we had to see Riko at the tavern first, if we wanted to retain the permission to stay in the slums. I proposed that we talked to him before making a decision about what to do about the Council. We headed for the tavern, but Grogg sent Kraa to fetch a gold coin at the soup kitchen near the chapel. Good luck with that, I thought to myself.

Riko wasn’t in the tavern, but one of his companions from the chapel was there. He gave me Your sign, and I replied in kind. He asked if we were in a hurry, but I told him we weren’t. Not much, anyway. He left through a side door, and came back three minutes later and waved for us. He led us upstairs, and on the way, we could hear Riko’s voice. He was sending some people out on various errands.

We joined Riko around a table. A thug stood in the corner. Riko’s bodyguard, perhaps? Riko explained that he had decided not to take the bribe, and asked if I had a problem with that. I smiled and told him I didn’t mind at all. This was his decision to make. Riko had heard rumors of people at the other chapel planning to upgrade to a temple. He didn’t phrase it like that, not with unbelievers listening in, but I got his meaning and informed Xipil later, in case he hadn’t picked it up.

Riko said he needed an answer now, if we were staying or not. He and the thug left the room to let us decide amongst ourselves. Xipil and I wanted to stay, since we were familiar with the people here and knew we could trust them. Wolfram disagreed, and Grogg concurred with him, leaning towards the tower. Nujan told us he had changed his mind and wanted to leave Ur. Yana repeated that she didn’t want to take part in the decision process. Wolfram asked if anyone else could agree to leave town, and I said I could, if everyone agreed that we left to find Lord Mir and deliver the spear to him.

We debated where we should go, since none of us knew Lord Mir’s whereabouts, and because of the predicted storm. Someone suggested returning to the crypt, to hide there until the storm passed, but I managed to convince the others that we should find a farm and hide in their cellar. If we found a suitable, abandoned farm, that would be good, but otherwise, I was certain I could procure permission for us to stay the night, or at least until the storm had passed.

Suddenly, there was a bang somewhere up the street. I dashed out, and saw that some people were dismantling a building and stacking the pieces in a cart. They must have dropped something heavy on the ground to make so loud a noise as we had heard. Xipil asked if we needed to find Riko to tell him what we had decided, for he hadn’t been in the tavern when we passed through it just now. I said he would interpret our absence correctly, but I also knew that word would get to him about us leaving.

Two men came towards us from the demolition site, carrying a large wooden plate between them. I asked what was going on, but they just replied that if I could hold a hammer, I could make a few coppers by helping. They moved to the end of the alley, and it was obvious they were going to build something there.

We moved to the north-west, as we intended to pass the city wall where it was the most dilapidated. We passed several workers who were blocking off alleys and side streets, and approached a group of local militia-men, who clearly blocked the way. We ducked into an alley to get around them, but another group stood in our way on the next street. Watching that group, we saw that they let some people pass, but hindered others. Yana and I walked up to them alone.

The militia told us they didn’t control the area further out, but I could see another group fifty meters beyond them. Maybe there was a conflict between different militia groups? When they asked, I told them we weren’t from around here, and they urged us to hurry and get away. I waved the others over, and everyone but Wolfram approached. Xipil ran back to him, and after talking for a moment with the crowd-fearing giant, he fetched Grogg. Together, they managed to get Wolfram past the militia.

Wolfram wasn’t keen on approaching yet another group of people, but he realized that he was trapped between two groups now, and allowed Grogg and Xipil to escort him past the second group. They stepped out of our way without making any fuss, probably because of the size of Grogg and Wolfram and their weapons and armor.

An even larger group of people were barricading a hole in the city walls when we got there, but they too stood aside and let us by. The slums continued outside the wall, and again we passed demolition crews as well as people carting materials back to the wall to plug it.

Once we passed the last sheds, we turned east, and Kraa appeared with a copper coin for Grogg. We spotted two fires, off to the north, and Xipil gave his pack to Wolfram so he and Nujan could run and check it out while the rest of us continued east. Without much to go on, we had decided to head for Sam, believing that Lord Mir might be in the vicinity of my home city.
__________________
You don't need to spend 100 CP on Status 5 [25] and Multimillionaire [75] to feel like a princess, when Delusion [-10] will do.

Character sheet: Google Drive link (See this thread for details.)

Campaign logs: Chaotic Pioneering / Confessions of a Forked Tongue
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Old 11-13-2020, 11:07 AM   #115
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 35 (2020-11-08)

Yana and I trailed a little behind Grogg and Wolfram, so we could talk privately. We giggled over clothing customs for a while, until Yana got a strand of hair in her face and moved to push it behind her ear. She chose to use the hand I was holding, and tightened her grip, locking in place my interlaced fingers when I tried to let go. Once she had dealt with the errant hair, she plopped one of my fingers into her mouth and sucked on it, twirling her tongue around it. Shivers surged through my entire body, and I nearly tripped. “What are you doing?” I gasped, and Yana released my finger. Grogg and Wolfram turned their heads, and this time it was Yana who tried to let go of my hand, but I held her tight. We both smiled innocently until our companions stopped looking.

“I thought you’d like it,” Yana whispered in my ear. “Didn’t you?” I opened my mouth, but no sound came out. It had been amazing, but I had also felt completely defenseless, a feeling I disliked very much. What if someone brushed against my finger in combat, and it happened again? We walked for a few minutes in silence while I sorted through my thoughts. I confessed how she had made me feel, and asked her to help me find a way to prevent it from happening while I was fighting. I’ve always thought that I was decent at reading people’s emotions, but Yana’s apparent delight baffled me. She tried to assure me that this wouldn’t happen in battle, but I wasn’t completely convinced. Maybe I should buy some gloves?

We discussed gloves for a while. Leather would be best for protection, but there was so much more one could do with cloth. So, we debated fabrics and cuts, patterns and colors, until Yana changed the topic: “Do you mention me in your prayers?” I told her of course, I did. “What do you say about me?” she continued. “I pray for Ashtar to protect and bless you,” I said. Yana asked if that was all. “Be honest,” she admonished, sensing there was more.

It all came out. How I had suspected her of being an evil sorceress for tampering with my emotions. How confused she made me, even after You had told me she wasn’t evil. I expected horror and revulsion from Yana and steeled myself for it, still clinging to her hand, afraid she’d take off. But Yana just blinked twice, as if she was putting together the pieces of the puzzle in her head, and then she burst out laughing. She pulled me close for a hug. “Oh, Sweetie!” she whispered. I didn’t understand, not at all! But it certainly made Yana’s day. She practically skipped along when we continued, and sang a happy song. I decided not to rock the boat by questioning her good mood.

The farms on this side of the city were small, and most didn’t look as if they had cellars. After a good walk, we saw one with a well, and decided to fill up Grogg’s water barrel. Wolfram had purchased a few kegs of ale back at Riko’s tavern, but I preferred water, and I knew Xipil did too. There were two children at play, who were scared by “the two trolls” and called for their mother. I approached her, smiling and waving, and made things right. The boy and the girl, who I put around eight and six years of age, were still frightened, and I sensed that the permission for our use of the farmer’s well was granted because they didn’t want trouble, so I gave each of the children a silver coin in payment for the water. Their mother made them bow and curtsy to me. I gave them a friendly smile and we continued on our way.

Xipil and Nujan caught up not long after we left the farm, and informed us that they had found two burned-out farms with tracks of many horses. If the riders were Aldera scouts who fled because the Larma army approached, we shouldn’t spend the night at a farm. Rather, we should find a cellar and remain there only as long as the storm raged, then move on.

Our scouts ranged ahead again to look for a good place to take cover, but they soon returned and said that there were no possibilities of cellars further on, as we were nearing the desert. We agreed to turn around, since we had passed a few farms that at least looked as if they could have a cellar. Xipil looked nervously towards the horizon, but I could see no signs of a storm, yet.

The closest farm with a cellar turned out to be the one where we had paid for water. I approached the residents alone, recalling how Grogg and Wolfram had scared them earlier. I explained to the farmer and his wife that we had just interpreted signs that a storm was on the way, and asked if we could take shelter in their basement. They were alarmed that I had gleaned that there was a cellar here, and that I wanted to borrow it. Luckily, they were loyal towards the Aldera family, and I quickly convinced them that we were too, so they let us in. A well-disguised hatch revealed the cellar below.

The cellar was filled up with food and wooden crates bearing Aldera symbols. We climbed down, even though Nujan needed some persuasion to enter the tightly packed underground chamber. Grogg told Kraa to remain above. Wolfram borrowed Grogg’s needle and went into a healing slumber. I decided to follow his example, asking Yana to hold me while I slept. Grogg wanted to smoke, but Xipil convinced him to drink ale instead. The smoke would give away the presence of a cellar if anyone came to investigate the farmhouse.

Gently stroking my head lying in her lap, Yana said she thought these Aldera symbols were closely associated with the noble family, and she was happy to see them here. It indicated that Lord Mir intended to save Ur, even though rumors said he had abandoned the city to its fate. Yana thought that Larma might have superior forces, but that they wouldn’t be behind Lord Mir’s lines, so perhaps he wasn’t in the east after all? Could he be in the swamps? She was ranting, and as much as I enjoyed listening to her voice, this was stopping me from falling asleep, so I asked if she didn’t mind singing for me instead. One lullaby or two later, I was fast asleep.

Xipil shook me awake an hour or two later. Things were happening! An army was moving towards Ur from the east. The soldiers were fortunately too far south to bother us here, but what alarmed Xipil the most was the sun. It had turned red, and refused to set. It lingered just above the horizon in the west. That was an affront! The sun had to set, so the day could die! I sat up and saw Grogg pulling the needle out of Wolfram, waking him.

Grogg lifted Xipil out of the cellar and asked if I had the ring. I said yes, and he lifted me out, too. Yana asked if she should follow, but I told her to remain for now. The sun had indeed stopped just above the horizon. Watching it through the spirit-seeing ring, I didn’t see anything special. Xipil climbed up on the roof of the outhouse to meditate, giving instructions to move him if his eyes began to glow and the storm arrived.

Wolfram emerged from the cellar, followed by Yana and Nujan. Yana and Nujan were holding hands, so she was clearly afraid. I went over and took her hand from the cat person. I should be the one to protect her, to comfort her. Grogg informed us that Kraa said the storm was coming, and with the sun misbehaving, it wasn’t difficult to convince the farmers to bring their children to the cellar. We would be sitting on top of one another, but it would be far safer than staying above.

Nujan caught my dress sleeve and pointed at Xipil, whose eyes were shining. I told Wolfram to make sure Xipil got down to the cellar before the storm struck. Yana and I climbed down to the frightened family. The girl was still asleep, fortunately, but the boy was trembling, sensing the frayed nerves of his parents. I launched into a story about You to calm the boy down, and his parents. His mother expressed concern that I might be making matters worse by praising a death goddess, but of course I wouldn’t. By seeking shelter in Your coils, our souls would be saved, in the next world, if not in this one. The fear of death is a powerful emotion, but I gave my life to You over a decade ago, and I haven’t feared for it since. Of course, I did choose a story suitable to children.

Nujan and Wolfram climbed down, with Xipil waiting above the hatch. The unnatural light from the sun bathed the single room above in a red sheen, and it seemed to be getting warmer. Xipil joined us in the cellar, but Grogg closed the hatch behind him and returned outside, where he began to stomp his maul rhythmically into the ground while chanting to his god, Orga or Ogra. He hasn’t quite made up his mind about his god’s name. The boy asked what the troll was doing, and I told him that Mork is the strongest troll in the world, and that the last time we encountered such a storm, Mork came out victorious. The boy’s eyes shone with awe as they stared up at the closed hatch above us.
__________________
You don't need to spend 100 CP on Status 5 [25] and Multimillionaire [75] to feel like a princess, when Delusion [-10] will do.

Character sheet: Google Drive link (See this thread for details.)

Campaign logs: Chaotic Pioneering / Confessions of a Forked Tongue
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Old 11-13-2020, 11:21 AM   #116
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 35 (2020-11-08)

Xipil got out his starlight coin, and I resumed my storytelling. Wolfram prayed to Tiri, and Xipil meditated. Nujan had found a corner and watched from there. Yana began to sing a lullaby, softly so as not to disturb my story. She was afraid, but I held her hand, so she shouldn’t be.

Grogg was really getting into the mood, stomping and bellowing louder and louder. Suddenly, we heard a bang, and not long after, lightning struck the chicken coop, and Grogg quieted. Wolfram shouted for him, but got no reply. Nujan stammered that we had to get Grogg down to the cellar, and began moving towards the hatch. Wolfram told the cat that he didn’t think he’d be able to fetch the large troll. Xipil joined Nujan and they began fumbling with the hatch, but Wolfram stopped them. The boy started crying, wailing that he didn’t want the troll to die. I set about relaxing him, and Grogg resumed his chant, more frantically than before, after bellowing a challenge to Palo, the dragon who is his god’s nemesis.

Wolfram held back Xipil and Nujan from going out into the storm, and shouted for Grogg to come inside, but the troll wouldn’t listen. Nujan told Wolfram that if he was willing to let Grogg die, he should let Xipil and him die too, if they wanted to. Wolfram tried to find words to convince the others to stay, but Nujan kicked my leg to get my assistance. Unfortunately for him, I was busy calming the eight-year-old, and anyway, I agreed with Wolfram that we shouldn’t go out into the storm. I realized I possessed no means of convincing Grogg to join us, so I chose to do some good elsewhere. In this case, chasing away the terror that reigned over the tight-packed cellar.

The farmer waved me closer, and I leaned past his wife to learn that I needed to get Wolfram to stop shouting. The loud noise didn’t help his boy, and it was only by Your blessing that the girl still slept, clutched close to her mother’s bosom. I asked Wolfram to quit roaring. I was fine with him hindering people from going out into danger, but if he didn’t mind, I’d prefer him to do it quietly.

I opened my backpack and dug into the medicine kit, retrieving an empty poison vial. I gave it to the boy, explaining that the reason I was so calm in the face of this whole situation, when everyone else was panicking, was that I possessed Your essence. I indicated that it was stored in the small glass bottle. The boy held the vial close, and relaxed remarkably fast. Perhaps it wasn’t as empty as I believed it to be?

The house began to shake, and Wolfram shouted for Grogg to come down, again. I glared at him, but I don’t think he noticed. The cellar was quite dark, at least to those not blessed with night vision. Grogg roared and charged off towards the east. Xipil touched the hatch and declared that it wasn’t any warmer than before. His calm demeanor convinced Wolfram to let him up. Above the open hatch, light and shadow battled against each other in sickening swirls. The farm wife withdrew her earlier sentiment, and begged me to speak of any god I wished, as long as they could save us.

I began another story to convey Your greatness. Nujan climbed up and joined Xipil above, and another lightning bolt struck down nearby. Wolfram said that this was the last storm we would let Grogg be outside in.

Xipil and Nujan returned to the cellar, and Xipil closed the hatch after them. Nujan sat down in his corner despondently. Xipil warned us that we needed to be ready to quench the fire, if it spread from the chicken coop to the main house. Wolfram opened the hatch and peeked out to keep an eye on the fire. After a moment, he decided to put the fire out, and Xipil followed him outside. Nujan did too, hesitantly. The farmwife wanted to hold hands with Yana and me. As we had one hand free, each, that was all right. The sleeping girl lay in her mother’s lap.

The firefighters succeeded at their task, and decided to follow Grogg. They brought him back after a while, and Wolfram had needed to transform into a bear to carry the troll, for he had been struck by lightning, and was barely able to move on his own.

Once we got Grogg down into the basement, I told him to prick himself to sleep. Wolfram and Nujan remained upstairs while I worked on Grogg, but Xipil came down, and both he and Yana offered to help. I chose Yana, of course. The lightning had struck Grogg’s upraised solid-metal maul, shattered and burned his left arm, and continued through his body to the ground. Grogg had bad burns over his torso, but his legs weren’t damaged too badly. The wounds there were superficial.

I applied salves to Grogg’s burns and earth around them, and while I couldn’t save his arm, I could at least prevent infection. Mundane skills depleted, I had one more weapon up my sleeve. I prayed over Grogg’s arm, and it seemed dead, as if You had taken it through Death’s Door. I hadn’t heard of You granting healing in this way before, but if anyone could give Grogg’s arm back, it would be You. If You gave Grogg the use of his arm, he could no longer deny Your power.

A final, powerful flash of light raced over the sky, and then it was dark. Wolfram summoned Yana, Xipil and me for a talk out of hearing of the farmers. He informed us that Nujan had spoken earlier, as if in a trance, saying that if we delivered the spear to Lord Mir, we could help him defend the city. Xipil added that Nujan had said something about keeping Lord Mir grounded. There wasn’t anything we could do yet; Grogg needed to heal up before we could leave the cellar.

Wolfram and Xipil debated sending Xipil to scout on the burning city to find out who controlled it now, but Nujan was convinced it was Larma. Also, sending Xipil alone would be dangerous. If he needed help, we’d be hours away. We had better go to sleep. Xipil offered to take the first watch, and I volunteered for the second.

The farmer’s family emerged from the cellar and found their beds. There was some crying, but they fell asleep quickly. Xipil climbed up on the roof to keep watch from there, but the rest of us climbed down to the cellar. I spoke my new evening prayer with Yana; we each held one palm to the ground and clasped each other with the other.

O Ashtar! We surrender our lives to Your coils. Take us while we sleep, or grant us another day in Your service, as You will.

Xipil woke me for my watch after a few hours, and I climbed out of the cellar and took up position inside the door, leaving occasionally to take a look around the house. I also spent an hour or so cleaning my teeth thoroughly; I even extended my fangs as far as they would go. I stayed up for three or four hours and woke Nujan before returning to my Yana pillow.
__________________
You don't need to spend 100 CP on Status 5 [25] and Multimillionaire [75] to feel like a princess, when Delusion [-10] will do.

Character sheet: Google Drive link (See this thread for details.)

Campaign logs: Chaotic Pioneering / Confessions of a Forked Tongue
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Old 11-27-2020, 07:39 AM   #117
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 36 (2020-11-21)

23rd of Rama, year 412

O Ashtar, Mother of Snakes, Keeper of Death’s Door, hear my confession!

Nujan woke everyone and pulled the needle out of Grogg. The cat seemed agitated, so Xipil asked what was going on. Nujan said we had to move; horse patrols were coming out from Ur, and Nujan was convinced they had to be Larma troops. He didn’t want to take any chances, and feared that they might use magic to find us. Our hiding place was disguised well, but if searchers employed magic… I agreed that we had to move, and so did everyone else. Nujan was relieved that we managed to come to an understanding so quickly.

I thanked the family for allowing us to stay during the storm, and the farmer replied that we who are loyal to Aldera have to stick together. His wife mumbled that she hoped she’d never see a dragon again. I nodded, and she blushed, embarrassed that anyone heard her.

Since Grogg had been struck by lightning and was in bad shape, Yana, Nujan, Wolfram and I took some of his luggage, so he’d be able to keep up with the rest of us. Nujan threw a gold coin at the farm wife, and then we began walking. Xipil started behind, intending to erase our tracks, but soon came up and told us where to go so as not to leave tracks at all. We were heading into a stone desert, after all. Occasionally, he looked behind, and told us riders were following, although if they were spreading out of Ur, like we suspected, them following was just coincidence. Nujan reminded us that Larma doesn’t have the best trackers and scouts, but they’re unpleasant to meet in battle.

We came up from the shallow, green bowl around Ur and entered the desert. Xipil looked behind again from atop a large boulder. I realized that in the hurry to get away, I had forgotten to retrieve my poison vial from the boy. Ah, well! Perhaps the token will make him seek You out? That would be a blessing.

Xipil informed us that a patrol had stopped at the farm we had just left, but they moved on quickly. They might not have a clue about our existence, but that could be a little too much to hope for, considering the size of some of our party members. Hopefully, they didn’t have orders to run down anyone leaving the area.

We continued north into the desert, and eventually discovered that the riders didn’t leave the fertile region around Ur, so we sat down to rest. Nujan lay down on a hot rock and fell asleep. Wolfram, Xipil and Grogg discussed cannibalism among mammals. Yana and I didn’t care to join that particular conversation, so we erected our tent and crawled inside for a bit of shut-eye.

I awoke in the afternoon, fully refreshed. Late nights and early mornings have caused me not to be at my best recently. Xipil and Nujan were debating whether to scout towards Ur or not. Xipil was for the proposition, Nujan against. Wolfram decided to get some sleep, and declared that Xipil had guard duty. The lizard man went on close patrol and discovered horse tracks going north, not far from where we rested.

Xipil scratched on my tent to inform me of his discovery. I thought we should follow the tracks, believing them to lead us to Aldera troops. Wolfram agreed. I unplugged the needle from Grogg. It hadn’t healed his arm, but he was in a much better shape, generally, and could take back his luggage. Xipil woke Nujan, and then we were off. Nujan worried about how the Aldera soldiers would react to us tracking them down, but I assured him it would be fine if I walked in front and smiled to them. Grogg asked how wise it was for me to show myself like that, but I reminded him that it was Amrosh, not Aldera, who wanted to arrest me.

We had walked for a while when the sun began to dip. Wolfram transformed into a bear and started sniffing around, intending to take over the tracking for Xipil when it got dark. Yana and Xipil alerted us to movement on top of a large boulder ahead of us, and Xipil asked Wolfram to go behind a rock before transforming back. Xipil put on clothes and then we proceeded as if nothing awaited us. The others discussed having to fight whoever it was up ahead, and it made Yana uncomfortable. A gentle squeeze on her hand reminded her that I was there for her.

Wolfram and Grogg made their way to the front, and when we were about a hundred meters from the boulder, someone yelled “Halt!” A lonely figure stood up on the boulder, and riders appeared from behind it. Grogg dropped his sacks and took hold of the axe at his belt, but I let go of Yana’s hand and continued walking, alone.

The man on the boulder climbed down and came to meet me while more of his friends appeared, both on horseback and on top of the large rock. The man glared past me, at my companions. He looked like an Aldera scout, but I couldn’t be certain. When we met, he asked where the bear was. “What bear?” I replied, and he repeated the question. I looked around. “There are no bears here,” I stated confidently. That seemed to convince him, and he asked for my large friends to put down their weapons, so they could take us into custody.

I returned to my friends and relayed the message. Wolfram put his weapons into his pack before putting it on again. Grogg put his axe down and removed his shield and maul from his sacks, leaving everything on the ground. Xipil dropped his bow, but I said he didn’t have to. We started walking again, but the scout waved for me to proceed alone. He wasn’t satisfied with Wolfram’s disarming, so Wolfram left his backpack on the ground.

We walked around the boulder. Behind it lay a small camp with three large tents and a hidden fireplace. I estimated that the camp could hold up to twenty soldiers. It became clear that these were Aldera troops, since they were hiding from enemies coming from Ur. The leader of these scouts asked us to sit down by the fire, so we did. I informed him that an army, which we believe was from Larma, attacked Ur last night. Grogg introduced himself and said the attackers used magic. I stifled a groan. He continued by telling about the dragons fighting in the sky.

The scout leader asked who we were and what we were doing there, so Wolfram replied that we were looking for Lord Mir. In an inexplicable moment of clarity, he professed that why was between us and the Aldera family. Grogg can obviously not be trusted with keeping anything secret, but maybe there’s hope for Wolfram?

Grogg stated that all was well at the Evening Fort, a pass phrase identifying us as loyal to Aldera. Wolfram found it impossible not to explain that we were on a mission from Lady Isa. Couldn’t he just shut up and let me do the talking?! Grogg corrected him, muttering “Queen Isa”. I don’t think anyone in Ur overheard.

Two riders vanished to the west, and some others came into camp with our abandoned packs and weapons. They locked away the weapons, but handed back the packs. Wolfram decided to divulge that Lady Isa called in the whole Fort for an announcement, then asked if it was wise to reveal what was said there. “You idiot! Of course, it’s not wise,” I hissed angrily. If I could have gotten in a few words edgewise, perhaps I might have prevented this travesty. Not even allies should know everything. The scout leader was fishing for information, but I thought he knew some of what Grogg and Wolfram had babbled already.

Wolfram finally realized that he wasn’t supposed to reveal every secret he had ever learned, and told the scout leader that we had told enough to convince him that we really had been at the Evening Fort. We were going to Lord Mir on a mission from his sister, and that was all he needed to know. The scout leader stood up and went to confer with his men.
__________________
You don't need to spend 100 CP on Status 5 [25] and Multimillionaire [75] to feel like a princess, when Delusion [-10] will do.

Character sheet: Google Drive link (See this thread for details.)

Campaign logs: Chaotic Pioneering / Confessions of a Forked Tongue
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Old 11-27-2020, 07:49 AM   #118
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 36 (2020-11-21)

We sat in relative silence around the campfire for more than half an hour, before a company of four riders approached. One of them was the officer we met near Bottle Dregs, who had provided two men to escort us towards Ur. He commented that we hadn’t traveled very far, but I told him we had some business in Ur. I wasn’t about to tell him what we had been up to, and it didn’t seem like he wanted to know either.

I asked if he could help us locate Lord Mir. He answered that some things should be kept secret, but revealed that Lord Mir had traveled towards Sam, but because of the workmen’s strike there, he turned north, along the river, and then his army vanished. Wolfram claimed that Lord Mir needed us, and that it was urgent. The officer replied that in that case, we shouldn’t linger here, for Lord Mir wouldn’t come this way in a long time, if ever.

I proposed that we went to Sam and hired a boat to take us upriver towards Talan. The officer doubted the wisdom of that, for he believed that the “swamp people” controlled Sam, or what was left to control, considering the strike. I knew I could get information in Sam, possibly even concerning Lord Mir’s whereabouts. Could we get our weapons back and leave? The officer asked if we wouldn’t rather stay the night in camp, but we explained that we preferred to travel through the desert while the sun wasn’t scorching us. We had already begun shifting our daily rhythm. The officer recommended staying away from the main road, and that we used torches to scare away the nocturnal threats, bats and wild dogs, mostly.

Wolfram was convinced that we would find Lord Mir if we traveled due east into Larma land. I tried pointing out that Lord Mir going north from Sam could be a diversion. After making his army disappear, he could very well have turned south. Wolfram was having none of it. Lord Mir couldn’t cross the river unnoticed, and not the road between Sam and Ur either. He had to be in the north. Grogg sent Kraa to check, unnerving the soldiers, who couldn’t locate the source of the crowing and wing-flapping.

Xipil looked at our map and noticed the mark of stone circles, straight east of here, and said he wanted to go there, but I managed to convince him there was nothing for us there; we would learn more in Sam. He went over to the scouts to get tips for desert travel.

Wolfram and I argued for a long time, before agreeing to vote. Xipil and I voted for Sam, and Wolfram for going straight east. Nujan was happy as long as we didn’t return to Ur, and Grogg postponed giving his opinion until Kraa returned. Yana remained silent as usual. Since Kraa could be gone for days, I suggested we began moving. No matter what we decided, we would have to go straight east for a bit, first. Sam lay to the south-east, but the road curved, and we didn’t want to go near where Larma patrolled.

Four scouts with horses and torches accompanied us. After a while, we could hear bats ahead, and the scouts took us around that area. Around midnight, they asked how long we planned to walk before resting. Two more hours.

When those two hours had almost passed, the scouts told us they knew a campsite nearby, which we could use. They wanted us not to talk to anyone but them while we were there, and we agreed. The people there kept their distance. Xipil found a rock and climbed it to study the stars. There were tents in the camp, but I still erected mine. Yana and I preferred to sleep apart from the men. We had a bit to eat, prepared for bed, and went to sleep.

O Ashtar! We surrender our lives to Your coils. Take us while we sleep, or grant us another day in Your service, as You will.


24th of Rama, year 412

O Ashtar, Mother of Snakes, Keeper of Death’s Door, hear my confession!

The scouts woke Wolfram early in the morning as requested, and he woke the rest of us. We had breakfast watching the sky turn brighter in the east, and Kraa returned. The spirit raven gifted Grogg with a white silk handkerchief with an embroidered “L” and “eternally loyal”. Grogg pointed eastward and declared that Kraa found the Larma army there. I asked Grogg where he wanted to go, and he asked the bloody bird, who apparently wanted us to go east. Grogg asked Nujan what he thought about it, and Nujan leaned towards going to Sam.

Grogg offered ale to everyone, and our scouts accepted. The other residents at the camp looked longingly at the brew while those of us who like ale drank – Xipil and I didn’t partake – and we continued discussing where to go. Eventually we just had to compromise, since I wasn’t able to convince Wolfram to come to Sam. I think his fear of crowds weighed too heavy on his mind. We agreed to head for the river, between Sam in the south-east and the stone circle directly east of us.

When the desert heat became uncomfortable, we made camp, had lunch, and tried to get some sleep. We woke again in the evening and continued our trek. The scouts expertly led us around the bats we heard distantly, but we saw no signs of those wild dogs. We camped again in the early morning.

O Ashtar! We surrender our lives to Your coils. Take us while we sleep, or grant us another day in Your service, as You will.


25th of Rama, year 412

O Ashtar, Mother of Snakes, Keeper of Death’s Door, hear my confession!

We woke in the afternoon and had breakfast. Wolfram went through his weapon training routine, and then we left. After a long walk, I spotted a riderless horse to the left. I pointed it out, but nobody else could see it in the dark. I offered to go check it out, but the scouts indicated that it was another Aldera scout camp, and they probably didn’t want visitors, so we continued.

Grogg eventually started slowing down, as he hadn’t slept since giving up the needle. The needle’s magical slumber makes it harder to get real sleep afterwards. It works wonders healing injuries, but the side effect can be bothersome. Grogg insisted we keep walking, so we did.

Night turned to morning, and while Grogg wanted to trudge on, the rest of us wanted to make camp and get some sleep. Wolfram offered to exhaust Grogg with weapon training, so he’d be able to sleep, and Xipil joined them. Yana and I went to bed.

O Ashtar! We surrender our lives to Your coils. Take us while we sleep, or grant us another day in Your service, as You will.
__________________
You don't need to spend 100 CP on Status 5 [25] and Multimillionaire [75] to feel like a princess, when Delusion [-10] will do.

Character sheet: Google Drive link (See this thread for details.)

Campaign logs: Chaotic Pioneering / Confessions of a Forked Tongue
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Old 11-27-2020, 07:57 AM   #119
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 36 (2020-11-21)

26th of Rama, year 412

O Ashtar, Mother of Snakes, Keeper of Death’s Door, hear my confession!

Grogg reeked of ale when I got up, but at least he was sleeping. Wolfram thought we should let him rest, now that he finally had fallen asleep, and pleaded for everyone to be quiet. Xipil and Wolfram walked away so they could practice, but Yana and I returned to our tent after breakfast.

Yana and I faced each other, sitting cross-legged on the ground, hidden inside the tent. I took Yana’s hands, for they’re so nice and soft, and asked if she was willing to try something which might seem strange, but I assured her it had a purpose. When I said I wanted to try role playing, she got an unreadable look on her face until I explained that I needed her help to communicate better, especially with Grogg. You have blessed me with a forked tongue, and I can convince anyone of anything by speaking faster than they can think. This method, however, doesn’t build healthy relationships. For that, a more diplomatic approach would be needed. “Would you help me practice?” I asked Yana. She said yes, even though she looked a little bit disappointed.

One of our scouts had gone out and fetched an officer, who informed Wolfram, Xipil and Nujan that Lord Mir would be north of here tomorrow afternoon. The officer left again, but promised to fetch us when he learned more.

It was after midnight when Grogg woke, and the others agreed to go to the other camp, the one with the officer, so Wolfram fetched Yana and me, informing us of the officer who had visited our camp while Yana and I were talking.

It took us half an hour to reach the other camp. The officer welcomed us. There were some people snoring away, but most here were preparing to leave. Wolfram and Xipil stayed away, Wolfram from the people, and Xipil from the distractions, as he wanted to look at the stars.

Two riders approached from the south-east and vanished into a tent with the officer. I tried to listen, but didn’t catch much of the dialog while focusing on not being discovered. They discussed who controlled Sam and the surrounding land, but I didn’t pick up any details. One of the riders returned towards Sam, and the other headed west.

I found Yana, and we sat down to chat away the waiting time. Wolfram came over and asked me what kind of weapon smiths we have here in Arland, and where to find them, particularly in Sam. So, he wasn’t so opposed to head there after all. I promised to help him when we got there, if we got there. Wolfram asked where I got my knives, for he had noticed their fine quality. I told him I received the melee blades from Lord Lunas in Guling; the throwing knives I had bought in Sam over a year ago.

I noticed the officer standing outside his tent, smoking a pipe, so I walked up to him to ask what he knew about Sam’s current situation. He wanted to know why I asked, and I confessed I was originally from there, and knew many people who were probably affected by the unrest. The officer told me that the workers were rebelling, and that the roads near the city weren’t safe. Wolfram had followed me, and asked why the city garrison didn’t clean up the mess. The officer replied that the city was run by the farmers and the workers now, indicating that they controlled the garrison. The troubles in Sam didn’t bother him personally, as he had other issues that demanded his attention. Wolfram said that the current situation was at least better than if Larma held sway over Sam. The officer reminded us that the workers don’t like Larma either, but when Wolfram suggested an alliance, he thought we should change the subject of the discussion.

Xipil came and asked if we had to be ready to leave on short notice, or if we could get some sleep. We agreed that sleep was a good idea. I raised my voice to Yana and asked if we should erect our tent. Grogg looked around in confusion when I used Yana’s alias, Hala, for he couldn’t remember anyone of that name.

We set up the tent and tried to go to sleep. We hadn’t been awake that long, so sleep eluded us for quite a while. Having Yana trace her fingers all over my body didn’t help either. It tingled so exquisitely that I couldn’t ask her to stop. When Yana finally dozed off, the tingling subsided, and I could try to sleep again. As it had been at least an hour, I repeated our evening prayer.

O Ashtar! We surrender our lives to Your coils. Take us while we sleep, or grant us another day in Your service, as You will.
__________________
You don't need to spend 100 CP on Status 5 [25] and Multimillionaire [75] to feel like a princess, when Delusion [-10] will do.

Character sheet: Google Drive link (See this thread for details.)

Campaign logs: Chaotic Pioneering / Confessions of a Forked Tongue
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Old 11-27-2020, 08:15 AM   #120
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 36 (2020-11-21)

27th of Rama, year 412

O Ashtar, Mother of Snakes, Keeper of Death’s Door, hear my confession!

Wolfram woke us early in the afternoon to let us know things were happening. Two riders had arrived, to take us “where we were supposed to go”. We packed up while eating a quick breakfast. Grogg mentioned that we only had rations for one or two more days, so I asked the officer if the army could donate a few rations. We received enough for one day.

We walked to the next camp, half an hour away. Our two escorts explained our presence to the others while lashing water barrels to their horses. This camp too was making ready to go, but we got a short break before we had to move on. When we continued, we had to exert ourselves to keep up with the riders. Our group grew as we met more and more horsemen, who kept a good pace. We were exhausted when we arrived at our destination, a camp under construction. One of the first soldiers to accompany us said he hoped we knew what we were doing, and wished us luck before leaving us alone, outside the camp.

Nujan and Xipil went to scout the area. Wolfram did stretching exercises and Grogg went to find washing water. Yana and I just sat down on a rock, leaning against each other and breathing heavily. We watched as more people arrived from all directions with supplies. They were clearly preparing the site for someone else. I noticed they didn’t prepare any defensive structures, so this camp would probably not be long-lasting. I offered Yana a foot massage, and got one in return.

The sun was nearing the horizon when cheers broke out. A couple of riders were approaching, and unlike the rest of the troops here, who dressed for survival and stealth in the desert, these actually looked like soldiers. Their horses looked finer than the scouts’ horses, too. I asked Yana if we should go talk to them, but she didn’t think it was a good idea, and neither did Xipil, who overheard the question. The new arrivals disappeared into a tent with a group of scouts.

Just as the sun touched the horizon, trumpets blared out a fanfare north of the camp. That had to be Lord Mir. Sure enough, when the thundering cavalry came into view, he rode in front. Nulius, his aide, rode behind him, and two lions flanked them. Behind Nulius came two noble prisoners, and then the hundreds of riders that made up Lord Mir’s contingent. I climbed up on the rock Yana and I had been sitting on, to announce my presence, and Grogg stood and waved.

It wasn’t clear if Lord Mir noticed us, for he entered the tent where his two men had gone earlier. As the rear of the war party came into view, I noticed they brought wounded with them. I walked towards the camp, and Yana came with me. Two soldiers intercepted us and asked who we were. I told them I was Godana, a medic who thought they might have need of my services. One of the soldiers entered the camp, and Yana and I waited patiently with the other. The soldier returned and asked if we were with that group, indicating Grogg and the others. I said yes, and he told me in that case, we were allowed to be there. I repeated my offer, and he asked for credentials. I told him Lord Mir could vouch for me, and to say hello from the girl who had been with his brother at the Evening Fort. He went back inside.

Nulius appeared a couple of minutes later, flanked by two bodyguards. He seemed resigned at the sight of us, and said they didn’t need any help. Was there anything else we wanted? I told him we brought a gift to Lord Mir from his sister. Nulius said he would take it. I wasn’t sure if that would suffice, so I waved for the others to approach. They talked among themselves for a bit before joining Yana and me.

Nujan was holding the spear inside a bag when he arrived with the others. Nulius didn’t seem any more delighted to see them than he had been about Yana and me. He told Grogg he hoped he had lost “his animal”, which wiped Grogg’s smile right off his face. Nulius asked if we were about to “put ideas into Imirel’s head”, but Nujan just insisted that we had to hand the spear to Lord Mir directly. Nujan’s word seemed to carry some weight with Nulius, who turned and waved for us to follow.

Nulius entered Lord Mir’s tent and cleared his throat. “What is it?” we heard Lord Mir ask. “The cat is here?” “What?” “The prince, he comes with a gift, apparently.” “Who? Nujan?” Lord Mir peeked out and invited us inside. He offered wine, but Xipil requested juice, so Lord Mir asked Nulius to take care of it. Nulius gave a slight bow and left. I don’t think he likes being made to fetch and carry.

The two prisoners, a man and a woman, both full elves, had stood outside the tent when we got there, and Lord Mir asked what we thought about them. The male’s features proclaimed him a close relative to Oridal Larma, the head of the family; this was probably his son. I said that it looked like Lord Mir had gotten himself leverage. He replied in a whisper that this was one of Tivito’s top leaders. Wolfram and Xipil warned that he could be in possession of a magical clay token that would allow him to turn into a wraith when he died. Just then, Nulius entered and glared at us.

Lord Mir raised his glass and we drank with him. “For good, old friends, and to all being well at the Evening Fort! And cheers to my sister for being a ninny!” He clearly knew that she had declared herself queen.

Nujan removed the spear from its bag. Grogg told Lord Mir not to let the spear get to him, and the noble mentioned Lunari’s power trip. Nujan handed the spear over, and Lord Mir accepted it. Xipil and Wolfram told him about the wraiths, and that we had taken care of them, although “something” was let loose from the crypt outside Ur.

I walked up to Lord Mir and whispered, “You know my allegiance, right?” He looked at me strangely, and I continued, “If you need someone to prevent a wraith from forming, I can fix it, but only once.” Lord Mir asked if this was something we or I offered. I could feel Nulius’s eyes on my back, and told Lord Mir we could continue this in private. I asked my friends to go outside. Xipil wanted to know if this concerned them. I said no, so they left. Lord Mir made Nulius leave, too.

I explained, still under my breath, that I had received a gift that would allow me to kill a person in such a way that they wouldn’t return as a wraith, and offered this service to Lord Mir, conditioned on Your approval. I didn’t have to kick out Xipil, Nujan, Wolfram or Grogg to divulge this, but Yana would be upset if I talked about killing in her presence. I had to send everyone out, to avoid insulting her. Nulius leaving was just a boon.

Lord Mir asked if this was a gift, in addition to the one Nujan brought. I replied, “Yes, if you have need of it, and Ashtar approves.” He looked at me with skepticism in his eyes and said, “It doesn’t sound like a gift for me, it sounds like you have someone completely different who tells you what to do.” I repeated, “If you need this, I will ask permission to give it to you. Whether you interpret it as a gift or not is up to you. I demand nothing in return.” Lord Mir raised his voice: “The way you describe it, it’s not something I need to consider. You have every right to get your orders elsewhere, but I’m not one who demands others to give such orders.” I continued in a low voice, “It was just an offer, in case you had need of it.” I added, speaking up, that we could invite the others back in.

Nulius glared at us furiously when he came back inside. Ignoring him, we finished the wine, and Xipil asked Lord Mir if he wanted to know what happened on the night of the dragons outside Ur. We opened another bottle while Xipil explained briefly what we had seen.

Lord Mir asked if we knew whether Niffi or Garold was alive when we left Ur. I told him we killed those hired to assassinate them. Lord Mir made me repeat myself, and cheered when I did. He had us describe who we killed, which included light mages, who Lord Mir said were Larma’s own people.

Lord Mir asked if we needed anything. Food and water, we replied, and perhaps better weapons for Wolfram, as his weren’t of very good workmanship. Lord Mir sent Nulius out to fetch someone, and Xipil mentioned what Nujan had said on the night of the dragons, about us keeping Lord Mir grounded. I don’t know if he waited for Nulius to leave to say this, or if he just remembered. Nulius returned shortly with an officer, whom Lord Mir told to give us anything we wanted. We said goodbye to Lord Mir and left the tent.
__________________
You don't need to spend 100 CP on Status 5 [25] and Multimillionaire [75] to feel like a princess, when Delusion [-10] will do.

Character sheet: Google Drive link (See this thread for details.)

Campaign logs: Chaotic Pioneering / Confessions of a Forked Tongue
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