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Old 11-16-2021, 06:48 AM   #213
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 70 (2021-11-10)

When I was finished with the wounded woman, I had Yana help me turn the man over so I could look at his injuries. He had been stabbed near the heart with a burning knife and his belly had been cut open; it was the lower wound that bled, but the other could very well be the fatal one. It was obviously Elik or someone pretending to be them who had attacked. The man had leaked blood all the way from the chapel entrance, and I thought it was a miracle that he had made it as far as this with such wounds. Maybe the Elik knife mage had stabbed him out on the plaza.

Yana and I walked over to the Ashtarites. I looked for a familiar face, but Nosora spotted me first. “Nuur-Karif!! Help us! Save us!” she called at the top of her lungs. I asked what she knew of the attack. “They came to take our priestess!” she explained hysterically. I tried to find out if the enemy was still below and if they succeeded in their mission, but Nosora wasn’t sure. I told her we’d get reinforcements and check it out. The city guards, having realized that I was an authority figure among the Ashtarites, pestered me to let them in. I told them sharply to let me do what I must, and promised to be helpful afterwards.

Meeting Grogg, Wolfram and Xipil in an alley across the square, I told them that it looked like Elik had attacked the chapel and that they might still be inside. I wanted to resolve the situation without further bloodshed, but if Elik wanted a fight, we would fight. Wolfram told me that Krago had visited and informed them that there was a Mitra priest named Illoro who was also a priest of Elik. Illoro could often be found at the Spiral at the university district. With the name of an Elik priest, I was hopeful that we might get Elik to see the truth about Tivito.

We began to walk back to the chapel, but Wolfram saw the crowd and halted. I had river thistle in the medicine kit, but it would take a few minutes to take effect, minutes I didn’t want to waste, so I strode on. Xipil and Grogg tried both encouragement and provocation to get Wolfram going, but he wouldn’t budge, so Grogg tried using force to pull him along. Wolfram resisted, and they began to brawl.

I told the city guards to let my friends through if they decided to stop bickering. Yana and I had entered the crowd when Xipil caught up with us. He asked if we should wait for Grogg. I said no, and told him the guards had been ordered to let him pass. Xipil asked if I could get the Ashtarites to spread out, but I knew they wouldn’t stand in our way, and I didn’t care if Wolfram followed or not. A glance back told me he wouldn’t be much use anyway; he lay on the ground and was throwing up his breakfast. Grogg still tried to pull him along, but Wolfram fought frantically, kicking and punching as best he could between vomits.

As Grogg pulled Wolfram past the ring of guards, Wolfram began spewing ashen smoke. The crowd was struck with fear and some looked like they wanted to press through to the chapel. I told the Ashtarites guarding the door to close it behind me and admit no one.

The door slammed shut behind Yana and me. I hoped Xipil had the wits to get Grogg to take Wolfram back to the Lame Mule, for he hadn’t followed us inside. We went over to the wash basins and began the ritual cleansing. Grogg shouted, “He’s possessed by a demon!” and not long after, a horrible growl penetrated the door. Wolfram had transformed into one of his bear shapes, and it wasn’t hard to guess which one. Someone just outside called my name, and I heard the Ashtarites invoke Your name in prayer.

I gestured to Yana to continue the ritual while I went to see what was going on. “Help, Nuur-Karif!” screamed a voice while moving away hurriedly. Was that Nosora? I couldn’t be sure. I opened the door and asked what was going on. Thick fog of ash prevented me from seeing far, and I was ashamed to see the Ashtarites running in terror. Someone out there called for Tivito to be fetched. One of the Ashtarites ran towards a dark shape in the fog which turned out to be Wolfram. He slashed his claws across my brother’s chest, felling him.

I noticed my hand on the door knob and saw that I had turned into some kind of shadow creature, but I felt normal and realized that it was just an illusion caused by the evil outside. I shut the door and Yana wailed that I needed to wash. She even took a step back from me.

I strode towards the wash basins, but a loud crash made me turn around. Wolfram had charged through the door. “Get out!” I commanded angrily. Yana took cover behind me. Wolfram seemed to think about my command for a second, but looked longingly at the stairs behind me. “OUT!!!” I bellowed, pointing at the broken door.

Wolfram took a cautious step towards the stairs. I went back to the wash basins while keeping an eye on him. I supposed it was acceptable – barely – if he lingered up here while waiting for the crowd to disperse outside. However, Wolfram’s body language made it clear he wanted to enter the chapel. “If you want to go downstairs, you must wash first,” I instructed. Wolfram didn’t listen and tried to squeeze past. I was under no delusion that I could hold the giant bear back in a contest of strength, so I couldn’t keep him out of the chapel without killing him, and I couldn’t bring myself to do that, not in front of Yana. I pressed myself against the wall, but Yana was too slow to get out of the way, and Wolfram knocked her to the ground and stepped on her as he fled down the stairs. I fell to my knees, unrolling the medicine kit. Yana tried to get up, but I told her not to strain herself.

Xipil came inside to alert us Tivito was on the way. He knew first aid, so I ordered him to take over. I got up and resumed washing, and saw the shadows retreat from my body, purged by Your holy cleansing. I removed my clothes and went over every inch of skin so I wouldn’t bring the filth with me onto holy ground. It was bad enough that Wolfram brought the demonic ashes with him.

Xipil warned me that someone outside needed medical attention, but I could feel the snakes’ distress from below. I had to go down to them first. Wolfram roared, which scared the snakes even more. I wasn’t sure I could ever forgive him. He had attacked my brothers and sisters without the slightest provocation, Yana among them. He had defiled Your holy chapel with demonic ashes, despite my clear instructions that he needed to wash. He had scared the snakes in their nest. The last offense might be justified, had Wolfram been defending the chapel from Elik intruders, but I heard no sounds of fighting. When I finished washing, I would ask Xipil to take Yana to safety. I would coat my knives with venom, and I would descend into the desecrated darkness of the chapel.
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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