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Old 03-14-2020, 02:53 PM   #31
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 16 (2020-03-08)

23rd of Mitra’s Second Month, year 412

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

I woke in the middle of the night, realizing the cart had stopped rumbling. The farm boys were gone, scared away by Xipil’s glowing eyes. He had meditated too long, again. I poked his shoulder and snapped him out of it. Xipil said he needed to get to a chapel, and I told him we’d find one in Guling. Our voices roused Grogg and Lunari, and Lunari got the horses moving again. I went back to sleep.

I woke again when the sun came up. Xipil had stayed awake while we were driving, and feared to go to sleep outside holy ground.

Finally, Guling appeared ahead of us. I directed Lunari towards the only gate in the city wall, which wasn’t very difficult, for that was where the road lead. Lunari asked everyone to wash themselves and put on clean clothes before we went to the Evening Fort. Going before nobility, we should look our best. The Evening Fort was aptly named, for it lay on a small island just outside the city, and the only access was a land bridge that only appeared at sunset. As it was still early in the day, we had some hours to spend before we had to go down to the seaside.

We left the horses and the cart with the guards at the city gate, and proceeded through the city on foot. A smile and some polite words to the guards rewarded me with a promise that they’d take care of the horses and the cart. Although Guling covers less ground than Sam, its population is about the same; people just live closer together, and the buildings are generally taller here. I led the way to the Wheel and Staff Inn, and agreed to come back with Xipil to meet Lunari and Grogg an hour before sunset.

Xipil and I trekked back towards the gate, to a chapel I knew near there. We washed thoroughly and entered. This early in the day, we were alone with the snakes. There were several exotic species there, and I sat down with them, full of fascination. Xipil told me about his vision, that someone tried to harm someone else. He claimed it was connected to the Digging Rat, a star sign that only recently became visible in the sky. I informed Xipil that I was going to the park to wash our clothes. If someone entered before I returned, he should show them Your sign, and if necessary, let them know I’d be coming to explain soon.

At the park, I did what the locals did, undressing to wash my clothes and Xipil’s cloak. I realized I should have brought something dry to wear on my way back, for I got a few looks, dripping wet as I was. I had washed every item of clothing I owned. I washed again when I returned to the chapel, which I suspected was in fact a temple. Not that the difference mattered when I was with Xipil. I hung all the clothes to dry, and sat down to play with the snakes again, letting Xipil sleep on.

Someone did arrive, after a while, a young man and an older woman. As I was kneeling among the snakes and letting them climb all over me, I felt decently covered, but the fellow couldn’t stop staring at me while the two of them spoke their prayers. I don’t even think he registered that there was a sleeping lizard man in the room. They didn’t stay long; the woman dragged him out.

Remembering that I needed to make as good an appearance before the nobles as I could, I dressed and went back outside. I located a seller of makeup in the marketplace and provided for his starving children for a month or more, spending the gold coin the boat captain had given me. On my return to the chapel, I just did a quick wash before going inside to wake Xipil. We had to leave now to make our appointment with Lunari and Grogg. Xipil told me he was still concerned about his vision, and I had to admit I hadn’t received inspiration regarding it. We stopped by the market again, so Xipil could buy a piece of thread. He claimed he planned to use it to practice knots. I thought to myself that a thin rope would be more convenient, but the thread only cost him a copper piece, so I figured he could afford a rope as well when he figured it out for himself.

We met Lunari and Grogg at the Wheel and Staff. Xipil mentioned something about a box. “What box?” I asked. Lunari said he didn’t want me to know unless I bound myself to helping them. Lunari explained that they had two tasks, one was helping the people at the Evening Fort, and the other was to locate a magic star box; he didn’t know much about the box, but it seemed to me that it was filled with magic power from the stars. None of these tasks seemed to interfere with my duties to You, so I told the others I would help them.

The land bridge was still under water when we arrived at the seafront, so I fished out my mirror and set to work with my new makeup kit. I went for a discreet look that accentuated my natural beauty.

The moment the sun met the horizon, water fell away, revealing the land bridge, and we started walking. The guards at both ends of the bridge ignored us. Climbing the road up to the plateau of the island, we passed old fortifications, but they had long since fallen into disrepair and were abandoned. On the plateau lay fields and orchards, and a cluster of houses where farmers were enjoying an out-door dinner in the nice weather.

We approached the cliff on which the Evening Fort stood. A cat man loped down to meet us, and Lunari asked if he was the fort’s charmer; Lunas had told him about the cat. His name was Nujan, but he called himself charmer, habitual liar and master thief. Lunari showed him the letter he had received from Lunas, inviting him here. Nujan scanned it briefly, then snorted and stuffed it in his pocket. He claimed the Lord wouldn’t have time to see us.

There were guards at the gate to the fort, but they ignored us when they saw Nujan was with us, turning to watch the sunset, which was rather beautiful. I saluted the dying day. Nujan recognized the gesture and told me that the people of Kajar, the country where I presumed that he originated, respected “Hasshtar”.

Grogg asked Nujan for crow’s toes, but was told to ask someone called Groman Burk, a dwarven scholar who apparently had put his books away after an unfortunate incident. Grogg spotted something strange through his magic ring, which he passed to Lunari, who passed it to Xipil after having a look. Nujan took it from Xipil’s hand and observed Kraa. He suggested that Grogg should have Kraa snoop in Groman’s money. Grogg sent the vermin off with a few words.

Nujan pointed at various places, explaining what was where. He told us that over there, on the second floor, we would be staying. If we were allowed. Or we could just take a room. Xipil asked if it wasn’t very easy for thieves to operate here, considering how little the guards paid attention to us. “Why do you think I like it here?” Nujan replied. The cat man climbed quickly to the roof of the hall, and sat down to watch the sunset. It was an impressive feat, and I got the feeling he liked showing off.

Lunari called up to Nujan that it was nice meeting him, and we continued inside. Finally, someone challenged our presence. I couldn’t determine if they were servants or artisans, but we explained ourselves, and they told us where we could sit down to wait for Remi, the chief of staff.

Remi was a finely dressed sixty-year-old, and brought another high-ranking servant, a woman I put around thirty. Lunari introduced himself and Grogg, for they were the ones who received the letter from Lunas. Although we didn’t have the letter anymore, Remi knew about it, and reasoned that they had to be who they said they were; others wouldn’t know about the letter.

Remi wished us all welcome to the Evening Fort, and showed us where we would stay. Food and water would be brought up. Remi told us we could go where we wished on the island, except for the inner courtyard. Xipil asked for someone named Pak, and Remi replied vaguely, finally introducing his companion as Mina.

Remi and Mina left us, but three other servants, not so elegantly dressed, appeared soon. Most of the rooms in the guests’ hall were empty. Lunari and Grogg decided to share a bedroom, but Xipil and I got rooms for ourselves. Mine had a huge, canopied bed, making me feel like a princess for staying there. I dropped off my backpack and was about to return to the others when a knock came on the door. It was Xipil, who asked if I wanted to come with him to look for Pak, who according to rumor has a fascination for death, which after all was a topic close to my heart.

Going down the stairs, we met three soldiers. The sergeant gave his name as Markus, and wondered what we were doing there. I told him we were on our way to see Pak, but that didn’t satisfy him. I said he had to talk to Lunari about our reason for coming to the Evening Fort, and the man lit up. “Lunari! Is he here?” I gave directions to Lunari’s room, and Markus and his underlings rushed up the stairs.
__________________
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

Last edited by coronatiger; 03-17-2020 at 11:45 AM.
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Old 03-14-2020, 02:55 PM   #32
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 16 (2020-03-08)

Outside, Nujan was still on the roof, and Xipil waved at him, so he came down. Xipil asked for directions to Pak’s whereabouts. According to Nujan, he was in the inner part of the fort, and repeated that we shouldn’t go there. The entrance was guarded by a pair of soldiers, and I noticed several symbols above the gate, one of which was Yours. I approached the guards and gave them Your greeting, but they didn’t recognize it, so I just made some small talk.

As Pak was seemingly off-limits, at least for the moment, I returned to Xipil and Nujan, and told my friend that I would like to go to bed. Xipil wanted to look at the stars, and desired my company in case he got another vision. I asked Nujan if there is a chapel of Ashtar on the island. I was sad to hear his negative reply. He respects You, but the others here don’t. Things may have been better before Varja died. Nujan walked away. I thought Varja might be the Lord’s wife, but Nujan didn’t seem willing to speak of her.

Xipil sat down to read the stars. After a short while he told me that the Digging Rat was planning something. We should watch out for the plague, he said. I don’t think Your blessing protects me from disease, I thought to myself as we headed for our luxurious beds.

O Ashtar! I surrender my life to Your coils. Take me while I sleep, or grant me another day in Your service, as You will.


24th of Mitra’s Second Month, year 412

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

Mina was waiting in the hall when I left my room this morning, having slept late. Lunari emerged from his room at the same time, and Mina told us breakfast was ready. Xipil and Grogg came after a minute, and we all went to get something to eat. A maid stood ready to serve us when we entered the dining hall. A soldier was just leaving, and mockingly called us early birds on his way out. Lunari retorted something about the soldier being late for assembly.

Another soldier entered when we were about to dig in, and I recognized him from last night. Markus sat down to chat with Lunari, and I realized they had been good friends since Markus had been in the company that Lunari and Grogg saved from the orcs that time. Lunari asked if Markus had heard about the expedition from the Prince’s Cities that had come to Guling a couple of months ago. Unfortunately, Markus didn’t know much more about them that Lunas had, and suggested that we ask around town.

Lunari tested the waters with Markus to see if he could get us an audience with the nobles here; according to Lunas, Isa would be interested in meeting Grogg. Markus though Xipil would be more intriguing, but Grogg had Kraa make some noise, making Markus see the picture. Isa seems to be interested in the exotics. Markus had no authority to request an audience for us, and said he hoped Lunas returned soon. It shouldn’t take too long, based on what the half-elf had told us before we separated.

Xipil asked Markus about Pak, and the sergeant pointed out Pak through the window, a troll lifting crates. Xipil and I hurried outside; Lunari and Grogg followed. Pak seemed depressed and sighed when he asked what we wanted. Xipil told him that Lunas had said we should talk to him. Pak didn’t seem interested in talking, so Xipil and I helped him move his crates. After a while, Pak asked some servants for permission to go to “the village” to fetch some stuff. I understood that to mean the small cluster of houses where the farmers lived. Lunari asked Pak about getting off the island at other times than sunset, but the troll insisted that we shouldn’t try. I decided to find a way to get Pak out of his depression, although I realized that I may not have the necessary skills. We all followed him towards the other side of the island.
__________________
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

Last edited by coronatiger; 03-17-2020 at 11:45 AM.
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Old 03-24-2020, 04:50 PM   #33
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 17 (2020-03-15)

24th of Mitra’s Second Month, year 412 (continued)

The island was mostly cultivated, but there were some patches of wood here and there, and some shrubs along the edge of the plateau. Xipil asked if I thought there were snakes in the bushes, but I found it unlikely. A blessing if there were, but unlikely.

The farmers greeted us when we arrived at the “village”, offering food, but we had just had breakfast, so we declined their offer. Pak stood shyly in the background. Lunari asked what they did for entertainment around here, but the farmers said they had enough to do, indicating the fields around us. With nothing better to do until Lunas arrived, Lunari suggested we help them. The farmers were grateful, and explained that they had been ordered to chop down all those trees, and were any of us familiar with axes? Lunari tried to indicate Pak, but he withdrew from the weapon-like implements. Pak had other responsibilities anyway, so I asked the farmers where his cargo was located, as he didn’t want to interrupt while we were talking.

Xipil helped Pak with the smaller sacks, and the two of them returned towards the fort. I borrowed an axe from the farmers, and headed for the trees with Grogg and Lunari. Grogg had his own, troll-sized hatchet, and Lunari wasn’t really into manual labor after all. He decided to whittle a flute instead. Xipil came over after a while, and told me that Pak probably blamed himself for something that happened to Groman, the dwarven scholar.

One of the farmers came to tell us it was time to eat, and we all returned with him to the “village”. Over a meal of soup and bread, the farmers asked if we were the extra hands they had been promised. We explained that we weren’t, we were staying at the fort, and only offered to help because we were bored. As soon as we revealed where we were staying, the mood changed. Guests at the fort shouldn’t do farm work! I had to talk them into allowing us to continue chopping trees after we had eaten, although Lunari took the “job” of watching goats, and continued working on his flute. Xipil walked with Grogg and me back to the trees, but soon left to look for Pak, who had said he would come back down from the fort. Xipil couldn’t find him, and came back after a while. Lunari and Nujan strolled over as well, to look at Grogg and me working. Then a farmer arrived to let us know it was time for the evening meal.

On the way there, Xipil talked about going to town to visit the chapel, but wasn’t eager to spend the night in town, which he’d have to do, as the land bridge is only open for an hour or so. Nujan and Lunari headed for the fort, hoping for a finer meal there, but the grilled fish and vegetables the farmers served Xipil, Grogg and me were delicious. Lunari and Nujan returned shortly; they must have changed their minds about where to eat.

The whole village gathered to socialize, and I noticed Lunari was watching Nujan more than he watched the two farm girls or me. They were both pretty, and I thought they were sisters. The little sister looked to be around fourteen, so I figured she was too young for Lunari, but the big sister was around my age, so I couldn’t fathom why Lunari didn’t make a pass at her. He didn’t make a pass at me either, for which I’m thankful, but his body language has made it clear that it’s only a matter of time. Not now, though. Something about Nujan held his attention.

Lunari played the violin, and some of the villagers danced. The young girl watched her big sister dance, and I detected a touch of envy. Since nobody invited either of us to dance, I asked her if she would like a twirl on the green with me. We danced for a while, until Lunari put away the violin and started telling the story of Gromgar.

In the middle of the story, Grogg cried out for Kraa with desperation. He declared he was going to the mainland, for that’s where Kraa was. Xipil followed him. The farmers got nervous because of the loud troll, and started to disperse. Lunari and Nujan left, too, but returned before I could decide where to go. Lunari offered me “fun juice”, but I told him I didn’t see the charm in it. Since everyone had left the village green, we headed out, too, towards the fort. Grogg and Xipil turned around once they remembered they could have difficulty getting back over the land bridge, and came to the fort with us.

At the fort, Mina told us dinner was ready, and so we wouldn’t seem ungrateful, Lunari, Grogg and I followed her to the dining hall while Xipil watched the sunset. We met him in the hallway afterwards, and he said that Nujan was concerned that something magical in town didn’t glow anymore. As a side note, he added that Markus had gone to town, and didn’t return before the bridge disappeared beneath the waves.

Grogg thought that I should look more through his magic ring, so we all went out on a balcony overlooking Guling. Through the ring, I noticed that something was disturbing the shadows around a tower there. This had upset the others to varying degrees, and Nujan was talking to the guards to the inner courtyard. We were too far away to hear what he said, but his arms waved with agitation.

Xipil prodded me to ask the guards at the main gate what that tower was. Once I pointed it out, they exclaimed that the tower was supposed to have a light. As long as the light was lit, everything was well in town. The guards were unconvinced of the veracity of their statement, making me think that someone had tried to spread a rumor about the light being a good omen, but with varied success. I returned to the others and relayed the information to them. Lunari yawned and declared he was going to bed. He had worked so hard today, he claimed. I rolled my eyes at his retreating back and thought to myself that it would have been more accurate to assert that he had hardly worked today.

Xipil wanted to look at the stars, and Grogg and I joined him going down to the plateau, where he could touch good, safe soil while meditating. Xipil warned me that I should try to say his name before prodding him awake, should I decide it was necessary. Maybe that would pull him back more safely. I sat down to pray beside him, and Grogg got out his sewing kit.

Immediately, Xipil told me that star essence coming from the dark tower blocked his view of the stars in the sky. The star essence was starlight without the light, he explained, and he felt as if he was looking for faint lights behind a bright lamp, just without the light, if that made any sense. Through Grogg’s ring, I could see dark tentacles reaching heavenward from the tower. This darkness must be what blocked the heavenly essence from reaching us. Without the ring, the stars were just as visible as always, but there’s something special about Xipil’s meditation, and he wanted to find a spot in the shade from the tower. We tried a few places, but returned to the fort once we realized that nothing else blocked the tower completely from sight.

In the courtyard, Nujan was speaking to a servant, and we approached them. Xipil told them that the tower had gathered large amounts of star power, and Nujan told us he’d let Remi know; the chief servant was expected soon.

Xipil sat down by the wall to see if it blocked the tower enough for him to get anything useful from the stars. Grogg went to fetch Lunari. This was too dire not to have him with us. When they returned, Grogg was saying something about the Digging Rat doing something in town.

Grogg decided to bellow for Kraa again, and everyone turned towards him. Soon after, the door to the inner courtyard opened up. A young girl stomped her foot and made it clear to the guards that she was going out, their orders be damned. When she came closer, I could see that she was an elf, so even if she didn’t look much older than the young human girl in the village, I guessed she was in her thirties. She was beautiful.
__________________
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 03-24-2020, 05:05 PM   #34
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 17 (2020-03-15)

The girl approached Grogg, curtsied and called him Master Troll. Grogg said “Kraa”, and Kraa responded from his shoulder. Grogg remembered that he had sent Kraa to see Lady Isa, and she had clearly followed when the spirit raven returned to him. Xipil asked her to confirm her identity, and she nodded.

Kraa took off, and Lady Isa followed, so the rest of us dashed after them. Suddenly, Lady Isa burst out, “Oh, no! Oh no! This is bad. I need to find Daddy!” She ran back to the inner courtyard without giving us an explanation. The guards at the gate stopped Xipil from following. They thought he had scared her away, and took a dim view of that, blowing a whistle to summon reinforcements. Our party gathered at the foot of the steps up to the inner courtyard, and one of the guards said that we should go to our rooms. I thought that was a good idea, figuring we could clear things up in the morning. I wasn’t as attached to the stars as Xipil and Lunari, and it didn’t really concern me that someone on the mainland was messing with them.

Grogg wasn’t as diplomatically inclined as me, but refrained from doing anything stupid, aside from refusing to go to bed. Xipil insisted that we should go to the balcony by the main gate. I guessed he wanted to keep an eye on the dark tower. Thinking that splitting the party would be a bad idea, I followed when the other three headed that way. Two guards came after us, and three were there already, making for an awkward mood with their glares.

Nujan and Remi came running and asked if there was a physician among us. As I have some skills in that regard, I stepped forward, asking if I should fetch my equipment. They wanted me to come at once, so I had to send Xipil to get my things. Luckily, I’m always prepared to move out, so everything was stored in my backpack, even my knives, but I didn’t think I’d need them for this. Grogg gave me his magic needle, the one with healing powers, purportedly.

The guards let Remi and me through to the inner courtyard, but Remi told Nujan firmly to remain on the outside. As we crossed the courtyard, I could hear a man scream in agony. Remi led me to a fancy boudoir where Lady Isa was kneeling in prayer before the massive bed. The man writhing in pain was presumably her father, Lord Madan Aldera, although he was a half-elf, and she pureblood. I didn’t have time to ponder that conundrum at the moment.

I asked Lady Isa how long her father had been like this, and she told me it started just now. She mumbled something I didn’t understand, and then the door opened to reveal Xipil and a guard, and my backpack. I retrieved my medicine kit, trying not to let the screams get to me. The lord’s voice was twisted; it seemed like two men were screaming on top of one another.

Examining the patient, I realized there was little I could do. I could end his pain by sending him to You, but I didn’t think Lady Isa or the guards would appreciate that. I sat down to pray, and Xipil joined me. Xipil noticed a hostile presence, coming in the windows to possess Lord Madan. He hurriedly closed the windows and the drapes, but the enemy kept coming. I told Remi and the guards outside that we needed to move Lord Madan to the cellar. One of the guards dashed off to get a litter.

I asked Xipil if he thought Grogg’s needle would help. He was doubtful; the needle hadn’t saved Kraa. I stuck the needle in Lord Madan’s arm anyway. One of the voices fell silent, but the twisted one continued screaming. I removed the needle, reasoning that the nobleman needed to remain awake to fight the intruder, however much it pained him.

Guards entered with a litter and we moved the patient. In the cellar, Remi led the way to a long, narrow staircase going further down. We emerged in a small dungeon. Four prison cells lined the hallway, but we entered the room at the end, which I thought was once a torture chamber, although the room held none of the instruments associated with it. The guards put the litter on a large table.

A small hole in the wall, near the ceiling, let in starlight through a long shaft. We plugged it with sacks as best we could. Poor Lady Isa was on the breaking point, but I told her she needed to be brave, and help me watch for the intruder. The sacks weren’t enough, but I recalled that Nujan was an adroit climber, so I asked Remi to send instructions to him to climb outside the fort, locate the other end of the shaft, and seal it with something.

We heard knocking inside one of the prison cells, and an orc eye peered out through the small hatch in the door. The guards closed the hatch forcefully.

Not knowing what else to do, I sent Xipil for some handfuls of clean earth, and had Remi send along a servant so the lizard man wouldn’t be stopped from reentering the inner courtyard. My mundane medicine was unlikely to help, but I needed to do something. I sat down to pray while I waited.

An out-of-breath soldier arrived at the door, and he came inside to bow to Lady Isa, who ignored him. The soldier tried telling her that they needed the boat, but the noblewoman didn’t reply. I threw him out, saying that we couldn’t have people in the sickroom who had no business being there.

Lunari, Grogg, Nujan and Xipil arrived a couple of minutes later. I got the earth from Xipil and spat on it, setting to work on the patient while asking why the others had come. They were there to seal the shaft, and I noticed Grogg was carrying planks. Nujan removed the sacks, and Lunari, sitting on Grogg’s shoulders to reach the hole, shaped the planks into seals with his plant magic.

When Lunari finished, I thought Lord Madan’s screaming worsened. His daughter ran to his side to study him. Grogg looked at the patient through his ring, and I asked to have a look. I didn’t see anything I could do anything about, so I resumed the massage. My jaw dropped when Grogg licked Lord Madan’s face. Lady Isa grabbed Xipil and said it was too late. “Tusa is back,” she cried, pointing at her father. Xipil asked who Tusa was, and only got in reply that Tusa killed her mother.

Lady Isa was sad and scared, so I hugged her, stroked her hair and tried to comfort her. Lunari asked Nujan about Tusa, which seemed to frighten Lady Isa even more, so I ordered them out, but Grogg interrupted. “Someone’s throwing magic at him,” the troll asserted, “so why are we sitting here?” I asked if he was suggesting a raid, still stroking Lady Isa’s hair and depositing soil in it. “It’s too late,” she whispered, too low to be heard by anyone else. Again, I instructed the others to go outside. Again, they ignored me.

Grogg asked Kraa to show him where Tusa was. The spirit raven landed on the patient, but then something seemed so smack it away. We all heard the invisible raven crash into the wall. Grogg ran over and picked it up, and asked me for his needle. Then they left.

Lunari returned a minute or so later, once they had come to a decision. They were going to the mainland to raid the dark tower. I explained to Lady Isa, and said that I would be going with the others. She didn’t want to be left behind “alone” on the island, and determined to come along. I strapped my knife belt around my waist, and slipped my poison vials into my pouch, but left my other equipment in the backpack. Foreseeing the need to swim over the strait, I didn’t want to carry more than was absolutely necessary.

Lady Isa showed Xipil, Grogg, Lunari, Nujan and me the way to a dark corridor. The others realized they needed to arm themselves, and left Lady Isa and me there with Kraa in the noblewoman’s arms. Singing elven lullabies to the sleeping spirit raven seemed to soothe her. The others returned shortly, and we traversed the dark corridor, at the end of which, Lady Isa unlocked a door, revealing a cavern with a rowboat that was barely large enough for all of us.

Xipil and Grogg took the oars. Once we rounded the island, we could see fires in Guling. Two of the three ships at the harbor were ablaze, and flaring patches of yellow and red shone from several places among the buildings. Lunari thought that the Loyalists were behind the fires and the mystical attack on Lord Madan. Xipil asked me to prepare his knives, handing me a poison vial. I sniffed the fluid with interest, but didn’t recognize it.

Lunari thought we should assassinate the Loyalist leaders, and Xipil asked if I was able to climb the dark tower. The twenty-meter-tall building had an overhang, being wider at the top, so I thought it would be difficult unless we could get a rope up there.

The seafront buzzed with activity. Citizens filled their buckets to fight the fires, and the third ship was casting off. Someone pushed a swordsman off the ship, and Lunari noticed that he wore the uniform of the city guard. It seemed mercenaries were making a run for it. Probably the arsonists. They didn’t seem very familiar with the ship, and Lunari asked Nujan if he’d get in trouble for sinking it. Guards on the docks demanded that the mercenaries come back, and Nujan said he didn’t think so.

Grogg and Xipil changed course, and we overtook the ship in short order. Lunari waved his hands over the stern, causing the rudder to fall off, and a large hole to appear in the hull. We headed for the dark tower, unseen by the mercenaries who fled the sinking ship in a panic.
__________________
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 03-24-2020, 05:16 PM   #35
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 17 (2020-03-15)

The Loyalist quarter stood outside the city walls, and had its own docks. On the pier stood two men wearing the uniforms of the city guards. Nujan informed us that this was odd, for the Loyalists handled their own security; the city guards had no business being there. Something was wrong. Xipil slid into the water, swimming under their pier to listen. He returned, saying that these men seemed like genuine city guards, so we rowed closer, allowing them to spot us. They pointed crossbows at us and told us to stop. We let Nujan ashore so he could identify us as friendlies, but he disappeared into the darkness.

I told Grogg to call out to the guards that we were surrendering, but he refused, so Lunari did it instead. The guards told us to light a lantern and approach. We had no light source, we told them, but rowed closer. The guards were tense, but then Nujan arrived with Sergeant Markus, who vouched for us. I told Markus we had come because they seemed to need help, and he explained what was going on.

Markus had rallied city guards when he discovered foul play, and had assaulted the tower. While they had fought their way inside and taken control of most of the ground floor, the defense was too tight for them to continue the assault up the stairs. Some city guards still held the front door, and controlled the two adjoining buildings. Other guards had barricaded the streets leading to the tower.

This part of the city seemed deserted except for city guards hiding behind cover from archers and crossbowmen in the tower. Lady Isa saw more with her mystical sight. Witnessing “souls without a home” at the dark tower, she wailed and sank deeper into despair. She held out her hands and sent Kraa to hide, whereupon the spirit raven sought refuge inside Grogg. Xipil said we needed to take the tower, as soon as possible.

Nujan and Xipil planned to enter stealthily through one of the high windows, hoping a frontal assault from the city guards, now reinforced by Grogg and me, could draw attention while they climbed. An ambush from above would hopefully overcome the defenses. The two of them took a trip around the tower to scout where they best could climb it. Lunari asked Lady Isa to remain with him while the rest of us attacked; we wouldn’t want her to get hurt. Lost in thoughts, she paid him no attention at all, so I had to make contact before I could repeat Lunari’s words and convince her to wait outside until we had control inside.

Several lanterns hung about the tower, lighting up its exterior. The climbers requested that the city guards shoot them out, so they wouldn’t be seen scaling the building. An exchange of bolts and arrows ensued, as the defenders responded when our team started shooting. A city guard staggered inside the building where our party had taken cover, a crossbow bolt through his limp arm. I set to work. I removed the bolt, bandaged the wounds and massaged the arm back to a usable condition. The guard returned to his position outside. “I’m gonna get that …” The guard’s expletive drowned when a nearby window shattered.

Nujan and Xipil left once the spilled oil from the broken lanterns had burned out, and I prepared my knives with poison, ritually biting each blade before returning it to its sheath. Lunari cast a haste spell on Grogg, and the troll charged the tower. Four city guards and I followed as fast as we could. The guards wore armor and carried shields, so I made sure to stay hidden behind them as arrows and bolts pelted us from the tower. Grogg had removed a door from another house, and used that for a shield.

Inside the tower, stone stairs led to a walled balcony, and on that balcony stood the defenders, shooting down. Grogg held his door above him as he made for the stairs. City guards emerged from the two adjoining buildings and aimed their crossbows at the defenders above. One of the guards in front of me went down. A body tumbled over the railing above when our crossbowmen returned fire.

I aimed at one of the elven archers above us, who aimed back. The shield bearer in front of me fell to his arrow, and I hurled my knife at the archer, planting it in his throat. The other archer fired at Grogg, but he dodged. I drew another throwing knife and dashed after Grogg, who had reached the top of the stairs and was chasing the archer.

Grogg threw the door at the archer, but it fell short, crashing to the floor below. The elf returned the favor; his arrow missed, too. The two guards remaining from those I had entered with, rushed up the stairs, and I followed. The remaining defenders upstairs had retreated up a ladder and through a hatch in the ceiling, leaving the elven archer alone with Grogg. The massive troll crashed into the puny elf, somehow managing to slam him over the railing. If there was life left in him after the seven-meter fall, our crossbowmen downstairs would deal with him once they reloaded.

The hatch in the ceiling was about three meters above the balcony floor, but that was no hindrance for Grogg, who nearly scraped the ceiling with the top of his head. He punched the hatch, and on the second attempt, it blew off its hinges. The enemy stood ready above, and rained arrows and bolt at him. Grogg dodged heroically, but one arrow struck his skull, and he fell to the floor.

I reached the top of the stairs, having passed the slower guards, and saw that Lady Isa was making her way up. I picked up my knife from the archer’s throat and sheathed it. Grogg started to rise, but got a bolt through his thigh. An arrow also struck the shield of one of the guards.

Grogg stuck his hand up through the hatch, grabbing a leg. Two melee fighters took the place of the crossbowmen above us while they reloaded, and tried to help the archer Grogg had grabbed. Suddenly, a dense fog appeared, covering the hatch and the swordsman I was aiming at. Grogg tried to pull down the archer, but his friends must have been holding on tight, for that elf shouldn’t be able to win a tug-of-war with an angry troll.

Grogg yanked again, and the elf slammed into the floor in front of me. I drew a long knife. A ball of lightning appeared in the air between the elf and Grogg, and a bolt struck out at the troll. I could hear a commotion above me, it sounded like they were covering the hole with something heavy. I kicked at the elf, but missed. The lightning ball increased in size and fried Grogg again. Grogg smacked the elf into the ceiling and back into the floor. I drew my throwing knife again and whipped it at the prone enemy in a single motion, striking his throat and making him finally lose consciousness. Maybe some poison was left on the blade.
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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.

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Campaign logs: Chaotic Pioneering / Confessions of a Forked Tongue
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Old 03-24-2020, 05:26 PM   #36
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 17 (2020-03-15)

Glass shattered above us as the crossbowmen on the streets prepared Xipil and Nujan’s entry. I retrieved my knife and moved to stop Lady Isa from coming too close to the danger zone around the lightning ball. She yelled at me to let her pass, and even though I was making myself big, I made no effort to grab her when she ducked under my arm. Instead, I called to the soldiers in the stairs to get the door that Grogg had thrown down; he might need it again.

Taking advantage of the short lull in the fighting, I poisoned my throwing knife again. Lady Isa cast a spell that made the lightning ball vanish. Sergeant Markus was suddenly by my side, and asked if I had heard glass break above. I nodded as I bit my throwing knife, and he said we had to go up to help Xipil and Nujan. I nodded again.

Lady Isa made the fog vanish, and Grogg set to work with his hatchet. Soon, crossbow bolts tumbled down through the hole he made in the box the defenders had placed above the hole. Lady Isa summoned a lightning ball of her own, but I thought it looked unstable. More commotion ensued above; someone was shouting, “Are they in here? Did it come from outside?”

I stood ready with two poisoned throwing knives when the box collapsed and fell down the hole. An enemy must have leaned on it, for he came crashing down, too. I planted a knife in the throat of a swordsman above; we had swordsmen of our own to take care of the foe at my feet, Markus among them.

We also had two crossbowmen, and two of them fired up, felling another enemy. Lady Isa enhanced her lightning ball behind Grogg’s back. I hoped he didn’t see it, for he’s abnormally afraid of lightning. I drew a melee blade and asked Grogg for a boost.

Grogg lifted me up easily, but the enemy was waiting, and I had to dodge a sword-cut. Nujan was in the room, as were a crossbowman without a loaded weapon and two swordsmen. Nujan slammed into the crossbowman, who fell to the ground. I threw my knife at the back of one foe, and stabbed at the swordsman, but missed with both attempts.

Markus appeared, followed by Grogg. I dodged another sword blow and drew another melee knife, going after the crossbowman, who was getting back on his feet. Both my blades darted for his neck, but missed; one of them twisted in my hand. Markus landed a blow on him, though, but he kept rising, swinging his knife wildly at Nujan who had no trouble dodging. A swordsman also attacked Nujan, but the cat man’s shield took the blow.

Xipil was standing above a hatch in the ceiling, and calmly felled one of the swordsmen, who had no idea he was there. Nujan cut at the knife-wielder with his sword, but the man parried. I plunged my poisoned blade through the neck of the last swordsman, and he dropped dead to the floor. Grogg took out the knifeman with a thrown hatchet.

I retrieved my throwing knives and shared the last drops of my holy venom between them and my used long knife. Xipil told us that there were more enemies above. Nujan asked everyone to be silent. I imagined I could hear the flapping of bat wings.

We climbed up two ladders, to a room where it was completely dark, but Xipil brought a lantern he had found. Bats swarmed Grogg, who ran into the wall to squash them. Markus struck out with his shield at the bats. I stood ready to cut at approaching bats, but I wasn’t eager to strike with poisoned blades near the heavily wounded Grogg.

Another swarm surged down on me, and I cut some of them before one managed to bite my arm. I could hear more flapping above, even through the din around my head. Grogg and I both dispersed our swarms in time to see another flock go for Markus, who cleared them away with the help from two city guards.

Lady Isa had also climbed the ladders, with a ball lightning in front of her. I sheathed a melee blade and drew a throwing knife instead, so I’d be ready for an opponent at any range, before getting another boost from Grogg. It was dark up here, too, but I could make out that it seemed like an office. Markus followed, and Xipil with a lantern. At the edge of the chamber was a zone that even the lantern couldn’t light up. Xipil put the lantern on the floor and the three of us approached the darkness cautiously. Suddenly, Markus and Xipil turned around and jumped down the hole, leaving me alone, just as I was calling for Lady Isa to bring her lightning ball.

The noblewoman swore loudly in Lithin when she saw the spells in the room. Maybe loudly enough for Lunari to hear, outside. Lady Isa whispered that there was evil magic here. Nujan had followed her up, but turned around, succumbing to the fear spell.

I put my head into the darkness, thinking maybe it was a barrier, and that I could see fine behind it. I was wrong, so I pulled out quickly, but then I felt the air vanish around me, making it impossible to breathe. I staggered back towards Lady Isa, and could suddenly breathe again.

Lady Isa approached the darkness and stuck the lightning ball inside. I identified the border of the zone with difficult breathing, and noticed that Lady Isa stood inside it, but she seemed unaffected. I put away my melee blade, and stood ready to grab her if she should falter. Which she did. I pulled her away, just in time before her lightning ball exploded. Sergeant Markus came upstairs again and helped me lower her down to the below floor.

I asked to borrow the sergeant’s sword so I could poke around in the darkness. Xipil called out instructions to Lunari to get the city guards to shoot out the windows on the top floor. Seconds later, glass broke above me, and Grogg came up to join Markus and me. The fear spell seemed to have disappeared, and so did the darkness spell, revealing another ladder. I had Grogg smash the hatch covering the hole in the ceiling.

The light from the top floor was blazingly bright. Just looking in the direction of the broken hatch was uncomfortable. I started cutting strips of cloth from a bed to make protection from the light, but my eyes seemed to get used to the glare, so I asked Grogg for a boost, knives ready for whatever might meet me.

A person with fine, white clothes lay on the floor, dead, and I thought he might have been killed by Lady Isa’s exploding lightning ball, but when I examined him, he had no visible wounds. Come to think of it, he had been on the other side of the hatch from the explosion. The light source was a box, too bright to look at directly, but Nujan found a larger box that Xipil and I could put it inside, thereby shutting away the blaze. A magical rope lay along the circumference of the room, having blocked the light from being seen from outside the tower.
__________________
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 04-12-2020, 03:50 AM   #37
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 18 (2020-03-28)

24th of Mitra’s Second Month, year 412 (continued)

The dead elf on the floor had blood on his hands, but it was not his own. Xipil licked the blood to taste it, and said it hailed from an elf-like being, spilled a while ago. I suspected the blazing box of being the box Lunari and the others had talked about recovering. In that case, the blood may have come from one of the missing expedition members from the Prince’s Cities. Xipil made a cut in the corpse’s wrist to taste his blood, too.

Lunari climbed up and wanted me to give first aid to Grogg, so I returned to the room below. My medicine kit was still in the Evening Fort, so I looked about for something to cut into bandages. Ah! Those bedsheets looked clean enough. I borrowed Nujan’s knife to shred the sheets; mine were still tipped with poison, not something I would want to introduce accidentally to an open wound.

Grogg wasn’t the only one in need of care. There were two wounded city guards up here as well, but I learned that their companions on the lower floors had been brought outside for treatment. I finished the rounds by wrapping some bandages around my own arm. I had been wounded by those magical bats, but even though the scratch was superficial, I thought it best to cover the wound.

Through the hatch in the ceiling, I could hear that Lunari and Xipil were discussing the mercenaries we had chased ashore by sinking their ship an hour or so ago. Xipil maintained that we had to find and arrest them, but Lunari didn’t believe they were important. Let the city guards deal with them, was his opinion.

Lady Isa had come to, and climbed up to the top floor, and I followed her. The noblewoman was overwhelmed by all the magic up there, and said we mustn’t touch the rope, lest the dead outside come in. She pointed out the window. The rope lay along the walls of the single room up here, but there was some space between it and the walls, where I noticed someone had scattered small ceramic tokens, about forty in total. Lady Isa picked up one and explained that the souls had been transported in them. I offered to find a priest to exorcise the evil spirits.

Lady Isa spat on the elf corpse, and I asked if she knew him. She didn’t, not personally, but knew that he was a hired mage. Xipil, who had tasted his blood, grimaced. Evil lingered there. Lady Isa looked pensive, but made no comment about it. Instead, she expressed a desire to return to the fort. Since I didn’t feel we were quite finished here, yet, I asked her to watch over Kraa and Grogg.

I mentioned to Sergeant Markus that I was going to find a priest, and he told me to go to the shrine of Azura. I looked questioningly at him, and he explained that he had met an elderly, but still pretty, human woman with a dark purple dress there, before the chaos erupted. She had told him to go to this tower and stop what was happening, and for some reason, he had trusted her completely. From her dialect, he thought she was a noble from the Prince’s Cities.

Xipil was still hung up about the mercenaries and revealed to Sergeant Markus that we had sunk the ship. He groaned, not wanting to hear such admissions. Xipil asked if he wanted to go hunting mercenaries with us, but Lunari interrupted that we had to go to the Rama temple instead. I had more confidence in Your priests, and Markus left us to discuss amongst ourselves, to see if he could find the mercenaries.

After coming to the conclusion that we’d never agree on which priesthood would be best suited to exorcise the evil spirits, we split up. Lunari and Nujan went to the Rama temple, and Xipil and I took off for Your temple.

On our way across Guling, we saw several burned houses, and a sudden downpour broke over us. The rain would be good, considering the risk of fires spreading, but rain during a month of the sun god Mitra was a bad omen. It usually heralded the death of someone important, and I feared the king had drawn his last breath.

At the temple, which I called “chapel” where anyone could overhear, Xipil and I met a man and a woman. They were dressed as mercenaries and had been fighting; the man had bandages on his arm and the woman was wiping blood off their weapons. I gave them Your greeting, and the man responded in kind. I introduced myself and asked who they were. The man revealed they were on a quest, so he couldn’t share any more. I placed his dialect from Furkan’s land. Not locals, they couldn’t help me locate a priest. Xipil had already sat down to pray, and I joined him. The mercenaries skulked away in the night.

While praying, I got the sensation that the spirits had been stolen away from You, preventing them from finding the eternal rest. I didn’t know what to do about it, but a hunch made me delve into Your domain; I told Xipil to remain with the snakes, and not try to follow. I found nothing, and returned to the land of the living, doing the appropriate rites and prayers on my return. A sense of relief settled over me, and I realized that You weren’t offended by my short visit.
__________________
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 04-12-2020, 03:57 AM   #38
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 18 (2020-03-28)

Xipil and I took off, sneaking across town again, towards Azura’s shrine. We discussed rank in the cult, and Xipil mentioned Baldrian. I told him Baldrian was very low-ranking, although I had to concede that Xipil’s rank was even lower.

Not far from the shrine, we passed a group of city guards who were besieging a shop. There had been an exchange of arrows and bolts, but things were quiet when we got there. Xipil asked me if we should offer our assistance. Sergeant Markus wasn’t there, though, so I figured the guards would get the reinforcements they needed soon. We snuck by without letting anyone see us; Xipil is quite remarkable, being an exotic lizard man.

Azura’s shrine had been torched, but the simple building was made of stone, and stood still. There was no sign of anyone in the vicinity, though, so I went back to the city guards and asked if they had seen the lady in purple. They were startled by my sudden appearance, and asked me politely but insistently to stay away from this area. They hadn’t seen any ladies, purple-clothed or otherwise.

Xipil told me the Digging Rat was retreating when I got back to the shrine. I remembered that I knew where the temple’s caretaker lived; she would know where to find the local priests. I had to knock a few times on her door before she opened, even though I could tell she had been awake already. I told her I needed a priest, immediately, and she pulled on a cloak and stepped into the rain. Xipil gave her a fright, but I told her he was one of us, and they greeted each other with Your sign.

We entered an apartment building, and knocked on one of the doors inside. An elderly woman opened the door, and the caretaker apologized profusely about disturbing her at this time of night. The priestess beckoned us to enter, and we said thank you and goodbye to our guide. I explained the situation with the spirits and asked the priestess what she could do about them. She muttered to herself and dug up a small bottle of poison. She said this wouldn’t be enough, so I showed her what I had in my pouch. The belladonna was of little interest, and the vial I had used to store my own venom was empty, but she identified the third poison I had, the one I got from the unnamed woman in the swamp. She explained that this poison would prevent someone who died from lingering on in this world. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t help for someone who was already dead, like the spirits flocking around the tower. The bottle she gave me contained a substance that would let my weapons harm the spirits, but she repeated that it wouldn’t be enough for forty of them. She recommended that we should stay away from the spirits and make sure that the authorities blocked off the area. We thanked her for her help, and returned to the tower.

On the way there, we ran into Nujan, who brought us the rest of the way back. There were three priests of Rama mucking about doing their thing, which currently consisted of whipping one of their own, occasionally glaring at Lady Isa and Grogg. I failed to see how any of that would resolve the spirit situation. Lady Isa had no respect for them either, and had even had some kind of confrontation with them.

I told Lady Isa that I had a vial of poison that would let my weapons affect the spirits. This upset her; I don’t think she realized that I was talking about the evil spirits surrounding the tower. She begged me not to become a spirit slayer. I told her I thought we might try to combine my poison with her magical explosion to take care of the evil spirits. She laughed and said it would be fun to try, but we agreed to follow Your priestess’s advice and leave.

Lady Isa thought that someone called Tivito was behind the mystical attack. Tivito seemed to be a group of Loyalists who had succeeded in making into law that they had to be called in to deal with possessions. Lady Isa was convinced they stood behind the possessions in the first place.

We rowed back to the cave under the fort, and Lady Isa explained that there lay a spell over the island that prevented people from docking elsewhere. The trip back was miserable because of the rain, but I sat next to the noblewoman and held my cloak over the two of us as best I could.

Lunari suggested that we should check how Lord Madan was doing, causing his daughter to break into tears again. I lead the way through the dark passage from the cave, and we alighted in the inner courtyard. Lunari told the guards there we needed a safe place below ground to store a jar full of evil. The best place would be the cells, but we didn’t want to place the jar near the sick lord, so the guards sent for Remi so we could see about moving the patient.

I got the chief servant alone and whispered that someone should escort Lady Isa to her bedroom, as she was overtired. The child-like noblewoman overheard my words and stomped her foot in denial. I managed to convince her eventually, and we got her off to bed.

We put the jar in a cell, once Lord Madan was removed from the dungeon. Remi told us that it was too late for the lord, and that we had to keep our mouths shut about it. He feared Tivito, too. The guard who followed us down to the dungeon admonished Xipil when he tried speaking to the orc in one of the other cells. The guards weren’t allowed to talk to him, so neither should we.

Once we exited the inner courtyard, the guards noticed that Nujan had disappeared. He should never have been allowed inside, they muttered, ringing the alarm bell. Xipil went out into the rain to meditate, but Lunari, Grogg and I returned to our rooms.

It was late at night, but I couldn’t go to bed before I had restored my poison glands, so I sat down on the bed to meditate. I took a break to brush my teeth when the sun rose, before returning to my rituals. I had to improvise because my toothbrush was in my backpack, which I had forgotten in the dungeon.
__________________
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 04-12-2020, 04:05 AM   #39
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 18 (2020-03-28)

25th of Mitra’s Second Month, year 412

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

The day had come, and I didn’t feel like going to bed. I went downstairs for breakfast instead. Xipil was there, but the others were sleeping late, I presumed. I asked a maid how Lord Madan was doing. She claimed he was just fine. Xipil asked about Lady Isa, and got a rote reply about the whole family being well. The maid was able to tell us that the guards had found Nujan at last, just an hour ago. She thought they had locked him up. Xipil asked if she could procure a map for us, to which she giggled and told him to talk to Groman. Xipil was very talkative this morning. He wanted to know what we were going to do once Grogg and Lunari got up. I yawned and said I didn’t know. After the meal, Xipil went for a walk outside. I remained in the dining hall, forcing myself to remain awake while waiting for Grogg and Lunari.

Lunari arrived around noon, just as large bells in town started tolling. The servants explained that the bells meant there was an announcement from the city council. Grogg came down after having had a bath, and Xipil returned to join us for lunch. Lunari mentioned teaching Pak to play the flute, but Xipil said he was in the inner courtyard, out of bounds for us.

The others left again after the meal, but I asked the servants for pen and paper. I wrote a note to Remi, asking for my belongings from the dungeon, and left it with the servants. I was embarrassed when I came up to my room, where my backpack stood waiting. I sat down on the side of the bed to rest my eyes for a minute, but Xipil knocked on the door. He asked if I wanted to come and test the magic lamp we had found in the tower. I vaguely remembered that something had given off a red light in the top room of the tower, but with everything that had been going on, I hadn’t paid much attention to a seemingly unimportant lamp.

Lunari was waiting for us in a ruined tower on the other side of the island, playing his new flute. I thought he was playing very well, and he seemed completely enraptured with the experience. The lamp had been shining blue when Xipil and I arrived, but it changed color to red once we got within fifteen meters of it. Xipil had me touch the lamp, and then it turned blue again. Evidently, it shines red if someone unknown to the lamp comes too close, and blue otherwise. Lunari “borrowed” a hen in the village and discovered that the lamp didn’t react to animals.

We returned to the fort, to Lunari and Grogg’s room, where the troll was sleeping with the magic needle in his neck. There was that magic box, lined with fine cloth and too small to hold the star box, that Lunari wanted to test next. He opened it, and a swarm of bats erupted from it, flying up to the ceiling. We went outside and closed the door, but remembered that Grogg wouldn’t be safe if the bats decided to attack, so we went inside again, just as the bats were stooping down on the sleeping troll. Lunari hurriedly removed the needle, and Grogg bounced out of bed in a panic, nearly trampling Lunari while running around waving his arms at the bats. I nearly bent over double, laughing at the spectacle. The swarm disappeared once Grogg had smacked enough of the bats. Lunari cheered with the discovery of the box’s powers.

Grogg wanted to go back to bed with the needle, but Lunari convinced him to play the flute instead. He was actually good, and Lunari joined him with his violin. Xipil and I danced, enjoying the festive mood. Lunari suggested that we take the party to the village, but a maid waited outside the door; she hadn’t wanted to interrupt, seeing the sock on the door handle. Remi wanted to see us.

We met the chief servant in the dining hall, and received a formal invitation to join the nobles for dinner in an hour. We accepted, of course. I went upstairs again to put on my makeup, delayed slightly to explain to Xipil that we couldn’t go to dinner naked.

Remi escorted us into the inner courtyard, to another dining hall, where servants waited with bowls of rose-scented water to wash our hands. We rose when the nobles arrived. Remi pushed Lord Madan in a chair with wheels, followed by Lady Isa and Lord Mir. Lord Madan had looked fine, yesterday, except for being in excruciating pain, but now he looked like a man who had been sick for a decade, dazed like his mind wasn’t there. Pak, Groman and Nujan entered through another door, and we all sat down at the table.

I cast my eyes around the table. Lord Mir seemed pretty normal, but Lady Isa looked embarrassed for some reason. Groman was grumpy and Pak was sad as usual, but Nujan grinned. Remi wished us all welcome on behalf of Lord Madan, and thanked us for what we did yesterday. Then servants arrived with food, wine and a fine dish with meat I didn’t recognize. The trolls got milk as well, and double-sized helpings. Remi had to feed the lord. Lady Isa talked baby language to Kraa for some reason, but the rest of us sat in awkward silence. I studied Lord Mir. He was a half-elf, and well-behaved, but took his meal in silence. Groman, the only one who had ale, belched loudly to announce that he wanted more, and a servant complied.

The second dish was also a meat dish, and I noticed that some extra pieces found their way from Xipil’s plate to mine. He’s a vegetarian, and only ate the fruit mix stuffing from inside the chickens. The third dish was a small meat pie, some cheese and sausages, all glazed in honey sauce. Groman belched again, having drained his tankard. Lunari, seated across from me, was getting a bit tipsy; he was really enjoying the expensive wine.

Once the servants cleared away Groman’s plate, he stood with a bang, but seated himself again when Remi clinked on Lord Madan’s glass with a spoon. His speech oozed of falsehood, stuffed with assurances that everything was fine with the Aldera family. Lady Isa shook her head through the whole séance, but Lord Mir was unaffected, almost like a doll, I thought. Remi finished by saying that those who wished to mingle, could do so in the lounge upstairs.
__________________
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 04-12-2020, 04:12 AM   #40
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 18 (2020-03-28)

Only our party and Nujan went upstairs. Xipil tried to get Pak to come, but Groman dragged him away. The two noblemen arrived after a while, but Lady Isa had remained downstairs, so Xipil went to talk to her there. I tried to engage Lord Mir in conversation, and it eventually became clear that he was an impostor who had practiced some platitudes and common answers. He was relieved when the servants rolled Lord Madan out, and he could follow.

Lady Isa and Xipil came up almost as soon as they were gone. Lady Isa threw herself down on one of the divans and blew a relieved breath. Lunari tried to get her to join him and Grogg for a smoke, but she said she preferred drink, and produced a bottle of rose wine. Xipil was admiring the books that stood on the shelves here, and I went over and asked him in a whisper if he had gotten any information out of Lady Isa. He said she had told him Mir wasn’t Mir, and Xipil thought he might be an illusionary construct. I didn’t think so, for I had seen the relief on his face when he could escape my interrogation. I thought it more likely that he had been placed here to pose as the real Mir, so the outside world would think that he was here.

I joined Lady Isa and Lunari at a table where they were playing some kind of game. I thought it was good for her to relax a little. She’s too young to have the responsibility of the family on her shoulders, but she has to bear it, with the state that her father is in, and her brothers being away. Xipil asked her if there are any stone circles nearby. She thought it was a strange question, and didn’t seem interested in talking about them until we revealed that Lunari and Xipil had seen the priests there at night. Then she wanted to come along with us to have a look for herself. We made no promises.

Grogg took over Lunari’s pieces when their game ended. Kraa helped him, but Lady Isa still trounced the troll. A flutist came to entertain us with some music, and Lunari asked if I would dance with him, but I declined. I didn’t like the way he looked at me. Lady Isa danced with Xipil, and on Lunari’s request, the lizard man took off his cloak and showed us a traditional dance from his homeland. Lunari tried to replicate the moves, but it was difficult without a tail.

Lady Isa wanted to go to the land bridge to see if someone came over from the city. I went with her to her room; she wanted my help to get out of the fancy dress she was wearing, and into something more practical. We gathered up the others in the lounge before venturing outside. A maid followed Lady Isa, holding an umbrella over her. The lady grabbed the umbrella and sent the maid away, before offering the umbrella to me. She claimed she would like to get wet, as she usually isn’t allowed.

Xipil and Lady Isa talked about the stars. I saluted the dying day, and then the land bridge emerged. Two figures started towards us from the other side. When they got closer, we saw their Aldera uniforms, but none of them were Markus. Lady Isa said she longed for Lunas to return, and Lunari wondered if he had time to run over to buy wine, and dashed off.

The soldiers told us that Markus had been chosen as leader for the city, and went on their way towards the fort. My mind was drifting, and I longed for my bed. I didn’t catch the beginning of the conversation, but Lady Isa asked me if there really were women in Sam who wore that short dresses. She held her hand to her upper thigh to demonstrate. I told her that certain women of loose morals occasionally wore dresses that short. “Do you have any dresses that short?” she continued relentlessly. I told her I had this one, which bared my arms, but little else, and a shorter one. I was not about to admit to her that I owned something as indecent as that. Grogg asked which dress I wore when I last cut someone’s head off, and I told him it was the one I was wearing now.

Lunari returned, and shortly after him, Keri. The dwarf had to run to get across before the bridge closed, but he was no more than a little wet on his feet when we could wish him welcome back. Lunari gave him wine, and he told us Lunas was in the north, and with Lady Isa’s permission, he told us that Lunas had a green-skin problem a couple of days north along the coast. He also told us that Ur had had its share of arsons, and was now under martial law. We walked up to the fort together, and Lady Isa asked if her brother was ok. I swayed as I walked and zoned out of the conversation. I barely managed to remain awake long enough to brush my teeth and say my evening prayer.

O Ashtar! I surrender my life to Your coils. Take me while I sleep, or grant me another day in Your service, as You will.
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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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