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Old 10-10-2020, 06:37 AM   #101
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 31 (2020-10-03)

Wolfram shapeshifted into a bear again, and let Grogg carry the lantern. When we entered the distortion, a shadow coalesced around the lantern, making it practically useless. Xipil pulled out a silver coin that shone with the light of the stars. That let everyone see, at least a couple of meters. Kraa suddenly came out of the dark, very noisy. When it vanished into Grogg, the cacophony cut off. I looked to see if anything was following the spirit raven, but all was quiet.

Xipil suggested using a rope to keep us all connected. He tied four small loops along it, so we’d have something to let us keep our distance easily. He said he wanted to try to empower the starlight coin. Wolfram looked skeptical, but the coin suddenly brightened. We extinguished the lantern.

I led the way, since I have the best night vision in the group, and since I had the spirit-seeing ring. Xipil came next, then Wolfram and finally Grogg. It didn’t take long before I spotted a tower directly ahead; we walked along the desert’s edge. The tower looked to be about fifty meters away, but with the distortion, it was hard to tell. I stopped and let the others catch up, and pointed out the tower for them. When I studied the tower, it seemed that it didn’t distort, it was only the shifting surroundings that had fooled me earlier.

I took one end of the rope and walked towards the tower. When I got closer, I spotted another tower, behind the first one and to the left. I returned, just as Grogg hurled a rock at the tower. As far as I could tell, it went in the right direction, but we didn’t hear it hit.

I tied the rope around my waist and walked forward again. The others followed ten meters behind me, in case I stumbled into the “even darker” region. About five or ten meters from the first tower, everything seemed to become clearer, and I could see a door opening at the bottom of the tower. I turned towards the others and bade them stop, asking if they could see me still. They confirmed that they could. I explained what I saw, and Grogg asked me to stand still. Xipil yelled that he was throwing another rock, so I dropped to the ground. The rock passed me and disappeared into the night. I picked up a rock myself, stood and threw it at the tower. Just before it struck the wall, it vanished. I tried a few more times, with the same result.

Xipil suggested setting up the totem pole, so I returned to the others. Wolfram transformed back to a human and began his ritual. Xipil started burning incense, which should allow us to see spirits. Wolfram’s ritual let us see each other’s auras, and I knew we could use that too to spot spirits. The incense made it more difficult to see, and Xipil agreed, so I put it out.

Wolfram performed another ritual, this one was supposed to summon nearby spirits, but it failed, and Wolfram acted as if he couldn’t see the moon anymore. The rest of us saw it just as faintly as before, behind the mystical cloud. I decreed that we rest for ten minutes. Wolfram still couldn’t see the moon.

Xipil and I prayed to You, while Wolfram prayed to Tiri, the moon. Grogg began walking towards the tower, but I shouted “Stop!” A voice, somewhere in the darkness, said “Come!” I looked around for the speaker but couldn’t see them. Wolfram returned to bear shape. It was quiet again, so I returned to my prayers. Grogg answered the voice and asked the speaker to come to us instead, but the voice just repeated “Come!” after a relatively long pause. Grogg asked if the speaker was the one to upset Kraa, but got no reply.

Wolfram turned back into his human form. He said he didn’t want to try the summoning ritual again, but instead, he wanted to try to track the spirits. He completed his ritual, but couldn’t see any traces of spirits having crossed within five or so meters from the totem pole. He could, though, see the moon again. This lifted his mood, and allowed Xipil to convince him to try the summoning ritual again. When the ritual was finished, he turned back into a bear, to better be able to fight the spirits as they appeared.

The voice asked us yet again to come, but we ignored it. After a couple of minutes, I noticed a spirit behind the tower, moving away from us. It seemed Wolfram’s ritual wasn’t working as well as it should, for the spirits should be forced to come all the way up to the totem pole before being allowed to go away. I didn’t want to risk anyone running off, so I didn’t mention seeing the spirit.

Impatient, Grogg sat down with his sewing kit. Wolfram turned human again and said he thought the spirits were somewhere beyond the tower. Grogg decided to tie a coin to the end of some string, and threw it at the tower. It vanished from sight, but when Grogg loosened his grip, the string slid through his hand. There was a hole in the ground hidden by the illusory tower!

We walked up to the tower, and Xipil poked a stick at the wall, confirming its non-existence. Grogg picked up Xipil and put his head through the wall, while he held up the star coin. Xipil reported seeing only a hole, seven or eight meters deep, almost an inversion of the tower. There was nothing useful down there, he informed us.

I proposed going around the tower and continuing. I led the way along the desert’s edge, even though there was another tower off to the left. I didn’t want to risk getting lost. The desert’s edge was like a safe path through the distorted area.

We didn’t go many steps beyond the tower before we came to a new place. It looked like an oasis in the middle of a sandy desert. A few palm trees stood around a pond. We took a few steps backwards, and reappeared near the tower. Actually, I thought I could see four towers in total, standing in a square around us. I pointed them out to the others, and they squinted into the darkness.

I walked carefully forward again. I experimented with Grogg’s coin and string, and it really seemed like I was at an oasis. The coin was even wet when I pulled it back from the pond. I noticed I wore different clothes, and the rope around my waist wasn’t there anymore. In my hand, the coin and string had vanished too!

I returned to the others and explained what I had seen. Grogg thought we should check if the voice was still around, so I called out. A voice, seemingly near the tower in the desert, called for help. I replied, “Come here, and we’ll help you!” The voice just repeated its distress call. Then the other voice spoke up again, from the center of the area between the towers. “Come!”

Grogg and I walked towards the oasis, and he kept his eyes shut. I asked what he could smell, but then I realized that I didn’t have my knives with me, and said we had to go. Grogg took my hand and held me back, walking towards the pond. I felt at my all-too-human teeth with my all-too-human tongue and began panicking. “Grogg! We have to leave!!”

Grogg picked me up and left, asking if I could still see the oasis, but I was relieved to be back. Xipil asked what the problem was, and I explained that inside that illusion, we weren’t ourselves anymore! Our things vanish and are replaced by worthless junk. Instead of my knives, I had had only a scimitar.

Xipil, the ever curious, wanted to go inside to see for himself, so I traded places with him on the rope. Grogg followed him inside. Xipil came running back out after a few seconds, and refused to say what he had experienced. Grogg returned and told us Xipil had become a cat person, like Nujan.
__________________
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 10-18-2020, 02:50 AM   #102
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 32 (2020-10-14)

19th of Rama, year 412 (continued)

We discussed what to do if spirits suddenly appeared. Wolfram would transform into a bear which would allow him to attack the spirits. I should go directly for the wraith and try to materialize it. Grogg should follow me and squish everything that materialized around me. Xipil had my vial of anti-spirit venom, and could use it to hurt the spirits without them materializing first.

Xipil went inside the oasis illusion again, but Wolfram pulled him out with the rope Xipil had tied around his waist. Xipil said there was another person by the oasis. Wolfram believed it to be part of the illusion. He had an idea, though. He had Xipil tie a rock to the end of the rope, and then he threw it into the illusion area to see if it struck something other than the ground. I heard the rock hitting the ground, but the sound distorted, so it seemed to come from another direction. Not that I paid very much attention to the experiment. With the spirit-seeing ring affixed in front of my eye, I was the only one who could spot them if the spirits decided to attack, so I was on self-imposed guard duty.

I saw one or two in the distance, moving away. I didn’t mention them lest my reckless companions go haring off after them. Instead, I asked Wolfram to set up his totem pole and try to summon spirits. It was eerily quiet while he drew the required symbols on the ground. The only sounds were the thumps of the rock hitting the ground when Xipil resumed the experiment.

After a couple of minutes of drawing, Wolfram stood up and said that he thought there might be a hidden entrance from one of the tower pits. I’d had the same idea myself. Wolfram mumbled a regret that he didn’t know much about counter-magic.

Grogg began walking towards the oasis illusion, and Xipil told him to stop. Grogg didn’t listen, so Xipil gave me one end of the rope and asked me to pull him out if he raised his arms. He followed Grogg with the other end of the rope around his waist. Wolfram soon became impatient and pulled him back out. Fortunately, Grogg followed. Wolfram asked Grogg why he suddenly decided to take off. Grogg claimed that Lunari told him there was a magical treasure in there, and pointed down below the center of the illusionary area. Xipil whispered that he was afraid that the buried demon was affecting Grogg’s mind. Wolfram insisted that Grogg warn us the next time, but Grogg said that he didn’t want to disturb Wolfram while he was busy. It was clear that Grogg didn’t consider Xipil or me worthy of his consideration. I’ve tried being friendly towards him, I’ve tried being patient, but if he doesn’t start responding soon, I’m going to give up on him.

Wolfram completed his preparations and warned us that he was going to attempt a powerful summoning. Once the ritual was finished, he told us to be ready, and transformed into a giant bear. I drew my knives. Grogg hefted his maul.

After a few minutes, Grogg shouted “Hello!” and said that someone was calling for help. I hadn’t heard anything. When nothing happened, Grogg hit the ground impatiently with his club. Wolfram transformed back to his human shape and said that the wraith had to have made some kind of barrier to keep the other spirits from approaching us. He detected evil magic nearby.

We stepped over to the tower to examine it more closely. Xipil kneeled and poked his head and the starlight coin through the illusion. Wolfram asked if Xipil could hear him, to which Xipil replied that he heard him just fine. To us on the outside, Xipil’s voice sounded hollow and distant. When Xipil pulled out, he said that he wanted to lower a rock on the rope and feel around with that. Grogg and Wolfram didn’t see why we couldn’t just have Grogg lower Xipil into the hidden hole, but I agreed with Xipil that we should take a careful approach.

The experiment with the rock didn’t tell us much, except that what was lowered into the hole wasn’t crushed by some giant trap. That was something, at least. I suggested to Xipil that he make a harness so he’d have his hands free when Grogg lowered him; he needed one hand to hold the coin and one to feel around.

Xipil informed us that there was an iron-bound wooden door down there, which he hadn’t seen from the top. He didn’t want to open it when he was alone, so he just looked around some more, then Grogg pulled him up. I decided to put my head inside the illusion. The tower disappeared, and in the starlight from above, I could make out that there were lots of metal objects covering the floor. I could only see the glint of reflections, and it was difficult to identify exactly what was down there. No matter, had it been important, Xipil would have mentioned it, and I would get to see more closely soon enough.

We discussed for a few minutes how to get everyone down. Xipil’s rope wasn’t sturdy enough to hold Grogg’s weight, but it was long enough to lay it triple. We used Wolfram’s pick as anchor, tied the rope to it, and then I climbed down. Wolfram and Grogg followed, then Xipil untied the rope from the anchor and free-climbed after 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 10-18-2020, 02:59 AM   #103
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 32 (2020-10-14)

On the bottom, I realized all the shiny metal was a treasure pile. Grogg grabbed some of it, but I figured it would remain until we decided to leave the area. It wasn’t important, anyway, and besides, Xipil said that the entire area was covered with magic. The treasure was probably an illusion.

Wolfram lit the lantern again. Its light was still distorted, but it was much better than above-ground. The door opened at Xipil’s touch, and beyond was a narrow, low-ceilinged corridor. Xipil and I could pass each other easily enough, but Wolfram and Grogg were quite a bit larger than us. Wolfram decided to transform into his bear shape, which made him even larger, but at least he didn’t have to bend his back, like Grogg would have to. I picked up the lantern.

I pushed ahead of the eager bear. The corridor seemed to go on for about ten meters, then widened to a room. I wanted Xipil to come and walk beside me, to look for traps, but Wolfram was too impatient, and after he had nudged me a few times, I let him squeeze by. He stopped when he realized he blocked all the light, so he lay down on his belly and crawled forward. Xipil and I followed, holding up our light sources. Grogg followed a few meters behind us.

Suddenly, we heard a strange animal sound ahead of us, and there was a dromedary where Wolfram had been. We seemed to be back in the oasis illusion, but instead of a pond, there was a large inn right in front of us, with chairs and tables out front. We couldn’t see anyone, but we heard sounds from inside. Music! My teeth and tongue were gone again, and when Xipil asked if I still had my knives, I pulled the scimitar from my belt. The dreadful feeling of being powerless settled on me again, but I decided to stick it out, this time.

There were two doors on the wall facing us, and I suggested we go inside, walking towards the door on the left. Xipil was concerned we might not find the way back to the tunnel. Wolfram knocked on the door with a hoof, and a voice said we had to go away, for the master decreed that the place was closed.

Xipil backtracked to see if he could find the tunnel again, and the voice inside said they could let us in if we were quiet. Wolfram didn’t mind that and kicked in the door. A young man screamed and scrambled backwards, and a woman looked at us with confusion from behind a large potted plant. Our eyes met, and she pulled back. Grogg picked up a chair, letting Wolfram charge inside before him.

I groaned inwardly, keeping one eye on Xipil and one on the happenings inside. Wolfram toppled a privacy screen. The person standing behind it jumped aside, but Wolfram ran down one of the musicians. People were screaming and scattered before him. One man bellowed at Grogg, “Stop that camel!” Grogg smacked him with the chair and sent him sprawling across the floor. Wolfram acted like a panicked dromedary in an inn, crashing into people and trampling them. All the while, Xipil grew smaller and smaller in the distance.

The people inside ran for the side rooms; there were two rows of doors along the sides of a large common room in the middle, and a big door on the far side of the room. Grogg kicked in the door closest to us and entered, exclaiming, “Wow! Look, Lunari!”

Xipil startled and started running towards me, shouting that Wolfram was battling spirits. The illusion made Xipil approach much faster than it seemed he should be able to, but then, he had probably only gone ten or fifteen meters away from me before turning. I said my prayer and entered the inn, ready to kill. A voice commanded, “Order, underlings!” The voice seemed to come from behind or under stone. It could be under the floor, but I thought it more probable it was behind the door in the back of the room.

Grogg exited the room, and I ran inside to mop up. There was a dead man on the floor, and a nude woman trying to sneak up on me, clearly with evil intent; I thought she was hiding a weapon of some kind behind her. I pretended not to notice her, and when she launched herself at me, I rammed the scimitar through her neck. My vision blurred when the woman passed through me, and my back hurt.

Xipil caught up with me, just as the voice commanded, “Kill them!” Wolfram kicked the door at the back of the common room, but it proved too solid. Figures appeared from the shadows, but not near Xipil and me. I told the woman my name and said she was going to die. She dodged my stab at her neck, but Xipil plunged a knife into her heart. The skin around the wound blackened, and the blackness exploded over her skin, spreading from the wound. She dropped to the floor. “That must have been the poisoned dagger,” Xipil guessed; he had put anti-spirit venom on one of his blades before going inside.

We stepped back into the common room. Enemies skulked along the walls, some of them approaching Xipil and me. Wolfram the dromedary was in the process of running down another group of them. Grogg stood in the middle of the room, sucking on a golden water pipe, then he vanished.

Xipil held out a dagger for me, but both my hands were occupied, since I still carried the lantern. His group of enemies threw themselves at Wolfram, and three appeared near Xipil and me. There was something terribly wrong with these people, as if they weren’t in control of themselves. I made a double attack with the scimitar, feinting slightly and going for the torsos. At each strike, I focused my will like I was trying to force spirits to manifest, and it seemed to work. In the second strike, snakes shot out of the scimitar and onto the opponent. The third spirit tried to pass through me, but I dodged aside.

Another opponent appeared nearby, and I tried another manifestation attack, but of course, it didn’t work. I needed to get into the rhythm of it. Xipil finished the one with snakes all over it.
__________________
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; 02-02-2021 at 02:25 AM. Reason: Fixing typo
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Old 10-30-2020, 01:58 AM   #104
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 33 (2020-10-24)

19th of Rama, year 412 (continued)

Suddenly, we seemed to be sitting around a campfire, somehow looking down on ourselves fighting the spirits in slow motion. There were two visions lying on top of each other: When I focused on Grogg, I could see him in a dark, stone-walled crypt, but when I looked at myself, I saw the inn. Given the opportunity to communicate, Xipil asked Wolfram to protect Grogg, who couldn’t see the spirits harassing him.

Grogg informed us that when he took a good drag from the water pipe, the illusion disappeared. I asked if the rest of us should follow his move. Grogg thought it would be good for me, but I thought he was referring to getting high, not unraveling the illusion. Xipil pointed out that he wouldn’t be able to see spirits anymore, although he would relish the chance to reapply poison to his blade.

I took the snakes in the illusion, the ones shooting out of my scimitar when I manifested spirits, as a sign that You were with me even in this darkness. I agreed with Xipil that we should wait to use the water pipe until we dealt with the spirits around us. It wouldn’t make sense to turn our backs to enemies.

Back in the inn, Wolfram trampled a couple of spirits, moving towards where he believed Grogg to be. I manifested two of the spirits surrounding Xipil and me, and again snakes seemed to slither all over them. “Praise Ashtar!” I exclaimed. Xipil cut into one of them, and while blood sprayed from the wound, the man remained standing. The spirits sensed that I was the dangerous one and focused their attacks on me, leaving Xipil alone. I dodged one of them, but another surged through me, giving me the chills.

Wolfram bit another spirit and stomped on it, banishing it from this world. I rammed my scimitar through the neck of the manifested woman, sending her on, but I missed the bleeding man, who Xipil took care of in short order. Wolfram continued biting and kicking wildly, and dealt with two more spirits. This fight wouldn’t have gone half as well, had Lunari been here instead. I couldn’t help but thinking of Wolfram as Lunari’s replacement, but the truth of the matter is, I would rather have both of them here.

I had no time for wishful thinking, though, and manifested another pair of spirits. In the illusion, it was hard to keep track, but I thought these were the last near Xipil and me. The wraith called out an order: “Leave them! They’re not worth it!” The two snake-riddled figures tried to crawl away, but Xipil and I skewered them.

The spirits around Wolfram scattered, and he took off after one of them, just as the wraith invoked, “Vakn, Darvan, og ta skuggen min frå meg!” Perhaps it was the enchantment on this place that made it sound foreign to my ears, but I still understood the meaning of the wraith’s utterance: “Wake, Darvan, and take my shadow away from me!”

The large door at the back of the common room blew apart. I feared that the demon had been released, but learned later that Grogg had bashed in the door, I just couldn’t see him from within the illusion. Free from the spirits harassing us, Xipil and I ran towards the water pipe, and I yelled for Wolfram to come, too. The invocation continued: “Ta sansane mine, vis meg røyndommen din, øydelegg for meg!” It meant, “Take my senses, show me your reality, foil me!”

Xipil and I arrived at the water pipe. It had several mouth pieces, so we could both use it at once. It was made from gold and diamonds, and I thought it smelled like Yana. I inhaled deeply and felt refreshed. Xipil pulled in smoke, too. The inn disappeared and was replaced with the dark stone chamber I had seen around Grogg from the campfire. A mirror stood where the water pipe had been. A large stone door lay broken at the back of the room, and beyond it, I could hear Wolfram’s growling, and the sound of fighting. Running towards the battle, I was glad to see a familiar long knife in my right hand in place of the illusionary scimitar. More importantly, I had my teeth and tongue back. Xipil dashed after me, and reminded me that Darvan was the demon of trickery and shadows.

Grogg and Wolfram were in the circular back room. An open sarcophagus stood in the center, and there were several spirits, mostly along the walls. Wolfram trampled one of them just as Xipil and I entered. Grogg exclaimed, “Kraa, Lunari, help me destroy this abomination!” He was standing by the sarcophagus with his maul raised. Wolfram bit another spirit, but then did a strange maneuver that left him open for attack. Grogg smashed whatever lay inside the sarcophagus.

None of the spirits stood out as the wraith, so I moved towards the closest to manifest it. I stabbed, but missed. Xipil followed me. A horrible whisper assaulted my ears, and Grogg’s shadow detached from him and stood up, becoming a Grogg-shaped, translucent fog. I attacked the spirit again, and this time I struck, turning it physical. Xipil cut it, and it collapsed.

Grogg just looked around, but his shadow rushed one of the spirits near Wolfram, slamming it to the ground. I ran up to the next spirit along the wall, and swept my knife through it, forgetting to follow the rhythm of my power. The spirit, sensing danger, tried to flee.
__________________
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 10-30-2020, 02:07 AM   #105
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 33 (2020-10-24)

Wolfram bit and stomped on the spirit lying on the ground, and it vanished, revealing itself as the wraith, as the sound of falling chains rang out from the remaining spirits, and a darkness that had covered my senses disappeared. Some of the spirits faded away and the rest fled. A sensation settled on me that I had completed my quest, now that the wraith was destroyed, but I still wanted to deal with the rest of the spirits. Wolfram growled at Grogg’s shadow.

Looking inside the sarcophagus, I saw a smashed mummy and a small mirror which looked recently cracked. Xipil said he thought Grogg released the demon, but that its prison was already weakened by the wraith. I suspect we’ll have to deal with Darvan at some later date, but for now, I just wanted to savor the victory.

Xipil asked Grogg how he made his shadow fight the wraith, but Grogg only looked confused. He said that when he touched the mummy, it felt like hundreds of years of torment and suffering, and when he smashed the corpse, something thanked him. I asked Wolfram to set up his totem pole so we could summon the remaining spirits and banish them, but in his bear shape, he ignored me.

Shadow-Grogg asked what I could see through the ring, and I told him truthfully that I could only see Kraa in the real Grogg. Everything else about the troll seemed to be copied; there even seemed to be a troll spirit within the shadow. I was worried how people would react to Grogg, now that his shadow moved independently from him, but said nothing. We could discuss it later, when Yana and Nujan were there. Wolfram finally turned back into a human. He explained that the wraith had done something to his foot, making him limp. He also warned us not to destroy the mirror or anything else in the crypt, as we might have use for it later.

Xipil went back into the large, outer chamber to examine the mirror there. I found a wall and rested against it. Manifesting all those spirits was fatiguing, and while I thought I could deal with a few more, I preferred to rest up before another fight.

There were side chambers lining the large room, with the openings bricked over. I watched while Xipil instructed Grogg to break through. With two trolls, it didn’t take long. Within were a total of eight sarcophagi, less ornate than the main one, and Xipil reported that this demon also seemed to have eight body guards, just like Gritt. Wolfram went to have a look, and then he suggested getting above-ground so he could summon spirits under the moon. Finally! I stood up, refreshed but still weary.

There were four exits from the large chamber, and Xipil checked the others briefly before we left the way we came. The treasure pile at the bottom of the shaft had indeed been an illusion. Xipil climbed up and affixed the rope to Wolfram’s pick, which still stood buried in the ground. I climbed up, followed by Wolfram and two Groggs.

The illusionary towers weren’t there anymore, and while the area was still slightly disorienting, Xipil thought that the spell was fading away. In the middle of the area between the four holes where the towers had stood, was a mud pit. Wolfram limped towards it, but realized it would be more efficient to reuse the drawings he had made earlier, so he set up his totem pole where he had used it last.

He had to use the summoning ritual twice, and we banished fourteen more spirits. Shadow-Grogg squished one, and Wolfram berated him for it, since he didn’t want the spirits to suffer unnecessarily. He used a spell to send the spirits on. Xipil insisted on interrogating one of the spirits, so I stuck my blade in one and materialized it. A chill went through me as I recognized the woman. I knew her from Sam, where she had worked at an inn. I tried communicating with her, but she was so tortured that she didn’t even recognize me. A scratch from my knife ended her suffering.

The spirits took their time to approach, and Xipil spent some time studying the stars. Grogg and his shadow pulled out a magic needle each and discussed stitching themselves together. Wolfram and I needed to rest once the rituals were done, so Xipil went for a look around the area, returning an hour later, impatient to get back to camp. I was well rested, but Wolfram’s leg was still out of commission.

Grogg explained that he wanted to touch the magic needle to the star box to charge it up before trying to stitch himself together with his shadow. Xipil offered the starlight coin instead, put it on the ground and pulled back. Grogg touched his needle to it, but thought it wasn’t enough. Xipil argued that we shouldn’t mess with the star box, and said that if Grogg poked it with the needle, lightning might shoot out from it. That convinced Grogg, who is terrified of lightning, and he and his shadow began sewing. The shadow reattached and resumed behaving like a shadow should.

When we got back to the camp, Yana was keeping watch. She asked what had happened, so I took her inside the tent and explained everything in a low voice. My story terrified her, but she hugged me and said she was glad I came back, safe and sound. She thought that if Grogg hadn’t reattached his shadow, he would be mistaken for a demon worshipper. She was probably right. I put my hands on the ground and spoke 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.

Yana said that she would stay with me until I fell asleep. Then she would go out and keep watch again. Her hand stroked my hair, and with each touch, I relaxed more and more, until I drifted off.
__________________
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 10-30-2020, 02:16 AM   #106
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 33 (2020-10-24)

20th of Rama, year 412

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

I woke to the smell of breakfast. I sat up, uttered a morning prayer and left my tent. I thanked Nujan and Yana for preparing the meal, and for keeping watch all night. Nothing happened while I slept, they said, and Nujan asked if he should pull the needle out of Grogg to wake him. I nodded.

While we ate, we discussed what to do next. Xipil and Wolfram wanted to find Niffi and report what had happened in the crypt. I preferred to go to Lord Mir and deliver the magical spear to him, as we had promised Queen Isa. Xipil and Grogg opposed that, for the spear made its wielder megalomaniac. I argued that Lord Mir was already megalomaniac, so the spear shouldn’t affect him. Nujan believed that Isa’s intention was for her brother to conquer somewhere else, now that she had declared herself queen of the Evening Fort.

Wolfram had another reason for wanting to look up Niffi; he believed that the Council were the only ones who could fix his foot after what the wraith had done to it. I asked if I could take a look, explaining that I was a trained healer. Xipil, of course, wanted to study Wolfram’s foot, but as he was rather wary of magic, Wolfram refused to let him touch it. After poking at the invisible injury for a minute, I explained to Wolfram that You had the power to heal him, if he submitted to Your power. He should crawl on the ground like a snake from the sun reached its highest point and until the day died. If he did, You would bestow him with Your blessing and cure his foot. Wolfram thought about this for a moment, seeing as he wouldn’t want to offend Tiri. Then he proclaimed that he was in so good a shape that crawling for a day wouldn’t be a problem. He decided to begin immediately.

We packed up camp and headed out, straight towards Ur. I retrieved Little Brother from my pouch and put him on the ground, then I joined the other snakes and slithered along. Xipil scouted ahead, and Grogg began to sing, an offensive song about squishing snakes.

At lunch, Grogg asked Kraa to keep Wolfram company, but fortunately, the little monster stayed near the troll. Since our group looked rather conspicuous, I suggested we either tried to find a farm near the city where we could spend the night, or circled around to the north side of the city. The city walls weren’t much to brag about, especially near the poor quarter, so we should be able to sneak inside without bothering the guards.

I asked Grogg what his grudge is with You. He claimed he didn’t have anything against You, but didn’t like snakes because they are small dragons. I gave a detailed and thorough explanation of what snakes are and what they are not, but his attention span was too short for me to be able to get the important parts through his thick skull. At one point, he even told me to shut up and looked up at the sky. He said he thought something was on its way here, something to do with dragons.

Xipil wanted to continue to Ur to find Niffi, but I managed to convince him and the others that we should head for the stone circle instead. My hope was running into soldiers there who might point us in the direction of Lord Mir. Grogg suggested sending Kraa with a note to Niffi. We agreed on a cryptic text: “Enemy killed. Contents released.” She should understand the message when it was Kraa that delivered it. Xipil wrote it up and handed the note to Grogg, who passed it to the spirit raven, explaining to the stupid critter what to do with it.

We crawled towards the stone circle and Xipil went ahead to scout, as usual. Niffi had given us a time limit to deal with the wraith, and we believed that to coincide with the storm that Grogg predicted. If we got to a chapel before tomorrow night, we should be safe there. Of course, not everyone would want to go, but that was their problem, not mine.

Someone came riding after us, and I warned Wolfram not to interrupt his devotion. I stood up, and Nujan and I went to meet the riders. Nujan looked nervous, which I didn’t understand, for there were only three riders, and they looked like Aldera troops. They stopped at fifty meters and asked if we were armed. I said yes. Then they asked how many were in our party. I told them we were six. The soldiers asked where we were headed. They practically reeked of stress, so I closed the distance, smiling disarmingly. I pointed towards the stone circle and asked if there was something dangerous in that direction. They just claimed there was fighting up ahead. I asked to speak to their officer, since these three were raw recruits and weren’t likely to know anything about Lord Mir’s location. They explained apologetically that it wasn’t possible for us to meet their officer, and suggested that we head for Ur instead. I agreed, once they revealed enough for me to conclude that it shouldn’t be difficult to get inside the city or to find information there. When they rode off towards the stone circle, I called after them, “By the way! All is well at the Evening Fort!” The soldiers muttered among themselves that they hoped all would be well in Ur, too.

Xipil and Grogg put on disguises, and Yana helped the troll, then we turned back towards Ur. I slithered alongside Wolfram as we made our way slowly towards the city. We soon reached the road, and as we approached the city, farmers passed us. Some looked at us and scratched their heads at our behavior, but most people ignored us.

At sunset, we stopped and took count. Who wanted to enter the city now, and who wanted to remain? Grogg lifted both hands, eager to get to the city. Xipil and Nujan both half-raised a hand. Wolfram ended the argument. He didn’t want to go inside the walls before his foot was well again. We considered splitting up, and leaving Nujan and Wolfram here, but after a lengthy discussion, we decided to stay.

I prayed over Wolfram’s foot, with his permission, and Yana offered to take the first watch. I told her how much I appreciated it, for I was quite tired after last night’s escapade, and I expected I wasn’t the only one.

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.
__________________
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 10-30-2020, 02:34 AM   #107
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 33 (2020-10-24)

21st of Rama, year 412

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

I was very grateful to Yana and Nujan for taking the entire night’s watch, but I also told Yana I wished she wouldn’t exhaust herself. Wolfram related a dream he had, of a snake that came and sucked poison from his foot. He showed us that the foot was healed. “Praise Ashtar!” I exclaimed.

Wolfram said he still didn’t want to go inside Ur. I told him I understood, and said he probably wouldn’t be needed, but Xipil thought we might have to fight, in which case having Wolfram nearby would be a boon. Grogg reached into his pack and pulled out coins, handing them out randomly. He said it would be bad if we didn’t have money in town. I got five gold pieces, but Yana only got one silver piece. Nujan and Wolfram didn’t get anything, for they were going to stay here. Grogg reminded them that the dragon would arrive tomorrow, and that changed their minds.

There were only three guards at the gate, and the crowd we’d seen earlier had already entered, so Wolfram didn’t freak out. The guards mistook us for mercenaries, and allowed us entrance once I “promised” that we would go to the mercenary hall.

Luckily for Wolfram, there weren’t many people in the streets either. I suggested we find a chapel when Xipil asked where we should go. I knew of two here in Ur, and suspected that both might be crowded, so Wolfram would rather find an inn and shut himself off in a private room there. I promised to check out the possibility of him getting a private space in one of the chapels. I knew there were places that would suit him, but I couldn’t think of any that an outsider should visit. There were places not even Xipil should go.

We found an inn and discovered that prices were doubled at the moment. They demanded five silver for each person. Grogg and Wolfram decided to share a room, as did Xipil and Nujan. Yana looked questioningly at me, but I shook my head. I preferred to stay at a chapel whenever I could, not because it was free, but because I felt at home there, and safe.

Nujan and Wolfram remained at the inn, and as soon as Grogg and Xipil had dropped off their luggage, we headed out. Since Grogg didn’t want to visit the chapel, I suggested we split up. I pointed Grogg and Xipil towards the nearest marketplace, since Grogg wanted to do some shopping. I did too, but felt it was more urgent to get to the chapel.

As it was slightly closer, Yana and I went to the chapel in the poor quarter of the city. A street gang controlled the neighborhood around the chapel, but I knew several of the members were Ashtarites, so I didn’t worry about getting accosted.

Inside, we stripped off our clothes so we could wash away the dust and dirt that had accumulated during the journey through the desert. I stared at Yana, and she asked if it was wrong of her to overhear the heated discussion inside. Tearing my eyes off her perfect flesh, I said it was fine. They wouldn’t speak so loudly if they needed their conversation to remain private.

The argument ended, and two obvious gang members exited, passing Yana and me. Yana said they had argued with someone about the possibility of the other chapel being compromised. That was dire news, and I needed to investigate, so I put two fingers to my lips and whistled loudly. The two men turned and walked up to me. I made no effort to cover myself – why should I in Your holy chapel – and one of them misinterpreted my intentions, asking if we minded helping them wash. The other noticed the stern expression on my face and signaled a query of my rank. I gave the sign identifying me as a Slitherer, and the man replied that he was a Toxiner, before whispering something in his friend’s ear. The friend said apologetically that they could manage on their own.

We all finished our washing, and Yana and I put our clothes back on. The gang members put on their shoes, having only washed their feet and hands, as is what You require. They didn’t want to enter the chapel proper, where the people they had argued with remained, so we remained in the hallway. The men explained that someone had arrived from the other chapel, asking for people here to undertake a mission. The source of the mission was gold, not You. By itself, that wasn’t a problem, but this mission seemed very risky, both for the people undertaking it and for the chapel itself. I needed to hear both sides of the story, and asked how I could get in touch with the Toxiner again. He told me his name was Riko, and that he was well known in this neighborhood, so I shouldn’t have any difficulties locating him again.

We said goodbye, and Yana and I entered the chapel room. Two people stood out from the locals, a man and a woman, nobles or wealthy merchants, I thought. The man was agitated, and the woman tried to calm him down. I greeted them, and it turned out the man was a Slitherer, like me. He suggested we go into a side corridor to talk privately when I told them why I wanted to speak with them. I was a little concerned about leaving Yana alone in a room full of snakes, but none were near, and she nodded, so I supposed it was all right.

The man tried to push me to take on the mission. A woman named Nifelliona or something similar had to die, before the sun rose twice. I believed he was talking about Niffi, so I asked where he got the mission. He said it was a source that had provided missions for a long time. I told him I couldn’t accept this mission without conferring with the highest authority. He gave me a pouch full of coins, despite my insistence that I couldn’t take payment before accepting the mission.

He fetched his friend and left. Yana told me the woman had been flustered, and wondered what this was all about. I said it concerned a high-profile assignment, and that I needed to pray for a while. If Yana could go to the marketplace and restock on bandages and other expendables for my medicine kit, I would appreciate it greatly. I gave her a list, and she left.

By the time Yana returned, I still hadn’t received an answer from You, so I told her I had to pray more. Yana suggested waiting outside, as there were some interesting types out there. I told her she was completely safe here, but she should do as she pleased. Yana took a few deep breaths and sat down.

As I didn’t receive any clear responses to my prayer, I assumed killing Niffi was acceptable to You. Therefore, I prayed for guidance regarding how to get my friends to agree to this. You replied by giving me a sense that this was a more important question, but I didn’t get an actual answer to it. It followed logically that I ask someone else, someone I trusted, someone familiar with our group dynamics.

Yana recoiled when I told her I had been tasked with killing Niffi. She didn’t want to be party to this, and wished I had never told her. She hoped there might be an alternative solution to the conundrum. In that case, I said, there were no other choice than discussing it with our friends. Yana was relieved that she wouldn’t be the only one to know about this.

We found Grogg and Xipil nearby. They were struggling to find an herb seller, so Yana and I took them to the Black Cauldron, just around the corner. I looked around inside the store while Grogg and Xipil conducted their business with the proprietress. There was a human fetus soaked in alcohol between the skeleton of a snake and a bowl of feathers. “Where did you get this,” I said sharply, pointing to the snake remains. The woman couldn’t remember; it had been there for at least three years. I closed my eyes and prayed. Grogg purchased crow’s toes while I decided I wasn’t offended; death comes to all things, and You are a goddess of Death, after all.

Returning to the inn, we gathered in Wolfram’s room. The giant human asked if there were many people at the chapel, which I confirmed, adding that I hadn’t been able to ask for a private space for him, as something more urgent came up. Everyone balked at my new mission, and Xipil and Wolfram were the most vocal. Wolfram argued that Niffi had agreed with Your last task for me, killing the wraith, but I explained that even if Your will coincided with that of a mortal in one regard, that didn’t preclude Your desire to have that mortal killed.

Grogg and Xipil revealed that they had met with Niffi earlier today, while I was in the chapel. She wanted the magic mirror from the crypt, and spoke about communing with the demon Darvan. While everyone agreed that this sounded sinister, I promised to track down the source of the mission in order to get an explanation of why Niffi had to die. Yana pointed out, quite needlessly, that trying to assassinate one of the most powerful mages in the realm was dangerous. Wolfram said he needed a good reason to go along on my mission, and I promised to get one. Xipil offered to join me, and I accepted, as I believed I might have need of his skills.
__________________
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 10-30-2020, 02:45 AM   #108
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 33 (2020-10-24)

I asked Wolfram to watch over Yana in my absence, and then Xipil and I left. We headed for the chapel in the merchant district. People in that neighborhood had private guards, and looked at Xipil and me as if we didn’t belong there, even disguised as we were.

The chapel was located beneath an office building, and we entered and found a side door marked with Your sign. Behind that door waited a young man who asked our purpose. I gave Your sign, but he said the chapel was closed. However, if we were after a mission, we had come to the right place. He showed us a list of five names, including Niffi and another Council mage named Garold. The rewards for their demises were far higher than the ten gold that had been in the purse I received, and which I had left at the other chapel, since they probably had more need of the money than me.

I described the man who gave me the mission to the kid, and asked where I might find this gentleman. I probably shouldn’t think of the young man as a kid, since he was probably around my own age, but he held the lowest rank possible in the cult, a Spawn like Xipil, and didn’t really behave like an adult. He refused to talk before I grabbed the front of his shirt, pulled him close and bared my fangs. That made him promise to revere You for the rest of his life, and he gave me directions to a cellar nearby where the man I was after likely had gone to ground. The man’s name was Robal, and the kid was afraid to tell me more about him. He seemed equally terrified of the both of us, but I reminded him that I was here now, unlike Robal, who couldn’t hurt him at the moment. The kid revealed that Robal used to go to the slum to find people who could do missions cheaply, and he believed that Robal put the rest of the money in his own pockets.

The kid wanted to seek refuge in the other chapel, for he believed Robal would come after him for spilling the beans on him. I told him to reach out to a Toxiner named Riko. If he confided in him and said that “the naked woman” had sent him, he would be taken care of. The kid tidied up the office and had Xipil and me escort him out of the neighborhood.

When we had said goodbye to him, I told Xipil I wanted to return to the chapel to pray, but Xipil pointed out that religious leaders in Sulla had been killed during the storm there some weeks ago. Could that have any connections to this? I conceded that it might. Xipil asked if we should fetch Wolfram and Grogg, but I told him we didn’t need them yet.

We returned to the office and located the entrance to the chapel. I did a quick wash before going in, but Xipil needed a full cleansing, so I entered before him. Someone was sleeping when I came in, but woke up. I recognized him from Sam, a bounty hunter named Podo who had reached the rank of Toxiner despite being more devout towards gold than towards You.

Podo was glad to see me, since he’d have someone to share the work with. Killing five people in less than two days was too much, even for him. When he asked, I told him I had been assigned to Nefalonia. Podo had been charged with killing Garold. He asked if I minded taking on an additional target, so I raised my voice and ordered “Fetch the book!” I heard Xipil’s steps moving away.

Podo had learned that the Ashtarites in the slums weren’t to be trusted, and I filled him in on the fact that they hesitated to take on high profile targets. Podo told me, quite casually, that Larma had almost complete control over Ur, and that it was only these five people that stood in their way, now.

I told Podo I had come here to pray, and that we could continue the discussion afterwards. He lay back down to sleep. The snakes here responded very well to Xipil and me praying, and I suspected that it had been quite a while since anyone prayed to You sincerely in their presence. However, I also sensed that no sacrilege had been committed, either.

Xipil studied the order book and pointed out a spike in the activity just around the time when Guling burned. Looking at the entries, I saw that many of the missions had a time limit, a deadline, as it were. That seemed suspicious. I closed my eyes and asked for permission to kill Robal, Podo and others involved in this dirty business. I felt bile rising in my throat at the thought of how these people had subverted Your holy chapel. Killing for money was well and good, and I had done so myself on several occasions, but when the greed of gold replaced devotion to You, things had gone too far. You answered that I could go to the cellar the kid had described. If I did, I had to kill everyone there. Only my close friends were except. In other words, I couldn’t bring soldiers or mercenaries to assist. It would only be me, Xipil, Grogg and Wolfram, and possibly Nujan, if I didn’t need him to guard Yana. I wasn’t about to bring Yana along to a slaughter.

I woke Podo and told him that I had brought a whole team with me, not just this one – I nodded at Xipil – so I could take care of the four others on the list, if he just dealt with the other mage. Podo disliked me taking almost all of the business, but accepted it since I now outranked him, and promised I wouldn’t make a habit of it. I said I had some preparations to take care of, but would love to meet up again to discuss tactics before we started killing. We agreed to meet up again before sunset, at which point he was going out to reconnoiter his target.

Xipil and I returned to the others at the inn. On the way, I compiled a list of ingredients I would need to prepare a draught of anti-toxins. Since I didn’t know which specific poisons we would encounter, I would concoct a brew to strengthen the body’s immune system against poisons in general. I sent Yana and Nujan to the Black Cauldron to get what I needed.

To the others, I told that there were unwanted elements in the cult, and that we were going to clean them out in a cellar in the merchant district. Xipil, Wolfram and Grogg agreed to this immediately. We began planning. We would need a wagon to get away from the cellar quickly, and if we could get someone to act as mercenaries along with Yana, we wouldn’t stand out in that part of town. I said I could get someone to pose as mercenaries from the poor quarter, as I knew trustworthy people there. We decided that we wanted Nujan to come inside with us. He’s a good swordsman, and very nimble.

When Nujan and Yana returned, I began preparing the anti-toxin, while the others filled them in. Nujan thought we should secure a safehouse in the city. I said I could ask for it in the slums, but I was less confident in that regard, than about getting someone to dress up as sell-swords. We also needed to warn Niffi and the others. The list Xipil had brought was hardly damning evidence, so I decided to send Yana with the group taking on that task, thinking that they would need someone who knows her way around words. I had to go to the slums, as I was the one with contacts and authority there, and that left Yana.

Based on what Xipil and Grogg had learned from Niffi, she might be gone already, to take possession of the magic mirror, but they had acquired a pass to enter the Council’s grounds. Xipil and Grogg wanted to go, since they were the ones who had talked to Niffi earlier today, and Wolfram added that Nujan should go, since he might be known to others on the Council, in case Niffi was gone. Nujan groaned, but agreed to go. Wolfram said he would remain here to watch our gear. I tasked the other four with acquiring an anonymous wagon, and to ask for a place to hide out, in case I failed in that regard. If we were chased, having several possible safehouses to go to would be good.

So, I would be on my own again, at least for a short time. I didn’t mind that, but I felt that having friends was nice. I didn’t trust most of them very much, but I knew they’d have my back on the upcoming raid.
__________________
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, 03:44 PM   #109
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 34 (2020-11-01)

21st of Rama, year 412 (continued)

I suggested that Xipil went to the cellar targeted for our raid, to reconnoiter. Nujan proposed to go in his stead, claiming that the magicians at the Council would react favorably towards the lizard man, but I believed his motive was that he didn’t want to be scrutinized by the mages himself. I asked the others if anyone could vouch for Nujan’s scouting skills, and Xipil spoke up on behalf of the cat man, saying he would do a decent job.

I added that the scout needed to check out the sewers nearby, as well as any gardens, to look for hidden entrances. Grogg insisted that the entrance to the cellar would be a trapdoor in the kitchen floor. He was also certain that there would be people down there playing moklatar and other board games. Grogg clearly had no idea what he was talking about, so I ignored his opinions.

By Your decree, I had to enter the cellar before the death of Today, if I were to do this. We had several hours until sunset, but no time to waste. Perhaps it would be better if both Xipil and Nujan went to spy out the target area. Nujan thought this was a brilliant idea.

Someone pointed out that Wolfram, being a member of Tiri’s order, might have some respect due from the Council, so perhaps he should go with Yana and Grogg. That launched a debate of what to do with the star box and our other valuables, since everyone would be leaving the inn. The box was too bulky for Xipil to want to bring along on their scouting mission, and Grogg refused to let me be alone with it. Yana cut through, asking if we really risked anything by leaving stuff at the inn. We could lock the door, preventing random kleptomaniacs, and besides, this was a respectable neighborhood. Also, none of us believed that anyone dangerous knew our whereabouts. We split up, and I headed for the poor quarter, carrying Yana’s and my luggage, with her permission, of course. It should be safe at the inn, but it would be even safer if Ashtarites kept their eyes on it.

I walked up to a group of gang members and asked for Riko. The leader of the pack answered that Riko was busy taking care of some very important business. I gave Your sign, but the fellow didn’t respond, insisting instead to help me with my luggage and trying to convince me to go drinking with them later. I allowed him to help, but showed the way to Your chapel. When he saw where we were going, the street thug handed back the pack he carried, and backed off.

I did a quick wash, and entered the chapel proper. Riko was there, and I waved him over, indicating that I wanted to talk privately. I told Riko that I needed his help. Apostates controlled the other temple, and I planned to kill them. In order to do so, I needed three favors from Riko. First, and easiest, I needed someone to store my packs while I executed Your will. I removed the leather roll of medical equipment from my backpack, since I feared I might need to have it on hand. Second, I needed two trustworthy men to pose as mercenaries. I didn’t intend to put them in danger, I assured Riko. Third, I needed a place to go to ground after the deed was done. I wouldn’t attack the chapel, as I knew the apostates gathered elsewhere, with other conspirators who had nothing to do with You. Riko offered the sanctity of this chapel, but I told him I didn’t want to risk it, in case someone followed me after the deed, someone who had no respect for You. Riko knew someone who knew someone on the Council, and proposed to reach out to them, but I said my companions were already in touch with the Council, and would secure a safehouse there if it was possible. Having another safehouse here would give us options, if trouble followed after the raid.

Riko left to deal with my requests, and I knelt down in the chapel to pray. He returned half an hour later, and described which door I should knock on, with two quick raps as a signal, when I were going into hiding. A woman would lead the way to her cellar. It wouldn’t be very defensible, he warned, but if we got there unseen by enemies, nobody in the neighborhood would tattle.

Riko introduced me to two lower-ranking Ashtarites, a Bearer and a Dagger, who would pose as mercenaries. They didn’t quite look the part, so I gave them a handful of gold and asked them to meet me at my inn when they had bought the required props. Whatever was left over would be their reward for helping me in this matter, and they could keep what they purchased. Clearly gangsters and criminals, they said they would get help with the shopping from someone more respectable. I left them to it, and returned to the inn.

Nobody was at the inn when I got there, but Yana turned up with a wagon containing Grogg and Wolfram before I began to worry. By some peculiar coincidence, it was the same wagon that we had taken from Guling. They informed me that they had failed to gain asylum with the Council, but they had talked to Commander Hydor, one of the people on the kill list, and impressed him with the gravity of the situation.

We discussed whether to wait for Xipil and Nujan, or to move closer to the target and see if we could locate them there. I worried they would return to the inn and find us gone, but Grogg and Wolfram insisted on going, arguing that we would save time by going to meet the scouts. They didn’t listen when I said that Ur was a big city, and it would be easy to miss them.

While we were moving all the gear out into the wagon, my two subordinates arrived, looking like proper mercenaries, with shortswords and crossbows. I gave them their instructions, to stay with the wagon, and to protect “Hala” while the rest of us did our thing. They were impressed that I had acquired an Aldera wagon, so I told them they were moving in important circles now, and had better take their duties seriously. They swore they would.

I directed Yana towards the safehouse, so we could leave the luggage there. On the way, Grogg allowed Wolfram to inherit Lunari’s large crossbow, although the giant human was uncertain whether he would be taking it along on the raid. We stopped a distance from the safehouse, and Yana waited with the wagon and mercenaries while Grogg, Wolfram and I transported the luggage the rest of the way. Having the fancy wagon pull up to the safehouse seemed prone to draw attention.

A young woman opened, two whole minutes after I gave the signal. She asked if the three of us were all, and I explained that we just had come to drop off some bags. The woman put on an act and berated us for coming to the wrong place, but made no effort to stop us when I directed Wolfram and Grogg to drop off the luggage inside the door.

We found a restaurant a few minutes away from our target, and Grogg, Wolfram and I disembarked and found a secluded table. Yana drove off to acquaint herself with the nearby streets, in case we needed to make a fast get-away. Leaving the muscle at the restaurant, I headed out to locate Xipil and Nujan. As predicted, I found them after a prolonged search, at the inn the rest of us had abandoned. I brought them back to the restaurant, filling them in on the way regarding what the rest of us had done.

After meeting up again with Wolfram and Grogg, Xipil and Nujan described the layouts of the target neighborhood. They had found a secret exit from the cellar into the sewers, but suspected there were more. We didn’t have the manpower to guard it, nor the time to locate every other possible exit. Had Your will demanded otherwise, I would have insisted on making sure nobody could leave, but Your decree was for me not to leave until there were no more living in that cellar than me and my friends. It was clear that You would allow innocents to flee, and that those deserving Your wrath would remain and try to resist.

Xipil and Nujan thought there was still things to learn about the location, but Nujan had been made, and it would be suspicious of him to return. Therefore, Xipil and I went for a walk, to check out the scene. We didn’t learn much of use, except that it seemed likely that one particular neighboring building to the one we would raid contained an alternative access point. That building was heavily guarded, so it would be impossible to bring everyone through undetected. I had no instructions to kill the guards at that building, unless of course they made their way to the cellar while I was there.

We did some more planning. Nobody had any better ideas, so I decided we should take the front entrance, and pretend to belong there. Yana rolled up and asked if there was time for more driving around, but I told her we were going now. Her job was to drive to a manhole cover that Xipil had located, and wait for us there. It was a few minutes away from the scene, but that left us two escape routes, either along the streets or through the sewers.

I divided up the anti-venom I had concocted. Grogg glared at his cup suspiciously, but downed the contents, just like Xipil and me. It was strong stuff, and Xipil nearly threw up. Grogg mumbled that he knew I was trying to poison them. Wolfram held his cup for a few minutes, staring at Xipil and waiting for him to expire, but nothing happened, so he drank too. Of all people, I wouldn’t have thought that Nujan would be the last to drink, but there he was.
__________________
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, 03:59 PM   #110
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 34 (2020-11-01)

Xipil retrieved his weapons from the wagon and left behind his disguise, all except his pasted-on beard and his cloak. We said goodbye to Yana, and walked towards the target building, while Yana drove off in another direction. As we approached the house, a cloaked man exited the front door, walking away from us.

I walked up the steps and tried the door. It was open, so we entered into a large room with a staircase leading up and another leading down. I took two steps towards the cellar, but Grogg suggested locking the front door, so I stopped to let Xipil work his lockpicks. Just as he finished, a woman’s voice from upstairs asked if we were familiar here. I said yes, and the woman walked away.

Xipil took off his cloak and held it over his arm, and we descended to the floor below. We arrived in a large, square chamber, its only features were a stone bench and the statue of a winged lion, a Mhalak, with a burning bowl in front. There were no doors, so I asked my friends to look for a hidden entrance. Grogg and Wolfram sat down on the bench so as not to make noise, while Xipil, Nujan and I searched. Grogg even sent out Kraa to search, but the damn bird made a ruckus, and Xipil asked Grogg to silence it.

Suddenly, Xipil pointed up the stairs and hid beneath it. The same woman’s voice as before said, “Excuse me, are you certain you know where you are?” I walked up the stairs to meet her. It was a middle-aged woman, neatly dressed, but not a noble. She eyed me questioningly, so I smiled disarmingly and held out my hand. She took it by instinct, and I pulled her close and put my other hand over her mouth. She froze, but made no attempt to struggle while I dragged her down the stairs. She glanced at the others, but focused on the Mhalak statue.

I caught Xipil’s eyes, and told him to cut up the bottom of her dress to make bonds. Wolfram aided, and we hogtied her. She took it calmly, and indicated that she wanted to speak, so I removed her gag while holding a gleaming knife threateningly close to her eye. The woman said we really didn’t know where we were, that we shouldn’t offend Elik this way. Elik held power here, not whoever we represented. “We are the only people who can clean up what’s going on in Arland, everyone else is corrupt,” the woman finished. She exhaled forcefully, and suspecting trickery, I punched her in the face. She crumpled on the floor, but the flame in front of the Mhalak surged up for a moment. A signal, perhaps?

I put the gag back over her mouth and pulled her under the stairs. I had a sensation that I hadn’t passed the point of no return yet, but this woman had seen our faces, and had demonstrated that she was far from powerless, even bound. I spoke a quick prayer under my breath while Xipil had Wolfram lift the stone bench, which was in fact a giant handle for the hatch leading down. Getting no warning that I should preserve this woman, I slit her throat, using one of Xipil’s knives so I wouldn’t waste the poison I had applied to mine.

Under the hatch was a small room with three iron-bound chests and a winding staircase leading further down. We dragged the corpse down to the chests and closed the hatch above us. The only lights were Xipil’s starlight coin and a faint light shining up from the bottom of the deep shaft. Xipil had foreseen the need, and had energized his coin while I took care of the woman. Xipil picked the lock of one of the chests, but it didn’t look to contain much of value. We guessed the people below used them for storage.

Grogg led the way down the long stairs, followed by Wolfram, me, Xipil and Nujan. Once we had taken a few turns around the winding stairs, we could see that the light below emanated from a room next to the bottom of the stairs. We stopped to listen, and Nujan heard the clinking of glass. Xipil strung his bow.

We moved down as quietly as we could, but when he reached the bottom, Grogg charged into the adjacent room, shield up as he turned right. Something or someone crashed into the ground, and Wolfram followed, hurling a knife to the left. When I entered on his heels, long knife in one hand and throwing knife in the other, I saw that the room resembled a tavern. There were two tables with chairs around them to the right, a man on the floor in Grogg’s wake, and a bar counter on the left. Torches and lamps lit the room. Someone was either hiding behind the counter or dead; I ran as fast as I could to get around it. A bell started ringing under the counter.

Grogg continued his charge and burst open one of two doors on the far side of the room. The man behind him started to rise, but Wolfram drew his sword and ran at him, swinging sword and flail wildly around his target. I rounded the bar and stabbed at a frightened-looking woman shaking the bell I’d just heard. The sharp turn made me miss, both with the knife and with the kick I threw at her. Xipil stood in the opening between the tavern and the stair well, bow at the ready. Nujan hesitated beside him. The man stood up and swiped a knife at Wolfram, but Wolfram interposed his sword. The woman under the counter continued chiming her bell, and readied herself for my next attacks.

Grogg moved to the other door, which was much heavier, and reinforced with metal. Wolfram gave his opponent a deep cut with his sword, and followed up with the flail once the man fell. I pretended to kick the woman, and she fell for the ruse, allowing me to scratch her neck with my poison-tipped blade. She moved her hand towards her throat, but was dead before it arrived. Your holy venom is powerful!

It would take a few seconds to get through the massive door, but Grogg was undeterred by the obstacle and began chopping with his axe. Wolfram kneeled by his fallen opponent, and I ran over to them to confirm the death. With his ribs smashed in, I doubted I could save the man, had I desired to try. Xipil asked Nujan to carry his quarterstaff when we proceeded. Nujan held a sword in one hand and a shield in the other, and only grunted in reply. A wind swept through the room, making the open flames flare for a moment. I plunged my knife into the throat of the fallen man, just to make sure he was dead.

Grogg swept away the remainder of the door, revealing a corridor, with a door on each side, and one at the end. The door on the left was ajar. Wolfram said something about being a chicken, and ran up to Grogg. Xipil and Nujan ran towards the first door Grogg had smashed, and I followed, just as Grogg charged into the corridor and bashed the left door wide open with his shield, Wolfram on his tail.

I asked Xipil if there were anyone in the restroom, for that was what it was. He reported that it was empty. I ran in and lifted the bench with two holes in it, revealing a pit of waste. There was a hatch on the back side of the pit, but nobody hid down there, or if they did, they were completely submerged.

Grogg and Wolfram made crashing noises, and Xipil said we had to move up. When I reached the corridor, Xipil was standing where Grogg and Wolfram had entered, but there was a massive metal portcullis between him and them. Nujan had moved all the way up to the door at the end of the corridor. Xipil fired an arrow through the portcullis, and Nujan came back and tugged at it, but it was far too heavy for him to shift. He turned back towards the door at the end of the corridor, which was just as massive and iron-bound as the door Grogg had chopped up a few seconds ago. I put away my long knife, as the poison on it was expended.

Xipil drew another arrow, but didn’t have to shoot, for Grogg and Wolfram ended the opposition, a light mage wielding just a knife. The mage had blinded them for a second or two, but was no match for them once they got their sight back. Xipil shouted that we had to open the portcullis. Nujan gestured that someone was moving around behind the massive door, perhaps barricading it. He dropped Xipil’s quarterstaff on the ground.

Wolfram said “there might be someone down there”, and I looked inside as he indicated a hatch on the floor. Grogg opened it, while Wolfram battered the mage’s corpse. The troll ripped the hatch off its hinges and tossed it aside. It was a decoy, just a few centimeters deep. Nujan pointed to the ceiling, and I looked up. The ceiling was uneven, and could contain hidden hatches. I heard footsteps. Someone was above us!

Grogg picked up his axe, and Wolfram told him to come help with the portcullis. They moved towards me. I watched the ceiling, but Xipil retreated to the tavern, warning of murder holes. Nujan said “above you!” through the portcullis. The steps moved away from us and stopped above Wolfram, who said “come help me with the portcullis, Grogg,” but aimed his sword at the ceiling.

I ran back to Xipil, who went down on his knees and pointed his bow at the ceiling in the corridor, whispering to Nujan to get him to report what was happening. Nujan opened the door opposite the portcullis, and entered that room. I hurried after him, in case opposition waited. This was a restroom, too, but larger than the first one. “Ladies room,” Nujan jested.

Someone behind and above me shouted “Now!” and three small holes opened over Wolfram and Grogg. Wolfram rammed his sword through one of them, but from another shot a crossbow bolt which struck Grogg’s back, plonking off his heavy armor. Grogg ignored it, dropped his axe, and grabbed the portcullis. Wolfram continued stabbing up the hole above him, and swung his flail at another hole. Someone had just plugged that hole, but the flail struck the plug perfectly and ejected it into the face of whoever was above.
__________________
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
coronatiger is offline   Reply With Quote
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