Steve Jackson Games - Site Navigation
Home General Info Follow Us Search Illuminator Store Forums What's New Other Games Ogre GURPS Munchkin Our Games: Home

Go Back   Steve Jackson Games Forums > Roleplaying > GURPS

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 03-12-2022, 07:59 AM   #231
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 78 (2022-03-09)

26th of Ratanu, year 412 (continued)

I had Yana wait outside the kitchen while I searched it. Ælios wouldn’t want anyone but me in there until we had finished with Nillet, who still lay on the kitchen table. I suspected Ælios of having brought a familiar, so I went for his chest. It wasn’t locked, but the opening mechanism was quite complex. I saw immediately how to work it, though, and had the chest open in no time. The contents of the chest reflected an extremely organized mind. I didn’t bother opening all the small containers within, I just moved them slightly aside so I could look around them for any living – or undead – creature. Nothing leapt out at me as suspicious, so I closed the chest and proceeded to go through the kitchen cupboards. There weren’t any wraiths there either.

Nynos wasn’t too pleased that Yana and I decided to search his room next, but he made no move to stop us from entering. We weren’t looking for his dirty spy secrets and we left the door open so he could watch while we searched for the intruder that had set off Wolfram’s alarm. Satisfied that Nynos wasn’t harboring a stowaway wraith, we moved on to our own room.

Korro suddenly started screaming, so we interrupted our search and dashed off to see what was happening. Xipil was standing outside Korro’s door and he tried to open it when I came running, but it was barred from the inside. Ælios opened the door and gave us a glance that asked what was wrong, as if the screaming behind him was of no concern. Ælios was blocking the view into the room, at least for someone of my diminutive stature, and I jumped impatiently to see if I could look over his shoulder. (Actually, I’m not that short for a human woman, I’m just used to comparing myself to Grogg, Wolfram and Hylda, who are all so big.) Ælios understood and stepped aside. Peering into the room, I saw no intruders, and considering Ælios’s calm, I didn’t think we were under attack. Korro was just imagining things.

Ælios asked me inside “to learn” and Wolfram tried to argue that he should be invited too, since he wanted to know about anything that had to do with spirits. Ælios reassured him that this wasn’t related to spirits at all, and I detected that he fooled even Nynos, whom I thought was quite observant when it came to deception.

I didn’t want Yana to go off on her own when there might be a wraith on board, so I signaled to her that she should remain in the hallway with the others. Ælios closed the door and barred it. I glanced at the physician, wondering why he found it necessary to bar the door. I suppose he didn’t want Nynos to waltz in and see him doing anything he shouldn’t. Nynos had instructed him to stay away from the supernatural, and although he had to suspect that Ælios wasn’t following orders in that regard, he could claim ignorance as long as he didn’t witness anything personally.

Korro was tossing and turning on the bed, so the blanket that partially covered him didn’t hide the new bandage on his left arm. Before I could ask about it, Ælios had me tell what I knew about the patient. I said his soul had been tortured and relayed that Korro had told me I could kill him once we were away from Byblos. This prompted the question of whether Korro was a mage, which I said he wasn’t. Ælios thought it was strange that a non-mage would have a tortured soul.

Korro calmed down while Ælios and I talked, and when I asked about the bandage, Ælios said he could remove it now. I noticed a small bloodstain on the bandage, but no marks on Korro’s arm, at least not from where I stood. I assumed Ælios had punctured Korro’s skin either to inject some medicine or to draw blood. I thought Xipil might want to taste the blood, so I offered to dispose of the bandage, but Ælios said the blood was dangerous. I handed it back, saying in that case it might be best if he took care of it.

Ælios was up to something. I understood it was related to spirits when he said he wanted to get rid of Nynos for a while. Ælios had just managed to pull one over on Nynos, but that could be because Nynos didn’t want to suspect the truth. Cleverly, Ælios now presented a scheme wherein it was up to me to convince Nynos to leave. From Nynos’s behavior, I didn’t think he was allowed to relinquish control over Ælios. Letting us be alone in a locked room seemed to be at the limit of the leash Nynos gave his countryman.

On Ælios’s instructions, I went to fetch a folder from his chest. Xipil and Nynos stood outside the room, but I ignored them. Someone else might be tempted to scrutinize Nynos’s expression in an attempt to gauge his state of mind, so they could better tailor the deception to the target, but I knew that could give it away to someone as skilled as Nynos. I had a plan already, and I was confident I could adapt it on the fly, should Nynos react unfavorably. Yana, standing a little further away, got a smile though.

When I handed the folder to Ælios, he complimented that I managed to open the chest so quickly, and on my first attempt even. “Was it supposed to be difficult?” I asked coyly. Ælios considered me for a moment before opening the folder. He took out writing utensils and began to write instructions for retrieving certain objects from his office. I left the room to convince Nynos to go.

Admittance to Ælios’s office wasn’t granted lightly, and Nynos leaped at the opportunity. Ælios had warned me that Nynos wouldn’t allow anyone else to go there, so I had planned to ask Nynos to recommend “someone trustworthy”, since none of my party should leave the ship after what happened this morning, but I didn’t even get the chance before Nynos assumed the task. Nynos was surprised that Ælios would allow even him to enter his office, and asked me to have it confirmed. I turned to Ælios through the open door. “Can Nynos go to your office?” I asked. “What?! Come here!” he commanded.

I went inside and closed the door behind me, for Ælios’s body language said he wanted us to be private. I approached the physician and we conferred rapidly, keeping our voices low. Xipil might overhear if he had his ear to the door, but Nynos shouldn’t. Ælios practically confirmed his unwillingness to try to deceive Nynos personally.

I returned to my target, now armed with a dense page of instructions. The quick glance I got of the text before Ælios folded the sheet in half revealed it to be in some foreign language, but I don’t think I would have looked even if I thought I could read it. I’m not Xipil. “Ælios says you are allowed to go inside his office, but only you, and you have to follow these instructions to the letter. And I don’t think he’d appreciate it if you took advantage of a loophole in the instructions to snoop around.”

Nynos raised his voice so Grogg, Hylda and Wolfram could hear as well, and asked if anyone needed anything, now that he was going into the city. Wolfram mentioned that we still hadn’t been put in touch with the promised tailor, the one who should make winter clothes for Xipil and possibly the rest of us as well. Wolfram asked Yana if she could do the sewing if Nynos provided the fabrics and furs, but she hesitatingly informed him that she had another project in the works and wouldn’t be able to take on this task at the moment. I looked at her, but she avoided my gaze. She had promised to make me a dress, and while I was eager to see the result, it wasn’t really urgent. There was no gala or ball to give Yana a deadline, so I didn’t mind her doing that flower project of hers first. Winter was on the doorstep, though, so I would think Yana would prioritize having warm clothes ready for the cold winds to blow down from the mountains. She has been reluctant to talk about the flower project, and I’ve respected that, but now I decided we would have a discussion about it. If it was so important, I thought I should know why. Maybe it was related to her broken heirloom, which she also wouldn’t talk about. Grogg offered to sew the winter clothes, letting Yana off the hook for that task, if not for the talk I meant to have with her.
__________________
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
Old 03-12-2022, 08:11 AM   #232
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 78 (2022-03-09)

I reported to Ælios that Nynos had left, and Xipil joined us, asking if Ælios could help Korro. Ælios said he wanted to save Nillet’s lungs first. He opened a hatch on the wall “to get some air”, but I noticed he took a quick peek outside, presumably to confirm Nynos’s departure.

Everyone gathered in the hall and Ælios asked how we diagnosed Korro so quickly, but he suddenly realized we could be overheard through the hatch by those on deck and requested that we went somewhere else. The soldiers above were said not to speak our language, but he didn’t want to take chances. I offered our room, since that was nearby, and we all stuffed ourselves in there. I had already messed up the second bed so it would look used, thus nobody commented on Yana’s and my living arrangement.

Xipil and Wolfram explained about Tivito’s practice of weaponizing spirits, carefully avoiding the name of that organization as if that mattered now that Nynos was away. Ælios had many questions about Korro and Nillet, including if we knew of any bonds they shared. I passed on that Korro had been very protective towards Nillet while we transported her body to the ship, which seemed to indicate a romantic connection, but my friends claimed that Korro had a wife and children elsewhere. That Nillet apparently came from the Prince’s Cities only a few months ago while Korro was a local spoke against them having known each other very long.

Ælios offered to take Korro and Nillet and their spirits away when he left and take the responsibility for them off our hands. He seemed trustworthy and capable, so I didn’t mind that, but I made sure Grogg knew that this might include his needle and watched amusedly as the troll protested angrily before I interjected that separating Nillet’s spirit from the needle was a prerequisite for Ælios to take away the spirit bound to it. The needle was quite handy when treating injuries, but I felt my medical skills were good enough that we didn’t actually need it. Not to save lives anyway, but it did accelerate the healing, and if I fell, I might regret giving it away when I stood before You. I don’t long for much other than basking in Your holy presence, but I wouldn’t want to leave Yana behind.

Yana shot me a disapproving frown. Getting cheap amusement from stoking Grogg’s anger wasn’t respectful towards our big friend. There was a glimmer of light in here eyes, though, for she couldn’t hide entirely that she had found it funny too. Disapproval and amusement both faded from Yana’s eyes as we stared at each other, and were replaced by intense love.

“Nuur-Karif!” Ælios’s use of my name pulled me back from the brink of drowning in Yana’s eyes. I realized I had missed what had been said while I was soulgazing. Ælios had some instructions for me, and while I went to fetch this particular cloth bag from his chest, I wondered how long those green-gold jewels had captivated my attention. Had I made a complete fool of myself?

Nobody was laughing when I got back, and Yana wasn’t squirming with discomfort, so I supposed we were all right. I gave the bag to Ælios, and he pulled out handkerchief after handkerchief and arranged them neatly on one bed while the rest of us tried to find room on the other. Ælios also pulled fine gloves from the bag and put them on. Xipil handed over two jars, the ones containing the magical clay tokens, and Ælios warned everyone not to make any sudden moves. In fact, those who wanted to could leave the room. Fearing Ælios might put Yana in danger by whatever experiment he was about to perform, I caught Yana’s eyes again and nodded towards the door. “We’re going to search the rest of the ship,” I announced, but I wasn’t sure anyone heard; they were intent on the jars that Ælios handled so gingerly.

When we were – possibly – at a safe distance from our room, I asked Yana why she wouldn’t put her flower project on hold so she could make some winter clothes. Yana’s eyes dropped to the floor, and her response was so faint, I barely discerned her words. “Can we not talk about that?” she asked. I enveloped Yana in a hug. “I see how important it is to you to finish that project,” I whispered, all thoughts of confrontation swept away by the desire to be supportive and compassionate. “I don’t understand why it is so important, nor even what all those flowers are for, but I can live with that. Is there anything I can do to help? I have to warn you that I’m no good with a needle, except to stitch up wounds.” Yana gave me a good squeeze, then let go and skipped happily away from me. “I’m good. Shall we find that wraith?” she sang, but I detected a slight tremor in her voice. She hoped there would be no wraith, I reckoned. I ran to catch up. If there really was a wraith on board, I had to protect Yana from it, for she had no way to protect herself.

Our search eventually brought us back to the cargo hold. “I don’t think there are any wraiths on the ship,” Yana concluded, “unless it’s hiding behind those crates.” The glimmer in her eyes made it clear Yana was intending to make good on her promise. Her hands seized my head and pulled me towards her lips. I closed my eyes in anticipation of the fireworks that would erupt from our touch, but we were interrupted. Xipil called us to return, for Ælios had a question for us all. I smothered my raging disappointment and schooled my voice. “We’re coming!”

Ælios informed us all that it was all right if we didn’t want to answer his question, but we mustn’t lie. He looked meaningfully at me while giving this warning. I took that as a compliment and supposed he felt confident enough about catching anyone else if they lied. I smiled inwardly. If I needed to deceive him and have him be sure he knew the truth, I’d ask Yana to perform the lie.

I explained to everyone that Ælios was clever enough to realize that I was the best liar on the ship, and that he had used me to trick Nynos to leave so we could have this conversation. The errand we had sent him on was real enough, but if Nynos had smelled that we wanted him out of the way, he would have contrived some other means of fetching Ælios’s things, despite his eagerness to rummage through the physician’s office. Perhaps he would have sent for someone he trusted with the errand.

What Ælios wanted to know seemed innocent enough, though, so I felt no temptation to lie. None of the others spoke up when Ælios queried whether we’d had prophecy read over us. I revealed what the Azura priestess had said after speaking her prophecy, that we were the only ones with the ability to change a future that for others would be carved in stone.

Wolfram asked Ælios why he wanted to know about prophecies. Ælios said some nonsense about the star sky and padded it with flattery, that we seemed like special people. Grogg asked how special it was to have a raven friend, and as Ælios gave his reply, he demonstrated that he had somehow detected the spirit raven. I was quite certain that after the scare a few hours earlier, Kraa hadn’t peeked out from its hiding place inside Grogg.
__________________
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
Old 03-12-2022, 08:22 AM   #233
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 78 (2022-03-09)

I said I didn’t consider myself very special; I only did what my goddess told me to do. Ælios was of the opposite opinion. He thought it was quite rare for someone to be able to ask their goddess about anything, and to receive a clear reply. He said it was unlike what Wolfram did with his spell prayers; those followed formulas developed and perfected over the centuries, and any particular spell asked the gods for one specific thing, the same thing each time. I said anyone could achieve the same connection as me, if they were only devoted enough, sincere enough, but Ælios disagreed. He obviously didn’t know many religious people.

I didn’t speak Your name during the exchange. I am not ashamed of being Your follower, but many people react with fear or hostility when they learn that I’m Yours. My caution was unwarranted, I soon learned, for Wolfram blabbered Your name, oblivious of the significance of me avoiding putting it on my tongue, and Ælios gave no reaction, perhaps because he knows You under another name. This is the disadvantage of Your blessing: My friends don’t catch on when I’m being deceptive, and then they put their feet in their mouths like they are wont to do.

Ælios also thought it was strange that we behaved so normally about Xipil. Lizard men aren’t at all common, but we were used to him by now, having known him for a few months. Discussing Xipil reminded me to ask what pronoun he preferred. He said he didn’t care, so I saw no reason to stop referring to him as a “he” despite him not in fact being male.

Returning to the topic of the clay tokens, Ælios offered us heaps of gold for them, if we met him in his homeland. I care little for worldly wealth, but considering that one of these tokens blew a man’s head clean off, I’d rather sell them to Ælios than have Xipil and Wolfram experiment on them. I reminded everyone that part of the payment had to be that Ælios successfully separated Nillet’s soul from Grogg’s needle.

Talk of souls soon turned to talk of demons. I was content to leave that to Xipil and Wolfram. Ælios had no new information on that subject, anyway. After a while, Ælios warned us that Nynos would be returning soon, but Xipil and Wolfram had the bits in their mouths and kept on talking. I listened for approaching footsteps, hoping my friends would wind themselves down, but ultimately, I had to kick everyone out, using Yana’s need for sleep as the excuse.

Yana brushed her teeth, which prompted me to do the same. It is important to take care of one’s teeth, especially when they are divine gifts. Also, good oral hygiene makes for much better kisses. Yana and I investigated that fact for a couple of minutes. Ælios wanted my help draining the fluid from Nillet’s lungs, and Yana really needed to sleep, so we didn’t prolong the kiss, at least not much. I killed the light while Yana settled in under the blanket and then I gave her a last kiss on the forehead, but she was already asleep.

Xipil and Ælios were discussing stars at the kitchen entrance when I arrived. Xipil was still not allowed in the kitchen, so he stayed in the hall to watch the procedure. I washed my hands, and then we began.

Ælios explained that lungs are very fragile. He put pieces of string through some long, narrow tubes which we then pushed down Nillet’s throat. Ælios used a pump to draw out a thick, lumpy liquid. It was mostly blood, but there was slime, too. I couldn’t tell if the lumps were clotted blood or something else. The liquid filled up a container that Ælios sealed up and put away for later study. He then asked if I minded if he pricked Nillet’s arm. I said I trusted him to know what he was doing, which turned out to be to extract a sample of blood from her arm. We put a bandage on the arm and that was that. Ælios thanked me for my assistance, and I thanked him for the learning opportunity.

Ælios declared he was going to set up a laboratory in Korro’s room. Xipil and I joined Grogg, Wolfram and Hylda and discussed what could have set off Wolfram’s alarm. There was a suggestion that Wolfram should set up another alarm zone and that we should trick Ælios to enter it, but I said I could just go and ask him. He wouldn’t attempt to lie to me. Xipil came with me to listen at the door.

I explained to Ælios about the alarm and said we suspected him of setting it off somehow. Ælios conceded that he had brought something which he thought must have triggered the alarm, but he didn’t want to say what. In a lower voice, so Xipil wouldn’t overhear, he added that he “might have” brought it from his homeland. I understood that he might not have been allowed to do that.

Xipil and I went back to the others and I said that Ælios admitted that something in his possession likely set off the alarm, but that he didn’t want to reveal what it was. I was satisfied with that, but Wolfram became suspicious that Ælios might be dealing with loose spirits, which is a big no-no in his book. Wolfram said he was reluctant to let Ælios take the clay tokens. I said I didn’t mind, but I would confer with You about it.

I heard Nynos approach the others as I returned to our room. The darkness suited me fine, and I closed my eyes and knelt, touching the floor as I prayed. The connection aboard the ship wasn’t as good as I might have wanted, but at least I got the sensation that You required no action on my part when it came to Ælios.

While I considered Your message, Xipil came and knocked softly on the door. Ælios wanted someone to carry Nillet to Korro’s room. The physician guided Wolfram and me in that task. I wondered why I was needed. If Wolfram was clean enough to help carry Nillet, then Xipil and Nynos shouldn’t be barred. Maybe Ælios wanted female presence during the handling of a naked woman.

Grogg was puffing on a pipe of crow’s toes, so it was out of the question to have him carry a patient, even if it was somehow possible to get him to a satisfactory level of cleanliness. Once we had put Nillet to bed, Wolfram went over to Grogg to discuss the qualities of that drug. Certain they wouldn’t reveal any new knowledge, I declared I would take Xipil’s earlier advice and try to get some sleep. Who knew how long we would have to stay awake if something happened tonight?

In the bedroom, I removed my knives and undressed before joining Yana in bed. I wrapped my arms around her and whispered our evening prayer.

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

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

Campaign logs: Chaotic Pioneering / Confessions of a Forked Tongue
coronatiger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-21-2022, 12:31 PM   #234
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 79 (2022-03-18)

26th of Ratanu, year 412 (continued)

So much happened today, and yet it was only afternoon. Not able to find sleep, I lay in bed. My eyes were shut, but my ears were open. Close, but barely audible, was Yana’s slow breath, taunting from the land of dreams. Gently creaking timbers, water lapping against wood and the occasional footsteps and muted conversations sifted into our room from elsewhere on the ship. In the background, the din of the city was softened by distance and the intervening hull.

Just as I was slipping into a dream, a loud crash in the hallway outside our room had me wide awake again. Were we under attack? If someone disturbed Yana’s sleep, I’d repay them with Your eternal rest! Yana stirred a little in my embrace, but she did not wake. I wondered why it was suddenly so quiet again and visualized how I would extract myself from bed – without waking Yana – and grab my knives to defend us.

I realized there was no danger when Xipil’s voice told Grogg to leave Ælios alone and not disturb his concentration. Wolfram asked Grogg if it was the crow’s toes that had caused this, and Grogg replied that something in Ælios’s room smelled like him and Xipil. It was an unusual smell, but not a foul one. Wolfram asked Grogg to try to identify the source of the odor, but Xipil reiterated that they shouldn’t disturb Ælios. Wolfram believed the smell could be coming from Ælios’s hypothesized familiar, a spirit friend similar to Kraa, he explained to the drug-hazed troll.

Xipil knocked on our door asking for the spirit-seeing ring. Yana had used it last. I pulled my arm gently out from under Yana’s neck and climbed out of bed to retrieve the ring. I expected it to be in Yana’s pouch, and I was right. Opening the door slightly, I passed the ring to Xipil. He looked at my face as if trying to read my emotions, but he isn’t very good at it, so I don’t believe he noticed my annoyance at having been dragged from Yana’s warm presence.

I went back to bed as carefully as I had left it. Yana still didn’t wake, but she shifted a little, pressing herself against me subconsciously and settling into my embrace. Footsteps receded from the hallway, and then it was quiet for a while, before Grogg and Hylda raised their voices in the cargo hold. Their laughs and shouts resounded through the ship, and it was clear Grogg had shared his pipe with Hylda. Apparently, they hallucinated that they were scaring away horses. They calmed down eventually, and I could once again listen to the soothing background noises as the gentle motion of the ship rocked me to sleep.

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


27th of Ratanu, year 412

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

It was early morning when I woke up. Pacing footsteps in the hallway told me I wasn’t the first to wake, but I had nothing to do, so I didn’t even open my eyes. Yana was still asleep in my arms, and I soon drifted off again.

A twinge alerted me it was that time of the month again. Opening my eyes to find my dark vision gone did nothing to improve my mood. Feeling repulsive and decidedly unromantic, I got out of bed when Yana began to wake. She quickly picked up what was going on and informed me she was in the same condition. She hadn’t expected it for a week or so, yet, and accused me of influencing her cycle. Anger flared up inside me, but I quelled it, only to find myself overwhelmed with sadness. Dripping wet with tears, I apologized, for inflicting my period on her, for forcing her to listen to my violence yesterday, and for dragging her away from her safe haven at the Evening Fort. “No!” Yana said sharply with a stern finger in my face. “I won’t have you apologize for that! Meeting you was the best thing that ever happened to me, and I have no regrets about leaving with you. Sure, it’s scary and uncomfortable at times, but we’re in this together, and that makes all the difference.” Yana held me until my sobbing subsided, whispering soothingly all the while.

My composure was already restored when Wolfram knocked on our door. I still felt fragile, but with Yana’s love and support, I felt I could take on the world. Wolfram had stayed up all night, guarding Ælios, and the others hadn’t gone to sleep until recently. Since Wolfram didn’t trust that Ælios wouldn’t abscond with our clay tokens, he wanted me to take over the guard. I promised to wake him if Ælios seemed about to leave. Yana informed me that she wanted to get some sewing done today and appreciated that I’d have something to occupy my time so I wouldn’t distract her. She would have loved to talk with me, but she feared that talk might lead to other things, which would be pleasant but time-consuming. The way my emotions were bouncing all over the place, I needed to seek solace in prayer.

First, I wanted to check on Ælios. I knocked on his door, but Nynos poked his head out from the kitchen and warned me that Ælios wasn’t an early bird. I realized that being hungry wasn’t helping my mood, so I joined Nynos in the kitchen while I prepared breakfast for Yana and me. He made it clear he knew our party had been up to something during the night, but he wasn’t aware that Yana and I had slept through the whole thing. I wasn’t ready to discuss my friends’ antics, but Nynos soon picked up that I wasn’t my usual cheery self and quit prodding, thankfully without commenting. I was so volatile at the moment, I might have snapped his head off at any perceived slight.

I took the food to our room and joined Yana for a mostly silent breakfast. It was uncharacteristic for us not to chatter away, but I didn’t sense anything wrong with it. We just enjoyed each other’s presence. As the meal neared its close, I formed the sign for “love” with my hand. Yana returned the gesture so fast; I couldn’t be sure who was first. She got a hug before I left.

I returned to the hallway and knelt outside Ælios’s door. I might not be at my most perceptive when I am deep in prayer, but I thought I should notice if Ælios tried to step over me. The connection to You wasn’t strong, but I hadn’t expected it to be, not in the morning of a full moon and aboard a ship. I opened my pouch and let Hope out. She sensed the connection, weak as it was, and I felt her reverence.

I opened my heart and soul to You as I’ve done so many times. As I confessed my hopes and worries, I could feel the cold and comforting calmness of death settle over me. I felt safe in Your embrace, but You seemed distant because of the weak connection. I exerted my will to retain the connection, to strengthen it, but it did not change.

Hours had passed when Nynos approached. I stood up. While I prayed, I had been struggling to keep Your calmness wrapped around me. I thought I would feel exhausted, but I realized I had found respite, albeit only when the smells, sounds and sights of the world of the living took it away.

Nynos warned me that he was going into the city again. In my weakened state, I couldn’t tell if he was joking when he said he could die there. He assured me that while Ælios was with us, there was no risk of us being left behind. Nynos went to his room to get changed, and I went to the kitchen to get lunch.

I was much more talkative during this meal. Yana was too. We talked about clothes and hair, and we discussed our emotions and feelings. We can usually read each other’s emotions, but it felt good to speak openly and get verbal confirmation, too. When it was time to feed Hope, we talked about that as well. I explained what, how much and how often a blue-bellied river striker eats.

We could have kept talking all day, but I had to excuse myself, finally, so I could return to my post outside Ælios’s room. I had just knelt down when he opened the door. He was going to get breakfast and said he wanted to speak to us when it was convenient. When I informed him that Nynos was away, Ælios decided he wanted to talk immediately.

Sitting down together in the kitchen, Ælios informed me he was concerned about the clay tokens. He didn’t think that they had what was required to attract Korro’s or Nillet’s soul. More worryingly, neither did their bodies. It seemed like the clay tokens were made to hold souls. That fit with my experience from the Evening Fort. Since it didn’t seem that we could contain the “colored” souls, I asked if Ælios could force Nillet’s soul to leave Grogg’s needle. “Wolfram and I can help the soul pass on,” I told Ælios, thinking to myself that I was confident in our ability to destroy the abomination. Ælios said he would think on it some more, and he returned to his room.

I followed Ælios and knelt outside his door once more. I prayed and prayed, seeking the comfort of Your touch again. If I could, I would have stayed like that until the full moon waned and my strength returned. That was not to be, for I was interrupted again and again. First was Nynos, returning from his trip into the city. My eyes followed him to his door. Just when I found calm again, Xipil went to the kitchen to get his first meal of the day. Hylda followed soon after, to prepare food for herself and Grogg. I gave up and stood, waiting for Wolfram to appear so I could go and hide in my room. With everything that had happened after yesterday’s battle, I had forgotten to restore my venom. I wasn’t comfortable doing that in the hallway.
__________________
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
Old 03-28-2022, 08:27 AM   #235
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 80 (2022-03-25)

27th of Ratanu, year 412 (continued)

I was pacing impatiently in the hallway, waiting for Wolfram to take over guarding Ælios, when Xipil approached me. He explained about a vision he had received, concerning Pak and Groman. Xipil believed our acquaintances from the Evening Fort had gone near the Realm of Death and then returned, but I didn’t think that could be the case. I warned Xipil that his vision shouldn’t necessarily be taken literally. If it was true, however, that Pak and Groman had visited You and returned, that would be a momentous event, and Xipil asked me to pray on it. Wolfram emerged from the room he shared with Grogg and Hylda, and I told him to take over the guard, for I needed to withdraw. Xipil added that he had seen the sun rise for Pak and Groman, and that this was the same sun that rose for us this morning. I informed them that if they needed me, they should knock on my door, then I let the two of them discuss the meaning of the sun in Xipil’s vision.

I knocked and entered our room, startling Yana, who scrambled to gather up her flowers and make room for me beside her on the bed. She chided me for not waiting for a reply after I knocked. “I’m sorry,” I said. “I didn’t want to disturb your work. I just felt I needed privacy for restoring my venom. Is it all right if I kneel in the corner?” Yana nodded magnanimously and I positioned myself with my back to her. I didn’t think she’d enjoy the sight of me licking my knives. Yana tossed a cloak over me, claiming I was too beautiful and that she wouldn’t be able to concentrate on her work, even with my back turned. I welcomed the shade and shoved aside the feeling that Yana was being deceptive.

After I had cleaned my knives and sheathed them, I tightened the muscles around my venom glands and felt the holy liquid seep into my mouth. I retrieved the correct vial from my pouch, opened it, and spat carefully so not a single drop would miss the small glass container. Then I began to meditate, shutting out the voices in the hallway.

I woke from the trance an hour later, when my venom glands were replenished. I asked Yana if she needed anything before I went under again, but she said she was fine. I drained my glands and spat into the vial again. I closed my eyes. “Actually, there was one thing,” Yana interrupted. “Did you hear what Nynos just said?” I told Yana I had discerned his voice outside a while ago, but I hadn’t listened to what he actually said. Yana informed me that the city guards were looking for me, and that they apparently had stepped up their efforts significantly since yesterday. I heard how worried she was and promised to talk to Nynos to find out what we needed to do. I asked if Yana wanted a hug, but she told me to go back to my meditation.

A knock on the door shattered my brittle tranquility, and I got up and answered. It was Xipil. Ælios was asking for me; he had another lesson. I threw the cloak on the unused bed and left. “Who is it?” Ælios asked grumpily when I rapped on his door, but he turned sunny when I identified myself. Entering, I opened my mouth to ask if Ælios needed me to get rid of Nynos for a while, but Ælios spoke first. He asked if I had certain items for cleaning Nillet’s wounds. I said I didn’t have those things, and proposed sending Nynos to Ælios’s office. Ælios didn’t want Nynos to go there, but what he needed should be easily obtained elsewhere if I made a formal requisition.

I went to see Nynos and informed him that I needed some medical supplies. While we were talking, Yana poked her head out into the hallway and asked Nynos to get a bathtub, too. Nynos glanced at me, and I confirmed that this was also part of my requisition. Nynos nodded and closed his door. Since Xipil was loitering in the hall, I told him I was going back to my meditation. He asked if I had found out anything concerning his vision, but I jabbed, “Not yet. Someone knocked on my door and interrupted me.”

I had barely closed my eyes again when another interruption came at the door. This time it was Ælios himself, wanting to speak to all of us, now that Nynos was away. Xipil brought the others while Yana and I made room for everyone to sit on our beds. Ælios had examined Grogg’s arm. The lightning had severed the connection between the injured arm and Grogg’s mind and soul, he explained, and there was no way for Grogg to regain control of his arm. However, Ælios could mend the bones and muscles in the arm and if Grogg could teach Kraa to control his arm for him, he might regain its use. Kraa was already helping Grogg with his sewing, which made Ælios optimistic that Kraa could learn what was needed here. The spirit raven emerged from Grogg’s body and flapped around for a few seconds before perching on the troll’s shoulder. With my current weakness, I couldn’t see the familiar, but I could hear it, and I could read Grogg’s body language and watch Xipil study Grogg’s shoulder through the spirit-seeing ring. I needed that ring if we were to try anything with the colored souls of Nillet and Korro.

When Ælios left, Yana asked if anyone understood him. I let the rest of our guests file out before answering. I said that Ælios wanted to fix Grogg’s arm by using Kraa. “I heard what he said,” Yana exclaimed annoyedly. “I just don’t see how it’s at all possible!” “I don’t either,” I confessed and asked permission for a hug. Yana wrapped her arms around me. “I love you,” she whispered. I assured her I felt the same way. “Good! Now go back to your meditation and stop distracting me!” I wasn’t the only one whose emotions were on a seesaw.

My vial was as full as it would ever be and I was ready to bite too, when Nynos returned to the ship. I heard him give something to Wolfram and make some jokes with him before he knocked on our door. The spy handed me a heavy bag. “Where’s the bathtub?” I asked. “Did you think I would be carrying it myself?” he countered. I put my hand on his arm and assessed the muscles there. Nynos was certainly stronger than me, but he wasn’t abnormally strong. “I think it’s the pride that’s the problem,” I concluded. Nynos lowered his voice. “I assumed you wanted to bathe together,” he said. I told him that was none of his business. Nynos asked where I wanted the tub, and I glanced at Yana, who pointed to the floor between the beds. Nynos considered the door with a face that said it might be difficult to get the bathtub through. He grabbed some food in the kitchen and ate while directing the soldiers to maneuver the bathtub into place. It took up most of the floorspace in our room. “If you want help filling it, you have to tell me now,” Nynos said. Yana and I definitely wanted help, and Nynos instructed the soldiers to start warming water in the kitchen; we had to carry it from there ourselves. Nynos tossed a white bundle to me and left us to it. The bundle contained towels, soaps and sponges. “This was more than I asked for,” Yana told me with a grin, looking at the giant bathtub.

I delivered the bag of medical supplies to Ælios, and then Yana and I spent the next hour filling our tub, going back and forth between our room and the kitchen. All the walking and carrying made me sigh with relief and delight when I finally lowered myself into the water. Yana made one more lap to the kitchen to gesture to the soldiers that we had enough. When she came back, she paused at the sight of me slipping Hope into the water. “I’m not sure how comfortable I am with a snake in the water. Can you ask her to stay at the other end of the tub?” Yana asked. I thought she had come a long way in conquering her fear of snakes, so this question came as a surprise. However, when I considered how fragile, how volatile I felt myself for the time being, I decided not to make a fuss. “Of course, Sweetie,” I replied, then hissed the instruction to Hope. I sensed confusion from our little sister, but she obliged.

Yana and I spent some time just soaking and watching Hope’s swimming technique. It seemed so effortless compared to how we humans flailed about when we were swimming. Yana broke the silence. “How far along is she? Can you tell at all?” “Most snake species have gestation periods between four and six weeks,” I explained. “Hope will lay her eggs in about two weeks, as far as I can tell. It should go well, with little or no moon to hinder her.”

“I want to wash out the dye from your hair, Nuur-Karif,” Yana said after a few more minutes of silence. “The quick job is already beginning to fade, as I warned you it would. Tomorrow, when we know what the guards are looking for, we can dye your hair again.” I moved to the middle of the tub and leaned back towards Yana, letting her magic fingers massage my hair and scalp.

When Yana was satisfied, she asked me for a favor. “Do you remember last month in Sam, when I tried teaching you a trick to relieve the cramps?” “Yes, I totally freaked out and spilled water all over the floor! I wasn’t expecting the process to be so intimate.” Yana giggled at the memory, and I joined her mirth. “The point is,” Yana explained when the laughter had died down, “to stimulate that sensitive spot until it explodes. Then the ripples that spread out through the body will ease the cramps, at least for a while. I can achieve the effect on my own, but I would rather have you do it to me. It feels so much better when I’m in your hands, and you’ve proven your skill at making me explode already.” “I’d love to do this for you, Yana,” I said. “Will you return the favor?”
__________________
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
Old 03-28-2022, 08:39 AM   #236
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 80 (2022-03-25)

The towels Nynos had acquired were deliciously soft. Yana and I wrapped each other up and marveled in the luxury. I felt much better and I knew Yana did too. The only sobering thought was that it would not last. The cramps would come back, as would our struggles. I didn’t know if we would have to contend with a demon or a dragon, or possibly both, but tonight was bliss. I wouldn’t open the door even if our friends were screaming that the ship was sinking. I wanted nothing more than crawling into bed, wrap my arms around my darling Yana and drift off to sleep. I just had to brush my teeth and say my evening prayer, first.

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


28th of Ratanu, year 412

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

The cramps were back this morning and last night’s feeling of mellowness had dissipated. The bathtub was still there, of course, so I checked out the water. Some heat remained. Not enough for a lengthy soak, but enough for a quick treatment. I knew the water wasn’t as clean as it had been, but I could neither see nor smell anything off-putting, so I entered the tub and beckoned Yana to join me.

After the bath, we put on our sailor’s outfits, and I went to see Nynos. He was halfway through the process of disguising himself and clearly uncomfortable being seen like that, yet he invited me inside his room when I knocked. I brought up my wanted status and asked what description of me was being circulated among the guards. It turned out it was the Platycon disguise, a slender, young man with light hair and fine clothes of blue, white and silver. I thanked Nynos for the information and wished him a pleasant trip into the city.

I knocked on Yana’s door and identified myself, waiting for permission to enter, but Yana asked me to fetch food. The mention of breakfast made my stomach growl. We had skipped dinner yesterday. While we ate, I told Yana what Nynos had said. I couldn’t use the Platycon disguise anymore, and while the thought of not wearing a disguise felt good, I left it up to Yana to compose a new disguise. During my stay in Byblos, I had often gone out without putting on a disguise, and even though it was Platycon’s description that was circulated, some guards could associate my name with my true appearance. I wasn’t planning to show myself above deck until we were well away from the capital, but we all feared that something would happen tonight, and nobody knew where we’d end up.

First, I wanted Yana to join me in prayer. We knelt on the floor, side by side. I interlocked the fingers on my left hand with Yana’s right and brought out Hope, placing our little sister on our joined hands. We put our other hands on the floor and began to pray. We asked if Pak and Groman truly visited Your domain, but learned that nobody could return from that. Xipil’s vision couldn’t be interpreted literally, as I had suspected. We concluded that wherever Pak and Groman went, there were forces at work that should have been in the Realm of Death. Yana wanted to continue sewing, so I let Hope settle in my pouch and went to find Xipil alone.

I explained to the lizard man what Yana and I had learned. Xipil and I agreed that Pak and Groman must have gone to the Kings’ Crypt as planned. They had been tasked by Queen Isa to deposit her demon-possessed father, Lord Madan Aldera, there. Even Xipil, who hails from a faraway land, had heard stories about the crypt, that this was a place where kings could live on forever. I had always discounted those stories as fairytales, but it seemed there might be some truth to them. My stomach tightened, and I couldn’t tell if the cramps were back or if this was a reaction to the abominable trespass against Your law. I favored the latter. Xipil asked if it was possible to set the sin right, to go to the crypt and send whatever was there to You for judgment. I told him this task was beyond me. I could spend the rest of my days there and only scratch the surface. Besides, I had another task: To locate Your brother and reunite You with him. Xipil said he believed Pak and Groman were back in Arland now, and probably headed for the Evening Fort.

I informed Xipil I was returning to my room to pray for strength for tonight’s expected incidents. I knocked and waited for Yana to admit me. She welcomed me with a long hug, then ordered me to strip. I excitedly did as I was commanded. Even in my feeble state, Yana’s masterfulness was arousing. I expected Yana to undress as well, but she only stepped back and took in the sight of me. I must have looked like a question mark, for Yana blushed and stammered that she wanted to take my measurements again. “I know I’ve done it already, but that must be weeks ago,” she explained hurriedly. “Barring unforeseen circumstances, the dress should be done before the end of Tityra’s month.” I grinned widely, discarding my usual restraint; Yana knew about my fangs already, so I didn’t have to hide them from her.

This was the first time Yana committed to a delivery date for the dress. I would have it in four weeks or less! I was so happy it took my mind a few seconds to catch up with the situation while Yana continued to look me up and down. “If you’re going to take my measurements, aren’t you going to need that string with knots on it?” Yana blushed again and began to fumble in her pack for it. “I don’t mind that you want to see me naked. In fact, I love how your eyes gleam when you look at me. You can touch me too, to your heart’s content. That only makes it better. But I will hold you to your promise about the dress. That made me so excited!” Yana did find her piece of string, and she did take my measurements. When I was allowed to dress again, I thought Yana had to know my cup size with more precision than a hair’s width. The long kiss she had planted on my neck seemed unnecessary for the measurements, but it was very welcome.

“Please put this on,” Yana said. She held out the cloak with one hand and fanned her face with the other. “I need to concentrate now.” I knelt and put the cloak over myself like a tent. Then someone knocked on the door, so I dropped the cloak and got back up again. It was Ælios, and he looked alarmed. He informed me that Grogg, Hylda and Xipil had disappeared; he had searched everywhere for them, he said. I felt myself tense up. What had the three of them gone and done now? I grabbed my belt and fastened it around my waist as I headed for the stairs. I didn’t think I should leave the ship to search for them, but I could at least look to see if they were still nearby. Ælios hadn’t mentioned Wolfram, so presumably, he was still on the ship, but I dreaded sending him into the city to look for the others. I would have to go myself, or send Yana, and I didn’t want to do that either. Luckily, Ælios had exaggerated his search perimeter. Hylda, Grogg and Xipil were sitting on deck, enjoying the nice weather. I informed them that Ælios was looking for them, then hurried back downstairs so I wouldn’t be noticed by anyone on the docks.

Ælios hadn’t said he wanted me too, so I went back to my own room. I prayed for strength, both for myself and for Yana, until my friends came to discuss what they had talked to Ælios about. They brought Wolfram too. The question was what we should do with Nillet’s and Korro’s souls. Ælios had made it clear that the two souls attracted each other, and he had proposed to move Nillet’s soul into Korro’s body. I thought that was a good idea, but reminded everyone that Wolfram and I had to oversee the process and intervene if anything went wrong. Wolfram was understandably hesitant to assume the demon-afflicted spirit bear shape.

Grogg had a better idea, that he should stitch Nillet’s soul to her body. This was so crazy it just might work, and Grogg had done something similar before, when his shadow loosened from his body. Both Xipil and Wolfram pointed out that it could be the case that none of us were able to touch the needle safely at the moment. Obviously, Wolfram and I still needed to be ready to deal with Nillet’s spirit if it got loose. I said we should get started, get it done immediately so we could rest and be ready for whatever would happen tonight.
__________________
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
Old 04-11-2022, 10:05 AM   #237
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 81 (2022-04-01)

28th of Ratanu, year 412 (continued)

I reiterated that we should get started on Grogg’s idea for Nillet before Nynos returned, since he wouldn’t want to witness anything supernatural and attaching someone’s soul to their body with a magical sewing needle was definitely supernatural. Grogg said he didn’t want to see it either, so I jokingly encouraged him to try it blindfolded.

I asked Xipil for the spirit-seeing ring, and he wanted to know why I needed it since I was already gifted with the ability to see spirits. I blamed my temporary weakness, and Xipil wanted to know how long that would last. Before I could answer, Wolfram turned the conversation to what precautions we needed to make before starting. He offered to make a zone where loose spirits were severely hampered, so Nillet wouldn’t be able to escape or do magic, if she possessed the talent for it. Wolfram asked how strong he should make the zone, and I said he should make it as strong as he could and still be in fighting shape afterwards.

Wolfram thought Ælios should be informed, so I went to fetch him. Ælios wasn’t at all optimistic about our plan, but he knew he couldn’t stop us. He warned us that Korro and Nillet had had their souls linked, and fighting one would do us no good if we also didn’t vanquish the other, should it come to that. I pointed out that our goal was to get Nillet’s soul out of the needle and back into her body, where it belonged; fighting the spirits was a last resort, and I sincerely hoped it wouldn’t come to that. There could still be redemption for Nillet and Korro, and healing.

Xipil got cold feet and insisted on waiting until after tonight’s prophesized events. I reminded him that we didn’t know how those events would unfold, and that we couldn’t be sure that we’d still have control of the two patients afterwards. You demanded I make every effort not to release the two stained souls into the world. Wolfram helped me overrule the lizard man. Grogg stayed silent. He usually does when the rest of us discuss important matters. I could tell he was willing to try the sewing experiment. The whole debate would be moot otherwise.

Wolfram wanted to make his ritual circle under the grated cargo hatch, to maximize the moon’s influence on his spells. Grogg offered up Hylda as a drawing assistant to speed up the preparations, and Xipil and I volunteered as well, having some ability at drawing. It soon became apparent that of the three of us, only Xipil had the required skill at drawing mystical symbols. Being a mage, he could probably understand Wolfram’s demands better than Hylda and me. I took Hylda to the kitchen instead, and we made lunch for everyone. Yana ate alone in our room; she thought I should oversee the work in the cargo hold.

When Wolfram and Xipil were nearly done, Ælios suddenly became very talkative up on deck. I understood that Nynos had returned. Ælios kept him occupied while Wolfram cast his protection spell. Then the two westerners came below and sat down in the kitchen. I brought the others so we could hear what Nynos had to say.

It was soon time for our departure, Nynos informed us. We would have to leave the ship and take a wagon to the fleet. I decided to postpone to ask Nynos why we hadn’t been taken directly to the fleet yesterday and instead invited him and Ælios to enjoy the sun up on deck for the next hour. Nynos said they should pack first, and they went to their respective rooms.

I warned Yana that we would be leaving as soon as Grogg finished stitching Nillet’s soul back to her body, and asked if she could take care of our packing. Nynos had insinuated that Ælios was a slow and meticulous packer, so I went to help him. Grogg and Wolfram met me there, for they had decided to fetch Korro and Nillet so Grogg could sew while Ælios and Nynos packed. There was also the matter of Wolfram’s spell, which wouldn’t last forever. I put anti-spirit venom on my melee blades while they carried Korro, and went with them when they collected Nillet, to make sure they didn’t accidentally harm her. Wolfram grazed the needle in Nillet’s upper arm when they put her down, and he got a real shock from the touch. This didn’t bode well for Grogg; Wolfram wished him good luck.

Grogg considered Wolfram, Xipil and me in turn, then asked Kraa to fly away and keep Ælios company. He didn’t want his familiar anywhere near when he touched the needle. Grogg asked if Xipil had some star water remaining to put on the needle, but Xipil refused to add energy to the item that had just harmed Wolfram.

Wolfram cast the spell that hides the totem pole from casual glances, fearing that malevolent spirits might try to topple it to break the protection spell. As before, I felt my eyes slide off the staff when I didn’t concentrate. Wolfram leaned back against the wall, clearly fatigued, and Xipil withdrew almost all the way to the kitchen. Grogg and I stood on opposite sides of the protection zone, and Grogg gave me a glare before sitting down. I reasoned that if Nillet’s spirit tried to escape, she would move away from Grogg and the needle, and then I would be in the perfect position to intercept her.

Grogg stretched his hand slowly towards the needle but stopped before he touched it. He looked rather unmotivated as he stood back up and retrieved his maul. He muttered that he needed inspiration, that he needed to be angry. I could think of a number of ways to get Grogg riled up, but I understood he needed his anger to be focused on the task at hand, not on me. “Do you think Nillet is a dragon worshipper?” I queried. That did it. Grogg snarled and seized the needle in his fist, ripping it free from Nillet. The needle clearly caused him pain, and he slammed his fist against the floor a few times. Wolfram came running to stabilize his totem pole. I tried to encourage Grogg to begin sewing by saying he had the chance now to get payback on the woman who framed Lunari.

Grogg changed his grip on the needle just as Nillet opened her eyes and stared at him. Grogg told her he was going to fasten her soul, but Nillet started screaming with a twisted voice, as if both she and Korro were screaming on top of one another. The scream was reminiscent of Lord Madan’s scream when the demon possessed him, back at the Evening Fort, but this wasn’t as bloodcurdling as that had been.

I couldn’t see anything special through the ring that was affixed in front of my eye, but Wolfram didn’t know that, and asked Xipil to look for auras. Grogg tried to stab Nillet with the needle to put her under again, but she ducked aside, grabbing Korro’s arm. She started to rise, but I stood ready to prevent her from escaping. I hadn’t revealed my steel fangs yet, for I still had a slight hope that we could succeed without shedding blood. Xipil shouted that Nillet had a colored aura. Grogg made another stab at Nillet, but the needle didn’t put her to sleep. She paused her screaming to tell Grogg that he couldn’t kill them. It sounded to me like she was saying they were incapable of dying. I would disabuse her of that misconception, if push came to shove. Nillet got up on her feet, but Wolfram and I prevented her from leaving the protection zone.

Grogg withdrew the needle since it had no effect on Nillet. She ignored Wolfram and me and tried frantically to wake Korro. When she couldn’t, she was overwhelmed with despair and fell to her knees, sobbing to Korro that he had to wake up. Xipil called for Ælios to bring drugs to knock Nillet out. Grogg stuck the needle into the side of a cargo crate, seeing no need to endure more of its pain.

Nillet had nearly collapsed from her exertion and Ælios asked if we had the situation under control. I responded in the positive. He ordered Grogg and Wolfram to bring his two patients back to their beds and me and Xipil to empty the crate and bring that and the needle to his room. Grogg and Wolfram wasted no time, and the patients were already in their beds when Xipil and I arrived. Ælios tied Nillet to her bed with leather straps and asked everyone to leave. I told him to let me know if he needed anything, and Ælios said to make sure Nynos believed everything was as it should be.

Both Wolfram and Grogg had been marked by the needle’s touch, and Xipil offered first aid. I went to Nynos’s room. There was no answer when I knocked. Nynos was up on deck, and I wondered when and how he had sneaked past me. Perhaps he had gone up just before, when I was in Ælios’s room. I hoped he hadn’t seen anything he wasn’t supposed to, but he had surely heard Nillet’s contorted scream.

Nynos had deployed the soldiers on the dock, presumably to keep people away from the screams. Only one soldier stood at Nynos’s side when I came up. I explained that we were in full control over the situation and that there was nothing to worry about. Nynos was eager to believe me, but he still wanted to get going as soon as possible. I informed him that Ælios was still packing. Nynos replied that he’d put the wagon on hold until I told him we could leave.

I found Wolfram, Grogg, Xipil, Hylda and Yana and confirmed that they were all ready to go. Then I checked on Ælios. He wasn’t happy, but he could leave shortly. He asked me to procure another crate and clean bed linens. I shouted for Wolfram to bring a crate, then dug up linens from the cargo. We stuffed linens in two crates and lifted the patients into them. Wolfram put a couple of nails into each lid so it wouldn’t fall off during transportation, and he carved out the piece of wood around the magic needle so Ælios could pack that away without touching the needle itself.
__________________
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
Old 04-11-2022, 10:13 AM   #238
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 81 (2022-04-01)

I put on my hood and pulled it down to cover most of my face before I went back to Nynos and informed him we’d be ready in a couple of minutes. I also got him to enlist a couple of soldiers to help us carry. An open cart soon rolled up, and we loaded our baggage and the crates containing Korro and Nillet onto it. The cart was big enough for us all to ride. Yana and I sat huddled together on the wagon bed, arm in arm as we love so much, hidden from casual view by our larger companions and the crates.

We drove a short distance towards the palace before Nynos told us to be ready to jump off at the next alley. The cart made a brief stop and everyone, even Nynos and Ælios, helped unload. Nynos said there was a fly in the ointment, or rather three: A trio of richly dressed city guards stood outside the closed-up shop we were supposed to enter, up the street.

Xipil suggested making a Platycon illusion to lure the guards away, and after a quick discussion, we agreed that this was a good plan. We could simply walk up the street and dispatch the guards, but even a short brawl would be observed despite the streets being nearly empty.

Nynos watched from the corner while Xipil made his way around to the other side of the shop. A few minutes later, we heard the guards try to apprehend the illusion, but Xipil had instructed it to run away. Unfortunately, only two of the guards set off after it.

Wolfram asked me to take care of the last guard. I swapped venom on my long knives, asking silently for permission to kill, yet hoping I could come up with something to trick the guard to just go away. I sauntered up the street and the guard asked if I had seen any other city guards nearby. I assumed he wanted reinforcements until his friends returned. The guard also warned me not to proceed in the direction I was going, for a wanted, dangerous criminal had just been spotted there.

I had the guard point out where he thought I had gone, and while his attention was elsewhere, I drew one of my knives and rammed it through his neck. I took it as a sign from You, how easily I got him to turn away. The guard had sharp senses and detected my attack before it connected, but he didn’t have time to react before the holy venom was in his blood. I caught the body as it collapsed and pulled it towards the door, making sure no blood stained the ground. The street was nearly deserted, so I held hope that my quick action was unobserved by third parties. I also hoped that Yana had stayed behind the corner; she would freeze up if she saw the attack.

My friends came running as fast as their loads allowed, and Yana was among them so I breathed a sigh of relief. Nynos threw a keychain at me. “The second largest one!” he informed me. Still holding the fallen guard, I caught the keys and flipped through them until I found the right one. I unlocked the door and we all hustled inside. Wolfram seized the guard and carried him into the back room while Nynos pulled aside a floor mat to reveal a trapdoor. I locked the front door when Nynos instructed me to, then everyone climbed down to the cellar. We closed the hatch above us and did our best to return the mat to where it had been.

The hatch was just large enough to pass the crates through, and I noticed that Ælios didn’t protest the rough treatment they got. Nynos found a lamp and lit it, and Xipil pulled out his dimly shining coin. There was a shelf along one wall which we moved aside to find a passage leading further down.

The passage soon started to smell of sewage, and it reminded me of the passage we took when we met Nulius. Actually, we ended up a short time later in the very same room where we had met him. This time, the door in the partitioning fence was open. There were two guards present, clearly Nulius’s men, and two more, hogtied and with cloth sacks over their heads. Nynos talked briefly to one of the guards and informed us we had to wait.

Nulius soon showed up with two more men, making a disparaging comment about the riffraff that Nynos was bringing to his fleet. Grogg clearly disliked the comment, but he didn’t lash out. Nulius asked if we were certain that we wanted to come, and he warned us that we would be under his command, at least for a while. Nobody objected, so we followed Nulius up and to a huge indoor dock with three ships. There was a door in the side of the nearest ship, and we entered through it. Ælios and Nulius discussed in their own language, and I saw that they made Nynos uncomfortable.

I asked if there was water in the room, and Nynos pointed out a barrel. I had prevented the guard’s blood from reaching the ground by drenching myself instead, and I quickly discovered that it would be impossible to get all the blood out of my white sailor’s garb. I asked Yana to hold up a cloak so I could get some privacy while I changed into my own clothes. Wolfram asked for a place to lie down, but Ælios said he hoped we’d soon be allowed to move to the ship where his office was located.

It felt nice wearing a dress again. Yana followed me with her eyes as I crossed the room to speak with Nynos. Either she really longed to put on a dress herself, or she fancied me. Maybe both, considering the weight of her gaze. I wouldn’t have minded seeing her in a dress, but those sailor’s trousers showed off her legs in a way a dress never could.

I asked Nynos why we had to stay on that last ship, why we couldn’t just have gone directly to the ships that were actually part of the fleet. He admitted that he wasn’t fully in the know about the escape plan, which he emphasized wasn’t his. He had thought the other ship was leaving too, and only just learned that we had to move. Not knowing something had to chafe on the professional spy, so I decided not to torment him with further questions.

I went back to Yana, and we sat down to discuss how to disguise me. We had a few ideas, but my interaction with the guard outside the shop had demonstrated that at least some proportion of those who were searching for me didn’t have any idea how I really looked. Since there was no rush to change my appearance, we enjoyed our whispered conversation instead. Wolfram, Hylda and Grogg rested too, but Xipil went to explore the ship. When he had satisfied his curiosity, he joined Ælios and Nynos in the kitchen.

After about an hour, Nulius returned. When he had spoken to Ælios, he informed us we were now under the physician’s command. We had to follow his orders and not make a fuss. The soldiers escorting Nulius helped us carry our luggage and patients to the largest of the three ships, and Ælios showed us to his “office”.
__________________
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
Old 04-11-2022, 10:20 AM   #239
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 81 (2022-04-01)

The outer room was more accurately described as a laboratory, and it was so cluttered, I would be hesitant to allow someone as big as Wolfram or Grogg to move about freely, had it been my stuff they could bump into, topple and break. The inner room was little more than an alcove for sleeping. There was a single bed and a table too small to fit us all around it. There was clearly not enough floorspace for everyone to sleep at once, so Xipil asked for hammocks. If we crisscrossed the room with those, there just might be space for us all. I ascertained that Nynos wouldn’t be sleeping in there with us and realized he had vanished after helping us with the luggage.

Ælios asked Grogg if he was ready to have his arm fixed and how resistant he was against poisons. Grogg said he didn’t know about the poison. I told him I had ways to find out, if he trusted me. Grogg said he’d rather take a quadruple dose. Ælios thought that was a bit much, and suggested triple dose instead. I silently agreed.

Ælios prepared the anesthetics in a leather bag, which he then attached to a tube and a mask. He asked Grogg to lie down on one of the benches. Grogg asked if this was safe, and Ælios assured him it was, as long as Grogg followed his instructions. Grogg clarified that he meant to ask if it was safe for the bench. It creaked a little when he lay down, but it held. Grogg wanted to sniff this herb he likes, but Ælios thought it was a bad idea to mix drugs. Grogg accepted that.

When Grogg had put on the mask and started breathing in the fumes from the leather bag, Ælios found a big needle and told Grogg to give the thumbs-up sign if he felt it. Ælios explained that as long as Grogg was on the bench, his job was to lift his thumb if he felt the needle. Grogg signaled that he sensed the first prick, but when Ælios poked him again a few seconds later, he was unconscious.

Ælios asked if I could assist him during the surgery. I said I could do whatever he needed. Xipil was eager to watch the procedure, and Hylda stayed close to Grogg out of protectiveness, but Wolfram kept to himself on the other side of the room and Yana even shut herself inside the bedroom to avoid the sights and sounds. Yana is so squeamish about anything that even resembles violence! I hoped she didn’t see what I did to that guard.

Looking back, I thought I could have handled the guard differently. Perhaps I could have threatened him and forced him to comply while I took him inside the shop and tied him up. Yana would certainly have preferred a non-violent solution, but You indicated I should go with my instincts, and as much as it hurts me to go against Yana’s wishes, I have to follow Your commands.

The surgery required breaking through Grogg’s armored skin. If Yana hadn’t already closed the door, I would have. This was grisly work. Yana is a strong woman, but she is also delicate. I didn’t fault Wolfram either for keeping his eyes off Grogg’s mutilated arm. It almost seemed like Ælios had to cut it up into small pieces before he could put it back together. Xipil and I assisted when Ælios needed additional muscles.

An hour into the operation, three soldiers brought a large chest. Ælios indicated that I should open it. Inside were hammocks, spare sets of sailors’ clothes and a casket of wine. I asked Wolfram and Hylda to hang up the hammocks in the bedroom, and I quickly rapped on the door to let Yana know she was receiving visitors, before returning to Ælios’s side.

When Ælios had put Grogg together again and we had packed the arm in plaster, he removed the mask. I took it from him and put it in front of my face, taking a deep sniff, hoping to identify which herbs Ælios had used to sedate Grogg. I quickly discovered that there were no herbs involved; the mask smelled of salt. The alchemical concoction was incredibly potent, for it made my head spin a little. I wondered if my protection had faltered due to the full moon. If it had, this was the first time I noticed. Xipil smelled the mask too, considerably more cautiously.

Ælios broke open the wine casket to celebrate the successful operation. I don’t usually drink wine, but I took a glass to be polite. Yana just sipped at her glass, remembering how she got drunk and embarrassed herself two weeks ago. I supposed she was wise to be careful, but I didn’t agree that she embarrassed herself, at least not as much as she seemed to think. It was only the two of us present at the time, and it wasn’t as if she took off all her clothes and danced on the table. Now, that would be something to see! I filed away the thought for later.

When Grogg woke, his first words were to ask Hylda for her sister’s name. He was seeing double, but it appeared to pass after Ælios made a special tea for him. Hylda made sure the tea went inside his mouth and not all over his front.
__________________
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
Old 05-03-2022, 07:05 AM   #240
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 82 (2022-04-24)

28th of Ratanu, year 412 (continued)

Ælios pulled me aside and asked what we were to do with Nillet and Korro. Grogg’s needle was required for their treatment, which the physician would like months for. I told him that was out of the question. Grogg would never accept giving up the needle, despite it being unusable for the time being. Ælios said he could try to rush the treatment. After hearing how fast he could potentially work, I informed my friends that we had to remain for several days. Xipil pointed out that we had no use of the needle in its current state, but I reminded him about Grogg’s possessiveness.

When Nynos came knocking, Ælios was busy with tidying up after the operation, so I answered the door. I asked Ælios if it was all right if Nynos entered, and he wasn’t totally opposed to the idea, so I let the spy inside. Nynos brought a question from Nulius. During tonight’s “action”, who among us should be counted as combatants, and who should be considered “valuable cargo”? I spoke up, declaring Yana, Hylda and myself as valuable cargo. I glanced at the other girls to see if I had overstepped, but Hylda nodded and Yana looked ecstatic at my choice to stay away from the violence. A sudden desire to hold Yana’s hand made me walk back to her before declaring that Xipil, Grogg and Wolfram could speak for themselves. Wolfram was initially hesitant, being unwilling to be the only declared combatant, but both Grogg and Xipil said they would fight if necessary, so Wolfram agreed as well.

I found the conflict between Nulius and the locals to be unrelated to Your divine plan, so I didn’t feel obliged to join in. If the fight spilled onto the ship, I would much rather be in a position to protect Yana than being tied up with inconsequential orders elsewhere.

Nynos asked if we required anything, and Xipil asked for food. Nynos left, and a couple of minutes later, the ship lurched a little. Xipil and I went to look out the hatch in the sleeping alcove. My quick glance outside wasn’t enough to say whether we had started moving, but I realized I didn’t care. Not much, anyway. I went back to Yana and let Xipil satisfy his curiosity on his own. He reported that the ship was being pushed out from the dock and turned. After a period of little happening outside, Xipil began looking through Ælios’s stuff. He asked permission to read one of the physician’s books.

The food arrived after a while. Ælios paused his tidying to answer the knock, but he just pulled the small cart inside and left it there. I took it upon myself to serve. Grogg was still sluggish after the sedation, and didn’t react when I handled his food.

Wolfram decided to spend his time after the meal with woodcarving. He got out his tools and started decorating one of our cargo crates. Grogg talked to Kraa, trying to make the spirit raven enter his arm so he could use it. I wasn’t certain it was healthy to try using the arm so soon after the surgery, but Ælios didn’t seem to mind, so I didn’t speak up. I soon realized that Ælios hadn’t noticed what Grogg was doing, for when Grogg started making a fuss, he was quick to warn the troll not to try to move his arm before we removed the plaster. Hylda distracted Grogg with more food. Yana and I exchanged looks, but we didn’t laugh out loud, for that would have been rude.

The activity outside the ship started up again and Xipil returned to the hatch. I stayed at Yana’s side. Xipil reported what was happening anyway, in case we didn’t understand from the sounds. An officer started to shout about some permission not being given. I presumed he was talking about the ships preparing to leave, but the officer wasn’t allowed to finish, for three crossbow bolts struck him down. Another voice gave the order to attack.

Xipil and Wolfram patted their weapons to remind themselves they were ready. I suggested that they took position inside the laboratory entrance so they could stop a fight from coming in and destroying Ælios’s things. I wasn’t sure if Grogg was ready to fight yet, but he and Wolfram followed my suggestion. Xipil stayed at the hatch, unable to take his eyes off the commotion. He peeled off his clothes, revealing his camouflage skin.

I brought Yana to sit down at the small table, took her hand and patted it. The sounds of violence were quite far off, and she didn’t seem particularly nervous, but I wanted to prevent her panic from building up. I briefly considered reapplying venom to the knife that had killed the guard outside the shop earlier today, but I didn’t want to let go of Yana’s hand, and I didn’t want to let her see me handling a weapon either, for I thought it might make her uneasy.

After a series of splashes, which Xipil said was Nulius’s men dumping dead palace guards into the water, things quieted down outside. A few minutes later, our ship started moving out of the enclosed harbor. Grogg reminded Xipil to watch out for dragons approaching, and Xipil replied that he saw signs of them in the distance, but it would be some time before they arrived. Xipil asked Ælios if Grogg’s plaster would dissolve in water, and the physician said it would be a bad idea for Grogg to take a swim. Xipil believed the ship might sink, but Ælios disagreed. At least he said he disagreed, but I wasn’t so sure; I thought he just said so to relax us. “Can you swim?” I whispered in Yana’s ear. “No. Help me,” she signed, using our secret language. “Yes. Love,” I replied.

Grogg said he smelled something strange and fruity. I don’t have a particularly delicate sense of smell, but I agreed that there was a certain sweetness on the air. Grogg asked Wolfram to use his bear senses, and Wolfram asked what we were trying to detect. Xipil informed him about the smell, which he described as citrus-like. Wolfram transformed, and Xipil bade me keep an eye on what happened in the lab; his curiosity had him glued to the hatch, but I could tell would give anything for the ability to split in two and go to the laboratory as well.

Yana and I stood up and stepped into the door opening. Ælios seemed to have the same suspicion as me, that some container of his was leaking. I reported to Xipil that Ælios was checking his bottles. Xipil asked for information about Grogg and Wolfram too, so I told him that Wolfram had transformed and was sniffing around and that Grogg was sitting and staring at the floor. Wolfram opened the door slightly, a difficult task with bear paws, and someone outside shoved the door closed. Soldiers, I presumed, guarding the “valuable cargo”.

Grogg got up and came past Yana and me into the alcove, but he quickly turned around and sat down to smell the floor again. Wolfram transformed back into a human and asked Grogg what he was doing. Grogg didn’t reply, so Wolfram asked if Hylda knew, but she only turned to Grogg and asked if she could do anything to help.

Grogg knocked on the floor and something knocked from the outside, but it was impossible to determine if the other knocker was under the floor, above the ceiling or outside one of the walls. Considering what was about to happen, I’m pretty sure the source of the response was supernatural. Grogg even muttered something to that effect, although he was still hazy and not entirely reliable. Neither Ælios nor the guards outside cared at all about the knocking; they might not even be aware of it.

Xipil stepped over to Yana and me to see what the noise was all about, but the hatch closed behind him and he turned to open it again. He asked Wolfram if anything demonic was happening, and Wolfram told Grogg politely to stop the knocking. Wolfram and Hylda helped Grogg get back on his feet, but Grogg was unwilling and Wolfram had to employ his wrestling skills.

Just as I heard Xipil open the hatch again, the door blew up, and instead of seeing the insides of a ship, I witnessed a desert stretch out before me. Xipil exclaimed that he too saw desert outside. Beyond the door, mostly blocking the view of the desert, stood a giant man, as large as Wolfram, holding a barrel on his shoulder. Wolfram tried to shove him away, but the figure suddenly stood behind him.

I suddenly realized I had lost track of Yana, and I searched frantically for I don’t know how long. I finally found her hidden in a bush with yellow flowers. Yana said she was fine where she was and instructed me to help the others. I looked around. There was no ship, no laboratory, no Ælios. Only a small stone building. I opened the door and went inside. Xipil, Grogg and Wolfram were there, but they didn’t look like themselves. Xipil and Grogg looked like they had done in the oasis illusion from last month, and Wolfram’s skin was black. The three of them were saying something incomprehensible about pirates and that we were supposed to go across the wind. Xipil said that Darvan would lead us to Volkir and that we had to hurry. Why one demon wanted to bring us to another was beyond me, but I decided to trust my companions. I felt like I had missed something vital while I was preoccupied with the search for Yana, but knowing she was safe more than made up for it. I looked down on myself. I too had the illusory appearance. My knives didn’t look like they should either, but touching them, and knowing this was all an illusion, comforted me.
__________________
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
Reply

Tags
campaign log

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Fnords are Off
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:13 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.