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Old 05-03-2022, 07:16 AM   #241
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 82 (2022-04-24)

Beyond the door on the other side of the stone building was a light, most likely a campfire. The wind blew sand from one side to the other, so going for the campfire would indeed make us go across the direction of the wind. Xipil asked permission to scout ahead when we started walking, and he reached the campfire before the rest of us. There was water there too, but no one was thirsty.

The same figure as before waited by the fire, and now I could see that he had a jewel-encrusted saber at his side. He asked if we were ready and told us we were at least as deadly here as in the world outside. Or perhaps he meant we were at least as mortal. His choice of words made the statement ambiguous. The figure asked if he should show us the way, and when we responded yes, he dissolved into thin air. Simultaneously, it started blowing again, and I realized the wind had died down when we reached the campfire.

Now, going “across the wind” left us two options. To the left was a large building, which Grogg said smelled of water pipe. To the right was a harbor, which obviously smelled of salt water. We decided to head for the water pipe, as something similar had broken the illusion at Darvan’s crypt.

Nearing the building, we could see two guards patrolling on top of the wall. Xipil thought they looked professional. Wolfram drew his weapons, but Xipil suggested we try a non-violent approach first. “Let’s try to talk our way past them,” I offered.

There were stairs leading up the wall and when we were nearly at the top, the guards ordered us to halt. They asked what we were doing, and I casually stated that we were just out for a stroll. The guards said we couldn’t pass unless we were to attend the trial, so I beamed, “But that’s just why we’re here!” One of the guards grumbled that we should have opened with that, but they let us pass. Before us was a door, and we all got the sensation that there was a crowd inside, far too large for Wolfram to handle. The guards told us we had to hurry, so we went inside, even Wolfram.

The building had looked enormous on the outside, but the inside was even larger. We found ourselves on a gallery, overlooking a throng of people around a raised platform. I got a bad feeling that Wolfram would break down, but the mass of people was below us, and when the rest of us decided to move on, I was thankful that Wolfram opted to stay behind.

On the platform stood five people and a block for chopping heads. Several severed heads were strewn about. One of the people was the executioner. He had a large axe which he raised when he announced to the wild crowd that the main event was about to begin. “Will the darkness fall, or will the sun fall?” he asked, and I could see that two of the others on the platform were Audria and Illoro.

I prayed for guidance, if I should intervene, and You said I could impact what was about to happen, but that violence was extremely risky. When the roaring crowd quieted down, the executioner declared that the two scribes should commence the debate. I supposed these were priests of Ratanu. The last two on the platform stepped forward, but one announced that there was no need for a debate. “They can condemn themselves,” he exclaimed. “Grogg! Make a path through the crowd!” I ordered. Xipil asked what we were doing. “We will judge the judge,” I explained. Wolfram declared that he was staying on the balcony, crossbow at the ready.

As we pushed our way through the masses, Illoro spoke up. He seemed to take the blame for what Audria was accused of doing. Xipil asked if he could make an illusion to make me seem more impressive. “Give me fine clothes and make me look like myself,” I instructed. Xipil wove his spell and then Audria spoke. She too claimed to be the guilty party, that she was the one who should die. The executioner said the people should decide, which made the audience go completely rabid. Feeling a sense of urgency, I ordered Grogg to plow ahead faster. Xipil and I followed in his wake.

Suddenly, the executioner announced that only the true judge could decide, and he pointed at me. The mass of people vanished, as did the two scribes. Reaching the platform was suddenly easy. I stormed ahead and climbed up.

Both Illoro and Audria asked me to condemn them. Once again, I prayed to You. It wasn’t right for me to kill anyone myself, You said. Xipil whispered in my ear to choose the executioner. I addressed the room, as if the crowd was still there, speaking briefly but passionately of how this entire process was wrong. Taking my cue from Xipil, I announced that it was the executioner who should die.

The crowd and the scribes reappeared, the crowd roaring and the scribes laughing at me. Caught up in my own speech, I added that the scribes also had to die, just as Grogg started charging towards the executioner. I stopped the laughter of the first scribe with a knife through the neck. Actually, the knife didn’t penetrate very deeply, and it was the holy venom that slew the scribe. I breathed a sigh of relief, for if You truly had forbidden my blade to claim this man, You wouldn’t have blessed my venom with potency.

The executioner parried Grogg’s club with his axe, and Grogg dodged the counterattack. Xipil attacked the remaining scribe with his spear, and while he connected, the blow didn’t fell the scribe, who mockingly pronounced judgment over Xipil. Illoro and Audria turned upwards and downwards in prayer, respectively.

I ran over to Grogg and the executioner and went for the neck again. I missed with both blades, but distracted the executioner enough for Grogg to plant the maul in his face. The executioner flew backwards and landed on his back, his face ruined. Xipil stabbed the scribe in the arm, and the scribe finished his ritual by tearing his scroll. Ratanu blasted both of them with an invisible blow to the head. Xipil shook it off, but the scribe collapsed.

Xipil pointed at the scribe and yelled that even Ratanu had condemned him, but the crowd had already vanished. I made sure our three opponents were dead and invited Audria and Illoro to join us, but I got the sensation that they didn’t notice me. I told Xipil and Grogg that we had done what we came here for, but Wolfram shouted that we still had to deal with the demon. “Let’s move on,” I announced, and as we climbed down from the platform, it vanished along with Audria and Illoro.

We picked up Wolfram and went back outside. There was no sign of the two guards on the wall, so we hurried down the stairs and back to the campfire, still going across the direction of the wind. The figure, which I by then had determined was Darvan, reappeared looking pensive. “There isn’t much firewood left,” he stated. “No more delays!” He disintegrated again and we looked about. Behind us, where the large building had been, was now a high tower, with stars blinking above. Ahead was still the harbor. Both places were “across the wind”. Somehow, the others had determined that our mission was to kill pirates. Should we go to the harbor, then? Xipil looked longingly at the stars above the tower.
__________________
You don't need to spend 100 CP on Status 5 [25] and Multimillionaire [75] to feel like a princess, when Delusion [-10] will do.

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

Campaign logs: Chaotic Pioneering / Confessions of a Forked Tongue
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Old 05-14-2022, 07:34 AM   #242
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 83 (2022-05-04)

28th of Ratanu, year 412 (continued)

Despite the stars beckoning from above the tower, Xipil argued that we should go to the harbor. Darvan had just said there should be no more delays, which Xipil reasoned meant that we had the opportunity to go straight to where we were supposed to when we first came to the campfire. Since the harbor was the only location that fit, that was where we should go.

Wolfram commented that our sense of time might be manipulated by the illusion. I thought that we would find out if that was the case as soon as we got out of the illusion, so I saw no reason to speculate or debate, especially not since we were apparently in a hurry.

We started walking towards the harbor, and Xipil asked if it was all right if he darted ahead to scout. Nobody saw any reason to hold him back, so we sent him along with our blessings.

As we walked down the slope, I considered reapplying venom to my knives, but the wind whipped up so much sand, I decided to wait. I didn’t want sand inside my venom vial. Hopefully, we’d find a quiet place where I could take a few seconds before we needed to fight.

Xipil came back to meet us after scouting the harbor. There were two piers jutting out into the water, with one ship at each. The larger ship was at the left pier, which was slightly longer than the right. There was also a large building, possibly a warehouse, near the pier to the right. Some men seemed to be guarding the building. There was no activity on the smaller ship, only on the larger, which was making ready to sail.

Grogg wanted to fight. His left arm seemed to work fine here inside the illusion. Xipil reminded him that we were supposed to release Volkir, and that we didn’t necessarily have to fight any of the pirates. Grogg’s shoulders slumped with disappointment. I suggested asking the guards where there were pirates. I reasoned that if they were pirates themselves, they might attack and satisfy Grogg’s desire for a melee, and if they weren’t, they might have valuable information for us. There were some boulders here and there, and Xipil wanted to hide behind one and launch his arrows from there. I worried that he might be left behind if the larger ship started moving and the rest of us boarded it, but decided that Xipil knew the risk and took it willingly, so I didn’t protest.

Wolfram, Grogg and I walked the rest of the way down to the harbor while Xipil found his boulder. Two men with sabers in their belts watched our approach, so we went over to them, near the short side of the building. The men didn’t seem alarmed by the size of my companions, but looked questioningly at us. I opened the dialog with a smile and a simple greeting. “The mustering has finished,” one of the men said. I replied that we weren’t there for the mustering; we were looking for pirates. The men shook their heads and said there were no pirates around. I didn’t think they were entirely truthful.

One man asked if Wolfram was for sale. I said no. We were there for a pirate inspection, not to sell slaves. The men pointed at a rowboat that was pulled up on land and said it had been used by pirates; we should go there and look for clues. It was obvious they wanted us to go away, so I said we wanted to inspect the warehouse for pirates. One of the men said he needed to talk to the owner of the warehouse first, and he started towards two other men. They were standing at the end of the shorter pier, just visible around the corner of the building.

I told the other man that we should follow, so his friend wouldn’t have to walk all the long way back to where we were standing. This was a distance of about twenty meters; if they could be obvious, so could we. For some reason, the man suddenly became nervous, saying he didn’t want to go. “Take his arms,” I told Grogg and Wolfram, “and let’s go join his friends.”

The man backed away, stumbled and crashed into the warehouse wall. Wolfram smiled and waved at the three men on the pier. The warehouse blocked their view of what Grogg did. He charged the man and tried to squish him against the wall. I felt for the poor man as Grogg slammed into him, but he kept his wits about him and dodged when Grogg tried to grab him by the throat. I hadn’t intended for any violence, or at least not an actual attack, but I went with the flow and followed Wolfram’s idea of keeping the trio on the pier in the dark, so I walked calmly towards them.

Xipil did not understand what Wolfram and I tried to do, and he put an arrow into one of the three men. To keep up appearances, I hurried around the corner and squeezed against the wall so I would be out of sight from the “unknown” attacker. The two uninjured men started running towards me, shouting, “Keep down! Someone’s shooting!” Their wounded friend staggered after them. Wolfram positioned himself between me and Xipil like a good bodyguard. “Quick! We must take cover!” I told the men, pushing aside the bolt keeping the warehouse door shut. One of them said we had to run or be taken for pirates. The other one started ringing the bell that was fastened to the wall.

I pulled open the heavy door. Inside was indeed a warehouse; I was looking into a huge room with lots of stuff. At the back was another door, perhaps leading to an office. The man next to me grabbed my arm and told me again to run away, because “they” would search inside first. I almost felt sorry for them; they were so compassionate and wanted me to be safe, and all I wanted was to get them inside the warehouse so we could overpower them without alarming anyone on the ship.

I noticed the wind beginning to change directions. Darvan was maybe trying to tell us something about where we needed to go, but I couldn’t understand his message immediately. “We must hide inside while they shoot! I know first aid,” I added looking at the wounded man who was coming close. I grabbed the arm that was holding mine and tried to pull the man with me inside the warehouse, but he was stronger than me. He tried to shake me off, but I held on, so he agreed that my party could hide inside while he and his friends dealt with the attackers.

Grogg lumbered around the corner. I tried squeezing out a few tears to convince the men to follow me inside and conjured the most horrible image I could think of, Yana captured and tormented by Tivito. I felt the tears welling up remarkably easy, but Wolfram had realized that the wind was blowing in circles around the large ship and took off along the dock. I blinked away the tears and followed him, as did Grogg after a moment, but he is so big that he caught up easily.

“What’s going on?” Grogg asked. Wolfram replied that we had to get to the ship. When the three men behind realized where we were headed, they followed and shouted a warning: “Hey, stop! It will kill you!” We just kept running, and I saw Xipil approaching rapidly. We met up where the pier jutted out towards the ship and charged ahead together.

We ran into the wind whirling around the ship, and it was difficult to keep our balance. Grogg fell into the water, but he quickly pulled himself back up on the pier and picked up speed again. The ship looked as if it was rising up from the water, so we had to jump up as well as forward to board.

On the ship, we were in the calm eye of the storm, but the seven crewmen wore large robes that whipped about as if the wind seized them. Their hoods were pulled forward and only their glowing eyes were visible. I don’t know what manner of being they were. Perhaps it was the illusion that made them look like that.
__________________
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 05-14-2022, 07:43 AM   #243
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 83 (2022-05-04)

The crew moved into a semi-circle around us, but they made no threatening move that I could see. Wolfram and I drew weapons anyway. Xipil dropped his and leapt for one of the masts and began climbing. A voice whispered, “This is my night. Have you come to worship me?” It seemed like the voice came from all around; it certainly wasn’t a crew member who was talking.

Wolfram took a step forward, but I retreated back to the railing where Grogg stood. I opened my pouch so I could apply venom to my knives, but the voice spoke again, trying to bribe us with gifts if we worshipped it. Wolfram decided to attack at that moment, and I followed to protect his back, for in the wild onslaught that killed the first crewman, making him disappear in a flash of light, Wolfram left himself wide open to counterattacks.

The creature nearest me whirled to face me, waved its arms about and caused an immensely strong gust of wind to shoot past me. As the wind tugged on my dress, I thought I was lucky that the attack missed. Another creature hit Wolfram with a lightning bolt. I didn’t have to turn around to know that Grogg’s eyes widened with fear. Still, I heard him launch an attack.

I thought the lightning wielder was more dangerous than those hurling just air, so I ran towards the one that had struck Wolfram and lashed out with both my knives, but I missed. Over the wind, I could hear Xipil’s voice saying, “Your brother sent us.” He had apparently located Volkir somewhere up that mast. I would have liked to help him in his encounter with the demon, but I thought Wolfram and Grogg needed my assistance more.

A bolt of lightning struck Grogg, who roared and continued his charge. The creature I had tried to attack shoved me backwards with a fist of air, and I barely kept my feet under me. Wolfram managed to dodge the second lightning bolt sent his way, and he struck down another crewmember.

I darted towards the nearest foe and swiped my knives against its neck. One connected, but the other twisted in my hand. The creature blasted me backwards with air and another struck me with lightning, despite me frantically throwing myself to the deck. My concealed armor absorbed some of the energy. The strike hurt me really badly and I don’t think I’d still be in fighting shape if it wasn’t for my armor. One more hit would certainly take me down.

While I got back on my feet, overselling the injury with my acting skills, Grogg got his first kill for the fight, leaving us only slightly outnumbered – four against three – although I wasn’t sure how long I could keep going. One creature made a flash of light, but if it was supposed to be a lightning strike, it was thoroughly underwhelming.

Wolfram and Grogg took several lightning blasts over the next few seconds, and Wolfram was as injured as I pretended to be, but he still took down another opponent. I didn’t take the time to change the grip on my left-hand blade, focusing instead on defense. I really didn’t want to take another hit and hoped my act would trick the enemies into thinking I was out of the fight. Despite all my efforts, one of the creatures made attack gestures at me and I had to drop the pretense and dodge acrobatically. Too late, I realized that the attack was only a gust of wind.

Grogg felled his second foe, leaving only two more to be handled. I rushed up to one and struck. My knife sliced across the creature’s throat and I followed up with a bite. As the venom surged into the wound, I heard snakes hissing in the wind. My opponent was destroyed in a flash of light.

The last foe vanished as the illusion began to unravel. I was unaware if Grogg or Wolfram had struck it or if it was connected to the illusion. Above us, Xipil clung to the mast. He had untied the banner and threw it away before scampering down to us. The ship and everything else around us were turning to dust to be blown away by the wind. I sheathed my knives. There were no more enemies. I saw Xipil pick up his bow from where he had dropped it on the deck, but then my senses were overloaded.

Suddenly, we were in the river outside Byblos. Several ships bore straight for us. Uncertain if anyone on board had seen us, I called out for help. Wolfram was having trouble keeping afloat, but Xipil kept him from drowning. Grogg managed on his own, but I wasn’t sure how long he’d last with only one working arm and him being so heavy. I kept shouting and waving until Nynos looked down on us from Nulius’s flagship.

Nobody on board was happy to see us in the river; we were supposed to stay in Ælios’s cabin. I promised Nynos an explanation if he would just get us out of the water. I believed Xipil had done something with Volkir up the mast, but he hadn’t had time to tell me about it. I didn’t think we should inform the foreigners about the details of our little escapade, since they reiterated constantly that they weren’t allowed to involve themselves with the supernatural. Nynos had the soldiers throw down ropes so we could get on board, and then he handed out woolen blankets.

I rushed to wrap myself up. The river hadn’t exactly been warm, but it wasn’t particularly cold either. I didn’t see anyone leering at me, but I covered up just in case. Nulius watched from the helm, but he was scowling, not leering. My dress, while wet, still offered its protection from unwanted eyes, but I just felt so vulnerable. I realized that lately, I had been taking precautions to avoid revealing my body, when earlier I hardly cared if anyone saw me naked. I decided I needed to talk to Yana about 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
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Old 05-21-2022, 05:57 AM   #244
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 84 (2022-05-13)

28th of Ratanu, year 412 (continued)

Wolfram asked Nynos if Ælios knew healing magic. I groaned inwardly at the mention of magic, but Nynos took it in stride. Apparently, what Ælios did wasn’t considered out of bounds for the foreigners, for Nynos replied rhetorically, “Isn’t that his job?”

I noticed that Grogg had no shadow. This had to be caused by demonic influence, and I suggested we went to find our cabin. I hoped to get everyone away before my dim-witted companions blurted out something they shouldn’t and without any strangers noticing Grogg’s lack of shadow.

Xipil undermined my attempt by asking Grogg if he was ready to fight the dragons. Grogg answered that of course he was ready, and Xipil said he wouldn’t come below either, because the dragons were coming. I claimed the dragons weren’t arriving quite yet, but Grogg still refused to come. Nynos had just slipped away and the other foreigners kept a respectful distance, so I took the opportunity to remind my friends not to mention what we had just done.

Wolfram started walking towards the cabin and he met Nynos coming up the stairs. Nynos asked him to check on Ælios. This piqued Xipil’s curiosity, so he decided to come with me after all. Even Grogg changed his mind, albeit after summoning Kraa – which startled everyone that could hear the spirit bird but not see it – and telling it to keep an eye out for the dragons and come tell him when they arrived. Xipil drew additional attention by taking out the spirit-seeing ring and watching as Kraa hopped around Grogg’s legs. Due to my monthly weakness, I couldn’t see the creature myself, but I registered where Xipil was looking.

With Wolfram slowed from his injuries, I easily caught up with him. The door to Ælios’s laboratory stood ajar, and there were no guards outside. Wolfram and I hurried inside. It was quite dark in there, but I could see Nillet and Korro were still strapped to their benches. Movement in the corner caught my eye. It was Ælios, rocking on a barrel and clutching his head. We approached him.

Ælios put his hand in his pocket and pulled out Grogg’s needle. I took it, since it appeared not to harm Ælios, and indeed I felt no pain from it either. Wolfram asked Ælios how the patients were doing, but the physician ignored him. Instead, he stood up and gestured towards the barrel, which appeared to be his source of distress. Wolfram took Ælios’s seat on the barrel and Ælios retreated a few steps and sank down against the wall, clearly fatigued.

Wolfram asked if I could look him over since the doctor was out of order. I told him I wanted to check one thing first. I went inside the sleeping alcove just as Grogg and Xipil entered the lab. Xipil told Wolfram he was sitting on Darvan’s barrel. That might truly be troublesome, but I had to make sure Yana was all right before I could deal with the demon’s possession.

At first, I saw nobody in the alcove, even though it was slightly lighter in there than in the lab. Then I spotted Hylda huddling in a corner. That meant the shape under the bed cover was Yana. I fell to my knees in front of the bed, barely registering Hylda’s gratitude that we were returning and also that she didn’t cast a shadow either.

I touched the lump on the bed, and Yana turned towards me. A nervous wreck, she gave a deep sigh of relief when she registered that it was my hand that had startled her. If observing Ælios hadn’t been enough, I certainly knew now that something terrible had happened while we were away. I gave Yana a long, wet hug. She held tight despite the river water soaking me, and I stroked her back and her hair, whispering soothingly.

“What happened here after I left?” I asked when we finally broke off the hug. Yana rubbed her eyes before answering. “I’m not quite sure. I’ve been so confused and dizzy. I completely lost track of the time.” “And I who was planning to ask how long we’d been gone,” I interrupted before encouraging Yana to continue. “I know Hylda was here, and I remember talking to you. I felt both drunk and hung-over at the same time. You don’t think Ælios’s wine was spiked? I only had a taste.” I shook my head. “If there had been anything in the wine that wasn’t supposed to be there, Ashtar would have told me as soon as I put the glass to my lips. Wolfram didn’t show any signs of being poisoned either, and while it would have taken a larger dose to affect him, I would have noticed something, seeing how heavily whatever it was affected you.” “Since both light and sound pained me so, I curled up under the blanket,” Yana explained.

“I think I must have dozed off for a bit, or perhaps blacked out. I wasn’t afraid,” she assured me,” but it was an unpleasant experience nevertheless. When I heard your voice in the other room, that slowly brought me back. And then you came here and hugged me and everything was fine. Well, not everything,” she amended with a wince, rubbing her eyes again. “Why are you so wet? Has it anything to do with why it is so foggy in here?” I frowned at her. “It isn’t foggy, there’s just not very much light.” I heard footsteps approaching from the lab. “We took a little bath in the river. I’ll tell you all the details when we have more time.” And when you’ve calmed down, I added to myself. I wasn’t sure Yana was ready to hear about demons and violence quite yet.

It was Wolfram and Xipil who came. Wolfram carried the barrel on his shoulder, and Xipil repeated that this was certainly Darvan’s barrel. I asked if we knew what it contained. “Something magical,” Xipil answered. Since I didn’t see Grogg anywhere, I asked Xipil where he was. Xipil said Grogg had gone back up on deck. I made hurried excuses and ran after him.

I caught up with Grogg on the stairs. “I have some good news for you,” I declared, holding out his needle. Grogg scowled, “Why are you standing there holding my needle?” “Because I’m in the process of handing it to you,” I explained patiently. Grogg took the needle and walked away, but after a few steps, he turned and said thank you. I gave him a smile and a nod and returned below, so caught off guard by his uncharacteristic gratitude that I completely forgot that I had meant to bring him with me downstairs again.

Passing through the dark laboratory, I noticed that Grogg’s operating table was free of clutter and occupants, so I proposed to Wolfram that he could lie down there while I looked over his wounds. Wolfram thought he’d be more comfortable in the bedroom, so he sat down on the barrel to prevent Xipil from being careless with it.

Xipil had apparently had a chat with Volkir up the mast of that ship, and he told us that Volkir would rather be in Tivito’s captivity than being around Darvan. From Xipil’s story, I gathered that there was much hostility among the seven demons, but possibly some alliances as well. Xipil chose to release Volkir. I hope that doesn’t come back to bite us.

Wolfram had to remove most of his clothes and Hylda watched eagerly while I bandaged the giant warrior. “Why don’t you have a shadow?” I asked her. Hylda didn’t answer my question, instead countering with a question of Grogg’s whereabouts. I told her he was up on deck, but I warned her that it wouldn’t be popular among our hosts if she went up there. I seemed to remember that Nulius had an intense dislike of orcs, and we were under orders to stay with Ælios. I didn’t think Nulius was very pleased with having Grogg on deck, but I didn’t see anything I could do about it, not when Grogg was convinced he had to watch for the dragons. I should have left the needle with Hylda and told Grogg where to find it.

Yana was also paying attention to the first aid, although I should think she was watching me rather than Wolfram. It was hard to say; I glanced her way from time to time to see that she was all right, but she still seemed stressed and uncertain what was going on and she kept squinting as if something was wrong with her eyes. Wolfram noticed too, and he offered to destroy whatever spell afflicted her sight. I thought that sounded hazardous and wanted to check for mundane causes first.

Xipil soon bored of watching me apply bandages and he went outside to the laboratory. Wolfram took the opportunity to ask me from where the barrel came. Not remembering that Darvan still had the barrel in the illusion, I reminded Wolfram that the demon had it with him when he arrived on the ship to fetch us. Wolfram posited that Darvan might be inside the barrel, but Xipil had overheard and poked his head inside to tell us he would have sensed a much stronger magic from the barrel if Darvan was inside.
__________________
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 05-21-2022, 06:16 AM   #245
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 84 (2022-05-13)

When I had dressed all of Wolfram’s wounds in bandages, I took a moment to change out of my wet dress. I put on the new sailor’s outfit that had arrived along with the hammocks. Despite being aware of my recent, inexplicable shyness, I allowed myself to succumb to it and asked Yana to hold up a blanket so I could change behind it. I claimed that Wolfram would be so uncomfortable if I undressed in front of him.

With dry clothes on, and the wet things – both mine and Wolfram’s – hung up to dry, I returned to my patient. I instructed Wolfram in some breathing exercises, for it was important that his body became calm and relaxed so the healing could begin.

Yana asked again, whispering in my ear, if it was foggy in the room. I placed my hand on hers and signed “No”. Then I took her head between my hands and tilted it up, down and to the sides, so I could examine her eyes. Yana’s pupils were dilated beyond what was normal even in the dim light of the sleeping alcove. I asked her to follow my finger as I moved it in front of her face, and she had trouble focusing on it. Just as I began to turn away after concluding my examination, I spotted something inside Yana’s pupils, something shadowy, but when I tried to look closer, Yana blinked and the shadows vanished. I turned my attention to Wolfram again, and while I worked with him, I thought both Yana and Hylda perked up. My effort to relax Wolfram clearly worked on the girls too.

Xipil came inside again and told us he suspected Ælios of having made a deal with Darvan to fix Nillet and Korro. Ælios was now eager that we should take the patients as well as the barrel away as soon as possible. We agreed that we should stay on the ship until after the dragons’ visit tonight and hoped that this would be agreeable to Ælios.

I realized I had a reason to get Grogg down below, at least for a while. He needed to have his plaster cast replaced. The river water hadn’t been kind to his first one. Xipil came with me to fetch him, and Hylda asked me to relay to her lover that she missed him. I felt that it was more to it than that. Hylda had most likely been just as traumatized by whatever had happened while we were gone as Yana and Ælios, and I felt a little guilty for only attending to Yana’s need for reassurement. I hoped Grogg could do for Hylda what I had done for my own sweetheart.

Grogg lay just above the stairs. He was sleeping the healing slumber, having poked himself in the neck with the needle. When I reached for the needle, Xipil expressed concern that Grogg might not like having his sleep disturbed, but I pointed out that I would be in the perfect position simply to put the needle back, should Grogg look angry.

It turned out Grogg was amenable to a little kind-hearted manipulation. “Hylda asked me to tell you that she wanted you to come below with us,” I said. Once Grogg had processed that, I continued without leaving a gap for him to speak or act. “She really misses you; you didn’t even say hello to her when we got back. You also need to have your cast replaced. We wouldn’t want you to harm yourself by accident before we can make a new cast. When your arm has healed up right, you can hold Hylda with both arms. I think she would like that. By the way, you should take this.” I held out the needle. “Shall we go?”

Grogg noticed immediately that Hylda also had lost her shadow. He pointed down at his own lack of shadow and speculated that their shadows might have eloped. I let the two of them talk and went to prepare the plaster. When I got back, Xipil helped me make a new cast for Grogg’s arm. I reminded Grogg that the plaster needed some time to dry and harden.

When the cast was complete, Xipil went out to the lab. I sat down next to Yana and put my arm around her. Someone knocked on the outer door and Xipil told them to enter. I recognized Nynos’s voice as he greeted Xipil. The two of them joined us in the alcove, making it quite cramped. Nynos asked what our plan was. Xipil said it was to survive the dragons and then get off the ship.

Nynos warned us again not to go outside Ælios’s rooms. If we did go outside, that would be taken as a declaration that we were in the process of leaving the ship. Nynos didn’t phrase it quite as blatantly, but he made sure his meaning got across to everyone. Wolfram asked where we were, and Nynos informed us we had sailed one hour south of Byblos. Believing that Nulius might require our aid if the dragons attacked, I suggested staying on the ship until the morning, although I understood that we had overstayed our welcome.

Wolfram asked if Xipil thought he could get Ælios to provide healing for him and Grogg, and Xipil promised to ask before turning back to Nynos. Xipil wanted to know what had happened earlier on the ship. Nynos explained that something magical happened to Byblos. The view of the city was distorted, as if some places seemed closer while others seemed to be pushed back. There also was a large disturbance on the plaza before the palace, where the Judgment Day ceremony was supposed to be. I couldn’t think what might have caused the commotion…

While the others were busy talking to Nynos, I slipped out to Ælios in the laboratory. I pulled down my neckline and showed him where the lightning had struck me, asking if he had some ointment or salve for such a burn wound. I felt a stab of discomfort as my belly knotted, but Ælios remained respectful in the face of my mostly-exposed bosom. He asked if I wanted a fast-acting remedy. “Yes, please!” This remedy was obviously magical, for Ælios asked me to come back when Nynos had gone.

In the alcove, Grogg had poked himself with the needle again. Nynos left after making sure everyone had acknowledged that if any of us left these rooms, we all had to leave the ship. I went back to Ælios. Xipil came, too.

Ælios put down his pen and retrieved a jar, one I recognized as containing magical clay tokens. I didn’t immediately understand what this had to do with healing me. Ælios also took out a small box of salve. He warned me that after applying it to my wound, it would hurt immensely for about an hour, but then it would be as if the wound had healed for a week. I trusted You to strengthen me to bear the pain and said it wouldn’t be a problem. Ælios gave me the box and said that one eighth it should suffice for me, but Grogg and Wolfram would need double that dose.

Then he explained why he had brought out our jar. Ælios offered to sell us two more such boxes of healing salve for the price of our clay tokens. I found it strange that Ælios had given away the first box for free, when he demanded such a hefty price for the next two. He had once offered us our weight in gold for those six clay tokens. He might have exaggerated, but it was clear that the tokens were valuable. Xipil and I thought this was a good deal, but Xipil believed Wolfram might have reservations and asked me to persuade him.

I went to Wolfram and explained the deal Ælios offered, and said that Xipil and I were in favor. Wolfram wanted to know how Ælios would use the clay tokens. Ælios responded that he wanted to use them for inspiration. He couldn’t promise that he wouldn’t activate them, should the need arise, but he had no plans to trap spirits in them, which was Wolfram’s main concern.

Wolfram said he wanted to examine the clay tokens. He put them on the floor in the alcove and transformed to his demon bear shape. A cloud of ashes immediately began to spread from him. Hylda gave no indication that she was leaving Grogg’s side. The ashes probably wouldn’t harm them, but my experience was that the fine dust found its way everywhere, and it would certainly ruin the white clothes we were wearing, so I pulled Yana out of there and closed the door.
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Campaign logs: Chaotic Pioneering / Confessions of a Forked Tongue
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Old 05-21-2022, 06:32 AM   #246
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 84 (2022-05-13)

When Wolfram had concluded his investigation, he transformed back into a human and came out of the alcove. He agreed that the deal was mostly fine, but there was one token which he would not relinquish, for the was a fragment of a soul in it. Xipil believed the soul in question had belonged to an animal. Wolfram considered this for a few minutes, before accepting the sale of the sixth token. He agreed that the fragment came from an animal and that it was too small to be of any use to the animal. Since Ælios was well-intentioned, Wolfram wouldn’t stand in his way.

I got the tokens from Wolfram and passed them on to Ælios, who made a show of studying them before handing over the last two boxes of healing salve. Ælios said he wanted us to leave, and that he did not want to learn what just happened in the alcove. I promised we’d go soon enough, and Ælios sat down in a corner to wait.

Xipil, Wolfram and I discussed briefly who should test the salve. I convinced them to let me be the test subject. If the salve contained some toxin, I would be better equipped to handle it than Grogg or Wolfram, who were both more heavily injured than me and as far as I knew had no protection against poisons. Even if the salve was harmful to me, and I’ve heard plenty of stories of magic going terribly wrong, I was unwavering in my belief that You wouldn’t call me home today. The pain Ælios had warned me about couldn’t be that bad, could it? At least not as bad as my period cramps.

The salve stung a little when I applied it to my wound, but not more than any mundane ointment would. I knelt on the floor, beginning my meditation, for I needed to restore my venom. After a couple of minutes, I couldn’t concentrate any longer. It was as if every beat of my heart blasted another lightning bolt against my chest. Unwilling to appear weak to my friends, I steeled myself and kept a smooth face. I tried to find solace in the fact that my cramps were completely muffled.

All my will-power was used up in the fight against the intense, throbbing agony. After about five minutes, I gave up on the meditation and went over to Yana, sat down next to her and rested my head on her shoulder. “Are you all right?” she whispered. Of course, she had seen through my pretense. “It burns!” I whimpered after making sure that Xipil’s attention was elsewhere and that he was probably far enough away not to overhear. He was hanging out the small window in the alcove. Wolfram just said to tell him when I was healed, when he saw my eyes were open.

Xipil asked if he should have Ælios wake Korro and Nillet so they’d be ready to go when we were. Watching Xipil, I could tell he was in pain. When I asked him about that, he denied it, and he didn’t want me to examine him either. With the pain I was going through myself, I wasn’t in the mood to press the matter, so I just told him to speak to Ælios about the patients. I closed my eyes again and tried thinking about anything other than the pounding of my wound. It was impossible, so I was glad when Xipil came back and unintentionally set up a welcome distraction.

Xipil asked if we should test the salve on Wolfram, since it obviously didn’t affect me the way Ælios had said it should. Wolfram wanted to look to see if the salve was working, first. I lifted my head and looked at Yana. “Did Wolfram just ask if he could look at my boobs? What do you think about his impertinence?” Despite the pain, I managed to show Yana a glimmer of humor. She picked up on it, of course, and we spent some time teasing Wolfram, before I lowered my neckline and showed him the wound. Wolfram was clearly uncomfortable, but he noted – as I did – that the wound looked a lot older than just a couple of hours.

Wolfram decided it was worth trying the salve, so he took off his shirt so I could apply the medicine. Hylda joked that she was envious. She regularly flirts with him, and she is more Wolfram’s type than Yana and I are, although I must say Yana is far more beautiful than the orc woman. It’s probably a size thing.

Wolfram tried to pretend that it was nothing, but after a few minutes, the pain was evident on his face, at least to Yana and me. Teasing Wolfram now would only be cruel, but it was very tempting to do so to distract myself from my own pain. I put my head back on Yana’s shoulder and closed my eyes, hoping it would go away soon.

Xipil reported lightning somewhere to the west, and Kraa began to make noise. In my weakened state, I couldn’t see the spirit raven, but I saw the needle it had in its beak, having pulled it out of Grogg to wake him. Grogg exclaimed that the dragons had arrived and put away the needle. Xipil informed him that Palo was coming from the east. I was uncertain how he could tell, since the hatch opened to the west, but Xipil seemed confident in his remark.

Grogg and Hylda made the troll ready for battle and then Hylda began packing. “Are we leaving?” I asked. “Should we ask to be put ashore, or do we wait here for Nulius to ask for help?” Xipil’s reply was that only Palo had arrived. Yana and I began packing too, so we would be ready to leave on short notice. Wolfram and Xipil both thought we should go ashore on the east bank, Xipil because the western shore was Larma territory, Wolfram because we had talked about going east to the ancient ruin city in the mountains. We needed someone to help us translate the old language there, though, but Xipil was sure Pak and Groman were on their way. All the while, Xipil was glued to the hatch, and he reported that a giant cyclone blocked the sun in the west.

Grogg expressed impatience to get off the ship, so I asked if I should go and hear if we could be put ashore. Yana pointed out that if I left these rooms, then we had no choice but to get off. I would have liked to believe that I would have remembered Nynos’s warning, but with the amount of pain I was experiencing, I wasn’t quite myself.

I opened the door out of the lab and yelled for Nynos without actually stepping outside. I didn’t even poke my head out, in case someone observed me and counted that as “leaving”. Come to think of it, it wouldn’t have mattered, since we intended to disembark as soon as possible.

Nynos came running, and I asked if he could be so kind as to provide a rowboat for us. He said he didn’t want us to take the blame for what was happening, so he promised to be quick. I assumed he referred to the dragon attack, but how Nulius would conclude that we had anything to do with it, I didn’t understand. However, rational thought might not be straightforward with dragons around. I commended myself for keeping a cool head. Before Nynos ran off, he muttered that he had never seen priests so stressed out before. Well, not every cleric has the protection of Your coils.
__________________
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 05-21-2022, 06:49 AM   #247
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 84 (2022-05-13)

When I turned around, Ælios was injecting Nillet with a syringe, and she woke up. Xipil asked me to make sure she was calm, but there wasn’t really much to do. Nillet barely managed to sit up, she was so wobbly, and it seemed to me that her lights hadn’t quite been lit. Xipil pointed at Nillet’s shadow and I could see there was something off about that too. I helped Nillet stand up, in the hope that walking might wake clear her mind, but she fell to her knees and threw up. I quickly pulled her hair out of the way and patted her back while she retched.

Ælios woke Korro as well. He wasn’t as fragile as Nillet, but he needed help getting around. Hylda took care of that, while I attended to Nillet. When she could stand again, everyone was ready to go. Yana passed me my backpack and I wriggled it on, which was slightly difficult when I also had to make sure Nillet didn’t topple, but Yana stepped in and aided.

Nynos waited for us outside the lab, and as he turned to lead us away, I noticed he had a dagger concealed under his forearm, ready to attack. When we got up on deck, Nynos told us where to find the rowboat. It was already lowered into the river, and ropes hung down from the railing.

Two groups of priests stood a short distance away with a lion cub between them, shouting at each other. Several of them were holding weapons. It almost looked like a religious war was about to break out. Most of them didn’t mind us, so we hurried along to our escape vehicle.

I stated the obvious, that Korro and Nillet weren’t fit to climb on their own, in case my companions were too distracted. Both Xipil and Wolfram were in pain despite trying to hide it, and Grogg was certainly preoccupied with the dragons.

Wolfram offered to climb down so he could catch Korro and Nillet when we lowered them. Xipil made the knots to secure the two patients, and we got them down without incident. That was when our luck ran out. Grogg climbed next, and with only one usable arm, he slipped and crashed onto the rowboat. I heard something break, but Wolfram reported that there was no gushing leak anywhere, so we could still use the rowboat. Hylda tried to hurry down to Grogg to make sure he was unharmed, or at least not too badly injured, but she overestimated her climbing skills and ended up in the water. At least she got a soft landing.

Yana and I started climbing next. Xipil just dove into the water so he could rescue Hylda. As soon as Yana was over the railing, she lost her grip on the rope and landed next to Grogg. While I had worried that Grogg might have broken the boat, Yana was too slight to break anything but herself. When Xipil called out for an oar or something to help him get Hylda over to the boat, I decided to kill two birds with one stone.

Some of the soldiers and priests had stopped arguing amongst themselves, and were coming towards me, looking angry. I hurriedly pulled a knife, and with a goodbye smile, I severed the rope above my grip. I landed with one foot on either side of Yana and rolled to the side, then used the momentum to whip the trailing rope out to Xipil. “Take this end,” I commanded Wolfram, who promptly started pulling Xipil and Hylda towards us.

I knelt beside Yana. Above, a priest was scowling at us. He shouted something that Wolfram said was a prayer for us. I didn’t pay attention to the priest, nor to any of the other belligerents back on the ship. Yana needed me, and she greatly appreciated the care and attention I provided. She might not have broken anything, but she’d be blue and black all over.

Xipil and Hylda took the oars and got us safely to the east bank. When Grogg stood up to get out of the boat, he put his foot where he had landed and finally made the hole I had expected. Thank You, Ashtar, for getting us safely ashore.

It was almost as dark as night due to the bad weather the dragons brought. I looked around and saw a light in the south, perhaps a quarter of an hour away, and asked the others if we should seek shelter there. Xipil said he didn’t want to meet anyone while the tempest lasted. As if his mention of the bad weather was a signal, the sky opened above us. Most of us hid under the rowboat, which Xipil and Hylda had pulled up the embankment. Xipil remained outside, watching the sky, and Grogg sat nearby, clutching his maul while staring towards the east.

The throbbing in my wound subsided, and I spoke a short prayer of thanks. With Grogg and Xipil outside in the rain, there was room for Yana to lie down. She needed help getting over the shock, and I instructed her in the same breathing exercises that I had made Wolfram use, not two hours before.

Grogg returned to the river where he began to chant. “Ogra, Ogra, Ogra!” The wind shook the rowboat, and Wolfram had to go outside to fasten it with ropes. Xipil assisted. When the boat was secured, Wolfram came inside again, but Xipil went down to Grogg.

A powerful lightning bolt struck ground a short distance towards the east. A few seconds later, two more bolts crashed against the fields, closer this time. Wolfram returned to the downpour to set up his lightning rod, or as he likes to call it, his totem pole. I didn’t see the wisdom in that. I closed my eyes, touched the ground, and prayed.

More lightning rained ever closer, and Wolfram shouted for Grogg to come back to the shelter. The next lightning bolt landed only twenty or thirty meters away, and I felt the electricity in the air. Then a wind blew past us, shaking the rowboat and making it groan.

I felt a tug on my shoulder and opened my eyes to find Yana looking scared. “What was that?” she asked, pointing towards the river. I thought I heard Grogg’s chanting from the direction Yana pointed, but I could just make out his outline a little further to the south. “I can’t see anything in the dark,” I admitted. Yana squinted. “A shadow is trying to take Xipil,” she burst out.

I ran where Yana had pointed. There was no time to stop and apply venom to my knives if Xipil was being attacked right at that time. Wolfram lumbered after me, weapons at the ready. Xipil greeted us calmly from the darkness when we arrived; his camouflage skin made him almost impossible to detect. I wondered how Yana had spotted him.

Now that I was closer, I could see Grogg standing next to Xipil and chanting, despite also standing ten meters away. I asked what was happening. “I made a decoy Grogg,” Xipil explained. “Bite a stone and break a fang,” I cursed at him, then stomped off back to the rowboat.

The rain quickly chilled my anger at Xipil for scaring Yana, and I was my usual self again – or at least as usual as I am under the full moon – when I ducked back in under the cover. I relayed that Xipil had made an illusory Grogg, but Yana insisted there was something wrong with it. I asked how she could see anything in the dark. “It isn’t that dark, is it?” she asked anxiously. I opened my mouth to speak, but then another lightning bolt struck behind me, down at the river where Xipil, Grogg and Wolfram still were.
__________________
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 05-28-2022, 05:32 AM   #248
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 85 (2022-05-22)

28th of Ratanu, year 412 (continued)

Grogg yelled, “Lunari, help!” I turned around to see what was happening. A huge, sparkling reptile-like creature with wings now stood where there once had been an illusory Grogg. I wondered if this was the physical manifestation of the dragon; even Grogg was small in comparison.

Wolfram was charging towards the creature. Among some rocks to the north, Xipil created another Grogg-illusion. I couldn’t see Xipil himself, but the troll illusion was a large shadow that lumbered towards the dragon. With the coming of the dragon, the rain had practically stopped at the blink of an eye and the bloody full moon lit up the soon-to-be battlefield. The dragon’s roar made the earth shake and the air quiver.

Grogg appeared to hear words in the dragon’s roar, for he took a step forward and bellowed “Yes!” Wolfram tried throwing a knife at the dragon, but the wind surging around our foe knocked the knife aside. “Ranged weapons don’t work!” Wolfram warned and drew his sword, chopping at the dragon’s left wing with both that and the knife he held in his off hand. The dragon made no attempt to defend, but immediately realized its folly, for Wolfram ruined the wing.

I grabbed hold of my backpack and ripped it open. I am not a great warrior, and this enemy was one I couldn’t survive in a head-on fight. I might come out on top, going toe-to-toe against the average street ruffian, but my strength lies in striking unexpectedly. Against the dragon, I was thoroughly outmatched. Its scales were thick and heavy, and even if I managed to slip a blade between them, I wouldn’t penetrate to its vital organs. I might have tried hurling my knives at the dragon’s eyes, but Wolfram had just demonstrated that throwing was not an option. No, poison was my only weapon against this beast, and I was woefully unprepared. My glands were drained and my blades clean. I had to find my vial of venom and hope that Grogg and Wolfram survived. Hopefully, they also managed to crack a hole in the dragon’s armor, where I might strike and deliver my deadly dose.

I turned my back to the fight, pulling the medicine roll out of my backpack. Yana was unfortunate enough to be facing the violence, and terror marred her otherwise perfect features. I could hear Grogg and the dragon roaring at each other and I could listen to Wolfram’s weapons striking and the dragon’s jaws snapping, but Yana had to watch; she couldn’t pull her eyes away, not on her own.

“My venom, quickly!” My voice broke through Yana’s catatonia and gave her the strength to look down, to the medicine kit I had unrolled on the ground between us. Bless her, she knew at once which of the several vials was the right one, or perhaps You guided her hand. Yana’s face relaxed now that her eyes weren’t transfixed on the battle on the beach, and she trusted me enough not to panic again when I whipped out my two long knives and pointed them at her. Behind me, Grogg’s shouts turned to swearing when the dragon slammed him to the ground and trampled him.

“On the tips,” I instructed. Yana needed a few seconds to drip the venom onto my blades, so I turned my head to check on the progress of the battle. Grogg seemed to be on the defensive, moving sluggishly, but he shouted, “You are the loser here!” Wolfram caught up with the dragon after its charge, and he attacked, but the dragon got its massive body out of the way. The dragon chomped down on Wolfram’s head, and he crumpled to the ground. That ridiculously big helmet of his saved him, for he was only stunned, not unconscious.

Xipil had apparently decided to mass produce illusory trolls. Number two was running towards the dragon as it tried to take a bite out of the first. The illusion made no attempt to get out of the way – that would have been impressive – but it only rippled as the dragon’s jaws swept through it. Grogg took the opportunity while the dragon was temporarily confused to smack it right in the face.

Getting out from under the rowboat, I gave a quick thank to Yana and rubbed the two knife tips together to flatten the venom droplets so they wouldn’t fall off before I connected. The dragon charged north towards Xipil, and Wolfram had to roll aside to avoid being trampled. Grogg was knocked to the ground again.

The dragon had learned mostly to ignore the troll illusions that didn’t harm it with their feeble attacks, and it turned around and roared at Grogg and Wolfram again. Grogg got back up and shouted for Hylda to find his shadow. The orc crawled out from our shelter and ran straight for him. Grogg yelled at the dragon that we would rather die than kneel and worship it, then he began to charge. I wasn’t as foolhardy as Hylda, and ducked behind a tree, seeking to approach unseen.

The dragon met Grogg’s charge with its own, but this time, the troll remained standing after they crashed into each other. The dragon continued all the way to Wolfram, who had prepared his sword and skewered the dragon, sinking the blade into its chest halfway up to the hilt. That was enough to make the terrible foe fall, but Wolfram took no chances and continued stabbing. Grogg shouted at the dragon that he hoped Palo choked. I had thought this monster
was Palo, but perhaps not. Perhaps Palo was the incorporeal force of nature as I had believed before this creature appeared, and that this was just something Palo had conjured.
__________________
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 05-28-2022, 05:45 AM   #249
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 85 (2022-05-22)

The physical manifestation of the dragon was defeated and began to dissolve into air. Something emerged from it, like a spirit, but it was visible to everyone. Grogg tried to slam it, but he ran right through. Wolfram started to transform. Hylda cried that she couldn’t see Grogg’s shadow. A disembodied voice whispered, “You have already lost!”

Grogg pointed at the dragon’s wind form and instructed Kraa to stop it. His voice gradually distorting, Wolfram exclaimed that it still cast a shadow. From the north, Xipil shot a beam of starlight towards the dragon, but he missed. I picked up speed, hoping to reach the dragon before it got too high up. Maybe I could force it to manifest again, like I could with spirits. I was too slow; Grogg dropped his maul and jumped up to grab the dragon’s tail, but he missed and the dragon escaped upwards.

I put away my knives. “Does anyone need first aid?” I asked, but nobody listened. Wolfram aborted his transformation and ran up to his totem pole while Grogg shouted for Kraa to return, for the dragon flew far faster than the spirit raven. Xipil came jogging down the beach, but he hadn’t been involved in the fighting, so he was no more hurt than before the battle. I repeated my question to Grogg, but he said to help Wolfram first.

Wolfram was drawing a magic circle around the totem pole when I jogged up to him. “You’re bleeding,” I informed him, but Wolfram was too busy to sit down. He needed to finish the circle so he could recall the dragon, he said. Grogg shouted that we couldn’t defeat the dragon if we had no shadows. Yana came out with my medicine kit, but I said first aid could only be had in the shelter under the rowboat. I put one arm around Yana and pulled on Wolfram with the other, but of course I couldn’t budge him; he is so much bigger and stronger than me. Disgustingly, he poked at his face wound and used the blood to draw on the ground. He asked how far I thought the dragon had gone. I guessed five kilometers, but I had really no clue. I raised my voice so Grogg could hear too, and informed him that he could come into the shelter if he wanted first aid.

Since nobody else wanted my attention, I could coddle Yana. She was wounded from her fall, and it is said that healing improves under professional care. I do have some skills that qualify me. Most recently, I learned about surgery from Ælios. Yana fortunately didn’t require that, so I utilized what I learned growing up in the temple. I refrained from procedures that needed her to undress, seeing as there were prying eyes about, but there was plenty I could do, still. Yana asked if we should leave, in case the dragon returned, but I soothed her worries and told her it wasn’t likely to come back. Korro and Nillet appeared to have overcome their dizziness, but they huddled up demurely and were quite obvious in their attempt not to draw attention to themselves. As long as they didn’t make trouble, I could forget about them and focus on Yana.

Grogg and Xipil carried what little remained of the dragon’s physical form up to the rowboat and put it in Grogg’s sacks. There were scales and claws and teeth, and I thought that some of it might be fashioned into extravagant weapons. The right buyer would probably pay quite handsomely for the stuff.

The clouds grew thicker and hid the moon, and Wolfram cast a spell to make moonlight around the totem pole so he could see what he was drawing. He was still working on enlarging that magic circle. Xipil came inside from the increasing rain and lay down to sleep. Grogg and Hylda ducked in under the rowboat too, and Hylda gave Grogg a massage.

I apologized to Yana for leaving her side, but I had to use the opportunity while Grogg wasn’t going anywhere to give him some actual medical attention. Grogg declared that Wolfram was now an honorary member of the Ogra clan. I doubt he’d bestow this honor on me if I had been the one to slay the beast; his suspicious mind would have believed it was a trick, or perhaps an elaborate scam to gain his trust. Sadly, I think he must remind himself every morning not to believe anything that comes out of my mouth; he knows I’m too good for him to ever catch me in a lie, so he just has to assume that I’m trying to trick him all the time. I won’t claim I never lie to Grogg or my other companions, for You know my heart, but I don’t lie to harm them, for I would like for us all to be friends.

I told Grogg about the healing salve and offered to use it on him if he thought he could stand the terrible pain it inflicted while the magic worked. I made sure Yana heard too, and described the pain with brutal truth. I would never suggest using the salve on her, not when it had such a dreadful side-effect, but if Yana voluntarily submitted, I wouldn’t deny her the powerful healing effect. Grogg said he’d rather use the needle, and Yana didn’t speak up about the salve, so I left it in my medicine roll. I didn’t think Grogg was afraid of the pain. Instead I suspected he didn’t want us to expend the valuable salve before we had no other choice.

I told Wolfram to wake me if he wanted me to treat his wounds, then I brushed my teeth before lying down with Yana. She put her arms around me and I covered us with my cloak. Yana shifted against my back, trying to find a comfortable position. When she had settled, we 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
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Old 06-11-2022, 03:57 AM   #250
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 86 (2022-06-05)

1st of Tityra, year 412

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

Loud noises woke me in the middle of the night, but when I realized it was just Wolfram casting his spirit summoning spell, I quickly relaxed. I saw no reason to get up, since no danger loomed, and one delicious reason to remain where I was, under my cloak with Yana’s arms still wrapped around me. I closed my eyes and tried to sleep. I didn’t expect to see any spirits that might appear, anyway, not at this time of the month.

Apparently, the apparition of a man appeared almost as soon as Wolfram finished the spell. He made no sound, and he seemed not to perceive anything but the totem pole, which fascinated him. Kraa felt the tug of Wolfram’s spell too and made its usual ruckus. Somehow, the spirit raven’s antics prompted Wolfram to dig a hole in the ground and unearth a stone slab. Wolfram and Xipil – who couldn’t resist the temptation to see what was going on – wisely decided to wait until everyone was up to dig further. Wolfram helped the spirit man to move on.

I think I had just dozed off when a great horse thundered up to the totem pole. I opened my eyes and was surprised to discover that I could see the spirit horse. Something about the horse felt wrong to me. Unfortunately, I didn’t understand Your warning before the horse had kicked Xipil. The acrobatic lizard man scampered up a tree to safety.

Hylda pulled the magic needle from Grogg’s neck, waking him. There was no need to explain the situation to the troll. The scent of horse made him wild, and he overturned the rowboat to get to it. The rowboat made a wet crack as it bounced off my left leg, just below the knee. As much as my leg hurt, it was nothing compared to the twisting of my heart when I noticed Yana’s despairing expression.

I swore loudly after Grogg, rubbed my leg and tried to get up, but my leg couldn’t support me. I waved away Yana’s assistance, reasoning that I couldn’t put her in danger by having her lead me to the battlefield. I used the rowboat for support to stand up instead and immediately felt foolish for not allowing Yana to help me that far. Realizing that I had forgotten to put on my knife belt before getting up, I whimpered a plea for help to Yana and hoped it was too dark for anyone to see me blush, not that anyone was paying much attention to us.

Grogg obviously couldn’t see the spirit horse and was forced to hunt by smell, but he has a very sharp nose, particularly when it comes to horses. The horse had toppled Wolfram’s totem pole and was now leading Grogg in circles around it. Wolfram himself was exhausted by all his digging and spell casting, and he wobbled towards where he thought the spirit horse was going. He was in his spirit bear shape, so he was able to see the horse. From the safety of his tree, Xipil shot a beam of starlight towards the spirit horse, and although he missed, I knew he wore the spirit-seeing ring in front of one eye. Before You gifted me with spirit sight, I had asked Yana to attach some cloth straps to the ring so I wouldn’t have to use a hand to hold the ring in combat, and now Xipil took advantage of Yana’s cleverness.

I limped towards’ Xipil’s tree, fastening the belt around my waist and ignoring the jolts of pain that shot up my leg with every hop. The spirit horse tried to charge Wolfram, but Grogg managed to grab it and used his considerable weight to force it to the ground. Wolfram lashed out with his claws, lacerating the spirit horse. He saw me support myself against the tree trunk and whip out a throwing knife at the prone horse. Even in his bear shape, I saw surprise on his face, as if he didn’t know I had throwing knives or the skill to use them.

With Grogg on top of the horse, there was a slight chance that I might hit him instead of the horse, but right at that moment, I didn’t care. I was still mad at him for scaring Yana so by breaking my leg, but the blade wasn’t coated with venom, so even if I penetrated Grogg’s thick, scaly skin, I wouldn’t harm him noticeably. Of course, with You to guide my hand, my knife struck where You wished, and as it hit the horse, I focused my will and forced the horse to come into the physical world. Now that he could see it with both eyes, Xipil didn’t have any difficulties hitting our opponent with his next starlight beam. Wolfram finished the horse before I closed the distance.

I picked up my knife and sheathed it, calling out to Yana and Hylda to put back the rowboat. The deluge had diminished, but I still wanted a roof over my head while I provided first aid. Xipil leapt down from his tree and went over to taste the dead horse. He muttered something about revenge.

Selfishly, and prompted by the pained look on Yana’s face whenever she looked at my leg, I attended to my own wound first. I gave a short prayer of thanks when I realized that the break wasn’t as bad as I had first thought. I wasn’t even bleeding. When I felt the rowboat slam into my leg, I feared I could lose the use of it for months, but after examining the injury, I believed I’d be back on my feet in a week or two. Or perhaps just an hour, if I used the healing salve.

Wolfram and Xipil began tending their own injuries. I couldn’t inflict the pain of the healing salve on myself just yet. The two of them seemed competent enough, but I still asked if I should take over. Before helping me move over to Xipil, Yana expressed her displeasure with Wolfram’s timing. She had a few choice words – for my ears alone – about how foolish he was for summoning the angry spirit horse while everyone was injured. I nodded and told her I agreed.

I only had to adjust their bandages slightly and I commended Xipil and Wolfram on their work. Now that the battle was over, and nobody was bleeding, we needed to relax and let our bodies begin healing. I wasn’t as mobile as I would have liked, but Yana was a good assistant and followed my directions, making Xipil, Wolfram and me comfortable. Wolfram wanted to use the healing salve, but I told him his body had to stabilize first. He also called to Grogg not to poke at the hole he had made, for Grogg used the downtime to inspect the dig. Grogg wisely chose to lie down and sleep with the needle in his neck.

A bright ball of fire suddenly appeared some distance to the south and surged west with a loud rumbling and an incredible speed. Xipil asked me if I thought Nulius’s priests were the source of the fireball. “Don’t know, don’t care,” I replied mellowly.

When I had achieved that state of calm that I had sought, I looked at Xipil and Wolfram. They were quite relaxed, too. It was time to upset myself again. I removed the bandages from my leg and applied a dose of healing salve before putting the bandages back on. I knew I had a couple of minutes before the pain became too unbearable, so I hurriedly checked on Grogg. I was still a little mad at him, but after putting some time between myself and the incident, I realized that he hadn’t meant to harm anyone by overturning the rowboat.
__________________
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; 06-12-2022 at 06:46 AM.
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