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Old 05-17-2021, 04:04 AM   #251
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 63 (2021-05-13)

I jogged back to Leopold and asked if there were more bandits. He counted quickly and said no. I looked down at the arrow protruding from my belly and asked if I could go to Olivia now, but Leopold said we had to help Va’lyndra and Ilzo. He showed the way, and when we got close to their hiding place behind a fence, Va’lyndra whistled to let us know where they were. I asked again if we could go to Olivia, but Va’lyndra showered us with her water jet to wash away the worst of the blood and dirt, first.

I took over carrying Ilzo, and led the way to the hospital where Olivia worked. I was quite the sight, standing in the reception area with an arrow in my gut and an orc twice my size over my shoulders, asking for Olivia. The receptionist asked if I needed a doctor’s care. “Yes, from Olivia, the new one,” I replied. The woman asked what happened to us, and Leopold said we were attacked by a gang in the Pond. That was good enough of an answer, and we all got to see doctors. I got Olivia all to myself.

“I thought you were going to handle this affair peacefully,” Olivia accused while she was patching me up. “I thought that was the plan, too,” I said, “but when I went inside a small hut to have sex with this guy, the others just started fighting!” Olivia tightened the bandages with a hurt look which made me flinch. “Sulla thinks I’m doing good deeds, sleeping with random people.” That wasn’t much of an excuse, but Olivia said, “At least it wasn’t Ilzo. But if you were sleeping around, how come you got shot?” I explained about how we had to lug the unconscious Ilzo through the Pond and how another group of bandits caught up with us, without detailing the horrors.

When Ilzo woke, we returned to the inn to have a “drink”. Olivia stayed at work. Everyone stared at us when we entered the Leaping Trout, bloody and bandaged as we were. Leopold ordered washing water for us all, and then we headed straight for our rooms.

After washing myself and my clothes, I gathered everyone in Leopold’s room to talk. Va’lyndra was concerned for the last bandits we had fought; we hadn’t had time to give first aid. I said they should be fine, as we had only given them one or two cuts, and mostly to the legs, but Va’lyndra said they could still bleed out.

I finally got the explanation for why there was fighting in the first place. The bandits had wanted to chase away Va’lyndra, Ilzo and Leopold, but they didn’t want to leave me behind, and thus fighting broke out.

We still hadn’t identified the gang’s actual top dog. I thought we should return to the Pond to find him, but this time, we should be ready for a fight. We still didn’t allow Ilzo to bring Surkalpi, so after we had prepared ourselves, we bought a big, rectangular shield for him. Then we headed for the Pond.

We had the address of the second leader. He was a dwarf named Varg. When we got close, Ilzo approached a street kid and said hello. The boy held out his hands, begging, but Ilzo asked what he had hidden under a rock, and promised gold for the information. Va’lyndra shouted, unnecessarily loudly, that he should stop giving away his gold. The boy seemed threatened and dashed off. A couple of other urchins coming our way turned around.

Ilzo lifted the rock and revealed a string underneath. Leopold said it was an alarm, and Ilzo pulled it. The boy had already done so, so pulling it again shouldn’t alert anyone new. Leopold pointed to three houses further ahead, and said he could hear chiming from them all. He warned us there might be an ambush. Ilzo smiled with anticipation.

The leader’s house was one of the three. When we got closer, we saw that there were cattle behind it. A dwarf woman sat in a chair on the porch. I walked up to her and asked for Varg, the bandit leader. She wanted to know who I was, so I gave her my name. Her name was Nalla, she said, and I asked for Varg again. Nalla asked if I was going to perform. I told her I was, but I needed to speak to Varg first.

Nalla said that Varg wasn’t in, and she didn’t know where he was or when he’d return. Leopold approached and introduced himself, asking how Nalla knew Varg. He also introduced Va’lyndra and Ilzo, and the way he spoke made me realize Nalla was blind!

Nalla told us she was Varg’s sister, and wondered how we knew him. She knew who I was, that was obvious, and probably didn’t think her brother frequented the same places I did. Leopold confessed that we hadn’t actually met, but Varg was up to no good, and we were here to ask him to stop. Nalla didn’t know anything about that. We said goodbye, and Va’lyndra tried to press a coin into Nalla’s hand. That must have been an insult, for the coin came flying back at us, clanging off Ilzo’s armor. He picked up the coin and we left the scene.

I suggested we returned to the first field of battle, where the other deputy leader lived. Va’lyndra informed me that he was one of the three who died in that fight, after Ilzo gave him a kick which caved in his chest. There weren’t any people there, just blood, so we headed for the second battlefield, where I had participated. There were no corpses in the street, but there was blood here and there.

We began to suspect that the remaining bandits had holed up somewhere. We knew where many of them lived, and we picked a place far from the battlefields, hoping that the person living there hadn’t been involved in the fighting. Ilzo knocked on his door and Va’lyndra listened for movement inside, but there was nobody there. The next house on our list was also abandoned, but there was someone at the third.

A man was working in the tiny vegetable garden behind the shed. I asked Va’lyndra for the name of the guy who lived here, and when I said it out loud, the man turned, startled. I walked up to him and asked if he was part of the crew that made trouble in the Pond. He was a little flustered, and thought we were there to entertain. I asked if he knew where the rest of the gang was, but he didn’t want to answer, so I said he had two choices: He could let me persuade him to talk, or we could let Ilzo do it.

He picked me, so the two of us went inside his shed, where I commenced today’s second good deed. After a few minutes, someone knocked on the door, but we ignored it. Leopold entered, saying the gang had found us, looking prepared for fighting, and he and the others wanted me to help. I slithered out from under the gangster, apologized that I had to go, and told him to finish on his own. I dressed sensuously, but quickly.

Outside, I could see six armed men, a short distance away. Va’lyndra said they were waiting for reinforcement before attacking. The gang had fought us twenty against three and six against two and lost both times. Now we were armed, too, so six against four seemed like really bad odds for them. They scattered when we approached.

Ilzo ran after one, and I jogged along, thinking that splitting us up might be what the bandits wanted. Va’lyndra and Leopold followed after more slowly, as they didn’t want to exert themselves needlessly. We ran through streets and gardens and finally caught up with the bandit. Ilzo ran alongside him, asking where he was headed, but he tried to turn away. That didn’t work, as I was on his other side. Realizing that he was trapped, the bandit sat down dejectedly. I told Ilzo to pick him up and carry him back to the others for interrogation. Ilzo didn’t even bother taking the man’s club, and he hit Ilzo in the back when we began to walk. Ilzo said that if he did it again, he would have to disarm him, and while the message was delivered quite calmly, it was clear that Ilzo was threatening to rip the man’s arms out of their sockets. There was no more trouble.

Leopold introduced himself and asked the bandit’s name. That was none of our business, he said, and Va’lyndra suggested we find somewhere more private to talk. Leopold spotted an abandoned shed nearby, and we went inside that.

Leopold informed the bandit that he had just witnessed the torture of a demon, and would try to replicate the process, if the bandit didn’t answer our questions. He still refused to answer, so Leopold had Ilzo hold him while he gave the man a short incision on his arm. The purple energy of the Chaos knife surged into the poor man.

The man was obviously in pain, but Va’lyndra thought it necessary to cast a spell, too. She did her magic dance and touched the prisoner. He accused us of being sorcerers, but finally feared us more than his superiors. His name was Kalle, and he took orders from a man called Nork. We got another name, too, but I didn’t catch it. This last man was the one to order him to go to the address where Leopold so rudely had interrupted my “information gathering”.
__________________
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 05-23-2021, 03:35 AM   #252
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 64 (2021-05-21)

Thoughts on November 2nd (continued)

We were uncertain where our investigation should go. I got Kalle to tell us where the injured gang members were holed up; any information could turn out to be useful. Then someone had the brilliant idea to have Kalle bring a message up through the ranks. Ultimately, we wanted to speak to the secretive boss, and we said to Kalle that unless we got what we wanted, we’d continue terrorizing the gang. We had shown that we were capable, so the threat should be taken seriously.

We went outside the shed to discuss where to meet, so Kalle wouldn’t hear. It should be somewhere public, and I proposed the marketplace in the Immigration district, but Leopold didn’t think the gang would be willing to go to this upper-class area, which would be filled with guards. We agreed on the Solus church near the fishing docks instead, tomorrow afternoon. We gave Kalle the location and reminded him of our threat, then we let him run.

It was time to go home to the Leaping Trout, so we began to exfiltrate from the Pond district. Va’lyndra whispered that two boys were stalking us, and Leopold suggested we leave the Pond before trying to lose the tail. The boys kept up with us through the East End district, so we decided to take action.

We stopped just around a corner, and I scampered up on the roof. The boys cleverly walked along a parallel road to the one we had taken, so I had to jump over to another rooftop to get close. I don’t think any of the others could have made that jump. I crawled over the second roof and jumped down on the street just behind the two stalkers.

One of the boys heard me land and turned, so I grabbed him and asked why they were following us. The other boy ran away. The one I held tried to get free, but I wrestled him to the ground and pinned him, asking once more why they followed us.

Ilzo, Va’lyndra and Leopold came running, so I asked Ilzo to sit on the boy. He was a bit scrawny, so Ilzo just put his foot on the boy’s chest. Leopold squatted next to the boy and looked him in the eyes. He said we didn’t want to harm the boy, but we wanted answers: “Who told you to follow us?” The boy made him promise not to pass on to anyone that he had talked to us, then revealed that someone named Gustav had tasked them to find out where we lived. The boy didn’t know who Gustav took his orders from, and didn’t know Gustav’s whereabouts, except that he was in the Pond. He promised not to follow us again, and we let him run.

Ilzo followed, but Leopold asked me to stop him. I caught up with Ilzo and told him that if he followed the boy back to the Pond, someone else would surely stalk him in return, and he wouldn’t be able to spot them, since he wasn’t Va’lyndra. We went back to the others, and then to the inn, keeping an eye out for stalkers, but we saw none.

I practiced contortion in my room until Olivia came. After a brief kiss-and-tell session, we joined the others for dinner. Ilzo said he wanted to go to the market to buy a staff. I warned him not to go alone, and Leopold said that it was a little late for going to the market, advising him to wait until tomorrow.

While we were eating, the guard lieutenant entered, looking for us. He wanted a private talk when we had finished eating. I told him to sit down and keep us company until then. Ilzo asked him all manner of questions and mostly got rather short answers. I didn’t think the lieutenant was too happy.

Since the room Olivia and I share is the largest of our bedrooms, we went up there after the meal. The lieutenant had heard rumors about unrest in the Pond. Ilzo and Leopold promised that we acted in self-defense. The lieutenant warned us not to spread these problems to other districts. He was pleased that there hadn’t been found any corpses, and said he didn’t want to know about the three that Leopold told him we had buried. He thanked us for the talk and left. I hinted to Ilzo, Va’lyndra and Leopold that since we had already made our plans for tomorrow, maybe they would like to say goodbye as well? I needed some alone-time with Olivia after everything that had happened, and for once, I was glad I hadn’t made any promises to perform.


Thoughts on November 3rd

When Olivia left for work, I sat down to pray to Sulla. I wasn’t quite sure how to do it – my usual devotion is through sex – but I made an attempt. The god of love had sent messages in the form of dreams, and I didn’t know how to interpret them. Maybe I could ask directly and get a reply?

An idea struck me, and I went out and knocked on Leopold’s door, asking if I could speak with Walter. The undead orc head used to be a priest, so maybe he knew how to pray? He gave instructions, which included incense, so I went downstairs and asked the innkeeper if he could send someone to the market to buy it. I ran upstairs again and borrowed a gold coin from Ilzo, and instructed the innkeeper that I wanted my incense to be perfumed. He sent a servant, who returned half an hour later with thirty sticks of incense.

I knelt before Sulla’s statuette while one of the incense sticks burned and spread the scent of spring flowers through the room. I did all the things Walter had said, but still got no reply. At least none that I perceived, but I’m not very observant, so maybe I wasn’t paying attention. Or maybe I needed to have sex to get through to Sulla?

At lunch, Ilzo told us that he had beaten three ogres at arm wrestling today. My competition instinct triggered, but after taking one look at Ilzo’s bulging muscles, I chose not to challenge him. Instead, I informed the others that I was going to the church. I planned to climb the building before any of the bandits arrived. Then I could keep watch over the negotiations when the others arrived. Leopold warned me not to fall down or insult anyone. I told him I could promise the former, but not the latter.

My friends stayed behind when I left. I had no trouble getting up on the church roof, and I found a good hiding place from where I could watch. Armed bandits began to trickle in long before the agreed time, and five of them had gathered when I spotted Va’lyndra, Ilzo and Leopold approaching. They stopped in front of the church without acknowledging me. If any of them had seen me, it could only be Va’lyndra; the other two were likely to wave and say hello.

We waited while the pack of bandits grew, then three dwarves came over. The middle one wore chainmail and a visored helmet and turned out to be Varg, the surviving underboss. After introducing himself, Leopold told Varg that we wanted them to stop their criminal activities. This was a noble goal, Varg said, considering that we had been murdering people. He accused us of invading their territory and explained that if he and his men didn’t enforce order in the Pond, there would be anarchy.

Leopold went into researcher mode, retrieved his notepad and flooded the poor dwarf with questions. I decided they weren’t going to fight, or if they did, Ilzo could handle the three bandits before they got reinforcements from across the square. I used my vantage point for what it was worth, keeping an eye on the surroundings, in particular the rest of the gang.

After they had talked for a good while, the three dwarves returned to their companions. Varg gave some instructions, and the gang dispersed. I climbed down and asked Leopold if they had come to an agreement with the bandits. It was Va’lyndra who answered. She said we were going to meet the bandits in the forest in two days, where they would try to take our money. That sounded like a peculiar arrangement, but Va’lyndra clarified that we would be fighting the bandits.

Leopold wondered who Varg’s boss was. Apparently, they hadn’t brought him to this meeting. None of us could answer his question, so he changed the topic and said he wanted to put three thousand gold into the bank. I couldn’t fathom why, but Leopold tried to explain, saying something about showing some document to the bandits to prove we had the money. He is much smarter than me. I would never tell bandits that I was rich. Three thousand gold is an insane amount of money. I’m not even sure we have that much between us. Maybe if we sold some of our magical equipment.

We discussed for a while how to defeat the bandits. They never agreed to a location, so we decided we could pick one that suited us. It was getting dark, but that didn’t bother an elf, an orc and a gnome, so they headed for the forest to see if they could begin searching for a good place to meet the bandits. I returned to the inn. The others said I should watch their stuff, but I went straight for Olivia.
__________________
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 05-23-2021, 03:40 AM   #253
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 64 (2021-05-21)

Thoughts on November 4th

I had another dream last night. I was having fun with Olivia, doing exotic activities, among other things using a tail I had. The people around us were bored and I felt sorry for them. I told Olivia I thought this meant I should have more sex with more people. She gave me a flat stare, and I promised I wouldn’t neglect her. She was the love of my life. Olivia understood that I wanted to take my religion seriously, but she begged me not to put this plan into action before she had considered it carefully.

Leopold brought up the three thousand gold again at breakfast, asking if we should put the money in the bank, or if we should just trounce the bandits. I didn’t see much point in paying someone to keep our money inaccessible, but I whispered to Olivia to ask how much money the two of us actually possessed. She whispered back that we could cover a third of the money Leopold was talking about, and still have plenty left over. Wow! He wasn’t just bragging, then, about how rich we were. Still, I didn’t think it was a good idea to let criminals know we had that kind of money.

For some reason, Ilzo wanted to make his own private army, and when Olivia left for work, he headed over to the garrison to ask the lieutenant for permission. Va’lyndra, Leopold and I waited at the inn for him to come back rejected. When he did, we left for another scouting trek into the forest.

We hadn’t gone far before Va’lyndra said she had to go back to the inn to fetch something. She pointed at a tall, green tree beyond the elf wall and said that we had to go there. Realizing that we couldn’t pass the wall, at least not legally, she gave up on the entire thing, and we continued out of town.

We found a nice, little ridge with low cliffs on the north and south side and began laying out the battlefield. Ilzo returned to town to buy stuff for making traps. Va’lyndra and I moved bushes and shrubs so we could funnel the bandit attack and hopefully slow their charge. Leopold used his earth magic along the cliffs to make climbing even more difficult. Since Ilzo had the most to do, I helped him with his traps when he returned.

The agreed time for the battle was tomorrow evening. I worried about the dark, but Leopold assured me the bandits – at least the humans among them – would be carrying torches. In a pinch, I guess Ilzo can activate Surkalpi to flood the battlefield with daylight. He’ll be allowed to use an actual weapon tomorrow.
__________________
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 06-11-2021, 08:40 AM   #254
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 65 (2021-06-06)

Thoughts on November 5th

We had breakfast in the room I share with Olivia, so we could discuss our battle plans privately. Ilzo wanted to put sharp things at the bottom of the pits he dug yesterday, as well as digging more holes. My contribution to the planning concerned putting up red strips of cloth along a path that the bandits could follow to where we wanted them to be. We should wait with that, so they wouldn’t find us and scout the battlefield. Va’lyndra said she was going to shape some trees, widening and flattening the trunks to give us better cover from archer fire.

Leopold escorted Ilzo to the market to buy sharp things, and Va’lyndra and I went to find someone to bring our message about following the red trail to the bandits. We found a street urchin at the border of the Pond district, and Va’lyndra paid him a few coppers to relay the message to Varg. Then we headed for the battlefield, where we had arranged to meet Ilzo and Leopold.

When we came close to our ridge, three handsome elven men stepped out of the trees and asked us to stop. Two of them pointed arrows at us, and the third spoke. He asked “the elf” to come over to them, and ordered me to remain where I was. The elves had an emblem of a tree on their armor, but no uniform. However, it was obvious these were forest guardians from beyond the wall.

Va’lyndra greeted the elves. “Praise to Elendus, and peace in nature!” The man replied that it was good that she hadn’t forgotten her ancestors’ ways, but wanted to know what we were doing here. Va’lyndra explained that we were practicing a ritual dance for Elendus. The elf wasn’t convinced, so she elaborated that one should dance through obstacles in nature, so we had prepared this area with dangers. She offered to demonstrate, but apologized that she hadn’t brought her Elendus statuette this time, nor her regular partner. The elves said I could be her partner, but Va’lyndra claimed that I didn’t know the dance; she had intended to teach it to me before the others arrived.

The elves told Va’lyndra to put down her weapons, claiming they’d only get in the way when she was dancing. I didn’t trust the elves at all, not when one of them was aiming straight at me. I looked him in the eyes and put a string on my own bow. That started a shouting match between Va’lyndra and me. She threatened to tell Olivia I had done something bad. “Oh, yeah? I’ll just deny it, and who do you think she’ll believe?” I always confessed when I had misstepped, so I was certain Olivia would trust me, no matter how eloquent Va’lyndra was.

When the elves threatened to banish us from this place, Va’lyndra got really mad at me and stomped over. I flat out refused to put away my weapons while someone pointed theirs at me, but I proclaimed loudly that I didn’t understand why the elves felt threatened. It wasn’t as if I had any arrows in my quiver.

Va’lyndra went back to the elves and got them to lower their weapons, and I reluctantly put down my bow. They demanded that I put my knife down as well, and I considered being obstinate, but decided not to. I put my foot on the hilt so the magical weapon wouldn’t fly into my hand, and my toes under the bow so I could flip it up and grab it. Unless the elves had special training, I should be able to get a shot off before them, if they took aim again.

Va’lyndra demonstrated her dance, dodging between the traps that Ilzo and I had set up yesterday. After dancing for a while, Va’lyndra spoke some more with the elf leader. He raised his voice and gave a command in Elvish, said some parting words to Va’lyndra, and then he and his men left. I spotted two coming out of hiding, and thought it was good that we didn’t have to fight. I would have been fine, being further back, but Va’lyndra may not have survived.

I got an apology from Va’lyndra for being so sharp with me, but the situation was very delicate, she said. Then she went back to the traps and danced again. I determined to show her how it was done. I hadn’t seen this dance before today, let alone tried it, but I’m a skilled dancer in general, and this one had so much ducking and weaving among the traps that I even could draw on my acrobatics talent.

I felt like an elf while I was dancing. The dance also got me thinking about Sulla, for it had elements reminding me of a mating ritual. No wonder Ilzo and Va’lyndra use it as foreplay. I hadn’t believed they were actually dancing when they went out to be alone. I had thought it was a euphemism.

Ilzo and Leopold arrived half an hour after us at the battlefield. Va’lyndra explained to everyone that we had to tidy up after we were done. The elves hadn’t liked very much that we had dug holes and set up snares, but Va’lyndra had managed to soothe them, at least for a time.

I helped Ilzo with his traps, starting with putting arrows at the bottoms of the holes he had already made. He had purchased nearly a thousand of them, so I had plenty to work with. The holes weren’t even three meters deep, so I had no trouble getting out of them on my own. The bandits might not be quite as adroit as me, but I supposed that was why the arrows were there, to discourage them from joining the fight after the climb.

Leopold helped with the traps too, and he and Ilzo mainly focused on making the rear slope up to our ridge a treacherous route. Ilzo made more holes there for me to fill with arrows. Va’lyndra worked on top of the ridge, shaping trees, as she had said.

When the agreed time was approaching, the others sat down to rest while I made a trail of red cloth. At the place where the bandits should find the trail, I put up lots of red on the first branch, so they couldn’t fail to see it. Then I hid. I waited until the sky darkened. Nobody came. When it was getting so dark I might not find my way back to the others if I waited any longer, I left.

When I explained that nobody had showed up, Ilzo said we should wait until dawn, and if nobody had come by then, we should go back into town and beat up the bandits in their home base. The rest of us thought that was a bad idea. I posited that the street kid we had paid to deliver the message might have gotten something wrong. Maybe he messed up the message – Va’lyndra hadn’t exactly formulated it simply – or maybe he delivered it to the wrong person.

We decided to head back to Alvheim and look for the bandits. We walked along the edge of the forest, and Va’lyndra discovered that the bandits had gone out, but not where we expected them. They had also gone back to town.

We entered the Pond district and people stared at us, dressed up for battle as we were. When someone dashed ahead of us, we assumed they were going to alert the bandits that we had come, and turned around, making sure not to lose the dwarf teen who followed. He had to be a scout for the bandits, for he trailed us out into the forest.

Just out of sight of town, we started hanging up red cloth again; we had taken down the first trail. We went almost all the way to the battlefield, and stopped to wait. After a few minutes, Leopold reported that the scout had gone home, and Va’lyndra and Leopold went the rest of the way to our prepared site, continuing to hang up red cloth on the branches.

Ilzo and I waited until we saw torches approaching, and Ilzo exclaimed, “Look! The lambs have come to the slaughter!” We followed the trail and joined Va’lyndra and Leopold on the ridge. When I could just see the torches far into the trees, Leopold raised his voice. “Stop where you are!” He wasn’t looking at the torches, so I assumed he had spotted scouts trying to sneak around our flanks. One of the scouts fell into a pit trap with a scream and a thud. Ilzo laughed out loud, and Leopold repeated his warning. While we waited for the negotiators to arrive, Leopold pointed out the flankers to me. Va’lyndra went to the rear of the ridge to keep watch there. I counted the torches. Only ten, but the elves and dwarves in the gang probably had no more need of the light than my friends did.

The bandits stopped about sixty meters away, and talked among themselves until both Leopold and I had called for them to send their negotiators up to us. Leopold even had to remind them about the monsters roaming the Bewitched Forest. Then two dwarves in chainmail, carrying axes and shields, approached. Since they headed right for the traps, Ilzo went down to escort them along the safe path.

I asked Leopold if he thought there would be fighting. He said he believed the bandits would attack when Ilzo got down there. I quaffed a potion of invulnerability, and held potions of battle and of speed in my hand. Those didn’t last as long, so I wanted to drink them at the last minute. Ilzo should survive a few seconds without my covering fire.
__________________
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 06-11-2021, 09:03 AM   #255
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 65 (2021-06-06)

Nothing happened, and Ilzo guided the two dwarves up to Leopold and me. One of them had a mask, hiding his face. Leopold wanted him to remove it, but he didn’t comply. Still, negotiations commenced. The bandits wanted to see our money. Leopold had forgotten to bring it, but Ilzo handed over two pouches of gold and told him to bargain with those. Leopold and the dwarves discussed enlisting the gang members to Ilzo’s private army, but the dwarves admitted that their boys lacked discipline, and Leopold didn’t want to pay for training them.

This could drag on, and I feared my potion would wear off before they finished talking. I asked permission to speak, and Leopold said to go ahead. I addressed the dwarves: “I thought you wanted to attack us and take our stuff. Would you like to go back to your friends first, or do you want to begin the fight right here and now?” The dwarves assured me that they were negotiating in good faith, and had no interest in fighting us. Shoot! That was over thirty gold wasted. Good thing I hadn’t popped the other two potions as well.

Leopold asked what the dwarves wanted out of this agreement, apart from money. They wanted a bright future for the Pond, and honest work for everyone. Leopold wanted a list of those we were going to hire, and the dwarves rattled off forty or fifty names. I recognized a few from the papers the lieutenant had given us.

The negotiations went on for around ten minutes, before stagnating. Apparently, these dwarves didn’t have the authority to negotiate on behalf of all the criminals in the Pond, just a few. Leopold demanded to speak to their boss, and the masked dwarf threw up his hands and said we could meet again in three days. I cursed myself again for being so trigger-happy with the potion.

The negotiators returned to their friends and talked with them. Ilzo crossed the ridge to discuss with Va’lyndra the possibility of building an arena here. Leopold told me he didn’t think the bandits would negotiate as long as they did. Then someone raised his voice. “Let’s go home, boys!” One of the torchbearers threw his torch, not in our direction. He must have been just as disappointed as me that nothing was going to happen here. But Leopold said the bandits were going to attack, now!

I uncorked one of the vials in my hand with my teeth and glanced to the south. We had heard noises on both flanks, suggesting the bandits were trying to surround us, but I didn’t see anything. To the east, the bandits began to run towards our ridge. I quaffed the potion, which turned out to be the battle one, for I could feel my body becoming superhumanly agile. I wondered briefly why I don’t use these potions when I perform, but then I remembered that they’re really expensive, and that it would be cheating. I can’t honestly call myself the best acrobat in the world if I use performance-enhancing drugs.

Ilzo came charging from behind, to intercept the bandits threading their way past our traps. Only one of them fell into a hole, but the traps had made them wary and slow, which was their main purpose. Suddenly, a hail of arrows came out of the darkness to the south, and I threw myself down. I uncorked the other vial while Ilzo thundered past, and quaffed the potion of speed before bouncing back to my feet.

Leopold moved towards the northern cliffs, so I focused to the south while readying an arrow. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see Ilzo in the torchlight, meeting the bandit charge head on. Behind me, I heard the faint zap from Leopold’s wand of lightning. I dropped to the ground under another synchronized archer attack from the south, and leaped up again, ready to shoot. I had finally spotted the archers!

Closer than them, a climber had just scaled the southern cliff, so I put an arrow in him, but the wound wasn’t serious. I heard arrows striking the ground somewhere behind me, so it seemed that Leopold was under attack as well. I stepped to the side, to one of Va’lyndra’s shaped tree trunks; I didn’t want to be shot in the back. The archers to the south counted less than ten, so I didn’t bother to drop to the ground under the next attack. I dodged easily enough anyway. I returned fire, dropping one of the archers.

Behind me, Leopold dislodged a piece of the northern cliff, making a climber fall screaming. Another climber came up from the southwest, so I shot him. I kept turning slowly to my right while finally putting down the first climber I shot, and noticed that two bandits were coming at Va’lyndra from opposite sides. I didn’t have time to call out a warning, but she heard the bandit behind her, dropping her bow and stepping aside while readying her staff.

I heard the crash of a climber slipping off the cliff-face. Then another flight of arrows came my way. I missed one of the arrows, and it struck my side, but didn’t even penetrate my leather armor. I shot at one of the men flanking Va’lyndra, but he threw himself under the arrow. The bandits Ilzo was trying to hold off discovered that they could force their way through the shrubbery near the top of the slope, and made an awful ruckus.

I ran towards Va’lyndra while drawing and shooting at her second opponent, who also dropped to the ground to evade my arrow. Va’lyndra made two rapid strikes against him, and one of them connected. The other one stood up and fumbled with his club, turning it clumsily in his hands. He was no immediate threat, so I closed the distance with the first one and gave him two fast slashes with Scorchmark.

Va’lyndra dashed off with a quick apology, leaving me with the fumbler, who readied his club and took a step towards me. Scorchmark took care of him, too, before I whirled around to see how Ilzo was doing. I noticed several more climbers on the way up, but mostly towards Leopold, who looked like a pincushion. If he didn’t know by now that he was supposed to dodge the bloody arrows, nothing I said would convince him. He was staggering, but managed to stay on his feet. Va’lyndra asked if he needed a healing potion. Ilzo seemed to be doing all right. Most of the bandits around him had either fallen or was trying to make their way through the thick bushes, but that was slow going. I shot at one of them, but missed.

Leopold made another climber fall, using his rock magic. After I had moved in among the trees, the southern archers didn’t have any good targets, but Va’lyndra had exposed herself now. She managed to dodge most of the arrows, but two struck, although they didn’t seem to do much damage. Her leather was thicker than mine, being made from hydra skin.

One of the bandits coming out of the shrubbery turned to get Ilzo in the back, but the rest charged towards Va’lyndra and Leopold, buying themselves a few more seconds of life. The northern archers sent a volley towards Va’lyndra and Leopold, but Va’lyndra’s magical shield blocked two arrows, and the only one that hit its mark bounced off Va’lyndra’s armor.

I drew another arrow from my cornucopia quiver, but dropped it. It vanished as soon as it slipped from my fingers. I stepped towards Va’lyndra and Leopold and their surrounding bandits, magicked a new arrow into existence, and shot the bandit who focused on Leopold. Va’lyndra took care of another of them with her whirling staff.

Another climber had come up from the south, and charged towards me, but he didn’t even get halfway before I greeted him with an arrow. I turned to the north again and helped Va’lyndra and Leopold with one of their bandits. The arrow struck with such force it came out on the other side and hit the next bandit, too, but it didn’t stick.

By this time, Ilzo had dealt with all his opponents, and came running to help Va’lyndra and Leopold. Va’lyndra tried a fancy whirlwind attack, and I’ve never seen her execute it so badly. After striking the first bandit, she threw the staff to the ground, just as the northern archers launched a new flight of arrows. Another climber actually reached me, but he dropped his club, so I just shot another of Va’lyndra’s opponents, while saying over my shoulder, “Go home to your mother and have her teach you the club!” Enraged, the bandit tried a body slam, but I stepped aside, grabbed Scorchmark from the air and cut him down. “I told you to go home to your mother!”

Ilzo and Va’lyndra dealt with the last of the club fighters. The southern archers decided to ignore me since I had taken position near another of Va’lyndra’s trees, and shot at Ilzo instead. Only one arrow hit, and Ilzo took it on the shield. I ducked and weaved back to my first tree, where I could return fire to the south without worrying about the northern archers. My worry was unnecessary, for Va’lyndra made a rain of ice daggers, which scattered them, at least for the moment. Ilzo jumped off the cliff so he could run them down.

The main charge was defeated, and no bandits remained on the ridge who were still fit for a fight. The southern archers – I estimated they were fewer than ten – were still in the fight, but I was more concerned that they should try to slip away in the dark than of them actually hurting me. I had seen signs of other bandits fleeing when they realized the fight wasn’t going their way, and it might be good for our reputations if some survivors returned to tell the tale of the slaughter at the ridge.
__________________
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 06-16-2021, 08:48 AM   #256
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 66 (2021-06-11)

Thoughts on November 5th (continued)

The southern archers launched one more, feeble volley. Now that they had my undivided attention, they didn’t stand a chance. I dropped three of them before they could nock another arrow, and the survivors decided to flee. With my blood pumping, I fired one more arrow into an archer’s back, but I let the last two go.

Va’lyndra was going around, giving the fallen bandits a last thump to the skull with her staff. Her brutality turned my stomach. She had definitely hung around Ilzo too long. Leopold had found the masked dwarf, who was trying to crawl away. Ilzo had skewered his leg, and Leopold wanted to bandage the wound, but the dwarf was determined to resist, swinging first his axe and then his shield at Leopold. I might have intervened if Leopold hadn’t managed to wrestle the axe away from the bandit, who also twisted his own arm trying to hit Leopold with the shield. He surrendered then. He still had one good leg, as far as I could tell, and could have tried a head-butt or a punch, but perhaps he saw me watching.

Leopold bandaged our captive, and asked me to remove his shield and helmet. I asked if I should tie him up as well. Leopold just said to make sure he didn’t flee, and to check him for weapons. He had a belt knife which I tossed away before getting my rope out of my backpack.

Leopold asked me to help Va’lyndra dump the dead bandits into the pit traps we had made, since we were going to fill them in as part of cleaning up the area. I asked what I should do with the still-living bandits, and Leopold said casually that I should kill them, then dump the corpses. I had never expected something like that from Leopold. “Um… I can’t just kill them! They’re harmless now.” Leopold instructed me to tell Va’lyndra if I found any living bandits; she would take care of them.

I went to find Va’lyndra, thinking that Leopold couldn’t have been serious. He must have said this to scare the captive to talk. I never had to make a decision about this, as the bandits were all dead already. They all had blows to their heads, sufficient to crack skulls. Even the ones with arrows through them. I asked Va’lyndra about that. She leaned on her staff and said that however far-fetched it sounded, she had determined they had all cracked their heads on something hard when they fell. “Like that stone.” She nodded towards it. “That one, all the way over there!?” I exclaimed. “I don’t see any blood on it.” Va’lyndra reminded me that I can’t see as well as her in the dark, and ordered me back to work, when I was about to go and fetch the rock. This would take all night, if she had to explain everything to me. Olivia would already have left for work when we returned to Alvheim, she said. Just at the mention of Olivia’s name, certain parts of me began to tingle. We needed to finish the tidying up, and soon! I grabbed a bandit and began to pull him towards one of the pits. “Hey… I saw you hitting the fallen bandits over the head, just now!” Va’lyndra convinced me I was mistaken. The darkness had muddled my senses. Of course, she hadn’t gone around murdering helpless people! What was I thinking!? After a while, Leopold summoned Va’lyndra to check how serious the captive’s injuries were.

Leopold and Va’lyndra interrogated the bandit, learning that he was Org, Varg’s double. Varg, the underboss, had been here during the negotiations, but he had left when the battle didn’t go as the bandits wished. My friends learned that this gang was the most numerous and powerful of all the criminal gangs in the Pond. They counted around two hundred members, but far from all were fighters; we had taken out the bulk of those. Org said that rivaling gangs might try to take over their territory and business, but he wasn’t sure if they’d dare.

Ilzo returned from the forest and I tried to get him to help me with the corpses. He had run down some who tried to flee, and put their heads on spikes. Now he jumped into the pit traps, chopped off heads and threw them back up, so he could do the same with those.

When there were no more corpses, except in the pits, I convinced Ilzo to come with me to see how Va’lyndra and Leopold were doing. They told us what they had found out from Org. Ilzo suggested we brought Org to the Pond and strung him up there. Leopold reminded him that we had promised not to leave corpses to be found in the city, but Ilzo said we didn’t have to kill him first.

Leopold asked Ilzo to fill in the pit traps. I came with him, and to my dismay, he jumped down and continued his grisly work of spiking the heads. He took the heads with him, leaving me with all the work. I sighed and hefted my shovel.

When Ilzo returned, he took the other shovel and helped me. Leopold and Va’lyndra came a little later and helped camouflage the battlefield. Va’lyndra was very particular about how she wanted us to leave the area. I thought no amount of magic could completely disguise what had happened here, but Va’lyndra wanted to try anyway.

She said the rest of us should return to town and find our beds, but I didn’t want to leave her alone in the Bewitched Forest. I hadn’t seen any monsters near Alvheim, but there had to be some, for Leopold had even warned the bandits about them. The monsters had to be really scary, since Leopold wanted to warn so large a group about them. On second thoughts, they might not be that dangerous, at least not to professional adventurers such as us; we beat the forty-odd bandits easily. Still, I wasn’t comfortable leaving Va’lyndra alone out here. Leopold volunteered to stay with Va’lyndra. Ilzo and I should go, he said, since we needed more sleep than them. I reminded Leopold that the rope I had used to tie Org was my good one, the one I use in my performances, and I emphasized that I wanted it back in one piece.

The walk back to Alvheim was uneventful. Ilzo and I decided not to go through the Pond. We both wanted to see the effects of tonight’s work, but it was really late, and I wanted to go to bed. We agreed that we should talk to Va’lyndra and Leopold before doing anything that could provoke the remaining bandits.

Olivia was asleep when I tiptoed into our room. I searched in the dark in case she had prepared a bath for me, but I didn’t find the bucket that the inn provided. Had Olivia been too tired to arrange my bath? Or didn’t she think I’d break a sweat against these opponents? I wasn’t really dirty. I had washed my hands in a small brook on the way back to town, and if there was dirt on my clothes, I left it on the floor. Some honest sweat wouldn’t harm anyone.

Olivia lay on her side, with her belly propped up on a pillow. I longed to entangle my arms and legs with hers, but that would have to wait another couple of months. I climbed into bed as gently as I could, and lay down behind her, and put my arm protectively over 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
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Old 06-16-2021, 09:14 AM   #257
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 66 (2021-06-11)

Thoughts on November 6th

Olivia wasn’t there when I woke up this morning, and she hadn’t even woken me up for a good bye kiss. Was I reeking so awfully? I smelled myself, but didn’t detect any odor. Still, I decided I would take a bath today. A shave was overdue.

I checked the common room in case Olivia was still at breakfast, but judging from the sun, she had probably left for work a long time ago. Neither Olivia nor any of my friends were downstairs. I ordered breakfast and tried to think up new and interesting tricks for my act. Heavy footsteps on the stairs announced Ilzo’s arrival, and he joined me at my table.

After the meal, I upended my chair and practiced balance while chatting with Ilzo, who wasn’t finished with his food yet. His servings were a lot more generous than mine, but he probably needs it all to fuel his bulging muscles.

Ilzo wanted to visit the Pond to check out the effects of our little romp in the woods. I reminded him that we should talk it over with Va’lyndra and Leopold before doing anything. I asked if he had seen either of them since the battle, but he hadn’t. They had probably come in a lot later than us and were still sleeping.

While we waited for our friends, an ogre came inside and challenged Ilzo to arm wrestling. Ilzo had a town crier announce prized for anyone who could beat him. This ogre was big, but Ilzo won anyway. I got an idea, and asked if Ilzo would arm wrestle with me.

I presented my hand to Ilzo, elbow on the table. I knew I didn’t stand a chance against him, not in a contest of strength, but I wasn’t really going to compete. If I was, I would have used my seat and the floor to stabilize me while I pushed against his hand. Instead, I locked every muscle in my body and let Ilzo pivot me around my elbow. It may have looked cool, but it wasn’t good for my elbow. I would need some kind of padding if I was to do this regularly.

Leopold came down after a while, followed by Va’lyndra a minute later. We agreed to meet up in my room in an hour. The others weren’t as adept as me when it came to avoiding blood spatter or dirt. Even Leopold, who had used magic to move earth around, was more in need of a bath than me, who had used a shovel.

When we met up again in private, Leopold said we had two choices. We could either harass Varg until he stopped his criminal activities, or we could opt for a stealthier approach, and try to shadow him to the leader of the gang. Va’lyndra was still not content with the way the battlefield looked, and wanted to go back and polish it for the rangers. Ilzo wanted to build an arena here in Alvheim, and said he was going to talk to the lieutenant about buying the land for it. It seemed our quest was on hold.

I went to the hospital to see Olivia. “I got a boo-boo on my elbow. Can you make it better?” I asked, pouting theatrically with my lower lip. I removed my jacked and rolled up my shirt sleeve so she could see. Olivia rolled her eyes and wrapped my “injury” in bandages, sealing it off with a kiss. She had seen me walk off much worse training injuries before, without complaint.

Knowing that I had been in a fight, Olivia asked if there was anything else she could do for me. I replied that I had this ache that she might be able to soothe. “All right. Show me,” she instructed, so I dropped my trousers. “Mattea!” she protested with a hiss, “I’m working!” “Oh, don’t worry about it. I’m going to pay you for your services.” I wiggled my tongue suggestively.

It wasn’t hard to convince Olivia to forget about work for a few minutes. She straightened her clothes with a contented smile, then turned serious. She had considered my question, regarding the interpretation of my dreams. She thought we should find out more about the three-faced love god before we involved anyone else. I understood that she didn’t want me to sleep with anyone unless it was Sulla’s express command. We should confer with Leopold and Walter, I told her. They were the smartest heads I knew – literally, in the case of Walter, the undead orc. I returned to the inn after giving Olivia a farewell kiss, and practiced acrobatics until everyone gathered for dinner.

Va’lyndra had met elven rangers in the woods, but while they had figured out what had happened at the ridge, they didn’t care very much. I guessed Va’lyndra had done a good job of tidying up out there. The elves had invited us to join their community beyond the wall. If we did, we wouldn’t be allowed to leave, and both Ilzo and I said that this was completely unacceptable. I couldn’t become the world’s greatest acrobat if my exploits were confined to a single town.

Leopold asked Va’lyndra if she had remembered to mention the Seral threat to Alvheim. She hadn’t. I asked what Leopold knew about Sulla that he hadn’t told me yet, but it turned out he had told me everything he knew, already. I asked if I could talk to Walter about it, and Leopold acquiesced.

I stuck my head into Leopold’s backpack, and asked the orc head about Sulla. Walter thought I was behaving oddly, and I explained that we were in a public place, the common room of the Leaping Trout, so I couldn’t very well pull him out and put him on the table for everyone to see.

With Leopold’s permission, Olivia and I took his backpack up to our room. Walter gave us a lecture about Sulla, whom he thought was irrational. Sulla was the god of love and all that followed, like jealousy and orgies. Walter said that some priests explained the love god’s decrees with words, others demonstrated with their bodies. He told us about the daily rites and customs of Sulla worshippers. Back in the day, Sulla used to bless marriages, even those between people who worshipped other gods. Some Sulla priests were monogamous, Olivia was happy to learn, but I wasn’t certain that was for me. If my inclinations and urges came from Sulla, which I strongly believed to be true, I should share my body with all those who were willing to pay homage to my god. Reading this on my face, Olivia asked Walter if he thought I could be a Sulla priest without having sex. “Yes, if she can preach Sulla’s gospel,” the orc head replied.

Our statuette would be central to any evangelizing. Each of the main temples used to have their own statuettes, and even the smaller temples had someone who was devout enough that Sulla could communicate through them. Sulla had demons, too, to do their bidding, and Walter said that the gifts Sulla bestowed on their priests often enabled them to manipulate others.

That sounded like nothing I would want. Enslaving and mind-controlling followers wasn’t anything that appealed to me. Seduction, on the other hand, felt right. That art consisted of convincing someone to follow their innermost desires. Thinking about it, I thought I had misused my gift on occasion. I wasn’t sure about Sulla’s stance on using sex to achieve a goal.

In some of my dreams, I had wings or a tail. I knew I couldn’t interpret dreams literally, but it would be so awesome to have Sulla bless me with such gifts. At least, if I could hide them, the way I can hide Fabian. If I could fly without potions, that would be very useful on adventures, and a tail might be practical for a variety of things. I looked at Olivia hungrily, thinking about how I’d share my gift with her. She had certainly enjoyed my tail in that dream.

When Walter had finished, we returned to the others in the common room, and I asked if we should take a trip to the Pond. I proposed taking Va’lyndra to spy on Varg. Leopold and Ilzo weren’t stealthy enough to come, in my opinion. Leopold cited my fame and said I needed to come up with a good disguise. “Have you met Fabian?” I asked him. We should get some clothes that blended in with the poor folk of the Pond. Neither Va’lyndra nor I had anything that suited, so we decided to hit the market, leaving Leopold to explain to Ilzo why they weren’t coming.
__________________
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 06-16-2021, 09:24 AM   #258
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 66 (2021-06-11)

At the Pond, Va’lyndra and I found Varg’s house abandoned. The last time we’d been here, there had been several guards watching us, but now there were none. Va’lyndra suggested that we checked out the house itself. She did her wood magic on the door, bending it open, thus circumventing the lock. I told her I had brought my lockpicks, and she didn’t have to use all her energy on things like this.

It certainly looked like Varg and his sister had left. We searched the place, and Va’lyndra discovered a loose floorboard with a locked metal box underneath. She handed it to me. I put it on a table and began prodding at the lock. This was a really tough one to crack, and Va’lyndra returned to the searching while I struggled to get it open. She finished the rounds before I completed my task, and stood at the window, looking out between the curtains.

When I finally opened the box, I was disappointed. There was nothing interesting inside, just writing utensils, a wax tablet and a stack of papers. I gave it to Va’lyndra. Maybe she could use another inkwell or a tablet. The papers were all used already, but I was sure she could find some empty space on them if she became desperate. She glanced at the papers and said we could give this to Leopold. Of course! He’s always complaining about running out of paper.

Va’lyndra informed me that a kid was watching the house from the other side of the road, so we left through a back window. We sneaked back to the inn and agreed to meet up in Leopold’s room after we had changed. I glanced up and down the hall, and seeing no-one, I transformed back into Mattea before opening my door. Olivia prefers me as a woman, and I saw no reason to disappoint.

I put on my normal clothes, telling Olivia that we should go and see Leopold and the others. Va’lyndra gathered up Ilzo, and then we knocked on Leopold’s door. Va’lyndra handed over the metal box. To pass the time while Leopold looked over the contents, I asked Va’lyndra if there was anything remotely interesting written on the papers. “Yes, but I can’t read Dwarfish,” she replied. It turned out Leopold couldn’t either. “What about Walter?” I suggested. “Doesn’t he know all languages?” Leopold explained that Walter can speak all tongues, due to some magic, but he couldn’t read. We decided to take the papers to the city guards in the morning.


Thoughts on November 7th

Va’lyndra had insomnia again and was quite grumpy at breakfast. Still, she and Ilzo joined Leopold when he went to have the papers translated. He was talking excitedly during the meal about learning Dwarfish. I thought I would die of boredom if I was forced to endure watching Leopold learn a new language, so I excused myself, saying I had been lax in my acrobatics practice these last few days, what with preparing for the big battle and all.

Olivia went to work, leaving me alone at the inn. Well, not quite alone; I practiced where staff and patrons could see me. The others stayed away for most of the day, making Olivia the first to return. I helped her unwind after a long day at work, and then we joined the others for dinner, where I learned that the papers had been very incriminating. So much so, the lieutenant decided we had completed our mission. He would set up a meeting with someone on the city council within a few days. I celebrated by performing in the common room.


Thoughts on November 8th

A familiar face showed up while we were having breakfast, making Va’lyndra light up from her grumpiness. Va’lyndra left the table to greet and hug Filidella, her elven friend, who had also been a friend of Magnar Goldenbeard. If I recalled correctly, he had carried her in the wife-carrying contest at the Urdon Summer Games a couple of years ago. Sadness struck me at the thought of Magnar. His death was such a waste, so unnecessary. He had drowned, trying to show off his awesomeness and pushing beyond his limits. I’d never do anything that stupid. Or would I? Nah, I’m always in control when I’m showing off.

Va’lyndra took Filidella upstairs for a private talk. Leopold had written a report for the lieutenant, which he was impatient to deliver, so he headed out. Olivia had to go to work. When the two elf women came down, Filidella said she’d love to come if I put on a performance. It didn’t take much to get me to perform, and I promised a show tonight.

I went to the Hill, where I’d performed earlier. Asking around, I discovered that I had failed to make the proper arrangements the last time. The show had been so magnificent that nobody complained, but I determined to do it right this time. After I had made the arrangements, I toured the city, advertising tonight’s show.

I didn’t return to the inn before dinner. The others informed me that we had received an invitation to visit the mayor tomorrow. Putting the mayor aside for now, I asked who would be coming to my show and invited Ilzo to toss me. That could be his reward for helping carry all my gear uphill. He loves showing everybody how strong he is. Olivia came, of course, and Va’lyndra, even though I suspected she mostly came to see Filidella. Leopold preferred to remain at the Leaping Trout with his books.
__________________
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 06-30-2021, 12:56 PM   #259
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 67 (2021-06-18)

Thoughts on November 9th

It was clear that Va’lyndra still struggled with her sleep. We were going to meet the mayor today, but she wasn’t in a sociable mood. Fortunately, we had a couple of hours before we had to go, and maybe she would feel better by then. Olivia waddled off to work, and I admired her determination, as well as her rear; she was still sexy, even though she might not feel that way. I asked Ilzo if he would join me for a morning workout. “Do you want to toss me in the air?” Leopold said he was going to his room to study, and asked us to remind him when it was time to go.

At city hall, a servant led us upstairs and showed us to the mayor’s office. The mayor, a dwarf, throned behind his mighty desk, and he invited us to sit. He didn’t introduce the mailed elf who was leaning on a spear and studying us with sharp eyes, but he said he’d heard we wanted to get in touch with the elves. Leopold explained that we possessed information that both the mayor and the elves should learn, plans of an attack on Alvheim. The mayor said that his responsibilities were the internal affairs of the town, and that we needed to speak to the elves about this. He asked us to follow this elf, who only nodded to us and left.

We followed him outside, through the Hill and Plains districts and into the woods. When we couldn’t see or hear the town anymore, we turned west. We walked far enough that we must have passed the wall that separated the elves from the rest of town, but out in the forest, there was no sign of any boundary.

We arrived at a small hut, and the elf opened the door for us. Inside was a single room with a large table, and ten chairs. The elf didn’t follow us inside, but closed the door after us. Leopold put Walter on the table and studied his documents. I found a sturdy chair, turned it upside down and balanced on top of it. I had to bend over backwards so I wouldn’t bang my head into the ceiling.

After nearly an hour, we heard sounds from outside. Ilzo got up, but the door opened before he reached it. Three elves entered; several more remained outside. Ilzo asked Va’lyndra if these were relatives of her. She replied that most of her relatives were back in the Old World, which confused Ilzo. He thought this was the Old World, apparently.

One of the elves wore wooden armor, and he introduced himself as Vader, captain of the guard. The elves sat down, and I made a flourished landing before joining the others at the table. Va’lyndra gave her name and spoke a little about our deeds before turning the word over to Leopold. He explained that a group of Order demons, called Serals, were planning to do what they had failed at before, when the elves were created. The Serals wanted to destroy Alvheim.

The elves asked for evidence. For answer, Va’lyndra stood and bowed to the woman seated on Vader’s right. Vader said she was a true elf for not forgetting their origin. I was so confused! What was going on? Then Vader introduced the woman as Manara, queen of the elves. He stood and bowed to her, too. I got up and made a curtsy, feeling woefully underdressed for a meeting with royalty. Curtsying in trousers probably didn’t look very dignified either, and if I had thought beyond my instincts, I may have bowed like Va’lyndra and Vader did. Queen Manara barely acknowledged me with a glance before going back to ignoring the human.

Vader bade us continue. Leopold told the story of the vision that Va’lyndra and I had shared with Kine and Lady Karita what seemed half a lifetime ago. In the vision, we had received instructions to restore the balance between Order and Chaos in the world. Vader had to ask for the short version of the story; if nobody had interrupted, Leopold would have talked for a week.

Now that we had delivered the warning to the elves, our mission here was complete. None in our party are militarily inclined, except for Ilzo, and unless you want to charge the enemy head-on, or possibly challenge their champion to a duel, I wouldn’t go to him for tactical advice. The elves would have to coordinate and strategize with the knowledge guild and the Sidel family in Urdon. Leopold wrote a letter of introduction for the elven emissary.

Va’lyndra asked about the possibility for her to join an Elendus ceremony on the elven side of the wall. The queen replied that when we were done here, we should come with her.

Leopold apologized for not remembering to bring a copy of his work on the Serals, but he got an address back in town where he could deliver it to lieutenant Ilida of the guard. Vader emphasized that he shouldn’t give the letter to anyone but her. Then he and the unnamed elf left the hut.

Queen Manara studied us for a moment, then said we should go, too. Outside, Vader and his soldiers were headed east, indifferent to the giant bear that they were turning their backs to. I tensed, watching Ilzo ready himself and wishing I hadn’t left my bow at the inn, but Leopold walked over to the bear and said hello. Va’lyndra greeted the bear as well, and it gave Leopold a wet lick across the face. I relaxed when I realized it was tame.

The bear followed Queen Manara. Va’lyndra asked if Leopold wanted to know what the bear said. He replied that it wasn’t important right now; we had a queen to follow. I assumed Va’lyndra had a potion of beast speech, for she had used those before, to talk to our horses.

The air grew noticeably warmer while we walked, and I was surprised to see trees with ripe apples hanging from the branches. Winter was coming, but not here, apparently. A big cat watched us from between berry bushes, but it made no move to attack. It had to be tame, too. There were a few elves about, wandering among the trees, but they kept their distance.

We came to a great hedge, and it opened up before the queen. We followed her inside. A scantily clad elf bowed to her. Looking around this garden, I saw more elves, and even the women wore only loincloths. This could have been a Sulla temple, if not for the huge tree which all the elves revered.

Ilzo asked Va’lyndra if the elves would be offended if he climbed the tree. I had the same idea, except the part about offending anyone. Why would there be a tree so grand, if one wasn’t supposed to climb it? Queen Manara cleared her throat and explained that this was a world tree, one of the avatars of Elendus. She asked us to touch the tree trunk, and we all did. I felt my mind grow sharp; the memories from the vision leapt out at me, as clear as if it had happened yesterday. Queen Manara grasped her head like she was in pain. She said we were the ones who would save the world. Leopold complained that this was too much of a burden, but I had heard it before.

The queen told us that Elendus wondered if we had any living wood. Va’lyndra nodded. The elf god would bestow gifts upon us if we gave it to the tree. I thought that was a great deal. Divine gifts for a few bits of wood? Count me in!

Queen Manara had another quest for us. She wanted us to go into the forest, to one of the scary houses that we had been warned against countless times before, and defeat its inhabitant, the avatar of Nimbus, the spirit god. Ilzo accepted immediately, but Leopold and I spoke up, wanting more information. I had lost Kine to one of these houses, and that time, we hadn’t gone near the house itself.

This avatar wasn’t far from Alvheim, just a day or two of travel. Elendus wanted to expand his territory, and thus wanted us to oust the guardian. I asked if Nimbus wouldn’t be angry with us if we beat up his avatar, but Queen Manara assured me it would be fine. She said that we must kill the avatar with a twig from the world tree. She reached up her hand, and a branch bent down and became a spear in her hand. Ilzo took it and waved it about like a sword, and Va’lyndra offered to teach him how to use such a weapon. She thought her way with the staff was similar enough to give him a few pointers. Queen Manara said we had to touch the spear to the Elendus statuette after vanquishing the spirit avatar. She would send a scout with us to show the way.

Leopold pulled Walter out of his backpack and asked what he knew about Nimbus. Not much, it turned out, but Queen Manara explained that spirits are manifestations of nature and of the elements. Leopold concluded that we would be facing living rocks and trees on this quest. Queen Manara warned us that powerful enchantments protected the houses. I could have told her that. I hoped we didn’t have to face another rain of venomous snakes.

We discussed whether to give up our living wood before or after this quest. I thought the gifts from Elendus could come in handy, and if not, we at least wouldn’t have to lug around Va’lyndra’s planks. The others agreed.

The queen invited Va’lyndra to stay for the dancing tonight. She told the rest of us we could return here if we took a big circle around the wall, and treated nature respectfully. When we – including Va’lyndra – began to leave, the queen put her hands on the big tree and closed her eyes. Leopold stopped by the bear and said it was nice to make its acquaintance. Ilzo wanted to wrestle the bear, he said. Leopold replied that if the bear wanted to wrestle, it would follow us beyond the hedge.
__________________
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 06-30-2021, 01:11 PM   #260
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Session 67 (2021-06-18)

The bear did come, and nudged us towards the hut where we’d first met the queen. There, it turned towards Ilzo, stood on its back legs and growled a challenge. Then it began to grow. The already big beast grew to twice its former size. Ilzo just rubbed his hands.

I asked Va’lyndra and Leopold if they wanted help to carry Ilzo home after he’d been trounced, for I was hungry – in more ways than one – and wanted to go back to town. They said this wouldn’t take long, and that I would probably get lost in the woods if I went off on my own. I was a bit miffed, but conceded to myself that they were right. There were no trails to follow, at least none that I would spot. So, I stayed. For all of ten seconds. The bear swept Ilzo to the ground and lay down on top of him. Ilzo signaled surrender, and the bear snorted and left.

Ilzo went inside the hut to leave a few gold coins, the bounty for defeating him. Then we went back towards Alvheim. We needed to check on the horses. They had stayed longer at that farm than we had paid for, and we should check on them before taking them out on a quest.

The farmer was mending a fence when we got there, and accepted our apology, along with our coins. He sent a farmhand with us to check on the horses. They hadn’t been taken out for exercise since we left them here, the boy said, and we decided they needed to stretch their legs. I offered to do that, at least a quick walk before dinner, and then Olivia and I could give them real exercise tomorrow.

Ilzo, Va’lyndra and Leopold went back to the Leaping Trout. I tied all the horses in a line and led them along the streets of Alvheim, practicing acrobatics at the same time. The horses were frisky, and eager to run, but I didn’t ride, and only led them at a walk. Olivia should look them over before we exerted them. She has such a good hand with the horses, she could have been an elf.

After dinner, we brought the living wood to the world tree. Va’lyndra warned us to be kind to the animals we passed, for they might not all be animals. I pondered that statement all the way there, certain that I should know what she was talking about, but frustrated that I didn’t. We got some stares from berry-picking elves, but nobody challenged us.

Queen Manara was meditating not far from the tree when we came in through the hedge. When we got closer, the tree stretched branches towards us, sensing what we carried. Va’lyndra asked Ilzo to hold up the wood. The tree touched the wood with one branch and Va’lyndra with another. “Elendus asks who among us should be rewarded,” she said. We hadn’t considered that. Va’lyndra thought we only had enough wood for one blessing. Ilzo said he was already blessed by his own god, and I chimed in that I thought Va’lyndra should get this one, since it was her god we were appeasing. The world tree absorbed most of the wood we brought. I couldn’t see anything happening to Va’lyndra, but then again, I couldn’t tell that Ilzo was blessed, either.

Va’lyndra stayed for the dance, and Ilzo got permission from the elves to watch. Leopold and I walked back to town and said good night in the upstairs hallway of the inn. I found Olivia in our room, and the Sulla statuette, and began to worship.


Thoughts on November 10th

I had a peculiar dream last night. It seemed like one I’d had before, but this time, a tree was watching Olivia and me having sex. It had to be Elendus. After telling Olivia about the dream, I prayed to Sulla, asking why the elf god invaded my dreams. I got no reply, as usual.

Va’lyndra must have benefited from the dancing, I commented to Olivia and Leopold at breakfast, since she didn’t come and join us. Ilzo didn’t come either, which made me speculate that they were sleeping together.

Leopold returned to his room to continue copying his report for the elves. I asked Olivia what she would do with her job, now that we had a quest in the Bewitched Forest again. She said her employers at the hospital were very understanding, and grateful to have her work at all, considering her condition. However, Olivia didn’t want to come on another expedition, since her back hurt.

That statement scared me. “What’s happened? Is the baby all right?” Olivia took my hand and patted it, explaining that these kinds of aches were normal in the later stages of pregnancy; it was nothing to worry about. Everything would be fine. Olivia just didn’t want to spend hours and hours in the saddle. I asked if she preferred if I remained here with her, but she told me to go. I should steel myself for the loneliness and bring toys so I could manage on my own. I reminded her that I get off on getting others off, and that no amount of toys would do any good unless I shared them with someone. Olivia sighed and said that if it got too bad, I should seduce Va’lyndra or Leopold. I agreed: “Got it! Stay away from Ilzo!”

Olivia promised a boost just before I left, so I would have as little time as possible to get lonely before we met again. But then she changed her mind and decided to come. The place we were going wasn’t very far from Alvheim, and if we could take plenty of rests along the way, Olivia’s back wouldn’t flare up. She had reconciled herself with the discomfort of her pregnancy, but I thought she wouldn’t want to go through it again. She had joked earlier that next time, it was my turn.

I was really happy that Olivia would come, and I skipped and danced to the horse farm. I led the horses back to the Leaping Trout, so Olivia could look them over. It turned out that Leopold’s pack horse had a foot infection. I suggested using a healing potion, but Olivia didn’t think it would work. She told me to leave the horse so she could work on its leg while I exercised the others. I asked her to instruct Va’lyndra to check our supplies and restock if necessary.

While we were having dinner, a man in fancy clothes came in and asked for “Mister Ilzo”. I gathered that this man was involved in finding a site for Ilzo’s planned arena here in Alvheim. He had a contract for Ilzo to sign, but Leopold insisted on reading it, and that the two of them should go and have a look before signing anything. Ilzo gobbled up what remained on his plate, pulling the man with him through the door. Leopold followed with the contract. While Va’lyndra was still looking at our departing friends, I gestured to Olivia. I’m not usually very skilled at conveying messages through hand signs, but there are one or two I know how to get across. Olivia blushed, but nodded. “Good night, Va’lyndra!”


Thoughts on November 11th

Leopold delivered his report, and then we were off to get our horses. Well, except for Leopold’s pack horse, which Olivia said needed a few days of rest to recover. Leopold gave instructions to the farmer regarding the horse’s infection. I had left my five-meter-long poles outside the inn. They were quite heavy, so my horses could now carry Leopold’s gear instead. If I wanted to do acrobatics, I could use trees until we got back to Alvheim.

Va’lyndra rode ahead to fetch the scout, the guide that Queen Manara had promised us. The rest of us took it more slowly, at a pace that suited Olivia. We met Va’lyndra and the guide, Didrik, at the hut. Va’lyndra explained that Didrik was in fact an elf, even though he looked like a wolf at the moment. He understood our speech, but couldn’t talk back in wolf form. I realized that he didn’t scare the horses.

Didrik showed the way into the Bewitched Forest. Not much happened while we traveled. When we stopped for the night, Va’lyndra said that we would have reached our destination if we didn’t have to take breaks all the time. Other than that, she was very considerate of Olivia’s condition.

We agreed to split the night watch in four, with Walter on guard the whole time, since he didn’t need to sleep. Leopold woke everyone on his watch. Didrik had noticed boogeymen approaching! I crawled out of the blankets and armed myself, pretending not to hear Olivia’s sigh of disappointment that I wasn’t putting on clothes before going out. I had a good vantage point just outside our tent, where I could protect Olivia. There were only five boogeymen. They didn’t stand a chance. I let Ilzo deal with the corpses and slipped back inside with Olivia.
__________________
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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