View Full Version : Streets of Atalya Volume Two: Tentacles

Pages : [1] 2 3 4 5

2007-06-17, 11:02 PM
The sun is on its way towards setting as the party arrives at the Vadis manorhouse. It looks a little less foreboding in the light than it did in the dark. A little. Kumoru pauses at the front door, apparently intrigued by the poem carved into it.

"Who did this?" he asks, sounding just a little unnerved.

2007-06-17, 11:18 PM

Horacio reads the poem again. (Mind repeating it for us, Magnus?)

"Gaudamus, we think. He left one in Nightfang's cave, and another one where he threw away Kinslayer. 'Death is only the beginning...'

"Yet more clues we can't piece together yet. I'll repeat them for you sometime."

Horacio then knocks on the door and steps back.

"Uh, Kumoru, could you stand towards the back? You might look a bit too much like Gaudamus for Firethena. And Terry, could you stand in back as well? I'd rather not surprise her with Kinslayer."

2007-06-17, 11:27 PM
(From their last little mental exchange, Terry's last mental line with Slayer.)
Gee, it sure would suck if I hadn't thought about that in advance.
Terry nods and hangs back.

2007-06-18, 02:16 AM
"Why? Is there some extra meaning?

There's prophecy at play in this place, or was, at least. We really won't like surprises, you know? At least not like the exploding demon. Well, he could have been worse."

Dai is a bit distracted, so he's rambling slightly.

2007-06-18, 01:49 PM
I am a king in crisis, counting minutes
until the ending of my reign
my sins have come to face me, and I feel
that I have lived my life in vain
and now I know I'll reap the seeds I've sown

Kumoru moves to the back, giving Kinslayer a wary look as he does so. In Terry's mind the sword chuckles.

Ah, you might be smarter than I thought. You know, smarter than pissing off an intelligent evil sword capable of impaling you through the torso... oh, wait, nevermind. Anyhow, please, do tell exactly what you intend to do about me devouring the soul of anything you kill.

Horacio's knock is not immediately answered- in fact it takes about two minutes before the door is opened by a slightly flustered looking Firethena.

"Oh, there are are! I was starting to worry. How is everybody? Who's your new friend?"

2007-06-18, 02:36 PM
Tokugal Ardolin

Tokugal was touched by the housekeeper's apparent concern for their wellbeing. Few of his associations over the years had involved much more than professional interest or academic curiosity.

"We're actually doing better than might be supposed," he replied. "It was a strange trip; we'll tell you all about it. It's not all roses and lollipops, though: there are some rather dark matters on which we could use your insight and divination."

The harried look on Firethena's face finally registered. "Of course, if this is a bad time, my lady, we could come back later."

2007-06-18, 04:51 PM
Now now, if I tell you, then you can start taking measures to stop me, can't you?
Terry indulges in a slight grin.
"Good to see you again. How're you doing?"

2007-06-18, 08:47 PM
"Kumoru, Firethena. Firethena, Kumoru. Gaudemus' brother, we already told Kumoru who you are... everyone nice and introduced? Good.

If anything is amiss, could we help in some way?"

2007-06-19, 02:01 PM
Firethena blinks. "Hmm? Oh no, I'm quite alright, you just caught me in the midst of entertaining some company, an acquaintence of yours, as it were-"

She stops short as Daisilodavi introduces Kumoru.

"...what the... guys... Gaudemus' brother is dead."

She backs away. "I don't know who that is but..."

No, no, it's cool, he's still dead. He just didn't have the decency to rot like most people do.

What little color there is in Firethena's face drains away. "... you... you found it, I see."

Kumoru nods. "Yeah. They kind of have a talent for stepping in things. It's a little unnerving actually. Oh, and hi, by the way."

The housekeeper looks like she's about to faint.

2007-06-19, 02:15 PM
Terry grins sheepishly.
"Wasn't an entirely intentional pickup, ma'am."

2007-06-19, 03:34 PM

Horacio nods, stepping towards Firethena.

*mutters* "Not exactly what we wanted to do, but we were kind of forced into it...

"Don't worry, Firethena, we've already done what we can. Terry's got a good hold on Kinslayer, and Kumoru... well, he's not dead, but he's not undead either. At least, not the evil kind. You'd think he's still alive if he wasn't bleeding or breathing. Nothing to worry about for now."

Horacio grins.

"Besides, you're a sage; I'm sure you've seen weirder. Just another day in Atalya. We can discuss this over snacks & drinks with... our acquaintence, you said? Could you please introduce us to him?"

Horacio tries to lead Firethena into the house, occupying her with other thoughts.

"Also, did you come up with something for that favor I asked of you? Dai's thinking of going out soon, it would be nice if he could take it with him."

Despite his friendly attitude, in the back of his mind he's trying to determine who would be visiting Firethena and whether a fight would break out.

2007-06-19, 09:12 PM
"Favor? Oh! Yes, I did a little digging. I think Dai's lady friend will find it very intriguing..."

She leads them into the living room, where a tall, thin figure in a hooded black cloak is sitting on the couch. Firethena seats herself next to him and invites the others to take seats as well.

"He said he was a friend of you all, anyway. Where did you say you met them again...?"

The cloaked figure pushes his hood back, chuckling softly as he does so.

"Oh, it was just a random encounter," says Crush.

2007-06-19, 09:52 PM

All of the alarms in Horacio's head go off at once, and he almost draws Tahlion, but doesn't. His hand hovers next to the hilt, though, and he instinctively circles a bit towards Firethena so everyone wouldn't be in a mind blast.

"Crush..." He says, venom almost dripping off the name. "Funny, we were just lamenting we couldn't talk to you again. And here you are... how did you pull it off? Illusion? Twin brother? Or are you high enough on the pecking order to merit a raise?

"And for the record, we were going to let you go. I'm sorry if I thought you were smart enough to bide your time on taunts when there's six swords trained on you. You are a mind flayer, after all.

"But I'm willing to put aside old grudges for now, Crush. I assume you have information for us about that cult we saved you from?"

Knew I should've cu- *stops that line of thought*

Horacio glances towards Firethena, watching her reaction to gauge if she's being mind controlled by the flayer or not.

"You mind if I sit next to you, Crush?"

Sense Motive: 26
Sense Motive on Firethena for Domination (1d20+16=26) (http://invisiblecastle.com/find.py?id=1112120)

2007-06-19, 10:13 PM
Terry puts a hand to Slayer.
"Firethena, this is Crush. We killed him. I personally would have liked to avoid that, but I'm still not exactly inclined to sit for tea and a chat with someone who has every reason to want us dead."

"What happened?"

2007-06-19, 10:16 PM

"I don't think he wants us dead yet, Terry. Just sit down and enjoy your tea.

"Welcome to negotiations, Underdark-style."

2007-06-19, 10:20 PM
Terry, having moved slightly to one side, continues.
"Don't get me wrong--I'm more than willing to talk once I know what's going on. Just not readily trusting with individuals I've met and concluded in combat."
Terry detects magic as he speaks, trying to see if anything is amiss. Well, more amiss.

2007-06-20, 12:02 AM
"Thanks for vindicating my theory that is what idiocy to pick a fight with you. I do so like to be right, and do so dislike people getting killed unnecessarily.

Is there something I can help you with?"

Dai has a bright and cheery smile. The perceptive will notice he's working out fight and flight paths and plans.

2007-06-20, 08:52 PM
Nevermind domination- anyone in the room can see that Firethena is suddenly completely inanimate. She's sitting there looking entirely fine, but she isn't moving, even breathing, only staring straight ahead.

Terry detects The strongest, wierdest illusions he's ever seen. Unless he's seeing things, then neither Firethena nor Crush are actually real. And he'd be darned if he knew what else is in the room with them.

Crush chuckles as he straightens up, eyeing Horacio malevolently. "Feel free to sit wherever you like- though if I were you I'd be careful, I'm not sure where the elf actually is any more. She is an extremely talented illusionist- the best I've ever seen, and that even with only a fraction of her potential unlocked. With my mind guiding her powers, she can rewrite reality."

The mindflayer steps forward nonchalantly, but he is changing as he does so. The black cloak flows outwards like a wave of darkness, mingling with the shadows of the room until you can't tell where it is and where the darkness begins. "Crush" grows taller, until his bulbous head nearly scrapes the ceiling, his mouth changing shape, sprouting even more tentacles, his skin growing darker until it blends in with the black of his cloak, his eyes narrowing into cold blue slits that glow with an unholy light.

"No tricks were employed when you murdered my friend, sadly. The mindflayer you know as Crush is gone from this world, and as few gods are willing to grant powers to a being dedicated to the destruction of the equilibrium they so jealously guard, I lack the resources to reverse his condition. A life is a heavy debt to owe, halfling, and this is what you and your companions owe to me and mine."

He steeples viciously clawed fingers and his facial tentacles twitch into a horribly parody of a smile.

"Let's talk about what you can do to pay it."

2007-06-20, 10:18 PM

As Horacio notices Firethena's condition, his eyes grow wide. The muted alarms in his head spring back to life, building to a concentrated wail of agony.

Firethena? Firethena?! Firethena!!

Just as suddenly, his eyes narrow and he grins morbidly. Everything in his head shuts down as he focuses on his own heartbeat, forcibly calming the noise down. He whispers a quick mental prayer in time with his heartbeat.

Xan Yae, guide me through the shadows. Hide me from my foes and reveal me to my friends.

He moves his hand away from Tahlion, sensing it would be of no use right now. He stands his ground against the shadow flayer.

Tahlion, if you have any advice, start talking.

"Well, this is... interesting. You must be The Devourer. If the rumors are true, you've made quite a name for yourself in flayer society. I'm almost honored to meet you.

"But I think we both know we want to spend as little time in each other's company as possible, so let's get to brass tacks. Crush was investigating an aberration cult when we saved him from that giant summoned worm. I assume your 'payment' has something to do with it? And, given the location you've decided to meet us at, I assume it's linked to our current investigation?

"Well please, elucidate. We have a lot to do if we're going to be prepared for whatever you toss at us."

Sense Motive on Devourer for Lies and Threats: 22
Sense Motive: Devourer (1d20+16=22) (http://invisiblecastle.com/find.py?id=1114075)

2007-06-21, 12:07 AM

The wizard hangs back, absorbing the situation, and casting about for a way to safely extricate his companions.

Beginning to scan the room carefully with Detect Magic, then using Spellcraft (Spellcraft check (1d20+26=38) (http://invisiblecastle.com/find.py?id=1114235) ) to try to determine the source of the spell.

2007-06-21, 12:18 AM
"You know, there's more than one way to sneak back onto the Prime... would your buddy prefer to be avenged, or reincorporated?

I'm just saying, like I said before, his death was regrettable...

Just throwing an idea out there."

Dai looks... extremely innocent and sincere. He never looks innocent and sincere. :smallamused:

2007-06-21, 12:12 PM
Tokugal Ardolin

Tokugal was startled when Firethena froze. Revulsion and horror welled up from the pit of his stomach and threatened to choke him. He gripped the hilt of his rapier with white knuckles and turned toward Crush. Before he could speak or act, the thing grew and changed. The monster's explanation caught Tokugal off guard. "You mean we owe you because your friend attacked us? That's an easy way to generate a whole sheet of debtors--just send your lackeys after them, then sue for damages when they defend themselves! Perhaps it is you who owe the debt: tell us what you have done with Firethena."

The elf looked more angry than threatening.

2007-06-21, 05:54 PM

Vodette smiled warmly at Firethena when she opened the door. She was happy to see the elf housekeeper. Her smile quickly faded when they were introduced to her friend. Vodette had a hard time understanding the events that quickly unfolded in front of here.

All this deception and confusion! How can anybody keep it straight? This isn't Crush but some other...thing. What is it? Who is it? Why are they after us?!

Vodette couldn't stop herself like her companions. As soon as Crush began to grow in size, her rapier was in her hand. She didn't have the flare for diplomacy like the others. She looked around, quite worried. Throughly confused and frustrated that she couldn't keep anything straight, Vodette let out an exasperated growl and said:

Alright, just what is going on here? We killed that thing...Crush. What is going on now? What has happened to Firethena?

2007-06-21, 07:56 PM
Dai looks slightly annoyed, and snaps "Remember, this gentleman is angry at us because we threatened Crush enough to make him feel like we were going to try and kill him... could we at least not repeat that mistake?

Just this once?"

2007-06-22, 01:19 PM
Hnn. More or less comforting. At least with a very clear threat, you know where you stand. Anything I ought to know, Slayer?
Mentally bracing himself for whatever snark the runeblade has waiting, he suddenly changes gears.
Hold it--
Damn, Slayer, you said you'd like to see anyone get past you before. Can you do the same with my mind?
Why was he asking the damn sword? For all he knew it was working to control him already.
And more importantly...mind flayers are known for, well, duh.

Devourer? You listening in on my little mental cacophony too?
Terry wipes the sweat from his brow. Getting tense here.

2007-06-22, 08:44 PM
Daewell detects: Incredibly powerful illusionary magic- the glow of it to his enhanced vision makes him squint. After some focus, though, it becomes clear tha the epicenter of the illsuion is on the couch that Firthena's image is seated on.

Terry hears voices: I prefer not to interfere with my wielder's thoughts, it just seems too indirect... wouldn't anyone just rather inflict horrific bodily pain and damage? I know I would! If I'm a bad influence on you it'll be purely because I'm constantly whining at you to kill ****. The only response to Terry's mental question to the mindflayer is silence, however. It's possible he's using all of his telepathic power on the girl- I imagine manipulating a mage to that extent would be difficult. Oh, and by the way, don't you think that Vodette chick totally needs to get smacked in the back of the head with the hilt of a giant demonic greatsword and humped to within an inch of her life? 'Cause I think she totally needs to be smacked in the back of the head with the hilt of a giant demonic greatsword and humped to within an inch of her life.

The Devourer makes a noise that almost sounds like a girlish giggle. "You've heard of me! Oh, I'm flattered. That's a couple of disciples who were never supposed to mention my title aboveground that I'm going to have to defenestrate. And speaking of killing people, please don't try to justify yourselves to me. I know he tried to kill you. Of course he tried to kill you. He was a damn mindflayer, and you are all humanoids with minds that need flaying. That's like saying a butcher who go trampled by a herd of cows deserved it. Don't test my patience, I don't take guff from my dinner."

He takes a step forward and walks through Horacio to stand in front of Dai. For the record, being walked through by the illsuion of the scariest illithid in the world is like being splashed with freezing cold water for a split second while demons give you a wedgie. The Devourer strokes the chameleon's face with ephermeal black talons.

"I saw the battle through your eyes. I like you. You're kind of a wuss, but any being with such incredible capacity for deception interests me. I think you brain would taste like candy... wait, tangent. Anyhow, you needn't worry, decades of being forced to deal with my food like people out of necessity has taught me the value of holding myself to something resembling a code of honor. You refused to raise a hand against my servant, and so I will spare your life... even though I really, REALLY want to eat your brain. That's a compliment, if you like."

He turns around and looks down at Horacio. From his shoulders there spreads a pair of bat-like wings that stretch from one end of the substantially sized room to the other.

"Don't entertain any illusions that you are the victims in this matter. I saw what you did to him when you'd finished cutting the spark from his flesh. Those tentacles will bring you a great deal of gold from the snake, won't they? Humanoids... you're all the same. Spouting notions of honor and ethical superiority, then stabbing your fellows in the back because it inconveniences you. You call us monsters, but not a one of mine would kill a man for money."

He points a skeletal finger between the halfling's eyes.

"I demand payment in blood, peck, and I mean to have it. I'm going to... wait... wait just a darn minute..."

The illusiory mindflayer's eyes suddenly blaze brighter than twin suns. Horacio feels that something has been taken from him, but aside from a vaguely nauseous feeling and a sensation of emptiness in the back of his mind he hasn't a clue what just happened. The Devourer takes a step back and starts laughing, hard.

"They didn't... I can't believe it... they NEVER... oh wow, heh, that IS interesting... and you lot are neck deep in it, too. That has the potential to be all kinds of fun... Nightmare monsters... that's cute... Hmmmm, maybe we do have something to talk about besides your imminent demise after all."

Tahlion's voice murmurs quietly in all of their minds. Okay, first of all, this is not your average mindflayer, and saying that is like saying a twelve-foot tall hamster that shoots fire out of its anus isn't your run-of-the-mill rodent. All I can advise is to keep him talking and don't piss him off, because right now your lives depend on convincing him that you're more interesting alive than twitching on the floor with multiple aneurysms.

2007-06-22, 08:56 PM
Did you j--oh, gods, I swear I'm painting you white.
Terry remains silent while the Flayer rumbles on.
Godsdamnit, more parties in on this disaster.

2007-06-22, 09:14 PM

Horacio can't help but involuntarily shudder a couple times, but years of up-close encounters with them and rogue nerves keep him from breaking down... or spouting tart remarks that would get him killed. The suction from his mind almost does it, though.

Okay, calm yourself, Horacio... yes, I figured that, Tahlion. Now while we keep him away, can you poke around and figure out just what that bast*rd wiped? And whether you can protect the vital parts?

"Of course. I'm surprised you didn't realize it earlier. A mind flayer investigating an aberration cult, tales of fiend & aberration breeding... of which I think you're intimately familiar, and flying tentacled brains. All kinds of weird, isn't it? Even for your people. And guess who's being tossed into the middle of it?

"So why don't we compare a few notes? Just what was Crush investigating down there? It might be linked to what we're after... which would only make what comes next even more interesting."

As he talks, Horacio glances around, trying to figure out what's real and what isn't while gauging the attitude of the devourer.

Will Save for Illusions: 24
Spot Check: 21
Sense Motive Check for Devourer: 20
Will Save, Spot check, Sense Motive check (1d20+10=24, 1d20+17=21, 1d20+16=20) (http://invisiblecastle.com/find.py?id=1117071)

2007-06-22, 10:00 PM
"You're very kind, Great Devourer.

I might take exception to being called a coward under other circumstances, but for you I'll let it slide.

Ah, is your matter of interest the swords, or the tentacled creatures possessing humanoids?.. because truth be told, I had suspected the latter of being related in some way to, well, Mind Flayers, but what you've said would seem to disprove that."

2007-06-23, 02:43 PM
Tokugal Ardolin

Tokugal bit back an angry retort and tried to school his emotions before he responded. Not wise to piss him off. More. Besides, he may have had the right of it. The episode in the cave was still rather foggy to him. All he could remember with absolute clarity was the pain.

"Even so, it makes it hard to have a reasoned conversation about this 'something to discuss' when you make frequent references to how delectable you'd find us. It's even harder with Firethena enslaved or ensorcelled or whatever--if she's even still alive. I don't mean to challenge you--I'm not that foolish--but please understand if I'm reluctant to engage in a casual chat."

2007-06-23, 11:47 PM
I don't think he erased anything Horacio... your brain looks fine to me, as near as I can tell... but I think he definitely knows a lot more about you than any of us should be comfortable with, now.

Horacio's attempt to disbelieve the illusion in front of him, while admirable, just plain doesn't work- he knows The Devourer isn't there, and that Firethena isn't really the lifeless doll sitting on the couch, but they appear so real to even his sharp senses that he can't quite convince himself that they really don't exist. The paradoxical nature of the problem gives him a bit of a headache.

The Devourer chuckles and steeples his claws again. His mannersims are bizarre, almost effeminate but vaguely threatening. It's hard to read him. So far his emotions, anger, surprise, amusement, all seem genuine... but a being with a mind as labrynthine as this is all but impossible to gauge.

"I suppose that would be a little offputting. I shall attempt to refrain from imagining how you lot would taste. ...with just a hint of oregano... oh damn, there I go again. Well to answer your queries insomuch as I feel like doing, no, we don't have anything to do with the wearers of the flesh. We like it that way, too- beastly rotters, they are. I can't imagine what kind of neurosises must accompany living inside something else's skin. I infinitely prefer my own."

He sweeps his wings back behind himself and wriggles his tentacles for emphasis.

"You have given me a new piece of information, and I am somewhat grateful for that. We suspected that those fanatics in the mountain had been summoning something but we hadn't been able to determine what. Crush was in the process of investigating the phenomenae but he was rather sidetracked by the whole 'death' thing. Now the plot becomes rather clear. It's... intricate. Brutally simple in purpose, of course, but far more complicated in execution than I've ever seen them attempt. And of course there's all kinds of room for all kinds of mistakes, they never were at all tidy. The mere fact that they've involved you lot in it just proves how overconfident and stupid they are. But then I suppose the fact that you haven't managed to put two and two together shows you're not quite as good as you seem to think you are."

He pauses.

"Well, to be completely fair it's more like adding two and two and then dividing by pi and trying to figure out the inverse of the cosign, but still. Once you know the nature of the beast the entire thing becomes crystal clear."

He bends down and taps Horacio on the forehead. "But you haven't the foggiest idea what you're dealing with, do you? And that's the delightful part, because it means if I wanted to I could just sit back and watch you lot stumble in over your heads and get tentacles shoved up your asses and die. The problem with that is that if I let them succeed, then they destroy the damn world, and that's no good for me, is it? So I'm going to leave well enough alone, because the biggest mistake they made was not killing you bunch when they had the chance and letting Donovan send you right to where they think they want you, because they're stupid and don't realize that all you have to do to blow this thing wide open is the one thing I'm pretty sure we can all count on you to do. ...how's that? Am I being irritatingly vague enough? Giving you just enough information to give you ideas but not enough to answer any of the millions of questions you've already got, in addition to the ones I've added to the mix? I live for that, you know."

Kinslayer mutters sullenly in Terry's mind. This guy is giving ME a headache. And don't try painting me anything- being able to change shape comes with benefits, and one of them involves shoving something covered with spikes in your damn eye if I feel like it.

2007-06-24, 01:32 AM
Terry mentally grumbles, even while taking in the conversation. This seems more personal to Horacio, anyway.
You'll have to forgive me for being less than thrilled at the suggestion I rape my friend.
...yeah, this guy's something. Can you make out what's real and what isn't? I wouldn't know if the illusions would work the same on you or Tahlion.

2007-06-24, 03:22 AM

"So now... we have a truce with the illithids... to save the world."

Horacio chuckles and looks up. It sounds like he's got a hinge loose.

"Oh, the universe must have a sense of humor. And I thought it was strange when we ended up allying with medusae. I suppose tea with a devil's next."

His eyes roll down to lock back onto the Devourer firmly.

"But I can live with this. I've seen stranger. But there's one thing I want to take care of before we part ways. Since you are relying on us to save the world now, I would like to discuss a contract, a terms of agreement as 'payment' for saving the world. We're already being paid handsomely by the Church, so it's not so much a matter of what you would do for us, but what you promise not to do.

"And, if you are as good of a mindreader as I think you are, you know exactly what we're asking for, and what we're willing to do in exchange. So let's hear it. What will you put on the table for us saving the world?"

2007-06-24, 04:38 AM
"Proper deference seems to be a knack true heroes lack, I'm afraid... I'm working on them, I promise.

So Illithids aren't created by implanting illithid larvae into humanoids? I must say, I'm almost disappointed. On the other hand, definately relieved.

On the third hand - and this does seem a matter for beings with three or more manipulatory limbs - the unsettling questions were just that."

Dai bites his lip.

{I hope Horacio knows what he's doing...}

2007-06-24, 07:47 AM
Tokugal Ardolin

The great illithid's casually contemptuous manner and tantalizingly indirect speech affected Tokugal oddly. He certainly wasn't amused; but the tension and the strangeness of the situation struck him and elicited a high, nervous laugh. He looked startled by his involuntary ejaculation and clapped a hand over his mouth.

I wonder what Beavis and Butthead would say about that last line.

Naw; I actually have a pretty good idea.

2007-06-25, 06:36 PM
[Hehehehehehehehe, you said "ejaculate." Hehehehehehe.]

The Devourer chuckles deeply. "Oh, trust me, if you continue down this path you'll end up sitting down to tea with far stranger characters than that."

He straightens up and folds his arms and wings, regarding the party members one by one with a quizzical expression in his eyes. He settles on Kumoru, and his facial tentacles twitch in a semblence of amusement.

"Though I wager you already have. Your terms are fair, halfling. I would gain no benefit from attempting to harm you or your fellows in the process of safeguarding what shall soon enough be my domain, and I suppose the time and effort you will save me in the process is worth the pain and grief you have caused on my behalf. I shall warn you, however, not to consider yourself safe from my kind simply because we two have reached some semblance of an accord. Not all illithids are as united in purpose as some would have you believe, and my personal demense is more limited than some. My disciples will cause you no injury, but do not consider all eaters of grey matter you find your friends- there are plenty who are not beholden enough to me to pass up such a sumptuous meal."

He pauses to pat Tokugal on the head. "You're so cute."

The shadows within the room begin to melt away, and the image of The Devourer grows fainter, as does Firethena's doppleganger. The illithid gets in one final word before he completely dissapears.

"By the way, if you don't mind I'd very much appreciate it if you gave my regards to the scaley bitch. I like to imagine the look on her face when you tell her one of her favorite squidhunters is only alive and kicking because I was in a good mood. It makes me tingle."

And then he's gone. With the illusions dispersed, Firethena can be seen lying on the couch, covered with a light blanket and sleeping relatively peacefully.

"... well," says Kumoru, "that was a hell of a thing."

2007-06-25, 07:14 PM
Terry remains quiet as the illusions slide away.
"Hnn...we've long since gotten too reputable for our own good."

2007-06-25, 07:21 PM
"It's nice how powerful beings keep on being dissuaded from killng us because of that, don't you think?

Did he just tell us anything useful?

Okay, apart from the tentacular possessors NOT being mind flayer larvae. Which is not really comforting.

Think it over, someone needs to make sure she's okay, and I'm at least a competent healer."

Dai checks Firethena's vital signs, makng sure she's okay.

2007-06-25, 07:25 PM

Dammit, all I've got is his word, but that's better than nothing. We can work for there... thank Xan Yae Firethena's safe...

Horacio visibly breathes out a sigh of relief and grins, just a bit.

"For the circumstances... that went rather well. Very well. We got lucky..."

Horacio pulls out the sack he kept Crush's tentacles in.

"But never say I didn't see an opportunity and ran with it."

Horacio slices a layer off one of the tentacles, then puts the rest back in the bag. He tosses the slice to Dai.

"Dai, you're the closest thing we have to a divinist and the one friendly with the squi- Crush in the first place. Can you figure out how much it'd cost to resurrect Crush, place a few restrictions on the jobs he can do for the Devourer, and send a message to the Devourer? We could always use a contact..."

Horacio looks at Firethena and frowns.

"We also need to make sure he... or the skinwearers... didn't leave any surprises for us. We're visiting the Hidden Church after this with Firethena."

Horacio looks at the others.

"Could you all please step into the kitchen and close the door while I wake Firethena up? I don't know how she'll feel after being dominated like that, and I'd rather not surprise her all at once."

Horacio gives them a look that says he wants to do this alone, lets the casters make any detections on her they want, then once the others enter the kitchen, Horacio carefully wakes Firethena up, rubbing her shoulder.

"Firethena? Firethena? You've got visitors. Nightfang says hi."

2007-06-25, 10:44 PM

Vodette plops down near the couch that Firethena is sleeping on. Her rapier is still held loosely in her hand. She's quite urked that she hasn't really understood anything that has just gone on. They were saved....right? Who was that thing? She had all but given up. When Horacio asked them to leave, she looked at the halfling quite defiantly.

Why should we leave and go sit in the kitchen while you wake her up? We're no danger to her, and I'm not going to be just pushed aside, no matter how confused I may be. I bet we all want to see her awake and on her feet just as much as you. I'd rather see that all of my friends are there instead of one. Seeing only one after being dominated by something far more powerful than myself would lead me to believe that everybody else was either dead, dominated, or something worse. I'd think it would be comforting to see everybody else alive and well.

2007-06-25, 11:01 PM

Horacio softly mutters, "Vodette, I don't know if she even knew she was being dominated... but you can stay. I just don't want her seeing Kumoru and Kinslayer when she wakes up. Shouldn't really leave any of us alone anyway..."

There's a chord of sadness in Horacio's voice, and his head tilts slightly down. He suddenly looks much, much more exhausted than he was.

2007-06-26, 05:03 AM

What, in our entire history with you, has EVER led us to have the slightest reason to even suspect you might know how to interact with someone in a more meaningful manner than "Eek! stabstabstab! Oh no, I've gotten blood all over me! Mmmm, bloood..."?

If I was waking up after... well, just about anything, the one thing I damn well would want to not see would be you.

People with an actual bedside manner, please stay. People with an inclination to casually kill anything in their path, whatever.

2007-06-26, 09:49 AM
Tokugal Ardolin

Tokugal's expression wavered between annoyance and perplexity. (The manner of the Devourer's exit didn't help his mood any, either.) "Hey, back off! We're all a little tense after that...thing's taunting; but first we need to make sure Firethena's okay. Horacio's right: we need to give her space; but sending everyone out of the room would probably spook her, too, like Vodette said. Kinslayer...yeah, Terry, why don't you and Kumoru step into the other room. The rest of you, just stand back. And no weapons drawn, please."

Ignoring his own request, Tokugal crowds Horacio at Firethena's side. "Firethena, wake up. You're alright now." Please be alright now.

2007-06-26, 10:42 AM


Horacio glares at Dai.

"It's not entirely her fault. Even if it was, yelling at her will do jack **** except make you feel better. There are better ways to handle that. Now keep your voice down before you startle Firethena."

2007-06-26, 10:58 AM

Vodette was on her feet in a split second, her rapier clutched in her hand. Her face flushed with anger, it was taking every ounce of self control not to leap at Dai. She was so angry that she didn't bother to keep her voice down at all.

My fault! How is any of this my fault!? Maybe you would have rather had that giant worm eat you, because I didn't see you do a damn thing but turn and run that day. Maybe if you had an ounce of courage in you, you'd be useful when other people's lives are on the line.

Tears were streaming down her face. Vodette clenched her jaw in an attempt to stop her lip from trembling.

This is the way you all feel then? Fine! I guess you don't need some "psychotic witch' whose only inclination is to kill anything in her path.

With that, Vodette thrust her rapier back into it's holder and stormed for the door, giving Dai a shove if he is in her path.

2007-06-26, 11:02 AM
Terry's halfway for the other room when the fight breaks out. Momentarily torn between leaping inbetween the two and not, he's startled when Vodette turns to go.
If I draw Slayer, if only to block either from killing eachother, I'll only worsen things, and if Firethena wakes to s--agh!
Terry leaps and tries to grab Vodette's wrist as she leaves.

2007-06-26, 11:08 AM

"Dai! Vodette!"

Horacio glares over.

"Calm down and compose yourselves, both of you. We don't have the luxury of petty infighting.

"And Vodette, if you leave now, who'll make sure Terry stays safe? Could you live with yourself if anything happened to him?"

Xan Yae help us, let's not fall apart before we even fight the true enemy...

2007-06-26, 11:26 AM

Still fuming, Vodette spins on her feet to face Horacio.

Petty fighting? I did nothing to Dai but defend his neck. Now he just lashes out at me because I wanted to see that Firethena was safe. And don't you try to manipulate me Horacio. I would have thought you lot friends but I can see now that I was completely wrong. Friends don't lash out for no damn reason! and friends don't try to repeatedly manipulate you. Goodbye!

Vodette tries to wrench her wrists from Terry and she continues on to the door.

2007-06-26, 11:40 AM
Terry again tries to stop Vodette, interposing himself between her and the door.
"Work with me here. The thing we need, need. in order to survive this thing is mutual trust."
He sighs.
"Look, if you want to get by me, you're going to get by me. You're stronger, faster, and more agile. But...just...come on. Please. We're gonna need your help."

2007-06-26, 12:31 PM

Horacio closes his eyes & quits his efforts to wake Firethena, although he'll still greet her warmly if she does wake up (with all this racket)...

Bloody hell, Tahlion. I hope Firethena's a sound sleeper this time. What would she think if she woke up to this mess? Should've demanded they all head into the kitchen if I knew this would break out...

2007-06-26, 02:22 PM
[It occurs to me that once again we've completely forgotten that elves don't sleep... >_> I'm -amazed- at how hard that is to remember, and how much it consistently screws up my plans. XD Oh well, let's just say she's been in a really deep trance... and, uh, she lies down for it.]

Kumoru seems perfectly willing to comply with Horacio's request, but when Dai and Vodette start fighting he lingers in the doorway, apparently interested in the outcome of the fight. Kinslayer doesn't comment beyond some quiet hysterical giggling.

Firethena actually remains unconscious throughout most of the ruckus, however, the instant Horacio stops shaking her, she sits bolt upright and screams, "Fish cake!?"

2007-06-26, 02:41 PM

The wizard has been standing, baffled by most of this exchange.

Huh. Clearly, the strain is getting to Dai more than I'd thought.

As Firethena awakes, he uses detect magic to see if there are any lingering enchantments on her, and at the same time moves to hold her free hand.

It's all right, now. You remember us, yes? All friends here. We have news about, well, a lot of things, but first I'm going to make you some tea and I think we should hear about the last few things you remember. Like, say, fish cakes.

Daewell shoos Kumaru into the kitchen and listens to the conversation as it unfolds while preparing tea.

2007-06-26, 03:47 PM

Horacio grins when Firethena wakes up.

"It's good to see you again, Firethena. You were resting when we came in; we tried to be quiet but, well, you know how adventurers are...

"Oh, just sit back there, Firethena. Wait for the others to finish arguing. Did you rest well? We've got a lot to do and not much time to do it in. A lot to talk about as well.

"Also, Nightfang says hi. He wishes you'd visit more often."

As he waits for things to calm down, he silently thinks:
I know, I know, Tahlion... The age difference, well, she's an elf, I'm a halfling, we have about the same time left in our natural lives. The different species, she's a wizard, I think we can work something out. Besides, there are some things you can only do when your partner's twice your size. As for Gaudemus... well, if her & Aerin worked out a deal, I think Gaudemus & I could. Provided we're on friendly terms with Gaudemus once all this is over...

Horacio looks into Firethena's eyes.

But she's loyal, steadfast, she doesn't shock easily, she knows what she's doing, and I think she has a lot more fire, grit, and cunning buried in her than meets the eye. She's a wizard with more common sense than half the rabbit-pullers I've met. And even though she's a couple centuries old, by the Gods, her figure... I pray there aren't any illusions there.

Bloody hell, get ahold of yourself, Horacio. Getting lusty got you in trouble in the first place... still, nothing wrong with loving someone who's smart and beautiful.

But what do I have to offer her? She's an illusionist with a knack for crafting and the power to, as our 'friend' put it, alter reality. I'm just a rogue that's been around the block more times than I can count. I don't know how to make magic items, I just know how to use them. She was the peer of a mage that could kill us all with a word, I've just stood toe-to-toe with mind flayers, bartered with medusae, and led extraplanar raiding parties on a- wait, that actually sounds pretty impressive.

Still, first things first. We need to get her to Vera at the Invisible Church. She knows how the mind ticks better than anyone; she can tell if it's been tampered with. Maybe she can watch Firethena's back for us while we're gone. Maybe they can even- Tahlion, what do you think happens when a wizard and a psion collaborate?

2007-06-27, 02:39 PM
(Wasn't expecting that. Go, Horacio! Can't say much else, seeing as Terry's actions hinge on Vo's...)

2007-06-27, 03:55 PM
Kumoru ducks into the kitchen.

Kinslayer is feeling chatty, but he doesn't say anything outside of the confines of Terry's brain. Hey, hey, here's your chance! Dai's screwing up the party! Kick his ass! I would so go for coldcocking that guy. Just like, use my hilt or something if you're squeamish. POP HIM IN THE EYE. Or the balls. That's not too gay. Just rack him with me, I think I could handle that.

Tahlion murmurs softly in the halfling's mind. ....huh, you've put a lot of thought into this. I really can't offer a whole lot of advice in this particular arena, but I have heard wierder love stories. Like that kobold who wooed a minotaur. I think he used a greatclub. Anyhow, as far as wizards and psions go... well, let's just say the last time I saw two of those really get at it, I would up being shoved into the guts of a phrenic half golem bunny girl. ... that was kind of fun, actually.

Firethena looks up at Daewell and Horacio in surprise. "Oh! You're all back! That's awesome, I was a little worried. And Nightfang's doing well? Awesome, that's really... really awesome. He didn't tell you... any stories, did he? Oh god he did. Okay I'll deal with that later. Tea? Yes, a cup of tea might... might be nice..."

She seems a little distracted. Her face is beet red, and she keeps fumbling with her hands and shifting around on the couch.

"... why is everyone looking so upset. Did I interrupt something?"

2007-06-27, 04:02 PM

gesturing silently for Kumaru to stay here for the time being, Daewell uses a simple spell to sweeten and flavour the tea, and breezes back out into the living room.

Here we are. Nothing like a steaming pot of tea. Everything well in here, then.

He glances over at Dai and Vodette, wondering if he was going to have to separate the two with a wall of force. Or perhaps several hundred miles.

2007-06-27, 04:44 PM

Horacio thinks to himself for a moment:
Well, you watched Firethena grow up, right? Spent most of the last few centuries a fly on her wall, right? Why don't you tell me a bit more about her?
"Yes, he did tell stories, and we told stories, and we got royally plastered, and I got as close to Scarlet as anyone can get while keeping their clothes on- I think she mistook me for a pillow, and it was a good night all around.

"By the way, an illusory brothel is a great idea, but how would you clean up the messes afterward?"

Horacio grins mischievously and idly adjusts his Ring of Feather Falling.

"As for them... they're arguing about how we should act in the future. We made a few decisions that could've gone better. Give them a couple minutes alone to work it out."

Horacio frowns a bit and glances over at Terry & Vodette.

"I need to ask you a few things in private anyway, Firethena. Do you mind showing me that present I asked about earlier? That should give me enough time to ask you and give them enough time to work it out."

2007-06-27, 06:38 PM
Zip it, Slayer.
Terry tries to ignore the rising flush in his cheeks as Kinslayer babbles, Horacio shoots him a significant glance, and trying to stare down Vodette. He grins nervously.
"...Prestidigitation, Horacio?"

2007-06-27, 10:46 PM
Tokugal Ardolin

Tokugal's head swiveled back and forth as he tried simultaneously to ascertain that Firethena was doing well and to make sure that Terry and Vodette didn't come to blows.

For that reason, he didn't catch everything Horacio said; but when he mentioned going off somewhere for a "present," the elf's eyebrows came together. I wonder what he means. Anyway, it would reduce the density of bodies in this room--which might allow everyone to cool down a bit. If Vodette goes with them, maybe she won't kill Terry. Tahlion can keep an eye on them. Tokugal remembered the demonic eye possessed by the other sword and shivered.

"Vodette, you should probably let Firethena get a look at you before you go. Whether you stick with us or not, you would want to make sure that you haven't been...afflicted."

2007-06-27, 11:03 PM
"Oh, they're definately all your friends. I have no idea why, which is odd, since I'm usually pretty good at reading people, but they seem to like your way of doing things.

Firethena, it is lovely to see you again, and reassuring to see you're awake and active once more...

...everyone, have a nice day."


2007-06-27, 11:14 PM

Horacio curses vehemently in several dark languages mentally.

"Oh bloody- Dai! Dai!"

Horacio runs after Dai.

2007-06-27, 11:28 PM
Firethena takes the tea, though she's looking rather confused.

"Thank you Daewell. You..." *blushes even more* "...oh, he told you THAT story, well that's... that's just great... Eh? Present? I'm not sure what you-"

She stops short, somewhat surprised at Dai's outburst and hasty departure. As he leaves the room, however, Kinslayer abruptly yanks itself out of the sheath on Terry's back, flies across the room, and swings rapidly through the air, smacking Dai in the face with the flat of its blade hard enough to knock the chameleon onto his ass. The sword hovers in midair, glaring daggers at the room in general.

SCREW YOU, mang.

[Dai takes 17 nonlethal.]

2007-06-27, 11:46 PM
The stress of the situation takes Terry to the edge of his patience. And then gives him the bum's rush over.


Moron! What the hell makes you think a loop of rope would hold the ****er?!

Terry lunges forward and makes to grab Slayer again--however he can. If he grabs the blade, he grabs the blade.

"You bastard piece of tin, cut that the hell out!"

He, assuming he can, grabs Slayer and thrusts him through the back of his still billowing cloak with a loud rip, then another as the tip pierces on the bottom left edge.

"If you ever even want the chance to steal someone's soul, you will shut the hell up and cooperate like you agreed to in your gods-damned deal! My interest in Vodette is none of your concern, my friends are not your targets, and I swear by whatever good that's left in my damned life I will throw you into the next convenient portal to the positive energy plane if you don't CALM THE **** DOWN!

Realizing his outburst was said aloud, not mentally, Terry stops short and flushes again.

2007-06-28, 12:39 AM
Dai pulls himself back up from the floor after getting knocked down.

"I was wondering why the evil artifact would give a damn.

I still am, actually... well, really.

After all, my point of view denies him tasty little soul-snacks.

I'm leaving. I'll not be bullied into accepting her bloodlust.

Not by any of you. Not even the blade. If the worst comes to pass there, I'll see if my theory on how to destroy it pans out."

{I'm going to die because she doesn't grasp the subtle distinction between a show of strength and a threat to kill someone, and this lot are thinking with their little heads. How ironic my attempts to get people to try diplomacy and compromise have forced me to abandon both...

Still. Never compromise your ethics. That would be by far the worse fate.}

2007-06-28, 01:42 AM

Horacio curses vehemently in several dark languages mentally. The resentment he had been harboring burns into righteous fury.

Tahlion, if you can make me imposing, now's the time to do it.

"Dai! Vodette! The both of you, stop it right now! You are acting like children! Stop and think for a moment what's at stake here!

"There is a man out there, an adventurer, just like us, that gave his own sweat and blood to make the world a better place. And when he was done, all he wanted to do was settle down and raise a family in peace. But these... outsiders, whatever they are, they have tormented his family, killed his wife, and even now are probably trying to sacrifice his son and push him off the edge of insanity into darkness, and we are the only ones in any position to stop them. And you two, both of you, are willing to abandon him because of this bickering?!

"This isn't some mercenary job you can walk out on without a heavy conscience! Lives are at stake here, family is at stake here, a beaten-down father's only son is at stake here, and you're willing to walk out on him, abandon him just because you have some issues with a teammate?! Are the differences between you two so huge that you can't put them aside to help out a grieving father?"

Horacio turns to Dai.

"Dai, a mistake was made, but we all make them. Vodette makes them, Terry makes them, I make them, you make them. We all make crappy decisions sometimes, but we don't just abandon our teammates because they screwed up! We help them overcome it because next time, it might be your mistake you need help with.

"And for the record, that mistake was mine. I mouthed off to him, I started the sh*t, I brought the wrath down on us. If you want to blame anyone, blame me. Quit placing it entirely on Vodette's shoulders. I would've done the same precaution in her shoes; the Underdark's a dangerous place, you gotta know who you're dealing with."

Horacio turns to Vodette.

"And Vodette, I know you're skilled with that sword, I know you've been around the block a few times, but the you've... been acting immature. Lashing out at us, refusing to trust us but expecting trust in return, insisting your own modesty is more important than the party's safety... It's... I know it's all strange and disorienting, but you have to face it with courage. Being a warrior isn't just about how you handle a sword, it's about how you face all the trials life throws at you, your dedication and will to do what needs to be done, to tackle the problems no one else will. You've shown courage in battle, but now I need to see how brave you are out of it.

"And... I know I said some painful things that night, but I could see it was bothering you. I'm... sorry. I just want to help you. I've been through some painful times in my life as well; I know how it feels. Sometimes a kind ear makes all the difference.

"But the point is, we all have our flaws, we all have our arguments, and the Gods know there have been times I've wanted to sock the lot of you over one thing or another, and I'm sure you've wanted to sock me as well. Especially Daewell.

"But there's no one else I would rather trust watching my back right now. There's no one I want off this party. We need every angle, skill, and tool we have to pull this off. So please, come to some sort of understanding. We have too much at stake here to let bickering rip us apart like this."

Horacio breathes out and slumps his shoulders. He looks physically exhausted, almost worn out.

"Family's on the line here, family of an adventurer just like us. If we don't stick up for each other when push comes to shove, who will?"

Xan Yae, please let this work...

2007-06-28, 09:39 AM
Tokugal Ardolin

"Horacio's right. Don't dismiss what he says as a mere pep talk: he's right. Any one of us leaves, and we're easy pickings for whatever it is that's added us to its hit list, right after Gaudemus."

"You think I didn't want to leave after I got my money? I did. But I decided that this stuff was too big, too important, to--aw, Horacio's right. I'll leave it at that."

Tokugal caught the halfling's eye and gave a nod of support.

"And if you make it come to blows, you're just doing their work for them," he added.

A part of his mind wondered what Kumoru made of these 'professionals'--and what Firethena thought of awakening to such a circus.

2007-06-28, 11:22 AM

Still quite red in the face, she takes several steps back in her eyes glaring at everybody in turn.

I have done NOTHING wrong, and I will not accept him saying I have blood lust. I haven't shown anything like it. I like fighting, yes. It's what I know. But I have yet to ATTACK ANYTHING BEFORE IT HAS ATTACKED US. If Dai would be able to open his eyes and get down of his damn pedestal that he's ever so happy to sit on and look down upon all of us, then maybe he would realize that. If he wants to leave, fine! I haven't had any problems with you, Dai, before this. Frankly, I have no damn idea how this came about. Maybe you're cracking under the stress, I don't know. Whatever it is, I know that I don't deserve any of it. If you're saying that killing Crush was blood lust, well if you call fending off some underdark creature as it tries to attack you or eat your brain, then yes I have blood lust. That is something I wouldn't feel ashamed about because that is actually called defending yourself. And these people are my friends, which is why I am going to stay with them. They're yours too, so I guess the ability to read people that you're bragging about is actually s***.

Vodette stops for a moment, breathing very heavily. Her voice was raised to shouting several times during her 'speech'. She's now struggling to regain herself.

They want you to stay with us. So I am willing to put aside whatever problems we have and just work together.

2007-06-28, 05:55 PM
"Friends? In that case, the request I'm about to ask should be only a small burden...

...next time we encounter some-thing that may well escalate from conversation to conflict if threatened, why don't we go with the admittedly unorthodox option of not threatening them?

Just putting that out there.

'Cause, you know, with everything at stake, one might think that, say, accidently angering an elder squid god, and it sounds like we killed a potentially valuable source of information back in the mountain... you know, crazy thought, there was possibly a better possible outcome.

Oh, sorry, I forgot. Respect for the lives and self respect of other sentients is childish. My bad."

2007-06-28, 06:19 PM

Horacio blinks, then almost says something, but keeps his mouth shut.

"We'll keep it an option, Dai. Now if you could look at that slice of a potentially valuable source of information I tossed you and figure out how much it'd cost to resurrect him and restrict what actions he can take, I'd appreciate it."

(Just as a reminder, Horacio cut off a slice of Crush's tentacles and tossed it to Dai before this lovely argument came up.)

Horacio turns back to Firethena.

"It's a long story, and it's been a long trip. I can explain the basics while we get that present. You remember, Firethena? The thing I asked for that night at the inn?"

2007-06-28, 09:02 PM

The wizard continues to stay with Firethena as the conflict erupts around them, pouring tea. Once she's had a chance to get her bearings...

Surely, Horacio, that can wait until we've had a chance to check in with Firethena. As you've pointed out, this is a matter of life and death, and...if we're all content to remain in the room now...

He smiles at Dai.

I'm sorry to have to present this information to you so abruptly, Firethena, but there are larger forces at play and - as Horacio has all but said - those forces threaten Gaudamus and his son.

What he has neglected to mention is that they also threaten our home. This city. It seems likely, according to the church's intelligence, that Gaudamus has established himself as a kind of god-king of the barbarian tribes to the south. At this time, it seems that he has forged them into an army of sorts - an army that he is marching straight at us.

At the same time, it seems that there is something old and outside of the realms that is struggling to get a toe-hold here. Gaudamus is tied up with them somehow, but the exact connection is not clear. Some agent of this evil took possession of an innocent paladin a week ago, and forced him to attempt to kill Father Donovan.

We were successful in reaching Nightfang and Scarlet. They were impressed with Horacio's offer of sushi, and invited us in. We saw Gareth - a bold and strong young man, with an orcish manner and his father's fondness for greatswords. We also met Kara, a half-orc woman, possibly a companion to Gareth. It seems likely that she is a follower of Gaudamus. Gareth and Kara left shortly, we spent the evening...sharing stories with Nightfang and Scarlet. In the morning, they lead us to Kinslayer, which seemed to have become even more active lately. Which it demonstrated by impaling, and sort of adopting Terry.

And...there's more. On our way to meet up with Nightfang, we stumbled across and killed an illithid who introduced himself as Crush. That-

He points to the bit of tentacle on the floor.

- was taken from its corpse by Horacio. I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but you deserve to know. When we came here this evening to provide an update, there was another presence here. Another illithid, one apparently known as the Devourer. He had, well, there's no easy way to say this. He had taken possession of you, and briefly threatened us with your own considerable talents. Apparently, our actions against the larger threat of the tentacled beings and whatever they serve, mesh with the Devourer's own goals, and he left of his own accord.

And...then you woke up.

He blinked twice, and set down his teacup.

Detect-o-vision to confirm that all enchantments and possessions are gone from her. Once that's complete, he'll also sweep the room, looking for any magical sensors that might be about.

2007-06-28, 09:30 PM

Horacio frowns at Daewell.

He could've broken it to her a bit more gently...

"Daewell's right. We're facing outworldly threats to all our safety. The Devourer we struck a deal with... we take care of the threat to all of us, and they leave us alone. That includes you, Firethena. You shouldn't have to worry about him anymore.

"But that doesn't rule out the tentacled beasts threatening Gaudemus and Gareth. They're skinwearers, infesting people and slowly taking control of them. Luckily, we've discovered a few clues that someone's infested. One of them is marks on the back. So we're doing checks of everyone we can to make sure they're not infected. That includes you, Firethena."

Horacio grins shyly.

"Firethena, do you mind if I check your back for these marks quick? I know it's a bit abrupt, but we need to make sure... I, uh, could give you a back rub or a massage while I'm at it, loosen up those muscles, relieve some tension. This has been pretty stressful for all of us.

"And after that, all of us are going to meet an old comrade of mine. That includes you too, Firethena. She's an expert on dreams and the mind, she can double-check to make sure none of us are influenced or infested by anything. She can give us some advice on what to do and... guidance."

Horacio's grin fades to a sad smile.

"I think we all need a bit of that right now..."

If Firethena faints, Horacio immediately gets out the smelling salts to revive her. Not having her go unconscious mid-reply.

2007-06-28, 10:54 PM

Vodette clenches her teeth. She sees the end of this particular argument is at an end.

Fine. But I'll make a request too. Next time something does escalate to conflict and one of your fellow members is being attacked, how about you take the unorthodox option for you and stay and fight to save your friends life instead of running away.

Vodette steps back into (or farther back into) the room. She folds her arms and looks around. She listens to everybody sum up for Firethena and she does her best to regain her temper. She's making some headway when Horacio mentions checking each others backs.

Still finishing calming down, Vodette completely misses Horacio's attempts to pick up Firethena.

Horacio how about Firethena and I check each other since I still need her to check my back. Call it a girl thing, I guess.

2007-06-28, 10:57 PM

"The problem is, if both of you are infested, you could cover up each other's infestation. Someone we know is clean has to check."

2007-06-28, 11:40 PM
All things considered, Horacio, I think you're doing admirably on your own... I'd cool it with the offers of back massages and whatnot tho-

Firethena looks rather frazzled, but she blinks and shakes her head to clear it, apparently doing remarkably well.

"...okay... possessed by the Devourer... that... actually makes sense, I was having the -wierdest- dream... something about a tall, dark stranger who was amaxingly good at cunning... ling... guist... ics. He was a... cunning linguist. Very good with the.... with the languages. He knew a lot of them."

She coughs and pushes the blanket off of herself so she can shift positions.

"And now you're telling me Gaudemus is a god and he's about to attack the city and his children are threatened by the wearers of the flesh. And you're still worried about Nefertari's cat toy. Don't worry, I worked on it, I'll show you what I've got so far. But if we're worried about body snatchers..."

She unblinkingly sheds her robe, unfastens the front of her nightgown, and drops it to her waist, pulling up her hair to present an unrestricted view of her torso as she shifts around to make sure everyone can see everything.

"They don't just invade through the back, they can enter through an opening in more or less any part of the torso, so you guys had probable better get your shirts back off and check each other's chests and stomachs too. If you're all satisfied I'm clean I can take Vodette into a spare room and make sure she's alright."

... Terry, you might want to check this cloak for stains.

Firethena rolls her eyes. "Nice to see you too, ***hole."

Daewell detects no magic on Firethena, again. The room is largely clean too, though he can detect some faint traces in other rooms beyond, and the large tome sitting on the coffee table is lit up with a decent aura. He can detect a magical rune that resembles the elvish letter "f" surrounded by stylized flames on the cover.

2007-06-29, 12:05 AM

Vodette's jaw drops and she coughs involuntarily when Firethena drops her clothes. Vodette swallows and begins walking toward the other room.

Right, so she passes inspection. How about you check me in the other room Firethena? We'll be back in a second.

Vodette walks into the other room.

IF Firethena follows she'll do the body search and then return to the room with the rest of the group in it.

2007-06-29, 12:27 AM

Having survived Scarlet and two helpings of Nefertari, Daewell manages to be relatively sanguine as Firethena disrobes. He looks only with a cool disinterest.

Interesting. Elves maintain much greater muscle tone than humans of an equivalent age. I wonder if it's due to greater skin elasticity, or a lower proportion of body fat.

As Vodette and Firethena make their way into another room, Daewell unclasps his vest and cloak, and draws his own shirt up over his head for a moment so that the others can see.

Hm. We should probably do this as well. I don't believe any of us have actually made good on our offer to reveal ourselves. Which reminds me.

Rising, he tucks his shirt back into place as he strolls to the kitchen and pokes his head in.

Kumaru, I believe that it's fine to come out.

Returning to his seat, he looks around at the others, and then is struck by a thought.

How would Firethena know about the capabilities of the tentacled creatures?

2007-06-29, 12:47 AM

Horacio blinks and his jaw hits the floor when Firethena disrobes and explains about the tentacled creatures, but it isn't because she's naked.

Dear Gods, she handled that so calmly, as cool as an Atalya winter night. The whole thing. And she even knew about the nightmare creatures. She even cussed out Kinslayer!

Tahlion, pinch me, I think I'm dreaming.

Something else pings at the back of his mind, though, and he looks for any old scars on Firethena's body.
Spot check: 22 (http://invisiblecastle.com/find.py?id=1126851)

He quickly recovers and just watches impassively as Firethena leads Vodette out of the room. He starts removing his own shirt afterwards.

"Isn't it obvious? She studied them with Gaudemus. Or she's done her own research into Aerin's death as well."

2007-06-29, 07:07 AM
"If anyone had been in appreciable danger or need of help, they'd have more reason to complain."

He looks down at the shred of tentacle with some slight frustration.

"If Crush is amenable to reincarnation, and assuming that would even work, I can bring him back easily enough. Otherwise... it'll be tricky, since we seem to have left the bulk of the body behind to rot.

Cat toy. She called it a cat toy."

(long-suffering sigh)

2007-06-29, 08:58 AM

And...what advantage do we gain by reincarnating that creature?

Not even his employer seemed interested in it, and the topic he was just on his way to investigate, we're already knee-deep in. I would say the LAST thing we want to add to this mix is a magic-using illithid with a perfectly good reason to hate us.

2007-06-29, 09:26 AM

"Because A, he might've been investigating that cult longer than we have and have some useful info; B, we should be able to place some sort of magical compulsion on him that keeps him doing missions against these world-destroying cults instead of coming to the surface to eat our brains; and C, the Devourer failed to set up a contact with us.

"I'd rather get half my teeth pulled than speak with him again, but not having any line of communication can lead to all sorts of misunderstandings. Ones I'd rather avoid when dealing with... him.

"Keep your friends close and your enemies closer, as the old saying goes.

"Course, I can also see many ways this might be a bad idea, so if you have any opinions or comments, now's the time to speak up.

2007-06-29, 09:34 AM

The wizard settles back on the couch, where a week ago he, Tokugal and Dai first met Firethena.

Well, if the Devourer wanted communications with us, he seems adequately prepared for the purpose. And if he blocks himself from other attempts at magical communication, then he clearly doesn't want to hear from us either, so having an intermediary only makes him stronger. The only other way I know for Crush to communicate with him is to leave our sphere...again, something I wouldn't recommend. I'll defer to Dai, but I am no expert in such compulsions, let alone how to make such things work on the, ah, "squids".

In short, if you wish to go ahead and bring back that murderous thing, I want no part of it.

2007-06-29, 11:02 AM

"All excellent points, Dae, many of them the same ones I was thinking of. Granted, you'd think of all of us, I'd be the most opposed to it, but this is a unique situation that could benefit us if it's pulled off right.

A few things about your argument. First, we don't know if he's blocked magical communication to him, unless you've already tried to contact him and didn't tell me about it. I also think the increase in his strength is meager compared to our benefit; his use to the Devourer will be restricted to ways that help both of us.

"And even murderous things can be useful... if pointed at the right targets. There are plenty of races in the Underdark that want to see all our heads on a platter; I wouldn't mind a bit more infighting among them, especially if it sabotages more plots against the surface.

"Of course, it all depends on how durable those restrictions are. If any middling caster can dispel, I won't risk it. I won't be responsible for bringing back a flayer that can prey on Atalyans.

"Well Dai? How about it? Is there an easy way to put durable restrictions on what our friend Crush can do... and eat? Doesn't matter if you can't do it, just if somebody can... I have a few friends I could ask for aid on this."

2007-06-29, 11:24 AM
Terry nonchalantly wraps his cloak a bit more around Slayer and loosens it around his neck. Rather not end up hung in an attempt to slow him down. He chooses to ignore the greatsword's comment.

"Now, personally? I have no problems with resurrecting Crush. Yes, he's about as trustworthy as a drunken dandy, yes, he's probably evil, and yes, he's probably got a massive grudge, but damn it, he didn't do anything to us without provocation. Yes, he nibbles humanoids' skulls. ...I still wouldn't mind seeing him brought back."

2007-06-29, 05:19 PM
"I think people may be missing an important detail - reincarnation would bring him back as some other type of sentient. He won't be an illithid any more... which may be enough of a deal-breaker for him to refuse to come back at all."

2007-06-29, 05:58 PM

"Not reincarnation, resurrection. You know, high-level cleric spell? I'm asking you to figure out the details, not actually do it yourself."

2007-06-29, 06:13 PM

Well, Horacio, I'm not sure how to proceed. You say that you won't be responsible for bringing back a flayer who can prey on Atalyans, but that's exactly what you're proposing.

I know of no way to bring him back in a way that reliably makes him loyal to our cause. Raising him from the dead unleashes another illithid on our city. Reincarnating him makes him something other than an illithid, and probably unable to reliably contact the Devourer without being, well, devoured - even if he is willing to return.

Perhaps Dai or your church can offer a solution. Until then, I'd suggest we focus on other matters of discussion.

For instance, can you tell us any more about this "Devourer", and his role in the city?

2007-06-29, 06:47 PM
"Resurrection would require a powerful Cleric willing to bring an Illithid back to life. I don't think we're going to find such an individual, based on the comments Crush's master made.

As for Geasing him... no spell wrought by men cannot be undone... at least, as far as anything we could conceivably obtain. We could go to great lengths to inconvenience whoever might want to unravel such a spell... I'm not sure how much that would help.

I'm not the most competent Wizard here, though, actually, I think I only make top three, so someone else might have a better idea of that though."

2007-06-29, 07:10 PM

"The Devourer was an old bogeyman among the flayers. Scared them more than our interrogators, so I heard; they wouldn't spill anything because whatever fate they had in store, his was much worse for betrayers. Most of us wrote it off as an urban legend; the rest of us remembered how often those legends turned out to be true. His interest in Atalya is indirect at best, thank the Gods.

"I fought flayers the entire war and this was the first one that warranted his personal attention. The odds are the same as bumping into a disguised God on the street. We got very unlucky... and then very lucky. And if he decides to go against his word, we are all probably very screwed. But I asked for a truce and erasure of past 'crimes' with him for our services saving 'his' world; if he keeps his word, his forces won't bother us if we don't bother them.

"That might cause complications in the future, but we'll cross that bridge if we reach it. For now, I'd stay on his good side. Resurrecting a minion who had his personal attention might be worth that. Or it might be worth nothing. Just an idea.

"And noted, Dai. I'll ask my clerics about it when we reach the church. They don't ask many questions, and they enjoy challenges like this. Now, could I have the slice back?"

Horacio takes the slice back when Dai offers it.

2007-06-29, 07:13 PM
"Please, take it. Try to keep it from rotting away entirely though."

He hands it back over.

2007-06-29, 07:14 PM

"They last a while. Trust me."

Horacio takes it back.

2007-06-29, 08:37 PM
Firethena's body is like a fine wine- the years have only done good things for her. It becomes apparent that the lines on her face are far more likely to be the result of stress than of old age. She is surprisingly toned for a wizard, particularly one who does so little adventuring, but there are no scars or wounds, old or otherwise. When she's satisfied that the party is satisfied that she's not harboring brain worms she slips her gown back on and follows Vodette out of the room.

Kumoru pokes his head in. "Hey guys, great news. It would appear that I am not yet entirely dead. If you know what I mean."

Ha ha! At last, someone with a sense of humor. High five.

"... how about no, you psychotic piece of crap."

... you hurt my feelings.

Tahlion murmurs in Horacio's mind. She's pretty good, alright. I can't help wondering if she has been up to more than she lets on. She's got an incredible head on her shoulders for someone who claims to spend all their time sitting around and moping.

[Should we do Firethena and Vodette's conversation in PM or just cover it with spoiler tags? I'm too tired to pick one myself. :P]

2007-06-29, 09:44 PM

Horacio thinks quietly to himself as he waits for Firethena to finish her inspection.
Yeah, she's full of surprises. I bet she's been looking into the cause of Aerin's death as well.

Or she caused it.

No, she wouldn't cause it.

She was jealous of her, you know. She could've struck a deal to-

That's ludicris. Firethena would never stoop that low.

-just like she could've told the paladin about Gaudemus's experiments to drive them-

Shut up! That goes against everything we've seen about Fire-

You mean like Laura's betrayal went against everything you knew about her?


Hey, you could be lucky. She might regret it now. Or she could just be stringing you along, luring you into a sense of-

Shut it. She wouldn't mope for a century. All of Gaudemus's notes were in that lab. She could've read them all a dozen times over. She could've made a connection we haven't, or done her own private research like I do. Hell, we know Gaudemus had previous run-ins with them; he might've told her about them, tipped her off. There's a dozen explanations besides she did it.

I know, but it won't stop you from watching her reactions like a hawk when you ask her about it tonight.

...Xan Yae, there are times I wish I was more naive.

Horacio closes his eyes and leans forward, head drooped. He looks deep in thought.

You're the only one in this whole mess I can truly trust, Tahlion. I hope we can still talk privately when I give you back to Tokugal; right now, I value your advice more than your fighting prowess.

...I want to know more about this transformation process. I want to know everything you know about it: how to do it, the result, the cost. I do not want to be caught off-guard if something like the Devourer happens again. This means too much to me; I would rather sacrifice my life than let this fail. Please, give me what I need to know to do that.

2007-06-30, 12:36 AM
Tahlion quivers gently at Horacio's side. I can't tell you not to be suspicious, Horacio; this is your nature. But I can tell you that if Firethena harbored such darkness within her heart, I doubt I could miss it. I detect no such hatred or anger within her. There is simply sadness, and a quiet, but powerful, inner strength.

The transformation... is as has been said. A merging of minds and bodies. We join together on the deepest possible level and become a single, unique being. I do not know if we will retain memories of ourselves, or if the process will wipe us out completely. I have never had the oppourtunity to attempt such an action. I... believe the result would be based on my... original form, whatever that was. Doubtless it would contain elements of yourself as well, though I haven't the slightest idea how they would be mixed.

It could be permanent. It could not be. It depends on the circumstances, I think- if we simply merged for a moment for the power, we might simply fall apart again naturally... but there are other ways.... deeper ways... that would make the combination lasting, and far more powerful. It is this sort of union that Kinslayer seems to desire, though I don't doubt he has his own reasons for requesting it that would not bode well for whoever accepted his offer. It is entirely possible that one of us could retain our consciousness and thus control over the agregate form... though in doing so the remaining personality of the other would be put at risk. I'll say it again, this is the kind of thing I would only attempt in time of the darkest need. It is old, wild magic, and I can't imagine the consequences of playing blindly with it.

2007-06-30, 01:29 AM

Horacio keeps staring into space, thinking about something.

That's reassuring to hear. I'll take your word on it. But I'll still have to pick apart her words. Gaudemus's friends seem reluctant to speak the entire truth about him, but we'll need that to find this corruption and exorcise it.

A merging of minds? One consciousness gaining dominion over the other? That sounds like a psionic merge; perhaps there's a way to practice for it, or ensure a balance between the two minds. I'll have to talk to Vera about that when we visit her. It is her area of expertise.

And deeper ways? Any more details on that, Tahlion? Or will I have to start hunting down some wild mages crazy enough to know those details?


Still, two minds merging, one controlling the other... those creatures know we're going to this meeting. It's a trap, but for who? We're bringing Kinslayer. They're bringing... Gaudemus? Perhaps not. Gareth? Gareth's probably infested, perhaps by his father, but- no, doesn't make sense, they attacked Gaudemus. Still, infested by another, one and one is two, two and one is three...

Nightfang said Kinslayer was interested in Gaudemus and his kin. What do you think would happen if Kinslayer merged with Gareth while he was infested by a nightmare? Just a thought.

2007-06-30, 04:40 AM
Terry grins at Kumoru.
"Down, boy."
Then coughs.
"...Whoops, sorry. Forgot the whole arcane experiments thing."
For the record, I have a perfectly fine sense of humor when I'm not babysitting soul eating greatswords.

2007-06-30, 11:41 AM
Tokugal Ardolin

Tokugal nodded at Firethena's further warning. I wonder how she knows that. Nevertheless, he stripped off his jacket and shirt as Firethena led Vodette from the room. "Could somebody check me?" Tokugal returned the favor for anyone who needed it. [Taking 10 for a 35 Search check.]

"It may be worth it to give the lab another look-through," he commented, "now that we have a better idea of what we're dealing with."

2007-06-30, 12:18 PM

"Labs. Hells, I want to go through this entire house with a fine tooth comb."

2007-06-30, 12:24 PM

Vodette walks into the other room and begins to strip off her clothing.

Thanks Firethena. I just didn't really want to give the boys a full view of everything.

(OOC: Lets just do it in here with spoilers)

2007-06-30, 01:32 PM
"Baby-sitting" probably isn't a very accurate term... most babies can't kill you.

Terry feels -something- prod him sharply in the buttock.

Kumoru pauses in the act of removing his clothing. "... man, that thing's getting more schoolyard by the second. Also, I hate to break anyone's bubble, but don't most of us have a pretty decent assortment of scars and lacerations left over from prior conflicts with unrelated beasties? I mean, Tokugal, I can see what used to be some fairly considerable ventilation in your ribcage just by looking at you from here. How do we know these things can't use old injuries to invade our bodies, or just heal the wounds up after they're done? I mean, if you want you can probably cut me all the way open and get a look inside, but I don't reccomend it for those of who who still need all of those organs to live."

Kumoru, as previously stated, only has a couple of very old and long healed scars on his torso, but the wound from Kinslayer is still very much open and certainly large enough to admit something that would be small enough to fit inside his skull.

Tahlion murmurs quietly in Horacio's brainmeats. A permanent fusion requires... intent... some ceremony, something symolic... and a large source of magical energy, enough to really permanently break down the barriers between our minds and physical forms. That could require the help of a wizard amoral enough to assist in such an enterprise, but we could just as easily take the energy from some kind of object, or a place... even a being with sufficient supply of natural arcane power...

...that could be why Kinslayer wants Gaudemus' family so badly... if Gareth inherited any of his father's natural power... and given the nature of the experiments that gave rise to it, it is entirely possible that he has...

In the other room, Firethena smiles as warmly and as non-trheateningly as she can. "I understand. It's probably nervewracking to take off your clothes in a room full of people with swords and penises, ne? I was raised in a pretty open community, so I never had much of a problem with it..." She grins a little mischievously. "...and the looks on their faces are worth it, anyway. So! Let's have a look at you. Anyone ever tell you you have really cute breasts Vodette?"

2007-06-30, 01:46 PM

"We might need a way to detect parasitic minds trying to hide in our bodies. We'll have to ask Firethena what else she knows about them when she's done checking Vodette. If physical checking and magic don't work, perhaps psionics will."

Horacio checks his body for any new scars while his brainmeats continue to throb.
So Kinslayer could be trying to steal/tempt that power away from Gareth, with these nightmare creatures helping from the sidelines so they can slide into it. Kinslayer gets the power he wants, but then the nightmare gets the control they want...

Do you think Kinslayer would help them destroy the world, or do you think he's being played for a fool as well?

2007-06-30, 01:54 PM
"And most greatswords don't goose their bearers."
Terry rolls his eyes and pulls off what's left of his cloak with Slayer in order to get back at the tunic and shirt.
"Hmmf, good thought, Kumoru. Most of mine--emphasis on most," he adds, throwing Slayer a look, "Are long since closed up. I guess we'll have to look for reopened wounds andd such."

2007-06-30, 05:45 PM
Tokugal Ardolin

"Those of us with healing magic are probably the most susceptible to such a scheme: once it had control, the creature could use our own powers to conceal the signs of its entry as old scars. Two points on that, though. First, I wonder how long it takes the creature to assume full control. Second, I wonder why the paladin continued to bleed--that's how I read the bloodstains on the bed, anyway--when he could have used his divine powers to heal himself. Do you think that perhaps he lost his divine connection when the creature infiltrated his body?"

2007-06-30, 07:34 PM
Terry nods, unbuttoning his undertunic as they speak.

"Don't forget healing potions, either. Entirely possible those'd cover it up too.

The bleeding..hn. Maybe body functions are impaired by the infestation? That would explain why Percy wasn't quite 'with it.'"

Once again disrobed, Terry tosses his bundle of clothing, armor, half-a-cloak, and shirt onto a free surface and turns around. Terry's clearly had a rough-and-tumble life, with a few thin and faint crescent-scars from sword swipes. One or two at his sides are deeper, probably from being caught between ribs or stuck during a turn. Quite a few thinner puncture wounds here and there indicate animal wounds. Across his back in a faint stripe matching nearly Kinslayer's resting place, there is a thin band of grayed, deadened skin, cracking like old leather. Center stage, of course, is the fresh and massive exit wound Kinslayer's blade made, covering about half of a similar (but smaller) scar a few years older.

Terry cups his arms behind the back of his head and gives a few slow turns patiently.

2007-06-30, 11:06 PM
Tahlion wobbles. I guarantee you Kinslayer has his own agenda. I'm sure he's capable of being played for a fool, but... I honestly wonder just how hospitable his body would be to biological possession- I can't imagine his true form being anything remotely wholesome. As for his intensions... your guess is as good as mine. Call it a hunch, but he just doesn't strike me as the world destroying 'type', if you know what I mean.

I'll do a whole lot more than that, big boy. If Kinslayer had more than one eye, you could call it a wink. As it is, it's pretty much just unsettling.

2007-06-30, 11:17 PM

Vodette gives a little chuckle and smiles, choosing to ignore Firethena's last comment. She holds her arms out and turns a few times. She reaches for her clothes and begins to dress, before waiting for Firethena's 'all clear'

Everything good? I told them that nothing was out of the ordinary, but I guess we all have to be careful. What do you know about these things? I'm so confused about what is going on, I don't know what is up and what is down. I don't know what to expect next. I was taken completely off guard by Dai's little outburst.

2007-06-30, 11:18 PM

Horacio keeps thinking as he looks at the others. His own body is surprisingly light on scars for a rogue his age, but the ones he does have look like they did some damage. There's a few slash marks, an old burn mark or two that never quite healed up properly, one place where it looks like his skin was ripped off, and stab pinpricks... lots of them.

Damn, that leaves us back at Square One. The nightmares are risking us attending this meeting for something. If they don't want Kinslayer and Gareth together, then the only thing we bring to the meeting is our representation of the Church.

If the nightmares want to ignite war between Gaudemus and the Church, they'll attack during the meeting, make it look like we did it. Oldest trick in the book. But why? Do they want the bloodshed? Or is there something sealed in Atalya they want cracked?

Darkness lurks behind the light...

You think the Church is hiding/sealing something?

2007-07-01, 03:48 AM
"Losing a connection to the divine... well, I'm not exactly a priest, you know? The point on scars is well taken, and I'll add another wrinkle with regards to myself; I'm reasonably handy at disguise.

Maybe we should try for simple layers of security. Codewords, that kind of thing, as well as inspections.

Although maybe we can just trust that odd changes in our behaviours would be noticed and corrected.

...then again..."

2007-07-01, 07:36 AM
Tokugal Ardolin

"Well, checking for unexplained wounds is something, anyway, even if it's not foolproof. The paladin had a number of little clues, too, although no single one was conclusive. Being forewarned should allow us to piece the little clues together. I hope."

"I'd also like to get those potions examined, since they seemed to have played a part either in the infestation or in its concealment. (Your potion idea got me thinking, Terry.) You think Firethena could do it?"

2007-07-01, 10:27 AM

Daewell's body has one prominent slash across the shoulder, and a long string of dotted marks along one side that suggest very big teeth. His skin is pale and flush.

Well, there's nothing special about scar tissue. If it can close up scars, it can close up regular flesh as well. There was blood in Percival's bed, which suggests that there is in fact a wound of some kind on entry.

He looks around.

I think that that's all of us except Dai, now. And you're right, friend. I'm not sure that any of us have been so rock-solid on one course that deviations in behaviour would be noted. With the possible exception of our rock-steady savant, perhaps.

He gestures at Tokugal.

Hmm. I have a spell which allows me access to the surface thoughts of those whose minds I enter. I of course haven't used it on any of you, or indeed anyone on this visit. It's an invasive act, and not one I undertake lightly. Still, if you were all willing, I could use it at the end of each day to monitor our own state of mind...

Of course, that doesn't help if I'm the one possessed.

He smiles weakly, and returns to his tea.

2007-07-01, 02:03 PM
Firethena smiles and nods, her eyes briefly glowing pale blue as she looks Vodette up and down. "You're clean, for all intents and purposes. Dai started the fight? That's odd, he usually seems so laid back. What crawled up his butt and died?"

Tahlion shudders. That's not a pleasant thought. The cudgelers would sooner destroy something outright than suffer evil or chaos to exist. If they had to seal something away, it would have to be something that the entire organization couldn't kill.

Kinslayer seems to be done for now and just kind of sits there.

Kumoru is listening intently to the conversation in the room while he sticks his hand as far as it'll go into the wound in his chest and feels around for tentacles.

2007-07-01, 02:47 PM

Once Horacio's been checked, he begins putting his clothes back on, waiting patiently for Firethena and Vodette to finish while he thinks to himself, idly looking around the room.

Yeah, seems unlikely. But this entire quest's been unlikely. That's two potential motivations and no clues yet which is correct. Scratch that; no clues yet which is wrong. We need more info.

If we can talk to someone close to Gaudemus that isn't infected before this 'meeting', we could learn more.

2007-07-01, 03:09 PM

I have no idea. We just had that run in with that thing that possessed you, and I wanted to be there when you woke up because I thought seeing everybody here would help. You know, make sure we're all safe instead of you waking up to just one of us and maybe thinking we're all dead. Then he just flipped out! Called me a witch with blood lust and said that I had no idea how to interact with anybody unless I was stabbing them. I don't know where he gets off telling me that. Just because I'm useful in a fight and don't run away like he does. . . It just bugged me. Do you know anything about these things that are crawling into people and making their heads explode? I happen to like my head. I'd be a little put out of it exploded on me.

2007-07-01, 05:10 PM
While the room only has guys in it, Dai removes his druid robe and the armour underneath while talking...

"I've got a basic grasp of wizardry, so we could check each other if you're okay with me inscribing the spell in my spellbook, and assuming it's not too complex... Just putting that out there for the record."

2007-07-01, 05:48 PM
Tokugal Ardolin

Tokugal looked around the room for someone else to check and saw Kumoru investigating his own chest cavity.

He inhaled sharply in shock and began choking, coughing. When he regained control of himself, he smiled weakly at Kumoru. "Sorry. I wasn't--wasn't expecting that." He blinked the tears from his eyes and smiled again.

2007-07-01, 06:28 PM

Horacio chuckles a bit.

"You need to work on that stomach, Tokugal. How much you want to bet he can stick his hand all the way through it? Wave at you from his backside. Hells, I bet I could hide in there."

2007-07-01, 06:49 PM
Tokugal Ardolin

Tokugal chuckled at a picture of Horacio stuffed inside the vulpine warrior. "Reminds me of some morbid games we used to play with cadavers on this one job. Manipulate the tendons, and you can make them go through all sort of motions." His mental image of Horacio now showed the halfling pulling on various internal organs and ligaments, sending Kumoru into a ragged dance.

"I, uh, don't think a game like that would be a good idea with Kumoru, though."

2007-07-01, 07:11 PM

"I don't know. No one would ever suspect him of being able to pick a quadruple-tumbler lock. I could have fun with that.

"But yes, you're right. That's much too disgusting. We'll just limit ourselves to hiding weapons in there. Er... sheathed, of course."

2007-07-01, 10:40 PM
Kumoru pulls his hand out and casts about for something to wipe it with. "I'm sure there's all sort of stuff we could fit in there. Wonder if Horacio could crawl all the way up my digestive tract and come out the door, so to speak... I mean, think of the fun at parties."

Kinslayer makes a noise that sounds far too much like choking to come out of a being without an actual throat.

In the other room: Firethena frowns a little and nods. "If these things you're describing are what I think they are then I've heard of them. I've never heard tell of them exploding people's heads, though, so I could be wrong... or this could be a new strain... I hope it's not what I think it is, though. I don't have many nightmares, but if I did the flesh wearers would be in all of them. Not a lot of worse things than having a writhing mass of tentacles crawl up your whoopsie daisy and hollow out your innards so it can use you as a costume. Beastly things."

2007-07-01, 11:15 PM

Vodette shudders and continues to tie her tunic and replace her armor.

So these things just crawl inside you? Is there any way to fight them, or even detect them? How would we know if somebody has, in fact, been possessed? Is it as easy as looking for some sort of entry mark?

Vodette waits for Firethena's response as she continues to dress. After Firethena's response:

Lets head back into the room. My guess is the boys are all done and waiting for us. Horacio says you are coming with us, wherever we're going now. Will you come with us from now on? It seems like it isn't safe here anymore, if you could ever call it safe here. I'd like to have you come with us. It'd be nice to have another female along, instead of just a bunch of guys and me.

She chuckles after a moment's silence

Except you'd think there would be more fighter types in here. I was half expecting there to be one brute with his axe and armor but nothing in between his ears. Most of them aren't fighters at all. It's mainly just Terry, Horacio, and myself. Ahh well. I hope you'll come.

Vodette continues on to the other room, unless Firethena stops her.

When Vodette reaches the door, she knocks on the door and slowly opens it. She pokes the top of her head in and says, just before entering:

How are you boys doing in here? Everybody clothed and still in control of their own brain?

2007-07-01, 11:32 PM

Horacio is getting too involved in this conversation to notice Vodette at first.

"Crawl out? Why would I give up good cover like that? No, I'd shoot a crossbow out of your mouth and stab them through the gut scar. They'd never see it coming."

That's when he notices Vodette. He looks over.

"I think so. We're telling stories about our scars. You check out alright? Oh, and please ask Firethena to bring a towel for Kumoru. He still has some juices inside."

Okay, don't think too hard about what those juices are. This is normal for us...

2007-07-02, 05:22 PM
Firethena hmmms to herself as she helps Vodette lace up anything that needs it. "They're nowhere near invincible. Tough and stealthy, yes, but every bit as mortal as us. You just have to find them, and that is hard. They can show up in the body like poison or a disease to certain spells, but most of the older ones know how to mask even that. It boils down to watching people of abberent behavior, and since they usually pick isloated people without many friends, they almost always go undetected."

She smirks at Vodette's run down of her companions. "Aye, more intellectuals among your group than usual. More my type, really, but I don't blame you for preferring the guys with the rapiers. Horacio's cute, and Terry never takes his eyes off you."

She winks at Vodette as she walks back into the living room with her.

Arriving just in time to see Kumoru pull out something that might be his spleen and examine it, Firethena stops dead.

"... okay, nobody warned me about the zombie werewolf."

2007-07-02, 06:42 PM

"Oh, uh, almost forgot. Firethena, Kumoru. Kumoru, Firethena.

"Kumoru is Gaudemus's brother. He used to adventure with him and Nightfang before that demon lord stuck Kinslayer right through him. He didn't get his soul sucked, though; Kinslayer says Gaudemus grabbed ahold of him and willed him not to eat Kumoru's soul. So, according to Kumoru, his soul ended up wandering for a century through... what was it, outer planar nightmares? And eventually he returned to his body and dug himself up. We met him at the Church asking the High Priest about Gaudemus.

"Tahlion says he doesn't register as negative-charged or positive-charged, so he's a neutral undead. I think."

Horacio waits a moment for that to sink in.

"Another mystery in this whole mess to unravel before it's done..."

Horacio looks at Firethena again.

"I also remembered a few contacts that might know a thing or two about these creatures as well. They could help us. I want you to come along to meet one of them, Firethena; an old friend of mine. Between your experience and her knowledge, I think we can start outsmarting these creatures. Do you mind, Firethena? Do you have anything we should look into here before we leave?"

Horacio pauses a moment.

"And when did you start researching these creatures?"

2007-07-03, 02:04 PM
Kumoru puts his spleen back and waves. Firethena puts a hand to her forehead for a moment, sighs, shakes her head, and waves back.

"It's... nice to meet you Kumoru. I hope you can appreciate how odd it is to be talking to you. Gaudemus... spoke about you only rarely. I gathered that your passing caused him a great deal of grief... seeing you walking around... in whatever state of decomposition... well, I don't know what to think."

Kumoru nods. "Yeah, I imagine it's kind of like waking up and finding out that you've been dead for a century and everyoneyou used to care about is either dead or being manipulated into fatal situations by brain eating tentacle monsters."

"... touche..."

So what is this, sob story night? Hey Terry, whine about how you're still a virgin.

Kumoru seizes Kinslayer by the handle, rips it off of Terry's back, winds up, and hurls it into the wall, where it sinks in to its crosshilt and remains there, quivering.

... ow...

Firethena stares for a moment, then shakes her head and turns to Horacio. "I'd be pleased to meet any friends of yours who would be likely to have something to add to the conversation, though you'll have to give me a few moments to put some actual clothes on. As far as the skinwearers go, I've had some hundred odd years to sit around and research whatever topics happened to interest me at the time..."

She leans down and taps Horacio playfully on the nose. "You'd be surprised what I know."

2007-07-03, 03:53 PM

Do you think she- could she already- you didn't tell her, did you, Tahlion? If she knows what I think she knows already, should I be in awe or scared?

Horacio nods and blushes a bit.

"Actually, the skinwearers themselves... I doubt she knows much about them. However, she's had experience with similar things. And these dreams we seem to be having. And possibly a trick or two up her sleeve we could use. At least she can look at this whole mess from a new angle, maybe help us find some clue we've missed. Or give us advice on what to do next."

Horacio puts his clothes back on and pulls his cloak around himself.

"But we've spent enough time talking here. It's getting late, and we'll have much to discuss. If any of you have anything you want to grab from here for the night, do so now. Before we head out, be sure to put on a nice dark cloak that you can look shady in. I'll have to lead the way, but someone should be hanging back and watching for trackers; Firethena, Tokugal, Dae, can you take care of anti-detection and set up some telepathic link?

"Oh, and uh, could you please get Nefertari's gift quick, Firethena? I know it isn't really important right now, but you gotta remember the little details."

Horacio smiles and hums to himself as he waits for everyone else to finish preparing.

2007-07-03, 04:51 PM
Terry is torn between cracking that he met his first before Slayer was a pocketknife, and the realization that Vodette's RIGHT THERE, MAN.

As a result, he's comically unprepared for Kumoru's reaction, much to his glee. It takes him several minutes to recover from hysterical laughter.

2007-07-03, 09:29 PM

Huh. Never could spot the virgins in the crowd. I really need to work on that.

Ah, Firethena, it's good to see you again. I trust that all went well in the other room?

I was wondering. It's clear that you are well acquainted with the, ah, sociopathic blade in the wall. I was wondering if you could tell us if it looks or seems different, if at all, from the last time you saw it?

2007-07-04, 12:08 AM

Vodette jumps a little at Terry's late and awkward laughter. She raises and eyebrow at him, and then decides that: yes, that was funny. She laughs. She answers Dae's question to Firethena for her.

Yup all spic and span. Told you guys you had nothing to worry about. So we're going to meet this friend of yours Horacio? Is there anything we have to worry about when we meet her? Don't look her in the eyes sort of thing. Will we need sushi this time around?

She chuckles a little bit. It was funny to her and that was all that mattered.

2007-07-04, 12:18 AM

"No no, that's another friend. Just treat this one with respect. Perhaps ask her for advice. She was a mentor of mine... in some things more important than fighting & skulduggery."

2007-07-04, 12:48 AM

The wizard can't help but smile as he returns Horacio's look.

Of course. Who wouldn't show respect to a senior official of another's religion?

2007-07-04, 08:48 AM

Horacio grins.

"I never said she was a member of my religion."

2007-07-04, 01:25 PM
Tokugal Ardolin

"If she's a reliable source, that's good enough for me. There's enough strangeness going on around here that I'd welcome any information we can get."

"While I'd love to go through the house again--now that we have more information about what we're looking for, we might recognize something of importance--I'm guessing that now is the best time to make our visit. We'll come back later, then? Perhaps while we run our 'errands' tomorrow."

2007-07-04, 04:29 PM
I can't imagine she suspects anything... it seems to me she's just feeling playful. Apparently that was a really good dream.

Firethena takes a moment to study Kinslayer's hilt as she passes on her way upstairs. "Hmmm, the eye is new- though I always did think that the particular design in the spot looked odd. And he didn't actually talk much before, mostly moans and screams. I always figured he was masturbating a lot in some bizarre way we couldn't figure out. And Vodette is clean as far as I can tell, she uses this fruity soap that makes her smell like spring flowers or something. Anyhow, I'll be glad to help you out with some telepathy or whatever, just let me put on some pants... be right back!"

She skips out the doorway and up the stairs. Kumoru leans over to murmur in Horacio's ear. "Uh, your religion doesn't have a problem with zombies, does it?"

Whatever Horacio's response, Firethena re-emerges about ten minutes later wearing a long loose blue robe over what appear to be leather pants. She's holding a small bag that seems to vibrate slightly in her hand.

"Here's for Dai to get himself some sphinx lovin'. Be careful with it, I'm not sure but I think there mere sight of its ineffable geometry is capable of causing madness in some beings, and I haven't been able to work out what can or can't theoretically handle it."

2007-07-04, 04:42 PM

I don't think any dream you have while being dominated by a *shudder* mind flayer can be very good...

Horacio whispers back to Kumoru. "Kumoru, one of our head priests is a vampire... or so I've heard. They really don't care. Hells, they'd probably give you a full medical examination for a thousand gold... not a bad idea, really. We should think about that."

Horacio blinks a moment when Firethena explains what the gift does, and whistles in awe.

I wonder if I could handle it. Maybe I should take a- no, not now.

"That's... not bad. A bag of Limbo shapes?"

2007-07-04, 05:30 PM
Horacio looks at Firethena & thinks for a moment.

"Almost forgot, Firethena. You might want to bring enough for an overnight stay. It'll be late by the time we're done, and it's safer than an inn... probably safer than here, except for- well, just keep an eye on your coin pouches. We are wandering into a haven for rogues."

Horacio chuckles and waits for the others to prepare and finish casting defensive spells before he leads them out. As he waits, he softly hums a melancholy tune:

"There was once a lady so perfect,
The world couldn't bear her sight,
So she slipped behind reality's veil
One dark and night.
Now she flits between the shadows,
Unseen, yet touching all.
Guiding those who search for hidden truths
And hear the silent call..."

2007-07-04, 10:46 PM
"Actually it's a hypercube. ...I think. It might actually be a tetraplatohedronosphere and then we'd all be in trouble because that's theoretically the molecular structure of antimatter. But I'm sure that's just an old mage's tale. Anyhow, overnight stay? Jolly good, I'll grab my toothbrush."

Kumoru, meanwhile, is helping Terry get Kinslayer back out of the wall, assuming he wants it back. "Hey, as long as we're gonna be staying the night, can I go grab my stuff from the inn? That keeper didn't strike me as anything like reputable, and I'd like to make sure my other axe is safe."

2007-07-04, 11:38 PM
Tokugal Ardolin

Tokugal looked askance at Firethena. "Really? That's what you have in there? Aw, why'd you have to tell us? Now I'm dying to look at it."

"I guess that's sorta the point, huh?"

2007-07-05, 12:35 AM

Hypercube? A tetroplato-what? Sounds like some complex combination lock. And antimatter? Doesn't sound good...

Horacio nods in response to Kumoru's question.

"Sure. I won't mind another false trail on this run. Just watch for anyone trying to track you from the inn."

Horacio turns back to Daewell.

"That reminds me, do you still have Gaudemus's books with you or do we have to pick those up as well?"

2007-07-05, 11:51 AM

Vodette looks blankly at Firethena as she attempts to describe what is in the bag. Vodette glances down at the bag and scratches her head.

A hypercube? What is antimatter and how can it make you go crazy? I'm gonna just leave it alone. I like being sane.

She looks up and notices that Horacio is about as clueless as she is. She catches the halflings eye and shrugs her shoulders.

I think that basically means "don't touch it". So we're not going to look through the house while we're here? Okay, I guess we could do it when we take Firethena back....though I was hoping that she'd come with us from now on. So where is this place we're going Horacio?

(OOC: Okay, so this thread has not been showing up at all in my User CP and I was just to stupid to check it. My apologies on the anti-posting over the last few days. I'll just start checking for this thread...but every other one is working for me.....strange.)

2007-07-05, 12:21 PM

"Come with us from now on?" Horacio blinks.

It would be nice having her knowledge and power backing us up, plus I wouldn't have to worry about her getting jumped while I was away.

Yes, because dragging her into the middle of a nightmare cult and barbarian hordes commanded by a potentially-insane archmage is much less riskier.

"Well, it's her choice. She could help us either way. But it might too, uh, dangero-"

Horacio shakes his head.

"If she thinks she can handle it, she can handle it. Do you want to come along with us, Firethena, or see how you can help us from Atalya?

"As for this place we're going... it's my church. I'll explain more once we get there."

2007-07-05, 01:04 PM
Kumoru gives Horacio a thumbs up and heads out, promising to return within the hour. Firethena smiles at Tokugal's comment.

"Aye, I imagine if curiosity can kill a cat, it might do well to impress a sphinx. Actually, Tokugal, I imagine you and Dai and Daewell have the best chances of looking at the thing without goling bonkers, magic itself is the act of telling the laws of physics to shut up and sit down, so I've found it kind of relaxes your mind's perspective on somethings... or maybe I'm just so close to crazy it takes something bigger than an object that shouldn't technically exist to phase me. I dunno."

She stops short at overhearing Horacio and Vodette's conversation. She doesn't answer- a sad look crosses her face, and she looks across the room at Kinslayer, biting her lip.

2007-07-05, 02:46 PM

Horacio glances between Firethena and Kinslayer.

That struck a nerve...


Horacio walks up to Firethena.

"Well, no need to decide that right now. We have plenty we have to take care of before we leave Atalya. But we have an hour to wait right now. Firethena, would you mind showing me some of the items you've crafted? Nightfang said you had a knack for it, and it's been a while since I've seen something new. Maybe we can talk a bit while you show me the labs?"

Bloody hell, subtle conversation was never my strong suit...

2007-07-05, 04:18 PM

Daewell looks back a bit abstractly at Horacio.

His books? No, they're safely back at the lab. I'd hoped to have some chance to examine them in greater detail tomorrow.

He's still going over the techniques of a hypercube.

Well, naturally, Fenndean postulated the existence of such objects occurring naturally, but as far as I know, no one has had any success in reproducing these in laboratory conditions. Fascinating. For a woman who initially seemed to present herself as a simple housekeeper, this Firethena is a remarkable find. Why she hasn't been more active in academic circles is lost on me.

I am intrigued by your process, madam. I would be very interested in studying with you at some time. And there are few practitioners in this city to whom I would admit as much.

Looking over at Kumaru and Terry, Daewell briefly regrets the need to free the blasted sword from the wall at all. But this is a house that has already had a demon demolish the basement and an illithid invade and dominate the owner. Security was not all it might be.

At Horacio's mention of a tour of the labs, Daewell perks up.

Labs? Oh, well, if we're not leaving right away, I'd love a tour.

2007-07-05, 04:34 PM

Horacio glares at Daewell for a moment.

Cripes, what do I need to do to talk with Firethena in private, develop a sense of modesty?!

"Uh, you mind if I take a look first, Dae? I'd like to talk with Firethena about them, and... well, old rogue code, we don't talk about anything potentially larcenous in front of Cudgelers."

2007-07-05, 04:39 PM

The ever-oblivious wizard nods in what passes for understanding.

Of course - you want to discuss...larceny. Why don't I go on ahead to the laboratory, and the two of you can discuss thieving in the kitchen.

He turns to Firethena with a bland smile.

My apologies. Please...enjoy the stealing. Er...Dai, I believe that you established some wards in the basement before we left. Anything I should know?

He listens, then bows and removes himself to the basement labs.

2007-07-05, 04:54 PM
"It's dimensonally warded and sacred to Corellon. So no teleportaton or blasphemy, I guess...

...I'll personally make sure nothing happens to you okay?"


2007-07-05, 05:09 PM

"Thanks Dae."

Horacio waits until Dae's down in the basement, then rolls his eyes.



Horacio turns back to Firethena and grins awkwardly.

"I... don't suppose you have any other labs I could see? I think we've all gotten a good glimpse of the basement."

2007-07-05, 09:54 PM
Tokugal Ardolin

"With your permission, Firethena: could I check Gaudemus' living quarters? Any place he'd be likely to display his keepsakes?"

2007-07-05, 11:04 PM

Vodette looks at each party member, in turn, as they request to go to a section of the house. Not wanting to be left out, Vodette decides to pipe in.

Can I just waunder around? Could you point me in the direction to any cool things or swords or interesting stuff?

2007-07-06, 06:12 AM
Terry grins as he unseats Slayer from his new home.
"'slong as you don't go alone. We should keep in groups of at least two."

2007-07-06, 09:26 AM
Tokugal Ardolin

He shrugged. "You could come with me, Vodette."

2007-07-06, 11:07 AM
(The DM will reply in detail once he can find the &%$!ing map of Gaudemus' house. >_>)

2007-07-06, 06:09 PM

Meanwhile, in the basement, Daewell chats with Dai.

This seemed to be a kind of sanctum for Gaudamus, and there were several texts here that proved of some relevance to the situation. I'm hoping to get a better look at what he stocked, and what else he might have been writing about. Especially now that I know what Gaudamus' own handwriting looks like, it'll be faster to spot his own work.

Focusing detect-o-vision around the room, looking for anything radiating that isn't Dai's abjurations. Failing that, Search (1d20+9=22) (http://invisiblecastle.com/find.py?id=1139039)

2007-07-07, 01:04 AM

Vodette nods in agreement with Terry.

Yeah that is a good idea. Our first trip here and we found some demon...who knows what else we could find on trip number 2.

Okay Tokugal, I'll go with you. Where were you going? Guademus's quarters or something? Could be interesting

With a shrug, Vodette walks over to Tokugal and waits for directions from Firethena.

2007-07-07, 01:16 AM
Firethena pauses at Horacio's question. "Well... there's not a lot of my work in the labs... I mostly played around in my room, when I did... honestly I hadn't been up there in years before a few days ago... if you really want to see it, I can show you around, I mean, there's nothing really all that interesting up there..."

She blinks at Horacio and Daewell's conversation. "I don't really have much to offer in a conversation about larceny... but... whatever turns your crank. I wouldn't worry, Daewell, just avoid the scythe trap and don't disturb the interdimensional sinkhole and you should be fine."

A smile crosses her face at Tokugal and Vodette's questions. "All the really cool stuff is in the gallery or the basement, but he did keep a few keepsakes in his quarters... I suppose there's no reason not to let you in there now. Just go to the third floor and straight down the hall... well, Horacio and I are going almost the same way, I'll just show you."

She leads them to the stairs, pausing to go downstairs and turn off the scythe for anyone who's going down there. Then she leads them to the third floor, which opens into a long hallway with three doors along each side and one set of large, relatively ornate doors at the end of it. She leads Horacio to the second door on the left.

"Here's where we're going. Gaudemus' room is the one all the way at the end. Have fun trying to get through the lock. Oh, and if you go into the dressing chamber watch out for... well, just remember the password is 'hastur'."

She grins mishievously as she pulls the halfling into her own chambers and closes the door.

The inside of Firethena's room is oddly normal- there's a bed, a desk, a wardrobe, and some other miscellaneous odds and ends that all look like a perfectly normal elven wizard's quarters. Except for the insanely lifelike mechanical cat curled up on her bed and licking itself, the painting on the wall that appears to be of an animated lightning storm, and the tall, dark, handsome, naked man strolling around.

Firethena SLAMS her hand down on something on the desk and the naked man dissapears. And yes, she is blushing now. To her eartips.

Dai discovers that there isn't a whole lot in the basement that -doesn't- radiate magic. XD Is he looking for anything in particular?

2007-07-07, 01:47 AM

Horacio can hold in the chuckle for a second, then his sides burst. A half-minute later, he finally catches his breath and looks at Firethena, grinning mischievously.

"It's... been a while, hasn't it?"

Horacio is able to stifle that laughter after only a dozen seconds.

"Ohhh, it's- *wipes away a tear* -I needed a jolt like that."

There's still a grin on his face, but it's more subdued now.

"Heh, 'larceny'. He still expects me to be a base criminal, praise the gods. But I wanted to discuss something else."

He glances around as he climbs onto the bed and inspects the cat.

"You mind putting up any anti-scrying and detection spells you were going to now? I'm still a bit jumpy with everything that's happened today."

Once Firethena casts whatever anti-scrying spells she wanted to & Horacio's satisfied the room's clean, he looks at her and smiles sadly, petting the cat. When he speaks, his voice is melancholy, his eyes distant.

"Which part of it is harder, Firethena? Traveling with that sword, or seeing what's happened to Gaudemus after a century?"

Spot Eavesdroppers: 18
Hear Eavesdroppers: 36
Will Save to Discern Illusions: 26
Search Cat for Hidden Compartments (w/o Breaking It): 37

Spot, Listen, Will, Search (1d20+17=18, 1d20+19=36, 1d20+10=26, 1d20+22=37) (http://invisiblecastle.com/find.py?id=1139655)

2007-07-07, 04:43 AM
...damn it, that didn't work the way I hoped.
Terry sighs inwardly and heads to Gaudemus' room.

2007-07-07, 05:31 AM
"Well, take point, my good man. I'm a decent wizard, but I've seen you work magic I know is firmly in the 'more advanced than I can do' camp, so I'm guessing you've got an edge on the theory side of things too."

2007-07-07, 08:06 PM

Vodette continues down the hall until she gets to the door that Firethena said was Guademus's room. She looked down at the door lock and then at the others, and then back down at the door.

Well, how do we get in? Firethena just took the only person who could pick this lock into her room. Should we just go and ask Horacio to open it?

2007-07-08, 09:23 AM
Tokugal Ardolin

"Hm. Let's see if I can take care of it. If not, we can call...Horacio sounds like he's occupied. Anyway, let's see if this works."

Cast Knock on the door.

2007-07-08, 10:38 AM

Daewell blanches at Firethena's mention of the scythe trap and the interdimensional well, but thinks that he remembers where she put that release mechanism the last time she lead them down the stairs.

You're too kind, Dai, but I've seen you do some amazing things. Still, I'll do what I can, and appreciate having you along.

It seems that most of the objects here are enchanted - I'm especially interested in Gaudamus' own books, as well as any thing that might give us more information on the extradimensional creatures he was facing.

[spoiler]Focusing in first on anything with a strong or overwhelming magic aura, focusing first on conjuration, divination and transmutation magic, and conducting a visual examination of them. Then focusing in on thinigs with moderate auras, focusing first on the same schools.[/spoiler.]

2007-07-09, 01:04 PM
In Firethena's room: The elf quickly places her spells, and then proceeds to strip off Horacio's clothing and tackle him to the bed before sticking her tongue in his sit down on the edge of the bed and make a valiant attempt not to cry.

"To hells with the sword. It's been a hundred years. And he never contacted me. Not once. What does that mean? Did I do something? Does he blame me? Of course I was jealous of her, but I never would have done anything to hurt them. Did he... did he just forget?"

She pulls her knees up to her chest and lets her chin rest on them. "Am I so dull in comparison to her that he just stopped caring?"

The cat, which doesn't appear to have any hidden compartments besides a mechanical anus whose purpose Horacio can only guess at, puts a paw on her leg and meows plaintively in a garbled mechanical voice sort of like tiny gears grinding together. Horacio hasn't noticed any illusions besides the naked guy- what he's seeing is what he's getting.

At Tokugal's spell the doors fly silently open, revealing: A large and spacious bedroom, with thick, fluffy green carpet and a high ceiling covered in a fresco that depicts Ehlonna frolicking with a herd of unicorns. The walls are papered in a simple design of teal and blue stripes and a series of sconces must have given the room a romantic feel when they were lit. As it is, the opening of the doors seems to have triggered a Light spell recessed somewhere in the ceiling. The room is dominated by the king-sized canopied bed, still covered in rumpled bedclothes. Everything has a thin layer of dust, and there are more than a few cobwebs in the corners. A pair of wardrobes are sitting along the far wall, and the wall to the right features another, smaller set of doors which appear to be just barely ajar.

In the basement (wow these spoiler tags are getting tiresome XD): Daewell notices the msot overwhelming magical aura is still coming from the sinkhole- Dai's divine magic seems to be holding, but there's still a lot of conjuration enchantment centered on the spot. Aside from that, the biggest red flags are a bundle of what appear to be iron stakes of some sort sitting in the corner and something hidden under a pile of books and papers on the workbench.

2007-07-09, 01:28 PM

Vodette looks over at Tokugal and claps him on the shoulder. She gives him an approving nod and says good job. She takes a few tentative steps into the room. She looks like she's crouched and ready to jump out of the way of some invisible attacker. She looks around the room and stands up straight, turning to the others.

Well this is boring. Nothing really in here besides years of dust. Maybe there is something behind those doors. Anybody want to volunteer to be first?

She motions toward the door that is slightly ajar and she starts walking toward them.

2007-07-09, 02:59 PM
Tokugal Ardolin

"Hm. Still untouched. I guess it was too painful for Firethena to extend her duties here after the tragedy. You mind if I take a look around the room, before you disturb it, for anything that might be a clue to what happened?"

"That room--" he nodded toward the open doors "is probably the dressing room Firethena mentioned. I think she said the password was 'hastur.' I don't know what it's for; but I suspect that Gaudemus was averse to people poking about in his stuff."

It might also be a command word to a gift from Nightfang. Tokugal shivered and tried to concentrate on the search.

Looks like a thorough Search would be in order. If applicable (although I doubt that there's much here that requires reconstruction), he will use the Investigate feat.

Particular interests:
1) Anything that might shed light on Gaudemus' history, intentions, or late interests
2) Anything that might indicate a change in routine/health/interests/lifestyle/etc. just prior to the birth/death
3) Suspicious bloodstains on the bedsheets
4) Indications of Aerin's activities in her late pregnancy
5) Indications of Gaudemus' interests beyond magical/martial investigations
6) Other details/clues that Tokugal wouldn't expect before having seen them

* Taking 20 for a check of 45
* Checking things for traps before manipulating things (Tokugal has the Trapfinding class feature)
* Starting in the main room, including (but not limited to) the bed, fresco, wardrobes, sconces, walls
* Peeking through the doors that are ajar

2007-07-09, 05:36 PM

Thanks! School of magic for both the stakes and the hidden thing?

Hmm. It looks like the most potent of the magic items are that pile of iron stakes, and something at the bottom of that pile of papers and books. I'd suggest that one of us have a look, while the other stays well back, in case there's some sort of tiresome explosion-thing. I'll start with the books, if you don't mind, Dai.

2007-07-09, 05:48 PM
"I don't want to disparage you... but if you're worried about things blowing up in our faces, I've got a good reaction time when it comes to these things. Diversity was our watchword when we were back in training, and you needed good reflexes to survive growing up as a street urchin anyway.

So, once I risk getting blown up, then ya look at it, okay?"

2007-07-09, 10:33 PM

A bit of colour returns to Daewell's face.

That's...more than gracious Dai. You go ahead, and I'll cover you.

Stepping away from Dai. Reading a dispel magic to counter any effect that happens when he starts to work with the stuff.

2007-07-09, 11:37 PM
Gaudemus' room: Kumoru has wordlessly followed Tokugal, Vodette, and Terry into his brother's room. He stands in the doorway, looking around thoughtfully, but isn't saying much. Tokugal discovers a number of things- a stain seems to have set into the bedsheet on the left side, though after so long it is impossible to tell what might have originally made it. There is a bedside table on either side of the bed, each one holding a small lamp and a book. The tome on the left table is an epic poem scribed in an obscure dialect of elven, while the book on the rightmost table is entitled "Zen and the Art of Greatsword Maintanence".

The two wardrobes each contain a few items of clothing- one features largely casual clothing sized for a tall man, doubtless for lounging about the house. The other is filled with maternity wear. There is little particularly telling about the decor, aside from the fact that the wallpaper is peeling in a few areas, revealing painted red walls underneath- given the tasteful and nearly femenine taste inherent in the present decor, it seems an even guess that it was altered shortly before or after Gaudemus and Aerin's marriage.

What really perks up Tokugal's investigative senses, though, is that the lock on the door that Firethena mentioned shows clear signs of being broken long before he came along with his knock spell, and trails in the dust on the carpet indicate that someone has been in the room more recently than a hundred years ago.

The most surprising thing about the room, however, is that when Vodette approaches the door to the dressing area, a skeletal hand reaches out of the slightly parted doors, grasps her right breast, and squeezes. From within, a hollow, raspy voice says "Honk honk." This is followed by several such voices laughing hysterically.

Basement: The two objects light up with what is unmistakably conjuration magic. Investigating them, Dai discovers that the stakes are each about a meter high and each possessed of a ring placed in the middle and one at one end, the other end being sharp. The middle rings are joined by a long length of red cord, while the upper rings each sport a long folded paper tag of some sort. It seems the stakes are designed to mark out an area on the ground that would be roughly a six foot circle.

The other object turns out to be a small metal cube that seems to be composed of an insane amount of tiny interlocking jointed pieces, all of which are thickly inscribed with arcane runes. Neither object seems inclined to violently defend itself, and both are quite inert whilst being examined.

2007-07-09, 11:50 PM
The most surprising thing about the room, however, is that when Vodette approaches the door to the dressing area, a skeletal hand reaches out of the slightly parted doors, grasps her right breast, and squeezes. From within, a hollow, raspy voice says "Honk honk." This is followed by several such voices laughing hysterically

Fricken hilarious! *honk honk*


Vodette jumps and squeals at the top of her lungs. She flings the door open and reaches for her rapier in one graceful motion. She takes a few steps back and gives whatever is in the closet a few rather rude gestures. She calls them forward with her free hand and twirls her rapier around in the other. She's fuming and her face is beat red, more from the embarrassment of just being groped than actual anger.

Who did that? C'mon outa there and face me like a man. Think you can just grab me like that and get away with it?

2007-07-10, 09:17 AM
Tokugal Ardolin

Tokugal was so engrossed in his search that Vodette's episode at the door startled him greatly.

"Wha--help!" He whirled and caught sight only of the skeletal hand as it retreated back into the darkness.

Following Vodette's lead, he whipped out his rapier and waved it around.

2007-07-10, 12:30 PM
In a white room with black curtains... wait, wrong reference, Gaudemus' room: As the doors to the dressing room are thrown open four skeletons, each glossy black in color, eye sockets illuminated by evil light, crouch, waiting, hungry and snarling. Though one of them seems to be looking at its right hand and muttering something about never washing it again. Further into the shadows of the room, two armored figures loom ominously.

2007-07-10, 01:41 PM
Terry rolls his eyes and steps forward towards them.
"Hastur, you bloody perverts. Now apologize to the lady or I'll let Kinslayer have some fun with you, assuming there's anything left for him after her turn."

2007-07-10, 01:59 PM
Tokugal Ardolin

Terry's intelligent response cut through Tokugal's surprise and brought him back to an even keel. He nodded appreciatively in the man's direction, but kept his eyes on the skeletons and shadowy figures.

2007-07-10, 07:54 PM
In Gaudemus' room: The skeletons back off as Terry speaks the password, lining up along the sides of the room. It's relatively small- about the size of a large closet, and the walls are mostly composed of shelves and racks filled with clothing, boota, and miscellaneous accesories. The armored figures are just that- suits of armor. There are four armor racks and the first and second are occupied, the first by a bulky suit of mundane steel that has been painted red and silver. Instead of a helmet, there is a face-obscuring hood attacked to the gorget. The other suit is a work of art- metal painted glossy black and sculpted to hug the wearer's frame like leather, decorated with intricate runic designs and the occasional silver highlight. At the back of the room is a large desk. It has a raised platform in the middle of it that looks like it might have held a book once, but it is currently empty. On either side of the platform are several candle holders that now hold merely shapeless lumps of wax. All in all, it looks like a combination closet/armory/study of sorts, though the skeletons certainly add a macabre touch.

2007-07-10, 08:49 PM
Terry detects magic like a mofo.

2007-07-10, 08:59 PM

Nicely done, Dai.

Daewell steps forward to examine the stakes first, and then the cube.

I'd guess that the stakes are some kind of portable summoning circle. The cube will be more of a challenge.

Staring long enough to determine what schools of magic are emanating from both.
Knowledge Arcana and Spellcraft, if that helps. (1d20+23=35, 1d20+26=27) (http://invisiblecastle.com/find.py?id=1145662)


2007-07-10, 10:31 PM
Tokugal Ardolin

A fire lights in the elf's eyes. "Iiiiinteresting! After you, Vodette. I want to get a look at that desk over there."

Similar search routine, again checking for traps before he disturbs anything. Taking 20 still gives 45.

He'll start with the desk, then move to the skeletons, then the armor and other accoutrements.

2007-07-10, 11:12 PM

Vodette eyes up the skeletons, not quite sure if they're going to jump back out and try and grab another handful. She takes a few cautious steps into the closet at Tokugal's encouragement. She uses the tip of her rapier to prod the skeletons a bit, just to make sure they're not going to jump out at her. She then starts to look around the room, looking for anything 'interesting'.

Strange room. Nothing extraordinary other than the skeletons. I was expecting....I dunno....more.

She's using her trapfinding ability to give her the heads up on anything that might hurt. She's also on the look out for trap doors or any hidden doors. As far as anything 'interesting' is concerned, she's looking for any clothing, weapons, items, or armor that looks like it is special in any way. Maybe something out of place or something that doesn't fit in or just looks interesting. Take 20 for search for a total of 32

2007-07-11, 05:28 AM
"Reflexes of a cat... they exploded, but I was so fast, I threw them outside, watched them explode, and the brought them back in.

Okay, fine, so it was perfectly safe. So what do they do, anyway?"

2007-07-11, 05:34 PM
In the basement: (...isn't... isn't "school" like... the same thing I already told you? I could have sworn Conjuration was a school... Also, is Daewell touching the cube, and if so in what particular manner is he touching it?) The stakes are pretty darned mysterious- they clearly resonate conjuration magic, but studying them divulges no real clues as to their purpose or function. The cube is both more and less confusing- the markings upon it are clearly arcane writings, the same thing one would find within any wizard's spellbook, but the proliferation of markings upon even the relatively small cube is enough for hundreds of spells, and they markings are so small and so unsual that Daewell is hard pressed to guess at what they might do. One section is barely intelligable as something resembling a Plane Shift spell, but there are some strange additions to the usual formula that Daewell can't quite make out...

In Gaudemus' room: The skeletons sidle away from Vodette and giggle a little, but make no move to grope her again. Somewhat closer inspection of the skeletons reveals them as human, or some species so physically similar to humans as to be indistinguishable as skeletal remains. They seem to have been painted black, and a discerning eye will notice various runes and arcane markings inscribed into the finish. The desk is untrapped, and the surface contains naught but the remains of the candles. The drawers contain writing utensils and parchment, as well as a number of scrolls, some of which contain arcane spells. The topmost drawer contains a fairly significant stack of what appears to be arcane "sketches" and notes. Just a casual glance tells Tokugal that Gaudemus was working on some kind of teleportation spell.

The hooded suit of armor detects as magical- it seems to possess a powerful masic ward against attack as well as a few more specific elemental enhancements. The black armor isn't enchanted, but there are a few items on the shelves that are- a feathered cap, a few rings, and a pair of finely crafted leather boots. Most of the rest of the clothing is a little worse for wear after a century of neglect and moths, but there are a few items that might catch Vodette's eye- a shirt that seems to be composed primarily of some sort of netting, some black leather trousers, and what appears to be a studded dog collar. With a chain. There are also a few tasteful sets of clothing in a slightly archaic but still fashionable style, and an unusual ensemble that looks like a silk robe and a pair of pleated trousers, all dark red with an image of demons doing battle with dragons embroidered on the back of the robe in black thread.

One of the skeletons spreads his hands in a helpful gesture. "Is there anything in particular you would like to try on?"

2007-07-11, 09:50 PM
"I'm sure you'd love that," Terry grumbles.
"Not sure, but I do have some questions. And you still haven't apologized. In the meantime, though--

When's the last time anybody came in? Either here or the main bedroom.

Did Gaudemus ever bounce his ideas off of you? When did you see him last?

And what exactly are these--" Terry points out those items which radiate arcane energy, "--things? Do you know what they do specifically?"

2007-07-11, 10:03 PM
Gaudemus' room: The skeletons look at each other in a manner that might almost be described as quizzical.

"I'm afraid we don't have any G-strings sir."

2007-07-11, 10:12 PM
Terry rests a hand on Kinslayer.
"Answer the damn questions or I bitchslap until you fall down."

2007-07-11, 10:43 PM
Gaudemus' Room: The skeletons confer amongst one another again.

"Uh... you want... to wear the pope hat? But we do not have ferret with a pope hat or a meatball sandwich! And the underwear is filled with cheese!"

The spokeskeleton lets out a high pitched wail and his skull explodes with a small Pop! The other skeletons immediately fall to their kneecaps beside his/her/its still form, screaming in horror.

"Johnson! They got Johnson!" "Nooooo! He had so much to unlive for!" "That's it, we're done for! Game over man, game over!"

2007-07-11, 10:46 PM
Terry's annoyed expression breaks into a full-fledged eye tic.
He proceeds to start slapping them around with Kinslayer.

2007-07-11, 11:08 PM
"I feel a disturbance in the Weave, as though something unbelievably hilarious was happening, and I was not there to watch..."

(Sorry. :smallbiggrin: )

2007-07-11, 11:24 PM
Terry is yelling something about "hitting you until candy comes out."

2007-07-11, 11:40 PM
Ah, a bone-iata?

Daewell touches the cube, and the stakes for that matter, but only to move it around in his hand to examine it thoroughly. Handling it by the edges wherever possible.

Huh. It's possible that this is an extremely complicated summoning device, or perhaps a kind of spell storing thing. If you'd like to examine either, I'd welcome your insights. Otherwise, I may be able to shed additional light, but it'll need to be tomorrow.

2007-07-11, 11:45 PM

Vodette does her best to try and restraining her laughter, but she cannot hold it back. The tears are rolling down her face. She mimics Terry swinging Kindslayer around as he tries to slap the skeletons. She stops momentarily when the skeleton's head explodes, but then quickly resumes as the skeletons begin to wail for their friend. Terry shouting something about knocking the candy out of them isn't helping either.

You know, these little things aren't so bad. Maybe we should take them with us. They'll keep everybody laughing, especially if you're trying to smack them around with Kinslayer.

2007-07-12, 12:15 AM
"I'm not that much of an expert, I'm afraid. I wish I could help, I really do, but I pretty much only learnt combat wizardry. Scrolls are expensive... that's not much of an excuse, really, but it's the truth."

Dai smiles ruefully.

2007-07-12, 10:44 AM
Tokugal Ardolin

Tokugal gasped when the spokeskelly's head shattered--and not from laughter.

"Nononono! They're animated servants, not talking grimoires; and now one of them is ruined. Leave off the beating, or you'll ruin the rest of them! Has Kinslayer taken over your mind, Terry?"

With the black sword out and swinging, Tokugal had no desire to step nearer.

2007-07-12, 01:09 PM
Terry lays off the boneheads, grumbling still.
"I'm still allowed to be annoyed, aren't I?"

2007-07-12, 08:21 PM
(Pretty much gonna forget about the spoilers for now, everyone knows what's going on anyway. XD)

The skeletons cover their skulls and shriek as Terry beats them about with the runeblade. One of them starts sobbing hysterically, and one of the others tries to comfort it. The third one points a trembling finger at Terry. "Tell boss about this! Pig anus dishwasher!"

His skull explodes. The other two start sobbing even harder.

... that was simultaneously the dumbest and most awesome thing I have ever seen.

2007-07-12, 08:41 PM
Terry makes a choking noise and slumps.
"...Slayer, please explain what the hell is going on before my head goes like theirs."

2007-07-12, 10:48 PM
Those are Gaudemus' armor skeletons. He literally just used them to help him put on his armor. That's all they're good for. They help you put on clothes, and they keep people who don't know the password out of his stuff. They literally cannot cognitively process anything else. So if you try to ask them any question besides "Does this skirt make my ass look big?" they self-destruct.

2007-07-13, 02:56 PM
Terry's eyetwitch has reached epic levels.
"J...just...someone go and get a mending spell cast on their heads. I'm going to go be not here."

2007-07-14, 12:25 AM

Vodette remains in stitches. Tears are streaming down her face and she isn't making any attempt to hide her amusement.

But Terry, you did such a good job at finding out how to make their heads explode. Plus, Kinslayer must have loved being used as a club.

Vodette turns to one of the remaining skeletons.

Hey skeleton, does Terry's outfit make his ass look big?

Vodette continues to giggle, finding herself very amusing.

2007-07-14, 11:23 AM
Tokugal Ardolin

"C'mon, Vodette; Terry. There's no cause for senseless destruction of others' property. These things have a purpose."

Tokugal picks up the arcane scrolls and spell sketches from the desk, then turns back to the others. "Now, let me make it clear that any question I ask is directed at my companions, not the skeletons. Have either of you taken a look at the other stuff in this room? The desk had some scrolls that might or might not be informative. Is there anything we need to ask Firethena about?"

2007-07-14, 01:25 PM

Horacio exits Firethena's bedroom with Firethena and heads towards Gaudemus's closet, speaking the password if he needs to. As he approaches the others, you notice Tahlion's quite a bit smaller than before. And a different shape. Looks more like a rapier now...

"Hey guys, find anything interesting?" Horacio turns to Kumoru. "Got it back just fine, I assume? Mind if I see it?" He then turns to look at the skeletons. "...Are their heads supposed to be missing?"

2007-07-14, 06:29 PM
Terry's eye twitches again.
"Why don't you ask 'em, Horacio?"

2007-07-14, 07:22 PM

Horacio raises an eyebrow.

"Uh, Firethena? Is there something you forgot to tell Terry about the skeletons?"

2007-07-14, 07:27 PM
Turning to one of the remaining skeletons...
"I don't know. Did she forget to tell me anything about you all?

2007-07-14, 07:45 PM

For those of you wondering just what went on in Firethena's room:


Horacio wasn't quite prepared for that. He frowns as he glances around, unsure quite how to comfort Firethena. He finally settles on taking her hand and softly rubbing it.

"It's... I... I don't know, Firethena. I wasn't there. But I do know that many of us forget how important we are to other people, or get caught up in our own problems. When Terry described how he saw Aerin die, it was traumatic, even to us. His mind could've snapped, or he became obsessed with resurrecting her and withdrew from almost everyone, or maybe he remembers the times when he had both you & Aerin and seeing you again might be too much for him to bear, or..."

Horacio drops his head and closes his eyes.

"I honestly don't know, Firethena. But I don't think it was because you were dull. Even in the few hours I've seen and heard about you, you've surprised me at every turn. Beneath the meek mask you showed us on our first visit, you've shown an inner fire, cunning, nerves, and a... a... a spark. A creative spark, a drive to see the world in a different way. And that combination, it's as beautiful as your appearance."

Horacio looks up at Firethena.

"I... honestly don't know why Gaudemus treated you so poorly, why he didn't notice just how lucky he was to have your love. But if he just forgot about you, he's a fool for doing so. I've thieved since I could walk, and after all these years, spirits like yours are the brightest jewels I've seen."

Horacio grins.

"After all, how many people can break natural laws, tell a demon to shut up, bake excellent cookies and laugh at a rogue who just admitted he broke into their house?"


She smiles, a little, and squeezes his hand in return.

"Thanks, Horacio. You're really sweet. I'm sorry I'm spending so much time whining about this, too... I just... I just wish I knew, you know what I mean? If I could just... just see him... and ask..."

She lets her head droop again. "But if I did see him again, I'm afraid I might just burst, and that wouldn't get anyone anywhere."


"No, it wouldn't... We need someone here anyway. We'll be on the road, throwing ourselves into danger, unsure what exactly we'll be up against. Here you have access to Atalya's best information, which we'll need to solve this. As much as I'd love having you out there with us, you can help us more here.

"When we meet Gaudemus, once all this is over, I'll ask him for you... I give my word.

"But in the meantime, please stay safe. I don't want anything to happen to you while I'm gone. Seeing you dominated in your sleep was almost too much for me to bear..."

Horacio tenderly kisses her hand as a note of sorrow creeps into his voice.

"I'll do what I can. Just keep yourself safe..."

He pauses for a moment.

"Did Tahlion tell you, Firethena? Did he tell you his connection to Kinslayer? He says they are both Stormbringers, ancient swords awaiting a day when they can merge with their wielders into... something else. He thinks that might be why he's making us take him to Gaudemus. If he manages to do that, it will be bad news for us all.

"Tahlion thinks he can do it as well, perhaps be powerful enough to counter it, but he needs a few things first. He says he needs... a symbol and some magical source."

Horacio looks at Firethena.

"Do you think you can help us with it?"


Firethena puts her free hand over her mouth. "Horacio... what you're talking about... a merging like that... you can't be serious? That's not a matter to take lightly, fusing yourself with a hunk of enchanted metal... the gods alone knows what the consequences could be! You can't do that, there are too many people who count on you as you are for you to risk becoming something else, aren't there?"


Horacio chuckles a bit.

"Firethena, I'm getting old. I can already feel my bones begin to ache after a long day of thieving. Soon my nimbleness will begin to leave me and I'll have to rely on my wits more than any man should. I should've retired years ago. I would've, if Laura had married me..."

Horacio looks off into the distance a bit.

"But I've fought and bled and paid my dues. There is no one else that relies on me. My friends are few and far between, and they know better than to expect all of us will make it through unscathed. I would leave nothing undone and I would have few regrets if I perished or changed after this mission.

"Can you say the same about any of my companions? They're all so young; they still have their lives ahead of them, they still have pretty women to woo and monsters to kill and fame to win. I can't ask them to give up their lives without offering mine first. Besides..."

Horacio pauses for a moment.

"In the past two days, I've learned a lot about Gaudemus. We've both walked the paths of dark and light, done great deeds, made great enemies, had the same hopes, dreams, fears... both had our families, our futures shattered by uncaring outsiders...

"Now when I look at Gaudemus, I see myself through a mirror darkly. When I look at Gareth, I see the son I never had. And when I see the pain and misery and threats surrounding them, I see something worth dying to protect..."

Horacio blinks back tears and grins.

"Of course, I don't have any intention of giving up my life. Do any of us? But I know how far I am willing to go, and what we need to do to accomplish it. If it's like most magic spells, we can complete most of it now. All we need left is the trigger, the last padlock to blow open at a moment's notice, right? If so, then we should prepare. A friend of mine once told me,"

Horacio switches to the gith tongue, studdering a bit from years of neglect,

"Life's great choices are presented in the flash of a blade. Ensure you can answer just as swiftly."


Firethena kneels down to Horacio's level and pulls him into a hug. He can feel her trembling slightly as she holds him.

"Nobody should have to give up their future for someone else... no matter how short that future is... but the fact that you're willing to take that step... you're a wonderful person, Horacio. No matter what any cudgeler says. You've got the biggest heart I've ever known."

After a moment she abruptly pulls back, blushing a little, and brushes excess moisture from her eyes.

"Right, so, a source of magical energy and a focus for the spell, right? I think I could help you with those."


Horacio returns the hug and chuckles softly.

"I have my moments. Now don't go soft on me, Firethena. If I think about it any longer, I might change my mind."

Horacio pulls out Tahlion and gives it to Firethena.

"Tahlion can fill you in on the details. How long do you think it would take? Could you connect the focus, the source, and the trigger command to him? I can be charmed, dominated, knocked out or killed. Tahlion can't, and if he needs to merge with someone else, they'll need the tools at hand.

"He also said the biggest risk during a merging was that one of our minds would overtake and crush the other. It's not a result I'd enjoy. If there was some way to ensure the two minds were balanced in equilibrium, we might both be able to survive and control ourself. I could ask a few friends about that, but do you have any ideas, Firethena?"


Firethena gets up and walks to her desk, frowning a little.

"A magical effect like you're talking about is difficult to control... that's why focus and power are needed... miniturizing something like that... making it portable and accessible to anyone... would be difficult. Even making a focus for a process like that is kind of hard, Tahlion and the wielder are the center of the spell, but something to keep them centered and in equilibrium..."

She ruffles through some papers. "Hmmm.... Gaudemus had a set of stakes that he used to facilitate conjuration spells... you put them in a circle and it made the area within them more malleable to a certain school of magic... I could probably make something like that for what we're talking about, a portable magic circle kind of dealie. The problem is the energy source."

She pauses and frowns at him. "What you're talking about with the mental process... that's hard. If the two of you merge physically, you -have- to merge mentally. Otherwise it's two minds in one body and that... never works out well. Merging two minds into one consciousness... two completely distinct personalities and set of memories and frames of reference... that's potentially even worse."


Horacio follows Firethena as she works. He looks over her work, interested in watching.

"And even if we don't merge, Tahlion has a few tricks up his sleeve- er, scabbard. He said he can channel positive energy into a curative effect on his victim, which might destroy the bodysnatcher without further harm to the host. We were debating whether it'd work better if we hit closer to home; injecting it into the parasite's core should work better than hitting an edge, but I still don't know exactly how these things tick. Could you fill me in on them, Firethena?"


"The skin wearers are... enigmatic. Nobody's sure what they are or where they came from, or even what they want. It's pretty clear they're aberrations of some sort, so most scholars assume they are living beings, but when they infect someone's body they become like a disease or a poison... positive energy, properly channeled, very well could do the trick, and hitting a vital spot would hurt them just as much as it would any other creature, though any research that has been done indicates their vital spots are difficult to hit, if you even have any clue what they are."


"And his size-changing abilities... very interesting. If it isn't too taxing on him, there might be a way to use it in battle. I usually dual-wield, but it's hard to use both weapons when you're moving around. A 2-hander that would shrink to a 1-hander after the initial charge could be useful, although its shape would have to shift a bit to 'feel right' in a 1-handed grip..."

Horacio scratches his chin.

"Or a 2-hander that can split into two 1-handers and reform back? That would revolutionize dual-wielding, but the transmutative magics involved would have to be enormous, right? Or would it depend on the materials used? I've seen some strange things done with raw Limbo..."

Horacio coughs.

"Sorry if this sounds a bit disturbing, Tahlion, but your design is pretty unusual for a 2-hander. A courtblade that handles like a rapier, a rogue's favorite weapon..."


Tahlion: ... I... I'm trying to... that's... not an entirely unpleasant idea to try, but... you could at least have bought me dinner first...

Firethena smackes herself in the face.

AIM Session

AIM IM with zarachnis

7/13/07, 9:20 PM

*honk honk*

My breast! *flail*

Agh! Manboobs!

*head explodes*


Hmm, did you want to finish up Horacio/Firethena/Tahlion's conversation on AIM?

10:20 PM

Hmmm, kind of thinking about passing out. About how much longer do you think it's gonna last?

Given how long the Horacio/Tahlion conversation lasts...

I'd say until someone breaks into the room.

It really depends on how many more questions you have for her.

It depends how many questions her answers bring up.

You know how this goes.


Might as well see what we can get done while we're here. Want to start from your last post? Haven't managed to finish formulating a response yet.

Sure, you me to post my responses in order, then your replies?


10:25 PM


Regarding the energy source:

"Yes, anything powerful enough to cause that reaction would be hard to carry around. But would we need to carry the source around?"

Horacio idly opens a pouch on his Knapsack and reaches halfway in with arm, thinking.

"What if we store the energy somewhere else and just carry an opening to it? Like a Bag of Holding? Or would the problem be finding a source powerful enough in the first place?"

10:30 PM

"Hmmmm... it really depends on what kind of source we need... like, any kind of magical energy, or does it have to be divine in nature?" More or less any kind of magic boost should work, I think. We just need something to jump start me, and then I do the rest. "Hmmm... I have an idea then." *she starts to rummage around in a desk drawer*

*Horacio watches eagerly.*

"Care to explain it while you work?"

"Well, if we just need any sort of source of magical energy, then really we just need a magical item with a hefty spell on it... and I think.... I have... Oh, forgot I had that..." *tosses a handmade doll over her shoulder*

(Doll of what?)

(Humanoid female in a white dress, looks like it has real hair, oddly enough. Kind of a metallic brown color.)

(Sorta looks like Aerin?)

(Yes, actually.)


Horacio turns back to Firethena.

10:35 PM

"Ah! Here we go." *she pulls out what looks like a small rock and tosses it up and down a few times* "Ever used one of these?"

Horacio puts his hand up to his chin.

"Perhaps. You know how many magical rocks there are?"

"Of course, silly me. Here." *She tosses it at you and it stops in mid-air right in front of your nose before proceeding to slowly circle your head. It's an ellipsoid stone with lavender and green steaks running through it.*

"Ah, an i-e- name's on the tip of my tongue..."

"One of those wizard stones they like to put around their head like targets at a shooting gallery."

10:40 PM

"Ioun stone. They're pretty nifty, really. This particular one asborbs spells that are cast on whoever's using it. It can only absorb a certain amount of spell energy before it's full, and afterwards people usually just throw them away... but... you can see where I'm going with this."

Horacio grins.

"But why toss away all that potential energy?"

"Because in most situations typeless magic power isn't much use. If Tahlion can tap this, though, it's exactly what we need."

Horacio nods and grins.

I think it'll work. I just need to kind of tug on it, I think.

"Nice. We'll have you better than ever in no time, Tahlion."

10:45 PM

I am all a twitter.

"I really need to learn how to read swords' faces."

((Say when when you're ready to move on to the next one.))

(I'm ready when you are.)

Concerning the mental merging:

"Potentially, but it's... nothing new, I think."

Horacio shakes his head.

"The more I look at this problem, the more I wish we were- well, let's wait to solve that problem until tomorrow. She might have an idea or two..."

"'She'? The friend from your church?"

Horacio nods.

10:50 PM

"Well, any new perspective could be useful. Is she a wizard?"


Horacio looks around nervously.

"What abjurations did you put up?"

"Couple of protections from scrying and a false image. if anyone does try to look in on us magically they'll think they see me spanking you with a rubber chicken."

"That include telepathic snooping, ethereal spying, and sensory links?"

Horacio looks a bit nervous about this.

Sense Motive check for Lying: 19

"Telepathy? Can't do a lot to block that, I'm afraid. Why, you worried about telepathic people spying on us?"

10:55 PM

(She seems sincere.)

"The flayer domination still has me a bit on edge."

"But he would..."

*She blanches.* "Not a whole lot I could do to keep HIM out if he wanted to listen in."

Horacio frowns. "I know... and he already would've grabbed it from me anyway."

"And if he wanted to do anything about it, well..."

"Do you have a communication spell?"

"I could do a sending, sure."

"On me?" *thinks*

"That's the 25-word one, right?"

"Yeah. I could probably come up with something else if I had some time to fiddle with my spellbook... stuff in there I forget I have..."

Horacio chuckles.

((Would Horacio know how powerful Vera's telepathic capabilities are? Could she contact him here if he asked her to?))

11:00 PM

((Hell, could she teleport in here? Or would it be safer in her quarters where she is now?))

(I don't think he could contact her unless he had telepathic powers himself. And her quarters would definitely be safer.)


((I meant, if he sent a Sending to her, would she be able to open a telepathic channel to him from wherever she is?))

(Prooooobably... lemme see if Firethena could send a message to someone she doesn't know...)

(Well, couldn't she tap Horacio and let him send the message?)

(Dunno! *looks up*)

(Hmm, "a particular creature with which you are familiar". Nope.)

11:05 PM

((Okay, I'll await Firethena's response then.))

((When she realizes she can't cast the spell as is.))

"Do you want me to send you something or...?"

"No. Need to send a message to my friend."

11:10 PM

"Hn, I'd need to know them to do that. The spell's tricky if you don't have a mental image to work with."

Horacio frowns.

"Then for security, I won't speak of it further. Just in case."

"We'll discuss it once we meet her."

Horacio looks disappointed by this.

"S'okay. I'm kind of intrigued now." *winks*

Horacio grins.

"You'll like her, Firethena."

"She's like you, only she has... a taste for field research."

"And a nasty habit of dragging people with her."

"Oho! I take it you've seen some things with this lady."

"Ooooooh yeah."

11:15 PM

*She hikes up an eyebrow.* "Things you can't talk about in polite company?"

"Oh, I can."

*starts counting off*

"Acheron, Mechanus, Ysgard, Celestia, Sigil, Limbo, Astral..."

"Oh, so she's THAT kind of girl, eh?" *She grins mischievously.* "I'm surprised they'd let you into Celestia."

"We snuck in through a portal key we won off some drunken angels in a game of poker. Or something like that..."

Horacio rubs his chin.

"Or maybe we just stumbled through the wrong portal. That whole day was very fuzzy."

*She laughs.*

Horacio shrugs.

"Better than the Abyss."

11:20 PM

"Ick, yes. Godsdamned acid pits."

"I thought those were only on a few layers..."

"I must've hit a bad one then. Five minutes because of a plane shift screw up and I come out half naked and covered in first degree burns with an imp chewing on my head." >_<

Horacio laughs.

"No, I think they're all bad."

"I'm just saying they're not all acid pits."

"This is true."

"So what were you trying to hit with that plane shift?"

11:25 PM

"Elemental plane of fire. Which is really the only reason I came out as well as I did, because the ring of fire around the acid pit was the only thing I was prepared to deal with. I left plane shifting to the experts after that one." *shiver*

"Huh... I don't think she mentioned anything about errors..."

Horacio's face drops a bit.

"Ignorance is bliss, and then you die."

"It's comparitively rare- I think my problem was the scroll I used. When I went back the next week to talk to the gentleman I'd bought it from he'd mysteriously vanished."

"A shady gentleman?"

Horacio slaps his face.

*Snrk* "He might have just been inept. I like to think he accidentally plane-shifted himself somewhere full of tentacles."

"Uh, could we cut down on the tentacles? Although it would be fitting for him..."

11:30 PM

"Let's move on..."

"Oh, sorry. You've been running into a lot of those lately, haven't you?"

"A lot of them have been running into me."

"Brings back bad memories..."


"Can't dwell on it. What can we do now?"

((Move on to the next one?))


((RE: Tentacles))

Horacio nods.

"Then perhaps some anatomy lessons later tonight are in order. What else do you know about them? Do you know what Gaudemus had to do with them?"

"Nobody knows much- most information that's been gained on them has been gleaned from their victims' bodies after the fact, and nobody's ever captured one alive. As near as anyone's been able to figure out, though, they're kind of similar to jellyfish. More like several creatures merged together into one being than one individual monster. I imagine that makes them difficult to kill."

11:35 PM

"Merged... together..."

"Many nightmares become one, god of terror eats the sun..."

Horacio paces.

"I wonder where the one is..."

"Ominous verse there."


"Anyway, go on."

11:40 PM

"Not much else that I know. They seem to be attracted to arcane mages, but nobody's been able to figure out why. The few people who have reported being possessed by one of them and surviving said that they were insatiably curious about it. Which is the only reason I can think they might have been interested in Gaudemus- magic wasn't his forte, but he did a lot of research. Don't ask me how that translates into killing his wife, though."

"I don't think they were after his wife..."

"She was a distraction. A sleight of hand, I'd say."

"They definitely were after Gaudemus for something. And he'd had dealings with them before..."

"Had he? I don't recall him ever saying..."

"Kinslayer showed Terry what happened that night."

"And Gaudemus definitely knew them."

*She shudders.*

"And the way they did it... it was a setup."

Horacio rubs his face.

"Sleight of hand, setups, and traps."

"Illusions... layers of illusions..."

"Not illusions. I think he'd notice that."


"That's the problem. Get so immersed in magic and you start forgetting about the mundane tricks."


"And not neccessarily. Gaudemus never had any patience for illusions. He preferred tackling things head-on."

11:45 PM

"So I heard. And his friends did, too."

"Well, except for you."

"Eh, fighters. Gaudemus was incredibly intelligent, but he preferred to think with his sword, and that's what always got him into trouble."

"I've seen wizards do it, too. All that power goes to their heads."

"Their thinking gets so abstract they lose their footing, begin making deals they shouldn't, common sense goes out the window along with the physics..."

"Eh, sorry Firethena. I've messed with my share of mad mages. It isn't pleasant."

"No, I know what you mean. That's part of why I never went out and did the 'adventuring' thing so many wizards do. It seemed like they always lost parts of themself in the process. I preferred to just stay home and make things. I guess that makes me a little wierd."

11:50 PM

"Well, someone has to..."

"It's a shame you didn't go out more often, though."

"I think it's the mad ones that take to adventuring, not adventuring that makes you mad."

"Oh, I've had my moments... Just far too many of them involve alcohol and crying..." >_>

Horacio holds Firethena's hand.

"I think everyone has those, Firethena, no matter what you do in life."

"Doesn't mean you stop trying."

*She smiles, a little.* "I don't feel like I have much try left in me nowadays."

Horacio smiles.

"There's always another chance, if you just keep yourself moving."

11:55 PM

"I believe, Firethena, that the next few days may be your greatest moment."

*She blushes a little.* "Heh, thanks. I'll try to live up to your expectations."

"Please do."

"Okay, so you didn't know Gaudemus had any dealings with these creatures before Aerin's death, right?"

"When did you start researching them yourself?"

12:00 AM

"Well, like I've said before, when you have a couple centuries to devote to research, you tend to find yourself looking up some pretty freaky stuff. Lesse... I found out about the flesh wearers when I started doing research on aberrations... oh, gee, had to be when I was still in my hundreds. There was a Neogi settlement nearby where I was living at the time and I just thought they were dwonright fascinating. Scary as hell, but fascinating. I kind of branched out to other similar creatures in the process."

"So it was a side interest that came in handy..." *nods*

"Yeah. Not something I'd reccomend for everyone though. Grells aren't nice people." >_>

"Well, sometimes you don't have a choice in the matter."


Horacio rubs his shoulder (that the armband's beneath).

"So jellyfish, flying brains, infect brains, go in through the torso..."

"Capable of writing. Ties to this... 9 Tongue cult, it seems."

12:05 AM

"Seemingly interested in destroying the world, somehow..."

"About... a week incubation time?"

"Periodic control of host body? Fever dreams on host?"

"Incubation time, dreams, writing... I dunno, your guess is as good as mine on those. 9 tongues, now... that sounds familiar. The Nine Tongued Worm... that's a pretty small cult, but a bloody nasty one. Grateful to say I've never met anything from that lot in person."

"We have, it seems."

"Not for long. They got eaten by the giant tentacled worm they summoned."

"Anyway, you had more info about them?"

*Her eyes widen.* "You ran into a group of nine toungue cultists?"

"We think so."

"At least, the flayer thinks so. Enough not to blow up our brains for killing his minion."

"Dear gods. And they summoned something with tentacles? I hope Vodette's alright."

12:10 AM

"Vodette was alright."

"Whatever they were, they're nasty enough the flayer was willing to call a truce so we can stop whatever they're hatching."

"I'd say the fact I'm still alive points to some connection between the two."

"Probably. The flayers do make a habit of killing anything with tentacles that isn't them... not sure exactly what that's about..."

"It's a running theme with evil, I'd say."

"They can't stand each other either."

"But you had more info about them?"

"I have my own sources I'm asking about them, but the more sources, the easier to find the discrepancies..."

"About the cult? Not so much, just that they do a lot of humanoid sacrifice, and they seem obsessed with summoning things that should not exist into this plane of existence."

"What else is new..."

"Why can't there be a cult that summons angels, for bloody sake."

12:15 AM

"Angels don't really want to come here that often. I mean, can you blame them?"

Horacio wipes his face.

"This is exactly why I don't trust good more..."

"No offense, Tahlion."

None taken. i didn't really want to come here either.

"Yes, I guess the outer planes would be hard to let go of..."

"But hmmm..."

Horacio takes Tahlion off the desk.

"Now, about their anatomy?"

"I get a hunch we'll be facing them soon. I'd like to know where to stab them to make them hurt."

"The best advice I can give you is to go for the eyes."

"The person's eyes?"

"No, the thingy's eyes. They're supposed to have clusters of eyes at the tips of some of their tentacles. If you're fighting someone with the thing inside them, stabbing them in torso is probably your best bet."

12:20 AM

"Ah, good."

"Do you know exactly where? Maybe bring up an illusion I can practice on?"

Horacio holds Tahlion in a battle stance and grins.

"It's been a while since I've had a challenge."

"Hmmm... not so sure, really. I've never met one or examined a body, but..." *She mutters a few arcane words and a basic humanoid image appears, arms raised aggressively. A few red spots appear on its torso.* "They reportedly take up room in the body where there's a little spare space, so as near as I can tell, and I'm not GREAT at anatomy... those spots would be where you'd aim for."

Horacio hmms...

((Given my knowledge of sneak attack, is there anything in Firethena's illusion I'd switch around?))

((Any corrections to her spots I'd make?))

(Maybe move the spots on the abdomen up a little.)

12:25 AM

Horacio points out a few corrections to Firethena.

"There's quite a few vital organs there, they'd squeeze them out."

"Aim here instead, miss a few more on the way in..."

"Aaaahhhh, okay..."

"Hmm, maybe I could talk to Crazy Old Ratchett some about it..."

"Crazy Old Ratchett?"

Horacio waits for the spots to move, then begins to stab Tahlion into each of them, over and over, quickly and precisely.

"Healer-slash-organ harvester, depends whether you're alive or dead."


"Just another of the many colorful personalities I had to interact with on a daily basis."

"Yes, that could work. Normally that'd barely do any damage, since it skipped all the vital organs of the host..."

"But, I think, that's the point."

"Yeah. Huh, so kind of like the oppositre of what you usually aim for, hm?"


"Of course, knowing where all the others are makes it easier not to hit them..."

12:30 AM

"I'd hate to see how Terry manages to do this wielding Kinslayer..."

"He was a brave lad for volunteering to take that sword."

"I couldn't have picked a better wielder myself."

"I'm not so sure. Well, I'm not sure -anyone- should be holding the damn thing, but... Terry seems a little too... nice."

"Exactly. He'll fight it until his dying breath."

"Vodette would've fallen to it immediately. You could see it in her eyes."

"I just hope that doesn't come soon..."

"She does seem that type, doesn't she? There's something to that girl. Real nervous."

"Reminds me a bit of myself when I was young..."

Horacio stabs the illusion a bit more out of frustration.

"I keep trying to help her, but she's paranoid."

"It's gonna eat her up inside unless she gets some help..."

"Another reason to visit my friend."

"She's a guidance counselor?"

12:35 AM

"She was my mentor."

Horacio's face falls a bit.

"She was my foundation when things got rough. No one in the world I trust more."


"She's the reason I didn't go ballistic and kill every Cudgeler I saw after Laura betrayed me!"

Horacio stabs the illusion so hard Tahlion comes out the other side.

Horacio stops and breathes a bit.

"We all need a friend's help sometime."

"It took me a long time to realize that."

*Firethena puts a comforting hand on his arm.*

"I just hope Vodette realizes it faster than I do."

"I don't think she did anything that bad, she's just blown it out of proportion."

"I can see that."

"And if she can overcome it and find her focus... well, she'll be even more dangerous than she already is."

"Hard to beat into her thick skull, though."

12:40 AM


"I think you might have a better time of it than I would. I'd hold off on it, though."

"We're running out of people Vodette trusts to body-check her."

*She laughs.*

Horacio puts Tahlion back on the desk.

"Okay, I get the gist of it. I'll pass it on to the other backstabbers."

"She's pretty modest, isn't she? Most elves I know don't much care."

"Honestly, that might have something to do with it as well."

Horacio shrugs.

"Whatever happened left an impression..."


(Crap it's late. XD What else was there?)

(Heheh, yes it is.)

(Two things.)

Horacio grins at Tahlion.

"How about I buy you a professional polish and sharpening and we call it a date? Hmmm... do you think you could do something like turning into an actual rapier or splitting into two weapons, Tahlion? Perhaps if we added an enchantment like that to you? I wonder what that would require..."

(RE: Weaponchanging.)

*The blade quivers, and then, rather abruptly, shrinks to about a half of its former size.* ... OW.

12:45 AM

Horacio inspects the blade.

"Uh, how much did that hurt?"

It's like dunking your balls in icewater.

Horacio cringes.

Horacio picks up Tahlion with one hand and tries swinging it like an actual rapier. How does it feel?

A little wierd... different from just changing the overall size... the wind's all off. You having any trouble balancing me?

Horacio tries a few practice parries.

And thrusts, of course.

Of course.

Any penalties he can tell?

I dunno why you're so bent on making me smaller... I'm not gonna be able to do as much damage this way. Whatever you're comfortable with, I suppose.

Horacio grins.

"I'm a rogue.

"My damage comes from precision, not size."

12:50 AM

Horacio pulls out his enchanted short sword and begins making some dual thrusts.

"Of course, you've never been dual-wielded before, have you?"

... I feel like a cheap whore.

Horacio chuckles a bit.

"Maybe I'll find a nice female sword for the off-hand, let you spend some time alone together and raise a stock of daggers."

... even I find something vaguely repugnant in the mental image.

"What would turn on an elven courtblade, anyway? Maybe an intelligent falchion?"

Nah man, I'm not into those thick girls. Gimme a scimitar any deay of the week.

"Scimitars. Nice choice. Plenty of curves."

"... am I going to have to dump cold water on you two?"

"Sorry Firethena, just boys talk."

Horacio chuckles.

Horacio places Tahlion back on the dresser.

12:55 AM

I guess I count as a boy...

"It'd be a bit creepy if you were that lecherous as a girl."

Firethena snrks. "What, girls can't have libidos?"

"Such blatant libidos?"

Horacio grins.

"You met Scarlet, right?"

"Scarlet is... something else."

Horacio raises his eyebrows.


"Enjoyed meeting her. Don't know if I'd want to live with her, though."

"It's not easy. She and Nightfang stayed here for a couple months before the wedding. ...there were some fraying of tempers."

Horacio nods.

"Well, they've been together for 100 years. Course, I think they're perfect for each other."

Horacio pats Tahlion.

"Thanks for humoring an old rogue, Tahlion. I'll see if I can get you that polish before the night's over."

Will you talk dirty to me while you do it?

1:00 AM

"I'll ask the woman who does it if she can."

"Maybe if you're nice she'll stick the cloth between her-"

Horacio glances at Firethena for a moment.

"I'll see what I can do."

Tahlion and Firethena make identical laughing noises.

"By the way, Tahlion, lawful or chaotic?"

Horacio thinks to himself.

I go both ways, man.

"Interesting. Maybe I'll find a good morphing sword for your better half, see if we can't arrange a split that way..."

"It might work..."

"Anyway, you can return to your usual self if you want. Unless you enjoy seeing what being a rapier's like."

I think I'll stick like this for a while. Changing back might hurt more.

"True... Sorry, I didn't think it'd be that difficult."

1:05 AM

((Final question?))

(Go for it!)

"There's another question at the center of all this. What was Aerin like, Firethena? Why did she love Gaudemus? Why did Gaudemus love her? I... hate to ask, but if we can remind him of the man he used to be..."

Horacio says that after letting Firethena work on Tahlion for a while. He's obviously trepidous about bringing it up.

Firethena pauses and takes a deep breath.

Horacio goes completely silent.

"Aerin was... like sunshine. When she walked into a room, everything else seemed brighter. You couldn't help liking her. And believe me, I was determined to hate her guts from the get go... but when I talked about leaving, she wouldn't have it. Said Gaudemus didn't have enough friends as it was. And that was after I went out of my way to point out how much history we had... but she never seemed threatened by me. I guess, since all she had to do was just look Gaudemus in the eyes, and he couldn't think about anything else... well hell, what's she gonna worry about, right?"

1:10 AM

"I got that part."

"But why Gaudemus?"

1:15 AM

"Hmmm, why did she fall for him? Maybe because he was six feet of solid muscle and hours of sexual stamina and could hold a conversation afterwards?" She winks. "Well, probably not. Aerin was a singer. Kind of a minor celebrity. And she was surrounded by fake people who didn't really care about her. Even her own father was really only worried about not having to keep her around the house. But Gaudemus was genuine. He was passionate. He had a spine and guts and he used them. He didn't buy her jewelry and talk about how distinguished his family was, he took her on walks under the moon and read her poetry and tried to cook dinner for her himself. I honestly think she didn't believe he was real at first. It freaked her out a little."

Horacio nods.

"Not because he was a hero..."

Horacio rubs his chin.

"That didn't hurt, trust me. But... I dunno. He obviously cared for her in a way that I don't think anyone else did. She could read his eyes."

Horacio cringes a bit as he holds his arm.

"Yeah, obviously..."

1:20 AM

Horacio paces.

"What about her paintings?"

"Hm? What about them?"

"Her paintings. She was an artist."

"Hells, I saw some of her works. I think every red-blooded Atalyan did."

"Well, pre-marriage. She quit stripping so much after that..."


"But what did she paint?"

"Oh, THOSE. Yeah, that's another part of what I'm talking about. She had a singing voice you could die for, but people only ever really wanted her to paint herself half naked. She actually didn't mind doing those, but what she really loved was doing landscapes. She really liked trees. She painted them happy."


Horacio's eyebrows raise. You can almost hear the gears churning.

"Did she do many of Atalya?"

"The city? No. She painted the hills outside it a lot, though."

1:25 AM

"Hmmm, damn!"

"Did she love Atalya?"


"Hmmm, that's kind of an odd question. She liked it here, sure."

"Did she love it?"

Horacio looks at Firethena like this is important.

"I... never really talked to her about... how much she cared for the city... I don't... think she felt all that particularly strong about it. They talked about moving someplace quieter after the baby was born, but most people at least discuss that..."

Horacio sighs and rubs his hands together.

"That... ruins one part of a very good plan. Do you still know were her paintings are?"

"Hmmm, aside from the ones she sold to private collectors, there are some in her room and a few in storage here. Probably a pile of them at her father's place somewhere."

1:30 AM

"Yes... yes..."

"Tell me, Firethena. There's at least a dozen spells to protect mages from arrows, swords, fire, lightning... but tell me, what spell can shield the heart from pain?"

"About zilch. What do you have in mind?"

Horacio grins.

"If we want Gaudemus to remember the man he used to be, those paintings might be our most potent weapon."

"Ohhhh, I see." She strokes her chin. "That just might work."

Horacio nods.

"You put a piece of yourself into everything you craft."

"Aerin put a piece of herself into everything she painted."


"We remind Gaudemus just what was important to her... and him, it might tear open his heart enough to make him reconsider his decisions."

"Or, at least, label us as friends long enough to figure out the true culprit here."

"Hmmm, but how are you going to use them? Just whip out a canvas and say, 'Hey Gaudy, remember your wife's happy trees?'"

1:35 AM

Horacio thinks.

"That's a problem. Not canvases, something like... scroll cases?"

(*resisted urge to uses "bush"*)

"Well, transporting them isn't really the problem I was getting at..."

"True. But let's assume we have time to talk before hell breaks loose."

"Not neccessarily a safe assumption to make."

"No, not at all."

"But honestly, if we get to fighting Gaudemus, we are all probably boned."

"...yeah. No offense to you all, of course, but he was already one of the greatest mages and swordsmen I've ever seen a century ago. The gods alone know what he's like NOW."

"Which makes swords & sorcery all the less useful."

"Thus, psychological warfare, which we've established is his weakpoint. Hm. I hate to manipulate him that way, but it might be your only chance."

"Hey, these bastards, whoever they are, have already manipulated him to hell and back."

"Let's pull him back from the cliff and then go kick asses."

1:40 AM

She grins. "Works for me."

"Now this could be a dual-pronged plan."

"I figure nine paintings, some of the last ones Aerin made."

"Either the ones Gaudemus liked the most, or one for each month she was pregnant with Gareth..."

Horacio frowns.

"Those'll hit him the hardest..."

"A few of her, a few of the peaceful hills, a few- hopefully- of Atalya himself. Remind him that the horde he's sending will destroy the very things she loved."

"Hmmm... I'll see what we've got."

Horacio nods.

"And if Gaudemus is- heaven forbid- possessed by something..."

Horacio frowns.

"A possibility I don't really like..."

"They can work on Gareth too."


"He's gone his entire life not knowing his mother. They'll hit him just as hard as they hit Gaudemus."

Horacio nods.

"We'll work on other options. But the more options, the better."


"How hard do you think it'd be to get them from Aerin's father's house?"

Horacio rubs his chin and grins.

She grimaces.

"Aerin's dad wasn't terribly fond of Gaudemus when Aerin was still alive. After word got out that she'd died, he basically blamed Gaudemus for the lot. I can't imagine he'd be willing to help him out in any way."

1:45 AM

"So legitimate means are out..."

Horacio smiles evilly.

"You know how long it's been since I've been an art thief?"

"Well, I should give Daewell a chance to buy them himself, but if that doesn't work..."

Firethena grins hugely.

That guy is a massive festering *******. I say rob him blind.

Horacio chuckles.

"My favorite type of target."

"Remind me to tell you about the time I turned into a cat and robbed the city's head taxman blind later."

She giggles incredulously. "That sounds like a heck of a story."

1:50 AM

"Well, I did put him through hell first..."

"Hell, ask Nightfang about it somet-"

Horacio's eyes go wide.

"Oh ****."

"Firethena, you remember that Sending?"

"We forgot to tell Nightfang we were alright."

"Last he saw us, we warped out right when Kinslayer woke up."


"Then Kinslayer disappeared with us and... ****, he can't expect the best from that."

"But 25 words... how to phrase it..."


Horacio starts counting out words.

"We're okay. Terry's keeping Kinslayer under control- maybe trying to keep- that's 7 words..."

1:55 AM

"Strange occurances happening, researching them. Connected to Gaudamus... 15 words..."

"You ate all the sushi... no..."

"Oh yes. Note to self: get more sushi."

"Need to set meeting with him in about 3 days. 25 words on the dot."

"We're okay. Terry's keeping Kinslayer under control. Strange things happening, researching them. Connected to Gaudemus. Need to set meeting with him in about 3 days."

"25 words exactly."

Horacio sighs.

"You think 3 days is going to be enough time?"

"Three days? You don't even know where he is."

"We think Nightfang does. Or knows who does."

Horacio thinks.

"I wouldn't count on him telling you, but I'll try."

"You're right. Three days is too concrete."

"Hmmm... Need to set meeting with him in a couple days. Same word count, but more vague."

"Even if he refuses to, it'll get him interested in what exactly's going on."

2:00 AM

"We bring him enough evidence, between Kumoru rising and these attack on the Church that seem to be linked to Gaudemus even though Nightfang said Gaudemus hadn't messed with the Church in years..."

"Provided Nightfang isn't going to backstab us somehow..."

Horacio sighs.

Firethena nods.

"Or Scarlet isn't... mmm, so many ways this could go wrong."

Horacio thinks for a moment.

"Well, right now, it's the only option we've got. Can you send the message and see how Nightfang replies?"



Horacio thinks quickly.

"Leave out the part about setting up a meeting with him."


"Say 'We'll contact you when we find out more.' "

Horacio thinks.

2:05 AM

"I don't think we want Gaudemus knowing we're coming to meet him just yet."

"You're probably right... okay..."

Horacio grins. It doesn't look too assured.

Firethena mutters some words of arcane power and makes a few gestures with her hands before repeating the message. "...and... oh wow does he have a gift for profanity... uh... scared him out of his wits... warn him before you pull that again... going to kick that moron's ass... and Scarlet's sisters are coming over in a month? The hell does that have to do with anything?"

Horacio chuckles.

"Tokugal's looking for a fiery girlfriend."

"Oh dear. That's not going to end well."

Horacio raises an eyebrow.


"Anything we should warn him about?"

2:10 AM

"They bite."

"Is that it?"

"...isn't that enough?"


"... you ARE creative."

"You don't live as long as I have, doing what I do, without learning to improvise."

Horacio grins.

2:15 AM

She shuckles.



Well, that's taken care of, anything else you want to know before we go bail out the others?


I think at this time, Horacio figures at least an hour's past.

Time to take whatever Firethena needs to work on Tahlion with her, get ready to head out, and make sure the others are still alive.

Horacio suggests she put on a thick dark cloak. Something that can look shady.

Cool deal.

They are not going into a good part of town.

She has one of those.

Excellent. Does she have some for everyone else?

Horacio doubts the wizards remembered to bring one.

Daewell, especially. He couldn't look shady if he tried.

Gaudemus probably has a couple in his closet, actually.

"Is it one of those folded spaces?"

"No, just a closet. With undead aides."

2:20 AM


"Yeah. He used to like to lead people in there and let them find those on their own. Good times."

Horacio rolls his eyes.

"Heh. Let's go grab them, then."

"Sure thing."

"Anything else you need from here?"

nah, she's good XD

"Anything else that might be useful to us?"

Horacio looks around.

"If this is as big as I think it is, we might as well pull out all the stops."

"I dunno I have much that would be useful... there's a mechanical spider under the bed that serves ale..."

"Can it spy?"

2:25 AM

"Not really."

"Maybe with some- no, don't get too fancy."

"Anything else? If not, let's get the others."

"I'll think about it. Maybe I could get one of my furnished portable holes to work..."

"You have portable holes?"

Horacio's eyes light up.

"Yeah, but I kind of screwed around with them, last time I put something in there it... ah, didn't come out."

"Let me guess, you use it for trash disposal now?"

"Nah. I mostly just chuck the occasional would-be thief in it."

2:30 AM

She might not be serious. You can't tell.

Horacio chuckles.

"So, do you want to know just how far I got through your house?"

"You should have listened to Vodette. I think you could have taken the demon."

Horacio rolls his eyes.


She laughs and taipses out the door.


"Remind me to ask for one those anti-scrying spells, permanently..."

Horacio follows behind her.

"And can you reallyfigure out where I sleep?"

"You snore."

"Do not."

"It's like listening to a foghorn."

"I'm a rogue, Firethena."

"Little tiny foghorn."

Horacio rolls his eyes.

She's giggling like a schoolgirl now.

2:35 AM

"Should I be proud you've decided to scry on me while I sleep?"

"I scried all of you. Did you know Terry sucks his thumb?"

"Gods, we need security."

"And yes, it doesn't surpri- wait, when did you scry us?"

"The night you spent at Nightfang's house. Vodette used you as a teddy bear."

"Did you scry us the night after the dragon spider?"


"I'm serious, Firethena. What did Vodette & I do that night?"

She shakes her head. "I didn't see that. Like I said, I scried the ones who were asleep. I was going to watch you two, but then Daewell started dreaming about women with big, full... shoulderblades."

2:40 AM

Horacio nods.

"Well, hopefully you can help us avoid being scried in the future?"

"It is getting a bit creepy, and I'm sure Gaudemus will be on us like a hawk soon."

"You can count on it. I'm not sure what I can do about the likes of him, but I'll do what I can."


"You do what you can. We'll do what we can."

"And... shoulderblades?

"I have no friggin' clue."

"Gods, we are all ****ed up in the head."

"There's such a thing as being too sane."

"Nothing any of us have to worry about, I'm afraid."

((Think that's it. Finally.))

2007-07-14, 10:01 PM
(Stop making my roleplaying penis feel smaller than yours!)

2007-07-15, 10:39 AM

Hmm. An angel complex! The shoulder blades are a poor substitute, I admit, but without access to illusions, and considering it rude to polymorph them...:smallamused:

Beautiful work, you two!

Daewell looks up from the cube, sighs, and rubs a hand over his face.

Well, some kind of summoning or planar travel device, I'd guess. The craftsmanship is extraordinary - unless there are sides to Gaudamus we haven't heard of yet, he'd have needed the help of some artisans in pulling this together. Firethena may know more, but I also might be able to determine more in my lab tomorrow.

I understand why Horacio looked so tired up there. In ne day we've recovered from a hangover, found a soul-sucking sword, walked through the valley of the shadow of, well, more shadow to get back to Atalya. To discover a tentacly plot, maybe two, and the imminent threat of war. Met a walking dead wolf-man. Examined an exploded corpse, chatted with an illithid, and now are off to Horacio's mysterious mentor. Non-stop fun. I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed, truth be told.

Unless there's anything else you'd like to check out down here, we should probably bring these up to the others. I think I heard Terry's voice yelling a few minutes ago.

2007-07-15, 05:27 PM
"Yes... Who knows what kind of trouble they could all be causing?"

2007-07-15, 05:53 PM

The wizard cradles the cube in the long slender fingers of both hands, and trusts Dai to handle the rods.

Trouble? Our harmonious and genteel group? Whatever could you mean?

2007-07-15, 11:38 PM
Kumoru has, in fact, returned from his consitutional (and the DM is wondering how he managed to forget that he was gone and wrote him into the bedroom/closet scene o_O MY MIND IS GOING). He is now carrying, in addition to his greataxe, a large duffel bag and a leather case of some sort that vaguely resembles a long-necked pear. He has a slightly worried look on his face but smiles and nods at Horacio. "Sure, sure, when we get a chance to breathe I'll bring it out and everyone can have a look."

Firethena is looking down at the remains of the skeletons. The two remaining ones are examining Terry's pants at Vodette's request, determining if a better cut might suit him better.

"Um... wow. I didn't think you'd make them explode. The last time one of them did that Aerin was asking Bert if she was getting fat. And of course she was six months pregnant, but Gaudemus was GLARING at the poor thing over her shoulder and well that was all they wrote-"

At Terry's question, the skeletons look at each other, nod, and then turn back and point at him accusingly.

"Your ass is huge," says one.

"And it is not your outfit," says the other.

Kumoru hits the floor. He's laughing too hard to stand up.

2007-07-15, 11:43 PM

Vodette gives Terry a grin. She's quite proud of herself and especially happy with the skeleton's response. She shakes her head and looks down at the ground, pretending to be crestfallen and worried about Terry's safety and well being.

Tsk, tsk, tsk Terry. What are we going to do? They say it isn't your clothes.

2007-07-16, 04:58 AM
"Hit them with the runeblade some more?"

2007-07-16, 09:33 AM

Horacio glances at Kumoru for a moment, wondering what the cause of his worry might be. Was he followed, perhaps? Coerced? Discovered something new he doesn't want to talk about?

Sense Motive (Hunch): 23
Sense Motive - Kumoru (1d20+16=23) (http://invisiblecastle.com/find.py?id=1153400)

Horacio turns to Terry while he thinks about it.

"So what makes the skeletons explode? Nasty looks?"

2007-07-16, 05:34 PM

Clearly, it's a good thing you'll be getting some exercise over the next few days, Terry.

Daewell joins in the general amusement, but also gazes quizzically at Kumaru's new possession.

Detect-o-vision on Kumaru's leather case.

2007-07-16, 06:12 PM
"I will replace your soap with a tanglefoot bag." Terry hisses.

2007-07-17, 04:10 PM
Tokugal Ardolin

Tokugal gave up all hope of maintaining an atmosphere of inquiry (which was hopeless anyway) and surrendered to his smile.

2007-07-18, 08:45 AM

Vodette jabs Terry in the ribs with her elbow as she tries to regain her breath. She wipes a tear from her eye and walks over to Dae and puts an arm around him.

Aw, come on Terry. He just has your best interests in mind. How terrible would it be if you suddenly dropped from a heart attack? Pretty terrible. So all he is saying is that it's good that we'll have exercise coming in the next few days. Isn't that right Dae?

She gives Dae an impish wink and giggles some more.

2007-07-18, 10:50 AM

"Next few days? I think some of us will be having exercise tonight."

He smirks.

2007-07-20, 05:58 PM
Tokugal Ardolin

"Is it that tough to get to your mentor's place, Horacio?"

2007-07-20, 06:43 PM

"Well, that too."

2007-07-23, 04:58 PM
"Ah, yes... exercise. Yes, we wouldn't want anyone to miss out on their exercise. That would be apalling."

2007-07-24, 05:30 PM
Kumoru's expression... well, the one he had before he started laughing his ass off... would probably described best as fatalistic. If you've ever seen a man looking at the hangman's noose, that was the look Kumoru had in his eyes.

His case doesn't resonate with magic. Though, anyone giving it a once over would probably realize that it looks a lot like a musician's instrument case.

Firethena, having hitherto been observing the goings on with some interest, seems to space out a little bit. "Hmmm, exercise..."

2007-07-24, 05:40 PM

Vodette glanced from person to person. Everybody seemed to be talking about something else all at the same time, and she didn't have the urge to find out what was really going on.

So has anybody found anything interesting? We just found those skeletons. They're interesting but not really handy.

She glances at the remaining skeleton. Sorry, but you're not.

2007-07-24, 06:09 PM

Horacio frowns as he sees the look in Kumoru's eyes.

Tahlion, can you contact Kumoru privately? Ask him what's got him worried? We might need to know before we head out.

Horacio will stand next to Kumoru and turn so Tahlion bumps against him, if necessary.

"Well, Firethena and I figured out a few tricks we can use in the future. As well as a few things we should watch out for."

Horacio looks at Daewell.

"We'll want some anti-scrying, for one... But most of it can wait. For now, we should get going. On nights like this, the shadows can get too long even for neer-do-wells.

"And what's so interesting about the skeletons? They're undead fashion critics?"

Horacio glances at Firethena when she trails off. "Uh, Firethena? Thought of something?"

2007-07-24, 06:39 PM
"Handy. I'll the let the full-fledged mage go over what he discovered, rather than steal his thunder, I think."

2007-07-24, 11:12 PM

The wizard is a bit flustered by Vodette's proximity, but simply smiles and nods.

At Dai's words, Daewell smiles, and sets down the cube with intricate magical runes on it.

Dai is being modest - it was a team effort. Nonetheless, onwards. He is carrying a set of stakes that seem to be designed to either create or amplify summoning efforts, perhaps as a kind of equivalent of a summoning circle, and perhaps considerably more than that.

This cube seems also to be focused on conjurations, although it's significantly more complicated. There are several spells woven together in it, and it will take some time to disentangle some of the threads woven through, unless Lady Firethena can unlock its secrets...

His glance to her is an invitation that can be picked up or left.

I believe that both are possibly connected to Gaudamus' efforts to reach - or reach out to - the realms beyond our known planes. I would like to find time to more carefully examine them in my own laboratory, perhaps tomorrow, if the lady is willing. They seem not to have responded to our touch, but the rest of you may learn more. The cube in particular is quite intricate, and Horacio's familiarity with tricks and objects might come in very hand y here.

He pauses.

Unfortunately, I have relied on protections my family maintains in our mansion, and have no anti-scrying spells at my beck and call. Unless we're willing to put our visit to Horacio's mentor off for a few days, I will be unable to assist in this regard.

Daewell shrugs apologetically.

2007-07-25, 12:31 AM

"Are those the school amplifiers you were talking about, right, Firethena?"

Horacio squints at the cube.

"I could look into that, but I could use some help on it. Yes, the three of us could pop it open in no time.

"And you may not have to wait that long, Dae. I'll see what I can rustle up tonight.

"And no putting off my mentor. I think she can help you find what you need..."

Horacio looks through the closet and points at a couple dark, shifty-looking cloaks, then looks back at his companions.

"Firethena, Gaudemus didn't keep any cursed cloaks in here, did he? We'll need 4-5 of them for the others."

Horacio looks at the others and gestures for them to take a dark cloak (if they don't have one) once Firethena gives the all clear.

2007-07-25, 12:34 AM

Vodette's head rears back in shock at what she just heard Horacio say. Surely she heard him wrong.

Uhhh, Horacio, cursed cloaks? Why would we need cursed cloaks? I thought cursed things were bad. Case in point: Kinslayer. He sucks.

2007-07-25, 12:46 AM

...souls, to be precise. And Horacio, I'd be delighted to head out to your mentor now - just wanted to give a heads up that I can't help with blocking prying eyes.

Trying on one of the cloaks, Daewell slips the hood up in an effort to pass for menacing. The fact that he's still grinning spoils the effect somewhat.

Well, I suppse that, if push comes to shove, I could just disappear entirely.

2007-07-25, 01:33 AM

"I'm making sure none of these are cursed, Vodette, not looking for them. And Kinslayer isn't cursed; he's just malevolent.

"Don't worry about it, Dae. Firethena will handle them for the trip there. And in case of trouble, I'd suggest you make me disappear entirely and act as bait. Two unseen swords in your vitals will ruin anyone's day."

Horacio's cloak is already suitably shady-looking.

2007-07-25, 01:36 AM

Vodette lets out a physical "phew" and nods her head. She grabs one of the cloaks and throws it over her shoulders. She adjusts her swords so that they sit behind the cloak. They're concealed from plain sight, but still readily available for battle.

2007-07-25, 01:38 AM
Terry looks at Kinslayer and sags slightly. He runs a hand along the tattered remnants of his muted green cloak.
"...this isn't gonna work. Slayer, unless you feel like getting smaller, I'm gonna need to ghost along the whole way."
Had this damn cloak for ten years. I miss it already.

2007-07-25, 07:38 AM
"No that was your show.

Anyway, I need a shady cloak. Hmm..."

(rummages, finds one in backpack)

"There we go."

2007-07-25, 09:26 PM
Tahlion is silent for a moment, and then pipes up in Horacio's mind. It's not a catastrophe, but it's not great either. I'll wait for him to tell you, it's not my place to say.

Firethena snaps out of her reverie and looks over the objects Dai and Daewell have discovered.

"Yeah, you're right Horacio, this is exactly what I was talking about. Gaudemus wasn't that great at magic beyond blowing stuff up, so he used a lot of enhancing devices like this to improve spells he wasn't that great at, like summoning things. Now this..."

She taps the cube. "I really would have though he'd have taken this with him. This is the Allspark Cube. It contains tiny elemental fragments from every known plane in the great wheel. These fragments are called sparks. I never really knew why. It's probably one of the most powerful artifacts he had, short of Kinslayer. Basically what you do is trace the right sequence of runes on the thing with your fingers, and it will take you anywhere you want to go, or to anyone you want to see, in any of the other planes of existence. Handy, but hard to use right. Gaudemus had to do some pretty fast talking when he accidentally interrupted Pistis Sophia's shower."

She grins a little at the memory.

"I'm pretty sure he didn't have any enchanted cloaks. He wore the armor all the time, so he really didn't bother with cursing or otherwise magicking his clothes."

Bah, you're such a whiner. Here.

Kinslayer's crosshilts suddenly twist and spread, billowing outwards like bat's wings, and then folding to encircle Terry in a chilling embrace. There's barely any time for the young man to react before the sword has settled around his shoulders in a new shape, a floor-length cloak of the deepest black with a hem marred by the bloody runes, a shadowy hood covering his head and obscuring his face, and the broach holding the garment together a living eye, staring horrifically outwards from its place in front of his throat.

That work?

2007-07-25, 10:13 PM

Horacio thinks.Okay. Just making sure it isn't something we should know before we set out.

Horacio looks at the cube, grinning.

"So it's a map and gate for the entire wheel? Interesting. But why is it a cube instead of a sphere?"

Horacio just blinks as he watches Kinslayer transform.

That's... uh, nice, kind of. Tell me if you learn how to do that, will you, Tahlion?

"Not bad, Kinslayer, but I'd tone it down just a bit. Especially the eye. There's a fine line between looking dangerous and attracting exorcists."

Once everyone is ready, Horacio walks them to the door, then turns around to give them one final set of instructions. "Okay, follow my lead. We'll want to look shady once we reach the poor side of town to discourage trouble." Horacio switches to the telepathic links Firethena or Daewell have set up. Subtly keep on the watch and tell us telepathically if anyone's following us. We'll try to mislead them rather than get into a fight.

Horacio then opens the door and leads them to his Church through a convoluted route designed to throw off trackers.

Spot: 32, Listen: 24
Spot & Listen (thru Atalya) (1d20+17=32, 1d20+19=24) (http://invisiblecastle.com/find.py?id=1172656)

2007-07-26, 04:59 PM
Tokugal Ardolin

Tokugal follows along, struggling to arrange the folds of the borrowed cloak in such a way as to convey the combination of strength, insignificance, and disreputability that would seem apropriate to their destination. Not as if Kinslayer's display wouldn't attract more than its share of attention.
He was impressed at Tahlion's apparent transformation; while not as flashy as Kinslayer's cloak trick, it still displayed the sword's utility. Tokugal also felt marginally more at ease now that he was not seeing an elven courtblade strapped to the side of a non-elf.

2007-07-26, 05:03 PM

Vodette follows along as well. She pulls the hood of her cloak over her head so that it casts a shadow across most of her face. She also allows some of her hair to fall over her eyes so that only one eye peers out of the hood. She does her best to look "shady". She walks closely behind Terry in hopes of Kinslayers menacing look would make her look more shady by association.

2007-07-26, 05:15 PM
Terry flails a moment, but calms when he realizes what Slayer's doing. He attempts to blow the hood from over his eyes.
"...Gah. Is it supposed to feel like you're about to sprout teeth and eat my head?"

2007-07-26, 05:51 PM

Horacio shakes his head.

Why does Terry keep giving him ideas?

2007-07-26, 07:35 PM
"That looks unpleasant. Also, it is disconcerting to discover the sword is a master of disguise. It's not something one usually associates with soul-eating greatswords...

...anyway, we were going to see someone?"

2007-07-27, 01:01 AM
Yes, yes it #^@&ing is.

Kinslayer closes his eye and douses the runes a little, and the party continues on their way. Horacio leads them into one of the shadier areas of Atalya, though probably less shady than they had expected. After a good hour of wandering through sidestreets he eventually leads them into a small ethnic-looking establishment. Inside an elderly man with eastern features is sitting at a desk, smoking a pipe and reading what appears to be a spellbook.

"Ah, hello," he says. "What can I do for you young ones?"

"We're here for the special," says Horacio.

The old man's eyebrows hike up, and he gestures with his pipe at the doors behind him. One is orange, one is light gray, and the third is taupe. Horacio leads the rest of the party past the taupe door into a fairly large cubical room. Painted on the three walls not occupied by the door are murals of a blindfolded angel, a demon holding its ears, and a golem of some kind with a spike driven through its face, pinning its jaw shut.

As the door clicks closed behind them, there is the telltale scrape of stone against stone as the ceiling begins to slowly descend.

Horacio knows that the angel hides the correct hidden door, but he also knows the ceiling doesn't exert enough pressure to hurt a mouse, so he might just let the others figure things out for themselves if he's in a playful mood.

[Sorry that took so long. >_> Worst case of writer's block EVER.]

2007-07-30, 02:58 AM

As they enter the room, Horacio seems to relax a little. He appears to be grinning, even as he looks up at the lowering ceiling.

But then the grin disappears as he puts on his business face. He cracks his knuckles and pops his neck. Grabbing onto a handhold on the angel, he lifts himself up, flips open a secret compartment painted over by the blindfold, flips the right switch on it, causing a set of four slots to drop open on the angel's torso. He sticks his hands in two of them and twists the handles hidden inside, then steps back and waits for the door to open. When it does, he enters and motions for the others to follow.

As much as I'd like to see Dae panic, we don't have time for pranks...

2007-07-30, 04:31 AM
"See no good? Makes sense as the key to entry here.

Is that sense of humour going to be present later?"

2007-07-30, 02:12 PM

Glancing around the room before the ceiling descends.

See, hear, speak. Evil or otherwise, perhaps. Given Horacio's repeated enjoinders that I remain silent in the time ahead, perhaps apropos.

As the ceiling starts to descend, Daewell does indeed glance upward, do a double-take, and have a hand in his pouch as Horacio whips into action. He holds a hand ready, pointing straight up, until the grinding stops. He manages a wan smile at the others.

Most hospitable.

He hurries to follow Horacio onwards.

2007-07-30, 02:39 PM

Vodette shudders once the ceiling stops descending upon them. She glances around at the others and then mutters, more to herself than to anybody else:

Not the type for guests I see.

She ducks into the tunnel after Horacio, keeping an eye out for any suspicious looking floor tiles.

2007-07-30, 03:34 PM

Horacio chuckles.

"Well, unwanted guests. You'd be surprised..."

2007-07-30, 04:19 PM
Tokugal Ardolin

"I'm not so sure I'd want to be an unwanting guest, either. With tricks like this, you'd need a guide to get out just as much as it would take one to get in."

He continues following, trying not to look nervous.

2007-07-30, 04:21 PM

Strolling forward, Daewell glances around with frank curiosity.

So, Horacio, any pointers on the correct form of address for our host-to-be?

2007-07-30, 04:26 PM

"Just follow my lead, Dae. And if you want to leave, you can always go down one of the pit traps."

(OOC: Magnus'll get back to ya on proper addressing.)

2007-07-30, 04:27 PM
Tokugal Ardolin

Tokugal gave a queasy smile at the mention of pit traps and resolved to watch his feet more carefully.

2007-07-30, 05:25 PM
Terry strikes something of a balance between Horacio and the academics' nerves. Aside from the strong temptation to thrust Kinslayer into the descending ceiling, he remains still and (mostly) calm.
"I've seen spy networks with similar set-ups, Horacio. No price too high for this church of yours?"

2007-07-30, 05:51 PM

Horacio just laughs at Terry's comment. He grins back cheerfully; this is the happiest you've seen him while sober.

"Terry, this is the place those spy networks go for advice."

Horacio gestures with outstretched arms as they enter.

"Welcome, my friends, to the Church of Xan Yae. The Seeker of Truths, the Invisible Presence... the Lady of Perfection."

2007-07-30, 06:01 PM

Vodette swallows hard. This was a little more dangerous than she had expected. Especially if they could fall into a pit at any random moment. She made sure she was very careful about what she stepped on.

This isn't your typical type of church is it? But this Lady of Perfection thing could grow on me.