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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    Default (PF) maggie's Rise of the Runelords: Skinsaw Murders IC II

    OOC:

    IC I thread is found here. Please continue as appropriate!

    *****

    GM post

    Day 36: Lamashan 27, 4707

    Previously, in another IC thread...

    Nobody would have expected a simple small town murder investigation to spiral into something this big. What had started as an investigation into a series of ritualised murders had so far led you into an insane asylum, a devastated farmhouse overrun by living scarecrows, an ancient house wracked with ghosts and painful memories of the past, not to mention a massive underground cavern wherein lurked the twisted remnants of a brilliant young man who'd led his gang of ghouls to slay and carve odd symbols into dead bodies. Watching the broken house wither in smoke and flames, you'd thought it was all over and that you could get back to your peaceful lives in Sandpoint... that is, until the break-in at the local Watch Garrison, informing you that someone out there still had a vested interest in making sure that the murders went on...

    Your path took you to Magnimar, where you immediately found yourself on the wrong side of the law, no thanks to the machinations of one Justice Variel Ironbriar, lackey to the mysterious mastermind only known to you as 'Xanesha'. Now, having fought past shapeshifting aberrations, hired assassins, and members of Norgorbean murder cult, you find yourself facing down the Justice himself, along with his diminishing coterie of Hellknights...


    *****

    Combat is ongoing. Please refer to here for the most recent moves made before this thread.
    Last edited by maggie_mcknife; 2015-11-26 at 02:57 AM.
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    MINE:
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    RotRL: Burnt Offerings IC - COMPLETED
    RotRL: Skinsaw Murders IC I and II - COMPLETED
    RotRL: Hook Mountain Massacre IC and OOC

    Seraphina "Red" Allin, fighter-rogue of double kukri slicey death

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    Default Re: (PF) maggie's Rise of the Runelords: Skinsaw Murders IC II

    GM post

    New Event: Sense Motive DC 15 - Anyone in the undermill can make this check
    Spoiler
    Show
    Whatever it is Simatzu put on his arrow seems to be having an extremely odd effect on Justice Ironbriar. Even if he was fighting off some soporific or toxic effect, you'd have expected him to be turning sluggish or perhaps even retching his lunch up. Not babbling to himself like a village madman or clutching his head as if it was going to explode at any moment, having lost his veneer of sneering arrogance. Indeed, the Justice seems more confused than anything else... Unless that's supposed to be what happens whenever Simatzu stabs someone with a pointy thing, something is definitely not quite right here.

    If rolled Sense Motive check above 20
    Spoiler
    Show
    In fact, if you didn't know any better, you'd say that Ironbriar is behaving more like a man fighting against some sort of compulsion or suggestion spell. The tension of his body, the constant shaking of his head - these are but some of the classic symptoms of someone resisting a will greater than his own. It's impossible to see through Ironbriar's whorled mask and clothes, but you're willing to bet that his eyes would be glazed and his body drenched in sweat.


    *****

    Naya is holding attack.

    Unfortunately for Naya, her words don't seem to have any particular effect on Justice Ironbriar. Nor does the sight of two more of the same lightning projectiles hovering in her cupped hands do anything to persuade him to surrender.

    "My heart... is pledged. If it were to die... for her... then so be it-" Ironbriar's thin voice sounds strained, almost strangled, as if his teeth were clenched against the ravages of Simatzu's drug.

    *****

    Simatzu is presumed to be busy staring at Ironbriar, holding action.

    *****

    Brin is presumed to be trying to find a way to climb over the balustrade from the shoreline, holding action.

    *****

    Taladron and Brother Butok

    Spoiler
    Show
    CNE: (2d6)[12], Will DC 10 save to halve damage


    Taladron's acid gob doesn't succeed in landing anywhere near Ironbriar. But the momentary pause in action as Taladron clarifies his family tree for Rico does afford Butok just enough wiggle room to use the edge of Rico's battle-table to rake up his sleeve - revealing the fading blue visage of a starry-eyed Norgorbean mask tattooed on his spindly forearm.

    With his ribs crushed and most of the air knocked out of him, it is difficult for Butok to breathe, let alone speak. Still, the grunting syllables that the ugly man does manage to choke out of his blood-clogged throat must have been enough for Father Skinsaw to grant his dying cleric the boon of smiting those who would thwart his dark purposes. For even as Butok's eyes bulge in their sockets and begin to roll upwards as Rico continues to thump him mercilessly against the wall, yet another wave of baneful energy floods the environs of the undermill, dealing woe to all who stand too close.

    Setsusa, Simatzu, Brin, Rico, Taladron, and Ironbriar all take 12 damage from CNE. Will save DC 10 halves the damage.

    *****

    Sirus is presumably catching his breath over in the safe corner of the undermill, holding action.

    *****

    Setsuna dismisses Grease.

    *****

    Justice Ironbriar

    Spoiler
    Show
    Fort Save: (1d20+6)[19] - passed, Ironbriar does not fall unconscious, is no longer poisoned

    Casts Confusion using the Reaper's Mask
    15 foot radius burst, hitting everyone within the sawmill except for Simatzu

    Will Saves:
    Red: (1d20+8)[11] - failed
    Sirus: (1d20+9)[11] - failed
    Naya: (1d20+5)[14] - failed
    Setsuna: (1d20+5)[12], but only applies if SR 14 is overcome: (1d20+7)[11] - SR saves Setsuna

    What do the Confused people do?
    Red: (1d100)[23] - acts normally
    Sirus: (1d100)[8] - acts normally
    Naya: (1d100)[17] - acts normally
    Wow. They do... absolutely nothing!


    The gash in Ironbriar's hand continues to seep bright red blood that trickles down the elf's arms, soaking into his outlandish robes and dying them a darker shade. Though fair-skinned, the Justice's complexion does seem rather more wan than before as he curls his hands into fists, practically clawing at his mask with one and his sword arm quivering in sudden weakness.

    Taking a hesistant step forward, the corrupt Justice traces his sword in a vague circular motion, as if drawing in the air. "Disperse them... yes. To sow..." As he muses aloud, his voice rather more hoarse than before, several of you within the sawmill are suddenly seized by a strange buoyant sensation, your mind shorn clean of coherent thought for a few seconds, before the feeling passes just as quickly as it had come.

    Ironbriar is no longer poisoned.

    *****

    Red
    HP: 9/48
    AC 21


    Spoiler
    Show
    Holding action!

    Sense Motive: (1d20+8)[10] - failed


    The stabbing pain in her limbs fades a little and Red closes her eyes for a second of blessed relief, thanking Cayden that Brin must be out there somewhere. That was good then. She and Rico must have managed to get loose. Now for the bad elf himself...

    Heaving herself off the male Hellknight's split head, Red staggers back, wincing as the wound in her leg stretches and throbs. The Justice would probably have some kind of magic on him. But if they helped each other, that would be all right then... wouldn't it? And why was Setsuna standing in her way like that?

    "Miss Naya... Setsuna. We must... bring him down. Together." It still hurt to speak. Narrowing her eyes grimly, Red wipes a wet smear - was that blood or brains or both? - from her cheek, ignoring the fluttering makeshift bandage that Rico had wound around her throat.

    *****

    Rico

    Spoiler
    Show
    Butok is pinned to the wall. GM says that makes his AC diddly squat. Both attacks hit.


    Already half-crushed against the wall, Brother Butok is helpless against Rico's riposte. The second slash of her trusty wave-blade skewers the aide clean through the eyes, nearly hacking his skull in twain and shuddering as it bites into the wooden walls of the sawmill.

    Brother Butok is now dead.

    *****

    Initiative Order:
    22 - Taladron
    20 - Sirus
    18 - Setsuna
    14 - Justice Ironbriar
    10 - Red
    10 - Rico
    > 9 - Naya
    9 - Simatzu
    6 - Brin


    It is technically Naya's turn, but given that you have only one enemy left... the GM declares the initiative order to go to hell. All attacks will be resolved in the order of posting!


    *****

    Combat Map
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    MINE:
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    RotRL: Burnt Offerings IC - COMPLETED
    RotRL: Skinsaw Murders IC I and II - COMPLETED
    RotRL: Hook Mountain Massacre IC and OOC

    Seraphina "Red" Allin, fighter-rogue of double kukri slicey death

  3. - Top - End - #3
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    Default Re: (PF) maggie's Rise of the Runelords: Skinsaw Murders IC II

    Rico
    Fatigued [suppressed, for now] & Charged
    under Brin's MCAE*?
    Rage II/III, 5/9
    HP 43/49, (12/12)
    AC 17/22


    "HGGGWAH!" Rico gasps as mystic razors seem to slice through the air between them in a series of hisses. Half a dozen miniscule cuts bleed at the sides of her ox-like neck. Somehow, even as she glares her defiance against their infernal foe, she feels something, someone protecting her and her comrades from yet greater peril.

    Remembering that it was such power that was such a bane at Thistletop, Rico resolves to end it quickly. Sparks and chain-links fly and entrails flow at the first blow. The second pins Butok to the wall.

    Snorting, and sighting down on Ironbriar, still working his foul magicks, she drops the Fist of Fox and plants both hands upon her sword's still-quivering hilt. With a solid tug, Rico pulls it free in a shower of wood-chips, bone-shards and gore...

    "WWAAAAAAUUUUGGGHHH!!"

    ...then charges at the corrupt justice. The sword is held just over her right shoulder in the vom Tag guard, and just as the stroke is struck, the downward diagonal slash of the Zornhau suddenly tightens, thrusts, and cuts upward in a Schielhau strike, ending with the sword at Rico's left shoulder, its dripping tip pointed at the foe's face.

    Spoiler
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    Intimidate
    (1d20+6)[19]
    CHARGE.
    (1d20+13)[15]
    (1d10+17)[25]
    Avatarcred: HELL YEAH to THE Oneris! Ma'am, thank you, ma'am.
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    Default Re: (PF) maggie's Rise of the Runelords: Skinsaw Murders IC II

    Taladron
    HP 21/35
    AC 16


    Grimacing as the negative energy rips through him, Taladron nevertheless manages to divert most of it away from himself. Seeing the lackey fall limp to the floor thanks to Rico's much needed help, Taladron turns to fire a shot at Ironbriar only to have that same constable block his shot. Frowning, Taladron decides to hold his dwindling reserves of magic back and see if his allies can kill or incapacitate the Justice.

    Spoiler
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    Taladron will hold his action.
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    Default Re: (PF) maggie's Rise of the Runelords: Skinsaw Murders IC II

    Naya, Sylph Sorceress

    Holding her shurikens ready to fly at a moment's notice, Naya cautiously approaches the Justice and asks, "Mr... Eh..." what's his name? I can't call him "old man", that's for sure... "excuse me... But what did you do to Lord Justice? Is... Is that some kind of poison that affects the mind? That's... A terrible thing..."

    Spoiler
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    taking is a free action; readying shurikens in case Ironbriar starts casting
    Last edited by jamieth; 2015-11-28 at 05:41 PM.
    Tome of Radiance, a Magical Girl sourcebook for 3.5/PF.

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    Default Re: (PF) maggie's Rise of the Runelords: Skinsaw Murders IC II

    Setsuna
    HP 12/40
    AC 23


    Distracted, by the memory of the hellknight's rather brutal demise and by the dark energy that exploded outward and lashed away at her life force just a moment ago, Setsuna fails to notice anything odd about the murderous Ironbriar whatsoever. Noticing the assault on her mind, however, is enough to spur her to action and she lunges toward the elf.

    It's only Naya's concerned voice that causes her to falter in her tracks, electricity still sparking from her fist. "What do you mean?" She sounds more than a little concerned.



    Spoiler
    Show

    Sense Motive nat 1 for 10 in the OOC

    Will DC 10 (1d20+5)[9] in the dice thread.

    Just can't catch a break here can I?

    Anyway, flavorful way of delaying. Mid-fight or no, Setsuna will stop attacking someone who's being mind controlled and try to contain them.....even if Rico is happy to bisect them
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    . . . . . .
    Setsuna by Kymme | Desril by Wolfshonor | Eruvia (no background) by Oneris

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    Default Re: (PF) maggie's Rise of the Runelords: Skinsaw Murders IC II

    Naya, Sylph Sorceress

    "Can't... can't you see? He... he speaks like a madman! whatever that arrow was, it... it seems to have messed with his mind!" sylph explains, "you... you need him to confess, right? But in current state..." she shakes her head, "I don't know... I'm... not used to fighting... people... to... killing... people..." adrenaline of the fight slowly disappearing, Naya feels her legs shaking and sits on the floor, hugging her knees, and releasing the energies of the spells she held until now.
    Tome of Radiance, a Magical Girl sourcebook for 3.5/PF.

    "Jamie" is fine. TH is mostly there to make sure the name would be free on any forum I'd want to register :-)

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    Default Re: (PF) maggie's Rise of the Runelords: Skinsaw Murders IC II

    Setsuna
    HP 12/40
    AC 23

    The tiefling looks conflicted and concerned as she glances back toward Naya. She knows that it's wrong to fight the man if he's being controlled somehow, even if it was the newcomer's arrow that is messing with his mind...but her friends are in danger, and she can't stop until they're safe.

    "I know it is hard, but unless he is willing to lay down arms, we can not stop until he is unconscious. Just aim to knock him out, with out killing him!"

    Lunging in to strike with an electrified fist, she thinks to herself, I just wish I knew how to do so without Mae!

    Spoiler
    Show

    Resuming attack

    Touch (1d20+12)[32]
    Damage (1d6+6)[9]

    1/6 thundershocks remaining
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    . . . . . .
    Setsuna by Kymme | Desril by Wolfshonor | Eruvia (no background) by Oneris

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    Default Re: (PF) maggie's Rise of the Runelords: Skinsaw Murders IC II

    GM post

    Rico

    Rico's exhaustation from nearly two days of solid riding and battles seems to be finally taking its toll. Despite having dispatched Brother Butok with extreme prejudice (and with a grim mercilessness that would have impressed even a Kuthite), Rico's aim falters when it comes to striking at the aide's master. Her sword merely pierces the flowing cloth of his robes, ripping the garish material to shreds but leaving the elf's flesh itself untouched.

    It would have taken a much braver being than Ironbriar to remain unmoved when confronted by a glowering, sweat-stinking, mad-eyed half-orc that was tromping down a staircase with the sole aim of skewering him like a cheap meat kebab. Though he remains upright, the Justice seems to falter in his movements, moving slowly like a man in a dream as he angles his mask downward, apparently staring dumbly at the tears in his robes as if unable to comprehend what they meant.

    Justice Ironbriar is shaken for 1 round.

    *****

    Taladron is holding action.

    *****

    Naya is having a crisis of conscience.

    *****

    Setsuna

    Despite her misgivings, it turns out that Setsuna is just as proficient with a shorter weapon woven of magical energy as with her beloved black blade. Boldly leaping at Ironbriar with every intention of shielding alike her wounded and wavering comrades, the tiefling jabs at what she hopes is the soft part of Ironbriar's belly, intending to wind him just a little.

    With her fist crackling with brilliant blue lightning, however, even a light blow from the slender tiefling proves deadly. Ironbriar sheds no blood as the blade chops into his abdomen, instead abruptly spasming and twitching as his sinews dance to a different current, tiny currents of forked electricity coursing over his robes and limbs, searching for ground. Ironbriar's face remains obscured beneath his whorled mask, but for those who are watching, you can only imagine what hideous contortions must be taking place, as the Justice's sleek hair frizzles, faint plumes of dove-grey smoke rising from his clothing.

    *****

    Sirus (GM-bot) and Red

    Spoiler
    Show
    Sirus
    Move to square in front of Ironbriar
    Stunning Fist - Attack: (1d20+14)[19], Damage: (1d8+5)[6] - misses, sigh

    Red
    Attack: (1d20+12)[32], Damage: (1d4+4)[8] plus sneak attack damage (2d6)[4]
    Confirm Critical - Attack: (1d20+12)[17], Damage: (1d4+4)[7] - misses


    Upon seeing that the others are pressing the attack, Sirus is loathe to let them take the brunt. Braving the still raw cuts and bruises in his flesh with iron discipline, he rises from his defensive crouch in the far corner of the sawmill and immediately sallies forth the instant that Setsuna strikes the corrupt Justice.

    Unfortunately, sheer strength of will does not avail Sirus this time. Just as he is about to clout Ironbriar on the head, Sirus's right leg abruptly gives way, buckling under this one punishing martial exertion which proves to be one too many. Although the stolid half-orc keeps his balance and does not fall to his knees - in itself a sign of the tight control that he wields over his body - the fist that should have delivered a reeling sock to Ironbriar's jaw wavers ever so slightly, causing Sirus to miss his mark and instead swipe at the Justice's tattered robes.

    On her part, Red is much more careless with the need to preserve Ironbriar's life than Naya and Setsuna, and even a failed assault on Ironbriar is all that she needs. Having limped determinedly to support Sirus on his right flank, the instant that he falls back, Red takes advantage of the opening and lunges, slashing upwards and out with her kukri. As luck would have it, she catches Ironbriar right on the throat, slicing open the jugular and spraying those of you closest to Ironbriar in a shower of hot, sticky blood.

    It's not how you might have perhaps preferred this fight to end. But end it does, as Ironbriar gurgles, one hand clamped ineffectually around his throat, gesturing feebly towards Setsuna before keeling over, most of his bulk falling onto Sirus, who happens to be right in front of him.

    Justice Ironbriar is now dead.

    Combat is over, initiative ends.
    Last edited by maggie_mcknife; 2015-11-30 at 01:08 PM.
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    MINE:
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    RotRL: Burnt Offerings IC - COMPLETED
    RotRL: Skinsaw Murders IC I and II - COMPLETED
    RotRL: Hook Mountain Massacre IC and OOC

    Seraphina "Red" Allin, fighter-rogue of double kukri slicey death

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    Default Re: (PF) maggie's Rise of the Runelords: Skinsaw Murders IC II

    Taladron

    Sighing in slight annoyance that the Justice had died, Taladron walks down the stairs and returns Maethiler to Setsuna. He then casts a cantrip and examines the Justice for magical items as sell as making a normal search of his person.

    Hopefully he had something damning on him, else we may be in for more headaches. Taladron thinks to himself as he take his time searching.

    Spoiler: Detect Magic and Perception
    Show
    Casting Detect magic and will take 20 on perception for 25 if I can otherwise: (1d20+5)[21]
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    Default Re: (PF) maggie's Rise of the Runelords: Skinsaw Murders IC II

    Setsuna

    Finding herself splattered in more blood that isn't her own, Setsuna's hand starts to tremble as the electricity fizzles out and Ironbriar drops to the ground. No...no, no, no, I wasn't trying to kill him! If I'd held back more...this is my fault!

    Though upset, she still tries to do what she can to stop the flow of blood, looking shocked and trying to apply pressure to the wound on the Justice's neck, "Brin-san! Heal him, hurry!" Not that it would do any good, anyone with more sense could see it would be too little too late, but good sense has never been something the tiefling possessed. Still, even she could see that it was too late by the time she asked as she moved away her blood covered hands, belatedly realizing that even if she had managed to stop the bleeding she probably would have suffocated the elf in the process.

    Between the death of the Justice at a combination of her own lightning and Red's blow and the two hellknight's at Red's and Naya's hands, Setsuna does her best to not look like she's going to be sick. She could accept death when it was necessary, not everyone could be stopped with words after all, but it was always easier when it was a monster than a person, especially if it happens mere inches away from you several times in quick succession. And when you're not blaming yourself for it. This is all my fault, she silently tells herself as she accepts Maethilur from Taladron wordlessly, cradling the sheathed blade in her arms, if I'd had Mae I could've knocked them out without killing them, there was no need for it to end this way...

    Spoiler
    Show

    Setsuna is a bit...shaken from this whole thing. I'm pretty sure these are the first people she's seen die since Nualia (the assassin from earlier having been on the other side of the room when he died. Both hellknights and Ironbriar kicked the bucket while adjacent to her)

    Anyway, working on custom feat details with maggie, I'll level up once that's finalized/veto'd
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    . . . . . .
    Setsuna by Kymme | Desril by Wolfshonor | Eruvia (no background) by Oneris

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    Default Re: (PF) maggie's Rise of the Runelords: Skinsaw Murders IC II

    Sirus

    Seeing Ironbriar fall, Sirus slamps himself. His fighting has been barely adequate, with all the blood seeping through his wounds. But now the fight is ended. He looks at Brin, as he tries to bandage his wounds.

    "Is the Goddess. Still. With you?"

    After he takes care of his wounds, he says.

    "We must. Be quick. Investigate. The room upstairs. And then. The Justice 's. Manor. By tomorrow. Everyone. Will know. What happened."

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    Default Re: (PF) maggie's Rise of the Runelords: Skinsaw Murders IC II

    GM post

    Taladron's Detect Magic / Anyone else who uses Detect Magic
    Spoiler
    Show
    There is nothing obviously magical about any of the Justice's belongings, save for a wand of healing spells that is mostly spent. What is far more interesting to your magically-enhanced sight, however, is the dimming haze of pink that lingers over Ironbriar's cooling body...

    Spellcraft DC 21
    Spoiler
    Show
    Thank the gods that you had thought to cast this spell before its aura had dissipated with the Justice's death. For it would appear that Ironbriar had been under the effects of a powerful enchament - Charm Monster - a much more potent variation of the usual mind-affecting spell that was capable of lasting for days at a time without its target ever noticing.

    It's almost enough to make you feel sorry for Ironbriar, who himself turns out to have been someone else's patsy. Then again, Charm spells ordinarily don't force their target to do anything it wasn't already predisposed to doing. Perhaps at some level, Ironbriar must have wanted to carry out all these murders and to have his weird cult going on...


    As you all gather in the undermill to lick your wounds and examine the dead bodies, the voice of the remaining female Hellknight calls out from the roadside, taut with suspicion. "Hallo? I say, what's happened in there? Speak up!"

    *****

    Setsuna

    You are upset, remarks the black blade quietly in Setsuna's mind. I was going to say that you had done very well in bringing down an elf with rotted soul, on top of showing your improved mastery of the arcane arts and your martial prowess without a sword. But I sense that now is not the best time... We shall speak of this later. When you are more settled in your heart.

    *****

    Those who search Ironbriar's body, as well as that of the Hellknights, find the following items:
    • 2 +1 longswords
    • 2 masterwork composite longbows (+3)
    • 2 full plate mail
    • 23 arrows
    • 1 wand of CMW (12 charges)
    • 1 mithral chain shirt
    • +1 short sword
    • 1 masterwork hand crossbow
    • 10 crossbow bolts (see below)
    • 1 ugly leather mask, slightly bloodstained
    • 1 slightly rusted iron key, wound around the shank with dirty white string
    • 1 hide-bound book (see below)
    • 43 gp 11 sp


    For those who examine the crossbow bolts - Perception DC 14
    Spoiler
    Show
    Weighing Ironbriar's slim roll of crossbow bolts in your palm, you note that the pouch is a little heavier than normal at one end. You flick open the leather catch with your thumb and peer within the pouch to find that the pouch also contains a small glass vial filled with a viscous grey goo.

    Craft (alchemy) DC 15 or Knowledge (local) DC 23
    Spoiler
    Show
    The vial, you would say based on the colouration and thickness of the substance within, likely contains a variant of drow poison. It is probably best not to open that vial unless you wish to render someone unconscious.


    For those who examine the hide-bound book
    Spoiler
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    The book is nondescript enough - a pocket-sized journal with a cheap cow-hide binding that is pock-mocked and greased with age. Flipping through the book, you find to your disappointment that it is filled with row upon row of what appears to be utter gibberish - odd runes and square symbols, written in the same firm, flowing hand as the warrant you'd found on the Faceless Stalker back in the Vadoma Forest.

    For those who know Elven, Draconic, or Infernal
    Spoiler
    Show
    Flipping through the book again, more slowly this time, your sharp eyes begin to discern familiar alphabets and pictograms amidst the mess. This gibberish contains fragments from a language that you know - from more than one language, in fact. With some measure of growing excitement, you realise that it is more than likely that if one were to properly study the book, you would no doubt glean something valuable that Ironbriar found important enough to obfuscate in code and hide on his very person.

    Such study would likely takes days, however. Perhaps even weeks. Given how there are at least three different languages mixed up in here, the book is likely in some sort of cipher and will need to be decoded if it is to be of any use to you.


    *****

    Red

    She'd done it! Despite most of her face and upper body being drenched in a fetid mixture of brains, blood and dirt, Red can't help cracking a faint grin of satisfaction and relief through her mask of caked blood, panting as she wobbles on her good leg. She'd helped. She'd been useful. She'd killed some nasty people who'd deserved it. And she hadn't fainted this time either. Take that, jie!

    Red tries to wipe some of the sticky mess off her face with the back of her wrist and merely ends up smearing more of it about. This was disgusting. Perhaps she could rinse off outside, in the river... if people still weren't trying to arrest them, that is... Or if someone had that magic spell thing for making things clean again... Still breathing heavily, she makes another ineffectual attempt to scrub her eyes before catching sight of a despondent Setsuna, who looked as if she was about to cry at any moment, and immediately, the triumphant smile fades from Red's face.

    Oh.

    Glancing over at the others, who seem to be preoccupied with searching the bodies or tending to their own wounds, Red gathers herself and hobbles awkardly over to the tiefling, half-dragging her injured leg and biting her lip against the pain. There was something unsettling about seeing Setsuna's pale skin splattered with so much red colour. It made things seem... more violent. Like screaming without sound. Something warm broken on ice. What was that?

    Reaching the tiefling's shoulder, Red opens her mouth to say something but finds that she has no words to give. Setsuna seemed far way. As if her mind had gone wandering. (Rathi had always said at times like this, that it was best not to say anything.) Instead, she reaches for the tiefling's wrist, gently patting it with her fingers, waiting to see if Setsuna was all right.
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    Taladron

    Keeping Ironbriar's mind control to himself for now considering some of his party member's distress, Taladron busies himself with examining the possessions of Ironbriar and his cohorts. Most are the typical items, magic arms, a wand of healing, and the like. He discovers that the crossbow bolts have a vial of Drow Poison, or a recreation thereof with them and warns the curious away. He also finds the Hide-bound book interesting. It contains fragments of Elven Draconic and Infernal by his reckoning, but the grammatical inconsistencies of merely blending those three languages together makes it incomprehensible. He would need to sit down with this later to see what the Justice was hiding. He slips the book into his satchel. With the book safely hidden, Taladron looks to the others to see if they are ready for company, and decides that ready or not, if they wish to keep the Hellknight as a potential ally they needed to avoid upsetting her by making her wait.

    Taladron quickly casts a cantrip and includes everyone but Setsuna in the casting as she needed some time to recover.

    Spoiler: Message for everyone but Setsuna DC 25 Perception to Eavesdrop.
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    "It would seem that Ironbriar was under the effects of an Enchantment and a powerful one at that. He could have been influenced for days at a time with no one being the wiser. It would be a simple matter for the enchanter, or enchantress as I believe the case may be here, to keep him ensorcelled indefinitely. Especially if he was enamored with her. This may mean that Xanesha is a powerful spellcaster, so be wary. I am going to call the Hellknight down now, so be ready if she becomes violent."


    "The fighting is over now." Taladron says to the Hellknight outside, "Come down if you wish."
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    Naya

    More violence? certainly it was the last thing they needed now... and the rest of the wizard's message was worse, if that was possible. Hardly noticing the assortment of, almost certainly valuable and likely enchanted, trophies, Naya slowly forces herself to her feet and approaches the Tien woman.
    "I... didn't want it either..." she says quietly, "I... never killed... a person... before..."
    Last edited by jamieth; 2015-12-01 at 02:53 PM.
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    Rico, utterly exhausted

    "BLEGH! Pweh-pweh!" As Red's mighty blow carves into Ironbriar's neck and arterial blood fountains, Rico twitches her arms to shield her face, but still some get through. Forced to spit and wipe at her mouth, then claw for her long-untouched hip flask and take a quick swig, she then thrusts it at Red with a grim nod and a triumphant squeeze of her shoulder. "HAAH-HAAAARRRR! GOODJOB, Red, well-done."

    When the corrupt Justice falls, the halforc constable kicks him and growls, "You dead yet, ya bugger? HRMPH. Betta make sure." Out of habit, out of pragmatism, with two swift strokes, she skewers his heart, then hacks off his head.

    How many had it been, now? Nualia, the undead, the demons, the sinspawn, those shapeshifting whatchamacallits... Just making sure.

    While flicking the gore from her trusty sword, then using a clump of grass to clean off the rest, Rico suddenly hears Setsuna's panicked raving. Slowly sheathing her weapon, she raises a fist, then extends her index finger...

    ...and then wavers. And staggers. Blinking furiously as, through a haze of pain and anger and frustration and exhaustion, sees that something's not entirely right with Setsuna. "MAAMBRIN. Please. Healfirst. Themwot. Mostneedst. ...And. Don'tworry. GWAHW. Boutme. I'mjust. Tired. Frakkin' tired."

    Her pointing hand now groggily jotting at a point above the two warrior women's heads, Rico garbles out, "Yahhh. Teeeehhhhhk. Keeeeeeeeeehhhhhhhrrrrrr."

    "Grah. Nrr. Gfffhhh." Still fighting the sudden wave of nausea and numbness, her vision swimming, one hand gropes groping for her waterskin, the other clawing, massaging at her temples in vain. Rico waves the younger Hellknight over, sways on her feet, regains her balance, and flashes her a thumbs-up.

    Suddenly, Rico keels over, blacked out. Drooling. Snoring.
    Last edited by Miraqariftsky; 2015-12-01 at 01:14 PM.
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    Setsuna

    Red wasn't wrong in thinking Setsuna was far away from here. Lost in her own thoughts and unwelcome memories of the reason she was here, she didn't notice the others begin looting, or Taladron's simple spellcast. A burning home, a face that couldn't smile at her anymore, all because of her. Now the blood of three more who didn't deserve to die was on her hands as well.

    It's Red's touch coupled with Rico's practical, if short-sighted and savage, butchering of the Justice's body that snaps her back to the present with a start. Not trusting herself to speak, she looks up anxiously at Naya's approach and wants to say something, but Red wasn't wrong when she thought Setsuna looked close to tears. Ultimately, all she can do is pull the red-head into a sudden, and tight, embrace, needing something comforting to keep her mind from latching on to all of the negative emotions. No matter how bad things looked, Red was alive. Hurting, maybe, but alive, and that was what she needed to focus on.
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    Naya

    Naya stepped back, acknowledging Setsuna's apparent wish to be left alone - or, well, alone with the red-headed woman who, apparently, went simply as "Red". There will be time for talking later... for now, though, there was one more Hellknight to deal with, wasn't there? And this time, without anyone dying.

    Not that she could do much about it, not knowing much about the situation... well, the best she could do was probably to make the group make at least a slightly better - or, rather, less horrendous - sight when it comes to talks.

    Sighing, she whispered a short spell, one that took almost no effort at all, and started metodically waving her hand, willing all the grime, mud and, most importantly, blood to be swept away from her new companions' clothing and skin.

    Spoiler
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    While we have some prep time, casting Prestidigitation to clean up a bit
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    Brin

    "That was not one of my better plans." Brin mutters to no one in particular. "'Trust the Hellknights. They're mental about purging the corrupt. No way they've been bouth. Blah, blah, blah.'" She mocks her own arguments as she walks over to retrieve her bow and quiver. "Next time I want to give advice, I either read my card first, or read the lees at the bottom of a tankard."

    By this time she's produced the wand and begun parceling out its charges to those in need. At least until she catches sight of Rico butchering Ironbriar's corpse. "Hey. HEY!" She shouts. "What are you doing? And in front of a Pharasmin!" She pounds down the stairs and sticks a wagging finger right in the burly constable's face. "I know that turd was murdering cultist, but you don't chop up a body just because you don't like him. All the dead get some dignity, you hear? Human, elf, good, bad...it don't matter."

    "Besides, we might have wanted to question that corpse later. You know, if it were whole. How do you expect a it to talk if the lungs don't attach to the mouth? Ugh. Maybe if we stitch the head back on real careful."

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    Who needs heals? Claim as many charges as you need, and I'll cross them off here and in my inventory:

    (1d8+1)[8]
    (1d8+1)[2]
    (1d8+1)[4]
    (1d8+1)[8]
    (1d8+1)[2]
    (1d8+1)[3]
    (1d8+1)[2]
    (1d8+1)[5]
    (1d8+1)[4]
    (1d8+1)[6]
    (1d8+1)[3]
    (1d8+1)[7]
    (1d8+1)[5]
    (1d8+1)[5]

    Last edited by Bhaakon; 2015-12-03 at 03:57 PM.

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    uuunnngghh...

    gaaaarrrrr...

    hhaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrr...


    Groaning like one of the walking dead she'd been trying to prevent, Rico stirs from her unexpected slumber. Blinking furiously, she cradles her head in both hands.

    Sitting up, still groggy, but ears already twitching, listening to Brin's sermon even while the rest of her battered body still labours to catch up, she stews in the aches of the midnight ride and the suddenly absent sweat.

    Not Brin good plan ... Hellknights... Purging corrupt... Advice... Doing... Pharasmin... Murderer... Chopper... Like... Dignity... Question the corpse...

    grarrrrrgggghhhh...

    QUESTION THE CORPSE?! THAT"S POSSIBLE?! Rico's ears sudden stand straight as can be, her eyes jolting open. And then she recalls the aftermath of the faceless stalkers' ambush and the subsequent corpse-questioning. Her face flushing at the forgetfulness and the probably-crucial mistake, Rico groans again. And then she gives herself a good slap across the face, both as waker-upper and castigation.

    Groaning, standing, she ticks off fingers at Brin, saying slowly, "One: Migh' not've been good as good, but it DID enable us ta owdflakk a powerful foe, as well as actually NOT-kill one of 'em. An' tha's good. Two: SORRY. Wazznt a matter o' likin', just makin' sure he ain't comin' back as a dedder. Again: sorreh. Three: I... er... yeah, sorreh. My fault. I =forgot= y'could actually DO that corpse-questionin' thing. Four: Borrow some bellows from a smithy hereabouts, as a lung-substitute or whatnot. Five: Where th' HELL are we holin' up at? I needs me a kip."
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    Brin

    "B...Bellows?" Brin blinks and gapes incredulously. In a perverse corner of her mind she wanted to see if that would work. Not enough to further desecrate the corpse, but...Damnit. Knock off the blasphemous thoughts. There are important things to do right now. Stupid responsibilities.

    She shakes her head, clearing it. "I mean, apology accepted. Hate calling them back like that anyway. Saved me a headache, maybe. We were sleeping in Taladron's Aunt's place, but I think we'll be getting a private room after this. Not sure yet whether it'll be an suite at an inn or a cell in the gaol, though."

    Brin cranes her neck to shout back up at the remaining Hellknight. "You're paying attention to make sure all this evidence is genuine, right?" She calls up. "Just your bad luck that you were working for some kinda evil priest. No goodly, law-abiding folk in Magnimar would be seen throwing off that undead-feeding black energy like it was nothing. Maybe in Cheliax, but these parts? Even those who can do it are usually smart enough not to."

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    Red

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    Really low on HP here, so going to claim all but the last 6 of those rolls. I think you need to make more rolls, Bhaakon. Sorry!


    Red didn't generally like people being so close to her like this, especially if she hadn't mentally prepared herself for it before it happened. People could hurt you, being close to you. She was hurting right now, in fact, with Setsuna clasping her cracked ribs and bruises like that.

    It is difficult to take a deep breath, given how tightly Setsuna is holding on to her. Still, Red manages to ease an arm free, gently ruffling the tiefling's hair and stroking it with the edge of her palm. It was like how Kitten had used to bite and scratch her when it was small, because it was scared. That was all right. Was Setsuna scared too, then? But of what?

    Taladron's message answers that for her. Red closes her eyes for a moment, feeling Setsuna trembling ever so slightly against her chest. Maybe Setsuna was sad again, like with Nualia. But how to tell her that some people didn't deserve to be sad over? Red sighs, then winces as a fresh pang shoots through her jaw. "Setsuna... We... should... see. Miss Brin. Can you help... me?"

    *****

    GM post

    For anyone who bothers to crane their neck outside of the sawmill to check on what's happening with the last Hellknight, it is to see Irini hovering at the top of the staircase with her sword drawn, a frantic yet frustrated scowl on her face. "Say what you like, I'm not going in there. I'm not stupid, you know! You all come out! I've sent a message to the City Watch and a patrol is on their way, so you'd better not try anything funny! What have you done to His Grace? Hisam, are you there?"
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    Setsuna

    It takes her a second to register what Red said, but when she does she slowly breaks off the embrace and nods to her. Right...she was injured pretty badly, I need to make sure she's going to be okay, she tells herself, confirming the plan helping to keep her mind focused.

    My legs feel stiff, but she ignores it as best she can while she stands and helps Red to her feet as well, doing her best to support her in silence as they limp over toward the cleric to tend their wounds.
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    "Try anything funny? When I want to be funny, I'm funny. There is no 'try.'" Brin mutters to herself after the reluctant Hellknight's response.

    "Whatever. Who else needs help? I think there are still some uses left in this wand...plus there's the ones we found on the cultists. If you'd just..." Brin finally has a look inside the sawmill basement and begins gaping. Their little band--despite being reinforced by the spritely waif and that dirty old man--had nearly been ground to mincemeat. "Nevermind. I'll come to you. Er...you should probably hold that coiling, sausage-looking bit off the floor until I get over there. Just let me see to this sucking chest wound first..." She moves between the injured as quickly as she can, plying the wands liberally.

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    GM post

    With all of you ignoring Irini and simply going about your business of patching each other up and searching for evidence on Ironbriar's person, it is no wonder that the young Hellknight's expression grows distinctly sourer and more worried by the minute. As Brin and Rico had discovered only a little while ago, the young half-elf is a stickler for protocol. It is likely that nothing in her beloved law-tome has quite prepared her for having possibly sent her commanding officer and comrades, guilty of other crimes though they might be, off to their deaths. Unwilling to enter a situation of obvious tactical disadvantage, she moves from foot to foot at the top of the stairs, every now and then shooting a glance over her shoulder or screeching furiously at an unseen audience of curious halflings, who seem to have reemerged, to get lost for their own safety.

    Eventually, for those of you keeping a watchful eye on what's going on outside, there seems to be some sort of commotion outside as you catch flashes of bright armour through the thicket of bushes lining the river bank, with hoarse voices bellowing instructions and the nervous equine whinnying. It would seem that the promised reinforcements from the City Watch have arrived in quick time. Certainly, if you had had it in mind to escape the sawmill or slip away unnoticed, the time for that is now past.

    A few moments later comes the creaking of wooden planks and the heavy tramp of feet as the Watch make their way down into the undermill without hesitation. The first person through the doors of the undermill is a stout Varisian woman with a weather-beaten face and a crooked nose, silver beads plaited into her dark hair and a glaive of prodigious size clenched in one fist. Apparently unfazed by the carnage of mangled cultist bodies nor your scruffy bloodstained visages, she motions casually to those behind her with two crooked fingers. At the gesture, half a dozen younger men and women with drawn swords immediately hurry through the door, each one dressed in the same blue dyed studded leathers and with the city's coat of arms - the Arvensoar angel and slain serpent of Magnimar - embossed over their hearts. This coterie is followed by Hellknight Irini herself, whom understandably seems the most distressed at the sight of Justice Ironbriar's decapitated body and the fallen forms of her recent comrades.

    "Greta! Hisam! Oh gods... By the Measure..." Tugging on one of her braids and winding it about her fist, Irini hurries over straight to where Hisam's dead body lies still half submerged. A stricken expression on her face, she grabs hold of his stiffening arm and attempts to haul his bulk out of the water - a futile endeavour at best, given how slippery the floor is with water and blood.

    As for the stout Varisian woman, she surveys the room with a calm air of authority, those of you closest to her noticing the captain's armband wound around her brawny arm and the faded scars on her brow. Then, catching sight of Rico, she grins and offers a brief nod of acknowledgement. "Hah. Constable Rico. I hadda inkling that it might've been you raising nine kinds of hell in my fine city when the pigeon came in with news of a big orc-blood claiming authorisation from Sandpoint. Care to explain what's going on around here before I needa start cracking heads and busting 'caps for some answers about why I've gotta room fulla deadders?" The captain's voice is cheerful, yet restrained with wariness as she eyes the lot of you up and down. "You. And you." She jerks her chin in Red and Sirus's direction, quirking faded eyebrows. "You were with Sheriff Hemlock helping out during that goblin incursion at the Swallowtail Fest last month, weren't you?"

    Knowledge (local) DC 15 - no need to roll if you're Taladron
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    This hardbitten Watch woman can only be Captain Acacia "Big Bear" Uriana, head of the City Watch herself. Known for her no-nonsense bludgeon-to-the-noggin approach, as much as her skill with the glaive, the Big Bear is much admired among law-abiding Magnimarians and the Watch for her bravery in battle, fairness in commanding, and ferocity in defending the City. She was recently in Sandpoint to assist in beefing up security when the goblins, under the crazed Nualia, had attempted to invade and raze the town.
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    Taladron

    "Captain Uriana," Taladron says with a short bow of respect, "As you say, most of our group (with the exceptions of two rather recent additions) worked with Sheriff Hemlock. Recently, the Sheriff asked us to find the culprit behind a spree of ritualistic murders that have occured in Sandpoint, we found the perpetrator Aldern Foxglove and put an end to the killings, though evidence of a cult movement in Magnimar being responsible for the killings was found. A short time later, an attempt was made to steal the evidence in that case, and the man who had committed the murders was seen walking about very much alive despite the state we had left him in, so a plan was made to lure this fake out and the evidence was taken out of storage to be transported to Magnimar for 'safekeeping'. The plan worked and we were ambushed by Night Scale assassins accompanied by a Faceless Stalker who could have easily impersonated Aldern. A writ on the corpse of the Stalker gave Aldern the ability to act with Justice Ironbriar's authority which linked the Justice to the cult, the fact that we were wanted criminals before even entering Magnimar also led credence to the Justice's corruption. After investigating Aldern's townhouse, which was mostly emptied already save for a few more assassins (gnolls this time), we discovered that this very sawmill we stand in now was owned and ran by the very cultists we believe responsible for the killings in both Sandpoint and here in Magnimar. So we came here searching for more evidence to clear our names. What we found was a rather large group of cultists and a battle ensued, we kept one alive for questioning, but during the battle, Ironbriar was called and came with his Hellknight entourage to stop us. The result you see before you."
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    GM post

    As Taladron patiently relates the tale that had brought you all to Magnimar in detail, a watch officer with a nodding cerulean plume on his peaked helmet comes hurrying up to Captain Uriana's side, whispering a quick aside into her ear before thrusting into her hands the hollow dagger and the incriminating warrant within that Rico had previously given to Irini. Giving her subordinate a curt nod of thanks, the Captain scans the note and frowns to herself as she reads. Once Taladron is done, the Captain purses her lips, giving the "results" scattered around the undermill floor a sour glance.

    "Yeah. I can certainly see that you lot haven't held back. Us Watch folks had picked up a lil' about the Foxglove case - your Sheriff's policy to keep the big city fellas appraised, see - but word hadn't made it to the street jes' yet. An impersonator or a dozen going around wearing the man's face and name would have been most definitely troubling," she remarks dryly, vaguely waving the faux dagger about to indicate the various dead bodies lying broken and crumpled about the room. "Stalkers rising outta the sewers, wouldn't be the first time neither. But after what you've said about his Grace..."

    Looking down at Ironbriar's headless corpse, the Captain makes a face, screwing up her eyes and sticking out her tongue as she nudges the elf's shoulder with an iron-capped toe. "I've no lost love for this black-hearted bastard here. Gods know, he ain't hadda compassionate bone in his body. Would've sentenced kiddos to hang for petty thievery if he coulda. But having his Grace alive to answer for this woulda made your tale a whole lotta easier to swallow, know what I'm saying? How's he gonna confess to all this without his damn noggin?!"
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    Sirus

    Sirus is content to tend his wounds and let others do the talking. His mind is preoccupied on how he can get to the upstairs door. This was the whole plan after all.

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    Taladron

    Reaching into his Satchel, Taladron pulls out the Hide-bound book and presents it to the Captain. "This may provide some answers, it is a journal I found on Ironbriar's person, it appears to be written in a combination of Draconic, Elven and Infernal, and ciphered besides. I was planning on breaking the cipher in a day or two when I found the time, but if it means clearing our names, I do not mind handing it over."
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    Setsuna

    Though still far from okay, between being healed up, and more importantly watching Red be restored to health, along with Taladron's reminder of why they were here and that, even if it wasn't what she wanted, stopping them was the right thing to do. It was enough of a reminder, at least, to get her to break her silence and, noticing Sirus glancing toward the stairs, to tell him in a hushed, cracking voice, "We found a key, did we not? Maybe there is something upstairs that it opens."

    Then, turning to Red, she whispers quietly, asking "Are you going to be okay?" I should talk to...Naya? She looked upset too...and I was... she frowns, realizing that she turned away the girl when she needed help.
    Lilith Avatar by AsteriskAmp

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