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  1. - Top - End - #61
    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: (PF) maggie's Rise of the Runelords: Skinsaw Murders IC II

    Brin

    "The short version is good enough for you bastards." Brin mutters as she returns from the lower reaches of the mill, where the dead cultists were being processed. The real ritual wouldn't begin until they were interred, but a quick prayer as the guards figured out which bits when with which body was a good idea. A hand or something ended up falling in the river, and who knew what kind of trouble it could get into there? Probably get swallowed by a grouper, only to claw its way out as an undead hand-thing.

    Brin dismisses the thought as she rejoins the others and looks over what they've uncovered. "You know..." She says, looking at the ravens. "If we had something that could follow those birds, I'd like see see where one goes if we let it loose." She turns to Taladron. "I don't suppose you have a spell for that. I might know one, but I didn't ask for it this morning. Do you think your aunt would be willing to lend out her familiar for a little errand?"

  2. - Top - End - #62
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    Default Re: (PF) maggie's Rise of the Runelords: Skinsaw Murders IC II

    "Eh..." Naya bites her lip, unsire, "You know... my magic's based on controlling the wind in the first place, and I used it to soften falls since as long as I can remember... it's almost instinctive things... never could gather enough wind to actually lift me, true, but then again - in the last 6 months I used more magic than in the previous sixty years put together, and it should count for something, right? I feel it getting stronger... maybe it will work this time?"
    Tome of Radiance, a Magical Girl sourcebook for 3.5/PF.

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  3. - Top - End - #63
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    Default Re: (PF) maggie's Rise of the Runelords: Skinsaw Murders IC II

    Wandering in muttering curses about the very idea of aging, Simatzu blinks around as he takes in the scene before him. "'Allo? Talk of heads and ravens... Do I wanna ask?" he wonders out loud. "No. No I do not," he answers himself firmly with his next breath, smiles around, and begins poking through anything not smelling too foul that he's not shooed away from, looking for anything locked that has not already been made less so.
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    My motto: Repensum Est Canicula.

    Quote Originally Posted by turkishproverb View Post
    I am not getting into a shootout with Golentan. Too many gun-arms.
    Leiningen will win, even if he must lose in the attempt.

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  4. - Top - End - #64
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: (PF) maggie's Rise of the Runelords: Skinsaw Murders IC II

    GM post

    Simatzu or anyone else still examining the locker

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    Unfortunately, with the Watch deputies swarming all over the room, there isn't much for you to weasel out for personal inspection. Some of the oddments in the locker do look rather valuable though. No doubt, they're all stolen booty, but it's probably finders keepers if you can somehow assist some of the smaller books or tomes in finding their way to the black market...


    *****

    Everyone Else

    With Naya willing to take flight to follow the ravens, there seems to be little need to call for Aunt Vera's little pseudodragon to render some aid. Nor does the Captain seem entirely adverse to the idea. She holds up one stern forefinger and waggles it in Naya's direction. "One. One raven, little miss. The other two stay here as evidence. And I wager there's a ranger somewhere I coulda ask what for speaking to them. Now if you'll excuse me, I gotta money-grubbin' goldie priest to negotiate a price with-"

    Those who wish to follow Captain Uriana back downstairs to Ironbriar's head, please state so in your post.

    As the Captain clumps off, swinging her halberd moodily, those of you closest to the burly Constable Magotar can see him moping the sweat from his brow with a spotted hankerchief with one hand, the one hand painstakingly scrawling in his ledger as he sticks his tongue out, nearly cross-eyed with effort. "Tree wavens, wun wealeased fer trekkin'..." Meanwhile, up in the alcove, the young recruit Yevin nods at Setsuna and Naya, then nudges open the cabinet and gingerly offers the nearest raven his wrist.

    If the more morbid among you were hoping that the raven might burst out and try savaging Yevin in the face, those hopes are dashed as the raven merely eyes Yevin curiously, canting its bullet head from side to side before hopping obediently onto the back of his gauntlet with all the aplomb of a trained falcon. Yevin, at any rate, none too happy about having such a massive bird in close proximity. Grimacing, he leans as far back as he can as he shifts the bird out and elbows the cabinet shut, shuffling slowly backwards and trying not to trip over his own feet.

    "Scuse me... miss. Ma'am. If you could... just move your tail... thank you." Whispering through clenched teeth, Yevin scoots over to the nearest window and peers out. For those of you upstairs, you can just about glimpse the waters of the Yondabakari sparkle gold in the light of the setting sun and the rest of the city beyond - Keystone in orderly blocks of ivory and white, the gleaming dome of the Abadarian vault mushrooming above the other temples. With evening drawing near, you can spot pinpricks of fiery light blossoming near the waterline the dock sailors light their lamps. A chance breeze whistles through the narrow alcove, bringing with it the scent of salt and frying oil - somewhere, the street vendors must have started up their evening rounds.

    The window is narrow, but devoid of glass or other deterrents to thieves. Someone as slim as Naya could definitely squeeze through with some effort. Recruit Yevin turns to those of you upstairs, sucking in his breath. "Well, er- you ready, miss?" On his wrist, the raven bobs its head and gives a hoarse croak, watching you with a knowing gaze.
    Last edited by maggie_mcknife; 2015-12-20 at 09:46 AM.
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  5. - Top - End - #65
    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: (PF) maggie's Rise of the Runelords: Skinsaw Murders IC II

    Setsuna

    Obediently moving her tail to clear the way, Setsuna looks out the window, waiting for the bird to be released before turning toward Naya. "I do not know you, we just met, but...are you sure you can do this? I do not want to put you in danger, especially since that is all we have done since you found us. You could cast the spell on someone else if you do not want to risk this."

    Belatedly, she realizes that Naya also doesn't exactly know where to meet them at either and looks toward Taladron. "Can you tell her how to find your aunt's home?"
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  6. - Top - End - #66
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    Default Re: (PF) maggie's Rise of the Runelords: Skinsaw Murders IC II

    "As ready as I'm going to be, I suppose", Naya nods to Yevin, then turns to Setsuna, "Please, I appreciate the offer, but... I told you, I never did it before - should anything go wrong... I'd rather not risk someone who could be hurt by falling. And... should it look dangerous, I'll just back down, so... instead, could you please take care of my stuff?" she hands Setsuna her bag, "I'd rather not carry any extra weight..." in fact, I'd rather did away with several more pounds, but... I'd also rather not get arrested for indecency.
    "Now..." Naya squeezes through the window and stands outside, holding the window frame with one hand, the winds starting to gather around her as she chants, "Up I go!" she pushes herself off the window and spreads her arms, half-expecting to find the earth approaching fast, but... "It works! It really works!"
    Last edited by jamieth; 2015-12-20 at 10:28 AM.
    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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  7. - Top - End - #67
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    Default Re: (PF) maggie's Rise of the Runelords: Skinsaw Murders IC II

    Taladron

    Taladron hands over the spellbooks to Magotar with a few brief instructions to read them at least thirty paces away from others in case they are trapped magically. Taladron also offers his assistance should the guard have any questions. Next, he joins the others up in the bird cubby.

    Taladrons eyes narrow at the use of ravens as messenger birds. It was quite unusual, true, but more than anything it reminded him of Lightfeather, especially as they needed flight to follow the birds now. Thus Taladron is grateful that the new sorceress speaks up and volunteers to fly after a bird. "I am afraid I have all but exhausted my repatuaire of spells today, unless Naya wishes to fly invisibly I have no help to offer." Taladron says and waits to recieve a response before turning away and saying, "I shall go and assist Captain Urianna with the negotiations now if I am no longer needed."

    With that, Taladron makes his way back down to the ground floor with the Captain (or even the undercroft if the Justices corpse hasn't been moved yet).
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  8. - Top - End - #68
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: (PF) maggie's Rise of the Runelords: Skinsaw Murders IC II

    GM post

    Those up in the alcove, roosting with the ravens


    Recruit Yevin's eyes glaze over a little as Naya's spell takes hold, especially since the swish and billow of the sylph's clothing reveals a little more leg and bosom than the young man is used to seeing. All the same, he takes a deep breath and eases his hand out the window before flapping his wrist about frantically like a country rube trying to hitch a lift on the last wagon into town.

    It's not what the messenger raven is used to, but the bird gets the idea and gracefully swoops forth from Yevin's wrist, gliding low over the gathered deputies and their horses outside before soaring up and over the waters of the Yondabakari. Dipping its jet wings once more, the raven gives a low joyful squawk, perhaps glad to be outside. It then immediately banks past an approaching flock of seagulls, skimming over the masthead of a moored ship before rising once more, this time heading unerringly northwards.

    Such is the power of Naya's new spell that despite her lack of experience, she has no trouble in staying aloft and keeping up with the raven's swift wingbeats. (Shaking off the attention of the seagulls, however, proves less easy. They seem to have made up their mind that the shinier dangling portions of Naya's outfit are some kind of exotic food that they need to investigate the edibility of forthwith.) Still, the pace that the raven sets is a fast one and within minutes, both it and Naya are two mere specks in the distance.

    Perception DC 20
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    It is difficult to differentiate the two specks that you're interested in from the miscellaneous other creatures hovering in the sky above Magnimar, not to mention that the orange rays of the setting sun dazzling off the waves does you no favours. All the same, you manage to track Naya and the raven as they head towards the looming hulk of the Irespan - the ruins of an ancient stone bridge that squats on Magnimar's north border like a coarse grainy giant's thumb thrust out of the earth. There, barely visible against the back-lit stone, you see the raven swoop and alight atop one of the tallest towers in the shadow of the bridge.

    Knowledge (local) DC 13, no need to make check if you're a resident of Magnimar
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    That tower is the Shadow Clock. Located in the Underbridge - Magnimar's meanest and most disreputable quarter - where the sun literally never shines due to the positioning of the Irespan above, the Shadow Clock has stood sentinel over drug-ridden slums and seedy alehouses alike for as long as anyone can remember. Once intended as a monument to Empyreal Lord Soralyon, the clocktower was never completed, abandoned by its devotee builders for reasons unknown.

    It's anyone's guess as to when this rickety edifice will collapse (and there are several taverns with long-standing betting pools on the subject). Still, that hadn't stopped daredevils and thrillseekers from ascending the "Terrible Stairs" for sport, leading to multiple falls, many of them ending in fatalities. Three years ago, Lord Mayor Gorboras had declared the tower closed to the public after the tenth death, which rumour holds was that of a young noble lass of House Vlademar out on a lark. It's supposed to be utterly abandoned these days, though the raven's presence there might put this belief to the test...


    *****

    Those who followed Captain Uriana downstairs

    "No, no, NO!" For those of you who arrive back in the undermill, you are just in time to behold the indomitable Captain bellowing full in the face of a dour matron clad in gleaming gold chainmail, who merely folds her arms and gazes up at the Captain's nostrils with the seasoned air of one who has been through this routine all too many times.

    "I most certainly will not accept a price of 500 gold for a spell to make a deadder talk! That's daylight robbery, that is! That head has valuable information about murders and cultists and- other deadders! And I need it to talk now! We're talking lives here! Time is a-wasting!" The good Captain's face has turned a blustery ruddy red, the colour of beetroot porridge, as she thrusts her chin dangerously close to the matron's.

    The matron simply sighs theatrically and shakes her head. "No can do, Captain Uriana. A service, that is what I provide. One must be paid a fair wage for the work one does, even a work for the greater good. That is the way of the Master of the First Vault. I've done work for the Watch before, and we appreciate your patronage very much. But a spell of this level does not come cheap in the scribing, let alone the casting."
    Last edited by maggie_mcknife; 2016-01-14 at 12:05 PM.
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    RotRL: Skinsaw Murders IC I and II - COMPLETED
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    Seraphina "Red" Allin, fighter-rogue of double kukri slicey death

  9. - Top - End - #69
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    Default Re: (PF) maggie's Rise of the Runelords: Skinsaw Murders IC II

    After the first few moments spent reajusting to the new experience, Naya fully embraces the feeling of gliding in the wind, only paying as much attention to her surroundings as needed to not lose the track of the messenger bird guiding her towards its master.

    As the contrasting roofs of the Beacon's Point give way to the piers of Dockway, though, two obstacles stand in the way of this newfound bliss. First, Naya feels the power of her spell starts waning; that in itself is no big issue, as she still has enough magic in her to renew the spell - not much more, though. But spellwork requires concentration, and that leads to a second obstacle -

    Stupid birds... is the sky not wide enough for both of us? Should have accepted the wizard's offer... but no, the last bit of magic is special; the difference between having the last spell left and having none can mean the difference between life and death, and spending it for simple convenience would be simply wrong. But still, need to deal with the birds somehow... ah, why not; I'm high above the harbor, there's no one around to see anyway, right?

    Hesitating no more, the sylph quickly pulls her dress off and rolls it in a lump, trying to make sure all the shiny bits are on the inside and out of birds' eyes. Hopefully it would make them lose interest...

    As the raven descends to the labyirinths of Underbridge, though, Naya does hesitate for a bit, howering at the edge of the bridge; this is not the district of Magnimar she explored previusly, and not the one she would like to explore alone and almost out of magical juice. Luckily, the tower a raven headed to is distinct enough that it won't be easy to confuse it any other... considering her job here more or less done, Naya looks around looking for a place to land, for there is little chance that the remains of her magic will last all the way back to the meeing place Taladron described to her. Well, the coast of the Dockway seems as good a place as any...
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  10. - Top - End - #70
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    Default Re: (PF) maggie's Rise of the Runelords: Skinsaw Murders IC II

    Taladron

    Listening to the reasoning to the priest's price, Taladron rolls his eyes and pulls out a heavy purse from his satchel. "As much as I would like to have Brin cast this spell for free tomorrow, I believe the spell in question is more effective if cast by a neutral party." Taladron says as he hands the gold over to the matron, "If you could wait just a moment for my party to join us before casting, it will save me having to retell the questions and answers at a later time."

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    500gp subtracted from sheet.
    Avatar by MeanMrsMustard

  11. - Top - End - #71
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    Default Re: (PF) maggie's Rise of the Runelords: Skinsaw Murders IC II

    Brin

    "It's not my favorite spell to cast, anyway."
    Brin adds to Taladron's point about having a neutral party do it. "Even if Ironbriar deserves having his chain yanked around on his way to whatever grim fate Pharasma chooses for him."

    Still, they're have to figure out a way to get reimbursed for that. 500 gold...if she wasn't hanging over a barrel here, Brin might accuse the Abdaran Matron of being a Nogrober cultist herself. Highway robbery, no two ways about it.

  12. - Top - End - #72
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: (PF) maggie's Rise of the Runelords: Skinsaw Murders IC II

    GM post

    Naya


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    Stealth check rolled in OOC - passed


    Taking off her clothing and turning it inside out seems to do the trick for most of the seagulls, though half a dozen of the more persistent ones continue to accompany Naya as she flies, causing her to endure quite a few painful nips from their questing beaks.

    Having memorised the appearance and location of the tower where the raven had landed, Naya then does her best to discreetly land without being spotted. Unfortunately, at this hour, the Dockway district teems with life as the Bazaar of Sails is packed with eager merchants, curious travellers, and hungry citizens alike. With raucous shouts and the rich smell of coffee and spices filling the air, not to mention various coloured lanterns and several hundred roaming eyes, the sight of a nubile young sylph cavorting without her clothing would have probably caused much more commotion than it was worth.

    The next best location to land is not by the shore of Dockway but on the edge of the neighbourhood itself, where the shadow cast by one of the ancient pillars of the Irespan affords Naya some cover. This piling, oddly free of roosting bird life, is covered with carvings of nearly a thousand different depictions of leering, clinging geckoes. Its not a pleasant-looking place, but it does lead into an empty alleyway littered with trash just behind the Bazaar of Sails. Naya should have no trouble slipping back into the crowd from here.

    *****

    Red

    Spoiler
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    Taking 10 for Perception, making 22.

    Red has lived in Magnimar for a few months, so incomplete knowledge.


    Having moodily stumped up the ladder to have a look at the birds, Red squints and shields her eyes with her hand as she watches the raven and Naya fly further and further away. It sure looked like Naya was having trouble with some seagulls that wouldn't leave her alone. And it also sure looked like she was taking off her... no, that was probably a trick of the light, damn her eyes.

    "... The raven. That tower... it is in the Underbridge. It is... not a good place." Red massages her throat as she tries raising her voice beyond a husky whisper. "It is... dangerous. More dangerous at night. A bad place." She'd never been there herself. Not even when she'd been released from the Hells. Chanda had warned her about that place, many years ago. And if even Chanda said it was dangerous... If this Xanesha was really hiding in there, then this was going to be very, very difficult. But they had to try, didn't they?

    Biting her lip, Red turns from the window to Sirus and Setsuna. "We should go. Miss Naya... she is to go to Miss Vera's? We should meet her there."

    *****

    Those who went with Captain Uriana

    The Captain seems stunned by Taladron's readiness to fork out that much money to pay for the spell. Indeed, it takes her a few seconds to recover and waves her hand hastily in the elf's direction. "No, sir. No. I insist. Please don't do that. 'specially if it's your name that's being cleared up 'pending on the answers of this head." Snorting ruefully, she pinches the bridge of her nose and mutters under her breath, her words clipped with frustration. She is clearly none too pleased at having Taladron and Brin interfere in her affairs. "...Guess we gotta find that money some elsehow. Constable Haz! Pop upstairs to Magotar and have him make a tally for all that loot in the room with all them faces. If Mister Variel Ironbriar, seein' how he ain't a Justice no more, turns outta be the biggest crook of them all, he can pay for this own damn spell. Chitty of amount owed do for you, Madam Money-Grubbing Mitts?"

    The grim smile on the Abadar matron's face is uncomfortably close to a smirk as she nods in affirmation, her cold blue eyes meeting Brin's. "It is just as well then, sister, that I have no such compunctions when it comes to the dead. Well then, if you do not intend to assist me, then you must make some space for me to work... What questions shall I ask of the dead, good sirs and madam?"
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    Seraphina "Red" Allin, fighter-rogue of double kukri slicey death

  13. - Top - End - #73
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    Default Re: (PF) maggie's Rise of the Runelords: Skinsaw Murders IC II

    Naya

    Why do all the things that feel that nice have to end that quick... the sorceress thinks as she lands in the deserted alleyway just before her magic goes away for good and reluctantly slips into her dress - by now bearing some tears from the birds' beaks, and with with two buttons gone for good. Or maybe they don't have to end, after all...

    Stop!she reprimans herself, I'm not here for fun, I'm here to help the Watch! And I need the Watch on our side, because Hellknights kinda already aren't... OK, so where is that house we should meet...

    Absent-mindedly tugging on the remaining buttons of her shirt as she walks, the sylph heads to Aunt Vera's house.
    Last edited by jamieth; 2015-12-23 at 11:32 AM.
    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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  14. - Top - End - #74
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    Default Re: (PF) maggie's Rise of the Runelords: Skinsaw Murders IC II

    Setsuna

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    Perception (1d20+5)[24] (rolled in dice thread), huh, I actually passed? 0.o. Though it doesn't take distance penalties into account, but who uses those? Anyway, totally zoned out on posting, so I guess Setsuna was just staring after Naya...for good reason!


    Eyes proving to be surprisingly sharp, perhaps a result of all the near-death experiences caused by her lack of attention to her surroundings, or maybe just because keeping an eye on someone flying across the city skyline was easier than noticing someone hiding behind a bookshelf, Setsuna watches Naya with Red. When the seagulls attack and the sylph tries her effort at a solution though, Setsuna gasps and blushes lightly, "No...she did not...did she?" She looks something akin to shocked as she turns toward the human next to her, wondering if she'd maybe seen wrong.

    When she reaches the Shadow Clock, though Setsuna herself doesn't know what it is, Red's warning is enough to get her to nod resolutely. "Then we will go make it safer for everyone tonight. But you are right, we should be there to wait for her...especially if she..." the tiefling looks embarrassed again as she trails off, gently tugging at her own clothing, imagining the situation the sylph must be in.
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    Setsuna by Kymme | Desril by Wolfshonor | Eruvia (no background) by Oneris

  15. - Top - End - #75
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    Default Re: (PF) maggie's Rise of the Runelords: Skinsaw Murders IC II

    Brin

    "Who Xanesha is and where we can find her. And his motivation would be nice."
    Brin suggests. "I guess it could be as simple as 'Father Skinsaw told me to,' but they sure went to a lot of effort to kill a lot of people in weird ways. Must be a special reason for that."

    Recalling the results of her last interrogation of a dead body, Brin adds, "Then there the matter of that faceless stalker conspiracy. Maybe Ironbriar knows something about that, since he was obviously hiring them."

  16. - Top - End - #76
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    Default Re: (PF) maggie's Rise of the Runelords: Skinsaw Murders IC II

    Setsuna

    After losing sight of Naya on the docks, Setsuna quickly turns away from the window pretending she didn't just see the sylph strip out of her dress while flying over the city and does her best to not think about it with limited success, if the color of her cheeks are anything to go by as she makes her way downstairs just in time to hear Brin's list of questions. Realizing what must be happening, the tiefling chimes in as well. "We should also try to learn what other defenses Xanesha might have too since I do not think she will surrender with out a fight...and I do not know if the spell will work for it, but we should find out if the Justice was being controlled by magic." Trying not to let her thoughts move too far in that direction, "But if that one is impossible, maybe we could figure out if she is some sort of magic user?"

    Suddenly having a bright idea, "No! If he was corrupt, he might have imprisoned many innocent people! We should ask him for their names so we can free them!"
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    Setsuna by Kymme | Desril by Wolfshonor | Eruvia (no background) by Oneris

  17. - Top - End - #77
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    Default Re: (PF) maggie's Rise of the Runelords: Skinsaw Murders IC II

    IC post

    Those who went with Captain Uriana

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    Justice Ironbriar fails all but the last of his will saves.


    "I only get three questions," mutters the Abadar matron somewhat irritably, scribbling furiously with an ink pen on the back of a parchment sheet that one of the Watch deputies appears to have lent to her. "This spell can only be cast once a week on the same corpse. To ask for a list of names would be impossible and a waste of my abiliti-"

    Captain Uriana watches with some amusement as the matron stabs a hole in the parchment with the sheer force of her writing, shaking her head slightly. "Aye, it would be," she remarks in a much more neutral tone, glancing over at Setsuna and signalling with a brief quirk of her lips to remain silent for now. "Kip up a bit, wouldya, and I'll help you with the phrasing. Gotta load of experience in interrogation, I do. Perhaps save the names for another time and focus on solving our current predeck-ca-mint...? Like what in tarnation's going on in here with all the deadders?"

    After a quick huddled conference that involves much crossing out and more parchment pen-stabbing, the matron eventually settles on three questions that satisfy as many of the suggestions as possible. With an affronted sniff in Setsuna's direction, the matron proceeds to seat herself cross-legged on the filthy sawmill floor. Pulling out a hefty gleaming key of solid gold and displaying it openly on her breast, the matron claps her hands thrice together - a ceremonial gesture to invoke the presence of her god - before bowing her head and steepling her hands together to pray.

    You were informed that the process would take ten minutes or more, but for those of you who are there, time seems to pass in a blur. Perhaps you are simply exhausted from the battle (and blood-loss), or perhaps the smooth monotony of the matron's chanting lulls you into a dull stupor. Someone had replaced Ironbriar's head in its proper place above his shoulders while you all were upstairs, giving the uncanny illusion that the Justice might be simply fast asleep if it were not for the rigor mortis pinching his lips and the marble paleness of his blood-drained face. As such, when his cheeks finally shudder and twitch, his eyelids abruptly fluttering open to beam forth gold light, the more wary among you find your grip on your weapons reflexively tightening - lest this unnatural life prove all too strong in its temporary animation.

    The matron is unfazed by the display, merely gesturing with her stiff-fingered hand at the corpse and intoning calmly, a faint gold glow suffusing her every gesture. "Variel Ironbriar, lately the 9th Justice of Magnimar's Courts and recently proven cultist and liar. I have reanimated you for a short time, foul sinner that you are. You are bound by the holy magics to answer three questions for me. You have just tried to frame and murder a party of men and women from Sandpoint in this very building, the sawmill of House Kyver. Tell me all your reasons why, down to the smallest of them."

    As it turns out, Captain Uriana was correct about not needing to stick a set of bellows into Ironbriar's throat. The thin voice that issues forth from Ironbriar's chapped lips is wheezing and rather more higher-pitched than what you had heard of him when alive, but remains discernible. "My love. My light. My sweet Xanesha. She asked it of me. For her, I would do anything..." The dead are not supposed to be able to smile, but those of you watching might swear that Ironbriar's mouth actually shivers and twists into a grostesque parody of one, baring all this teeth. "They were coming. With evidence to the Watch. Of her doings. Our doings. With the Foxglove boy. All the ones he had harvested for us in the countryside. She was angry with me. For failing to keep the boy safe. I had to stop them. For our sake. For my brothers of Father Skinsaw, grown restless. They did not see my love as I did. But for us to prosper..."

    From behind you, you can hear Hellknight Irini give a choked back gasp of mingled horror and shock as she claps her hands over her mouth. Meanwhile, a grim-faced Captain Uriana whispers into the matron's ear, pointing to a particular line on the sheet of parchment. The matron nods and continues.

    "Who is this Xanesha, that we may find her and do her the proper homage that she deserves?."

    Irony, it seems, is lost on the corpse of Ironbriar. "She is the most beautiful woman alive. The only one who knows my soul and its ways. She came to me at night. Only at night. She said her hovel was too mean. For one as great as me. She taught me much of magic. Greater magic. Magic old beyond mere books. Her body is lovely beyond compare. She taught me too, of love. In my sheets. Her neck. Her breasts. Her thighs. More joy than I would have dared to dream of..."

    Grimacing a little as Ironbriar's head continues to give semi-lurid descriptions of his exploits with Xanesha, the matron's eyes meet Brin's for a moment. Pausing only long enough to mouth the word "sorcery", the matron returns to her third and final question. For those of you hoping that your question would have been selected, it would seem that Captain Uriana has unfortunately gone for a more pragmatic approach.

    "Why did Xanesha want all these people dead with runic carvings on their chest?"

    "I do not know. She did not speak much of it. Only that the carvings were vital. Marking the dead as tributes to her lord. To make him powerful... Each one. To bring him to glory..." Even in death, Xanesha's thrall over Ironbriar is apparent, his voice taking on a blissful, almost dream-like languor as he drifts away into silence. With a swift glance at the Captain for confirmation, the matron ruefully purses her lips and makes a flicking motion of dismissal at the corpse.

    "Return to death, sinner."

    Even as Ironbriar's eyelids once more fall shut, extinguishing the gold light that shines forth from them, the matron gives a muted groan, massaging her temples as if stricken by a splitting headache. "His presence weighed heavy. Like drinking too much honey. I cannot confirm this in a court of law, but I would say judging from his answers that he was almost definitely enspelled by this Xanesha. I have never heard of such revolting bawdry save from youngsters out to boast of their exploits in bed. He does not talk like one who knows true devotion."

    Captain Uriana grunts, thumping her halberd on the floor. "Well then. Guess we sayin' at any rate that we're definitely convicting his Grace post-deaddification of Conspiracy to Murder and Abetting of Unlawful Elements. Skinsaw cult's banned all over the continent, so he'll hafta answer that as well." She turns to those of you who have assembled in the undermill. "Heard it from his own mouth. You're one hundred 'cent clean. Free to go. I'll be in touch with Sheriff Hemlock to let him know offa your difficulties. Though a spotta help in translating that journal wouldn't go amiss. And this Xanesha. What do you plan to do next?"
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  18. - Top - End - #78
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    Brin

    Brin simmers with displeasure at being lectured on the workings of such basic magic, but bites her tongue. 'Name your murderous accomplices' is only one question! She wants to shout, but clearly this was the captain's show, and Brin didn't want to get tossed out on her ear before hearing what the late, not-so-lamented Justice had to say.

    Or, more honestly, she wasn't going to be tossed out on her ear without the chance to flash her most superior I-told-you-so grin as the talking head confirms the group's innocence--nay--heroism. "I wonder if there's a reward for nabbing corrupt officials? Guess it's worth looking in to." She comments before addressing the captain's question.

    "Figure we should track Xanesha down as quick as we can. Maybe I can cast an augury, or the journal might have something. I might know of some magic that would help a bit with that. For all I know, that air-headed girl might already have eyes on our murdering enchantress." Brin yawns loudly. "Not much I can do about it without some rest, though. Been a lo-o-ong day, and thirsty, too."

  19. - Top - End - #79
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    Taladron

    Taladron kept mostly silent throughout the questioning of the corpse. It told them very little they didn't already know, but it was useful in finally proving once and for all that they were innocent and cleared of all wrong-doing. Though he does feel rather uncomfortable withholding information now that he is a trusted source so he shares a few tidbits with the Captain, "Yes, I have had quite enough of sneaking around town, like a thief, during my homecoming. By the by, I can also confirm that the Justice was Ensorcelled by Xanesha. The magical aura on his body at the time of his death confirms that he was likely visited periodically every few days by this Xanesha to renew her spell and keep him in her pocket. That said, the enchantment wasn't strong enough to force the Justice to do what he did, merely made her requests... persuasive, as you could see from his adulation. As for the purpose of the markings, we have a letter from Xanesha to Aldern that seems to hint that they are meant to capture the souls of the victims or otherwise siphon off energy from their death to power some magic or being, likely this 'lord' Ironbriar mentioned. I was dismissive of this claim at first as such magic is beyond even my ken... but I am no longer so sure this is not the case."

    When the Captain asks for help in decoding the Journal Taladron tilts his head in a respectful bow and says, "I shall get started on a translation as soon as we have dealt with this Xanesha. Though I do say that with the utmost confidence in our success, the spell she used on the Justice was no mere cantrip. I doubt we will find her an easy foe to face as she has shown considerable magical power already."
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  20. - Top - End - #80
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    Red

    It was a distinct relief to hear that they were free to go. Nobody would dig into any records then, to find out about things in the past. But Red jams her left hand as deep as it can go into her jacket anyway, just in case. She didn't usually worry about her scars, but that branding from the Hells...

    From what the elf's head was saying, this Xanesha was probably some knock-out hottie with luscious breasts you could trap a beer stein between or something. Jailbait, obviously. Like those expensive madams that got painted onto posters for The Shucked Oyster. Didn't he know any better? Not that he could know better anyway, now that he was dead.

    All the same, what Taladron said was disturbing. That business in the Catacombs below Sandpoint had been creepy enough, with those monsters popping out of the pit... the runewell. Was there a bigger pit somewhere with more monsters? And what if this Xanesha had a runewell too?

    Shivering slightly, Red rubs her arms and huddles down into her cloak. Brin was right. A drink would be good. This sawmill was not a good place and they should go quickly to find Naya.

    *****

    GM post

    "Well, that raven went winging off to the Underbridge district, so I'd bet me booties that's where we'll find this lady of his... Whoever she is. My girls and boys here are gonna be mighty busy the next couple of days settling the perp's business and this whole cult thing... Fat Gorby's gonna hafta be informed, ye gods."

    Captain Uriana scrunches up her face, exhaling loudly through her nostrils. "He's certainly not gonna be happy about a Justice being shown up rotten. Not to mention all those faces upstairs... I doubt this building's the only hidey hole that rotten bunch had either. Or that these deadders here are the whole mangy lot. The Watch doesn't have time to go chasing this Xanesha wild goose. Not with this fish to fry. It's going to have to be up to you lot then. Keep us informed. We may be able to provide some back-up - pool our resources, y'know?" As the list of her duties mounts, the Captain's face grows surly, but she tries on what is meant to be a friendly smile for Taladron and Brin. "Standard fees for assisting the Watch with that journal... That's only fair. Can't speak for Gorby, but once he's stopped screaming and stomping, he'll likely wanna see you lot to give his thanks and find out all he can. He's a fat bastard, but he wouldn't be lord mayor 'lest he had the smarts to keep himself afloat. We'll be in touch, yes?"

    *****

    At Aunt Vera's house

    The walk back to Aunt Vera's house isn't all that far, but exhaustion weighs down your limbs with lead, slowing your pace to a plod. The less charitable among you might wonder whether Naya's spell could have been put to better use in spiriting you all back with minimal effort - especially since the setting sun has drawn out Magnimar's famous nightlife, forcing all of you to contend with the dusty, sweaty hordes streaming towards Lowcleft and Ordellia. Though Rico does have her horse, the beast itself is trembling with fatigue from the day's riding and does little more than to help clear the way up front as the crowd eddies around its flanks.

    Still, if nothing else, despite the uncomfortable warmth of the crowd, there is something refreshing about being able to walk without worrying about getting arrested. The hour has likewise drawn out the itinerant hawkers and purveyors of suspicious meats and sweets. For anyone with spare change and an empty belly, it's not too difficult to elbow your way up to the nearest vendor to purchase a stick of something that you're sure probably isn't just undercooked rat covered in brown sauce. But for the rest of you, it's down to trudging through the crowd and keeping your eyes on the road, trying to make sure that you don't tread in buffalo dung or get your feet trodden on as you make your way to Keystone.

    After picking up Naya (whom you find wandering outside the Stone of the Seers), it is only a matter of minutes before you find yourself back on Aunt Vera's doorstep. From the sound of the animated voices within her sitting room as you push open the front door though, it would seem that she has company...

    "Is that so? So the Wreckwash Blades and the Tower Girls were until recently part of the same encampment? I had wondered why it was that the merchant who supplied my herbs had increased his prices, citing the need for increased security."

    "That's 'xactly what happened. So the Towers've lost their base, see. So they've been roamin' the docks and skimming whatall they can get their grubbers on. Gotta make back some cred and coin..."

    The sight of a slightly dishevelled Aunt Vera, enthroned in a rocking-chair with a poultice bound around her forehead and balancing a tea cup on her knee, is unexpected enough. The additional sight of none other than Chanda Allin, warming herself as she lies sprawled out in front of the fire with Qistala curled up on her stomach, is even more unexpected.

    From where she is, Chanda doesn't bother getting up to greet you all, merely raising her head sufficiently to see who it is that has entered before flopping back down again, the shadow of a smirk upon her face. Aunt Vera, being much more hospitable, immediately lays aside her cup of tea and hurries forward to meet Taladron, clasping his hands.

    "Nephew, you are safe! That is indeed a blessed relief. I had been so worried - on my way home from the store, another pair of those accursed Hellknights had tried to take me into custody. If not for the efforts of this gallant young lady here, I would perhaps be speaking to you from a dungeon cell right now. Tell me of your investigation at the sawmill. Did it go well? And who are these new faces with you?"
    Last edited by maggie_mcknife; 2015-12-29 at 01:23 AM.
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  21. - Top - End - #81
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    Setsuna

    Like Red, Setsuna really didn't like thinking about the catacombs beneath Sandpoint. Maethilur may've awakened for her down there, but she still felt sick when she remembered how she'd been manipulated into abandoning the others and even attacking them.

    When the conversation turns toward the mayor though, she chimes in. "I think when this is over we need to overturn the Justice's convictions. He was clearly not impartial, there is no telling how many innocent people he might have imprisoned." It wasn't much, but if they couldn't save Ironbriar, at least they could limit the damage he was able to do. Though, for now, Xanesha had to be stopped.

    Finding Naya, the tiefling is glad to see their new comrade still safe, but after seeing what she did to avoid the birds, she can't help but blush at the sight of her and tries not to look at her too often, less her mind ignore the redonned dress. So distracted, she can't help but be shocked to see Chanda waiting for them inside with Aunt Vera. Relaxing into a smile that they're safe, she nonetheless stays quiet and lets Taladron be the one to explain.
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  22. - Top - End - #82
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    Naya keeps to the back of the group as they enter Aunt Vera's, unsure of what to expect, though the sight of a young woman nonchalantly resting on the floor in front of fireplace suggests it's not a particularly strict household - hot when it comes to it's guests, at least. Still, she waits for Taladron to introduce her before speaking herself, using the opportuninty to approach Setsuna and whisper, "Is anything wrong? You look... unwell? Like you have a fever, or something like that?"
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  23. - Top - End - #83
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    Setsuna

    Blushing again, as much as her marbled skin allows anyway, the tiefling whispers back. "N-no, it is just...I saw you, when you...you know..."
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  24. - Top - End - #84
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    Brin

    "You said the journal was written in all kind of different tongues, right?" Brin asks before they leave. "I have a spell that lets me read anything that's a proper language. As long as it's just a jumble of vocabularies, it might work. If he encoded it further, then maybe not." Brin shrugs, and extends her hands for the book. "Worth a try, though."

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    Well, I did prepare Comprehend Languages as a domain spell (for some reason). Might as well try it!


    ------------------------------------------

    They might have been exhausted on the march back to Vera's, but not so tired that Brin couldn't surreptitiously purchase vital supplies from street vendors along the way. Like a bottle of passable wine, something a little stronger to top off her various flasks, and a skewer of some kind of greasy, spiced meat (best not to think too hard on the source). Just the necessities.

    Brin tosses away the spent skewer as the group approaches Vera's door and get ready to plop down for a much needed sleep. She can see it in her mind, curling up in front of the coals with a bottle to suckle as required. It's so clear, so perfect. So...right.

    She lets out a disappointed gasp when she opens the door and immediately spots Chanda squatting the prime sleeping spot in front of the fire place. But...nap... She whispers plaintively to no one since she had no legitimate claim to the spot. But that doesn't stop her from fixing on Chanda with her most pouty puppy-dog eyes as Taladron relates the group's exploits.

  25. - Top - End - #85
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    "When I...What?" Naya went over the past half hour in her head, since they parted with Setsuna at the sawmill - the tiefling certainly didn't look that flustered back then. But the only thing Naya did since then was follow the message raven... Oh...
    "Oh... You mean, when I had to keep those birds away? Well... I had to keep the birds away, and... I was at the limit of my magic, so wanted to get all the wind I can... Sorry if it offended you or something, I really didn't want to..." she blushed a bit in turn, out of guilt for, apparently, causing trouble again.
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  26. - Top - End - #86
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    Setsuna

    Oblivious to Brin's yearning for Chanda's spot, Setsuna hastily holds up her hands, "N-no no, I did not mean...I was not offended, it...was it not embarrassing? Any one could have looked up and seen you!"
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  27. - Top - End - #87
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    "It's only embarrassing if you think it is", Naya says, calming down immediately, "though I used to think like that too, before meeting Lady Kaylee... I was just a barmaid back then - oh, but it's a long story, and I don't think you really want to hear it, do you? It's nothing social, really... Mostly old tombs..." Not to mention, it started to get inconvenient, whispering like that.
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  28. - Top - End - #88
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    Setsuna

    Looking somewhat surprised, given she'd only been in similar situations as a result of a curse and often only in the midst of a life or death struggle rather than a simple reconnissance mission, Setsuna tries to hide it. "Well...if it does not bother you, then it is no issue, I suppose. I was just...worried. I would like to hear your story though, when there is time. You should come with us back to Sandpoint when we have finished our business here. I am sure you would like it."
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  29. - Top - End - #89
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    "Well, if you really want, sure, I'll tell you - tonight, perhaps? I'm not sure we'll have much time after that - that with having to deal with Xanesha tomorrow, and after that, well, I hope it'll all clear up, and I'll finally be able to find a ship? I spent too much time here already, need to head north soon... Lady Kaylee must be worrying already... we should've meet in Brevoy yesterday" Naya shakes her head, "that is, if it all clears up."
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    Taladron

    When Brin offers to try to magically decipher the journal, Taladron hands over the book and lets her try, but says, "The problem isn't so much the three languages, as I am fluent in all three, the problem is that the journal was written in such a way that it ignores the grammatical differences in the languages and has many passages that are incomprehensible rubbish since it changes languages mid-sentence. Likely it is simply a matter of the correct order of reading such that you read Elven first than Draconic then Infernal or some similar order and ignore the language changes in between. Or perhaps the language changes form a numerical sequence that when applied to a page gives an ordering of what to read in order to make sense of it. In any case, I doubt I will solve it overnight especially with a fight to prepare for tomorrow."

    After collecting his new spellbooks (assuming the guard finished his inventory), Taladron joins the others in the walk to his Aunt's abode.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    When Taladron enters his Aunt's abode, his first reaction is concern over his Aunt's injury, then annoyance that Chandra is there, and finally relief that his Aunt seems to be alright as she rises to greet them. "And I am relieved to see you well. I am fine, just a few scratches already magically healed." Taladron responds before sharing the details of the sawmill... downplaying the violence as much as possible so as not to worry his Aunt, "So, in the end, the city watch arrived and given our testimony, the evidence found in Ironbriar's secret office, and the confession from Ironbriar's head, we were able to clear our names. Now we only need to deal with this Xanesha and we can put this dreadful business behind us."
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