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  1. - Top - End - #211
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    Default Re: (PF) maggie's Rise of the Runelords: Skinsaw Murders IC II


    "Hell the fook yeah. Thattawork."
    Rico says as she swats Naya's shoulder with a finger in a brash but affectionate gesture.

    Addressing everybody, she shrugs and asks, "Koff. Four... huhm. Who's stayin' groundside ta come up at 'em from below, then?"

    "BWAAAHHH HAH HAH HAH HAH! urrrrffffff... nghh... "
    Rico lets rip with an unexpected belly laugh, then groans, clutching her ribs. "Tch. Well. Ehm... waitasec. Dunno all'at much 'bout serpent demons, but... where do they keep the heart? High? Low? Both sides?"
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  2. - Top - End - #212
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    Default Re: (PF) maggie's Rise of the Runelords: Skinsaw Murders IC II

    Red

    Red gasps and whimpers as the air rushes into her lungs with explosive force, arching her back in agony, only to seize up and choke at the accumulation of spittle and blood in her mouth. Rolling heavily onto her side, she coughs up crimson-spooled saliva onto Rico's knees, grimacing as she scrubs and thumbs at her eyes. Cayden's sodding codpiece. For the third time in the long day since she'd entered Magnimar, she'd almost died. Again. Thank the gods, someone (probably Brin) had done the healing magic. But her eyes-

    For a moment, dread seizes her heart as Red that she can behold nothing but shadows, causing her to flounder, pawing frantically at her face. The gargoyle's bite. There was something in it. Everything had gone dark. Would it be forever?

    Sniffing the cold air and shivering a little as the rains swats her face, Red angles her head towards the familiar scent of sweat and sharp leather, the tang palpable through the heavy rain. So still outside then. "...R-rico?" Reaching out a hesitant arm, Red tries grasping about for Rico's hand, only to brush her fingers against Setsuna's cheek and immediately startle, drawing back. That skin was much too smooth to be Rico's. Judging from the voice and the burning sensation in her ears as she blushed, she knew exactly who it was too...

    It seemed that they'd won. She'd done her job. She'd brought down the meat-thing and stopped the gargoyle until Xanesha was dead. That was good then. Not trusting herself to speak without giving herself away, Red contents herself with sipping from the flask that Rico shoves into her hand, recognising the bitter herbal aroma of a Vudrani healing potion, and listening to the others. Chanda hadn't spoken yet. Where was she? Was she safe? She surely was. Her elder sister was far too clever to let herself die for something she wasn't even getting paid to do.

    "I am... all right, Miss Brin. Thank you." Maybe the healing potion was doing her good. Or maybe the rain was helping. But she could see a little more than before - shadows and the rain slashed silhouettes of her friends. Her body didn't ache so much any more too. "We... can go. I will do... my best."

    *****

    GM post

    Setsuna


    Maethilur waits for Rico to change subject before warmly addressing her mistress.

    Commendable. Most commendable indeed. This is where preparation and the appropriate frame of mind can get you. Do you understand a little more now? Righteous fury. It is the blazing fire that purges and cleanses the world of those who would blight it with their malice and cruelty. In it, there can be no room for weakness, nor mercy for those who do not deserve it.

    *****

    Everyone else

    While the rest of you had quickly rushed over to where the demon-horned gargoyle had fallen, Chanda holds back. Sparing a glance with over in your direction long enough to ensure that Brin was busy attending to Red, the thief immediately strides over to where Setsuna's black tentacles continue to writhe and wriggle, her icy rapier still clenched in one hand as she waits.

    With the rest of you preoccupied in the debate over what to do next, Chanda alone witnesses Xanesha popping back into sight - mangled into a barely recognisable mess of seeping, raw muscle. She scowls as she peers long and hard at the lamia matriarch's body before yelling to wave the rest of you over.

    "Oy! Snow white! Lose the squid-arms!"
    Last edited by maggie_mcknife; 2016-03-07 at 08:03 AM.
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  3. - Top - End - #213
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    Setsuna

    Smiling in relief as Red starts to move, even if it's frantic, she does what she can to help the temporarily blinded woman steady Rico's flask and drink while keeping her head raised. "It is okay, only a gargoyle escaped, and it is at the top of the tower, take a moment to rest," she says, all intention to immediately storm the tower lost in the sight of her friend's condition. She stays like that until Red tries to get up on her own power, offering her whatever help she can in the process, but only speaking when she tries to get up, whispering just loud enough for only Red to hear over the downpour, "You did well."

    Maethilur, however, she takes longer to react to, her gaze shifting to the side when the blade speaks, uncertain how she feels. "Maybe...but in focusing on Xanesha I let the other creatures hurt my friends...what is the use in fury if it makes me leave them vulnerable?" She asks the spirit guiltily.

    Chanda is the one who gets the fastest reply. She doesn't look up to meet the elder Allin's gaze but replies that "They should not last very long," just in time for the forest of squirming tentacles to vanish, causing the plucked medallion and other stolen items from Xanesha's body to fall to the ground, landing with a splash in various puddles and muddied patches of dirt.
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  4. - Top - End - #214
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    Naya

    Visibly relaxing at the sight of Red making recovery, Naya starts speaking with rather more confidence, "Miss Rico, there is not really much choice, I believe - miss Red still needs rest, and miss Chanda already expressed her distrust of magical transportation. But it all might be pointless in the first place - I'll go check if there's a place to land in the first place..." Saying that, Naya chants the already-familiar spell and darts up, keeping several dozen feet from the wower itself in case gargoyle would appear again.
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  5. - Top - End - #215
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    Rico's smirk spreads into a smile at the touching interplay between Setsuna and Red, but says nothing, merely averting her gaze politely.

    A lip curls and an ear twitches as Rico answers Naya, while still serving as Red's sophont chair-back. "Wasn't sayin' we're a-goin' posthaste. 'Tleast once Red 'ere gets de-cursed, ain't that right?"

    Watching as Naya shoots up into the sky, the halforc constable muses aloud, "Huhm. Rilleh. When did we get so used to all these magicks...?"

    She suppresses a shudder at how Xanesha's mangled--- and apparently flayed--- corpse reappears. Hwut. Duh. HELL? "Hellgirl, lemme jess say this thou'... Gettin' even an' settin' things right's all good an' all, but... whiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiw..." However, Rico's sentence trails off into a whistle, and then silence as she decides Setsuna might not yet be in the best mindset to receive a warning. That, and that spell was a damned good tactical coup. "Koff. Nuthin'."

    ya SKINNED her? Ain't a-meanin' offense, Hellgirl, but this 'ere's a friendly warnin'. DON"T be goin' cultist on us now, arright?

    A lip curls again as Rico's eyes dart from one of their fallen enemies' weapons to the other, weighing up the spear and the scythe, while still firmly but gently supporting Red, waiting for her sight to fully recover.
    Last edited by Miraqariftsky; 2016-03-04 at 09:09 AM.
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  6. - Top - End - #216
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    "If you're sure, then. Still, take a moment." Brin answers Red. The Lady of Graves knew her business. Red might be a little sore, but she was whole again. That, at least, Brin could depend on, even if her divinations kept coming up short. That's not fair. The cards came true! She reminds herself. Oh, aye, but what good is a prophesy that can only be read after the fact. Her bitter half snaps back. There was a reason why she'd turned to the Harrow so infrequently in recent weeks. It increasingly seemed like the cards had less of a hold over fate than her bow did.

    Mention of Naya's plan snaps Brin out of her introspection. "You scout ahead, then. I'll keep a watch out from down here and make the gargoyle into a pincushion if it shows its face." She retrieves and arrow and fits it to her bow. "You can take us all up once you've found a safe spot to land."

  7. - Top - End - #217
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    GM post

    If the sight of Xanesha's shredded remains rattles the stoic Rico inwardly, Chanda shows no signs of being likewise affected. Her steps are light as she skips over what remains of the lamia's tail, using the tip of her rapier to prod experimentally at the golden mask hanging askew from the face. Baring her teeth in a mirthless grin at what she sees once she has levered the gilded covering off, the thief nevertheless doesn't hesitate to ram her blade through the lamia's eye socket, twisting the rapier with such force that those of you nearby can hear the dull crack of Xanesha's skull fracturing from within.

    "That's for stealing me face, yer scaly bitch." The low note of relish in Chanda's voice is unmistakable as she yanks her rapier out, not caring that she almost slices off what is left of Xanesha's nose as she does so.

    It is difficult to tell for sure through the patter of rain. But for those of you who approach as Chanda proceeds to messily hack at Xanesha's limbs in an attempt to wrest the lamia out of her gleaming tunic, you might swear that you can hear the thief humming a jolly tune under her breath as she saws away at a shoulder joint.

    You find the following items on Xanesha's corpse:
    • 1 longspear
    • 1 gold mask (slightly dented)
    • 1 Sihedron medallion (or at least it looks a lot like one)
    • 1 snakeskin tunic (which Chanda is still busy cutting off Xanesha)
    • 1 ring of keys


    *****

    Setsuna

    Open your mind. Look beyond the clarion of the immediate. Perhaps it is only a trick of the mind, but it seems to Setsuna for a moment that her skin tingles with warmth where the sheath of her katana rests against her hip. Did I not tell you that you must learn to depend on the strength of others to learn of true strength for yourself? Tell me not of leaving your companions vulnerable. Had you remained to face the flesh puppet, yon temptress would have slain the servant of Pharasma and the brave constable in return. You trusted in the strength of your companion then. What does it say of you now that you doubt her ability to stand? Forgive my rudeness, but you ought not to gamble with lives to assuage the guilt that you bear for what happened to your father.

    *****

    Red

    "I'm better... I c-can see now. I think..." As if to prove her worth, Red knuckles at her eyes and immediately regrets it when the roughened leather of her gloves scratches her still tender face and causes it to bloom with pain. Wincing slightly, she keeps her face turned to the sky, letting the rain do its soothing work of washing the rawness away.

    She could definitely see more now. The wolfish glow of Rico's eyes somewhere above her. The scarlet and grey of Brin's cape snapping in the wind. The white marble of Setsuna's fingers on Rico's flask. Something big and dark that was probably the Irespan.

    When Setsuna compliments her, Red can feel the tell-tale prickle of a blush on her cheeks even as her heart beats warm with the praise. The blush - that wasn't good. Dammit. She'd need to talk to Setsuna about this later, when this was all over.

    "Chanda. Is s-she... all right?"

    *****

    Naya

    The winds get stronger the higher up Naya goes, buffeting the young sylph as if she was no heavier than a kite and threatening to sweep her out to sea at a moment's notice. Yet the blood in Naya's veins runs true - all it takes is a thought and a whisper to strengthen her inner resolve, allowing her to soar easily through the slowly brewing storm.

    From up here, Naya can see the smoky, filthy rooftops of the Underbridge sprawling away in a haphazard trail of lights and haze. Her target is the same rickety scaffolding she'd flown past yesterday. By night, the mess of steel and wood looks even more dubious, girders groaning and swaying in the wind and all manner of dark shadows making it difficult to pick out the exact lay of the roof. Nor does the towering statue of Soralyon impart any comfort, his regal face so weathered and caked with grime that it resembles the twisted visage of a demon more than the guardian lord of star-seekers. Of the gargoyle, there is no sign - but then again, the bastards are very well known for hiding in plain sight, which does nothing to put Naya at ease.

    Circling the cluttered tangle of roof tiles and beams, Naya is about to give up finding a safe spot to land when she manages to pick out what appears to be a rudimentary flight of steps that winds around the exterior of the roof, little more than loose planks shoved across the more stable support beams. It's not much to go on, but there's definitely enough room for all of you to land and stay balanced if nobody tries any monkey business.
    Last edited by maggie_mcknife; 2016-03-07 at 11:41 AM.
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    Seraphina "Red" Allin, fighter-rogue of double kukri slicey death

  8. - Top - End - #218
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    W'elp.

    "Well." Rico replies to Red while still cradling her back. "Far as I reckon it, she got off the lightest, second ta Setsuna here..."

    And with those words, with nigh to no subtlety, she reaches out and snags Setsuna's weapon belt--- or whatever passes for one--- and pauses, catching herself. Not everybody is fine with brash physical affection, and all the more so with such travail as Setsuna suffered the night before.

    That in mind, Rico merely twitches a couple of fingers towards Red, with a double flick of her ears. "Ahem. 'Scuse me. Iffen ye'll be so kind as ta lend y'self as our resident livin' marble throne, hah. Poppin' over ta see with yer sister 'bout... carvin' up a dead hellwanker."

    Rico's resolve finally slips a little, however, as she sighs before she says when passing them by, "Oh, and Hellgirl? The way you literally turned Xanesha inside out like'at? While I do think that was a NICE touch... Yer duly warned: Do. NOT. Frigging. Go. CULTIST. On. Us. Hellgirl. Vengeance is one thing, but, Gorum's gonads. Be not the monster wot ye hate lest ye become the monster, or woteva da heck that proverb was. Ye get me drift?"

    Slowly, she eases out of the way and lays Red's recovering form at Setsuna's care. Stretching, Rico strides over to the massive corpse where Chanda is wreaking her revenge.

    Wait, wait... was I =TOO= sleepy earlier? HER face? Eh... well, not my business. Unless it's a security threat or friends be hurtin'. Still, proves. I was too weak after that midnight ride, need ta be tougher. An', holy frigging hellsteeth, 'pparently at least Hellgirl an' Chanda NEED more paranoia. AHEM. I mean, wariness. Would it have taken THAT much ta prick themselves as part o' handshake protocols? Them stalkers still bleed weird ****, right?Blood test woulda seen to that, if they'da thought it. AH, well. Learnin' point, fer next time...

    "Friggin' bitch, eh?" Rico spits and nods at Chanda, as if they were discussing naught but the weather. And hefts her sword and impales the fiendspawn's vile heart.

    Thanks fer makin' THAT chore easier, Hellgirl. Though, IF this little precaution don't work an' she does come back? Hella frakkin' hideous, an' there ain't a lot wot curdles me. Like a frigging fish or squid wot been turned inside out. Er. Hell. Snake, afore it's grilled. Ain't that appropriate.
    Last edited by Miraqariftsky; 2016-03-08 at 01:12 PM.
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  9. - Top - End - #219
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    Setsuna

    Setsuna listened carefully to Maethilur's words, most of them calming her guilt over what happened and the injuries she couldn't prevent, but the mention of her father caused her to falter, however briefly, and unconsciously start holding her breath for a few seconds as that pain flared and faded. Sighing, she eventually speaks up again. "You are right...I am sorry," though the tone she says it in is one that doesn't quite have the tiefling's usual warmth. 'Rude' might not have been the correct word for the blade's little dig, though Setsuna does her best not to show how much that hurt.

    Red proves an ample distraction from that however. "Chanda-san is perfectly safe. But one of the gargoyles flew away, so Naya-san is looking for a place at the top of the tower to teleport a few of us so we can make sure it does not get away," she explains as Rico gets up.

    Unfortunately the distraction Red provided isn't enough to completely eliminate the twinge of pain from Maethilur's barbed comment, and when combined with Rico's warning, even the usually patient Setsuna started to become irritated. It takes her a moment to respond, a slight twitch of her eye her only apparent reaction at first until Rico impales Xanesha's heart. "'Go cultist?'" She mutters under her breath before turning to face where the constable had moved to, "That spell is not meant for attacking the deceased, it was just an unfortunate accident that she died where she did...but I do not want to hear warnings like that from someone who is so happy to defile bodies!" Caught between anger, guilt, and outrage when all she wants to be feeling is relieved, the Minkan princess reacts poorly and emotionally as she wipes what a generous person would call rainwater away from her eyes
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    Setsuna by Kymme | Desril by Wolfshonor | Eruvia (no background) by Oneris

  10. - Top - End - #220
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    The heart. Th' seat of the soul. Dat spring o' all them feelings. Thing wot gets th' blood goin'. A piece o' meat.

    Rico muses as a chunk of half-charred mangled meat slowly slips down her wave-edged blade. Blood and fouler filth mingle with rainwater, trickling off the silvered steel.

    "Happy to defile bodies, ye say?" Rico shakes her head as she addresses Setsuna over the patter of the rain and the schrkk-ssscchhhkk-sklurtch-slitsch of Chanda's butchering, skinning, flaying of their fiendish foe. "KOFF, ahem. If 'twas Red or you, or ANY one o' y'all wot died, do you doubt I'd make ...Do you doubt I'd see to it that ye get a right an' proper funeral an' all that? An' thass ontoppa gettin' back on 'em wot frakked up me friends. Gettin' business done is one thing. They cross some lines, shet gets personal. As. I'm. Sure. Yer. Agree. Yeah?"

    She shakes her sword, causing bits of gristle to fall like red-black rain. "THAT. And. Just. Makin'. SURE. Besides, ask our resident messenger o' Pharasma. She gave sanction."

    She slowly blinks, then sighs at Setsuna's tirade as she saunters over closer to them. And almost nonchalantly flicks the defiler's heart into the mud. There she pauses, chin in hand, considering her options. Still listening to Setsuna, she lets her hands do the work--- fishing out a pair of phials, and pouring out their deadly brew onto the heretic's heart, melting it into a boiling sludge. Not yet finished, she takes out a jug of clear, almost sparkling water, and pours out half onto the meat-crap that had once been Xanesha's heart.

    Suddenly, Rico shudders, her teeth chattering...

    Rain drives across a crow-sown field. Tall grass swaying in green and yellow waves like the sea. Corpses in mail and tattoos that hurt the eyes to look upon litter the churned mud. Their flesh seems withered, husked, as if they were drained.

    Broken swords pin the hands and feet of an utter behemoth of a man, bloated with sheer bone and muscle and pulsing with unhallowed power. Though he is clearly dead, nearly cloven asunder from neck to groin and his head hewn off, still the air around the blackguard almost groans with a miasma of malevolent energy.

    I gaze upon him--- no, it--- no more a man, a fiend in flesh. Khopesh in one hand, hallowed hat and holy symbol in the other. Words flow like a river from my lips. Words of judgment, a hymn of warding, a litany of protection, a prayer of purging.

    Amen.

    And then I spit.

    Thou foul fiend. Ye blaggard. Be damned and stay dead. In the name of Horakhte, so mote it be.


    ...the halforc constable sways on her feet, clutching her head, gasping, breathing shallowly. For a moment, she seems to look glassy-eyed, then remembers the holy water in her hand.

    What... what the frigging HELL was that...?

    Half of the remaining holy water, she uses to clean her sword. The remainder? She passes into Brin's hands and says, "Holy water. Got more if y'need it. What... do... we, er, can ye use that ta give us all a little cleansing, ma'am?" Rico shrugs and says, "T'be honest, I was expectin' undead an' demons. Still be thinkin' these're them, at least by extension, but me gut told me I mighta wasted a sword stroke iffen I'd sprung these on 'em earlier."
    Last edited by Miraqariftsky; 2016-03-09 at 12:57 AM.
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  11. - Top - End - #221
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    Oblivious to the drama ensuing below, Naya spends some time planting the exact shape and location of stairs into her mind, then starts descending and lands between her companions, very deliverately not looking at Xanesha's remains.

    "Good news!"
    she says cheerfully, "Seems there's a place we can land on - bad news, it's rather narrow and, with that rain, might be bit slicky... though I think the bridge should have shielded the top of the tower, but still, it won't hurt to be careful. So... I supose we should hold our hands just in case, so I could stop all of you from falling... just in case. So, miss Setsuna, miss Rico, miss Brin?" the sylph extends her hand, "I'm ready whenever you are?"
    Tome of Radiance, a Magical Girl sourcebook for 3.5/PF.

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  12. - Top - End - #222
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    Red

    There was something soothing about the rain falling on your upturned face. Red didn't know how to explain it. It just felt like being healed and having bad things taken away. A quarrel threatening to brew between two friends, however, was not soothing at all.

    Glancing worriedly towards her sister as she hacks the shiny bits off Xanesha's corpse (what if there was a trap in there somewhere?), Red turns her attention back to Setsuna, reaching for the tiefling's hand. There was an odd note in Setsuna's voice. It didn't sound right. Something was wrong. Setsuna hadn't complained before about Rico's protective measures.

    "... Is everything... all right? You are... not yourself. Did Xanesha... did she hurt you?"
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    Seraphina "Red" Allin, fighter-rogue of double kukri slicey death

  13. - Top - End - #223
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    Setsuna

    Teeth clenching, it seems as if Setsuna is about to say something else before Red speaks up, the concern obvious in her voice even to the currently unstable tiefling. It's enough to make her close her eyes briefly and take a deep breath before turning her attention back to the rogue in her arms with an honest, if tired and strained, smile. "No, I am...fine. I am just..." she struggles for the word for a moment before realizing what it is. "Angry." Given her discussion with Maethilur earlier, it should not be as surprising as it is to her, and yet the revelation still takes a moment to sink it. Righteous fury may be virtuous when it's needed, but untempered it turns quickly to wrath, and tempering is one quality that the tiefling's unbridled emotions is very much lacking in. I need to learn how to control that...it is not fair to everyone else to lash out like this, even if they--she stops, shaking her head, trying to cut off that line of thinking.

    Taking another breath, Setsuna turns to look toward Naya. "Give us another minute, then take Red instead of me. If any thing happens on the stairs I am the most suited to avoid falling."
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    Naya

    "You sure?" the sylph bites her lip, throwing a concerned glance at Setsuna, but then looks around others and adds, "Well, if no one objects, let it be so..."

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    Chief, unless anyone does object, feel free to port the boarding party - i.e., Naya, Rico, Red and Brin - to the top of the tower. As a precaution, we're holding hands, and Naya would cast Feather Fall the moment a single character loses her footing.
    Tome of Radiance, a Magical Girl sourcebook for 3.5/PF.

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    Ambling back to Xanesha's carcass, Rico whistles as she picks through the entrails, heaving out the longspear of the former mistress of the tower yonder.

    Catching smatchets of Setsuna's brewing, the halforc constable snorts into the night, making a mental note to resolve certain matters before the night is over. Shouldering the spear and stowing shield and sword, giving her armour's straps a last check as well as the ties of her various pouches, she squares her shoulders and faces the others. "Arright, y'all. Good work thus far, but don't get overcoffident. Meet y'all in the middle, eh?"

    With one last touch to the talisman on her hat, she links up with Naya and the others...
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    Default Re: (PF) maggie's Rise of the Runelords: Skinsaw Murders IC II

    Brin gnaws her lip, trying to think of a better idea than sending Setsuna and Chanda marching up through the tower, but fails. The pair were stupidly stubborn, and the cloak had its limitation. She gives up and sighs.

    "Let's get this over with, then." She slips an arm through her still-strung bow so that she has both hands free to form living chain with the rest of the advanced party.

  17. - Top - End - #227
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    Default Re: (PF) maggie's Rise of the Runelords: Skinsaw Murders IC II

    GM post

    Naya, Brin, Rico, Red

    Naya uses Cape of the Mountebank.

    As the wearer of the enchanted cape, all Naya feels as the word of command forms on her lips is a gentle breeze that springs up from nowhere, causing the cape to billow briefly about her body like a protective banner before abruptly collapsing, whisking the sylph from sight and leaving nothing but a cloud of smoke to be rent by the rain. The sensation is familiar, not unlike that of being buoyed upwards by the wind during cloud-play. It is mostly definitely an incentive to keep on using her latest acquisition, even just for sport.

    For the rest of you, however, as mere riders to the spell, the sensation of being yanked rudely along by an invisible cable hooked through your navel is jarring, knocking the air from your lungs. Finding yourself subsequently perched precariously on the edge of a ramshackle roof almost two hundred feet off the ground is enough to give even the most steely-hearted among you a lurch of the stomach.

    Nevertheless, Naya has chosen her spot well. The creaking excuse of a staircase, rickety though it be, is on the leeward side of the roof, opposite from the frozen clock face, where you all are protected from the worst of the buffeting winds. For as long as none of you lean too far out, there is no danger of falling. From up here, despite the grime and the rain, you have an otherwise unparalleled view of the Underbridge in all its foggy, sordid glory. You can even just about make out the pale spot on the ground that is Setsuna as she hurries towards the base of the Shadow Clock.

    Rico has landed on the higher portion of the staircase that leads up a what appears to be a gaping hole in the roof, just beneath the statue of benighted Soralyon (E6). On the lower portion of the staircase is Brin, with about ten feet between her and another yawning space in the tower wall where the wood has long since rotted away (E5). There are no lights within the Shadow Clock, as far as you can tell. The musty overhang of the Irespan above you does not make it any easier to see either, blocking out what little moonlight there is. Still, it affords you some relief from the rain.

    Dim lighting rules are in effect.

    Perception DC 16
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    Even with the hollow drumming of the rain on the roof tiles, by flaring your nostrils and sniffing hard, you can just about pick up the raw odour of offal and bird droppings in the air. There must be another raven closet somewhere close by, probably on the other side of the wall.


    Perception DC 35 (make another check)
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    No matter how quiet things look up here, you can't quite shake the feeling that you're being watched. Shaking your head, you are about to dismiss the prickle on your neck as mere paranoia when you spot it - the gargoyle that had fled from battle earlier on, crouching low in the shadows at the base of Soralyon's despoiled form amidst a jumble of other twisted statuettes. There is practically nothing to distinguish it from the other grotesque and hunched stone figures balanced precariously on the roof, but you're not forgetting that skull-like face with sunken hollows where the eyes should be in a hurry.


    *****

    Setsuna and Chanda

    Holding out the last note of her humming as she sneaks a peek at Red limping over to Naya's side, the corner of Chanda's mouth twitches reflexively. All the same, the thief says nothing to her sister as Naya and the rest of you link hands, merely holding up the battered remains of the late Xanesha's tunic, still caked with bits of raw flesh.

    "Better not break that poker. That's prime darkwood, 'case yer didn't feel it," Chanda calls over to Rico as the constable hefts the barbed longspear. Squinting at the tunic and rubbing its sleeve between thumb and finger, Chanda looks thoughtful, then purses her lips and shrugs before carelessly rolling up the tunic and chucking it into her backpack, along with the medallion and the gold mask.

    She picks up the ring of keys just as Naya's group vanishes, twirling them absent-mindedly on one finger like a child's toy before she turns her head towards Setsuna. With the purple lenses of her goggles obscuring most of her face and hiding her bitter sweep of her scathing eyes, one might have mistaken her for her sister, though the merest word from the thief's mouth is enough to dispel that illusion.

    Sheathing her rapier, Chanda beckons Setsuna over even, her voice light with arrogance. "Guess 'tis just yer and me, snow white. Come'n then. Keep your peepers peeled. If things go pear-shaped, I'll be saving mine hide first and yers after. Can't help yer if I'm dead or deadder, see? Best to do this chop-speed now. Before anything inside sees us and springs a trap, 'ssuming your buddies up top don't hustle themselves."

    The dry and dusty air within the Shadow Clock is welcome respite after the past hour of being soaked in the rain. Striding through the open doors of the Shadow Clock, Setsuna finds herself in a room heavy with neglect, swaths of rubble and mounds of plaster lying in heaps on the stone floor and piled high in the southwest corner. A single bullock cart with brackets of fungi lining its hub sits to the northeast. Looking around, the tiefling can count six partially collapsed rooms that line the northern and eastern walls, their doors hanging askew and their ceilings caved in. Whatever this base floor was once used for, nothing of value appears to remain - likely long-since looted by the ravenous denizens of the Underbridge.

    "Prints. Lots of 'em. Going up the stairs. Looks like this's where that ole flesh-bag outside made his nest," announces Chanda to no-one in particular as she kneels and studies the dusty floor by a flight of wooden stairs that winds up into the cavernous space above.

    It is not hard to trust Chanda's assessment of the flesh golem's habitation - the air here is redolent with the sickly-sweet reek of rotting flesh. Looking upwards, Setsuna's eyes have no trouble making out the winding staircase that clings to the sides of the tower like a creeping vine intent on choking the life of its host. All the way at the top, she can discern the dull gleam of four large bronze bells, secured to crossbeams.

    *****

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  18. - Top - End - #228
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    A hot mess of cheap wine, Aunt Vera's chocolates, and stomach acid laps at the back of Brin's throat as she peeks over the edge of the dilapidated stairway. Never had she regretted a decision with such immediate intensity. Her back presses against the damp stone of the clocktower--legs moving of their own accord--and Brin debates whether she really wants to call up a light to get a better view.

    Reason wins out, barely, and a whispered prayer sets Brin's bow aglow. Plenty of light to examine the yawning chasm between each of the rotten slats. It's not yawning. It's sighing at best. Stop being irrational. The thinking part of her mind lectures.

    "Fear of plummeting to our death through rotten stairways isn't irrational." The other, perhaps saner, part mutters aloud. "Um...rope. We should, maybe, hold on to one?" She pulls an armful of silken coils from her pack.
    Last edited by Bhaakon; 2016-03-14 at 02:36 PM.

  19. - Top - End - #229
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    Setsuna

    Maybe it was just because her mood was still soured, maybe it was because Xanesha's deception had spoiled the image of Chanda she'd had in her head, or maybe even that Red had nearly died and Chanda seemed to only show the barest hint of concern. What it was, it allowed the tiefling to see the thief in a different, less romantic light. And coupled with the last few minutes, that meant that Setsuna couldn't find a reply to Chanda's words. She wasn't wrong, they made sense, they were just so...heartless. And so the Minkan princess sighed and moved along after her, idly curious about the golem's nest and wondering why it would need such a thing, remembering that they should go back and check its body for supplies as well, once they've finished identifying everything Xanesha had on her.

    "Come on, we need to hurry and meet the others at the top,"
    she says simply, sounding almost tired as she makes for the staircase.
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  20. - Top - End - #230
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    "Rope? Oh, well... I guess it won't hurt", Naya says without much obvious enthusiasm, never having really understood what is that "fear of heights" thing supposed to mean, "One moment, I'll make you some light" - she clicks her fingers, summoning a quartet of wisps and hesitating for a moment, "so... up or down? Miss Brin, miss Rico?"

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  21. - Top - End - #231
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    Default Re: (PF) maggie's Rise of the Runelords: Skinsaw Murders IC II

    Red

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    Perception checks:
    (1d20+12)[18]
    (1d20+12)[24]


    Grimacing as she rubs her tender belly, Red instinctively shields her eyes when Naya conjures up some pretty floating light balls, looking away and down at her feet, only to immediately wish she hadn't. This was high up. Very high up. Gods dammit - one of the precise reasons she'd given up thievery was because she didn't like looking down from high places like this where she was in danger of falling, and just what was she doing now?

    "T-thank y-you. Miss N-naya." Too terrified for sarcasm, Red blurts the words out of polite reflex, before squeezing her eyes shut and deliberately looking away before opening them again. Smiling faintly in relief at Brin's suggestion, she keeps her weight close to the tower while scrabbling in her own pack for her own coil of silken rope. "Y-yes. Rope... would be g-good."

    Only if you tie it good to something that doesn't break, points out an acid voice in Red's head that sounds uncannily like Chanda's. Red growls softly under her breath. She'd beaten Chanda just now. Chanda didn't have the right to order her around - not any more. But all the same, she makes sure to check that all the knots she ties - one dead loop around her waist and one to a somewhat sturdier looking beam that wasn't swaying - are secure and fast before allowing herself the luxury of looking around.

    Raking her sopping hair messily away from her face, Red blinks, snorting as the pungent odour of bird droppings hits her. "I think... there are ravens. Near here. Like in... the s-sawmill," she says aloud, glancing up at the vast shelter of the Irespan in case there were bats or something else that was making that much dung. As she angles her neck upwards, however, something by the base of the statue of Soralyon catches her eye, causing Red to frown and tighten her grip on her kukri in white-knuckled worry. She'd only had a little time just now to see it, from the corner of her eye, while running to the other gargoyle. And then she hadn't seen anything at all. She wasn't sure. But still...

    "Rico? The... the other gargoyle. W-what did it... look like?"

    *****

    GM post

    Setsuna and Chanda


    Spoiler
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    Chanda takes 10 on Perception to make 20 for anything out of the ordinary, 23 for traps


    "Wotchit." Chanda holds up a hand in warning to prevent Setsuna from climbing the stairs right away, craning her neck towards the top of the tower where the four bells were suspended. "Mm. Yer thinking what I'm thinking? That if I wants to keep nosy folks outta my nest in a spire like this, I'd nut them on the head with a honking great bell? No other way up though."

    Sucking in her cheeks, Chanda gives a low whistle of resignation before shrugging her shoulders and striding over to the abandoned rooms. "Count to thirty first though. Gotta be certain ain't nothing nasty hiding in here to crunch yer arse and trap us up there. Ain't called the Terrible Stairs for nothin'"

    Caution, as it turns out, right now outweighs the need for speed for Chanda. But it is just as well that Chanda seems to be brutally efficient in her sweep of the ground floor. Little escapes her grasping eye, whether it is a shard of glass frosted with dust or a collapsed corner of the fungus riddled cart . Anything that looks remotely suspicious is swiftly kicked apart or prodded with the broken-off shaft of the cart, her practiced ruthlessness so reminiscent of the ruthless work ethic of organised banditry that one might begin to wonder whether Chanda herself had ever been a participant in such crimes.

    "Heh. Lookit that." Knocking off the top of a larger than average pile of rubble, Chanda uncovers a mouldy hempen sack that clinks promisingly when poked, causing the thief to grin widely in satisfaction. "Here. Catch. Yer can pick that up on yer way out." She snags the sack on the sharpened end of the shaft and fishes it out of the rubble, tossing it towards Setsuna's feet with a deft flick of the wrist. Already worn down by time, the sack breaks open as it lands, spilling forth handfuls of jingling gold and silver coins.

    "Now we can go get nutted on the heads with a big honking bell. But at least we dies rich," says Chanda cheerfully, letting the broken shaft drop to the ground at her feet. "Dunno what horse-crap that stupid bitch fed yer. But if we ever has the misfortunes to cross roads 'gain, know this. I never does anything without payment. Especially not... buggery." Spitting in the dirt, Chanda rubs her chin almost savagely, suddenly turned business-like again. "Yer wanna go first or take the rear?"
    Last edited by maggie_mcknife; 2016-03-14 at 11:29 PM.
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  22. - Top - End - #232
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    Setsuna

    Listening and watching Chanda in uncharacteristic silence, it isn't until she stops speaking that Setsuna finally starts. "Is gold all you ever think about? There is more to life than just shiny metals! Your sister--!" She cuts herself off, not wanting to say that Red almost died, and just shakes her head. "No, it does not matter. We should just go," she says with a sigh, trying very hard not to blow up in anger again as she takes the lead and heads up the stairs.

    Chanda's words echoing around in her head, 'especially not buggery' in particular, eventually gets Setsuna to mutter under her breath, "Mohaya mondaide wa arimasen."

    Spoiler: Minkan
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    "That doesn't matter anymore."
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    GM post

    Setsuna and Chanda


    "Huh. S'times I thinks about what I'd like to do w'all that gold, yeah," shoots back Chanda coolly, not bothered in the least by Setsuna's outburst as she scratches her armpit and follows the tiefling to the stairs. That particular accusation, clearly, is one that has been levied before. The tiefling's mention of Red, however, touches a raw nerve, as Chanda's mouth twitches into a sneer.

    "What 'bout Sera? She's alive, ain't she? In case my stupid little sister's failed to inform yer lot, she challenged me not seven cycles back there to a duel. So I'd s-shut up and l-let her b-b-be." Chanda's mimicry of Red's angry stutter is cruelly accurate, down to the blocking and tense jerk of the neck muscles even as she pads noiselessly up the stairs. "And since she ended up rubbing me nose in the mud - hey, I'd say she's won the right. She's a big girl now. No need for the spiteful big sis to come do nothin' no more. So get off me case, saint white. Geez..."
    Last edited by maggie_mcknife; 2016-03-18 at 01:24 AM.
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  24. - Top - End - #234
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    Setsuna

    Normally more diplomatic, given her current state, the tiefling can't help but be confrontational. "That is not fair and you know it! She might not need you to protect her but you are still her sister so you should show it more and stop pretending that you do not care about her!"

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    Sorry, short post. Hard to get into Setsuna's head right here and...I can't figure out any interesting way to say we go up the stairs >.>
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  25. - Top - End - #235
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    Brin

    "Naya said it was gone." Brin responds to Red, even thought the question wasn't actually directed at here. "But...um, maybe we should go down a meet Setsuna halfway. Just in case we run into it again. Or its friends" The omission of Chanda is more than just an oversight. She was good in a fight, but the less Brin had to talk with that woman, the better.

    "Besides, you're right about the birds. I can smell them too. I bet they're just on the other sid eof the wall here. Maybe they have some more messages." There was, after all, a secret facestealer plot yet to be unraveled.

    Gripping the rope with a white-knuckled fist, Brin gingerly heads down, one rotten step at a time.

  26. - Top - End - #236
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    GM post

    GM post / Red (with some botting for Rico)

    "All right. We shall... go down then." Though she could tell from the agitated rumble in Rico's breathing that Rico herself had probably seen something out there, where the statue was, Red couldn't deny that Brin's idea was a sound one. They'd probably be safer indoors than out. A gargoyle couldn't attack them there so easily. With any luck, there would be nothing in there to attack them either.

    "Wait... Tell us later. Just... look out first." Briefly grasping Rico's wrist with what she hoped was enough force to tell her friend that any sudden outbursts to attract a possible enemy's attention would be bad, Red edges down the staircase after Brin, keeping her eyes determinedly trained on the elf's back. Only when she is through the gap in the wall does she breathe a sigh of relief and unknot the rope around her waist.

    The room that you have just entered (E5) is a windowless, cluttered mess. Between the combined light from Brin's bow and Naya's glowing orbs, it would seem that you have found your way into what was meant to be the clockwork room of the tower, as you find yourself surrounded by a complicated structure of gears welded onto crossbars and spiked belts, all of these coated with a thick blood-red crust. Judging from the amount of rust and cobwebs in here, it seems that none of these structures have been used in years, if at all. The floor in here, clinker-built out of large varnished planks, is thankfully much more solid than the pathetic excuse of a staircase that you have just walked off.

    In the northeast corner of the room is another room (E4). Red, still seeking the source of the bird smell, ambles over and peers though the half-open door before turning to nod at Brin. "It is... ravens. And another door. It goes... outside."

    For anyone else who goes to confirm Red's assessment of the room, you find that she is only half right. While you do find a similar bird closet set-up here as in the sawmill, the ragged hole in the wall with more rickety stairs leading outside the tower that Red had generously termed a door doesn't even have a make-shift covering to keep out the rain, let alone the other accouterments expected of an entrance portal.

    In their wire-covered closet, two large ravens watch you through the mesh, croaking affably as they rustle their feathers.

    *****

    Setsuna and Chanda

    Even with Setsuna screeching at her, Chanda pauses long enough to listen to the groaning of the planks as Setsuna stomps ahead, feeling the flex and sway of the wood with one hand on the railings before she elects to follow the tiefling. Still, the cold disdain in her voice is apparent, even if Setsuna can't actually see the thief rolling her eyes.

    "How's 'fair' even in play? Yer ain't boss o' me. Nor expert on me family. What do yer know, saint white? Raised with all them sliver spoonies in yer craw- keep yer nobby big sis standards to yerself. I'll do what I sees fit to keep my family alive." Chanda calls acidly up the stairs, glancing up at the overhanging bells every few seconds, as if expecting to see some change there. As she walks, she keeps the distance between her and Setsuna, refusing to be hurried or agitated as she paces up one step at a time, always measuring, always judging.

    *****

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  27. - Top - End - #237
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    "Well, in that case", Naya looks around, making sure they aren't missing anything - no papers left in the ravens' nest, no treasure chests sneaked between the clockwork?

    Spoiler
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    Perception (1d20)[4]


    "In that case, further down we go, I suppose - unless you would like me to check the upper level really quickly? Oh, and miss Rico... that is - was - Xanesha's weapon,wasn't it? Let me take a look at that as well, if you don't mind - after all, you never know..."

    Having gotten the permission, she whispers the words to a simpe spell - the first one she actually learned, instead of figuring out instinctively.

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    Detect Magic, Spellcraft result 23 in OOC thread
    Tome of Radiance, a Magical Girl sourcebook for 3.5/PF.

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  28. - Top - End - #238
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    Brin

    "Yeah...another way down. But, um...let's make sure there's nothing here before heading that way?"
    Brin answers Red. And absolutely not because I want to recover before before tip-toeing down another tumble-down excuse for a stairway. She adds to herself, hoping that the slight tremor in her hands doesn't betray her true feelings on the matter.

    "Maybe there are some old messages left around the raven cage. It doesn't look like they were particularly tidy."
    She adds, once she's had a few deep, steadying breathes. It almost sounds like a reasonable argument. And no one could dispute that the rusty, dust-choked space was an absolute rathole. It would be a surprise if the ravens were sick from being cooped up in the place. Hard to imagine they were cared for very well.

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    Perception for a quick search: (1d20+10)[18]

  29. - Top - End - #239
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    Setsuna

    Trying very hard not to scream, all Setsuna can do is keep moving forward, trusting her reflexes and feet to get her out of the way of any danger that she doesn't and probably won't see coming ahead of time. "It is not as if I have never dealt with any thing harsh and unfair! Why do you think I am even on this half of the world?!" Biting her tongue, she just continues to trudge upstairs, trying not to speak the thought screaming into her head, What did I ever see attractive in you?

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    ...let's be honest, Setsuna isn't making any perception checks here, she's way too distracted to be paying attention. I'll just use acrobatics or whatever to deal with the consequences if Chanda doesn't shout a warning
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  30. - Top - End - #240
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    GM post

    Naya's Detect Magic and Spellcraft

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    i.e. +1 Longspear with 1/day 30 foot radius burst of despair as a free action

    With your expertise in ancient artifacts, you have no trouble with identifying the weapon that Rico has retrieved from Xanesha as a darkwood longspear dating from the time of the Thassilonian empire - and in excellent condition, too.

    Dubbed by weapons enthusiasts of the era as an 'Impaler of Thorns', this particular model of longspear was believed to have been used by crack Thassilonian guardsmen aid in the breaking up civil unrest. When wielded in combat, Impalers are known to emit a horrid screeching sound akin to that of a wild beast whenever its bearer should deal a particularly damaging blow - supposedly to affright and dishearten the enemy. Being constructed for group tactics, Impalers are also known to bestow another equally fearsome power on their bearers - the ability to cause all those who do not themselves wield an Impaler to be immediately overwhelmed with feelings of despair, thus rendering them easy targets for rounding up. Judging from the moderate aura of enchantment that you sense emmanating from this spear, you would judge this Impaler's magic to still be potent.


    *****

    Naya's Perception check
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    Contrary to your hopes, there don't appear to be any hidden treasure chests in this room.


    Brin's Perception check
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    Unfortunately, despite straining your eyes and even getting down on your hands and knees to check under the bird closet, there doesn't appear to be anything more on the floor besides the odd rodent bone and a carpet of choking grey dust. Xanesha must have tidied this place up well enough.

    The ravens don't appear to mind your intrusion - they're tame enough to endure the proximity of strangers, it would seem. Training their beady eyes on you, they follow your every move, even hopping along their perch and flapping to the closet door, grasping onto the mesh with their feet, in order to see what you are doing.


    *****

    Setsuna

    "And Calistria laughed. Yer such a child-" The words of frustration, hissed between Chanda's clenched teeth, echo slightly in the stairwell of the Shadow Clock. "Listen here, lil' miss holier-than-thou," says the thief in a louder, more vicious voice that could have cut ice. "I don't gives a flying fig why yer here or what yer dealt with 'fore. Yer got no reason to care 'bout me family, and given that yer don't know squat 'bout who we are and what we hadda do to live, yer ain't got the right to care nether. So how 'bout yer just have a nice cuppa shut the frak up? If yer didn't want the gold, yer could've just said so and be done with it. Gods, yer stiffer than a stick up Iomedae's arse..."
    Last edited by maggie_mcknife; 2016-03-19 at 01:46 AM.
    Avatar by the awesome Strawberries.

    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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