The Campaign Builders' Guild

Campaign Creation => Roleplaying => Topic started by: Steerpike on July 08, 2010, 11:45:10 AM

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on July 08, 2010, 11:45:10 AM
Blood and Bewitchment in the City of Bodysnatchers

Adventure Logs

Here are the logs from my online game set in the Cadaverous Earth, using a modified version of Iron Heroes.

Bold text is the GM speaking (me).  I've edited out the rolls and the majority of the out of character chatter (i.e. rules discussions, knowledge rolls and other skill checks, and the like).

Dramatis Personae

Eareg Maar, played by Nomadic, a ghul Gunfighter and Witch; an associate of the Robber Guild known as the House of Crimson Shadows with a lot of hexed tattoos, a demon-possessed rifle named Meteor, and a bone to pick with the scumbag scavenger who sent him to the pits.

Mr. Carver, played by Crow, a human Executioner trying to transcend his own humanity by transforming his body through fleshcraft.  Begins with an extra eye and limb as well as grafted leechkin-muscle and chitin plates; a native of Macellaria, the City of Bodysnatchers.

Lhars, played by Crow, a hagman Hunter, ferryman, guide, and former cultist whose boat, the Spatter Eel, becomes a regular means of transport for the party during their time in Lophius, the City of the Lamprey.

Kaius Alexander, played by The Meanest Guest, a human Armiger of the Insomnolent Guard (the Unsleeping), the living guardians of the Lords Revenant; his exiled grave-spawn patron has recently died, leaving him with a mysterious burden, which becomes key to his own self-fashioning...

The Gorethirst (or, more simply just Gorethirst), played by Llum, a leechkin gladiator renowned for his terrible temper, his physical prowess, and his insatiable appetite, a thirst mitigated only by the Bloodslake Manacles of warded ur-bone that pierce his wrists with arcane nails, allowing a steady flow of crimson to drip into his ravenous palm-mouths.

-Killed by Servius Izar of the House of Untainted Flesh, favored of Striga, in the Fighting Pits of Pulsetown.

Zaszicar, played by Llum, a mutilated lilix gholmuz Man-At-Arms cast out of the Gynocracy; in search of seven legendary, eldritch blades.

Tarim, played by Ghostman, a ghul Witch exiled from the distant theocracy of Marainein for quasi-political "heresy"; intent on reclaiming the arcane prowess his possessed in life and lost (along with the rest of his memories) in undeath; operates a small workshop in the Worm-Hive district.  Also happens to have jewels for eyes.

Cacophonous-Whisper-of-the-Desert, AKA "Wispy," AKA "That Damn Bird," played by Light Dragon, a renegade jatayi Fabler (Bard) and Witch; a somewhat madcap adventurer and occasional thief known for his bouts of impromptu rhyming and kleptomania.

Koldobika Nthanda - Kol for short - played by Coyote Camouflage, a fire-scarred, mute zerda Harrier with a penchant for languages, hoping to reclaim his lost voice so that he can taste words once more; native to the Firesong Marches.

Vetrajhicogojha "Vetter" Shi, played by Kindling, a zerda Weapon Master with the grafted right hand of a clawed, reptilian horror, a broken heart, and a drinking problem; a former thrum-addict, Vetter has spent time in Lophius as well as Macellaria.

Kryzbytn, or Kryz, played by The Weave, a mantid Weapon Master specializing in the scythe; also a failed toymaker missing his wings and his masterpiece, a clockwork mantid soldier, seeking vengeance on the mad cultists who mutilated him and on the leechkin thief who pilfered his prized toy.

Quest Log


Escape the Fighting Pits.

(Tarim) Deal with the Inquisitor of Marainein.

Mr. Carver) Track down the Houri and return her to Needlefingers Welterwort.

Obtain a gift of human flesh for the jatayi elders.

(Eareg) Settle your score with the scavenger who put you away.

Defend the cemetery from bodysnatchers for the Sisters of the Weeping Lady.

Put a stop to the grave-robbings for the Sisters of the Weeping Lady.

(Kaius) Meet Mara of the Dogskull Thief Clan at the Laughing Fiend for an employment opportunity.

(Tarim) Investigate the mysterious suicides on the top floor for Quelnefess.

Dispose of the Suicide Statuette.

Kill Glut, leader of the Masticators, and retrieve his metal teeth for Mara.

Retrieve the Festerblade for Cräen.

(Gorethirst) Kill Servius Izar of the House of Untainted Flesh with your bare hands in a public duel for Mr. Rasp (Gorethirst slain).

(Kaius & Tarim) Accompany the Bloodthorn Thief Clansmen while they do a deal with some of the hagmen of Slimesquallor.

(Wispy & Mr. Carver) Procure the glyph-marked chest from Ezekiel Khaan's mansion for Mezzanine and Astragal.

Cleanse Shan-Szut of squatters for the jatayi.

Remove the jatayi from Macellaria for Sebastian Defoin.

(Kaius) Exorcise the gibbergeists in the Tower of Moans with extreme prejudice.

Return the statuette of the Gibbering Goddess to Ulhorin Severus Quis-Xian.

(Eareg) Recapture the escaped elemental for N'leng, the zerda magus.

Protect the fleshtree groves from gorefly swarms.

(Kaius) Decide what to do with Pellucid, the demon in the basement of the Tower of Moans.

(Vetter) Help Ekwanesu repay his debts.

(Kaius) Escape the clutches of the Lord Revenant Vladmir.

(Eareg) Find a relic of the Poxbringers from Chymalea, the City of Creeping Flesh.

(Kryzbytn) Locate Kaius.

Find out what is causing the epidemics in Macellaria.

(Kaius & Kryz) Protect Mistress Vaeza.

(Mr. Carver) Kill Malleus Hexen and retrieve a phial of his blood.

(Kaius) Alert the city concerning Herruku's advancing army.

(Kryz) Free yourself from the Man-in-Armour's domination.

Escort the hagman elder to the Conclave.

Help the Pale Legionnaires retrieve their stolen banner.

Avenge Fiend's death.

Find the Green Beldam.

Locate Clotfeeder.

In Progress:

Find out more about the "Fortress of the Umbral Overlord" marked on Lucretius Nhamorg's map.

Avenge Gorethirst's death.

(Kryz) Retrieve your clockwork mantid soldier and exact vengeance on those who maimed you.

(Kol) Find your words again.

Retrieve the Hand of Mercy from the tomb of the Evisceratress for Lady Fuligina.

Retrieve the Hand of Cruelty from the Citadel of Maledictions for Lady Fuligina.

(Tarim) Recover what you can of your memory.

(Kaius & Tarim) Further investigate the assassination attempt the Cult of the Bloodletter made.

(Tarim) Take vengeance on your former apprentice, the traitorous Thelexean Grell.

Hire the Pale Legion in order to defend Macellaria.

(Eareg) Hire the Centaurs in order to defend Macellaria.

Locate the Lordly Leech for the Pale Legion.

Retrieve the three pearls of the Beast-God for the Green Beldam.

(Vetter) Clear out the slavers for the Queen of Chains.

Impersonate the Serpent Brat.

Locations of Import

This is decidedly not a comprehensive or exhaustive list of interesting or important places but it does cover a fair number.


Taverns, Ghul-Bars, Brothels, and Casinos

The Pickled Serpent (Eel's Gate shanty)
The Blood of Saints (Hexwarren)
The Juice-Addled Octogenarian (Pulsetown)
Erubescence (Pulsetown)
The Rotting Carcass (Pulsetown)
The Laughing Fiend (Resurrection Row)
Death's Gambit (The Skin Markets)
The Reaper's Luck (The Skin Markets)
The Ribcage (The Skin Markets)
Sanguine Bliss (The Skin Markets)
Porphyria (The Skin Markets)
The Ensqualmed Cockatrice (Velveteen Circus)
Wormflesh (Velveteen Circus)
Crimson Joy (Velveteen Circus)
The Melting Candle (Witch's Gate shanty)
The Nubile Grayface (Worm-Hive)

Churches, Temples, and Shrines

The Fane of Dust (Hexwarren)
The Sanguine Church (Pulsetown)
The Shrine of the Wasting God (Resurrection Row)
The Temple of Myx (Slimesquallor)
The Temple of Agnath (Slimesquallor)
The Old Temple of Agnath (Slimesquallor)
The Shrine of the Weeping Lady (Witch's Gate shanty)


The House of Crimson Shadows Guildhall (Curio Bazaars)
The House of the Tattered Web Guildhall (Curio Bazaars/Resurrection Row)
The House of the Howling Sun Guildhall (Curio Bazaars)
The House of Untainted Flesh Guildhall (Curio Bazaars)
The Palace of Unlikely Doors (Hexwarren)
The Splicing Consortium Headquarters (Hexwarren)
The House of Hungry Ghosts Guildhall (Worm-Hive)


Detritus! (Curio Bazaars)
Cog & Bullet (Curio Bazaars)
Murrain Square Poison-Sellers (Hexwarren)
Nigredo (Hexwarren)
The Emporium of Metamorphoses (Hexwarren)
Wind-Up (Hexwarren)
The Flesh is Willing (Hexwarren)
Slave-Market (The Skin Markets)
Beast-Market (The Skin Markets)


Eareg's Cave (beyond the Butcher's Gate)
Ezekiel Khaan's Mansion (beyond the Eel's Gate)
Kaius' Tenement (Resurrection Row)
Mr. Carver's Clinic (Resurrection Row)
Lady Fuligina's Residence (Velvteen Circus)
Tarim's Shop (Worm-Hive)
The Tower of Moans (Worm-Hive)


The Errant Nautilus Imbroglio Parlour (Hexwarren)
The Vellum Citadel (Hexwarren)
The Academy of Witchcraft (Hexwarren)
The Fighting Pits (Pulsetown)
The Hollow Skull Playhouse (Pulsetown)
The Bounty Office (Resurrection Row)
The City Morgue (Resurrection Row)
Masticator Hideout [former Asylum] (Resurrection Row)
Hagman Bathhouses (Slimesquallor)
Jatayi Camp (Witch's Gate shanty)

Part One


The Pits

You are in a dim chamber lit only by a sputtering brazier, with a black iron door on one wall and a sturdy wooden one on the other, through which you were shoved by a burly guard after a jagged bone blade was thrust into your hand.  You can hear a dim roaring sound through the iron door, as of many voices wordlessly braying.  Crouched in the gloom about you are a ragged group of fellow prisoners, flesh still red with welts from the gaolor's lash, faces haggard and hungry after days (if not weeks) of maltreatment.  You make a sorry lot: a gaunt, mismatched band of law-breakers with unkempt hair and unshaven faces, garbed in roughspun tatters, each of you clutching your crude dagger.  Even the quick among you look like walking corpses.

* Wispy examines the jagged bone blade for decomposing meat left on it.

* Wispy twists head from side to side.

* Wispy finds no decomposing meat and pouts.

* Wispy feathers and arms folded in front.

* Mr. Carver weighs the blade in his hand, trying to judge its balance.

* Kaius Alexander looks at his blade blankly, you think you detect the faintest hint of disapproval.

* Eareg Maar looks at the blade uneasily, not liking its feel.

* Wispy looks around at fellow prisoners for any recently deceased ones.

* Eareg Maar gives Wispy an odd look.

* Wispy pokes prisoners who may be dead, but who are likely only sleeping.

* Tarim frowns, staring at the wall.

Kaius Alexander - Scum and beasts. I hope you can handle yourselves in a fight.

* Kaius Alexander snorts derisively.

Wispy - Handle Ourselves? What sort of fight is this? Not a pornographic one, I hope. Or maybe I do.

There's one guy in the corner who's not dead but seems delirious and feverish.  He's got a nastily infected wound on his chest.

* Wispy titters.

* Wispy walks over to the dying fellow, sits and stares.

Tarim - That one seems like the prime candidate to be eaten.

* Eareg Maar eyes Kaius, mind your own affairs.

* Kaius Alexander looks at the bird blankly.

* Gorethirst grunts with disgust and throws his bone blade on the floor.

Other than him it's just the rest of you - a leechkin, a jatayi, two ghilan, and a pair of humans (though one hardly qualifies).

* Mr. Carver looks to be a young gaunt man of Macellarian origin, although it is difficult to tell as Macellarians have few discerning features. Dressed in rags, it is readily apparent that he is heavily grafted. Small crooked fingers can be seen underneath his rags. His face has a third half-blind eye haphazardly grafted to the right side of his head and when he smirks you can see that his teeth have been filed to a point . Black muscle glistens on his right arm, and his flesh squirms as if something lurks underneath the mottled exterior.

Wispy - So, planning on dying anytime soon?

Tarim - In a way, I already am dead... If you hadn't noticed.

* Tarim grins, baring his jewelled teeth.

Wispy - My food doesn't usually speak to me when I'm eating it. So no. You do not qualify as dead.

* Eareg Maar surveys his surroundings, on edge but only barely showing so.

Kaius Alexander - Leave him, Bird. He could be useful. We do not know what we face.

Wispy - It's a legitmate question.

* Kaius Alexander shoulders the delirious man and stands near the iron door patiently.

* Wispy rises and turns to Kaius.

* Mr. Carver walks up to the iron door

* Tarim looks unusually dry, even for a ghul that's been kept in this cell for so long. His appearance is almost mummy-like.

Outside, you can hear the noise swell. It seems that something has happened on the other side of the door.

* Eareg Maar shifts to listen.

Eareg Maar - seems it's about time.

* Mr. Carver sees Kaius drag the wounded man and sneers at him contemptively.

* Gorethirst seems eager.

Tarim - A welcome change to this boredom.

There is a sound of grinding gears and rattling chains, and the two halves of the iron door disappear into the ceiling and floor.

Mr. Carver - Might as well get this over with.

* Mr. Carver takes a step back.

Now, after indeterminate days of darkness and filth and an uncomfortable hour in a covered cart crowded with other prisoners, your senses are assailed by fresh sensations: the roar of a crowd, the swollen, demoniac glare of the red sun, the acrid smell of sand and smoke, of old carnage.  Through the door is a circular pit with a bloodstained, sandy floor scattered with shattered bones.  Around you, a mass of spectators howl from tiered seats, screaming for violence.  Ancient columns mounted with the semblances of hungry gods and demons stare down as if demanding sacrifice, jutting from the arena floor.

A voice speaks, magnified through mechanical or arcane means:

'LADIES, GENTLEMEN, and OTHERS SUNDRY: we present, for your viewing pleasure, a contest of STRENGTH and SKILL!'

* Kaius Alexander sneers at the audience.

Wispy - Aw, crap.

Watch as this band of HARDENED CRIMINALS, slated for EXECUTION, are forced to fight for the chance of FREEDOM!  Their foe?  A creature from the warped lands to the west, one of the TWISTED HORRORS known as the WAXBORN!'

Mr. Carver - Oh, this doesn't sound good.

There is a grinding sound, and a portcullis at the far end of the arena slides open.  Two men with long pikes and heavily spiked armour goad out an amorphous shape, then retreat back through the portcullis, which clangs behind them.

'This HIDEOUS MONSTROSITY has assimilated every manner of beast and being,' the voice continues.  'From the RAVENOUS HYENA to the MALIGNANT XSUR, this waxborn has absorbed countless creatures of VILE and EVIL TEMPERMENT, many of them in this VERY ARENA!  But will it be a match for the BLOODY-MINDED BLACKGUARDS you see before you?'

The creature shambles, slithers, and scuttles towards you on a constantly mutating mass of legs and tentacles.  It blinks with half a hundred eyes of every colour, growls, hisses, curses, roars, and shouts from innumerable mouths, tastes the air with reptilian tongues, sniffs from random nostrils, and flails with multifarious limbs.

* Kaius Alexander steps out with a minimum of movement, and stands on the sands, waiting.

Tarim - Very eager to be entertained, are they.

* Eareg Maar flourishes mockingly to the crowd with his blade.

* Mr. Carver takes a step out, shifting his jagged knife from one hand to the other.

* Tarim frowns at the sun.

Tarim - Too bright. I would prefer a night fight.

* Gorethirst steps into the light, slowly but sure.

The games are basically for entertainment purposes.  But they're also used for impromptu justice. There aren't any rules - it's an anarchic pit, unlike the highly formalized gladiatorial arenas of Crepuscle.

Wispy - What gleet is this gleet. Can't eat waxborn.

Tarim - Well, it's not as if we had any right to expect a fair fight.

Wispy - Who the gleet would want to kill a gleeting waxborn.

* Kaius Alexander positions himself nearest to the Waxborn, still shouldering the man.

* Tarim lurks behind the others, obviously not eager to be first to be attacked by that beast.

* Tarim steps outside after Gorethirst.

* Gorethirst steps forwards, tense ready to move.

The creature shambles, slithers, and scuttles towards you on a constantly mutating mass of legs and tentacles.  

Mr. Carver - What the hell is this thing?!

Gorethirst - Just another fight, it is only flesh.

* Kaius Alexander drops the man in front of him and steps backwards quickly.

Wispy - Gleetin' no that's not flesh.

Tarim - Ugly one.

Wispy - Kvaak! Don't drop the dying man! We could eat his flesh!

Tarim - We can eat much better stuff if we win.

The waxborn shambles, scuttles, and lurches towards you.  It appears to be making for Kaius and the half-comatose man at his feet.

* Kaius Alexander stares at the beast blankly.

It's now about 20 ft. away; it gibbers incoherently and flails with a random tentacle.

* Gorethirst charges the Waxborn.

* Gorethirst darts in fast with his hands, aiming to gouge flesh with his hand mouths.

The attack strikes the hideous creature's variegated flesh.  Your rasping palm-mouth digs in and chews!

* Mr. Carver wonders whether the undulating pile of flesh can even be flanked this way.

* Mr. Carver plunges his dagger into what he assumes is the back of the beast.

Your blade is deflected by the beast's thick scales.

* Wispy casts "Discombobulation" Daze at the monster!

* Wispy titters angrily.

You invoke your hex, but it dissipates when it touches the creature's mind - the beast is too alien to be affected.

* Wispy screes.

* Tarim recoils away from the monstrosity and begins chanting and gesturing, casting Harden the Skin (Mage Armor).

* Tarim 's hide becomes covered in dark patches of thick, toughened skin as the spell takes effect.

*Kaius bravely leaps towards the waxborn, but is thrown aside by one of its snickering limbs!

* Tarim groans at the sight.

Kaius gets to his feet, but his attack is parried by one of the horror's chitinous claws.

* Mr. Carver smirks at the sight of the fallen armiger.

Eareg Maar - I might suggest you fellows strike the large brown mark upon its flank where the fewest tentacles are, it's a weak-point.

* Eareg Maar casually dusts off his shirt and points his hand at the beast, making it into a gun shape.  Tendrils of black ink flow down his arm into his fingers concentrating into an eldritch ball of green energy.

Eareg Maar - Boom...

* Eareg Maar the ball leaps towards the beast with a flash.

The waxborn growls and hisses as the eldritch energy is absorbed into its body.

Kaius is hit by a spined tail suddenly extruded from the monstrosity's awful bulk.  A pincer-claw snaps at Gorethirst, but is turned by his tough hide.  A reptilian claw rakes across Mr. Carver's flesh.  The waxborn also extends a questing tendril that latches onto the ankle of the comatose man and begins dragging him towards its body.

*Mr. Carver slashes with his knife.

You slice off one of its random tendrils, though, producing a spout of ichor!  The beast wails in agony.

Wispy - steps back and casts "Honeyslick" Grease.

Wispy - *back far far away.

Tarim - It screams! That's positive.

 Wispy - "If you won't be discombobulated and cannot be eaten, at least be covered in greasy gooey goodness!"

* Mr. Carver laughs triumphantly at the spout of ichor.

Your hex covers the ground with slippery grease.  The waxborn still manages to stay upright, skittering on its many legs.

* Tarim backs away a little further, then utters an eldritch word of power and points his right-hand claw at the beast, unleashing a crackling black bolt at its hideous form.

The waxborn groans and sluggishly shakes itself, enervated.

* Tarim cackles, seeing the beast's muscles wither.

*Kaius Alexander leaps forwards and skids on the sweet-smelling arcane slick, bone blade gleaming.  His dagger hews the tendril in two, and a jet of blood sputters forth.  The bedraggled would-be victim is safe, for now...

* Eareg Maar clutches his face in his hand and slowly pulls back, lifting inky tendrils from his visage which snake around his right hand, with a gesture they whip out on a long jagged line of green as he whips his hand down, directing the energy towards the beast (Blood Wind with my natural claw attack).

Your eldritch claw slashes the monstrosity; blood wells up from the invisible attack.  The waxborn screams in pain and terror.  Huge gouts of its blood now coat the sand (and Kaius, Gorethirst, and Mr. Carver).  In desperation, the waxborn attempts to grapple with Gorethirst.

* Mr. Carver wipes the blood from his eyes.

* Tarim is very happy that he had the good sense to keep his distance.

Kaius Alexander - The beast is weak! Finish it leechman!

* Kaius Alexander spits.

The waxborn hisses in pain as its attack is deflected by the gnashing palm-mouths of the leechkin.

* Gorethirst lets loose a strange double-throated yowl as the waxborn is deflected.

Mr. Carver - Kill the gleeting monster, Leech!

Carver, you manage to dodge its lashing tail.  Kaius, you're hit but in its weakened state the waxborn fails to wound you.  The waxborn, overbalanced by its attacks, slips in the slick of honey.  It flails its limbs madly, trying to right itself.

* Tarim burts into laughter.

Tarim - Not so dangerous after all, are you!

Eareg Maar - it's fallen prone, finish the stain.

Tarim - Put it down like a crippled dog!

* Gorethirst lets loose twin howls.

* Gorethirst enraged by the blood launches a suicidal attack on the floundering waxborn.

The leechkin barrels atop the waxborn and savages it with its palm-mouths, hands flickering in a a bloody blur, pummeling and rasping the creature to tatters.  The monster squirms, trying to reconfigure its limbs.

* Mr. Carver takes a cautious step back.

It thrums the ground with its pincers and tails and tendrils, but Gorethirst's experience in the arena shows itself.  The leechkin pit-fighter delivers a brutal killing blow, and the waxborn falls still, its transformations halting.  It no longer shifts and flows from form to form but lies static and liefless on the arena sands.

* Kaius Alexander shows the barest ghost of a grin.

There is a pause...

* Eareg Maar walks forward in the silence.

"The ragged band of MURDERERS, THIEVES, and other NE'ER DO WELLS has destroyed the FIENDISH TERROR and so earned their freedom in the eyes of THE LAW," the voice intones.  It sounds, perhaps, a mite dispirited; mixed in with the applause and yelps are boos and jeers and disappointed moans.

* Tarim cheers.

Wispy - Okay You gleeting bastard, suck this.

* Wispy moons the audience.

* Gorethirst stands over the tattered remains of the waxborn, breathing heavily and dripping blood and ichor

There are curses (and a couple of whistles) from the crowd.

* Eareg Maar grins sidelong at the leechman.

Eareg Maar - Having fun are we?

* Kaius Alexander again shoulders the comatose man and stands impassively, waiting.

There is a grinding sound and the far door opens.

Gorethirst - Aye, returning to the pits is like returning home.

* Mr. Carver drops the knife in the bloodied sand and walks calmly towards the open door.

A squad of arena guards step out, looking bored. Three go to drag off the waxborn; the others gesture for you to come forward.

Eareg Maar - well to each his own.

* Tarim ignores the crowd and heads for the door.

* Eareg Maar tosses his blade into the aberration and walks out.

* Kaius Alexander follows the group slowly.

Mr. Carver - It's not over yet, greyface.

* Wispy cackles and tosses the bone in the air a few times.

* Wispy then follows.

* Gorethirst slowly follows the group out, glancing behind him as he goes.

Kaius Alexander - Leech, I am nearly impressed, and that is a rare event.

* Gorethirst nods towards Kaius.

Tarim - Well fought, the lot of you.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on July 08, 2010, 11:47:31 AM

Unhealthy Competition

You are shepherded out of the arena, through an arched doorway, and into a long, dim hall.  A bored-looking guard opens a side-door and jerks his thumb at the room beyond.

Wispy - Nearly impressed... dearly impressed... betcha bards'll be singin' about how you cut that gleetin' bastard near in half and off with his head- killed him dead.

"Yer kit's all in there," the guard grumbles.  "Yer beast's stabled outside," he says to the Gorethirst.  "Get yer gear an' clear out, we got another fight in half an hour."

* Tarim hurries toward the room, hoping to get back to his own clothes.

Mr. Carver - It was quite a display of... force, yes.

* Gorethirst hefts his battleaxe with slinging his pack onto his back.

* Eareg Maar goes immediately for an intricately crafted rifle, picking it up... you notice an odd sense of relief pass across his face as he hefts it in a familiar fashion.

Tarim - Ah, finally get to loose these hideous rags!

* Kaius Alexander dons his impressive suit of armour with mechanical efficiency.

* Mr. Carver walks to what looks to be his kit and sheds the bloodied rags.

Wispy - Wax made lax, splattered att-Axed.

*Eareg Maar obtains his rifle then almost half-caringly grabs everything else.

* Tarim slips on his caftan and turban, and carefully goes through his other belongings, making sure nothing's missing.

* Kaius Alexander assembles his pack and hefts it onto his back.

Gorethirst - My thanks for the aid in the pit.

* Wispy picks up a whole bunch of crap.

* Eareg Maar casually slips on some rugged travelers clothes and hefts a backpack.

Tarim - You seemed to be in your element there, leechkin. Did you by chance have... prior experience of this?

* Gorethirst turns to Tarim.

Gorethirst - Yes, I earned blood as a pit fighter back in Lophius - before I was forced to leave.

* Tarim nods at Gorethirst.

* Gorethirst seems melancholy at this last bit.

* Gorethirst turns to Kaius.

Gorethirst - What are you doing with the man?  If he is to be of no use, I will take him with me.

Wispy - Is he dead yet?

 * Mr. Carver straps on his studded leather and makes sure all his knives are there. an especially viscious-looking one is inspected for a few seconds before it is sheated in a belt scabbard.

* Eareg Maar pops Wispy in the back of the head with the butt of his rifle.

Eareg Maar - Cut it out.

* Kaius Alexander tilts his head and looks at the man.

Wispy - Aaaawww.

Wispy - I didn't say ta' kill him!

* Mr. Carver then puts on his haphazardly patched military coat, his black bowler, and his dark optics which fail to hide his glaring third eye. The coat is fitted with a third sleeve to accommodate his vestigial arm.

Kaius Alexander - I have some small shred of compassion for this man, though I do not know why.

Kaius Alexander - He will come with me.

Gorethirst - I can transport him on my mount if you wish.

Tarim - It was good fortune then, for the rest of us to end up in the same group... though misfortune may have brought us in this arena in the first place.

Mr. Carver - isn't that the marrow of the matter.

* Kaius Alexander stares at the Gorethirst.

Kaius Alexander - That will not be necessary.

Gorethirst - My ending up back in the pits was no misfortune. I would say it a blessed fate.

Mr. Carver - A simpler fate at the very least.

Eareg Maar - I for one have matters to deal with, a man of certain connections placed me here despite the fact I committed no crime.  I wish to see him... dealt with.

* Tarim raises an eyebrow.

* Gorethirst walks out the door to check on Corpsegobble.

Mr. Carver - Who might that man be, ghul?

Eareg Maar - A fellow scavenger of ill repute.  He was watching us from the crowd.

Mr. Carver - Scavenger, eh? You've walked the Slaughter-lands?

Corpsegobble is stabled near the Ludus, the gladiatorial school attached to the Pits.  He looks well cared for and plump.

* Tarim heads out, looking for his demonic slave.

Eareg Maar - walked, I do walk, they're more my home then this den of death.

"Been feedin' him dead uns from the pits," the stable-keeper informs Gorethirst.

Mr. Carver - Well, this has always been my home.

* Mr. Carver sheathes the last of his many daggers.

Gorethirst - Thank you for feeding him. I am sure there was no lack of bodies.

Wispy - Heya ViceBite, ViceBite- Where the gleet are you?

* Kaius Alexander feels the small black orb through its leather covering.

(your familiar is back in your rooms, Tarim; Eareg, yours was in a bird-cage in the armory-room with the rest of your stuff).

Vicebite soars down from a hidden perch and alights on Wispy's arm.

* Eareg Maar last walks over and opens a cage, retrieving a small black owl.

* Eareg Maar scratches its head.

Eareg Maar - good to see you again friend.

* Wispy cackles and pets the Clockwork ID Bird.

* Gorethirst saddles 'gobble and throws his pack over his saddle.

You step out into Pulsetown.  The district seethes with energy.  Humans predominate here, with a few grave-spawn and other races mingling into the crowds.  The buildings are of old stone and brick, with some more recent constructions of wattle, daub, and brown clay.  The ancient streets are paved with rectangular setts carved with grotesque faces (as are all the streets within the walls of Macellaria), their features flattened and distorted by a thousand footfalls and centuries of dust.

Mr. Carver - Looks the way it always has.

Right now you're in a broad square with streets radiating out to the north and east; the Sanguine Church can be seen to the east, and the Hollow Skull Playhouse is just across the square.

* Mr. Carver spits at the street.

* Gorethirst mounts up.

Mr. Carver - where are you going leech?

Gorethirst - Away from the pits.

* Kaius Alexander inhales deeply.

Mr. Carver - I thought you said they were a blessing.

Wispy - Pits give Fits to Leech Who Sits.

Wispy - He has good advice!

* Mr. Carver turns to face Wispy.

Gorethirst - They are, but I am not supposed to feed in the street.

Mr. Carver - You are a bit strange, bird.

Wispy - You know many of my kind?

* Wispy keeps one eye on the comatose man.

Gorethirst - That battle has given me a raging thirst. I go to the nearest bar that will serve my kind.

Mr. Carver - No, I do not, admittedly.

"Hey, you - bird-bonce!" A squat man handing out pamphlets at the door of the Hollow Skull Playhouse yells.  "You lot there by the pits - come over 'ere!"

* Kaius Alexander stares at the bird.

* Eareg Maar is loading rounds into his rifle.

Wispy - Eh, a pity- then don't see how I'm strange at all- 'nother topic, Carver- Carver man--

* Kaius Alexander opens his visor and switches his glare to the man

Wispy - You know somethin' about butchery?  Where to get some dead meat?

Tarim - Why don't *you* come over here if you have something to tell us?

Wispy - On the cheap?

The playhouse will let leechkin in and does have a few blood-based drinks available at intermissions at a marked-up price.

Mr. Carver - Hey, Leech, they serve your kind across the street, if you want to accompany us.

Gorethirst - The pits themselves will have a large amount of dead bodies ready for disposal bird-man. They plumped up 'Gobble here considerably.

The man sighs and waddles over towards your group, frowning at Tarim.

* Eareg Maar loads the last round in his weapon and eyes the group idly.

"You look like a likely bunch of cleavers," he says, eying the group.  "Interested in a bit of work?"

* Mr. Carver walks to stand beside Tarim.

* Kaius Alexander inspects his already loaded revolver.

Wispy - Good advice, but don' wanna join tha' dead bodies myself- just got luck to get outta there.

Eareg Maar - work? only if it means I get to leave this blasted city.

* Tarim looks into his purse, sighing.

Wispy - Oooh- Other wise man- has a plan.

Kaius Alexander - What is the work? What is the pay?

Mr. Carver - That depends on what you are offering, Mr...?

Gorethirst - The company of comrades from the pit. There are few better things.

Tarim - I could certainly use some income...

It'll take ye to the shanties, at the least," he says to Eareg.  "Pays well," he says, turning to Kaius.  "Come with me - my boss'll fill ye in on the details, then ye can decide if yer interested.  You from the camp outside?"  He asks Wispy.

* Kaius Alexander grunts noncomitally.

"Oh, and I'm Kudgal," he says to Mr. Carver.

* Eareg Maar mumbles "I hate the shanties" but follows the group mostly out of curiosity.

Tarim - Well, it might be worth hearing the details, at least.

Wispy - I'm from outside.

Wispy - Cause birds don't do too well on the inside - hehehehehe.

Eareg Maar - I'm only sticking around to see if this is interesting, you lot are nice but I have a fellow scavenger to deal with and things to attend to.

* Tarim follows along.

 Mr. Carver - Who is your boss Kudgal?

* Gorethirst kicks Corpsegobble into motion, following after Kudgal.

Wispy - Then 'gain only the ghilian do too well turned inside-out.

"Sebastian Defoin - owner and director at the Hollow Skull."  He leads you towards the playhouse doors.

* Gorethirst jumps off his dire maggot mount.

* Mr. Carver follows, hand on the Agony Knife.

* Gorethirst makes a staying motion at the creature.

The entrance to the playhouse is plastered with posters advertising the latest play.  It appears to be a horror/comedy called "Demon's Child," advertised as the sequel to the critically acclaimed "Demon's Lover."

Wispy - The original wasn't that realistic.

* Wispy twitters.

* Tarim frowns at the poster.

Tarim - Somebody ought to teach these playwrights a lesson or two of demonology!

Kudgal leads you through the front doors and up a flight of steps, knocking at a door at the top and then opening it.  He gestures that you enter.

Mr. Carver - As in you shouldn't attempt mating with them?

Wispy - Yeah! You tell 'em ghul!

Tarim - Get their facts straight.

* Mr. Carver walks in.

* Eareg Maar walks in and finds a place to sit.

* Kaius Alexander accompanies the group silently, apart from his heavy footfalls.

* Tarim enters and looks about a bit suspiciously.

* Wispy readies big thunder. Prepared to be screwed.

You are in a large, cluttered study, the stone shelves lined with softly decaying books, the enormous wooden desk covered in reams of papyrus, ink bottles, grotesque little paperweights, and what look like exaggeratedly cruel-looking wooden replicas of weapons.  A tall, slender, quick human with a mane of long red curls and sparkling amber eyes sits behind the desk, scanning some document from behind a pair of round spectacles and murmuring under his breath.  His fingers are sheathed in many rings, and his clothing is of black satin.

* Eareg Maar snorts.

'Sorry to interrupt, sir,' Kudgal says.  'This bunch're interested in the job.  Got a jatayi with them, renegade from Skein'¦ thought I'd bring 'em up.'

'Thank you, Kudgal,' the man says softly, setting his papers down.  'You may leave us.'

Kudgal nods and exits the room.  The man takes off his spectacles and puts them on the desk.

'I am Sebastian Defoin,' he says.  'Owner and director of the Hollow Skull Playhouse.'

Kaius Alexander - And what use does a man such as you have of those such as us?

* Tarim bows modestly.

* Mr. Carver looks at the ghul.

'I am afraid your obstinate brethren have rather outstayed their welcome in our city,' Sebastian says, addressing Cacophonous in particular.  'They call themselves storytellers, performers.'  He spits with surprisingly vulgarity for someone so outwardly refined.  'The marrow of it is they're two-bit tramps with a few tired myths they spice up with a lot of primitive trickery and a few flashy gutter-hexes.  They know nothing about drama, about art.'  The pronounces the word as if referring to a deity.

Wispy - ah' too much competition!

'The jatayi have encamped in the outskirts of the city, in the shanty-towns outside the Witch's Gate, for over a month now.  Usually we are but a brief stop on their usual tour: they spend perhaps a fortnight at most, then move on towards Crepuscle.  Unfortunately, a number of the less-than-enlightened residents of Macellaria have been taken in by their juvenile theatrics in preference to my own establishment.  This season we are premiering a fantastic new play, 'Demon's Child,' sequel to the critically and popularly acclaimed 'Demon's Lover,' but the audiences have been uncharacteristically small, the reception tepid.

'It is all the fault of those damnable carrion-eaters!  If they were to leave, I'm sure sales would pick up.'

Mr. Carver - Excuse me, but I'm guessing the reason for dragging us up here wasn't so you could moan about your problems with bird-folk.

* Wispy titters.

Mr. Carver - What kind of butchery do you need a team of cleavers like us for?

He steeples his fingers.  'Indeed.  I would be willing to pay you six thousand obeloi all in all: five hundred up front, two thousand upon completion, and the remaining thirty-five hundred over a three month period, out of Demon Child's proceeds.  I'd even throw in free seats for a performance, in a private box.  All you have to do '“ get the jatayi to leave town.

'I don't care how you do it '“ force, intimidation, persuasion, whatever means you please '“ so long as it can't be traced directly back to me.  I don't want the Playhouse or my own name mentioned; if I learn that my theatre's name has been dragged into things I'll deny any involvement as idle gossip and you'll lose your reward.

* Tarim 's eye-gems gleam at the mention of the money.

"Perhaps they will listen to one of their own kind more readily than to wingless sampathi, as they call humans."

Gorethirst - This seems like an easy way for us to end up back in the crime pits.

Kaius Alexander - This sum is barely acceptable. I will accept your task, but expect no more than you ask.

Gorethirst - I will help.

Eareg Maar - sounds like something you'd enjoy.

He frowns.  "I hardly think the city militia will trouble themselves over a few tramp bird-men."

Mr. Carver - I'm saddened to say that the Macellarian law probably doesn't care much about the Jatayi

Wispy - Cared enough to put me in jail. Hehehe.

Mr. Carver - But that's the other way around bird.

"Your... colourful companion has a point, sir."

Wispy - Gleet them then. They don't even know who I robbed- he could have been a me.

Mr. Carver - As long as the human maggots benefit...

Wispy - So, Guess I'll a' see.

"So: do we have an arrangement?"  He addresses those that haven't assented.

Gorethirst - Let us seal our deal with an offering of blood.

Wispy - I'm in it, yest I be.

* Gorethirst holds out its hand.

Sebastian winces in distaste.  "I don't think such theatrics are necessary in this case.  I prefer to confine the bloodletting to the stage, thank you."

Mr. Carver - I'll see where this takes me. I'll take you up on your offer, human.

Tarim - It seems acceptable; we can always back down if it turns out to be too much of a challenge.

* Kaius Alexander - encased in metal - stares at the Gorethirst's proferred hand.

Gorethirst - I require a sanguinary drink then.

Mr. Carver - I'm sure our host is willing to provide one on the house.

Mr. Carver - right, Mr. Defoin?

* Kaius Alexander stares at the manacles dripping blood into the Gorethirst's mouths.

Sebastian assents and goes to a liquor-cabinet.  He pours a goblet of blood and asks if anyone else would like anything.

* Kaius Alexander doesn't respond.

Tarim - Could use a drink myself. Though I'd prefer fine wine, over blood.

* Gorethirst notices Kaius stare, and answers with his other palm-mouth.

Mr. Carver - Something strong, preferably.

Wispy - How about some dead meat?

Gorethirst - You can never have enough blood to drink metal-man.

* Mr. Carver shakes his head at Wispy's comment.

Eareg Maar - I am not thirsty.

Wispy - Blood is a healthy part of a well rounded meal.  Though some of use prefer it to congeal.

Mr. Carver - (Kaius) where are you from, maggot?

* Wispy nods and grins approvingly at Gorethirst.

* Kaius Alexander turns slowly to Mr. Carver.

"I'm afraid I don't have any, ah, foodstuffs on hand," Sebastian says to Wispy, pouring a brandy for Carver and a glass of white for Tarim.

Wispy - Can you just let me kill something then?

* Tarim takes the glass graciously and sips.

* Eareg Maar looks at the man cooly.

* Mr. Carver drinks it all in one gulp.

Wispy - Like a rat?  Or a bat?

Tarim - Ah, a man with a good taste for wines.

Kaius Alexander - I was born in the Sleepwalker's City. I have served My Lady faithfully for many years. I serve her still.

"I suggest you channel your energy into your task, sir," he says to Wispy.  "Then you can buy all the rats you please."

Mr. Carver - Somnambulon? That's pretty far away.

* Wispy hisses.

Kaius Alexander - Yes. It is.

Mr. Carver - You don't see many leeches there?

Kaius Alexander - My Masters have deemed them pests. We see none.

Wispy - Maybe you just aren't looking hard enough.  Leechkin 'r good at hide and bluff.

Gorethirst - I am far from being a pest.

Wispy - Yeah he ain't- Gorethirst's the best!

Tarim - I am known by the name Tarim, by the way. Look for my humble shop in the Wormhive near Hexwarren, if you ever need to deal in eldritch matters.

Mr. Carver - You do grafts, Tarim?

Tarim - No. Tattoos. and also scrollwork. I assure you, my prices are better than those overhyped shops in the warren.

Kaius Alexander - Your prodigious strength is certainly a redeeming quality, Leech.  Your ferocity, another.

* Gorethirst takes up the goblet and unceremoniously pours its bloody contents down his gasping palm-mouth.

Mr. Carver - Redeeming, even? Useful, rather. But then again, I see no reason our friend Gorethirst should require redemption to begin with.  Tattoos lack a certain... transcendental quality.

* Tarim sips more of the wine

Wispy - That's right; never forgive, always forget.

Kaius Alexander - I do not argue with the Laws of My City. They, however, do not apply here. It is irrelevant.

Mr. Carver - If you say so, maggot.

Gorethirst - Irrelevant, then.

Tarim - The tattoos I create are infused with sorcerous power.  They are more than art; they hold quite some utilitarian value.

Mr. Carver - While useful, you'd still just be a man even if your leather is scarred with hexes. And a man isn't worth much by himself.  Can we get some corpus downstairs, Mr. Defoin? We haven't eaten well for some time.

"There's a ghul-bar not far from here, in Velveteen Circus - Erubescence.  I'd try there."

Mr. Carver - But if I ever find a sizable stash of bones, I might swing by to enjoy your services.

* Mr. Carver smirks

* Tarim nods

Mr. Carver - Let's get out of here then.  Thanks for the job offer Mr. Defoin.

* Tarim empties the glass of wine.

Tarim - Yes, let us be on our way.

* Mr. Carver tips his hat.

* Gorethirst sets his empty goblet on the table.

Gorethirst - Until we meet again.

Tarim - A ghul-bar should certainly cater to *my* needs.

Sebastian catches Eareg's eye.  "You look troubled, sir.  Is the contract to your liking?"

Eareg Maar - I always look troubled here.  City life doesn't suit me.

* Eareg Maar goes back to staring idly.

Sebastian favours him with an inscrutable half-smile.

Kaius Alexander - In any case, I should return to my home. I must tend to my'¦ new friend.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: LD on July 08, 2010, 11:40:03 PM
Nice work with the extensive editing.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on July 14, 2010, 02:29:19 AM
[Removed] - too much text!  I'm going to break up the various sessions into individual episodes.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on July 14, 2010, 02:34:56 AM


Having departed from the Hollow Skull Theatre with a promise to meet at the Witch's Gate at dawn the next day, the ghul witch Tarim and the slavering leechkin pit-fighter known simply as the Gorethirst repair to a nearby ghul-bar, Erubescence, in order to quench their thirst and relax after the day's trials.

Flickering red lamps light the gloomy interior of the ghul-bar Erubescence, a dim parlour with smoke-stained leather chairs and notched, battered tables.  The bartender is a lilix; he mixes a blood-and-rum cocktail for a ghul with two hands while polishing a mug with another pair, smoking a black cigarillo with a fifth hand and fidgeting with a long dagger with the sixth.  A shade in the host-corpse of a voluptuous, diaphanously clad woman sits on a barstool, hoping to attract customers who prefer cold flesh to warm.

Tarim - Let us get a table, shall we?

Gorethirst - Agreed.

* Gorethirst finds a free table and sprawls onto a leather chair.

* Tarim sits down opposite, gesturing for drinks to be brought to them.

The lilix bartender nods and a scrawny barmaid soon brings over a pitcher of dark red liquid.  "Anything to eat, gentlemen?" she asks.  She sets down two ancient-looking mugs.

Tarim - Do you got anything raw, not decayed?

"Certainly, sir - fish or flesh?"

Tarim - Flesh

* Tarim grins.

* Gorethirst shakes his head at the barmaid's question and pours himself a mug of blood.

She smiles meekly back and heads into the kitchens.

* Tarim takes a sip from his mug.

As she disappears, the door to Erubescence opens.

Tarim - Good enough stuff to quench the thirst, but I've had much better.

A tall, weatherbeaten individual in a long, dark coat and a broad-brimmed hat enters.  A medallion hangs about his neck.

Gorethirst - Not as sweet as bodywarm blood from a fallen enemy.

Tarim, you discern the symbol on the medallion - a staring eye, the dread symbol of the Inquisition of Marainein, the militant chapter of the priesthood of the Leprous God - the Festering Lord, the Wasting God, His Putridity, Yzsch.

* Tarim frowns.

It was from the Inquisition that you fled that fell city for Macellaria.

Gorethirst - Is something amiss comrade?

Tarim - *whispering* Damned inquisitor fouling up the place.

The Inquisitor heads to the bar and begins talking to the lilix.  You are in a corner near the door - his back is to you.

* Gorethirst idly sips at his drink, somewhat awkwardly from a mug not designed for leechkin hands.

He removes a large bag from his robes and counts out several coins, but the bartender scowls.

* Tarim eyes the scene with interest, but tries to keep from drawing attention to himself.

Gorethirst - Has the Inquisition cause you problems in the past Tarim?

Tarim - *whispering* You could say so...

* Gorethirst listens carefully, straining to overhear the conversation.

Gorethirst, you catch the word "coinage" and "no good."  It sounds like the bartender has refused the Inquisitor's coins, since they're not Macellaria obeloi but the silver coins of Marainein.  The Inquisitor sneers and turns, making to leave the bar.

Tarim - *whispering* To be honest they had me on the run for a while, years ago.

Gorethirst - He has not made a good impression with the barkeep. He carries the wrong coinage.

Tarim - Hah!  Figures.  Too prideful to have their money exhanged.

Gorethirst - Ah, part of your past risen again. Similar to the pit fights and myself.

You hear him mutter "unclean abomination" as he heads out the door.

Tarim - I wonder what business he had here. So far away from Maranein... Could be something worth investigating.

The barmaid returns with a platter of bluish-red flesh, seasoned with spices.

* Tarim nods at her.

Tarim - Ah, very good.

* Tarim tosses the maid an obelus.

She bends low and whispers, "Yalzarr thuoght you should know, that warmbody was looking for a fellow of your description, sir."

* Tarim raises a brow.

Tarim - How interesting.  You have earned your tip.

"Must have missed you in the dim light, I suppose - said he was looking for a ghul from the City of the Leprous God, wore a turban and such.  Mayhap he was looking for someone else."

Gorethirst - It seems we know what business has brought them to the City.

* Tarim sinks his teeth into the platter of raw flesh and chews vigorously.

There's a crash against the doorway as a young human rebounds off the wall outside, collapsing in a pile.

* Eareg Maar walks through the door.

Eareg Maar - Blasted pickpockets!

Tarim - I had not expected them to care so much as to come after me all the way here, and after all that time. Perhaps I should feel flattered.

* Tarim flashes a wicked grin.

* Eareg Maar sees Gorethirst and Tarim and walks over.

Eareg Maar - Didn't expect to see you two again so soon.

The lilix bartender nods to Eareg as he enters.  A shade prostitute in a full-figured host-corpse favours him with a gruesome smile, presumably an attempt at coquettishness.

* Tarim turns to face Eareg.

Tarim - Oh, hello again.

* Eareg Maar sits down and taps the bar "brandy with a few drops of blood."

"Coming right up," the lilix says, and a moment later provides you with a snifter of golden liquid, with droplets of red suspended within.

* Gorethirst raises a bloody palm-mouth in welcome to Eareg Maar.

Eareg Maar - I was going to just take off for home but I was thirsty and fate seems to of conspired against me.

Tarim - Fate can be quite uppity.

Gorethirst - A fateful day then, first the pits and now this meeting.

*Eareg Maar nods to the bartender and knocks it back.

The brandy is cheap but fortifying after the trials of the pits.

Eareg Maar - I'm not a city crawler by any means and not one for social niceties... but I do believe when fate calls you should take note.  So perhaps I won't run off just yet.  So my fellows, what form has your day taken as of yet?  Small talk and alcohol if I guess properly your purpose for being here.

* Eareg Maar taps the bar for another brandy.

Tarim - Just came here to enjoy a bit of flesh and drinks.  Was nice enough until an old haunt from Maranein showed up, looking for me.

Gorethirst - An Inquisitor no less.

Eareg Maar - Exciting, certainly fortunate that you have a reliable past to haunt you

*Eareg Maarknocks back the second brandy

Tarim - Didn't spot me but apparently tried to use his worthless coin to find out where I was'¦

*Eareg Maar tosses two obeloi onto the bar

The lilix chitters appreciatively.

* Tarim finishes eating his food

Tarim - Good thing that the barkeep here likes his bribes high

The barmaid comes and collects the platter.  "Any food for you, sir?" she asks Eareg.

*Eareg Maar looks at Tarim.

Eareg Maar - How's the meat

Tarim - Raw meat here seems good enough. Not luxurious by any means, but tasty.

Eareg Maar - Good enough for me, I'll have what he had then

* Tarim downs the last of his drink

The barmaid nods and brings you a platter of bluish, bleeding meat, from an unidentified beast, slathered with spice-rub.

Tarim - Think I'll going to have a word with the barkeep. Enjoy your food.

*Eareg Maar tries it and nods approvingly.

* Tarim stands up and head for the counter.

* Gorethirst finishes his mug of blood, and pours another.

Gorethirst - A meal is good after a fight in the pits, is it not?

*Eareg Maar nods to Gorethirst.

Eareg Maar - And a drink - especially a drink.  Though in your case my friend you get both in one go.

Gorethirst - Very true, I do not think drinking from the Waxborn would have been a good thing.

*Eareg Maar chuckles as he crunches on bone, licking the marrow.

Tarim - *to the barkeep* Excellent service here. About that Maraneinese one...

Tarim - Might you be able to tell me more about him than your barmaid?

The lilix regards you with his many crimson eyes.

"Fellow said he was lookin' for a ghul of your description," the spider-creature says in strangely accented Shambles.  "Said you had something of his."

* Tarim seems a bit surprised.

Tarim - Was that all he said?

"Didn't have any bones, so I sent him on his way.  Mentioned he'd be following you for awhile.  In trouble with the priests?"

Tarim - Not nowadays, far as I know. Has he been here before, by chance?

"First I seen of him.  Probably not here long, given that he's still trying to get by on Marainein silver instead of proper money."

Tarim - I see. Where might such newcomers make their abode? You must have seen quite a few in your time, and heard things. Any clues?

"There're hostels and such in the shanties, but a finely dressed fellow like him would probably try a place in the city, probably somewhere here in Pulsetown.  Unless he's staying at the shrine of the Leprous God, over in Resurrection Row.  Never been in, myself."

Tarim - That makes sense. I thank you for this bit of insight. Oh, *I* for one have some proper money for those who earn it.

* Tarim tosses a handful of coins to the lilix.

The lilix chitters with gratitude.  "Always a pleasure to be of service."

* Tarim nods and head back to the table.

* Eareg Maar waves idly to Tarim as he finishes off his plate.

Gorethirst - Did he have anything to say about the Inquisitor?

Tarim - Very interesting. I don't recall having met this particular man. Though I can't be sure, it's been a while and I... do not like to spend time recalling the old days. Yet he seems to think I have something of his.

Gorethirst - It must be a valuable possession if he has followed you all the way here.

Tarim - It figures I better get to him before catches up with me. Only a matter of time till some fool accepts his silver.

* Gorethirst nods in agreement

Tarim - He seems rather wealthy. Could be loot enough to share if I do take him out. If either of you be interested.

Eareg Maar - The question is if anyone would want it around here.

* Eareg Maar chuckles.

Gorethirst - I would be willing to help.

Eareg Maar - Black one's bones... I'd be up for it, seeing as I apparently won't be heading home so soon after all.  Could use some excitement in the meantime.

Tarim - Excellent.  If you're all done with your drinks, I suggest we head out.  The better if we manage the advantage of surprise.

* Eareg Maar tosses two more obeloi onto the counter and stands up.

Eareg Maar - Well let's pound ground then.

* Tarim heads out of the bar.

* Gorethirst follows after quickly pouring the rest of his drink into a waiting palm-mouth.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on July 14, 2010, 07:59:11 PM

Militia and Miscreants

Outside, the usual chaos of Macellaria surrounds you.  Corpsegobble is being kept in a small courtyard behind the bar, by the way.  There's a cestoid-drawn rickshaw waiting by the entrance.  A wiry human child beside it asks if you need transportation.

Tarim - We can try to look for him in the Pulsetown, or the shrine of the Leprous God.

Tarim - I'd guess the latter would be the more obvious.

Eare Maar - Which one would have fewer people?

Gorethirst - Confronting him in a temple of his god might not be wise.

Gorethirst - The priests would surely side with him.

Eareg Maar - Probably the temple.

Tarim - We might gain information by asking around from people near the place.

* Gorethirst quickly goes to retrieve Corpsegobble and mounts up, meeting the others in front

Eareg Maar- we might try the Row, he wants to find you but he doesn't want to be found.

Tarim - Hmm.

Eareg Maar- he's going to go somewhere with a lot of people.

Tarim - If I had to guess, Id say the man lives in Pulsotown, but has connections to the shrine.

Eareg Maar- Are you sure he can afford Pulsetown?  His coin is no good here.

Tarim - We could observe the shrine, wait for him to appear, and follow him when he leaves - that way we avoid dealing with the priests.  Do you have other suggestions for a plan?

Eareg Maar- It's your mission - your call.

Gorethirst - Lead the way then.

Tarim - Let us find the temple, then.

* Tarim heads for the Resurrection Row.

* Eareg Maar idly wipes the barrel of his gun with a cloth as they walk, cleaning away the grime.

* Gorethirst rides a small distance behind the others, easily keeping pace.

Turning north and east from the bar you head towards the slum.  On your way, you pass through the square that holds the Sanguine Church - temple of Striga in Macellaria.  A short distance beyond, four burly humans in red robes appear from the mouth of an alley.

* Tarim looks about with keen eye-replacements as he walks.

They interpose themselves in front of you.

"This is holy ground," one of them declares to the group.  "Standard tithe, ten obeloi.  Those're Striga's rules.  You don't want to disrespect the Goddess on Her grounds, do you?"

* Eareg Maar hands the guards ten coins.

* Tarim looks annoyed.

* Gorethirst mockingly solutes them with his hands as he rides by.

*After they are past Eareg turns to the others.

Eareg Maar- Just as likely liars trying to con money, but I learned at least one thing here.  Don't mess with holy boys... even fake ones.

The red-robed men sneer and turn away, looking almost disappointed.

Gorethirst - Almost as bad as hagmen for causing trouble.

Eareg Maar- Aye.

Tarim - Of course "tithe" is just a code for extortion. But would have been more trouble for not paying.

You pass from Pulsetown and skirt the Skin Markets, eventually arriving in the slums of Resurrection Row.  The city here is tawdrier and more dilapidated than elsewhere.  Many of the buildings are smaller, fashioned of wattle and daub, mud brick, wood, and scrap; these are clustered around the bases of larger, older buildings like mushrooms, a variegated architectural fungi.  The main street - Resurrection Row itself - winds down in a jagged line towards the distant arch of the Butcher's Gate.  There, scavengers heading into the Slaughter-lands depart and bedraggled parties limp back into the city, laden with their ill-gotten treasures.

Tarim - I guess we should ask some of the locals for directions.

Eareg Maar- Let's try for the southeast walls.  I recall it being near there.  We can ask around the area.

Tarim - Alright.

Right now you're on the main street, the Row itself.

Tarim - You show the way if you're more familiar with this area

* Eareg Maar leads the group in that direction

Eareg, you lead them up to the Butcher's Gate by the bounty office and then south along the walls.  Soon you are in the tangled alleys of the Row.  You find yourself in a small square; two streets lead away, one to the east, the other southwest.  There are several street-sellers here, including a fortune-teller and a charm-merchant.

Gorethirst - A merchant may know the way from here.

* Eareg Maar heads over to the charm merchant and flashes him a few coin.

Tarim - Merchants. Always eager to earn a coin.

A scrofulous ghul who must've been grafted in life - given the jackal's snout and ears that've been sewn to his head, and the bristling tail that twitches behind him - sells a variety of charms, talismans, broaches, rings, bracelets, baubles, trinkets, pocketwatches, and other jewellery-pieces on the street-corner, some of it with an eldritch look to it.  Perched on his shoulder with its umbilical cord wrapped about his upper arm is a human foetus '“ a foetus with the black, beady eyes and rippling gooseflesh of a shade.  The ghul barks and whimpers loudly, catching the attention of passers-by, while the grotesque little child on its shoulder hawks wares to passers-by:

"The finest wards in Macellaria," it proclaims, its voice eerily adult.  "Courtesy of Masters Woof & Stillborn!  Need protection against Rotmist?  Or perhaps it's madness you're hoping to stave off?  What about an amulet to silence your movements, or a periapt to command even the blackest tenebrals?  Or is it healing you need '“ what about a ring that protects against deadly venoms, or wards off the foulest plagues?  Come one, come all '“ the finest wards in Macellaria, courtesy of Masters Woof & Stillborn!"

Eareg Maar- perhaps you might charm me by telling me the way to the temple?

"Ah, the temple of the Wasting God, yes?"

Eareg Maar- Aye.

"What would such information be worth to a fine ghul such as yourself?"

Tarim - How charming little helper.

* Tarim chuckles.

* Gorethirst circles the square silently.

Eareg Maar- I would be most pleased with the information, so pleased that I could lose 10 coins and be unconcerned

* Tarim eyes the alleys around them.

* Eareg Maar casually hefts a handful of coins.

* Gorethirst slowly brings 'gobble around towards the ghul merchant

"That sounds like a fair price and no mistake!  Ye'll find the shrine down Blackhand Alley there" - the foetus-shade points to the eastern street.  "Just follow that, take the first right, and ye'll be at the walls.  Follow them till ye hit the shrine."

Eareg Maar- Thank you.

Tarim - Ah, good. Let us be on our way.

* Eareg Maar shakes his hand with the hand containing the coins.

The jackal-faced ghul barks appreciatively and lolls his pinkish tongue.  The foetus continues its speal about talismans and amulets.

* Eareg Maar leads on.

Eareg Maar- hemorrhaging coins as usual... another day in the city.

* Eareg Maar grins at Tarim and Gorethirst.

Eareg Maar- The trick is to make others hemorrhage them to you faster.

Following the merchant's directions you soon reach the shrine - a two-storey temple with cracked columns of black marble around the front and a tall arched doorway.  The grotesque effigy of the Leprous God stares down from overhead.

Tarim - Interesting.

* Tarim looks for a suitable place to observe the shrine without being spotted himself. Preferably some place he could get away casting a spell when needed.

Eareg Maar- By which I mean, Tarim, that I expect to be paid well.

Tarim - Of course.

There are a lot of grimy alleyways about, and some scabrous yards where dirty children play.

Tarim - I say we wait for while, to see if he shows up.

Eareg Maar- Your call.

Gorethirst - I can take a look inside. They will not know me from your past Tarim.

Tarim - If he doesn't, then we'll investigate more directly.

* Tarim picks a quiet, shadowy, alley.

You begin waiting.

* Eareg Maar casually slings out hiss gun, checking the chamber.

About an hour later, three swaggering thugs approach you from out of the yawning black of the alleyway behind you, all of them showily grafted.  One has filed teeth and a swarm of barbed tentacles bristling from his bare scalp in distasteful imitation of a gorgon's snaky hair.  Another has replaced one his hands with an axe-blade; he wields an enormous, rusted hand-cannon in the other hand.  The third is perhaps the most grotesque, his lower jaw having been removed entirely to make room for an obscenely long, cartilaginous tongue worming its way from his perpetually open mouth and sniffing the air with a razored sucker.

"What do we have here?"  The snake-haired horror asks mockingly, twirling a switchblade.  "A couple of wormies and a leech out for a stroll in the Row?  What do you think, Hatchet?"

"Out for a promenade, Locks.  Look like a bunch of fancy-pants fleshies with bones to spare."  The hatchet-handed thug sashays and waves his enormous pistol.  "Ent that right, Slobber?"

Slobber makes a disgusting choking sound that might be laughter and dribbles mucal spew from his flailing proboscis.

He cracks his knuckles and withdraws a punching dagger from the depths of his vest.

* Eareg Maar casually cocks his rifle.

* Eareg Maar stands up.

Eareg Maar - that would be unwise.

* Gorethirst brings Corpsegobble around.

* Tarim silently draws his dagger.

* Eareg Maar utters a strange word and the barrel of his gun bursts into fire.

Gorethirst - I am in need of corpses for my mount, do you volunteer?

The three disgusting grafted thugs Hatchet, Locks, and Slobber stare down the three adventurers Tarim, Eareg Maar, and the Gorethirst, who were staking out the shrine of the Wasting God of Marainein.  As they advance - weapons glinting in the mid-afternoon sun, organic augmentations squirming and drooling - a shadowy figure steps from the shadows behind them - Kaius Alexander, the pallid, grim-faced warrior the three adventurers met earlier in the fighting pits.   Now sheathed in armour and armed to the teeth, he approaches the thugs and his erstwhile companions in the pit, his face inscrutable.

(Kaius was just returning from taking the wounded man from the Pits to a chirurgeon in Hexwarren.  His tenement is in Resurrection Row - it's coincidence that he has run into these three).

*Gorethirst spurs his dire maggot Corpsegobble and charges towards the thugs!

Gorethirst - I also Quick-Draw my Great Axe, so I get +1 attack and +1 damage from Sudden Strike.

The leechkin's axe sings through the air and slices into the hideous thug Slobber, severing his left arm at the shoulder!  Blood spatters the graffiti-slathered alley walls and the graftpunk screeches in pain, a sound made doubly hideous by his cartilaginous tongue.

* Kaius barrels out of the shadows, his straight, Somnambulon-forged sword glinting.  His blow skewers the thug called Locks, who grunts in pain.

Kaius Alexander - You fools should have ran when you had the chance. I would have let you go.

* Eareg Maar lowers his weapon at locks and a flaming bullet leaps from the barrel

Lock's brains explode out the back of his skull.  The charred tentacles that'd been grafted to his scalp writhe in their death-throes.

* Eareg Maar looks at the surviving thugs daring them to continue.

* Tarim draws from a hidden pocket in his robe a small orb that looks like the shell of some strange insect. He takes aim and throws it at Hatchet.

The hellfire bomb comes up short, spattering harmlessly against the wall.  The bricks melt and dissolve, sizzling.

* Tarim groans, annoyed.

Slobber, screaming in pain, turns to run.  Kaius aims a blow as he dashes past.  The strike catches the creature at the knee, and he goes down in a tangle of limbs and flailing tongue, blood spreading beneath him.  Hatchet, the remaining thug, fires his gun at Kaius and makes to retreat.  The bullet goes wide, hitting the wall.  Hatchet retreats slowly, his hand-cannon still raised and his battleaxe-arm upraised.

Anyone want to follow him?

Gorethirst - ooc: Gorethirst will

Kaius Alexander - He'll just go to his friends. We'll only have to deal with him later. He cannot be allowed to escape.

Gorethirst - I think his friends are lying at our feet. But never leave a battle unfinished.

*Gorethirst's axe embeds itself in the man's head - he dies instantly.

Well, you made short work of those three.

Eareg Maar - Bloody alley rats.  Well, we better make the bodies disappear.

* Gorethirst busies himself by removing all the inorganic parts from the bodies and dragging them towards Corpsegobble

Tarim - Impressive fighting. I see you do much better now with your weapons at hand

Kaius Alexander - They chose the wrong prey on this day.

Gorethirst - Corpsegobble is a beast of many talents, there should not be a problem disposing the corpses

Tarim, you hear the sound of approaching footsteps, and a voice that says "I fink I 'eard it down 'ere... lucky we were passin'."

Corpsegobble is having a nice snack.

Tarim - I guess you won't need to worry about feeding your mount for a while now

* Eareg Maar gestures to his gun and the flames go out, he quickly shoulders it

Tarim - Someone's coming

* Kaius Alexander sheathes his sword smoothly

Gorethirst - These dire maggots never stop eating, but it is not difficult to find him something to eat.

* Tarim turns to face the direction of the footsteps

* Gorethirst slings his Greataxe over his shoulder and mounts up after 'gobble has finished with the corpses.

Now you can all hear the approach of booted feet.  They sound like they're coming from the same direction Kaius appeared from.

Tarim - Might be more trouble

Kaius Alexander - We'll see.

A group of armed humans and ghilan appear from round the corner, clothed in the boiled leathers and black cloaks of the militia.

"What's goin' on 'ere?" one of them demands, his revolver drawn.

Eareg Maar - Sorry, my fault, damned gun accidentally misfired.  Almost hit my friend there on the maggot.

"That so?"  The guard looks about the alley.  You've done a good job of cleaning it up in a hurry, but there are still some suspiciously wet stains.

Eareg Maar - That's what you get for walking around with a dire maggot... blasted thing leaks all the time.

"Well, citizen, I'd be willin' to overlook this little incident if you paid a small fine.  Twenty obeloi for an unlawfully discharged weapon, endangering citizens."  The man grins.

Eareg Maar - Sounds fair

Tarim - I will cover some of that. I did pick this alley for our.. meeting, after all

Gorethirst - Were you at the pit fights today?

The officer rudely ignores the leechkin.

* Eareg Maar hands Tarim five coins for his share.

* Tarim nods.

* Kaius Alexander tosses five obeloi to Tarim.

* Gorethirst digs out five coins and hands them to the militia man.

* Tarim adds five  from his own purse and hands the full twenty obeloi to the guard.

The officer collects his bribe, winks, and leads his men back the way they came.

Eareg Maar - let's hope we can continue without another incident.

Kaius Alexander - Yes. What were all of you doing out here?

Tarim - Well, waiting around in this area is clearly not very good for our wealth.

* Eareg Maar unshoulders his weapon and cocks it, sending a casing bouncing against the wall before reshouldering it.

(+5 xp for badassery)

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on July 14, 2010, 08:04:47 PM
Much, much more to come - about 20 pages of logs, just need to be formatted.  Inquisitors, disguises, deceit, and murder in the sewers!

Next session is Tuesday the 20th at 4:15!

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on July 14, 2010, 09:58:55 PM

In the Shrine of the Wasting God

Gorethirst - I think we should investigate the temple.

Kaius Alexander - The temple?

Tarim - (to Kaius) I and the others are tracking down a certain inquisitor from Marainein.

Gorethirst - We have already encountered the militia and these miscreants. It cannot be worse.

Kaius Alexander - I see. If that is the case, I shall remain with you.

Tarim - A rich man. He wants something from me, but I'm determined to find him first and make sure he is... dealt with.

Eareg Maar - I doubt Tarim wants to enter and draw attention.  Perhaps our good leech here would check it out.

Gorethirst - I can climb onto the roof.

Tarim - Whatever loot we can pry from him, we'll share.

Kaius Alexander - Is this Inquisitor a formidable foe, Tarim?

Gorethirst - I have enough rope to let down as well. So if they watch the door we will not be seen.

Tarim - I do not know of his strength. Though if he came all the way here after me, he must be somewhat capable

Kaius Alexander - That is a fair point.

Tarim - With wealth he could hire some muscle.

Gorethirst - I think we should enter from the roof. Let me see if there is a good spot.

* Gorethirst goes to see if there is a vantage point out of view to climb onto the roof.

Eareg Maar - We are just scouting correct?

Tarim - We don't know whether he is in the temple. He is likely to have connections there though.

Eareg Maar - Tarim may not want to enter at all.

Tarim - Well, I could use a glamer to change my appearance.  They would not recognize me from the descriptions.

The shrine is almost flush against the city walls.  There are some ragged tenements and shacks about the periphery, and an ugly-looking butcher's shop as well.  Some of these are one-storey and might be clambered onto.  The door is open and unguarded, though not precisely welcoming.  The putrid visage of the Leprous Divinity Yzsch gazes down at you with stony, maggot-eaten eyes.

* Kaius Alexander stares back at it.

Tarim - I think it's best to avoid hostilities with the clergy.  If we get caught sneaking in, that could turn very ugly.

Eareg Maar - I agree.  If you go climbing up you're on your own... I won't risk that.

Tarim - Those guards might not be so willing to settle for a fine a second time.

Gorethirst - Then let us go through the front door, then.

* Tarim chants and gestures, casting Deceptive Visage (Disguise Self)

Any particular guise you'd like?

* Tarim 's appearance seems to melt like candlewax, then shapes and sets into the form of a human male, about in his thirties.

They won't be able to detect the illusion unless they interact with you, and then they get a Will save to disbelieve.  You have 40 minutes in this form before the glamer dissolves.

Tarim - (can I speak ? without risking it)

Yes, your voice might sound a little odd for a human, but not bizarrely so.  If you were a lilix it might be trickier.

Tarim - Lets us go and investigate. We'll pretend to be faithful, coming to pray

* Kaius Alexander stands patiently by the entrance

* Tarim heads to the shrine

Eareg Maar - ooc: would the faithful walk into a shrine armed and armored?

* Kaius Alexander follows

Not with weapons drawn, but they might be bearing arms - that's so common in this city it's not a big deal.

*Gorethirst instructs Corpsegobble to wait outside.

* Tarim reaches the doorway and peeks in

You see a low, gloomy room.  Tarim, the architecture here is typical of Marainein - dark stone, tall, imposing pillars, and omnipresent religious iconography.  Darkly clad devotees of the Wasting God attend the shrine, which includes a pool of murky water set before an ivory statuette of the deity, for worshippers to offer coins to.  There's no immediate sign of the Inquisitor.

Tarim - (do I know much about their rites? I don't have the appropriate knowledge skill I think)

Their rites are many, but the basic ones are typical - money in exchange for blessings, etcetera.  You throw coins into the "Holy Pool" and supposedly incur the beneficence of His Putridity.

* Tarim enters the shrine and looks for some priestly type - anyone that might be the one in charge

There appears to be what would be termed a Prelate, officiating near the pool.  This is a fairly minor official, but still probably a high-ranking individual in Macellaria.

Kaius Alexander - How shall we find this Inquisitor? There are many here. I do not know if it would be wise to be asking too many questions, if being surreptitious is our goal.

* Kaius Alexander follows Tarim in and flicks an obeloi into the pool

Tarim - I think that man might know something.  I'll tell him that I'm wishing to make a large donation, and ask to negotiate in private

* Gorethirst follows behind the others, dropping three obeloi into the pool

After Gorethirst's donation, one of the clerics looks up with distrust.

* Gorethirst stares back

"What do you want, parasite?  There is no blood for you to drink here."

Tarim - Please try not to cause any scenes

* Gorethirst shakes its head and walks out the door.
*Gorethirst steps outside.

As Gorethirst waits with Corpsegobble, it sees the Inquisitor approaching from down the street.

* Gorethirst mounts up quickly

The man walks with the aid of an ebony cane.  He looks thin and old but spry.  As he nears he glares at you fiercely.

Gorethirst - Hello Sir.  I was waiting for you after I seen you at Erubescence.  You are looking for a certain ghul?

"What would a swamp-beast know of such things?"  The Inquisitor glares at you, as if disgusted.

Gorethirst - This swamp-beast may have knowledge of the ghul. What is it worth to you?

Meanwhile, inside the shrine'¦

* Tarim approaches the Prelate

Tarim - Excuse me, holy one

"May I help you, child?"

* Kaius Alexander raises his visor and looks at the Prelate

Tarim - Let's just say that there is  a pressing need for me to... improve my standing in the eyes of the Wasting God. I have been advised to seek his blessing by gathering a donation to this shrine. A large donation. But I think there are some things I should discuss with you about this matter.  In private, if it can be arranged.

The Prelate raises one eyebrow.

"Very well.  Come with me, and we shall discuss this further..."

* Tarim nods

He gestures that you follow him into an inner sanctum.

* Eareg Maar stays out with Gorethirst.

* Kaius Alexander stays by the pool inside the shrine.

Tarim - Thank you. The thing is, the advice has been given to me by a certain man of your faith, one who arrived here recently from the holiest city of Marainein.  Now, certain... complications have arisen, and I need to discuss with him as soon as possible. But he never told me where he is residing.  I was wondering if you knew of this man, and could help me out in finding him? He is, I understand, of respectable rank.

"Ah, you must mean Brother Gervantes."

Tarim - That was indeed the name he told me.

"He is currently staying, I believe, in the Pulsetown district - apparently our accommodations are too humble for so great a man."  You detect a hint of annoyance in the Prelate's tone.  "Let me see... if I recall correctly he is residing in a place called the Raven's Nest, not far from the border between Hexwarren and Pulsetown, just off Tatterdemalion Court."

* Tarim nods humbly

"Now, you were speaking of a donation, child?"

Tarim - Yes, the donation. I am still in the progress of gathering it. Large sums, you see, are not quickly conjured, even by a merchant as talented as myself - if I do say so myself.  The donation will be delivered soon enough, provided that I'll manage to sort out these complications I mentioned.

"I, ah, see.  What sort of business are you in, if you don't mind my inquiring?"

Tarim - Oh, I trade in many items of value. Fine cloths, jewellery, medicinal and... other valued substances

"It sounds most profitable.  I hope I have been of assistance.  What exactly is it that you need from Brother Gervantes?"

Tarim - That is helpful, and I am grateful for this information. I need to speak with him soon, concerning these complications. I am certain that together we can sort it out quickly.

"I will pray for your swift success.  I look forward greatly to your return, Mister...?"

Tarim - Rowys Meth. It has been a pleasure to make your acquaintance

"And yours, Mister Meth.  Praise Yzsch!"

Tarim - I must bid you farewell now. I am eager to find brother Gervantes.  Praise Yzsch!

* Tarim heads out of the room.

Back outside'¦

Eareg finds Gorethirst conversing with a man in a dark coat and a wide-brimmed hat, walking with the aid of an ebony stick.

The man speaking with Gorethirst looks at the leechkin sharply.

"You know where I can find this creature?"

Gorethirst - For the right price I could remember.

The Inquisitor grits his teeth, clearly annoyed.

"Very well," he says.  "What about ten pieces of silver?  Would that adequately jog your memory?"

* Kaius Alexander wanders to the threshold of the shrine
* Kaius Alexander cocks his head at the conversation taking place outside

Gorethirst - As the lilix told you, silver coin is not good in Macellaria.  But, I could be persuaded if the amount was large enough.  To cover the cost of exchange.

The Inquisitor snorts.

"Very well.  Twenty coins.  Enough to buy you enough blood to drink yourself into a stupor."

Gorethirst - Twenty coins it is, unless you would be willing to offer blood instead.

"You will have none of my fluids, parasite, but here are you coins."  He hands Gorethirst the money.  "Now, what is your information?"

* Tarim emerges from the inner sanctum, back in the main room.

Gorethirst - The ghul can be found between Slimesquallor and Resurrection Row.

Only Kaius awaits you, Tarim.

Gorethirst - I can lead the way for you if you wish.

* Gorethirst pockets the twenty silver coins.

Tarim - Let us go. I am pleased with the information I learned.

* Kaius Alexander motions for Tarim to stop as the ghul reaches the door.

"Indeed?  I know his residence is in Wormhive; why does he loiter near the hagmen?"

* Gorethirst shrugs.

* Eareg Maar quietly slips back inside the temple and informs Tarim of what's going on.

Gorethirst - I do not know the ways of the grave-spawn.

"Very well.  Wait here - I must confer with my Prelate.  Then you may show me the way."

* Gorethirst nods in agreement.

* Tarim hurries outside.

Tarim - What an interesting turn of events.

Tarim, you pass the Inquisitor on the way out.  He eyes you darkly as you walk past each other.  Your glamer has foiled him.

(Note that the Prelate will almost certainly tell him a certain Mr. Meth is looking for him)

* Gorethirst quickly and quietly informs Tarim what has happened.

* Tarim waits for the inquisitor to be out of earshot, then speaks to the others.

Gorethirst - I think we should lead him somewhere a bit further from the militia and ambush him.

Tarim - Well, now we better get back tot hat alley.  Before he comes out - he *will* be suspicious, and possibly confused.

Kaius Alexander - ooc: presumably we can follow Gorethirst and the Inquisitor from a distance.

Tarim - We must observe him, but beware - he will be watchful.

* Kaius Alexander nods his assent.

* Tarim heads quickly back to the alley they were at earlier.

Gorethirst - I will lead him in the general direction of the Slimesquallor; follow closely.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: LD on July 15, 2010, 12:30:03 AM
Where is Eareg getting all this coin? (Money seems to solve many problems.)

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Nomadic on July 15, 2010, 02:49:24 AM

Light Dragon

Where is Eareg getting all this coin? (Money seems to solve many problems.)

He has about 500 bones stashed about his person. He isn't street savvy but he's in and out of the butcher's gate enough to know that money lubes the macellarian gears, so he keeps a fair share of it hidden on him to make his day go smoothly.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Llum on July 15, 2010, 07:06:36 AM
Gorethirst had a hundred or so obeloi on him before this misadventure as well. I didn't spend it to the last dime at creation.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on July 15, 2010, 04:27:16 PM

Backstreet Brawl

The tall, grim man now emerges from the depths of the shrine of the Wasting God.

He is garbed in the spare, ecclesiastical clothes of the Marainein warrior-priests, walking with the aid of a heavy ebony stick.  His face is a scarred ruin, small black eyes gleaming like shards of flint from out of his swarthy, lined face, shielded from the sun by his fraying broad-brimmed hat.  As he steps out of the shadow of the temple he removes a pair of round, tinted glasses from his coat and puts them on.  The amulet of the Inquisition gleams on his chest.  A huge bruiser of a man in clergyman's robes follows him out.  Bald-headed and heavily muscled, this man looks to be a low-level cleric.

* Tarim hides in the shadows of the alley, watching.

"Well, leech, lead on," Inquisitor Gervantes mutters.

Tarim - *whispers to the others* He has company. I think he suspects someone is after his life.

Kaius Alexander - Perhaps.

Tarim - That wouldn't be unreasonable, given my little ploy just got blown

* Gorethirst nods and wheels Corpsegobble around, heading slowly towards the depths of the city

The Inquisitor and his neophyte follow warily.  The bodyguard has a huge scimitar slung in his robe-belt.

Tarim - I would like to interrogate him, but it might be better to not take chances.

Kaius Alexander - We shall see how things develop.

Tarim - His follower I care nought for, better that we nail that one quickly.

* Tarim drops to the tail of the group and, when a suitable moment comes, unleashes Harden the Skin from a tattoo, then hurries after the others

The district of Slimesquallor is one of curving streets and distinctive greenstone buildings in the traditional architectural style of the hagmen.  Columns sculpted to resemble eel-like coils support domed roofs and long arcades; public pools can be glimpsed to either side of the streets, and the residences seem to be communal halls that double as bathhouses.  Also prominent are temples to the many-faced hagman deity and tall, tiered teahouses.  Hagmen are everywhere here: green-fleshed creatures with barbed whiskers, toothy vertical mouths, and lamprey-like lower bodies, mostly garbed only in crude jewellery.  Their mucus-trails cover the ground in a sticky slick.

You're on the border between districts here, where the slums give way to the temples and baths.  It's quiet, but not totally deserted - there are a few hagmen about, slinking between structures a way down the street.

Gorethirst - Just down this alley Inquisitor.

* Gorethirst turns down the alley.

The Inquisitor follows.  The bodyguard cautiously draws his blade.

Tarim - I think we're getting to a good territory to make our move.  Be ready

*Gorethirst spurs Corpsegobble to pin the Inquisitor!

* Eareg Maar quietly sets up and takes aim on the bodyguard

You hear a yell of fear and a squeal from Corpsegobble as the dire maggot attacks the Inquisitor, attempting to grapple him.

Tarim - They're at it!

The Inquisitor draws a hidden blade from his cane in a flash of steel and attacks.  Corpsegobble is hit!  Fortunately the creature is only grazed by the attack - but that nixes his grapple.

* Kaius Alexander rushes to the mouth of the alley, drawing his sword.

* Tarim Tarim follows in after Kaius, dagger drawn

Tarim - *shouting* Take the inquisitor alive if you can, but don't take risks - kill if you must.

Gorethirst - I will pin him under Corpsegobble.

Corpsegobble is leaking clearish blood. and squealing in pain.  The Inquisitor darts back with startling agility for an older man as Gorethirst's axe swings towards him.  He pulls a bolas from his robes and hurls it at Gorethirst.  The bolas wrap around the leechkin's neck.

* Gorethirst falls to the ground with a choked yowl.

* Eareg Maar quietly takes aim at the cleric (1 aim token) before launching a flaming projectile at his body.  The clerical bodyguard screams in pain as the flaming bullet sears his flesh.

* Tarim points a taloned finger at the cleric and chants with eldritch words. A dripping mass of black fluid oozes out from his arm and shapes into a bolt, which shoots forth at the target.  The eldritch missile hits the wounded cleric, splattering him with caustic fluid.  The acid begins to eat away at the man's face.  He drops his blade in agony.

*Kaius Alexander steps in with his longsword.  He half-decapitates the cleric with a single blow, abruptly silencing his screams.

*Gorethirst untangles himself and mounts Corpsegobble again, calming the frenzied dire maggot.  In the tight spaces of the alleyway, it is difficult to manoeuvre the bulky creature.

"Incompetent fool," the Inquisitor mutters.  With a fluid motion he hurls three shuriken towards Tarim, Kaius, and Eareg!  Then he turns, and rushes past Gorethirst down the alley.  Two of the shurkens go wide, but one catches Kaius in a chink of his armour.  Though the toughened warrior is unhurt, the shuriken was tipped with poison.  For now, the armiger shrugs off the poison's effects.  The Inquisitor grunts in pain as Gorethirst's axe grazes his back.

* Eareg Maar lines up his target and let's fly with a crack, but the bullet sails over the Inquisitor's head.

* Tarim grabs another Hellfire Bomb, takes a few running steps, and throws the shelled explosive at the Inquisitor.  The bomb hits the man squarely in the back.  He curses loudly, and his coat is now aflame!

Kaius, your turn.  There's a flaming Inquisitor in front of you, about to disappear round a corner.

*Kaius follows in hot pursuit of the Inquisitor.  He darts round a corner, batting at the flames ineffectually.

*Gorethirst spurs his mount.  The giant maggot squirms round the corner, scuttling on its many legs.  With a bestial shriek it collides with the Inquisitor, pinning the dark-coated figure to the flagstone street!
* Gorethirst lets loose a twin throated howl in success

Gorethirst - I have pinned the Inquisitor.

The Inquisitor struggles and curses.

Gorethirst - Stop struggling you human fool.

* Eareg Maar takes off after them (double move).

* Tarim runs over to the street corner (double move).

The Inquisitor stops struggling.  The flames have finally gone out.

Alright.  You've got a pinned Inquisitor of Marainein (badly scorched).

"Get this beast off me," he grunts.

Tarim - Can we tie him up?

Gorethirst - I have plenty of rope in my bag.

* Gorethirst throws his sack onto the ground.

Tarim - We better move out of here if we're to interrogate him. Don't want any bystanders raising a ruckus.

Gorethirst - How are we supposed to move a tied up hostage without being seen by the militia?

Tarim - We could look for an abandoned house.

Gorethirst - I do like the fighting pits, but I would at least one day of freedom.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on July 15, 2010, 04:32:19 PM

Murder in the Sewers

Eareg, you notice a manhole cover nearby... almost certainly leading to the sewers and catacombs beneath the city.

* Eareg Maar walks over to the manhole cover and lifts it up.

Tarim - Good thinking.  We hould have some privacy down there.

It's not too heavy - it can be easily removed.

Tarim - Though I hear there are people and things living down there.

(Most of the city's cestoid population, for one).

Eareg Maar - nothing scarier than me or uglier than you.

* Eareg Maar smirks and drops down the hole.

* Tarim descends the manhole.

You land in a stinking sewer-tunnel, a squarish passage with a channel cut in the floor.  A sluggish flow of sewage churns in the channel, but there are narrow catwalks along the sides.

Eareg Maar - shove him down and we'll make sure he doesn't run off.

* Kaius Alexander pushes the Inquisitor towards the manhole.

Kaius Alexander - Down you go.

The Inquisitor spits but complies.

* Gorethirst dismounts and lets Corpsegobble wiggle down first, then follows.

Tarim - Alright.  Now, time to decide what we're going to do with you.

* Kaius Alexander drags the cover back into place as he descends.

* Eareg Maar sighs, happy to be out of the sunlight.

"Kill me if you must.  More will come in my place."

Tarim - How well you answer our questions will influence that decision.

Note that Tarim's glamer is still functioning, so he resembles a living human male in his thirties rather than a crazed grave-spawn magus with mechanical lenses for eyes.

Gorethirst - I went to a great deal of trouble to take you alive. You will not be killed out of hand.

"Who are you?  The mysterious Mister Meth?  Or some other blackguard?"

Tarim - WE ask the questions here!

"I will answer none of them, cur."

Tarim - Oh, how brave!

* Eareg Maar casually taps the barrel of his gun against the man's chin

Tarim - Perhaps we should try and loosen your tongue a bit, then?

Eareg Maar - Wonder what his brains would like decorating the wall behind him?

"I welcome death.  The Wasting God has reserved a place for me by His side.  Your threats mean nothing."

Tarim - Oh, but death here should be the least of your concerns.

A glint of fear enters the Inquisitor's eyes at the ghul's words, despite his previous proclamation.

Tarim - It's rather HOW you die that matter now, doesn't it?

"I do not fear death, in any form."  His words sound increasingly hollow and quaking, uncertain.

[16:05] Tarim - So answer our questions, and answer them well.

Tarim - Now, why have you arrived in this city?

"If I tell you, will you release me?"

Tarim - Perhaps.

"If you must know my purposes, look in my right coat pocket.  There you will find a copy of my orders."

Tarim - This better not be a ploy.

"I swear on Yzsch Himself."

Tarim - No enchanted "surprises" in that paper.

* Tarim takes the otrders out of his coat pocket.

He says nothing.

Tarim - Hmm.

* Tarim reads the paper silently.

Nothing explodes.

* Kaius Alexander casually checks the rounds in his revolver

The papers:

"Inquisitor Gervantes Ro,

You are hereby ordered to track down the convicted heretic and abomination known as Tarim and retrieve from his possession a book, seemingly mundane but in actual fact a dangerous and blasphemous artefact.  Though on first glance this tome will appear to be a simple journal, it in fact utilizes a diabolic cipher and several unholy wards to protect its innermost secrets.  Our informants have discovered that the work contained within, if properly decoded, could catapult the sorcerer to heights of power as great as YZSCH himself, our LORD and SAVIOR.

While we suspect that due to his self-induced transformation the grave-spawn has not yet unlocked the blackest secrets of his own diary, it is only a matter of time.  Our archons have speculated that his transition into un-death is merely the first stage of his dark ascension.  When Tarim left the City of the Wasting God it was not yet known how great a threat he and his so-called diary posed: only a lengthy interrogation of his former pupil and apprentice - a man Tarim himself discharged long prior to his transformation - revealed the terrible truth.

Under no circumstances is the book to be destroyed: it must be returned to Marainein and the Palace of YZSCH for careful study.  Tarim is expendable; however, if you obtain the book without slaying the ghul you need not bother with executing him, as without the journal he is no longer a threat.  Returning without the book will be interpreted as an admission of failure and incompetence and will be punished accordingly.



Archprelate Krantiss Urdon
9th Tier Archon and Keeper of the Withering Flame"

* Tarim grins gleefully.

Gorethirst - Something interesting comrade?

Tarim - Confirms what was already known, and adds some new insights.

"I trust your curiosity is assuaged?"

* Tarim pockets the orders.

Tarim - Most importantly, it seems that we cannot spare your life. Unfortunately.

Kaius Alexander - He is too dangerous to be kept alive.

Tarim - Indeed, too dangerous for us.  He would report to his comrades and send them after us.  It is better that he disappears

Gorethirst - I will take his blood then.

"No!  Not the parasite!  The abomination!"

Gorethirst - The combat has given quite the thirst.

* Gorethirst delicately brings his palm mouths towards the Inquisitors neck.

"Please, kill me by blade or bullet, not by that horror!"

* Kaius Alexander frowns slightly.

Tarim - A quick death is fine by me.  Let's just get the bloody business over with.

* Eareg Maar lowers his gun to the man's head and fires.

Eareg Maar - Sorry, leech, but even scum as him doesn't deserve such a death.

* Gorethirst feeds off the still warm body, greedily slurping his quieting blood.

Tarim - The blood should still be good, no?

Kaius Alexander - Unfortunate. What did the orders say, Tarim?

Tarim - A long story. You see, I hail from that accursed Maranein myself

Gorethirst - What spoils does he have?

Has has: a purse with 236 Marainein silver coins (worth approximately 708 Macellarian obeloi), a masterwork rapier with ebony swordcane, nine masterwork shurikens, an Inquisition Amulet, and a small ring set with a jade stone.

Gorethirst - Here are the twenty silver coins he paid me earlier.

* Gorethirst adds the twenty coins back into the pouch.

* Eareg Maar takes his cane and examines it.

It's a dark wood cane that can easily conceal the rapier.

* Eareg Maar sheaths the rapier in it and hands it to Tarim.

Tarim - I had to flee the city after the priesthood accused me of heresy - not that I had ever truly messed with their church.

Eareg Maar - I expect to be paid well once everything is sold and wrapped up.

Tarim - Of course.

Gorethirst - I will take my share after it has been exchanged into coin as well.  In good Macellaria obeloi, that is.

Kaius Alexander - Do you suspect that they will send another man after you?

Tarim - Well, it turns out they weren't happy with my spellbooks containing some of the more "heretical" texts.  Not just ordinary stuff, you see, but something they wanted destroyed BADLY.

Kaius Alexander - Hmm.

Tarim - You know how these fanatics can be about such matters.

Kaius Alexander - No. But I will take your word.

Tarim - They put their faith before life and property.  Crazy types, really.  Anyway, he is dead now.  No more threat to me. My thanks to you for your aid.

*Kaius inclines his head slightly.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: LD on July 15, 2010, 05:39:30 PM
>>Gorethirst - I do like the fighting pits, but I would at least one day of freedom.


Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on July 15, 2010, 06:23:40 PM
We're now caught up.  I allowed the players to skip over the boring task of money-changing (there are plenty of moneychangers in the Bazaars and the Court-of-Bones), and they sold the ring for 100 obeloi to Masters Woof & Stillborn in Resurrection Row.

We have gotten significantly faster at combat already, I think.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Superfluous Crow on July 21, 2010, 07:06:18 AM
Seems you've had some fun while I was gone!
Will be interesting to see where the journal takes our friend Tarim.
And yes, the fighting seems faster, even if that might be down to most of the less pertinent details having been kindly removed in the editting (makes for a more interesting read, really).
But I have caught up with the action for now.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on July 21, 2010, 12:09:29 PM

A Note for Kaius

Having returned to his rooms in Resurrection Row after the Inquisitor's death, Kaius must settle accounts with his landlord.

Kauis, your rooms are a fairly squalid set of chambers with peeling stucco walls riddled with dry rot and old bullet-holes.  The bed is a sprawling, rusted thing, a brass skeleton with a decomposing mattress.  It was here that your Mistress, the Lady Genevieve, spent her last hours, as the zehrer within her dwindled.  There's also a small bathroom and a miniscule den and kitchen, all in a state of shabby disrepair and general decrepitude.  Still, its better than the streets, and there's a sturdy lock on the front door to deter intruders, plus a ward that the Lady carved into the wood before her death, though whether it still functions after her death you do not know.

Your rent is due; your landlord lives in the same structure, on the ground floor.

* Kaius Alexander exhales slowly.

* Kaius Alexander drops his pack heavily.

* Kaius Alexander digs through it, searching for the pouch of obeloi.  Retrieving it, Kaius proceeds downstairs, to pay the landlord

Kaius, your landlord is a near-blind, wizened human man named Croab with a taste for old books; he spends most of his time hunched over some volume or another with a flagon of his homebrewed beer.  His temper, however, is legendary, as is his penchant for crude profanity, earning him the nickname "Croab Curse-tongue."

He carries a hefty wooden cane with which he administers liberal beatings, though these have grown rather ineffectual as he slips into dotage.

"Eh, who's that?  Another of you arse-faced, gall-livered whoresons of Glut's?  Tell that shit-for-brains cocksucker to bugger himself with a rusty pike, I've paid my bleeding godsdamn protection for this month, and if he wants an obelus more he can lick my ancient balls."

Kaius Alexander - Sir, you are mistaken... once again. I have come to pay the rent.

* Kaius Alexander shakes a small pouch of obeloi

He resettles his spectacles.

"Oh it's you!  Speak up next time."  He takes ten obeloi for rent.

* Kaius Alexander inclines his head slightly to Croab

"Oh, 'fore I forget, some sassy slag left a message for you.  Redheaded twat, called herself Moira or Mary or Mae or some shit like that.  Give me a moment I'll find the bleeding thing for you."

Kaius Alexander - Oh? Hmmm.

He digs out a note from his pile of tomes and hands it to you.

The note:

Kaius Alexander,

Rumour has reached me of the impressive way you and your companions dispatched the well-known thugs calling themselves Hatchet, Locks, and Slobber.   I represent a party that would like to engage your services.  If you are interested, ask for me at the sign of the Laughing Fiend by the Butcher's Gate, across from the bounty office.


Mara, Dogskull Thief Clan

* Kaius Alexander squints at the note

Kaius Alexander - Interesting.  Thank you for holding this for me, Croab. Good day to you.

"And to you.  Now fuck off and leave me in peace you ugly lout."

* Kaius Alexander smirks slightly.

Pest Control

Fatigued after his run-in with Gorethisrt, Tarim, Kaius, and the Inquisitor, Eareg returns to the hidden cave he lives in, not far from the Butcher's Gate.

Your cave is set in a rocky shelf protruding from the desert.  The entrance to the cave is undisturbed: the bushes that conceal the entrance are intact, and the door is securely locked.

* Eareg Maar takes a good look around for any unwanted eyes and then heads over to the door

* Eareg Maar pulls out an elaborate black key and turns it in the lock, opening the door

A short tunnel winds towards the central room of the cave.  To one side there's an unlit candle you placed in a naturally formed niche.  The cave is dry, with a sandy floor sloping slightly downwards.  There is a faint musky scent in the air.

* Eareg Maar closes the door and sighs.

Eareg Maar - home sweet home.

* Eareg Maar saunters on down the passage.

Further down the passage you come across a translucent substance draped across the floor in torn scraps.  It appears to be a tatter of shredded flesh and chitin.  A sudden foul stench, as of rotting flesh, emanates from the main cave round a crook in the passage.

* Eareg Maar narrows his eyes and quietly sneaks down, listening.

You hear a scrabbling sound in the central chamber.  It stops abruptly as you accidentally kick over a rock.

* Eareg Maar pulls the gun off his back and then looks around the corner.

A spray of some caustic substance hits you in the face!  You take 6 damage as the acid burns your exposed flesh.

The large central cave is sparsely furnished with a bed, table, chair, and chest.  Coiled in the far corner near a sizeable hole in the soft sandstone rock - a hole that definitely was not there the last time you were here - is a hulking, eight-limbed beast that might roughly be described as a kind of grotesque hybrid of reptile, crustacean, and camel.  Two scaly, spined humps protrude from its almost serpentine, carapace-plated bulk, set behind a hideous mandibled visage with a cluster of tiny black eyes.  The beast has powerful-looking forelimbs with prominent talons, doubtless ideal for burrowing, and a snaking tail.

You recognize this monstrosity as a Dune Horror: a menace of the waste that stalk their prey by following them underground, tracking sightlessly using the vibrations of footfalls above.  This one appears to be a female and a recent mother: a clutch of large, pale, glossy eggs are evident beneath its mottled brownish body.  It squats in a gruesome nest of scavenged entrails, innards, and bone, some of which look like they might be humanoid.

Eareg Maar - lovely... would you get your slimy carcass out of here.

It hisses at you and brandishes its scything forelimbs.

* Eareg Maar sizes her up as he utters an eldritch phrase, coaxing the barrel of his weapon to flame (+1 aim token) and a bullet bursts from the end, wreathed in a searing heat.

The bullet penetrates the hideous creature's crude head and it slumps lifelessly to the ground in a pool of greenish ichor.  This sizzles slightly, eating away at the cave-floor and ruining the nice little rug you'd put down.

* Eareg Maar walks up to it and probes it with the butt of his gun, wondering if any part of it would be sellable on the markets.

You think the eggs might be somewhat valuable, but whether they're worth an obeloi each or a small fortune, you have no idea.  As to any bits from the Dune Horror itself, you don't know.

Eareg Maar - hmm well might as well make use of these if I can.

* Eareg Maar carefully takes the eggs and places them in an old wooden crate in the corner.

Eareg Maar - as for you, you little house-wrecker.

* Eareg Maar kicks the corpse down the hole and begins to close it up.


Tarim, the door to your room is ajar.  Scrawled on the door is a distinctive sigil in vivid purple ink: the stylized eye-pictogram.  You recognize this as the mark of the Inquisition of Marainein.

* Tarim frowns at the sight and enters his chambers.

Your chambers are dim and somewhat musty, with shuttered windows and peeling walls.  Oil lamps, currently unlit, would provide illumination.  There are three main rooms, plus a bathroom - a workroom, a bedchamber, and a study or library.

The rooms seem to be in a state of considerable disarray.  Right now you're in the workroom, which consists of a number of tables, shelves, and benches covered in reams of parchment - scattered notes, arcane formulae, and similar eldritch miscellanea.  Inchoate experiments and esoteric equipment add to the clutter.  One of the tables has been overturned, spilling papers everywhere.

* Tarim hisses a curse under his breath.

* Tarim tromps angrily at the nearest oil lamp to light it.

You light the lamp.  A soft glow fills the room.

Tarim - (muttering) This mess will take quite a while to sort out.'¦

* Tarim glances around, hoping to catch some sign of his familiar

*Fangs appears as if on command, scuttling out from beneath some papers and flitting to Tarim's shoulder on his bat-wings.

Tarim - So, they didn't get you. Not surprising, considering how sneaky you can be.

*Fangs chitters at Tarim.

Fangs - (In Hellspeak) Inquisitor bastard tried to dispel me, couldn't muster the puissance, boss.

* Tarim chuckles.

Tarim - He has been taken care of.

The demon good-naturedly nips at your neck.

Tarim - Hungry? I'll have to get you some food. But we have more important things at hand.

Fangs - Glad to hear it.  Made a bloody mess of the place.  Quelnefess will be pissed if he finds out.

Tarim - Did the Inquisitor come here alone? Did he have company?

Fangs - Alone, no help.  Ragged old fellah with a cane.  Ugly geezer.  I could do with some grub, but I think that hagman rotter will be wanting payment, or we'll be evicted.  How were the fighting pits, by the way?

Tarim - Had the unpleasant experience of seeing a waxborn.

Fangs - Oh yeah?  One of those things from the Plains?

* Tarim nods.

* Tarim takes a moment to quickly clean out some of the worst mess.

The study is lined with shelves half-filled with arcane texts of various descriptions -  mostly occult treatises and theoretical works on the nature and practice of witchcraft rather than practical grimoires.  These have been rifled through thoroughly, and some litter the floor.  You clean them up quickly.

An enormous four-poster bed dominates the bedchamber, with tatty velvet pillows.  Strange paintings leftover from previous tenants hang on the walls.  One depicts a living fleshscape with rib-like mountains and plains of veined skin; cow-sized leeches herded by small figures that look like flayed, naked humans graze on the fleshscape, leaving hideous red furrows (the caption on this painting reads "The Woundlands").  Another is a warped portrait of an eccentric looking white-haired man.  His face and neck appear to be organic, but his torso and abdomen have been eviscerated, revealing a gleaming mass of intricate clockwork viscera.  Finally there is a gloomy painting that appears to present a cave; the cavern is peopled by a swarm of hunched, hairless monkeys with crimson eyes and jaggedly toothy mouths.  This last painting has fallen from the wall, and the bed-sheets are rumpled and askew, which you put back up.

* Tarim moves to the door, inspecting the lock and the glyph.

The lock was picked.  The glyph appears to be non-functional - perhaps a scrying tool rather than an actual ward.

* Tarim examines the glyph carefully.

This glyph would have allowed to the Inquisitor to detect comings and goings through the door and see through the sigil.  Now that he's dead, it's inactive.  Theoretically it could be reactivated, but another magus would have to link to it to make it work again.

Tarim - Doesn't seem to pose any danger now.

Tarim - (would it be safe to remove it?)

You'd need some dispel witchcraft to get rid of it properly; it won't just wash off.

Tarim - I'll have to take care of it later. Got to pay the rent or I won't be living here for much longer.

* Tarim heads out of the apartment.

Your landlord is just down the street.  He's generally found in a sort of parlor to the immediate left, inside his building.

* Tarim walks to the parlor, with Fangs riding on his shoulder. He enters and looks for Quelnefess

A large, pudgy hagman male faces you, his hair bound into slimy dreadlocks.  He is coiled languorously in a bathtub of greasy-looking water, idly sluicing himself and reading a water-stained newspaper.

"Bout time, Tarim.  Heard a rumor you got nicked.  Was about to go knock on your door in case that rat of yers could tell me yer whereabouts.  Leave the bones on the counter, there, by the tap, if ye please."  He speaks with the trace of a Glatch accent, heavily inflected with slum-modulated Shambles.

Tarim - Well, it turned otu the arena's beasts of late are weaker than the audience would like it.

The hagman snorts.

* Tarim digs into his purse for 15 obeloi and places them on the counter.

it, fore you go, got a bit of a favour to ask of you," the hagman mumbles, moistening his greenish  tail.  "Bit of trouble on a room on the top floor.  Thought you might be the right type fer the job - I tink it might need a tongue o' some power, if me guess is right."

Tarim - What kind of trouble?

"There's a room upstairs seems ta be cursed, or somefin'.  Dunno why fer sure, but the last four tenants 'ave all offed themselves fer no 'pparent reason.  One hanged hisself, another used drugs, third slashed his wrists, and the fourth blew out the back o' his skull.  Still up there - no one'll go in to clean it up, too scared o' whatever made the poor bugger shoot hisself.  I don't know what be causin' this butchery, but I suspect it be some nasty hexwork o' some sort, or else some redmouthed bogger hauntin' the room.  If ye get rid o' whatever's witching the room, ye kin skip next month's rent an' the month after's.  What'd ye say?"

Tarim - I guess I could take a look - but I make no promises.  It's none on *my* problems, after all...

"When you could get to it, like - don't 'ave to be right this moment."

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on July 22, 2010, 02:19:23 AM
More logs to come.

I've posted a "quest log" at the top of this page.  Obviously it's not exhaustive and shouldn't be proscriptive; it's not intended as a to-do list, but rather simply as a way of keeping track of various opportunities.  Is this a good idea?  Or is it a bit too computer-gamey?

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Nomadic on July 22, 2010, 02:43:59 AM


More logs to come.

I've posted a "quest log" at the top of this page.  Obviously it's not exhaustive and shouldn't be proscriptive; it's not intended as a to-do list, but rather simply as a way of keeping track of various opportunities.  Is this a good idea?  Or is it a bit too computer-gamey?

I like it, with the way we're going I imagine we'll have alot of opportunities to branch out and this will help us keep track of them all.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Superfluous Crow on July 22, 2010, 04:58:16 AM
We don't seem to have been introduced to the last two incomplete quests yet? I don't remember hearing about them, and a quick scan of the logs seems to suggest that I haven't just missed it.
Of course, they might be part of somebody's background.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Nomadic on July 22, 2010, 05:03:21 AM

Cataclysmic Crow

We don't seem to have been introduced to the last two incomplete quests yet? I don't remember hearing about them, and a quick scan of the logs seems to suggest that I haven't just missed it.
Of course, they might be part of somebody's background.

The parts where they were mentioned haven't been posted yet (steerpike still has some logs left to post... the slacker) :P

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Superfluous Crow on July 22, 2010, 06:30:15 AM
Ah, okay, thought this was the bulk of it as you supposedly only played two sessions while I was away?

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on July 22, 2010, 11:58:33 AM
Aha, we did.  BUT those two sessions had to be split ito multiple posts to fit the character limit, and we also did an in-beteween session to wrap up the Inquisitor subplot (for now).

It takes awhile to format the logs into a readable form, otherwise there's a bunch of ugly numbers and <> and underscores and stuff floating round, not to mention long paragraphs of @roll 1d20+5 You hit! @roll1d8+2 etc.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on July 22, 2010, 01:57:13 PM

The Camp of the Jatayi

Eareg Maar - I have put together my house again and headed back for the city to have one of the eggs appraised.


Tarim, Gorethirst, and Kaius Alexander arrive after sunup at the Witch's Gate.  The jatayi and the graftpunk appear to be absent, as does the rifleman Eareg Maar.

The Hexwarren district is full of strange smells: copper, brimstone, ozone, sweat, must, ink.  The indescribable tang of hex-residue hangs over everything, an omnipresent perfume; it smells the way electricity might smell, a weird static scent that makes you a light-headed, exciting some occult lobe of your brain as it wafts through the charged air.  The streets bustle with an even stranger crowd than normal: grafted individuals are present in greater numbers than elsewhere in the city, and reanimated servitors trudge behind their masters carrying heaps of books or alchemical equipment.  The walls are covered with glyph graffiti, a mass of eldritch symbols painted over stone and plaster.

The main street here, which winds in a twisted zigzag westwards towards the Witch's Gate, is called Chrysalis Street - a zany convolution of stone lined with alchemists, apothecaries, augurs, graft-peddlers, tissue shops, glyph parlors, and booksellers.  To either side can be glimpsed a few of the district's more prominent landmarks: the corkscrew-shaped library-spire called the Vellum Citadel, the grey, dour façade of the Fane of Dust, and the cluster of towers that comprises the Academy of Witchcraft.

You're at the Gate; beyond are the shanties, and the jatayi camp.

Tarim - Ah, dawn. Always as unpleasant. Even in the dim of the warren.

Kaius Alexander - It seems that loathsome bird has deigned not to accompany us.  Curious.

Gorethirst - Good morning Tarim. Good morning Kais.  Mr. Carver will not be joining us yet - he is indisposed at the tissue shop.

Tarim - Shall we pursue our contract anyway?

Gorethirst - The work for the playwright?

Kaius Alexander - Ah. One moment.

* Kaius Alexander digs through his pack looking for the note.

Tarim - What else? I certainly don't recall any other contracts involving us all.

Gorethirst - Nor do I.   It should not be hard to get the bird men to leave the City. If the bird-man from the pits was any indication.

Kaius Alexander - I received an offer; apparently a Mara of the Dogskull thieves is aware of our encounter with those thugs the other day.  It seems she was impressed, and, seemingly, has offered us a job'¦ though I do not know the details.

Gorethirst - I think we should finish the job we have accepted.

Tarim - I agree.

Gorethirst - After that work is done we can pursue other offers.

Kaius Alexander - I suppose proceeding in order is most fair to our employer.

Gorethirst - Then let us visit the Jatayi.

Tarim - Now where to start? We could go and take a look at that bird camp

* Gorethirst spurs Corpsegobble in the direction of the Jatayi camp

Gorethirst - I cannot think of a better place to start.

* Kaius Alexander follows silently.

* Tarim follows along, letting Fangs fly up over the streets.

As you move towards the gate you notice a lanky ghul sauntering towards the group - the ghul gunfighter and scavenger Eareg Maar.  He jingles some coins in his purse.

Tarim - Looks like someone has made some good dealings of late.

* Eareg Maar is feeding bits of tattered flesh to the owl perched on his shoulder.

* Eareg Maar notices the group.

Eareg Maar - We have to stop running into each other.  It's bad for my health.

Gorethirst - Good morning.  I believe our encounter yesterday was only taxing on the Inquisitors health.

* Eareg Maar chuckles at the leech.

Eareg Maar - aye, so then friend what are you about today?

Tarim - Proceeding with our contract.

* Eareg Maar 's eyes narrow.

Eareg Maar - Hmm, I see.

Tarim - We're headed for the jatayi camp.

Eareg Maar - Mind if I tag along.

Kaius Alexander - Did you not sign? Perhaps I missed that.

Eareg Maar - I did not, but it is of interest to me

Tarim - Your aid is welcome anyway.

Gorethirst - I would welcome your aid comrade.

Beyond the Witch's Gate one of the three Watchdogs of Macelleria slumbers, its massive, misshapen body emitting a strong stench of formaldehyde and leather.  It snores loudly, its rancid exhalations catching everyone who passes through the tall, narrow gate.  A road winds out from the gate and out into the west, where a shimmering haze in the distance that has nothing to do with the heat marks the far eastern border of the Tallow Plains.

A rough-hewn moat filled with rusty iron stakes gapes beneath the tall stone walls of the Maggot City; clustered on the lip of these crude fortifications is one of the shanties, a ragged town of mud and daub and scrap scavenged from the wasteland and the city itself, bleeding into the bleak agricultural hinterlands beyond.

The shanty-town is small and shabby, with only a few main streets.  There looks to be a ragged cemetery, a small shrine of some kind, a tannery, and an ragged-looking bar called The Melting Candle.  Beyond this ugly scab of a town is a tattered tent-town, suburb to the suburb.  Dark shapes too big to be birds wheel about in the sky above this camp, and you can see what looked like winged figures moving about within it.  The crowds here are surprisingly large, and many seem to be drawn to the tent camp.

The camp of the jatayi is full of song and laughter, filled with Macellarians strolling from performer to performer.  Nearby two of the bird-men re-enact a mythic dual, their faces glamered with eldritch masks, ducking and wheeling round one another with exaggerated faux-ferocity; in another corner of the camp a fabler holds a crowd rapt telling some rambling tale in hushed tones.  There are perhaps a hundred or so tents all in all, leathery things held together with wood and bones.

An imposing, bald-headed human with a vest open to display a broad, powerfully muscled chest covered in hexed tattoos seems to be having a disagreement with a jatayi woman to the side of a pavilion.  He has grabbed hold of her arm and is speaking to her through a grisly grin, but she shakes her head and struggles against his grasp.

* Eareg Maar casually walks over to them.

"Come on then luv," the man says in a cruel, wheedling tone.

Eareg Maar - is there a problem here? (addressed to the woman)

The jatayi looks at you with a mixture of fear and desperation.

* Tarim stands back and observes Eareg and the two.

"No problem, bugger off you worm-faced crow," the man says.

Eareg Maar - Ah, I see.

* Eareg Maar sucker punches the man in the gut.

* Gorethirst doesn't notice the others stop and keeps going forward slowly.

The man turns towards you and laughs.  The blow clearly hasn't affected him greatly.

* Tarim sighs.

The bald man lets go of the jatayi woman and aims a blow at Eareg.

* Kaius Alexander cocks back the hammer on his revolver and points it at the man's head.

Eareg Maar - while his attention is on Eareg, the ghul motions for the woman to run.

The jatayi woman hesitates, clearly afraid and confused.

* Gorethirst finally notices the others aren't following and wheels Corpsegobble around.

Tarim - What a great idea to start a brawl.

The thuggish lout swings and misses, Eareg pulling away with considerable agility, dodging the blow.

Kaius Alexander - You are disturbing public order.  I suggest you leave.

Tarim - Then again, he might have some valuables on him...

There is a click as Kaius cocks his revolver.  The man scowls and bares his teeth.

* Kaius Alexander stares at him impassively.

Eareg Maar - Lower the weapon Kaius.  No need for bloodshed.

* Gorethirst has caught up with the group

Kaius Alexander - The decision is in his hands.

"You lot have her.  Bloody harpy."

Gorethirst - Bloodshed is not a bad thing.

* Tarim stretches out his left arm and utters a strange word. Fangs immediately darts down from the sky, landing on his forarm

Kaius Alexander - Wise decision.

The man sullenly makes to leave.

Kaius Alexander - We had better not see you again.

* Eareg Maar steps between her and him.

"You better hope you don't."

Tarim - So, what *was* that all about, anyway?

The jatayi woman shakes her head.

"He was trying to purchase... certain favours," she says, blushing.

Kaius Alexander - I assume they were not for sale.

Tarim - Strange tastes for a human.

"We sell stories, tales, songs.  Not things of that nature."

Kaius Alexander - Hm.

Eareg Maar - well not important at any rate

"Thank you for your assistance.  I fear he would have been forceful."

Kaius Alexander - Probable. With a man such as he.

"My name is Hoona.  Have you come to hear a tale?"

Kaius Alexander - Ah... hmm.

* Eareg Maar grins and whispers something in her ear.

Eareg Maar - Perhaps a tale of a certain man.

* Eareg Maar describes the scum that sold him out (identifying marks - he's a Tattered Web Guildsman and wears a very long, black braid).

Hoona thinks.  "I have seen many men come through this camp, but I may have seen this one.  He came with others wearing the same cloak, listened to some of our stories, and departed.  I am afraid I do not know where."

* Kaius Alexander looks at the others.

* Gorethirst shakes his head.

* Eareg Maar drops 5 obeloi in her hands.

Eareg Maar - Thank you anyways.

She bows.

Eareg Maar - That is most useful information.

Kaius Alexander - Learn something, Eareg?

Eareg Maar - A few things, yes.

Tarim - Would you like to share any of that knowledge with us?

Eareg Maar - At the moment no; perhaps later.

* Eareg Maar looks at Tarim.

Eareg Maar - the information was unrelated to your current task... it is of a more personal nature, relating to my wonderful visit to the pits.

Tarim - Very well.

Gorethirst - Do you know if there is a chief or this band?

Hoona addresses the leechkin.  "You seek our elders?  Why?"

Gorethirst - We have business with the Elders.

She nods.  "I understand.  For their ears, not for mine.  I can show you to their tent.  But they will not listen to your words unless you bring a gift."

Tarim - What kind of gift would they appreciate?

"You must bring the elders the flesh of the dead.  That of beasts will not do: it must be flesh-of-your-flesh, the meat of a wingless one, a sampath."

Kaius Alexander - I see.

Gorethirst - It seems we should not have let the man walk free.

* Kaius Alexander looks at Gorethirst askance

Kaius Alexander - There are easier ways of obtaining human flesh.

* Gorethirst blinks his six eyes at Kaius.

Kaius Alexander - Perhaps not as conveniently located, I will grant.

Tarim - Graveyards? Tombs?

Kaius Alexander - ooc: I'm under the impression you can buy human meat in the city'¦ as it doesn't seem to be particularly taboo.

Gorethirst - Would it not be easier to just to grab someone nearby?

Yes, the Skin Markets are a central district, and cater to all appetites.

Tarim - It's a matter of what we can get away with, or how much we're willing to pay

Kaius Alexander - I would prefer to purchase the flesh honestly. But if you wish to murder for it, that is possible.  Though I do not advocate it.

Tarim - For the gift to be courteous, it might require a fairly large amount of flesh. How many elders are there?

Gorethirst - I do not see the need to waste obeloi on something freely available.

"There are four.  It need not be overly large: one corpse quartered would be sufficient."

Eareg Maar - Well I can get us a corpse if you lot would rather not pay, though you will need to help me find it.

* Gorethirst nods in assent.

Tarim - I would rather not spend coin on this. And besides, a self-made gift has more sentimental value to it doesn't it?

* Tarim grins wickedly.

Eareg Maar - there is a certain man I have been asking around about for awhile... fortunately he was through here.

Gorethirst - Lead the way gunslinger.

Kaius Alexander - If he needs disposing of regardless of our need, I do not object.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Superfluous Crow on July 22, 2010, 04:34:01 PM
Hmm, the encounter with Quelnefess reminded me of Isaac's encounter with Silchristchek in Perdido Street Station (yeah, had to look that up, page 32); the vodyanoi who never gets out of his dirty bathtub. ^^

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on July 22, 2010, 04:55:35 PM
Heheh yeah, I was probably unconsciously channeling that scene, espcially considering that the hagmen are vaguely inspired by the vodyanoi.  I just love the shamelessness of it.

This is the last log for the July 20th session.  All the notes in the Quest Log should now make sense.


Eareg Maar - if he was through here we may ask around, someone is bound to know where he went.

* Eareg Maar heads for the tavern.

* Tarim follows along.

The tavern is a shabby, dilapidated building with boarded-up windows and crude charms over the eaves.

Inside, The Melting Candle smells of sawdust, cheap ale, and gun-smoke.  A huge imposing woman with a glass eye tends the bar, while pock-faced scavengers and shanty-townsfolk are scattered about the room, drinking and playing cards or dice.

* Gorethirst enters motioning for Corpsegobble to wait outside.

* Eareg_Maar sits at the bar and motions to the bartender.

* Kaius Alexander flips his visor up and looks around.

As Gorethirst enters the bar the woman scowls visibly, but says nothing.

The bartender looks up at Eareg.

"What can I get ye?  We don't serve the red stuff here."

Eareg Maar - Don't mind the leech.  For myself, something strong.

* Gorethirst waves off her offer of drink.

Eareg Maar - and perhaps you have information that could net you additional coin.

"Don't mind him as long as ye keep him on a short leash, if ye catch my drift.  Won't have him begging for blood, neither."

* Eareg_Maar idly taps an obeloi on the bar counter.

"What kind of information you lookin' fer?"

Eareg Maar - I'm looking for a certain man - a Tattered Web Guildsman.

"One of those bastards with the ragged capes?"

Eareg Maar - Aye.  Has a very long black braid... may have been with friends.

"Oh, that bugger.  Lucretius Nhamorg.  Comes in here all the time with his damned scavenger friends, bragging about this find or that duel or whatnot."

* Tarim is standing next to Eareg, leaning on the counter and listening keenly.

Eareg Maar - He caused certain... troubles for me.  I wish to... settle the score.

"That right?  What'd he do to you?"

Eareg Maar - what he did is unimportant... merely that it cannot go unanswered.  Do you know where he might be?

"I might.  But I won't be selling a man to the Hells without cause for a couple o' coins."

Eareg Maar - he sent me to the pits because I wouldn't let him relieve me of a find I got out on the wastes.

"Ah.  Figures he'd do something like that.  Fancy sod like that one, spends most of his time in Velveteen Circus, wenching and drinking himself into a stupor."

Eareg Maar - a profession fitting for one of his calibre, I am sure.

"He and his lot, figure they'd be in one of the cheaper places.  Two-bit scavenger like him couldn't afford the real courtesans.  Heard them talking about some place once... something with red in the name."

Tarim - Sounds like he could make an easy target, if caught drunk.

* Eareg_Maar casually places twenty obeloi on the bar.

Her good eye widens.

Eareg Maar - You can see this information is very valuable to me.  Much obliged barkeep.

"Thank ye kindly, sir.  Just don't be tellin' anyone I told ye where he might be.  Got enough trouble in this place as it is."

Eareg Maar - Nobody will ever know.  This is between me and him, nobody else.

"Reckon that's how it should be.  Good luck to ye.  if I don't see the little punk in here later I'll know the Fates smiled on ye."

Kaius Alexander - ooc: Ghostman, can Tarim's glamer work on another person, or only himself?

Tarim - ooc: No it's self only.

Kaius Alexander - ooc: Hmm..

Eareg Maar - Now before I go might I get that stiff drink.

She serves you up an eye-watering homebrew.  "On the house."

* Eareg Maar downs the drink and nods.

Eareg Maar - ok friends, shall we pay a man a visit?

* Kaius Alexander nods.

Tarim - Do you have idea of how dangerous is he?

Eareg Maar - in combat, not very... his skill is in swindling and doubletalk, but his friends could be potentially dangerous.

Tarim - If we catch him alone it should be easy hit then.

* Gorethirst nods his agreement and walks out of the bar to mount Corpsegobble.

Some of the shanty-town children were laughing and tickling the beast's underbelly while it groaned with pleasure.

Tarim - I think we should avoid going in guns blazing then.

* Gorethirst gently waves the children away from the maggot and mounts up.

* Tarim exits the tavern.

Corpsegobble wheezes happily.  The children disperse; they go to bother the gigantic corpse-fashioned dog at the Witch's Gate.

Eareg Maar - Hmm, perhaps we should try the circus.  The comment about red in the name has me thinking, but I can't recall what.

* Eareg Maar leads the group off to Velveteen Circus.

Eareg Maar - this is certainly closer than I've been to him before... he's a scavenger and we're hard to track down.

You head back through the Witch's Gate and into Hexwarren, then turn south towards Pulsetown and Velveteen Circus, on the border of the Court-of-Blood in the Skin Markets.

Kaius Alexander - How do you plan to dispose of the man, Eareg? Will you challenge him to duel?  Or will we ensure he has no chance to survive?

Eareg Maar - He lacks the honor for me to do so.  I'll simply do what I did last time and introduce some lead to his torso... but this time I'll make sure he doesn't get up again.

The pleasure district of Velveteen Circus is a colourful neighbourhood marked by gaudy paper lanterns and an abundance of teahouses, bars, and brothels catering to every conceivable class, race, and peccadillo.  Augmented streetwalkers brazenly strut up and down the twisted streets, displaying an abundance of erotic grafts and costumes, a kaleidoscope of mismatched flesh and fetish gear.  The streets radiate out from the central Circus itself.

Tarim - Plenty of flesh around here, if you get what I mean.

Eareg, you think there's a place on Ganglion Avenue warmbodies flock to.  You can't quite remember the name.

Eareg Maar - I think I recall a place now, been awhile since I was here.

* Eareg Maar heads towards Ganglion Avenue.

Ganglion Avenue is a twisted street with many courtyards and pleasure-houses: The Green Lotus, Pallid Pleasure, Crimson Joy, The Ensqualmed Cockatrice'¦

* Tarim is walking along casually, while Fangs is chittering excitedly, singing obscene songs and making rude comments on the hookers they pass.

Eareg Maar - Crimson Joy, hmm.

A red lamp illumines the door to this seedy-looking establishment, a tottering four-storey pleasure house wedged between a shadowmilk café and a dark-windowed tavern, The Ensqualmed Cockatrice.

A voluptuous prostitute lingers outside the door smoking  a cigarette.  Dull, scratchy music emanates from within.

* Eareg Maar walks over to the prostitute and asks her about the man he's looking for

The buxom woman turns to you.  She has some sort of worm tattoo on her exposed left breast, coiled around a pierced nipple.

"Lucretius?  Think he's in there with his greyface friend.  Why you want to know?"

* Gorethirst walks through the door into the pleasure house.

* Eareg Maar hands the hooker five coins and walks in.

* Kaius Alexander follows the others inside.

"Thank you darling."  She puts a hand on your chest.  "If you want some company later, I don't mind your type."

* Tarim follows in. Fangs makes a naughty gesture at the hooker

Inside, a mechanical music-box produces a blaring, wordless tune to which diaphanously clad women gyrate and cavort in cages hung from the ceiling.  Patrons seated about the periphery drink from jewel-encrusted goblets and watch the dancers' exertions, while other girls employed by the brothel attempt their seductions or haggle over prices.

Lucretius - a human with a stubbly beard, a long black braid, and a duelling flintlock strapped to his waist  - sits in a corner and watches one of the dancers, a glazed expression on his face.  He wears the ragged cape of a Forsaken Guildsman and a studded leather vest, beneath which you can glimpse the edge of a poultice applied to his upper torso.  His left hand is sheathed in a distinctive gauntlet of some kind, an armoured glove of strange, reddish metal.

A sharp-nosed ghul also wearing the cape of a member of the House of the Tattered Web sits beside him.

Kaius Alexander - Well, how do you wish to approach this?

Eareg Maar - Hmm.  It's too public here.

Kaius Alexander - How will he react when he sees you?

Eareg Maar - Who knows.

Tarim - Starting a fight in here might not be a good idea, unless we can end it very quickly

A slender, willowy girl who can't be far out of her adolescence approaches Kaius and strokes his armour.

"Why don't you take that of and stay awhile?"  She asks the Insomnolent Guard.

* Kaius Alexander looks down, face obscured by his helm.

Kaius Alexander - I cannot, Lady. My armour protects me, and thus protects my task.

"What task would that be?" the prostitute pouts at Kaius.

Kaius Alexander - '¦I regret to say, I do not know.

She begins running her hands over the curves and angles of his armour.  "Oh, do you need some ordering about?  I could do that."

* Tarim glances at Kaius.

Kaius Alexander - Unfortunatly, I do not believe now is the proper time. Perhaps on another day.

"Until then."  She blows a kiss and melts back into the crowd.

* Kaius Alexander feels the orb weigh heavily on the thong about his neck.

Gorethirst - I say we down him quickly.

* Eareg Maar pulls up a table where he can watch his target without being noticed

Eareg Maar - Patience can be useful, leech.

* Tarim sits down ,placing himself so that he provides some cover for Eareg

Gorethirst - He is a means to an end. His flesh is a gift we need. Although his companion would work equally well.

Lucretius and his friend order something, and a minute later a glass decanter of yellow liquid - madwine - is placed on their table.

Eareg Maar - ooc: madwine?

* Gorethirst idly scratches his chest dripping blood everywhere.

hallucinogenic wine which, if imbibed in small quantities, is very pleasant and potent, but if consumed too liberally drives the drinkers permanently insane.

Eareg Maar - He is a means to several ends... none of them are getting back into the pits though.

Gorethirst - Perhaps we can try the same gambit as with the Inquisitor. One of us gets him to exit the building and the others kill him as he leaves.

Lucretius is way too drunk to notice Eareg.

* Eareg Maar continues to wait.

Tarim - If only there was some way for us to spike his drink...

Eareg Maar - Nay, I want him to know exactly what is happening while the life ebbs from his body

Tarim - Let us wait, then.

Lucretius and his grave-spawn companion consume the rest of the madwine - this is quite a feat, especially considering the time of day - and stagger out just as the shadows are growing long.

* Eareg Maar motions to the group and follows them out.

They look quite addled.  The ghul keeps talking about snakes, for some reason.  Lucretius is barking like a dog.  Clearly the madwine has touched them to some degree.

Tarim - Hmm, it's getting dark. I like that.

* Gorethirst follows Eareg outside and mounts up.

* Tarim follows discreetly.

The pair of Guildsmen stagger down Ganglion Alley.  They appear to be heading east, towards Slimesquallor and the Skin Markets.

Gorethirst - I do not think following them into the Slimesquallor will be a good idea. Hagmen will surely try and start a conflict with me.

Tarim - *to Eareg* I could make un unseen to their eyes, so there would be no danger of them recognizing you.

Kaius Alexander - Then shall we do this quickly?

A ghul prostitute has attracted the attention of the grave-spawn Guildsman.  They've stopped while the two talk.

Tarim - And you could take them by surprise.

Eareg Maar - Very well.  Work your magick.

* Tarim approaches Eareg, touches his shoulder while chanting incomprehensible words and gesturing with his other hand.  Shadows descend on Eareg, engulf him, and he suddenly disappears.

While Tarim hexes Eareg, the ghul follows the streetwalker into the alleyway.  Lucretius leans against the wall, waiting for his companion.

Alright, Eareg, you're effectively invisible.  As per usual doing anything violent breaks the glamer.

* Eareg Maar whispers to the others, try to get him down another alley... perhaps offer him a job.

Eareg Maar - I want him dead but I don't want back in the pits.

Kaius Alexander - Hah? In his state? Why don't I just slide my sword through his ribs?

Eareg Maar - I would suggest against that.

* Kaius Alexander shrugs.

* Gorethirst rides up to the alley the ghul went into, then looks towards Lucretius.

Gorethirst - Did your companion go down this alley?

* Tarim follows the leechkin.

The scavenger fiddles with the strange, red gauntlet, frowning.  He giggles.

"Hmm?"  He looks towards the leechkin.  "You're all squiggly."

* Gorethirst looks to Tarim.

"Squiggly wiggly squirmy wormy firmy."

* Eareg Maar shrugs invisibly.

Eareg Maar - this should sober him up.

* Tarim doesn't say anything, but Fangs giggles.

* Kaius Alexander doubts that.

* Eareg Maar walks over and places an invisible arm on his shoulder before letting the glamer drop.

Eareg Maar - Hello... Friend.

"Ah!  Hello - "  The man's face goes whiter than his ghul friend's.

Eareg Maar - Lets not make a big scene.

"You're, you're, you're'¦"

* Tarim quietly gets in to a position to fling spells from a safe distance.

* Gorethirst circles round, blocking the view from the street of of Eareg and Lucretius.

"Ghost!  Bogger!  Umbra!"

* Eareg Maar leads him along towards another alley.

"S-s-supposed to be d-d-dead!  Wormfood!"

Eareg Maar - Oh don't worry about that... the worms are still going to feed well

Gorethirst - I believe as a ghul he qualifies as dead.

* Tarim nods sagely

He looks like he's about to vomit.  "Look, look, I'm s-sorry."

Kaius Alexander - And so are we. But this cannot be avoided.

* Eareg Maar walks down the alley.

The alley the ghul went down?  This could get graphic'¦

Eareg Maar - ooc: no another.

Ah good, didn't really want to describe that.[/i]

"I was s-scared, wasn't thinking.  I'm s-s-such a fool."

Eareg Maar - you see friend much as I'd like to I'm obliged to not let you just walk off.

* Kaius Alexander sighs heavily.

"You, you don't want to do anything rash now.  I've got f-f-friends in high - "

Eareg Maar - Oh but I do.

* Eareg Maar pushes him onto the ground.

* Tarim walks along, keeping his eyes on the two.

The scavenger pukes noisily on the ground as he hits the stones.

Eareg Maar - Besides, friend... we require the use of your body.  The birdmen elders won't just talk to us... they are so... very hungry.

The thief whips out his duelling pistol in a surprisingly smooth motion and discharges it.

Tarim - Not much of a fight, indeed.

* Kaius Alexander starts drawing his sword as the scavenger fires his pistol.

The shot grazes Eareg's temple.  Fortunately, it's a wheellock, not a revolver, so it'll take awhile for Lucretius to reload.

* Eareg Maar grunts a bit and then straightens, not giving him the pleasure

* Eareg Maar lowers his gun and fires.  His bullet strikes the scavenger in the chest and Lucretius vomits again - blood this time.  The bullet must've punctured a lung.  He's still alive - probably the liquor is keeping him conscious.

Eareg Maar - Leech, you know what I said about nobody deserving a death from your suckers?  I lied.

* Eareg Maar grins at Gorethirst.

At this moment, the ghul Tattered Web walks into the alleyway, zipping up his fly'¦

Eareg Maar - Thirsty?

Gorethirst - It is about time I can feast.

"What the - Lucretius?"  The ghul stammers.  He begins fumbling for the sword at his belt.  Tarim and Kaius are closest to him.

* Gorethirst dismounts and moves towards Lucretius.

* Kaius Alexander turns, bringing his sword to bear on the ghul.

* Tarim takes a few steps back, chanting and gesturing. He unleashes a black crackling ray at the grave-spawn.  The ghul is ennervated.  He seems to crumple slightly.

* Kaius leaps forward soundlessly, sword extended, and runs the ghul through.  The creature grunts in pain as the blade slides into his gray flesh.

*Gorethirst pins the bleeding human thief and break one of his arms.  He screams shrilly and begins blubbering for mercy.  He drains the scavenger's warm blood.  Lucretius begins to visibly pale.

* Kaius Alexander winces slightly at the shriek.

* Gorethirst ignores his cries and begins to drain his blood.

The ghul twists on the end of Kaius' blade, wrenching himself free and grabbing for his own sword.  He rips it from the scabbard and attacks feebly.

*Fangs watches Gorethirst with interest, licking it's lips with it's narrow, black tongue.

Despite his drunkenness and the power of Tarim's hex, the ghul seems to have some skill yet.  He lunges at Kaius, who has left himself open during his own attack.  Though his attack was deft the Unsleeping warrior's thick armour protects him.

* Eareg Maar gestures with his hands and a greenish orb flicks from his fingertips towards the ghul, but the ghul twists and avoids the attack.  The acidic hex melts one of the faces carved into the stones of the street.

* Tarim equips himself with a Flaesh Melter, a slimy device that looks like a cross between a reptilian egg and some clockwork wonder. He takes aim and lets fly at the ghul.  The flesh-melter sears the grave-spawn's exposed flesh.

The ghul weakly parries a sword-swipe from Kaius.  He is putting up an impressive fight for a bleeding, drunken wretch halfway to drug-induced insanity from madwine.

*Gorethirst continues to suck the scavenger dry. He is slipping into unconsciousness now...

The ghul seems to have had enough of this fight.  He turns to run.

*Kaius' blade catches the grave-spawn as he twists aside, slashing his torso.  The ghul is nearly felled by your blow.  He staggers along the street, weakly moaning for help, holding his own intestines in.

You hear a feminine shriek; it appears a streetwalker has seen him'¦

* Eareg Maar moves to the corner aims and lets a bullet fly, putting the ghul out of his misery.  His croaking pleas end.

* Tarim lets Fangs loose. The demon leaps at the freshly dead ghul and buries it's canines on his skin, sucking blood eagerly

* Eareg Maar ducks back around the corner

* Tarim moves out to see who made the shriek

The ghul streetwalker he frequented before is shrieking and running away.

* Eareg Maar grabs Tarim.

Eareg Maar - She didn't see us

Tarim - The whore saw him die.

Eareg Maar - Let her go.

Tarim - Alright.  If she's wise she'll keep her mouth shut, anyway.

Meanwhile, Gorethirst is finishing up Lucretius.

Kaius Alexander - Must you drink while they are still alive, leech? Frankly, it is quite disgusting.

Gorethirst - I do not bemoan your diet human. I thank you for giving me the same respect.

The leechkin's normally gaunt, lean frame is now swollen heavily; he has an enormous pot belly.

Tarim - The man still lives?

He twitches; in a moment he will be gone.

Tarim - Let Eareg finish him then.  He ought to have the pleasure

Eareg Maar - I've had my pleasure; the leech can have his, and you can have the body.

* Tarim nods.

* Gorethirst finishes draining Lucretius dry.

Lucretius pales and is no more.

Tarim - We have another body now, too.  Might use well use them both.

* Kaius Alexander turns away from the corpse.

The group loot the corpses of the two Robber Guildsmen.  Apart from their sodden, tattered cloaks, they also had a copper key each, nintey four obeloi between them, a copper ring, a masterwork wheellock duelling pistol, fourteen bullets and blackpowder, a map to a place called "The Fortress of the Umbral Overlord" that appears to be on the border of Etiolation, and Lucretius' weird, spiked gauntlet, which Eareg identifies as having a vampiric hex on it: the gauntlet can drain the essence of its enemies but must feed once per day, sapping its wearer of energy if insatiate.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on July 26, 2010, 11:01:01 PM
One day earlier, Mr. Carver leaves the group at the Hollow Skull Playhouse...

The Emporium of Metamorphoses

* Mr. Carver heads to the clinic in Resurrection Row.

The clinic is a run-down, two storey building with a crowd of huddled patients in line outside.  A spectre-plague victim, already fading into translucency, staggers next to a woman with eerily mobile, pulsating tumours squirming beneath her flesh.

* Mr. Carver walks to the door, ignoring the line outside.

Inside, one of the physicians - an ex-chirurgeon from Moroi called Doctor Gristle - stands with a coat drenched in miscellaneous stains, a hacksaw in one hand and an amputated limb in another.  The small clinic is overcrowded and cluttered with medical equipment, dirty sheets, and rusting beds.  A rickety stairway leads to the rooms on the second floor, while a locked door leads to a quarantine room.  Your room is on the top floor.

"Carver, I could use a hand here," Gristle growls from behind his mask.  He gestures at you with the amputated limb.

Mr. Carver - What are you dealing with, Gristle?

* Mr. Carver walks over to him.

"This one had some kind of flesh-eating nastiness gnawing away at his limbs.  Had to abrade the dead tissue.  But most have this lot have been waiting for hours.  Poxes, agues, the usual crop of venereal diseases.  I could use some help clearing them away while I deal with this poor sod."

Mr. Carver - They will have to wait a little longer... You have no idea what I have been through today.

"Hmph.  Doubt it can beat two eyeblight victims and the worst case of Rune-Rash you've ever seen."

Mr. Carver - Don't worry my dear colleague, they can't all be dead by the time I get back...

"Please, go ahead."  He rolls his eyes with obvious sarcasm and looks back to his patient.

* Mr. Carver turns the back on the doctor and walks up the stairs to his room.

Your room is a cramped loft with a rickety bed, a desk, a dresser, and a small chest.  The window (which has one pane broken) overlooks a dirty little alley behind the clinic, where thrum junkies tend to loiter.

*Mr. Carver goes through his belongings in the room, making sure nothing has been taken while he was away.

Everything looks in its place, untouched.  Almost surprising that no one's bothered to break in while Gristle's back was turned'¦

Mr. Carver - Hmph.

* Mr. Carver opens the window to let some fresh air in, and sits down on the bed for a few minutes to clear his head.

There's also a painfully ill-equipped laboratory near your room that you've used in the past to mix up various compounds.  Gristle uses it to make his medicines.

* Mr. Carver walks into the laboratory to see if he has anything useful in store.

Plenty of potential toxins and ingredients for poisons - even some old demon-bile.

* Mr. Carver hangs his hat on his chair, puts away his optics and sits down and flexes his fingers. He then attempts to extract venom from some of his ingredients (venom token gathering).  He squeezes imp-bladders to produce gall, grinds ebonroot, and refines the sap of a bloodwood tree in an alembic.  The result: some unpleasant ingredients indeed.

* Mr. Carver takes two dusty vials from a drawer. He takes the refined bloodwood sap and mixes it with grey lichen spores in a long and tiresome process to make a nerve toxin.  The mixture bubbles and seethes, then turns the appropriate pinkish tint.

* Mr. Carver then takes the ground ebonroot and slowly heats it in an aqueous solution of demon-bile to make a weak paralyzing agent.  The mixture gives off a sulphurous stench.  When the bubbles pop, they seem to cackle with some numinous malignity.  The poison turns the correct blackish-red.

* Mr. Carver finds a small case with room for three vials and straps it to his belt with the two vials inserted. He brings along an empty vial as well.

* Mr. Carver puts his hat back on and walks down to Dr Gristle, having replaced his dark coat with a dirty white medical coat.

Dr. Gristle has finished with the previous patient and is now examining some wretched adolescent thug whose graft has turned bad and festered.  He looks up briefly, then turns back to cleaning the infected graft.

"Off again, Carver?"

Mr. Carver - I'll give you a hand with one or two, and then I'm off again, yes... Did your previous victim survive his sudden loss of limb and encounter with malevolent disease?

"I'll forget about that overdue rent you owe me, then.  And yeah, he lived... cauterized the wound and sent him off.  No spare beds."

Mr. Carver - Poor bugger. Now, who's next?

A woman who looks like death warmed over shambles over to you and begins a long, tedious complaint about her joints...  You get to work treating a handful of patients variously feverish, malnourished, and genuinely diseased, dosing out what few medicines the clinic can afford.  Soon the hours slip by, and night descends.

You finish sewing up a stab-wound some thug suffered in a Thief Clan skirmish.  He sports a dog skull tattoo on his left shoulder.  You recognize this as the sigil of the Dog Skull Thief Clan.

The Dog Skull Thief Clan are one of the major criminal groups in the Row, and they're currently caught in a three-way turf war.  Almost every night some rooftop battle or catacomb brawl brings in a few casualties.  Their main base of operations is the Laughing Fiend tavern, by the Butcher's Gate.

*Mr. Carver I heads out into the night, towards Hexwarren, as soon as darkness descends.

You slip out into the Row.  Distant gun-shots and curses echo through the night.

Mr. Carver - "Another night in the Row."

night, Hexwarren is lit up with alchemical lights.  Servitors and ghilan walk the streets in greater numbers than the quick.  Tissue shops and glyph parlors are open for business all along Chrysalis Street, and the bell of the Fane of Dust calls its adherents to worship.

You head to the Emporium of Metamorphoses, a tissue shop run by one Needlefingers Welterwort.  You've had work done on you by him before.

* Mr. Carver opens the door to the Emporium.

One wall of the tissue shop is wallpapered with sigils and glyphs, each drawn meticulously on scraps of paper.  Another is taken up with a glass container like a gruesome parody of a jeweler's display case.  Beneath the glass are a few of the shop's wares, delicately mummified: a scaly hand on a velvet cushion, a pair of yellow eyes in a small box, a selection of severed fingertips with long, black claws.  A third wall is lined with shelves containing large glass jars of murky liquid with dark shapes suspended within.  A thin, gaunt-faced man in a suit of patchwork leather flits daintily about the room, his steps mincing and effeminate.  He turns to you and clasps his hands unctuously.

"Welcome back to my Emporium of Metamorphoses, Mister Carver."  He cocks his head, an almost avian gesture, and looks you up and down.  "Looking for a new augmentation?"

* Mr. Carver smiles.

Mr. Carver - If I can find one to my taste, Mr. Welterwort.  And one I can afford I might add.

"You know, I've bee looking for an individual to handle a certain delicate matter.  You might very well qualify -  if you performed this little favour for me, there'd be a free graft in it for you, and a discount on all of my wares.  What do you say?"

Mr. Carver - Ah, you can hardly say no to a discount now can you? What do you require of me, Mr. Weltermort?

"If you don't mind, perhaps we might discuss the matter privately?  Just through here, in my workshop..." He snaps his fingers and jerks his head, and a figure that you'd taken to be a mannequin in a shadowy corner twitches to life, revealing itself to be a reanimated corpse garbed in old, shabby-genteel clothes, and heads towards the door to lock up the shop.

He beckons that you follow him.

* Mr. Carver nods his head and follows.

The inside of the workshop itself has an acrid, chemical smell.

Slab-like tables and workbenches are crowded with alchemical apparatus.  Various tools litter the laboratory, which resembles a hybrid of operating room and tailor's workshop.  A padded leather chair with built-in restraints stands in the corner.  The walls are covered in a chaotic mass of anatomical sketches, many of them of strange beasts and half-human chimerae.

"Just through here, if you will," Needlefingers says apologetically, unlocking a massive iron door with a huge, ornate key.

Inside you find yourself in a long hall aglow with eerie amber light.  A dozen large vats like gigantic pickling jars line the hall; about half of these are full of some foul-smelling yellowish liquid that glistens sickeningly beneath the lights.  In these jars are suspended a variety of bizarre creatures, all of which are either dead or sleeping.

* Mr. Carver runs his hand appreciatively over some of the drawings as he follows.

A muscular thing that might once have been a man or even a lilix bobs in one: two extra arms emerge from his torso, the hands of his top pair have been replaced with enormous crab claws, and a massive scorpion's tail emerges from behind his back.  In another is a woman whose hairless head is crowned with a nest of twisted horns; her limbs appear to be those of an ungulate, and two additional pairs of breasts have been sewn down her front.  In a third is an animal, an unlikely hybrid of what might have been a hyena, a bat, and a giant snake.  All of them are covered in eldritch glyphs.

One of the empty vats looks badly damaged, its glass cracked and jagged.

"Here is my little, ah, gallery," Needlefingers says, rubbing his palms together.  "What do you think?"

Mr. Carver - Quite a collection, I must say.  People who owed you a debt? (Jesting, gesturing at the lilix and human).

"Oh, picked up by various means."  He chuckles.  "For all their ridiculous fees, the Splicing Consortium do provide certain very valuable services.'

Mr. Carver - Yes, the... animal can hardly have been a debtor; or you're even better than I thought

'As you may have noticed, however, one of my little, erm, projects has, as it were, absconded."  He gestures to the broken vat.

Mr. Carver - Ah yes, I noticed that.

"A most vexatious little vixen, the naughty thing!"  He titters.  "She was a special commission for a particular client of mine.  He wanted a combination of concubine and bodyguard: a constant companion, ideal both for protection and pleasure.  I called her the Houri.  Unfortunately, as I was reanimating her, something went a little wrong -  a hiccup in the cathexis-generator overloaded her numina matrix and she woke up too soon.  The failure caused the Houri to become exceedingly agitated, thrashing about in her tank.  I had made her too strong: she broke the glass and, bewildered and no doubt frightened out of her wits, bolted for the exit, hissing at me as she went.

'I'm lucky she didn't kill me where I stood; perhaps she hadn't discovered how to use her weaponry yet.  But I fear she will kill soon, if given any reason to."

Mr. Carver - Weaponry?

"Various venom-glands implanted discretely in her body.  She can spit poison like an adder, and her nails can secrete a euphoric compound.  If I'd had the time to finish her she could modulate these substances to cause either intense pleasure or paralytic ecstasy."

Mr. Carver - Ah, I better stay clear of those then. Can you perhaps provide a more thorough description? I reckon you want me to track your runaway creation down.

"Nothing gets by you, Mr. Carver.  I do, indeed, want you to, ahem, return her.  Preferably alive.  If you must kill her, I would beg that you do so in a manner that leaves her body intact, so that I can revive her with a minimum of reconstruction.

"Physically, she resembles a young woman, quite comely and slight.  Do not be lulled into a false sense of security by her appearance: she is strong, agile, highly capable."

Mr. Carver - Ah yes, I remember; the sensual bodyguard design. Continue.

"Reanimation is meant to be slow and gentle - a gradual process of acclimation.  The Houri was not provided this benefit.  She will be terrified, angry, confused - and extremely dangerous.  Fortunately, as with all my choicest creations, I implanted a simple tracking device in her body, a warded gemstone disguised as an earring.  The gem's sister-stone will glow with increasing intensity if brought near the Houri.

"Additional description: she is hairless, naked (unless she has clothed herself), covered in discretely drawn glyphs."

Mr. Carver - And this highly agitated killing machine, did you have any ideas as to how I should get her back here without any physical damage?  I don't suppose you installed anything else useful besides that earring of hers' (smirks).

"Well, I leave that to you, Mr. Carver.  I heard that you are most proficient with poisons yourself.  While immune to her own brew, she is quite susceptible to other venoms."

Mr. Carver - Ah, yes, but the venom does have to enter her blood somehow.

"Perhaps some contact-based paralytic agent would be in order?  Or a tranquilizer?  I suggest you try Murrain Square for such things."

Mr. Carver - Yes, what you can't make you can buy.  I will be back with your little creation in a while then. Did you have that earring?

"Yes, here it is."  He hands you a small red gemstone that flickers with a dull light.  'In return for tracking down and returning the Houri to my possession I would gift you with a graft of your choice - any augmentation worth up to four thousand obeloi.  In addition, I'd provide a twenty-five percent discount on any future purchases."

Mr. Carver - A very generous offer, Mr. Weltermort. I will return shortly, I promise, with your creation in pristine condition.

"Excellent!  That's what I like to hear!  I eagerly await your return."

* Mr. Carver walks slowly towards Murrain Square. I reckon I know some poison dealers.

The gemstone flickers briefly.  You are now outside in Chrysalis Street.  The air hums with numina, clockwork.  There's a slight brimstone scent.  Murrain Square is a prominent landmark - easily found.  A small, gloomy quadrangle, Murrain Square is dominated by a central well.

Around the periphery are a number of alchemist's stalls, many of them featuring a prominently displayed skull symbol -  poison-sellers.  Others deal in stranger wares: one hunchbacked ghul woman hawks mummified hands and fingers, reptile scales, mandrake roots, vials of bile, necklaces of infant's teeth like morbid pearls, and similar trinkets, advertised as cures from everything from gout to dementia.  Another merchant, a whiskered hagman male who cools himself periodically with a bucket of muddy water drawn from the well, sells everything from ceremonial bone knives to shrunken sloth-heads to poppets of herbs and leather, elements of hagman Vodun, the quasi-religious witchcraft of the amphibious swampfolk.

You know a poison-seller by the name of Mottleface with a stall in one corner.  He's greasy-looking alchemist, his hands and face badly scarred and pockmarked from old burns; the right side of his face is an angry pink ruin of mutilated flesh, his eyelids burnt off, a patch of bone gleaming from his cheek.   Nonetheless the man seems jovial enough, limping about his stall with vigour and hawking his wares with a gruesome grin.

* Mr. Carver walks towards Mottleface's stall.

Mr. Carver - Ah, Mottleface my old friend! I seem to require your services today

"Indeed?  Some blighter need to be black-tongued?  What can I get you?"

Mr. Carver - A paralytic agent. Enough to take down an able-bodied person and keep him or her down for a decent amount of time.

"Ah.  Got a few potential agents here."  He holds up a small purplish vial.

"This one I'll give ye for seventy five obeloi.  No initial effect, but about a minute later they'll keel right over for a long kip."  It looks to be oil gathered from the spines of a carnivorous catcus in the waste.  Its quite potent and does indeed induce sleep after a minute or so, for some time, depending on the size of the creature.  It's definitely not instant, though.

Mr. Carver - Anything... faster, perhaps?

He holds up a different vial, this one yellowish, like plasma.  "This relaxes the muscles very quickly.  Scorpion venom.  Bit more expensive though - two hundred obeloi."

Mr. Carver - And how long will it last?  Also, how are these poisons applied?

"Uh, bout two hours or so, depending on how big the bastard is.  These you'˜d have to coat a blade with."

"Then there's this - got to be ingested though."  He holds up a bag.  "More effective and harder to shrug off, but it won't work if ye just coat yer blade with it.  Gotta be eaten.  Two hundred fifty bones for that."

Mr. Carver - For the bag? How many doses does it contain?

"Depends on the beast, but to knock out a full-grown human?  Bout three doses."

Mr. Carver - Any contact poisons in this stall of yours?

"Got a few contact poisons... some stuff got off a leechkin shaman awhile back, harvested from gods-know-what in the swamps."

Mr. Carver - I am not sure the recipient is in the mood for swallowing my prescribed medicine, so a contact poison is probably preferable.

"Dunno what I'd sell the contact for.  Hundred and fifty?  Supposed to knock 'em out pretty quick, not sure how easy it is to shake off, though."  The poison is probably harvested from one of the swamp-demons - possibly from one of their more esoteric organs.  From what you've heard many of them enjoy devouring their prey alive.

"Got another, demon-bile mixed with some hagman stuff.  VERY nasty, VERY expensive.  Bout a thousand bleeding obeloi a dose.  Perhaps a bit out of yer league, eh?"

Mr. Carver - Ah, yes, that I will save for when I'm appointed to be the heir of a dead merchant prince...

"Hmm, one more," Mottleface says, frowning.  "Ground ebonroot and paste from a Screamwood lotus."

Mr. Carver - How much for one dose of whatever is in that bag of yours?  The ingested things.  Anything cheap to keep the victim down after the initial knock-out?  And please tell me more about your Screamwood lotus concoction.

"Hmm, got some dust here that might do the trick, for twenty bones.  And yeah, sorry, that's fer three doses - don't sell it fer any less, generally.  But fer a loyal customer, I'd part with it fer a hundred fer a single dose.  As for the Screamwood stuf, that one's expnesive too, but not as bad as the demon-bile.  Five hundred bones, and guaranteed effect.  I'd knock fifty off the price fer you, even, but any less and its just not profitable."

Mr. Carver - Give me a dose of the leechkin contact poison and one dose of the expensive dust.   Two-hundred fifty in total, yes?

"It's a deal, sir.  Always a pleasure doing business with such a gentleman."

* Mr. Carver digs into a concealed purse for the necessary coins and hands them to the disfigured man

He smiles again - an awful sight - and pockets the coins gleefully, then hands you the poisons.  As he does so, the tracking-stone blips suddenly bright, then fades almsot just as quickly.

Mr. Carver - The same to you. Hope your poisons are as good as ever.

*Mr. Carver quickly looks up, scanning the Square.

You don't see any sensuous nude servitor girls running around.  In fact, the square's very quiet.  The stone is starting to glow again, though.  Its getting quite bright.

*Mr. Carver I quickly finishes the deal and pocket the two poisons. The contact poison he puts in the aforementioned vial casing.

Mr. Carver - Ah, gleet.

* Mr. Carver tips my hat at Mottleface.

The stone is now very bright.  No one around - not even a hooded figure - who might match the Houri's description.

Mr. Carver - Again, pleasure doing business with you.

Mottleface winks at you with his good eye.

*Mr. Carver runs to the center of the square.

The stone brightens, then fades.

* Mr. Carver looks up and around.

There's no one around; the square is almost deserted.  A couple of Tattered Web Guildsmen have entered at the far side, but both look very male.  The stone continues to fade and dim again.

Mr. Carver - Hmm, I'm certain this is not good for my nerves.

Mr. Carver - ooc: Knowledge: local about tunnels and the like.

Mr. Carver - !roll 1d20+8
<isobot> Mr. Carver: [23]

There are tunnels pretty much all over the city, and the ones in Hexwarren are particularly extensive.  They're called the Oppidan Entrails - also colloquially known as the Belly.  Adjacent to them are the Sorestone Tunnels beneath Worm-Hive, and the Bonesnarl beneath Pulsetown.

*Mr. Carver tries putting the stone nearer to the ground, to see if the glow is stronger.

The gem gets a bit brighter for a moment, then continues to dim.

Mr. Carver - Always the tunnels... Well, might as well start somewhere.

*Mr. Carver looks for the nearest manhole/entrance.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on July 27, 2010, 01:35:17 AM

Tunnels and Terrors

There are tunnel entrances scattered throughout the district.  The nearest is near the Vellum Citadel, which is just a block away.

*Mr. Carver gets out a pair of disposable gloves (something to apply the poison to) from the lab-coat and moves to the entrance.

You find the entrance easily, a squarish grate set in am back-street in the shadow of the towering library-spire.

* Mr. Carver forces the grate open and climbs down.

The crude stone handholds lead down a circular tunnel into some kind of rough antechamber with a vaulted ceiling swathed in cobwebs.  The walls are lined with niches piled with skulls, some of them carven with names, numbers, or glyphs.  Three arched stone doorways lead from this room down dim, narrow passageways.

The tracking-stone is dim, but brighter than when you were above ground.

* Mr. Carver snaps a set of disposable gloves on his right hand as he lands, and looks about.

There are occasional grates above that provide limited illumination.  Otherwise, there's no light to speak of.

Mr. Carver - gleetin' darkness...

There are old torch brackets and braziers sometimes, but those nearby at least are unlit.

*Mr. Carver approaches one and pull down the torch and light it.

The torch casts spidery shadows.  Each archway has a short corridor beyond.  The one to the right has some steps leading downwards.

*Mr. Carver, guided by the light of the tracking-stone and the torch, follows the right corridor.

A few steps lead down to a desecrated crypt here.  Someone has removed the occupants of the sarcophagi and posed them in sexual positions, creating an obscene, macabre tableau.  There are two exits, apart from the doorway you entered through.  One is a stone door marked by prybars and claw-marks, shut fast; the other might once have had a door but is now empty.

The tracking-stone is brighter here.

* Mr. Carver walks down the unbarred corridor, praying to whatever god comes to mind that this is the right way.

There's a fork in the path.  It's difficult to gauge which is better, based on the tracking-stone.

Mr. Carver - Given a choice, I'll take the one without claw-marks'¦

You head down the left-hand path and nearby collide with a dark-skinned leechkin.  You recognize the creature that slew the waxborn back in the pits - it called itself Gorethirst.

* Gorethirst stumbles a bit, dripping blood from its manacles everywhere.

Mr. Carver - You??  Fancy stumbling into you here of all places...

Gorethirst - This place is my home.

Mr. Carver - Well, small world, smaller city I guess.

Gorethirst - I wonder what brings you into the catacombs this night?

Mr. Carver - Ah, yes, I don't suppose you have seen a nude hairless girl coming by? And no, it is not what you think.

* Gorethirst slowly blinks his six eyes at Mr Carver.

Gorethirst - I have not seen a nude female human.

Mr. Carver - Ah, yes, you're not missing much. Humans are not terribly interesting.  But I have been hired to find this specimen.

Gorethirst - Of that we can concur.  Do you require aid comrade?

Mr. Carver - I don't suppose you can help me? I know you can be quite... useful.

Gorethirst - I am always willing to help a comrade of the pits. Lead the way.

*Gorethirst uses its Bloodscent ability to see if anything living is nearby or has recently passed by.

Mr. Carver - Actually, this (dangling the jewel from a finger) should lead the way.  But I'm thinking we should head in this direction for now.

There's nothing living that's passed through recently, other than Carver himself.  There's a faint death-smell down the other passage, though, but not a quick-blooded creature.

Gorethirst - I do not smell anything living from the other direction. Only the smell of death.

Mr. Carver - Oh, and by the way lee... Gorethirst was it? ... we are not supposed to harm a hair, metaphorically, on her head. But if you can hold her down or distract her while I administer some things I would be most grateful.

Gorethirst - As you say.

Mr. Carver - Thank you for understanding.  I'm sure I can repay you in some way afterwards.  Now, let's get on with the business at hand.

At the end of the corridor is another small crypt. Some strange nigromantic ritual must once have been carried out here, based on the black candles and sigils drawn in old blood that cover the floor.  There's a burnt black stain on the ground in the middle of a concatenation of symbols.  The ritual's exact purpose, however, is not immediately obvious.  Apart from the candles and glyphs, this chamber is almost bereft of decoration, with but a few gnawed and broken bones littering the floor.

There are two other exits: one to the left, the other staright ahead, plunging down a second staircase, deeper into the catacombs' sepulchral depths.

Mr. Carver - Not too comfortable with this. Try not to step on anything.

*Mr. Carver makes his way clockwise along the edge of the room, frequently checking the tracking-stone.

There seems to be a slight glow in the tracking-stone near the lefthand passage, a brief flicker of light.

*Mr. Carver takes a glance down the corridor, extinguishing his torch.

Gorethirst - I agree, eldritch workings are of no business to me.

You do see a slight movement at the end of the next corridor, past an arched doorway.  A pair of greenish eyes gleam in the darkness.

* Mr. Carver gestures at Gorethirst to stay put and tries to slink forward stealthily.

"I hear you there, you bumbling oaf!"  It's a male voice that answers.

Mr. Carver - "Who's there?"

* Gorethirst moves forward a bit, placing himself to the side and slightly ahead of Mr. Carver.

* Mr. Carver nods at Gorethirst.

* Mr. Carver lights his torch again, his cover clearly blown.

A tall, slender man, somewhat gaunt-cheeked but still sensuously handsome, cleans his nails with a long knife here, seated nonchalantly on the edge of a sarcophagus.  He is dressed in the ragged remnants of finery - dirtied lace, torn velvets, muddied stockings and boots, tarnished rings, a tattered frock coat.  His hair is very long and is his most striking feature (save perhaps for his gleaming green eyes, which seem to glow softly in the gloom).  It is jet black save for a vivid white streak, and so long and lustrous as to seem almost womanish.

His otherwise well-sculpted features are marred by several long, deep scratch-marks on his face that look very recent.

The man looks the pair of you up and down, scrutinizing you.  Evidently what he sees displeases him, for he grimaces in distaste.

"You may call me Quentin," he says, sounding enormously bored.  "I suppose.  What is it you want?"

There's one other exit to this chamber, to the left.

Mr. Carver - Mr. Carver is my name. We are looking for a woman who has sequestered herself in these tunnels.

* Gorethirst nods towards Quentin.

"Indeed?  What manner of woman?"  There is a strangely hungry gleam in his greenish eyes.  He ignores the leechkin contemptuously.

Mr. Carver - Hairless. Naked. Reanimated. Angry

"That termagant?  Yes, I have had the displeasure," he says, his voice dripping with scorn.  "I saw the little trollop not far from this very chamber.  Ensorcelled by her charms, I followed the temptress further into these disgusting catacombs and attempted to woo her with coaxing endearments and gentle caresses.  The harpy spat and hissed like an angry she-cat and clawed at my face, disfiguring my features."  He is almost shaking with rage.  "Why do you seek this creature?  You will find her untameable, I assure you."

Mr. Carver - Oh yes, forgot about the poison. And I am sure you are quite the charmer. We have been sent to return her to her rightful owner. Any directions would be appreciated.

"In that case, I suggest you go back the way you came and descend the stairs in the room beyond.  I followed her to a large hall; there she scratched at me.  I believe she fled down a passage to the east, but my sense of direction is abysmal in these festering depths."

Mr. Carver - "Many thanks. We will leave you to yourself then. There is an exit back that way (I give him some directions).

Gorethirst, Quentin is not a living human, despite appearances otherwise - at least, he doesn't smell like he's a living human.  This room has a faint scent of blood, but it is difficult to determine a direction.  The far exit has no smell, however.

* Mr. Carver follows Gorethirst.

Quentin returns to his ablutions, waving a hand in your direction.

Gorethirst - That creature was not what he seemed. He was no warmblood. However he was correct the scent, it leads down the stairs.

Mr. Carver - I have found that it is better to not ask too many questions when faced with things with glowing eyes.

Gorethirst - You are a wise man Mr Carver.

Mr. Carver - Thank you, Mr. Gorethirst. Always nice with some polite company. Now, let's put some distance between us and the strange half-man.

*Mr. Carver goes down the stairs as directed by Quentin.

You enter a large hall whose walls are stacked high with niches or shelves, each containing an individual skeleton.  The lower corpses have been thoroughly disturbed, stolen, mutilated, and otherwise defiled, but many of the topmost bodies remain intact.  Two exits are evident, one at the end of the hall, the other to the left.

* Mr. Carver makes his way briskly directly across the room

The tracking-stone glows warmly, though not quite as brightly as it did in Murrain Square.

* Mr. Carver pauses only to check his earring

It looks stronger towards the lefthand exit.  Gorethirst, you do smell something that way'¦

* Gorethirst motions towards the left

* Mr. Carver makes a swift turn on his heel and walks down the left passageway.

You hear a chittering sound down the tunnel, growing louder.  Gorethirst, something - actually, a lot of somethings - are headed this way.

Mr. Carver - (stone getting brighter?)

A little bit; not enormously.

Mr. Carver - (I look to my companion) This is not good, is it?

A swarm of pallid, hairless bodies churns towards you, half-filling the tunnel: a pack of vicious piranha rats, voracious flesh-eating rodents with toothy maws and tiny red eyes.  They squeal with unstoppable hunger as they approach.

Gorethirst - This is not good at all.

Mr. Carver - Gleet...

The rats are soon upon you.  They clamber up your legs and begin gnashing their razor teeth on your bodies!

*Gorethirst shake off the rats and howls with blood-curdling fury from its palm-mouths!

* Mr. Carver, panicked, swings the torch to try and clear a path.

One of the rats grabs hold of Mr. Carver's vestigial arm and sunk its teeth into his flesh.

*Gorethirst's swipe cuts a rat in two.  Several other rats, frenzied by the blood, descend on the remains of their companion.

* Mr. Carver continues to ineffectually swing his torch, but the rats are too frenzied to care.

The smell of blood has made Gorethirst hungry!  The pirahna rats squeak as he butchers more of their number. Mr. Carver's flame seems to be annoying the rats.  They scurry away from him.

*Gorethirst snarls.  With a mighty flurry of blows he kills rats left and right.

The swarm, frenzied at the sight and smell of so much blood, scamper from the leechkin's body and descend on their fellows.  In the feeding frenzy that follows, only a single rat survives.  Bloated beyond belief, it staggers towards the adventruers, feebly gnashing its jaws.  Blood gushes from the rodent as Mr. Carver impales the solitary straggler on his blade.

Mr. Carver - Finally... Well, one for me, 99 for you. It seems you were an even bigger help than I thought, my friend. I thank you profoundly.

* Gorethirst pants dripping blood and the rage fades from his yellow eyes.

Gorethirst - You are welcome comrade. I have not had such in exhilarating fight in some time.

Beyond, the passage continues to another fork.  The glow of the tracking-stone is stronger towards the right.  It is getting quite bright now.

* Mr. Carver wipes his knife and continues on

* Mr. Carver extinguishes his torch and move carefully forward (move silently).

Strangely coloured slime drips from a crack in the ceiling here, trickling down the wall in a steady stream.  Where the liquid touches the stone eyes have sprouted like weird fungi, blinking and roving to and fro, formed by whatever eldritch runoff feeds the leak.  It terminates in a hexagonal chamber of some kind.  Gorethirst, there's blood in the room beyond, but its not warm.  Its sort of alien-smelling: more like an insect than a human.

The tracking-stone is now flickering steadily.

Mr. Carver - I think we are getting closer, Gorethirst

*Mr. Carver slips on his glove again and ready the poison.

Mr. Carver - Just to warn you, she can spit poison and her nails are dangerous as well. Don't get slashed.

There's a tiny bit of light in the room up ahead, from a high grate in the ceiling.

Mr. Carver - Also, you should probably go in front. Distraction and all that.

* Gorethirst steps to the front

Gorethirst - It smells of insects in here. Not of humans.

Mr. Carver - Just stay clear of her and keep her attention on yourself and I will subdue her.

* Gorethirst nods his assent

Inside the chamber is a cestoid corpse.  The creature has been torn apart, its limbs ripped off one by one, almost delicately, its segmented body torn and savaged, discoloured round the wounds.  Its inhuman organs gush in a glistening torrent from its eviscerated body, and the creature's blackish blood is everywhere.

Small, almost child-like footprints in the cestoid's dark blood lead away from the corpse down the tunnel opposite the entrance.

Mr. Carver - Oh, one of those. Let me just get a closer look.

The body has been mauled and worried at; half-eaten.  Something very strong, as strong as a large animal, did this damage.  Overpowering a cestoid is no easy task.

Gorethirst - Be careful. Many of the city cestoids are trained gladiators like myself.

Mr. Carver - Thanks. I'll keep an eye out.

Gorethirst - If something did that to the cestoid, it is best to be very cautious.

Mr. Carver - ooc: claw marks like on Quentin?  Poison?

Yes, the claw-marks are similar.  There's a discolouration round the wounds, as well,
probably from poison.  It's a tossup whether it died from trauma or venom, though.

Mr. Carver - This is her. She may be small" (gestures at the footprints) but she is strong.

* Mr. Carver stands up.

Gorethirst - Let us follow quickly then.

Gorethirst, you smell something coming down the tunnel.  The tracking-stone, however, glows no brighter.

Mr. Carver - Let's be on our way before the crows of these tunnels come to collect their ill-gotten rewards.

Gorethirst - Something comes our way.  Hide yourself if possible.

Mr. Carver - "Her?"

Another leechkin stares at you from down the tunnel with six luminous yellow eyes.  It is emaciated, little more than a skeleton, its greenish skin hanging off its frame in loose flaps.  The creature staggers towards you, palm-mouths upturned.

* Mr. Carver runs to stand flush against the wall, dagger in hand, torch quickly extinguished again.

"Blood," the creature moans in the eerie double-tone of the leechkin.  "I thirst; pity, pity for Scabgnaw!  Give it a lick of your hot red juices?"  It whines and whimpers, shambling closer.  One of its eyes is sightless, rent with a jagged scar.

Gorethirst - Ah brother, let me help you.

* Gorethirst moves forward and awkwardly drips blood from the Manacles onto Scabgnaw's palm-mouths.

Scabgnaw sighs with pleasure as the blood enters its mouths.

"Ah, thank you, sibling! Your jewellery is... nourishing."

Gorethirst - Have you seen a small female human nearby brother?  Her blood would not smell... normal.

"The lady-of-slime?  The fanged mistress, yes, yes, she-with-the-black-nails?  Scabgnaw has seen her; her blood smells of vodun and ichor.  Scabgnaw will lead you to her - for another drop of the hot red juices."  The leechkin's palm-mouths pant and salivate, still wet and red from their meal.

* Gorethirst drips more blood into his palm-mouths.

Gorethirst - Lead on brother.

"AAAAHHHHHHH."  The leechkin turns, satiated for now, and heads down the tunnel.

* Mr. Carver steps out into plain sight.

The leechkin nods at Mr. Carver in greeting but says nothing.

* Mr. Carver nods at Scabgnaw.

The leechkin leads Gorethirst and Mr. Carver down a series of tunnels, twisting and turning deeper into the earth.  The footprints are visible for a short distance and then fade.

"She is near here," it says at last, crooning.  It gestures to the chamber beyond.

Gorethirst - You have my thanks brother, stay free from thirst.

* Gorethirst advances towards the chamber beyond.

* Mr. Carver sheathes his glyph-covered knife and opens the small button on his vial case

"In those crypts, somewhere.  She has fed recently.  I will wait for you, yes, sibling?"

Gorethirst - Yes.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on July 27, 2010, 01:36:05 AM

The Houri and the Eidolon

Mr. Carver - "Lead the way Gorethirst"

The tracking-stone is glowing blindingly bright.  You should probably hide it or it'll betray your approach.

*Mr. Carver smiles and pockets the gem.

Gorethirst, an odd smell permeates these chambers.  There is warm blood, but death as well, and something... other.  It smells of hexwork, of witchery.

You come to the entrance to a tomb, long since desecrated and stripped of valuables.  Skeletal remains are strewn in disarray about the floor, and the sarcophagi have been unceremoniously wrenched open and despoiled.  Crouched in the middle of this macabre tableau is the Houri, squatting on her heels and staring into the darkness.

The Houri herself is a nubile waif, a beautiful child-woman pieced meticulously together from corpse-parts: unlike the roughly-stitched seams of most servitors the Houri's stitches are delicate and even, running round her sculpted thighs, breasts, and back in such a way that they become intensely eroticized.  Her hairless skin is so pale as to be translucent, her veins and arteries subtly visible beneath; small, delicately drawn characters embroider her stitched flesh, providing her corpse-body with the numina it needs to remain fully animate.  Despite the filth, blood, and residual slime from the spawning-vat that slathers her limbs she still exudes a palpable aura of sensuality - and deadliness.  Her nails are long, black talons, her mouth filled with serpentine fangs, her eyes overlarge and inky black.

* Mr. Carver moves around her, staying close to the wall, stealthy and concealed by shadows.

When the Houri sees Gorethirst, she hisses and bares her claws, snarling.

* Gorethirst yowls in return from his double palm-mouths

She does not immediately attack, but hunkers down on her slender haunches.  She looks from side to side, breathing heavily.  You have her quite cornered - there are no other exits.  Mr. Carver is concealed behind a pillar, not far from the Houri.

She hums slightly and adopts what is unmistakably a coquettish posture.  Since Gorethirst is genderless, it is unaffected.  The hum resonates in Mr. Carver, who feels hesitant to physically harm her - though not to drug her.

* Mr. Carver applies the toxin to his glove.

* Mr. Carver sneaks closer and closer.

You're right behind the Houri, who is captivated by the leechkin.

* Mr. Carver stands with hand outstretched, ready to touch the Houri.

It looks like she's ready to pounce!

*Mr. Carver reaches out and grasp the Houri by the arm as Gorethirst perpares to barrel into her.  She shrieks as he touches her and flails.

*Gorethirst charges forward.  The Houri slashes at him with her talons!  The leechkin shrugs off her poison and overpowers her, pushing her back against the wall.

She flails and attacks Gorethirst, swiping with her claws and biting with her serpentine teeth, drawing blood.

Mr. Carver - Arh, told you not to get slashed.

Gorethirst - Avoiding her blows is easier said than done comrade.

Mr. Carver - well, you are standing awfully close to them. I'm pretty certain that doesn't help.

Gorethirst - No real harm done yet.

*Mr. Carver attempt to disorient her by throwing his coat over her.

She swats the coat aside angrily'¦

Mr. Carver - Hmm, well, that didn't do much good.

...and then slumps to the ground, paralyzed, as the contact poison kicks in.

Mr. Carver - Or did it?  Actually, I'm pretty sure that was the poison.  My dear associate, do you have any rope on hand perchance?

* Gorethirst reaches into his pack and pulls out a long length of silk rope.

* Mr. Carver finds the pouch of poison powder.

Gorethirst - More than we could ever need comrade.

Mr. Carver - Ah good. It seems I have left mine at home.  You really shouldn't venture anywhere without a sizeable amount of rope.

* Gorethirst hands Mr Carver a coil of silken rope.

Gorethirst - More wise words.

* Mr. Carver kneels before the twitching creature and carefully opens her mouth and pours the powder into it

She struggles and spits even as her limbs go rigid but swallows the powder.

* Mr. Carver then pours a bit of water and massages her throat to make her swallow

* Mr. Carver , although not very good with rope, tries to tie her up as an extra precaution

Without warning a figure detaches itself from the shadows, quite suddenly appearing in the room with you.  It is Quentin - the creature you encountered before, in his ragged frock coat.

"I see you have been, ahem, successful," he says, eyeing the tied-up Houri.

Mr. Carver - It would seem that way, Quentin. Thought you had abandoned your little flirt with our friend here.

* Mr. Carver hides his dagger behind his back.

* Gorethirst warily sizes up Quentin.

"Indeed.  Might I beg a small payment for my assistance earlier?  I find myself rather strapped for funds at the moment."  He draws nearer, predatory and sure-footed, swift of movement.

Mr. Carver - Sure, here.

*Mr. Carver throws twenty-five bone obeloi on the floor.

Mr. Carver - That should cover it.

The man - or whatever he is - is lean but powerful.  He moves with astonishing grace.

"Ah, thank you."  He scoops up the coins and deposits them in his purse.

Mr. Carver - Now let us be.

Gorethirst - Leave us corpse.

"I wonder if you might indulge me just a little further," he says silkily.  The claw-marks on his face glisten.

Mr. Carver - I'm not sure we would, we have paid our debt.  Now go back and leave us alone, Mr. Quentin.

"That... bitch'¦ has wronged me.  She is helpless and will remain so for some time.  Perhaps you might, ah, leave us alone together, for a short while?  It would be nothing.  She would not even remember."

Idly, he strokes his own hair, fingering the white streak.

Mr. Carver - I'm afraid you're out of luck there.

Gorethirst - You would harm her. Our task is to return her without harm.

He smiles wickedly.  "Oh no.  I would be most gentle."

Mr. Carver - I'm afraid we can't really take you on your word, creature.

I would even pay for the privilege.  Come, we are all reasonable men.

Mr. Carver - Ah, the issue is we are also gentlemen. Well, as gentlemanly as anyone can be in this city. So we'd be very glad if you just turned around and walked away.

"If that is how you feel, cur, then I am left with no choice."  He suddenly holds two pistols in his hands - masterwork duelling wheellocks.  He aims them at the pair of you.

* Gorethirst slowly blinks its yellow eyes.

"Leave this place and I will spare your miserable lives.  You can have the whore back when I am done with her."

Gorethirst - I would advise against that course of action.

"Oh would you, you hideous wretch?  Well, I would not advise that you test yourself against me."

Mr. Carver - No such luck.

*Mr. Carver flings a dagger at him and dive for cover)

Gorethirst - You are a creature of deception if the face you wear is any indication.

Quentin dodges aside with startling speed.  The dagger clatters harmlessly against the wall.  In an instant the incubus discharges his weapons.  Gorethirst is barely scratched by the bullet, and Mr. Carver's armour protects him from the worst of it.

Quentin holsters his pistols and draw a blade from a sheathe at his waist.

*Gorethirst catches Quentin off guard, and the creature hisses in pain as the leechkin's greataxe hews open his chest!  He's still standing - no mortal man, this one.

Gorethirst - Begone creature, before I destroy you!

"Foolish leech!  I will have my vengeance on that trollop yet, after I deal with you!"

* Mr. Carver moves to flank the grave-spawn.

The eidolon is locked in combat with Gorethirst and seems to be ignoring the stealthy Mr. Carver.

*Mr. Carver slashes, but Quentin seems to anticipate the blow and again darts out of range with preternatural speed.

The grave-spawn bleeds sluggishly.  With amazing celerity he darts out, hacking at Gorethirst and wounding the leechkin.

*Gorethirst hacks with his axe and severs the grave-spawn's right arm at the elbow.  Miraculously, the horror remains defiantly alive (or what passes for life in his case).  His blood oozes slowly from the severed stump.

Gorethirst - You are doomed, creature.

The eidolon locks his gaze with the leechkin in a contest of wills.  His enormous green eyes look into Gorethirst's, dominating the leechkin.

Gorethirst is charmed; it would lay down its life for this creature, though it would not necessarily attack Carver.

*Gorethirst backs off, circling around, 20ft.  It also sheathes his greataxe.

The eidolon turns to Mr. Carver.  He looks incredibly smug.  His blade gleams wetly with the leechkin's blood.

*Mr. Carver, nearly despairing as the leechkin backs off, charges recklessly forwards and plunges the Agony Knife into the Eidolon's withered heart.  The incubus twists and shrieks.  Its glamer fails in its final moments, revealing it as a hideous wraith, a malformed old man mottled with age-spots and growths.

As Mr. Carver plucks his knife from Quentin the creature falls to the ground and collapses into a pile of dust and empty clothes.

* Gorethirst slowly comes too

Gorethirst - I... My... I do not know what came over me comrade.

Mr. Carver - I was afraid that was a lost battle...

Scabgnaw lumbers in.

Scabgnaw heard some commotion."

Gorethirst - Indeed brother, my companion killed a fell creature. Dead but disguised as a warmblood.

Mr. Carver - Also, I was afraid for a minute you were going to take a swing at me, Gorethirst. You seemed slightly dazed...

Gorethirst - It was... strange. Suddenly the creature was more important than anything.

Mr. Carver - Gleetin' hexes...

At the sight of all the blood on Gorethirst and from Quentin Scabgnaw seems oddly affected.

Gorethirst - Even my thirst was a distant yearning. I have never encountered something like that before.

Mr. Carver - Mr. Carver - Now, we better get that Houri-girl back quick before the poison wears off.

* Gorethirst gathers up Quentin's effects, weapons and clothes, and stuffs them into his bag.

Quentin's stuff includes: a longsword, two masterwork wheellock duelling Pistols, a signet Ring, and twenty-five obeloi.

Mr. Carver - Your friend is staring at us.

Suddenly the leechkin vagrant presents itself to Gorethirst.  A strange, pale sack, like a bubo, has swollen on the creature's flesh.

"Sibling, couple with me."

Mr. Carver - I have had about enough of strange creatures trying to couple with each other for one day...

Gorethirst - Ah... I do not believe now is an appropriate time.

Scabgnaw seems disappointed, but withdraws itself.

* Mr. Carver drapes his coat over the naked Houri.

* Mr. Carver bundles her up and swings her across his back.  She is shockingly light.

Mr. Carver - Hey, that's my money!

* Mr. Carver walks to the leechkin and picks up the 25 bones

Gorethirst - Take your coin.

Eager to please, Scabgnaw offers to help you find a way out (no strings attached, it swears).

Mr. Carver - Lead the way.

Scabgnaw leads you through the maze of catacombs, past grave-spawn hovels, cestoid nests, and markers of skinchanger territory and back to the surface.  You can easily retrace your steps from here to the Emporium of Metamorphoses.

Mr. Carver - Thank you, Scabgnaw. That was some welcome help.

The leechkin nods and shambles back into the catacombs, babbling to itself quietly.

*Mr. Carver returns Mr. Welterwort with his escaped creation

Needlefingers Welterwort is delighted when he sees you have returned the Houri quite intact.

"Ah, perfect!  And so speedily, too... come, now help me get her back in her vat..."  He nods to the leechkin.  "A pleasure to meet you, my good leech."

*Mr. Carver retrieves his coat and carries her to the vat.

"And now, the matter of your payment.  What manner of augmentation would please you best?"

Possible Grafts:

Chitin Plates: Scavenged from the corpse of some monstrous insect, these plates are fused into your flesh, giving you a rigid exoskeleton.  This provides a +2 Passive Defence Bonus without a check penalty, similar to a buckler; this stacks with a shield.

Squamous Skin: Your fragile skin is replaced with a thick layer of scales or other resilient hide.  This provides 1d2/magic Damage Reduction and has no check penalty; this stacks with armour.

Fangs: Wrenched from the mouth of a dog, big cat, crocodile, or some toothy abomination, these fangs replace your regular teeth.  You gain a 1d6 Bite attack as a natural attack.

Clawed Hand: One of your hands is replaced with that of a clawed beast of some description,.  This provides you with a single natural 1d6 Claw attack.

Antitoxin Gland: Drawn from the innards of some venomous creature, this small organ can be discretely implanted and hooked up to the bloodstream.  It provides a +3 bonus to Fortitude saves versus poisons.

Tentacle: Harvested from one of the many aqueous horrors of the Sallow Seas or the Fevered Ocean or else culled from something even stranger, the tentacle graft counts as a natural attack (Tentacle Slap) that deals 1d3 damage or can be used as a prehensile extra limb to wield weapons or use shields, though normal penalties apply to multi-weapon fighting.

Barbed Tail: This graft is a long, sinuous tail tipped with a barb.  Prehensile, the tail grants you a natural 1d4 Sting attack (no Strength bonus) and can additionally be used to hold spare weapons or other items instead, though you cannot wield weapons or use shields with the tail.  Those stung by the tail must make a Fortitude save (DC 13) or take 1d3 temporary Constitution damage from poison; however, this venom can only be used once per day.

Demoniac Tendril: This graft allows you to make grapple or disarm attacks with a reach of 15 feet. Attempts to grapple or disarm with your tendril do not provoke attacks of opportunity. Otherwise, they are handled normally.  The tendril can also secrete a venom: those hit with a touch attack must make a Fortitude save (DC 13) or take 1d3 temporary Dexterity damage from poison; however, this venom can only be used once per day.

Mandibles: These chelicerae were culled from a monstrous arachnid.  You gain the liquid diet restriction (as in the lilix racial traits) but also the ability to articulate in Spiderchatter, though you must devote the skill points to learn the language.  You also gain a 1d4 Bite attack that can deliver a dose of poison once per day - those hit with the attack must make a Fortitude save (DC 13) or take 1d3 temporary Strength damage (initial and secondary).

Mantid Eyes: These bulbous, red, compound eyes endow the grafted creature with the sight of a mantid.  You gain 30 ft. Darkvision and a +2 competence bonus to any Craft (Clockwork) checks.  For the first day after being grafted you suffer a -1 penalty to all checks and saves due to disorientation.

Jatayi Eyes: These yellow, avian eyes endow the grafted creature with the sight of a jatayi.  They are quite rare, since few jatayi linger in the fetid skies of this Cadaverous Earth.  You gain Low Light Vision (x4) and can now perceive magnetic fields.

Ghul Eyes: These slitted, almost reptillian-looking eyes are actually those of a grave-spawn.  They endow the user with 60 ft. Darkvision, and a +4 competence bonus to Disguise checks if impersonating a ghul.  However, you are also dazzled while in bright sunlight.

Brawn: These enormous slabs of grafted muscle make you far stronger, giving you a physique only athletes and veteran warriors might possess.  You gain +2 Strength.

Thrum Gland: This small, sallow organ is implanted near the liver.  It synthesizes and secretes one dose of the drug called thrum a day.  Thrum (which is usually snorted or injected straight into the bloodstream) gives the user 20% concealment as their flesh begins to vibrate and additionally endows them with +2 Dexterity for one hour after use.  However, after the dose wears off, you are Shaken (-2 to saves, checks, and attack rolls) for another hour.  Those with an implanted thrum gland automatically become addicted to the drug as well and must use it daily or suffer 1d3 dexterity damage unless they make a DC 10 Fortitude save; unlike other users they cannot kick this addiction (without having their grafted gland removed).

Extra Limb: Wrenched from the socket of one of the more humanoid denizens of the Cadaverous Earth, this extra limb is a must for any fleshy looking to multitask. The limb counts as an extra off hand. To wield more than two weapons at once with reduced penalties, take the multiweapon fighting feat.

Weapon Graft: While most grafts are living tissue attached to another living body, a weapon graft is exactly what the name suggests: a normal, masterwork, or magic melee weapon grafted onto a hand. The weapon actually becomes a natural weapon, though its other properties are unchanged. The grafted creature receives a +1 bonus on all attack and damage rolls with the weapon, as long as it is proficient with the weapon. However, it cannot use the hand with the graft for anything but combat.  This particular graft includes an additional arm.

Webbed Digits: A thin stretch of flesh is grafted between the digits on your fingers and toes, improving your ability to manoeuvre in the water.  This graft gives you a +10 competence bonus to Swim checks.

Extra Eye: This additional eye is fully functional, endowing the grafted creature with a +4 competence bonus to Spot and Search checks.

Chameleonic Skin: Treated with glamers and hexes of various sorts, this grafted skin changes colours like a chameleon.  It gives its user a competence bonus on Hide checks ranging from +1 (if they are fully clothed, with minimal skin exposed) up to +10 (if they are effectively nude).

Snout: This canine muzzle gives the grafted creature the Scent ability and a 1d3 Bite attack.

*Mr. Carver selects the Demonic Tendril graft.

Then let us proceed.  This will take several hours'¦"  The fleshcrafter gestures to the chair in his workshop and Mr. Carver eagerly obliges him.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on July 28, 2010, 05:30:54 PM
Back with Tarim, Eareg Maar, Kaius Alexander, and Gorethirst...

Death and Shopping

You stand over the corpse of Lucretius Nhamorg, slain by the leechkin pit-fighter Gorethirst.  The eviscerated remains of his companion lie nearby in a spreading pool of crimson.  A streetwalker who glimpsed the latter Tattered Web Guildsman has fled into the depths of Velveteen Circus.

* Eareg Maar leans down next to Lucretius' corpse and pats it on the shoulder.

Eareg Maar - Shouldn't have broken the unwritten rule, brother.

Kaius Alexander - Leech, get your maggot to clean the other one up, and let us leave before anyone else notices our... activities.

Tarim - We better conceal him for carrying around.

* Eareg Maar pulls out a tarp.

* Gorethirst hefts Lucretius drained corpse onto his shoulder.

* Eareg Maar begins to wrap the body up.

Tarim - At least so that his guildmates won't recognize him.

Gorethirst - Should we bring both corpses?

Eareg Maar - We'll need some rope to hold the tarp closed however.  Just let your beast feed on it.

* Gorethirst retrives a coil of silken rope and passes it to Eareg.

* Eareg Maar ties the "package" up.

Gorethirst - As you wish.

* Tarim whistles, calling Fangs back to him.

* Gorethirst directs Corpsegobble to clean up the ghul corpse.

* Kaius Alexander wipes off his sword and sheathes it.

*Fangs flutters to Tarim's shoulder.

*Corpsegobble devours the dead ghul with relish.

* Eareg Maar scratches his owls head idly.

* Tarim kicks any inedible remains to the corner of the street.

* Kaius Alexander idly hefts Lucretius' dueling pistol

* Gorethirst mounts up

Eareg Maar - Well, lets get this thing loaded up onto your beast.  It'll look less suspicious than one of us carrying it around.

Kaius Alexander - If nobody minds, I think I shall be keeping this. It looks to have a greater range than my revolver.

Tarim - Shall we stop by at a market on our way? We've accumulated enough things to sell for a good profit I think

* Eareg Maar finishes hefting the bundle onto Corpsegobble's back

Eareg Maar - Lead on.

You head from Velveteen Circus to the Bazaars, skirting the central Skin Markets.  The Bazaars churn with constant activity.  Though there are no distinct wards within the marketplace there are rough burgs or neighbourhoods that seem to specialize in different sorts of goods.  Further north towards the city walls the smokestacks of the factory district, Smoulderward, billow their sallow effluvia into the mottled sky.  Several Guildhalls of the major Robber Guilds are evident nearby.

Eareg Maar - We need to find someone who would be interested in a magical weapon.

You see several possible candidates.  There's a gunsmith called Cog and Bullet down one street.  At the corner there's a large pawn shop called Detritus!  Finally there's a blade-seller in a small stall.

Kaius Alexander - A concern: we must be careful in selling this gauntlet. If it is a well known item of this Lucretius, it would be easy to trace back to us.

Eareg Maar - Unlikely: I did not know he had it, and I knew him somewhat well.

Gorethirst - Perhaps it is a new find from the wastes?

Eareg Maar - I think it was a recent find of his.

Tarim - The pawn shop seems large enough to afford paying a good price.

Kaius Alexander - If you can be sure that his Guild does not know of it, then by all means, proceed.

Gorethirst - I have two pistols to sell, perhaps the gunsmith would be best?

Tarim - We don't have to sell everything in one shop.

Eareg Maar - Certainly not.

In addition to these merchants there are Guild dealers, but you have to be a faction member to use them.

* Eareg Maar motions to gorethirst

Eareg Maar - Me and the leech will sell his arms, I know of a good place.

* Eareg Maar points off to Cog and Bullet.

The interior of this shop is festooned with intricate clockwork firearms of every description: rifles, duelling pistols, pocket firearms, and even organ guns and gear-driven cannons with rotating barrels.  Bandoliers and boxes of bullets fill the shelves.  A tall mantid with mottled green-brown flesh and membranous wings full of bullet-holes appears to be the proprietor, surveying the shop with bulging compound eyes.  One of his human-arms (as opposed to his scything insectile blade-arms) has been replaced with a whirring construction of tiny gears and copper conduits.

* Eareg Maar nods to the shopkeep.

Eareg Maar - Hello there.

The mantid says "Hello" in an odd, clicking accent.  "I'm Nezarr.  What can I do for you, sir?"

Eareg Maar - we have several pistols we wish to sell.

* Gorethirst moves towards the counter and takes out two Masterwork Duelling Wheellock Pistols and a longsword.

The mantid picks up the duelling pistols.  "Skein make," he says, admiringly.  "I'll give you three hundred for the brace.  The blade I have no interest in."

* Eareg Maar looks to Gorethirst.

Tarim - We'll sell it elsewhere then.

* Gorethirst nods in assent.

Eareg Maar - 300 bones is fine.

He hands them over and takes the guns.

Eareg Maar - Also, I am looking for specialty ammunition for my rifle."

"Indeed?  What sort of ammunition?"

Eareg Maar - Something with a bit more kick than normal bullets.

"Rune-etched?  Hollow-tip?  Hexed?"

Eareg Maar - Rune-etched or hexed would be preferable.

"I can sell you rune-etched for two obeloi apiece, but you must be a capable witch to utilize them fully."

Eareg Maar - That I am.

Kaius Alexander - I am going to seek out a seller in blades. I will return shortly. Deal with the gauntlet however you care to.

* Eareg Maar nods to Kaius.

* Kaius Alexander exits the store, carrying the rapier and the longsword.

* Tarim follows after Kaius, seeing as he has little interest in firearms.

Eareg Maar - How much for the hexed?

"I sell the hexed in boxes of ten, for two hundred obeloi each.  I've got freezing bullets, fester-shells, and inferno-rounds."

* Eareg Maar pulls 200 bones out of a hidden pouch and stacks them up on the counter.

Eareg Maar - I'll take a box of the festering ones.

The mantid Nezarr gets out a box of bullets and gives them to Eareg.  The bullets are carved with sickly greenish glyphs.

* Eareg Maar picks up the box gingerly before sliding it into an inner coat pocket.

* Eareg Maar nods and heads out of the store to find Kaius and Tarim.

* Kaius Alexander approaches the stall of the blade vendor he noticed earlier.

The blade-vendor is a wiry human woman with an eye-patch and powerful arms.  She displays a range of switch-blades, knives, daggers, short blades, and a few longer swords such as scimitars in her stall.

Tarim - Looks like she knows how to use the blades she deals in.

Kaius Alexander - I wish to part with these.

* Kaius Alexander puts down the longsword, and pops the blade out of the rapier cane before putting it down as well.

"I'll take the longsword for five obeloi.  Nice rapier - how much do you want for it?"

* Tarim glances at Kaius

Tarim - You know blades better than I do

Kaius Alexander - As you can no doubt see, this is a blade of high quality.  The concealment adds to the effectiveness considerably.

* Kaius Alexander pauses to think.

Kaius Alexander - Two hundred and eighty.

"Indeed.  A blade I'd need to find a buyer for.  How many folks do you think would go for a fancy bit of kit like that when they can get something on the cheap?  One hundred and fifty I'll give you for it."

Tarim - *whispers to Kaius* Keep on haggling a bit more

Kaius Alexander - Many would find interest in the utility. Two hundred and twenty.

"A hundred and eighty and not a bone more, and you got yourself a deal."

Kaius Alexander - Hmmm.  Very well, you have a deal.

* Tarim nods

The woman spits in her hand and offers it to Kaius.

* Kaius Alexander shakes firmly.

You make the transaction.

* Kaius Alexander counts the obeloi and parts with a slight nod.

*The group heads to Detritus!

The sprawling pawn-shop and curio dealer is filled with odd artefacts, many of them quite inscrutable.  One shelf is entirely occupied by pickled cestoid larvae; another is filled with old books with Hellspeak characters along the spines.  An entire wall of the octagonal chamber is dedicated to swords of every type, make, and description, from the long, curved blades favoured by the swordsmen of Skein to Marainein scimitars of damascened steel to the wickedly serrated weapons of the lilix, and others less easily recognized: one sword is far too large to be wielded by human hands and seems to be made of black bone rather than metal.  There's a suit of lacquered armour and a pair of mechanical boots and an anatomical chart of a vivisected xsur, a three-eyed skull and a painting of a creature half-woman, half-crab, and a fist-sized bloodstone that mutters and pulses with queasy light.

The owner and shopkeeper of this mismatched collection is an enormously muscled ghul dressed in velvet finery.  His hair has been teased into a series of small spikes so that his huge, round head resembles a mace, and his arms are heavily tattooed.  He fixes everyone who enters the shop with an uncannily wide, sharp-toothed grin; his rather rambunctious, flamboyant exterior is moderated by a pair of delicate spectacles perched on his nose, such as a near-sighted gentleman might wear while delicately perusing a book of poetry.

* Tarim eyes the pulsating bloodstone with some interest.

* Gorethirst goes to examine the giant bone sword.

* Eareg Maar shakes his head and approaches the shopkeep

The shopkeep grins at Eareg and extends a massive, many-ringed hand.

* Kaius Alexander stands by the door, idly checking over his own equipment

"Name's Lorgiss.  Can I be of assistance?"

* Eareg Maar takes the proferred hand in a friendly grip

Eareg Maar - yes I have something that needs selling.

* Eareg Maar takes out the gauntlet gingerly.

The ghul's eyebrow goes up.

Eareg Maar - A vampiric gauntlet.

"Interesting piece you've got there.  Where'd you come by it?"

Eareg Maar - A friend of mine passed, it was willed to me but I have no use for it.

"I see.  How's it work?"

Meanwhile, the pulsing gemstone hisses at Tarim and mutters in Hellspeak. It sounds as if its cursing.

* Tarim scratches his chin idly.

Tarim - Looks like a bound devil or some other spirit...

*Fangs concurs.

Tarim - ...probably too much trouble to try and dominate it.

* Tarim turns back to observe Eareg

Eareg Maar - It drains a persons life-force upon contact, though it requires regular drainings so if it doesn't get one it drains it from the wearer.  Nasty little piece, but very powerful.

"A boon and a curse in one, eh?  What were you looking to get for it?"

Eareg Maar - Perhaps 2500 bones for such an exquisitely crafted and obviously eldritch gifted item.

 Lorgiss chuckles.  "Quite a price for something that'll drain you dry if you don't take care of it.  Remember, I have to sell this thing.  I have to make a profit.  I'll give you, let's say, seven hundred and fifty.  That way I still make something off it.  You have to see my side of the bargain, here."

Eareg Maar - Certainly, but such a price would be a disservice to my late friend, perhaps 1500.

"You drive a hard bargain.  One thousand bones, and I tell you what, I'll throw in something to trade."

Eareg Maar - What sort of something?

The huge sword Gorethirst inspects is carved with glyphs.  It looks to be made or ur-bone, like your manacles, Gorethirst.

* Gorethirst wanders over to Lorgiss.

* Kaius Alexander glances at the mechanical boots from across the room.

The boots are odd, to say the least.  They look almost like they once belonged to a full suit of armor or something similar, techno-eldritch in nature.

"How about a sword from the rack?  Anything but the big one there.  Or maybe a pair of warded gauntlets?  Or, here's something."  He pulls out a mummified hand from behind the counter.  "Very useful, used to belong to a master-thief; it'll pick locks for you if you give it the right command word."

Gorethirst - Why not the big one?

Eareg Maar - I assume you know that word.

* Kaius Alexander lifts his visor to get a better look

"Ha.  That's the blade of the giant warlord Magroth.  Wouldn't part for that for less than ten thousand.  "Plus it makes a nice display piece, attracts customers."

Gorethirst - Is it hexed?

"Aye.  It'll cut through armor like butter."

* Tarim examines the hand.

The hand has tattooed glyphs on its back.

* Eareg Maar examines the hand.

Its definitely got some kind of witchery on it; without the command word it'd be useless, though.

Lorgiss nods.  "I can give you a demonstration, if you hold on."

Eareg Maar - Certainly.

Tarim - It's certainly hexed. But whether it's as good at lockpicking as claimed, I can't tell.

He goes to fetch a small chest from under the counter.  The lock is some intricate thing of clockwork.  He also puts an array of thieves' tools on the counter in front of the hand.  He bends low and whispers some arcane syllable, and the severed hand twitches to life.  It intuitively seeks out the lockpicks, walking on its fingers and pulling itself forward.  Then, once it reaches the chest, it raises itself dextrously up and begins fiddling with the lock.  A moment later the lock clicks and the chest opens.

Eareg Maar - Very well... for the gauntlet a thousand bones, that thing... and the thieves tool.

* Eareg Maar grins with the last part

Lorgiss grins back.  "You drive a damn hard bargain, my fellow wormy!  It's a deal."

Tarim - Which one of us gets the hand then?

* Eareg Maar places the gauntlet on the counter.

* Eareg Maar picks up the hand (the Burglar's Paw) and the tools

Eareg Maar - I'll take it for now, and you all can split the bones amongst you.

Tarim - Alright.

Lorgiss tells you the command word, - the Hextongue word for "finagle," in the imperative mood.

* Gorethirst blinks slowly.

Gorethirst - Do you have anything else made of black bone?

"Anything else made of ur-bone... hmm.  Got an amulet carved out of the stuff off a scavenger from Skein.  Its got some sort of mild protective ward on it."

Gorethirst - Ah just a trinket then. Nevermind.

* Gorethirst waves Lorgiss away.

* Gorethirst leaves the store to make sure Corpsegobble hasn't somehow managed to eat the corpse strapped to its back.

*Corpsegobble, having recently fed, is quite content.

* Tarim pockets his share of the obeloi and leaves the pawn shop.

* Eareg Maar nods to the shopkeep

Eareg Maar - Good dealing with you.

"And you.  Think of me if you pick anything else like that up."

Eareg Maar - I will.

* Eareg Maar heads out after Gorethirst.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on July 30, 2010, 01:43:08 AM

The Elders

Kaius Alexander - It is time to deliver the corpse to the birds.

Eareg Maar - Well hopefully selling that won't little trinket won't give me away.

Tarim - We should go and present the Jatayi elders with their delicious gift. Unless you have something urgent to do first?

Eareg Maar - Indeed.

Tarim - Let us get going then.

As you're leaving the Bazaars a voice whispers to you from out of the shadows of an awning.  A tall, statuesque woman sits in the shade of the awning; from her scalp writhes a nest of black serpents, hissing and coiling around one another: she is a gorgon.  However, instead of a pair of black, madness-inducing eyes, a pair of empty sockets sightlessly regard you.  She beckons to you.

"Tell your fortune, good sires?"  She half-whispers from the darkness.

Somehow, despite the quietness of her voice, all of you hear her clearly.

* Kaius Alexander raises his visor and squints at the woman.

* Gorethirst approaches her.

Tarim - How do you do your fortune-telling? And what does it cost?

"I use the sacred tarot.  Only five obeloi for a fortune."

* Gorethirst drops five obeloi into her hands.

* Tarim looks a bit suspicious.

She seats herself and invites the leechkin to do the same.

* Gorethirst sits down.

"Past," the gorgon intones.  King Maggot is dealt: a monstrous worm feasting on a rotting cadaver.  The eyeless gorgon fingers small dots on the card's corner.

* Tarim observes keenly, trying to determine whether she's a charlatan or a genuine witch.

"Out of death comes new life.  The past is but an empty husk, a sloughed-off skin.  Peel away the decaying flesh and see the pink new skin beneath, but be cautious, for new skin, however unblemished, is painful to the touch."

She turns over another card.  "Present," she says.  The Beast is dealt: a hideous, monstrous figure with burning eyes and a fanged, slavering maw, with a crown of glistening horns.  "Indulge your present desires: who knows what the future will bring?  The world is old; the sun ails; any day it may be extinguished completely.  He who thinks only of days to come will squander what time he has."

She turns over a third card - The Nightmare, an amorphous mass of eyes and swirling shadows in which vague appendages can be glimpsed.  "Future," she says.  "The future can be terrifying, but even the most nebulous of dreams can encode glimpses of things to come.  Sift through these visions with care and you will reap rich rewards."  She bows her head.  The serpents hiss.

Kaius Alexander - Curious.

* Gorethirst blinks slowly.

* Gorethirst stands up and moves out of the way.

* Kaius Alexander hands her five obeloi.

After shuffling the deck, she turns over a card, again feeling at the corners for the raised dots.  "Past."  The card is the Witch: an androgynous figure in occultist's robes, with a grimoire spread beneath its long-fingered hands.  "You must keep the teachings and knowledge obtained in your past close at hand.  Look to the wisdom of bygone years for present strength, but beware obsession."

"Present, " she says, dealing a second card.  It is the Skull - a morbid, yellowed thing with grinning teeth.  "You stand upon the brink of life and death, or perhaps, life-in-death; on the one hand lies desolation, on the other, great fortune.  Without great risk there can be no reward."

The third card is turned.  "Future," she whispers.  The card is the Spider: bloated, swollen, and hideous, with many red eyes and slavering mandibles.  "Beware the schemes and plots of others: do not be caught up in their webs of deceit.  Be ever watchful against betrayal."

She shuffles the cards carefully.

* Kaius Alexander takes off his helmet and looks at the gorgon, then stands up.

She bows.  The snakes hiss gently.

Tarim - Though you charge little, I am not convinced.

* Eareg Maar chuckles.

"That is for you to decide, ghul.  I can offer but a glimpse into what was, is, or may be.  I see your shadow despite my missing eyes, and it is the shadow of a god, or a demon - I cannot see which, yet."

* Eareg Maar looks at Tarim.

Eareg Maar - Must be a really ugly one.

* Kaius Alexander reseats his helmet forcefully

Tarim - I shall have to keep an eye on my shadow, then.  Just in case.

* Tarim grins.

* Gorethirst mounts Corpsegobble.

Gorethirst - Farewell, fortune teller.

You head back through Hexwarren to the Witch's Gate and the shanty beyond.  The Watchdog is now awake and bays at the rising moon.

As you head to the camp you pass the shrine, which is attached to the small cemetery here.  A group of white-clad sisters from the Order of the Weeping Lady - the stern-faced nuns who officiate at the nearby shrine - seem to have become involved in an altercation with several jatayi.  The clergywomen are angrily yelling at the birdfolk and throwing stones to keep them away.  One, in a fit of rage, hurls a stinging hex at one of the fablers, who shrieks and limps away with an ugly bruise on his chest.  With this the rest disperse, flapping into the air or running along the ground, while the Sisters continue to rave at them.

Tarim - Hmm.  I wonder if they were trying to obtain food?

Kaius Alexander - Possible. Corpse-eaters.

Tarim - They must be desperate then, to risk such an open attack

"Indeed," one of the nuns mutters, a severe woman with iron grey hair and three teardrops tattooed on each cheek, having overheard your comment.  "We've got a corpse inside, awaiting burial.  The smell must've attracted them.  It's not the first time.  Fresh corpses have been going missing, the graves dug up and defiled.  We suspect the vultures, of course."

Suddenly, she eyes the group, considering.  "Say, would you be looking for any extra work?  Only for a night - tonight, in fact."

Kaius Alexander - What would you have us do?

"There's a ceremony at midnight tonight that will require all the Sisters, while we hold a vigil over the body within.  We could use someone to help guard the cemetery while we pray, to deter those carrion-feeders, perhaps catch them red-handed.  You would be handsomely rewarded for your efforts."

Kaius Alexander - I am not opposed to this offer.

* Kaius Alexander looks at the others.

Eareg Maar - I would be willing to help

Gorethirst - We have business at the moment.

Tarim - *whispering to the others* This might cause problems. We're supposed to try diplomacy with the jatayi first, right?

Gorethirst - If we have returned in time I will help.

Tarim - Better not antagonise the birds right before talking to them

* Kaius Alexander looks at the moon.

Kaius Alexander - I do not see that our business would keep us that long. I doubt it will need immediate tending.  If the jatayi would be offended by our defence of this shrine, that is not our problem.

* Gorethirst wheels Corpsegobble in a circle.

Gorethirst - Let us deal with the bird-men before we do anything else. Or shall we begin taking jobs before we finish our previous ones?

Tarim - I agree with the leechkin.

"Come to the shrine before midnight if you're inclined.  I have work to do."  She re-enters the shrine.

Kaius Alexander - The camp is right over there. I am not saying we stand around for five hours.

Eareg Maar - Well then why are we standing around.

* Eareg Maar heads for the camp.

* Tarim heads along.

* Gorethirst follows Eareg.

You enter the jatayi camp.  As the evening darkens, the crowds only thicken.  You approach the tent of the elders: a powerfully muscled jatayi male and a sinewy, fierce-looking female guard the entrance.  The tent itself is a large pavilion of stretched hide and bones.

* Gorethirst unwraps Lucretius's corpse.

The guards eye you warily.

Eareg Maar - A gift for the elders.  We wish an audience.

Tarim - We have come to meet the elders. We bring a gift as a token of our goodwill.

"The body must be divided into four quarters."

* Gorethirst breaks out its greataxe and begins chopping.

You make short work of the corpse.  The results are less than pretty, but the jatayi nod sagely and gesture that you enter with your dripping sacrifice.

* Eareg Maar picks up the upper left torso

* Tarim picks up the right leg and what ever's attached.

* Gorethirst grabs a piece by a leg and goes to enter the tent.

* Eareg Maar heads in.

* Kaius Alexander hefts the last one and enters the tent.

Four aged jatayi with iron-grey wings folded behind them sit cross-legged in this tent, sipping from steaming cups.  They watch you with the eyes of birds, wide and inscrutable.

* Eareg Maar respectfully places his section on the floor in front of them.

* Tarim adds another next to it.

"Your gifts are accepted, sampathi.  Will you share this meat with us?"

* Kaius Alexander raises his visor.

Kaius Alexander - It would be unhealthful for me to do so, but I cannot speak for the others.

* Gorethirst shakes its head.

Gorethirst - The diet you eat is not for my kind.

The jatayi nod at the leechkin and Kaius.  "Your ways are not our ways; this we accept.  Still, your gift is well given."

* Eareg Maar smiles.

Tarim - Though I am not particularly hungry, I would not mind a small piece.  'Tis always a pleasant to eat in good company.

Eareg Maar - In this case, yes I would be honored to share this meat with you.

One of them pours the same steaming liquid from a pot into four empty cups.  These are placed before you; there is no indication that you must drink, though you may if you wish.

* Eareg Maar accepts the drink sipping it.  It seems to be marrow-tea, hot and soothing, but rejuvenating as well.

* Kaius Alexander takes a small sip.

* Tarim looks at Eareg and Kaius, then tastes the tea himself.

"Why have you come before us, land-bound?"  The jatayi speaking is a bent crone, long-haired and covered in warts, half-blind, her eyes milky white.

Gorethirst - Why has you stayed outside the city for so long?

"Normally by this season we have moved on, it is true," another elder says - the youngest of the four, a male.  "Traditionally, we travel from this city to one our eyries, Shan-Szut, which lies a week to the north and west, as the vulture flies.  But as we prepared for the journey to Shan-Szut this year, our scouts brought back an evil report: the caves have been overtaken by a band of men, bandits in service of the warlord called Herruku the Flagellator.  Our oaths prevent us from harming any living creature, save in defence of our lives: we cannot drive the sampathi from Shan-Szut by force.  Thus we are condemned to wait here, until the brigands leave or we find some other place to stop along our journey."

Kaius Alexander - How many men did your scouts report?

"They did not know the full numbers," the younger male continues.   "But at least ten were seen from the air.  The men shot at the scouts with guns and bows, driving them away."

Gorethirst - Do you not have an intermediate camp between here and Shan-Szut?

The old crone speaks again.  "We can camp along the way, but without a place to stay or sampathi to beg from, how are we to survive?  Our scouts continue to search for a new eyrie, but for now, they are unsuccessful.  Already we have lost five to wild beasts."

Eareg Maar - If someone were to rid you of this problem though, you could continue on yes?

The younger male speaks again.  "If some being other than a jatayi was to cast the humans out of Shan-Szut, we could indeed move on from Macellaria'¦"

Eareg Maar - Well I've been cramped up in here for too long.  I'll do it, though I cannot speak for the others here.

Tarim - What brought these bandits to the eyrie? Is it close to caravan routes?

Eareg Maar - I'm familiar with the wastes.

"We do not know their ways," says a third elder.  "Perhaps they seek to turn it into a fortress, from which to launch their raids."

Kaius Alexander - Even if there are only a few score, that is still a formidable number. In the depths of the caves that they have grown to know, they would be hard to root out. Still... doable.   I will accompany you, Eareg.

Tarim - They must have some source of food and water, in any case.

Gorethirst - You cannot fight for your home?

"We cannot fight save in defence of our lives," the fourth elder speaks.  "The Balance forbids it.  Too many have been lost in battle.  Our numbers thin."

* Gorethirst shakes its head.

Kaius Alexander - Will you not join us, leech? I thought you lived for battle.

Gorethirst - You folk are no better than my kin, depending on others to save them.  I will aid my companions however.

The old crone's feathers rise, but the younger male calms and quiets her.

Tarim - We could certainly use even more aid, if we're to attempt something so dangerous

* Eareg Maar glances sideways at Gorethirst.

Eareg Maar - If you think that you have some learning yet to do, leech.

"Your aid is greatly appreciated in this matter," the younger male says.  "Our laws are ancient, and have protected us in a savage world.  Yet, sometimes they can fetter us."

"You speak blasphemy, Jullthar!"  The old crone shrieks.

"I speak the truth, Shaalba.  That is all."

Eareg Maar - Regardless of the reasons, I will help.

Tarim - There might be better ways to deal with the bandits than a foolhardy assault. We should learn everything we can about the place.

* Eareg Maar nods to Tarim.

Eareg Maar - perhaps, we'll see when we get there.

"So, you are agreed?"  The last elder speaks.  "You will cleanse Shan-Szut of squatters for us?"

Tarim - Tarim - We cannot promise anything. Even if we try it, success is anything but guaranteed.  Do you have maps of your eyrie?

Eareg Maar - Perhaps you would be willing to supply us with a few things for the journey.

"In this, we can offer but meagre assistance.  We have no maps, for our memories are flawless beyond the ken of sampathi.  We can provide a guide, however."

Gorethirst - Could you not continue on the migration backwards, returning to the previous stop?

"That is not our way.  The townsfolk and city-dwellers of Lophius and Marainein and even the dark city of Erebh have heard our tales but months ago.  We would find no welcome there..."

Kaius Alexander - Bandit filth won't be able to stop us. There is no need for hesitation. We will cleanse the eyrie.

* Tarim glares at Kaius.

Eareg Maar - And no need for hesitation or more banter.  Yes, I at least will do this task for you.

"I admire your courage, sampath," Jullthar says.

Gorethirst - I believe the welcome in Macellaria is wearing thin.

Eareg Maar - All the more reason to get going, leech

"My own daughter, Hoona, shall be your guide" Jullthar says.  "Go with our blessing."

Tarim - Careful planning is what we need.

Eareg Maar - Indeed.

* Eareg Maar gestures respectfully.

Gorethirst - If you truly wish to aid us, decamp and head towards Shan-Szut slowly. We will have dealt with it by the time you arrive.

"We must discuss this further," Jullthar begins, but the old crone, Shaalba, shrieks at the leechkin.


* Gorethirst leaves the tent shaking its head.

As you leave, the crone whispers some dark phrase.  Gorethirst, you feel some malign presence brush against your mind, but you shrug it off.

Tarim - Forgive its words. It tends to speak before it thinks, and knows little of your people.

* Gorethirst turns around at the entrance of the tent.

Jullthar has quieted the crone again.  "It is we who should beg your apology.  Shaalba has breached the guest-right."

Gorethirst - At least my kin thank those who aid them.

* Gorethirst leaves the tent with a rude gesture.

"You have my thanks at least, sampathi," Jullthar declares to the group.  "And my apologies."

* Eareg Maar shakes his head.

Kaius Alexander - We will return to you when your eyrie has been freed.

* Eareg Maar gets up and leaves the tent

* Kaius Alexander inclines his head slightly and leaves

"We anticipate your return."

Tarim - We might need to try and get more people to help us. Especially if the leechkin is unwilling to.  For now, farewell to you.

* Tarim exits the tent.

Kaius Alexander - Mercenaries are unnecessary. I believe we possess considerable ability between us.

Eareg Maar - Indeed, and more people would only attract attention.

* Gorethirst mounts Corpsegobble.

Gorethirst - Let us aid the priests.  Spilling blood tonight will be a good omen for our journey.

Tarim - *to Gorethirst* Don't mind the words of an old crone

Gorethirst - These people are like my kin. However at least my brethren embrace being a parasite. Unlike these others who think themselves greater.

* Eareg Maar casually pops Gorethirst on the back of the head with the palm of his hand as he walks past.

Eareg Maar - While that was amusing, could you not do that next time, leech?

* Eareg Maar grins joke-mockingly.

Kaius Alexander - Sebastian has paid us to move them along. Their social tendencies are irrelevant.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on July 30, 2010, 02:46:35 AM

Blood in the Moonlight

* Kaius Alexander heads towards the shrine.

The shrine is dedicated to the deity known as the Weeping Lady, goddess of sorrow and mourning.  Several Lamenters of the Mourning Flock attend the shrine, grey and white robed women with tattooed faces and jewellery like crystalline tears.  The shrine is attached to the cemetery; the Sisters appear to be its caretakers.

Gorethirst - I feel it is a good thing that in the pits diplomacy takes the form of a sharp weapon.

Tarim - It must make things much easier, I guess.  As long as you're good with the weapon, of course.

Eareg Maar - Well, no concerns there, though it seems less skilled with its mouth unless using it to flay an enemy alive.

Tarim - Its skills might very well be just what we need if we're going to attack those bandits.

Eareg Maar - Certainly, but I jest.  I do not dislike the jatayi, but the look on that old crones face was very satisfying.

The priestess who met you before comes to the door of the shrine.  "Back so soon?"

Kaius Alexander - Yes, Sister. Our business did not take so long.

Tarim - We have dealt with our business.

Kaius Alexander - We have decided to accept your offer.

"Very good.  I am Sister Merris, incidentally.  This way, please."

* Kaius Alexander follows her.

She leads you into the shrine.  Lamenters kneel at the body of a young woman lain out on a slab.  Candles light the shrine, giving it a soft glow.

"The bloody corpse-eaters have stolen four bodies already," Sister Merris says.

Kaius Alexander - And you are certain it is solely the work of the Jatayi?

"Who else?"  She says.  "Though I must admit, none of the other thefts have been witnessed: we suspect the corpse-eaters flew away with their prizes after defiling the beds of the dead."

Tarim - Warding off those bird-men should not be too difficult for us. So long as there are no other disturbances.

Gorethirst - Let the bird-men come. I will be waiting.

"Our vigil will last for four hours.  You will each be paid fifty obeloi for this task - a more than generous reward, I think you'll agree."

Tarim - Your proposed reward is acceptable.

"Acceptable?"  She snorts good-naturedly.  "That's a queen's ransom, greyface!"  She seems bemused.

* Tarim looks about to say something, but decides not to.

Kaius Alexander - Do you have any specific instructions for the security of the cemetery? Or is our only task to ensure the safety of the buried?

"I will show you to the newer graves.  The older ones you need not worry yourselves over, since there is naught but old bones there."  She looks Kaius up and down.  "You have a striking look about you, sir.  Are you, by chance, of the City of Sleepwalkers?"

Kaius Alexander - I am.  Though I have not seen it for many years.

"I have longed to gaze upon the corpse-farms, to visit the Nurseries and speak with the Grey Matrons.  My fellow Lamenters consider such desires perverse, of course - some have even said sacrilegious - but I confess a fascination with the Lords and Ladies Revenant.  Anyway; enough chit-chat.  Let me show you to your posts."

Kaius Alexander - They are a curious group. Though I have lived among them for the majority of my life, they will always surprise you.

The cemetery is small but well-tended - rows of rude headstones and wooden grave-markers planted neatly in the desiccated earth.  A few more ostentatious tombs loom near the rear, though some of these have grown dilapidated, deformed by time and weather, despite the efforts of the caretakers.  Since most citizens of the Maggot City commonly either sell or actually cannibalize dead relatives rather than burying them, the cemetery is quite small for a city of Macellaria's size.

* Eareg Maar looks about for a good vantage point to setup in with concealment, noting several tombs and mounds.

Sister Merris shows you to three of the freshly interred dead.

"These bodies have just been committed to the Lady's care," she says, gesturing.

* Eareg Maar nods to the group and heads off to find a place to hide, loading a fester-shell into his weapons chamber.  There is a click as his boney fingers slide the sickly green round into the weapons barrel.

* Tarim stops to work his witchcraft, casting Harden the Skin upon himself. Then he approaches Gorethirst.

Tarim - This harmless hex will protect you.

* Tarim repeats the spell on the leechkin.

Gorethirst - You have my thanks, Tarim.

Kaius Alexander - We shall ensure the safety of the departed, Sister.  They will not get away with it on this night.

"Thank you, sir.  We will commence our vigil soon."

* Kaius Alexander salutes with hand to heart.

Sister Merris smiles enigmatically and curtseys at the Insomnolent.

* Tarim looks around the place

Tarim - It might be best that we prepare for attacks not only airborne but... from other directions as well.

* Eareg Maar will stay awake but concealed so any enemy doesn't see him hopefully.

* Kaius Alexander checks the rounds in his revolver and spins the chamber.

* Tarim places himself in a suitable safe spot... away from the graves.

* Kaius Alexander patrols in plain sight among the graves.

* Gorethirst impatiently paces, leaving Corpsegobble at the Melting Candle for an obelus.

Time passes; the night thickens.  You can hear the howl of wild dogs, the cackle of hyenas.  Bats wheel overhead; mist rolls in; the revelry of the jatayi camp grows louder for a time, then falls quiet.

* Kaius Alexander inspects the blade of his sword.

* Tarim is startled, looking at the graves, having seen six spindly, many-limbed figures creeping between the headstones.  They appear to be servitors, to his eyes - reanimated servants created by fleshcrafters, vaguely kin to zombies, their flesh is etched with glyphs, their limbs are grafted with crude weapons - and, bizarrely, with shovel-blades.

* Tarim points his hand at them, hoping to alert the others without makign a noise

* Kaius Alexander looks over at Tarim, cocking his head to the side.

* Eareg_Maar, seeing Tarim point, looks to where he is pointing, having heard something in that direction.  He sights Meteor in that direction.

Gorethirst, you smell something with your Bloodscent - fermeldahyde.

Kaius Alexander - What is it, Tarim?

Tarim - Walking corpses!  Hexed with some glyphs, and grafted.  There, between the headstones.

Kaius Alexander - What!?

Gorethirst - Something smells.  It is not a living creature, I do not think the bird-men are approaching.

Six shambolic figures stalk out of the darkness and into the moonlight, staring at the gruop with unblinking, worm-eaten eyes.

They are many-limbed, glyph-etched horrors, naked but for the glyphs on their flesh.  Several have grafted weapons - and, strangely, shovel-blades - sewn to their arms in place of hands.

Kaius: these are kin to zombies, but animated by different means.

* Eareg Maar sizes up the nearest one with his weapon.

Tarim - Not ordinary zombies, these.

Kaius Alexander - Abominations. No doubt intent on returning to their master with more materials. We must dispatch them quickly.

They are silent and stealthy as they approach, weapons gleaming.

Gorethirst - I had hoped the Jatayi would have tried something.

* Tarim begins waving his taloned hands and mumbling in hextongue. As his spell unleashes, the sound of innumerable tiny running claws echoes though the cemetery.  The rats chitter and swarm over the servitors, gnawing at their dead flesh.

* Eareg Maar has switched for a regular round.  A fiery light springs to life, throwing long shadows as the crack of a gunshot resounds among the graves.  S trail of fire zips through the darkness, slamming into one of the shambling husks.

One of the servitors is alight from Eareg's bullet.  It ignores the flames and continues its approach.  The smell of roasting flesh fills the air.

*Gorethirst  moves forward with his axe drawn and severs the nearest servitor's head.  However, this does little to deter it...

*Tossing his shield aside, Kaius Alexander catapults himself off a headstone and brings down his blade!  His blow cleaves the monstrosity's flesh and it swivels towards you, showing no sign of pain.  It slashes at him with a bladed limb, catching him at a joint in his armour.

The flaming servitor approaches Tarim.  Another heads for Gorethirst.  Two turn and head towards Eareg, scuttling up over the graves'¦

* Tarim backs off a couple of steps and works up another hex. Hissing black fluid drips from his hands as he lets loose a Corrosive Lash at the approaching servitor.  The hex sizzles as it melts the creature's flesh.

*A blast of searing heat leaps from the barrel of meteor and for an instant you swear you see a demonic visage twist and turn in the blazing trail as the shot flies towards Eareg Maar's original target, but the servitor darts to one side with startling speed, and the shot hits the dirt in a brimstone puff.

*Gorethirst's axe swings, but the servitor parries with its own blade.

*Kaius Alexander hews off one of the servitor's limbs.  It does not bleed, nor murmur in pain.

Two servitors' weapons variously slice, stab, and bludgeon Gorethirst.  Another slices at Tarim with the knives in place of its hands.

You are in the midst of Macellaria's cemetery, having been attacked by surprisingly sneaky servitor bodysnatchers who stole up on you with hexed stealth.  One, afire from a bullet of Eareg Maar's, flails and swipes at Tarim, the ghul witch, before collapsing in a charnel heap.  Two more of the sigil-scribed abominations flank the leechkin pit-fighter Gorethirst, ganging up on the blood-drinker, while a third is locked in combat with Kaius Alexander, clashing blades.  Yet two more of the horrors are shambling towards Eareg Maar, having recognized the threat the skilful sniper poses.

The rat swarm summoned by Tarim still besets the servitors, however.  Savaged by their razor teeth, the two servitors heading towards Eareg Maar pause to deal with the swarm, giving the gunman a few precious moments'¦

* Tarim , seeing the abomination collapse before him, turns to look at the servitors heading for Eareg. He chants and gestures frantically.

* Tarim finishes the hex Necropain, designed to put the hurt on the grave-spawn.  The Necropain hex disrupts the servitor's cathexis, and it falters momentarily, stung by the spell.

* Eareg Maar calmly works the bolt on his rifle, a shell casing spinning away to clink against the crumbling side of a nearby headstone

* Eareg Maar sites up the zombie that Tarim just harmed steadily (+2 aim tokens) and a flaming projectile screams from the barrel of his rifle, riding a wave of fire.  The servitor is hit by the flaming bullet and the embalming fluids that preserve it catch alight.

*Gorethirst hews the decapitated servitor with its axe, destroying the zombic horror.

*Kaius attacks his own servitor.  It tries to parry but his blow but he catches it on the chest.  His armour protects him against the servitor's counterattacks.

*The rats are butchered by the servitors.

* Tarim backs off and, seeing his leechkin comrade in trouble, turns his attention to the monstrosities assaulting him. He picks the one that looks to be *least* harmed so far and attempts to hex it with a Ray of Enfeeblement.  The hex goes wide, striking a headstone.

* Eareg Maar moves back 15 feet.

* Eareg Maar sizes up the one he shot.

*Gorethirst hefts its enormous axe.  Its blade gleams in the moonlight, wet with the other servtior's dark fluids.  With a vicious overhead swipe it brings the blade down, shearing off two of the servitor's limbs.  It grunts in pain s the servitor stabs at it with a remaining knife-arm.

*Kaius Alexander hacks off another of the servitor's limbs, then parries its counterattack.  

The flaming servitor continues towards Eareg, stopping a few feet a way from him.

* Tarim backs a further 5 ft and lobs a Hellfire bomb at the servitor that's approaching Eareg.  Unfortunately, the bomb comes just short of singing Eareg!

* Eareg Maar turns lowers his weapon and flips the bolt ejecting a casing with a click, as a fresh round slides into place.

Eareg Maar - Not today, grave-spawn!

* Eareg Maar aims down the barrel straight into the eye of the shambling horror (+1 aim token) and the rifle erupts with a demonic roar as the screaming missile crosses the distance between them in the blink of an eye.  The servitor's head explodes like a rotten piece of fruit.  Shocked by the blow, it topples to the ground, limbs thrashing, trying to claw its way towards Eareg.

* Gorethirst reduces the servitor it was fighting to a limbless torso that stares up at the leechkin with blank, dead eyes.

*Kaius Alexander runs a servitor through and wrenches his blade upwards, extinguishing its wretched un-life.  The remaining servitor draws up to him.  Its mace and blade clang off his helmet harmlessly.

* Kaius Alexander shakes his head vigorously, deafened by the resounding clangs of the blows.

The servitor on the ground is trying to crawl towards Eareg, but its progress is wretched.

* Tarim glances around quickly to ascertain that there aren't more shambling horrors around. He then takes careful aim and throws a flesh-melter at the one fighting Kaius, but again his attack goes wide.  The ghul is having an unlucky night!

* Eareg Maar takes a 5 foot step backwards and ignoring the corpse nearby, draws a bead on the one fighting with Kaius.

* Eareg Maar lets fly a flaming bullet that streaks towards the abomination on a fiery trail.  The bullet sets the servitor alight.  The servitor at Eareg Maar's feet almost looks like it'll manage to stand up, but the flames consume it.

*Gorethirst moves in.  He hacks off one of a servitor's flaming limbs.

*Kaius Alexander dispatches the last servitor with something approaching contempt, almost casually flicking his blade towards it, disengaging beneath its blade-arms, and bringing it down with a slash to the chest.

* Tarim still stands alert for a few moments after all the servitors are down. Seeing no further danger present, he relaxes a bit and spits on the nearest carcass.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on August 02, 2010, 03:11:54 PM


Sister Merris emerges from the shrine of the Weeping Lady.  "What in the name of the Lady...?"

* Eareg Maar cocks the bolt on his rifle and a white hot casing lands on the ground, sizzling away at a patch of dry grass.

Kaius Alexander - Sister. It seems the Jatayi were not responsible.

She cocks an eyebrow and looks at Kaius.  "You think?"

* Shouldering the rifle Eareg casually walks towards Sister Merris.

Kaius Alexander - We were assaulted by these abominations while standing guard. It is my suspicion that they intended to abscond with more corpses to bolster their numbers.

Tarim - These many-armed things certainly don't look like dead birdmen, do they?

Sister Merris' look of sarcastic bemusement is replaced with one of deep concern.

"This must stop.  We cannot allow the dead to be stolen from the Lady's bosom so!"  She fumes.  "Perhaps - perhaps you would assist us?  Find out who has sent these abominations and put a stop to their sacrilege?"

Tarim - Who ever animated these ones must be quite formidable. Not to be confronted leisurely.

Kaius Alexander - Though I cannot speak for my colleagues, I would be willing to assist you in this matter.

Eareg Maar - gladly but I don't work for free, especially not against someone who can send something.

* Eareg Maar points at the corpses.

Eareg Maar - Like that.

Sister Merris turns to Eareg.  "We can reward you as best we can, given our means.  If we scour the shrine's coffers we could provide a hundred obeloi for each of you.  In addition, there is an old charm lying in the basement, gathering dust: we have a surfeit of such relics.  It is a warded collar ensorcelled in such a way that when fastened round the neck of a corpse, conversation with the dead is possible.  If you were to put a stop to the snatchings, this object would be yours."

* Eareg Maar looks at the others.

Tarim - Sounds quite useful indeed.

Tarim - In any case, I am in no shape to seek further fights tonight

Eareg Maar - Aye, and our fellow leech here could certainly use some rest and recuperation

* Eareg Maar gestures to the battered pit fighter.

Gorethirst - Indeed.

*Gorethirst pants, blinking his six eyes and idly examining its terrible wounds.

Eareg Maar - What the hell, sure I'm up for it.

Kaius Alexander - Sister, for myself I will ask no reward. These beasts trouble me, and I would gladly end the threat they pose.

"I doubt they will attempt another robbery for a few nights at least, whoever this madman is," Sister Merris says.  "Your chivalry is greatly appreciated, sir."

* Kaius Alexander raises his visor and bends down to inspect a corpse, looking for identifying markings.

The bodies are covered in glyphs.  Someone with knowledge of the arcane would be needed to decipher them'¦

* Tarim kneels beside Kaius, also examining them.

Kaius Alexander - Tarim. What do you make of these?

* Eareg Maar heads over to the corpses, looking over Tarim's shoulder.

* Eareg Maar scratches his head

Eareg Maar - I don't make much of this, what about you, witch?

Tarim - Necromantix hexing symbols. For raising the cadavers.  Hmm, what do we have here though...

*Tarim points to a twelve-pointed star symbol over the servitor's heart.

* Eareg Maar bends down closer.

Eareg Maar - A signature?

Tarim - Perhaps something to link them with their master?

Kaius Alexander - Curious.

* Eareg Maar pulls out a piece of parchment and a charcoal pencil and copies the symbol.

* Tarim pull out a dagger and cuts a sample specimen off the corpse.

Gorethirst - Mr. Carver introduced me to a fleshcrafter recently.  Perhaps he would know to whom this signature belongs?

Eareg Maar - Goodd idea, leech.

* Eareg Maar finishes up and folds the parchment up, placing it in his backpack.

Gorethirst - I will lead you to the man's workshop, in the Hexwarren.  Then, companions, I fear I must leave you and rest - the battle seems to have taken its toll.

Tarim - Would this fleshcrafter be any good in treating injuries?

* Eareg Maar gestures and a ragged owl swoops down and perches on his shoulder.

Gorethirst - Possibly so, but his rates would be exorbitant.  I will be fine.

* Kaius Alexander nods at the leech.

Sister Merris returns in a moment from the shrine with a smal chest of coins.  She counts out fifty obeloi to you each.

* Tarim nods thankfully

"A poor reward for so difficult a battle," she comments.  "I am afraid it is all we can afford to pay you."

* Eareg Maar takes his share.

* Kaius Alexander accepts the coins with a salute.

She glances at the bodies again.  "Perhaps... well, I do not know if this is of any help," she begins.  "The bodies that were taken... all were young women.  Is that significant, do you think?"

Tarim - They were?

She nods.  "I had not thought it important before, but of course I suspected the carrion-eaters."

Tarim - That is certainly interesting.  There must be more to this than amassing bodies to reanimate like these ones we just slew

Kaius Alexander - ooc: Were the servitors we faced obviously assembled from either men or women?

A random assortment of parts; rather sexless, in general.  They certainly weren't all-female, though.

"Is there anything else I can do to be of assistance?"

Kaius Alexander - I do not believe so, Sister. Your aid has been more than enough. We shall return when the situation has been resolved.

"You have my thanks, sir, and the gratitude of the Order of the Weeping Lady."

* Kaius Alexander inclines his head.

Eareg Maar - Well I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm hungry.

Tarim - I am too. Being almost clawed to pieces by a hexed zombie really raises the appetite.

* Tarim grins.

Kaius Alexander - I do not feel as such. My metabolism is slowed. Though perhaps I should eat, regardless.

* Eareg Maar heads off for where he thinks there's a ghul tavern nearby.

Eareg and Tarim make for a place called The Blood of Saints in the Hexwarren.

Tarim - I hope they serve reptilian flesh here. I am in the mood some some.

Kaius Alexander - Hmm. I shall have to find sustenance elsewhere, I apologize.

* Kaius Alexander leaves his companions.

* Gorethirst follows Tarim and Eareg.  It is still quite bloated from the meal earlier - Lucretius.  On the way it picks up Corpsegobble from The Melting Candle.

* Eareg Maar points towards the nearby ghul bar.

Eareg Maar - meet us there later.

* Kaius Alexander nods as he leaves.

Eareg Maar - Then our good leech can show us the way to the fleshcrafter.

* Gorethirst takes you down a maze of streets in the Hexwarren.  Eventually you arrive at a tissue shop called "The Emporium of Metamorphoses."

Gorethirst - The fleshcrafter dwells within.  Good luck to you;  I shall rejoin you later.

* Eareg Maar nods to Gorethirst.

Tarim - Farewell.

Eareg Maar - Get some rest, you look uglier than normal

*Gorethirst stalks away, towards a manhole entrance.

* Eareg Maar grins.

* Eareg Maar gestures to the shop.

Eareg Maar - Was just gonna get some food but might as well check this out first.

* Eareg Maar walks in.

Tarim - Agreed.

Inside, the walls are covered in parchment displaying sigils and glyphs.  Glass cases display grafts like macabre jewellery.

* Kaius Alexander wanders through the streets, searching for a location that agrees with his palette.

* Walking up to the counter Eareg Maar casually pulls the parchment out of his backpack as he waves to the store keeper.

A thin, effeminate man in a pale, patchwork coat (probably of manskin-leather) minces towards you.  "What's this you have here?"  He asks, his voice high-pitched and trilling.

* Eareg Maar unfolds the paper.

Eareg Maar - It's a mark we're curious about.  Is it familiar to you?

* Eareg Maar hands him the copy of the symbol.

"Indeed it is... I wonder where you came by it?"

Eareg Maar - We just stopped some grave-spawn grave-robbers - servitors with that mark on their heart.

Tarim - Discovered it on the corpse of a an animated servitor.  Assembled from many parts - you know the type, I'm sure.

"It's the signature of a certain fleshcrafter who works here in the Hexwarren.  A hack, if you ask me - no artistry to him at all."

Tarim - Does he put that signature on all his wares?

"Indeed. Awfully tacky, isn't it?  Ostentatious."

Eareg Maar - Certainly.

"Are you attempting to, ah, prevent his little pets from further depredations, hmm?"

Eareg Maar - Why do you ask?

"Idle curiosity, my dear fellow; frankly, Immanuel needs a lesson."

Tarim - You say that he's not artistic. Does he base his business on sheer quantity then?

Eareg Maar - You could say we wish to make sure that no more corpses start walking unaccounted for.

"He's been in the pocket of the Fleshmongers for some time now.  Private commissions for them.  I don't know why they'd want him; he's so... loud.  Garish, you know.  A show-off."

Eareg Maar - Hmm, Immanuel? What shop does he work out of.

"Starborn?  You'll find his little slaughterhouse near the Fane of Dust. 'The Flesh is Willing,' its called.  Pretentious little bastard."  He giggles.

Eareg Maar - I can see.  Well thank you for the information.

He eyes you both.  "You're welcome."

Tarim - It was a pleasure to meet you

"Incidentally, those are lovely glyphs the two of you are sporting."

* Eareg Maar looks down at his tattoos.

Eareg Maar - You like em eh?  Took me bloody long to do them all.

"They're rough, but they've got, I don't know, a certain rawness to them!  They show true potential."

Tarim - Potential is the purpose of their being.

"And yours!"  He moves to Tarim and traces one of the glyphs with a long-nailed finger.  "Gorgeous!"  He snatches his hand away with faux-bashfulness.  "Would either of you care to add to your collections?"

Eareg Maar - I might be.

"Indeed?  Care to have a look at my wares?"

* Eareg Maar nods.

Tarim - Show us what you can offer.

* Eareg Maar points to one of the glyphs on the wall

Eareg Maar - A simple spell that I lack knowledge of in casting, but I know what it does and could make use of it.  I'll take it.

"Indeed.  This will take a short while - come with me."

* Eareg Maar nods and follows him.

He leads you into a workshop that smells of chemicals and ink and gestures that you sit in a leather chair.

* Eareg Maar sits in the chair and gestures to his lower right arm.

He begins tattooing.

* Eareg Maar bares his right arm.

* Eareg Maar examines the tattoo, nodding in approval.

Eareg Maar - A little flamboyant with your strokes.  But good.

"Thank you," he titters.

* Tarim ponders deeply.

* Eareg Maar traces the curling lines of the glyph.

* Eareg Maar counts out five hundred bones and lines them up on his counter.

"I pride myself on my technique.  Perhaps you'd care to look at my gallery while your companion makes up his mind?"  He collects the coins.

Eareg Maar - Indeed.

Needlefingers opens a large iron door.  Inside are huge vats with a variety of exotic servitors bobbing within.

* Eareg Maar folds up the copy of the glyph, placing it back in his pack.

Tarim - I think I'll have the same treatment.

Needlefingers nods and gesticulates towards the chair.

* Tarim seats himself.

* Tarim rolls up his right-hand sleeve.

Needlefingers begins tattooing.

* Tarim examines his new tattoo carefully.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on August 02, 2010, 03:16:59 PM

The Impossible Dream

Alright, Kaius, you find a place to eat in Resurrection Row, not far from your house - meagre fare, but nourishing: some cubes of meat on a skewer.

* Kaius Alexander eats efficiently.

You feel the weight of the day pressing on you - you only need two hours rest, but if you don't take it, you'll be fatigued'¦

* Kaius Alexander finishes quickly and pays for the meal silently, exiting the building.  He heads to his tenement for a brief sleep.

Dawn light is beginning to lick at the buildings in the east.

The Insomnolent Guard are trained from childhood with drugs and meditative techniques to function on but a few hours of sleep a night - a condensed, dreamless oblivion of high-intensity rest, no more than four hours at most a night.  Mentally chanting the mantras you've recited to yourself every night for decades, you slip into this black nothingness...

...Only to awaken in what you immediately know to be a dream, impossibly defying the physiological mechanics of the preterslumber.  The sky is raw and greyish-pink, like ashes mixed with spurts of arterial blood, a patchwork of leprous cloud and vibrant, violent light.  You find yourself in a familiar place, on the balcony of a Hive Spire in the Sleepwalker's City.

Below the smoke-clotted industrial wasteland of Somnambulon spreads out, the Sinew River glistening like a fresh wound,  red in the dawn light.  You grip the wrought iron banisters of the balcony and watch the ancient sun of this tired world rise over the mouldering battlefields and pocked barrenness of the eastern wastes.

"Kaius?"  A familiar voice says from behind you.

* Kaius Alexander turns slowly.

Lady Genevieve stands before you, garbed in the black finery of the Revenants, framed by the pointed arch of a doorway inscribed with zehrer runes. She no longer looks sickly and frail, as she did in her last days, but strong and healthy, despite the bone-white pallor possessed by all of the city's nobility.

"This is but an imprint of our thought; a mere memory.  Our essence itself has departed.  We are no more."  She does not seem saddened.

Kaius Alexander - My Lady? I do not understand. How?

"The orb you carry around your neck.  It bears the imprint.  Kaius, do you know why we were exiled?  Why we were banished from our home?"

Kaius Alexander - I'¦ no, My Lady. I did not comprehend.  It was not my place to question.

"We had done something that is... forbidden for us.  Something that had not been done for many millennia, since we came to this world."  She shakes her head.  "Our society ails.  This world, these people... we work them to the bone, kill them slowly in our factories, and for what?  For this decadence?"  She gestures to the temple-palace of the Hive Spire.  "We have stagnated.  It is time for a change.  We conceived it ourselves: an act of individual imagination.  We say conceived: not idly do we use the word.  The orb that hangs about your neck - it is our spawn.  Our offspring: a Progeny-sphere.  To use the uncouth terms of the humans, an egg.

"It is an unborn zehrer, incubating against your breast, formed through an act of self-willed pregnancy, in the manner of the old world, before the zehrer opened the breach and came to this plane, fleeing the wrath of the se'irim and our own kindred.

"It was decided then that we would bear no more Progeny: we strove instead only to preserve our knowledge, our memories, to pass from host to host, undying and unchallenged, to avoid the divisions that had forced us from our home.  Undying and yet not ageless."

There is a peal of thunder across the sky, brilliant green.  In its crash you can hear a fell voice.  The world seems to crack, and all the colour begins to drain from your vision.

"Our time is short."  Lady Genevieve says, her voice growing faint.  "You grow wakeful.  It is not easy to dull the mind of an Unsleeping into this dream-state, especially for a memory.  We will try and visit you again, while you rest - if we have the strength.  Until then, keep the Progeny safe!"

Kaius Alexander - My Lady!  Wait!

"This is our last order.  Do not let the other Lords possess it!  Though when they discovered what we had done they would not kill the child yet they would deem it an abomination, tainted by the spirit of our rebellion.  Protect it with your life!"

With these words, the Lady Revenant fades, becoming brittle and blackened, like a daguerreotype being cast into flame.  Then there is only familiar darkness, as your mind slips back into its normal dreamless emptiness.

When you wake, the black spheroid pulses on your chest.

* Kaius Alexander staggers to his feet, dripping sweat.

The orb seems to whisper Lady Genevieve's last words, like an echo " safe safe..."

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on August 02, 2010, 03:17:22 PM
We're now fully caught up!

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on August 03, 2010, 11:53:55 PM

The Blood of Saints

Gorethirst, as you're heading through the city towards The Blood of Saints, a small, human urchin pushes her way through the Hexwarren crowd, scampering between the legs of a servitor and squeezing between a cestoid and a hagman's coils. The dirty child scurries towards you, a piece of parchment clasped in her hand.

"You the cleaver called the Gorethirst?"

* Gorethirst nods tiredly at the child.

"Got a message fer ya."  She thrusts the parchment into your hands.

The writing is an elegant cursive, in immaculately grammatical Shambles.

"Dear Gorethirst,

I would like to invite you - and any companions you wish to accompany you - to dine with me tonight, on the evening of Scytheday, the thirteenth of Maxilla, in the Guildhall of the Crimson Shadows.  Present this invitation to the guards and you will be shown to the dining room.  In addition to the pleasure of your company, I desire to speak with you on a matter I believe will be of mutual interest.

Yours respectfully,

Mr. Rasp, The House of Crimson Shadows"

* Gorethirst waves the child off with a toss of an obeloi.

She smiles at you crookedly, catches the obelus, then scampers off into the Hexwarren.

The Blood of Saints ghul-bar is a salubrious establishment in the shadow of the Splicing Consortium's strangely variegated Guildhall - the fleshcrafters' headquarters is a pastiche of conflicting architectural styles fused into a bizarrely piecemeal edifice, ornate cupolas and gantries suddenly segueing to clean, curving contours or slab-like brick towers.  The ghul-bar looks more like a church than a tavern, with gilded statues of polycephalic mythical beasts and monstrous angels like eagle-winged winged satyrs perched over the entrance and on the corners.

Inside, The Blood of Saints glistens with gold-plated furniture and huge, wall-mounted mirrors.  The floor is of black marble, the seats of plush red velvet with crimson curtains for privacy.  Patrons drink warm blood out of ornate goblets.

Clearly this is an upscale place: many of those who crowd the bar are wealthy-looking grave-spawn whose tattooed flesh, homunculi, and sumptuous clothing mark them as well-heeled witches, the occult artisans and eldritch specialists of Macellaria, made rich by their talents.  Servitors with flesh like beautifully tanned leather work as waiters.

The bartender is a feminine, white-skinned thing that resembles a black-scaled, bipedal reptile from the waist down and a full-figured humanoid woman from the waist up, albeit with small, black eyes, a pair of slit-like nostrils in place of a nose, and long, black teeth.  A silver chain is fettered round her left ankle, attaching the demoness to the bar itself, which is carved with various runes.  As you watch, the strangely alluring monstrosity attaches one of her swollen breasts to a baroque pump-like device, which extracts a quantity of liquid.  The demoness mixes this secretion into a goblet which she hands to a rakish ghul libertine at the bar.

* Kaius Alexander seats himself at an unoccupied table, setting his pack down heavily next to him.

* Kaius Alexander waits.

* Tarim enters the ghul-bar, eyes the scenery for a moment, and then spots the armiger sitting at a table.

* Tarim heads over to Kauis.

Tarim - Greetings, friend.

A waiter shambles over.  "Can I get you anything?"  It croaks from its dead-throat, mechanically.

* Kaius Alexander raises his visor, examining the waiter.

Kaius Alexander - I am not of your usual clientele. Do you have anything available that is suitable to one such as I?

The waiter looks to have once been male, dressed in neat black clothing.  The thing nods stiffly.  "I will return with a menu."  It shuffles off and returns a moment later with menus tailored to the quick and to grave-spawn.

* Gorethirst arrives at the Blood of Saints, after admiring the gold plated furniture he makes his way over to Tarim and Kaius.

* Kaius Alexander raises a hand in greeting at Tarim and the Gorethirst.

* Tarim seats himself comfortably.

* Kaius Alexander scans the menu methodically.

* Tarim looks through the menu, hoping to find anything with reptilian flesh in it.

Kaius Alexander - Tarim. What did you learn?  I notice that Eareg is absent.

Tarim - Hmm.  Indeed. I bet he has his reasons.

The fare here is luxurious and fairly expensive, including odd delicacies such as brain-broths, battered insects, and reptile-eggs'¦

* Gorethirst ignores the menu and puts the letter he received down on the table.

Gorethirst - This was delivered to me on my way here.

Kaius Alexander - Curious. It seems we juggle many tasks and offers.

* Tarim reads it, a glint of interest on his face.

Tarim - We did learn something, myself and Eareg.  Immanuel Starborn, I think was the name. A fleshcrafter keeping a shop near the Fane of Dust. His signature mark was one the animated servitors...

Kaius Alexander - It would also be pertinent to visit the Mara who requests our assistance. Out of courtesy at the least, we need not commit ourselves yet.

Gorethirst - A visit to Mara would be a good idea. However this request from Mr. Rasp is for a specific time.

Kaius Alexander - I believe this Immanuel should be our priority. We will have time to join Mr. Rasp.

The servitor returns.  "Do you need some more time?"  Its voice is monotone.  "Or may I take your order?"

Tarim - I would have some raw reptile eggs, along with a warm cup of wine spiced with blood.

"Would you like to add some Hellcream to your drink for only five obeloi?"

(After Tarim's successful Knowledge (Demonology) check) Hellcream is a potent substance secreted by certain demons of the se'irim clan.  It has a particular effect on grave-spawn: to the quick it is poionous and baleful, whereas to grave-spawn it acts as a powerful restorative.

Kaius Alexander - Prepare me boiled eggs. Those of a chicken or similar bird. Not lizard. And bring a loaf.

The servitor nods stiffly and turns to Gorethirst.  "And for yourself, sir or madam?"

Gorethirst - A glass of the crimson.

It nods again and shuffles off, returning in a few minutes with a tray of food and drink.  The demoniac bartender winks at Tarim.

* Tarim winks back, flashing a grin.

* Kaius Alexander eats his eggs slowly, tearing off hunks of bread intermittently.

* Tarim enjoys his food, tasting the eggs in small bits and sipping the wine between bites.

Fangs - Good looking wench, for one of the se'irim.

* Kaius Alexander narrows his eyes at the demon.

The small, weasel-like fiends licks its lips and lewdly raises an eyebrow at Kaius.

Fangs - Wanna be my wingman, human?

* Kaius Alexander lowers his visor.

Kaius Alexander - Not with the likes of you.

Tarim - You'd like to get in her scales, wouldn't you?

* Tarim chuckles

Fangs - Heheh, she does have nice gams.

* Tarim downs the rest of his wine, but leaves a small dose to the bottom of the cup.

Tarim - Well, you can get a little taste...

* Gorethirst drinks awkwardly from his goblet of blood.

* Tarim hold up the cup to the familiar sitting of his shoulder

*The familiar licks at the bottom of the glass with obvious pleasure.

Kaius Alexander - We shall deal with Immanuel. If time remains afterwards before Gorethirst's meeting we will visit Mara.

The tab is thirty-three obeloi, for all three of you.  You probably don't need to worry about a tip.

* Kaius Alexander puts in eleven.

* Tarim pays his share.

* Gorethirst adds in eleven obeloi.

"It has been a pleasure serving you.  Have a good day."

* Gorethirst leaves and mounts up on Corpsegobble.

Tarim - A good meal. I shall recommend you to my ghul comrade.

* Tarim exits the place.

Tarim - I don't know exactly where the flesh-shop is, but it should be bear the Fane of Dust.

Kaius Alexander - We will ask around if it is not distinctive.

Tarim - Hm, what was it called again? "Willing Flesh"? Something like that. Ah, "The Flesh is Willing" - pretty sure that was it.

The Fane of Dust is a major landmark. Towering over nearby buildings, the austere, almost skeletal outline of the temple rises in a series of stony accretions, a nightmarish conglomeration of spires, steeples, gantries, and ornate cupolas.   Despite its complexity the Fane stands in stark contrast with the Sanguine Church of Pulsetown, a gilt obscenity of colour and glittering glass: the Fane is grey and dour, grim in the extreme.  An enormous telescope juts from the central dome, fixed on the sky overhead.

There are various tissue shops, glyph parlours, and similar places nearby.

* Kaius Alexander scans the storefronts.

You spot a huge, twelve-pointed star sigil hung over the door of a tissue shop, a stones-throw from the dour, grey Fane of Dust.  Within this enormous symbol are the words "The Flesh Is Willing."  The shop is a well-kept, two-storey building of ornate design, with leering apotropes and water-spouts and shuttered windows carved to look like gaping mouths. To either side are similar establishments: a glyph parlour called "Wordleather" and a place with numerous smouldering chimneys called "Wind-Up."

Tarim - This must be the place.

* Kaius Alexander enters the building.

Inside you find a gloomy, vaulted chamber guarded by a pair of mute, axe-handed servitors armoured with iron discs sewn into their dead flesh.  Various body parts bob in jars of preservatives on shelves about the room, while in the center large slabs are lain with half-finished projects, servitors on their way towards completion, many of them still missing limbs or heads.  Interestingly, most of these servitors appear to be female - and attractive females, at that.  Various books and papers cover workbenches and tables, and an ugly little homunculus something like a white, red-eyed, many-legged toad hops about the floor, making glottal croaking noises.

A short, pug-nosed little ghul whose bulging, slitted yellow eyes, wide-mouth, and pudgy frame make him resemble his own familiar waddles about the chamber, moving from slab to slab.

* Tarim follows Kaius inside.

* Gorethirst motions Corpsegobble to wait outside and follows the others into the shop.

"Can I help you, gentlemen?  Looking to purchase a servitor?"

* Tarim approaches one of the female servitors and examines it closely.

The servitor is made from the parts of a young, comely woman, very well preserved, without any substantial decay.  Glyphs have been delicately carved into her flesh, including the signature twelve-pointed star on her chest.

Kaius Alexander - No. But you can help us.

"Yes?  And how might I do that?"

Kaius Alexander - Your servitors are responsible for the abduction of corpses from the custody of the Sisters of the Weeping Lady.  Is this your doing? If not, who did you sell them to?

Tarim - *muttering* the flesh on this one sure seems fresh...

* Kaius Alexander looms threateningly.

The little ghul's eyes go even wider than they already were.

* Gorethirst moves towards the back of the store.

* Tarim turns back to see the conversation between Kaius and Immanuel.

"Well, I see that the jig is up, isn't it?  I suppose you must be the local muscle, no doubt hired by the moping Sisterhood to put a stop to my dastardly deeds?"

Kaius Alexander - Observant.

"Don't you find their attitudes a touch outdated?  So old-fashioned, weeping over perfectly good corpses that could be put to use."

Kaius Alexander - Irrelevant. We have been commissioned. You will cease your activities.

"Oh will I?  And if I don't you'll kill me.  Is that the way of it?"

Tarim - Is it really worth it? Stealing flesh when, such a great business as yours should have little trouble affording to buy it?

Kaius Alexander - As we would have no other recourse, yes, you would likely perish.

"The corpses of fair young women such as I requrie are preciously hard to come by.  I simply helped myself."  He turns to Kaius.  "Do you know who I am?  Do you have any idea of the friends I possess?"

Kaius Alexander - I do not care.

"If anything, I should be demanding compensation for the costly servitors that you so callously butchered last night, as I now see you must have."

* Gorethirst walks over to the shelves and takes a jar full of preserved flesh.

Gorethirst - Is this a valuable piece?

His head swivels towards Gorethirst.  "Useless trash.  Put it down, you foolish creature."

* Gorethirst throws it against the far wall.

Immanuel shrieks as the jar shatters.  "You idiots!  The Splicing Consortium will have your HEADS for this INDIGNITY!"

Gorethirst - You have many jars in your establishment.  Your work might be more important than your life yes?

He snarls an arcane syllable and the servitors at the door lurch to life.  They do not yet attack, but their weapons glint in the shop's sallow light.

* Kaius Alexander draws his revolver and cocks back the hammer, aiming for Immanuel's head.

Kaius Alexander - Do not try it.

* Tarim moves toward the door.

Gorethirst - Yes, let us battle inside your store. There will not be much left for you to salvage afterwards.

The ghul squeals in fear at the sight of the gun.  "Fine, fine.  Look, perhaps we can come to an arrangement instead.  What are the Sisters paying you?  It can't be all that much."

Kaius Alexander - Our demands were very clear.  You will stop. I will not be subject to bribery.

Tarim - Note that no reparations were required.  Merely that these attacks cease.  You'd even get to keep all these beauties you've already built.

Gorethirst - Leave the sisters alone. There are other graveyards in the City.

"Fuck, you're an uncompromising one."  He bites his lip.  "Perhaps I could come to an arrangement with the Sisters themselves?"

Kaius Alexander - You must accept our proposition for the interim, and we will escort you to the Sisters.

"You could act as middle-men.  I'd pay you."

His eyes dart to and fro.  "I'll pay the Sisters a hundred obeloi a body.  Surely you'd admit that's fair?"

Kaius Alexander - I do not know if that is fair. You will discuss it with them.

Tarim - Regrettably, we cannot make such deals in their name.  It's theirs to accept or decline.

Kaius Alexander - You are wasting time, Immanuel.

The little ghul sighs deeply.  "You are making this very difficult.  You are sure you won't carry a message to them for me?"

Kaius Alexander - We will not.  Now come with us.

Tarim - Oh, and no servitors following us, then

* Kaius Alexander motions with his revolver towards the door.

"Fine!  I will go myself, but on my own sweet time.  You will NOT drag me through the streets in front of all the world to see like some common criminal."

Kaius Alexander - I do not know that we trust you. You would have to provide us with significant evidence of your good faith.

* Gorethirst takes another jar off the shelf

Gorethirst - Perhaps some of these?

"Significant evidence?!  PUT THAT DOWN!"

Kaius Alexander - My comrade makes an excellent point.

* Gorethirst begins to take the lid off

"Star-Gods preserve me, I see that you are a bull-headed bunch.  I agree to your terms.  I'll go with you, but no weapons, please!"

Kaius Alexander - Relax your servitors.

* Gorethirst returns the jar to the shelf

He snaps his fingers irritably and the servitors move back to their original positions.

Tarim - We will hide our weapons once we are outside. But be warned, that lecchkin is a veteran pit-fighter, and quite adept at killing without mechanical aids.

Kaius Alexander - To the door, let us go.

Immanuel rolls his eyes and waddles towards the door.

* Kaius Alexander steps in closely behind him.

* Tarim exits the shop.

* Gorethirst takes one last glance around the shop and exits to mount Corpsegobble.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on August 04, 2010, 01:32:43 AM

Strained Negotiations and The Case of the Suicide Statuette

Once outside, Immanuel Starborn calls for a rickshaw.  A cestoid pulls up, a mass of bristling limbs and chitin plates.

Kaius Alexander - I will ride with you.
"Very well."

Tarim - *whispers to Kaius* We should make sure the rickshaw driver doesn't try anything funny. Never know what connections this Immanuel may have.

Kaius Alexander - I will ensure there is no trouble.

* Kaius Alexander leaves his hand on his revolver.

* Tarim mounts corpsegobble behind Gorethirst.

You trundle off to the shanties beyond the Witch's Gate, to the Shrine of the Weeping Lady.

* Kaius Alexander stares pointedly at Immanuel, hand on his holstered revolver

Immanuel steps off the rickshaw and heads inside, muttering under his breath.

* Kaius Alexander follows him closely

Inside the shrine, the body is still laid out.  Immanuel eyes it greedily.  Sister Merris approaches you.

Kaius Alexander - Sister Merris. This is the man responsible for the crimes against you. He wishes to negotiate.

* Tarim dismounts and follows them in

"Indeed?  Well, I should say that after the bodies were returned two hundred obeloi apiece in reparations would be sufficient."

Immanuel looks up at Kaius as if to say "see what I have to deal with?"  He turns back to Sister Merris.

* Gorethirst motions for the rickshaw driver to stick around and follows Tarim inside.

Kaius Alexander - You hear her terms. Do not look at me.

Immanuel snorts.

Tarim - He had made quite a piece of work of those bodies. Pretty female servitors.  Doubtlessly commanding high prices.

"That is disgusting," Sister Merris says.  "You have stolen and disfigured young women committed to the eternal care of the Weeping Lady.  You have mutilated, defiled, and degraded them.  You will pay, and return the bodies immediately."

* Gorethirst shakes his head as he hears the demands.

"Out of the question!"  Immanuel shakes with rage.  "Those servitors represent hours, days of work!  I transformed them from mere meat into masterpieces!  I find your insinuations distasteful in the extreme!  I am here not to negotiate their return, but the procurement of more corpses!"

"More?"  Sister Merris looks shocked.  "You are a lunatic.  We will not part with a single body given into our care. You WILL return those that you stole."

Immanuel turns back to Kaius.

* Kaius Alexander looks at him silently.

"This is a waste of my time, and my breath.  I am leaving."

Kaius Alexander - No, you are not.

* Kaius Alexander moves to block him.

He takes a deep breath in, then out.

Kaius Alexander - If you die, Immanuel, they will not know what has happened, and the problem you present will cease.

Tarim - Perhaps now would be a good time to bring up the point of guild connections? Just so that all participants are... aware of them.

He nods to Tarim.

"Indeed.  I am an associate of the Splicing Consortium, Sister.  No doubt you have heard of us?"

Sister Merris says nothing, drumming her fingers against a column.  Immanuel grunts.

"Look," the fleshcrafter says.  "Neither of us is getting through to the other.  Can we agree to compromise?  I keep the corpses I already have and agree to leave your little cadaver-garden untouched from now on."

Sister Merris looks furiously at the rest of the group as if for support.

Gorethirst - The only other option would be to kill him here and now Sister.

Tarim - You are the ones that make the decisions here, Sister

* Kaius Alexander cocks his head to one side

She sighs, a bit defeated.  "Fine.  I suppose I can expect no more.  Now begone, pustule, before I change my mind."

Immanuel bares his teeth and makes to leave.

Kaius Alexander - Remember Immanuel.  I will be watching you.  Make nothing more of this.

"I advise you to do the same, and not to interfere in my affairs on future occasions."

Kaius Alexander - We shall see.

He struts off to the rickshaw and climbs in imperiously.

Kaius Alexander - I am sorry, Sister. It seems this was not the solution you had intended.

Tarim - I predict that he will resume his attacks as soon as he finds a way to get away with it

"Well, you did your best.  He was not to be reasoned with, and our vows forbid us from taking lives - we merely deliver those already dead into the Lady's care."

* Kaius Alexander inclines his head.

"Now at least we know not to blame the bird-men."

Kaius Alexander - If he resumes his defilement, inform me.  I will deal with him.

"Here is the relic you were promised, and your payment.  If you find any way to retrieve the bodies he has already stolen, you would be rewarded. I realize, however, that such a task might be impossible.  Thank you for your help."

She holds out a bag and a metal collar, etched with small runes.

* Kaius Alexander salutes with hand to heart.

* Tarim takes the collar and examines it.  It is a Collar of Cadaverous Communion: plain, black iron, with a snap-lock, engraved with delicate runes.

Tarim - How interesting. I will study this one more carefully later.

Kaius Alexander - ooc: Kaius chooses to take no obeloi.

"Gallant as always, sir."

* Gorethirst takes his bag of obeloi and puts it in his larger sack.

Tarim - I presume neither of you have any objections if I keep it? I will forfeit half my share of the money for it.

*The others agree.

Kaius Alexander - Much time remains until our dinner with Mr. Rasp. Let us find Mara.

* Gorethirst mounts up on Corpsegobble.

Gorethirst - Let us find this Mara.

You head to the slums of Resurrection Row.  A crude depiction of a cackling, horned figure marks this disreputable-looking establishment as the Laughing Fiend, a slouching four-storey structure that leans against the city walls, adjacent to the Butcher's Gate on the south side of the Row.

The skulls of various horned creatures decorate the walls of this tavern - from simple goat-skulls to that of an enormous, clearly demonic monstrosity crowned with bristling, corkscrewed nest of bony jags and spikes; some of these macabre ornaments seem to double as hat-racks.  The bar is quite busy, crowded with patrons quick, dead, and inhuman,  a rather cosmopolitan crowd.  A dour shade in own nook plays cards with a mantid and a living human, while three zerda occupy another corner chattering rapidly in their yapping vulpine tongue.  The bartender is a tall, gaunt man who sports a pair of enormous, grafted ram's horns.

* Kaius Alexander approaches the bartender

He looks up.  "Get you something?"

Kaius Alexander - I am looking for Mara. She has made a proposition to me.  I was told to seek her here.

"Oi!  Mara!"  The bartender bellows.  "Fellow 'ere to see you.  Big fucker, face like a corpse's, bit overdressed.  Boyfriend of yours?"

"Not quite," an answer comes, and a fiery-haired woman struts from the crowd.  Half of her face is heavily tattooed with stylized markings, and she openly displays a heavy pistol and half a dozen cruelly serrated knives strapped to her person.  "You must be Kaius Alexander.  Mara, thane of the Dogskull Clan."  She holds out her hand.

* Kaius Alexander extends his hand to shake firmly

"What's your poison?"  She gestures to the bar.

* Gorethirst enters the Laughing Fiend and sits down at the bar.

Kaius Alexander - I must decline your offer. If we are to do business I require absolute clarity of thought.

* Kaius Alexander inclines his head respectfully

"Ha.  Very well.  Straight to the point, I see."

* Tarim follows after the leech

Mara orders an absinthe for herself.

Kaius Alexander - My friends might appreciate a drink, though.

* Kaius Alexander motions to Tarim and the Gorethirst

She looks round to Tarim and Gorethirst.

Tarim - Already had a good drink this morning

"Can I get you anything, leechy?"

Gorethirst - A chalice of blood my good human.

She nods and the bartender pours you one.

"Glad you got my message.  I got a bit of a proposition for you.  Some eyewitnesses - second-storey window over Blackhand Alley - told me about how you lot butchered Locks and his punks.  Word travels fast in the Row."

Kaius Alexander - Apparently.

"Anyway, we Dogskulls're in the midst of a turf scuffle with another Clan, and we're in no position to be throwing away troops over problems that might otherwise deserve our attention.  There's a nasty little blighter be the name of Glut who runs a gang calling themselves the Masticators.

"They're unaffiliated but they've got the blessing of the rival Clans, since they're been honing in on Dogskull territory recently - picking pockets, hitting up locals for protection, and generally running amok and being a public menace.  They're a redmouthed pack of junkies, real lunatics; those that don't pay get snatched and taken back to their den.  Not sure what happens to them after that, but some bodies have turned up badly mutilated and with... bits missing."  She makes a face.  "Eaten.

"Normally we'd deal with these bloody-minded bastards ourselves, but like I said, right now we're tied up with our own mess.  We'd like to engage you lot to take care of the Masticators for us, permanently.  The miltia are on the take, of course - not that they give a hagman's fart about what goes on in the Row most of the time in any event.

"You'd be handsomely compensated for your trouble.  You'd be welcome to anything you find in the Masticator's little den, plus five hundred obeloi each if you bring me Glut's metal teeth."

Tarim - How big is this gang?

"Not sure of the exact numbers, but about twenty souls all in all, I'd say.  If they have any souls left..."

Kaius Alexander - An acceptable proposition, Mara. I would be glad to rid the row of this scum.

"How bout you, wormy?  Leech?"

Kaius Alexander - Twenty fools would be little match for us.

Tarim - Tell me more about this Glut.  What makes him the boss?

"He's a crazed cannibal, rose through the ranks peddling Thrum, biggest fucker you've ever seen.  Mean as shit, and eats anyone who disobeys.  He turned ghul about fifty years back, from all the raw flesh."

Tarim - Sounds like a very straight-forward type. A bit of trickery could work wonders against them.

Gorethirst - Do you have any trinkets to barter with? I find coin easy to come by, something more material would be more interesting.

Her eyebrow perks up.  "What kind of stuff?  Drugs?"  She chuckles.  "Antiques?"

Gorethirst - Antiques would be interesting.

* Gorethirst waves his wrist getting blood everywhere.

Gorethirst - Perhaps something in ur-bone?

She laughs uproariously.  "An-fucking-tiques.  Well, I suppose we have plenty of junk from heists and the like... ur-bone, eh?  I'll look into it."

Kaius Alexander - Allow me to advise you, Mara. This problem of yours may not be resolved immediately. We have other business to attend to on this day.  It will not trouble you for much longer, though.

"I quite understand.  In the meantime I'll see if I can scrounge up something black and shiny for the leech.

"The Masticators' hideout is in a deserted insane asylum not far from the Court-of-Innards, on Talon Avenue.  It's always guarded, but during the night some of the gang are usually out pestering the locals and causing mischief, snapping their teeth at those that don't pay up.

"Careful of this lot.  They're thrum-addicts the lot of 'em, a pack of rabid, drug-addled cannibal madmen - their choice of lair suits them all too well.  Once they get worked up they won't back down till they're dead.  Without Glut they'd probably disperse, but he's likely to be well-guarded."

Kaius Alexander - He will be dead soon. The number of his guards does not concern me.

She smiles.  "Pleasure doing business with you."

Tarim - I already have some ideas on how to approach this.

* Kaius Alexander nods to Mara.

* Gorethirst pays for his drink and gets up.

Mara shakes her head.  "On the house, sapbrains!"

Gorethirst - A handful of humans should not pose a problem. We shall return with Gluts teeth.

"Glad to hear it."

* Kaius Alexander exits the Laughing Fiend.

* Tarim moves out after Kaius.

* Gorethirst mounts up Corpsegobble.

Gorethirst - Has anyone informed the playwright that removing the Jatayi will take longer than expected?

Tarim - There is something that my landlord mentioned recently...

Kaius Alexander - The playwright can wait. Being informed will not make the situation progress any faster.  Yes, Tarim?

Tarim - A trouble with apparent haunting. He was willing to cut my rent if I cold solve it, but I'm sure he could be persuaded to pay coin for you if you were to help me out.  Shouldn't take too long to at least take a look at the place

Kaius Alexander - This sounds like a matter of thaumaturgy to me.. I do not know that I could help. Though we have little else to do until our dinner appointment.  We can solve this problem of yours in the meantime.

* Gorethirst motions to Tarim to lead the way.

The Worm-Hive is a dense conglomeration of buildings with many residential tower-blocks and older, elegant spires rising in clusters out of the morass of tenements.

Tarim - If the haunting is genuine there is danger that we might have to face a demon, or a ghost of some kind

* Kaius Alexander nods.

At this time of day, the windows are shuttered or shrouded with black curtains.  Almost no one is visible in the streets, which are eerily quiet.  The dull roar of the city's marketplaces can distantly be heard behind you.  You pass one tower that has been boarded up entirely and scrawled with graffiti before you arrive at your destination.

* Tarim leads the group to the house of his landlord.

* Tarim enters the building.

Tarim - Quelnefess? You here?

Quelnefess is in his tub as usual, not far from the entrance.

"Oi!  You come to take care o' dat umbra upstairs?"

Tarim - I'm willing to take a look at that problem. But I got some assistance, and they'd need to get some bones out of it.

"I'm not made o' money, Tarim!  I could throw dem a few obeloi each, I suppose..."

* Tarim glances at the others.

* Kaius Alexander nods.

* Gorethirst nods as well.

Tarim - Alright. Could you explain what the problem is? My memory's a bit hazy, and they ought to know what they're getting into.  It was people missing and suspected haunting, wasn't it?

"On da top floor.  Seventh on the left.  All de last tenants been killing demselves."

Tarim - Ah, suicides. That's what it was.

"One's still up there, blew his brains out.  Others did different tings.  Rope, drugs, knives.  Vodun?  Bad spirits?  Dunno what be the cause fer sure."

Tarim - We'll take a look.

"Fanks.  Yer a good tenant."

* Tarim turns to the others

Tarim - Well, let's not waste time sitting around.

* Tarim heads to the upper floors.

* Kaius Alexander checks the rounds in his revolver as he ascends.

* Gorethirst follows Tarim closely, trying to stay out of sight of Quelnefess

The seventh door on the left looks innocuous enough, save for the dark stains that've seeped underneath.

Tarim - Hm, blood?  Or is it something else?  You would know, Gorethirst?

* Kaius Alexander throws the door open.

The corpse of a human man is slumped against one wall, dried blood, brains, and skull fragments splattering the plaster behind the ruin that was once his head.  Other than the cadaver the room is devoid of anything immediately noteworthy.

* Kaius Alexander unholsters his revolver

It's a small, rather sparely decorated apartment with a rusty-looking bed, a small kitchen, and a ratty desk with a pile of books and some papers on it, held down with a paperweight or statuette of some kind.  A door leads to the bathroom, which looks similarly mundane: just a tub and a tap, some dirty tiles on the floor, and a mouldy towel or two on a brass rack.

Kaius Alexander - There is nothing here.

Tarim - Let's see if this recent victim knows anything

Gorethirst - There is nothing alive in here.  The stains on the floor are a mixture of blood and cerebrospinal fluid.

Kaius Alexander - A fine distinction, Leech.

Gorethirst - But accurate.

* Tarim tries the collar on the corpse

The corpse starts violently.  A bit of glutinous blood seeps a little from its mouth.  It stares up at you with worm-eaten eyes.

Kaius Alexander - Why are you dead, corpse?

* Kaius Alexander calls over

Tarim - Speak, cadaver

The corpse turns.  "Was the... the..."  It struggles.

Kaius Alexander - The?

"No point.  No point in any of it'¦ Stat... statue..."  It swivels its head, looking towards the desk'¦

* Gorethirst walks over and hefts the paperweight

* Tarim 's eyes wander at the paperweight statuette

The statuette resembles a small, hunched figure, like some kind of malformed gnome.  Its eyes appear to be chips of onyx; its mouth is jagged-toothed and grinning rather horribly.

Tarim - Careful, leech!  It might be possessed

Gorethirst, suicidal thoughts suddenly rush into your head as your gaze into the statuette's eyes, your own inexorably drawn to the thing.  You fight them off only with difficulty.

Kaius Alexander - Are you alright, Leech?

* Tarim whispers eldritch words, casting Sense Witchery (Detect Magic).

The statuette lights up like a sinister candle.  It's got strong hexwork on it.  There's a glyph on the bottom.

Gorethirst - I am fine. This is the object that caused the problem.

* Kaius Alexander sights down his revolver at the statuette.

Kaius Alexander - Shall we destroy it?

Gorethirst - Perhaps we can give it to Glut, and solve several problems at once.

Tarim - The bewitchement is strong on it.  Wait.

The corpse begins screaming hoarsely.

* Kaius Alexander looks over at him

Kaius Alexander - Quiet. We're thinking.

It whimpers to itself and obeys.

Tarim - I will try to determine what I can of it. Do keep that corpse from causing any trouble, will you?

Kaius Alexander - Certainly.

The type of witchcraft is nigromantic in nature - there is no demon bound within, the statuette itself has malign intent.  It's something like an animated object: not diabolic, merely cursed.  It's aura is strong.  You fight off a bout of nihilistic, depressing thoughts emanating from the statuette.

* Tarim focuses keenly, his inset eye-gems glowing.

Tarim - Intriguing.

Kaius Alexander - Well, Tarim?

Tarim - No spirit in this one.  But it's got some hex within it.

Gorethirst - I say we give it to Glut. Or sell it.

Kaius Alexander - This object unsettles me. I would rather we destroy it.

Tarim - I agree. Break it.  It will not release any demon to do so

* Kaius Alexander shrugs and fires a shot into it.

The shot pings off harmlessly.

Gorethirst - It would be useful. Mara said if Glut dies the band will disband.

Kaius Alexander - Huh.

Tarim - The bewitchment is too strong. It must be protecting the item

Kaius, your head is suddenly filled with disturbing thoughts, as your eyes flicker across the statuette's.  Without your Mistress, Lady Genevieve, why are you here?  Wouldn't it be easier simply to end it all?

* Kaius Alexander looks at his revolver.

Then you shake it off - you *do* have a purpose.  She entrusted you with a burden; you cannot fail her.

* Kaius Alexander holsters it.

Tarim - Well, isn't this troublesome.

Kaius Alexander - Yes. Most.

Tarim - Perhaps it could be safely covered?  The least we can do is hide it from sight.

* Gorethirst puts the statuette in his pack.

The corpse sighs with relief as the statuette is removed from its sight.

* Kaius Alexander raises his visor and look at Gorethirst

Kaius Alexander - What do you intend to do with it?

Gorethirst - Give it to Glut.

Kaius Alexander - ...Right.

Gorethirst - Unless you think we should sell it?

Tarim - It could be quite useful - perhaps even valuable.  But it's a constant danger.  We should avoid it for now.  Get it to some safer place quickly, and leave it until we have decided what to do

Kaius Alexander - I do not know that you should be so close to it for so long, Leech. I do not think dealing with Glut will be so simple.  Unless you would just walk up and deliver it to him? Unlikely.

Gorethirst - Perhaps we should go and throw it onto the asylum grounds. And come back later in the night to see what is left.  Or we could say it is tribute.  They *are* a band of thieves afterall.

Tarim - Do you know of any place where this could be hidden?

Kaius Alexander - Whatever you would like to do, Leech. It is in your possession.
Fangs - Maybe if it was lumped in with other treasure?

Gorethirst - Hmm, good idea.

Tarim - We could sneak it in their hideout.  But that will have to be later

Gorethirst - Agreed, can we store it in your home for now Tarim?

* Tarim frowns

Tarim - If there's no other place

Kaius Alexander - Throw a sheet over it.

Tarim - It shouldn't be a problem when I'm not staying home.  There will be no one else there, save possible thieves.

* Tarim grins.

Gorethirst - We should be dealing with Glut this night. So it should not be an issue.

Kaius Alexander - Corpse. You must go back now. We require that which is about your neck.

The corpse nods.

* Tarim retrieves the collar.

 The corpse falls silent, and its head lolls, exposing its gory brainpan.

Gorethirst - Well, if we have finished here let us go meet this Mr. Rasp.  Unless there is other business to attend too?

Kaius Alexander - I cannot think of anything pressing.

Tarim - Alright.

* Tarim takes the statuette-in-a-sack and hauls it into his apartment.

Quelnefess pays Tarim ten obeloi on his way out to give to Kaius and Gorethirst, allowing the leechkin to stay out of sight.

You put the statuette somewhere safe and out of sight. However, you must make a second Madness save while you handle it.

* Kaius Alexander chambers a new round while he waits for Tarim

* Tarim locks his door.

Tarim - What time is it?  Perhaps we should head for that dinner?

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on August 04, 2010, 02:05:27 AM


It is difficult to decide what the Guildhall of the House of Crimson Shadows once was - the civic center of some defunct realm, or a temple of forgotten gods, or the mansion of some long dead sorcerer-king.  Whatever the case, it is large and sprawling, a palatial structure grown half-ruinous over the long centuries.  Decapitated statues of obscure heroes or deities stand at the entrance; graffiti covers the walls, and the huge sigil of the Crimson Shadows is mounted over the black iron doors.

Inside the front hall - a huge chamber supported by carven columns covered in the runes of a dead language - an array of wooden tables and piles of goods are carefully tabulated.  Here the Guild's official clerks conduct business with seasoned scavengers; on one wall, pinned over the map of a forsaken kingdom whose borders have long been erased, are miscellaneous contracts, Guild policies, and a large map of the city and the surrounding wastes.  Guardsmen in the black-and-red livery of the Shadows stand at the stairs to the upper floors.

* Tarim eyes the place approvingly

* Gorethirst walks towards the clerks.

Gorethirst - We are here to see Mr. Rasp.

The clerks nod.  "You got an invitation?"

* Gorethirst shows the note.

"Show it to the guards, they'll let you up."

* Gorethirst walks up the stairs and shows the Guards the note.

* Tarim bows politely.

They nod.  "Welcome, Mr. Gorethirst, and guests.  This way, please."  The gesture to a mechanical lift down the hall, which must lead up a tower you saw from outside.  One guard accompanies you into the lift, and cranks a lever to activate it.

* Tarim enters the lift.

The lift groans creakily and begins to move.

Tarim - Must be pretty good sights from up there.

Kaius Alexander - You would think.

At the top, the door opens and you find yourselves in a foyer before a pair of ebony doors.  The guard moves to open them.

Tarim - If it's high enough to see over the city walls, anyway

You are shown into a long, tastefully decorated dining room, with a luscious-looking meal spread on the dark wood table.  Windows overlook the city in all its fetid glory, and the wretched wastes beyond.

Tarim - Ah, excellent.

Kaius Alexander - Sumptuous.

Seated at the far end is a leechkin wearing an immaculately tailored suit.  Despite the androgyny of the leechkin, he exudes an aura of masculinity.  Standing behind him are two bodyguards - a cloaked figure whose face is concealed by a heavy hood, and a lilix swordsman with four arms crossed and two resting on the hilts of a pair of scimitars.  Seated next to the leechkin on the right side is a woman in a blood-red half-mask and lacquered armour, whose pale limbs are covered in ritualistic scars; on the left, a giant of  a man bristling with grafted limbs.  A servant in the red-and-black livery of the House of Crimson Shadows waits with a tray of drinks.

"Welcome, friends," Mr. Rasp says in unaccented Shambles; again, the voice somehow sounds male rather than neuter, deeper than a leechkin's usual midrange double-croak.  "Thank you for joining me.  Please, select a beverage, if you wish, while I introduce my own associates."

"First is Illiszan, of Dolmen.  You will find no finer living swordsman in Macellaria."  The lilix bows.

"Next is the mercenary entity who prefers to be known as The Cowl.  It has been in my employ for nigh on a decade, though its storied career stretches back many years before our association.  Please, do not be perturbed by its enigmatic ways: The Cowl simply places great value on its privacy.  Even I have never looked upon its features."  The cloaked figure inclines its head almost imperceptibly, and a hoarse, rattling sound that might be a chuckle emanates from the faceless darkness beneath its hood.

"Next my head enforcer, Yesheleb, whose exploits in the Pits rival those even of you, sibling Gorethirst."  The grafted man raises one of his many hands in greeting.

"Finally, my chief of security, Chaa-Ibl, Mistress of the Incarnadine Blade, who wears the Bloodletter's sacred mask."  The scarred, pale woman smiles, and her red eyes glitter behind the red mask.

* Kaius Alexander raises his visor to look at each in turn

* Tarim bows to Mr. Rasp.

Tarim - It is a pleasure to meet you

"I have heard much of you and your ambitious research, Tarim - your reputation proceeds you."

Gorethirst - Greetings sibling.

* Gorethirst seats itself and takes a goblet of blood to drink

"Greetings to you sibling Gorethirst."

* Tarim picks a seat for himself

"And warmest greetings to you as well, Mr. Alexander.  How are you finding Macellaria?"

* Kaius Alexander inclines his head politely to Mr. Rasp before seating himself.

Kaius Alexander - The heat is oppressive..

"No doubt an annoyance for you, in all that armour.  A far cry from the cool breezes off the Sinew, I am sure."

Kaius Alexander - Yes. It is. Though I do not long for the Sleepwalker's City.

"I have always found it a trifle dour myself."

* Kaius Alexander nods.

Sibling Gorethirst.  No doubt you are wondering why I called you here.  But first, allow me to propose a toast."  He raises a glass of blood.  "To Choice, gentlemen, and to Transcendence!"  He deftly pours the drink from one hand into the palm-mouth of the other, somehow making what should be an exceptionally awkward gesture look natural, even graceful.  "Now, please, I promise your questions will be answered - let us dine, before the meal cools."

* Kaius Alexander sips calmly from a glass of water

* Gorethirst raises its goblet in a toast, drinking much more awkwardly then Mr Rasp.

* Tarim raises his glass of fine wine

The meal is sumptuous.  Raw flesh, delectably spiced, is provided for Tarim, while roast fowl, bread, stewed dumplings, and vegetables are brought for Kaius and Yesheleb.  Chaa-Ibl does not eat, merely sips a glass of red wine.  Large, covered serving trays are set before Gorethirst and Mr. Rasp.  The servant removes the covers to reveal quivering blood jellies of titanic proportions.  Mr. Rasp eats with one hand while talking with the other hand upraised.

* Gorethirst blinks its six eyes in surprise.

Gorethirst - Interesting fare sibling.

* Gorethirst hesitantly eats the blood jellies.

Tarim - The chef here must be highly skilled. My compliments.

"Thank you.  I try to keep a good table.  I shall get to my point as swiftly as possible, I assure you."

The blood jellies are delicious, almost compensating for the fact that they aren't being pumped fresh from the veins of a living creature.

"Sibling, have you ever wondered why your thirst was more intense than our fellows, why your desire for blood seemed... unquenchable?"

* Kaius Alexander eats quietly.

Gorethirst - I have wondered since my times in the Lophius pits. I cannot say I have any answer.

"When the shamans pierced your palms and shackled you, did they tell you of your parents?  Of your... sires?"

Gorethirst - They did not. They got rid of me as quickly as they possibly could.

"Of course they did.  The fools.  As you see, I have been watching you closely.  So closely, in fact, that I know you better than you know yourself.  I have watched you fight in the Pulsetown pits many times.

"A leechkin gladiator?  Apart from leechkin slaves thrust into the pits or those slated for execution it is rare to see our kind gracing the arena sands.  Yet there you were, of your own will, holding your own against cestoids and hagman retiarii!  I began to wonder.  Were you the one I had been seeking, these many years?  I sent out agents, to ask questions in the ghul-bars, the ludus, the brawling dens, the weapon-smithies.  Later, I sent men back to Lophius itself, to confirm the rumours I had heard, to trace your history.  I no longer wonder, Gorethirst.

"I call you sibling in the manner of our people."  Mr. Rasp makes an odd gesture and growls, the Leechdance signifier for "brother/sister."  "To our kindred, parenthood is an alien concept.  A thing requiring effort, individuality, affection, empathy: attributes our species scorn.  We call ourselves siblings, brothers and sisters, as we are raised in common.  And yet, for you and I, the term has another meaning; a human meaning."

* Gorethirst nods in agreement.

"Gorethirst; we are of the same litter, the same egg-cluster, separated at birth.  Our other siblings were devoured by our 'mother' moments after they hatched.  The shamans managed to save us, slaying our parent in the process.

"There was no effort to keep us together: you grew up in Serpentside on the Viper's Head, I in Vespergate on Greenfang.  While you scrapped and killed in the pleasure-wards of the Ophidians and the cages of Pelloch I fought my own petty battles on the Street of Mists.  We clawed our way up together on the Teeth, each unknown to the other, freaks amongst our own people, reviled by the humans and the hagmen.  We shared in that mutual repulsion - and for good reason.  Your thirst was insatiable, my ambition boundless.  But why?

"It took me many years to discover the answers, but I have them now, dragged from the palm-mouths of an ancient shaman bribed with my own blood.  Our 'father,' it seems, was a shaman native to Lophius, a street-creature, like ourselves.  But our 'mother' was a being of a different sort.  Have you heard of the Red Rains, Gorethirst?  The sanguine aftershocks of the Ravishing that still sweep the eastern wastes?"

Gorethirst - Very little. Just that it creates the fetch, who I have sometimes fought in the arena.

"Indeed.  Not many of our kind come in contact with the Rains: Lophius is too far to the south and west, and our species almost never enter the Slaughter-lands, preferring to stay in the Twilight Cities as parasites.  Our 'mother,' however, was a slave, brought along by human scavengers on some excavation.

"A squall of Red Rain hit the camp our parent was working at.  Where the human slaves fled our 'mother,' ignorant, heedless, and terribly thirsty, mistook the Rain for real blood, and opened its palm-mouths to the bleeding sky.  The Rain changed it, in the same way that it changes humans, but where humans merely lose their compassion and guilt, their inhibitions and their pity, our parent lost something else - its apathy, its nihilism, its laziness.  It broke free of its captors, fled south, to the swamps, killing as it went, sometimes without even feeding, for the sheer evil joy of it: a leechkin fetch.

"When it met our other parent, it was drenched in the blood of a recent killing.  Our 'father,' aroused by the sight of so much blood, presented itself for fornication.  Our 'mother' cannibalized it on the spot - but not before being impregnated.  Our remaining parent lingered in Lophius, in the back-alleys.  At first, its sadistic hunger was mistaken for ordinary bloodlust, but later, the shamans realized what it was.  They deemed it zog/nrelek, 'Insatiable One,' and hunted it with a zeal rarely seen in our kind.  Had they not been able to mitigate your lust, they would have declared you the same.

"In due course our 'mother' laid its egg-sac, in some wretched sewer, and - for reasons I still cannot fathom - watched over the clutch, perhaps merely waiting for the pleasure of eating its own offspring.  Fortunately for us, it was interrupted and slain.

"We are its progeny.  Our blood, our minds, are polluted by the Red Rain - yet we are not wholly murderfolk, not the mindless killing machines of the waste.  Where in the humans such a taint, such a schism of the blood, would likely drive them mad, in us, a strange balance has been achieved.  You and I - we are something new.

"The fetch-blood that runs through our veins counters the weaknesses of our people, compensates for their lack of drive, their folly, their parasitism.  At first I looked upon our brethren in the gutters with disgust, even with hatred.  I thought that they chose to be what they were - nothing.  Now I only pity them.  They cannot be other than they are.  But we, Gorethirst, we can choose.  We can be other.  And look how far we have come from our low beginnings!"  He gestures to the lavish dining room, to his bodyguards, to the feast before you all.

He awaits Gorethirst's response, his monologue complete.

Gorethirst - This news is strange. I have never before heard of true Leechkin siblings.  And our parent, a fetch. Interesting.

"Nor have I.  But it is true.  I am certain; my research has been... painstaking."

Gorethirst - It is much too digest. But it is a pleasure to meet you then, brother.

"And you, brother.  At last.

"After such a story my request may seem more than a little anticlimactic," Mr. Rasp continues, daintily cleaning the last pieces of jelly from his plate.

"The House of Crimson Shadows has many enemies, many rivals.  The bigots of the House of Untainted Flesh have taken a particular dislike to me, have launched attacks against Guildsmen, sent me their heads, written threats in their blood.  Thus far I have ignored their little tantrums, but the time has come for retaliation.

"The current favourite of the Guildmistress is an Untainted called Servius Izar, one of her pet beasts '“ a cruel man, pious in the worship of Striga, unmatched in combat. He is responsible for many of the attacks against the Crimson Shadows. I want you to publicly challenge him to a duel in the arena, and slay him with you bare hands. Servius will not be able to back down without seeming a coward.

"I could, of course, use Yesheleb or any number of other fighters for this job. But I want to send a particular message to the Guildmistress of the House of Untainted Flesh. I want her to receive the body of her champion not merely gutted or pummelled but drained dry, marked with the bites of a leechkin. It will send her a message she cannot but fail to understand, and it remind the city that we can be more than mere beggars. I can think of no messenger more suitable than yourself, Gorethirst."

* Tarim, having finished his meal, is observing the leechkin conversation with great interest.

"Of course, you would be generously remunerated for this task: three thousand obeloi would be yours, plus anything you chose to bet on the match.  So, brother.  Will you do this for me? Will you slay Servius Izar in the sight of Macellaria and bring disgrace and humiliation upon the heads of the House of Untainted Flesh?"

Gorethirst - As you wish. I will drain this Servius dry.

Mr. Rasp drains his glass of blood, as if echoing your words.  "I am most pleased.  Now, if you all have room for dessert, my chefs have prepared us a little something..."

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on August 04, 2010, 02:36:40 AM
That's all the logs from today.  You guys made some powerful enemies but gained some powerful friends, and never fired a shot or swung a blade, as well as test-driving a new magic item.  Good job!

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on August 12, 2010, 07:25:26 PM


While Kaius and Tarim are served meringues and cakes, a space is cleared on the dining room table and a group of servants bring in what is unmistakably a body, wrapped in silk. They place the body on the table and delicately unwrap it, revealing a tall, battle-scarred woman beneath garbed in a diaphanous coverlet.  She is unconscious, but still breathing.

"Do not be alarmed," Mr. Rasp cautions.  "This woman is a fetch, brought in from the wastes.  She killed four men in their sleep with her bare hands and ate a fifth alive; there will be no redemption for her.  I dine fortnightly on one of the murderfolk.  I find it sharpens my instincts.  Come, Gorethirst: this is our dessert."

* Gorethirst glances at Mr. Rasp.

Gorethirst - Are we immune to the effects of the Red Rain then sibling?

* Kaius Alexander eyes the scene coolly.

"The Rain is not the blood.  You will not be affected in the same manner."

* Gorethirst nods.

Gorethirst - Let us dine then.

Mr. Rasp moves forwards and places his palm-mouths on the body.

* Gorethirst steps forward and places a palm-mouth on the body.

As you taste the fetch's blood something wakes within you.  For a moment you are gripped with a spasm of the thirst as potent as any you experienced before your shackling.  The beast in your blood cries out for release as you slake its awful, awesome thirst.

* Tarim takes a bite off a cake and observes the leechkin casually.

The dessert concludes and waiters come to clear away the detritus.  Mr. Rasp offers digestifs.

Kaius Alexander - I thank you for the meal, Mr. Rasp. It was an acceptable spread.

"Your courtesy is greatly appreciated, Mr. Alexander.  It has been a pleasure."

Tarim - A most delicious dinner. And good service, too.

* Kaius Alexander inclines his head respectfully.

"Your company was excellent."

* Gorethirst stays silent.

You finish your goodbyes and head out of the Crimson Shadows Guildhall, into the moon-dappled streets.

Tarim - I think we should find some place to discuss plans, before we take on that gang.

Gorethirst - Should we return to Tarims home to retrieve the statuette?

Tarim - If we decide to make use of the object, that would be wise.

Kaius Alexander - It is a vile thing. I do not like it.

Gorethirst - There are a great many things you do not like human.

Tarim - Either we put it to use, or find some way to dispose of it.

Gorethirst - We should give it to Glutt. Who would buy such an object?

Fangs - There are some who might want it.

Tarim - I can think of one guild in this city.  Though I would be loathe to deal with them.

Fangs - The Iridescent Angles are indeed known to covet objects the sane would abhor.

Kaius Alexander - Is there bad feeling between the two of you, Tarim?

* Gorethirst shrugs.

Gorethirst - If you wish to sell it, we can sell it. Let us be rid of Glut by force then.

Tarim - Between me and one of their House.  That said, I would not object to this particular item falling on their hands.  We can use it against the gang and then sell it.  It seemed nigh indestructible, after all.

Kaius Alexander - I leave the decision to you. I have no interest in handling the object.

Tarim - Let us go and discuss plans then. We'll see what we decide about it.

* Tarim heads for his home.

* Gorethirst follows leading Corpsegobble

* Kaius Alexander stands for a moment, and then begins to follow.

You head up to Tarim's Worm-Hive home and through the door, still etched with the Inquisitorial sigil.  The workroom has been tidied substantially by now.

Tarim - I apologise for the mess. It's courtesy of our inquisitor friend.

* Kaius Alexander looks around.

Tarim - Do seat yourselves if you will.

* Kaius Alexander remains standing

* Gorethirst finds a clear place and settles down on the floor.

* Tarim sits down on a chair by a table.

Tarim - Now to the business at hand...

Gorethirst - How will we get Glut to accept the statuette?

Kaius Alexander - Why would Glut take it? Even the greatest fool could sense that there is a wrongness to it.

* Gorethirst looks at Kaius

Gorethirst - I did not sense any wrongness until I touched it.

Kaius Alexander - Simply look at it. It drips malice.

Tarim - One plan I've had in mind is to take advantage of their thrum addiction.  We could make some poisoned thrum and let it fall on their hands.  If the poison isn't easy to detect and doesn't take effect immediately, great many of them might be affected

* Kaius Alexander turns to Tarim

Tarim - We should also capture one of their numbers - discreetly, without alerting the others

Kaius Alexander - Would they accept an unknown source of thrum?  They are suppliers after all. It is a dangerous plan.

Tarim - We should interrogate that one to learn as much as we can about their hideout

Gorethirst - Give them the statuette. Wait a little while. Clean up the rest.

Fangs - Why stick with only one plan?  Poisoned thrum and a suicide statuette... if one doesn't work, maybe the other will.

Gorethirst - A simple plan for a simple problem.

Kaius Alexander - I say we go in with steel bared... simplest of all.

Tarim - Further, there's the way of eldritch trickery.  If I manage to put a charm on a gang member, that could ease our task tremendously.

Gorethirst - A head on attack would be the simplest solution.  Sort it out between the two of you. I will agree with what you decide.

Tarim - One of them under a spell could be used to bring the poisoned thrum, or perhaps the statue, without raising too many suspicions.

Fangs - Or both together?

Tarim - Indeed.  Though if we're to use the statuette in this manner, it should be mixed with other items

Kaius Alexander - I have no taste for this plan... but if you think it best.

Tarim - Remember, these people are street scum. Thrum addicts and brutes. Cannibals, even, if our employer was sincere.

Fangs - If it doesn't work, there's nothing stopping you from barging in with guns blazing, right?  Though I suppose they might get suspicious, expect an attack, if they see through the ploy.

* Kaius Alexander shrugs almost imperceptibly.

Tarim - A straight-forward approach is the most dangerous to us. Better that we strive to weaken and confuse them as much as possible. And take them out piecemeal

Kaius Alexander - Then let us buy some thrum. I hope you know your poison-work, Tarim.

Tarim - I do not. But poison can be purchased.  It need not be deadly, even, nor particularly fast acting in this case. Making them sick and weakly would more than suffice. Anyway, I am in favour of pursuing both tactics - poisoned thrum and the statuette - simultaneously.  Even if one fails the other might succeed, and give us advantage.

* Kaius Alexander motions to the door

Kaius Alexander - Then let us go. We waste time, and Glut yet lives.

Tarim - First we'll purchase the thrum and the poison. Better leave the statuette here for the time.  Let's go

* Tarim waits till the others are out, then locks the door behind him

Gorethirst - I am unfamiliar with the drug peddlers of Macellaria

Tarim - I'd expect to find high quality thrum in Velveteen Circus; probably much better stuff than this gang is used to.

Kaius Alexander - Lead the way.

Tarim - Do you know any good place to buy poison?

* Gorethirst mounts Corpsegobble

Gorethirst - I recall a poison seller, near Needlefingers' shop.

Tarim - Good.

Tarim - Let's go there first.

* Kaius Alexander frowns slightly.

You head to the occult district, which borders Worm-Hive. The tissue-shops and glyph-parlours buzz with activity - libertines and thugs looking for something extra in a fight, fashionistas keeping up with the latest body-modification fads.  Gorethirst leads the group  to Murrain Square, where black alchemists and poison-sellers congregate.  Open stalls marked with skulls indicate the venom-dealers.

* Tarim looks around keenly

One individual badly scarred as if from flame catches your eye.  There's also a lilix female.  Plenty of others as well, but those're the two closest.

Tarim - Shall we try the lilix first?

* Kaius Alexander looks at Tarim silently.

* Kaius Alexander walks up to the lilix.

* Tarim approaches the lilix.

* Gorethirst nods in assent.

The lilix woman has the well-fed, rounded contours common amongst female spiderfolk.

Tarim - Greetings.

"Greetingssz.  It wantsss poisonsss?"

Tarim - Yes. We are lookingh for poisons of particular attributes

She gestures with one fleshy arm to an array of phials.

"What kind of effectss?"

Tarim - Namely, something that could be added to thrum without being easily detected.

She cocks her head, blinking with her many eyes.  "I sssee... I can recommend thiss one."  She holds up a grayish fluid, nondescript.  "Very sszubtle.  Dissolves in other liquidssz.  Szapsss the vigor, the ssstrength."

Tarim - Sounds good.  Anything else?

"Thisss one... looks like thrum, but isszn't."  She holds up a pouch, opens it to reveal a yellowish powder.  "Would cause sstupor, hallucinationsss

Tarim - How much would does of these cost?

Firssst one, three hundred obeloi.  Szzecond, two hundred fifty."

* Gorethirst seems unhappy with the news

Tarim - That would poison how many people?

Gorethirst - These poisons are too expensive. Let us be done with this trickery and prepare a direct assault.

* Tarim frowns.

"Dependsss on szize, ssspeciess.  If cut with sssomething elssse, three to four humanssz."

Tarim - Not quite the thing we need. How unfortunate.

"Wait!  Wait!  Ssspecial deal for you."

Tarim - Hm?

"Three packetszs powder, only four hundred obeloi!"

Tarim - Too costly for us, I'm afraid.

Poissson... twelve warmbloodssz.  Three hundred fifty!  Final offer!"

Gorethirst - And ruin their blood!

"That isz idea, leech.  Not for drinking afterwardssz."

Tarim - That's close to thirty bones per one target.

"Isz besst deal in 'warren."

Tarim - Could be acceptable if it weren't so many doses.

"Fine!  Fine!  I am mottlebrained to give you thiss deal... two dosessz for two-zsseventy-five!  Almosszt two-for-one!"

Tarim - That would be eight targets...

* Tarim glances at the others

Kaius Alexander - It is your mess, Tarim. I will end up fighting them anyways.  It makes little difference to me.

Tarim - Still too much.

Gorethirst - I think this blood ruining is a waste of coin.

Tarim - Oh well.

Kaius Alexander - We are sorry for troubling you.

* Kaius Alexander inclines his head at the lilix

"I am sssorry... cannot go lower."

Tarim - At least the other plan will not cost us money.

Kaius Alexander - They won't just take it. It is too much trouble. I have no patience for trickery.

* Tarim walks back to his home.

Fangs - Tarim might hex one...

Kaius Alexander - If he can, then I will allow it.

Tarim - We must try. And besides, just having the thing exposed within their gang-house should cause something.  Alright. This is the plan: I'll fetch the sack with the statuette. Then we'll ambush some gang member and interrogate or put a spell on him. If that doesn't work we can use othe rmeans

* Gorethirst nods

Gorethirst - A good plan. Let us put it into action.

* Tarim enters his apartment and takes the sack from the libarary

You head into your study.  The statuette is somehow no longer in the sack, but sitting on your desk, staring at the door.

* Tarim curses.

* Tarim averts his eyes front he thing.

You avoid its gaze.  The sack is on the floor.

Kaius Alexander - Its malevolence is palpable. A wicked thing.

* Tarim picks up the sack.

* Tarim trying to remember where the statuette was, opens the sack's mouth wide and attempts to blindly plce it over the item

You manage to get the sack over the statuette.  You could swear it hissed at you as you covered it up.

* Tarim closes the mouth of the sack securely

* Kaius Alexander narrows his eyes at the sack

* Tarim head out to the street, cussing

Tarim - Bloody thing had escaped on it's own.

Kaius Alexander - Hmm.

Tarim - I will be quite happy to be rid of it. Let us deal with the gang now.

Gorethirst - Perhaps it is more dangerous then we first thought.

Tarim, You shrug off its psychic whispers.

Tarim - Now let's go and find some of Glut's bastards.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on August 12, 2010, 08:45:50 PM

Assault on the Abandoned Aslyum

You head to Talon avenue, a street in Resurrection Row.  A pair of mean-looking men lounge at the entrance of the former asylum, a decrepit stone building with barred windows and walls covered in obscene graffiti.  Talon Avenue is an otherwise fairly deserted street; towards the southern end there's a hagman temple of some kind.  In the distance the bustle of the Skin Markets is audible.

Both of the thugs lackadaisically standing guard have filed their teeth into needle-points.  One carries a club and another a shoddy-looking blunderbuss pistol.  They look to both be human.

Kaius Alexander - Well, Witch. There they are.

Tarim - If we're to attack, neither of them must escape. Nor do we want any witnesses to alert Glut.

Kaius Alexander - Can you not charm them? I assumed that was your intent.

Tarim - I can only charm one. And success isn't guaranteed. Hexes are unpredictable.

Kaius Alexander - Then I will make sure they both die if you fail.

* Kaius Alexander checks the rounds in his revolver.

Fangs - I can try and distract one, boss, if it'd help.

Tarim - We should separate them first.  A distraction might indeed do the trick

Fangs - Maybe the leech could act like a beggar?

Gorethirst - Perhaps we can get one to bring us to Glut

Tarim - Begging for blood?

Gorethirst - While the other stays, and charm the one that stays behind?

Fangs - That's what the rest of his kind do.  No offense, Gorethirst.

Kaius Alexander - They do not look very accomodating, Leech.

Fangs - Also a good plan, but it might take someone silver-tongued to pull it off.

Tarim - Whatever works.

Gorethirst - I am not a beggar.

Fangs - Tarim you've got Ghost Sound prepped, right?

Gorethirst - We should ask them to do as we please. And if that does not work, we shall kill them.

Tarim - I could create a distracting sound, yes

* Kaius Alexander sighs quietly

* Tarim looks for a suitable place.

The night provides innumerable shadows.  There are some crates near an abandoned warehouse nearby.  Also a pile of decomposing garbage no-one's bothered to sweep up.

* Tarim, moving out of their sight, whispers and gestures to weave the Ghost Sound spell, creating noises of intimate lust-making in the warehouse. They begin low but steadily grow more audible, suggesting orgiastic revelry is taking place there

The guards exchange glances and whispers.  One shrugs, the other moves off to investigate.

* Tarim approaches the remaining guard

The guard looks up and bares his fangs.  "What'd you want, wormy?"

* Tarim voices a greetings, even as he begins his spell of Adoration

The guard relaxes. And looks at Tarim with a slightly glazed look.  "Sorry, but twitchy there... I mean to say, what can I do for tonight?"

Tarim - Good news. We have a gift of tribute to your gang.

"Huh.  What kind of tribute?"

Tarim - And you can be the one to present it to your boss.  A valuable item worth a good deal in obeloi.

Kaius, you follow the thug towards the warehouse.  He's heading to a side-door, pistol in hand.

Tarim - Imagine how good that will make you look

"Really?  Sounds interesting.  Can I see it?"

* Kaius Alexander draws his sword quietly, holding back a bit.

Tarim - You might be in for some favours.

He raises an eyebrow, clearly intrigued.

Tarim - Surprises make gifts all that much better, don't they?

"Hmm, I'm not sure I should leave my post.  Maybe you can leave it here with me, and I'll give it to Glut later?"

Tarim - Didn't you have another one here with you just a moment ago? I'm sure he'll be back soon.

He nods.  Clearly the charm is working.

"You're right.  How about you watch the door while I'm gone?"

Tarim - Is this Glut's house?

"Yeah, this is Glut's place."

Tarim - Excellent. 'Why don't you take the gift to him right away? I'll wait by the door for your buddy.

* Tarim offers the closed sack.

He takes the sack and heads into the asylum.

Meanwhile, the other guard, hearing your armour clank, spins and spots you in the doorway.

Kaius Alexander - Seeing him notice me, I bear down upon him silently.

* Tarim backs away from the gates.

* Tarim casts Harden the Skin on himself and Gorethirst.

Gorethirst - How long should we wait until we go in Tarim?

Tarim - We better not attack until Kaius has dealt with that one guard.  If they come out to fight, we'll fight them of course.

Gorethirst - If no one comes out, how long should we give the statue to do as it pleases.

* Two flaming missiles go screaming through a broken window,one after the other.  Kaius is about to strike as the bullets pierce the Masticator.

* Eareg Maar casually waves from the window, one arm on the sill.

Eareg Maar - Looked like you could use some help

The Masticator is bleeding and vomiting blood, with two bullets in his chest.  He's alive, but staggering and bleeding.  He attempts to bring his pistol up.

*Kaius finishes off the Masticator before he manages to fire.

* Eareg Maar hurdles through the window and walks over to Kius.

* Kaius Alexander flicks his sword, removing the blood.

Kaius Alexander - I did not need your help.

* Tarim gets to a good position and ready to cast a Ray of Enfeeblement on the first gang member to emerge to the streets from the asylum.

* Eareg Maar just grins.

Kaius Alexander - The others are down the street. Come.   are on another contract.

* Kaius Alexander exits the warehouse

Eareg Maar - Saw you lot carrying a curious bundle and decided to investigate.

* Eareg Maar follows.

A bullet pings off the ground in front of Tarim.  It seems to have come from one of the upper windows.  Whether this is just a "piss off you lot" shot or a genuine attack you can't tell.

* Kaius Alexander approaches the group.

* Eareg Maar saunters along behind him.

* Tarim backs off, startled.

You hear yapping, dog-like sounds from the upper storeys.

* Gorethirst greets Eareg with a wave, ignoring the shot.

* Eareg Maar casually salutes the leech.

Gorethirst - I think that it would be easier to go inside from the top.

Tarim - Greetings, Eareg.

Eareg Maar - you know you guys stick out like a sore thumb sometimes.

Tarim - Perhaps we could smoke them out somehow?

Gorethirst - Instead of fighting our way through the entire building.

* Eareg Maar jokingly jibes the group

Gorethirst - I can climb to the top on Corpsegobble.

Tarim - I could make the interior crawl with venomous spiders.  That ought to creep a few of them out.

Kaius Alexander - Glut is inside, and he must die. I do not care how.

Gorethirst - Eareg, we met with your Guild Master earlier. A very interesting leechkin.

* Kaius Alexander lowers his visor.

* Eareg Maar looks at Gorethirst.

Eareg Maar - I doubt that.

Tarim, Kaius, you hear a distant gun-shot and a garbled scream from inside the building.

Tarim - Sounds like they're having fun with our little gift.

Kaius Alexander - Then let us increase their enjoyment.

Gorethirst - You doubt it?  I shall drop a rope from the roof. I will not be long.

* Eareg Maar works the action, ejecting a spent casing before sliding a wounding bullet directly into the chamber.

* Tarim chants and points his taloned fingers of the open gates, summoning a swarm of spider inside the asylum.

* Gorethirst mounts Corpsegobble and directs the maggot to climb up the building.

A bullet grazes Tarim's arm, but he casts his spell successfully.  Another bullet clatters off the street.

* Tarim winces from pain after finishing the hex and retreats to a safer position

* Gorethirst uncoils a length of rope and drops it down the side.

Tarim, Eareg, Kaius, you can hear footsteps - running - down the gloomy corridor beyond.

Gorethirst - If you take the rope I will be able to haul you to the roof!

* Kaius Alexander looks up.

* Eareg Maar brings his gun around and aims it down the corridor.

* Gorethirst removes and throws down a 2nd and 3rd rope

Kaius Alexander - I cannot grasp a rope in this, Leech. Nor will I, under fire. I will meet you inside.

* Kaius Alexander storms into the building

* Eareg Maar follows behind Kaius.

* Tarim dashes for the ropes.

While Tarim gets hauled up I'll start with Kaius/Eareg, then switch over to the guys on the roof.

Inside, a short passage leads to a half-open metal door, with two others like it on either wall of the corridor.  The floors, walls, and ceiling are of bare, grey stone smeared with old and mysterious stains and more recent graffiti.  Three Masticators and a swarm of spiders fill the corridor with chaos.  One of the gangsters is covered by the creatures, the other two storm ahead.

One of the Masticators levels his blunderbuss pistol and fires.  The Masticator's blunderbuss pellets hit some of Kaius' exposed joints.

* Kaius Alexander bears the wounds silently.

The other Masticator screams and charges towards Eareg, baring his filed teeth.

*Kaius catches the Masticator with a sword-swipe as he rushes past.

*Eareg Maar sidesteps the slavering gangster with ease.

* Eareg Maar reflexively brings his weapon around at point blank range to the slavering gangster and there is a deafening boom as a flaming green bullet leaps soars from the barrel.

You notice that the Masticators seem to hum and vibrate slightly, their flesh rippling with weird subcutaneous motion, like gooseflesh - thrum.

*Eareg Maar fires off two shots.  One the Masticator dodges with thrum-augmented speed, but the other punches into him.  In his frenzy he seems to barely notice it!

* Eareg Maar takes a 5 foot step back from him

* Kaius Alexander turns quickly, slashing. He brings his sword in low, cutting at the gangster's back.

The Masticator snaps his teeth at Eareg, who stays well back.  The other Masticator holsters his pistol, then strides forward with a club and attacks Kaius, battering against his armour while the third stomps and smashes the spider-swarm.

* Eareg Maar sidesteps to put the Masticator he's been fighting between himself and Kaius.  He fires a shot from Meteor, splattering the Masticator's brains all over the front steps.  The remaining Masticators appear enraged by their companion's death.

* Eareg Maar kicks the corpse over.

* Eareg Maar throws them a rude gesture.

*Kaius Alexander slashes at the club-wielding Masticator, inflicting a shallow wound.

Meanwhile, Mr. Carver arrives on the scene, drawn by the sound of combat.  From some freak of coincidence he was wandering near Talon Avenue, out for a stroll in the Row.

Eareg and Kaius seem to be in a fight at the door of an aslyum that's been abandoned for years.

*Mr. Carver whips out the Agony Knife and charges towards Kaius' opponent, stabbing the Masticator in the back.  He shrieks in pain.

The remaining Masticator leaps forward with fangs bared and charges towards Mr. Carver.  He fastens his jaws round Carver's arm.

* Eareg Maar levels his gun at the Masticator and empties a bullet into his mangy left leg.

*Kaius Alexander skewers the club-wielding Masticator and he grimaces in pain.

*Mr. Carver leaps atop the prone gangster.  The Agony Knife goes in and out as he stabs the Masticator multiple times.  Blood flies everywhere as he dies, messily.

* Eareg Maar watches Carver pin the man to the floor.

The remaining Masticator draws a short blade and attacks Kaius.

* Mr. Carver looks at Eareg with his blood-spattered face and smiles, showing off his filed-down teeth.

* Eareg Maar relaxes and shoulders his weapon, drawing out a grimy hankerchief which he throws to Carver.

* Eareg Maar sits on a nearby crate and pulls out a pipe, tapping some tobacco into it, looking at carver sidelong.

Eareg Maar - it's the simple pleasures in life you know?

* Eareg Maar lights it up and watches kaius go at it

* Mr. Carver picks up the handkerchief, dapping his face with it to clean off the blood.

*Kaius slashes the Masticator across the chest, then hews off a hand with the back-swing.  He slumps to the ground, a screaming, thrashing mess, arterial blood spurting wildly.  Kaius finishes him off with a strike to the throat.

* Eareg Maar claps for Kaius.

* Kaius Alexander flicks the blood off his blade and sheathes it.

Mr. Carver - I knew there was a reason we all ended up in that pit together; we all attract trouble like cadavers attract flies. And the same trouble at that. This is the second time I have run into one of you."on the roof of the asylum.  There is a trapdoor here - the roof is flat.

While a brutal melee takes place on the ground level the leechkin and the ghul witch are  are on the roof of the asylum.  There is a trapdoor here - the roof is flat.

Gorethirst - That looks like our entrance.

* Gorethirst goes over and opens the trapdoor.

Tarim - Let's take a peek.

There's a set of rusty rungs leading downwards.

* Gorethirst motions for Corpsegobble to stay on the roof (unless he fits) and goes down the ladder.

You stand at the end of a stone corridor with heavy iron doors along its length, each with a little hatch in it.  Some of these doors are open, but most are closed.  There is a faint smell of rotting flesh.  At the end of the corridor there's an open door, by the way, leading to a stairwell.

* Tarim carefully descends after the leechskin

*Gorethirst inhales, using its blood-scent.

You can hear faint sounds of battle downstairs.  The scent of blood is everywhere.  There's someone alive a few doors down.

Gorethirst - There is something living in this direction.

* Gorethirst leads Tarim towards whatever is still alive

Tarim - Shall we head for the battling sounds? To join up with our comrades?

You come to a padlocked door.  You could peek inside using the hatch, if you wanted.

* Tarim peeks in.

A man throws himself around this room, vibrating rapidly, his skin throbbing and rippling.  He seems to be in some kind of manic, hyperactive state, gibbering to himself nonsensically.

Tarim - Doesn't look like this one will be much concern for us.

Gorethirst - If it is not Glut, we should continue to look then. To the stairwell?

Tarim - Alright.

You are on the top floor of a spiral staircase.  You hear a muffled scream from the bottom.

Gorethirst - Let us check the next floor down.

* Tarim nods.

You find a passage similar to the one you just walked down.  A moan of pain down the hall rips through the silence here.  There are three doors on each side.  Gorethirst, there's someone to the far right, and another living being on the middle left.  The far right has an open door, the left is locked.

Gorethirst - There are a couple things still breathing on this level.

Tarim - Where?

* Gorethirst moves towards the left and looks through the hatch.

Gorethirst - Here, and the one on the far right.

A man has been chained to the wall of this cell.  Prodigiously muscled and covered in a random mass of ugly scars, he is naked but for a few tatters; moreover, his right arm has been devoured up to the elbow.  Based on his ink-black flesh and long scalp-lock he is probably native to Erebh.  He appears to be conscious, albeit woozy.

Gorethirst - Prisoner, looks like he is being kept to be eaten.

Tarim - That other door is open. Probably not a prisoner there.

As you open the latch you hear a hissing sound.  A Masticator has emerged from the other end of the corridor and is charging towards you!  He leaps towards Gorethirst, gnashing his fangs!

The Masticator tries to clamp his jaws onto the leechkin, but it avoids them.

* Tarim moves away to get some distance to the thug. He then lets loose a Ray of Enfeeblement. In the confusion he misjudges his aim and the hex dissipates against the wall.

*Gorethirst aims a strike with its axe.  Its swipe would have cut the gangster in half, but he dodges with thrum-augmented speed, a blur of flesh and metal.

The Masticator sinks his teeth into Gorethirst's shoulder!

* Tarim closes in carefully, keeping his guard up, looking for any openings to strike at with his claws, raking the Masticator's back.

*Gorethirst shoves the Masticator off you and brings its axe crashing down, splitting his skull in two.

The last noises of battle below die down as well.

Tarim - Sounds like our comrades are now either victorious, or dead.  Let us find out which.

* Gorethirst investigates the room the Masticator came out of.

Gorethirst - Go and get them, I doubt that dour-faced human will be dead.

Someone practically painted this room with blood, but the carnage must've been a long time ago.  The stains are so old that they're flaking of, like desiccated wallpaper.  There's a barred window with a view of the street and a rusty musket leaning against the wall.

* Tarim continues down to the next floor

* Gorethirst goes over and tries to open the prisoners door, but it is locked.

Tarim, you're on the second floor.  You hear Eareg quipping down below.

* Tarim watches for any sign of dangers before proceeding down to the ground level.

* Kaius Alexander goes down on one knee after sheathing his sword. His face is impassive.

Tarim - I see that you prevailed.

* Tarim grins.

* Gorethirst goes down to the first floor.

Mr. Carver - Ah, Gorethirst, good to see you are still alive!  And thank you for your assistance the last time we met

Tarim - Didn't see Glut upstairs. But this place is pretty big

* Gorethirst nods at Carver

* Eareg Maar is sitting on a crate puffing a wooden pipe.

* Kaius Alexander raises his visor

Gorethirst - The top two floors are clear, although one holds a partially eaten prisoner. Still alive.

* Gorethirst says this last bit looking at Kaius.

Kaius Alexander - These men are vicious, but fall easily.

Eareg Maar - Ah there he is, come to save the day I'm sure.

* Mr. Carver whips his newly grafted demoniac tendril through the air with a crack.

Gorethirst - I was glad to help.

Mr. Carver - So, could anyone enlighten me, what is the reason for this reunion?  And what did I just stab twice?

Tarim - We'll need to find their boss. That's what will fetch our reward.

Kaius Alexander - We are here to kill Glut. You stabbed a junkie.

Mr. Carver - Well, good riddance then.

Gorethirst - We were hired by Mara of the Dog Skulls to eliminate Glut and his band of Masticators.

Mr. Carver - And rewards you say? Care if I join in on a more official note?

Tarim - Oh, you should be warned. We begun by delivering a certain cursed object into this asylum.  It should still be here somewhere

* Kaius Alexander throws open one of the doors on the ground level.

Gorethirst - There is nothing left alive on this floor. Do we check the second floor or the basement next?

Mr. Carver - Cursed as in horrible death will befall me if I get too close?

Tarim - It's a small statuette. When you see it, don't look at it. And definitely don't touch it. Also: try not to kill yourselves.  If you get the urge to do so, that is.

Mr. Carver - Ah, got it. The last remark was an especially astute piece of advice

Kaius - This looks to have once been an office of some kind, but all of the furniture has been smashed or has rotten away.  The other door is locked.

* Eareg Maar stands up, still puffing his pipe and casually watched Kaius.

Mr. Carver - Anyone good with locks?

Kaius Alexander - There is nothing here. Let us proceed to the second floor. We do not want enemies above us.

* Gorethirst moves into the stairwell

Kaius Alexander - '¦although.

* Kaius Alexander looks at the lock.

Tarim - As for the rewards, everyone who fight along should get a share, far as I'm concerned.

Kaius Alexander - In my service to My Lady I gained some experience. Allow me to try.

* Tarim follows Gorethirst.

Mr. Carver - Some intriguing noblewomen you have in Somnambulon if those are the skills you are trained in.

Fangs - Anyone think to check one of these guys for a *key*?

* Eareg Maar walks over, pulling a dismembered hand and a set of thieves tools out of his pack.

* Eareg Maar holds it up to the lock with the tools and mutters the command word.  The hand fiddles for a minute with the tools, and the lock clicks open.

This door leads to another passage, this one with three doors of its own - two on the left, one on the right.

* Eareg Maar puts the items away and opens the door quietly

Gorethirst, nothing living, though you're in the stairwell right now.

* Gorethirst moves towards the newly opened passage

Gorethirst - There are living creatures in the basement. Possibly some on the second floor, I cannot be sure.

Tarim - The one we're looking for is a ghul, isn't he?

Fangs - That's what Mara said.  Fangs - Frankly I'm surprised the lot of them aren't, considering their diet...

Tarim - But he would likely be with any living gangsters that didn't attack.

* Mr. Carver attempts to check the first doorway on the left.

Whatever this room's old purpose, it is now some kind of armoury, heaped with rusting knives, hand-axes, a few swords and pikes, and half a dozen firearms.  A massive khopesh or sickle-sword whose blade is carven with slender, elegant glyphs hangs above these lesser weapons.  There's also a large repeating crossbow and ammunition, several barrels of blackpowder, and some crates of bullets.

Kaius Alexander - Interesting.

Mr. Carver - Hmm, if anyone seeks to upgrade their arsenal we seem to have an opportune moment to do so.

* Tarim eyes the glyph-bearing blade curiously, then casts Read Hexes.

Mr. Carver - Hexed?

The glyphs read "Vivisectionist" in Hextongue.

Mr. Carver - Ah, a pity I favour the smaller blades. This looks like a most magnificent weapon.

*Meteor, Eareg's rifle, barks a shot as he enters the room.

* Tarim looks for any small firearms that might still be in fair condition.

* Eareg Maar jumps.  The rifle tugs at his arms and tries to aim towards the other guns.

* Eareg Maar's arms swing around towards the gun unable to resist.

* Kaius Alexander looks at Meteor disdainfully.

Eareg Maar - What in the black hells?

Kaius Alexander - Keep that in line, you oaf.

Mr. Carver - Ah! be careful with that, ghul.

You can see several small firearms - A blunderbuss pistol, a flintlock pistol, a crude pepperbox.

Eareg Maar - I'm not doing it.

* Eareg Maar watches as a bullet erupts from the barrel and flies into the pile of guns.

Mr. Carver - Well, then tell your weapon to stop ogling those poor pistols

Well, the flintlock is ruined now.

* Kaius Alexander examines the khopesh

Eareg Maar - what are you talking about? tell me weapon?

* Tarim picks up the blunderbuss and looks for ammunition for it.

Eareg Maar - it's just a rif-WOAH.

Kaius Alexander - A curious blade. Well made. Unlike the rest.

* Gorethirst blinks at this scene.

* Kaius Alexander looks irritably at Eareg

Tarim, you can find 23 bullets and charges for the blunderbuss pistol.  It's an ugly hand-cannon with a short range but a lot of kick.

Tarim - What, can't you stop it from firing on it's own?

Mr. Carver - well, if it's not you, it's gotta be something else and there aren't a lot of options

* A bullet soars from meteor, striking the blunderbuss and nicking it.

Eareg Maar - I don't even know what the blast is going on.

Mr. Carver - Hmm, your "friend" seems to be the jealous sort.

Tarim - Perhaps it would be better to get out of this room, then.

* Eareg Maar wrestles with the rifle trying to get control of it.

Fangs - You almost hit me!

*Eareg Maar tugs the rifle away and gets out of the room. It's like a puppy that wants to show its a big dog.

Mr. Carver - Well, if it is not you and it's not your hexed... thing, then it's the room and I suggest we get out as Tarim suggested.

Tarim - We can plunder this place later.

* Eareg Maar tugs Meteor out of the room.

Mr. Carver - Bring the hexed blade.

* Kaius Alexander takes the khopesh down.

Kaius Alexander - As you wish.

Mr. Carver - I can't imagine you objecting.

* Mr. Carver approaches the right door and opens it.

This is a latrine, badly vandalized and tagged with graffiti.

* Mr. Carver closes the door again.

Mr. Carver - If any of you want to search it, feel free.  Just keep a polite distance afterwards.

* Eareg Maar eyes his weapon oddly.

Eareg Maar - I've never seen it do anything like that before.  Always assumed it was just a hexed rifle.

*Meteor's glyphs glow.

* Eareg Maar inspects Meteor carefully.

Mr. Carver - So it was the weapon that was responsible?

* Tarim fiddles with his newly-acquired weapon clumsily, but eventually manages to load it.

It seems to have calmed down now that Tarim has firm possession of the weapon.

* Tarim turns to look at Meteor.

* Gorethirst walks towards the last unopened door and peers inside.

This room must have been the asylum kitchen, based on the cold hearth, the rusting pots, and the decrepit stove that furnish it.  The kitchen shows signs of recent use, the gory remains of some vile cannibal feast: gnawed bones and scraps of human gristle litter the central table, and there is a strong smell of carrion.  Flies swarm about the half-eaten remains.  Platters of still-steaming gore cool slowly, and some horrid stew of viscera congeals in a pot on the stove.

Gorethirst - Ah, this appears to be where they ate their "meals"

Tarim - I see.

* Mr. Carver stops in his tracks.

* Eareg Maar raises on eyebrow, a puff of smoke escaping his lips.

Tarim - Not a pretty sight, I take it.

Gorethirst - I believe that is enough of that.

Eareg Maar - Messy eaters aren't they.

Gorethirst - Quite so Eareg.

* Gorethirst pointedly shuts the door.

Mr. Carver - I think I'll skip that sight for now.

Mr. Carver - So the question is: up or down?

Gorethirst - Let us go to the second floor first.

Mr. Carver - Gorethirst, Tarim, you came from upstairs didn't you?

Gorethirst - We skipped the second floor to reunite with the rest of you.

Tarim - We did not search them all.

Gorethirst - The fourth is empty and the third only has a prisoner.

Mr. Carver - Hmm, then let us go there if you think there is something of importance.

* Gorethirst retreats to the stairwell.

* Gorethirst ascends to the second floor.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on August 19, 2010, 05:17:18 PM

Madness and Mutilation

You are in the midst of a raid on an abandoned asylum converted into a drug-den by the gang of cannibal thrum-junkies who call themselves the Masticators, a group of psychotic hoodlums with a taste for extreme body modification and still-living flesh.

While Kaius Alexander, Eareg Maar, and Mr. Carver dispatched the gangsters at the entrance, Gorethirst and Tarim swept the topmost levels, eliminating a sniper and discovering a half-devoured victim of the gang chained to the wall of one of the old cells.  Before the attack, Tarim sent one of the Masticators - charmed through witchcraft - into the converted asylum, bearing a "tribute" for the Masticators' ghul leader, Glut: a hexed statuette which impels any who look into its onyx eyes to commit suicide.  You also found a glyph-graven khopesh in the Masticators' armoury on the first floor, as well as the gruesome remnants of the gang's last meal.

The asylum is full of rusting implements, manacles and fetters, decaying furniture. The Masticators have left heavy footprints in the dust, added fresh stains to the old patina, smears of ancient filth and blood.  Cockroaches and the dwindling ranks of the spider-swarm Tarim summoned - now dispersed - scuttle across the floors; rats inquisitively nibble at the recently dead, sharp-toothed lunatics slain by blade and bullet.  One corpse is covered in a thousand tiny spider-bites, its skin puffy and blackened by their venom; another is charred and half-decapitated, the sizzling remnants of its head still smoking from one of Meteor's demoniac bullets; a third lies in a crimson lake, dismembered by Kaius' efficient butchery.

*The group heads up to the second floor.

This corridor is empty.  Stripes of moonlight stipple the walls, let in through the barred windows.  Half a dozen iron doors with hatches in them line the passage.  There is an overpowering stench of decaying meat.

Kaius Alexander - Smell anything living, Leech?

Gorethirst - Nothing living human.  However, it its possible the overwhelming stench of decay is masking other scents.

Kaius Alexander - Then let us seek out the dead.

* Kaius Alexander throws the closest door to him open.

Room 201 is bereft of occupants save for a much mutilated skeleton whose bones have been variously crushed, removed, or gnawed.  A couple of dirty mattresses lie on the floor here.  There are also a few vials of yellowish liquid on the floor.

* Kaius Alexander looks at the vials more closely.

Tarim - Thrum?

Gorethirst - Quite possibly.

Tarim - Could be worth selling.

The vials are of a clearish yellow-tinted liquid.  They're unmarked.

* Kaius Alexander frowns slightly.

Kaius Alexander - Take them if you wish. I will search the floor.

* Tarim collects the vials

* Kaius Alexander proceeds to the next room

Room 202 is empty.  The walls are covered in ancient, caked-on filth in which various curse words have been scrawled.  A few unkempt mattresses swarming with lice and silverfish and an overflowing chamber pot are the only furnishings.

Kaius Alexander - Hmm.

*Kaius Alexander continues his search of the floor.

Strange crabbed glyphs cover every inch of the walls of the next room, drawn in charcoal.  They appear to be some kind of arcane formula.

* Kaius Alexander frowns in a more pronounced fashion.

Kaius Alexander - Tarim. Witch scribblings.

* Tarim studies the markings.

Tarim, there are instructions for four different hexes scrawled on the walls here - Confusion, Touch of Madness, Rage, and Hideous Laughter.  They were probably drawn by an old inmate, rather than the Masticators, given their nature.

Tarim - Ah, hexes.  Never would have expected to find that here.  Then again, they look old

* Kaius Alexander shoulders past the others and opens a door across the hall.

A recently dead corpse lies in this room in a congealed pool of various bodily fluids, hideously mutilated.  Disgustingly, large chunks of the man appear to have been eaten - likely also the cause of death.  The word "deadbeat" has been carved into his chest.

Tarim - I ought to remember to get back here once we've cleared the place.

Gorethirst - Ah Kaius, there is a latch that will let you see into the next room without opening the door

* Gorethirst demonstrates this as he looks into the next room

Kaius Alexander - What? Fine.

* Kaius Alexander peers through

This room has two corpses in it, both of them badly decomposed.  They have hideous bite-marks in their flesh, and one clearly had his entrails partially devoured.  The stench is hideous.  Flies swarm around the pair, and maggots feast upon the remains.  A bout of nausea rolls over Gorethirst, but it suppresses the sensation, desensitized as it is to the sight of gore from countless battles in the fighting pits.

* Gorethirst closes the hatch.

Tarim - What did you see?

Gorethirst - More left-over meals.

A half-rotten table stands at the center of this room.  Rusting restraints and some kind of dilapidated arcano-electric generator or engine are also evident.  Its not currently on, but it might be in working order.  There's a switch, with several settings on it.

* Kaius Alexander eyes the generator.

Tarim - What might be the purpose of this device?

Kaius Alexander - A panacea for the mad.

Gorethirst - Nothing living on this floor. Glut must be in the basement of the building.

Tarim - Perhaps it powers other devices in this building?

Gorethirst - Are you willing to operate this device?

Tarim - Better leave it be if we don't know what it does. Anyway, there was a still living prisoner a floor up, wasn't there?

Kaius Alexander - Then let us question him. He may know of Glut.

Tarim - Perhaps he could tell us something useful

You head upstairs and Gorethirst locates the cell the man was being kept at.

* Gorethirst tries to force the door open but it is stuck fast.

Kaius Alexander - Let me see the door.

Tarim - More lock-picking might be in order'¦

* Gorethirst moves out of the way for Kaius

After several minutes of fiddling, the lock clicks, and the door swings open.

Kaius Alexander - Finally.

* Kaius Alexander strides up to the prisoner.

Tarim - Is he awake?

The man looks up, realizing that you're not a Masticator.

"Name's Girm Usur," he says weakly.  "Can you get me out of here?"

Kaius Alexander - We might.  Why are you imprisoned?

* Gorethirst walks into view and peers at the prisoner

"I was hired to take these wretches out," the man says.  "Got cocky, thought I could get rid of them on my own.  I got the drop on them, killed two before they swarmed me, clamped down with those godsdamned teeth of theirs' - when I woke up I was here.  They've been gnawing off bits of me ever since."

Kaius Alexander - Coincidental. So have we.

"Doubt its coincidence."

Tarim - I take it you didn't see Glut, then?

"I saw the bastard.  Huge wormy, metal teeth, slobbers a lot, totally mottlebrained on thrum."

Gorethirst - Who is your employer?

"Mara of the Dogskulls hired me."

Kaius Alexander - She must possess a fierce hatred for this Glut, for it is her we work for. Come then, I will release you.

* Kaius Alexander unshackles him.

"She's a canny businesswoman," Grim says.  "Glut's a problem she needs eliminated.  I'm not surprised she sent in more cleavers after I didn't come back."

Tarim - How much did you manage to see of this asylum? Did you get a look at the basement?

"I didn't make it as far as the basement, but I think that's where their lab is.  Heard a couple of them talking about it."

Tarim - What did they say?

"Something about their thrum supply, and a broken boiler.  By the way, any of you seen my weapon?  It'd be distinctive.  A khopesh, ensorcelled, called Vivisectionist."

Gorethirst - You can leave the asylum now. We shall deal with Glut from here.

* Kaius Alexander pulls it out of his pack

Kaius Alexander - Here. They had placed it in their armoury.

"Thanks.  I owe you one, for certain."

Tarim - You better get a new arm attached, if you're going to be swinging that blade again

He takes the weapon.  "I can fight with my off hand, but I hear you can get all manner of grafts in this city."

Kaius Alexander - You may assist us in the completion of the contract, if you feel able. We will kill Glut regardless.

* Kaius Alexander checks the rounds in his revolver

He considers.  "I'm pretty weak, not sure how useful I'd be in a fight.  On the other hand, I'm going to need money if I'm going to get my arm replaced."

* Gorethirst looks at Kaius

Gorethirst - Are we recruting cripples now?

Kaius Alexander - It is his decision if he will proceed with the contract. He was already hired.

He takes an experimental swing with the weapon.  "Shame they took my weapon hand, but like I said, I can fight well enough with my off hand.  But I'll accompany you - perhaps I'll turn the tide."

Kaius Alexander - I will not have you slowing us down. This is your last chance to reconsider.

Tarim - Let him fight if he so desires. We've no quarrel with him, and he could at the least be a distraction

"I won't slow you down.  Thanks for the rescue."

* Kaius Alexander inclines his head slightly, and lowers his visor.

* Gorethirst heads towards the basement.

Kaius Alexander - Then let us relieve Glut of his life.

* Tarim follows.

You descend the spiral staircase, Girm in tow.  At the bottom is another door, slightly ajar.  Gorethirst, you can smell living beings not far beyond.

* Kaius Alexander draws his sword quietly.

* Eareg Maar takes up the rear, descending with you the dark red glow of a pipe lighting his face

Gorethirst - There are living creatures beyond here. THe rest of the Masticators without doubt.

Tarim - Proceed carefully then.  They might be expecting an assault by now

* Kaius Alexander slowly opens the door and steps across the threshold

Three dead bodies are slumped here in a pool of blood in the middle of the corridor.  One appears to have swallowed his own barrel, shot himself through the head.  Another slit his wrists and just lay down.  A third killed himself by bashing his own head in, based on his injuries and the bloodstains on the wall.  The statuette stands upright in the middle of the corridor, facing towards you and grinning, its onyx eyes glinting as if with twisted delight.  There is a set of double doors at the far end of the corridor, and two side-rooms.

*Kaius inadvertently locks his gaze with the statuette's.

Kaius, you are seized with an urge to kill yourself.  Why are you here, mindlessly hacking up criminals in this wretched place?  Is this what Lady Genevieve would want of you?  You must end this pathetic play existence, this sham of a life, this husk.

* Kaius Alexander pulls out his revolver.

Tarim - Don't do it Kaius!

* Kaius Alexander brings it to his head.

* Gorethirst tackles Kaius.

* Kaius Alexander struggles with Gorethirst.  He pushes the leechkin off and Gorethirst slams into the wall.

* Eareg Maar moves around them, his eyes averted and casts a hide tarpaulin atop the statue.

You manage to cover the statuette.  You hear it hiss angrily.

Kaius Alexander - Do not stand in my way, Leech. I must do this.

* Gorethirst blinks at Kaius.

* Kaius Alexander again brings the revolver up to his head.

Tarim - Think of you duties.  What would your Lady have you do?

Kaius Alexander - She'¦ she would...

* Kaius Alexander puts his head in his hands, thinking of the burden he was charged with.

Kaius Alexander - You.. you are right, Tarim.

* Kaius Alexander hand hovers over his breastplate, where the orb is.

* Gorethirst hands Eareg a coil of rope taken from his bag

* Eareg Maar ties up the bundle.

Kaius Alexander - That statue is a blight upon the world.

* Kaius Alexander sits down heavily against a wall.

Tarim - Looks like the statuette did it's work here, but almost got you. We should not take it away from the asylum, no matter how much it might be worth. It's too dangerous.

Eareg Maar - Agreed, but lets find a better place than here to put it.  Perhaps a side room.

* Eareg Maar looks around uneasily for a nearby sideroom.  The statuette cannot impel him to suicide while covered, but he does feel melancholic and gloomy.

Inside this dirty chamber, an alembic bubbles and boils unattended, refining a swirling yellowish liquid.  Various bits of alchemical equipment - mortars and pestles, beakers, phials, etcetera - adorn the shelves.  There's a rack with a dozen full vials in it as well.

* Eareg Maar tosses the heavy bundle into the room and shuts the door.

Eareg Maar - I'll buy you a new rope when we're back in town.

Kaius Alexander - We'¦ we must proceed. Glut still must die.

* Kaius Alexander stands up slowly.

* Eareg Maar puffs heavily on his pipe trying to calm his nerves.

Eareg Maar - Blasted trinket.

* Tarim peeks into the other side-room.

This seems to be a boiler room, the machinery rusted and probably non-functional.

Tarim - Must be the broken boiler...

* Tarim checks his blunderbuss pistol.

It's loaded and looks fully functional.  There's a nick where Meteor's bullet scratched it, but its fully intact.

Tarim - Only the double doors left...

* Gorethirst moves forward and kicks open the double doors.

Three gunshots ring out as Gorethirst kicks open the doors.  The leechkin is hit with the blast of two blunderbusses, tiny bits of shot embedding themselves in its body.

* Gorethirst staggers but stays standing.

A hugely obese ghul squats in the middle of this large chamber.  He appears to have had all of his teeth removed, as he wears a bizarre-looking mouthpiece, a set of bladed artificial teeth: he looks almost as if he's rammed an animal trap into his mouth.  They don't look grafted but rather worn like murderous denchers.

From his greyish skin, long talons, and cat-like eyes, you take him to be a ghul..  Half a dozen other Masticators fill the room.  Some are armed with crude serrated blades, others with guns or clubs; some have weapon-grafts, and one wields an enormous curved sword.  They have overturned tables, gurneys, and other furniture to make impromptu barricades, which the gunmen hunker behind.

"Give up now, foolth!"  Glut slobbers.  "Or I will thtrip the flesh from your boneth!"  His artificial teeth make his enunciation clumsy.

Kaius Alexander - Glut. Your life has been paid for. There is no escape for you. Now you will die.

* Eareg Maar slips a wounding bullet into the chamber of his weapon.

* With an eldritch word Meteor bursts to uncanny life.

Leaping through the fray as a hail of gunfire bursts around it, disregarding all pain, Gorethirst brings his axe to bear on the Masticator boss!  It brings its axe down in a vicious overhead chop, drawing blood.  Glut squeals in anguish as the weapon embeds itself in his shoulder.

* Tarim manoeuvres himself to the back of the group, but in a position where he can get a clear line of sight to Glut. Eldritch whispers escape from his parched lips, and the black ink tattooed on his skin begins to move, crawling subcutaneously.

* Eareg Maar lifts Meteor to his shoulder as long green lines flow from his right arm, encasing the barrel in an eldritch web that reaches out with cold fingers to touch the Masticator boss (True Strike tattoo).

* Eareg Maar pulls the trigger and a sickly green bullet wreathed in hungry flames claws its way towards glut's chest.  The bullet penetrates one of the ghul's flabby pectorals in a spray of dark blood.  The wound immediately begins to fester, turning putrid.  The grave-spawn's unnatural constitution keeps him on his feet.

Two of the Masticators near Glut turn to attack Gorethirst.  One of the thugs sinks his teeth into the leechkin's side.

Girm charges forward, Vivisectionist gleaming, a war-cry on his lips.  He has his head blown off by a blunderbuss blast.

*Kaius Alexander leaps off a gurney and brings his blade down, but the gunman he was attacking jerks aside.

Glut removes a syringe from his belt and rams it into his arm.  He begins to vibrate rapidly, flesh blurring and quivering with the effects of thrum.

*Gorethirst continues to slash at the gang-leader.

* Tarim chants louder and gestures wickedly as the living tattoos on his skin converge to his clawed hands. With a snarled command word he lets loose a black, inky ray that leaps like a striking serpent at Glut.  The ennervating hex saps Glut's strength and he seems to crumple in on himself.

* Eareg Maar draws a bead on one of the crazed gunfighters with meteor but before he can fire a blast of black fire rips its way out of the barrel and flies towards him (crippling conflagration out Meteor's barrel).  The gunman snarls and stumbles backwards.

The Masticator in the corner uses a dose of thrum and then charges towards Eareg and Tarim.  One of the Masticators besides  Gorethirst attemtps to use a dose of thrum, but Gorethirst slashes him with its axe, disrupting the attempt.  The other thug swings with his huge sword, but the leechkin warrior whirls around and parries.

*Kaius Alexander interrupts a reloading gunman with a skillful swipe of his blade, and the thug drops his blunderbuss in anguish.  The Insomnolent Guard stabs him in the torso, and he screeches in agony.  Kaius twists the blade and blood spews from the Masticator's lips.

Glut growls and bites Gorethirst with his iron teeth, tearing flesh.  Sapped of strength by Tarim's hex, the Masticator's attack is greatly enfeebled.

*Gorethirst counterattacks, its axe slicing into Glut's belly.  Intestines spill out in a steaming pile.  Impossibly the berzerk, drug-addled grave-spawn stays on his feet, ignoring the hideous wound with absurd tenacity.

* Tarim seeing the charging gangster, takes a few steps back and unleashes another tattooed hex at the attacker.  The hex goes wide.

* Eareg Maar gestures at the charging Masticator and a shaft of yellowish light strikes him in the eyes.  His hex dazes the Masticator, who stops in his tracks, confused and half-stunned.

Another thug tries to bite Gorethirst, but the leechkin ignores his pathetic attack contemptuously.

The Masticators swarm Kaius, having abandoned their blunderbusses.  One manages to hit with a spiked mace, but the warrior shrugs off most of the damage.

*Kaius finishes off theMasticator he wounded earlier with a thrust to the heart.

Glut howls with rage.  The other thugs echo him.  He continues to bite at Gorethirst viciously, ripping flesh and muscle.

*Gorethirst, wounded from the ghul's wicked iron teeth, darts to one side and bringshis axe in a powerful side-swipe.  The blow sheers through the Masticator boss' head at the level of his nose.  He falls to the ground, guts spilling from his stomach, a pool of blood spreading around him.

* Tarim retreats away from the dazed Masticator and lobs a flesh-melter at him.  Tthe acid vial spatters the mobster.

* Eareg Maar attempts to introduce some lead into the bezerkers stomach, via gunpowder injection.  The berzerkers stumbles back as a flaming bullet pierces his guts.  Dazed, acid-splattered, and shot in the stomach, he retreats back behind the barricades, whimpering.

In the meantime, one of the Masticators fighting Gorethirst disengages and heads towards Eareg and Tarim.  He leaps jumping over the barricades, his curved sword gleaming murderously.

*Gorethirst continues to fend off the remaining attacker.

*Kaius Alexander blow hacks off one of the Masticators' arms at the shoulder.

* Gorethirst unleashes a terrifying double throated yowl.  Slathered in blood, the leechkin is a terrifying sight.

The Masticators flee en masse towards the door in abject terror.  Gorethirst hacks one of the Masticators down, felling him instantly.  Eareg attempts to take a shot at one of the fleeing thugs but Meteor jams; instead he butts the rifle's stock into a Masticator's face, and the thug goes down, to be trampled into a bloody, mangled heap by his booted fellows.

*Tarim and Kaius fire off shots at the retreating gangsters as they flee the room through the double doors.

* Kaius Alexander holsters his revolver with a slight frown.

Kaius Alexander - Vermin.

The Masticators are defeated.  Glut lies dead in a pool of blood and viscera.

* Eareg Maar examines the trampled one.

* Kaius Alexander raises his visor and spits blood.

* Tarim kicks a random corpse.

Kaius Alexander - Gorethirst, get his teeth. Mara will want them.

* Gorethirst retrives Gluts teeth and puts them in his bag.

* Tapping the now cooling ashes out of his pipe onto the downed man's forehead Eareg Maar begins to work at clearing the jammed bullet out of meteor's chamber.

* Tarim looks around the carnage-stained room.

Tarim, you notice a large strong-box in one corner.

* Tarim approaches the box.

* Kaius Alexander looks at Girm's headless corpse.

Kaius Alexander - Too bad.

* Kaius Alexander leans down and picks up his khopesh, Vivisectionist.

Eareg Maar - This fellow is still breathing.

Gorethirst - The cripple was a fool to follow us.

* Eareg Maar relieves the unconscious thug of his curved sword.

Kaius Alexander - Kill him. His life is useless and he is a danger to all.

* Eareg Maar shrugs

Gorethirst - I am quite famished after this battle. I will gladly solve the problem for us.

Tarim - Eareg, we could use that lock-picking hand again.  Unless you can find a key on what remains of Glut

* Eareg Maar hefts the unconscious man grabbing him by the chin and the top of his head then whips his head around with a sharp snapping.

* Gorethirst sighs out of two mouths, a strange sound

Eareg Maar - Sure.

* Eareg Maar hands it and the thieves tools to Tarim.

Eareg Maar - You know the word

After the mummified hand picks the lock, the strongbox opens.  Inside are stacks of bone coins.

* Tarim counts out 1324 obeloi.

* Eareg Maar taps the last ashes out of his pipe and puts it away.

* Eareg Maar probes at his back and finding the shot just under the skin works it out carefully with his claws and a grunt.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on August 19, 2010, 05:41:12 PM
The rest of the logs from last session will be up soonish.

I'm keeping a Master Log of all the (edited) logs so far.  We just pushed it over 200 pages!

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Nomadic on August 19, 2010, 08:15:57 PM
Looking good though the latest log post has an error in the very last line.

* Eareg Maar probes at Glut's back and finding the shot just under the skin works it out carefully with his claws and a grunt.

should be...

* Eareg Maar probes at his back and finding the shot just under the skin works it out carefully with his claws and a grunt.

Was pretty sure that I said that but I might have mistyped it as glut. I was talking about the shot I took early on from one of the gunslingers (was working the bullet out of my back where it stopped just shy of exiting).

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on August 19, 2010, 10:24:43 PM
OH!  Gotcha.  I thought you were digging out your wounding bullet from Glut so I changed it from a pronoun to a proper noun to clarify.  Thanks, I'll change it back!  I should  stick to removing the dice rolls and not get creative when editing...

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Superfluous Crow on August 20, 2010, 05:42:41 AM
Damn it, how did I miss last session? When was it??
Maybe you should begin putting dates on sessions according to what day they were played.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on August 20, 2010, 01:13:03 PM
Fair enough, I'll start adding on the dates.

We play every Tuesday at 4:15 PM EST, or 9:15 GMT.  No worries about missing sessions - you'll get plenty of xp and some loot from Wispy's subplot.  I decided you were guarding the door against other Masticators last session, so it'll be easy for you to jump back in next session if you like.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on August 25, 2010, 03:44:18 PM
BTW I will psot the Wispy & Carver burgalry write-ups once that plot gets finished up (so that it doesnt' get too scattered).

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: LD on August 25, 2010, 10:16:25 PM
They are well worth the wait.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on August 25, 2010, 10:24:04 PM
August 24th, 2010:


Glut is slain, the Masticators are dead or fled, and the contract with Mara of the Dogskull Clan is completed.  Having decided to leave the suicide-inducing statuette in the aslyum's basement, the group prepares to leave.  Before they do so Tarim retraces his steps to the second floor and studies the glyphs in one of the cells more closely, deciphering a formula for the Hideous Laughter hex.

* Tarim sits down and opens his grimoire, taking a quill and dipping it in ink.

* Tarim meticulously scribbles down the glyphs, while Fangs keeps watch by the doorway.  He copies the spell, a laborious process taking several hours.  The glyphs are interspersed with the incoherent ramblings of the former occupant, making the task especially difficult.

* Gorethirst goes to the roof to check on Corpsegobble.

Corpsegobble is irritable at being left up in the cold night air, but otherwise fine.  It whines at you - hungry for carrion.

* Gorethirst leads Corpsegobble down to street level then returns into the asylum to gather a batch of corpses for his mount.

* Gorethirst drags out Glut's corpse and those of three Masticators felled in the raid.

Without difficulty you get more than enough cadavers to satisfy the dire maggot's voracious hunger.  You can almost see it grow as it greedily devours Glut and his henchmen.

* Kaius Alexander watches placidly.

*Mr. Carver waits by the door, twirling one of his knives.

Kaius Alexander - Let us deliver the teeth to Mara, then.  I would like to see this contract done.

* Gorethirst takes one last look through the asylum for anything worth selling.

* Tarim, having finished his scribblings, descends the stairs to the ground level.

Tarim - I presume none of you have any more business in this asylum.

* Gorethirst waves Tarim towards the door.

Gorethirst - I am finished with this place.

Tarim - Time to fetch our prize.

*Mr. Carver tips his hat and walks off back into the Row.

Note that while he was infected with a disease from a swarm of piranha rats back in the catacombs, Dr. Gristle provided Mr. Carver with a vaccine as a favor for his work the previous night.

You head back to the Laughing Fiend tavern by the Butcher's Gate.  This late at night, the streets of Resurrection Row are peopled by junkies and toughs who eye you menacingly until they notice your weapons and bloodied clothes and armour.  Though few people in Macellaria are truly homeless - there are a surfeit of buildings, and the militia are not overly fussy about squatters - plenty of them are still impoverished in the slums of the Row.  Ragged street-folk, cestoids, and leechkin cluster around barrels of burning refuse, trying to keep warm.

Mara and several other men and women with the tattoos of Dogskull clansmen are seated at the bar inside the Laughing Fiend, raucously talking and throwing back drinks.

* Kaius Alexander throws the teeth down heavily on the bar.

Kaius Alexander - It is done.

Mara cocks an eyebrow, gesturing that the party sit, if they wish.

* Tarim approaches them, grinning triumphantly.

"That was fast.  You lot look a bit worse for wear."

Kaius Alexander - It is no matter. I will heal shortly.  You have paid for the best. We pride ourselves on efficient work.

"I'm sure.  Here's your payment, as promised, and a five hundred obeloi bonus for such speedy service."  She deposits a heavy sack of bone coins.

Note - I tweaked this - the bonus is sort of recompense intended for Eareg/Carver, who weren't officially part of the contract but who did do a lot during the fight.  I made a note of it to Nomadic.

* Kaius Alexander inclines his head respectfully.

Tarim - Oh, we happened to run into one of your other hires in the asylum. A black man with a hexed blade.

Gorethirst - He was slain in the battle.

Tarim - We found him alive, one arm eaten. As Gorethirst says, regrettably, he did not make it out alive.

"That fool Girm?  I'm not surprised.  A braggart and a reckless fighter.  I'm afraid I underestimated the Masticators, sending him in."

Gorethirst - Did you manage to acquire any antiques of the Ur-Bone variety?

She turns to Gorethirst.  "Indeed I did, just for the antique enthusiast."

Mara sets down a helm made of solid black bone that glistens in the sepia lamplight.  The helm has no visor but is carved to resemble a monstrous visage with an open maw.  Wicked horns sprout from the temples.

"Phaine found this gathering dust - couldn't find a buyer for it at first, and then it got lost in amongst some other old stuff.  It's yours if you want it, leech."

* Gorethirst accepts the helm.

* Tarim eyes the helm, curious if it has any witchery in it.

Gorethirst - You have my thanks human.

It's not obviously bewitched with additional hexes, but the eldritch radiation that surrounds all ur-bone appear to have been stripped, so that Gorethirst doesn't start growing tentacles out of his face.

Gorethirst - ooc: well that is a relief :D  maybe if I was Carver it wouldn't be so bad ~~

"Care to have a drink with us scoundrels and rapscallions?"

Tarim - A drink to celebrate our victory sounds good.

Gorethirst - Is there any other bloodwork that you need done Mara?

"Not for the time being, leech, though I must say, I'm impressed.  If anything comes up we need freelancers for, I'll think of you.  Unless you were looking for a more permanent position?"

* Gorethirst shakes its head.

Gorethirst - Freelance work will be fine for me.

"What would you like to drink, Tarim?"

Tarim - A cup of blood wine for me

"We got some in special just this afternoon."

Tarim - Sounds good.

She snaps her fingers and the antlered barkeep fetches you a mulled blood-red-wine blend.

* Tarim brings it to his dried lips and tastes a bit.

* Kaius Alexander stands nearby, silently.

There's a hint of oak, and an undertone of decomposing flesh, pleasant to the grave-spawn palette'¦

"So, did Glut and his cronies put up a good fight?"

Gorethirst - No, they were killed like fools.

Tarim - Aside from their lack of tactical savvy, they did fight with much ferocity.

She snorts.  "They had a lot more brawn than brains."

Tarim - Do you not want a drink, Gorethirst? Or did you have enough already in the asylum?

Gorethirst - Ah yes, perhaps a goblet of blood would be quite nice.

She orders you one.

* Gorethirst drinks awkwardly from the goblet.

"Anything for you, Mr. Alexander?  You're awfully quiet and dour this evening."

Kaius Alexander - I will take clean water, if you have any.

"Of course.  Not easy to find in this city, but we do have a supply."

The water is clear and cold, unclouded by sediment.

Tarim - In the end though, when Glut fell they ran like rodents.

* Kaius Alexander sips slowly.

Kaius Alexander - Vermin. This city is filled with them.

* Tarim drink the rest of his blood-wine.

* Gorethirst finishes his drink, spilling a little on his bloody palms.

Mara laughs.  "Aren't we all but vermin, Mr. Alexander - rats in the cosmic maze?  What do the Lamenters call us?  'The fester-spawned parasites of a cadaverous earth'?"

Gorethirst - I believe I will retire for the evening. A pleasure working with you Mara.

She nods to the leechkin.  "And with you, Gorethirst.  I hope you like your antique."

Gorethirst - A beautiful piece.

Tarim - Need some rest myself. I bid you farewell for the night.


The thieves begin to swap tales and brag to one another of their exploits in Filchspeak.

* Gorethirst leaves the bar and mounts Corpsegobble going to find an entrance to the catacombs.

* Tarim exits the tavern and heads for his home in the Worm-Hive.

* Kaius Alexander finishes his water and leaves.

Mara winks at the Insomnolent as he exits the bar.

Gorethirst, you find a likely nook in the catacombs, sequestered away from the territories of the sewer scavengers and the cestoid nests.

Tarim, after studying your spells, you retire for the evening, glad to have the statuette out of your chambers.  Even without its sinister presence your dreams are tinged with nightmarish residues, as if the thing had tainted your rooms'¦

Kaius, you return to your rooms and slip into your usual brief sleep.

Welcoming oblivion takes you, but your preterslumber is again interrupted.  You hear Lady Genevieve's voice shouting at you: "Wake up Kaius!  Wake up!"

You wake with a start.  Cool night air wafts in through an open window.

* Kaius Alexander jolts to his feet and looks around.

You notice that something is slithering beneath your sheets, moving towards the head of the bed totally silent.

* Kaius Alexander grabs his revolver from beneath his pillow and backs away cautiously.

The sheets rustle.  A cartialginous worm squirms out from under them, a small, sphincter-like maw on one tip opening and closing.  It squeals and twists around.  A cluster of crude, black eyes regard you from the other tip.

* Kaius Alexander sights down his revolver at the creature.

Kaius Alexander - And what are you? No matter, you will soon be nothing.

The worm-like thing coils as if to spring, but the Unsleeping warrior pulls his trigger before it can.  His bullet hits the worm and severs its body into two pieces.

* Kaius Alexander lowers his revolver and leans over to examine the creature's remains.

The worm hisses.  The two halves are still alive, bleeding a foul liquid everywhere.  Your sheets are quite ruined.

* Kaius Alexander puts on a boot and stamps on the worm-halves.

The worm-like thing dies.  A cool breeze wafts through the open window.

Kaius Alexander - Curious. Worm creatures in the night.

*After the fight at the asylum Eareg Maarretires to his den outside the city.

On the door, you find a piece of parchment pinned to the wood by a dagger.

* Eareg Maar pulls the dagger out.

Eareg Maar - You'd think people would find less cliché days to deliver notes these days.

* Eareg Maar examines the parchment.

The sigil of the Crimson Shadows is drawn on the parcment.  Below it are written the words "Remember us?  Don't be a stranger.  Come pay a visit soon."

Eareg Maar - Ah hell.  Was sure they didn't know where I lived.

* Eareg Maar crumples up the paper and tosses it on the ground.

* Eareg Maar unlocks the door and heads inside

Fortunately your cave is untouched, and doesn't even have any insectile horrors or assassin-worms to make your evening more exciting.

* Eareg Maar plops down on a old beaten chair, taking Meteor in his hands.

Eareg Maar - So my fine fiery fellow now that we have a few I wonder what other secrets you hold.

* Eareg Maar examines the rifle.

The runes glow more brightly than they once did.  The rifle is hot to the touch - not enough to burn, but noticeably warm.

Eareg Maar - Hmm.  Well I'm sure I'll have you figured out you misbehaving contraption

* Eareg Maar places Meteor on a table before retiring to bed.

Eareg, you dream of fire, and of a woman's voice.  The face of a man you do not recognize, yet that somehow seems familiar, haunts your dream as well, till it is consumed by the flames, flseh blackening and sloughing off the bones, leaving only a charred skull beneath.  You wake the next day in a sweat, almost as if you were feverish - though, of course, that is impossible, as ghilan cannot be touched by fever or sickness of any kind.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on August 25, 2010, 10:34:14 PM
Some may have noticed that I added the description "Part One: Rattle" to the first post.  You may be starting Part Two soon.  Provided the campaign keeps running (and I'll run it so long as I'm able and players are willing) I envision a minimum of 10 "Parts."  Just a minor note, doesn't really effect the day-to-day on the campaign.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: LD on August 25, 2010, 10:56:00 PM
Will you be compiling a list of the bars and inns and locations that exist mentioned by players and yourself?

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on August 25, 2010, 11:29:25 PM
That's a good idea.  Maybe a list of landmarks more generally split into categories.

EDIT: Added on the front page.  Not quite a list to rival Igbar's detail quite yet, but perhaps on its way.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on August 26, 2010, 01:16:33 AM
August 24th 2010 continued:


*Tarim heads out looking to purchase some spells.

Tarim, you head into the bustling thoroughfares of the Hexwarren, where servitors rub shoulders with witches and even the street performers are minor conjurors and gutter magi rather than the usual crop of musicians and acrobats.

A crazed looking human clothed in a dusty robe thrown atop the rags of a tramp gesticulates wildly at a street corner.  His irises twinkle with greenish-golden light.  The man's hair is incredibly long and unkempt, and seems to rustle with the scuttling of insects, tiny bugs squirming in and out of his matted locks.  As you watch, he mutters some bit of sorcerous doggerel and the creatures in his hair swarm suddenly out of it en masse, a skittering flow of black chitin.  All of the insects appear to be small scarab beetles.

As the gutter-witch conjures and raves his slurred chant the beetles begin to clamber atop one another, to conglomerate themselves into a chittering living statute accreted out of legs and shells and wings that warps and reshapes itself in obedience to the man's instructions.  First he does a cat and a dog, then a camel, then a cobra.  Next he moves on to more ambitious creations, forcing the insects into the shapes of a swordsman practicing his moves, of a curvaceous humanoid woman with swaying movements as inviting as any streetwalker's, of a six-limbed mantid with scissoring blade-arms, of a monkey that flails its arms and tail and scurries up his back to perch on his shoulder.  Appreciative passersby throw coins into the scuffed-looking top-hat at the witch's feet.

* Tarim strides confidently, feeling at home in amidst all the witchery. Fangs is flying somewhere above, gliding between rooftops and occasionally stopping to perch on one in a crude imitation of a gargoyle.

* Tarim glances briefly at the bug-performance but carries on in his way.

There are dozens of spell-vendors and glyph parlours, scroll-sellers and old bookshops piled high with grimoires here.

You locate a grizzled old human magus who smokes an ornate hookah while his monkey familiar capers round the shop, filing scrolls and the like.

*Tarim describe the spells he's looking for - Entropic Shield, Mirror Image, and Necrotic Cust - and the human witch rummages around in his collection till he finds the requisite formulae.

Tarim - Just the hexes I was after.

"That'll be two hundred and fifty bones."  He eyes you, exhales purplish smoke.  "What trade you in?"

Tarim - Anything that pays... and doesn't land me in too much trouble.

* Tarim grins.

* Tarim examines the hexes, then hands over the money.

He grins - an awful sight, his teeth smoke-stained and yellow.

"Care for a puff?"

Tarim - I'll pass.

"Probably wise."  He laughs, which turns into a hacking cough.

* Gorethirst awakes and surfaces from the catacombs in Pulsetown.  It heads towards the Church of Striga.

The Sanguine Church looms above the winding streets of Pulsetown, a gaudy abomination of iridescent stained glass and sculptured red and yellow stone, its steepled brow crowned by a troupe of weird statues halfway between warrior-angels and grimacing monsters, gorgeous fanged seraphs with wings of gilt and huge swords, their countenances both beautiful and horrendous to behold.

A tendril of black smoke curls out from a cluster of brass chimneys that bristles from the building like a tumour, or a pipe organ.  From inside, a dull chant can vaguely be heard.

* Gorethirst approaches the main entrance, riding Corpsegobble and wearing the Helm of Urus.

Two red-robed worshippers glare at you as you climb the steps.

"You disgrace this place with your presence, parasite," one growls.  "Begone, unclean one."

Gorethirst - I am here to see one Servius Izar.

The neophyte steps forwards.  "I said be off.  You are not worthy of speaking his name, scum."

Gorethirst - Fetch him, I am here to deliver a message to him on behalf of the Guild of Crimson Shadows.

* Gorethirst glares at the neophyte.

"I fetch no one, and you do not issue orders or make demands on Striga's hallowed ground!"  He pulls a jagged knife from his belt, and his companion does the same.

Gorethirst - Fools.  Perhaps he will see me when I drain your corpses dry.

The neophyte moves to strike, raising his weapon...

*Gorethirst lowers its head and gores the Striga worshipper.  He grunts in pain as the horns burst through his chest and out his back.  He drops his dagger as blood burst from his mouth.  The leechkin shakes the man off its horns and he slumps to the ground.

*Gorethirst places its palm-mouths on the dying neophyte's face and drains him dry, leaving only a pallid husk.

Gorethirst - Will you fetch Servius now human?

The other neophyte retches noisily all over the steps of his Church, then nods at you and darts inside in terror.

A moment later a massive shape darkens the doorway of the Sanguine Church.

A veritable mountain of flesh, Servius Izar is an enormous, bald-headed monster of a man currently garbed in finely made clothes of different shades of red - the traditional garb of a Striga worshipper dressed for Flayday Mass.

This guy would be played by Vinnie Jones.

He regards Gorethirst, the dead body, and the puddle of vomit impassively.  He wears a cryptic, almost placid expression, as if to say "Do you realize who exactly you just fucked with?"  Despiet his passivity, however, his fists clench, turning bone-white at the knuckles.

Gorethirst - I am here to challenge you to a duel.  Tell the city, I will drain you dry in public view for any willing to watch. I do so on behalf of the Guild of Crimson Shadows.  Do you have anything to add human?

For a moment, Servius Izar says nothing at all, merely watching the leechkin, his arms crossed.  At last, he speaks simply, in a low, deep voice.

"You have defiled a holy place, here, spilt the sacred blood of one of the faithful.  You will be punished for your sins, parasite.  Name a time and place and I will be there."

He seethes with supressed rage.  His jaw cracks as he grinds his teeth.

Gorethirst - Two days hence at the gladiatorial pit. Tell anyone you wish not to see you slaughtered to avoid the place.

"Make the arrangements.  The faithful of Striga will watch me pulverize your flesh and break every bone in your body.  You will squeal for mercy before the end.  Two days, leech, and you will burn in the blackest of Hells."

* Gorethirst mounts Corpsegobble and after circling once rides off towards the Guildhall of Crimson Shadows to inform them of the news, stopping by Tarim's place where Kaius and the ghul witch have breakfasted following Tarim's purchases.  They find Eareg Maar at the Guildhall on  business of his own.

* Eareg Maar is standing outside with an old rugged bird on his shoulder holding a crumpled note.

* Gorethirst nods a greeting towards the Ghul scavenger.

* Eareg Maar puffs on his simple wooden pipe.

You head into the Guildhall where the clerks do business with scavengers, buying and selling, organizing contracts, scrutinizing a map of the Slaughter-lands.  One of the guards notices the ghul, and Gorethirst.  He approaches the group.

* Eareg Maar idly heads in, puffing on his pipe and paying little attention to things around him while he examines the piece of parchment in his hands

"Hello, Gorethirst."  He turns to Eareg.  "Mr. Maar.  It's been awhile."

* Gorethirst nods in greeting.

* Eareg Maar looks up at Gorethirst.

* Eareg Maar gives a start.

Eareg Maar - Didn't see you, didn't your mother tell you its rude to surprise people like that

* Eareg Maar takes the pipe from his mouth and blows a smoke ring before looking at the guard

Gorethirst - I have never met my mother. Perhaps this is why I never learned that lesson.

"Anything I can report to Yesheleb?"

* Gorethirst hefts a heavy coin purse bulging with coin.

Gorethirst - Arrangements need to be made for a duel between myself and Servius Izar. Two days from now at the gladitorial pits. I will also like a bet of 600 obeloi to placed on my victory.

Eareg Maar - Yagg'¦


* Eareg Maar tosses him the note.

Eareg Maar - Very funny.

"We just figured you would be keen to renew your partnership with us, Eareg."

Eareg Maar - Yeah about as keen as I would be to shoot myself.

* Eareg Maar grins.

* Eareg Maar looks sideways at the leech.

Gorethirst - Would you be willing to place a bet on my victory friend Eareg?

* Eareg Maar pulls a small pouch off his person and sits it on top of Gorethirst's bag.

Eareg Maar - Put me in for a hundred.

The guard, Yagg, scowls at Eareg, then turns to Gorethirst.  "I will pass on this information.  The arrangements will be made.  I place your bet with one of the officials."

Yagg collects other bets - two hundred from Kaius, one hundred from Tarim - and bows low.

"Eareg, may I remind you that you never actually left our Guild?  Your contract with us stands."

Eareg Maar - Yeah I know you old killjoy.  You should know how I feel about strange notes on my door, though.

"May I suggest you pay Cräen a visit?  She will take care of getting you a new Guild Mark."

Eareg Maar - Bah.

* Eareg Maar waves him off and heads to find Cräen.

"We just wanted to get your attention, Eareg!  Just a playful joke."

* Eareg Maar shouts back at him - You still need to work on your humour, then!

* Eareg Maar heads off

Cräen's workroom is meticulously kept, every grimoire and scroll-case alphabetically labelled, every oddity and artefact carefully stored: a bronze skull on insect legs, a grotesquely carven breastplate, a crossbow of carved bone, a black, mummified heart.

In the center of the large room is an imposing cage with glyph-graven bars, containing a whimpering, eyeless thing with bone blades jutting from its limbs and a line of jagged spines down its back and tail.  It cringes, tasting the air with a cluster of tentacles and clattering its sword-like arms against the bars, while Cräen - a stern albino woman dressed all in black - mutters an incantation and flicks her wrist.  An effervescent serpent materializes and slithers through the bars until it hits the monstrosity, which squeals in pain or obscene pleasure as the eldritch energy courses through it body.  Cräen mutters something under her breath and scribbles down notes in a thick, leatherbound tome.

* Eareg Maar stands in the doorway idly watching, smoke streaming slowly from his mouth

Cräen is actually a former (human) slave of the lilix who escaped the dungeons of the Gynocracy using self-taught witchcraft gleaned from stolen spiderfolk scriptures.  She glances up at the group, recognizing Eareg.

Eareg Maar - Someone said I needed to come pay you to jab eldritch pins in me.

"I see you've returned Eareg... glad you survived the pits.  I suppose they confiscated your Guild Mark?"

Eareg Maar - Obviously... no fun letting me slip through the walls after all.

"Typical.  That tattoo would be thousands of obeloi in a glyph parlour, you know."

Eareg Maar - You know the problem with you people is you don't have a sense of humour.

* Eareg Maar saunters in and pulls up a chair.

She looks up at the rest of the group.  "And who are your friends?"

Eareg Maar - Just some acquaintances.  Fellows trying to make a living like me.

She makes a slightly derisive sound and heads over to introduce herself to the rest of the group

* Tarim cocks his head in a light bow.

Tarim - Greetings.

She notices Tarim's tattoos and nods admiringly.

"Whose work is this?  It's very nice."

Tarim - Partly my own, partly other artists.

"You have a talent, sir.  If you ever want to swap spells sometime, let me know."

* Gorethirst nods in greeting.

She nods back at the leechkin.

* Kaius Alexander raises his visor and observes the lilix silently

She looks over to Kaius and smiles slightly.

"Well, Eareg, I'd be happy to give you a new Mark... if you do me a little favor, first.  After all, our coffers aren't bottomless."

Eareg Maar - Go on.

"Scavengers returning from a run in the Firesong Marches to the far south have returned with reports of a city previously hidden beneath the sand that seems to have been uncovered by a recent sandstorm.  If my research is correct - and it always is - this city is none other than Chymalea, City of Creeping Flesh, from whence the Poxbringers unleashed their virulent sicknesses, fashioned using certain warped arcane sciences."

* Tarim idly observes the tentacled creature in the cage, noting that it's probably one of the oneiroi, spawn of the Suppuration, if legends are to be believed.

"There are many fell relics said to have been lost when the city was buried in the last aeon, not the least of which is the legendary sword called the Festerblade - a powerful weapon said to have been forged in demon-conjured fires and tempered in plague-tainted blood.  It is said that any wounded by the Festerblade is consumed within moments by a wasting corruption.  Whether or not the stories are true, the weapon would be valuable, and intriguing to study.

"Unfortunately, the House of Iridescent Angles have already beaten us to Chymalea and are even now returning, laden with loot from the city.  How they learned of the city's re-emergence so quickly I do not know - they have many mysterious resources at their disposal.  Whatever the case, I want you to get the Festerblade from them, before they get it back to the Palace of Unlikely Doors.

"A scout last saw the caravan perhaps three days away, coming by the Weeping Way.  How you get the sword back is up to you, but I wouldn't suggest open attack unless you have well-armed companions and a favourable ambush spot; whatever the case, make sure that they don't know the Crimson Shadows were behind the theft, or we'll have a full-blown House-War on our hands."

Eareg Maar - You should know I don't steal from other scavengers, I don't care what the guild feels about it but I at least follow the code.

She throws her hands up in the air.  "Gods!  I should have known you'd be difficult."

* Eareg Maar leans back in the chair.

Eareg Maar - look you want to go beating up scavengers and stealing their rent money I don't care, I can't stop you.  But if you want me to do something it better involve scavenging, I'm the best damned scavenger you guys have and you know it... don't waste my time and my talents.

"Very well.  I can see you're going to be absolutely impossible about this.  Perhaps you can find me something else in the damned City of Creeping Flesh, something the Angles left behind."

Eareg Maar - If there's something to find I'll find it.

"It'll be a Hell of a lot more leg-work on your part, of course, and there won't be any guarentees, but you bring me one of the Poxbringers' relics - something of value, mind - and I'll get you a new Mark."

* Eareg Maar tips his hat.

Eareg Maar - See, we can be reasonable.

* Eareg Maar picks up a map from the workroom table and rolls it up.

* Eareg Maar gets up and walks for the door.

Eareg Maar - I'll see you around.

* Gorethirst leaves the room following Eareg towards the exit.

She curses under her breath and makes to turn back to her study of the creature.  

"I'm serious about comparing notes, by the way," she says to Tarim.  "Drop by anytime."

Tarim - I will think about it.

Kaius Alexander - A pity Eareg deigned not to serve his guild. It seems he gives up a valuable artefact.

* Kaius Alexander glances sidelong at the woman.

Kaius Alexander - Too bad.

Cräen notices the Insomnolent's glance.

"You wouldn't be interested in fulfilling that contract, now would you, sir?"

Kaius Alexander - It is a possibility. What are you offering me?

Tarim - I might be interested as well.

"Well, there's any number of possibilities.  Membership in the Crimson Shadows, if you'd want it; I'm a skilled tattooist, and can offer you all manner of glyphs and sigils to wear on your skin.  And then there's always cash."

"For the Festerblade I can offer you four thousand total.  I sight better than what you'd get in the Curio Bazaars for it, I assure you."

Kaius Alexander - Well, now that is an offer I am not like to refuse.  I will retrieve this artefact for you.

Tarim - You may count me in as well.

"I am glad your morals are a touch... more flexible than those of the intractable Eareg."

Kaius Alexander - The codes of scavangers are of no interest to me. My needs are like to increase soon, and I must prepare myself.

"It's a deal, then.  Payment in cash or in glyphs of equivalent value.  I suggest you make haste - if the Angles reach the city with the artefact you'll have a lot harder time retrieving it."

* Kaius shakes Cräen's hand.

* Tarim nods and leaves the room to meet up with Eareg and Gorethirst.

Tarim - Do you know anything about this city, Eareg?

Eareg Maar - Not any more than the local lore tellers could tell you, save its location now.

* Eareg Maar pockets the map.

Gorethirst - As you say then Eareg.

Tarim - We should purchase provisions before we leave for the eyrie.

* Gorethirst pausing as if in thought, turns around walks back into Cräen's room

* Eareg Maar examines the unused map he plucked of Cräen's table.

Cräen looks up at Gorethirst - she's still speaking with Kaius.

* Gorethirst reaches into his pack sack and pulls out Quentin's signet ring.

* Eareg Maar is standing out in a corner of the main hall, smoking his pipe and examining the map.

The map shows the location of the City of Creeping Flesh is in the midst of the Firesong Marches, beyond the Gland river but well north of Marainein.

Gorethirst - Can you tell me anything about this?

Cräen squints at the ring.  "Looks like a signet ring of the Magisters of Skein.  Where did you get this?"

Gorethirst - Off of a dead creature. He turned to dust when he was killed.

She nods.  "Some kind of grave-spawn.  Eidolon, most like, if he was masquerading as a Magister.  It doesn't seem to be hexed - but it might be useful, in certain sticky situations.  I'd keep hold of it."

* Gorethirst nods

Gorethirst - Have you heard of something called the Fortress of the Umbral Overlord?

"Fortress of the Umbral Overlord... I think that's one of the strongholds of the ancient Witch-Lords.  I'd try the Vellum Citadel if I were you.  Look for 'Witch-Lords of the Desiccation,' by Quovann Graythorn."

Gorethirst - The Vellum Citadel it is. Thank you Cräen.

* Gorethirst leaves and heads towards the group.

* Kaius Alexander inclines his head to Cräen and leaves the room.

You head out into the Bazaars.  Detritus!, the pawn shop, is not far from here, but you can always search out a different merchant if you prefer.

 You head into the cluttered shop.  The heavily muscled Lorgiss greets you.

"Back again, eh?"

* Tarim looks around to see if he notices anything interesting that wasn't there last time.

Some of the items the group sold before are now on prominent display.

Kaius Alexander - Yes. I wish to part with this ...sword.

* Kaius Alexander unlimbers the khopesh.

Kaius Alexander - A curious weapon. Vivisectionist.

Lorgiss picks it up, mutters a quick hex and gently caresses the blade.

"It's got a pretty powerful bewitchment.  Nasty thing.  Looks like Erebh make.  How much you looking to get for this?"

* Kaius Alexander raises a hand to his chin and thinks.

* Gorethirst wanders over to look at the giant Ur-Bone sword again.

The sword is truly enormous, the sort of thing only a being larger than a normal human might wield without ensorcelled strength.

Gorethirst - Who did you say this sword belonged too? Some giant warlord?

"Yeah, Magroth the Invincible, or some shit.  It's said he killed a Gorgefly with that thing."

Gorethirst - Ah, quite the feat.

"Well, those're the legends, anyway.  Like I said before, ten thousand obeloi and its yours.  Not a bone less."

* Gorethirst shakes its head.

Gorethirst - Not this time.

* Kaius Alexander considers for a long time while the leechkin and the ghul shopkeep chat.

Kaius Alexander - Nine hundred obeloi.

Lorgiss grins.  "Done and done!"  He says.

* Kaius Alexander inclines his head.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on August 26, 2010, 01:19:18 AM


*Later that night, Tarim sits in his study in contemplation, leafing through his notes and preparing his spells for the next day.

The long hours of tedious parsing and translation of your old journal - the object so coveted and feared by the priesthood of Marianein - have at last been fruitful.  You have cracked one of the more nonsensical chapter's esoteric ciphers and decoded the formulae for a hex, but in addition you have discovered a cryptic poem and a description of bizarre rites and occult precepts accompanying it.  The poem was coded and written in a smattering of different tongues to further obfuscate it.  

Here is the poem, translated into plain Shambles:

To accelerate apotheosis,

Imbibe the juice of divine necrosis;

Consume a demon's rancid tissues;

Into your veins a daeva's blood transfuse.

Damnation's cream and milk of shadow,

Broth of bone and flesh like tallow,

Within a cauldron boil and simmer;

Quaff two drops of the resulting tincture.

You might expect such torturous verse from the author of 'The Demon's Lover'.  Clearly your past self was no poet - though which rhyme is worse, "tissues" and "transfuse" or "simmer" and "tincture," you can't decide.  The complicated alchemical instructions and arcane rites that supplement this (barely) rhyming doggerel, however, are the work of a (mad) genius.  They seem imply that though the rituals described would hardly catapult the drinker to divinity  - whatever exactly that consitutes - they would infuse them with some small measure of deific essence, the germ of godhood.  This seems to be some intermediate phase of your past self's tangled scheme of ascension.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: LD on August 26, 2010, 09:17:53 PM
Thanks for posting up the glossary of places!

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on August 27, 2010, 05:33:06 PM
August 25th, 2010 (extra session, originally for Kaius):


In Kaius' chambers, Kaius Alexander and Tarim consider their plan to retrieve the Festerblade.  They agree that mercenary assistance may be wise, and that a guide will be necessary.

Kaius guesses that the Row will have cheap muscle, and they can probably find scavengers in various drinking establishments throughout the city.  Tarim has seen plenty of grave-spawn bravoes hanging around the cheaper parts of Worm-Hive at night, and there are graftpunk cleavers who can be found in Hexwarren.

The pair decide that despite Eareg's protestations to Cräen's request, he is their best possibility to acquire knowledge of the surrounding terrain.  They resolve to pay the ghul scavenger a visit (heaving learned of his cave outside the city recently) under the pretence of learning more about the region round Macellaria, since the group will soon depart for the journey to Shan-Szut, eyrie of the jatayi.

* Tarim and Kaius heads to Ereg's cave outside the city, beyond the Butcher's Gate.

An owl sits over the cave entrance.  It hoots at your approach.

* Tarim waves at the owl and approaches the entrance.

You push aside the bushes that cover a notched wooden door.

Tarim - This must be the place. Can't be too many caves round here with doors on them.

* Kaius Alexander stares at Tarim silently.

* Tarim knocks on the door.

Eraeg, you awake from another dream of flames and amorphous figures to the sound of knocking  at the door.

* Eareg Maar gets up and heads for the door, cautiously opening it

Tarim - Good day, Eareg.

Eareg Maar - Tarim, Kaius! What are you two doing here?

Fangs (whispering) - This might be delicate, considering his reaction to the witch's request.

* Kaius Alexander raises his visor.

Tarim - We are lacking knowledge of the surrounding lands, and couldn't think of anyone better to help there than you.

Eareg Maar - Hmm, sure... come on in.

* Eareg Maar waves them into the cave.

* Tarim follows, curious of the place.

Eareg, Tarim's request seems innocent enough - after all, you are going to be journeying together soon, and its only natural a foreigner wouldn't know much about the surrounding region.

Eareg Maar - Where about are you heading?

Tarim - Not the most usual kind of home. I guess you don't have to pay rent here?

* Eareg Maar smiles at that.

Tarim - How well do you know the land between here and the Firesong Marches?

Eareg Maar - Better than most.

Tarim - I only passed through there once myself, didn't get to see much. And that was a few years ago

Eareg Maar - I've pulled several valuable items out of that area over the years.

Tarim - Do you have good maps of the area then?

* Eareg Maar pulls the map he nabbed from the guild witch out of his pocket.

* Eareg Maar unfolds it and examines it a bit before smiling.

Eareg Maar - Yes I think I can take you where you need going.

* Eareg Maar grins like he's figured something out.

* Kaius Alexander narrows his eyes.

* Tarim bends forward to study the map.

Eareg Maar - Firesong Marches out of the Eel's Gate, correct?

Tarim - That's right.

Eareg Maar - Well I can do that, and I won't even charge though you two still will want to get your own food and drink for the trip.  I need to stretch my legs a bit anyways.

Tarim - We're not going all the way to the Marches though.

Eareg Maar - Oh I imagine you aren't.  But nevermind that, we best be getting ready

* Eareg Maar starts packing items away in a rough travel pack.

Tarim - We'll need some hired muscle, for added security.  Figures that we'll find some candidates loitering in the city's many drinking holes.

Eareg Maar - If you're looking for hired muscle I might suggest the slums outside the butchers gate, you're both familiar with there... we can also try the Skin Markets but that's likely to be a bit more expensive.

Tarim - It's up to Kaius to hire them. I regrettably am a bit low on funds at the moment. New hexes don't come cheap.

Eareg Maar - Well my fellow walking tincan... what are your thoughts?

*Kaius grunts noncommittally.

The Weeping Way stretches into the distance from the Butcher's Gate, into the ragged, storm-haunted desert.  One of the Watchdogs sits beside the gate, gnawing an enormous bone from gods only know what.  Here a rough shanty-town of second-rate curio dealers, water salesmen, and seedy alehouses has sprung up, clinging to the sides of the ancient highway.

A grafted bravo with a mantid arm grafted to his torso and a pair of enormous dust-goggles leans against a building wall just oustide the gate, nonchalant, while a cestoid demonstrates its fighting abilities, performing tricks with various knives, swords, and hatchets using its plethora of chitinous arms.  Various scavengers - ragtag men and women with dusty clothes - mill in and out of the bars.

* Mr. Carver saunters out of the Butcher's Gate, twirling a knife absently'¦

* Kaius Alexander points at the man by the gate.

Kaius Alexander - You. Graftee. You will work for me. I will pay you well. Two days, no more.

The goggle-clad fleshy swaggers up to Kaius.

"What's the job?"

Kaius Alexander - Retrieval and security.

* Tarim is walking along the group, skimming through his notes. He's clearly content to leave the hiring business to Kaius.

"Fifty obeloi sound fair?"

Kaius Alexander - Done. But you will provide your own rations.

* Eareg Maar is walking by Tarim with his old owl perched on a shoulder.

"Sure thing.  I'll be back momentarily.  Name's Garth.  What's yours?"

Kaius Alexander - I am Kaius Alexander.

"Good to meet you.  No nonesense, no fuss, all business - I like that."

Garth disappears into a cheap inn and returns with a pack.

"Ready when you are boss."

* Kaius Alexander scans the area for other likely candidates.

Kaius Alexander - We will leave shortly. I wish to hire one more.

The cestoid continues its demonstration with vigor.

* Kaius Alexander approaches the cestoid, while giving a sidelong glance to Mr. Carver

* Mr. Carver nods at Kauis.

Kaius Alexander - Cestoid. You will work for me. Two days, 40 obeloi, no questions.

The cestoid scrawls a single word on a small chalkboard, "Agreed."

* Kaius Alexander inclines his head to the Cestoid.

It utters some garbled and hideous in the Cestoid tongue, releases a heady pheromone scent.

Kaius Alexander - Are you prepared to go, then?

It scribbles, "Anytime."

Tarim - Why, greetings Mr... Carver, wasn't it?  It seems that we keep running into each other

Mr. Carver - Indeed. Kaius was it?  I seem to have run into all of my fellow pit-fighters at some time or another.

* Mr. Carver extends a hand.

Tarim - Ah, I am Tarim. Kaius is our armoured friend here - *points to Kaius.*

Mr. Carver - Ah, sorry, my apologies.   I'm not good with faces. They tend to change too often in my world .

* Mr. Carver smiles, revealing his filed teeth.

Tarim - No offence taken.

Mr. Carver - I'm glad. So, why are you hanging out at the Butcher's gate?

Tarim - We're on to a well-paying job. If you'd be interested, talk to Kaius about it. I on my part would welcome your assistance.

Mr. Carver - Well, one can always use some extra coin.

* Mr. Carver walks up to Kaius and knocks the pommel of the knife against the back of his breastplate

* Kaius Alexander half turns, his face inscrutable beneath his visor.

Mr. Carver - I believe we have met before?

Kaius Alexander - We have.

Mr. Carver - Our common associate tells me there might be a job opening available?

Kaius Alexander - There is. We are retrieving a certain object.

Mr. Carver - Ah, for yourself or a third party?

Kaius Alexander - For another.

Mr. Carver - Well, I'm intrigued. Count me in.

Kaius Alexander - Our employer will no doubt see fit to pay you handsomely for your assistance.

Mr. Carver - I do hope so, otherwise there is not much reason to risk my neck after all.  How long will we be gone?

Tarim - Looks like we have a fairly strong band, now.

Kaius Alexander - We will be gone two days.

Mr. Carver - Hmm should probably get some bare necessities for the journey.

Kaius Alexander - Then do so. We leave within the hour.

Tarim - Meet us on the Eel's Gate, then.

Mr. Carver - The Eel's? I'll meet you there in an hour.

An hour later, at the Eels' Gate, the group is gathered - Tarim, Kaius, Eareg, Mr. Carver, Garth, and the nameless cestoid mercenary.

A road winds through the rough suburb and down into the waste, towards the southern swamps.  In the distance you can see the glitter of the Tendril River and the brown smear of the town beside it.

Tarim - Everyone ready? Let us be on our way then.

Mr. Carver - As ready as can be.

Kaius Alexander - The line your morals draw is very sharp and sudden, is it not, Eareg?

* Kaius Alexander says as he walks beside him.

* Eareg Maar hefts his pack on his back, sliding Meteor into a snug carrying slot on the side.

Eareg Maar - Morals has nothing to do with the sword... yes I believe that's what you're after correct?

Kaius Alexander - You guess well.  As I had suspected.

Eareg Maar - Scavengers have an unwritten code though and those who flaunt it rarely live long.  You however are not scavengers, I won't stop you from stealing it, I will have no part in the actual theft though, I am just a guide.

* Kaius Alexander nods at Eareg.

Tarim - We will not ask you to aid us in any battle with them.  It is well enough that you show us the way

Mr. Carver - So, Kauis, what exactly are we aiming to acquire?

Kaius Alexander - Mr. Carver, as Eareg says, we are after a blade.

Mr. Carver - I reckon this is not a simple piece of iron?

Kaius Alexander - No, it is not, Mr. Carver. An ancient and powerful weapon by all accounts.

Mr. Carver - Hmm, a pity we can't keep it then.  Oh well, it's probably a bit too big for me anyway.

Eareg Maar - Well then shall we be off.  I know of an abandoned town that we can spend the night at, but if we want to make it there we must be moving.

Kaius Alexander - That should suffice, Eareg. We proceed.

Mr. Carver - And from what I've heard a guide will do us far more good in the Slaughter-lands than an extra Cleaver would. I'm glad you are willing to lead us Eareg.

* Eareg Maar leads them down the road.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on August 27, 2010, 11:35:35 PM
August 25th, 2010 continued:

"Ghost" Town

You set out into the barren emptiness of the waste.  The sky begins to gradually darken, turning bruise purple, shot through the red from the setting sun.  Eareg leads the party by secret trails and paths, avoiding the rougher parts of the badlands, the roads scavengers use  for their return to Macellaria.

After hours of walking, you glimpse some kind of settlement up ahead, though it looks uninhabited - perhaps a ghost-town or ruin.

* Eareg Maar sniffs the air a bit.

Eareg Maar - Yes, this is the place.  Used to be a settlement till some eldritch experiement went wrong, don't mind the locals.

Kaius Alexander - The locals?

* Eareg Maar continues on into the town.

Whatever weapon decimated this small ruin it was not of mundane origin.  Instead of blackened walls and scorched skeletons the remnants of this town rustle with uncanny animation.  Fused into the walls and floors are body parts - limbs, eyes, mouths, sometimes even the occasional torso or whole head.

This misshapen mass clutch and gibber and blink with constant motion, permanently integrated into the ruin's shattered architecture, mingling perfectly with the smooth stone.  Whether these bodily additions are the remains of the folk who once dwelt in the town or the occult conjurations of some sinister hex you cannot tell.

Kaius Alexander - I see.

*The cestoid hisses.

*Garth mutters under his breath.

Eareg Maar - They won't bother you; at least they've never bothered me any time I came here.

* Mr. Carver drags his knife across one of the exposed limbs, trying to see if they still hold blood.

Kaius Alexander - Unsightly, yes. Pay it no mind.

The limb bleeds sure enough.  One of the mouths whimpers in pain.

Tarim - How curious.

* Eareg Maar grabs Mr. Carver by the scruff of the neck and tosses him to the ground.

Eareg Maar - Please don't harass the eldritch abominations!

* Mr. Carver spits at the ground while getting up, and brushes dust off his coat.

Kaius Alexander - Listen to our guide, Mr. Carver. His knowledge exceeds ours.

* Eareg Maar drops his pack on the ground inside a crumbling house with three walls and a hole filled roof.

Eareg Maar - It should be safe enough here for the night.

*Garth squints at the ruins with a look of horrified fascination.

* Kaius Alexander nods.

Mr. Carver - Well, I'll admit, it is sound advice. Haven't been out here before. Not this far.

* Kaius Alexander checks the rounds in his revolver before setting out his bedroll.

Mr. Carver - Are we planning an ambush now?

Tarim - It does look like these bits and pieces have been very stuck for long. Doubt they'll be going anywhere anytime soon.

Kaius Alexander - I will take the first and second watches.  I require little rest.

Eareg Maar - Very well, just don't go wandering around - the town itself is harmless, there is wildlife in these lands that is less so.  Wake me after your watches, I'll take the third.

Kaius Alexander - Very well.

Mr. Carver - I have keen sight, but of course the darkness will quickly take care of that. Could take a morning watch if that helps.

* Eareg Maar rolls out a bedroll and goes to sleep, tired from the long walk.

Tarim - We should take care not to draw attention to ourselves. Our target should be drawing near by now.

Kaius Alexander - Of course. Caution is paramount. No fire.

It is difficult to sleep with the constant susurrus of the buildings.  Eventually, however, those trying to sleep manage it.

* Tarim sets his bedroll in a reasonably comfortable-looking corner.

* Eareg Maar sleeps like a log, unbothered by the noise.

* Mr. Carver squats up against a wall, resting with his eyes closed.

Mr. Carver, a pair of eyes fused to the wall looks down at you as you drift off - most disconcerting.

Kaius, over the murmur of voices you think you make out the sound of approaching footsteps, and other voices'¦

* Kaius Alexander draws his sword silently and steps back into the building.

* Kaius Alexander leans down and gently shakes Eareg.

* Eareg Maar sits up.

Eareg Maar - *whispered* what is it.

* Kaius Alexander puts a finger to his lips.

Kaius Alexander - There are men about. I am certain.  I do not think they know we are here.

* Eareg Maar gets out of his bedroll and heads to the entrance to the building, listening

You can definitely hear approaching footsteps, voices that don't sound like the town.

Eareg Maar - *whispered* Wake the others quietly.

* Eareg Maar pulls meteor out of his pack

* Kaius Alexander nods and wakes Carver, Tarim and the others.

Mr. Carver - They are here?

* Kaius Alexander motions for silence.

Kaius Alexander - Someone is here. We shall observe.

* Eareg Maar peaks out into the darkness.

* Tarim awakens without motion, his gem-set eyes flashing.

A window looks out into the main street of the town here.  Four humanoid figures and one larger creature are moving about in the street.  The group are eclectic: a human, a hagman, a mantid, a ghul.

Hovering alongside them is a sand-ray, one of the enormous batoid beings the zerda call "shaik-toruch," though this specimen appears to be a juvenile, based on its smaller size.  Normally these gentle beasts are accompanied by swarms of malignant, haematophagic insects known as goreflies which dwell in organic chambers inside the levitating sand-rays; however, this beast appears to have been thoroughly domesticated and has doubtless had its goreflies purged.  It follows the party of scavengers with docile obedience, led by a heavy chain firmly anchored to its scaly flesh.  Numerous bags, waterskins, and equipment have been roped onto the creature's back.

Eareg Maar - I doubt this is the group you seek, too small.  Possibly scavengers.

Tarim - *whispering* If they have not noticed us, we better lay low

Tarim, Mr. Carver, you glimpse a medallion round the neck of one scavenger - the mobius sigil of the Iridescent Angles!

Tarim - *whisper* I see the house insignia... it's the Angles.

Kaius Alexander - Do they normally travel in such small numbers, Eareg?

Eareg Maar - I doubt this is all of them, just too small.

Kaius Alexander - We should deal with them regardless. Fewer to bar our way or pursue.

Mr. Carver - How many are we planning on ambushing?

The leader seems to be the human: a pale man with pronounced blackish veins and tiny bloodshot eyes, distinguished by the pulsating eldritch symbiont latched onto his left arm - a rippling, subcutaneous presence that squirms beneath his flesh, causing the muscles of his left arm to bulge and swell and staining his skin an ugly bluish-black.  Sparks of dark, purplish energy flicker between the warped hand's clawed fingertips, distorting the surrounding air with an oily arcane aura.  There's a curved sword strapped to the man's back.

You hear him say "Looks like a good place to camp."

* Mr. Carver looks to Tarim.

Mr. Carver - What is that?

* Eareg Maar salutes the group and slips out the "door" to get out of the way of the fighting

* Mr. Carver turns to Kaius.

Mr. Carver - Maybe we should wait for them to let their guard down. The odds are in our favour, but not vastly so.

Kaius Alexander - Yes, I agree.

*Tarim scrutinizes the arcane aura.

It's diabolic in nature, for sure - a demoniac symbiont, a soul-tinker's work.  They appear to be heading off to the northeast corner of the town.

Tarim - Looks like some kind of diabolism.

Kaius Alexander - Let us wait an hour. Then we shall scout their position.

Mr. Carver - nasty piece of work.  A witch then?

Tarim - Possibly.  Or it could just be an implant

Mr. Carver - Hmm, I prefer it when things attached to me are under my own control.  I'll volunteer to scout.

Kaius Alexander - You are well suited to the work, aren't you, Mr. Carver?

The scavengers seem to be holed up in an old inn, three stories in height, one of the most intact buildings in town.  Limbs flail from the eaves; eyes peer from the window-sills.  A mouth over the door spouts a steady stream of horrific curses.

Mr. Carver - I believe I am.  After all I have done it before and I'm still alive and breathing.

*Carver attempts to enter the building stealithy.

Carver, one of the arms snatches at your ankle as you enter and you trip, nearly falling.  You grunt involuntarily.

You are just inside, in the inn's common room.  The sand-ray is in the stables; the others must be upstairs.

Mr. Carver - (whisper to myself) gleet

*Mr. Carver looks around for a place to hole up, in case anybody investigate - hust a dark nook or something.

You quickly find a hiding-place in the shadows as a hagman slithers down the stairs.
She is constantly moistened by some kind of humming arcane resonance.  A talisman hangs about her neck, a fetish of bone and fur, in addition to the mobius sigil of the Iridescent Angles.  Her dreadlocks are beaded and tipped with shrunken heads and strange gewgaws; she carries a heavy bone knife and a flintlock.

* Mr. Carver holds his breath and crouches behind an overturned table with a human face melded to it.

The hagman mutters some incantation to herself.  There is a brief flash of light, then darkness again.  She slithers outside  Mr. Carver, you seem to have escaped detection for now'¦

Kaius Alexander - Hmm. Shall we pick this one off? Any clever tricks, Tarim?

Tarim - Nothing that would be silent enough.

Kaius Alexander - Well then. I suppose we'll have to do it more conventionally.

* Mr. Carver quickly sneaks up the stairs with the hagman distracted.

Kaius Alexander - Garth, Cestoid. Shall we end this one?

"Whatever you want, boss," Garth says.

The cestoid raises its blades.

Kaius Alexander - Then let us be quick and quiet.

Mr. Carver, you creep up the stairs into a corridor aswarm with random bits and pieces of the former citizens (or whatever the melded denizens are). One door is ajar; a human face is merged with the wood.

*Mr. Carver peek through.

The human, ghul, and mantid are slumbering here, their gear strewn about the chamber.  Their weapons are all piled next to their respective bedrolls.

* Tarim loads his blunderbuss pistol.

Kaius Alexander - Do not be careless with that, Tarim. Only use it if necessary.

* Kaius Alexander bends down and leaves his shield just inside the door of the building.

Tarim - Perhaps it would be better to wait for Mr. Carver's return? If we wake up the place we might put him in danger.

Kaius Alexander - Possible. But would you have this one come up behind him?

Tarim - Strike only if it's about to return to the building, then

*Mr. Carver sneaks up and moves their weapons away from their sides.

The hagmen enters the stables.

Kaius Alexander - I suppose we could at least wait that long.

Tarim - Hmm.  We could sneak to the stable door and surprise it when it comes out?

Kaius Alexander - Yes. Let's go.

Tarim - Mercenaries, follow as quietly as you can.

The cestoid presses itself low.  Garth creeps along as best he can.

Kaius tries to creep along quietly, but his armour clanks obtrusively.

The hagman appears at the door of the stable, pistol ready.

* Meanwhile, Mr. Carver plunges his knife into the sleeping human's neck, expertly slitting the man's throat.  There is a spurt of blood a the fellow dies, but Carver's work is deft and silent.

The human's bruise-black left arm continues to quiver after its owner dies.  With a sickly wrenching sound the limb tears itself free of the dead huamn's socket and begins to drag itself along by its fingertips.

Mr. Carver - Oh no you don't.

* Eareg Maar chuckles to himself at Kaius trying to be quiet.

* Tarim quickly falls back, behind the mercenaries.

The cestoid hurls a knife at the hagman.  The blade strikes the hagman's arm, causing her to cry out in pain.

* Tarim grabs a flesh-melter from his belt and hurls it at the hagman.

The hagman shrieks as the acid burns her flesh.

* Mr. Carver grabs the demoniac arm!  It crackles with fell energy, electrocuting the grafted warrior.

The hagman fires off a shot at Tarim, but the bullet goes wide.

Upstairs, The mantid and ghul wake up very alarmed and confused and reach for weapons that aren't there.

*With a swift, efficient blow, Kaius Alexander thrusts his blade through the hagman's heart.  She gasps and slumps liflessly to the ground, coils twitching in her death throes.

* Eareg Maar winces when he watches Kaius skewer the hagman.

* Kaius Alexander flicks his sword, removing the blood.

Tarim - Garth, enter the house!  Carver may need assistance.

Eareg Maar - *whispered to self* Well that was painful.

*Garth (who has drawn a blade) rushes into the inn.

*The cestoid follows him.

* Tarim follows in behind the mercs.

You enter the common room, atwitch with agitated former townsfolk, or whatever the Hell these things are.  There's a stairway to one side.

Tarim - Everyone, go up

Upstairs, the mantid scrambles up and, seeing his weapons, darts for them and picks up a pair of revolvers.

*Mr. Carver release his hold on the arm and stabs the ghul.  The arm lands on its fingertips.  He springs towards the ghul but the grave-spawn darts aside deftly.

*Kaius Alexander spots Eareg perched on the roof, chuckling to himself and smoking his pipe.

* Kaius Alexander looks at Eareg and salutes with his still bloody sword before.

* Eareg Maar salutes back.

*Mr. Carver plunges the Agony Knife into the ghul's chest just as the grave-spawn begins chanting an incantation.

A blasphemous hex singes the ghul's tongue as he perseveres with his witchcraft despite the knife now protruding from his chest.  The grave-spawn points two fingers towards Mr. Carver, who feels a burning sensation in his eyes, following by a building tension.  Both the sizzling pain and the tension build until Mr. Carver's eyes explode in their sockets, bursting in a spray of arcane acid and humours, running down the man's cheeks like broken eggs.

* Mr. Carver screams in agony, clawing at his burned-out eye sockets with his hands.

Meanwhile, the arm scuttles towards the window.  It tries and fails to scamper outside, clawing at the windowsill.

The cestoid moves forwards and attacks the mantid.  The mantid grunts as the cestoid slashes it with a short sword.

* Tarim storms in after the nameless cestoid merc, takes a quick look around, and aims a Hellfire Bomb at the demon-possessed arm.  The bomb breaks and the arm is singed and set alight by the spray.  It falls to the ground an begins to twitch as alchemical flames consume it.

The mantid opens fire on the cestoid point blank, emptying lead into the creature's body.  The worm squeals hideously.

* Tarim only now notices that Carver's ead is missing it's eyes

*Screaming in agony, Mr. Carver barrels into the ghul who pushes him aside, flailing.  The Agony Knife is still in the ghul's chest.

* Tarim curses, cacophonous words in some demoniac tongue escaping his lips.

*Kaius Alexander leaps over the cestoid, blade raised.  He decapitates the mantid with a single swipe.

*Garth approaches the ghul and finishes the witch off easily..

* Kaius Alexander flicks the blood of his sword again and sheathes it

The flaming demon-possessed arm still flails on the floor.

* Mr. Carver crawls around on the floor on his knees, searching for his lost knife.

Tarim - What happened to your eyes?

* Kaius Alexander goes over to Carver and puts a hand on his shoulder.

Kaius Alexander - Carver.. your eyes'¦ I am sorry. I will do what I can to help you.. replace them as you see fit.

*Garth plucks the knife from the ghul's corpse and puts it in Carver's hands.

* Mr. Carver sits down panting

Mr. Carver - Gleet... I can't see anything.  Did we get them all?

Kaius Alexander - Yes, we did.

As the arm continues to twitch, it sets the inn alight.  Flames are spreading from the windowsill, blacken the floor.

Tarim - FIRE!

* Kaius Alexander notices the blaze

There is a smell of roasting flesh as the body-parts integrated into the structure catch fire.

* Mr. Carver looks up enquiringly with ocular voids

Kaius Alexander - Grab their items, quickly, we must get out, Garth, help me with Carver.

*Garth offers Carver a shoulder.

* Mr. Carver stumbles to his feet
*Kaius Alexander takes the human's sword -  a two-handed curved blade, quite heavy.

* Mr. Carver lets Garth lead the way.

* Tarim grabs the ghul's grimoire and makes for the exit.

*The cestoid grabs some items.

The fire is starting to spread.  Eareg, outside, you smell smoke.  Meteor seems to whisper, cooing with pleasure'¦

*Kaius Alexander grabs the human's grimoire, too, and hurry out of the building with everyone else.

Mr. Carver - I can hear flames...

* Eareg Maar drops off the roof, landing in a crouch before heading over.

The group meets Eareg Maar outside while the flames consume the inn.  They will soon spread to the other buildings too.  The mouths sutured to the building are screaming hideously.

Kaius Alexander - Cestoid. Garth. You both fought well. A 12 obeloi bonus for your good work.. and your silence about this venture.

*Garth nods, shaken.  The cestoid hisses an assent.

Tarim - They're all dead but Carver lost his eyes somehow.

The juvenile shaik-toruk in the stables squeals and thrashes.

Mr. Carver - I think I was hexed... At least that seems to be the only logical explanation for it.

Tarim - We better save the creature.

* Eareg Maar looks at the flames

Eareg Maar - Well you burned down a ghost town... guess that's a new record.  Come on let's pack up and get out of here I know somewhere nearby that we can rest for a few.

* Eareg Maar heads over to grab his pack.

Mr. Carver - I could use some rest, yes.

*Kaius Alexander fetches his shield.

* Eareg Maar whistles and an old mangy owl swoops down off a nearby roof, zipping over the group before disappearing into the night.

*Tarim throws open the stable doors, letting the sand-ray loose.  Various bags are evident on the floor.

Tarim - Calm down, damned beast!

* Kaius Alexander grabs the bags quickly as the stable begins to burn

The fire spreads with shocking rapidity.  A horrendous chorus of screams fills the air as the town begins to burn.

Tarim - Is the sword in there?

Kaius Alexander - Let's hope the sword is the one I'm carrying

Tarim - Let me see that blade you got, Kaius.

* Kaius Alexander holds the sword out for Tarim
* Tarim examines the weapon carefully.

The blade is carved with greenish glyphs.  It's clearly hexed, and the glyphs signify some kind of putrefying bewitchment.  The sword is very old, but you can't place its exact era

Kaius Alexander - Is it the blade we seek, Tarim?

Tarim - Well, it's got witchery on it, at the least.  Might not be the one though.  A real antiquary piece. And potent one.

Kaius Alexander - Perhaps it is the blade we have sought, then.  Craen will have to be satisfied with it, then. Regardless if it is what she wants.

Tarim - Should be enough to make this trip worth our time - and buy new eyes for Carver.

* Eareg Maar urges the group on to a small secluded area, an open area in a nearby thicket of gigantic scrub-brush and thorny trees.

The screams continue as the nameless ghost town burns.  The sound is absolutely horrifying.

*Garth is severely shaken by what he hears.  He retches on the ground.

Mr. Carver, the sounds of the dying fill your mind.

Eareg, the flames kindle some dark part of you, as Meteor whispers to you seductively.

* Eareg Maar shakes his head

*Mr. Carver sits numbly in the shade of one of the thorny bushes.

* Eareg Maar lays out his sleeping roll.

Eareg Maar - We've still got a long night ahead of us, Kaius wake me after your watch.

* Eareg Maar falls asleep.

Kaius Alexander - I've decided we'll use the money we got from Vivisectionist for Carver's new eyes, any objections?  How much are eyes?

* Mr. Carver falls into a nightmarish sleep.

Tarim - Depends. Does he want them living, or mechanical?

Tarim, during the night you have a strange dream.  A figure approaches you out of velvety darkness - a humanoid with a crown of twisted horns, wreathed in an aura of crackling, purplish. electricity,

"You have set me free," it says, in Hellspeak.  "You have my thanks, flesh-thing.  Know that I am Pazzun, Wielder of Black Lightning; invoke this Epithet in a tie of need, and I shall wreak destruction on your enemies in gratitude for my liberation."

The dream ends, and you awaken filled with a dark vigor'¦

The next morning a charnel heap is visible where the town once stood, and a column of smoke blots the sky.  Vultures wheel overhead and descend to feast on the blackened remains.

* Kaius Alexander stares impassively at the ruin of the town.

* Eareg Maar slings his pack over his back and looks back over the town.

Eareg Maar - Well, there goes that safe place.

Kaius Alexander - At the least, none will know of what we did. The evidence has burned with the rest.

Mr. Carver - Hmm, that's not a bad thing when you consider we just stole from a House.

* Eareg Maar leads the group home.

* Tarim follows along silently, apparently lost in thoughts

You return to the Maggot City bruised, scorched, and maimed, but with your prize (you think).

* Kaius Alexander nods stiffly to Garth and the Cestoid, handing them their earnings and bonuses by the Eel's Gate.

Kaius Alexander - And remember. We never worked together.

*Garth nods soberly and departs.

*The cestoid merely squirms and scuttles away.

Eareg Maar - You know where to find me.

Kaius Alexander - I will repay you for your guidance, Eareg.  Let it not be said I let debts go unpaid.

Eareg Maar - I want no part of the theft, especially not the money.

* Eareg Maar departs the group outside heading home.  As he walks away his owl swoops down and lands on his shoulder.

Back at the Guildhall, Cräen is busy writing notes in her workroom at the Guildhall when you enter.  She looks up from her work, expectantly.

Tarim - Greetings.

* Kaius Alexander shoulders through her door heavily.

"Greetings.  Do you have the blade?"

Kaius Alexander - Cräen, we have retrieved the blade. It was not won easily.

* Kaius Alexander throws it down on her table.

Mr. Carver - We paid a price. Or two.

"I didn't expect it to be."  She unsheathes the sword.  "Excellent.  Here is your payment, as promised."

* Kaius Alexander inclines his head.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Superfluous Crow on August 28, 2010, 12:36:08 PM
You don't have to list me as three things in the dramatis personae. Conundrum is good enough! Cyst-Covered was just a CE tribute name :P

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on August 31, 2010, 03:14:09 AM
Some solo logs - Gorethirst's duel and a mini-session that The Meanest Guest specifically requested me for.  Ghostman happened to be online so Tarim tagged along.

The Bloodthorns

Kaius, you're heading out to look for supplies for the prospective clockwork additions to your armor.  Tarim, meanwhile, was restocking his shop's supplies and buying new ink for his grimoire.

* Kaius Alexander walks deliberately, observing his surroundings with great care.

The two of you are walking through Resurrection Row towards Kaius' tenement.  Two powerfully built men and one woman swagger out from the shadows of the Row towards you.  They wear studded leather vests that leave their arms bare, revealing intricate bramble tattoos that wind around their limbs, the thorns tipped with red.  All are armed with knives or firearms, and the woman additionally carries a heavy flail.

* Kaius Alexander stops.

The leader, a tall, sinewy man with a small beard and ice-blue eyes, raises his hands slightly in a clear gesture of non-aggression.

* Tarim eyes the group with suspicion in his gaze.

Kaius Alexander - Yes?

"You the cleavers the Dogskulls hired to make the Masticators go dark-eyed?"

Kaius Alexander - We were responsible for their deaths.

Tarim - Among some others

"Right.  I'm Gorse, and this is Thistle and Spines - Bloodthorn Clansmen all.  First of all, allow me to compliment you on some fine work.  Glut and his bunch may have been a pack of redmouthed junkies but they were no slouches."

Kaius Alexander - They were useless filth.

"Couldn't agree more.  You'll find that your talents are valuable here in the Row, and that you can never have too many friends in this city.  We've got no current quarrel with the Dogskulls - it's the Blackblades they've declared vendetta on, over on the north side.  We've had our scraps in the past, mind you, same as any two Clans.  Anyway, Chief Nettle has sent me to make you an offer."

Tarim - I will hear you

"There's a deal going down tonight with some hagman shaman over on the border of 'Squallor.  The eels are going to have dozens of braves there, armed to the teeth in case things go sour - or if the slimy bastards decide to double-cross us.

"We're bringing blades of our own, but you lot are the boggers of the week: if you come along and stand there looking mean the squirmies might think twice about trying anything.

"We hear your standard fee is five hundred bones each.  You wouldn't be required to take part in the negotiations or nothing, just stand with your arms crossed and menacing expressions on your faces, like you wouldn't think twice about slaughtering someone who looked at you wrong-ways.  Interested?"

Kaius Alexander - This, I can do. If it does come to combat, I will gladly defend your interests.

Tarim - I would do this, but do not expect any heroics.

Kaius Alexander - Heroes do not live long.  Competence is of far greater value than heroics.

"Fine by us.  The deal's going to be just after midnight in the old Temple of Agnath, on the border of Slimesquallor - got left to rats and junkies when the squirmies built the new Temple.  We'll be waiting across the street over by a sap-den called Webfoot's.  Make sure you're fully armed.  You'll get your fee after the deal's done."

* Kaius Alexander inclines his head.

"Till later, then."

Tarim - We'll be there.

Kaius Alexander - We are in high demand.

The Bloodthorns melt back into the shadows'¦

Kaius Alexander - It would seem.

Tarim - The benefits of reputation.

* Kaius Alexander grunts.

The temple is a squarish stone structure with the coiled columns typical of hagman architecture.  Its domed roof is adorned with statues of various apotropaic hagman spirits, most of them badly vandalized - tentacled beasts and molluscoid gargoyles, the bizarre demons of the swamps which the leechkin shamans are known to consort with and the hagmen shun as devils.

Across the street, Gorse, Spines, and two other Bloodthorn Clansmen you don't recognize wait outside a nectar den where gutter witches smoke the ichor of Moroi using grotesque water-pipes.  Gorse is carrying a sackcloth bag.

"Hello, Kaius, Tarim," Gorse greets you.  "This is Briar," he says, gesturing to an imposing Clansman with an enormous claymore.  "And this is my brother, Prickle," he adds, gesturing to a youth barely out of his adolescence, armed with an unwieldy pepperbox pistol.  "Are you ready to head in?"

Kaius Alexander - I am always ready.

Tarim - Yes.

* Kaius Alexander checks the rounds in his revolver with a swift, practiced motion.

* Tarim invokes Harden the Skin before entering.

Spines - the Bloodthorn woman - stays outside the Temple entrance as a lookout.

Inside, the semblance of Agnath - a many-limbed, sexless Aspect of the hagman deity - presides over an ovoid sanctum with many pillars.  A sacred fountain is evident to one side, now stagnant and covered in scum; cobwebs swathe the ceiling and stretch between the pillars.  A small doorway left of the idol leads to another chamber behind this one.

Coiled at a small wooden table in the middle of the Temple is an elderly hagman with four young males behind him, their hair dreadlocked, tridents in hand, blowguns at their waists; they wear light hide armour on their torsos.  The mucosal tracks of the hagmen coat the stone floors in viscous, sticky ooze.

The old hagman is a scrawny androgyne, its grey-green skin wizened and mottled with age.  Jewels are strung in its long hair.  Unlike the braves behind it, it wears a tailored waistcoat and a large top hat.  The Bloodthorns move forwards into the room, swaggering.

Gorse sits down at the table and reaches into the sackcloth bag.  He removes a shrunken hagman head, a shrivelled, whiskered thing, its vertical mouth pinned shut, its hair long and ragged.  You glimpse a glyph carved on its forehead.

* Kaius Alexander keeps his hand on the hilt of his longsword.  He stands next to Gorse.

*Tarim positions himself beside Kaius.

"The Head of Pengh, as we agreed," the Bloodthorn thief states simply.  "Do you have the payment?"

"You take too long," the aged hagman says.  "We pay you half - three thousand obeloi."

Tarim, out of the corner of your eye you see Briar moving his hand very slowly towards the hilt of his claymore.

Tarim - *whispering to Kaius* I think one of these guys is about to draw steel.

* Kaius Alexander gives Tarim a sidelong glance and says nothing.

Gorse calmly shakes his head.

"That's not what we agreed, mate.  We can find other buyers who'd be pleased to pay full price for this.  We lost a man inside that witch's tower - a cousin of mine, and a damn good thief, killed by some sigil-trap that turned him inside out.  We won't part with the Head for less than six thousand bones.  Your choice."

* Tarim stands unmoving, his face a solid mask.

* Kaius Alexander stares directly at the hagman elder from beneath his visor.

The older hagman is moving its hand towards its waist.  Tarim, you notice one of the braves has got his blowgun out.

Tarim - *whisper* Looks like it's going to turn bloody

The hagman notices Kaius' gaze.  Its eyes flit to Tarim's impassive features,  Whatever it was reaching for, it stops.

* Kaius Alexander seems to loom over the old table.

"Very well," the hagman relents.  "Six thousand.  As agreed."

It raises a hand and two of the hagman braves head around behind the idol and return with large bags of coin.

Gorse and the older hagman are shaking hands while the Bloodthorns collect the money.

Then there is a sound of splintering wood.

"Hands up!  You're all under arrest!" a sudden voice booms from behind you.  Footsteps pound on the floor as militia members pile into the room, bristling with repeating crossbows and guns, all aimed towards you.  A fully armoured officer of the Black Arrows stands at the door, a pistol in one hand and a sword in the other.

"Aw gleet," Gorse mumbles, reaching for his weapon.

Then everything gets a bit messy.

* Kaius Alexander turns slowly towards the militiamen.

* Tarim hisses a curse.

The older hagman snarls a hex of some kind, and suddenly the room is full of a thick, obfuscating mist.  You hear the hiss of darts and a strangled-sounding sound out of the murk as the braves let loose with their blowguns.

Tarim - *to Kaius* Let's avoid fighting the guard if we can. We have no stake in this.

Kaius Alexander - We have yet to be paid. I intend to fulfill the intent of my contract.

* Tarim backs off from the guards, invoking eldritch words. Suddenly he seems to burst into many copies of himself.

You hear a gun-shot and a bullet passes through one of Tarim's copies, dissipating it.  Another bullet whines off the floor.  Other gunshots sound throughout the fog, but none hit near you.  The Bloodthorns return fire, though even they have been reduced to vague figures in the mist.

*Kaius Alexander fires off a shot into the fog.

You hear Gorse yell "Get out of here!"  The Bloodthorn appears out of the haze, backing up, a pair of pistols in his hands, firing intermittently.  You hear a second incantation from the hagman and a bolt of eldritch energy sizzles through the fog towards the militia.

* Tarim, in all of his images, begins to chant and gesture, building up a hex. When it unleashes, a strange burst of vigour fills his and Kaius' frames.

There is another shot from the entrance, and Prickle falls dead between Kaius and one of the Tarims (as it happens, the real one), his brains splattered across the floor.  The bag of money he was holding falls to the floor as well, and a few obeloi spill out.

Tarim - There goes our esteemed employer

Another of the Tarim duplicates is hit, and dissipates.  A bullet pings off Kaius' helmet.

Kaius Alexander - Gorse. We must retreat deeper within the temple complex. Our only way of egress is blocked. There may be another way further in.

"Agreed," you hear Gorse say, though he has once again been swallowed by the fog.

Tarim - Agreed. Fighting our way through the front door is too difficult now.

"Where the fuck is Prickle?"

Tarim - He's dead.  Lying here

Kaius Alexander - Prickle is dead. Come. Let us go. This way.

"Fuck!  Get the money!"

* Kaius Alexander grabs the money as he heads towards the way further in.  Empowered by Tarim's hex, he moves with startling speed.

You move through the fog, and the many-armed idol materializes ghoulishly from the haze.  You duck through the doorway and find yourself in a small inner sanctum with two of the hagman braves.  There is a circular pool in the center of the room.  As you watch, one of the braves dives into the dark water.

Apart from the pool there is little here - a few statuettes in carved niches. some rotting sack bags, and similar detritus.

* Kaius Alexander cocks his head to the side.

"Through here," the other hagman hisses in Shambles.  "Secret exit!

* Tarim hurries after Kaius and Gorse, his remaining images running along.  Like Kaius his speed is hexed, uncanny.

Briar enters the room, blood dripping from his blade.  More gunshots follow you, and you can hear booted footsteps as the militia press forwards.

The remaining brave moves to the entrance to block it, trident in hand.

Tarim - I guess our only way out is swimming.

Kaius Alexander - It seems to be.

* Kaius Alexander narrows his eyes

* Kaius Alexander begins removing the bulkiest parts of his armour with reluctance.  He grabs a sackcloth bag from the floor and stuffs the armour inside, then ties the bag closed.

* Tarim aid Kaius to speed up the process.  Invigorated by the hex they manage to get off most of the armour, while the militia close in, battling those hagmen still in the main sanctum.  The hagman brave by the door is shooting with his blowgun.

Briar and Gorse dive in after putting away their weapons.[/b]

Kaius Alexander - I hope you are a strong swimmer, Tarim.

* Kaius Alexander dives in smoothly.

* Tarim takes a deep breath and dives into the water.

You plunge into the tepid, murky water, vaguely aware of other shapes around you.  There seems to be some kind of hole in the floor, a tunnel of some kind.  The hagman brave that dived in a moment ago squeezes through this nimbly.  Following with hexed velocity you enter a tight, claustrophobic tunnel, filled with water.  The tunnel descends for a short distance, then twists and becomes level.  You continue to swim along the tunnel, which twists occasionally, until you eventually come to a fork - you can either continue swimming forwards into darkness, or head upwards.

Tarim, with your darkvision you can see that the hagman moved upwards.  You see his tail disappearing at the edge of the narrow chimney.

* Tarim begins to ascend.

Kaius, you are swimming beneath Tarim.

* Tarim begins to flail his limbs hastily, almost panicking.

* Kaius Alexander kicks strongly as he ascends towards the helpless Tarim, reaching out with his arms.

* Kaius Alexander narrows his eyes and gives another heavy push with his shoulder.

* Tarim struggles with all the desperation of a drowning man.

* Kaius Alexander fumes and gives another push.

Briar swims up behind you.  Tarim, you are still very, very stuck - and running out of air.

* Tarim is digging is claws into the sides of the tunnel, trying to pull himself free.  With an almighty shove from Kaius to help him through, he finally extricates himself from the tight space.  He swims upwards.

Briar seems to have taken his chances with the horizontal tunnel while Kaius, attempting to ascend, also gets stuck.  The sack stuffed unceremoniously with his heavy, bulky armour in it does little to help matters.

* Kaius Alexander plants his arms firmly on the sides of the tunnel and heaves mightily, to no effect.

* Tarim swims up, feeling it wiser to at lest fill his lungs with fresh air before attempting to aid Kaius.

* Kaius Alexander struggles with the crevice mightily.  He moves an inch, then get stuck again.

*Kaius squeezes back down and into the tunnel.

* Kaius Alexander proceeds swiftly after Briar.

Kaius, you continue for some time before emerging in a broad, cylindrical shaft with steps winding round the side, down into the dark water.  Light can distantly be glimpsed from a grate in the ceiling.

* Kaius Alexander inhales deeply as he breaches the surface.

Briar is catching his breath.  There is no sign of Gorse.

Kaius Alexander - Briar.. where is Gorse?  Was he not with you?

"Lost track of him back there.  Gorse can take care of himself."

Tarim, you pull yourself up into a squarish chamber, clearly subterannean.  There is no sign of the hagman, but there are two semi-circular tunnels running to either side.

* Tarim peers into the water, trying to see if Kaius is still stuck, but sees that he has swum away.

* Tarim stands and tries to dry his soaked clothes of the excess water.

* Tarim moves to examine the tunnel entrances.

The right-hand passage turns sharply a short distance along.  The left-hand stretches into darkness.

* Kaius Alexander nods stiffly at Briar.

Kaius Alexander - It seems I have your Clan's money.

* Kaius Alexander hefts the sack.

Kaius Alexander - You will have to lead me to your base of operations.

Briar shrugs.

"Let's focus on getting out of here, first."

* Tarim dries and loads his blunderbuss pistol, then sneaks to the right-hand tunnel, carefully rounding the turn.

Tarim, you come to the entrance to a chamber of some kind.

* Tarim peeks in

The floor of this chamber is split by a rift ten feet across at its narrowest.  Broken columns litter the floor.  On the far side you can see an exit.

* Kaius Alexander dries his armour as best he can, and puts it back on laboriously.

* Kaius Alexander inclines his head to Briar.

* Kaius Alexander gazes about at his surroundings.

There's a circular panel or doorway at the top of the steps, Kaius.

Kaius Alexander - Now.. how to escape this labyrinth?

* Kaius Alexander seems thoughtful.

* Tarim turns back, returning to the chamber and passes on in to the other tunnel.

You quickly come to a T-junction.  On the one hand, a flight of steps leads downwards.  On the other, the tunnel continues until an old metal door, slightly ajar.

* Tarim quietly approaches the door, listening carefully for any sounds.

A spindly-limbed wretch with matted hair cavorts about this old tomb, prancing and babbling some strange incantation.  Every inch of his sallow dirty skin is covered in crabbed, spidery characters, and he wears the filthy remnants of an old robe.  Despite his malnourished appearance and long nails you think he is quick rather than grave-spawn.

A black candle burns to one side, melting on the lid of a sarcophagus.  As you watch this miserable creature capers and prattles about a near-skeletal corpse still wrapped in its funerary cerements.

In the unhealthy glow of the black candle you perceive a greenish glow emanate through the shrouds, as if the bones of the corpse were luminous.  Suddenly the ragged man grabs a knife and slashes his own palm, dripping the blood over the body.  There is a weird groan and the dead husk sits upright and cackles with an otherworldly voice.

* Tarim backtracks quietly away, deeming it better to not disturb a possibly mad witch in the middle of reanimation.

* Tarim heads down the steps.

The steps circle round and downwards, then terminate at a small, square chamber with a circular latch on one wall.

* Tarim tries the latch and pulls it open, then squeezes through the opening.

* Kaius Alexander motions to Briar and heads towards the aperture.

Kaius, the panel at the top of the chamber opens and you see a water-logged ghul with gemstones for eyes emerge from beyond.

Tarim - Well, nice to see you again.

Kaius Alexander - It seems you are alive, Tarim. That is good.

* Tarim heads back through the opening.

Kaius Alexander - There is nought in here, Tarim. I had thought to proceed outwards and upwards.

Briar nods.

Tarim - I found only two ways. One leads to a derelict room split by a rift.

Kaius Alexander - And the other?

Tarim - The other one leads to a sepulchre with a crazy old witch animating a corpse there.

Kaius Alexander - Then we shall deal with this witch. If he is wise, he will let us pass.

* Tarim crawls back through the latch.

* Kaius Alexander loosens his sword in its scabbard as he ascends.

You ascend the staircase.  Briar readies his claymore.  At the top, you hear the witch muttering and occasionally bursting into fits of mad laughter.

Tarim - Wisdom might be in short supply in this one, I'm afraid.

* Kaius Alexander throws the door open with a slam.

Kaius Alexander - Let us through, witch.  We will not trouble you.

The witch is making the corpse dance and lurch from side to side.  As Kaius opens the door the necromancer's head wrenches round.  He regards the Insomnolent with a strange expression somewhere between hunger, curiosity, and rage.

There is one other exit here - a staircase leading upwards.

Tarim - Sorry for the intrusion. We're just trespassing.

* Kaius Alexander stands silently, threat evident in his posture.

The witch's eyes go wide.  He cackles, then abruptly cringes in the corner, growling like a beast, eyes glowing with golden light - a sap-fiend, for certain.

"Begone!  Begone!  Get thee hence mischief-makers!"

Tarim - Let us make haste.

* Kaius Alexander never takes his eyes off the witch and his creation as he moves to the stairs.

The skeleton watches you mutely, though its bones creak.

Tarim - *whispering* The corpse will only do as commanded

You make it to the stairs, the witch scrutinizing you as you move.

* Kaius Alexander gives one last backward glance as he begins to climb.

* Tarim follows right behind Kaius.

You ascend the stairs, eventually reaching a small anteroom with two other divergent tunnels and a ladder leading upwards to a grate in the ceiling.

Tarim - Where to from here?

* Kaius Alexander raises his visor and looks around

Kaius Alexander - Upwards. If we can.

You push open the grate with difficulty and pull yourself up, finding yourself in an alleyway in what appears to be the Slimesquallor district, based on the fishy smell, the mucus tracks, and the buildings of greenish stone instead of the usual red-brown or mottled grey more common in other parts of Macellaria.

* Tarim seeing Kaius succeed, climbs up after him.

* Kaius Alexander inhales deeply.

Briar follows close behind.

"Good work back there, you two.  Since Gorse isn't here I'll pay you your share."

Kaius Alexander - Let us leave this district quickly and quietly. I mislike these hagmen.

* Kaius Alexander inclines his head at Briar.

He nods.

Tarim - Quite a bit of trouble there. Glad that's over with for us

After you make your way out of the district of bathhouses, temples, imbroglio parlours, and hagman residences the Briar counts out one thousand obeloi from the payment the hagman elder offered.

* Tarim bows gratefully.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on August 31, 2010, 03:27:48 AM
First player character death.

This fight was very, very close.  An early sunder gave Servius the edge and Gorethirst was being seriously batted around at first, but it made an enormous comeback by unleashing its berzerker powers and using a suicidal strike and other combat challenges, dishing out over 40 damage in a single round *without critical hits*, nearly enough to make Servius save for massive damage.  I was convinced that the next step would essenitally be the coup-de-grace, since Servius had been dealing between 10 and 20 damage a round and even with a full attack would be very unlikely to kill Gorethirst, who still had 44 hp, whereas Servius had 4 hp. A single bite from Gorethirst would have sent him below 0.

Then Servius got a lucky critical hit with his maul, which has a x3 multiplier.  His maul was a size larger than normal (he could weild it because he had the Mighty Build trait), and he hit with his second attack as well on a full attack (Gorethirst had severely compromised defense).  The result was a 12d6+bonuses crazy attack that dealt 68 damage, immediately sending Gorethirst below -10.

Llum very fairly insisted that the rolls not be fudged and the punches not be pulled.  Thus, Gorethirst is no longer with us.  Next session will begin when you receive the leechkin's body and equipment.


On the appointed day you head to the Fighting Pits of Pulsetown and are admitted into the arena.

* Gorethirst leaves Corpsegobble outside the arena. Entering carrying only his axe and wearing the Helm of Urus.

The iron doors open; the arena awaits.

*Gorethirst steps out into the harsh sunlight.

Servius has swapped his silks and fine clothes for battle-scarred banded mail that gleams bronze in the sunlight.  The towering man carries an enormous maul, propping the hammer against his shoulder.  He looks geological, so massive is his bearing.

You recognize the gladiatorial champion known as the Rotten King, a shade swordsman who has never been defeated in the arena.  The gladiator is shaded by a heavy black umbrella in a private box, attended by a retinue of other pit-fighters.  Its host is a lithe, sinewy corpse outfitted with spiked armour plates, barbs, spines, studs, and oddments of metal.  These augmentations are not grafts but crude additions simply bolted or nailed into the cadaver's  leathery, mummified flesh, which is darkly stained with embalming fluids and ripples occasionally with the shade's presence.  A simple blade is strapped to the shade's bony back.  Its head is sutured into a battered helmet from which a topknot bristles, dyed a bilious yellow-green.  The Rotten King's body looks somehow too lean to support such heavy accoutrements.  It watches inscrutably from dead eyes.

Mr. Rasp is seated at another box, the lilix Illiszan and the thing called the Cowl behind him.  He raises a hand in greeting, watching intently.

* Gorethirst waves towards Mr. Rasp.

The magnified voice of the pit announcer resounds through the warm air.

"LADIES, GENTLEMEN, and OTHERS SUNDRY: we present, for your viewing pleasure, a duel between two warriors of CONSIDERABLE RENOWN: the leechkin gladiator known only as THE GORETHIRST, SLAYER of WAXBORN, DRINKER of BLOOD, versus the champion of STRIGA, SERVIUS IZAR, called THE HAMMER of THE GODDESS, of the HOUSE OF UNTAINTED FLESH!"

The arena is how you remember it.  Bones bleach in the sun.  Old stains crust the sand.   Discarded weapons, notched swords and broken spears, an old battleaxe, turn slowly to rust.  The air smells of metal and blood and seems to echo with the screams of the fallen, the triumphant cries of their killers.  The crowd roars in appreciation, bestial, baying for violence.

The familiar columns thrust from the arena floor, crowned by the nameless gods of battle.  The Sanguine Church may be Servius Izar's place of worship, but this is your holy ground.

Your foe moves to meet you wearing a mask of grim determination that cannot conceal a bloodlust every bit as terrible as your own, fuelled not by hunger or even rage but by pure hate.

* Gorethirst crouches slightly, ready for battle.

"Bloodletter take you, parasite," the monster snarls.  "You will be punished for your desecrations."

Gorethirst - I will drain you dry human. Your blood will fill my belly this night!

*Gorethirst unlimbers its axe and charges across the arena.  Its axe sings, burying itself in Servius' torso, penetrating the human's thick armour and inflicting a wound that would fell a lesser man.

* Gorethirst roars as it draws first blood.

He grunts in pain and brings his own enormous weapon to bear.  With a mighty swipe Servius breaks your axe in two, splintering the haft and twisting the blade.

* Gorethirst drops the shattered bits of greataxe to the ground.

Gorethirst - You are quite eager for me to taste your blood human!

He favours you with a cruel grin.  "Your sacrelige will no go unpunished, leech."

*Gorethirst moves to attempt to disarm Servius to equal the odds, but the human is too swift, smashing his maul into Gorethirst's chest and sending it flying.

* Gorethirst gathers himself from the ground, wary now.

He approaches you slowly, hefting his enormous weapon, and attempts to hit your legs.

* Gorethirst rolls to the side and Servius' weapon pounds the arena sand.

* Gorethirst creeps forward and then makes a sudden lunge, leveling its horned helm and goring Servius with its horns and tearing at Servius' unarmoured areas with its teeth.

Servius pummels you with his maul, attempting to cripple your arms, but you shrug off his blows and continue to fight.

* Gorethirst ducks under Servius' blow and again attempts to wrench his weapon away, but the human pushes it off and keeps his maul in hand.

The gigantic man laughs as he continues to batter you about the arena.

* Gorethirst, yowling bestially, enters a berzerk fury, striking at Servius with bite and horn.  It impales the enormous human warrior with its horns while simultaneously ripping off his cheek with one of its palm-mouths, savouring the taste of blood, drinking from the warm, liquid flow.

Servius Izar staggers backwards, blood steaming from his ruined face and from the dual wounds on his chest where you punched through his armour like it was paper.

For a moment it looks as if the duel is over.  Though bruised and winded, a few of your ribs cracked, you struck a series of decisive blows against your opponent.  Servius' face is pallid from blood-loss; his breath comes in shallow gasps, and the wounds on his chest bleed freely.

Then the hate in the Untainted Guilsdman's eyes shines again.  As you move in to finish Servius off, the warrior gathers his strength for a final, suicidal strike.  Staggering, barely able to remain on his feet, his face hideously mutilated and his body punctured with awful injuries, Servius Izar hefts his maul for a final, terrible blow.

* Gorethirst crouches, poised to finish off the human warrior, but the maul descends in a lethal arc.

Surprised by the sudden vigour of Servius, you are caught off guard and the maul comes crashing down on your skull, shattering your helmet.  There is a sickening crack, and you falls as everything goes red.  Blood seeps from your shattered head - more blood than one would imagine a being of your size could possibly possess'¦

Servius takes an additional swat at the fallen gladiator, spits, and stalks off, bleeding profusely, swaying.  For a moment the crowd is silent; then the Striga-worshippers and other leech-haters cheer.  Others - fans of Gorethirst's - boo and heckle.  Mr. Rasp has disappeared from his private box.  The Rotten King is quite inscrutable.

Gorethirst dies as it would have wished - in the arena.

Finally, the leechkin thirsts no more.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Nomadic on August 31, 2010, 05:32:09 AM
Nooooooooooooooooo gorethirst!

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Ghostman on August 31, 2010, 06:36:29 AM
RIP, mighty Leechskin :(

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Superfluous Crow on August 31, 2010, 11:20:02 AM
I'll second Nomadic: NOOOOOOOO!!!
Not Gorethirst! A terrible loss, really. He was a pretty cool character... Also, he was probably one of the people Carver would consider a friend after their mausoleum adventure.  
Also sad for Mr. Rasp who had just located his long-lost brother and is partly responsible for his dead... Although I don't know if leeches think like that.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on August 31, 2010, 01:02:38 PM
Leechkin definitely don't, but then again the entire idea of familial affection is alien to them.  Mr. Rasp is intended as a totally atypical member of his species.  More forgiving leechkin would consider him mentally ill; judgmental ones would consider him a traitor and abomination.  A few "progressive" leechkin might hold a bit of grudging admiration for him, but most would just be disgusted.  They might still mourn Gorethirst's death, however.

I agree taht it's a big loss... Gorethirst was a very distinctive, inventive character.  I'm sure, however, that Llum's next character will be equally interesting.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Superfluous Crow on August 31, 2010, 01:34:37 PM
Hmm, I just remembered I also lost all my money

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on August 31, 2010, 02:05:11 PM
The only silver lining to Gorethirst's death is that you can sell some of his equipment if you want, to recoup your losses.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Ghostman on August 31, 2010, 02:29:32 PM
What sort of funerary options do we have? It seems Macellaria is very inclined toward all manner of 'recycling' when it comes to handling the deaders.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on August 31, 2010, 02:42:46 PM
You could certainly bury or cremate the body (the Sisters of the Weeping Lady are the best ones to go to, though there are cheaper cemetaries around in the other shanties; in the city proper there are plenty of private tombs but no actual graveyards).

Most Macellarians have a very pragmatic view of death and prefer to sell dead relatives or friends in the Skin Markets (though a badly injured body may command a lower price, as may a leechkin body, as they have a tough, chewy, rubbery quality), most likely in the Court of Flesh.  As a side-note, dead ghilan are often lain to rest in the catacombs beneath the Fane of Dust if they were of the faithful; others are cannibalized in wake-like feasts.

Leechkin do have a strange funerary custom of their own, but you'd have to research it, and it might be rather involved given your location...

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on September 01, 2010, 03:14:27 AM
A few days earlier...

Second-Story Job

Cacophonous-Whisper-of-the-Desert is still in Macellaria, doing what he does (filching, rambunctious wandering, feasting on the dead, etcetera), having blown off Sebastian and the others in a fit of caprice.  He sees a street-vendor selling human meat on a corner a little way up.  Looks as likely a place as any - and cheap'¦

As you seat yourself at the low bar by the street-vendor a pair of distinctive individuals emerge from the Pulsetown crowd and sit down to either side of you.

One is a powerfully built, utterly hairless man whose pale skin has been tattooed with thousands of tiny spirals, the other a petite woman whose only distinctive features are her eyes, which shift colours every few seconds.  They lack any obvious intentions, either malign or beneficent.

"You are the rogue jatayi?"  The woman says.  "The one called Cacophonous-Whisper-of-the-Desert?"

Wispy - Roguishly handsome.

*Wispy prepares to leap out of his seat, and also cocks his arm, ready to throw meat in their face.

Wispy - So, you've come to meet the meat, or to gleet and greet?

"I am called Astragal," she says.

"And I am Mezzanine," says her companion.

"We would like to engage you on a certain task..." Astragal continues.

"...a task that requires your particular abilities," Mezzanine finishes.  "May we speak in private?"

*Wispy looks around, then speaks in Jatayi.

Wispy - Okay, you speak this?  Now we're speakin' in private.

Astragal shakes her head.  "The secret tongue of the jatayi is not known to us, bird-man.  Please, finish your meal.  Then we will take you somewhere it is safe to talk."

Wispy - Care to join me?

*Wispy offers a finger digit.

"We've just ate," Mezzanine says, unfazed.  "But thank you."

He puts a coin down on the stall, paying for your meal.  They patiently wait for you to finish.

*Wispy finishes up the meal.

Wispy - K. I can come, but I've got a question-- one.

"Yes?"  They speak simultaneously.

Wispy - Where did you get that coin?

"From my purse... why?"

Wispy - But before that...

"Well.  From certain funds my association supplies me, I suppose..."

Wispy - Hm.

*Wispy shrugs and jumps.

Wispy - K.   No alleys though.  Or allies, right.  Just you two.  I pick the abandoned building to meet at.  And we'll talk there?  Is that fair?

"If you wish, that is acceptable, though unnecessary.  We would lead you to a more comfortable location, though perhaps you are wise not to trust us.  Is there nothing we can do to prove our good intent?"
 Wispy - Well, if you were a female jatayi, then maybe we could work something out, but naaaah, too many people want jatayi in general dead- nothing personal.  I didn't stay not a ghul this long by trusting people- once again, nothing personal.

"We do not share in the petty bigotries of most humans for your kind - quite the opposite.  But very well."

*Wispy will look around for a scaffolding that is off the ground and he'll try to jump up to it.  He flies up to one and then lowers the scaffolding down.

Mezzanine and Astragal clamber up.

Wispy - So let's sit, talk, walk and squawk.

"Very good," says Astragal.

"Word has reached us of your talents," Mezzanine says.  "Your ability to separate objects from their owners, as it were.  For certain political reasons, the Thief Clans would be unsuitable for the job we need completed."

Wispy - Gotcha.

*Wispy nods, bobbing his head like the head bobber does over the glass of water in most offices.

"There's a witch by the name of Ezekiel Khaan," Astragal continues.  "He lives in the outskirts of Macellaria, in a mansion behind a wall of maggots."

"He's an eccentric, and a genius," Mezzanine interjects.  "An alchemist of unparalleled skill.  He's made a fortune here in Macellaria, trading his concoctions through middlemen."

"The Splicing Consortium would sell their own mothers to the Fleshmongers to get hold of his formulae," Astragal resumes.  "But we don't represent them."

"In fact," Mezzanine expands.  "We'd rather our masters remain anonymous, for the time being."

"Ezekiel is a collector," Astragal explains.  "He has amassed quite a number of eldritch artefacts, squirreling them away in his house."

"There's one item in particular we want you to liberate from his possession," Mezzanine says delicately. "A chest, rather nondescript in fact - small, black wood, iron-bound, carved with a single glyph."  He shows you a piece of parchment with a glyph carefully drawn on it in red ink.  It looks a bit like an '˜M,' or a '˜3' on its side.

"We wish you to procure this item."

"The chest is the only item we wish to procure," Astragal notes.  "Any other objects you picked up while inside would be yours to keep."

"In addition, we would be willing to remunerate you generously, to the number of fifteen hundred obeloi."

Wispy -  Maggots.

*Wispy shakes his head.

Wispy - My worst enemy- you know, they ruin dead flesh.

"A defence you are also uniquely suited to bypass.

"Thus far few would-be burglars have penetrated the outer walls: anyone trying to breach the perimeter by arcane means, including hexed flight, alerts the Master of the Guard, Nybias, a demon Ezekiel employs as gatekeeper."

Wispy -  Well, you know the real reason the cestoid Imperium fell then- good on you.

"We were thinking you might fly over, rather than trying to, um, eat your way through."  Astragal smiles slightly.

Wispy - I suppose I wouldn't want to gorge myself.  So, where would I drop this thing off?  You come to me? Strongbox? Or I come to you?

"There is a certain establishment known as the Errant Nautilus, in Hexwarren.  You may find us there, and drop off the item."

"Do not try to open the chest, under any circumstances," Mezzanine continues.  "You wouldn't be able to open it anyway, without the right key, but we strongly advise against any attempt.  The chest is warded.  It will protect itself."

Wispy - Oh, I think I could peck out a solution, but don't you worry, I'll be professional.  Does this demon of theirs watch the sky?

"If you approach from the correct angle, you'll be safe enough.

"Once inside witchcraft can be utilized freely, of course: otherwise Ezekiel would set off alarms every time he tried to cast a spell.

"Unfortunately we cannot give you a map of the mansion's interior, as the floor-plans are unknown.  Ezekiel designed the house himself and built it through unorthodox means, using conjured and reanimated labourers.  However, we know that the chest is probably on the upper floors.

"We advise against attempting to penetrate the lower vaults, where certain esoteric hexwork has been placed. You would likely not return alive from such a venture - the lower levels are where Ezekiel keeps his most secret recipes and texts, and conducts his most radical experiments."

Wispy -  Hm. Speaking of a map, you got any parchment?  And a pen.

Mezzanine gives you both.

Wispy - Great. (he bobs his head) How much is a map o' this place worth?

Astragal smiles again.  "To us?  I suppose we might give you a small bonus.  Perhaps another five hundred obeloi."

Wispy - I think it's worth a bit more than that...

"You are an enterprising creature, jatayi," Mezzanine says.  "You drive a hard bargain.  Very well: seven hundred and fifty."

*Wispy smiles.

"A pleasure doing business with you, Mister Cacaphonous," both say in eerie simultaneity.

Wispy - Well, then I guess we're nearly set here. Although this seems frighteningly similar to the set-up that landed me in the gladiatorial pits- I'm always willing to try, try again.  Anyway, it's like they say: "Fool me once, shame on you; Fool me twice, I don't get fooled again."  Hehe- you're good fellows- I'll totally eat your flesh after you die of natural causes.

"Thank you.  You are too kind."

*Wispy bids them adieu.

*Mr. Carver appears down the street, demoniac tendril writhing on his shoulder.

Wispy - Hehe- Mr. Carver was it? Decided to ditch Sebastian too?

MrCarver - Hmm, yes, not terribly fond of him.  Might come back later.  He did offer us a certain sum of money after all.  But no reason to hurry

Wispy - Yeah, he didn't like ghilan, didn't like birds, probably didn't like graftees either.  What a racist.

Mr. Carver - Well, the divine economy, I'm not much for humans as it happens.  So it all evens out.  

Wispy - Well, at least humans taste good when they're dead. That's something anyway.
*Wispy shrugs.

Wispy - So even if you don't like their presence, they're worth having around.  My mama always taught me tolerance.

Mr. Carver - So, where did you take off to after our fateful day in the arena sands?

Wispy - Take off.  Well.

Mr. Carver - Hmm, yes, I think that's a solace only the Jatayi can rely on...

Wispy - Hm... I suppose you'd be a cannibal if you ate that... Lots of diseases you can get from cannibalism.  Mad Human Disease and all that.  So I'guess you're right.  

Mr. Carver - Well, I have eaten man before. It's not that. We just have a more pronounced line between food and friend I believe.

Wispy - The best food is former friends... who have died through completely natural means, of course.

Mr. Carver - They taste... better?

Wispy - They're tasty because you have good memories- it settles the soul and dulls the pain of the loss.  But back to me.  I wandered around, got some meat since Sebastian wasn't too accommodating, and I met some folks'¦ Say- you lookin' to cash in on something big!  I got a great offer on doing a job.

Mr. Carver - Always (smiles).  What kind of job?

Wispy - Basically, I've gotta steal sommat from a wizard fellow.

Mr. Carver - Interesting.

Wispy - Now, I've got an easy way to get in, sneak down and get out.  BUT - and here's where you come in - the guy's got a demon guarding his stuff on the one hand - maybe we can avoid it, maybe we can't.  Part II however, is that I'm also getting some money on the secondary market for mapping this guy's pad.  We can spread out and mark where he keeps all his valuable stuff, then sell the map to other thieves. Sort of a marauder's map guide, if you will.

Mr. Carver - You can do that quickly enough for us to move through undetected while you map?

Wispy - That's why It's good that you're here.  Four hands make easy work of things.  Also, there's Part III- and this is the best part, I wasn't going to do it, but now that you're here - There's the lower vaults, where this wizard dude keeps his most secret recipes and texts, and conducts his most radical experiments.  Guys who hired me said I'd die if I went down there.  But they thought I'd be alone.

Mr. Carver - so you assume we can get to the lower vaults?

Wispy - I'm sure that with two of us, we could hack apart any demons that are there, grab some stuff and run.

Mr. Carver - Seems like a risky endeavour, but possibly worth it.  What is the item we are actually paid to acquire?  And where do we enter? You said you had devised that part of the plan already

Wispy - Yeah, I fly up top.  And you... I'll drop.  On the ground, you'll stop

Mr. Carver - and let down a rope perhaps?

Wispy - Yeah, we could do that too.

Mr. Carver - Probably better for my general welfare.

Wispy - You've got a good head on your shoulders.  Better than my last partner.

Mr. Carver - Oh, who was he?

Wispy - ... partners.  She was... late.

Mr. Carver - Late?  When was this?

Mr. Carver - Before you got sent to the pits?

Wispy - Oh yeah.  Totally before then.  She said she'd meet me at the bar- The Juice-Addled Octogenarian I think it was.

Mr. Carver - Long before or is it possible to draw a more direct causal line between those events and you ending up in the pit?

Wispy - ...Potentially you could do that you know.

Mr. Carver - So, what went wrong?  She didn't show up?

Wispy - Oh she showed up; like I said she was "late" - not too smart - she didn't use the magick.

Mr. Carver - I do not like to ponder what tastes they attempt to satiate in that place...

Wispy - So, I figure there'll be a lil' Wispy wandering around somewhere.  Out with the other Jatayi, y'know.  Good luck gettin' me t' pay chick-support!

Mr. Carver - wait, you took her to the Octogenerian and... fucked her?

Wispy - No no no... that was long before the Octogenarian got involved.

Mr. Carver - Oh. Good.

Wispy - That was... well probably... it was at the - Nubile Greyface.  But, enough about me - what about the plan?

Mr. Carver - It sounds good. At least the part about getting unto the roof. But where do we go from there?  He's a witch as you previously stated so I assume he has certain defences in place.  I'm guessing we can't just stroll in and grab what we want

*Wispy looks confused.

Wispy - That's what I usually do.  It's never gone wrong for ME in the past...

 *Wispy hesitates.

Wispy - Oh yeah... old partners... yeah, we need a better plan.  I've got spells.  You look like you can fight.  And we've got rope.

Mr. Carver - I've got this.

*Mr. Carver flahses the Agony Knife.

Mr. Carver - And some useful skills

Wispy - Suchastellmeaboutit?

Mr. Carver - But maybe we should discuss the plan while we move towards our destination, no?

Wispy - Yeah, let's carve out a plan.

Mr. Carver - And I have a certain competence at staying unseen.  Also I know the city well

Wispy - Very useful for this.

You head towards the Eel's Gate, the closest gate to Ezekiel's manor.

Mr. Carver, you know the following about Ezekiel:

An eccentric (some would say deranged) witch who lives on the outskirts of Macellaria, Ezekiel Khaan is a wealthy and obsessive individual. Outwardly he appears human, though rumors persist that he has forged infernal contracts or else preserved himself with alchemical treatments, unnaturally prolonging his life.

Ezekiel's manse is located on a hill southeast of the Eel's Gate, ringed by a tall, solid wall of writhing maggots, constantly squirming, erupting from the ground in a quivering profusion of pallid larval flesh.  The "gate" of the manse only parts for welcome visitors, those who can prove that they have an appointment with Ezekiel to the demon gatekeeper Nybias.  Most of these visitors are outlandish themselves: mysterious men and women with odd grafts or lurid garb, adventurers and scoundrels and fellow hexers with stitched servitors or chained familiars or hulking bodyguards armed with unwieldy weapons.

Ezekiel's income is generated principally from his ingenious inventions and his alchemical concoctions, sold in the Hexwarren district of the City of Bodysnatchers. The Splicing Guild considers the witch a threat to their business but have been unable to infiltrate his manse; they would pay a small fortune to any willing to do so and return with Ezekiel's secrets.

Wispy - Seems similar to what I've heard from parties of interest- you don't happen to know them d'ya?  Mezzanine and Astragal were their names... and still are unless they've met an untimely end, or they gave aliases-- and one of those two propositions is almost certainly true.

Mr. Carver - Hmm, Ezekiel is it? I have heard rumours about that man; if indeed he is a man.

Wispy - Well, witches can be male as well.  But I was wondering if y'knew my contacts.

*Mr. Carver shrugs.

Mr. Carver - I don't know your friends, but there is a chance they are working for the House of Iridescent Angles.  Their names seem to suggest that.

Wispy - Neat.

Mr. Carver - Powerful players.  But then again, our mark is likewise powerful.  So, this woman in the Nubile Greyface, she also Jatayi? Part of your old crew?

Wispy - Yeah, she's Jatayi.  Some cute street chick I met one night.

Mr. Carver - What's her name?

Wispy - (lies) Chickadee.

Mr. Carver - Cute name.

Wispy - Yeah.

*Wispy shrugs.

Mr. Carver - What happened to her? She ran? You ran?

Wispy - man, I totally ran. One thing you gotta do here is you can't get tied down or else all your bad debts get caught up-- hey I wish her fine, I even bought her wine so she'd miscarry, but she wasn't hot on that.

Mr. Carver - Hmm, I can imagine.

A few rude shacks are clustered about the Eel's Gate, where one of the three elephant-sized Watchdogs pads absently, crows picking at its preserved flesh.  The shanty-town consists largely of simple dwellings but also includes a cheap brothel and a saloon called The Pickled Serpent.

Wispy - Hm. the pickled serpent... you might enjoy that place Mr. Carver- they've got a few graftee girls and guys there-- if you're into that sort of stuff.  No Jatayi though; you don't see too many of us in brothels. Has something to do with the maternal egg-bearing instinct.

Mr. Carver - You have sampled the wares I take it?

Wispy - I tried.  But like I said, no Jatayi.

Perched on a bluff overlooking the City of Bodysnatchers, Ezekiel Khaan's mansion is surrounded by a seething, rustling, squirming, undulating wall of maggots, a living fortification composed entirely of larvae.  Behind this nauseating battlement the house itself is just visible - a mass of mismatched spires and minarets protruding above the constantly shifting, fifty-foot fence.

Mr. Carver - Ah, we are not good enough for you? (smirks)

Wispy - Even though other races are cool to eat and stuff, I wouldn't do it with them that way.

Mr. Carver - Understandable.  But we have some more pressing matters at hand Mr. Wispy.

Wispy - Yeah- think we should go at night- or does it matter?

Mr. Carver - Primarily, how do we scale a living fence without being spotted.

Wispy - He's a wizard so he can probably see just as good then.  But at least other guys can't see us.  No need to scale. I'll fly up.

Mr. Carver - Can you carry me across?

*Wispy looks at Carver.

Wispy - Yeah, probably.  You're slim enough.  Not like Gorethirst.  Who's cool and all, but he's a fat-ass.

Mr. Carver - Hah, no, Gorethirst is in a different weight class altogether.

Mr. Carver - I see no reason to wait for night, if we approach without being spotted.

Wispy - Yeah, let's head out now.  They'll never expect something by day.

Mr. Carver - No. Many households have fewer guards and patrols in the day too.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Nomadic on September 01, 2010, 06:08:53 AM
I can't wait to see what happened with wispy after I left. That was very touch and go improv.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on September 15, 2010, 01:09:07 AM

Breaking and Entering

You skirt the edges of the walls till you're well out of sight from the gate.

Wispy - I think this guy just has his maggots and the demon.

Mr. Carver - A demon counts for a lot, I should think.

Wispy - Any other guards probably got eaten by the maggots... vile creatures.

Mr. Carver - Seems unlikely, but I'll entertain the notion for now.

Wispy - Okay, so I suppose we are going to try to go up.

*Wispy flies slowly, but steadily, hauling Mr. Carver up with some difficulty, huffing and puffing.  The pair alight on the mansion's roof.

Within the walls you can get a better look at the mansion itself.  While not as variegated as the deliberately pastiche headquarters of the Splicing Consortium the house is decidedly chaotic, a madcap aggregation of disparate parts joined tenuously together without immediately obvious rhyme or reason, with oddly shaped windows each tinted a different colour.

Mr. Carver - Hmm, I have a feeling that this is the kind of entrance one could expect from a Defoin play...

Dozens of faceless statues are evident as ornamentation, most of them posed in strange contortions of vaguely sexual postures.  It makes you a bit queasy just to look at the edifice.

Wispy - Lillix can really get creative, can't they.  What with all their legs.

There are plenty of upper storey windows - the place has three stories.

Mr. Carver - Yes, they are gifted with a few more... options.

Wispy - Yeah, that one with all the legs stuck in one place... That's particularly disturbing.

Mr. Carver - Mr. Carver - We're going through a window?  Wouldn't there be some kind of roof entrance? A hatch?

Wispy - Why would he have one of those?  You're welcome to look though. But I figure that would almost certainly be trapped.  Unless he's a fool, he should realize people can fly in.

Mr. Carver - Maintenance I assume?

There are two chimneys '“ a large one and a smaller, slender one.

Mr. Carver - Well, the same goes for the windows.

Wispy - At least you can usually see the traps there.

Mr. Carver - Then get one of them open so we don't have to stand out here in the open.  Damn it, you have infected my speech patterns bird...

Mr. Carver - Thought you were a thief?

Wispy - Yeah, I'm a thief- a bird-burglar.  We go in through chimneys, not windows.  That's why we don't set off alarms.  If you've got a problem with the chimney, I've got a grappling hook.  I can get you down safe.

*Mr. Carver scrutinizes the windows, noting glyphs carved into the frames.

Mr. Carver - You know witchcraft right? There are some glyphs carved into the sill.  But if we can't avoid them I'll take my chances with the chimney.

Wispy - Yeah, these glyphs... they'll set off alarms.  That'll lead to harms.

Mr. Carver - And you can't get them off?

Wispy - Do I look like I'm a witch who has a research lab and can make cool gleet like this old gleeter?  No. I doubt I can out-magick him.  But what do you expect - he took the hard route of earning money.  We take the easy route.  There are always shortcuts.  Ifs, ands, and buts.

* Mr. Carver sighs.

Mr. Carver - Chimney it is.

Wispy, you make it down fine, carefully folding up your wings and contorting yourself, but Carver gets stuck halfway down.

Wispy, you're in the hearth of what is presumably the kitchen, based on the pots, pans, and other food preparation tools on hand, as well as the cauldron, bags of flour, and spice-rack.  A pantry is evident through a side-door.  The cook seems to be absent.  There are two exits.

Mr. Carver - This... is not what I had hoped for.

* Wispy looks for butter.

There's butter in the kitchen, and plenty of lard in the pantry.

*Mr. Carver struggles to squeeze down, but only gets more stuck.

*Wispy takes the lard and clambers part way up the chimney, greasing Mr. Carver, who squirms and slips down in a puff of soot.

*Wispy tumbles out of Carver's way and gets out his parchment.

* Mr. Carver attempts to dust soot off his jacket, his fingers coming away with lard, which he then tries to wipe away on his pants... it has little to no effect

Mr. Carver - What you don't do to survive. But thanks. That was close.

There's a door opposite the hearth, another to the right.

* Wispy listens at the door on the right.

It's quiet.  Very quiet.

Mr. Carver - I hope his demon doesn't navigate by smell...

*Wispy checks the other door and hears distant footsteps, not close.

*Wispy goes out of the first, quiet door. Opening it slightly.

This seems to be a fine dining room, with expensive china in a glass cabinet against one wall  The tables and chairs are all created out of sewn-together corpse-parts.  One scuttles on necrotic fingertips and toes to pull itself out for you, sensing your approach.  There's one door again to the right.

'¢ Mr. Carver draws the Agony Knife and follows the Jatayi.

*Wispy looks around for something valuable-looking, then listens at the door.  He doesn't hear anything but does snatch a crystal decanter.

Mr. Carver - Not so many doors to choose from this time.  Hear anything?

* Mr. Carver follows

Through the door you find yourself in a corridor, with a door to the west and a corner that turns north.

* Wispy listens at door.

You can hear a voice speaking quietly somewhere, in Hellspeak.

"Damn Nybias, making me mop these floors, bloody sei'irm.'  The voice breaks off into a stream of muttered curses....

* Mr. Carver drops his voice to a whisper.

Mr. Carver - What do you hear?? Are we going this way or back?

Wispy - Sounds like a servant's there.

"Don't see why I have to clean up the mess every time an experiment gets loose..."

Wispy - We could jump him, or we could go to the corridor.  You choose, executioner- execute a plan.

*Kaius Alexander stands up from the chair he is seated in halfway across the city and grimaces horribly, almost as if he can sense the shenanigans that are currently underway.

Mr. Carver - If he is merely a servant I say we go this way.

* Mr. Carver gently opens the door.

* Mr. Carver peeks through.

You peer into a large room.  Based on the big doors to the left, this is the foyer or front hall. The hall is ostentatious and elaborately decorated, with strange, mismatched suits of armour.  One suit is encrusted with what look like barnacles; some are made of lacquered wood, bone, or other exotic materials.  A large central stair leads up to the second floor, and two arched doors lead to other parts of the first floor.

A squat, almost frog-like horror with pale, blubbery skin, bulbous red eyes, and a wide, slit-like mouth full of teeth is mopping up some greenish stains on the floor.  It is garbed in white livery and bound with chainless silver manacles.

Mr. Carver - A servant? That's a demon! ...of course, one doesn't rule out the other.

Wispy - Then he's even more likely to know where the treasure's at.

* Mr. Carver drops into a crouch and stealthily sneaks towards the abomination.

*Wispy readies a spell if necessary.

*Mr. Carver stands just behind it and stab it quickly twice in the back of its neck, but his knife is turned by its rubbery hide.


Wispy's hex hits it full in the face as it turns.  The demoniac servant is dazed momentarily.

*With surgical precision Mr. Carver inserts the Agony Knife into the creature's neck and wrenches.  A spray of black blood covers the walls and floor, as well as Carver himself.  The demon dissipates in a brimstone puff.

Wispy - So much for questioning it.

Mr. Carver - Probably better this way, I do not believe that interrogating a demon can be trivial matter...

Wispy - Eh, my mama did it all the time.

Mr. Carver - I could really use a bath after this, bird.

Wispy - Let's go up.

Mr. Carver - Hmm, I reckon the second floor would be a good idea.

* Mr. Carver walks up the stairs.

Through the door on the second floor is an anteroom with two other exits to the east and west.  A huge glass tank occupies the middle of this room, filled with murky water.  Inside a pair of vaguely humanoid fish-headed things with needle-like teeth idly swim, gnawing on old bones.  They ignore you completely.

Mr. Carver - So... left or right now?  Our benevolent employers didn't give you any useful directions perchance?  I admit that would make the idea of a map seem sort of obsolete, but I'll take what I can get.

* Mr. Carver checks the eastern door.

You hear purring.

* Mr. Carver keeps his eye on the eastern door while moving across the room towards the western door.

You hear many voices babbling, spitting, cursing, whining, weeping - a veritable chorus.  None of them are excessively loud, however.

Wispy - No directions. That's why the map.  So you heard purring at one and a lot of people at the other?  Neither choice is good.

Mr. Carver - Yes, something like that.  And I can only agree with you on that.

Wispy - But I bet the one with a lot of people's really just a talking table.  Or a wall of souls, you know.  Still, souls can scream.

 Mr. Carver - Or a dark hole of lost spirits...

Wispy - Wanna go back downstairs?  Maybe his stuff's in the forbidden basement.  At the least we can steal some expensive junk.

Mr. Carver - No, I think we are better off checking this floor.  At least if we are to get our reward.

Wispy - Okay, then your option. Once again, execute your plan.

Mr. Carver - We'll go with the purring.

This long, tiled hall is filled with plush, comfy-looking furniture.  One wall also has dozens of silver saucers set on the floor, some containing what looks like milk, others water, others meat.

Lounging about the room, sleeping on the furniture, eating and drinking from the saucers, and generally luxuriating are countless cats, all of them with vibrantly coloured fur, each of a different shade.  There are three doors - one to the north, two to the south.

Mr. Carver - You think these are dangerous?

Wispy - Let's go north.

* Mr. Carver moves carefully into the room eyeing the cats.

The cats twine lovingly about your legs.  The north door is locked.

Mr. Carver - Disturbing, but hardly for the reasons I had feared.  Any skills with locks then bird-burglar?

One of the smaller kittens is trying to climb up your legs, Wispy.

*Wispy and Mr. Carver head through one of the other doors.

A coverlet conceals a tall object in this room.  There are no doors or windows.

*Wispy shuts door behind them, to keep cats out.

Mr. Carver - I have bad feeling about this

Wispy - Hey Carver, watn to check that out?

Mr. Carver - We might as well... but we should be careful.  Can't you read if it's bewitched or something like that?

Wispy - I ken dowse hexes once a day.

Mr. Carver - Oh, to gleet with it.

* Mr. Carver walks up and flings off the coverlet.

You expose a body-length mirror.  Looking into it, you see a version of yourself, horribly altered.  Your body is decayed and putrefied, swarming with maggots and flies.  Your expression is one of grotesque delight, your eyes wide and manic, a carious grin disfiguring your features.

*Wispy is not looking at it.

Wispy - What d'ya see?

* Mr. Carver staggers back away from the mirror, falling to the floor in the process.

* Wispy hears the bump.

* Wispy opens the door to the kitten room.

Wispy - Y' all right Carver?

Wispy, you hear another voice in the kitten room, cooing in Hellspeak "Here you go my dearies.'

Mr. Carver - What.. what.. what was that? Some kind of spell... Gleet, that was disturbing. Like seeing your own death. Why the hell would anybody keep one of those around?[/b]

Another demoniac servant, this one in an apron, is putting out fresh cream for the cats.  You spot a ring of keys at its waist.

Mr. Carver - Something you can handle?

Kaius Alexander: ooc: Kaius does not approve of murder in the presence of innocent kittens >:

One of the cats has entered the mirror room and is hissing at its zombic reflection.

*Wispy uses "Randomized Magical Trick" [Prestidigitation] on the demon to make images of floating colorful kittens appear in front of the demon's face, so that the demon can't see him, then he readies his jatayi bolts.

The demon stumbles back, startled at the bizarre image, then sprouts one of Wispy's quarrels from its face.

*Mr. Carver leaps into the fray.

The demon plucks the quarrel angrily from its visage.

*Mr. Carver tries to replace it with a knife, but the demon flails, knocking his arm aside.

*Wispy fires again, and a second quarrel quivers in the demon's chest.

The demon claws at Mr. Carver, raking his torso.

*Mr. Carver attempts to trip the servant with his tendril, but cannot grasp the creature's foot.

*Vicebite, Wispy's clockwork ID-Bird familiar wakes up and pops out from under Wispy's elbow.

*Vicebite begins harassing the demon, but to little effect.  Vicebite returns to Wispy's shoulder.

*Wispy reloads, a quarrel loosening from his wings.  He is aided by his familiar.

*Wispy fires again, finally felling the servant.  Likes its fellow it dies in a sulphurous burst.  The keys clatter to the floor.

Mr. Carver - Quite a trick you got there.

Wispy - To reach those difficult, hard to reach places.

* Mr. Carver snatches up the keys.

* Wispy leads the way out the door and heads west.

Mr. Carver - We could actually use the guard, although he probably doesn't know anything.

There are two doors on either side of this corridor.  Lamps provide illumination, while suits of armour stand sentinel in niches along the walls.

*Wispy listens at the left hand door.

The lock of the large, iron door has been sculpted to look like a screaming spectre, with the ghost's mouth as the keyhole.  You don't hear anything, though.

Mr. Carver - Hmm, the lack of guards is a bit unnerving. Perhaps your mask will yet do you some good.

 You hear footsteps approaching from round the corner, and a whimpering sound from the other door.

* Wispy uses one of the lamps to scramble up to the ceiling and tries to hold on with his feet, spread-eagled.

Mr. Carver moves silently towards the corner where the guard will arrive.

* Ezekiel Khaan appears, obviously the source of the footsteps.

* Mr. Carver ducks into a shadowy niche holding a suit of armour.

 A flamboyantly dressde man with brightly coloured hair and beard appears.  His eyes are bright, mischievous, yet also sinister.

Wispy - Vicebite, go for the eyes!

* Ezekiel Khaan grins wickedly at the jatayi.

Ezekiel Khaan '“ What do we have here, an uninvited guest perhaps?

* Ezekiel Khaan makes a violent gesture and Vicebite is paralyzed instantly.

* Mr. Carver remains in the shadows, watching the scene unfold.

Ezekiel Khaan - Come down now, unless you would rather I knock you down.

Mr. Carver - ooc: Probably true... but I'm like right in front of him. Are there any nooks or something like that?

* Ezekiel Khaan gestures to the jatayi on the ceiling and there is a green flash.

 Wispy, you're instantly stunned and fall to the floor.

Wispy - Urp.

* Ezekiel Khaan whispers a short phrase.

A demoniac servitor appears quite suddenly

"Yes, Master?  Shall I dispose of this intruder?"

Wispy - Iib!

Ezekiel Khaan - We have a guest who hasn't been shown to the unwanted guests quarters'¦ please make sure he is nice and...

* Ezekiel Khaan grins darkly.

Ezekiel Khaan - Comfortable.

 Wispy, you are dragged by the guard through the corridors and down staircases.  Eventually you reach what seems to be the basement level of the mansion.

*Mr. Carver slinks away while the guard drags Wispy off.  He skulks down the corridor and reaches a door of black wood, which he tentatively opens.
This chamber appears to be a conjury, based on the carefully carved symbols on the marble floor, the black candles, and the lingering tang of sulphur, ozone, blood, and singed flesh.  There are no demons swaggering about the circle, however.   A stone pedestal with a large black gemstone and a book is evident before the circle, and a staff made of exotic, glistening metal is set in a holder in a niche. One section of the staff seems to be able to rotate.  This section is inscribed with small glyphs, one of which glows at all times.  Another set of small runes is evident near the tip of the staff.  Most of these are dim, but twelve are glowing.

 A staircase in the floor spirals downwards.  You can hear a whimpering sound downstairs.

* Mr. Carver prods the gem with the tip of a knife and if it doesn't spark or anything he grabs it.

* Mr. Carver also takes the staff.  He then descends the staircase.

A young girl of perhaps ten years of age is held in a cage of silvery metal in this large, round room.  She is clothed in a ragged dress and looks gaunt and sad, her eyes hungry.  A golden key hangs on a peg nearby.  The walls here are covered in what look like finger-paintings in dark red paint.  "Please, let me out," she begs.  "The bad man comes and hurts me!  Please!  Let me out before he comes back!"

Mr. Carver - "Who are you?"

"My name is Lamia.  Who are you?  Will you let me free?"

Mr. Carver - And why are you here?

"The bad man, he stole me off the streets!   He's kept me here..."

* Mr. Carver eyes the finger paintings apprehensively.

She rattles the bars.

Mr. Carver - Where these... made by you?

"Please!  Please, take me with you!  He makes me, he makes me do them.  If I make them he doesn't hurt me so much."

* Mr. Carver takes a sudden step back

Mr. Carver - You're not human.

"What do you mean?  I'm a little girl!  Let me out!"

She begins to weep'¦ but the tears are not clear.  They are crimson.

Mr. Carver - No, no, you're not. Gleet, I have to get out of here...

* Mr. Carver grabs the key and leaves the room hurriedly.

The child '“ or whatever it is '“ screams shrilly and curses in Hellspeak.

The walls and ceiling of this long hall are covered in mouths of every type and description: child's mouths, old mouths, pouting mouths, fanged mouths, snarling thin-limped mouths, toothless mouths, mouths with forked tongues.  The mouths all babble simultaneously, a chorus of voices constantly murmuring, cursing, cajoling, whispering, ranting, laughing, seducing.

There's a door at the far end, two others along the wall to your right.

* Mr. Carver stays in the middle of the corridor, puts his fingers in his ears and move towards the door at the end, which he opens and ducks through.

You're back in the room with the glass tank and the fish-things.

* Mr. Carver back-tracks through the hall of mouths and opens one of the other doors.

This long hall is lined with shelves or cubby-holes, all of them containing what look like globes of glass or amber.  Imprisoned inside each globe is a miniature person or creature, from coiled cestoids to armoured human warriors to sand-rays, and everything in-between, standing stock-still; perhaps they are miniatures of some kind.  There are two other doors, to your right.

* Mr. Carver takes the cestoid and bags it.

* Mr. Carver takes one of the doors out.

This room is filled with musical instruments: lyres, mandolins, trumpets, even bagpipes.  There is also some sheet music nearby.  Poised as if to play the instruments are half a dozen skeletons.  The only instrument not clutched in skeletal hands is a flute that looks to be made of bone, which rests on a pedestal next to an empty chair.

There is one other door here.

* Mr. Carver, lacking ability to discern magic, perceives the flute as something of value and bags it.  He moves to the other door.

You hear voices in the other room.

* Mr. Carver listens at the door.

You hear a voice saying "Be off."  It sounds like Ezekiel.

* Mr. Carver peers through the keyhole.

Wispy is ducking through a window of some kind while Ezekiel watches sternly.  There seems to be a strange, otherworldly landscape beyond.

Mr. Carver '“ (whispering to himself) Better get away from this door. The bird will have to fend for himself now...

* Mr. Carver leaves the room and ducks into the Hall of Cats and waits for a moment.

One of the cats - bright green in colour - meows pitifully at you.

* Mr. Carver eyes the cat cautiously.

The kitten purrs at you.  It appears to be quite mundane, except for its brightly coloured fur.

*  Mr. Carver takes out the staff he found.

* Mr. Carver puts on a glove.

* Mr. Carver then carefully places a single finger on one of the glowing runes.

A burst of light is emitted from the staff, striking the kitten, which promptly doubles in size.  One of the twelve runes near the top of the staff goes dim.

The kitten, unperturbed, continues to paw you good-naturedly.  It is now the size of a large dog...

* Mr. Carver avoid its suddenly overlarge claws.

Mr. Carver - AH!

* Mr. Carver runs into the aquarium room and closes the door behind him.

You hear scrabbling sounds under the door as the enlarged kitten scratches at it.

Presently the scratching sounds stop.

Mr. Carver - There must be a way to get this thing to work... Where is the gleetin' ghul witch when you need him.

* Mr. Carver tries turning the rotatable part of the staff, careful not to disturb the glowing activation rune.

The glowing rune flickers off and a rune beside it lights up.  There's a "click" sound as the section snaps into place.

Mr. Carver - Hmm, next hex.

Mr. Carver peeks through into the Hall of Cats.

The large cat is gleefully eating all the cat food left out for it.

Mr. Carver points the staff at it and activates it.

The cat shrinks drastically, such that it is now small enough to fit in the palm of your hand.

Mr. Carver - Hah!  Just what I needed. But for good measure...

* Mr. Carver shifts the rotatable section to the third rune and activates it.

The cat returns to its original size after being hit by the staff's eldritch glow.

* Mr. Carver heads stealthily back upstairs via the staircase and slinks towards the room with the glass maze, with the tiny chest at the center, careful to elude eldritch guards along the way.

You stand on the glass, still scrawled with Wispy's chalk designs.  The insects and other "guardians" are dead, killed by Wispy's arcane smoke, which was now dissipated.

* Mr. Carver shifts the staff to the shrink hex and points it inwards toward himself. Then he activates it.

You diminish in size; fortunately, the staff shrinks with you.

You are now well under a foot in height.  You also hear footsteps - huge, booming, gigantic footsteps - echoing down the corridor outside.

Mr. Carver - Definitely not good.

* Mr. Carver dive into the maze and try to hide behind a wall.

You scramble down into the maze in the floor just as the door opens and a blubberous, pallid demon of the type you encountered earlier walks in.  The demon doesn't seem to see you, but does squat down and tap at the glass, frowning.  A moment later it heads back out through the door it just came through, mumbling in Hellspeak.

* Mr. Carver breathes a sigh of relief and follows the chalk path.

You hurry through the labyrinth, eventually arriving at the central chamber.  The chest sits on a pedestal in the center.  The crumpled corpse of what to you looks like an enormous praying mantis lies slumped at the entrance.

* Mr. Carver kicks it for good measure.

The bug twitches but does not get up.

* Mr. Carver jabs his knife into the insect, just in case.

Any quivering remnants of life in the "giant" insect flicker and die...

* Mr. Carver checks the pedestal for any traps.  Finding none, he makes to take the chest.

You hear footsteps returning.

* Mr. Carver hastily replaces the chest and hides.

The door opens and the demoniac guard enters with what looks like a small cage.  The guard mutters something and stoops down.  You hear a hissing noise and the sound of the cage being opened, but cannot see from your angle what he has placed in the maze.

The creature chuckles nastily and exits.  It still didn't see you, however.

* Mr. Carver grabs the chest again.

You hear a faint hiss somewhere off in the maze...

* Mr. Carver takes the chest through the maze, following the chalk and looking carefully around every corner.

The hissing is growing louder.  Whatever it is, you're getting nearer to it.  At last you catch a glimpse of a scaly tail disappearing around a corner.

Mr. Carver '“ (whispering) Shit. Can't afford to take any wrong turns in here.

* Mr. Carver slinks past with preternatural stealth.

The exit is in sight.  You breathe an involuntary sigh of relief.  As you inhale after this long breath out, you catch a whiff of yourself - and the lard that Wispy greased you with back when you were stuck in the chimney.  You hear the hissing behind you, suddenly quite loud.

Mr. Carver - Why does nothing ever go down as planned...

* Mr. Carver turns around, knife in hand.

An enormous snake is slithering towards you, tongue tasting the air!

* Mr. Carver scrambles up and out of the maze, the snake close behind.  

It snaps it jaws just as you exit the maze!

* Mr. Carver make a final dash to get some distance behind him and the creature, then uses the staff to enlarge himself.

The serpent slithers out of the maze in close pursuit.

* Having returned to his original size, Mr. Carver steps on the snake.

You grind the now quite small snake under your heel, crushing its skull.  The chest he stole from the maze enlarged along with him.

Mr. Carver - Ah, much more my kind of fight '“ an unfair one.

* Mr. Carver wipes the blood off the floor and deposits the snake's corpse in the maze.

Mr. Carver - Now, time to get out.

*Mr. Carver looks out into the corridor.

There's no one there.  The stairway is just across the hall.

Mr. Carver - Now, the real issue is to get out without Wispy to fly me.  Damn.  That's what you get for being an impulsive thief.

* Mr. Carver shrinks the sigil-etched chest back to its miniature size.

* Mr. Carver puts the tiny chest in his pocket.

* Mr. Carver heads down the staircase, back through the Hall of Cats and the aquarium anteroom, and into the front hall.

The cinderous remnants of the demon you slew here are evident on the carpet.

Mr. Carver - I'm surprised nobody has found that yet.

* Mr. Carver sweeps the ashes under the rug.

* Mr. Carver back-tracks through the corridors and continues past the kitchen and dining room.

You come to a long corridor with a set of double doors on one wall and two smaller doors on the other.

* Mr. Carver tentatively opens the double doors.

You've entered some kind of greenhouse, a large room with a glass ceiling.  Instead of ordinary plants, however, Ezekiel has cultivated fungi.  Toadstools are clustered on rotting logs; tumorous, brightly coloured nodules adhere to trees; spores clot the air.  There's also a large fountain here.

Mr. Carver - Hmm, not my kind of room.

* Mr. Carver shuts the door.

* Mr. Carver listens at the other doors.

One door probably leads to the kitchen and is quite quiet.  The other '“ locked '“ is equally silent.

* Mr. Carver attempts to open the locked door with the various keys he's acquired.

The silver key opens the lock.

* Mr. Carver looks inside.

You stand in a spiral staircase that winds up as far as you can see, and down the same distance.  There are no windows, though you can see other landings further up and down the stair.  There are various doors evident on the landings.  This makes no sense at all: logically, you think that this staircase should intersect with the aquarium anteroom above, or possibly the Hall of Mouths...

Mr. Carver - Well, not that way either apparently.  Of course, one could always give it a try.

* Mr. Carver steps onto the staircase.

Mr. Carver - This better not be a trap.

* Mr. Carver climbs the stair to the door above him.

The door at this landing is of metal, graven with glyphs.  It jostles and bumps constantly, as if something was trying to force its way through from the other side.

Mr. Carver - This door seems like it should stay closed.

* Mr. Carver continues to climb the stairs.

At the next landing is a door of black stone, like obsidian.  It's unmarked, and looks to be unlocked.  Yet another door - plain and wooden - can be seen on the landing further above There's still no sign of the staircase ending: it seems to stretch up for an impossible distance.

* Mr. Carver tries the black door.

It opens easily. Outside a cityscape opens before you.  You seem to be on a balcony tower overlooking a massive tiered city.   The buildings here look like they were woven out of stony cobwebs, spindly towers snared in wefts of stone buttresses and gantries. Below, you can see small, many-limbed shapes moving about in courtyards and quadrangles.

Mr. Carver - Hm, this doesn't look much like Macellaria.

* Mr. Carver closes the black door and ascends to the plain wooden door.

* Mr. Carver opens the door, using one of the keys he procured.

Considering the number of stairs you've climbed you should be several hundred feet up, but the door opens in a plain, nondescript alleyway.  The familiar silhouette of the Fane of Dust in Hexwarren is evident nearby, rising above the buildings of Macellaria.

Mr. Carver - Ah, home, sweet home. Goodbye Mr. Khaan.

There is a sudden sound of shattering stone as the door that was jostling is burst asunder.  You hear a vague roaring sound from down below.

Mr. Carver - Not good.

* Mr. Carver runs out into the alley and slams the door shut, locking it securely behind him.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on September 22, 2010, 01:04:33 AM

Out of Character

The part of Ezekiel Khaan was played by Nomadic.

A Simple Courier Mission

Wispy, you are taken to a dungeon - no other word for it - and strapped into a pair of "manacles" made from disembodied human hands sutured to the walls that clench your wrists and ankles.

Wispy - Gib...

The hex wears off but you are quite firmly imprisoned.  Ezekiel stands before you.

Ezekiel Khaan - So then, perhaps you will tell me what you were doing in my abode.

Wispy - I was totally trespassing.

* Ezekiel Khaan quietly taps his fingers together.

Ezekiel Khaan - Indeed... but rarely does one trespass for the sake of trespassing.

Wispy - Then you don't know Jatayi.  But, whatever, you've got me here so I'll tell you how I got in.  I fell down your chimney. You probably saw the soot.  Y'know, you should install more windows in your house.  Practically every room I went into didn't have a window and I couldn't get out.

* Ezekiel Khaan chuckles.

Ezekiel Khaan - Perhaps I like my privacy.

Wispy - You're like a lillix, you know that?

Ezekiel Khaan - But that is unimportant.  You were... perhaps after something of mine yes?  I have many valuable items

Wispy - Yeah, I took a mask- you have really good taste in art!

* Ezekiel Khaan 's chuckle becomes a full-fledged laugh, but not a happy merry one, instead taking on a blacker tone.

Ezekiel Khaan - Hmm, well, I don't take lightly to intruders.  The question, then, is what to do with you.  Perhaps I will just sell you off for parts to the grafters.

Wispy - I can rob other people for you, you know? Pay back my debt to society.

Ezekiel Khaan - Rob hmm, you are a funny one!  But, ah'¦ I recall a task that you may be of some use for.  There is a certain, ahem, property I have acquired the rights to, and you could perhaps get it for me'¦ a simple courier mission and I could possibly rethink selling you off in the Skin Markets.

Wispy - Probably a good idea, since I've got more feather than skin anyways.

Ezekiel Khaan - Indeed

Wispy - Sooo... what where when why and will-for?

* Ezekiel Khaan gestures and the gruesome manacles unclench.

 The guard gestures you to follow him.

Ezekiel Khaan '“ If you value breathing, you will follow without attempting to escape.

* Wispy follows.

The guard leads you upstairs, to a small, almost featureless room.  A window is set on the far wall of this room, with a frame of black wood carved with glowing red glyphs in the Hellspeak alphabet.  Instead of the city of Macellaria or the wastelands, however, the window looks out on a decidedly different view.  The sky is a pulsating, veined thing torn with ragged rents that seep black, glistening rain onto the panoramic landscape below, a pale plain dotted with vast, coiled, living obelisk-shaped things - creatures? buildings? monuments? - and innumerable pits like open sores.  Occasional winged beings of some kind flit briefly through the skies, squealing with a sound no earthly beast is capable of making, faintly audible through the thick glass.  Apart from the window the room is virtually featureless.

The guard opens the window.

* Ezekiel Khaan enters the room behind you and carefully opens the lid of a nearby box and retrieves a strange silken sack dyed a deep red.

Ezekiel Khaan - I have acquired through some difficulty an item of some value.

Wispy - And you want me to take it?

Ezekiel Khaan - I want you to retrieve it for me.

* Ezekiel Khaan hands you the bag.

Ezekiel Khaan - you will pay for it and return.

Wispy - Uh... pay for it with what?

Ezekiel Khaan - The bag will take care of that.  Do not open it; simply hand it to the one known as Sprezychish.

Wispy - Jah, is there anything else I shouldn't do, cause I apparently have poor ability to tell good choices from bad '“ witness my entry into your house.

Ezekiel Khaan - Simply follow the road from the portal to his house, hand him the bag and retrieve the item then return the way you came.

* Wispy shrugs and takes the bag.

Wispy - Gotcha Khaan, it ain't the first time I've been to hell. This'll turn out well.

* Ezekiel Khaan waves his hand dismissively.

Ezekiel Khaan - Be off.

You pass though the window and enter the world beyond.  The air tastes of blood and ozone, smells cloyingly of metallic bile, uncanny secretions, and brimstone.  The winged things you glimpsed earlier flock around you before wheeling away, squeaking and chittering to one another.  

You are standing on a kind of terrace at the top of one of the massive organic towers that dot the land, enormous spires of bone and flesh.  The towers of Skein are but pale imitations of these grotesque sublimities.  A twisting stair formed of jutting spines encircles the tower, leading down to the plain below: a winding road leads from the spire's base into the distance.

*Wispy tumbles out of the portal and hits the ground. His familiar, Vicebite, is nowhere to be seen.

*Wispy shakes a feathered arm back at the portal

Wispy - Vicebite, you blight!

*Wispy then curses the magician who sent him here.

Wispy - Wispy looks at the staircase, then judges how far down it goes.

The tower descends for perhaps fifteen hundred feet.

Wispy - Fiendish animal, won't accompany me to hell... I wonder if I'll find your aspect here.

* Wispy looks down the tower then shrugs and decides to follow the path. He races to the edge of the tower and jumps off.

You soar through the malodorous air and land at the tower's base.

The road stretching before you is of a smooth reddish material of unpleasant texture.  The plain is covered not in grass but in growths like enormous cilia, waving gently in the foetid winds.  They mutter mouthlessly, rustling against one another.  Squat shadows scuttle between them, too swift to be seen properly.

* Wispy hacks up congealed particulate matter that he sucked in while gliding down.

Wispy - No wonder Vicebite's so vicious.

A shadow passes overhead.  Somewhere high, high above you, a gigantic shape is visible, moving amongst the clouds, far above the spire-tops.  You cannot make out the particulars of its contours, half-shrouded as it is in an obfuscating pall, but you glimpse an enormous chitinous bulk trailing flexible appendages: a being the size of a city, drifting through the sky.  A titanic groan echoes across the plain.  The beast is soon lost in the gloom above.

Wispy - I'm off to see the Demon, the wonderful Demon of Hell. Because, because, because, oh well. Because I've been sent to hell with a pouch-basket grasped, by wizard tasked.

* Wispy sings to keep his spirits up.

*Wispy closes his eyes as he sings.

You hear something growl off to the left, amongst the cilia.

*Wispy opens one eye and cackles as loud as he can.

Wispy - EEEEEEEEEEeeee! (This might be interpreted as a scream, but is the best that a Jatayi can do in the way of growling.)

Wispy - And wispy continues walking.

A creature that might vaguely be likened to a six-legged dog crossed with a monstrous crustacean springs out of the undergrowth.  It growls from a fanged maw, purplish spittle dripping from a tentacular tongue.  The beast is about the size of a large, terrestrial wolf.

Wispy '“ (Wispy speaks in Hellspeak) Hail Traveler. I am an agent of Sprezychish, so shoo.

* Wispy waves a wing dismissively.

The dog-thing pads forwards and begins sniffing and tasting the air with its tongue.  If it understood your speech it shows no sign of it.

* Wispy walks past the Hell-wolf, chest puffed out, strutting imperiously and with an air of importance.  On the back of his head is the Sorrow mask.

The canine-crustacean monstrosity whines and whimpers and begins following you.

Wispy - Onwards!

The road ends at the lip of one of the vast pits that dot the Hellscape.  This huge hole goes down further than you can see.  A narrow stair clings to the walls of the pit, descending into darkness.

*Wispy takes the stairs, for the moment.

As you make your descent you discern a series of rough holes in the cliff-face - tunnels or caves of some sort.

* Wispy also looks down to see if he can see the bottom of the pit.

You cannot see the bottom of the pit.

 The chitinous Hellhound padding behind you begins growling.  Its visage is turned towards the holes in the cliff-face.

* Wispy continues, paying no mind to the holes.

Wispy - Such worries are beneath a personage as important as myself.

A shape crawls out of one of the holes and takes to the air on a pair of membranous wings.  Considerably larger than the bat-like imps you encountered previously, the black-fleshed creature has no arms, but does sport a long, many-jointed tail tipped with a barbed stinger.  Its head is ovoid and mostly consists of a round, toothy mouth.  It shrieks once and flaps away into the distance.

The Hellhound barks savagely but ignores the flying thing and continues following you.

Eventually you come to a kind of landing.  While the stairs continues on, deeper into the pit, a large structure is evident on the landing: a sort of palace, formed of a black stone, or perhaps some manner of tissue, perched over the abyss below.  The structure is covered with strange white protuberances like gigantic, cataract-filmed eyes, though what their function is - decoration, security, or some other, more esoteric purpose - you do not know.

Standing at the mouth-like door to this manse is a thin, wiry creature with five many-jointed arms, two terminating in long, glistening claws, three in seven-fingered hands; it stands on a pair of bowed, hooved legs.  Its head, a narrow oblong, contains no visible eyes, but it seems to taste the air with a cartilaginous tendril, tipped with a bulbous ganglion, that sprouts just above its wide, many-toothed maw.

Wispy '“ (In Hellspeak) Hail. I come to Sprezychish with item to exchange.

The demon hisses back: "What is your name, traveler?  And from whence do you hail?"  It speaks in the High Mode.

Wispy - The name I go by here is Vicebite. I hail from the magus Ezekiel Khaan.

"Very well.  Through here, then," the demon mutters, opening the door and ushering you into a tenebrous hall beyond.  "Go through the main hall and into the waiting room beyond, with the other petitioners."

Wispy - How many of these petitioners are seen each day?

"It depends.  Sometimes only a single individual may be granted an audience.  At other times, dozens may see Sprezychish."

Wispy - Wispy nods and goes in.

Columns resembling huge vertebrae support the ceiling; fountains along spew viscous fluid; a foul stench fills the air, even worse than the nauseating smell outside.  Another large door opens into a cavernous space beyond.  A small, hunched demon something like a fiendish, hairless monkey appears to be the doorkeeper.  It sits atop a pedestal of sorts.

* Wispy walks past the small demon, Hellhound still in tow.

"Oi!  You'll need a number"  The demon chirps angrily.

The creature offers you a square of velum with a single glyph on it.  The glyph is the Hellspeak numeral for "884459."

Wispy - Very well.

* Wispy accepts the number and continues into the room beyond.

Through some witchcraft this room possesses enormous dimensions, far exceeding those of the exterior palace.  Floating orbs of queasy, greenish light provide illumination, but even so the ceiling is only barely visible above, and you cannot see three of the walls at all.  Countless beings of myriad forms stand in a seemingly endless queue here, corralled by towering, elephantine demons with heads like horned crustaceans and spears taller than most trees.  These bestial horrors keep order, preventing anyone from cutting in line.  A voice booms out of the darkness over the heads of the multifarious crowd, proclaiming (in Hellpeak): "NOW ADMITTING PETITIONER 26731!"

Flying servitors flap about the room on leathery wings, holding large cauldrons of steaming liquid in their scrawny arms.  They descend occasionally when called by one of the petitioners and ladle out some of the slop from their pots into bowls of black metal.

The last petitioner in line is a brawny thing which regards you from a cluster of beady black eyes, set in a bald head that seem too small for its great stature: though dwarfed by the spear-wielding demons the petitioner stands perhaps twelve feet in height.  It wears armour made from what looks like the carapace of some behemoth insect and carries an axe-like weapon

Wispy - So, how many day's you've been waiting?

"Not sure, really.  Ten or twelve, I think.  Hard to say in this place."

Wispy - Gah,

* Wispy recoils.

Wispy - So why don't you cut the line?

"See those huge buggers with the giant spears?  They skewer people who cut.  And then eat them.  Names's Krael-Tovosh-Y'link, by the way.  From the Shuddersome Mountains of Xaicoul.  So, why're you here?"

Wispy - Name I go by here is Vicebite.  I've got business going with th' Demon. By the way, what's your number. And are you a spirit, or living.[/b]

"Number's 884458."  The demon seems puzzled by the other question.  'Can a spirit not be living?'

Wispy - Gotcha.

* Wispy nods.

Wispy - So do people give up and leave - or do they get skewered too?

"You can go if you want to, I suppose, but getting back through the line can be a bit of a hassle."

 The Hellhound is licking itself beside you.

Wispy - Well then, what brought you here? Were you expecting to wait for a long time?

"I'm here here to protest the appropriation of one of my master's fortresses by the armies of Sprezychish, requisitoned during his conquest of the Yawning Emptinesses beyond the Thanatotic Wastes on the Fourteenth Tier.  I was told the wait would be a few years or so.  A small sacrifice."


Wispy - Hm. line's moving fast today.  Weird though, this doesn't seem to be the line for me.

Yeah.  Sometimes it takes hours.  Maybe they offended Sprezychish."

Wispy - What's the guy in front of you here for?  Asking a question, or doing business?

"It doesn't seem to speak.  Just stares and hisses sometimes."

Wispy - Well what about the one in front of it?

"I think she's been sent with a marriage proposal."

Wispy - marriage proposal- for whom?  She wants the demon's blessing?

'No, her sire sent her to offer to join Sprezychish's harem."

Wispy - And Gleet- that sounds terrible about what you're having to protest.

"Yes, it's a very serious issue."

Wispy - Lots of great and terrible stories here, then, I guess.

Krael-Tovosh-Y'link shrugs.  "I suppose.  Are things different in your homeland?"

Wispy - Demons aren't conquering anywhere. And the Cestoids are all dead off.  Hey, I'm going to go speak with the gate demon, but before I do - I'm a Fabler.  I spin stories, and I'd like to be able to spin yours to my people- they'd find it interesting.

"Well, that would actually really help our awareness campaign."

Wispy - I've got... '˜bout thirty minutes here and may not come back though- so if you have a tale to tell, I'd love to hear it.  I'd love to spread awareness.

Krael-Tovosh-Y'link begins a saga concerning the campaign of Sprezychish in the Yawning Emptinesses, a vast and violent struggle costing trillions of demoniac lives.  Much of the tale concerns the defense of a small mountain pass in Xaicoul, and the rapine of Sprezychish's fiendish soldiers as they take over the fortress guarding the pass and generally abuse the inhabitants of the surrounding territories.  The climax is the epic Battle of Black Lightning, when the necromentals of the Thanatotic Waste came to the aid of Sprezychish's forces (a bargain having been struck), crushing the indigenes of the Yawning Emptiness against the walls of the fortress in the heart of the Shuddersome Mountains.

Wispy - Amazing!  I'll commit it to rhyme form.  And if things don't work out with me at the gate, I can memorize more later.

* Wispy reaches out to shake Krael-Tovosh's hand.

The demon bends down and shakes Wispy's hand.

* Wispy heads back to the desk demon.

The dwarfish monkey-thing peers at you testily. Yes?"

Wispy - I think I belong in the other line.

"Other line?"

Wispy - I don't actually have a petition per se.  I have an item Sprezychish wants.

"An item, eh?  Why don't you just give it to me, then."

Wispy - You're not him.

"Indeed.  But I can convey it to him."

Wispy - Apparently this was supposed to be a trade.

The demon frowns.  It clearly isn't used to someone questioning protocol.

Wispy - Wispy smiles charmingly.

"I suppose I could summon the Seneschal.  It would be a trifle unorthodox, however.  What exactly are you delivering?"

Wispy - The thing that's in this pouch.

* Wispy holds up the pouch.

"May I inspect it?"

Wispy - Well, I suppose you could always just take it from me and look at it - but I've been warned that I can't open it; maybe we should let the Seneschal take that risk instead.

"Hmph!  I will not bother the Seneschal over a trifle.  I must ascertain the details of this exchange before I bother it with such a matter.  Give me the bag."

Wispy - A trifle? Stifle your fears; if the agreement was previously procured, then this is likely to be far more than a trifle.

"Hmph.  Very well, very well."  The creature hits a small bell and a grinning, emaciated being shuffles out of the shadows; it has the appearance of a tall, horned skeleton with black bones.

"This being claims to have an object of interest for Sprezychish,' the attendant says.  'It refused to let me see the contents of the bag, however."

The Seneschal wheezes and holds out an ebon hand.

Wispy - Pleasure to meet you.

* Wispy shakes the hand, smiling all the time.

The moment your flesh touches the bony creature the room vanishes.  You appear to have been transported to a throne-room.  More of the guardian-demons stand at attention, but even they look tiny compared to the titanic creature that sits on a great chair at the far end of the hall.    The chair seems to be made of the skulls of a thousand different species mortared together.  The being who sits upon it is surprisingly humanoid, though many times greater in dimension.  Its flesh is blackish green in colour, its eyes violent crimson; its huge head is surmounted by a veritable forest of horns, like a bony crown.  Tentacular growths dot its body, waving to and fro aimlessly.  It is difficult to estimate the being's height.  Seventy feet?  A hundred?  Two hundred?  The demon's enormity makes a mockery of scale.

* Wispy bends down and bows before the Demon, pushing the bag slightly out in front of him.

"YES?"  The demon says, sounding infinitely bored.  "WHAT IS THIS CREATURE DOING HERE?  DOES YOU COME TO GIVE AN OFFERING?"

Wispy - Great Demon Sprezychez... I come from Khaan with a trade.

A scrawny demon you hadn't noticed before stamps its clawed foot as you speak.  "I object!  I waited for forty five years for an audience and I will not be denied!"

Sprezychish grimaces in annoyance, snaps his enormous fingers, and the protesting creature explodes in a puff of smoke and charred fragments of gore.  Then it turns back to you.


Wispy - There's a terrible wonder in this bag- to be exchanged.


The demoniac skeleton moves to take the bag.

Wispy - And where to pick up the exchange; or alternatively... (reflecting and looking at the puff of smoke) to receive your rage?"

The demon-lord laughs abominably.


Wispy - Khaan, Ezekiel the one, warned me the pouch should not be opened - so you may want your Seneschal to exercise care.  I think you can open it though... so no worries about that. Oh.

"DO NOT WORRY ON THAT ACCOUNT."  The arch-demon chuckles again with the volume of an earthquake.

The Seneschal takes the bag delicately and places its claws on your shoulder.

Wispy - Infusion... infusion... thank you very much for the profusion of good will.

* Wispy gestures with a hand.

Wispy - Khaan will be very grateful for your trade.  He'll be happy that it's made.


You feel a pulse of energy from the Seneschal's fingers.  The throne room vanishes before your eyes, to be replaced by a smaller, dim room with a central slab from which a number of long, snaking tendrils writhe.

The Seneschal gestures that you lie down on the slab.

* Wispy looks at the Seneschal.

Wispy - So Seneschal, what'll it be today with the infusion? Something permanent as long as I live, or temporary?

The Seneschal moans eerily and the tendrils lash out towards you, attempting to bind around your ankles and wrists.  Three of your limbs are pinioned by the tendrils.

* Wispy strains at the cord, but soon realizes that he is completely tied down.  A fourth tendril wraps round his free wrist.

Lashed to the slab, you watch as the Seneschal slides towards you while more tendrils pull at your clothes.

Wispy - Hey if you want me to take off the armor, you'd just have to ask, let's quit with the tendril amour here!  C'mon quit with that, this is tender armor!

The Seneschal ignores you completely as the tendrils continue to peel off your armour and clothing, till you are stripped to the waist.

Wispy - This is worse than a lillix-on-lillix porn painting!

The demon now hovers above you, fixing you with its unmoving, skeletal grin.

Wispy - Yeah, look at that, look at those feathers.

With grotesque dispassion the Seneschal uses one long, black talon to begin carving sigils into your flesh.

Wispy - Aw, crap.  This is eerily familiar to how my mother met her end...

The Seneschal continues carving till your torso and limbs are covered in sigils.

Wispy - So, whatya' doin' to me?  Fixing me up so you can summon me here at any time, just like witches in Macellaria can summon demons?

Its mutilations complete, the Seneschal steps back and cocks its horned head to one side, as if admiring its handiwork.  It hisses and exhales some sort of unwholesome vapour.  The Seneschal continues its detached observance, unspeaking.  This sickly miasma hovers in the air for a moment before entering your nose and mouth.

Wispy - Waaargikh!  Fluuummmph!

The sigils carved into your skin are glowing an  infernal red.  There is a moment of excruciating pain; when the agony ceases you feel an alien presence within you, squirming in your breast, scrabbling madly against the insides of your mind, a prisoner rattling the bars of its cage.  Your skin flutters and pulsates with uncanny rhythms.

Wispy - Whaaaatttaaburrrrgggeerr!

The grinning Seneschal bends over you again and lays its black claws against your forehand.  The Infusion Chamber vanishes and you find yourself on the landing outside the Palace of Sightless Eyes.  Your armour and clothing are restored.  The demon points to the path leading back up and out of the pit, then disappears into shadowy wisps.

The hound-thing that followed you earlier bounds up from where it was lying and runs towards you, apparently pleased to see you.

Wispy - Fancy meeting you here.

The thing pants and licks at your hand, searing your fingers with caustic spittle.

* Wispy looks at his hand, then sighs and shrugs.

* Wispy starts walking back up out of the pit, testing his wings every few moments to see how well they can support him.

Halfway up, another of the gaunt, winged demons that attacked you earlier climbs out of a cave along the cliffs and lanches itself towards you.  You feel the demoniac presence within you spasm, and suddenly a ball of shadowy Hellfire appears in your hand!

* Wispy, surprised by the flame, throws it away from him.

The ball of flame hits the creature head-on and incinerates it.  The demon's charred corpse falls into the pit below.

Wispy - Great balls of fire!

There is a chittering sound from the caves along the cliffs and more of the creatures begin crawling out!

Wispy '“ (turning to the Hellhound) '“ Goodness gracious.

The Hellhound howls.

Wispy - We'll have to fly.

* Wispy grabs the dog and tries to take off.

Weighed down by the dog, you struggle into the air and manage (after a moment of queasy veritgo over the pit) to maintain your flight.  A swarm of the demoniac beasts is now whirling behind you.  The great flock forms a black cloud of wings and horns...

Barely managing to keep ahead of the growing flock of demons, you reach the lip of the pit.

* Wispy rocks from side to side and releases the hound... then sprints a few feet to avoid falling flat on his face.

Wispy - WeeeeeeeeeeennnnnnDDDDDyyyyyysssss (He screams out incoherence)!

You hit the ground hard and start running.  The dog-thing keeps pace beside you on its six legs.

Wispy - Okay hound, you're on your own. Wispy is going to take to the skies and head for the tall tower.

The cloud of demons is dense.  Like wasps, they seem to have swarming tendencies.  The Hellhound barks loudly and races along underneath you as you head towards the tower-top.

Wispy - Run hound run- run like Hell!  With your chitinous lips and your beady red eyes/ With your ravenous smile/ And your hungry heart/ Feel the bile rising from your condemned past/ With your nerves in tatters/ As the cockleshell shatters/ And the demoniac hammers batter/ Down your heels/ You better run!

Two of the outlying demons have caught up to you and begin nipping at your wings.  One manages to pull out some feathers.

Wispy - Ha, you pulled some feathers, but Vicebite on a good day takes more than that!

* Wispy berates the chasing demons.

You arrive at the terrace you entered this dimension at.  The hound is climbing the winding stairs but it'll take some time for it to get to the top.  Meanwhile, the cloud of demons is approaching.

* Wispy turns and attempts to cast the spell 'Honeyslick' at the cloud of demons.

A gout of eldritch liquid splatters all over the pursuing demons. Weighed down and made sticky by the viscous substance the flock falters.  Many plough into the spire, while others collide with one another, and still others plummet out of the sky.  Down below, you hear the Hellhound bay and pant.  Several of the creatures near the rear of the flock avoid the hex, however, and advance towards you, teeth gnashing.

* Wispy aims his Jatayi bolts and fires.

Your quarrels down two of the horrors, and they tumble out of the sky with horrid screams.  The three remaining demons swoop down and begin tearing at your face and arms with their teeth and claws, viciously tearing at your flesh.

* Wispy fires two more bolts.

One of the circling demons takes a bolt to the head and tumbles off the terrace.

* Wispy clutches at his necklace.

Wispy - Ha! My demon-ward is working!  Although why it didn't repel the dog... I wonder.

One of the demons tears at your face, nearly taking your eye out with its claws.  You have now lost a lot of blood and are becoming quite dizzy.  The Hellhound howls.  It sounds quite close now.

* Wispy yowls and rolls, firing his bolts as he does so.

The last two swarming demons die, hitting some of their fellows as they fall from the sky.  As they do so the Hellhound appears at the terrace, barking loudly.  It swats one of the demons with its acidic tongue, extending it as a frog would.

Another wave of the flying, tenacious creatures approaches.

Wispy - Well, hound, let's go.

* Wispy gestures toward the portal and steps through.

The slavering dog-thing barks and follows you through.

Back in the mansion, you are faced by one of Ezekiel's footmen and a tall, svelte figure garbed in a pristine white suit, its dapper appearance belied by its beard of tentacles and many red eyes '“ presumably Nybias, Ezekiel's chief of security.

The window is still open behind you...

* Wispy wheezes.

* Wispy immediately shoots a ball of flame at the footman.

The demoniac footman shrieks as black nether-flame envelopes it.  Nybias snarls.  The demons behind you arrive at the terrace and are going to start barging through the window.

Wispy - Quick Nybias!  They're coming to kill us all!  They shoot flames!

Two of the winged demons burst into the room and Nybias moves forward.  A whip formed of black shadow-stuff congeals in its hand, and it begins lashing at the incoming creatures.

* Wispy makes a run for it while Nybias is distracted.

While Nybias fends off a horde of angry demons you bolt through the corridors of Ezekiel Khaan's mansion, a six-legged Hellhound in tow.

Wispy '“ Yes!

Blood from the wounds you sustained splatters the floor as you run, emerging into an anteroom at the top of the stairs that lead down to the front lobby.

* Wispy races downstairs.

Some kind of arcane alarm is now blaring through the mansion.  You hear a snarl of fury somewhere behind you...

* Wispy makes his way to the doors.

Nybias appears at the top of the stairs.

* Wispy flings open the doors.

Outside, twilight is descending.  The Hellhound turns and faces down Nybias.  The demoniac guardian is advancing, whip in hand.

Wispy - Hey Vicebite!

The familiar appears in a puff of brimstone smoke.

Wispy - Be familiar for once!  Go sting that Nybias-thing over there!


The familiar gives you a salute with its wing and flits towards the demon.  Your hex strikes the guardian, who staggers backwards as he receives a faceful of winged rage.  Vicebite's clockwork limbs and hammer-key teeth bite into Nybias' flesh.  Nybias is distracted but unhurt by your familiar's attacks.  It swats at the flying creature, flailing madly.

Wispy - Good work distracting him Vicebite! Come on hound; even Sprezychinky couldn't take down that Nybias.

The Hellhound bays enthusiastically.

Wispy - We must move onwards-to profit!

The Hellhound tenses as you approach the wall and suddenly vomits up a great spew of greenish bile.  This caustic substance melts a huge hole in the wall, which the Hellhound then bounds through.

The dog-thing burps happily.

Wispy - And away we go! Chiiiiikkkkfffiilllaaahey!

Ezekiel Khaan slams open a window on the top floor.

'I'll get you, jatayi!'  The magus screams.  'And your little dog, too!

A moment later, Vicebite emerges from the chimney of the house and wings over to Wispy and the Hellhound.  Together, the three run off at full speed, into the glorious sunset.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on September 22, 2010, 01:05:07 AM

Coda: The Funeral

The insatiable blood-drinker Gorethirst, slayer of Glut and countless other souls in and out of the Pits, has been killed by the human warrior Servius Izar.  His companions - Mr. Carver, Kaius Alexander, Tarim, and Eareg Maar - watch in abject horror as the leechkin gladiator's brains are dashed out on the arena sands.

After the match, the arena attendants bring out Gorethirst's body and equipment.  The band of adventurers solemnly collect their fallen comrade's corpse.

* Tarim frowns, grinding his modified teeth.

* Eareg Maar tips his hat to the corpse.

Tarim - A grim fate...

Eareg Maar - Well you died where you wanted leech!

*Mr. Carver takes off his hat and bows his head in solemn respect

Eareg Maar - Hardly, Tarim.  It died well how it would have wanted to go.

Mr. Carver - It knew the Arena well. It could have died in worse ways.  But still, this news sadden me.

Tarim - True. But to be killed by that man'¦

Eareg Maar - Of course it owes me a hundred bones.

* Eareg_Maar chuckles.

Mr. Carver - Hah yes, you aren't likely to get them back.

Kaius Alexander - We must lay it to rest properly. The Gorethirst's prowess on the battlefield was considerable.

Kaius Alexander - As a warrior, we must burn it.  Bring the oil.

Mr. Carver - Hm, I believe we will perform whatever ceremony we find adequate... not like there are many besides us who know the leech that well.  Aside from Mr. Rasp of course.

Tarim - Sounds well enough.

You lay out the leechkin's broken body and douse it in oil.

* Kaius Alexander cuts his hand and solemnly drips blood lengthwise down the body of the Gorethirst.

* Kaius Alexander inclines his head.

* Mr. Carver lifts his eyebrows above his bug-eyes.

*Eareg Maar waits till everyone has paid their respects.

* Mr. Carver tosses a knife on the pyre.

* Eareg Maar gestures towards the fallen leechkin and a wave of rolling flame envelops its corpse.

The gladiator's body is quickly consumed by the arcane fire, bones blackening till only the Bloodslake Manacles remain.

Tarim - May your rest be undisturbed.

* Mr. Carver gazes into the flames.

Kaius Alexander - It is done.

Flesh-smoke rises from the leechkin's ashes, into the dark, empty sky...

Tarim - What shall we do with its ashes?

Mr. Carver - Spread them in the arena perhaps?

* Tarim nods.

Tarim - That seems fitting. It lived and died there, and would be made part of it in death.

* Eareg Maar tips his hat to the leech one final time before turning and heading towards the arena exit.

Kaius Alexander - On the field of its death it will remain.

* Mr. Carver gathers up the remaining pieces of the Helm of Urus as well as the Bloodslake Manacles.

Kaius Alexander - We must deal with the Jatayi soon. Shall we depart on the morrow for Shan-Szut?

Tarim - I am ready to take to that journey.

You scatter the ashes of Gorethirst in the arena and leave Gorethirst's equipment (and Corpsegobble) with Yesheleb at the Guidhall of the Crimson Shadows.  The grafted warrior bows deeply and solemnly.

"I am sorry for your loss.  The leech fought valiantly."

Mr. Carver - It did. It was close to winning too as I saw it... Felled by a moment of bad luck.

Yesheleb accepts the Manacles.

"Mr. Rasp will want to study these.  Here: a token for your troubles."

He pays you one thousand obeloi for the manacles.

* Mr. Carver makes a gracious bow.

*Kaius Alexander inclines his head to Yesheleb.

Kaius Alexander - We will remember its victories along with its defeat.

* Eareg Maar makes for the door.

Kaius Alexander - We will meet at dawn. For Shan-Szut.

* Kaius Alexander leaves the others to return to his home.

* Tarim bows solemnly and exits the guildhall.

* Mr. Carver nods and follows.

* Eareg Maar casually salutes the group as he leaves for his place.

* Kaius Alexander heads to the Skin Markets, to the Court of Flesh.

The Court-of-Flesh is dominated by the central slave-market, where the Fleshmongers hawk their living wares.  Other merchants sell everything from vellum (far more common than papyrus or paper in the City of Bodysnatchers) to candles to hide and leather armour and clothing to entire corpses, often preserved in some fashion.  Food vendors serve fried spiders, boiled dog, lizard, and even human meat, and a thick mealworm broth

In addition to humans, cestoids, and ghilan there are a large number of shades here purchasing preservatives from one of several merchants specializing in embalming fluids and the like.

The beast market is in one corner, thronged by everything from pack-lizards to horses to gigantic maggots, sand-rays, and riding birds.
equipment at various places in the bazaars

*Kaius Alexander purchases a giant monitor lizard with riding saddle, as well as a custom surcoat he'd commissioned earlier and other provisions for the journey.

Kaius Alexander - I will call you Conveyance.

* Conveyance's tongue flickers inscrutably.

The group gathers at Eareg's cave the next morn.

*Tarim nods in greetings to Eareg

* Kaius Alexander sits silently on Conveyance, the edges of his surcoat flap idly in the dry morning breeze.

* Eareg Maar is sitting out front of the cave on an overturned crate, smoking a pipe.

* Mr. Carver sits in the shade of the cave entrance.

* Eareg Maar waves to the group

Eareg Maar -     welcome again to my humble abode, I see we're all here.

Kaius Alexander - Will we procure a guide from the Jatayi?

Mr. Carver - No matter how much Eareg knows about the Slaughter-lands I'm sure he hasn't been inside Shan-Szut'¦

* Eareg Maar goes inside and returns with a large travellers pack stuffed with a motley assortment of items.

Tarim - I'll trust to Eareg's abilities as a wayfinder

Eareg Maar - I know whereabouts we are going and am fairly certain as to the exact cave.

Kaius Alexander - Your skills served us well before. As long as you are certain, Eareg.

* Tarim produces from his robes a small, circular disc with a painted image of an equine.  With a few eldritch words and a flick of his clawed fingers the disc emits a cloud of dark, oily smoke, swirling in the air and taking the form of a jet-black horse.

Kaius Alexander - You possess many clever tricks, Tarim.

* Tarim places his baggage on the horse and then mounts it.

Mr. Carver - Hmm, I'm not terribly fond of guiding mounts... Anybody who can give me a lift?

Kaius Alexander - There is room on Conveyance, if you wish, Mr. Carver.

Tarim - The lizard does look pretty big.

Kaius Alexander - Her back is strong, and she will not shirk from her duty.

Mr. Carver - Hmm, lizards can't be much worse than horses. I'll accept.

Eareg Maar - I prefer to walk, though for now this may be useful

* Eareg Maar flourishes with his hand and inky black tendrils crawl from his chest to drip out in oil-like spots on the ground

* Eareg Maar lifts up his hand and a skeletal horse rips its way from the ground.

* Eareg Maar climbs aboard the mount, pulling out a map and compass for a quick look before putting them away.

Eareg Maar - Well then if we are ready let us be off

Tarim - Lead the way.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on October 18, 2010, 05:12:13 PM
Part Two

Pallor Mortis


The waste opens around you with its welcoming, suffocating enormity, bares its desiccated bosom and envelops you in a hot, eager embrace that smells of sand and old death.  The air is charged with the residues of bizarre and unthinkable weapons, with the ubiquitous radiation of apocalyptic spells, with ambient static energy.  Rock formations like deformed giants and the occasional cactus punctuate the endless, undulating plain.

The geriatric sun seems to flicker, to dim, exhausted in its ancientness, a fiery canker in a sky blank and blanched pale as a piece of parchment, stained only by the occasional inkblots of distant clouds, black lesions marring the otherwise pristine no-colour overhead, prophesying vicious storms.  When the rains aren't Red in the Slaughter-lands they're often black and caustic, semi-viscous with clots of puissant filth; or else they're a luminous golden-green, humming with numina, making the cacti bloom with weird vampiric flowers that wilt after an hour and polluting the pools of oases so that the fish babble in forgotten languages.

Somewhere ahead is Shan-Szut, eyrie of the jatayi, but betwixt it and you is a vastness of dust and shadow - a desolation home only to the unfriendly dead, to predatory demons, to the nameless things of elder epochs that prowl the emptiness.

The shadows lengthen like the black claws of some beast of darkness, raking across this cadaverous earth as if with a paroxysm of perverse and passionate lust, or perhaps with a dying body's last cataleptic spasms, presaging death's dominion'¦

*Eareg Maar breathes it all in

Eareg Maar - Now we're in my home turf.  Feels good to be back.

Mr. Carver - Hmm, and the distance to my home turf is steadily increasing.

Tarim - Sure is hot out here in the open plains.

*Eareg Maar looks back at Carver.

Eareg Maar - If you feel faint let me know.

Mr. Carver - Gleetin' sweltering heat.

Kaius Alexander - You must remember to drink, Mr. Carver. This plain is hot.

*Kaius Alexander passes back a canteen.

* Mr. Carver takes a big gulp of water

*Eareg Maar takes a drink from a large waterskin at his side.

Mr. Carver - Thanks.

*Kaius Alexander inclines his head.

You come upon some old bones.  The skeleton of an enormous creature lies in the waste here, broken and bleached by the cruel sun.  What the beast looked like in life is difficult to say; its remains are too colossal, too shattered, and too alien to properly identify.

*Eareg Maar looks at the bones as they pass.

 Eareg Maar -    Hey there's Old William... good.  We're on track.

Mr. Carver - And yes, Eareg, I'll be sure to let you know with my dying words... You could have warned me of the heat.  Or at least the lack of shade

*Eareg Maar grins back at Carver.

Tarim - A whole week of this just to get there. How delightful.

Kaius Alexander - The whole of the south burns with fever. I mislike it.

Eareg Maar - The shade can be handled.

*Tarim grins.

*Eareg Maar thumps at a large rolled up canvas.

Mr. Carver - That does kind of require us to stop, and I'd rather get this over with as quickly as possible.

Tarim - We could travel at night. Us ghilan can see better in the dark than in this cursed daylight.

Eareg Maar - I plan on taking us at night, but I would like to put some distance between us and home.

Kaius Alexander - A sensible proposition.

* Mr. Carver taps his optics.

Mr. Carver - with my new eyes I should be able to handle the darkness quite well, too.

The day progresses steadily, morning giving way to afternoon giving way to early evening.  You catch a whiff of a pungent carrion scent distinct from the ubiquitous smell of dust and bonemeal that fills the Slaughter-lands '“ a foul reek as of newly rotten flesh.

A sickly, greyish-yellow mist has begun to congeal, creeping across the waste in a sallow, unwholesome-looking curtain, bringing uncharacteristic moisture to the otherwise parched and barren desert.

Tarim - We better avoid that mist.  It's deadly

As you watch, a grove of cacti is subsumed momentarily by a pall of fog.  After the miasma passes, the cacti are withered and decayed, putrid vegetable flesh sloughing off their fibrous skeletons.

Mr. Carver - As far as I've heard you should avoid pretty much anything that moves

*Eareg Maar takes the group as best as he can around the outskirts of the mist, keeping a good distance between them and it.

*With ruffled feathers, black and blue eyes, and looking extremely hungover, Wispy comes flapping toward the group.

Wispy - Squawk. Heya Carver... managed to track ya here, good to see we're helpin' out the mother brood y'know.

*Kaius Alexander narrows his eyes at the Jatayi.

Mr. Carver - Hello Wispy. You look in a bad shape.  But then again, I guess your kind is used to the wastes and this gleetin' heat.

Kaius Alexander - Meddlesome bird. I had thought we had seen the last of you.

You catch a small tendril of the Rotmist.  It feels like the icy hands of a corpse, and leaves you clammy and sick-feeling.

Eareg Maar - Blasted shifting winds!

*Eareg Maar searches for an area clear of the mist and leads the group away from the Rotmist, avoiding its lethal banks.

*Kaius Alexander grimaces as he breaks out in a cold sweat.

Mr. Carver - My skin is peeling off, Eareg. You're sure we're going the right way?

Eareg Maar - Are you dead yet?

Mr. Carver - Not that I noticed

Eareg Maar - Then we're not going the wrong way at least

Wispy - Bad shape, bad shape, gather round, friend and gape... go out drinking at night and wake up at first light t- Leechkin by your side and bruises on your body...

*Wispy shivers.

Wispy - This morning I was filled with fright, for I do not know to what I got up to last night.

Mr. Carver - You heard of its death?

Wispy - Whose death?  By the way, where's that leech fellow'¦ Maybe he can tell me what kind of diseases you can get from sleeping with a leech.

Kaius Alexander - I think he speaks of other things, Mr. Carver.

Mr. Carver - Gorethirst... I just assumed...

*Eareg Maar motions to Kaius to shut "that damned bird" up.

Tarim - Gorethrist died in the arena.

*Wispy frowns, hearing of Gorethrists death.

Eareg Maar - There's more dangerous things than mists in these places

Kaius Alexander - Bird. You had best silence yourself. I mislike your constant noise.

Mr. Carver - Heh, didn't think he would be the first of us to go.

Wispy - A eulogy: Among the quick, death does tick / Swords do flash, Leechmouth lick / Time it pass, melancholy thick / Even the good, Even the great / Although skilled, fall to fate / Our Gory one, Now is late.

As you move past the last of the mist a ragged figure staggers from the clotted murk.  In appearance he resembles a grave-spawn: his flesh is blighted and putrefied, pocked with wetly gleaming patches of decay.  A blade hangs at his waist, the leather scabbard coming apart in moist clumps.

*Eareg Maar leads the group out and away from the mist

Mr. Carver - Another mislike Kaius? Are you in a bad mood today?

Kaius Alexander - My disposition is not your concern, Mr. Carver.

Mr. Carver - Eareg, you're the professional scavenger. Is that something we want to touch?

*Eareg Maar pulls Meteor out of its side pouch.

Eareg Maar - Not especially.  Who goes there?

Mr. Carver - I wouldn't mind a little profit after my losses at the arena, but I don't want to lose an arm getting to it'¦

The figure collapses.

Eareg Maar - Just as I thought.  Some fool got caught in the thick of it

Tarim - Better him than us.

Eareg Maar - We may join him yet... come on.

*Eareg Maar takes them out away from the mist.

Night descends; a gibbous moon rises.  A greyish mass appears some distance ahead and to the east.  It is very large but appears to be immobile; right now it is too far away to be made out clearly.  It's definitely solid - not mist.

As you draw nearer you see that the mass is a forest, albeit a calcified one.

*Kaius Alexander reins in Conveyance.

Kaius Alexander - Curious.

Tarim - Curiosity can kill you in this land.

You know of this area Eareg.  It's a large calcified woodland.  Various creatures do live there, but its sheltered from the elements.

*Eareg Maar gestures to the forest.

Eareg Maar - We will be safe in here until the next night, I suggest we get some rest.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on October 18, 2010, 05:49:29 PM

Children of the Red Rain

Where once must have towered the vast living monoliths of a green and verdant woodland now stretches a barren arboreal graveyard.  The hardened corpses of trees jut from the parched earth like gnarled, twisted fingers, broken splinters of once-organic vegetation transformed by time and sand into misshapen  jags, like an army of malformed statues.  In places, this almost otherworldly forest becomes dense and shadowy, the stony boughs of its trees interlaced.

You find a decent-looking spot to camp beneath an enormous oak.

Eareg Maar - We should be fine here.

Tarim - I hope these dead trees aren't very flammable.

*Eareg Maar knocks on one of them eliciting a deep hollow sound.

Eareg Maar - They can't even burn anymore.

*Tarim busily sets up his tent.

Wispy (to Kaius) - Mislike my constant noise... well, I dislike how you're so silent. Tell me a story, and I'll think of a fable. I'll be quiet if you are able.

Eareg Maar - Wispy, let me tell you a story.  There once was a group of intrepid explorers who dared the great wastes of the slaughter lands... but the groups jatayi couldn't keep quiet and in the dark of night great beasts tracked the noise and ate them all.  Perhaps you catch my drift?

*Eareg Maar rolls out a bedroll.

Eareg Maar - Now I'll keep first watch and you will not draw every fell thing within ten miles to us if you please.

Wispy - That Jatayi obviously wasn't as skilled as I.  But thank you for your tale.

Tarim - I can take the second watch. I'd rather stay awake while it's dark and sleep when the sun's up.

Mr. Carver - Doubt I'll be able to sleep well after the sun has risen.

While standing watch you hear something moving in the depths of the wood.  Peering into the gloom you discern a hunched, humanoid figure, watching you and your companions from the darkness.

*Eareg Maar examines the creature.

It appears to be a perfectly normal human, clothed in ragged, dusty leather armour.

Eareg Maar - Can I help you?

The creature hisses and darts away into the forest with simian quickness.

*Kaius Alexander stands up, sensing something amiss.

Eareg Maar - Go back to sleep kaius.

Kaius Alexander - My sleep for the night is done. I need no more rest.

Eareg Maar - It wasn't anything that should trouble us

Kaius Alexander - If you are sure.

*Kaius Alexander sits down, and begins to draw a whetstone along his blade

Tarim, your watch begins.  You hear a movement off to the northeast, deeper into the woods.  You don't see anything immediately.

*Eareg Maar closes his eyes though sleeps only lightly.

Tarim - Kaius, something's moving int he woods

Kaius Alexander - Yes. I had thought so.

*Tarim loads his pistol.

Kaius Alexander - Let them come to us then, they will rue their decision.

As you ready your weapons half a dozen hunched, scrawny figures emerge from the depths of the calicified wood.  They creep through the fossilized undergrowth, obscure in the pre-dawn light.  Five are human; one has he claws and red eyes of a mantid.  Some are armed with bone clubs or rusted knives.

*Eareg Maar wakes at the sound of Tarim's clicking pistol.

*Tarim fires a shot at the creatures, blowing the head off the nearest interloper.

Eareg Maar - Ah, our friend brought his friends.

*Eareg Maar gets up, hefting Meteor and giving Mr. Carver a light kick.

*Mr. Carver bolts upright.

*Wispy wakes up at the sound of Tarim's shot, mumbling about leeches.

*Kaius Alexander stands, flicking the residual oil from his blade smoothly

Eareg Maar - As I had imagined - fetch.

Mr. Carver - Fetch? Supposed to be malicious bastards

Tarim - We'll make them dead bastards soon

Eareg Maar - They're pretty skittish by themselves... I didn't expect it to be a full group.  Not after that lone one ran into us.

Mr. Carver - Didn't know they hunted in packs. Thought they pretty much attacked everything in sight.

Eareg Maar -    Oh they do, Mr. Carver.  They prefer it too.  A group can take much stronger prey.

Mr. Carver - Oh yes, that's sound advice that even thrum-addicted street thugs can follow.

Kaius Alexander - They will learn soon enough that we are not to be trifled with, regardless of their numbers.

Mr. Carver - They don't look all that menacing, the snarling and the superior numbers aside.

*Wispy whips up his wings, revealing his twin Jatayi bolts.  Two quarrels whistle through the air, hitting two of the fetch.  Both continue to advance, looks of evil eagerness twisting their features.

Wispy - Ha-ha. Jatayi sting like a butterfly and fly like a bee!

Mr. Carver - A vulture more like it.  But I can see how that lacks the necessary poetry

One of the fetch launches itself at Kaius and batters the Insomnolent with its bone club.

*Eareg Maar flips Meteor around his chanting eldritch words causing the barrel to erupt into flame.  At point blank range a missile flies from the end of the weapon towards the nearest fetch.  The fetch explodes gorily, flaming giblets raining down where it once stood.

*Mr. Carver  runs towards the nearest fetch and slices him across the face with the Agony Knife.  Carver skilfully butchers one of the fetch attacking Wispy; the muderfolk gurgles and dies as the executioner's blade slits his throat.

*Kaius springs off the oak and casually decapitates the fetch battering him.

One of the fetch stabs at Tarim viciously, wounding the ghul witch on the thigh.

*Tarim dodges and sidesteps, avoiding the fetch's blade as best he can. Even as he does so, his flailing arms are working the motions of a hex, and his ghul tongue is hissing words of witchery.

*Wispy pins a fetch to a tree with a bolt, impaling him at the shoulder.

Wispy - Bit by Bit, Peck by Peck, Soon enough, you'll be dreck.

The remaining fetch slashes with his blade but misses and makes to run.

*Tarim snarls ad bites the fetch, drawing blood from the bite and coming away with some nice fetch-meat in his mouth.

The fetch retreats into the wood with a mad cackle.

*Tarim spits.

Tarim - Damn things taste horrible.

*Eareg Maar sends a flaming bolt zipping towards the fleeing mad-being from the end of his gun. But it strikes a tree and dissipates.

* Mr. Carver tries to hit him with a throwing knife, but it quivers harmlessly in a tree.

Wispy - Jah Tarim, I never eat the walking dead, myself.  For that very same reason.

* Mr. Carver drops his head in resignation and walks over to retrieve his knife.

Wispy - Dead flesh is good... but it has to be DEAD flesh, if you know what I mean.

*Kaius Alexander takes a shot and grazes the running fetch.  The fetch grunts but stays on its feet.

*Tarim invokes a Corrosive Lash from a tattoo, seething with silent rage at the fetch who injured him.  The lash sears the trees as the fetch continues to run.

*Eareg Maar lines up his shot as tendrils snake down his arm aligning with the barrel and leaping off to touch the fleeing fetch (true strike tattoo).  He pulls the trigger.

You hear a muffled shriek, then silence.

*Eareg Maar holds up meteor, blowing smoke from the barrel

The fetch pinned to the tree is still alive and laughing maniacally, though it is too weak to extricate itself and will die soon.

*Kaius Alexander chambers a new round and holsters his revolver

Kaius Alexander - Someone end that creature.  It irks me.

* Mr. Carver stabs the fetch.

The murderfolk dies quickly, its laughter silenced.

Eareg Maar -    Ah well, that was entertaining.

Dawn light is just beginning to creep over the horizon.

*Eareg Maar unpins the thing from the tree and tosses it off to the side

Eareg Maar - We will stay here until the sun gets low on the horizon.

Mr. Carver - Could have done with more sleep and less nightly exercise myself.  At this rate sleep will kill us long before the Slaughter-lands will.

*Eareg Maar motions to Kaius.

Eareg Maar - Let's get these things away from here.  Don't need to attract more things.

*Kaius Alexander nods and grabs a body by its legs.

*Eareg Maar begins dragging the bodies a fair distance away.

Tarim - A shame that we didn't keep Gorethirst's maggot. It would have come handy now.

* Mr. Carver heeds the advice of the traveller and helps Kaius dispose of the bodies

*Eareg Maar returns and sits down on his bedroll, leaning up against the tree.

*Eareg Maar pulls out an intricate gunsmiths kit and begins to clean meteor bit by bit.

*Tarim withdraws into his tent.

Eareg Maar - We should be fairly cool here in the shade of the trees.

*Kaius Alexander checks Conveyance over and feeds him a dried apple with a pat on the head.

The lizard growls with pleasure.

*Eareg Maar goes to sleep as the sun rises in the sky.

* Mr. Carver goes back to sleep.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on November 17, 2010, 06:20:32 PM

A New Ally

You step out of the calcified forest as night is falling.  Eareg Maar and Wispy have gone on to scout ahead, promising to meet the party at a certain oasis up ahead.

* Kaius Alexander looks up at the sky.

The sky is the colour of dried blood, a vivid dark crimson.  A desolate stretch of decayed vegetation and ravaged earth stretches before you, the gruesome wake of the Rotmist.  The decomposing carcasses of animals moulder in the red sunlight.  Vultures and other carrion feeders disperse as a herd of putrevores moves in to devour the remains of plants and animals alike.

Bizarre plasms like gigantic, bilious-green amoebas the size of bull elephants, the disgusting putrevores graze on the dead matter left by the Rotmist, churning it with acidic secretions into a sticky ooze that they then absorb, expelling a miasmic discharge of rancid-smelling gas as they feed.  A pod of the gelatinous beings is nearby, moving towards you.

Tarim, Mr. Carver, the disgusting stench of the grazing putrevores turns your stomachs '“ you are sickened temporarily.

Tarim, putrevores like to go after grave-spawn.  If you're not mounted right now you might want to fix that, or you're going to find a pod of the hungry things descending on you very shortly.

* Kaius Alexander sits atop Conveyance, waiting.

* Tarim guides his conjured mount away from the creatures, giving them a wide berth.

The putrevores lose interest ad turn back to the Rotmist's depredations.  You follow the path Eareg laid out for you, skirting the border of the Slaughter-lands themselves.  Night descends, and a gibbous moon replaces the swollen red sun.

Tarim - Ahh, night.  Though the local stench is bothersome, at least the darkness is comforting.

Mr. Carver, Tarim, you distantly hear strange sounds off to the east, not far away.  An alien squeal, chittering, what sounds like a cry of pain...

Tarim - Did you hear that?

Mr. Carver - I heard it... any idea what it is?

Kaius Alexander - Doubtless something foul. It does not concern me.

Tarim - There are many monstrosities in this wilderness.

Kaius Alexander - If you care to investigate, I would not object.

Tarim - Squealing noises should not be unusual.

* Tarim pauses to think.

As you continue to ride, a piercing screech cuts through the night, followed by the sound of weird, inhuman laughter.

Tarim - Investigating could put us in danger. On the other hand, that danger might well find us anyway.

Mr. Carver - Hmm, this is not good.

Kaius Alexander - I am curious.

You are drawing close to the source of the sounds and can glimpse, up ahead, two figures in the moonlight.

* Kaius Alexander turns Conveyance in the direction of the sounds.

Mr. Carver - There is something up ahead.

Tarim - I guess we're about to see what all the noise is about...

* Mr. Carver puts a hand on the hilt of his knife.

You see a humanoid figure defending itself against a bizarre, membranous horror resembling a horrific hybrid of manta ray and insect, with a long tentacle or tail tipped with a sucker-like orifice and a second opening mounted near some bulbous ganglion near its crude, beady eyes.

* Tarim loads his pistol.

As you draw near you see that the figure is a lilix male wielding a pair of blades, skilfully keeping the bestial monster at bay.  The corpse of a second, similar horror lies on the ground in a puddle of purplish ichor, slashed to tatters.  The lilix has only four arms instead of the usual six: two scarred stumps jut from his torso, and one of his limbs has been replaced with a chitinous graft, a grotesque crustacean thing terminating in clawed, armoured fingers like those of a gauntlet.

* Mr. Carver jumps off Conveyance.

The monster floats pretenaturally above the ground, buoyed by unseen forces.

* Kaius Alexander remains mounted and watchful.

Tarim - Whatever that thing is, it can't be good to let it live

* Mr. Carver looks at Tarim.

Mr. Carver - Help the lilix it is then?

Tarim - If it deafeats the lilix, it will surely come after us.

* Kaius Alexander grunts at Tarim's words and slowly gets off Conveyance.

* Tarim dismounts and casts Entropic Shield.

The xsur lashes out with its radula-tipped tail, ripping at the lilix's flesh with its teeth.

* Tarim levels his blunderbuster pistol on the monstrosity, taking careful aim and steadying himself for the kickback. With a loud, ear-wrenching noise a bullet is sent at the creature.  The bullet whines off the abberation's thick hide.

*The lilix swordsman skewers the xsur with one of his blades, slashing at its underbelly and wounding the beast.

*Kaius Alexander leaps from the blasted earth and lands atop the hideous beast.  With a mighty strike he brings his blade down, impaling the horror.  It vomits purplish blood from its tail, which the lilix barely avoids.

*Slinking throuh the dappled moonlight, Mr. Carver springs towards the xsur and drives his blade into its ganglion, wounding the monstrosity horribly.  Confused and overwhemed, it writhes hideously and attempts to fly away.

* Tarim blows at the smoke trailing off the blunderbuss barrel as his other hand reaches for an egg-like Flesh-Melter suspended on his belt. He takes a couple of steps forward and lobs the device at the fleeing xsur.

Tarim's flesh-melter strikes the xsur on one of its wings and it careens into the ground, shrieking in agony.

*Kaius Alexander skillfully drops from the dying creature as it plummets groundwards.  He lands unhurt.

The creature is dying, but is still alive, thrashing around and weakly screaming.

* Kaius Alexander drives his sword into it.

The xsur dies as Kaius' blade enters its brain.

* Kaius Alexander flicks the purple blood and brain matter from his blade and sheathes it.

* Tarim reloads his pistol casually, eyeing the lilix warrior.

* Zaszicar eyes Tarim and the others in return with his eight red eyes.

Kaius Alexander - A lilix. Alone, in the Slaughter-lands.

* Kaius Alexander walks up to Zaszicar.

Kaius Alexander - I find this curious.

* Mr. Carver keeps his knife out, point down, looking warily at the lilix.

Tarim - Perhaps he is a scavenger?

Kaius Alexander - Perhaps. Is that what you are, lilix?

Mr. Carver - What are you doing here, spider?

Zaszicar - A very strange group, a ghul, a human, and... another human?

* Zaszicar says this last looking towards Carver.

Tarim - Well, *mostly* human that one

* Tarim chuckles

Zaszicar - Not a generic scavenger looking for to filch any detritus lying around.  I'm looking for something quite specific.

Mr. Carver - Indeed? what might that be?

* Kaius Alexander walks over to Conveyance and pats her idly on the head.

Zaszicar - A sword, a specific bastard sword, part of a set.

* Zaszicar gestures to two ornate bastard swords sheathed about his person.

Zaszicar - Not like these two.

* Zaszicar hefts the two plain swords still in his hands.

Kaius Alexander - You carry some fine blades, Lilix.

Mr. Carver - You'll be running out of hands soon, then, if you insist on swinging them like that.  Although you seemed plenty dangerous with two so I can only imagine you will be even more fearsome with three.

Tarim - Finding a specific sword in the Slaughter-lands sounds quite a challenge. I take it that you know where to look?

Zaszicar - I am... in the process of knowing where to look.  I'll find them, I've put too much effort into this venture not too.

Mr. Carver - How did this process find you in the middle of abandoned stretches of wilderness, alone no less?

Zaszicar - I'm travelling, researching, trying to find more information on the swords.  And your group? In the middle of the Slaughter-lands?

* Tarim walks to his steed and gets back on the saddle, letting his black, smoking mount trot toward the group.

Kaius Alexander - We are travelling ourselves. On a contract.

Mr. Carver - A job, yes

Zaszicar - Oh? What's your destination?

Tarim - Quite a ways from here still

* Kaius Alexander eyes Zaszicar coldly

Mr. Carver - What about yours?  Heading towards Macellaria, perhaps?

Zaszicar - Macellaria, I need to visit the Vellum Citadel.

Mr. Carver - Hmm, that's where we came from.  Not that there are many other options in this area.

Tarim - If you're heading to the city, beware of the clouds of Rotmist on the way.

Mr. Carver -

Tarim - Those clouds nearly caught us - and we were mounted.

Zaszicar - Hmmm, perhaps we should stick together for safety? Another set of hands, or two, is never amiss '“ and if the way to the Maggot City is blocked by Rotmist, I will be delayed in any event.

Kaius Alexander - The way you fight. It markes you as an honest man, lilix.

Zaszicar - My thanks human.

Kaius Alexander - We travel to Shan-Szut, an eyrie of the Jatayi.

Mr. Carver - Or it was.

Zaszicar - My name is Zaszicar.

Mr. Carver - I'm known as Mr. Carver

Kaius Alexander - I am Kaius Alexander.

Tarim - I am Tarim

Kaius Alexander - Our business is to rid it of the scum who have taken up residence at the eyrie.

] Tarim - This will be a lengthy journey. We will not be back in Macellaria for many days

Zaszicar - Hmmm, a pilgrimmage to the Jatayi? Perhaps their songs mention the blades I seek...

* Kaius Alexander inclines his head slightly to Zaszicar.

Mr. Carver - Well, their songs mention a lot of things... Sadly, there are not a lot of them about in the eyrie at this moment.

Zaszicar - Oh?

Mr. Carver - Which coincides beautifully with the whole point of our assignment.

Tarim - Place is overrun by bandits

Mr. Carver - And we are to clean the place up a bit.  Cleaver work, if you will

Zaszicar - Ah, something I can help with most certainly.

Kaius Alexander - As you say, Zaszicar, more hands make lighter work, and we find ourselves a man short.

Mr. Carver - Also, you seem handy with those blades of yours '“ even if you seem to think you need one more.

Kaius Alexander - The Jatayi might sing you a song, if you help us. There is money in it, too.

Tarim - An extra warrior would be useful. But whether you'll be paid depends on the goodwill of the birdmen.  There'll likely be an opportunity to loot though

Zaszicar - I'm sure they would be willing to spin me a tale, seems like some of them never keep they're mouths shut.

Kaius Alexander - The Gorethirst will not be needing its share. There will be enough to go around.

Tarim - Ah, true. May it rest in peace
[14:39] Zaszicar - I do have a mount nearby, let me retrieve it.

* Kaius Alexander nods to Zaszicar

* Zaszicar goes off and returns shortly riding a large bipedal clockwork contraption; it resembles a stylized walking bird.

Mr. Carver '“ Impressive.

* Kaius Alexander looks the bird over appreciatively in silence.

Zaszicar - Something that I picked up for my travels.

Mr. Carver - I begin to feel a little left out with all you people and your mounts.

Tarim - Perhaps we will 'liberate' one from the bandits for you...

Kaius Alexander - Conveyance's back is strong. Do not worry for the moment, Mr. Carver.

Mr. Carver - Well, couldn't hurt to get a horse.  Although I'm not entirely comfortable with the creatures...

Kaius Alexander - Come. We must continue. Eareg will be waiting for us.

You continue on deeper into the waste.  A greenish-grey splotch in the distance marks the location of a rare oasis in the midst of the desert.  Moonlight glitters on the water.

The oasis is small and far from verdant, the vegetation mottled with blight, the spring-water murky.  This is the locaton you were supposed to meet Eareg and Wispy.

Tarim - An oasis. I wonder if the water's safe to drink? You can never assume it in this wasteland.

Odd fungi gnaw at the trees.  A vaguely equine beast with too many legs and a pallid, rubbery hide drinks from the clouded pool, and two travelers '“ one a young child with the grey skin and yellow eyes of a ghul, the other a hulking brute with metal plates grafted directly onto his scarred, bronze-coloured flesh '“ linger nearby

The ghul smokes a cigar while his giant companion sharpens an enormous halberd whose haft lies across his knees.  The pair squat about a small fire that burns with a wan, greenish flame.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: LD on November 19, 2010, 09:51:27 PM
This reminds me, we need to finish Wispy's one-off in hell. :o

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Kindling on November 20, 2010, 07:43:42 AM
I'm reading through these, not quite up to date yet though, but I'm enjoying them verrry much :)
Looks like you guys have so much fun with this.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on November 20, 2010, 08:40:34 PM
[blockquote=Light Dragon]This reminds me, we need to finish Wispy's one-off in hell.[/blockquote]You're right!  It keeps slipping my mind - what would be a good time for you?  Just one of the times posted in the IRC players thread?
[blockquote=Kindling]I'm reading through these, not quite up to date yet though, but I'm enjoying them verrry much
Looks like you guys have so much fun with this. [/blockquote]I'm glad you're enjoying them.  I'm waaaay behind on these - they take quite a while to edit - but the campaign's on a hiatus so by the time we start up again the log should be up to date.  The party just finished their first major quest (the jatayi/Sebastian quest), as the quest log reflects.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: LD on November 20, 2010, 11:44:04 PM
That would work for me- I should even be able to do it on this monday at the listed times if you're around. (If it is only going to take 2 hours maximum).

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on November 21, 2010, 04:25:03 PM
This monday I'm actually super swamped, but the week after may be OK.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: LD on November 21, 2010, 05:04:42 PM
Ok. Tentatively that might be possible. Thanks.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: LD on December 12, 2010, 08:36:10 PM
Given your comments in the shoutbox- is tomorrow still on for our 1x1 or is it canceled? And if it is not canceled, what time were you looking at? I probably won't be available before 8PM EST. If necessary, we can hold off until the 27th of December--that would be fine by me :).

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on December 12, 2010, 08:38:29 PM
Yeah we should probably hold off; I'll have a lot more time to do it justice in a week or so.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on January 23, 2011, 12:42:16 AM

Lucius and Tormbolge

* Kaius Alexander raises a hand in greeting to the two wayfarers.

The ghul looks over towards you, one hand lingering near the knives at his waist.

Mr. Carver - "Hey!"

"Hello there, fellow travelers!  I am Lucius, and this is my associate, Tormbolge.  Would you care to share our fire?"

Kaius Alexander - That is most kind of you. I would be honoured to accept.

* Kaius Alexander inclines his head slightly.

Mr. Carver - That's very gracious of you.  And even if it's bloody searing in the day it gets awfully cold at night... I'll join you.

Tarim - Better than wasting firewood on making another fire for our own.

The giant remains silent.

* Kaius Alexander sits down relatively close to the fire

"Indeed.  Are you lately from Macellaria, then?"  The ghul-child asks.

Mr. Carver - Yes, we came from there. Just a few days ago in fact.  Yourselves?

Mr. Carver, you think you recognize this pair.  They fit the descriptions of the quasi-legendary thieves and warriors Lucius and Tormbolge: mercenary partners, adventurers, and occasional brigands who can most often be found doing contract work in the ganglands of Lophius, scrapping in the Pulsetown pits of the Maggot City, or freebooting along the southern fringe.  Atypical amongst their rough kindred, the veritable armies of sellswords, hired guns and hexers, and other scum that roam from city to city in search of coin and blood, the pair are unforgettable: Lucius at first glance resembles a sickly nine year old boy, while Tormbolge towers seven feet tall with a prodigious girth to match his height.

Lucius is a ghul, having transformed when he was but a child; now slightly over two hundred, he has acquired a surfeit of combat experience to compensate for his size and slight frame. He purchased Tormbolge from slavers and granted him his freedom after witnessing the huge man fight in a small-town circus, killing a cestoid with his bare hands.  A eunuch and a mute, Tormbolge grew up touring arenas and gladiatorial pits, becoming a peerless fighter, his body augmented by his masters with drug-secreting implants and ugly metal plates, fused to his flesh like chitin. While Lucius favors knives Tormbolge wields a huge halberd in combat, though he is also an accomplished pugilist.  Tormbolge is a known thrum addict, Lucius a gambler with a bounty on his head in certain regions for cheating at cards or dice.

"We're heading back there after a little venture up to the north,' Lucius says smoothly.  "An expedition to a certain temple on the borders of the Tallow Plains, where reality roils and space grows sickly.  Our investigations proved most fruitful, however - didn't they, Tormbolge?"

The giant merely nods.

"Excuse my companion: he was robbed of his speech and his sex as a young child.   Fortunately, I speak enough for the both of us, or so I have been told."  The ghul grins and drags on his cigar.

Mr. Carver - Oh? you managed to scavenge some useful scraps from the ruins I gather?

"Indeed we did.  Perhaps you would be interested in some trade?"

Mr. Carver - Perhaps. What do you have to bargain with?

* Kaius Alexander interjects

Kaius Alexander - We were supposed to meet our companions here. A ragged ghul scavenger and an obstreperous jatayi.   Have you seen any sign of them?

"I'm afraid I haven't seen a pair by that description.  You, Torm?"

The muscular man shakes his head.

* Kaius Alexander lowers his head in thought

Tarim - We will be waiting for them here then. We can bargain in the meantime.

"They're probably on their way - all sorts of things can delay one out here.  Red Rain, Rotmist, sudden sandstorms."

Kaius Alexander - This is unusual. Eareg is not one to be waylaid easily.  I mislike it.

Mr. Carver - I'm pretty sure Eareg knows when to sit tight out here.  It's not like he took a secret shortcut through the Rotmist last time.

Kaius Alexander - We shall see, Mr. Carver.

Tarim - Not that there's much we can do, anyway.

The ghul looks at Carver.  "You mentioned you were a mite chilly, Mister... Carver, was it?"

Mr. Carver - At night yes.  During the day, I only wish I was chilly.  I'm accustomed to less... dramatic weather

The ghul removes a small gold hoop from his pocket, set with a red gemstone.

Mr. Carver - What is that?

"Little earring'll keep you warm on the coldest night.  Not much good midday in the desert, but works wonders if you find yourself up north."

* Tarim eyes the trinket curiously.

Mr. Carver - How much would you take for it?  In obeloi.

"Fifteen hundred or so... got a powerful ward on it."

Kaius Alexander - You would be wise not to rely on such trinkets if you ever did find yourself exposed to a northerly winter, Mr. Carver.

Mr. Carver - How powerful could a thing that keeps you warm possibly be?  Isn't it pretty much just a magical blanket?

"You could walk through the Aurelian tundra itself without feeling the frost.  And if some tongue with a rime-hex happens to hit you with a cold spell, it'll absorb the chill."

Mr. Carver - Well, that does actually sound useful.  But I'm afraid I can't quite afford it.

Kaius Alexander - Wasteful. A good set of furs would serve well enough.

Mr. Carver - Unless you are willing to make a trade of goods.  Mr. Carver - I have this.

Mr. Carver puts the globe with the cestoid in it on the ground

Mr. Carver - Or possibly this,

* Mr. Carver puts the black occult gem on the ground,

Kaius Alexander - Your poverty saves you from a wrongful purchase, Mr. Carver. Do not so casually trade away your possessions.

Tarim - What is that gem?

Mr. Carver - Something I got from the summoning room of a wizard.  Don't know what it is '“ looked valuable.

* Tarim raises a brow.

Tarim - How interesting. The value of such an object depends entirely on what it does, of course '“ It could be anything from meagre to... invaluable.

Mr. Carver - He was a pretty powerful witch, I'll tell you. Just glad to get out with it alive... Can't you use your hex eyes or whatever on it?

* Mr. Carver throws the gem to Tarim.

Tarim - I do not have the necessary craft.

Mr. Carver - Hmm, here I thought those gems in your eyes were good for something practical.  In any case, I'm not sure I'm keen on holding it.

The ghul picks up the globe and snorts.  "Looks like a bauble to me."  He eyes the black gem more thoughtfully, though. "I'll trade you the earring for the gem... unless you'd like to see something else, first..."

Mr. Carver '“ Is the ring the only thing you got away with, Lucius?

"Got lots of other items from that run, didn't we Torm?"

Mr. Carver - Show me what else you've got.

He removes a small pipe from his waistcoat pocket.  The jade pipe is carved to resemble a daeva with a gaping mouth.

"Take a puff on that, you'll exhale a cloud of flesh-eating smoke," Lucius explains.  "Just be careful and go easy - it'll scorch your lungs, singe your mouth."

Mr. Carver - Interesting. But terribly unhandy not to mention unhealthy.

Lucius looks through a bag and removes several other items, laying them on the ground: a horn, a pair of bongo drums, and a small charm - an amber orb with a wasp inside.  He also puts down a small, nondescript jar.  The horn is made of ivory and is carved with stylized images of bogeymen and monsters.

"Some kind of warhorn," Lucius says.  "Makes any who hear it shit themselves with terror.  Good if you've got suitably brave companions."

He moves the drums, tapping them.  The bongos are made of bones with a covering of human flesh; the sticks are similarly macabre.

"These are powerful," Lucius says, smirking.  "Beat them and any dead bodies lying around wake up, obey the will of the drummer - so long as he continues drumming, and doesn'˜t mess up the beat.  The bodies gotta be fairly fresh, though, and it won't help you against already animated grave-spawn like haunts or geists."

Mr. Carver - Hmm, you seem keen on arcane instruments.  Any idea what this is?

* Mr. Carver waves the bone flute in front of Lucius.

"Hmm, can't say I recognize the thing.  Looking to part with it?"

Mr. Carver - Not before I know what the hell it is.  It had a place of honor in the room where I found it.

Tarim - In that case, it's probably quite valuable.  Either that, or a decoy.

"Looks like a simple flute to me.  Is it warded?"

Mr. Carver - Can't tell. That's not exactly where my talents lie.

"Mmm.  I'm afraid I don't have any witchcraft myself."   

Kaius Alexander - Mr. Carver, do what you will, but know that I think it folly to part with items of unknown quality.

Mr. Carver - Let's leave it at that then, my friend here speaks the truth. Shouldn't bargain before you know the value of your chips.  But were you heading for Macelleria?  Maybe we can find you after we've finished our job and been paid.

"Yes, back to the old Maggot City... home for the pair of us, these days, or as close as we have to it.  You can find the pair of us most days in the Ensqualmed Cockatrice, over in Velveteen Circus, or else at the Pulsetown Pits."

He picks up the small orb with a wasp in it, tosses it and catches it.

"This is a wasp charm," Lucius explains.  "Picked it up from a peddler in Chimera Plaza.  You swallow it, and then spit out a swarm of the little bastards."

Tarim - A one time use, I take it?

"Heheh, well, far as I know.  I suppose the thrifty traveler might try, ah, bringing it back up afterwards, or else go digging in the latrine."

Finally he opens the jar, revealing some pinkish paste

"Got this off a traveling alchemist on the road. Smear it on wounds and they close up.  Should be good for a few nasty scrapes."

Mr. Carver - So you deal primarily in musical instruments and things that will hurt your throat I see?

* Mr. Carver smirks.

Tarim - The salve could be useful, if it truly works.  How many doses does the jar hold?

"Depends on the severity of the wound, but there's enough to last a few fights at least.  Only six hundred bones for the paste."

Tarim - Sounds pretty expensive.

"It can mean the difference between life and death out here; but it doesn't come cheap.  Mayhaps instead of trade I could interest some of you in a game of chance?"

He produces a pair of dice.

Tarim - A bit of gambling could pass the time.  What kind of game do you propose?

"Back-alley bones to your liking?"

* Kaius Alexander looks on impassively while cleaning his revolver.

* Tarim sits down by the fire, uttering the hex Sense Witchery, his eyes fixed on Lucius' dice.

The dice are mundane enough.

* Tarim nods, smiling faintly.

Tarim - No sorcery on these.  Not that I suspected any ill will of you. But as a witch I must always consider the possibility...

Kaius Alexander - Gambling is a fool's passion. Tell me, Lucius, what is the attraction to one such as yourself?

"It passes the time; and I find the rattle of bones soothing, I confess.  Perhaps I have an especially macabre nature..."

Kaius Alexander - I see.

* Mr. Carver picks up the bone dice and rolls them along the ground.

The party plays dice for awhile, and Lucius wins a few obeloi from Carverand Tarim..

* Kaius Alexander shakes his head.

Mr. Carver - I'm going to bed... or what serves for it out here

Tarim - I will keep watch.

Kaius Alexander - As you say, Tarim. I will awake in three hours.

Lucius shrugs.

"Suit yourselves

You turn in to await Eareg and Wispy.

Mr. Carver - Thanks for the game Lucius.

* Tarim digs a bottle of wine out of his haversack.

Lucius eyes the wine.

* Tarim pours a drink for himself.

Tarim - Would you like  a taste?

"Kind of you.  Care for a cigar?"

Tarim - Smoking never appealed to me, but thank you for the offer.

"So, you do not look like a native of Macellaria.  Where do you hail from?  And for how long have you been grave-spawn?"

Tarim - I am- I *was* a man from Marainein.  That was a few years ago.

"A fell city, or so I have been told; where the Putrefactors patrol the streets in their green armor, and the populace lives in fear of the priests and their Excruciators.  No doubt why you left, eh?

Tarim - The tales have more than a grain of truth to them.  I have no longing for my once-homeland...

Your watch passes uneventfully, Tarim.  You awaken Kaius from his brief slumber...

Tarim - Still no sign of Eareg and that damn bird.

* Kaius Alexander nods to Tarim.

Later, Lucius gets up in the middle of the night and heads into the depths of the oasis.

"Call of nature," he explains.

* Kaius Alexander stares at Lucius impassively as he gets up.

Kaius, you catch a glimpse of the small child-thing lingering about Mr. Carver's bag.

* Kaius Alexander turns slowly, drawing the hammer back on his revolver, but leaving it by his side. The click echoes through the oasis.

Kaius Alexander - Mr. Lucius. I suggest you return to your bedroll.

Lucius freezes before his hands touch the bag-strings.

Though you did not hear him approach, Tormbolge is now suddenly behind you, his enormous halberd at ready.

There is a long, draw-out moment of silence...

* Kaius Alexander half turns, keeping them both in sight.

Kaius Alexander - We do not want this to become complicated. I will say again, I suggest you return to your bedrolls.

Lucius grins at you.  "This is not the first time I've had a gun pointed at me, Insomnolent."  He half-whispers the words; you can only just hear him.

Kaius Alexander - If you wish it to be the last, that is your decision.

Tormbolge could gut you in a moment, finish off your companions before they knew what was happening.  Why not put the gun away?  We'll be gone by morning, and you can claim you didn't see me at all..."

Kaius Alexander - That is not possible, I am afraid. I had judged you better than a common thief, Mr. Lucius, if only by a bit. It seems I was wrong.

"I see you are not to be trifled with, sir.  Perhaps, as gentlemen of honour, we can simply put this whole incident behind us, forget it ever occurred?"

Kaius Alexander - Reasonable.

Lucius nods at Tomrbolge, who lowers his weapon.

'Very well."

* Kaius Alexander relaxes his grip on his revolver and lowers it.

The rest of your watch is peaceful; Lucius makes no more attempts at robbery.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on January 25, 2011, 01:30:45 PM

Reality Sickness

*Eareg Maar appears out of the waste, looking haggard, his clothing dusty and shredded, his exposed skin raw and wind-chafed.  He's smoking his pipe nonchalantly, Meteor slung over his shoulder.

Mr. Carver - Eareg!  Where the fuck have you been?

Tarim - What took you so long?

* Kaius Alexander sits by the guttering fire, sharpening his blade.

Eareg Maar - I was delayed... damned Flaystorms.  Had to seek shelter.  Wispy got blown off somewhere to the east.

*Eareg Maar gestures vaguely towards the Slaughter-lands.

* Tarim nods.

Kaius Alexander - It is well that you are alive. Time we have in abundance; the delay does not concern me.

Tarim - Good to see you're again with us.

Mr. Carver - You look pretty roughed-up.

Eareg Maar - Those winds will strip the flesh from your bones.  Have any fun without me?

Kaius Alexander - There is nothing to report.

*Eareg puffs his pipe.

Tarim - Sat down with some wanderers for some gambling. Lost a few bones.

* Tarim grins.

Eareg Maar I'm no stranger to encounters of that nature.  Well, ready to press on?

Tarim - Lead the way.

Kaius Alexander - Yes. Let us go.

* Kaius Alexander hefts his pack and saddles Conveyance.

Mr. Carver - Right behind you.

The ghul scavenger leads you further north.

* Tarim summons his smokey horse and climbs on the saddle.

*Zaszicar introduces himself to Eareg and relates his story as you prepare to leave.

* Mr. Carver awkwardly mounts Kaius' lizard-creature.

The extreme eastern edge of the Tallow Plains becomes evident.  The Shifting is not radical here, though it is queasily evident - a viscous roiling of the landscape as shallow hills and rock formations subtly melt and reform.  Cacti writhe like spined, vegetable serpents.  Further east the horizon spasms with reality-sickness.

You hear sounds in the far distance.  They sound like music - drums of some kind, high, wailing pipes, and ululating voices raised in raucous song.  There are distant glimmers of weird light to the north.  The sound is at once near and far, full of strange distortions.

Tarim - Sounds like someone's having a party...

* Kaius Alexander cocks his head at Tarim.

Kaius Alexander - I hear nothing.

Tarim - It's pretty faint at this distance.

Mr. Carver - Eareg, anything that has a habit of playing music out here?  Anything with teeth and or sharp implements, that is?

*Eareg Maar thinks to himself.

Eareg Maar - Nothing I can think of; perhaps bandits of some kind.  All manner of strangeness dwells in the Tallow Plains however, which lie just west of here...

Tarim - We better be cautious then.

You press on; the Shifting begins to worsen somewhat.  Some time later, half a dozen men and women mounted on an array of beasts - camels, pack lizards, horses, llamas - approach you from out of the spastic, retch-inducing haze.

Some of their beasts pull wagons laden with goods.  Most are human, though one chalky-skinned woman in the rear with a wide-brimmed hat might be a ghul.  One tall figure who wears glittering, sapphire-encrusted armour despite the heat bears a banner depicting a stylized goat's head.

* Kaius Alexander shades his eyes with his hand and raises himself in the saddle to get a better look.

Tarim - Looks like a caravan. Or a convention of caravans.

The leader of the group approaches - a short, fine-featured woman with doll-like porcelain skin intricately hennaed from the neck down.  She is shaded by a parasol and sits astride an unusually large black llama.

* Mr. Carver eyes the crowd suspiciously.

'Well met, travelers," she greets you.  "I am Ulhena Magnus Quis-Janell, of the Goat's Head Merchant Company."

* Kaius Alexander inclines his head.

* Mr. Carver relaxes a bit.

Kaius Alexander - Well met, Indeed. I am Kaius Alexander.

* Tarim bows carefully while staying in the saddle.

Tarim - Greetings. I am Tarim, from Macellaria.

Mr. Carver - Carver, also of Macellaria.

Eareg Maar '“ Name's Eareg.

Ulhena nods.  "Not many dare the waste-paths this close to the Tallow Plains, where the very earth beneath one's feet is fickle as a Skein courtesan.  What brings you to this region, if it is not discourteous to enquire?"

Kaius Alexander - We pursue the fulfillment of a securities contract.

Tarim - Nothing to do with you, so do not worry.

'Indeed?  You are mercenaries, then?"

Tarim - You could say so.

Kaius Alexander - Of a sort. Perhaps.

She smiles dazzlingly.

Tarim - We are to solve a problem. If it comes to violence, then so be it.

Mr. Carver - So that makes us problem-solvers, I guess.

"A problem, you say?  Do you seek some den of beasts?  Or perhaps men have caused this problem?"

Kaius Alexander - Men, beasts. Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference.

Tarim - What about you though? Why all the singing and music? Would it not be wiser to remain quiet while in this wretched wasteland?

She favors the ghul witch with an enigmatic look.

* Tarim meets her glare with subtle puzzlement.

"I cannot say that I comprehend your meaning, sir; but I will say that the Plains play strange tricks at times.  Perhaps you were deceived by an hallucination, or some ambient eldritch effect?"

* Kaius Alexander grunts.

Mr. Carver - We heard music before.

Tarim - The plains are indeed strange. I am not quick to doubt my ears, though.

She pointedly turns back to Kaius and Mr. Carver.  "Your problem does not, by chance, involve the ruthless bandits of the Veldt, does it?"

Kaius Alexander - It may.

"We come from the Maze, the City of Red and Black.  My father is one of the Chimeric Princes, Ulhorin Severus Quis-Xian; he has charged me to convey some of the goods you see behind me to Macellaria, and then on to Marainein.

"Unfortunately, three days ago we were attacked by bandits.We defended the caravan, but before we beat them off they had stolen some valuable cargo.  If you were to retrieve that cargo for me and return it, you would be handsomely compensated."

Mr. Carver - What cargo?

"A jade statuette of the Gibbering Godess.  Do you know Her holy aspect?'

Mr. Carver - Can't say I have heard of her.  Do you know where the bandits went?

Tarim - If the statuette is of the usual form, I should be able to recognize it - should we come across it by chance, that is. Or if we decide to go after these bandits.

"I do not know the location of their lair; but I thought, perhaps, you might know more.  In any case, if you returned the statuette, I would pay twenty five hundred obeloi for it."

Tarim - A fair price.

Mr. Carver - A very fair price.

Kaius Alexander - Where may we find you in Macelleria, should we retrieve your cargo?

"I will be staying in the Blue Orchid Inn, in the Pulsetown district."

Mr. Carver - Maybe we are lucky and our bandits turn out to be your bandits as well '“ we can only hope for such an outcome.

"It is not unlikely.  We came across several wagon trains of merchants less lucky than ourselves en route: clearly the brigands operate in significant numbers."

Kaius Alexander - Know this. If we shall find your statue, it will be returned to you. The plains, however, are vast.

Mr. Carver - Can't say the mentioning of significant numbers makes me keen on our task at hand, though.

"We were assaulted on the border of Flense Veldt; the bandits' lair may be in that region..."

Tarim - Which way is that region?

"Somewhat to the north."

Eareg Maar - The jatayi's eyrie is in the Veldt.  It may be the same group.

Tarim - Either the same group or two groups awfully close to each other's turfs.  The former seems more likely.

"In any event," Ulhena says, "I wish you good fortune in your venture.  I am afraid we cannot dawdle; we hope to reach Macellaria in two days' time.

* Kaius Alexander inclines his head again to Ulhena and flicks Conveyance's reins.

Mr. Carver '“ Thanks.  I hope the rest of your journey is less... troublesome.

"Your sentiments are appreciated, Carver."

Tarim - Farewell to you then. We'll get that statuette to Macellaria should we happen to find it.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on January 25, 2011, 01:53:28 PM

The Leering Colossus

You press on across the Plains.  The Shifting continues to become more and more extreme, provoking extreme nausea.

Mr. Carver - What is wrong with these plains Eareg?

Eareg Maar '“ The Shifting: some kind of localized effect exuded by the Tallow Plains.  No one's sure what causes it, but space itself is somehow sick in the Plains.

* Kaius Alexander raises his visor and wipes the sweat from his brow.

* Mr. Carver watches Kaius silently.

Kaius Alexander - This land twists with its own sickness.

Tarim - Kind of dizzying.

* Kaius Alexander twists the cap off a canteen and drinks deeply.

An enormous statue thrusts itself up from the wasteland here, showing none of the Tallow Plains' usual effect.  Its appearance is strangely sudden.

Carved of some strange reddish stone the colour of congealing blood, the statue is of a gigantic inhuman figure seated upon a surreal thing that might be a throne or an animal, a bizarre mixture of furniture and fauna.  The thing's vaguely masculine visage is somehow both cruel and comforting, its lifelike, otherworldly features contorted into a bluntly sexual appraisal.  It seems to eye you with lascivious intent.

Tarim - Hm. And what might this be, then?

Kaius Alexander - I mislike it.

Eareg Maar - I know not.  I am not overly familiar with the Plains themselves, but sometimes their landmarks are known to move, somehow...

Tarim - Whatever artist carved it sure had an eye for suggestiveness.

* Tarim snickers.

Eareg Maar - However, perhaps we should rest here?  It seems relatively free of the Plains' taint.

Tarim - Indeed. How strange.  Must be some eldritch effect upon it.

Zaszicar - You think so?  Could it be dangerous?  Perhaps we should not linger here after all.

Mr. Carver - Well, you're the guide... I'm not going to run off in this twisting landscape...

Kaius Alexander - Rest would not be unwelcome.

Eareg Maar - We'll set a double watch, but I think it's wiser to stay here than to try and rest deeper in the Plains.  We should be out of the fringes sometime tomorrow.

Mr. Carver - I do agree with the lilix that this idol seems a bit... off. But I'm not much for the rolling hills either.

Tarim - Doesn't seem outright dangerous, but we better not touch it or do anything else that might trigger some ward.

Kaius Alexander - While I am not comforted by this colossus, I do not think it is something to fear. Be wary, though.

Eareg Maar - I will take the first watch.  Kaius, will you join me?

Kaius Alexander - I will.

Mr. Carver - I'll join Tarim for the late watch then.

* Tarim dismounts and stretches his limbs, then begins to set up his tent

Your dreams are amorphous and stranger than normal, full of twisted, fleshy beings that dance around you in an orgiastic mass of caressing limbs and lewd, obscenely long tongues.  Their touch is simultaneously revolting and sensual, disturbingly arousing.  You awake sticky with sweat.

* Mr. Carver unpacks a few dry trail rations.

* Mr. Carver goes to sleep, sleeps, wakes up.

* Tarim awakens, rising to sit.

* Kaius Alexander lies down stiffly on his bedroll.

* Mr. Carver rubs his temples.

* Fangs also wakes up, rather excited.

Kaius, your short pseudo-sleep is once more perturbed by an unnatural but unmistakable dream.

* Kaius Alexander blinks slowly.

This time you are not in Somnambulon at all, but merely in darkness, warm and complete.  Then there is a sudden, terrible crack, and you scream with a voice that is not your own, and a line of terrible light ruptures the perfect, comforting blackness around you.

There is pain and dizziness, disorientation, and then - bizarrely, vertiginously - you are looking up at your own sleeping body from the outside, looking bigger than you have any right to, a veritable giant.

Obeying an irresistible and inexplicable impulse you find yourself moving (floating? scuttling? slithering?) towards your own face, towards your own parted lips, into the moist, welcoming dark of your own body, your own brain, a lightless landscape abuzz with fleshy cabling and crackling organic filaments...

Both Mr Carver and Tarim see movement over by Kaius' bedroll.  The Insomnolent seems to be having some kind of paroxysm.

* Kaius Alexander gasps for breath.

* Mr. Carver runs over to him and shakes him awake.

* Tarim had been sitting and staring at the statue, pondering some matter. Fangs was flying and hopping around, snickering and and chittering. Tarim is suddenly alerted by the movements and stands up, startled.

Kaius, you are awakened, suddenly, and you can feel the newborn zerher's presence filling your mind, an infantine psychic wail that pounds against your temples, the inside of your skull.  You can feel it coil and uncoil in aetheric, pseudo-physical ways in the depths of your brain, twisting and settling, sending a thousand tendrils through your synapses, filling your consciousness with its own.  You think of ink diffusing in water, of black strands infiltrating and convulsing.

* Kaius Alexander pushes Carver aside and stumbles to his feet.

You perceive the symbiont as a separate being, an invader, a trespasser, and then - after a long, drawn-out breath of euphoric agony or excruciating ecstasy - there is no longer any separation.  One moment you are TWO, Kaius Alexander and the Progeny, and then, abruptly and effortlessly, you are ONE.  You breathe in a human being; you breathe out a Revenant.

Carver, Tarim, you notice a black spheroid on the ground.  It has cracked open, disintegrated into ebon fragments.  It is quite empty.

Tarim - What is wrong? Is it the sickness?

Mr. Carver - Did you have... dreams?  I bet this statue is doing something to us.  Fucking hexes.

* Kaius Alexander wipes bile from his lips.

Kaius Alexander - I am fine... I am, yes.

Mr. Carver - You sure?

* Kaius Alexander nods.

Kaius looks unusually pallid.

Mr. Carver - Hmm, if you are sure. I'm not going to force you into a medical examination.

* Eareg Maar snorts in his sleep and turns over.

* Zaszicar watches the scene inscrutably.

* Tarim picks up the broken spheroid.

Tarim - And what might this be then?

* Kaius Alexander stares at Tarim.

Kaius Alexander - My Lady's final gift.

* Tarim raises a brow.

Tarim - We'll it seems to be broken now, whatever it was.

Kaius Alexander - It seems so. I am not troubled.

* Tarim places the pieces down beside Kaius' bed.

* Kaius Alexander looks up at the sky.

Kaius Alexander - The stars are very bright tonight. A very old light.

Mr. Carver - Hah, Kaius?  

Tarim - I do not care what secrets you keep, soldier. So long as it does not involve double-crossing the rest of us.

Mr. Carver '“ I'm not overly worried

The rest of the night is uneventful.  You wake up the next day to find Zaszicar has prepared some kind of odd, spicy stew which nonetheless is quite nourishing.

Kaius, you find the food oddly tasteless...

* Tarim pours some wine for himself as he sits down to enjoy the lilix stew.

Mr. Carver - With my knowledge of poisons I suspiciously check for signs of the more common ones before enjoying the tasty stew.

No poisons.  The stew is very thin - lilix require a liquid diet - but still hearty.

Eareg Maar '“ Ready to set out?

Mr. Carver '“ Sure.  No reason to stay.

After breakfast you set out into the Plains once more.  The Shifting continues for much of the day, but gradually lessens in intensity.

Mr. Carver - Finally... Glad to see we have been moving in the right direction too. No offense, Eareg.

Eareg Maar - None taken; the paths in this region are difficult to follow.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on January 25, 2011, 02:04:38 PM


You have now passed into the southernmost reaches of Flense Veldt, a dry, greyish-yellow region whose tall, brittle grasses murmur in the wind like an army of ghosts whispering to one another in hushed, fearful commiseration before some terrible battle.

The susurrus is interrupted only by the distant cackle of hyenas and the far-off rumble of thunder away in the darker lands to the east.  Vultures and leathery things like oversized bats with too many wings (and teeth) fly overhead.  Some have gathered in a dark clump some distance ahead.

Kaius Alexander - Vultures. They have found a meal.

Tarim - Something's died recently over there, I guess.

* Eareg Maar squints.

Eareg Maar '“ If the bird-man were here now I'm sure he'd be very excited...

Mr. Carver - Feeling the old scavenger rush, are we?

Kaius Alexander - I will not thank you for reminding me of our unfortunate friend.

Tarim - Would be ironic if it is him that those flyers have spotted.

Zaszicar '“ The vultures are many '“ almost too many for a single beast.

Kaius Alexander - Let us see what there is to see, then.

Mr. Carver - I see no reason not to. I can handle vultures.

A caravan lies here, a dozen wagons variously overturned or simply abandoned, the horses that drew them dead or fled, the merchants that drove them decaying in the harsh wasteland sun.

The caravan looks to have been thoroughly looted.  A pack of hyenas feast messily upon the corpses, contending with the vultures.  Some are mutant, warped by the weird influences of the Slaughter-lands: one has a beaked maw, another a second head, a third a mass of bristling quills.  There are eight of them altogether.  One of the larger ones turns and growls...

Tarim - Never get between a dog and his meal.

Mr. Carver - Eareg? Anything stand out to your trained eye?  Or should we keep moving.

Eareg Maar - Definitely bandit work.

Mr. Carver, You notice a crate that seems to have been missed by the looters. It's painted with a Hellspeak glyph.

* Kaius Alexander keeps his revolver trained on the hyenas.

Mr. Carver - Hmm, Tarim, there might be something for you down there by the looks of it,

Tarim - Oh?

Mr. Carver - Isn't that a Hellspeak sigil?  On the crate?

Tarim '“ Indeed it is.

The glyph is the Hellspeak character for "incendiary."

Tarim - Looks like fireworks... Something to make a big bursty fire with, that is.

Mr. Carver - The pretty kind or the useful kind?

The two-headed hyena is eating one of the horses beside the crate.

* Kaius Alexander looks at Tarim, and moves to open the crate, gingerly.

The hyena growls and snaps at you!  If you draw any closer it will attack.

Tarim - Begone, you flea-sack!

Mr. Carver - Hmm, will fire scare them off?

The other hyenas look up from their meals, snarling.

Tarim - Careful, they dogs are pack-beasts.

* Kaius Alexander's finger rests lightly on the trigger of his pointed revolver. He remains where he is standing and fixes the hyena with a mean stare.

* Tarim guides his mount a bit farther away from the hyenas.

The hyena whimpers and backs down.

* Kaius Alexander opens the crate.

Inside the crate are a large number of rockets.  Many of them are inscribed with mystic sigils.

Kaius Alexander - Tarim. I do not know these. Come.

* Tarim dismounts and draws his blunderbuss pistol, walking slowly to Kaius.

* Mr. Carver eyes the situation atop Conveyance.

Most of the fireworks produce sparks or colourful smoke.  Many could also temporarily blind someone.  Three of the fireworks are more powerful explosives and might easily be weaponized.

* Kaius Alexander looks at the hyenas and spits to one side. He holsters his revolver.

Tarim - Smoke-rockets mostly. But some of these will explode with a blinding flash.

Mr. Carver - So, it was the pretty kind after all.

Tarim - Those three are more dangerous, though.

Mr. Carver - Sounds better.

Kaius Alexander - We shall have to handle them carefully, then.

Tarim - The smoke-making ones could be used to create a smoke screen.  Tarim - Could be good if we get into a large firefight.

* Kaius Alexander returns to Conveyance.

Kaius Alexander - Let us continue. There is nothing else here.

* Tarim mounts his conjured steed again.

Tarim - Aye. Let the beasts have their supper.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on January 25, 2011, 04:45:45 PM

The Evil Storm

* Eareg Maar leads you from the remnants of the caravan on into Flense Veldt, a barren country of pallid grasses and occasional twisted trees.

The rest of the day is uneventful, and the night is passed without incident.  The next day you set out a dark cloud mars the otherwise clear sky on the mutilated horizon of the waste.  You can see the distant crackle of greenish lightning, though it is too far away to hear thunder.

Tarim - And odd color for lighting.

* Eareg Maar squints at this storm suspiciously.

Mr. Carver - You know what it is?

Eareg Maar '“ Might be one of the tempestas mali.  Keep your wits about you; sometimes these things have... strange effects.

In the wake of the storm, a cluster of figures approach, silhouetted by crackling lightning.

* Kaius Alexander raises his visor.

* Tarim levels his gem-set eyes at the figures in the distance.

Some of the figures were evidently once scavengers, based on the oddments of armour, weaponry, and equipment they bear, but now they are desiccated corpses with eyes glowing ghastly green, reanimated by the fell energies of the storm.  They shamble towards you, grinning with morbid eagerness, numinous energy spilling from their mouths.  There are perhaps twelve or so of the grave-spawn, moving with startling rapidity towards you.

* Zaszicar bristles in his saddle and unsheathes two of his blades.

Tarim - Doesn't look like we'll be talking our ways out of this.

Mr. Carver - Well, if we are going to fight I'm getting off this damn beast.

* Mr. Carver jumps off Conveyance.

* Eareg Maar takes careful aim with Meteor.

* Tarim carefully dismounts.

* Mr. Carver readies a throwing knife and unsheathes the Agony Knife.

Kaius Alexander - We could yet flee... but you are right, Mr. Carver. We should not allow these things to live.

* Kaius Alexander steps down off Conveyance and draws his sword.

* Eareg Maar takes a shot at one of the grave-spawn.

One of the haunts taks a bullet through the eye.  Greenish lightning spills out of the hole, crackling in the air; the grave-spawn keeps coming.

* Zaszicar holds his ground.  One of his blades kindles with flame, the other becomes edged with an aura of icy rime.

* Tarim draws his blunderbuss pistol from it's lizard-hide holster and draws a wide arch in the air with his other clawed hand, pronouncing cacophonous words, his deep voice echoing eerily in the open plains as if bouncing off unseen barriers.

The haunts shamble forwards, nearing the party.

 A bolt of eldritch lightning lances down out of the sky and strikes Tarim.  Arcane electricity courses along the witch's body!

* Tarim nearly drops his gun from the surprise and pain as the bolt strikes him.

Mr. Carver - Eareg! Is the cloud supposed to that? Or this the tempestas-something you muttered about?

Tarim - By the hells...

Eareg Mali - this is one of the tempestas mali; it's raised those haunts, and it doesn't like that we're destroying them.

* Eareg Maar takes a second shot, setting one of the haunts alight.  The horrific creature does not seem to notice.  He reloads and draws a bead on another.

Mr. Carver - You okay, Tarim?

Tarim - Just a bit scorched. But it looks like witchcraft may be more dangerous than usual under those clouds.

* Mr. Carver moves with ensorcelled speed up behind one of the zombic monstrosities.  The sinewy human drops into a low stance and slashes at the creature's knees; the Agony Knife cleanly slices through flesh and bone, and the haunt drops to the ground with a moan.

* Kaius Alexander charges the haunts with a confidence bordering on the suicidal.  He dismembers one of the shambolic horrors with several swift, efficient swipes.

* Zaszicar rushes forward, blades weaving an intricate pattern of fire and ice.  One of the haunts ducks aside, just beneath is ice-blade.

* Tarim hurries away from the onrushing grave-spawn, stops for a moment to take aim and fires a shot at the nearest haunt.  One of the haunts stumbles back, pocked with shot.

Meanwhile, the haunts begin to close in around the heroes.  One mauls at Mr. Carver; where its icy flesh touches his, an electric charge imbued in the creature by the storm passes into the human, shocking him badly.

A second bolt of lightning strikes Kaius.  Conducted by his armour, the eldritch energy courses through him, singing his flesh.

* Mr. Carver stabs one of the haunts and wrenches his blade along its torso, producing a spurt of otherworldly puissance from the wound.  The grave-spawn moans and stares at him with its eerie green eyes.

* Kaius Alexander continues to hew at the mindless, slavering horde around him, severing limbs and heads.  One haunt goes down immediately, shorn nearly in two from one of the Insomnolent's vicious butcher-chops.  A second is all but disembowelled by a second slash, entrails gushing out of its necrotic belly.

* Tarim continues to back away from the shambling corpses, hissing eldritch words. His body seems to burst as insubstantial images appear about him.

One of the haunts shambles up and attacks one of Tarim's duplicates, but the illusion dances aside, leading the thing away.  Another claws at Zaszicar; the lilix chitters as it shocks him.

 A third bolt of lightning singes Mr. Carver, though the dextrous warrior manages to dart aside, avoiding the worst of the damage.

* Eareg Maar shoots one of his haunts point blank as it attempts to claw at him.  The grave-spawn's skull explodes, and crackling gray-matter bursts behind it.

* Mr. Carver ducks and weaves around the haunt he's fighting and delivers three deep, precision slashes, his blade moving almost too fast to follow.  For a moment the haunt sways in place; then it collapses in a mutilated heap.

* Kaius Alexander spins and raises his blade.  With a bellow that would have made Gorethirst proud he fells another haunt with a single blow.

* Zaszicar finishes off his own haunt, neatly decapitating it with a slash from his flaming sword.

* Tarim snarls at the haunt clawing at his image, draws a Flesh-Melter from his pocket and hurls it at the monstrosity.  The haunt shrieks as flesh sloughs off its bones.

A lightning strike dissipates one of Tarim's duplicates.

* Tarim cackles and makes a contemptuous gesture at the storm-clouds.

Tarim - Missed me this time, cur!

A lightning strike hits Kaius Alexander, burning the warrior's flesh beneath his armour.

* Eareg Maar dispatches a haunt with another shot from Meteor.

* Mr. Carver flings three knives in swift succession at the remaining haunt.  The knives quiver in the grave-spawn's dead flesh and the creature slumps to the ground, the energies that animated it bleeding out.

* Eareg Maar hurries up towards the party.

Eareg Maar - We must make haste if we're to outrun this fell storm!

* Tarim hurries back to his mount, climbing hastily to the saddle, even as another lightning bolt from the storm strikes one of his duplicates, destroying it.

* Eareg Maar spurs the party onwards away from the storm.

In the distance, you see a spire of rock jutting like some enormous tombstone from the raw earth.

* Kaius Alexander speedily leaps atop Conveyance.

* Mr. Carver jumps up behind him.

Eareg Maar - That should be the eyrie of the jatayi! The Tallow Plains must have brought us here faster than we'd anticipated as a by-product of the Shifting.

Mr. Carver - Finally!

You ride out from the storm; the clouds mutter angrily, then drift off to the south and east.  Shan-Szut stands before you in the distance '“ a dour talon of naked stone, stark against the pallid bleakness of the sky.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on February 03, 2011, 09:21:05 PM

Frontal Assault

Shan-Szut towers before you, a grim spire of rock silhouetted against a bleak, darkening sky.  There are no steps, but a rough, broad path winds up and around the otherwise sheer face of the rock-spire.  Near the top a dark hollow indicates a cave entrance.

Tarim - So, we're caught between this hellish storm and a place full of bandits.

Eareg Maar - Should we attempt to attack now, or withdraw for the time being and gather our strength?

* Kaius Alexander glances at Eareg.

Tarim - We better not rush in.

Kaius Alexander - I am prepared, but if the remainder of you require rest I do not mind.

Tarim - We should scout out for alternative entrances.

* Zaszicar nods, chittering.

Tarim - If there's only one way in it's going to be guarded.  I would also welcome a chance to rest and prepare some hexes.

Eareg Maar - It's settled then - let's away for now, and return when we're better prepared.

* Mr. Carver nods.

Quite suddenly, a bedraggled-looking jatayi plummets out of the storm-wracked sky, his feathers scorched.

Mr. Carver - Wispy!

Wispy - Gee grubswallowers, y'all won't be able to handle where the hell I've been... It's better not to say. Just point me in the direction and I'll peck.

Mr. Carver - Right now we are keeping still.  Don't worry, I'll remember to point.

Tarim - You can peck all you want, but a bit later.  Your assistance is well appreciated, though.

Eareg Maar - If memory serves, there is a place we may shelter more securely a short distance from here, where we may avoid the scrutiny of any guarding the eyrie.

Wispy - Keeping still - gleet that's a good idea - I should have done that instead of flying in the sand.

Mr. Carver - The weather won't hold us back?

Wispy - Didn't hold me back.

Kaius Alexander - Lead us there, Eareg. I tire of standing in the shadow of this edifice if we are not going to assault it.

Eareg Maar - It's away from the storm, fortunately enough; and even if the wind changed, it would provide us with shelter from that as well.

Mr. Carver - Well that sounds like just the thing we need.

Zaszicar - (at Wispy) Greetings, winged-one.  I am called Zaszicar.

* The mutilated lilix swordsman bows.

* Wispy bows in return.

Wispy - Zaszicar... zasicar; I bet that 'mong the lillx you're a star... probably going far; hard-de-har har.

* Zaszicar eyes the jatayi strangely, blinks its many eyes.

Tarim - Let us hurry then; this storm will not wait for us.

* Eareg Maar leads you north and west.  A chasm is evident some distance ahead, a cleft in the otherwise unbroken waste, like an unclosed wound.

Eareg Maar - We should be safe enough here.

* Wispy spits up sand.

* Tarim eyes the chasm suspiciously.

Inside the rocky walls of the canyon it is cooler and quieter, the hideous howling of the storm partially mitigated by the brown stone around you.  The sandy floor of the chasm is littered with animal bones.

Eareg Maar - There's an old, looted tomb a little ways ahead.  Nothing but old bones and dust.

* Eareg Maar presses forwards.  

A black doorway is cut into the wall here, leading into a musty tunnel beyond.  Ancient glyphs surround the rectangular opening, carved into the rock.  Fragments of what might have been an actual door litter the ground.

* Eareg Maar lights his pipe and gestures welcomingly.

Tarim - I wonder who built this...

Mr. Carver - I'd rather not wonder too much about that.

* Kaius Alexander steps inside cautiously.

Strangely curved tooth-like extrusions that perpetually drip a dark liquid jut from the walls of this corridor.  A skeletal corpse is skewered by several of them, lifted several feet of the ground.   At the end of the corridor is another open door.

Mr. Carver - Very homely, Eareg.

Eareg Maar - Don't touch the spikes.  The room beyond is a bit safer.

* The ghul scavenger grins rather horribly and puffs at his pipe.

Beyond the front hall is a small anteroom, a vaulted chamber with three additional exits.  The walls are covered in carvings of screaming faces, their mouths gaping holes.  Littering the floor are dozens of what look to be dead insects variously squashed, burnt, or otherwise destroyed, their greenish ichor staining the flagstones.  The directly opposite exit once had an enormous stone door, but this has been broken; the room beyond is obscured by the thick, ancient gloom.  The other two exits are sealed by stone doors scriven with mysterious glyphs.

Eareg Maar - Don't mess with the sealed doors.  Powerful witchery on them...

Kaius Alexander - And the bugs?

Mr. Carver - Probably hit the door.  Or some other hidden horrible thing.

* Wispy sees if the bugs are edible.

* Wispy picks at any particularly meaty beetles.

Delicious, if a bit dry and chewy...

Eareg Maar - Used to be another trap here.  Insects would pour from the holes in the wall, devour intruders.  The crows who came in here cleaned em out, though.

Kaius Alexander - Endearing.

* Wispy - Crows don't know what they were missing.

* Tarim studies the glyphs as he moves along.

The glyphs are clearly protective wards.  They look like they'd curse anyone trying to open the doors.

Tarim - Fascinating.

Kaius Alexander - Going to try opening one?

Tarim - Oh, definitely not.  As Eareg said, that'd be a bad idea indeed.

Eareg Maar - Next chamber over is the looted crypt and treasure vault.  Nothing to see; it's been picked clean.

Mr. Carver - Just point me in the direction of a safe nook. I've had enough action for today, I should say.

Eareg Maar - We should be safe here, or in the vault.

* Eareg Maar begins setting up camp.

* Kaius Alexander sits down heavily and assumes a lotus position.

* Kaius Alexander tosses an apple to Conveyance.

The lizard hisses happily.

* Tarim sits in a corner, setting down his haversack and opens his grimoire, laying it carefully down on a reasonably clean place.

* Kaius Alexander checks the rounds in his revolver.
* Mr. Carver harvests some of the black, caustic secretions dripping from the spikes in the front hall.

Wispy - Not planning on eating that, are ya?

Mr. Carver - Not if I can avoid it.

* Mr. Carver stores the vials of black goo in a secret pocket.

* Mr. Carver finds a suitable spot in the back of the vault and lies down to rest on his bedroll, bowler hat skewed to cover the eyes.

* Tarim hums quietly as his studies his grimoire, his jeweled eye-implants glittering with eldritch light. In the meantime Fangs lurches about in the shadows, exploring the place.

Wispy - For a moment there, I thought I'd brought you around to my culinary point of view, oh well.

* Wispy shrugs.

The night passes uneventfully.  While the gaping doorway is unnerving - it feels as if some beast or other intruder might stumble inside at any time - nothing disturbs the group's rest.  The next day, the eldritch storm has passed and the Slaughter-lands are relatively placid once more.

Mr. Carver - You ever been to Shan-Szut, Wispy?  Seems like it is, or was, a popular destination for the local bird-men.  

Wispy - Nah.  Can't say I've seen the place.

Mr. Carver - I at least think we should attempt to scout the place.

Eareg Maar - Agreed.

Mr. Carver - Tarim, any occult hexes of divination on hand?

Tarim - Nothing that would let me see in the Eyrie.  How dark is it inside these birdman-nests usually?

Eareg Maar - No clue.  Never been inside; scavengers just use this place as a landmark.  The jatayi don't like visitors out here.

Wispy - Well we have eyes, ghul.  So, not too dark.  But not too bright, either.

Mr. Carver - They might have guards out - the bandits.  So our reflective friend Kaius here might want to stay in the dark.

Tarim - Better leave reconnaissance to those most skilled at it.

Kaius Alexander - I have no patience for sneaking. We should mount a frontal assault and deal with these bandits.

Mr. Carver - You are the only one with inch-thick armour, human.

Wispy - Then they'll mount an aerial assault and peck out your heads.  Us Jatayi have got the high ground.  So unless you can fly...

Mr. Carver - There are no Jatayi in there

* Kaius Alexander cocks his head to the side.

Wispy - That idea's likely to get ya' to die.

Kaius Alexander - Your brain is muddled, bird.

Mr. Carver - unless the bandits have procured some traitors whose taste for coin is greater than their taste for carrion.

Wispy - That's almost certain.

Tarim - Not that we can be sure that there aren't any flyers amongst them.

Kaius Alexander - Our friend Eareg is a deadeye shot. Flyers will be no trouble, I am sure.

Wispy - Now, what we could do is set the nests aflame... And burn out the bandits.

Tarim - And in any case, it seemed to be a long ascent to the main entrance.

Mr. Carver - I will circle the eyrie and see if I can discover anything. I will meet you back here in an hour, no?

* Mr. Carver heads out to scout.

You don't find any obvious secret entrances, and in fact you trip over a rock while investigating a cranny and involuntarily cry out in pain.  The sound of your cry echoes rather ominously across the plains...

Wispy - They've got Carver!

* Kaius Alexander sighs loudly.

* Eareg Maar cocks an eyebrow and unslings Meteor.

* Tarim grumbles and draws his pistol.

* Kaius Alexander begins to pace back and forth.

There is no sign that anyone heard Carver's yelp; at least, an army of bandits haven't charged down the path with guns blazing...

* Mr. Carver limps back to the group.

Tarim - What happened to you?

Mr. Carver - Minor unfortunate event.  Don't worry.  No sign of any activity?

Tarim - Not anything that we can see from here.

Kaius Alexander - I hope you found something useful with your waste of our time.

Mr. Carver - I guess it's time for plan B then; the frontal assault.

Tarim - So, are we to climb up to the cave's mouth? Let us hope that we can make it there without being gunned down from above...

It's still fairly dark; the sun has just barely risen, and the dawn in these latter days of the world is red and dim.

* Kaius Alexander draws his sword and begins to ascend the slope, followed closely by the rest of the party.

Mr. Carver - Let's not make more noise than we have to.

The party is most of the way up the track when a crossbow bolt suddenly whines off Kaius' full plate!

* Kaius Alexander grunts and keeps walking.

A dark figure up near the cave entrance is visible, crouching behind a rock.

* Tarim ducks and curses.

Mr. Carver - Wispy! Get him! You are the only on not stuck on this gleeting path.

* Tarim tries to stay out of their line of fire while he invokes Harden the Skin.

* Kaius Alexander draws his revolver and fires off a shot at the figure, but his bullet richoets off the brigand's cover.

* Mr. Carver presses himself against the cliff-face and continues his ascent.

* Kaius Alexander calls out as he advances.

Kaius Alexander - This is an unlawful occupation. Remove yourselves immediately or face summary execution.

"Fuck off you gleeting scumsucking sod!  We'll have your skin for this!"

Kaius Alexander - That is an outcome I find doubtful. I have given my only warning.

* Tarim advances forward half-crouched, keeping his head low while invoking a hex.

* Wispy casts Honeyslick directly behind the guy who's shooting at us.

* Kaius Alexnader takes a second shot, this time wounding his adversary.  The man grunts in pain as the bullet sears through his boiled leather.

* Eareg Maar takes careful aim and fires, grazing the crossbowman.

* Mr. Carver speed up the path towards the bandits, tumbling past any hindrances.

* Zaszicar begins scaling the cliff.

You arrive at the top of the path.  Two bandits are currently on guard, one with a crossbow, the other brandishing a rapier.  You can hear footsteps inside the cave, and glimpse shapes moving around with your insectile eyes.

* Tarim hurries up, some distance after Carver. He halts to raise his blunderbuss pistol and takes a shot at the bandit.

The shot throws up a cloud of debris where it hits the cliff.  The bandit flinches back.

* Wispy takes to the air and fires one of his hand-crossbows at the swordsman.  His quarrel ricochets off the brigand's armour.

* Zaszicar pulls himself up and slashes at the nearest bandit, who screams in pain as the lilix's blades carve him to ribbons.  The man is still alive, but bleeding badly and in no condition to fight.

The second bandit rushes forward to fight Carver, but slips in Wispy's arcane honeyslick!

*Kaius Alexander arrives at the cave entrance and charges blindly into Shan-Szut, sword swinging!

A mantid with a pair of knives, a ghul wielding a heavy axe, and an unarmed human with serpentine tattoos and distinctive bracers resembling intertwined snakes round his forearms greet you unceremoniously '“ reinforcements coming to assist their fellows at the entrance.

* Kaius Alexander lays into the witch with a vicious strike, leaving himself open to attacks, but the man dodges deftly and Kaius' blade hits the wall with a clang, falling from the Insomnolent's hand.

* Eareg Maar charges up the path and reaches the top, rifle ready.

* Mr. Carver lashes out with his demoniac tendril, encircling the prone bandit's ankle.  He hurls the man off the precipice.

There's now an ugly little red stain at the foot of Shan-Szut.

* Zazsicar finishes off the crossbowman, beheading him contemptuously.  The front guards have been dispatched.

* Tarim continues on over the remaining steps to the cave entrance, takes one look at the mess Kaius has gotten himself in, frowns and unleashes the Plague of Vermin hex at the trio of bandits.

Bats swirl around the cavern, and the bandits are quickly distracted by the swarm.

* Wispy moves into position among the bats.

Wispy - I am the ghost of the jatayi that you killed, foul bandits of fowl's roost!

* Wispy fires his weapons madly into the melee.

* Zaszicar charges forward, blades whirling.  The lilix ignores the bats and attacks the mantid.  The insectile knife-fighter deflects the arachnoid's blow skillfully, but the second wounds him badly, spattering his blood across the cave wall.

The human witch with the strangely snake-like tattoos begins to hiss the syllables of some sinister jinx.

* Kaius Alexander, still missing his longsword, lashes out with a gauntleted fist.  Blood and teeth spray everywhere as his punch connects with the witch's face, causing the human to lose his spell.  His head batters against the cave-wall and he is temporarily stunned.

* Eareg Maar aims and then fires carefully at the mantid bandit.  The bullet hits one of the mantid's four arms, and it chitters in pain, singed badly.

* Mr. Carver darts through the cavern entrance and flanks the wounded mantid knife-fighter sparring with Zaszicar.  With a skilful strike he hamstrings the mantid, causing the brigand to fall to one knee.

* Zaszicar lunges forward, seeing his opportunity.  He brings both of his blades to bear, scissoring them across the mantid's exposed throat and shearing of the bandit's head.  A burst of blood slathers Mr. Carver from the creature's pumping neck-stump.

Mr. Carver - Thanks, Zasz!

* Tarim sidesteps round the entrance corner, just out of sight of the bandits within, and unleashes his Harden the Skin tattoo. Dark leathery blotches sprout up to cover his dried skin.

* Wispy moves in, his crossbows whirring.  One of his bolts grazes the ghul axeman.

Wounded, the ghul snarls and retreats into the gloom of Shan-Szut.  Meanwhile, the human witch comes to and desperately begins a second incantation.

* Kaius Alexander punches the magus again, breaking the man's nose with his armoured fist.  The witch's face is now a bloody ruin.

* Kaius Alexander snatches up his blade and brings it up for a killing blow.

The defenseless witch quivers before the blade descends.

"Don't kill me!  I surrender!" He gasps, blood trickling from his mouth and nostrils.

* Zaszicar looks murderous but sheathes his own swords after wiping them off on the mantid's headless corpse.

* Tarim enters the cavern and slowly approaches the scene.

"I can - gasp - help you,' the witch pleads.  'I can show you through the caverns.  I have valuable information!  All I ask is that you spare me."

Mr. Carver - Hmm, sounds like a reasonable offer. He won't be much trouble on his own in the wastes...

* Tarim eyes the human witch suspiciously.

Tarim - Do not try any tricks with hexes. Rest assured that I will spot them.

Kaius Alexander - A show of your good faith.

"What would you ask of me?"

* Kaius Alexander leaves his sword poised above the witch.

Kaius Alexander - How many of your ilk remain below?  What is their armament?

"Only two - the ghul, an axeman, and a human fool guarding the loot.  We also have a squad of fetch - shock troops - imprisoned in the jatayi's larder.  They would pose as prisoners if you approached them.  The rest of our band is out on a raid: they will return by nightfall.  We were merely the skeleton guard."

Kaius Alexander - How many on the raid?

"Twenty-two, and armed to the teeth."

Mr. Carver - That's bad news.

"From this - ack - position, you could, possibly, mount a defense."

Kaius Alexander - I see. Is your leader among them?

"Yes - a human named Uzrim."

Mr. Carver - How do you control the Fetch?

"They are conveyed into battle in a cage, goaded and hexed to be made obedient.  We let them feast upon and torture any prisoners."

Mr. Carver - How do you gather them again?

"They are corralled with pikes and shocking hexes; those that resist, we destroy."

Kaius Alexander - Why did you take over this eyrie?

"It proved the perfect location to ambush caravans heading south from Crepuscle, on to Macellaria."

Kaius Alexander - Lastly. Why should I believe that you will not betray us at the earliest possible convenience? You certainly were quick to abandon your allegiance.

Mr. Carver - You did beat him up pretty good, in his defence.  He's a witch, remember. Speaks for him being motivated by greed rather than desperation or ignorance...

"You can trust me while it is in your power to take my life.  I owe no loyalty to Herreku; I only joined him because he promised coin."

Kaius Alexander - I will give you the opportunity to prove your sincerity. You have one chance, and only one. Cross me and you will die. Co-operate and we will see you unharmed. You may even travel in our company on the return to Macellaria, if that is your wish.

"As for my hexes - here, take my grimoire.  Is that collateral enough for my life?"

* Mr. Carver glances at Tarim.

* Kaius Alexander throws the grimoire to Tarim.

"I would gladly follow you to the City of Bodysnatchers.  I am known as Yerroch; some have called me the Serpent's Paramour."

Tarim - He will no doubt do anything that he thinks will spare his miserable life.  He can still call upon his power even without the book. He is far from harmless.

Mr. Carver - Well, a hex takes more than a thought right? Can't we tie him up?

Tarim - Gagged and bound should be good.

Kaius Alexander - Gag him then, if you fear his ability.  Zaszicar, bind his hands for now.

* Zaszicar binds Yerroch's hands and gags him.  For a moment Yerroch looks as if he will protest, but thinks the better of it.

Tarim - We can let him speak again when we have need for his tongue.

Mr. Carver - Either way, we should probably deal with the so-called skeleton crew first.

* Kaius Alexander checks the bodies of the dead for valuables.

You find a few bone coins, a set of loaded die, and an erotic daguerreotype on the dead crossbowman.  You also notice the witch's bracers, which are elaborately forged into the semblance of mating serpents with emerald inlays for eyes.

Tarim - Nice bracers. I think he has no need for them now...

* Tarim grins.

*Fangs jumps at the daguerrotype, grabs it and flys to the ceiling, giggling.

Kaius Alexander '“ We will divide the spoils later.  Now, we must deal with the remaining two.

* Tarim approaches the bound human witch to remove his bracers.

Yerroch rolls his eyes but does not struggle - he's too smart to resist.

* Tarim examines the items.

As you remove the bracers, a small snake slithers out of the man's sleeve - clearly a familiar. Yerroch's eyes go wide.

* Tarim drops the braces and curses, startled.

The snake strikes swiftly, drawing blood.

* Tarim jumps back, drawing his blunderbuss pistol.

* Kaius Alexander sighs and removes the gag.

Mr. Carver - What do you know, a new bargaining chip!

Yerroch struggles to move and falls over.

Tarim - Wretched worm!

* Tarim takes aim.

Kaius Alexander - Tarim. No. Zaszicar, grab the snake.

* Zaszicar grabs the snake deftly before it can slither away.

Tarim - Has the audacity to bite me when we got his master bound! It should know better...

Kaius Alexander - You were saying, Witch?

"Return her!  Please... I will keep her under control."

Tarim - Under control!? It has already betrayed you. As if it will obey your commands now.  Better we kill the little creep.

Mr. Carver - He's obviously quite fond of it.  Let us "protect" it for him for a while.

Tarim - Of course he is.  Every witch appreciates his familiar.

Yerroch hisses something and the snake, which was struggling and writhing, falls limp in the lilix's hands.

Kaius Alexander - Zaszicar. Put the snake in a bag.  We will hold on to this for now, witch.

* Zaszicar complies, placing the snake in a small box he extracts from his pack.

* Tarim grits his teeth.

Tarim - You better keep that box securely closed, then.  And remember that the snake is in there. Will probably dart and bite as soon as it's opened.

Mr. Carver - I hope it's not like that bleedin' statue we used to drag along and can manage to stay in the box...

Kaius Alexander - Your snake will be returned when we deal with your former companions, witch.  Only then.

"Fair enough."

Kaius Alexander - Now, we must pursue the two who remain here.

Mr. Carver - And figure out how to take care of the rest. But yes, the two are our priority.

* Tarim picks up the bracers from the cave floor.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on February 04, 2011, 01:08:19 PM

Hide and Seek

Occasional torches illuminate the otherwise gloomy depths of Shan-Szut; up ahead you can see the flicker of one at what looks like a fork in the tunnel.   One passage winds up, the other sharply downwards.  There is a smell of must and age, a vague feeling of desecration.

Mr. Carver - The ghul will have alerted the others. Any element of surprise we might have had will be lost.  We just need to take them down quickly before they can set up ample protections.

Kaius Alexander - Which way is the loot chamber, witch?

"Down, and to the left."

* Kaius Alexander heads downwards.

Wispy '“ I'll stay up here, in case any of the gleetin' bastards try to make a run for it.

There's another fork; right and left, respectively.

Kaius Alexander - And what is to the right, witch?

"The central cavern; off that, our stabling, and the larder, as well as some other chambers."

Kaius Alexander - Of course. Is this the only entrance?

"Yes, that we know of.  There's said to be secret entrance somewhere, but we couldn't find it."

Kaius Alexander - Tarim. Would the explosives we retrieved earlier be able to seal this passage? I suspect our remaining foes seek to release the fetch on us.  It is either that, or deal with them conventionally.

Tarim - Hard to tell. It depends on how potent they are.

Kaius Alexander - A possibility.

Zaszicar - I would not suggest setting off explosives inside the caverns; they might precipitate a cave-in.  Sometimes in the mines of the Chelicerae Mountains the overseers would have slaves attempt excavations with explosives.  The results were often... unpleasant.
Eareg Maar - And wouldn't the jatayi be a mite annoyed if we destroyed half their eyrie?

Kaius Alexander - It is more than they currently have.

Eareg Maar - True.  Though I doubt they'll see it that way.

Mr. Carver - The way our friend here described it I doubt they have the manpower to control fetch at the moment.

Yerroch nods.  'The wouldn't dare release the fetch.  Too risky.'

Kaius Alexander - Let us investigate the treasury first, to ensure the other went with his friend.

Tarim - I'd rather die fighting the fetch than from a cave-in we ourselves set off.

Kaius Alexander - Desperate men will do things they normally would not. Do you disagree, Yerroch?

'They may be desperate but they would not be foolish enough to unleash the murderfolk, or attempt to control them on their own.'

* Kaius Alexander proceeds to the left.

Crates, chests, barrels, and whole  wagons fill this long cavern, heaped in irregular piles - the ill-gotten loot of the brigands.

Mr. Carver - Keep an eye out people.

* Mr. Carver stops to listen carefully.

You hear what sounds like a murmuring voice somewhere down the right-hand passage.  Possibly also a distant footfall.

* Eareg Maar readies Meteor and keeps it trained on the passage.

* Kaius Alexander investigates the nearest wagon.

It looks to be loaded with bolts of silk.

Tarim - Some rich loot. Would be good if we could seize some means of transporting it.

Kaius Alexander - Quite the haul, Yerroch.

The captive witch smiles grimly.  'The trick is converting goods like this back into coin.  What use would we have for a bunch of silks?'

Kaius Alexander - Anything exceptional?  Weapons? Trinkets? Coin?

'We haven't been through all of it.  Some crates of fireworks from a recent raid - probably Skein make.'

Kaius Alexander - We can evaluate this later. We must deal with our two rats, and then prepare to welcome your returning companions.

There's a chest of coin in the corner, where we've collected most of the actual money.

* Mr. Carver stealthily scouts a bit ahead.

The skulls of various beasts stare down from niches in the walls around the periphery of this large cavern.  There are three exits other than the one you're standing in.  As with the rest of the eyrie there is an almost palpable sense both of the sacred and of its violation.

* Kaius Alexander proceeds down the right corridor.

* Tarim follows after Kaius.

A few crates and tables are scattered about here.  You hear a whimper at the rightmost passage

* Mr. Carver skulks towards the whimpering sound.

The walls of this chamber are covered in beautiful if primitive pictograms depicting various mythological stories - monsters, heroes, maidens, gods, and demons play out elaborate visual sagas over the striped, variegated rock, illumined by torchlight.  A simply made stone table and a few wicker chairs occupy the center of the room.  A muzzled zerda is chained to one leg of the table.  It seems to be the source of the whimpers.

Kaius Alexander - What is down the left passage, witch?

A chamber where we stabled our mounts.

Kaius Alexander - And where is the larder?

'The larder is beyond, straight ahead and down.'

* Kaius Alexander investigates the stables.

There is an animal smell in this rough chamber, though there are no beasts currently here.  Two other passages lead downwards still further into the tower of rock.

* Kaius Alexander grunts and returns to the main cavern

Tarim - What sort of beasts are kept in here?

'Horses, camels, a few other beasts.'

Kaius Alexander - Where do the passages from the stable go, witch?

Down to the jatayi living quarters - a honeycomb of small chambers.  This was their feast hall.'  He gestures to the large cavern.  'The room yonder was their council room.'  He points to the room that Mr. Carver entered.

Kaius Alexander - I see. Where do you suspect your friends went?

Yerroch shrugs.  'If I were them I'd hide in the living quarters.'

Kaius Alexander - Hm. Wait here. I will get Carver.

Tarim - We better not split off before fighting those two.

* Kaius Alexander looks at Tarim.

Kaius Alexander - If they are down there, there is no danger.  I will retrieve Mr. Carver.

Mr. Carver '“ (to the zerda) We'll get back to you.

The emaciated creature cringes.

Kaius Alexander - What is this, Carver?

Mr. Carver - A zerda.

Kaius Alexander - I see.

Mr. Carver - Possibly an unlucky caravaner.  Might be a fetch

* Kaius Alexander walks up to it and removes its gag.

Mr. Carver - What happened to "pressing matters" Kaius?

Kaius Alexander - This will take one moment.

* Kaius Alexander turns to the zerda.

Kaius Alexander - Why are you here?  And who are you?

The zerda growls suspiciously.

'I am called Keen-Nose,' it barks.

'We found the wretch dying in the desert,' Yerroch interjects.   'Abandoned by his tribe.  He was a thief, outcast for stealing from his fellow foxes; Uzrim thought he'd be amusing to keep around.'

The zerda snaps and barks at the human witch.[/b]

Kaius Alexander - Well, Keen-Nose, as my friend says, we have things to attend to.

* Kaius Alexander pours water into the foxfolk's mouth from a canteen.

The foxfolk drinks greedily.

Kaius Alexander - We will be back for you later.  I hold you no ill-will. This is for your safety.

* Kaius Alexander attempts to re-gag him.

The half-mad foxfolk snarls and bites at Kaius as he attempts to put the muzzle back on.

Mr. Carver - Leave it off, Kaius.  He has no reason to attract the attention of his captors.

* Kaius Alexander gives Keen-Nose a derisory look,

Kaius Alexander - Fox. I wear armour. Those are teeth.

* Kaius Alexander sighs.

Kaius Alexander - I will leave your muzzle off, if you remain quiet.

* Kaius Alexander turns and leaves the room.

Mr. Carver - Did anyone come by here?  Recently?

Keen-Nose shakes his shaggy head.

Mr. Carver - Back we go then.

* Mr. Carver strides down the corridor they came from.

You catch a glimspe of a figure disappearing through the entrance you came in by as you re-enter the central cavern.

Mr. Carver - There's someone back there.

Eareg Maar - Stop there!

* Kaius Alexander sighs.

Kaius Alexander - I tire of this game.

* Kaius Alexander draws his revolver and heads off in pursuit.

* Mr. Carver readies the Agony Knife and runs after the fleeing figure.

* Rounding a corner, Kaius Alexander takes a shot at the man's back, but his bullet pings off the cavern wall.

There is a gurgling sound from above and a corpse bumps down the corridor, a bolt in its throat.

* Wispy appears, grinning.

Wispy - Bugger thought he could get by me, heheh.

Kaius Alexander - You have finally made yourself useful, bird.

* Tarim grins.

Tarim - One down, another one left.  The ghul must still be down in the depths of the cavern, somewhere.

Kaius Alexander - Zaszicar, remain with Wispy at the entrance.  We will search for the grave-spawn.

* Mr. Carver scouts ahead, skulking down the dark and dusty corridors.

The living quarters of the jatayi are cramped, a series of small, hollowed chambers set along a winding corridor.  Occasional graffiti and etchings in an inscrutable tongue cover the walls.

* Kaius Alexander checks the rounds in his revolver.

Tarim - Do you know anything about this ghul warrior, witch? Anything useful?

"He's a hardened sort - close-mouthed and somber, like most of the nightfolk.  A cunning one, as well, and exceptionally skilled with his weapon.'

Carver, You hear a soft footfall behind you and spin to see a gaunt, leering figure looming in the shadows of a chamber behind you, an enormous axe in his hands!  The ghul grins in the darkness and raises his evil-looking weapon.

* Mr. Carver ducks aside deftly, and the ghul's axe whistles through the air, humming shrilly.[/b]

* Mr. Carver slashes at the ghul's face and the grave-spawn flinches back.  While the brigand is bewildered Carver melts into the gloom.

Kaius, Tarim, you hear something snarl up ahead, where Carver was skulking.

* Kaius Alexander moves swiftly towards the sound.

Tarim - Sounds like we've found our prey.  Eareg, keep an eye on Yerroch -we'll go help Carver.

* Eareg Maar tips his hat and keeps his weapon trained on the captive.

You find a lean, sinewy ghul in battered leathers fighting Mr. Carver.  The knife-fighter whirls around him, striking in the dark, while the grave-spawn stumbles and attempts to locate him.

* Tarim advances quietly after Kaius, his pistol drawn.

* Charging down the corridor, Kaius slashes wildly at the ghul.  Taken by surprise the grave-spawn's belly is sliced open by the Insomnolent's sword.

Kaius Alexander - Prepare yourself, ghul. You will die now for your trespass in this place.

The ghul laughs hideously.  A mad light has entered his eyes.  He clutches his entrails in one hand and jeers at Kaius and Tarim.

* Tarim moves about, circling the pitched melee like a carrion bird, his pistol carefully levelled at the gaunt figure of the ghul axeman. Seeing an opportunity for a clear shot opened, his bony finger yanks at the trigger, releasing a shot that echoes loudly throughout the corridor.

The ghul cackles and ducks to one side, dodging the shot.

Distracted by Tarim's blunderbuss shot the ghul doesn't notice Mr. Carver sneak up behind him and jab a knife into his kidney.  Shrieking in sudden pain the grave-spawn writhes, while Carver steps in for a second slice, this time severing his jugular.  A slow, viscous jet of blood pumps from the ghul's neck, pooling sluggishly.

* Mr. Carver twirls his blood-spattered knife deftly.

Kaius Alexander - And now we have no more loose ends.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on February 09, 2011, 06:02:07 PM


* Kaius Alexander flicks the blood from his blade and sheathes it, then turns around and heads back to the common area.

Kaius Alexander '“ Now, we must prepare for the return of our guests.

Tarim - Indeed. Time to start thinking about how to make best use of the explosives we've acquired.

Kaius Alexander - Would you be able to trigger them remotely, Tarim?  Through some arcane means?

Tarim - Possibly by a spell. Although I'd bet that Eareg would be better at that.

Mr. Carver - Again, I think we should pay heed to the fact that closed spaces and explosives don't mix well.  I do not desire to be buried alive no matter how much I might enjoy your company.

Kaius Alexander - Mr. Carver, you misunderstand. These explosives will be placed without.

Tarim - Hiding them might not be so easy there.

Eareg Maar - A shot from Meteor might detonate them.

Kaius Alexander - Yerroch, will your associates ascend the pathway in columnar formation?

"Yes, though if there aren't any guards they'll suspect something amiss.  There's a signal - a flash of a hand-mirror."

Mr. Carver - But they will be forced to climb the path and we will have the element of surprise on our side.

Kaius Alexander - It would be a simple thing to partially conceal them in the cliff wall.

Tarim '“ Hmm.  We could set two charges so that they are caught between them.

Kaius Alexander - Yes, my thoughts exactly, Tarim.  Are you confident in your ability to make the shot, Eareg?

Eareg Maar - If I have enough time to set up the shot it shouldn't be a problem.

Mr. Carver - Perhaps you would have a clearer path for your shot if you hid outside the eyrie, Eareg?

Eareg Maar - Depends on where we place the explosives.

Tarim - Let us go and take a good look at the scenery, then.

Kaius Alexander - I will trust in you then, Eareg.  Yerroch, will you be able to signal the all-clear for your associates?

'Aye.  Doesn't seem like I have much of a choice.'

Kaius Alexander - No. That you do not.  I will say that should you survive, and should you remain loyal to us, there will be a weighty purse in it for you.

'I like the sound of that.  You know, if you unbind me, I can help in a fight.  I still have plenty of spells crammed in the old cranium...'

Tarim - We're not going to trust you that much.

Yerroch grins.  'Fair enough.'

Kaius Alexander - If I deem it necessary, we may do as such.  For now, Tarim is correct.

Mr. Carver - Also, if your friends reacts as if something is amiss prior to us triggering the fireworks we can only assume you've sent them a little dirty message.  We can't answer for what will happen to your familiar then. I'm sure you understand.

Yerroch nods.  'I've seen you lot in action.  Even in a fair fight I'm not sure I like my erstwhile companions' chances.'

* Kaius Alexander ascends to check the upper chamber they have not yet examined.

* Mr. Carver  follows Kaius.

This enormous, vaguely cylindrical cavern has walls covered in pictograms, a hugely extensive collection of graphical tales.  There are no words or captions, only images painted in dark, deft strokes, stylized depictions of wars and love-making, births and deaths, demoniac bargains, descents into the Netherworld, the founding and destruction of cities, the forging or shattering of mythic weapons, the slaying of ravenous horrors, the rape of beautiful women, the marriages of heroes and heroines, the judgment of dead souls, the wrath of slighted gods, the seizing of ancient treasures, the wars of barbarian princes, the conquests of emperors, and a hundred other sagas, cycles, stories, and fables, scrawled vastly across the smooth dun stone.

Kaius Alexander - Interesting.

Mr. Carver - Impressive as well.  I'm sure a few sages would like to get their hands on some etchings.  Not the time for that now, though.

Kaius Alexander - No. It is not.

* Kaius Alexander exits the room and go back down to the entrance.

* Mr. Carver waves for the others to follow as he heads down to investigate the larder.

Tarim - The murderfolk can starve to death here far as I am concerned.

Kaius Alexander - Mr. Carver, Yerroch has assured us they are firmly secured.  Is that not right, Yerroch?

Tarim - Not that we couldn't hasten their demise if it will make you feel more at ease.

Yes.  At the bottom of a pit, quite unscalable.  We have to throw down a rope ladder to let them out.'

Mr. Carver - And yet people escape from imprisonment from time to time.  Are you really willing to take those chances with the odds we already face?

Eareg Maar - If we leave them, the jatayi would probably thank us.  BY the time they return there'll be a roomfull of fresh corpses waiting for them.

Mr. Carver - I don't know if they eat the fetch.

Tarim - Wispy doesn't seem to like the taste of them, though.

Kaius Alexander - You see, Mr. Carver. Not a problem.

Tarim - They'll know as soon as they take so much as a bite.

Mr. Carver - I say we check the larder anyway. I'm fine with leaving the fetch in their hole

Kaius Alexander - You may if you wish, Mr. Carver. Do not fall in.

* Mr. Carver smirks.

Mr. Carver - I'll try not to.

* Mr. Carver goes to check the larder.

Half a dozen bedraggled humans squat in the gloom at the bottom of a forty foot pit here.  Shafts of light penetrate the darkness from small holes in one corner.  One of the wretched-looking individuals looks up and speaks to you.  His face is gaunt, his frame emaciated, his eyes gleaming.

"Gods be praised!  Can you get us out of this hole?"

Mr. Carver - I can, yes, but I won't.

"Huh.  Some rescuer you turn out to be..."

Mr. Carver - Well, to be fair you are not quite a prisoner in the common sense of the word. Neither are you really human.  Well, enjoy your stay.

* Mr. Carver closes the door behind him and returns to the others.

Kaius Alexander - Tarim. One of your tattoos gifts you with a true shot, if I remember correctly. Would you be able to synchronize with Eareg if we found you a suitable weapon?

Tarim - I think so, if I can find a suitable spot to aim from.  It'll have to be fairly close.

Kaius Alexander - Let us see what arms these bandits had to hand.

* Kaius Alexander goes to look for a rifle in the loot room.

* Tarim follows Kaius.

You find a repeating rifle of decent make, and an antique single-shot weapon.

* Tarim looks for blunderbuss ammunition.

You find twenty-five blunderbuss cartridges and powder.

Kaius Alexander - Your preference, Tarim?

* Kaius Alexander holds up the repeater and the musket.

Tarim - The rifle should be useful for shooting at the explosives.

* Kaius Alexander tosses it to him.

* Tarim grabs the rifle.

Tarim - No problems with the range, then.

* Mr. Carver takes forth his bone flute, pilfered from the chambers of the magus Ezekiel Khaan.

* Mr. Carver sits and tries to sound the flute.

An eerie, warbling sound emerges from the flute.  A small rat skeleton on the floor has jerked to sudden unlife, but the moment you stop playing, it reverts to inanimacy.  The corpse of the bandit with Wispy's bolt in its throat was unaffected, however.

Mr. Carver - Hmm, interesting.

* Mr. Carver -tries playing for longer.

The rat revives again and scurries to and fro.  Mr. Carver, you continue to play, but the flute squeaks shrilly and the rat skeleton vibrates and explodes in a cloud of bone-dust and fragments!

Mr. Carver - Hmm, maybe I should have Tarim check this out.
* Kaius Alexander and Tarim return from the treasure-room.

Kaius Alexander - Let us place the explosives, then, and set in to wait.

'I possess a small glamer that would guise the explosives as rocks,' Yerroch offers.  'You would, of course, have to unbind me for me to cast it...'

Kaius Alexander - Very well, Yerroch. I will place faith in you.

* Tarim I will see to it that he casts what he says he will, and nothing more.

* Kaius Alexander unbinds Yerroch's hands.

Kaius Alexander - Let us see to the explosives.

The witch rubs his wrists and grins.  'You have my thanks.  No chance of retrieving my familiar, I take it?'

Kaius Alexander - When your friends have been dealt with.

* Tarim twiddles with his newly acquired rifle, eyeing the human witch

Mr. Carver - Tarim!  Do you by any chance know how to play the flute?

* Tarim invokes Sense Witchery, then turns to see what Carver is on about.

* Mr. Carver holds up the flute.

Mr. Carver - Seems to have some necromantic properties

Tarim - Is that so?

Mr. Carver - Although I'm not sure if it only works on small creatures.

* Tarim takes a close look at the instrument.

The flute radiates strong necromantic auras.

Mr. Carver - Still, this was formerly held by a strong witch so I can't imagine he would keep it around without reason.

Wispy - I might be able to produce a tune or two.

* Mr. Carver hands the flute to the bird-man.

* Wispy plays a rousing, raucous tune.

Tarim - I will have to examine it more carefully when we have the time.

Mr. Carver - Here's another one for you.

* Mr. Carver holds up the black gem.

* Mr. Carver holds up the cestoid globule as well, for good measure.

The black gem lights up with conjuration wards, while the cestoid shows evidence of arcane transmutation, and some kind of stasis spell.

Tarim - Interesting. I think it might be possible to reanimate.

Mr. Carver - I'm thinking it might go with this.

* Mr. Carver takes the staff from his back.

Mr. Carver - The staff enlarges and reduces the size of creatures.  I got it during my recent excursion with Wispy.

Tarim '“ Ah.  A most useful device. The gem is definitely hexed also.

Mr. Carver - See if you can figure it out.

* Mr. Carver hands the gem to Tarim.

* Tarim pockets the gem.

* Kaius Alexander places the explosives along the path leading up to the eyrie and motions for Yerroch to cast his illusion.

*Eareg Maar notes the location of the explosives carefully.

Yerroch bows and flexes his long fingers, then begins to weave them in an intricate pattern.

* Tarim observes Yerroch cast his glamer.

He hisses an incantation.  The air shimmers as the glamer coalesces.  The explosives are convincingly disguised as small piles of rocks.

Kaius Alexander '“ Excellently done, Yerroch.

'I might point out that the bloodied corpse of one of my compatriots is currently attracting flies at the base of the eyrie - it might be a bit of a tip off.

Kaius Alexander - Ah yes, I am used to the presence of a certain larval companion to deal with such things.  Come, let us remove the remains.

* Mr. Carver helps carry the bodies.

* Kaius Alexander returns to the mouth of the eyrie after helping Carver and Zaszicar dispose of the corpses.

Tarim '“ (to Zaszicar) Better get our captive bound again. He has done what was needed of him.

* The lilix inclines his head and binds the witch again.  Yerroch rolls his eyes.

'This is truly excessive.  Have I not proved myself trustworthy?'

Mr. Carver - You have simply proved that you are not completely untrustworthy. That is different.

Tarim - Only a fool would be trusting you in our place.

Kaius Alexander - My companions are of a paranoid temperament. I am sure they will warm to you shortly.  Eareg, Tarim. I trust in you to make your shots.

Eareg Maar - I have a good vantage from here.

* Kaius Alexander exhibits the ghost of a smile.

Mr. Carver - Perhaps we should escort Mr. Yerroch to the rear chambers?

'Very well, I suppose.  But when the bullets start flying you may regret your decision.  If large men aren't punching me in the teeth I'm actually quite handy in a fight.'

Mr. Carver - But on whose side?

Yerroch snorts.

Mr. Carver - I suspect we can only trust you when the numbers turn out to be in our favour and not your former companion's.

Zaszicar - Several of us could remain inside, in a defensible position.  I'll put the witch in the room upstairs; he should stay out of mischief there.

Kaius Alexander - Very well, Zaszicar.  A sound division of forces.

* The lilix swordsman drags the protesting witch upstairs.

* Kaius Alexander oils and sharpens his sword while he waits for events to unfold.

* Tarim looks for a good firing position; a clear shot for the explosives and cover to hide behind.

Wispy - Someone should make ready with that mirror, so that the bandits don't suspect anything.

* Kaius readies a mirror scavenged from the dead bandit guards.

Night is descending; the swollen sun dips towards the ragged horizon, and a bruise-purple twilight darkens the sky.  A cloud of dust is evident in the distance - the approaching raiding party, returning from whatever bloody excursion they were on.

* Eareg Maar has a cloak drawn over him and covered with dust.

* Kaius Alexander grunts quietly.

The bandits are drawing close to the eyrie.  There is a flash from the leading horseman.

* Kaius Alexander flashes in return.

* Tarim quietly invokes a Vanishment glamer, becoming effectively invisible while he takes aim for the explosives.

The bandits begin their ascent of the spire.

Kaius Alexander - Tarim, Eareg. Remember to place your shots for optimal destruction. Wait for the first segment of the column to pass.

The first group of heavily armed warriors moves into your sights, Tarim - hardened looking men with bows and blades and crude guns, a few non-humans and grave-spawn mixed in.  This group is closely followed by several wagons laden with goods; there look to be some more wagons near the rear, but you can't see them yet.  The leader is a grizzled human gunslinger with a scarred, weather-beaten face and a long, unkempt hair.  He is armed with a pair of heavy pistols.

* Tarim invokes his True Strike tattoo and fires as the caravan passes the glamered explosives.

* Eareg Maar does the same.

Your shots are perfect!  There is an enormous boom as fireworks erupt out of the cliff in a spectacular blossom of light and flame!  Screams fill the night and flaming corpses are thrown into the air.  Horses and camels squeal in terror; wagons explode; splinters of wood fly everywhere.  A huge section of the path is also destroyed, and more mounts and warriors topple from the cliff to their deaths below.  A handful of warriors are alive, having escaped the worst of the blast.  They are trapped.  Some of the rearmost wagons are also intact, but it looks as if the rearguard riders are actually retreating in a panicked dash.

Kaius Alexander - Hm.

* Tarim ducks back behind the cover of the rocks, grinning wickedly.

* Eareg Maar likewise emerges, firing Meteor at the remaining warriors.

The bandit leader emerges from the flames, singed but alive.  He rides up the path like a demon from the lowest Hells.

* Mr. Carver looks to see if Kaius takes any action.

* Kaius Alexander steps out of the cave, pistol levelled at the rider.

* Tarim emerges from hiding, his clawed hands drawing eldritch patterns in the air, his tongue hissing words of witchcraft.

* Tarim utters a final word of power and a black cloud of oily, oozing smoke erupts from his mouth, descending rapidly down the slope until it reaches and engulfs the trapped bandits.

Several of the bandits are nauseated, retching violently.  One drops his weapon and writhes on the ground.  The brigands choke and splutter, temporarily disabled by the eldritch smog.  Fireworks continue to spark and band, sowing confusion.

* Mr. Carver aims Ezekiel Khaan's staff at Uzrim's horse and activates it shrinking hex.

The horse is instantly shrunk to the size of a small cat.  Uzrim, the grim bandit gunslinger, looks suddenly surprised and falls over prone.  The tiny horse canters way, having just avoided the man's fall.  The bandit leader manages to avoid toppling off the cliff - narrowly.  He grips to the ledge only feebly.

Three of the bandits ride up the cliff.  One takes aim at Kaius, another at Tarim.  Kaius is only grazed but Tarim is badly wounded as a bullet buries itself in his shoulder.  Dark blood gushes viscously from the wound.

* Tarim dives back into cover, cursing loudly and grasping his shoulder.

* Kaius Alexander aims with his revolver and shoots Uzrim's hand.

The bandit leader cries out in pain and nearly slips from the cliff, but with a supreme effort of will he hauls himself up with his remaining hand, scrambling to his feet.  He snatches up one of his pistols and fires at Mr. Carver in one smooth motion, hitting the graftpunk in the thigh.

* Wispy flies out of the cavern and fires bolts down at the nasueated bandits, pinning one to the ground with a heavy quarrel.

* Eareg Maar picks off one of the fleeing riders with a flaming bullet from Meteor.

* Zaszicar advances down the path, blades singing, and runs one of the surviving bandits through.

* Tarim grits his teeth and gathers his wits, invoking Mirror Image in spite of the pain of the bullet wound.

* Mr. Carver staggers towards Uzrim, ignoring the wound in his thigh, and and swings his glistening, demoniac tentacle at his feet.  The brigand wavers but stays on his feet.

One of Tarim's duplicates vanishes as a bullet passes through it.

* Kaius Alexander charges and impales the bandit leader through the chest.  Blood bursts from his lips.  Badly burnt, shot, and now stabbed, Uzrim falls to the ground, dying.

Seeing their leader dead the other bandits turn to run.  Wispy picks one off.  Zaszicar dispatches another brigand and Eareg Maar executes another.  The battle is won.

* Kaius Alexander pulls his blade out smoothly, flicks the blood from it, and sheathes it.

* Mr. Carver strides purposefully down the path and casually slits the throat of one of the bandits still standing.

* Tarim cocks the repeating rifle and takes aim at one of the fleeing bandits, letting loose shots.

* Kaius Alexander chambers a new round in his revolver calmly.

Kaius Alexander - Let us see what remains of their wagons and goods.

The bandits that seized Shan-Szut are now dying, dead, or fled.  A skillfully laid trap, facilitated by the arcana of a turncoat witch and some deft shots from the party's ghilan marksman, crippled them before they could respond effectively.  The path is nearly obliterated halfway up - descending will be difficult, and treacherous, though not impossible.  The wagons are in poor shape.  Some near the rear look to contain cages full of prisoners of some kind.  Others have been blown apart, the goods within shredded and ruined.

Mr. Carver - Fetch?

One of the prisoners coughs.  "We're no murderfolk!"

Mr. Carver - I really wish there was some way to know for sure...

Tarim - We should take no risks with them.

Kaius Alexander - Zaszicar, retrieve Yerroch. Perhaps he will know.

* The lilix fetches the witch.

* Kaius Alexander unbinds Yerroch.

Mr. Carver - There is a chance they are merely slaves: travelers in the wrong place at the wrong time.

'No clue,' Yerroch says, unhelpfully.  'Could be slaves, could be a bunch of redmouthed psychopaths.  Fetch're a cunning bunch.  They could be faking.  There's no physical way to tell - until one of them is chewing on your liver.  All I can say is, they didn't head out with any murderfolk.  If these are fetch, they're new.

Kaius Alexander - Hm.  Prisoners. Tell me. What leads you to be in this situation?

"Our caravan, en route to Macellaria, was ambushed.  We were taken as slaves."

Kaius Alexander - I see. Well, we will speak more of this later. We have business to attend to back inside.

Zaszicar - Why don't we ask Uzrim?  The bastard's still breathing - barely.

Kaius Alexander - Oh?  Curious.

The bandit leader is coughing blood.  A pool of it is spreading below.

Kaius Alexander - You, Uzrim. These prisoners, where did you obtain them, and for what purpose?  I will make your death clean and quick if you answer truthfully.

'Slaves,' Uzrim coughs raggedly, spewing moreblood down his front.  'Taken in a raid.  Please, kill me swiftly.  The pain...'

* Kaius Alexander places his revolver at Uzrim's temple and pulls the trigger.

Kaius Alexander - If he lies, there would have been no way to extract such information in his state.

* Kaius Alexander holsters his revolver.

Mr. Carver - I'd say he was in no position to lie. Deception does require some forethought.

Tarim - A bandit lord who surely held nothing but spite for his killers.

Mr. Carver - Hm, I stand by what I said, Tarim. I know both pain and lies so it's only fair I can tell when they mix and when they don't.

Tarim - Well, if you're going to set them free, I say we send Yerroch with them.

Kaius Alexander - I assured Yerroch he could return to the city in our company.  That will not be possible, Tarim.

Tarim - I will not travel with him.  If they are truly slaves, he'll have some company on his way through the Slaughter-lands. If fetch, well...

Kaius Alexander - Then we will ride a suitable distance behind you and camp separately. I can not renege on my word.

'I'll take my chances with the captives,' Yerroch says.  'Better them than this redmouthed wormy.'  He nods at Tarim.  'I'm heading back to Macellara.  Had enough of banditry for the time being '“ Herreku can rot.  Perhaps I'll try guarding caravans instead of attacking them.  First, though, I need some time in Velveteen Circus.  I've had enough of dust and sodding battles; time for drink and bedchambers instead...'


The sun sets and the waste grows as cold as the dead bandits that trail from the cavern-mouth of Shan-Szut, as if the eyrie had vomited them from its hallowed depths.  The party camp in the caves for the night and make preparations for the journey back to the City of Bodysnatchers.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on February 09, 2011, 06:08:31 PM

Out of Character

Hopefully this sets the stage well for the game's resumption.

Coda: 'Demon's Child'

They sit in their private box in the Hollow Skull Playhouse, courtesy of Sebastian Defoin: a tatterdemalion band, the wounds they suffered on their journey still unscarred.

Eareg Maar lounges in the rear, looking distinctly uncomfortable in his plush chair.  He misses the wasteland, its brutal simplicity, its dichotomies of hunter and hunted, its clean, merciless rules.  Here, in the city, things are less clear.  Instead of the honest mercilessness of the desert there is chaos: a labyrinth of intrigues and conspiracies and inane social conventions, of bickering factions, of hazy power-networks quite at odds with the soothing tooth-and-claw dynamics of the Slaughter-lands, the reassuring tenets of predation and survival.  Meteor was confiscated at the door; he longs to hold the ensorcelled rifle in his hands.  The memory of Sebastian Defoin haughtily insisting on the eldritch weapon's appropriation makes the scavenger grimace.  A strange fire seems to burn in his eyes as he watches the play unfold.

In the front, Tarim, the party's other grave-spawn, watches the play incredulously, tut-tutting its innumerable technical blunders, its grotesque misunderstanding of all things arcane.  The production's very premise is deeply flawed '“ demons and humans cannot interbreed, for the love of the gods!  He enjoys the theatricality of the performance despite these glaring inaccuracies, gemstone prostheses glittering in the darkened theatre.  His spidery fingers drum a languid rhythm against the balcony rail; his eldritch tattoos seem to squirm subtly beneath his un-living flesh; Fangs nips playfully at his ear.   The bullet-wound at his shoulder, taken at Shan-Szut, itches beneath its plaster.  Idly, the ghul witch ponders his recent discoveries, the esoteric passages of his journal he deciphered the previous evening '“ a spell of uncanny genius penned by a past self.  The thought of his quick incarnation's journal makes him recall the secret police of Marainein, the dread Inquisitors and the avaricious priesthood.  They will still be trying to reclaim the book's dread secrets.

The shadowy creature called Mr. Carver sits behind Tarim, next to Eareg at the back of the box, his strangely variegated body obfuscated by the velvety gloom.  He toys with a small knife, smuggled effortlessly past the guards, and flexes the demoniac tendril on his shoulder.  Though the 'man' was once quite human, you wouldn't know it to look at him.  He looks more like some monster from the eastern wastes: bulbous insect eyes and twitching limbs grafted onto his lean, sinewy frame, face and hands pocked with old chemical burns, he sits and contemplates the plays themes of transcendence and otherness, abjection and suffering, transformation and taboo.  Perhaps more than the others he appreciates 'Demon's Child' '“ he too is the product of a dysfunctional familial environment.  An actress shrieks and pierces her breast with a prop knife and a great gush of blood bursts from her bosom, where a hidden packet must have been concealed.  Idly observing this splattered spectacle Mr. Carver smiles and muses on his next metamorphosis.

Kaius Alexander sits unmoving, still as a statue.  Inside his head the zehrer spasms.  Its tendrils continue to embed themselves, to mesh with his own synapses, with his veins and arteries, with his nerves and ganglia.  His attention is fixed not on the play but on a figure in a box opposite, on the other side of the Hollow Skull Playhouse, a mountainous man garbed all in red: Servius Izar, favourite of the House of Untainted Flesh and killer of Gorethirst, the party's erstwhile comrade, fallen in the Pits of Pulsetown to Servius' maul.  As with Eareg and the others' weaponry Kaius' blade and pistol were confiscated at the door, and Servius is surrounded by companions: attacking him here would be suicidal, the collateral damage considerable.  The former Insomnolent Guard bides his time with almost preternatural patience.  He will avenge the leechkin's death soon enough.

The jatayi known most often as Wispy laughs at inappropriate times, squawks glib jibes and witty retorts down at the actors onstage.  The vagabond fabler seems to be enjoying himself tremendously, though the bouncers are beginning to eye the box with disapproval and mutter to one another.  The itinerant thief and hex-slinger guffaws with gusto and takes a hearty bite of ever-so-slightly rancid meat procured from a vendor outside, swigs the cheap wine sold at concession.  Are his clowning and buffoonery a façade concealing a melancholy persona beneath, or is the bird-man's comic lunacy quite genuine?  Whatever the case he remains something of an enigma '“ coming and going as he pleases, irreverent and frequently obscene, forever on the run from wronged females, outraged property owners, and other victims of his vices.  Beneath his clothes the sigils carved into his flesh glow with a strange, infernal light.

One seat is empty; Gorethirst, the valiant if brusque leechkin gladiator, would have sat there.  The pit-fighter's absence is almost palpable: even in the short space that the rest of the band knew it the leechkin proved itself an honourable and dependable companion.  On the other side of the city, the creature's sibling, the self-styled Mr. Rasp, silently toasts his fallen brother-sister with a cup of warm blood, squeezed from the veins of one of the murderfolk.  The tainted draught compounds the Guildmaster's bloodlust, his rage.

Zaszicar, the group's brief addition, has departed the city again, in search of his legendary blades.  Yerroch, the turncoat magus who proved useful in the defeat of his one-time comrades, slipped away into the bustle of Macellaria soon after the group returned to the Maggot City, though not before exchanging words with Kaius.  The slaves liberated from the bandits (who proved, fortuitously, not to be fetch shock troops, as some of the party suspected), have likewise dispersed.  Keen-Nose, the brigands' pet zerda, slipped off one night on the journey home, vanishing mysteriously with a few pilfered rations and trinkets gleaned from the bandits' treasure-horde.

As for the jatayi, they have returned to their eyrie.  Their more enlightened leader, Jullthar, promised the band the troupe's eternal gratitude, while the conservative elders sneered in the background.

The last actor falls to the stage; the bloody drama concludes.  Though 'Demon's Child' is a dark comedy rather than a tragedy there is something ominous about its ending, its lack of resolution.  The titular abomination remains at large, despite the bumbling efforts of the play's ill-fated antagonists.

But for now, the curtain falls.  The actors take their bows.  Backstage, the playwright strokes his chin and plots the next nightmare.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Nomadic on February 09, 2011, 06:45:19 PM
I loved it and want more so badly. Steerpike have I ever told you that you should write a book? Oh btw just want you to know that I like how true you're staying to Eareg without me there, that takes some skill to stick to what a player envisions for their character like that.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: LD on February 09, 2011, 10:43:13 PM


The jatayi known most often as Wispy laughs at inappropriate times, squawks glib jibes and witty retorts down at the actors onstage.

Whatever the case he remains something of an enigma '“ coming and going as he pleases, irreverent and frequently obscene, forever on the run from wronged females, outraged property owners, and other victims of his vices. Beneath his clothes the sigils carved into his flesh glow with a strange, infernal light.[/quote]

...That's about spot-on. :D

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Superfluous Crow on February 10, 2011, 08:32:48 AM
must. play. more. CE.
And yes, please do write a book! It can't possibly be anything other than awesome.
The hellish misadventure of Wispy had quite a different tone as compared to the other scenarios we've gone through, but then again, that is to be expected from Wispy.
I really got to convince one of my friends to read these logs at some point, it's an entertaining story.  

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on February 10, 2011, 11:09:47 AM
[blockquote=Conundrum Crow]The hellish misadventure of Wispy had quite a different tone as compared to the other scenarios we've gone through, but then again, that is to be expected from Wispy.[/blockquote]Yeah, I wanted it to feel more absurd and farcical than other sections, just to make the section feel a bit more Wispyish.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Superfluous Crow on February 10, 2011, 02:18:41 PM
Wouldn't mind seeing a more serious walkthrough of CE's Hell at some point.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: LD on February 10, 2011, 02:20:31 PM
It was serious--Wispy could have died!

Wispy has this to say to you: "Gleet you Mr. Carver! Gleet you indeed! I walked to Hell and back. Respect my achievement!"

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Superfluous Crow on February 10, 2011, 06:00:57 PM
Well, a few paragraphs on Hell in Steerpike's own words then.
And didn't you say it was his second time? :p

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on February 19, 2011, 03:39:04 PM
Hmm, thought I'd posted here but it appears the internet wasn't cooperating.

I'll do a write up of how I see the Hells sometime, but basically I see them as parallel dimensions rather than prisons or torture-realms for damned souls.  They're not afterlives, they're alternate universes whose denizens are so strange and horrifying that the inhabitants of this plane think of them as demons.

In terms of imagery, I think of Hell very much along the lines of Wayne Barlowe's surreal ( interpretations  ( Dante's ( Inferno (, with a fair bit of H.R. Giger and Hieronymous Bosch thrown in.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on February 22, 2011, 02:08:52 PM
Part Three

Rigor Mortis

The Tower of Moans

Having hired a pair of mantid mechanists as assistants, Kaius Alexander sets about augmenting his armour with a clockwork exoskeleton as well as a built-in flamethrower and maintenance automaton.  This ambitious project '“ which costs several thousand obeloi, depleting the Insomnolent Guard's significant funds almost entirely '“ takes many weeks to complete.  Night after night the pallid warrior can be found hunched over the intricate machinery, piecing together each delicate component with a gentleness one would not expect from such a brutal fighter.

At last, after days of toil, the armour is complete.  A simple wind-up mechanism on the chest-piece powers up the armour for twelve hours; gears whirr, coils tauten, cogs tick.  The armour is bulkier than it used to be but will increase the warrior's physical strength.

* Kaius Alexander stares at his completed armour placidly.

* Kaius Alexander turns to the mantids.

Kaius Alexander - Satisfactory.

The mantids chitter to one another in their insectile speech.

* Kaius Alexander hands over their money.

Kaius Alexander - I may have need of your assistance again in the future. We shall see.

They nod in thanks and depart.

* Kaius Alexander dons his armour and steps outside.

Every movement the Insomnolent Guard makes is accompanied by the drone of his armour's clockwork additions.

* Kaius Alexander goes to seek out the witch, Yerroch, heading to Velveteen Circus.

You find the witch in a dim alehouse, draining absinthes and watching the dancing girls.

* Kaius Alexander walks up to him and lays his armoured hand on the witch's shoulder.

Kaius Alexander - Yerroch. We have work to do.

The thin man turns and raises an eyebrow.  The tattoos on his arms seem to writhe in the dim lamplight.  His broken nose has been set but still looks askew, and the bruises on hs face are yellowing.

 * Kaius Alexander raises his visor.

"You again," the witch grumbles.

Kaius Alexander - I recall informing you I may have use of your services in the future.

"Mmm.  Suppose you did at that.  What can I do for you, precisely?"

Kaius Alexander - We are securing a... certain property.

"That so?  What kind of property?"

Kaius Alexander '“ A forsaken spire. Grave-spawn district. Purportedly occupied by haunts of some sort.

* Kaius Alexander pauses.

"Ah, the Tower of Moans.  Got an evil reputation, it does.  I'll be requiring a bonus to go in there. And we'll need a scroll or two to create eldritch silence while we're there, or else the damn geists'll infect us both."

Kaius Alexander - I had anticipated such.

* Kaius Alexander hands Yerroch a pouch of fifty obeloi.

"Looks good for payment - it'll keep in booze an' fancy girls for a few days, anyway.  We can stop by the Hexwarren on our way for those scrolls."

* Kaius Alexander nods slowly.

Kaius Alexander - Mageries are not my area of expertise. This is why I have hired you. We shall obtain the scroll you need.

"Very well.  Guess I'll just stuff my fingers in my ears if we run out."

* Kaius Alexander exits the tavern.

Yerroch follows you out and leads you to a scroll-seller in Hexwarren '“ a gaunt human witch who sells his wares from a rickety cart drawn by a juvenile dire maggot currently feeding from a trough of carrion.  The man demands one hundred and fifty obeloi for a scroll containing the appropriate hex.

* Kaius Alexander pays the witch.

Suitably equipped, you head to the Worm-Hive.

You stand before a solitary tower rising out of the middle of a forsaken square, as if the other buildings were afraid to touch it.  Its huge brass doors have been chained shut, its windows boarded up.  Graffiti has been painted on the pale stone walls - words of warning and gruesome skulls.

Kaius Alexander - I have brought wax. If we require its use, it will be of better effect than your fingers.

* Kaius Alexander hands Yerroch a glob of wax.

"So, what's our plan of attack?"  The serpentine tattoos on the witch's arms seem to writhe as he stretches.

* Kaius Alexander examines the building.

Kaius Alexander - We clear from the bottom up. We will leave no creature alive, should we find any.

"Straightforward, brutal, efficient.  Sounds good to me."

Kaius Alexander - Remain behind me unless I instruct otherwise.

"Hey, that's fine with me.  You're the one sheathed in steel from head to toe."

* Kaius Alexander walks up to the door and feels the chain. His armour hisses and clanks.

The chain is extremely rusty.  Parts of it flake away in your gauntleted hands.

* Kaius Alexander pulls it apart.

The door creaks open a little, its hinges shrieking.

Kaius Alexander - These geists. Do you have any experience with such creatures, Yerroch?

"Not much - we fought them out in the wastes, sometimes.  Imbecilic creatures: they don't fight like you or me, or even fetch.  They won't stop trying to infect you till they're dead."

* Kaius Alexander grunts.

* Kaius Alexander steps inside. His footsteps ring from the walls.

Through the doors is a once-resplendent anteroom with a central spiral staircase of rusting metal disappearing into the ceiling and descending into the floor.  Old blood-stains and scorch-marks mar the flagstones, tapestries rot on the walls, and the stubs of candles gather dust on candelabras.  The windows have all been boarded up.  From upstairs you can hear the echo of rasping voices.  There are some charred bones scattered about the chamber as well.

* Kaius Alexander surveys the room.

Kaius Alexander - We should proceed beneath. We do not want to be surprised by what may lurk below.

Yerroch gestures and speaks a hissing syllable.  His skin glistens and erupt with snake-scales; his eyes become slitted and reptilian.

"Good idea."

* Kaius Alexander draws his blade and descends the staircase.  Part way down he lights his lantern.

The staircase terminates in a vaulted anteroom whose ceiling is shrouded in cobwebs.  Three arched doorways lead away.

* Kaius Alexander pauses to listen.

You don't hear anything other than the scuttling of rats.

Kaius Alexander - Yerroch. Do you hear anything?

"I think there's something down that passage."

The witch points to the right-hand corridor.

Kaius Alexander - And what do you think it is?

"Dunno.  Sounds like a voice - maybe one of the geists."

Kaius Alexander - Perhaps. Let us see what there is to see.

The witch looks frightened.  His yellow eyes dart to and fro.

Kaius Alexander - Do not falter in your duties, Yerroch. We will be fine.  

"Yeah, yeah.  I'm with you, damn it."

* Kaius Alexander strides down the rightmost passage.

A gaunt, bedraggled figure floats a few inches off the ground here.  Resembling an emaciated corpse garbed in decomposing rags, the grave-spawn constantly mutters and babbles to itself in eerie sing-song.  Its eyes are worm-eaten pits, and a huge gout of crusted blood spills down its front from its ruinous mouth.  

The room seems to have been a large workshop.  Half-finished projects have rotted away on the slab-like tables: chimera spliced together out of different body parts and tattooed with glyphs, now reduced to desiccated mummies and malformed skeletons, inked, preserved flesh fragile as paper.  Various arcane equipment, much of it still intact, adorns the stone shelves of this room: organs preserved in pickling jars, esoteric machines, bones carved with glyphs, scroll tubes, and similar miscellanea.

The gibbergeist turns and drifts towards you, its horribly jinx an unceasing litany of madness and mutancy.

* Kaius Alexander charges at the creature, leaping over a slab-table.

Yerroch whips out the scroll you brought along and quickly invokes the sigils upon it.  An eldritch silence fills the chamber, silencing the grave-spawn.  The scroll sizzles with arcane energy and the marks on it vanish.

The geist floats mindlessly towards you, clawing at your face and chest.  Its claws scrabble at your visor, somehow flipping it open and raking across your face!

* Kaius Alexander stumbles backwards, tripping over one of the skeletons and falling in a cloud of bonedust.  He slams his visor shut.

The geist leaps atop you with grisly glee.

* Kaius Alexander wears a nonplussed expression underneath his visor.

Yerroch yells silently and fires his crossbow.  The quarrel strikes the geist in the forehead.  It ignores the attack completely and continues to maul you, but fortunately your armour deters it.

* Kaius Alexander throws the geist off and lumbers to his feet.  He grabs up his sword '“ fallen to one side '“ and thrusts, impaling the grave-spawn through its stomach.

A great burst of corpse-gas and fluid gushes from its torso.  The creature staggers but remains floating.

Yerroch takes aim again...

* Kaius Alexander exhales in frustration, silently.

A second bolt strikes the grave-spawn, this time in the upper chest.  It flails madly, trying to strike you, but you dodge aside.

* Kaius Alexander hacks at the creature with unbridled brutality.

With a final strike you cut off the horror's head.  It does not bleed - its heart ceased to pump long ago.  For a moment the head continues to soundlessly gibber, then it falls still.  The geist's body collapses, smashing some of the equipment in the workshop in a silent explosion of glass and dust.

* Kaius Alexander spits through the gap in his visor onto the corpse of the geist.

Yerroch makes a gesture and the silence dissipates.  "Well, that wasn't too bad."

Kaius Alexander - I suspect there is nothing in this tower with the power to stop me.  As I said, we will be fine.

* Kaius Alexander looks over the workshop.

Kaius Alexander - This will do. I think.

You cannot make heads or tails of most of the equipment.  You find several scrolls preserved in leather cases, and some bits and pieces intelligible only to one skilled in witchcraft.

"Hopefully any more we encounter will be solitary, like this one."

* Kaius Alexander nods to himself

Kaius Alexander - Yerroch. What do you make of these?

* Kaius Alexander gestures to the scrolls.

Yerroch investigates the various scroll-tubes.  "Looks like a fleshcrafter's workshop to me.  These scrolls would be used to animate dead flesh.  I could raise the geist's corpse to create a primitive servitor, if you want."

* Kaius Alexander lowers his head for a moment.

Kaius Alexander - Yes, let us do that.

The witch nods and stoops, inscribing several crude glyphs on the dead flesh of the geist with his punching dagger.  He speaks a word of power from one of the scrolls and the sigils on it vanish as the spell is invoked.  The headless corpse twitches to un-life once more.

"Good cannon fodder, anyway."

* Kaius Alexander observes the proceedings silently. The ghost of a smirk passes over his face as the corpse rises.

Kaius Alexander - Let us hope it is of use. Come, this miscellany can be catalogued at a later date. We have yet more work.

Yerroch nods.

* Kaius Alexander pauses to listen again at the junction.

You don't hear anything else down here.

Kaius Alexander - Let us be thorough. This will take only a few more moments.

* Kaius Alexander proceeds down the central passage.

The passage ends with a heavy iron door engraved with wards.

* Kaius Alexander turns to look back at Yerroch

"We'll need a key.  These are beyond my craft to dispel.  Good news is, there probably aren't any geists in there."

Kaius Alexander - An edifice of some effort... most like worth investigating. Someday.

* Kaius Alexander proceeds back to the junction and strides down the left passage.

A short passage ends in a cave-in here.

Kaius Alexander - The basement has been scoured, then. Upwards.

* Kaius Alexander ascends to the second floor.

Bookshelves, some of them overturned, line the walls of this room, their contents strewn across the floor.  Some look to be grimoires, others almanacs and gazetteers, still others books of anatomy and medicine: whoever owned this tower previously clearly had a scholarly bent.  As with the other windows in the tower, the windows here have been boarded up.

* Kaius Alexander looks around for anything of interest.

Many of the books are in a language you do not understand.  All are highly fragile.  There aren't any objects of practical use here.

* Kaius Alexander raises his visor and scowls at the pages.

Kaius Alexander - Upwards.

You hear voices from the next room.

* Kaius Alexander looks to Yerroch.

"More geists, I think.  Shall I send our macabre friend up first?"  Yerroch jerks a thub towards the headless servitor shambling behind them.

Kaius Alexander - Can you glean any information from him remotely?

"Not a jot.  But he might serve as a distraction."

* Kaius Alexander pauses.

Kaius Alexander - Then send him up.

Yerroch nods and orders the zombic thing upstairs with a Hextongue command.  The decpitated servitor shuffles up the stairs.  There is a rasping sound, and scuffling noises.

Kaius Alexander - Wax, Yerroch.

* Yerroch applies the wax into his ears.

* Kaius Alexander does the same.

* Kaius Alexander proceeds up the stairs.

Two more of the foul gibbergeists loiter in this room, which contains a few old pieces of furniture, mostly cabinets and mouldering leather chairs.  Both creatures are grappling with the decapitated grave-spawn Yerroch raised from the dead.  The geists rip at the servitor's necrotic flesh.

Yerroch invokes a spell, and eldritch serpents fly from his fingertips.  One of the geists staggers as they writhe about it.

* Kaius Alexander raises his right arm. There is a metallic clank as a panel rapidly flies open. A noxious scent fills the air. Click. A roaring gout of flame flies towards the geists as they grapple with the servitor.

The geists are set aflame, as is the servitor.  They stumble about and twitch, setting the furniture alight.

* Kaius Alexander grins beneath his visor as the geists crackle and spit .

The geists finish off the servitor, which collapses in a flaming heap.  Yerroch uses the same hex again, and the same serpents fly from his fingertips and into the warped body of the nearest gibbergeist.  The grave-spawn explodes violently, splattering the walls with charred bits and pieces.

* Kaius Alexander hurls aside a flaming chair and hacks at the remaining fire-blackened geist, carving it up as he would a roast fowl.

Impossibly, the monstrosity still clings to un-life, continuing to chant its infectious curse.  Yerroch is beginning to mouth seemingly random words.  He stands idly, staring at the geist, his eyes glazing over.
The surviving gibbergeist rakes at your helmet, but your visor protects you.

* Kaius Alexander dispatches the grave-spawn with a disdainful swipe of his blade.

Yerroch ceases his mad gibbering.

* Kaius Alexander turns quickly.

The witch shakes his head.

Kaius Alexander - Are you alright, Yerroch?

"Fine, now that that horror's properly dead."

Smoke is beginning to fill the room.  The bodies and some of the furniture is still on fire.  Yerroch moves to one of the windows and begins breaking the boards that cover it.

* Kaius Alexander beats at the flaming couch with the blanket from his kit.

After some time you put out the flames, and the smoke dissipates through the window.

Kaius Alexander - Smooth enough. So far. Upwards.

A '˜mundane' corpse - not a geist at all - lies in a pool of dried blood to one side of this chamber.  Totally decomposed, the cadaver's skull is pierced with a single hole, and a wheellock pistol lies near one of its skeletal hands.

This room seems to have been a study, or office of some variety, judging by the prominent writing desk, lamp, and grandfather clock (in sore need of re-winding).  Lying on the desk is a small silver key and a silver manacle connected to a chain, in turn connected to a metal hoop or collar.  There's one floor above you.

Kaius Alexander - What do you make of these items, Yerroch?

* Kaius Alexander indicates the desk.

"The manacles?  Sort of thing you might use to chain a familiar, I suppose.  Magisters of Skein use some such"

Kaius Alexander - Interesting.  The key, perhaps for the sealed door in the basement.

"The key might be to the manacles."

Kaius Alexander - Ah. Right. A key for such a door would not be stored so casually. Even in death.

* Kaius Alexander goes through the desk drawers.

Mostly you find masses of indecipherable arcane notes.  You also find a weighty tome of some kind.

* Kaius Alexander leafs through it.

It seems to be a manual for the construction of complex servitors.

Kaius Alexander - The work of cataloguing the contents of this spire will take me some time, I see.  Perhaps I shall call on the assistance of Tarim. He may be interested in some of these scribblings.

* Kaius Alexander rolls his shoulders.

"That patchy bloke you travel with might like a peak as well."

Kaius Alexander - He might.  We still have more work.

* Kaius Alexander picks up the wheellock pistol.

* Kaius Alexander shrugs and places it on the desk.

Kaius Alexander - And yet again, upwards.

* Kaius Alexander starts up the stairs.

The final floor comprises a bedchamber.  Unlike the floors below this room seems to be mostly intact, with rich furnishings - a bed, chest of drawers, and beside table, as well as a telescope by the window.

* Kaius Alexander looks around .

Kaius Alexander - Suitable.

You find a large iron key in the bedside table drawer.

* Kaius Alexander tosses the key and catches it.

The chest of drawers is full of old finery, still fragile and somewhat rotten but relatively well-preserved compared to some of the other objects in the tower.

* Kaius Alexander wanders over to the window.

"Looks like we got all the geists."

Kaius Alexander - It seems so. You have done well, Yerroch.

* Kaius Alexander looks through the telescope.

It is pointed up towards the sky, towards the demon star, Algol.

"Mind if I bugger off then?' Yerroch interjects.  'Or do you still need my services?"

Kaius Alexander - I do not require more of you at this time, but may call on you again, if you are amenable to such an arrangement.

* Kaius Alexander tosses him another five obeloi

"I'll be at the Circus, most likely.  Thanks for the tip."  Yerroch heads down the stairs and out of the tower.

* Kaius Alexander nods.

* Kaius Alexander presses a button on the inside of his gauntlet. A metallic pyramidal shape detaches from his back and hits the ground with a clank. Eight spindly legs unfold from well concealed panels.

Kaius Alexander - Go. Clean the mess on the floor below.

The construct chirps and scuttles away.

* Kaius Alexander tosses the key in his hand again and looks at it idly.

Kaius Alexander - ...Perhaps a quick look.

* Kaius Alexander proceeds down the stairs and to the basement.

You stand before the glyph-graven door.

* Kaius Alexander looks down at the key in his hand. He hesitates momentarily, but then twists it in the lock.  He pushes open the door.

Mystic sigils are engraved in the floor of this room.  Standing at the center of their eldritch concatenations is a tall, slender creature.  Naked and sexless, the being's skin is translucent, revealing a variety of strange, inhuman organs and muscles beneath its flesh.  A pair of curving ram's horns erupt from its scalp, its mouth is filled with long, needle-sharp teeth, and its nails are delicate talons several inches in length.  In place of hair, a mass of gently writhing tendrils bursts from behind its head, flowing down around its sinewy body.

"Hello there," the entity greets you.

* Kaius Alexander raises his visor.

It regards you inscrutably.

Kaius Alexander - I am Kaius Alexander. I have taken possession of this spire.

"I see.  You may call me Pellucid - my actual name is rather long, and unpronounceable to humans.  I was, at one time, the minion and familiar of Magister Orlando Petrifax - perhaps his name is still remembered in the city above?"

Kaius Alexander - I cannot say I am familiar with that name. Though perhaps I have heard it.

"Do the Watchdogs still guard the gates of the city?"

Kaius Alexander - They do. Yes.

"He created them."

Kaius Alexander - He must have possessed great power then.

"Considerable power, yes.  Enough to bind me to his will, as you can see - even after all this time.  I honestly cannot say how long I have been down here.  I'm trapped in the summoning circle: my master was unable to release me before geists overran the tower.  They came from the Catacombs - there's a connection through the basement of the tower, perhaps collapsed or otherwise sealed by now, judging from the sounds I heard outside."

Kaius Alexander - What are the circumstances of your binding?

"I have resided on this sad excuse for a reality since the Membrane Wars, if that means anything to you.  For centuries I wandered the world, watching it decay, until Petrifax found me and bewitched me with a word of power.  Since then I have been his slave: a condition I gradually became accustomed to."

Kaius Alexander - Unfortunate.

"As to my master's downfall, I can only speculate as to what happened, but based on the sounds I heard above, my master slew a great number of the grave-spawn.  Presumably he simply ran out of hexes after a time, or succumbed to the geists' incessant, maniacal gibbering; if he'd fought them off successfully I wouldn't have been forsaken so."

Kaius Alexander - In the chambers above there is a body. Long decayed. Dead of a single gunshot wound.

"Possibly he killed himself upon realizing that the transformation had begun."

Kaius Alexander - I would imagine that likely.

"So.  I suppose you are my new master, Kaius Alexander... Or will you release me from servitude?"  The thing regards its long, razor-sharp nails idly.

Kaius Alexander - I am not sure. Tell me, were I to release you, what would you do?

Pellucid cocks its head.  "I am not entirely sure.  Search for a way back to my home, I suppose; or else return to simple vagabondage.  Perhaps this world has grown more interesting since I last roamed its surface."  It chuckles.  "Though I rather doubt it."

Kaius Alexander - You are probably correct, though I do not have the depth of experience that you do. I could not say.

"From where do you hail?  Are you a native of this city?"

Kaius Alexander - No. This city is not my home, though perhaps it will be.  I am from the north. The Sleepwalkers City.

"Ah.  In my day the Lords and Ladies Revenant held sway there."

Kaius Alexander - And to this day, they do.

"Does the empire of the wormfolk remain as well?"

Kaius Alexander - It is long buried. Few cestoids now remain.

"Good riddance: a vile people.  Unseemly in form and in mind, in the likeness of their '˜god,' as they referred to it."

Kaius Alexander - So long as their numbers do not increase, I am not concerned.  Pellucid. Tell me this. Were I to take you into my service, what force would compel you to remain as such? I suspect that you possess a considerable power of your own.

"Indeed.  I take it you are not a magister yourself?"

Kaius Alexander - I command no mageries. No words of power.

The demon licks its lips with a long, purple tongue.

Kaius Alexander - But, as such, I do not know that I am capable of releasing you from what fetters you, either.

"A simple incantation will deactivate the circle.  Since I am bound I cannot speak the words: but you will find them amongst my master's formulae, I am sure.  As to my continued servitude, I can only supply my oath."

Kaius Alexander - Do you desire to be free, Pellucid?

"I would be grotesquely dishonest to claim that I didn't; but I would consent to servitude if it meant I could leave this circle."

* Kaius Alexander exhales slowly.

Kaius Alexander - I must think on this, Pellucid. Regardless, I do not currently possess any words to change your situation.

"If you must leave me here awhile longer, may I at least request something to read?  The long ages have been tedious beyond comprehension."

Kaius Alexander - That is a favour I can grant to you. What is your interest?

"Frankly almost anything would do: perhaps one of my former master's texts, if they have survived."

Kaius Alexander - Perhaps. I will see what I can do and return shortly.

* Kaius Alexander backs out and, closes and locks the door, and proceeds to the library.

The books here are so old that they are disintegrating.  They flake apart at the slightest touch.

* Kaius Alexander raises his visor and narrows his eyes.

* Kaius Alexander goes upstairs to retrieve the tome of fleshcraft.

You get the book out.  It's far better preserved than the mouldering grimoires in the remains of the library.

Kaius Alexander - This will have to do.

* Kaius Alexander returns to the warded chamber.

Pellucid greets you with a toothy smile.

Kaius Alexander - This text will have to serve.

* Kaius Alexander slides it across the floor to Pellucid.

The demoniac familiar picks up the text and begins to leaf through it.

Kaius Alexander - Satisfactory?

"This will suffice.  You have my thanks, Kaius Alexander."

* Kaius Alexander inclines his head slightly.

Kaius Alexander - I will return within the next three days. After I have given proper consideration to your situation and gained the necessary knowledge to alter it.

"Prudent of you.  I eagerly await your return."

* Kaius Alexander backs out again, and closes and looks the door.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on March 08, 2011, 02:09:41 PM

Out of Character

Dramatis Personae and Quest Log updated.


Things are much the same in the Maggot City.  The marketplaces bustle with the trade of exotic flesh, of tattooed slaves, of relics from a thousand derelict cultures.  Pestilence has broken out in Resurrection Row, and the Militia has quarantined whole blocks of the slums, but the outbreak has had little effect on the rest of Macellaria.  The jatayi have moved northwards, much to the gratification of Sebastian Defoin, proprietor of the Hollow Skull Playhouse in Pulsetown.  Rumours of a mysterious individual moving into the long-forsaken Tower of Moans are swapped in the taverns and ghul-bars; the doors of the Tower are no longer chained shut, and a light has be glimpsed between the boards that cover the windows.  Others gossip of a shadowy creature half-glimpsed at night from the city walls, a prowling thing of great size and unknown origin and intention.  The Watchdogs have begun howling during the sunless hours, disturbing the city's sleep.

Otherwise, the routines of Macellaria continue as usual.  The Robber Guilds continue their endless bickering over scavenging rights, while the Thief Clans scrap over turf within the city itself.  The annual carnival known as the Reaper's Feast approaches fast: a grand celebration of obscure origin, in which the grave-spawn residents of the city take to the streets in uncharacteristically jubilant revelry while the quick inhabitants stay indoors, burning black candles in their windows and leaving offerings of animal flesh and blood (sometimes their own) in bowls on their doorsteps for public consumption, lest they offend Death itself and so be marked for his harvest.  Games in the Fighting Pits and other minor events precede the festival, which is now but a few weeks away.


Tarim, after hours of study, research, and active experimentation, you have discovered the function of several arcane artefacts procured over the course of the party's adventures.

The ornate, warded bracers Yerroch wore '“ which have the appearance of intertwined serpents with emerald-inlaid eyes copulating and devouring one another '“ have two spells woven into them.  The first endows the wearer with protection, giving their flesh the toughness and resilience of snake-scales.  The second exerts a powerful affect on nearby snakes, making the wearer attractive to serpents.

The bone flute is a powerful object infused with necromantic puissance.  In the hands of a capable player the flute can reanimate the bones of the dead, which can then be directed by the musician.  The flute has no effect on fleshly bodies, however '“ skin and muscle, even when decayed, blocks the effect.  If the player ceases his tune, the skeletons created immediately revert to lifeless bones.

The black gemstone is an extremely well-made talisman that can be used to imprison and compel demons.  The gem currently has three 'inmates': a trio of unpleasant, bickering imps that refer to themselves Gallflower, Seepstone, and Cankertongue.  The jewel could be used to trap and compel other demons, though there is a limit on the number of beings the gem can hold (dependent on the power of the trapped spirits).

The cestoid globule is especially strange.  It contains a fully proportionate cestoid that has been miniaturized via arcane means and then placed in stasis.  If the orb were shattered the stasis spell would resolve, but the miniaturization would not.


Kaius, you're in the midst of cleaning up your newly acquired tower when you hear a knock at the door.

* Kaius Alexander pauses.

Kaius Alexander - Curious.

* Kaius Alexander checks the rounds in his revolver, then proceeds to the door.

A wiry man with a badly scarred face stands at the door, garbed in nondescript black robes; a glyph-covered dwarf servitor stands behind him, holding a small, wooden chest.  It takes you a moment to place the living man, but eventually you recognize him as the bedraggled man you saved from the waxborn back in the Fighting Pits.

"Kaius Alexander, is it?"

Kaius Alexander - It is. You are the man I encountered in the Pulsetown Pits.

"Yes.  I owe you my life.  My name is Raakhir: I was thrown into the Pits due to a petty misunderstanding with one of the Robber Guilds.  I have not come, however, to discuss my past, but to thank you properly.  My employer, a woman of considerable means, wishes to express her gratitude for my safe return."

The diminutive corpse-thing beside Raakhir holds out the chest, which rattles with bone obeloi.

"She would also like to offer you and your companions an opportunity that may lead to far richer rewards: word has reached her of your little band's exploits, and she is considerably impressed.  If you and your comrades-in-arms would be interested in employment, come to her home in Sarcous Square, on the border of Velveteen Circus and Hexwarren, just off Graze Street - the building of dark stone, on the west side of the Square.  Introduce yourself to the major domo and he will admit you.  I advise you to come tomorrow night: my mistress keeps late hours, and often sleeps during the day."

Kaius Alexander - I appreciate this reciprocation. And I am always seeking new... business opportunities.  We will be there.

"Excellent.  Good day to you, sir, and thank you again."  The man bows deeply and departs.

* Kaius Alexander inclines his head, and closes and locks his door.

Meanwhile, in the Hexwarren, Mr. Carver examines grafts in Needlefingers' tissue-shop...

You are in the Emporium of Metamorphoses.  As you peruse Needlefingers' selection of pickled body-parts and whip-stitched oddities, the effete fleshcrafter minces towards you, his teeth glistening in a gruesome, if sincere, smile.
"Back again I see, Mr. Carver," the witch unctuously coos, stating the obvious.  "It seems that every time I see you I have a new favour to ask, but seeing as you've been so helpful in the past, I wonder if I might trouble you with another small request - there'd be a gratis graft in it for you, of course."

Mr. Carver - Let's hear it then.

"As you may be aware, many of the raw materials for my Art are gleaned from fleshtree groves in the area south of the city.  The Treeherds have reported a disturbing disruption to their usual harvest, however.  Goreflies, whose depredations are usually confined to regions further to the south, have appeared in great numbers; the vampiric insects have been draining whole copses dry.  For some reason the usual migration patterns of the sand-rays have changed: something is driving them further north and west than they usually tarry, up out of the Firesong Marches and into the vicinity of Macellaria.

'The Treeherds need hired swords to ward off the gorefly swarms while they move their groves out of the sand-rays' path.  Right now they have herded their fleshtrees into the Gash Arroyo, but fear to move the grove from this haven into open country.  If they don't move them soon, however, the autumn rains may flood the Gash and kill the fleshtrees anyway.  In short, they require an escort.  Any trusty cleavers you happen to know of would also be compensated by the Treeherds if they wished to assist, of course.  If you can, head to the Gash at dawn tomorrow.  Goreflies sleep inside their hosts during the day, so the Treeherds will want to move the grove while the sun's up as much as possible."

Mr. Carver - Very kind of you to present me with this opportunity; we'll look into it.

"Thank you, Mr. Carver!'

* Mr. Carver leaves the tissue-shop and goes in search of his old comrades, beginning by searching the taverns and ghul-bars in Hexwarren.

* Mr. Carver walks briskly through Macellaria to the Blood of Saints.

The tavern glistens with gilt.  The demoniac barkeeper '“ fettered to the rune-carved bar itself '“ winks at Mr. Carver as he enters.

* Tarim is already in the tavern, biding his time seated in a side-booth, with a glass of blood-wine in his clawed hand.  He has arranged to meet Kaius Alexander here to discuss some matter the former Insomnolent Guard seemed concerned about.

* Mr. Carver moves up to his booth and sits down opposite him.

Tarim - Ah, good to see you Carver.

* Mr. Carver holds up a hand and shakes his head solemnly when the waiter asks if he desires a refreshment.

Mr. Carver - Good to see you too.  Haven't seen you since Defoin's play have I?

Tarim - Indeed. I've been busy at work.  I have news for you, regarding the items of yours I've been studying.  Though it took quite a bit of cross-referencing of obscure sources, I've managed to uncover much about these artefacts.

Mr. Carver '“ Oh, I would be most interested to hear what you discovered '“ although my own humble inquiries and inquisitive experiments did result in the uncovering of some minor details concerning their function.  But please go on; my interest remains piqued.

Tarim - The flute , as you already know, reanimates the dead.  This is not the most typical necromantic spell though, for it cannot cope with the burden of rotting flesh

Mr. Carver - But what else?  Does it command them?  Do we need to hire an expert flutist? And what about the recently deceased?

Tarim - Only clean bones can be made to obey the flute.  If you removed the flesh from a recent corpse, then the flute should work.

Mr. Carver - Reasonable, do carry on.

Tarim - The flute does require some skill on the part of the player, though knowledge of hexcraft is not necessary, though it might augment the bewitchment.

Mr. Carver - Sadly, I don't know a single artist I would entrust with a skeleton army. An untrustworthy bunch, they are.  What about control?  Do they just prance about?

Tarim - The cadavers will only remain animated as long as the flute is played.  They can be controlled, with the necessary musical skill.

Mr. Carver - Hm, how so?

Tarim - I have not given it a try myself, seeing as I am no flutist.

Mr. Carver - Maybe we should let our dear friend Wispy try again.  Now, next item on the list

Tarim - Yes, the black gem.

* Wispy stumbles into the bar, brushing past a pallid Ghul. Wispy's face is white and desiccated-looking.  His flesh appears to be peeling off.

Mr. Carver - Ah, speaking of the devil.

* Mr. Carver waves Wispy over to the booth.

* Wispy jaunts over to Carver and covers his mouth with his hand.

Wispy (whispering) '“ Hey Carver... how's my disguise?

Mr. Carver - Your... disguise?

* Wispy glares.

Wispy - What, don't I look dead enough for you?

Mr. Carver - You look thirsty, but I can't think what good that disguise would do you.

Wispy - Ah, but you forget!  The best night of the year is almost upon us!

Mr. Carver - Ah, now I see.

Wispy - Free food will be distributed throughout Macellaria! For those who are in the area!

Mr. Carver - Well, you can always escape to a roof if the others figure it out and decide you are a snack and not a spectator.

Tarim (ignoring Wispy) - The gem is for containing and compelling demons. It currently holds three of them, though they are rather weak little pests.  The jewel is most useful if you ever must bargain with the devil-kin.

Mr. Carver - Ah, I wonder if Lamia was merely a little pest too? Or if the warlock thought to take his deviltry to the next level...

Tarim - As for the globule, it merely seems to contain a shrunk cestoid in a stasis.  You could free the cestoid by breaking the globule, but it would remain in it's abnormally small size

Mr. Carver - Nothing our little staff couldn't solve. How would it be inclined toward us?

Tarim - Impossible to say

Mr. Carver - No handy little enchantments woven into it? I'm not sure I want to release a murderous worm monster who might consider us its captors rather than its saviours.

Tarim - That would indeed be rather risky.

Mr. Carver - Could the gem do anything useful?

Tarim - The gem can compel the demonic, as I said.  And also to trap them within itself.

Mr. Carver - How so?  If we meet one and wave the gem at it we can compel it to hold the door for us? Or will it simply be sucked into the gem?

Tarim - It requires the use of the hex that binds demons. One I do not possess, I might add. A most useful item for demonologists and the like.

Mr. Carver - I don't rightly understand it.  Of course, it is witchcraft, so I'm sure I'm not expected to... So basically it is useless to us?

Tarim - Not necessarily. I would not sell it if not a for a good price, myself.

Mr. Carver - The globule could of course always work wonders as a distraction.

* Kaius Alexander steps through the door. His armour hisses, clanks, and ticks. He lifts his visor to scan the room; his face seems even paler than usual.

* Kaius Alexander spies Tarim and the others, and seats himself with the group.

Kaius Alexander - Tarim. I did not know the others would be here.

Tarim - Ah, greetings Kaius.  I did not invite them, but chanced to meet them.  I hope this is alright with you?

Kaius Alexander - I see. Unanticipated, but perhaps serendipitous.

Mr. Carver - Our lost friend from the Sleepwalkers' City! How has Macellaria been treating you since last?

Kaius Alexander - The city is as ever. Hot, loud, and rife with a thousand unpleasant smells.

Mr. Carver - That does sound like my home.  I have heard my little rats whisper that you've acquired a humble abode for yourself?

Kaius Alexander - I have obtained some property in the intervening time, yes. That is why I have come to meet with Tarim.

Mr. Carver - And new armour too?

Kaius Alexander - Yes. It serves its purpose.

Mr. Carver - Mechanical and cold. Suits you.

* Mr. Carver smirks at his joke.

Tarim - Makes you even more willing to throw yourself in harm's way?

* Tarim chuckles, and sips some wine.

* Kaius Alexander raises an eyebrow.

Wispy - You did not know the others would be here? You're ill-informed, no?

* Kaius Alexander looks at Wispy but says nothing.

Wispy - And get with the contractions... don't instead of do not; I've instead of I have.  Welcome welcome though.

* Wispy bows.

* Kaius Alexander 's face twitches momentarily.

Mr. Carver - Yes, I apologize for the spree of insults. It's the Macellarian way I'm afraid.  You'll get used to it now you're a resident.

Tarim - Oh, and Carver, regarding the demons already bound within the gem. They can be compelled without the need for external hexes. Quite useful.

Kaius Alexander - As to why I have requested your presence here, Tarim. I have encountered certain mystical oddities within my property.  I would appreciate your consultation in such matters. Within the next two days.

Tarim - I trust these... oddities are of a kind where my knowledge could be useful?

Kaius Alexander - It will not be onerous. It is academic. Merely your assistance with the cataloguing of some scrolls of the previous owner.

* Tarim nods.

Mr. Carver - I also came looking for all of you with a job proposition

Kaius Alexander - Is that so, Mr. Carver?

Tarim - What sort of a job have caught your interest?

Mr. Carver - My associate Mr. Needlefingers has instructed me that a group of Treeherds have been beset by a plague of pests and mysterious migration patterns.  They want us to check it out.

Kaius Alexander - As long as there is suitable compensation, I do not object.

Mr. Carver - If we want the job we should make for the Gash Arroyo at dawn tomorrow.

Tarim - Hm, Needlefingers. Figures he might throw us a discount if we can be of help for his business.

Kaius Alexander - In a similar vein, another opportunity has presented itself to me. Assuming we finish this... shepherding... in a timely fashion, meet me in Sarcous Square tomorrow evening.

Mr. Carver - I was told the Treeherds would compensate us. They make a good living from their grotesque herds and right now the entire harvest is in danger as I understand it.

Tarim - And where are these Treeherds as of now?  Close to the city?

Mr. Carver - Gash Arroyo.  I know every alley in the city, but I would be hard-pressed to give you a more accurate description of their location.  Maybe we can find a guide somewhere near, or a map.  I'm sure the compensation will cover any expenditures.

Tarim - Well, we'll see

Kaius Alexander - I will leave such preparations to you, Mr. Carver. I will meet you at the gate an hour before dawn.  

* Kaius Alexander pushes back his chair and stands up.

Mr. Carver - I'll see you then.  What business have you, yourself?

Kaius Alexander - All you need know is that a great deal of obeloi is involved.  I trust that is enough.

* Kaius Alexander inclines his head to the group, lowers his visor, and leaves.

Wispy - Mysterious migration patterns; of pests or of the lesser-minded avians?

Mr. Carver - Larger. Sandrays and their miniscule companions.

Wispy - Ah! The shaik-toruch and goreflies.

Mr. Carver - You know much of them?

Wispy - When I traveled south to Macellaria I ran into a herd.

Mr. Carver - I must admit I know more of men and their ilk than monsters.  Dangerous are they?

Wispy - They're night beasts and generally fine during the day.

Mr. Carver - But at night?

Wispy - Night's a fright.

* Wispy winks.

Tarim - Good thing that we're to meet up just before dawn, then. Even though I do dislike the sunlight.

Wispy - Yeah, the sunlight's probably gonna melt my ghul-makeup too.

Mr. Carver - I'm sure a parasol will suit you nicely.

Wispy - Ooh, good idea. I'll get one too! We can be matching!

* Tarim shakes his head and downs the rest of his wine.

Tarim - I will meet you at the Eel's Gate, as agreed. Until then.

Mr. Carver - Until then, Tarim.

* Tarim gets up and leaves.

* Mr. Carver gets up as well.

* Mr. Carver puts on his coat and walks out the door.

* Mr. Carver calls over his shoulder.

Mr. Carver - Wispy! Come with me. We are going to the gate.

Wispy - Okay Carver, but lets get a parasol first!

Mr. Carver, as you leave you see a large, six-legged, chitin-plated beast lying outside the bar and gnawing on a bone.  It seems to ignore passersby and does not appear especially dangerous, but it is a strange sight to see...

* Mr. Carver raises an eyebrow.

* Mr. Carver circles the strange creature, eying it with his round, bulbous eyes.

Wispy you find a local who gives you directions to the Gash - it's about an hour and a half south and west of the city, just off the Weeping Way.

* Wispy walks over to pet the creature.

* Mr. Carver restrains Wispy.

Mr. Carver - Any idea what it is?

Wispy - C'mon Carver, Oneiroi, let's go to the Gash.

* Wispy whistles and walks off in the direction of the Gash.

Mr. Carver - Oneiroi?

Wispy - Yeah, "Oney." You haven't met? Oney, Carver, Carver, Oney.

* Kaius Alexander returns home, retrieves his automaton, feeds and prepares Conveyance, and having slept earlier in the day, settles in to wait for the appointed time.

Mr. Carver - know the creature?

Wispy - That's a little obscene, Carver.  I am "acquainted" with Oney. I do not "know" him in that sense.

* Wispy puffs up his chest.

Wispy - Just because you don't know about Jatayi culture... really now.

* Wispy shakes head.

Mr. Carver '“ Yes yes, make your jokes birdman, but how did you get "acquainted" with this thing?!

Wispy - Oh, Oney and I met in Hell.

Mr. Carver - Hell?  And he just took a liking to you?

Wispy - He tried to eat me and I told him about how I'm a great and powerful servant of a demon and he started following me... or was it that I was a great and powerful servant of a mage and that I eat demons when I rage... I can't really recall; all I know is it involved a fall.

Mr. Carver - That, Wispy, might be the single best first impression you have ever made.

* Wispy shrugs

Wispy - I'm good with beasts.

Mr. Carver - So I can see.

Wispy - So, then onwards we shall go? If you see any parasols, umbrellas, visors, brolleys, rainshades, sunshades, gamps or bumbershoots, you tell me.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on March 08, 2011, 02:40:02 PM


Meanwhile, the scavenger Eareg Maar slips away from the City of Bodysnatchers, heading south to the Firesong Marches...

You have departed the city of Macellaria once again, having agreed to retrieve a relic of the Poxbringers from Chymalea, the City of Creeping Flesh.  The air of the waste, though heavy with dust and the radiation of ancient weapons, rejuvenates you; the scarified sky, pregnant with storm-clouds, rumbles as if welcoming you home.

Without a party of companions to slow you down you make good time heading south along the Weeping Way, a centuries-old highway winding through scabrous scrub and patchy, tepid marsh-land, a muddy slough where small hagman settlements wallow half in, half out of stagnant pools and gaunt fishermen pull wicker cages from the muck, hoping for lampreys or crayfish.  You cross the Tendril first - a sluggish trickle of a river, little more than a moist smear across the otherwise arid landscape - and then the Gland, further to the south.  Such are your skills that you evade the predators that roam these semi-settled lands with ease.  Any bandits hiding along the roadsides do not show themselves, doubtless discouraged by the heavy rifle slung across your back and the cold fire in your eyes.

Firesong Marches will provide no such reprieve from danger: the vicious southern desert is a place without mercy, where only the strongest survive.  The shifting dunes lay before you, seemingly endless, a sea of sand and stinging wind.  Scavengers don't come here often, preferring to trawl the ruins of Dour Erg and other regions, for the Marches quickly swallow buildings and other remnants of civilizations: the capricious and all-consuming sands yield their buried treasures but rarely.

The map you took from Cräen shows the approximate location of the City of Creeping Flesh, but between you and your destination is a trackless wilderness infested with sand-rays, distrustful nomads, and nameless malevolencies.  You must also contend with the elements, for there is little water and less food to be had here, and the gaze of the red sun scorches all it touches.

This is not going to be easy...

* Eareg Maar shields his eyes from the blowing sand as he examines the map.

The map shows that you need to head deep into the waste to the southeast.

* Eareg Maar continues on towards the southeast, though he examines the map for anything pointing at water along the way.

The map shows a few scattered oases, but these are few and far between.

* Eareg Maar bites on the tip of his pipe thoughtfully as he rides on making for the nearest water hole near his path.

The night is bright, with a gibbous moon.  A huge beast appears at the top of a distant dune somewhat to the north of you - a giant tortoise the size of a small house, a ramshackle howdah balanced precariously atop it.  The creature's shell glints in the moonlight.  Heading to the tortoise will divert you somewhat from the nearest oasis, but not substantially.

* Eareg Maar 's curiosity piqued he cautiously heads towards the tortoise to get a better look.

Eareg Maar - Wonder who else would be out here in these forsaken wastes...

 As the enormous tortoise draws closer you see that several foxfolk mounted on ornery-looking ostriches keep pace with the creature.  The tortoise's shell is painted and etched with a thousand crude glyphs; charms and fetishes are draped across its bony bulk, as well as strings of beads and jewels.  Hand-holds are carved into its shell, allowing access to the howdah, itself ornately decorated, swathed in vividly patterned silk curtains.

* Eareg Maar - having gotten a better view - decides that there's nothing of much interest and turns openly and casually back towards his path to the next oasis.

You hear a yapping noise; the zerda riders seem to have spotted you and sprint towards you on their ostriches.  They wield shortbows with bone arrows, but do not fire.

* Eareg Maar casually pulls out Meteor but does not point it at them, waiting for them to arrive.

The zerda surround you, eyeing you suspiciously, knocking their arrows and pointing them towards you.  They wear a few oddments of hide armour decorated with feathers and small gemstone insets.  They bark at one another in their crude, bestial tongue.  The slow-moving tortoise heads towards you.

* Eareg Maar puffs on his daily allotment of pipeweed.

Eareg Maar - Can I help you?

They do not seem to understand you, but you hear a responding voice from the tortoise: "Perhaps, traveler, perhaps."

A hunched, pale-furred figure barks some command at the zerda warriors as she emerges from the howdah and lowers herself carefully down the hand-holds in the turtle shell.  Venerable but still agile, the ancient zerda is an albino, with pure white fur and pink eyes.  Talismans of bone, fur, and stone dangle round her neck, and dozens of hoop earrings jangle when she moves. Her clawed fingers are likewise ornamented with ruby-studded copper rings, and a fine copper chain runs from a piercing in her nose to one of her oversized ears.  The claws of her fingers and toes are lacquered and painted with cursive glyphs.

"Forgive my attendants," she says in accented but otherwise flawless Shambles.  "They are untrustworthy, and with good reason - they probably believe you one of the dread carrion jinn taken human form, prowling for fox-flesh, or else one of the walking corpses from the Greylands to north."  She completes her descent and hops down to the desert floor with surprising nimbleness.

 Eareg Maar - Ah well, they could be forgiven for seeing me a walking corpse.

* Eareg Maar flashes his sharp teeth in a grin.

The zerda pads over towards you.  She grins back, and her teeth flash white in the moonlight.

"I am the magus N'leng Kthanka.  And you?"

* Eareg Maar removes his wide brimmed hat.

Eareg Maar '“ I am called Eareg Maar, of Macellaria.

She eyes Meteor curiously.  "Your rifle - I sense a spirit bound within it.  And based on the sigils you wear on your skin, you are a witch of some skill.  I wonder if you might assist me."

Eareg Maar '“ Perhaps.

* Eareg Maar slings meteor back onto his back

Eareg Maar - What is it that needs assisting?

"May I offer your some refreshment first, before I explain my predicament?  My howdah is small, but I make up for the lack of space with honeyed tea."

Eareg Maar - that would be wonderful

* Eareg Maar dismounts.

She gestures for you to climb the hand-holds in the turtle shell.

* Eareg Maar climbs up into the howdah.

The howdah is indeed cramped, but richly furnished. N'leng climbs after you and pours tea into two bone cups.  She also offers you a hookah.

"I see that you are partial to the pipe, Eareg Maar."

* Eareg Maar pulls the pipe out of his mouth and laughs a bit.

Eareg Maar - Aye but I won't disrespect your offer.

* Eareg Maar takes a puff from the hookah.

The tobacco is flavoured with rich spices; it is much more powerful than your own blend.

Eareg Maar '“ I'll say this is certainly more hospitality than I've been accustomed to out here

As you smoke and drink tea, the magus tells you her story:

"As with many magi I employ a number of elementals as servants and warriors," she begins.  "These entities sometimes wander into the desert from the Blacklands to the south, and can be bound into specially prepared stones or other receptacles.  When their services are needed I compel the bound elemental to manifest and then, using the stone as a conduit for my will, I can maintain control of the creature.  Unfortunately, one of my elementals recently escaped.  A young and clumsy apprentice of mine accidentally shattered one of my gemstones, releasing the elemental within it.  The spirit killed him almost instantly and slew many more zerda before disappearing into the waste.  I have left my tribe to track it down and subdue it to my will, having prepared a new stone to bind it once again."

* Eareg Maar nods.

"So far, however, I have had no success.  I am old: sixty years have passed since I passed from the Dreaming Dark of the Unborn into this world.  My guards are skilled, but cannot trap the spirits themselves - they lack the mark of the magi.  elemental has evaded me: though I believe I am close behind it, I fear I will not be able to catch up with it by tortoise, and I lack the mobility of youth.  You, however, might be able to reach it and subdue it with a spell I can teach you.

'In return, I could trade you a charm that will make you as hardy as a desert lizard, or a whip whose lash carries the venom of a serpent, or a waterskin that will never empty; or, I could teach you spells that scorch with the power of the sun, or that charm the wildest beasts, or that conjure beings of living dust."

* Eareg Maar rubs his chin with bony fingers.

N'leng draws on the hookah deeply and exhales smoke through her nostrils.

Eareg Maar - dangerous, but...

* Eareg Maar takes a drink from the tea

Eareg Maar - could I turn down such a reward '“ certainly after tea, and smoke after a long journey?  Sure, I'll see what I can do for you.

"Thank you.  You have not only my gratitude but that of my tribe.  The elemental is a thing of ash and cinders and smouldering coals.  I think it is making for the Blacklands, its home - a place of glass and rivers of liquid fire.  To bind it anew you must first subdue it, then scratch certain symbols in the sand and recite the incantation I will teach you.  I will give you the stone you will need, and a bewitched net that will not be burnt by the elemental's sizzling skin."

She reaches into a pouch and pulls out a fist-sized fire opal and a fine mesh of some silvery, glimmering material like gossamer.

"Here you are."

* Eareg Maar accepts them from her.

"You may be able to track the creature by the scorch-marks it leaves wherever it walks."

Eareg Maar - And you will remain here I assume?

"Do you know of the oasis to the south and west?"

Eareg Maar - yes, actually I was on my way there when we met

"I shall await you there for a day and a night."

Eareg Maar - Then I will find you.

She inclines her head and finishes her small cup of tea.  "Thank you again, Eareg Maar.  I eagerly anticipate your return.  And now, to teach you the rite to bind the elemental.

* Eareg Maar listens attentively and eventually memorizes the spell, copying it into his grimoire.

* Eareg Maar nods to her and exits the howdah.

Eareg Maar '“ (to himself) This should be interesting.

The zerda ostrich-riders still watch you uneasily but not longer point their weapons at you.

* Eareg Maar mounts his skeletal steed again and trots off.

* Eareg Maar circles out from the tortoise in search of any signs.

You cast around for signs of the elemental and discover scorch-marks marring the otherwise pristine dun pallor of the desert, fusing the sand into black glass.  The tracks have the shape of behemothic paw-prints.  These you follow south, towards the distant, ominously dark line of the Shadowglass Steppes.

* Eareg Maar puts out his pipe and stows it

The sun rises slowly, as if reluctant.  Red and leaden, it sluggishly makes its way up into the sky.  You continue to follow the tracks of black glass.

* As the sun gets higher Eareg Maar considers finding a place to shelter.

You climb a sand-dune and find a solitary column erupting from the desert; there are no signs of other structures.  The monolith is covered in carvings resembling many hundreds of eyes of various shapes, sizes, and species - some slitted and reptilian, others the dull, round orbs of fish, others strikingly human.

* Eareg Maar looks around and weighs the danger of the day with the possibility of losing his quarry and decides that he would be better finding a creature of fire at night anyhow.

* Eareg Maar makes for the monolith.

As you draw near you feel a strange resonance emanating from the pillar.  Your hair prickles with static energy.

* Eareg Maar pulls up short and stops examining the monolith.

It is of dark stone, almost black - onyx, perhaps.

Eareg Maar '“ Ah, Hells' black breath '“ not worth risking it for a little shade.

* Eareg Maar sighs and heads back to follow the trail.

Eareg Maar - First rule of the wastes... don't hug strange eldritch pillars.

* Eareg Maar takes a long drink from one of his waterskins and plods on after the trail still looking for shelter.

Despite the desert's best efforts you manage to resist its searing depredations; however, you are thwarted in your search for shelter.  As the afternoon progresses and the sun begins its descent you think you see a glimmer of flame up ahead.  A wisp of smoke is also evident.

* Eareg Maar heads carefully towards it still keeping the trail of black glass in sight.

The trail leads directly towards the source of the smoke.

Eareg Maar - Long day without much rest, but I ain't losing you now.

As you draw nearer you make out a smoking, glowing shape stalking the dunes ahead of you - a creature resembling a prodigious cat with a body of black soot and glowing embers.  Its eyes and maw flare with brilliant orange flame, and a mane of fire blazes round its head.

* Eareg Maar takes the net in one hand and hops off his horse heading stealthily towards the creature.

You creep towards the elemental with the utmost stealth, till you are crouched just behind it, keeping pace as it pads through the desert, leaving a trail of black glass wherever it treads.  It does not see or hear you - or if it does, it does no acknowledge your presence.

* Eareg Maar is taking no chances and as he readies the net a black web of eldritch ooze slides down his arm glowing with a dark and sickly light. A dark line flies from his outstretched arm to the beast, connecting it with eldritch tendrils to the net before the ghul heaves it at the cat.

The net snares the elemental and it thrashes madly beneath the weave, snarling horribly.

* Eareg Maar begins scratching runes into the desert sand.

The elemental tries to free itself but fails.  It roars in frustration.  You can feel the heat emanating off its body.

* Eareg Maar continues with the ritual in a calm focused fashion.

The elemental turns towards you and spews flame from its mouth!  The fire does not affect the net, but passes easily around the weave.  Half of the glyphs you inscribed are obliterated, as the sand is turned to glass.  You are badly scorched.

* Eareg Maar backs up and begins again, scratching more runes into the sand.

The elemental continues to attempt to free itself, but fortunately the net holds.  Frustrated, the creature drags itself forwards towards you, its speed greatly impeded by the net - it is unable to pounce while entangled.

* Eareg Maar mutters the spell N'leng taught him and holds forth the stone.

The elemental resists, digging in its claws.  You can feel its spirit's defiance.

* Eareg Maar takes the better part of valour and moves.

Realizing it cannot catch up with you the elemental continues madly attempting to remove the net.  At last it extricates itself and bounds after you.

* Eareg Maar sprints to his grave-spawn steed and jumps in the saddle.

The elemental is in hot pursuit.  You can outpace the feline creature only barely.

* Eareg Maar spurs the horse on towards the oasis

* Eareg Maar tries to hold the creatures attention without letting it catch him.

The leonine elemental follows you for some time before eventually tiring of the chase; your mount's uncanny constitution ensures that it does not flag.  The flaming spirit turns south, back in the direction of the Steppes.

You slow your skeletal steed to a canter and approach the oasis, a small green patch in the otherwise barren Marches.  N'leng's howdah is parked by a shallow greenish pool.

* Eareg Maar sighs and slips off the steed to plunge his head and torso in the water to cool the burns.

The albino foxfolk descends from her tortoise at your approach.

"Have you bound the creature once more?" she asks when you surface.

Eareg Maar - Nay, the net wasn't enough for him and I had to make for my steed before it overtook me.  Got a few marks for my effort.

* Eareg Maar grins through the pain as he bathes his burns.

"I can see that.  Allow me to apply a poultice.  It will greatly speed the healing process."

* Eareg Maar accepts '“ anything to help the pain.

* Eareg Maar coughs.

Eareg Maar - Well that was certainly... exciting.  I'm afraid though that I lost your net

"I may well retrieve it," N'leng says as she applies the poultice.  "The elemental likely let it stay where it fell.  If I follow its footprints I may well get it back.  I would understand if you chose not to continue the hunt.  But perhaps if I lent you two of my guards to distract the beast while you attempted the spell of binding again, you might yet snare my erstwhile servant?"

Eareg Maar - been awhile since I've felt real danger for my life out here... I'm growing fat and lazy.

* Eareg Maar pats his stomach.

Eareg Maar - The offer is appreciated, though I hesitate to put others at risk like that.

"They are willing to die for their tribe: if my tortoise was faster, it would be me putting them at risk, in any event."

* Eareg Maar raises an eyebrow.

"Perhaps if I offered a greater reward you would consider a second attempt?"

* Eareg Maar laughs.

Eareg Maar '“ No, my honour's on the line now you don't need to do that.  Perhaps some rest before I try again though.

"That is certainly wise'

Eareg Maar - if your guards are willing...

* Eareg Maar looks at the others.  

Eareg Maar '“ They are welcome to come along.

Two of the zerda approach you.  They speak in their native tongue to N'leng.

"They have agreed to accompany you," N'leng translates.  "Did you pass a column carved with many eyes on your way here?  I will meet you there."

* Eareg Maar nods.

Eareg Maar '“ Ah that... gave me the chills.

"Do not fear the column - it will do you no harm.  It is some device of elder days, and merely shows strange visions..."

Eareg Maar - Ah well, you will forgive my suspicion '“ you don't survive out in the wastes long by being trusting.  I'll meet you there.

You pass the night in tremendous pain, but the magus' poultice is highly effective and by morning your burns have scabbed.  The zerda warriors are up before you and offer you some form of fire-blackened meat to eat.

* Eareg Maar grunts from a stiff back and accepts the meat.

N'leng bids you good luck again and sets off into the desert on her tortoise.

* Eareg Maar sits there for a few minutes and decides to have his daily smoke before starting off.

* Eareg Maar offers the guards the pipe for a puff of their own.

The zerda accept.  One tentatively thanks you in accented Shambles.

Eareg Maar - If we're going to risk death might as well enjoy a few minutes of peace first, eh?

* Eareg Maar mounts up again.

The zerda quickly pick up the trail, and you soon pass the spot where you were nearly cooked alive by the elemental.  The net is intact.

* Eareg Maar stops to take the net.

You press on, following the trail of black paw-prints.  Night begins to descend one more, but now the terrain is changing.  While you are not yet out of the Marches this is the region where the Shadowglass Steppes merge with the desert.  Here and there are plains of volcanic glass; in the distance a few lone caldera smoulder.

As the bloated sun sinks beneath the horizon the elemental once again becomes visible.It is stooped by a sluggish trickle of lava oozing from a rupture in the surface of the desert; it appears to be licking at the molten rock as if it were water...

* Eareg Maar leads the group on towards the beast.

One of the zerda dislodges a small rock as it creeps around, and the elemental tenses, swinging its blazing head towards the noise.

* Eareg Maar moves in and once again creeping tendrils flow down his arm and lance from the net to the elemental as he once again heaves the mesh.

The net snares the elemental and it howls in frustration!

* Eareg Maar moves back away from it.

The zerda warriors reveal themselves and begin firing on the beast.  They shoot their arrows at the elemental but they are swiftly incinerated upon contact.

* Eareg Maar begins to quietly draw the runes, trying not to draw attention.

The elemental snarls and spits flame at one of the zerda.  The foxfolk is scorched by the flames but manages to tumble aside, avoiding the brunt of the attack.  The ostrich-riders continue to ineffectually pelt the thrashing, flaming creature with arrows.  Meanwhile, you finish scratching the runes and prepare to begin the incantation N'leng taught you.

As you do the elemental spews flame again and lights one of the zerda warriors on fire.  The foxfolk shrieks and begins thrashing round on the ground, attempting to extinguish the flames.  Its comrade rushes over to help.

* Eareg Maar, seeing the pain of his fellow, pulls out the stone and mutters the incantation once again.  He pours his will into the stone, concentrating all his energy into binding the spirit.

The feline spirit writhes and is drawn through the meshing of the net into the depths of the fire opal.  The gemstone pulses in your hands for a moment, throbbing with heat.

* Eareg Maar quickly pockets the gem and rushes to help the flaming zerda.

* Eareg Maar bats at the flames with his coat hardly even paying attention to his now burned hand.

The zerda is alive, but badly burned.  Much of the foxfolk's fur has been scorched away, but the creature will survive.  There is a hideous stench of burnt hair and flesh.

* Eareg Maar helps the zerda up onto his ostrich mount carefully.

The zerda staggers a little but stays in his saddle.

* Eareg Maar retrieves the net.

Eareg Maar '“ Well, let's get back to your friend and her tortoise '“ have her look at those burns.

* Eareg Maar mounts up and leads them off towards the monolith.

The zerda coughs feebly and you turn to ride back out of the ashen waste and into the endless dune sea.

The moon rises, sallow and pockmarked.  You arrive at the column after several hours' ride; the tortoise and the two other zerda warriors await you.  N'leng clambers down and rushes over to the burnt zerda warrior.

* Eareg Maar carefully helps the burnt zerda down

"Do you bear better news this time, Eareg Maar?"  She asks, as she tends to the wounded foxfolk.

Eareg Maar - Well we're all alive '“ some more than others anyhow '“ and we may perhaps have brought you back something.

* Eareg Maar pulls out the stone and gives it to N'leng.

"Excellent!  I must hasten to return to my tribe, but first I must see to your reward."

* Eareg Maar examines the whip.

Eareg Maar - Something that I could find some use for.

The whip seems to be made from the entrails of some bestial creature, preserved and bewitched so that it weeps venom.  As a grave-spawn, it does not affect you.

Eareg Maar - One more thing.

* Eareg Maar sits down next to the bandaged zerda.

Eareg Maar - I tend not to be sentimental, but I owe you and your friend a lot.

* Eareg Maar places a pouch of tobacco and his pipe in the injured foxfolk's hand.

* Eareg Maar stands up tipping his hat to the old zerda

Eareg Maar - Safe travels to you and your companions.

* Eareg Maar mounts up.

"Thank you again, Eareg Maar."  N'leng says.  "Be cautious if you venture much further east.  One of the nightmare-spirits escaped from the Dreaming Dark has been stalking the desert there, preying on zerda, mantid, and human alike: some fright-worm or shadow-serpent that stops the hearts of its victims through sheer terror."

Eareg Maar - I'll keep that in mind, thank you.  Oh yes, and before I forget '“

* Eareg Maar pulls the net out and drops it in her hands.

Eareg Maar - Didn't want to say I lost that.

She accepts the net gratefully.

* Eareg Maar spurs his horse on.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on March 09, 2011, 06:26:39 PM

The Grove

Back in Macellaria...

The Watchdog at the Eel's Gate idly licks at itself, its enormous purple tongue dripping formalin and slaver.  Its shameless ablutions complete, the unnatural beast sluggishly blinks its curiously small, dark eyes and yawns, exhaling a great malodorous miasma on passing travellers; its breath reeks of carrion and alchemical preservatives.

The ragged shanty-town beyond the gate consist of rude shacks and huts fashioned from oddments of hide, mud, adobe, and oddments of ancient machinery dug up from the desert - here the skeletal bulkhead of some derelict vehicle, there a pane of nacreous glass shimmering strangely in the reddish sunlight.  The half-dilapidated saloon and brothel known as The Pickled Serpent squats by the gate across from the tethered Watchdog; various hard-bitten mercenaries, scavengers, and vagabonds stagger in and out of its doors.

Kaius, Tarim, Wispy, and Mr. Carver meet by the gate.  The Watchdog sniffs the air and howls...

* Kaius Alexander sits atop Conveyance placidly.

* Wispy now has a parasol that has the image of a gaping maw on its top. On its sides are bat-like, leathery wings that are equipped with barbed talons; its back has a sinuous tail terminating in a sucker-like orifice with a radula within, lined with tiny, saw-like teeth.

Mr. Carver - Ah, it has only been two months and I already have to mount one of those thrice-damned beasts again.

The Gash Arroyo is an ugly wound in the earth, a barren cleft whose bottom is littered with bleached bones and water-mellowed stone.  Four figures stand over the narrow gully.  One is a tall, spindly-limbed man in dusty white garments with an eyepatch, a walking stick made from the bone of some gigantic creature, a pair of hide bongo drums at his waist, and a heavy rifle slung across his back.  Two others are zerda, one of them a badly scarred creature with a long bone knife, the other a vicious-looking armoured warrior with a grafted hand culled from some clawed, indigo-scaled reptile.  The fourth looks to be a mantid, though he is wingless.  He wears a strange suit of scaled armour and carries a curious scythe-like weapon.

The lean human greets you: "Ah, you must be the lot the fleshcrafter sent down.  Name's Hallowcrust; I'm the Treeherd.  These three are Kol, Vetter, and Kryz, hired blades like yourselves.  Kol can't speak but he's handy with Flicker; Vetter can translate in case none of you lot are conversant in the finger-speech."

* Vetter casts his gaze over the newcomers. His indifference may or may not be an affectation.

* Kryzbytn twitches his mandibles.

* Kaius Alexander recognizes Kryzbytn but remains silent.

* Kryzbytn inclines his head towards Kaius.

* Kaius Alexander offers Kryz a slight nod of his head in acknowledgement.

Tarim '“ Greetings.

* Kryzbytn permits a forceful, short bow.

* Tarim bows briefly, flashing a slight grin of his jewel-inset teeth.

Kryzbytn - Hello, others.

* Vetter nods and grunts out a terse greeting.

* Kaius Alexander stares pointedly at Vetter.

* Koldobika watches the new arrivals curiously.

Koldobika - (Flicker) The Koldobika Nthanda greets you. The Koldobika Nthanda is Koldobika Nthanda. The Koldobika Nthanda will know your names.

Kaius Alexander - It seems to be attempting to communicate.

Wispy - Maybe it's speaking, but it's just too soft so we can't hear what it's saying?

* Wispy walks over to the zerda and talks very loud.

Wispy - Can you hear me?

Tarim - As always, we can count on the damn bird to give the best kind of first impression...

Mr. Carver - I did say he wasted his best one on that slavering thing that is following him around.

* Vetter translates accurately into Shambles, but his delivery is perhaps somewhat gruffer than Kol may have wanted.

Wispy - Ah, very good, see - it can talk.  It does know language.

* Koldobika looks at the bird-thing.

Koldobika - (Flicker) The Koldobika Nthanda hears you. The Koldobika Nthanda believes you are too loud.

Vetter - He hears you just fine, Jatayi. He just ain't so good at speakin.'

Wispy - Not capable of speaking??? How does such a creature live?

* Wispy does however get a little more quiet.

Koldobika (Flicker - directed to Vetter) - Bird-thing is loud. Loud things quickly found and eaten. The Koldobika Nthanda suggests the the Vetter and the Koldobika Nthanda stay away from Bird-thing.

Vetter (Flicker, at Kol) - Good idea.

* Mr. Carver nods his head at the other mercenaries.

Mr. Carver - I'm Mr. Carver. Carver amongst friends.

* Kryzbytn returns the greeting with a stilted nod.

Kryzbytn - Please, call me Kryz.

Kaius Alexander - I am Kaius Alexander. We will be working together. I expect professionalism and competence.

Tarim - I am known as Tarim.

Kaius Alexander - Hallowcrust. When will we be moving the livestock?

"As soon as possible, Mr. Alexander.  The grove are down in the Arroyo where the damn goreflies can't find them.  Once we're ready to move, I'll start drumming to lure them out.  They'll follow the beat of the drums out of the Gash and up here."

Kaius Alexander - And will we be with you?

"I'll be leading the pack, ahead of the flehstrees," Hallowcrust says.  "We should be fine during the day - which is why we're moving out so early - but once it gets darker any gorefly swarms nearby are going to smell the grove and start moving in to feed.  You lot need to destroy the flies before they reach the fleshtrees.  Make sure you stay away from the grove itself - unless they're pacified fleshtrees can be mighty ornery, and won't think twice before ripping you limb from limb and munching on your steaming guts.  I'll stay ahead of them till I reach a machine called a drubber out a ways to the north and west of here."

* Vetter checks his pistol and powder.

* Kryzbytn sharpens his scythe hands upon each other.

Mr. Carver - I thought there would be more than one of you.

He turns to Carver.  "Lost fourteen of my fellows to the damn bugs recently.  I'm the last left in this region."

Mr. Carver - Can you handle them alone?

"Shouldn't be a problem - you lot just take care of the flies.  Make sure you stay away from the grove itself - unless they're pacified fleshtrees can be mighty ornery, and won't think twice before ripping you limb from limb and munching on your steaming guts."

Mr. Carver - I'd rather not end up as fertiliser. Thanks for the warning.

"I'll stay ahead of them till I reach a machine called a drubber out a ways to the north and west of here.  Once that's activated the grove will cluster up round the drubber and stay still.  With any luck we'll be far enough away from the sand-rays that they'll pass us by without any more damage being done."

Tarim - Just what do we get out of this, anyway?

"I shear the limbs from the fleshtrees, sell 'em to graft-peddlars," the man says.  "I'll pay each of you a hundred and fifty bones for the job, but each tree we lose I'll have to dock you ten obeloi apiece  - I can't afford to lose any more trees.  Sound fair?"

Kaius Alexander - Acceptable.

Kryzbytn - Fair.

Vetter - Fair by me.

Tarim - Good enough.

Mr. Carver - I'm fine with those arrangements.  What is our destination?

"We're headed north, past the city and up into the plains.  I suggest you spread out around the grove and form a mobile perimeter.  Fleshtrees move very slowly - it's going to take all day for us to get them where we want them  - but they won't linger, so be prepared to fight on the run.  

"One more thing: I have a few packets of sand-ray blood, bought dearly in the Skin Markets.  It's not enough to coat even a single fleshtree but in a pinch it could be used to ward off any goreflies if they start to overwhelm you.  If the little buggers start to get the better of you, puncture the bag and slather the blood all over yourself, and the goreflies'll retreat.  If you have to use the bags, though, it'll come out of your paycheque - each bag cost me fifty bones."

Wispy (Squawks) - Ten apiece?

* Wispy then realizes that everyone else accepted, so he pouts to himself.

Kaius Alexander - I will take the van. I suggest the rest of you split into teams of two, but disperse as you see fit. I will reinforce any position that seems in danger of falling, if possible.

* Kryzbytn eyes Wispy, admiring his wings.

* Kaius Alexander shades his eyes against the rising sun and surveys the terrain

Kryzbytn - Rest assured, the flies will be shredded.

Wispy (at Vetter) - It's been my experience, friendly and articulate zerda, that we should expect failure.

* Koldobika nods, understanding to the plan.

* Tarim takes one of the bags and secures it so that it hangs off his belt.

* Mr. Carver snaps up a bag as well.

* Kryzbytn mandibles twitch eagerly.

Kryzbytn - (to Kaius) I'm eager to see how that armour of yours fares in battle, Kaius one.

Kaius Alexander - It has performed to specifications. You are a fine machinist.  Perhaps we will have opportunity to co-operate again in the future.

* Kryzbytn gives a twitchy bow.

Kryzbytn - I indeed hope so.

Hallowcrust, having distributed the bags, readies his drums.

Vetter (Flicker, at Kol) - Teams of two, he says. We will be a two?

Tarim (to Carver) '“ We'll make a good team, no?

Mr. Carver - I was thinking the same thing Tarim.  It all depends on how much we have to move around to keep up the perimeter, but let us stay close to each other.

* Tarim nods.

"You ready then?  Shall we begin?"

* Kryzbytn nods.

Koldobika (Flicker) - Yes.

Mr. Carver - Sound your drums, Treeherd.

Hallowcrust moves ahead some distance and begins beating his drums.

* Wispy titters?

Wispy - Who's with me?  Or will it just be me and the Oneroi here.

Kryzbytn '“ I'm willing to go with anyone.

Wispy - Ah, mantid man, many meticulous good wishings to you.

Kryzbytn - Hello, bird one.  I admire your wings.

* Wispy affixes Kryzbytn with an evaluating glance.

Wispy - You remind me of a fighter I once knew, you look a lot like him--competent--but whereas he was short and round; you are tall and handsome.  And whereas you are a mantid made, he was a leechkin stout...and that's the semblance, just about.

Mr. Carver - He seems like a sizeable companion, Wispy, you'll be well off.

Kryzbytn - I am a toymaker, though my toys...

* Kryzbytn glances at his scythe.

Kryzbtybn '“ ...tend to hurt the children.

Kaius Alexander - Be wary of him, Kryz, he will abandon you at his convenience for his own gain. Seek me out if your position becomes precarious.

Kryzbytn - I will do so, Kaius friend.  I enjoy this bird-man thus far.

Mr. Carver - (yells over the din of the drums) Don't you worry about Wispy, Kryz. He hasn't betrayed us yet.

Shortly, a pallid, writhing mass emerges from the Gash, gushing out in a great clump.  As the grove moves inexorably forward  - drawn by the rhythmic percussion of the Treeherd  - you get a better look at the fleshtrees themselves: grasping, softly moaning things crowned by brachiating clusters of humanoid arms and propelled slowly forward by tentacular roots.

* Kryzbytn admires them, strangely fascinated, perhaps taking mental note for a fleshtree toy in the future

* Kaius Alexander stands in his stirrups, observing the herd.

Vetter - Me and Kol'll take the left side.

Tarim - We'll get the right side, then.

* Vetter begins to spread out as the fleshtrees start to move.

* Koldobika observes the tree-things warily.  Though they have many limbs, they too lack voices. But, unlike Kol, they probably never had any to begin with.

* Kaius Alexander rides off to the van atop Conveyance.

Wispy - See Kryzbytn, also meet my chitinous friend.

* Wispy points out the hellhound.

Kryzbytn - Greetings, creature of the bird.

Wispy - Perhaps you two shared a noble ancestor?

* The thought of such ancestry gives Kryzbytn pause.

Kryzbytn - Mayhaps, mayhaps not.

Mr. Carver (at Tarim) - You shoot down those who approach, I get the ones who get close.

Tarim - Sounds a good plan.

* Vetter takes up a position about 30-40 feet to the left of the grove, and takes out and loads his pistol, even though there is no immediate danger.

The reddish sun beats down upon you all.  Even as the days grow shorter its depredations are still intense.

* Tarim feels the beginnings of heat-stroke.

* Kaius Alexander takes a long drink from his canteen

Kryzbytn - Heat... my body does not like it.

* Kryzbytn gives a nervous tick.

* Wispy twirls his parasol.

The day is mostly uneventful and quickly becomes incredibly tedious.  Your meals are by necessity taken on the move.

Kryzbytn '“ Bird-man, you spoke of leechkin... I have a thing for some leechkin who took something precious to me.

Wispy - Tarim, you don't look so alive today. What happened to your parasol?

* Tarim glares at the bird-man.

* Vetter tries his best to remain vigilant throughout the tedium of the journey.

* Kaius Alexander continually scans the horizon.

* Kryzbytn mutters to himself under the burden of heat.

* Vetter 's pistol is always in his hand.

* Kryzbytn glances over at Vetter's pistol.

Kryzbytn - A fine pistol, Vetter one.

* Koldobika endures, as he has so far.

The afternoon is no better than the morning - the sun beats down on you all cruelly.

* Kryzbytn soldiers on.

* Wispy passes the day talking to Kryz about stories, such as those of the dread Red Rain of the Slaughter-lands.

Wispy - It's a good thing that you don't need much water to drink, mantid man, for when it rains in the Slaughter-lands it rains Red Rain, and those that drink the Red Rain devolve into dark-eyed murderfolk, the grinning, malignant fetch.

Kryzbytn - I know well of this, bird man, such rain led to the gruesome slaughter of my comrades.

* Kryzbytn recounts his tales of having his wings eaten by Baubo followers, mercenary groups, toy-making, and Red Rain as well.

Wispy - How terrible that your wings were eaten!  How barbaric!

Kryzbytn - They seemed to think it a delicacy.

Wispy - I can only hope that you were able to avenge yourself on them.

Kryzbytn '“ I was not.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: LD on March 14, 2011, 04:27:07 PM
1 omitted thing from the logs:

In Character

Wispy: !roll 1d2 (2)
Kaius: What was that for?
Wispy: Oh, I was seeing how offensive Wispy was going to be in this situation.
Tarim: Don't we always just assume that Wispy will do whatever's the most offensive thing possible?

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on March 16, 2011, 02:17:37 PM


The sun at least begins to sink, and the sky turns a deep red, as of drying blood.

Mr. Carver - and so it begins

Tarim - I welcome the dark, even if it means flies.

Mr. Carver - One should think heat and cold stopped being so troublesome after you die, eh? Guess not.

A droning sound can be heard to the south and east.

Kryzbytn - They come...

Mr. Carver - They are coming now, Tarim. I hear them.

Tarim - I am ready.

* Tarim loads his repeating rifle.

* Kryzbytn raises his two scythe arms above his head and his scythe weapon at his chest.

A dark cloud appears on the bloodshot horizon.

* Koldobika alerts Vetter to the incoming sounds, taking a moment to prepare his shortbow as he does so.

* Tarim invokes the Harden the Skin hex.

* Vetter cocks his pistol and glances out across the grove, seeing if he can spot any movement on the far side.

* Kaius Alexander hears the droning and spurs Conveyance towards Tarim and Carver's position.

* Mr. Carver draws the Agony Knife and readies a throwing knife.

Four swarms descend on those on the right, two on those in the rear, one at the front.  The bugs swirl around Kaius and attempt to penetrate his armour, but are deterred.  Others descend on Kryzbytn and Wispy; while mantid's armour protects him, two of the foot-long insects latch onto the jatayi, thrusting their proboscises into his exposed flesh and slurping his blood.  The creatures ignore Wispy's hellhound, Oney, completely.  Other goreflies assail Tarim and Mr. Carver.

* Wispy disregards the vampiric insects and flings a ball of black hellfire towards one, but the shot goes wide.

Seeing Wispy attempt to roast the insects, Oney vomits up a great burst of caustic bile.  Half a dozen goreflies are caught in the acidic blast and are instantly melted.

* Mr. Carver slices madly at the insects but they buzz around his blades.

* Tarim ducks and waves wildly, dashing about in the middle of the droning swarm. His pallid tongue barks eldritch words as he struggles to unleash a hex.

* Koldobika dashes towards the mantid and jatayi and skewers one of the goreflies with an arrow.

* Vetter hold the line on the left flank, pistol ready in both hands, prepared to fire on the first swarm to come within 20 feet of him.

* Kaius Alexander grunts and rips a clinging gorefly from his helmet, crushing it in his armoured fist.

* Kaius Alexander extends his right arm towards the swarm and depresses an internal mechanism. A panel flies open above his gauntlet; there is an audible hiss and a noxious scent fills the air. *click* A shrieking gout of flame flies towards the goreflies, roasting many!

* Kryzbytn attacks the swarm around him with both his mantid arms and scythe, but the flourish is ineffectual.

* Kryzbytn curses in Bugspeech.

The swarm around Kaius, unable to penetrate his armour, head for the fleshtrees, flying around and over the Insomnolent.

* Kaius Alexander purses his lips and begins to turn Conveyance about.

* Tarim blows one of the goreflies out of the sky with his rifle.

* Mr. Carver swats one of the goreflies with the Agony Knife.

* Wispy tries to cast Honeyslick on the swarm!

The gorefly swarm. hit by the eldritch substance, fall to the ground, buzzing angrily and trying to extricate themselves from the sticky goo!

* Kryzbytn slashes through the swarm, destroying several goreflies simultaneously with his scythe.

 * Mr. Carver slashes at the swarm with precision, destroying several goreflies with swift, accurate swipes.

* Tarim swipes with his rifle's stock at a repugnant figure of a gorefly darting at his head, even as eldritch syllables of a complicated hex cascade from his lips. He ducks another assault and hastily draws a ritual circle on the sand with his left hand. The gemstones set in his eye-sockets suddenly flash as he utters an echoing command: "Come forth Torrim-Pazzun, Wielder of Black Lightning!"

A crackling fiend coalesces out of the air: it looks like a humanoid figure sheathed in eerie black electricity.  "What is your will, Tarim?"  The demon asks in Hellspeak, in a voice like a storm.

Tarim - Destroy these damn flies! Begin with those swarming nearest me, then turn your attention upon those nearing the trees of flesh!

The demon roars thunderously, and electricity bursts from its body.  Some of the goreflies investigating the demon are electrocuted, falling to the ground twitching, reduced to blackened husks.

Mr. Carver - Glad to have some help on our side, Tarim. How long will he stay around and enjoy our company?

Tarim - Should be long enough for this wave of flies.

* Koldobika keeps on the move, skirting wildly across the ground in hopes of keeping any of the swarms from keeping with him. Currently, his only means of combating the flies lies in his ability to stay away from them-- even if a bow is only a paltry weapon against the buzzing swarm, it is certainly better than nothing as he fires at one of the swarms hanging above.

You let off a volley of arrows while on the run from the swarms, and the goreflies drop like... well, like flies.

* Vetter glancing around, spots the swarm breaking past Kaius for the fleshtrees, and decides to take a shot at them, in the hopes of reducing any damage they can do to the Grove. He raises his pistol, and with a sharp crack, smoke bursts forth. One of the goreflies explodes, blood from its swollen corpse splattering the ground.

* Kaius Alexander clanks forth and butchers the flies drinking at the pool of blood before they reach the grove.

* Using his scything claws Kryzbytn dices those flies caught in Wispy's hex.  Only a few lone flies remain at the rear of the grove, buzzing idiotically in the sticky mess.

The goreflies near Tarim and Mr. Carver continue their vampiric depredations.  The unarmoured ghul witch must contend with several of the monstrous insects, while the graftpunk Carver barely fends off their proboscises, though not after they have tasted his blood.  Other goreflies cluster round the summoned demon, investigating its crackling body: they are electrocuted for their trouble.

Torrim-Pazzun utters a Hellspeak word and black lightning shoots from its fingertips, destroying half a dozen flies.  Oney is chewing on a gorefly corpse.  He seems to like the honeyslick.

* Vicebite, the Clockwork IdBird familiar, detaches itself from Wispy's shoulder and begins a slow dive toward the south, where there are spent metal shell casings and a pool of goreflies eviscerated at Kaius' feet.  Vicebite's clock-dial eyes rotate backwards and it peers up at Kaius, while its hammer-key teeth set to work devouring Tarim's spent bullet-shell.

* Wispy glides over toward the right side, skating on the honey.  Calling upon the demoniac spirit bound within his own flesh Wispy summons another ball of netherflame.  The black fire incinerates those goreflies that remain feebly struggling in the arcane honey.

* Kaius Alexander flicks the blood from his blade and sheathes it.

* Mr. Carver, with preternaturally quickened movements, readies a torch and swats at the flies, but they are only attracted to the flame's red light.  Frustrated he slashes at the flies in anger, trying to keep them away.

* Tarim continues to dodge and turn frantically, trying to avoid the bloodsuckers still buzzing around him. His repeating rifle reverberates with a deafening blast, aimed at the thickest part of the swarm.  The flies disperse madly at the blast, but none seem to have been killed.

* Vetter calmly reloads his pistol while keeping pace with the grove, and keeping half an eye on the movement of the remaining swarms, to see if any more start to break through or if any approach the left flank.

* Kaius Alexander turns his back dismissively on the clockwork bird and dashes back to Conveyance.

* Kryzbytn puts away his scythe and draws his pistol, taking a shot at the swarms along the right flank, but it goes wide.

The swarm Tarim's shot disoriented regroups and makes for the fleshtree grove.  The goreflies Carver attracted with his torch cluster round him, gleefully penetrating his flesh and slurping his vital fluids.

* Seeing a swarm approach the grove, Vetter takes a shot, blowing another gorefly out of the sky.

Torrim-Pazzun angrily swats at the insects, but the bloodsuckers evade its crackling arms.

Wispy - Flying overgrown fleas! You shall not eat our moneytrees!

* Wispy aims his bolts at the swarm and lets loose, impaling three of the vermin.

* In a murderous whirlwind Mr. Carver slashes the remaning goreflies around him, spattering himself with his own drained blood as the insects burst about him.

* Tarim levels his rifle at the last remaining swarm; let the barrel sing.  His bullet blows another gorefly into pieces.

The remaining flies buzz angrily about and disperse, heading back to their sand-ray as fast as they can fly.

* Kaius Alexander slows Conveyance as he sees the goreflies retreating.

* Kaius Alexander canters up to Tarim and Carver atop Conveyance.

Kaius Alexander - It seems you had this side handled.

Mr. Carver - I think it went fairly well.

* Mr. Carver wipes his bloody knife on his sleeve.

* ViceBite devours what metal casing bullet shells it is able to gobble.

* Vicebite lets off a metallic ding, like a cash-register, after being satiated.

* Koldobika watches the goreflies flee. Once he is certain they are not returning shortly, he begins scouring the scene, arrows in hand. He begins to skewer groups of the more intact flies on his arrows, collecting them as the herd continues its slow journey.

* Tarim seeing the threat gone for now, dismisses Torrim-Pazzun with an arcane gesture.

Tarim '“ You fought well. Should I require your services again, I shall make sure your are honored with a proper offering.

The demon bows, then melts back into the aether.

The goreflies killed or dispersed, you continue on until the fleshtrees reach the drubber, clustering round the crude mechanical device like moths round a lamp. Hallowcrust heads towards you.

"Good job," the scraggly cyclops commends you.  "The grove should be safer here - I hope.  Now for your payment: if you'll follow me, I'll get your money for you."

* Mr. Carver follows Hallowcrust at a leisurely pace.

The lean man leads back to the shanties round the Eel's Gate, where you set out at dawn.  He enters a large but ramshackle building and returns with a large sack that jingles with coinage.

* Kaius Alexander raises his visor and stares up at the night sky.

* Vetter approaches Kol and silently gives him a pat on the shoulder, the job successfully done.

"Here you are," he says, dropping the bag.  "It should all be there."

Kaius Alexander - I would hope.

* Kaius Alexander picks up the bag and distributes the obeloi.

Vetter - thanks, Kaius.

* Tarim collects his share graciously.

"I'll have those packets of sand-ray blood back now, if you please."

* Kaius Alexander tosses his over.

* Mr. Carver hands over the bag carefully.

* Wispy bites an obelus.

Wispy '“ Doesn't taste good, but it seems real; I like this job, little woe, lots of weal.

* Koldobika follows for his promise of payment. Idly, he begins to chew on some of the goreflies he collected in the aftermath of the battle. He nods at Vetter's approach, and offers him an arrow with numerous flies skewered on it. Nearly all of the flies are intact and bloated, obviously haven recently fed on something or someone.

* Vetter takes the flies on the arrow with as much gratitude as he received the coin.

Hallowcrust nods.  "You lot did a good job.  I'll pass on my recommendations to the Splicing Consortium."  He heads back into his shack.

* Kaius Alexander spits.

Kaius Alexander - Splicing Consortium.

* Kaius Alexander gauges the hour by the passage of the moon.

It's probably just shortly before midnight.

Vetter - (Flicker, to Kol) So. What now?

* Vetter translates for Kol.

Koldobika (Flicker) - The payment is received by the Koldobika. The receiving is thankful.  The Koldobika did not plan. The eventuality is expected. The eventuality is unknown.

Kaius Alexander - As I had mentioned earlier to my more established companions...

* Kaius Alexander speaks as he scrapes bloody mud off Conveyance.

The lizard's tongue flickers as you scrape its scales and it hisses with pleasure.

Kaius Alexander - A business opportunity has been made to myself, and to anyone I care to include in such matters.

Mr. Carver - I'm intrigued.

Kaius Alexander - I now know that you are all competent at what you do, and so I invite you to join me as I proceed to Sarcous Square.  Our... employer... keeps late hours, I am told.

Wispy - He should invest in an umbrella.

* Wispy twirls his parasol.

Wispy - Then it's always night.

* Kaius Alexander glares at Wispy.

Kaius Alexander - I am sure the pay will be satisfactory.

Vetter - I wouldn't be turning down more pay, if you'd be including me. Or us?

* Vetter with the last he glances questioningly at Kol.

Koldobika (Flicker) - The Vetter has an idea.

Vetter (Flicker) - We should see what this job Kaius mentions is, don't you think?

* Koldobika nods in agreement. Wordlessly, he walks over to the large armored man and stares up at him. He begins to listen closely.

Kaius Alexander - The work, violent, I would assume.  Perhaps not. It remains to be seen.

Vetter - Violent suits me.

Kryzbytn - I would welcome the opportunity.

* Kaius Alexander scratches Conveyance's head and feeds her a shrivelled apple.

Kaius Alexander - Then shall we proceed?

Vetter - Surely we shall.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on March 16, 2011, 07:28:26 PM

A Voice in Darkness

The City of Bodysnatchers looms before you, huge and ancient and fetid, the lights, sounds, and smells it exudes seeping over the weathered walls.  Music rises from Pulsetown and Velveteen Circus; the Skin Markets bustle with grave-spawn shoppers; from Resurrection Row the moans of the sick in the quarantine zone can faintly be heard.  The Watchdog at the Eels' Gate barks at something unseen, straining against its tether while the Kennel Masters attempt to mollify it with a huge bowl of raw meat.

A wind blows in from the east, from over the Slaughter-lands, bearing with it a sudden chill, and a strange sour smell.  It seems to moan with an inhuman voice, but the sound is soon lost amidst the hubbub of Macellaria, absorbed by the urban cacophony.

You pass beneath the huge arch of the Eel's Gate and into Slimesquallor, ghetto of the slithering hagmen.  The streets here, as in the rest of the City of Bodysnatchers, are paved with setts, each bearing a distorted face.  Most these visages seem to be screaming or grimacing, as if the footfalls of pedestrians caused them pain; others leer lewdly, as if peering up the skirts of passing women.  As most of those here are hagmen the streets are covered in a slightly sticky mucosal film, excreted constantly by hagmen tails; it glistens in the moonlight.  This viscid, glutinous coating smells musky, though not wholly unpleasant.  The air here is moister than that in the rest of Macellaria.

* Koldobika rips one of the goreflies off of his arrow, the bloody contents dribbling out and over his hand. He offer sit up to Kaius. His expression is completely neutral.

* Kaius Alexander stares blankly at the fly and nonchalantly pops it into his mouth.

Kaius Alexander - The flavour does not offend me as perhaps it once would.

* Kaius Alexander lowers his visor.

* Koldobika nods politely and appreciatively. He falls in at Kaius' side without further incident.

Koldobika (Flicker, to Vetter) - The Koldobika and the Vetter go with the Kaius. The Kaius works.

Vetter (Flicker, to Kol) - I agree.

Slimesquallor is, of course, distinguished by its peculiar architecture: idols carved out of jade peer down from the roofs of hagmen temples, bathhouses with coiled columns of green granite and marble release plumes of perfumed steam into air, and the great hatchery-towers loom over everything, their walls carved with prayers to the fertility-deity.

Apart from the few hagmen out and about at this time of night various travelers from the south walk the curving streets.  Cestoids pull rickshaws and a few daring leechkin beg for blood, risking the wrath of their racial enemies.

* Vetter looks out for somewhere to buy a bottle of something alcoholic along the way.

Vetter, a street-seller is hawking madwine from his stall.

Vetter - How much, mate?

"Five bones.  Quality vintage."

Vetter - Five? Quality? Piss off...

* Wispy wanders over, trying to "help."

Wispy - Ooh... But what quality? Are you trying to take advantage of foreigners?

"No sir!  Look, for you, four obeloi."

Vetter - I'll give you three, mate, and you'll count yourself lucky.

"Fine, fine, you drive a hard bargain.'  He hands you a small bottle of the sallow-golden liqueur.

* Vetter hands over the bones and unstops the bottle, taking a long pull before continuing along with the others.

Apart from a healthy buzz and a few harmless hallucinations the madwine doesn't unhinge you excessively.

* Wispy smiles cruelly, distorting his smeared ghoul paint; then he wanders back toward the rest of the group, parasol twirling.

Tarim - I sure hope this won't turn out to be another hagman shootout leading to messy escapes through the sewers...

Koldobika (Flicker, directed at Tarim) - The events of the Tarim ends as the Tarim says often.

* Tarim notices the mute zerda waving at him, but is left wondering what all those gestures might mean.

* Koldobika seems slightly annoyed that Tarim does not understand. However, he seems resigned to understanding the lack of knowing. Either way, he still remains close to the big man with heavy armour who seems to be the leader.

* Vetter catches up with Kol and offers him some madwine with a slightly distant expression.

* Koldobika declines with a shake of his head.

* Vetter shrugs and takes another swallow himself.

Velveteen Circus is thronged with revelers this time of year.  Though Reaper's Feast itself honours grave-spawn, that doesn't prevent the quick from rigorously carousing in the days leading up to the event.  Buskers and conjurors perform on the street.  One man, a skinchanger, assumes new forms before a crowd: now a great bird with a serrated, crimson bill, now a grinning, crocodilian thing with too many eyes, now a two-headed hyena.  A short distance on a troupe of hagmen perform on the drums, zither, and accordion, while a ghul acrobat turns flips and stands.

The party attempt to navigate the labyrinth of streets, trying to find Sarcous Square.

Wispy - Oooh Kaius, I think it's this way... or was it that way.  Hmm...

* Kaius Alexander sighs nearly silently.

Wispy - I recall a story about the Velveteen Circus... It said it was a hopscotch from Murderer's Manor, and a twist from Viviscectors' Square...

* Mr. Carver, a native of the city, tries to recall the location of the obscure Square. He remembers that the mansion in the Square is inhabited by a mysterious foreign noblewoman who moved in three years ago; no one knows exactly where she's from, but she's reclusive and very, very rich.  Her name is Lady Fuligina.  Wispy, with his magpie-like store of random knowledge, gossip, legend, and rumour, has likewise heard of this mysterious individual.

* Wispy is very pleased to know that.

Between the jatayi and the human the party eventually finds Graze Street.

Wispy - Near to the Zeitgeist Rock... ah,ha- here we are!

Amidst the raucous carousal of Velveteen Circus, Sarcous Square seems strangely quiet.  Accessible only via a narrow arch off Graze Street, the quadrangle is dimly lit; the buildings seem to be deserted, without lights in the windows.  Opposite the entrance to the Square is a large, opulent structure of black marble.

 A single gas lamp burns an eerie blue at the entrance, where two guardsmen wearing half masks and garments of satin stand sentinel.  One man has long, raven-dark hair and wields a murderous-looking ranseur; the other has a shaven head and leans against a massive sword.

* Kaius Alexander rides up to them quietly.

The guards eye you without any trace of emotion.

* Vetter rubs idly at the point at which his grafted claw meets his natural flesh, blearily eyeing the two guards.

* Kaius Alexander raises his visor and stares at the guards.

Kaius, you notice something slightly strange about the guards '“ their pupils are dilated hugely, or else their irises are tinted black...

* Tarim does his best to wipe dust and blood off his clothes, and checks that his turban is properly tied.

Mr. Carver - Where did you meet this woman Kaius?

* Mr. Carver takes care not to speak too loudly.

* Kaius Alexander half turns to Mr. Carver.

Kaius Alexander - I have not. I am acquainted with one of her servants. So are you.

Mr. Carver - What did he tell you?

Kaius Alexander - He told me that he owes me his life, and his mistress wishes to secure our services.

Vetter - Mistress, eh? Services, eh?

* Vetter chuckles.

* Koldobika ignores the obvious joke in favour of wondering why a group of this size is needed at all.

* Kryzbytn chitters.

* Kaius Alexander turns his head slightly to examine the guards from a different perspective.

Mr. Carver - Anything wrong?

* Kaius Alexander does not respond.

Kaius Alexander - I am here to see your employer.

"Welcome, honoured guests," the long-haired guard greets you.  "Milady waits for you inside.  While she does not insist on your disarmament, I would ask as a courtesy for you to please relinquish your weapons while under her roof."

Vetter - can I keep my drink?

"Of course, little one."

Vetter - Then we have an accord.

* Vetter hands over his pistol.

* Koldobika reluctantly passes over his swords and his bow.

* Kaius Alexander hands over his sword and pistol.

* Kryzbytn reluctantly hands over his weapons

Kryzbytn - Take good care of them... They mean much to me.

* Tarim lays down his repeating rifle and blunderbuss pistol, his dagger and various grenade-like contraptions.

* Wispy carefully conceals his jatayi bolts, but hands over his sword.

Wispy - Now, be careful with that- it's a holy longsword, used to kill gravespawn... like myself. I've been keeping it in safekeeping.

"Your beasts must wait outside, the shaven-headed guard says, gesturing to Oney and Conveyance.

Wispy '“ Can he wait in the foyer? Someone might steal him! If he's out on the street! And grind him into meat!

"Very well.  So long as is well behaved."

Wispy - Oney, stay! Good boy!

* Wispy hands the vaguely crustacean "hellhound" something to eat.

Kryzbytn - I'd be more fearful, bird man, if someone were to eat him.

* Kaius Alexander dismounts from Conveyance and ties the lizard to a post.

Mr. Carver - Hmm, you are sure I can't keep a knife on me?  Small one, won't be any trouble.  Just hate to leave it behind. You can have my other knives of course

"As I said, you may keep your weapons if you wish - we merely prefer if you leave them here, as a token of gentility."

Mr. Carver - Well, I'd hate to offend our kind host, I guess.

Kryzbytn - Me as well.

* Mr. Carver reluctantly hands over the Agony Knife, as well as 10 daggers.

* Kryzbytn hands over his Perforator.

Tarim - Please overlook his reluctance. He really likes his knives, you see.

The guards looks slightly bemused as the party deposits a small armoury with them.

* Vetter shakes his head slightly at the amount of weaponry some of the others have.

* Vetter tips his bottle to the guard in mock-salute as he passes.

You find yourselves in an expansive foyer; the walls, floor, and ceiling are all of the same dark stone as the exterior.  The scarred man some of you remember from the Pits greets you.

* Tarim bows politely to the man.

"I am glad that you decided to come," he says.  "Please, follow me.  Milady awaits you downstairs."  He turns and leads you on into the house.

* Kryzbytn clicks his mandibles.

Raakhir leads you through dark corridors veined with white, lit sparingly.  There are few ornaments save occasional potted plants with strange purple flowers.  You arrive after some time at a central staircase that winds downwards into darkness.

Raakhir picks up an ornate lamp and leads you down these stairs.  You pass many levels and dozens of doorways, descending deep into the earth.  Down here the air is surprisingly sweet: a heady smell as of incense lingers in the air, perhaps the scent of the violaceous blooms present here or there.  How these beautiful flowers survive in the darkness, you cannot say.  After many long minutes of walking, you arrive at the bottom of the staircase at a large door.

Kryzbytn '“ Curious.

Tarim - Fascinating.

* Vetter peers closely at the flowers, as if unable to make them out properly, but moves on after a second or two, knocking back more madwine as if to say "never mind."

"Milady awaits you beyond this door," Raakhir indicates.  "Her ways are her own: you will never see her face or form, for she prefers to remain shrouded in darkness at all times.  No flame or eldritch light will penetrate the blackness you find within, but please, do not be alarmed.  I shall await you here."

* Kaius Alexander nods

The door opens.  The pale glow of Raakhir's lamp is utterly swallowed by the total blackness of the room beyond.  Even those of you whose eyes can normally pierce the most complete lightlessness can discern nothing of the chamber's occupants, furnishings, or dimensions.

* Kaius Alexander proceeds swiftly into the darkness.

* Kryzbytn follows in suit behind Kaius.

* Tarim proceeds at a dignified gait.

* Mr. Carver lets his tentacle grope at the floor, feeling for any potential pitfalls.

* Koldobika finds this very, very questionable. But if these other people are willing to display that level of trust, then Kol would shame himself by not following that example.

Wispy - So Kol, how do you talk when it's dark at night? Always wondered why that Flicker thing you flick and flit was a sign language and not a feel language.

* Kaius Alexander stops after taking a dozen paces into the room.

* Tarim stops as soon as he notices that Kaius has done so.

The door closes and you are all plunged into complete darkness.  The room is very cold.  A sweet, female voice addresses you out of the black.

"Welcome to my home, brave warriors," the mellifluous voice says.  "You may call me Lady Fuligina."

Kaius Alexander - I greet you, Lady Fuligina.

* Vetter freezes as soon as the darkness became complete, bottle halfway to his lips.

* Kaius Alexander bows at the waist, though no one can see him.

Kaius Alexander - Allow me to express my appreciation of the elegance of your home.

"Thank you, Kaius Alexander.  I am very proud of it."

* Kaius Alexander inclines his head to Lady Fuligina.

Mr. Carver - Pleased to meet you, at last.  I can understand that it is quite an honour to have a private audience.
Tarim - It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance.

Kryzbytn - Well met, Lady one.

"I know most of your names already - I keep a rather close watch on current events - but three of you I do not know."

* Kryzbytn wonders if she means him.

"The mantid and the two foxfolk.  What may I call you?"

Kryzbytn - I am Kryzbytn; you may call me Kryz if you so desire.

* Kryzbytn, unaware if she can fully see him, gives a stilted bow.

Vetter - Lady, I am Vetter; a flesh-ripper, a gore-spiller, a killer of things. My companion is Koldobika Nthanda, and has no voice of his own.

Mr. Carver '“ One of the foxfolk is mute, as Vetter says, and doubly silenced by the ambient lighting of your chamber. He calls himself Kol.

* Koldobika homes in on the sound of the jatayi. He produces an arrow and makes to attempt to jam the pointy end into the loud bird's rump.

Wispy - Gleeting Gleet Mother of Gleet! The walls are filled with spikes!

* Wispy takes off into the air.

* Koldobika skitters away.

* Wispy may run into someone.

"Calm yourself Cacaphanous-Whisper-of-the-Desert," Lady Fuligina laughs. "The little fox is playing a trick on you.  No traps await you." Her laughter is cold but sensuous.

* Kaius Alexander exhales sharply and turns toward the sounds.

* Tarim frowns at Wispy, though his expression is lost in the darkness.

Wispy - Wha? Is that true? Kol- tell me why would you do something like that? Or was it Vetter?

Vetter - No, Jatayi. Not I. I'm all the way over here... wherever here is.

Wispy - Oh, I see.

* Wispy alights to the ground.

Wispy (mumbling) - It's always the quiet ones, isn't it.

* Kryzbytn is somewhat confused.

* Koldobika grins to himself. Silly loud bird. Loud bird draws all kinds of attention. Loud often draws the wrong attention.

* Vetter almost joins in laughing at Kol and Wispy's antics, but something in the Lady's voice prevents him from feeling quite comfortable enough to. Instead, he nervously sips his madwine.

* Kaius Alexander clears his throat.

"Thus far, I must say,those of you I know of have proved yourselves highly capable.  I was particularly impressed by the way you handled that affair with those troublesome Iridescent Angles."[/b]

Kaius Alexander - And how do you know of that, if I may ask, Lady?

"As I said - I keep a close eye on current events."

Kaius Alexander - I recall impressing very seriously to my companions to never speak of that... particular occurrence. No matter. I do not presume to accuse you of any malicious espionage. I believe we have business to discuss.

* Kryzbytn mandibles twitch excitedly for a moment.

Kryzbytn - Lady one, I am missing something.  Would you have the knowledge of where it has gone?

"Possibly.  I am capable of many things.  First, allow me to tell you what I wish you to do; then we can discuss compensation."

Kryzbytn - Of course.

* Koldobika wonders... this lady seems very smart, and well-informed if not very attentive on her own. Maybe... she would know...?

Tarim (whispering, mostly to himself) - Such command of knowledge... impressive.

Mr. Carver - Well, I take it you didn't invite us here just to flatter us, my lady.

"Indeed, Mr. Carver.

"I am a collector of certain very rare antiquities," Lady Fuligina tells you.  "Artefacts created during what is now called the Forgotten Epoch, or the Aeon of Shadows, long before the Aeon of Dust or even the Aeon of Immolation '“ before the cestoid Imperium, before the Red Ravishing and the Pallid Decimation, before the Membrane Wars and the coming of the Revenants, before the Suppuration and the Conflagration of Moroi, before Abysm gaped like a hungry maw across the desolate south, before the Hecatomb Cities burned in the distant east...  Even the jatayi tell no tales of this time, for there are no histories of the Aeon, only legends: of elder magi and cities that covered continents, of mysterious powers and strange heroes, of pathways through space and time and ships that sailed the endless oceans of night between the stars.  Some say it was a golden age, others that it contained miseries and horrors which put all later cataclysms to shame; perhaps both are true in their own way.  Even the greatest of the Twilight Cities were naught but hovels, if they existed at all.

"Almost nothing of this period survives, of course.  But I have a great interest in obscurities and things others believe lost to the oblivion of time.  I am something of an expert on the era, to the extent that anyone can be, anymore: certainly I know more of the Aeon of Shadows than any other living scholar.  But my collection is far from complete.

"It is my hope that you will aid me in the retrieval of those few relics that remain of the Aeon of Shadows not already in my possession.  I command a great fortune: the rewards for your assistance would be generous.  But the items I desire can be found only in dangerous places, likely guarded by foes more terrible than any you have faced.  Obtaining them would be exceedingly difficult.  Some may be far from the city, in distant and perilous lands.  

"For every item that you bring to me, I am prepared to pay each of you the princely sum of five thousand obeloi.  You will find no better price: not even the most prosperous scrap-dealer could offer such a reward, particularly as the items in question possess little to no practical use, the methods of their operation being long lost.  If they were ever ensorcelled I would imagine the wards upon them have long since ebbed, for even the strongest spells fade with time, and the items are incredibly ancient.  If they still retain some spark of power they would likely be dangerous to use, as the hexes woven into them would have become unstable.

"If there is some other reward you covet more than coin and it is in my power to give it, I will of course be happy to negotiate.

"I understand you may need time to consider my request.  If you wish some time to talk the matter over in private, that is of course your prerogative."

* Kryzbytn reflects upon this.

* Tarim ponders the matter intensely.

Koldobika (Flicker, to the Lady) '“ The Koldobika desires the voice back. The Voice is equivalent value. The value to coin is equivalent.

"I will try my best to grant your request, Koldobika."

* Wispy wonders how the lady could communicate with Koldobika in this dark, but says nothing; Wispy is too busy planning an appropriate punishment for Kol.

Tarim - The offer of gold alone is more than lucrative enough, my lady. But I wonder, would it be within your power to lift, even slightly, the veil of amnesia which sets upon all those who become ghilan?

"Hmm.  I have never heard of such a thing being done, but I shall research the matter.  If it is possible, and within my capabilities, I would certainly grant you such a request, Tarim."

Tarim - In either case, I am interested in your offer, my lady.

Mr. Carver - What I desire can be bought with money, so unless you harbour secrets of ancient fleshweaving I will take the obeloi.

Kaius Alexander - There is nothing for me to consider. A generous sum is offered for the use of my particular talents. I request only transparency in our dealings together.

"In what sense, Kaius?"

Kaius Alexander - In the sense that I do not appreciate being kept in the dark. Figuratively, of course.

"I assure you, I will not conceal anything from you, Kaius.  Figuratively speaking, as you say."

* Kaius Alexander smirks slightly and inclines his head.

Kryzbytn - I do have something I desire, but I fear I can bring no justice to my past without having retrieved it myself. I believe I will stick with the coin.... unless such coin can be spared in favour of knowledge as to where my desire lies.

 Vetter '“ Lady, for five thousand, I'm all yours! I mean... well, that is unless Kol needs me for... well... erm...

Mr. Carver '“ Do you know of the locations of any of these ancient devices you seek?

"My researches have uncovered the possible locations of several, Mr. Carver.  The first items I wish to acquire are a pair of ancient gauntlets, known as the Hand of Mercy and the Hand of Cruelty," Lady Fuligina tells you.  "They are made of adamantine and so will never corrode, and cannot be marred by flame or steel: thus it stands to reason that they may well have survived the otherwise voracious march of time.  One Hand is said to give life, the other to take it away: whatever spells were woven into them are likely unstable, however.  The gauntlets were separated long ago, and their locations thought lost - but I have recovered clues as to their whereabouts."

Kryzbytn - And you say you could point us in the direction of these gauntlets?

"Yes. The Hand of Mercy is the right-hand gauntlet.  The last record pertaining to the gauntlet places it on the hand of a warrior-queen known as the Evisceratress of Dracheen, also called the Mistress of Wounds.  She led an army against the demoniac horde during the Membrane Wars, fighting for nearly three centuries, her body sustained by ancient sorceries and certain arcane drugs, slaying fiends by the dozen with her retinue of Bladebrides, noblewomen who took swords as their husbands and the battlefield for their marriage beds.  She was eventually slain in battle by a nameless arch-demon, some infernal lieutenant of the fell powers, and was buried alongside her fallen Bladebrides in the royal sepulchre somewhere outside Dracheen, the City of Weeping Stones.  The city itself later fell after a lengthy siege, and nothing remains of it now but a few deformed statues and shattered columns in the waste, but the tomb was built underground in a secret location and sealed with ingenious eldritch locks, and may thus have escaped the depredations of looters.  I do not know the exact location of the royal sepulchre, but I have managed to obtain the key to the tomb.  If you were to travel to what little is left of Dracheen - its ruins lie at the southernmost tip of Etiolation, in the desert of Dour Erg - you could search for the sepulchre's entrance.  Unless extremely skilful thieves have since penetrated its halls, the Hand of Mercy should be found within, entombed with its last wearer.

"The Hand of Cruelty is the left-hand gauntlet.  Its final owner lived comparatively more recently than the Evisceratress - he was one of the Sorcerer Lords of the last aeon, a man called Xheen the Profanomancer.  He ruled a kingdom in the west which was swallowed by the Fevered Ocean, but his headquarters, the Citadel of Maledictions, is said to still stand on the island of Blaspheme in the dread Midnight Isles.  Even the corsairs who have strongholds on the Isles fear Blaspheme, a crag of dark rock crowned by the sinister Citadel, for it is said that the Profanomancer's horrific creations still linger on the barren beaches: obscenities-made-flesh, called Anathemites, eldritch manifestations of hatred and castigation somehow given unhallowed physical form, with bodies of filth and mouths which spew vile curses the likes of which have not been uttered by mortal tongues for many centuries.  To reach Blaspheme you would need to travel to Lophius, the City of the Lamprey, and hire a ship - and a courageous, or suicidally mad, crew.  Hopefully, the Hand remains somewhere in Xheen's Citadel of Maledictions: the Sorcerer Lord is said to have perished there, consumed by a metamorphic curse or sickness he contracted during a sojourn into unknown realms, perhaps beyond the bounds of this reality.

"It does not matter to me which Hand you choose to retrieve first.  In either case, a difficult journey lies between you and the gauntlets.  I will, of course, provide you with funds to help accomplish either mission.  The matter is not urgent: neither gauntlet is likely to go anywhere soon.  I recommend you plan each trip carefully; if any other business keeps you in the city for awhile, don't feel you need to leave immediately.  In fact, I urge you to take some time to gather your strength and make all necessary preparations before setting out.

"I must warn you that putting on either gauntlet may be extremely dangerous.  If spells infused in the Hands have indeed begun to unravel, there may be residual eldritch energies pent up inside the gauntlets.  Putting them on would release this energy; the results would be unpredictable, but quite possibly fatal."

Kaius Alexander - And are these the only artefacts you currently have knowledge of?

"There are others, but I have not yet discerned their locations, or whether they still survive."

Kaius Alexander - I see.  I can assure you that I will obtain these items for you at the agreed upon price. Though, as you say, it may take time.

Kryzbytn - If these two gauntlets are to be our first choices, which do we prefer?

Vetter - I used to live in Lophius. Just sayin', if we do take ourselves that way...

Kryzbytn - I've traveled through Dour Erg before...

Vetter - I ain't too preferential, either way.

Kryzbytn - One might think creation the safer choice...

Vetter - Yeah but destruction's more... y'know...

Kryzbytn - ...destructive?

Vetter - Yeah!

Mr. Carver - We are facing either too little water or too much of it, the way I see it. Do you prefer to drown or thirst?

* Vetter shudders at Carver's hypothetical question.

Vetter '“ Drown.

* Vetter takes another long drink to reinforce his response.

Wispy - Thirst! It's difficult to fly in water.

Kryzbytn - Drown. I've thirsted for too long. I hope you will not thirst when the red rains come.

Kaius Alexander - We will research these locations and decide appropriately before we depart.

Mr. Carver - How much time do we, my lady?

"You have as long as you require, Mr. Carver.  I am a patient woman."

Kaius Alexander - You mentioned preparatory funds, Lady Fuligina.

"Indeed.  What do you require?"

Kaius Alexander - As of yet, I could not honestly say. Merely confirming the offer.

Kryzbytn - It would depend on where we wish to venture first, I assume.

Kaius Alexander - You have the right of it, Kryz.

Tarim - We ought to plan this carefully. It is no task to be undertaken lightly.

Wispy - I fully agree with Tarim! The best, for a grand quest, is to rest, and invest; prudently, lest, our lives-end--distressed.

Kaius Alexander - I presume we are welcome to return when we have properly considered our funding requirements.

"Of course."

Kryzbytn - I would like to have my wings back, Lady one.

That can be arranged, Kryzbytn.  I have contacts with the fleshcrafters of the city, and could procure you new wings."

Kaius Alexander - Then, if there is no more to say, we will leave you with our thanks for this... opportunity.

"Thank you for agreeing to assist me.  I anticipate your return.  In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the days leading up to the Feast."  The doors open.

Tarim - It was a pleasure to meet you, my lady. I bid you farewell.

* Tarim bows, not caring that no one can see it.

Kryzbytn - Farewell indeed.

Vetter - Yeah, we'll just go get them gloves for you!

Koldobika (Flicker) - The Koldobika wishes well.

Mr. Carver - Good evening to you, and thank you for your most gracious offer. We look forward to fulfilling our part

* Kaius Alexander inclines his head and proceeds through the doors last of all.

Vetter (as they ascend from the room) '“ Well, I like her.

Tarim - She certainly seems more likeable an employer than the jatayi.

* Koldobika thinks Tarim must be right. Especially if Wispy is any indication of the rest of his people.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on March 22, 2011, 04:20:07 PM

The Grey Twins

The party has just departed the mansion of Lady Fuligina.  You have retrieved your weapons from the guards outside and stand now in Sarcous Square, amidst the hedonistic hubub of Velveteen Circus.

* Kaius Alexander sheathes his sword and holsters his revolver after inspecting both carefully.

* Vetter, having finished his madwine, looks around for somewhere to dispose of the empty bottle.

The bats burst into bright purple flame.

* Mr. Carver carefully sheathes his knives, making sure everything is in place.

Kaius Alexander - It seems now that a great opportunity lies before us, though the retrieval of these artefacts will not be easy.

Mr. Carver - Indeed not.  If something stays hidden for a few millennia I'm pretty certain nothing can get to it easily.

Kaius Alexander - I find myself in agreement, Mr. Carver.

Mr. Carver - I need to see Needlefingers. Should we meet and discuss our employment in the morning?

Tarim - We are in no rush; let us take our time and discuss things through in some suitably pleasant surroundings.

Koldobika (Flicker) - The time is agreed.

Vetter - Kol agrees too.

Vetter, a sewer-drain is evident nearby.  In your current slightly madwine-addled state it flickers into the semblance of a gaping maw with many teeth and a lolling tongue.

* Vetter after gazing a while at the drain, suddenly hurls the bottle into it, then turns swiftly back to the others.

The grotesque "mouth" swallows and burps.  Its belching exhaltion takes the form of a swarm of cyclopean bats.

* Vetter points a finger and "shoots" at the bats as they depart, closing one eye and mouthing "bang."

* Kaius Alexander unties Conveyance and seats himself in the saddle.

Kaius Alexander - Then let us meet at the Blood of Saints upon the morrow.

Vetter - Blood of Saints? Don't know it, whereabouts is it?

Kaius Alexander - In Hexwarren.

Vetter (still squinting against the light of the hallucinatory flame) '“ Hexwarren. Got it.

Mr. Carver - Can't we go somewhere where blood isn't the main beverage for once?

Kaius Alexander - I have never faced difficulty obtaining alternate sustenance at the Blood of Saints.

Fangs - And the barkeep is easy on the eyes, as well.

Mr. Carver - Well, we can't always cater to the ghilan.

Tarim - If you have a better place in mind, do tell us all about it.

Kaius Alexander '“ Indeed '“ if you would suggest an alternate location, Mr. Carver, perhaps it could be brought into consideration.

Mr. Carver - We could meet in the Skin Markets? Plenty of places to eat there.

Wispy - I suggest 'The Rotting Carcass'... It's a good Jatayi Joint!  You can order congealed liver stew.

Mr. Carver - ... you have Jatayi joints in the city? Thought most of your kind preferred the outskirts.

Wispy - Well, it's not RUN by Jatayi.

* Koldobika wonders if the place Wispy is talking about happen to serve Jatayi. As food. That could very well be worth investigating.

Wispy - Basically, the way the place works, is that people who lose in the Arena are ground up and turned into something useful. And it's all fresh meat! Perfect for Jatayi to feast on!  

Tarim - So, if we had lost our little fight against the waxborn, we would have been there that very day?

Wispy '“ It makes you think though... Could we be eating Gorethirst? But thankfully he died weeks ago.

Vetter - Gorethirst?

Wispy - My old best friend. Now all I have is Kryzbytn... who's fun and all, but Gorethrist came first, chronologically.

Mr. Carver - I'd rather not take my chances my feathery friend.  Not only was I fond of the poor leech, I'm also quite sure he is utterly unpalatable.

Kaius Alexander - I find the prospect entirely objectionable. And no, Gorethirst was cremated with the respect he deserved. Perhaps you would know if you had bothered to attend, Bird.

Wispy - I was tied up at the time.

Tarim - Better that he wasn't there. Damn bird would have wanted a bite.

Kaius Alexander - Well, Mr. Carver?

Mr. Carevr '“ How about  the Ribcage? Decent place, good food.

Kaius Alexander - We will meet at The Ribcage, then. If I recall, it is in the Skin Markets.

Mr. Carver - Good memory Kaius. After all, I said the very same thing not half a minute ago

Vetter - The Ribcage, now? Are our minds made up this time?

Tarim - The Ribcage it will be then.

Mr. Carver - The Ribcage. Later.

* Kaius Alexander narrows his eyes at Mr. Carver as he departs.

* Mr. Carver meets his gaze behind darkened optics.

Kaius Alexander - Come, Tarim. We have important business to attend to.

* Kaius Alexander flicks Conveyance's reins.

* Tarim nods to Kaius and departs after him.

Koldobika (Flicker) - The Ribcage is decided.

Vetter - Kol is happy go to the Ribcage.

Wispy - The Ribcage. Has it yet been picked clean?

* Wispy notices everyone is departing. If that is the case, when everyone else heads off, Wispy will grasp his Hellhound in claw and set off with his menagerie to go squat somewhere high.

* Kryzbytn follows the jatayi, amused by the creature's antics.

Vetter (Flicker) - The Koldobika Nthanda knows a sleeping place. The Vetter desires rest.

Koldobika (Flicker) - The Meeting is the Ribcage. The Ribcage is the tavern. The tavern has rooms.

Vetter - (Flicker) The Koldobika Nthanda speaks wisdom.


Kaius and Tarim are heading back to Worm-Hive following the meeting with Lady Fuligina.

* Kaius Alexander looks for a scroll vendor, searching for a spell to decipher the magister Orlando Petrifax's arcana.

You stop by a shade scroll-vendor.  The wizened, mummified creature gladly sells you a scroll to decipher eldritch texts.

* Kaius Alexander nods silently and hands over the requisite obeloi.

Tarim - An interesting purchase. If you don't mind my curiosity, I didn't take you for one to meddle in the eldritch crafts.

Kaius Alexander - Ah. I have developed a... recent interest.

The pair enter Worm-Hive.  The streets of the grave-spawn district are unusually busy, especially after nightfall.  Black and red festival banners flutter in the dry, muttering winds.

Kaius Alexander - Will you be participating in the upcoming... festivities, Tarim?

Tarim - The festival does not interest me much.

Kaius Alexander - No? I suppose you are not a native of this city, after all.

* Tarim nods.

Tarim - I have only been here for a few years so far.

You enter a deserted street.  Kaius, you hear what sounds like a female scream coming from down a side alley some distance ahead.

* Kaius Alexander cocks his head at the noise.

Tarim - Is something the matter?

As you both draw nearer another shriek cuts through the night. "Help!  Help!"

Kaius Alexander - That.

Kaius Alexander - I suppose we should investigate.

* Tarim grabs his rifle and loads it.

Kaius Alexander - If it is a trick, the trickster will rue this day.

* Kaius Alexander dismounts from Conveyence and ties the giant lizard to a lamp-post.

Tarim - I would rather not get mixed up in random street fights. But I'll watch your back if you must investigate.

* Kaius Alexander inclines his head and proceeds down the alleyway.

* Tarim follows a few paces behind Kaius.

A thuggish human with a flintlock pistol menaces a slender ghul woman here.  The grave-spawn is backed up against a dead end.

Tarim - A mugging in action. How charming.

Kaius Alexander - Why are you threatening this woman?

* Kaius Alexander says as he draws his blade.

The thug turns.  "This ain't yer business."

Kaius Alexander - Isn't it?  It appears to have become my business, now that I am here.

Tarim - I'm afraind my armoured friend has a habit of making things his business.

The man turns his flintlock towards you.  "Back off or I'll put a bullet tween yer eyes."

* Kaius Alexander snorts derisively and lowers his visor.

* Tarim takes cover behind Kaius, leveling his rifle at the thug.

Kaius Alexander - I will ask you to leave. But this is your final chance.

The thug grunts and fires, but his bullet goes wide.  He hastily begins reloading.

* Kaius Alexander charges at the man, blade sweeping wide.
The thug abruptly vanishes, turning into wisps of pale smoke as your blade touches him.  The ghul woman stops screaming and gives you a sharp-toothed grin.

* Kaius Alexander stops abruptly.

Kaius Alexander - Not unanticipated.  Foolish of you, to lure your own death, witch.

Tarim, you hear a footstep behind you.

* Tarim spins around and ducks, firing his rifle blindly at the direction of the sounds.

Another ghul with identical features to the grave-spawn woman in front of you bears down on you from the mouth of the alley with a pair of wicked-looking katara.  Unlike her twin this ghul is garbed in tight-fitting manskin-leather armour.  Tarim's bullet whines over her head.

The woman at the dead end speaks a word of numinous power and a disembodied, phantasmal hand, clawed and tinted crimson, manifests before her, floating above the ground.  Meanwhile her twin launches herself at Tarim, her weapons flickering.  Tarim pulls backwards, and the assassin's blade slashes his thigh.

* Kaius Alexander leaps towards the balde-wielding assassin, dodging around Tarim, his sword raised.  

Your blade is parried, but you parry her riposte and counter-attack, slashing the ghul's torso!  The grave-spawn woman grunts.

The spectral hand claws at Kaius as the witch chants an incantation, but the warrior's sudden leap means that it only grasps air.

* Tarim hisses at the ghul woman and carefully unleashes a hex.  Four Tarim duplicates suddenly crowd the alleyway.

The katara-wielding assassin launches a frenzied counterattack, but her weapons bounce off Kaius' armour.

* Kaius slashes viciously, trying to end the fight quickly.

The ghul warrior leaps backwards, avoiding your blow.

* Tarim backs away from the assassin and turns his attention on the witch. With a echoing command word he unleashes a crackling stream of black puissance, shooting forth from his clawed fingers at the ghul.

The witch stumbles backwards, shrieking as the black energy courses along her body.  She chants another hex, and the claw makes to strike Tarim, but he fends it off with the butt of his rifle.

Her twin considers Kaius carefully and makes a sudden, precise jab.

* Kaius Alexander manages to block the blow just in time using his heavy shield.

Kaius Alexander - It seems you have chosen your prey carelessly.

* Kaius Alexander continues to attack, lunging and slashing.

Once again she ducks under your blade.

* Tarim ignores the claw and points his rifle at the witch, releasing a shot.

Your bullet hits the witch in the kneecap and she falls to the gruond, cursing.  Her claw makes yet another swipe at you, but it is wavering '“ perhaps disoriented by its controller's wound.

* Tarim easily avoids it.

Tarim - You should only prey on those who are weaker than you.

* Kaius Alexander skillfully parries one of the ghul's swift blows and hammers through the assassin's defenses with a vicious overhead chop, half-decapitating her.

Her corpse slumps to the ground.  The witch-twin screams hideously.

* Kaius Alexander flicks the blood from his blade and turns.

* Tarim steps closer to his target and aims, his decorated stare devoid of mercy.

* Tarim pulls the trigger, and the smokign barrel of his rifle roars again.

Your bullet takes the woman through the chest, and she collapses, blood sluggishly trickling from her lips.  She slides down the wall, leaving a bloody trail.  The red claw shimmers and vanishes into the aether.

* Kaius Alexander sheathes his sword.

Kaius Alexander - These two were of some skill.

Tarim - A simple plan to ambush foolish would-be heroes.  Should have predicted that.

Kaius Alexander - I have been caught in similar circumstances before.

Tarim - In that case, all the more reason you should have seen this coming.

Kaius Alexander - If you will recall, I did raise the possibility. You did not have to enter the alley, though I appreciate that you did. We were never in any true danger.

Tarim - Sometimes the only difference between true danger and no danger at all is but the slightest stroke of luck.

* Kaius Alexander begins searching the corpse of the katar wielder.

* Tarim likewise inspects the corpse of the fallen witch.

Apart from the two masterfully made katar you find a small dagger round the woman's neck, very distinctive - damacsened in a reddish colour, serrated, and inscribed with curious glyphs.  You also find twenty five obeloi.  The woman wore a suit of leather armour.  As for the witch, Tarim, you find an identical dagger round her neck, as well as a grimoire, thirty four obeloi, and a syringe of golden liquid.

* Kaius Alexander examines the dagger curiously.

* Kaius Alexander holds it up.

Kaius Alexander - Do you know what this is, Tarim?

* Tarim examines the blade.

The blades are not demoniac in nature.  The glyphs on the blade seem to a prayer to the Bloodletter, patron of murderers and assassins.

Tarim - A sacred blade, it appears. Refers to the Cult of the Bloodletter.

Kaius Alexander - The Bloodletter? Perhaps this was no happenstance.

Tarim - Assassins, then. Not common muggers.

Kaius Alexander - It seems not.

Tarim - Could it be they were after us?

Kaius Alexander - I suspect that is a strong possibility.

Tarim - Well, we better ask them.

Kaius Alexander - Hah. So we shall.

* Tarim digs into his bag and produces the Collar of Cadaverous Communication.

* Kaius Alexander raises his visor and leans up against the alley wall

* Tarim places the collar on the neck of the dead executioner.

Tarim - Speak, corpse!

The collar activates, and the corpse reanimates.  Blood gushes from the woman's half-severed neck stump.

"Bloodletter dine on your soul!"  She rasps, her speech partially impaired by her wound.

Tarim - You sought our death but we had the better of you. What enticed you to attack us?

"You were our target.  One of the Cult patrons wishes you dead: we were following our sacred orders."

Tarim - Do you know the name of the patron?

"Only the high priests know such secrets."

Tarim - Were the two of us the only targets? Or were there others?

"The one called Gorethirst - but it has been slain already, by the accursed Servius Izar..."

Kaius Alexander - How did you track us, assassin?

"You make a lot of noise, warmbody.  It was an easy matter.  A few hexes to conceal us were all that was necessary.  We have been tracking you for some while."

Kaius Alexander - Interesting. Specifically what length of time?

You hear footsteps distantly.  It sounds like someone is coming round the street-corner.

* Tarim quickly removes the collar.

* Kaius Alexander exhales in frustration.

A militia patrol rounds the corner - they have been stepped up in the days leading up to the Feast.  This patrol consists of four quick humans with a shade Captain in full armour, the little visible flesh of its host-body stained with preservatives.  Behind the squad follows a scuttling corpse-thing, an exotic grave-spawn servitor created by fleshcraft.  A grisly patchwork, the sigil-covered thrall possesses the body of a horse but has the upper body of a leechkin sutured to its neck.  A pair of additional arms terminating in flails sprout from the creature's chest.

Kaius Alexander - I suppose we should go.

Tarim '“ Indeed.

* Tarim grabs the items from the witch and makes off.

* Kaius Alexander takes the katars and obeloi of the assassin.

* Kaius Alexander remounts Conveyance.

* Tarim also hops on the lizard's back.

The patrol slowly heads down the street while you hurriedly make your escape.  With any luck they won't notice the bodies in the alley.

The Watchdog at the Witch's Gate howls in the night.

Tarim - There will be more assassins. We'll better get to the bottom of this, but I think we have won a bit of time for now.

* Kaius Alexander grunts.

Kaius Alexander - And now we can return to the business at hand. It was at least an enlightening detour.

You're well out of danger now - the patrol is long lost.  You come to a fork in the streets - Tarim's dwelling is nearby, and the Tower of Moans is in the other direction.

Kaius Alexander - Do you require anything from your residence, Tarim?

Tarim - I should sort my hexes.

Kaius Alexander - Very well.

Tarim - This will take a while. You may come inside if you wish to wait, or we could meet later.

Kaius Alexander '“ Then make your way to the Tower of Moans come the morning. I will await you there. There are preperations I can make in the meantime.

* Tarim nods.

Tarim - I will meet you at the Tower then.

* Kaius Alexander inclines his head to Tarim as they part ways.

* Tarim enters his dwelling to go through his scrolls and grimoires, as well as to catch some much needed rest.

* Kaius Alexander returns to the Tower of Moans and sleeps for the requisite three hours.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on March 22, 2011, 07:21:56 PM

Out of Character

Wispy and Kryzbytn discuss their macabre culinary tastes...

Enter Two Clowns

Meanwhile, Wispy and Kryz find an abandoned temple in the southern part of Hexwarren.  They ascend the half-ruinous shrine's central spire and prepare to sleep in the belfry.  From here the city spreads out below them in all its scintillating grotesquery '“ the lights of Pulsetown, the grim spires of Worm-Hive, the pestilential slums to the east, the glistening ghetto of the hagmen to the south.

Wispy - Best to enjoy for the moment Kryz - feel free to take the chance to piss on any buildings you think are particularly ugly... or people you don't like.

Kryzbytn - Thank you, bird one, but I'm content to enjoy this experience without the need for excrement.

Wispy - Ah well, different cultures; different pleasures.

Kryzbytn - What is your culture like, bird one? I am curious.  I have seen few of your kind before.

Wispy - What aspect of the culture do you wish to know? There are many great facets of my people!  If you stacked them up, they'd be higher than this steeple!

* Kryzbytn ponders.

Kryzbytn - Indeed? This very steeple? That does seem high.

Wispy - Truth, this steeple, from which we can see many people.

Kryzbytn - Hmm'¦ Do your people like meat?

Wispy - Meat is what we eat; the rotting carrion off the street.

Kryzbytn - We mantid enjoy tearing into fresher meats... carrion, you say? Surely the taste has soured by then!

Wispy - It takes a good chef to get things right '“ to prepare the indentations, to preserve the meat, yet repel disease-filled maggots... some maggots are acceptable, and indeed they add texture; but not the disease-carrying ones. Several jatayi have been felled due to improperly preserved uncooked carrion. The taste certainly can sour; but not with fresh-killed uncooked meat! If aged well, it tastes like wine to the connoseiur; but sadly, most meat does not age properly.  When you say 'fresher meals'... do you mean cooked or uncooked, my friend?

Kryzbytn - Either or.  I prefer uncooked, myself, but I usually eat it right when it's fresh.

Wispy - Ah, then I think you will be pleased with our productions. I would be more than glad to introduce you to a fine jatayi dish, when the opportunity presents.

Kryzbytn - Intriguing, bird one... I my be willing to try such a dish. Bring it to me alive and kill it in front of me so I may savor the life-giving juices.

Wispy - Hm. Kryz, for the best meats that may be difficult to do in a place of civilization; while we do enjoy to gobble all manner of creatures, the best-tasting bits '“ human, leech, and even the fine flesh of the zerda '“ are often difficult to dispose of in a legal fashion; we usually await their normal expiration.

Kryzbytn - Fascinating. I'll admit I have never tasted the flesh of a zerda... coming from the Firesong Marches I have tasted sandray, however.

Wispy - Ah, the shaik-toruch; but they cannot have tasted that fine; if you did not partake of any after we defeated them in battle, no?

Kryzbytn - I was not hungry at the time, bird one. I only eat when is necessary; to overindulge would be to spoil myself when true hunger arrives.

Wispy - How would you rate the shaik-toruch, compared to other meats?

Kryzbytn - Hmm, I would say they are good to dine upon every once in a while, but they have a stringy consistency...

Wispy - I once ate one of those creatures, my mother preserved it for me '“ nasty things and nasty taste; but the gorefly husks were a bit of a delicacy when aged thirty days and buried in sand. I would never consider eating certain meats if they are preserved longer than several days; but goreflies - goreflies and several delicacies can be aged.

Kryzbytn - I have savored the fine flesh of a human right as I slew him... I had not had human before... I admit it was quite savory.  He was taken by the Red Rains, so I slew him with my Perforator. Nearly starved, I opted to feast upon his remains. It turns out he was of more use dead than alive.

* Kryzbytn chitters a humorous chitter.

* Wispy salivates.

Wispy - Only zerda-flesh and a few other delicacies are better than humanmeat.

Kryzbytn - You must wait for the Red Rains to dry out of the body, though, lest you become blood-crazed yourself.

Wispy - Ah, then I am surprised that you found it tasty - since you mentioned you only enjoyed fresh kills?

Kryzbytn - Again, I was starving, so my options were limited. No meat or old meat '“ I elected to take the latter.

Wispy - I suppose then that I should not be surprised that you enjoyed human meat; given its quality '“ and the Red Rains must have lovingly dessicated it '“ like a drymeat locker.

Kryzbytn - It was... one might say... to die for.

* Kryzbytn chitters again.

As the pair turn in for sleep, the Watchdogs begin to howl.  Up in the exposed belfry the pair barely gets a wink of sleep: the gigantic grave-spawn dogs' barks echo off the black bell, keeping the jatayi and the mantid from sound slumber.  They awake fatigued and groggily make for the Ribcage.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on March 23, 2011, 02:34:33 PM

Deal with a Devil

As for Kol and Vetter, the two zerda head to the Skin Markets and enter the Court-of-Bone.  This ward of the Skin Markets smells the least of the four.  Bone weapons and armour are sold here in abundance, some even of the rare ur-fossil mined from the northern Slouching-devil Mountains.  Other merchants sell trinkets of carved bone, talismans and fetishes to cure ailments or provide other effects - though some of these may actually work many are just as likely to be charlatan's fabrications.  Scattered about the sides of the Court are dice halls and taverns, including The Ribcage, Death's Gambit, and The Reaper's Luck.

The Ribcage stands to one side of the Court-of-Bones.  Inside is a low, rather dim room; one half is dominated by long eating tables, the other by dicing tables.  The proprietor is a rather bony shade in a grease-spattered apron.  A couple of human and ghilan serving-girls bring round drinks and food - predominantly, ribs.  A stairway leads to the rooms upstairs.

Vetter (to the proprietor) - Evenin' squire. How much for a room?

"Two obeloi a night, for a single room, three for a double. That doesn't include food."

* Koldobika observes the interior of the place with wary, at first. However, depsite everything, the food seems to smell quite good. While he is too short to easily see the food passing by, his keen nose is not going to let him be oblivious to it.

Vetter (Flicker) - The Koldobika Nthanda desires the double room.

Koldobika (Flicker) - The Koldobika agrees to the Vetter.

Vetter - Alright, we'll take a double room for the night. How much would breakfast be, then?

Koldobika (Flicker, to the Bartender) - The Koldobika desires the food. The cost is unknown.

The shade's fingers move rapidly.  "The shade Illister will give the zerda lodgers the double room.  Breakfast is one obelus apiece for paying guests."

Vetter - Very reasonable. What about a quick bite before bed, how much might that be?

"Two bones for dinner," the shade says, returning to Shambles.

By the way, Vetter, the madwine is beginning to wear off, but you're pretty sure the imps hanging from the chandeleier and recitig mock-epic nonesense poetry probably aren't real.

Koldobika (Flicker) - The cost is agreed. The Koldobika wishes the dinner.

Vetter (Flicker, to Kol) - The Koldobika Nthanda buys the dinner. The Vetter buys the room. The Vetter buys the breakfast.

* Koldobika produces the bones from one of his numerous pouches '“ at least the rural fox-folk seems wise enough to not keep his money all in one place.

Koldobika (Flicker, to Vetter) - The division is equal. The share is agreed.

You sit down and order food and drink - a rich black stout and spice-slathered ribs.

* Vetter carefully inspects the ribs when they arrive, to make sure they are what they appear to be.

* Vetter, when he is satisfied, begins to eat with great enthusiasm, pausing only to knock back long gulps of the beer.

* Koldobika does not even pause to examine the food - his nose tells him it is good, and so he digs in immediately.

* After their meal the two zerda turn in for the night.


While the foxfolk feast, Kaius and Tarim fight for their lives, and Wispy and Kryzbytn debate the culinary merits of rancid meat, Mr. Carver makes for the Emporium of Metamorphoses in Hexwarren.

Needlefingers greets you, wringing his decliate hands.

"So, Mr. Carver?  Are the fleshtrees safe?"

Mr. Carver - Oh yes, last time I saw them. You haven't heard from our common friend Hallowcrust?

"He probably sent word to the Consortium directly: I am sure they'll notify me."

Mr. Carver - Ah, but I do hope my word will suffice for now. After all, we did have a little agreement, no?

"Of course!  Would you like your augmentation now?"  The fleshcrafter gestures to the glass display case with its organic wares, carefully preserved.

Mr. Carver - Anything new on display I should know about? I have been thinking of getting rid of some of all these pesky human senses. They really aren't what they could be.

"A few bits and pieces.  A naghini's tongue: it would allow you to taste the very air; the scales of a saurian beast from the Shadowglass Steppes, resistant to flame.  Or perhaps the ears of a gigantic bat from the Gloom Coast?"

Mr. Carver - Hmm, those sound very interesting. Tasting the air sounds like an experience no one should be without, really. Will it impede my speech?

"It may take some getting-used-to, and for awhile your s's may be a bit hissed, but in time that should disappear."

Mr. Carver - That does sound like something I could live with.  Do you have anything on stock for twenty-five hundred bones?

"Several items.  These talons might do," Needlefingers says, gesturing to a set of long, black claws currently placed atop the fingers of a mannequin.  "Or perhaps you would like a reptile's fangs to go with your new tongue?"

Mr. Carver - Hah, let's take the transformation one step at the time. How much for the talons?

"For you - twenty-five hundred will be quite sufficient.  Alternatively, I have a lovely selection of very shapely limbs."

Mr. Carver - Do you sell functional arms for twenty-five hundred?

"With your frequent-customer discount I certainly do!  Less than that in fact."

Mr. Carver - What about legs?

"Hmm, I have a pair of mantid legs you might be intrigued by..."

Mr. Carver - I think I will take the claws and the naghini tongue.  Pray tell, what manner of creature did you take the claws from?

"The claws originally belonged to some strange species of ape-like beast found in the Slouching-devil Mountains, I believe - or that's what my supplier told me.  Now, shall we proceed to the grafting-table?"

* Mr. Carver makes a flourish with his hand.

Mr. Carver - Show the way, dear Doctor.

Needlefingers conveys you to his work-room and sets to work.  You slip into a deep, drugged sleep.  By morning, you are newly equipped with a forked, serpentine tongue and a set of long, cruved claws that could dig into rock.  Your sense of smell is now augmented with a profusion of subtle new tangs and acridities.  The tissue-shop room now reeks of formalin, rubbing alchohol, and the distinctive ozone smell of numina.

* Mr. Carver laughs and revels in the new experience.

"Everything looks to be in working order!  Thank you again for your assistance, Mr. Carver."

Mr. Carver - It was no trouble. I must say Doctor, good work. This is quite astonishing. My profound thanks for your expeditious surgery.

"You are a pleasure to work on.  Please, don't hesitate to stop by again."

Mr. Carver - Trust me, I won't. Just have to secure the funds.

* Mr. Carver smirks at Needlefingers.

* Mr. Carver then puts on his hat and optics and leaves the Emporium.


Early next morning, Kaius Alexander attempts to make sense of the notes he found in the Tower of Moans, but being unskilled in the arcane arts he finds himself struggling to decode their more esoteric passages, and makes little progress.  As he puzzles over this morass of occult lore, he hears a knock at the door.

* Kaius Alexander grits his teeth and goes to unlock the door.

Kaius Alexander - Tarim.

Tarim - Greetings Kaius.

Tarim, inside the Tower is a large foyer, sparely decorated.  A spiral staircase of wrought iron leads both up and down into the earth. A clockwork drone scuttles down the stairs and begins picking up bits of detritus.

Tarim - Quite a nice place you've acquired.

Kaius Alexander - I am hopeful that this will not consume too much of your time. Welcome to my home, such as it is. The previous occupants were not putting it to much use. Come. This way.

Tarim - Lead the way.

* Kaius Alexander shows Tarim to the texts of Orlando Petrifax.

The texts are incredibly old, but some ward as well as alchemical preservatives are preventing them from disintegrating. The notes are very extensive and somewhat rambling, and appear to mostly relate to fleshcraft, though some sections also discuss demonology.

Kaius Alexander - A demon resides in my basement, bound by the magicks of the Magister Petrifax. I wish to harness his power. I have puzzled over these works for many hours, but have not found the key.

Tarim - Impressive. The previous dweller was a witch of repute?

Kaius Alexander - The creator of the Watchdogs of Macellaria, I am told.

Tarim - Indeed? That is quite reamarkable, to say the least

Kaius Alexander - Yes.

* Tari carefully reads through some of the notes.

Tarim - How curious. Do you have any idea what these passages contain, Kaius?

Kaius Alexander - Most of what I managed to decipher related to the Magister's works of fleshcraft. Impressive, but not what I sought.

Tarim - Oh, but there's much more than just fleshcraft herein.

* Kaius Alexander places the collar and chain on the table.

Kaius Alexander - I located this method of binding. But without the key word of power, it is useless for my purposes.

Tarim - Hm, looks like a Skein demon-collar.

Kaius Alexander - Yes. I have seen the like myself in years past.

Tarim - Anyway. Hidden within the cryptic phrases of the text is a True Name of a demon - a most valuable resource.

Kaius Alexander - Oh? Elaborate.

Tarim - There is power to true names; the power to bind and command.

Kaius Alexander - Hmm.

Tarim - Armed with such knowledge, a witch might capture the demon with far greater ease than would be normally required.

Kaius Alexander - Do not think I ask you to reveal this name to me for no gain to yourself. I would of course make the services of this demon available to yourself upon request.

* Kaius Alexander produces the key.

* Kaius Alexander lays his hand on the demon collar on the table.

Kaius Alexander - Are you not amenable to such an arrangement, Tarim?

Tarim - It is a tempting offer. But there are risks involved. Should thedemon be released for any reason, it may decide to take revenge.

Kaius Alexander - Possible. It has assured me to the contrary, though demons are known to be treacherous creatures. It is my assessment that the benefits outweigh the potential risks.

Tarim - Perhaps I should see this creature for myself before I make my decision.

Fangs - Speaking for us demons - we're not as unreasonable as most mortals suppose.  Can you offer the creature anything in return for its service?

* Kaius Alexander turns to the familiar.

Kaius Alexander - It has only asked me to allow it to exit the chamber it is currently bound within.

Fangs - Seems a reasonable request.  How long has this thing been trapped down there?

Kaius Alexander - Several hundred years at the least.

Tarim - Interesting. It desires freedom, and you would offer it servitude?

Kaius Alexander - You mistake my words, Tarim. Freedom from the chamber, be that in my service, or not.

Tarim - It could be a reasonable deal, then. The demon should think that it would be free by your death, if not given or sold to another master.

Fangs - Perhaps if you offered it complete freedom after a period of service, or upon completion of a certain task?

Kaius Alexander - I had such an arrangement in mind already. I do not wish to enslave such a creature for the length of my life. Let us proceed below; little more will be gained by our discussion.

* Tarim nods.

* Kaius Alexander picks up the collar and chain, and his bullseye lantern.

You descend the Tower of Moans' spiralling steps to the glyph-graven door underground.  Using the key you found you open this door; inside, the demon Pellucid, translucent-fleshed and tentacle-haired, awaits within.  It turns the pages of an ancient tome with its long, delicate claws. Tarim, you recognize the sigils carved on the floor of this chamber as potent wards of binding.

* Tarim eyes the demon curiously, slowly moving across the chamber.

Kaius Alexander - I have returned as promised, Pellucid. I trust you found your reading material satisfactory?

"Indeed.  You have my gratitude, Kaius Alexander.  I see you have brought guests with you."

Kaius Alexander - I have. Tarim is an associate of mine, here to consult with me on the matter of your binding.

"You may call me Pellucid, Tarim; a pleasure to make your acquaintance."  The demon bows with exquisite courtesy.

Tarim - You have my greetings. Tell me, Pellucid, what service were you of to the previous master of this tower?

"My services were manifold.  I functioned as his bodyguard, confidant, advisor, and occasional mentor in certain obscure demoniac sorceries.  I helped him design some of his more unique creations, when diabolism was involved.'

Tarim - These creations interest me. I would hear more about them, and of your aid in it.

"The arcane sciences involved are quite complex, but judging from the marks on your flesh you are a witch of some skill yourself.  Perhaps I could teach you."  The demon pauses and looks towards Kaius Alexander.  'So, Kaius.  Have you come to a decision regarding my emancipation?"

Kaius Alexander - Yes, Pellucid. I have. The value presented by your talent is simply too great to discard, when I consider my present circumstances.

"I quite understand: it would be naive of me to expect my freedom.'

Kaius Alexander '“ I am no slavemaster. I propose to bind you to my service for the duration of one year less one day. I suspect by such a time, my position will be more secure, and your services will not be required. You will be free.

"I see.  And if you violate this covenant, what recourse would I have?  Will you swear a blood oath on it?"

Kaius Alexander - I will, if that is necessary. So too would I ask you to swear to refrain from any and all forms of treachery, so long as I shall uphold my oath.

"Of course.  Shall we do this the old fashioned way, with a written contract signed in crimson, or are you of a more modernist persuasion - shall an oral covenant suffice?"

Kaius Alexander - I trust that you will uphold your end, if you so too trust me, I will not require your blood.

Pellucid bows again.  "Sensible, but some vital essence must be shed as collateral, or else the contract will not be binding, even if it is an oral one."

Kaius Alexander - And what essence do you propose?

"Blood is the most convenient vehicle for such essence: medium of life, of the soul.  One might put up one's sanity, or one's memories, as alternative collateral.

Kaius Alexander - It seems then, that it must be blood after all.

Tarim - It appears that an agreement between you has been reached? My own interest lies in the acquisition of knowledge. If that shall be sated, then I shall render any assistance necessary to enable this pact.

* Kaius Alexander nods to Tarim.

Kaius Alexander - Render unto me the necessary words, Tarim. And let us be done with this.

Tarim - Let us exit the chamber.

Kaius Alexander - Very well. We will return, Pellucid.

* Kaius Alexander leaves and closes the door behind them.

* Tarim follows Kaius.

* Tarim draws near to the Insomnolent-become-Revenant and carefully recites Pellucid's True Name.

The intricate Hellspeak syllables uncoil within your mind, searing themselves into your consciousness.

* Kaius Alexander nods to himself.

Tarim - Guard that name carefully, Kaius. It is not one to be uttered lightly

Kaius Alexander - I thank you for this knowledge, Tarim. Wait without for me.

Tarim - I would assist in the binding.  I am, after all, a practiced demonologist: I can ensure that the covenant is sound.

* Kaius Alexander once again enters the binding chamber.

Kaius Alexander - If you insist.

Tarim - The decision is yours, but I advice carefulness in such dealings.

* Kaius Alexander draws a dagger as he enters the binding-room.

* Tarim enters the chamber after Kaius.

Kaius Alexander - Pellucid. In return for a period of service no less and no more than one year and one day, I pledge to release you from the wards that bind you, and accept you into my service. Service you will render unto me without question or complaint, with utter conviction.

* Tarim, standing back, observes the ceremony keenly.

The demon speaks in its native tongue: "I, Pellucid, agree to aforesaid terms and conditions, and swear to abstain from any treacherous dealings, on the condition of my emancipation at the agreed-upon time, on penalty of contracting the Wasting Curse of Rghoir."

The demon sheds a drop of its blood; the black fluid drips into the sigils on the floor, filling the grooves and channels.

Kaius Alexander - And if I should violate the terms of this agreement, may my blood boil within my own veins, may the very breath be stolen from my lungs, and may my flesh be rent unto my death.

* Kaius Alexander runs the dagger swiftly down his palm; a trail of crimson dripping onto the floor.

Your blood mingles with the demon's.

* Kaius Alexander approaches Pellucid and unlocks the collar, preparing to place it upon the demon's neck.

Kaius Alexander - And so I speak your True Name, and accept you into my service.

* Kaius Alexander speaks the True Name.

* Tarim too whispers the demon's True Name, echoing Kaius' words.  He channels numina, imbuing the covenant with binding arcane power, and so seals the contract.

The creature bows its neck, its eyes glittering.  As you speak it's true name it's eyes widen briefly - it had not antipicated this.  The collar closes round Pellucid's neck.  The demon instantly regains its composure.

* Kaius Alexander leaves the Tower of Moans with Pellucid in tow.

* Tarim follows the strange pair.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: LD on March 23, 2011, 03:19:30 PM
"Enter Two Clowns" :D

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: TheMeanestGuest on March 23, 2011, 04:26:34 PM
A slight monkeywrench in your plans, Steerpike. Kaius actually can speak Hellspeak, as he took it as a language from the languages skill last level. But you didn't know that! So I can forgive you.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on March 23, 2011, 04:58:52 PM
Ah, whoops.  I'll change things back.

I guess Fangs or Tarim probably taught Kaius the language, then?  Or perhaps did he study it while working on his armour?

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on March 29, 2011, 12:08:40 PM

The Ribcage

The party meets at the Ribcage, in the Court-of-Bone.  The two zerda are already present, eating a breakfast of ostrich eggs and bacon.

Vetter - Mornin' all.

Kryzbytn - Good morning.

* Kaius Alexander's armour clanks and ticks, but he remains silent. Pellucid stands at his side, collar secured about his neck.

* Kryzbytn subtly admires his craftsmanship.

The demon Pellucid is a strange, elegant creature, neither masculine nor feminine.  Its limbs are slender but powerful, its body lithe, its head long, its fingers and toes bearing many digits.  The creature posseses huge curving horns, long claws, and sharp fangs; also, its scalp bristles with hair-like tendrils which wave faintly as if with a life of their own.  Perhaps the most unsettling feature of the being is its flesh, which is translucent, revealing muscles and unfamiliar organs beneath.

* Kaius Alexander seats himself at the table.

* Tarim enters wearing a new set of clothes on him, Fangs riding on his left shoulder.

Tarim '“ Greetings.

Kaius Alexander - To you as well, Tarim.

* Tarim takes a seat and casually waves summon a waitress to the table.

Kaius Alexander - And Mr. Carver, it seems you grow more grotesque each time we meet.

Mr. Carver - Kaius, we can't all be pale and hide behind steel. Besides, grotesque suits me.

Kryzbytn - Is that a new tongue?

Mr. Carver - Oh it is, my chitinous colleague. And a great one at that. A recommendable experience all in all.

Vetter (between mouthfuls) - What... is that?

* Vetter points to Pellucid.

The demon Pellucid has been very observant on the way to the eatery, taking in every sight it can, though it remains silent unless spoken to.

Kaius Alexander - This is Pellucid, a new associate of mine.

The demon bows low.

* Kryzbytn cocks his head, curious.

* Koldobika stares at the demon. It is not the first peculiar creature he has seen, but he is somewhat surprised to see it suddenly in their company.

Vetter - You have interesting taste in, er, "associates," Kaius.

Kaius Alexander - I judge a being by its efficacy and merit.

Kryzbytn - Its inner workings are astounding.

Oney sniffs at Pellucid curiously, then begins to mount the demon's leg.  The chained familiar steps away in disgust, its chain rattling.

Vetter - Do you now? Ain't that just lovely.

Kaius Alexander - Bird, control your beast.

Wispy - I don't hear any objection from the demon?  And if no one says anything, then that's a yes!  Isn't that how it is for humans?

Kaius Alexander - I will tell you once more to control your beast, Bird. Lest I do so myself.

"You should get that creature fixed, bird-man," Pellucid advises, shooting the hellhound a dark look.

Wispy - Oh, well, gleet. That's a no then. Oney, the lady said no.

* Wispy sadly shakes his head.

* Kaius Alexander places his hand on the hilt of his sword and glares at the hellhound.

* Koldobika wonders why the bird is still present, in that case...

* Vetter ignores the commotion and finishes the last of his breakfast.

* Koldobika continues munching happily on breakfast, watching the antics continue around him.

Wispy - Really? You've got an eye on it it already, Kaius.

* Kryzbytn spears a piece of food on his scythe arm, examines it, then rapidly gobbles it up in his mandibular mouth.

* Vetter shoots Kryz a dark look as he filches the food, but decides to say nothing and simply finish what he has left.

* Koldobika really doesn't mind sharing a small portion of his food. Being a small creature-- and with plenty of food in the city '“ he would suffer no harm by sharing a small bit. If asked.

* Kryzbytn feeling guilty looks at Koldobika, but finds himself at a loss as to what to say to ask for another bite.

Koldobika (Flicker, aimed at Kryz) '“ The hungry order food.

* Kryzbytn cocks his head at Koldobika.

* Vetter translates for Kryz.

* Kryzbytn makes a mental note to pick up some basic Flicker signs, then turns to order some food.

* Wispy also orders a dish- a recently killed rat - if possible.

* Wispy also orders something for Oney.

The shade wanders over.  "If that beast causes trouble, it'll have to wait outside," he says to Wispy.  The grave-spawn takes care not to step into the light streaming in through the windows.

Mr. Carver - Illister! A serving of ribs over here if you will.  If you sserve them thiss early.

"Coming right up, Carver!  Looks like you've made some new additions to the 'ol carcass, eh?"

Mr. Carver - Well, the old parts weren't doing me much good, pal.

Tarim - Make that some of your better stuff. And a cup of blood-wine to go with it.

Kaius Alexander - Pellucid, feel free to join us and sit. Do you wish any sustenance?

"I do not require mortal foodstuffs.  My tastes are a bit more particular. If it is all the same to you, I shall stand."

Kaius Alexander - Very well.

* Kaius Alexander orders a loaf of bread.

Mr. Carver - What does he eat. Souls?

Pellucid looks at Mr. Carver.  "In layman's terms - something like that."

Mr. Carver - And here I thought you were a prude, Kaius. Now I find you are a diabolist! A surprising turn of events.

Kaius Alexander - I do not see it as such.

Mr. Carver - You have a bound demon; how does that not make you a diabolist?

Kaius Alexander - I do not see it as surprising, was my meaning.

A server arrives with food and drink.

* Kaius Alexander tears hunks off his loaf of bread and eats them.

Vetter (leaning back in his seat after licking his plate clean) - Pellucid, are you a demon?

"That is correct, beastling, although I dislike that term.  I am native to a dimension neighbouring this shabby excuse fore a reality, what your kind would call one of the 'Hells.'"

Vetter - Well, I dislike the term "beastling," but that's besides the point. Can you tell me about this?

* Vetter raises his grafted claw.

Vetter '“ Is it demonic?

Pellucid inspects it.  "If it is, it is not indigenous to my particular plane."

* Tarim picks a bit off his rib and offers it to Fangs.

* Mr. Carver shifts his attention to Vetter.

Mr. Carver - I thought the claw was a graft, Vetter?

Vetter - It is, but the creature it came from... I heard it referred to as a demon. May just have been a turn of phrase, though, rather than truly... dimensional or whatever it was Pellucid said.

Tarim - Quite interesting. Perhaps I could take a look at it as well?

* Tarim leans forward on his chair to observe the claw.

It is difficult to say whether this claw was culled from a demoniac beast, but it is very possible.  Now that the zerda's blood is pumping through its veins it may have changed in colour and hue.  However, the appearance of the scales does not suggest a terrestrial creature.  Possibly, the claw may have belonged to an oneiroi or some other being rather than a demon.

Tarim - If I had to guess, I would say that the original bearer of this claw was not a spawn of this world.

Vetter - Not spawn of this world? That means demon, does it?

Tarim - Not necessarily.

Vetter - So... what then?

Tarim - There are beings other than those which we should proprely name demoniac, that exist int he myriad spheres outside this world.

* Koldobika is trying to follow Tarim's explanation, but he is obviously failing by quite a large degree.

Tarim - Not that laymen would be very aware of such distinctions. All too often people label all outside entities under simple names.

Vetter - Well... (pausing to gaze at the claw)... It's strong. It kills things well.

* Mr. Carver savours the new sensations of his inhuman tongue.

Kryzbytn - Tell me, Mr. Carver one, does the tongue alter your taste at all?

Mr. Carver - That's what I mean to find out. Haven't had much to eat since last evening. A solid breakfast should fix that.

Kryzbytn - Also, Mr. Carver one, this vendor from which you receive your grafts... would you recommend him?

Mr. Carver - Yes, very much so. Solid work. A peculiar man, but I don't think you can enter that business without a little eccentricity.

* Kryzbytn pauses.

Kryzbytn - And he does all sorts of modifications?

Mr. Carver - Oh yes. If it can be grafted, I'm quite sure he will try '“ and succeed, that is.

Kryzbytn - I may seek his assistance in the future.

Mr. Carver - What modifications do you desire?

Kryzbytn - Wings. I wish to have them back. The Lady one has given me the potential promise of affording such an endeavor.

Mr. Carver - Hmm, wings. Difficult. Of course, you have the necessary physiology in place already. What happened to yours?

Kryzbytn - They were torn off and eaten, before my very eyes.

"I can see this reality has hardly become more civilized in my absence," Pellucid comments.

Wispy - Tragic, like a tale.

Mr. Carver - ... by what?

Kryzbytn '“ Leechkin. Followers of Baubo

Mr. Carver - Hmm, and it did not endeavour to have a taste of the rest of you?

Kryzbytn - I'm afraid not. They sought to shame me, and shame me they did.

* Kaius Alexander finishes his bread and exhales slowly.
Kaius Alexander - All curiousities aside, we have met to discuss our pursuit of certain artifacts. Not our interests in demons or grafts or missing limbs.  Both gauntlets are roughly equidistant from our present location. And both necessitate travel through hostile environments.

Kryzbytn - You are correct.

Mr. Carver - There was one in the Erg and one in the Sea, right?

Kryzbytn '“ Right.

Kaius Alexander - Yes.

* Koldobika nods affirmation to Carver.

Kryzbytn - I'm not too eager to revisit Erg.

Tarim - I am not familiar with the Dour Erg, and I have never even gazed upon the western sea.

Mr. Carver - Whatever happened to Eareg? We could use his assistance. But I guess we will have to make do.

* Koldobika , being unfamiliar with both regions, sees no reason to interject himself into the conversation just yet.

Kaius Alexander - Both the Sepulchre of the Mistress of Wounds and the Citadel of Xheen the Profanomancer will likely be incredibly difficult to penetrate, and it will likely be even more difficult to locate the artifacts within. To me, it does not matter which we pursue first. The end goal is the same.

Wispy - End goal is the same; end result in Dour Erg is to be eaten by an oneroi even more fearsome than Oney here.

Kryzbytn - I vote the seas.

* Kryzbytn looks around for other votes.

* Mr. Carver holds up a hand.

Mr. Carver - Hmm, I think I will vote for the desert. No reason to set foot on a floating death trap if we can stay on firm solid ground.

Vetter - The Midnight Isles are not a very pleasant place, from my understanding, should we seek one of these gloves there. Even reaching them would be dangerous, from what I've heard of seafaring.

Mr. Carver - No? No others?

* Koldobika makes to agree with Carver. He is Zerda, after all. Deserts worry him much less than water.

Tarim - I have seen something of the Slaughter-lands, at least. I would think going south would be less outlandish of a journey then.

Kaius Alexander - I propose that we decide this issue fairly and impartially. The toss of a single coin.

Vetter - How's that fairer than a vote, Kaius?

Kaius Alexander - As then none of our environmental predilictions, justified or not, are taken into account.

Mr. Carver - Both parties come away equally dissatisfied

Kaius Alexander - This is a pursuit of profit, not comfort.

Wispy - All the dead in Dour Erg are murderfolk- inedible; body flowing with murderyolk.

* Kryzbytn's thoughts of Dour Erg bring visions of his fallen comrades... and the Man-in-Armor...

Wispy - Wispy prefers the seas; new experiences and compared to Dour Erg... more living trees.

* Kryzbytn shudders.

Mr. Carver - Both places sound like terrible sites of death and worse.

* Kaius Alexander narrows his eyes.

Kryzbytn - Shall we count Pellucid one as an additional vote?

* Kryzbytn chitters.

"I'm not sure it'd be appropriate.  However, if I was afforded a voice, I would vote with my master."

Kaius Alexander - No, I think not. But that does raise a question within my mind. Pellucid, do you know anything of Xheen the Profanomancer or the Mistress of Blades?

"The Mistress I certainly know: she slew thousands of my kindred during the Wars.  I am surprised her name is still remembered.  She and her ilk passed out of recorded history several millenia ago. As for this... Profanomancer... I recall the name vaguely.  One of the Sorcerer-Kings, was he?"

Kaius Alexander - So I am told.

"A particularly foolish group.  They tended to play with powers they didn't fully understand.  The results were frequently... messy."

Kaius Alexander - I see.

* Koldobika most certainly does not like the sound of that.

Kaius Alexander - I suppose it is then decided, we will pursue the Hand of Mercy. Though I judge any decision by popular vote foolish.

Mr. Carver - The Hand of Mercy and the sweltering heat of the desert it is.

Koldobika (Flicker, at Kaius) - The Kaius has reason. The reason is unknown. The Koldobika desires the reason.

* Vetter translates for Kaius.

Kaius Alexander - My reasons are my own, derived from my experiences in life, and we will speak no more of them.

Vetter - If the heat's your only worry, Carver... Well, I think you may find yourself surprised along the way.

Kryzbytn - If it is settled, then, so be it.

Title: Blood and Bewitchment Logs
Post by: Steerpike on March 31, 2011, 01:29:27 PM


Having decided to first attempt the journey to the tomb of the Evisceratress to retrieve the Gauntlet of Mercy for the Lady Fuligina, the party departs the Ribcage, an eatery in the Court-of-Bone in the Skin Markets.

* Kryzbytn turns to Kaius.

Kryzbytn - ...I got foul sleep last night. The hounds.

* Kryzbytn grumbles.

Kryzbytn - I was foolish to sleep where I did.

Kaius Alexander - Yes. They are loud. It does not trouble me. The walls of my tower are thick, and I sleep deeply.

Kryzbytn - You own a tower? That is quite prestigious

Kaius Alexander - Yes.

"It's not exactly as if you bought the place," Pellucid interjects.

Kaius Alexander - Irrelevant, Pellucid.