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Author Topic: Blood and Bewitchment Logs  (Read 32816 times)
Spawn of Ungoliant
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« Reply #165 on: October 20, 2011, 07:49:14 PM »

Vociferation

Before he and his companions depart the Maggot City, Koldobika has a final piece of business to attend to.

The Red Rain has finally ceased, leaving the streets of Macellaria drenched in crimson and haunted by hundreds of fetch, the horrifically transformed ghilan revellers who moments before had been celebrating the Reaper's Feast.  Truly death has glutted itself tonight.

You stand now at the western gate of the Skin Markets, looking out over the long, winding thoroughfare through Hexwarren, Chrysalis Street.  A Militia barricade nearby, covered by a tarp and manned by Black Arrows with bows, repeating crossbows, and flintlock muskets, wards off the murderfolk roaming the streets, but further along the witch's district is still in chaos, roving packs of demented grave-spawn and others torturing and killing all they come across, compelled by their newborn bloodlust, an unbridled and irrepressible sadism.  In the grey pre-dawn light you can make out shadowy forms flitting across the street - either fetch or desperate survivors trying to find shelter.

It is a safe bet that most of the shops will be closed given these conditions.  Still, perhaps you can find someone willing to give you what you seek...


* Koldobika observes cautiously. Though he is small, and now out-numbered without the assistance of his larger friends, this may also prove his last chance to earn what he seeks. Grafts are what this city is known for - and Kol simply cannot stand aside and wait in case it is reduced to a smouldering pile of rubble before he can achieve his desire. He looks about cautiously, favouring being unseen over the normally unassailable group he travels with. He stalks under shades and in the deepest shadows he can find to avoid the fetch. He overheard talk of a few skilled grafters from the others. Carver, in particular, had mentioned his usual... source, on numerous occasions - often after randomly appearing with some new... development anchored on his nearly inhuman frame. Needlefingers. That seemed the best place to start from.

A single figure capers amidst the bodies of the slain and a chain of crumpled paper lanterns painted to look like skulls: one of the Hellequins, now missing his skeletal steed.  His red and black motley is torn and blood-spattered and soaked by the Red Rain.  He is idly carving up a body with a long, serrated dagger.

As you slink throughthe shadows, your paw nudges a discarded bottle; it rolls out into the street. The Hellequin ceases slicing and looks up, peering about.


* Koldobika curses his luck, but remains still, waiting to see what the creature does next.

The Hellequin casts around, and presently spots you lurking in the shadows.  He begins moving towards you!

* Koldobika takes off at a sprint from a complete stand-still, aiming for a nearby alleyway that will give him at least a short respite from the Hellquin - as he nears the alley, he takes the corner sharply, thankful for running on all fours so as to maintain his balance. He quickly looks about for any form of cover-- and open windows in the nearby buildings.

There's a smashed window nearby, about ten feet up.  As you run down the alley, you see three more murderfolk - revellers in blood-spattered skull-masks - heading down the alley towards you.  The Hellequin laughs horribly and pursues you.  He's running, so he can't get off a hex.

* Koldobika turns his attention to the open window - with few places to escape to, it seems like it will give him the best opportunity to give the mad fetches the slip. At full  speed, he rushes directly at the side of the building, hoping that his speed will give him plenty of chance to make good on his attempted escape.

You dig your claws into the mortar and hold on for dear life!  One of the fetch below throws a broken bottle.  Though it doesn't hit you, it rains down shards of broken glass.  You manage to cling on nonetheless.

The Hellequin advances towards you and mouths the words to some diabolic hex.  Excruicating pain like a thousand needles being driven into your body courses through you!


* Koldobika releases his grip as his body is wracked with pain! He lands nimbly.

The Hellequin and three more fetch are surrounding you.  The alley continues behind them, though.

* Koldobika curses vehemently at the Hellequin in the only language is at adept at communicating in fore he simply dashes forward, charging past the Fetch, seeing them as a significantly lesser threat than the Witch facing him.

You dodge around their blows, weaving between them and down the alleyway!  They give pursuit, growling and cackling and describing in graphic detail how they plan to cut off your ears and feed them to you.

You come to a T-junction.  There are ominous moans emanating out of the darkness to the right, which seems to go on for some ways.  To the left there is only silence - and a dead end, a wall about ten feet high.  The pain still wracks your body, jabbing into your flesh.


* Koldobika decides that there is a better chance of escaping over the wall than running more gauntlets of Fetch, so he heads in that direction as quickly a she can. Not willing to chance his life so much this time, as he runs, he wills the activation of one of his glyphs. As the numina pours out of the ink and into his legs, the artistic design vanishes from his legs.

You leap over the wall, clearing it by half a foot.  You hear footsteps come to a halt moments later as the fetch catch up.  The Hellequin begins speaking another incantation.  Past the wall is a small courtyard with a statue of a sphinx-like creature at its center.  Chrysalis Street is evident through a small tunnel leading out of the quadrangle.

* Koldobika quickly surveys his immediate landing zone once he touches down, along with the obvious of retrieving a small bag from his pack - and dumping the small, sharp, triangle shapes over the patch of ground behind him. He decides to head back toward the main street, hoping to find a side-shop or building to duck into long enough to evade his pursuers.

As you emerge back into Chrysalis Street you hear a small explosion as the brick wall is burst asunder.  This is followed by shouts of pain and curses.  You round the corner back onto Chrysalis Street, which is now deserted.  Up ahead the street zigzags slightly, so you cannot see beyond about a hundred feet.  There are a few abandoned stalls and the like, but no one open for business!

* Koldobika continues up the street until he passes the stall with the glassware. Seeing a small chance to lose his pursuers-- and obeying his natural instincts-- he continues past the stall a short ways, before seeking a place to hide on the opposite side of the street. Another stall, a broken shop or house - anything.

There's an overturned carriage with a dead cestoid sprawled before it.

* Koldobika hides there, then activates another of his glyphs-- though the magic fades on this glyph, the ink remains, despite losing only a little of its intensity. Then he waits, trying to stay hidden this time.

The Hellequin and the other fetch stumble into the street, some of them bleeding.  They cast around for you, snarling, spittle foaming from their lips, but they do not spot you.  The pack starts prowling up the street, clearly frustrated that you have evaded them.

"Come out, little fox," the Hellequin murmurs behind his demoniac mask.  "Come and play a game with us..."


* Koldobika waits, cautiously optimistic that they will pass him by. He considers acting now, but it is in his nature to remain hidden.

Presently, they disperse, two heading up the street, the Hellequin and another heading back towards the Skin Markets.

* Koldobika decides to take this at face value and believe he has given them the slip. He uses his newest application of magic to wash his scent away. He wished he could leave it on the dead cestoid, but he'd rather not give himself up simply because something happens to have a keen sense of smell for living flesh.

The two fetch up ahead have been swallowed by the darkness of the city.

* Koldobika makes westward. Careful to follow behind the Fetch at a good distance - though he is at least reasonably certain he could handle two of them in a fight. The Hellequin, on the other hand...

A handful of fearful men and women - clearly not fetch - are hastening inside The Blood of Saints up ahead.

* Koldobika makes for The Blood of the Saints. At the very least, it seems a safe enough harbor to take stock from.

The Blood of Saints has been badly vandalized.  Its beautiful stained-glass windows have been smashed, its plus cushions ripped up, its servitor waitresses carved with profanities.  Burn-marks mar the floor and walls.  The demoness is still chained to the bar.  Various bedraggled survivors hunker in the bar.  Some of them look to be witches, based on their tattoos and other paraphernalia.  A few have weapons, but they're crude or improvised.

* Koldobika considers. He knows witches can be quite powerful - but they also don't look powerful, meaning they may just as easily invite attacks from fetch. Eventually they are going to be worn down and overrun. Unless that demon is capable and willing to fight.

You are eyed carefully as you enter, but as you make no overtly hostile actions you are cautiously admitted.

* Koldobika regardless he takes a few moments to scour the survivors. Asking in simple, blunt fingerspeak if they are - or know of - any still-living grafters.

A thin, gaunt human in a patchwork suit of sutured skin speaks up.  "Ah, I have some skills in that regard!  What can I do for you, little zerda?"

* Koldobika points to his throat, and the mass of scar-tissue present.

The stitcher inspects your ruinous throat.

Koldobika (Flicker) - The Koldobika requires a voice back.

"You'll have to excuse me - my Flicker is a touch rusty.  Can you say that again?  Did you say, you need a new voice?"

* Koldobika nods.

"Ah.  Well, normally I would oblige... but this is hardly the ideal time, or place, for fleshcraft.  Perhaps, if we all survive this nightmare, I could help you."

Koldobika (Flicker) - Payment is one thousand bones and warnings for tomorrow.

"I'm sorry, warnings?"

* Koldobika nods again.

Koldobika (Flicker) - The Koldobika knows about days to come.

"You're a seer?  An augur?"

* Koldobika shakes his head.

Needlefingers looks confused.

Koldobika (Flicker) - The Koldobika listens. The Koldobika hears things. Zerda ears are not for show.

"Ah, you are privy to certain information.  I see."  His voice has been lowered.

* Koldobika nods in the affirmative.

"One thousand... hmm.  Make it fifteen hundred and we could do this tonight."

* Koldobika looks sternly at the figure.

Koldobika (Flicker) - One thousand, and you may receive news to survival.

* Koldobika hesitates.

Koldobika – Or the Koldobika will seek the friend of Carver, and you will be of fewer funds, and ignorant.

"Oh, you know the charming Mr. Carver?  Why didn't you say so earlier! For a friend of Carver's, one thousand will be sufficient.  Of course, we cannot perform the operation here - we'll have to get my tissue shop, the Emporium of Metamorphoses.  It's not far - just a bit further along Chrysalis Street, closer to the Witch's Gate.  Do you think we can make it?"

* Koldobika is surprised. The first one he finds is a friend of Carver's. Maybe it is Needlefingers. Or maybe it’s someone else. Either way, Carver seems to be known among the grafters. Which makes sense, considering he is not really a human anymore.

* Koldobika answers the question by procuring his short sword and nodding simply. He is especially confident if it is not that far, as the Grafter claims. He may not be an armored shell like Kaius, or possess Meteor, but he is a competent swordsman nonetheless.

The fleshcrafter nods.  "You look stout-hearted for one so small... follow me, and stay close!"  He leads you out into the street, towards the Witch's Gate.

* Koldobika follows, weapons at the ready and eyes and ears alert for danger.

You advance into the street, just behind the hexer.  You see no sign of fetch, but do hear footsteps approaching from the blackness between the Guildhall of the Splicing Consotrium and another structure.  It's to your right, whereas the Emporium is to your left and up ahead.

The human moves painfully slowly.


* Koldobika taps the human's arm quickly.

He stops and looks down at you.

Koldobika (Flicker) - Footfalls. Right. Hide.

He looks up, face blanching, and casts around madly for a hiding place.  There's an illusion of a huge Reaper lingering off to one side, its scythe hanging limping from its skeletal hands; the fleshcrafter hides within it.  He seems to vanish in its billowing black robes.

* Koldobika joins the human - if only to intervene in the case that the human is discovered.

A pack of fetch bursts from an alley: revelers, variously masked and costumed, carrying improvised weapons, frenzied and hungry for violence. They cast around, seeking victims.  Fortunately they do not seem to have seen or hear you.  They do, however, approach the illusion and begin taunting it, throwing bits of litter at it.

* Koldobika nods reassuringly to the human.

The Reaper curses at them in the Carrion Tongue and begins waving its scythe at them.

Koldobika (Flicker) - Remain calm. They are unaware. They will leave.

"Fucking figment!" One of the fetch snarls.  "You're nothing but aether..."  She begins chanting in Hextongue.

"She's going to dispel the illusion!" The hexer whispers.


* Koldobika quickly pulls a sack out of his backpack - a very large sack, despite the small pack it was contained in. With a brief shot of latent magic, he makes the sack smell like rotting vegetable matter. He quickly throws it over top of Needlefingers. Then worries about himself.

"What are you doing?!"

* Koldobika presses his hands against the human's and signs for him.

Koldobika (Flicker) - Stillness.

The witch freezes.

 There is a crackling of eldritch energy as the figment begins unravelling.

There's a crumpled dire maggot costume nearby intended to be carried by multiple people.


* Koldobika makes for that, with no other chances-- hoping that the witch-in-a-sack is overlooked as nothing but refuse.

You scurry under the costume just in time.  The illusion is dispelled.  The fetch quickly move on, in search of fresher meat.

* Koldobika waits with trepidation, hoping to the highest realm of the gods that the human can keep his composure.

One of the fetch does approach the witch, but he remains still, and the murderous creature moves on.  After the fetch have left, the fleshcrafter pulls the sack off.

* Koldobika waits for the fetch to leave - more than glad he didn't need to fight them.

"That was close..."

* Koldobika re-emerges from the dire maggot costume, smiling and nodding.

Koldobika (Flicker) - Zerda have many tricks. Witchery can be undone simply. Eyes are easier to fool.

The stitcher leads you towards the Emporium of Metamorphoses, only a short distance further.  The tissue shop seems to have been spared vandalization.

"I keep the doors locked and warded," the fleshcrafter says.  "A wise precaution, it seems."  He unlocks the door and ushers you inside.


* Koldobika enters promptly, hoping to avoid any lingering fetch - or looters.

The wards on the door look to have deterred looters and fetch alike.  The hexer leads you through the shop to a room like some bastard hybrid of tailor's shop and alchemical laboratory.  Anatomical diagrams cover the walls.

He gestures to a large chair.

"If you'd care to sit, we can begin immediately."


* Koldobika can't help but stare. He had never witnessed such displays before - and they are radically unlike anything he has ever seen among his own people. Even those who tame and spirits seem to have almost nothing in common with the things this human keeps around.

* Koldobika obliges by hopping into the chair.

"Now, don't be alarmed.  I'm going to hex you into slumber, but when you awake, you can thank me yourself, without the use of Flicker."  He begins chanting, and drowsiness steals over you.

* Koldobika tries to nod, but is well and truly unconscious before he can complete the gesture.

Your sleep is black and deep and dreamless. When you awake, the witch is sitting with a cup of tea at a small table nearby.

"Ah, you're awake.  Now, what is this valuable information you promised?"


* Koldobika is a little groggy at first, and is forced to clear his head. At the request for payment he nods and holds up a finger to indicate "one moment" - clearly a holdover from being mute. He moves to his pack ad begins to pull out pouches of bones - all pre-counted for easy transactions.

Your throat feels sore and... different, somehow.  You can feel stitches left in your flesh.

* Koldobika opens his mouth to speak while he counts out the money. He hasn't spoken in a long while, and the first sound he makes is not really a word at all. More of a monosyllabic expression. It is, however, unlike any noise to ever come from a Zerda. The sound is brief, but it feels like it makes his entire body rumble. The deep bass sound can almost be 'felt'.

* Koldobika looks up suddenly, startled at the sound. He remains silent for a few long seconds. He touches the stitches and tries to speak again-- in Zerda. The noise is just as deep, and he can't dispose of the feeling that his entire body is rumbling from the sound. It is not the voice he wanted, but it is certainly a voice. One he will need to get used to.

Koldobika - If the city stands, when I make my return here. It will need tuning.

* Koldobika grins, though. This... this will be fun the next time Vetter drinks too much.

"Ah... tuning?  Organs are not musical instruments, little zerda.  I just performed a miracle of fleshcraft.  I'm afraid you'll have to content yourself with the pitch and timbre of your new voice."

* Koldobika looks at the human blankly. He does not quite understand the spectacular lengths Needlefingers just went through.

Koldobika - Then this voice shall work. For it is better than none. Words to forewarn you.

"So... what are these precious secrets you possess?"

Koldobika - Disaster comes here. The Flagellator's army. It comes for this place.  He unleashed the plagues. He brought the rain of the Fetch. He comes to the gates.

"The Flagellator...?  Army?  Herruku is marching on Macellaria?  Gods above and below.. my work!  My shop!  My art!  My whole life is here..."

Koldobika - I needed my voice. We leave to find us allies. We will leave at dawn.

The witch wrings his hands.  "A-a-allies.  Yes.  Good."  He seems stunned and terrified.

Koldobika - There is time to flee. I have given you your choice. Now flee or prepare.

"I will abandon my regular work and begin creating warrior-servitors at once.  Herruku will rue the day he chose to attack the City of Bodysnatchers."

* Koldobika nods.

Koldobika - To fight is your choice. I will leave to bring more friends. Please try not to die.

* Koldobika departs the shop to rejoin his companions.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2012, 01:03:17 PM by Steerpike » Logged


Spawn of Ungoliant
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« Reply #166 on: October 20, 2011, 07:49:55 PM »

In Character

Reserved for Wispy's romp.
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Spawn of Ungoliant
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« Reply #167 on: November 09, 2011, 07:39:19 PM »

Apologies for how far behind I am with these.  On a related note, would a list of NPCs be helpful to players?  And, if so, how should I organize it?  By region?  Faction?  Alphabetically?
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Grengevir
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« Reply #168 on: November 09, 2011, 11:04:39 PM »

Maybe by both region and faction?
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Let the scholar be dragged by the hook.

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« Reply #169 on: November 10, 2011, 11:06:04 AM »

I say by City, then by inter-city Faction.
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**Updated 9/25**

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« Reply #170 on: December 22, 2011, 11:01:53 PM »

Part Four

Livor Mortis

Worms!

The City of Bodysnatchers has been badly ravaged, the quick population decimated by multifarious diseases caused by the Banehulk, the grave-spawn by an apparently freakish bout of the Red Rain on the night of the Reaper's Feast.  With a kind of lunatic tenacity Macellaria soldiers on, licking its wounds.

The city has, after all, seen, worse than this.  Three and a half thousand years ago, when the city was a protectorate of Moroi, there was a battle beyond the gates that makes the coming conflict with Herruku seem an insignificant skirmish.  A dozen warworms and an army of wormfolk and seventy thousand human slaves assaulted the city walls while mindgrubs possessed those within the walls and ingurgitatrixes burst the bellies of dozens and depleted the food supplies.  The cestoids took the gate and entered the city, but the divisions of the Witch Army garrisoned within, supplemented by mercenaries and a citizen army, beat them back and won the day.  There have been whole decades where the city was under siege, or where the streets were filled with geists or fetch in countless numbers and had to be retaken by survivors.  Like the other eight Twilight Cities it has proved its mettle time and time again: where other cities fall into dust and ruination the nine somehow remain over the centuries.  It is hard to imagine the city ever truly falling.

You head south along the Weeping Way.  The little villages along the route have been left ghost-towns, abandoned.  Many are full of rotting plague-victims.


* Kaius Alexander rides Conveyance sedately. He holds the reins loosely in one hand, while his other rests on the pommel of the Cereblade.

* Tarim enjoys the ride in the comfort of the howdah, very happy that he purchased the tortoise

* Koldobika lounges about on Tarim's turtle - certainly he is surprised to see any other being but a zerda using one of the great Tortoises, he trusts that Tarim will treat the creature well, even if he does not quite revere them in the same way as the foxfolk.

After several days of travel, fortuitously uneventful, you reach the border of the southern swamps, where the scabrous savannah segues into moist wetland.

You pass into the swamps: a blighted landscape of moist decomposition and heady fungal rancidities, where bent trees like withered old men rise out of the muddy earth, their leaves blackened and spotted, their gnarled trunks host to mushrooms and parasitic mosses.  Stagnant pools exude fetid stenches, while owl-shaped things roosting in the branches make decidedly un-owl-like sounds - more like rasping human voices than the calls of birds.  Brazen pangolins with scales the colour of verdigris lumber through the undergrowth or scuttle up the sides of trees.

The Weeping Way is quickly consumed by the swamp, its stones overgrown and scattered, or drowned in bubbling bogs.  Ramshackle bridges of wood and others of crumbling stone - these latter carved with disturbing, many-headed idols and queer letters in some forgotten script - allow passage over some of the broader streams and pools.


* Kaius Alexander glowers at the increasingly unfriendly surroundings.

You follow the path as best you can.  Presently you arrive at a strange building, just as night begins to fall. A ruin emerges from the damp, muddy earth here: a weird, twisted structure with several pustule-like domes and an array of cracked pipes and other derelict machinery sprouting from its bulk.  The swamp is reclaiming the structure, fungus and lichens mottling its surfaces.

The building looks to be a wormfolk outpost, Tarim, left over from the Imperium.


Tarim - Looks like cestoid architecture to me.

* Koldobika keeps an eye out for dangers, well aware that the building itself is something beyond his ken.

* Kaius Alexander grunts.

The machinery is badly rusted, Kaius.  It might once have been weaponry, or some sort of sensor-system, or both.

Kaius Alexander - The machine-work is old. Rusted. No use to us.

Vetter - Could be a decent place to kip though?

Kaius Alexander - Perhaps. I will investigate.

Vetter - I'll stay here, guard the animals...

* Kaius Alexander lights his bullseye lantern, and steps into the gloom of the ruins.

Tarim - It's probably very dark in there. I better come with you and look around too.

* Tarim follows in after Kaius, the gems inset in his eye-sockets gleaming in the twilight.

You step into a grandiose domed space with a strangely organic appearance, without right angles or sharp corners.  In the middle of this vast chamber, a spiralling ramp - the wormfolk never built stairs - descends into the earth.  Debris litters the room, as do a number of broken, disintegrating bones, both cestoid and humanoid.

Kaius Alexander - We had best see what lies below. I do not want any surprises in the night.

* Kaius Alexander starts his descent.

* Koldobika concurs, and follows after - keeping an eye behind them to make sure that nothing moves to trap them.

The ramp descends for two levels, with a kind of anteroom at the first level below consisting of a balcony with bridges connecting it to the ramp.  This first underground level has three doorways leading to other chambers of the complex.

You don't hear anything except for the vague sounds of your mounts up top, and the chirp of insects in the swamplands.


* Kaius Alexander steps through the doorway nearest to the entrance of the anteroom.

Kaius Alexander - Come.

A short corridor leads to a sealed door marked with a cestoid sigil.

* Kaius Alexander stares at the sigil blankly.

Kaius Alexander - What is this worm-symbol, Tarim?

* Tarim examines the sign up close.

* Tarim traces the outline of the sigil with a clawed fingertip, whispering the invocation of Read Hexes.

The door is locked with an eldritch seal, and is warded as well - trying to force entry would result in some kind of caustic blast.

* Kaius Alexander peers at the door more closely

Kaius Alexander - Well?

Tarim - It bears an ancient ward. Which probably means that whatever lies beyond, has not seen any looters...

Kaius Alexander - Can you undo this witchery?

Tarim - No. Not currently, anyway.

* Koldobika wonders if this is worth stopping to bother with.

Tarim - I can prepare to try it by the morning.  It will have to wait until then.

Kaius Alexander - No matter. It is sealed. What lies within will not trouble us. We continue our investigation.

* Kaius Alexander turns around.

The second bridge leads to a large, round room dominated by a vast but shallow pit filled with luminescent silvery-green slime.

* Kaius Alexander lowers himself to more closely examine the slime.

It glows softly and seems to writhe or move on its own.

* Koldobika considers that much of this place not beyond the warded door has probably been looted. Looters are not a concern, however. Residents are.

* Kaius Alexander sticks an armoured finger into the slime

Kaius Alexander - What is this?

Tarim - I would not touch that stuff, whatever it is.

Nothing alarming occurs.  The sticky substance is slightly warm.

* Kaius Alexander stares at it for a moment, then wipes his gauntlet on the stonework.

* Tarim feels somewhat disgusted of the slime.

Kaius Alexander - It is curious that this worm-slime has persisted for so long. But it seems harmless...

* Koldobika leaves the gross ichor alone.

* Kaius Alexander abruptly stands, and heads for the remaining bridge, his lantern light playing along the stonework in front of him.

This might have been some kind of barracks; carved niches might have served cestoid troops stationed here as sleeping receptacles.  Slab-like tables are the only other furnishings.  The floors and walls here are scorched and pocked with bullet-holes.  There's also a nest made from foliage and bones, currently uninhabited.

* Kaius Alexander cocks his head at this last.

Kaius Alexander - ...There is nothing here. Our concerns were unfounded. We must go deeper.

* Tarim nods

Three more doorways admit entrance to chambers on the second subterranean level of the outpost.  One looks to give way to a large room; the others, somewhat smaller spaces.

* Koldobika shrugs. Kaius seems very determined.

You hear some skittering sounds from the eastern doorway (a smaller area).

* Kaius Alexander slowly turns towards the sound

Kaius Alexander - This way. I hear something.

Tarim - You did?

* Kaius Alexander proceeds towards it cautiously

* Kaius Alexander draws the Cereblade from its sheathe smoothly.

This might be a cell block, or possibly sleeping quarters for individuals.  Round doors, some of them open, admit access to small chambers, devoid of furnishings.  A pair of piranha rats gnaws at old bones in the dank darkness here; the holes of more rats riddle the walls.

* Tarim draws his blunderbuss pistol.

Kaius Alexander - Vermin.

* Koldobika readies his sword, still maintaining his vigil behind the group, hopefully to thwart any ambush.

The rats chitter at you and scurry away at the sound of your voice.

* Kaius Alexander peers into one of the nearer cells.

Tarim - Unfortunate. Those things have one great advantage to them, and that's numbers.

The cell is quite empty, save for a few thoroughly masticated bones.  More rat-holes fill the walls.  Something gleams in one of the rat-holes.

* Kaius Alexander steps towards it to get a better look.

It's an ancient cestoid coin, stamped with the repugnant semblance of Hirud, the Ravager-Worm.

* Kaius Alexander picks up the coin and dusts it off, he shrugs, and places it into his pack.

Tarim - An old coin? Might have some value, though probably not much.

Kol, your keen zerda ears pick up scurrying sounds in the walls - lots and lots of scurrying sounds.

Tarim and Kaius are examining the old coin...


* Koldobika taps Kaius' greave with the flat of his blade with feeling.

Koldobika - (Flicker, pointing at the walls) Many feet. Many vermin.

Kaius Alexander - Back towards the ramp.

You can hear them all around now, yourselves.  Kol, the sound has increased greatly in volume.  There must be dozens of the grotesque, hairless, many-fanged things al around!

* Tarim paces for the ramp hurriedly.

* Kaius Alexander depresses a button in his gauntlet. A panel flies open and light spills out as the igniter glimmers to life

Piranha rats begin to pour from the ratholes in a vast swarm as you retreat!

* Koldobika takes Kaius' orders to the letter and begins to, well, run away, back the way they came.

You can make it back to the ramp easily, Kol.

* Tarim clutches the handle of his gun as he hurries toward the ramp. As he hustles forth his other hand digs into a pouch by his belt and produces a flask of oil.

The rats swarm forth in pursuit.  They catch Kaius before he can leave the dungeon.

* Tarim hurls the flask to spill oil on the floor of the antechamber.

Some of the rats slip on the oil.  Others gnaw at Kaius, but his armour fortunately protects him from harm - the rats gnash ineffectually at it!  They swam all over him, trying to find a weak point.

* Kaius Alexander curses as he stumbles back out of the dungeon and activates his flamethrower.

The oil catches fire, setting many rats aflame!  Dozens of rats die in the fire, reduced to black husks.  A horrible stench fills the ruin, as does a chorus of shrieks.

* Tarim takes a quick shot at the nearest rat before running up the ramp.

Your shot causes some of the rats to scatter, but does no actual harm.

* Koldobika takes a moment to exchange his weapons, drawing a bow after stowing his sword. He advances furthe rup the ramp, intending to provide some fire support for the others while they make their retreat

The rats continue to swarm forth, but again, your armour protects you.

* Kaius Alexander grimaces at the annoying persistence of the rats. He telekinetically lifts an errant rat from his shoulder and hurls it across the room

* Koldobika waits where he is, careful to take aim and not hit Kaius-- he looses a lone arrow into the mass-- hoping to do at least manage something against the throng of skittering, chittering, terrors.

* Tarim holsters his pistol and draws a flesh-melter, throwing it down from the ramp

You splash Kaius by accident, but his armour protects him, and the caustic spray burns many rats.  The dregs of the swarm scurry away.

* Kaius Alexander smashes a fleeing rat into bloody pulp.

The remaining rats have retreated to their holes.

* Kaius Alexander grimaces and wipes the rat remains from his gauntlet

Kaius Alexander - Disgusting creatures.

* Kaius Alexander calls up the ramp.

Kaius Alexander - Come back down. We have more to see.

Tarim - clearly the cellars are thoroughly infested. Damn things will probably attack us again

* Kaius Alexander gazes at the trail of burnt and melted rats.

Kaius Alexander - I think they now know better.

* Koldobika wonders what could possibly make Kaius think that going even further down is a good idea.

Koldobika (Flicker) - Vermin do not think. Vermin simply act.

Tarim - I don't think piranha rats are known to be timid about suicidal wave attacks

Kaius Alexander - If you wish to return to camp, you may. I will finish our investigation.

Tarim - Have fun with the ratties then. Your armour should keep you fairly safe, anyway.

* Kaius Alexander shrugs and turns towards the large chamber.

* Tarim ascends the ramp.

You stand at the entrance of a huge round chamber that appears to be a chapel consecrated to the fell god Hirud.  The Ravager-Worm's monstrous stone semblance dominates the center of the chamber.  The idol's body is a nightmarish mass of segmented coils, writhing tentacles, and chitin plates.  Its huge, many-fanged maw gapes with horrific hunger; there are no visible eyes at all.  While the idol is nothing more than stone, there is still something deeply disturbing, something shuddersome and nauseating, about its undulating bulk.  Two ovoid doorways allow access to smaller rooms.

* Kaius Alexander extinguishes his lantern and stows it, now that he is alone.

As you step over the threshold of the Chapel, a horrible roaring sound emanates from the idol's boundless gullet.  A moment later, pallid shapes begin to swarm out of its monstrous mouth - a vast profusion of tiny worms, each equipped with a round, toothy maw.  The miniscule creatures form a great tide that writhes towards you, while the idol continues to vomit forth a seemingly endless supply!

* Kaius Alexander frowns beneath his visor.

* Koldobika will accompany Kaius, despite his better judgment. Tarim will be safe enough with the others on the surface, but someone needs to keep an eye on Kaius.

They're moving towards you and Kaius quite fast.

* Koldobika begins to apply the same lessons as he learned with the rats - allowing Kaius to essentially play as bait with his thick armor while Kol sits back safely from distance providing whatever minor assistance he is capable of with his bow.

Your shaft is lost amidst the swarm; any damage it might have done is negligible.

* Tarim returns to the camp and digs through his luggage to get the beetle-automaton out and ready, just in case.

* Koldobika sees that his weapons apparently do nothing... so... he thinks it wise to go and... erm, find Tarim.

* Kaius Alexander uses his remaining flamethrower fuel on the worms.

Your burst of flame kills dozens of them as you retreat.

Kol, you're still running up towards Tarim.  You're about halfway up; you hear Kaius' flamethrower crackle.

Kauis, the worms clinging to you continue to gnaw, to no effect.  You can outpace the main tide of the swarm, however.


* Kaius Alexander blasts the worms with his scattergun.

Your blast reduces a handful of worms to paste.  The swarm pursues you, crawling inexorably onwards.  Kol, you can hear the shot, but Tarim is too far away.

* Tarim continues to set up the mechanical beetle, unaware of the trouble within the outpost.

Kol, you've reached Tarim.

Koldobika - (Flicker, pointless though it is) The Kaius has dug too greedily and too deep.

* Tarim raises his eyes from his work as he notices the zerda gesturing at him.

Tarim - Vetter, can you translate?

Koldobika (Flicker) - Kaius has worms.

You divest yourself of the worms slowly, Kaius. They continue to gnash and gnaw, but your armour protects you.

They swarm up the ramp in a great profusion, some spilling off the side.  There are still several hundred at least!

Koldobika (Flicker) - Kaius unleashed a flood of worms. The worms are hungry.

Vetter - Uh.  What?

* Vetter takes off his top hat and fans his face with the brim.

* Koldobika sighs. He sniffs at Vetter to see how drunk the other zerda is.

* Kaius Alexander yells up the ramp-well

Kaius Alexander - Get ready to leave.

Koldobika (Flicker) - We leave now. Kaius will catch up.

Tarim - What? What is he saying?

* Koldobika isn't panicked, yet. Merely concerned.

Tarim - Well, it sounds like we better get the move on. If Kaius think it's time to retreat, then the time to retreat probably was ten minutes ago

* Tarim grabs the beetle, still inactive, and climbs up the howdah.

* Kaius Alexander bursts from the mouth of the outpost, several worm-like creatures still writhing across his body.

Koldobika - (Flicker, while pointing) The Kaius has worms. The Koldobika said as such.

Behind him, something pale boils forth from the ramp, a creeping carpet of seething shapes...

* Koldobika grins.

* Vetter hastily gets equipment together and jumps into the howdah, alarmed.

* Kaius Alexander dashes over to Conveyance.

* Tarim goads Onacha to move forth with all haste.

* Kaius Alexander feeds a slug into the breach of his scattergun.

* Koldobika shrugs, finding the panic unnecessary. So far, these worms have shown themselves rather unremarkable in anything but being an inexorable horde. He abandons the turtle and begins to move towards the much slower Kaius. Idly, he tries to get the attention of the horde.

The worms burst forth from the outpost and make to pursue, but you outpace the seething tide on your mounts and soon lose them in the misty swamp.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2013, 12:57:45 PM by Steerpike » Logged


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« Reply #171 on: January 16, 2012, 04:21:13 PM »


Massacre

Despite being driven from your would-be shelter, you pass the night without molestation, though during the night's watches you could swear you were being scrutinized by something out in the mist-shrouded gloom of the swamps.  The next day hazy dawn light filters in through the trees, and the mist has thickened.

* Kaius Alexander finishes dissassembling and cleaning his scattergun while the others wake.

* Tarim offers a bucketful of fodder for Onacha and checks that the howdah and the luggage are securely bound.

* Kaius Alexander sits at the ready atop Conveyance.

Everything is in order, though Vetter is still snoring in the howdah, top hat slanted over his eyes.  The muggy heat - as opposed to the desiccated air of the desert - seems to make the two zerda somewhat torpid.

Kaius Alexander - The sooner we are out of this swamp, the better.

* Tarim directs the giant tortoise on the move once it has finished devouring the fodder

You set out into the swamp again, keeping to the rough path when you can.

Kaius, you think you see something lying in the waterweeds just off the path - possible a humanoid shape, lying prone...


* Kaius Alexander slows Conveyance to a halt and raises his scattergun

* Tarim goads Onacha to stop

Tarim - What is it? Trouble?

Kaius Alexander - There is something in the weeds. Let us see.

* Kaius Alexander fires a shot in the air.

The tortoise's abrupt halt wakens Vetter momentarily, but the foxfolk falls asleep again almost immediately, scratching his furry belly with his grafted arm.  Birds disperse from the trees and Vetter growls and grumbles.

* Kaius Alexander raises his visor and peers at the shape.

* Tarim arms himself with rifle but stays on the back of the tortoise.

Closer inspection reveals the figure to be a dead leechkin, bloated with corpse-gas and floating in the shallows of a small pond.  The creature has been brutally killed, its belly opened and its chest riddled with stab-wounds.  Its hands have been removed.  Bobbing on the surface of the pond are perhaps a dozen more leechkin bodies.  All are distinguished by painted tribal markings.

Kaius Alexander - Leechmen. All dead.

As you look out across the scum-encrusted pond, you glimpse a shape floating in the air some distance away, half lost in the mist: another leechkin, its body bloated hugely, belly distended, limbs puffy.  You cannot see it clearly, but its skin looks horribly blistered and pockmarked.  It seems to levitate like some grotesque balloon, feet limp, toes brushing the surface of the water.  The horrid apparition - or whatever it is - stares at you from its blank, yellow eyes before being swallowed by the fog.

Kaius Alexander - Did you see that, Tarim?

Tarim - I saw nothing.

Kaius Alexander - There is something in these swamps. Let us keep moving.

* Kaius Alexander hops back on Conveyance

Tarim - Could be a tribal war going on here.

Kaius Alexander - Perhaps. Hagmen are known to bear antipathy towards the leeches.

Half a dozen more leechkin hang from the boughs of trees up ahead, dangling limp as hanging moss.  Several are pincushioned with arrows - they look like they've been used for target practice.  Their hands are all also missing.

Kaius, you hear a faint double-moan coming from the undergrowth to one side of the path.

* Kaius Alexander stops Conveyance, and again leaps off.

A lone leechkin lies in a bank of ferns.  The creature is badly wounded, with two arrows protruding from its body, one lodged in its side, the other in its left leg; it also has a nasty cut on its left shoulder.  Like its slaughtered brethren the thing is covered in tribal markings, though unlike some of its kindred this one also bears a number of ritual scars.  It wears a fetish made of many skulls around its neck: infant leechkin, bird, rat, bat, squirrel, ferret; it also has a small pouch at its waist.  The leechkin looks to be barely conscious, but its belly is swollen - it fed relatively recently.

Kaius Alexander - Leech. What happens in these swamps?  You live, while your brother-sisters are no more.

The creature clutches at its belly with bloody hands and drags itself away from Kaius.

* Tarim leads Onacha closer. He observes the leechkin curiously.

"Away and leave me at peace you devils," the thing croaks.  "Haven't you caused enough pain?"

Kaius Alexander - I see you speak the shambling tongue.  You accuse. Yet we have done nothing.  We are travellers. And you are dying. So, before your breath escapes you, tell me. What happens in these swamps?

The leechkin coughs.  "Hurt yes, not dying, won't give those scum such pleasure."  It sags on the ground breathing roughly.

Tarim - Which scum do you speak of?

"Pale phantoms in armour of bone.  They killed Paddlehand first with an arrow.  No fewer than half a dozen of them."  The leechkin shifts uneasily.  "I fought them as I could but I was overwhelmed."

Kaius Alexander - Armour of bone? Curious.

"I played dead though I think they knew I yet lived, wanted me to suffer... to bleed out slowly surrounded by my fallen friends.  The pox take them.

Kaius Alexander - Come, leech. We will do what we can for your wounds. Rest on our turtle.

The creature sits up and coughs heavily, the sound strange coming from two places at once.

Tarim - What, you expect me to admit it on Onacha? It's crowded enough as it is with the zerda here.

"It is fine here.  Why should I trust you who come so soon after such slaughter?  Naught more than scavengers waiting for me to expire, or perhaps allies of the bone-clad ones."  It draws back from Kaius.

Kaius Alexander - Then drown in the misery of your swamp. I care little.  Come, Tarim. There is nothing to learn here.

Tarim - We are not allied with any force of this swampland. And we certainly can't stick around long enough to wait for you to perish. We have to move on.

As I thought – no care for the suffering of others.  A pox on them and a pox on you!"  itbegins chanting.

Kaius Alexander - Still your tongue!

* Kaius Alexander raises the scattergun and points it at the leech.

The creature reaches out to touch Kaius.

* Kaius Alexander snaps his visor shut telekinetically

The leechkin flails at Kaius but misses him weakly and sags back, falling on its back and laying there.

* Kaius Alexander fires.

Your shot takes the leechkin in its head in a spray of brains and skull.

* Kaius Alexander ejects the empty casings in his scattergun, and slides two new slugs in.

Tarim - I guess that wretched thing really wanted to die after all.

Kaius Alexander - It seems it did.

Tarim, you hear footsteps approaching.

* Tarim straightens suddenly, visibly alert.

Tarim - Someone approaches us

* Tarim turns to face the direction of the footfalls.

* Kaius Alexander keeps his scattergun at the ready, and moves to take cover behind Conveyance.

Four figures traverse the rough path.  All wear distinctive bone armour covered in some sort of resin.  Two carry longswords and heavy shields, the shields marked with painted skulls marked by the numeral for 14; one has an olive complexion, another skin black as pitch.   Another - a ghul, judging from his ashen-hued flesh and yellow eyes - wields a recurve short bow, and one of the swordsmen likewise has a bow slung on his back.  The fourth warrior, a pale fellow with the slightly slanted eyes typical of Skeinborn, also hefts a blade, albeit a bigger one than the other two, and also has several scroll tubes tucked into his belt.  All four wear light cloaks to ward off the damp mist, and bear gruesome trophies at their waists: leechkin hands.  One of the swordsmen also carries a rune-etched bone horn.

* Kaius Alexander calls out.

Kaius Alexander - Who goes there?

* Kaius Alexander keeps his scattergun pointed at the ground, for now.

* Tarim eyes them warily, and invokes a Harden the Skin hex.

Blades are drawn and arrows nocked as they see you.  The pale magus-swordsman with the large, slightly curved sword speaks.

"The Pale Legion.  Who are you and where are you bound?"


Kaius Alexander - The Pale Legion? Interesting. We are agents of the City of Macellaria. Come seeking you, as chance would have it.

The men relax slightly, but do not sheathe their blades.

"Indeed?  Seeking us?  For what purpose?"


Kaius Alexander - We have a proposition for your leaders.

Tarim - An offer of contract.

"Hmm.  What sort of contract?"

Kaius Alexander - Macellaria seeks an army.  And they have interest in you.

Tarim - The bandit-lord Herruku has amassed a large force and is marching on the city.

"If what you say is true, you'll be wanting to reach the main camp as fast as possible.  For that you'll need a boat: slogging through these damnable fens will take you days, maybe weeks if you get lost - and even the most seasoned woodsmen would lose their way in this bog."  He eyes the group, looking you all up and down, noting your armaments.  "We happen to have a vessel ourselves.  We're holed up in a shithole village on a tributary of the Gland - us lot and three others.  We were sent up here to track down the dregs of a leechkin tribe, a bunch called the Mudwalkers."  He gestures with his blade to the hanging corpses.  "The rest of the Legion killed off the bulk of them: these were just a handful who'd retreated, fallen back into the swamp.

Kaius Alexander - Do they threaten the trade of Lophius?

"The tribes have been behaving... oddly.  Unifying, banding together, making organized raids.  Leeches aren't supposed to do that, yet these are."

Kaius Alexander - That is most unusual. And yes, we would be most grateful to have use of your vessel.

"I'm sure you would.  Unfortunately, there's one small problem."

Kaius Alexander - Oh?

"We tracked the leeches down, took them out without much of a fight, as you can see - but then, as we headed back, we got ambushed by hagmen.  Usually the squirmies don't bother humans, but this lot are madder than the damn leechkin.  They told us we'd driven the leeches into their land, tainted it somehow, and that we had to pay for our transgression.  Their weapons were poisoned; our serjeant was wounded, and the injury's festered.  Worse, though, our standard-bearer was killed.  We beat a hasty retreat, but when we went back for the standard, it was gone.  We can't return without that standard.  That thing is over a thousand years old, carved with ancient spells, and most importantly, it's a symbol of the Legion's pride.  Any squad who loses their standard gets discharged en masse.  We're out looking for the hagmen now, but to be honest, I don't like our chances over-much if we find them."

Kaius Alexander - I see. It is clear then that we must help you, should we wish to reach the city at any speed.  So be it, I will assist you in the retrieval of your standard.

Tarim - I guess that'll be the price for using their boat.

Kaius Alexander - I am Kaius Alexander. The zerda are Koldobika and Vetter. Tell me your names.

Tarim - I am Tarim. I will assist you with my hexcraft. I figure that you'll be needing it.

"Sounds like a fair deal to me.  I'm Salamander; this is Maimer and Rankle" - here he waves his blade at the two swordsmen - "And the greyface we call Wraith."  The ghul archer nods and smiles toothily.  "Our serjeant and two more men are back at camp.  We should head there now and plan things out."

* Kaius Alexander nods.

Kaius Alexander - Take us there.

* Kaius Alexander gets back in the saddle.

Salamander nods and gestures for his men to move out.  The Legionnaires lead you back along the path and eventually take a side-trail.

"So, you lot are messengers then?  How large is this army heading towards the city?"


Kaius Alexander - Unknown. But suspected in the thousands.  The city is raising other forces to contribute to the defence.

"Other forces eh?  So long as the Company of the Rat isn't involved..."

Kaius Alexander - I have not heard of any intention to hire this Company of the Rat. I would not be concerned.  What is your conflict with them?

"Our rivalry with the Vermin goes back centuries... they betrayed us, many years ago, during a trade-war.  We lost a whole cohort.  Since then, we never fight on the same side as the Company."

Kaius Alexander - I see.

Tarim - About this standard. You mentioned that it was carved with ancient spells - does it contain any potent hexcraft that might be used against us?

"No.  It's only useful to those who bear the mark of the Legion."

Tarim – Good.
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« Reply #172 on: January 16, 2012, 04:25:43 PM »

Out of Character

I've been seriously neglecting these, and it's bothering me.  I'm going to commit to spending at least 20 minutes a day formatting logs to post.  It may take me awhile to catch up, but I'll get there.
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« Reply #173 on: January 16, 2012, 04:49:19 PM »

Venom

Up ahead, buildings are evident in amongst the warped trees and misshapen ferns - a settlement, small and squalid, built of wood and mud brick.  The tiny village is built on the bank of a muddy river too small to be the Gland itself.  Three ruinous obelisks jut from the damp soil about the riverbank, bearing characters in an alphabet you do not recognize.  There are only a dozen proper buildings altogether, and a scattering of rude grass and mud huts.  One of the former has a stone foundation and seems to be the local inn and watering hole; above its door is a hanging sign with a stylized spider and the words The Frenzied Tarantula.

There is also a small dock, at which is moored a rather dilapidated steamboat with the word Lucidity painted on its hull, and an unkempt cemetery, wooden stakes marking graves.  One or two of the graves look to be recent, or perhaps disturbed.  The markers on them are moss-grown, suggesting the latter.

Salamander leads you to the Tarantula.  The inside of the inn is uncomfortably warm.  A few sallow-skinned locals dressed in pelts and poorly tanned leathers peer at you suspiciously over mugs of dark ale.  Some of the steamboat crew are also in evidence: rough men with dreadlocks, crude pistols, and scarred faces punctured liberally with gold piercings.


* Kaius Alexander steps off Conveyance, and hands the reins to an attendant.

* Tarim gives the goad to Kol and tells him not to let anyone mess with the tortoise.

* Koldobika nods sombrely.

Salamander leads you upstairs to a small, foul-smelling room where another Legionnaire, marked by a skull tattoo on his bicep, languishes in a bed with sweat-stained sheets.  The man looks feverish, his skin yellow and beaded with sweat, his eyes roving to and fro.  Another warrior - a young man barely out of boyhood, with large eyes and rather effeminate features - sits by the bed, and a third, tall and lean, lounges against one wall, cleaning his fingernails with a knife.  Skinks skitter up and down the walls, periodically eating mosquitoes.

"This here's the serjeant," Salamander says.  "And these two are Fiend" - the young, pretty man nods - "And Bodkin."  The knife-wielder glances up disinterestedly before turning back to his nails.


Kaius Alexander - What ails your Serjeant? Swamp-fever? Poison?

"The hagman venom.  Their tridents are slathered with it, and they have blowguns as well, shoot little darts tipped with the stuff."

Kaius Alexander - Hm. Is there no way to cure his ailment?

"Not that we know of."

Kaius Alexander - A shame.

"Perhaps if we catch one of the squirmies and interrogate it we could find a way."

Kaius Alexander - Possible.

Tarim - Good thing that as ghilan I need not worry about being poisoned. I can do little to help others with this matter, though.

Kaius Alexander - What plan have you formulated to retrieve your standard?  The hagmen – what are their numbers, what is their armament?

"There are at least a dozen of them, probably more, armed with tridents, blowguns, and daggers."  Salamander unfurls a crudely sketched map of the area on the rickety wooden table at the center of the room.  "First of all, we need to find wherever the hagmen have taken the standard.  Wraith here is a decent tracker, but the hagmen are better at covering their tracks than the leechkin; the leeches refuse to do anything that requires major effort, which includes being careful with footprints and the like... bloody imbeciles.  These squirmies, on the other hand, are shifty buggers.  You'd think those snot-trails they leave everywhere would be a dead giveaway, but all it takes is a spot of rain to wash those away.  When they can, they use streams and bogs to travel.

Kaius Alexander - Our Koldobika is also an acceptable tracker, though he is unfamiliar with this environment. We will have to rely on Wraith to find the way.

"The zerda?  I've heard they have a keen sense of smell: that might help considerably.  We'll start here."  He stabs a finger at an X on the map west of the village.  "Where we fought them earlier.  Unless, of course, you have some alternative plan?"

Kaius Alexander - No. This seems the best course of action.

"Alright, then.  If we can find the damn slitherers, next thing will be to reclaim the standard.  Are you lot capable of much in the way of stealth?"

Kaius Alexander - I prefer direct confrontation.

* Kaius Alexander shifts in place, the gears and pistons of his armour creak and hiss.

Tarim - I can make use of hexes to render one unseen.

"Hmm.  How many could you hex, Tarim?"

Tarim - No more than two. And I would prefer to not expend my tattoo unless in an emergency. Still, it may be of some use.

"I see.  Well, we can plan the details once we find the hagmen.  First let's eat something, then we can head out, if you're ready."

* Kaius Alexander nods.

Tarim - We will be.

The inn's food is meagre and overly salty - deep-fried swamp-squirrel and alligator nuggets, with some withered and over-cooked vegetables.

* Tarim doesn't particularly enjoy the food but eats of it anyway.

Tarim – By the way, on our journey here we came upon an old cestoid ruin. We had to flee from that place.

* Kaius Alexander eats mechanically

"Why'd you flee?" Maimer asks, biting a hunk of fried meat from a skewer.

Kaius Alexander - Worms.

"Worms?"  The one called Bodkin laughs raspingly.  "You were scared off by worms?"

Kaius Alexander - Hundreds of them. Gnashing teeth. They would strip the flesh from your bones, had they the chance.

Tarim - Fortunately for Kaius here, his flesh is rather well-protected.

Bodkin grunts and returns to his ale.  After the meal, Fiend returns upstairs to tend to the serjeant.  The remaining Legionnaires check their gear and prepare to move out, while the locals give them dark looks.

Kaius Alexander - You do not seem to be popular around here.

"A couple locals got killed by leeches.  They blame us.  I doubt you'll want to take your beasts off the path.  The swamp can be treacherous - they'll only slow us down."

Tarim - They would doubtlessly also make stealth much more difficult for us.

"I'm sure."

Kaius Alexander - We will leave them here, then.

* Tarim gets ready to move out

The squad heads out into the swamp once again.  After a short while you arrive at an unremarkable patch of ground.  "Here's where we fought the squirmies," Salamander says.

* Koldobika sniffs the air dubiously.

Kaius, you find a few very faint tracks leading off to the southwest.

Kaius Alexander - Here. Tracks. They lead to the southwest. Can you follow them, Wraith?

Wraith bends low, scrutinizing the tracks, and nods.

 * Kaius Alexander bulls his way through the grasping muck, occasionally becoming momentarily stuck.

* Koldobika continues to sniff the ground.

Together, Kol and the ghul Legionnaire seem to pick up some sort of trail.  Soon, however, the group is surrounded by fog and trees - for all you know you could be going round in circles.

Tarim - I don't like this. Seems perfect ambush country to me.

* Tarim grips his rifle nervously

* Kaius Alexander keeps his scattergun at the ready.

As Tarim speaks, there is a soft whistling sound, and darts whizz through the air towards you even as a group of hagmen slither forth from their hiding-spots, brandishing blowguns and tridents!  Their skins have been daubed with mud and their long, greenish hair woven with leaves and moss.

* Kaius Alexander draws a bead on a hagman.

Tarim, you dodge the hail of darts, and those aimed at you bounce off your armour, Kaius.  Several of the Legionnaires are hit.  Maimer cries out and his face begins to blacken.

One of the hagmen slithers towards Tarim and jabs with his trident.  Kaius is likewise attacked, but his armour deflects the weapon.

Another of the hagmen chants and incantation in Hagspeech, directed at Kaius, but he shrugs it off.


* Kaius Alexander shakes his head, and puts his hand on the hilt of the Cereblade.

The Legionnaires struggle as the hagmen charge with tridents levelled.  Rankle takes a minor wound, as does Bodkin.  The wounded Legionnaire strikes back at his assailant.  Maimer puts up his shield and slashes back; the hagmen hisses and darts aside.

* Tarim strives to elude the hagman attacking him while he works an incantation to quicken the party's speed.

* Kaius Alexander thrusts and stabs with hexed speed.

The hagman attacking you hisses in agony as you slice its flesh, disengaging around its trident.

* Koldobika looses a shaft at the nearest hagman.

You miss, your arrow embedding itself in a nearby tree.

 Rankle hacks at the nearest hagman and has his attack repelled. Wraith sends an arrow at the spellcaster, grazing him.  Salamander begins chanting an incantation of his own.  Flames burst from his fingertips, scorching several of the hagmen.

The hagmen abruptly and rapidly withdraw en masse, slithering eerily back into the swamp and fog, seeming to merge with the undergrowth itself, vanishing as suddenly as they appeared, dissolving into the fog.  Kaius, you can still make out the hagman you were fighting for an instant.


* Kaius Alexander leaps forward and hacks a fleeing hagman nearly in two, slicing through its torso diagonally from its ribcage to its fleshy tail.

Viscera gush from the wound as the creature almost instantly dies.

* Kaius Alexander flicks the gore from the Cereblade.

The remaining hagmen are gone - no sign of them at all.

Tarim - I think we ought to interrogate this one.

Bodkin snorts. "Uh... might be a bit tricky there."

Kaius Alexander - Do not be so quick to laugh.  Tarim, if you would be so kind as to enlighten them.

Tarim - We have the means to do so.

Salamander is kneeling beside Maimer.  The warrior is convulsing from the poison.

Tarim - Watch our backs while we're at it.

Kaius Alexander - How is Maimer? Will he live?

The remaining Legionnaires form a perimeter.  

"He might, but the poison's spreading fast," Salamander says.  "We should get him back to the inn, or at least send someone to take him there."


* Tarim takes out the Collar of Cadaverous Communion.

"What's that you've got there?" Bodkin asks.

Tarim - This useful tool compels the dead to speak. Behold:

* Tarim places the Collar on the dead hagman.

The hagman coughs blood.  "Who drags me back from Heteren's embrace?" It says in Hagspeech.

Tarim - Speak, creature. Where are you holding the standard of the Pale Legion?

"That trinket?  We took it to the shrine of Eptaar, in our temple, of course."

"What does it say?" Salamander asks.


Tarim - Where is the temple?

* Kaius Alexander cocks his head to the side.

Kaius Alexander - Ask it why it and its brethren fled so suddenly.

"In a secret pool, to the south, half an hour as the raven flies.  You will never reach it.  My comrades will return, avenge my passing... rid the land of your taint."

Tarim - You attacked us capably enough, yet you retreated almost as soon. Why is that?

"We are hunters, braves, not warriors.  Better to hit and run, return to the mists to attack you again, let our poison do the fighting for us."

Tarim - This poison. How would one treat it? Guard against it?

"The venom is from a certain toadstool... only the lichen which grows on Bloodwood Trees can pull it from a wound."

Tarim - Are there many such trees in these bogs?

"A few, but they are rare - and deadly."

Tarim - Tell me where to find one. And what are it's strengths and weaknesses that you know of.

Kaius Alexander - What does this creature say, Tarim?

* Tarim ignores Kaius for now, too focused on the interrogation.

"You may find a small copse of them to the east, but beware their progeny.  Fire is their foe."

Tarim - What kind of defences does the shrine of Eptaar have?

"The temple adepts, of course, and those dedicated to the other five Aspects of the Aeon-Worm.  Also certain wards ensorcel the halls, to deter the unfaithful.  Now, do you have more questions for me?  I long to return to the holy slime!"

Tarim - I shall grant you rest once you tell me this: where are the wards placed and how do they deter the unfaithful?

"The wards are placed on the entrance hall - only those who do not recite the appropriate prayers while entering or leaving the temple are afflicted.  Now!  Release me!  I feel the Aeon-Worm's coils, pulling me back down into the sacred mud!"

Tarim - Oh, I'm afraid I lied. There is one more thing. Recite the prayers that you would when entering or leaving the temple.

* Tarim grins cruelly.

It seems to resist the compulsion of the Collar for a moment, then spits forth the following prayer like vomit: "Holy Agnath, bringer of knowledge, secret-keeper and lore-master, preserve me from ignorance and deliver me into sacred enlightenment."

* Tarim removes the Collar.

The hagman's head slumps.

* Tarim translates what he heard from the hagman to Kaius and the mercenaries.

Salamander nods.

Kaius Alexander - I see.  So, Maimer's hope lies with this tree.

"We must seek out this Bloodwood immediately, yes."

Tarim - We better, indeed.  We'll need that antidote if we are to fight the hagmen again.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2012, 04:52:49 PM by Steerpike » Logged


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« Reply #174 on: January 17, 2012, 11:24:16 AM »

Bloodwood

The party heads east, making for the grove.  A thin rain falls, making the ground even muddier than before.  The mist thickens around you, restricting visibility.  Tarim, you hear something moving up ahead in the fog.

* Tarim stops, raises his hand to signal the others to also halt, while his other hand grasps a Hellfire Bomb.

The legionnaires halt.

"What do you see?" Bodkin asks.


Tarim - Nothing. I heard sounds ahead.

Kaius, Kol, a hagman and two leechkin prowl about the edges of the mist up ahead.  The creatures are naked and have crimson skins which look almost fibrous in texture; their eyes are red and bloodshot, full of a feral rage.  Barking like dogs the creatures lope and slither towards you!

Salamander looks around from side to side; Bodkin has drawn a throwing knife.  Maimer groans weakly.  They haven't seen the assailants yet.


* Kaius Alexander draws the Cereblade and moves forward to confront the creatures.

Kaius Alexander - Enemies. They are unusual.

Bodkin and Salamander are poised with weapons drawn.  Rankle brandishes a longsword and heads to the front of the group peering into the fog with a scowl on his face.  Wraith knocks an arrow.

 Tarim, crimson-skinned leechkin runs out of the mist towards you, screaming from its palm-mouths.


* Tarim withdraws into the center of the group and invokes Entropic Shield

It flails at you, but you retreat back in time as your hex goes up.  The second leech leaps towards Rankle, who loudly insults its parentage.

* Koldobika readies his weapon, moving in to assist the beleaguered Legionnaires, flanking the creature attacking Rankle.

The leech's thick, fibrous hide protects it.  Its flesh has a tough texture, more like plant-matter than living meat.

* Kaius Alexander hacks at the creatures viciously.

Your blade severs one of the crimson creature's limbs, but instead of blood a crimson, viscous, translucent substance oozes from the stump.  The thing ignores the wound and picks up a piece of wood, using it as an improvised club.  It batters at you uselessly.

Maimer clutches at his belly with pale hands, his sickly face looking at the ground as he leans his shoulder against a tree.  A small moan escapes his lips as he feels like he's going to be sick.  Bodkin sends a dagger spinning threw the air.  It lodges itself directly in one of the leechkin's foreheads.  Reddish sap oozes from the wound, but the leech continues fighting, unaffected.  Salamander speaks an incantation, and suddenly his long, curved blade is sheathed in flame.  Rankle takes a swing at the leechkin that attacked him, while Wraith lets his arrow fly into the closest foe.  Rankle's swing takes a large chunk out of the leech-thing; Wraith's arrow quivers out of a leech.  It seems unfazed.

The leech that attacked Tarim lurches forward, ignoring other combatants, palm-mouths screaming.


* Tarim claws at the leechkin.

The leech is deterred.  Raking its flesh is like clawing a rotten log.

* Tarim hastily backs away from his assailer, hissing curses at it. Even as he stumbles backwards, he hurls the Hellfire Bomb he was grasping at the leechkin.

The Hellfire Bomb hits the leechkin and it almost immediately bursts into flame.  Though it ignores the fire, it quickly begins to blacken and crisp.  It smells like burning vegetation.

* Koldobika takes the opportunity to continue assailing Rankle's leech.

You continue to hack at the creature, slicing bits and pieces of it off.

* Kaius Alexander drives his Cereblade through the hagman - or whatever this thing is.

It vomits more sap from its vertical slit of a mouth but seems otherwise unperturbed.  It continues to hit you with its club, without doing any real damage.

Maimer still clutches at his belly, though his fight to hold down his last meal goes bad and the man at arms bends over to puke in the bushes.  Bodkin's second knife quivers on the side of the leech's head.  Salamander wades in and hacks off one of the arms of the flaming leech assailing Tarim.  Rankle continues his assault on his foe slashing viciously with his blade; the heavy blow embeds itself deeply in the creature's fibrous body.

Seeing the witch's predicament the silent hunter Wraith moves into point blank range and looses an arrow right in the leechkin's face.  The arrow strikes one of the creature's bloodshot eyes.  It turns its head towards Wraith, as if vaguely curious, then lumbers towards the archer, forsaking Tarim, still afire.  Salamander slices at it, cutting deep into its torso.  Its teeth tear at Wraith, but his bone armour protects him from serious harm – Wraith takes the blow silently, not even a gasp escaping from his unmoving lips.

Kol, the leechkin you're hacking at turns around and makes a clumsy swipe at you, which you easily duck.


* Tarim 's hand darts on the handle of his blunderbuss pistol, drawing the bulky weapon out of its lizardskin holster whilst he backs further away from the leechkin. "Have a taste of lead, bloodsucker," he snarls as he points the barrel at it and fires.

The leechkin's head explodes like an overripe fruit, splattering everyone nearby with goblets of charred plant-matter.  It stumbles and twists around, headless, and lumbers back towards Tarim.

* Koldobika is finding that precision matters very little against this particular brand of creature, and instead opts to throw whatever force his small frame has into his next few attacks. He is unconcerned about the beast's retaliation, but he is far from careless in protecting himself.

You tear through the creature's knee.  It falls face-forwards, and you scamper sideways, avoiding it.

* Kaius Alexander shoves the Cereblade into the hag-thing's stomach. He twists the blade and ichor runs from the ragged wound. The hag groans quietly and collapses, slipping off the blade.

Maimer is still puking in the bushes, the vomit splashing against the ground making for a strange background sound to the fighting.  Bodkin sends a dagger towards the leech fighting Rankle and Koldobika; it embeds itself in the plant-thing.  Salamander makes a wild strike against the shambling, headless, flaming leechkin, but misses.  Wraith once more sends an arrow into the leechkin shambling towards Tarim.  The arrow strikes the burning creature in its back and it finally collapses in a heap of flames.

* Tarim reloads, watching the fog for any more enemies

* Koldobika takes his earlier success as a sign that he is doing something very right - he repeats the process, hoping to bring down the creature with finality, he throws everything he has into his attacks.

You unseam the creature from neck to navel.  The pieces writhe for a moment, then like still.  The creatures - whatever they were - lie variously eviscerated, burnt, or slashed to ribbons.

* Kaius Alexander sheathes the Cereblade and turns back towards the group.

Kaius Alexander - No blood. This ichor... it sticks.

Maimer finishes giving the swamp-flies something to eat and stumbles back to the group.

* Koldobika idly wonders if they are safe to eat - then decides that he is a fox, not a rabbit, and whatever these things are simply lack the smell or texture to actually seem appealing to me.

Tarim - Could it be that these were the trees' "progeny" we were warned of?

Kaius Alexander - Not unlikely. Similar viscosity to the sap of a tree.

"I've heard rumours of such things," Salamander says, his sword now flame-less.

Tarim - If that is so then the trees must be near.

Rankle spits on the one that Kol felled.  "Ugly little fuckers."

* Tarim holsters his handgun and arms himself with his rifle.

Kaius Alexander - Come. Maimer worsens. We must find the tree.

* Koldobika sheathes his weapon and examines the remains, more to make sure they will not be getting up later than to achieve anything more useful than that.

Maimer sways uneasily on his feet his face even paler than before.

The creatures were definitely at least part plant.  Their innards are alien and twisted, more like fungi than organs.

"Well... whatever they were, we'd best keep moving, "Salamander says.  He keeps his blade drawn.


* Kaius Alexander continues further into the undergrowth.

* Koldobika really wishes he had some lovely fire right about now.

Bodkin retrieves his knives, humming a tune.  Wraith moves to support Maimer, helping him as he stumbles along.  Rankle grumbles about gods-forsaken swamps idly holding his sword at his side.

Tarim, you hear something softly moving in a nearby stream.


Tarim - Something's here... in the stream!

There is a soft splashing sound, and another hail of darts fills the air as yet more of the hagman braves burst from a nearby stream of murky water!  Wraith turns to look towards the stream still supporting Maimer.

* Koldobika takes the moment to hide in the brush before sneaking off to lay eyes upon whatever it is that Tarim hears.

* Kaius Alexander whirls towards the sudden commotion, ripping the Cereblade from its scabbard.

* Tarim draws a wound upon his left arm with his claws, his tongue speaking in arcane words. He points with his blood-dripping hand at one of the hagmen, sending a sanguine stream shooting toward it.

The creatures squirms and dodges the attack.

* Tarim backs off and shoots at the target his spell missed.

The hagman ducks downward, closer to the water.  Wraith returns fire, but his arrow hits the water.  Bodkin's knife grazes one brave.

* Koldobika begins scrambling about the area, weaving around his allies as he readies his bow at the leading Hagman. Just as he scrambles beneath Kaius' legs, he finds a good angle and looses a shot at the creature.

The arrow takes the hagman at the neck.  It stumbles backwards with a splash.

* Kaius Alexander storms towards the hagmen, singling one out he slashes at it with the Cereblade

You badly wound one of the braves; the water turns red.  Maimer stands where he is trying to stay upright while Wraith is shooting.  Rankle on the other hand lets out a scream of frustration and charges the nearest enemy.  He crashes into his foe with wild abandon and no thought for self-preservation.  The vicious blow catches the hagman off guard, punching through its hide armour and giving it a deep wound.

The hagmen dart backwards as one and return underwater, swimming at speed into the depths of the stream.


* Kaius Alexander slashes at one as it retreats.

You give the creature a second nasty wound as it flees, nearly killing it.  The murky water is now blood-red.

"Come back here and take what's coming to you, you spineless worms!" Rankle yells.


The hagmen, however, are gone.  Unless you want to dive in and attempt to pursue them beneath the water, they're beyond your reach.

* Kaius Alexander exhales in frustration, the sound muffled by his visor.

Rankle thrashes the water with his blade.

Kaius Alexander - These attacks vex me. They do not stand and fight, but seek to exhaust and unnerve their opponent. Clever.

Tarim - Without that antidote we stand no chance. We'll be worn down.

* Koldobika collapses, writhing in silent pain, just now noticing the poisoned dart in his fur.

Wraith moves to Kol, helping him off the muddy ground.  Rankle steps out of the water and heads back to the group.

"Gods above and below... these swamp-devils are picking us off one by one," Salamander says through gritted teeth.


Kaius Alexander - We will be fine once we locate that tree.

"We must hurry. Come."  Salamander continues into the fog.

Maimer's condition continues to worsen.  His veins are now black and swollen.  He has to stop every few minutes to dry heave.


* Koldobika, fighting to resist the poison affecting him, sucks some of the venom from Maimer's wound and spits before following the others into the mist.

The Bloodwood grove the dead hagman spoke of soon materializes out of the fog up ahead - half a dozen twisted trees with scaly black bark covered in pulsating crimson creepers like veins that move subtly to and fro.  The leaves of the Bloodwoods are red as well, and each tree bears a slit-like maw lined with many rows of teeth.  Suspended from the gnarled black branches of each tree are scores of throbbing red fruit, chrysalises of various sizes that rustle and bulge.  Within these membranous sacs incubating forms stir.  The curative lichen the hagman spoke of is a fine purple moss that clings to the trunks of several of the Bloodwood trees.

* Kaius Alexander raises his visor.

Kaius Alexander - These trees are strange. Can we approach them safely?

Tarim - We'll have to risk it.

Kaius Alexander - Perhaps.

* Kaius Alexander stares curiously at the moss.

"What else are we going to do? Go home?"  Rankle heads towards the trees.

Kaius Alexander - Or perhaps the moss... will come to us.

Tarim - How would that work?

* Kaius Alexander exhales as the zehrer inside his head spasms. He reaches out telekinetically and grabs a fistful of moss from the trunk of a tree.

Tarim - Hm. nice trick.

* Tarim uses his Ghost Claw to drag some moss from the trees.

You grab a fistful of moss, as does Tarim.  As Rankle approaches the tree, however, a vine whips out towards him, ensnaring him by the ankle!

* Kaius Alexander guides the moss towards himself, and it drops into his open gauntlet just as Rankle is snared by the tree,

Kaius Alexander - Rankle!

Rankle is dragged into the air.  The Bloodwood Tree's mouth gapes, and more vines encircle the Legionnaire's limbs.

* Kaius Alexander draws his revolver smoothly and takes aim at the grasping vine.

* Tarim quickly pockets the moss and aims his rifle at the tree.

Your shots destroy one of the vines, and the mouths on the Bloodwood groan - but the remaining vines don't slacken, and Rankle is unceremoniously stuffed inside one, which promptly closes fast.

* Koldobika tries to decide if the tree is particularly concerned about the taste of what it's about .

Rankle lets out a defiant scream as he is shoved into the tree.

* Tarim blasts his gun at the tree.

Salamander shouts in alarm.  Tarim, your shot hits the tree with a thud, absorbed by the bark.

* Tarim grabs a Hellfire Bomb and tosses it at the tree.

As Tarim's phial shatters, flames lick at the Bloodwood Tree.  Its mouths all open as it screams shrilly. Rankle, still alive, wrenches free of the Bloodwood!

* Koldobika waves a hand across his arrow, dispensing a great deal of witchery for one untrained in the arts. Then he quickly takes aim for an open mouth - one of the obvious vulnerable parts of the tree, and lets the arrow fly.

Rankle bursts free from the screaming maw covered in acid burns and goes running as fast as his legs can take him towards the group.  The tree shrieks horribly as Koldbika's arrow hits home, and one of its monstrous fruits drops down and splits open with a gush of malodorous natal fluids.  Out of the burst remnants pads a large wolf with reddish fur and eyes.  The beast growls, shaking its head and splattering those nearby with ichor.

Wraith steps forward and fires at the beast.  The burning tree continues to scream.


Kaius Alexander - We have the moss. We have Rankle. We retreat. That tree is covered in...'fruit'. I do not want to be overwhelmed by their numbers.

* Koldobika flees.

The wolf barks.  Its fur is aflame.  It bounds towards Rankle, leaping at him.

* Tarim strides away from the tree, taking a shot at the wolf.

The bullet knock it down.  It immediately gets back up and leaps at Rankle.  It pulls him back towards the screaming tree.  Rankle, abandoning all bravado, lets out a bloodcurdling scream.

* Kaius Alexander exhales in frustration.

* Koldobika takes aim and fires.

* Tarim aims at the wolf and shoots again

Your combined shots pepper the beast and it finally falls, releasing Rankle.  Burning vines snake towards him.

Tarim - Run while you can, fool!

A vine snares him.

* Kaius Alexander fires, aiming for the vine.

* Tarim also shoots at the vines.

The vine bursts.  Rankle hits the ground with a thud.

Kaius Alexander - Get away from that damned tree!

Rankle makes a run for it,trying to stay as far from the wolf and the trees as possible.
 The tree is now fully aflame and screaming horribly.  Its fruit are bursting in its branches.  The foetal forms inside begin to cry as their embryonic chrysalises burst and char, creating a horrific infantile chorus.

Rankle makes it back to the ground, singed, gnawed, and half-digested, but alive.


Kaius Alexander - Disgusting.

* Tarim rests his rifle across his shoulders and watches the tree burn in the distance.

* Kaius Alexander lowers his visor.

Tarim - You got lucky there. But we better keep to the maximum distance from now.

Rankle stands hunched breathing in ragged gasps, blood seeping from open sores.

* Koldobika practically collapses from exhaustion by now.

Kol, your efforts have kept the poison from dealing further damage to you, but you still feel ill.  You will need further treatment to keep it at bay.

Kaius Alexander - See to the poison. I will collect more moss.

* Kaius Alexander again reaches out telekinetically.

Tarim - Watch our backs for those fruits.

* Tarim also begins to harvest moss.

As you scrape moss from another tree, it shudders, and its mouths groan.  One of the fruit - very large and distended - begins to rustle.

* Kaius Alexander narrows his eyes.

The fruit drops and bursts open.  A red-scaled snake, enormous in size, slithers out of the sac!  Wraith sends an arrow hurtling towards it.

* Tarim immediately retreats.

* Koldobika does not like snakes. He hides behind Kaius.

* Kaius Alexander again raises his revolver

It moves slowly towards Kaius.  The bullet hits one of its coils, to little effect.

* Koldobika retreats towards Tarim.

* Tarim continues to run but stops shortly to take a shot at the snake.

Your shot hits only mud.  Wraith moves back then fires once more at the beast.

* Kaius Alexander cocks his head to one side, examining the snake. He promptly turns and sprints away from it.

Wraith's steel arrow pins the creature to the ground for a moment.  Wraith turns and runs.  The serpent pulls itself free and continues its slow advance, tongue tasting the air.  However, you can outstrip the creature if you move quickly.

* Tarim continues his retreat, shooting again

* Koldobika follows Tarim's example of a valiant retreat.

Rankle is practically holding Maimer up, ignoring the immense pain it causes him to do so, as the two stagger along as fast as they can go.

Your bullets and arrows seems to have deterred the creature, and slithers back towards its parent.


"Hellspells and buckets of blood, that thing was revolting," Salamander pants.  "So... should we return to the settlement to treat our wounds?"

Kaius Alexander - A sound plan.

Tarim - We should approach one more tree.

"I will go with you," Wraith says quietly.

Rankle coughs, "just be quick about it, witch.  I want out of here."

* Koldobika is eager to get back as well, but if they want one more tree, then they should go about getting it.

* Tarim Mirror Images himself and moves to harvest more moss, picking a tree they have not disturbed yet.

You notice the serpent, lying in wait around the roots of one of the trees.

Kaius Alexander - Do we not have enough for your liking, Tarim? Is it worth it to risk the ire of these trees yet again? The snake lies in wait, coiled to strike.

Tarim - We might need extra doses.

Wraith sizes up the serpent again and motions to Tarim to start collecting.

"Don't take the moss from the snake's tree," Salamander suggests.


* Tarim heads for a different tree.

* Kaius Alexander rolls his eyes.

The Bloodwood Tarim set alight has finally gone out, but it is now fire-blackened.  It looks like it might be still alive, but it is badly hurt.

Kaius Alexander - Fine, then. If you are not yet content.

* Kaius Alexander approaches with Tarim, to retrieve more moss.

As you scrape moss from the tree, more fruit in its branches begin to rustle, but do not yet fall.  The vines twitch and writhe as you harvest the moss.

Tarim - That ought to be enough, then.

* Tarim quickly leaves after collecting the moss.

Wraith follows after you.  Between Koldobika and Wraith you find your way back to the squalid settlemet by the tributary of the Gland.  The young Legionnaire Fiend meets you at the door of the Frenzied Tarantula inn.  His expression is grave.

"Serjeant's dead," he says simply.


Kaius Alexander - Unfortunate. And we had just retrieved a means to save his life.

The Legionnaires stop in shock.  Salamander hangs his head.  "Bugger... we'll have to bring him back to the Legion, for proper funerary rites.  Come on, let's make sure Maimer doesn't join him."

Rankle beats his head against a nearby wall in frustration while Maimer stands there weakly.


* Koldobika wonders how long ago the good serjeant had passed. Had they had a chance to save him and spoiled it? Or was it out of their hands?

Tarim - Well, we did what we could. Better tend to the living now.

Wraith and Salamander help Maimer inside while Rankle and Bodkin follow after.

* Vetter sleepily stirs from the howdah.

 Vetter - What'd I miss?

Tarim - You missed being eaten by a screaming tree. And turned into a fruit.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2012, 09:14:50 PM by Steerpike » Logged


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« Reply #175 on: January 17, 2012, 12:05:53 PM »

Rutter

Meanwhile, Eareg Maar journeys alone through the desert, hoping to alert the Centaurs to Macellaria's plight...

Dour Erg: desolate, scarred, seemingly endless.  It stretches east, north, and south as far as you can see, its barren hardpan surface fissured and scaled, like the flesh of some impossibly enormous beast.  There are no real roads here in the Slaughter-lands, only rough paths and the occasional smattering of stones where some ancient highway once wound.

Though hot and dry the desert is plagued with winds full of dust.  These seem sometimes to carry distant echoes - snatches of cruel laughter or screams of anguish, sobs of infinite sorrow or gasps of obscene bliss.  Perhaps these sounds are nothing more than the wind rustling through patches of dry grass or copses of grotesque cacti, but Dour Erg is undoubtedly haunted by the dead.  Distant smudges on the horizon mark the now thoroughly plundered ruins of bygone cities, their inhabitants slain by plague or war, decimated by uncanny weapons whose names have become synonymous with death and horror: the Roachbomb, the Withering Glyph, the Urbiphage, the Hedonic Storms.  The names of countless others have been forgotten, like the names of the places they destroyed, the realms that once flourished here.


* Eareg Maar shields his eyes from the blinding light of the sun as he looks about for landmarks his free hand idly goes to the waterskin at his side.

Distantly, you see two dark shapes circling high above you, ducking in and out of clouds.  They seem to be following you but are too far away to make out in detail.  Up ahead there's a mesa, and some distance further on there's a small ghost-town.  The town isn't visible, but if memory serves you should reach it by nightfall.

* Eareg Maar continues on foot towards the town hefting his pack.

* Eareg Maar stifles a whistle; this doesn't seem to be a good place to be making too much noise.

The two flying creatures descend from above, swooping towards you on black, tattered wings like those of immense carrion crows.  Their bodies, however, are like those of unusually large hyenas, and their tails are rat-like.  Their heads resemble human skulls with meagre, hairless skin stretched across them and eyes s deeply sunken as to resemble empty sockets.  

* Eareg Maar notices the approaching creatures.

Eareg Maar – Hmm, what do we have here?

This breed of unusual beast dwells in the southern Slaughter-lands in regions such as the Mewling Moors, the Wraithwastes, and the Rancid Barrens, though some have been glimpsed as far west as the Firesong Marches and as far north as the southernmost regions of Dour Erg. Unlike the sphinxes of myth, thanatosphinxes have the bodies of overlarge hyenas, the wings of enormous carrion crows, the tails of gigantic rats, and skull-like, disturbingly human heads with flesh stretched thinly over a gaunt, bony face. These near-skeletal visages often lead those who encounter thanatosphinxes to mistakenly believe them grave-spawn (hence the prefix). They do feast on necrotic flesh and, like putrevores, dire maggots, and other carrion-feeders, are drawn to grave-spawn by scent. However, thanatosphinxes will not hesitate to kill living prey - they simply wait a few days for their victims to putrefy.

Thanatosphinxes are not simply ravenous beasts, however - they are reasonably intelligent, a fact which makes them all the more dangerous.  Though many incorrectly believe that thanatosphinxes collect riddles and will spare the lives of potential prey if they beat them at a riddle-game, the creatures do have an eccentric fondness for grotesque jokes and black humour and will spare prey who make them laugh.  Mere frivolity will not do: thanatosphinxes have an extremely gruesome sense of humour, and the jokes they find amusing must be of the most disgusting or macabre variety.  Because of this fondness for the obscene some claim that thanatosphinxes were created by Baubo, goddess of profanity, and indeed the thanatosphinx is sometimes adopted as an icon by Baubo-worshippers.


* Eareg Maar aims at the nearest one and fires a shot.

One of the creatures wheels away from your shot.  It lands ahead of you, while the second comes to rest behind you.

"Well then well then," the leading creature growls to its fellow.  "A little two-legged stray, lost in the desert!  And a cranky one at that!  Put that little toy away, little two-legs!"

"It looks so forlorn," the other beast responds.  "Have you lost your way, little two-legs?"  They pad around you, eyeing you and licking their chops.


Eareg Maar - Fly along and find a meal somewhere else. I am not easy pickings for your stomach.

"Oh, I beg to disagree. You smell so very tasty."  The first beast sniffs the air with exaggerated savour.

"I say we kill it and let it rot a few days back at the nest," the second beast says, cocking its head to one side.  "Give its meat a few days to age."

"I'm hungry now," the first one says.  "Let's just kill it and be done."


Eareg Maar - How about I kill one of you and the other can feast on their rotting corpse in a few days?

* Eareg Maar aims Meteor at the one between him and the ghost town.

The first thanatosphinx frowns.  "Rude little bastard, isn't he!"

It pauses and pads forward, thrusting its bony head towards you and speaking in a low voice.  "I tell you what.  Is there something else you will give us in exchange for your life?"


Eareg Maar - I don't see what you would want of mine other than flesh. Little has value out here besides food and water.

"How about some entertainment?  We both enjoy a good joke... make us laugh, and perhaps we'll consider sparing your miserable life."

* Eareg Maar smirks.

Eareg Maar - How about a riddle?

* Eareg Maar hikes up his backpack.

Eareg Maar - What is the difference between a wagon missing its horse and a baby missing its head?

At the mention of decapitated infants the foremost sphinx smiles toothily. "What?"

Eareg Maar - There isn't a horseless wagon in my backpack.

It chortles slightly - a brief chuckle.  "Hmm.  A good start, two-legs, a good start.  Tell another!"  The other one didn't seem as amused.

* Eareg Maar reaches into his pack and pulls out something wrapped in cloth, unwrapping it to reveal what looks and smells very much like human flesh which was allowed to rot for awhile before being dried out like jerky.

* Eareg Maar tosses it to the creature.

The sphinx-thing paws at the bundle.

Eareg Maar - You didn't think I was lying, did you?

* Eareg Maar grins darkly.

"Heheheheh... very nice!"  The lead thanatosphinx devours the flesh.  It seems sated, but its comrade is not so appeased.

* Eareg Maar looks to the other.

It approaches from behind, still eyeing you hungrily.  "I've heard that one before, two-legs."

While Eareg ponders the first thanatosphinx finishes its grisly meal in a few short moments.  It belches loudly and sprawls out on the ground, panting like a dog, its breath rancid with the smell of rotten meat.  The second begins to growl lowly, impatient, hungry...


Eareg Maar - What is slim, quick, and so filling that it will satisfy your hunger for the rest of your life?

It cocks its head again.  "What?!" It demands.

* A single black tendril whips around from behind Eareg and latches to the creatures face; the tendril yanks around the barrel of Meteor with a snap.  There is a flash of fire as a bullet travels the short distance in the blink of an eye.

The creature yowls in pain as your bullet punches through its cheek.  It leaps backwards, pawing its gaunt visage, howling in agony.

* Eareg Maar looks back at the "sated" one.

It is bunched up and preparing to pounce.

Eareg Maar - Come now he has much more meat on him than I... and he's already hurt... what say you and I work together and you can have him for yourself later.. I'll even throw in some more of that wonderful jerky. Besides, he's such a sourpuss. That was a funny joke.

"Do I look like I'm laughing, little two-legs?  That is my pack-mate you just shot.  We were cubs together, two of a litter."

* Eareg Maar grins.

Eareg Maar - Ah I see how it is. Dark humour's only funny to you when it's someone else. Can't laugh at yourself. And you claim to appreciate comedy.

* Eareg Maar chuckles darkly, almost madly.

The other thanatosphinx moans and rolls around in pain.  Its fellow does giggle a little.  "On the other hand, he has been annoying me of late."

Eareg Maar - Come now. If I just wanted him dead I would have put it through his forehead... watching him roll around in shock though as he "gets" the answer to my riddle. Don't you find that almost delicious in itself? And besides, look at how much more meat he has than me. I'm just...

* Eareg Maar pulls out his skin.

Eareg Maar - ...skin and bones. I'd make not more than a few bites.

The creature grins.  "You make some persuasive points, little two-legs."  It growls and leaps towards its erstwhile comrade.  The creature you wounded has recovered somewhat.  It makes a mad snatch for you, pawing you aside forcefully.

Eareg Maar - You hit like a corpse! How fitting!

The sphinx you seem to have befriended rakes its sibling and fastens its teeth round its neck, biting savagely.  The creatures claw and bite at one another.  The sphinx you wounded rips a huge chunk out of the friendlier sphinx, and bright blood gushes everywhere.

* Eareg Maar lines up the wounded foe and at close range sends a flaming volley screaming towards the sphinx. The first shot goes wide but the second projectile connects with the creatures left eye scattering chunks of brain and skull all over the packed earth.

The sphinx releases its death-grip on its fellow.  The friendlier sphinx mauls the corpse, tearing open its belly and feasting on the steaming viscera that gush forth.

* Eareg Maar stops to reload Meteor and staunch the small dribble of blood from the gash the sphinx left on his arm.

Eareg Maar - Much better fare than myself I'm sure, and as I promised...

* Eareg Maar reaches into his pack and pulls out several more pieces of the preserved flesh and hefts it to the creature.

Eareg Maar - Not as good as the fresh stuff, but it has its own appeal I find.

After gorging itself the creature looks up at you and grins, its teeth stained red with its sibling's blood.  "Generous of you little two-legs... and on top of that, you may have saved my life with your little toy.  I find myself in need of a new pack-mate... where are you bound?"

Eareg Maar - For the moment I'm bound there.

* Eareg Maar gestures towards the ghost town.

Eareg Maar - Beyond that I'm on a mission of sorts, looking to hire some mercenaries.

* Eareg Maar looks to the creature.

Eareg Maar - The end of my road is a war, which promises to have many corpses. Most not near as mobile as I.

"Indeed?  A mission... mercenaries tend to mean battles.  Battles mean bodies, as you say.  Perhaps I might accompany you for a time?"

Eareg Maar - Company would be welcome out here in the wastes I'm sure... the wart-lickers who sent me tried to send company of their own, but I don't hold with that scum... you at least are honest enough in your own ways, much like me.

* Eareg Maar chuckles mildly.

Eareg Maar - Sure, come along.

"Come, I can bear us where you need to go faster than you would be able otherwise."

* Eareg Maar nods and accepts the offer.

"What is your name, little two-legs?"

Eareg Maar - Eareg Maar. Eareg will do.

"Very good.  You may call me Corpserutter.  Rutter, if you prefer."  The creaure beats its enormous black wings and takes to the air.
Logged


Spawn of Ungoliant
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« Reply #176 on: January 19, 2012, 09:11:06 PM »

Temptation

You are soaring above the desert on the back of Rutter, your newly acquired thanatosphinx companion.

"You're a heavy sack of pus," Rutter says, groaning a little.


Eareg Maar - No pus in this sack, just lots of chipped bones and leather.

Down below, a small group of horses look to be dragging a towering machine on wheels through the desert.  A handful of riders keep pace with the machine, which is heading northwards.  It is difficult to make out details from so high up, but it looks like a good portion of the device consists of a cylindrical tank, like a water tank.

"Well, you weigh a bloody ton."


Eareg Maar - Perhaps we should land for a bit hmm?  Just steer clear of that.

* Eareg Maar points to the vehicle.

Rutter looks back at you.  "What, you don't fancy a snack?"

Eareg Maar - I always enjoy a good snack, but I prefer to have the odds in my favour. Come on at any rate lets land if you're so tired

"You can pick 'em off one by one from up here, can't you?  Or are you a chickenshit?"  The sphinx wheels groundwards.  "Come on, let me snatch just one of 'em!"

* Eareg Maar looks at the group as they continue along.

You squint, trying to make out details.  Four armed men in battered, spiked leather armour ride alongside the machine; all have either firearms or repeating crossbows, as well as curved scimitars at their waists.  The machine itself is a squat metal thing constituted out of a large tank, a series of pipes, and a conglomeration of smokestacks or chimneys.  Despite the industrial character of the machine's components, the entire device is adorned with intricate ornamentation, such that the entire thing resembles an infernal pipe organ.

* Eareg Maar looks back at Rutter.

Eareg Maar - They all have firearms or crossbows on them, but if you think you can snatch one without getting shot down go for it.  I'll wait.

"Hmph.  I'll be back in a minute."  The creature snarls and takes to the air again after setting you down.

* Eareg Maar empties Meteor of rounds and pulling out a small metallic case opens it to reveal cleaning tools.  He takes the time to clean Meteor as he watches the sphinx make his try.

The wind over the desert is picking up.  In the distance, you can see a dark mass moving towards you, a wall of brown dust - a Flaystorm, still inchoate, but likely powerful enough to strip off a few layers of skin.

Some claim that Flaystorms aren't a natural phenomenon at all but enormous, perpetually enraged air elementals, cousins to the tempestas mali; others insist that they're the otherworldly winds of Hell, escaped from the demon-realms during the Membrane Wars, prowling undiminished across the Slaughter-lands.  Whatever the case, they can be more destructive than Rotmist and the Red Rain combined: those caught in their flensing, stinging, gnashing wake are left minus a few layers of skin at best or pocked skeletons at worst.  You've heard it said that many caught in a Flaystorm suffocate before dying of exterior trauma.


Eareg Maar – Wonderful.

You watch as the sphinx climbs sharply, then descends in a rapid spiralling drop, wings folded. You hear distant gunshots, followed by a scream and neighing, and the panicked clatter of hooves.

* Eareg Maar oils Meteors trigger with a few drops before packing the kit away again.

Corpserutter returns with a dying man in his paws.  He throws him on the ground and mauls at him absently, playing with his food.  The man's guts are hanging out, and he's bleeding everywhere.

Eareg Maar - Ah goo, you found some food. Don't play too much.

Eareg Maar points off at the approaching storm.

Eareg Maar - We have something nasty coming. Best to be going.

Corpserutter curses colourfully at the sight of the storm.  "That thing is fucking high," he snarls.  "And your maggoty ass is bloody huge.  I don't know if I can keep us above that shit."  He bites off the man's head hurriedly.  "That was some weird toy they had," he says while chewing.

Eareg Maar - The tank?

"Yeah.  You two-legs and your machines."

Eareg Maar - we may not have to fly above it, do you think you can outrun it, at least perhaps long enough for us to find some shelter?

* Eareg Maar slings Meteor onto his back

The thanatosphinx tears off an arm and begins chewing it thoughtfully.  "Mmm, maybe.  You know anywhere round here?"

Eareg Maar - I know that the direction we're heading leads to a ghost town. One of the buildings there might do.

"Alright.  Get back on then."  The sphinx stoops.

* Eareg Maar nods and mounts the sphinx.

"Speaking of storms... weird pictures on that machine.  Rain falling, and pictures of everyone eating one another."  The sphinx cackles evilly as it takes off.  "You humans are sick."

* Eareg Maar thinks about it for a bit.

Eareg Maar (to himself) – Why would a water tank have pictures of the Red Rain on it?

Eareg Maar – Hmm, that is disturbing. Let's hope that it is merely a religious picture or a ward. I would hate to think that someone is carrying Red Rain around in a tank with them.

* Eareg Maar shudders a bit thinking back to Macelleria.

"Come on, let's get to this pisspot town before the storm catches us.  Those assholes back there are done-for anyway."

Eareg Maar - Couldn't agree more. Let's leave the slugs behind

He flies quickly, soaring on thermals.  Soon you approach the ruin - a cluster of broken buildings, stones crumbling and weather-beaten.  The only structure whose original purpose you can discern is a forsaken church of Striga, ferocious warrior-seraphs decapitated or otherwise vandalized, red stone badly chipped.

The Flaystorm is growing in power and proximity, like a giant beast made of dust and loose dirt, slouching across the desert with shocking speed.  Rutter lands at the outskirts of the town.

"Get off, gleetbag.  We're here."


* Eareg Maar hops off.

Eareg Maar - That stone church of striga is probably our best bet for sanctuary. It still looks intact from here.

* Eareg Maar heads for the stone building.

Miraculously, the stained glass windows with their images of vampiric angels and saints are intact.  The doors are of brass, depicting various apocalyptic scenes.  The church has something of a dark reputation amongst scavengers, rumours of men going mad within its confines... still, you're correct that it's your best chance at shelter.

Eareg Maar - Let's be cautious though, there's dark rumours about this place

"Huh.  Whatever."

Eareg Maar - I don't hold with ghost stories but there's no lack of scavengers tales about men going insane in here. Let's hope the storm doesn't last long.

* Eareg Maar heads in.

The door creaks as you open it.  Inside, a statue of the blood-goddess holds up a stained bowl from which worshippers might once have drank, a scorched altar at her feet.  The entire place is curiously intact, well preserved.  A stairway leads down into a sepulchre beneath the church.

A strange feeling of unease fills you as you enter the church, as if you were being watched.  The idol of Striga seems to stare at you accusingly.  You get an even worse feeling from the stairway: when you look at it an ominous wrenching twists your entrails into knots.  As the pair of you step into the church, the doors slam closed behind you - perhaps blown shut by the first gusts of the imminent Flaystorm.


* Eareg Maar aware of the customs of Striga and aware of the idols "stare" finds a seat near to the door deciding that it would be best if he did as little sacrilege as possible

"Fancy place," Rutter comments.  He sniffs the air.  "Smells good."  He idly begins sharpening his claws on the pews.

* Eareg Maar grins.

Outside, you hear the Flaystorm rolling in - a hideous screaming wind whining through the town's ruinous streets.  Everything becomes dark as midnight as the dust fills the air around the church.  By all rights the force of the wind should shatter or at least perforate the stained glass windows, but somehow they are resisting the storm's assault.

* Eareg Maar takes out some rations and eats, chasing them down with a bit of water before leaning his head back to catch a few minutes shut eye.

You lay down to rest, and for a brief moment the room seems to flicker and change.  Everything is tinted slightly red.  The statue of Striga appears to be weeping blood, which collects in the bowl the carven goddess holds, and the room is filled with echoing chanting, as if a congregation were intoning a hymn.  The strange sensation is gone almost as soon as it occurs; you wonder if you imagined it...

* Eareg Maar sits up with a bit of a start and looks around.

Rutter looks over at you. "What?"

Eareg Maar - it's... nothing, just a touch of a dream.

He's urinating on the altar now, one leg raised.

* Eareg Maar sees him.

Eareg Maar - Stop that.

Rutter giggles.  "Heh, why?"

Eareg Maar - Not on the altar, I can feel the stare and it makes me uneasy. Somewhere else.

"Maybe later I'll shit in that bowl.  You gonna stop me, little two-legs?"

Eareg Maar - Something tells me that desecrating this place is not something we want to be doing - at least not while we're staying here. You can piss on the threshold when we leave.

His tongue lolls out.  He seems to have relieved himself.  "Wanna take a look downstairs?  I might be able to fit down there..."

Eareg Maar - Do what you want, just don't break anything... and no more urinating on stuff.

* Eareg Maar nods his head again and tries to sleep though he finds it hard with all the howling wind.

He chuckles.

* Eareg Maar waves him off and lowers his hat over his eyes.

You slip into a much-needed slumber.

You awake in the middle of a curved chamber of pitch black stone carved in an eerie, organic fashion and graven with Hellspeak sigils.  An arched doorway leads to another room; there is also a narrow window through which a strange, whining wind, carrying with it a titanic groaning sound and a smell of sulphur and numina, bile and electricity.


* Eareg Maar gets up and looks out the window.

From out the window you see that you are in a huge building, a palace or fortress, which appears to be suspended high in the air.  The entire thing is built atop some sort of enormous flying beast: below, you can see the foundation of the structure digging into its flesh, and you catch a glimpse of monstrous wings beating slowly.  Below the beast and all around are roiling, greasy clouds that crackle with purplish lightning.

Briefly, the clouds below you part to reveal a twisted fleshscape , a torturous plain of splintered bone towers and gaping pits across which enormous monstrosities somewhere between prodigious worms and colossal squids squirm, occasionally boring into the ground or disappearing into one of the pits.


* Eareg Maar steps back from the window and looks around at the chamber before heading for the door.

You enter a large chamber; the air is incredibly hot within it, as the room is dominated by an expansive pool of what looks like boiling blood.  Two squat creatures with beetle-like wings attend the bath; the imps' flesh has a raw, burnt look.  These servants intermittently refill the pool from a cauldron of steaming gore, at the behest of the bather: a tall, statuesque demoness luxuriating in the dark red liquid.  Her body is humanoid (at least from the waist up - her lower half is submerged), though her flesh looks as if it has been charred to a crisp, blackened and fissured with red.  She does not seem to be in any pain.  Her eyes glow with a flickering orange light; she is utterly hairless.  Occasionally you catch a glimpse of another "bather" - men and women whose skin is being melted away by the heat of the blood, exposing bone beneath.  When they break the surface these bathers moan dully, but mostly they remain beneath the surface.

You think of recognize one of the submerged bathers - a squat, bald-headed man with filed teeth, one of the Masticators from the abandoned asylum; there is a hole in his forehead, and the back of his skull is missing.  The man is abruptly drawn back beneath the water by yet another uncannily familiar figure: an armoured hulk, his helmet corroded and spattered.  This latter apparition was one of the Putrefactors you encountered at the City of Creeping Flesh, his gorget burst asunder, a ragged hole at his neck.

Hello Eareg," the demoness says in a voice like crackling flames.  "It's about time you stopped in for a proper visit.  After all, we've been together so long."  The scalded imps to either side sluice more steaming blood over the demoness and she sighs with obvious pleasure.  "Please, come on in, join me!  Don't mind the others - they're only phantoms..."


* Eareg Maar remains where he is standing.

Eareg Maar - And who would you be?

"Don't you recognize me?"  She puts on a pouting expression.

Eareg Maar - I'm sure I'd remember if I had met someone of your... stature though the phantoms seem familia-

* Eareg Maar stops and looks the demon over again.

Eareg Maar - Now that you mention it.

* Eareg Maar circles the pool slowly.

Eareg Maar - There is something familiar about you.

"Darling, have a dip.  Don't worry, it won't hurt you!"

Eareg Maar - Thanks for the offer, but bathing in blood isn't my thing.

* Eareg Maar smirks.

"So.  Have you figured out who I am?"

* Eareg Maar continues circling the pool looking about the room.

There are other doorways and several windows, leading to different sections of the fortress.

* Eareg Maar peers out a window.

Eareg Maar – No, I haven't. There's a familiarity to you, but I can't place it. This place, though, is strange. I've seen many things, but not this.

"Haven't you figured it out?  This place isn't real, precisely.  It's a construct, a figment of my imagination: a memory of my former home, the Castle of Cinders.  Technically, though, we're in your mind, not mine - I'm just projecting this into your consciousness, while you're sleeping."

Eareg Maar - Asleep.

* Eareg Maar mulls the word over back and forth almost looking at it from every angle before grasping it.

Eareg Maar - So this is a dream then?

"Of course.  Our dream."

Eareg Maar – Hmm.

* Eareg Maar pictures himself holding a filled and lit tobacco pipe in his hand.

Another scalded imp descends from the shadowy ceiling, carrying a pipe.  It's not the pipe you pictured though, but a twisted, malformed thing, carved from bone...

"Are you hungry, dearest?  Thirsty, perhaps?"


Eareg Maar - I could do with a smoke.

* Eareg Maar notices the imp.

The demon looks like a dwarf burn victim with bat-wings.

* Eareg Maar takes the pipe from its hand examining it for a moment before shrugging and taking a deep draw on the pipe.

The smoke tastes delicious, finer than any tobacco you've ever had.

Eareg Maar - Mmm... well if this is a dream and you're forcing it upon me as you say... I doubt that blasted sphinx is doing it, I highly doubt he's a demon to boot.

* Eareg Maar laughs to himself.

"Oh!  Not forcing.  If you really want to wake up, I suppose you could.  But why would you want to leave me?  We've just got to talking and we have so much to speak about!"

* Eareg Maar tries to recall where it was he went to sleep before having the dream.

As she speaks another body lurches out of the blood - a grafted thug with barbed tentacles erupting from his scalp and a hole where his nose should be.  The dead man stumbles towards the demoness and she places a hand on his face, caressing him, tracing the outline of the bullet-hole in his face with a long finger.  Presently she shoves him gently back into the pool.

* Eareg Maar is noticing the holes in the phantom's head.

Eareg Maar - I suppose those are gunshot holes then... you know I always found Meteor acted a bit strangely - almost as if possessed. I suppose that would make you the tenant then.

* Eareg Maar blows a smoke ring.

She claps her hands excitedly.  "Very good, Eareg darling, very good indeed! Meteor's not my True Name of course, but you wouldn't be able to pronounce that anyway."  She sinks back, the blood reaching to her shoulders.  "As for my bathing companions here, I think of them as our children, sometimes, when I'm in a maternal mood.  After all, we both had a hand in making them: I gave them birth, but you're their sire.  I hope you give me many more.

* Eareg Maar raises an eyebrow

Eareg Maar - So why wait all this time to let me know that I wasn't going crazy? That my gun really was doing strange things?

She grins, her eyes closed.  "Oh, I just enjoyed watching you squirm, dearest.  But I figured it was time for us to make a real commitment."

Eareg Maar - Commitment...

* Eareg Maar bites on the stem of the pipe while thinking

Eareg Maar - Well you're certainly the most clingy gun I've ever owned; of course you're the only gun I know of that I've ever owned. So then what do you mean about commitment? You aren't proposing to me... are you?

* Eareg Maar gives a dark chuckle.

She opens one flaming eye and looks over at you.  "I don't mean to scare you off, darling.  But it has been - what, nearly a century?  Still, we don't need to draw up any wedding plans just yet.  My kind don't typically go in for that sort of thing."  She closes her eye again.  "Then again, we are in a church.  Wouldn't the Sanguinists just love that?  A demon and a ghul getting married, with a thanatosphinx for a priest."

Eareg Maar recalls where he was when he fell asleep. His chuckle becomes a full laugh when he pictures the foul mouthed sphinx in priest garb.

Eareg Maar - Oh yes, and I suppose he's have us seal the deal by drinking entrails from his latest kill.

"That does sound like a delightful ceremony.  But I'd want my family there - no, we'll have to wait."

Eareg Maar - Well then, perhaps back on topic. You didn't contact me for no reason, I'm sure.

"Well, darling, I thought we'd talk about your career, your position in life."  She snaps her fingers and suddenly another imp flutters out of an alcove, carrying a pair of goblets brimming with some kind of black ichor.  "Do have a drink dear.  Now, as I was saying.  You've been an excellent provider for the pair of us so far, but don't you think it's time you were moving up in the world?"

Eareg Maar - The world never did seem like a place that wanted me in any real position of power.

* Eareg Maar accepts the goblet, sniffing at it.

It smells of temptation.

* Eareg Maar tries a sip.

It tastes of liquid sin.

"Oh, but that can change, my sweet! This opportunity in Macellaria, for example.  Have you considered, perhaps, turning north instead of south?  This Herruku - he sounds, mmm, powerful."  She purrs, and her eyes flicker.  "If you got close to him, helped him take the city, provided details of the defences - and, of course, if you don't hire the Centaurs - he would doubtless reward you well." She drinks deeply.

* Eareg Maar considers this.

Eareg Maar - You certainly have a wisdom to you.

She beckons to you.  "Eareg, Eareg, come here to me! Let me rub those tired shoulders!"

* Eareg Maar sits at the pools edge smoking the pipe

Eareg Maar – Strange. I'd have jumped at your offer, for years before I would have turned right around and headed back

Eareg Maar - And yet I feel something I haven't before.

* Eareg Maar closes his eyes.

Eareg Maar - You know what I feel.

* Eareg Maar puffs on the pipe.

Eareg Maar - Such a strange feeling.

* Eareg Maar opens his eyes to look at her.

When you open your eyes she has drifted up to you, her arms on the edge of the pool.

Eareg Maar - Attachment, attachment to the well being of another person. Never thought I'd feel that again.

"If you're not going to join Herruku, why not kill him instead?  You'd be the hero of Macellaria, the man who killed the Flagellator!"  She raises herself up, putting her face close to yours.

"Think of the glory, the fame, the power that would be ours!"

Eareg Maar - Wispy, Tarim, that strange Carver, even Kaius - probably been dealing with them for too long. Such a thing would be dangerous - incredibly so.

"Without risk there is no reward, darling.  We could do it together, you and I!  Hire the Centaurs as the leech and the others want - and then, on the eve of battle, we can swoop in, become the city's saviours!"

Eareg Maar – Hmm... no, I don't think I will betray Macelleria, I'd sell the souls of those bastard barons in an instant, but there are others there that I feel more than useful, almost a fondness for. Your other plan however... hmm. I will think on it; we will hire the Centaurs, of course.

She reaches out and touches your hand, her touch like flame, yet somehow not painful..

Eareg Maar - A proper assassination of this Herruku though will take cunning, but to be able to rub it in that leech's face. Now that would be wonderful

* Eareg Maar drinks the rest of the goblet in one go.

"I'm glad you've seen things my way, darling."

The drink is making you light-headed.


Eareg Maar - I've been walking the wastes for almost a century now, maybe I'm too feral now to ever truly be a rich gentleman, but I could pretend... oh could I ever pretend if it meant those barons had to sit back and watch.

"You're stronger than any of them.  You'd make a better leader.  With me at your side, all would fear us.  none would dare touch us."  She begins to gently pull you towards her, into the pool of steaming blood...

* Eareg Maar starts towards her for a second then stops and smiles.

Eareg Maar - Oh... you're good. Eareg Maar - I'm in no rush though, I've only just met you after all, the real you at least.


She pouts again and swims backwards and away.

* Eareg Maar tips his hat.

Eareg Maar - I'll see you soon.

"See you soon, darling - I'll be in touch."  She submerges herself.  You sense that if you return by the same entrance you'll awake...

* Eareg Maar shrugs and takes a big flying leap into the pool.

You have a sense that the blood is incredibly hot, but feel no pain, and your flesh doesn't seem to be being boiled away.  You feel something embrace you.  It doesn't seem to have the contours of a woman at all, but something horrifyingly alien, unthinkable, perverse... and yet, you seem to welcome every caress.  You hear the demoness' crackling laughter as she drags you deeper, deeper, deeper...

When you awake, everything is still dark, but the sound of the wind has ceased.  A meagre crack of sunlight is just visible at the very top of one window.  The Flaystorm must have covered the ruin with dust and dirt: you have been entombed, buried alive in the church.  Corpserutter snores loudly in the corner.


* Eareg Maar pats at his clothing expecting it to be soaked in blood.

You are bone dry.

* Eareg Maar thinks back to the dream and picks up meteor and examines the weapon.

The glyphs glow at your touch, the same flame-colour as the demoness' eyes.

* Eareg Maar sits there tracing the glyphs absently with his finger as he tries to recall everything, biting at his lip softly.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2012, 09:15:13 PM by Steerpike » Logged


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« Reply #177 on: February 26, 2012, 10:21:53 PM »

Is Wispy's romp into madness coming soon? laugh
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« Reply #178 on: February 26, 2012, 11:02:40 PM »

Damn, been reading the last entry. Pretty cool game you got going.
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Spawn of Ungoliant
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« Reply #179 on: April 05, 2012, 10:04:42 PM »

Very minor note, but this picture exactly sums up what I pictured the Ravener to look like.
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