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Author Topic: Blood and Bewitchment Logs  (Read 32957 times)
Spawn of Ungoliant
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« Reply #30 on: July 30, 2010, 01:43:08 AM »

The Elders

Kaius Alexander - It is time to deliver the corpse to the birds.

Eareg Maar - Well hopefully selling that won't little trinket won't give me away.

Tarim - We should go and present the Jatayi elders with their delicious gift. Unless you have something urgent to do first?

Eareg Maar - Indeed.

Tarim - Let us get going then.

As you're leaving the Bazaars a voice whispers to you from out of the shadows of an awning.  A tall, statuesque woman sits in the shade of the awning; from her scalp writhes a nest of black serpents, hissing and coiling around one another: she is a gorgon.  However, instead of a pair of black, madness-inducing eyes, a pair of empty sockets sightlessly regard you.  She beckons to you.

"Tell your fortune, good sires?"  She half-whispers from the darkness.

Somehow, despite the quietness of her voice, all of you hear her clearly.


* Kaius Alexander raises his visor and squints at the woman.

* Gorethirst approaches her.

Tarim - How do you do your fortune-telling? And what does it cost?

"I use the sacred tarot.  Only five obeloi for a fortune."

* Gorethirst drops five obeloi into her hands.

* Tarim looks a bit suspicious.

She seats herself and invites the leechkin to do the same.

* Gorethirst sits down.

"Past," the gorgon intones.  King Maggot is dealt: a monstrous worm feasting on a rotting cadaver.  The eyeless gorgon fingers small dots on the card's corner.

* Tarim observes keenly, trying to determine whether she's a charlatan or a genuine witch.

"Out of death comes new life.  The past is but an empty husk, a sloughed-off skin.  Peel away the decaying flesh and see the pink new skin beneath, but be cautious, for new skin, however unblemished, is painful to the touch."

She turns over another card.  "Present," she says.  The Beast is dealt: a hideous, monstrous figure with burning eyes and a fanged, slavering maw, with a crown of glistening horns.  "Indulge your present desires: who knows what the future will bring?  The world is old; the sun ails; any day it may be extinguished completely.  He who thinks only of days to come will squander what time he has."

She turns over a third card - The Nightmare, an amorphous mass of eyes and swirling shadows in which vague appendages can be glimpsed.  "Future," she says.  "The future can be terrifying, but even the most nebulous of dreams can encode glimpses of things to come.  Sift through these visions with care and you will reap rich rewards."  She bows her head.  The serpents hiss.


Kaius Alexander - Curious.

* Gorethirst blinks slowly.

* Gorethirst stands up and moves out of the way.

* Kaius Alexander hands her five obeloi.

After shuffling the deck, she turns over a card, again feeling at the corners for the raised dots.  "Past."  The card is the Witch: an androgynous figure in occultist's robes, with a grimoire spread beneath its long-fingered hands.  "You must keep the teachings and knowledge obtained in your past close at hand.  Look to the wisdom of bygone years for present strength, but beware obsession."

"Present, " she says, dealing a second card.  It is the Skull - a morbid, yellowed thing with grinning teeth.  "You stand upon the brink of life and death, or perhaps, life-in-death; on the one hand lies desolation, on the other, great fortune.  Without great risk there can be no reward."

The third card is turned.  "Future," she whispers.  The card is the Spider: bloated, swollen, and hideous, with many red eyes and slavering mandibles.  "Beware the schemes and plots of others: do not be caught up in their webs of deceit.  Be ever watchful against betrayal."

She shuffles the cards carefully.


* Kaius Alexander takes off his helmet and looks at the gorgon, then stands up.

She bows.  The snakes hiss gently.

Tarim - Though you charge little, I am not convinced.

* Eareg Maar chuckles.

"That is for you to decide, ghul.  I can offer but a glimpse into what was, is, or may be.  I see your shadow despite my missing eyes, and it is the shadow of a god, or a demon - I cannot see which, yet."

* Eareg Maar looks at Tarim.

Eareg Maar - Must be a really ugly one.

* Kaius Alexander reseats his helmet forcefully

Tarim - I shall have to keep an eye on my shadow, then.  Just in case.

* Tarim grins.

* Gorethirst mounts Corpsegobble.

Gorethirst - Farewell, fortune teller.

You head back through Hexwarren to the Witch's Gate and the shanty beyond.  The Watchdog is now awake and bays at the rising moon.

As you head to the camp you pass the shrine, which is attached to the small cemetery here.  A group of white-clad sisters from the Order of the Weeping Lady - the stern-faced nuns who officiate at the nearby shrine - seem to have become involved in an altercation with several jatayi.  The clergywomen are angrily yelling at the birdfolk and throwing stones to keep them away.  One, in a fit of rage, hurls a stinging hex at one of the fablers, who shrieks and limps away with an ugly bruise on his chest.  With this the rest disperse, flapping into the air or running along the ground, while the Sisters continue to rave at them.


Tarim - Hmm.  I wonder if they were trying to obtain food?

Kaius Alexander - Possible. Corpse-eaters.

Tarim - They must be desperate then, to risk such an open attack

"Indeed," one of the nuns mutters, a severe woman with iron grey hair and three teardrops tattooed on each cheek, having overheard your comment.  "We've got a corpse inside, awaiting burial.  The smell must've attracted them.  It's not the first time.  Fresh corpses have been going missing, the graves dug up and defiled.  We suspect the vultures, of course."

Suddenly, she eyes the group, considering.  "Say, would you be looking for any extra work?  Only for a night - tonight, in fact."


Kaius Alexander - What would you have us do?

"There's a ceremony at midnight tonight that will require all the Sisters, while we hold a vigil over the body within.  We could use someone to help guard the cemetery while we pray, to deter those carrion-feeders, perhaps catch them red-handed.  You would be handsomely rewarded for your efforts."

Kaius Alexander - I am not opposed to this offer.

* Kaius Alexander looks at the others.

Eareg Maar - I would be willing to help

Gorethirst - We have business at the moment.

Tarim - *whispering to the others* This might cause problems. We're supposed to try diplomacy with the jatayi first, right?

Gorethirst - If we have returned in time I will help.

Tarim - Better not antagonise the birds right before talking to them

* Kaius Alexander looks at the moon.

Kaius Alexander - I do not see that our business would keep us that long. I doubt it will need immediate tending.  If the jatayi would be offended by our defence of this shrine, that is not our problem.

* Gorethirst wheels Corpsegobble in a circle.

Gorethirst - Let us deal with the bird-men before we do anything else. Or shall we begin taking jobs before we finish our previous ones?

Tarim - I agree with the leechkin.

"Come to the shrine before midnight if you're inclined.  I have work to do."  She re-enters the shrine.

Kaius Alexander - The camp is right over there. I am not saying we stand around for five hours.

Eareg Maar - Well then why are we standing around.

* Eareg Maar heads for the camp.

* Tarim heads along.

* Gorethirst follows Eareg.

You enter the jatayi camp.  As the evening darkens, the crowds only thicken.  You approach the tent of the elders: a powerfully muscled jatayi male and a sinewy, fierce-looking female guard the entrance.  The tent itself is a large pavilion of stretched hide and bones.

* Gorethirst unwraps Lucretius's corpse.

The guards eye you warily.

Eareg Maar - A gift for the elders.  We wish an audience.

Tarim - We have come to meet the elders. We bring a gift as a token of our goodwill.

"The body must be divided into four quarters."

* Gorethirst breaks out its greataxe and begins chopping.

You make short work of the corpse.  The results are less than pretty, but the jatayi nod sagely and gesture that you enter with your dripping sacrifice.

* Eareg Maar picks up the upper left torso

* Tarim picks up the right leg and what ever's attached.

* Gorethirst grabs a piece by a leg and goes to enter the tent.

* Eareg Maar heads in.

* Kaius Alexander hefts the last one and enters the tent.

Four aged jatayi with iron-grey wings folded behind them sit cross-legged in this tent, sipping from steaming cups.  They watch you with the eyes of birds, wide and inscrutable.

* Eareg Maar respectfully places his section on the floor in front of them.

* Tarim adds another next to it.

"Your gifts are accepted, sampathi.  Will you share this meat with us?"

* Kaius Alexander raises his visor.

Kaius Alexander - It would be unhealthful for me to do so, but I cannot speak for the others.

* Gorethirst shakes its head.

Gorethirst - The diet you eat is not for my kind.

The jatayi nod at the leechkin and Kaius.  "Your ways are not our ways; this we accept.  Still, your gift is well given."

* Eareg Maar smiles.

Tarim - Though I am not particularly hungry, I would not mind a small piece.  'Tis always a pleasant to eat in good company.

Eareg Maar - In this case, yes I would be honored to share this meat with you.

One of them pours the same steaming liquid from a pot into four empty cups.  These are placed before you; there is no indication that you must drink, though you may if you wish.

* Eareg Maar accepts the drink sipping it.  It seems to be marrow-tea, hot and soothing, but rejuvenating as well.

* Kaius Alexander takes a small sip.

* Tarim looks at Eareg and Kaius, then tastes the tea himself.

"Why have you come before us, land-bound?"  The jatayi speaking is a bent crone, long-haired and covered in warts, half-blind, her eyes milky white.

Gorethirst - Why has you stayed outside the city for so long?

"Normally by this season we have moved on, it is true," another elder says - the youngest of the four, a male.  "Traditionally, we travel from this city to one our eyries, Shan-Szut, which lies a week to the north and west, as the vulture flies.  But as we prepared for the journey to Shan-Szut this year, our scouts brought back an evil report: the caves have been overtaken by a band of men, bandits in service of the warlord called Herruku the Flagellator.  Our oaths prevent us from harming any living creature, save in defence of our lives: we cannot drive the sampathi from Shan-Szut by force.  Thus we are condemned to wait here, until the brigands leave or we find some other place to stop along our journey."

Kaius Alexander - How many men did your scouts report?

"They did not know the full numbers," the younger male continues.   "But at least ten were seen from the air.  The men shot at the scouts with guns and bows, driving them away."

Gorethirst - Do you not have an intermediate camp between here and Shan-Szut?

The old crone speaks again.  "We can camp along the way, but without a place to stay or sampathi to beg from, how are we to survive?  Our scouts continue to search for a new eyrie, but for now, they are unsuccessful.  Already we have lost five to wild beasts."

Eareg Maar - If someone were to rid you of this problem though, you could continue on yes?

The younger male speaks again.  "If some being other than a jatayi was to cast the humans out of Shan-Szut, we could indeed move on from Macellaria'¦"

Eareg Maar - Well I've been cramped up in here for too long.  I'll do it, though I cannot speak for the others here.

Tarim - What brought these bandits to the eyrie? Is it close to caravan routes?

Eareg Maar - I'm familiar with the wastes.

"We do not know their ways," says a third elder.  "Perhaps they seek to turn it into a fortress, from which to launch their raids."

Kaius Alexander - Even if there are only a few score, that is still a formidable number. In the depths of the caves that they have grown to know, they would be hard to root out. Still... doable.   I will accompany you, Eareg.

Tarim - They must have some source of food and water, in any case.

Gorethirst - You cannot fight for your home?

"We cannot fight save in defence of our lives," the fourth elder speaks.  "The Balance forbids it.  Too many have been lost in battle.  Our numbers thin."

* Gorethirst shakes its head.

Kaius Alexander - Will you not join us, leech? I thought you lived for battle.

Gorethirst - You folk are no better than my kin, depending on others to save them.  I will aid my companions however.

The old crone's feathers rise, but the younger male calms and quiets her.

Tarim - We could certainly use even more aid, if we're to attempt something so dangerous

* Eareg Maar glances sideways at Gorethirst.

Eareg Maar - If you think that you have some learning yet to do, leech.

"Your aid is greatly appreciated in this matter," the younger male says.  "Our laws are ancient, and have protected us in a savage world.  Yet, sometimes they can fetter us."

"You speak blasphemy, Jullthar!"  The old crone shrieks.

"I speak the truth, Shaalba.  That is all."


Eareg Maar - Regardless of the reasons, I will help.

Tarim - There might be better ways to deal with the bandits than a foolhardy assault. We should learn everything we can about the place.

* Eareg Maar nods to Tarim.

Eareg Maar - perhaps, we'll see when we get there.

"So, you are agreed?"  The last elder speaks.  "You will cleanse Shan-Szut of squatters for us?"

Tarim - Tarim - We cannot promise anything. Even if we try it, success is anything but guaranteed.  Do you have maps of your eyrie?

Eareg Maar - Perhaps you would be willing to supply us with a few things for the journey.

"In this, we can offer but meagre assistance.  We have no maps, for our memories are flawless beyond the ken of sampathi.  We can provide a guide, however."

Gorethirst - Could you not continue on the migration backwards, returning to the previous stop?

"That is not our way.  The townsfolk and city-dwellers of Lophius and Marainein and even the dark city of Erebh have heard our tales but months ago.  We would find no welcome there..."

Kaius Alexander - Bandit filth won't be able to stop us. There is no need for hesitation. We will cleanse the eyrie.

* Tarim glares at Kaius.

Eareg Maar - And no need for hesitation or more banter.  Yes, I at least will do this task for you.

"I admire your courage, sampath," Jullthar says.

Gorethirst - I believe the welcome in Macellaria is wearing thin.

Eareg Maar - All the more reason to get going, leech

"My own daughter, Hoona, shall be your guide" Jullthar says.  "Go with our blessing."

Tarim - Careful planning is what we need.

Eareg Maar - Indeed.

* Eareg Maar gestures respectfully.

Gorethirst - If you truly wish to aid us, decamp and head towards Shan-Szut slowly. We will have dealt with it by the time you arrive.

"We must discuss this further," Jullthar begins, but the old crone, Shaalba, shrieks at the leechkin.

"IT IS NOT YOUR PLACE TO ORDER US, LAND-BOUND FILTH!"


* Gorethirst leaves the tent shaking its head.

As you leave, the crone whispers some dark phrase.  Gorethirst, you feel some malign presence brush against your mind, but you shrug it off.

Tarim - Forgive its words. It tends to speak before it thinks, and knows little of your people.

* Gorethirst turns around at the entrance of the tent.

Jullthar has quieted the crone again.  "It is we who should beg your apology.  Shaalba has breached the guest-right."

Gorethirst - At least my kin thank those who aid them.

* Gorethirst leaves the tent with a rude gesture.

"You have my thanks at least, sampathi," Jullthar declares to the group.  "And my apologies."

* Eareg Maar shakes his head.

Kaius Alexander - We will return to you when your eyrie has been freed.

* Eareg Maar gets up and leaves the tent

* Kaius Alexander inclines his head slightly and leaves

"We anticipate your return."

Tarim - We might need to try and get more people to help us. Especially if the leechkin is unwilling to.  For now, farewell to you.

* Tarim exits the tent.

Kaius Alexander - Mercenaries are unnecessary. I believe we possess considerable ability between us.

Eareg Maar - Indeed, and more people would only attract attention.

* Gorethirst mounts Corpsegobble.

Gorethirst - Let us aid the priests.  Spilling blood tonight will be a good omen for our journey.

Tarim - *to Gorethirst* Don't mind the words of an old crone

Gorethirst - These people are like my kin. However at least my brethren embrace being a parasite. Unlike these others who think themselves greater.

* Eareg Maar casually pops Gorethirst on the back of the head with the palm of his hand as he walks past.

Eareg Maar - While that was amusing, could you not do that next time, leech?

* Eareg Maar grins joke-mockingly.

Kaius Alexander - Sebastian has paid us to move them along. Their social tendencies are irrelevant.
Logged


Spawn of Ungoliant
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« Reply #31 on: July 30, 2010, 02:46:35 AM »

Blood in the Moonlight

* Kaius Alexander heads towards the shrine.

The shrine is dedicated to the deity known as the Weeping Lady, goddess of sorrow and mourning.  Several Lamenters of the Mourning Flock attend the shrine, grey and white robed women with tattooed faces and jewellery like crystalline tears.  The shrine is attached to the cemetery; the Sisters appear to be its caretakers.

Gorethirst - I feel it is a good thing that in the pits diplomacy takes the form of a sharp weapon.

Tarim - It must make things much easier, I guess.  As long as you're good with the weapon, of course.

Eareg Maar - Well, no concerns there, though it seems less skilled with its mouth unless using it to flay an enemy alive.

Tarim - Its skills might very well be just what we need if we're going to attack those bandits.

Eareg Maar - Certainly, but I jest.  I do not dislike the jatayi, but the look on that old crones face was very satisfying.

The priestess who met you before comes to the door of the shrine.  "Back so soon?"

Kaius Alexander - Yes, Sister. Our business did not take so long.

Tarim - We have dealt with our business.

Kaius Alexander - We have decided to accept your offer.

"Very good.  I am Sister Merris, incidentally.  This way, please."

* Kaius Alexander follows her.

She leads you into the shrine.  Lamenters kneel at the body of a young woman lain out on a slab.  Candles light the shrine, giving it a soft glow.

"The bloody corpse-eaters have stolen four bodies already," Sister Merris says.


Kaius Alexander - And you are certain it is solely the work of the Jatayi?

"Who else?"  She says.  "Though I must admit, none of the other thefts have been witnessed: we suspect the corpse-eaters flew away with their prizes after defiling the beds of the dead."

Tarim - Warding off those bird-men should not be too difficult for us. So long as there are no other disturbances.

Gorethirst - Let the bird-men come. I will be waiting.

"Our vigil will last for four hours.  You will each be paid fifty obeloi for this task - a more than generous reward, I think you'll agree."

Tarim - Your proposed reward is acceptable.

"Acceptable?"  She snorts good-naturedly.  "That's a queen's ransom, greyface!"  She seems bemused.

* Tarim looks about to say something, but decides not to.

Kaius Alexander - Do you have any specific instructions for the security of the cemetery? Or is our only task to ensure the safety of the buried?

"I will show you to the newer graves.  The older ones you need not worry yourselves over, since there is naught but old bones there."  She looks Kaius up and down.  "You have a striking look about you, sir.  Are you, by chance, of the City of Sleepwalkers?"

Kaius Alexander - I am.  Though I have not seen it for many years.

"I have longed to gaze upon the corpse-farms, to visit the Nurseries and speak with the Grey Matrons.  My fellow Lamenters consider such desires perverse, of course - some have even said sacrilegious - but I confess a fascination with the Lords and Ladies Revenant.  Anyway; enough chit-chat.  Let me show you to your posts."

Kaius Alexander - They are a curious group. Though I have lived among them for the majority of my life, they will always surprise you.

The cemetery is small but well-tended - rows of rude headstones and wooden grave-markers planted neatly in the desiccated earth.  A few more ostentatious tombs loom near the rear, though some of these have grown dilapidated, deformed by time and weather, despite the efforts of the caretakers.  Since most citizens of the Maggot City commonly either sell or actually cannibalize dead relatives rather than burying them, the cemetery is quite small for a city of Macellaria's size.

* Eareg Maar looks about for a good vantage point to setup in with concealment, noting several tombs and mounds.

Sister Merris shows you to three of the freshly interred dead.

"These bodies have just been committed to the Lady's care," she says, gesturing.


* Eareg Maar nods to the group and heads off to find a place to hide, loading a fester-shell into his weapons chamber.  There is a click as his boney fingers slide the sickly green round into the weapons barrel.

* Tarim stops to work his witchcraft, casting Harden the Skin upon himself. Then he approaches Gorethirst.

Tarim - This harmless hex will protect you.

* Tarim repeats the spell on the leechkin.

Gorethirst - You have my thanks, Tarim.

Kaius Alexander - We shall ensure the safety of the departed, Sister.  They will not get away with it on this night.

"Thank you, sir.  We will commence our vigil soon."

* Kaius Alexander salutes with hand to heart.

Sister Merris smiles enigmatically and curtseys at the Insomnolent.

* Tarim looks around the place

Tarim - It might be best that we prepare for attacks not only airborne but... from other directions as well.

* Eareg Maar will stay awake but concealed so any enemy doesn't see him hopefully.

* Kaius Alexander checks the rounds in his revolver and spins the chamber.

* Tarim places himself in a suitable safe spot... away from the graves.

* Kaius Alexander patrols in plain sight among the graves.

* Gorethirst impatiently paces, leaving Corpsegobble at the Melting Candle for an obelus.

Time passes; the night thickens.  You can hear the howl of wild dogs, the cackle of hyenas.  Bats wheel overhead; mist rolls in; the revelry of the jatayi camp grows louder for a time, then falls quiet.

* Kaius Alexander inspects the blade of his sword.

* Tarim is startled, looking at the graves, having seen six spindly, many-limbed figures creeping between the headstones.  They appear to be servitors, to his eyes - reanimated servants created by fleshcrafters, vaguely kin to zombies, their flesh is etched with glyphs, their limbs are grafted with crude weapons - and, bizarrely, with shovel-blades.

* Tarim points his hand at them, hoping to alert the others without makign a noise

* Kaius Alexander looks over at Tarim, cocking his head to the side.

* Eareg_Maar, seeing Tarim point, looks to where he is pointing, having heard something in that direction.  He sights Meteor in that direction.

Gorethirst, you smell something with your Bloodscent - fermeldahyde.

Kaius Alexander - What is it, Tarim?

Tarim - Walking corpses!  Hexed with some glyphs, and grafted.  There, between the headstones.

Kaius Alexander - What!?

Gorethirst - Something smells.  It is not a living creature, I do not think the bird-men are approaching.

Six shambolic figures stalk out of the darkness and into the moonlight, staring at the gruop with unblinking, worm-eaten eyes.

They are many-limbed, glyph-etched horrors, naked but for the glyphs on their flesh.  Several have grafted weapons - and, strangely, shovel-blades - sewn to their arms in place of hands.

Kaius: these are kin to zombies, but animated by different means.


* Eareg Maar sizes up the nearest one with his weapon.

Tarim - Not ordinary zombies, these.

Kaius Alexander - Abominations. No doubt intent on returning to their master with more materials. We must dispatch them quickly.

They are silent and stealthy as they approach, weapons gleaming.

Gorethirst - I had hoped the Jatayi would have tried something.

* Tarim begins waving his taloned hands and mumbling in hextongue. As his spell unleashes, the sound of innumerable tiny running claws echoes though the cemetery.  The rats chitter and swarm over the servitors, gnawing at their dead flesh.

* Eareg Maar has switched for a regular round.  A fiery light springs to life, throwing long shadows as the crack of a gunshot resounds among the graves.  S trail of fire zips through the darkness, slamming into one of the shambling husks.

One of the servitors is alight from Eareg's bullet.  It ignores the flames and continues its approach.  The smell of roasting flesh fills the air.

*Gorethirst  moves forward with his axe drawn and severs the nearest servitor's head.  However, this does little to deter it...

*Tossing his shield aside, Kaius Alexander catapults himself off a headstone and brings down his blade!  His blow cleaves the monstrosity's flesh and it swivels towards you, showing no sign of pain.  It slashes at him with a bladed limb, catching him at a joint in his armour.

The flaming servitor approaches Tarim.  Another heads for Gorethirst.  Two turn and head towards Eareg, scuttling up over the graves'¦

* Tarim backs off a couple of steps and works up another hex. Hissing black fluid drips from his hands as he lets loose a Corrosive Lash at the approaching servitor.  The hex sizzles as it melts the creature's flesh.

*A blast of searing heat leaps from the barrel of meteor and for an instant you swear you see a demonic visage twist and turn in the blazing trail as the shot flies towards Eareg Maar's original target, but the servitor darts to one side with startling speed, and the shot hits the dirt in a brimstone puff.

*Gorethirst's axe swings, but the servitor parries with its own blade.

*Kaius Alexander hews off one of the servitor's limbs.  It does not bleed, nor murmur in pain.

Two servitors' weapons variously slice, stab, and bludgeon Gorethirst.  Another slices at Tarim with the knives in place of its hands.



You are in the midst of Macellaria's cemetery, having been attacked by surprisingly sneaky servitor bodysnatchers who stole up on you with hexed stealth.  One, afire from a bullet of Eareg Maar's, flails and swipes at Tarim, the ghul witch, before collapsing in a charnel heap.  Two more of the sigil-scribed abominations flank the leechkin pit-fighter Gorethirst, ganging up on the blood-drinker, while a third is locked in combat with Kaius Alexander, clashing blades.  Yet two more of the horrors are shambling towards Eareg Maar, having recognized the threat the skilful sniper poses.

The rat swarm summoned by Tarim still besets the servitors, however.  Savaged by their razor teeth, the two servitors heading towards Eareg Maar pause to deal with the swarm, giving the gunman a few precious moments'¦


* Tarim , seeing the abomination collapse before him, turns to look at the servitors heading for Eareg. He chants and gestures frantically.

* Tarim finishes the hex Necropain, designed to put the hurt on the grave-spawn.  The Necropain hex disrupts the servitor's cathexis, and it falters momentarily, stung by the spell.

* Eareg Maar calmly works the bolt on his rifle, a shell casing spinning away to clink against the crumbling side of a nearby headstone

* Eareg Maar sites up the zombie that Tarim just harmed steadily (+2 aim tokens) and a flaming projectile screams from the barrel of his rifle, riding a wave of fire.  The servitor is hit by the flaming bullet and the embalming fluids that preserve it catch alight.

*Gorethirst hews the decapitated servitor with its axe, destroying the zombic horror.

*Kaius attacks his own servitor.  It tries to parry but his blow but he catches it on the chest.  His armour protects him against the servitor's counterattacks.

*The rats are butchered by the servitors.

* Tarim backs off and, seeing his leechkin comrade in trouble, turns his attention to the monstrosities assaulting him. He picks the one that looks to be *least* harmed so far and attempts to hex it with a Ray of Enfeeblement.  The hex goes wide, striking a headstone.

* Eareg Maar moves back 15 feet.

* Eareg Maar sizes up the one he shot.

*Gorethirst hefts its enormous axe.  Its blade gleams in the moonlight, wet with the other servtior's dark fluids.  With a vicious overhead swipe it brings the blade down, shearing off two of the servitor's limbs.  It grunts in pain s the servitor stabs at it with a remaining knife-arm.

*Kaius Alexander hacks off another of the servitor's limbs, then parries its counterattack.  

The flaming servitor continues towards Eareg, stopping a few feet a way from him.

* Tarim backs a further 5 ft and lobs a Hellfire bomb at the servitor that's approaching Eareg.  Unfortunately, the bomb comes just short of singing Eareg!

* Eareg Maar turns lowers his weapon and flips the bolt ejecting a casing with a click, as a fresh round slides into place.

Eareg Maar - Not today, grave-spawn!

* Eareg Maar aims down the barrel straight into the eye of the shambling horror (+1 aim token) and the rifle erupts with a demonic roar as the screaming missile crosses the distance between them in the blink of an eye.  The servitor's head explodes like a rotten piece of fruit.  Shocked by the blow, it topples to the ground, limbs thrashing, trying to claw its way towards Eareg.

* Gorethirst reduces the servitor it was fighting to a limbless torso that stares up at the leechkin with blank, dead eyes.

*Kaius Alexander runs a servitor through and wrenches his blade upwards, extinguishing its wretched un-life.  The remaining servitor draws up to him.  Its mace and blade clang off his helmet harmlessly.

* Kaius Alexander shakes his head vigorously, deafened by the resounding clangs of the blows.

The servitor on the ground is trying to crawl towards Eareg, but its progress is wretched.

* Tarim glances around quickly to ascertain that there aren't more shambling horrors around. He then takes careful aim and throws a flesh-melter at the one fighting Kaius, but again his attack goes wide.  The ghul is having an unlucky night!

* Eareg Maar takes a 5 foot step backwards and ignoring the corpse nearby, draws a bead on the one fighting with Kaius.

* Eareg Maar lets fly a flaming bullet that streaks towards the abomination on a fiery trail.  The bullet sets the servitor alight.  The servitor at Eareg Maar's feet almost looks like it'll manage to stand up, but the flames consume it.

*Gorethirst moves in.  He hacks off one of a servitor's flaming limbs.

*Kaius Alexander dispatches the last servitor with something approaching contempt, almost casually flicking his blade towards it, disengaging beneath its blade-arms, and bringing it down with a slash to the chest.

* Tarim still stands alert for a few moments after all the servitors are down. Seeing no further danger present, he relaxes a bit and spits on the nearest carcass.
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« Reply #32 on: August 02, 2010, 03:11:54 PM »

Investigation

Sister Merris emerges from the shrine of the Weeping Lady.  "What in the name of the Lady...?"

* Eareg Maar cocks the bolt on his rifle and a white hot casing lands on the ground, sizzling away at a patch of dry grass.

Kaius Alexander - Sister. It seems the Jatayi were not responsible.

She cocks an eyebrow and looks at Kaius.  "You think?"

* Shouldering the rifle Eareg casually walks towards Sister Merris.

Kaius Alexander - We were assaulted by these abominations while standing guard. It is my suspicion that they intended to abscond with more corpses to bolster their numbers.

Tarim - These many-armed things certainly don't look like dead birdmen, do they?

Sister Merris' look of sarcastic bemusement is replaced with one of deep concern.

"This must stop.  We cannot allow the dead to be stolen from the Lady's bosom so!"  She fumes.  "Perhaps - perhaps you would assist us?  Find out who has sent these abominations and put a stop to their sacrilege?"


Tarim - Who ever animated these ones must be quite formidable. Not to be confronted leisurely.

Kaius Alexander - Though I cannot speak for my colleagues, I would be willing to assist you in this matter.

Eareg Maar - gladly but I don't work for free, especially not against someone who can send something.

* Eareg Maar points at the corpses.

Eareg Maar - Like that.

Sister Merris turns to Eareg.  "We can reward you as best we can, given our means.  If we scour the shrine's coffers we could provide a hundred obeloi for each of you.  In addition, there is an old charm lying in the basement, gathering dust: we have a surfeit of such relics.  It is a warded collar ensorcelled in such a way that when fastened round the neck of a corpse, conversation with the dead is possible.  If you were to put a stop to the snatchings, this object would be yours."

* Eareg Maar looks at the others.

Tarim - Sounds quite useful indeed.

Tarim - In any case, I am in no shape to seek further fights tonight

Eareg Maar - Aye, and our fellow leech here could certainly use some rest and recuperation

* Eareg Maar gestures to the battered pit fighter.

Gorethirst - Indeed.

*Gorethirst pants, blinking his six eyes and idly examining its terrible wounds.

Eareg Maar - What the hell, sure I'm up for it.

Kaius Alexander - Sister, for myself I will ask no reward. These beasts trouble me, and I would gladly end the threat they pose.

"I doubt they will attempt another robbery for a few nights at least, whoever this madman is," Sister Merris says.  "Your chivalry is greatly appreciated, sir."

* Kaius Alexander raises his visor and bends down to inspect a corpse, looking for identifying markings.

The bodies are covered in glyphs.  Someone with knowledge of the arcane would be needed to decipher them'¦

* Tarim kneels beside Kaius, also examining them.

Kaius Alexander - Tarim. What do you make of these?

* Eareg Maar heads over to the corpses, looking over Tarim's shoulder.

* Eareg Maar scratches his head

Eareg Maar - I don't make much of this, what about you, witch?

Tarim - Necromantix hexing symbols. For raising the cadavers.  Hmm, what do we have here though...

*Tarim points to a twelve-pointed star symbol over the servitor's heart.

* Eareg Maar bends down closer.

Eareg Maar - A signature?

Tarim - Perhaps something to link them with their master?

Kaius Alexander - Curious.

* Eareg Maar pulls out a piece of parchment and a charcoal pencil and copies the symbol.

* Tarim pull out a dagger and cuts a sample specimen off the corpse.

Gorethirst - Mr. Carver introduced me to a fleshcrafter recently.  Perhaps he would know to whom this signature belongs?

Eareg Maar - Goodd idea, leech.

* Eareg Maar finishes up and folds the parchment up, placing it in his backpack.

Gorethirst - I will lead you to the man's workshop, in the Hexwarren.  Then, companions, I fear I must leave you and rest - the battle seems to have taken its toll.

Tarim - Would this fleshcrafter be any good in treating injuries?

* Eareg Maar gestures and a ragged owl swoops down and perches on his shoulder.

Gorethirst - Possibly so, but his rates would be exorbitant.  I will be fine.

* Kaius Alexander nods at the leech.

Sister Merris returns in a moment from the shrine with a smal chest of coins.  She counts out fifty obeloi to you each.

* Tarim nods thankfully

"A poor reward for so difficult a battle," she comments.  "I am afraid it is all we can afford to pay you."

* Eareg Maar takes his share.

* Kaius Alexander accepts the coins with a salute.

She glances at the bodies again.  "Perhaps... well, I do not know if this is of any help," she begins.  "The bodies that were taken... all were young women.  Is that significant, do you think?"

Tarim - They were?

She nods.  "I had not thought it important before, but of course I suspected the carrion-eaters."

Tarim - That is certainly interesting.  There must be more to this than amassing bodies to reanimate like these ones we just slew

Kaius Alexander - ooc: Were the servitors we faced obviously assembled from either men or women?

A random assortment of parts; rather sexless, in general.  They certainly weren't all-female, though.

"Is there anything else I can do to be of assistance?"

Kaius Alexander - I do not believe so, Sister. Your aid has been more than enough. We shall return when the situation has been resolved.

"You have my thanks, sir, and the gratitude of the Order of the Weeping Lady."

* Kaius Alexander inclines his head.

Eareg Maar - Well I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm hungry.

Tarim - I am too. Being almost clawed to pieces by a hexed zombie really raises the appetite.

* Tarim grins.

Kaius Alexander - I do not feel as such. My metabolism is slowed. Though perhaps I should eat, regardless.

* Eareg Maar heads off for where he thinks there's a ghul tavern nearby.

Eareg and Tarim make for a place called The Blood of Saints in the Hexwarren.

Tarim - I hope they serve reptilian flesh here. I am in the mood some some.

Kaius Alexander - Hmm. I shall have to find sustenance elsewhere, I apologize.

* Kaius Alexander leaves his companions.

* Gorethirst follows Tarim and Eareg.  It is still quite bloated from the meal earlier - Lucretius.  On the way it picks up Corpsegobble from The Melting Candle.

* Eareg Maar points towards the nearby ghul bar.

Eareg Maar - meet us there later.

* Kaius Alexander nods as he leaves.

Eareg Maar - Then our good leech can show us the way to the fleshcrafter.

* Gorethirst takes you down a maze of streets in the Hexwarren.  Eventually you arrive at a tissue shop called "The Emporium of Metamorphoses."

Gorethirst - The fleshcrafter dwells within.  Good luck to you;  I shall rejoin you later.

* Eareg Maar nods to Gorethirst.

Tarim - Farewell.

Eareg Maar - Get some rest, you look uglier than normal

*Gorethirst stalks away, towards a manhole entrance.

* Eareg Maar grins.

* Eareg Maar gestures to the shop.

Eareg Maar - Was just gonna get some food but might as well check this out first.

* Eareg Maar walks in.

Tarim - Agreed.

Inside, the walls are covered in parchment displaying sigils and glyphs.  Glass cases display grafts like macabre jewellery.

* Kaius Alexander wanders through the streets, searching for a location that agrees with his palette.

* Walking up to the counter Eareg Maar casually pulls the parchment out of his backpack as he waves to the store keeper.

A thin, effeminate man in a pale, patchwork coat (probably of manskin-leather) minces towards you.  "What's this you have here?"  He asks, his voice high-pitched and trilling.

* Eareg Maar unfolds the paper.

Eareg Maar - It's a mark we're curious about.  Is it familiar to you?

* Eareg Maar hands him the copy of the symbol.

"Indeed it is... I wonder where you came by it?"

Eareg Maar - We just stopped some grave-spawn grave-robbers - servitors with that mark on their heart.

Tarim - Discovered it on the corpse of a an animated servitor.  Assembled from many parts - you know the type, I'm sure.

"It's the signature of a certain fleshcrafter who works here in the Hexwarren.  A hack, if you ask me - no artistry to him at all."

Tarim - Does he put that signature on all his wares?

"Indeed. Awfully tacky, isn't it?  Ostentatious."

Eareg Maar - Certainly.

"Are you attempting to, ah, prevent his little pets from further depredations, hmm?"

Eareg Maar - Why do you ask?

"Idle curiosity, my dear fellow; frankly, Immanuel needs a lesson."

Tarim - You say that he's not artistic. Does he base his business on sheer quantity then?

Eareg Maar - You could say we wish to make sure that no more corpses start walking unaccounted for.

"He's been in the pocket of the Fleshmongers for some time now.  Private commissions for them.  I don't know why they'd want him; he's so... loud.  Garish, you know.  A show-off."

Eareg Maar - Hmm, Immanuel? What shop does he work out of.

"Starborn?  You'll find his little slaughterhouse near the Fane of Dust. 'The Flesh is Willing,' its called.  Pretentious little bastard."  He giggles.

Eareg Maar - I can see.  Well thank you for the information.

He eyes you both.  "You're welcome."

Tarim - It was a pleasure to meet you

"Incidentally, those are lovely glyphs the two of you are sporting."

* Eareg Maar looks down at his tattoos.

Eareg Maar - You like em eh?  Took me bloody long to do them all.

"They're rough, but they've got, I don't know, a certain rawness to them!  They show true potential."

Tarim - Potential is the purpose of their being.

"And yours!"  He moves to Tarim and traces one of the glyphs with a long-nailed finger.  "Gorgeous!"  He snatches his hand away with faux-bashfulness.  "Would either of you care to add to your collections?"

Eareg Maar - I might be.

"Indeed?  Care to have a look at my wares?"

* Eareg Maar nods.

Tarim - Show us what you can offer.

* Eareg Maar points to one of the glyphs on the wall

Eareg Maar - A simple spell that I lack knowledge of in casting, but I know what it does and could make use of it.  I'll take it.

"Indeed.  This will take a short while - come with me."

* Eareg Maar nods and follows him.

He leads you into a workshop that smells of chemicals and ink and gestures that you sit in a leather chair.

* Eareg Maar sits in the chair and gestures to his lower right arm.

He begins tattooing.



* Eareg Maar bares his right arm.

* Eareg Maar examines the tattoo, nodding in approval.

Eareg Maar - A little flamboyant with your strokes.  But good.

"Thank you," he titters.

* Tarim ponders deeply.

* Eareg Maar traces the curling lines of the glyph.

* Eareg Maar counts out five hundred bones and lines them up on his counter.

"I pride myself on my technique.  Perhaps you'd care to look at my gallery while your companion makes up his mind?"  He collects the coins.

Eareg Maar - Indeed.

Needlefingers opens a large iron door.  Inside are huge vats with a variety of exotic servitors bobbing within.

* Eareg Maar folds up the copy of the glyph, placing it back in his pack.

Tarim - I think I'll have the same treatment.

Needlefingers nods and gesticulates towards the chair.

* Tarim seats himself.

* Tarim rolls up his right-hand sleeve.

Needlefingers begins tattooing.



* Tarim examines his new tattoo carefully.
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« Reply #33 on: August 02, 2010, 03:16:59 PM »

The Impossible Dream

Alright, Kaius, you find a place to eat in Resurrection Row, not far from your house - meagre fare, but nourishing: some cubes of meat on a skewer.

* Kaius Alexander eats efficiently.

You feel the weight of the day pressing on you - you only need two hours rest, but if you don't take it, you'll be fatigued'¦

* Kaius Alexander finishes quickly and pays for the meal silently, exiting the building.  He heads to his tenement for a brief sleep.

Dawn light is beginning to lick at the buildings in the east.

The Insomnolent Guard are trained from childhood with drugs and meditative techniques to function on but a few hours of sleep a night - a condensed, dreamless oblivion of high-intensity rest, no more than four hours at most a night.  Mentally chanting the mantras you've recited to yourself every night for decades, you slip into this black nothingness...

...Only to awaken in what you immediately know to be a dream, impossibly defying the physiological mechanics of the preterslumber.  The sky is raw and greyish-pink, like ashes mixed with spurts of arterial blood, a patchwork of leprous cloud and vibrant, violent light.  You find yourself in a familiar place, on the balcony of a Hive Spire in the Sleepwalker's City.

Below the smoke-clotted industrial wasteland of Somnambulon spreads out, the Sinew River glistening like a fresh wound,  red in the dawn light.  You grip the wrought iron banisters of the balcony and watch the ancient sun of this tired world rise over the mouldering battlefields and pocked barrenness of the eastern wastes.


"Kaius?"  A familiar voice says from behind you.

* Kaius Alexander turns slowly.

Lady Genevieve stands before you, garbed in the black finery of the Revenants, framed by the pointed arch of a doorway inscribed with zehrer runes. She no longer looks sickly and frail, as she did in her last days, but strong and healthy, despite the bone-white pallor possessed by all of the city's nobility.

"This is but an imprint of our thought; a mere memory.  Our essence itself has departed.  We are no more."  She does not seem saddened.


Kaius Alexander - My Lady? I do not understand. How?

"The orb you carry around your neck.  It bears the imprint.  Kaius, do you know why we were exiled?  Why we were banished from our home?"

Kaius Alexander - I'¦ no, My Lady. I did not comprehend.  It was not my place to question.

"We had done something that is... forbidden for us.  Something that had not been done for many millennia, since we came to this world."  She shakes her head.  "Our society ails.  This world, these people... we work them to the bone, kill them slowly in our factories, and for what?  For this decadence?"  She gestures to the temple-palace of the Hive Spire.  "We have stagnated.  It is time for a change.  We conceived it ourselves: an act of individual imagination.  We say conceived: not idly do we use the word.  The orb that hangs about your neck - it is our spawn.  Our offspring: a Progeny-sphere.  To use the uncouth terms of the humans, an egg.

"It is an unborn zehrer, incubating against your breast, formed through an act of self-willed pregnancy, in the manner of the old world, before the zehrer opened the breach and came to this plane, fleeing the wrath of the se'irim and our own kindred.

"It was decided then that we would bear no more Progeny: we strove instead only to preserve our knowledge, our memories, to pass from host to host, undying and unchallenged, to avoid the divisions that had forced us from our home.  Undying and yet not ageless."

There is a peal of thunder across the sky, brilliant green.  In its crash you can hear a fell voice.  The world seems to crack, and all the colour begins to drain from your vision.

"Our time is short."  Lady Genevieve says, her voice growing faint.  "You grow wakeful.  It is not easy to dull the mind of an Unsleeping into this dream-state, especially for a memory.  We will try and visit you again, while you rest - if we have the strength.  Until then, keep the Progeny safe!"


Kaius Alexander - My Lady!  Wait!

"This is our last order.  Do not let the other Lords possess it!  Though when they discovered what we had done they would not kill the child yet they would deem it an abomination, tainted by the spirit of our rebellion.  Protect it with your life!"

With these words, the Lady Revenant fades, becoming brittle and blackened, like a daguerreotype being cast into flame.  Then there is only familiar darkness, as your mind slips back into its normal dreamless emptiness.

When you wake, the black spheroid pulses on your chest.


* Kaius Alexander staggers to his feet, dripping sweat.

The orb seems to whisper Lady Genevieve's last words, like an echo "...safe safe safe..."
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« Reply #34 on: August 02, 2010, 03:17:22 PM »

We're now fully caught up!
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« Reply #35 on: August 03, 2010, 11:53:55 PM »

The Blood of Saints

Gorethirst, as you're heading through the city towards The Blood of Saints, a small, human urchin pushes her way through the Hexwarren crowd, scampering between the legs of a servitor and squeezing between a cestoid and a hagman's coils. The dirty child scurries towards you, a piece of parchment clasped in her hand.

"You the cleaver called the Gorethirst?"


* Gorethirst nods tiredly at the child.

"Got a message fer ya."  She thrusts the parchment into your hands.

The writing is an elegant cursive, in immaculately grammatical Shambles.

"Dear Gorethirst,

I would like to invite you - and any companions you wish to accompany you - to dine with me tonight, on the evening of Scytheday, the thirteenth of Maxilla, in the Guildhall of the Crimson Shadows.  Present this invitation to the guards and you will be shown to the dining room.  In addition to the pleasure of your company, I desire to speak with you on a matter I believe will be of mutual interest.

Yours respectfully,

Mr. Rasp, The House of Crimson Shadows"


* Gorethirst waves the child off with a toss of an obeloi.

She smiles at you crookedly, catches the obelus, then scampers off into the Hexwarren.

The Blood of Saints ghul-bar is a salubrious establishment in the shadow of the Splicing Consortium's strangely variegated Guildhall - the fleshcrafters' headquarters is a pastiche of conflicting architectural styles fused into a bizarrely piecemeal edifice, ornate cupolas and gantries suddenly segueing to clean, curving contours or slab-like brick towers.  The ghul-bar looks more like a church than a tavern, with gilded statues of polycephalic mythical beasts and monstrous angels like eagle-winged winged satyrs perched over the entrance and on the corners.

Inside, The Blood of Saints glistens with gold-plated furniture and huge, wall-mounted mirrors.  The floor is of black marble, the seats of plush red velvet with crimson curtains for privacy.  Patrons drink warm blood out of ornate goblets.

Clearly this is an upscale place: many of those who crowd the bar are wealthy-looking grave-spawn whose tattooed flesh, homunculi, and sumptuous clothing mark them as well-heeled witches, the occult artisans and eldritch specialists of Macellaria, made rich by their talents.  Servitors with flesh like beautifully tanned leather work as waiters.

The bartender is a feminine, white-skinned thing that resembles a black-scaled, bipedal reptile from the waist down and a full-figured humanoid woman from the waist up, albeit with small, black eyes, a pair of slit-like nostrils in place of a nose, and long, black teeth.  A silver chain is fettered round her left ankle, attaching the demoness to the bar itself, which is carved with various runes.  As you watch, the strangely alluring monstrosity attaches one of her swollen breasts to a baroque pump-like device, which extracts a quantity of liquid.  The demoness mixes this secretion into a goblet which she hands to a rakish ghul libertine at the bar.


* Kaius Alexander seats himself at an unoccupied table, setting his pack down heavily next to him.

* Kaius Alexander waits.

* Tarim enters the ghul-bar, eyes the scenery for a moment, and then spots the armiger sitting at a table.

* Tarim heads over to Kauis.

Tarim - Greetings, friend.

A waiter shambles over.  "Can I get you anything?"  It croaks from its dead-throat, mechanically.

* Kaius Alexander raises his visor, examining the waiter.

Kaius Alexander - I am not of your usual clientele. Do you have anything available that is suitable to one such as I?

The waiter looks to have once been male, dressed in neat black clothing.  The thing nods stiffly.  "I will return with a menu."  It shuffles off and returns a moment later with menus tailored to the quick and to grave-spawn.

* Gorethirst arrives at the Blood of Saints, after admiring the gold plated furniture he makes his way over to Tarim and Kaius.

* Kaius Alexander raises a hand in greeting at Tarim and the Gorethirst.

* Tarim seats himself comfortably.

* Kaius Alexander scans the menu methodically.

* Tarim looks through the menu, hoping to find anything with reptilian flesh in it.

Kaius Alexander - Tarim. What did you learn?  I notice that Eareg is absent.

Tarim - Hmm.  Indeed. I bet he has his reasons.

The fare here is luxurious and fairly expensive, including odd delicacies such as brain-broths, battered insects, and reptile-eggs'¦

* Gorethirst ignores the menu and puts the letter he received down on the table.

Gorethirst - This was delivered to me on my way here.

Kaius Alexander - Curious. It seems we juggle many tasks and offers.

* Tarim reads it, a glint of interest on his face.

Tarim - We did learn something, myself and Eareg.  Immanuel Starborn, I think was the name. A fleshcrafter keeping a shop near the Fane of Dust. His signature mark was one the animated servitors...

Kaius Alexander - It would also be pertinent to visit the Mara who requests our assistance. Out of courtesy at the least, we need not commit ourselves yet.

Gorethirst - A visit to Mara would be a good idea. However this request from Mr. Rasp is for a specific time.

Kaius Alexander - I believe this Immanuel should be our priority. We will have time to join Mr. Rasp.

The servitor returns.  "Do you need some more time?"  Its voice is monotone.  "Or may I take your order?"

Tarim - I would have some raw reptile eggs, along with a warm cup of wine spiced with blood.

"Would you like to add some Hellcream to your drink for only five obeloi?"

(After Tarim's successful Knowledge (Demonology) check) Hellcream is a potent substance secreted by certain demons of the se'irim clan.  It has a particular effect on grave-spawn: to the quick it is poionous and baleful, whereas to grave-spawn it acts as a powerful restorative.


Kaius Alexander - Prepare me boiled eggs. Those of a chicken or similar bird. Not lizard. And bring a loaf.

The servitor nods stiffly and turns to Gorethirst.  "And for yourself, sir or madam?"

Gorethirst - A glass of the crimson.

It nods again and shuffles off, returning in a few minutes with a tray of food and drink.  The demoniac bartender winks at Tarim.

* Tarim winks back, flashing a grin.

* Kaius Alexander eats his eggs slowly, tearing off hunks of bread intermittently.

* Tarim enjoys his food, tasting the eggs in small bits and sipping the wine between bites.

Fangs - Good looking wench, for one of the se'irim.

* Kaius Alexander narrows his eyes at the demon.

The small, weasel-like fiends licks its lips and lewdly raises an eyebrow at Kaius.

Fangs - Wanna be my wingman, human?

* Kaius Alexander lowers his visor.

Kaius Alexander - Not with the likes of you.

Tarim - You'd like to get in her scales, wouldn't you?

* Tarim chuckles

Fangs - Heheh, she does have nice gams.

* Tarim downs the rest of his wine, but leaves a small dose to the bottom of the cup.

Tarim - Well, you can get a little taste...

* Gorethirst drinks awkwardly from his goblet of blood.

* Tarim hold up the cup to the familiar sitting of his shoulder

*The familiar licks at the bottom of the glass with obvious pleasure.

Kaius Alexander - We shall deal with Immanuel. If time remains afterwards before Gorethirst's meeting we will visit Mara.

The tab is thirty-three obeloi, for all three of you.  You probably don't need to worry about a tip.

* Kaius Alexander puts in eleven.

* Tarim pays his share.

* Gorethirst adds in eleven obeloi.

"It has been a pleasure serving you.  Have a good day."

* Gorethirst leaves and mounts up on Corpsegobble.

Tarim - A good meal. I shall recommend you to my ghul comrade.

* Tarim exits the place.

Tarim - I don't know exactly where the flesh-shop is, but it should be bear the Fane of Dust.

Kaius Alexander - We will ask around if it is not distinctive.

Tarim - Hm, what was it called again? "Willing Flesh"? Something like that. Ah, "The Flesh is Willing" - pretty sure that was it.

The Fane of Dust is a major landmark. Towering over nearby buildings, the austere, almost skeletal outline of the temple rises in a series of stony accretions, a nightmarish conglomeration of spires, steeples, gantries, and ornate cupolas.   Despite its complexity the Fane stands in stark contrast with the Sanguine Church of Pulsetown, a gilt obscenity of colour and glittering glass: the Fane is grey and dour, grim in the extreme.  An enormous telescope juts from the central dome, fixed on the sky overhead.

There are various tissue shops, glyph parlours, and similar places nearby.


* Kaius Alexander scans the storefronts.

You spot a huge, twelve-pointed star sigil hung over the door of a tissue shop, a stones-throw from the dour, grey Fane of Dust.  Within this enormous symbol are the words "The Flesh Is Willing."  The shop is a well-kept, two-storey building of ornate design, with leering apotropes and water-spouts and shuttered windows carved to look like gaping mouths. To either side are similar establishments: a glyph parlour called "Wordleather" and a place with numerous smouldering chimneys called "Wind-Up."

Tarim - This must be the place.

* Kaius Alexander enters the building.

Inside you find a gloomy, vaulted chamber guarded by a pair of mute, axe-handed servitors armoured with iron discs sewn into their dead flesh.  Various body parts bob in jars of preservatives on shelves about the room, while in the center large slabs are lain with half-finished projects, servitors on their way towards completion, many of them still missing limbs or heads.  Interestingly, most of these servitors appear to be female - and attractive females, at that.  Various books and papers cover workbenches and tables, and an ugly little homunculus something like a white, red-eyed, many-legged toad hops about the floor, making glottal croaking noises.

A short, pug-nosed little ghul whose bulging, slitted yellow eyes, wide-mouth, and pudgy frame make him resemble his own familiar waddles about the chamber, moving from slab to slab.


* Tarim follows Kaius inside.

* Gorethirst motions Corpsegobble to wait outside and follows the others into the shop.

"Can I help you, gentlemen?  Looking to purchase a servitor?"

* Tarim approaches one of the female servitors and examines it closely.

The servitor is made from the parts of a young, comely woman, very well preserved, without any substantial decay.  Glyphs have been delicately carved into her flesh, including the signature twelve-pointed star on her chest.

Kaius Alexander - No. But you can help us.

"Yes?  And how might I do that?"

Kaius Alexander - Your servitors are responsible for the abduction of corpses from the custody of the Sisters of the Weeping Lady.  Is this your doing? If not, who did you sell them to?

Tarim - *muttering* the flesh on this one sure seems fresh...

* Kaius Alexander looms threateningly.

The little ghul's eyes go even wider than they already were.

* Gorethirst moves towards the back of the store.

* Tarim turns back to see the conversation between Kaius and Immanuel.

"Well, I see that the jig is up, isn't it?  I suppose you must be the local muscle, no doubt hired by the moping Sisterhood to put a stop to my dastardly deeds?"

Kaius Alexander - Observant.

"Don't you find their attitudes a touch outdated?  So old-fashioned, weeping over perfectly good corpses that could be put to use."

Kaius Alexander - Irrelevant. We have been commissioned. You will cease your activities.

"Oh will I?  And if I don't you'll kill me.  Is that the way of it?"

Tarim - Is it really worth it? Stealing flesh when, such a great business as yours should have little trouble affording to buy it?

Kaius Alexander - As we would have no other recourse, yes, you would likely perish.

"The corpses of fair young women such as I requrie are preciously hard to come by.  I simply helped myself."  He turns to Kaius.  "Do you know who I am?  Do you have any idea of the friends I possess?"

Kaius Alexander - I do not care.

"If anything, I should be demanding compensation for the costly servitors that you so callously butchered last night, as I now see you must have."

* Gorethirst walks over to the shelves and takes a jar full of preserved flesh.

Gorethirst - Is this a valuable piece?

His head swivels towards Gorethirst.  "Useless trash.  Put it down, you foolish creature."

* Gorethirst throws it against the far wall.

Immanuel shrieks as the jar shatters.  "You idiots!  The Splicing Consortium will have your HEADS for this INDIGNITY!"

Gorethirst - You have many jars in your establishment.  Your work might be more important than your life yes?

He snarls an arcane syllable and the servitors at the door lurch to life.  They do not yet attack, but their weapons glint in the shop's sallow light.

* Kaius Alexander draws his revolver and cocks back the hammer, aiming for Immanuel's head.

Kaius Alexander - Do not try it.

* Tarim moves toward the door.

Gorethirst - Yes, let us battle inside your store. There will not be much left for you to salvage afterwards.

The ghul squeals in fear at the sight of the gun.  "Fine, fine.  Look, perhaps we can come to an arrangement instead.  What are the Sisters paying you?  It can't be all that much."

Kaius Alexander - Our demands were very clear.  You will stop. I will not be subject to bribery.

Tarim - Note that no reparations were required.  Merely that these attacks cease.  You'd even get to keep all these beauties you've already built.

Gorethirst - Leave the sisters alone. There are other graveyards in the City.

"Fuck, you're an uncompromising one."  He bites his lip.  "Perhaps I could come to an arrangement with the Sisters themselves?"

Kaius Alexander - You must accept our proposition for the interim, and we will escort you to the Sisters.

"You could act as middle-men.  I'd pay you."

His eyes dart to and fro.  "I'll pay the Sisters a hundred obeloi a body.  Surely you'd admit that's fair?"


Kaius Alexander - I do not know if that is fair. You will discuss it with them.

Tarim - Regrettably, we cannot make such deals in their name.  It's theirs to accept or decline.

Kaius Alexander - You are wasting time, Immanuel.

The little ghul sighs deeply.  "You are making this very difficult.  You are sure you won't carry a message to them for me?"

Kaius Alexander - We will not.  Now come with us.

Tarim - Oh, and no servitors following us, then

* Kaius Alexander motions with his revolver towards the door.

"Fine!  I will go myself, but on my own sweet time.  You will NOT drag me through the streets in front of all the world to see like some common criminal."

Kaius Alexander - I do not know that we trust you. You would have to provide us with significant evidence of your good faith.

* Gorethirst takes another jar off the shelf

Gorethirst - Perhaps some of these?

"Significant evidence?!  PUT THAT DOWN!"

Kaius Alexander - My comrade makes an excellent point.

* Gorethirst begins to take the lid off

"Star-Gods preserve me, I see that you are a bull-headed bunch.  I agree to your terms.  I'll go with you, but no weapons, please!"

Kaius Alexander - Relax your servitors.

* Gorethirst returns the jar to the shelf

He snaps his fingers irritably and the servitors move back to their original positions.

Tarim - We will hide our weapons once we are outside. But be warned, that lecchkin is a veteran pit-fighter, and quite adept at killing without mechanical aids.

Kaius Alexander - To the door, let us go.

Immanuel rolls his eyes and waddles towards the door.

* Kaius Alexander steps in closely behind him.

* Tarim exits the shop.

* Gorethirst takes one last glance around the shop and exits to mount Corpsegobble.
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« Reply #36 on: August 04, 2010, 01:32:43 AM »

Strained Negotiations and The Case of the Suicide Statuette

Once outside, Immanuel Starborn calls for a rickshaw.  A cestoid pulls up, a mass of bristling limbs and chitin plates.

Kaius Alexander - I will ride with you.
 
"Very well."

Tarim - *whispers to Kaius* We should make sure the rickshaw driver doesn't try anything funny. Never know what connections this Immanuel may have.

Kaius Alexander - I will ensure there is no trouble.

* Kaius Alexander leaves his hand on his revolver.

* Tarim mounts corpsegobble behind Gorethirst.

You trundle off to the shanties beyond the Witch's Gate, to the Shrine of the Weeping Lady.

* Kaius Alexander stares pointedly at Immanuel, hand on his holstered revolver

Immanuel steps off the rickshaw and heads inside, muttering under his breath.

* Kaius Alexander follows him closely

Inside the shrine, the body is still laid out.  Immanuel eyes it greedily.  Sister Merris approaches you.

Kaius Alexander - Sister Merris. This is the man responsible for the crimes against you. He wishes to negotiate.

* Tarim dismounts and follows them in

"Indeed?  Well, I should say that after the bodies were returned two hundred obeloi apiece in reparations would be sufficient."

Immanuel looks up at Kaius as if to say "see what I have to deal with?"  He turns back to Sister Merris.


* Gorethirst motions for the rickshaw driver to stick around and follows Tarim inside.

Kaius Alexander - You hear her terms. Do not look at me.

Immanuel snorts.

Tarim - He had made quite a piece of work of those bodies. Pretty female servitors.  Doubtlessly commanding high prices.

"That is disgusting," Sister Merris says.  "You have stolen and disfigured young women committed to the eternal care of the Weeping Lady.  You have mutilated, defiled, and degraded them.  You will pay, and return the bodies immediately."

* Gorethirst shakes his head as he hears the demands.

"Out of the question!"  Immanuel shakes with rage.  "Those servitors represent hours, days of work!  I transformed them from mere meat into masterpieces!  I find your insinuations distasteful in the extreme!  I am here not to negotiate their return, but the procurement of more corpses!"

"More?"  Sister Merris looks shocked.  "You are a lunatic.  We will not part with a single body given into our care. You WILL return those that you stole."

Immanuel turns back to Kaius.


* Kaius Alexander looks at him silently.

"This is a waste of my time, and my breath.  I am leaving."

Kaius Alexander - No, you are not.

* Kaius Alexander moves to block him.

He takes a deep breath in, then out.

Kaius Alexander - If you die, Immanuel, they will not know what has happened, and the problem you present will cease.

Tarim - Perhaps now would be a good time to bring up the point of guild connections? Just so that all participants are... aware of them.

He nods to Tarim.

"Indeed.  I am an associate of the Splicing Consortium, Sister.  No doubt you have heard of us?"

Sister Merris says nothing, drumming her fingers against a column.  Immanuel grunts.

"Look," the fleshcrafter says.  "Neither of us is getting through to the other.  Can we agree to compromise?  I keep the corpses I already have and agree to leave your little cadaver-garden untouched from now on."

Sister Merris looks furiously at the rest of the group as if for support.


Gorethirst - The only other option would be to kill him here and now Sister.

Tarim - You are the ones that make the decisions here, Sister

* Kaius Alexander cocks his head to one side

She sighs, a bit defeated.  "Fine.  I suppose I can expect no more.  Now begone, pustule, before I change my mind."

Immanuel bares his teeth and makes to leave.


Kaius Alexander - Remember Immanuel.  I will be watching you.  Make nothing more of this.

"I advise you to do the same, and not to interfere in my affairs on future occasions."

Kaius Alexander - We shall see.

He struts off to the rickshaw and climbs in imperiously.

Kaius Alexander - I am sorry, Sister. It seems this was not the solution you had intended.

Tarim - I predict that he will resume his attacks as soon as he finds a way to get away with it

"Well, you did your best.  He was not to be reasoned with, and our vows forbid us from taking lives - we merely deliver those already dead into the Lady's care."

* Kaius Alexander inclines his head.

"Now at least we know not to blame the bird-men."

Kaius Alexander - If he resumes his defilement, inform me.  I will deal with him.

"Here is the relic you were promised, and your payment.  If you find any way to retrieve the bodies he has already stolen, you would be rewarded. I realize, however, that such a task might be impossible.  Thank you for your help."

She holds out a bag and a metal collar, etched with small runes.


* Kaius Alexander salutes with hand to heart.

* Tarim takes the collar and examines it.  It is a Collar of Cadaverous Communion: plain, black iron, with a snap-lock, engraved with delicate runes.

Tarim - How interesting. I will study this one more carefully later.

Kaius Alexander - ooc: Kaius chooses to take no obeloi.

"Gallant as always, sir."

* Gorethirst takes his bag of obeloi and puts it in his larger sack.

Tarim - I presume neither of you have any objections if I keep it? I will forfeit half my share of the money for it.

*The others agree.

Kaius Alexander - Much time remains until our dinner with Mr. Rasp. Let us find Mara.

* Gorethirst mounts up on Corpsegobble.

Gorethirst - Let us find this Mara.

You head to the slums of Resurrection Row.  A crude depiction of a cackling, horned figure marks this disreputable-looking establishment as the Laughing Fiend, a slouching four-storey structure that leans against the city walls, adjacent to the Butcher's Gate on the south side of the Row.

The skulls of various horned creatures decorate the walls of this tavern - from simple goat-skulls to that of an enormous, clearly demonic monstrosity crowned with bristling, corkscrewed nest of bony jags and spikes; some of these macabre ornaments seem to double as hat-racks.  The bar is quite busy, crowded with patrons quick, dead, and inhuman,  a rather cosmopolitan crowd.  A dour shade in own nook plays cards with a mantid and a living human, while three zerda occupy another corner chattering rapidly in their yapping vulpine tongue.  The bartender is a tall, gaunt man who sports a pair of enormous, grafted ram's horns.


* Kaius Alexander approaches the bartender

He looks up.  "Get you something?"

Kaius Alexander - I am looking for Mara. She has made a proposition to me.  I was told to seek her here.

"Oi!  Mara!"  The bartender bellows.  "Fellow 'ere to see you.  Big fucker, face like a corpse's, bit overdressed.  Boyfriend of yours?"

"Not quite," an answer comes, and a fiery-haired woman struts from the crowd.  Half of her face is heavily tattooed with stylized markings, and she openly displays a heavy pistol and half a dozen cruelly serrated knives strapped to her person.  "You must be Kaius Alexander.  Mara, thane of the Dogskull Clan."  She holds out her hand.


* Kaius Alexander extends his hand to shake firmly

"What's your poison?"  She gestures to the bar.

* Gorethirst enters the Laughing Fiend and sits down at the bar.

Kaius Alexander - I must decline your offer. If we are to do business I require absolute clarity of thought.

* Kaius Alexander inclines his head respectfully

"Ha.  Very well.  Straight to the point, I see."

* Tarim follows after the leech

Mara orders an absinthe for herself.

Kaius Alexander - My friends might appreciate a drink, though.

* Kaius Alexander motions to Tarim and the Gorethirst

She looks round to Tarim and Gorethirst.

Tarim - Already had a good drink this morning

"Can I get you anything, leechy?"

Gorethirst - A chalice of blood my good human.

She nods and the bartender pours you one.

"Glad you got my message.  I got a bit of a proposition for you.  Some eyewitnesses - second-storey window over Blackhand Alley - told me about how you lot butchered Locks and his punks.  Word travels fast in the Row."


Kaius Alexander - Apparently.

"Anyway, we Dogskulls're in the midst of a turf scuffle with another Clan, and we're in no position to be throwing away troops over problems that might otherwise deserve our attention.  There's a nasty little blighter be the name of Glut who runs a gang calling themselves the Masticators.

"They're unaffiliated but they've got the blessing of the rival Clans, since they're been honing in on Dogskull territory recently - picking pockets, hitting up locals for protection, and generally running amok and being a public menace.  They're a redmouthed pack of junkies, real lunatics; those that don't pay get snatched and taken back to their den.  Not sure what happens to them after that, but some bodies have turned up badly mutilated and with... bits missing."  She makes a face.  "Eaten.

"Normally we'd deal with these bloody-minded bastards ourselves, but like I said, right now we're tied up with our own mess.  We'd like to engage you lot to take care of the Masticators for us, permanently.  The miltia are on the take, of course - not that they give a hagman's fart about what goes on in the Row most of the time in any event.

"You'd be handsomely compensated for your trouble.  You'd be welcome to anything you find in the Masticator's little den, plus five hundred obeloi each if you bring me Glut's metal teeth."


Tarim - How big is this gang?

"Not sure of the exact numbers, but about twenty souls all in all, I'd say.  If they have any souls left..."

Kaius Alexander - An acceptable proposition, Mara. I would be glad to rid the row of this scum.

"How bout you, wormy?  Leech?"

Kaius Alexander - Twenty fools would be little match for us.

Tarim - Tell me more about this Glut.  What makes him the boss?

"He's a crazed cannibal, rose through the ranks peddling Thrum, biggest fucker you've ever seen.  Mean as shit, and eats anyone who disobeys.  He turned ghul about fifty years back, from all the raw flesh."

Tarim - Sounds like a very straight-forward type. A bit of trickery could work wonders against them.

Gorethirst - Do you have any trinkets to barter with? I find coin easy to come by, something more material would be more interesting.

Her eyebrow perks up.  "What kind of stuff?  Drugs?"  She chuckles.  "Antiques?"

Gorethirst - Antiques would be interesting.

* Gorethirst waves his wrist getting blood everywhere.

Gorethirst - Perhaps something in ur-bone?

She laughs uproariously.  "An-fucking-tiques.  Well, I suppose we have plenty of junk from heists and the like... ur-bone, eh?  I'll look into it."

Kaius Alexander - Allow me to advise you, Mara. This problem of yours may not be resolved immediately. We have other business to attend to on this day.  It will not trouble you for much longer, though.

"I quite understand.  In the meantime I'll see if I can scrounge up something black and shiny for the leech.

"The Masticators' hideout is in a deserted insane asylum not far from the Court-of-Innards, on Talon Avenue.  It's always guarded, but during the night some of the gang are usually out pestering the locals and causing mischief, snapping their teeth at those that don't pay up.

"Careful of this lot.  They're thrum-addicts the lot of 'em, a pack of rabid, drug-addled cannibal madmen - their choice of lair suits them all too well.  Once they get worked up they won't back down till they're dead.  Without Glut they'd probably disperse, but he's likely to be well-guarded."


Kaius Alexander - He will be dead soon. The number of his guards does not concern me.

She smiles.  "Pleasure doing business with you."

Tarim - I already have some ideas on how to approach this.

* Kaius Alexander nods to Mara.

* Gorethirst pays for his drink and gets up.

Mara shakes her head.  "On the house, sapbrains!"

Gorethirst - A handful of humans should not pose a problem. We shall return with Gluts teeth.

"Glad to hear it."

* Kaius Alexander exits the Laughing Fiend.

* Tarim moves out after Kaius.

* Gorethirst mounts up Corpsegobble.

Gorethirst - Has anyone informed the playwright that removing the Jatayi will take longer than expected?

Tarim - There is something that my landlord mentioned recently...

Kaius Alexander - The playwright can wait. Being informed will not make the situation progress any faster.  Yes, Tarim?

Tarim - A trouble with apparent haunting. He was willing to cut my rent if I cold solve it, but I'm sure he could be persuaded to pay coin for you if you were to help me out.  Shouldn't take too long to at least take a look at the place

Kaius Alexander - This sounds like a matter of thaumaturgy to me.. I do not know that I could help. Though we have little else to do until our dinner appointment.  We can solve this problem of yours in the meantime.

* Gorethirst motions to Tarim to lead the way.

The Worm-Hive is a dense conglomeration of buildings with many residential tower-blocks and older, elegant spires rising in clusters out of the morass of tenements.

Tarim - If the haunting is genuine there is danger that we might have to face a demon, or a ghost of some kind

* Kaius Alexander nods.

At this time of day, the windows are shuttered or shrouded with black curtains.  Almost no one is visible in the streets, which are eerily quiet.  The dull roar of the city's marketplaces can distantly be heard behind you.  You pass one tower that has been boarded up entirely and scrawled with graffiti before you arrive at your destination.

* Tarim leads the group to the house of his landlord.

* Tarim enters the building.

Tarim - Quelnefess? You here?

Quelnefess is in his tub as usual, not far from the entrance.

"Oi!  You come to take care o' dat umbra upstairs?"


Tarim - I'm willing to take a look at that problem. But I got some assistance, and they'd need to get some bones out of it.

"I'm not made o' money, Tarim!  I could throw dem a few obeloi each, I suppose..."

* Tarim glances at the others.

* Kaius Alexander nods.

* Gorethirst nods as well.

Tarim - Alright. Could you explain what the problem is? My memory's a bit hazy, and they ought to know what they're getting into.  It was people missing and suspected haunting, wasn't it?

"On da top floor.  Seventh on the left.  All de last tenants been killing demselves."

Tarim - Ah, suicides. That's what it was.

"One's still up there, blew his brains out.  Others did different tings.  Rope, drugs, knives.  Vodun?  Bad spirits?  Dunno what be the cause fer sure."

Tarim - We'll take a look.

"Fanks.  Yer a good tenant."

* Tarim turns to the others

Tarim - Well, let's not waste time sitting around.

* Tarim heads to the upper floors.

* Kaius Alexander checks the rounds in his revolver as he ascends.

* Gorethirst follows Tarim closely, trying to stay out of sight of Quelnefess

The seventh door on the left looks innocuous enough, save for the dark stains that've seeped underneath.

Tarim - Hm, blood?  Or is it something else?  You would know, Gorethirst?

* Kaius Alexander throws the door open.

The corpse of a human man is slumped against one wall, dried blood, brains, and skull fragments splattering the plaster behind the ruin that was once his head.  Other than the cadaver the room is devoid of anything immediately noteworthy.

* Kaius Alexander unholsters his revolver

It's a small, rather sparely decorated apartment with a rusty-looking bed, a small kitchen, and a ratty desk with a pile of books and some papers on it, held down with a paperweight or statuette of some kind.  A door leads to the bathroom, which looks similarly mundane: just a tub and a tap, some dirty tiles on the floor, and a mouldy towel or two on a brass rack.

Kaius Alexander - There is nothing here.

Tarim - Let's see if this recent victim knows anything

Gorethirst - There is nothing alive in here.  The stains on the floor are a mixture of blood and cerebrospinal fluid.

Kaius Alexander - A fine distinction, Leech.

Gorethirst - But accurate.

* Tarim tries the collar on the corpse

The corpse starts violently.  A bit of glutinous blood seeps a little from its mouth.  It stares up at you with worm-eaten eyes.

Kaius Alexander - Why are you dead, corpse?

* Kaius Alexander calls over

Tarim - Speak, cadaver

The corpse turns.  "Was the... the..."  It struggles.

Kaius Alexander - The?

"No point.  No point in any of it'¦ Stat... statue..."  It swivels its head, looking towards the desk'¦

* Gorethirst walks over and hefts the paperweight

* Tarim 's eyes wander at the paperweight statuette

The statuette resembles a small, hunched figure, like some kind of malformed gnome.  Its eyes appear to be chips of onyx; its mouth is jagged-toothed and grinning rather horribly.

Tarim - Careful, leech!  It might be possessed

Gorethirst, suicidal thoughts suddenly rush into your head as your gaze into the statuette's eyes, your own inexorably drawn to the thing.  You fight them off only with difficulty.

Kaius Alexander - Are you alright, Leech?

* Tarim whispers eldritch words, casting Sense Witchery (Detect Magic).

The statuette lights up like a sinister candle.  It's got strong hexwork on it.  There's a glyph on the bottom.

Gorethirst - I am fine. This is the object that caused the problem.

* Kaius Alexander sights down his revolver at the statuette.

Kaius Alexander - Shall we destroy it?

Gorethirst - Perhaps we can give it to Glut, and solve several problems at once.

Tarim - The bewitchement is strong on it.  Wait.

The corpse begins screaming hoarsely.

* Kaius Alexander looks over at him

Kaius Alexander - Quiet. We're thinking.

It whimpers to itself and obeys.

Tarim - I will try to determine what I can of it. Do keep that corpse from causing any trouble, will you?

Kaius Alexander - Certainly.

The type of witchcraft is nigromantic in nature - there is no demon bound within, the statuette itself has malign intent.  It's something like an animated object: not diabolic, merely cursed.  It's aura is strong.  You fight off a bout of nihilistic, depressing thoughts emanating from the statuette.

* Tarim focuses keenly, his inset eye-gems glowing.

Tarim - Intriguing.

Kaius Alexander - Well, Tarim?

Tarim - No spirit in this one.  But it's got some hex within it.

Gorethirst - I say we give it to Glut. Or sell it.

Kaius Alexander - This object unsettles me. I would rather we destroy it.

Tarim - I agree. Break it.  It will not release any demon to do so

* Kaius Alexander shrugs and fires a shot into it.

The shot pings off harmlessly.

Gorethirst - It would be useful. Mara said if Glut dies the band will disband.

Kaius Alexander - Huh.

Tarim - The bewitchment is too strong. It must be protecting the item

Kaius, your head is suddenly filled with disturbing thoughts, as your eyes flicker across the statuette's.  Without your Mistress, Lady Genevieve, why are you here?  Wouldn't it be easier simply to end it all?

* Kaius Alexander looks at his revolver.

Then you shake it off - you *do* have a purpose.  She entrusted you with a burden; you cannot fail her.

* Kaius Alexander holsters it.

Tarim - Well, isn't this troublesome.

Kaius Alexander - Yes. Most.

Tarim - Perhaps it could be safely covered?  The least we can do is hide it from sight.

* Gorethirst puts the statuette in his pack.

The corpse sighs with relief as the statuette is removed from its sight.

* Kaius Alexander raises his visor and look at Gorethirst

Kaius Alexander - What do you intend to do with it?

Gorethirst - Give it to Glut.

Kaius Alexander - ...Right.

Gorethirst - Unless you think we should sell it?

Tarim - It could be quite useful - perhaps even valuable.  But it's a constant danger.  We should avoid it for now.  Get it to some safer place quickly, and leave it until we have decided what to do

Kaius Alexander - I do not know that you should be so close to it for so long, Leech. I do not think dealing with Glut will be so simple.  Unless you would just walk up and deliver it to him? Unlikely.

Gorethirst - Perhaps we should go and throw it onto the asylum grounds. And come back later in the night to see what is left.  Or we could say it is tribute.  They *are* a band of thieves afterall.

Tarim - Do you know of any place where this could be hidden?

Kaius Alexander - Whatever you would like to do, Leech. It is in your possession.
Fangs - Maybe if it was lumped in with other treasure?

Gorethirst - Hmm, good idea.

Tarim - We could sneak it in their hideout.  But that will have to be later

Gorethirst - Agreed, can we store it in your home for now Tarim?

* Tarim frowns

Tarim - If there's no other place

Kaius Alexander - Throw a sheet over it.

Tarim - It shouldn't be a problem when I'm not staying home.  There will be no one else there, save possible thieves.

* Tarim grins.

Gorethirst - We should be dealing with Glut this night. So it should not be an issue.

Kaius Alexander - Corpse. You must go back now. We require that which is about your neck.

The corpse nods.

* Tarim retrieves the collar.

 The corpse falls silent, and its head lolls, exposing its gory brainpan.

Gorethirst - Well, if we have finished here let us go meet this Mr. Rasp.  Unless there is other business to attend too?

Kaius Alexander - I cannot think of anything pressing.

Tarim - Alright.

* Tarim takes the statuette-in-a-sack and hauls it into his apartment.

Quelnefess pays Tarim ten obeloi on his way out to give to Kaius and Gorethirst, allowing the leechkin to stay out of sight.

You put the statuette somewhere safe and out of sight. However, you must make a second Madness save while you handle it.


* Kaius Alexander chambers a new round while he waits for Tarim

* Tarim locks his door.

Tarim - What time is it?  Perhaps we should head for that dinner?
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« Reply #37 on: August 04, 2010, 02:05:27 AM »

Fraternity

It is difficult to decide what the Guildhall of the House of Crimson Shadows once was - the civic center of some defunct realm, or a temple of forgotten gods, or the mansion of some long dead sorcerer-king.  Whatever the case, it is large and sprawling, a palatial structure grown half-ruinous over the long centuries.  Decapitated statues of obscure heroes or deities stand at the entrance; graffiti covers the walls, and the huge sigil of the Crimson Shadows is mounted over the black iron doors.

Inside the front hall - a huge chamber supported by carven columns covered in the runes of a dead language - an array of wooden tables and piles of goods are carefully tabulated.  Here the Guild's official clerks conduct business with seasoned scavengers; on one wall, pinned over the map of a forsaken kingdom whose borders have long been erased, are miscellaneous contracts, Guild policies, and a large map of the city and the surrounding wastes.  Guardsmen in the black-and-red livery of the Shadows stand at the stairs to the upper floors.


* Tarim eyes the place approvingly

* Gorethirst walks towards the clerks.

Gorethirst - We are here to see Mr. Rasp.

The clerks nod.  "You got an invitation?"

* Gorethirst shows the note.

"Show it to the guards, they'll let you up."

* Gorethirst walks up the stairs and shows the Guards the note.

* Tarim bows politely.

They nod.  "Welcome, Mr. Gorethirst, and guests.  This way, please."  The gesture to a mechanical lift down the hall, which must lead up a tower you saw from outside.  One guard accompanies you into the lift, and cranks a lever to activate it.

* Tarim enters the lift.

The lift groans creakily and begins to move.

Tarim - Must be pretty good sights from up there.

Kaius Alexander - You would think.

At the top, the door opens and you find yourselves in a foyer before a pair of ebony doors.  The guard moves to open them.

Tarim - If it's high enough to see over the city walls, anyway

You are shown into a long, tastefully decorated dining room, with a luscious-looking meal spread on the dark wood table.  Windows overlook the city in all its fetid glory, and the wretched wastes beyond.

Tarim - Ah, excellent.

Kaius Alexander - Sumptuous.

Seated at the far end is a leechkin wearing an immaculately tailored suit.  Despite the androgyny of the leechkin, he exudes an aura of masculinity.  Standing behind him are two bodyguards - a cloaked figure whose face is concealed by a heavy hood, and a lilix swordsman with four arms crossed and two resting on the hilts of a pair of scimitars.  Seated next to the leechkin on the right side is a woman in a blood-red half-mask and lacquered armour, whose pale limbs are covered in ritualistic scars; on the left, a giant of  a man bristling with grafted limbs.  A servant in the red-and-black livery of the House of Crimson Shadows waits with a tray of drinks.

"Welcome, friends," Mr. Rasp says in unaccented Shambles; again, the voice somehow sounds male rather than neuter, deeper than a leechkin's usual midrange double-croak.  "Thank you for joining me.  Please, select a beverage, if you wish, while I introduce my own associates."

"First is Illiszan, of Dolmen.  You will find no finer living swordsman in Macellaria."  The lilix bows.

"Next is the mercenary entity who prefers to be known as The Cowl.  It has been in my employ for nigh on a decade, though its storied career stretches back many years before our association.  Please, do not be perturbed by its enigmatic ways: The Cowl simply places great value on its privacy.  Even I have never looked upon its features."  The cloaked figure inclines its head almost imperceptibly, and a hoarse, rattling sound that might be a chuckle emanates from the faceless darkness beneath its hood.

"Next my head enforcer, Yesheleb, whose exploits in the Pits rival those even of you, sibling Gorethirst."  The grafted man raises one of his many hands in greeting.

"Finally, my chief of security, Chaa-Ibl, Mistress of the Incarnadine Blade, who wears the Bloodletter's sacred mask."  The scarred, pale woman smiles, and her red eyes glitter behind the red mask.


* Kaius Alexander raises his visor to look at each in turn

* Tarim bows to Mr. Rasp.

Tarim - It is a pleasure to meet you

"I have heard much of you and your ambitious research, Tarim - your reputation proceeds you."

Gorethirst - Greetings sibling.

* Gorethirst seats itself and takes a goblet of blood to drink

"Greetings to you sibling Gorethirst."

* Tarim picks a seat for himself

"And warmest greetings to you as well, Mr. Alexander.  How are you finding Macellaria?"

* Kaius Alexander inclines his head politely to Mr. Rasp before seating himself.

Kaius Alexander - The heat is oppressive..

"No doubt an annoyance for you, in all that armour.  A far cry from the cool breezes off the Sinew, I am sure."

Kaius Alexander - Yes. It is. Though I do not long for the Sleepwalker's City.

"I have always found it a trifle dour myself."

* Kaius Alexander nods.

Sibling Gorethirst.  No doubt you are wondering why I called you here.  But first, allow me to propose a toast."  He raises a glass of blood.  "To Choice, gentlemen, and to Transcendence!"  He deftly pours the drink from one hand into the palm-mouth of the other, somehow making what should be an exceptionally awkward gesture look natural, even graceful.  "Now, please, I promise your questions will be answered - let us dine, before the meal cools."

* Kaius Alexander sips calmly from a glass of water

* Gorethirst raises its goblet in a toast, drinking much more awkwardly then Mr Rasp.

* Tarim raises his glass of fine wine

The meal is sumptuous.  Raw flesh, delectably spiced, is provided for Tarim, while roast fowl, bread, stewed dumplings, and vegetables are brought for Kaius and Yesheleb.  Chaa-Ibl does not eat, merely sips a glass of red wine.  Large, covered serving trays are set before Gorethirst and Mr. Rasp.  The servant removes the covers to reveal quivering blood jellies of titanic proportions.  Mr. Rasp eats with one hand while talking with the other hand upraised.

* Gorethirst blinks its six eyes in surprise.

Gorethirst - Interesting fare sibling.

* Gorethirst hesitantly eats the blood jellies.

Tarim - The chef here must be highly skilled. My compliments.

"Thank you.  I try to keep a good table.  I shall get to my point as swiftly as possible, I assure you."

The blood jellies are delicious, almost compensating for the fact that they aren't being pumped fresh from the veins of a living creature.

"Sibling, have you ever wondered why your thirst was more intense than our fellows, why your desire for blood seemed... unquenchable?"


* Kaius Alexander eats quietly.

Gorethirst - I have wondered since my times in the Lophius pits. I cannot say I have any answer.

"When the shamans pierced your palms and shackled you, did they tell you of your parents?  Of your... sires?"

Gorethirst - They did not. They got rid of me as quickly as they possibly could.

"Of course they did.  The fools.  As you see, I have been watching you closely.  So closely, in fact, that I know you better than you know yourself.  I have watched you fight in the Pulsetown pits many times.

"A leechkin gladiator?  Apart from leechkin slaves thrust into the pits or those slated for execution it is rare to see our kind gracing the arena sands.  Yet there you were, of your own will, holding your own against cestoids and hagman retiarii!  I began to wonder.  Were you the one I had been seeking, these many years?  I sent out agents, to ask questions in the ghul-bars, the ludus, the brawling dens, the weapon-smithies.  Later, I sent men back to Lophius itself, to confirm the rumours I had heard, to trace your history.  I no longer wonder, Gorethirst.

"I call you sibling in the manner of our people."  Mr. Rasp makes an odd gesture and growls, the Leechdance signifier for "brother/sister."  "To our kindred, parenthood is an alien concept.  A thing requiring effort, individuality, affection, empathy: attributes our species scorn.  We call ourselves siblings, brothers and sisters, as we are raised in common.  And yet, for you and I, the term has another meaning; a human meaning."


* Gorethirst nods in agreement.

"Gorethirst; we are of the same litter, the same egg-cluster, separated at birth.  Our other siblings were devoured by our 'mother' moments after they hatched.  The shamans managed to save us, slaying our parent in the process.

"There was no effort to keep us together: you grew up in Serpentside on the Viper's Head, I in Vespergate on Greenfang.  While you scrapped and killed in the pleasure-wards of the Ophidians and the cages of Pelloch I fought my own petty battles on the Street of Mists.  We clawed our way up together on the Teeth, each unknown to the other, freaks amongst our own people, reviled by the humans and the hagmen.  We shared in that mutual repulsion - and for good reason.  Your thirst was insatiable, my ambition boundless.  But why?

"It took me many years to discover the answers, but I have them now, dragged from the palm-mouths of an ancient shaman bribed with my own blood.  Our 'father,' it seems, was a shaman native to Lophius, a street-creature, like ourselves.  But our 'mother' was a being of a different sort.  Have you heard of the Red Rains, Gorethirst?  The sanguine aftershocks of the Ravishing that still sweep the eastern wastes?"


Gorethirst - Very little. Just that it creates the fetch, who I have sometimes fought in the arena.

"Indeed.  Not many of our kind come in contact with the Rains: Lophius is too far to the south and west, and our species almost never enter the Slaughter-lands, preferring to stay in the Twilight Cities as parasites.  Our 'mother,' however, was a slave, brought along by human scavengers on some excavation.

"A squall of Red Rain hit the camp our parent was working at.  Where the human slaves fled our 'mother,' ignorant, heedless, and terribly thirsty, mistook the Rain for real blood, and opened its palm-mouths to the bleeding sky.  The Rain changed it, in the same way that it changes humans, but where humans merely lose their compassion and guilt, their inhibitions and their pity, our parent lost something else - its apathy, its nihilism, its laziness.  It broke free of its captors, fled south, to the swamps, killing as it went, sometimes without even feeding, for the sheer evil joy of it: a leechkin fetch.

"When it met our other parent, it was drenched in the blood of a recent killing.  Our 'father,' aroused by the sight of so much blood, presented itself for fornication.  Our 'mother' cannibalized it on the spot - but not before being impregnated.  Our remaining parent lingered in Lophius, in the back-alleys.  At first, its sadistic hunger was mistaken for ordinary bloodlust, but later, the shamans realized what it was.  They deemed it zog/nrelek, 'Insatiable One,' and hunted it with a zeal rarely seen in our kind.  Had they not been able to mitigate your lust, they would have declared you the same.

"In due course our 'mother' laid its egg-sac, in some wretched sewer, and - for reasons I still cannot fathom - watched over the clutch, perhaps merely waiting for the pleasure of eating its own offspring.  Fortunately for us, it was interrupted and slain.

"We are its progeny.  Our blood, our minds, are polluted by the Red Rain - yet we are not wholly murderfolk, not the mindless killing machines of the waste.  Where in the humans such a taint, such a schism of the blood, would likely drive them mad, in us, a strange balance has been achieved.  You and I - we are something new.

"The fetch-blood that runs through our veins counters the weaknesses of our people, compensates for their lack of drive, their folly, their parasitism.  At first I looked upon our brethren in the gutters with disgust, even with hatred.  I thought that they chose to be what they were - nothing.  Now I only pity them.  They cannot be other than they are.  But we, Gorethirst, we can choose.  We can be other.  And look how far we have come from our low beginnings!"  He gestures to the lavish dining room, to his bodyguards, to the feast before you all.

He awaits Gorethirst's response, his monologue complete.


Gorethirst - This news is strange. I have never before heard of true Leechkin siblings.  And our parent, a fetch. Interesting.

"Nor have I.  But it is true.  I am certain; my research has been... painstaking."

Gorethirst - It is much too digest. But it is a pleasure to meet you then, brother.

"And you, brother.  At last.

"After such a story my request may seem more than a little anticlimactic," Mr. Rasp continues, daintily cleaning the last pieces of jelly from his plate.

"The House of Crimson Shadows has many enemies, many rivals.  The bigots of the House of Untainted Flesh have taken a particular dislike to me, have launched attacks against Guildsmen, sent me their heads, written threats in their blood.  Thus far I have ignored their little tantrums, but the time has come for retaliation.

"The current favourite of the Guildmistress is an Untainted called Servius Izar, one of her pet beasts '“ a cruel man, pious in the worship of Striga, unmatched in combat. He is responsible for many of the attacks against the Crimson Shadows. I want you to publicly challenge him to a duel in the arena, and slay him with you bare hands. Servius will not be able to back down without seeming a coward.

"I could, of course, use Yesheleb or any number of other fighters for this job. But I want to send a particular message to the Guildmistress of the House of Untainted Flesh. I want her to receive the body of her champion not merely gutted or pummelled but drained dry, marked with the bites of a leechkin. It will send her a message she cannot but fail to understand, and it remind the city that we can be more than mere beggars. I can think of no messenger more suitable than yourself, Gorethirst."


* Tarim, having finished his meal, is observing the leechkin conversation with great interest.

"Of course, you would be generously remunerated for this task: three thousand obeloi would be yours, plus anything you chose to bet on the match.  So, brother.  Will you do this for me? Will you slay Servius Izar in the sight of Macellaria and bring disgrace and humiliation upon the heads of the House of Untainted Flesh?"

Gorethirst - As you wish. I will drain this Servius dry.

Mr. Rasp drains his glass of blood, as if echoing your words.  "I am most pleased.  Now, if you all have room for dessert, my chefs have prepared us a little something..."
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« Reply #38 on: August 04, 2010, 02:36:40 AM »

That's all the logs from today.  You guys made some powerful enemies but gained some powerful friends, and never fired a shot or swung a blade, as well as test-driving a new magic item.  Good job!
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« Reply #39 on: August 12, 2010, 07:25:26 PM »

Dessert

While Kaius and Tarim are served meringues and cakes, a space is cleared on the dining room table and a group of servants bring in what is unmistakably a body, wrapped in silk. They place the body on the table and delicately unwrap it, revealing a tall, battle-scarred woman beneath garbed in a diaphanous coverlet.  She is unconscious, but still breathing.

"Do not be alarmed," Mr. Rasp cautions.  "This woman is a fetch, brought in from the wastes.  She killed four men in their sleep with her bare hands and ate a fifth alive; there will be no redemption for her.  I dine fortnightly on one of the murderfolk.  I find it sharpens my instincts.  Come, Gorethirst: this is our dessert."


* Gorethirst glances at Mr. Rasp.

Gorethirst - Are we immune to the effects of the Red Rain then sibling?

* Kaius Alexander eyes the scene coolly.

"The Rain is not the blood.  You will not be affected in the same manner."

* Gorethirst nods.

Gorethirst - Let us dine then.

Mr. Rasp moves forwards and places his palm-mouths on the body.

* Gorethirst steps forward and places a palm-mouth on the body.

As you taste the fetch's blood something wakes within you.  For a moment you are gripped with a spasm of the thirst as potent as any you experienced before your shackling.  The beast in your blood cries out for release as you slake its awful, awesome thirst.

* Tarim takes a bite off a cake and observes the leechkin casually.

The dessert concludes and waiters come to clear away the detritus.  Mr. Rasp offers digestifs.

Kaius Alexander - I thank you for the meal, Mr. Rasp. It was an acceptable spread.

"Your courtesy is greatly appreciated, Mr. Alexander.  It has been a pleasure."

Tarim - A most delicious dinner. And good service, too.

* Kaius Alexander inclines his head respectfully.

"Your company was excellent."

* Gorethirst stays silent.

You finish your goodbyes and head out of the Crimson Shadows Guildhall, into the moon-dappled streets.

Tarim - I think we should find some place to discuss plans, before we take on that gang.

Gorethirst - Should we return to Tarims home to retrieve the statuette?

Tarim - If we decide to make use of the object, that would be wise.

Kaius Alexander - It is a vile thing. I do not like it.

Gorethirst - There are a great many things you do not like human.

Tarim - Either we put it to use, or find some way to dispose of it.

Gorethirst - We should give it to Glutt. Who would buy such an object?

Fangs - There are some who might want it.

Tarim - I can think of one guild in this city.  Though I would be loathe to deal with them.

Fangs - The Iridescent Angles are indeed known to covet objects the sane would abhor.

Kaius Alexander - Is there bad feeling between the two of you, Tarim?

* Gorethirst shrugs.

Gorethirst - If you wish to sell it, we can sell it. Let us be rid of Glut by force then.

Tarim - Between me and one of their House.  That said, I would not object to this particular item falling on their hands.  We can use it against the gang and then sell it.  It seemed nigh indestructible, after all.

Kaius Alexander - I leave the decision to you. I have no interest in handling the object.

Tarim - Let us go and discuss plans then. We'll see what we decide about it.

* Tarim heads for his home.

* Gorethirst follows leading Corpsegobble

* Kaius Alexander stands for a moment, and then begins to follow.

You head up to Tarim's Worm-Hive home and through the door, still etched with the Inquisitorial sigil.  The workroom has been tidied substantially by now.

Tarim - I apologise for the mess. It's courtesy of our inquisitor friend.

* Kaius Alexander looks around.

Tarim - Do seat yourselves if you will.

* Kaius Alexander remains standing

* Gorethirst finds a clear place and settles down on the floor.

* Tarim sits down on a chair by a table.

Tarim - Now to the business at hand...

Gorethirst - How will we get Glut to accept the statuette?

Kaius Alexander - Why would Glut take it? Even the greatest fool could sense that there is a wrongness to it.

* Gorethirst looks at Kaius

Gorethirst - I did not sense any wrongness until I touched it.

Kaius Alexander - Simply look at it. It drips malice.

Tarim - One plan I've had in mind is to take advantage of their thrum addiction.  We could make some poisoned thrum and let it fall on their hands.  If the poison isn't easy to detect and doesn't take effect immediately, great many of them might be affected

* Kaius Alexander turns to Tarim

Tarim - We should also capture one of their numbers - discreetly, without alerting the others

Kaius Alexander - Would they accept an unknown source of thrum?  They are suppliers after all. It is a dangerous plan.

Tarim - We should interrogate that one to learn as much as we can about their hideout

Gorethirst - Give them the statuette. Wait a little while. Clean up the rest.

Fangs - Why stick with only one plan?  Poisoned thrum and a suicide statuette... if one doesn't work, maybe the other will.

Gorethirst - A simple plan for a simple problem.

Kaius Alexander - I say we go in with steel bared... simplest of all.

Tarim - Further, there's the way of eldritch trickery.  If I manage to put a charm on a gang member, that could ease our task tremendously.

Gorethirst - A head on attack would be the simplest solution.  Sort it out between the two of you. I will agree with what you decide.

Tarim - One of them under a spell could be used to bring the poisoned thrum, or perhaps the statue, without raising too many suspicions.

Fangs - Or both together?

Tarim - Indeed.  Though if we're to use the statuette in this manner, it should be mixed with other items

Kaius Alexander - I have no taste for this plan... but if you think it best.

Tarim - Remember, these people are street scum. Thrum addicts and brutes. Cannibals, even, if our employer was sincere.

Fangs - If it doesn't work, there's nothing stopping you from barging in with guns blazing, right?  Though I suppose they might get suspicious, expect an attack, if they see through the ploy.

* Kaius Alexander shrugs almost imperceptibly.

Tarim - A straight-forward approach is the most dangerous to us. Better that we strive to weaken and confuse them as much as possible. And take them out piecemeal

Kaius Alexander - Then let us buy some thrum. I hope you know your poison-work, Tarim.

Tarim - I do not. But poison can be purchased.  It need not be deadly, even, nor particularly fast acting in this case. Making them sick and weakly would more than suffice. Anyway, I am in favour of pursuing both tactics - poisoned thrum and the statuette - simultaneously.  Even if one fails the other might succeed, and give us advantage.

* Kaius Alexander motions to the door

Kaius Alexander - Then let us go. We waste time, and Glut yet lives.

Tarim - First we'll purchase the thrum and the poison. Better leave the statuette here for the time.  Let's go

* Tarim waits till the others are out, then locks the door behind him

Gorethirst - I am unfamiliar with the drug peddlers of Macellaria

Tarim - I'd expect to find high quality thrum in Velveteen Circus; probably much better stuff than this gang is used to.

Kaius Alexander - Lead the way.

Tarim - Do you know any good place to buy poison?

* Gorethirst mounts Corpsegobble

Gorethirst - I recall a poison seller, near Needlefingers' shop.

Tarim - Good.

Tarim - Let's go there first.

* Kaius Alexander frowns slightly.

You head to the occult district, which borders Worm-Hive. The tissue-shops and glyph-parlours buzz with activity - libertines and thugs looking for something extra in a fight, fashionistas keeping up with the latest body-modification fads.  Gorethirst leads the group  to Murrain Square, where black alchemists and poison-sellers congregate.  Open stalls marked with skulls indicate the venom-dealers.

* Tarim looks around keenly

One individual badly scarred as if from flame catches your eye.  There's also a lilix female.  Plenty of others as well, but those're the two closest.

Tarim - Shall we try the lilix first?

* Kaius Alexander looks at Tarim silently.

* Kaius Alexander walks up to the lilix.

* Tarim approaches the lilix.

* Gorethirst nods in assent.

The lilix woman has the well-fed, rounded contours common amongst female spiderfolk.

Tarim - Greetings.

"Greetingssz.  It wantsss poisonsss?"

Tarim - Yes. We are lookingh for poisons of particular attributes

She gestures with one fleshy arm to an array of phials.

"What kind of effectss?"


Tarim - Namely, something that could be added to thrum without being easily detected.

She cocks her head, blinking with her many eyes.  "I sssee... I can recommend thiss one."  She holds up a grayish fluid, nondescript.  "Very sszubtle.  Dissolves in other liquidssz.  Szapsss the vigor, the ssstrength."

Tarim - Sounds good.  Anything else?

"Thisss one... looks like thrum, but isszn't."  She holds up a pouch, opens it to reveal a yellowish powder.  "Would cause sstupor, hallucinationsss

Tarim - How much would does of these cost?

Firssst one, three hundred obeloi.  Szzecond, two hundred fifty."

* Gorethirst seems unhappy with the news

Tarim - That would poison how many people?

Gorethirst - These poisons are too expensive. Let us be done with this trickery and prepare a direct assault.

* Tarim frowns.

"Dependsss on szize, ssspeciess.  If cut with sssomething elssse, three to four humanssz."

Tarim - Not quite the thing we need. How unfortunate.

"Wait!  Wait!  Ssspecial deal for you."

Tarim - Hm?

"Three packetszs powder, only four hundred obeloi!"

Tarim - Too costly for us, I'm afraid.

Poissson... twelve warmbloodssz.  Three hundred fifty!  Final offer!"

Gorethirst - And ruin their blood!

"That isz idea, leech.  Not for drinking afterwardssz."

Tarim - That's close to thirty bones per one target.

"Isz besst deal in 'warren."

Tarim - Could be acceptable if it weren't so many doses.

"Fine!  Fine!  I am mottlebrained to give you thiss deal... two dosessz for two-zsseventy-five!  Almosszt two-for-one!"

Tarim - That would be eight targets...

* Tarim glances at the others

Kaius Alexander - It is your mess, Tarim. I will end up fighting them anyways.  It makes little difference to me.

Tarim - Still too much.

Gorethirst - I think this blood ruining is a waste of coin.

Tarim - Oh well.

Kaius Alexander - We are sorry for troubling you.

* Kaius Alexander inclines his head at the lilix

"I am sssorry... cannot go lower."

Tarim - At least the other plan will not cost us money.

Kaius Alexander - They won't just take it. It is too much trouble. I have no patience for trickery.

* Tarim walks back to his home.

Fangs - Tarim might hex one...

Kaius Alexander - If he can, then I will allow it.

Tarim - We must try. And besides, just having the thing exposed within their gang-house should cause something.  Alright. This is the plan: I'll fetch the sack with the statuette. Then we'll ambush some gang member and interrogate or put a spell on him. If that doesn't work we can use othe rmeans

* Gorethirst nods

Gorethirst - A good plan. Let us put it into action.

* Tarim enters his apartment and takes the sack from the libarary

You head into your study.  The statuette is somehow no longer in the sack, but sitting on your desk, staring at the door.

* Tarim curses.

* Tarim averts his eyes front he thing.

You avoid its gaze.  The sack is on the floor.

Kaius Alexander - Its malevolence is palpable. A wicked thing.

* Tarim picks up the sack.

* Tarim trying to remember where the statuette was, opens the sack's mouth wide and attempts to blindly plce it over the item

You manage to get the sack over the statuette.  You could swear it hissed at you as you covered it up.

* Tarim closes the mouth of the sack securely

* Kaius Alexander narrows his eyes at the sack

* Tarim head out to the street, cussing

Tarim - Bloody thing had escaped on it's own.

Kaius Alexander - Hmm.

Tarim - I will be quite happy to be rid of it. Let us deal with the gang now.

Gorethirst - Perhaps it is more dangerous then we first thought.

Tarim, You shrug off its psychic whispers.

Tarim - Now let's go and find some of Glut's bastards.
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« Reply #40 on: August 12, 2010, 08:45:50 PM »

Assault on the Abandoned Aslyum

You head to Talon avenue, a street in Resurrection Row.  A pair of mean-looking men lounge at the entrance of the former asylum, a decrepit stone building with barred windows and walls covered in obscene graffiti.  Talon Avenue is an otherwise fairly deserted street; towards the southern end there's a hagman temple of some kind.  In the distance the bustle of the Skin Markets is audible.

Both of the thugs lackadaisically standing guard have filed their teeth into needle-points.  One carries a club and another a shoddy-looking blunderbuss pistol.  They look to both be human.


Kaius Alexander - Well, Witch. There they are.

Tarim - If we're to attack, neither of them must escape. Nor do we want any witnesses to alert Glut.

Kaius Alexander - Can you not charm them? I assumed that was your intent.

Tarim - I can only charm one. And success isn't guaranteed. Hexes are unpredictable.

Kaius Alexander - Then I will make sure they both die if you fail.

* Kaius Alexander checks the rounds in his revolver.

Fangs - I can try and distract one, boss, if it'd help.

Tarim - We should separate them first.  A distraction might indeed do the trick

Fangs - Maybe the leech could act like a beggar?

Gorethirst - Perhaps we can get one to bring us to Glut

Tarim - Begging for blood?

Gorethirst - While the other stays, and charm the one that stays behind?

Fangs - That's what the rest of his kind do.  No offense, Gorethirst.

Kaius Alexander - They do not look very accomodating, Leech.

Fangs - Also a good plan, but it might take someone silver-tongued to pull it off.

Tarim - Whatever works.

Gorethirst - I am not a beggar.

Fangs - Tarim you've got Ghost Sound prepped, right?

Gorethirst - We should ask them to do as we please. And if that does not work, we shall kill them.

Tarim - I could create a distracting sound, yes

* Kaius Alexander sighs quietly

* Tarim looks for a suitable place.

The night provides innumerable shadows.  There are some crates near an abandoned warehouse nearby.  Also a pile of decomposing garbage no-one's bothered to sweep up.

* Tarim, moving out of their sight, whispers and gestures to weave the Ghost Sound spell, creating noises of intimate lust-making in the warehouse. They begin low but steadily grow more audible, suggesting orgiastic revelry is taking place there

The guards exchange glances and whispers.  One shrugs, the other moves off to investigate.

* Tarim approaches the remaining guard

The guard looks up and bares his fangs.  "What'd you want, wormy?"

* Tarim voices a greetings, even as he begins his spell of Adoration

The guard relaxes. And looks at Tarim with a slightly glazed look.  "Sorry, but twitchy there... I mean to say, what can I do for tonight?"

Tarim - Good news. We have a gift of tribute to your gang.

"Huh.  What kind of tribute?"

Tarim - And you can be the one to present it to your boss.  A valuable item worth a good deal in obeloi.

Kaius, you follow the thug towards the warehouse.  He's heading to a side-door, pistol in hand.

Tarim - Imagine how good that will make you look

"Really?  Sounds interesting.  Can I see it?"

* Kaius Alexander draws his sword quietly, holding back a bit.

Tarim - You might be in for some favours.

He raises an eyebrow, clearly intrigued.

Tarim - Surprises make gifts all that much better, don't they?

"Hmm, I'm not sure I should leave my post.  Maybe you can leave it here with me, and I'll give it to Glut later?"

Tarim - Didn't you have another one here with you just a moment ago? I'm sure he'll be back soon.

He nods.  Clearly the charm is working.

"You're right.  How about you watch the door while I'm gone?"


Tarim - Is this Glut's house?

"Yeah, this is Glut's place."

Tarim - Excellent. 'Why don't you take the gift to him right away? I'll wait by the door for your buddy.

* Tarim offers the closed sack.

He takes the sack and heads into the asylum.

Meanwhile, the other guard, hearing your armour clank, spins and spots you in the doorway.

Kaius Alexander - Seeing him notice me, I bear down upon him silently.

* Tarim backs away from the gates.

* Tarim casts Harden the Skin on himself and Gorethirst.

Gorethirst - How long should we wait until we go in Tarim?

Tarim - We better not attack until Kaius has dealt with that one guard.  If they come out to fight, we'll fight them of course.

Gorethirst - If no one comes out, how long should we give the statue to do as it pleases.

* Two flaming missiles go screaming through a broken window,one after the other.  Kaius is about to strike as the bullets pierce the Masticator.

* Eareg Maar casually waves from the window, one arm on the sill.

Eareg Maar - Looked like you could use some help

The Masticator is bleeding and vomiting blood, with two bullets in his chest.  He's alive, but staggering and bleeding.  He attempts to bring his pistol up.

*Kaius finishes off the Masticator before he manages to fire.

* Eareg Maar hurdles through the window and walks over to Kius.

* Kaius Alexander flicks his sword, removing the blood.

Kaius Alexander - I did not need your help.

* Tarim gets to a good position and ready to cast a Ray of Enfeeblement on the first gang member to emerge to the streets from the asylum.

* Eareg Maar just grins.

Kaius Alexander - The others are down the street. Come.   are on another contract.

* Kaius Alexander exits the warehouse

Eareg Maar - Saw you lot carrying a curious bundle and decided to investigate.

* Eareg Maar follows.

A bullet pings off the ground in front of Tarim.  It seems to have come from one of the upper windows.  Whether this is just a "piss off you lot" shot or a genuine attack you can't tell.

* Kaius Alexander approaches the group.

* Eareg Maar saunters along behind him.

* Tarim backs off, startled.

You hear yapping, dog-like sounds from the upper storeys.

* Gorethirst greets Eareg with a wave, ignoring the shot.

* Eareg Maar casually salutes the leech.

Gorethirst - I think that it would be easier to go inside from the top.

Tarim - Greetings, Eareg.

Eareg Maar - you know you guys stick out like a sore thumb sometimes.

Tarim - Perhaps we could smoke them out somehow?

Gorethirst - Instead of fighting our way through the entire building.

* Eareg Maar jokingly jibes the group

Gorethirst - I can climb to the top on Corpsegobble.

Tarim - I could make the interior crawl with venomous spiders.  That ought to creep a few of them out.

Kaius Alexander - Glut is inside, and he must die. I do not care how.

Gorethirst - Eareg, we met with your Guild Master earlier. A very interesting leechkin.

* Kaius Alexander lowers his visor.

* Eareg Maar looks at Gorethirst.

Eareg Maar - I doubt that.

Tarim, Kaius, you hear a distant gun-shot and a garbled scream from inside the building.

Tarim - Sounds like they're having fun with our little gift.

Kaius Alexander - Then let us increase their enjoyment.

Gorethirst - You doubt it?  I shall drop a rope from the roof. I will not be long.

* Eareg Maar works the action, ejecting a spent casing before sliding a wounding bullet directly into the chamber.

* Tarim chants and points his taloned fingers of the open gates, summoning a swarm of spider inside the asylum.

* Gorethirst mounts Corpsegobble and directs the maggot to climb up the building.

A bullet grazes Tarim's arm, but he casts his spell successfully.  Another bullet clatters off the street.

* Tarim winces from pain after finishing the hex and retreats to a safer position

* Gorethirst uncoils a length of rope and drops it down the side.

Tarim, Eareg, Kaius, you can hear footsteps - running - down the gloomy corridor beyond.

Gorethirst - If you take the rope I will be able to haul you to the roof!

* Kaius Alexander looks up.

* Eareg Maar brings his gun around and aims it down the corridor.

* Gorethirst removes and throws down a 2nd and 3rd rope

Kaius Alexander - I cannot grasp a rope in this, Leech. Nor will I, under fire. I will meet you inside.

* Kaius Alexander storms into the building

* Eareg Maar follows behind Kaius.

* Tarim dashes for the ropes.

While Tarim gets hauled up I'll start with Kaius/Eareg, then switch over to the guys on the roof.

Inside, a short passage leads to a half-open metal door, with two others like it on either wall of the corridor.  The floors, walls, and ceiling are of bare, grey stone smeared with old and mysterious stains and more recent graffiti.  Three Masticators and a swarm of spiders fill the corridor with chaos.  One of the gangsters is covered by the creatures, the other two storm ahead.

One of the Masticators levels his blunderbuss pistol and fires.  The Masticator's blunderbuss pellets hit some of Kaius' exposed joints.


* Kaius Alexander bears the wounds silently.

The other Masticator screams and charges towards Eareg, baring his filed teeth.

*Kaius catches the Masticator with a sword-swipe as he rushes past.

*Eareg Maar sidesteps the slavering gangster with ease.

* Eareg Maar reflexively brings his weapon around at point blank range to the slavering gangster and there is a deafening boom as a flaming green bullet leaps soars from the barrel.

You notice that the Masticators seem to hum and vibrate slightly, their flesh rippling with weird subcutaneous motion, like gooseflesh - thrum.

*Eareg Maar fires off two shots.  One the Masticator dodges with thrum-augmented speed, but the other punches into him.  In his frenzy he seems to barely notice it!

* Eareg Maar takes a 5 foot step back from him

* Kaius Alexander turns quickly, slashing. He brings his sword in low, cutting at the gangster's back.

The Masticator snaps his teeth at Eareg, who stays well back.  The other Masticator holsters his pistol, then strides forward with a club and attacks Kaius, battering against his armour while the third stomps and smashes the spider-swarm.

* Eareg Maar sidesteps to put the Masticator he's been fighting between himself and Kaius.  He fires a shot from Meteor, splattering the Masticator's brains all over the front steps.  The remaining Masticators appear enraged by their companion's death.

* Eareg Maar kicks the corpse over.

* Eareg Maar throws them a rude gesture.

*Kaius Alexander slashes at the club-wielding Masticator, inflicting a shallow wound.

Meanwhile, Mr. Carver arrives on the scene, drawn by the sound of combat.  From some freak of coincidence he was wandering near Talon Avenue, out for a stroll in the Row.

Eareg and Kaius seem to be in a fight at the door of an aslyum that's been abandoned for years.


*Mr. Carver whips out the Agony Knife and charges towards Kaius' opponent, stabbing the Masticator in the back.  He shrieks in pain.

The remaining Masticator leaps forward with fangs bared and charges towards Mr. Carver.  He fastens his jaws round Carver's arm.

* Eareg Maar levels his gun at the Masticator and empties a bullet into his mangy left leg.

*Kaius Alexander skewers the club-wielding Masticator and he grimaces in pain.

*Mr. Carver leaps atop the prone gangster.  The Agony Knife goes in and out as he stabs the Masticator multiple times.  Blood flies everywhere as he dies, messily.

* Eareg Maar watches Carver pin the man to the floor.

The remaining Masticator draws a short blade and attacks Kaius.

* Mr. Carver looks at Eareg with his blood-spattered face and smiles, showing off his filed-down teeth.

* Eareg Maar relaxes and shoulders his weapon, drawing out a grimy hankerchief which he throws to Carver.

* Eareg Maar sits on a nearby crate and pulls out a pipe, tapping some tobacco into it, looking at carver sidelong.

Eareg Maar - it's the simple pleasures in life you know?

* Eareg Maar lights it up and watches kaius go at it

* Mr. Carver picks up the handkerchief, dapping his face with it to clean off the blood.

*Kaius slashes the Masticator across the chest, then hews off a hand with the back-swing.  He slumps to the ground, a screaming, thrashing mess, arterial blood spurting wildly.  Kaius finishes him off with a strike to the throat.

* Eareg Maar claps for Kaius.

* Kaius Alexander flicks the blood off his blade and sheathes it.

Mr. Carver - I knew there was a reason we all ended up in that pit together; we all attract trouble like cadavers attract flies. And the same trouble at that. This is the second time I have run into one of you."on the roof of the asylum.  There is a trapdoor here - the roof is flat.


While a brutal melee takes place on the ground level the leechkin and the ghul witch are  are on the roof of the asylum.  There is a trapdoor here - the roof is flat.

Gorethirst - That looks like our entrance.

* Gorethirst goes over and opens the trapdoor.

Tarim - Let's take a peek.

There's a set of rusty rungs leading downwards.

* Gorethirst motions for Corpsegobble to stay on the roof (unless he fits) and goes down the ladder.

You stand at the end of a stone corridor with heavy iron doors along its length, each with a little hatch in it.  Some of these doors are open, but most are closed.  There is a faint smell of rotting flesh.  At the end of the corridor there's an open door, by the way, leading to a stairwell.

* Tarim carefully descends after the leechskin

*Gorethirst inhales, using its blood-scent.

You can hear faint sounds of battle downstairs.  The scent of blood is everywhere.  There's someone alive a few doors down.

Gorethirst - There is something living in this direction.

* Gorethirst leads Tarim towards whatever is still alive

Tarim - Shall we head for the battling sounds? To join up with our comrades?

You come to a padlocked door.  You could peek inside using the hatch, if you wanted.

* Tarim peeks in.

A man throws himself around this room, vibrating rapidly, his skin throbbing and rippling.  He seems to be in some kind of manic, hyperactive state, gibbering to himself nonsensically.

Tarim - Doesn't look like this one will be much concern for us.

Gorethirst - If it is not Glut, we should continue to look then. To the stairwell?

Tarim - Alright.

You are on the top floor of a spiral staircase.  You hear a muffled scream from the bottom.

Gorethirst - Let us check the next floor down.

* Tarim nods.

You find a passage similar to the one you just walked down.  A moan of pain down the hall rips through the silence here.  There are three doors on each side.  Gorethirst, there's someone to the far right, and another living being on the middle left.  The far right has an open door, the left is locked.

Gorethirst - There are a couple things still breathing on this level.

Tarim - Where?

* Gorethirst moves towards the left and looks through the hatch.

Gorethirst - Here, and the one on the far right.

A man has been chained to the wall of this cell.  Prodigiously muscled and covered in a random mass of ugly scars, he is naked but for a few tatters; moreover, his right arm has been devoured up to the elbow.  Based on his ink-black flesh and long scalp-lock he is probably native to Erebh.  He appears to be conscious, albeit woozy.

Gorethirst - Prisoner, looks like he is being kept to be eaten.

Tarim - That other door is open. Probably not a prisoner there.

As you open the latch you hear a hissing sound.  A Masticator has emerged from the other end of the corridor and is charging towards you!  He leaps towards Gorethirst, gnashing his fangs!

The Masticator tries to clamp his jaws onto the leechkin, but it avoids them.


* Tarim moves away to get some distance to the thug. He then lets loose a Ray of Enfeeblement. In the confusion he misjudges his aim and the hex dissipates against the wall.

*Gorethirst aims a strike with its axe.  Its swipe would have cut the gangster in half, but he dodges with thrum-augmented speed, a blur of flesh and metal.

The Masticator sinks his teeth into Gorethirst's shoulder!

* Tarim closes in carefully, keeping his guard up, looking for any openings to strike at with his claws, raking the Masticator's back.

*Gorethirst shoves the Masticator off you and brings its axe crashing down, splitting his skull in two.

The last noises of battle below die down as well.

Tarim - Sounds like our comrades are now either victorious, or dead.  Let us find out which.

* Gorethirst investigates the room the Masticator came out of.

Gorethirst - Go and get them, I doubt that dour-faced human will be dead.

Someone practically painted this room with blood, but the carnage must've been a long time ago.  The stains are so old that they're flaking of, like desiccated wallpaper.  There's a barred window with a view of the street and a rusty musket leaning against the wall.

* Tarim continues down to the next floor

* Gorethirst goes over and tries to open the prisoners door, but it is locked.

Tarim, you're on the second floor.  You hear Eareg quipping down below.

* Tarim watches for any sign of dangers before proceeding down to the ground level.

* Kaius Alexander goes down on one knee after sheathing his sword. His face is impassive.

Tarim - I see that you prevailed.

* Tarim grins.

* Gorethirst goes down to the first floor.

Mr. Carver - Ah, Gorethirst, good to see you are still alive!  And thank you for your assistance the last time we met

Tarim - Didn't see Glut upstairs. But this place is pretty big

* Gorethirst nods at Carver

* Eareg Maar is sitting on a crate puffing a wooden pipe.

* Kaius Alexander raises his visor

Gorethirst - The top two floors are clear, although one holds a partially eaten prisoner. Still alive.

* Gorethirst says this last bit looking at Kaius.

Kaius Alexander - These men are vicious, but fall easily.

Eareg Maar - Ah there he is, come to save the day I'm sure.

* Mr. Carver whips his newly grafted demoniac tendril through the air with a crack.

Gorethirst - I was glad to help.

Mr. Carver - So, could anyone enlighten me, what is the reason for this reunion?  And what did I just stab twice?

Tarim - We'll need to find their boss. That's what will fetch our reward.

Kaius Alexander - We are here to kill Glut. You stabbed a junkie.

Mr. Carver - Well, good riddance then.

Gorethirst - We were hired by Mara of the Dog Skulls to eliminate Glut and his band of Masticators.

Mr. Carver - And rewards you say? Care if I join in on a more official note?

Tarim - Oh, you should be warned. We begun by delivering a certain cursed object into this asylum.  It should still be here somewhere

* Kaius Alexander throws open one of the doors on the ground level.

Gorethirst - There is nothing left alive on this floor. Do we check the second floor or the basement next?

Mr. Carver - Cursed as in horrible death will befall me if I get too close?

Tarim - It's a small statuette. When you see it, don't look at it. And definitely don't touch it. Also: try not to kill yourselves.  If you get the urge to do so, that is.

Mr. Carver - Ah, got it. The last remark was an especially astute piece of advice

Kaius - This looks to have once been an office of some kind, but all of the furniture has been smashed or has rotten away.  The other door is locked.

* Eareg Maar stands up, still puffing his pipe and casually watched Kaius.

Mr. Carver - Anyone good with locks?

Kaius Alexander - There is nothing here. Let us proceed to the second floor. We do not want enemies above us.

* Gorethirst moves into the stairwell

Kaius Alexander - '¦although.

* Kaius Alexander looks at the lock.

Tarim - As for the rewards, everyone who fight along should get a share, far as I'm concerned.

Kaius Alexander - In my service to My Lady I gained some experience. Allow me to try.

* Tarim follows Gorethirst.

Mr. Carver - Some intriguing noblewomen you have in Somnambulon if those are the skills you are trained in.

Fangs - Anyone think to check one of these guys for a *key*?

* Eareg Maar walks over, pulling a dismembered hand and a set of thieves tools out of his pack.

* Eareg Maar holds it up to the lock with the tools and mutters the command word.  The hand fiddles for a minute with the tools, and the lock clicks open.

This door leads to another passage, this one with three doors of its own - two on the left, one on the right.

* Eareg Maar puts the items away and opens the door quietly

Gorethirst, nothing living, though you're in the stairwell right now.

* Gorethirst moves towards the newly opened passage

Gorethirst - There are living creatures in the basement. Possibly some on the second floor, I cannot be sure.

Tarim - The one we're looking for is a ghul, isn't he?

Fangs - That's what Mara said.  Fangs - Frankly I'm surprised the lot of them aren't, considering their diet...

Tarim - But he would likely be with any living gangsters that didn't attack.

* Mr. Carver attempts to check the first doorway on the left.

Whatever this room's old purpose, it is now some kind of armoury, heaped with rusting knives, hand-axes, a few swords and pikes, and half a dozen firearms.  A massive khopesh or sickle-sword whose blade is carven with slender, elegant glyphs hangs above these lesser weapons.  There's also a large repeating crossbow and ammunition, several barrels of blackpowder, and some crates of bullets.

Kaius Alexander - Interesting.

Mr. Carver - Hmm, if anyone seeks to upgrade their arsenal we seem to have an opportune moment to do so.

* Tarim eyes the glyph-bearing blade curiously, then casts Read Hexes.

Mr. Carver - Hexed?

The glyphs read "Vivisectionist" in Hextongue.

Mr. Carver - Ah, a pity I favour the smaller blades. This looks like a most magnificent weapon.

*Meteor, Eareg's rifle, barks a shot as he enters the room.

* Tarim looks for any small firearms that might still be in fair condition.

* Eareg Maar jumps.  The rifle tugs at his arms and tries to aim towards the other guns.

* Eareg Maar's arms swing around towards the gun unable to resist.

* Kaius Alexander looks at Meteor disdainfully.

Eareg Maar - What in the black hells?

Kaius Alexander - Keep that in line, you oaf.

Mr. Carver - Ah! be careful with that, ghul.

You can see several small firearms - A blunderbuss pistol, a flintlock pistol, a crude pepperbox.

Eareg Maar - I'm not doing it.

* Eareg Maar watches as a bullet erupts from the barrel and flies into the pile of guns.

Mr. Carver - Well, then tell your weapon to stop ogling those poor pistols

Well, the flintlock is ruined now.

* Kaius Alexander examines the khopesh

Eareg Maar - what are you talking about? tell me weapon?

* Tarim picks up the blunderbuss and looks for ammunition for it.

Eareg Maar - it's just a rif-WOAH.

Kaius Alexander - A curious blade. Well made. Unlike the rest.

* Gorethirst blinks at this scene.

* Kaius Alexander looks irritably at Eareg

Tarim, you can find 23 bullets and charges for the blunderbuss pistol.  It's an ugly hand-cannon with a short range but a lot of kick.

Tarim - What, can't you stop it from firing on it's own?

Mr. Carver - well, if it's not you, it's gotta be something else and there aren't a lot of options

* A bullet soars from meteor, striking the blunderbuss and nicking it.

Eareg Maar - I don't even know what the blast is going on.

Mr. Carver - Hmm, your "friend" seems to be the jealous sort.

Tarim - Perhaps it would be better to get out of this room, then.

* Eareg Maar wrestles with the rifle trying to get control of it.

Fangs - You almost hit me!

*Eareg Maar tugs the rifle away and gets out of the room. It's like a puppy that wants to show its a big dog.

Mr. Carver - Well, if it is not you and it's not your hexed... thing, then it's the room and I suggest we get out as Tarim suggested.

Tarim - We can plunder this place later.

* Eareg Maar tugs Meteor out of the room.

Mr. Carver - Bring the hexed blade.

* Kaius Alexander takes the khopesh down.

Kaius Alexander - As you wish.

Mr. Carver - I can't imagine you objecting.

* Mr. Carver approaches the right door and opens it.

This is a latrine, badly vandalized and tagged with graffiti.

* Mr. Carver closes the door again.

Mr. Carver - If any of you want to search it, feel free.  Just keep a polite distance afterwards.

* Eareg Maar eyes his weapon oddly.

Eareg Maar - I've never seen it do anything like that before.  Always assumed it was just a hexed rifle.

*Meteor's glyphs glow.

* Eareg Maar inspects Meteor carefully.

Mr. Carver - So it was the weapon that was responsible?

* Tarim fiddles with his newly-acquired weapon clumsily, but eventually manages to load it.

It seems to have calmed down now that Tarim has firm possession of the weapon.

* Tarim turns to look at Meteor.

* Gorethirst walks towards the last unopened door and peers inside.

This room must have been the asylum kitchen, based on the cold hearth, the rusting pots, and the decrepit stove that furnish it.  The kitchen shows signs of recent use, the gory remains of some vile cannibal feast: gnawed bones and scraps of human gristle litter the central table, and there is a strong smell of carrion.  Flies swarm about the half-eaten remains.  Platters of still-steaming gore cool slowly, and some horrid stew of viscera congeals in a pot on the stove.

Gorethirst - Ah, this appears to be where they ate their "meals"

Tarim - I see.

* Mr. Carver stops in his tracks.

* Eareg Maar raises on eyebrow, a puff of smoke escaping his lips.

Tarim - Not a pretty sight, I take it.

Gorethirst - I believe that is enough of that.

Eareg Maar - Messy eaters aren't they.

Gorethirst - Quite so Eareg.

* Gorethirst pointedly shuts the door.

Mr. Carver - I think I'll skip that sight for now.

Mr. Carver - So the question is: up or down?

Gorethirst - Let us go to the second floor first.

Mr. Carver - Gorethirst, Tarim, you came from upstairs didn't you?

Gorethirst - We skipped the second floor to reunite with the rest of you.

Tarim - We did not search them all.

Gorethirst - The fourth is empty and the third only has a prisoner.

Mr. Carver - Hmm, then let us go there if you think there is something of importance.

* Gorethirst retreats to the stairwell.

* Gorethirst ascends to the second floor.
Logged


Spawn of Ungoliant
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« Reply #41 on: August 19, 2010, 05:17:18 PM »

Madness and Mutilation

You are in the midst of a raid on an abandoned asylum converted into a drug-den by the gang of cannibal thrum-junkies who call themselves the Masticators, a group of psychotic hoodlums with a taste for extreme body modification and still-living flesh.

While Kaius Alexander, Eareg Maar, and Mr. Carver dispatched the gangsters at the entrance, Gorethirst and Tarim swept the topmost levels, eliminating a sniper and discovering a half-devoured victim of the gang chained to the wall of one of the old cells.  Before the attack, Tarim sent one of the Masticators - charmed through witchcraft - into the converted asylum, bearing a "tribute" for the Masticators' ghul leader, Glut: a hexed statuette which impels any who look into its onyx eyes to commit suicide.  You also found a glyph-graven khopesh in the Masticators' armoury on the first floor, as well as the gruesome remnants of the gang's last meal.

The asylum is full of rusting implements, manacles and fetters, decaying furniture. The Masticators have left heavy footprints in the dust, added fresh stains to the old patina, smears of ancient filth and blood.  Cockroaches and the dwindling ranks of the spider-swarm Tarim summoned - now dispersed - scuttle across the floors; rats inquisitively nibble at the recently dead, sharp-toothed lunatics slain by blade and bullet.  One corpse is covered in a thousand tiny spider-bites, its skin puffy and blackened by their venom; another is charred and half-decapitated, the sizzling remnants of its head still smoking from one of Meteor's demoniac bullets; a third lies in a crimson lake, dismembered by Kaius' efficient butchery.


*The group heads up to the second floor.

This corridor is empty.  Stripes of moonlight stipple the walls, let in through the barred windows.  Half a dozen iron doors with hatches in them line the passage.  There is an overpowering stench of decaying meat.

Kaius Alexander - Smell anything living, Leech?

Gorethirst - Nothing living human.  However, it its possible the overwhelming stench of decay is masking other scents.

Kaius Alexander - Then let us seek out the dead.

* Kaius Alexander throws the closest door to him open.

Room 201 is bereft of occupants save for a much mutilated skeleton whose bones have been variously crushed, removed, or gnawed.  A couple of dirty mattresses lie on the floor here.  There are also a few vials of yellowish liquid on the floor.

* Kaius Alexander looks at the vials more closely.

Tarim - Thrum?

Gorethirst - Quite possibly.

Tarim - Could be worth selling.

The vials are of a clearish yellow-tinted liquid.  They're unmarked.

* Kaius Alexander frowns slightly.

Kaius Alexander - Take them if you wish. I will search the floor.

* Tarim collects the vials

* Kaius Alexander proceeds to the next room

Room 202 is empty.  The walls are covered in ancient, caked-on filth in which various curse words have been scrawled.  A few unkempt mattresses swarming with lice and silverfish and an overflowing chamber pot are the only furnishings.

Kaius Alexander - Hmm.

*Kaius Alexander continues his search of the floor.

Strange crabbed glyphs cover every inch of the walls of the next room, drawn in charcoal.  They appear to be some kind of arcane formula.

* Kaius Alexander frowns in a more pronounced fashion.

Kaius Alexander - Tarim. Witch scribblings.

* Tarim studies the markings.

Tarim, there are instructions for four different hexes scrawled on the walls here - Confusion, Touch of Madness, Rage, and Hideous Laughter.  They were probably drawn by an old inmate, rather than the Masticators, given their nature.

Tarim - Ah, hexes.  Never would have expected to find that here.  Then again, they look old

* Kaius Alexander shoulders past the others and opens a door across the hall.

A recently dead corpse lies in this room in a congealed pool of various bodily fluids, hideously mutilated.  Disgustingly, large chunks of the man appear to have been eaten - likely also the cause of death.  The word "deadbeat" has been carved into his chest.


Tarim - I ought to remember to get back here once we've cleared the place.

Gorethirst - Ah Kaius, there is a latch that will let you see into the next room without opening the door

* Gorethirst demonstrates this as he looks into the next room

Kaius Alexander - What? Fine.

* Kaius Alexander peers through

This room has two corpses in it, both of them badly decomposed.  They have hideous bite-marks in their flesh, and one clearly had his entrails partially devoured.  The stench is hideous.  Flies swarm around the pair, and maggots feast upon the remains.  A bout of nausea rolls over Gorethirst, but it suppresses the sensation, desensitized as it is to the sight of gore from countless battles in the fighting pits.

* Gorethirst closes the hatch.

Tarim - What did you see?

Gorethirst - More left-over meals.

A half-rotten table stands at the center of this room.  Rusting restraints and some kind of dilapidated arcano-electric generator or engine are also evident.  Its not currently on, but it might be in working order.  There's a switch, with several settings on it.

* Kaius Alexander eyes the generator.

Tarim - What might be the purpose of this device?

Kaius Alexander - A panacea for the mad.

Gorethirst - Nothing living on this floor. Glut must be in the basement of the building.

Tarim - Perhaps it powers other devices in this building?

Gorethirst - Are you willing to operate this device?

Tarim - Better leave it be if we don't know what it does. Anyway, there was a still living prisoner a floor up, wasn't there?

Kaius Alexander - Then let us question him. He may know of Glut.

Tarim - Perhaps he could tell us something useful

You head upstairs and Gorethirst locates the cell the man was being kept at.

* Gorethirst tries to force the door open but it is stuck fast.

Kaius Alexander - Let me see the door.

Tarim - More lock-picking might be in order'¦

* Gorethirst moves out of the way for Kaius

After several minutes of fiddling, the lock clicks, and the door swings open.

Kaius Alexander - Finally.

* Kaius Alexander strides up to the prisoner.

Tarim - Is he awake?

The man looks up, realizing that you're not a Masticator.

"Name's Girm Usur," he says weakly.  "Can you get me out of here?"

Kaius Alexander - We might.  Why are you imprisoned?

* Gorethirst walks into view and peers at the prisoner

"I was hired to take these wretches out," the man says.  "Got cocky, thought I could get rid of them on my own.  I got the drop on them, killed two before they swarmed me, clamped down with those godsdamned teeth of theirs' - when I woke up I was here.  They've been gnawing off bits of me ever since."

Kaius Alexander - Coincidental. So have we.

"Doubt its coincidence."

Tarim - I take it you didn't see Glut, then?

"I saw the bastard.  Huge wormy, metal teeth, slobbers a lot, totally mottlebrained on thrum."

Gorethirst - Who is your employer?

"Mara of the Dogskulls hired me."

Kaius Alexander - She must possess a fierce hatred for this Glut, for it is her we work for. Come then, I will release you.

* Kaius Alexander unshackles him.

"She's a canny businesswoman," Grim says.  "Glut's a problem she needs eliminated.  I'm not surprised she sent in more cleavers after I didn't come back."

Tarim - How much did you manage to see of this asylum? Did you get a look at the basement?

"I didn't make it as far as the basement, but I think that's where their lab is.  Heard a couple of them talking about it."

Tarim - What did they say?

"Something about their thrum supply, and a broken boiler.  By the way, any of you seen my weapon?  It'd be distinctive.  A khopesh, ensorcelled, called Vivisectionist."

Gorethirst - You can leave the asylum now. We shall deal with Glut from here.

* Kaius Alexander pulls it out of his pack

Kaius Alexander - Here. They had placed it in their armoury.

"Thanks.  I owe you one, for certain."

Tarim - You better get a new arm attached, if you're going to be swinging that blade again

He takes the weapon.  "I can fight with my off hand, but I hear you can get all manner of grafts in this city."

Kaius Alexander - You may assist us in the completion of the contract, if you feel able. We will kill Glut regardless.

* Kaius Alexander checks the rounds in his revolver

He considers.  "I'm pretty weak, not sure how useful I'd be in a fight.  On the other hand, I'm going to need money if I'm going to get my arm replaced."

* Gorethirst looks at Kaius

Gorethirst - Are we recruting cripples now?

Kaius Alexander - It is his decision if he will proceed with the contract. He was already hired.

He takes an experimental swing with the weapon.  "Shame they took my weapon hand, but like I said, I can fight well enough with my off hand.  But I'll accompany you - perhaps I'll turn the tide."

Kaius Alexander - I will not have you slowing us down. This is your last chance to reconsider.

Tarim - Let him fight if he so desires. We've no quarrel with him, and he could at the least be a distraction

"I won't slow you down.  Thanks for the rescue."

* Kaius Alexander inclines his head slightly, and lowers his visor.

* Gorethirst heads towards the basement.

Kaius Alexander - Then let us relieve Glut of his life.

* Tarim follows.

You descend the spiral staircase, Girm in tow.  At the bottom is another door, slightly ajar.  Gorethirst, you can smell living beings not far beyond.

* Kaius Alexander draws his sword quietly.

* Eareg Maar takes up the rear, descending with you the dark red glow of a pipe lighting his face

Gorethirst - There are living creatures beyond here. THe rest of the Masticators without doubt.

Tarim - Proceed carefully then.  They might be expecting an assault by now

* Kaius Alexander slowly opens the door and steps across the threshold

Three dead bodies are slumped here in a pool of blood in the middle of the corridor.  One appears to have swallowed his own barrel, shot himself through the head.  Another slit his wrists and just lay down.  A third killed himself by bashing his own head in, based on his injuries and the bloodstains on the wall.  The statuette stands upright in the middle of the corridor, facing towards you and grinning, its onyx eyes glinting as if with twisted delight.  There is a set of double doors at the far end of the corridor, and two side-rooms.

*Kaius inadvertently locks his gaze with the statuette's.

Kaius, you are seized with an urge to kill yourself.  Why are you here, mindlessly hacking up criminals in this wretched place?  Is this what Lady Genevieve would want of you?  You must end this pathetic play existence, this sham of a life, this husk.

* Kaius Alexander pulls out his revolver.

Tarim - Don't do it Kaius!

* Kaius Alexander brings it to his head.

* Gorethirst tackles Kaius.

* Kaius Alexander struggles with Gorethirst.  He pushes the leechkin off and Gorethirst slams into the wall.

* Eareg Maar moves around them, his eyes averted and casts a hide tarpaulin atop the statue.

You manage to cover the statuette.  You hear it hiss angrily.

Kaius Alexander - Do not stand in my way, Leech. I must do this.

* Gorethirst blinks at Kaius.

* Kaius Alexander again brings the revolver up to his head.

Tarim - Think of you duties.  What would your Lady have you do?

Kaius Alexander - She'¦ she would...

* Kaius Alexander puts his head in his hands, thinking of the burden he was charged with.

Kaius Alexander - You.. you are right, Tarim.

* Kaius Alexander hand hovers over his breastplate, where the orb is.

* Gorethirst hands Eareg a coil of rope taken from his bag

* Eareg Maar ties up the bundle.

Kaius Alexander - That statue is a blight upon the world.

* Kaius Alexander sits down heavily against a wall.

Tarim - Looks like the statuette did it's work here, but almost got you. We should not take it away from the asylum, no matter how much it might be worth. It's too dangerous.

Eareg Maar - Agreed, but lets find a better place than here to put it.  Perhaps a side room.

* Eareg Maar looks around uneasily for a nearby sideroom.  The statuette cannot impel him to suicide while covered, but he does feel melancholic and gloomy.

Inside this dirty chamber, an alembic bubbles and boils unattended, refining a swirling yellowish liquid.  Various bits of alchemical equipment - mortars and pestles, beakers, phials, etcetera - adorn the shelves.  There's a rack with a dozen full vials in it as well.

* Eareg Maar tosses the heavy bundle into the room and shuts the door.

Eareg Maar - I'll buy you a new rope when we're back in town.

Kaius Alexander - We'¦ we must proceed. Glut still must die.

* Kaius Alexander stands up slowly.

* Eareg Maar puffs heavily on his pipe trying to calm his nerves.

Eareg Maar - Blasted trinket.

* Tarim peeks into the other side-room.

This seems to be a boiler room, the machinery rusted and probably non-functional.

Tarim - Must be the broken boiler...

* Tarim checks his blunderbuss pistol.

It's loaded and looks fully functional.  There's a nick where Meteor's bullet scratched it, but its fully intact.

Tarim - Only the double doors left...

* Gorethirst moves forward and kicks open the double doors.

Three gunshots ring out as Gorethirst kicks open the doors.  The leechkin is hit with the blast of two blunderbusses, tiny bits of shot embedding themselves in its body.

* Gorethirst staggers but stays standing.

A hugely obese ghul squats in the middle of this large chamber.  He appears to have had all of his teeth removed, as he wears a bizarre-looking mouthpiece, a set of bladed artificial teeth: he looks almost as if he's rammed an animal trap into his mouth.  They don't look grafted but rather worn like murderous denchers.

From his greyish skin, long talons, and cat-like eyes, you take him to be a ghul..  Half a dozen other Masticators fill the room.  Some are armed with crude serrated blades, others with guns or clubs; some have weapon-grafts, and one wields an enormous curved sword.  They have overturned tables, gurneys, and other furniture to make impromptu barricades, which the gunmen hunker behind.

"Give up now, foolth!"  Glut slobbers.  "Or I will thtrip the flesh from your boneth!"  His artificial teeth make his enunciation clumsy.


Kaius Alexander - Glut. Your life has been paid for. There is no escape for you. Now you will die.

* Eareg Maar slips a wounding bullet into the chamber of his weapon.

* With an eldritch word Meteor bursts to uncanny life.

Leaping through the fray as a hail of gunfire bursts around it, disregarding all pain, Gorethirst brings his axe to bear on the Masticator boss!  It brings its axe down in a vicious overhead chop, drawing blood.  Glut squeals in anguish as the weapon embeds itself in his shoulder.

* Tarim manoeuvres himself to the back of the group, but in a position where he can get a clear line of sight to Glut. Eldritch whispers escape from his parched lips, and the black ink tattooed on his skin begins to move, crawling subcutaneously.

* Eareg Maar lifts Meteor to his shoulder as long green lines flow from his right arm, encasing the barrel in an eldritch web that reaches out with cold fingers to touch the Masticator boss (True Strike tattoo).

* Eareg Maar pulls the trigger and a sickly green bullet wreathed in hungry flames claws its way towards glut's chest.  The bullet penetrates one of the ghul's flabby pectorals in a spray of dark blood.  The wound immediately begins to fester, turning putrid.  The grave-spawn's unnatural constitution keeps him on his feet.

Two of the Masticators near Glut turn to attack Gorethirst.  One of the thugs sinks his teeth into the leechkin's side.

Girm charges forward, Vivisectionist gleaming, a war-cry on his lips.  He has his head blown off by a blunderbuss blast.


*Kaius Alexander leaps off a gurney and brings his blade down, but the gunman he was attacking jerks aside.

Glut removes a syringe from his belt and rams it into his arm.  He begins to vibrate rapidly, flesh blurring and quivering with the effects of thrum.

*Gorethirst continues to slash at the gang-leader.

* Tarim chants louder and gestures wickedly as the living tattoos on his skin converge to his clawed hands. With a snarled command word he lets loose a black, inky ray that leaps like a striking serpent at Glut.  The ennervating hex saps Glut's strength and he seems to crumple in on himself.

* Eareg Maar draws a bead on one of the crazed gunfighters with meteor but before he can fire a blast of black fire rips its way out of the barrel and flies towards him (crippling conflagration out Meteor's barrel).  The gunman snarls and stumbles backwards.

The Masticator in the corner uses a dose of thrum and then charges towards Eareg and Tarim.  One of the Masticators besides  Gorethirst attemtps to use a dose of thrum, but Gorethirst slashes him with its axe, disrupting the attempt.  The other thug swings with his huge sword, but the leechkin warrior whirls around and parries.

*Kaius Alexander interrupts a reloading gunman with a skillful swipe of his blade, and the thug drops his blunderbuss in anguish.  The Insomnolent Guard stabs him in the torso, and he screeches in agony.  Kaius twists the blade and blood spews from the Masticator's lips.

Glut growls and bites Gorethirst with his iron teeth, tearing flesh.  Sapped of strength by Tarim's hex, the Masticator's attack is greatly enfeebled.

*Gorethirst counterattacks, its axe slicing into Glut's belly.  Intestines spill out in a steaming pile.  Impossibly the berzerk, drug-addled grave-spawn stays on his feet, ignoring the hideous wound with absurd tenacity.

* Tarim seeing the charging gangster, takes a few steps back and unleashes another tattooed hex at the attacker.  The hex goes wide.

* Eareg Maar gestures at the charging Masticator and a shaft of yellowish light strikes him in the eyes.  His hex dazes the Masticator, who stops in his tracks, confused and half-stunned.

Another thug tries to bite Gorethirst, but the leechkin ignores his pathetic attack contemptuously.

The Masticators swarm Kaius, having abandoned their blunderbusses.  One manages to hit with a spiked mace, but the warrior shrugs off most of the damage.


*Kaius finishes off theMasticator he wounded earlier with a thrust to the heart.

Glut howls with rage.  The other thugs echo him.  He continues to bite at Gorethirst viciously, ripping flesh and muscle.

*Gorethirst, wounded from the ghul's wicked iron teeth, darts to one side and bringshis axe in a powerful side-swipe.  The blow sheers through the Masticator boss' head at the level of his nose.  He falls to the ground, guts spilling from his stomach, a pool of blood spreading around him.

* Tarim retreats away from the dazed Masticator and lobs a flesh-melter at him.  Tthe acid vial spatters the mobster.

* Eareg Maar attempts to introduce some lead into the bezerkers stomach, via gunpowder injection.  The berzerkers stumbles back as a flaming bullet pierces his guts.  Dazed, acid-splattered, and shot in the stomach, he retreats back behind the barricades, whimpering.

In the meantime, one of the Masticators fighting Gorethirst disengages and heads towards Eareg and Tarim.  He leaps jumping over the barricades, his curved sword gleaming murderously.

*Gorethirst continues to fend off the remaining attacker.

*Kaius Alexander blow hacks off one of the Masticators' arms at the shoulder.

* Gorethirst unleashes a terrifying double throated yowl.  Slathered in blood, the leechkin is a terrifying sight.

The Masticators flee en masse towards the door in abject terror.  Gorethirst hacks one of the Masticators down, felling him instantly.  Eareg attempts to take a shot at one of the fleeing thugs but Meteor jams; instead he butts the rifle's stock into a Masticator's face, and the thug goes down, to be trampled into a bloody, mangled heap by his booted fellows.

*Tarim and Kaius fire off shots at the retreating gangsters as they flee the room through the double doors.

* Kaius Alexander holsters his revolver with a slight frown.

Kaius Alexander - Vermin.

The Masticators are defeated.  Glut lies dead in a pool of blood and viscera.

* Eareg Maar examines the trampled one.

* Kaius Alexander raises his visor and spits blood.

* Tarim kicks a random corpse.

Kaius Alexander - Gorethirst, get his teeth. Mara will want them.

* Gorethirst retrives Gluts teeth and puts them in his bag.

* Tapping the now cooling ashes out of his pipe onto the downed man's forehead Eareg Maar begins to work at clearing the jammed bullet out of meteor's chamber.

* Tarim looks around the carnage-stained room.

Tarim, you notice a large strong-box in one corner.

* Tarim approaches the box.

* Kaius Alexander looks at Girm's headless corpse.

Kaius Alexander - Too bad.

* Kaius Alexander leans down and picks up his khopesh, Vivisectionist.

Eareg Maar - This fellow is still breathing.

Gorethirst - The cripple was a fool to follow us.

* Eareg Maar relieves the unconscious thug of his curved sword.

Kaius Alexander - Kill him. His life is useless and he is a danger to all.

* Eareg Maar shrugs

Gorethirst - I am quite famished after this battle. I will gladly solve the problem for us.

Tarim - Eareg, we could use that lock-picking hand again.  Unless you can find a key on what remains of Glut

* Eareg Maar hefts the unconscious man grabbing him by the chin and the top of his head then whips his head around with a sharp snapping.

* Gorethirst sighs out of two mouths, a strange sound

Eareg Maar - Sure.

* Eareg Maar hands it and the thieves tools to Tarim.

Eareg Maar - You know the word

After the mummified hand picks the lock, the strongbox opens.  Inside are stacks of bone coins.

* Tarim counts out 1324 obeloi.

* Eareg Maar taps the last ashes out of his pipe and puts it away.

* Eareg Maar probes at his back and finding the shot just under the skin works it out carefully with his claws and a grunt.
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« Reply #42 on: August 19, 2010, 05:41:12 PM »

The rest of the logs from last session will be up soonish.

I'm keeping a Master Log of all the (edited) logs so far.  We just pushed it over 200 pages!
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« Reply #43 on: August 19, 2010, 08:15:57 PM »

Looking good though the latest log post has an error in the very last line.

* Eareg Maar probes at Glut's back and finding the shot just under the skin works it out carefully with his claws and a grunt.

should be...

* Eareg Maar probes at his back and finding the shot just under the skin works it out carefully with his claws and a grunt.

Was pretty sure that I said that but I might have mistyped it as glut. I was talking about the shot I took early on from one of the gunslingers (was working the bullet out of my back where it stopped just shy of exiting).
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« Reply #44 on: August 19, 2010, 10:24:43 PM »

OH!  Gotcha.  I thought you were digging out your wounding bullet from Glut so I changed it from a pronoun to a proper noun to clarify.  Thanks, I'll change it back!  I should  stick to removing the dice rolls and not get creative when editing...
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