Chapter Five And A Half

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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Osvald Hale on Thu Apr 14, 2016 3:26 pm

The great birds stir in their roost...

Wickedly curved talons scrape the stone like spear points as the Eagles turn to face Osvald and Dwan.

The Druid was approaching slowly, the closest eagle craned it's head side ways then back, eyeing him in the disconcerting manner a smaller hawk might view a rodent.

"Uh... Dwan..."

Osvalds throat grew tighter as a second, then a third eagle stepped forward. Beaks chattering to each other.

"Dwan..." Osvald growls, his voice rapidly gaining urgency.

The foremost eagle puffs out its chest feathers, neck stretching its full height--Nearly the height of two grown men.

"Dwan! We're gonna be bird food, W--"

SCRAWWWW!
The deafening screech of the eagle drowns out Osvalds voice, the ranger buffeted by a blast of wind as the beast flaps its primordial wings.

Throwing up his arms to shield his face from flying dust, the ranger slides backwards in the turbulence. Too late, he reaches for Dwan but the Druid is beyond his reach.

"BCRAAAW!" Dwan calls out in return.

Osvald grits his teeth. 'This better work...'

The ranger sets his stance, crouching, ready to leap forward and tackle Dwan out of the way if The eagle swipes forward.

Suddenly, Dwans form contorts unnaturally, buckling and swelling. Feathers sprout, the lower half of his face elongates and hardens into a glossy beak. In moments, The dwarf had become an Eagle himself.

Dumbfounded, Osvald glances back to the others looking on from the edge of the path.

The ranger shrugs helplessly and waits...

=====

Readying to tackle Dwan out of the way of the Eagle if his plan fails.

Athletics check: 14


Redacted: edited post to follow Dwan's lead.


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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  DiceMaster on Thu Apr 14, 2016 3:26 pm

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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Valeria Thaemor on Thu Apr 14, 2016 6:43 pm

Val stares at Artimus and Rand, listening in on their conversation with disdain. Men. She turns her attention to Marietta and gives her a warm smile. “I’m sure this won’t take long. They’ll sate their curiosity and we-“ She’s cut off by a loud screech coming from where Dwan and Osvald were approaching the eagles. “Uhhhh. That’s not good.” She looks back towards the eagles and their nests worryingly. “Perhaps we should be ready to run?”

---

Val will be ready to gtfo at the first sign of imminent danger
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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Gimble Nabisco Raulnor on Thu Apr 14, 2016 7:23 pm

"You speak bird?"
Gimble raises a stubby finger into the air. "As a matter of fact-" He stops himself and stares at the ground for a second to think. "- Well I don't think I can easily communicate with birds of this size, no. Dwan might have better luck." He points a finger to the dwarf.

[...]

Gimble's eyes widen at the sound of screeches. "Oh dear. Now what has Dwan done to upset the roost?" He places a small, fat hand on his horse's neck and strokes the soft fur. "Easy there. I'll make sure no harm comes to you, boy." The gnome draws on his power over small beasts and adjusts his speech patterns and tone to try and account for the equestrian nature. The nervous shuffling dies down a bit, enough to make sure that it won't try bolting down the mountainside - yet.

Above, Minerva takes circles around the nest, watching the encounter with her sharp eyes. Gimble turns his eyes back to where the dwarf is standing in his eagle form. He watches closely, paying attention to each of the birds to try and spot early signs of an attack; one hand rests on his cane, ready to cast a spell in case it is needed. Gimble runs his fingers through his beard and waits in silent anticipation.
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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Custer Thickett on Thu Apr 14, 2016 9:28 pm

The mountain echos of the the chaos muffle in the space around Custer as he slows his breathing and freezes his body to the likeness of the rocks shading his body. Were it that he had no eyes, the concentration may have turned him into a stone.

[[Custer remains hidden]]
Stealth 28


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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  DiceMaster on Thu Apr 14, 2016 9:28 pm

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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Ao on Fri Apr 15, 2016 12:54 am

The ruffling of feathers can be heard as the enormous Eagles draw themselves up, flapping dexterously to halt their charge. In the front, the great grey eagle extends his wings the full span, digging his claws into the earth and letting out a baritone command word.

Dwan and Osvald stand before them, the very breath of these birds far mightier than they could have imagined. They bristled with strength, their musculature pronounced and lithe.

The Druids words roll out from his newly beaked mouth. Osvald stands aside him, listening as Dwan pleads his case.

And then... Silence.

Before you, the great grey eagle stands proudly, judging you. He inclines his head downward, eyes poised upon you.

"I am Thissali, chieftain of this flock." His booming voice echoes through your mind, Dwan.

From a distance, the fellows look towards where the Druid and huntsman stand before the towering eagle. Gimbles hand rests gently upon the horses, Rand and Artimus standing aside.

[Dwan, animal handling]

The eagle chief stretches his neck out, snapping his beak.

"Shapeshifter, you are not welcome in our nest. I see now that you are not the ilk of the hunters that stalk us. But we do not trust the likes of men. They are not welcome in our nest."

The eagle stands astride, and you can tell he is not open to further discussion.

"You may leave this place. But if you return, you will find death."

=================

Ok fellows. Some seriously quick thinking on dwans part there means you get to leave with your horses, unmolested.

Unless you'd like to push your luck? To be clear, if you plan on asking another question or doing anything other than retreating, I need supporting rolls. Based on the last few rounds, we're getting closer to a deterministic outcome.

If you do decide to leave, please give me marching order and provisional stealth / perception checks.

Sorry if that didn't go as well as you'd hoped. Ah well - the dice fall where they may
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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Custer Thickett on Fri Apr 15, 2016 12:20 pm

His mind was silent.  Cuss's full focus was on remaining still and quiet.  His muscles burned with anticipation for combat.  His slow breathing seemed a roar inside him.  His heart was steady, and he felt his chest jump with each beat.  His eyes darted, but his head did not move.  

[Stealth]
26

[Perception]
9


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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  DiceMaster on Fri Apr 15, 2016 12:20 pm

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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Dwan Bolduum on Fri Apr 15, 2016 2:24 pm

Dwan's thoughts relax. He lowers his neck.

Thank you for your kindness, chieftain Dwan says gratefully.  I will not soon forget it.  My colleagues and I will depart shortly, we'll need just a few moments to gather ourselves.  Dwan takes a few retreating steps and uses his wing to point Osvald out of the cave to punctuate the point.

I do not wish to pry, but I must ask, who are these hunters that you speak of?  The men with the horned helms? Our business at the citadel is urgent, but if there is something I can do to drive them away I will.

I see now that entering unannounced was poor judgment and I do apologize.  Though you may not see me in a favorable light at the moment, I want you to know that you have an ally in Dwan Bolduum.

Once I change forms, I will not be able to understand you, but should you need anything, I will do my best to heed your call.


Once Thissali has finished communicating with Dwan he will turn and walk away in eagle form.  Once out the cave his body shinks and distorts until he is back in Dwarf form.

We have been asked to depart from here.  The eagles will not attack us unless we enter their cave.  Take a few moments to settle the horses, and gather your things.  Take one last look out and make sure there isn't a trap waiting for us.

Artimus, please mark this cave on the map, I would like to make my way back here on different terms.


Once any questions have been answered Dwan waters his horse and prepares to take off with the group.  
==================================
Stealth 15
Perception 4


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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  DiceMaster on Fri Apr 15, 2016 2:24 pm

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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Artimus DeLonde on Fri Apr 15, 2016 8:37 pm

...conversing with Rand..
------------------------------------
The Mariner's eyes narrowed at Rand's comments...

Artimus found himself wondering if the large Tetheryian was intentionally insulting him, his ship and his people or if he was a simpleton.  Or both.

Had he been a younger man, full of the vigor, the anger fomented by misfortune of his youth, and the kind of drive a man could have to never be questioned. The kind rooted in the absence of worthiness or true confidence ...   The kind that led to brash, unconsidered action. Shouting, threats, declarations. Swords. All of it.

Had he been a younger man.

"Am I zhe captain of a brozhel?.... non mon ami.... non." Artimus said raising a gloved hand to cover his face, chuckling. once and again till the sound petered with a kind of sparrow-like warble and a satisfied sigh.

"You are a charming man, it iz obviouz, non?"

Artimus cleared his throat before asking -

"Zo, tell me Rand,  what iz it like making love to a rake?  you may have been zpurned on your lazt Trieste, but as they zay when love bites you... bite back non?

The grin that emerged at the antagonizing query was wide and toothy. The kind that a man would sport after eating an entire pile of shit and loving every bite.

Artimus didn't fly into rage. and he didn't rise above.

=============================
Artimus marveled at the power that the small gnome commanded over the horses- he seemed to attune himself to their way of being with ease. While the world seemed rigid and set to the mariner- to Gimble it was malleable. fluid.

If only that mastery extended to Valeria,  or perhaps it did.
=============================

Relief swept over those gathered around the cave's entry as Dwan emerged with Osvald in tow.

The mariner nodded at Dwan's request for a cartographic note of the eagles location- elucidating the spot with swift charcoal marking.

"C'est la vie, Mousier Bolduum, zhe bravado to ztroll in zhere.... it's, unfathomable."

"Zhall we?"

=================
Stealth  19 +4 =23
Wilderness 12 +1 13


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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  DiceMaster on Fri Apr 15, 2016 8:37 pm

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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Gimble Nabisco Raulnor on Fri Apr 15, 2016 8:59 pm

Gimble let out a short breath as the massive raptors backed away into their cave, leaving Dwan and Osvald alive and in solid pieces. "I suppose we shan't try to contact them again. At least not anytime soon." The little gnome shook his head, causing his beard and hat wobble about. "One day I shall get my chance to speak to one." He smiles into the distance, as if lost in a daydream that was birthed long ago. He looks back down after a few seconds and pats his horse on the neck. "Off we go, boy. We've got a long ways to travel yet."

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

1d20+3 Stealth = 21
2d20kh1+3 Perception = 22


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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Osvald Hale on Fri Apr 15, 2016 9:41 pm

Osvald kicked up into his saddle, shared a quick exasperated look with Cuss and shrugged

"Well, that was something. Let's get a move on. Marietta, how far to the tower? Suns gettin' low--can we make it before night fall or should we make camp somewhere?"

Osvald takes her advice and leads on.

=====

Stealth: 11

Nature: 20! = 25

Perception: 21

If we make camp I hope that 20 gets us a prime spot.


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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Valeria Thaemor on Fri Apr 15, 2016 10:05 pm

"Sorry Gimble. I'm sure you wanted to see the eagles up close." Val's horse trots over beside Gimble's so that she can reach out and pat the gnome on the head. "Did the giant eagles make anyone else hungry? I knew a guy once, this paladin named Gareth, Oh he was quite the man in bed- but that's not important. Anyways, he claims he once ate an eagle when left with no other food options. Claims it tastes like chicken but slightly less tender. I bet he was full of shit but it does make one wonder...." She shrugs and follows everyone's lead away from the nest.

Stealth: 3

Perception: 2


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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  DiceMaster on Fri Apr 15, 2016 10:05 pm

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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Ao on Sat Apr 16, 2016 9:24 pm

The eagle chieftain’s chest remains puffed and bristled, the proud bird watching as Dwan and the ranger stand down.

He pauses for a minute, and then speaks one last time to Dwan.

“These horned men, I know not. Only do I know, that your race have long coveted the feathers of our kind and the eggs of our young. Only do I know, that for many years the eagles of my bloodline were slaves to your race, bridled and beaten and bound. No more. You will go, druid. No matter your noble intentions.”

The eagle watches you retreat, staring at you with steel will.

[…]

The stars break across the night sky duskily, your descent of the dangerous ridge navigated expertly and swiftly. You’ve been travelling for several hours since, the growing elevation thinning the air and granting you an unobstructed view of the landscapes below. In the distance, you can once again see the far-off lights of Faeressar, the shimmering lanterns crowning the small jewel that glisten’s in the sea of sand.

A breath taking panorama is lain out before you, as you begin your ascent further. The air is becoming chill, and you pull your cloak around you tightly.

Osvald suggests a camp, but Marietta shakes her head.

“No. We have come far enough. The citadel is far safer for us, than these uncertain rock ways.”

And so, the ranger leads you further through the soaring heights as the night wanes on and the moon rises above the horizon…

[…]

It is another hour yet, when Osvald calls a halt…

You are standing on a dirt trail, a thick wall of gnarled trees growing on either side of the path. They swoop overhead gracefully, long-elongated willows. Small tufts of wild grass and delicate orange flowers grow at their roots, spilling out onto the walkway before you.

[Fellowship, Stealth checks]
As the night wares on, some of you become more reckless with your noise than others. Osvald’s trailblazing focus causes him to forget the faintly jangling skein at his side. And Valeria’s armour clangs every slightly with every plod of her mare.

[Gimble, perception]

The gnome stops suddenly, his mind turned from its arcane proclivities as his keen eyes catch upon a pair of bright, yellow eyes peering at you from within the treeline…

Words of warning give the fellowship enough time to dismount or ready weapons, before a darkened figure sails through the air and lands in front of you!

From out of the tall grasses, a long, slender black beast on four legs lands snarling in the pathway. It is an enormous cat, and its tail swishes back and forth as it stalks towards you bravely, despite your number.

Tension cuts the air, and Gimble can sense an enormous amount of magical presence on the beast…

And then-

Another series of noises echo out from behind the feline, as well as behind you. You spin round, Gimble’s earlier warning granting you the grace to form a cohesive defensive formation.

[Gimble’s perception check granting you all free actions to either mount/dismount, and select whichever weapon you please]

From out of the trees, several warriors approach slowly, guided by the low ison of the mountain cat’s growling. They are draped in long chain shirts, with ornate helms studded with five iron spikes that shimmer in the moonlight. Each extends a long halberd in front of him, moving cautiously towards you on all sides!

There are at least a dozen men and elves.

As you’re pondering what to do, another warrior enters the clearing. He has shoulder-length black hair, with well oiled curls that bounce as he strides confidently towards you. A jade tabard is draped across his front, and two falchions are slung at his waist. As he comes into the moonlight, the slender man stares down his narrow nose, his eyes drawn across each of you. And when he speaks, it is in a dramatic Tethyrian accent… thick, and unapologetic.

“You…filthy…BREACHERS.”

His words echo loudly, as his men edge towards you.

“How DARE-eh you breach the land of the noble, the exquisite, the divine djinn of the citadel. How DARE it! Thieves, brigands, murderers! It-makes-a-no-difference! You will all be brought to the mercy! The JUSTICE!”

He waves his hands theatrically, barking at you in a tongue twister of accusations.

“Honorable men, they never breach. And I, Umberto Da Viola. I oppose you in the highest-a of regards. Speak your peace! Tell us, what are you doing on these lands? Speak now, or we will bleed you with the-a fervour of a thousand blades!”

From beyond the clearing, Gimble’s canny ears pick up the faint whisper of one of the halberdiers to another.

”Umberto Da Viola. He -never- breaches.

========================

Ok guys,

You’re along a path, flanked by treelines to the north and south. There is a huge black jaguar to the north, and you are circled by a dozen halberdiers (perhaps 20 feet away from each of you.

Directly east stands the captain, Umberto Da Viola.

Their stats are up in the lair, should you choose to engage…

Good luck.
Ao



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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Custer Thickett on Sun Apr 17, 2016 11:41 am

Cuss lightly bounces his light crossbow with a wide smile upon his face as he says, "This one thinks the sun comes up to hear him crow, yeah?"  He punctuates the questions with a laugh.  

"Me thinks ya'd do well to show us some respect, Violet.  We seek the consul of the Djinn with the blessing of Sim Radan Bal-Akka, Lord Justice of the Janessar.  His Marietta is among our number.""  

[Persuasion]
14


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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  DiceMaster on Sun Apr 17, 2016 11:41 am

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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Rand Theriot on Mon Apr 18, 2016 11:58 am

Rand dismounts from the horse he shared with Marietta.  In a show of bravado, he cracks the bones of his neck, and then his knuckles while sizing up Umberto with his eyes.

The large man draws his greatclub and taps his shoulder with it, impatiently, like a baseball player stepping up to the plate. Scratching at his mutton chops he beckons towards Marietta and nastily adds, "Yeah, and you wouldn't want to keep the lady waiting, would you?"

Roll 1: Intimidation - 18+3 = 21


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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  DiceMaster on Mon Apr 18, 2016 11:58 am

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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Artimus DeLonde on Mon Apr 18, 2016 3:13 pm

“C'est vrai.”

Artimus offered, in agreement with Custer. His voice addressing all the varied members had descended around  them. A cultch of Men, Fayfolk and primal black panther. The Mariner echo’d the lithe Halflings intention, who struck with at enshrouding party with venomous verbal jabs .

“What my zmall friend zayz iz true.  We zeek zhe audienze of divine djinn, and it iz alzo true what you zay Umberto.”

Artimus called out to the to figure enshrouded in deathly intent, unshakable pride, and a obvious code of honor.

“To my dismay it is clear what you zay is true, we have breahced-, I zpotted the rozes az we pazt.”

“Zhe primroze archway markz zhe perimeter of zheze zacred environz, do zhey not? We pazzed it unknowing penetrating you’re zacred hillz unknowingly. Dezpite our ignoranze, a zlander againzt your honor has been rezeived. Ztill we cannot allow you to delay uz in our aim. ”

The man who called himself ‘Da Viola’ bore a violet wolf proudly on his chest, a challenge to all who would dare breach.

"Zhe only way I can zee to anzwer zhiz iz a trial of combat. To reztore our mutual pride! I Sh-allenge you! Umberto Da Viola.!!"

Artimus announced - dismounting swiftly.

He pulled on this hilt of black Drow foil and willful- long-sword on his hip. Unseating each blade from its scabbard.  He waited from Da Viola’s agreement before brandishing them fully.

[1d20 cha to remove sentient blade.]

A subtle nod signaled the Tetheryian cavalier’s readiness.

“EN GARDE!”

The Cormyrian duelist barked
, drawing his blades to their fullest- the longsword gleamed in despite the only the moon to light, while the dusky rapier hovered, imperceptible as a wraithe. Artimus shifted into a ready stance, foil floating over his head like a scorpion’s stinger, broadsword across his chest readied to deflect.

What followed was the most delicate brinkmanship any-man, anywhere could undertake. Implements of warn dancing and flailing, advancing and parrying. Dazzling footwork and daring attack interpolated with fierce verbal barbs - exchanges of verbal degradations. Lewd and morally undermining epitaphs. all manner of slanderous statements. Regarding matters country, promiscuity of the women in their respective lands, the moral integrity of family, specifically mothers. All in a variety of languages and local dialects.

Proud men butting heads in a dangerous game interlocking of steps, counters and jabs. With only masteries of steel and shear intestinal fortitude separating them from total defeat.

Only one man could stand the better. Skin unblemished, spirit unbroken.

1d20 to hit 14
1d20 Cha to insult 18
1d20 to hit 11
1d20 Cha to insult 14
1d20 to hit 7
1d20 Cha to insult 13

10, 15, 5, 11, 3, 10.


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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  DiceMaster on Mon Apr 18, 2016 3:13 pm

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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Osvald Hale on Mon Apr 18, 2016 5:06 pm

Osvald's hand rested on his sword hilt. His eyes darted between his companions, and the stern gazes of the halberdiers who had encircled them.

Cuss and Rand got the the point, Osvald kept quiet. He shifted uncomfortably in the saddle--they'd been riding a few hours and the ranger had to take a mighty piss. But, feared he stood a good chance of loosing his head if he sullied one of the Djin's special bushes. Osvald grumbled. No point in provoking this peacock, Umberto, any further.

When Artimus barks his zchallange Osvald's shoulders drop and the ranger shakes his head.

Perfect.

Artimus, their flamingo, had sized up the peacock. Feather's fluffed, Blouses fluttered in the breeze, perfumed curls bounced in the night air, and skinny blades shone.

The captain flashed his fancy swords and awaited the peacocks response. Artimus had proven his skill with his weapons of choice, Osvald certainly wasn't worried about his friend--but how were the halberdiers going to take all this?

'What did I do in another life to deserve this?' Osvald muttered, preparing to witness Le Tragedie d'Bravadosio unfold before him...

=====

Perception on any tricksy business from the halberdiers.

18 + 5 =23 Per.


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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  DiceMaster on Mon Apr 18, 2016 5:06 pm

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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Gimble Nabisco Raulnor on Mon Apr 18, 2016 10:35 pm

Gimble stays in the middle of the group. Above, Minerva circles the group of soldiers that had surrounded them, watching for signs of attack. The gnome lets out a sigh and strokes his beard as Artimus challenges Umberto. "Be careful lad. We want you back in one piece." With that, he falls silent, eyes watching the others around him.
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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Ao on Mon Apr 18, 2016 11:03 pm

The Grande Duel
Umberto Da Viola (v. Delonde) :
Cha: 14 (fail)
Cha: 6 (fail)
Cha: 12 (fail)

ATK: 19 (victory)
ATK: 13 (victory)
ATK: 13 (victory)

=======================

The snarling Tethyrian eyes Artimus scathingly, stalking towards him with the huff of a stableboy. His hair bounces fumingly upon his shoulders, the man stopping an honourable 20 paces in front of the mariner…

Meanwhile, the men stare at the halfling and the enormous, lumbering Rand.

[Custer, persuasion, and Rand, Intimidate]

It is clear that the soldiers are uncertain about the situation. They lower their polearms, watching their commanding officer stride angrily into the nest of the fellowship.

“Captain Da Viola!” shouts one of them.

“It’s true - they have Marietta with them. And they look able enough-“

The man gulps, looking at Rand as the brutish man’s arm flexes, bouncing the club on his shoulder.

But Umberto Da Viola does not flinch, drawing his falchion with a flourish of the highest ceremony. He adopts a fencing position so dainty, that it might make the warriors of Cormyr blush. And then, he hisses…

“SSZZZO BE IT! You will-a bow to de blade, of Umberto Da Viola! Breacher - you are mine!”

[…]

Gimble looks on, his familiar circling overhead. As he watches Artimus charge in to the fray, Minerva whispers in his ear...

The bird sees the citadel, a short half-mile away.

The soldiers watch, dumbfounded, at the display of flamboyant swashbucklery. Artimus and Umberto lock blades again and again, dancing like the most well paid of harem women.

Custer’s eyes widen. The halfling may have seen some of those moves at Esmelda’s, once upon a time.

Artimus’ mouth runs, the Cormyrian weaving a tapestry of insults and reprimands so severe, that his opponent is nearly knocked from his feet with the words!

[Umberto takes -3 points of temporary CHA damage]

Indeed, from the barrage of sullied verbiage, an untrained observer might have perceived Artimus to have won the duel. But with each fervent word, the baffled Da Viola spun his falchion into an increasingly beneficial position of power.

*CLANG*

“You-ah…you com-e from a land of… of….” the guard captain stutters as Artimus’ foil descends, Da Viola tightening his lips as another onslaught of -nearly beautiful- insults tie his tongue. With fury in his eyes, Umberto charges forward unorthodoxically, slashing imperfectly at the captain of the Trois Pistoles.

“-suffering szcoundrel of ze lowest regard! You ztreet vermin, of which ze rats can only speak in hushed tonguez of diszparity and deprave-!”

Artimus’ words come to a sudden halt, as Umberto’s blade drives aside his sword one last time, the falchion’s tip resting squarely at Artimus’ throat. The mariner looks down the long, bending weapon, staring into the eyes of his opponent.

Da Viola is breathing hard, his face screwed up into an expression of exasperation and embarrassment. His perfectly coiffed hair is dripping with sweat, and his clenched teeth betray his unflattering frustration.

Some might have said that Umberto Da Viola won the fight, with his blade at the mariner’s throat. But then again…

Umberto drops his sword, his eyebrows furrowed nigh permanently. He is nearly pouting - so badly has his honor been stained.

“You will come. With-a me.” He mutters quietly, turning round and dragging his falchion along the ground, before sheathing it in slow motion.

==========================

Ok guys, the duel is over - I’d say that between Custer and Rand’s persuasion and intimidation, there’s no doubt that your party is a legitimate visitor to the palace of the djinn.

Umberto and Artimus’ duel has created a rivalry that will likely not die any time soon, I suspect haha.

Hear me out guys - we’re headed into a roleplaying heavy couple of posts, as we approach the Djinn’s tower. I don’t want to get too meta for you, but I have to spell this out:

Play-by-posts are easy to play in ‘dungeon crawling’ mode, because you’re either making a decision about your path, or encountering something. Combat is similar.

In these situations, it’s challenging to present you with explicit actions or decisions to make. Of course, you’re deciding whether or not to follow Umberto and his men to the tower of the Djinn… but given the context of the narrative I don’t think it’s too hard a decision to advance the narrative forward and follow along.

And yet, if I don’t allow you to make that decision, I’m robbing you of player choice.

So when the party is engaged in speaking with NPC’s or traveling in their company (like you are, now, and just like when you were at the dinner table with Sim in Faeressar), it’s up to you to role-play, and create some role-playing experiences.

Understand - this format EXCELS at allowing you to notate your character’s thoughts, feelings, and idiosyncrasies to an extreme(ly enjoyable) level of detail. You can’t do it in tabletop role-play. This is a different thing.

So please, don’t forsake opportunities to create and write roleplaying situations. Banter with one another. Ask questions of the NPC’s. Share with us your inner monologue.

And, don’t be afraid to create minor to moderate situations for your character to interact with! If you’re walking through the forest with Umberto and his men, and you want to write that your character espies a strange cave many hundreds of feet below…and then you spend time wondering about the cave… I’m cool with it.

If you want to write about scenery, foliage, fauna - google the Marching Mountains, or calimshan or tethyr, and find some relevant content to write about what your character is experiencing.

If you want to take one of the 12 NPC’s in the band, and write a dialogue between yourself and that character - as long as it’s a minor character I’ve not specifically taken control of in the past, feel free to write!

So - this rotation - please don’t find yourself bored. Create something interesting to write about in this one of many roleplaying opportunities... - we all can’t wait to read it.

Ao
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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Custer Thickett on Tue Apr 19, 2016 3:30 am

Sharing a quick look with Osvald, Cuss balanced the crossbow on his thighs and claps slowly three times. "Oiy, Captain, ya must of hit a nerve, yeah? Da Viola had that falchion at your throat faster than the last time I saw him put it to work."

Cuss cradles the bow with one hand while he tightens the reins of his horse with the other, "Violet, did ya know that 'ol Bashful Esmelda's burned down in the recent sack of the city? Was there that same night, just 'fore the fires swallowed her. A many a boy will need to be finding somewhere else to become men, no?"

Cuss laughs to himself and turns to Val, "Or ga-." He stops himself as he glances to Marietta. His clears his throat in pitiful excuse to hide the awkwardness, then turns back forward hoping for some conversation from Umberto.

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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Artimus DeLonde on Tue Apr 19, 2016 11:08 pm

"Merci Beaucoup, Mousiour Da Viola"

Artimus thanked Umburto, trying to hide how winded he was.

“Zuch a blade, you’ll 'ave to teach me zome of zhose movez”

He saluted the violet Viola , holding the hilt  of his foil close to his sweaty face, aligned with his nose the tip of the blade pointing skyward.

A salute to the Tethyrian.  

“Lead on ce vous plait” Artimus offered motioning to the path forward standing in place till the gathering loosened the their tight grip on the forested glade.

The gaze of the group floated the mariner and Umburto shifting to the path moonlit path ahead. Artimus turned back to his companions shrugging, wide eyed and with wry kind of shocked expression adorning his face.

“I can’t believe zhat worked mon ami, and who am I to question the good luck, divine favour or blind ztupidity we’re blezzed wizh? I’m zure it waz your wordz of conzern zhat zaw me zhrough Gimble, or perhapz you were pray-ing for me. Whizpering protectionz und'er your breazh Lady Valeria, Non?

Artimus joked- masking his concern at how close the Umburto’s Falchions had come to liberating head from shoulder.
=========

The Mariner fell in line alongside Osvald, trailing the rangers pacing as a kind of sure footed template.

“You know mon loup rouge, I we may have to arrange a zignal when I’m about to do zometing zo foolish zhat it defiez all reason, perhapz the cooing of a morning dove or zee titter of a mozs mouze? I would be in your debt.”
=========

During their ascent Artimus checked on Dwan, eyeing his seemingly worsening condition.

“Zuch a romantic ztroll we find ourselvez on this evening, is it not? Zee Moon, Zee rozebushes, zcreaming thethyrians. It seemz it should end in tender embrace, non.  C’est domage… Zat will have wait till we get you cured, oh and when zee time doez come, if you could shape shift into a wondrouzly beau-tee-ful woman, Zat would help . A lot.”

"I do hope zhis Extra planar Lord can offer uz zome key to zhis myztery zhat plagues you. Plaguez us.
Zhe book of Dwan haz many pagez to be written."

==========

You know Da Viola?!

Artimus asked Custer in hushed exclamation.

Why didn’t you zay anything? I mean It wazn’t that fast.. I mean zhat he wazn’t zo dangerous.
In fact I’d zay we’re an even match.  Yez it could go 'ave gone eizher way. I'm zure of it.


Further conversation with Custer.

Zhere’s no telling how zhis Da-jinn will rezeive us… and I find myzelf having a ‘orrible thought. Could zhis be zhe zame Da-jinn we faczed alongside Kezian… Perhapz zhere should be an ezcape plan zhould this all go zouth…
Do you have zomting up zhose zleevez? Perhaps this would could help
[ARTIMUS OFFERS CUSTER BAG OF CHALK DUST]


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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  DiceMaster on Tue Apr 19, 2016 11:08 pm

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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Rand Theriot on Wed Apr 20, 2016 12:38 am

Rand lumbers along in the rear, following with the group.
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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Dwan Bolduum on Wed Apr 20, 2016 12:17 pm

Dwan watches the duel of swords and words in wonderment. One of the halberdiers steps forward, a young man. Dwan puts his arms out to stop him from moving forward. His face was smooth and his armor hang loose compared to the others making the circle. He was obviously new to soldiery and he definitely has not seen battle before.

Let them be boy, it'll all be over soon.

It seems like Arti is holding back a bit. During his time in the Golden Army he had seen dozens of duels take place, many more violent than this one.

Another of the soldiers cries out, Furud! Don't break the line. His armor marking his rank above the rest of the halberdiers.

You best listen to your C.O. boy, you don't want to poke a sleeping bear. with that quip Dwan sticks out his tongue at the new recruit.


====================
On the ride to the Citadel
===================

Dwan starts to feel a numbness in his arms and legs, a faint feeling of rage rising up from beneath. Dwan focuses his energy and effort internally to keep the curse at bay.



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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Custer Thickett on Wed Apr 20, 2016 12:25 pm

"Oiy, Captain, me thinks ya tongue got so wound up ya can't stop it, no?  Might be ya knee take a swig of Osvald's skin and simmer down."  Cuss nods Osvald's way.

"I've just seen his sword at work.  We never shook hands, yeah?" He takes the bag of chalk and stuffs it away in a corner of his belt pouch.

Smiling, he reaches the freed hand up to palm and present his amulet of Waukeen to Artimus. He winks when the Captain looks at him for words, then he opens his hand a little wider to show the Kraken's Fist cradled behind it.

'If he is on Cyric's side, then we're fools to take it back to them, no? Whatever happens, we pay any price to keep it out of his hands.'
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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Artimus DeLonde on Wed Apr 20, 2016 3:12 pm

"Aye" Artimus replied understanding the clever Halflings intent.

"Say no more"  the thoughts appeared in Custer's mind, via the power of the fist.

========================
Artimus paced ahead, intercepting one of the elvan kind in their troup,  a woman, or so it appeared .  adorned with flowing white robes, tied around the waist with a intricately silver and brown cord, dusky blonde hair flowed over her shoulders.

Bonjour Mazter elf, My zhey call me Artimus, Delonde, friend to the elvez. Can you tell me, how do you come into the zervice of the Djinn. We zeek his audienze and beg a kindness, Can you zhare... what ia he like? We zurely do not want to offend.

Shylys Tajaes aer, Tia ci tar ti Eisoster, Paelyli, thol sai si aelaer. Tal o saer ti, cyrn pai o tysti ailai si caesoli os si Pol. Shi mael cor eidoli eil shael ei colaer, Tal o casi... shar air ci jhoji, ai pai byr shal sai orael??

The elf peaked noticeably. The mariner had heard from a fey silverymoon that his mastery of their language was strangly fluent. Especially if you'd heard his common tongue. Often mistaken for a native speaker-. It seemed the same tonal qualities and flowing verse that were present in Comyrian, were rife in elvish words, and they flowed from his mouth like silky cursive.


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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  DiceMaster on Wed Apr 20, 2016 3:12 pm

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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Valeria Thaemor on Thu Apr 21, 2016 12:56 pm

Val watched the duel between Artimus and the captain with a vague sense of entertainment, the mariner clearly having the upperhand. The captain scrambled to keep up, but needless to say the fight didn’t last very long.

“Bravo,” Val clapped from atop her horse, grinning ear to ear at Artimus. She dug the heels of her feet into her horse and steered the animal to the mariner’s side. “You certainly taught him. Arrogant little thing isn’t he?” She made sure to keep her voice low, not wanting to draw attention to her snide comments. By now, she had completely forgotten their earlier argument.

“Oh Custer!” She sing-songed, moving away from Artimus and over towards the little Halfling. “What were you about to say when you stopped yourself? You were looking at Marietta and I. Do you have a problem with our…. Friendship?” She signaled for Marietta to join them. “Does this,” She leaned over her horse to give the woman a sloppy kiss on the lips, “Bother you?” She smirked at the Halfling and waited for his response, curiously watching the others’ reactions as well.
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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Custer Thickett on Thu Apr 21, 2016 1:48 pm

His face shaded a light red, Cuss stumbles over his words to respond to Val's teasing. "Oiy, I, er. Ya misunderstand me. What I was going to say may have offended me lady an so I didn't say it."

"An I've no problem with ya two putting on a show of it like that, yeah?"
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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Ao on Thu Apr 21, 2016 4:20 pm

The fellowship pushes through the dusty canopy, your boots scuffing the sand as gnarled roots and flowing underbrush creep out to greet them.

The elven soldier walking alongside Artimus looks sidelong at him, raising her eyebrow at his fluent elvish.

[[The Djinn - master Vassago - is a being of pure intent and great goodness. You will be honoured to be received by his greatness.]]

She looks back at the rest of the fellowship as they guide their horses and chat among one another. Marietta walks in nonchalance, stealing a glance at Valeria every so often. The red-headed Paladin and Custer’s bantering is louder than some of the guardsmen were fond of. The lightly armoured guardians exchange several looks of disdain with one another.

[[Master Vassago is a patient being. You need not fear him - for he is not violent. We are not his militia, but his disciples. He teaches us in the lore of the southern lands, and the stories of magic and arcana in old Faerun. In exchange, we protect the citadel. I am a student, from the Silver Marches. I will study with him for another year, and then return to my home.]]

The elf is surprisingly talkative, now that the words have begun flowing. She smiles gently, and it is apparent that she is studious and cerebral. If, perhaps, a little chatty. She begins speaking in common.

“I am Ilifnandellai. It is nice to meet you, Artimus.”

[…]

After a time, you hear the sound of running water. Umberto Da Viola looks back at you, the enormous black jungle cat leading the way.

“We are-a almost there. Do not-a drink from de river. It flows with de surges of mana from de heart of de mountain. One sip will turn your insides to sauce. Only master Vassago can purify for de drink.”

The river is beautiful, wide-mouthed and shallow, it flows over rocks that shimmer in the starlight.

Ahead, you can see the citadel.

It is a small castle, rising up on a mountainous rocky outcropping. Overhead, pine trees dot the cliff face above it. The moon seems to bend her light, creating a pathway towards the vine-covered walls.

In a short time, you arrive. The portcullis raises, though there is no attendant. Umberto walks through, the cat pausing beneath the threshold to beckon you in…



[…]

The citadel’s defenders leave you in the company of Umberto. He leads you across a courtyard, where wild vines seem to grow and writhe across towering statues and fountains. Soft lights float through the air, like bewitched fireflies.

Out of the corner of your eye, you see several sprites flitting about the low walls, settling down and watching you pass. One of them stands, its wings flapping tumultuously as it glides over to Gimble.

“You! Yes you!”

The sprite whispers into Gimble’s ear, resting on his shoulder.

“I want to show you something. Can you keep a secret? Follow me!”

It kicks off his shoulder, flying quickly over to its gaggle of fairy friends. They look back at the gnome, disappearing around the corner...

Umberto ignores the sprites, pushes open a set of heavy wooden doors and escorting you inside.

[…]

The halls are dimly lit by flickering torches. Old stone lines the way, through the bottom floor of the citadel. It is an open space, supported by many pillars that obscure your view.

Steam hits your face as you walk over a wooden catwalk. Beneath you, a polished stone sitting area is obscured by the thick, hot water vapour of a Hammam sauna. Two humanoids sit, shadowed by the mist.

[…]

Umberto halts before a set of wooden double doors. They are each painted with a purple, glowing eye, and he holds his hand up for you.

“My lorde Vassago, he does not-a sleep. But he is thinking. Alwhays thinking. So, mind yourself.”

He pushes open the doors, and leads you in.

The chamber smells of lavender, so strong that your nostrils revolt, before settling in to the scent. It is a domed room, with what seems to be thousands of soft, exotic pillows strewn into a half-dozen different seating areas about. Water flows magically from violet waterfalls overhead, crashing into the stone floor and disappearing thusly.

An array of bright blue orbs float slowly through the air, and you watch wisps of incense burn up into the ceiling, which is bewitched to reveal the night sky.

Upon a dais, in the middle of the room, sits Vassago.

The Djinn boasts an enormous belly, his faintly blue flesh disappearing into a cloud of indigo smoke beneath his waistline. His eyes are closed, enormous jowels resting upon the bottom of his neck. Vassago wears a thick, black moustache, and his head is adorned with a vibrant orange turban.

Without opening his eyes, he speaks.

“Marietta. It has been too long.”

The djinn straightens, floating off the dais. We wears a thin cotton shirt, that drapes him loosely. Vassago opens his eyes, smiling as the fellowship assembles around.

“Welcome to my citadel. You are friends of Sim, no? Then you are blessed guests of my home, and you will stay and revel in our humble quarters. Please, sit! Umberto - please have Daniiyya bring us tea. It is late.”



[…]

Vassago's voice is baritone, but jolly. It seems an effervescent smile will not leave his lips. He welcomes you as you sit upon his lavish cushions, and asks about your journey.

The enormous black jungle cat comes to rest beneath him, the giant beast purring as Vassago strokes its’ back.

“Tell me of yourselves. I meet few new friends in the mountains. It is so nice to meet faces like your own.”

He listens intently, thanking the servant girl Daniiyya as she brings tea. Vassago is very forward, and though you met him only moments ago, creates a sense of great ease. You feel as if you have known him for many years.

“…we must have a hunt tomorrow, friends! There is a silver phoenix in my woods. Old and mean, it is - but a beautiful creature. We will track him tomorrow, and the victor will wear his plumage upon his crown. It will be glorious!"

But the Djinn stops, his eyes resting on Dwan. Something flashes in his eyes, and his smile fades suddenly.

“You… I see the taste of blood in your heart. I see rage boiling beneath your skin. But your face…only kindness, is there. Who are you? What is your sickness, friend?”

===============================

Ok guys, lots of stuff going on here. Feel free to ask questions about the citadel or sights that you have seen. Of course, we’re still roleplaying here…great posts so far, keep the good stuff coming.

Ao
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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Rand Theriot on Thu Apr 21, 2016 7:05 pm

As the fellowship was paraded through the citadel Rand looked enchanted at all the wonders of a world which he could not even have dreamt existed in books.  Taken far from the simple farms of his youth and the dreary dungeons of his adulthood, even his jaded and calloused soul could pause for a moment to take in the beauty and elegance of a castle crafted through the most skillful of hands…and magic.

As sprites darted to and fro through the starlit night, Rand swatted at their buzzing, glowing bodies like the mosquitos of yesterday.  With a wide friendly smile, ruined by his hideous looks, he beckoned to Osvald and said,

“Chum, thanks I give to you again. Fortune is a fickle mistress, and finally through your kind hand I cannot deny she has finally dealt me favor! To think, I should see such sights as heretofore!  An honest man I might make paired with so honest a friend!

He pauses and grins with hands to his hips, taking in the scene.

With a chuckle, he continues, “Aye, I reckon we have reached our errand’s end. Big I am, and foul to see, but boldly I ask, to go along again, a pleasure it’d be!”
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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Gimble Nabisco Raulnor on Sat Apr 23, 2016 9:51 pm

Gimble keeps his eyes on the new members of their caravan, studying their habits and behaviors.

“We are-a almost there. Do not-a drink from de river. It flows with de surges of mana from de heart of de mountain. One sip will turn your insides to sauce. Only master Vassago can purify for de drink.”

Gimble strokes his beard and walks up to the running water. "Mana, you say..." He draws out a vial and pops the top off. A quick dip into the water fills the glass container to its brim, and Gimble replaces the cork before putting it back into his pack. "Must be studied later.."

Once they arrive at the castle, he can't help but continuously look around, mouth slightly ajar in wonder. He raises his eyebrows at the sprite that whispers into his ear. "What secrets? Hey, come back! Don't fly so fast, lad. My legs cannot carry me so quickly anymore." The gnome veers away from the party and runs off after the sprites, one hand holding his hat down while the other raises his cane into the air. He rounds the corner where the faeries disappeared, followed closely by Minerva.
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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Valeria Thaemor on Sat Apr 23, 2016 10:20 pm

"Gimble!" Val hisses as the gnome separates from the party to chase after some sprites. She had been looking forward to relaxing, maybe having some nice food, but clearly that wasn't going to happen anytime soon. "I'll be back," she grumbles to the rest of the party, angrily stomping after Gimble so that he doesn't get himself into trouble.
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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Dwan Bolduum on Sun Apr 24, 2016 6:33 pm

Dwan felt like his head was in the clouds as he travels through the citadel's grounds. His eyes blind to the sprites darting about. After the strenuous day it was all Dwan could do to just walk forward and not snap at the closest living thing.

As they enter Vassago's chambers, Dwan's nose scrunches at the smell of lavender. Strange to have so many growing indoors like this. He thinks to himself. As the Djinn addresses the group Dwan scans the creature with intensity. So care free, must be nice knowing that you have eternity ahead of you. How many weeks do I have left? One? Can't be more than two.

The Djinn must have noticed Dwan's gaze.

Vassago wrote:You… I see the taste of blood in your heart. I see rage boiling beneath your skin. But your face…only kindness, is there. Who are you? What is your sickness, friend?

My name is Dwan Bolduum and I... well I'm not quite sure what I have. We have been calling it the red plague. We have had many people look at it, and the consensus is that this is some kind of curse.

Dwan stands up and removes his armor. He slips his torso out of the new shirt he received at Sim's palace to reveal bandages from his left shoulder all the way down to his left wrist. He turns around as he starts to undo the bandages. At first you are only able to see a few tendrils of red reaching out towards his neck, but as more and more bandages are removed the color gradually turns from light red, crimson, and finally almost a pure black where the initial bite was. The faint smell of gangrenous flesh fights through the potent lavender of the room. The red now spiderwebs on Dwan's left side, some of the tendrils making their way down his back, most however seem to be moving directly towards his heart. Dwan then reveals that the joins at his shoulder, elbow, and wrist have all started to turn red. All three of these are independent of the original wound.

I've been keeping it at bay for the past several weeks with the help of a wizard's potion, but my supply is running low, and I fear that I'll soon turn regardless. I was bitten near Baulder's Gate, but it appears this may have originated on the Moonshea Islands. Calimshan is my last hope.

=============================

Dwan shows Vissago the disease, for Gimble, Val, and Rand, this is the first time that they have seen this on Dwan. The others have seen the wound before, but the presence of the curse was not as prominent as it is now.
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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Ao on Sun Apr 24, 2016 11:01 pm

Gimble hears the plodding of Valeria behind him as he jogs into the courtyard, the evening air chilling the sweat that beads upon his forehead. The red-headed paladin catches up to her traveling companion as they round a knee-height crumbling stone wall, into a grove of enormous willow trees.

You walk into the grove, the drooping shrubbery so dense that Valeria has to crouch low to follow Gimble.

After a moment, Valeria’s boot sloshes into a very small pond, nestled in a tightly-knit copse. The sprites are sitting in front of a fat, wide willow with tiny windows and doors carved into it. Miniature lanterns blow in the modest breeze, and small planter boxes grow elaborate, minuscule gardens from their boughs. It is an apartment…carved from a tree.

But that is not the most wondrous thing. As you settle in before the sprites, in this clearing of the grove, you can see a beast is laying in front of the willow dwelling.

It is a small bird, perhaps two feet long. And it quivers, and quakes beneath a blanket woven of leaves and brambles. You can see that it is an infant, it’s eyes closed tightly in sleep …or perhaps pain.

Gimble witnesses the sprite flit over to him, landing on his shoulder.

“So sad!” it exclaims. “A child of the forest. It’s wing is broken in many places, and it won’t survive.” The small fey smooths out his brown tunic, sitting comfortably on Gimble’s shoulder. Minerva hoots from nearby…but the sprite pays no mind.

“A mighty eagle, it is. Or was, before the bats got it. Nasty creatures, ripped it clean from the sky. It’ll die here. You! Can you help?”

[…]

Vassago knits his brow, looking across the table at Dwan. The serving girl approaches, placing a plate of fat dates and cheeses before you. But the Djinn waves it away, instructing her to place it on a nearby table.

“You have come for healing, no?” he says to the dwarf, looking at the rest of the fellowship, and then to Marietta. He raises his eyebrow at her.

The white-robed woman nods. “It is Sim’s will.”

Vassago nods quickly, to each of you in turn as you recline on his pillows.

“Yes, we will do.”

The Djinn rises, grabbing Dwan and laying him out before all of you, on the ground. He gestures, arcanically, to several clay pots strewn about the chamber. They begin to smoke, the smell of sage and burning wood filling the air as fire grows within them.

“You will be healed… Dwan Bolduum.”

Vassago places his hands on Dwan’s chest…

[…]

Hours pass. Many hours.

Dwan’s mind whirrs, as his body plunges into a state of semi-consciousness. The fellowship watches as the Dwarf tosses and turns, a furious fever washing over him as Vassago strips off his shirts and places his hand upon the dwarf’s chest.

“Ashalaaam!!!!” shouts the Djinn, tendrils of smoke rising from his outstretched palm. He continues to chant in a tongue unknown to any of you; a deep, baritone chant that ensorcels each of you in turn. It is as if your hearts begin to beat with his words, lulling you into a form of meditation.

Dwan’s vision is blurred, and his sense of time becomes undone. Years might have passed, or minutes - all he can see is the Djinn’s face, as Vassago raises his eyebrows with eyes closed.

To the rest of you, it seems as if Dwan’s healer is in pain. He is fighting a battle of the minds, and it is apparent. Though hours pass, it is impossible to look away… so great are the forces at work here.

[…]

Vassago’s servant arrives many hours later. She brings with her tea, and breads.

“It is morning, master.” she utters, looking down at the Djinn.

Vassago’s eyes are downtrodden, as he places his hand once more upon Dwan’s chest. He buttons the dwarf’s vest up, waving his hand over the bearded face of your fellow.

The fatigue of wakefulness catches up to you instantly, as Dwan wakes from his fitful slumber. Sweat plasters his hair and beard, and his arm burns with a fury that he has not yet felt.

Could it be? The sickness - the red plague… eradicated?

Vassal’s eyes are dark. His jolly nature has disappeared, and a tremendous tiredness has replaced it. The Djinn leans back, cradling his head in his hands.

Marietta is the first to speak.

“You have given much, Vassago. Much of yourself. Will he live?”

Vassago is silent. And then he looks up to each of you, and then to Dwan.

“I do not know.” he says.

The air is heavy with stunned reactions, and questions bubbling in exhausted minds…

“This…sickness. This plague. It is more than I know - more than I can do. I have never seen anything so vicious…so pervasive. It is an old thing that has infected you, Dwan Bolduum. An old thing, created and touched by deep gods long forgotten in the realms. There is no cure in my citadel, dwarf. I am deeply sorry.”

He pauses for a moment, pinching the bridge of his nose with his forefingers.

“Only one…”

He pauses again, deep in thought.

“There is only one, who might be able to restore you. Lady Mush’ra.”

Silence once more, as he looks about the room. He nods, speaking again;

“Yes, it is true. Many say she is a legend…but the lady is as real as you, or I. She is not flesh and blood… she is not of this plane. But she is here, in the deserts of Calimshan. And she can be found.”

He sits on a pillow, and you can see his strength has left him. Whatever Vassago did to Dwan, it cost him a great sum of energy, and vitality.

“Lady Mush’ra rides through the desert on a chariot made of stars. No man can see it, nor stand in its’ way. It is pulled by six horses, bred from the stables of gods. They are among the fastest beasts in the multiverse… and they can run for eternity without rest, nor food, nor drink. I know this, because one of their stock - many times removed from their godly sires - is in my possession. Or…was.”

Vassago takes a deep breath, and then erupts into a fit of coughing. The serving girl runs over, crouching near her master… but he waves her away.

“The necromancer Sallad. He was once a grand vizier of trade, long ago. And when I was enslaved to Kapad Al-Nizjeer Asago, before the Faeressar liberated me, and the citedel… he used to visit. He was a politicking genius… Al-Nizjeer and Sallad would plot long into the night, the future of the sands and the Pashas of the day. I never had time for such things.”

Vassago thanks the serving girl, sending her away for water.

“The pride of Al-Nizjeer’s estate was a steed… a gift to him, from a tribe he had led conquer of, deep in the jungles of Chult. The steed was of celestial stock, and it was named Ushkaru’nak… the Chultean word for Burning Sand, in the common tongue. The horse was mine to tend for decades, and we have a bond deeper than is imaginable, or transferrable by word.”

He looks downward, the Djinn clearly troubled.

“When the Faeressar laid siege to this citadel and beheaded Al-Nizjeer for his crimes, it was Sallad who lead them here. Their politicking had finally lead to betrayal, and Sallad was on the cutting edge of justice that day. Later, Sallad’s militia from his palace in Calimshan arrived and confiscated more than they should have, for crimes that had fuelled Sallad’s political gain for decades. Lord Sim disputed their rights, but was powerless to resist the royal guard of the Pasha. And so, they made away with priceless artifacts, and the steed… my friend, Burning Sand.”

Vassago takes another breath, looking across the table at you.

“In year’s past, Sallad has exiled himself from Calimshan and come to dominate the northern deserts as the Necromancer. His undead hordes shamble across the sands. Some, we even find in these mountain ranges. He dwells deep in the necropolis, nigh untouchable. And it is there… there, that he keeps Burning Sand. I am sure of it.”

The Djinn rises.

“You have come all this way to the Marching Mountains to heal your friend. And now, a legion of undeath stands between you and his salvation. I am sorry to bring this news… but if anything can be done, it must be done quickly. His sickness will overtake him in ten days. No more. If you are to find Lady Mush'ra, you must catch her with Burning Sand. Only he is fast enough to glimpse her chariot."

“You must rest. Please, make yourselves at home in my citadel, when we are through here. Now, you must have many questions.”

===============================
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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Valeria Thaemor on Mon Apr 25, 2016 6:47 pm

Val stares at the baby bird sadly as the sprites explain its plight. "Poor thing!" Her heart goes out to the poor creature and she steps forward. "Perhaps I can heal it? It certainly couldn't hurt to try." She carefully approaches the bird, kneeling down and reaching a cautious hand out towards its body. With her head bent in silent prayer, she calls up some healing magic and wills it to extend to and heal the poor bird.

---

Val casts cure wounds for 8 hitpoints


Last edited by Valeria Thaemor on Mon Apr 25, 2016 6:47 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  DiceMaster on Mon Apr 25, 2016 6:47 pm

The member 'Valeria Thaemor' has done the following action : Dice Roller


'D8' : 4

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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Osvald Hale on Mon Apr 25, 2016 7:02 pm

Osvald paces the length of the chamber ceaselessly. Brow furrowed and eyes downcast, the ranger mumbles through a litany of the old prayers for Dwan's sake.

Night crept into morning, and Osvald had settled into a large plusher chair in the corner. The ranger is roused from his exhaustion when Vassago speaks with his serving girl:

“You have given much, Vassago. Much of yourself. Will he live?”

“I do not know.”

Osvalds teeth grit, his hands tighten to fists on the arms of his chair.

What the hell was all this for? This can't simply be the end. He glowers, fuming inside, but keeping his outrage silent for Dwan's sake.

Vassago continues, and another glimmer of hope enters Osvald's heart.

"...10 Days..." The ranger sighs, "Well, No time to loose then. Vassago, thank you for your efforts. Obviously time is of the essence--From what direction is the safest approach to the Necropolis? Can you tell me any more of it? Is it a keep, a ruined city, a dungeon?"

Osvald begins grabbing a few morsels of food from the trays set out: nuts, berries, cured meats and cheeses--anything that will travel well-- wrapping them in a napkin cloth while Vassago answers.

"If we're to face this 'Army of Darkness' we'll need a little magic on our side. Do you have any weapons or trinkets here in your citadel that could grant us a chance against this foe? I know you have helped us greatly already, but fighting the forces of undeath and returning your prize pony is a touch beyond the favour you owed Sim. Our goals may be aligned in retrieving your horse, but anything you can offer to help us in that mission will only benefit you more in the end."

...

The ranger will tend to the party's horses and keep them ready for departure as soon as Dwan is able and the others are ready.

=====

Osvald dosent want to waste anytime and will try to get everyone on the road asap.

Asking Vassago for any final help he may be able to offer before we depart
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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

Post  Custer Thickett on Mon Apr 25, 2016 7:12 pm

Custer had discovered that blending his local hashish with his dry halfling's leaf made for a very mellow mood.  He was quite content through the wait smoking on El Derro's pipe and eating dates.

When the Djinn speaks of Burning Sand being the only horse that could catch Mush-ra, Cuss snorts a laugh and says the following between date stained teeth, "Oiy, Me thinks Treetrot could catch the mushroom, no?"  Too bad she's leagues away from this place...

The halfling starts to reach for his Kraken's Fist to think to the party, but eyeing the Djinn, he thinks better of it and continues puffing on his pipe. I'm not going to take it into a necromancer's fortress. Nope, not going to do it.
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Re: Chapter Five And A Half

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